rewind, then fast forward

June 19, 2015

You know what is the best part of growing up? The ability to feel comfortable in your skin and seeing how far you’ve come.

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Two years ago around this time, is when I went public and began sharing my endeavors to the unknown cyber world. Has it really been two years? The whole purpose of creating my blog was to share my thoughts with the world in addition to progress in my writing skills. Ah, post-grad…I remember not knowing how to go about my passions and dreams. Figuring out my strengths and weaknesses. Did I want I want a job where it will provide financial stability or did I want a job that I was looking forward to waking up to? Questions that we all have, constantly.

One of my favorite things about having a creative outlet is getting sweet emails and comments from readers that saying how inspiring my story is. It really gives me the feels, and although, I may or may not know you, somehow through words, we’ve connected. So I thank you for staying with me on my continuous journey and great to know I somehow helped you!

As I rewind to my first year of posts, I feel more confident in my direction in life and in myself, now. I guess you can say I am stubborn about my goals, as we all should be. The nay-sayers can say whatever they want; may be your close friends or family members who may not agree with your decisions entirely. As much as they have that right to their opinions, growing up made me put myself first.

Ask me three years ago upon graduation if I knew I was going to be in New York. I would have said it will be doable, but I would be so fearful and filled with doubt of not establishing myself that I would have not consider it. Fast forward to today, June 19, 2015: I am so proud of my accomplishments and how life turned out. I made it happen, and I believe you can too if you believe in yourself and work hard for it. It only goes up from here.

That’s the ultimate truth.

Next month, it will mark my first year here in Nueva York! I am going to celebrate this anniversary because my life has never been the same since I hopped on that plane with my pillow pet, Heath the Hippo, backpack and two suitcases.

I did not expect for this post to happen, but I just have so much to celebrate: happy second birthday to buttonsandchary.com, almost-one-year in New York, and the fact that it is freaking Friday!

Life is good – s’all good. 

Time to time, I always say this, but I can never say it enough: thank you sticking by my side, reading my journey and discoveries, for your encouragement and support. I truly would not be able to succeed and be where I am without all of you.

Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. – Rick Warren

Flashback Friday reads for you, if you wanna creep: intro post, happy birthday buttonsandchary.com, and new york.

Love,
Chary S.

beauty: finishing matte spray

June 17, 2015

My last beauty post mentioned Spring and Summer season beauty products being incorporated into my seasonal regime. I linked it if you missed it!

Now, I find that even with minimal coverage, how am I going to keep my make up intact and not sweat through this humidity and heat? Luckily, I got help from my Twitter Followers: setting spray.

Thing is, I have a sample bottle from, who else other than Urban Decay, but this time, while I was making a baby haul from Ulta, I decided to opt out for one of my favorite brands – NYX Cosmetics. When it comes to “setting” anything, there is a “setting powder,” too, or you can opt for a “pressed powder.” Did I lose you yet? I know, this stuff is all confusing, but stay with me. I don’t know the technical and science-y stuff, but all I know is that it works! I know. I know! I purchased NYX’s Matte Finish Setting Spray for less than ten dollars – talk bout cost efficient.

DSC03844 DSC03845I put it on trial for the first time – at the Governor’s Ball last weekend. There were thousands of bodies, heat and humidity. My face felt like it was getting burnt. By end of the festival, I scoped out my face, and the only thing that was slightly faded was my concealer, but my brows and eyeliner looked “put together” still. Oh hi!

What a way to break in a new product, right?

The only con I found with the product is the applicator – you know how some sprays, the mist gently hits your face? I am not saying the mist is rough, but it’s not a soft mist spray from your typical perfume bottle or body spray. I was not the only one who felt this way – gal pal S, tried it when she visited and she felt the mist hit her face not as gently as she thought it would be.

Other than that, I really enjoy the product and it is definitely my summer staple! I know some women prefer a primer – a base than a  setting spray. Again, it is all preference. If you want to secure a flawless all-day look, you can double up with primer and a setting spray. Why not? But I have never tried this method…yet!

A couple days late than our usual Sunday Beauty posts, but you understand that life happens. Thank you all for being patient with me.Until next time! Thanks for swingin’ by, beauts!

– C

playing host (and a tourist)

June 13, 2015

Five days. Three bodies. One small Brooklyn studio apartment.

I don’t know how it happened, but it did. I am slowly recovering from last past weekend. I cannot stress enough how it’s so exhausting playing host – taking your family and friends around the City. As much as I try to avoid Times Square at all cost, I take people there because it is a landmark and a “must-see.” But I just want to punch everyone in the face when I am there. Not kidding.

The best part of living in New York is that you will always discover something – a new eatery or a new sight. Especially in the summer where restaurants open their patios and so many free events happening! I love it!

I had the opportunity to show my guests around the City – I felt like a pro. If you two are reading this, yes, you guys are now a “blog post” !!! 

Keeping it short and sweet – here are some highlights:

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There are more photos than I am leading on in this post, but I would hate to bombard you with all my photos and slowing down your computer or phone, wherever you’re viewing this entry from! HAHA!

Alright, time to actually go write. I have been putting off so much of my writing work for the last few months! Ugh, it it summer and all I want to do is be a sloth…

Don’t pretend like you don’t feel the same way!

Thanks for tuning in! I will try to get more content and fun reads out this week! I will try, very hard. Bye!

– C

PS: check out a quick video I made on Vimeo. You can find it here.

finding happiness and other things

June 4, 2015

Your job is like your relationship. You may never notice how poorly you’re treated until you break up and meet someone who treats you better than the last. 

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I just compared my professional life to my personal life. Yup, I just went there, but this is a general thought that can be applied in any aspect of your life.

After coming back from my trip from CA as mentioned in a post not too long ago, I feel good about life.

Like really, really, good. 

I would say my profound happiness is stemmed from my new workplace. I love what I am doing now – fashion pr, so it is a combination from my fashion background and pr degree, all into one. Working closely with four divisions and reporting to someone who values your work and as an individual really makes a difference. It has nothing to do with being praised, but working directly with someone who respects you as a person, first and foremost, and giving you constructive criticism in a professional manner.

I thought I had it good at my old company, with the flexible schedule, a sick view of Kimye’s SoHo house, and luxurious perks – but taking a step back and being where I am now, there is a definite emotional shift. I am so much happier (and I have so many office perks). Let me upgrade you Beyonce said, and I did.

I was miserable for a few months and it shaped my attitude that began permeating into my personal life. Who wants to be friends with a Debbie Downer? I was Debbie, and I had no friends…

I am career obsessed, or maybe that is all of New Yorkers who are a bunch of workaholics, but if you really think about it – you dedicate 40+ hours a week to these people, the company, and etc., so essentially it does become a part of your life and where you spend your time the most. So, how can you not be? Personally, as much as I want to compartmentalized my life, eventually it all blends like a smoothie. Finding the right company, environment and a successful team factors into my happiness. Happiness is one of my priorities when it comes to self-love and self-care.

Whether it is a ‘day job’ or a role where you are just trying to make rent, be mindful on how it can influence your attitude and shape you. Trust me, I know the struggle between finding financial security and chasing your dreams. I get it – I do. But I also found that with hard work and persistence, finding a role/company that is a combination of both financial security and passion exists.

Who said you can’t have it all, though? I want it all, and then some. Just saying.

Thanks for checking in and for always being supportive with my transitions in life. I greatly appreciate all the support from all ovaaaaah! I am thankful for You, You and you bet, You! Until next time, family and friends.

– C

 

 

beauty: tinted moisturizer

May 25, 2015

It feels like it is already summer in New York. What does that feel like? Humidity. Sweaty bodies all over the City, and that means multiple showers per day. I learned from experience that when weather conditions are like this, my make up usually melts off my face, so I avoid powders and heavy make up at all cost.

Not cute, fyi.

I wanted to share a recent purchase when I was at Bloomy’s Hello Gorgeous event a few weeks ago that has been a great staple to add into my summer beauty routine.

Remember how I said SPF and moisturizer are two essential elements when it comes to your skincare regime? Guess what? There is a product that has a combination of tint, moisturizer and SPF. Dude, I know – too good to be true!

Laura Mercier, you are incredible.

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My favorite beauty vloggers use this, too! The product was already out before I knew it in circa 2011 (or something). You can find those videos here and here. My only issue with the product is how the formula is dispensed; there is no narrow tube tunnel for it, rather similar to a toothpaste tube, but a tad smaller.

I typically dab four dots (cheeks, forehead and chin), go in with my foundation brush and apply it all over my face. Light weight coverage, moisturizes plus SPF – it’s all a win-win really! I heard many great things about this product before I committed myself to purchasing this. I had to conduct thorough research through various beauty bloggers, and ask myself which was a better purchase: tinted moisturizer versus BB Cream. I will break it down for you later for those who still don’t understand the whole BB Cream thang – trust me, took me forever to get it too…You’re not alone.

For those who are looking for a lightweight product and does fantastic coverage for the summer season, or just in general, I would highly recommend Laura Mercier. There are other great brands as well that carry tinted moisturizes – so if you’re hesitant to try a new brand it is totally understandable. Nars have a great one, too. It is a little splurge compared to your average drugstore brand, but I say it is worth it! Plus, I got it at a discounted price, so I could not have resisted myself! Treat yoself, always! Bahaha!

Keeping it short and sweet for you all. Thank you for reading and tuning for this week’s beauty post! Again, let me know if you have any questions regarding past products that I have featured or any products you would want me to share!

Hope you all had a great Memorial’s Day Weekend!

– C

 

you’re different

May 20, 2015

Last week I was able to indulge in familiarity. People, places, and just everything seemed the same, but not so much. This was my first visit back since I have relocated in New York.

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I was thrilled, overwhelmed and culture shocked, believe it or not. 

When people uttered something as, “She’s from New York,” it was strange because technically I’m from California, but now I live in one of the grandest cities of all. It’s stranger to be known as a “visitor” in your own hometown. Let alone a state you used to live in all of your life. 

As I engage myself with my dearest friends and family, I was told that I was slightly different in numerous ways. That was inevitable, though. I know I have changed, especially some of my manners and habits – my inside voice tells me all the time. But it’s also striking when outsiders, outside of yourself I mean, tell you that you’re different. I believe it has so much to do with my experiences, and where I’m at in life. But I also noticed how my family and friends have changed, but are the same too. 

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That is the thing about moving – like any transition in life, once you’ve adapted to the new and unfamiliar, the old and familiar gradually becomes the unfamiliar and the unfamiliar becomes familiar. That is how I felt. Did I miss New York? A little, I missed my bed to be honest. Visiting my parents house I was on the sofa by choice because I was not down to go halfsies with my sister. New York is my home now and I love it – ghetto, glamorous and all. 

The sad part about moving thousand miles away is unable to say, “I will see you in thirty minutes.” Because I’m not quickly accessible; I am a five to six hour-flight away. Along with that, it is scary to witness my younger siblings grow and mature without me. The show must go on, and I cannot expect the world to stop for me due to my absence and after all, it was my decision to move. But it’s kind of sad. This is one thing I need work on – learning how to let go a little, and stop trying to control what is predictable and when life is in control. I cannot help it my Type-A personality, okay? Gosh, I know this post sounds super depressing. 

Trust me, it’s not. It’s rather a quick reflection upon myself and a say for me to recharge myself. But really the moral of the story is accepting the fact that California is now unfamiliar in some ways. 

(Although I was not able to see everyone I was hoping to due various reasons, it was still a great yet exhausting trip. I really don’t know when I will be back, but I hope I will make another trip later this year, because damn almost a year without seeing family and friends is freaking brutal).

Anyway, thanks for checking in for a read! Until next time my Californian loves. Thank you for those who made the time for me.

- C

PS: today I started a new chapter (sorta) as I got back to New York. It is truly exciting and I cannot wait to see what awaits for me and my career!

beauty: bloomingdale’s hello gorgeous

May 10, 2015

On Thursday, May 7th, S & I went to a beauty speaker event hosted at Bloomingdales in SoHo. The only reason how I heard about the private event was through a gal I befriended who works at Bobbi Brown, Carol. She’s like the homie now and she really hooks it up.

What drew me in was the fact that Allure’s Beauty Editor, Jenny Bailly, was going to be present and talk about about skincare amongst great other beauty regimes. Of course, of course. Anyway, I will save the fluff and share photos instead:

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Look at ‘em samples, though! I am so excited to incorporate them into my routine and share my feedback/reviews. What I hate about samples is that it is a sample size that does not give you enough to validate if the product is good or not…So far, I have played with YSL’s mascara, flawless by the way, and Dolce & Gabanna’s Intense nail polish. It is similar to the Butter London’s polish I bought a few months back. Or for an easy reference, Essie’s Wicked. Dark and a purple undertone, but D&G is a deep red.

Quickly wanted to mention Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mama’s!!! I hope I am not too late, in New York, it’s a few minutes left of Sunday. While I am unable to celebrate this wonderful holiday with my Mom, she knows how much she means to me, and I sent her a text, haha. Plus, I will get to celebrate with her tomorrow.

Did you catch that? I will try to update you all while I am on vacation, but I cannot promise anything. Plus, I owe you all a full on update about recent happenings – I know, most of you all commented and I got messages about what the heck did you do, Chary?!

I wanted to share this cover by Arctic Monkeys because it is one of my favorite tracks covered by one of my favorite bands:

Brb, New York – I am going home! Thanks for tuning in! See you CA lovers in a few hours!

– C

Playing Mrs. Kingston

May 6, 2015

Playing Mrs. Kingston by Tony Lee Moral

I was kindly approached by an author of the Alfred Hitchcock series to review one of his newer titles released late of last year, Playing Mrs. Kingston.

I finished the book in two weeks, and have been brainstorming in how I was going to share my response to the book without spoiling the plot. Before I dive into any sort of reaction to the book, I wanted to share some backstory first.

The story takes place in the 1950s in New York City. The protagonist, Catriona is your cliche struggling actress, on Broadway theater. She gets hired playing Miles Kingston’s wife with a large pay that she cannot refuse. Miles Kingston comes from wealth, and his intentions to hire Catriona to play his wife doesn’t unfold until later in the story. As the story is ravel in piecemeal, a major death happens and accusations from left to right. Who is it? Nothing goes right and according to plan – to say the least.

I am afraid that is all I can say before I get too detailed in the plot summary. When Mr. Moral approach me about his book, I had no idea what to expect. The title did not click to me until I got into the early chapters. I thought it might have been some ambiguity in the title, which required more thinking, but actually it is what it is – playing Mrs. Kingston is what the whole story is about. The only reason why I knew it was a thriller read was because Mr. Moral mentioned it.

To my surprise, I found my jaw dropping and my eyes moving swiftly through each paragraph. I screamed, “Oh my god!” too, in-between those chapters. There were plenty of scenes within the book I found very unpredictable. I am going to ruin it for you – Mr. Kingston dies. Who? Why? I was asking myself these questions, and it happened early in the story that made the rest of the book worth a read and to wonder what will happen.

Mr. Kingston promised her wealth and a pay, but not a penny was given after his death. She got a share of the Kingston Collection, or a part of the gallery that the family owns. Catriona does go through a minor character development – when she showered by these lavish designer dresses and taking cabs to and fro places, I was afraid she may have been too in tuned with her role and may have forgotten sight of her true love, Mario, and who she really is. I have to add that Moral wrote her so flawlessly; she had quite a charm in the story, and I would love to see if someone is similar to her in real life. She is a work of art.

The overall plot, is very dark – really does fall into suspense and thriller non-fiction read. The fact that there are so many twists and turns, it really makes you think who may have murdered Mr. Kingston and the reason behind his death. There are so many suspects, too, but towards the end the killer is revealed and you’d be in shock.

One of favorite things about Moral’s book is how authentic he was about New York. For every main street mentioned, I envisioned myself in that corner. It has so much New York’s life and culture within this book and he captures it beautifully and in some poetic way.

Personally, this story kind of reflects a life lesson. The lesson is that there is always a catch. No matter how great an offer seems to be, there is a flaw may or may not be fatal, but flawed. Nothing in life is given to you without a sacrifice, the thing is – are you willing to make that sacrifice?

Well written, Mr. Moral, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to share it with my readers. 

You can purchase his book here, or check out other reviews on Goodreads.com.

beauty: skincare 101

May 3, 2015

Our skin is the largest organ of our human body. Whoa, right?

With that said, skincare is tremendously important. At some point, I never cared too much about it, but as we age, we begin to see slight changes in our skin.

There are so many factors to why your skin is the way it is, too. It could be genetics or our environment. Diet and exercise are a couple of factors. Are you guilty for wearing makeup to the gym? Don’t do that – you’re clogging up your pores and causing you to break out. We all know you want to look cute while running, but come on, that is impossible. I have the ugliest running face by the way. 

Although I am not a dermatologist or a beauty expert, friends have asked me about skincare products. So why not? Today’s topic is about the basic foundations of building your skincare regime. Similar to building your wardrobe, you want to have the staples such as a blazer is to a moisturizer. Similar to that.

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Here is a quick list of what you need:

  • Face wash/ cleanser – a really good product can be used as your makeup remover as well, such as Kiehl’s Ultra Cleanser. The great thing about this product is that it is for all skin types and the texture is amazing; I would say it is similar to a gel texture than a cream?
  • Moisturizer – it does not matter if your skin type is dry, sensitive, or normal you need a moisturizer to hydrate your beautiful face. This is super crucial especially in the colder months. I am currently using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and the Midnight Recovery Serum – that was mentioned in last week’s beauty post.
  • Toner – it all varies and some people forget this step, and it’s okay. We all may or may not need it, but it is good to add into your regime. For me, I use this as my second step to really get all the dirt off my face. Why do you need a toner? When you are washing your face with products, you are tearing off some pH levels from your face, and the toner is for you balance it out again. I know this sounds really scientific, so I am going to share a piece with you from R29 to prove I am not lying to you, haha.
  • Exfoliator – it is important to do this just so you can shed off dead skin. Some facial cleansers and masks have a dual performance as an exfoliator and cleanser. Aveeno is an example of a cleanser and gentle exfoliator product. If there are beads within the product, such as Lush’s Magnanimity that I shared with you all before, then no need to purchase an exfoliator on its own. You can view that post here.
  • Sunscreen – believe it or not, there are sunscreens that help with anti-aging and do not have that beachy, sunscreen scent – you know what I am talking about right?  When I went in for a facial, the aesthetician asked me if I used SPF on my face and when I said no, she highly suggested that I do because my skin is already in great shape and using sunscreen will help prevent any early signs of wrinkles and sun damages (not that we have plenty here in New York…). You can go fancy or not – whatever floats your boat. As long as you have some SPF on your face. I am currently using Neutrogena’s Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. Sometimes you can get a sunscreen + moisturizer in one bottle! I love multi-functional products, YAS. If you want to explore, Kiehl’s also has a product that acts as moisturizer and a sunscreen -you can find that here.

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Just an FYI: I am not sponsored by the products I am sharing with you – although that would be really, really cool! Anyway, I am one of those individuals who would not spend a lot of money on eyeshadow or mascara, but I would pay a pricey penny for a great face wash or moisturizer. My belief is that when it comes to skincare, that is something we should invest in. Again, it is the largest organ of our bodies. However, if you don’t have the resources to do so, there are plenty of drugstore and low-end brands. One of my personal favorites are Neutrogena and L’Oreal for many reasons. Also, there are so many great beauty gurus on Youtube and beauty blogs that share what brands are great to explore! And if you want me to try something, or curious about a product or procedure, feel free to ask me! I would not say I am guru per se, but I know a thing or two. Maybe three, hehe!

Side note: You know how I want to work in editorial, right? I finally figured out what my speciality would be – surprisingly enough, I would love to be become a beauty editor. I know, it sounds bazaar. I wear minimal make-up, but I realized that I enjoy beauty writing rather than fashion. Sometimes the industry blends in and it all looks the same, but if I were really specialize in one thing and focus on a specific matter, it would be skincare. I love it!

Hope you all are having a fabulous, Sunday. It’s a quiet morning for me, so I might get some reading or writing in. Today I am meeting up with one of my favorite local beauty bloggers, Cynthia. Have you seen her beauty blog? It’s insane and beautifully curated. You can view her blog, here.

 

– C

so you wanna give up?

April 30, 2015

Last week I cried every single night…

We all have a moment of weakness.

The moment where we feel like a failure; where our results are not what we have planned and imagined. It sucks. It really does. Sometimes we feel like we are fighting in this never-ending battle and knowing that we will never win.

For me, my constant battle is with myself and with life as I am sure like many of you are battling with, too. As I have mentioned, my blog shares a series of highlights, some more cheery than others, but it’s not a facade I am putting for show. I deliberately choose not to write about the bad things – just take my word when I say I have big lows, too.

I am human. Things happen. Life happens.

In this very moment, I will openly tell you that I have never felt the way I have felt before. It is not that feeling when you really like someone – it’s the ultimate low and being so self-critical. I am naturally a fighter (and a survivor) – when life wants to play hardball, I am up for it.

However, as of late due to a series of things, I want to give up. I want to give up on the whole chasing my dreams in the Big Apple. What I will say to you that you may not understand, unless you live in New York: the City wears you down a little. You are overworked and given less credit.

By all means, I am not saying at the end of the day, I want a gold-star to my name – no. I want some form of reassurance. The difficult part is when you are always striving for happiness and success, and you may never see it.

In my darkest moments, I have to tell myself that the dream does exist – that the silver lining is tangible and I am going to make it in New York. I came out here with a goal and a dream, and by gosh, it is hard. You know what I realized? It has not even been a full year since my move and friends say I am killing it. I try, hard. Seriously.

I got this cool calendar from Paper Source in SoHo that just describe the motions I have been going through perfectly:

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Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process. – Alexandra Stoddard

We always want things we cannot have. We become impatient and lose sight of the bigger picture. Things in life are not like social media, where you post a picture and instantly get likes; it is not instant gratification. I need to remind myself that because sometimes, I do lose sight of why I am in the position I am. I am so fixated on the fifth step that I cannot even walk the two steps prior to get there.

Another note: I need to restore my faith in myself. I have lost sight of self-confidence and self-love – I know, this is unusual and by far, not me!  Due to the things I am currently facing, it has been quite a challenge to overcome this. New York is challenging me in sorts of ways, and I never saw this coming. The transition is still happening and very real.

I am coming out alive, though. I know I will – in due time. Give me a few more months and I will be a seasoned New Yorker.

Times where I feel like I cannot move forward and when I express myself to my family and friends back at home, the things I hear seriously makes me cry like a fat baby. A friend mentioned that everyone back at home is rooting for me – and I believe that! For those who read my blog regularly, I can never thank you enough. The support system I have is amazing.

Don’t be too surprised if I am crying by the end of this post…

Anyway, it is getting late and I have a huge interview tomorrow. Goodnight family and friends – thank you for tuning in.

– C