Thursday, December 29, 2011

The amazing lavender hair oil

I've come full circle with hair products and I've finally returned to using the trusted Oshima Tsubaki Camilia Oil for my hair.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about Oshima Tsubaki Camilia Oil and I loved it so much. I've since tried many products, including the famed The Moroccan Oil but nothing seems to work as well as the Camilia Oil. So in the spirit of my current mission to de-clutter (will tell you more about it soon, it's a project that is potentially laughable), I've junked all the lousy hair product rejects that's been sitting in a corner and pushed the trusty Camilia Oil on the pedestal. But this time with a twist.

The Oshima Tsubaki Camilia Oil is odorless and to make using it more pleasurable, I've blended in pure Lavender essential oil to make it smell divine and infuse an extra boost of goodness from Lavender.

There are many different grades of essential oil and a lot in the market are meant for diffusing with a burner and not suitable for applying to the skin. So when choosing essential oils for cosmetic purposes, go for the quality therapeutic grade type. It's a lot more expensive but it's worth the quality.

I use Lavender essential oil from Young Living. Young Living does amazing essential oils that's 100% pure and free from chemical. The Lavender oil they produce is so pure you can use it as food supplement and flavoring.

For my amazing Lavender Camilia Hair Oil, I added 24 drops to 40ml of Camilia oil and viola! Camilia Hair Oil with the lovely smell and nourishing properties of Lavender oil!

A note of caution when using Camilia oil; please use sparingly as it's very rich. For shoulder length hair, you probably need just one drop for the hair ends and two drops max. You can apply it either on damp or dry hair. I use about 3 drops on dry hair after blow dry and it keeps my ends moisturized and sleek.

Another way I like to use it is to apply more to the lower half of my hair half an hour before shampooing. I'll put about 6 to 8 drops so that it's a little greasy. Let it sink in and absorb for half an hour or as long as you can before shampooing and conditioning your hair as usual. The result is soft, nourished and manageable hair! Lovely!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Active Serum

I'm experiencing a skin crisis!

Following the major disappointment and chin zits outbreak from the evil Lancome Visionnaire, I have to retract my previous review where I said the Visionnaire is an alright product. It is NOT. The Lancome Visionnaire is total rubbish! It is supposed to create beautiful skin blah blah blah but it did the exact opposite! It has caused major breakout and I've never had so much zit on my face even when I was in my teens. We're talking about serious zits, those deep embedded acne type where they don't go away and wouldn't pop and heal.

After reading Visionaire's ingredient list, I suspect its mineral oil, a big no no in skin care, is the cause of my break out. Google its review and you'll see there are some women who experienced break out too. My chin is now marred with some serious zits and my forehead has got a couple. It's tragic.

Cue iS Clinical Active Serum to the rescue!! With the amazing result of the iS Clinical Advance+ Serum, I've gone back to using iS Clinical products. To save my messed up skin thanks to the bloody lousy shit of Lancome Visionnaire, I'm trying the iS Clinical Active Serum this time instead because anti-acne is one of its three main properties.

Other than fixing acne, the Active Serum delivers anti-aging and brightening benefits. It supposed to reduce wrinkles, pigmentation and acne while refining the skin texture. Its potent mix of ingredients include sugar cane, bilberry, white willow bark, arbutin, and Kojic acid. Sounds pretty promising, and according to my aesthetic doctor friend, the Active Serum has an exfoliating effect and it's perfect for applying after toning and before other skincare products as it would prep the skin for proper absorption.

Again, iS Clinical product has proven to be the bee's knees and the Active Serum delivers exactly what it's supposed to! I've used it for less than 2 weeks and the results are rapid like it promises. First up, my zits heal really quickly. Small zits went away pretty swiftly and it tackles those deeply embedded ones too. It would normally take more than a month for those deep acne to go away cos they'll usually go stagnant and not budge. With the Active Serum, it went down remarkably overnight. They didn't disappear of course but they were a lot less swollen the next day and the healing process was at least twice as fast! What I do is, on top of applying about 6 drops all over the face, I massage a tiny amount onto the zit itself and that does the trick.

I can't speak for its anti-wrinkle properties since I haven't got much wrinkles, but I can vouch for its anti-acne result which has been stellar. My pores also got more refined too and it's simply brilliant! I'm now a 100% iS Clinical products convert and I can't wait to try the rest of the range! I might just use the remaining Lancome on my feet. Thank god I didn't buy the big bottle of that cow dung!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Notable Quotable

‎"Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves." 

-- Pema Chodron

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Watch this!

Lovely! Wish I could be as spirited as Agnes Varda at age 80 if I'm still alive at that age. Now I just gotta try and get the dvd on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To be happier....

1. Count your blessings  2. Give thanks, even to the small things  3. Be zen and don't sweat over small things  4. Forgive. Don't hold on to anger  5. Exercise! Endorphins = Happy Hormones  6. Be charitable. Do good, feel good. Give more, expect less  7. Sleep more  8. Focus on what you have, not what you lack  9. Live simply. Discover the joy of less  10. Choose the good people in life. Real Friends 1: Frenemies 0. Cut out toxic people  11. Make peace with your past/bad experiences/issues. Let them be your perfect teacher. Look forward   12. Be in the moment. BE HERE NOW  13. Be kind to YOURSELF (many people aren't)  14. See the +ve in things, situations and people. Don't be a Negative Nelly   15. Eat healthy. You are what you eat. Bad food=bad health=miserable  16. SMILE and breathe deeply. Exhale bad vibes  17. Don't harp on the bad things. Let them go  18. Be in healthy relationships. If you're in a toxic one, you'll know. Acknowledge it. Thank it. Get out of it  19. Be self-sufficient  20. Spend enough ME TIME with yourself. Solitude can be therapeutic  21. Be debt free. Debt=Financial stress  22. Love yourself. Remember that nobody is perfect. Accept your flaws, highlight your strengths, enjoy being you  23. Detox. Detox your body, detox your space (aka de-clutter), detox your people  24. Reflect often. Remember the things that matter  25. Choose Happiness. Happiness isn't an outcome or good luck. Happiness is a choice. Guard yours with all your might!

Image from The Minimalists

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lancome Visionnaire

The Lancome Visionnaire was launched as a miracle in a gorgeous blue bottle. It made some serious headlines in the beauty world when it first came out, claiming that over half the women who used it chose to delay lasers, fillers and peels. A claim so big and powerful that probably warrants its own shrine with daily offerings of fresh lit candles.

So I got a bottle. How not to? With claims that's very much an exclamation marks galore!!!!!! Its secret sauce is the geeky sounding LR 2414 4% that's dubbed the breakthrough molecule responsible for smoothing wrinkles, refining pores, and correcting sun damage. It supposedly recreates beautiful skin. The product blurb gushes “Much more than a wrinkle-corrector, Lancôme's first skincare capable of fundamentally recreating more beautiful skin.”

I've been using this for about 3 weeks now and here's my advice to the  Lancome marketing peeps: Let your product speak for itself and never hype up your products way too much.

As you can deduced, I'm not entirely thrilled. That's the problem with an over-hyped product; it got our expectation way too high. This isn't a horrid product. The texture is comfortable and easily absorbed but I don't see visible improvements or magical results. After 3 weeks (2 pumps every time), my skin doesn't feel much different. It's a little bit more even-toned but that's something many other products can deliver and I've seen better results with other cheaper products. So no, I don't experience much other than a very slight improvement in skin tone and I'm a bit disappointed as I was expecting more from this.

The worst part is that, yes, the skin seems marginally more evenly-toned but I'm breaking out around the chin area and I'm someone who don't normally get zits! And these are deep zits; those painful ones that don't go away easily! I honestly suspect the Visionnaire has something to do with the zits as I googled for some reviews and there are quite a lot of women who got zits from it. Let's hope it isn't the case but if the zits aren't going away, I'm throwing it out of the window and cry blue murder. 

Another thing I really don't like about the product, or most Lancome products for that matter, is the smell. Yes, I love nice smelling things but Visionnaire has a very strong smell reminiscent of men's deodorant that's very artificial. That's my personal preference of course and I'm sure there're other people who would appreciate the scent.

Then it also got me thinking that if this is Lancome's bee's knees of an anti-aging serum, does that render their other magic sauce Genifique Youth Activator not as good? The sales person said to use both. BOTH? Sorry, but I don't think so.

So the verdict is, it's not a bad product but it didn't do magic for me like it claims it would. Perhaps I'm just one of those whose skin didn't benefit from Visionnaire as I've seen quite a lot of positive reviews online. I doubt I'll buy it again unless my skin suddenly got so damn good within the next 2 weeks. iS Clinical Super Serum is still my favourite and once I'm done with Visionnaire, I'm definitely crawling back to iS Clinical with my tail tucked between my legs, all ready for the imaginary "I told you so!".

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yoga 2.0

I'm back on the mat. After a 5-year hiatus, I've somehow found my way back on the mat again and this time, it's so much more mellowed, and a hell lot better.

Yoga was introduced to me in my teens by my cool aunt, after an ankle injury forced me to detour from doing classical ballet the professional route. I was given a copy of the original Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar in its orange cover with Iyengar illustrating all the fascinating bendy poses.

What started as my rehab got all serious when I hit my early twenties. The perfect post-yoga mental calm was just what I needed at that time; an effective antidote to the mental stress brought on by a constant existential crisis and an avalanche of bad romantic situations. It was an hour and a half of Ashtanga before sun rise and an hour and a half of Iyengar for alignment at night, six days a week, with a subscription of Yoga Journal and a shelf full of yoga books thrown in no less.

Then came the teacher training course of almost 2 years and yoga trips in India at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai and Sri Pattahbis Jois in Pune, completed with the infamous "Delhi Belly" for 2 weeks post-India (strange cos I thought I would get it during India). Next, I found myself studying the Vedas, The Yoga Sutra, The Bhagavad Gita and Vedantic text, all of which now covered in dust on my bookshelves. I was so devoted I could write in Sanskrit the entire opening prayer of Ashtanga yoga which I made myself learn by dictation.

It was hardcore. Yoga was me. I lived, breathed, ate, talked yoga and even dated a yoga teacher (who turned out to be a big mistake!). Then, came subbing in for a couple of Ashtanga classes at On The Mat (now defunct, used to be at Robertson Walk) before teaching 5 classes a week while holding a job in a luxury company.

That completely ruined it. Teaching yoga was fun for the first couple of weeks. I loved my yoga practice but hated teaching. The whole "Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work for the rest of your life" is a complete farce for me. Instead of doing my practice in a 6am Mysore class, I was teaching, adjusting my students in different stages of their "pretzel-ness" when all I really wanted is just to do my own practice. Led classes were even more tedious, with the constant need to give out instructions on the asanas, watching everyone and correcting them. My dream job turned out to be a complete drudgery and it was a disappointment I couldn't understand.

First the teaching stopped and slowly, over a period of a year or so, my 6 days a week routine whittled down to drips and drabs before drying down to nothingness. I have no idea how it happened. I traded yoga for Power Plate training and pole dancing but despite being physically fitter and stronger, something's missing.

Then, some weeks back, I clutched my mat and went back to the yoga studio I started out at over a decade ago and then I feel home again.

This time, gone are the obsession and addiction of using yoga as a form of escape and respite from my troubles, it feels so much more mellowed. Yoga used to bring me peace in the 20s but for the simple reason that I wasn't at peace with myself then, my dependence on yoga manifested into a somewhat toxic reliance on it. It was too serious, too intense and it burnt out.

Now that I'm a lot more at peace with things, yoga brings new perspectives, new joy and new teachings. There's no gripping, no stress, no pressure. The way yoga should be.


Wonderful World

Beautiful and breathtaking! David Attenborough and the documentary makers are such amazing bunch! I'm always amazed by the patience and hardship of making documentaries in extreme conditions. Happy Friday folks!

But just don't watch the part where the animals get killed for food or polar bear cub got missing and died. Don't say I never warn you! I was mildly traumatized watching the full version....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Notable Quotable

"Some people never go crazy. 

What truly horrible lives they must lead."

-Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Accidental Purchase

I'm very accident prone when it comes to accidentally buying stuff. I was merely accompanying my colleague to Rock Star to get a pair of Toms shoes during lunch today and I walked out with a  river stone and brass necklace from The Vamoose.

The Vamoose pieces are all handmade by brand owner, Kathryn Blackmore, in the UK with natural stones. Awesome designs great for layering! I wish they have more stocks and designs at Rock Star but you can always order online. I might just get the hammered brass necklace too cos it's so pretty!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Muse

OMG, it's December! This year, there's no going back home for Christmas for me cos I've started a new job and I didn't expect to feel so lousy not going home for festive :( But it's okay cos I guess it makes me value the time with them more. Anyway, here's a delayed December Muse....been so damn busy! I'm looking forward to the much much-needed long Christmas weekend!

Reading: November Issue of Monocle...yes, I'm a laggard cos it's already December but I simply had no time to read at all! So I'm reading the back issue cos it's an issue on food. Not just gourmet food but supermarket grocer, fast food (MOS Burger made it to Monocle) etc etc...

Listening to: The Best of Vanessa Paradis....Love the easy listening and soothing girlie voice. Perfect for the rainy weather of December. She's definitely one of my favorite celebrities! LOVE!

Drinking: Clipper Organic Chamomile tea with lemon balm and honey. Comfort in a cup...again, perfect for rainy days and it's soooo delicious and immensely satisfying. Definitely one of the many simple joys in life.

Wearing: Lululemon City to Yoga jacket. I'm supposed to not buy any Lululemon stuff cos I've got enough but when I saw this cute jacket with nice scallop edges and a peplum, I couldn't resist. It's super comfy and warmer than the usual Define Jacket. Didn't experience any buyer's regret at all!

Versace for H&M red dress. I call this the Superman dress cos it comes with a cape and my lovely friend snatched one for me. It's in my book, the classiest piece in the collection. I haven't worn it cos I need to get past the chili red colour since I've never been a red person but I think I'll wear this for Christmas dinner or something. Fits perfectly and very comfy fabric.

Using: Lancome Visionaire Serum. It contains LR 2412 and in plain English, it means it's supposed to give you good skin with finer texture, smaller pores, improved pigmentation and reduced fine lines. Fact or fiction? I can't say yet cos I've just started using and I'll write a review a little later. Right now I can only say that the texture is good and light since it absorbs very quickly but as with all Lancome products, I hate the heavy scent that's artificial.....this one unfortunately smells like men's deodorant. I wish Lancome can go easy on the smell. I like nice smelling stuff but I hate smells that's too artificial, especially for stuff I put on my face.

Loving: OPI Rainbow Connection. This is just so awesome! I don't care if it's a total bitch to remove it but I love the colours and the metallic look. Goes with everything and I actually have a matching Ante Prima wire bag for the colors!

Dogeared Emerald Jade necklace.  It's simple and so pretty. I still haven't got sick of it and I don't think I will. I love the green and gold combination.

Waiting for: Toms Wedges. I've been wearing Toms classic for awhile and I wasn't sure whether to get the wedges when they first came out due to the mixed reviews, but I couldn't resist and got a black pair and it's on the way to me. I'll let you know if it hurts my feet or if it's the best thing after slice bread when it's here.

Wishing for: Better welfare for all the animals in the world, great health for my loved ones &Mr Bond, and more compassion and kindness.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Separation Anxiety

We're hardly like peanut butter and jelly. Tom & Jerry or Itchy & Scratchy might be closer to reality. We fight with each other, scream at each other, drive each other crazy, subject each other to the whole cold shoulder treatment, but we always make up. Angry words are always forgiven and shouting matches quickly forgotten (well, usually at least). Such is my relationship with my mom; an amazing one in fact.

I see my mother once every few months when she flies in for her month-long sojourn, a couple of times a year. A somewhat permanent arrangement that has started over a decade ago. She comes and goes like a seasonal migrating bird and that's the drill. Although it's one that I never quite get used to.

So human beings and animals alike are programmed to get used to things. You do the same thing all the time over some months, or some say 21 days, and it becomes a habit. Repeat that over a couple of years and it'll be like second nature. Only that for my mommy situation here, I simply don't get used to her leaving after every month-long stay. Sixteen years and counting, I say hello to separation anxiety every time I bid my mommy goodbye. Every time she goes, the fiercely independent grown up who could effectively change light bulbs turns into the same homesick whiny teen 16 years ago. I get moody. I get emotional. I get homesick. You get the drift.

This morning when I left for work, I'm that whiny moody adolescent all over again, only that it seems more acute this time. Of course some things in life you really don't get used to but I blame this heightened sense of separation anxiety on aging. The fact that I've grown much older to be reminded of the fact that our time together on this earth is limited; that I've matured enough to really appreciate my mom for who she is and what she's done for me; that I've been living by myself long enough to cherish the company of my own mother; and that I relish that sense of security for the simple reason that she's my mom.

So yes, I'm somewhat moody now because I miss my mom tremendously. 世上只有妈妈好Translation: Mom's the only great thing in the world. Yes, really. Even when she drives me up the wall at times. I love my mom!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Feel Good Supply

"It's too short!"....That's my answer to the standard "How's your weekend?"....Hopefully the lovely tea would make office a wee bit more bearable. Heavy week ahead!
  • Pukka Cleanse, Organic tea with Nettle, Fennel and Peppermint
  • Clipper Chamomile with Lemon Balm & Manuka Honey
  • Dr Bronner's Rose Magic Soap
  • Dr Bronner's Organic Hand Sanitizer

Friday, December 02, 2011

Beagle Freedom Project

I just have to post this wonderful video. The Beagle Freedom Project has a mission to rescue beagles that are caged up for animal testing in laboratories. All of these dogs spent their entire lives in a small cage and the Beagle Freedom Project helps rescue them before putting them up for adoption.

This beautiful clip documented the first time these beagles get to enjoy freedom. It's so heartwarming and I sincerely hope that one day, there'll be no more animal testing. All I want for Christmas this year is a cruelty-free life for every animal that roams the Earth.....

Notable Quotable

"I don't care what you think about me. I don't think of you at all"

-- Coco Chanel

Oh how I love this quote cos it's my kinda of quote...especially to nasty backstabbers/frenemies/jealous peeps etc....fabulous! 


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