Some quick personal thoughts on 2016

When I was around 15, there was once a lesson… which I totally can’t recall the name of, but it’s that one we always did ‘character building’ and learning values or what. We called it Civics in JC but I’m at a total loss as to what we called it in secondary school. Aaanyway, we were supposed to list down and rank some values that were the most important to us. After lots and lots of thought, I declared my most cherished value as ‘tranquility’, something I’ve always desired because I had very little of that in me.

A lot of people say 2016 was a crappy year for various reasons, but for me, my own little bubble has been in a turmoil since my teenage years, so the turmoil in the external world doesn’t matter all that much to me. Maybe like a self defense mechanism. I’ve definitely had some ups and downs, and the past few years haven’t been easy. This year, I suppose a lot of things became better, if only by a little, or maybe I’ve developed a bit more tranquility. I have a job I enjoy somewhat that is not too tedious, a lovely little girl, and less of a feeling of being alone in the world.

I look to 2017 as a year of hopefully finally settling some long standing issues I’ve had, and as a year of new beginnings, of healing wounds. The first half will still probably be tough and I sincerely hope it flies by as soon as possible but I look forward to making drastic improvements later in the year.

Over the 3 day weekend I’m also committed to not wearing make up, to give my skin a break and not hide all the hormonal acne scars and all. In 2018, if my skin is still as crappy, I would probably give up and see a dermatologist or something.

I’ve also been exercising at least 2-3x a week, running 3-4km and doing strength building, and I’ve been trying not to eat too much crap (not always successful…) I definitely want to continue this into 2017, if not there would be a few dresses on the smaller side I would no longer fit into 😉

So, in the last couple hours of the new year in my end of the world… I’m going running. I wish everyone a great year ahead, and don’t forget that change is the only constant and that we have to embrace it.

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FOTD: Red eyeshadow

This was done when I had a half day at work. What can I say, in stressful periods I feel like wearing ALL TEH MAKE UP. And I always want to wear RED eyeshadow.

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(seeeee the lashes! This was actually about 2 weeks after bimatoprost. Not in insane territory yet, but looking awesome already.)

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A simple but high impact look using the warm shades in my Newtrals vs Neutrals palette. You can do loads of complete looks without needing to reach for other palettes, which is something I do love about it. I also added brown glitter gel liner. This was taken AFTER my halfday, so my make up had already been on for 6 hours or more.

 

It definitely looked more impactful in real life and I was kinda worried my very traditional big boss would say something… but she didn’t so IDGAF! 😀

FOTD: Warm Tulip Eye and a pop

Finally, a new look from me! I have been doing quite a fair bit of make up lately but I just can’t be arsed to photograph it. I’m in a wing phase again, after going bare on the eyes for a pretty long time. It’s wing ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Green wing, navy wing, brown wing, black wing.

Anyway, this look is a warm rusty orange eye in a tulip placement, which is something I very rarely do, as you should know if you go through all my posts. I also added my Clio Gelpresso in Golden Black, soft black pencil liner with gold glitter, and Deep Sea Blue, a matte blue on the waterline. [Review here.]

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Continue reading “FOTD: Warm Tulip Eye and a pop”

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish Review: Wine Stock

I had a $20 Watsons gift card won in a lucky draw (which actually sucks… considering I could have gotten $30 NTUC vouchers for groceries, or $200 Takashimaya vouchers for buying almost any prestige brand of my choice… D: ) So I had to go spend it. Considering how crazily marked up most drugstore American brands are in Singapore, I really didn’t want to waste money on that. Can you believe that a Loreal Trumatch foundation is like $30 SGD?!?! [20 USD] WTF!

Anyway, I bought a Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish and Gel top coat set for $16.90, which is a pretty okay price to me. I don’t exactly need more nail polishes, but my top coat is running out (mainly because my lovely little person spilled it on my bed.)

I didn’t take a picture because I was too excited to rip it open, so have a stock picture:

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Wine Stock is a deep, vampy wine red. Looks a little maroon in some lights. It reminds me very much of Besame Noir Red (review soon to come!) The formula is supposed to be like a gel, without needing a light to cure. Instead, you’re supposed to sun it for about 5 minutes.

I need about 2 coats, but due to the translucent gel nature of the polish, some bits could look a little patchy, so I patched it up with 3 coats. I applied this polish in an hour on Monday morning WHILE doing my make up, so you can imagine how I’m trying not to get half dried polish onto my face, and sunning it at the same time.

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Here it is on the 2nd day. Lovely, lovely vampy colour. I don’t even mind the slight patchiness and variations in colour – makes it look a little sombre and interesting.

And the shine! It’s insane. So goddamn glossy.

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Here it is on Day 4 I think. A tiny chip on my thumb (from fiddling with a zip on a too-tight dress), and no chips elsewhere, but some tip wear. My index finger IS INTACT. This has NEVER happened before. Especially not at this length of nails, which is insanely long by my usual standards. Usually by Wednesday I have a large chip in my index, and Thursday or Friday half of it is gone. I’m typing this on Saturday. I patched up the chip and the index tip wear on Friday morning and seriously this shit looks as good as new, I can definitely coax another few days and likely I’ll never get humongous chips.

I’ve actually read a negative review here. Her day 5 looks a little bit similar to my own day 5, but I NEVER get that from any other polishes. And for me, that day 5 result is pretty fucking fantastic. I am REALLY hard on my nails. I do housework, washing, loads of typing, even cashiering (getting change is REALLY hard on nails.) I honestly don’t care about the shine of top coat dulling or getting scratches because I totally expect it. My first day topcoat is not even perfect because I’m a fidgety little bastard.

Anyway, this formula to me is a game changer. I don’t need more polishes, but I’m definitely eyeing a lot of the other colours. After such tenacious wear on my nails, I’m totally spoilt. How can I go back, I ask? I’ll probably use up my older polishes in bolder colours on my toes, which don’t need to look perfect, and finish up some mini bottles so I can buy more of these. This gets a hearty recommend from me!

How to use things: tips I’ve only learnt recently

My mum is so not into beauty, so my whole life has been about what I’ve seen in magazines/internet and my own crazy experimenting. Some things I have never figured out, until now. Some of these might be duh-uh, but hope that someone out there finds it useful 🙂

  1. Siliconey hair serums

My husband had this siliconey hair serum that I felt always weighed down my hair and made it look so blah.and maybe even oily. Then one night I felt like I MUST make an effort in using the last bit up. I put it in damp hair, fresh from showering, and BAM, loveliest, fluffiest hair ever. Like seriously, damn my hair has been so freaking fluffy the last few days. I keep fluffing it up and I keep telling my colleagues ‘MY HAIR IS SO FLUFFY.’

If you live in a suuuuuper hot and humid place like I do and feel like serums and whatnot weigh your hair down and you feel greasy, try putting it in when its wet and see if it makes a difference!

2. How to cover up pimples at that gross flaky stage

I’m still dealing with hormonal acne around my period and the aftermath of said hormonal acne. It’s definitely better now but still, urgh. When I put foundation and concealer and try to hide it, frequently it looks worse after a long day after it starts to flake and look horribly dry and all. I mean, maybe there’s a magical concealer out there that stops that, but here’s what I do:

  1. Prep skin as usual, moisturize, sunscreen.
  2. Take some hardcore occlusive substance. I use Lanolin, but Vaseline probably works too. Dab it strategically in the problem spot and rub it in slightly
  3. Put primer over it. Quite important, so that the concealer has something to grab onto and fades slower.
  4. Apply foundation/concealer as usual.

Not only does this method ensure that there are no flaky spots, it also protects the spot and helps it to heal. For me personally, lanolin everywhere has been an amazing skin protectant. And I can also cover it up better. On the days I skip the lanolin, I definitely notice the difference, because the spot usually starts to flake by midday. If you skip the primer, the concealer tends to fade much faster. It’s a rather arduous process though.

3. How to curl your lashes easily for Asian eyes

Seriously, fucking splash some money on a good Japanese eyelash curler. I haven’t done this yet, but I will soon in a few months. My current curler is a generic western one, and though it gets the job done, I have to be pretty careful about not grabbing the wrong bit,s and my eye make up does rub off it sometimes.

Yesterday I was at the Surratt counter, and holy hell, their eyelash curler was MAGIC. But it also costs $50.  If you always thought that curling your lashes were a chore, try the Shiseido/Shu Uemura/Surratt (if you’re loaded). The famous Shiseido one is $20+ I think, and I will most definitely get that one soon.

 

Do you have any interesting tips that you just learnt recently?

Random non-make up interlude: Depeche Mode!

I’ve been working like 8am-9pm almost everyday, and it’s been killing me. When I reach home at 9-10pm, I just play a little music, shower and sleep. I’ve been playing Lana Del Rey on repeat for most of the past 3 years, but now it’s become Depeche Mode!

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(Can someone say hunkle??)

Since I didn’t grow up with Depeche Mode, unlike most of their hardcore fans (most of whom, like them, are around their 50s…. but they’re still really cool 50+ year olds! :P) my favourite couple of songs aren’t the usual ones. Everyone says that Violator is their best album, but having listened to Violator top to bottom a billion times, I personally don’t like it THAT much.

My favourite album is actually Playing the Angel. It’s a little more rock than my usual tastes, and it can be too noisy at times, but on the whole I enjoy it immensely. It’s like Songs of Faith and Devotion, their classic 1993 album, which was also more rocked out than their old style, but with more trademark weird synth sounds. (Spotify link)

I also have a soft spot for Exciter. It was a huge departure from their usual dark dancey electro-rockish tunes, I’ve always said it’s like Depeche Mode does Backstreet Boys. Ardent fans hate it, but hey, I’m not nearing 50. It’s a little spacey and relaxing and filled with notions of love, more than their usual sin-guilt-redemption stuff. Like Depeche Mode on weed. (Spotify link)

Violator is probably the 3rd best album for me. It is definitely the most consistent album. Out of 9 songs,  4 are in my favourites that get constant reply, and there are another 2 that I chuck into a lengthy playlist. It also produced their all time best hit Enjoy the Silence, and the excellent and rather witty World in my Eyes which is a personal fave of mine. I have to say it is immensely listenable though. (spotify link)

My favourite individual songs are:

5. People are People (1984)

(Damn, Martin (the guy in the gay black tank top and eyeliner) was really cute, in a really gay way, at 21… and I swear everyone looks prepubescent.)

A really big hit at that time, I think this song always rings pretty true. It’s just super catchy and anthemic, and great to bop along to. I love the chorus ‘I can’t understand/what makes a man/hate another man/help me understand’. Great upbeat song no matter what kind of mood you are in, and a staple in 80s playlists.

4. Strangelove (1987) (video vaguely NSFW)

Damn, has this song aged well. Doesn’t sound too tinny or aged even now. Great to bop along to, with a great synth hook and a fantastic melody. And Martin Gore at 25, can write such fantastic lyrics as ‘I give in/to sin/because you have to make this life livable.’ Like WOAH mind blowing. Perfect blend of poppy 80s quasi love song with a dark twisted electronic edge.

3. Freelove (2001)

The most Backstreet Boys song from the album which Depeche Mode went Backstreet Boys. The melody is undeniably pure pop, but it’s one of my favourites because of the texture of the instrumentals that elevates it way beyond pop. The constrast of the quiet acoustic guitar versus the synth…. thingy in the chorus, versus the licks of the distorted electric guitar. Oh, and the lyrics are fantastic too. ‘No hidden catch, no strings attached, just free love’ has been stuck in my mind for the longest time.

2. Never Let Me Down Again (1987)

I didn’t like this song THAT much at first listen, but to really appreciate the beauty of this song you need to see the live version, in which I love how the rich growls of Dave Gahan’s voice comes through, probably because he’s 14 years older than when this song was first recorded. The beat of this song is relentless, the guitar AND piano hook is awesome, and it’s an all round great headbangingly electro-rock tune. I also love the bit at the end when it goes all soaringly orchestric and magnificent. Lyrics are rather straightforward but catchy, about getting high with your friend. 😛

So before the top one comes about I have a few honourable mentions:

Best showcase of Dave Gahan’s voice of pure sex and virility: Broken (2013)

I do like the construction of this song a lot, because of that synth squeak note that’s so interesting. But the highlight of this song, especially in this live studio version, is how I swear his voice makes your ears orgasm. So very rich and booming.

Best uh…. weird song?: Lie to Me (1984)

This song is weird as hell, especially that strange oriental influenced instrumental bit. But somehow it is catchy as hell, thanks largely to the chorus. I love the dark twisted lyrics ‘Come on and lay with me/Come on and lie to me/Tell me you love me/Say I’m the only one’.

 

Best… I give up, I just think this deserves an honourable mention: Walking in My Shoes

(Dave Gahan looks like Jesus in this video.)

I think the lyrics are pretty masterfully written with fabulous themes, about how the narrator has sinned but asks whoever is judging him to ‘try walking in my shoes.’ And props for working ‘absolution’ and ‘scapegoat’ into a pop song. I think this song would resonate with just about anyone.

 

And my favourite song is…

  1. Lilian (2005)

This song is SO GOOD. Super upbeat and dancey, yet dark and mopey and helpless at the same time. With a fantastic melody and fucking fantastic hook. And the absolutely sublime verse that goes ‘I should have run/I should have known/Each dress you own/Is a loaded gun’. I never get sick of hearing this song. Definitely my favourite Depeche Mode song, which I know, is a very unconventional choice.

 

Very long post rambling about stuff that might interest absolutely nobody, but felt great writing it all down 😀 And I hope that I may have exposed you to some great music!

Skincare routine update

I’ve used up some stuff and acquired some new stuff, so here’s my updated skincare routine.

I don’t like overly long and complex routines, and in fact overly long and complex anything. Recently, my skin’s going a bit nuts. I think I have some hormonal imbalances because I’ve been getting a crapload of hormonal acne on my chin, while the rest of my face remains as clear and smooth as ever.

AM Routine:

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I have 30 minutes every morning to brush my teeth, dress, put on make up, grab my bags and lunch and GTFO of the door. Hence I prefer my morning routine to be as minimal as possible.

Step 1: Wash face with water. I don’t use a cleanser in the mornings because I find it can be quite stripping, so I just wash my face with water and pat dry.

Step 2: COSRX Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence – Soothing, hydrating and brightening. I do notice my makeup doesn’t sit as well when I haven’t been using it awhile, so this is actually a repurchase. Does the galactomyces ferment do anything? Not sure, but this is cheap and good, so.

Step 3: COSRX Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask – a thin, gel-like consistency, absorbs super fast and relatively hydrating. Gives me a nice glow. I think it’s not thick or occlusive enough for my preferences as a night moisturizer, but damn as a day moisturizer it is fab. A tiny dollop is enough for your whole face due to how well it spreads. I wait awhile for it to dry.

Step 4: Sunblock! My favourite, repurchased so many times over. Nice and hydrating, if I’m not in the dry office I tend to just use this as a 1 step morning routine.

Very simple and fuss free, just how I like it in the mornings.

PM routine:

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PM routine is a little more complex. Some things are good, some things are just there for me to use up.

From right to left, for some unknown reason.

Step 1: After cleansing, I pat dry and apply my OST C20. This is probably not the best Vit C serum in the market, but it’s $15 SGD and shipping, and is a great entry level serum. I’m happy with it, so I’ll probably repurchase. I keep mine in the fridge and it’s been about 1.5 months and it hasn’t turned.

Step 2: BHA/AHA: I sometimes use both, sometimes just one if I feel like my skin has been a little overexfoliated. BHA keeps the black sebum spots on my nose at bay and makes my pores a lot smaller. It’s very obvious when I’ve skipped it for awhile. The AHA keeps flakies at bay and smooths out any small whiteheads.

Step 3: Water spray. Right now I’m on that Laneige one that I got for free, but honestly it could be plain water for all I care. When it’s gone I’ll experiment with DIY. The only purpose of this is actually to neutralize the acids before the next step.

Step 4: COSRX Galactomyces essence again. No wonder it runs out so fast!

Step 5: Since Step 4 is a ‘first essence’, I will probably have a more substantial essence addressing concerns in this step. Currently, I am using an Alcina Hyaluron Acid because it’s just what I have on hand and I want to use it up. Will probably try out a few things to fill up t his step.

Step 6: Daiso Hyaluronic Acid Sleeping Pack. It’s nearing the end of its life as you can see. It’s actually decently hydrating for $2, and it’s a hugeeee pack. I recommend it if you’re desperate for something or on a shoestring budget. I’ll skip this step when I’m done with it.

Step 7: GNC Vitamin C cream: slightly heavier and more occlusive. For a housebrand cream, it’s surprisingly nice. I have maybe 1/4 left, and I’ll be replacing with another COSRX cream when it runs out.

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This is my ideal line up – with the missing serum in the middle 😉

This skincare routine has been good for me. My skin’s been clear (props to the Vit C!!!) and best of all, my old chin acne scarring have really been clearing up. Now just to manage all the current breakouts…

How’s your skincare routine looking? Any new items?