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My Beauty Diary Sheet Masks

2013/02/23

Cat has been really kind and thoughtful to send me two boxes of My Beauty Diary Masks – Aloe Vera and Bird’s Nest.

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I cannot stop loving sheet masks. I love how refreshing they feel, how they hydrate my skin and how relaxing it is to plop one on my face after scrubbing my face at the end of a long and tough week.

Now comparing these two, Aloe Vera is more refreshing, while Bird’s Nest is more hydrating. I am not sure whether this was coincidence or not, but after using Bird’s  Nest I managed to avoid laugh lines forming around my mouth and make up creasing up. I still need to carry out a controlled experiment to test, whether Bird’s nest mask is more effective than Aloe Vera in hydrating my skin.

What usually happens is after a day at work/laughing make up around my creases, which makes me really self conscious. I have no idea why this is happening and I’ve been trying to figure out how to avoid it (without avoiding to smile/laugh).

To more detail, I wanted to head out that day for dinner with a friend and decided to give myself a small “home facial treatment”. So I scrubbed my face with the last blob of my Skin Food Black Sugar Scrub, and then used the Bird’s Nest Mask for about 30 minutes. It soothed all the redness from all the scrubbing. Then I added an extra blob of the serum that was left over in the packet and put on my Estee Lauder cream. I left my skin absorb all the hydrating products before slapping on some make up and setting it with my Skin Food Buckwheat Loose Powder. It felt a bit more oily applying my make up, but it all soon settled on my skin, giving me a nice finish.

And to my surprise when I arrived home later that evening, the makeup was still holding on my face quite nicely, without any extremely visible creases around my mouth. Need to retest this method. 😀

OWL

It’s skin – eye shadow, eye liner, and lip gloss

2013/02/13

So in the year 2012 I made several purchases and on in Gmarket and I have to say, that I’m quite happy with everything. Everything comes safely packed, arrives in less than two weeks and prices of products are quite good, for example Korean cosmetics are much more cheaper than those I bought from Singapore. The only slight downside is the shipping cost, but I think that is something to take into consideration when buying online from another country…. but still works out at a lower price.

So I purchased several It’s skin items – eyeshadow, glittery eyeliner and lip gloss (as well as the Syn-Ake effector that I reviwed previously)

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Nowfirst to the eye shadow. I personally use light pink- white coloured eye shadows, mainly because I think they make my eyes look brighter and also it is more appropriate for work than heavy darker shadows.
So I ran out of my Clarins light pink eye shadow, and I decided I need something new. I chose the one with light pink and green shades and I’m very happy with in. Blends in nicely, lasts throughout the day, but it does crease after about 5 hours.
But those who don’t like shimmery eye shadows should avoid it.

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The only thing I am dissapointed with is that the whole shadow crumbled into pieces. It slightly dropped on the ground from a 3 cm height … didn’t expect it to break into pieces. So unfortunately I can’t carry it around. This is it’s current state… I use it like eye shadow powder now, which is more of a hassle. Have to be careful

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Now to the glittery eye liner, which goes on nicely, but if I accidentally apply bigger blob of it under my eyes, it crumbles after it dries. Also it can irritate, if you have sensitive eyes. But a shiny liner makes my eyes look brighter. Also I need to figure out how to apply it under my lower lash. 😀

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I also bought the mini tint gloss (Cherry), which was at a good price. I love the fact that it’s small, cute and handy and it also seems to last quite a long time, which makes it handy to cary around in your pocket or handbag. Doesn’t really tint, but gives you a nice gloss. It’s is also quite thick, so it feels hydrating on your lips.

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So that it all for now. Let me know your experience with It’s Skin products.

OWL

The good and bad of word lists – language learning

2013/02/01

This post is on a different topic compared to most posts on this blog, but I thought of looking into this topic as well, in order to provide you with my perspective on how to use vocabulary lists in language learning.

Generally vocabulary lists aren’t an effective way of learning new words, mainly because they are learnt out of context, aren’t revised/used sufficiently and in the long run you will end up remembering only 10 words out of a 100 if you are lucky. But because of these downsides, I don’t think vocabulary lists should be completely cast aside. They can make a good supplementary and additional tool in language learning…. if used correctly.

Originally I downloaded some apps onto my ipad, so I can effectively use my time when travelling to and from work. I am studying Korean and Japanese and I downloaded the i-Sokki app for Japanese and bought the TOPIK study (Intermediate I & II) for Korean. In the i-Sokki app you only get level one for free, the rest have to be purchased. (I think for all JLPT levels it was about three pounds, so it didn’t kill my wallet and I got 7000 words I can practice on the underground). The good side is that you can practice words from English -> Japanese, Japanese -> English and Kanji only. Also it provides you with some sample sentences. Apart from the few bugs, like word and sound file mix ups, this is generally a good app worth the price. As for the TOPIK ones, they have faults and cost about 3 pounds each. It is supposed to prepare you for the TOPIK intermediate exam by increasing you vocabulary by 1000 words all together. It also has sample questions from the TOPIK exams, vocabulary lists and flash cards. But the problem is that one part of the program doesn’t work and I never received an answer from the creators.

Recently I discovered something much better than these apps and that is http://www.memrise.com.
It is a website where you can currently find loads of things to practice your memory on, and currently I am learning the words from the 1000 words for TOPIK in 30 days. There is no way I will learn 1000 words in 30 days, unless I spend several hours every day working on my vocabulary and I don’t intend to either.

The good thing about it is that you don’t only learn to associate words with flash cards, but you are also required to type the words in a time limit. It is also done using the space repetition method, so words that you learn are locked for a period of time and then you can return to them. I find this more effective than the multiple choice style apps as the ones mentioned above.

However if you really want to remember and understand these words as well as be able to use them you need to put in a lot more effort than clicking away. Take the words, look them up on naver dictionary and write sample sentences, the best is several sentences, because many times the translation of the word can be unclear. Certain words are more formal and used in certain situations, so a dictionary and sample sentences can help clear that up. For example on several occassions I came across two different Korean words, but with the same English translation. Only sample sentences helped me clear up the meaning. It also helps me remember the words more long term.

Also vocabulary list programs/flashcards can be useful to keep up with language learning when you don’t have enough time to focus on more intensive studying, or just to revise for a couple of minutes every day. Like I said they can be an addition to your language learning, not a solution to learn large amounts of words in a short time period.

Good luck with your language learning!

 

OWL

Take your instant noodles out of its soup

2012/12/28

The Japanese has this popular bread with yakisoba in the centre and inspired by this type of bread:

(image from: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/derra1029/3573921556/)

 

I’ve made this:

 

No, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing and essentially it’s different but the concept is the same – putting noodles in a bun.

 

What I did was with leftovers, from a curry restaurant (hence the curried instant noodles) and a bun from a local bakery. Heat up the leftover noodles, cut a slit in the bun after toasting it, and voila! Noodles in a bun.

 

You can create lots of different flavours and you’ll probably find that different sauces go with different types of bun. Usually dry noodles would work the best in these buns.

 

So cook your instant noodles to al dente, drain, and mix with whatever sauce you want…Curry, yakisoba sauce, tomato, chilli…whatever you fancy. It can be simple or complicated depending on how you want your bun (and clearly, mine took less than 5 minutes to make since it’s leftover). Slit your bun open after toasting it (or not, up to you) and place noodles inside.

 

Garnish, take photos, instagram…whatever you do, and then eat.

 

And that was my dinner.

 

CAT

Quick, Frothy Milk that would perfectly go with your coffee

2012/12/15

Ever want to have a latte or a cappuccino but too lazy or don’t want to spend so much on coffee at your local chain coffee place?

 

I’m not here to teach you how to make good coffee because, well, I’m no expert, but I can write about how to make frothy milk that you can add to your coffee. After all, latte, cappuccino…these coffee names are really how baristas label the proportion of milk mixed into the shot(s) of expresso.

 

So no, it won’t be a proper latte/cappuccino/whatever, but give it a go anyway to see if you like it.

 

I did it because my boyfriend likes to drink coffee. With milk. And sugar. I felt that just putting cold milk into a mug of black coffee is too plain. I wanted something more…if I have to drink coffee that’s not black, I’d prefer something with more texture.

 

So here’s what you need:

A mug for your coffee

A mug to measure your milk and to heat the milk up, could be the same one as the mug for your coffee

A microwave

A French press/cafetiere: best if they have the springs (see image below). Small one would do if you’re making one cup of coffee, otherwise just froth milk for each cup separately. It’ll be fine as long as you’re not making 10 cups of coffee at once.

https://i2.wp.com/i765.photobucket.com/albums/xx299/phoodphilosophy/Food/miscs/french_press.jpg

(image from http://www.theblaze.com)

 

Depending on how you make your coffee, you can do this as it suits your process. For example, if you’re using a moka pot, it’s probably best to make the coffee first then do the milk so your coffee wouldn’t burn in the pot. Your coffee will stay hot.

 

If you’re using another French press, then you can do it while your coffee is developing its taste in the pot. So figure out the best time to do this, but before that, follow on how you make frothy milk.

 

  1. Measure out how much milk you need for your coffee
  2. Put mug of milk in the microwave and microwave on high for 1 minute. More or less time depends on how much milk you have in your mug
  3. After your milk is done in the microwave, take it out, be careful as it is hot, then pour into a clean French press
  4. Place on the plunger part and start plunging your milk. If you want it more frothy, do it all the way to the bottom and to the top, otherwise, how I do it is little plunges from the middle to just a bit above the milk
  5. Make sure you have already poured out your coffee and if you have coffee with sugar, add it in now
  6. You can either pour it directly into your coffee but I don’t recommend that. You can either let it set a little or tap the French press on the surface several times so the milk and the froth is slightly separated, or you will just get a mouthful of froth and no milk (of course if you’re making a macchiato that’s a different story)

 

And there you have it, lovely coffee made at home. And all you have to buy is a French press. They can be expensive but for milk frothing I don’t think it’s necessary for expensive ones.

 

Hot, frothy milk can be really good for hot chocolate as well. How I do it is to pour little hot water in the chocolate powder so I have a small amount of liquid chocolate that I can pour the prepared milk into, and tada, frothy hot chocolate.

 

Try this and let me know how you get on!

 

CAT

 

Skincare for Winter

2012/12/07

Before we start, I don’t have pictures for this post. Yes, it will be text heavy, yes not many people are going to stay to the end, if you do, thank you. Otherwise, skim and read what’s relevant. You probably already know all these already.

Hm….why am I writing this…? Oh well.

It’s never really “too late” to start any routine, same goes for skincare. The important thing is to pinpoint the problem and to take the steps necessary to correct it.

But I’m lazy and I don’t really know that much about skincare, so I can’t really give much detail on chemicals in products that will make your skin better or anything. But there is one way that you will hear all over the blogs and the internet and even friends around you that you should do for skincare in winter – hydrate.

So, unlike all the detailed and more professional blog entries or information (and by all means, feel free to look them up!) I will give you my lazy person version of it.

What’s your type?

The first thing is to know how your skin behaves in winter. Depending on where you live, weather is an important factor to how fast your skin will dry out, and yes, drying out is usually one main skin concern that winter brings.

Cleansing

So change your cleansing products over to something that moisturizes or more nourishing as your wash your face. For example, milk cleansing lotion instead of gel. I’ve never really taken a liking for gel so I don’t use gel in general. Be careful with this because it really depends on how your skin behaves. It’s better to choose something that’s best for your skin; if that product happens to work all year round for you, then all’s good. For example, Neutrogena has a cleansing lotion for sensitive skin and I find that work just fine whether it’s winter or summer.

No, you don’t really have to have sensitive skin to use that.

Experts always say you should change over skincare and make-up products in winter, but not everyone can afford to do so. I’m not too fussed about the cleanser myself but if your skin tends to change drastically between seasons, e.g. sensitive skin, then it’s probably best to look into changing cleansing products.

Toner

I always use toner. Because I feel that cleansing to a certain extent dries out my skin and causes some form of imbalance, so I let my skin drink some water. Toner can come in many different forms, so again, pick one that is most suited for your skin. Some have whitening stuff in it, some has pore refining…best is to pick a toner that does not contain alcohol as it can dry your skin.

Normally I do this immediately after I dry (but not completely) my face, just pour a small amount on a cotton pad and gently pat it into your skin.

Moisturiser

I use different moisturisers during the day and during the night and highly suggest you to do the same if you don’t already.

During the day we come in contact with more…things. And sunlight. So I always wear moisturizer or BB Cream as I usually put make-up on before I go out that has SPF in it. It’s important to protect your skin, no matter what season it is, from the harmful UV rays that causes pigmentation (freckles, mainly).

At night I layer on the products if I have them around. I tend to put richer products on my face at night, finishing off with a light night cream. Your skin repairs at night while you sleep and it’s the best time as you are resting the skin absorbs the different nutrients you put on it at night.

For winter, I think the most important thing is to moisturize and make sure that the water is locked into your skin. You can use thicker or richer creams to do so, but again depends on your skin type, e.g. people with more oily skin might find this less comfortable. I personally have more of an oily skin type so I layer on the different products, mainly a water gel (Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel I’ve used, but there are many different brands out there), then a light night cream (also Neutrogena) to seal it in but at the same time not so heavy that my skin will just feel sticky in the morning.

It’s a good idea to use cream with vitamin E to repair skin cells that might be damaged during the day and nourish your skin with it. The Body Shop has their own line of vitamin E products and is suitable for pretty much all skin types. They also do a Vitamin C skin reviver which I personally love as it diminishes your skin from dullness and is a great base for your make up. Also makes your skin so smooth you cannot resist from stroking it.

If you can afford it, serums can do amazing things for your skin during winter. Unfortunately I don’t own any so I can’t give anything more than a general view. You can put a drop to your moisturizer and use it on your face, or pat it on as it is, then layer it.

And if you can’t tell by now, I’m more of a layering person.

Exfoliation

Normally I try to exfoliate once a week, but since the winter can dry out your skin, you might find yourself exfoliating more. Still, I wouldn’t do it more than twice a week, depending on your exfoliator – for example, if I’m using the Body Shop’s microdermabraison then I definitely would not use it more than twice a week. Over exfoliating will damage your skin and defies the purpose of removing a layer of dead skin to get rid of the dullness – it will literally remove your face.

So be careful on exfoliating.

Usually I do this before cleansing, so my cleanser cleans the skin underneath.

Masks

Usually after I’ve exfoliated and cleansed, I use a mask, just because now I have a new layer of fresh skin I can get as much goodness in the mask in the skin as possible.

You can’t really go wrong with hydration in the winter, so pick masks that will really hydrate your skin.

Look, hydrated skin will look younger, there’s no harm in doing it.

If you have dry skin to begin with, hydrate anyway and use richer face cream to lock the moisture in. If tend to be oily, don’t use a really rich cream that feels like it’s going to block all the pores because they will have some form of oil in it. The thing about balancing oily skin is balancing the oil and water ratio in the skin. So for me I will always, always hydrate no matter what season it is. Probably more intense during the winter.

(by the way, if you’re hating your skin because it’s oily, don’t – these skin types tend not to have wrinkles that early on. Yes, you might get more acne problems, but figure out whether it’s hormone caused, diet caused or skin caused. It can improve just by changing your diet so it’s worthwhile to contemplate on this)

I currently have 2 type of masks – the sheet ones by My Beauty Diaries and a sleep-in mask. If I’m not lazy or doing this routine in the middle of the day or evening, I’ll use a sheet mask; if I feel lazy, then I use the sleep in mask that I can wash off the next morning. Each has their own benefits so figure what fits in best with your schedule and what you’re more likely to use and get that one.

There are other types where you can put a layer on and then wash it off in a while, like clay masks or nourishing masks (ones with honey are brilliant) works too. I use them when the other two are not readily available.

After you peel off your sheet mask, do not wash it off unless you are told to. Gently pat and massage until you have persuaded the moisture on your face in your face. I usually skip the toner if I’m doing this and go straight to cream.

So to summarise, basically, hydrate. Can’t really go wrong with it during the winter. Make sure you get products suitable for your skin type. Spend a bit of time each week to use a mask to give some extra stuff to your face.

(Incidentally, using a mask before you put your make-up on will make it stay longer. So if you’re preparing for a big night or something, use a mask before you go out.)

Here’s my lazy morning routine:

  1. Toner: one side to wipe face all over
  2. Toner: the other side to pat the toner in
  3. Mattifying day cream/gel
  4. Some form of SPF cream/BB cream

And my lazy night routine:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Toner: pat it in
  3. Water gel/whitening cream/whatever if available
  4. Light night cream/Vitamin E cream

Finally, when the extended treatment once a week:

  1. Exfoliate
  2. Cleanse
  3. Mask: sheet or sleep-in. If sleep-in, stops here!
  4. Pat remaining product in so skin absorbs all
  5. Light night cream

I’m lazy and don’t really know extensive routine, but so far these have worked for me regardless of the season. The difference is in the products you use in different seasons.

And that’s it.

If you’ve read all of this, well done. You might regret reading it all if you know all of it already. And for others, I hope it was at least a tiny little bit useful.

Let me know if you want to see more this kind of post that’s beauty, cosmetic, make-up related.

CAT

Success – you sure that it is what you want?

2012/12/01

Success – you sure that it is what you want?

No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be successful, or you are not, or it’s not what you want.

Yes, the title is probably not written correctly, but it made you drop by, no?

I guess what I want to say is… is your “success” the success that you want? No? Still not getting me? That’s okay, might just find out if you read on.

Well, we don’t live in a vacuum where we don’t interact with other people, and others’ expectations don’t affect how we feel about our own doings. How much of what you call “successful” is based on answering to other people’s expectations?

I am guilty of that myself. I want to please people, when others feel sad and there’s something I could do, I’d do it to make them feel better. I’ll feel good for a while, then miserable again because a part of me starts to question whether I was okay with it.

And the original me always avoid to answer the question because another part of me silently tells me that, “no, not really. I didn’t actually want to do that.”

I just wanted to make people happy, even if it meant forfeiting my own.

I was just answering expectations, just appeasing other people. I wanted to be liked by everyone because I never felt that I was liked by most people.

(I used past tense, because I want to change that, but deep inside I know I still do those things, answering to other people’s expectations and base success from that)

Some things I do, I do because I feel others expect that of me. And you?

And then we are sometimes obsessed with money and status. Because that’s what society sees as successful – if you earn lots of money and if you are in a “good” profession – doctor, lawyer, investment banker…etc. Of course, depending on what society that you live in because different societies value different things and judge your worth differently.

You tell me what your society or culture sees you, or your profession.

Many of us, we are living in an era where we are absolutely privileged to afford to “chase dreams”, to go for what we may be passionate about. We don’t have to live in the age where we work because we have to. Our parents have done that for us. We talk about career, we talk about dreams, yet how many chase after what we truly want? Or are we simply working towards our “back-up plan” as e.g. a lawyer, just in case our main plan of being an artist fails?

I’m not saying that being in any of those professions mean you’re not going after what you want. In fact, I admire those who go for it because their passion for what they do gets them through the many obstacles in the profession, especially when these professions may not be as glamourous as we play them out to be. At the very least, they are being true to what they want to achieve (how true only they would know!). Their success is based on what they do in the area they love, something internal to them, not only answering to society’s expectations.

So what’s the point of these all?

I’m not saying that everyone should just go their own way and go for what they want and disregard some certain rules. After all, as we all have heard once before “know the rules so you know how to break them properly” and “learn to walk before you run”. Yes, we have to answer to others’ expectations to begin with before we can start expecting from anyone else. Yes, we have to prove ourselves worthy before we express who we are.

But I will make a change, and try not to base fulfilling these expectations as the basis of my feelings of success.

I asked some of my friends, “what is success to you?” because I don’t know what it meant to me.

Independence, having a job, designing something that helps other people…etc.

Things that they feel will make them love the life they’re living.

It’s a progressive thing. In 5 years time your view of what’s success will change depending on whether you have achieved what you’ve set out.

But others’ expectations changes from day to day.

Do I want to base what I see as success according to something that fluctuates instead of guiding me to where I want? Do you want to have your happiness based on others’ fluctuating thoughts?

No – then it looks like I’ll have to start doing things consistent to the “ultimate” path I want to take. One part of me realises that unless I create a path for myself to walk on, I will be forever lost, forever startled at the different things that are happening around me. Another part realises that this path is winding, changing directions from time to time and I may never know what goal it is until very later on. Good thing another part of my conscious mind reminds me that I have to live in the present and to take opportunities in front of me.

So is what you’re chasing after truly what you want, truly what you can call success? Or is it only success because other people tell you so? And what’s more important to you?

But don’t perceive me as being clear of where I am now, because I don’t know. I don’t know what I should do to get where I want, I don’t know what I want half the time, I don’t know what I’m passionate about, or what I’m truly passionate about. So I’ll do little things one at a time to figure my way out because I can afford to. I have to stop self-sabotaging myself and think I don’t deserve it and stop fearing success when I’ve barely even started to work for it.

(Yes, we fear success, but that’s another story and loads of other blogs will tell you about it)

So what am I chasing after? I’m going after changing who I am to someone who embraces success. I’m learning to accept myself and tell myself that I am the best that I am so I can be someone who embraces success. I’m taking actions I feel will make me feel more in control of myself, so my life is truly how I want to make out of it. And in process, I will figure out what other decisions I want to make in different aspects of life: love, career, family, relationships, networks…..

I cannot control what other people think, but I can control what actions I take.

And allow myself to make mistakes, because success comes from learning from them.

So is what you call success truly what is success to you? If not, then what’s success to you?

I didn’t know what success meant to me. Until someone who I hold incredibly dear to me woke me up and made me question myself – are you happy?

I think you know what I’m getting at and for some of you, may resonate with how I feel about success now.

Long ramblings from an amateur in life, but really, this is for myself. And if you want to give me some of your thoughts, please do. Afterall, I still don’t know what I want and this may all be wrong.

(You can always go to someone more reliable — click here to read Richard Branson’s view)