Monday, December 9, 2013

Free iPhone Backgrounds: Winter/Holiday Themes

The winter season is here and it's time to get in the holiday spirit! What better way to kick start this holiday season than to update your cellphone background wallpaper to be holiday themed! Click here to see more holiday themed iPhone wallpapers (for iPhone 6!).

Free winter/holiday themed iPhone 5 / 5S / 5C backgrounds:

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Happy Holidays & Best Wishes to all!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Murad Soothing Gel Cleanser | Review

Skincare product review disclaimer: Skincare products will work differently for each individual since skin type/sensitivity will vary from person to person. The degree of efficacy & adverse reactions caused by one product can be very different from one individual to another.  I post these reviews to share my personal experience in hopes it will provide more information for those trying to determine if the product is right/wrong for them before they spend money to purchase it for themselves.
My skin type: combination (oily T-zone) during the summer, and dry during the colder months.  acne-prone. sensitive.

MURAD skincare soothing gel cleanser review photos pictures

I used the Murad Soothing Gel Cleanser morning and evening for over 3 months; I massaged it in with my fingers in the morning, and used it with my Clarisonic Mia in the evenings. It claims to soothe and calm the skin to reduce redness (contains goji berry, peppermint leaf, and licorice root extracts), and gently exfoliate with the beads in the gel formula.  Note that it is a gel, thus, it does not foam/lather very much.

soothing gel MURAD skin care review photo
Shown above is a close up of the gel itself

Did it work for my skin type? Not at all.

+  long-lasting (a little goes a long way; one bottle will last months)
+  not over-drying
+  does not leave residue

-  did not reduce redness (I have redness from active/old acne scars, around my nose/on my chin)
-  increased my acne breakouts
-  pricey ($27 for 6.75 oz)
-  does not completely remove makeup
-  "exfoliating beads" dissolve very easily and do not actually exfoliate

Overall: This product did not benefit my skin and had no effect in reducing redness. I personally do not feel it is worth the purchase at $27 for 6.75 oz.  If purchased at a lower price point, maybe it can be justified.

Have you tried this? What is your skin type and how were your results?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Inspirational / Motivational Quotes II

A few months ago I posted some of my favorite inspirational/motivation quotes that help me strive to be a better version of myself with each day that goes by. I'm back with some more quotes; enjoy!

"The road to success is lined with many tempting parking spaces."

"The ladder of success is best climbed
by stepping on the rungs of opportunity."
-Ayn Rand"

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." 
- Norman Vincent Peale

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dare To Dream Big.

Yes, I do love inspirational quotes. One of my favorite short sayings is the following, "Dare to dream big".  So simple, yet so inspirational.  When I think of this saying, I always imagine someone standing amongst the vast beauty of nature, spreading their arms wide, and taking in all the beauty.

Here are some iPhone 5 backgrounds incorporating the quote "Dare to dream big". Enjoy!

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More posts with free iPhone background downloads:

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Week on Instagram

My "This Week On Instagram" posts have quickly turned into "These Weeks On Instagram" because of my lack of keeping up with it weekly. *slaps wrist*. Okay, let's not waste a minute -- onward.

Although this instagram picture was taken in September, it's most appropriate that I am posting it during the month of October -- since it is breast cancer awareness month.  See my short post on breast cancer awareness hereHow you can help make a difference: here.

On another note, the weather here in Philadelphia has been gorgeous lately! We've been having clear skies and sunny weather. Here is a picture of Logan Square in Philadelphia on one of these gorgeous days:

And here is a shot of Philly from the LOVE park:

Although the calendar indicates it's autumn/fall time, the weather doesn't agree. 
Even though we did get some cool autumn weather for a week, we've been having random hot days here on the east coast. So it's that time of year where I can't put away my summer clothes yet, but I should get those fall fashion essentials ready. 
These are some of my favorite fall pieces to help me transform my summer outfits to be more fall-ready:
black leather jacket (Forever 21), 
olive utility jacket/anorak/parka (Forever 21), 
denim jacket (H&M), 
brown ankle booties (H&M), 
and a leopard scarf (eBay)

Here are some other fall fashion pieces I hauled from H&M. The colored flats were only $12.95/pair (see here)

I always have to have my gym selfies, don't I?
My day always feels more accomplished when I go to the gym. 

Drake's new album, "Nothing Was The Same", is great! Love it.

 Get strong.

I'll end this post with a picture of my banana cream pie while it was in progress: 
I followed this recipe here

I never seem to eat my bananas before they get extremely ripe, so I always end up making banana bread. I thought I'd change it up this time and make some banana cream pie. The recipe is simple and I think it came out pretty darn tasty!

That's it for today; see y'all next time. Have an amazing week!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Embrace Yourself

I'm going to be honest... I used to be extremely self-conscious about being a female with a more 'muscular' build. I started playing soccer at the age of 5, and in high school I participated in weight room training in the summer to prepare for the fall soccer season, ran indoor track in the winter, and played lacrosse in the spring. This probably explains why I have a more "bulky" muscular build than the average Asian female.

I remember people would often point out my "muscles". It was never directly malicious, but I can't say I felt complimented when people would say "Dude, you have really manly biceps!" or "Your calves are beastly!". It wasn't until recently that I started to embrace my more athletic build. 

I thank the wonderful fitness community on instagram for allowing me to find others who are just as excited about fitness as I am, and for embracing muscles and strength regardless of gender. To me, being strong and healthy is far more satisfying than being skinny and feeling frail. I love pushing myself to be a better version of myself each day -- both physically and mentally.

In my opinion, it's very important for your well-being to have self confidence and to be happy with the person you are. If you're not satisfied with the person you are today, I encourage you to embark on a journey to be that person you will be happy with. Set goals, map out a plan, create a timeline, and just go for it. You'll get there. This can apply to education, career, business, fitness, and pretty much anything in life.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. However, the survival rate is 98% if it is detected at an early stage. This is why spreading awareness is so important! Women should try to do monthly self breast exams, and also schedule routine breast exams/mammograms.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

YouTube's Free Audio Library (where to find music for YouTube videos)

One obstacle most low-budget YouTuber's encounter is: where to find decent background music for videos. While great music is abundantly available on the internet, most songs are copyrighted and thus cannot be used on YouTube without having it taken down; this can leave your video without sound, or it may even be taken down completely by YouTube due to copyright infringement.

For the past years, I used Kevin MacLeod's royalty free music. While I'm very thankful he has generously shared hundreds of tracks with all of us, most of the tracks have a low bit rate, thus, making it sound like video game music at times.

Now -- finally -- YouTube has launched their Audio Library. This library consists of a variety of royalty free music you can use freely in your videos (whether for YouTube or not).  You may assume that because the music is free, that they would be corny beats -- but there are surprisingly some decent tracks to choose from.

The YouTube Audio Library at a glance:

 Easily search by genre, mood, instrument, duration, favorites:

 Genres include:
rock, ambient, classical, country, dance / electronic, hip hop, R&B, jazz, and more

I definitely think adding this Audio Library was a great move by YouTube.  Making useable music more accessible will definitely encourage more people to post YouTube videos since the selection is posted right there within the YouTube interface; and users know this music is acceptable to use and will not result in their video being taken down/muted.

Update: Note that just because you used an audio track from the library, does not mean you do not have to provide documentation to YouTube that you have permission to use the music.
I recently used a song I downloaded from the audio library in my video and YouTube still had to review my video for monetization. I submitted information to YouTube that I obtained the music (included song title/artist) from the audio library and that it is royalty free; however, YouTube still prompted me to provide more information before allowing monetization of my video. It is currently still under review, so I'll have to do another update in the future.

Update 2: My video was finally approved for monetization a few days after my second form submission (where I provided additional information).
My tip for you: include as much information in your video description box as possible (ie: "Music credit: (composer's name - track name) + musician's website or a direct link to the audio track). Also, if YouTube requests you provide more information before they approve your video for monetization -- make sure you include where you got the music from, and make note that it is royalty free music and that you did credit the musician in the description box of your video.

Have you used any music from the YT audio library yet? What are your thoughts/experiences?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Summer to Early Fall Outfit Ideas

Can you believe the first day of autumn has already come and gone? Even though it's officially fall, there are still those occasional warm days that are reminiscent of summer. I put together 4 outfits that can be worn on those warm days, but at the same time easily transformed into fall outfits with the addition of some of my favorite fall staple pieces: a denim, leather, or a utility jacket, a simple cardigan, or a fitted blazer.

 Maxi dresses are a must-have for summer; but don't pack it away yet!
Just add a denim jacket to create a warmer outfit appropriate for fall weather.
Black Maxi Dress: Forever 21
Nude/Gold Bow Waist Belt: F21
Gold Triangle Necklace: Forever 21
Rose Gold Watch: Michael Kors
Strappy Sandals: Cole Haan
Aviator Sunglasses: D&G
Denim Jacket: H&M

Floral Dress w/ braided belt: Forever 21
Long Leaf Necklace: Forever 21, similar here
Open Front Cardigan: Forever 21
Rose Gold Watch: Michael Kors
Nude Wedges: Franco Sarto
Brown Ankle Booties: H&M

Light Pink Tank: Forever 21
Black Leather Shorts: F21
Fitted White Blazer: H&M
Gold Spike Pattern Necklace: F21
Rose Gold Watch: Michael Kors
Nude Wedges: Franco Sarto
Nude Pumps: Jessica Simpson

Cream Loose Chiffon Top: Forever 21
Dark Skinny Jeans: Love Culture
Long Charm Necklace: F21, similar here
Rose Gold Watch: Michael Kors
Cream Gold Cap Toe Flats: F21
Brown Ankle Booties: H&M
Olive Utility Jacket/Anorak: F21
Leopard Print Scarf: eBay

Check out my YouTube video here:

 Happy Fall!

Pin for pinterest:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More iPhone 5 Backgrounds

Here is another post dedicated to some great iPhone 5 backgrounds! Check out my first post here for other backgrounds.  Click to view full size images to save to use for your iPhone.

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"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." - Jimmy Dean
This is truly an inspirational quote to encourage one to always make the best of the situation. :)

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"Don't count the days; make the days count."

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