Where in the world is Sean Santiago?

He’s at Fruitpunch!

Check it out.


A brief note about the blog’s new look.

I apologize for the weeklong delay in posting, but as you can see, it was all for a good cause as the site got a new theme! I think the new look will help clarify the blog title (although it won’t necessarily ease pronunciation). Same basic format, just with an “open” feel, a quirkier comment interface and some enhanced functionality, should I choose to use it. What do we think?

Also, post titles now will simply be a sentence about what exactly we’re seeing, because I think that’s the next frontier in hipsterdom (after writing everything in lower case letters.)

P.S. Thanks so much to those of you who’ve nominated moi for the C-ville “Best Of” blogger, I really appreciate the support! And nominations are still being accepted, fyi… 🙂


Is This The Smiling Face of a C-ville “Best Of” Blogger?

The C-Ville weekly “Best of” primaries are open and I wanted to force you through mind control to politely suggest that you vote for Kankan (pr. kahn-kahn, fyi – I know that’s been a point of confusion for readers, ha!)

Click here to get to the nomination ballot and write me in for “local blog.” Feel free to spread the love – email friends/family/neighbors/amiable-looking strangers and tell ’em to vote!

Many thanks,
~The crazy person in this picture (Sean)

Oops…I Did It Again

Drumroll please…

I accidentally unveiled the relaunch of my blog today!

I’ve been mulling over a name and slight concept change for a few weeks now, but hadn’t planned on introducing anything until I was ready. But then I accidentally created a URL redirect because reading is confusing, and now we have…Kankan!

What’s in a name?
Kankan is Mandarin for “look look.” Over the past few months as my blog has morphed from a travel diary into a repository for my musings on style and design, I’ve been wanting to “rebrand” the blog, so to speak, in order to better convey its focus. Why, then, did I settle on Kankan? It reflects a bit of personal history and speaks to the very nature of what it is I’m doing with my posts – calling the proverbial reader over and saying, “Hey, look at what I found! See what I see! Like what I like!”

Hopefully this description rings true for my readers, who’ve been increasing over the past few months, making March my best month since being featured as Freshly Pressed by WordPress.com back in November. Thanks for that!

How will this affect content?
It won’t. As you can see, all of my travel experiences are still available here, since the very beginning when this blog was simply, “My China Life.”  In future posts I hope to bring our attention to other spaces and places around me that I find interesting, captivating, or reflective of a conscious cultivation of personal style. This is a site dedicated to eyes wide open and I hope its content continues to inspire and shine a proverbial light on people, places and things that make the world a little more beautiful.


Beauty & The Beast 2: Into The Gloss

Into The Gloss is a guilty online pleasure of mine that I turn to for no apparent reason, considering that the quantity of makeup I wear is generally zero. Edited by Vogue’s Emily Weiss, the site interviews different women about their beauty routines and features such absurdly self-indulgent commentary as Lauren Santo Domingo’s recent declaration, “I can’t even remember the last time I washed my own hair.” I wish I had an exotic routine to disclose, dear reader, such as “I steam open my pores and have a German shepherd exfoliate my face with its tongue,” but I’m pretty well an average Joe – a self-indulgent average Joe who, caught up in the spirit of The Gloss, has written an entire post about his “beauty” routine.

So no, I don’t really wear makeup – I dabble now and again in foundation, which I mix in with my moisturizer because I still have so much trouble with acne (sexy!) and sometimes want the extra coverage. My skin has always been prone to breakouts and while I know part of controlling that has to do with eating less chocolate or something, my diet is strictly off limits. I’m a topical person. Concealer is my other secret weapon (secret for a man), which I’ll use under my eyes when I think I look tired, or when I’m feeling bored and want to waste time in a pretty way. I know Jean Paul Gaultier introduced a line of Official Men’s Makeup a few years back and I think Clinique and a few other brands have, at the very least, tinted moisturizers, but I don’t want to pay extra for dark packaging. I want to get fresh like male models do so I stick with basics from inexpensive lines that have good-for-your-skin products (mineral whatsit, etc.). One of my favorite new products I’ve found is L’Oreal’s Studio Secrets perfecting base. It’s this little tub of putty-like stuff and it mattifies and minimizes. Hooray! My daily moisturizer is now Aveeno’s Clear Complexion – I used to use Vichy’s NormaDerm, but 1) I ran out and it’s only available in Europe and 2) I didn’t like it anyway. As you can see in the second picture I use Anthelios sunscreen, a dab every day. I picked that up in Italy, but I think it’s finally made it’s way over here. Or maybe it’s been over here for awhile…? The other thing I picked up that’s brilliant is this portable sunscreen tube. It’s the same product as the Anthelios, just easy to carry and in a stick, like oversized chapstick. It’s great on the go, but ironically because it’s smaller I sometimes forget about it.

When I was living in China I didn’t have access to a lot of products I wanted or felt a need for, so I ended up using Phyto shampoos. I actually really liked them, but now that I’m back in the States I don’t have easy access to them and have switched back to Kiehl’s, although I’ve been trying to go more natural and recently introduced David Babaii’s volumizing conditioner into the routine. Kate Hudson endorses it! All I ever wanted.

Speaking of hair, my beard has become a permanent fixture over the past few months. It’s funny, because it originally started growing out thanks to my laziness, but now I keep it trim and everyone seems to like it. I stopped shaving with a razor for the first time in almost ten years (no, seriously) this winter when I got an electric beard trimmer, and I have to say it’s just so much nicer…much easier to use. I feel like I’m just meant to have a beard.

I like to have shiny little things around just for fun, so sometimes I’ll pick up a bottle of nail polish and throw it in the mix. I bought three things of black polish in Hong Kong, but then every time I looked at my nails I felt like they just looked dirty. Has that ever happened to anyone else? So now I generally avoid polish…but it’s tempting. It’s just so shiny (and sometimes it sparkles!)

Since we’re in my bathroom I’ll go ahead and give a little shout out to the room itself. The room is still totally not done at all on any level, but I have ideas percolating and as soon as one or the other comes to fruition, you’ll know. I don’t need any more furniture or art in there, so I’ll at least direct your attention to some of that now. I keep my products on a tiered ladder shelf that I got from London’s Bathecary here in Charlottesville. The store location is closing and they’re getting rid of all their furniture – natch! The products are lined up on a rabbit fur throw I’ve had since I was eight-years-old. You know, just lying around. The marble base I’ve got the frags resting on is from The Curious Orange here in C-ville and yes, that Tom Ford bottle is empty, but I keep it around because I like its deco fanciness. And books are everywhere in my apartment, almost more so than shoes.

That about sums up me in my bathroom…what are your y’all’ses routines?

P.S. I also love Jen Brill’s glossy profile, and Olivia Kim’s is cool as well.

It’s All About the Journey

As you can see, my bedroom is a disgusting farce of a bedroom. I don’t really live in an episode of Clean House, though, this is sort of the wreckage from coming home. Oops…

Today I have a special treat! I did a VLOG entry!!! That’s right, The S.S. in unadulterated video blog form. So click below if you want to find out what I have to say, or forever hold your peace. I don’t think that’s how holding your peace works, but whatever.

I’m having an exhibit of my photographs from China! If you happen to be in the Harrisonburg, Virginia vicinity then check it out! Deets for the opening reception:

JMU’s Prism Gallery
January 21st
Refreshments provided!

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to share this picture. I ate pie for breakfast and lunch today, and also had it for dessert.

Also, I want to thank everyone who’s stopped by in the last month! I’ve gotten over 5,000 views since the start of November and I really appreciate the interest and new subscribers 🙂 and also wordpress.com for featuring me as Freshly Pressed!

Gracias, dear reading public!

I Love the Internet so Much, I’ma Take it Behind the Middle School and Get it Pregnant

Oh man, you guys, Crisis Existentialis.

I got a Tumblr account last month because I wanted to “follow” a friend of mine – show support or whatnot. Then I started fooling around with it and now I’m addicted. Unemployed and addicted. I’ve changed the design of the thing maybe eight times already. It’s been named three different things. Or more. I wanted to rename it this morning, but I didn’t. Said friend told me I should CONSOLIDATE all of my blogging efforts into one! SIMPLIFY. But I can’t! Mostly because I am a bit of a design fanatic – and because I’m not particularly talented, I change things up, often. (Some of you may recall this blog used to go by another name and has been through three re-designs). You might think I’m schizo or something, but I’m really not. Well, maybe. No, not really really. But srsly.

So instead of combining these two beasts, I’m going to fly in the face of convention and better judgment and keep them both. Because as much as they might be startlingly similar to the untrained not fourteen-year-old eye, they really are different you guys. BUT any time I upload original content to the Tumblr (the concept behind Tumblr is usually that you “reblog” or “share” images/videos/soundbites from around the ‘net) I’ll be creating a link page here. All of the original content on the Tumblr is strictly fashion-oriented. Part of me feels that since my blog was “freshly pressed” for being about photography – specifically, travelogue-y photography – I can’t blog about other things. But it’s been a week since I started feeling that way so I’m over it now and moving on. If the style content doesn’t interest you or you press the snooze button when I post about hats and bags and boots (oh my!), you probably shouldn’t ever visit the tumblr. I’d post the Original Fashion Content here, but I can’t find a way to make it look like I want it to (the Tumblr scrolls horizontally and OFFICIALLY I won’t have it any other way now).

If there is an outcry or everyone thinks this is stupid, let me know and I’ll switch it up. Again. But I’ll hide the crazy from you like Mel Gibson at a child’s birthday party so you’ll never know the difference!

A new fashion story is UP NOW. Check it.

Oh, my Lady Gaga!

For the past three months in a row I’ve gotten over 1,000 pageviews a month! I think this is exciting, even though I probably get about as many pageviews as the Obama’s dog’s blog divided by five, and I heard that’s ghost written anyway. (The Obama’s dog does not really have a blog.)[That I know of]. Anyway, it’s important to keep in mind that a pageview isn’t a visitor, it’s just one view of one page – so all of these “views” could be coming from one person. (Thanks Mom!)

Somehow I wasn’t included on CollegeScholarships.org’s list of the best 150 travel blogs for students (which I found here which I heard about from this ladyfriend of mine Oh my god the internet!), which included a bunch of blogs with tips on saving money and traveling smart. You mean you want me to save for a trip like a poor person and not charge the whole thing to my AmEx and pay the bills using monopoly money? You mean you want travel advice on planning for things instead of listening to the magic pony who comes to you in your dream and tells you which destinations are in Sparkle Motion? You don’t even have a magic pony? How do you expect to get anywhere? A unicorn? Don’t be ridiculous.

So I’m not gonna win any awards for being the world’s most insightful/competent traveler (but maybe the most egregiously incapable?) This blog is really more of my story and I truly appreciate those of you who come back for more (12 subscribers!) and I just wanted to say that. And also to say, tell your friends about me! I’m on Twitter and Facebook and this thing and Tumblr. But also also, if you know anyone who’s going to China or wants to read about my time there, go to the bottom of the page and click on the month of December in the “Travel Memories” menu to start from the beginning. Check it out! I did.