China! 🇨🇳

I’ve talked about this a little bit in my introduction but I wanted to let you know that I’m going to start a China series! I lived in China for almost 15 months and I got to travel to a few different places. I didn’t take any big trips to Thailand, South Korea, or Bali like I wanted but I did spend time on mainland China.

I’m going to be writing individual posts about the places I went and what I learned and leaving tips for traveling in China either solo or for the very first-time.

I looked forward to telling you about my journey to one of the craziest places I’ve ever lived (let’s be honest, I’ve only lived in China and the U.S. and they both have their quirks).

Over the next few months, I plan to travel around South and North Carolina. These are the cheapest places for me to go as they are in driving distances so those will go separate but fill in the space between the China blogs.

I hope that you enjoy what’s to go! 再见!

Thank you!

I am very much new to this blogging game but I love seeing each and every person who likes and view my posts. Every time someone comes to my page, I get more and more excited about my future. It’s the little things that count!

So, I’ll say it again, welcome and thank you!!

I’m trying…minimalism…?

A few years ago, I started to become more aware of the environment and my impact. It can be insanely difficult to start being minimalistic with so much coming to your mind at once. Since coming back to America, I have done nothing but consume. Our kitchen was being remodeled when I arrived so cooking was one of the things we couldn’t do. We had no running water and no space to do anything.

I had no choice but to spend a lot of my money eating at restaurants and getting fast food, even to this day–now that the kitchen is 95% completed–it can be difficult to not just get in the car and go get something quick. I was consuming so much that looking back, it was crazy and I am ashamed of myself for letting it get to the point of me losing my morals.

Since December came in and the money that I saved is finally getting low, I’m rethinking what I did. Some of the things I purchased was a long-term investment. Like the KitchenAid mixer and Chrissy Teigan pot set (I actually got this extremely discounted at Ollies). The mixer is an investment, it can last years longer than a cheap one (from what I’ve read during my research). I have a nice Rachel Ray pot and pan set but I wanted to add to it. Currently, I live with my parents and don’t use my pots but I thought, hey, it’s discounted and you can never have too many kitchen accessories. Then I realized, you can, but I won’t take them back.

Going forward, I’m going to try to buy less or if I need to buy something, buy it for a reasonable price (on sale or with a coupon). I actually started this last night, my mom and I went to Walmart and I picked up 2 new workout shirts ($3/item, regular $8.88 & $9.96), a Harry Potter shirt for $2 and a long sleeping shirt for $7. My total was under $15 including taxes. I was very happy. I had stuck to my guns and only bought things that were on sale and that I would use. I love to wear activewear even if I’m not working out.

This morning after dropping my diabetic dog off at the vet for her monthly sugar testing, I wanted to stop by a coffee shop and get a chai tea, but I realized that I didn’t have a spare cup in my car for them to put it into, so I came home.

Grocery shopping is an activity that I usually do just for myself (my parents don’t usually eat the same foods that I cook), so I’ve started getting “off-brand” items and only buying exactly what I need. Instead of shopping big name, I go to our local grocery store and ALDI’S! I can’t tell you how much I love Aldi, I’m even in a group on Facebook. We swap recipes and ideas and I love it because a lot of people only have just enough money these days. I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t have a lot of money anymore, I’m basking in the fact that I have to really get myself together until I get a stable income.

I’m also looking to get rid of things. I’m sad about how much stuff I throw in the trash and over time, I want to reduce what I send to the landfill.

Where will I start? With myself. I need to look at what I’m doing from an overall standpoint and a micro standpoint. Where is my money going? Do I use Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc enough to pay for a monthly subscription. My credit card, how much will I pay if I just pay the. minimum amount? How can I get this lowered. I need to do better for myself so that when I do find the job of my dreams, I can easily focus on work and leading the life I want to live.

In addition (hehe, why does this sound like a paper for college), I’m going to include more local vegetables and fruit. This is not to give up meat but honestly, for my digestion system. I’ve found that having a meat heavy diet only makes me sick and that when I put more veggies/fruit in it. It seems to go smoothly. It’s winter in South Carolina which means lots of imported goods and that’s okay. Spring/Summer/Autumn is coming.

Let’s have a chat! How has minimalism been for you? Do you want to give it a try? What questions do you have about veganism, being a vegetarian, or minimalism? Leave comments below! I want to see what questions you have! But more importantly, I want to open a discussion about this and do you think we can really stop being massive consumers?

De-calm-pressing

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted and I’ll be honest…it was definitely because I was playing Sims again. Terrible. I know but I love Sims and have been playing it for about 15 years now.

I want to talk about Sims and how I use it to help me destress. I love playing this game, it detaches me from reality and gives me the chance to play lives I wish about. There’s so much to do in Sims that the game itself is a dark whole, one that a lot of users find to be a whole that we love. But also, it gives me the chance to destress and get away from everyday reality. Sometimes, it negativity is too much for us to handle and we find an outlet. That’s what Sims does for me.

I also like to do yoga, I picked up the practice again when I was in China. I faithfully when almost twice a week whenever my body allowed me to and I felt so much better. But to be honest, yoga can be stressful. I had to learn to not judge myself against the thin-framed ladies beside me who seemed so limber. I realized that we were there for the same reason, to become one with our minds. The point of yoga is to focus, or at least that’s what I want to think. Yoga makes me feel like the stress I put on my shoulders just melts away. The worries that I had yesterday seem to fade into the downward facing dog of today.

There are many ways to destress. One of those is physical activities, working out and keeping our bodies active seems to promote our minds to do the same. Another is to figure out what our triggers are…are there circumstances that come up that make us want to take a break? What’s causing those triggers? Maybe it’s us that makes this happen? Are we overthinking simple things? Are we relying too much on others for our oneness?

Here are some ways to help you destress: https://chopra.com/articles/10-ways-to-de-stress-your-mind-and-body

We have too much going on in our lives to not take a moment to take care of ourselves. Take care of yourself. Log off of social media, turn off your phone, take a walk outside. Find minutes for yourself. Those minutes could change your life.

Disney+

In the 24 hours since its release, it’s been a hit, a marvelous concoction that has sky-rocketed much of the world to Infinity and Beyond. So much of a hit that the site crashed at one point. But do I care? Haha. No. Most of my childhood was spent watching Disney and waiting for the Disney Original Movies to premiere. Actually, I didn’t watch many other channels other than Disney and Cartoon Network, which is basically me being a 90s kid.

Disney+ is a new streaming service that offers ALL. THINGS. DISNEY. If you’re a Disney fanatic like myself, you could have seen this coming from lightyears away (haha!) but still, the utter shock of having your childhood at your fingertips woke me up at 4am on Tuesday November, 12. I woke up super happy and I didn’t know why until my groggy brain made a few clicks of its cells and boom! the connectionnnn. I immediately jumped onto the Apple App Store and downloaded it while logging in on my laptop. Though I AM upset at Vizio for not having a better version of ChromeCast available so it won’t stream.

It may seem crazy and many people will once again blame millennials for doing something that millennials do, but this is my childhood. For some odd reason, a good bit of my years growing up aren’t stored in my memory. It seems that I remember a lot but in reality, I feel like there’s black spots missing but what’s not missing? Disney. I remember a lot about The Disney Channel. My favorites were ‘Lizzie McGuire’, ‘That’s so Raven’, ‘Smart House’ (oh! how they predicted the future!), ‘The Color of Friendship’ and many others. I remember that Disney celebrated every month like: Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, and lots of others. We learned about so many cultures by watching Disney that I want to say that’s why I was inspired to…see these cultures.

Disney is me. Disney in the 90s-early 20s represented change. My friends and I literally went from playing with dolls and running around a swimming pool to being introduced to a cell phone. In my 26 years of life, I’ve seen much advancement. Crazy right?

I ended up working for the company from 2014-2016, the store I was working at closed down but working there was a magical experience. People may have a lot of say about one of the largest mega-corporations in the world (please correct me if I’m wrong) but the way Disney makes you feel is worth the money you spend. I’ve never had the privilege of seeing Disney World or DisneyLand in America but I did get the chance to see it in Hong Kong and Shanghai and LISTENNNN, I could stay forever. It was an adventure. It was…magical. And Disney+ brings me back to that.

Speaking of Disney in Shanghai, it’s wear I bought my first pair of Ears AND my first Pandora bracelet. It was the first time I got to see the closing ceremony and how magical they made it. (In Shanghai, it’s one of the only places allowed to have fireworks). It was the first time I truly felt what I was selling. The Magic of Disney.

I’m not saying go and spend your money doing Disney things like dressing up but embrace it and understand where we’re coming from when we want to spend that time reliving a childhood that sometimes seems out of touch. Excuse us for remembering the fun times we had before adulthood grabbed us by the throats.

One thing I promised myself is that when I had kids, I would take them to Disney. Who knows what could inspire them. They could work for: Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, ESPN, ABC, National Geographic and much much more. Because of one little magic bean being planted in their minds. It’s why I wanted to become a writer, so that I could create these dreamlands for people. And let them escape.

When I do venture to DisneyWorld and DisneyLand California, I’m making sure that it sounds. I’m Bounding my way to the cobble stones of Main Street, twirling my skirt and the World Market, and maybe even having a chat with the animals. If you’d like to leave a message, please use potion 9.

This is what Disney is all about, this is Disney+.

*This article is not sponsored or in any way shape or form a representation of The Walt Disney Company. These are my own thoughts and feelings regarding Disney and its Affiliated Company’s including Disney+.

Shanghai Princess Castle:

Ears (left to right): Hong Kong, I love SH, Shanghai Vintage Ears

The Skin I’m In

Today, I want to talk about skin. The world is becoming more and more aware of products that have been marketed to them especially skincare. I didn’t really care much about my skin. I would use lotion and just let it go. However, when I moved to Shanghai, I was faced with a new challenge: Pollution. China has a terrible pollution problem. Especially in the mega-cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzen (to name a few). You’ll often see people protecting their lungs by wearing masks and carrying Sun-brellas. Not for the rain but to repel the sun whether that is to keep their skin fair or protect it from the sun is up to debate and not a question I have the knowledge to answer.

Personally, the skincare industry has sky-rocketed to the for-front of things that I have actively done for the past few months. I used to not care. I used to skip putting lotion on because I didn’t feel like it mattered. My skin was taunt. However, after being exposes to a different environment, I realized just how ignorant I was being towards this subject.

In March of 2019, I walked into an Innisfree in China. Innisfree is a Korean beauty brand that have what I call some amazing products. They weren’t as expensive as Kiehls or other brands and it made sense to me. I did research on this company and realized, I liked what they were selling. The first products I bought were: sunscreen, and the green-tea foam cleanser. I had been using the Berts Bees Cleanser Cream but after being in China over a year, I was running out. Those were the first products. I went back for more.

I don’t know what inspired me or made me want to try these products but I felt safe. In a weird way. They didn’t make my skin feel like I had done something wrong, they worked with my brown skin (and with being in China, it was a fear to find products with skin-whitening agents). I purchased more, and more, and more. I ended up spending around 4000CNY (about $571) from the end of March to September. That’s quite a lot of money in just a short amount of time. But when you find something that you love, you invest in it and you educate people about it. I’m no esthetician, by any means my lack of developed science is why I’m not the microbiologist I wanted to be today. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn things.

I spent a great deal of money on masks. Now, I know you’re probably wondering, why in the world you spend a lot of money on a one-time treatment? And the answer is simple: I had to learn and test my skin. I had to see what made my skin thrive and what made it go yuck. Life is about learning and I feel like I learn more and more about myself every single day.

Since I started actively taking care of my skin, I noticed a difference in my personality. I was happy with the skin I was in. I was taking care of it and preparing it against all of the pollutants that wafted through the Shanghai air. This also resulted in me taking care of my physical health like going to 6:30am yoga classes.

So what am I trying to say? What’s the point? TAKE CARE OF YOUR DANG SKIN! Your skin can boost confidence in yourself. It can make you feel like you’re an entire new person. I believe that in these months of learning about myself, I’ve gained much more respect than I’ve had for myself in my 26 years of life.

Listed Below are some products I use. Some of these are not available in the United States but I hope that Innisfree will bring them.

Cleanser Foams: Hydrating Cleansing Foam with Green TeaApple Seed Deep Cleansing Foam (available in China). Pore Clearing Facial Foam with Volcanic Clusters.

Cleansing Oil: Hydrating Cleansing Oil with Green Tea.

Moisturizers/Creams: Youth-Enriched Cream with OrchidJeju Orchid Intense Night Cream (available in China). Jeju Orchid Eye Cream (no link found). Pomegranate Emulsion (currently available in China).

Masks: There are a lot of masks, read through the descriptions to see what your favorite is and what your needs are.

Toner: I use the No-Sebrum Toner. I couldn’t find the link online in China or America.

Sunscreen: Innisfree 50+ Broad Spectrum. Alba Botanica. 

Lips: Lip Sleeping Mask with Canola Oil. A sugar scrub made by a friend.

Face Mist: Hydrating Mist with Green Tea.

These are some of the products that I use personally. You can take some of them and try them yourselves or find a similar product. Make sure you do your research. See a dermatologist if you are have breakouts like acne and eczema and an esthetician to find the best skincare for your skin.

The “Talk”

Two posts, one day? Who am I?

My next topic is a little personal. Let’s have “The Talk”. I’m not meaning anything sexual in nature. I’m talking about the feminine hygiene product talk. Since coming back to America almost two months ago, I realized just how…insufficient labeling is on feminine products. It really is a shame that we woman put these things near a very personal part of us and don’t even know the ingredients. I’ve often fought with this idea since buying my own feminine products. I love(d) Always. My favorite during the day was Always Infinity. They were thin but strong and I loved the feel of ‘not wearing anything’ but then it seems like I woke up. I started to question what I was putting in my body. Even when it comes to food, there’s so many questions and I wish I could find a co-op near me.

Anywho, back to the feminine products. I decided to finally open my internet browser and do some research. I also worked with a wonderful woman at the time who was on the same intellectual course as me. She said she used Seventh Generation. I thought about them but during that time, organic meant cardboard like. I remember my first stint with tampons, I unfolded the white wrapper and looked at the cardboard tube thinking, am I supposed to put that UP there? Needless to say, I never became comfortable with tampons. Eventually, I want to try the cup but I’m okay with pads.

I often get off topic. Back to business!

I’ll sometimes amble down the aisles of Walmart or Target and look at different products. I’ll research the brands on my phone right in store to learn more about them. If it’s busy, I walk around, reading on my phone until I find enough convincing evidence that I want to buy this product. The first product I found was titled “L.” That’s it. You can find out about them here. I liked their mission and they put what they had in their products on the packaging. I bought them. This brand hasn’t come bursting through the doors of Walmart so I buy them from Target which is about a 30 minute drive for me now but it’s worth it. I noticed a difference with my period. It seemed lighter, less complicated. It wasn’t as heavy as it was before, meaning less time I had to use these products which (you guessed it!) means I didn’t have to spend as much money. That was the first time I knew a product could work for me.

When I went to China, one of my fears was not having organic pads. I knew I liked the way they felt and they helped me. I can’t tell you the brands I used in China but just know…they’re there.

Back to America.

The other day, I drove the 30 minutes to Target. I like to walk around the stores and window-shop. I also count it as me “working out” by walking around. I found two new brands I want to share with you.

#1

The Honey Pot I heard about this brand via social media (I mean, where do we get a lot of our suggestions these days?). It was either Twitter or Tumblr. This is a black-owned company that has herbal infused feminine products. I’m trying these out now and will give an update.

What I’ve liked so far: transparency. They give you the ingredients on the package and tell you their mission statement. I bought their pads in a size regular and super. Today is my first day using them and I can say, they feel very similar to a brand I assume was organic in China. It gives me a “fresh” “cooling” feeling. It feels weird, but like, in a good way. Target only had these pads and no other products. Hopefully, when I go back, I’ll be able to try more products from them.

#2

Cora The simplistic packaging caught me off-guard. It was just…plain and in a world filled with pink and flowers, it stood out. I won’t say that organic things need to be ‘basic’ and ‘neutral’ but it does feel awesome when you can just be a woman and not a color. These pads are thin…very thin. I haven’t had a heavy enough flow to see if they hold up against thick pads. I also like the wrapper that attaches to the pads. It’s cotton, soft, and again basic but I like it. The Founders of this company tell more about why they created the company . Like the L. Company, this company gives pads to girls who are at a disadvantage to proper feminine care products. Support yourself and a girl.

Other brands?

There are other brands that you can try like: Seventh Generation, TOP The Organic Project, Rael (I saw this brand in Target). JUST (I saw these at Walmart, will get around to trying them).

This is just a simple list, do your research. Find which products work best for you and TRY them. We need to let these big brands know that we are done. We want control over our bodies and what we put in and around them. As the world requires these companies to be held accountable for what they are doing, I hope that they learn to love the movement and join in.

If you have any recommendations of organic products that you use or want to use be sure to leave a comment! Let’s have an open discussion about our feminine health. Also, let me know what you want to hear about.

Exer-Soul

A week ago, I decided to get a reign on my health and I signed up for a free trial at a gym. The feels were there…being overweight and going to the gym has such a negative association that I often avoided it like the plague. When I lived in Shanghai, I joined a group called FitFam (this group can be found in major cities in China) and I started doing yoga. At least a few times a week. I remember my first class, it was 6:30am and I was scared and excited. I almost didn’t make it on time because China! And if you’ve lived in a monstrous city like Shanghai, you know it’s easy to get lost when biking or walking but not so much if you hail a taxi or call a driver.

I couldn’t believe I had gotten up at around 5:00am, got dressed and took the first train of the day to the inner city. I lived in Yangpu, a district south of Jing’an (city center), so it often times took me 30 minutes to an hour to commute, and this often meant a line transfer as well. But I made it! I did it! Every Monday and Tuesday for more than a month before I left, I went to yoga classes. I practiced and Joyberry studios (if you have a chance, please show your support for such an amazing space!), we practiced outside in Fuxing Park and at WeWork on West Nanjing. One day, I definitely added too much to my plate. I did 2 hours of dancing took a train to my 1 hour yoga class. That was the first time I’d ever put in so much effort to exercise.

What I’m saying is…find something you like to do. If you like to dance, go to a dance class. No matter what size you are! If you like yoga, go to a class. There are other people who have been in the same position. Shoot, I was in that position. I was scared of being judged because…here’s this fat chick trying to exercise. But I realized after watching a few YouTube videos, that it’s not about that. It’s about me! Everyone at the gym is there for almost the same reason. To get fit, lose weight, or promote a healthier lifestyle. But we all have our reason. Find out yours.

I’m not going to lie and say “oh, this is easy” or “oh, I just did it” because that’s not enough. Find your reason. If you need strength find it. Motivation can come from anyone and anywhere. If you even that the people closest to you won’t help you, look for an online community. Sometimes, they hold you more accountable than the people who you see everyday. My community is YouTube. My community is my best friend who went the same route. My strength comes from a promise I made to myself.

And talk to someone about it! I plan to see a dietitian, nutritionist, and a therapist because I know I am weak at points. I know that I’m not always self-motivated or enjoy the judgment that I believe working out can conjure inside my mind. My problem has never been eating, but it’s how I eat. What I eat. It’s always best to talk to people who are not on your side. That’s what important about therapy and speaking to someone. They’re unbiased. They’re trying to help you with a problem. They haven’t known you since you were born and see your countless “failures” (I write with quotations because every experience makes us who we are).

I hope that my words resonate with someone out there. If you need motivation, I’m here. You can message me on IG, YouTube, and basically anywhere. Let’s form a community. Let’s inspire.

Here is a wonderful YouTube video I found while at the gym. You’ll have to get past her workout routine if you want to hear her talk but she’s amazing and her words found a place in my exercise soul.

Welcome!

Good very late evening folks! I’m writing to welcome you to my life and the transitions that I’m looking to make. This blog will feature everything! From skincare, workout tips, my workout journey, goals that I have, goals that I fail/accomplish and everything in between. I hope that you enjoy going through life with me. We can do anything together, especially in numbers.

-Welcome. Hola. 你好