Thursday, March 22, 2012

Make-Up Chat

I have been having some trouble applying eye liner recently. Well to be honest, i've always had a bit of trouble with eyeliner. I always stick to pencil liners because I just wasn't brave enough to use anything else. One time, when I was in my early 20s, Andrea had let me try her liquid liner and i completely made a mess of my face so I steered away from anything besides pencil. Plus, pencil is super cheap. I had a similar story with blush when I was in high school actually. I tried using my mom's blush without learning how to apply it properly and I looked like a monkey's butt. I didn't use blush again until I was 25.

I'm digressing. So the pencil liners started giving me problems because they always seem to run and smear after a while. I tried several different liners after that and the latest purchase was the MAC Technakohl eye liner kajal (an impulse purchase at the duty free when I was chatting with a MAC sales about my running eyeliner problem). Anyway, the expensive eyeliner turned out to run anyway, despite being smudge free, water-proof, blah blah blah. It doesn't run as badly, but it runs. I ended up just having to learn to live with it and keep it in check, so my latest problem has nothing to do with this. My latest problem is that I can't get color to stay on my inner top right eye corner. It's so weird: from the inner corner to about half a centimetre, it just won't catch the colour. I tried using all types of pencil liners and none of it works. Yesterday, I went and bought a cream liner and brush and the same thing happens--the colour just disappears in that corner..not in the other eye either. I tried googling this and all I get is about the colour going away after a while, but not as soon as you put it on. It's like I have an eczema patch there that's preventing the colour to stick but I can't see it visibly (and I  don't even  know if eczema patch prevents colour from catching on skin), or i have a patch of oil that doesnt wipe away or something. I decided my last option was a liquid liner, so I headed back to Target today to see their selections. I ended up buying two types of eyeliner pens because I couldn't tell the difference between the two. Plus the cream I bought yesterday, and the eyeliner and shadow stick--I bought a total of four liners in two days. The only thing I am missing now is gel liner to complete the collection...not that I'm collecting.

All the liners i have with me in san antonio right now. I have more at home.

Besides the eyeliners, I also ended up buying mascara, and two lipgloss and a concealer brush (i'm not using it for concealers though, cuz i dont know how). That's a total of 9 items. How much did I end up spending? $17. No that's not a typo.

  • studio line mascara: = $3
  • studio line cream liner = $3
  • studio line angled eyeliner brush = $3
  • studio line eyeliner and shadow stick = $3
  • concealer brush = $1
  • liquid liner = $1
  • pen liner = $1 
  • lipgloss x 2 = $2
Why is it so cheap? E.L.F.! (Eye Lips Face) This budget brand that is sold online and in Target is a hit and miss for people. Some products from the line people love and some people just don't. Not everything is great but many are pretty good. When I first started using make up brushes in Boston, I was buying ELF brushes just to see if i'll use brushes in the long run before i invest in them. They are definitely GREAT beginner brushes for trial. In fact, I think all their products are pretty good if you want to try something new. A ton of reviews on YouTube on their products and I'm not make-up expert so I won't get into the details.

I've tried most of the products I purchased, and I love the liquid liner. I might buy another one ($1!) if I like it enough in the next two days. The great thing about E.L.F. is that their quantity is actually quite small, which suits me perfectly since I don't wear make up that often.

My new E.L.F. haul in the last two days ($17!!)

Dont get me wrong, I dont just buy cheap make-up; I have quite a collection from MAC, Lancôme, urban decay, Laura Mercier, Elizabeth Arden, etc., and other things u can buy at local drug stores like maybeline, cover girl, rimmel...i can go on...its such a waste actually cuz i never finish using them. I should do an entry on my fav products when i get a chance.
Aren't you excited?? Haha!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Modernist in Paris

I had the fortune of watching Midnight in Paris on my way back from Denver and when I say fortune, it's because I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but due to director and casting, I probably would have never have chosen to watch it otherwise. I mean..Owen Wilson...this is probably the first movie he was in that I actually liked. The film isn't deep and not symbolic--generally artsy films such as this never openly denote the theme the way this movie does, which is specifically nostalgia -- specifically the idealization of the past and the conclusion we have the tendency to believe that the past is always better, no matter how great your present is. You can't miss the message; this is in no way an interpretive film--which is quite ironic, considering this film is a tribute to Modernists.

What made me adore this film was actually because it is a tribute to Modernists and I have always loved Modernist works. Reading Modernist literature out loud makes my skin tingle--Eliot and Joyce, being the most obvious favourites. No, I don't read enough Modernist work because they are actually so tiring to read. Last time I read Faulkner, my brain tingled with pleasure, but I fail to remember the plot of the story--all I can remember is how beautifully he is able to string words together to create unimaginable images. And here we have a film where the protagonist gets to go back to Paris in the 1920s to meet with Hemingway, Stein, Eliot and hang out within their social circles. I have loved Dali the moment I was introduced to him via my Modern Western History class, before I even really got a hang of the concept of modernity. And then I went on to do an Independent Study Project on Modern Era in the 1920s--flappers and all--which led me to win the graduating award at the end of the year for this class. I went to the MoMa just so I can see Dali and other surrealists in person. How can I not love this movie? It also helps that all the scenes of Paris are now like second nature to me.

But wait, I might have misled you. You don't need to really be involved in history and literature and art to understand this movie. Perhaps that's one of the reasons the plot is so simple--so everyone can enjoy it. If nothing else, this movie is making me go pick up some Hemingway.

Oh and here's a read-worthy article on words making beautiful sentences. For the record, "Let us go then, you and I" were what caught my breath and made me fall in love with J Alfred Prufrock. Beautiful sentences don't come out of nowhere; it takes practice, it takes time, and a lot of work. You might think it absurd that an author can take months trying to figure out what single verb to use in a sentence of a 500 page novel, but the result is worth this. And we have seen it again and again with our own eyes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ideological Alignment

This is an interview of Malcom Gladwell given by the liberal arts director at High Point University in North Carolina. He's funny, witty, humble, and incredibly insightful.

When I first encountered the book a couple of years ago, The Tipping Point, I had scoffed at the idea of reading a book that tells you how to be successful. Recently, I was given to read The Outliers and I was extremely impressed with how observant and insightful Malcom Gladwell is on social interactions and their meanings. I then obtained that copy of The Tipping Point that I had refused earlier and rather enjoyed reading it as well.

I don't believe in learning how to become "successful" by reading, whether financially or socially, but what I do believe in is reading avoid dogmatism, and this books do exactly that.

There are several key reasons why I enjoy Malcom Gladwell's analysis on social bearings:
  1. He's an environmentalist like me. Not environmentalist like I'm hugging the trees, but the belief that we are shaped by our environments. It's the age-old nature vs nurture debate where although it's never one or the other, I do agree with him that a large part of our "personality" are shaped by their social environment.
  2. He doesn't preach or push his insights on you. Rather, he presents you with an alternative world view that you can either take or leave. He takes what the general public view is the "norm" and gives you a completely different perspective, and therefore a new concept, of how the world works.
  3. He is a great writer. His writing is clear, logical, and well-presented. A+ on rhetoric. 
You are not supposed to walk away from his book with a new hard-fast rules of how to conduct your life, but rather with possibilities of new ideologies that make the world a better place.

Some highlights on this interview:
  • "I was privileged to be underprivileged" Outsiders are able to see things differently because they are not acclimated and desensitized to a culture and what people think is the way things should be the outsiders don't see it the same way.
  • "If you take care of the little things then it will instill the mindset that makes the big things easier" Steve Jobs is successful because he is a perfectionist with a purpose (not a perfectionist because he's got a disorder). He insists on perfecting the little things around him to fit his overall purpose--he understands that meaning doesn't just come from words or things, but also from all types of seemingly insignificatn actions and inactions around us.
  • "Do not, by the way, listen to your ipod when you work...this is insane! I'm sorry, you can't do work, it just can't be done [...] Here is the two findings: number one is that everyone thinks they're great at multi-tasking; finding number two is, no one is." (I feel validated because I cannot work with music) He also mentioned that if you are doing brain-work and working efficiently, you can't work 8 hours a day.
  • Wealth is not what it's cracked up to be...a cycle of discovery on your way to being wealthy, money is a conduit, and that's why people work hard all their lives who end up just giving it all away. This is the most profound part of the interview and worth watching.
  • "[Leaders] have less in common than what I thought they would. Leadership comes in an astonishing number of forms" The only thing they have in common is energy. Energy can come from passion, from purpose, from drive, or from innate (some people just don't need to sleep as much) but the only thing that help them become leaders is that they never stop.
  • "Your personality is a function of what is going around you" <-- environmentalist
  • "The idea..that Social Power, which is to say, to be distinguished from economic power, which is the power that comes from money...or political power from institutions, or even institutional power, the power comes from your title. There is a different if not equally more important thing, a power called Social power, an informal way which influence is mediated in the world. Social power is not held equally by all of us; it's held by a small number of us with gifts. Some people have a capacity of social interaction that's way out here...they are enormously important in the functioning of this institution...the people with social power get really good stuff done...a high functioning organization depends on these people...people go to work, school because of the environment and it's these people who create functional environments. Understand where social power lies. Well-functioning societies reward those that do that." I'm not quoting his exact words because the section was so long and so in-depth, but this is one of the ideas that he tries to make us see that we don't usually understand, the idea that social interactions can have just as much, if not more, power, than money, institutions, title.