Sunscreen: Basics and Beyond

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Sunscreen is extremely important to our skin health and appearance. UV light is responsible for about 80% of skin aging, which includes skin discoloration, hyperpigmentation (dark spots), leathering, and wrinkles and fine lines. UV exposure also causes DNA damage in skin cells, which may lead to cancer. Additionally, sun exposure will exacerbate skin conditions such as melasma. Sunscreen protects against both photo-aging (sun-related aging) and cancer, blocking up to 99% of all UV rays. Since summer is around the corner, I thought tackling some of the basics about sunscreen would be appropriate. This is a longer post with lots of details that I hope readers will find helpful. Summary and product recommendations are at the end of the post.  Continue reading →

Stuck in the 80’s (Fahrenheit)

cIt’s been a week and half since I graduated and I definitely am so over college. How do I know? Because as I was talking about visiting Kathy, she suggested that I go to classes with her on her LDOC…and I found the idea appalling. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kathy and I’ll probably end up going as a result…but really, I could not be more ready to move on. I loved Duke and all and I felt a blow nostalgia when I saw the tips of the Chapel as I was driving to citizenship interview in Durham. Yet the idea of going back to being a college student is not particularly appealing at the moment.

Then again, I find the idea of going to law school, or more specifically 1L, utterly terrifying. I just hope that at least half of the horror stories I’ve heard so far are false and I will end up with a job that won’t leave me completely broke and living on the street at age 25. I honestly don’t know what I would do (maybe I should start friending rich ppl on wall st. this summer XD). The problem isn’t just that I want that 6-figure salary, it’s more like I need it. I’m not delusional enough to think that anyone outside of the top 10%, or top 15% max (excluding ppl w/ ridiculous connections/background because, really, when did they ever have to worry about anything?), will actually have a chance at those jobs…so I’ll be doing anything and everything in my power to make sure I end up there. Of course, that’s probably what everyone else thinks when they elect to put themselves $400k in debt by going to law school.

Anyways, back to the nice, warm and fluffy present – the last few worry-free days I will have for I don’t know how long. I’m feeling lazy, so I’ll resort to lists 🙂

  • making yummy food for mom
  • shopping…b/c there’s little else to do when you live in an Atl suburb and the mall is practically in my backyard
  • mom’s car broke down the morning we were suppose to drive back to Durham for my naturalization interview
  • so we rented a car and drove 5 hrs.
  • passed my interview (but forgot when the Constitution was written -_-) and saw Han 🙂
  • mom got a speeding ticket on the way back, which turned me into the target of hours and hours of venting and her general annoyance (she actually blamed me for her ticket…it’s pretty amazing(ly ridiculous)).
  • found out that diesel somehow got into our car and led to the breakdown
  • at least there was half tank of gasoline…which basically saved the engine
  • the whole thing cost ~$800 (insurance deductable was $500)
  • mom is both relieved (that the car didn’t completely die) and annoyed (that so much crap happened and $$$ was spent)

Summer, not quite.

There is no doubt that summer is officially here. I’ve finally given in and decided to move my sweaters to the suitcases, because I’m simply don’t have enough hangers for the newly added summer wardrobe and the closet is starting to look a bit claustrophobic. This could also be the start of…packing. Packing up my life here at Duke for the very last time. It’s going to a sad exercise.

But I’m not quite done yet. Before I can throw my hands up in celebration for the completion of this semester, and college, there are just several more papers and one last final to be done. And then…and then it’s graduation, saying goodbyes, and going home. I don’t think I ever imagined college graduation very much. I kind of stopped anticipating the future because I got too busy figuring out the present. I remember all through out high school I impatiently waited and dreamed of college; in fact, my whole life I’ve looked forward and fantasized about college. Once I got here, the dreaming, the fantasizing just all stopped. Staying on top of the present was enough to occupy all of my thoughts, tomorrow will come, and usually sooner than I expected.

After this summer I won’t be coming back. Somehow, I imagined four years to last a bit longer than this.


Never thought I’d say this, but I wish were in school right now, Duke or LSE. Not that I don’t enjoy staying home and relaxing, but seriously, five months of summer? That’s just a bit too long. Compared to this, I think I will actually welcome the two months next summer. Summers are meant to be spent exploring new places, hanging out with old friends, and engaging in fun and exciting things. But I have done all these in the first three months of summer and I’m ready to move on and return to the world of academia. As shocking as it might sound, I miss the intellectual challenges and, dare I say, the pressure? There is something called “too relaxing” afterall. Maybe it’s just me, but I need deadlines, I need assignments. LSAT practices don’t count. I need something more immediate than a standardized test that won’t come for another year (perhaps a good thing?). 

Meanwhile, I hang on to every email coming from LSE, every little piece of news indicating what is waiting for me across the Atlantic. I have just looked through the finalized editions of the course choices and thoroughly stalked each professor. I’m excited 🙂 They all seem very intelligent, of course. There are the usual impressive CV’s loaded with names like Harvard and UPenn, and there’s also a Chinese professor from Sichuan. Looking through my economic courses and these professors’ (or rather, lecturers) research papers, I’m reminded once again of why I was interested in the field in the first place. Not that I don’t appreciate what I have learned (and partially forgotten) in 55 – 110, but the fundamentals were never meant to be exciting. No one would argue their importance, but the whole point of going through all the torture is so that one day I can apply them to far more interesting problems and discovering new concepts. The goal is to find something that I will have enough interests in to write a senior thesis on. We’ll see how that goes.

On another note, I have fallen in love with Gone With The Wind all over again. I still remember watching the movie for the very first time almost ten years ago and how dazzled I was by the sheer beauty of it. But after a decade, I have suddenly discovered how much the story mirrors my life, and how the characters compare to people I know. Of course, there’s no war, no poverty, and no death, and hopefully…not the realizations that come all too late.