Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Humans of New York, Next Door, and Far, Far Away

“My father is an Egyptian immigrant, and all he ever cared about was our education. He used to print out these huge...
Posted by Humans of New York on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Humans of New York has always been one of my favorite Facebook pages, and at the moment, probably the only reason that I'm still on Facebook. To some posts I react with tears of laughter, and with others I react with tears of sadness, but never before have I related to a post on such an intimate personal level. I commented, "I don't know if any people that know me will see this comment, but this story is near identical to mine, from the math problems to the punishments to hospital visit to the exact same question, "Do you have any idea how much your hospital bill cost?" To the person in this picture, stay strong, there are people out there who do care about you and it gets better I promise. Live your life for you and someday you will be in a place where you are content with life and not in fear of it. I wish you the best."

It was scary to read this because I have metaphorically/literally been in that person's shoes, as the picture shows, and it knocked the wind out of me. The rest of the day I couldn't focus, and work was unproductive, but it made me so glad to realize that I am no longer in that position where I was made to feel utterly worthless and hopeless. I have the most wonderful friends, a strong support system, and unlimited potential in the future. It saddens me that so many other people have gone through the experience I have; no one should have to feel that way. Yet from California to New York, and many other places I assume, this is happening. I don't know how to solve this problem, and obviously it's not something that a single person can solve, but if you or anyone you know is in this type of situation, feel free to reach out to me. I'm always here with an open ear and I'll do what I can to help. Please remember you are loved and you are stronger than the environment around you. Every situation is impermanent, and it's going to get better eventually, I promise. ◊

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#obsessed: Budapest – George Ezra

I heard this song about twice in Diana's car, just snippets, but it was stuck in my head for days afterwards, and I didn't have any idea what it was. It was so frustrating because the only part I could describe was the, "You-oooo, you-ooo, I'd deebedo," which is what I heard it as, and I couldn't search up the lyrics. When I heard it again on the radio, I instantly bolted upright and hurriedly asked for the name, and since then it's been playing pretty much all the time. It's a lovely song, but I have to say, the voice does not match the face, so I was very surprised when I saw this video. ◊

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Update

I have three minutes before midnight, so to keep up the "every two days" posting thing, here's a quick update of my life this summer, as it is officially summer now that the Summer Solstice has passed. Summer is truly in full swing, as I am now covered in bug bites. I started work this week with the Speech and Debate program. It is now 11:59 so I'm hitting publish before it turns into Friday. I'm managing the third grade workshops and helping to reorganize H7a again, clearing out the old things, putting up all the award plaques that we've earned this year, and later, recreating the middle school organization system. I've been having a lot of fun, but it's also been quite tiring, as I have to be at Leland by 8:30AM to set up the workshops.

On Mondays and Thursdays, WW and I have been going to yoga, which has been an interesting experience. I know most people think that yoga is very relaxing and not real exercise, but this is the first organized exercise that I've done since I stopped swimming at the end of the year, and it is a real challenge. I've tried Hatha yoga, which is a more slow, guided yoga, and Tone yoga, which is meant to tone your muscles. It was incredibly hot today, which actually made me glad that I couldn't find my tank top to wear over the sports bra, because I was sweating like a pig. I also had so much difficulty with the exercises, and I was trembling the whole time, but I feel like it'll be worth it at the end of the summer when I'm fit and ready for college. I'm working on trying to get a solid six-pack back on, so I can be one of those health and fitness blogs in college, where I Instagram all the quinoa and kale I eat, and take pictures of workout gear (which I have a slight obsession with at the moment). But in the meantime, I'm still struggling through basic exercise. Hopefully it'll help with my skin problems, because my pores are still ridiculously clogged.

On the contrary, as much as I say I'm going to be exercising and working and being productive, I've also somehow found myself more heavily invested in social media as well. I've created two new side blogs on Tumblr: "cakeandrendezvous" for aesthetic blogging and original writing (and quotes and music maybe), and "officialbuddhism" which I haven't figured out what I wanted to use for yet, but it sounded cool, so I guess I'm just hoarding it for now. I also want to revamp this blog some more, but with work and everything, I don't have much time (it's interesting how I always have so many things I want to do when I'm busy, but nothing to do when I'm bored). The last few days have flown by and I've been pretty happy about how it's been going. I guess that's it for now, summer's been pretty great, and I hope you're doing well too! ◊

Monday, June 22, 2015

#obsessed – Marvel Comics

I wanted to post a clothing/makeup haul, but unfortunately it's late, I haven't taken all the pictures, and I'm dead tired. I started my (paid!) job today officially working for the Leland Speech and Debate program, so no more sleeping in and lounging around all day. Instead, I get up early to walk a little more than a mile each day to and from work, but it's not too bad, because the Apple Watch actually rewards you for exercising! I got two awards today, one for my first workout and the other for filling up all my rings for the first time. Still, I haven't exercised in quite a while, so as soon as I got home, I passed out sleeping on my bed. It was only supposed to be a short nap, but I kept sleeping until Wei Wei came over to take me for yoga, which was a lot of fun. I plan on purchasing a set of lessons and going twice a week this summer. Yoga is also available at Berkeley, but I want to do Zumba lessons in college instead. Either way, I'm very excited that the RecSports exercise program membership is only $10 a semester!

I filled up all the rings! Incredible! Wow, look at that shiny star. Oooh, circles, fascinating.

Anyhow, I still want to keep up the two day posting schedule thing I've had going on, so shoutout to Jenny for inspiring me to drag my butt to the library and read comics again. The Marvel 1602 was very, very interesting and I highly recommend it to someone well versed in Marvel lore who is looking for a break from the Marvel Multiverse. It puts classic Marvel characters in a historical setting of the Victorian era, my favorite period of history to read about. It has a lot of character references, even I didn't understand some, but it was very cleverly crafted and engrossing. I want to read it a few more times, just to go over some more of the events in detail.

Posting this for now because I want it out of here before midnight so it still counts within the two days, but I'll be back to edit! ◊

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Apple Watch Unboxing & Review

There it is, in far from all of its glory. The photos really don't do it justice. I still don't know why my images look so blurry or grainy. The camera I have is probably too basic to take top-notch pictures yet. Or maybe the lighting was just bad. I want to switch to using my iPhone for photos but I'm worried about storage space. Anyhow, back to the main attraction: the Apple Watch.

The version I have is the 42mm (the larger one) with stainless steel (the shinier) case and sapphire retina (the more durable) display. The band is a basic white sport band. It's still early in the game, but plenty of tech review websites have already offered in-depth reviews (this one was particularly thorough and helpful) and even The Oatmeal has provided his illustrated insight to the device. Which leaves me here, wondering what the heck am I doing reviewing a tech product with no technical expertise. With that said, sometimes it is helpful to read a non-technical review, from the perspective of the average teenager with an iPhone, reviewing what an Apple Watch can do for said teenager.

The iPhone/Apple Watch is somewhat of a grad/birthday combo; I'm not sure which one's for which, because both were ordered ahead of time. The Apple Watch was mailed over, so it comes in a standard cardboard box with a lot of packaging – I mean a lot. That shipping box contains a paper box that is wrapped in a layer of plastic, and inside the paper box is a plastic case wrapped in another layer of plastic, and pretty much everything inside is wrapped in another layer of something one way or another. The actual Apple Watch is in the heavy plastic box, which reminds me of a first aid kid, so it is streamlined and modern looking but not especially attractive. From setting up the iPhone (just got the SIM card so I can almost use it now) and the Apple Watch, there is so much leftover material. You can view the carnage in that last photo, and that's not even all of it. It was ridiculous, I was just surrounded with packaging, but I was so happy I could have cried. I went from 18th century to 22nd century real fast.

I open the plastic case and there it is, the watch itself. It looks like some futuristic holy grail, which is really cool, but it's wrapped in another plastic membrane and around a fuzzy band for shape, so get rid of those, and you can finally wear the watch. The original band is M/L, which was way too big for me. I freaked out a little when I thought I couldn't wear it, but there is an S band in the box, along with instructions, charger, and USB adaptor. After switching out the band (a super simple and streamlined process), it fit perfectly. The watch face still looks disproportionately large compared to my wrist, because I have a small wrist, and it is a 42mm watch, but it does make it easier to navigate the screen.

Without further ado, some things I've noticed over the last few days of wearing the Apple Watch:

1) WEIGHT – It's really lightweight. Sometimes I even forget I'm wearing it. However, it's still tiring to hold up and use for a long time (maybe that's just my lack of upper body strength in general) so it definitely is not meant to handle everything the iPhone is supposed to do. The steel model doesn't quite match the iPhone 6 finish, works better with fancier metal bands, and is also heavier than the aluminum model. The shape of the watch itself reminds me of a first gen iPhone, with rounded shiny edges. It's not a horrible thing, but it does make it seem very basic.

2) LEARNING CURVE – I've read some reviews saying that it's difficult to pair the watch to the phone, but for me, it was fairly easy to set up. Pairing took about 10 seconds and auto set up took just a few minutes. For me personally, it was also very intuitive to use, as soon as I learned the button functions.

3) HEALTH – Every hour, the Apple Watch gives a double tap on the wrist to remind you to stand up. I love this feature because it legitimately motivates me to move around. The heart rate sensor isn't always accurate, but it was one of the biggest draws of the product for me. Walking, exercise, heartbeat, and more are recorded in a summary and on the iPhone's health app, which unfortunately does not include tracking for hydration, menstruation, or automatic sleep (these may be included in the next update).

4) ALARMS – Setting alarms is really convenient. Nighttime charging is recommended, but I like to have it on at night so it can wake me up in the morning. Honestly, it makes me happy to wake up to that polite little tap on the wrist, subtle yet effective. For the most part, I don't drain the battery enough to need a full recharge, so I wear it through the night, wake up with about 25% battery left, and pop it onto the charger while I shower, go through my morning routine, and eat breakfast.

5) HARDWARE – Charging can still be a hassle, even with a Magsafe charger that doesn't need to be plugged in. The take on take off process not a simple thing, requiring some fancy fingerwork to fumble with, which it takes more time than I would like. The button placement is also awkward. There is no simple way to press it without turning my arm somehow. I reversed the orientation of the screen so I can have my left arm straight (like when I'm typing) and still press the crown with my thumb without looking too much (to access Siri, etc), which is more comfortable for me personally, but makes the watch a little backwards.

6) SIRI – As mentioned before, I can use Siri to set alarms, but Siri is also very convenient to schedule events and especially reminders. I like this feature a lot, because it's much faster than pulling out a phone or computer and typing all of the information. I can also ask Siri to open apps for me or check certain events, which reduces the need to scroll around the watch with my fingers.

7) SYNCING – Everything syncs up, even third party apps. I can tell Siri to make an event on the watch and it will be on my computer later as well. In Wunderlist, I can make to-do lists on my iPhone or computer and check them off as I do them on the go on the watch. The only thing I've seen that doesn't sync automatically is the Photos app (though I've heard music doesn't sync automatically either), but I see no need to have all my photos on my watch as well. Having them sync over from my phone to my computer is enough for me, not to mention extremely convenient.

8) TEXTING – Texting is handy, but still uncomfortable to use sometimes. I can send quick, canned responses and emojis, record my voice, or have Siri write down what I'm dictating, but on the go, talking to the Apple Watch is not going to be something I want to do. It also doesn't always get notifications right away, or if it does, it's inconsistent. I'm guessing it takes a bit of time to synchronize, and it's still not fully synced. It could also possibly be a size error, as the watch only does alerts when it detects the wrist. For me, having it snug leaves an arm dent, but the next size up is too loose.

9) CUSTOMIZATION – It's customizable, but not enough. There are only ten watch faces, none of which is the perfect one with everything I need. At the moment, I prefer the "Modular" setting. The next software release reportedly supposed to provide more options.

10) NOTIFICATIONS – As mentioned above, notifications are not always consistent. Also, I'm not getting email alerts. This is especially frustrating if I want to participate in email exchanges in real time. There are a number of complicated workarounds, none of which I'm am interested in pursuing. This was the most disappointing, but apparently it's an issue for all Gmail accounts on Apple products, not just the watch.

Would I buy myself an Apple Watch? Probably not right now. I'd want to wait until a better version is released further down the road, but it is a bragging right to say you own one of the first Apple Watches. If I were a parent, would I want to buy an Apple Watch for a teenager going to college? It definitely is a thoughtful gift that allows more convenience and connection, but something like an iPad might be more useful for classes and day to day activities.

The bottom line: the Apple Watch is nifty, but not enough. I wanted more out of this device, especially instant email alerts, consistent iMessage notifications, and a more customizable watch face. Hopefully software updates will continue to improve it (an watchOS 2 update is due this fall), and I'll find more use out of it when I have more heavy usage of all of my devices, but it has potential. Overall, I give the Apple Watch a 5.5 out of 10. It's a convenience, not a necessity. Actually, it is what any watch is – an accessory.

If you have any questions about the Apple Watch, feel free to leave a comment! ◊

Thursday, June 18, 2015

#obsessed: Bridges – Broods

There's a saying, "Don't burn your bridges," that officially means, "If you burn your bridges, you do something that makes it impossible to go back from the position you have taken." For a lot of people nowadays though, the bridges are to people. Every time I log on to Facebook, I am sorely tempted to unfriend everyone that I know from that one event at that one time in that one place. Though that relationship could potentially be important, it's just a lot of unnecessary mental baggage that I'd rather not deal with. Ideally, the two or three people that I know very well would be sufficient for the amount of social interaction that I need. Interacting with anyone else doesn't even feel genuine anymore, like I'm trying too hard to maintain a semblance of a social life. I don't know if that's a normal thing people go though or just pathetic, but in a perfect world, if I had to have friends, it would just be me and one other person who doesn't have any other friends either and then we could do everything together or just do nothing. If everything fails, I still have the option of becoming an agoraphobic cat lady who gets her groceries delivered, so at least I'm prepared for that. ◊

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

iPhone 6 Unboxing

I finally have an iPhone! My old brick of an Android just wasn't enough to keep up with the times, and I always felt so left out not being able to take selfies and use the latest apps (yes, I know that sounds very shallow, but hey, it's modern culture). To be honest, I like the design of the iPhone 5 a bit better, but I'm not complaining at all. The Retina display is absolutely beautiful and the smoothness of the touchscreen is incredible. There's not much to say, because everyone knows what the iPhone is, but stay tuned for another mysterious Apple gadget in a few days...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Summer Skincare Routine

After the last LUSH haul, I finally have a complete skincare set. I also kind of know better what to do for my skin to keep it healthy, especially as I expect it to look spotless while eating ridiculously unhealthy food at the same time (working on that too). I also thought I'd share what I use if you're looking for ideas to reconstruct your skincare routine as well.

My current skincare routine is designed for summer skin. I have weird combination skin which can get dry or oily as quick as a change in the weather, or sometimes even both at the same time. To combat that I use the LUSH Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser to balance out the oily and dry parts. You take a little bit, mix it with water, and scrub it over your face. It's quite unconventional and doesn't foam up, so it'll feel weird the first few times using it, but it leaves me feeling clean without being bone dry. To unclog pores from heavy sunscreens and dirt from the day, I then use a LUSH Tea Tree Toner Tab. Drop one into a bowl of steaming water to gently clean out pores. After that, if I feel the need, I put on a face mask. The one I'm using right now is the LUSH Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask. It's a simple classic face mask that exfoliates and freshens skin. I especially love the smell of it for some reason. Next I'll use an apple cider vinegar toner. It's simply one part raw apple cider vinegar to one part water, mixed together in a small spray bottle and spritzed over a slightly damp face. The acid keeps bacteria at bay and my skin has been almost entirely acne free since I started using it. If I do have a small blemish here or there, I dab on a bit of spot treatment in the form of the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil. I'm not sure what exactly it's supposed to do scientifically, but for me, it shrinks the pimple and calms the redness overnight. Finally, I've added a step that I normally avoid. Despite having oily skin in places, I've come to accept that a moisturizer is absolutely necessary to maintain balanced skin. I'm currently using the LUSH Imperialis Moisturizer, which is lightweight and doesn't cause me to break out.

In the summer I typically have more time to kill, so I can afford to spent a significant amount of time on skincare. However, on most days, I have very little time, especially in the morning, to freshen up and get ready to go. On most school mornings, I often do little more than splash some water on my face and brush my hair up before I'm out the door. At night, when I'm feeling lazy, I use a simpler daily skincare routine. To start off, I use the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. It removes oils without stripping skin, so my face feels clean at the end but the cleanser is gentle enough all the way through, preventing future breakouts. To exfoliate, I use a sugar and olive oil scrub, which I make using my friend Kylie's recipe, found here, but with olive oil instead of vegetable oil. It sometimes leaves a bit more oil on my face than I like, so I might go over again with the CeraVe. Again, I use the apple cider vinegar toner and tea tree oil spot treatment if needed, and finish off with the Imperialis moisturizer. This routine is simple enough that I can get it done pretty quickly and go off to bed, but it also keeps my skin in good shape.

If I can remember to do so, I also swipe on a bit of the LUSH Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter so my cuticles stay nice and soft (dry cuticles = hangnails = ouch!) I think this was one of the first LUSH products I owned, and it's well worth the money because it smells so good and it really works. For the rest of my body, I use the Bath & Body Works French Lavender & Honey body lotion. It has a light scent which reminds me of the "just got out of the shower" feel and it absorbs well, so if I need something quick, it's the first thing I grab for. However, if I'm feeling up to it, or if my skin is feeling extra dry, I try to take the time to use the Body Shop Strawberry Body Butter. I am so in love with the smell, and my legs love it too!

It's so important to take good care of skin. I'm just so much happier in the morning when I wake up and see a bright, healthy face instead of a dull, tired one. Skincare time is also me time, when I get a mental break and only have to focus on self care. Let me know if you like any of these products too, or if you have any recommendations for me! ◊

Friday, June 12, 2015

Food Friday #015 – CalSO at Berkeley

I don't know if this fully counts as a Food Friday (actually it's my blog so technically I make the call), but I'm really too tired to care. It's a post that has food in it, and today is a Friday, so I guess it is.

Anyhow, I just got back from CalSO, which is Berkeley Student Orientation (they really like their abbreviations and acronyms, like GSI, ASC, ASUC, PSC, and so many more). It was really a lot of fun, and I can honestly say that the last two days have been when I've really embraced Cal. Sure, the city is still dirty and full of sketch people and most unfortunately the stench of weed, but the school is great. It's very spirited, which is a nice contrast to Leland, and if you need help, you can find it. Sure, there still are a few people who may get on your nerves, but hey, it's college, so if you don't want to hang out with them, you never have to see them ever again. On the plus side, there were a few people that I really struck it up with, including a girl that will be in the same dorm area as me next year, so yay for making friends!

However, a quick deviation from Berkeley, a few days ago I went to Apple headquarters in Cupertino where my dad works to get some lunch after a dentist appointment. I snuck some pictures but I felt so guilty about it because I'm still using my brick of an Android and it was downright shameful. The campus is so incredible and I'd love to work there, except I'm not really interested in computer science.

The Apple Cafe, Cupertino, CA
Burger and salad from the Apple Cafe in Cupertino, CA

Anyhow, back to Berkeley. There's not much to say, except that there was so much to take in and adjust to. I had a wonderful CalSO leader who answered all my questions and helped me put together a schedule, and after that was done, I didn't feel so lost and out of place anymore. We did so many activities, attended workshops, and those 1.5 days felt like a whole week. The dorms weren't that great, but the food was decent, and there was so much free stuff. I still haven't finished processing it all, so here are some pictures I guess? This is a panorama of Memorial Glade with the Sather Tower (also known as the Campanile), and the Doe Library in the background. After that is our dinner (loved the steak and mashed potatoes; the pizza not so much), a free coconut-almond-chocolate-chip cookie from the Pacific Cookie Company (it's very blurry because eating on the go), and finally a picture of Sather Gate that I put together with Photoshop to try to remove the people. That's pretty much it for CalSO, and if you have any questions about Berkeley, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email!

UC Berkeley Memorial Glade Panorama with Sather Tower aka Campanile and the Doe Library in the background. CalSO dinner Almond Joe from the Pacific Cookie Company Sather Gate at UC Berkeley. Go Bears!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Thus Far: High School Reflection (Identity Part 3)

Wow. I have graduated. It's still weird to think about because I don't feel any different, whatsoever. Sure, my room is cleaner now (mostly to do with the fact that I've had time to clean it) and my closet is bigger (yay, college money!) but I feel like I should understand more, about myself and how the world works. But the more I think about it, the more I am consistently unsure of who I am.

I've reached a milestone: graduation. And I've just finished updating all of my emails to reflect that. All the old accounts are removed from my computer. Everything's cleaned up, all the loose ends tied up in bows and cut evenly on both sides. But that was the easy part. The emails, the passwords, the browsers, those are all fairly easy to reset, despite it seeming like a monumental task when I first began. The hard part is cleaning up the parts of my identity still in my head. I have no clue who I am. All these years I've had my life handed out to me in ready to eat, easy to digest pieces. Do this, do that, say this, think that. A ton of societal rules and regulations that I easily took for granted. But I don't understand them at all.

Throughout high school I've learned a bit on how to question the things that are presented to me. This has helped me make clearer choices, to figure out what things I want for myself. But I have yet to learn simply what I want for myself. Who I am. My identity. It feels like a dirty fish tank, mostly livable for the fish inside, but also kind of gross, with little scummy bits floating around. I can't just dump all the water out and start afresh, because that would kill the fish inside, and I certainly can't do nothing about it. If anything, it's certainly going to be a slow, tedious process, replacing all the water gradually and filtering out the icky parts.

But maybe that murkiness is just me. There are a lot of things that are unclear to me about my identity, and I'm ok with that. It's an ongoing process, and there is no deadline. Of course I'd like to find clarity, but perfection is boring. To be as perfect and as lifeless as plastic. Not what I want.

Sometimes I really wonder if I'd be happier now if I'd just kept my head down and worked harder and just kept quiet until I was out and in college and free. They always say, “No one regrets not having worked harder,” but I'm kind of feeling that right now. I oscillate between wanting a life of accomplishment and grandeur to a quiet life snuggled in blankets under the warm window of a tiny apartment. Or maybe I want both, but I'm stuck between the two and I'm stagnantly awaiting a big opportunity to present itself, knowing that it's not going to show unless I look for it, but at the same time, too scared to move.

I just need a good cry-out, but I don’t cry anymore. I get scared whenever I think about this. It makes me feel less human somehow. I don't know how to express myself, I can't deal with emotions. And thats why I'm scared of panic attacks, because I feel like I get dependent on them as an outlet, or a form of emotional release, to let out all the bottled up stuff inside.

Speaking of panic attacks, I've come to realize that my mental health issues are a separate entity from myself. I was not my own worst enemy, but something inside of me was. Given my situation, I'm glad I was strong enough to avoid succumbing from it. But I still have dreams; there are things I want to do, and I refuse to let my issues take those away from me. So from now on, if those dark times happen again, at least I have the experience, and I can fight it. And I can defeat it.

Alternatively, something that's come up in high school is the cause of those issues, directly and indirectly. I hate the toxic attitude of some people, who make you feel inferior in order to make themselves feel superior. I have a feeling that this isn't going to go away at a school like Berkeley. I don't like the competition and how it makes me feel about who I am. This isn't to say that I'm not good enough to be competitive, but it makes me unhappy and exhausted being in a rat race all the time.

I am so terrified of the world. I slip through closing doors trying to remain unnoticed. I avoid talking to people if I can help it. I'm waiting for someone to come save me, to understand me, to fix me, but if the cliches are true, there's no one out there who can do that. I can only save myself.

To say what I think of my life now in a few sweeping statements: my life goal is not to get to the top and to live a life of lavish opulence, my life's purpose is to empower others. I am a helper by nature and I will not fight it, but I also refuse to be stepped on and used by other people to get what they want.

High school was one of the most difficult times of my life so far. If I had to describe it one word, it would be "awareness," in regards to myself and the world around me. Not that it was easy to become aware – I'd daresay it was traumatic – but one learns from adversity, and I'm glad to have become the person I am now. Of course, there's still so much I need to learn, and so much more growing up to do, but I do have time for that. This is one chapter of my life that I've changed much in, but I'm just as glad to leave it behind and pursue the next adventure, hopefully in a more positive manner. ◊

Monday, June 8, 2015

Skincare & Scents Mini Haul

Yet another small haul! H&M, LUSH, and Yankee Candle
As much as I like shopping sprees, I have to say, I like a good deal more. In the above picture, with the exception of the Imperialis moisturizer ($27 with tax) and the crop top (paid for by the madre), I spent a total of less than four dollars. I happened to a have a $5 voucher for Yankee Candle and they were having their biannual sale, so I stopped by to pick up a few items. The votives were $1 each and the votive holder was $3 with 50% off, so the total with tax was about $5.97, and with the voucher I ended up spending less than a dollar. LUSH was also having a promotion to ban microbeads by exchanging microbead products for a small Angels on Bare Skin cleanser, so I got that for free.

H&M earrings, roses, black hearts, anchors, and red bows.
At H&M I got a grey crop top and some earrings. I'm very much liking the neutral summery clothing right now, especially as it's already ridiculously hot. I had a loose grey crop top, but I wanted to have a tighter one too to pair with skirts and such. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit my body shape too well, but with a little sister, anything is safe to buy (yay hand-me-downs). I'm much happier with this four earring set I bought for $3. I just thought the little anchors were so adorable.

Next up is LUSH. As I mentioned earlier, I got the Angels on Bare Skin cleanser in exchange for turning over a microbead product (goodbye Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub). It's a solid cleanser so it's quite tricky to use, and I still haven't gotten the hang of it. Nevertheless, it still does the job, and my face feels clean after using it – not too oily, but not dry either.

LUSH Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser Roll

I also decided to make a jump and buy one of their moisturizers, Imperialis. They're usually way out of my budget, but I decided to use some more grad gift money and treat myself. I've sampled a few of them, so I wouldn't have bought this if I weren't absolutely sure I wanted it. It does leave my face feeling a little oilier than I would have liked, but the aftereffects of the Oatifix face mask convinced me otherwise. Though it left residue, it also made my skin super soft. Also, the whole time I sampled this one, it didn't make me break out, which is my main concern regarding moisturizers.

LUSH Imperialis Facial Moisturizer

As previously mentioned, I also bought some votives from Yankee Candle (I will say forthright that I now have more candles than I know what to do with). I could have just gotten three, used the voucher, and not paid anything, but I wanted one of each type of scent again: floral (summer wish), fresh (wild sea grass), sweet (saltwater taffy), and fruity (honeydew melon). I think they'd make great gifts, but they're so cute and adorable that I can't bear to part with any of them. I don't think I'd have the heart to burn them either, so they'll probably just sit in my room collecting dust. I think I may bring them with me to college, just for decoration, and to help scent the room.

Yankee Candle Votives

Lastly, I also bought a small frosted glass votive holder. I wanted something simple that would go with everything, so even though there were many pretty glasses, I went with this one. It was $3 but on sale for 50% off, so it only cost me $1.50. Not much to say about it, so that's that! ◊

Frosted Glass Votive Holder

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The End of The Beginning

The last few days have flown by in a daze. So many things have been going on to wrap up the end of the year, and if you know me, you know I get overwhelmed easily, so unfortunately I haven't remembered to blog everything. To summarize everything up, here it is in a reverse chronological order MDIP (this is kind of cheating, since it didn't all happen on one day, but oh well).

1. Graduation was on Wednesday at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. I'm on the far left of the cap tossing line. The whole experience was just so surreal, and it still hasn't quite sunk in that I'm no longer in high school. Then again, it hasn't been very long since I've graduated, so I'll get used to it soon.

2. Photocredits to my little sister for all the grad pictures. I am thoroughly impressed with this shot: perfect timing, clarity, and framing. The booklet is empty though!

3 & 4. Old friends came by to visit! Lei's for days.

5 & 6. With the one and only Mrs. Brasher. The photo on the right is from the Speech and Debate Banquet. I actually received two senior gifts, the Captain America nightlight as a joke gift, and a small can of hairspray from Mrs. Brasher. I think "Control Addict" describes both of us pretty well.

7. Performance Night was a while ago but I never really had the chance to blog about it. I hadn't practiced at all after State, but since I was the only senior in expos, I was asked to perform. I dusted off my posters and for the last time, gave my speech. I will miss speech and debate greatly, but I'm also thoroughly thankful to be done once and for all.

8. The expos family portrait! Unfortunately I had middle school meetings on the same day as the expos event meetings so I wasn't able to get to know many of the new exposers, but I'm still grateful for each and every one of them. I'll miss them so much in college and hopefully they'll come visit me if they go to the Berkeley tournament.

I take back what I said in the first description. Right now, as I'm typing this, it's hitting me that I've graduated, I've finished high school, I'm going off to college, and it's summer – and it's hitting me hard. It's at once a wave of happiness and sadness, and my mouth is dry and my eyes are watering. It's confusing and exciting, but in the end, everything's going to be okay. Now excuse me as I go stuff my face with chocolate and cry and hold my knees as I rock back and forth. ◊
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
– Winston Churchill