A Review of the Masks I Panic-Purchased for Pandemic

Masks are the new norm. At first, brands were almost being scolded for pivoting to making masks and potentially taking advantage of our current pandemic in order to turn a profit.  However, I really appreciate these companies doing this because not only are regular masks hard to find, cute masks are hard to come by. And if I have to wear these things out and about for the foreseeable future, I need some that make me excited to wear them out.



Vogue and GQ and The Strategist all released listicles with designers that were putting out masks. I scrolled through each several times before deciding which masks were the best for me to buy, in terms of price, functionality, designer, and look.  Below is a review of the masks I have ordered to date:

Alice and Olivia- Stace Face Mask
Price: $10.00
Order date: April 7, 2020
Delivery date: STILL HAS NOT BEEN DELIVERED
Thoughts: A&O was one of the first brands I saw putting out masks at the beginning of quarantine, so naturally I ordered one at the beginning of quarantine. Little did I know that I would still not have this mask over a month later. I'm still looking forward to receiving this mask, because I have a clear idea of how I want to style it, and because it looks like we will still have to wear masks out for the foreseeable future.

   


Apolis - Customizable Face Masks
Price: $19.00 (price goes down with quantity)
Order date: April 21, 2020
Delivery date: April 28, 2020
Thoughts: As I've mentioned before, I saw the masks on @JaceyDuprie or Damsel in Dior and knew I needed to have it. I love customized things and I have always loved Apolis bags.  I wasn't exactly sure how the fit would be based on their photos online, but I still ordered 3.  The "I'm Smiling" mask was one of their pre-made masks on the site.  Overall, the mask is just a flat piece of cotton t-shirt fabric that has straps to go around your ears.  There is no shape to it, so it doesn't contour around your nose or chin.  Even though this may not look like all the other masks, I find the lack of contour (for lack of a better word) actually makes this mask more breathable (since the air is coming in around my nose).  The writing shows up a little bit off center though so it's not that easy to get flattering photos with this (which might not be your priority).
Look: Unlimited possibilities for sayings, can create multiple vibes with these.
Comfort: Not the most flattering fit but definitely comfortable because it isn't tight or constricting.
Breathability: Best out of all the masks I've tried due to the lack of shaping.



An Analysis of My Quarantine Instagrams To Date


My Instagram content during Quarantine has been on point, if I do say so myself.  I'm taking advantage of every corner of my apartment and every walk for exercise or takeout! Why NOT? What else do I have going on? Anyone who thinks otherwise, anyone who thinks I have no life, is a hater. No one has a life right now, and it's not my fault that you aren't creative enough to come up with new and different instagram photos during quarantine.

IG #1: St. Patrick's Day 



Backstory: One of the first days in Quarantine, on a walk, before we had to wear masks outside.  I rented a green dress from RTR to wear to work, but it made me look like an elf and I wasn't going in to the office anyway.  I decided to wear my green OV pants and my favorite green Madewell puffer, especially because it was freezing outside. I forced Andrew to take this photo of me on our walk to pick up our weekly pizza at Sliver.  I was not wearing any makeup and I had a huge pimple on my chin after a stressful MSJ reply-brief-writing session. This photo was forced, okay!

Like Analysis: 37 likes? That is a poor showing for me. But - I get it. This is not an inspired post.  The caption sucked!  I just felt stifled, not being able to go anywhere cool, I was supposed to be in Hawaii at this point, and I just needed attention on ig and posted it. Whatever! I don't regret it!



IG #2: Zoomin to Hawaii 



Backstory: I had initially come to an agreement with Andrew that he would take pictures of me in all the clothes I got for Hawaii in exchange for cancelling our Hawaii trip.  In hindsight, it's obviously good that we did not go because we would have been stranded there.  This Farm Rio shirt was a RTR pick for Hawaii, and I loved it. This was one of the first few days that we were on zoom every day, and the backgrounds were still a novel thing.  Everyone knew I was supposed to be in Hawaii so I was dressing in Hawaii-themed things every day, wearing a hibiscus flower in my hair most days and swapping it out for a rainbow cowrie shell necklace.

Like Analysis: 58 likes is more than I was expecting for this photo, especially given the showing that my St. Patty's day post had gotten.  It gives me hope that I don't have to feel like I need to post full body outfit pics clearly taken by Andrew in order to get a significant amount (for me) of likes.  I think it's because it was relatable and funny! I still think it's funny when I look at it now.


IG #3: Hawaiian Take-Out Vibes



Backstory: Here's the hibiscus flower I was talking about.  Andrew and I went to get Hawaiian food because that's what we were supposed to be eating all week!!! I considered wearing a full on tropical dress to this restaurant, but I stopped myself because Andrew obviously would have been embarrassed and it was probably under 50 degrees out that day.  Regrets! I asked him to take some photos, but again, I was against wearing makeup at this point in Quarantine, and they turned out bad. I decided to take a risk and post a selfie, something I don't typically do on my ig for fear of looking more narcissistic than I already do. [side note: it's as if I think people believe Andrew just takes pictures of me looking chic because he thinks I look chic, not because I beg and force him to take them]

Like Analysis: 50 likes. Again, I'm just not expecting much from people these days, so I'm happy with this amount. I actually think that 50 is the number I strive to with every post as I currently still have less than 500 followers.  I'm happy that this selfie didn't totally fail and that people were responding to my pretend-Hawaii content!


IG #4: Big Cat Energy



Backstory: I had been waiting on my RTR items to all get processed (via mail, since the stores were all closed) just so I could get this leopard Adam Lippes outfit. I finally did it! I put it on just to walk outside and force Andrew to take photos of me outside our neighborhood liquor store. Clearly this is also when mask time was starting.  This also was around the time that Tiger King was at its peak, and is also probably the last time I will be wearing leopard for a while.

Like Analysis: 77 likes! Hell yeah. I am glad that people appreciate that this is a sick outfit photo.  Of course, the photos taken by others always do better than selfies or photos without me in them. I also got a lot of comments on this photo, which honestly feels better than getting likes. Comments mean engagement! People care enough about the photo to comment!


BEST #INFLUENCED QUARANTINE BUYS

I have always been easily influenced and am always checking out listicles put out by bloggers as to what they are buying.  I want to share what I have actually purchased based on those things that everyone is putting out, as someone without unaffiliated links or sponsorships.

Now that I have put my Rent the Runway subscription on pause (following the HuffPo expose calling out their treatment of the workers in their distribution centers) I am itching to keep buying stuff to fill the void left by those black garment bags.  But also, who am I kidding. I have been buying stuff nonstop.  These are my Top 5 #InfluencedBuys purchased during quarantine, including who they were #influencedby, and unaffiliated links to purchase (again, not a real influencer):



1. Ugg Fluff Yeah Slippers
Influenced by: @LissyRoddyy on IG

My feet were getting too hot in my closed-toe Ugg slippers, and they were dirty and not cute in my quarantine mirror selfies. I saw LissyRoddy post these in the light pink, and immediately needed to find them.  They were sold out in that light pink color at Nordstrom, but I decided that these hot pink ones spoke to me and most of my loungewear more. Plus light pink would get dirtier more easily than these.  I posted them all over my IG and got the most responses than I ever have on any other item! I felt like a real influencer. Everyone wanted to know how they fit and if I liked them! I do like them, I wear them every day, I ordered a size 7 even though I usually get a 7.5-8 in regular shoes, and I don't regret getting this color.



2. Eva Howard Needlepoint Kit
Influenced by: @Carly on IG / carlytheprepster.com, purchased directly from EvaHowardDesigns.com

I wanted to start needlepointing during the Q, and had no idea that canvas kits were so expensive. Since they were definitely going to cost me upwards of $50, I decided that I might as well go with a canvas design that I actually really liked.  Enter this canvas, with perfect colors, and my favorite quote to come out of Laura Dern's character Renata on Big Little Lies.

QUARANTINE AMAZON BUYS

I waver every day on how I feel about Amazon.  On one hand, I do not like what it has done to small businesses.  On the other hand, I don't know where else to get a lot of the products featured.  I have resolved to only buy books from independent bookstores in my neighborhood.  However, when I need specialty items in two (or more at this point) days, I don't know where else to turn except Amazon.



I have been going crazy in buying stuff in the past few months.  Quarantine has curbed it a little bit, considering Amazon's stock and delivery windows for nonessential items are all over the place.

Animal Crossing New Horizons - never an AC player before, I bought into the hype and blindly pre-ordered the game. I had always heard I would like it due to the decorating aspect of it, but I couldn't understand what the point of the game was.  I still don't.  I tell people that the point of the game is to complete tasks to make money in order to buy things to make your character, house, and island the best possible.  My real life in a video game.




Luigi's Mansion 3 - still reeling from Super Mario Odyssey ending, and unable to even make it to Zora's Grotto in BOTW, I needed something that I could actually play.  While the world isn't as expensive as Mario's in Odyssey, and it isn't as cute because you are dealing with ghosts and a haunted hotel, it's a good substitute in the meantime while Nintendo comes up with another good Mario game.

Sunglasses Drawers - Andrew and I have Too Many Sunglasses.  I have approximately 75% more than he does, but I was tired of seeing his sunglasses on all of the tables and my previous sunglasses storage was overflowing.  I have always wanted to use one of those clear nail polish racks as storage for sunglasses, but we don't have the wall space for it in our tiny apartment.  Believe me, I ordered one and had to return it.  The next best solution - drawers. Each little section fits one pair of sunglasses, for a total of 12 pairs.  Andrew has 3 pairs and my sunglasses take up the other 9 spots. I also am still using my Anthropologie glass case for 5 other pairs of sunglasses. I have a problem!!!!

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Rainbow Cowrie Shell Necklace and Bracelet Set - I was feeling bad for myself and my Hawaii trip getting cancelled so I bought this. That's it. I wore it every day for a week during the beginning of Quarantine, when I was supposed to be in Hawaii. Still like it.

Barrel Crimper - I was clearly influenced to get this. It is very large and hard to use. I have only tried to use it once, and will one day try again. I burned my hand that first time, so I'm not racing to get back to it.  Plus I'm not even going anywhere during this quarantine.  One day.

Popcorners Variety Pack - Influenced by Whitney Simmons. I bought these for the office before Quarantine and ordered another pack for home. They are sold out now, like most other good foods on Amazon. Really wishing for them to come back in stock.

Yeti Mug - I usually use a tall Yeti at work for my coffee, since I often get distracted working and I'm not just chugging coffee.  My coffee was getting cold really fast using regular mugs at home, so I ordered this, missing my work Yeti.  I like the handle, but it needs a straw or else you will likely burn your mouth and/or spill all over yourself.  I use it every day.

Embroidery Scissors - I needlepoint now and I can't use peasant scissors to cut my yarn! I need extra sharp scissors so that I can thread the threat through the needle eye! 100% worth it. Plus I can keep these little scissors in my needlepoint bag. Not that I have an actual needlepoint bag yet. It's the ziploc bag that my canvas came in.

Ice Roller - 100% influenced, but I got it in pink/red instead of that blue/green. I use it when my face is puffy, when I have a headache, or when I need to wake up fast for a morning zoom. It's great for all 3! I'm sure it will also come in handy when I'm stuck in my non-air conditioned apartment this summer.

Tie Dye Kit - #Influenced. Have used this around 3 times already, so pretty worth it. Sold out though.

White Long Sleeve Tees - I needed stuff to tie dye, and got one for Andrew too.  Great deals!

White Thermal Long Underwear Set - Turned into a really cute tie dye pajama set! I was trying to think of other white things that I could buy other than a sweatshirt and sweatpants set, also considering most were sold out. I also considered buying this white maxi dress, but eventually decided against it.

Acrylic Paint Set - Bought this so I could paint a rainbow to go in my window, after watching Kacey Musgraves' performance of Rainbow during that stay at home concert. Also thought I would paint my own needlepoint canvases.  Still haven't opened it yet.

Flat Power Strip - needed something to organize all the plugs now being used in my desk area, since I'm here every day with multiple devices.

iPad Composition Book Case - I've been using my iPad a lot again, for keeping my daily to-do lists and watching TV or using the timer while I workout in my tiny apartment corner. This case looks cute, has a spot for my Apple Pencil, and can also act as a stand. Everything I want in a case! It also isn't too thick and still fits in my Leatherology zip case.

At the time of writing this, I am also currently waiting on these two things:

You. Me. Us. - The only book I'm compromising on in terms of ordering on Amazon.  The first self-published book from a dear college friend. The cover art is chic and will look great in my apartment (and in another book instagram that I'm planning) and I'm really excited to read it!

Eyebrow Scissors - My eyebrows are out of control without being able to get them professionally done, and I'm hoping a little trim will help. Anything will help at this point!


That's all for now. I'm considering whether or not I should start an Amazon storefront but I should see if I can keep this up regularly to even have a need for one. 

WELCOME BACK

This website/blog has gone through several different iterations. You may have known that I previously had a pizza blog called Girl Meets Pizza through 2016. In 2017, I started Best, Isabella for a quick stint, just writing about things I thought about.  A few months later, I rebranded it to "halika dito" as a pointed reference to my ethnic background and jumping off point for my Poshmark store. 



Clearly, since I haven't worked on writing anything for this blog since March 2019, well over a year from today, writing/blogging isn't easy -- especially as a lawyer, working long hours and already spending so much time typing at a computer.

Being back in quarantine has inspired me to start writing posting again, mostly to fully realize my influencer self, but also because I spend a lot of my time looking for blogs to read.  As always, I want to put out the content that I'm looking for and not seeing.  However, although it sounds very glamorous (and I'm obviously still far from it), I'm not sure being an influencer is really the right profession for me. Not only do you have to really put yourself out there at all times, and take all the criticism and judgment that comes with it, but you are basically insisting that people copy you, and I don't know if I can really handle that just yet.  But maybe that's part of my growth.  Currently, I'm fine with people copying me, as long as I feel like I get some sort of acknowledgment.  I don't have to be tagged or anything but I just like to know that I actually "influenced" someone to get something.

For example, I have been posting on and on about my Ugg Fluff Yeah slippers. I have never gotten so many responses about a product before! People have been asking me how I like them, what the sizing is like, etc.  I am thrilled that so many people are liking them and getting them too!  This is the kind of influencing I could get used to.

However, I also recently posted that I ordered some customized masks from Apolis.  I was excited to bring awareness to the brand, who is also donating diapers to Baby2Baby with every mask order, but also pioneering the custom-mask market, which I think will be big in the quarantine days to come.  No one really responded to this instagram story, but I couldn't help but feel that people were still going to check out Apolis and maybe buy some on their own.  I'm sure most influencers would not care.  I, on the other hand, not being an actual influencer and just a regular person, couldn't help but feel like I didn't want people to see what I had posted and get it for themselves without any credit to me.  Clearly I'm selfish and just want attention! I am thinking now that this is something I have to get over, as well as the fear of judgment, in order to fully realize my potential.

I like to think that I have good taste and could make it as an actual influencer, even if for now it's just my small circle of friends.  Only time will tell if this will actually happen.  For now, I just have my instagram left on public and I'm back to writing here.  For influence!