Archive | September 2014

You Never Know Until You Ask

If you follow my Twitter you would have seen some tweets already complaining about the workload of my IB classes. But when given the opportunity to take on the entire IB Diploma program, I said yes, fully aware of the intensive course load.

Last year, I had asked my school’s IB coordinator if I could join the Diploma class after the initial class was chosen. He told me that if he could see that I can succeed in it by the end of the year he would put me in. Well by the beginning of this school year I saw I had gotten into three IB classes (one HL, two SL), and I felt content with that.

When I went to the program coordinator, he became confused because he believed he had already asked me in. When he realized I wasn’t in the program, he offered me a place because school was only just starting and they had enough room for me.

Gladly I accepted. So now I’m going into my junior year as a full IB student, in English HL (the class I was talking to him about moving up in). Obviously I didn’t just get my position in the two by asking, but with the effort I put in, my wish came through. And I hope if this one post can teach you anything, it’s that if you want something and you work hard enough, take the initiative to ask for it. There will be so many opportunities coming your way in life, but if you don’t reach, no matter how embarrassed, angry, or shy, you can’t get them. After all, nobody knows what is going on in that head of yours except for you.

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Fabulous Fingers: Hand Looks featuring Red Nails

Now that it’s autumn, deep, dark colours like this rich red are all the rage.

 

 

 

 

 

But I’m still not going to stop wearing all of my dainty midi-rings which everyone was sporting this past summer (in truth I wear lots of rings all year round anyways, whether they’re in style or not). The juxtaposition of the autumnal red hue against summery jewellery contrasts nicely and is eye-catching.

 

The red shade is "Valentine"

The red shade is “Valentine”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this look I am using two Revlon nail polishes: the base/top coat and a scarlet one called “Valentine”. Fun fact: when I first bought the red I thought the name was “Valentino” like the designer.

I love accessories, like Elle Woods. So I can always be seen with this new hat I got from the Aritzia Warehouse Sale (from $98 to $9.99!!!), a beanie, or even my cloche hat I got from Joe Fresh last year.

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Because my school is starting the year late, it’s only beginning to feel like back-to-school season for me. So I am trying to get back into reading real books again, starting with the one I left half-finished all summer: Emma by Jane Austen.

Just because I love these pins I got from a local anime convention.

And so those are some ways I like to rock my summery rings during the fall time. The lovely polishes are from Revlon, and you can probably find them at any drugstore or supermarket. As for the rings, the come from different places, like Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, Topshop, and various flea markets. I hope you enjoyed, and have a wonderful day!

Internet Icons: Claire Marshall

My first victim internet icon is Claire Marshall, aka heyclaire. Hailing from the Washington DC area, she comes across like someone from the fast-paced New York rather than from LA, where she actually lives. She is worldly, having travelled so much in her childhood with her mother. She is a beauty and fashion personality on YouTube, but her brand also includes a Twitter, Instagram, tumblr., and blog.

For me, she is a style inspiration. She has identified her style as “hobo-chic” and she utilizes basics to her advantage. Her wardrobe consists of enviable items she has curated from designer brands like All Saints and Alexander Wang, mall stores like Zara and J. Crew, vintage finds, as well as lesser-known online stores, like Runway Bandits. Her style is not typical, though it does include very classic pieces, it is completely her own.

In her videos she often speaks to her precious black cat, Bruce Lee. Claire very much has personality, which translates into her edited videos, some of which she doesn’t even talk in, as well as her vlogs. For anyone wanting to watch a video that can make you laugh, warm your heart, entertain, teach you, and/or inspire, her channel is where it’s at.

Besides beauty videos, Claire also films many vlogs, often featuring her hilarious friends, behind the scenes footage of different projects, yummy-looking food, and of course, Claire driving in her car. These vlogs are always sweet videos. My favourites usually have Claire just simply talking to is while she’s driving. It’s like a very mellow one-sided conversation!

Claire also uses very good, catchy, albeit more indie, music. I wouldn’t say she has introduced me to my new favourite bands, but I have rediscovered old favourites through her videos (Foxes and Fall Out Boy). She seems to really like pop punk, alternative and indie rock, but she has expressed appreciation for Top 40 pop, having said “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift was her most listened to song at one point. Because she had grown up in the DMV area, she listened to a lot of pop punks in her youth, though from what I can tell she still does, seeing as she’s done the Pop Punk Challenge twice.

Side Note: One song in particular that she introduced me to was Radio (Juno Jay remix) by Mansions on the Moon.

Another place I follow Claire is her tumblr. It looks very “tumblr”-esque for those who are only familiar with tumblr’s repute: eclectic, kind of hipstery, humorous, stylish girls, and of course, cats. I love it. Personally I like all the selfies; when your brow and cat eye games are that strong, who wouldn’t want to see your face?

My favourite photos from her Instagram and tumblr:

I have not spent much time on Claire’s blog, but scrolling through I noticed she posts YouTube video updates pretty often. I noticed one series that looked cool on her blog: Music Monday, originally Monday Morning Mixtape. Again she’s got great taste in music, so it should be interesting how I get on with her recommendations.

MY FAVOURITE HEYCLAIRE VIDEOS:

Tutorials — heyclaire offers many tutorials for makeup, hair, and occasionally food. Here are just my favourites:

My Manicure At Home — I found this in-depth video helpful as I am only recently getting into painting my nails.

Sweet Sunday | Buttercake — this looks pretty freaking delicious and it was really cool how she took the risk to adjust the recipe as she saw fit and how it worked out well.

EASY BEACH BABY HAIR — This is a fast no-heat waves, though she gives the option of more defined curls with some heat. Plus I know I’m not the only one interested in Oribe after watching this.

Vlogs — Claire does not separate her vlogs from the rest of her videos, making her channel all the more personal. Even though they’re not as heavily edited as a normal video would be, she still shows how creative and funny she is on an everyday basis:

VLOG: BECAUSE THAT’S DIFFERENT — this was pretty chill, but we got to see the work put into creating a lookbook.

VLOG: BOYS BOYS BOYS — this was supremely cool. We followed Tennis System for a day, you know, living like a rockstar vicariously through this video.

VLOG: Behind the Scenes – NBD Vintage Holiday Video — this video was absolutely perfect; some parts of the video looked like they could have been taken from any multi-million dollar ad campaign. I know the magic in this video was not accomplished by Claire alone, but I really appreciate her sharing this video with us.

Lookbooks — I have already stated that I adore Claire’s style, but I think I love her lookbooks even more! They are creative and fun and they look like a lookbook coming from a big, well-known brand:

Summer Looks with ShopWasteland.com — This lookbook is my favourite! It lolo’s like she had a huge team to help her with the concept, locations, filming, and modelling. It reminds me of H&M commercials, the MyBurberry as campaign with Cara Delevigne and Kate Moss, and various America’s Next Top Model photo shoots. Except Claire did it best.

CALIRE’S CLOSET • BLACK BOOT COLLECTION — This video was too cool. It probably took forever to choreograph and make sure everything fit perfectly, but it looks effortless.

FAVORITE NAILS INC. POLISHES — Nails Inc. made a wise decision to have Claire make a video about their nail polishes. As always, this looked super professional and was perfectly edited.

FAVORITE MAC LIPSTICKS – Va Va Voom — Is this a commercial? No? Well it certainly looks like one.

And so that was the very first of the Internet Icon series. If you hadn’t heard of Claire Marshall beforehand, I hope you at least check her videos out. I can’t wait to see what Claire does in the future! As always, have a good day and you’ll hear from me soon!

Introducing: Internet Icons

I want to start a series on my blog highlighting people from the internet who I follow and love. For the most part I will feature people from YouTube, tumblr., or bloggers, just because those are the internet hubs I frequent.

My first official post on this series will be up tomorrow, but let me know if there is anyone in particular you want me to talk about! As always, have a good day and you’ll hear from me soon!

P.S. In case you didn’t know, I have a twitter, which is @SmudgeofScarlet. Follow me for updates and occasional moments of inspiration, as well as random thoughts that pop in my brain.

The Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Soothing Facial Toner: A Gentle Toner for Anyone

Simple Sensitive Skin experts Soothing Facial Toner. The name perfectly describes the product.

The Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Soothing Facial Toner which you can find at the drugstore.

The Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Soothing Facial Toner which you can find at the drugstore.

I first bought it about two months ago just because I hadn’t been using a toner and Simple has a reputation for being gentle but effective. I have used either a cotton ball or a round and put a generous amount, then gently swipe it over my face and neck every morning and every evening. I never miss this step of my skincare routine even on days when I’m too lazy for serum or eye cream.

This isn’t some miracle product, but it does its job well. When I was researching what exactly a toner is, I found that there are multiple types of toners depending on what it does and its ingredients. This one utilizes pro-vitamin B5, witch hazel, and flower extract, and is also alcohol-free as well as vegan. It is refreshing and shrinks pores. The soothing face toner cleans any residual dirt left after cleansing, and I actually use the cotton pad to clean my neck after I’m done with the face (I don’t know if I’m supposed to; it’s just what I do). In my first week of using it, I looked in the mirror and was flabbergasted at how small my pores were on my forehead. They are naturally very big and I never really cared or did anything about them, so this was a nice surprise.

On the back it simple says “Our Soothing Facial Toner leaves you skin feeling clean and refreshed. Perfect especially for sensitive skin.” While it is true that it cleans and refreshes the skin, it did also shrink my meteor-sized pores as an added bonus. The Simple Soothing Facial Toner left me satisfied with the job done. If you’ve never used a toner before, or if you want something good for sensitive skin, I recommend this one.

If you’re still not sure what a toner is and how it works, you might find these links useful:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-toner.htm

http://www.just-health.net/What-Does-Toner-Do-For-Your-Face.html

The Netflix Diaries: Lost

Lost was a drama that ran from 2004-2010. It ran for six seasons and was a success, dubbed by my older supervisor as “The big show at the time”. When it first aired I was only a kid, so obviously I never watched it. Thank goodness, though, because I don’t think I would have had the patience to wait around for the next episode every week. Lost, I find, is well-written, to say the least, and highly enjoyable and addictive for the audience.

The most important aspect of Lost is its characters. You guys might not know this about me, but I am a completely character-driven person, which is why I love a good Bildungsroman. I get attached to characters, whether they are good or bad, and I really appreciate the characters of Lost, particularly Sawyer, Charlie, Desmond, and Ben.

From the very start I fell in love with Charlie Pace. He had a boyish innocence to him, despite the fact that he was originally a heroin addict. His backstory was the first that made me teary-eyed because the idea of being used and abandoned by those we love is ultimately one of the scariest things in the world. In all honestly I had no major problems with Charlie until his tragic death (yes I justified his stealing Aaron and “kidnapping” Sun). It did not make sense to me why he locked himself in what became his death chamber rather than shutting the door from the outside and escaping with Desmond the way they got in. I felt that it wasn’t his time yet because he was really showing his promise, pretty much acting as a dad to Aaron.

The most complex characters on the show were The Others, particularly their leader, Benjamin Linus. He was so human; he was calculating and hurt and was seeking love always, from his unhappy father, his rebellious daughter, from the island he sacrificed everything to. But he lost them all. So he took solace in The Man in Black because “he’s the only one who’ll have [him].” At first I believed him to be just a clumsy, troublesome captive of Jack and John, but I immediately warmed up to him when he started showing his deceptive and manipulative side. I believe he epitomizes extreme qualities desirable to most people. He’s smart, cunning and knows how to get what he wants, but he’s very much a human and cares deeply for his daughter and the island.

Lost was not without bad characters, however. For example, I really disliked Kate. I didn’t think she was well-written or likeable but she was obviously a favourite amongst the writers from the get-go. She didn’t have any surprises to offer the audience (except maybe when she handed Aaron over to his grandmother); her being the criminal on the plane, falling for Sawyer, becoming overly attached to Aaron, it was all predictable. But on the show she was treated with so much importance it really irked me.

The overarching plot of Lost was interesting and provided enough surprises to keep the audience captivated. The first few seasons did not deal with the exciting science fiction elements that the last few did, but they were mortally entertaining nonetheless. At first I thought the polar bears from Season 1 came from some sort of unreported storm or tsunami that carried them all the way to Oceania. When it was revealed that the DHARMA Initiative brought them, it made a lot more sense, though it was not as fantastical. Again, I loved seeing The Others, seeing that they are people, not heartless mutants. These ordinary humans who somehow got sucked into that world and chose to stay and obey, yes, they were fascinating.

I did find that I became even more invested in the series by the fourth season. I loved Daniel Faraday because he was played by the talented Jeremy Davies, who I also loved on Hannibal. I loved him on Lost because he made the unreal sci-fi believable when I was freaking out over what was happening with Desmond in the beginning of Season 4. I comforted myself by believing he would be safe following Daniel.

In Season 5, there was the most science fiction in the series. I love finding sci-fi shows and novels and movies, so I really appreciated the time-travelling early on. The writers did well in making the time-travelling easy enough to understand but confusing enough to be believable and keep the audience engaged. A standout scene from the season was when Miles was explaining how nonlinear time is/was because of their jumping around different times to Hurley confidently but still not know how Ben did not recognize Sayid. I still don’t know the answer to that, but I liked how it was done.

Season 6 kept me on my toes, and I loved it. Mark Pellegrino’s Jacob was another one of my favourite characters on Lost. Because of the flashbacks and his appearances to Hurley (and his comrades later on) we saw this character unravel and reveal himself but also still take control of everything. Jacob was completely brilliant and shone light on all of the Candidates. Because of Jacob we saw the Candidates show these brilliant and mature sides. I also appreciated the flashes of that alternate dimension because it was quite a sweet ending that tied the entire series in with a bow.

With good there are always going to be some bad aspects. Not too many because this show was superb, but a little here and there. My main “problem” (for lack of a better word) was how connected the characters were. It struck me as odd how they had passed by each other, drank with, visited each others’ hometowns, but not really know each other until the plain crash. I found small things in individual plot lines odd; like how Sayid fell in love with Shannon, even though he was going to LA to find his true love, who he then immediately married after escaping the island sans Shannon. And just a small note, I know that Jacob manipulated some passengers to board the Oceanic Flight 815, but why were there no families and so few Australians? Considering the plain is departing from Australia I would have expected more than just Claire.

All in all, Lost is an absolutely solid show. It provided satisfying characters who were realistic and showed qualities unique and familiar to us. While the characters and their development were my favourite aspect of Lost, I did also greatly appreciate that they took the risk of adding science fiction elements. I know I’m not the only one who appreciated it, as The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences did, too (though they are still not prepared to honour the hands down brilliant Orphan Black, see details here) To anyone reading, I recommend Lost 100%. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, if you have Netflix, you need to watch this.

4.5/5 STARS

4.5/5 STARS

And so there you have it folks! If you have any TV shows you want me to watch or review feel free to comment down below. You’ll hear from me soon. Ciao, bella.

An Introduction to The Netflix Diaries

Hello all you people! So basically I became obsessed with Netflix during last year’s Spring Break. I had it for a few months before, but it wasn’t like I was constantly watching it and needed it. When I started watching TV shows on Netflix, I couldn’t stop. With the press of a button I can watch any episode of any show at any time, and there are so many incredible shows that I had missed while they were airing that I just have to take great advantage of Netflix.

So while I was watching Lost (I had two episodes to go until it was over), the most incredible idea popped into my head: to make a series here on my blog of reviews of TV shows I have watched on Netflix. I mean, I’ve already finished Breaking Bad, Gossip Girl, 90210, Sherlock, and Hannibal, so doesn’t it make sense to review them for you guys?

With that said I figure that the most appropriate first series to review is Lost. While it’s not the first show I watched on Netflix, I did come up with this idea while watching it and actually finished the entire series in the same day. I will post my review of Netflix tomorrow so that you can have time to read this, get a breather, and come back for a whole review. Have a great day, you guys!