Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Biggest Haul Yet!

My latest haul!
With last week being a three day weekend for Memorial Day, my parents invited a few family friends over. Surprisingly, that turned out to be a lot of graduation presents for me, with a good amount of it being cash. With no intention of making a trip to the bank to deposit it, I did what any person would do: go on a no-holds-barred shopping spree!

There's just something about shopping, a feeling of giddy success perhaps, and before I knew it, I had blown the whole bit. However, with the great Memorial Day sales, I ended up with quite a haul, which I'm going to share here (better late than never!) The pictures aren't the best quality, they've all been through multiple programs as I was modifying them. I'm working on my editing skills I promise!


C'est La Vie Crop Top, Free Spirit Tank top, flip flops, and necklace from Forever 21
First up is Forever 21. I love the little ruffles on the bottom of the C'est La Vie (never took French, but it sounds pretty) crop top. I'm still not sure how to style tank tops, but I think the Free Spirit tank top makes a nice summer piece. I also picked up a pair of flip flops, on sale, 2 pairs for $5, which my friend and I shared, and a necklace. I don't want this to be a super long post, so I'm keeping the descriptions short, but feel free to ask item costs in the comments, if I don't mention it.

Things I bought from H & M
Next is H&M. The striped shirt was part of a 2 for $10 sale, so I also got a solid royal blue version of it, which is in the wash right now. I also saw a cute crop top, which I don't usually wear, but I'm trying to expand my style, so I picked it up too. Finally, another pair of skinny jeans. You can never have too many!

Victoria's Secret
New Victoria's Secret bra, with a broken strap :(
I won't go into too much detail, but Victoria's Secret was have a 7 for $27 underwear sale that I could not resist. I was having a desperate need for underwear, so I'm extremely happy about that haul. A bonus was the additional $10 off any bra, so I finally got fitted and got one. It was so soft and comfortable thing, but when I got home, I noticed that it was ripped. I had to return it, and now they're sending me another over the mail.


My purchases from LUSH!

The Love Lettuce and Cupcake face masks from Lush
A trip to the mall is never complete without a stop at Lush. By now, I've sampled most, if not all, of the face masks that I think fit my skin type, and I finally settled on Love Lettuce and Cupcake. I've reviewed both of them in a previous post, which you can read here. I also got a sample of the Skin Drink moisturizer, which like Celestial is a bit heavy, so if I do end up buying a moisturizer from Lush, it's probably going to be Imperialis after all. I also bought a few toner tabs. They sell them for about $2, but if you get 6, they throw in a 7th for free. What you do with these is after you wash your face, you set up a steamer (a bowl of hot water under your face and a towel over your head), toss one of them in and let it fizz. The tea tree oil in the steam helps clear out pores and treat acne. When I first got these, I didn't really know how to use it properly, so I kind of messed up, but I can now advise from experience to hold your breathe while it fizzes and the steam is in your face because it only lasts about twenty seconds. You can follow up with a face mask or a moisturizer to complete the skincare routine (full details on how I do it in a later post).

I'm not sure how I feel about the Body Shop after this trip. On one hand, I support their message of sustainable production, but on the other hand, everything is so expensive. I only try to visit when they have sales, which is why I was so happy they had the 3 for 3 sale this weekend, but despite a lengthy conversation with the sales attendant, I still left the store overpaying by about $12 because of unclear
rules regarding sale items. When I called to try to figure it out, they were adamant about the nature of the sale, and I couldn't find any easy solution to rectify the problem. Anyhow, back to what I bought, I've always wanted to try the body butters, so I got two of the small ones. I also bought a shea hand cream for my mom, and some tea tree oil (I'm kind of obsessed with tea tree stuff right now). I split the sale with a friend, so she got two other items, and the purchase in total was over $60, so we were able to get a free full sized body butter as well (retails at $21). The body butters smell oh so good, and they really do help to soften skin (I find they do wonders for rough skin on my knees and elbows). As nice as they are, it'll be a long time before I go back to the Body Shop, for one, because I don't want to have to deal with confusing sales, and two because I have enough stuff to last me quite a while now.

I try to stay out of Bath & Body Works if I can because the smell is so overpowering, but there is always the exception of the 5 for $5 PocketBac hand sanitizers. I wanted to pick up three old favorites and two new scents, but Wildberry Dahlia scent was seasonal, so I only got Fresh Strawberries and Stress Relief. As for the new scents, they look promising, so I'm eager to try them out. Though they are small, the hand sanitizer scents are super strong, so a little goes a long way. They're really convenient to toss into a backpack or purse, which makes staying clean before eating super easy.

»Homeware & Misc.«

As great as Jansport is, with my long hair, I find it a bit bothersome to fuss with shoulder straps every time I use it, so a new bag for college was an absolute must. I've been eyeing oversized tote bags for a while, so when I saw this at Target, I only hesitated a tiny bit before buying it. I like that it's a black and white bag as well, which makes it really easy to use match with any outfit. It's big enough to fit a computer, and since it's structured, it's super roomy on the inside. My only qualm is that the inside pocket is too small for my wallet, but my wallet is big enough to be thrown in with the rest of the stuff without getting lost. It was also a bit more expensive than I what I usually would consider paying for it, but as the point of a shopping spree is to buy things without worrying about cost, I'm quite glad I decided to get it. Next, I picked up the Aussie Hair Insurance Heat Protecting Shine Spray I'm trying to figure out how to curl my hair. The last item is an Essie duo. It sold for $14.50 as a pair, which is a bit cheaper than normal as Essie is usually $8.50 a bottle. The clear stuff is a gel top coat, which so far has been glossier and more durable than any other top coat I've used. It just looks so much better and it protects all that effort of a self-manicure. The red polish is called "Forever Yummy" and I think it's just a good idea to have a strong red as a staple in any nail polish collection.

Last but not least, we have Yankee Candle. I'm a huge fan of candles, and this time, I finally got to pick up my favorite scent: Midnight Jasmine. I never go there without a sale, because it's just not worth it. This time, even with a sale it was a bit pricey, but I just had to have that scent. A purchase of minimum $30 earned a discount on medium jar candles, making them only $10. Since I already had a floral scent (Midnight Jasmine), a clean scent (Over the River), and a sweet scent (French Vanila), I decided to go with a fruity scent. I'm not obsessed with the Mango Peach Salsa, but even if I never get around to use it, I can still give it as a gift.

Unfortunately, I went to Sephora to pick up a white eyeliner, a red lipstick, and a bronzer, but I didn't end up getting anything because they were sold out of the specific items I wanted. Target was also out of the Revlon Lip Butters in Peach Parfait, so I wasn't able to buy that either.

Overall, I'd say it's a pretty successful shopping spree. However, just because it's a shopping spree, which by definition should mean that you don't consider many factors in buying what you like, my advice to you is that you can still be smart about it. From this haul, here is what I've learned:
  • Try not to shop on time constraints if possible, rushing results in more impulse buys.
  • Always check receipts before leaving the store. Make sure you haven't been overcharged.
  • Check quality on pricy items, if not all items. Returns are a hassle.
  • Shop with a friend to split discounts. You each spend less and get more.
  • Shop during holidays to take advantage of sales. A lot of things aren't worth the full price.
  • Make a list so you know exactly what you want, and it helps to not go over budget. I spent exactly what I had planned to spend, and that was an extremely satisfying feeling.
On a side note, I did film a haul video, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the vlogging thing. I kind of like just blogging, but maybe I'll try editing it and uploading later in the summer. Thanks for reading! ◊

Monday, May 25, 2015

#obsessed: Jen From Head To Toe

This weekend I've been pulling away from most social media: I've logged out of Tumblr, I've cleaned up my Facebook, and I've sorted out all my emails. However, two things I have been getting back into are Pinterest and Youtube. Pinterest was mostly because I finally convinced Diana to make an account and Youtube because I've rediscovered an old-school beauty blogger: From Head to Toe.

Jen From Head To Toe, my favorite rediscovered beauty guru at the moment!

The girl behind the blog is Jen, who does slow paced, very clear makeup tutorials that explain everything, which is important to me as a lot of the time, beauty bloggers show the products they use, but not necessarily all the techniques. She also zooms in very close to demonstrate how to use the product, which is super helpful, especially since learning how to do makeup is one of my summer goals. She has a blog here, which hasn't been very active lately, but she has been blogging since 2008, which is even before Zoella, so that's a long time. She also still does weekly Youtube videos on her main channel which range from tutorials to hauls to personal videos, your standard beauty guru fare.

In addition to the makeup tutorials, I've been binge-watching a lot of her personal videos on both her main channel and side channel and she is absolutely just so adorable and gorgeous. She has a cute little dog named Oreo and a husband whom she has dated since high school and their relationship (which she talked about in her Draw My Life video) is so precious. I had to pause her Vlogmas Day 25 video multiple times just because it was too much cuteness at once and I aspire to have her life someday. ◊

Saturday, May 23, 2015

LUSH Review: Space Girl & Oatifix

It's a three day weekend so I decided to indulge in a bath while I had the time. I used the Space Girl bath bomb from my last haul and tried out the Oatifix face mask sample as well. I concede that it was a bit underwhelming (honestly, bath bombs are overhyped) but I was satisfied with the results.

Unfortunately due to the bad picture quality as a result of steam on the camera lens, I won't be able to post what it looks like in the water, but it was a pleasant purple color. It wasn't very intense in pigmentation or glitter, so I would recommend it as a beginner bath bomb. I, however, do want to try one of the more intense bath bombs, so aside from bathing for the sole purpose of de-stressing and relaxation, I think I'll just wait for their Christmas sale, when they have more variety. The only reason I'm still willing to give bath bombs another go is because they really do make my skin feel nice and soft, and the floral scent was incredible as well. (6/10)

As for the face mask, I normally hate things that leave any feeling of residue on my face so initially I wasn't too pleased when this one rinsed off. Oatifix is for dry skin, so I shouldn't be too surprised that it felt heavy, but I decided to give it a chance and not scrub it off with more cleanser. A few hours later, my skin still feels super soft, as if I had just applied lotion. I don't know if I would buy this, just because there are some other ones that I like better, but I'd be curious to see how this works on my skin in the long run. It has the smell and texture of cookie dough (though not the taste!) so I think I'd be more inclined to buy it on a whim than as a staple in my skincare routine. (7.5/10)

Overall, I am the tiniest bit disappointed in these individual products, but I've tried the Cupcake and Love Lettuce face masks samples as well in the time since, and I've loved both of them. Cupcake really works to pull out anything that clogs pores and rinses cleanly, while Love Lettuce was a gentle but efficient exfoliator that was super easy to apply. I want to try to work them in to my skincare routine, but I'm actually worried that I won't have the time for face masks in college. Hopefully if I use them enough over the summer it will actually help to fix and balance my skin before I leave. In summary, bath bombs aren't all that fun, but they are great for relaxing; face masks are hit or miss but do give new things a chance. ◊

Friday, May 22, 2015

Jumping to Conclusions

If you are one of those people that like to read things in your head as they would sound in real life (that's a thing people do right?), well I'm warning you, prepare to take a deep mental breathe because that next paragraph down there is all one sentence. Yea. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I've just been hit with the horrible realization that my parents have led me to believe that I should treat people I don't like with the same cruelty they exhibit towards me, but at the same time I feel like I should be the bigger person and be nice to them, yet I also feel that they don't deserve kindness because they're horrible people, but then I also realize that they might be horrible people because other people are mean to them and now I'm contributing to that as well, but maybe if they just realized that them being mean to other people is the reason why other people are mean to them, which means that it's all just makes a giant mean-ness circle and someone has to break the cycle first and maybe that should be me, but I don't know?

It's a known fact that many (but not all) victims of childhood abuse grow up to become abusers themselves, and the cycle of abuse is a well documented phenomenon. In that case, wouldn't it be important to always treat others with kindness and respect, so the cycle can be broken and the world is a better place? I've been struggling with the above problem for a long time, not always as explicitly as it had just hit me, but it's always been in the back of my head. Counselors and therapists have always supported me in my own journey to break out of the cycle away from my parents, and in that part I do believe I have succeeded, but what about going back to fix the cycle that my siblings are still trapped in? Just because I have broken out of it does not mean that it doesn't exist anymore.

A second realization that hit just as swiftly as the first answered my question. I remembered that I have tried being kind to them and I have tried to fix it repeatedly, with my own power and by introducing outside sources, in hopes of being able to make a connection and change the way things are, but they just didn't respond or make any changes. So that settles it. Give people chances, but there is a limit. You are under no obligation to fix other people, because sometimes it's just too late to save them. You have a breaking point too, so make sure you don't overstep that boundary and keep yourself safe. Yes it is a cycle, yes you should try to break the cycle, but don't break yourself in the process. If you've done what you can do and it doesn't work, there comes a point where the best thing to do is to preserve yourself and use your opportunities to help people that still can be helped and still want to be helped, otherwise you're just wasting your time on people that steadfastly don't want to change. It's sad but it's true.

This is an extremely important distinction, and realizing this has cleared up so much about my views on life. The reason I was contemplating this was in part regarding to the last part of the previous post, but it's also applicable in any relationship in life, whether its coworkers, friends, or romantic relationships. Things are never black and white, and things are never easy. One could even argue that the behavior of reaching limits and then switching to harsher tactics is yet another larger cycle, which really has no solution anymore, at least not from me, because if it did, the psychology would be so abstract and complicated that it would take years of research to truly decipher (but is probably something I will continue to muse over in my spare time with color coded diagrams). Or maybe, if the problem begins before the child has a chance to understand the consequences of their own actions, it simply is the parents' fault for not treating the child with unconditional love, in which case, could be due to their own childhood issues, but refer to the previous paragraph. If possible, In any case, ALWAYS avoid active cruelty at all costs. With any other relationship, this is fairly easy, as cutting the person out and never having to speak to them again is a feasible solution, but with parents it's a little different. For me, personally, I have come to enough of a satisfying conclusion to move on with my life resolute in my decisions to behave the way I will, but who knows, I may be completely wrong. ◊

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

An Open Letter to My Abusers

I've got nothing better to do right now but sit here and listen.

I listen to my music, preaching power, independence, and self love. It helps a little to drown out the sounds of my little sister's constant singing, my little brother's screams, your yelling, the hard thwack of a stick hitting a body. That body used to be me, but I'm untouchable now. I'm going to Berkeley. I'm that perfect child you always wanted, at least on the outside. What you don't know is that I'm going to use you. I'm going to take what I need and leave you forever once I have it, because I deserve better than the bruises and beatings and belittling and breakdowns that you have given me the last decade and a half. You took my childhood. Be glad it's only your money I'm taking. The money you should have spent to raise me anyway. I didn't ask to be born. I owe you nothing.

It's not a pleasant reality. I'm still learning to accept that too. I suppose I'm lucky that it wasn't "that bad," that I never had broken bones or burns, but you know what? Should I be grateful that I'm not dead? Abuse is abuse, no matter the severity. And now, I'm absolutely sure I'm not conflating abuse with discipline. Yelling to discipline should be a rare event. Yelling is your default tone. It goes on for hours at a time, every single day, adding up to weeks, months, years. This is abuse. If depression is an inflammation of the brain, this is the cause. A piece of sandpaper can polish a cord of wood, but keep filing away at it long enough and that cord of wood is destroyed, broken in two, even. I know this is what you want. You want to break me. You want me to be the idealized image of yourself. You're narcissistic and toxic at the very least, but no, let's call it for what it is. You are abusive. But I'm leaving now, so it falls upon my siblings.

It is strange hearing it from a third person point of view now. Your logic is ludicrous, your tone is hostile, and I can't believe I ever believed that it was truly my fault. You think you're just trying to act on good intentions and be a parent, but don't you see the damage you're causing? How can you possibly think that what you're doing is right? Your good intentions mean absolutely nothing. You're trying to heat a house by burning it down. It does not matter why – your convoluted, twisted reasons – because the fact of the matter is that it's not working. It's damaging and hurtful, but it's impossible to reason with you. What can I do? You're the broken one, but you don't want to be fixed, and you won't bend to reason. Nothing I say can change your mind, make you see the reality of the consequences of your actions. It's easier for you to inflict your own pain on others. And since there's nothing I can do, I sit here in silence, hoping that my sister can find support at school, and that my brother won't turn out to be violent like you are. I fear the worst, and I hate myself for being helpless.

Forgiveness has no part in this. I forgive people who ask for forgiveness. I don't owe any to you so I can feel better about myself. I will never forgive and I will never forget, lest I fall back into the trap of an abusive relationship in the future. Maybe it's good that I've learned sooner rather than later that even people who are supposed to be providers can cause pain, and just because they're nice sometimes does not excuse the times they are not. I carry with me my reflexes, my anxiety, my depressive defense mechanisms, because in this environment, they're the only things that can protect me. I still don't know what love is. I don't think I've ever felt it, and as a result, I don't think I've developed the ability to love others either. Does this make me a bad person, I do not know, but I do know that it's keeping me alive. Maybe someday, I can trust a person fully without any fear, but for now, every friendship feels strained, every little moment goes into my calculation of how much I can rely on someone, every little accident has the potential to become a deep seated grudge.

Someday, you'll die alone, and whether you carry your denial to the very end or realize the consequences of your mistakes, it won't matter. I'm done with this and you'll never see me again. No matter what happens in my life, I won't come running back to you. I'd rather die. ◊

Thursday, May 14, 2015

#obsessed: Bright – Echosmith

If life is a series of highs and lows, unfortunately, right now is a low. Last week was pushing everything away and putting life on hold to finish the AP Art portfolio. I thought that when the portfolio was finished, I'd be done with everything, but on Monday everything came crashing in all at once. Nine messages on Facebook and seven emails on Gmail, all with urgent emergencies to take care of. Normally, this would be an instant panic attack inducing situation, but I've gotten a lot better at handling those. But that doesn't mean everything's ok. When I'm anticipating a panic attack, I get anxious, because I'm worried about having a panic attack, which gives me anxiety, and it's a self-feeding cycle. But I haven't had a panic attack, and I've taken care of all the work, so that's a good thing. I'm managing it, and if I can continue to take the time to decompress, nothing bad is going to happen. Hopefully that's not just blind optimism that's convincing me everything's ok.

It's the little things that build you up or take you down, and I'm so lucky to have friends that reach out to me and make me smile, intentionally or not (shoutout to Nerdlerff!). And of course, there's always music to help on the way. Lately I've had the "Ooh, la la la," from this song stuck in my head, and I've been listening to it every day. It reminds me of good things in the world, makes me want to curl up with someone in a plush blanket on the beach, sitting in front of a bonfire, just enjoying life, but maybe it's not having these things that also makes me sad. And if life is a series of highs and lows, there's going to be another high point just around the corner. ◊

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Prom, e.l.f., LUSH, & Avengers

I'm over a week behind on my posting schedule, and so much has been happening that I haven't been able to keep up with individual posts for each, so instead, here is an amalgamation of multiple posts would otherwise have taken way too long to schedule out and be very unnecessary.

Senior Ball was May 2 at the Fairmont Hotel. To be honest, it was actually quite boring, but the centerpieces looked cool, with floating candles in tall glasses. I was tempted to take one of the roses (they were real!) and stick it in my hair, but they were too heavy.

 The pre-prom photos also turned out really well. Credits to Diana for my hair and makeup!

After the dance, we went to C.R.E.A.M. The line was long, but it was worth it. I got a scoop of strawberry between two snickerdoodles. We ate in silence in the car and headed home, too tired for anything else.

Going out of chronological order, I also received my e.l.f. shipment a few days before prom, just in time to test out all of the stuff. It was a fairly small order, but I'm pretty satisfied with everything I bought. First up is the 12-piece brush set. I know e.l.f. probably isn't the best quality, but I've bought an e.l.f. eyeliner brush before, and it wasn't that bad at all. I thought a prepackaged set would probably be a good place to start off, since I have no idea what I'm doing in regards to makeup. I don't know how to use half of them and I probably didn't even need to buy all of them, but it's not like I would want to practice with nice brushes and ruin them before I even really understood what to do with them. They're normally about $3 a piece, but in a set, they're only $1 each. The brushes are individually packed in a cover with descriptions on the back – good for beginners. Each brush is also labelled on the handle for future reference. Straight out of the package, a couple of hairs fell out for one or two brushes, but it's not a big problem. They also kind of smell a bit weird and chemical-y, but I assume that goes away over time with a few washes. Diana used them to do my makeup, and she says they're actually fairly decent in quality, preferring them over some of her own brushes. (5/10, simply because I don't know if I'd want this exact set again.)

Second is the lip exfoliator. I've heard that it was one of their best products, so I didn't hesitate to try it out. It has a sweet taste (and a hint of lemon) as sucrose is the first ingredient, and it does not contain petroleum jelly, which I think I might be allergic to. It's pretty much the handy solid form of a sugar scrub in a lipstick tube, which makes it less messy to use and carry around. Overall, it has been effective in getting rid of dry skin on my lips and moisturizing. 10/10!

I also got the powder – just in time to keep everything in place for prom. The container was a bit confusing to use. First of all, it's a twist off top. Then there's a thin plastic film on the top of the cover; to use the powder you have to remove that plastic film, not the entire cover, which I made the mistake of doing and subsequently got powder all over the place. I don't normally wear a lot of makeup, but it works well for setting eyeliner. I've tried using black eyeshadow to set my eyeliner before, which works, unless you're in a rush in the morning and all of a sudden the black eyeshadow is everywhere instead of just on the liner. It looks like it'll probably last a long time for me, so until then, 7/10 would buy again.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention when I first did this post that there is a code for free shipping on orders $20 and up. Use the code "PLAY" up to June 30, 2015 when checking out. Hope that's helpful!

I also had a bit of a LUSH splurge yesterday as I wandered the mall waiting for Age of Ultron to begin. At the bottom of the overview picture, you'll also see something called the Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter. I've sampled this product multiple times in the store, and every single time it has not failed to instantly heal my dried, cracked cuticles. I have a huge problem with hangnails, so it was a must-buy for me. A little bit goes a long way, but when it runs out, it's a 10/10 will buy again.

I'm desperately trying to fix my clogged pores, so I had a lengthy discussion with one of the employees, going through nearly all of the products. So far out of the masks I've tried, the Brazened Honey mask was my favorite, but I still wasn't entirely satisfied. The Imperialis moisturizer was also really good, but it didn't do much to fix my skin as it just kept it from getting worse. I hate buying anything and finding out that it doesn't work for me, so I had to ask for so many samples (which I also hate because I feel like I need to buy something to not be a mooch). Here I have the Oatifix, Cupcake, Love Lettuce, and BB Seaweed face masks, as well as the Celestial face moisturizer.

Going through each of them quickly, Oatifix is one of the few face masks designed for dry skin. It smells like a cookie and is probably going to be the one best suited for my skin. Cupcake is a delicious chocolate scented mask that is more designed for oily skin (my little sister was actually the one that wanted it, but I get oily around my nose, so I'm going to try it there). Love Lettuce has ground almonds to help exfoliate and fight clogged pores, but it doesn't say if it's supposed to help with dry skin (my skin used to be oily, it's dry now but still has clogged pores underneath the dryness). BB Seaweed is another one my little sister picked up, but it looks like it might actually be really good for my skin too. It's exfoliating and calming, so I'm excited to try it out. The Celestial moisturizer already looks incredibly promising, and smells like vanilla (always a plus!). It is also designed for sensitive skin so I'm hoping it's a more intensive version of Imperialis, which will help me moisturize the dry skin without feeling heavy or oily.

Next up are the bath bombs. The only bath bomb I've bought before was the Dragon's Egg, and I wasn't hugely impressed with it. I much prefer bubble bars (picture at right, and that's from only about a fifth of one of their tiniest bars), but I decided to give bath bombs another go, so here are Sakura and Space Girl. My little sister bought the Sakura, so I won't review it, but I will definitely post on the Space Girl. It looks purplish blue, but I've seen pictures with a strong red tint in the water. It's sparkly, but I've read that there isn't a lot of glitter in it, and it doesn't stay bright in the water for long (should have read reviews instead of buying on a whim). From what I've seen, their Christmas bath bombs are definitely the best, so I'm going to stick with my bubble bars until the winter.

Last but not least in this very long post (maybe putting everything together wasn't such a great idea, oh well) Age of Ultron! OMG I have too many things to say about this movie, but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so GO WATCH IT NOW and then come talk to me! On a side note, I now have a serious obsession with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and I ugly cry every time I see his signature line ("You didn't see that coming?") and hear it in my head in his precious adorable accent. I thought I wouldn't have any other crushes in the Marvel Universe except for Tom Hiddleston, but he is just such a beautiful human being (I mean look at that face). I literally squeaked when I saw it pop up in Google images. Too bad he's married to Sam Taylor-Johnson, who's 48 years old (I sure hope that I'm as lucky as she is when I'm her age [actually no that's kind of weird, she old enough to be his mom] but he's 24).

If you've made it all the way to the end, congrats! Lesson learned, do not lump events together no matter how tempting it may be. Ending this before it get's much longer than it already is, toodley-pip! ◊

Saturday, May 9, 2015

When Good Things Happen

This post was meant for yesterday but, as you will read, I fell asleep and now it's 2am as I am editing this.

Today was a good day. A lot of people on Tumblr have also been saying it's a good day, so I'm happy for all of us that have enjoyed today, because sometimes you really just have to stop and appreciate the good days in life. For me, it's also been quite busy, but collectively the high points far outweigh the stress.

The first point was in Stats class. We were separated into groups to go over the answers of the multiple choice section of the final exam, using each others' answers to figure out the correct answers for the ones we got wrong. At one point there was a question that none of us got right, and since there was no answer key, there was apparently no way to figure out the right answer, until I remembered the process of elimination. We each had a different wrong answer and by eliminating all of those, we found "A" to be the correct answer. It was the tiniest accomplishment but I was ecstatic.

Secondly, I bring Starbucks Via packets to sometimes make coffee for myself during brunch and I add creamer that Mrs. Rapoport generously provides. On Thursday she was running out, and I had a huge bottle of it at home, so we agreed that I might as well bring it to use exclusively at school (I don't wake up early enough in the morning to make coffee and drink it). We were all insanely stressed and sleep deprived over AP Art portfolios so coffee was a must, but since Mrs. Rap had no creamer, she wasn't able to have coffee that morning. When I pulled out the bottle of creamer, she said it made her day, which made me so happy to hear, because I do love it when I am able to help people. It just goes to show that something that doesn't mean much to you might mean the world to someone else, and it doesn't cost much to make the world a better place, a little at a time.

Going off of the previous one, we all did end up submitting the AP Art portfolio on time. It's a huge load off of my chest, because it's the only AP test that I actually have to fully complete to get credit. For the upcoming tests (bio and stats) next week, all I have to do is show up, and even if I don't answer some of the questions, I can still get a good score. I'm not too worried about those because I don't think Berkeley takes full credit for all of them, so this weekend, I'll study a bit, but mostly relax and catch up on sleep.

On a side note, the art show was today and it was a huge success. I helped a little, but it was mostly the art TAs that set it up while the rest of us were doing our AP portfolios. It was pretty late in the evening, so everyone was starving; Diana and I went on a Costco run to order everyone food. I actually almost paid in exact change, but mistakenly used a 8.25% tax rate instead of an 8.75% tax rate, so I was short two cents. As a perfectionist, that was quite irritating, but now I know, and I will get it right the next time. On the plus side, they did accidentally give me an extra drink, so Diana was also able to have juice. We've frequently been getting free stuff when we go out for food together, so that is a trend that I have no problem with.

When I got home, I was so exhausted I started falling asleep as I was scrolling through Tumblr, so I said, "I can't do this anymore," and just closed my computer, pulled up my blanket, and slept like a rock. I had a really weird dream that I was still at the art show with Diana and we were comparing a whole bunch of art, and even though I kept drinking out of my water bottle, my mouth still felt really dehydrated, until I woke up and realized it was only a dream. Unable to find my glasses, I stumbled around the kitchen, trying to find a glass and the water pitcher. Larry ran over too and tried to get attention, so I sat down on the floor and downed the first glass of water. It wasn't enough, so I went to refill, and finally with glass, water, and cat in hand, I sat down on a little squarish red leather stool, and sipped the second glass. Looking out at the blurry black and white kitchen, it suddenly hit me how happy I was in that exact moment. I have friends, I have a future, I have a wonderful cat (who was currently sinking his claws into my knee, but whatever) and I felt at peace. But then it hit me how much things had changed in one year. It wasn't hard to remember just how much pain I had gone through, the depression, the anxiety, the panic attacks, the trauma, and ultimately, those three times I had come so dangerously close to permanently ending my life, and I'm so glad I didn't. For some reason I felt like I should have been sad, but that only lasted for a brief moment because I realized that there was no reason to think about those dark times anymore. I could finally put it behind me as an event in my life that changed me forever into a different person, but I didn't need to dwell on the experience, only the lessons learned. I made it. I'm going somewhere. And going forward, no one's ever going to take away from me how much I know I'm worth to myself.

So if you're in a difficult place in life right now, you have every right to worry, but I promise you, it will get better. Repeat that message to yourself as many times as it takes for it to truly sink in and for you to believe it. Life can be unimaginably difficult sometimes, and there may be so many good reasons to want to end it, but you have to believe that it gets better. I am reminded of a Renoir quote that I read in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book many, many years ago. At the time, I didn't understand the meaning of it, but now it all makes sense. "The pain passes, but the beauty remains." To the newer readers of this blog, please don't let this scare you, if you have any questions feel free to ask me in person, and know that I love you very much. I wish I had pictures to include in this post, but as I do not, here are some golden retriever puppies. I hope you've all been having a wonderful day as well! ◊

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I'm so disappointed in people today. I get very annoyed when people shirk their duties and make BS excuses. The least you could do is tell me honestly so I can find a solution, instead of ditching and going out to eat instead. It's just so tiring trying to keep up with people anymore. I just want to hide under the covers like Larry. He doesn't have to worry about anything at all. If there's one word to describe how I feel right now, it is "disgruntled." Ugh, right. There's that.

There's also so much work and AP Art. I think I still have about three pieces to finish? So of course what I do is blog. It does help relieve pressure. I get overwhelmed easily and I need to decompress. The last two posts have been scheduled posts, so I actually haven't blogged in days. It's been such a long time since I've written those two posts that I don't even remember what they say. It's hard to believe that just a year ago, I was depressed out of my mind. Sure, I still feel down sometimes, but I know it isn't depression. Depression is a monster all its own, something that those neurotypical solutions – "take bubble baths, try essential oils, eat quinoa" – doesn't cure, because everything takes so much effort, and there is only emptiness inside. Its unique and distinctive, and I don't ever want to experience it again. Good riddance.

Besides the suffocating pressure of having so much work to do, I've actually been doing quite well. This morning, I accomplished a lethally fast cat eye, less than one minute flat. The new brushes are great, I will be posting on those, and many other things, soon. Those two little lines of flicked eyeliner bring about such a sense of wicked accomplishment – just a little thing to set the day off right. I've resolved to properly learn how to do makeup – skin, lips, eyes, the whole shebang. I keep telling myself that I won't be one of those people who are insecure without makeup, but who knows, that just might happen. But I do know I feel happier looking into the mirror seeing a bright eyed, refreshed person, rather than an ashy zombie that just rolled out of bed, so no harm no foul. It's empowering. I can do anything I want.

Things are looking up. I've scheduled time the week after AP testing to get a few things figured out, including personal care, college plans, and budgeting. I like to know what's going on in my life and plan ahead if possible. I want to know the details of what kind of shampoo is best for me, what computer I want, what foods are available. It's the first step towards independence. My parents are still controlling my life in a lot of ways, and I just need to do something without their approval (nothing illegal of course). I want to get a new computer that I will buy with my own money, but they won't let me. I don't understand why not? If I wait and buy it with their permission, there's still lingering hints of their jurisdiction in that decision. I have a need as strong as a fish needs to swim to be my own person. I want to know what I'm doing, and then do it. As Emma Watson says:

On the plus side, I've made one big decision in finding a roommate for college. I did the housing and search entirely on my own. So far I like her a lot. She's from the Seattle area, a generally cool person, and is friends with Adora Svitak, a (former) child prodigy, who she worked on organizing a TedX conference with, which is really interesting. We share a lot of interests, dislikes, and habits, so I think we'll get along well. And even if we don't, all I'm really looking for is a roommate who won't be too loud, drink, or smoke, so it shouldn't be an utter disaster. She's also slightly more outgoing than I am, so I'm hoping that pushes me towards a more adventurous experience in college, and breaking away from some of my ingrained tendencies to play it safe.

Now I breathe a little, maybe take a shower, and pick up the paintbrush again as I finish those last minute pieces for AP Art. It's only frustrating on a strict time schedule, which is why I love writing so much more now. There are no real deadlines on this blog. I do what I want (though I really wish I had time to post more). It reminds me of how much I love words. I love language. Recently, a friend of mine told me that I talked like a thirty year old. Perhaps that is weird, but I enjoy utilizing a precise vocabulary. Writing lets me diffuse the frustration, and let the thoughts flow – out of my brain. Sometimes I look back and see that maybe some of it is insightful, but nevertheless tainted with teenage melodrama. This particular post is nowhere as wrathful as I'd thought it'd be, mostly because I'm just so damn tired, and bit because good music put me in a better mood. Time to put it out into the world and move on with life. ◊

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Unfinished Notes

About a year ago, I was in the midst of a depressive episode that ended up lasting about a little more than a year. During that time I wrote a bunch of posts that I never really finished but didn't really want to publish after the fact because they were no longer relevant. But in honor of mental health month I might just publish the raw, unedited notes. You can read it if you want but it's mostly incoherent and unfinished thoughts. I don't know how much you'll get from it, but I thought it would be good to get them off of my chest. For me personally, it was astounding to read some of the things I wrote at the time, and I am so glad to have come such a long way from there. May contain some sensitive material so I'll put in a break.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let's talk about that.