Method Daily Shower Cleaner

Like most people, I don’t like cleaning the shower. I hate scrubbing and chemical fumes often give me headaches. When we had our master bathroom shower repaired in December the acrylic marble guy tactfully suggested that keeping the shower cleaner would keep the caulk stay in better shape longer (the conversation was quite embarrassing) and he recommended using a daily shower spray.

So I mended my shower-neglecting ways and scrubbed the newly-repaired shower till it shone and then went out and bought some shower spray. I started out using Tilex Fresh Shower but it had some pretty strong fumes that would give me a bit of a headache.

So I switched to Method’s Daily Shower Cleaner and I really like it. I got it at Target for about $4 and also got a big refill jug of it for about the same price. It doesn’t have the harsh chemicals the Tilex does (especially important to me with E around) but it works just as well. I spray it on the shower everyday and it keeps it looking great. It’s been a few months and I have yet to see any mildew or soap scum but I don’t have to do any scrubbing.

I like to think the acrylic marble guy would be proud.

Fiberwig Mascara

As I’ve mentioned before, I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I never really got into makeup as a teenager or while I was in college. Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve worn mascara more than 50 times in my entire life (and that’s including dance recitals when I was seven, high school plays, AND my wedding). With that said, I’m almost 30 and I’m starting to feel like maybe I should try at least a little to, you know, look nice.

I had heard good things about Fiberwig, a Japanese mascara, so I ordered it from Amazon around Christmas time. I really like it. I have very Korean eyelashes: stick-straight and short. But this mascara has little fibers in it that grab onto your lashes and extends them out. And it doesn’t flake off or smudge and give you raccoon eyes. It’s pretty pricey ($22) but if I’m going to go through the hassle of curling my lashes and putting on mascara then I want to at least use something that’s going to look good all day.

Does anyone else have a mascara they really like? I’d love to find a (cheaper) drugstore product that I like as well as Fiberwig.

My New Holga

N gave me this Holga camera kit as a Christmas gift which I was really excited about.

The Holga is basically the cheapest medium format camera you can get. You can get just the camera for under $40. The main reason they’re so cheap is because they’re made entirely out of plastic, including the lens. The Holga was created in China during the early 1980s for the purpose of providing an inexpensive camera for the masses. But since then it’s grown into kind of a cult-item. The hipster rhetoric behind them can get kind of silly (apparently it will “make you see beauty when you thought it had disappeared forever”) but but they do take interesting, otherworldly pictures.

These are from the first roll I shot. There were some light leaks onto the film because one of the foam blocks that cushions the film spool came loose and got wrapped up inside the film. (Apparently the Holga’s cheap reputation is well deserved.)

All hype aside, the Holga is really a just a cheap toy camera. But it’s a very fun cheap toy camera. Pick one up if you want to explore lo-fi film photography.

Let’s Make Cute Stuff!

I received this book, Aranzi Aronzo Cute Dolls (Let’s Make Cute Stuff), for my birthday from Gwyn, N.’s sister. It is SO much fun. I have a habit (which drives N. crazy) of collecting project or how-to books which I seldom actually make anything out. But this is one of the few books I have that I wouldn’t feel guilty about owning even if I never make anything out of it because it is that much fun to read. The translator did an excellent job translating the instructions and descriptions from the original Japanese and the whole book is a pleasure to read as a result. The book has that super cute, whimsical, Engrishy Japanese vibe that I’m a sucker for. Besides being fun to read, there’s a helpful tutorial at the front on the basics of doll construction. The tutorial is narrated by White Rabbit and Brown Bunny.

Argh, the cuteness! The text is entertaining on its own but the patterns are also great. There are about 20 patterns for adorable stuffies in the book and out of those there are at least 6 that I really want to make. N. was flipping through the book and declared that I had to make E. one of these:

Yes, that’s right: a kidnapper doll! Every child’s dream toy! If you can’t read the text, it says “Kidnapper is tall and trim. He’s always wearing a tight black suit. It’s so tight that it’s like a part of his body now. Kidnapper is always wearing a black hat. He doesn’t have hair underneath his hat. Kidnapper is always holding a white bag. That’s because his job is to kidnap kids. He’s off to work again today!”

I love that he comes with he comes with a white sack to stuff his victims in! So creepy. E. doesn’t really have a ‘lovey’ yet so how funny would it be if I made him a Kidnapper doll and it became his favorite childhood toy?

So yeah, if you like cute Japanese-style stuffies or know a child whose life is simply incomplete without a Kidnapper doll, I recommend this book.

Reading: Unaccustomed Earth

Before I talk about Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, there’s something I have to say. I suppose I should just get it out of the way: Jhumpa Lahiri is HOT. Hot as in crazy-beautiful. She definitely has my vote for hottest Pulitzer-prize-winning author. It’s simply one of life’s petty injustices. Shouldn’t there be a bit of a trade-off? You know, you get astounding writing talent but maybe you only get average looks. Or maybe there should be a sliding scale: the more successful of a writer you are, the odder you look (i.e. Stephen King.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed the book. I’ve read Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, and it seems the Lahiri is continuing to grow a writer. Her prose is concise but she wrings an incredible amount of emotional complexity and and indirect characterization from her sentences.

The stories focus on the relationships: those between parents and children, husband and wife, sister and brother, and lover and lover. Most of the characters are Indian and Lahiri explores the quiet and not-so-quiet ways that cultural differences affect their relationships. Most of the characters immigrated to the States while children or are the children of immigrants and as such they stuggle with how to balance the traditions and expectations of Indian culture with the culture they have assimilated into.

As the daughter of an immigrant, I really relate to certain situations in the book. It’s cheesy, but her writing really rings true to me. Two thumbs up.

Minty Fresh

I stopped by the health food store last week to get E. some vitamin drops (hopefully they’ll help him less sickly) and noticed these Metromint bottled waters. I had seen them around before at fancy food/import type stores but had never tried them.

I’m kind of conflicted when it comes to bottled water. When I’m out and about I often prefer drinking water to soda or other drinks and it’s convenient to buy bottled water to take with me. But it’s ridiculous how much waste in the U.S. is generated by plastic water bottles. And it’s also pretty wasteful to pay for clean, drinkable water when the U.S. has a great infrastructure that provides it to us in our homes.

But clean, drinkable water that’s flavored with mint? And in a nicely-designed bottle? I will TOTALLY buy that for a $1 (Especially if they’re on sale.)

I ended up getting one each of the Spearmint, Orangemint, and Chocolatemint flavors. I wasn’t so much a fan of the Orangemint flavor: the combination tasted a little weird to me. But the Spearmint flavor felt cooling on a hot day. And the Chocolatemint flavor was great: a perfect blend of chocolate and mint that was refreshing and slightly sweet.

So if you’re going to drink bottled water anyway, you might as well drink these. (But recycle the bottle when you’re done!)

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Even though I’ve half-Korean, my skin is pretty pale. My mom has fair skin for a Korean and I inherited her skin tone so my skin is pale with yellow undertones. Normally I try and rock the pale look: I apply sunscreen everyday and try to avoid spending too much time in the blistering Utah sun. I want to do what I can to avoid skin cancer (and I have to admit that I’m not in any hurry to get wrinkles either).

BUT, I also wear a skirt at least once a week and dislike pantyhose. And my legs are naturally a shade of fish-belly white so bright they practially glow. So I thought I’d try using one of the self-tanning body lotions that have cropped up lately. (See? It’s not an actual tanner, it’s just body lotion that gives you a hint of color. *Sigh.* I am such a sucker/hypocrite.) Anyway, I went with Aveeno’s Active Naturals Continuous Radiance for fair skin tones.

I have pretty sensitive skin (I’m afraid that E. inherited his from me) but Aveeno products are in general pretty good for sensitive skin. (Their baby products are what E.’s pediatrician recommended when his eczema flared up.) The lotion has a light scent to it, but it wasn’t chemical-y or bothersome. The lotion goes on and feels like it’s really moisturizing. You’re supposed to wait until it dries to put on clothes, but it seems to dry in just a few minutes. I’ve never had a problem with it rubbing off on my clothes.

(But what’s that, you say? You want to know how it actually works?) Well, it works pretty well. After a few days I started to see some color. There were a few small patches that were a teeny bit uneven (mostly around my ankles), but after a little over a week they evened out. The color looks natural and it’s not orange at all. I’ve been using it for about two weeks now and the color seems to have stabilized at a very light golden shade. It’s enough color for me, but unless you have super pale skin you might want to use the shade for medium skin tones.

Links I Like: Photography Edition

Huzzah! E.’s fever has gone down. I can tell that he’s feeling a lot better. He’s back to his normal cheerful self, although he still seems a little tired. Phew!

Anyway, here are some links I like: This is a fun photography blog about street fashion by a fashion industry insider. He frequently travels abroad and it’s interesting to see the fashion in different cities. During a trip to Ethiopia, there were times that Michael David Murphy was unable to capture the photographs he wanted to because of the taboo against photography in the Muslim communities he was visiting. So he created this site to document the moments he was unable to photograph. The writing is very lyrical and reminds me again why I love photography. The Kodak employee photoblog. Sometimes they have fun projects or good tips.

Reading: Neverwhere

I have to confess: I have a tiny little crush on Neil Gaiman. I know, I know–it’s almost trite for girls to become fans of Gaiman’s as soon as they read his Sandman comic book series, but that’s what happened to me. In my defense, I’m not one of those creepy goth fangirls. I just…you know…think he’s pretty talented and dreamy!

Neverwhere was originally a TV series that Gaiman wrote for the BBC and later adapted into a novel in the 90s. I’ve read most of Gaiman’s other works but only got around to reading Neverwhere after receiving it for Christmas.(Thanks K. and M!) I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Here’s a plot summary from Wikipedia:
The plot of Neverwhere centres around Richard Mayhew, an average Londoner who encounters an injured girl named Door on the street one night. Despite his girlfriend’s protests he decides to help her, but that unfortunately also means that he suddenly ceases to exist for regular people and becomes real only to the denizens of ‘London Below’, whose inhabitants are generally invisible and nonexistent to the people of ‘London Above’. He loses his house, his job and nearly his mind as he travels London Below in an attempt to make sense out of it all, find a way back, and helps Door survive as she is hunted down by hired assassins.

Gaiman’s writing usually incorporates mythological and fantastical elements, but does so in an organic way. These elements add a timelessness to the story that contrasts with, and compliments, the setting of contemporary London. I know that some people are turned off by the idea of reading fantasy, but this book isn’t really Fantasy with a capital-F. It’s pretty accessible and I think that most people would enjoy it. It’s funny, creepy, sad, romantic, and well-written.

And besides, the author’s dreamy!