Uncategorized

Update: I have depression…and how I’m fighting it

This will be a rambling post…so I can unwind what has been on my mind lately…and as a way to organize my thoughts…and for memory purposes. It probably won’t make sense at all. I’m still trying to make a sense of it myself. I’ve been thinking about this since last week or so. Wide awake at night going through my thoughts of what to put on here.

A little bit of background of how this may have started…I’ve always been an anxious kid. I WORRY about EVERYTHING. It is a really stressful way to live. I remember I had minor OCD symptoms when I was around 5. I was worried about germs that I washed my hand CONSTANTLY. Whenever I touch something I thought was dirty I would run to wash my hands immediately. With that going on for awhile, my poor hands became so dry and started to peel from the harsh soap. It did not look like a five years old hand. It was wrinkly, gross, and painful from the dryness. That eventually got better. I think my mom intervene or someone did and I stop doing that…I can’t quite remember. I just only remembered the ugly hands and the pain it caused. Till this day, I’m still a germaphobe. I use hand sanitizer like crazy and I go through disinfecting wipes like no other.

Also another thing when I was kid was I thought that the teachers at school know what I’m doing at home ALL THE TIME. I believed if I misbehave, they would immediately find out. Being the teacher’s pet that I was at the time, I was CONSTANTLY on edge trying to be a good girl. Not get in trouble with Mom and Dad…try to be obedient. I SERIOUSLY thought my house has surveillance and the teachers can remotely watch all my actions. I don’t know where that crazy thought came from. With today’s technology I still feel like I could be watched…you know NSA shit…just I don’t dwell on it so much like I was when I was a little girl. I guess I want to please everyone. I want everyone to like me. So me doing ANYTHING out of the line that will cause a teacher to dislike me was devastating.

Anyways those are the two main things that stood out to me as a child. Another feature of my character that still causes me some trouble is insecurity. I’m a VERY INSECURE person. I care a lot of what other people think and perceive of me…when honestly I’m sure most people don’t give a shit about me…I know I’m not that important lol but I still somewhat care…I want people to see the GOOD of me…not the BAD/UGLY part.

Then there were the middle school school to college years. When I was 12 we had a big move from NYC to Dallas, TX when my parents decided to start a business there with some of their friends. Dallas was very different than NYC, and I didn’t adjust well. I missed NYC and my friends so bad. I had trouble making new friends at the new school where everyone knew each other since childhood. My parents were busy all the time and weren’t home much and I was very lonely. After a year in Dallas, we moved again to Austin which I like so much more. The people in Austin are very different and laid back compared to Dallas. However I still hated the schools I went to. It wasn’t challenging and as competitive to the school I was used to in NYC. I got lazy and start to not care as much about school. I didn’t work as hard as I should which I regret now. I hated high school and just couldn’t wait to get out and choose a college as far as possible from home. Starting a business is hard and took a toll in my parents’ life. They were always arguing. I ended up going to college in Boston. However, it wasn’t as I thought it would be. I was again in a completely new place. I was naive thinking going back to the east coast would make me happy again. I was again lonely and felt out of place and missed home terribly (although I don’t want to admit it). 

I did make friends and liked Boston but something wasn’t right. At times I didn’t want to go to class and just spent a lot of time sleeping in the dorm neglecting my studies. I didn’t know what I want to do with my life. I thought I wanted to pursue political science and go on to law school but I didn’t enjoy the classes and was not sure if that was something I want to do anymore. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was five and I felt like I’m giving up on my dream and goal. I felt like I wasted my parents money going to such an expensive school and not sure what I want to do with my life. Why didn’t I just choose to stay closer to home and go to a state school instead? I regretted that. 

These were all the early signs of depression but I overlooked it at that time. I thought my blues were caused by the lack of sun and long winter. I thought I can just sleep it off. And it did go away. Those feelings and thoughts were around but didn’t lingered, which makes me think I’m fine when I’m not. Looking back now I wished I got help or talk to someone during those times. But I was too ASHAMED. I don’t want to admit something was wrong or I’m weak. Even now it is hard for me to talk about my depression to people. Many people probably don’t know that I had it. Close friends noticed but I chose not to confide. I felt exhausted just talking about it.

By this time I chose to move back home to be closer to family instead of staying in east coast after college. Which was a great decision because that was how I met my husband. I met him the summer after college. If I didn’t go back I would never cross path with him. However, it was not easy being with him. Long story short my parents didn’t approve. That would be a story for another time. The hardships in our relationship caused me more stress. I really love him and I fought hard to get their approval. I was strong in pursuing what I thought was right. It took a great mental toll.

Anyways about three years ago was when situation got really bad. There was some family issues that caused my brother and I to move out abruptly and I had to get marry earlier than expected. My parents had approved of Moses by then. But there was no wedding. We got married in courthouse. Nothing in my life was going according to plan or going in the direction I wanted. I felt I lost control in everything. I felt completely helpless. My husband and I were still in a long distance relationship. He could only come home on weekends or holidays. I was living alone by myself. We got a dog and it was stressful taking care of the puppy alone. I never had a dog before and it was a huge responsibility. I know my husband wanted to get the dog to keep me company when he is not around. The puppy did brought joy to my life. I trained her myself and love her so much but I still really miss Moses being home with me.

It was a difficult time. I didn’t want him to quit his job to move back home for me. It was hard for him to find jobs in his specific field. There aren’t many opportunities and he was lucky he found one somewhat close to home right after graduate school. He didn’t want me to quit my job to move either when there are career opportunities within the company I’m at. So we had to make the sacrifice of being separate on weekdays. This along with all the other issues I had in the past just finally pushed me to a point I couldn’t handle anymore.

I became very tired and just want to sleep all the time. I became antisocial and didn’t want to talk to anyone at work. I would not eat seeing eating as an effort. I closed all the blinds at home and didn’t want to see any sunlight. I stopped going outside to meet friends or even wanting to hang out. I stopped exercising and other forms of self care. I thought about suicide and what was the point of life when I’m not happy. I started to miss work. I just want to keep sleeping and sleeping and when I’m awake I will spend endless hours on Youtube watching videos to escape thinking. I felt no emotion and didn’t care about anything.

Finally one day Moses came home seeing me in bed sleeping and on God who knows how many days without showering. He said this couldn’t go on anymore. He made an appointment and took me to see a psychiatrist. I started to get therapy and taking medication. I began taking Trintellix. We started with a small dose and slowly increased it but I wasn’t seeing any outcomes. I would relapse. Trintellix was also expensive and not covered by insurance. There was no generic version. Therapy was expensive and not covered too. I changed medication a few times. Lexapro didn’t work. Wellbutrin gave me horrible allergic reactions. Now I’m on Cymbalta. It seems like I finally found something so far that worked. Then there are the side effects. It made me bloated and constipated. I gained a lot of weight from all the medications. I was at my heaviest at 140 pounds and now 125 (my normal weight was 105-110 pounds). I’m still working to lose the weight gain. 

The most important thing I gained from this experience is that we should not  keep everything bottled inside us and think we can resolve it on our own. Get help when you need it. We can’t get better on our own. And it is okay to be vulnerable and weak. There is nothing to be ashamed of and wrong of that. Mental health is just as important as physical ones. Friends and family support is also vital to recovery. I couldn’t have done it without Moses and my close friends understanding but there still are some previous times when I relapsed and they would get frustrated with me. They see a cycle of me getting better and getting worse but I told them I was trying REALLY hard to get better. No one wants to be like this. It is important to communicate with each other about that. We can’t control ourselves at times and they need to know that it is not our fault.

I hoped people understand that mental illness is just as serious as other illnesses. I hate hearing people say things like “oh you can just not think of the sad things” or “you can snap out of this if you’re strong-willed.” Well everyone is different. What YOU can do doesn’t mean we can as well. Don’t expect all illnesses to be the same. Show some respect and understanding to people that are suffering. Show some more compassion. The world would be so much better if people do that and stop assuming.

Review, Skincare

Review: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

After I finish the Chanel Le Blanc serum I wanted to find a cheaper alternative.  I read many good reviews on the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and purchased a bottle to try.  I have been using it for about 3 weeks now.

From Sephora’s description this serum claims to be oil-free, improve appearance of dark spots, and even out skintone to a brighter complexion.  Its main ingredient is Viniferine, a natural compound found in vine sap known to brighten, lighten, and even skin, which was patented by Caudalie in 2004.  It also claims that Viniferine is more effective than Vitamin C and arbutin in terms of brightening.  The 1 oz bottle is sold for $79.

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I’m about almost one half into the bottle

The 1 oz bottle is fairly small and expensive for its size
The 1 oz bottle is fairly small and expensive for its size

This serum is very lightweight.  It goes on the face very smoothly and absorbs quickly.  I like how it is oil free and made with natural ingredients and is non-comedogenic.  It also has a scent that I can’t really describe, which is not offensive to me and disappears fairly quickly after application.  One pump or squeeze is enough to cover my entire face.  I use it morning and night under a moisturizer.

I’ve got to say this product does do what it claims.  At least for me it did.  Within the three weeks period of using this serum I find my skin to be more brightened.  My hyperpigmentation from my past acnes are fading albeit slowly.  I wake up every day to a glowy skin.  I will continue to use this and see what happens.  So far I like it better than the pricey Chanel Le Blanc serum and it seems to work better too considering that I see results quicker.

If I have to say one thing I don’t like about this product it will be that it leaves a sticky residue on my hands after application.  I don’t know why although it is lightweight and fresh on my face, it is the opposite on my hands.  Really weird.

Overall, I really like this serum and probably will repurchase.  I’ve also started to use a moisturizer from Caudalie and so far I like it too.  I’m really impressed with Caudalie and will try out more of their products.

 

Cosmetics, Review

Review of High-end and Drug Store Concealers

Concealer is very important to me.  I need them to cover my post-acne marks. There are times when I don’t want a full foundation face so concealer is the way to go to cover my blemishes.  For that purpose I tend to get my true shade instead of going lighter.

I think I purchased my first concealer during my freshmen year of college.  At that time, I know pretty much nothing about makeup other than lip glosses and mascara.  That was also the year I began to explore and discovered beauty blogs and videos on YouTube.  My skin was pretty good then and I didn’t need foundation.  So I went and got a concealer instead to cover the few flaws I had.  I still remember going into a M.A.C store with my friend Sharon and purchasing my first concealer and face powder.  How time flies! Since then, I had acquired more and found my holy grails.  The following are some I am currently using.

Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda: $10.49 (Target)

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I got this mainly because I seen gurus on YouTube using it so I decided to give it a try myself.  The bottom left one is a color corrector that has a greenish tint.  The top two are the concealers and the bottom right is a setting powder.

Pros: inexpensive, can mix concealers to get desired shades, sleek packaging

Cons: not very hygienic, tends to cake and crease, not long-lasting

 

Boots No7 Quick Cover Blemish Stick: $9.99 (Target)

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I got this when my sister-in-law said this is a dupe for the Hourglass concealer.  It is and maybe even better than the Hourglass one.  I think I found my holy grail drugstore concealer. It is very creamy but have a powdery finish.  Because of the powdery finish I don’t recommend using it on actual pimples or else it will get cakey!

Pros: inexpensive, easy to blend, great coverage, long-lasting, looks natural, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic

Cons: few color selections

 

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Spot Corrector: $7.99 (various drugstores)

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This product claims to be both a concealer and treatment corrector for dark spots.  Sounds nice, huh? I don’t buy that it will diminish dark spots over time but as a concealer it is pretty decent.  You have to twist the tube and product will come out of the sponge.

Pros: inexpensive (cheapest out of all my concealers), easy to blend, not cakey, looks natural

Cons: hard to control how much product come out, twist tube break easily, sponge applicator not hygienic, not very long-lasting

 

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer: $32 (Sephora)

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I swatched this product on a trip to Sephora after I ran out of my holy grail concealer.  It was very creamy and easy to blend.  After applying it on my face, I like how natural it looks and purchased this to give it a try.

Pros: sleek packaging, good coverage, easy to blend, smooth texture

Cons: pricey, smudges/creases a little, not many color selections

 

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer: $70 (Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys)

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This is a favorite among some people.  I’m pretty neutral about this product.  I don’t hate it nor do I love it.  I find it better as a concealer for under eyes.  For other areas of the face, I find it too drying.  It is a decent product but I think I can live without it.

Pros: very nice packaging, creamy texture, easy to blend, good coverage

Cons: EXPENSIVE, few color selections

 

La Mer “The Radiant Concealer” Broad Spectrum: $70 (various dept stores)

I don’t have this product anymore but still want to talk about it.  This is probably one of the worst concealers I ever used.  I hate it and already tossed it out.  I purchased it about two years ago for about $65 (now it is $70) when I was in a La Mer phase.  That was the worst $65 spent.  It is a creamy concealer with a powdery finish.  It doesn’t last at all and slides right after application.  With such an expensive product, I thought it would be amazing but I was deeply disappointed.

Pros: can’t think of any

Cons: expensive, not long-lasting at all, slides off right away, not very hygienic

MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer: $32 (Sephora)

This is my favorite concealer of all time.  I purchased this after the La Mer concealer failed me.  I was so surprised of how well it work for me.  As the name of the concealer said, it is full coverage.  I used it on pimples before and it concealed it very well. I like to use it on my post-acne marks and it looks very natural and stays put all day (even in hot Texas summer days).  I have pretty much used this every single day since I got it.  This concealer had lasted me for about a year and a half.  I have now ran out and need to repurchase.

Pros: full coverage, waterproof, light-weight, easy to blend, natural looking, long-lasting, non-comedogenic, hygienic squeeze tube helps control product usage, many shades to choose from

Cons: none for me :)

Personal, Skincare

Pore Clogging Ingredients

Towards the end of college to now, I went from normal/oily T-zone skin to acne prone skin and had to completely change my skincare products to suit my new skin type.  A few months ago, I got so desperate that I added the very well-known Pro-activ 3 steps system into my skincare routine.  I got to say it does work (although it also dried out my skin)!

Due to my blemished face I have to look out for products that does not aggravate it more.  I have to pay attention to the labels and look for oil-free and non comedogenic (non pore clogging) products .  As I was doing research about clogged pores, I came across a list of pore clogging ingredients.  I think it is great to have a list to refer to when reading a product’s ingredients (if they are provided).  It is to be known, however, that even the most natural products or products that claimed to be non comedogenic can still somehow contained pore clogging ingredients.  To read more about that and what pore clogging ingredients are out there you can visit here. 

Sometimes it is impossible to avoid all of these ingredients (as some manufacturers do not disclose all their ingredients) but it still nice to know what you can avoid.  Sigh…when it comes to skincare it is always a case of trial and error before you can find something that works.

Review, Skincare

Review: La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

The La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream is the new addition to the La Mer skincare line.  It is supposed to do the same thing as the infamous Creme de La Mer but with a lighter texture.

The original cream is a celebrity favorite as well as many other’s holy grail.  I have used both the original La Mer cream and the gel version before.  I never liked the original cream because it is very thick and rich. You have to rub it in your fingers to warm it up to “release its ingredients” and then pat it into the face.  Even so I find it hard to spread and takes awhile for it to absorb.  Although the cream is very moisturizing, but because I have slight oily skin in the T-zone area, this cream makes me look like a grease ball at the end of the day.  Therefore, I can only apply it at night.  After I finished it, I never purchased it again and instead went to try the gel version which I like a lot better.  The gel was lightweight, easy to apply and absorbs fast.

When the soft cream came out, I decided to give it a try as I feel the gel wasn’t moisturizing enough for the winter months.  The soft cream was made with the same ingredients as the original cream and as the name suggested “soft,” in fact, a lot softer than the original cream. There is no need to warm it with the fingertips so it is a lot easier to work with.  It is a lighter texture than the cream but thicker than the gel.  It is very easy to spread and apply.  Like the gel, it also absorbs fast and sink into the skin.  It is very moisturizing and makes my skin very soft.  As with the other two moisturizers, the soft cream has a strong La Mer fragrance which to me is kind of grandma-ish like some Olay products.  I personally don’t mind the scent and find it to fade quickly.

Soft Cream
Soft Cream

Soft Cream spread out
Soft Cream lightly spread out

Overall, I like the soft cream for the winter months and the gel for the warmer months.  As for the original creme de La Mer I would recommend it to people with really dry skins that do not mind the extra step of warming it up with fingertips.  I’m very lazy and like to get ready in the morning and at night as fast as I can, so I find it annoying to add another extra step to my skincare routine :p

The price for the three different moisturizers are the same in term of size. $150 for the 1oz and $275 for the 2oz, which is pretty pricey for a face cream.  La Mer seemed to raised their prices.  I remembered I used to pay $250 for the 2oz and my sister-in-law said back in 2009 she paid $225.  For me I don’t mind the price as long as the product works for me.  However, if I do find a cheaper alternative that work just as well I don’t mind switching.

Review, Skincare

Review: Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Concentrate Continuous Action TXC

Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Concentrate Continuous Action TXC is a brightening serum.  I first saw this serum in a Taiwanese magazine Queen a few years ago.  I believed Chanel Le Blanc used to be an Asia exclusive line but is now readily available in Chanel counters in the U.S. You can usually find it at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s or other department stores that carry Chanel skin care.   I have been using this serum for a while and now on my third bottle.

From the Chanel website, it described this product as :
“Each of the exquisitely textured products in the LE BLANC range offers a specific benefit that works in synergy to brighten the complexion. As skin’s most intensive brightening ally, the concentrate delivers a high intensity of the TXC molecule, while pearl protein extract visibly corrects skin’s dullness and moisturizes. TXC—the first active brightening ingredient registered in Japan as a quasi-drug by a foreign company—has a distinctive structure that delivers continuous action for 12 hours. Skin becomes brighter and more radiant, as dark spots diminish and the complexion appears more even.”
 
My skin started to act crazy on me towards the end of college.  I suddenly went from normal cheeks and oily t-zone skin to very acne prone skin.  The worst thing is after the acne healed it left behind red/dark marks that takes months to disappear. This was why this product initially attracted me. It claims to make “dark spots diminish” and “corrects skin’s dullness.” I don’t want paler or brighter skin.  I just want my hyperpigmentation gone! So when I read the description, I thought this is exactly what I need!
 
The texture of the serum is very light and easy to apply.  It absorbs very fast and is not sticky at all.  One pump is enough for my entire face. It also has a very light floral scent that I find pleasant.  The scent goes away very quickly and is hardly noticeable.  I find the serum to be pretty moisturizing but just using it alone is not enough.  I will still use a moisturizer after it.

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As for my dark spots it did help fade it gradually.  I noticed when I get pimples and use this, it  helped a lot with the healing process after the pimple is gone.  My acne scars do get lighter.  However, it is not an overnight and dramatic change.  You have to consistently use it.  As for the overall brightening effect, I did not notice my entire face getter paler or lighter. This serum is similar to the Diorsnow White Reveal Essence that I have use in the past before (I used the entire Diorsnow set and went through about 3 sets of it but it didn’t do anything special for me).  The Diorsnow essence is light in consistency as well, but compared to Chanel I find Diorsnow to be a little stickier. Overall, I like this serum and find it to help fade dark spots.  However, due to its hefty price tag at $195, I am on the look out to find a cheaper alternative that work just as well.
***Side note: I also purchased and used two bottles of the Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Moisturizing Cream.  It is a decent moisturizer but I think I can live without it because it didn’t do anything spectacular.  There are cheaper and better moisturizers out there.***
 
Review

Review: DHC Lip Cream

I love lip balms.  I have multiple lip balms.  I have one by my bed, in my purse, vanity, car, you name it.  I like to try different kinds of lip balms but my Holy Grail has to be the DHC Lip creams.

So what makes DHC different than all the other lip balms I tried? Well, it is very moisturizing. By far the most moisturizing lip balms I ever tried. The DHC lip creams are formulated with olive oil, aloe, and vitamin E which explained why it is so moisturizing.

I have very dry lips that peels easily due to the fact I don’t drink enough water (I know I know…It is bad.)  It is horrible when applying lipsticks and lipgloss because it makes my dry lips stand out more and looking very cracked.  Totally unattractive! The DHC really helped solve this problem for me.  It leaves a smooth surface for me to apply other lip products and help it lasts longer.  I will also put it on before I go to bed at night and when I wake up the next day I can feel my lips still smooth and moisturized.

I also use the lip cream as an exfoliant.  I will put on a thick layer and wait for a couple of hours and rub it off in warm water.  The dead skin will come off easily! I find it the best to do in the shower.  (I usually apply a thick layer at night before bed and then rub it off gently in the shower the next morning).  No need to buy or make lip scrubs :)

Pros Cons
  • Long lasting
  • Very moisturizing
  • Glossy finish but not sticky
  • Nice and sturdy packaging
NONE

I can’t live without this lip cream and I will definitely buy it again and again.

Uncategorized

Hello!

I always wanted to have a blog to share my experiences and hobbies but somehow something will always come in the way and I would put this idea away.

This time I am determined to keep this blog and continue to blog.

This blog will be showing my favorite skincare items/discoveries, makeup, fashion, and maybe a little bit of travel and lifestyle… Who knows…it may even be my little online diary to rant about some boring nonsense. I just don’t want to limit myself…ya know?!

Hehe, let this blogging journey begin and THANK YOU for coming along the ride :)