5 Things: 5 Favorite Beauty Finds of 2019

A couple of years back, I came up with a segment called “5 Things,” where I ask friends and peers five questions where they have to share their top 5 of anything. I forgot to follow through, so I have decided to revive it for nostalgia’s sake.

As you can tell in the title, I will be talking about my five favorite beauty finds of 2019. I’ve discovered a lot of products this year, but these five things are the ones that I’ve been enjoying at the moment.

  1. Revlon Ultra HD Hypermatte Ultra Lip Mousse in Spice 

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A very recent find! I initially planned on buying the Sunnies Face Lip Dip in Femmebot, but I ended up buying this instead, since I got sold on the plush, yet longwearing formula, and the pretty pinky-brown color. It’s a bit pricey for drugstore (Php 575!), but if you want a lipstick that’s fairly comfortable, long-lasting, and suitable for all occasions, grab this one.

2. Hada Labo Gokujyun Moisturizing Cream 

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One of my favorite purchases during my Osaka trip was this hydrating cream from Hada Labo. I forgot to bring a moisturizer for this trip, so I headed to the nearest grocery from our hotel to buy this. Anyway, this cream saved my skin from the cold, windy weather of Osaka, and gave me a nice glow throughout the trip. I love this cream so much.

Speaking of Hada Labo, Hada Labo is coming to Manila very soon, and I hope that they sell this here. If not, please point me to a dupe of this.

3. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum 

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Ever since I discovered the wonders of hyaluronic acid through the Hada Labo cream, I realized that I needed to add more hyaluronic acid to my skincare routine. This serum may be small, but it packs a lot of hydration. Since then, my skin feels a little bit more plump and less parched.

4. Scentsmith Eau de Parfum in Ambrette Sea Salt 

(I can’t find an exact photo of the Ambrette Sea Salt one, I AM SORRY)

Ever since I discovered Glossier You during my trip to New York last year, I have been on the hunt for its dupe. The internet has pointed out that Lanvin’s Eclat D’ Arpege and Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt are potential dupes for it, but I cannot really spend my money on them. Luckily, I found Scentsmith in Greenbelt 5, and I found Ambrette and Sea Salt, which reminded me of Glossier You and bread. Although it’s not as long-lasting as it seems, it smells warm and comfortable— just like a warm hug.

5. Nature Republic Triple Meringue Tint in Red Brownie

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(Again: I can’t find the actual color for Red Brownie, but lol)

 

I was never really a red lipstick girl, but this lip tint/lip stain changed the way I perceive red lipsticks. It’s fairly long-lasting, and the texture’s pretty nice. In addition, it’s also a close dupe of the Sunnies Face Lip Dip, lol.

 

And those are my beauty favorites this year! What beauty products are you enjoying so far? Also, do you want me to interview people and share their ~~5 things?

 

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Osaka: A Photo Diary

Japan is one of my favorite countries in the whole world. After falling in love with Tokyo in 2015, Dad and I decided to venture into Osaka this year for our annual family trip.

This trip was memorable to me for two reasons: one, it was my first family trip where I WAS allowed to venture on my own for a day; and two, it was my last vacation leave before leaving my previous company (I will spare you the details about this). Nonetheless, it was a healing trip, where I had the chance to immerse myself more deeply in the places that I wanted to go. This trip also made me realize that I need to take myself out on dates more often, and just enjoy things.

To achieve the goal of “enjoying things” on this trip, I decided to reacquaint myself with a film camera, and took some random shots of the places that I visited in Osaka and Nara throughout my trip.

 

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Looking back at these photos, I’ve been reminded that I am more than lucky to see these things, and experience what the world has to offer. Some of it may be good, some of it may be strange, but these experiences can help you stay open.

Performance Anxiety

Around late last year, my friend Roxy and I were discussing about our struggles at our old workplace. I shared to her my struggles with adjusting to various situations and environments, and the coping processes I use to deal with this struggle. As much as I want to assert who I am and the space that I want to occupy, not a lot of people will understand and appreciate who I am as a person. Most of the time, in order to appease many people (and do well), I have to conform to their ways, to the extent that I lose myself and feel negatively towards myself. I want to embrace the fact that I am kind, hardworking, and capable (as it is), but the voices around me say that I have to do x and y for them to prove that I am the things aforementioned. In addition, there’s always that nagging thought that I always have to prove others wrong whenever I take on something, be it a hobby or a work opportunity. Can I just learn and master that hobby or work opportunity out of genuine desire? Out of a genuine desire to grow and not just comply out of a need to achieve a career-related KPI? I honestly think that these lines blur a lot. There are times where I feel like I’m gaining skills not for my personal improvement, but to prove to institutions and other people that, “HEY! I’m capable! I’m good!” Or, “You said that I deserved to get fired? Well, my work says otherwise.” It’s frustrating, and it adds up to a lot of the anxieties that I feel.

I guess I’m just being hard on myself. I need to be kind to myself more, especially during stressful times. My job does not define who I am.

 

 

Some thoughts and feelings: Right Now by Aziz Ansari

Disclaimer: I’m sorry if this was poorly-written and somewhat ill-informed. I’ll edit this.

A few years ago, I was vocal about my admiration for Aziz Ansari. He was funny, self-aware, intelligent, and woke. If I remember correctly, I even wrote about my little crush on him on my Facebook profile. I loved Master of None.  Then the Babe.net story happened. In a time where most of us take into account one’s personal values in the goods that we consume, I struggled to grapple with the idea that Aziz Ansari is an alleged sexual predator. I fucking liked him, and it sucked to know that he was likely to be like that. 

Now that the brouhaha over the Babe.net article has mostly died down (or did it, really?), I finally had the balls to watch his latest comedy special. Needless to say, I was ambivalent about it. I actually liked how self-reflexive and contradictory it was (especially on woke culture), but I struggled to be comfortable throughout the sixty-five minute special. Is it because I found the apology somehow lacking? Is it because Aziz never really addressed the allegations head-on in his material? Most likely. 

Am I ready to forgive (and admire) Aziz Ansari again? I’m not sure about that yet. But one thing’s for sure: the journey of moving forward after a major screw-up is difficult and potentially life-altering. It’s not a linear path, and there’s a lot of introspection, empathy, and dark truths to deal with. He still deserves to move forward in some way, and I guess we all need to cut him some slack for that. 

 

 

Life Lately: In Pursuit of Balance

Hello, friends. I’m back. It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote something personal, so allow me to share things for a bit.

Ever since I returned to work two and half years ago, work has taken up a massive chunk of my life. I thought that I wasn’t going to be /that/ type of person, but my job as a social media manager has greatly influenced the way I approach my life over the past year and half. Because of the “always-on” nature that my job entails, the pursuit of a work-life balance has become quite challenging. Before, weekends were almost always completely free. Unplugging on social media was an option that’s readily available to me. Now, I have to manage myself (my energy, my time, and my resources) to create the work-life balance that I need (and desire). Although I feel envious of people who get to own their weekends, I’m reminded that work-life balance and free time doesn’t have to always happen on the last two days of the week, and that’s okay.

Because of the toxic circumstances that came with my previous job, I learned that I needed to be more proactive in pursuing my work-life balance now. Rather than aligning my working style and my habits with my co-workers so that I can be seen as “hardworking” and “capable,” I realized that I have to honor my personal strengths and limitations first. Second, I have to establish clearer boundaries when it comes to work and life, and those boundaries can only be fulfilled through a plethora of coping strategies. For example, I will only work for a certain number of hours during weekends, and I will not do work after office hours on weekdays (though it will really depend on the circumstances, but I’ll work towards that). I also have to do a lot of bullet journaling, and I have to keep track of my work too. It’s hard, since my executive functioning capabilities are not sharp (because of my ADHD), but I’m doing my best to get by. Third, I am slowly reintroducing old hobbies into my life again, and relearning household chores.

I guess balance looks different on everybody, and it’s a truth that we have to make peace with.

 

2018, A Retrospective

2018 is coming to a close. It has been one hell of a year, with amazing highs and some pretty deep lows. This year has also a been of discovery, which opened me up to a lot of personal breakthroughs. Speaking of breakthroughs, I remember talking to a former colleague of mine in the Human Resources department at my old employer, where she told me about how our individual struggles build us and make us stronger over time. She was right. Over the past year,  I’ve learned how to reframe these struggles as building blocks for growth. Here is a long, detailed account of my 2018, in case you are interested.

2018 started out quite negatively. It was negative, in a sense that a lot of self-loathing and unpleasant self-talk has manifested in my work life. After almost five months in public relations, I got reassigned to our agency’s digital team. When I first learned that I was going to join the digital team, I was close to losing it. Not to mention, the new assignment reopened work-related traumas from my first job, to the extent that I could feel my demon of an ex-boss hurling invectives at me in my head whenever I commit mistakes at work. These apprehensions and fears heightened the performance anxiety that I have due to my ADHD. This left me feeling lonely and distrustful towards people, because I was anxious of screwing up and being treated like I was incompetent. I wanted to prove to myself (and to others) that I can get regularized. I can keep a job. I can stay in one.  I did what I could to stay afloat and grow into the role, even if it had some trade-offs on my social and emotional health. I was that way for a couple of months, and now, I’ve been doing my best to untangle and unlearn the habits that I’ve developed from this experience.

Fast forward to the last week of May, and I got some pleasant work-related news: I got regularized! This was a HUGE deal for me. When I received my regularization letter, a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. It meant that I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was, and that I could unleash my potential. Since then, I’ve learned how to ask for help and believe in the people who have helped me a lot with work. Not to mention, the office environment has been a lot less hostile, which made it easier for me to let my guard down.

I’ve said at least close to 500 words about my work life here, but to sum it up, it has been quite a journey. I still have a long way to go in terms of fully embracing and loving what I do for work, but I’m grateful that my job is an intersection of what I like to do and what the job market needs. More so, I am grateful for my boss, my teammates, and several other colleagues who have cheered me on and encouraged me to be better at what I do. Their support has helped me move forward and work through the past traumas and apprehensions that I had towards digital work, among many other things.

Now that the work stuff is out of the way, this year has also been a huge one for me as a K-pop fangirl. In January, I started getting into NCT, and things have snowballed from there. I’ve grown to love NCT (and K-pop) so much that it opened me up to new friends and a shared love for the group. (Also: I have accumulated a boatload of NCT merch this year)

Aside from getting into NCT, I also watched two K-pop concerts this year, which are Super Show 7 and the Eyes on You tour. These two concerts were spur-of-the-moment decisions, and they were really fun shows! I’ve already shared some bits about them here, so I don’t need to say much.

Beyond work and fangirling, this year has also a been a year of self-discovery and lessons. I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) a lot of things about myself this year. The first personal truth that I have come to terms with is that I’ve been struggling with thoughts on self-harm and self-loathing. I’ve denied it for years, and now that I’ve acknowledged it, I’m working on taking better care of myself. I still find it ironic that I wrote this bit with an injured knee (but it’s getting better, so yay!).

The second thing that I discovered about myself is that I’m actually more open to dating anyone. Although I’m still attracted to men, I’ve become more receptive towards liking other genders. I may not have any experience with dating right now, but I’m sure that I will love whoever I want to love if the opportunity comes.

The third thing that I’ve accepted about myself is that I am quite introverted and weird, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve always been the weird, awkward girl in my friend groups, and socializing has been quite a struggle for me. Before, I would usually try my best to fit in and flex my personality to be liked by everyone, but now, I’ve come to terms that I’m not for everybody. However, this also means that I shouldn’t be a judgmental asshole, and that I have to exercise kindness and patience to everyone.

On top of these lessons and discoveries, there were other amazing things that have happened this year: there’s the New York trip, I saw Taylor Swift live, I got more ear piercings, wore more cozy pants and striped shirts, bought more makeup, met new people, and drank good coffee.

Overall, 2018 has been really good to me. I’m grateful for the people, the opportunities, and the experiences that came my way, and I will treasure them forever. I honestly believe that this was the year where I started getting things going for me, and I hope that momentum goes on in 2019. I hope 2019 is a lot better and a lot more exciting for everyone. I wish everyone the best.

 

 

Observations and Notes: Knee Injury Edition

Hello there!

As you can tell in the title, I sustained a knee injury. I twisted my left knee from working out two weeks ago, and it was quite a painful, gruesome experience. While I have seen progress with my knee and my overall mobility, there’s still some panic and fear looming (and also, if we see each other, you might notice that I’ve been walking in a pretty funny way).

I will spare you the nitty-gritty on how the injury came to be, but rather, I’d share with you some takeaways over the past two weeks as I deal with life with my injury.

My biggest observation from this is learning how to slow down and learning how to honor your own pace. Prior to this injury, I’ve taken a liking to expediting things, and you know, keeping up with everyone. In short, I like going hard and fast when it comes to living my life. It’s an attempt to keep up with everyone and seeing things as some race after being dubbed as slow and dumb by people growing up, and I’ve taken it into different areas of my life. While it’s okay to step up your game and speed things up in other areas of your life (in my case, it’s writing for work and doing other work tasks), there are areas in your life where you have to slow down and trust your own rhythm.  With my injury at the moment, I’ve learned how to take my time when it comes to doing other things, and listen to my body when it comes to my limits and whatnot. In the process of slowing down, I’ve come to accept that it’s okay to miss out on things, especially if those things compromise certain areas of my life, like my health and safety.

Speaking of health, I have also started becoming more mindful of my health and overall well-being. I’m trying to incorporate healthier food into my diet, and I’m doing my best to do low-impact workouts when it comes to my knee’s condition.

Another important takeaway from this is that I’ve gotten closer to my family, especially with my dad. I know my dad and have always been quite close, but this incident made us spend more time together, especially during the last couple of months. It’s been an adjustment on my part in terms of my schedule, but it’s been quite helpful, since I struggle with tardiness a lot.

What else? Hmmm, remember when I mentioned about my struggle about asking for help and being more open towards others? It has never felt more real because of this injury. I’m usually very suspicious towards people, which is why I struggle with making (and keeping) friends. But I’m going off. Anyway, I noticed that the people around me have been concerned about my well-being. In the past few weeks I’ve been injured, I’ve received messages of concern and care from people. I’m grateful for that, and it makes me feel like I need to be more appreciative and grateful for others too.

On to more superficial things involving my injury, here’s a laundry list of the stuff that have made this ordeal bearable:

  1. Salonpas and topical pain relievers
  2. A good pair of flats or sneakers
  3. Commuting/walking buddies
  4. Stretching and bending exercises
  5. Tailored sailor pants
  6. Knee compression sleeves

Despite all these positive observations, I am not going to deny that there were some instances where I’ve noticed some negativity around me. There were times when people asked me “Kelan ba gagaling yang tuhod mo?” While I do have a hunch that this question was intended out of genuine concern for me, I do have gripes with it. But I’m just going to let it pass, since I’m more focused on my recovery.

The past two weeks involving my injury has been quite an eye-opening experience. I’m optimistic that my knee and my mobility will go back to normal in time. But for now, I’m relishing the progress that I’ve made.

 

 

 

 

Turning 24, And Making A Few Lifestyle Changes

If it isn’t obvious yet, I am already twenty-four years old (I turned 24 last August 12, by the way). As usual, I am very late to the party when it comes to processing these things.

Needless to say, birthdays are both strange and normal occurrences in one’s life. Yes, there’s the obvious fact that I’m a year older now, but there’s also that feeling that I’m not as old as what my birth certificate tells me to be.

But speaking of getting older and acting my age, I have been on a kick lately with a bunch of lifestyle changes. One of which is coming to work on time or coming to work earlier than what I’m accustomed to.  I’m almost always late to work, and it’s not good for my finances and productivity.

So far, the most feasible process that I came up with to rectify this problem is this: set multiple alarms, wake up at 5:00 am, leave the house at 7:20-7:30, and hitch with my dad on the way to work at least thrice a week. If he’s unavailable, I make it an effort to leave the house earlier and walk to the UV express station. I’m lucky that I work in the same city as my dad’s, so it’s easier for us. Not to mention, I get to save at least 150-200 Php a week with this arrangement. However, I’m still figuring out how I’ll go about this while my dad is out of town.

I’ve been coming to work on time for two weeks straight, and I’m doing my best to keep at it. It’s been good for my productivity and my bank account too. I don’t feel hurried or stressed when it comes to work, and I get to pace my workflow better now (with much credit to this Knock Knock to-do list notepad, a timer, and teamwork).

Another lifestyle change I’ve been gradually working on is developing an exercise routine and making slight alterations to my diet. I love junk food, pasta, and meat, but it’s making me feel bloated more frequently these days (I also struggle with buttoning up my pants— it’s THAT bad). Not to mention, my “exercise routine” has been limited to daily walks from my office to the UV express station in Park Square, lol. Speaking of exercise, I jogged around my village and ended up almost passing out. Perhaps I need to build endurance first, like how I would do it in the workplace. When it comes to eating, I’ll gradually tweak my servings and not order 2 pasta meals in one go.

I’m bad with consistency, and I hope that this approach will help me become more consistent with these changes. Wish me luck.

 

New York, a photo diary

I’m not gonna be super wordy here, so I’ll be sharing some of my favourite photos from my recent trip to the US. Maybe I miss New York a little too much.

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Brooklyn Bridge
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Just a portion of the protests I spotted while in DC. The message remains relevant across different areas of life, though.
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A major highlight of this trip was GOT7’s concert in Brooklyn! I’ve been a fan of them for at least a year and a half now, and this concert was a milestone in my life as a fangirl.
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I really tried to take good photos of them, but oh well. Still an awesome show!

 

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Glossier Showroom
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A slice of Central Park