[Review] Berrisom – My Lip Tint Pack

A video posted by Renée Ya (@reneecya) on

Saw this brand of lip tint crawl across my newsfeed and so I tried it out. The brand is called Berrisom and the product is called My Lip Tint Pack. In Korean beauty product lingo, “pack” means mask. I tried out the Sexy Red.

The application was very dark and instantly sticky. It made me a little worried that the tint was going to come out so dark.

As soon as my timer hit 10 minutes (probably my most hated thing about this product–the wait) I peeled it off to reveal quite a gorgeous burgundy. It is just the right shade to compliment my skin tone.

I didn’t show the the glossed version but I loved the outcome.

Purchase yours here:

[Story] Spirit Awakening – Chapter 2: Lucid

1/3 - Night Light

Table of Contents

  1. Chapter 1 – Awakening (Lee)
  2. Chapter 2 – Lucid (Anna)
  3. Chapter 3 – Coming Soon

Chapter 2 – Lucid

Sometimes, I have dreams where I am swimming in the ocean. Surrounded by unseen aquatic creatures.

I am invisible.

From the depths, a huge mass surges towards me.

Panicked, I try to swim away until the snout of a very large creature nuzzles me, helping to push me up to the surface. Its fin gingerly cradling me until I burst through the liquid sky, diamond droplets, shimmering, so dazzling in the setting sun.

I soar, my eyes closed, my body weightless, cold air buffeting my rosey cheeks. I am one with everything.

I open my eyes to billowing fluffy clouds, and I float further and further. The idea of flying doesn’t frighten me, in fact, it feels ever so natural. The white puffs adorn a veil upon my body.

A loud crack splits the sky asunder. A chasm emerges and my world goes spiraling, like watercolor paints being washed down a drain.

Sinking into the sky, I turn myself about–crawling, clawing as my surroundings begin to shrink.

I am helpless to fight against the torrent.

Just as I am about to be swallowed whole, my mind clears and there is only a singular feeling–

“I want to live!”

But, it’s too late. I’m already gone…

[Story] Spirit Awakening – Chapter 1: Awakening

smoke signals
I decided to start writing creatively again. I’ll be doing so in chapters. I’ve started with a short story that was inspired, but NOT directly taken from one of my best friends from Elementary. I’ve always wanted to write about Hmong culture and Shamanism, as my paternal family line had many shamans, and so I thought that highlighting a #HmodernHmong woman’s journey into discovering and awakening to these spirits would be an interesting twist.


Table of Contents

  1. Chapter 1 – Awakening
  2. Chapter 2 – Lucid (Anna)
  3. Chapter 3 – Coming Soon

Chapter 1 – Awakening

I’ve been laying here in bed for what seems like forever, but I know how long. I’ve counted. Two days, four hours, six minutes, 53 seconds. 54. 55. Wrapped with this agonizing pain in my gut or what used to be there. And I just keep looking at the peaks and valleys that trace the lines of my palms.

Seven minutes and five seconds.



This line here is your life line. This line that runs down from your fingers and across your upper palm, that’s your love line. And this line on my palm, the one that is cut in half, fractured into a million pieces–that is my family line.

42 seconds.



I had gone to a fortune teller just four days back. I was just too excited to go and get my future read. I had heard of this one in particular because my friends all raved about him. And quite honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect. Maybe I was a little anxious even.

But I went anyway because, I don’t know–morbid curiosity? Maybe because I knew that it was fake. Perhaps I did it because I just wanted someone to look me deep into my eyes, to create an artificial connection, to create a paper mache future that I could take with me to throw away at a later time.

Whatever it was, I just wanted to finally bite the bullet and go. And I know now that I regret going.

But Lia really insisted that I go and so I went. Continue reading

Photo-A-Day: January 3rd – Night Light

January 3rd - Night Light

In an attempt to continue to be more creative, I’m trying to hold myself to a more structured format of going and taking a photo everyday. I will only hold myself to posting, however, 3 times a week, in a journal format, since posting 7 days a week will probably end up being tiresome.

A friend of mine wrote 5 haikus for his dog and I had contributed one which I liked and wanted to share it here:

A sudden challenge:
To be among the stars so
High or to slumber.

I have always felt very connected to the moon, and the allure doesn’t escape my eldest daughter Ami, either. When I showed her the photo I asked her what it was and she said, “The moon!” and stared at the photo for a little while. It’s our little night light to help shine our way in the darkness.

Photo-A-Day: January 1st + Super Quick Kao Poon Recipe

Kao Poon

Kao Poon

Photo-A-Day #1 – January 1st, 2015
I wanted to try to be more creative for 2015, so here I am, creating a photo entry. I posted this photo on my Instagram, but thought that I would share my recipe on how to make a VERY Simple solution to a great staple of my people. The Instagram entry goes:

In some cultures, families get together to eat noodles to symbolize a long, prosperous life. For the last 4 years, I’ve done some sort of pasta but this year I made a traditional Southeast Asian dish called kao poon.

Extra spicy for the long year ahead.

There are many ways to spell the spicy curry noodle dish. In Hmong, you can spell it as Khaub Poob, but I have seen the phonetic spelling turn into kao poon, khao poon, kapong, etc. But however you spell it, it always means good, hearty, spicy comfort food. Again, this is my super simple, I-miss-home-cooking version and so, it will mostly be ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store, and the best thing about it is that it’s super quick.
Continue reading



As the end of the year draws close, here is a piece that I wrote more than 7 years ago, which I feel still has resonance, and was published in a magazine that no longer exists.
No real resolutions this year other than to be more creative.


One day, laying in the sand,
As you rest your head
With your feet buried under the cold sand,
You realize just how much of
Your life you’ve wasted
You should have been going to college
And earning a paper that society views
As your meal ticket
You should have been in your career
That will, in the end, take away your family and life,
Sucking you dry
You should have been saving the world
One glass
One paper
One plastic
At a time
Instead, you’re wasting your life away.
Just sitting here in the sand.
The waves,
They crash into the land.
They foam as they sink back
Into conformity.
Desperate for attention
The water hisses at you saying:
Do something with your life…

Happy Hmong American Day!

I hope that one day, we not only get a day, or a month, or an entry in a history book for our contributions to the US during the Vietnam War, but that we are appreciated as individuals and our contributions to society as a whole.

I wanted to post a poem that I had written back in 2007 that I feel encompasses what it means to be Hmong American.


Lost Spirit Aflutter

“From a high mountain, across a vast ocean,
Into a deep valley, my spirit has flown with me,”
My grandmother continues, “But when you fall, it will leave.
It will go back to the land of ancestors.”

I listen to my grandmother as she lays in her bed,
A single flickering light illuminates the room with an orange glow
As she has my hand embraced tightly,
intertwined into hers, and a tear rolls down her cheek.

“My young child, your grandma has lost her soul.”
In most cases, with ua neeb ritual a shaman
Would get onto his spiritual horse, and ride into the land of ancestors,
Offering a pig’s heart to exchange for her heart

But in a Christian household, where Shamanism is pagan worship,
Where bamboos do not line the roof from threshold to alter;
A spirit line drawn to guide our ancestors;
How will the spirit know where to go?

There are no paper money boats to sail the offerings
Into the land that is cold and long forgotten.
There are no halved bull horns to clang or bells to ring
To call my grandmother’s spirit back.

It’s A Face!

I want to take a moment right now, a deep breath, a pause, a side step from the chaos in our little whirlwind of a world, to talk about Ami. It is so very rare when we can just sit down for a moment and just bask in our fortunes in life. A warm bed, a hot meal, and loving arms.

As some of you may know Ami was diagnosed Autistic not more than 7 months ago. And since then it has been relentless tests, therapies, evaluations, daily regiments, and constant attention to ensure that we, as parents, are doing what we can to help her with speech, fine and gross motor skills, self-care, and a multitude of other social skills, such as something as basic as going out to eat at a restaurant.

All of these things, have finally led up to Ami being more confident than ever. She can maintain eye contact a little bit more. She can hug just a little bit tighter. She can recite commonly used questions with just a little less prompting. Each milestone and accomplishment is just that much sweeter every day.

And so today, during one of our many times that we try to get her to focus on a particular task, we took out our dry erase board to allow Ami to practice her fine motor skills of drawing and writing.

We are encouraging her more and more everyday to acknowledge that mistakes happen, they can be fixed, and then you can continue to get better at it with practice. Typically, we have to place our hand over her’s because she is a perfectionist and doesn’t like to make mistakes. But not today!

Today, she drew her big circle, then three little dots, one pair for eyes, another for a nose. A nice curved line for a smile, two half circles for ears, an intentional squiggle for shaggy hair, and the word “FACE” all by herself.

The proudest I’ve seen her be in awhile.

Taking the photo was a little weird because we made her lay down next to it, but she was the one who struck the pose.

She’s our little diva!

[Poem] A Young Night

A Young Night
As you lie me down to sleep,
I rest my weary head.
The demons have come to rest,
beside me in my bed.

Tidal waves of slumber approach,
I close my eyes to sleep.
And as I slip into a slumber,
there, the monsters creep.

Here I go, I must escape from those
who lurk and haunt
For they have come to take me–
It is I for whom they want!

I jump, I leap, I spin and soar,
I run with all my might.
They rub their hands with anticipation,
It is but a young night.

I stop and turn, confront them there.
My soul they cannot take.
They cannot break me, no they can’t,
I do not waver. I do not shake.

I banish the demons with a wave of my hand.
I make them go away!
They are gone, never to return.
Tonight, I keep the demons at bay.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Meanwhile in GTA: San Fierro…

What sounds like a main story arc from Grand Theft Auto, on Wednesday, Leland Yee, a CA State Senator, has been arrested on corruption charges.  These charges that he stands to face during trial include laundering illegal firearms, taking bribes and drug trafficking.​

Yee has notoriously has been known in the past for introducing bills into the State Senate that would effective ban “violent video games” as well as banning illegal firearms.

Yee was released on bail for $500k and is standing trial.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 8 other subscribers