My Perfect Imperfections

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
My Perfect Imperfections is a tag that I remember going around quite a lot on YouTube a few months ago. It's a pretty short tag, but the reason I like it so much is that I think it attempts to promote this idea that everyone has things they don't like about their physical appearances, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't appreciate the things you think are beautiful about yourself too.

The premise of the tag is pretty simple: the idea is to talk about three things you like about yourself, and three things you don't. I want to end this post on a positive note, so let's start with my "imperfections", shall we?

My thighs I've always thought that my thighs are somewhat big - not horrendously so, but I don't know, I just kind of find them a bit on the larger side. I guess I'm more self-conscious about this than other people might be because I'm super short so having large thighs just makes my legs seem stunted.

My stomach I think everyone is insecure about their stomach. I'm not huge on exercise (though I am trying to change that) so I have this little fat pouch on my stomach that never goes away and sometimes makes me look like I have a muffin top. I get really insecure about it sometimes, especially when I wear bathing suits around my super fit, super thin friends, but for the most part I don't hate it, I'm just a little shy about it.

My eyebrows This might seem a little contradictory since I'm always going on about my brows, but with this item I mean I dislike my brows naturally, without makeup. I have very light, sparse brows, so if I don't fill them in, it kind of looks like I don't have any and I hate the way that that looks. I love my brows when I'm able to fill them in, but when I can't, I worry.

Now on to some more optimistic things! Three of the things I love about myself, coming right up.

My height Some people might think this is kind of weird, but I actually love the fact that I'm short. Sure, there are times when I wish I was a little taller - when I can't reach a high shelf on my own, for example - but for the most part I think being short really suits my personality and I love making fun of myself with regards to my height. I think it's a big part of what makes me, me, and I wouldn't change it for anything.

My eyes I've been told from a young age that I have quite large eyes for an Asian girl - and I've got a double eyelid, which is ever so coveted among monolidded Asian women. But I just like my eyes because they make me look a little different and more mixed race - maybe not to everyone, but I do often get asked if I'm half Caucasian (which I'm not, for the record). I just think my eyes are really pretty, and that might sound vain, but I really do.

My skin I love my skin and I love to take care of it. My skin wasn't always very nice though; I suffered with acne for many years until I went on Accutane last year for six months, and it did wonders for me. It completely cleared my skin and ever since I don't get the same horrible breakouts that I used to. My skin also leans towards the oily side so it looks quite glowy usually, and I just think it looks pretty great with or without makeup.

Aaand that's all for now! Tell me, what's your favorite feature?

The Weekly Edit #7

Sunday, August 17, 2014
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I find it really difficult to believe that this was my last week in Hong Kong. It's kind of crazy, isn't it? I actually have been much more occupied than these few photos would lead you to believe, but I didn't want to be whipping out my camera at every big group gathering that I've been to this week, haha.

It's been kind of crazy lately, what with my attempts to pack and trying to make sure I see everyone that I want to say a proper goodbye to before I won't see them for another four months or so. I visited my high school on Friday and it was the strangest feeling, walking on to campus knowing that I don't have any reason to be there anymore. It made me a little sad but also helped me realize that I'm very ready for college. I wouldn't say that I had many opportunities to explore specific academic areas in depth in high school, so as nerdy as it sounds, I'm super psyched to get to take niche classes in college and really dive headfirst into the areas I'm interested in.

Okay, English geek moment over!

Despite my cramped schedule, I found some time this week to head over to my hair salon to get my roots done. While I was there, though, I ended up deciding on a whim that I wanted a bit of a change. The thing about me is that I may or may not have hair ADD. I get bored with my hair very easily, and it's been almost a year since I last changed anything regarding my hair style, so I asked my stylist to add some lighter bits to my hair.

He added some highlights around the top of my head and also lightened the ends of some locks around my face and of course around the back, in a way that's sort of ombré but also not really because he only lightened the ends of some areas of my hair so it looked more natural, like it was lightened by the sun. He also cut my hair a little differently, adding a few more layers and choppy bits, which helps to emphasize the natural wave and volume in my hair. I love the result, even though I'm not sure you can see it as obviously in the photo as it appears in real life, and for now my hair boredom has been sated.

1. Getting up early on Monday morning to make waffles for my family
2. I'm so, so obsessed with zucchini right now. Grilled with olive oil and salt and pepper? Yum.
3. Thai lunch with one of my best friends
4. New hair!
5. Burning prayers at a temple

For That Perfect Wing

Saturday, August 16, 2014

You guys know by now that I am extremely partial to that ever hyped winged liner. Those of you who share my feelings are probably aware that it's not exactly the easiest thing to do. I'm no professional so for me doing a wing is still something of a daunting task, but since I started incorporating it into my daily routine, I think I've developed some tricks to make it easier.

My secret weapon when it comes to winged liner is some sort of angled tool. I'm not totally sure why it makes it so much easier for me - I think the angle just works well with the general shape of a wing, so I always use an angled brush to apply my liner if I can.

Another thing that helps is to use some shadow to outline the shape of your wing. If you use some shadow first, it's easier to fix any mistakes that you've made as you can essentially just smudge away any mistakes with a Q-tip before going back over it with liquid or gel, or whatever formula of eyeliner you prefer. My liner always ends up looking perfect (or at least as close to that as I can get!) when I do this.

Some other things that might help you out? Don't worry so much about being precise: just try to get the general shape, and then you can dip a Q-tip in Bioderma and really perfect that edge. You can also use a sticky note and place the sticky edge along your eye where you want the wing to be. That way you can just extend the liner out without having to worry about getting that perfect edge, because you'll already have it.

One other piece of advice that I'd put out there? You don't always have to listen to conventional rules. Watching YouTube videos had given me the impression that there's only one best way to do winged liner and that's by drawing the wing along where your lower lash line would extend. The thing is though that this technique doesn't really work on me. I have slightly hooded eyelids, so if I try to follow that supposed golden rule exactly, my liner folds into my eye which I personally don't think is a good look.

In my opinion, there's no one way to wing out your liner. Everyone's eye shapes are different, and the only way you can really figure out what shape works for you is through experimentation. It took me a few tries before I got it, but trust me, learning what type of wing works best for your eye shape makes doing winged liner so much easier - and it looks better, too.

Summer Shows

Friday, August 15, 2014

Here's the thing about summer: all I ever want to do is curl up in bed with gummy bears and tea and watch some TV shows. The problem is...none of the shows I watch air during the summer season, which leaves me clawing at Sidereel for new shows to binge-watch. In the interest of sharing my strange addictions with you guys, I thought I'd share with you the shows that I've been binging on in the last couple months!

Avatar: The Legend of Korra
I'm a huuuge Avatar fan. I watched the cartoons when I was a wee tween and I've always had a very fond attachment to the series, so of course I was ecstatic when I found out Nickelodeon was creating a spinoff. I thought the first season was good, I didn't like the second season at all, but so far this third season has been blowing me away. I recognize that it's not a show for everyone - I've been teased for watching such a "childish" show more than once - but I love it and I'm not ashamed to declare my adoration for Avatar from the rooftops.

Bones is my latest binge. I'm a huge fan of crime shows so it was only a matter of time before I got to Bones. I'm on the fourth season right now and I ship Brennan and Booth so hard. Most of the crimes are pretty interesting although I have to admit that I really watch the show for the character dynamics, which are clearly the highlight of the show.

I started watching this out of boredom on the flight from Paris to Dubai and I was hooked. I already watch Sherlock and I have a couple friends who like Elementary as well, but I have to admit I was pretty shaky about watching two Holmes shows. I didn't know how similar they would be, but so far I'm very happy to report that they are quite disparate. I would say that BBC's Sherlock adheres much more directly to the original stories, while Elementary takes more liberties and isn't too concerned about sticking to the original relationships and cases. They're both great in their own way though, and I would really recommend trying to avoid comparison if you're thinking about watching both.

Masterchef Australia
Another type of show I love is cooking shows, but surprisingly I only recently got into Masterchef. Most of my friends like to watch the US version, but I actually like the Australian version more (which is not to say that I don't also enjoy the American version) because I feel like the focus really is on the food. They don't dwell on drama and the contestants are refreshingly respectful of one another, and I feel like you actually learn so much from it as opposed to other cooking shows that I've seen. The episodes are long and there are many of them, but that's what makes it a great show to watch obsessively, right?

My friends have been pushing me to watch Scandal for ages and I was always reluctant to until one day when I was bored and I put on the pilot episode. I was immediately hooked, much to the glee of a few of my friends. While I do really enjoy the show I do think that it has sort of regressed recently to focus more on the romantic drama than the intelligent "fixing" that the show started out with and that I enjoyed the most.

Sleepy Hollow
I also started this on the flight from Paris to Dubai and even though Emirates only had the first three episodes, I was hooked. I don't think it's the most quality show out there but it's a lot of creepy fun that I can appreciate from time to time. I dig Tom Mison and his whole Revolutionary look - because he seriously looks like he belongs to another time period - as well as the mythology involved in the show, being the mythology geek that I am, but I don't feel as compelled to watch this show as I do some others so I don't know if I'll continue to watch this when it returns in September. We'll see!

What have you been watching this season?

First Experiences: Buying a New Lens

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Ever since I started using a DSLR to take my blog photos, I've contemplated buying a new lens. I got my camera for a photography class two or three years ago, and I had only ever used the kit lens that the camera came with. For a long time I didn't think it was really necessary to get a new lens - my kit one was doing just fine with taking high quality photos - but after a while I started thinking that I wanted to get more out of my camera.

Around the blogosphere, there's a lot of talk about the "nifty fifty" 50mm lens, but after reading Carrie's post I decided that what I wanted was a 35mm lens since it has a shorter focal length, meaning that it appears less zoomed in than a 50mm lens, so it's great for both product shots and lifestyle photography. It cost me around $200, which consulting with some friends of mine who are really into photography seemed like a decent price for a new lens.

From the first time I used this I was absolutely in love. All of the photos that have appeared on my blog in the last two to three weeks have been taken with this lens, and I think they look so much better. I love the fact that the 35mm lens gives me a shallower depth of field, so when I take product photos, if I have other things in the background they don't appear as in focus and give that glorious bokeh effect that every blogger loves. Plus, the 1.8 aperture lets more light into the frame and therefore result in brighter, prettier photos.

I thought at first that I might regret buying a new lens - after all, $200 is nothing to sniff at - but honestly, I don't at all. I've never been as happy with my blog photos as I've been with this lens, and I can't believe I never considered switching out my kit lens for so long. If you're thinking about buying a new lens, though, I really recommend doing your research. If I hadn't done as much reading into the different types of lenses available, I probably would have bought a 50mm lens which wouldn't have been as nice for lifestyle photography since it has a longer fixed focal point, but since I checked out a lot of "DSLR for Beginners" type posts on blogs like A Beautiful Mess, I was able to make an informed decision that ended up paying off for me.

I would highly, highly recommend getting a 35mm lens for blog photography as it's so versatile, but like I said, do some research before taking the leap and getting a new lens. It works for me, but who knows? You might be looking for something a little different, and there are limitless options out there.
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