general / lately

What I read about:

  • Alison Roman going after WOC (Chrissy Teigen, Marie Kondo). Here’s a recap and her apology. (Sorry, I’m a week behind on posting, not reading!)

What I made:

  • Dominique Ansel Gâteau au Yaourt. I made it with strawberries and in a muffin tray. (Recipe here but also recommend watching his Instagram post.) I didn’t love it.
  • DIY Meet Fresh grass jelly signature. I made grass jelly (grass jelly powder and Knox gelatin) and boiled frozen sweet potato and taro balls from 99 Ranch. Way cheaper and healthier (less sugar) than the real thing! If I had made grass jelly ice, it would’ve been more authentic.
  • Trader Joe’s ube mochi waffles (as pictured above). Their new seasonal pancake and waffle mix has been so popular that it dragged me to a TJ after not going for months. If this is the only item you want, I recommend calling ahead and asking because I heard the Bay Area locations are sold out. My location was sold out of the ube ice cream. Tip: if you love the mochi texture, make the waffle even more ‘q’ by substituting half of the recommend ube mix for tapioca flour. I also added a pinch of baking soda, even though it’s in the mix.
    • Waffle maker recommendation: I love waffles but never made them before. I bought the Dash mini waffle maker in mint green. If you aren’t familiar with Dash, they have many super affordable kitchen electronics in a rainbow of colors. This is perfect for my household as I’m the only one into waffles and the machine is so tiny and easy to store. (Purchase at Target, Amazon. It’s been selling out!)

What I’m watching or watched:

  • I finished Homeland (series finale), Outlander (season finale). About to start on Westworld.
  • Chinese drama series, 鬓边不是海棠红 (Winter Begonia). It’s on Youtube with subtitles. 49 episodes. Set in 1930s Peking, much of the story is related to Peking opera. I still don’t like Peking opera, but feel like I have a better understanding and appreciation for it now. This series has the same producer (and some of the same actors) as the very popular Story of Yanxi Palace. The cinematography is gorgeous. The male lead is played by Huang Xiaoming (so good looking). There is another popular show (清平樂) that my dad is currently watching — but I’m usually multitasking and this one is harder to comprehend.

What I bought:

  • Fresh flowers from Whole Foods on the Amazon app. It’s peony and tulip season!
  • Estee Lauder had a BOGO for their ever popular Advanced Night Repair serum last week ago. I stocked up. It was at a few places and sold out pretty quickly. Estee Lauder is such a mainstream, older lady classic brand. I didn’t think to start using it again until I saw how popular this serum was in China.
  • Shopbop is having a sale. It’s strange buying things to wear in public, when I don’t know when I will spend time in public again. I’m not sure if I will keep everything. I ordered Adidas x Missoni sneakers, a Ferragamo bag, and a dress (potential for a wedding). Generally, I add what I like to my hearts or wishlist and check back when there is a sale.
  • Brooks Brothers flash sale. Similarly, I also add what I like to a wishlist and check back when there is a sale. If you miss the old J.Crew quality, check BB. Their collections are smaller than J.Crew, quality is typically better, and markdowns are not as aggressive but also because the style is less trendy. It is not uncommon for something from a few years ago to languish in the sale section because it’s not clearance prices. They also use Shoprunner 2 day shipping, which is easy to get for free as an Amex cardholder. I do have a high rate of returns with them, so won’t recommend anything until I’m sure I’m keeping it.
  • Allure Beauty Box for May. I got the box that I posted about. Just as advertised. The June and July boxes (pictured below) have already been announced. If you want the Purlisse watermelon cleanser or the Peach and Lily glass skin serum, definitely check it out. I’m stocked up on the glass skin serum from the Ulta sales. As I mentioned, it’s easiest to order the Allure Beauty Box on Amazon. Order within the month you want (i.e. order the May box during May) and cancel the subscription once the box you want ships. Subscribing directly with Allure gets you some freebies, but it won’t be as easy to cancel.

June 2020 / Full size Purlisse cleanser, lip oil, Dashing Diva gels; variation between the Shangpree eye masks and LRP Vitamin C serum:

July 2020 / Full size Peach and Lily glass serum, lip and cheek balm, Clio eyeliner in purple; variation between the Dr Jart tiger grass gel cream, Dr Jart sunscreen, OR Sunday Riley Ice:

(Images: Allure)


to shop / {deal alert} allure beauty box & dermstore spf

I haven’t done a beauty box in ages but rejoined Allure for the May box, which has a Skin Inc full size serum for ~$15. Skin Inc serums are small and expensive, so perfect at this price. I also want to try the other items — I think I’ve seen the AHC eye cream (also full size) on Instagram ads. I joined via Amazon so it’s easy to cancel.

If you’re looking for a solid facial sunscreen, Dermstore has a good Skin Cancer Foundation suncare set. These are the derm-recommended kind that aren’t as cosmetically elegant. I have used most of them and always have a stock of Elta readily available, but they are heavier and make me look shinier. Which is fine for Zooming from home or when I want good protection.

to pamper / beauty box review (allure, birchbox, sephora play)

If you’re interested in a beauty box, the Allure Beauty Box has been impressive. I subscribed in December 2017 when I heard of the January spoilers (a full size $85 Sunday Riley serum). They have a good balance of prestige and non-prestige brands. Value-wise, it is easy to pick 1-2 products in the box that exceed the $15/monthly fee*. The box contains a booklet that explains each product and discounts for the full size. You can go month to month, which is what I do.

A sample of what’s been in my boxes:

  • October 2018: 7 products. Sunday Riley x 2, Caudalie, Hourglass mascara, YSL lipgloss, etc. Valued at $86.

  • September 2018: 5 products, 2 were full size. Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, full size MAC lipstick, Tarte x 2, IGK, etc. Valued at $66.

  • August 2018: 6 products, 2 were full size. Laneige, Caudalie, Eyeko, etc. Valued at $69.
  • July 2018: 8 products, 1 was full size. Olay, Ouai, Sunday Riley, etc. Valued at $110.
  • June 2018: 5 products, 3 were full size. Kat Von D and Ole Henricksen. Valued at $69.

Continue reading “to pamper / beauty box review (allure, birchbox, sephora play)”