Posted on

You are not your own.


© tinylittletea

The image on the mirror is ugly.

it has small eyes, wide nose, thin lips, thin hair, flat chest, and wide hips. I wish its skin’s a bit fairer, its hair’s a little fluffier, its lips much fatter, its eyes bigger, its nose much straighter, that it’s way bustier than it is, that it’s got slightly longer legs, and just a little bit taller.

I also wish it’s more mature, more patient, much more gentle, much, much slower to anger, thinks way less about things than it does now, way less anxious than it is now, and much more loving, caring, and forgiving to others.

“Then, you wouldn’t be your own image,” the mirror said. “If all your wishes come true, you wouldn’t be God-send. You’d be others-manipulated, conventions-regulated, and pretty much everything else other than your own person.

I froze for a moment. I stared at the image again.

True, that image is not me. I was never my own to begin with, and I should be stepping away from this deception.

I stepped back from the mirror1, and I remember the verse.

That’s when I know, I am beautiful. In every way that I already am.


Appreciate this post? Buy me tea~


  1. James 1:22-25 []
Posted on

What’s not popular: A sense of belonging + a culture of gratitude


Everyone loves the ESFP gal (what in the world is an ESFP?). She’s the ideal blogger who doesn’t care much about what people think about her rants and raves and controversial views about the most debatable topics. For one thing, these gals have very thick skin, and I cannot imagine how many hate mails they receive on a daily basis. But then, that’s where the cash comes in; because they’ve gotten past the whole daring-to-be-yourself, I-don’t-care-what-you-think phase, it doesn’t take them long to master this power that I’ve envied since forever – the power to relate to others.

From time to time, I still fall back into self-pity and juggle between the whole fake-confidence thing and total hermit, which I’m fully aware alienates people and leaves them with a lot of confusion. So it’s no wonder I was never a popular kid at school – as much as I wanted to belong to one of the popular cliques, it doesn’t come naturally to play the dearest, always-perfect, happy-go-lucky social butterfly. I’ve tried, hard. Maybe a little too much. I’ve even compromised my personal core values several times just to “belong”, then hated myself later on. As time goes by, I just feel exhausted by all the energy I have to put in in order to build this mask, but even more exhausted from all the potential friendships I’ve lost because of my fakery.

But I’m done with trying. The difference today is I have Jesus – the one integer that puts every piece of me back into whole, the loving-kindness who mercifully preserves me from the different facets of my evil mask; the impartial judge who took my death sentence, died in my place, and went through all the trouble of the slow and painful crucifixion process, just to relate to me (and you, btw). There’s nothing in the world I can repay him for letting me know I belong to him just the way I am.


Spread the love, not your soul

I’ve always thought you have to be a certain definition of perfect in order to belong to a clique, and if you want to belong to another clique you have to fit yourself into that particular clique’s definition of perfect, and so on and so forth. At one point, I’ve spread myself too thin that I didn’t know who I was anymore. Maybe an expired butter that wishes it’s Nutella. But many of you longtime readers know I’ve suffered from depression and didn’t have my period for 17 months when I was 21. Any human can eventually withdraw from the world when they’ve given “everything” to the whole world, but gets nothing in return. Put simply, what I’ve learned from is that dark period of my past is that truly giving your all doesn’t involve selling your soul to the devil – it’s giving everything you’ve got because you’ve already got all that you need.

nutella-01Translated into blogging, this is why it’s never 100% for-profit for me. If I did, I would’ve hand-picked a niche a long time ago, stuck myself to that, constantly grinding content within that niche, and one day become just another “expert” on that topic till the end of my life. Essentially, I know I’ll become a slave to it. There are so many things I count as blessings in my life that I cannot contain into boxes, and when I’m older, I want to recount everything just so looking back would be a rewarding experience for my kids, my grandkids, and myself. You already know how much of a worrier I am, which was probably why God sent such a positive person to become my life partner1, and so to really count through my little joys is important to me.

There was a time when I had a full agenda of content prepared to be read and loved and go viral on my editorial calendar, but it didn’t work out. The more I wanted to be “popular”, the less grateful I actually become toward the blog and as a person. That period did help me to recognize the kind of content I no longer want to put out for the long haul, but the whole process was mentally and physically draining – all I could think about was the pressure to get something out, things like I have to gain traffic, I have to convert, I have to create buzz. I know, pretty soul-crushing if not, de-humanizing.


A little difference is still a difference

We humans are not moved by reason alone – we’re moved by emotion. The last thing I want is creating singular reasons why people would want to come find me. What I want is pure connection with you, one-on-one, on non-conditional contexts so we hit it off, it can turn into real friendship. Though I’ve pigeonholed my topics now to Wellness, Beauty, and Leisure for easier reading (and the extra fun stuff that doesn’t belong to the 3), I still want to actively relate to you in the realest, rawest way as I’m doing now with this kind of free-flowing post. The kind of posts that doesn’t fit into any category.

In the same vein, before I have the kind of relationship I have with him now, I was practically crushing my soul into pieces and fitting them into neat boxes that I can blend into pre-existing cultures, niches, cliques – whatever you want to call it. Now, what I understand as part of my co-creating walk on earth with God, at least in my line of work with the blog, is that we’re supposed to be cultivating cultures instead of letting pre-existing cultures limit you.

I may not be the first blogger you look for if you want to know about the latest trend or fad or buzz, or the first platform you look to sell your products and/or services when you have zero marketing budget in your wallet, but this is the place for everything I love and that I’m grateful for in my life, and my hope is going through it inspires you to do the same. More important than that, I want to connect with you on a personal level, as with a friend who probably thinks through everything too much (thus the loooooong posts you see a lot), but the first that came to mind when you think of someone you can relate with, in the truest sense of the word. I believe it was Mahatma Gandhi who once said that everything that you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it. Any blogger will tell you that taking and editing pictures take more work than you think, and I honestly don’t enjoy it as much as I write. But for reasons I don’t know why, God is using me to keep this blog running all these years – probably because He knows I’m pretty consistent with my content (though obviously not so much with staying on topic). But it’s because he loved me first, and persistently so, that I’m eternally grateful for all that He does in my life.


You relating to this? Drop me a fellow looooooong reply if you do. Just scroll down a bit, and let it all out on the comments section below.



Follow on Bloglovin

or find me on


  1. if we’re talking Inside Out, he’s the joy to my sadness []
Posted on

Ingredients 101: Jojoba oil



Natural or synthetic?



Jojoba butter, hydrogenated jojoba oil, jojoba esters, hydrolyzed jojoba esters, isomerized jojoba oil, jojoba alcohol, synthetic jojoba oil

Best for?

Achieving smooth, hydrated skin for dry skin types; overall conditioning for normal and sensitive skin types; treating acne and regulating moisture balance for oily skin types – simply skin-softening in a non-greasy way. Other common uses include: hair conditioning, scalp treatment, makeup removal, massage oil, body lotion, relieving sunburns, soothing after-shave stings, and treating chapped lips.

The story

The evergreen jojoba plant is native to Sonoran and Mojave deserts in Arizona, California, and northern Mexico. Known for its effective moisturizing properties for centuries, its golden liquid extract has been used in a wide variety of personal care products. Jojoba oil also happens to be a natural emollient, the moisturizing substance that works by forming an ultra-thin velvety layer on top of skin cells to trap water, lock hydration, and prevent those upper skin layers from drying or forming wrinkles. For this reason, it’s also often used in anti-aging products.

The science

The oil of simmondsia chinensis isn’t actually an oil per se, as it’s composed of more than 97% waxy (non-fatty) esters – not the triglycerides (saturated fats) found in other traditional vegetable oils. Unlike triglycerides, which can be quickly converted into energy, the role of jojoba esters in nature primarily involves moisture control, photo-protection, and general emolliency. These straight, long-chain acids and alcohols are so high in their molecular weight, they’re far less easily oxidized and readily hydrolyzed as storage fats are. This super stable chemistry, and the fact that it’s odorless (fragrance-free), make jojoba esters a cosmetic heavyweight, as it’s often added to other oils to extend shelf life. When applied on skin, jojoba’s molecular weightiness also prevents the esters from penetrating so deep that they start circulating throughout the bloodstream, although being unsaturated, the liquid wax absorbs rapidly into the intercellular spaces of the skin and remain there to support the healing and moisturizing functions of the sebum.

Its unique waxy composition makes jojoba oil the closest “oil” of all to that of the natural human sebum, which is composed of up to 30% waxy esters. Thus, jojoba wax (and its naturally-occuring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) is readily miscible with sebum, thereby increasing skin elasticity by 37% within just 30 minutes of application1. The most cited nutritive qualities of jojoba include its tocopherols, or better known as vitamin E, phytosterols (the cholesterols of nature), which also boost skin metabolism and enhance skin integrity, and ferulic acid, the skin’s BFF when it comes to UV protection. Consistently applying jojoba oil allows skin cells to mimic the optimal moisture levels of the emollient, increasing the skin’s water-binding capacity over time as well as enhancing the flexibility and suppleness of the skin.


There are rare reports2 of mild to moderate contact dermatitis when applied on skin, but because of its similar chemistry to the human sebum, your skin normally won’t overdo it. It’s also often advised not to ingest jojoba oil orally due to its potential toxicity.

Is it safe?

Generally safe34, as jojoba oil is highly stable compared to other vegetable oils, although castor oil and coconut oil are still higher in terms of oxidative stability. This means it won’t go rancid as quickly as other oils do when exposed to oxygen. Also, studies concluded no form of degradation even when jojoba oil is kept in extreme temperatures, making it an ideal mainstay for your long-term skincare regimen.




Follow on Bloglovin

or find me on


  1. The Wonders of Jojoba [Household and Personal Products Industry] []
  2. Contact dermatitis from jojoba oil and myristyl lactacte/maleated soybean oil. [Contact Dermatitis] []
  3. Final Report of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel: Safety Assessment of Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Wax, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Isomerized Jojoba Oil, Jojoba Esters, Simmondsia Chinensis Butter, Jojoba Alcohol, and Synthetic Jojoba Oil [Cosmetic Ingredient Review] []
  4. 5 Final Reports on the Safety Assessment of Jojoba Oil and Jojoba Wax [International journal of Toxicology] []
  5. See the complete ingredients of this product on my Japan beauty buys post. []
Posted on

Nota Bene



The cure for anything is salt water –
sweat, tears, or the sea.

(Isak Dinesen)




Follow on Bloglovin

or find me on


via Candice Celeste Jensen on Pinterest