Experimenting with Dry Shampoos (2 Winners, 3 Sad Faces)

 The new hair

The new hair

I darkened my hair recently (thank you to the beautiful Briana Hebeisen, sweet angel, fantastic hairstylist, and connector of people) and I love it! I feel like I look like an Italian film star! I feel more connected to my latin roots! I feel like I belong in a foreign film, chewing on a lemon while some man tells me he loves me!

So yes, the hair, I love. The not washing it? 

Girl. 

I used to wash my hair every day (yes, I know you're gasping, I'm sorry I disappointed you, Jonathan Van Ness.) But it's only because I work out every day! Like, I'm sorry I don't want to walk around with a sweaty, humid mess on my head for the rest of my life. That being said, I knew I'd have to change my ways if I wanted to keep my glossy, dark color. In come the recommendations from friends, family, and strangers in the target aisle for great dry shampoos. Here, a list of five I tried and two I fell in love with. 

1. Not Your Mother's Beach Babe dry shampoo
Ok, the smell is great. That's just a fact. I feel like I had to put way too much on for my hair to be not so greasy, but once I did my hair looked pretty good and nicely textured. 

Cruelty free

IGK Dry Shampoo

2. IGK Direct Flight Multi-Tasking dry shampoo
First of all, always trust your hairstylist. Briana recommended IGK's dry shampoo, and, for the first time ever, I bought it. I usually just nod and say "yeah ok" and get the cheapest things, but I knew if I wanted to keep this hair I'd have to commit! Ok honey! 
Let's talk packaging- It makes me feel like I'm living in my dream apartment, post workout (at Equinox, of course), pre coffee run. 
There is so much product and you only need a bit- no residue, delicious smell, and it sucks up enough oil so I can wait three days between washes. 
I kind of want to try the deepest cleanse that comes after this one, which is called "First Class." It boasts a hefty amount of charcoal to really suck all the oil out. I also just want more pretty packaging. 

Cruelty free

3. Tresemmé Fresh Start Volumizing dry shampoo
I should have known. I should HAVE KNOWN. And yet, like a child playing with an electric socket, I thought "what's the worse that could happen?" 
tangled, sticky, clumpy hair. 

Not cruelty free

dry shampoo review

4. Batiste Original dry shampoo
Everyone talks about Batiste like they invented dry shampoo. It was invented around the late 15th century in Asia, people were using clay in their hair. Minipoo was the O.G, which was the first commercially avail dry shampoo. It popped up in the 1940s. 
But anyways. 
The smell reminds me of hand soap- it has like a citrus smell, but chemical-y, and it just builds my hair up but doesn't clean it? 

Not cruelty free (claim they are, but they sell in China which requires animal testing by law.)

5. Aveda Shampure dry shampoo
Oh my goodness, so disappointing. I was excited because the packaging is better for the environment (non-aerosol), but it literally did not work, did not absorb anything, and was way too much $$. 

Cruelty free

What are your fav haircare brands? And don't forget to recycle your aerosol cans when you're done with them!

3 Summer Outfits To Wear Right Now

Sometimes I get in a stylist mood.. I just want to suddenly style all the gorgeous pieces I post here and share them with everyone. And when that happens, I throw them together to show you, like a proud preschooler who just came back from arts and crafts with a macaroni self portrait. 

Autumn Tones But For Summer... But Also It's Too Hot Outside Where Is Fall 

I fully believe mustard and yellow tones brighten up any outfit and make it WAY more exciting. Next time, add a pop of yellow and see how it switches your outfit up. 

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Turmeric.
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I Will Dress Like I'm On A Yacht Because That's Where I Mentally Am 

This is my nautical look! Do you like it? I'm picturing 70's Italian film star, on a yacht, waving at Sofia Loren.

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Gardening.
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Statement Earrings Fix Everything! Not Kidding!

This is a classic look- bright, bold statement earrings + a pared down top and denim. The dark basic tones make the earrings the masterpiece and your face the canvas. Love. 

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Yasmin.
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Mariposas.
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Beachy Clean.
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Everyday Stripes.
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Baking Jeans.
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Is anyone else tired of Instagram?

As I'm writing this, I'm hoping Instagram doesn't find it and proceed to use their evil algorithm to hide all my posts from everyone. LOL. 

 Phone always in hand. 

Phone always in hand. 

When I went to Cartagena in April, I had a change of mindset. I was in front of so much fresh, real stuff. The food, the people, the places- they were authentic. They were inspiring. I felt stifled and suddenly very aware of my need to stick to the "theme" of my feed, or posting at the right times, or not taking something in because I was busy filtering a pic.
I realized I was worrying more about constant content, likes, and engagement than living out what I was posting. It was sad. 

I decided to stop the madness and focus on what I wanted to post, not on what I felt like others wanted to see. This became posting maybe every three, four days, as opposed to daily (or sometimes twice.)
And yes, I lost likes and followers. But I felt lighter and more creative. I was giving myself the time to create something important to me rather than continue cranking out material that I didn't love. 

The issue is, I want to continue growing my online brand. It is a brand, after all. It's me, but I have things to say, products to share, and businesses like My Closet etc to grow. So what's the middle ground? How can I expand and market this business I have put my heart into without becoming overworked or feeling like I'm sharing unoriginal stuff? 

Maybe the answer is that everything is a balance. Maybe it's taking breaks for brainstorming, creative sessions by myself, and not worrying about what followers are thinking. Maybe it's about not worrying about winning everyone over. The right people will buy, like, engage. The people I want to attract will follow me for who I really am and what I represent, not because of some made up blogger persona I am trying to push. 

I don't know, that might be a start. 

I know I'm not alone in feeling this way sometimes- how do you, as a creative, keep yourself fresh and open to inspiration while still maintaining a presence on social media?

 

Picnic With Us!

Hello beautiful!

Atlanta picnic

Remember the First Love event we had in March? We loved meeting you, eating, and just getting to know each other. We miss it, which is why we're having a little picnic this Saturday.
Nothing fancy, in fact we're encouraging you to bring your own snacks a la potluck- a potluck picnic! We'll bring the French baguettes because I firmly believe in carbs, but feel free to bring whatever you'd like. We're not bringing clothing, books, or anything to sell- we just want to share some time with you and maybe play some silly games. Have you heard of "El lobo"? It's a Colombian game children play in parks that involves running and singing... maybe bring comfortable shoes. 

If you've been eyeing something on the site, feel free to contact me beforehand so we can bring it and you won't have to pay for shipping ;) 


Here's the details:

What: Potluck Picnic at the Park
When: Saturday, June 2nd, 9 am
Where: Paces Mill Park, Palisades Unit. Waze it as "Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area- Paces Mill Unit." It's right beside Vinings Palisades Apartments. The entrance will look like this and there's ample parking.
Who: Me, her, and you and your friends. 
Why: ??? Because we're your friends and you love us!

See you this Saturday (weather permitting)!

 

My Skincare Routine.

I! Am! Glowing!

That's too strong of a start but it's honestly how I've been feeling lately. Exactly thirty four days ago I started my new skincare routine and I have not stopped talking about it. If that wasn't enough, two weeks into my skincare routine I went to Cartagena, where I did not wear a drop of makeup for six days. I was relaxed, eating fresh foods, and getting so much exercise because of all the walking I did.

If you are just looking for the routine and no fun backstory :( click here
 1 week after Cartagena, makeup free 

1 week after Cartagena, makeup free 

I decided to start a new skincare routine because I was constantly breaking out, had a ton of redness, and no matter what I tried (or what kind of combinations I'd come up with), I'd still end up with all this acne, dry skin, and no glow.
I want to clarify that break outs are normal and there are some you can't control- hormonal pimples, or sometimes redness due to the weather or stress. And it is ok! It's nothing to ever be ashamed of, and breakouts or not I was still posting selfies like it was my job.
Also, your skincare routine is a very personal thing. What works for me might not work for you, and I am in no way an expert. I just found something that has worked better than anything else in the past, so if you have dry skin, sometimes sensitive, prone to minor breakouts like me, this might help. 

Hush Beauty Bar facial

I had gotten myself a facial for Christmas and went in to use it (thank you Hush Beauty Bar!) The esthetician was so knowledgeable and sweet. She kept asking me what I was doing, and I was horrifying her with all the acids I would put on my face at the same time (lactic acid, glycolic acid, hylauronic acid, retinol, a strong glycolic foaming face wash and many times no sunscreen.) "You have dry skin, with a tendency for breakouts in certain areas. Know your skin and build your routine from that." She shared some recommendations. As much as I'd love to buy them, I cannot afford a $40 cleanser, but I left relaxed and with her words of wisdom on my mind. 


THE ROUTINE

Cerave hydrating cleanser review

Dry skin needs a cleanser that is moisturizing and that won't strip it's natural moisture barrier. I went with Cerave hydrating cleanser. I stayed away from foaming face washes or face washes that would make my skin feel tight afterward (I thought that meant it was "working"- clearly not.)

I needed something to take my makeup off, and makeup wipes are a huge no no- they don't actually take your makeup off, they just smear the dirt all around your skin and irritate it. I ended up choosing garnier micellar water and it worked out perfectly. 

After cleansing, I apply pixi glow tonic to clean, dry skin. I'll wait for it to set.

This changes- typically in the AM I'll use glow tonic after cleansing, but in the PM I'll use The Ordinary's Advanced Retinod after cleansing instead. I do this because I love both products but do not want to mix them, since layering these acids can diminish their effectiveness. I finish up with Cerave hydrating moisturizer and then sunblock if it's my daytime routine. 

 

The routine

SO BASICALLY:

Pixi glow tonic review

AM- Cerave hydrating cleanser

        Pixi glow tonic

        Cerave hydrating moisturizer

        Sunblock

PM- Garnier micellar cleansing water

        Cerave hydrating cleanser

       The Ordinary advanced retinol

       Cerave hydrating moisturizer 

 

ONE MORE THING:

 Week 2 in London!!! 

Week 2 in London!!! 

This is going to sound silly, but I noticed that whenever I travel my skin clears up within like, two days. When I was in London for a few weeks, surviving off of essentially coffee and croissants (the cheapest things I could find), my skin was blemish free. When I came back from Cartagena last week, I did not need or want any makeup- I still don't. I've worn makeup maybe once or twice since coming back (for auditions.) 

So, if you needed more reasons to travel... There you have it. 

I also try to get one facial a month to clear my pores, have some me time, and reinvigorate my face. Even if you just get a 30 min facial for extractions, it will be worth it. 

And I drink a ton of water, to the point where my mum constantly worries I'm going to get water intoxication. And try to stay away from fatty foods, greasy stuff, and sugary drinks (or have them in moderation.) Just those boring basics :)

I still have stubborn blackheads, the ocasional pimple, and a bit of redness, but it's nothing compared to what I used to deal with. If you're starting a new routine, give it 28-30 days to see if it is working. Figure out what kind of skin you have and use what works for you- and don't overcomplicate yourself. 

Any skincare recommendations? Please please share! 

 

 

Cartagena Street Style.

Walking through the streets of Cartagena was sartorial magic. 

Color, head wraps, elegance tailored for the heat. I already knew this, but I was reminded: Colombians don't play when it comes to fashion. 
I think it's so beautiful how women in Colombia truly take care of themselves. They value looking good, having their nails done, makeup done, outfit exactly how they want it. Though this mindset finds it's roots in sexism and the machismo culture, I'm finding that the mentality of "I have to look good for men and for others" is changing into "I want to look good for myself, because I value myself." It's refreshing. 

Scroll through for some of my favorite outfits from this trip!

I wore this to go visit the Castillo de San Felipe (on what to do in Cartagena, click here.)
Not gonna lie, this was one of my favorite outfits. It was day 5 of our trip, I was tan, wearing what I wanted, and had zero makeup on. Yes, I was sick the night before and throwing up. But you can't even tell in the pics. 

Guide to cartagena
Getsemani

I was initially wearing this huge top, tied above the skirt with the sleeves rolled up. When I came down for breakfast my dad was like "you're going to melt." So I threw on my hot pink one piece and hoped it would work with the skirt (IT DID!!) 

Hotel Cartagena
Bendita beach Cartagena

This was my beach look- one of my favorite tops with these teeny tiny ruffled shorts that were probably too small for me. I was looking behind me, at the beachside massages (I got one *heart eyes*)


Below: When people go out at night in Cartagena, they go OUT. Long, fresh dresses, tiny cute purses, Summer heels. Pack a gorgeous long dress if you can for dinner overlooking the ocean. 

What to wear Cartagena
Airport style
Cartagena

This is what I wore to travel.
I'm one of those people who actually care about what I wear when flying. The heels were a neutral and the only heels I brought, I love how these sweatpants look cool but are sweatpants, and I wore a bralette for max comfort. The light cardigan is linen and was more for the cold of the airport than Cartagena- you are NOT gonna need a sweater. 

Estilo Cartagena
Cartagena street style

This was a day full of walking, so I wore these cute sandals that I knew were on their last leg. (they ended up breaking... like, that's how much you walk.) I loved the tied up style of my top- it let me breathe and showed off my mum's cute skirt (thank you Mami for letting me borrow it!!) 

 

 

 

 

First Love book

I had to rep First Love in Cartagena (you can grab the tote bag here!)

For what to do in Cartagena click here
 

What to do in Cartagena

We just got back from the most romantic city in Colombia, la ciudad heroica, Cartagena! 
It's a city that is drenched in color and personality. It is dreamy. Here's your mini guide, brought to you from a Colombian who loves to eat, take photos, and drink coffee. 

1. Go to Getsemani. 

Getsemani travel guide

Getsemani is a neighborhood just outside of the walled city. It used to be a violent, dangerous area, but has transformed into a gorgeous picture of Cartagena. Vibrant, genuine, and full of art. It's where you want to go to get a real feel of the city. Don't forget to buy some incredibly priced (and stunning) art at Getsemani Vivo, get a haircut from this super nice barber who's right by the plaza de Trinidad (he literally cuts the hair on the street. He recently got a barbershop pole right outside of it so you won't miss it.) 
Go to Beiyu for an incredible variety of juices, açai bowls, and breakfasts. 
Check out cafe del mural for one of the most truthful cafes I've ever been to- it was so charming in the sense of everything was on the table, not pretentious, just Colombian at it's best with some delicious coffee.   
Do not miss the street art and murals- there is beauty literally everywhere and they all tell a story. 

Cafe del muro cartagena
Murals Getsemani

2. Visit the beach.

Cartagena beach

The beaches near Cartagena are mostly rocky beaches, so it's best to go the islands nearby. We went to Bendita beach, one of the most untouched beaches in Cartagena. So, so stunning. If you have a lot of time, go to Tayrona natural park. It's in Santa Marta, which is about two hours away from Cartagena. I would drive to Santa Marta, go to Tayrona, stay a night on the beach (there's small hotels and places to stay.) The natural beauty is incredible. 

Bendita beach Cartagena
What to pack Cartagena
Bendita beach Cartagena
Bendita Beach

3. Walk the wall. 

What to do in Cartagena

We walked the entire wall surrounding the city and it was full of life, color, and beach views all around. We stopped by small places to eat when we got tired, like cafe epoca, and continued our trek until we got to the huge plaza where the city gates are. It's also beautiful at night, and if you're going with your partner make sure to hang out a bit by the openings inside of the wall, where local couples talk, sit, and make out (it's tradition.) 

4. Las Bovedas

These are dungeons from the 1700's that used to house prisoners and armor for the military. Now they are shops, with food being sold on the outside and a very nice man with a jeep full of coffee, roasting on site, serving up granizados that will make you forget about the humidity. 

Cafe cartagena
Bovedas cartagena

5. Castillo de San Felipe

Castillo de San Felipe

This is a fortress built by the Spanish in 1536. The views are breathtaking, the history seeps through every crevice. Some advice: Read as much as you can about this castle, the history, and any stories you can find. There's not a ton of info on site, so being knowledgeable before you go will help bring the history to life once you get there. 

Foods you MUST eat: 

Arepa de huevo for breakfast with fresh mandarin juice from the street. 
Or empanadas if you're looking for some meat with your breakfast. 
Mango biche for a snack before lunch.
El "ejecutivo", a traditional Colombian lunch that comes with soup, huge meal, dessert, and juice, for less than $9. 
Cocadas to go with your coffee, also known as tinto (both found on the street)
Almojabanas for dinner. Colombians have small dinners. 
Go to La Mulata for lunch and have their fried fish of the day. 
Don't miss cafe San Alberto, Colombia's most decorated coffee. 

Breakfast in Cartagena
Cafe san Alberto Cartagena
La Mulata pescado
Empanadas Colombia

There is SO much more but I believe in keeping some things hidden so you can find them for yourself ;) That's what exploring is all about!

Things we missed that we need to come back for:

The gold museum. We went in for like five minutes before leaving for the airport, and I am so sad we didn't stay longer.
Dancing on a chiva. A chiva is a traditional Colombian party bus and I haven't been on one yet. Yes, I know. I'm revoking my Colombian card as I'm typing. 
Café Havana. Though it has become a bit touristy, café Havana is still the place to go for salsa. And I missed it. Another excuse to come back. 

Where we stayed: 

Aposentos de San Pedro was a dream. Well priced, incredible service, free breakfast and wifi, cool and clean rooms, and located inside of the walled city. I honestly couldn't have asked for anything better. I got a bit sick during my stay and they had a doctor on call for me just in case and brought me medicine.  Like, that's amazing service. 

Hoteles Cartagena
Bed and breakfast Cartagena
Hotel Aposentos de San Pedro
Aposentos de San Pedro
Aposentos de san Pedro
Cartagena is a magical city and I was reminded of how gorgeous Colombia is during my stay. It's one of the best cities for solo travel because of it's safety and walkability, and it is full of history and life. It's also very well priced (my roundtrip tickets from ATL were $300.) Let me know if you're planning to go and feel free to shoot me a message with more questions! 

For what to wear in Cartagena, click here

And follow me for more pics of Cartagena + travels
 

 

Your 20's.

I am one hundred percent sure that I am not old enough to speak on "my 20's", considering the fact that I have only been in my 20's since September of last year. 

And yet today I experienced my first "oh my gosh, what am I doing? What is this?" moment that I hear so many fellow 20+ year olds talking about and let me tell you!!! It was petrifying! Truly! 

That, on top of a scary diagnosis in my family, financial struggles, and feelings of disappointment made this week very rough. Some days I'd just cry on and off for the whole day. It terrified me- the idea that this season of my life might not go as I had planned, that I'm not where I want to be. That maybe I never will be. 

Your twenties is a moment in your life where you might not know what you're doing. Maybe you just got out of college and you're job hunting, or maybe you decided to forgo college to pursue something else, or maybe you're in a job already. Maybe you're very single. Maybe you're married. So weird, right?! It also might be a moment where you're not exactly rolling in cash. You might be pretending that a clif bar is an acceptable "dinner." You might be rationing your ramen. Your gas tank might be always low. 

I'm learning it's a messy, confusing time. But something that's very, very exciting about it is that, because it's messy and I don't know what I'm doing, I can put all my trust in God, knowing He's already figured it out for me. In this place of vulnerability and hardship, I can desperately lean on my creator when it seems like there's nothing and no one else to lean on. In these real moments I can be comforted and rely on God in a way that, if I had everything figured out, I wouldn't be able to. 

After a particularly hard day, when I plopped my face on my bed and cried, then moved my head up a bit because I was getting mascara on my clean sheets, I faintly remembered a verse. 

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you
— 1 Peter 4:12 (NIV)
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
— 1 Peter 4:12 (MSG)

God never promised a life without hardships. It shouldn't be a shock when we experience pain, or when our lives don't go according to plan. What He did promise, however, was that He'd be there for us, guide us, comfort us, and provide for us in ways we can't even imagine. Also, suffering, hardships, and struggles are perfect times to remember how Jesus experienced those exact things and feelings as well. He experienced loss, pain, a need for provision, temptation, so He understands.
In this season of confusion and frustration, I am encouraged to let go and turn to Him, building up my perseverance, faith, and deepening my relationship with my creator, "with glory just around the corner." 

An Argument For Walking.

Walkable city

So as everyone probably already knows, I went to London for the Summer. (Yeah I'll NEVER stop talking about it sorry!) Anyways, I noticed something so interesting when I got back.. I literally don't walk at all in the U.S. 

I walked everywhere in London. Whenever I needed to go somewhere I'd walk. And I didn't realize how NICE it was until I got back. Here in Atlanta you can't function without a car- there's no way around it. I don't live in a particularly pedestrian friendly area like Cabbagetown or Ponce, but I have an LA Fitness that's just a ten minute walk away, a Kroger that's also just ten minutes, and quite a few restaurants and coffee shops that are a fifteen minute walk away. Why then, had it never occurred to me to pick my body up and walk with my legs instead of waste gas by driving there?

My brother, who just started at Georgia State (GOPANTHERS) has started using Marta and is walking everywhere and I am almost comically inspired- it's like I just found out that these legs can do more than look cute in high waisted jeans and drive. They themselves can take me places! What a concept! 

Atlanta belt line

I've been walking more and more and LOVE IT SO MUCH. The fresh air, the music blasting in my headphones. It's so peaceful to just walk and take in the environment around me. Granted I am like the only one walking so it's kind of weird because cars zoom by (they're not used to pedestrians) but I'm still powering through and telling myself I am starting the revolution. The walking revolution. Try it today. 

 

 

Foods We Never Forgot

I was watching The Great British Bake Off the other day and noticed something interesting. Tamal was making a pastry inspired by one of the best sandwiches he's ever had. I will now present it in a series of screengrabs:
 

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And then it dawned on me... Every now and then, if the weather is humid and if I get a whiff of coconut, I dream about this slice of coconut cake I had in Kuala Lumpur when I was like, nine. I can still taste the delicious coconut cream, the sponge that was just bouncy enough, I can hear the clink of my fork on the ceramic plate. I vividly remember that slice of cake. 

And it's not just that cake!

When Caleb first traveled to Colombia with me we visited this stunning canyon called "el Canyon del Chicamocha" in my hometown, Bucaramanga. Caleb ordered this blended mocha coffee at this cute coffee shop by the canyon. He and I still talk about it. 

When we first visited Cambodia we stayed in this gorgeous boutique hotel and they greeted us with fruity drinks served in champagne glasses. I was around ten and felt so very glamorous drinking a sparkly, fruity drink while my mum was checking in.

Caleb and I visited New York in December and we stumbled into this coffee shop by... Union Square, I think? 
They gave us a sample of their hot chocolate and I think it maybe changed my life. So rich, creamy, and warm. I immediately ordered a cup and still think of it when the weather drops. 

 The famous canyon drink.

The famous canyon drink.

freshly baked bread

The bakeries in Colombia start baking very, very early, so while you're walking to work, school, or just to do errands, it is extremely tempting to stop by for a fresh slice of bread because of how good it smells outside. Fresh baked bread is one of my favorite smells and things to eat. 

Back in Singapore, my family went to visit a friend who invited us for dinner at her super modern apartment. Two things happened that night: I got locked inside of her bathroom because I couldn't figure out how to open the comically heavy door (I was NINE) and I had the best vegetarian sandwich ever.
I still know her as "the vegetarian sandwich family friend." 

What strikes me is how each food memory is more than just "ugh what a GOOD sandwich." It's a deeply rooted memory that, though it stems from food, connects me to the feelings I had in that moment. Most of the time this reminds me of who I was with and I'm filled once again with an appreciation for them. I love how food brings people together, even in a simple memory triggered by the smell of bread or coconut. 

Do you have any foods you miss/think about? Sound off in the comments!!