Friday, January 15, 2016

Alexander Wang Pre-Fall 2016

Alexander Wang has always been, and always will be, my favorite fashion designer ever. I know that there are a ton of other amazing designers out there as well, but I can never find anyone with cooler designs that Alexander Wang's creations. His designs are always so up-my-alley and putting one of his pieces will make anyone feel instantly cool. His designs ooze laid-back with a lot of edge, perfect for those who don't really enjoy multiple splashes of color or weird shapes and graphics. For the Pre-Fall 2016 Collection, Alexander Wang created both very wearable and eye-catching pieces which had lots of silver metal details, unique cuts and a somewhat 90's vibe. Apparently, his inspiration didn't come from exotic, far away, dreamy lands, but from the people he sees around him in New York City. The street style in  New York city is composed of everything - from on-trend fashionistas to hobos - you could definitely get inspiration just by looking from the contrast and putting these different styles into one. For me, the outerwear and bags are just screaming to be bought. I am obsessed with the leopard print coat and the long green coat with the unique button details. The bags are perfect, without too many embellishments and the basic colors makes them easy to be paired with anything. However, my favorite piece has to be the simple, long, black dress with the metal details. He rarely creates dresses or gowns for evening wear, but when he does, they're absolute perfection.

(pictures are from VOGUE)

Fairy Drops

Mascara is that one thing that never works for me. My eyelashes grow straight down and despite using eyelash curlers and expensive mascaras, they still won't be as curled or long as I want them to be. One day last month, I went to a random drugstore in Beppu Station and discovered mascara called "Fairy Drops" and the girl in the picture had mile long, high volume, super awesome lashes. At first, I thought that this is just another one of those marketing scams, but being the curious girl that I am, I just decided to try it out. 

When I opened the tester mascara, I was shocked to see the wand. There are three "balls" on a "curve" (I guess that's the best way to describe it) and it looks like it could just torture your eyes when you accidentally sneeze and poke your eyes with that thing. I tried it anyway and I was very, very pleasantly surprised with the result! My lashes became much more voluminous, long and visible without any eyelash curlers! This is definitely going to be my holy grail mascara and I totally recommend it to everyone who needs a lot more help with their lashes. The price isn't cheap, but it isn't expensive either, so it's definitely still affordable, even with my waitress part time job money. It was around 2,500 yen (or USD 25) in Beppu Station's drugstore.

Please ignore my under eye circles as I haven't had enough sleep for 2 weeks. Preparations for the business competition and exams really take a lot out of you. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dreaming of Arabian Nights

My friends and I decided to join a business competition that's being held on our campus. The theme of this year's business competition is "Business in Beppu", which means that we had to create a new business that will really help Beppu city to flourish. Our professor showed us a video of Jack Ma (the entrepreneur who created Alibaba in China from basically nothing) and he said, "Look for opportunities in the troubles of others." We thought about it for a while and decided that Beppu's tourist center in Beppu Station, wasn't as helpful as we expected it to be. So, we decided to create a new, multi-langual tour and travel agency called "Genie Travel" (hence the title of this post). 

Long story short, we created our basic business proposal, submitted it, passed the first selection, got some votes, passed the second selection and got into the final round. We created our own business plan presentation with all our might. Alas, we are still in college and we still lack a lot of knowledge and experience to create the perfect business plan. I'm in the Accounting and Finance major, which means that I understood most of the Financial Plan part. However, I really couldn't come up with tourism ideas. In the end, my group won third place for the competition. We weren't upset. In fact, the three of us felt very accomplished. Here's a photo of us from the event!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Golden Globes 2016

As you may know, I am such a big fan of red carpet events. I just love looking at beautiful and stunning celebrities in magical designer dresses and gowns on the red carpet. The Golden Globes is the first red carpet event in 2016, so I really wanted to share my thoughts on my best dressed list and, if possible, maybe I could write another post on my favorite beauty looks and accessories as well!

The obvious trend this year are soft, nude colored (beige, creams, flesh tones) and simple. Nothing too crazy or over the top. 

Zoe Kazan opted for a nude Miu Miu dress and accessorized with Chanel Fine Jewelry. I am obsessed with the slightly different nude tones on her dress, which makes her look simple, yet with a unique little detail. Her clutch just adds enough bling for her look and I am obsessed with her blunt bob hair cut.

Kate Hudson also chose a nude toned dress. This Michael Kors two piece gown looks absolutely beautiful on her - I mean, look at those toned abs! Plus, I love the matching choker and the same tone clutch! The shimmer on her dress is just enough, without looking like a total disco ball.

Brie Larson wore this amazing, golden Calvin Klein Collection dress. Paired with simple Tiffany & Co. Jewelry, this look definitely glitters and glows! The cutout makes the look more edgy, but the subdued golden color makes this dress super elegant and classy. Love the simplicity of this look!

Saoirse Ronan was a beautiful Greek Goddess in this Yves Saint Laurent Couture dress. The cape, the draping and the deep-enough neckline makes her look stunning and elegant. The simple silver jewelry adds a little bit of shine and I love her hair style! 

The simple neutrals are easy on the eyes and the simplicity of the dresses makes the celebrities look extra classy and elegant. When in doubt, I'd always prefer to go with "less is more"!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Letter to APU: "How to Improve APM/GSM"

My campus decided to hold an essay competition in order to get the students' honest opinions about the overall education system used in APU, specifically the APM/GSM (International Management) area study. I thought that this essay might be good to post online to tell future APM/GSM students about the positive things and negative things that they may experience in APU. I hope that this message will be seen or heard by the dean as well as the authorities who have the power to change the current APM/GSM.

One disclaimer before the beginning of my essay: this is MY personal opinion regarding the matter. It doesn't mean that my opinion is the right one, heck some of them may even be wrong. It's just the opinion of a third year APM student. Also, I apologize for suddenly writing a 1,000 word essay on a blog. Must be tiring to read.

Everyone wants to be the best. That is a given. In this case, I am sure that APU wants APM/GSM to be in the list of top 10 business schools in the world, if not, the best business school in the world. I believe that APM/GSM professors have done all that they can to make APM/GSM a better business school by creating events, pouring their hearts and souls into teaching their students and learning from the best business schools in the world. However, APM/GSM has yet to be accredited by the AACSB, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Receiving this accreditation would definitely prove that APM/GSM graduates are highly skilled and they will definitely become more desirable to companies around the world (AACSB Accredited, 2016). This has been a problem for quite some time for APU, which is why I would like to state my opinion on my ideal APM/GSM in order to assist with improving the quality of APM/GSM.

First of all, I believe that APM/GSM does not necessarily have to create more ideas to improve APM/GSM. Some of the programs that we utilize in APU are wonderful enough. Therefore, the question that we should ask ourselves is ‘why are the programs we have not enough to contribute to the improvement of the quality of APM/GSM?’ The answer to this question is quality. Students are not motivated enough to make a difference. I could say this with confidence because most students think that they have nothing to gain by improving APM/GSM standards. Even if professors create the most brilliant event with the top CEOs from every top company, students will not learn anything new if they do not engage themselves in that event. Most students in APU will just passively listen to the speakers from these events and forget the contents within the next hour. So the first issue we have is to motivate the students to improve APM/GSM standards. In order to do so, their interests must be piqued and they need to have the interest to participate (i.e. two way communication, et cetera).

Next, I believe that APU students could learn outside of class. So, I would like to discuss about the circles that are able to help with APM/GSM’s improvement. For example, GBL or the Global Business Leader circle is an amazing place for APM/GSM students to start discussing problems in the business world. However, I have heard from my friends that GBL’s quality have recently decreased. One way I could think of to solve this is to have an advisor – a professor from APM/GSM who is willing to help create activities and discussions about the business world. Theories should be taught in the classes, but learning from actual events and cases that happen around the world from circles can really boost the students’ knowledge, get them thinking and in the long run, they can solve these problems and create a better change.

Aside from improving APM/GSM by using available resources, I believe that learning from the world’s current top business schools will definitely help with improving APM/GSM standards to be even more ideal. A good business school to learn from is the Harvard Business School. HBS starts each day by asking “What difference will you make in the world?” This question gets students motivated, thinking and dreaming about their future. They also teach their students to learn how to make decisions in the face of conflicting data, complex politics and intense pressures. Students are asked to explore new ventures and connect with entrepreneurs from all around the world. Finally, they also provide with the world’s newest updated leading research and resources to keep the students enlightened with newer information from any part of the world (HBS, 2016). Aside from learning from the strengths of business schools, APM/GSM could learn from others’ mistakes. A lot of HBS students have stated that professors have pushed them way too hard, some policies were too rigid and ridiculous and the school itself had expensive gatherings and social activities that students seem to become “customers” of the business instead of a normal student studying at a university (Byrne, 2015).

Finally, I believe that teachers should teach accordingly. I am a student of the Accounting and Finance major and I experienced a lot of trouble because most teachers believed that students should study by themselves and that teachers should not “spoon feed” their students. However, the majority of students will agree with me when I say that accounting is not the easiest subject to learn. Teachers should teach everything carefully and in detail. Explanations should not stray away from the materials being taught at the time and examples should be short, simple and direct. Of course, majors like Management and Marketing should be taught another way. According to the materials being taught, teachers should provide the students with a real life business case (preferably something recent) and guidelines to analyze it. I believe that teachers should teach the students differently, according to the majors. This brings me to my next point, which is the order of the lessons being taught. In APU, students could take some lessons in the wrong order (e.g. students are able to take Accounting 2 before finishing Accounting 1). This is unsystematic and it could cause confusion. Students will just take courses for the sake of completing their credits instead of actually learning something. APU should fix this system to create the ideal learning process for their students.

In conclusion, before creating any new innovations, I believe that APU should change and improve the resources that they have now. If they keep things as they are, it will be difficult for APU to really improve their standards and, of course, it would be very difficult to receive the AACSB accreditation. The foundation is the most important part, thus it should be fixed before adding more ideas to improve APM/GSM’s quality.

That's just my opinion on this matter. If you have any other suggestions, comments or criticism, please just leave them in the comment box below!  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter Break Stories

I know I'm super late, but Happy New Year everyone! I feel a lot more positive about 2016 and I'm glad I'm finally leaving 2015 behind me. My holiday started on the 23rd of December and ended on the 6th of January. I'm currently working as a waitress in a Korean barbecue restaurant called "Kankokuen", and it gets extremely busy during the big holidays (i.e. Christmas and New Year's), so I spent most of my time working my ass off. I took a few days off my part-time job to watch Beppu's Fantasia Fireworks, which is sponsored by the whole Kyushu island. This big annual event is always crowded and totally romantic. The fireworks are huge and the food stalls on the beach are packed with a bajillion people from all over Kyushu island. I couldn't take a lot of pictures, mainly because I was holding a bag of cotton candy, a packet of takoyaki and one stick of grilled squid, while watching the fireworks.

Aside from watching the beautiful fireworks, my best friend and I also visited Oita city. Oita city is much more of a "city" than Beppu is, which makes it a great place to just hang out with friends. It's the closest city with a cinema, a legit shopping mall and a big arcade, and I love the Winter illumination they put up during the holiday season. The shopping mall is called JR Oita Amusement Plaza, because it's connected to the Oita station. We don't need to walk all that far to the shopping mall from the station and it's got enough shops, like H&M and UNIQLO, to satisfy APU International students, like me! My best friend and I visited H&M, ate at a Korean restaurant called "Usagi to Tora" and had delicious green tea parfait at "Nana's Green Tea". We also managed to find a way to go to the rooftop garden and kept it anti-mainstream (none of my other friends have been there, apparently). 

The green tea parfait I ordered was the "Gateau Chocolate Green Tea Parfait" which was around 1,000 yen (or around $10). It was gigantic and it - literally - had every type of dessert in it. A small wafer, whipped cream, ice cream, matcha pudding, matcha gateau, corn flakes, matcha syrup and cream. The calories and the money was definitely well worth it!

This was the rooftop garden. Aside from the shops, which meant to resemble Kyoto, there was a small pagoda and a mini train for children to ride on. I also found a small shrine at the edge of the rooftop garden. For your information, I was wearing an Avail coat, GU sweater, Uniqlo Jeans, Adidas Sneakers and an H&M Bag.