How Comedy Helps My Depression

Mental Health.  Its something that is important.  In fact, we even devote all of May to Mental Health Awareness Month.  However, for whatever reason, mental health is not talked about all that much.  It can be hard to be honest about struggling with your mental health.  People feel ashamed, they don’t want to burden others with their problems, or a combination of many different reasons.  Well, its time to get honest.  I’ve gotten personal about my journey with cancer, but never about my mental health.  However, its important to be honest about it.  My friend pointed out to me that I should write about it.  So, here I am…talking about it.

For almost my entire life, I’ve been dealing with depression.  For most of that time, it was undiagnosed.  About 10 years ago, I finally found out what was wrong and went on medication.  I’m not one to talk about the glories of prescriptions.  I don’t like taking pills, so the less the better.  But I firmly believe that going on medication saved my life.  And this was my experience.  I know people who treat their depression differently, and that is their experience.  I’m supportive of others who choose different methods of treating their mental illness.  The good thing is that people try to help themselves feel better.

About a year ago, I found out about this initiative/organization called I Don’t Mind.  It was started by Chris Wood, an actor from the show Supergirl.  Melissa Benoist has also been a major face of I Don’t Mind.  I Don’t Mind has a goal to destigmatize mental illness.  After discovering this I started to become more honest about my own struggles.  Its been great, as I’ve been able to be of service to people I know.  People are more likely to confide in others if they know they have the same struggles.

But medication is not everything.  There are things that I need to do on a regular basis to keep the lows not as low.  One of those things is comedy.  Stand-up comedy is near and dear to my heart.  Laughing, for me, brings me out of my own head.  And just the physical act of laughing releases endorphines.  Over the last few years, one of the greatest things to come into being is Netflix’s presence in the comedy world.  They started coming out with great comedy specials.  When I’m having a bad day, Netflix can be my best friend.  And, of course, I have my favorites.  There are just some comedians that can make me laugh NO MATTER WHAT.  And those are the ones that I always watch.  It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen it many times, there are just some that can make me laugh every time.

Here are my top 5 comedy specials that make me laugh, even when my depression doesn’t want me to.

#5:  Dave Chappelle Dave Chappelle

*At the time of its release, Dave Chappelle was making a comeback.  And this 2 part comedy special was so great.  It left me wanting more.  There is no wonder why it won a Grammy award.

#4:  Chris D’Elia Incorrigible  

*I love the show Undateable.  It was funny and spoke to people that were perpetually single.  I was so sad when they cancelled it.  One of the stand outs on the show was Chris D’Elia.  Chris D’Elia is creative with his comedy.  Its not the same thing you hear out of other comedians.  One of my favorite bits from this special is Drunk Girls.  Its worth watching for that alone.

#3:  Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher The Honeymoon Standup Special

*One of my favorite comedians has been Natasha Leggero.  I love her almost apathetic view of life.  And that she is always overdressed.  My favorite style of comedy is observational, and she just delivers it perfectly.  The second piece to this magical special is Leggero’s husband, Moshe Kasher.  I first saw Moshe Kasher on the now defunct, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser.  He was just so funny, and it made me wish he was hosting instead of Glaser.  Together, they are even funnier.  Their personalities play off each other perfectly and it makes you see why they are married.

#2:  Ali Wong Baby Cobra

*One night, I was at the Hollywood Improv to see a show with Chris D’Elia and others.  One of the comedians that night was Ali Wong.  She was pregnant and incredibly funny.  I identified with her comedy so much, especially as another Asian American.  Shortly thereafter, her special, Baby Cobra, came out on Netflix.  I was hooked.  Her second special, Hard Knock Wife, is just as funny.  There is always at least one moment in which I say to myself, “Is she reading my mind?”.

#1:  John Mulaney New in Town

*What can I say?  John Mulaney is the one comedian that can make me laugh so hard that I have to pause the tv and catch my breath.  Yes, I think he is that funny.  He is a former writer for SNL and frequently collaborates with fellow Georgetown alum, Nick Kroll.  For whatever reason, everything he touches is just funnier.  New in Town is one of three specials on Netflix.  This was done in 2012 and is just as funny today.  The highlight of this special is the Xanax Story, but beginning to end, this one just makes my day every time.

All of these specials can be found on Netflix in addition to many others.

This is just my experience with depression and mental illness.  No one has the same exact experience.  There is no one treatment that works for everyone.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or other mental health issues, please seek out the advice of a medical professional.  None of us have to go through ANYTHING alone.  Please see links to resources below.

I Don’t Mind – Mental Health awareness program

Mental Health America – Nonprofit dedicated to helping those in need with Mental Health services

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Lifeline # – 800-273-8255

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Colourpop No Filter Foundation…and other things.

One of the brands that I have a great fondness for is Colourpop.  They are inexpensive, locally made & cruelty-free.  And, they made great products.  I first fell in love with their Super Shock eyeshadows, and it went on from there.  I love their pressed powder eyeshadows and their Ultra Satin Lippies.  But something that they haven’t had until recently is complexion products.  They started with their No Filter Concealer, and recently expanded into other products.  One of the most hyped of the products is the No Filter Matte Foundation. These days, don’t even bother launching a foundation if you don’t have a decent shade range.  Colourpop didn’t necessarily knock it out of the park with the shade range, but they did have an ok amount of shades for those who need a Deep/Dark foundation shade.  It was still better than other brands that have recently launched foundations (lookin’ at you Tarte).

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t been that excited about what Colourpop has brought out within the last 6 months.  It just didn’t excite me.  But, a matte foundation?  Now I’m listening.  As someone who got unlucky with oily skin, it is not the easiest to find a decent foundation.  Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation and the Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation are the closest thing to a perfect formula for me.  With that being said, I am always game to try a new one.  So, I decided to give it a shot.  I ordered a mini-haul of Colourpop products that I haven’t tried yet to try and see if I can get excited about their brand again.  Here’s what I thought about each product.

No Filter Foundation – $12 – Overall Grade A

*I did a 3 day wear test for this.  I REALLY wanted to try it out before sharing my thoughts.  It is fairly long lasting, but it CAN get a little weird sometimes after some time.  I’m used to blotting during the day so having to blot the oil off my face is not something I necessarily take into consideration.  The consistency is very similar to Fenty Beauty, in that it is thinner than most foundations.  With that being said, it has great coverage.  I don’t have to use as much concealer to tend to my trouble spots, which is always a good thing.  I usually only need one pump for my whole face which again, is a good thing.  All in all, I really like this foundation.  I know that this has gotten a good amount of mixed reviews, but it worked for me.

No Filter Loose Setting Powder – $9 – Overall Grade – A+

*Setting powder is one of those products that you don’t know you need until you use it.  Since I started using setting powder, I’ve used the Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder.  But the one that Colourpop has to offer is definitely giving it a run for its money.  Its really good.  It feels light and you don’t need to use a ton.  The one downside is that you don’t get that much product.  The price is great, but in terms of price per gram, it works out very close to high end setting powders.

Luster Dust Loose Highlighter – $7 – Overall Grade – C

*I’m very skeptical about loose powder highlighters.  They tend to get all over the place.  When they first launched these, I thought they were so pretty.  But I’ve just never pulled the trigger on them.  I figured that now was the time.  I got the Luster Dust in Sugar Trap.  It is a really pretty pink color.  While it doesn’t offer enough pigment, it does offer a good amount of sparkle.  However, it is not long lasting.  Which, is a bummer.  I’m a big fan right now of the Anastasia highlighters, and the luster dust doesn’t match up.

Crème Lux Lipstick – $7 – Overall Grade – A+

*Something that was very hyped was their new Lux Lipsticks.  They were so popular that they were consistently sold out.  However, it seems like they have been able to keep them in stock lately.  So, I jumped on the chance to grab one.  And what can I say?  The hype is well warranted.  I never thought in a million years that anything could stand up to Hourglass lipsticks.  But these are up there in terms of comfort and lasting power.  I can’t wait to get more, and I highly recommend these.

Historic L.A.: Los Angeles Theatre

When one thinks of Los Angeles, historic architecture doesn’t necessarily come to mind. However, Los Angeles, especially Downtown, has incredible architecture. I have recently started volunteering for the LA Conservancy, an organization devoted to saving and preserving historical architecture in Los Angeles. I had the pleasure this past weekend of volunteering for the annual film series, Last Remaining Seats. This series pairs classic movies with beautiful, historic theaters in Los Angeles.

Last Saturday’s installment took place at the Los Angeles Theatre. The Los Angeles Theatre was built in 1931 and is in the French Baroque style. It is possibly the most beautiful theater I’ve ever been in. My favorite until that point was the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. But I would say this one wins. The high ceilings and ornate decor make the LA Theatre breathtaking.

The stage!

We have entered a time of extreme modernization; a time in which new buildings seem to be designed to be as slick as possible. It’s times like these that I’m glad we have places like the gorgeous LA Theatre. I’m also grateful for organizations like the LA Conservancy, that try and do as much as they can to not let people forget the value of historical buildings.

Who can’t appreciate a Ladies Room with a vanity room?

Hyperspace – Star Wars Inspired Eyeshadow Palette

One of the most fun things about makeup is finding cool things in unexpected places. One of my favorite stores is called BoxLunch. It is a better version of Hot Topic, mostly due to them not blasting music at deafening volumes. I go in there for mostly Funko Pop figures. Yes, I’m a 36 year old who collects little vinyl figures. I happened to also be in there one day to find someone a unique present. In my search of the Star Wars section, I stumbled across an eyeshadow palette that was shaped like the Millennium Falcon, called Hyperspace. The best part is that it was only $16.90. That is a bargain. Sometimes, you can’t even get a drugstore palette for that price. I had to get it. If anything, it would be fun as a novelty. So, I scooped it up! Here is what I thought.

While the colors are all similar to the ones that I already have in other palettes, the mix of colors enticed me. Including cool tones these days is rare, and I definitely welcomed them. I am also glad that they included a black matte. Since I used matte black a lot, I am always a little irked when it doesn’t have it in it. Out of the 16 shades, only 4 were matte. The rest were shimmer. Some people have an issue with this, but for a novelty palette such as this one, I didn’t mind. One thing that was odd was the size of the pans. It is not necessarily the amount of product, but the actual shape of the pan. They were a little skinny. So, if you like to apply shimmers with your finger, it is a little hard to get enough product on your finger. After swatching them, I also thought they had a nice quality. Not the best, bur far from the worst.

So, how did they wear? I give this a solid B in this department. The colors did fade a little as the day went on, but they did stay pretty well. The colors have great pigment, but again, not the best. I used Rebellion and I really had to dip in a few times to get it to look pigmented. They held up pretty well to the day’s events and was pretty happy with it. Now…is this going to be a palette I grab a lot? No, it’s not. But it is most definitely a really fun thing to have in my collection. And, for me, it’s inexpensive enough for it to serve this purpose.

Favorite Crème Lipsticks

In today’s makeup market, liquid lipsticks seem to reign supreme.  They most definitely have their benefits.  They last longer, and don’t transfer as much.  But every now and then, I like to wear lipstick in a crème formula.  Crème formulas are classic, and they are often times more comfortable than a liquid lipstick.  Plus, there is just something about that classic tube of lipstick that just makes me happy.

Here are my favorite crème lipsticks:

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick $19

*The Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipsticks were the first I ever tried from Sephora.  The first one I bought was Underage Red.  I love that color.  I know the name has drawn controversy, but it’s a dynamite color.  Recently, they updated the formula, and it is just as great as ever.  In addition, the Everlasting Lip Liners are fantastic, and that is my preferred combo.

Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color $2.49

*About 6 months ago, Wet n Wild launched their new eyeshadow quads.  While picking a couple of those up, I grabbed a tube of this lipstick.  I thought, for $3, why not?!  I really never expected to like this lipstick so much.  It is smooth going on, and does last for a few hours.  The color I got was a nude-ish pink, so I can’t speak to their most powerful colors.  But you really can’t beat the price.

Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick $18

*On a recent trip to Sephora, I got a little mini of the new lipsticks from Fenty Beauty.  It was a super dark color, but I tried it anyway.  I was kind of blown away by the formula.  I guess I didn’t expect it to be so comfortable.  When I went back to get a full size, I picked up the color Candy Venom.  The pigment is gorgeous, and is fairly long lasting.

Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick $34

*Where do I begin?  Let me start by saying this…its definitely a luxury item.  $34 for a lipstick is kind of insane.  Essentially, you can by 10 of the WnW lipsticks for that amount.  However, it is the best lipstick I’ve worn…EVER.  I never thought in a million years that a crème lipstick could perform like this one.  The first color I bought was Secretly.  It is a classic red.  The best part about this lipstick is that it doesn’t feather.  It is the only red crème lipstick I can wear without a lip liner.  And it is very long lasting.  If you have the funds to buy one of these, buy it in a color you wear often.  I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

*All of the above are cruelty-free.

Zion 2018 Part 2: The Food!

When one thinks of a trip to Zion National Park, I think the last thing on their mind is going to be food.  Perhaps they are thinking of snacks to bring while out in the park, but what about the other meals?  My friend and I are usually very concerned about what we are going to eat.  And not in a “let’s gorge ourselves” way, but we want the food to be worth it.  Nothing makes me more irritated on vacation than having to eat bad food.  This is especially true if the food is a little more expensive than normal.  I don’t like wasting calories or money.  Needless to say, our food choices actually enhanced our trip, instead of just being something we did.  Here are the places we ate at on our trip.

*Stage Coach Grille; La Verkin, UT

In the town in which we stayed, let’s say that there was a lack of options for dinner.  And the one place that seemed to be recommended, and well, serving dinner, was Stage Coach Grille.  It has been my experience that restaurants that seem to be the only option, always recommended by hotel staff, etc, seem to not care about standards.  However, this was not the case with Stage Coach Grille.

We started our meal with Fried Zucchini and we both had the Crab Stuffed Salmon.  And of course, since we were starving, we had the Cheesecake for dessert.  The food was phenomenal.   We were pleasantly surprised about how good it all was, and we just wanted our food to be never ending.

They also had a little field next door with some horses! And we just had to go see them. You know, living in Los Angeles, its not something we see ever day 🙂

*King’s Landing Bistro; Springdale, UT

Closer to the park, in a town called Springdale, there is quite a bit more going on.  There are more restaurants, shops, etc.  For our last night in Zion, we chose a restaurant in Springdale called King’s Landing Bistro.  Honestly, the mixed reviews had us a little skeptical, but again, we were pleasantly surprised by our meal.  They also had a couple mocktails on the menu, which always wins points with me.  I had the Roasted Sea Bass, which was served on top of a rustic ratatouille.  It was so delicious.  Let me tell you, I’m am NOT a fan of fish with the skin on.  For whatever reason, it grosses me out.  But this was delicious.  And of course, since we are still on vacation after all, we got desert.  I got the chocolate mousse cake and it was to die for.  Again, we didn’t want our food to end.  And the views…couldn’t be beat.

*River Rock Roasting Company; La Verkin, UT

When we were coming in to town, we passed this place called River Rock Roasting Company.  Both being coffee fans, we decided we would need to try it out at some point.  Next to our hotel, they had a little drive thru satellite location.  We stopped there for coffee one morning on our way.  Now, when I say drive thru, its not what you think.  You drive up, and a live person takes your order face to face.  Then, you drive around and wait.  We waited for our drinks for about 15 minutes, a marked difference from our single digit minutes wait for coffee at Starbucks.  Nonetheless, the coffee was delicious.  This made us excited to go to the main location to get breakfast/lunch on our way out of town the next day.

The main location of RRRC sits on the edge of a gorge and provides a beautiful view of a different part of the landscape.  The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the beauty around you.  We arrived right at the cusp of breakfast and lunch, and since I had to get another latte, I opted for breakfast.  I ordered the Ham and Cheese Croissant, and added egg.  It also came with sriracha mayo, which I wasn’t sure about, so I got it on the side.  I also ordered a Hazelnut Almond Milk Latte.  Both items were stellar.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a breakfast sandwich that good before.  I’m not generally a fan of sandwiches, but they looked so good, I had to get it.  And I was not disappointed.  The ingredients were quality and fresh.  And well, the latte, was dreamy. As a result, I walked away with a bag of coffee.

Bonus…Las Vegas

Momofuku

I’ve posted about Momofuku before, but I got some different items so I wanted to share.  We started with a half dozen oysters, followed by the shrimp, shitake and pork belly buns.  Then, we finished with the Ginger Scallion Noodles.  Another stellar meal by a David Chang institution, and my belly couldn’t have been happier.

Mon Ami Gabi

If there is anything about me, its that I don’t tend to go to tourist heavy places in Las Vegas.  I go based on what is good, not what is popular.  But for our last vacation meal, we were having trouble deciding.  I’ve seen people recommend Mon Ami Gabi on travel forums and I have always been skeptical.  So, we took a chance.  It was delicious.  I had the Fish & Frites and the Berry Bread Budding for dessert.  I was impressed by this place, and the décor is adorable.

All in all, everything we ate on our trip was delicious, and we didn’t regret anything we ate.  In places like Springdale or La Verkin, you are forced to partake in the local fare.  I didn’t see any chain restaurants (except for a few fast food places along the way), and that makes for an interesting vacation.  When traveling, I always urge people to go to places they don’t have at home.  It makes it more of a vacation.

Zion 2018 Part 1

2018 is proving to be one of my best years.  I’ve really been trying to live my best life this year.  One of the things that is helping me do that is trying to visit places I’ve never been before.  One of those places that I really wanted to visit was Zion National Park in Utah.  On what seemed like a whim, my friend and I decided to go.  And let me just say this, I’ve never seen anything like this before.  It is absolutely stunning.  And its stunning in a different way than looking at the New York skyline at night or a beautiful piece of jewelry.  Its the kind of stunning that you cannot believe what you see is real.  Even after spending 2 1/2 days there, I still can’t believe I’ve been there.  If you ever get the chance to go, just go.

Day 1:  The Narrows

Oh, the Narrows.  Easily, pictures of the Narrows are some of the most recognizable.  You will frequently see pictures of the Wall Street portion, especially if you search for “The Narrows” on Google.  So, of course, we had to do it.  Now, when I say I did research on this, it might be an understatement.  I wanted to know exactly what I was getting myself into.  Most travel forums will tell you that you need to rent the special gear that consists of neoprene socks, special water shoes and a walking stick.  Since the idea of wearing shoes that thousands of others have worn grosses me out, I went in another direction.  I wore my shoes that I bought for a Spartan race.  They can get wet and have drainage holes on the side.  For socks, I bought performance wool socks.  And they worked perfectly.  They provided the grip I needed when traversing over submerged rocks and the wool socks helped keep the heat in so my feet didn’t suffer from the cold.

This hike is so much fun.  Albeit, it was exhausting and at some point, I just wanted out of the water.  But it was fun and a unique experience.  We went about 2.5 miles down and back for a total of about 5 miles.  It took us about 4 hours.  The slot canyons, especially in the part known as Wall Street are incredible.  As you continue on, you can see evidence of flash floods and years of the Virgin River carving out the rock.  It really made me appreciate the power of nature.

Day 2:  Angel’s Landing, Kayenta, Lower and Upper Emerald Pools

One of the most popular hikes in ZNP is Angel’s Landing.  The majority of the hike is a regular, mostly paved trail.  And it just keeps ascending.  The end game is to put your life in the Universe’s hands to climb over a narrow summit to Angel’s Landing.  We ended up not going that far, as the amount of people was a deterrent.  Who wants to be on a summit with steep drop offs and a width of only a few feet while having to share it with someone going the other way?  Not I, is the answer.  Nevertheless, we made it to the part of the trail in which you can have a seat, look out over the canyon and watch all the crazy people make their way to Angel’s Landing.  And that was just fine.  The trail was challenging enough without going all the way, and the view is still ridiculous.  Since this hike only took us a few hours, we decided to tack on some additional trails.

Specifically, we decided to start on the Kayenta Trail, which connects to the Upper and Lower Emerald Pool trails.  This makes for a very fun afternoon.  The Kayenta trail was just challenging enough after doing the Angel’s Landing trail.  The Emerald Pools were pretty neat, and I’m glad we decided to go.  What is great about this set of trails is that when you go from Kayenta to Lower Emerald Pools, you end up at the Zion Lodge.  They have a cafe there where you can get a snack before heading out again.

Day 3:  Pa’rus

While we were getting ready to leave this amazing place, we had to squeeze 1 more trail in.  Before breakfast, we choose an easy hike to top off our trip.  We choose the Pa’rus Trail.  This trail really cannot be called a trail.  It is flat and paved and is more like a walk along the river.  Nonetheless, it was great.  This trail would especially for those in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, etc.  It was proof that you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to experience the beauty of ZNP.  It ended up being a perfect ending to magical trip.

In total, my visit to Zion National Park will go down as one of m favorite vacations.  Being in a place this vast puts life into perspective.  I would urge everyone to visit parks like this if they can.  Spending time in nature is good for the soul.

Coming soon…Zion 2018 Part 2: The Food.

Art Deco, Croissants and Majordomo

Just recently, I decided I wanted to start volunteering for the LA Conservancy.  The LAC is an organization that helps to save and preserve historical buildings in Los Angeles.  In a world where we are always trying to get the shiny and new, they strive to protect the history of architecture in Los Angeles.  Buildings like the Bradbury Building, LA City Hall and CBS Television City are all part of what makes our city distinctively Los Angeles.

One of the things they suggest for new volunteers is to go on walking tours if you want to become a docent.  This is to get familiar with how they work, flow, etc.  Last weekend, I picked a walking tour that focused on the Art Deco of Los Angeles.  Art Deco is a style of architecture that I am not too familiar with.  My major interest lies in Modern, Googie, and Brutalist architecture.  So, learning something new sounded perfect.  The tour itself is about 2 hours long, and covers several buildings that express that gorgeous Art Deco aesthetic.  Probably my favorite building on the tour was the Cal Edison building, which is absolutely tremendous.  I also learned that Serpentine marble is the state marble for California. We also visited buildings like the Oviatt Building, and the Eastern Columbia building.  In Los Angeles, we often times are so focused on what is ahead, that we forget to look up.  Walking tours provided by the LA Conservancy prompt us to look up and take notice of what we don’t always notice.  I highly recommend catching a tour if you are ever in the area.  They are $15 for adult non-members and $10 for youth under 17 years old.

I must confess though.  I had some ulterior motives for wanting to head downtown.  I really wanted to try out the Coffee Bar at the NoMad Hotel.  MilkBar founder Christina Tosi has posted about the croissants on a few occasions.  I knew I must try one.  The Coffee Bar at the NoMad Hotel is beautiful inside, with marble table tops and mirrors everywhere.  It was also extremely quiet.  I ordered an almond croissant and a mocha.  The mocha was not overly chocolatey and was quite delicious.  The almond croissant was hands down the best croissant I’ve ever tried.  It was the perfect amount of flaky on the outside, and dense on the inside.  I cannot wait to go back to try another type of croissant.  They had several flavors, and I am sufficiently hooked.

Downtown Los Angeles is not only about art deco and fancy croissants.  There are areas like North Chinatown that are not so pleasing to the eye, but they allow for certain things to happen.  One of these things is Majordomo.  Majordomo is the first Los Angeles outlet of Momofuku’s David Chang.  Chang is a talented chef and restauranteur who offers a creative culinary perspective that one cannot ignore.

Reservations have been hard to come by, so when one opened up on my birthday, I had to take it.  And it did not disappoint.  It was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in my life, and I couldn’t have been happier.  Los Angeles needs places like Majordomo, in which we are given something interesting and unexpected.  Too many places are predictable or just so so (in my opinion).  I was ready for something new.  Majordomo is fantastic, and is worth waiting for a reservation.

Why I Love Film

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Photography is a part of our lives.  Whether its on your iPhone, a high end digital camera or a roll of film, capturing life as it happens is something that transcends cultures, religions and nationalities.  A little less than a decade ago, I decided to get more into photography.  I love what photography does and how it can make people feel.  I also love how it can capture a single moment of time.  It is a physical and literal representation of a memory.  Specifically, I wanted to explore more in the realm of film photography.

This, of course, came on the wave of advancements in digital technology that essentially pushed film to the wayside.  However, there were many who tried to keep film alive for people.  One of those companies was Lomography.  Lomography in its current incarnation has become synonymous with the hipster community.  Say what you want about the average hipster, but they most definitely had a hand in reviving the film industry.  Lomography was actually where I started on my journey of rediscovering this long lost interest of mine.  It is also worth noting that my father used to be a professional photographer, and had a Nikon N6006 that he wasn’t using anymore.  He has let me “borrow” it for the last 10 years, and it is considered one of my prized possessions.  So, I had the N6006 and I bought a Lomography Fisheye toy camera (in addition to some choice rolls of film).  This was the beginning.  And it is a passion I continue exploring to this day.

So what is it about film that makes me so happy?  I like just about everything, but that is just too much.  So, here is the top 5 things I love the most about film photography.

  1. It forces me to take a breath.  With film, you have a finite number of exposures.  Thus, more thought goes into each shot.  In getting the shot just right, I need to slow down and breathe.  When I don’t rush the process, I’m usually happier with the result.
  2. The images are richer.  We live in a digital world.  It seems like camera technology gets better and better.  Some of the digital cameras I’ve seen can do amazing things.  But, in my opinion, digital images lack a richness that comes with the grain of film.  Of course, you can edit a digital image to look just like film.  But what’s the fun in that?
  3. Its more fun.  One of the greatest things about film photography is the different films and cameras that are available.  Cameras like toy cameras are especially fun to experiment with.  One of my favorite cameras is the Lomography Action Sampler.  It takes 4 exposures at once.  The goal is capture, well, action.
  4. It forces me to take risks.  One of the benefits of digital photography is you get instant results.  You can see right away if the image is over or underexposed, the focus if off, etc.  But, with film, I take 36 chances.  If there is one thing I can’t stand is when I buy some beautiful roll of film, and the ISO was not set correctly.  Its as if I’ve wasted the film.  But, in reality, with every bad roll of film there is a lesson to learned.
  5. It makes me stay in the present.  Once I take a picture on film, I have zero control of the outcome.  I just have to accept that I’ve done what I thought was right to get something stunning.  With digital photography, you could keep looking at each shot as it happens.  And if its not perfect, you could then spend too much time trying to get the perfect image.  Accepting the results at the moment allows me to live moment by moment.  In this way, film photography is very calming.

Kat Von D Beauty Brows!

Awhile ago, Kat Von D Beauty launched a brow product that mimicked the famous Tattoo Liner.  The problem is that it was, well, not ideal.  It was way too dramatic, and it got mostly negative reviews.   Then, Kat Von D Beauty decided to develop and launch a full line of brow products.  The new line of brow products consisted of a pomade, powder and pencil.

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying different brow products.  I tried the ABH Brow Whiz, NYX Precision Brow Pencil, and most recently, the European Wax Center Brow Powder.  While all are great products, I was still not 100% on any of them.  When the new KVD products launched, I knew I had to try them.

I picked up both the Super Brow Pomade and the Brow Struck Powder.  I’ve never used a pomade before, and thought this was the time to try one.  I’ve always been scared of a pomade, as I thought they would be too bold.  And I don’t like feeling something on my face the whole day.  But the Super Brow Pomade is incredible.  The formula is easy to blend, and it is very light.  It also packs a great pigment, although not too much.  It is also long lasting.  In addition to the actual products, KVD Beauty also released 2 new brushes; one for the pomade, and one for the powder.  The brush for the pomade is unnecessary in my opinion, as it is just a regular brow brush.  I used a $2 e.l.f. brush that worked just fine.

Now, on to the powder.  The powder is hands down, the best powder I’ve ever tried.  When you look at it in the component, it has a little bit of sparkle to it.  However, when you apply it, it doesn’t look sparkly.  It just helps to add dimension.  The powder looks really good on, and like the pomade, is pigmented and long lasting.  It is also incredibly easy to work with and blend.  The brush that goes with the powder is great.  It has a special shape, and it really makes application fast.  However, with that being said, a regular brow brush would also work just fine.  But I do believe that the brush has its benefits.  The brush has notches, and helps to distribute the powder around the hair better than a regular brush.

I usually love everything that KVD Beauty comes out with.  And the new brow products are no exception.  The pomade, for me, is not for my every day look.  But I look forward to using it for going out at night.  I don’t think I can recommend the powder enough.  You can tell that the formula is quality, and it offers the more natural brow look that we all love for day time.  There is part of me that regrets not also grabbing the pencil, but pencils are just not for me.  KVD Beauty products that I loved, like the Metal Crush single eyeshadows and the Shade & Light quads, are no longer available in stores.  I hope that this product does well, and that it sticks around.

The Super Brow Pomade retails for $19, and the Brow Struck Powder retails for $20.  The full line of brow products are available from Sephora and Kat Von D Beauty.