Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday #54: Sunflowers

Sunflowers!

Hello, friends!  I've been a little off the radar, but I'm back after two weeks of missed Sundays.

ALYSE LIANG PHOTOGRAPHY


I've finally bitten the bullet and made myself a real photography website!  After consulting with some friends who suggested that naming my photography after my blog might be confusing, I've settled on Alyse Liang Photography.  There are quite a few things I still want to work out, but I think it's time I took this more seriously.  I've been building up my portfolio and have gotten a few (very small) photography jobs in town.  I'm making peanuts, but I'm chasing my dream, you know?  Here is some recent photographic work! 

GIRLFRIENDS


This week, I got to spend time with a lot of my girlfriends!  Interestingly, all our time together usually involves food at some point.  On Thursday, I had Ana over for dinner and she was kind enough to get me the sunflowers you see at the top.  We went Griffith Park on Saturday to watch When Harry Met Sally on blankets, under the stars.  This evening, Roberta took me The Huntingdon to stroll through the gardens as the sun set.  It's funny how I do more "date" things with my girlfriends than my boyfriend!  

I've just finished Game of Thrones with my roommate and I'm heading to bed soon.  I've had a raging headache for most of today and I want to rest up before Monday.  How was your week?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Snapshots with Printiki


{I was sent a voucher for prints from Printiki.}

I really like the idea of Polaroids - instant film, a square snapshot, a capture of a moment in time.  What I don't like is the expense of film and a single function piece of equipment!  Call me a millennial who's been raised in the age of digital media, but I like the flexibility of multi-functional devices.  A phone that takes texts and takes photos?  Great.  A DSLR that captures both stills and moving picture?  Even better!  

Even in the digital age, however, I can appreciate the physicality of holding pictures in my hands and mounting them on walls so it was an easy yes when Printiki asked if I'd like to try their prints.  Those closest thing I have to an instant camera is Instagram (and I'm sure was the idea behind the original app).  I was offered 30 Square M Prints.  Once you're on the website, you have the option to upload photos from your computer, Facebook, Google, or Instagram.  I opted to get all my prints from Instagram because they're the perfect square, instant photograph shape!

Square M prints - 4 x 4 inches. 

The prints arrived about a week after I ordered them.  I like that they're printed on photo paper so they aren't flimsy to handle.  There is the option to put text on them when selecting photos, but I prefer to hand write my own.  The resolution of the prints were pretty decent, as you can see!  Your resolution will be correlated to the quality of your original image, but I had no problems with pixelation or blurriness.  I think the prints stayed fairly true to color and saturation as well.  One of my favorite photos taken of Manhattan Beach Pier (see above) turned out beautifully!


I'm waiting to move in to a new place to hang these prints up.  I'm envisioning a grid of friends, family, and pretty landscapes.  In some ways, like an Instagram grid brought to life on my wall.  I'm thumbtacking a few up on my cubicle at work as well,  I mean, look how pretty the images look just arranged next to each other!  I appreciated this collaboration a lot more in hindsight.  Almost all my photography work is in digital media; it becomes easy to forget how satisfying it is to hold real images in your hands.

Has anyone else tried Printiki before?  What do you think of have physical prints of your Instagram photos?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Making Magic

Ana in Old Pasadena.

Photography is my happy place and it's significantly changed how I look at the world.  When I peer at my surroundings, it is through the lens in my mind's eye.  I am always framing and composing every day scenes in my head.  There is a story to be told in every image and I want to capture those moments as organically as possible.

When I look at a person, I am making memory pictures and photographing them always changes my perception of them.  I start to see more of their beauty: the curl of their lip, the flicker of light in their eyes, the way they smile.  We are all carriers of innate natural beauty and that's what I'm always trying to capture. 


I saw Ana in passing recently.  On a whim, I asked her if she modeled and scribbled my information on the back of a receipt.  We met up in Old Town, Pasadena (clearly a favorite spot of mine) and found little nooks in which to shoot.  As a director, I'm fairly minimal.  I prefer models to fall organically into movements and poses they might adopt in my absence.  I don't like to direct the minutiae or interfere with the scene.  When asked about wardrobe, I always say, "Wear whatever you feel most comfortable and beautiful in."  


I think Ana is a natural!  Don't you?  I may not have posted the images where she is grinning, but she is one of the warmest, kindest people I've ever met.  As a model, she was game for anything and incredibly patient during the whole process.  She has a good eye as well and had suggestions for backdrops (which we used!).  I'm 100% open to input because shoots are a collaboration, not a one sided venture!  There is almost always a thing or two you can learn from others: a new perspective, a way to play with light, how to interact. 

Post-production and retouching were kept to a minimum.  If you're wondering, I only touch up impermanent things such as acne, scraps, or bruises.  I won't do any further alterations unless requested.  I will NEVER alter someone's body, face, remove scars or seek to misrepresent them.  Firm believer in, "You are beautiful as nature made you" over here.  Hopefully, my editing will appear seamless so that you can't tell what I've done! 

Let me know your thoughts?  As always, if you have suggestions or critiques, I am open to hearing them!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday #53: Pasadena, Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Photograph by Ana.


Whoo!  Sunday night!  Mine was pretty packed and I'm tired.  I had two photoshoots, a music festival, and regular life things in between.  I had handed in my most recent draft of writing to my advisor Friday so it was a good weekend overall!  

SANTA MONICA


My friend Ana had the idea to go to Santa Monica this past week for an evening.  Believe it or not, I've never been to Santa Monica Pier or the beach.  I'm terrible at this whole California thing!  After an hour long drive, we rented a tandem bicycle (another new experience) and rode along the shoreline, into the setting sun, with the sea breeze blowing through our hair.  All we needed was a Lana Del Rey song playing in the background because it felt like being in on of her videos!  Riding along that shoreline felt like flying.  We grabbed burgers at Stout and finished out the night with a ride on the Ferris Wheel.  It was so much fun!  Good company, good times. 


MY HAPPY PLACE


I've done headshots for Grant at Lost Art Creative a couple of times in the past.  This week, he hired me for a short session in Pasadena so I did that on Friday.  Today, I had another shoot with Roberta so it was a lot of photographing over the past three days!  Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Taking pictures if my happy place, especially the editing process, which takes a good image to a great image.  Tonight, I'm trying to squeeze in some edits before the arrival of Monday.  In case you missed it, I shared a recent photo shoot his past week!

Grant of Lost Art Creative.

BURGERS, FYF FESTIVAL


On Friday, my friends and I went to eat burgers at The Counter, a trip we'd been planning for two weeks.  All in all, I'd say I ate a lot of good (but unhealthy food).  On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to FYF Festival in Exposition Park to see MGMT, Built To Spill, and Tribe Called Quest.  It was quite a good Saturday; we don't get a lot of time to do things outside of Pasadena just for the two of us.  


Want to hear something funny?  When we were watching Built To Spill jam, these two girls jumped in front of us to film Instastories of themselves dancing and having fun, which would've been entirely plausible if they didn't leave right after taking the videos.  It was the most inauthentic and bizarre thing I'd seen that night. 

How was your week?  What were you least and most favorite parts?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Focus


This year, I'm working on pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  At the beginning of the year, I largely photographed friends and people I knew within the academic community.  However, as an artist and photographer with a love of portraiture, I'm always staring politely glancing at people, even in public.  When I was picking an outfit with D for a shoot, I noticed Niko working in the store so I asked him to model and he acquiesced!  (I get hard NOs or stipulations, too).

I'm always grateful when someone will model and give me their time.  Taking photos, editing, and sharing the final images is done purely out of passion.  One of my favorite parts of the photoshoot process is finding the perfect images that capture a sliver of time or a microexpression.  I don't believe in people being "photogenic"; everyone has a good angles and beauty if you are just patient enough to find it!


As I photographer, I am beginning to understand why fashion magazines look for such tall models.   Working with D and Niko has helped me see what it's like to having the skeletal structure to fill up a frame.  It has also made me realize how much focus I put on the face and upper part of the model's body.  As I've said, every shoot is a learning experience.  The next thing I want to work on are compositions with the entire body in frame!

If you want to see more, visit my Instagram page @lumiereandlens!  Let me know your thoughts?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday #52: Branching

Self-portrait.

This Sunday post opens with a self-portrait I did this week.  I went to a conservatory-type high school where they taught the Art Majors, "If you don't have a subject, you always have yourself."  Here's one of the few that worked out!

SHUFFLE BAR


Nancy, Eena, and I live relatively close to each other in Southern California. We're always on each other's blogs and coincidentally in the same areas a lot. On Friday, we had a little meetup. It was my first time meeting anyone from the blogosphere (thank you to Nancy and Eena for setting this up)! We ate yummy food and just chatted away. We could take pictures of our food and each other without thinking it was weird. You know, #justbloggerthings! 


Something I love about the blogosphere are the voices of other women, especially those from my ethnic background, who are not often present in mainstream media.  It was just as wonderful to meet these women in real life as it is to read their writing on my screen.  There's something surreal about the instant recognition of someone after reading their blog for so long.  Has anyone else felt that?  In any case, I had a great time hanging with Nancy and Eena! 

CAMERA ADVENTURES


Last week, I gave a girl my contact information after seeing her in a restaurant because I wanted to photograph her.  Meeting new models that don't attend my university means I have to put myself out there.  My last two shoots are with people I've met in Old Pasadena who I thought would be amazing models (and they were!).  I'm putting together a post about my recent shoots so stay tuned!  I have to say that photography brings so much more emotional fulfillment to my life.  Not only do I get to spend time doing what  I love, but I also make new friends and have new adventures.  No joke, I meet some of the sweetest people!  I'm not making money at the moment, but I am loving the photography I get to do!  Pursuing this is also an exercise in putting myself out there to make things happen.  

ETC ETC ETC


I've spent a chunk of the weekend revising some writing I am doing for lab.  I also got the chance to head out on Saturday with a friend and my boyfriend.  We finished out the week with a delicious dinner at a Japanese BBQ place.  As for right now?  I'm going to get ready for bed because my eyes are closing as I type this.  Hope you all had a good week.  Tell me about it?

RECOMMENDED


•  Let's congratulate Dani on welcoming baby Harry into the world!
•  A powerful essay on grief from Michelle. 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In the Forests of Alaska

lumiere lens, midnight sun, alaska, golden sunset, sunset in alaska
The golden sunset on our second night in Alaska.

I had the opportunity to spend a week in Alaska with my boyfriend and our family at the end of June.  I've posted a lot of snaps on Instagram, but it's time to start sharing on Lumière & Lens!  Since I took so many photographs, I figure I'll split this up into several posts so this first one is about getting to Alaska and our location.

We stayed at the Glacier Bay Lodge in Gustavus, Alaska which is inside Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.  In order to get there, we had to fly to Juneau, Alaska and take another plane into Gustavus.  Like the city, Gustavus airport is tiny (about the size of a house).  We were shuttled to the lodge and found that there was absolutely no cell phone service.  We had WiFi in the lobby of the lodge, but that was it!  I had a minor moment of panic before reminding myself that people don't hang out in the wilderness to stare at their phones. 

Glacier Bay Lodge (top) and the boardwalks between rooms (bottom).  

The lodge was composed of wooden buildings.  Everyone who worked there was really nice.  Come to think of it, I didn't meet a single rude person in Alaska!  The rooms had blackout curtains because of how late the sun set in Alaska (not until 11:00 PM).  I have always dreamed of living in a Scandinavian country and Alaska was as close I've gotten to it.  Coming from Southern California, it was absolute heaven to hear rain and feel cold again.  I fell asleep most nights to the sound of rain against the windows and walked under a light drizzle each morning.  How wonderful it was to breathe crisp, clean air and feel water on my skin!

Bartlett Cove viewed from the lodge.
Mountains, the dock, and beach flora.
The wooden dock on Bartlett Cove.

The lodge was situated right by Bartlett Cove so it was just a short walk to the shore and docks.  When the clouds would allow it, the mountains were visible in the distance, behind the forest of trees that lined the cove.  I walked out there as much as I could because I'm rarely near the sea in Pasadena.  The water was calm and reflected the surroundings like glass.    

Walking on the Forest Loop Trail (top), the moss that grew everywhere and Huna Tlingit carvings (bottom).

We settled into a routine of living slowly in Alaska.  We would wake up early each morning, eat breakfast, depart to the day's activity before returning for supper.  After supper, we would always freshen up and then take a walk on the Forest Loop Trail.  The forest was dense with trees, lichen, and moss that grew on everything.  Here and there, we would see carvings in the trees made by the native Huna Tlingit tribes.  The forest was peaceful; all you could hear were the sounds of yourself, the birds, rain, and other animals.  One night, we were treated to a golden sunset in the wilderness!

A sunset through the trees.

The city of Gustavus is very small.  There is no hospital, no police, and no movie theater.  They have one organic food market, a convenience store, a coffee shop, some galleries, and a pizza place that is open two nights a week.  On our second to last day there, we walked the one big road in the city into their "downtown" area (just two store fronts and a gas station).  The forest clears up as we get into town.  We could tell how close we were to town by the bars of cell service we had!  On the way, we passed by a small winding river called the Salmon River which had an abandoned boat on its shores.

Salmon River (top) and the abandoned boat (bottom).

On our last morning in Alaska, I wanted to walk along the beach so we went to the shoreline around the cove.  We walked on wet rocks in the intertidal zone where I pocketed small pebbles that were smoothed by the water.  Back in the lodge, I rinsed them off and packed them into my bag.  It made the departure from the heavenly dreamland a little easier.  Those rocks now sit on my dresser, little pieces of Alaskan shore with me in California.  

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday #51: Back Home Again

Gustavus, Alaska, Lumiere Lens, Glacier Bay National Park
Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve.

Hello, folks!  It's been a hot minute since I've been on here.  If you keep up with my Instagram, you'll know that I've spent the past week in Alaska with my boyfriend and our family (without whom this trip would not have been possible).  This Sunday is my first day back; my flight landed at 5:00 AM today and I climbed right into bed after arriving home from LAX!  Flying is very tiring for an activity where you spend the entire time sitting.  

SNAPSHOTS


I'm saving what I did this week for my upcoming Alaska posts (finally, real travel posts!), but I gotta say that it was amazing experience.  We stayed in Gustavus, Alaska that's a stone's throw away from Juneau.  We spent the week in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve which meant we were right in the Alaskan rainforest!  The city of Gustavus is so small that a week was just enough for us to do everything short of fishing and kayaking.  Here are a few of many highlights: we went on a whale watching excursion in Icy Strait where I got to drive the boat for a bit.  The skies were pretty much always overcast and it rained fairly often, giving the landscape a foggy, forlorn, and moody appearance.  We were so close to the Arctic Circle that sunset was 11 PM (that midnight sun!) and even the nights were never pitch black.  We ended every evening with a walk in the forest!

Gustavus, Alaska, Lumiere Lens, Glacier Bay National Park
Gustavus, Alaska, Lumiere Lens

Suffice to say that returning to Pasadena is a bit of shock.  I've been drowsy most of today and it seems too sunny.  I'd love some cool Alaskan weather with a spot of rain right about now.  

A PACKED AGENDA


Our Independence Day falls on this coming Tuesday.  I plan to spend tomorrow catching up on work from home and getting into the swing of the week.  I have lab meeting on Wednesday and a new revision to turn in.  A few people have reached to me for photography work and collaborations via Instagram so I also have two shoots lined up this week.  I shot a new model/friend I met the week before I left for Alaska that I'm in the middle of editing.  I realized that I have a bunch of shoots that need completing!  If only I got to do this full time!      

We're too fried from unpacking/cleaning to cook tonight so we're ordering takeaway and having a relaxed night.  I've painted my nails this afternoon to transform myself from a Forest Girl to a City Girl.  Now working on hydration and getting nutrients.  Does anyone else feel hungover after long plane rides?  I plan to finish out the night with a face mask and long sleep. 

Tell me about you!  What did I miss while I was gone?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday #50: New Horizons

Macarons, French Macarons, Lumiere and Lens, Cozy

Bonjour!  This week, I've been a tad addicted to French macarons.  After having them for several days in the row from bakeries, I settled for the frozen ones from Trader Joe's.  DANGEROUS DECISION.  I'm currently doing a lot of writing so I've been eating my weight in these French cookies with Gossip Girl playing in the background.  There are far less pleasant ways to work, I think!  It's currently Sunday morning in Los Angeles and I'm writing this now while nursing a cup of coffee.

WHAT I ATE THIS WEEK


When Roberta made dinner last week, she prepared a salad of greens, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, olives, and dill that was dressed with olive oil and vinegar.  It was simple, but amazing, and the dill was a surprise touch.  I've been recreating this salad at home a lot.  It's light, but filling and a healthy counterbalance to all the sweets I've been consuming.  Anyways, I want to eat more salads and vegetables this week before I go to Alaska for vacation.  No one ever eats healthily on vacation so I have to pregame my vitamins NOW.

EARLY CELEBRATION


I turn another year older this coming Friday, but I probably won't be celebrating much on the day because I'll be busy packing to leave for Alaska in the morning!  Roberta asked how I wanted to celebrate and I suggested a low key dinner, especially as we didn't get a chance to celebrate hers earlier in the month.  We went to Bottega Louie (surprise, surprise) and enjoyed a meal of tagliatelle bolognese, brussel sprouts with pistachios, fried calamari, and yes, macarons.  Good food and company for the soul!  Afterwards, we walked to Upstairs, a rooftop bar in Downtown Los Angeles.  We breathed in the night air and looked out on the skyline before catching an Uber home. 

The Upstairs Bar, Los Angeles, Rooftop Bar

NEW HORIZONS


My friend Eric goes to an improv group on Wednesdays and invited me along this past week.  Acting is something that I've always thought would be fun, but I'm far too self conscious to try it!  I mean, my presentations/talks only go well with a lot of practice.  I went to the improv group with the intent to watch, but they required everyone to participate.  It turned out to be a lot of fun!  At first, I was self-conscious and held back, but decided to just go with it.  It was a great way to break out of my comfort zone, to think on my feet, and learn a different type of cooperation in a team.  I'm definitely going back in a few weeks!

RECOMMENDED


•  Hanh reflects on being comfortable in her own skin.
•  Feeling pretty - unpretty, by Bash.
•  Nancy shares 23 thoughts on her birthday - send her belated well wishes!
•  Doctor Jane graduated!

P.S.  I've updated the links page on my blog.  I've noticed our growing community of support so I want to share the love.  If we regularly interact and I've missed you, please don't hesitate to drop me a note!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Bullet Journal That Works For Me

Lumière & Lens, Bullet Journal, Weekly List, Food Diary
Setting up my bullet journal each week.

I started using a Bullet Journal towards the end of last year with the aim of improving my organization, productivity, and motivation.  If you dig around on the Internet, there's a prescribed way of setting up a bullet journal.  No shade on the guidelines, but I didn't find a lot of the recommended modules particularly useful.  After trial and error, I've found a Bullet Journal format that works best for me! 

I carry a lot in my backpack to work so I wanted an easily transportable notebook.  I've been loving the grid notebooks from Muji.  They're only 30 pages so I can easily slip one into my bag and I don't mind replacing it every few months.  I use about 2 to 3 full pages per week so these Muji notebooks are completely sufficient.  As for pens, I'm fond of Stabilo pens; they come in a lot of colors and are very pigmented.  A small T-square is also useful for drawing straight lines and grids.  Now, on to what I put in my journal!

A Weekly To-Do List.  Every Sunday morning, I sit down and draw out the grid for my weekly tasks.  I have a lot going on and like to have things visually laid out.  My appointments are written out in bright ink.  While I don't jot down work hour, I make to-do lists for tasks that might slip my mind such as ordering an important chemical, reactions, or things that need to be reviewed.  Having a week visually planned out prevents appointments from sneaking up on me.  

A Food & Exercise Diary.  I weigh myself every morning, track my digestive patterns, and write down everything I eat.  I note the type of exercise I did and where it was performed (days at the gym tend to be harder than working out at home).  I color highlight the exercise I've done with the goal of doing it 4X a week.  The block of color is a quick visual gauge of how close I am to achieving that goal!  Sometimes, seeing just two blocks motivates me to exercise because of how much I enjoy filling out the chart.

FYI, I don't count calories, macros, or obsess over food -- I really enjoying collecting data!  This diary has been immensely helpful in seeing when I'm eating too much garbage or processed food.  I also plan to plot my weight, do some statistics, and correlate how it fluctuates with my exercise habits. 

Lumière & Lens, Bullet Journal, Habit Tracker

A Habit Tracker.  If you're anything like me, you might spend just a wee bit too much dining out.  Really, all my money after bills and savings just goes to food.  Like having the color block on my exercise, a habit tracker is a great visual tool to quickly see how I'm doing.  For example, by nearly three weeks into May, I've done well on exercise, but poorly on not spending on food.  I was consistent about lab, but less so with practicing music.  I was consistently NOT working on my fine art (bad!), but spent time seeing friends!

These were the three journal habits that work best for me!  I also like to keep lists with square bullets to color in when completed that include blog post and photography ideas.  Some recommendations that didn't pan out include the future log, the table of contents, the index, or in general, the elaborate drawings/scribbles I'd see in other bullet journals.  I tried them, but wasn't inspired to keep up with them consistently!  However, a thin notebook is really easy to carry around for note taking at a moment's notice. 

How about you?  Do you use a bullet journal? Is there another organizational method you would recommend?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday #49: Return From Philadelphia


Hello, friends!  It feels good to be doing a Sunday post again after two weeks off.  I've spent most of my weekdays (and most of my Saturday) catching up on work.  I got back into Los Angeles late Monday night and it's been a long week.  As I bang this out before bed, I'm pretty knackered and ready to turn in! 

PHILADELPHIA


A good friend of mine from undergrad had his wedding in Pennsylvania on the weekend of the 4th!  We couldn't make it out for more than a few days, but we got to stay with my Mama.  The wedding was a lovely affair that mixed two families' religious traditions.  It was surreal to see my friend from many years ago at such a place in his life.  They grow up so fast, right?  I am happy they found their soulmates in one another. 

Aside from the wedding, I spent as much time with my mother as I could; she only gets me once a year, usually.  As she specifically requested that I keep her off social media, I can't share any pictures of her or the wedding (respect privacy!).  Instead, I will show you the ones taken in the suburbs of plants and me with my boyfriend.  My Mama's a pretty decent photographer, isn't she?  She took the photo of us!  Apparently, we're poor models and stiff as boards.  


My parents don't speak English so we've relied on phone calls to keep in touch.  I am pretty awful at phone calls so while I was in Philadelphia, I set up WeChat.  We can now leave each other audio messages like texts.  Pretty neat!  I miss my family a lot so it's a good way to hear their voices from so far away.  I also have my #1 fan (Mama) to whom I can send my selfies.  It's a good life.  
  

SUNDAY FUNDAY

 
I "finished" my work for the week on Saturday night in preparation for meeting my boss on Sunday.  The meeting was fairly productive and I met up with my friend Nicole afterwards.  We went to the Westfield Santa Anita Mall out in Arcadia which some of you have also frequented!  You know of whom I speak.  *WINK WINK*  We got lunch at Din Tai Fung and then did some shopping without our boyfriends (who hate shopping) in tow.  Your girl had a little #TreatYoSelf day at NYX, Nature Republic, Muji, Lush, and the candy shop.  WHOOOPS.

In the evening, I had a photoshoot with my friend Roberta.  We've been planning this for weeks and I had a blast shooting on her roof.  Afterwards, she made me a dinner of pasta with oxtail meat sauce, all completely from scratch, followed by macarons for dessert.  I felt 100% spoiled by her caring and kindness.  

Seeing girlfriends was a nice day to end my week.  I also had lunch with my friend Liz this past Wednesday at one of our favorite sushi places after many weeks apart!  Amidst the deadlines, stress, and work, good friends/company make a gigantic difference in lifting a person up.

Your turn!  Tell me about your weeks, your company, and what you're looking forward to in the next seven days! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hello, It's Me

Lumière Lens, red berries, california plants

I was wondering if after all these years, you'd like to meet, to go ov --

Alright, serenade over because, trust, none of you will want to hear my singing caterwauling! 

Hello, lovelies, it's been a hot minute since I've been on Lumière & Lens.  I've been MIA for a few weeks now and because the Internet is fickle, I've been unfollowed, disengaged, etc.  It's fair, I suppose, for while I've been silently reading your blogs I've not been super active with engaging lately, either.  For the few of you who have stuck around this little space, thanks! I appreciate it.  

So, what's been happening?  In the past few weeks, my head space has been occupied with work, personal things, and feeling under the weather, none of which put me in a great place to want to blog.  They don't call it the blues, for nothing, you know?  I will not use this blog to whinge so if you're really curious, shoot me a message somewhere and I'll be happy to talk.  The important thing is that I want this to be an authentic space.  I don't want to produce content when my head/heart isn't in it, so I took a little break.  Sometimes, we all need that.

Anyways, L&L will be back to regularly scheduled programming (and return of engagement on your posts!) this week.  I'll be catching up on all I've missed.  If you happen to come around here, leave links to your posts or whatever you think is interesting in the comments.  Hope you stick around!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trader Joe's Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub

Trader Joe's Blueberry Acai Facial Scrub

I love Trader Joe's.  It's like a smaller Whole Foods and the employees are always super friendly so I'm in there fairly often.  My boyfriend once said, "Get everything you need so we're not here three times a week."  But there's so much to buy!  Apple blossoms!  Green tea mochi!  Turkish honey!  Matcha cookies!  Kale!  And . . . this Blueberry & Acai Facial Scrub.  

I was like, "Girl, you do not need another skincare product.  Don't waste your money."  The little devil on my shoulder was like, "Girl, it's only $5.99, tho."  I walked away, but it ended up in my basket at the till because who can pass up a face scrub like this?  Worth.  Every.  Penny. 

The blueberry and acai scrub comes house in a 2 oz frosted glass jar with a silver lid.  There's something about weighted glass containers that feel incredibly luxurious in the hand.  You can see the full list of ingredients on their website, and I'm pleased that the second ingredient is blueberry fruit and not filler.  The product smells like fresh berries.  Absolutely delightful. 

Trader Joe's Blueberry Acai Facial Scrub, Review, Lumière & Lens, Affordable Beauty

The exfoliation comes from the alpha hydroxy acids in the scrub: citric acid, malic acid, and lactic acid, which are all high on the ingredient list.  Alpha hydroxy acids are carboxylic acids with hydroxyl groups (the OH) adjacent to the COOHs.  In beauty products, alpha hydroxy acids are used for chemical exfoliation.  Using a sunscreen is recommended because you're basically removing the top layer of skin, but you should be using one anyways!  And before anyone wants to give me a lecture on "chemical nasties" and going "chemical free," I'm going to stop you right there to let you know that's a big fat marketing gimmick of a lie. 


Does it work?  I've been using it for about a week so far.  I've noticed that my skin is softer and smoother to the touch.  The smoothness is palpable immediately after use.  My makeup applies more evenly and has greater longevity than usual despite spending long days in lab.  I've had no adverse reactions; I'm hoping they don't discontinue this product, because I like it way more than my granulated facial scrub!  I'd highly recommend picking this up the next time you're at Trader Joe's!