March and April seem to run into a blur now (which is why I’ve combined them into one favorites post). Check out what I was into these past couple months!
The Office (U.S.) (read here)
Dive into the uncomfortably awkward workspace of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I couldn’t get into it the first time around (and went ahead and finished 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation instead). After those two shows I decided to give The Office another chance, and thank goodness. My friend suggested that I power through season 1 (which is an easy six episodes) to get situated. As the show progresses, you start to care for each of the characters that develop along the way. I especially have a soft spot for the show’s sweet love team, Jim and Pam. Eventually you care about Dwight, the Assistant to the Regional Manager, and his ridiculous antics, and of course Michael Scott’s immature, inappropriate, yet kind-at-the-core awkward interactions with everyone he meets. Somehow this mockumentary show turns a small office of a small town paper company into the most exciting and gossip-fueled space for nine seasons.
Human Nature Acne Defense Solution Gel (read here)
As someone with acne prone skin, I’m always on the lookout for a product that can dry up spots that appear overnight. For a few months before this product, I was using tea tree oil (http://giga.com.ph/products/view/tea-tree-oil) to dry up my spots. It worked well at naturally drying them up and reducing redness without the harsh chemicals. However, if applied several days in a row, some spots would get too dry and look slightly flaky under makeup. Tea tree oil also has a strong scent. With this tea tree gel, I find that my spots dry up within 3-6 days without over drying my skin (most likely due to the aloe vera gel). I have tested the Mario Badescu drying lotion because of the amazing things I’ve heard, but I’ve found that it irritates and prolongs my acne spots. When I would go back to this tea tree acne gel, I can immediately tell my spots are soothed and gradually decrease in size without over drying or the strong scent of tea tree oil. If I am going to use makeup during the day, I do not apply it in the morning. But if it’s a stay-at-home day, I will apply this twice a day after cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. It applies clear on the face, but if a lot is applied, a thin layer of the gel will be visible but can be easily peel-able. (This is a product from the Philippines which I received from my parents after their trip. Human Nature does have products sold within the U.S. on their website, but unfortunately not this particular product, at least at the moment).
L’oreal Pro Matte foundation 103 (purchase here)
I was religiously using the Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation in the shade 842 Medium Beige for the past 1.5 years. However, it was never the right shade because it had more of a pink undertone than what my golden/yellow undertone needed. With a much shorter haircut, the difference between my foundation and neck was even more visible so I knew I had to find a new foundation. With recommendations from friends, I finally tried out the L’oreal Infallible Pro Matte foundation in the shade 103 Natural Buff. Instantly, I could tell the shade was a fairly close-to-perfect match to my natural skin tone. I first would apply my concealer on darker spots and under my eyes, then go over with a flat top kabuki brush with the foundation. After a couple months of use, I can say for my combination skin that this definitely stays matte for a whole day. I’ve even found that I could sometimes go without setting powder and just use setting spray.
Luxie Tapered Face Powder Brush 520 (purchase here)
A fluffy powder brush is a staple (at least for me) in a makeup routine, whether it’s for bronzer, blush, or in my case, setting powder. I was using an Ecotools powder brush since high school (so about five years), so I thought it was time to upgrade to a new powder brush. This Luxie 520 Tapered Face Powder Brush is incredibly soft (whereas my Ecotools brush has more stiff bristles), which makes buffing out powder a soothing experience. I also appreciate the slight taper because I can easily set powder in smaller areas such as under my eyes and around my nose, but also take the large brush and set my cheeks and forehead.
Nyx Matte Liquid Liner (purchase here)
Ever since I finished my Stila Stay All Day Waterproof liquid eyeliner in 2013, I’ve been on the search for a more affordable alternate. I haven’t had luck since then, until I tried out the black NYX Matte Liquid Liner this past month. I didn’t think I would like it because it is not a felt tip, but a thin precision brush tip. It surprised me at how well I can control my lines and how pigmented the ink is. This product stays on all day and is indeed waterproof, despite my somewhat oily eyelids (and I don’t use eye primer).
Princess Nokia’s Smart Girl Club podcast (listen here)
Whenever I’m working on my laptop and it doesn’t require too much analysis, I like to multitask and listen to a podcast. I stumbled upon Princess Nokia’s podcast on her Soundcloud when I was researching other podcasts by womxn of color. The first time I listened to her Smart Girl Club podcast, I was in love within the first few minutes. I took a couple audio classes and have heard several podcasts before, so I understand the professionalism that comes with clean, clear audio recordings. However, Princess Nokia’s raw unedited recordings of her voice in her room creates a sense of familiarity, simplicity, and genuine love. Her soft, soothing voice discussing topics she strongly believes in (such as empowering young people in embracing their individuality, feminism, and poetry) is like a warm hug from a (platonic) soulmate. The way she empowers you with gentle reminders sounds as if she is your best friend from childhood. Give her a listen, and you’ll see what I mean.
Root, by Melissa Tripp (purchase here)
I’ve been following Melissa Tripp on twitter for a few months, and when she tweeted that her book was going to be free for a short period on Amazon Kindle, I immediately downloaded it (of course, support artists when you are able to, which I try to do when I can). As I continued to read poem after poem, I realized a found another poetry book to add to my favorites list. Root provides words that gently remind you how beautiful you are, how you can overcome heartbreak and sadness, and how to best improve yourself through self-love. To find some of her words, check out her Twitter @highsandprose.
I Love My Love, by Reyna Biddy (purchase here // listen here)
Reyna Biddy’s I Love My Love is another poetry book on my favorites list. I first heard her perform the Intro on Kehlani’s Sweet Sexy Savage album, and I needed to know who wrote and said those words. I came upon Reyna’s Soundcloud with a few audio tracks from her book and became an instant fan. I was able to borrow this book from a friend who also appreciates Reyna just as much, and I may just purchase my own copy soon. Her words are the perfect remedy for a broken heart. It’s even more relatable (but also amazing) that she is about my age. The way she strings letters together to form the most impactful, relatable sentences is amazing. It’s as if she understands the exact pain you are going through or have already overcome. To get a taste of this, follow her on Instagram or Twitter @reynabiddy or find her on Soundcloud and Spotify.
Khalid “American Teen” (listen here)
I’ve been reading a lot about a new album by Khalid and heard Location a few times, so I decided to take a listen for myself. It usually takes me awhile to get into a new artist I’ve never heard from before, but after one listen through the whole album, I couldn’t wait to hear about future projects. At such a young age of nineteen, it’s incredible how rich and soulful his voice and lyrics are. Through American Teen, there are songs full of heartbreak and sadness, but also the sense of the youthful, restless spirit of someone who isn’t a young teen anymore, but not quite an adult.
Rocky Rivera (listen here)
Thanks to a friend, I discovered the amazing music of the hip hop duo Blue Scholars, which years later led me to discovering the music of Bambu and his wife, also a dope rapper, Rocky Rivera. I’ve heard of Rocky Rivera while in college, but never took the time to give her music a listen until recently. And it’s AMAZING. My personal favorites are Turn You and Brown Babies in the album Nom de Guerre. Her words bleed feminism, community organizing, and her Filipina cultural identity, topics I care about and believe are important. With lyrics like
Take my last name but you can’t deny my history
I’mma show you what it means to have equality
I’mma make my ancestors proud of me
I’mma help you redefine masculinity
My fate is greater than the gender you assign to me
from her song Turn You, you instantly feel empowered and find or rediscover the magic and power of feminism.
*All products were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.