Law School Prom – Barrister’s Ball

March 27
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This past Saturday was a blur of preparation for our law school prom, the “Barrister’s Ball.” I had ordered a sequin dress in a “tall” size, so I spent Saturday morning trying to hem it shorter. Turns out you can’t cut or sew through sequins, so I improvised and hot glued (you read that right) the hem until it fell right at my ankle. Please don’t look too closely at the bottom of my dress!

Barristers Ball Harvard law school - black tie formal sequin gownBlack tie law school formal - tux and green sequin gownShimmery green sequin maxi dress for black tie formal galaDress: ASOS (on sale for $38) // Shoes: exact dupe here from Steve Madden ($42) // Lipstick: NARS // I’m also wearing a small black locket choker // Smokey eye done with the Balm’s Nude Tude palette // And I have to credit my trusty, 3-year old hair curler

Despite the rain, my friends and I were committed to taking photos outside the cathedral-like building nearby. We walked over in our overcoats, took the coats off to take a pic, put the coats back on to look at whether the picture turned out properly, repeat x 1000.

We were really good at smiling through the muggy weather (and I also filtered all the pictures so that our freezing red hands turned out normal colored). I always joke that one of the benefits of befriending me is that you’ll get free high quality photo sessions. I do take a lot of photos, so I might as well put that skill to use.

Barristers Ball - Harvard Law School black tie formal

Before the ball, we gathered at a seafood restaurant for a fancy meal just like how high schoolers do a fancy dinner before high school prom. The restaurant we went to (Oceanaire) had really fresh tuna and oysters, and I loved the “chicken fried lobster” that I ordered. I would have ordered more cocktails if they weren’t $14 a piece, because the Blackberry drink and the sangria were amazing.

Once we got to the hotel for the Ball, I will admit I spent a good half hour taking pictures with everyone I hadn’t seen in a long time. The venue was very classy and beautiful; even the bathrooms had amazing lighting.

Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel venue

The highlight of my evening was when my boyfriend and I taught another couple how to ballroom dance. I had no idea that my boyfriend was such a good dancer, and it was a lot of fun getting tossed around and learning the steps with another happy couple. I ended up with really sore feet (who knew that heels with only two straps would be uncomfortable, right?) but I woke up with a smile today having had one of the best experiences of my law school career.

Church of Christian Science - backdrop for our black tie formal pictures

24 Hours in Nashville (as Told Through Food Pics)

March 25
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This past spring break was my LAST one ever, so you would have expected my friends and I to go somewhere more tropical than Nashville. But hear us out: after graduating, law students go on expensive, international bar trips in the summer, so for now we wanted a cool locale that wouldn’t break the bank.

Nashville was appealing for its food and music scene, which is why most of this post is a rundown of everything I ate.

Hattie B's spicy fried chicken in Nashville

The first place that everyone told us to visit was Hattie B’s for fried chicken. It turns out that everyone in Nashville had the same idea, because we had to go to a second Hattie B’s location since the line at the first one was already 50 people deep.

My favorite fried chicken place up until that point was Cane’s, but Hattie B does a totally different kind of fried chicken: it’s juicier and you get to choose the spice level from 1-5, basically. The combo also comes with two sides and a drink (which is sorely needed, because that chicken is HOT).

24 Hours in Nashville - What to Eat

I chose a medium spice level but one of our friends was dared to get the level 5. He took one bite of the chicken and immediately got up to refill his coke–which he then drank and refilled again!

After laughing at his plight, we all tried a teeny bit of the chicken. I had to stop eating after that because the spice level is insane. It sneaks up on you until your mouth is in fiery agony. I almost couldn’t taste anything afterwards.

Dock at the lakehouse

After feasting, we actually took a detour to a friend’s lakehouse where we chilled out by the water (literally, since it was still 55 degrees). The best part was that the lake house was fairly isolated so we could drink and enjoy the outdoor fireplace without worrying about noise levels.

F21 tassel and pom pom sandals

I also got to change from boots into sandals and bare my feet for the first time since last summer. These fringe sandals are $25 and would be great for any tropical trips later this year.

Two friends had brought dogs to visit us at the lakehouse: one was a tiny dog and the other was the biggest husky pup you have ever seen. The funny thing was, the tinier dog was totally dominant: the husky got barked at and chased around every time he stepped over a certain boundary.

The tiny dog turned out to be the biggest nuisance however. He was nowhere to be found when we were ready to leave. We feared he had drowned or run away and we fanned out to search–only to find him 30 minutes later, chilling in the kitchen, acting like he hadn’t heard us calling his name 100 times.

B & C Melrose BBQ in Nashville - Best Nashville BBQ

That night, we ate at one of the best BBQ joints I’ve visited (B&C Melrose BBQ). It sits in an unassuming Kroger parking lot, but the meat is so juicy and the prices are very low considering the food and beer you get for your money.

Layla's piano bar in Nashville

The rich BBQ was a great base for the bars we visited later that night on Broadway, Nashville’s touristy strip. I got a taste of the honky tonk music scene at Layla’s Piano Bar. One friend fell in love with the violin player playing there and stayed out until 4AM trying to court her…

Broadway is filled with restaurants and bars and most of them have live music so you really can’t choose wrong in terms of where to go. It’s definitely different than going to a regular club or bar. The music really wasn’t my jam so I left around 2, although bars stay open until 3-4.

Gluten free french toast

In search of a hangover cure the next morning, we tried brunch at the famous Pancake Pantry but it was too packed. I have heard great things about the Pantry, but I’ll have to wait until next time to try it.

We ended up at Fido, which was a disappointing end to my food journey. The gluten-free french toast above was dry and brittle. My friend’s sandwich was also overcooked and hard to eat.

The one silver lining is that Fido has very creative coffee drinks. I got a peach tea/espresso mix that was superb; the sweet peach cancels out the espresso’s harsh taste completely.

After the gluttonous stop in Nashville, I was ready to eat salads for the rest of the week. I’m still sad that I can’t get Hattie B’s shipped to me, however. That fried chicken has a lasting place on my tongue—and in my heart <3


The Brains Behind the Blog – March 2017

March 23
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I’ve been blogging under Beauty V. Brains for some time, but I still debate how to balance the Beauty part of my blog name with the Brains part. I think I showcase plenty of the Beauty part with my weekly makeup and outfit posts. What about Brains? Not so much.

I know that no one wants to hear about the long-winded court opinions I have to read for class, but I think it’s important to show you my intellectual life. After all, I do often complain that bloggers only show unrealistic portions of their lives, so what better way to debunk the myths?

Here are the topics that have intrigued me this month:

Exercise, diet, and race: A little background—my most popular/controversial blog post EVER was about being “fat for an Asian.” (P.S. My flats in the picture above are from Sam Edelman)

In that post, I bemoan the fact that many Asian women deal with body-shaming from our Asian families or communities, as well as negative comments from non-Asians suggesting that Asian girls are naturally skinny. Caught in the middle of these two worlds, Asian girls are left behind by body positive movements.

That’s why this article sparked a lot of thinking on my part: apparently, Asians can get diabetes or pre-diabetes at “younger ages and lower weights than others.” This means that a relatively thinner Asian person can still be at risk for diabetes depending on their frame and genetics.

I had already been trying to hit the gym more often now since the weather is improving and this article added fuel to the fire. But weight loss is such a tricky topic for Asian women. My “fat for an Asian” blog post was 3 years ago and I’m reluctant to touch the topic again, but I think Asian women do need a guide on how to evaluate dieting, eating disorders, and body image.

There has to be a healthy balance between body positivity and being realistic about health outcomes. I hope to find that balance when I write a future follow-up post.

NYC Dream Apartment

Becoming an actual adult: I aged out of my parents health insurance and tax coverage this year, so I’ve been trying to lay down plans for actually adult-ing. One step on the way is to improve my credit: my law school friends convinced me to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, which offers access to Priority Lounges in airports (the free drinks and food are a great bonus!)

Another scary prospect: I move to NYC in a few months. I’m dreading having to search for an apartment, but also excited to leave behind dorm rooms forever. I’ve gotten into a habit of refreshing right before bed and in the morning.

Debunking facebook ads

Getting paid to debunk Facebook ads: If your facebook feed is anything like mine, it’s probably cluttered with ads from teeth-whitening companies and startup companies trying to sell makeup.

I always roll my eyes at the crazy ads (like the one that claims to zap body fat with shakes?!) but one benefit of having a blog is that these brands are itching to advertise on my platform. In the past, I’ve written scathingly honest reviews of products WITHOUT being paid, but now these new brands are offering me trial products in hopes that I will promote them.

Basically, I get free products in exchange for my usual dissection, which is great because I might have reviewed the product anyway in a Mythbusters kind of exposé . For instance, I recently reviewed tea company that claims its teas help you lose weight, and found that the tea is effective—IF you also follow the workout and eating guidelines that the tea company sends to you. That’s an important caveat!

With all the “fake news” in the media, I feel good that a potential customer can find my review on google and make an informed decision to buy. I’m not sure how the brands feel about me—they might think I’m a terror since I love ranting and they have to appease me with product in the hopes that my critique will come out positive.

Ultimately, if you are ever tempted to buy something from a Facebook ad, check my blog first: chances are I will have tried it to see whether I can debunk the ad’s claims (forcing the brands to comp a product for my trouble).

Easy Airport Style

March 20

Outfit inspiration for flying and travelingPink bow wallet with gold hardwareOutfit inspiration for travel and long flightsBell sleeve sweater with black trim and pink bow walletRose gold sunglasses and gray tassel earrings

I just got back from spring break in Nashville and Alabama! My girlfriends and I couldn’t help but notice how the women were much more meticulous with their bright colors and makeup down south. That might explain why this traveling outfit looks so ~southern~ with its monogram necklace and tassel earrings—I was just trying to fit in, y’all.

Sweater: Primark, exact dupe here // Sunglasses: Romwe // Earrings: TJMaxx, dupe here from Baublebar // Necklace: Etsy // Coat: Banana Republic, exact same from ASOS here // Wallet: DSW, similar for $38 // Flats: Sam Edelman

This would be a perfect travel outfit for any location if you’re flying. One of my biggest blogging pet peeves (ok, I have plenty) is when bloggers try to pretend that they wear heels while flying. Bright flats are the way to go if you want to look polished and stay comfortable: Sam Edelman makes this pair in a bunch of colors and they are more comfortable than Tory Burch’s signature flats, in my opinion (and cheaper)!

One thing TSA did make me do was throw away a bunch of beauty products that I had foolishly kept in a small pocket of my suitcase. I totally forgot about the size regulations on liquids so I had to say goodbye to several key hair products. Maybe this is a chance to try some new hair items?

This $12 Moisturizer Saved My Winter Skin – Maison Jules Haul Spring 2017

March 16

This Elf Nourishing Night Cream is a winter skin life-saver

Winter dryness is no joke in Boston. Going outside without gloves can mean cracked skin for the next few days. I think I’ve found a cheap solution–completely by accident. I ordered a bunch of makeup from Target for my theater group and Target ended up gifting me a free e.l.f. Nourishing Night Cream with my order.

I was surprised to find that the cream moisturized really well for its $12 price tag. It doesn’t absorb as easily as my “Holy Grail” L’Occitane cream ($22), but it dries completely in about 15-20 seconds, which is pretty good for a moisturizer that doesn’t leave a trace. It also doesn’t smell as good as other lotions (it really just smells like a tub of cream) but it would be perfect for people who hate scented products.

It’s hard to take pictures of skincare creams, because you shouldn’t see a residue if they are actually effective, but I took the following photo (without any foundation or makeup) to show you the luminance from the cream alone. Excuse my wet hair!

ELF Nourishing Night Cream moisturizer review

The e.l.f. cream gives you a nice glowy sheen but isn’t oily. I can put on makeup within 30 seconds of applying the cream. I’ve started using it in the morning and at night after my serum.

In the picture above, I’m also wearing a scalloped blouse ($31) from one of my favorite brands, Maison Jules (this post is entirely not sponsored–I’ve posted about Maison Jules before here). Above is one of my favorites from their new Spring line.

I also love the little boucle jacket ($52) below. It looks so Chanel-like, but for 1/100 of the price!

Chanel-like jacket dupe from Maison Jules

Maison Jules is only carried at Macy’s, and on my seasonal pilgrimage to Macy’s, I also picked up this Ralph Lauren bow-back dress and I can’t wait to wear it to cocktail receptions:

Bow back Ralph Lauren black dress

I’ve yet to find a trendy, feminine line that encapsulates my style as well as Maison Jules has. I always joke that I should ask Maison Jules to sponsor me given that I buy their entire collection every season. Expect more haul posts in the future!

Maison Jules is almost always on sale, so keep your eye on these spring pieces: