It feels like a cliché to say that we, the editors of April Magazine, feel special about April. We do. It’s the time to remind ourselves of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and come back to basics: empowering Asian women everywhere.
For this month’s gift guide, we thought about all the kinds of gifts that you can give yourself to feel more confident, more fierce, more of yourself.
Do you remember our recent shoutout for fashion brands for strong women, including a small interview with BRWNGRLZ founder Gretchen Carvajal? Even with her confident words, you may wonder what’s so special about this jewelry. Now, visit your local newsstand and check the mainstream fashion magazines and come back to BRWNGRLZ’ website. Do you see the variety of skin tones of models and how the jewelry is designed to flatter every one of them (like Fenty)? One more step. Choose your favorite design and imagine walking into a conference room wearing that. There is the moment of confidence, owning your choice.
This is how a small piece of jewelry can be a statement for inclusivity and empowerment.
Filipina sisters Bernadette and Caroline (thus “BC”) have always been fond of fragrances. Elder sister B eventually went super-professional, getting certified as a Fragrance Sales Specialist by the New York City-based The Fragrance Foundation and attending perfumery school training under renowned British Perfumer, Stephen Dowthwaite. The younger sister C also graduated with a degree in Fragrance & Cosmetics Marketing from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
As an obvious next step, the sisters have made their own scents for almost a decade for perfumery, personal care, household and industrial products. It’s a safe bet to create a fancy, hotel-like ambiance at your home, and our choice of this season is an invigorating blend of ginger and orange.
Some women are into engineering. Some women aren’t. Most share the same urge to fight back the stereotype of ‘women not being good with tools’. The thing is, for some women, tools just look boring, like a necessary evil attached to IKEA.
Say no more, sisters. The shopping haven for geeky girls, ThinkGeek, came up with the solution: the Thor Hammer Tool Set. You already knew you were totally worthy to wield Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, and now you have the proof. It has a 44-piece tool set inside, including a hammer (obv.), a tape measure, a level, a screwdriver, a wrench, a ratcheting wrench, and a utility knife.
It’s ever so refreshing to see more and more Asian names in magazines like Vogue and on fashion site like Net-a-Porter. New York City native and Parsons graduate Sandy Liang is a young and welcome addition. She creates clothing for herself, her friends, and the real women she sees in the city, always ready to get Instagram-ed. In fact, her polka-dot dresses, shearling-lined jean jackets, and slightly kinky leather belts casually going along with grandma cardigans all pop in an Instagram feed.
Take this skirt from her 2018 Spring Summer collection, the high-waisted floral jacquard mini skirt structured in a classy fabric. And there are garter details with chains. If you cannot go to NYC Fashion Week to get effortlessly photographed, bring it to your wardrobe.
Our editor-in-chief Youjin recently found this book in a second-hand bookshop. After reading a chapter, she not only bought the book but frowned to herself thinking, “Damn, now I gotta do something for these women.” If the strength of a book is judged by how much it moves the reader, this one is a Wizard-of-Oz level tornado.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof investigate and portray our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. Throughout Africa and Asia, from sex slavery to devastating injuries during childbirth, many women suffer. But the brilliance of this book is that by showing heroic women fighting evil, and practically analyzing different methods, it inspires us to do something rather than avert our eyes.
Harry Potter is becoming our generation’s (original) Star Wars. It’s a pop-culture milestone and a global business, with its own fan base and theories and copycats and symbolism. Someday, Hollywood will remake it and we’ll hate it.
Now, this. No matter how old you are, what your significant other (including cats and dogs) thinks, it’s ok to want this. It’s a beautiful hardcover set of Harry Potter books wrapped in house-themed jackets and packed in a Hogwarts traveling trunk. You can choose from the four houses (duh) – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. If you got bored with the English version, you can purchase the French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Japanese edition as well.
By now, you may have noticed that we usually don’t condone ridiculously expensive handbags. But look at this bag and tell us you don’t have butterflies fluttering in your stomach. It’s also by the ‘Chanel of Taiwan,’ Shiatzy Chen. This piece comes from a classical collection and the pattern is proudly inspired by Chinese classic paintings. Material-wise, the harmony of leather and jade is not only natural and practical, but also kind of romantic.
We admit some colors of the collection seem a little too shiny and tacky (maybe too artistic to our common eyes), but this classy green one will definitely upgrade your typical suit.
Hong Kong’s new creative hub PMQ is such fun for someone looking for up and coming local talents in fashion and design. If you walk along the corridors of the former police HQ’s corridors, one of those talents stopping you is Modement, a Hong Kong fashion label known for its unisex image and outstanding silhouettes.
Our pick is the “Lack of the back” blazer. The name pretty much sells itself. From this month, the weather will only get warmer and you’ll have to face this question daily, ‘Do I have to wear the jacket? Really?’ Wear this one and go to work. Say hello to the colleagues, facing them, and breath through your empty back. Go to your seat and zip off the removable sleeves and thank the designer Aries Sin in your heart.
You may love or hate John Oliver (this excruciatingly British comedian seems to invoke strong emotions), but it’s hard to argue against how fantastic this children’s book is.
HBO’s Emmy-winning show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver presented a children’s picture book about a boy bunny, Marlon Bundo, who falls in love with another boy bunny. With its message of tolerance and advocacy, this beautifully illustrated book is the most charming way ever to explain the issues of same-sex marriage and democracy to little children.This book is dedicated to every bunny who has ever felt different, and the proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project and AIDS United.
Guess what, it was the most sold fiction book on Amazon for two weeks.
Why do we buy art? Because we like it. It’s good enough reason. You don’t need to know the recent trends in the art biz, hottest names in art fairs, or investment value of a piece. It doesn’t feed you or keep you warm, but surely it’s good to have on the wall. But we are no Peggy Guggenheim and how do we afford a real artwork?
Check Saatchi Art, an American online version of the famous English gallery. It’s an online marketplace containing original paintings, photography, drawings and sculpture by approximately 65,000 artists from 100 countries worldwide. An original is likely to be pricey boosted by rarety (being the only one), but some works, particularly photos, might be produced in multiple prints. Take this painting by Japanese artist Naomi Yuki. The original is over $2,000 but the print starts from $100. If you like it, it’s a good deal.
Though we picked this beauty, your journal doesn’t need to have a magical stone dangling on it. We just suggest writing a journal for yourself. Yes, it’s not January, but who cares. You can start anew whenever you want.
When Sheryl Sandberg suddenly lost her husband, her friend Adam Grant suggested she write down three things she did well every day, to help her rebuild her self-esteem. For six months, almost every night before she went to bed, Sandberg made her list.
Many guided journals in the market nudge you to ‘count your blessings’ or ‘name the moments of joy.’ The reason behind Grant’s suggestion was that counting our blessings doesn’t boost our confidence or our effort, but counting our contributions can. Because gratitude is passive, and contributions are active.
You’re doing well. Write it down to remind yourself.
We saved (possibly) the best for the last. When you want to feel empowered, one of the fastest and surest ways is to control your own sexual satisfaction. Thus, ladies, meet vibrators.
This travel-friendly, lipstick look-a-like, discreet vibrator boasts patented suction technology (dubbed PleasureAir), and there are reports of intense orgasms, multiples of them. The description on the website tells you how to use it, and an anonymous review with five-stars has already answered what other questions you might be holding in.
Try it, and thank us later.