Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I'm a Panda

Trying to be less of a panda.
I don't know where I got it from. None in my family is or was a panda. But these pesky dark circles under my eyes are really... pesky.

I thought - to become more like my fellow humans - it was time for some kind of anti-dark circles banisher stopper. And these are what I’ve been using regularly except for the Purederm Sunflower Dark Circle Reducer which I tried only twice.

Guardian Bye Bye 'Panda Eyes' Cocoa Brightening Eye Mask [Guardian]

The Guardian 'Panda Eyes' was among the first eye masks I tried. There are two in each sachet - one for each side. The masks are larger than expected and cover almost half of my cheeks - maybe they thought my face would be as big as a panda's. There's generous amount of product on the mask, and it's literally dripping wet; and because of that there's a slight cooling effect upon putting the mask on. What I like about this is that it hydrates not only my under eye but also my hands from the overspill.

There's no immediate lightening of my dark circles, but my fine lines appear to have smoothened a little almost immediately, which I'm happy about. As with other skincare, the yardstick in my book is whether it irritates my skin or not. The answer is no and yes. Yes - only because I got some on my waterline while trying to rub in the excess product after use and it itched a little; other than that no adverse reactions whatsoever. 

The only thing I have against this mask is the snail secretion filtrate, which in layman's term, is snail slime, or snail goo or snail sweat [I made that last one up]. This particular ingredient is not listed on the package but is listed on Guardian's website. And to be honest I have long stopped reading and researching each and every ingredient in a skincare or makeup. One explanation I can think of is that the ingredients on my pack are a new formula and the ones listed on Guardian's website are from the older one [could be the other way round though]. I don't have anything against snail slime. Feel free to put them on your face if you want to. I just can't get over the image of me having a snail on my face.

Purederm Sunflower Dark Circle Reducer Eye Patches [Amazon | eBay]

Doesn’t drip - that's probably the only good thing I can say about this eye mask. There's really nothing bad about it; I mean it doesn't irritate my skin since we all know how sensitive under eyes can be. But the thing is, it doesn't feel like my skin is absorbing any of the products on the mask. The mask looks like one of those medicated plasters with the product on one side of the strip. You simply peel the mask off the plastic protector and affix it to your skin and it will stay there until it's time to remove it.

It doesn't appear to smoothen lines like the Guardian's Panda Eyes does, and most importantly it doesn't seem to lighten my dark circles. To be fair, on my second use, after pressing down the eye patches a bit harder, I was able to feel the products on my skin, and I think adding a tiny bit of water might aid the absorption - it doesn't say so in the instruction and I haven’t tried it. I don't feel these patches are effective enough and have stopped using them.

Garnier Light Complete Multi-Action Brightening Eye Roll-On [Amazon | eBay]

The only one out of the trio here that's not a patch. It comes in a wand-like applicator with a steel ball which provides an easy apply-and-run system - just don’t forget to open the door first. This by the way is not to be confused with the Garnier's Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller which also acts as a concealer and in a nude-coloured wand/stick. The one I'm using is in a yellow stick and produces a transparent serum that doesn't conceal dark circles in any way.

The steel ball seems to provide a cooling effect, but if it's hot out there you'll still need something like a fridge to get the same effect. It doesn’t say anywhere on the package how or when to use it. I use it after washing and drying my face; and like any other roll-on, simply roll the ball on the skin twice a day. You don't even have to press the applicator hard; just lightly roll the tip as the serum comes out easily. I find that it's best to apply this before a moisturiser, because twice now I've got an itchy spot due to a possible contamination - applying the roll-on first seems to eliminate that problem.

Garnier claims that this roll-on also decreases puffiness. Unfortunately, [or maybe fortunately actually] I don't have puffy eyes so can't really comment on that.

I have been using this roll-on for a few months almost religiously twice a day, but I can't say that my dark circles have reduced or being completely erased off. What I can absolutely confirm is that it reduces my fine lines. To be fair when you see a problem on the surface or in this case on the skin, there's always a problem, or maybe more, underneath. So, you’ve got to deal with that also, and no amount of skincare can help you - I learned this from my acne experience.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Did You Know That Google Wishes You a Happy Birthday?

Oh, how nice of you Google!
I’m so behind with these things; apparently this goes back to 2010, and for five years I’ve been missing out on it. Maybe I have noticed it at some point but disregarded it because it’s not important... I mean, it’s not like I’m chummy with Google or anything, and I tend to ignore anything that resembles some form of a… gimmick. But today, as I opened my browser, and Google being my default search engine, paying no attention to the cakes and candles doodle; I had my cursor over the doodle and it was wishing me a happy birthday by name. But of course today is my birthday otherwise I would be surprised or terribly unimpressed if it wasn’t. I figured Google knows this by my Google profile, since I don’t have or haven't upgraded to Google Plus [see, I’m not chummy with Google].

Apparently, for five years now Google has been wishing everyone a happy birthday with a special doodle on its homepage. According to Mashable, if you click on the doodle you will be brought to your Google profile and will be surprised even more with virtual streamers, a cupcake and a ‘Happy Birthday’ message; but that was five years ago. Clicking on the doodle now will bring you to your Google Plus page, which of course as stated above, I don’t have.

I have mixed feelings about this. Of course I assume nobody else knows about my birthday, apart from my family and friends and those I told them about, and if I hadn't written about it here. But this whole thing in some way serves as a reminder, at least to me, to be careful with my personal information - what I sign up for and what information I willingly give up. Sometimes because the service provider you’re signing up with is a huge company like Google, you tend to have some sort of a ‘relative faith’ to give up some of your personal information; that they have the resources to protect your information. But how many times have you given up your privacy in exchange for something in return or out of necessity, and before you know it they know more than you initially intended.

I tend to have a bit of a distrust with technology, or rather the information-gathering part. You're always at the mercy [in this case] of service providers; for example when they change policies or if they 'opt-in' for you by default. I’ve had an image hosting provider turned my private photos public by default before. Thankfully I didn’t have many photos in that account and the photos were not so private in nature. Going back to Google, I have to say that Google has so far never done anything like that to me. But when was the last time you actually did read and understand the terms and conditions of a service? Recently? Every time? I guess it's just me then.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

This is How I Fight Mosquitoes

Ridsect Liquid: The whole gang.
I have long realised that fighting mosquitoes with a sword would be a losing battle; and sending them a strongly-worded letter won't do any good either.

With that in mind, the methods of my choice have been the aerosol spray, the coil burner, and for quite some time now, the electric vaporiser - both paper and liquid.

Plug-and-Play

The one I keep using often is called Ridsect Liquid - the [liquid] plug-and-play version of mosquito repellents. You simply plug it into the wall and… well, you don’t have to play with it, but you can go play and forget about it until it’s morning and you have to turn it off.

It looks like one of those plug-in electric air freshener and relatively unobtrusive. The only thing to remember is that [because it is liquid and the top is not covered to let the vapour out] after removing the protective cap off the bottle, you will have to keep the device upright.

Speaking of vapour, I find that it’s best not to have anything in front to let the vapour roam free so to speak; or as Ridsect's own website suggests: to keep other objects clear for about 60cm.

Also, it takes time for the repellent to heat up before the vapour is released so I turn it on a few minutes before I go to bed. What I think might also help is to have it on a few minutes before you turn on your air conditioner or fan. Obviously, the bigger your room the more of these electric vaporisers you'll need to keep those pesky blood-thirsty insects away; otherwise they'll just wait at the furthest corner and pounce whenever they have the chance to.

If you can see it from the photo below, when you turn on the device, there's a red light that glows continuously that serves as a reminder and turns into a glowy red-eyed monster in the dark... well, you never know.

Ridsect Liquid in action.

Two-Types

From Ridsect's own range, there seems to be two types of refills that I'm aware of and they come in green, named the 'Liquid-P', and red, simply 'Liquid'. There's no information on the difference between the two, but I have tried both and it seems to me Liquid-P gives off some sort of a scent and Liquid doesn’t, at least not as noticeable. Because of its lack of scent, using the red one for the first time was a bit confusing especially it was only my second refill; my first was the green one. I thought it wasn’t working and it had me guessing if I had the bottle screwed on correctly or not. I had to keep checking the liquid to see if it had reduced a bit; and a few days on, it had.

What-I-Like

What I absolutely love about this type of mosquito repellent is that you don’t have to keep changing the refill every day like those electric mosquito repellents that use paper mats. You will only have to think about refills every 30 or 60 nights depending on your refill; and you can see if the liquid is running low since the bottle is transparent.

I still use aerosol sprays to keep off other bugs and bitey stuff, but I keep the liquid vaporiser on when I sleep for extended mosquito protection or protection against mosquitoes actually.

The Ridsect's brand might not be a familiar name to people from outside Malaysia and maybe Singapore; a quick search online proves to be so. But I found similar products by Baygon, sold by sellers in Thailand; and Shieldtox, also from Thailand - none of which I have tried, so I can't comment on them.

One last note, I've always spelled repellent 'repellant' with an 'a'; it seems that 'repellent' with an 'e' is the preferred way of spelling. How do you spell it?

Friday, November 20, 2015

I Find Myself A-peeling

Peeling can be unappealing.
I can’t use facial scrubs - those with tiny beads - no matter how tiny or gentle the beads are; not because the skin on my face can't take it but the skin on my hands are too thin due to eczema [I know it’s a bit tiresome because I’ve mentioned this so many times in my previous articles before, but eczema can sometimes dictate your life].

Still, my skin needs some sort of exfoliation because washing alone is not enough - after a while my skin will feel rather 'thick' and there would be an accumulation of dead skin [especially around the side of my nose] and blackheads that seem to have a permanent residence on my nose. Since I can’t get dead skin off quickly enough, I turn to peel-off masks - the kind that you literally peel off and find dirt and stuff stuck to the mask and not on your skin. And I have to tell you that there’s a sense of satisfaction when I see things that’s been clogging my skin stuck on the mask - not a pretty picture I can tell you that.

All three of these masks here that I have tried and used regularly [one, more than the other] are in gel form. The way I use it is that I apply the mask on, wait for it to get completely dry before peeling it off from the bottom [some areas will dry off later depending on how evenly you spread it]. I also apply some on my neck as well so that it will get the peeling goodness it deserves - just prepare yourself for a weird tightness as the mask gets dry.

Not one, not two but multi-action mask.

Garnier Light Complete Multi-action Whitening Peel-off Mask [Amazon | eBay]

The first thing I noticed about this mask was how strong the smell was. I still can’t get used to it. If the room is not well-ventilated, I can get a headache. I don’t remember what made me try it but I kept using it for quite some time since it didn't seem to irritate my skin. I have stopped using this since I’ve found another mask that is quite as good and not as strong-smelling and doesn’t give me headaches.

Whether this lightens dark spots or the skin in general or not, I'm afraid I can't comment on that because I've been using Estee Lauder's Matte Perfecting Primer and I find that the primer helps in my skin's healing - and maybe regeneration - process [I say this with reservation because I don't know for sure if that's what it actually does - maybe just gentle exfoliation].



Love the bottle-shaped sachet.

Purederm Cucumber Deep Cleansing Peel-off Mask [Amazon | Sears]

When I first opened the sachet, I took a whiff and thought it smelled pleasant. Upon application however, the fume snuck up on me and caught me off guard - like a nice little girl that sneaks up on you and suddenly gives you a punch in the nose. The smell was so deep in my nostril and throat that I actually coughed. It’s best to put on this mask in front of a fan - if you're famous, it's not that kind of fan.

No tingling or burning sensation when applied, which is a good thing. The mask can stick a bit strongly and tug on my skin and leave my skin reddish [my skin does get red easily]; but because of that, quite a lot of dirt get lifted off.





You don't have to put those stuff on your eyes.

Montagne Jeunesse Green Tea Peel Off Masque [Ulta | Amazon | eBay]

The only gripe I have with this mask is that I can’t pronounce the name of the brand. I can see why they are changing the name to 7th Heaven. Other than that I love this mask. 

Unlike the Garnier's and Purederm's mask, the scent of this is light. It also doesn’t irritate my skin, but it can get a bit hard to peel off. You see, to start peeling a peel-off mask, you have to apply pressure and push the edge of the mask to get the end to roll up before you can peel upwards [that's how I do it anyway; you can use your nails alternatively], and I find this process particularly difficult with this mask, more so than the two above - which can cause red skin. However, it doesn't tug as much and I keep going back to this mask more often. Would really like to check out other masks from 7th Heaven in the future.



Among the three masks, the packaging of the Montagne Jeunesse's is the one I find most unattractive, and to be honest I almost didn't buy this because of it; but I'm glad I did. It's the inside that counts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TP-LINK M5250: The Story of a Modem, Broken Fingernails and a Tiny Bit of Blood

This unassuming little pebble-like thingy caused me pain.
I found myself in need of a modem urgently recently. I didn't have much time to think and was left with only my phone to connect to the Internet.

Came TP-LINK 3G Mobile Wi-Fi M5250 [TP-LINK | Amazon] into my life quite 'accidentally'.

The Struggle

Even before I could put the modem to use, it gave me the pain that would forever attach itself to it.

The very first step was to open the cover and insert a SIM card and the battery. Let's just say that this step wasn't as easy as it sounds. I had to spend about an hour [I didn’t keep track] trying to open the cover. 

To open the cover, I had to work with a thin notch and flip the cover upwards. The notch wasn't the problem - the cover just wouldn't budge.

Using my nails, I literally tried to pry it open, alternating using my thumbs, my index finger and middle finger [I wasn't giving it the birdie by the way]. I don’t usually have long nails, but at the time my nails were longish - even when they are at the shortest I can still claw someone's skin off - so grip was not the problem. I kept checking the leaflet to see if I did it correctly; if I had to push something to release the cover - but no, nothing - it just said, "Open the cover upwards". As I was practically trying to tear the cover apart, I was preparing myself to accept the fact that I might break the thing. I even had one of those existential moments when I asked myself, "Why is this always happening to me?"

For a split second I considered throwing it somewhere. Maybe if I broke the shell open then I’d be able to reach inside and finally use the modem. It was one of those moments of insanity when you’re hurting and can’t think straight. But, I managed to steer my mind back to the task.

Broke My Nails, Cut Myself

I admit that I’m a special case; my skin is a little bit fragile because of eczema. But my nails are strong; they don't break easily.

Halfway through the process, my fingernails were broken, there were even bits of my nails on the modem. The nail of my thumbs broke at the sides and if I forced it any harder I think I would have peeled my nails off or at least the whole tip off. On second thought, maybe not; I'm not that strong. Have I mentioned I cut myself? Yes, I cut myself and tiny blood appeared.

I have taken some pictures of my fingers but I’m not posting them here because it’s not pretty.

I Did It!

In the end, I managed to open the cover on my own with a little help from a 5 cent coin. I left the cover off for awhile before I could be sure that I was able to make a connection, because I was afraid the modem wouldn’t work or if I might have inserted the SIM card incorrectly.

The Modem with Quirks

Thank goodness the modem works otherwise the very existence of it is non-existent. I wasted no time charging the TP-LINK M5250 using the provided micro USB cable and my phone's power plug. You can use the modem while it's charging, so that's very handy. On a full charge, I find the modem can last about 6-7 hours of non-continuous use and charging takes about 3-4 hours depending whether I'm using it or not. I tried charging on my MacBook and worked but I kept getting an error message. I later found out on TP-LINK's own website that the error message is apparently normal or as they say "meaningless" and you can simply click "Ignore".

The modem works across platforms too since there's no software to install; you simply open your browser and go from there. After the whole ordeal above, the setup was simple enough for me. 

The modem also comes with a couple of SIM card adapters for micro and nano SIM which I think is quite thoughtful of them - if only they could be as thoughtful with the cover design as well.

TP-LINK claims that the M5250 can provide connections to up to ten users simultaneously. I don't have ten users or ten devices but have tried with three devices and the WiFi connections seemed to be working well.

Google says it doesn't know much.
A couple of quirks I've found that I've never experienced with other modems or when tethering with my tablet before, are the 404 error message and the privacy error message. These error messages don't pop up every time; just once in a while.

The 404 error from Google as seen on the left simply says that the requested URL is or rather was not found on the server.


Attackers might be interested in me.
The privacy error message, as seen on the right, is much more alarming; saying that my connection is not private and that attackers might be trying to steal my information from whichever website I'm trying to visit.

On both occasions, reloading the page again later and/or logging in to TP-LINK's web management page and logging out seem to solve the problem.


After that initial struggle, the TP-LINK M5250 hasn't been giving me too much problems; except it adds to the list of my constant-charging devices.

Those with very short fingernails are going to have a huge problem with this. To those who have this particular modem or MiFi or whatever you call it, I’d really like to hear your experience especially how you managed to get it open. Or is mine an isolated case?

I shudder at the thought of having to open the cover again. There’s no way I’m going through all that all over again. I might have to break it open with a hammer next time…

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Opti-Free Multipurpose Contact Lens Solutions: Pure Moist vs Replenish

The solution to my contacts is multipurpose.
I've been writing about my adventures with contact lenses, namely with Biomedics 38 and Biofinity, but I have yet to write about the solutions I use to clean my contacts. So, what have I been using?

Multipurpose vs. Multipurpose
I was recommended the multipurpose solutions system right from the start, and both Opti-Free Pure Moist [Amazon | Boots] and Replenish [Amazon | Drugstore] are multipurpose solutions, in that you will only need one bottle to clean, disinfect and store your soft hydrogel and silicone hydrogel contacts; unlike a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner which requires another solution either before or after cleansing.

No-Rub vs. Yes-Rub
The only thing that mainly separates Pure Moist and Replenish is rubbing. One requires it and the other doesn't. If you take a look at the box insert which I suggest you should, you'll see the safety information and instructions that I think are simple enough to follow.

Replenish requires rinsing each side of the lens for five seconds before storage, but I give my contacts a little rub [with the solution] prior to rinsing anyway just because I'm thorough. With Pure Moist, you will need to rub each lens for twenty seconds before rinsing each side of the lens for ten seconds.

Regular vs. Comfort
I call Replenish 'regular' because I don't think it's a bad solution; a bad solution would be stinging your eyes or cause infection. Replenish is none of those. But I feel Pure Moist offers something extra compared to Replenish. With the same contacts, in this case Biofinity, I feel more comfortable and feel comfortable longer when I use Pure Moist. For example in an air conditioned room, with Replenish, my eyes almost always get immediately dry and I would have to constantly blink to the point of annoying. With Pure Moist I would have to literally have the air conditioner or fan blowing at my face before I have trouble seeing. So, no matter how convenient the no-rub is, I feel the extra comfort is worth all the rubbing.

With daily use, a bottle of both solutions lasts more or less a month. Pure Moist might finish a bit quickly because of all the rinsing needed. After about five months of use of both solutions [not at the same time], I haven't developed any kind of allergic reaction. Considering people with eczema or those with allergic tendencies in general are much more prone to have an allergic reaction, I have been lucky with these solutions, and surely enough I have a history of eczema.

Which contact lens solutions do you think is the best?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Reached a Milestone... in Candy Crush

I wish I was this industrious in real life.
I’m not too proud to admit this but a few months ago I reached level 1,000 in Candy Crush. But I don't know where I stand in terms of achievement; whether this is common, since the so-called achievement was reached in roughly over a year. So far, I have managed without Facebook or buying lives. And if you're wondering, but of course why wouldn't you, I haven't been playing daily; I've had days when I was fed up with the game and didn't feel like playing.

Childish?
I guess if a game is colourful, cartoony, apparently doesn't require much brain activity and deals with candies as opposed to dark, strategy-laden, monster-fighting, gun-blasting games, then yes, no manly man will admit to playing this. 

Childish or not, from the point of view of the person behind the player, intentionally or not, games like these take our minds off things. This reminds me of when I was out having coffee, and saw a lady in a dark business suit; coffee on table, cigarette in hand, iPad in front, playing one of the childish games I ever saw. The stark contrast was quite funny. The game was not Candy Crush but I guess she just wanted a break from 'life' and just... play.

Stress-Reliever?
The goal of games like Candy Crush is simple, but you need focus to maximise success but you can also play on auto mode and achieve some form of success due to its simplicity. I'm the kind of person who's always in my head and it's not as instinctive to simply stop thinking and be in the moment. Too much of a good thing is not good for you and thinking may or may not be one of them; they say ignorance is bliss. And then there are those little achievements after completing a level - I call them pseudo-happiness, little pseudo-happiness.

However, I think Candy Crush can be a stress-inducer as well. I find that my heart rate goes up whenever I'm stuck at a level and games like these are [I think] programmed for the player to lose and to entice you to play further; you lose with just one more - in the case of Candy Crush - jelly to go.

Addictive?
It can be. Just think that you can bring this everywhere. And when you're having problems in real life a little pseudo-happiness helps, and then you come back to the real world after a brief simulated happiness, realise you still have all of your problems staring at you, you can potentially plunge right back into the game rather than deal with reality.

I once went without my tablet and Candy Crush for about a few weeks. The things I missed the most were of course Internet connection [because I use my tablet to connect to the Internet] and second, was my games.

At the time of writing, I am at level 1,053. I don't know if I can or need to wean myself off Candy Crush; I managed to do so with coffee, so I'm pretty sure I can with this one. But then, I'm not even sure if I'm addicted to this; no apparent withdrawal symptoms when I wasn't able to play.

Is there a game you can't seem to put down? 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Electrolux Portable Induction Cooktop: No Gas, No Problem

A picture of a picture of the Electrolux Portable Induction Cooktop on its box.
There was an explosion. A small one. There was no fire. Everyone was OK.

The Cause of the Explosion
Actually, what happened was our gas cooktop simply exploded; not the whole thing though just one of the burners, but it could be worse. What we found out later was our cooktop was too old and getting complications that usually come with old age.

But it was enough for me to look for other options, namely, electric cooktops. To the Internet I went and back ever so slightly wiser.

No More Gas
After a ton of digging and a few hundreds of cat photos later, I found out that electric cooktops have come a long way from the electric coil system, to ceramic infrared heating system, to electromagnetic induction system. The cat photos had nothing to do with cooktops; it was just me sidetracking, in case you're wondering.

Except...
Despite all that, since my mom does most of the cooking [OK, OK, all of the heavy cooking], and she insisted on another gas cooktop, we had to replace our old gas cooktop with another... you've guessed it, gas cooktop.
My cooking expertise is boiling water.

Still, I thought it was time to try something new. The induction system appealed to me, so we bought a single portable induction cooktop by Electrolux.

But Wait! What is an Induction Cooktop?
I don't want to bore you with technical details, but if it's your thing, I won't judge you. Physics.org offers a simple explanation on induction cookers and How Stuff Works gives a bit more in-depth look on How Induction Cooktops Work.

The Experience
Like most induction cooktops, the one we bought has a flat ceramic top, so a wok is a no go; you will have to use cookware with a flat bottom. Speaking of cookware, one caveat with induction cooking is that you will have to make sure you have ferromagnetic or magnetised pots and pans - the easiest to check if you already have them is by placing a magnet at the bottom of your cookware and see if it sticks.

Ours comes with a pot ready for use, so we wasted no time testing the cooktop. Cooking is easy enough if you know what you're doing; I mean technically there's no learning curve - you simply plug it in, turn the knob to the heating level of your choice and you're cooking. Heat control is almost instantaneous. There is a touchscreen timer you can utilise in case you want to leave your cooking unattended but still prefer it to stop at a preset time. I prefer to have my cooking attended by my mom.

Boiling water takes seconds especially if you have about a cup or so in the pot. Cooking something with oil or frying is something you will have to get used to - at least I did. The first time I tried frying some fish crackers, I waited for the oil to heat up and waited and waited, till I remembered something I read [I can't remember where] and put in the crackers anyway and there it was frying like nobody's business. The problem might be that the heat was too low and/or not continuous; the sound it made sort of gave me the idea.

Since induction cooking directly heats the pot, the surrounding cooking area is pretty cool to touch including the [uninsulated] handles of the pot. I'm not sure if this is heat-dependent [I think it is], since I rarely go the highest setting which is nine, so I'll say do it with precaution.

Design
If you think this particular model that we have is not up to your design palate, there are other variations available either from Electrolux or other brands; some with more control options, some with more than one cooking surfaces and a lot of built-in model options.

As mentioned above, the flat cooking top is the widely available option. But there's also a curved top designed for a wok like The Grand Cuisine Surround Induction Zone, also by Electrolux from their professional line. You know what that means, it means everything from that line is going to be more expensive than the non-professional line. But at least you'll get to use your wok if that's your thing.

Professional line or not, I don't think I can make a gourmet meal any time soon with or without this or any other induction cooktops. But I like the one we have for the light cooking that I do and I absolutely like the fact that I don't need one of those cooking gas tanks in my home [even if I still do right now - I will have to convince my mom to change].

Friday, August 7, 2015

I Didn't Choose The Plugged Life

Shameless plugs.
Once upon a time, the batteries of my laptop, tablet and phone were all full and I lived happily ever after. Screeching back to reality, a few hours later I had to plug in to charge one of these devices again and the cycle continues.

Mobile Mobility
Ironically, these devices were purposely chosen for their relative mobility and yet I'm constantly having to have one or another tethered to keep them going. I don't use my phone often so it gets a few days of use before I have to plug it in again. But my laptop and tablet need charging every single day.

I know what you're saying, just stop using them. I can't. I mean I can but they make life, certain parts of my life, easier. And true to Murphy's Law, like it's their religion or something, the batteries run out at crucial moments: when you're having a brilliant idea, when you're outside with free Wi-Fi and want to show someone that funny cat videos.

And, when these devices are plugged in, the power socket is usually out of range. Out of range from where it's convenient to do my work, that is.

A power bank is something I'm considering but not too fond of having. I don't like having too much stuff and a power bank is another stuff. Also, remember the problem is not with my phone, and those laptop power banks are cumbersome. I know it might be difficult for some people to understand this, and I don't blame you; sometimes I don't understand myself either.

Wirelessly Wireless
When I first found out about wireless charging I thought it was ridiculous - just shows you how forward-minded I am. Now, I think it's brilliant and can't wait to have it, such as the Qi charging system, to evolve into something like the whole house is a charging station, or better yet a self-charging device. There's already a development in self-charging batteries and power cells [Gizmag | Georgia Tech]; apart from the obsolete solar-panelled, self-charging phone by TAG Heuer [EngadgetTAG Heuer], it's a long way to go before they are incorporated into a mobile device.

Until then, the charging saga [just to be dramatic] is an inconvenience, a small one, not the I-have-to-sell-my-kidney-to-feed-my-family kind of inconvenience; that I'm willing to live with.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In Search of Water

Water Squad
Top: Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion Left: Atopiclair Non Steroidal Cream Leftmost: Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturising Lotion Right: Johnson's Baby Milk and Rice Lotion Rightmost: Avène Thermal Spring Water Middle: Johnson's Baby Soothing Naturals Intense Moisture Cream Front: Palmer's Olive Butter Formula Concentrated Cream
The most ridiculous thing I've ever heard someone said, in context of moisturising, is to just use water on your skin. For someone who has eczema and the extreme dry skin that comes with it, water alone is not enough to moisturise. Water evaporates as soon as you put it on. However, I do find that if I moisten [not wet] my skin prior to putting on a moisturiser the product spreads and absorbs better.

So, to compensate for my extremely dry skin, I have to moisturise not just daily, but every time after washing my hands. And, no I'm not just exaggerating to make an interesting story. I wish I was.

The products in the picture above are mostly hand and body moisturisers that I use, some extensively, some not so much; and some I still use, some not anymore. I find that each one serves a bit differently, and I can't decide which is my favourite.

Also, I double up some of these on the face as well, such as the Johnson's Soothing Naturals, Aveeno Active Naturals and Palmer's Olive Butter Formula. What I do is that I simply rub the lotion or cream on my hands, and on a moistened face [as above], pat lightly all over my face [including under my eyes], and dab/press lightly on dry patches.

From the Top

Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion [Amazon] [Drugstore] [Boots]
Just like the name suggests it provides 'express' hydration, but I can't say that other lotions or creams I'm using offer delayed hydration. They all feel hydrating as soon as I put them on. I love the texture of this lotion. This is the only lotion that I sometimes use without pre-moistening my skin. I don't use this on my face though, for some reason it doesn't go quite well with my skin - it doesn't irritate or anything but it doesn't feel as comfortable as the other lotions and creams. This is not meant as a facial moisturiser anyway so I use these on my hands, elbows and knees.

To the Left

Atopiclair Non Steroidal Cream [Amazon] [eBay]
I know I have written a not-so-favourable blog post about this cream. You can find out what I think in my post My Eczema's Battle with Atopiclair. But that was Atopiclair against eczema. As a moisturiser Atopiclair hydrates my skin brilliantly. The only thing is that I have moisturisers that I feel work just as good at a fraction of the cost.

To the Leftmost & Middle

Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturising Lotion [Amazon] [iHerb] [ULTA] & Johnson's Baby Soothing Naturals Intense Moisture Cream [Boots] [Amazon] [eBay]
I know I said that I don't have a favourite, but maybe that's not entirely true because I think these two are my favourite; disappointingly these are not available in Malaysia [not that I know of]. If you do know where to find these here in Malaysia [not online] please let me know. These two have the texture of a light lotion and both make my skin feel softer and hydrated and leave no sticky feeling. Of all the moisturisers here, they all have a light scent but these two I like the best. Like I mentioned above, I use these lotions on my face using the 'pre-moistened and pat' technique. They are gentle enough and don't irritate at all. For a girl with oily skin, these do not feel greasy upon application.

On to the Right

Johnson's Baby Milk and Rice Lotion [Amazon] [eBay]
A lot I've said about the Nivea Express Hydration could apply here. The difference is that I don't feel this lotion as hydrating. There is nothing to dislike but there is nothing to be too fond of either. I use this mainly on my legs.

On to the Rightmost

Avène Thermal Spring Water [Amazon] [SkinStore] [DermStore]
This is not a moisturiser per se. It's just spring water in a spray bottle. By itself it doesn't do much, as I can't really tell the difference between this and regular tap water. But I keep this in a travel size to use whenever I can't find clean water and sometimes it's just handy. Like I said above, I find that having my hands moist helps in the absorption of my moisturiser, and I do that with tap water and sometimes with this.

And the Front

Palmer's Olive Butter Formula Concentrated Cream [Amazon] [iHerb] [eBay]
I have been using this cream as a replacement for the Johnson's Baby Soothing Naturals and the Aveeno Active Naturals as I've run out of both. To be perfectly honest, I don't even know why I bought this [I think it was the olive butter; sometimes I'm such a mystery] and I was preparing not to like the texture as this is the richest and heaviest of all creams I've tried - it is called a concentrated cream for a reason. I thought it would simply sit on top of my skin. But to my surprise it absorbs quite well with or without pre-moistened skin. It doesn't feel greasy and it feels mild enough on my face.

Do you have a favourite moisturiser? Or do you use a bunch of them like me?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How Do I Look?

Notice anything different? [Clicken to embiggen]
Just as expected from a blogger, it seems like a sin to not blog about the blog's new template. If you've been following me, then you might have been one of those to have seen the changing of the look of my blog for these past few days.

The Flower
Fleur is the name of the designer of the new template, and all her templates are minimalistic in nature. You can find out more about her and her templates at her website. However, at the moment the templates are available at her Etsy shop, where you can also find templates not only for the Blogger platform but also for Wordpress; plus other custom designs and services such as turning your current template into one that's responsive [which will adjust to any screen size] which I'd like to get in the future. Her after-sales care has been excellent; sticking by me when a few changes were needed and restored something that went missing.

The Template
As you might have guessed, I'm a fan of minimalism. The new template is everything that. The template is cleaner and simply aesthetically pleasing to my eye. It's a two-column template with the navigation bar on the right. In line with the new look, I have decided to do away with a few things including the Google Friend Connect widget; but you can always add my blog manually on your Blogger dashboard if you do follow blogs that way.

The Installation
The installation process was simple enough being a copy-and-paste of the code. For those who don't have a clue about HTML, you don't have to have any clues at all but it helps to have a basic understanding of HTML if you want to do some minor adjustments, which I did. The template came with an installation guide. After working on it for a few days with the help of Fleur, I finally got everything sorted out and the template is finally to my liking.

The Browsers
Different browsers can render templates differently. The template looks great in Chrome and Safari on my laptop, but I have also tested it on my tablet using Chrome and Android Browser; the latter being the only one to display my blog a bit oddly. I hope no one is using Android Browser anymore... is there?

As you can see I'm happy with the current template and hoping to be using it for quite some time.

Friday, July 3, 2015

I Finally Slept in My Contacts!

I can't believe I finally slept in these [the contacts, not the makeup].
I finally did it! I bit the bullet and slept in my contacts. So, what's the big deal?

Because of Reasons
It is such a big deal for me because when I decided to wear contacts, I wanted to be absolutely sure and so I researched to death [apparently not because I'm still alive] and the outcome was not quite reassuring; particularly when I came across a disconcerting story of a girl in Taiwan who wore her contacts for six months straight and got infected by acanthamoeba [Google search] and had to pay with her eyes. Also, to top it of, most comments often accompanying those articles I came across, supposing from users who claim they have been using contacts and have followed the proper care and still get some form of infection, was not encouraging for a newbie like me. I don't know how accurate and authentic the story about the Taiwanese girl is, but it is an extreme case and if you want to do your research online, it helps to be impartial and you'll probably come across an article such as from Live Science to give you another perspective.

Safety First
I took a conservative approach to sleeping in my contacts, which I had [and still have] been wearing almost daily, consistently averaging twelve hours a day with daily cleansing for almost four months prior to sleeping in them. The contacts I've been wearing, taking naps in, and finally have slept in are Biofinity contacts by CooperVision which have been approved by the FDA to be worn continuously for six nights and seven days - I have blogged about them here. It is important to note that you can't simply sleep in any contacts; you can't even wear some contacts for more than eight hours [well, technically you can but the risks are manifold compared with contacts that are approved for extended wear].

Safety Second
When I say 'conservative' approach, I really did take precautions. The contacts I wore to sleep were fresh from the package and I only wore them for one, yes one, night or to be specific just over thirty eight hours of wear, with about eight hours spent asleep.

Breakdown of wearing time:
Put on contacts - eyes felt great.
After about fifteen waking hours - eyes felt relatively good but slightly dry.
After sleeping for about eight hours - eyes felt relatively comfortable, and by this time I could feel the contacts in my eyes more prominently than before.
After another fourteen waking hours - by this time, I have washed my face and showered, so my eyes were slightly uncomfortable and a bit dry.

My Concerns
- Showering
- Prominent blood vessels

In my previous post, I have touched upon my concern with my blood vessels becoming more noticeable here; they are not too troublesome and don't amount to a pink eye. The more serious problem here is showering. Since the risk of getting an infection is greater if you shower or swim in your contacts, you do have to remove them prior or immediately after. If that it so, what it means is that you do have to go through the process of cleansing and disinfecting your contacts every time you do one of these activities. I do one of these activities every day, and if I have to do the whole cleaning/disinfecting process every time, that sort of defies the purpose of having the convenience of extended-wear contacts.

The End
In the end I didn't buy Biofinity to sleep in or wear for a week without removing my contacts. I wanted a pair of contacts that I could wear for more than just eight hours a day and maybe take occasional naps in, and extended wear contacts are perfect for this.

I took a risk but a measured one when people around me kept telling me not to sleep in my contacts; ever. The thing is, we hear people die every day in a car crash but the car has been a ubiquitous form of transport that we never think twice [or once] before we get into one every day. I've made my choice and I took a risk but it's a calculated risk to wear contacts and to finally sleep in them even though for only one night.

Have you tried any extended-wear contacts specifically Biofinity? Have you slept in them?


Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Eczema's Battle with Atopiclair

The cream in its full glory.
The Eczema Business
So, to start things off, what is eczema? Basically, it's also called atopic dermatitis. Your skin is prone to an allergic reaction either to the foods you eat, the products you use, to anything that might be abrasive to your skin. And it is not contagious. If left untreated, tiny bumps filled with fluid may appear and your skin can get itchy. Your skin is extremely dry and you will have to use a moisturiser on the affected area; in my case every time after washing my hands.

That's what I've been suffering from since I was a kid [not the four-legged kind].

For the most part of my childhood, the routine was a regular visit to the doctor, and had been given all sorts of creams, liquid prescriptions to little to no effect. For the most part of my adulthood however, I have been using Diprocel, a corticosteroid ointment to control the itching and inflammation.

The Atopiclair Business
So, I got tired of steroid-based ointments. All of that steroid in your system can't be good for you, so I thought. I walked into a pharmacy and asked for an alternative. The pharmacist suggested Atopiclair [Amazon | eBay] and I thought, why not. It's that simple.

Now, on to the cream itself; it is, as alluded above, steroid-free. The texture is more like a lotion than a cream, which I like. The instruction is to massage it onto your skin three times a day. It doesn't feel greasy at all, but it leaves a slightly powdery finish; nothing uncomfortable though.

To give this cream a fair chance, I stopped using my Diprocel for about five days; not prior but at the beginning. The non-steroidal cream provided some relief to the itchiness, but it might also due to the spillover from the corticosteroid ointment. The tiny bumps, which were already kind of sparse, seemingly disappeared. And I didn't have to use a moisturiser. However, after five days of continuous use, the tiny bumps reappeared and so did the itchiness. It became unbearable that I had to go to my Diprocel to seek help.

The Concluding Business
It seems if you have more than moderate eczema, which apparently I do, you will still have to use this along with whichever corticosteroid cream you're using; something which I later found out on Atopiclair's own website. If that's the case, I can achieve that with Diprocel and a moisturiser I've grown to love, the Palmer's Olive Butter Formula Concentrated Cream, which costs a lot less than Atopiclair. I was hopeful to replace my steroid cream or even [silently] hope cure my eczema. But it seems my eczema won the battle with this cream.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Eyeliners For The Makeup Clumsy

I draw the lines with these.
I'm clumsy with makeup. I mean, I enjoy reading about how to put on makeup and the endless options we have out there. But, I can't be bothered to try them myself and certainly haven't tried every eyeliner out there. But, for quite some time now, I have to say that I've been enjoying using eyeliners more often than not. I first found that joy in the Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner, and later the Sephora Waterproof Retractable Eyeliner.

What They Both Are
Waterproof
Retractable
Have Built-in Sharpener

Liner at one end, smudger at the other.

Sephora goes the extra mile, a tiny mile, by providing a smudger, but that's because it is creamier and can be smudged before the colour is set.

Perfect Lines For Me
These eyeliners are perfect for me as opposed to liquid eyeliners as I don't have to be too precise with the lines. They tend to be forgiving, especially in softer neutral colours - I have mine in brown [Sephora] and blackberry [Revlon]; and if your lines are slightly crooked you won't notice it that much as they create a less well-defined line, especially if you build them up instead of a bold line in one go. If your lines are massively crooked however, you should stop using an eyeliner; or you are better off with the Sephora eyeliner as it is creamier and like I said, you can smudge them up - make sure you make a bolder line or do smudge lightly because the smudger can take a bit of the product off; which is a good thing if you want to erase a mistake.

Contacts with My Eyeliners
As a contact lens wearer, these liners have not given me any problems as they don't seem to flake. However, since I only line the upper lid of my eyes and never on my waterline, I can't say for those who do. As long as you don't poke your eyes with them, and to remember to put on your contacts first before applying your makeup, and remove your contacts before removing your makeup; there shouldn't be too much problems. I have a rather sensitive skin and these both have played nice with my eyes.

Which do you prefer, liquid eyeliners or pencil?

Monday, June 8, 2015

I'm Totally Into Collagen Supplement

My knees love these, and I love my knees.
I like to walk. I *love* to walk. I walk when I'm happy. I walk when I'm sad. I walk when I'm excited. I walk when I'm thinking. Basically I walk all the time. I walk till my legs hurt, and then some. I don't even have to go outside. I just get up and walk. In fact, I've just put my tablet down... and walked around my room to get some ideas.

With all that walking, I have the knees of an 80-year-old woman; whose, I don't know but they are there being cranky and reminding me of their existence every blinking minute.

When life gives you lemon you make lemonade - which has got nothing to do with knees but collagen does. And collagen is to my knees as lemonade is to my thirst [actually I don't even drink lemonade].

Here Comes Collagen
I first bought the Total Image Collagen supplement for my mom, who has the knees of a 68-year-old woman, partly because she is one. I don't know where or when but I've always known, and I believe it's common knowledge that collagen is good for the skin and knees among other things. The Total Image Collagen supplement I have comes in a tablet form, and is rather large and thick. I'm good at swallowing so that's not a problem for me, but if you are not, then that's something you might want to look into.

My Mom Doesn't Like It But I Do
My mom found the supplement to be too drying for her [you might need to increase your water intake] and didn't want to continue taking them despite my suggestion to take one every other day [the recommended dosage is two tablets twice daily before breakfast and bed]. I ended up trying the supplement myself and also couldn't handle the dryness, and now taking one tablet every other day. I can't say for sure whether it does something for my skin because when I started taking it regularly, which was several years ago, I was already taking fish oil and vitamin C supplements regularly. I'm going to guess that the collagen supplement does help in my skin regeneration - there's really no way for me to make a comparison of me before and after taking the supplement regularly independent of my other supplements. But, what I can say for sure is that, whenever I miss taking one for a few days, that cranky 80-year-old lady reminds me of it without fail.

Do you take supplements regularly?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Thieves Among Us

Would you forgive a beautiful thief?
Throughout my whole life, there have been only a handful incidents of theft that I personally experienced. There were a few incidents of our house getting broken in and a few video players and TV sets were taken, some cash, some relatively unimportant stuff and, believe it or not, food - not all at the same time of course.

Theft at School
When I was in primary school, a girl brought RM200 [US$50+] to school and was stolen right under her nose - under her table to be exact. A little girl doesn't have a business bringing that much money and left under her table unattended, but of course she was too young to know better. Our teacher had to resort to 'religion' to make the culprit [culprits rather] come out and confess.

A Relative Thievery
When theft is done by someone close to you, a relative for example, the pain cuts quite deep - you'd think only a stranger can do that to you. Sharing a room with my sister, we came home after shopping with a gift-with-purchase little perfume charm and we were so looking forward to it. But we had to put it aside when our cousin dropped by and later had to use our room to freshen up. When she was gone, so was the perfume.

I Did NOT See That
And sometimes theft happens when you're caught unaware. I mean, it's not as if you go out expecting to see people stealing. At a convenience store, I was waiting for my sister to pay for our purchase and was not paying attention to anything in particular as I usually do, when the girl behind my sister just took a few candies and put them in her pocket as she was paying for some of her other stuff. As if coming out of a stupor, I had to think a bit if that girl really did steal some candies. Accusing someone of theft when you're not even sure of it yourself would have been a mistake. I simply told my sister and my cousin [a different cousin] about it and decided to leave the matter alone.

All of these accounts happened quite some time ago and I have to say that my life had been theft-free since then.

Until recently when my brother was hospitalised and he had a few visitors and one of them simply, I'm sure of it, swiped, as in casually, took our toiletries, as he got up and go. Again, it was right under our noses but no one actually saw anything. In this case, I wasn't sure at the time. After we couldn't find the toiletries [and after the guy was long gone], I tried to recall where the toiletries were, and remembered seeing the guy picked something up exactly where the toiletries would have been. I had to check myself and refrain from voicing my suspicion since memory can distort after a time, even if it's just a short time and my emotion might play a role and created a fabricated memory. Safe to say, I haven't told anyone about it.

Why do people steal? I mean apart from the obvious desperate survival undertaking, or so they say, some people steal things that are of low in monetary value. And in my experience, among those, the ones done by someone close to you are the most hurtful.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Contact Lens: Biofinity is My New BFF

My new BFF is a contact lens.
I started wearing glasses when... when I was very, very young. You can safely say that I have been wearing glasses my whole life. The weird thing is, I wanted to wear glasses even before I started wearing them. Even right before I decided to wear contacts, I never thought I looked hideous in them; in fact I thought it added dimension to my otherwise boring look. I'm so conceited tee hee.

So, when I decided to change to contacts, I wanted it to be a worthwhile change and to make sure I did it right. There was a hitch with Biomedics 38 but I have since changed to Biofinity which was in my list of possible contact lenses to try.

But first, to sum up what I wanted in a pair of contacts, I can say three things were important:
  • Comfort
  • Long-wearing
  • Able to take occasional short naps in
And Biofinity checks with all of the above.

Let's see what's inside... hmm... contacts.
In comparison with the Biomedics 38 contacts, I notice Biofinity contacts are a bit rigid. Being silicone hydrogel contacts, they are definitely unlike glass but somewhat stiffer than Biomedics 38, which are soft hydrogels.

What Do I Think of Them?
I love, love, love, love the Biofinity [VisionDirect | eBay] contacts. Did I say I love them? Yes, I love them. From the moment I put them on, they have been so comfortable that the only disappointing thing about them is when it's time to take them off.

I followed the recommended wearing time on CooperVision's Package Insert [PDF] - starting with six hours and increasing by two until it got to "all waking hours," and monitored my eyes constantly; a bit obsessively I can say, and took note of the blood vessels on the white of my eyes. I'm happy to report that the blood vessels are significantly less prominent compared to Biomedics 38.

With daily cleansing, I wore the first pair for almost a month [the right one wouldn't stay in shape a few days before the one-month mark].

Have I Slept in Them Yet?
Remember I said I wanted to take naps in my contacts? Well, Biofinity is FDA approved to be worn for six nights and seven days straight. However, I haven't slept overnight in them yet [but I have taken 45-minute to 2-hour naps in them]; the reason because as comfortable as they are, at the end of the day [literally] my blood vessels are worrying me. As I said, they are less prominent than when I was wearing Biomedics 38, but more so than when I'm not wearing any contacts; which is to be expected I suppose - you do have a foreign object in your eye. Since there is no need for me to sleep overnight in my contacts yet, I'm content with removing them daily for now.

How Long Have I Stretched These Contacts?
As I'm writing this, I have been wearing my Biofinity contacts for almost twelve hours. I have worn them for longer than that though; once going nineteen hours straight. I'm not going to lie that they stayed comfortable after so long; they did get dry and my eyes did get blurry and I couldn't blink fast enough to clear my vision, but they were bearable and if I had to wear them for that long again I would probably get some sort of a rewetting drops. It is also important to note that wind, water, debris and air-conditioners [dry air] will make these contacts uncomfortable to wear; only that in my experience, less severely so compared to when I was wearing Biomedics 38.

For anyone interested in contacts especially extended-wear contacts, please do a research on them first. It is always a good thing to make an informed decision.

Have you worn your contacts continuously for more than a day?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Biomedics 38 Soft Contact Lens: My Second First Contacts

Soft contacts live here.
I had my first encounter with contact lenses more than a decade ago. It was a few months trial and believe it or not I don't even remember the contacts brand. The trial was not a failure but I never felt there was a need for me to make a full transition as I was happy with my glasses.

Biomedics 38 by CooperVision is the first brand of contact lens I bought and tried after that trial. After an episode of uncomfortable glasses, which you can read here, I decided to try contacts once again and this time hopefully for good.

I like to do some research before I do or purchase anything important, and it was no different when I decided to try contacts once again. I had a few contacts in mind, but during the purchase, when I asked if they had extended-wear contacts, I was told that they had not had those in stock in a long time. I was recommended Biomedics 38 instead for monthly contacts. I agreed since I didn't know how my eyes would react extended-wear or not.

Just to make things clear, the Biomedics 38 contacts are not for extended wear.

First Contact
When I first tried them on, there was a slight itch on my eyelids. But I was so happy to finally not wearing my glasses that I didn't mind at all, besides it was only slight and very bearable; and I thought I was getting used to the lenses.

I wore the contacts for twelve hours straight, which is not recommended for first time users - you should ease your eyes into it, increasing wear time as you go.

The Itch Did Not Persist, Blurriness Ensued
Wearing the contacts daily, a few days into it, the itch became less noticeable - maybe I got used to it; but another problem emerged. It became increasingly difficult for me to focus and my vision got blurry as the day went on. Still a newbie to this, I had to search what could be causing the blurriness, and according to 1800Contacts, it could be a number of things which include deposits on the lenses and dryness of the lenses and eyes - both of which I think applied to me.

I See Blood Vessels
Right from the get go I monitored my eyes every few hours just to see if anything changes. I started to notice [more] visible blood vessels in the white of my eyes, which indicated to me that my eyes needed more oxygen since blood carry err... oxygen.

Now, when we start to pay attention to something we wouldn't normally do, sometimes we might 'notice' something that is otherwise normal. So, I was careful to compare my eyes with contacts and without contacts. Having said that, cutting the wear time might solve this problem but that means more time with my glasses. Do. Not. Want.

The Verdict
By the end of first week, my eyes got uncomfortable after three hours of wear; and the blood vessels kind of worried me. That's when I decided to try new contacts - the one I wanted to wear in the first place; and my experience with Biomedics 38 ends here.

I will write about my next contacts [which I love] in my upcoming post. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

MEC iPort Portable Air Conditioner: Never Let Other People Buy You Stuff

Left: The iPort when not in use. Right: View from above; it slides open when turned on.
Let me start by saying, I hate waste - wastefulness to be exact. And when a purchase is done by someone else for example as a gift, or without consulting you, the chances of 'waste' is greater by, say 110%. That might be stretching it a bit but you get the idea.

I would also like to say that none of these is MEC's or Fimaco's fault. Isn't the burden of due diligence lies with the consumers? Besides, we did not buy these directly from Fimaco.

To give you an idea what an iPort is, as per MEC's website, the iPort is 'intelligently Portable'. It is basically an air conditioning system which is portable and doesn't require to be wall-mounted to use.

Push-Plug-Play
Push it around and the iPort travels on its wheels - almost as big as one of those large wheeled luggage bags. Plug it and turn it on, it simply starts without much help. The portability however stops there.

The Problem(s)
For one thing, you do have to deal with warm air that comes out at the back. Unless you're OK with warm air circulating your room, you do have to direct the detachable tube somewhere to let it out. There lies your problem. Mine, rather. The options are: to make a hole in your wall or use the supplied accessories on your window. There lies two more problems: making a hole in the wall is out of the question, and the kit only works with sliding windows or those that open vertically or horizontally. Mine aren't.

Design-wise, it is very much right up my alley. If you have an iPhone or iPod or whatever 'i' device-themed decor, the iPort blends almost seamlessly. Also, it will be easier to take your air conditioner with you when you move house.

I didn't buy these myself [we have two]. Had I bought these, I would have been very disappointed with myself for not searching and reading up on it, or seeing the unit in person before making a purchase.

So, is there a happy ending to this story? Sort of. One unit is in my brother's room - he has improvised and the iPort is somewhat useable. The other one becomes a paper weight because there is no window in our living room [let alone a sliding one] and we haven't found anywhere else to use it yet.

It's a very large paper.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Keep Walking Back to Fabiano Ricco

The name sounds Italian, no?
I'm at a point in my life where I don't feel the need to buy a Prada or a Gucci and definitely not a Louboutin... yet.

For everyday shoes and not-so-everyday shoes, I find that I keep coming back to one brand - Fabiano Ricco. I have three pairs already and that says a lot because I have never had that many of any shoe brand in my collection. My brand of choice has been quite varied including Bonia, Vincci, Carlo Rino and some odd brands thrown in.

Comfort - Choose Wisely
I realise that comfort depends partly on the design and in part, the material. I don't know if I simply got lucky, but all three pairs of my Fabiano Ricco shoes have been relatively comfortable for more than light walking, especially the one in black in the photo above - I did have to break them in a little. This is not to say that all their shoes are comfortable though; that would be like saying everything at McDonald's is delicious... wouldn't it?

Price - Right Next to Bonia
If you find Prada too expensive, Bonia might be a good substitute. If you find Bonia too expensive, Fabiano Ricco sits right next to it. And that suits me very well, thank you.

No Italiano
I suppose there's some sort of appeal in using Italian names on leather goods, specifically on shoes and bags, even if they are manmade 'leather'. Despite its name, Fabiano Ricco is based in Malaysia; according to their website, they are based in Johor Bahru, Malaysia with stores nationwide, including in Brunei and Indonesia.

I'm not going to stay loyal to one brand for brand's sake however. I'm planning to keep looking for great designs and comfort and if it happens to be Fabiano Ricco, so let it be. Who knows, I might find myself owning a designer brand one day.

Are you brand-loyal when it comes to shoes?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Priming My Skin with Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer

Where would my pores be without you? Staring back at you, of course.
I'm a former acne sufferer and I have a peculiarly sensitive skin. Because of that, I don't like putting too much on my skin, be it skincare or makeup. I'm not much of a makeup girl in the first place.

I bought the Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer [Estee Lauder] [Sephora] in the hopes of getting that relatively perfect canvas without much effort. As much hope I have into a product, I was prepared to be reasonable.

At Sephora, I thought the texture of the Illuminating Perfecting Primer was more to my liking - a bit more hydrating I could say. But, any oily girl would know better to go for matte - providing you moisturise of course.

Texture
Despite my initial fondness of the other primer, I love how this goes on my skin. It doesn't feel heavy and I don't feel that it simply 'sits' there. I can say that it feels like when I put on the Idealist Skin Refinisher, and covers like one as well.

Oil-Controlling Power
If I wear it alone on a moisturised face, I can see some oil forming up slightly especially on and around my nose after six or seven hours of use. After ten hours, I can expect my skin to be drenched, I mean covered, in oil.

Pore-Minimising Power
This primer is supposed to be an under-makeup primer. It says there on their website. With that in mind, whatever pores peeking out afterwards should be taken care of by your foundation or powder. Safe to say that it relatively minimises my pores that I have gone out without anything else on top. But, that's just me.

Flaw-Minimising Power
I'm afraid my flaws are too powerful for this primer. A makeup in a tube can do so much, but it's not a miracle; unless your flaws are minimal, or the texture of your skin is not as uneven as mine. It does make the texture of my skin appear somewhat smooth, but not entirely.

How My Skin Reacts
It's difficult to predict how my skin will react to a skincare or makeup - it has a mind of its own and doesn't invite me to the meeting. Thankfully, my skin takes it kindly to this primer and doesn't break out, get clogged or become irritated.

It's Weird
On to the weird stuff. The reason why I have been using this primer alone or with a powder is that it changes the texture of my BB cream - it does so with my concealer as well, but I use very little concealer and mostly on my eyes, so that's not a problem. What I mean is that my BB cream becomes a bit sticky and doesn't spread quite as evenly - not even if I wait for the primer to settle.

However, I'm willing to live with that idiosyncrasy and just use powder. Also, depends on the financial report [mine that is], I might be purchasing this primer again.

What's your favourite primer?