Tag: on writing

The Sunday Currently Vol. 6

Feel a bit gross today – could be a cold catching up or the leftover effects of Friday night (more on that later), so will save my usual rambling for the currentlies themselves!


Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the first in a series of historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell/the Tudor court in the times of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. It feels like a long time since I’ve sunk my teeth into some good complicated fiction, the last one being Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Is this a good time to confess that I’m not the most avid reader of literary fiction? Actually, my fiction reading overall is significantly lower than what it ought to be — something I hope to fix this year.

Anyway, Wolf Hall is engrossing, the sort of book I look forward to savoring in snatches of the day. It’s not the kind of book I could power through in a couple days, though I’m a fast reader. Mantel’s writing is beautiful and fluid, and takes you through dimensions of time and space and dreams in a few short sentences. One second you’ll be caught deep in a haughty cardinal’s confidences, and the next you’re drifting through the mythological origins of Britain where shapeshifters and kings of prophecy reigned. That’s probably why I can’t read it quickly; it takes awhile to ground myself again and remind myself of the complicated cast of characters, as well as what is actually happening.

I highly recommend it, and am looking forward to going straight into the next book, Bring Up the Bodies.


This is kind of cheating, but last week I started a short story set in the South Pole. It took a lot longer than I expected to finish (and was rightfully chastised for not hitting the deadline, huhu) due to getting caught up in researching Antarctica and the specific project my character was to be involved in. The project itself is called the IceCube Neutrino, designed to track the faint traces of the Big Bang as they crash into pure, unsullied Antarctic ice deep underground. The story is going to be a lot longer than expected (I’m thinking 6 or 8 thousand words, rather than the original 2) but we’ll see.


The kitchen is more or less in order! I have my cast iron casserole (not Le Creuset, but one from Sainsburys which people on the internet claim is just as good), an awesome chef knife, and mixing bowls. Last weekend I cooked a risotto-paella hybrid, which is something my ex boyfriend’s mother made once and I have never forgotten (though hers tasted infinitely better). It’s basically risotto parmesan with paella toppings. I also made a beef minestrone soup (so good on cold days) and chocolate chip banana bread, which when eaten with clotted cream ice cream feels like winning X Factor.

Today I cooked a chicken roast dinner, but because I feel ill I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted.


Very under the weather. Not sure if it’s because I’ve finally caught the cold that’s been sweeping through my classmates, taking them down one by one, or because of Friday night which, to summarize a thousand words, went like this:

I’m too old to be partying like it’s 1999. But it was a 90s theme party (note the wall decorations) in what looked like someone’s basement (but wasn’t), and they filled the wine glasses up to the brim, so of course horrible and amazing things were going to happen. The days of bouncing back from a hangover in time for drunk brunch are long gone.


To sit down and really sort through my goals for 2015. Because there’s only 11/12ths of it left. Lolcry.


This article about a woman whose writing career is sponsored by her husband is a must-read. I commend her for her honesty – it’s far easier to pretend that successful people get by on their own merits. In no way does this discredit writers who have to juggle family life and jobs with writing, and in no way does this say that you have to be supported to be a writer. I think it’s saying that if you have privilege, acknowledge it. It’s no crime to be lucky, but dangerous if you pretend your success is independent of the fortunate circumstances of your life.

My truth is, at the moment, similar to hers. I am where I am not because I’m a good writer, but because I’ve had the incredible good fortune to have parents who subsidize my dreams. It’s super annoying when others with even more opportunities whine about how they got to where they are solely because of hard work. Oh, so it had nothing to do with your connections or surname or family money?


It seems like a slap in the face to people who actually did get to where they are without any of those.

That said, some people get their foot in the door faster than others, or can choose from more doors, but at the end of the day everyone has to work hard to get to where they want. There’s no one path to success, so why pretend yours is something it’s not?

Perhaps I’ll leave things on that rant…might try to get more tea in me before calling it a night!


I didn’t really want to leave things on that rant…so here are Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for Work. We are kindred spirits, and for anyone who knows the feeling, this is for you!

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments. #writers #amwriting

A photo posted by Bea Pantoja (@dalagaproject) on

My Top 15 Beauty Guides Written for LXEdit

It’s hard to write about this without coming off a little obnoxious. What kind of person makes a list of recommended articles that all happen to be written by her? This person, obviously. But hear me out.

As I mentioned in March’s Life Update, for just under a year I contributed to the beauty e-zine LXEdit. For much of that time I pretty much went radio silent on the blog. I just couldn’t generate enough content or interest to write about beauty for both places (not to mention the articles I was writing for print). Of course paying work took priority.

I stopped writing for it before I moved abroad in order to concentrate on schoolwork, but the articles are still available even as LXEdit grows with impressive speed. A majority of my posts are longform beauty pieces (2000-4000 words) on a particular beauty topic. Due to all the interesting research and breadth of subject involved, I much preferred doing those over the standard 300-500 words on the next celebrity trend. Though I did quite a few of those too.

I didn’t do due justice in sharing these links at the time (I did push for more social sharing of everyone’s links via the brand’s channels, but it didn’t seem to be in line with Luxola’s social media strategy then). So, in no particular order, here is a list of articles I wrote for LXEdit that I recommend for one reason or other. Some are informative, some were really fun to write, and some just needed to be said. All of them taught me something new. I leave them here in case there is a topic that may interest/be of use to you!

Asian Beauty Guides


On Puppy Eyes & V-Lines: A Korean Beauty Guide

Korean makeup trends and the different techniques that maybe sort of get you ulzzang ready?

Makeup for Asians: For Foundation to Finish

The lowdown on Asian skin, the importance of undertone, and the best products & shades for eyes, lips, and cheeks.

A Guide to an Asian Layered Skincare Routine

A step-by-step process on the notoriously finnicky Asian skincare routine. Since Korean and Japanese skincare involves a similar process with only minor differences, this article combines both and points out differences where necessary.

Get the Look: Cheon Seong-Yi and the Girls of “You From Another Star”  

Inspiration from last year’s K-Drama sensation “You From Another Star.” It’s a short read but I had so much fun writing it, mainly because I had just watched the series and was still reeling from the feels.

Your Guide to Korea’s Female Sports Stars

Korean beauty that goes beyond the norm. Can you tell Korean beauty was a popular topic? After writing literally thousands of words exalting Korean cosmetics to the heavens, with all the writers tasked to do the same, I was just not having it. So I decided to focus on a different kind of beauty. It’ll be awhile before I can talk about essences again.

General Beauty Guides


How to Incorporate Classical Art Techniques in Makeup

This is the shortest “guide” in the group as it was technically a blog post, but one of my favorite pieces to write ever. I just really loved translating these Renaissance art techniques into modern beauty looks.

The Essential Guide to Makeup Brushes

Unfortunately most of the images in this article seem to have vanished so it’s a bit of a long read with no breaks, but writing this taught me so much about makeup brushes, from the different benefits of synthetic vs. natural to a breakdown of the most popular brushes and how to use them.

The Beauty & Science of Anti-Aging: What You Need to Know

I promise you, it is this post that got me wearing a dedicated sunscreen product on the regular. So much of aging is extrinsic, and the sun is the biggest cause. We can’t control looking older, but we can take steps to stop looking older too soon.

Expand Your Lipstick Lexicon with this Guide to Lipstick

Given my love for lipstick, how am I not going to write about it? Comprehensive info on colors, finishes, and application. I really enjoyed researching the history of lipstick.

All About Acne: Types, Treatments, and Tricks to Try

Imma be honest: when I wrote this guide, I was pretty good on the acne front. Now all of a sudden acne and I are bestest buddies, and I’m so glad I wrote this, because it’s helping me keep the damn bitch at bay.

On Beauty (Industry, Careers, & Blogging)


The Luxola Guide to Starting a Beauty Blog (Part 1) (Part 2)

Part 1 was written for people who are thinking of starting a beauty blog, and touches on: which platforms are best, how to name a blog, what pictures to take, how to share your content, and – most importantly – what to blog about! Part 2 sort of assumes that you already have a blog and want to take it to the next level with SEO improvements, blog optimizations, and monetization.

So You Want a Career in Beauty? 

Many people want to work in beauty but aren’t sure how to translate their love for makeup into a career. There’s more to the industry than being a makeup artist or model. This article reviews 8 potential careers with an overview on day-to-day tasks, pluses and minuses, and how to break in. AND IT HAS GIFS.

Beauty Standards Through the Ages (from Ancient to Victorian)

Written when I was burning out on writing about products and celebrities and making your body summer fit and fun, etc. This is a look at historical makeup trends that may or may not have killed people over time. Spoiler alert: lead in any form on your face is just no good.

Haul vs Hype: How to be a Financially Savvy Beauty Junkie

Raise your hand if you can relate to compulsive beauty buying! I’d raise mine but they’re busy swiping my debit card into oblivion. Some tough-love tips on how to check yo self before you wreck yo self.

Can You Go a Day Without Makeup?

A short thought piece on makeup’s true purpose, and the consequences of mistaking makeup for beauty.


Featured image source.

3/30 NaBloPoMo