The B+ Life (a.k.a., Achieving Balance)

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In one of my previous blogposts, I mentioned a concept I called the “B+ Life.” I got a few comments about the idea and decided to do an entire blogpost. Basically, I equate the “B+ Life” as one where you feel balanced and content. Hopefully, it will also make you happier overall.

Perfection Doesn’t Always Equate to Happiness

When I was younger, I was constantly seeking perfection in all aspects of my life. In school, I wanted to get straight “A’s.” In relationships, I always wanted to be the best daughter, best friend, and the list goes on. I often equated happiness with perfection.  Of course, sometimes, perfectionism does lead to happiness. The A+ you got through studying for days certainly brought you great joy. However, I have found that seeking perfection all the time and in all aspects of my life, didn’t always make me happy. It just made me feel stressed. That is why I think it is important to pick and choose where you seek perfection. There are some things that are just not worth the stress and this can be different for each person. Ultimately, I feel life balance is a choice and something you have re-assess continuously.

It Doesn’t Mean Your Lazy

I used to think that not living life as an honour student meant that I was lazy.  However, I have learnt that you can’t always push hard in one area of your life without undermining another.  I often find that when I focus too much on work, I tend to undermine my health and my relationship with my close ones.  So it may seem lazy to not work those extra hours at work, but it means that you have worked hard on your personal life.  I have learned that there is no price you can put on your health and the relationships you hold dear to your heart.  Plus, a B+ job means you are doing a good job, and remember, an A is always within reach when you are up for it.

Pretend You Didn’t Read Any of This

As many people already know, balance is much easier to talk about than actually achieve. Ironically, it is just as easy to become obsessive over trying to find the “perfect” balance. To be honest, over the years, I have found the game of life is sometimes crystal clear and other times completely elusive. I guess, ultimately, it is the attempt that is important. There is no way we can get it right all the time. So I think I feel the same way about the B+ life, to seek is to find, right?

If anyone made any sense of what I writing about or have reached the end of this blogpost, thank you so much!

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Review: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment

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I feel like most people are either into makeup or hair (there are exceptions for sure).  I am definitely one of those makeup people.  All I do is put a comb through my hair in the morning or on really bad days, just pull my fingers through it.  Basically, I just hate fussing with my hair.  So that is why my itchy and flaky scalp drives me crazy.  I wish it would just stay balanced all the time.  I have tried loads of anti-dandruff shampoos over the years. Many didn’t work and some worked on and off. So I am happy to report that the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment has continued to work for me that last few months.

The Brand

You might have spotted the brand Briogeo while shopping at Sephora recently.  I actually first learnt about the brand through Instagram and decided to give it a try.  Briogeo is a haircare brand created by Nancy Twine.  She wanted to create high-performance haircare line using mostly naturally-derived ingredients.  On their website, I love how they list all their ingredients on their website and their EWG ratings as well.  They also use recycled or recyclable packaging, and are cruelty-free.  It sounds like there is a lot to like about this brand, but most importantly, do their products work?

The Ingredients

Let’s talk about the ingredients first.  A key ingredient in this formula is Binchotan charcoal, which originates from  Japan.  It is supposed to draw out impurities and remove buildup on the scalp. The other key ingredient is tea tree oil, which is an anti-septic and helps diminish inflammation. There are also many other ingredients, like peppermint oil, witch hazel, and aloe, which keep itchiness at bay and the scalp balanced and moisturized.

The Application

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The formula is a housed in a glass jar with a dropper.  According to the instructions on their website, you are supposed to part your hair in sections and apply 1-2 drops in each section and then massage in.  It should be applied after shampooing and before styling and should not be rinsed out.

The Review

So did it work?  I would say yes!  Straight after application, I felt like my scalp instantly felt less itchy. After blowdrying, I felt that there were definitely less flakes.  For me, this was amazing, especially during the summer when my scalp tended to flare up more.  I usually sectioned my hair into 6 parts and just used 1-2 drops in each section.  I see the model in the video using up to 5 drops, and for the price ($32 USD), I don’t think I could justify that. After 4 months, I have almost come to the end of bottle using it about twice a week.  After continual use, my scalp is a lot less irritated, flaky, and oily.  There is one worry I have though.  I went to get a haircut and they washed my hair, and of course, I didn’t bring this treatment.  Afterwards, my scalp was noticeably itchier, so I wonder if it is a product you have to continually use to maintain the effect.

FINAL VERDICT: If you feel like you tried everything to get rid of that itchy, flaky scalp, I would recommend giving this one a try.

Recent Beauty Additions

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If my birthday month wasn’t a good enough excuse to do a haul, I don’t know what is.  To be fair, there are some items in here that were birthday gifts, and some were necessities, like the first product I am going to talk about.  I mean, who doesn’t need an under eye primer?

Smashbox Photo Finishing Hydrating Under Eye Primer

I first spotted this on Instagram, and thought what?  Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?  This under eye primer has pretty bold claims.  Not only will it keep concealer looking fresh, it will also help with dark circles and is infused with caffeine to help combat puffiness.  So far, I am pretty impressed because it keeps my favourite It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye from creasing as much on me.  The slanted applicator has a soft plastic tip which you can use to blend in the product. However, I think using my fingertips is faster.  I don’t have very puffy under eyes so I can’t report back on that claim, but I will definitely see if it minimizes my dark circles.

Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow

Drunk Elephant has been a brand that I have always wanted to try, so I was super happy when my sister got a few products for my birthday.  The last few years I have been super into Korean skincare with a focus on organic and natural ingredients.  This brand is right up by alley because its main selling point is its effective non-toxic formulas.  However, if you have ever looked up the prices of the brand, you’ll realize this is luxury skincare.  I mean, they don’t have the sky-high prices of perhaps, La Prairie or La Mer, but some of their popular products are close to hitting $100 USD. So I was really happy to get this set to test out before I committed to buying the full size.

The Rise + Glow set contains two deluxe minis, the C-Firma Day Serum and the B-Hydra Intensive Gel.  The set comes in at $23 USD.  Even though my sister was shocked at how small they were when she received them in the mail, for the amount (8mL), it is cheaper than getting the full-size. As a combination, they are supposed to make your skin glowy and moisturized.  I have just gotten into using Vitamin C skincare, so I can’t wait to see if it is as good as my current Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C21.5 Advanced Serum.

Baby Juju and Baby Pekee Travel Duo

A few years back, I would probably be terrified of using face soaps.  For me, it just reminds of bar soap I use in the shower, which seems too stripping for my face.  However, since loving the Penelopi Moon Face soap from Japan and repurchasing it multiples times, I am excited to try out these face soaps from Drunken Elephant.  The Juju bar aims to exfoliate, while the Pekee bar’s moisturizes.  Both bars have a pH around 6, which is not supposed to strip the skin’s protective layer.  I hope these do not leave my face too dry, which is a common issue on my cheeks.

Boscia Charcoal Jelly Ball Cleanser

If you are an avid fan of Youtuber Tati Westbrook, you would have seen her demo this product on her channel and be tempted to buy it because it looks so fun!  Most importantly, it sounds like it really does a good job of removing makeup.  My best friend saw the same video and gifted it for my birthday.  I’ve been having some luck with charcoal products (I’ve been loving the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal & Tea Tree Scalp Treatment), so I can’t wait to try it.

This product is not just about the formula, but also the sensory experience.  Once you wet your face, you massage the ball over your face and it will start to lather up.  You can also wet the ball and lather it in your hands before applying it to the face.  Another main selling point of this product is its use of charcoal.  It is an ingredient known for its ability to absorb toxins and impurities.  This jelly cleanser claims to cleanse and detoxify your pores.  I am a little worried it might dry out my sensitive cheeks, but it does contain tamarindus indica seed gum, which is supposed to help soothe and moisturize the skin, so I am hopeful.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise in Black

My best friend also got me this mascara, which has been getting a lot of hype online.  I am quite lazy with mascara mostly because I have short and straight Asian lashes that don’t really show up even with mascara.  However, I am quite excited to try this mascara because it promises “voluptuous volume” and length.  It also boasts that it will do this in one coat and 95% of the participants said it lasted all day.  If you have used this mascara, I would love to know what you think because I have never used L’Oreal’s mascaras.  I am hoping it will hold a curl all day.

Thanks for reading!

5 Self-Esteem Boosters

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They say “Fake It Till You Make It,” but sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t seem to bury the insecurity you feel deep inside.  Everyone has those days where you just don’t feel great about yourself and no matter how wonderful everyone says you are, it doesn’t help.  I truly believe that everyone has something to offer, but it is just difficult to see it when you get engulfed in a whirlwind of negativity.  Here are a few strategies I use when I need a little boost of self-esteem.

No one is spending a lot of time thinking about you

Everyone likes to feel important.  However, more often than not, most people spend very little time thinking about each other.  That comment about your work maybe took up 1% of their entire day.  Moreover, sometimes these comments are so offhanded that the person making them have no idea how it could affect the other person.  Yet, we could spend hours ruminating about how we are such a loser.  Take these comments into consideration, but don’t let them engulf your entire world because it probably didn’t consume much of theirs.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt

Of course, comparison can be motivating.  However, more often than not, it can slowly wear away at one’s self-esteem.  For example, you find out your friend is getting married, but you are still single.  You feel happy for her or him, but can’t help feeling sad for yourself.  It is fine to compare, but making your life goal to be like another person is self-defeating because we are so different to begin with.  Moreover, we always tend to think someone else’s life is more perfect than it really is.  I know it is hard, but when you stop comparing, and look inward at what you do have, there is always lots to be grateful for.

Mistakes are a chance for growth

Criticism of any kind often affects a person’s self-esteem.  No one likes to be told that they are not as good as they think they think are.  Unless it is criticism that has absolutely no basis, more often than not, criticism is a chance to improve yourself.  Instead of looking at each mistake as dent on your self-esteem, think of it as a stepping stone to becoming even stronger in the future.  It is hard at first, but after a while, it becomes easier to take criticism in stride.  Obviously, if you are making the same mistake over and over again, you might want to reassess things.

Do something that you know boosts your self-esteem

Sometimes when you feel your self-esteem is beat, do things that make you feel good about yourself.  This might be obvious, but we often forget that we have many facets.  Instead of just focusing on the area in your life which make you feel not so great about yourself, do something that does.  For me, I usually go take a walk around the block.  It is something that I can accomplish and I feel better mentally and physically.  For me, working on this blog also makes be feel content and motivated.  Everyone has their own thing, you just have to figure out what it is.

Live the “B+” life

Living up to this vision of “your perfect self” is exhausting.  sometimes let yourself go, do a bit of self-loathing.  It is okay.

I am not good at cooking.  

I can’t even get my finances in order.

It is all a part of being human.  No one is perfect, whatever that truly means.  I call it “living the B+ life.”  Getting a “B+” on a report card is a good grade, but we often think it is not enough.  Give yourself a break sometimes.  Being an “A+” person is super exhausting and not always the “funnest.”  You are doing awesome already!

What are your some of your self-esteem boosters?

Current Favourites

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Time again for talking about my favourites using the five senses again!  For those new to my blog, I find it hard to find favourites to talk about every month, so I usually do a favourites post every couple of months inspired by Ingrid Nilsen’s Youtube Series called “Sense of Self.”

Sight (a.k.a. Current Favourite Youtube Channel)

What if you could film your life everyday and make it look like a professional movie.  This would be the perfect description of this Youtube channel called The Michalaks.  They are a family of three, Stef and Hannah, and their son Grayson who live in the UK.  At the end of one week, they release the most beautiful vlog full of the most gorgeous cinematography and music tuned to their daily lives.  How can they make a child walking down the stairs look so poetic?  If you want to see vlogging taken to the next level, you have to check out this Youtube channel.  On a side note, I know I might be really late to the game, but I have been loving Jackie Aina’s beauty channel.  She is hilarious and so up-front with her beauty reviews.  Anyway, anyone love her as well?

Smell

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Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist (pictured second from left)

I am at the tail end of using the Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist and I am so sad.  It was my first mist, and I enjoyed using it so much after cleansing.  It doesn’t really smell totally like olives, but it has it’s citrusy tones.  Whamisa is a brand from Korea that focuses on using organic fermented ingredients in their skincare.  Not only is it great for spritzing after cleansing and throughout the day, it can also double-up as a toner.  It leaves the skin balanced and moisturized after cleansing.  Now, I just want to get the rose scent because I have enjoyed this one so much.

Taste

You ever see a recipe and think that there is no way this is going to work, but if it did, it would be amazing.  For me, it was Anna Jone’s Kale, Tomato, and Lemon Zest One-Pot Spaghetti.  I just didn’t see how a pasta dish that took 15 minutes would taste amazing.  Boy, was I surprised!  Not only was the pasta cooked, but the tomato turned soft and gummy and coated the spaghetti to give it such great flavour.  Plus, who would think kale would taste good with pasta?  It is such a great meal when you are tired from work, and just want to whip up something quick.  You should also check out her other quick vegetarian recipes from her book, A Modern Way to Cook.

Touch

I was on a hiatus with my Beauty Blender, but I am back in love with it again.  Do you ever find you have these back and forth moments with certain beauty products?  I also have this dance with cream and powder products.  One day I love cream blush and than the next month, I’m using powder blush everyday.  Before I head off into another tangent, I think the reason I stopped using my Beauty Blender was I got tired of walking to my sink and having to clean the sponge so often. Actually, that sounds like a terrible reason because it preforms so well.  Maybe it was because I thought it lessens the coverage of the foundation a little bit.  No matter, I am loving the bouncy feel of the Beauty Blender again, and how fast I can get my foundation done.  Has your loyalty to the Beauty Blender ever waned?

Hearing

Another amazing musician from the UK that I found through Spotify.  James Vincent McMorrow is a singer and songwriter from Ireland.  I first fell in love with his music after his song Low on Spotify and have been addicted ever since.  I am no music critic, so it is hard for me to describe his music. Words that come to mind include moody, gut-wrenching, and soothing.  He also has the most amazing falsetto.

I listen to music from all different languages, and I thought I’d just add in someone else I love coming out of Taiwan, J. Sheon.  For some reason, he gives me “Craig David” vibes, who I absolutely adore.  I remember the first time I heard this song.  I thought “Who is this?”  He’s amazing!  After some digging on the internet with my so-so Chinese, I found that he lived in New York for a while, uploaded some covers on Youtube, and then went back to Taiwan.  If you love R &B, you should give J. Sheon a listen.

Current Lip Essentials

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My lips are always dry and peeling in the summer, and this year I was determined not to let it happen again.  So why is it so hard to keep my lips in good condition in the summer?  First of all, it is hard to find a good lip product with SPF.  Secondly, I never remember to reapply.  Therefore, I try to find something that I want to reapply, which means that I usually have to like the scent.  Lastly, since you have to reapply lip products quite often, I tend to favour more natural brands.  The three lippies below are the ones I have used the most the last month.

Ilia Balmy Days

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I find that a lip balm with SPF is hard to find.  I suspect it has something to do with the nature of the SPF ingredients.  Ilia’s Balmy Days is definitely not a budget buy ($26 USD), but the packaging was so minimalist and sleek, I couldn’t help picking it up.  Just a little background about this brand.  It originated from Vancouver and specializes in organic beauty products with minimally designed recycled packaging.  Balmy Days is a clear lip conditioner made with 82% organic materials (mostly natural oils, like sunflower seed oil).  It has an SPF of 15 (titanium dioxide).  It also claims to be hydrating and long-lasting on the lips.

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Review

Packaging-wise, it is just beautiful.  It has the loveliest click when you close it and it even has the ILIA logo printed on the inside of the tube.  Such a lovely detail!  Now, the most important question when it comes to products with physical SPF is does it leave a white cast?  It honestly does, but I wouldn’t say it is that bad.  Applied lightly, it is barely noticeable.  However, if you load it on, you can definitely notice it.  The product feels really hydrating on the lips and lasts for a quite a few hours.  However, since it tends to sit on top of the lips instead of sinking in, it can gather in patches on the lips.  That is why it is important not to apply too much or your really notice the white cast.  I usually will apply lipstick on top rectify this problem.

VERDICT: A lovely lip balm with SPF if you want to splurge.  I just wish the lipstick bullet was slanted so it hugs the lips better.

Kosås Weightless Lip Color in Undone

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I randomly bought this lipstick in a local shop after seeing it all over Instagram.  I thought it was good, but I was so addicted to Bite Beauty lipsticks at the time, I put it aside and didn’t use it for a while.  However, I was inspired to break it out again after reading Sanida’s glowing review from her blog, Fluke.  Her blog has beautiful photographs and is really well-written.  You should go check it out!

Kosås is an indie brand from Los Angeles, California which just produces lipsticks.  The founder, Sheena Yaitanes, has a background in natural sciences and painting.  She wanted to create a line of lipsticks that enhanced a woman’s natural beauty with shades that complement all skin tones.  There are 6 lipsticks in the collection in total.  The line uses many natural ingredients, and is free from preservatives and synthetic fragrances.  The lipsticks claim to protect the lips from UV and environmental damage, prevent the formation of fine lines, hydrates, boosts collagen, and softens and plumps the lips.

Review

Another brand with beautiful minimalist packaging.  It comes in a distinctive rectangular black bullet which feels surprisingly comfortable in the hands.  The lipstick applies smoothly onto the lips and gives a beautiful semi-matte finish.  The colour is pigmented and really long-lasting.  I find that even without lip balm underneath, it still feels pretty moisturizing.  Does it come off during eating and drinking?  Yes, it does, but some of the pigmentation will remain after casual eating.  Whether it boosts collagen production and prevents of fine lines, is hard to tell, but having used it for a few weeks, my lips feel moisturized and I haven’t noticed my lips getting flaky or dry.

Verdict:  A solid lipstick where you’ll certainly find a shade that will flatter you.  I hope they come out with lip liners because if I had one little gripe, it would be that it bleeds a little during the day.

Burt’s Bee Moisturizing Lip Balm in Strawberry

There are some products that have stood the test of time.  For me, it has got to be the Burt’s Bee Lip Balms.  I have tried many natural lip balms and I always end up going back to this one.  I recently discovered the Strawberry scent which is fast becoming my new favourite.  I used to love the Grapefruit one.  Do you have a Burt’s Bee favourite scent?  Unlike the original beeswax formula, which I also love, other than beeswax, seed oils top this formula.  It also claims to be 100% natural and moisturizing.

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This lip balm still continues to be a solid favourite of mine.  First of all, it is easily purchased at many drugstores and even grocery stores in Canada.  The ingredients are natural.  Many of have a nice fruity scent which I like, but the scent doesn’t linger.  On the lips, it is just emollient enough, but doesn’t feel super heavy.  Most importantly, it works!  It keeps my lips moisturized and works great under lipstick.  Of course, it is not some heavy duty lip treatment, but it doesn’t claim to be one.

VERDICT:  A classic lip balm, which I have repurchased over and over again.

5 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

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As we get older, it seems like life becomes a balancing act.  We have to go to work, but still have to find time to wash the laundry and figure out what to have for dinner.  Furthermore, we also have to figure out how effectively to divide our time with our partner, family, and friends.  Just writing about this, gives me a bit of headache.  I mean, let’s me honest, “adulting” is often not one of the “funnest” things in life.  In this blogpost, I thought I would write about some strategies I use to cope.

Look at the Big Picture (a.k.a Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff)

When I have a problem, I often blow it out of proportion.  The world is coming to an end! Sometimes, I become the biggest drama queen in my own drama series.  When this happens, I try to remind myself that my life is minuscule in the world.  Of course, there are big problems that effect us, but most of the time, I find it is way too easy to sweat the small stuff.  It is ok that the laundry doesn’t get done today and today’s dinner wasn’t some culinary masterpiece.  I mean, gosh, take-out pizza is so satisfying sometimes.  I always hear about how we should pick our battles in life and I feel that totally applies to finding balance in our life as well.

Prioritize What is Important in Your Life

As I mentioned in my last blogpost, I find it important to differentiate between good stress and bad stress.  To me, bad stress is draining, overwhelming, and brings you down.  To stop bad stress from taking over my life, I find prioritizing really important.  I try to figure out what is important to me and what I want from my life.  When I feel that certain situations start to overwhelm me, I try to decide if it is important enough for me to be embroiled in them.  This could mean saying no sometimes or adjusting my life to in way that will no longer makes it as stressful.  We often forget that we always have a choice in how we want to live our life and how we respond to things.  Don’t let others take over the driver’s seat.

It’ll be Okay

I think I have seen some form of this phrase on multiple slogan tees and banners.  There is good reason, because it is most likely true barring some life-threatening situations.  In fact, my dentist just said it to me yesterday when I sighed after he said I might have to redo my dental bridge.  He said, “You know it’ll be ok, right?”  It is not the first time he has said that to me, and of course, he is right.  I mean, in the great scheme of things, it is really just dental work.  Even if life sometimes doesn’t turn out like how you want to, it’ll most likely still be ok.

You Can’t Have it All, All the Time

I know there will be some people that completely disagree with me.  I mean, I think it is possible to have it all.  Everyone’s perspective on “having it all” is different.  However, I think sometimes our quest to follow our dreams hinders us from valuing some of things we do possess.  We get so obsessed with having the perfect job, the perfect family, and personal success, that we forget to “smell the roses.”  I mean, you might already have it all really, you just didn’t know.

Being Slightly Unbalanced is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Sometimes, I feel like everyone is in search of balance.  Look at all the yoga and meditation classes that are popping up everywhere.  I just think that sometimes, it’s okay to feel a little unbalanced because the constant quest to be “zen” is stress in itself.   Sometimes, a bit of stress is motivating and helpful to our mental health.  Can you imagine if you are always relaxed and suddenly something really stressful happens to you?  You would have absolutely no idea how to deal with it.  Do that scary presentation sometimes, it might make you less stressed out in the long run.

How do you try to maintain balance in your life?

Review: Flow Fushi Area Foundy

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This is a blogpost about a girl that tried to like a beauty product so much that she bought it in two shades hoping some miracle will befall her.  No such miracle happened unfortunately.  I think I wanted to like Japanese brand Flow Fushi's Area Foundy so much simply because their campaigns were so beautiful and the packaging and concept seemed so appealing.  I mean the brush on one end is made by some master Japanese brush maker!

Why did I want to love it so much? (a.k.a., the claims)

  • the packaging is luxurious and beautiful
  • they also make a liquid eyeliner called the Moteliner which I enjoy, so I thought this would be great
  • concealer and highlighter with anti-aging properties
  • SPF 27 PA++ and protects agains environmental pollution
  • 1 shade with two different types of coverage (natural and cover)
  • translucent beige that fits every skin colour
  • covers blue and brown pigmentation
  • lightweight and illuminating
  • the brush allows you touch-up makeup without having to get your hands dirty

Packaging

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This comes in a beautiful pearl and gold packaging with two ends.  One end holds the product and a doe-foot applicator.  The other end holds a slanted brush that can be used by pulling down the protective shield around it.  You can remove the brush by twisting it off to clean or even put on a refill which they also sell.

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Application

According to their website, you are supposed to apply the product in a V-shape under your eyes. They have very specific diagrams of how you should do this depending on your face shape.  You can also use it to highlight in a T-shape on your forehead and in a C-shape around the outside of your eyes.  The formula is really fluid, almost like a liquid foundation.  After dabbing it on your face, you are then supposed it blend it out with the brush provided.

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Review

So I guess you must be wondering why I ended up buying two of these.  I bought the Natural one first, but found the cover too light for me, so I ended up buying the Cover one hoping it would have better coverage.  These are not cheap at 2500 Yen each (I got mine for about $30 CAD)!  I guess I just really wanted to make it work.

So was there a difference between the Natural and Cover version?  Yes, there definitely is.  I would say that the Cover version is about 50% more pigmented than the Natural version.  However, this is not a full coverage concealer.  It does not have the coverage of lets say a Nars Radiant Concealer, which is my favourite lately, or the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye.  I mean, from another perspective, I understand that the brand is selling this as more of an illuminating product so I guess full coverage shouldn't be expected.

This product is very natural-looking.  It is super lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin.  The luminously it gives is like a natural glossy sheen.  There isn't any sort of metallic or micro-glitter here.  It just makes your skin look healthy and a bit dewy.

In conclusion, if you looking for a low to medium concealer that can also be used to highlight, you might enjoy this product.  For me, I didn't find the coverage or luminosity enough for me.  However, the really deal-breaker was that it creased under by eyes within a couple hours no matter how I applied it (I used a Beauty Blender, brushes, and my fingers).  I tried powdering it as well and it still creased and even looked a bit cakey after a few hours.  The brush is good for tapping and blending in the product, but I found my fingers faster.

VERDICT:  A beautiful concept that just didn't meet exceptions in reality.  I think I will continue to use it as highlighter when I want to have a natural makeup day.

Some Recent Beauty Bits

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Just a little blogpost about some beauty products that I have purchased the last month.  Most of them are replacements for items that I have run out of it.  I try, and I mean, I really try to have a "one in, one out policy" with my beauty products.  It usually works pretty well for me, except I always order my backups way too late (like when there are only a few drops left in the bottle).  I literally have to raid my sister's skincare samples sometimes.  So I am super proud of myself that I have actually received my backups before I have completely used up my current products.

ID.AZ Dermastic Essential Toner

If you love minimalist packaging, you will love this line.  The bottle looks like it might be made of plastic, but it is actually made of glass.  It feels super sturdy and I guess it must help to keep the product inside from the damaging effects of sunlight.  I bought the toner because I just loved their cleanser.  The line is made from a famous Korean skincare clinic for those with sensitive skin.  This toner is supposed to leave your skin pH balanced after cleansing.  It is also full of botanical ingredients that make your skin feel moisturized and dewy.

First Impressions:  It has a light floral scent that doesn't linger too much.  Patted into the skin, it leaves my face so dewy and plump.  Really enjoying it so far.

Aritaum Poyan Makeup Remover

For me, I base a good eye makeup remover on whether it can remove hardcore Japanese waterproof mascaras, like Majolica Majorica.  So does this one?  Yes, it does!  This was purely a purchase driven by Instagram.  It was the one most recommended in my comments.  It is also from Korean brand called Aritaum, which owns stores that also sells brands like Iope and Laniege.  It is a bi-phase eye makeup remover so you have to shake it up.  It is made of fermented beans along with other ingredients that will not only remove makeup, but keep you eye area moisturized.

First Impressions:  It removes everything, but it can be a little oily if you use too much.  My only gripe is that the smell is quite strong.

YSL Couture Eye Primer in 2 Medium

Basically I had finished my favourite the Balm Put A Lid on It Eyelid Primer and was on the hunt for a new eyeshadow primer.  Heading into Sephora, I was already set on getting the Smashbox 24 Hour Shadow Primer because I had heard many good things about it.  Don't know what happened, but I ended up getting this YSL one instead.  Unlike most eyeshadow primers, it actually comes in a tub.  This is usually a con for me since it seems less sanitary, but since was a "couture" eye primer, I guess I couldn't help myself!   It boasts 16 hours of wear, a waterproof and creaseless formula, and also can be used alone as a neutral luminous cream eyeshadow.  Furthermore, it also boosts the vibrancy of your eyeshadows.

First Impressions:  Right off the bat, I'm just going to say this isn't as good as the Balm or Nars one in terms of longevity.  However, it really evens out your eyelid and gives it a lovely glow.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner in Deep Rich

Have you ever purchased something and thought it was really good, but moved on to other things because who doesn't love the novelty of something new.  This is how I feel about this toner.  I really enjoyed this toner a few years back.  It is lightweight, but really moisturizing.  It is also natural and 97% organic and full of fermented natural ingredients. However, I didn't enjoy the smell.  Fast-forward to the present, and I see every Asian skincare junkie on Instagram talk the amazing properties of this toner, I just needed to get it again to see for myself.  Have you ever had a product get hyped after you've tried it?

First Impressions:  Still don't love the smell, but I find the texture quite similar to other toners I have really enjoyed lately.  I will have to try it longer to see how the longterm results are like.

Stressed About Being Stressed?

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Yes!  I am going to be one of those beauty bloggers who is going to blog about other topics.  I hope that doesn’t upset anyone.  I will continue blogging about beauty because it is my passion and my form of escapism.  However, I want to talk about other topics that I am also passionate about because honestly, I am running out of beauty products to talk about.

They say one of the best things about growing older is that you become more confident, wise, and independent.  Although, given the chance again, I would love to be young again.  Imagine being able to play volleyball for hours and not be hurting the next day!  I don’t know how much “wiser” I have become over the years, but I have found that I have gotten better at coping with stress though.

Here are a few strategies that have helped me have a more healthy outlook on stress.  These strategies are not fool-proof by any means, but they have guided me through many difficult times in my life.

Differentiate Between Healthy and Not Healthy Stress

When it comes to stress, it is not something that can be easily measured like your body temperature.  Plus, what is healthy stress anyway?  In my mind, I feel that healthy stress is a result of working towards something you want to accomplish.  Something that brings you joy.  For example, even though it stresses me to find time to blog outside of work, I find such joy in the blogging process that I find the stress motivating.

In contrast, I feel that bad stress brings you down, doesn’t motivate you, and just makes you feel overwhelmed.  Of course, there will always be stress that is unwanted, but necessary.  For example, you might not want to attend a family gathering where you might have to socialize with relatives that might not be your favourite people.  Even though you might not want to be there, it is important you show up because your parents want you there and family is important.

So when does it become bad stress then?  I think it becomes unhealthy when you feel overwhelmed.  I usually just end up crying.  For me, it could be taking on too much at work because I felt I needed to impress my boss.  It could be saying yes to too many events.  I’m sure everyone knows that feeling of being worn down and not looking forward to the day.  I have learned that over the years, it is important to pay attention to these warning signs before you have a complete meltdown and your mental and physical  health deteriorate.

Determine What is Your Idea of Balance

Over the years, I have found that life balance is hard, but I think I have gotten better at it.  Like anything in life, it takes work.  It is important to stop down periodically and take a quick assessment of everything in your life.  Then, determine which items to keep and drop so that the scale doesn’t tip too much to one side.  Take a close look at those unhealthy stressors and decide which ones to keep or manage better so that they become healthier.  For example, Christmas often is a stressful time for me as there are so many events to show up too.  I usually just have to sit down and prioritize those that I just have to attend.  Then, reconsider the maybes and decide which ones I feel will bring me joy.

What are your ways to deal with stress?  I’d love to know.  I have so much more I want to write about this topic so watch out for more posts if you are interested.  If you love my beauty posts, watch out for my next post as well.  Thanks for reading!