Products I Regret Buying: 2015

Ever since I got into makeup and skincare a year ago, I’ve bought, tested, liked, and loved a ton of stuff. I’ve found a few gems and possible holy grail products along the way, but I’ve also bought items that I wish I hadn’t. Here’s a list.

1. e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer

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It was a toss-up between the e.l.f. Powerless Face Primer and the Ellana Mineral Primer when I was looking for my first makeup primer (I said primers a lot there…primerprimerprimerprimerprimer). I didn’t want to commit to a high-end primer in case I didn’t like the product, so I set out to buy something cheap yet reliable. How did I end up with the e.l.f. one, you ask? I just saw it first in the department store.

Why I don’t like it: The repellent smell. Like radioactive lemons left out in the sun for too long!

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My 2016 Reading Challenge

I have so many other things I probably should be writing about. My Japan travel series, for example, which I’ve been trying to finish since 2014(!) Or my Kay in the Bag series, since I promised one post every week. I’m supremely bad at keeping my blogging promises, but here’s another post I pulled out of a hat for ya. Happy New Year, kids.

Today let’s talk about books. Last year I read around three or four books. Maybe even less, I’m not sure. (To be honest I’m just trying to save face here. Does fanfiction count as literature?)

Even though I can literally cover my bedroom in books, I’m not a voracious reader. I’m relentless when it comes to book sales, but once I’ve emerged from the piles with my bounty and hinted at my victory on social media, I quickly realize I have five more books to read—on top of the five hundred I already have on my backlog. The pressure to read all the books I’ve acquired over the years pushes me into a state of distress and into the easy, undemanding arms of fanfiction (#Dramione, just gonna leave this here).

My workaround to this mild hoarding problem: push stuff around until I have a space where I can pile my purchases, taking great pains to make sure it doesn’t look like a hot mess.

tsundoku

As the new year jumped into view, I told myself—in a fit of bright, shiny, new optimism and motivation spurred by my dream of constant self-improvement—that 2016 is the year I’m going to be better. Better at reading, better about forming well-constructed opinions about the literature, better at cross-referencing texts on the fly, better at educating myself, better at being a better person. And I thought, what could be better than hitting the books? Finally get around to conquering that hill. That literal hill of books I have in my room.

Here are the twenty books I intend to read this year.

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Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kay

God knows I’m not the best lamb in the flock.

I’m that lamb who doesn’t like being bothered to go to worship on Sundays—much less worship on weekdays, sorry Feasters—and who hates having to write down religious affiliation on government documents.

I’ve struggled with religion ever since I was a child. I didn’t go as far as calling myself an atheist or denouncing Christianity to my God-loving parents, but there has always been that persistent nugget of doubt in my gut that has kept me from enjoying Sunday school or fully participating in praying the rosary. I’ve always felt pressured to accept my religion since I was baptised as a baby, enrolled in a Catholic school run by nuns, and urged to undergo confirmation rites. I could’ve done something about confirmation, but I couldn’t tell my parents to hold the water and oil while I researched what they were committing my soul for when I was barely a year old.

I don’t blame my parents for making me a Christian because I know they made that choice (and the choices they’re still making) for me out of love. I just feel like I was thrust into the world of Christianity before I was ready for it, or before I even had a working understanding of what it is and what it could be. God knows I hate being rushed.

For all intents and purposes, I think I still consider myself a Christian. I just have a lot of questions.

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BDJ Box: June 2015

Finally, the last Belle du Jour Box I signed up for arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’m only blogging about this now because I was distracted by other things (comics, new project, cat) and I got a new laptop. It’s taking me forever to transition to Yosemite after two decades of Windows-hardened behaviour. What I also realized is you have to be prepared for a certain kind of lifestyle when you switch to Apple products. You’re not just buying a gadget; you’re going to end up buying the ecosystem. The charger, the projection accessories, the external drives, the cords, the adapters, the software. I bought a laptop case and a keyboard protector from Power Mac and nearly blew half my take-home pay on those two things. Of course, you don’t have to buy Apple-specific accessories, but I think people end up going that route anyway since the products look great together, each gadget is too large an investment to risk with non-compatible stuff, it’s easy to get blinded by gorgeous design, etc. Just something to think about if you’re thinking of going Apple. It’s great and all, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.

Anyway, beauty. You’re here for beauty. So, seeing as this was my last BDJ Box, I was hoping for something grand. And by grand, I mean no goat milk products. My expectations were pretty low. When my brother handed me this tiny box, I thought, ‘Oh, I got mail. I wonder who sent this. I wonder when my BDJ Box will arrive…’ Only to find out the tiny box was my BDJ Box. One word immediately blew up in my head: samples.

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Capsule Cinema: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (Zellner, 2014)

Kay reviews films in 100 words or less.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (Zellner, 2014)

Kumiko lives in utter solitude, avoiding everyone in her life except her pet rabbit. Isolated and dissatisfied, she becomes obsessed with finding ransom money Steve Buscemi’s character in Fargo buries along a snowy highway in Minneapolis. First, this film nearly ruined my nerves from worrying, panicking, and questioning Kumiko’s actions and logic. Second, Rinko Kikuchi’s performance is so powerful and immersed that you’re pulled into Kumiko’s world whether you like it or not. Third, the film sparks an opportunity for greater discussion on extreme escapism, social isolation, and mental health—as all great films do. The ending blew me away.

Palawan 2015: Travel Video

The highlight of my summer this year is my trip to Palawan, hands down, no contest. I went to Puerto Princesa for the first time with my family a few years ago, and I absolutely loved it. This time, I went to Puerto Princesa again and El Nido with my friends for Maika’s Liberation Tour (from med school) and my birthday (a happy scheduling incident). We had so much fun, we have a difficult time shutting up about the trip. Almost every day since we got back someone would say something about missing Palawan, and we would just die a little inside. Misha made an excellent iPhone video to commemorate this milestone in our friendship and also to tide us over until the next time we find ourselves drinking beer and coconut juice along the shoreline, swimming in the open water before anyone else, and getting gloriously tanned.

And here’s a fun almost-per-second commentary, just because:

0:01 – Everyone was nearly 3 hours early for an hour-long domestic flight. We weren’t excited.

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2015: Second Quarter Favorites

Wow, this year is just flying by. Next thing you know it’ll be Christmas already. But before we panic over our Christmas shopping budget or how to slim down to make room for all the imminent holiday ham, here are my second quarter favorites this year.

1. Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder

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Capsule Cinema: Secretly, Greatly (Jang, 2013)

Kay reviews films in 100 words or less.

Secretly, Greatly (Jang, 2013)

We all know Kim Soo-hyun as that cool, ageless alien who fell in love with a beer-and-chicken-eating Jun Ji-hyun. But before he owned that role, he played a North Korean spy deployed for an indefinite amount of time at a South Korean backwater as a sleeper agent. His cover: the village idiot. Secretly, Greatly offers a fairly entertaining mix of action, comedy, and drama. The military storyline is expectedly underdeveloped, but come on—people don’t watch this for that. They want to see Kim Soo-hyun kick some enemy ass, flex his spy muscles, and learn where his loyalties truly lie.

Capsule Cinema: Hospitalité (Fukada, 2011)

Kay reviews films in 100 words or less.

Hospitalite (Fukada, 2011)

Mikio Kobayashi, his young wife, daughter, and sister are shocked out of their quiet lives when a man they think they know comes to them looking for a job and board. Then he brings his foreign wife to live with him…and eventually all their “friends.” Hospitalité is an absurd, funny, and insightful film that begs for a discussion on the social, economic, and political issues obvious and veiled in the narrative. I can see this paradoxically simple yet complex film sitting in philosophy, development, or sociology classes, sparking discourse relevant not only in Japan but also in the global community.