May 2014 – A Life Changing Month

This past month has honestly been the most life-changing month of my entire life.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

More events have transpired in May 2014 than in the entirety of 2014 combined, and as I sit here on a beautiful Sunday evening in Toronto, I am taking some time to reflect before launching myself into another crazy month.

I have been here just under 3 weeks, living by myself for the first time ever. To say that it has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. It’s definitely not all glitz and glam- I’ve had to do some pretty humbling things- but I’ve definitely flirted with the fast life in my first couple weeks. It really has been full of ups and downs.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

I’ve had to rebuild my life and my home from the ground up. I arrived by myself with literally nothing, and quickly realized that I had a lot of settling in to do. I’ve needed to do a lot of adjusting to get used to my new surroundings- I wasn’t able to sleep for five nights in a row, while simultaneously starting a new job, meeting hundreds of new faces, and feeling out the corporate culture. At the same time, I had to learn how to live on my own and with roommates for the first time, and even try to master basics such as laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

I’ve gotten sick twice already, the first lasting 2-3 days, and the second lasting a whole week (I am still sick right now!). I’ve unfortunately had to miss out on a lot because of my body’s inability to keep up with me, but I realize that health comes first and that I need to take better care of myself.

I had a lot on my plate, and each day I felt overwhelmed, with new challenges thrown at me. It hasn’t all been amazing, contrary to what people might think. Sometimes it was surreal- is this really happening? Even three weeks later, sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m here.

Photo 5-26-2014, 1 36 30 PM

However, there were many high points. My first day of work was honestly just unreal- there was so much to take in and get to know, the views from the office were amazing, I braved Toronto rush hour for the first time, and to top it all off, I actually got to spend that same evening at the Shangri-La with my new boss, drinking champagne and being wined and dined. We listened to a jazz band that she thought would be perfect for our August event, and talked business at 11pm.

Since that first day, I am blessed to have met the people that I have, to build new relationships, and experience Toronto as much as I can. I have a whole bucket list of things I want to do this summer, and I am so excited for what’s to come.

Photo 5-26-2014, 1 36 43 PM

The first two weeks seemed to drag on for ages- it has felt like a lot longer than that! But as time passes, I become more and more adjusted to TO life, and things get better and easier. Today, as I returned from my first Sunday brunch in the city, as well as my first time attending a bridal shower, I walked through the streets and I just felt this calming realization that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I am finally happy to be where I am. Living my dreams didn’t turn out exactly how I envisioned at first- but it has been a whirlwind, an adventure, and a lesson. I am learning new things every day, and my personal and professional development has shot up exponentially.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I have a feeling that the next 3 months will move by so quickly- the best things in life are also the most fleeting. I am excited to see where this adventure of a summer takes me!

Advertisements

New Adventures and New Beginnings

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to blog or write anything for leisure. I’ve missed it. And I’ve also had a bit of writer’s block as well, combined with how hectic life has been.

So perhaps today I’ll write about my own life. As of now, I’m officially 3 years into my degree, and 8 days from now I am flying off to Toronto to start my new job. As a born and raised Vancouverite, I am leaving home for the first time ever, and I am so overwhelmed but excited for the new adventure. Everything I have wanted in the last 2 years has come to fruition. There is lots to be done during this time and I have my hands full, with not much of a chance for a break, as once I get there I’ll be hitting the ground running.

But would I have it any other way? Absolutely not.

But let me just say this. Nothing good ever comes easy. And this year, I learned a big lesson.

Sometimes when doors close on you, or you run into situations that seem like failures- it is actually re-directing you to something better and more fitting for you. And when you choose to go through life with that lens on, it makes the hard times more bearable. Looking back, I am so grateful for every experience I’ve had, every opportunity and every failure, because its honestly led me to this point in my life.

I’ve always believed that success is an iceberg. You don’t see the struggles, failures, sweat, tears, and hard work people go through- you only see the highlight reel. And that’s just not representative of real life.

success

Luckily, the people I’ve surrounded myself with have been so supportive of my endeavors and work ethic. I’m really blessed to have the friends and family that I do. I’ve barely had 72 hours to process all of the above information, so it’s all still kind of surreal to me.

Time to swim in a much larger pond with much bigger fish, and get ready for exponential growth. This summer is going to change me, both professionally and personally. This year has changed me. And honestly, nothing has been the same since I first stepped onto campus 3 years ago. I just had no idea what I was in for.

Onto new adventures and new beginnings.

My Top 10 Summer Beauty Favourites!

Venturing further into the world of beauty blogging, I have decided to dig out my top 10 most-loved beauty products of the summer to share with you guys! I know a lot of beauty bloggers/gurus like to do “monthly favourites”, but I feel like I don’t try enough new products a month to write anything interesting. I think seasonal favourites would be easier for me to do!

These products have been tried and tested by me, and I absolutely love them. Note that they may not work for all skin types: I have oily-combination and sensitive skin, so adjust according to your needs.

First off, we have my favourite nail polishes of the summer:

Image

1. They’re both by Essie, and they’re Mint Candy Apple and Cute As A Button.

Mint Candy Apple is probably my favourite polish out of my whole collection- it’s such a flattering and unique colour, eye-catching yet not being too over the top. It’s the most perfect shade of mint I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I hunted through probably 4 or 5 drugstores till I found this in a Shoppers.

Cute As A Button is something I picked up by chance. I REALLY wanted a bright pinkish coral, because all the pinks I have are soft pastels, and I noticed that Shoppers was doing a sale on Essie polishes. So during my work break I ran over, swatched a bunch of corals and pinks, and ended up with this one. What I love about it is that it is the perfect combination of pink and coral. It’s not too much of either, and actually looks different under different lighting. It’s so vibrant, but it’s still not too in your face. My perfect summer colour!

Image

2. This is my holy grail product of the summer. I discovered this in May and haven’t stopped using this since. I was on the market for a powder foundation because I felt that liquid foundation was too troublesome to apply and take off, I didn’t need such heavy coverage, and less is more in the summertime. I picked this Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Powder up at Target, and I’m obsessed with it.

Image

As you can see, it has been very well-loved (the photo above is a repurchase, this is the current one I’m using). I can get away with just wearing this, it’s quick and easy to apply (and remove!), it looks and feels super light, letting my natural skin show through, keeps my skin matte, and cuts down my time to get ready in the morning. Also contains SPF 15.

Image

3. If I need a little bit more coverage, I opt for the Sonia Kashuk Concealer Palette. This is honestly the first concealer I’ve ever actually liked, because concealers normally cake up on me and don’t blend well. These concealers are so creamy and blendable, and meld right into my skin.

Image

It comes with two flesh-toned concealers, a green-toned neutralizer, and a setting powder. I use the lighter flesh-toned shade under the eyes, the darker one for blemishes (matches my skin tone perfectly!), and the green neutralizer around the nose area where it tends to be red. I don’t use the powder because I usually set everything with a powder anyways, but it’s still worth it because I can use all 3 concealers.

Image

4. The product that I wear every single day, without fail, is my beloved Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 30 Facial Sunscreen. This has been a HG product for 3 summers now and I can’t live without it. Since I have fair skin that freckles/burns easily, I have to always protect it with sunscreen. This particular one is light, blends in easily, doesn’t break me out or make me look oily, and looks good under makeup.

Wearing sunscreen everyday is important as it really slows down the aging process and helps prevent skin cancer and discoloration, and it’s good to start early for prevention rather than later to fix wrinkles/blemishes.

Image

5. While I’ve developed very good habits with facial sunscreen, sometimes I forget about the protecting the rest of my body. But as I said, I freckle and burn very easily, especially on my arms, so I have been trying hard to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen all over my body. This Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 30 Sunscreen for Face and Body has been my go-to this summer.

It’s a tad too oily for my face, but perfect for my body. It doesn’t leave that sticky texture that you find with a lot of sunscreen (which I absolutely hate), and doesn’t irritate my skin. Another summer must-have!

Image

6. This is my second summer using The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream, and I basically can’t live without it. It is the only cream that doesn’t leave any residue on my face, actually mattifies my skin, and doesn’t irritate or break me out.

Image

It has a very light, gel-like texture, and feels cooling and refreshing on the skin! It absorbs very quickly, leaving your skin matte yet moisturized. As you can see, I’m almost through with this travel size. I think I’m on my 4th travel sized jar this summer!

Image

7. This is my favourite cheap find of the summer! I had tried an ELF blush earlier on and hated it, but this shade is amazing! The ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion is beautiful, pigmented, long-wearing, and best of all only $3! The camera doesn’t do it justice: it’s actually this bright hot pink shade that is very flattering on the cheeks! Even though it’s hot pink, it doesn’t look fake or unnatural when applied, but instead it gives you a nice flush of colour on your cheeks. The formulation and packaging is comparable to NARS blushes, of which I own a few! But it’s 10x less expensive, which makes this blush a very cost-effective option.

Photo 2013-08-08 9 25 30 PM

8. This is the second Freeman mask that I’ve tried, and my first-ever peel-off mask! The Freeman Facial Cucumber Peel-Off Mask makes your skin feel so clean without drying it out, feels nice and cooling, and is very affordable (ranging from 2.99 – 4.99). One tube will last you for ages! You apply it and leave it on for ~10 minutes, and when you peel it off, it’s the neatest thing ever, like seeing all the gunk on your skin being peeled away, leaving your face feeling squeaky clean!

Photo 2013-08-08 9 30 37 PM

9. The Boscia No Pores No Shine T-Zone Treatment is my holy grail oil control product all year round. I’ve repurchased this countless times, and even though it’s a steep price ($44 CAD), one tube will last you for a long time. It mattifies my t-zone like no other. I only use this on my nose, because that’s where I get the most oily, and I use this day and night. I can’t live without it (and believe me, I’ve tried- and failed).

Photo 2013-08-09 3 52 08 PM

10. And of course, we can’t finish off a beauty favourites post without a lipstick! This has been the perfect summer shade for me: the Maybelline Color Whisper in Who Wore It Red-er is the perfect balance of red and pink, and instantly brightens up your complexion without being too over the top. I like my deeper reds during the Fall/winter, and more pink-ish lipsticks during the summer.

Photo 2013-08-09 3 53 41 PM

This is a comparison of the colour in the tube vs. the colour swatched. It looks really red in the tube, but comes out a bit pinker. The formulation is very light and moisturizing, but with that being said, it doesn’t have much staying power. If you eat or drink it will definitely come off. For that reason, I prefer the Revlon balm stains or lip butters over these lipsticks in general.

I hope that I gave anyone who was looking to try out new products some inspiration, and that you enjoyed reading this post! I’m still relatively new to beauty blogging, so hopefully this was thorough and in-depth enough of a review. I hope to be doing more review-type posts in the future, so stay tuned!

Are Humans Conditioned To Toil All Their Lives?

studying

I write this because it’s a trait I observe in myself and a quite a few others.

I’ve been a student for all my life, so each summer I’ve been blessed with the gift of having time off.

HOWEVER, for as long as I can remember, I do something every summer. When I was in elementary school, I would go to Magee (a nearby high school) and take summer classes. For fun. Anything ranging from cooking to public speaking to photoshop. I always used the summer to learn something new. Also, as you may have picked up by now, I have an immense love of reading, so I participated in Vancouver Public Library’s summer reading club each year, and always completed the entire booklet and more. I have very fond memories of hauling a heavy bag of books to and from the library twice a week, and the excitement I always felt when I borrowed a new batch.

(Slight side track: people often ask me how I develop my writing skills- did I have an English tutor? No. I believe it was because I read so many books and novels when I was young, and that really set the foundation for a lifelong love affair with writing and reading.)

During high school summers, I would work on my RCM diploma (piano, music theory and history), volunteer a ton, work at various jobs, and take summer classes. Not one summer ever did I take fully “off”. I had to be doing something. Part of me always wishes that I could drop everything for two months and just go travel the world, but I know deep down that I would likely go nuts from lack of productivity. I get bored after two days off from work. I may complain about having too much work to do, but it’s so much better off this way than if I were doing nothing at all. I thrive on being busy. I’m currently working at two internships and a part time job, and I hold several different extracurricular positions at school. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And I’m already a pretty mild case, if you put it into perspective. I know so many others who are hardcore workaholics. They’ll be working hard at many tasks during the school year, come out with top grades and amazing accomplishments, and spend their summers doing incredible things. They can’t go a day without being productive. They have a hard time taking a break or just sitting around doing nothing.

Which leads me to the question: Are humans biologically wired to toil all our lives? What is the meaning of life then, if we are constantly working towards a perfect ideal that we may never reach? We may reach our perfect ideal at the moment, but when we get there, there will be something else that we desire or desire to become. For example, let’s say you graduate and land your dream job at your dream company. But obviously now you’re on a whole different league. You need to climb up that corporate ladder. And hypothetically, let’s say you do, and even make it to CEO one day. As CEO, it’s a whole new ball game. You face so many new challenges you never knew existed before. Even though you think you’ve reached the top, there are yet numerous hurtles to overcome.

It’s a never-ending cycle. A never-ending struggle. And if all that we were meant to do with our time on Earth is work, then will we ever reap the rewards of our toil?