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Monday, December 14, 2015

Supposedly it's the holiday season, though I can honestly say I have not felt the least bit spirited. Instead, for me and countless other university students, it's finals season. I have two exams tomorrow and a paper due Wednesday at midnight that I'm trying to finish today. Instead of studying for those things or trying to figure out how to stretch my paper another four pages, I'm blogging because I need a break. Better talk about finals on my blog, too.

Finals are bizarre because everyone is so stressed about something that doesn't really matter at the end of the day. Just like high school, your grades don't really matter in the long run. I graduated high school with like a 3.6 GPA or something... and it means basically nothing to me now. But I stressed myself out, had mental burnouts, and generally should have been spending more time enjoying living under my parents' roof in beautiful little Singapore. I find myself questioning if that's a healthier attitude towards university finals than endless coffee, outlines and praying to God that the professor doesn't put this ONE question on the final that he probably will that NO ONE gets... Well, I suppose I'm already on the other side of that debate.

It seems like everyone has broke out the sweatpants... which is definitely a sign of finals because my campus is generally well-dressed. Unfortunately, I only own one pair of proper sweatpants so I've been alternating between those and a long skirt that sort of makes me look put together. Except, of course, like everyone I am not.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

This is a screenshot of the calculator that took me basically forever. 

It's the end of the semester, and I'm stressed out, darn it. Since we're officially in the countdown to finals, every minute not doing something studying related (organising my notes and looking over my planner 50 times counts) feels wasted. Now that I'm finally done with the darn calculator, I can finally start working on my history paper due next week. That I have three words written of. Lovely. 
I also haven't slept before 2:30 in like three days because it turns out I code best at night. Even more lovely.

I'll post a winter sparkle makeup that I've been playing around with some day... it's a sweet date look if you don't mind wearing glitter! I'll also be posting a last-minute gift guide and a beauty based one. But in the meantime.....

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Friday, November 20, 2015

I wasn't kidding on Wednesday when I said I love Klaire de Lys. While Wednesday's makeup was based loosely on some of her looks that she's done in the past plus a streak of my own creativity (for better or worse), today I actually tried Klaire's Succubus look. I think it's both pretty and creepy at the same time, which is exactly why I like it!

I don't have the special effects makeup stuff that she does, which is why I don't have cool boils or anything.  I also should have blended the lines further up... I have no idea why they look so dark in these pictures, but they don't look tapered at all. I think a lot of it has to do with crappy dorm lighting and the fact that my lips aren't dark enough. I should have gone with super dark lips like Klaire did, but I was thinking a redder would look softer. Whoops.

Regardless, hope you appreciate my attempt!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I've started experimenting with facepaint/bodypaint lately. While I've done some other looks before, this is the first one I'm going to put up online. I'm heavily inspired by Klaire de Lys who is one of my favourite YouTubers of all time.

I had already done the bloodied-up eye when I decided to make this more than just practicing my bruise makeup. To contrast one side that is hurt and painful, I chose to make the Paris side glittery, beautiful and bright. That's the Paris we all know and love-- the romantic city of lights.

Like everyone else, I was horrified and saddened by terrorist attack in Paris. I remember being in Singapore when I heard about the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred... and the total shock and sadness that followed. I cannot imagine what it is like for the people of Paris or my French friends currently hoping their friends and family are safe. This blog isn't a place for me to discuss my political views, but I hope whoever is responsible is found and put to justice. To target a city that represents brotherhood, liberty and independence is a disgusting act.

I also hope this doesn't offend anyone. I know political correctness is of utmost importance these days... but I wanted to do something creative and respectful. Also, I realise the French flag is backwards on my lips. The camera flipped the photo... Whoops.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

My best guy friend (yes Appu, best girlfriend still goes to you) Jackson came in from Singapore for a couple of days. He basically flew for two days to stay for four here in Boston, which is dedication to say the least. I painted him the sign above, which took about four hours lying on my friend's floor questioning my decision to gradient everything. The good news is, it turned out looking like butterfly wings!

I got Jackson all of Monday last week, so we ended up walking from Boston University to the Aquarium and back. It was tiring to say the least! But it was amazing to catch up with him. Since we ended up in the North End for a while, we went and got fancy Italian style coffee. Speaking of coffee, I feel like that's the only think I consistently remembered to take photos of when he was here! My camera battery died so I have like 3 pictures of him and one of the ground... whoops.

On Friday I took him out to breakfast and learned that I am most definitely a child at heart. I got this coffee, which was a shot of expresso in hot chocolate at Trident Booksellers and Café which was pretty amazing. It was definitely a treat and a good way to start my last day with Jackson.

I also had a paper due this week which was all sorts of miserable. The good news is, there's only one week until Thanksgiving break! Hopefully I'll get another post up soon. 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

China recently repealed its infamous one-child policy. The one-child policy was created to stem China's explosive population, but policymakers recently realised that may mean a sharp drop in the workforce that China's labour-based economy may not be ready to handle. It also helped contribute to the gender imbalance in China today, through gender-selective abortions, female infanticide, and abandonment of female infants. I was one, nineteen years ago.

Day One, in clothes from the orphanage. 

Adopted girls and women are reacting to this change in policy in different ways. Because I'm a history/international relations major, I am viewing it largely as a change in policy. The Chinese government created a socially unpopular policy that created socioeconomic problems that it did not foresee, and now it's repealing it years after significant damage has already been done.

I don't think this is as big of a deal as people are making it out to be.  It's not the start reproductive freedom in China... couples are still limited to two children. From my time in China, I can honestly say that the attitude many young women have towards children is, "nice but expensive". Having kids in every country isn't cheap, but economic factors will probably prevent many people from having a second child anyways. Also, the one-child policy created a cultural shift for many urban Chinese. I don't think having two children is appealing for many Chinese couples today.

My perspective on the matter isn't that interesting. Maybe it's because I studied abroad over the summer in Chengdu and have a better perspective of what living there is like compared to other adoptees that maintain a more fantasy-based version of China? Maybe it's because my parents made sure I still had connections to my Chinese roots growing up, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything? I'm not sure. But I realise that this policy change isn't out of the kindness of the Chinese government's hearts. It's a pragmatic change for the current Chinese population, not a move to repair the relationship between adoptees and our motherland. To be honest, my reaction was, "Who cares? It doesn't actually affect me." What happened in the past cannot be changed, and I have no idea why I would want it to change.

Now, that's not me saying that girls that had emotional reactions are crazy. Everyone processes these things differently, and I spent a reasonable amount of emotional energy on this when I was younger. At this point though, I'm pretty comfortable being straight with people. I was abandoned.  I was probably abandoned because my biological parents wanted a son. I got adopted by great people who are the best parents a girl could ask for. And no, I'm not going to burn time, money and energy looking for my biological parents. They made their decision never to see me again nearly two decades ago, and I respect that decision. 

Chinese American and proud of it. 

 I can say with confidence that my life is better having been adopted than having not been adopted. I have parents that love me. I was able to grow up in American culture-- which treats men and women FAR more equally than Chinese culture, by the way.  Growing up I was able to do ballet, learn Spanish, travel to Europe, and play the flute. That's even before I moved to Singapore and had a crazy three years prior to ending up in a great university. I can honestly say that NONE of that would have been possible if I hadn't been adopted, because my parents would not have been there to make it possible. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to get the reshuffled hand I got at life.

Mom and Dad, if you're reading this: I love you!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

I've done a pretty decent amount of travelling. While on my travels, I have seen a lot of different faces and come in contact with many different beauty standards. Maybe I'll do a post on that some day... but in the meantime, let's talk about what I've learned from various places. I've learned bits of the spoken language there (normally "please", "thank you", "how much", "hello" and "goodbye" as a minimum), eaten all sorts of interesting foods, and seen sites that I had previously only dreamed of.

It seems like people from different cultures like to give young women beauty tips. People always say that the women from wherever they are from are the most beautiful in the world, and have certain secrets that make them that way.  Anyways,  below are some tips I've learned from three different countries I've been to!

  • Stay out of the sun if you want to maintain a pale, clear complexion.
  • Use a face mask nightly for soft, moisturised skin. 
  • Drinking warm beverages is good for the body and the skin. 
  • Do not let rainwater get on your hair if you want it to look nice. 
  • Stay healthy in order to maintain a beautiful appearance. 

  • Eating olives is good for the skin and makes the eyes bright. 
  • Olive oil is a good way to get makeup off, soften the skin, and thicken the hair when applied to the scalp. 
  • Rose water and eating things with roses in them are good for increasing "feminine grace". 
  • You don't need a lot of makeup, but at least line your eyes to make them stand out. 

  • Burmese women wear thanaka on their faces as a natural sunscreen. You can buy it on Amazon... it's typically painted on in circles or other patterns. 
  • Thanaka is also good for getting rid of acne and curing oily skin. 
  • Thanaka is  skin whitener, and you can apply a thick layer as a mask at night for a brighter complexion. 
  • Putting a small amount of oil through the hair makes it soft, shiny and easier to manage. 

What did you think of these international beauty tips? Most of them are a lot more about diet/lifestyle than Western advice, which is more product/technique based in my opinion. Since I was in China over the summer, I feel like a lot of my beauty regime has shifted. Of the three, the country with the most interesting beauty standards has to be Myanmar, because the women wear thanaka patterns on their face which is just so pretty! 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It seems like people from my childhood have been reaching out more lately. I wonder if there's a point in this growing-up business where people feel a touch insecure and look back at where they've come from. If there is, it seems like many people are hitting it. I can't say I'm immune, though I've been having more fun stalking their Facebook profiles than actually meeting up. However, there are exceptions to that. Also, I apologise for the generally romantic mood that this blog is falling into. It seems that as the weather is cooling down, people are looking for love and I'm getting swept up in the mix like fall leaves in the wind.

I met up with a friend that I grew up with the other day at his campus not far from where we grew up. It's a really pretty place, and from certain vantage points you can see Boston. We got hot drinks (neither of us drink coffee) and recalled irritating our teachers and my terrible high school fashion choices. It was a blast from the past-- mostly entertaining, a little cringeworthy, and romantic in the sense that we recalled the bad times as reasonably good, or at the very least a good story.

Eventually, we hit a weird point in the conversation where we acknowledged several things we both thought of but never said prior. He admitted to missing me when I left for Singapore. I admitted I held a torch for him all through my childhood. If I hadn't moved, he and I would have probably dated. We probably would have had our ups and downs, we would have debated, and we would have fought. We were arrogant and obnoxious as high schoolers, and even still we give off an edge of attitude.

It's strange being someone's "What If?" because it's like taking an eraser to ink that's already been dried. Maybe it's possible to smear the edges a little bit, but there's no way to alter what happened already. It's strange how even though we've largely moved on, we occasionally glance over our shoulders at the past and wonder how it could have been different.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Now, I need to start off this blog post by stating up front that I don't know a lot about comic books. However, I think I am allowed to be absolutely obsessed with Harley Quinn! I personally think DC does better villains that Marvel, and Harley Quinn is a great example. While she's seemingly simple, she was a psychologist before turning to the dark side. She's also on the Suicide Squad, so she has the capacity to be good.  She's smart, sexy, and completely mental. 

She's also my Halloween costume this year! I'm not sure if I'll be posting pictures of my costume because I haven't exactly worked out the top yet, but I have duel coloured pants from Hot Topic. They aren't cheap, but I plan on wearing them afterwards as part of my wardrobe. They run sales and reduced shipping reasonably often, so keep an eye out for that. 

On to the lips! This is a pretty simple look. Basically I outlined my cupid's bow (and messed up a few times) with a liquid eyeliner, then thickened the lines as they reached the edge of my lip. It looks a lot better if the bottom lip line is thicker than the top, which I did in the second picture. Then I filled in half of my top lip and bottom lip with a beautiful Savage Jenny lip pot. Since I didn't have a black lipstick, I used some black eyeshadow and lip balm to get the black to stay on the other halves.

How you fill in the red/black within your lips is up to you, though. I think the lips look more dramatic when outlined in black, but there's not a ton of reference art with Harley's lips drawn like that. Honestly, it's Halloween and have fun. Who cares if you don't look exactly like the character? I'm Chinese anyways :P

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I've started keeping a journal of sorts again. It's a pad of paper that I bought at CityCo three nights ago when I realised I had nothing to write on. It sucked, but I trudged out of my dorm and all the way across the street in the relative cold to pay for something to push a pen across in the name of writing down my thoughts. I think the guy working there thought I was insane... who buys a pad of paper and  a bag of Cola gummy sweets at two in the morning? Apparently I do, when there are too many things to say and typing doesn't suffice.

So after a few months of not expressing myself through writing, I wrote. I wrote in pretty cursive and that script I use when I'm racing to take notes in class. I tried printing again and laughed at how juvenile my handwriting has become. I wrote boldly and meekly, legibly and so illegibly I can't even begin to tell you what I was trying to say. I wrote my thoughts uncensored and read back the sort of person I am becoming.

I guess it's not fair to say that I haven't expressed myself in writing for months-- I've been blogging. The thing about blogging though is that us bloggers censor what we have to say. We don't like admitting it, but I will be blunt: we sugar-coat our lives. And typing the same as really sitting down with a pen and confronting your fears, insecurities, hopes and dreams on a medium you can touch.

Flipping back through what I've written, I realise that most of it so far are growing pains. I am a product of my circumstances and therefore worry about things appropriate to my current situation. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's also nothing unique about it either. And that's perfectly okay.
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Friday, October 9, 2015

I talk about being a university student all the time on this blog. You can't blame me-- my life basically revolves around eventually getting that BA degree. However, there are certain things that you do whilst in university that make you stop and think either, "Wow, I'm a New Englander" or "Wow, I'm a university student". Since I'm actually both, this little project deserved a blog. It's one of my friend's birthdays soon, and I got them a little present. However, I didn't have any wrapping paper, ribbon or tape to wrap the gift. So, I got creative.

I got some mail the other day, so I decided to use that as wrapping paper. As you can see, I cut the back off the big envelope. Look at my cute child-sized scissors!

I then took out my coloured pencils and cut a little strip off the envelope. I coloured in in with the white coloured pencil because I figured it would make it look less like an envelope. 

Here you can see I wrote "Happy Birthday" on the little strip of paper. I used a regular pencil to trace out the words before I went over it in coloured pencil. It's not super obvious here, but I made the first letter of both words a little bit thicker than the rest. It's small, but it looks quite nice in person. 

Because all Millennials have a streak of hipster in them, I had some twine lying around. The wrapping job wasn't so great because I didn't have any tape to make it neat. Thankfully the box was small enough I could hold the paper down with one hand while trying to get the bow done. It's not the neatest job in the world, but we're all broke college students anyways. 

I ended up adding an accent to the edges of the corners of the "card" to make it a little fancier. Doesn't it look nice? I think it looks homemade which makes people think you really like them and put a lot of care into what you did. In reality, I'm just too cheap to get tissue paper and all that jazz... but they don't have to know that!

Do you ever do creative little things to cut corners?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's October, which means Halloween is coming up at the end of the month. Halloween is 50% awesome and 50% the worst day of the year. Being scared is on the brain regardless of if you like it or not.

It's 50% awesome because I love dressing up in costumes. I have since I was a little kid... one year I wore five costumes! I'm sure you remember my incredibly sexy, revealing Halloween costume from last year (ha!). I also love eating candy! Everyone says they have a sweet tooth, but I think if I could get away with it I would eat nothing but sweets all day. I really love Oreo cookies these days for some reason. So between dressing up in costume and eating sweets, Halloween is awesome.

However... it's also 50% the worst day of the year because I get scared easily! I'm terrified of ancient Egyptian art (that's such a weird thing, but definitely a phobia), spiders, decay (zombies are horrifying), mummies, epidemics and loud noises. I'm mildly afraid of the dark, spooky noises in the dark, and skeletons. I'm also scared of getting scared, which I realise is a stupid fear.  There's a pattern here now that I've written them all out: I'm afraid of symbols of death and disease.

While I have a lot of silly fears that I just listed above, I think the most important thing about dealing with things that are scary in normal life... sickness, losing someone, accidents, current events, etc., is putting them in context. It's easy to let fear control your decisions. But if you think about things as rationally as you can, it's the easiest way to get through the day.  There's no reason to allow things that could not actually harm you frighten you... which is exactly why most of my fears listed above are very silly.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Look, photoshoot pictures ARE useful!

One of my friends has pretty bad depression. I don't know how long she's been suffering but it's finally hit a point where she knows she needs to get help. As her friend, I've been trying to do my bit and be there for her. The other day was rough... she was apparently on the verge of tears all day. So, I told her to make a list of things that make her happy, and I'd make mine as well. Sometimes we just have to focus on little things and work our way up from that. I'm posting my list. What's your list?

1) Using a new hair net on a bun for a performance. This is definitely a dancer thing.
2) The sound of rain outside when you're in for the night.
3) Gnocchi! I had some awesome ones on a date last Saturday.
4) Anything chocolate.
5) Wearing a skirt and feeling cute.
6) Getting blog comments.
7) Warm laundry out of the dryer.
8) Meeting up with old friends.
9) Exploring new places.
10) Having friends that have your back.
11) Dancing.
12) Ice skating.
13) Looking through old pictures.
14) Small, cute, fluffy things.
15) Snuggling up under blankets.

I stopped at fifteen because that's the number of things that she sent me. Fifteen things that make her happy, and fifteen things that make me happy.. that's a decent number. Even if you're having a bad day, it's important to find one of those things and let it lighten you day.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while (or my other one, that I wrote while in Singapore) know that I was in a relationship for the majority of my time in high school and the first year of university. Now I'm single again after over 3.5 years, and it's been a trip. I'm pretty sure I borrowed that phrase from my mother, but it's a good way to describe how it's been. And no, I don't do drugs.

What's weird about being single is that even though I'm not attached to anyone, I feel myself being pulled to or pushed from other people. It's a very different feeling than having someone steady that you can rely on for support, hugs and love. It seems like everyone is terrified of getting tied down or having their hearts broken, so they rely on technology to scout someone else until they are reasonably confident the person is a good idea. Even then, there's no way to prevent yourself from getting hurt in love entirely, so I've decided to accept getting hurt as a part of life and move on.

I haven't had a crush in forever, unless you count a major celebrity crush on Chris Pine. Assuming you don't (and I don't really), having a crush is such a weird feeling. I was hoping I had left behind all this nonsense in middle school or high school, but no. It's shockingly similar for better or worse. It feels like more of a game now though-- how do you know when you're texting someone too much? If they're still interested after you say something silly?

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

So I had a bunch of posts scheduled to go up last week, and somehow none of them managed to work. Have to get that sorted... but in the meantime, I went to Rhode Island last weekend!

It was my father's birthday last week, and my aunt from California (hi Nancy!) was on the east coast for a conference, so we all met up in Rhode Island together. We stayed at a beautiful place called Pleasant Point Inn that was really lovely. My room was decorated with sea-stars and other cute things. The breakfast was lovely, and there were appetisers  served  at 5pm. There was always lots of smoked salmon around with made me really happy. Additionally, the grounds were really pretty and there were always lots of sweets/snacks around. It was heaven for a college student to spend the weekend by the seaside.

We went to the Rhode Island Audubon Society that had a nice little exhibit area and did some walking around the area.  Got to spend some quality time with my father playing pool and darts, which was great. I don't get to see him as often as I would like, or spend as much time with him as I wish.

A photo posted by Natalie (@natalie.mei) on

It seems like the more I try to get into the swing of things, the less successful I am. Hopefully things will change sooner rather than later.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

I was listening to Spotify the other day when this song called "Pompeii" by Bastille came on. I'm sure everyone's heard it before... but if you haven't, I've embedded the video at the end of this post. This song takes me back to Singapore. I danced to remixes of this song when I turned eighteen in Singapore's nightclubs. Whenever it came on the radio in Singapore, my friends and I joked that Singapore would always be the "city that we loved", like in the lyrics.

Also my school used to sell these and I miss them immensely. 

I went to Singapore this summer and realised then I had the strangest feeling of being home while not actually being home. It felt more like home than driving through my actual hometown felt like... and I spent fifteen years in my childhood home! Maybe it's because those three years shaped so much of my current world view that I feel like Singapore is still sort of home.

So now I'm homesick for a place that isn't even home anymore. I don't miss high school or living at home (sorry Mom and Dad). I just miss the food, the people, the public transportation and the culture. Even though Singapore is going through some crazy political stuff right now and the PAP is under a lot of criticism, it's still an amazing place to be. I'm so proud that I called it home once and that it still holds a piece of my heart.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

College is a great time in life because one is independent within a controlled environment. It's basically an introduction into the real world with a giant safety net of resources and people to help you if you fall. For some students, it's the first time they really control what they eat. This is great for some people-- I eat primarily vegetarian in college entirely out of personal preference.

Everyone talks about gaining the Freshman Fifteen, and I won't lie, I gained weight in my first year in my first year of college. Honestly, most people gain some weight from drinking and snacking rather than poor meal choices. Alcohol has a ton of calories, and college students are famous for eating pints of ice-cream in a single Netflix binge. Even students who don't drink alcohol often find themselves gaining weight from all those sugary Starbucks drinks!

Yet, I think there's something else that needs to be addressed about eating in college. Nutrition and skipping meals is not often addressed because they are sensitive topics, but they are both extremely important. A lot of students don't construct well-rounded meals for a number of reasons-- expense and convenience are the two biggest reasons I can think of. Students who cook for themselves often buy the cheapest possible food, depriving themselves of fruits and veg in favour of easy and cheap meals with little nutritional value. Others who eat in the dining hall often eat what tastes good (which is not always healthy) or get in-and-out as fast as possible by eating unhealthy options.

Based on the conversations I've been overhearing in the dining hall recently (Freshmen, you're very noisy!), a lot of students skip meals in order to keep their weight down.  It does seem like there's more disordered eating initially in the school year before students figure out what works for their bodies... but regardless, skipping meals is not a healthy way to go about weight loss. While I will admit that I generally eat 2 meals a day (late breakfast and early dinner), I make sure to eat enough calories to keep my energy up. I'm an active person-- I dance, skate and run around BU's campus. You can't expect to function well if you're not fuelling yourself properly!

So to my fellow students: take care of yourselves. I know college is a wild time, but make sure you're eating properly!
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Friday, September 4, 2015

I'm a Sophomore this year in university, which is pretty neat. It means I got through Freshman year mostly unscathed! Since I have so many AP credits and external summer credits, I'm actually sitting closer to Junior year standing than most people. It means I could potentially graduate early if I wanted to, which is pretty neat. I have no idea if I'll actually graduate early since I want to study abroad again, but all that remains to get sorted out in time.

Here's a list of ten things that confirmed to me that I was really and truly out of my first year:

1) I have run into people that I never wanted to see again for various reasons, and had to smile at them.
2) I'm not terrified of professors.
3) When someone set off the alarm in the dining hall, I assumed it was a Freshman (and was right).
4) Speaking of dining halls, I call it a dining hall. None of this "cafeteria" nonsense!
5) I don't travel in a massive pack around campus, blocking traffic and upperclassmen alike.
6) I may or may not have tried to send laser beams out of my eyes at the kid sitting in my spot in the library.
7) I've already power-read one book for class, and I still haven't purchased any textbooks.
8) My major is already declared and I'm not waffling between history and engineering (what?!).
9) When asked for directions, I only know the nickname for the building rather than the street address.
10) It feels like my university has been overrun with small, nervous children.

All that being said, I remember being really nervous freshman year. It's pretty funny to spot the guys who are dealing with being nervous by acting kind of cocky. In time, they'll learn how to blend in and join my university community. In the meantime, though, they're pretty cute. Like, in the same way your slightly annoying little cousin was really cute.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's move in time! I'm finally moved into my dorm though I must confess I think I'm going to try and switch. I'll talk more about the building once I no longer live there... but let's just say that what I thought I was getting and what I got was very different.

When I was a Freshman, I brought a hilarious amount of stuff. In my defense I had just moved from Singapore... but still, I basically brought my entire house with me. And quickly learned that in college, you don't need that much stuff. Your dorm is probably tiny anyways! Here are some things either I had or my roommates had that took up way too much space.

1) A bunch of throw pillows

I'm not sure what provoked me to buy a bunch of cute pillows before I moved into my dorm, but I can safely say they were useless. They took up a ton of room, got dusty and ended up stacked next to my bed as a makeshift beside table. Which is not the point of throw pillows. Bring your pillow for sleeping and maybe ONE throw pillow. But that is all you need.

2) A record player

My suitemates both had record players, much to my amusement and confusion. Why on earth do both girls need a record player if they almost never used them? Record players take up a lot of room and are pretty fragile, so leave them at home.

3) Excessive pairs of high heels

Okay, you've got to bring some shoes with you to college. However, my roommates and I all brought like seven pairs of shoes a person! One of my roommates brought five pairs of high heels and wore one pair exactly twice first semester. Even if you think you're going to be doing a lot of partying, those adorable heels that you can barely walk in can stay at home. Bring a couple of pairs at most that go with most of your outfits.
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Sunday, August 30, 2015

I moved back into university today, and it was a little complicated to say the least. I'm in the process of a direct swap-- that means, I found someone else that wants the dorm I'm assigned to. Basically, I moved my stuff into her assigned dorm but have to sleep in my assigned dorm until the paperwork processes. It's a pain.

The good news is, the dorm I'm moving into is really pretty. It's a brownstone with a beautiful front entry. My new roommate wasn't there so I got to pick my side of the room and move furniture around to my liking. I took the window--- I'll post pictures of my dorm once it's all prettied up. 

I had dinner tonight at an old family friend's house. When I was little we'd go there for Easter and Thanksgiving sometimes, and it was always lovely. I realised when I was there tonight that I got my old-fashioned hosting skills at least in part from this friend. She's really a lovely lady. I'm not sure how she makes hosting people look completely effortless, but I think it's because she genuinely enjoys it.  Whilst I was there, I got to meet the number-one fan of this blog! Another truly lovely lady with plenty of interesting opinions. Between those two, they've got me sorted. 

When I got back to my dorm (well, the soon-to-be-mine-one), I started unpacking a bit before repacking my backpack for my overnight stay in the other dorm. Then I realised I couldn't find my toy bunny. This bunny has been my travel companion and cuddly toy since I was very little. He's white and worn, and wears pink overalls because he's completely threadbare. And even though I'm nineteen, I sort of went into panic mode trying to find him. My parents (who helped me bring yet more stuff up to the room) snapped into "find the bunny" mode, which while they haven't done it in a couple of years, seemed to come back pretty naturally. 

Thankfully my bunny was already in my backpack and I was just being an airhead. But it made me remember that even though I'm moving into my second year in university and I'd like to believe that I'm a little bit older and wiser, I'm still young. 

Here's my bunny and his friend on my hotel bed in Sri Lanka. 

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Freshman year is about to start for a lot of new college students... or it's started already! It's so fun to see people posting pictures of their brand new dorm rooms. I wish I had made mine prettier... Oh well.

What is crazy about this blog is that you can go back and read all about my experience as a college freshman just by searching around a bit. I suppose that's the cool thing about a blog-- even though it covers beauty and whatever else I feel like posting about, it also covers my life and what happens in it. There are things I wish I had known as a college freshman though.... and they are below.

1) This is a really good chance to reinvent yourself, so don't feel committed to being who you were in high school.

Actually, the person you were in high school is probably not the person you want to be in college. Embrace the fact that you are going to change, and that you have to change! Take risks, go on mini adventures every day and learn as you go.

2) Laugh at yourself!

You're going to make some mistakes your freshman year of college... you're new at this whole college thing after all. Don't take yourself too seriously if you walk into the wrong lecture or forget someone's name. Move on.

3) Set boundaries with your roommate(s) early to avoid issues down the line.

This was really only an issue with my suitemate, but regardless, lay down some ground rules. Rules about cleaning, bringing boys (or girls) over, bedtimes... whatever you are even a little bit worried about, discuss.

4) Don't eat so many sweets.

I didn't gain a full freshman fifteen, but I did put some weight on in college. If you plan on drinking in college, you also better be planning on working out because that's where most people gain their weight! I didn't drink a lot which is probably why I didn't gain a tremendous amount.

5) Enjoy the ride, because it only lasts four years and seems to move a lot faster than high school.

College is fun. Living on your own is great because you get to be in control of your own time. You get to learn about things that you generally care about rather than the stuff you wasted time on in high school.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Because I clearly haven't travelled enough this summer, under 72 hours after landing in the United States I was back on an airplane to Minnesota! My mother has always wanted to come back to this state after winter camping here in college.

Minnesota sure feels empty after China. Even though there are high rise buildings and cars parked it seems like a ghost town. It's cute that with this small a population it's considered a city... in China this would be considered a large town at best! Regardless, it's nice to unwind.

I'm looking forward to getting back into regular blogging after this trip. I think the direction of this blog might be changing soon to follow along with my current interests... but never mind that for now! It will still follow my life, wherever it goes.

A photo posted by Natalie (@natalie.mei) on

A photo posted by Natalie (@natalie.mei) on
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

I am officially back in the USA! The flights back were decent but long-- 4 hours from Singapore to Hong Kong and 14 hours from Hong Kong to New York. I had some dim sum in the Hong Kong airport which was pretty tasty, and made sure to drink lots of Hong Kong style milk tea! Also lucked out and got upgraded on my flight to New York so I got to eat more fancy dim sum whilst watching some of season five Game of Thrones. Never flew Cathay Pacific before but was quite impressed.

Now that I'm back though, the reverse culture shock is hitting me almost as badly as the jet lag. I still don't know what time of day it is, or what day of the week it is. In China, every white person you saw was a "wai guo ren 外国人", a foreigner. But in the United States, there are lots of white people and I'm the odd one out! If I'm not paying attention I throw Chinese words into my speech, which is a fairly normal habit of foreigners living in China. Now I have to translate.

Western food. Riding in cars. Using a knife and fork again (freaking difficult). Drinking water directly out of the tap. Sweet smelling air. Blue skies. Open space. Silence. English spoken everywhere. It's like another world here, and I have to admit I don't know if my head and heart are home yet. I made China home for three months, longer than I've actually lived in my house in America.

I had a hamburger and french fries and American ketchup, and it was fabulous. Except I'm craving Tibetan food...

Where is my yak meat? Above, the most delicious thing ever. 

I miss China >.<

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I've officially left Chengdu! I'm updating this blog without a VPN... it's kind of crazy (and a great change). Since I extended my stay in Chengdu to 10 weeks, my flights had to be rebooked. The earliest flight my parents could get me was on the 11th, I was initially meant to just leave Chengdu late. Instead, all the stars aligned and we managed to rebook my flights (again) to Singapore for a few days. Here's what I did!

Went by where I used to live!

My darling friend Lauren who is on "Dance Singapore, Dance". We went to Slappy Cakes. 

Happy National Day! 

Gardens by the Bay, the one touristy thing I didn't do whilst living here. 

So pretty. 


Chilling with DiCicco at Din Tai Fung. Friend from high school that now lives in Canada :)

I had an amazing trip catching up with people! I actually stayed at my friend's house who's doing NS and forgot to take a picture with him. He's completely fabulous and calls me Lee sometimes. But not often. 

Now that I'm out of China, I'll be updating more often! I can't believe my summer is ending so quickly and it will be back to school, routine, and consistent blogging. 

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

I'm writing this post from August 9th, 2014. Yesterday, I started this blog to share my thoughts, beauty knowledge, and life with those on the Internet.

I started out on Sent to Singapore almost four years ago, and it's amazing to think of how far I've come from then. Rather than write to family and friends, I am now writing to whoever reads me, my wonderful readers. Hopefully in a year's time there are a fair few of you now, just so I know I'm not talking to myself.

By this time, I've finished my first year of college. I hope it was a good year, and I learned a lot. Hopefully you enjoyed following me on that journey, and I didn't make too many fresher-mistakes.

Most of all, I hope I've decided what sort of a blogger I am. Everything one ever reads about blogging, and how to blog, talks about finding a niche. At the moment of creation, I thought my niche could be thoughts, beauty and life. But did I sustain it? I don't know. 

So, happy one-year anniversary.

Love, Natalie
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Saturday, August 1, 2015

I've had a really busy week and a bit since I've last written... and I think it's time to sit down and write something personal. Whilst I do have a goal and general direction for content on this blog, it's also my space to write about things that interest me. It might seem a little silly but what has been interesting me a lot over the past week is me, and how I've changed since coming to China. People always say that studying abroad changes you, but I didn't realise how much I had changed until I really stopped and thought about it.

When I arrived in China I thought I was only going to be here for five weeks. I never thought I would brush my teeth with tap water, eat the street food, or get used to the craziness. Last night I was out at 1am with some of my friends eating spicy street food from a cart and learning Sichuan-dialect from the cart owners. I came here terrified of making mistakes in Chinese. Now I make mistakes every day and don't care, even though I fully understand the concept of face and hate losing it. Culturally I feel like at this point between three years of Singapore and three months here I can honestly say I'm not 100% American anymore. My heart is going to be living somewhere in Asia for the rest of my life.

I think for now it's safe to say that I've caught wanderlust and ended up with a bit of a gypsy heart. But that's okay, because I'm ready for whatever life throws at me. I can handle it.

What does the future bring?

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Last night was one of the best nights out I've had while in Chengdu. While in America I'm not a party girl, here in China (and back in Singapore) I went out more often. My group of friends and I went to a new place to us that gave free drinks to foreigners. One of the guys in the group started chatting with another group of people, and it came out that one of the girls was adopted from China.

Now, whilst in China, being adopted from China is a pretty big deal. We're not as common as you'd think here! Anyways, we're from different places in China and she looks kind of Thai, but we share a lot of frustrations about being here as a Chinese but not being able to speak very well.  She's not from the same place in the States either. The bar was so loud we were shouting in each other's ear. Eventually, she asked what my name was.


She gave me the strangest look I ever saw before replying, "THAT'S MY NAME TOO!"

For a couple of seconds I didn't believe her. What are the chances of meeting another girl adopted from China in Chengdu with the same name? Every time another crazy similarity came out, we both freaked out a little bit more. The thing that sealed the deal though: we're both dancers.

Seriously, what are the chances?
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Photoshoot studios in Asia are a big deal. I think it started out as a pre-wedding photo shoot thing, but women started doing it for fun as well.

I knew I wanted to do a photoshoot in Chengdu-- I did one in Taiwan about four years ago and it was one of the most fun experiences ever. This time two of my friends went with me and we all got dolled up. They had a harder time since they are African-American and didn't exactly fit into doll-sized Chinese clothes, but thankfully brought their own outfits to wear.

I got to pick three outfits: one traditional and two "fashion". While I knew I wanted to wear hanfu (traditional pre-Qing dynasty clothing) for my traditional shoot, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for "fashion". I ended up wearing a sailor-type dress that is somewhat popular around here for the first "fashion" part, and I did a rather grown-up look for the second one. That's why there's only one black-and-white photo... the rest aren't for the internet!

Since my first outfit was the "traditional" one, I spent about an hour and a half in the makeup chair getting my face painted on and my hair done up. It was amazing to see how simple makeup could transform normal-looking me into someone I could hardly recognise. All the women getting photoshoots kept looking at themselves in the mirror. Even looking at the pictures now I love them, but can't believe they are me!

I don't even look like a real person in this picture! I look like a pretty doll :D

 Isn't this dress cute? I wish I could wear stuff like this in America.

The photographer said, "pose like a fifties housewife!", and he got this. 

Some people may disagree with me, but I think you should enjoy your time of being young and pretty as much as possible, because you are only young for a little while!
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Friday, July 17, 2015

One of the best parts about being in China is definitely the food.  Sichuan cuisine is one of the four major types of Chinese cuisine. It is known for its spiciness (though where I'm from, Hunan, is known for even spicier food) and use of numbing pepper. When I first came to Sichuan I had a little bit of a hard time with the spiciness of the food. My stomach did not thank for for the first couple of weeks! Now, though, if the food is not spicy I feel that it has no flavour at all. I'm already dreading going back to America and having to eat bland food. If you're not careful in Chengdu you can gain a lot of weight because the food is very good and quite oily. They say good Sichuan food has a layer of oil floating on top!

This is a very common dish. It's green capsicum and shredded pork. It's not that spicy though you can see bits of fresh hot pepper in it. This is one of my favourite dishes!

This is stir-fried lotus root with mustard and some other mystery spices. I've had a couple of versions of this and it's always incredibly full of numbing pepper. You cannot feel your mouth after eating this!

This is a Tibetan style ice cream. It's shaped like a normal ice cream bar but it's got a deeper, creamier flavour than normal ice cream. Apparently its an acquired taste though I really like it. 

This is me at a "sticks restaurant"! You pick your food out of these big fridges and put them in a basket, as seen above. Then you give the basket to the "lao ban" who cooks it for you. It's pretty spicy but delicious. The last time I ate this style of food I got sick but it's so good it's worth it. They charge you by weighing the sticks at the end of the meal. 

This style food is very similar in concept to the "stick restaurant" above, except there aren't sticks. 

A typical breakfast: one "baozi" stuffed with meat and deliciousness, and a drink of some sort. This above is a Qoo, which is a brand we had in Singapore. This breakfast costs about USD $1. 

A delicious dessert! This is glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with sesame in a black-rice soup. It might sound weird but it's super good. I prefer it hot. 

Here's a fancy hot pot before anything is actually cooked in it. The red section with chilis floating on top is the spicy portion, while the white side is mild. I don't like the mild side anymore, but when I started eating hot pot it was a lifesaver. 

My school is surrounded by Tibetan streets, and as a result we eat a lot of Tibetan food. This is "Si You Cha", or Yak Butter Tea. Some people like it and some people don't. I have found myself starting to like it a lot more. It's like a super watery milk with cheese flavour, if you will. 

This is not Chinese cuisine... rather, it's a margarita. Hey, I can't drink in America, so I might as well enjoy unbelievably cheap alcohol whilst in China! This cost me about USD $4, which is a good price in a touristy area. 

Did this post make you hungry? I'll make another post about food at some point because there's just so much food food here in Chengdu! I'm writing this before dinner and I'm so hungry :(

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