Saturday, November 26, 2016

Risks and Regrets

I keep telling myself that I have no control over what risks other people are willing to take; because even though you know it’s true, you still feel bad or responsible if something goes wrong. You can’t control a free-willed human being, especially adults, and especially those you have no direct influence on. Even those you do have some influence over, you can give your opinion but you still can’t control what they ultimately decide to do.

And yet I have taken a few risks myself - depending on how you look at it, I might still do - that might have put my life in danger.

Once, after the end of a temporary work, I walked home alone because everyone was busy and couldn’t pick me up. The walk was about a kilometre long and I was followed by a man on a motorcycle halfway through. It was a Friday afternoon and very sunny - a bright sunny afternoon is not something you would associate with danger or terror or horror; I even walked through a graveyard and saw a group of men digging a grave.

Looking back, something could have happened to me; I had to walk through a few quiet streets; I was alone and practically defenceless; and that pursuer in a motorcycle could have done something to me - he did offer me a ride which I declined; those gravediggers, if they were gravediggers, could also have done something… anything - but nothing happened. I did it, the walk, because I didn’t think there was anything to fear; it was and still is a relatively safe neighbourhood; and for the most part of the journey, I did enjoy my walk. But it could have been the most regrettable decision I made.

And then, there was a risk everyone around me was willing to take which I knew would be a mistake. It was everyone against me. The agony of trying to convince everyone and being ignored, while at the same time you felt a life was at stake, was something I had never experienced before. I never felt so lonely. The decision made by the majority resulted in my brother being hospitalised for the third time in a year. Being right was the last thing I wanted to be.

Perhaps the folly of doing something risky is that the repercussions of an action. It doesn’t only affect the immediate future, it affects everything in every little way - and sometimes permanently.

I’m not saying that all risks lead to regrets. When everything goes well everyone is happy.

They say that you regret the most the things you didn’t do. But in real life that isn’t always true; some people are still paying for what they did do. Sometimes it takes one ‘regret’ to change your life profoundly or someone else’s life or end a life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Making Baby Lips with Maybelline

Baby lips in a stick.
I made history! I finished up a lip balm up to its very core. You see, I never did buy many lip balms before and when I did I never finished them; this I blame the texture of lip balms in general. But this time, I did finish one; and nothing is left of the Nivea Watering; I even used a lip brush to get to the bottom of the product.

I bought the Maybelline Baby Lips in Anti-Oxidant Berry months before I finished the Nivea Watering. I promised myself to finish what I was using first before starting a new one, because I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have finished the older one.

One thing about the Baby Lips I absolutely love is the smell - it’s berry like. Berry like what? Berry like berries. I’ll smell it first before putting it on.

Another thing I don’t quite like about lip balms in general is that they make your lipstick lasts a few seconds, OK maybe a few minutes and then it's gone; because there’s a filmy layer under your lipstick, the colour won’t last long; there's no hard ground to hold on to; it will just glide on. What I do is that I apply whichever lip balm I currently use and leave it overnight and you’ll have softer lips the next day, and don't need to apply your lip balm before your lipstick. Particularly for the Maybelline Baby Lips, it seems to have an exfoliating effect in which dead skin comes off revealing a softer layer, which I don’t think happened with the Nivea Watering. The exfoliation, I think, makes my lips softer and stay that way well into the next day.

So, just apply this lip balm and behold your lips going Benjamin Button on you. Jenson Button on the other hand… will probably like this lip balm for its softening effect, but the cheery poppy design will probably cramp his style.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Healing Process

Sometimes the bandage is invisible.
When people explode or break down, it’s rarely about one simple matter; even if it’s the trigger. It’s usually an accumulative of events or problems that cause the situation.

This past few months have been difficult for me. I’ve been hit by something real and yet invisible. To discover - not just one thing - one after another and the realisation that came with it; lies, misplaced trust, shattered ideas/notions; followed by confusion, disappointment, sadness, anger. And I didn’t even do anything.

Even with it all, I'm trying to understand; and blaming myself; blaming fate; blaming luck. Due to the circumstances I’m not able to discuss the problem with anyone. And yet there are so many questions unanswered and I can’t get 'closure', which makes the healing process even more difficult.

Your brain has a way to cope with things; and like that nose on your face, it can ignore that and many other things. Some people take a longer time to heal. A painful experience is not something you can tell someone to simply get over. It’s not something an apology or many apologies can miraculously cure, especially if the wound is too deep.

I was once, a long time ago, a witness to the greatest betrayal a husband can do to a wife. Of course, many apologies came afterwards and I guess remorse was communicated, but the pain was too deep. The realisation that what’s done cannot be undone, a mix of emotions and sorrow you thought you never had, were too overwhelming. After a while, the ‘what more do you want from me’ came because there was no 'healing'. Despite the apologies, a proper healing process was never initiated. People are supposed to simply accept that people make mistakes - a point easier for the perpetrator to embrace than for the victim.

Things are getting a bit better for me. I still do sometimes wake up trembling, but the trembling is now less intense. Sometimes I'll get that 'choked-up' sensation out of nowhere, and my heart rate still goes up over a hundred when I'm supposedly at rest, but it's not an everyday occurrence anymore.

I don’t know what the right process of healing is; I'm not even sure what mine is. Maybe it’s different for everyone. Maybe you should take the challenge head on; maybe create new memories; maybe cry it out; talk it out; avoidance; or if things get worse, professional help. All I know is, there must be a process and it can’t happen overnight. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rainy Days

These past couple of months have been weird for me. At first I thought this year was finally going to be a good year for me. It was for the first half of the year.

Let’s just say that life has not been kind to me for a long time; too long that I care to remember. No, I have not suffered extreme poverty or starvation; those people deserve a lot more attention and help than I do. But what I have been through has been physically painful and emotionally draining and vice versa.

It began when I stumbled upon a couple of upsetting information in late June and again in mid August. It’s a little bit complicated to explain, but let’s just say that I had my heart crushed and it’s not overly exaggerated to say that, that was literally what I felt.

For almost a couple of months my heart rate has been going over a hundred or hovering around ninety regularly at certain points of the day, reaching 126 bpm one time [and I was not doing any running or strenuous activities] going down when it’s time to sleep, which was difficult following the discoveries. I’m constantly tired, and when my heart rate the highest, my body literally feels like it’s been sucked out of its energy and I can’t bring myself to walk around, which is one of my favourite things to do. At times, I'll sleep more than seven hours per day, a few times fetching ten hours or more, which is unusual for me. Sometimes I'll wake up from sleep trembling or shivering and will tremble at times during the day. The shivering is unlike what you get when it’s cold when your muscles contract; but the whole body seems to vibrate on the inside. This, sometimes is accompanied with headaches. Breathing is not as freely; at times out of breath. Sometimes I can feel my heart jumps, such that it feels like it's going to leap out. And sometimes it feels like my heart is in my throat; and when it's really bad I have to make a point to do the deep breathing exercise. And I’m not even going to talk about the crying.

This, I have to admit, is not the first time I have experienced such a condition. The first time was when my brother was hospitalised back in 2014. Some symptoms, not including the trembling, I started to experience even before that.

My problem is that I ‘feel’ too much. Believe it or not, this often results in me being accused of being heartless - or devoid of feelings according to my mom - because I tend to not to react or cry over a heartbreaking situation or sad stories especially when there are people around - I avoid sad stories; movies, books, you name it; even documentaries. What usually happen is a delayed reaction when I’m alone and feel safe to let it all out.

I don’t know if my recent condition is due to these recent events or years of compounded misery, so to speak. I’m thinking it’s the latter and triggered by my brother’s health condition and those two discoveries I spoke of.

I’ve always been a proponent of truth, but this time truth has hit me and hit me real hard; and life has gone out of its way to mock me in the process.

For those who are wondering, no, I’m not doing drugs and I don’t have a history of drug use; I don’t even take painkillers when I have a headache unless it’s absolutely necessary.

There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for me yet, and I won’t be holding my breath for obvious reasons. On second thought, there might be light if I hold my breath long enough… just kidding, I can’t - your brain just won’t let you.

I have a morbid sense of humour sometimes.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Meet My Mattes

The Good, The Bad and The Better
For someone with oily skin, ‘matte’ is a good word; so is for someone who doesn’t care much for 'shiny', 'sparkly' or 'glossy'. You can guess that's me. 

Makeup-wise, I used to own several mattes, but these three are what I currently use. 

The Good Matte

I call this my ‘Goldilocks’ lipstick; everything is not too 'this' or 'that'. I can't believe that I have just one of these, which is in Mat4. What I love the most is the texture of this lipstick; it spreads evenly and nicely on my lips and doesn't clump or settle in the crease. I can put it on with or without a lip balm and I won’t feel too dry, which some mattes can produce especially from the older versions. What I have learned is that it is best to wear this without a lip balm for staying power, so to speak, but treat your lips with lip balm beforehand - ideally overnight or a few hours before application - and then remove the lip balm right before application. The colour is, as the name suggests, quite bold but you can layer on to get a more intense effect or just a light layer, or a layer of a lighter lipstick shade before putting these on if you don’t feel like having bold lips.

The Bad Matte

I believe something is only as bad [or as good] as with what you compare it to. This lip colour or coloured balm is not bad per se but my least favourite of the bunch. First of all, let me just put out there what I like about this lip colour. I like the smell; there’s a slight minty smell and when you put it on there’s a very slight cooling effect. And I like the colour that I bought, in 'Elusive'. It stops there. I'm not too crazy about the texture; it doesn’t spread as evenly; there's slight clumping or bunching, and I find the balm accentuates crease in a bad way. To minimise all of the above I'd have to use a lip brush, which I usually do. Also, blotting excess product onto a tissue will leave me with just the colour [less the unwanted 'texture'] but less product on my lips; to counteract this I repeat the layering up and blotting if I want a more intense colour.

The Better Matte

Estée Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer
Not a lipstick, still a matte. I call this the better matte. I'm dramatic that way.

I'm talking about general satisfaction of course, because comparing a primer with a lipstick would be like comparing apples and grapes [I'm giving oranges a break].

Anyway, I wrote about this primer over a year ago, but I don't think I did the primer justice back then. A lot of time have passed and I’m more in love with this primer now than I was back then. For one, it helps tremendously with my oily skin. How oily is my skin? So oily that it's on its way to open a factory in China - a big one, as big as... a large factory. The oil-controlling effect won't last forever, but if I had this primer on, the factory would be as big as... a small house. Even if oil starts to creep in after a few hours, it won't be as heavy as if you don't have the primer on.

One caveat is that, you will have to let it sink into your skin before putting on a liquid or cream foundation. On top of a moisturiser this might take a few minutes; otherwise the primer and the foundation might create a slight sticky texture which I don't quite like. Putting on your liquid or cream foundation in a dabbing motion and not drag it across your skin is what I find the best way to go.

You don't really expect a primer to treat or heal the skin like a skincare, but this primer has worked like a skin-saver for me. As in my previous post, this reminded me of Idealist Skin Refinisher - the older version since I haven't used Idealist in a long time - and which I think is the more potent of the two. I don’t get any major acne anymore but I do get little spots once in a while and sometimes a big one - you know the one you can feel it's coming but you can't see it yet. When I do get one of those, I reach for this primer and spot-treat, and I find it helps accelerate the healing process. Also, I mentioned milia in my previous post, and this primer helped get rid of that. My line of reasoning was, since the primer, like Idealist, acts like a mild exfoliator it might work to get rid of milia, since milia is just skin/keratin trapped underneath the skin.

So, these are my mattes. What's yours?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Silly Things I’ve Done with My Contacts

Even my contacts think I'm silly.
No, ladies and gentlemen, I have not made these up. I'm guilty of committing these silly deeds with my contacts, unfortunately. So, proceed at your own risk.

Dropped them - I guess this is common for those who are just starting out. I dropped them on the floor on a couple of occasions. At first I thought of throwing them away, being anxious and all about getting them contaminated, but thought cleaning them thoroughly with multipurpose solutions was enough - I found out later that you still have to go through the disinfecting process, which is storing/soaking them overnight or at least six hours after cleansing. By the way, remember to never use tap water to clean your contacts.

Overused - Not for over a month in one go or anything like that; but I had an errand to attend to and had worn the contacts for over 12 hours; and then stored them for just four hours, before using them again [just for reference, as mentioned above, you’re supposed to store them overnight or at least six hours]. I was already using Biofinity, which is an extended-wear contacts, and they were almost at the end of the one-month mark. As I put one on, the contact simply slid down my eye. I had to use fresher ones for that day.

Surprised by cold finger - I guess it was cold. I mean it was cold and everything was cold and I should have expected this right? Yes, but I was still surprised by the coldness of my finger [while trying to apply my contacts] and poked my eye in the process.

Put on the ‘right’ contact in my left eye - I have different prescriptions for each eye; so the 'right' contact should always go to the right eye and the left to the left. Once, I was in such a hurry that I put the contact for my right eye into my left eye, all the while thinking I should get ready in no time, only to discover that both eyes were blurry…

Got a red eye - This was when I was still new and everything was anxiety-inducing. After washing my face, I checked to see if my eyes were OK [I was not wearing contacts at the time] and to my surprise I saw that my right eye was red; lots of blood vessels all over. I was quite shocked. Of course I thought it had to do with the contacts. A lot of things went through my mind, including if I was having an infection or one of those ulcers; and thought, "This is how I’m going to go blind". Yes, funny now; but it just went through my mind for a split second… OK a few. After a few minutes of thinking, walking up and down as I usually do when facing with an anxiety-inducing situation, I remembered that as I was washing my face a few minutes before, I felt an itch and rubbed my eye - the right one, I mean the one on the right - and that must be how I got the red eye. Sure enough, a few hours later the redness subsided.

Got one halfway 'lost' into my eye -  I don’t remember what I was laughing about but I was laughing so hard that I teared up, and, trying to just push the tear off with the back of my hand, I accidentally pushed the lens up and out of its place halfway inside the upper eyelid; and had trouble trying to get the lens centred and laughing at the same time. By the way, I got it back to its place by closing my eye and rubbing it gently and pushing the lens back to the centre.

Trying to ‘remove’ my contact - This is why I can’t have my mind wandering off when I’m doing something. I use the ‘slide down’ method to remove my contacts and I use my index finger to do so. One day, as I placed my index finger at the centre of my eye to slide the contact down, I felt uncomfortable; to be precise my eye felt uncomfortable. I was taken by surprise that I blinked immediately, and wondered why my eye was this sensitive. I tried again still wondering, only to realise that I was supposed to put on my contacts instead of removing them. It’s times like these that I seriously question my intelligence.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Truth, Winning and Lies

Sometimes the truth can be blurry.
One day, I was having a conversation with my mom and we had a disagreement on something, and I kept insisting on being right until it was proven that I was right. And then she said, "OK, OK, you win", or something to that effect. That was not the first time that it struck me that, everyone thought whenever we had a disagreement, it was about me winning; even when I tried to be reasonable, even [especially] when I tried to look at it from many different angles; and when I do this, I'm often labeled as argumentative. I have never thought of simply to win instead of finding the truth. OK, roll your eyes, but it's true. If I'm wrong, prove that to me. I will gladly accept it if it seems logical - with all my own bias and prejudice tendencies.

The Truth and The Chicken

I've always been a proponent of the truth [with the exception of which you'll later find out]. Once, when I was nearing the end of high school, just right before the big exam, at a motivation outing, the facilitator asked us: if you believe in something and new evidence surfaces, do you still hold on to your belief or do you change your mind? I said that of course I would change my mind, and then chickened out and said that of course you’d have to stand firm with what you believe in; which was [I perceived] the 'correct' answer at the time, which I did not and do not believe in.

For wanting to find the truth, I don't understand why it's shameful to be wrong. New evidence come up all the time. I'm wrong all the time; which is sometimes a different matter altogether.

How many times have we told a story and then proven to be flawed; and to save ourselves from embarrassment we add a little here and there, or exaggerate for credibility? I've even done it myself.

I’ve always been a person who doesn't simply believe what things or how things appear to be. Sometimes an interpretation of a series of events is far from the truth.

Can’t Talk About Truth Without Talking About Lies

I can tell a lie but I hate it. I find that one lie often leads to another for cover. I have a story that happened when I was about ten or nine. I don’t know if this is why I hate lying, but it made a mark in me. There was this one time when my relatives came over for a visit and along with them were my cousins. It was, now proven, a once in a lifetime occurrence to have so many of them all at once. And I had to go to school the next day. It was the end of the school term and we wouldn’t have any lessons anymore anyway. So, I faked an illness and told my mom I had a stomach ache [I used to get gastritis in those days], and so didn’t go to school that day. My plan was to rest a bit and then play with my cousins after I felt 'better'. But my mom found out and I was scolded really badly. The good thing was, I got to play with my cousins; but I think something in me changed. I hated that feeling - that feeling of being found out and getting into trouble for it; not to mention disappointing someone.

They say if you can’t trust someone with the small things you can’t trust him/her with the bigger things. Sounds about right but I think nothing more than philosophical. We all lie especially on the smaller things because the bigger things might need careful planning. And some people lie with malice and some not; and some telling half truth or is it half lie? And what about matters intentionally kept unsaid?

Historically, those who win get to tell their own version of truth. But lies hurt people, truth too, but lies hurt even more when you find out... the truth. So what do you do? At least if you tell the truth you have a chance at winning, whereas when you lie you always lose. The realist in me doesn’t truly believe that, because sometimes liars always win - because that’s life.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hiding Dark Circles with Catrice Cosmetics Camouflage Cream

Can you see it? It's blending nicely into the background.
Coming out and proclaiming myself a panda was one of the hardest decisions in my life. At least pandas are cute, don't you think? [See what I did there?]. Anyway, I've had minimal success with the masks and serum I wrote about in my previous post. Also, a huge milia popped up as a result, I think, out of complications with any two products; using them individually did not seem to produce more milia.

So, in an effort to become cute sans panda eyes, I thought it was time to hide the dark circles.


In contrast to the masks and serum, the Catrice Cosmetics Camouflage Cream doesn't offer to treat in any way; its function is primarily to conceal. I like the texture of this cream and how it blends; it's not too heavy and adheres to skin fairly easily. I do the patting method to apply the cream and layer lightly, as a heavier coverage all in one go will end up in a patchy uneven application.

Which eye did I apply the cream again? Oh yes, the left.
Speaking of coverage, it says on the pot that the cream offers full coverage, but as you can see from the photo to the left [my left eye, your right], the coverage is not as 'full'. Even after a lot of layering over, my dark circles still show through; but everywhere else where the spots are not so dark the cream works brilliantly. Or, it's just me in denial that my dark circles are just too powerful. By the way, in this photo, just to show you the cream by itself, I've applied the cream on one eye, over a moisturiser without any foundation or primer. And yes, coverage improves if I have foundation on first before the concealer, which is what I always do anyway.


I think creasing in the eyelids is quite common among concealers; it usually goes away if you blend or re-blend after a few minutes of application. Settling into the fine lines under your eyes is another matter. The Catrice Camouflage Cream does relatively well not to, but will settle after a long wear of about seven hours, even then will barely be noticeable.

Revealing itself to the world.


The colour is not quite right for my under-eye dark circles. I was looking for something peachy or coral-ly; I think I read somewhere that those colours correct bluish dark circles. When I was shopping for the cream, there were only three options to choose from and I chose ‘Rosy Sand’; the most pinkish and, at the time I thought, peachy of the three. Unfortunately, 'Rosy Sand' turns my dark circles a bit ashen. Again, the colour improves if applied over a foundation; not as ashen. I guess the key here is to always use your foundation.

So far, the Catrice Cosmetics Camouflage Cream doesn't seem to clog my pores and doesn’t break me out. I was on a transition from my BB cream and I found this concealer was a great makeshift foundation, providing that I use it sparingly and blend thoroughly; and since I don’t like a heavy base, this is perfect as a single base right after my primer. Just like any other foundations, I guess, before any applications, your skin has to be clean, moisturised and preferably exfoliated, otherwise the application won't be as even and there would be little clumps especially at the side of the nose.

I don’t know if I want to keep using this as a concealer because of the colour and coverage; I do find this cream is a great eyeshadow base though. But until I find a better concealer, I think I'll finish this one as I don't find it terribly awful especially if I use on top of my foundation.

What's your favourite under-eye concealer?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Biofinity Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses: A Year On

Clear vision in a box... or two; one for each eye.
It still amazes me how a thin, soft, gel-like thingy can make the world so much brighter; and I thank those who invented the contact lens and those who had to suffer in order to get to where we are now in terms of corrective vision. I still look forward to putting my contacts on every day and still smile after putting them on each time... literally [I do!]. It's one of those happy moments that are often overlooked. 

I once confessed that Biofinity Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses [just to throw in the full name out there] were my BFF; and guess what? They still are.

I Keep Sleeping in My Contacts

Since I started sleeping in my contacts over a year ago, I have regularly been sleeping in them overnight. I have also gone two days and two nights - roughly 48 hours - a few times and so far that's the limit of both my courage and physical comfort. After two nights, the third day becomes less of a thrill; the contacts become rather uncomfortable but still wearable. So I don’t know if I can go a week, which is also the contacts intended wear [PDF], without trying to claw the contacts out. But what I love about sleeping in them is that waking up being able to see clearly; a luxury only four-eyed creatures can understand. The other  good thing about sleeping in my contacts - the unintended side effect, so to speak - is that my multipurpose solutions last twice as long, as I skip the cleaning routine a day. 

How Comfortable are These Contacts Really?

The short answer is, it depends. One other contacts which I can compare Biofinity with is Biomedics 38; Biofinity surpasses Biomedics 38 in terms of comfort and comfort during extended wear. However, it still depends on how dry the climate is - if its windy, if its dusty - everything factors in. You might need eyedrops to compensate and keep the contacts comfortable for longer, but I have not tried eyedrops with Biofinity so I can’t say exactly how effective those are.

I can't guarantee you'll have the same experience as mine, as each of us have slightly different needs and eye conditions. And just for the record, for the most part, I've been using Biofinity with Opti-Free Pure Moist and I find that it's the best multipurpose solutions so far.

I'm too comfortable to try something else. I don’t want to mess up with the routine I have going right now. Having said that, I have been eyeing daily contacts like the Proclear 1 day. I can imagine it would be extremely comfortable to have a fresh pair of contacts every time. But for now, I'm staying with Biofinity. What about you?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Nestlé! This is Your Perfect Koko Krunch Shape!

The box: limited edition Koko shapes.
For those familiar with the Nestlé’s Koko Krunch cereal, you might also be familiar with the shape of their flakes since, as far as I can remember, its inception - it’s a curved concave quarter moon shape with pointy ends.

I don’t know if I’m the only one in this but I hate that shape. Before you judge me for that, I have a good reason: it’s not simply about aesthetic, the pointy ends dig into my gum, especially when I eat the cereal with milk. What? Have you never eaten this without milk? Anyway, the poking absolutely takes out all the joy of eating its chocolatey goodness... seriously.

Recently, they have been selling, and I have been buying, the limited edition; the one with the shape of the flake is the head of the cute koala that’s been the mascot of the cereal. And guess what? It doesn’t dig into my gum!

The koala-shaped flakes. Top-left insert: the original shape.
However, considering the koala-shaped version is a limited edition, I’m guessing they are going to go back to the original shape; and considering the Koko Krunch we know has always been that pointy, gum-poking thingy, there’s ‘heritage’ at stake. But don't you think, in this case, change is good? 

By the way, did you know that Koko Krunch is also known as Chocapic in some countries? Only that the mascot is different.

One more thing, just for the record, I don't eat this cereal every day. Everything in moderation, don't you agree?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Facial Cleanser Made Simple

So green, so simple.
We've been together for ten years. Actually, I don't remember, but ten years sounds about right; and if this cleanser were a human being, I would be in trouble for not remembering. In any case, this, the Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel would be the longest-serving[?] skincare in the history of my caring for my skin.

One persistent myth about acne sufferers is that we don't 'take care' of our skin, or that we don't clean our face enough. When that happens, I would be going through in my head how diligently... no, religiously I wash my face twice a day and make a point to remove makeup as soon as possible because of the oil and clogged pores.

I don't suffer from acne anymore, but the Simple wash gel came when I was still struggling and, after going through a lot of products, decided that ‘skincare’ alone was not going to ‘cure’ acne. I wanted a mild cleanser that could help calm, or rather, would not upset my skin when my skin was already pretty upset.

I Simply Like

I like it for its mildness; it doesn’t leave my skin bone dry and I can get away without a moisturiser, which I don't think is recommended, because stripping your skin of its natural oil and then skipping moisturiser will make your skin produce more oil to compensate for its dryness.

Also, I find it an effective makeup remover [providing the makeup is not too heavy] and I only need to wash once or twice depending on how stubborn the makeup is. And, I don't have a separate eye makeup remover [I know! I should be punished!].

Here's my hand...
Oh, and there's the gel in the middle... ish  
The cleanser comes in a transparent gel and lathers up to a milky consistency with minimal foam.

How-to No Residue

One drawback of this otherwise great cleanser is that, if the cleansing is not done properly you might be left with a residue. Luckily, I've found a solution.

Here’s what I do:
- Have a dot ready on the palm of your hand.
- Wet your face.
- Mix a few drops of water with the cleanser and lather.
- Apply the cleanser and massage your face.
[These next steps are important, otherwise the cleanser won't clean off well].
- Rinse once and massage or rub your skin gently, particularly around areas that are clogged.
- Rinse and continue to massage.
- I usually repeat the rinse-and-massage step about five times, and then rinse till the cleanser is gone.
The massaging in effect is a gentle exfoliation to my clogged pores, but don't overdo it or you'll be left with an angry skin.

As stated above, I find the cleanser indeed very gentle, and I also use it to wash my hands prior to putting in my contacts because I find my body wash, Johnson's Baby Bath and sometimes I use Dove Sensitive Skin, have the tendency to irritate my eyes.

What's your facial cleanser?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Online Shopping and Why I Chose ASOS

I was expecting a box, they sent me a plastic bag; disappointed my invisible cat.
So, one of the many things I did towards the end of last year was to buy something online. That in itself is not at all significant; the thing is, it was the first time I bought a clothing item online. Buying clothes online is not the same as, say, buying skincare online [I can hear someone saying ‘duh!’] for one glaring reason - size. Shopping online was not new to me and my biggest purchase was from Victoria's Secret; and for the lingerie company that it is, it's quite an irony that I only bought lotions from them. But it's not surprising, in my opinion, that one is even more impulsive in buying skincare instead of clothes; at least to me I'm less likely to return a skincare in a different scent than ordered, than if I had bought a clothing item in the wrong size. Besides, you can buy skincare that you're already familiar with; whereas with clothes they don't make the same style with the same fabric for years and years, and even then the size within the same brand can vary.

Having said that, a few months ago I was feeling brave. I couldn’t find the bra I wanted at the local brick-and-mortar stores, so I turned to the Internet for help.

A Few Online Stores I Considered

Of course ASOS wasn't the only one on my list. Some other online stores I considered were Shopbop, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters and Nasty Gal; all of which have their own forte [and of course prior to these bigger online stores, I almost bought from a smaller one-person store]. I live a long, long way away from these stores and the first thing in my mind was the shipping rate [even after numbing it with drool-worthy beautiful stuff]. I almost bought from one store only to find out that the shipping was $60, which was more than double the price of the product itself - I didn't think it was worth it.

And the Winner Goes to… Free Shipping! 

Shopbop and Free People both offer free international shipping but requiring $100 and $150 of minimum purchase respectively. As a first time buyer I was not prepared to invest in that much money in something I might not like.

ASOS free shipping minimum is just £20. That is way low than any of the stores above; which means you can buy in smaller batches and not have to worry about duties and taxes. On top of that - and this might work with or against you - my package arrived without any need of a signature. Now, this might not be what you’d want if you’re worried about missing packages. But I almost have never had any missing packages, but I do get a lot of packages that I have to retrieve at the post office; and some of them were 'attempted' delivery when there were people at home! The postman simply rings once or twice and then leave without waiting, not even five minutes, for us to open the door. That’s why I like packages that don’t require signatures.

What I Hope ASOS Can Improve On

What I think is missing from ASOS is a buyers' review section, which I think Free People is good at. The #asseenonme section is not helping in any way [not for me anyway] in my actual shopping experience; remember I'm not browsing for inspiration or virtual window shopping. And ASOS, facts without context isn’t helping either; the "our model wears size small" on the product page does not give me any clue how small is ‘small’. Nasty Gal has taken this a step further by including their model’s measurements and a few other stuff that are just fun but unnecessary; but the point is there’s context, and I can guesstimate how small is 'small'. With ASOS, I had to search for the model’s measurements myself [who knew there was an online forum dedicated to identifying, and a database of, ASOS models - you're welcome].

I feel like I’ve been bitten by the online shopping bug and might be brave enough to buy from other stores one day. Have you bought something from ASOS? What do you think of shopping online?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

All Right Tea [Cringe]: Instant Milk Tea

What a bunch of teas!
I’m no tea connoi… connois… connoiss… expert. And I’m more of a coffee person, so much so that I once wondered whether I’d be able to stop drinking coffee one day. Since I want to cut down on coffee, and since I seem to have developed a peculiar way of having a hot beverage with every meal, I have turned to tea as an alternative.

I like my tea with milk. And so when you’re in a hurry and you want tea and you want it RIGHT NOW,  and going out to a tea plantation and picking yourself some tea leaves, or when even the usual tea bags take a few minutes too long, then you need the instant of instants - premixed tea.

Before I go any further with this tea mix, this article might only be relatable to Malaysians and maybe the neighbouring countries; and of course those who shop at Asian grocery stores as at least three of these instant teas are locally produced.

What is Teh Tarik

For the purpose of what these instant teas are trying to emulate, and since two of them here are aptly named ‘teh tarik’, I think I should explain what that means first. If there were a national drink for Malaysians this would be it. It’s a drink that a group of friends have when they meet at a local stall to hang out; that’s what you might get from a travel show or a food slash lifestyle show, which is of course overgeneralising.

’Teh Tarik’ is a combination of two Malay words:

Teh = Tea
Tarik = Pull/Pulled
Teh Tarik = Pull/Pulled Tea

Imagine you have a piping hot milk tea in a mug in one hand, and an empty mug in the other; and then pour the hot tea from one mug into the other while pulling the mug upwards, and/or the opposite downwards, creating a sort of a tea waterfall. You then repeat the process a few times. The act is in effect cooling off the tea and creating a froth in the ready-to-serve tea. I don’t know if there’s any real difference between teh tarik and the regular milk tea without the ‘pulled’ preparation; I suspect there isn’t but don’t tell the teh tarik fanatics I said that.

Onto the instant teas this article is about, among them, my favourites are the Lipton and Aik Cheong, with Old Town Coffee following close behind.

I’m going to go ahead and give them stars; five being my favourite.

Boh 3 in 1 Instant Tea Mix [Original] [Boh] - One Star

I just don’t 'get' the tea or the milk in this mix, or maybe there’s too little premix in the sachet, but even if I reduce the water in the mix the taste is too light for my… err taste. The tea is not as frothy as the other ones but it’s probably because it’s not meant to be a ‘teh tarik’. There’s a bitter tea aftertaste at the back of the mouth, which I don’t particularly hate.

Old Town White Coffee 3 in 1 White Milk Tea [Old Town | Amazon | FairPrice | Tesco] - Three Stars

Old Town need to drop ‘White Coffee’ in the print on the package. I still have to double check that I’m actually buying tea instead of white coffee. There’s also a bitter aftertaste like Boh, but there’s a good mix of milkiness and sweetness and of course tea that agrees with me. Also, it is rather frothy. 

Aik Cheong Teh Tarik Milk Tea Beverage [Classic] [Aik Cheong | Amazon | eBay] - Four Stars

This instant tea is the first of the bunch I ever tried. At one point, after a redesign of their packaging, the tea tasted like there was a hint of ginger; and speaking of that, you do have to be careful as the colour of the packaging of the ‘Classic’ and ‘Ginger’ look quite similar and the label is too small in my opinion. Apart from that, the ‘Classic’ now does seem to taste more like the original ‘Classic’, which I like. And true to its name, the tea is frothy.

Lipton Teh Tarik Milk Tea Latte [Lipton | eBay | Tesco]- Five Stars

The Lipton Teh Tarik has all the goodness of Old Town’s and Aik Cheong’s and maybe more, even if slightly. I think taste is a matter of personal preference and Lipton has got the mix to match my taste. I don’t know if they use brown sugar but they are doing a pretty good job at making it tastes like it contains something similar [sometimes I like to think that I can tell the difference between brown sugar and white sugar]. The mix is frothy and you can hear little pops when you add some water, which is just as amusing even if I don't know what causes it and there's no information whatsoever on their website.

Do you like instant teas or do you pick the tea leaves yourself to make a cup?

On a side note, have you gotten over that cringe-worthy title? Legend has it that nobody can.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Two Weeks Without My Tablet: A Lesson to Check Your Cables Regularly

A cable, slain.
I might appear clumsy at times and to some people... often. But I promise for the most part, I'm not. And I certainly take good care of my stuff and have never dropped my phone or my tablet or my laptop [why does it feel like I might jinx it after saying that?]. So, when my tablet broke down I was devastated to say the least.

The Discovery

The funny - not ha! ha! funny - way I found out there was something wrong with my tablet was when I felt a slight 'bzt! bzt!' when I was plugging the cable in with slightly moist hands, and discovered that there was a huge tear exposing the innards of the cable, which you can see in the photo. Prior to that, my tablet was 'waking up' constantly without me being anything near it - I even Googled the problem. 

The Mistake

The mistake that led to the tablet going bonkers was to tuck the cable underneath it while charging. I did so to prevent myself from snagging it and potentially knocking the tablet down. The cable is, interesting enough, more rigid than any other cables I have. I don’t know if this is exclusive to Samsung or particularly this tablet - which is a Samsung Note 8.0 - or not since I don’t have any other Samsung devices, but I believe it definitely contributed to the tear.

The Days Without My Tablet

As stated above, I have never dropped my tablet; and have never so much as to knock it around carelessly. For some reason, that made it more difficult for me to accept everything because all of those careful babying came to naught when I found out about the damage.

The first day was relatively painless - for me that is. I couldn't send it for repair immediately. By the second and third day, I went through what akin to losing a family member - OK that is being overly dramatic, but once you have formed an attachment to someone or something, your brain will need time to adjust. At the time, I'd had the tablet for almost two years.

The matter was made worse because my tablet was also my modem. I was using it to connect to the Internet and tether my laptop to do the same. Of course, I had my phone but there was nothing much I could do with my phone that could replace half of the function of my tablet.

What I was most worried about was that I might lose all the files; I had some backed up but a lot of them were not. 

After a few days of waiting and a few days of... more waiting, the tablet was finally fixed... kind of.

I Didn’t Appreciate it When it Was Working

Cue in a sad song. Up to a few months prior to the cable incident, I never really appreciated the stylus pen [or the S Pen according to Samsung], which comes with all the Samsung Note series. I thought it was quite useless. I did buy the tablet for the pen thinking that I might use it to do some sketching but I never really got used to the way of sketching digitally and basically gave up. Until, as I said, a few months before the tablet broke; I took a few online courses and was using the Samsung Note as it was mainly intended for - which is to take notes - and quite liked it. 

And then of course you know what happened. The tablet is now working but not quite itself. After the repair, I was told that to make the tablet 'right' again I might have to fork out what might cost close to buying a new tablet; even then there would be no guarantee. I decided to leave it as it was. I now only use it lightly. There’s a problem with charging, and taking notes now put a strain on the Note. It’s been treating me like a moody boyfriend: talking to me when he feels like it and ignoring me whenever he pleases. But, just like any long-term relationships, you [supposedly] figure out what makes your partner tick; I have figured out when to charge it and the don'ts. I can still use my tablet to play Candy Crush and read ebooks, and check my emails. As for being a modem, I have passed that responsibility to this little modem [that's another long read]. 

I love my tablet even if it doesn't play well with my MacBook; it's the right size, it's got a pen, it's thin-ish, it's my tablet. And for the record, I got the GT-N5100 model [Amazon | eBay].

How frequently do you check your cables for faults?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nivea Watering Lemongrass Lip Balm: A Lip Balm I Can Tolerate

My lips need all the watering they can get.
I can't say I have tried many lip balms. In fact I can truly say that I haven't because I don't like the texture - the heavy, sticky, lip balmy texture - that you're going to have to bear daily.

But I hate dry lips even more. And because of that I forced myself to give lip balms a try after a long 'sabbatical'; and because my lips were peeling and I couldn't stand it anymore.

I picked the 'Watering' range and the lemongrass flavour based on no any real and reasonable reason; I simply picked one on impulse, avoiding the ones I had tried before; and 'watering' sounded appealing at that moment.

I don't know if my tolerance threshold has decreased or the formulation of the Watering is really less heavy than the ones I've tried, but I find myself strangely tolerating this lip balm when all of the other lip balms have been left unfinished. I've been using this balm regularly for months, twice a day;  and I only apply a thin layer every time.

The scent and taste of this balm is light and barely noticeable. But I don't like to eat right after an application though as it changes the taste of the food ever - ever - so slightly [I'm a bit too sensitive on this one].

The aftereffect is a smooth lips; so smooth that I can honestly say that I love licking my lips and just rubbing them together when the lip balm is gone [yes, I'm weird that way]. The twice-a-day [maybe a couple more if it's too dry] application is enough for me to achieve this effect. As much as I can tolerate this balm, I still don't like using it too often.

I would still [probably] prefer a matte lip balm though, like the C.O Bigelow Mentha Lip Balm, which I haven't tried. It would be interesting to find out if such a lip balm can still moisturise the lips equally well. But, until I can get my paws on one of those, I'm going to keep using the Nivea Watering since it works and doesn't bother me as much.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

I Saw the Moon in Broad Daylight

16th February 2016: The Moon at 4.44pm
No, that’s not a title to a song or a poetic metaphor. I literally saw the moon a few days ago at around four in the afternoon. Sunset was not in another three hours or so when I saw the moon right out my window.

I can recall just a handful of daylight moon I have seen throughout my entire life, and I certainly don't remember seeing one in the afternoon.

Apparently, it is more common than I thought; I just have to look up during the day more often.

At 4.46pm: It's still there.
I was so excited to finally have it in photos, but apologies for the grainy photos as I took them with my phone, and had to do some extreme croppings to show you the moon.

Some articles explaining the whys, the whens, and the hows:
- Why Do We See the Moon in Daylight? []
- When can you see a daytime moon? []
- Find the Moon in the Daytime []
Day-time Moon Observations [Madison Metropolitan School District]

Monday, February 22, 2016

ASOS Geisha & Ann Summers Rhea: The Tale of Two Bras

After being snubbed by a one-woman online store, I was so bummed out that I turned to a more mainstream one - it's a shame though, I thought I'd try a small business for once and had already had my mind set up for bralettes for a change. But, it wasn't to be so I turned to ASOS for my recent lingerie needs.

I can barely remember the last time I bought anything online; and I certainly never bought a clothing item before. But believe it or not, it’s been increasingly difficult to find a bra that’s on the smaller size and is not fitted with thick paddings or is not made for a twelve-year-old. For those in the same dilemma as mine, ASOS offers sizes from 30A, and Ann Summers from 32A [you can find some selections in 30B on Ann Summers' website].

ASOS Geisha Lace Underwire Bra

ASOS Geisha Lace Underwire Bra
I found it hard to find reviews on ASOS bras; and ASOS doesn’t have a review system on their product page like Free People or Shopbop, which I think is a shame because it can help would-be buyers tremendously in our decision-making, especially on something as size-sensitive as a bra. So, I bought this bra not knowing what to expect... except that it would be a bra of course.

I was drawn to the geometric pattern of the ASOS Geisha bra and found it even prettier in the hand once the package arrived. The lace could be softer though; it's not rough or abrasive against my skin, and there’s a single nude mesh lining on the cups. I got the 'regular' with underwire; there's also a long-line variety and a wireless [wire-free] triangle variety which I find equally pretty. They have a lot more colour variety now instead of black and red when I purchased mine.

Two things that I think this bra could be improved on: the straps are difficult to adjust, which I think is due to the metal hardware, and the seam that runs the middle of the cup and stops right smack in the centre and creates an unwanted texture to an area where one wants to cover and not have any texture pointing to the spot - excuse the pun.

On that last note, this bra is not padded and have only one mesh lining [which was duly noted during purchase], so you might need nip covers or a couple layers of garments for good coverage.

Ann Summers Rhea Underwire Bra

Ann Summers Rhea Underwire Bra
The first thing that attracted me to the Ann Summers Rhea bra was the two-layered cup design; and that is exactly what it is. Specifically, there's a mesh overlay that covers a prettier lace underneath - it’s almost like wearing your bra inside out.

The design is a bit girly with a few bows and finished with little buttons towards the bottom of the bra.

Wearing this, upon close inspection, I feel the bra is a bit too sexy for a single girl like me.
Ann Summers Rhea: The lace underneath the mesh overlay.

It’s like a tease; you have to peel the top layer off to get to what you're looking for underneath. But, there’s nothing wrong with that. Who says you can’t be sexy even when there’s no one to show it to?

On the minus point, the Rhea creates quite a bit of texture that will show through a thinner top; namely the buttons, the pleating on the mesh overlay, and the light boning on the lace. But the irony is, because of these textures, there's no need for nip covers.

One more thing about the boning, towards the centre of the bra, the stiff strips stick up and slightly out a little. But I think in all fairness, if you have a lot more to fill in the cups, the boning in that particular area won't stick out too much.

When I purchased the Rhea at ASOS, only the black and white were available at the time, but it seems that it used to come in red as well. Sadly, the bra is out of stock at both ASOS and Ann Summers.

For those who are wondering about the sizing, my 27” underbust and 30" bust fits the 32A perfectly [maybe on the snug side], on the outermost eye of the closure; as I like to work my way in as the band gets loose. Also, both of these bras have underwires which I think are relatively comfortable unless you're lying down with one, which I don't usually do when wearing a bra. If you don't like underwires, the Geisha line has triangle bras which I find interesting to have in the future to-do list.

One thing I would like to appeal to bra-makers, is to please - especially for smaller sizes - have a thin padding or a few more layers of lining in the cups because us small girls are always cold.

Is it weird that I’m now regularly browsing for lingerie?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Project Gutenberg: Where Books Die and Go to Heaven

Gutenberg: Free Ebooks Heaven
… and become free ebooks.

But seriously, here's the real story: the books offered at Project Gutenberg are those that have run out of their copyrights and are made available for free, for people like you and me, to download and read or distribute. 

It’s not the only one of its kind however - just like the many levels of heaven [or so I hear] - there are many places where you can find free ebooks; search for it and you shall receive. In fact you can even find free ebooks at Amazon. It's just that Project Gutenberg is closer to my heart because it was one of the earlier ones I came across; before there was Kindle, before there were tablets.

Caveat... Sort Of

One caveat however, the books are free of copyrights for a reason; because they are old - very old - or fancily called classics. There are some newer, copyrighted titles available for free, but the bulk of them are classics. But I think it's for the better. Why? Because it's a workout for your brain. Besides, you might be surprised to find many of them are written in a fairly modern style that I find easy to understand; and that comes from someone whose first language is not English. Also, if you‘re like me, and you read using the Kindle or the Kindle app, it’s easy to look up a word that you don't understand, with a long-press or a long-tap. I used to be that reader who rushes through a book, but with these classics I've learned to savour each book and read a sentence twice or thrice [or more] to understand what it means.

Do I Need Kindle to Read These Books?

No, you don't. You can simply read the books online using your browser. The books are also available in many different formats, but my favourite is the Kindle; and you don't even have to own a Kindle device; you can simply download the free Kindle app to use on your mobile device and you're good to go.

I’m not going to try and suggest a book. There's no point in reading a supposedly good book if you’re not enjoying it. Explore 'new' authors and you might be surprised what you might discover.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

Imagine if the Romans had remained in power.
I know it’s a bit late to acknowledge the arrival of 2016, but it’s the story of my life really; I’m either too early or too late to the scene.

Time moves fast when you’re having fun and when you’re not [in retrospect, that is]. When I was a kid, growing up to an adult seemed like a long way to go to the point of impossible.

It seems like yesterday that a year ago me, my mom and my brother spent the new year at the hospital. I remember the countdown and my brother even pointed out that he was in the toilet when the clock struck twelve - just silly things you notice when your life, the life of your loved ones were put into perspective.

I wonder what it would be like if we never kept track of time. What would happen if everyone lost track of time and how would we start anew.

A year on, my brother is getting so much better. When your loved ones are sick, nothing else seems to matter. But when they get better everything else matters again.

I'm hoping for a sweet sixteen... and seventeen and... can't we just live happily ever after now?