Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Mental Sex

You know that feeling you get when you talk to somebody and you get all excited and your brain goes into machine-gun mode and churns out all kinds of interesting ideas and in that conversation you spurt all kinds of interesting and clever things that make yourself go "Oh wow, I'm so impressed with myself!"?

I haven't that in a long while.


I wonder if it's the people that I've been meeting, or not meeting, or the books that I haven't been reading, or just the way life is for me at this point in my life - fucking boring. But nope, my life hasn't exactly been boring - I've done a really cool travelogue and going to do yet another one in April, I acted in a show that's quite cool (Rescue 995), and I've been involved in school outreach projects that challenge me to churn out possible ideas. So what is it???



I need to socialize more often with more people. I think? Or get a really smart boyfriend. Or read more. I need something that can engage me mentally, stimulate my having-become-mundane mind, and satisfy my soul.


I need to laugh, think, feel, dance with my heart again...

 I need mental sex, you know, something that makes you feel oh-so-good up there.


Dry.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Noodles and Rice

Valerie is a girl who comes from a rich family, stays in a landed property and has family who believes that a good man should be one that has a good education (degree-holder at least), comes from a family of similar background, and is a typical good man who holds a good job.

Michael is your typical Ah-beng, the kind who gets into fights easily, has long centre-parted hair, wears attire which your pirated-DVD-seller would wear, carries a sharp comb in the back of his pocket, and studies in ITE. In other words, a "bad student", one frowned upon by most teachers, and especially people of the "rich background".

Michael calls Valerie "Noodles", and Valerie calls Michael "Rice", because rice and noodles go together.

They are in a relationship, and Valerie's parents do not like it at all.

They had their first major fight due to the disparity in their O'level results, and Michael had refused to see Valerie for a week. He finally did though, reluctantly, and kept insisting that he only has a short while, as he needed to go to work...

"
"Ah Xin!" Ah Gong said as he dawdled down the stairs. All my relatives called me Ah Xin. The house was filled with expensive retro furniture that seemed to be cleaned every minute. Ah Gong had grown old, but the design of the house had not. I had been here so many times that I knew every hiding spot in the living room. I tightened the grip on Michael's hand and realized that I was trembling. "Where's your father?"

"I come with my boyfriend." I frowned at the predicament that would befall us.

Ah Gong was in his seventies but could pass off as a fifty-year-old. As he took a few more steps down, he stared at Michael intently with furrowed eyebrows. I had seldom seen Ah Gong angry before; he was always calm and composed. As a property developer who refused to retire, he had to make many critical decisions, and his calmness always helped.

"Where is your father?"

"Ah Gong, where's Ah Ma? And Ah Gu?"

Ah Gu was Daddy's younger sister. During office hours, she would always go to Ah Gong's house to accompany her parents. She was a middle-aged woman who believed that money could light up the night. She married an investment banker immediately after getting her degree from Australia, and her first and only full-time job was shopping in Paragon and having high tea with other affluent women. She would not hesitate to flay my decision to date a poor bloke - her aversion for the low educated was more pronouced than any of us.

"Ah Ma went out for exercise. Ah Gu-"

As if on cue, Ah Gu came down the stairs. Even in the house, she was wearing a Gucci dress. Always satisfied with her looks, she often dressed this way everywhere she went because she could "meet anyone anytime".

"Ah Xin!" Ah Gu smiled. She fingered her hair as if to straighten her permed hair. "And you're?"

I pointed to Micheal. "His name is Michael. He is in ITE now. I don't know if he can even graduate from there. In other words, he's not going to earn $10,000 a month when he is thirty years old."

Ah Gu swallowed then smiled in the same second. "Oh. I see. I see. Hi Micheal."

"Yo, auntie Kuku-"

"You've seen my boyfriend," I cut in. "During your high tea tomorrow in Paragon, please feel free to gossip about us. We're going off. See you next week. Ah Gong, Ah Gu, isn't my boyfriend handsome?"

I did not wait for their answer. I pulled Michael out of the house. As we marched to the exit, I heard Michael saying, "Goodbye," to Ah Gong and Ah Gu, and then to me, "I'm so not going to work later, Ah Xin. Where's the nearest shopping centre?"

I smiled as we walked on the centre of the road. When cars appeared, they had to swerve to the other lane to avoid hitting us. Some honked but we maintained our course. "We're walking on the 'most expensive road' in Singapore, and people are driving the most expensive cars. But still, they have to give way to us."

Michael pulled me closer to him. "Yeah, who gives a fuck about social difference, as long as you love me, I love you. Noodles, you have no idea how much I love you."

And so, we hugged in the middle of the road for a full minute."


If you're smiling, I hope you're someone who can overlook the whole idea of social difference. Ever been in a relationship which is non-mainstream, frowned upon by others and not accepted by your family? Or simply, been in a relationship which your family did not approve of? I have, and I wonder if I would do the same thing Valerie did. I know back in my late teens I would fight as fiercely for love. I'm not so sure I would now, but reading this actually made me take a step back and wonder if we twisted the whole idea of love as we grew up. Which is why so many people in their late twenties onwards become so jaded with relationships.

I would like to thank Low Kay Hwa for reminding me what love should be like, for bringing back fond memories of the sweet love back when I was still a student.



This book will make you smile until so tian mi mi, laugh until peng and cry until no day no night. A Singapore Love Story - any person who has loved in our little island will love this.

Word of warning: Prepare the tissues. 
Other than that, enjoy the book!


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Keep Your Makeup On

Hello! What a busy week it has been for me, from events to shoots to events to shoots to catch-ups with a few good friends from my many different walks of life! A girlfriend has just given birth to a lucky baby boy on the 22nd of February, and guess what?! 2202 came out starters in 4D that very evening! Lucky lucky dragon baby! Let's wish Roanna, Leonard and their baby boy many happy healthy family days ahead! (When can we expect another one? *winks*)
Here's a sneak at one of the pictures I took this week, with Peggy from Thy-Dowager:



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I've been doing some read-up and experimenting with products this past week, and I found, tried, and now swear by another product (who says looking good is a no-frills affair?)!

If you have ever applied makeup on your face and then headed outdoors (yes, into the sun, and not just sit inside an airconditioned environment), and your makeup melts by the time you get to the MRT station / bus-stop / office, or it cracks under your eyes and where your smile lines are, your foundation disappears in blotches by mid-day, and you have scars and imperfections that are impossible to conceal, and you have done all your skincare right, I can relate to you.
I know, because I have encountered all of those. 

And I have found that incorporating one more step into your makeup routine will make all the difference in holding your makeup on for longer: 


MAKEUP PRIMER~~~

After doing some research online and actually reading up on makeup and beauty books, I found that makeup primer is a MUST for achieving the flawless makeup you see on fashion magazines, without having to go through actual airbrushing! 

Most makeup artists agree that applying primer is that one magic step for makeup that lasts all day. And so I put it to the test.

Let's just say that before reading up, I thought makeup primer was just some sales gimmick by the cosmetics industry and that it was a waste of time (for that one extra step) and money. Was I in for a surprise! I own the Ekanava Opening Enhancer by Hankook Cosmetics, and I have also tried That Gal by Benefit. I had no idea what real purpose they actually serve until about a week ago. I only remember that Kanny said my makeup was really nice and that I looked like I had a radiant glow during one event about a year ago, and I had the That Gal primer on.

So this past week, I alternated between a day of using primer and the next without, and the days when I used primer, I really noticed a difference!

- Makeup doesn't crack underneath my eyes and on my smile line as easily as before
- Makeup doesn't disappear around my nose and mouth by mid-day like it would normally
- Scars and redness (especially around the nose area) were much easier to conceal
- My makeup looked fresh for much longer, duration depending on which primer I used


So how does a primer work? 

It most likely contains silicone, which helps to fill in your pores and lines (so that your makeup doesn't do that and clog them instead!) It sets itself up as an adhesive surface for makeup to cling onto all day, and at the same time, acts as a barrier between your skincare products and the harmful external environment such as UV rays, smoke, dust and other irritants.

Always use your primer AFTER your skincare final step. It's like applying a waterproofing layer on your skin, if you apply moisturizer before, the primer seals in the moisturizer for your skin to absorb the benefits of your skincare all day, but if you apply moisturizer or your liquid sunscreen after primer, the products can't penetrate through to your skin.

Primers also keep oil at bay, fill in fine lines and provide a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup, especially foundation, to stick to. Enough reason to use them?

I found some of the best primers (these had many good reviews!) that I personally like, and thought it would be nice to share them with you:
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SMASHBOX PHOTO FINISH PRIMER

This is supposedly THE favourite among makeup artists. Not the ones in Singapore though, as I've never seen them use it (to be honest I don't know of many makeup artists who bother with primers in Singapore - not a very good culture), but in the US and Australia, this one's a hit. 

Whatever condition your skin is in, it blends perfectly to create a silky smooth base for your make up. It even fills in fine lines and wrinkles, and it reviewed to be THE best, and makeup literally stayed on ALL DAY, and night! One reviewer even said that she tried it on a hot day running errands - "perfect conditions for a makeup meltdown" - and her makeup stayed on throughout! 

I think I want to give this a try.
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THAT GAL BY BENEFIT

As mentioned, this one really works wonders at brightening and giving the glow. I haven't tried using it in the day, so I'm not really sure how it would perform in the all-day-makeup department under the hot sun. Personally, I love the packaging, the fact that I can control the amount precisely with each use, the pinkish glow it gives me, and its rosy vanilla-ish bubblegummy smell.

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BARE ESCENTUALS PRIME TIME FOUNDATION PRIMER
 
A favorite among makeup junkies, this mineral primer is preservative-free and great for all skin types. Formulated to combat flaky, dry skin and rough patches, this primer also fills in fine lines and wrinkles providing a satin-like base for foundation. If you're into mineral makeup, this one has been reviewed to work wonders. 

 As a bonus, it's infused with soothing plant extracts, antioxidants and Vitamins C and E. Does not have parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances or dyes, so this is perfect for you if you have very sensitive skin.

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EKANAVA OPENING ENHANCER
As mentioned in the last SSparkle Glam, I have the Ekanava Opening Enhancer, and this one works wonders by keeping the skin cool even under the hot sun. I love the smell, and the fact that it contains gold specks.

 Research has revealed that gold not only has anti-bacterial properties, but actually helps to transport oxygen molecules directly into the skin, influencing cellular functions and providing a new energy level. This helps to revitalise and rejuvenate the skin. Gold also helps stimulate lymphatic drainage and blood circulation, thus facilitating the removal of toxins and wastes and purifying the skin. All these help to improve the skin's normal functions, particularly that of regeneration of healthy new cells.

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Bet many of you don't know how important the primer actually is! These above-mentioned products are my favourites/those with great reviews I would personally like to acquire. I hope you make the primer a necessity in your makeup routine from now on! ^.^



A little tip: always apply your makeup AFTER your primer has set in and dried on your skin. This would greatly enhance the efficacy of the primer, and your makeup will stay on it for longer.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hokkaido: Lavender Farm & SNOW MOBILE!!!

A never-ending stream of pictures and snow. Was at Isetan Scotts on Sunday and found out there's a Hokkaido Fair going on in the basement supermarket. How coincidental~

Everything at the Hokkaido Fair was crazy expensive though, am glad I ate my fill in Japan. ;)

~ 好冷~雪已经积得那么深。Are you my snowman, 我最爱的人?~


Hokkaido is renowned for Lavender, to the extent that even the Hello Kitty in Hokkaido wears purple. 
Flowers are, needless to say, not in bloom, given the harsh extreme cold temperature. We couldn't even stand 20 minutes in the cold, not to mention such a delicate thing as a flower...


 This is the flower/lavender field. No way of knowing what field it is exactly, all white and covered in snow...

This is what you will see if you visit when the flowers are in bloom:


 I'm sure working in these fields will make one sleepy...






 It all looks pretty and nice, but the cold was stinging right into our bones. Be VERY well-equipped if you wish to challenge snowing countries. Make sure your face, head, ears, hands, feet, everywhere, are well-insulated.

Or else...


 Really unbearable.. See the ice cream my mum was holding? The walk from the Tomita Cafe to the Greenhouse took 15 minutes (plus all that phototaking), and the ice cream remained SOLID throughout~



 See! No melt at all! Ice cream in cold weather~ YUM!
And if you're wondering why it's purple, it's LAVENDER ice cream! Got lavender fragrance!!!


 Got Korean feel? ^.^


 This is supposed to be the walkway linking each distillery, but they were so flooded with snow we could no longer tell that it is a walkway.

We didn't manage to visit any distillery as they were closed. But on some months you can catch them doing the lavender essence extraction!


 Me and Mummy! (Note the still-intact ice cream.)


 It's a huge farm and if you come at the right season, it's a myriad burst of colours!





 BYE FARM TOMITA & MR SNOWMAN!!!


 Spotted an igloo on our way off!
That's Huixian trying to crawl in.


 I went in too, and it was so much warmer inside than outside! So being in an igloo in such harsh weather can really keep the eskimos (and boliao ppl like us) warm!

NEXT! Whoa this is exciting. We went to try the SNOW MOBILES!!!!!
It's like a motorcycle, or a go-kart, except that you ride it in the snow (try motorbiking in snow and you will die a horrible death, or just keep falling flat in the snow), and there are no tracks!


 Important item: Snow boots. Much like PCK fishmonger/construction worker boots, except they're made of thicker material to protect your feet against the snow and the cold from the blowing winds when the snowmobile is in motion.




A helmet is required, so is a face cover.

 No, that WASN'T me with a total lack of fashion sense. Lol~


 The vehicles!


 That's Mum with her scarf, shades, wool hat, helmet, gloves, winter jacket, and a whole load of other stuff, on her own snow mobile.


 And Sis!


 Eh hem~


The amazing snowy landscape. Lol~ 



 Hi-jacked the instructor's snow mobile for a sut-kee picture~
#actonly


 Credits to Huixian for playing along with the role-play and making me look so cool.


 好美啊~~~


 Mum pretending to fall into the snow. 演技十足。


So I copied...


 Sis: Champion.


 Wonder how it would be like to sleep on a soft fluffy bed of snow...

To be honest, if you ever get the opportunity to try riding on a snow mobile, grab it. Especially in Hokkaido. Because whilst other places require you to go through a proper course, and some places not even allowing you to ride a snowmobile on your own (only allow as pillions), this one in Hokkaido lets you try to ride your own after just a 5-10 minute short briefing! The scenery and the experience was breathtaking, and of course, exhilaratingly cold. We even saw some bulls/cows/snow oxen while we were riding! From afar, of course.

I'm itching for it again...

(My lovely red R15, I still love you wholeheartedly. The snow mobile was just a fling. You understand, right?)