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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I am a Seattleite: Part 1 (some pics might be NSFW)

I've realized that if you stay in the same environment for too long, you become too comfortable. 

At least that's how it was for me. 

I had a certain routine: on this and this day, I do the following; on this and that day, I do the following. Was it peaceful and easy? Sure. Was it spontaneous and exciting? Nope, wouldn't say so.

Sometimes a change of scenery changes your outlook in life; It can almost change your personality. 

Moving to Seattle and find my niche here hasn't been a cake walk. I was so scared to be so alone. I missed my family, my friends, and Happy so much. I pretended that everything was fine and dandy so my mom wouldn't worry, but the stress from the job, the loneliness, and uncertainty definitely got to me. I started to doubt my decision of moving to Seattle--an opportunity I've tried SO hard to get. I've been  thisclose to email my manager to let him now that I wanted to reconsider. 

However, I promised myself that I would give the city 3 months. 3 months isn't that long. I can do it. 

A month and half in I was hooked. I LOVE the city. People are friendly, the weather has been great, and there's so much to do. I pushed myself out of the comfort zone. I tried things I was too lazy to try. 

I joined Meetup.com, which is a website for people to meetup (duh). I met a lot of wonderful people from different events and established strong bonds with several of them. 

I played Laser Tag <--only died 25 times, NBD (No Big Deal)
 

I played Capturing the Flag
 

I enjoyed the weather immensely.
View from outside my office

I traveled. Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland OR <--OMG THEIR DONUTS ARE AMAZING!

And I realized that I am a Seattleite. I have it in me. That's why I wanted it so hard in the first place. 

I belong in Seattle.  

part 2 coming up shortly. 

xoxo,

Tao

P.S. Follow me in Instagram under iamgrape1119 :) Please and thank you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Found Love ep. 1: Wet n' Wild Color Icon Bronzer-Reserve Your Cabana

First of all, THANK YOU to all of you who followed me on Instagram under Iamgrape1119!! For those of you who want more frequent updates from me, it's best to do it on Instagram. I love sharing bits and pieces of my life with you all, and Instagram makes it a lot easier. I will get better at OOTDs though, promise!

Next up, yes I know it's supposed to be Revlon Colorstay Whipped Cream Foundation. However, since I haven't had the chance to take a before/after pic of the product in action, I've decided to post a review for another one of my favorite products at the moment. 

Enter Wet n' Wild Color Icon Bronzer in 743A Reserve Your Cabana. 

I recently spotted this at my local Walgreens for about $5. You get A LOT of products with this, a whoppin' 13 grams!! That will last you a LOOONG time! I've been using this product on a daily basis and it doesn't even look like I've touched it.

First of all, the name of the product is misleading. This particular color Reserve Your Cabana is in NO way a bronzer. I mean, unless you are whiter than Casper, then fine, try it as a bronzer. I am NC30 right now (I know right? I got tan!), and this makes a great natural highlighter. 

Instead of glitters or extreme shimmers like some highlighter, Reserve Your Cabana has a very subdued sheen. It looks almost like your natural skin, but better. 
A SLIGHT drawback with this bronzer is that it's pressed rather loosely, so unless you want to look super frosty, make sure to use a lighter hand when picking up the product. I like to use a stippling brush such as the MAC 187 and lightly dust this over my cheekbones, nose, and any other area you'd like to highlight. 

This also make for a wonderful browbone highlight. It's so natural yet still offer that pizzazz to tie the entire look together. 

This is definitely a produce I would HIGHLY recommend. There are 2 additional deeper colors that I'd like to try out soon. I will keep you posted though. :)

Hope this was helpful for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions. :)

Have a great one!

xoxo,

Tao

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rediscovered Goodness 1: NYX Mega Shine lipgloss in Sponge Cake and Plum

TGIF everyone!! 

First of all, I've jumped on the bandwagon and got Instagram. My username is iamgrape1119 <--how creative. Please follow me if you'd like nothing but pure awesomeness! :)

Now I had just received all the stuff I left in CO, so as I was going through boxes of stuff (most of which contain makeup, but what else is new). I found a lot, and I mean A LOT, of goodies I had forgotten about. As I restarted using them, I never really understood how I had forgotten about these gems in the first place. So this will be a series of Rediscovered Goodness as well as a series called New Found Love. Please stay tuned. 

First items featured are NYX Mega Shine Lipgloss in Sponge Cake and Plum. 

Sponge Cake (left) Plum (right)
Sponge Cake (top) Plum (bottom)
Packaging: 4 out of 5
Plain, simple, and economical. While they might not be the classiest looking containers out there, it's pretty sturdy and you get a lot of bang for your buck. They come with a sponge tip applicator that makes application a breeze. Once in a while I'd get one that has gloss that gets stuck in the top and gets all goopy, but other than that, it's been smooth sailing. 

Pigmentation/Colors: 5 out of 5
These puppies are PIGMENTED! What you see is what you get.  Depending on the color/formulas you choose, they range from shimmery, creamy, glittery, and sheer. The choices are massive! I love it. 

Plum is the mauvey/rosey color with gold and silver shimmer. Very my-lips-but-better. 

Sponge Cake is has a bronzey rose undertone with gold shimmer. It's a dead ringer to MAC VG6 lipgloss in my opinion. 
Lasting power: 2 out of 5
The lasting power isn't the best, about 2 hrs on me. It's a gloss though, so what do you expect? :/ 

Texture: 5 out of 5
Amazing! Not too think and not too thin, just perfectly creamy. You don't feel the glitters/shimmers, and your lips will be perfectly moisturized. These are one of the few lip products that DON'T dry out my lips. 

Conclusion: 4.5 out of 5
I hoard these glosses like they are going out of style. They are inexpensive, well made, and have a expansive color selection. I love them! Now if only they could get rid of the cherry cough medicine smell... *daydreams*

Coming up next: Revlon Colorstay Whipped Cream Foundation review. 

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram under iamgrape1119! :) Thanks!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tao

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: L'oreal Colour Riche Caresse Lipsticks

As many of you know, L’oreal has added new additions to its Colour Riche family by releasing the Colour Riche Caresse lipsticks in Europe. Every European beauty blogger and their grandmas have been raving about these little gems. I’ve been waiting patiently for L’oreal to launch the Caresse line in the US, and sure enough, just a couple months later, I stumbled across these at my local Walgreens.


If I remembered correctly (but most likely not), there were 10 colors in total. I currently have 3 colors: Fiery Veil, Blushing Sequin, and Sunset Angora. Theses three caught my eye the second I saw the display. Fiery Veil and Blushing Sequin are very bright and summery, while Sunset Angora seemed to be more of a wearable pink that I can rock on a daily basis. I wanted to test these out before making the invenstment of getting every single color (*cough* Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains *cough*)

After wearing them for a few times, I figured it was enough for me to come up with an informed opinion.

Packaging: 4 out of 5
While they still retained some characteristics of the original Colour Riche lipsticks, the reflective mirror-like packaging added a little more pizazz to the look. Unlike the original Color Riche lipsticks, a sample of the color is shown on packaging, making it easier for the user to differentiate all the colors. However, as shown in the picture, the packaging shows fingerprints quite easily. The cap snaps shut, so you don’t have to worry about it coming off when carrying it in your bag.

Pigmentation: 3.5 out of 5
Depending on what colors you go for, the pigmentation vary greatly. For example, Fiery Veil and Blushing Sequin are somewhat pigmented while Sunset Angora is more on the natural side. You can definitely still see your natural lips through the color, so it’s more like a gel-like color (I hope that makes sense). However, even they are pigmented, the color still come off less intense than appeared in the tube.

Fiery Veil appears to be an intense orange and shows up as a gorgeous coral that has a tinge more orange.
Blushing Sequin appears to be a bright hot pink and shows up a medium tone cool toned pink.  
Sunset Angora appears to be neutral light pink with a tinge of beige and shows up as warm rosey pink.
Lasting power: 2 out of 5
These are moisturizing, shiny, and balmy. I went in knowing that they won’t last forever and a half on my lips, so it didn’t surprise me when they faded within 2 hours. C’mon, these are NOT balm stains (review coming up soon)

Texture: 5 out of 5
This is where these babies will rock your socks off. The texture is a-freakin’-mazing. I’ve heard that they are very comparable to YSL’s Rouge Volupte, and in my experience, they are really similar. These lipsticks are very balmy, but not in a thick, goopy, or waxy way. While very pigmented, they still impart an intense shine that last about half an hour. They feel extremely moisturizing and provide a great slip to the lips, almost reminding me of the texture of those Jack Black’s lip balms.

Conclusion: 4 out of 5
The lipsticks are great for people who put more emphasis on moisturization and comfort as opposed to intense color payoff and longevity. I personally really enjoy these because my perpetually dry lips need all the TLC they can get. The texture of the Caresse lipsticks makes it a dream to reapply and provide more than enough pigmentation for someone who’s in the in the office 24/7 (like me) or prefer something not so loud.

Hope that was helpful if you are looking to give these a try. Please let me know if you have any questions. :)

Take care,

Tao 

Proof that I'm not dead....

Wow, before you know even realized, it's been almost a month and half since I've last made ANY attempts at blogging/YTing. It's very ironic that I'm updating my blog from the SeaTac airport flying eastbound back to Atlanta for a week-long intensive training (yep, just when you think you are done...). I'm flying out today, returning Friday the 13th (?!), and fly out on Sunday the 15th to NorCal for work for a week again. Trust me, it's not as glamorous as it sounds. 

There's only ONE word I would use to describe my current state of my life: HECTIC

I'm learning and processing all these new knowledge from work (it's like drinking water from the fire hose), attempting to make new non-creepy friends, and making sure that I'm getting enough alone time to decompress and stay sane. 

I know that you are still here and didn't leave me hanging, so for that, I'm very grateful. 

I've been accumulating some new makeup items, and took a lot of pictures on 4th of July, so please expect a lot of reviews/swatches posts coming up. I haven't made any videos yet, but once I get back to Seattle and get everything settled, there will be so many videos from me you won't even be able to handle it. 

Here's me just in case you forgot what I looked like...
I actually got A LOT tanner but the lighting in this pic is kinda screwy. I've been spending a lot of times outdoor, so I have a lot more color to my skin now. :) I actually quite like it. It makes me look healthier. 

...and OMG I love where I live. I'm renting a mother-in-law type room from a duplex house in Bellevue. Yeah, it's not hip and happening like West Seattle, but Bellevue is so quite and peaceful. I literally don't have lock my door when I leave the house. I love the view when I walk out of my room. 
There's an amazing trail and a little cute farm by my house. I really enjoy taking a jog a few times a week just to get all my aggression out. I find that spending some time jogging alone really calms me down. 

I will post more pics about what kind of activities I've been doing. I also have an Instagram account but haven't really figured out how to use it yet, LOL! I fail at this. :(

Anyway, gotta board soon. More review posts coming up later today. 

Thanks for being awesome! See you on the East side.

Tao

Friday, June 1, 2012

Goodbye Atlanta...

and Hello Seattle!

Sorry for my absence in the last couple of months, I was very busy with panel finals as well as going through a very intense placement process. I thought the first few months of my training was hard, but then once we got to placement time and it's just like:


Thank you to all of you who made suggestions as to what location is the most awesome. I ended up choosing Seattle because it rains here (lol) and the position I'm in AMAZING! 

I just landed on Wednesday and dropped by my office on Thursday to meet the team. I started my first day officially today. :)

So far I LOVE the people I work with and the people in Seattle in general are just sooo nice! 

I live the Bellevue area, so for those who live around here and want to meet up, just leave me a comment and hopefully we can work something out. :)

Tao

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My view on life...

I saw this on What Should We Call Me a couple days ago and felt that it described my view on life SOO accurately.

When I was still in school:


After I started working:


My life is quite a clusterfuck right now. Too much crap, too little time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Is it time to go home yet? I need some advice please!

There's nothing better than knowing that you passed all the milestones and are bored out of your mind because you have nothing else to do for the time being.

So I'm just chilling in my pod right now, trying REALLY hard to seem productive but just updating my blog... Yeah, I just hope that they don't check my browser history. *fired*

As we are moving toward with the program, we are facing being placed in various parts of the country. We are going to have the placement talk with our manager to see where we want to go and where we will be better fitted.

Here are my top 3 choices:

1. Seattle, WA <--I LOVE rain; I don't have to pay state tax/can drive to Oregon where there's no sales tax; I can make a short trip to Canada; my mom and I have always talked about being there. It's also a great market.

2. Denver, CO <--Nathan. We have been talking a lot about how our future, and me moving back to Denver for the rest of the 2 years of his PhD will definitely strengthen our relationship. Even though he said he wants me to go where I want to go, but I know he secretly wants me to go back. It's also a great market, but

3. Austin, TX <--I've never been there, but I heard it's like Boulder but more hip. Apparently businesses are booming there.

Anyone has lived/been to those places? Any advice/recommendations are more than welcome!

Thanks everyone!

<3

Tao

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm not dead; I'm just overworked.

Hey is this thing on? *tabs microphone*

I know, I know, I've been neglecting my blog for WAY too long. Work has been kicking my butt and, let's just be honest, presseing "record" on my camera is a lot easier than sitting here and type for an hour. Thank you to all of you who had stuck with me during this turbulent period.

We have our Panel at work right now. This is basically the final exams for us to see if we are ready to face the "real world" and get placed. The panel is made up of 5 parts and I've passed 3 last week, 2 more to go this week. However, there's nothing else for me study anymore. At this point it's pretty much either you know it or you don't. I have a presentation to give the panel judges tomorrow at 8am but I won't be able to recieve the case until tonight (so yes, I only have an evening to prepare it).

What's better to do than freaking out? Posting a blogpost during work hours of course. Since we are in the final stage of the program, our managers kind of turn a blind eye to what we do during our "study hours".

I gotta say though, never have I felt so close to a group of people, yet so helplessly alone. At the begining of the program, everyone had the same goal: Get through the program. Everyone worked together and leveraged eachother. We were all new to this huge city with no one but ourselves. Corporate America was scary, the hours were long, and the workload was intense, but we had eachother, and all was fine.

As we are coming to the end and facing the decisions of being placed, people changed. Their real color showed and the claws came out. Some people became moochers and our group dynamic changed.  People who used to not care about where they are going all of a sudden care A LOT now. Now only do we have to managed the pile of work, I leave the office exhausted everyday from dealing with people. I miss my family; I miss my cats; and I miss Nathan (Let's not even get started talking about how many conversations Nathan and I had over my placement options. That's for another day).

If this is what being an adult entails, then I don't like being an adult.

When I'm stressed out from being with people and need a quick getaway, which seems to happen on a weekly basis, I take my butt over to the Georgia Aquarium. When my mom came to visit me a couple months ago, I took her to the aquarium. 

It was in February...it was FREEZING that day!


 It was breathtaking inside. I instantly feel calm the second I see the fish tanks.







 This is my favorite place to be in the aquarium. I often forget about all my problems and just take a a moment to appreciate the manmade nature.

We also saw penguins! Those mofos are so cute!!

Anyway, I have a training I have to go to. More updates to come. :)

<3

Tao

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Everything Happens For A Reason... (LONG post)

That saying used to make me stabby. It sounds too...reactive. It was as if everything in life has already been planned out and you have no control over it.

Now I know better. Now I know that people who say "Everything happens for a reason" might not believe in this phrase themselves either. Yet, the pain of reality is so great that they have to think of something, anything, to make sense of it all. Maybe if you realized that a greater power (God, destiny, etc etc) is paving the path of your life, it might not hurt as bad to face the future.

I am one of those people who use that phrase now.

Nathan and I are on a break indefinitely.

He initiated it, but at the end, it was a mutual decision.

He was my best friend, confidant, lover, and above all, my safe haven. He was always there to comfort and encourage me through every hurdle life threw in my direction. I was lucky enough to have him in my life for more than 7 years and made some amazing memories together. I will always cherish them no matter what.

However, as we get older and embark on different journeys in life, our personalities as well as goals changed. The differences that used to make us have fun little banter have progressed to something that's irreconcilable. We no longer have school, same group of friends, and daily activities to hold us together.

Work has taken a toll on both of our lives. Nathan's very stressed out with his research as a PhD student, since he holds himself to a very high standard, and anything less than 100% drives him bonkers. My training so far has been hard HARD work and leave me exhausted every single day. Our conversation became mundane. If you havn't noticed, we aren't very exciting people/lead exciting lives. At some point in time, we both realized that we've became more like friends as opposed to a couple. I've thought about it but didn't want to point it out.

Nathan did. I'm glad he did. The second he mentioned it it was as if a floodgate has been opened. We talked about everything that's been going on in our lives and both agreed that it'd be best to take a break. When's the end point? No one knows. At this point, I don't know anyone cares. We both just want to focus on getting through what we needed to do and address the future of us when we get to it.

Some of you might be wondering: Do you regret taking up the job in Atlanta? If you stayed in Boulder, things would've been great. I have wondered the same thing. Yet, I will say with confidence that I do not regret my decision. I have met some wonderful people during my training here in Atlanta and had so much fun. I also have learned SO much, not just about work, but life in general. Am I still socially awkward? The answer is yes, or as one of my colleagues would put it, "Is the Pope Catholic?". However, I'm LESS awkward now. That's an improvement. I am doing my best everyday to make sure that my life is becoming better.

The thing that annoys me is that when I tell people what had happened, they react with such concern as if I were going to off myself. I'm not going to lie, did I cry when we ended things? Of course. Do I still have random outbursts of tears? Definitely. Do I still subconsciously dial Nathan's number right before I go to bed? Unfortunately, yes. Will life go on? You bet your sweet ass it will. Life will not only go on, I will make it my job to enjoy every minute of it.

I don't know what's going to happen in the future between Nathan and I. All I know is, everything happens for a reason. It might be that this break happened so we can strengthen our relationship and rekindle the love, or it happened so we can find someone better. Either way, I'm excited to see what future has in store for me.

Please remember to no take things for granted. Don't make the mistake I made by assuming everything is going ok because issues are being ignored. Most importantly, never EVER give the control over your life to someone else. You have to be independent and able to adapt. Shit happens and we have to be able to deal with it.

I guess this post was pretty pointless for many of you, but I still appreciate those who made it this far down in the post. To lighten up the mood a little, here's a little preview of an upcoming post:



Thank you for reading. Make good choices.

Enjoy your Saturdays! 

Tao

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year (and explanation of my absence)

Hi guys, just popping in to say hi really quickly. (Does anyone even read this anymore?)

First of all, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! May your year be filled with happiness and prosperity. 

I miss blogging and YTing way more than you guys know. I miss doing all things other than work. 

I'm literally being worked to death right now. I've been up everyday at 5 am and get home after 7pm. My workday consists of 12 hours (at least) in the office, then 3-4 more hours of work to do at home. I go to work when it's still dark outside and come home way past sunset.

I've been at my new job for 2 weeks now, I've called home 2x bawling. I know it sounds pathetic, but I literally couldn't hold back the tears as I talked to my mom. I've always tried to tell her the best things in my life so she wouldn't worry, but I just broke down both emotionally and physically. I've been deathly sick with the worst cold I've had in a long while. I guess my immune system just got weakened from the stress and lack of sleep. 

I knew it was going to be hard work, but I admit I severely underestimated the intensity of the course load. I have to keep reminding myself to see the light at the end of the tunnel (5 months and 2 more weeks to go!!). The paychecks will be sweet (they better be for what we're going through!).  

I'm so exhausted. I have two presentations and an onboarding exam on Wednesday, so hopefully things calm down a little bit afterwards so I have time to work on my blog/YT this weekend. 

On the bright side, I haven't bought any makeup/skincare in 3 weeks! 

:)

Tao

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dude...

I never knew time could go by sooooo slowly.

I've been without any reliable source of internet for a week and a half now. The hotel Nathan and I spent 5 days at while moving me in charged us an arm and a leg for internet usage (I tried to upload a 2011 favorite products video...It failed miserably). My apartment building's "fast reliable wireless internet" is literally slower than dirt. Yes, I know dirt doesn't move, that's my point.

So what have I been doing since Nathan's departure? Well, I read 5 of Jane Austen's books, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, and 3 of the books I had to read for my training. Yep, that's 9 books in 5 days. *pats self on the back*

I also found two Chinatown (although the actual Atlanta Chinatown is so ghetto it should be called China Strip-Mall). However, I have gained 5lbs since my arrival...us Chinese REALLY know how to cook.

Luckily I called AT&T and got U-verse. If thing went well, I would hopefully have ok internet tomorrow after 8pm. Please bear with me guys. I promise I will make it up to you.

I'm heading off for a Meet & Greet with my new co-workers. Hopefully things go well. *Fingers crossed*

Love,

Tao

TMI P.S. I don't know if it's my recent indulgence in food or my body's having trouble adjusting to the new environment, but I'm pretty backed up. Does anyone have good tips on how to relieve irregularities? Metamucil isn't doing much. Also, I'm thinking of starting the Master Cleanse AKA The Lemonade Diet. Yay or Nay?