. Monday, April 29, 2019 .

This post comes at a very ironic time. 

If you look, the post previous to this one is talking about all the beauty and makeup items that I purchased at Whole Foods during their big sale. This was a fairly easy post to write, and I had it all written up within a day. However, after I published it I struggled to find something that I could publish after. Publishing a post about buying things during a sale made me feel like I should follow up with more hauls or more reviews about the products that I purchased. 

In the quest for inspiration for my next post, I had been watching some YouTube videos based on what was recommended to me and I came across a video about consumerism. I'm no stranger to the concepts of minimalism and the Marie Kondo crazy of 'tidying up', and I agree with the movements that proclaim you should reduce the items you have. I admit I go through obsessive phases of cleaning where I minimalize my room as much as possible, but I always get caught up with items that are sentimental. 

I fear I will need these things later so I continue to hang onto them. The problem with this is that, when I hang onto these items, I bury them away in a place where I cannot access them so when the time comes where I may actually need to use them I instead go out and buy more. 

When you buy more you never just buy what you stepped into the store to get. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to this experience: You go into a grocery store or a clothing store looking for one thing and walk out with five different things. At that moment it feels awesome to get a bunch of new things to bring home but once you actually add these things to your collection of stuff, the novelty of buying and spending money wears off. We accumulate more items we think we "have to have" to scratch the consumerist itch, and yet we are never satisfied and plan to buy more the next day. 

I was caught in this cycle. Back at the end of 2018, I spent about $400 on what I called a "Professional Wardrobe" from Zara because I thought I needed more clothes. I looked up what other young professionals were wearing, made a list of clothes I needed to have to get "the look" and headed out. I ended up returning about $100 worth of those items because I didn't really like them and as I sit here today I have two $40 pairs of shoes that are staring at me from across the room, sitting in my donation bin. I don't wear them and I honestly don't like them, but at the time I really felt like I needed them. 

Buying these items may have quenched my thirst for new things at the time, but it didn't stop me from wanting more and more. As someone who loves internet shopping, it gets to a point where you're sitting there after browsing page after page of results and think: "What is the point of this?. 

Sometimes a bigger question arises: "Who am I doing this for?" 

I have an unpublished post about minimalism that I wrote 6 months ago sitting in my blog drafts. I went into an in-depth analysis of who minimalism caters to in society and did some commentary about how trendy being minimalist has become. I believe those who practice minimalism have the privilege to do so, as they have all their basic necessities, and that it can be used as a tool to combat consumerism. 

I'm blessed to have things such as food, shelter, education and a small amount of savings. I'm blessed to be healthy and happy. These are things that cannot be obtained by simply having more stuff. Getting a new shirt will only make me happy temporarily. 

I'm struggling to get through all the beauty and makeup products I purchased from Whole Foods because there's just too much. At the time, when everyone was waiting on line to buy it, I convinced myself that I needed it, but in reality, I now have so much excess that I find myself going out of my way to actively use these products just to use them up! 

These two beauty bags sit on my desk, a constant reminder of the valuable lesson I've learned regarding our obsession with buying more and more and it's given me some ideas about how I want to treat the things I acquire going forward. 

So if you've made it this far in the post, here are some small things you can do to avoid overshopping:

  • Make a detailed list of what you need before you go into the store. If you need a new pair of jeans because your old ones are falling apart at the seams, just buy jeans. 
  • Have a budget. Tell yourself you will only spend $X amount for X item. 
  • Get things secondhand. Scour the internet for things you can use that have been gently used previously, or stuff you can upcycle!

I know this subject is hotly debated and this post may come off as a rant of sorts but I definitely wanted to share my feelings about this especially since I'm just beginning to gain so much knowledge. As always, thanks for reading :)

. Wednesday, March 27, 2019 .

In case you haven't heard, Whole Foods is having a major beauty blowout as we speak. If you buy select products from the Whole Body aisle any time from today, March 27th to April 2nd, you will receive 25 percent off! Some of the products on sale include shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, skincare, and makeup! Even better news, if you are an Amazon prime member you can receive an extra 10 percent off your entire purchase.

On Friday March 29th Whole Foods will give away free beauty goodie bags to the first 200 people in store, so wake up bright and early and be there at 8 am to collect!

Since I work at Whole Foods I have the special added bonus of an additional 20 percent off my purchase, which was great news for my wallet. I went a little product crazy while in the aisle, dumping anything I saw under 10 dollars into my pre-sale bag, but in the end, I walked away with 7 items I'm really excited about. 

I decided to stick to skin care products and didn't end up picking out any hair care products since I'm well supplied in that department. I usually buy all my skincare from LUSH, which ends up being a pretty expensive ordeal, so I'm actively looking for more affordable alternatives to some of my LUSH favorites. (I'm talking about you Ultrabland!)

Acure: Brightening Day Cream & Acure Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil

I asked for a recommendation about sensitive skin care, and I was directed to this brand by one of the Whole Body associates. I currently don't have a serum in my face care regime so I was really into this Blue Tansy Night Oil. I tried a bit on my hand and the serum itself is actually a light blue color and had a lightly floral scent. I don't like when my skincare smells too strongly, and both of these products didn't give off to much of a scent. 

I will say that the size is a little small, but it seems like just enough to give these products a fair trial. I'm currently using argan oil in my hair care routine so I thought I might as well bring it into my skin care as well!

Andalou Ultra Sheer Daily Defense Lotion

The current lotion I use is a Gold Bond oatmeal infused eczema treatment, and while it has done wonders for my face, I feel like it's a little heavy and waxy for daytime wear. I wanted to pick up a lotion that I can use as a primer for my makeup, as well as be protected from the sun with some kind of SPF. This ultra sheet lotion from Andalou fit that bill exactly, I can't wait to try it out.

Yesto Energizing Coffee 2-in-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick

I actually had this product on my Amazon wishlist! It was recommended in a recent Buzzfeed community post about skincare, along with some other budget-friendly products. I'm really interested in the 'energizing' claim, and to see if it actually works!

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

I have heard AMAZING things about this clay! If you search it up on Amazon there are hundreds of 5-star reviews saying this saved their skin. I don't have acne, but I do have a lot of hyperpigmentation and redness around my T-Zone. I opened it up to see what the clay looked like, and to my surprise, the clay is actually a fine grey powder. Tip: Mix this with Apple Cider Vinegar for boosted effectiveness!

365 Cleansing Micellar Water

I currently use LUSH's Ultrabland to remove my makeup. I've tried a lot of different makeup removal techniques but they have all been really drying on my skin, so I'm hoping this micellar water can become a cheaper alternative (~$7) to the money I spend every 2 or 3 months buying replacement Ultrabland ($30). 

Yesto Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser

Another Yesto product! I poured a little out of the bottle to test the consistency and it seemed a little gel-like, but I'm hoping that means it's not going to be too harsh on my skin. Charcoal tends to be very drying but it's really useful when it comes to removing blackheads!

Air Wrapping Mask Brightening Skullcap

I saw that there was a 5 for $10 deal for these masks so I picked some up! However, it should be noted that it's only 5 for $10 if you pick out 5 of the same kind of mask. Since I picked out different versions of the mask I did not receive the deal, which I didn't know! I don't use face masks in the weekly skin care regime, partly because I don't like buying single-use products, but I'm willing to give these a try!

I'm excited to get my beauty bag on Friday and see what I get, but overall I think I got a pretty good haul from the blowout sale alone. If you're in need of some skincare and happen to have an Amazon Prime account, it could be a great investment! Thanks for reading~

. Thursday, March 21, 2019 .

This post is particularly special because this event comes once a year.

March 20th, 2016 marks the day that I returned from spring break with a box of red velvet cake in hand. I brought it up under the guise that it was a cake for roommate's birthday, but I whispered to the bakery staff to write "Be Mine?' in blue icing. I walked into Vincent's room and my nerves melted away as he gave me a hug.

Placing the box on his bed I stood there with my coat on as he talked about his break, pacing excitedly around his room. "You have to try this cake" I tried to rope the conversation in the direction of the box sitting on top of his comforter, but he was too animated to notice my subtle nudges. I cut the string with my key and opened the box from the top up, presenting it to Vinny with a faux cool "Would you be my boyfriend?" 

March 20th marks the day that he said yes to my proposal and to my cake.

Sitting in his dorm eating a slice of cake that day, I could have never predicted how far we would come together. I could have never predicted that we would sit through a six-month stint of video calling every morning and every night, running on both Japanese and American time.

I could have never predicted how he would lift me up through the roughest waters I'd ever seen, and calmly build me back up piece by piece so carefully that it felt natural. He helped me flourish into a confident and loving person, then said it was all me.

I'll be frank. On March 20th, 2016 I was in a bad place. I had just escaped a worse place, but I wasn't myself anymore. I was in a strange, unfeeling place that I thought I would be left floating in for the rest of my life.

We sit here hand in hand three years later, so happy that I can't remember what it was like to be so down, and I recognized that I have so many blessings in my life.

The college chapter of our lives that first introduced us is now coming to a close. In this time of change, it can be hectic thinking about where you'll end up next, what career you want, and who you are as an adult. I have my family, my friends, and the love of my life as a rock to keep me forever grounded and ready for the next adventure.

Happy 3 year anniversary Vincent! Here's to many more amazing memories.

. Monday, January 21, 2019 .

The long-awaited Disney post has come! Vincent and I had an incredible day at Disney, I was a little surprised that everything played out so perfectly. It was a very chilly day but that didn't stop us from staying until 9pm!

I arranged to meet up with my good friends Mame and Ryry for this day at Disney and I could not have been in better company. I had such a fun time with them, and Vincent and Ryry really clicked. Ryry assumed the guide role very well, and he had control of the map most of the day, which was totally fine with me! I was happy to just walk around and follow the flow.

Here is our video!

I will warn in advance that this vlog does not contain video footage of rides. To my surprise, almost all the rides that we went on were super dark. We went on one ride, the name escapes me at this moment but I think it was in Tomorrowland, where it was totally pitch black except for some stars. I also wanted to just be in the moment and enjoy the rides, so the only footage included in the vlog was our ride on 'It's A Small World'!

For those who have never been to Tokyo Disney, Vincent said it was exactly like Disney World in Florida, but on a smaller scale. They have various lands like Tomorrowland and Adventureland, but it's more condensed. I feel like this park is very do-able in one day if you come when it's not too crowded. I planned with Ryry ahead of time as to which day would be best to go and we found that the 10th was predicted to have very small crowds, supposedly less than 10,000 people in the park.

I have to say, it was a pretty empty park day! It was still busy, but the waits for rides were almost nothing. We walked unto a lot of rides, and the only time we really sat around on a line was towards the end of the night. We got caught in the rush of people looking to get one more ride in before the park's closure. Even so, at that time we only waited in line for 30 minutes! The wait flew by for me because there was an adorable baby right ahead of us and I was obsessed with her the entire time.

Of course, Vincent and I had to take a cute couple photo in front of the castle~

This was one of the most memorable days of our trip, and I remember walking around and thinking that I was so lucky to be here. I felt so lucky to be standing on a line, halfway across the world from my friends and family. The freezing breeze was making my hands red, but I snapped all these photos and videos happily. I want to thank Mame and Ryry for showing Vincent and I around. We couldn't have had a better time, and as I watched the fireworks I was overwhelmed with a gratefulness I can't put into words. I am so happy that Vincent and I embarked on this journey together.

I'll admit I was nervous about traveling internationally with him, but my worries melted away as soon as we headed out. Time and time again on our trip he showed me what love looks like. Every ride we rode that we sat beside each other, our hands were intertwined. Every time we sat beside each other, we whispered 'I love you' when we thought Mame and Ryry were busy chatting away.

I treasure the photos I have from this day, it shows pure happiness that only the magic of Disney could reveal to me.

. Monday, January 14, 2019 .

After an incredibly long break of a few days, another post is here! While traveling in Nikko, a post that will say the light of day a lot later, I managed to pick up a nasty cold before heading back to Tokyo so I haven't been able to crank out posts like I used to.

But I finally got around to sharing what is one of the best days during our Japan trip so far: our trip to Odaiba! I had no idea what to expect when we were heading over because I'd never been there before, but it totally blew us away. 

Here is our video!

After our hour-long train ride to Tokyo Teleport station, we arrived at Venus Fort, which is a multilevel shopping center that's right outside the station. I had planned for us to get some lunch there, and I will admit that we got lost trying to find the food court. While walking around looking for food, we noticed that Venus Fort was scarily similar to a regular mall you could find in New York, all the stores were foreign imported goods and they even had a Pinkberry! 


Venus Fort did have some lovely art displays, like the huge beachball collection with lights and the color changing fountain. These were huge and stunning!

Since Vincent isn't a big shopper and I wasn't too keen on anything I saw, we managed to locate the food court and decided to get some ramen. They had a few flavors, but I decided on the black garlic ramen because I love garlic! 

Sad to say, this ramen did not love me back. Vincent followed suit and got the same thing but we were both left dissatisfied by it. The flavor was more 'liquid smoke' than garlic and overall was pretty weak. This started a string of unsatisfactory meals that carried on for a few days, but you'll hear more about that later.

Feeling meh, we decided to head straight for the onsen and began following the path there. Google estimated it would take about 20 minutes, and in those 20 minutes, we saw maybe 2 or 3 people. It was DEAD. It was dead to a point where we felt kind of creeped out, asking ourselves 'Where is everyone?'.

When we made it to the hot spring we came across a small group of people and breathed a sigh of relief. The hot spring we decided to go to is called Oedo Onsen Monogatari, and it includes indoor and outdoor baths, a sauna, spa services, and a full array of games and food. They tried to recreate an Edo  (?) style feeling throughout, and what resulted was an amazing and immersive hot spring experience that Vincent and I really enjoyed.

They gave us both yukata to wear and Vincent looked so handsome in his! I had some trouble tying mine because I'd never put one on before, but a nice woman in the changing room showed me how. Vincent said on his side there was a diagram, lucky!

I didn't get to film actually going into the hot spring (of course) but the outdoor ones were incredible. It was a bit chilly, being that Odaiba is very close to the water, and sitting in the hot water on the rocks was incredible. The onsen was busy, but not crowded, so I sat in an outdoor bath by myself. The baths are separated by gender, so Vincent got his own onsen experience he details in the video.

Perhaps most surprising of all was Vincent's eagerness to try 'Doctor Fish', which are tiny fish that eat the dead skin off of your feet. We sat in the fish infested water for 15 minutes, and Vincent's reaction is priceless. His feet are VERY sensitive, to the point where he won't even let me touch them, so I knew I had to record the fish nibbling on him!

Before we headed home for the night we decided to ride what once was (in 1999) the world's largest Ferris wheel. I want to preface this saying that I had a bad experience on a Ferris wheel once, so I am not a big fan of them. This one goes especially high up, and Vincent wonderfully documented my gradual freakout as we were getting to the peak. 

Quote: 'Whoo! We're at the highest point right now. If we die we will definitely not feel any pain :)'

Hope you enjoyed the video! Stay tuned for more ~