December Favorites: Beauty Edition

I’m a huge fan of pretty, glam things. I love the smell of a great Eau de parfum, the pigmentation of quality makeup, and pink/gold ensembles. Here are my favorites for this December.

Aspyn Ovard Eye & Cheek Palette (Tarte - $39)

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While this palette isn’t a new product, it’s definitely been useful for the subtle, everyday looks I’ve been doing (when I’m not running late and have time to actually put makeup on). It looks gorgeous on the exterior, and even better inside. My only complaint is that the colors match one another too well. Like I said, it’s been perfect for everyday looks, though, so that’s a plus. The blush shade also complements my skin tone well.

Modern Renaissance Palette (Anastasia Beverly Hills - $56)

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TOTALLY in-love with this palette! Received compliments in and out of work the first time I used it. The colors complement one another well, so it’s been my go-to for warm, peachy looks. The brush that came with the palette could’ve been better though, but if you’re into makeup, you’re already aware that brushes aren’t really the best in this case.

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Ginger Sugar Lip Scrub (Aritaum, Althea - $5)

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The cap looks worn out, but it’s only because I’ve been using this scrub religiously. I highly recommend applying this before bed or before putting on lipstick. You can either wash it off or wipe it away with tissue after a few minutes, but I find water is a gentler way of scrubbing it off. It’s very cheap, and smells great, too! There’s really no reason to not pick this up.

Chance Eau Tendre (Chanel - $62)

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Smells like heaven. Since my other favorite fragrance (the next item) is at its edge, I’ve started wearing this everyday. It has a subtle scent after it calms down (but it’s potent during the first sprays). For an Eau Tendre, the smell stays well throughout the day. I love this.

Jour d’Hermès Eau de parfum (Hermès - $162)

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A scent I’ll never get tired of. It’s an Eau de parfum, which means it has more aroma content than Eau de toilette and has the same amount of fragrance as perfumes. Lasts longer than the former too, so I get to appreciate the smell longer. It’s almost gone, and I am in dire need of a refill, haha! Highly recommended.

Sorta Sweet Palette (Kylie Cosmetics - $42)

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Last for this month’s faves is the Sorta Sweet palette by Kylie Jenner. The mattes in this one are quite good given the price point, but the shimmers need a little extra help from either my finger or a damp brush. When they’re on your eyes though, the look is pretty and pigmented. Recommended for those who need a palette that’s warm-toned and small enough to fit in a purse for travels.

And that is it for this month’s Beauty favorites! Thoughts? What have you been using? You have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

Mini-Trips: Hong Kong

I really traveled this year. Like, really. I went to places I didn’t think I would, and even though most of them were cut short by responsibilities at work, I still managed to make the most of my time. Whether I was solo or with the boyfriend, I truly enjoyed myself.

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I got a room at Shangri-La Hotel since I always feel most at home there. If the country I’m at doesn’t have a Shangri-La, we go for something similar in pricing and feel. That usually helps us discover places to crash when we’re next there. Fun stuff, and often surprises us.

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My boyfriend followed me the day after and we had drinks at the bar. One thing to note is that when you’re in an Asian country gallivanting with a tall Australian, you’re bound to get looks no matter what. He laughs off the attention every time though, but I always feel uncomfortable.

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We then got to have breakfast with a stunning view. It’s moments like it that make me want to keep on traveling as often as I can. You wake up with a sense of adventure, a sense of not knowing what lies ahead that day or what places you can explore.

What I especially loved about this year’s travels was an app. If you’ve never heard of Blay, I suggest you head right over to the App Store and download it because it’ll save you time, remind you of your flights, give you a checklist of what to bring, and give you information on the place you’re visiting.

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When you land, it also directs you to where your aircraft’s baggage can be claimed! I’ve been using it for all my flights since after Paris, and it’s been a great addition to my travel essentials.

If you’re prepping for a travel, add this to your list!

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Hong Kong was amazing. I stayed for a few days while my guy stayed overnight (he had more master classes to take), and I didn’t feel alone when he left. I met two couples who were newly married and one who were celebrating their 5th year. I even met a lady at the Lobster Bar who said her dream was to become a famous pianist and was in Hong Kong to get trained by an expert there. Definitely my crowd.

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You ever been to Hong Kong? Share your stories in the comments!

Mini-Trips: Singapore

This year was huge for me in terms of traveling. Since August, it seemed like I had suddenly won the lottery, threw all my cares out the window, and just decided to see more of the world.

I guess I had reached a point where I just didn’t want to be stressed out by the reality of how hard life can be. Maybe I just didn’t want to care about what other people would think about me anymore. Whichever the reason, I did what I had always wanted to do.

(I had meant to vlog these little trips but got caught up with work.)

This was also the first time I traveled overseas alone. This was definitely a nod to my goal of becoming more independent and self-aware by the end of the year.

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While spending some time alone, I was able to reflect a little on life, my situation, where I expect to be in the next few months, and what the hell I did wrong. You see, when I graduated college three years ago, I had grand dreams of getting employment at Pixar or Laika as either an animator or character designer. I had a need to prove myself worthy of the Cum Laude honors I received. It got to my head. I was so full of it.

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The time I spent in Singapore allowed me to do a little reflection of my situation. Whether or not I was willing to make more wrong decisions for the sake of comfort or just give it all up for my dreams. Here are some of my reflections.

  1. At 26, I no longer have the luxury of time. What I thought I could do in small waves should now be done as quickly (and as soon) as possible.

  2. Am I still willing to sacrifice my career growth for the purpose of seeing the company I’ve grown to love take-off and fly?

  3. I have a lot of regrets, but if I leave where I am… will I regret that too?

  4. What would I be doing right now if I chose a different talent to hone? Would I be in Singapore still, or would I be living permanently somewhere else?

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5. Passion… or pay? As much as I hate to bring those two apart, I have yet to experience a period where they are both favorable.

6. I need a financial advisor. And someone to actually manage my money for me.

7. I really need a different job. I need a place where I am given the freedom to grow and devote time to improving my skills.

8. Maybe getting married will solve most of my problems.

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Sigh.

Too bad I only spent like 2-3 days in SIngapore. I think the fiancé would’ve loved to come with me, but he had classes for his Master’s. At least I got some alone time.

I guess that’s all for this post. I’ll try to be more active here and post more energetic things (though it might take a while).

Discovering Paris

It’s always a surreal feeling when, after months of endless work, you splurge and get yourself a ticket to one of your dream destinations. For me, that place was Paris. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a desire to explore the place and spend a few nights there with a special someone - so we made it happen.

Last August, my fiancé and I went to the city of love. Here’s a storybook vlog I made, months after. (I started missing Paris really badly and couldn’t look at the photos on my phone after going back home.)

That’s all for this post!

Photos are also up on my Instagram account, so pay me a visit there!

Until the next one. Au revoir!

Beautifully Local: Méräki Leather Artisanal

If you asked me years back if I liked leather or not, my answer would’ve been “not so much”. I used to see it as a material fit for grandpas, boring corporate people, and prissy high-end wanna-be’s. Most of the people I’d met in the past saw owning leather as something that made them superior to everyone else, and it sickened me. People can be grossly full of themselves at the worst of times.

Putting that aside, I never really thought of leather as an investment until I met people who made a living out of creating leather goods. It didn’t occur to me that leather was a tough yet delicate material to work with, and that alone brought value to the table.

That being said, I’ve become more and more in favor of owning leather goods for mostly two reasons. One, leather has a very versatile look, meaning you can pair it with anything in your closet. From a rugged street style to a corporate attire, leather fits right in. Two, it really is an investment to own leather, and those with an eye for these kind of things will realize what you’re all about. They’ll know you’re not playing around.

(The owners of the brand I’ll be featuring are my friends, but all opinions on this post will be honest and entirely mine. This isn’t a sponsored post either; I just really want to spread the fact that there’s a cool, local brand that makes quality leather goods.)

Their super cute passport holder!

Their super cute passport holder!

Méräki Leather Artisanal is a new brand that makes leather goods (wallets, passport holders, coin purses, etc.) that are affordable, functional, and chic. Their products have had iterations based from feedback of their friends, buyers, and connections, and they’ve definitely become better at addressing their customers’ needs.

A nice thank you card they've included to show their appreciation of your support. Honestly, LOVE.

A nice thank you card they've included to show their appreciation of your support. Honestly, LOVE.

While they have pre-made leather items in their store, they’re also open to customs (which I love). If you've got a friend who already has everything, you can give them a leather custom with an engraving of their name and make them feel extra special. Who doesn't love an item made especially for them?!

Yes, leather looks beautiful. That doesn't mean the process is as elegant as the end result is. From our conversations, they've shared how painfully meticulous stitching has to be, just to make sure that it's both sealed properly and still looks tasteful. They've even mentioned a time one of them was accidentally stabbed while engraving a piece! Yikes. One of them also tried creating calligraphy using the engraving pen. Just thinking about having to create those lovely flourishes and lines on leather with a hot pen is making me cringe. Working with leather is definitely an ordeal.

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Not all local brands are awesome (let's be real here), but those that are deserve more than just a shout-out. Let's support local brands as much as we can. Don't ask for discounts just because you're friends with them or because you feel that they're merely "local". If they're your friends, you should know the value of supporting them all the more!

I've had people come to me asking for free design because "it's just a hobby" or "it's just drawing". People like that don't deserve a spot on my friends list. If you think it's really that easy, do it yourself!(Sorry for the sudden bitter sentiment. I'm moving on, haha.)

That doesn't mean you can't give feedback though, as constructive criticism will help them improve. Just make sure you're commenting out of desire to help, not because you're trying to bring them down.

If you're all for supporting local brands and would love to have something custom-made (or just buy leather items), do check out Méräki Leather Artisanal on Facebook and Instagram. Spot their website as well and see more of their products!

The Indy Miss Podcast

Hey guys! Oh my - I know it's been a long time since I posted, but with everything that's happened, I'm hoping to be forgiven (pretty please?). This is a special post because after years of thinking about creating one, I finally have a live, working podcast! I could scream right now.

Browse all streaming options here:    LINK

Browse all streaming options here: LINK

What's the history?

Ever since college, I've always expressed  to my friends my desire to come up with a podcast for my brand. Back then, I was worried about what I could talk about, if I could actually commit to coming out with something weekly, and if I had the time to keep going at it.

When I graduated in 2015, I again had the urge to pursue this goal, but I never got around to it. I got a job, became busy trying to up my graphic design skills for the corporate world, and doing workshops. It was a great year for me too, and this idea was sent to the back of my mind.

Come 2016, I stumbled upon an amazing set of podcasts and my desire was rekindled. I didn't have the equipment though, so again, I put it on the back-burner that year.

The year 2017 came around, and I finally bought a decent microphone setup (thanks to a very generous sponsor!). I proceeded to do covers and record my own compositions, but I didn't think about podcasting at all that year.

Okay, so what happened next?

It was early 2018 that everything made sense to me. This year, I knew I couldn't keep holding off my idea any longer, so I started turning some posts on this blog into podcast episodes, starting with "A Quick Guide to Long Distance Relationships". That first episode got SO MANY VIEWS that I knew I wanted to keep pursuing this new path.

I got a lot of audio comments in my inbox from my listeners who said they've learned so much from it and they were thankful for having a podcast like mine. My heart swelled. I knew I've always wanted to help people improve themselves and their relationships, and to have a channel that reaches beyond my own country is amazing.

Within two months of the podcast being live, I got sponsored by Audible (get your free 30-day trial and a free audiobook!), and now, I'm sponsored by Shopify as well (get a 14-day free trial now and explore Shopify)!

So what's the podcast about?

Starting that podcast last March was the best decision I've ever made. More than that, it allowed me to share tips for people in relationships, people who are single, those who want to try public speaking but are scared, designers who need additional help - anyone who wants to better themselves can learn from The Indy Miss podcast.

Here are a few topics out of the 21 episodes already available:

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(I've long wanted to blog about this, but again, my work load got the better of my time. I now wish I'd blogged about it sooner, but we're here now.)

Where can I stream this?

My podcast is available on 9 platforms, which is CRAZY (haven't gotten the link to Overcast yet)! You may also click any of the links below:

Choose your platform and listen away!

What else should I expect?

I release episodes once a week, either Monday or Saturday morning, but sometimes, if it's an episode that I really feel like sharing mid-week, I release a bonus episode.

There will be a lot more topics surrounding self-improvement and relationships, and the occasional tech-related topic (without being too technical that the general public won't relate to it).

I'm also open for suggestions, so please leave a comment if you'd like to propose anything.


I'm so happy to be able to share my podcast to everyone, and I hope to keep getting better and write more relatable episodes! There's LOADS more to come, so follow or subscribe to the podcast on your favorite streaming platform!

Until the next post, loves!