fair trade. really?


All throughout cafes, supermarkets, and even clothing stores, “Fair Trade” seems to be a catch-all term for: this product is ethically made. But what if that wasn’t the case?

This summer, I have had the privilege of interning for bonJOY, a subscription box startup that features fashion, beauty, and lifestyle goods that support survivors of human trafficking and empower women globally.

Part of my internship was to research topics within the realm of ethical shopping and human trafficking that particularly interested me. One of the questions I sought to answer aimed at discerning the true meaning and impact of Fair Trade, in the context of Fair Trade certification.

bonJOY recently posted my findings on their blog in this article I wrote. Essentially, what I found was that the Fair Trade label isn’t enough. Not only does it not guarantee that all workers along the supply chain of that product are fairly reimbursed (migrant laborers are particularly at risk), but also Fairtrade International is not the most transparent organization out there.

As consumers, we must be vigilant in discerning what is truly good from the marketing buzzwords and labels that make us feel like we are doing our part.

As a side note, I also loved that I could utilize my new watercolor calligraphy skills to make the graphic for the article!


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is MATCHCo foundation the future?


I somewhat impulsively ordered the MATCHco Custom Tinted Hydrating Formula ($49 but $39 with a discount code) last week after seeing it in this Best Summer Foundations video by YouTuber Serein Wu, and I so far have no regrets.

The difference with MATCHCo is that you download the app on your iPhone and scan your wrists, forehead, and cheeks to create a custom foundation shade that is supposed to be perfect to your skin tone. It does sound a bit gimmicky, but the my result was a perfect match.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 4.39.46 PM
Photo Courtesy MATCHCo

The packaging of the bottle is nice with frosted glass and a well-functioning pump. It even says that  the formula was made exclusively for me on June 6!


The only complaint I have is that the white box the foundation came in was quite smudged from the gold tissue paper (as you can see in the images below) but that’s a very minor issue.


Also, I wish the bottle were full, as it clearly is not, or that the bottle were smaller so that it could be full, otherwise it seems like a waste of packaging.


The foundation has a light to medium coverage and a natural finish that doesn’t look cakey at all. Basically, it’s my ideal foundation. It is also extremely blendable and feels like a tinted moisturizer when you apply it. It’s scent-free, SPF-free, and uses some great ingredients which you can read all about on their website.


The formula is definitely not perfect for all skin types, but it’s great as an everyday foundation. I’m really looking forward to seeing more uses of smartphones to get the perfect shade for not only foundation, but also blush, bronzer, powder, etc. Custom makeup is the future, and I can’t wait!

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10 lessons from my first year at boston college


1. There is more value to a college education than pure academics. As much as I knew that learning in college would transcend the classroom, it was only until second semester that I truly came to value the nonacademic side of a BC education, which involves the Jesuit concept of cura personalis (care for the whole person). It’s being attentive, being reflective, and being loving. Only through nurturing all aspects of my humanity – relational, reflective, physical, emotional – will I practice discernment and remain conscientious about how I choose to live my life. And to anyone who hasn’t been exposed to Catholic or Jesuit education, this all sounds a bit wishy washy, but it’s so rewarding to keep an open mind.

2. Mentors and sponsors are vital. One of my professors said that your primary job in college is to find mentors. I have been fortunate enough to find a few professors this year who I would consider mentors. Whenever I felt overwhelmed or troubled, or even when I simply felt like taking a step back from the business of everyday college life, I would shoot one (or all) of them an email and set up times to meet. Although I would sometimes leave slightly more confused than before, each encounter would challenge me to think more deeply about what I wanted from my four years.

3. It’s okay to not be a STEM major. Coming to accept the notion that I don’t have to be a STEM major in order to be “successful” in life has definitely been a process. Growing up in Silicon Valley, the prominent message is that science, math, and engineering are the most respectable and praise-worthy pursuits. But unless I follow what my gut is telling me to do, I am doing a disservice to everyone including myself.

4. Your first friend won’t likely be your best friend. In the moment, when you just want friends to hang out with, you can confuse a friendship of convenience (by location or necessity) with true friendship. The more common experience is that you begin to find your people after at least a few months, because that is when most people tire of portraying a facade and simply are who they are (or at least that’s what I found to be true).

5. One-on-one friend dates are life. My favorite way to spend time with someone is one-on-one. It likely has to do with quality time being my love language, but I love it when I’m hanging out with a friend and she isn’t checking her phone every five minutes. When you have someone’s full attention and you give someone your full attention in return, conversation flourishes and connections forge.

6. Dating for practice is a potentially great thing. How else do you end up married with children? How else to you figure out what you seek in a relationship? And college is the ideal time to practice: You are in a bubble with people your age who you know through, at most, a couple degrees of separation. It’s not as risky.

7. It’s hard but vital to say no. Extracurricular involvements can become a runaway train unless I learn to say no to things. And it’s tricky because there are so many amazing opportunities out there! But it’s ultimately a matter of priorities and giving myself the freedom to allow the experiences I do say yes to sink in.

8. Planned spontaneity is not that spontaneous. During the school year, I am dependent on my daily planner. The majority of my time is planned out with class, work, or activities. Even my “free time” is planned out. But that’s not spontaneous. And while I’m young and relatively free of responsibility, I can afford to be spontaneous (even if it feels against my nature). So I want to take advantage of unplanned spontaneity while I can.

9. -26°F is pretty very cold. Though this winter was apparently very mild, the one time the weather was ridiculously cold happened to be the night of a ball, so I was in a dress without any tights on at night. Running maybe 30 yards from the hotel to the Uber was the coldest I have ever been. I was running through an ice box. Unpleasant is an understatement.

10. BC is the right fit for me. I spent first semester trying to answer this question: Am I happy at BC? And I feel so fortunate to have discovered that the answer is yes. It took a catalytic experience like LeaderShape (a week-long leadership and community building retreat) for me to realize how many amazing people are at BC. It might not be the most academically prestigious school, but like I said in my first point, BC for me is more about all the other “stuff”. It’s about the relationships. It’s about the mentorship. It’s about the vocational discernment. It’s about Boston. It’s about the opportunities. And it’s about the people.

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cauliflower pizza

No better way to start a personal blog than to highlight one’s newfound love for a newfound recipe.

This is cauliflower pizza. It’s best enjoyed right out of the oven. And it actually tastes good!

CauliflowerPizza 2

With a crust made from cauliflower and shredded cheese, this pizza is a clean, healthy, and gluten-free alternative to whatever it is that Domino’s sells (no offense to Domino’s). I found the recipe through Cassey Ho of Blogilates, and it was straightforward and easy to make. The only struggle was having to squeeze out the liquid after baking the cauliflower “rice” because my upper body strength is unfortunately nonexistent. Otherwise, the pizza required few ingredients and minimal prep!

And if you’re skeptical that it will taste good (or if you are somewhat of a picky pizza eater), try it anyways! You just might be pleasantly surprised.

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