My Everyday Life in Black & White

Many of you have probably seen the posts people have been doing on the 7-day challenge of posting black & white photos from everyday life. The posts usually are something like this:

Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanations. Nominate someone to do the same. Day <enter number> of 7. I nominate <enter name>

My friend Megan nominated me to do the challenge on one of her 7 days, coincidentally on a Sunday after I returned home from an outing with my mother in the city where I came across this humorous book cover that I had just happened to photograph:


Click here to buy the panda book
And then from the first photo I took for this challenge, I realized that the first photo was also an object that was in black & white against a black & white background, coincidentally enough! So then I decided to add a new layer to the challenge by being mindful that whole week of photographing everyday life that is ALREADY black & white, though I did still use a black & white filter to photograph them.

In following the instructions, I will not provide any explanations to leave a sense of mystery (or at least to those who aren’t familiar with what I’ve photographed). However, en lieu of nominating someone for each day, I invite anyone who is feeling inspired to take on this challenge!

From doing this project, I also became more aware of the different colors in my everyday life in general. It made me think about the fact that I could do different colored versions of this photography project (ie. a red things in my everyday life). For me, it was about taking a moment to notice things in my everyday life and being mindful. It’s why people do things like meditation.




Eco-Friendly Household Products Review: The Honest Company

I had heard about The Honest Company for a while now since Jessica Alba started promoting it a few years ago (upon her starting it). I spotted a few Honest Company items on a shelf in a Sprout’s grocery store several weeks ago and decided to give their hair conditioner a try. I then decided to check out their website and tried out their customizable 5 products bundle (to which you can have a monthly subscription to). This is what I decided to get:


Items #1, 2: Conditioner (My rating: A+)

Since I go through hair conditioner fairly quickly, I decided to order two bottles of it. And I am personally a fan of the thick-necked pump feature the lids of the bottles come in because it won’t break off easily and you can retract it to lay back flat if you want to with ease. This is what obviously got me interested in the rest of The Honest Company’s products and still ranks as my favorite.
Click here to buy Honest Conditioner

If my hair was finer I may need more intense conditioning (The Honest Company does have a detangling conditioner too) but their regular one works just fine for my hair.

Item #3: Laundry Detergent (My rating: A)

I also do laundry everyday because I need to launder supplies for my business so I wanted to try their laundry detergent. Prior to this, I’ve used Method as well as Seventh Generation and I definitely think Honest Laundry Detergent was better than Seventh Generation’s because a.) The laundry does appear to come out cleaner and b.) the amount I have to use to achieve the effect is considerably less.

Like a lot of their products, Method’s laundry detergent does come in a pump bottle which does make it easier to not have to measure out into a cup and is more compact. However, I’ve had a few accidents BECAUSE of the bottle being a pump since I walk over to a laundry room with it so it would probably be more ideal if I had a landry room where I could keep the pump bottle there. So for now, I would go with The Honest Company again though I’ve also gotten recommendations for Molly’s Suds laundry detergent so I’ll have to try that out and come out with another verdict.

Item #4: All Purpose Balm (My Rating: A)

The organic all purpose balm reminded me of the Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream I’ve been using and decided to swap it in for the time being since my foot cream supply in its tube was nearing its end. For people that prefer something unscented, the All Purpose Balm is preferable to the Coconut Foot Cream. As a bonus, the All Purpose Balm also meets the 3.4 oz. or less requirement for carrying liquids on airplanes which makes it a great travel companion too (though the thickness of it makes me wonder if it would even be categorized as “liquids”). So this one is a keeper.


Item #5: Dish Soap (My Rating: C-) 

The first thing I noticed about the Honest Lemon Verbena Dish Soap is that it’s very runny compared to Method’s Ginger Yuzu dish soap I’ve been using. It does make it feel like the soap gets diluted faster (and if you’re not careful enough, you can easily pour out a lot since it comes out more liquidy). And in referring back to my review for their conditioner, I wish that The Honest Company would use a pump container also for their dish soap which is also something I do like about Method’s dish soap. So in the future, the Honest dish soap is not my first choice.

~Bonus Items I Purchased Outside of the Bundle~

The Lotion (My Rating: B+) 

Although I did not have it in my bundle order, I have started using the Honest Face + Body Lotion(also in apricot) as well. The scent is very subtle and the consistency is slightly on the runnier side compared to the Burt’s Bees one I’ve been using which does make it easier to apply but maybe a bit more runnier than my personal preference. Like most lotions, I add in a few drops of body oil (I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Argan oil) when I apply it on. The Honest Company does have their own body oil too, so I will most likely give that a try in one of my bundles order in the near future as well. IMG_3184.JPG

The Shampoo/Body Wash (My Rating: B)

I know it makes me sound like a hater of runny items, but this was similar to my experience with their dish soap. Perhaps as a body wash this is a more normal consistency but it’s definitely one of the runniest shampoos I’ve ever used.

In comparison to the shampoo I’ve been using (Yes to Carrots) the container it comes in is a lot more preferable since it’s in the same style thick-neck pump bottle their conditioner comes in. I actually really don’t like the lids of the bottles the Yes to Carrots conditioner or shampoo come in because they don’t work very well so I always leave them standing upside down (lid side down) to make sure I can get product to come out. And the scents for both Yes to Carrots and the Honest shampoos are thankfully very subtle as I’m not a fan of heavy perfumes.

But the runny consistency may be bad enough for me to want to go back to the Yes to Carrots shampoo after I’m done using this one (and I may just fill the empty Honest Company pump bottle with the Yes to Carrots shampoo).


If I were to be completely “honest” about ordering products via The Honest Company’s website, it’s been trying. I’ve done it twice now and both times I’ve had to go through customer service to make corrections. And unfortunately, the second time around the order was placed over the weekend and no one was able to get back to me until Tuesday. So I am now waiting for an incorrect order to arrive so that I can go through their return/exchange process. Though their 5 items for $25 bundle deal for first time bundle orders is a pretty darn good deal.

The thing with The Honest Company products is that it’s very much marketed towards households with babies. I finally stumbled across them at a local CVS store recently. But again, they were in the baby products aisle. As a result, I feel like those who are childless end up missing the chance of noticing them. With or without a baby, there are people like myself out there who want to use household products without harsh chemicals and toxins.

Here’s to healthy living,

(Now an affiliate of The Honest Company)

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

IMG_3174Like most people, there are lots of things I have given a f*ck about that I no longer give f*ck about. Thank goodness for that…

As straight forward as the title of the book seems, it did offer me a good supply of laughter as soon as I started reading it. Though the last chapter is on death [appropriately enough] and the topic is also something I myself thought about when I wrote my own book. At the time I had thought that I was a rare weirdo in being a 29 year old approaching 30 thinking about such a concept. However, at some point in the book I did come to the mathematical conclusion that Mark Manson and I are actually the same age too.

And while I too have lived an unconventional life in my own ways, Manson’s included traveling to 55 countries in 5 years and with it came even a larger number of lovers. But you don’t have to rack up those numbers in order to reach a nirvana of “not giving a f*ck.” It’s about living a life true to yourself in who you are, not what everyone else wants you to be or tells you to be. And in Manson’s case he ultimately came to the conclusion that this adventurous and exciting lifestyle he had envisioned for himself turned out to not be all that it was hyped up to be.

I am a fan of his”Do Something” Principle and the analogy he used of how his parents would look to him as a technology prodigy as an example to illustrate the principle. It’s often the stereotype that the younger generation is more technology-savvy but the point Manson was making was that he simply would try every button and plug or unplug every cable/cord to see what would happen until he learned how the whole system worked. The fear of trying and doing something/anything is trumped by curiosity.

I still go to auditions my agency sends me out on knowing that there’s a high chance that I will not get the gig but I go anyways because I know that if I don’t go my chances are zero. I wrote and published my own book last year, knowing that it’s most likely not going to become a New York Times Bestseller or a Pulitzer Award winner.

I believe you could always make improvements but I don’t believe in being a perfectionist. I too share the same belief with Manson (and Nike) that you just do it. Some of my earlier blog posts would make me cringe today. But the belief is that as you keep doing something you get better over time.

One might say that in some altruistic motive, I started this blog in hopes of inspiring others with my so-called modern vintage lifestyle. But as Manson points out, it’s the action that inspires inspiration and then that becomes a motivation. It’s not to say that my blog postings can’t be inspiring. But there are many people out there who feel inspired by motivational seminars who will not apply what they learned to make changes in their life or those who hear about courageous acts on the evening news and they themselves will never lift a finger to help a stranger in need.

Though at the end of the day, it’s our choice as to what we decide to give a f*ck about. And there are billions of people out there who couldn’t give a f*ck about what I have to say. The important thing is to give a f*ck about something that matters to you. And it’s not a bad thing to reevaluate what you deem as important once in a while.




My Travel Adventures in Arizona

As mentioned in my book, I have met so many wonderful ladies at the Matthew Hussey Retreat in 2015 and I had the opportunity to visit one of them in Arizona last week. It was my first time in Arizona and my second trip out to a dessert landscape this year. The trip included other first time experiences for me, including picking apples at an apple orchard:


The photo (above) was taken at Annie’s Apple Orchards in Wilcox.

In Tucson, University of Arizona (aka the U of A) is a big deal and I got to look at the gorgeous collection of beautiful rocks and gems at the UA Mineral Museum.


I have yet to pronounce “Saguaro” correctly but did share lots of laughs trying and learned how long it takes for them to grow to the majestic heights they can become.



With Lilian of Roma’s

Some good eats I got to enjoy courtesy of my Tucson friend included Roma’s and Eegees. At first you get the impression that Roma’s is a charming Italian restaurant but they really do actually have a mix of different things from other cuisines (ie. I spotted dolmas in the deli counter).


With a watermelon eegee

Eggees is both the name of the local chain restaurants as well as the frozen beverage they are known for. Though it’s a rather dense beverage to enjoy via a straw so I would highly recommend trying it with a spoon. The flavor I tried was a watermelon eegee and it was thankfully not overly sweet.

I spotted this inside a boutique lingerie shop and couldn’t help but share as an homage to my modern vintage-ness:


The day I get told I’m old, I will own it and embrace my vintage charm! *with a wink*

Yours truly,

– The Modern Vintage Woman-

Live, Laugh, GLOVE ~ My New Method for Storing Gloves~

It’s no secret that I have quite the extensive collection of gloves. Up until now, I had been using shoe boxes (and cupcake boxes that I would put inside the shoe boxes to separate the gloves by color). However, with my collection of white gloves and black gloves alone they take up a whole shoe box each and many of the other colored gloves I have multiple varieties in each cupcake box.

So I decided to come up with a new method and crafted my very own gloves storage box. This first one I made is solely for black gloves, which will be easy to tell from the outer appearance of the box:

As you may have figured, the box did originally have the slogan “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” but I added the ‘G’ to make “LOVE” into “GLOVE.”

I took some Elmer’s foam boards and cut them with an exacto knife to make the rectangular sections inside the box which I glued together with a glue gun. To sum, I used these materials + a plastic black clipboard (not photographed) + a mechanical pencil for tracing lines onto the foam board to make my box:


You can also use a ruler if you want to be super precise. But I found that the little piece of label paper of the Elmer’s foam boards to be a perfectly fine substitute for using as a straight edge and the glue from the glue gun would fill in any small gaps of imperfections there may be for the edges cut by the exacto knife (which I also used for the first time with this project).


I often get asked now how many pairs of gloves I actually have…. Like socks, I admit that there are a few pairs that I have where one of the pairs is missing. But according to my most recent count it looks to be approximately 60 pairs as of now (and growing!) Needless to say, utilizing this new organization system for my gloves collection will make my life so much easier…

It’s not my first time these decorative boxes have come in handy for me as I did a whole posting back in May on my different usages for them. Though the one I used for this project is not as deep and are typically used as photo storage boxes.

Live, laugh, GLOVE!


Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale


This novel has been turned into a Hulu series show recently but I have yet to watch it. So my personal review at this time is primarily based on my experience with reading the book.

Though in discussing the book with the book club ladies, I have heard from some women who have also seen the Hulu series that there were additional details that appeared on the show that weren’t in the book such as the real name of the protagonist character renamed Offred upon becoming a handmaid. The book was turned into a series of shows rather than a movie so I could see how a series would become more extensive and detailed whereas a book-turned-movie usually presents the opposite scenario.

As a recommendation for reading the book, I would actually reread the Introduction chapter upon finishing the book as it all makes more sense in doing so. Though this is a recent edition of the book and the Introduction is the one that was written by the author in February of this year. The book was originally written in the 1980s but has received a lot of attention lately as explained by the author in this Introduction chapter which references the most recent election and our current presidency and political climate as a result. Even though the book was written decades ago, there were many coincidences such as references to a wall being built which has made the novel feel relevant to current times.

In fact, one of the first comments that the book club ladies mentioned at our meeting discussing this novel was how the book did feel relevant and timeless. The author also explains that everything mentioned in the book has happened in history. I do recall watching an interview of Hilary Clinton saying that she was told by the credit card company to use her husband’s credit card when she first tried to get her own credit card in the 70’s which would help illustrate what happened that day women in the book lost their jobs and access to their credit cards.

Hence, I could see why the author gets the feedback about this book being a “feminist” book. As a “Modern Vintage Woman” I am in agreement with Sheryl Sanberg’s take in her book Lean In (which I had previously reviewed in my blog post last year) where women need to be supportive of each other and career-oriented women who work outside the home should not shame stay at home mothers and vise versa.

I have faced similar issues myself this year with women who criticized me for my choices (or was very aggresive in encouraging or discouraging me from making certain choices) ranging from my outfit choices, who to date, who to co-habitat with, what career movement I should make, the urgency to get married and have children, what to write/not write in my blog, etc. In the moment, it actually feels difficult to sometimes make a firm stance and defend yourself because you really may change your mind later (which you are allowed to do). But at the end of the day, I had to make peace with the fact that these other women do not have to live with the consequences of the choices I make for myself while I do. So in spite of any criticism I may continue to get, I must make my own choices. In the meanwhile, I try to walk the talk by being supportive of other women.

In the society I live in, I am thankful that I do currently have the right to exercise making such choices. So in reading The Handmaid’s Tale it makes me feel extra grateful.

It is always possible for society to retrogress and decrease the rights of women or continue to have it be the case as it is in many parts of the world. But as the book illustrates, the truth remains to be the case in both fiction and reality that the human population cannot continue to exist without women. So perhaps to some it may seem ungrateful for me to not use my abilities to reproduce to make such contributions.

But if anything, I was reminded by other women (and men) recently when I celebrated a major milestone in my martial arts career by passing my 5th degree black belt exam, that achievements by women are not limited to their ability to becoming a biological mother but can also be being a female figure in which other women can look up to for inspiration. IMG_2469I have since then found myself featured in other people’s blogs around the globe and had apparently caused quite a stir in strutting around the arena (in places where shoes were left on) in my high heels even while wearing my martial arts uniform. I’ve continued to make my stance in that I am entitled to be “feminine” or female and my youthful self in a martial arts world that is dominated primarily by older men while continuing to work hard to prove myself worthy of the title I have earned. This is me being a “Modern Vintage Woman.”



Back to School Grown-Up Style

I recently decided to take advantage of a sale that one of my favorite online websites for shopping ModCloth had and purchased the following without knowing at the time I would be able to put together this “Back to School” look:


But between the navy blue blazer and the plaid skirt it screams preppy. I wore my previously purchased pair of preppy brown shoes with button embellishments.

I am also a fan of lounging around in my robes and night gowns when I’m at home. And this one I got is good enough to work as a  bathrobe post-showers which I think is a perfect purchase for college dorm-bound kids:


(The rose embellishment definitely worked for both looks!)

For those high school kids getting ready for the homecoming dance or formal dances to come this school year, I recently purchased a dress on amazon for a economical price of $63.09 and got it shortened to have it be floor length for my 5ft. 5in. height + 3 inch heels to wear to a banquet dinner:


Click here if you want to purchase the one I wore

(Above photo courtesy of fellowShorinji Kempo kenshi and blogger Finnworld)

I liked what I got for the price but I admittedly did feel like the padding on the breast that it came with was a bit much (though the person who shortened the dress for me forgot to take the breast pads out so I left them in when I wore the dress to the event). I did pair the dress with matching earrings and lacy black gloves.

I suppose this was a celebratory event since I found out a few days later that I did pass my 5th degree black belt exam which coincided with the timing of my birthday that same week. So the dress was this year’s version of my “birthday suit” tradition I have!

It has also been a year now since I published my book amongst other milestones & anniversaries of other related/non-related accomplishments in my life so far. So here’s a reminder to celebrate by simply being proud because it’s perfectly alright to be proud of one’s accomplishments no matter how small or big.