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Monday, September 26, 2011

Shopping for a Quail

I recently came across this website for a really cute clothing line, Quail. The meaning you ask? Well, what I've learned from creator, LA Native, Michelle Nguyen Williams, is that quail is a term used to describe a woman or a girl in the 1960's. This line has been featured in numerous fashion mags from Lucky, Instyle, Lucky, etc. and also has been seen on some celebrities such as Lauren Conrad, or should I stay reality TV star, the lines are getting blurred these days!

They've got a pretty decent sale going on so def check it out. Here are my picks from this line:
Love the mustard colors and all the buttons
The florette stole is gorgeous and different and I love it paired with the Kinetic Dress
I think these silk shorts can definitely be worn outdoors!

Have you guys ever tried anything from this line?

Friday, September 23, 2011


Hello all! I've decided to start a new blog chronicling my year of wedding planning.  I was engaged over memorial day weekend :) Since then I've finished my residency, had a birthday, moved back from San Francisco (still miss it dearly, sigh), went on a crazay adventure in Asia, and now settling back in the D.C. metro area... I've finally even started thinking about wedding planning!

I've never been one of those girls who dreamed about their wedding their whole life.. which in a way makes it more difficult to plan! I keep getting all these ideas of what I would like my wedding to be, every time I see something inspirational, it changes! My dilemma mostly is keeping my wedding traditional yet personalized - incorporating my cultural traditions and my American roots.

Please check out my new blog - Bridal Eye Candy <3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Infamous B.B. Cream

Blemish balm, more commonly referred to as B.B. cream is a well-known product in the Asian markets. I've heard about this product previously, but I haven't had the chance to try it until my recent trip to Asia. Now that I have, I'll have to say I'm pretty in love with this product! B.B. cream is suppose to be an all-in-1-product, it acts like a moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, concealer, whitener (Asians love that), foundation - pretty much does it all!

There are different types, some with more or less coverage, some with anti-aging properties, some that are more water based so they have a more sheer feel to them. It is a product based on ointment created in the 1950's by a German dermatologist who used it on her patients after undergoing laser and peel treatments to soothe, protect and conceal redness in the patient's skin. However, today's BB cream has been attributed to origins in Korea with its popularity by Korean actresses using this product and other brands capitalizing on the success.

In Asia, almost every single makeup/beauty brand, even ones used in the U.S. such as Maybelline, Garnier, etc.  B.B cream has recently been introduced to the U.K. markets with a bunch of different brands including Clinique, Estee Lauder, Garnier, Mac, etc. and is thought to be the year's biggest beauty trend. However, the U.S. market has been a little bit slower to welcoming B.B. cream. Sephora recently released Boscia B.B. cream, this is the first in the U.S. It is well reviewed on Sephora and I have heard decent things from a friend of mine as well... so definitely worth trying out, plus Sephora is pretty great at exchanges/returns if you end up not liking a product.

I tested out a multitude of different B.B creams in Asia, but there were so many that it was way overwhelming! Their drugstores are great in Asia - I went to Watsons for most of my drugstore beauty products and then some specialty stores such as Skin Food, Etude, The Face Shop just to check out their products. SaSa and Colourmix were another some other popular beauty stores.  One of my friends had just came back from Taipei so I was lucky to get her input and use her recommendations

One she recommended to me and really liked was the Maybelline B.B. Cream , SPF 26++, it comes in two colors. The bottle says its an 8-IN-1 skin transformer:

  •  Brightens skin: visible whitening effect
  • Covers imperfections, reduces the appearance of pores, skin redness disappears
  • Moisturizes and protects: all day hydration + helps to protect skin from UV rays and free radical

I used the 02 Natural color, since after a month in Asia, I was definitely much tanner and in general I would say I'm not as fair-skinned as the Asians living in Asia. I personally really liked this product a lot! Its definitely replaced my other tinted moisturizer (Laura Mercier) and Nars foundation as my everyday routine. I like the consistency, its very light and it reminds me closely of a water based moisturizer I got in Asia (will review later). I think the coverage is pretty average, not too much or too little... you can always add another layer if you want more coverage. I prefer buildable coverage as opposed to it feeling heavy once you put it on. Although, I had great success with this product as well as a few of my friends, I did have other friends who felt that the color did not fit them.  Most B.B creams either come only in 1 or 2 shades and that doesn't always work with everyone's skin tone.

The best thing about the Maybelline B.B. cream though is the bang for your buck. Definitely one of the cheapest ones out there.  Prices I noticed were cheaper in Thailand and Malaysia, while Taipei and Hong Kong were more expensive. I bought it at a Watsons drugstore in Thailand for about $6 for 18mL(0.5 oz). The Nars foundation is $42 for 1 oz, so I'm saving $30, while the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is $42 for 1.5 oz - I could buy 7 bottles of the Maybelline B.B cream for the price of 1. Well of course part of the reason for the low price is the exchange rate of American dollars to Asian currency, but it definitely was one of the cheapest B.B. creams I encountered in the Asian markets.

I also tried the Missha B.B. cream, probably one of the most well-known brands.  I actually just found out they are sold in the U.S. by Korean retailers.  So if you do end up wanting to try it instead of trekking to Asia, definitely check out to see if theres a cosmetic store by you that sells it. I personally did not like the Missha B.B. cream. I felt that it was heavier and the color did not match my skintone.  It made me look very white and ghostly.  The coloring looked like it had a whiteish cast to it, which for is great for some Asians who have paler complexions or want their skin to look that way, but I'm not one of them. I didn't feel like this brand was natural enough for me.  My friend had mentioned that likely the reason that the Missha B.B. cream is thicker consistency and the coloring is lighter is because it originated in Korea, where the temperatures can get cooler and skin tones may be paler as opposed to SE Asia.

Skinfood B.B. cream, I thought was a little too shimmery for me.  There were a few others I tried, but I don't remember them too well now. I decided just to stick with the Maybelline B.B. cream since it was budget friendly and it did its job! I did notice that Bobbi Brown had a new B.B. cream and I would be interested in trying that out... but that was near the end of my trip and I had already collected enough face goodies!

As for an all-in-one product, I'm not sure if I am convinced if it is that for everyone.  For me, as an everyday product, I think its perfectly fine.  I still wear SPF in addition, but thats because I am pretty particular about making sure I have on SPF 50 everyday... I don't use concealer or any other products besides moisturizer with SPF and either foundation/tinted moisturizer so this product works perfectly for me.  If I wanted more coverage and staying power, I think I would definitely use a powder on top of the B.B. cream, but overall I am pretty satisfied with it and I would recommend it! Hope my review helps!

Have you guys tried B.B. cream before? What brands do you like?

info via, photos by me  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Journey of Tips

After moving back to the D.C. metro from the S.F. bay area, I had only one week home to unpack, attend a wedding, and then re-pack for Asia.  We only had 2 nights booked in Hong Kong when we left the U.S. from NYC.  Typically being a pretty detailed planner, I realized the joys of actually planning things as you go and going with the flow.

I traveled for 44 days visiting, over 13 cities, and 8 countries with just a backpack, which fluctuated between 10-13 kg (22-28lbs).  Throughout this journey, I picked up quite a few travel tips that I thought would be helpful for anyone traveling esp with summer travel.

1.  Pack appropriately!!

You know this, you really do, but you don't realize it until you don't have the right clothes.  I would say to always bring:
  • Tennis shoes (you never know what kind of outdoor hike, waterfall trek, bumpy bike ride you can encounter) 
  • Comfortable sandals (will do a future post on sanuk vs. teva sandals) for all the walking you're gonna be doing, can also be used if you need them for a filthy shower or walking around your bunker
  •  A jacket even if its a hot and humid summer (great when you find yourself on a 2AM trek on top of a volcano - yes its COLD up there! or it'll help when you find yourself sleeping in the airport or even a super air-conditioned ferry ride) .. something lightweight, but trust me, you'll be happy you brought it when you need it 
  • A hat to shield yourself from the sun whether its basking in the sun all day or out tomb raiding temples
  • Bring a daypack to hold all your things as you sight see throughout the day. I used a cross body bag while traveling, but I would say my cousin's daypack was definitely better than my bag. Last but not least, definitely bring a money pouch that you can place underneath your clothes... very helpful for storing extra money, passports & plus you never want to put all your money and valuables in one place, you gotta spread it out!
With this all said, I did bring my favorite outfits although I had to wear them over and over... try to find things you can mix and match easily since space is precious on a trip like this, but with all the photo shoots you're going to do, you of course wanna look good ;) Just don't forget the essentials! & remember, the less you bring, the more you can bring home!

2. To suit case or not?

I wasn't sold on using a backpack initially since I really didn't want to carry a big backpack on my shoulders, but it turned out to be really helpful and I think it helped me build some muscle lugging that heavy thing around... ha! I used a 35L Northface backpack, which was good enough for the trip, you may want to consider something larger if you want to pack more stuff... my cousin carried a 60L backpack. The great thing is when you have to move really quickly and go up stairs, having a backpack is much easier.

Also, don't forget to bring combination locks to lock up your bag when you are traveling, definitely a necessity and if you don't buy those TSA approved locks (but I'm not sure if they work in Asia), make sure you unlock your stuff before you check in your bag or they WILL break your locks (yup, I totally forgot one time :( I would definitely recommend using combination locks over keys...just in case you lose the key and it is ONE more than to carry!

In addition to my backpack, I also brought a large soft travel bag that was helpful for me when we had to check in our backpacks and to keep anything important or valuable. I would also recommend putting in one pair of clothes, contacts/makeup/toothbrush into your carry on, JUST IN CASE your luggage is delayed or lost, which happened to us! We slept in the airport that night so luckily I brought some extra stuff with me, but was definitely extremely relieved when I had a few things while our luggage was on its way

3. MUST USE travel websites

The following travel websites were EXTREMELY helpful on our trip. Considering we did no planning beforehand, we needed good online resources to let us know what the best accommodation for our budget was, places to see, things to do, and how to get from here to there.  These are my favorite resources:
  • Tripadvisor - BEST resource for reviews on accommodations, restaurant and attractions
  • Airbnb - You can find the best deals on airbnb and hopefully a lovely host like the ones we found that can give you great information, use my link for $25 off your first stay! This is great when you're traveling with more than one person... they're usually very cozy! People either rent our rooms in their own apartments or they rent out their entire apt/home. Otherwise I would use if you'd rather go that route 
  • Couchsurfing - stay on a free couch and meet some cool people (will do another post my own personal experience) if you're brave enough! I would definitely recommend it, but obviously use common sense and chat with your host for a bit ahead of time before you stay there and if you don't feel comfortable, don't stay there
  • Flights:  We used skyscanner to get an idea of where the cheapest places to fly were.  It has a great option where you can select 'everywhere' with flexible dates and it'll list the cheapest places to fly from your current location.  I would use it in addition to using sites like, or (we found that our flight from NYC to HKG was cheapest on hipmunk so worth a try!) since it isn't all inclusive
    • We used, or for low cost air carriers, no frills but gets you to where you need to be!
    • Be sure to always pay for checked luggage as if you don't and they force you to check your luggage, it will be a hefty expense! 
    • Don't be afraid to check our buses and trains in Asia as well, they're very cheap and if you have the time, another experience to tell! 
 I could go on for days about tons and tons of travel advice, but I think I will leave it at there for now and add more tips as I go into detail about each place I traveled to. Hope this helps!  Travel happy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Passport Stamp Collector

I had an amazing adventure, backpacking throughout Asia... back now with more perspective about the world, a little heftier from eating so much and endless stories to tell. I'm settling back now so stories and travel tips galore to come! I also picked up quite a few beauty products that need to be reviewed! So excited to try them all :)