What Inspires You?

Blogging, or any type of writing for that matter, is a lot easier to do when there is

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something that inspires you.

Inspiration is something I often struggle with, and it is most likely tied to my general lack of motivation at the moment. We all like to think that we do what we do for a reason, that there is some sense of meaning to this weird madness we’ve named Life. And yet, there are days when nothing seems to have any meaning whatsoever.

I don’t mean that in the sense of depression, but more that there is a distinct lack of motivation or inspiration to really do anything. This type of thing can of course be a prelude to depression, but we’re not quite there.

After scheduling all the stocking stuffer posts (one for every remaining day of November), I’m drained. I even had to look at a list of prompts to be able to come up with the idea of writing about inspiration, or a lack of thereof.

I often look at things online to find inspiration, but with dreadful Wi-Fi, that’s kinda impossible. I’ve also struggled to stay motivated with things like reading, exercising, and researching, so it’s not just blogging that we’re talking about.

I want sunshine and pools, wine and halo top. I want my finances to be sorted out so that I can spoil myself and not just sit around waiting to get paid. It’s really hard to find inspiration to do things when there’s so much you suddenly can’t do…

So, dear readers, what inspires you?
When you’re broke, unable to do any of the things you want to do, and feel kinda blue, what’s your inspiration to push through?

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Products That Have Grown On Me

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Sometimes, it’s nice when you’re wrong. These are a few of the products I’ve encountered that I couldn’t stand at first, but that have grown on me.

Guerlain is one of my favourite brands, but because of how expensive they are, it’s pretty rare that I buy things from them. Thus, when I do spend my hard-earned dollars on one of their products, it better be good. Their Météorites Baby Glow product just did not seem to work for me when I first tried it. It was way too red and just didn’t seem to cooperate with my skin. However, the shade suddenly seems to be a near perfect match. Maybe it’s because my hair colour is changing or something, but it suddenly works. This product has gone from being one of my greatest disappointments to being one of my go-to products for everyday use.

KvD’s Bullet Lipsticks – You may have heard that all of the KvD bullet lipsticks are being reformulated and if I’d heard that months ago, I would have cheered. However, I’ve kinda grown to like them. I think the turning point was when I figured out that they were easily defeated by oil/greasy foods. Provided you stay away from that, they perform wonderfully. I still hate that the lids tend to come off if you look at them too intensely (or for no apparent reason). But some of these lipsticks are now products that I use on a regular basis, and I’m especially fond of the shade Chula. Let’s just say I’m kinda nervous about the new formula.

MAC – Viva Glam Rihanna (Frost). I’m not a big fan of mac. They’re overpriced, overhyped, and simply overrated. I’ve yet to find a MAC product that I genuinely love. This lipstick is the closest I’ve gotten. I’ve gone from thinking it was an absolute waste of money to thinking it’s alright. Not praising this one as much as the others, because it’s still only an (at best) fairly good lipstick that is still overpriced and overhyped. However, I don’t regret buying it anymore.

Colourpop Sculpting Stix in the shade Dove – I’m not massively into contouring. I find that it tends to look unnatural, unflattering, and muddy. It’s really hard to find contouring products for pale skin that are suitable for a more natural and subtle contour. However, this is one of the few products I’ve found that actually works. At first, I found that it either did nothing or looked clownish. But after spending a fair amount of time working with the product, I think I’ve figured out how to make it work.

Josie Maran Argan Oil – When my hair is in a decent condition, this product does nothing for me. But when my hair is having a bad time and looking worse than normal, it’s a lifesaver. So it helps revive my hair, but doesn’t improve the quality if my hair is already in a good condition.

Sacha Matte Face Powder – Nude Beige. This product is simply too dark for me to be able to use it as a regular powder foundation or all-over face powder. It’s not a bad product, just a poor match. That’s hardly surprising given that the brand normally targets women of colour, so it was more of an “ah well, guess that’s to be expected” case rather than “wow, this is so disappointing” one. What it does work for is when it’s combined with a foundation that is just a little too pale for me. It helps balancing it all out and means that I can now wear BB cremes that are just a little bit too light.

10 Things Not To Say To Someone With PTSD

 

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This is a friendly reminder to think before you open your mouth.

 

  1. “What happened wasn’t that bad” – Different things have different impacts on different people. Some people survive assault (just as an example) and have no psychological issues from it whatsoever, others go through a crisis, others develop PTSD. A person might go through several traumas in their lifetime and only develop PTSD as a result of one of those traumas, it might not always be the one that “seems” the worst. Also, if someone tells you about a trauma, there’s a pretty big chance they’re not telling you all the details. Talking about a trauma tends to be traumatic, go figure.

 

2. “Snap out of it”
Go f*ck yourself. You seriously think people re-live the worst moments of their lives because they haven’t bothered NOT to? You can’t snap out of it, no matter how badly you want to. If it was a matter of ‘snapping out of it’, PTSD wouldn’t exist.

 

3. “Have you tried…”
“I’ve had insomnia for 25 years that interacts with my PTSD. I’ve tried everything”
“OMG, have you tried, like, going to bed at the same time every night and having like a routine”
“No, because when I said I’d tried everything I clearly meant that I’ve tried everything except the most basic solution.”
I’ve gotten this from so many people over the years and it’s so goddamn annoying. Another common one is blaming screens. I promise you, I did not have a smartphone or a laptop with me in bed as a kid in the 90’s. I was still an insomniac. When I say that I’ve tried everything, don’t assume I haven’t tried things that would show up on the first page of the search results when you Google.

4. “Drugs can cure PTSD”
There are experimental treatments that involve certain drugs that are classified as narcotics. Those treatments are done under strict supervision in combination with therapy. Getting high does not cure PTSD and I’m certainly not about to risk a criminal conviction for something like this. Self-medication is extremely common among people with PTSD and many people with PTSD end up turning to drugs out of desperation. They do not need you pushing them there. No drug (medical or non-medical) should not be used for PTSD treatment without being used under medical supervision and guidance.

 

5. “Someone I know went through the same thing and they didn’t get PTSD”
Good for them. I’ve fallen off many horses without breaking any bones, that doesn’t mean that Christopher Reeve wasn’t paralysed after falling off a horse.

6. “TRIGGER WARNING”
I am so goddamn sick of ‘trigger warnings’ that I want to vomit. Firstly, if you do want to try to warn someone about specific content, you have to tell them what the warning is about. I don’t know how people think that writing “trigger warning” with no context is meant to help anyone. Secondly, you don’t know someone’s triggers unless you know them really really well. PTSD triggers don’t work the way people think they do. Talking about something related to trauma is not automatically triggering. Triggers can be anything. Thirdly, a trigger does not necessarily trigger a flashback either, it does however tend to cause the condition to flare up. If you’ve survived being shot, you may be perfectly fine talking about guns, but have a flashback when a balloon explodes. You may have nightmares for days after being exposed to a certain scent, but you have no problem watching a movie featuring scene depicting a similar trauma. Life pretty much has a “viewer discretion is advised” stapled on it already, writing “TW” at the end of a Facebook post isn’t helping anyone.

7. “You should exercise/try this natural remedy”
See point 3.  Also, if things like “eat natural foods” would have cured PTSD, no one would have struggled with PTSD after WWI. I used to exercise 8-10 hours a week, it did nothing to relieve my PTSD. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help manage certain symptoms, but it’s far from guaranteed. If my PTSD is flaring up badly and I can barely leave the house, then telling me to ‘exercise’ or ‘just be social’ is like asking me to go to the dark side of the moon, it is simply not possible at that point in time. Unless you are an expert on PTSD and have a license to give medical advice, shut up.

8. “Maybe just lower your ambitions”
There is this stereotype that people with PTSD are doomed to living on welfare and won’t be able to do anything with their lives. This applies to most mental illnesses to be honest. A friend of mine experienced psychosis when they were younger and were told that having a job and an apartment were unrealistic goals. By a doctor. This friend has since been able to obtain both. I have PTSD, I’m not broken or incompetent. I can choose to let this thing run my life, or I can fight for the life I want to have. If you’re happy with having a dead-end job or living on welfare, never leaving your hometown, and never doing anything extraordinary, then good for you. Just don’t expect me to do the same.

9. “I totally know what it’s like”
Do you have PTSD? Have you at least experienced a similar trauma? No? Then no, you don’t know what it’s like. Thankfully this is getting less common as I get older, but I heard this nonstop when I was a teenager.

10. “OMG I’m such a mental health ally, activism is so important”
My PTSD isn’t about you. Don’t use my trauma for your political purposes. Don’t use my pain to feel better about yourself. I’m not your ’cause’.

 

When Things Get Rough

 

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This is a pretty accurate depiction of me before 8am. It’s also a pretty accurate image of me when things get rough, and that’s what I want to write about today.

Recently, things just don’t seem to be going my way. It’s more a matter of timing than anything else, but it is quite frustrating. I’ve had massive unavoidable expenses for a while and that means I’ve been on a fairly strict budget as a result.

Due to budget restrictions, I’ve been unable to use some of my regular coping mechanisms. Especially grabbing breakfast out, retail therapy, and massages. Massages are probably the worst since I’ve got ongoing issues with back and shoulder pain, so going for a massage every six weeks or so has been pretty important in managing my wellbeing. Because when your back and shoulders hurt, it becomes a lot harder to do things like sleep and work… Add to that that I’m currently saving up to have my wisdom teeth removed. So yeah, chronic pain in most of my upper body has been a bit of an issue.

Anyhow, in order to stay motivated and get things done, I normally use a bullet journal. When I’ve completed X number of tasks or made good progress, I normally schedule rewards for myself. When you’re on a very limited budget, it’s kinda hard to reward yourself even when you deserve it. There’s been a fair few “take an extra long shower!” type of rewards happening lately. Because my normal method for getting things done isn’t as efficient as it usually is, it’s been kinda hard to stay on top of everything. This month I fell slightly short of my normal exercise goal, partly due to the pain issue. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve been blogging less lately. I’ve just had so much to do and had no motivation whatsoever.

In order to try to manage everything, I’ve used a few different tricks. The first is to consume heaps of black coffee. Firstly, because it’s the most affordable type of coffee (especially if your office provides free instant coffee). Secondly, because it helps keep the lack of sleep from becoming super obvious. Thirdly, because it curbs hunger sensations quite well.

Another trick I’ve used is to focus on wearing things that make me feel good. It’s not just about things that make you look good, it’s also about wearing a funny t-shirt or a cosy sweater.

The next thing I’ve tried to do a bit more of sounds simple – doing nothing. I’m usually very focused on getting things done and it’s hard for me to take a day off. In order to manage the pain and insomnia, I’ve just had to take things a bit easy. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix, revisited old games, and spent a fair amount of time napping when possible.

It’s kinda working out ok, but today I’m rewarding myself by going to see a friend. I’m bringing cheese, crackers, and blueberries. She’s providing wine. Shared costs, twice the reward. I just hope she doesn’t mind cheap brie.

Cruelty Free K-Beauty Brands

If you’re into K-beauty, it can be kind of difficult to navigate the issue of animal testing. This post is about brands that do not test their products on animals, but it is not a requirement that they are also vegan. If you’re looking at vegan products, you’re probably better off checking the individual ingredients lists for products sold by these brands.

However, regardless of whether you’re an exclusively cruelty free makeup user, or just prefer cruelty free brands, you’ll probably be happy to know that South Korea is working on phasing out animal testing over the next year or two. Another issues is that it is uncertain whether or not some of these brands test on animals in China. The thing is, China requires that products that are physically sold in the country are tested on animals before they can be sold to humans, but the same requirement does not appear to exist for products that can be bought online only.

Furthermore, please be aware that this list might not be perfect since it primarily relies on secondary sources (in English) and that there may be brands out there that are cruelty free but not represented on this list. This list aims to serve as a way for you to narrow it down to a handful of brands that you can then look into further to ensure that they meet your standards for what you consider cruelty free. If you do notice any discrepancies on the list, please let me know.

According to Style Story (an Australian K-beauty site/store), the following brands do not test on animals: Etude House, Hera, Innisfree, IOPE, Klairs, Leaders, Mizon, COSRX, It’s Skin, I Am Sorry Just Cleansing, Thank You Farmer and ISNTree.

There are a few more brands that are dedicated to being cruelty free: RE:P, Aritaum, DR Jart+, Espoir, Laneige, Mamonde, Pony Effect, SanDa Wa (labelled by the Leaping Bunny Standard), and Sulwhasoo. These and other brands are listed by the blog Wildwood and Sage as being cruelty free.

Brands with no info available according to Korean Beauty Blog: Clio, Holika Holika, SkinFood, Nature Republic, The Saem, TonyMoly.

6 Things I’d Love to See from K-Beauty Brands

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I love Korean Beauty products and brands in general, but there are some things I’d like to see change or added. This is not calling out any specific brand or hating on the K-beauty industry, just more of a wish list.

  1. More shades
    Korean cushions are some of the best things you can use on your face, and they’re a godsend if you’re an extremely pale person. However, it’s not uncommon for brands to release maybe 2 shades or so. I’d like to see a wider range of skin colours and undertones represented in K-beauty. Even if you only look at Korean people, there are more than two or so skin colours/shades found in the population. It would hopefully boost these brands internationally and provide more options for consumers all over the world.

 

2. More creative hand creams
I love hand creams and have a pretty decent collection of them. K-beauty brands like TonyMoly, SkinFood, and The Saem all come up with amazing hand creams in cute packaging. I’d like to see more of that in the industry. I’m waiting for a rose scented hand cream to be released in rose shaped packaging, space inspired hand creams released inside planets, or even a whole candy themed collection. You’re good at it, so please keep on doing it!

3. Caffeinated Skin & Body Care
Coffee scrubs are commonplace these days. There’s some limited research to suggest that caffeine might have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin when exposed to UV rays, leading me to think that researching caffeine as an ingredient in SPF focused products may be worthwhile. Although I must say I don’t know much about the research in this area, caffeine is sometimes used in products targeting dark and puffy under-eye areas. Plus, I’ll buy a coffee scented anything, so if you sell something that smells like coffee, I’ll happily hand over my money. There’s plenty of cafe themed collections and PR photos, so this one shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

4. Moving Away From Animal Testing
There’s a very logical reason as to why a lot of Korean brands test on animals – Chinese law requires that beauty products sold in the country is tested on animals. However, a few brands do their best to avoid animal testing, including SanDaWha (which has some awesome skin care products). I’d just like to see a greater move away from animal testing even if all brands don’t follow suit. I don’t exclusively use cruelty free brands, but more brands getting on board would make it a lot easier for people to access cruelty free products and open the market up for a group of consumers that are currently hesitant about the entire industry. Plus, moving away from animal testing in general is something I believe is a good idea now that other forms of testing are equally good.

5. Eyeshadow Tints
Lip tints are lightweight, blendable, and come in a range of colours. I would like to see that technology/technique adapted into eyeshadows. It would be easily applied with your fingers or a sponge applicator. If you wait a few seconds before applying it, it might be less prone to transferring than many other forms of eyeshadows. Moreover, it would enable a more gradient look for eyeshadows that can be achieved even by people like me who suck at blending.

6. Accompanying Candles
Skincare and makeup collections by Korean brands are often themed according to their active ingredients. You’ll have a whole collection themed around green tea or grapes. Where appropriate, I’d love to see more scented candles accompanying those collections, maybe to be included when you buy a set of something.

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Books

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I read a lot as a kid. I easily finished books designed to last for weeks in 1-2 lessons for school and typically read things not intended for children. I did read some things intended for a younger audience, the Harry Potter series and the Artemis Fowl books were some of my favourites.

My interest in reading was probably born out of necessity. I lived in a rural area with absolutely nothing to do for entertainment. Furthermore, this was when the internet was a thing you used sparingly and that didn’t do all that much. So, books and video games were my primary forms of entertainment.

As an adult, I don’t read for pleasure that often. Or at least I didn’t until I started making a conscious effort a few months ago. The thing is, I have to read a lot of really heavy material for uni. It didn’t exactly decrease when I went from undergrad to post-grad. So, I spend a lot of my time reading things that are really dense. So why did I attempt to change that?

I dropped by a bookstore to kill some time and realised that one of my favourite authors had released a new book. You know, three years earlier. The feeling that I’d just so completely lost touch with something I truly enjoyed was a bit of a wakeup call for me. I naturally decided to buy the book in question and ended up truly enjoying it. Maybe it’s something so simple as good old ‘fear of missing out’ kicking in, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d missed out on a lot of enjoyable stories.

So I decided to put in a bit of effort. I’ve started creating ‘to read’ lists and try to read at least one book a month. I’ve also started enjoying shorter stories, think Sherlock Holmes, which was something I never enjoyed when I was younger.

I’ve also noticed that my preferences have changed a bit. I was convinced I would love HP Lovecraft, but I’ve been working on The Mountains of Madness for weeks and find it borderline impossible to enjoy. I can tell that I would have loved it when I was younger, but the dense language reminds me too much of academic writing. It just feels more like work rather than pleasure.

Currently, I’m still working on getting through The Mountains of Madness. But more enjoyably, I’m also reading Steppenwolf and have a copy of 1984 waiting for me. I genuinely enjoyed Animal Farm, so I’ve got high hopes for 1984. I’m also planning to fit in another Sherlock Holmes story in August. Also in August, the author that got me back into reading is releasing a new book, so I’m really keen for that. In general, I find myself drawn to classics these days and I’m not really sure why.

I do struggle to find new books and it’s difficult to find tailored recommendations, which does make it a bit difficult to add new things to my ‘to read’ list. So if you know of good ways to find new things to read, please let me know!

 

Some of My Favourite Things 3/5

41. Space – it’s pretty cool
42. The West Wing – Possibly the greatest thing ever put on the small screen.

43. Black Lace – one of the few things that can look delicate and badass at the same time.

44. Fish Sauce – Don’t judge me, everyone likes at least one type of weird food.

45. Sushi

46. Pinball – super addictive and wholesome fun.

47. Halloween

48. Goats – search for fainting goats on youtube and I promise you you’re in for a treat

49. Quirky makeup

50. Coke Zero

51. Post-workout endorphins – sometimes your  body rewards itself for hard work.

52. Pointless quizzes – sometimes you just need to know which pizza you are based on how you’d design a bedroom.

53. Dragon Age

54. Moleskin Journals – stationary luxury in a nutshell

55. Salmon – tastiest fish out there

56. Tapirs – Like goats, but weirder

57. Pineapple

58. Poached eggs – used to hate eggs, but poached eggs have converted me.

59. Henley shirts – they’re just almost universally flattering

60. Long coats – also almost universally flattering

Sucking at Self-Care

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I’m not very good at taking time off and often sneak practical and productive things into my activities on days off.  Today I tried taking a day off.

I haven’t written a word, but you bet I’ve been mentally constructing a case for an upcoming debate my kids might be in. I cancelled the hike I’d scheduled for 7am (because even I genuinely think getting up before 6 am on a Saturday for productivity purposes is really stupid), but made sure to go for a long walk that at least my fitbit counted as exercise. I bought a book with Lovecraft stories today and discovered that I was getting annoyed with myself for not having finished the first story yet.

I simply don’t like doing things where I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. Numbers, now that’s something I do like. Going for a walk is less satisfying than walking on a treadmill, because treadmills have all sorts of wonderful numbers for me to keep track of. I have two separate fitness apps on my phone, a built in one and the one that accompanies the fitbit I got the other day. I’ve started a bullet journal that I keep at my desk in the office.

I love being productive, but man do I hate deadlines. It’s pretty evident that I use work as some form of self-medication and I like to be able to control that dose. Deadlines, especially when they gain up on you, tend to hinder productivity and ensure that I get less actual work done. I like completing tasks, I don’t like hearing the ticking of the clock.

I recently had to say no to paid work due to other obligations and found it outright upsetting to do so. I have to genuinely stop myself from scrolling through job adds out of curiosity and a desire to do more.

I do pay the price for my inability to relax and just live like a normal person. Flirting with burnout is a bit of a hobby and I’m pretty sure it’s not helping my sleep issues. Balance is not my greatest strength, but I’ll have to improve if I’m going to be able to keep this up in the long run.

A Brief Fandom Tag

Stumbled across this online, thought it would be a fun thing to do for a casual post.

1. What’s your definition of a fandom?
My definition is pretty casual. If you enjoy something and occasionally indulge in going beyond experiencing the original medium (like listening to an album), you’re probably a fan. I think the whole group aspect of it is fairly creepy to be perfectly honest.

2. What was your first fandom?
Probably something like Harry Potter

3. List all of your fandoms!
Star Trek (mainly Voyager), Dragon Age, Final Fantasy, The West Wing.

4. On a scale from 1-10 how nerdy/crazy are you?
Maybe about a 6.
5. What is your favorite character to cosplay?
I don’t really cosplay, but I’d give Rogue from X-Men a go.

6. Fanfictions? Yes or No
Generally, no. I don’t mind fan fictions that explore what happens ‘between’ scenes or someone’s backstory, but they too often turn away from staying faithful to the source material for my taste.

7. What is the most recent thing you watched/read?
Got Star Trek Voyager open on Netflix in a different tab.

8. If you could choose ONE mystical place to go where would you go?
Gosh that’s a tough one. Probably Thedas if we’re basing it on places from fandoms.

9. Do you have a Tumblr?
Used to have one dedicated to coffee.