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2017: Reflecting on another year

2017: Reflecting on another year



Another year has flown by, and I'm scrambling to organize my thoughts on it. Hate to sound jaded and aged, but it feels like once you pass a certain age, time flies and keeping track of your life becomes overwhelming. Days start to blend, life recesses into a routine, new becomes old, and keeping track and adding meanings to events becomes a burden. And with that, excuses not to write (like me, unfortunately) keep piling.

ANYWAY,
that wasn't the point of firing up a post. I really want to reflect on my 2017.



Overall, 2017 had a lot of ups and downs. In the grander scheme of things, I had a good year in my personal life, while the more disappointing downside was career related.


January

It was POURING in LA for almost every day in January.

Started off the year by flying into LAX back from my Europe trip.
The company I work for has 'holiday shutdowns' on good fiscal years, so most of December just melts away with minimal work. We get a free week off from X-mas to New Year, so I took the opportunity to swing by some countries in Europe. I hardly take vacation days to travel, so I came back in a pretty good mood.
Immediately after my return, I was on a flight to Las Vegas to attend CES for 3 days.

crazy screen tunnel at the LG booth.

Of all the products, smart brush and food fertilizer were the two things that interested me the most (and by far, the furthest away from my actual job category :p)


- This is the Zera food fertilizer (waiting for mass production!)

https://www.kerastase-usa.com/connected-brush
- And above is the smart brush


Soon after returning to LA I crashed my car into 3 trees before it stopped spinning and ended up on the other side of the road. It was a really busy street during the morning commute, and thankfully nobody was hurt.  The only bummer was that my car was a new car (not even 3 months old) and it was totaled. It was my first EV and I was really enjoying how much gas money I was saving on going back and forth to work. :( But that was a short-lived goodness.

Feeling bad about the electric car and one of the fallen trees :(
In the background is my gas-drinking, not-so-eco-friendly car I would have to drive again. 



February 

Most of February was commuting to work via Uber. Uber was doing this crazy promotion where a single ride within Los Angeles County was $1.99 or $2.99. I live 22 miles away from work, but my commute is on the horrid 405 Freeway - so despite the short distance, I would spend 70-90 mins one way on the freeway. As mentioned above, I crashed my EV, so I had to go back to driving my gas car. I use up 19 gallons in 5 days, it usually was $50+ dollars to top out with premium gas, so utilizing this Uber promotion made so much financial sense.

I was still recovering from the car accident, so a lot of time was sent at the chiropractor during most weekends.


March

A lot of career disappointments, where I felt like I shouldn't be in a position where I'm blindsided like how I was. I had my work blatantly stolen in front of my eyes and presented by a co-worker who didn't even know much of the content of the project. Adding insult to injury, it was in a big meeting where I was present too.

I did a lot of long-lunches and went up and down the Culver City Stairs a lot during this time to blow off steam.


From the top of the stairs

Culver City Stairs seen from my work. It's really steep! 3/4 of the way up I have to gasp for air and stop to take a break (or I dunno, maybe I'm just really out of shape :p)

I also had family visit - my parents and my sister-in-law and her two kids visited me in LA. My brother didn't make it out here, but it was actually my first time meeting his wife and kids.
The SIL and kids were sweet and there wasn't any drama about the visit.

Started and finished A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (more deets in another post regarding my 2017 reads)



April

More frustration at work, more going up and down the stairs to meditate
Started to dip my toes in the film camera world.



May

Weird twitching nerve in my chin.
I had this uncontrollable twitch where it got really embarrassing while I was at work.  Sometime it'll come slow, like thud.. thud.. thud... and sometimes it'll be all hyper crazy and twitch rapidly. I could see people talking seriously and their eyes slowly moving down towards my chin.

Chewie also went hormonal and aggressive. I think he wants to nest and have a mate. He tore up pretty much anything and everything in sight, where there isn't a single t-shirt left without any chewed up holes.

Mom came to stay with me while dad had to go to Korea to conduct some business.


June

It wasn't planned, but I saw a house I instantly fell in love with and made an offer. It was in a neighborhood I've always liked, and I could picture myself and my birds living there. The view from the back deck is a million dollar view, all green, a small creek with water running

a view from the deck

Falling in love with the place was the easy part. The process of putting in offers and dealing with the seller's agent was an unpleasant experience! The emotional rollercoaster I went through the month was pretty intense.


July

Final papers signed on the first day of the month! I'm finally a homeowner! Yay!
Funny how Los Angeles has become my first rooted place - I would've never thought of myself settling in LA, but here I am as an LA homeowner :D woohoo!

Went crazy over Woo Do Hwan and the thriller drama 'Save Me (구해줘)'


The first part of the show was interesting, and then it started to get really depressing, and then regained a bit of traction towards the end. I watched the show mostly to watch Woo.

The story is basically based on a webtoon, where a family of four from Seoul moves to the boonies. Dad, mom, twin brother and sister. The story revolves around three groups of people. One is the girl's family from Seoul, another is a group of four guys, and the last one is the cult people. Anyway, dad gets involved in the cult, brother has a limp and is bullied, brother jumps off the school roof, mom goes crazy, dad takes her into an institution run by the cult church, daughter gets dragged in, etc.

It's an intense story where the four guys try to save the girl from the cult church. (end spoiler)


Got another EV!! yay!
I actually got a lease transfer from someone from my company. He only had 22 months left, which worked out perfect for me. I just need an EV to put me in the HOV lane and get me to and from work.



August

Started the month with a 3-day team bonding, up in Cupertino rawr-rawr trip.
Also went to Kendrick Lamar's concert as a team-bonding trip


We had the eclipse on the 21st!
I had solar sunglasses, so my coworkers and I went up to the parking garage to watch it.


Started watching High School King of Savvy (고교처세왕)
This show had a much brighter beat to it.
I wasn't a huge fan of Seo In-gook, I thought he was too over-acting and had a violent tendency (which I really hate about a lot of Korean dramas, the guys are wayyyy too violent and aggressive).


September

Read Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions.
Book review and details to be talked about in a separate post.


There's a stray cat in the neighborhood!
I started leaving food under the car so the cat could eat it. I wish the cat would warm up to me and let me stare at it from afar.



Finally got my kindle fired up and loaded. I've had it for awhile, and it took me the longest time to actually take it out of the box and use it.
This is probably the best thing that happened to me! I absolutely LOVED the reading expereince and the kindle brought out the bookworm in me again.


The first book I read was The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. Loved loved it! But like all other books, I'll review this in another post.



October

First visit to the Austin offices opened the month. The buildings are so identical and sterile. The craziest thing about the place was the advanced app technology used in the cafeteria.

Other than that, just a lot of reading. 6 books for the month!


November
So much traveling for the month.
My company's HQ is in the San Jose area, so day trips are frequent from the LA office. Feels like a waste, but most of the time we have to fly up and down just to attend 1-2 meetings.

Anyway, other than the short trips, I had another first visit to the London office on Hanover street.
Every location is different, and the 4 days I was in the London was pretty awesome. Really wouldn't mind going there more often.

Cheers! Everything is so 'London'

OMG so good! Burger & Lobster. I usually don't eat lobster, but had to cheat this one time. It was so delicious!!
Artesian bar at The Langham. Apparently, this was the world's best bar?! The experience was pretty good here. 


Dante had a health scare when I came back from London. His feathers were falling off and I had to rush him to his vet. Dante had an opportunity to come to my office and meet a couple of my co-workers. Anyway, after bloodwork and examinations, it turns out that Dante had some sort of muscle trauma, but other than that he has recovered nicely. 

stay healthy baby!



December

So we're back to December!
December was fully dedicated to home improvements. In the beginning of the month, we had some crazy wildfires breaking out all over in Los Angeles, so I worked from home for a few days. During my stay at home, I decided to start some DIY projects on my house.
First things first: the WALLS.

I've lived in 3 apartments since I moved to LA and they were all old apartments. The biggest eyesore, in my opinion, of these older places, was the orange peel textured walls. The house I bought also has these textured walls, so I decided to skim coat and get rid of all of the textured walls.

So I've taken on this project and have slowly but surely skimmed every.single.wall in my house for at least 3 - 5 coats. That's 3 rooms, living and dining rooms with 15' ceilings, staircase side walls, and so many other small walls I didn't even know existed.

(Before/After photos and progress to be put into another post)

Oh, I forgot - I did make a move about my frustration with my career and lack of direction at work. I don't know if it was a good decision or not, but I can't just sit and wait for someone to fix my problems. We'll see how things roll out in the new year.




So much crammed into a single post: 2017 was an eventful year.
Anyway, like every year, in 2018 I would like to be a little bit thinner than I am and be healthier. And hopefully, I can feel like I'm moving forward with my career again (not backwards!).

Thanks 2017, you were good to me! :)
Happy New Year everyone!

Catalina



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Catalina
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Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment


It's not one of the million products I've been researching or looking to buy. I needed an additional 10-ish dollars to spend at Sephora.com and this product caught my eye.

I've struggled with acne most of my adulthood (long-time blog followers probably know this since most of my past posts were somewhat related to skin problems :p) and have never been able to FULLY get rid of them. I still get random onesies every now and then. One of the biggest side-effects is the red/brownish scars that are left all over my face and neck. It's sad because most of the scars are due to my impatient picking on the acne, and with so many years layers on top of each other, my face has become one huge blob of redness.  I also have tiny disconnected (aka spider) veins all over my cheek and nose area that worsens the overall redness.


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Catalina
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Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe Review

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe Review


I know I'm late to the game, but I finally decided to ditch many years of Shu Uemura Hard Formula brow pencil and try Anastasia's dipbrow.

My eyebrows are probably the most neglected feature on my face. I have an oblong face where I carry a lot of chubs around my chin and jowl area, so if I go hardcore on the brows, it tends to make my face look masculine and.. umm... how should I say it, makes my features look thicker? 



Anyway, so I went ahead and got meself a dipbrow from Sephora the other day. I researched the colors and decided to go lighter than recommended. Most people seem to grab medium brown or dark brown, but I couldn't afford to have prominent brows - I  needed natural looking but well-defined brows. So Taupe it was!
Here's how it looks like out of the box in natural daylight. 
I was a little bummed about how the color was much darker than what I had anticipated. 



Swatched with a brush on the back of my hand. That's one stroke - with a tiny bit of product. 
The texture is nice and creamy, but not in a sticky or greasy way. I really like how it glided on so easily and evenly. 


Here's my bare brows. I have a childhood scar right above the arch of my right brow, making that area a bit bumpy. 
My brows fade towards the end, making it difficult to form a good foundation. But anywho, that's the 'before' look of the eyebrows. 

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And here's the 'after' look with browdip applied (+ foundation and eyeshadow base).
I like how it's light enough (?) so you can see the actual brow hair through the product. 
It looks pretty intense up close in the picture, but I think it's not as dramatic in real life.

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Sorry about the out of focus, blurry selfie 🤔


This picture wasn't meant for the blog, but basically, you can see how the brows look from a wider angle (indoor, light coming in from left side of the picture). It's not overpowering my face at all. 




Application is super easy
I like to use an angled brush and dab a little bit of product on the back of my hand.  You'll need to wipe off any excess first and then build up the application to avoid patchiness or lumpiness in your brows.
I figured it's a bit easier to outline the tail part first and then reverse the stroke towards the front part to spread out the product.


Staying power is amazing
I get greasy and oily towards the end of the day, and my brows don't fade one bit. There's definitely no need to do any touch ups.


Final Thoughts
In all honesty, I don't think I have anything bad to say about this product.
The product quality is great, the application is easy, there's a wide array of color choices and the amount of product you get will definitely last you a long way.
Coming from Shu Uemura Hard Formula pencils, even the price worked out great for me (hard formula = $23, Browdip = $18). With the tiny amount needed per one day, I'm sure this bottle will last me a very long time.


I really like dipbrow!
Let me know if you guys have any tips or experience with the product.


Catalina


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Catalina
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Where, or how to start again?


Hi!

I don't know how many posts I've started writing, and how many I've failed to post - and this over the course of many years. I feel like I've been on hiatus for such a long time I can't gather myself to publish a post. Pretty much every single day I think about starting this blog again and for some reason, I feel held back. I think it's because I still haven't decided on how I'd like to run this blog moving forward. My thoughts bounce between 'OMG, I don't want to disappoint my readers!' and 'the hell with it, I'm overthinking it. I should just be genuine and blog whatever I'd like to share with others.' a million times a day.

I saw that today is 07-17-2017, so thought it'd be a nice date to restart blogging. For now, I'll just post whatever comes to mind. I'm certain this blog is going to deviate from 'beauty-only' to a broader spectrum of topics that touch my everyday life and interest.


Just to give a short update in my life;

I got a new job. Well, kind of.

Last year around this time, I was actively interviewing with companies to seek better career opportunities. I was in a really good/comfortable position in my previous place but thought I needed to shake up my life. I wasn't seeking stability - yet.
I'll probably talk more in detail about this process in a separate post.


  • I still live and work in Los Angeles! It's already been 5 years since I moved here. 
  • My birds (Chewie & Dante) are still a very large part of my everyday life. 
  • I still have my penguins and other plushies 
  • I have Instagram (@cl2425) - I don't update it that often though, but most of my social media links are on the sidebar of this blog :)
  • I'm STILL trying to customize and fix the blog layout (this is also one of the excuses reasons I'm reluctant to update the blog) 
  • This blog still holds a very special place in my heart, and I am very eager to get it up and running again


Anyway, I keep writing these 'I'm back!' posts and disappear (shameful, I know, I'm sowie!), but hopefully, this post can be a good starter post to a good rhythm. 


x Catalina 



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Catalina Penguin
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10 years!


Wow,
I've been thinking about coming back to blogging for a very long time, and while I was looking at the much abandoned and outdated look of this blog, I noticed that it's already been 10 years since this blog has come to existence! That's pretty insane.

I remember opening up this blog as an assignment in one of my college courses in 2006 and uploading assignments at the last minute, literally like 5 minutes before it was due. It wasn't much of a 'thing' for me back then, as I didn't intend to continue keeping this blog alive after the course was over.
For some reason, my procrastination kicked in and I never really got rid of the blog. And soon after, I started making videos on YouTube (ahh.. the good old days :).

I was pretty pumped about this blog for a couple of years. But, as my life direction changed and I slowly started to fizzle out of the YouTube beauty world, this blog also got neglected (very unintentionally though - I've always wanted to keep this blog running even if I didn't make any more videos).

Anyway, long story short, I started to take my career seriously and shed my online life into the shadows. For some years, work had become 100% of my life. I don't regret pouring a lot of time into work, but sometimes I think I'm letting things go by too fast without giving myself a chance to reflect on and appreciate the moments. Wait, did I say that in some other post before? I think I did.. Dejavu..!

I've had a lot of sad attempts to make blogging a regular habit (and so here I am doing it again :p), but hopefully I'll stick with blogging more moving forward.

Since it's end of year (and seems like I always say I'm going to blog more towards the end of year), I thought I'd write out what I want to do with this blog.


- Obviously, I'd love to keep this blog going
- Makeup reviews? yes, of course those will be posted :)
- Change layout and design (it's been a couple years)
- Anything else I'd like to record will go on here. This blog won't be fully dedicated to makeup like it used to before.


I hope everyone has a great holiday and see you soon!

Much love,
Catalina

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Catalina Penguin
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Last post of 2014!!!

Last post of 2014!!!


Woah!
I can't believe I'm already counting down the last minutes of 2014-

It was a great year that passed by so fast! I feel terrible I didn't document a lot of it, but hopefully I will get better at that with the start of 2015.

I just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who decided to stop by my blog and read my ramblings.

It's typical, but might as well do a short recap of 2014 and share some of my goals for 2015.


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Catalina
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