November 23, 2015

Best conditioner ever! Wella Professionals Elements Lightweight Renewing Conditioner

This was one of the products I received from the Beauty Bound Asia contest. It’s not an Asian brand, but my goodness, I love it so much!

Wella Professionals Elements
Lightweight renewing conditioner

I have super fried hair, but this conditioner makes me feel like I just came out of a salon. And that makes sense, seeing as it is professional grade! My hair feels silky, smooth, and lightweight. I’d even go so far as to say that this conditioner works better than most hair masks!

I will forewarn, though, that it is a heavy conditioner. I have to take extra care to avoid my scalp. Otherwise, it will get insanely greasy. On the plus side, all you need is a little bit and you’re good to go!

One last thing I love about this conditioner is that the results don't diminish with rinsing. With many conditioners, if you rinse out too much, you lose the effect. Not with this one. I can rinse all I want and the silkiness will still be there (and immediately apparent, too.)

It’s a pretty pricey product ($22 at Ulta for a lotion-sized bottle), so I don’t necessarily think you need to run out and buy it. But if you were thinking of getting a similarly priced hair mask anyways, definitely consider this product, too!

Thanks for reading!

November 22, 2015

I have a new blog layout!

Audio recording:

--------- BEGIN ACTUAL POST ------------

I have a new blog layout!

Please come take a look around! It’s supposed to be like a dollhouse. The infrastructure hasn’t changed much (yet!), but I’ve revamped the banner and the sidebar. Fiinally, I’ve revamped it.



If it wasn’t already obvious, I have a huge problem with starting things, finishing them to about 95%, and then letting them sit for, oh...say a couple of years! That’s what happens to about 99% of my requested blog posts (*super shameful*), and this layout as well.

I first drafted this layout about 3 or 4 years ago. I doodled it in my notebook. But as someone without any design experience whatsoever, it seemed like such a daunting task.

I mean, I know is how to change backgrounds…? But to successfully pull off that banner and then code the sidebar…It may not seem like much, but I was convinced I had to pay someone to do it.

Which is why after tons and tons of fiddling, I’m super happy to say that I have finished my baby. From envisioning the idea to creating the graphics, and pulling it all together with my limited html, this was my work! And I hope to keep adding to it as time goes on.

Now, it may not load for some people since the images are so large, but I’m banking on the hope that everyone has fast internet by now! (And it helps to keep on the page while i’ts still loading.) But if not, that’s okay, too. Hopefully for the people that it doesn’t load for, my posts will be interesting enough that it doesn’t matter too much. >.<

Thank you for reading! And please let me know if it does indeed not load for you, and if so, how much ><

November 18, 2015

Beauty Bound Asia vlog!

Come get breakfast with me at the Presso Inn hotel in Tokyo!

This is my first vlog of many, and it’s super short (for real, it’s like less than a minute long.) So go ahead just watch it, please!

"Time for me to go get breakfast~" is what I had said at the beginning of the video.

To be very honest, the food at the hotel wasn’t much (just pastries and salads), but I don’t know, something about a free hotel breakfast just makes me so giddy! Anyone else get that?

And even though this vlog wasn’t much, I have to say that I'm quite proud of it, hehe. I thought the music went well, making the overall video short and sweet. ^.^ I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll have more dolly vlogs to come!

Thanks for watching and reading!

November 16, 2015

Why I think Taiwanese people are super friendly

Because they’re warm and open—basically, uninhibited—when it comes to strangers. And it’s the little things that make me say that. A quick exchange, a beaming grin, an open gesture, and just…talking in a way that’s not only polite, but friendly. I’d almost think that we’d met before.

Pic taken from my Twitter, which I highly highly recommend if you are interested
in what Taiwanese life is like! Also, no audio recording because my video editing software expired T.T

Coming from Korea—and even America, though to a lesser degree—I'm used to keeping to myself. In Korea, you don’t really take the initiative to help other people.

For example, if someone drops their phone, they pick it up themselves. If an ajumma asks a young lad where the (blank) is, he’ll answer quickly and then rush back to his phone. When someone’s suitcase fell and made an enormous racket down the stairs, the most someone did was half-hearted attempt to sort of stop it...with their foot.

I emphasize “with their foot” here because if you imagine the scenario, going in with your foot maintains an emotional distance, as opposed to stooping down and actively trying to grab it with your hands. Does that make sense?

It’s not that Koreans are rude, because they’re still mindful of other people’s space—for example, when you and your friends want to sit together on the subway, someone will move. Or, if you drop your phone, people around you will move their feet so you can grab it. But the thing is, they’re silent about it. They won’t strike up a conversation with you, and they certainly looked at me weird for trying. (And of course, this is just my experience, too.)

In Taiwan, on the other hand, there is warmth in the way they talk, emotional investment in the conversation. It sometimes feels like a little town, and other times, like an extended family.

Example 1: It feels like an extended family.
When I was going to Tokyo for the Beauty Bound Asia trip, I was stupid enough to go to the wrong airport. *slaps self on head* So in a frenzy, I asked the security guard how to get to Songshan airport. He felt my anxiety, and he rushed me over to the information counter, telling the worker there to call the airport on my behalf. How nice right?

And the way he explained to me how to get there felt like he really cared, like he really wanted me to make it in time. Normally, people answer your questions, but leave it up to you to make it work. But the way he talked felt like he was emotionally invested in my problem. And in that way, it felt like he was my uncle—maybe my dad's friend or something like that.

Example 2: A small, but kind gesture.
There was an empty seat on the subway, and a stylish young guy was standing next to it (gotta mention that he was stylish!) He wasn’t going to sit, though, so he gestured for me to sit down instead. I thought that was friendly because he took the initiative to let me, a complete stranger, know. He made the effort to make my life easier by telling me first. In Korea, you kind of have to gauge for yourself.

Example 3: Non-threatening smiles all around.
There was a man was fishing on a bridge next to the street and some people stopped to peek at the fish he caught. I thought they were going to judge him for being a weirdo—I mean, he was fishing in filthy water!—but then, I saw the smiles on their faces. The onlookers grinned at him, and then back at each other.

Other small examples
Here in Taiwan, people ask you which floor you’re going to so that they can press it for you. In Korea, no matter how crowded the elevator is, you have to squeeze through to press it yourself.

Recently, the elevator in my apartment skipped the lobby, which left both me and another guy super confused. He chuckled, “That elevator’s really weird, huh?”
For him to say that was quite unexpected. In Korea, the confusion would have been mutually understood, but unspoken.

As I left the main building that an eyelash salon was in, the security guard sitting in the lobby called out to me, “Baibai~~”
I would never in a million years expect a security guard to greet me voluntarily!

On the subway here in Taiwan, when someone drops their phone, I see other people pick it up for them. In Korea, you don't touch other people's stuff, even if it's a big mess.

Then there was the mother who thanked me, when all I did was move over 2 inches so she could grab the handrail.
I didn't think it was anything big for me to do that—I mean, she was carrying her baby, it only made sense for me to give her some space!—but for her to acknowledge took some initiative, I think.

And just today I saw a woman whisper into another woman's ear, I'm guessing to tell her that her skirt was tucked in. Because that woman immediately fixed her skirt, while the other one walked on as if nothing happen. It was from that that I saw how casual and no big deal helping someone is in Taiwan.

It’s little things like that that wouldn’t happen in Korea that make me say Taiwan is friendly. And again, I’m not saying that Korean people are rude; it’s more that they leave you to figure it out yourself, whether you're confused or have lint on your shirt. On the other hand, Taiwanese are less hesitant to reach out. And if you’re the one who reaches out to them, there’s an added level of sugar on top of the bare minimum polite.

So coming to Taiwan, I feel comfortable. I feel at ease, knowing that I don’t have to hold back my inclination towards being friendly, like I did in Korea. If someone’s bag is open and their stuff is about to fall out, I can let them know, and they'll be thankful!

And that’s why I’m not shy anymore. I’m not shy because I’m not scared. I'm not scared because…people are friendly. There is no shame in my conversation or my questions, or even my pleas for help. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I had no money to go home this morning, which is terrifying. BUT! The gym I was at lent me 50NT to go home! Can you believe that? He just took it out of their drawer with no questions asked!

And of course, not everyone is peppy 100% of the time. These examples don't apply 24/7. But I still have to say that more often than not, I am pleasantly surprised.

I should also remind everyone that this is only my experience. While I do think that my experience is a common one (a lot of people have said that Taiwanese people are friendly), there is undoubtedly a factor of luck to it, too. Aside from the usual race, personality, and language skill, it also comes down to who you meet and when you meet them. So take it with a grain of salt, enjoy it, but don’t get too wrapped up in the details.

And as a final note, there is nothing wrong with preferring Korea for its more structured, individual society. Personallyy, I like meeting new friends, so Taiwan is gentler to me. And there's nothing wrong with that, either!

Thank you to Bai for asking me about this on Twitter, and thank you for reading! Have you been to Taiwan, Korea, or both? What was your experience? If not, would you like to? And just like Bai, feel free to ask me questions about Taiwan as well!