December 31, 2013

happy new year!

It is amazing how twenty thirteen just whoosh-ed by, isn't it?

Twenty thirteen has been quite a mixed-nuts-in-a-salad-bowl sort of year of me; the earlier part of the year saw me completely immersed in a blogging phase which then morphed into a Pinterest-ing pinning phase mid-year. Towards the end of the year, I got a tad bit overwhelmed with family, the kids, work and everything else in between that I decided to crank things down a few notches, bust out my internal compass and reset my bearings because the train I was on sort of jumped its rails and got lost.

Come the new year, I'm going to work on not getting too lost. Unfortunately, I don't work well with New Year resolutions so I'm not going to write down a set of them lists but the coming year will see me working a lot on the kid's study/play bedroom with some occasional hammering around the house in my quest of turning our house into a home. There will also be quite a fair bit of crafting since good ol' Santa brought me my very own Silhouette Potrait and in the kitchen front, a wee bit more of fattening up baking too since the husband and I agree that desserts are more my forte and lastly, proper reviews with proper photos of pretty-me-up products.

So until then, here's wishing you a Happy New Year filled with great joy, great love and great happiness!

with lots of xoxo - jamie

November 6, 2013

le petit noël maison de papier

With Christmas just around the corner, I have been spending quite a lot of time in front of my computer trying to figure out how to best decorate our Christmas tree, which has been up since October - I can't help it ... I really do love Christmas.

The only one complain that I have is the fact the it is almost impossible to find proper Christmas ornaments where I live - the ones available are really quite tacky then when I do find nice ones, they cost a fortune even for my little three footer tree.

Ahh ... my trusty little tree. Hard to imagine it's almost fourteen years old. I bought it from Myers when I was studying in Australia - my first ever Christmas tree. I was very proud of it  and since I didn't have the heart to leave it behind when it was time to come home, I lugged it back with me through three international airports {because MAS screwed up my flight schedule}. Other than one change of lights and a small colony of zip-ties to hold one of its broken branches, it's doing an awesome job as our family Christmas tree.

This year, I thought I'd bring a little bit more Christmas cheer to our home since it will technically be our first Christmas home as a family. The last couple of years have been neither here or there but I'll leave that for another story ... perhaps. Since I live on the wrong side of the equator {... hi-five Judy!} where Christmas ornaments are tacky and expensive, I decided to DIY instead.

One of the many things that I love about Christmas are the little winter villages on display and I fell in love with the idea of hanging little winter cottage ornaments, thanks to Pinterest. But I decided to do something a little different so after quite a lot of printing, cutting and editing, I came up with my version of le petit Noël Maison de Papier; it's a little candy-themed winter cottage. It stands a little less than 3" tall and instead of hanging it from a tree branch, I perched it between the branches with a light bulb underneath its hollow base so when it lights up, it looks like someone turned the lights on inside. The kids love it so I think it's approved.

And in the spirit of Christmas, I made the template available for download here. The file is in Adobe PDF format and while the design is mine, the patterns and prints I used are from various digi-scrapbook artists so this file is strictly for your personal use only.

I printed my little cottage on A4 sized card-stock paper using my inkjet and trimmed around the edges - be sure to cut out the window panes and base before you score and glue the tabs together to form the cottage walls. Attaching the roof is a tad tricky; I stuck double-sided tape to the tabs of the house then aligned the roof. When happy with the position I pressed the tabs onto the roof by sticking my fingers in through the hollow base. I tried pressing the roof onto the tab in my experimental attempt and the roof kind looks wonky - lesson learned. Then for sparkle, I painted the roof and wreath ribbon in red glitter glue which I found in Daiso.

Next up, super easy cinnamon gingerbread man ornaments plus a giveaway! Stay tuned ...

October 23, 2013

when life hands you lemon after lemons ... argh!

The ol' saying about lemons is that when life give you lemons, you make lemonade. Well ... I have tried making and even perfected my lemonade recipy but in all honesty, too much lemonade cannot be good for health. This year it seems, life has yet again been rather uncreative and presented me with more lemons and I have come to a point when enough is really quite enough.

Yes, I am standing in a crossroads of lemons hence my blogging silence of late. Things in the office hasn't been peachy too and yup, as you've guessed - it's been quite lemony and curdled.

The thing that annoys the crap out of me in my office life is its "culture" which to a certain degree lacks any kind of respect towards its employees - it's almost abhorrent and no matter how efficient and all Energizer-like Bunny you are in your duties, if you don't conform to their "culture" then there is no way in hell you will ever get that salary increment or the bloody promotion you work so bloody hard for. 
For instance ...

No. I don't have a closet filled with boutique clothing to ensure that I don't re-wear the same set of clothes within a fortnight because let's face the fact - you don't pay me enough to allow me that kind of luxury. Then there's the luxury of time of boutique hopping be it after work or during the weekends. God forbid, I have a family I need to tend to immediately after work and God forbid, my daughter and son outweighs the importance of updating my wardrobe.

No. I'm not skinny enough with long shiny flowing locks and smile at every single person who walks pass me like a loon. Honestly, doesn't life tire you out enough to the point that you have to fake a smile at every Tom, Dick and Mustapha that comes by? I work on datelines, which in my job scope should be spelled "deadline". Consider yourself fortunate that I don't chomp you up and spit you out like camel spew when you decide to come by my cubicle or call to complain about your boss or how much work YOU have when you clearly still have time to chit-chat on the phone about what you had for dinner last night ... for a bloody hour!

No. I don't butter up my words and tell you straight up that you're an arse when you clearly are. I tell my boss that and he appreciates it - heck, he'd tell me I'm an arse when I'm being one and so far our relationship based on extreme and utter honesty has been working out pretty damn well ... until "certain" parties decided to play - in their opinion, God but I think they're more the devil's advocate and a  bunch of idiots.
The irony of it all is that day after day since I started feeling an absolute sense of deep rooted resentment for the people who sign my pay cheques, I have had to prepare reports and presentations which includes phrases of how "... employees are the company's greatest assets and how they place great emphasis in developing their human capital in whom they recognize to play an important role in the future growth and sustainability of the company." Lies. Every single word is a lie.

Yes, I am disgruntled right now ... well, actually for the past week. I've wanted to mow some people here down with a lawnmower, put it on reverse and remow them down again just so I can laugh my evil laugh. Yes, I am very much aware that lawn mowers don't come with a reverse gear either so if anyone would be so incline to sponsor me a road grader, that would do what I have in mind perfectly too.

I'm so sorry if I put a damper on your week ... I just had to rant and in a way to let you know that I'm going to need some time to recover and get back my blogging mojo who has been sulking and hiding under a rock in Timbuktu for over a week now. Actually, it's been there ever since I opened that dastardly envelope the company presents me every year come October.

I hope to drag my mojo back soon in time for Thanksgiving so please do bear with me until then, if you can.

October 11, 2013

estée lauder limited edition premier color set

One of the many things I look forward to during the holiday seasons are the limited edition beauty sets, particularly the ones from Estée Lauder. They always seem to have the handsomest of sets come Christmas and here is this year's gorgeous set they call the Estée Lauder Limited Edition Premier Color set.

The entire set is valued at RM1,920 but you can purchase it for RM250 with any Estée Lauder purchase of RM200 in a single receipt. Oh yeah, it's also only one set per customer and since it's limited edition - while stocks last.

My thoughts ... well, I will most likely be visiting Grace and Christina at my local and very friendly Estée Lauder counter in the coming days to spy on this gorgeous holiday set. I haven't quite decided if I'll be splurging on this piece of holiday-gorgeousness - I am most tempted by it {and my ANR serum is running very low} but I really don't see a point of getting it if the colours don't go well with me ... particularly the lipstick, eventhough they are full sized and has golden stars on them and look oh, so so pretty {... slaps self!}.

Right ... calm, woman. Calm.
So ... what are your thoughts and what do you think of Estée Lauder's limited edition holiday set this year?

October 10, 2013

vamping it up for autumn

Whenever I think of October, autumn comes to mind with images of cool crisp evening air and leaves changing their colours into a myriad of orange and yellow hues. Then there is of course, Halloween with an insane copious amounts of candy and lots of pumpkins.

But then, most of my friends ... including the husband, would most likely smirk and remind me that I live on the wrong side of the planet. Darn it!

So right now, my October is hot and humid during the day then turns wet and mucky in the evenings. The dang trees are still and always will be green and yes ... in case you're wondering, I am tempted to spray paint the ones in my garden orange out of sheer disappointment that my mom pushed me out kicking and screaming thirtysomething odd years ago on the other side of the equator.

Anyhow, there are a few silver linings to my October.

Silver lining number one. It most definitely ain't September! Oh how I suffered through September ... a nagging cough that would not go away the entire month and loved tormenting me during the night until I busted its butt with a tub of Vicks Vaporub and a pair of socks {... trust me, it works}. Then, just when I thought I could put an end to my sleep deprivation cycle and looking like a zombie in the office, the epic toothache episode happened which then resulted in quite a block in my brain cells when it came to writing and that in return, resulted in one of my best gals sulking - sorry M, it's now up and I'm working on chapter number three.

Then, there is silver lining number two with a huge silver bow tied around it. Apparently October is a month when ghouls come out to play, so my extraordinarily handsome brood of vampires, werewolves, hybrids, witches, doppelgänger, and hunters are back after what seemed like a very, very long summer break. The Vampire Diaries season five premiered on 3 October with its very much anticipated spin-off, The Originals right after {... must get my grubby hands on episode one!}. I will not elaborate further but do give TVD and The Originals a watch - it is in my opinion so much more addicting than Twilight!

And then there's silver lining number three. Since it is officially autumn on the other side of the equator, I decided to be brave and bust out all my autumn shaded lipsticks and wear them - to the office ... boldly.

My family, friends and colleagues ... including my Dior and Estee Lauder beauty consultants know that I steer clear of lipstick colours that aren't nude/natural in shade. Give me a bullet of lipstick in a colour that isn't warm and coral-ly nude/natural in shade, and my reaction will be that like a vampire is to vervain, or sunlight or garlic ... well, depending on which vampire you think to. My go-to's in the last year have been either Dior Addict Extreme in Silhouette or lately because I've ran out and gotten bored the Dior Addict in Diablotine. See - warm, coral-ly nude/natural shades.

However since Monday, I have been sporting Burberry's Lip Cover in Brick Red - nr.19 which I got as a sample when the husband bought me the Burberry Beauty Fresh Flow Luminous Fluid, Estee Lauder's Pure Gloss Long Lasting Rouge in Exotic Orchid - nr.65 which I got also as a sample when my mom came home with a bunch of goodies from Macy and yesterday, Dior's Serum de Rouge in Raspberry - nr.760 which I purchase when I was in Sephora Las Vegas donkey years ago but never used.

When swatched, the colours hardly look dark red/mauve-y but then it does morph about a shade or two darker on my lips compared to when applied on the back of my hand. I do look a little "vampy" but then I figured since it's fall ... why the heck not? Besides and surprisingly so I might add, it does bring some colour to my face contrary to what some say about dark lipsticks on a pale face. All I do in the morning is paint on a light layer of foundation especially over the dark circles and eye bags, colour the eyelids with a neutral shade, tight-line the upper waterline of the eyes and add some mascara to make them pop then brush on a light layer of blush for a rosy glow.

It's not much different from my usual routine from when I wear nude/natural lipstick shades ... the only tweak I did was to the eye shadow colour and the intensity of it. I tend to pile on a little more colour on the eyelids if I go au natural on the lips and a little less when I want to "vamp" it up.

Not quite sure what's gotten into me lately but a change in a rather mundane routine that has been the same day-in-day-out for over a year for me is really quite refreshing. I actually surprised myself by walking into the office with vampy lips earlier this week and not running into the ladies to wipe it off, replacing it with my usual au natural shades.

Perhaps it's the autumn state-of-mind I am in. Perhaps, this might not be a bad thing - a change is good and autumn is all about change, right? Hmm ... come to think of it, perhaps I should look into toning the vamp down a tad into a rosier shade come November when turkey season comes around and light it up in bright red when Santa's in town which would mean, lipstick shopping and just in time too since bonus is around the corner.

Oh dear ... what have I started?

Hope October has been treating you well and just out of curiosity, do you have seasonal makeup routines too ?

October 9, 2013

get your passport ready because we're going on a journey to distant shores with crabtree & evelyn!

Just as I was about crack my knuckles and dig in into my year-end reports, Logan comes by my cubicle and plonks this on my desk ... oh, my giddy aunt - and giddy I am because Oh!-to-the-Mmm-to-the-Gee!, look at the bottle and vintage-ness of it! {slaps self - breath, woman}.

Infused with fourty years of expertise in fragrance foraging and drawing on the knowledge of where to source for the most beautifully scented botanicals, Crabtree & Evelyn's Heritage Collection celebrates these very four decades with seven limited edition compositions - from the classic scent of the Mediterranean coastline to the ancient cities of Europe, it is available in three old world exquisite Flower Waters and four Eau de Cologne. The scents aren't gender specifics even though the bottle looks it.

Just writing that last paragraph has me itching to run out of my office and drive to the nearest Crabtree & Evelyn store. Right ... while I am still relatively calm and glued to my seat for fear of being issued an MIA memo by Human Resources, here's the line up of the seven scents available in the Heritage Collection and we begin with the Eau de Colognes.

Let's first journey to the ancient cities of Europe and start off in Old Windsor. Located by the river coast and surrounded by old oak forest, it is fabled to be once home to kings and queens of old. The entire area is filled with a natural beauty and this particular Eau de Cologne was created to highlight the refined English style and luxury with a blend of bergamot, bitter orange, lemon verbena, lavender and sandalwood.

Neopolitan Bergamot is a fragrance that transfers vividly the magical moment of an Italian morning; the freshness of the air and the first rays of the sun. Romantic and refreshing, it is apparently truly Neapolitan. Its notes convey the spirit of adventure in exploring the Mediterranean coast. The composition accentuates bergamot and lemon reflecting a radiant sunrise over the bay, accompanied by ginger, lavender and thyme that transmit sensations of sea breezes.

Next, we journey with the Arab traders to Seville, where they planted trees of bitter orange. Old trees still stand on the streets or in yards to this day and fills the city with its delicious scents to this day. The composition in Sevillian Neroli is inspired by the scent of Seville's bitter orange tree and reinterpreted with notes of luminous neroli, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, white tea, cedar and cloves.

Our final destination takes us back to the 14th century, to where the Royal House in Budapest received a rejuvenating perfumed elixir with the promise of eternal youth. Hungary Water takes its influence from an original Crabtree & Evelyn rosemary recipe, blended with uplifting notes of pink pepper, spearmint, cypress and geranium.

Then, there are the flower waters which takes us from beautiful Florence to the romantic city of Venice and finally, the luxurious Silk Road.

Florentine Freesia Flower Water is described to be like a journey over the golden bridge to the magnificent harbor and gorgeous palaces from the ancient times. The floral-fruity union accentuates Italian notes of freesia, cyclamen and lily of the valley, mixed with orange and pear zest. This floral-fruity essence is warmed by hot amber.

Gracious violet flowers embellish the romantic bridges of Venice in the Venetian Violet Flower Water;, spreading wonderful velvety powdery scent. Violet flowers are a symbol of purity and modesty, and they play the leading role in this fragrance. The composition provides the classic scent of violets complemented by fruity notes of lychee, raspberry and peach.

Jasmine came to Europe via the Silk Road, and became one of the most appreciated flowers for its elegant, clean and pleasant scent. Old World Jasmine Flower Water has white jasmine in the heart of its composition and is surrounded by beautiful scents of of cyclamen, gardenia and a creamy luminous citrus aroma.

Phew! Next to the Marc by Marc Jacobs watch in my Christmas Wish List this year to which I will ramble on about in another post ... it looks like this Christmas for the family this year will be a quite a journey. I'm thinking of sending the husband to either Italy or Seville for some citrusy crispness while I might just take a trip to Florence, Venice and the Silk Road myself. Greedy woman, aren't I?

Oh well, if all else fails and my bank account refuses to cooperate with me {... and it hasn't for an entire year!}, I could always print out a bunch of vintage-y chalkboard tags from Lia Griffith in some fancy-smancy script, tie a string around it and hang if off my perfume bottles.
How about yourself ... where would you like to journey to with Crabtree & Evelyn?

As usual, the fine print.

The Crabtree & Evelyn Heritage Collection is limited edition and all fragrances will be available in stores nationwide mid-October. Each fragrance is sized at 100ml and retails for nrp RM205 each.

However, if you are a Crabtree & Evelyn VIP Member, you can purchase any one Heritage fragrance at RM168 or two at RM268.

And while stock last and open to all, with purchase of RM300 nett and above in a single receipt, you will receive a 50ml shower gel, a 50ml body lotion and a limited edition Heritage Travel Book {it is gorgeous!}. This particular promotion is valid from 15 October to 5 November 2013.

Bon voyage!

October 8, 2013

sinking my teeth all week long into the vampire diaries ... iTunes and all

Ahhh ... my very handsome brood of vampires, werewolves, hybrids, witches, doppelgänger, and hunters are finally back in season five although it is with a not so original title "I Know What You Did Last Summer" but then, who cares because they are finally back - hooyah! Sorry guys. I've been shacked up with the supernatural gang from Mystic Falls the whole of last week catching up on season four ... hence my procrastination in blogging. And yes, this particular post is going to be about The Vampire Diaries so SPOILER ALERT, if you haven't seen season four or The Vampire Diaries - you have been warned.

Other than the fact that the bunch from Mystic Falls are beautiful on the eyes especially after a long day in the office, there is one other thing that I love - the music. So, for this post I'll be writing about tunes that made it into my iTunes library after twenty episodes of season four and first episode of season five.

The first song that made me sit up and take notice of the music in TVD was in episode two by Marina & The Diamonds; the haunting Fear and Loathing. It was played during the first "intimate" moment between Damon and Elena in season four when he dragged her into the bathroom of The Mystic Grill and offered his arm for her to feed on - she had trouble keeping blood down due to the whole sire bond debacle.

Season IV Episode 2 - Memorial
Fear and Loathing by Marina & The Diamonds

Towards the end of episode seven, after Elena breaks it off with Stefen and goes to Damon due to the whole sire bond thingy - I found this song which I aptly name the TVD season four make-out anthem; Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran. The lyrics describes the Delena situation perfectly but I will have to admit, I found the whole Caroline comforting Stefen and coming up with the whole sire bond revelation conversation in between scenes was quite annoying.

Then in episode nine, Christmas came in the form of one of the darkest episodes in TVD, to date - "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful". There were quite a lot of Christmas-y tunes in the entire episode and when you sit back and look at it, it all seemed laced with a sense of ironic humor. You will have to watch it though to understand the pun of it but the title during each scene does give you a picture:
But and this is in my opinion, one scene filled with the highest sense of irony and one of the best scene was when Klaus killed all twelve hybrids Tyler turned against him by breaking their sire bond to him and plotted with them to kill him with witchcraft. It was played to this tune; O' Holy Night by Cary Brothers - now tell me it's not ironic given the circumstances.

As dark and gory as this scene is, I think Joseph Morgan killed the scene {no pun intended here ... really}. You could almost feel the anguish and anger he felt then ... and then, there's the little thing - he looks hot in a suit!

Season IV Episode 9 - O' Come All Ye Faithful
O' Holy Night by Cary Brothers

The next couple of episode after was pretty "tame", by TVD standards that is. It revolved around the usual, you know - the usual "get the cure for Elena - bring the veil down - find Qetsiyah - kill Silas" drama. Then episode twenty came along and I fell in love with the soundtrack all over again, New Orleans style via the pilot episode of The Originals.

The first song that caught my attention was by Fall Out Boy, the currently hot on Malaysian airwaves' My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up), which was used on the promo video.

The Originals Pilot Promo Video

Then as the episode progressed, awesome songs started rolling in which included Revolution by Dr. John which plays when three big guys walks up, stops and picks up a coffin lying in the intersection of The Quarter. The next scene then shows a man saying, "Welcome to the dark side of New Orleans, where the living are easily lost and the dead stick around to play." Epic!

You will also hear a cover of The Heavy's rather catchy How Do You Like Me Now, as Klaus enters a bar looking for Marcel - a men-tee of his. The last catchy tune in this episode appears when Klaus calls Caroline on his cell telling him he misses her, in his own way - to this song, Do Whatcha Wanna by the Rebirth Brass Band.

And after twenty three episodes, the finale comes on and adds two more tunes to my iTunes library.

The first song comes from one of my favourite scenes ... the moment when Klaus gives Caroline her graduation present - that Tyler is free to return to Mystic Falls which is played to Cary Brother's Belong. Sigh ... the words he said absolutely made me melt ... "He's your first love. I intend to be your last ... however long it takes. Congratulations, Caroline." and then he leans forward and kisses her on the cheek - in another hot suit. Sigh. {... fans me self - did I mention he was also in a suit?! - fans myself some more}.

Season IV Episode 23 - Finale
Belong by Cary Brothers

And the second song, which I like to call the bon jour theme is played through a few scenes. The first scene is when Elena finds Damon and tells him that she loves him - and it's a big deal because now she isn't sired to him anymore and any feelings she has for him is genuine.

The scene then cuts after a lot of lip-mushing and continues with Alaric saying his goodbye to best friend, Damon. I love the interaction between these two - their conversations are makes them so "them".

Damon: What? 
Alaric: You got the girl, man. 
Damon: *Smirks* I got the girl. 
Alaric: Now, don't screw it up. 
Damon: How can I with you looking over my shoulder?
The camera pans and Alaric disappears because Bonnie's closed the veil.

Season IV Episode 23 - Finale
When I Was Younger by Liz Lawrence

The song also continues on with a scene between Jeremy and Bonnie, Stefen and Lexi. It was a pretty sad ending, until the shocker came on - which I will leave for you to find out, if you can.

After a few weeks of TVD withdrawal, season five finally came on and in perfect time too with October being Halloween and all. As with most new seasons and new episodes in TVD, the choice of good catchy tunes picks up pretty slow and unfortunately, all I could only find was one tune ... Royals by Lourde, played when Elena and Caroline heads off to college but it's a good one.

Season V Episode 1 - I Know What You Did Last Somemore Royals - Lourde

So there you have it, my iTunes pick from The Vampire Diaries season four and what's available in season five.
How about yourself ... are you a Vampire Diaries junkie, like moi and love their music too { ... and think Klaus looks hwat in a suit!}

October 4, 2013

writing - chapter 2 {updated}

It's Friday again, girls and here's the third part of my le petit experiement. I've made a wee change to "the ex-boyfriend's" name because I felt using the name Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate on him was an absolute waste so I've revised the cheating turd's name to Todd ... simply because it reminds me of a toad. Childish, I know but I am now living vicariously off my little experiment.

I've also managed to convince myself that the lead male will {for now} be named Nathaniel Ian Sinclair after a good long hour scouring for strong regal names while the female lead's name is Amelia Paige Hayden. All names are in tribute to the awesome feedback I've been receiving with a little bit of Ian Somerhalder thrown in and mashed around for good measure :-)

Here's where the bad news comes in. I'll have to break Chapter 2 into three parts because I'm not quite liking how it's turning out at the moment {I can hear the 'cussings coming from my three girlfriends, right about now}. I will be posting the continuation in the coming days when I hopefully, feel comfortable with it.

Updated the chapter and will post the next chapter next week! Phew ... who knew trying to figure our Manhattan could take so long!

As always, I would love to hear your feedback and comments ... pretty much what you think, in general or in detail or whatever pops into your mind. Thanks for your time, again!

October 1, 2013

mixing and matching the l'oréal nutri-shimmer shampoo & nutri-sleek conditioner with fingers and toes crossed

It's amazing how vain a women {meaning me, in general} can get when age catches up. But then when I was in my tweens, I never had to worry about under eye bags, crows feet, patchy dry dull skin and nowadays - hair that looks like the end of Theodora's broomstick.

I recently updated my hair colour from my usual walnut-ish brown to an autumn-ish shade of maple leaf brown. It's lighter than what I'm used to but it does bring some colour to my pale noggin'. Unfortunately, the shiny shampoo-advert hair I was sporting post-salon visit only lasted until my next hair wash and I am now back to my usual broomstick hair phase; just more pronounced than usual since with my very autumnal hair shade.

So last weekend after reading a very dangerous post by ParisB, I decided to give the L'Oréal Mythic Oil Souffle d’or shampoo and conditioner a go and hunt down a L'Oréal Professional salon. Unfortunately, I made a quick stop by the local mall and blew my budget on baby formula and diapers - rolls your eyes at me all you want but there were on sale! So with my head hung very low, my Mythic Oil hair care range and visions of glorious hair days had to remain in all its ironic glory - mythical, for now. Le sigh.

Well ... looking on the bright side of things, my outing to the mall wasn't a total lost. I did go home with some L'Oréal; just not from the professional range but it has so far been working well for me and for the price I paid for the shampoo and conditioner duo, I really shouldn't complain.

Just like skincare, I don't buy the shampoo and conditioner from the same range and like to customize them according to my current hair needs. Since it's now in the Wizard of Oz's Wicked Witch's broomstick phase and quite matching the Yellow Brick Road in colour, I chose the L'Oréal Nutri-Gloss {Light} shampoo give me some mirror shine and the L'Oréal Smooth-Intense conditioner with Nutrileum and silk protein to deal with my frizzy and rebellious hair.

After a single use, I am quite please to report that my hair has recovered "some" shine and the frizziness has somewhat lessened. Its been a week of daily hair washes and my hair is quite soft to the touch and doesn't stick out everywhere it's not suppose to ... well, most of it anyway. I suspect with continued use, my noggin' wouldn't be mistaken for Theodora's broomstick bits anymore.

As for the mythical Mythic Oil Souffle d’or shampoo and conditioner, which is currently packaged in a promotional coffret set retailing at nrp RM96 and comes with a free deluxe sized Mythic Oil sample - it will have to remain in my Wish List until next month or the month after if the dang milk formula and diapers go on sale again ... unless Santa decides to take pity on me and give me an early Christmas present {erm ... wink! wink?}. 
Have you tried L'Oréal's "famous" Mythic Oil range for your tresses or are you like me who mix & matches her shampoo and conditioner with both fingers and toes crossed in hope that they work wonders?

September 30, 2013

the big bad wolf sale 2013

Hear ye! Hear ye! Captain Wolfie and his team of high sea scallywags is back and this time, with a rumours of three million books planned for in the read-seas!

Arrr me mateys, the Big Bad Wolf sale will be held from Friday, 6th December to Sunday, 15th December 2013 at the Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre {MIECC} in Sri Kembangan.

For more information, stalk the seven seas if yer must but be sure to set yer headin' and land yer ship at the captain's Blog, Facebook or Twitter page for more information. Arrr!

September 21, 2013

what I think of men who use CK Encounter

Finally! After a week tooth-drama, I am able to think straight and write a proper sentence without wanting to run to the kitchen and stick my cheeks to the freezer walls. So today, I thought I'd do a write-up as my try-my-luck entry for a whopping bottle of CK Encounter and by whopping I mean 185ml whopping. It's sort of a "contest" open to TheLilacBloggers as part of yet another exciting initiative between TheLilacBox and Luxasia Malaysia.

Initially I thought I'd drive me and my nose to the nearest Calvin Klein counter to take in a good whiff of it and take it from there. But then being caught in a jam can pretty much screw up your plans, especially if you have portable technology with you {cough! iPad! cough!} and in it happens to be the CK Encounter ad featuring Alexander Skarsgård and Lara Stone.

After scrutinizing the photo and the video, while being stuck in a jam - that was that. I was utterly convinced that Ian Somerhalder looked better on it. Sorry Skarsgård fans around the world, but I am a chick who loves her Fifty Shades and believes Hollywood just recently murdered the very epitome of masculinity ala Fifty Shades by casting someone who isn't Ian Somerhalder.

How did getting caught in a traffic jam on the way to take a whiff off a bottle of fragrance morph into Fifty Shades, you ask? Simple really - being disappointed with Hollywood the past two weeks while listening to "The Flower Duet" by Charlotte Church which incidentally is a song off Fifty Shades then viewing a gray-ish hued CK Encounter ad with the tagline "... story of unresolved tension and desire; a man who knows what he wants and remains in control ... the mystery unfolds with infinite possibilities." - the Fifty Shades & Christian Grey light bulb in a million gigawatt bulb just lights up on top of my noggin' and etches itself even more permanently on my sub-cranium!

Sorry guys, I truly am. I tried really hard avoiding mashing anything FSOG into this writeup but as you can read by now, I failed and miserably so. I just can't get it out of my system! Oh well, I figured I might as well continue writing since it would only go two ways - you'd either be tied up in knotted fury or be tickled fancy by it.

Right. Let's get back to my "endeavoring-to-be-absolutely-honest pre-review write up" of what I think of men who use CK Encounter, shall we? So I was on my way to the Calvin Klein counter to take a good whiff of the fragrance and grope at the bottle a bit. When I finally got to my destination, I asked to test the fragrance and the SA happily obliged by directing me to a sleek bluish-black hued bottle. It's not a bottle I'd pick up for the husband on normal days but today, it did intrigued me.

CK Encounter is indeed a handsome bottle, even underneath the eeky lighting of the departmental store. Crafted from pretty high-quality, heavy-weighted glass in a unique prism-ed design, the deep blue almost black hue of the glass creates a sleek  and luxurious overall feel to the fragrance. The design is further complimented with gunmetal detailing underneath the cap. It's simple yet understated but bold and rich at the same time. Just looking at the bottle made me want to have sniffing go at it but before that, I thought why not read what CK describes the fragrance as first and see if it comes off the same?
So according to Calvin Klein, CK Encounter is ...
"... an addictive blend of crisp spice, warm cognac and sensual woods; a contrast of freshness and warmth ... a distinctive expression of unapologetic masculinity."
Wait, unapologetic masculinity?! What on earth is unapologetic masculinity and why on earth would a man apologize for being masculine ... isn't being masculine one of men's mission in life? Well, with that thought in mind I took a whiff off the tester strip and it sort of fell into place. I got where Firmenich perfumers Honorine Blanc and Pierre Negrin was going with this fragrance, although in my opinion the words "unapologetic masculinity" was probably not in the best to describe it but yeah, I get it - the whole "... so the dude's all tough and masculine but he ain't gonna apologize for it!" sort of thingy. 

Moving on.

CK Encounter is designed with top notes of mandarin, aromatic cardamom and rum; middle notes of pepper, Egyptian jasmine, patchouli and cognac at its core and settling down to woody bottom notes of with the likes of agarwood, atlas cedar wood and musk, it would seem like the designers are trying to get us gals headily drunk before we can get anywhere near a guy who wears CK Encounter.

However, CK Encounter for me started off citrusy as with most CK perfumes but this mellows down into something cool yet spicy, no doubt from a mix of cardamom, pepper and of course the rum and cognac. After that, sweet woody warm note takes over but with a subtle hint of something herbal and green - most probably from the patchouli.

So there ... the bottle and the fragrance and now the verdict and I'll be honest. CK Encounter is not an overly original scent but you do have to give credit to the designers for daring to inject some subtle "oomphs" into it and by doing so, stamping the phrase "masculine!" all over it. If I were to rate this fragrance from experience alone,  I'd put CK Encounter right smack the middle between the super-obnoxious Spicebomb by Viktor&Rolf {tween scent!} and overly-sophisticated and potent Antaeus by Chanel {over forties scent!} ... and probably a few notches after the husband's current fragrance - Boss by Hugo {twenties scent!}, to which I think he has grown a tad too old mature for.

Having said that, CK Encounter to me is also not a daytime kind of fragrance. It is a masculine, rich, quite heavy bodied and sexy fragrance that is designed for the night when the air is cooler and possibilities are infinite. It is for a man who has achieved, is bold and passionate about life; a man who is poised and confident, knows what he wants in life and knows how to get it ... kind of like Christian Grey. Sorry, I just could not resist.

Anyhow, if you're having difficulties understanding my blabberings and some more, perhaps these images might help you understand better of what I think of men who wears CK Encounter embodies.


Imagine the evening air is cool and crisp and a couple is having a private candlelit dinner with a bottle of 1999 Bollinger Grande Année Rosé ... set all that at the very top of of the Space Needle. Then end the evening with a black Audi R8 Spyder roaring through downtown into the city's most prestigious residence and the elevator doors open with direct access to the penthouse. Now, dim the lights down and allow your imagination to roam wild. "Oh la la, mon dieu!" - Now, that is what I think of men who use CK Encounter ... vous l'a dit :-p






30ML - RRP RM152
50ML - RRP RM230
100ML - RRP RM314
100ML - RRP RM212
200ML - RRP RM113

September 20, 2013

writing - chapter 1

Continuing from last week, here is the second part of my little experiment. I am having some problems coming up with a name for the lead female character; it seems all the nice names are taken ... either that or I am extremely picky. Hmm ...

I know the main storyline isn't the most original - it is loosely inspired and based off books like Sex In The City, The Devil Wears Prada, Confessions Of A Shopaholic and of course, the Fifty Shades series plus a few others in between - sort of like a mash up. I am hoping to compensate the lack of originality by approaching it with my style of writing which is where you guys comes in!

As always, I would love to hear your feedback and comments ... pretty much what you think, in general or in detail or whatever pops into your mind. Thanks for your time!

September 18, 2013

wake me up when september ends ... really.

We're only eighteen days into September and so far, I absolutely hate it. After just recovering from two weeks of sleepless nights due to a tickly-throat inducing cough {the cure and I kid you not: a generous slather of Vicks Vaporub on both soles of your feet and pull on a pair of socks!}, the mother of all pain and discomfort happened - I chipped the first bottom molar while eating out last weekend and it resulted in a fracture all the way down to the nerves.

The last three days, my bottom jaw it seemed had a mind of its own ... switching the throbbing-jaw-numbing-pain-switch on and off like a kid in the candy store. Just when I was about to finally get some rest, wham! ... the throbbing pain comes on. Sigh.

Swallowing 200mg of Ibuprofen every four hours and brushing my teeth with Colgate Pro-Sensitive Enamel Repair after every meal helped a little and gave me some reprieve. It did stop me wanting to murder anyone who came into my path but my lower left jaw was still uncomfortable - very.

I finally managed a dental appointment at 8am this morning {thanks to the Malaysia Day holiday}, had my molar filed down and the fracture filled. I'm also on five days of superdosed anti-biotics. The throbbing pain is still there but it's not as bad ... probably about thirty percent less.

For now, I'm just hoping my nerve endings doesn't start to deteriorate and die because that would mean I'd either need a root canal or worse, an extraction. Double sigh. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it but until then ... can someone please tell me how much longer this jaw-throbbing ache is going to continue?

If you're in a similar predicament and are in need of a good yet gentle handed dentist from Ipoh, do give Dr. Joseph Lim or TC Lim a call at 05-546 6472. His clinic is located in Fair Park and he'll be there from 7am to about 10am-ish. After that, he'll be in town - best to call and make an appointment.

... ps: I'll be taking a few days off blogging until I can concentrate writing again. Writing these few paragraphs actually took me two very long hours. *bleep!* toothache!

September 14, 2013

anna sui mousse eyeshadow

Anna Sui's Black Veil 2012 Holiday cosmetic collection is all about black lace and shimmers so when I purchased the limited edition makeup kit in 01 Seductive Spell at the Luxasia Malaysia Sale a few months back, it didn't surprise me at all that the mousse eyeshadow shone as bright as a lit up disco ball.

Packaged in a heavy sleek glass jar with a screw-on black plastic cap printed with Anna Sui's signature roses which is background-lined with a hint of lace - it took me quite a long while, like two months to build up enough courage to wear this shade anywhere. I was hesitant because I wanted to love Anna Sui's makeup as much as I loved her Secret Wish perfume but was worried I might end up hating it because well ... it was pink and had shimmers in it.

Before I hand you my verdict, let me give you a 101 to Anna Sui's 2012 Black Veil limited edition makeup kits. Yup, you read right - it's plural. Fact is, there are two kits; 01 Seductive Spell which is pink hued and 02 Alluring Charm which is purple hued.

I went with the first kit because it was warmer in tone compared to the latter which was cooler, eventhough I had severe reservations about the blush which is a really bright shade of pink, if not almost fuschia and I am not a girl who would buy fuschia in a blush ... ever. But oh well, it was on sale and the crazy in me won so 01 Seductive Spell with the almost-fuschia blush went home with me.

Now that you know that this makeup kit is all about pink ... like me, you would be expecting a shimmery pink eyeshadow, right? Like me, you'd be wrong too - the Anna Sui Mousse Eyeshadow E in 01 or Sparkling Pink actually shows up light pinkish-brown in the glass jar but turns into a warm shade of sparkly champagne tinged with copper when applied onto my skin. It's quite a surprisingly natural and flattering colour on my lids - minus the sparklies but once blended in, it wasn't very obvious and looked more like I had dewy lids or something along those lines. I suck at makeup terminology.

I like that the formula is gel-based and spreads evenly. It even has a cooling sensation and dries relatively quick. The colour lasts up to four hours on my oily lids, unprimed and I suspect it would longer if I took the time to prime my lids. The only downside to this formula though is that you have to be careful not to apply too much because the shimmer tends to migrate all over if you accidentally touch or worse, rub your eyes ... it will go everywhere and your face might shine in all the wrong places.

Other than that, it wasn't a bad buy at all for RM40 during the sale. The entire set also included the almost-fuschia blush or in Anna Sui terms; the Cheek Color E in Rose Red - which I will write about later, the Lip Gloss E in Brilliant Red and a black lace clutch.

Did you manage to haul this during the Luxasia Malaysia sale ... how did you find it?

September 13, 2013

writing - your comments and feedback needed

Not a typical "Creative Friday!" sort of post but I have been working on a little something the last couple of months, thanks to an overload of Sophie Kinsella, Lauren Weisberger, EL James and whoever else is on my bookshelf. Now, I'm suffering from what an actual author would call "a writer's block".

However, I am no author - good grief no but I like writing and thought I'd give it a whirl and see how it goes and where it leads me. So, here's a little excerpt of what I'm working on and I would love to hear your feedback and comments ... pretty much what you think, in general or in detail or whatever pops into your mind. I've got a little more than what's written below but thought I'd post this to test the waters first.

September 11, 2013

dior addict lipstick nr. 643 diablotine

A fortnight ago, I stopped by the Dior counter looking to stock up on Dior Addict Extrême lipstick in Silhouette nr. 339 since its worked out well for me but then I strayed and came home with the new Dior Addict in Diablotine nr. 643 instead.

I was initially a little hesitant about the purchase because I've read reviews about the Addict line being less moisturizing and less pigmented compared to the Addict Extrêmes but the colour was oh so pretty and I was getting a little bored with my current Addict Extrême colour ... the inevitable "Oh, what-the-heck!" moment happened.

Packaging wise, they are pretty much similar; other than the difference in casing colour. The Dior Addict Extrême is bluish-black while the Dior Addict is transparent silver. Both attract fingerprints like ants are to sugar although the Dior Addict Extrême shows it much more prominently due to its darker shade.

When it comes to colour, the Dior Addict in Diablotine is essentially coral hued. If you compare that to the Dior Addict Extrême in Silhouette, Diablotine is slightly darker leaning towards red than coral.

The Dior Addict Extrême line also boasts much more pigmentation than the original Addict but I think that also depends on the colour you select. I did a one swipe swatch below and found Dior Addict Extrême in Silhouette to be quite sheer while Dior Addict is Diablotine looked slightly more opaque.

Both formula glides on creamy without tugging and settles comfortably but while Silhouette has a hint of subtle sheen and translucency that makes the lips look simply lush thanks to its "extrême" formula, Diablotine tends to look little "matte" on my lips. Having said that, I will usually swipe a light coating of Dior Lip Maximizer before application and I'm good to go unlike the Dior Addict Extrême in Silhouette which is good on its own.

Hydration wise, Diablotine does not dry out my lips but when it comes to finishing, I quite prefer my Dior Addict Extrême in Silhouette over Dior Addict in Diablotine. However, colour wise I quite like Diablotine over Silhouette ... if only Dior could just create an Addict Extrême in the exact shade as Diablotine in the current Addict line, I'd be in lipstick heaven.

If you're rolling your eyes at me and screaming, "... but Diablotine is available in Addict Extrême, woman!". Well, you're right but the Diablotine in Addict Extrême comes off little too red on me compared to Diablotine in Addict due to its "extrême" formula and pigmentation. Let's just say I am not quite that adventurous yet in going "red' to the office just yet.

As with my previous review on the Dior Addict Extrême in Silhouette, these too are not long wearing lipsticks. You will need to reapply - especially after a meal, otherwise the colour clocks in pretty good at the three hour mark but hydration wise for me is about two before I need a think swipe of my Dior Lip Maximizer.

What about you - are you an Addict or Addict Extrême kinda gal?