Archive of ‘Opinions’ category

The Only 3 I Need

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(yes, that’s a picture of me above when I was 5.)

Fact – as women, we are constantly bombarded with messages from the media to buy the latest products in skincare or makeup just so we can look like a celebrity or model. In Asia, especially, skincare products are focused on whitening as well as the removal of eye bags. There is a constant flow of advertising just targeted at skincare, with a new product or two popping up at least once a month.

However, caring for your skin truly is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Your face is the first thing people look at, be it on the streets, or at meetings, and it is the canvas for the impression that you wish to create. Good or clear skin signals that you take proper care of yourself and your well-being, and being well-groomed shows that you take pride in your physical image. I have always placed much emphasis on skincare, but find it excessive in purchasing countless of products that might not give you the results you want.

I’ve seen my fair share of women who individually use at least 5-10 products on their faces daily. I used to be one of those women – I purchased and stocked up on 3 different facial cleansers, 4 different day moisturizers, and 2 night creams. I also had an array of products to get rid of pimples, to tighten my pores, to reduce my eye bags, and to even lighten the scarring on my face. When you put that altogether, I spent an average of $300 a month on skincare alone. That’s about 50 cups of coffee, and 30 meals aka lunch for a month. For that amount alone, I had better have skin that’s smooth, glowing, zit free, and just enviably beautiful. That wasn’t the case though, and as a working young adult with future plans I need to save for, savings should be my top priority, so that expensive and ineffective skincare habit had to go.

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To start things right, let me share my skin type – I’ve got combination skin, and my T-zone gets oily after an entire day of being out and about. I get the occasional pimple once or twice a month, and when it appears, it stays on my face for at least 2 weeks, after which if I’m not careful, it ends up as a scar on my skin. That’s something I detest and have always wanted to put an end to. The sides of my nose tends to get clogged up every now and then, and the scarring on my skin has the tendency to get a bit overwhelming.

I used to put on make-up on a daily basis (that’s a whole other expenditure account right there), which took up both my time and money. I had realized that without makeup, my skin was extremely dull, and it was getting clogged and irritated by the makeup. I decided to put an end to this, and that I would cease wearing make-up for the good of my skin. That was close to 6 months ago, and that was when I brought my skincare regime down to a total of 3 products. Yes, THREE PRODUCTS. All I needed was a face wash, a night cream, and a day moisturizer.

Prior to this, I had invested and used the following much raved products – the Clarisonic, Creme de La Mer, SK-II Miracle Water, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo – the list goes on. Ask me and I would have probably bought the product at some point in time. I’ve tried almost everything that’s been hyped, allowing me to realized what worked for me and what didn’t.

Back to my 3 products – they’re affordable, and they work wonders – which is perfect for me, since I’m never again going to spend $200 on a tub of cream that will last me for 3 months. Let me break down these 3 wonderful items:

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1. LUSH Angels on Bare Skin
The name speaks for itself – it does literally feel like angels on bare skin. After using this product for a week, the small zits on my face disappeared, and the scarring on my cheeks slowly started to fade. I love the fact that my skin doesn’t feel too tight or dry after washing, and this leaves my skin soft and moisturized. Angels on Bare Skin is primarily made out of ground almonds, lavender, chamomile blue oil, lavender flowers, and kaolin (a form of clay) – the smell of this is just lovely! You can read more about Lush’s ingredients over at their website, which I love since it makes me feel very informed.

Cons: This is quite messy to use (you have to scoop up this clay textured product, then mix it with water before using it) and relatively pricey, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.

I’m on my second tub now (after about 2 months), and I’ve seen a drastic improvement in the texture of my skin. Plus with less breakouts, this is a large contributing factor as to why I feel confident about going out in public without makeup.

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2. Hadanomy Collagen Mist
Made in Japan, this is a collagen-gel mist that is meant to hydrate and moisturize your skin. It does all of the above while emitting a sweet smell, and it also does a good job in setting makeup. I’ve tried this on my boyfriend as well, & there is a drastic difference in skin texture after a couple of hours. The skin looks plump, smooth and there is close to little stickiness after 1 hour. It’s easy to use, and because the mist is thicker and gel like, I tend to pat it down into my skin to ensure even application.

Cons: Like mentioned prior, this is not a light mist, and the product tends to come out in quite thick droplets. It also leaves your face sticky for about 30 minutes, and if you don’t pat it in, it could last for a lot longer. You also should wait for a bit before attempting to put any make-up on.

It does leave your face very very hydrated, and the smell is a huge plus for me. It is very very affordable, and one bottle can last me for at least 3 months or more. Thanks Faz for introducing this to me about a year back, it has replaced my Claudalie face mist, which was at least triple the price of this. Best used after morning wash, and as a replacement for your day moisturizer. Much lighter and easier to put on.

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3. Laniege Water Sleeping Pack
This is my miracle product, and even though it is advised that you should use this twice a week, I slather this on every night without fail. The next morning, my skin looks and feels dewy, soft and smooth. I stare into the mirror every morning, and realize that I look better than I did the previous night. My skin looks clearer, pores are tighter, and in general brighter.

No complaints about this, except that please ensure that your fingers are 101% clean before applying the sleeping pack so as to avoid contaminating the rest of the product. I put this on immediately after my evening shower, and it tends to remain a bit wet / sticky for about an hour or so.

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For all entries with pictures of me on my blog, please note that I have no makeup on. I rarely leave the house with makeup these days, unless I’m headed out for a social dinner or event. If I do, I will definitely leave a disclaimer on the entry. After not using makeup on a daily basis for the past couple of months, my skin has become clearer, less clogged, skintone is a lot more even, and scars are slowly fading. I’ve realized that less zits and pimples pop up, and if they do, it is either because I had chocolate or fried food the day prior, or because it’s that time of the month. I’m extremely pro-no-makeup and I believe that being less dependent on such products is not only beneficial for your skin, but also your expenses. I don’t see the need to rely on makeup to feel good about yourself, but also do understand that I am blessed with rather nice features (except for my round face). I would encourage everyone to try going without makeup for a month in order to experience the difference, and don’t forget that drinking lots of water through the day helps.

Here are four shots of myself I took on the iPhone, makeup free & with no editing of the pictures whatsoever except to resize & crop. I would not have been able to do this a year back, but the pressure that has been lifted off my shoulders after focusing on improving my skin rather than hide my flaws has been immense, especially since in my opinion, makeup is actually a contributing factor to poor skin.

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Current problems I face with my skin include redness & peeling around my nose (Can’t understand why but it’s gotten better over the past couple of months), dark eye circles (due to my irregular sleep habits) and a couple of iffy scars left on my cheeks. With my “base routine” set, I’m looking at seeking out 1-2 more products that can help me with these issues. If you’ve any recommendations, I’d be more than happy to suss + try them out!

The Long & Short of It

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Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Season 1 of Ally McBeal and I’m just loving her short bob, or maybe it’s because both of my closest girl friends have snipped their hair off to right below their ears, but I’ve been contemplating snipping mine off as well. I’ve had my hair till past the shoulders for as long as I remember, after a horrifying cut I had as a teen. I ended up in tears even before I could step foot out of the salon – that was how bad it was.

Hair can be an emotional blanket for some at times, at least for me it is. As silly as this sounds, I tend to feel a lot more attractive with my hair down, which doesn’t make much sense to some. I put my hair up when I’m working or have some errands to run – it’s my “busy-and-couldn’t-care-less” mode, and sometimes I put it up in a bun when I’m working out or preparing to head out of the house. I have the habit of flipping my hair just to give it more volume, and sometimes an outfit just requires “bigger” hair or a sleek ponytail to pull the look together. Moreover, since I rarely put an ounce of makeup on my face (more on that later), my hair makes me feel more dressed up. Weird or can you relate?

My hair-bits (get it?) are to just shampoo it, towel dry it and then leave it to dry off naturally. I am pretty lazy and can’t bring myself to condition it, nor do I put any products in my hair after wash. I am obsessed with my Tangle Teezer (it really works!), plus I tend to sometimes sleep with damp hair, and wake up with a slight hint of natural waves. My hair is very thick, and I drop quite a bit of strands on a daily basis, so sometimes I wonder if I should start using products to reduce hair fall.

Back to hair lengths though – I love having my hair cover my shoulders, and sometimes I feel as though I look slimmer with them as such. Other times, with the hottest Victoria’s Secret models looking so amazing with their long silk-like hair, and with articles stating that men prefer women with longer hair, what is a girl to do? I love the shorter length though – so chic for right now, with a bit of an edge, and adds an extra je ne sais quoi. Plus, what’s the harm? Hair will always grow back, or at least that’s what they say.

What’s your take?

Planner Manner

I’ve always been a sucker for notebooks, especially yearly daily planners. For close to 5 years, I’ve religiously bought the traditional Moleskine 12 Month Daily Dairy in either Black or Red, & they’ve served me well. This year, for 2013, I caved in and bought the special edition Le Petit Prince 12 Month Daily Dairy in yellow, and became crazy in love with the design. I mean, look at the images below and tell me how darling it all looks?

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The reason I love my planners is because I have a multitude of things I need to keep track of, including:

Daily meetings, events etc
What time, where they’re held, whom with. This could be for work or

To-Dos
Including work and personal. Could be phone calls, emails, the start of a new project.

To-Buy
This could be food, skincare, craft related, a shopping list.

Project dates & time frames
We work on events and also have marketing timelines in place, and this allows me to keep myself updated on deadlines.

Personal birthdays and holidays

Quotes I’ve found along the way
Motivational, or something that just inspires me.

Personal anecdotes & thoughts
This isn’t a daily thing, but I sometimes tend to write down my emotions of the moment on the pages.

Business & Marketing Ideas
When I’m commuting or just working at my desk, I come up with random ideas and usually can’t decide where to store them, so I throw them into words on my diary.

Collect namecards & stickers etc
Moleskine diaries have a little pocket at the back, and I like to keep all the namecards I’ve got over the year in there. I also keep a thin stack of Post-its in there just in case I need them.

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With all this in mind, the Moleskine diaries have served me well. They usually end up being filled with lots and lots of words, and they’re small enough for me to carry about even with a smaller shoulder bag. Moreover, I love them because I get one page per day, which is all the space I need to write down my thoughts and daily activities.

This year, however,  I must admit that my poor Le Petit Prince diary went to waste. I started becoming more and more digital, since most of my life is online. I use Google Documents, Google Calendar, Evernote and my Gmail account for all my daily needs. Since Google Calendar is synced to my iPhone, it makes it much easier for me to keep track of my appointments. For notes, I tend to either email myself or keep it in Evernote, so that I can refer back to them at a later date. This has also saved me the hassle of having to remember to bring my diary with me wherever I go, since I tend to leave things behind when I end up having to change my bags according to my outfit of the day.

The thing is, I’ve really missed writing, and I think it’s mighty therapeutic. Plus, even though I tend to email myself To-Do lists, they end up getting lost among the insane number of emails I get on a daily basis. So I made a personal resolution to start my habitual diary updates in 2014, even if it means updating both my diary and my Google Calendar. With that in mind, I made a huge mistake by ordering two diaries online, only to realize it a week later. No loss though, I’ve decided to share them both with you as I believe these are the top two planners in the market at the moment, and everyone needs a good daily planner.

& here they are –

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Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map Day Planner

Danielle LaPorte is like my soul sister. I subscribe to her daily emails, in which I get such refreshing and inspirational quotes that actually make sense to me and my daily situations, I sometimes wonder if the lady’s psychic. I also am an avid fan of The Desire Map, which I purchased last year. In addition to this Day Planner, I also bought The Desire Map Workbook so that I’ll be able to start my 2014 off right ;)

I chose this since I get both a weekly & monthly view, and even though I don’t get one page a day, this is designed to work around The Desire Map, allowing you to record a weekly declaration, with inspirational quotes and notes along the way. With this, I was pretty excited to get more in touch with myself and get inspired. This will probably end up being my “overview” planner, which I’ll refer to either every morning or every night.

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The Passion Planner

I think 2-3 days after I purchased my items from Danielle LaPorte, I came across Angelia Trinidad’s Passion Planner on Kickstarter. I was blown away – this planner had everything I wanted and more. I loved the goal planning pages, I loved how it broke down my days into 30 minute intervals, since that was how I planned my day on Google Calendar anyway. I also loved the monthly overview that had space for notes, goals, actions and ideas; plus you could write down your weekly focus & all the good things that happened that week. Talk about being positive! The selling point for me was having a Personal To-Do List & a Work To-Do List every week, allowing me a clear segregation of tasks.

This was so amazing that I had to share it, and convinced Maisha & her brother to each get a book too. 8 hours after I pledged to Angelia’s project, she hit her target. Today, she’s got double her pledge amount she’d targeted for, and after reading her story and motivations behind the project, I feel such a strong connection with her, and oddly am so proud of her. (I tend to love supporting fellow entrepreneurs.) There’s still time for you to pledge and get yourself a Passion Planner, and she plans to ship these out by the 20th of December, 5 days after her Kickstart closes. I mean, talk about efficient?!

I see big things for Angelia & The Passion Planner, and I definitely see myself using this in the years to come.

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If you’ve any other planner that you’re addicted to or have purchased, I’d love to know about them! & if my post has inspired you to purchase any of these planners above, let me know how it goes! I love a good diary / planner, and it really does work wonders to your life.

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