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Affordable Makeup for Beginners

When you first try out makeup, the options can be overwhelming. There are so many brands and types of makeup, which makes it hard to understand where to even begin. A lot of influencers only talk about and recommend high-end products, which aren’t beginner-friendly or great for people on a budget. 

Here are some of my favorite affordable makeup products that I have tried and loved as a person who enjoys makeup.

Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Concealer ($5.99)

I have tried many different concealers, but I always come back to this one. I have dark under eyes, and this concealer helps with that. It has good coverage and does not crease. It’s also easy to find your shade in this concealer since it doesn’t oxidize after putting it on. 

Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Liquid Foundation ($7.99)

A perfect foundation that is cheap is so hard to find, but the Fit Me foundation is just that for all skin types. It has medium coverage and tons of shade options. 

Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid Eyeliner ($6.99)

This eyeliner is the smoothest to put on, and its sharp tip makes it easier for beginners to experiment with eyeliner.

MILANI Cheek Kiss Liquid Blush ($8.97)

Liquid blush has always been my favorite. It is easy to apply, plus it’s super trendy because of its dewy finish. However, this MILANI blush is very pigmented and has four different shades to choose from. Plus it’s a dupe for the Glossier Cloud blush, which is on the more pricey side. 

Wet n Wild MegaGlow Makeup Stick ($4.49)

Contouring can be intimidating, but this contour stick makes it easy. It applies very smoothly and is easy to blend even if you put a little too much on. 

Wet n Wild Megaglo Liquid Highlighter  ($5.99)

I absolutely love this liquid highlighter! It can be blinding or natural, depending on how much you apply and how you blend it. You you can even find this highlighter at the dollar store if you’re lucky. 

L.A. Colors Browie Wowie Brow Pencil ($3.89) 

This eyebrow pencil has a slanted tip which makes it easy to apply to your eyebrows. In addition, the formula is not very waxy like other cheap brow pencils; this is a huge reason why I enjoy it so much!. 

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara ($7.68)

This is a major dupe for the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, and it makes your eyelashes so much thicker and longer. It also does not budge, so you don’t have to worry about smudging under your eyes. 

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer ($11.97)

You cannot go wrong with this bronzer. With its butter-like formula, it is one of the most popular bronzers online, and tons of makeup influencers rave about it.

These are some of my personal favorites that I know others have raved about and loved. But, even if you don’t like these options, I encourage you to go out and explore other brands!

Featured Image By Morgan Scruggs

My Top Five Mystery Books

I’ve always been into mystery books. It started with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, which my mom used to read to me when I was younger. I had a little “Choose Your Own Adventure” mystery book that I read until it almost fell apart. As I grew older, I turned to Agatha Christie, my mom’s favorite mystery writer. Her detail-oriented, gripping plots always have a very strong hold on my attention, and I absolutely flew through them. Agatha Christie solidified my love for mystery and encouraged me to expand into different authors and variations. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my top five mystery books.

  1. Big Little Lies

TW: Sexual Assault and Abuse

This is such a wonderful book and a great show adaptation that was turned into a really good miniseries with Reese Witherspoon! It’s a genuine page turner, and it has so much to offer. The story is about three women – Celeste, Madeline, and Jane – who live in Australia. One of the women’s husbands has recently died, and there is a lot of suspense and mystery around his death. If you like stories with a lot of preschool mommy drama, this one may be for you. It’s a really intense book for sure, so be sure to make certain that the content is okay for you!

  1. Sharp Objects

TW: Self Harm, Drug and Alcohol Abuse

This book is extremely disturbing. It’s about a series of deaths in the main character’s small-town childhood home that cause her to come back home to write a story. She is again confronted by her childhood trauma at home and attempts to deal with that while also writing this story.  I didn’t exactly like this writing style, but the plot made up for it. I was hooked until the end, and the ending was so creepy that I was scared to go outside in the dark for days after finishing it. However, the plot is well crafted, and the small subtleties really make it an interesting read!

  1. The Girl on the Train

TW: Alcoholism, Violence and Abuse

This is a really intense story. It’s full of deceit and cheating, and it’s absolutely a page-turner. There was so much mystery and so many twists that kept me guessing right up until the end. This one was also turned into a really great film adaptation starring Emily Blunt. It’s about a woman who watches two families through the window of a train every day and ends up witnessing a murder that she can hardly remember. There’s a lot of complexity to this book, and it certainly deals with some heavy topics, so be mindful of that before reading!

  1. Five Little Pigs

I absolutely love Agatha Christie. She never fails with her dramatic reveals and explanations at the end of every mystery. Poirot, the detective, is one of my favorite characters ever, and he’s just so observant. Every little subtle comment matters, and that’s what makes this book so wonderful. It’s about a woman who is seeking to clear her mother’s name many years after her mother was found guilty of killing her father when she was younger. It’s a very good read, as are most Agatha Christie novels, and one of my favorites.

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

TW: Sexual Assault and Incest

This book was a lot. It was suspenseful, complicated and very disturbing. The general premise is that the grandfather of a girl who went missing a long time ago employs a prominent investigative journalist and a rebellious PI to solve the case. The story has

been adapted into two different movies, both of which are quite good. It’s full of twists, and I’d be surprised if anyone figured out the true culprit before it was revealed!

Featured Image by Allison Geddie

Things You May Have Missed Watching Netflix’s “Squid Game”

(Trigger Warning: Mention of suicide)

Recently, my sister’s fiancé, a software engineer, went on a business trip to Maryland. During a meeting, when everyone was introducing themselves, one of the other men in the meeting asked my sister’s fiancé what he likes to do in his free time. When he mentioned watching K-dramas, everyone else in the room immediately became engaged and these white collar men proceeded to talk about what K-dramas they like to watch. Of course, in the midst of the conversation, one of the shows that was mentioned was “Squid Game.”

Netflix’s “Squid Game is the platform’s most-watched series, harboring 111 million viewers within the first 17 days of its release. “Squid Game currently has one season with nine episodes, including a few episodes based on classic South Korean children’s games.

Despite its popularity, the English subtitles for the show are notorious for being done poorly. There are two English caption options, one being CC and one that just says “English.” The CC is for closed captions, and include sounds and other descriptors for those that are hard of hearing. There are also lots of references that many non-Koreans may be unfamiliar with from the show.

Here are seven things you may have missed while watching Netflix’s “Squid Game”:

  1. Ddakji (딱지): The game that was played in the subway with Gong Yoo’s character and Gi-hun is a traditional South Korean game typically played with paper tiles. The goal of the game is as shown in the show, and is often played in Korean variety shows. It can actually be quite difficult to flip the opposing tile over, but  overall, it’s a harmless game. Here’s a link if you’re curious on how to make the tiles and play for yourselves!
Hibiscus flower illustration by Valerie Adams

2. 무궁화 꽃 이 피었 습니다: The Korean version of ‘Red Light, Green Light’ (Mugunghwa kkochi piyot seumnida) literally translates into “the hibiscus flower bloomed.” The mugunghwa flower (aka hibiscus or the rose of sharon) happens to be South Korea’s national flower. The phrase might its origin from when the tagger would play in front of a hibiscus tree, which are small and very common in South Korea, and little kids would be the perfect size for the tree.

Suk Kuhn Oh, The Text Book (Younghee and Cheolsoo) Portfolio Cover

3. The creepy doll in the infamous “Red Light, Green Light” game is not just some random character created by the show. Often seen in Korean school books is Younghee, the name of the character. There is also a boy character named Cheolsoo who is seen alongside Younghee in these school books. 

Dalgona illustration by Valerie Adams

4. Dalgona (달고나): Also commonly referred to as bbobgi (뽑기), dalgona is the Korean version of a honeycomb toffee. Little kids buy dalgona from vendors and try to cut the shape out without breaking it. If they succeed, they get another dalgona for free! You may also recognize dalgona from the earlier quarantine trend of “dalgona coffee” where people would whip a one-to-one ratio of instant coffee and sugar together and put it atop a glass of milk.

5. When Sang-woo is sitting in the bathtub with his clothes on in episode two, next to him is a coal briquette burning, also known as “yeontan” in Korean. In Korea, these briquettes were often used for warming the room or as a replacement for firewood in cooking. This was a huge miss for non-Koreans, as smoking coal briquettes is a method of suicide in Korea.

6. The character Sae-byeok has a North Korean accent. Typically, accents in foreign languages are hard to distinguish by those unfamiliar with the language, so this small detail is missed by many international fans. Sae-byeok only allows her accent to come through when she speaks to her brother, but hides it when she’s speaking with the other characters.

7. Mi-nyeo’s use of language is actually a lot more vulgar than what the subtitles let on. Overall, Mi-nyeo’s character is butchered by the English subtitles. Lots of little things get translated into other phrases, such as in episode four when she says “What are you looking at?” but the subtitles say “Go away.” It waters down her aggressiveness and takes away from her character.

These are just seven references that may have gone over the heads of those unfamiliar with the Korean language or culture. Despite the disparities, millions of people around the world were able to enjoy a piece of media that was not in their native language or culture. The worldwide popularity of “Squid Game” is proof that media does not have to be in a person’s native language in order for them to enjoy it.

And if you, for some strange reason, decide to watch the show again, I hope the context gained from this list helps you enjoy and appreciate the show in a new way.

Featured image by Valerie Adams