February 2017 favorites

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Because I didn’t buy a lot of stuff this month, my budget post is a bit lacking in content. To counter the shortness of that post, I thought I’d make a second post about some of my favorite things this month in TV, music and skincare.

feb-2017-faves

TV: Legion (FX)

I haven’t watched a TV show from week to week since undergrad but I’m now currently into three shows where I have to wait one week between episodes. As a seasoned (pun!) TV binger, the waiting is a bit annoying, but worth it so far.

Of the three shows, my favorite has to be Legion. At the time I’m writing this most, there are only three episodes so far but I’m so enamored by the show: the way it’s filmed, the color/art scheme, the way the story unfolds… everything. It’s not quite like anything I’ve ever watched before and I’m excited to see the season play out. So far, I haven’t been disappointed by an episode yet and I’m hoping it’ll stay that way. Dan Stevens is unrecognizable (Cousin Matthew who?) as the main character and is killing it as a supposed schizophrenic, powerful mutant. If you love stories with unreliable narrators which keep you guessing what’s truth and what’s fake, then you’ll really enjoy this show.

The plot is a bit hazy and can be a bit confusing but I think the show is focusing on fleshing out the characters and acquainting us with how the story will be told before diving into the nooks and crannies of the overall plot. So far, we know there are bad guys and good guys but we’re not entirely sure if that’s true at all. I love the uncertainty of everything we’re being shown.

While Legion is technically part of the Marvel family, if you watch the show without knowing that, you won’t be able to tell. Legion’s first episode is now near the top of my short “best pilots” list, joining the ranks of Breaking Bad and Lost. Only time will tell if the show is able to keep it up with the great episodes to secure a spot on my favorite shows of all time list.

Music: Cody by Joyce Manor (Spotify, Bandcamp)

As everyone around me knows, I’ve been on a major music mode recently. I go through phases where I want to listen to as much music as possible interspersed by phases where I can go a month or more without listening to any new music. This month has been one of those manic phases and I’ve become obsessed with the band Joyce Manor in particular.

I’ve listened to some songs on previous albums here and there, but their music never really clicked with me. The band is pretty popular within the music sphere my music tastes lie in, so I decided to give their new album, “Cody,” a try and holy bejeezus, I finally get the hype. Maybe I wasn’t in the “right” mindset when I listened to their older stuff because I’ve gone back and now really enjoy the older albums too. It’s a funny thing… this has happened to me in the past where I go months or years not really liking a band or artist and after giving something a(nother) listen at another point in time, I suddenly fall in love. Does anyone else experience this at all?

Out of all the Joyce Manor albums, I do like Cody the most; it’s my “gateway” album. I would say they band is pretty pop-punk but lean more towards the punk side of things. Cody is also their most polished and produced sounding album which I think helps highlight the pop aspects of the songs, adding to the catchiness while still getting a bit of an angry and forlorn undertone at the same time. My current favorite songs off the album are Make Me Dumb (unpopular opinion but there’s something about the different sound of this song that makes it my favorite), Angel in the Snow, Fake I.D. and This Song Is A Mess But So Am I, but honestly, they’re all good.

You can find me on Spotify here (username: shortofinfinity). I only have one public playlist at the moment but plan to add more.

Skincare: The Ordinary | Deciem

I recently discovered that ASOS (free shipping over $40!) carries some of the products by the skincare brand The Ordinary which is under the Deciem umbrella. I’ve been itching to try some of the stuff due to the simplicity of the products as well as the price point. My skin has never been good but has been more frustrating to deal with over the last few months due to the dry Michigan weather then the shock of humid Taiwan weather compounded by four long flights within a two week period. I ordered three items to try: the hyaluronic acid + B5 serum (ASOS), the niacinamide + zinc serum (ASOS) and the vitamin C suspension with HA spheres (ASOS). All the products and usage explanations are explained in detail on The Ordinary site.

I’ve been using the hyaluronic and niacinamide serums for about 2 weeks now and I’m really enjoying both. My skin seems to be doing better than before which is saying a lot because no matter what I tried, I couldn’t really make a dent in changing the texture of my skin. But now, things look a bit smoother and plumper and I feel like I have a bit of a natural glow compared to the rough dullness I previously had. In addition to hormonal acne, I struggle to keep my oily skin hydrated without compounding the oil production problem. With the very cold winters, my skin always feels tight and very oily at the same time. I also have a few hyperpigmented marks on my cheeks from breakouts that fade really slowly.

Both serums are the texture of gloopy water and sink into the skin quite quickly. I use the hyaluronic serum on mornings or nights when my skin is feeling really dry or after I do a peel or clay mask. I save the niacinamide serum for when my face is feeling a little spottier or unhappy, usually nights. I haven’t exclusively used either product for two weeks to see which one is better for my skin but I think my system of switching things up is working for me at the moment. The hyperpigmentation on my cheeks is still there but it does look like they’re slowly smoothing out which is a lot faster than normal. I’ve only tried the vitamin C suspension once which isn’t enough for me to form an opinion. I do think it’s different from anything I’ve ever tried- the thin lotion has a slight grainy texture. Due to the high amount of vitamin C, The Ordinary says you can cut the suspension with a moisturizer which sounds better to me than just applying the suspension all over my face because it’s not exactly a moisturizer on it’s own and it feels a bit strong on its own. I don’t have sensitive skin so it causes tingling on my skin rather than the burning others have experienced (see Gothamista’s reviews linked below).

Lastly, due to the cheap (relative to similar products by other brands like Glossier) prices, you can try a bunch of different products without completely breaking the bank. I’m really impressed by this brand and know I will definitely be repurchasing the serums because my skin hasn’t felt this hydrated (and not papery) in forever. I am also interested in trying some other items in their line. For more in depth reviews, I think Gothamista’s YouTube reviews (part one, part two) were very informative.

Hope that was somewhat interesting! I enjoy sharing the things I love with other people and don’t want to talk the ears off the people around me so this is a nice alternative πŸ™‚

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Top Three #2

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Time for another top three!

1. Wildlife by La Dispute [music]

I’ve mentioned this band so many times on this blog but these guys are just so amazing. I’ve been listening exclusively to their earlier two full lengths and they get better each time.

2. Textured Cross-Back PulloverΒ from Banana Republic [fashion/shopping]

This sweater was on sale last week and with an extra 50% off (ended up being $25!), I couldn’t help but pick it up. I usually don’t understand/like many trends but this crossback design caught my eye and I feel like I can still wear it after it’s no longer trendy (I see similar designs everywhere so I’m assuming it’s a trend…). I love the color (I got the light blue one), the feel of the fabric (weighted and textured but cool), the different ways (sleeveless or long sleeve collared button up underneath, tank underneath, paired with a jacket/scarf) I can wear it, the way it looks on me and how I don’t have anything like it. So much win.

3. Peaches/nectarines [food]

Summer is possibly my least favorite month of the year (yeah, I know). I hate the heat/sun, sweating, the clothing and especially here in Michigan, the humidity. However, the one saving grace of summer are the fruit. I love peaches and nectarines. I buy maybe 5-10 a week to keep up with my cravings. I’ve only been able to find good yellow peaches and nectarines so far but I’m hoping the white ones (I could probably only eat white peaches and nectarines for the rest of my life) will be available soon! So so yummy. Thank you nature!

Those are my (maybe trivial) top three things at the moment. I’m going to try and write up Everlane reviews later today (I think I have like 5+ items). But I did a huge Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic haul that I just took all the pics for… So there’s that coming up. 😁

-amy

My music festival survival guide

So you’re heading to a music festival soon? First time? Or just curious how other introverted festival attendees deal with the masses of people? Then congrats, you’re in the right place. Titling this post “survival guide” is being a bit dramatic but it caught your interest, right?

As mentioned at the bottom of my last post, I going to SF’s Outside Lands music festival with Tammy on Friday. This will be my second large official music festival but my fifth time heading to a multi-artist/multi-stage music thing. Previous to this, I’ve attended Warped Tour x 2, Lilith Fair (does this count?) and Coachella. All very, very different things with very different attendees. But I’ve learned from my past experiences to prepare for this one.

Here are some of my (personal) tips that I like to try to follow for music festivals in no particular order:

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TBT: Music roundup

My last few TBT Music posts have been published on Thursdays but this write-up has been sitting as a draft for far too long. Decided to just break out of my comfort zone and publish this on a Tuesday. Gasp.

During my recent chill time, I’ve recently wandered back over to absolutepunk.net, where I spent the majority of my high school years looking for new music and artists. Like I might’ve mentioned before, I definitely fell off the music bandwagon during college and am trying to get back into it but it’s a few miles ahead of me at this point. Back in high school, I think I tried to absorb too much (is that even a thing?) music as possible in a span of 2-3 years and just seriously over did it and looking for new music became a chore, so I stopped.

Of course I would occasionally stumble upon a new album/band that I liked during college mainly due to friends, media, etc. But I wasn’t actually going out into the Internet world looking for music that I would want to look for. This isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed the music that I’ve discovered during my so-called “music dark ages,” but those bands were on the ends of the spectrum of my tastes. For instance, I absolutely love Florence + the Machine, but I seriously can’t imagine listening to her and similar bands/artists for eternity. It’s just not something I naturally gravitate toward and seek out.

So I started back to the place that had the best collection of information about the music I liked the most: absolutepunk.net.

The staff have an End of the Year (EOTY) post every year since I can remember, anyway, where they compile their (staff as whole and individual staff member’s) favorite albums as well as the site user’s favorite albums and more. They also “recently” released their Middle of the Year (MOTY) lists so I thought that’d be a good place to start.

I’ve found a couple of new artists that I’ve never heard about as well as discovered a love for certain bands that I heard about in the past but never really looked up and got into. So here’s a list of a variety of stuff you might also want to check out:

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TBT: Music (classical)

A TBT post of my favorite classical music pieces from my past just seems like the most accurate TBT music post I could possibly post. I mean, it’s throwing back in two different ways!

I grew up listening to only classical music and Taiwanese folk songs/oldies. Also, I used to play piano and viola and by extension, played in a youth symphony. Of the many songs I’ve heard/played in the past, there are a couple that really stood out (I managed to narrow it down to ten pieces). The videos are the versions that I prefer listening to.

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New Year and music!

Wow it feels weird to type 2014. Is it just me or did 2013 go by really quickly? 2013 was pretty monumental for me: I graduated college, applied for graduate school and finally moved home. My parents actually moved houses three years ago and I have yet to unpack since I literally haven’t been home for more than one month at a time since I started college. I’ve never really done the whole resolutions thing, but I have a few this year: unpack, exercise more (seeing how I no longer run to get to classes) and buy fewer things (… not doing so well on that front so far haha).

I’ll be posting more about my graduate school adventures later. For now, I can say that I applied to two graduate fellowships (NSF and NDSEG) and several graduate programs in immunology and have heard back from many of them. I’ll be going on interviews from January through March and I’ll be the dork taking pictures of things. And if all goes well, I’ll be accepted to a few schools and hopefully the pictures will help me in my decision (if a decision has to be made)! Many of the schools are in the Midwest or East Coast, so as someone who has never experienced anything but a Californian or tropical/Taiwanese winter, wish me luck!

But mainly, just wanted to post a few songs that have been stuck in my head/on repeat for the last few days/weeks while I’ve been gearing up for finals and last minute applications. Also, Tammy, a friend and I attended Night 1 of NSSN so I’ve been rediscovering my love for the Arctic Monkeys who are among my long-time favorites (since middle school almost ten years ago… ten! CRAZINESS). I have also been trying to get into music from “before my time” since I can remember (can’t handle the vocals!), but no band/song/album has really clicked yet until now… thanks Led Zeppelin. Slowly wading my way through their albums. I like to think that my musical palette is now refined enough to handle/understand music from before the 90s haha… I have no idea.

Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys
Ghost Lights by Woodkid
Bottom of the River by Delta Rae
Money by Pink Floyd
Slow Show by The National
When the Sun Goes Down by Arctic Monkeys
Hospital Bed by Cold War Kids
Seven Devils by Florence and the Machine
Achilles Last Stand by Led Zeppelin
Ending with 10+ minutes of awesome.

-amy