Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Buying Contacts Online

Many of you have asked me about how to buy lenses online and if it is safe. There are many websites that sell clear and colored lenses on the new, but it may be a different experience than buying lenses from your opthamologist.

The first thing to keep in mind is to know your prescription. This means going to the eye doctor and finding out, whether you have 20/20 or have always worn glasses and want to try contacts. Your contact prescription is different than your glasses prescription because glasses sit away from the face whereas lenses sit right on your eye. If you used the same prescription, it could be too strong for you in lens form! Even if you do wear contacts, it's always good to get checked up to see if your prescription has changed. Some websites will ask for prescription verification from your doctor, and some won't.

Next, is to search for a website that has the lens you are looking for. We always want to get the best deal, but that can be difficult with there being so many sites out there. Most of the time you have to do your research and manually compare prices and shipping costs. I did come across a helpful website called Lensshopper.com which lets you search for lenses from various sites. I found the search most useful when I looked for "colored contacts" and sorted the listing by "total price" but you can also search by delivery time or by typing in words for what you are looking for. I'm not sure, but I think the shipping times are geared toward US domestic shipping which might be an issue for those looking for lenses internationally. Also, the listing for "incl freight" is inconsistent... Sometimes it is a small shipping price and sometimes it is the total price of the regular lens. In any case, the site is very useful to compare what site to get the cheapest lenses including Expressions or Freshlooks.

The site even has a colored lens viewer where you can chose a person who best fits you and test out colors on them to find a good match. There aren't any Asians, and the colors are different than what the lenses look like in real life, but it is fun to play around with nonetheless.

Circle lenses and Soloticas can be a different story, as you often need to buy them from overseas. The cheapest way to buy circles is to hop onto a seller's "pre-order" (usually on a forum or a website) which means they are buying many lenses in bulk so you need to reserve a spot for what lens you want before they order it. There are also other websites such as http://www.mycolorlens.com/, http://www.secreteyes.org/, and http://www.circlelens2u.com/ that have some ready stock that you can buy. The biggest factors here are cost and delivery time. Ready stock will get to you much quicker than waiting for a pre-order to be completed, but they might not have what you want and it might cost more than a pre-order. Soloticas you must order from a Brazilian website such as http://www.oticabellucci.com.br/ but you might need a translator for Portugese and a currency converter to know the price. Also, international shipping costs are a bit outrageous for Soloticas, which is just a fair warning.

In any case, for any website, you should do a bit of research and make sure the seller is reliable and that you are getting the lens you want. See if you can find real photos of people wearing the lenses, not just some ulzzang, net idol, or model that has photoshopped eyes and a makeup artist. Good luck on getting the lenses that are right for you!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Skincare History and Daily Regimen

Your skin is one of the most important organs that your body has. Not only is it the largest, but it protects what is inside and reveals the health of what is internal as well. Because of this, it is very important to take care of our skin because that is what we show the world each day.

I suffered from really bad skin from age 12 to 22. I'm going to be very honest with you guys, it is an understatement to say it was a very difficult experience. To be sure, I have always been very hygienic and took good care of my skin but as genetics and horomones took over, it just wasn't enough. After having a traumatizing experience with Retin-A nearly burn my face off in Jr. High, I was quite hesitant to go back to the dermatologist. A few more years passed of trying over-the-counter medicines and failing to improve, when a friend of mine let me sample his prescription topical medicine Benzaclin. I began to see improvement and decided that one more trip to a dermatologist wouldn't hurt.

As anyone else trying for a second round might be, I was skeptical but hopeful as well. The doctor examined my skin and told me that it was only moderate acne and many of his patients are far worse. (I was thinking, are you KIDDING me?! I thought my skin was terrible!)

He prescribed this list of meds for me:
* Ovace face wash (I use the generic called Re-10)
* Duac - a topical antibiotic + benzoyl peroxide, similar to Benzaclin (morning)
* Differin cream - a retinoid, but not as harsh on me as Retin-A (night)
* Clindamycin - oral antibiotics (2x per day)
* Tri-Sprintec birth control

The first 3 months after I started my derm regimen my skin got REALLY BAD, which was expected. The medicines need to get used to your skin and things need to re-balance. My worst skin was at 2-3 months into the new meds, even worse than anytime throughout when I regularly had acne. Then, at around 4 months, my skin started to rapidly and magically start clearing up. The actual acne goes away quickly but I had acne scars that took around 3 months to fade from when I got them. With good concealer it helped a lot but I'd say my skin started to look very much more improved with no makeup at around 6 months and only improved from there.

After sticking to this regimen for about a year and a half, I reduced the amount I took of the oral antibiotics and eventually stopped altogether this past Spring, in preparation for the wedding. (Oral antibiotics can lessen birth control's effectiveness.)

This is my current regimen:

- wash with Re-10
- apply moisurizer (I like Clean & Clear Morning Burst spf 15 facial lotion)
- apply Duac

- take Yaz birth control pill
- wash with Re-10
- apply moisturizer (I like Clinique Moisture Surge Extra for night because it's light)
- apply Differin

Pretty easy, right? I don't use toner because my derm said the alcohol can dry your skin and it doesn't actually clean much. The Differin is great for warding away wrinkles and aging because it helps renew cells quicker as well as helping acne, better than anything you will find over the counter. Yaz also helps fight horomonal acne too. It's all about finding the right balance to heal you acne, not to abrasively dry it out or scrub it out, which can actually make things worse. Just find a good dermatologist and a good moisturizer, which is 75% of the battle.

Here is a before and after, no photo retouched:

Soooooo sad in Dec 2006 (2 months after I first started meds.) This was WITH makeup! :(

YESSSS fist pump for clear skin now!!!

Good luck to those of you who went through or are going through difficult skin. I just want to let you know that it's okay, there is hope, and it's not your fault. Really. I know how you feel. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pacifica Honey Lenses and Wedding Makeup

One of the things that can come along with marriage is the oh-so-wonderful thing called domesticism. Sure, you get a taste of it when you are living away from Mom and Dad in college or as a single person, but for me marriage was the big string cut making me a truly independent person. I am responsible not only for the health and well-being of myself, but also my husband.

That being said, I do a fair majority of the cooking. Ben does a good job, but I do have a bit more gusto for it as well as a small amount of experience and plenty of food network watching. I just wanted to share one of our little ghetto (and easy!) meals of the Korean cold noodle soup dish, mul nengmyun.

I didn't have any meat or kimchee on hand to put it in, but cucumbers and boiled egg are really what make the dish toppings, right? Ok, so we didn't even have bowls to put the soup in so we just used pyrex mixing bowls. But it was a dang good meal if I do say so myself!

Anyway, I recently received a pair of Pacifica lenses in Honey from the totally awesome Gregg. They are labeled as 3-month lenses and felt pretty comfortable compared to other lenses I've tried.

This is a close-up of the lenses in my eyes with flash and without flash.

I know the flash photo makes it look almost grey, but that was really the blue tint coming off of the flash. It is a warm honey shade up close which mixes with my eye color to create a golden brown color from talking distance. I really loved the almost sparkly, but natural, look these lenses gave.

In terms of makeup, I was preparing for an outdoor daytime shoot in my wedding dress. I wanted to show you guys a better close-up of my wedding makeup so I got another opportunity! I tried to recreate the same look using the same products.


* Urban Decay Primer Potion
* Max Factor Lash Perfection Mascara
* Clinique Brush-on Cream Liner in Deep Brown (as a base over the tape and blending into skin)
* MAC fluidline in blacktrack (lining both top and bottom lashlines)
* Criss-cross and tapering style false lashes
* Nyx single shadows in dark brown and white
* Revlon 12-hour eyeshadow quad in Copper Spice and Nude Elements (1st color is my favorite tear duct highlighter)

* Monistat anti-chafing gel as primer
* Lancome Photogenic cream concealer in Camee for discoloration spots
* Everyday Minerals concealer in Sunlight for undereye brighening
* Everyday Minerals foundation in a mix of Golden Medium and Fairly Light Neutral, matte+intensive
* Everyday Minerals blush in Apple (my #1 recommendation for blushing brides)
* Everyday Minerals Finishing Powder

* Maybelline Superstay Gloss in #160 Glass Rose

Just as a note, I wanted to add that you should avoid any makeup with glitters for wedding or photography. That means no sparkly shadows, liner, or glitter on your face or hair. For the brow bone highlight color especially, you should look for a matte shadow. Here's two photos without flash and one with. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Purple-Blue Berry Eyes

I wanted to combine one of my favorite shadow colors, NYX purple, with my new blue Moonflower MAC shadow and this is what I came up with. It's a bit ethereal, but reminds me of what cool weather feels like in shadow form.


*Urban Decay Primer Potion
*NYX single eye shadow in Purple
*MAC eyeshadow in Moonflower
*NYX single eye shadow in Opal for highlight
*MAC liquidlast liner in Powerplum
*MAC fluidline in Blacktrack
*Everyday Minerals blush in Walkee Talkee
*Clinique different lipstick in Raspberry Glace
*Revlon Superlustrous lipgloss in Sunrise Nude

For the eyes, apply primer all over lid and brush the blue color on the inner 3/4 of the entire eye lid. Next, use the purple for the outer V and crease. Top it off with an iridescent white highlight color on the brow bone. I really love NYX opal for purples and blues because it shimmers a really beautiful purplish color in the light. For the face, choose a pretty berry-pink color for cheeks and a bright pink lip with nude gloss over the top for a look that is light and shimmery.

It's so easy, and not a huge leap for those who are afraid of brights, so try it out and let me know how it went!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chiggers :(

What is the worst itch you can think of? Mosquitos? Allergies? Heat Rash? Yesterday I had a photoshoot in some tall grasses out in the countryside and nobody remembered to bring the bug spray. Sadly, ever since last night I have been suffering with the worst case of chigger bites! I counted more than 12 bites and the number keeps rising. For those of you who don't know what chiggers are, it is safe to say they are the worst pests you can get bitten from if you hate being itchy! Because I was suffering, I thought I would let you guys know how to prevent and treat exposure to chiggers.

A little background on the bug brings forth the fact that they are tiny bugs barely visible to the eye, but pack a mean punch later on. They are found in the midwest and southern parts of North America so there are probably plenty of you lucky people who have never come across them before. After being "bitten" the resulting "bite" may not show up for 12-24 hours later but when it does, MAN DOES IT ITCH! I actually only got 3 hours of sleep last night because the itch woke me up. They also find barriers or "edges" on you to bite, so if you notice itchy bites along your armpits or underwear, bra, pant, or sock line it was probably a chigger. Okay, enough with the bad stuff. Here's how to not get bitten, and what to do if you do get bitten!

1. Avoid tall grass, brush, and wooded areas. Keep grass short in your own property.
2. If you must venture into these untamed environments, wear BUG SPRAY with DEET on your clothes!
3. Wear clothes with tightly woven fabrics that cover your body and don't leave many holes for exposure. Tucking jeans into boots or pants into socks helps.
4. Immediately wash yourself and any exposed clothing as soon as you get home in hot, soapy water.

I have been bitten! Oh precious skin, what do I do?!
1. Don't scratch! This will only aggrivate the irritation and lead to a break in the skin which can cause infection.
2. Contrary to popular belief, the chigger doesn't actually bury itself under the skin so applying clear nailpolish and similar remedies are actually not suffocating the bug. Instead, make sure you shower as soon as possible after exposure.
3. Apply an anti-itch medication. Hydrocortizone works well, or you can also take an oatmeal bath.
4. You can take a Benadryl but I prefer not to during the day because it will knock you out!
5. Wait it out. The itch will probably last up to two weeks and if you are already bit, there is not much more you can do. It's definitely best to prevent bites in the first place!

Anyway, here's to keeping you from suffering like I did, and a couple pics from the shoot to decide... Was it worth it? :P

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer Fragrance

I know for many of you it isn't summer right now but where I'm living, it has been in the upper 90's fahrenheit all week! One way for me to better adjust to the stifling heat and humidity is to wear a fragrance accordingly.

I almost always prefer a lighter scent year round, but Spring and Summer really gives the opportunity to try something especially sweet or fruity. My current pick is Paris Hilton. I have to say, I was VERY hesitant to try this just because of the name. Is it just me or do most celebrity-promoted fragrances stink? Anyway, after smelling this in the store I was happily impressed.

This is what Sephora.com had to say about it:
Paris Hilton
The sparkling signature of this scent personifies its creator. Chic enough to be worn to the hottest clubs, it also possesses a feminine, flirtatious charm. And for those who want to leave nothing to chance, a "secret" ingredient has been blended into this magic potion - one that's guaranteed to enhance the wearer's allure.

Frozen Apple, Peach Nectar, Wet Ozone, Sparkling Muguet, Freesia, Mimosa, Jasmine, Tuberose, Skin Musk, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Oakmoss, Pheromone.

Chic. Sexy. Mysterious.

Well, I can't say that the scent is particularly "mysterious" but it is definitely flirty. Apparently it has pheromones in it which supposedly draws the onlookers in like woah! I really enjoy the apple and peach notes and when the fruity top notes fade, it does get a bit sexier-smelling. Not bad for switching up with my Clinique Happy/Happy To Be/Happy Heart and Bath and Body Works Pearberry body spray!

A few more fragrances on my love-to-get list are:

Daisy by Marc Jacobs
Ralph Lauren Blue
Ja'dore Dior

Let me know what your scent of the moment is too and what it smells like! Maybe we can all be smelling delicious by the end of the summer. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Domain!

Hey everyone! I've been working super hard on a new layout on my new domain. It's now online so please update your bookmarks and please let me know what you think in the comments!

I'll probably still make a few changes here and there so I'd really appreciate the feedback. Thanks! Ü


Monday, August 4, 2008

Site Under Construction

Hey guys, I am getting ready to move the site over to my own domain so please be patient if you see the layout change or act wonky. Thanks!

Friday, August 1, 2008


I've gotten a lot of questions about my hair color and it's certainly been through a lot since my wedding so of course I wanted to share.

First of all, I just wanted to give a little background on my locks. In the last few years I have had a "magic straight perm," a "setting perm," reddish highlights (that barely showed), drugstore haircolor highlights, and a few different cuts ranging from armpit-length to lower back. My hair is medium coarseness and it is pretty thick. I'm actually pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair so I don't frequently get it cut. I just get a style and let it grow out then change the style each time I go in. I also don't ever radically change the color.

This is how my hair was before the wedding and before it was colored:
If you look closely, you can kind see the St. Louis arch behind me there. This was two weeks before our wedding and as you can see, my hair is a light black color. It is actually browner toward the edges, but I would still call it "black" as opposed to "dark brown."

My aunt (and hairstylist for the wedding) thought my updo would stand out more if my hair were lightened a bit and so we decided upon this color. It is a Korean brand called 꽃을든 남자 (translation: man who holds the flower) Clinic Color in the shade N7. It is the henna type from the brand and it was applied in an all-over highlight technique using foil. I was afraid it would be too light, but it came out just how I wanted it to be. Very natural but with a noticeable difference.

My aunt also discouraged me from cutting my hair before the wedding so she could have all the volume she could get from the styling. It got to be pretty long and shapeless. This is curled and natural, before I cut it.

Finally, I got a proper cut which was lovely because all of the damaged parts were taken off as well as much of the weight. I wanted something edgier than before which I couldn't do before the wedding. The back is still pretty long, but with tons of layers and choppy bangs! I will get more and better pics of it soon, but I have to say, I LOVE it.

(Don't mind the little swatch of my bangs that are going the wrong way. Haha. New bangs always screw around the first week, don't you think?)

Let me know what you think about the new 'do and color. Also, if anyone has hair horror stories I'd love to hear about it. ;)

'til next time~

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