Back in April 2016 I posted a piece on self validation. More than anything, it was as a piece I wrote to clear my mind and provide comfort for myself. Now almost two years later, the same questions still come and go (did I choose the right career path, what am I doing with my life, etc. etc.) and I have a feeling they will stay around for a long time.

But this is a part two, a continuation, and I wanted to touch on the validation of my thoughts and feelings. Often I reflect through my actions and wonder if I made them to gain the approval from others as way to validate my choices. I wrote before that I instinctively take in the group’s opinion regarding an issue as a mechanism to fit in. Although this doesn’t really matter for topics I have no feelings about, but for things I do have an opinion on, it’s problematic that I always reevaluate my experiences, thoughts and feelings thinking there’s a flaw somewhere.

Here’s a prime example: the other day my friend and I were discussing people I’ve had crushes on, and she commented that she finds visuals on these boys to be below average. Rather than just accepting that as her opinion and move on, I started to explain my attraction to try and essentially convince her that my taste in men are good. Logically speaking, the people we are attracted have different traits because we are different people; she may find someone I like unattractive and vice versa. There really was no reason for me to explain myself. But I wanted to gain approval from her. Approval for my taste. As if my taste is a substitute for my being and I want her to validate me.

In my new year resolution I mentioned to be responsible for my emotions; to accept my experiences, thoughts and feelings as part of my truth. My problem with self validation is just one level waiting conquered on the journey of becoming responsible for myself. I think acknowledging the problem is always a great way to start when tackling any issue, and this is why I’m writing this post. It will be a reminder for myself that what goes on inside my head are real and they matter as much as someone else’s words.

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It has been a while since I’ve created any lifestyle posts, the last one was in September. With all the previous pieces about emotions, I think this will be a nice change of pace.

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My skincare routine went under a major shift back in October 2017 when I signed up for Curology. Although I say major, it wasn’t like I changed all my products. I switched in Curology for all the other acne fighting products I had been using then (the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion and the PCA Skin Smoothing Toner). I also stopped using the Clarisonic Mia 2 to avoid over exfoliating the skin. For those of you do not know about Curology, it’s customized acne treatment created by a medial provider the company connects you to.  I had seen the Curology ads on my Instagram and Facebook newsfeed for a while but subscribing to the service was an impromptu decision made on a weekday night. My skincare routine since Curology has only been simplified by a couple steps; the majority is still based on the Korean 10-Step skincare routine (I’m sure majority of you know are familiar with the concept now).  Here’s a flat lay of all the products I’ve been using everyday excluding makeup remover and face cleanser (I’ve been using Innisfree’s Balancing Cleaning Oil with Green Tea and Shiseido’s Perfect Whip Facial Wash).

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Since this isn’t an in-depth review post, so I will just give a little of my thoughts on each of the products:

  • The Balancing Cleansing Oil has a nice scent and it doesn’t hurt my eyes when I wash the product off, but the only thing is that it takes a bit of work before removing my waterproof mascara.
  • The Perfect Whip cleanser has no scent, lathers up well, is super cheap, but it’s a little bit drying after use; although not as bad as some other cleansers, it does leave a little bit of the “squeaky clean” feeling after use.
  • Avene’s facial mist has been one of my favorites since that initial French skincare haul, it very hydrating and can be used at anytime. Although I included it in this everyday skincare routine, I only use it when my skin feels especially dry after cleansing.
  • Missha’s Time Revolution the First Treatment Essence has been known as the cheaper dupe for the SKII essence, but I have never used the SKII one so I don’t know how the Missha one is compared to that. This is probably my third or fourth bottle. Even though I’m not really sure what this product does for my skin but seems like it’s keeping my skin softer, and hopefully the anti-aging properties has been making some differences too.
  • It’s been around four months since I started the Curology treatment, it has been doing well keeping active acnes at bay and fading hyper-pigmentation. My only concern is that I’don’t know if my skin will act out once I go off of this treatment. I would like to try other products as well in the future, I don’t want to be completely dependent on this one product.
  • This is my second bottle of The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum, but I’m still not sure what it does to my skin. This product has no scent and it’s a little sticky when you first apply; other than it’s physical attributes, I have no opinions on whether this product is good or not.
  • I purchased the Belif’s Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream from a friend’s recommendation. The product is in a balm like consistency, which is very interesting. I think it’s been keeping my eye area moisturized during the winter season, but I don’t think it has done much regarding my dark circles.
  • Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar smells wonderful with and it has definitely improved my skin’s texture. However when I first used the product, I made the mistake of using it in the morning and my nose started to peel a little bit even with sunscreen. The product contains AHA, which is a chemical exfoliator (a reason why my skin felt softer?) and it increases the skin’s sensitivity in the sun (why my skin was peeling?). After that incident, I’ve only been using it as a night cream.
  • Clarins’ Multi-Active Jour SPF 20 is the first day cream I’ve ever used. I really like the scent and the consistency of the product, and it also gets absorbed very easily. But I’m not sure if SPF 20 is enough so sometimes I use another sunscreen on top. Also I think it might have been causing my skin to get oiler quicker while I’m in the office (I’m only speculating this, I have no idea), I will decide on whether this product is the cause when I switch moisturizers later.
  • The Nuxe Reve de Miel is probably one of the most hyped up lip balm there ever was. It is very nourishing and have saved my almost chapped lips multiple times this season, but it’s not as long lasting as I’d imagined. If I put it on after I shower, I would need to reapply again before going to bed a hour or so later.

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This has just been a list of the products I’ve been using daily. If any of you want a detailed review on a product, feel free to let me know in the comments! Hope your 2018 has been off to a great start, but can you believe January is almost over?!

Cheers,

Jenn

To F.

Almost lover. To me you were my almost lover. I never want to see you unhappy, I thought you wanted the same for me. You were the one who taught me that age is just a number. You also taught me the heartbreak of losing someone overnight. I avoided the restaurant we last went, using shitty excuses like I’m not feeling the type of food. It was painful to drive by the places we went to, see you on friends’ social media, reading words that evoked your name.

Two months later after your “let’s stop talking,” you reached out again. I was dumbfounded. It was so hard getting you out of my mind, will it be this easy for you to move back in again? You asked to grab food, naturally i said yes. I didn’t reply like I’ve always done, but I doubt you noticed. During the two months that we stopped talking, I started texting with more grammar; using commas and periods that I’d never done before. I cut off majority of social media, taking the time to acknowledge emotions and trace their origins. I felt jittery but dreadful when I went to meet you. Somewhere in my mind, my intuition told me this will be an end to something.

I asked would you consider me if you were ready for a relationship. It took a few second but you still responded no. I’m not mature enough; all I do is complain. I didn’t know what to say; I tried to refute but deep down I knew it was the truth. I’ve noticed as well. I would catch myself doing it in mid-conversation and I wouldn’t know how to stop. I don’t know how else to interact people without going too deep, too personal, too emotional. I hide behind the wall of complaints, burying away the vulnerability that would otherwise peek through. I don’t want to burden another with my overflow of thoughts. I also don’t want to explain these thoughts because that will fish up even more feelings and history.

You said I know you better than you know me. But I felt closer to you than many others.  I confided in you problems I’ve never mentioned to any other. Maybe they were so masked under complaints that they never reached to you.  

Goodbye, my almost lover

Goodbye, my hopeless dream

I’m trying not to think about you

Can’t you just let me be?

So long, my luckless romance

My back is turned on you

Should’ve known you’d bring me heartache

Almost lovers always do

We first met on a chilly night by a bonfire. In February it will be a year. It felt so short with all that’s happened. This is a goodbye; an end to a very long chapter. Next time we meet, it will be the start of a new arc. The one where we will just be friends.

With love,

J.

Lyrics from almost lover by a fine frenzy

 

It’s been eight days since the start of the new year and I’ve yet properly made any new year resolutions. Rather than having a list of things I need to work on (that never seems to work and by the middle of the year I’d forgotten what was even on my list), I’m setting a general guideline for this year.

I dedicate 2018 to a year of responsibilities; to be more accountable for my thoughts, commitments, and most importantly myself.

I have a tendency to change my opinions based on other people; whether it’s in discussion seminars back in school or during conversations with friends, I always try not to be the odd one out. Maybe this stemmed from early education where there’s always only one correct answer to a problem; if you come to a conclusion different from your peers, you’re wrong. Or maybe the fear of being different goes beyond having to explain myself to something even deeper. I want to consciously stop justifying my thoughts and opinions, they are formed for a reason. Instead I will work on taking responsibility and voicing them.

Commitment has been an issue for the past several years. I’m not referring to relationships, but rather things I’ve started. This blog, my Instagram, weekly exercise schedule, the many many shows that I’ve started are just a few examples. Whenever there’s a spark, I would dive into the idea. But as soon as the burst of motivation and inspiration dissipates, the project would be on hiatus to who knows when. I’ve been pretty good at updating this blog and instagram, but I’m not at a frequency that I’m happy with. I want to be more responsible to the projects I’ve undertook and see them until completion, whatever that means relative to the project.

Taking responsibility for yourself is basically what adulthood means right? I guess to be more specific, this year I want to be more responsible for my health, mentally and physically. Mental health is crucial as it affects all aspects of your actions, from the biggest to the tiniest. Nowadays there are many guides available on the internet to distress and improve your mental health. One of the ways that work the best for me is to draw. So in a way, 2018 will be the year that I feed my creativity and see where it takes me. As for physical health, I’m sure we all know why that’s important by now. I’ve never been the one who’s excited to goto the gym (I refuse to pay for a gym membership since that’s just a waste of money). I will either do yoga and Pilates at home or take classes. Currently I’m doing kickboxing (thanks Groupon for affordable vouchers), and I’m planning on trying rock climbing after I finish this session. But of course, the biggest obstacle is consistently going to these classes and not take a 6-week break in between.  

All in all, here’s a quote that summarizes my vision for this year pretty well:

“The only thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil GaimanIMG_2124-2

As always, learn more, travel more, experience more.

What do you dedicate your 2018 to?

 

“I can’t believe she cut all her hair off.”

The shampooist exclaimed to her coworkers as I examined my new hair in the restroom. Her tone was laced disapproval,  and suddenly I became hyper-aware the length of my new cut. To provide a better visual context, I came into the salon with hair halfway down my back and left with hair around the length of my chin. As I walked to meet up with a friend after the cut, all I could focus on was comparing the length of my hair to other women on the streets.

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My relationship with long hair has been on and off since childhood. When I lived with my grandmother in elementary school, I wasn’t allowed to have long hair because she said it was a distraction. So when I moved to live with my mom during middle school, I swore to never cut my hair short again. I kept my hair relatively long until the summer of my freshman year in college when I studied abroad in Korea for a month. I couldn’t deal with the humid summer temperature and chopped my hair off. It was the first time in years that I had hair that couldn’t be fully put into a ponytail. There was some sort of satisfaction that came with cutting off six inches in one snip. After that, whenever my hair gets too long (I tug on it when I sleep) I’ve had an urge chop it all off.

This has not been the only time someone has commented on the length of my hair. My ex and I used to get into fights because he wanted me to keep my hair long since he “like(s) girls with long hair more.”

When I met up with a high school friend for coffee a couple weeks after the cut, she started talking about the personality people projected on her because of her hair. She had donated all of her hair to locks of love several months ago and it was just starting to grow out. She said people in her office and out in public would assume things about her when they first met because of her short spikes. She went on a ranting “why do strangers have images of who i am, what I like just because of the length of my hair” and I totally related. We went on discussing more about other issues like body images and objectification of women.

Basically, don’t tell me what I should do with my hair or comments like “you actually look good in short hair.” I will cut my hair whichever length that makes me happy.  

February 11th, 2016.

My first post was uploaded on WordPress the second month after I moved to Chicago. Blogging had been something I’ve always wanted to do but had always brushed off with lame excuses like too little time and too much commitment. Hello there procrastination. Newfound leisure time that came with work became the spark I needed to jump start the project. Familiar Unfamiliarity was uploaded hours after the inspiration first hit, before I could fully contemplate the decision to start a blog.

Without a clear vision for the blog, I looked for inspiration online. While I loved the aesthetics of lifestyle blogs, none of the contents reflected what I wanted to put out. As an effort to avoid limiting myself, Ruomee was dedicated as a life and lifestyle blog. Within the twenty-one months of blogging, I’ve only written a handful of lifestyle posts, like Summer Flower, Nesting in Nest, and Summery BasicsAlthough these posts were fun to prepare, the actual content felt shallow. I didn’t have go through iterations of googling definitions and trying to solidify my thoughts before posting

Values and purposes. The commencement speech during my graduation was the first time I really thought about the two. I have a vague idea of my values, but I haven’t got the slightest clue about my purposes. Maybe running this blog is a part of a purpose. Who knows. Either way, I’m changing the blog to focus more on the “life” portion because I want to bring more to the table with my experiences. But there will a couple “lifestyle” posts popping in here and there because they are fun.

Tribeca. Usually known for its cute cobblestone streets and expensive boutiques, but after today it will also be associated with a terrorist attack. Like any other acts of terror, it was horrific. But unlike the incidents I’ve read through social media, this one hits especially close to home. Not only was it within a 5-mile radius of where I work, it happened right outside of my high school. It was like an unwanted alarm at 6 AM, jolting me awake to the realities and dangers of the world.

As I was internalizing the shooting on the way home, I was suddenly reminded of a memory that I can no longer tell if it was real or not. When I was a child, I witnessed a hit-and-run as I was going home in a taxi with my dad. A car and a motorcycle had collided. The mother knelt in a pool of blood while holding her limp child in the middle of the crossroad as the car responsible for the accident fled. She cried for someone to call an ambulance, but the crowd of people stood half a mile away from her not wanting to get involved. Honestly I cannot tell if this was reality, but it was too vivid to be only a nightmare I’d imagined. I never asked my dad if he has any recollections of this, I’m also hesitant to bring it up.

Thinking back, this incident might have been a major factor in why I’m intimidated by vehicles and cynical about people. The fear I felt when I saw the scene, the uncontrollable terror of imagining I might the next victim, I felt that again today when I read the news. No matter how much time passes, the harshness of reality is the most frightening thing.

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