August 2017 Favorites

 
August 2017 LACMA noodz.jpg
 

As much as I enjoy spending hundreds of dollars on electricity for air conditioning and sweating out 20 percent of my water weight within five seconds of stepping outside, I’m beyond excited for autumn. Goodbye scorching hot weather, and hello fall snacks from Trader Joe’s!

August wasn’t nearly as stressful as July, but it was far from idle. And as new work-related projects poured in, personal projects got pushed aside. I have a couple of plans for this blog between now and the end of the year, which is just four months away! Depending on how work and life goes, however, we probably won’t see the fruit of my labor until the end of next month.

Until then, here’s another roundup of random favorites!

 1 | Daiso Calligraphy Ink

 
Undiluted with white gelly roll pen (TOP), Diluted with Cotman Watercolor (bottom left), i don't know what that was (bottom right) - Painted on Strathmore 400 series mixed media paper using a cheap-o Daiso brush (pack of five for $1.50). 

Undiluted with white gelly roll pen (TOP), Diluted with Cotman Watercolor (bottom left), i don't know what that was (bottom right) - Painted on Strathmore 400 series mixed media paper using a cheap-o Daiso brush (pack of five for $1.50). 

 

I’m mildly obsessed with Daiso’s bottled ink. For only $1.50, you get a giant 180ml bottle of black ink that’ll last you forever. I have yet to try it with a dip pen, but it works perfectly with any ol’ brush. The ink is easy to manipulate without feathering much, if at all. Plus, it dries very quickly with a semi-gloss finish. I did paint over the ink with watercolors to test its water-resistance, but alas, some of the ink lifted and made the watercolors look dark and muddy. Still, I think it’s great for inking practice and I’d definitely buy it again.

2 | Veggie Bullet

This was an amazing and generous gift from someone I work with (thanks, Ashley – you’re the best)! While I love to cook, I haven’t been able to do a lot of it over the summer because of my schedule. And I can only eat out so often before getting sick of street tacos and Japanese BBQ. With the Veggie Bullet, the prep time gets cut in half, so I spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating delicious home-cooked meals.

 
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I’ve always wanted a spiralizer but it’s one of those random kitchen tools where it has to be a spontaneous buy or you won’t buy it at all. The Veggie Bullet is a spiralizer, slicer, and shredder all in one. I do enjoy prepping the ingredients myself; it’s therapeutic in a way. But when I’m short on time (which happens often) or when I don’t want to cry while cutting onions (which happens all the time), the Veggie Bullet is my go-to kitchen appliance. Plus, sautéed zucchini noodles are so flippin’ good!

3 | Kiehl’s Cucumber Toner

I love LUSH and all, but I realized that I can’t depend on their products for the rest of my life. So when I ran out of my usual tea tree toner, I took the opportunity to test out different brands. I wanted to find a hydrating and alcohol-free toner that’s gentle on the skin, and Kiehl’s toner seemed to fit the bill. However, if you’re avoiding parabens, this might not be the product for you. I bought it under a store associate’s recommendation and reassurance that there are no parabens but found one listed towards the top just minutes after the purchase.  

 
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Still, I’m not too strict when it comes to paraben-free products, and I didn’t feel like going through the awkward exchange of immediately returning it for that reason. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just read the ingredients list myself. Thankfully, I ended up liking the toner. It stung a little when I first used it, but it ultimately left my skin feeling soft, smooth and clean. Because of the natural oils, it does have a strong herbal scent that takes some time getting used to. But it also contains cucumber, which is excellent for hydrating your skin.

4 | Trader Joe’s Hold the Cone Minis

 
August 2017 Ice Cream Cone.jpg
 

These ice cream cones saved my life during the heatwave this week. Why did I only find out about them towards the end of summer?! They remind me of the Nestlé’s Drumsticks I had growing up, but without the nuts that I usually picked off.

There are eight adorable mini-sized cones per box, and they come in two classic flavors: chocolate and vanilla. They’re tiny and great for portion control unless you polish off an entire box in the car ride home and end up debating whether or not you should turn the car around just to buy more (because we totally did).

5 | Welcome to the Ballroom

Amazon acquired the rights to one of the most highly anticipated anime series of the summer: Welcome to the Ballroom. So, we caved and decided to keep our Anime Strike subscription for now. I’m still not happy with Amazon’s double paywall streaming services, and don’t get me started on Netflix’s streaming model for their licensed anime. If their goal is driving traffic to illegal streaming services, they’re doing a marvelous job.

 
 

Mini-rant aside, Welcome to the Ballroom (or Ballroom e Youkoso) is definitely one of my favorite anime of this season. It’s hilarious, dynamic, and just a joy to watch! Sure, it’ll take a few episodes to get used to their obscenely long necks, but apparently, ballroom dancers elongate their necks when they dance. Anime just takes it to the next level. Its unique and rough style during the dance scenes add to the intensity of the sport – yes, it’s a sports anime. I’m not sure how I feel about the protagonist, but overall, it’s a feel-good show that’s funny, entertaining and occasionally heart-warming.

I’ve noticed how all of my favorites include stationery or art supplies, skincare, home goods, food, and something anime-related. It’s not intentional but I quite like this pattern, and it encapsulates all the things I actually enjoy writing about on this blog. With that being said, I’ll start to post weekly from now on!