Welcome, Fifty Shades of Snail Readers!

Hello and welcome! You may have found this blog today through my guest post on Fifty Shades of Snail. I’m so grateful to Jude for working with me and I hope you’ll take a second to look around and get to know me.

First of all, ceci n’est pas un <<beauty blog>>. It may look like a beauty blog, but though I write often about beauty and skin care, the blog as a whole is more eclectic and varied. See my “About” page for details.

If you’re interested in my thoughts about beauty and skin care, you could take a look at my current hair care routine, or my basic makeup routine. I haven’t updated my skin care routine post in a long time, but in the meantime, take a look at my skin care routine for when life gets hectic. Also, if you, like me, find the current offerings of cleansing balms on the market lacking, check out my homemade emulsifying cleansing balm.

Other than that, I like to blog about tea. I’m a great drinker and lover of teas, and you will often find my thoughts about some new tea or other. I also post mini-reviews of teas I’m enjoying on my Instagram page. You may also find the occasional blog or Instagram post about my cat, TweedCat.

While I am not exactly a vintage blogger, I take a lot of my personal style from vintage fashion, and I like to pass the time in old-fashioned ways, by crocheting or by cooking and baking or even by brewing my own mead and hard cider. And I also talk about life in general. I’m thirty-four years old and recently wrote a two-part musing about looking and acting one’s age, something that I’m sure Asian beauty enthusiasts consider as the glow confuses people.

Whatever your interests, welcome!

The Most Important Thing My Mother Taught Me

This post is my entry into Fiddy’s contest at Fifty Shades of Snail, in collaboration with Beautibi. I highly recommend you check out her blog as a fantastic resource for all things related to complicated skin care.


My mother is a remarkable woman. She was married for almost thirty years, raised two children, and has worked in multiple careers, reinventing herself after her divorce and overcoming challenges throughout her life. And I consider her one of the most inspiring people in my life. I’m sure she would be surprised to hear this as I’m certain she thinks both of her daughters have surpassed her professionally and intellectually. But the fact is I learned how to learn from my mother.

Mom was never one to shy away from a challenge. When we were children, she hand-made all of our Halloween costumes, despite being a mediocre seamstress at best. And when I invariably wanted to be something obscure (like Artemis, goddess of the hunt), she was the one who came with me to the library and poured over books finding ideas that were both faithful to the original material, as well as logistically feasible for outdoor trick-or-treating in weather that could range from unseasonably warm to snowing.

With the advent of the internet in our house, my mother started finding her true place to shine: internet research. In addition to Halloween costumes, over the years, she used her internet search savvy to help her in her divorce, as well as to become the reigning champion at her office football pool. When I started internships at national laboratories, she came to my summer symposium armed with knowledge to converse with Nobel Laureates despite not graduating college. For her, the important part was the process, not the superior feeling of knowing more than other people. She wanted to learn in order to interact.

And this is something that has stuck with me. It is not the best thing to know things; it is better still to enjoy learning. This has stuck with me through college and graduate school, a PhD and research jobs, and a career shift. It has taught me that even though others might treat me like I’m smarter, everyone has something to teach me. And she has taught me the skills I’ve needed to navigate my personal care routines. Her web research savvy has helped me find the resources to make educated decisions about my health and beauty when formal sources of knowledge have fallen short.

It is this that I most appreciate and that I most cherish. She may have taught me to make a bechamel sauce and how to put in a zipper (or at least tried!), but she also taught me to cherish learning for itself. And that will be useful no matter what I need to learn.

(The photo is from the first time we sheet masked together. What doesn’t show in the photo is my mother making a stabbing motion with her off-camera arm because she thinks we look like serial killers.)