Tuesday, October 21, 2014

a song for today.



I've been listening to this on repeat, alternating between being close to tears and almost smiling. It's a day of in-betweens, I guess. A little bit of everything.

(Thank you, Cara. I love you. I miss you. More than words can convey.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

currently obsessed: lush.

currently obsessed: Lush

My obsession started with two different friends giving me two different Lush products to try: a Space Girl Bath Bomb and Let the Good Times Roll face cleanser. They smelled heavenly and made my skin feel better, so I knew I needed more. 

Unfortunately, there's no Lush in China.* And I wasn't going back to Canada anytime soon. But! Good news for all my fellow China residents: Lush is in Hong Kong and they ship to mainland! (Depending on how much you order, you can get free shipping!)

So, a couple friends and I placed an order and waited (not so) patiently. Here's what I ordered: 

Lush face cleanser: Let the Good Times Roll

Let the Good Times Roll: I have really bad combination skin and no matter what I've tried, my skin usually feels disgusting by the end of the day. Within two days of using this, I could feel a difference. I didn't have to use blotting papers to remove oil midday and my skin wasn't flaking off either. Best of all, it smells amazing. Seriously: The first thing Tony said when he smelled it: "Can I eat it?! It smells like cookies!" And then I explained that it was all natural and he said, "So I can eat it?!" I've been using this for a few weeks now and am still super happy.

Lush facial moisturizer: Vanishing Cream

Vanishing Cream: I bought this moisturizer because their website said it was good for oily or combination skin. It goes on nicely and doesn't leave me feeling oily, plus it has a fresh scent that isn't overpowering—love that. (After a couple weeks of using it, I found that some areas of my face were still kind of dry, so I've started using it in the mornings, and Imperialis (below) at night.)

Lush Tea Tree Water Toner

Tea Tree Water: I was a little hesitant to try this because toners have dried my skin out too much in the past, but people seem to rave about the healing properties of tea tree oil and one of my friends raved about how nice Lush's toners are, so I decided to try a small bottle. And I love it! I use it at random times, whenever my face is feeling icky (from Beijing pollution or just the daily grind). The scent is fresh without being overpowering.  

Lush Shower Gel: Happy Hippy

Happy Hippy: I ordered this shower gel on a whim because I wanted to try something new (I've been using the same shower gel every day for a year) and I thought the grapefruit scent would help wake me up in the mornings. So far I like it and it does smell good, but the scent isn't as strong as I'd like it to be. (I plan on ordering the Dirty Springwash shower gel for Tony and then trying it for myself, too.)

Lush Atomic Toothy Tabs

Atomic Toothy Tabs: These were another impulse buy, mostly because I was curious; I've never used anything but toothpaste to brush my teeth. Tony and I were both excited to try these as soon as we got them and we were both pleased! They are easy to use and "foam up" just like toothpaste. Two things I love about them: My mouth feels clean without feeling like a sanitized factory (seriously, that's what I think every time I use one) and I don't pucker up when I eat or drink something after brushing my teeth. I'll admit, I thought they looked kinda like the pellets I used to feed my rabbit and it felt weird to chew it before brushing, but I'm hooked now. I want to try the Dirty Toothy Tabs next.

Lush Blackberry Bath Bomb

Bath Bombs: I bought 7 bath bombs and can't wait to order more. They smell so good and leave my skin feeling soft but not oily. I already know they'll be a godsend during Beijing's dry winter. So far I've tried 3: Space Girl, Blackberry (pictured), and Fizzbanger. The Fizzbanger is my favourite so far, only because it smelled amazing.

Other products I've used:

Imperialis: This is the face moisturizer I mentioned above. I've been using it at night and love how soft it leaves my skin, without making it feel oily. 

Dream Cream: I received a sample of this and might end up ordering more. I've been using it on my hands and really like the natural, soothing scent. Also, it moisturizes without making my hands feel greasy. Hooray for being able to hold things! A little bit seems to go a long way. 

Mint Julips Lip Scrub: I've tried other lip scrubs and they've always left my lips feeling a little... icky. Not this one! My lips felt soft and healthy. Bonus: The lip scrubs are edible!

P.S. The links throughout the post are to Lush HK; if you live somewhere else, here you go!


(I promise that this is not a sponsored post and I bought everything with my own money. I just decided I want to share the things that I'm using and loving, or rather, currently obsessed with.) 

*I've heard it's because China won't allow companies that do not test on animals. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

thanksgiving 2014.

Thanksgiving 2014

No fancy-schmancy blogger photos for this post. Just a blurry, poorly lit one—me with no makeup and wearing my Nan's sweater that is older than me, Tony not having showered since Friday. We're sexy.

***

As Tony and I were sitting down to our Thanksgiving dinner tonight, I realized it was our second Thanksgiving dinner as a couple, but our first as an engaged couple: Tony! This is our first Thanksgiving as an engaged couple! We need to take a photo! Wait! I need to get my ring! (I had taken it off to do some cleaning and then have a bath.) Okay. Ready. Oh no, the food isn't in the photo. (He didn't care.) Okay. Wait! My ring should be in the photo. (He laughed but obliged my awkward posing.) 

***

We ordered a whole chicken and gravy from Uncle Otis, and Tony cooked broccoli and mashed potatoes. It was simple, but delicious, and I don't think we could have been happier as we sat down to eat. 

Tony started shoveling food into his mouth, Mph! I'm so hungry! Mmm! 

I laughed and grabbed his hands. Babe, in my family we say what we're thankful for before we start eating. 

So we did. I said something long and bumbling like, I'm thankful that even in Beijing, halfway around the world, I have delicious food to eat on Thanksgiving and someone I love to share it with. I'm thankful that I'm engaged to someone who is kind, who is funny, makes me laugh everyday, but most of all is patient and loving. 

Tony kept it shorter: I'm thankful for you being with me and for introducing me to Thanksgiving. 

***

I told him that back home we'd be eating turkey, mashed potatoes (Mom used to cook rice for me because I liked it better than potatoes), corn and some other kind of vegetable, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, olives, dill pickles, cheese, and pie for dessert. 

***

It was a year ago, on Thanksgiving, that Tony moved all his things into the apartment and we got into the biggest fight we had had up until then. It's funny to think how far we've come since then. Funny and sweet and exciting. I love this man and as cliché as it sounds, I'm excited to spend many more Thansgivings with him. 

***

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

how to stress less.

How to stress less: take a bath.

Take a bath.

I don't consider myself a bath person. Nope. I'm definitely more of a shower person.

But last spring, with muscles achy from stress, I found myself occasionally taking baths at the end of long days teaching preschool. And every time I lowered myself into the hot water, I would think, Ah, why don't I take baths more often?

It's true what they say: the stress melts away. Add bubble bath or a bath bomb, a book and maybe a candle—I become a stress-free puddle.

P.S. More tips for stressing less right here.

Monday, October 06, 2014

living inside the circle.


Images like this blow my mind. The fact that I live inside the circle blows my mind.

Most days, I feel very lucky to be living inside the circle. Other days, I'm more like, Back up! Give me space! Why the heck is international shipping so expensive?!

(Map: Vox, via A Cup of Jo)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

october break recap.


About a week ago, I shared my plans for our week-long vacation.* Here's a recap:

Buy more plants (esp. hanging): We made another trip to the plant market and bought 5 more plants, 3 of which were hanging (but I only hung 2 of them—one in front of each window, the bedroom and the living room—the other is sitting on top of our water cooler with the hanger part removed). We now have a grand total of 9 plants in our apartment to which Tony said, "Are you trying to turn it into a jungle?!"

Hot pot: We ate hot pot Friday night and it was delicious, as always.

Print and frame photos: As you can see, this was not crossed off. But! We chose which photos to print, and we bought frames at IKEA. (Two of the photos will be 50 x 70 cm, so we had to take the files to a printing place and they should be ready this week. Good enough, but can't be crossed off. The list maker in me is a little sad.)

Great Leap: This one almost didn't get crossed off, but I convinced Tony we should go out in the cold Saturday night and eat a quick burger before coming home to watch West Wing. Greasy food never tasted so good. (If you're ever in Beijing, get the cheeseburger; you won't regret it.)

The Rug: It was my second time eating there and I loved it more than the first. (We went to the Sanlitun location.) I had the Summer Fancy Big Brunch and was full for the rest of the day.

See a movie at the theater: Ah, another item not crossed off. Tony checked on Friday, and there was nothing playing in English near us. Darn you, China! (Really, I cursed myself because I should just resume Chinese lessons.)

Watch The West Wing: Success! We finished the third season and are halfway through the fourth. "20 Hours in America" is still my favourite episode and I still dislike Zoey's French boyfriend.

Watch Grey's, Parenthood, Scandal, Downton: I don't like Maggie, I want to be a Braverman more than ever, I don't know what to think about the Olivia-Jake-Fitz love triangle, and I want to hug Edith. (Also, Mr. Bates, I'm holding my breath in nervous anticipation for you.)

Read books: I read Unbroken and am currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Movie night & sleepover with Melissa: Melissa spent two nights with us and it was great! The first night, we all went for Indian food, and she and I watched The Kids Are All Right (We loved it! If you haven't watched it yet, open Netflix right now!). The second night, we ordered Thai food (Tony ordered pizza), and we played Monopoly—twice. The first time, Melissa dominated and kicked our asses. The second, it was a close game between me and Tony, but he begged to stop so I won, right?**

Other highlights included: Tony and I both getting sick—him with a stuffed-up nose and fever, me with a stomach thing, the details of which would be TMI; a trip to the art district; many games of Crazy Eights; new candles being bought and prints being hung; Tony solving a work problem he spent literally hours on; trying the new French Vanilla latte at Starbucks; my order from Lush arriving; a bath with a Fizzbanger bath bomb from that order; and as always, waking up without an alarm.

*October 1st was National Day in China, like July 1st is Canada Day.

**Sure, it might have been almost 2 in the morning and we were all tired, but forfeiting is forfeiting.
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