It’s me!

How seeing themselves in books can help students read better

Hamilton was released on Disney+ just in time for Independence Day. In light of recent events, I know alot of people did not think year was a good year to celebrate Independence Day. I disagreed.

In fact, events like Hamilton are THE reason why Independence Day should still be celebrated during tumultuous times in our country. Alexander Hamilton was an orphan from the Caribbean who became one of the founding fathers of the U.S. Hundreds of years later, my White dad and Asian mom brought me to this country. Mixed couples like my parents who tried to get married a few decades earlier were thrown in jail. That is why I celebrated Independence Day this year.

After Hamilton was released for streaming, a video of a young girl seeing Phillipa Soo portray Eliza Hamilton went viral. “It’s me!” the girl exclaimed. The little girl was Asian and excitedly recognized her face in Soo’s face, just as I, a 39-year-old-woman, did.

Growing up, seeing someone like me on tv or in books usually just meant looking for the character who was good in school or, if I was lucky, the girl with brown hair. Thinking on it now, it’s interesting because my school was about 50% White and 50% Hispanic and Black (I was one of two Asian kids in the school). Fourth through sixth grades switched to primarily hispanic because we bussed in kids from a smaller and poorer school who were all hispanic. So, even though I went to school with mixed cultures, most of the kids still flocked to the books entrenched in White culture. There were only two books in the library that featured Asian culture at all, but I still identified more with the Black faces on books than I did with all the White faces.

As I got older, I loved fantasy books and mystery, but they usually featured White boys (Chronicles of Prydain, My Father’s Dragon, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher among my favorites). I loved my Baby-Sitters Club books because there was an actual Asian girl in there. Later, the books featured a Black baby-sitter too. Two characters of color out of eight total doesn’t seem like much, but it was in the 1980s. It always seemed like the girls in school were divided by the Sweet Valley High fans and the Baby-Sitters Club fans. There was no way that I could identify with the pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes, much less twins at a well-off school.

Last year, I taught first grade at a school with primarily low-income Hispanic students. My class mostly picked picture books that were related to popular characters – Pokemon, Disney Princesses, etc. My higher kids really liked series books like Dog Man and Pete the Cat. The most popular pop culture characters in my class were Sonic, Mario, and Pennywise (!) among the boys and Elsa, JoJo Siwa, and any fuzzy animal among the girls. Because their own picks did not seem to reflect their own heritage, my teacher team made sure to provide classroom reading books with diverse characters. We actively added topics and images of students in our lessons who looked like our students. One of the reading objectives was for students to find how they could relate to characters and events in stories. Truly, how could a student of color living in Section 8 housing identify with a story where a White kid’s White parents have two cars and live in a two-story house with more rooms and bathrooms than people?

As a book lover and teacher, maybe I am biased about the power of books. Even so, I honestly believe that one of the best things you can do for your children is surround them with books about a variety of subjects and characters. This year, I will be teaching third grade. The diverse library of books I have for first graders needs to be updated so that my new third grade class can see themselves in the books. If they can see themselves in the characters and relate to the stories, then they are more likely to be interested in the books and want to read more.

With that in mind, I created a Donors Choose project because I cannot afford to buy all of the books for a new class library. Texas schools will be opening in person in August and my students will already be stressed about our new rules and having to come back to school after five months at home. While we try to deal with the ever-changing landscape that the Coronavirus forces us into, I want my students to be comforted by familiar things like books. When the virus gets bad enough and we all have to return to remote learning, I want to be able to send books home to any student who does not have internet access or limited access to technology and/or parental help. These students and parents are struggling and trying their best in a difficult situation. For many of my students last year, the couple of books they took with them were the only books they had to read at home.

If you are able to, please donate to my Donors Choose project and spread the word! If you add the code LIFTOFF, donations up to $50 will be matched for the next seven days! If you have any other suggestions about what I can do in my classroom to encourage an environment of inclusion or to help my students when we switch to distance learning, please let me know. I am open to anything that will help my students learn or ease the stress that they and their families face during these confusing times.

Plan With Me June 29 – July 5

Hello! Today, I made some time to plan the coming week. I actually went through and tried to add any stickers to liven up last week and next week too. Planning is such great therapy for me. I like to play planning videos in the background because it makes me feel less guilty for some reason. This time I watched a bit of tattooed teacher plans and Neatly Planned.

Just getting in all those sunny days

For my first step, I went through some weather stickers that I printed out months ago while I was experimenting with sticker designs. I won’t be selling them, but I do need to use them, so I slapped them down for this week. I looked up the 10-day forecast on and we have “mostly sunny” weather this week, but a couple of days for “mostly cloudy”. So, I put down my sunny stickers first and then laid down a couple of clouds for the cloudy days. Unfortunately, it won’t rain at all, so it will be in the upper 90s all week (meaning it’s really going to feel at least 10 degrees hotter due to the sun and humidity.

I admit that I’m a sticker hoarder. Feels good to finally get that off my chest.

Then, I started on my MAMBI sticker books. I got one as a gift and bought a few more during Christmas clearance at Michaels. I keep wanting to buy more, but I have so many to use already! So, I flipped through every page of every book to see if I could use any of the stickers on any of the days.

I don’t exactly know what will be happening on any given day…

I keep using the pen to cover up some private info that I already wrote in my planner. My daughter’s birthday is this week. Independence Day is this week. We get the kids for a month starting Monday. Big week! It also means that I don’t exactly know what will be happening on any given day because I have to wait for my husband to finalize plans with his family…and then remember to tell me the plans at a time when I’m not completely engrossed in something else and will be able to pay attention. I don’t know about you guys, but I do alot of planning where I can’t actually plan!

I’m actually pretty good at drinking water…*humble brag*

You’ll notice my Hydrate sticker is in my Notes. That’s because I’m actually pretty good at drinking water and am just trying to drink 100 oz each day since it’s extra hot. If I do, then I’ll get to check off each day. I don’t need to follow how many cups I drink each day because eight 8-oz glasses is NBD for me *humble brag* I also do plan to feed the kids dinner each night, but I’m not promising to cook each night and I don’t know how many days we’ll actually be in town next week vs. how many days we’ll be at my in-laws’ farm.

Batman cuts through washi like he cuts through actors. Oh! Ba dum ching!

I almost forgot about washi! My precious, precious washi. As I finished up the last parts of events, I went back and added some flamingo washi to tie in the big pink block I used with the green theme of the week. I didn’t have any Independence Day stickers left, so I just used some cute star stickers and made an area on July 4th to designate the holiday.

Next week is planned! Kinda!

It has been so long since I actually made time to sit down and work in my planner like this. I miss my Big Happy Planner, but this kikki.K planner does work better for things nowadays. What planner do you use? Do you have more than one planner? Do you sit down and plan a week at a time or do you have some other method? Share with me in the comments!

Return of the Geek

In which I reboot my WordPress and YouTube accounts

Hey there! Ho there! Been awhile. Quite awhile. I didn’t actually realize how long until I went to upload a video on YouTube and realized it was about 17 months

So, if you haven’t seen my newest video, please check it out! In the video, I’ve taken a shower and am sharing my currently nightly skincare routine. It’s not quite accurate because I don’t do the exact same thing every night; I do whatever my skin needs that night and/or whatever I have energy and motivation to do.

In March, I went on Spring Break thinking that I’d see my class in about a week.

In the time since my last posts, I’ve switched career paths and am an elementary school teacher now. I’m currently looking for a new teaching position. Took me almost 40 years, but I finally found my calling. I loved the bit of subbing that I did, but when I had my own classroom and built a family of kids and saw growth in these students, I finally felt like, “Yes. This is what I am supposed to do.” I actually feel pretty lucky that it only took me 40 years to figure it out, and I’m sure things will change as time goes on too. I just never thought I’d have a career where I knew from Day 1 that I didn’t want to constantly be on the lookout for another better career path to try and explore.

Depression and anxiety have been my unwanted closest companions since mid-March.

In March, I went on Spring Break thinking that I’d see my class in about a week. Then, Corona shut down the U.S. In the last couple weeks Black Lives Matter finally got the traction it deserves, but only after a series of brutal murders and flippant reactions from the authorities. June is Gay Pride month and even though it broke my heart to see the way JK Rowling reacted to some comments about her transphobic statements, it was actually the kindling that the LGBTQ+ movement needed to get more attention as well.

A daily schedule of crying and sleeping

I’m addicted to news on these matters and spend a couple of hours every morning reading it and getting depressed and have cried myself to sleep many a night. Depression and anxiety have been my unwanted closest companions since mid-March. Unfortunately, lots of other people know how I feel right now.

I really am trying to use the time to rest and recover…

To try to help matters, I developed a daily schedule of things to do so that I could work on various projects around the house to make myself feel productive and successful, while also keeping myself too busy to dwell on all the things I can’t fix by myself overnight. That hasn’t worked very well. I’ll have a day or two where I’m pretty productive, and then I have a day or two where I can only sleep, stare at the wall, and stare at the tv. Still, it’s an improvement from the end of May where I had a week of just staring at the tv, sleeping during the day, and crying at night.

Since I have a summer vacation for the first time since I was 15, I really am trying to use the time to rest and recover while also get things done. I’ve finished a few audiobooks. I’m a little over halfway through a physical book that I haven’t had time to read the past two years. I’m getting the bedroom organized so that I have a space to do things like write this blog! With everything going on in the world right now, I figure that if I need two days of rest for every two days of productivity, that’s okay. I can afford that time right now.

How have y’all been coping with the COVID crisis? Are any of you doing anything to support Black Lives Matter or the LGBTQ+ community? Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading this!

Upcycling a Belt To Fix a Purse

Happy May, of 2019!  This is my first post of this year partly because I was trying to figure out the best way to host my photos after Flickr changed their policy and party because I’ve been so mo fo busy this year.  Also, I’m old and time flies, so I kept thinking it was the beginning of the year, and it just now hit me that May means that it’s almost June, which is almost the half of the year, which is almost fall, which is almost Halloween.  Yay Halloween!  Now, here’s a post!

Last year, I bought a cheap purse for $7 at 1/2 of 1/2. I bought it for the size and the sturdy bottom (heh, heh) since my fabric purses wore out quickly on the bottom. By the end of the year, the handle, which was fake leather, had cracked and peeled so badly that it scratched my neck when I used it and I was afraid it might break at any moment. The rest of the purse was fine. My friend said I could see if a tailor could put a new strap on it, but I thought I’d try to fix it first. I found a belt at a thrift store that I thought would work and just needed to find time to work on it.

All my crap
I brought all my supplies to the dinner table after everyone was done eating and went to town!
Cracked Purse Strap
A closeup of the cracked purse strap
Seam Ripper
I used the seam ripper to remove the stitching around the belt loops so that I just had the fabric of the belt.

The general idea was to sew the belt around the existing strap. The trickiest part would be where the belt attached to the purse because there was stitching and hardware attached to the purse that I would need to sew around somehow. I basically fit the belt as close around the purse strap as possible and sewed the belt where I could. I had to use the thread as a tether in some areas just to pull the belt as close to the existing strap as possible so that it wouldn’t flap around on the parts of the strap where I did sew.

Sewing the tie on the strap
On the main part of the strap, I just did a basic stitch along the strap to wrap the belt around the strap. That was the easy, but time consuming part. My finger looks so weird here.

This side of the belt had loose threads from where I had to trim the belt to fit because it was a little longer than I needed. It also felt like I was sewing upside down because I was trying to sew to tuck in parts of the belt and thread in front of where the needle was rather than behind.

Finishing up
Finishing the sewing on the other end of the handle was both trickier and easier. 

All of this was still cheaper than paying a tailor to fix the purse. The belt was cheap and I already had all of the other supplies, so it didn’t cost much in that sense. The project only took two evenings to complete. After using the purse almost daily for four months, I’m pretty happy with this project!

Finished Product
The finished product!

Let me know if you’d like to see more crafty and DIY posts like this. Do you sew? Have you ever had to sew something weird like a purse or a shoe? Thanks for reading and make sure to check me out on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter as well!

California Vacation 2018

Since we got back from vacation in July, I’ve had alot of ideas for blog posts, but was just too busy to do any.  This is only my second post this month! What?!  I figure it’s about time to put something out there since it’s been a month since we went on vacation.

This is going to be a very photo-heavy post.  We spent a week in southern California at the end of July.  We were able to meet up with my sister’s family, my cousin’s family, and my mom at different times, so it was nice to spend so much time with loved ones that I rarely get to see.  This was also the first time my kids had been on a plane, to the ocean, or to California.  Lots of firsts for them!  I prepared them with horror stories of airplane security check lines and tiny airplane seats with broken junk and options to pay lots of money for more broken junk.  On the way there, we flew Delta and it was the best flight experience I’ve had since I flew Virgin Airlines almost a decade ago.  On the way back, we flew American and my kids were pretty disappointed, but did acknowledge that I wasn’t exaggerating with airline horror stories, haha!  The ocean water and sand even cleared up my skin by like, 95%, but that changed once I got back home.  So, I’ll have another post coming soon about my updated skincare routine.  Either way, I took it as a sign that I need to live on the beach for the sake of my health.  It’s all just for my health, not because the beach is awesome and amazing and fun and relaxing.

Ben, Austin, and Averie on the way to California


Logan and me, excited to be sitting together!


Our first meal in Cali was at Panang Thai, which is near LAX.  No matter which restaurant we chose, the GPS went crazy and kept trying to take us back to the airport.  We finally got decent directions for this place and were grateful for the lovely waitstaff and delicious food.


Growing up in the hood and listening to rap and hip hop in the ’90s, I heard alot about Crenshaw.  I also wanted to get a picture of one of many bikers who had a death wish on the highway.  Why would you pull out in front of so many moving vehicles when the only thing between you and death is a helmet made of plastic and foam?!


I added the moustache to this work of art, but this is otherwise all custom work on a quality vehicle.


When you go on vacation and this is the view you see as you pull up the hotel, you know things are going to be good!



Wandering through a closed Chinatown, looking for breakfast, which we did find at a Chinese bakery!


So, of course I spent most of my time at Universal Studios in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I mean, my gimpy feet were bothering me and the sunshine made the temperature hotter.  So, to prevent extra pain and headaches, I just hung out with the Harry Potter stuff, drinking pumpkin juice and walking around in air conditioned stores.  We did all start our visit with fried potatoes, pumpkin juice, and butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks before getting our own wands at Ollivanders.  I did decide on a Cauldron Cake at Honeyduke’s before the evening was over and it was delightful!  I wish the cafeteria at work had these.


Pumpkin juice, Excedrin Migraine, Tylenol, and Advil got me through the day.


Ben, Logan, and Averie came back to enjoy a Simpsons donut from the Kwik-E-Mart on the cool patio at the Hog’s Head.


I had already decided that the first day would be Universal and the second day would be at the beach so that we could just relax and not walk around for miles in the sun.  The beach at Oceanside is much cooler and wilder than some of the other beaches, but we did read up on it first and knew what to expect.  You get used to the cold water quickly once the sun comes out to greet you.


I offered to let this guy look through the telescope, but he was more interested in floor food.  Go figure!


Averie broke her toe a month before we went to California.  So, she was still walking around in a boot for most of the trip.  She wanted to just tape her toes and wear flip flops for anything beach-related, though.  Even without toe tape or boots, I was still limping along behind her.


The kids had a million questions about everything in the water and on the pier.  We have a saltwater fish tank at home, so we were trying to explain to the kids that all the work Ben does with the fish tank is to mimic the environment of the ocean that mother nature takes care of every day.


Ben and the kids got ice cream here the night that we hung out with my family on the pier.


Night surfing!  I can’t even surf during the day.  I so admired this dude.


The waves get pretty big at night.  All you can really see from a distance is the foam.


The resort where we stayed had a viewing deck that we checked out at night when it was less busy.


I get a bit of vertigo when I get close to the edge, but not Logan!


Sea World San Diego!  We didn’t think that we’d be able to afford more than one theme park, but my mom’s friends are both in the military and got some free tickets for us.  There was a whole aquarium filled with adorable sea turtles!


Biting flamingo, kakaw!


While eating at one of the food court patios, I heard Ben say, “Oh, we have some guests,” and felt some fuzzy things on my legs.  I freaked out!  Then, I saw that they were just baby ducklings!  They waddled so quickly that I nearly missed getting a picture.


I almost missed the penguin exhibit before I realized that they had it dark and cold inside not because it was closed, but to imitate July in Antarctica.  This lil dude was outside of the penguin exhibit and posed for quite a few pictures while complaining at me when I took too long between his various poses.


Our last meal in Cali was breakfast with my sister and nephew at the Naked Cafe.  The food was amazing!  (Coconut French toast, whaaaat?)  If I had to eat at this place for every meal for the rest of my life, I could probably handle that.


Probably my favorite name for a store ever!


Polka dot is a cool color for a car!


My babies, proudly wearing their California t-shirts at the airport.


Our middle schooler, tolerating yet another photo.


That is the end of our California vacation!  Thank you for reading this far!  I hope you enjoyed the photos and descriptions.  If you want to hear some more about our vacation, head on over to my YouTube channel for some vlogs!  Let me know if you liked this post by clicking the like button below.  Have you ever been to California?  If so, what part?  Do you surf?  Every driven a polka-dot vehicle?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Unboxing July Ipsy and August Planning

Hello, interwebz!  I’m combining two short posts today – the July Ipsy unboxing and my August planning.  I’m working hard to catch up on all of the reviews and tutorials I want to do for you all so that I can start doing blog and vlog posts while I still have steam!

My July Ipsy Glam Bag contained two Secret Key Nature Recipe masks (honey and tea tree), a blue iridescent makeup bag, an Ofra eyeshadow pan refill in Millennium Gold, Dr. Lipps original Nipple Balm, a Lord & Berry lip liner in Mandarin, and Bellapierre Banana setting powder in Medium.

I tried to take a few pics to really get how pretty this bag is, but it made everything else washed out and hard to see.  This is a nice little bag that I might take with my phone, keys, and wallet when I’m running errands.  I have never heard of Ofra, but this eyeshadow looks pretty and shimmery.  It’s a pan refill that is supposed to fit multiple makeup palettes, but I don’t have any that this would fit.  So, it might make a good travel eyeshadow.  I’m excited to try the Lord & Berry lip liner and Banana setting powder!  The lip liner is the same color as the Kat Von D orange lipstick that I discussed in a previous post, not that the lipstick needs any help in staying powder, but I do like putting lip liner on my lips under lipstick.  I’ve heard that the banana powder does good things for oily skin and shine.  I’m wondering if it’ll help with sweaty Texas heat faces.

I am addicted to face masks, so these two masks were pretty exciting to see in the package!  Honey and tea tree oil are both good for inflamed skin and acne.  Honey has natural antibacterial properties while also being soothing and moisturizing.  Tea tree oil dissolves pimples and calms skin inflammation.  So , the masks are a welcome addition to my beauty routine.  The Nipple Cream struck me as odd at first, and then I remembered reading about this.  You can put it anywhere from your lips to your shoes.  The lanolin mixture will act as a deeply absorbing moisturizer, perfect for my sun sore skin.  Imagine what my skin would be like If I weren’t using lotion and sunscreen every day!

Now, on to my planner.  I need a simple monthly layout since August will be filled with so many back to school items in a week or two.  I finished up my crappy tape in the school design.  So, I decided to try to stay on the blue and red path.  I added a few stickers and left the rest for writing.

The day after I set this up, I added about four things to the monthly calendar.  So, it was a wise choice to keep the monthly spread sparse.  Now that I think of it, I need to record a few other things.  I use my planners to record my daily health record so that I can look back at the end of the week to see if it was a good or bad health week and what may have caused it.  This heat is killing me right now, but usually it’s other triggers like lack of sleep or extra stress.  Back to School time is always a bit extra stressful for everyone, amirite?

I subscribed to the July Mommy Lhey box, so I should get that soon.  It inspired me to use alot of Mommy Lhey art in my weekly spread.  Most of these stickers and washi are from the November Mommy Lhey kit.  I love these little animal cuties and girl/woman stickers!  I still have quite a few things from that box because you get SO MUCH in them.  The boxes are a little expensive, so I told myself that I could get one every six months.  As you can see, the supplies last much longer than every six months.  So, I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth for the beautiful art and high quality stationery products.  Plus, supporting small and independent business women is my favorite kind of shopping!

Well, thanks for reading this post!  Did you like the combination of unboxing and planning?  Let me know your thoughts if you’ve tried any of the items that were in my July Ipsy glam bag.  I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Haul and Reviews – CosRX, Daiso, Sephora, and Arome

Hello, interwebz!  Time for another random beauty and skincare haul and my reviews of the products I impulsively bought at great prices!  Let’s dive right in, shall we?

First stop – Daiso.  I really love this place.  I decided to try the Cocoon Balls and DIY Face Masks.  The cocoon balls are supposed to be made of either spider silk or silkworm silk and are collected, dried, and sent to you for to help your beauties.  You soak the cocoon ball in warm water for about 10 minutes and then wipe it around your face.  It both exfoliates and moisturizes.  I was able to use one every day for a week before I finally tossed it, so I thought it was a pretty good investment.  It didn’t make a huge difference on my skin, but it did help remove dry skin while adding some moisture.  Not bad.  I still haven’t tried the DIY face masks.  I’m waiting to use this with my peppermint toner from my June Kira Kira crate.  As far as I can tell, you soak one of the masks in the toner or essence of your choice and then open up the mask to use it the same as any other fabric mask.  I think this was $1.50 for 5 masks, so there’s not much to lose in trying.

I also finally got the soap foamer.  I started using my foaming face washes on my body, but thought that they might go further if I used this.  I tried using a brush and sponge, but they were too rough on my skin.  This foamer has worked on my foaming face washes, regular body washes, and bar soap as well.  You add a bit of soap, a bit of water, and then basically churn the two until bubbles form.  I like to just smear the bubbles on my body, but they also work better as shaving foam this way.  I get more use out of the products and my skin likes this better because it’s lighter and airier than just slathering myself in soap.

CosRX One Step Original Clear Pads – These are the bomb!  I didn’t really start seeing true progress on my face until I started using these.  The acne and dry patches just started disappearing.  Instead of having a bump on my face that turned into a patchy sore, I just started to have skin and some white heads.  That’s not ideal, but it’s improvement that I hadn’t see so rapidly since I started my new eczema – acne skincare journey.  These BHA pads break down gunk in my pores over night.  I go ahead with my normal skincare routine otherwise – essences, lotion, cream, etc.  In the morning, I wash with water and go with my normal skincare routine.  I have seen and felt so much improvement to my skin and its texture!  I’m finally starting to move into the post-acne treatment phase of skincare.  Yay!

Sephora – I ran into the store at the mall while my husband and daughter looked at other things.  I wanted to pick up the Murad acne spot treatment to use during the day, but it had salicylic acid, which bothers my skin a bit.  I used to only use salicylic acid, but I think I may be allergic now.  Next too the Murad area, I found the Peter Thomas Roth Acne Spot and Area Treatment with sulfur and colloidal oatmeal.  Yes!  These are products my skin likes nowadays.  This was also a few dollars cheaper than Murad.  I use this on any blemishes and whiteheads that I see in the morning.  It smells a bit like sulfur (aka farts), but nobody around you can smell it and it works wonderfully.  I’ve smelt worse with less benefit.  I grabbed a Green Tea Sleeping Mask to try because they had been out for over a month.  This was supposed to clean your pores and moisturize while you sleep.  It was okay, but it was way more than a single application.  That means that you have to find a way to seal it each night.  The consistency is of gel rather than the cream that I was expecting.  It did a good job of moisturizing, but I’m not so sure about clearing out my pores.  The Sephora Honey Lip Scrub was a good deal.  I thought it was lip balm, but was pleasantly surprised to see it was a lip scrub, since I have been looking for a cheap lip scrub.  This stuff does the job for a fraction of the price of most lip scrubs.  When I got to the counter, I also had enough points to get a sample size bottle of Supergoop! Setting Mist so I can tote it around California when I’m on vacation.  You spray this on your face over your makeup to reapply sunscreen throughout the day.  Brilliant!  If you haven’t tried any Supergoop! products and you are the type of person who, you know, has ever been outside, then go try this stuff now!  Supergoop! is probably my favorite non-Asian sunscreen maker.

Arome Her Indie Soaps – Roaming around the mall, these girls stopped my husband, my daughter, and me to try to sell us some handmade soaps.  I’m kinda biased towards handmade soaps since one of my BFFs, Cathy, used to make them.  She gave me high expectations for handmade soaps.  Well, this stuff is good for your skin, money goes to help orphanages, yadda, yadda, yadda…I ended up buying the patchouli and charcoal bar for me and the milk and oatmeal bath bomb for Averie.  Holy Moly!  The bar of soap is so wonderful!  I use it on my face and body.  I have used it with the foam maker from Daiso to shave.  It’s amazing.  I even wrapped it up to take on vacation to California because I figured that no matter how my skin may react to all of that sun, sand, and saltwater, this soap would calm down and repair my skin.  Each of these was only $5 too, which is a killer price for anything handmade and sold at a mall kiosk.  This is the next best thing to having a friend who makes quality soap products for you!  The only problem is, I can’t find them online.  So, if that little kiosk in the mall disappears, I won’t be able to get any more of this stuff.

Alrighty, that’s all for now.  Let me know your views on these products, if you’ve tried any.  Have you ever gotten addicted to something that you bought at a mall kiosk?  Have you used anything patchouli since high school?  What’s your favorite sunscreen?  Leave your answers below!

Unboxing – Kira Kira Crate June 2018

Hello, Interwebz!  It’s time for a post that I thought I already did!  I was preparing to do the unboxing post for my July 2018 Kira Kira Crate and realized that I never did the unboxing post for June.  Whoops!  So, let’s get to it.

June’s box contained quite a few items that I couldn’t wait to try, but mostly items that I have to wait to try.  Womp, womp, womp!

I was surprised to get a giant bottle of peppermint toner, but I am worried that it might be too strong on my face.  Now that my eczema and acne are clearing up, I think I can start trying to use it soon, though.

I have used the nose brush, which I thought was pretty unique.  When washing your face, you are supposed to use the brush to get in the weird angles of your nose and really scrub out all the gunk.  I didn’t feel like it was doing anything other than irritating the skin around my nose, so I only used it once or twice.  The mask looks super luxurious, but my skin goals right now are just to clean and calm.  So, I will be gifting this mask to my sister as a little treat when I see her next.

Then, there is also lemon skin oil and hair pads for reducing static.  These are all things that I can use, but haven’t used yet.  The body oil will wait until it’s a bit drier outside.  I want to really test it to see how it works then, as opposed to when it’s 100 degrees F with 40% humidity.  I could use the hair static things all day every day, which means that I haven’t used them yet.  I guess I’m waiting until I meet the Queen of England or something.  The Little Twin Stars blotting papers are so cute that I don’t even want to use them!  I want to wallpaper my bedroom walls with them, but my husband would get creeped out.  My walls wouldn’t be oily, though.

Wow, that was a quick unboxing!  Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought about them.  Aren’t Twin Stars just the cutest?  Do you think a brush is the best way to wash and exfoliate around your nose?  When do you most want to remove the static from your hair?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

Haul and Review – Gifts From Christina

Hello, interwebz!  Today, I want to share some thoughts and reviews on products that one of my BFFs, Christina, has given me.  She is much more knowledgeable about beauty than I am and has been really supportive of my efforts to find beauty and skincare products to help my “new” skin.  Also, I found out that her mom has eczema.  So, I’ve been swapping stories and suggestions with her mom as well.  Hooray for supportive friends and family!

Christina was kind enough to share some Kat Von D products with me.  I have never tried the brand, but have heard alot of good things about them.  I immediately smothered my mouth with the Studded Kiss Ultra Violet lipstick and loved it!  I had never worn a purple lipstick as an adult, but it looked better on me than I thought it would.  I tried the red a few weeks later and it was VERY red.  I liked it, but definitely need to do a full face of makeup to balance out the VERY red lipstick.  The third color was a nude that worked whether I wore makeup or just sunscreen.  Christina also gave me a Tattoo Liner that I tried a few times before washing my face.  I am not very skilled at eyeliner, so I mostly use it just before washing my face because I’m trying to get better at applying it.  I wore it once in public and kinda messed it up, but I managed to mostly remove and cover the mistake with alot of eye shadow.  Mostly.  Either way, I love this eyeliner because it’s a very smooth application, the brush is fine tip, and the color is rich.  It stayed through puddles of sweat in the Texas heat, and that’s the highest compliment for any eyeliner!  These products are also vegan and not tested on animals.  Wearing this makeup made me feel a bit more glamorous than normal because I knew they were designed and approved by Kat Von D, who is a completely badass!

At a time when I was using foaming face washes that burned the sore spots on my skin, Christina gifted me with Pacifica Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash.  Guess what!  This stuff actually works!  It calmed my skin while also cleaning it.  There is a scent, but it’s not strong or perfumey and has not bothered my skin or sinuses.  I started using the other foaming face washes on my back and chest and I use this on my face.  Since switching, the eczema on my face has calmed down quite a bit.  Yay!

In my late teens – early twenties, I used Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion like it was going out of style.  I was self-conscious about stretch marks all over my body from gaining and losing weight all the time.  I figured that if Palmer’s worked for pregnant women, it could work for me, and it did, but it was too rich to use in the summer.  (I don’t think they even sell it now because they have so many specially formulated products, but this may be it.)  However, they recently came out with coconut oil products.  Christina’s mom gave me a bottle of Palmer’s Coconut Oil Body Lotion to try and I love it!  I use it every night on my hands, legs, and feet.  My heels are so dry right now, even during this sweaty summer.  This lotion keeps them pretty well exfoliated and smooth and has taken care of some cracked areas around my fingernails as well.  This is definitely a must try for anyone needing deep moisturization in high-humidity areas.

Christina also gave me some Acure Ultra-Hydrating Shampoo to try on my eczema-ridden scalp.  It doesn’t irritate my scalp, but it doesn’t work quite as well as the Korean stuff that I have been using (post on that to come!)  That being said, since this shampoo is organic, sulfate free, and paraben free, it works better on my hair after I have used hair dye than the Korean stuff.  The Korean stuff I have just heals your scalp and prevents hair loss.  This stuff heals your scalp (a bit more slowly than the Korean stuff), makes your hair smell nice (light almond scent), and protects your hair (and any dye on it).  So, I’m alternating it with my Korean stuff as needed and am very grateful to have just the right arsenal of hair products at my disposal in the shower.

Those are not all of the things Christina has given me over the past few months, but those are all of the beauty products!  Thank you for reading this post and let me know if you’ve tried any of these products.  Are you as in love with Kat Von D makeup as I am now?  What do you use on your dry heels?  Any other suggestions for gentle face washes?  Let me know in the comments below!