The Budget/Baller Series: Face Favorites (Notes on How I Keep My Face from Sliding Off after Years of Bad Behavior) & GIVEAWAY

ejlsansmakeup(no makeup via flourishinprogress on Instagram)

Like everything I touch, this series has devolved very quickly. I wanted to keep it classy and share my favorite products and ladylike tips, but then in my first post about Hood+Good Lips, I admitted that when my Tom Ford lipstick broke off and fell to the floor, I just mashed the stick back into the tube and continued to use it. In the Thugnificent Coif edition, I changed the name of the series from Dope Shit for (T)hugs to Budget/Baller because the original name reminded me of a dope dealer I recently met. One day, I want to live a life where no one I know is on parole, evading arrest, or incarcerated, and they will all be employed in fields that are unlikely to lead to the aforementioned possibilities. Maybe my dreams are too big. 

In this Face Favorites edition, I’m going to share exactly why I’m now so meticulous about skincare and none of the reasons are classy or ladylike.

A lot of people think I get some kind of “Asian genes boost.” These people have obviously never met my parents. Both sides of my family are riddled with poor genes and everything that goes along with it. I smoked on and off for 18 years (mostly on). I abused drugs for 9 years. I hate wearing sunscreen. I frequented tanning salons until my early 20′s. My diet is mostly hydrogenated fats and artificial coloring. I lost my Fitbit, so fuck exercise. And I certainly can’t depend on inner calm and peace for a healthy glow. I’m not even sure what those feel like.

I heavily depend on products in hopes of counteracting or reducing the visible effects of the damage I’ve caused. And since I rarely take pictures without any makeup, I decided to take one this morning. So you could see what I really look like.  I felt very self-conscious about it which is weird because my selfie habit on Instagram is pretty strong. Why all this sudden shyness? I don’t try to figure myself out anymore. It’s exhausting.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I forrealz use this shit and I forrealz like em.

bbffave1Original/Plain Organic Instant Oatmeal ($5ish for a box-I prefer boxes of individual packets over a large canister): I believe in exfoliation. And Jesus. The two aren’t related, but I’m not afraid to rep good skin AND the Lord. For the past 7 years, I’ve been using my Clarisonic brush as my staple and mixing in new products here and there. Last year, when my skin was too sensitive even for the Clarisonic, I started exfoliating with oatmeal. It seemed like a bullshit tip at first, but after using it 3x a week for a month, my face was noticeably calmer and less red.

Pour 1/4 of a packet into your hand and close your fist under a gentle flow of warm water in the sink for about 15 seconds. Take your fist out of the flow and mash the oatmeal in your hands, creating a paste. Add a little more water if it seems too thick to spread easily on your face. Wet your face and gently rub the oatmeal around the entire face (avoid the eye area), adding more water if needed. Rinse thoroughly and check to see if that shit got in your hair.

Note 1: Place a paper towel over the drain to catch the oatmeal. Note 2: I’m not recommending any particular brand. I just used the above picture because it was the clearest non-angled image I could find on Google. Most were fuzzy. I guess people don’t give a fuck about making oatmeal look good.

ReVive Les Yeux Presse ($185.00/0.5 oz.): I have fallen prey to katrillions of gimmicky face potions and wasted a shitload of money. I guess everyone has their own rules about how they will and will not spend their money. For me, my budget for a phone case is $3. I saw a pretty fly case at Target a while back. It was on sale for $18, and I walked around the store with it, but I eventually put it back. That ain’t me. I ain’t about that life.

I will, however, spend $185 on a 0.5 oz. eye cream. Every time I go to the ReVive counter to buy another Les Yeux Presse, the sales associates try to push a second eye cream, one that has “lasting reparative benefits.” LYP is a quick pick-me-up, and the bulk of its effects only last a few hours. But the effects are MAGICAL. Within a few minutes of applying it under my eye, fines lines are gone, darkness fades, and puffiness disappears.

bbffave2

KYPRIS Antioxidant Dew ($55/2 oz.) and
KYPRIS Beauty Elixir III- Prismatic Array ($150/2 oz.): Since my late teens, my skin has gradually become more sensitive, and for years, I had varying degrees of redness or peeling, coupled with bumps and rashes and breakouts. While I’m still excited about trying new products, I’m also cautious because I know that once my skin becomes irritated, it can sometimes takes weeks or even months to calm down. I heard about KYPRIS Beauty through my homie, Bennett, and because I’ve become somewhat adept at sorting through all the bullshit flowery language and checking ingredient lists for potential irritants, I spent time on their site before trying two of their products.

This shit is off the chain.

Travel is always the biggest test for my skin. Recirculated air on airplanes, time zone changes, restless sleep in strange beds…my skin looks horrible when I get home. The biggest benefit to the Dew coupled with Elixir III is the consistent glow/lack of irritation. I’ve had almost no peeling (my chin is always super dry) which makes makeup application so much easier.

Just before I started using these two KYPRIS products last year, I stocked up on 6 bottles of my favorite moisturizer during a rare promotion. Each 1 oz. bottle would last me, on average, a month, so I took advantage of the sale. I just gifted all 6 bottles to my mom. And in the time it would have taken me to go through 4 of those bottles, I’ve barely used half a bottle of the Antioxidant Dew.

I think it’s pretty baller that the entire line currently consists of only 3 serums and 3 elixirs. You know that shit is serious business.

Giveaway: KYPRIS Antioxidant Dew

antidew

I eventually connected with KYPRIS founder, Chase Polan, after becoming a huge fan of her products. Initially, I just wanted to give her a fist bump and rave about her line, but I found myself asking if she would be open to giving away a bottle of Antioxidant Dew ($55). Some people might hesitate before asking for things from people they’ve never met, but luckily, I’m not bogged down with nonsense like manners. Chase didn’t even hesitate before saying yes. She seems real gracious. If I hang out with her, will some of that rub off on me?

I was drawn to the Antioxidant Dew because it’s suitable for most skin types and meant to calm environmentally stressed and imbalanced skin. I just pat in four or five drops before I apply any of my other face products, and it’s really helped with hydration.

To enter: Leave a comment below with your best or most uncommon/unexpected beauty tip. Only comments left on this post will qualify. Giveaway entry period ends Monday, April 7, at 11:59 p.m. PT. I’ll pick a winner and announce it in next week’s post.

Holler at me: Flourish in Progress on Facebook, @flourishinprogress on Instagram, @ElizabethJLiu on Twitter
So much not-seen-on-this-blog stuff. An excellent way to waste time for absolutely free.

Daddy Issues (aka: Girl, Why You So Typical)

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One of my most…no, my #1 MOST FAVORITE activity is to devote large blocks of time making up complicated hypothetical dilemmas and then challenging myself to find an efficient solution that still has a little bit of panache. I don’t like it when people walk around with their chest puffed out because they performed an act of kindness. Questions form. Did they do it for the accolades? Is he going to write a Facebook status update about his bravery and pray for at least 15 likes? But I also don’t like it when heroes act like it’s NBD. I tread a fine line. I never ask for a parade or anything extravagant at the end of my make-believe dramas, but will I turn down an edible fruit bouquet? That’s just stupid. Fruit is a wonderful source of vitamins.

Once in a while, I allow myself a happy scenario. A place or a situation that could never actually exist in real life but I can’t help wanting anyway. My father is in most of these moments. Sometimes I pretend that he stayed for my entire high school graduation. I erase all the shame I used to feel when my friends saw my father in his industrial coveralls and Volt sneakers from Wal-Mart.

I don’t talk about my father a lot, but it’s not because I dislike him or because there aren’t any stories about him. He’s been absent for so long that I just don’t think about him that much anymore. At least I think I don’t. But my behavior seems to indicate that I have daddy issues.

I never wanted my badness to be the result of anyone else. I refused to accept that other people influenced my choices and my outlook on life. I didn’t want it to be about other people because I can’t control other people. I can only control me. And I’m not even good at that. Ask me about the entire bag of wasabi peas I just ate. Lord Jesus, my esophagus is on fire.

My father was rarely at home as I was growing up. He worked odd hours as a government employee, and on his free days, he spent most of his time in the garage, tinkering with cars in various stages of crisis. I only went out to the garage once before I left home permanently at the age of 17. He preferred solitude, but he let me stay just this one time.

As I sat on the hood of his car, he showed me pictures of tools that he wanted. They were some brand called Snap-on. He said those tools were serious business and very, very expensive. One day when I grow up, I thought, I’m going to be a millionaire and then I’ll buy my dad the whole entire set of Snap-on tools. Even the little accessory parts and a red Craftsmen chest to store them. The rolling kind.

To this day, every time I see a Snap-on company truck drive by, I think about my father and my unfulfilled promise.

But maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong. Maybe he’s the one that was supposed to give me tools. Tools so that I could navigate adulthood. Tools for me to repair the cracks in my relationships and seal the leaks in my friendships and tighten up those loose ends that happen when you focus on one area of your life for too long and let everything else slide. 

I spent four months locating my father in 2012. We hadn’t seen each other since he divorced my mother in 2000. When I found him, I flew to Texas and we met for lunch. I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to say. I just wanted to see my father. And I thought he might want to see me all grown up.

I told him that I turned out okay. You know, in case he was worried about me. I always feel better when I know Cal is safe. That doesn’t mean I coddle her or anything though. She’s on spring break right now and when she asked about the activities I had planned, I told her that she would be building me some Ikea furniture. Nothing crazy. Just a bookcase and a rolling cart. Some people are really sensitive when it comes to child labor, but I’m not one of those people.

Ironically, on the day that I was in Texas having lunch with him, this Huffington Post piece about the absence of my father came out. We exchanged phone numbers after lunch. He wanted to plan a get-together for the summer with my aunts and uncles. He said he would call me. I don’t know why I believed him because he made that exact same statement years before.

I haven’t heard from him since. I think my father needs to work on follow-through.

Sometimes I think about what that phone call would be like. You know how you talk to someone on the phone and there’s not one awkward or dull moment? And in that giant expanse of all those words, there isn’t one tiny moment of stupid? And then you want to talk to that person again?

It would be just like that.

“This is what I know: People’s hopes go on forever.” -Junot Diaz
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Holler at me: Flourish in Progress on Facebook (I post a lot of quotes and thug shit here. Pretty decent way to waste time.) Instagram @flourishinprogress (evidence of child labor, that lap dance I gave a panda at SXSW, me and some rappers) Twitter @ElizabethJLiu (I complain a lot here.)

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Look How Far You’ve Come (Notes on Therapy)

futurecalled
I’ve been going to Corner Bakery for their Loaded Baked Potato Soup once or twice a week for the past few months. Sometimes, I upgrade to a bread bowl for an extra $1.89. I don’t do it all of the time because I don’t want luxury to become my standard. Plus, all of the soups come with a focaccia roll anyway, and it’s really not that hard to dig out a little soup moat. I treat myself to these soup lunches on the days I go to therapy.

I’ve avoided therapy for most of my life because the whole concept seemed like a crock of shit. Still, I’ve gone on occasion over the past sixteen years. Many of those visits were part of different drug treatment programs. You have to go every day and act like you’re making breakthroughs, but really, you’re just thinking how many more times do I have to lie to this homegirl wearing all Talbots errything before she recommends my release. It’s never made a difference because I had no interest in sorting through my sordid past. Processing and transcending and letting go takes time and effort. Not only did that seem painful and unnecessary, I also believed that I had earned the right to harbor all of my rage and depression. They were my souvenirs for surviving, and I fucking love souvenirs. (A big shout out to my Disney lapel pin collection. You guys keep my lanyards looking fly.)

The only gift Harv wanted for our anniversary last fall was for me to find a therapist I liked and start going on a regular basis. At some point in 2013, I moved into Rock Bottom, and he could see that I had no interest in leaving. Actually, I was getting settled and quite comfortable in my new little hole, and every time I left and came back, it just felt like home.

The request came at a bad time because I had already ordered a Full Dozen Strawberry Medley from Shari’s Berries as an anniversary gift for Harv. Highly perishable items are extremely tricky to return…if you can return them at all. I said I would “think about it” which is basically a “no” in adult code language. He didn’t pressure me nor did he bring it up again.

A few nights later, I had a hankering for something delicious and ate seven of the nine remaining Berries. I am surprised by my own selfishness from time to time. This was one of those times. Shari, why you gotta make your products so delectable? It didn’t seem right to order another dozen, and I thought about blaming Cal but decided against it. I felt horrible and guilty so I told Harv that I would start going to therapy. I don’t know. It made sense at the time.

My advice to you would be to think carefully before putting someone else’s food into your mouth.

I am trying something new this go-round: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR for short. It sounds kind of creepy. Maybe it is creepy but it can’t possibly be worse than everything that I have ever done to myself because I, on a deep level and in a non-transient way, dislike myself.

EMDR is supposedly effective for people who have experienced severe trauma that remains unprocessed. It goes directly against the coping mechanisms I have become so good at- denial, dissociative amnesia, detachment. In each session, I recall traumatic and distressing experiences, and as I allow the memory to fully unfold, I am taken through a series of sensory exercises.

I can’t describe it more than that. I don’t have the right words and it sort of makes me sick to think about it. Poet Nayyirah Waheed’s words on love now cross my mind each time I walk through my therapist’s doors:

“like everything I’ve ever lost come back to me.”

Except none of my memories involve love.

I still go and I haven’t given up on EMDR yet, although I feel like I am being punished twice for each moment I recall- once by living through it and a second time by inviting it back to invade the small amount of peace I have gathered and stored. Everything that I have ever pushed out and ignored and left by the wayside is coming back to me.

Each time I leave, I call Harv. The conversations are most often about how lonely I feel. I complained about this loneliness for months. Just two weeks ago, it dawned on me that it wasn’t loneliness at all. It was grief. But since I had not allowed myself to grieve about anything for such a long time, the only label my mind could attach to the heavy feeling was loneliness.  I’m not very good at grieving, but I feel like it could become one of my better skills. Like scrapbooking. My scrapping skills are fucking legit.

“Sometimes just the act of sharing a painful secret can relieve some of the pain.” -Anonymous

I hope so.
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Holler at me: Flourish in Progress on Facebook (I post a lot of quotes and thug shit here. Pretty decent way to waste time.) Instagram @flourishinprogress (me in a crop top, my crack house window, shit like that) Twitter @ElizabethJLiu (I complain a lot here.)

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