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 cultured shock, 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

beauty: i scream for eye cream

April 26, 2015

Ask me if I knew what eye serums, eye cream, or eye gels are two years ago, I would not have the slightest clue.

Moving to New York has made my eye bags and dark circles more noticeable. When we age and become more exhausted, some stuff become transparent – it happens. They say that our eyes are the windows to our soul, right? I thank the product gods for eye cream and concealer – thank you, Nars.

I recently purchased some goodies from Kiehl’s, within my purchase there is a serum that helps “recover” your face – Midnight Recovery. I am going to say the product hydrates and gives you the good stuff that your skin naturally needs. I have been using it for over a week, and I can definitely see the difference around my eyes.

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Prior to this purchase, I have been using an eye gel for quite some time to really hydrate the areas around my eyes. You may not realize this, but on our face, the skin beneath our bottom eyelashes is very thin – and the reason why we do get dark circles is because it is a lack of blood circulation, or damaged blood vessels due to a series of things – one would be tanning. Don’t believe me? Read this article here by Real Simple.

In the recent year, I have incorporate applying eye gel, serums, or cream into my beauty regime. I would say my skincare routine is immensely rigorous. What eye product did I start off with?

Mario Badescu’s Ceramid Gel, obviously a “gel” base. Now I am using Kiehl’s Midnight Extreme Eye, a cream base, and this is when I want to go beyond the serum I have already applied. Both (Badescu’s & Kiehl’s) are great, frankly. Product texture is preference and something to consider. One side note though, Badescu’s product must be refrigerated after use.

Into The Gloss wrote a quick piece about the do’s and don’t for eye creams – for reference, especially if you’re a first timer, take a read here. Remember to gently tap, not pull, from inward to outward of your eye.

Depending what formula you buy – some say you can apply it twice per day – day time and nighttime before bed. I usually do before bed, so I have all these things working its magic while I get some Zzz’s in.

Side note: some of you maybe afraid to try new products or developing some sort of beauty regime because we are afraid of chemicals and how active it may react on our skin, but it is a matter of knowing yourself wholly – your skin type, allergies, and etc. This is all a learning process, trust me. Took me quite some time to find products that really work for my skin. You’re not alone on this!

Let me know if you are going to try any of these products I’ve shared with you – or if you have another eye product you enjoy and how it has worked for you!

Happy Sunday, family and friends! It is beautiful out today! The sun is out and a little breezy. Thanks for tuning in (:

– C

PS: I am going to draft up a basic skincare routine, but do you ladies (and gents) have any beauty request? Feel free to let me know and I will post a review (:

three hundid, 3 – zero – zero

April 18, 2015

That’s right – 300 hundred posts later, here I am.

I recall it was yesterday that I reached my 100 post and how excited I was to reach such a blog “milestone.” Now, almost to two years for my blog, the question is: what is next for buttonsandchary.com?

Although I originally created this website as a creative platform for me to express myself into words, refining my writing skills and sharing my stories about any average twenty-somethings young woman, I want to make it more. I want for my blog and myself to continue growing in creative ways. Whether it is mixing up my content, or possibly having other writers publish their favorite pieces, here. Who knows?!

Why I chose to publicly display myself was more of an unintentional mishap, but somehow intentional thing. I know, that doesn’t make sense. But I felt alone in my post-grad motions and feeling lost. I turned to writing because it gave me solace. Once I went public and shared my stories on my social networks, it got attention, and somehow connected with people all over. Then, I find myself not alone! You and I are going through the same thing, not exactly maybe, but similar motions and the only difference is, I am verbalizing it. The power of words bringing us together. I know that sounds kind of cheesy.

Personally, I also find it super exciting to see the growth in my writing and in myself. Although I hate saying this is my digital diary, but it kind of is. My blog has highlighted so many great successes and failures in my life. Hell, if I wanted, I could probably create a short novel out of it.

Anyway, I just want to whole heartedly thank those who have always stuck by my side. From being this confused recent graduate to this confused wanna-be adult – I kid – I am an adult. But on a serious note, thank you all for being my cheerleaders and chiming here for a quick read, or two. It truly means a lot that I have such a great and supportive audience.

Trust me, your feedback pleases me. I am forever grateful for my readers (:

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While I do not know where my blog my may take me in the next 300 posts or the years to come – I thought it may be appropriate to share one of my favorite songs that always hit home. Surprisingly by Yeezy, who I am not such a great fan of, but this one always, I mean always, give me the chills and makes me feel some typa way:

Seems like street lights glowing
Happen to be just like moments passing
In front of me
So I hopped in the cab and
I paid my fare
See I know my destination, but I’m just not there

Street Lights by Kanye West, 808’s & Heartbreaks

Oh, and the lyrics are a great reflection about our lives, our unknown path. I bid you good day. Again, thank you all for your ongoing support and taking the time to read my mad thoughts (:

– C

PS: Happy Cambodian New Years to all my Cambodian family & friends!!! I went to a temple in Brooklyn – details will follow (:

more harm than good

April 16, 2015

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you love and value. – occ

There are these voices that live in the walls of our minds. Some days a voice whispers, “You are a confident, brilliant, and successful young woman.” Some days, another mysterious voice whispers, “That shirt really makes you look fat,” or even worse, “Are you thinking? You sound really inadequate right now.”

I don’t know about you, but I have these voices in my head and am constantly battling myself. Let’s be honest, I am not walking with confidence every day – well not as of late. Do you? The thing is, I allow myself to listen to these voices in my head; these voices that should not exist, but I allow them to stay for whatever reason.

I came across this video on the HuffPost Women – of course, and although it is in French, please watch it. The premise of Dove’s #OneBeautifulThought is taking a second look at how harmful we can be to ourselves if someone said what we told ourselves. Does that make sense? If I poorly described it, refer to the quote above or watch this:

Isn’t it powerful? It really made me think twice when I want to say negative things about myself. Imagine someone telling you all the things you thought about yourself out loud? It hurts, right? So, in reference to the quote above we should talk to ourselves with a little more respect, kindness, value and love. It really does make a difference.

Now, give yourself a big hug.

Goodnight family & friends.

– C

 

beauty: dry shampoo

April 13, 2015

I have a confession: I only wash my hair two to three times per week.

Is that gross? Maybe to some, but actually I’ve heard that you should wash your hair every other day to let your hair have your natural oils. However, according to WedMD, it really is different for everyone – click here if you want to read. You will learn find that everything is situational, too. If I had an intense workout and I washed my hair the previous night, I can get away without washing it, but I will need to wash it the follow day…

Here is my secret weapon to maintain my hair when I choose to skip on a wash:

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I have tried a couple of dry shampoos; my first one was Tresemme, and I was not a fan at all. Mainly because of the scent it produced. I also tried Garner Fructis, and it worked well; the scent was more appealing and appreciated. However, my current favorite is Not Your Mother’s.

It genuinely makes my scalp feel clean! You know when you just feel dirty – ladies know what I am talking about. When I spray different sections of my roots, I instantly get volume and feel cleaner. I also like that it doesn’t make my hair shiny or anything – I am a matte girl. All the way. If you have wavy, thick hair like myself, then I highly suggest giving this product a try. What is the scent like? Personally, I like it. It smells… clean! Fresh! Oh, the best part is that it doesn’t leave any residue after your apply the product to your hair. I lied – this is the best part of this brand: it’s affordable. A large bottle less then nine dollars. Yes!

I know it sounds absurd to not wash your after three to four days, but I really can get away with it, especially this past winter. And I save money on shampoo and conditioner, haha! Alright, it’s late here, but I hope you enjoyed this quick beauty post! Goodnight and until next time (:

– C

 

a check list to anxiety

April 10, 2015

  1. Save money
  2. Move to New York
  3. Get a job to stay afloat 
  4. Then get a job I actually like and relevant to my career
  5. Get my own apartment
  6. ….

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I know many driven and ambitious people who are constantly thinking what is next and feel anxious all the time. It sounds like anxiety goes hand-in-hand with creating a list to check off, or when you are wanting something to happen.

The short list above was a mental list prior to my move; my own New York “checklist,” if you will. Less than a year here and I have accomplished so much so now, I question myself, “What’s next?” But I later find that this process not very healthy for me because my mind is constantly worried about things I have to do and how I am going to get there. 

Here is a disclaimer: I have always been an anxious person, but I recognize that this is unhealthy for me. But I do want more. I want to succeed. I have a dream, damn it!

Back to the question that provoked this entire post’s theme: so I crossed things off my list, now what? What is next? The underlie meaning of this question is: what is next on my career path?

This question has been tossed around in the past couple of weeks during my conversations with friends – thing is… as much as I know what I want to do in five years, I cannot plan for what is the next thing to check off “my list” as of yet. Frankly, I am flirting with different ideas and potential roles, and life is a truly a series of trial-and-errors.

Before I can move on from any role, I believe that I need to master what I am doing now. And right now, I am not mastering anything. I am not killing it. (Okay I am lying, some days I am, but most days, I am drowning and crying for help). I want to explore and acquire new skills that will strengthen me as a candidate for future employers, but as a person, too.

This subject rather frustrates me because while I am “making plans” and trying to think of things to conquer, anxiety is controlling my life and emotions. This goes back to the figuring it out bullshit sorta. In the words of a great friend, B, she said, “I call that future tripping.” Sounds hysterical, but truthfully right. I need to stop future tripping.

Although I believe making plans and setting goals are crucial in life, my point is: it must not become an obsession. It exudes my entire mind completely, and this is not good-healthy.

While we all have things we want to check off our life list, we cannot get overly worked up on something that may or may not happen. I believe the only way we can feel or take any action is to plan as much as you can, and be prepared for any unfortunate circumstances (if any). Why stress and get anxious about things that we cannot control? My second step is learning how to manage stress and anxiety; when I figure that out successfully, I will let you know. 

While I can sit here, be anxious about the mysterious and unknown No. 6 on the list, I really need to bring myself to the present and focus. Focus on what I am going to do today to bring me where I want to be tomorrow.

Don’t you agree?

- C

PS: It’s Friday, and if you’re reading this: thank you. Because who reads on Fridays, right? Ha. But wanted to share that I wrote more than half this post sitting at a bar. Was unhappy with the product then went back to edit it countless times – two days of editing. Although here is the final product up – I do not know if I convey the message thoroughly to you all, but I had to get it off my chest because there are so many things happening internally! In short, though, what I am trying to say is: life check lists are good, but they can be bad too. Stop projecting fear, and anxiety about our future and enjoy now. Like right now. I am going to enjoy my serious Grey’s binge on Netflix. K, bye!