WIBDQ #1: Yes, I Spent $100 at Glossier

It was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to blog more frequently.

Listen, I won’t make any excuses for not posting a single time in 2020…and now it’s mid-April. But since we’re stuck at home, and indefinitely for that matter, what better time to start blogging again than during a global pandemic?

In all seriousness, I was struggling to start writing again because I felt like I had nothing to talk about anymore. I spent so many nights during quarantine prepping myself to write just one blog—I gave up every single time.

When I started this website in my Branding of Me class, I wanted the world to know me better by sharing bits and pieces of my life. Through it all, I discovered that there was one topic that I loved writing about the most: travel.

Travel is something that I literally cannot stop talking about. And that’s exactly how I knew that I wanted to make travel into my full-time career. After graduation, I will be writing for The Points Guy, a travel blog and website with millions of followers.

While I have been mourning the trips I’ve had to cancel because of the coronavirus, I have decided to stop sulking and start writing. While the travel posts will be more infrequent because of the severe lack of trips in my life, I want to start a new spinoff series in my blog: What I Bought During Quarantine (WIBDQ).


When I’m not traveling, I love to shop. I try to spend my money wisely—emphasis on “try.” Lately, I have been prioritizing spending my money on higher quality goods that will last me longer. But of course, that comes at a higher price tag. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve had a package show up at my doorstep almost every single day for the past four weeks. I make myself feel better knowing that I am helping stimulate the economy during these difficult times, along with all the nights I order takeout to help support local restaurants…

Anyway, to kick off this series, I want to start off with some products I purchased from the lovely, Glossier.com. I’ve tried some of their products in the past. I found a few favorites (the cloud paint and boy brow? iconic), and a couple of not-so-favorites. Not every product can be perfect, of course, and there’s so much more to try. Somehow I ended up with six products in my cart, totaling $99.97.

Every WIBDQ post will have the same metrics on a scale of 1-5: shipping speed (important when you’re impatient and want your stuff ASAP), brand analysis (in my increasing efforts to support ethical/local/American-made businesses), product quality (is it worth it to drop your hard-earned cash on this stuff?), and finally, my overall thoughts. I hope you enjoy this series, and if there’s a product you think I should try next, let me know. I am way too easily convinced to buy things during quarantine.

SHIPPING SPEED: 5/5.

Standard shipping is free when you spend over $30—that’s like buying two products, which is extremely easy to do. I placed my order on a Tuesday, and UPS delivered my goods by Friday. All mail services are heavily overloaded by the rise of online shoppers currently, so I was definitely impressed with Glossier’s fast, free shipping.

BRAND ANALYSIS: 5/5.

How exactly did I justify blowing $100 on Glossier during quarantine? Simply put, Glossier is a woman-led, American-made cosmetics company with kick-ass branding. As an advertising student, I totally see how this company was able to cultivate such a cult-like following in the few years of its existence. Glossier sells all of their products online, but they also have a few brick-and-mortar stores in NYC, LA, Atlanta, and London. I visited the NYC store all the time when I lived in the city last summer. Glossier has managed to hype up the mere experience of being in the store, that there is almost always a line to get in. It’s like the Disneyworld of makeup: the branding efforts of the store are absolutely stellar, leading to its wild success on social media. Talk about top-notch experiential marketing.

Glossier sets itself apart from the thousands of cosmetics brands out there by being minimalistic yet feminine. Minimalism not just in the sense of clean packaging—the products themselves enhances and emphasizes natural beauty. You won’t find any crazy colors or full-coverage products at Glossier. Best of all, Glossier products are all hypoallergenic, vegan, ophthalmologist-tested, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free and cruelty-free. The list goes on.

Also, as an aspiring copywriter, Glossier has extremely clever copy. This is incredibly important to connect with young millennial or Gen-Z audiences.

PRODUCT QUALITY: 4.5/5

Now to the fun stuff. I bought the rose balm dotcom, generation G, lip gloss, brow flick, boy brow, and super bounce. Here are some thoughts on each product.

rose balm dotcom universal skin salve: $12. One of their most popular products. It’s a lip balm, but really can be used anywhere you have dry skin. There are eight different flavors, but I bought the rose because it’s lightly fragrant, sheerly-tinted, which is perfect for day-to-day use on my lips. And yes, this stuff really IS the BOMB DOTCOM. Unlike other chapsticks that dry your lips out, the balm dotcom keeps your lips hydrated all-day. The tint is VERY sheer, so if you are looking for more color on your lips, I’d recommend following up with the generation G.

generation G sheer matte lipstick in crush: $18. I am not a fan of lipstick, or lip products for that matter. All I really need is some good chapstick. But the generation G is a moisturizing, sheer lip product that gives your lips some LIFE. The color ‘crush’ is perfect for the spring + summer time, for that weightless, effortless look.

lip gloss in clear: $14. Again, I don’t like lip products. Who knew that I’d be buying a lip gloss at 21 years old? I think the last time I wore lip gloss was at a middle school dance. But Glossier’s lip gloss is the perfect combination of tacky while not being overly sticky, and glossy while not being overly shiny. It gives my lips a natural plumping effect.

brow flick microfine detailing pen in brown: $18. This is a revolutionary brow product. It’s super precise as you can mimic the look of individual brow hairs, all while looking natural. It is quickly becoming a staple in my everyday makeup routine. As a long time user of Anastasia brow products, I might just have to switch to this forever.

boy brow grooming pomade in brown: $16. This is my third time purchasing this product, and I have been impressed every time. This is great for a natural and effortless brow look that takes five seconds to put on in the morning. The product consistency is slightly tacky, ensuring longevity throughout the day. Because I have very sparse brows, I typically fill in my brows with a normal eyebrow pencil and follow up with the boy brow to set everything in place. My only complaint is that this product is tiny and will only last you a couple of months with consistent use.

super bounce hypaluronic acid + vitamin B5 serum: $28. This is the most expensive product of the bunch, and it’s actually the only skincare product I’ve ever bought from Glossier. I know I’ve only tried this serum for a couple of days, but I am OBSESSED! I always thought skin serums were for old ladies… but put this on after washing your face and before applying your moisturizer, and your skin will thank you. My skin has never looked so healthy and youthful. My mom always told me that taking care of your skin while young will do wonders when you’re older. And I trust her, because she’s a queen at 52 years old and has almost no wrinkles.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Glossier is an iconic brand that’s obviously doing something right.

When you’re stuck at home, it’s so important to prioritize self-care, whether that be through your skincare or makeup routine. Don’t get me wrong—I understand makeup is totally unnecessary during quarantine. But for me, putting on a few Glossier products has made me feel infinitely better about myself on the days when I’m feeling especially lazy.

Their price range is somewhat affordable, sitting in between the middle of cheap drugstore products to high-end cosmetics. However, the cost of these products can add up, so I recommend buying their sets if you want to save money. They bundle some of their most popular products together at a discount; in this particular order, I bought “The Core Lip Collection” and “Boy Brow + Brow Flick Duo,” which helped me save $9 and $4, respectively.

AND, if you want to save 10% on your order, shop through this link. You won’t regret it.

All Glossier products worn (except mascara) featured in this blog.

Taking Advantage of Your Summer by Running

Something that is vastly underappreciated are college summers. It’s a gift to have over three months to do whatever your heart desires. Of course, most people study abroad, work, or take classes during this time to keep busy. I believe that making the most of your college summers is important for your personal growth.

During the school year, it’s extremely hard for me to motivate myself to work out on top of being stressed from classes and outside commitments. However, one of my goals last summer was to find a workout routine that I actually enjoyed. After working at my 9-5 internship everyday, needless to say, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to do anything but nap or watch reruns of my favorite shows. However, I pushed myself to exercise and keep a consistent routine. I soon learned the beauty of running, beyond the physical benefits.

By all means, I never considered myself as a runner before last summer. Growing up, I hated all things running. I despised doing the timed mile test in grade school, and by the time I was in high school, I gave up and walked over half of it. The only sport I ever played growing up was volleyball, an indoor sport that barely requires any running.

So from barely being able to run a mile to being able to run over five miles by the end of last summer, I’d say I did a pretty good job. While sweating in 90-degree weather might not sound appealing to most, I became addicted to finding new trails and truly feeling a runner’s high.

I find that running is a great free alternative to pricey gym memberships and workout classes. The only thing I spent money on was a new pair of running shoes, which I deemed to be important, as I am prone to injuries with my wide and flat feet. I already had an Apple watch, which is phenomenal for tracking my workouts.

A report of my last run. I had to take multiple walking breaks in between because of my bad knee, but I felt really accomplished to run 3+ miles on a brutally hot and sunny day!

Running can be fun if you make it fun. I enjoy running both by myself and with friends. By myself, I blast my favorite music and let myself breathe. It’s strangely meditative to power through a tough run. And with friends, you’ll have someone to push you and keep you going.

There’s no doubt that motivation is the biggest barrier to anyone’s running journey. I understand feeling anxious about running at first, but having a negative attitude and telling yourself that you won’t be able to run x-amount of miles is toxic. Chances are, you’re right, you won’t be able to run four miles off the bat. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a failure, of course. We all have to start somewhere. Even if you can only run for half a mile at first, that’s still further than if you were to walk from your bed to your fridge on repeat. You will surely build endurance if you keep it up.

There are many ways to delve into the world of running, but my best friend Emily introduced me to the Weight Loss Running by Verv app, which is completely free and available on both iOS and Android devices. It’s a simple and easy-to-use app, consisting of three runs per week that get gradually harder over a span of eight weeks. Each workout is about 45 minutes long and starts with a mix of walking, running, and sprinting. By the end of the eight weeks, you will be able to purely run and sprint for the entire 45 minutes.

The combination of cooking my own healthy meals and working out consistently helped me to be in the best shape I had ever been in my life. Above all, working on your health and fitness goals isn’t just about your physique. It’s about keeping your mental state clear and refreshed, so that you can feel energized to tackle your to-do list.

Finally, the best part of running is that it’s all a process. This school year, I have been busy, so I haven’t been able to run three times per week like I did last summer. Regardless, I still try to go on a run once a week, and I want to build my endurance up again this coming summer.

A Guide to Making Homemade Dumplings

Growing up, my mom would make the most amazing homemade dumplings. It was a whole day affair: shopping for the ingredients at the local Asian market, prepping these ingredients for the filling, sitting down together around the kitchen table to fold the dumplings, waiting for them to steam, and finally eating them all together. As the youngest child, my mom would always put me on garlic peeling duty—which by the way, I absolutely hated—as I had to peel over 100 individual cloves, leaving my fingers smelling like garlic all day.

Through the diligence and time my mom and I spent together in the kitchen, I didn’t just learn a great recipe for homemade dumplings. I learned about the communal aspect of Korean food, and how my mom communicated her love through each and every meal she made for me.

Now that I don’t live at home anymore, I obviously don’t get to enjoy her home-cooking as much as I used to. So for a fun and cheap double-date night, I proposed leading a workshop on making homemade dumplings. I was nervous at first, as I had never done this on my own, but they turned out to be really delicious. Making dumplings at home can be time-consuming, but with multiple people helping you out and dividing tasks, it takes no time at all.

Best of all, I found all of the ingredients at my local grocery store to make 200 dumplings for just $25. We had a ton leftover, so if you wanted to make fewer dumplings, simply half the recipe.


Homemade Steamed Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 2 Packs of Nasoya Won Ton Wrappers
  • 2 lbs of ground pork
  • ½ head of red cabbage, grated
  • 2 cups of green onion, sliced
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup ginger, minced
  • 2 cups mushroom, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Important Notes

You should be able to find every single ingredient in your typical grocery store. The only trouble you may run into is finding dumpling wrapping papers. I found the Nasoya brand of won ton wrappers near the prepared vegetables/herb section of the grocery store. These are square-shaped and small because they are technically for won tons, but they work perfectly fine for wrapping dumplings.

A great thing about making dumplings is that you have the complete freedom to add or remove any of the ingredients listed above! For example, if you’re vegetarian, tofu is a great substitute for the pork. However, I would say the most important ingredients of this recipe are sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. These really illuminate the flavor of the meat and vegetables, so these are non-negotiable ingredients for me.

Instructions

Prep the vegetables according to how they’re listed in the ingredients. You want to make sure that each is sliced, chopped, or grated into the smallest pieces as possible. Mix your red cabbage, green onion, ginger, garlic, mushroom, carrots, and bean sprouts, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. You might have to use your hands in order to incorporate everything together well.

In a separate large bowl, mix the ground pork, salt, and pepper together.

Combine the vegetable mixture into the pork. Again, using your hands is the best way to ensure that everything is well-mixed.

Beat the egg into a small bowl. You will use this to act as the glue of your dumplings.

Once your filling is complete, coat two of the adjacent sides of the dumpling wrapper with a thin line of the egg. Take a small spoonful of the mixture and place it on your dumpling paper. Be careful not to overfill the wrappers, as this is how your dumpling will explode or break while steaming. Fold in half, and meet the opposite corners together. Repeat until all dumplings are filled.

In a large skillet, fill the bottom about a quarter of the way with water. Pour about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the water—this is important so the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. While on medium heat, place the dumplings into the skillet. Put a lid on the skillet for 5-10 minutes, until much of the water has evaporated and the dumplings look softened and cooked.

Enjoy with a side of soy sauce!


Dumplings are relatively easy to make, but if this is your first time, reading these instructions may seem daunting. I recommend watching Tasty’s video on making dumplings, as they walk you through the similar process in a visual manner.