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Blonde Envy

aka “How to go from dark brown to light blonde at home for under $50.”

I do admit that from time to time, I feel a pang of inadequacy because of my natural dark hair, skin, and eyes. Especially since two of my closest girlfriends are gorgeous blondes, I often find myself feeling so mediocre next to them. I suppose society’s standard of beauty is to blame, but I genuinely enjoy bleaching my hair every once in a while for a change of pace. :)

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There are varying opinions of Asian women with blonde hair. The general consensus always  seems to be,”It’s just not natural.” I disagree. Sometimes, it’s pulled off well. And other times, it’s just a disaster. It all has to do with skin tone, and finding the perfect shade for you. This time, I wanted to reach a cooler almost-platinum blonde instead of golden/strawberry blonde.

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The new Fèria Absolute Platinum in Extreme Platinum sounded promising when I first laid eyes on it. Unfortunately, it only lifted my hair a few shades lighter from dark brown to a medium orange-brown. It was at this point that I was getting frustrated with my reluctant strands, and went for a brand I’ve been wanting to try out forever.

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Palty is known for being very effective on dark, thick, Asian hair. It doesn’t hurt that the packaging is downright adorable, as well. I’ve read tons of online reviews, and was thankful to find a huge selection hidden in a beauty store at my local “Chinatown”, Flushing. I thought the most appropriate shade would be Super Flash Sparkling Blonde.

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It was a bit pricey at $13 per box, and I needed two.. but my hair successfully lifted more significantly. I have to admit that I felt a mild burning sensation on my scalp during the process. But I suppose that’s the price you have to pay for beauty. It came out a lovely golden blonde with brassy undertones. As you can see in the photo below, my ends are already getting fried. :X

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Unfortunately, I’m very hard to please and wanted to get rid of the orange tones completely. So I counteracted it with a cool blonde shade, Garnier Nutrisse: #82 Champagne Blonde (Champagne Fizz). I was going to get the lighter, White Chocolate shade, but couldn’t find it anywhere. :/ I was happy with how it came out, though. I got a lot of compliments at work. :P

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But after a month, my roots were already growing out and the brassiness was coming back. So I picked up two boxes of Garnier Nutrisse: #100 Extra Light Natural Blonde (Chamomile) to touch it up a bit. And to be honest, I’m in love with the results. It’s the perfect medium between warm and cool, and matches my skin tone pretty well.

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As you can see in this photo, I’m almost as blonde as my beautiful friend Kristiana. <3 I’m in dire need of a trim, though. My strands feel like straw, which I’ve been trying to nurse back to health with lots of deep conditioner and by only flat-ironing my hair on the weekends and special occasions. Next month, I might just get my roots and highlights done professionally. Because the bottom line is that as much as I love doing my own hair, I could have just saved myself all the trouble and went to a salon. The extra money would have been well worth it, given the hassle I went through. x_x

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How to Cook: Spontaneous Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is a staple of Asian cuisine that is so easy to prepare, it’s almost laughable. Tonight, I used whatever was available in my kitchen to make dinner for my family and it came out surprisingly delicious for something thrown together last-minute. So feel free to substitute any of the ingredients that I listed with your own meats and vegetables! Bean sprouts, snow peas, broccoli, baby corn, and peanuts are especially good in stir-fry. ;)

MY INGREDIENTS: thinly sliced beef, garlic, onions, potatoes, zucchini, ginger, cabbage, olive oil, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce (optional)

Dice up all your vegetables and set them aside in separate bowls. Taking only your garlic and half of your onions, sauté them with your beef in olive oil until it’s halfway browned. At this point, throw in about half a cup of soy sauce and stir well so that the flavor is cooked into the meat. Add a small amount of ginger and a generous portion of diced potatoes.

After adding some sliced cabbage to the pot, leave it covered for few minutes to steam. After the leaves have softened somewhat, uncover and add two tablespoons of hoisin sauce. Stir well, as this is what will sweeten the dish. If your mixture looks a bit dry, add no more than another 1/3 cup of soy sauce. At this point add your zucchini and the remaining half of your onions. Stir well and cover once again to steam for a few minutes.

Serve over steamed white rice and enjoy! ^.^ If you’ve missed any of my other cooking posts from way back when, check them out:
Pancit / Baked Salmon Loaf / Turon / Sopas  / Pad Thai

Anticipating Spring! :D

For the past week, the weather has just been fantastic on Long Island. I can’t wait until I don’t have to wear a jacket anymore, and showcase all my Spring dresses and skirts. ;) But the other night, while I was browsing the American Apparel website during their flash sale, it occurred to me that I don’t own enough sleeved clothing – mostly because I hate wearing sleeves. Layering over tanktops is much more comfortable and convenient, in my opinion.

So I ended up ordering a cardigan and a shirt. :P Look at how much I saved! :o
Unisex Fine Jersey Double-Breasted Cardigan (S), $41.00 $16.00
Unisex Helvetica Alphabet T-Shirt (XS), $24.00 $6.00

First of all, let’s me get this out of my system.. AMERICAN APPAREL COTTON IS SO EFFING SOFT. I’m wearing this shirt right now as I type this, and I still can’t believe how comfortable the material is. Don’t even get me started on the fit! An XS is the perfect length, and despite being somewhat loose, doesn’t make me look like a shapeless bag. I was afraid of the sleeves being too long and the collar being too high, but neither of those were a problem for me. This purchase has definitely convinced me to buy more casual t-shirts from AA. <3


Excuse the dirty mirror. I really need to invest in a tripod. >.<;

As for the cardigan, I was a little disappointed that the photo on the website was misleading. I thought the buttons were going to be black, but they came in beige/brown instead. Because this is a unisex style, the fit is somewhat awkward on me when buttoned up all the way. But I prefer leaving it completely open, or only buttoning it up halfway or less. :) The material is also really soft, and thin enough to wear in the Spring on a windy day without feeling hot. And for what little I paid (compared to its original price tag), I still think it was a great buy. :P

In other news, I’m so excited to be attending I-CON this year! :) I haven’t been to a convention in forever, and how awesome is it that my university’s campus hosts one every year? :D Although this convention is mostly centered around science fiction (which I admit strays somewhat from my interests), I’m sure I’ll still find tons of fun things to do.

As for the costume that I will be wearing that Friday, the photo above inspired me to put together a “sexy pikachu” outfit. I was so excited to make a dress from scratch, but after looking at my academic schedule, I’ve realized that I have no time. ;_; Although I still plan to make the headband by myself, I ordered this dress from Charlotte Russe the other week. (I feel like such a cheater!)

I figured that a clubbing-style dress could be worn on more occasions than just a convention. The daffodil yellow color is perfect for spring, too! :P Admittedly, the openings on the side are a bit risque – but maybe that’s just because I’m modest. And although I don’t think the cut of the dress flatters my figure very well, I’m learning to cast aside my insecurities and wear what makes me happy. My only issue with the piece is that I can’t wear a bra under it – any suggestions for what to do? I hear that special band-aids or pasties will do the trick of hiding your nipples through thin fabric, but I have no experience with this. >.<;

On a final note, I want to let you guys know that I’m dealing with stress a whole lot better this semester. Even though I don’t think I did very well on my most recent exam, I know that I worked hard and did my best. All I can do now is hope that the curve boosts my grade, and enjoy the company of good friends every Thursday night before  graduate. :) Until next time! ^.^



Instead of buying new denim shorts..

..I made some out of old clothing that I never wear. : ) For the past two years or so, I’ve had two particular pairs of jeans – one that I bought at Charlotte Russe, and the other at PacSun. Ever since I’ve lost some weight, the thigh area has been way too loose on me, despite the waistbands still being comfortable. Especially with the introduction of denim leggings into my life, I haven’t touched these two pairs since. :P So last night, I decided to turn them into cuffed denim shorts! The process is quite easy.

You will need.. a pair of sharp scissors, black thread, and a sewing needle.

1) Fold your denim jeans in half, the long way. No less than two inches from the crotch, cut the pant legs off in a straight line.
2) Take the hem of one side, and roll upwards twice into a neat cuff. Sew the inseam and outseam in place with a few stitches.
3) Repeat with the other side. If the fabric isn’t sturdy enough to keep itself from unfolding, carefully sew one or two “invisible” stitches to keep them in place.

See? I told you it was easy. :D If you want me to be more specific, feel free to ask in the comments! I get the feeling that my instructions aren’t very clear. :P

In other news, remember the free pair of EOS Adult Pink circle lenses that I received from MyCandyEyes? I wrote a review on them a while back. Since I never wore them, I gave them to my good friend Jessica. They flatter her fair skin and features much more than mine! :D

She also gave me the idea for the two of us to cosplay as KOS-MOS and T-elos from Xenosaga III one day! It really doesn’t sound like such a bad idea – I just need to lose the weight in order to show that much skin. Regardless, when we do decide to do it, we’d look pretty badass with all that armor on. ; )


Deep Conditioner: Aussie vs Pantene Pro-V

Yesterday, I picked up a bottle of Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep at Stop & Shop because my hair has become a small, dry, damaged, wreck since bleaching it over the weekend. I want to start heat-styling again asap, so I figured that using a deep conditioner would quickly bring my hair back to a condition good enough to handle my straightening iron! : ) Of course, I also had to compare how this product fares against what I’ve previously been using – Pantene Pro-V Restore Beautiful Lengths Replenishing Mask. (That’s a mouthful!)

Ultimately, I think I’ll be sticking with Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep. Not only does it smell AMAZING in the shower, but it also makes your hair smell like that for the rest of the day! It makes my hair feel unbelievably soft and healthy, too, not to mention easier to straighten. And the overall value of 3 Minute Miracle is better, as you get more product for about $2.00 cheaper. : )

On the topic of hair products, there’s one that I feel is completely underrated – Murray’s Superior Hair Dressing Pomade. I’ve had the same tin for about five years now! The company has been producing it since 1925 and only uses three ingredients: petrolatum, mineral oil, and fragrance. I bought mine for only $3.00 during my sophomore year of high school, and I’m not even halfway through the container!

I first purchased this product back when I thought the scene mullet hairstyle was cool. The woman at the salon who cut my hair told me that using hair wax would make my choppy layers look more defined and piece-y. And you know what? It worked. But there were a few problems – not only does the cut look awful when it grows out, but it looks downright ridiculous if your hair isn’t straight. My face was too round for the look anyway. :P Thankfully, I grew out of that phase. If I hadn’t, my hair would probably still look similar to these:

It was definitely a fun time, but as with most fads, I grew tired of it. 

L’Oreal Super Blonde Creme Lightening Kit

For those of you who are new readers and subscribers, let me begin by saying that I’ve been lightening my hair little by little for the past couple of months – in hopes of being blonde one day. Because I have naturally dark Asian hair, getting it to go more than a shade or two lighter in one application (without damaging it too much) is almost impossible to do without spending a ludicrous amount of money at a salon. Thus, I’ve been content buying boxes of drugstore hair dye.

Yesterday was different, though. I stepped outside of my Garnier Nutrisse comfort zone and bought the L’Oreal Super Blonde Creme Lightening Kit.

The difference between this and what I’ve previously been using is that this was bleach, not hair dye. I’m no stranger to bleach, but I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences. The most recent was two years ago, when six inches of blonde hair broke off over the course of two weeks because I had left the bleach in for too long. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.

To ensure that my entire head would be saturated evenly, I had my boyfriend take care of the application for me. He did the roots first, then the length. Because my ends were already blonde and overprocessed, I warned him not to apply too much onto them.

I left the bleach in my hair for only twelve minutes before rinsing it out – only because my roots were lightening significantly faster than the rest of my head.

As you can see from the results above, my hair did lighten. The difference is much more significant in person, though. The photo below compares the color of my ends to the color of my length. The color didn’t turn out uneven – it just has that really cool gradient effect, giving the illusion of highlights.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how my hair came out. Would I buy the product again? Probably not. It’s a little more expensive than what I’m used to paying – $12 instead of $8. The amount of product they gave was perfect, though. The only downside is that my hair felt like straw afterwards. But that was to be expected, right? Looks like I’ll be on a strict conditioner-only regimen for the next couple of days. Minimal heat styling throughout the week, too!

Should I dare go even lighter next month? 

How to Cook: Pancit

For dinner tonight, I cooked a staple of Filipino cuisine: pancit (pronounced: pahn-set). Of course, like pasta, there are many variations of this traditional dish. You can use almost any combination of meat and vegetables when it’s your turn to cook! The ingredients I used in this version are merely what I happened to have in my house at the time, and create the variation called pancit canton. Oh, and did I mention that it’s extremely easy to cook? : )

YOU WILL NEED:
-garlic, carrots, celery, and cabbage
-chicken (pork, beef, or shrimp may also be used)
-noodles and noodle sauce mix (available at any Asian market)

1) Cut up all your vegetables and meat. Sauté your garlic, chicken, carrots, and celery with a little bit of oil in a large pot.

2) Add about 4 cups of water and the contents of the noodle sauce packet. Mix thoroughly. Then add your cabbage and stir until soft.

3) Finally, add your noodles and stir thoroughly. It’s okay if they break – once they are soft, turn off the heat and let sit for a minute until the sauce is absorbed by the noodles. Serve while hot and enjoy! ^o^

Oh, look! I have a signature for this blog now, too. ; )