Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MARCH FAVORITES ♥

I’d like to start off by saying that I hope that you all had as beautiful of an Easter as I did! 

Before my Easter break ends and I go back to work tomorrow, I figured that I should stop procrastinating and get up my Monthly Favorites post for last month before April is over! XD Since most of March was in Lent, I don’t have as many entertainment entries this time around, but there were indeed a few things worth mentioning.

Let’s get started ~


Book
Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross

Before Ash Wednesday I had spent a considerable amount of time deciding on my Lenten reading material this year, and most of my choices were books that I had already read before but felt that they merited a second time through.  St. John of the Cross is one of my favorite spiritual authors, probably because of his simple yet elegant style and of course, his poetics. 
          Dark Night of the Soul is essentially Christian mysticism in poetic form, and is composed of two parts: “The Dark Night,” and “The Ascent of Mount Carmel.”  I had read these works, along with his The Living Flame of Love for Lent two years ago, and enjoyed it immensely.  I feel that after reading through them again they have been even more beneficial than before.
          If you’re looking for an entirely different kind of spiritual reading, I strongly recommend it!




Film
The Last Unicorn

“I would enter your sleep if I could, and guard you there, and slay the thing that hounds you, as I would if it had the courage to face me in fair daylight.  But I cannot come in unless you dream of me.” –Peter S. Beagle


Beautiful book, lovely film.  A precious pearl from my childhood days, recently revisited!


 





Food
International Delight York coffee creamer

Just imagine creamy, refreshing peppermint chocolate swirled into your morning cup of coffee, and you’ll understand why this dairy coffee creamer secured its spot on my list this month.









Makeup
CoverGirl Aqua CG Smoothers moisturizing liquid foundation

Now that my facial psoriasis has cleared up and my skin is healing, I have been able to use a medium-coverage foundation as opposed to the full-coverage one (Revlon ColorStay) that I had been using before as the main element of my daily makeup routine.  For the past few weeks I’ve been using this one by Cover Girl and it’s quite nice!  It goes on smoothly, blends well, has no unpleasant scent or side effects, and really does help to keep my face soft and moisturized.  It’s a bit thicker than a BB cream, and is buildable if more coverage is needed.


Product
Thayer’s Cucumber Witch Hazel w/Aloe Vera

Soon after I had successfully gotten rid of the psoriasis patches on my face and neck, my skin became a bit oily and I started seeing tiny pimples pop up here and there, particularly on my forehead and along my jawline.  To help combat this and keep my skin clean, fresh, and toned, I picked up this all-natural witch hazel toner at my local Walgreens after hearing many positive comments on the Rose version of the same product.  I chose the Cucumber version because of the cooling, calming effects that I’ve known cucumber products to provide.  Astringents are too harsh for my sensitive skin, and my acne isn’t severe enough to use topical products such as Clean & Clear’s Persa-Gel 10.  For me, applying a toner twice or day (three times if I’m not wearing makeup that day) does the job just fine.


          I will note that this toner is very mild, however, and must be used in cooperation with a good cleanser and moisturizer.  It’s all about finding the specific skincare routine that works for you and your skin.  If I didn’t use certain other products along with this toner, I feel that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective.  The next product under this category that I plan on giving a try is Etude House’s Wonder Pore Freshner.

Friday, March 6, 2015

JANUARY/FEBRUARY FAVORITES ♥

January is such a refreshing month.  It is a time still touched by the pure joy and celebration of Christmas, while simultaneously full of promise and hope for the year to come.  I feel that I’ve had an extraordinarily good start, which I hope will set the tone for the rest of 2015.

And because February is always the busiest month (three birthdays, my parents’ anniversary, Valentine’s Day, school fundraising, and sometimes [like this year ;o;] the beginning of Lent!) of the year for me besides December, I decided to combine my monthly favorites posts together this time around.

That being said, here are my favorites for January/February 2015~!  It’s a longer post, but there are some particularly lovely mentions here so I hope that it proves to be worth your time.


Book
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
&
“Daughter of Aero” by Katharine Bond

I was required to read the first book, as it is one of my textbooks this term.  The latter, well… I was also required to read because it is practically my godchild, the work of my dearest friend and writing partner, Katharine Bond.  Both are absolutely incredible works and merit their shared place on my list for this month.
          As a writer, I appreciate any book or article that helps make my job an easier and more fulfilling experience.  Let me tell you:  I have never read a book that has inspired or influenced me more than this one by acclaimed screenwriter Christopher Vogler.  It’s…inexplicable.  I truly believe that The Writer’s Journey is an indispensable guide for writers, regardless of profession or genre. 
          If you’ve never heard of it, click here to read all about it.  If you’ve been putting it off, I’m begging you to find it and read it.  You will not regret it!  There’s something here to be learned and/or gleaned by everyone.




Secondly: “Daughter of Aero” by Katharine Bond, which is the second installment of her The Last Abecedarian series.  I haven’t even finished reading it yet, but I know that I love it.  On account of the fact that it is inherent to my nature to be biased in regards to Katie’s books, I will refrain from discussing it in detail here.  Instead, I would like to present to you shameless best friend promotion I would like to spread the word! 

Purchase the book! -> Daughter of Aero on Amazon
Follow Katie on Facebook! -> Katharine Bond
Follow Katie on Twitter! -> @BondKatharine
Visit Katie's author page on Goodreads! -> Katharine Bond (Goodreads Author)
Visit Katie’s blog! -> Katharine’s Korner




Film
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon




This movie is the very epitome of cheesy old martial arts films (which I absolutely love to watch, haha). It features totally not fake AWESOME wire work, cool weapons, fists and feet and antagonists flying everywhere.  …Hey, those “special effects” were revolutionary at the time!  The setting and music, aspects that seem to be fairly consistent in the realm of Asian entertainment, are spot-on as well.
          OH YEAH CAN I JUST HAVE A MOMENT TO SPAZZ ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE IS A 10-YEAR-LATE SEQUEL TO THIS FILM RELEASING THIS SUMMER AND IT STARS DONNIE YEN WHO IS PRETTY MUCH THE COOLEST GUY EVER.
          For me, nothing beats a chilly late night with peppermint hot chocolate and a good, action-packed movie.
         





TV Series
Coffee Prince


Before Lent began in mid-February, I binged-watched several kdrama series despite having midterms including It’s Okay, That’s Love, Bride of the Century, To the Beautiful You (second time through oops), and this month’s favorite: Coffee Prince.  All of these series were pretty good; I enjoyed all of them and they’re great in their own unique ways but Coffee Prince just blows the others out of the water and far, far off into the distance.
          Not gonna lie, I could write a non-scholarly (on account of the constant fangirling and use of internet lingo) dissertation on why I love this series.  Romance? Check.  Drama? Check.  Comedy?  Check.  Delicious food and coffee?  Check and check.  This series is perfect in every way at least for my tastes, anyway and I just love it. >u< I cried.  Lots.  And I laughed even more.  Coffee Prince’s adorableness and hilariousness are very unpredictable, which I feel contributes to the overall entertainment value for someone like me (a writer who is real tired of predictable plots and dynamics on TV).  It got me over and over again.
          There is no way that I can properly summarize this drama's plot without confusing or scaring you, so I'll just say that if you’re into this sort of thing, watch it.  You won’t be disappointed!


Game
To the Moon (CPU)

Okay, now this is a favorite that I experienced a few years ago when it released, but its beauty and magnificence had somehow managed to drift into the deepest recesses of my memory.
          Last week I found amongst the 3000-something songs that I have on my personal computer “Everything’s Alright,” which is theme song for the game and also a favorite for this past month.  Hearing this beautiful song for the first time in foreverrrr brought the game back to my mind and I decided to play through it again.
          Dear God.  I didn’t remember crying so much back then.  I’ve definitely changed.  LOL
          The developer’s site describes the game as “A story-driven experience about two doctors traversing backwards through a dying man's memories, in order to artificially fulfill his last wish.”  It is absolutely incredible to me how much raw emotion and plausibility the developers were able to instill to a pixelated game.  It’s a truly impressive, fulfilling video game.  I’m a firm believer in these sorts of games—the ones that make people think and wonder, instead of just hack and slash.
          To the Moon also won numerous indie game awards for the year of 2011, and rightfully so.  If you’re a gamer who’s looking for a new experience, give this a try!  It’s short and sweet and will leave you in awe.  You can purchase it on Steam for $9.99.  It's well worth the money.


Music
“Everything’s Alright” by Laura Shigihara (To the Moon OST)

As previously mentioned, “Everything’s Alright” is the theme song for the game To the Moon.  It’s…a beautiful song.  Definitely one of the top 10 songs that give me emoceans!  There is also a fantastic cover of the song by YouTuber Emily Scholz that gives it a slightly different flair.  They’re both wonderful, and I will embed them here for your listening pleasure.

Original


Cover by Emily Scholz (EmSArcade)


Product
Nature Republic Cleansing Soap
LAY ver. (acacia scent)

Long story short: a friend of mine gifted this bar soap to me because in South Korea, k-pop group EXO is currently endorsing skincare giant Nature Republic and each member’s face was stamped on the sleeve for each different scent of the soap.  My favorite member of the group being Lay, my friend got me his version which is the acacia scent. 
          Apparently, acacia is a thorny shrub or tree that smells like heaven that has been known throughout the ages for its distinctive scent and heavy symbolism.  Different peoples have associated it with purity and endurance of the soul, resurrection, and immortality.  Egyptian mythology associates the acacia tree with the tree of life.  Today, it is still used to make incense, perfumes, and amazing soap bars with k-pop idols on them.
          The soap itself is lovely but mild.  For me it removes impurities without any side effects, positive or negative.  Because of the strong scent, cleansing tends to become more therapeutic, so I don’t use it all the time.  Just when I need something a little extra before my skincare routine.



…And that’s it for this post!  Whew, that was a bit lengthy.  If you’re still reading this, I thankyu!  Thankyu for putting up with my fangirly ramblings. >u<


‘Til the next post~!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

DECEMBER FAVORITES ♥

Film
The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies

I don’t need to elaborate on this one because I already wrote a whole long blog post on it already! Yay! Click here to read it. :-)


TV Series
Empress Ki

Okay, so ya’ll know that I’m into Asian entertainment.  Old news.  As of late, however, it seems like this is no exception when it comes to TV shows.  I’ve recently taken a liking to Korean drama, and I’ve certainly had to dig through the dirt to find the gems, if you know what I mean.  There are some really great kdramas, and some really bad ones, too. Ha ha.
          Anyway, I’m rambling again.  EMPRESS KI.  What can I say.  Period dramas are my one weakness.  This series is a brilliant combination of drama, action, romance, and comedy.  All rolled up with lovely music, vibrant costumes, and fantastic visual effects into a perfect little package of perfection.  




Makeup
Hard Candy Glamoflauge heavy duty concealer

A huge part of dealing with psoriasis, especially for a young woman, is being able to cope with the physical effects during the healing process.  I don’t think that any product I’ve ever talked about here on my blog has helped with my confidence more than this one.  I’ve used many, many different “heavy duty” concealers and none of have worked as well to cover up the psoriasis patches on my face and neck.
          I use the shade Medium Light, which is technically a shade too light for my skintone, but I like this shade because of its slightly green tinge.  Anyone who deals with redness knows that green cancels out red, so this is a huge plus here.  The consistency is quite thick but smooth and non-drying, and one layer usually takes care of all of my problems.  It also works great for under the eyes and as a eyeshadow/lipcolor base.  Apparently, with a few layers, this concealer is known for being able to even cover up tattoos.
          Each $6-7 tube comes with a free concealer pencil, too.







Product
Etude House Happy Essential Foam Cleanser
Vitamin C version (yellow packaging)


I don’t need to say much about this facial cleanser except that it removes makeup effortlessly, doesn't irritate skin, smells like Fruit Loops (which is basically happiness), and has adorable packaging.  Oh, and it costs less than 5 bucks.  Mm-hmm.







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Moment

various

December, being the month of Christmas, never fails to have more than its fair share of remarkable moments.  And these are the moments that I find most difficult to put to words.  Perhaps I am just lazy, which we all know could very well be the case, but I think that it shall suffice to say that the blessings of Christmas are both beautiful and universal and, luckily for us, they’re also annual.  Family and friends; peace, joy, and love; good food; exchanging gifts; movies, music, and magic~ Every year, I look forward to seeing what miracles the Infant Jesus will bring to this world.  We are all very blessed.  Let us be grateful! 


Deo Gratias, again and again~!