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Lilibet Lifestyle

Lilibet's adventure in the US

Grow old with Iris Apfel—Five tips to stay young at the nineties

Iris Apfel is 95 years old and eccentric fashion legend in our era. Luxury brands and top shopping mall use her name to host events. At the age of 90s, she flew around the world to make speeches. She used to be a successful interior designer and textile maker. She helped to design interior decoration for several presidents. I saw her documentary yesterday on Netflix and found so many pearls of wisdom on her. In 2005, her personal clothes collection was exhibited in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (One of the largest and most prestigious museums in the world) and gained a huge success. Visitors who saw the exhibition found great pleasure in it. They are not only fascinated by her dynamic pieces but also her personality. I have seldom seen any elder people in her age have had such a high-quality life. Her sharp and clear voice is still hovering in my head. Here are some of the tips  Iris gives us:

1 On her staying young

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She gets more than 50 phone calls each day and received 3-4 interviews a week. How can she always have such high natural energy and give sarcastic comments and feedback to others? Her interview shows me elderly can think as fast as young in brain tasks. Her answers are very funny, and I can’t stop admiring her. She finds much joy and pleasure talking with people during the interviews.In her apartment, you can see a house with toys, dolls, and decks of colorful clothes. The Christmas atmosphere is going on and on in her house for more than half a year. She said,” I am always curious about everything and add a sense of humor when talking with people. You have to do that to stay young.” Lesson: Being genuine to yourself, staying curious and maintaining a sense of humor

2 On Cosmetic Surgery

She is strongly against plastic surgery. These days there are too many artificial beauties in our life. The standard of the beauty is significantly homogenized. People are chasing about the ideal of beauty and hope to become an overnight sensation after the change of a smaller nose, bigger breasts, and a tighter tummy. Celebrities, fashion bloggers, homemakers, white collars and even college students are crazy about plastic surgeries. Many of the stars try to look the same nowadays. However, this is a risky and addictive business. Once you start to do it, there is no end, and very often you will get an unpleasant result. You once have a beautiful and fresh face, and now it may be even less attractive than before. People will get anxiety and depression after the cosmetics surgery fails. According to Huffington Post, a study by the Aesthetic Surgery Institute found that just under a third of patients were unhappy with some aspect of their facelift
Love yourself and your face. Having a strong personal style is more important than being pretty. Pretty will fade away as time passes. Style won’t.

3 On people

Iris always cares about other people and speaks funny of young folks. People no matter what age has so much joy being around her. Her presence is moving. She often says she is tired. But she keeps participating activities to talk with young people and shares her ideas with them. One small detail I found touching is she says greetings to security guards, policemen and people on the road.

4 On Fashion


More and more people live without a soul, they’re just living in an empty shell. Nobody cares about what you are wearing, and it’s none of my business to care about what other people wear, as long as you are happy about it. The style is a personal thing and in your DNA. You should be happy about what you wear and don’t need to care about what the rest of the world thinks about you.

5 On her happy marriage


The biggest inspiration I got from Iris is her sweet marriage. Her relationship with husband Carl is an example of caring love. Her husband was 101 years old (Died last year) He treated her like a princess throughout his life. Their marriage lasts for 68 years, and they become like one person. She said about the secret of her marriage,” Give each other privacy and maintain a sense of humor.” One thing I found funny is they call each other pussycat and baby. She also mentioned the phenomena that Millennial shares every detail of their relationship on the Internet is bad. It’s nobody’s business to care about what your private parts look like. Keep them private!

Hope we can all stay fabulous at the age of nineties.

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Source

1 Four Reasons never get plastic surgery

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/07/cons-of-plastic-surgery_n_5618623.html

2 Cosmetic surgery is bad. That women feel the need for it is worse

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/cosmetic-surgery-is-bad-that-women-feel-the-need-for-it-is-worse-8435780.html

3 Fashion legend Iris Apfel on secret to her happy marriage

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/fashion-legend-iris-apfel-discusses-secret-to-happy-marriage-and-why-she-rejects-plastic-surgery-in-10430331.html

Minimalism should be your 2017 resolution

I loved minimalism and obsessed about this idea and lifestyle. I strongly support the simplicity/minimalism movement. In the current fast-consuming world, everyone is accelerating to use the resource on our planet. Our earth is becoming unsustainable. Nowadays we can often hear people say: less is more.

1 Environmental friendly life style

Accelerating global warming, drinking clean water crisis, habitat losses on species and air pollution have the direct impact on our lives and next generation. When I am sitting in front of my laptop reading news related to the environment, I feel painful and want to contribute to make a difference. I said to myself:” If I want to change the world? Change me first.” Less consumption equals less use of the world’s resources. When I went to New York University, I saw many rich friends around me were crazy about the colorful material world, always shopping the latest trend and luxury brands. I made up my mind at that time I would never lead an extravagant lifestyle like them. I chose the minimalism instead of consumerism to make a difference.

2 Rising awareness of Inequality, poverty and injustice behind consumerism

I saw a movie “Blood Diamond” starred by Oscar winner Leonardo Wilhelm Dicaprio months ago. I learn that behind every shining and chanting diamond are the blood and tears of cheap human labor. Behind consumerism, there is injustice, inequality, and poverty. Growing up in the city known as the world factory—Dongguan China, I saw there is a large population working under the long hour and low wages. Although conditions are getting better, some key issues such as house price, food safety and “Hukou” issues, etc. haven’t solved  yet. One reason behind the distorted social phenomenon is the government and top 1% of the wealthy are inciting the consumerism flame and the rich accumulate ten times more wealth than the poor. The disparities among social classes are exaggerated, and people’s livelihood problems still haven’t been solved.

3 Minimalism will help you concentrate on your work

Thanks to technology, we can process everything on a single computer. We no longer need TV, DVD, photo albums, calendar, books, calculators, notebook, USB, and paper. I used to be a shopaholic and passionate about fashion. I always feel something is missing after I purchase the product and my desire is unfulfilled. Then I realize this loop will never end. New styles come out every minute, and my wallet will finally end up empty. Then I stop shopping like I used to be. (But I still and will always love fashion!) It makes me feel more confident in myself, less stress and more freedom. I spend more time on reading, writing and caring about people in my life. I begin to lead a sober and sophisticated life.

One sentence to the conclusion: Less is more!  Let us focus on things really matter to us. 🙂


Source

1 Becoming minimalist

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

2 Less Is More: 19 Reasons Being A Minimalist Is The Best Way Of Life

https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/life-changing-clothing-organization-tips?utm_term=.gnwnoZ8Qw#.yoGEX0re1

3 53 Seriously Life-Changing Clothing Organization Tips

https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/life-changing-clothing-organization-tips?utm_term=.gnwnoZ8Qw#.yoGEX0re1

2016 Three beauty& fashion brands fall short of expectation

As a millennium, I am quite friendly and easygoing. I seldom write negative reviews about others. It makes me feel bad about myself. Especially the eastern education I have tells me always say good things. Throughout years I make an effort to build up a healthy cyber ecosystem. However, after two years in States, I realize that sometimes I just need to speak out so that brands can perform better to serve the consumers. Here are three brands that I think falling short of our expectations:

No.1″ Ivanka Trump Footwear Collection” (www.ivankatrump.com)

I never purchase shoes in Bloomingdales because I was a student then. After making some money doing on campus job at New York University, I thought maybe I could buy a pair of shoes at Bloomingdales this time. I came across the “Ivanka Trump Fashion line” and tried on one pair of pink flat. It looks cute and casual, but it is pricey — $145 bucks. I thought maybe I could invest one pair for the whole summer. But in my mind I knew I could buy a similar design with the lower price.

You may ask why do you still buy Ivanka’s footwear knowing you can find a bargain at another place? The reason is just that it is Ivanka Trump! Her elegant, cultured and poised image as a mother and businesswoman inspired me for a long time. I never meet her in person and don’t know if she is so perfect as the article describe. At least, it’s the way media brands her and the way she brands it herself.

After buying her fashion line footwear, I found out the quality of her shoes is far worse than the brand she wants to craft. The brand image and the product quality are very inconsistent. After wearing the shoes for one month, they are worn– very hard to wear. It is heavy, and you feel like walking on a surfboard.

I sent a tweet to express my experience on Twitter. Guess what? People retweeted it hundreds of times, and people expressed the same anger. Quote from one of the people who comments @ Penny: This happens when you steal the design for how a shoe looks but not how it makes. #grabyourwallet #suedx34 design theft. People grumbled about the price and quality of Ivanka Trump brand on the Internet.

Sorry Ivanka. I don’t think I will buy anything from your brand from now on.

No.2 Anthropologie Clothes(anthropologie.com)

This brand has been my favorite brand for years. I am so passionate about shopping in the store. Its success lies in its story-telling and visual branding. The clothes won’t worth the price without its content marketing. The lush, creative environment, gorgeous design, sweet staff and unique store design are key elements in its branding. However, this year I found that the price of Anthropologies rises by 15% at least. The quality is still the same. A small T-shirt cost $128, and a casual dress cost $168. However, at the end of the clearance season, the price of the dress will drop to $28. When I saw the price, I was Jaw-dropping—are you kidding me? This kind of pricing strategy hurts the brand image. What if consumers bought it when it first came out?

Besides, the online customer service is slow and inefficient. I lost my three items worth $500 in their GAP,PA return department. They never process the return and the customer service also has no idea where are the clothes are right now.

Conclusion:  Insanely high price with the quality and bad online customer service!

No.3 Crest 3D Teeth White Whitestrips (http://crest.com/en-us/products/whitestrips)

One of my college friends recommended me to use this brand. I bought it on Amazon and tried this one for my upcoming engagement photo shoot. I used the one-hour express whitening strip between 10pm-11pm at night. At 4 am in the early morning, my teeth and head were so hurt that I was forced to wake up. I couldn’t fall asleep again. My teeth have never been such painful, and tooth nerve was irritated. I was choking on the bed, and my husband comforted me. The next whole day my teeth were sore and sour at working place. I couldn’t eat for breakfast and drink hot/cold water. I am sure I will never use this product again.Yes, it makes my teeth looks white, but the side effects just push me far away from the product.

Summary

I am writing this not merely an anger or revenge but also as a warning. No matter a company brand or personal brand, the brand identity should be consistent with product quality. At the end of the day, the customers’ satisfaction is the most important.

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Sources:
1 Long Hours, Low Wages Alleged at Ivanka Trump Shoe Factory
http://www.racked.com/2016/10/12/13243756/ivanka-trump-shoe-factory-violations

2 Ivanka Trump is just a Donald Trump in Disguise
http://www.businessinsider.com/ivanka-trump-donald-cosmo-interview-2016-9

3 It’s war! Italian shoe brand Aquazzura calls out pregnant Ivanka Trump, accusing her of copying its $785 fringed sandal design to create her own CHEAPER $145 imitation
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3503384/It-s-war-Italian-shoe-brand-Aquazzura-calls-pregnant-Ivanka-Trump-accusing-copying-785-fringed-sandal-design-create-CHEAPER-145-imitation.html

4 Whitening strip side effects- Sensitive teeth & gums
https://www.animated-teeth.com/whitening_strips/a4_teeth_whitening.htm

How to rediscover your path in life?

The way for me to rediscover my inner self in through blogging. After all those years spent in a Chinese curriculum, I felt like I was homogenized. My critical thinking ability was paralyzed. Class of 60 students spent every day together doing quizzes, roting Marxism and Mao/Deng Theory, cracking difficult Maths problems. My creativity and imagination were buried under textbooks.

Having stayed in the States for two years is a mind-blowing experience. Hearing people criticize their country liberally, challenging their system and attacking the corrupt election procedure were exhilarated. With this new freedom to rethink about Chinese/Western society, I am more curious every day. I also reclaimed the passion for learning more about public policy and international relations, watching history documentaries and writing blogs. I delve deeper into the matters of my life and the worldview that shapes me. Blogs help me to lead an intentional life, develop an eye for meaningful things and become a well-rounded person.

Another meaningful thing about this blog is that I want it to be the zone for Chinese to stand up and speak out our voices. Recently, there is news that Chinese ethnicity is being made fun of and belittled in front of the public eyes. I was ashamed by this. I am proud of being Chinese and I want to share my pride in my culture to this country. I decide to write, to tell the stories of my Chinese friends that they wouldn’t tell in their second language. The western world deserves to know us better from our voice instead of mainstream propaganda.At the same time, I also encourage more people to write no matter in what language . It will help you discover your hidden potential and build up more confidence.

As times goes by, I realize that I lead a meaningful life with my unique view and have something useful to share through blogging. I become more observant and give weight to the personal growth that I am experiencing. Hope this blog will change both me and your life.

How to survive in New York City– Guide for Chinese students

Spending two years living in New York is lovely. I have learned some typical skills to survive in New York. No matter in which big cities, those rules are the same.

Less is more. This sentence includes many things: opportunities, information, experience, relationships, and activities. When you are standing in the middle of time square, all senses are alert and overwhelmed – dozens of variously sized Neon advertisements, bright flashing lights, unorganized traffic with tourists bumping into you, smells of burnt peanuts and pretzels, the murmurs of thousands of layers of conversations.Yes, I love the vibe and creative side of the city. On the contrary, I was lost in the epicenter of American overstimulation. Every scene is informative; every speech is inspiring; every person is either talented or has an extraordinary background. How to function in the midst of overstimulation and not being paralyzed? Finding ways to disconnect or calm ourselves regularly are the only ways to maintain sanity is such an intense environment. We just need to focus on one thing that is most important to us and fight for it. Enough is enough.

Everyone’s gonna start from somewhere. New Yorkers are from all over the world. As a Chinese, we often undergo an identity crisis. Back in our country, everyone seems to have the similar background. But In New York, people tell completely different stories. I constantly challenge and question myself what I have been doing for the last 22 years? I once tried to compare myself to other people around me, but all the comparisons are meaningless. It just made me feel worse about myself. Then I started to realize that, one might have learned the doctrine earlier than the other, or might be a master in his unique field. I am just an ordinary girl. I need to accept my limitation and start from where I am. I have my gifts, talents, and values of success.   Everyone’s going to start from somewhere. Be patient and faithful.

Be professional. There is an inherent energy in New York City that it is famous for. It makes people want to get up and do a million things all day and stay up all night. There is a famous Lyrics in Jay Z’s “Empire State Building” Song. “If I could make it here/I could make it anywhere.” I was having four internships at the same time during my first year in New York. Practice is the sole criterion of truth. Although our primary goal coming to New York is going to graduate school, we should not neglect the importance of working hard to do internships during part-time. I have never learned so much in my life until I started to work in a company. At 2015 spring semester opening ceremony, I was selected to make a speech in front of the new students.I told them, “we can work hard and play hard at the same time. ”

Escape the city for a while and treat yourself well. New York rises with concrete. I didn’t learn to truly appreciate the soothing ambiance of the peak of a mountain until I was fully submerged in the metropolitan lifestyle. My friends always know where to get the nature fix. We went to uptown New York to pick apples, tried Michelin restaurant, ate the best green tea cake in Lady M and dim sum in Chinatown.

Go to big cities when you are young. You never try, you never know.

Broadway Show Guide

The biggest privilege being a New Yorker is we can access to our favorite Broadway Show within thirty minutes. Broadway is a wide street in New York City that runs the full length of Manhattan. It’s the part of Broadway between 42nd and 53rd streets — including Times Square — that is considered the home of the American theater industry.  I am a fan for Broadway musical. Ever since my first visit to NY, I fell in love with the city because of Blue Men group. In the past several years I have seen fourteen Broadway show. Here is the list :

Mama Mia!
Aladdin

Sleep no more
Cats
Curious Incident of Dog at the night-time
An American In Paris
Chicago
Something Rotten
School of Rock
Jersey Boys
Phantom of the Opera
Les Miserables
Avenue Q
Fun Home
Cabaret

 

On the top of the list is Mamma Mia!
The story Mamma Mia! uses the most famous ABBA songs to tell the story of a young bride who invites three of her mother’s ex-boyfriends to her wedding in hopes of discovering her birth father.

It has been on my bucket list for three years.Mamma Mia is the best musical I’ve ever seen. I love all the insanely catchy songs from ABBA in the musical and I can sing every single of them. I learned all the songs of ABBA when I was in China because of the movie version of Mamma Mia. I remember the tears of joy couldn’t stop coming out during watching the show. It is one of the best experience in my life.

The second one I love is Aladdin

When we were young, we all read the story of Aladdin. Aladdin is a poor boy who falls in love with a princess, Jasmine, and, with the aid of a genie, outwits a wicked vizier.

We experienced 2,5 hours of pure pleasure and happiness! It’s got humor and close to vocal perfection. Everything is state of the art in this show: from scenic design, choreographies and special effects to the incredible performance of a top notch cast. Watching this show is like in a romantic Dream. In the final moment, Alladin and Jasmine rode on the magic carpet around the shimmering and sparkling stage. It took my heart away. Feeling like I was in a dream.

The third one I want to introduce is the Curious Incident of Dog at the night-time we saw yesterday at DC.

It talks about a fifteen-year-old boy called Christopher WHO has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that changes his life forever.

Chris is a boy with autism. He couldn’t have a normal life like other kids.  Molly said she had a neighbor who raises children with autism. It requires parents to be extremely patient with the weird performance of their children. This show brings this group of people to the stage and provides us an immersive stage experience. This show helps to go inside the head of an exceptional young man. The vision of Christopher flying through space and walking on walls through bursting light remains with me.

Fourth one, sleep no more. This broadway show you must go out and see experience yourself.

Finally, four more shows to see on my bucket list:

  • Lion King
  • Wicked
  • The Book of Mormon 
  • Hamilton 

Broadway is AWESOME!

 

How to win friends and get people to like you

Being in New York is an almost overwhelming experience. I regard New York City as the most exciting city in the world. It is an incredible, inexhaustible engine. When I first got here, I eagerly want to make friends from all over the world. However, my life experience is dull. I am a typical good student in China, and all my life is about achieving excellence in my academics. Go to class, do homework, eat, sleep and watch TV dramas! After admitted by NYU, I decide to start a brand-new chapter here. Nobody knows me in New York, and everything is new.

At first, it was hard for me to know new people. I feel the disinterest that American students show towards initiating a friendship with us (the international students). They are actually pretty fun once I get to know them, but not all of them would like to take the first step to making friends with me). After struggling a bit, I knew I had to take the first step. Why not taking the initiative to entertain, and invite classmates to my apartment for dinner or something different? Food connects us no matter what culture we are. Since I went to culinary school and studied Cantonese food for two months, I can start from what I know. Then the first invitation was sent out. Things worked out very well unexpectedly. I became known as an excellent chef from China!

Now please enjoy the pretty ladies in the pictures.

It is the first spring recess kick-off lunch. Four hours talk with those girls. Alana is originally from Columbia and an American Citizen(left).Diane is from Paris, France. Ran and Jessie in the middle are my best friends. On the right, it is Nadine from Switzerland. I cooked pork feet for them. Diane and Nadine were shocked. They never ate pork feet in their countries before.

The girl on the right is Sara. Tiffany, Sharon and I went to her home on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. She was the host and invited three international students to experience the real Thanksgiving in an American family. We received the warm welcome at her home and ate Turkey leg for the first time in our lives. To express our gratitude and appreciation to Sara, we invited her to my home for Christmas dinner. I cooked pork feet this time too. All of them like it very much. Pork feet became my signature dish from then on.

The girl on the left is Bianca. She is one of my best friends in NYU. She is from Belgium, near Germany, Netherlands, and France. She can speak many languages.  We have a lot of things in common and spent every Tuesday night together, eating and talking. We went to watch Broadway show, Elan’ concert at Carnegie Melon Music Hall, played bowling, ate dim sum with her mom, went to masquerade parties and ran along the Hudson River. We built up a strong friendship in the second year.  The girl sitting next to me is Karen. She is from the Philippines and has ten years working experience in large enterprises. She gave me patient guidance in Integrated Marketing Class during my first semester at NYU.

These two pictures are some good Chinese friends from my program. It had recorded the moment before I left New York City. For average preparation time for those big parties, it took me about 10 hours from start to end. It is time-consuming. But when I look back all the happy moments, it just made all the effort worth it.

Looking back to my life in new york, there is no regret. I just want to enhance my cooking skills and dig my maximum potentials step by step in the future.

Mysterious Luray Cavern

Back to the years when I attended undergraduate in Beijing, the whole city has been surrounded by hazardous smog. The air pollution level of our capital city was very high. I could even count the blue sky days on my fingers. People had to wear hygiene mask doing outdoor activities. I chose to stay indoor– reading, watching videos or shopping. I remember there was news at that time: a foreigner died in hospital because he ran 10 km outdoor every day in Beijing without wearing a mask. What kills him is the atrocious smog high in PM 2.5.

Moving to the States changes my lifestyle. I gradually fall in love with nature. The US benefits from an abundance of natural resources such as forest, oil, fresh water, mineral, coal, gas and fertile soil. Although our country counts 12% of world resources, when the big cake is divided by 1.3 billion each person gets a tiny portion.

People here usually go hiking, surfing, biking and sunbathing during public holidays. Personally, I love visiting national parks. We already went several famous national parks in the States, such as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion, Antelope Valley, etc. There are two famous parks near where we currently live: one is Great Falls Park, and another is Shenandoah National Park. This summer, our whole family went to Shenandoah National Park together. There are many caves in that area due to the softest rock type from blue mountain ridges. Not far from Shenandoah, there is a second-largest cavern in the US called Luray Cavern. It is a must-see place for everyone visits Virginia.

2
Shenandoah National Park

Luray Cavern was discovered by five local men in 1878 and privately owned by the county now. Guangxi Guilin also has the similar or even better caverns than Luray. But I have never been to those caverns so far in my country. Most of the formations of the cavern are iron, calcium, and magnesium. In Luray, one unique thing here is that there is a large room to perform weddings.How romantic! (Found a picture in Google)

cavern-wedding

My father is an excellent tour guide and kept telling us the knowledge behind all the fantastic views. Luray Cavern continues to grow at the rate of one cubic inch every 120 years. There are also tour guides everywhere available for us to ask questions.

An enchanting capture from inside the caverns

The world’s largest instrument is pleasing to our ears and eyes:

1

Sunday Costco

Today is Sunday. We planned to return two bottles of body lotion back to Costco. Failed to realize it opens at 10 am in the morning, we got there at 9 am. The parking lot was empty at that time. We figured that maybe we could go to grab a cup of cappuccino then came back at 10 am. To our surprise, when we approached the Costco parking lot again at 9:50 am, the whole parking space was full. Many people already were waiting outside with big shopping carts in their hands. There were probably hundreds of people waiting. It is crazy! At 10 am, the door opened. The staff walked out, and everybody was cheering. He asked people whether people were happy. I can’t believe American like Costco so much, and members are loyal. Another funny thing, we found in Costco today is they begin to sell Christmas trees and other holiday related stuff. There are also five pianos displayed inside, prices ranging from $2000 to twenty thousand.

As a millennial, I just think bulked-size products in Costco are too much for us. The company tricks us to purchase more than we can consume at home weekly. The grocery often ends into the trash can because the fruit rotted away. It makes me feel guilty. We don’t need to stock up one-year oil, toilet paper towels in a small department. I think Costco should think carefully how to attract our generation.

Another growth point for Costco management team is they miss a very important group — Asian. As a Chinese, I don’t think they sell food or snacks that cater to Asian Demographic. But I do see many Asian enjoy shopping at Costco, like my dad. Most of the time, after shopping at Costco, we have to go to another Asian Market- H mart.  For the solution, in one way, Costco can invite Asian chef come in and create space in the cooked food area. I know Costco’s hot dogs and pizzas are cheap, but the calories are too high. We still want to lead a calory restriction lifestyle. If Costco can bring in Asian food line, that would help our life much easier.

Hope Costco can bring more surprise to us in the future.

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