100 of My Favourite Things 1/5

So the idea of listing things you enjoy isn’t exactly new, but I did steal this format from the wonderful YouTuber Toxic Tears. Because this post would be massive if I did all 100 things at once, I’ll be splitting it into 5 parts. Oh and these aren’t ranked.

1. Coffee
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Coffee is love, coffee is life. It’s the finest organic suspension ever devised.

2. The Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series by Val McDermidwp-1494841600167.jpg
I have to do so much heavy reading for my thesis and every now and then it’s just great to have a break and read something light. It’s a series of psychological thrillers with flawed but relatable characters.

3. Mushroom Soup
Anything with sautéed mushrooms is a big win for me and mushroom soup is essentially that flavour taken to the max. It’s the perfect winter treat when you’re feeling a bit crook or down.

4. Geeky Kitchen Gadgets
If you can make something functional and funny or geeky, then chances are I’ll like it. My tea pot is a Tardis, most of my mugs change design when hot or have some geeky slogan on them, some of my dishes have planet prints on them. It just makes life a little bit better to have things like that around.

5. Fire places
Want atmosphere? Get a fireplace.

6.  Dogs
They are happiness on legs. There are few things that instantly put a smile on my face, but dogs absolutely have that effect. I currently can’t have my own dog but even just seeing one walk past outside does make my day a bit better.

7. Fluffy Socks
Nothing says comfort like a pair of fluffy socks. I wear them when writing or just relaxing after a long day. It’s just one of those small things that helps brighten your day.

8. Smashed Avo on Toast
Apparently this is why I can’t buy a house.

9. Good Wifi
Do I really need to explain why I like good wifi more than bad?

10. The theme for Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?
Holy crap is that a catchy theme tune. As far as themes for kids’ shows go, this is one of the best.

11. Batman.
Batman is one of my childhood heroes (thank you Batman: The Animated Series). Actually, scrap the ‘childhood’ part. Batman is one of my heroes.

12. Swimming
It’s one of the few forms of exercise where you can’t actually feel like you’re sweating – at least most of the time. It’s also just a nice thing to do when it’s hot outside.

13. Sunscreen
See point 12. It’s also the best skin care item there is.

14. Personal Styles
I love it when people manage to develop their own personal badass and flattering style rather than following trends.

15. Jeggings
I don’t care what you say, but with the right fabric they can look amazing. Not to mention that they’re super comfortable.

16. Sabaton
Gotta love a band that uses history as an inspiration for some pretty epic metal songs.

17. Sheet Masks
They’re just super convenient and a good way to look after your skin. Not to mention that they’re super cheap compared to most other alternatives.

18. Dark Green
It just happens to be my favourite colour.

19. Comfortable high heels
Finding a pair of comfortable heels that fit just right is absolutely amazing. Plus, they make you taller – which is helpful since you can look over other people’s heads in crowds and know where things are.

20. Geraldwp-1479997673392.jpg

Hidden Gems

This post is about brands and products that I think are underrated, underestimated, or just not as well known as they should be. They’re not necessarily small indie brands and this is not a hipster post. It’s just about things I think you should look into. Last thing to consider is that products and brands may be well known in one part of the world but not in another.

The first brand I’d like to draw some attention to is Palmer’s. It’s a brand you can find in most drugstores in Australia and they specialise in skin care. It’s not necessarily unknown, but I almost never hear people talk about it. The cocoa body butter included in the photo above is wonderful, smells nice, and is really moisturising. In terms of affordable skincare, look into Palmer’s the next time you’re considering a purchase. I use their exfoliator, body butter, and they used to make the best lightweight moisturiser I’ve ever tried.

Geek Chic Cosmetics is one of my all-time favourite indie brands. Their solid perfumes are some of the very few perfumes I actually like. They’re not overpowering and they don’t stink up the entire house. Furthermore, they make my favourite powder foundation. It’s in the shade Kahlan and I’ll have to re-purchase it soon. They’ve also got a great body lotion that references Silence of the Lambs, which is amazing. They’re mostly known for their eyeshadows, which come in geek themed collections. As a bonus, the brand is cruelty free and at least mostly vegan.

SkinFood is a great Korean brand that never seems to get much attention in the west. They make my favourite eyebrow powder, the gummibear shaped hand cremes I rave about, and some truly awesome skincare products. If you love cute packaging, high quality products, and like brands that try new things – then SkinFood is for you.

TonyMoly – this is a brand you’ve probably heard of. However, it seems to be underestimated by most people I’ve chatted to. This brand makes a mind-blowingly good liquid eyeliner for like 10 dollars. Their steam balm in their egg pore series is one of the best products I’ve tried when it comes to fighting blackheads. Furthermore, their Pokémon themed collaboration that you can still find in a lot of online k beauty retailers was really good. The Psyduck cheese firming cream contains gruyere (seriously) and can be used on your body and face. I typically use it on my legs after shaving and it has been really helpful.

Innisfree – Innisfree is my holy grail skincare brand. If I was only allowed to use one brand for all of my skincare, then it would be Innisfree. They are famous for combining natural ingredients with scientific innovation and the result is gorgeous. In addition to their skincare they also have innovative products in haircare and some really solid makeup products. Their no sebum compact powders are perfect in humid climates.

Guerlain – You’ve probably heard of this brand. However, very few people seem to actually purchase things from them. Out of all the luxury brands, Guerlain is the one given the least attention in comparison to how good the brand really is. I’ve been a fan of their Rogue G de Guerlain lipsticks for years and currently use a light-medium coverage foundation from them. I’ve never tried a Guerlain product that I found lacking in quality, the only time a product hasn’t worked for me was when it was made with a pink undertone in mind.

Paint – I’ve only ever seen this brand in one Terry White’s. It’s honestly on par with OPI in terms of quality even though their range is a bit smaller. I remember buying 5 bottles of nail polish for 10 dollars and not a single one of them disappointed me. The shade I’m showing in the photo above was simply called ‘red’. This means that it’s hard to search for the brand online since both the brand name and shade names are really generic. If you have a Terry White Chemist near you, see if they carry this brand.

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Palette – I don’t know enough about BH Cosmetics to be able to recommend the brand as a whole. However, their galaxy themed palette is heaps of fun. It’s great for creating unusual looks and the colours can be used both wet and dry. If you’re looking for a fun palette that’s really affordable, check this one out.

Things You Should Know: PTSD

This is probably the 15th draft I’ve made when it comes to posts with this theme. I write them and never post them. I’ve tried writing humorous ones, rambling ones, lists, formal ones, and who knows what else. Yet here I am, giving it another go.

You should know that PTSD does not make me less capable. My PTSD doesn’t run my life, it spends most of the time in the passenger seat criticising my driving. As with so many things, PTSD exists on a spectrum. In general mine is mild. When it flares up, it can be anywhere from ‘really inconvenient’ to ‘how the hell am I still alive?’. But in general, it does not affect my ability to live a productive life.

You should know that PTSD does not make me less intelligent. I have an old Mensa membership card in my possession. I have excelled academically and professionally. I grasp new logical systems fairly easily and can generally read people. I enjoy learning about new things and often take the time to consider things from different perspectives. Sure, I say some pretty stupid things sometimes and don’t fully comprehend the finer philosophical aspects of Donnie Darko, but who the hell does?

You should know that PTSD is not just flashbacks. It’s rare for me to get flashbacks and when I do, it’s mainly physical sensations or emotions that don’t fit with what I’m actually doing. My PTSD specialises in nightmares. I have nightmares maybe 97 percent of the time. They suck and they’re probably even harder to control than flashbacks. I hate sharing rooms with people out of fear I’ll talk in my sleep or wake up crying. I’ve honestly started to focus on lucid dreaming to prevent that type of thing from happening. It makes it easier to wake up in a somewhat controlled manner.

You should know that PTSD sometimes overrides well… me. It usually happens a few times a year, but when the condition is more active, overrides happen more often. This is when the condition jumps over from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat and has a serious case of road rage. My usual self is reduced to that voice you have in the back of your mind that you seldom listen to. It’s really scary when it happens and you’re not in control of what you’re doing. It’s humiliating, degrading, and undignified. This is the part of the condition people often hear about and when they see it in person… Most people don’t understand it. It’s scary and illogical. Sometimes ridiculous. If you do see it happen, realise the other person isn’t really in control right now. Don’t take it personally and walk away. Try talking to the other person a day or two later. Chances are they’ll apologise profusely for their behaviour. This is the time when you need to remember that PTSD is a mental illness and that sometimes it can’t be controlled. Think of it as an epileptic seizure. However, do draw boundaries. PTSD is not an excuse for physical violence or endangering another person. Just be aware that they might say and do things they don’t actually mean or want to say. In some scenarios, they might not actually fully remember what they said or did. It’s a really strange experience and it’s kinda like getting blind drunk. Your normal self knows that this isn’t right, but something else has taken over and makes you make an ass out of yourself.

You should know that PTSD does not automatically equal veteran or sexual assault survivor. These two groups are common among people with PTSD, but they are far from the only reasons why people develop PTSD. Please don’t ask people with PTSD what caused their condition, they’ll probably tell you if they want you to know. Whatever you do, don’t be the asshole who tried to assess if what they went through was ‘traumatic enough’ for PTSD to develop. You’re probably not going to be told everything. Asking someone about what’s very possibly the worst moment in their life is extremely personal. They might even lie because it’s too painful to talk about. It’s also really common to be unable to remember parts of the experience or even the entire thing. There are examples of people who developed PTSD from watching live coverage of 911.

You should know that PTSD is not a sign of weakness. Trauma breaks a lot more people than there are people who develop PTSD. PTSD is like having a wound heal with a scar instead of neatly. It’s not about who breaks and who holds it together, but about how your brain heals after a trauma. You can’t tell mid-trauma who is going to develop PTSD and who is going to be fine.

You should know that PTSD is really bloody complicated.

 

 

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

Yup, straight up stealing from Family Guy.

 

  • “Nukular” – it’s nuclear. Nu-clear. And no, it’s not a matter of ‘accent’. You’re pronouncing the bloody word wrong. I bet you also say expresso.
  • Referring to adults as ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ – well at least you’re being honest about being a big man-child. Grow the fuck up. I’m closer to 30 than I am to my teenage years, I’m not a little girl, kindly don’t equate me to a child.
  • “Are you REALLY gluten free?” – I was diagnosed in my late teens after a biopsy and would give anything for a real bowl of pasta. I don’t have to make shit up to feel special and I don’t know why people do lie about this. And no, a gluten free diet won’t benefit you unless there’s a real actual medical reason you need to eliminate it from your diet. And if you put gluten in my food because you think I’m ‘faking it’, then firstly, fuck you. Secondly, it’s not a nut allergy – I’m not going to choke to death. I will have severe stomach issues a few hours later and a fucked up immune system for six months.
  • People who look down on swearing – fuck off.
  • People who haven’t read my research or researched any similar topics/fields trying to explain my own research at me – Darling, your hypothesis didn’t hold up against even minimal testing, that’s why it’s not in the conclusion. Come back when you’ve ACTUALLY done research beyond looking at your own opinions. The theory isn’t flawed or wrong just because it’s not what you wanted it to be.
  • “You can’t loose weight through exercise unless you go on a diet” – Twice in my life I’ve lost decent amounts of weight through exercise while barely changing my diet. You just have to do a lot of it. Typically this is said by people who are trying to lose weight but aren’t succeeding. Go rain on someone else’s parade.
  • “What’s it like to be a woman in geek culture/academia/politics/literally anywhere?” – What exactly are you expecting me to compare it to? My secret life as a dog in which I’ve also tried all these things? Fuck do I know, I’m not a token woman who experiences all womanly things and speak for all women. I’m me, I can tell you a lot about what it’s like to be me. You know, the actual person you’re talking to. I don’t get any secret memos on What It Is Like To Be Female In This Field.
  • If you show cleavage you are trying to find a man – I’m showing cleavage because the outfit I picked that day showed cleavage. My process of clothing selection typically goes: find something somewhat clean, make sure it matches the weather, check if you’re doing anything that day requiring specific clothing, pick the remaining option you like the most. You, or any random men for that matter, are not even in my mind when I pick what to wear.
  • Women who grab other women’s boobs – you’re not excused from committing sexual assault because you’re the same gender as the person you’re grabbing. You’re not entitled to groping people regardless of which gender you are. Consent still bloody matters. Have the courtesy to at least ask for permission.
  • People who don’t indicate.
  • “Why are you so quiet?” – Because I don’t have anything to say right now.
  • “Why do you talk so much?” – Because I have something to say right now.
  • “Clean” eating – people aren’t dirty or eating dirty because they have a burger now and then. You are not cleaner or more pure than they are.
  • Elastane – I’m allergic to it. Can’t wear it. Same thing with lycra/spandex….
  • Early access games – I really just like buying finished products
  • Beige
  • “Your tattoos won’t look good when you’re older” – nor will your un-inked skin. Skin ages, regardless of if it has tattoos or not.

Upgrading Manicures

I’ve got a passion for nail polish. It’s actually why I started this blog in the first place, hence the name Polished Cryptids. These days, I don’t often have the time to sit down and do my nails. Thus, like so many others, I reserve manicures for when I want to treat myself. Not to mention when I had to cut my nails in a rush and messed up, that’s when I go to a salon. However, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to polish and I am almost never satisfied with the outcome. Salons tend to be airconditioned and when you walk out of them (and live in a humid/hot climate), your polish is likely to start bubbling.

In order to disguise this and any minor smudges, a good old effects polish can be a lifesaver. It also extends the lifetime of the manicure by adding another protective polish.

The first photo shows my manicure shortly after walking out of the salon, if you enlarge it, you can see how the polish has started to bubble. In order to address that issue, I used an effects polish from OPI that contained black particles and larger metallic glitter. Because the regular polish is rather bright and metallic, meaning that a more muted effects polish is a good option that prevents you from blinding people with the sheer shininess of your nails.

The photo featuring the pink nails are based on an at-home manicure. When doing this at home, I typically make sure that the entire nail is covered as opposed to the more limited cover of a salon manicure. This helps the polish stick to the nail longer and minimises the risk of the edges of the base polish catching on something and thus flaking. Due to the weather here, bubbling still happens sometimes but to a lesser extent if you let your manicure dry in the same temperature the entire time. In these instances, playing with texture is a great way to trick the eye into focusing on something other than the small bubbles. That’s why I opted for gold flakes rather than a more traditional glitter polish. This is also a great option if your nails are a bit fragile and you’ve found that glitter polishes are difficult to remove smoothly.

Another option is to skip the glitter, but keep the particles. The photo on the far right shows an effects polish with matte particles that are a good option for hiding minor imperfections. It works great on both metallic and regular polishes.

For smudges, try an effects polish that cracks. You paint it over the entire nail and it then shrinks to create cracks in the nail. When that has dried, add a clear top coat to make the look more polished.

Chocolate Collection

wp-1490665818331.jpgI’m weak for chocolate scents and that has started to become noticeable when you look at my makeup and skincare collection. This photo is lacking three products that I still use on a regular basis. I’ve got the Dark Chocolate version of the Gummy Bear Hand Gel in addition to the Cherry Chocolate one seen here, I’ve also got a Sesame Street Cookie Monster version of the Chocolate Macaron lip balm, and lastly, I’ve got a chocolate scented body wash from Etude House.

The Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar palette probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a series of highly pigmented shadows (almost to the point where they’re pigmented enough to be annoying) in a chocolate bar style package and it all smells of chocolate.

As you may have noticed from the photo, a lot of the chocolate scented/themed products I have are from SkinFood. Sure, the All Over Muffin Cake Finish compacts are a bit of a stretch but they’re close enough to the whole chocolate theme to count. However, one thing SkinFood does really well is scents. Both the Gummy Bear Hand Gels really do smell like cherry chocolate and dark chocolate respectively. The Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake doesn’t have a scent, but it contains two chocolate brown colours. One of those colours has a hint of red that works quite well with my current hair colour, so I’ve been using it more and more.

Lip balms are great products for scents and flavours. These macaron lip balms from it’s Skin are amazing and really convenient to keep on your desk or bedside table.

Scents appeal to our most primal senses and we are hard-wired to respond to them. The scent of chocolate is comforting to many of us and we generally associate that specific scent with happy memories. Even the scent of chocolate is a bit of a pick-me-up on bad days and being able to get that benefit from makeup and skincare is amazing.wp-1490621034059.jpg

Packaging – Why it matters

 

It’s no secret to anyone who even occasionally reads this blog, I adore the Korean packaging culture. It is innovative, creative, and still doesn’t compromise on the practical issues. So why aren’t Western companies doing the same thing as their Korean counterparts?

I think it’s quite simply a matter of realising that adult consumers like fun. There seems to be this notion that products need to be serious in order to be scientifically valid as well as the notion that you shouldn’t try too hard. Recently there’s also a trend in the west that everything should be ‘natural’, which is a word that means shit all in makeup. No matter how organic or natural something is, every product you put on your face is 100% chemicals. But the organic/natural trend seems to have influenced packaging to be minimalistic, plain, and well, boring.

Makeup is the adult version of face paint and somehow we often fall into the trap of taking it so seriously that we forget the fun. Korean women on average spend more money and time on skincare and makeup than Western women do and I believe this is a key factor in why Korean companies try to make makeup & skincare more fun. If your customer is going to spend a lot of time with your product, you want to make the whole experience positive.

 

My gummy bear hand cremes from SkinFood aren’t less good because they’re in packaging made to resemble massive pieces of candy. The TonyMoly powder compact I keep in my bag isn’t less effective because it has Jigglypuff on it, and my lip balm from It’s Skin isn’t less moisturising because it has the Cookie Monster’s face on it. These products get the job done, but in addition to that, they also make me smile. My day gets a little bit brighter when I get to laugh at the silliness that is “Psyduck Cheese Firming Cream” as I apply it after a shower. My skin gets moisturised and I get amused.

Looking at Sephora Australia’s website, the vast majority of the products I see look almost… clinical. There’s a handful of brands that have some fun with packaging. TheBalm, Kat von D, Benefit, and Too Faced are probably the Western major brands that dare to have fun with their packaging and themes. No one is going to look at the Chocolate Bar palette and assume it’s for kids or that it has to be low quality, and yet this is the assumption I’m often faced with when someone sees my Korean products.

Makeup & skincare are meant to be fun and functional, let’s have the packaging reflect that.

Afterthoughts: mini fitness challenge

So, I made it through this very easy challenge. Yay.
I met my goals every day and only settled for the minimum once, which I’m pretty happy about. One thing I did like about it is that it allows for great flexibility, something that is welcome. Most challenges I’ve seen online have been incredibly rigid and focus more on doing set numbers of things instead of encouraging consistency or improvement.

Knowing I can swim 80 or 90 laps in a day without exhausting myself is really promising considering my end goal is to swim more than 120 laps. It was also helpful in helping me deal with waiting for my final grades and not collapse into a little pile of nerves. The day I had scheduled as my day off after the challenge felt really weird, I walked around with this feeling that I’d forgotten to do something.

I can’t say it has really made me more motivated to exercise than before, but it hasn’t made me less motivated either. I’d say the greatest positive aspect is that I know I’ll be able to reach my goal without having to go into bootcamp mode.

Meet Gerald

wp-1479997673392.jpgThis is Gerald, he lives with me and my flatmate. He’s about two years old or so and belongs to the people who own the place we stay in.

Gerald’s real name isn’t Gerald. According to my flatmate his name is incredibly complicated and sounds like a word that falls somewhere between chardonnay and Scheherazade. She calls him Cat. Being a strong believer in not calling individuals by the name of their species, I’ve convinced her to at least call him Buddy. I call him Gerald. It’s a West Wing reference and I’ll be thrilled if you get it.

Gerald’s favourite activities include getting people to open doors for him, taking his food out of the bowl and putting it on the floor before eating it, and sleeping on your pillow. He hates drinking from a reflective metallic water bowl and has thus been given one of our planetary bowls (the yellow one) for his water needs. Gerald has on occasion picked fights with dogs and cats and he seems to be losing far more often than he wins. On the occasions when Gerald has had his feathers ruffled he has preferred to sleep in my bed, resulting in my mattress having at least one spot of cat blood on it. Whenever Gerald manages to be King of the Hill on my recently cleaned desk, he looks absolutely triumphant.

Furthermore, Gerald thinks that birds are a great mystery. The fact that he’s meant to be a stealth predator continues to elude him. So he just screams at them whenever he sees them. If he does bring things home, it is either road kill or rats that were killed by poison. To Gerald’s great annoyance, we don’t let him eat poisoned rodents. Gerald sometimes forgets that if he climbs from our deck to the balcony that belongs to the people who live above us, he’s too much of a coward to climb down. His solution to this situation is to simply sit and wait until someone opens the door for him so that he can get down the stairs instead. It is Gerald’s firm belief that laptops and laps are there for him to massage with his paws endlessly, this has caused “me” to like a fair few Facebook statuses I had no intention of liking. Thanks, Gerald. Gerald tends to forget that he’s a massive cat and insist on crawling out through the smallest window he can find, even if he has to bring his hips through sideways.

There are a few things Gerald hates. The time when he got his temperature taken was probably one of the worst days of Gerald’s life. He also hates it when someone has the nerve to go to the bathroom without inviting him. Flea powder is most likely a human conspiracy to kill all the fun in the world if you ask Gerald.

In regards to Gerald’s future plans, he intends to teach the neighbour’s kids to socialise without reaching for his tail. He also seems to intend to psychologically manipulate us into only buying him wet food and once went on a four day hunger strike hoping we’d give in. He calmly plots the assassination of The Fluffy Cat who lives in the area, tries to steal Gerald’s turf, and has the gall to sound exactly like Gerald when he meows.

So yeah, this is Gerald and I absolutely adore him.

Elements of Good Days

wp-1467097542726.jpgThere is no such thing as a perfect day, but there sure are things that make days better. This post is merely mentioning some of them.

Good breakfast is a great way to ensure a good start to the day. Personally, I can’t eat just after I wake up and thus my breakfasts are typically more like brunches. The photo here shows one of my favourite breakfasts, the smashed avo from the PonyCat. It’s a big breakfast, but most of the ingredients are healthy and it’s a perfect treat if you suspect you’ll need a mood booster.

Work might not be a common thing to put on here, but if I can get some work done during breakfast, I know I’m at least off to a good start. This is usually when I blog, prep cases for debates, work on bureaucracy related stuff, or get some studying done. Work makes you feel productive and if you can feel productive before midday even on a day off, you’ve instantly made that day better.

Animals. I could just have left it there, but seriously, being around animals is one of the best things you can do to boost your mood. No matter if it’s our cat trying to sleep on my neck or laptop, or if it’s spending time in the stable… Being around animals simply makes me happy. My quality of life increased substantially when I moved to a house that came with a cat.

Exercise is another one of those things that can turn a day from average to good. The key to making exercise enjoyable is simple – do something you enjoy. For me, it’s either swimming or horseback riding. Both of those sports make for great exercise, swimming is a full body workout and horseback riding is leg day intensified. When it’s hot outside, going to the pool hardly feels like a chore and you can find me there almost every day. Now that it’s colder, I’ve started to return to my roots as an equestrian.

Social time is a bit hit or miss for me. Some days I enjoy a break from people and on other days I enjoy being around people. If I feel like being social, I typically have lunch with someone, chill with my housemate, or find a bunch of friends to play Cards Against Humanity with. Even just going to the movies together is a great way to enjoy someone’s company even if you don’t have the energy to do something more active together.

Luxurious showers are the poor man’s baths. Or at least my version of them. I’d love to have a bathtub, but in the meantime I’ll settle for a shower with a body scrub and some nice bath products. If you’re suffering from stiff muscles, showers are a great way to relax and loosen up a bit. In winter, one of the best things to do is simply to have a heater on in your room so that you don’t have to walk into a wall of cold after your shower.

Caffeine is my true love. My one addiction. When you’re having a bad day, have some coffee. Don’t spoil it by adding sugar, drink it black or with milk if you’re using instant coffee. If you’re going out for it, keep it to one that is coffee and milk. That’s the best way to actually feel the flavour. If you have to add 6 sugars, stop drinking coffee and just grab a soda instead. Yes, I have surprisingly strong opinions on coffee.

Spare time? Playing some games is a perfect way for me to unwind. It’s also a good way to keep your mind active. If I’m having a day where I need to distract myself from life, I play video games. Strategy games are a way to keep busy and get some intellectual stimulation. RPGs are great for when you need to get involved in a story and get some emotional rewards.