Monday, July 6, 2015

PostalPix Review: Instagram Prints

Dorm-decorating season started early for me this year. Before I jetted off to Wellesley College for my summer program job, I scoured the internet for some simple but chic gems to make my seven-week stay more homey.

At the beginning of freshman year, I decorated my wall with photos of friends, but within a few months, the snapshots no longer felt relevant. High school graduation, youth orchestra, that one leadership conference a couple years back, prom--all of it felt so far away, in both a literal and figurative sense. Instead of inspiring me, my wall exacerbated my upheaval of home and identity and place. 

While I'm now well-adjusted to the changes that college brought, I still packed the pictures of lovely people and fond memories away at the end of the school year. This time, I wanted something that would remain pertinent and uplifting despite the passage of time and new experiences. 

The result? PostalPix, an android and iphone app that allows you to make prints of your insta shots. During freshman year, my account also evolved from shots of hangouts to artsy endeavors. I now rarely post pictures of people (minus the ocassional ootd), and aspire to capture the happy little moments, such as finding a beautiful flower on a morning run, or filling a whole journal. My instagram is now both less personal and more personal--it's less close to my immediate life, but more applicable to the life of others. And correspondingly, it's more likely that these photos will remain relevant--I'm much happier to hang a photo of the New England landscape seven months ago than a shot of a group of friends who no longer interact. 

The actual verdict on the company? PostalPix was easy to use, and I have no doubt that the photos will hold up for the rest of the summer, for my sophomore year at Amherst, and beyond. To use the app, you first must create an account with your email. I've had no trouble with spam so far, and the only emails I've received from PostalPix were about my order, or holiday discount codes. I ordered twenty-four 4 x 4 squares (29 cents a square), and the total was just over $7 after a 20% discount code, including shipping. The app did have some trouble with my final upload. but customer service responded within two days, refunding my last sqaure, and offering me a code for five free prints. And despite the delay, I received the photos in a week, just in time for my trip. I'm really pleased with the matte finish, the clarity of the photos, and even happier to be greeted by my favorite shots in this new environment.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Taking Flight: Airport Outfit and Summer Adventures

college student style
brown forever 21 blazer, peter pan collar mint top, polkadot pants
college student style
brown forever 21 blazer, peter pan collar mint top
brown leather oxfords, polkadot pants
Blazer, Forever 21 | Top, China | Pants, Macy's | Shoes, DSV

"Are you going to Boston for business or leisure?"

I paused for a moment. "I'm going for work. So I guess business. Except I'm working at a summer program for middle schoolers. So it's not fancy business or anything. I'm a college student."

There I was again, my oh-so-eloquent self. 

It was the usual plane pleasantries. I was both flattered and disturbed to be mistaken for a real, live, working, fancy business trip adult. Either my outfit was super fresh, or I looked middle-aged (much to my dismay, I'm often mistaken for my eleven-year old brother's mother). I hope it was the former.

Flying out to my RA/indoor cycling instructor job certainly didn't call for a blazer and oxfords, but I'm glad I nabbed the chance to dress up. For the past week, it's been one heck of a ride--and I've spent most of the week tackling various tasks in athletic clothes. 

I've laughed a lot, felt stressed a lot, and haven't slept a lot, but it's safe to say that I'm happy to have immersed myself in this new experience so far. The lows are low, but the highs are high. For instance, my heart totally melted when one of my students asked what gym I taught cycling classes at. When I said I haven't ever taught gym classes, she told that she thought I should. 

Rolling hills are ahead, but I'm ready to conquer them--on and off the bike.

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Because I have very limited time off-duty (2 hours a weekday, plus one full weekend day per week), I'll only be out and about interacting each weekend. Feel free to keep up if you like, and I'll talk to you soon!

Monday, June 22, 2015

How I Tame the Beast: Faux Updo for Short, Curly Hair

I was bawling. 

Mouth full of toothpaste, I stared disgustedly at my reflection.

Wet, tight curls hung limply on my head, starkly contrasting with my straight, sleek bangs. I was a pitiful mess--leaky eyes, red nose, weird hair, wounded soul.

Poodle. Poodle. Old fart.

That was me now, or at least that's what I looked like because of my hair. And it was all my fault.

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When I went to China this year, I got a perm just like last time (photos here and here, or feel free to creep in my 2012 archives).

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out like last time. 

I had forgotten that my hair had been a lot longer then, and that I hadn't gotten the top of my head permed. So I was left with a huge, unruly mess fit for the 1980s. 

Since time-traveling to the 80s, getting a straightening treatment, or cutting the curly parts off weren't viable options (I like the 21st century thank you, and I also don't want to be left with no hair from more chemicals or no hair from cutting it off), my only solution was to just deal. 

And I did deal for about a week, finding mild satisfaction by pulling the curly locks up with a wire headband. But I was still extremely self-conscious about the poof, and there was absolutely no way to disguise my hair in a ponytail because of the short length. Youtube tutorials for short, curly hair were also fruitless because my hair was too short.

Out of frustration and curiosity one day, I began furiously twisting and pinning sections of my hair up. This is the result, and I'm actually pretty happy.

So, as I promised, here's how I tame the beast.

What you'll need:
-- bobby pins (I use 9-12; if possible, matching your hair color is ideal)
--short, curly hair (slightly damp, and not long enough for a ponytail works best)

1. Starting from the sides, take a small section of hair that can be easily pinned.

2. Twist the section and pin it at the end. For best results, especially if you're planning to wear your hair down later, twist in the natural direction of the curl (either down or up).

3. Repeat until you've finished the whole head. For the back, I pin the top layer down and the bottom layer up (section near my neck).

4. Take care of any flyaways with more bobby pins, or leave 'em. I personally like a few to keep the look more tousled.

Here are larger, more detailed shots of the finished look:

short curly hairstyle, faux updo
short curly hairstyle, faux updo
short curly hairstyle, faux updo

If you have experience with short, curly hair, definitely drop me a note--I'd love to learn more styling techniques. If this sort of hair is totally irrelevant to you, but you also have a hair disaster story, I'd be grateful to hear how you dealt. 

Of course, for every downside, there's an upside. I may not be happy with how my hair looks now, but I've learned to invent solutions and search for more confidence in something deeper than appearance.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Staples: Chevron Maxi and Sun Hat

green ombre cardi
multicolor chevron maxi dress
tortise-shell sunglasses
brown oxfords
Maxi, China | Cardi, Target | Shoes, Goodwill | Hat, gift | Sunglasses, China

After moving out of school for the summer, I vowed to be more conscious of my purchases. Packing my wardrobe into boxes made me realize that I have way too many clothes--some of which I rarely wear. 

At 35 Chinese yuan (5.21 USD), however, this chevron number would've been too painful to pass up. Following several moments of deliberation, I finally picked it up along with its floral sister. After all, it's not every day you can browse shops it China, and it's not every day you can snag an eye-catching summer staple for $5.21.

As long as I sport this multicolor piece often enough in this warm, liberating season, I'll consider this purchase justified.

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