Sunday, October 28, 2018

Salon Napa Coming Through

Hey everyone!
I hope your day (morning, afternoon, night - whenever you're reading this!) is going well!
I am the type of person that does not really buy expensive things. I am actually quite frugal. When you grow up with immigrant Filipino parents, you kind of grow up with poor man's mentality where everything is too expensive. LOL. Though I do like to treat myself from time to time, I am mostly on the conservative side financially, typically feeling guilty with purchases I want but could survive without.
If you had been following me for a while, you know I love doing my nails. I have several posts on amateur nail art I have done in the past. This is definitely next level up.
Getting your nails done can be quite pricey and at-home nails never last as long as gel nails at the salon. I have been wanting to purchase a gel nail kit for a few years now, but could never get myself to cough up the expense. Prices that I have seen range from $80+ and, to reiterate, I just don't make those hefty purchases on non-essential items. Also, I was a little skeptical about at-home DIY gel nails. Is anything ever as good as the salon?
With buying on a kit on my mind in the last year, I decided to just go for it. I am 32, work hard, make decent money (I got a higher paying job last year, woot!), and don't usually buy things for myself.
I bit the bullet, did my research and found the ASP Soak Off Gel Polish Complete Starter Kit for $71.49 at Sally's. With tax, I paid close to $80 and it was worth every penny!
$71.49 at Sally's


LED lamp

The kit comes with the following items:
  • Mini LED Lamp (with power cord)
  • Cleansing Wipe
  • Bonder
  • Base Coat
  • Top Coat
  • ASP Gel Polish in Passionate Pink (this is super bright)
  • 2-in-1 Dehydrator (to remove the tacky feeling after curing)
  • Conditioning Soak-Off Solution
  • Easy-to-follow Instructions (with pictures! WIN!) 
According to the sales representative at Sally's, the ASP starter kit is one of the cheaper ones (in cost, not quality) and is a good beginner-friendly kit which is what I was looking for. She was completely right.
The whole thing was very amateur friendly and the results look as though you were a pro. Of course with anything new, there is the learning curve of fine tuning your skills.
Overall, I give the kit an A-, not an A+, only because 1) there is no timer, 2) the lamp is pretty small and 3) the pink polish it comes with is a bright pink which is not really an every day color I would wear. Perhaps that's a tactic to get you to buy more! 
Though I can't hate on it too much for these reasons because 1) I wanted something on the affordable end and 2) I kind of have big hands and really long fingers, but still (lol).
However, for a beginner, it does the job and I love it despite those three reasons. When this eventually wears out, I will definitely splurge on something a little bigger with a timer. It gets tedious having to pick up my phone to set the timer for every coat. But hey, first world problems. I will survive.
So now....time for the exciting part...the RESULTS!

My first ever manicure using the kit
Gelaze by China Glaze - Kill the Lights
Gelaze by China Glaze - A Waltz in the Park
FingerPaints - My Best Angle
FingerPaints - My Best Angle
My current nails
Gel polish is, understandably so, pricier than the regular drugstore nail polish I would buy. Because of this, I currently have my 3 staple colors: mauve, nude and lilac. I was lucky to get them on a Sally's promo of buy 2 get 1 free. Each polish (I purchased Gelaze by China Glaze and FingerPaints) was about $9-$11 each.
As you can tell from my pictures and clips, my shaping and cuticle work needs some improvement, but the product itself works great.
I get a good 2.5 - 3 weeks with them. They probably could last 4, but I get bored of them after a while and start to pick at them encouraging lifting >_<
Alright, this post is getting way too long. Kudos to you if you made it this far. Let's summarize the pros and cons of the kit.
  • Decently priced and affordable
  • Compact kit
  • Easy-to-follow directions
  • Lamp doesn't get hot like some salons professional lamps
  • Great quality machine and products enclosed
  • (Side note: Kudos to FingerPaints and Gelaze by China Glaze for having bomb products too) 
  • A little too compact (I wish a little more than half my hand could fit in so I can get my thumb)
  • No timer
  • In my opinion, a terrible choice of pink polish included in the kit
As a beginner, I highly highly highly recommend the ASP Soak Off Gel Polish Complete Starter Kit for anyone who loves doing their nails and has been thinking about getting a gel nail lamp or kit. If I could go back in time though, I probably would have splurged higher to get a lamp with a timer, but I am still very very very happy with my ASP kit. I am confident it will last me a long while. Thank you, ASP!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hello BAHSTON Boston!

Hello there! :D

Welcome back to my page! :D

I wanted to write this post to share my experience in Boston with you and to also have this as a keepsake for myself.

Here's a little quick little backstory to Boston and why I went. Both of my parents are retired now. We didn't travel growing up because they were saving and using up all their money on me and my other two siblings. Now that they are retired, they want to travel but don't necessarily have the means to do so.

I am a hardworking adult now with a better paying job and want to thank them for all their love, time and sacrifices spent on us.

This was the second trip I took them on (first was Seattle and Vancouver, but I will get to that on another post). I asked my mom to pick from the following: Hawaii, Boston and Chicago. Hawaii was secretly my vote but she picked Boston.

I did my research on Boston and found that a lot of the tourist parts are historical monuments. I am farthest from being a history buff. Honestly, I am not a big fan. I appreciate history happened and I understand the significance, but I didn't want to feel like I was in class on vacation.

I internally huffed and puffed and was not totally excited about the trip prior to the trip. BUT WHOA. I will be the first to admit when I am wrong or proved wrong. Boston stole my heart.

I really give credit Scott "Milk" from the Duck Tour. In 90 minutes, he presented the history of Boston in an interesting and entertaining way. He was super funny. He actually made me excited to re-learn (and I say re-learn because I am sure I "learned" this in school back in the day) history. Government center was my favorite area. Who would've thought?? Not me. Not in a million years.


On my last day, I had several hours before my flight and even went back to some of the historical sites Scott "Milk" referenced. If history in school was presented the way he delivered it, I probably would've paid more attention. LOL.


Since Boston is by the coast, seafood is the grub to consume. I had oysters, poke, lobster, crab, squid, clam chowder, basically the ocean. It was delicious. I really really recommend Neptune Oyster House. Everything was bomb dot com.

You can find a lobster roll almost anywhere
First time eating at Wagamama which I think originated in the UK
Local beer at Martha's Vineyard - Organic Summer Love
Lobster roll + shrimp scampi burger
Puerto Rican food - mofongo (thumbs down, hella dry)
My dad has to hit up every Chinatown wherever we go
Mike Pastry's - famous for cannolis. I was not a fan.

I was definitely not in Los Angeles anymore. In Boston (and NYC that I have experienced), people don't wait for the walking man on the crosswalk to cross the street. If there's no cars, you just go. Or if there are cars, you kinda just go anyway. LOL. You would have gotten yourself runover in Los Angeles if you did that here. You can definitely tell who's a tourist by who waits at the crosswalk.

It was way crazy to stay in Boston. Yikes yikes yikes. My hotel fees included state tax, city tax and bed tax. Yes, folks. BED.

The architecture is beautiful. I never imagined myself to like old style buildings. Now I understand what people see when they admire that old charm. It also bewilders me that when you stand on a street corner, and look down the road, it always looks like a dead end but it's not. It's a little insane but really cool at the same time. If you stand on the street corner in Los Angeles and look straight ahead, it just looks like the road continues and you can see right through it. All the dead ends were pretty trippy but beautiful.

I just wanted to share a random fun fact for myself so that I remember. There are tunnels in Boston. If there is a red stripe in the tunnel, that means you are passing on/through land. Blue means water. Fun fact! My friend who is from the city over didn't even know that. I was totally spitting random Boston facts to her. I learned so many random, cool, amazing things. Thank you, Scott "Milk" and thank you Boston.

Hawaii will always be my number one, but Boston is definitely my new favorite city that I've visited. And no no, I'm not saying that just because it was recent. A month before my Boston trip, I took my parents to Seattle which is my least favorite city ever visited.

This is a beautiful place, but during off-peak season, there was not much to do or see. A lot of the shops and restaurants were closed with signs that said, "We'll be back in May." We totally wasted a day at Martha's. I don't know if I want to even go back during peak season. Things to do there - water sports and golf. I do neither.

There was just so much going on at Quincy Market - shops, eats, sweets, free entertainment. I loved it. That's also where I found the best cannoli.




Site of Boston Massacre
Fun fact: The massacre actually occurred on the intersection but the monument was moved about 50 feet onto the sidewalk because tourists were disrupting traffic by taking pictures with the plaque

Site of Boston Massacre

Samuel Adams

Gold tea kettle (Boston tea party)

This is the only city in the US that I have been to where Starbucks is not king. It was crazy. Instead, there was a Dunkin' Donuts on nearly every street corner. It was wild and actually pretty cool. There were 3 Dunkin' Donuts within 0.3 miles of my hotel (shoutout to the Boxer Boston Hotel). I love donuts so it's amazing. And oddly enough, I never had a donut over there. Just 8 miles outside of Boston is Quincy - the birthplace of Dunkin' Donuts. Next time, I would love to go there.


I really hope to see you soon <3


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Spotlight: Ekolu

This post is hella long over due but it does not matter!

You guys!!

One of my bucket list/concert dreams came true for my birthday last May, making it even more special!

My favorite Hawaiian band Ekolu came to Hermosa Beach here in Southern California to perform. They typically have their gigs out in the islands of Hawaii and so coming to the mainland is not as frequent. And what joy that they come during my birth month. Yeyeahh.

They came last May and my two besties accompanied me to the concert as part of the birthday celebration and oh my gosh! I was smiling so big from ear to ear the whole night.
The moment I walked in, I was greeted by a woman and it took me a second to recognize her but when I did, I shrieked, "BUBS!" She is the lead singer's wife and if you follow Ekolu on Instagram, you know she the QUEEN of his life. And how awesome she was greeting guests. She went around the podium to give me a hug and take a picture with me. Such a sweetheart! No wonder Ekolu adores the floor she walks. They are definitely couple goals, ya'll.

Here are some snippets from the night. Definitely one of my favorite concerts ever...ever!

 Writing this post 5 months later just gives me the feels all over again. LOVE THEM.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Throwback Thursday: OOTD

Hey hey! Happy TBT! Happy throwback Thursday!

Major shout out to whomever made TBT a thing because it happens to be one of my favorite social media aspects/hashtags. TBT allows us to look back and just reminisce on some really good times. Random fact: Nostalgia is one of my most favorite things. 

I wanted to share a throwback photo of me probably a year ago? Or a little more than a year ago? This was my outfit to my Zumba class when I used to go to the YMCA in Koreatown, Los Angeles. 

I chose this as a throwback because 1) I really love this outfit (LOL) and 2) I miss going to the gym. LIKE SO BAD!

I went rollerskating with a few friends of mine in late April. This was the first time I have ever gone rollerskating and this was something I really wanted to try. 

The moment I arrived, I got nervous about potentially falling and hurting myself. My soon-to-be 32 year old self realized that I could potentially fall. And boy did I!

That fall hurt like a major beeee yo. 

The funny thing was I fell towards the end of my stay at the rollerskate venue. Most people fall in the beginning right? As they start to get the hang of things? Me? I fall at the end. 

I just couldn't, for the life of me, get the hang of the turns. If you have gone rollerskating or ice skating, you know that most venues have you just go around the perimeter of the venue over and over and over. I wobbled at all corners and had one wall where I just had to end up leaning against when I passed by.

Then disaster struck. I fell backwards on my tush AND bounced. BOUNCED. Both of my friends fell previously before I did and mentioned how painful the fall was but they were both able to carry on after a few minutes of recovery break time. 

Dang, when I got home. I fell asleep and woke up sore. I was so sore that I could not take off my pants. My husband had to help me.

Turns out I had a bruised tailbone which I learned has an estimated recovery of 4 weeks. GAH!

The next two days were awful - I could not bend over; I could barely put on my pants/underwear; I needed assistance going to the bathroom; I would feel pangs of shooting pain randomly or when I accidentally exerted myself; Coughing, laughing, and sneezing hurt. 

Holy moly. It was painful. Each day got better but all of the daily tasks mentioned above were still a challenge. 

I did contact my doctor and was asked to monitor the pain and symptoms. 

As I write this post, it is one week later. As mentioned, the days got easier but the pain (though better) continues. 

All I can say is never again! LOL.

It was fun while it lasted but if I could rewind time, I would have not done this. The tailbone is not a bone you want to mess with. Messing up your tailbone can impact your back. Once you have back problems, the problems never seem to 100% clear.

Sorry if I sound like a such a downer. This bruised tailbone has just really impacted by ability to function. And to be honest (and real), my husband and I were actually going to actually start trying to have a baby the same weekend this happened. Before the rollerskating accident, I had a swollen foot due to a bug bite and before that, I was sick for three weeks.

Just throwing it back to healthy days and positive vibes. And as I close this post, I realize it may not be all cohesive. SORRY. I just wanted to be honest even if everything was all over the place. 

Sometimes that's life?

Me some point after the fall.

Have a beautiful rest of the week and an amazing, restful weekend!


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday Spotlight: Fari$ & Fai

Here's another Spotlight Sunday! :D

This week I wanted to shine the light on an artist I recently discovered on Instagram: Fari$ & Fai. 

I happened to discover his song "My Love" while checking out the Instagram location stories of where I currently live (shout out to Glendale!).

And I dig it! It has an R&B pop vibe to it. Very catchy. The rhythm is something you can get lost in. For me, that's the best kind of music.

When I am at work, I let the album "Very Scary Hours" play on shuffled repeat and it makes the work day a lot easier to get through. I guarantee it! :)

Take a listen for yourself. I'm sure you'll love it just as much as I do!

Definitely follow him on his different social media outlets. You will not regret it!

Instagram: itsjustfaris
Twitter: itsjustfaris

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Save Your Lifting Or Outgrown Manicure

Happy Wednesday, y'all!!

I hope this hump day is going more than well for you! If not, the week is halfway over (silver lining??) 

If you are anything like me (half frugal, half smart shopper?), you know the guilt I feel paying for these gel manicures - like yo! How are they getting more and more expensive year?! - and then the anger and frustration when they start to either grow out or lift in the following 1 - 2 weeks after the manicure.

If I am paying $30 - $50 for my manicure, it better be on my nails looking fresh for a while!!

It is a blessing and a curse that my nails grow quick. Anyone else?!

So instead of shelling out $30 - $50 every two weeks for touch ups or redos, I follow these hacks to keep my manicure going strong for long! 

Like anyone else, my nails start out all fresh and banging once I leave the nail salon, but then that freshness will only last for so long. 

Two weeks later, nails are still intact but the nails are growing and the gap between the cuticle and the polish grows wider and wider. The rest of the polish is still fly though. I can't just get it redone two weeks later. Or filled! A fill is still money!
After staring at the annoying gap, I realized and learned that I can just fill it in with regular nail polish at home. 
See the picture below:
I love it!!! What do you think?
This look is actually a style in the manicure world. It is called reverse French manicure. As you know, the typical French manicure has a tip at the end of the nail that is a different color than the remainder of the nail. The reverse French manicure has a the "tip" at the top of the nail by the cuticle. 
It's actually a thing! "Reverse" French because the small tip of color is reversed in position. Get it, get it? :D

I have hit the two week point of my [first time with] dip powder manicure (I LOOOVE IT). For the most part, it is still going strong. However, it is starting to lift by the cuticle and y'all know what that is like - hair getting stuck in our nails in the shower or just hair getting caught in them out of the shower. WHAT A PAIN.

So when my manicure below started to grow out and lift, my heart began to sank. I've been wanting to try this look for a while and I was nowhere near ready to let it go.
Fresh coat
Yes, they are two different colors on each hand. I was undecided. LOL.

How did I fix the lift? I put a clear top coat on the edges of the manicure where it is lifting and filled the gap (basically a top coat reverse French manicure). The nail polish colors are nude so the gap isn't too noticeable or bothersome. 
As you can see, there is some top coat residue on my skin by the cuticles. To be honest, I rarely clean those mistakes. I like to naturally let them wash away. And they always do. 

And that's all folks!

So ladies and gents, SAVE YOUR MANICURE. 

You did not pay all that money to just get it done in two weeks. Oh no, honey! Not on my money-saving time! I got chuuuu.