August 31, 2013

an almost sneak peak - diorskin nude bb creme

While snooping around my favourite Dior counter, I spied hidden in a little corner something new from Dior - the Diorskin Nude BB Creme or the Nude Glow Skin-Perfecting Beauty Balm with FPS 25 SPF-PA++. 

This new BB Creme is not yet officially launched in Malaysia; I've been told that it has been scheduled for sometime next month. I received a complimentary sample sachet with my Dior Addict purchase and will be putting it to the test later today. I am hoping it will fare much, much better than the DiorSnow UV Shield BB Creme - an experience I am not quite sure how to word ... yet.

The DiorSkin Nude BB Creme is available in three universal shades in Malaysia, shades which I think are meant to suit three different skin undertones - 012 for the very fair, 001 for the cool undertones and 002 for warm undertones. Please don't quote me on this yet though because I am basing it on my swatch while at the Dior counter.

Dior calls the Nude BB Creme le teint de rose or "the rosy complexion"; a dream combination of skincare and makeup. It is the next-generation complexion enhancer and the first beauty balm that give life to the Dior rosy complexion, a spirit which is dear to the House of Dior.

Reviews online have so far been mixed but I think I'll stop reading them for now and allow the product speak for itself later - my fingers are crossed.

August 30, 2013

creative friday! herb and spices labels by cathe holden

The husband loves to cook. I love to cook and bake. So naturally between the both of us, our kitchen looks like a war-zone during the weekends. We also have a lot of herbs and spices and what-not's stored in their original jars and bottles and boxes of various shapes and sizes all over the kitchen which isn't very attractive no matter where and how I put them. I even tried hiding them behind the cabinet doors but it didn't make for a very conducive cooking environment.

So, after sitting on this post for quite some time ... for project nr. two {check out project nr. one here}, I decided to get organised with our collection of herbs, spices and condiments. I'll even let you on a little secret ... I didn't have a spend a fortune on it, other than the herbs and spices which collectively did cost me a small fortune.

Inspired by Lia Griffith's own herbs and spices collection, here's what you will need and how I did mine:
  1. Glass bottles for your herbs. The husband found me a set of four wide neck bottles priced at RM7 a set, with change to spare. Now ... these are from Mr. DIY, so do not expect super duper high quality - the plastic seal on all my bottles are a little warped in some places so if you're planning to get these, don't store products that require air tight sealing because these aren't.
  2. Labels for your herbs. I designed my own customized set of labels using Cathe Holden's glitter label templates. You don't need PhotoShop to design your own; I designed mine solely using Microsoft Word and played around with the text-box and drawing tools.
  3. Print the labels out. I printed the labels using a colour-laser printer on sheets of A4 sized sticker paper I had lying around. You can print them onto A4 paper or card stock and adhere them to the bottles using double sided tape.
  4. Spray a thin layer of lacquer to protect the label; entirely optional but I figured I might as well since I'll be handling the bottles when cooking and I might smudge the ink if I don't. I sealed it with two coats and I absolutely love the raised-etched effect when it dries.
  5. Now on to the best part ... trimming and pasting the labels onto the bottles. When you're done, start filling the bottles up with your herbs, spices and condiments, put the cap back on, sit back and admire your handwork. Or if you're like me, take a million photos and post it online and spam the husband's WhatsApp only to have him reply me with "... you very free, ah?" Men ... insert loads of eye-rolling action here; enough to drive Christian Grey positively violent.

If you would like to try customise this project out for yourself, you can download Cathe Holden's glitter label templates here. You don't have to get the exact bottles from Mr. DIY - any sized bottles will do; just resize the templates in whatever programme you're using to the size of your bottles and you're set.

I hope you've been inspired!



August 28, 2013

updating my closet with dots and stripes

I love shopping for my office wear on Mango online out of sheer convenience. The cut on their clothes don't run too much from season to season making shopping a breeze for me since I already know if it'll fit since their designs usually stay true to size - just be sure to order a size down from your normal size for designs that has the word "oversize" in the description, unless you're going for look from da 'hood.

For their Spring/Summer collection launched late last year, Mango featured quite a lot of turquoise and teal in solid colours in their collection together with a small offering of pastels and florals; some of which ended up in my closet. Now, it seems for the Fall/Winter collection, the polka dots, stripes and animal prints are back because it's everywhere on Mango online -well, perhaps "everywhere" is a tad exaggerated but you can definitely see a trend happening there next to the beautiful florals in earthy fall colours launched online today.

As much as I love the convenience of shopping on Mango online, I find the newer designs and cut they're trying to bring in a little too much for me to take in. This same time last year, I was practically drooling over every single piece on the website and my wishlist was ridiculously full - this year, not so much. The fabrics used are getting thinner and designs are too edgy and almost "ghetto-like" making it unsuitable for office wear. Fortunately, there are a few pieces that aren't too bad; classic and similar in cut to some of the pieces I already own but in different prints or colours - like these, which I am hoping to snag ... soon, if I can find my wallet which has gone into hiding.


However, the one piece I'm not sure about but would love to own is this one - a polka dot jersey blazer. A jersey blazer I get, but in polka dots and for the office?

Hmm ... what do you think - would you wear a polka dot blazer to the office and how would you pull off this look if you would?

August 27, 2013

so the husband asked ... "why do you need so many moisturizers?!"

... and I replied, "Well, technically ... it's only two and because like me, my skin is hormonal and needs different TLC at different times of the month." To this the husband smirked, probably grunted a wee bit and walked away. It has taken me over thirtysomething odd years to figure this out but yes, my skin needs a change in moisturizer every few weeks or so to cater for that time of the month.

I have combination skin leaning towards the drier side with a slight sensitivity to certain ingredients and products that are heavily fragranced, be it organic or otherwise. Which is why I'm now using and absolutely loving the REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream, a gem of a product I discovered from the Lilac Encounter with REN at Kens Apothecary in May.

However, as much as I want to love this particular moisturizer the entire four weeks of a month, twelve months a year ... when it comes to that time of the month, my skin somehow takes a different view and has a mind of its own. The end result is an oil slick on my face that might prompt a protest rally by Green Peace.

What's a girl to do out of sheer desperation? This - the REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid.

Formerly known as the Matte Balancing Fluid, this particular formula belongs in the combination skin line and claims to balance out combination skin, reduces shine, mattefies and protects against free radicals which in return combats the signs of premature again. It's also antibacterial which means to its light and fresh scent, it will still somewhat smell - "antibacterial" whereas the Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream is almost spa-like and relaxing. Texture wise, it is definitely lighter and is almost gel-like. Both these moisturizers absorbs quickly without a tacky feel to it.

So ... is the REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid everything the formula claims it to be? It's only been two months since I started using it but my skin does feel less oily with no extra blemishes popping up unwelcomed. As with the Hydra Calm Global Protection Day Cream, it also calms my skin and the redness, if any is reduced so my skin tone is much more even, even sans makeup.

What about you ... do you have two different types of moisturizers to cater to your skin's needs at different times of the month? If so, do share your secret :-)



August 24, 2013

thelilacbox 4. a review

When a posh black box wraped with a silver Jimmy Choo Parfum ribbon landed by desk, I kept my fingers crossed that the products inside were wow-worthy because these days, it takes quite a bit to motivate me into writing a review especially. I sometimes find myself going, "... but I've already found something that works for me. Do I really want to rock the boat and give something else a try?"

Well, that and Pinterest which I blame for bringing out the holiday DIY mood in me, in August. Every single time I switch on the computer at home, I'll either be on Pinterest or doodling away on Photoshop attempting a design or two while on Pinterest at the same time. Yes, I am such a Pinterest junkie.

Right ... back to the subject at hand. How did the fourth edition of Thelilacbox fair this time around? Given the fact that I have been spoilt for choice by another beauty box, I still think the guys have done a darn good job this time too.

Box four of Thelilacbox features nine products, all of which are either full, travel or deluxe size. Yup, no satchets! Inside hid a whole lot of 'Flash' and snake skin, a Lady Gaga crossed with a Cruella de Ville look-a-like and where there is la français, there the Anglais must be too. If you're all "... huh?!" right now, let me break that down for you.

First up - we have not one but two sample vial of Jimmy Choo parfums; there's the original Jimmy Choo which came enveloped in a snakeskin-like cover and his latest offering, Flash. Both the fragrances aren't up my alley of scents as they are ... well, in a more delicate way of putting it - too warm and womanly for me. Right now, I prefer the cooler gourmande scents so my cubicle neighbor is now enjoying them both; finger-trigger happily spraying and 'flashing' everyone who comes near with her Jimmy Choo's.

Next up and for the tresses - L'Oréal Serie Expert Liss Ultime Polymer AR 100ml smoothing shampoo & 75ml smoothing masque for unmanageable hair duo which seems to be making its fair share of rounds in all the beauty boxes. This is my second set but I suppose a girl can never have enough hair masque that promises smoothing effects - especially when this gal has the witches' broomsticks for hair with travel plans penned in the books in the coming weeks.

Then there's this - a 100ml bottle of L'Oreal's Mademoiselle infinium® in a limited edition bottle designed by Charlie le Mindu; a hairstylist-cum-designer who has built his career on all that is shocking, outrageous and beautifully bizarre. He's also famous for his unusual approach to millinery, which includes Minotaur horns and a creepy mask - among his latest offerings and his London Fashion Week catwalk controversy.

I'm not too sure what to make of this particular product as I have not gone near a bottle of hairspray since my wedding day ... five years ago. The closest I got to hairspray after that was watching the hawtie James Marsden sing about it. However, this product apparently boasts strong hold with shine ... so, we'll see very very soon how true all those claims are since I have been lined up for something I have reluctantly and most begrudgingly submitted myself to, at five stinking am in the morning for three stinking days ... sigh.

Right, all that aside we now move on to what's right of my desk. The French who contributed Sothy's Hydravance and the Masque Hydra-Nourrissant; each weighing in at 15ml to the box. I haven't given this duo a try yet because I'm not quite ready to rock the boat with REN and my dragon's blood ... just yet.

Next up and to the right of my desk, one out of two of my favourite items in the whole box - the very English Crabtree & Evelyn Tarroco Orange, Eucalyptus and Sage tube of hand cream, weighing in at 25g.

Finally, the product that actually made me squeal - a full size bottle of OPI's "Into The Night", a beautiful dark sapphire blue reminiscent of the "Le Cœur de la Mer" jewel with slight shimmer that adds a depth that is eerie yet gorgeous at the same time. The formula is quite sheer so you will need to apply and let dry about three times to achieve the opacity you see in the photos below, which I borrowed from Ommorphia Beauty Bar because I suck at taking any sort of nail lacquers photos. That and the fact that I totally forgot to bring the bottle out with me because I hid it away from prying little baby hands ... aka lil Ee who is in her raid-mama's-lipgloss-and-nail-lacquer phase.

Now, since this is part of The Amazing Spiderman collection, I already have a mini bottle of this so maybe, just maybe I might offer this up for grabs in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled and shift your stalking ability in gear!

So there you have it. With three boxes under their belt and each edition selling out faster than the previous, I personally feel that the the guys at Thelilacbox can't stray too far off with their latest. They've done a pretty phenomenal job so far and I think the only people they need to outdo would have to be themselves.

So, will I be subscribing to their fifth box? Without a doubt and hopefully they might include some makeup items {... psst! Like Burberry, please} in the next edition because this thirtysomething is in serious need of some new toys to play with!

August 23, 2013

creative friday! build your own cupcake from vol. 25

If you followed my previous Creative Friday! post, you might already have an inkling that I love baking. Well, so does lil Ee who loves being in the kitchen when I'm baking but because I prefer flour to stay in the flour canister and baking bits to stay in their respective baking bit corners - something lil Ee has yet to comprehend, she is usually served a restraining order of about four feet away from the baking area.

So when I re-discovered these free Build-A-Cupcake printables by Jessica over at Vol. 25 hidden away in my computer, I knew immediately what I was going to do with them.


Since I had quite a fair bit of magnetic strips left over from my previous Creative Friday! post, I decided to utilize them for this project too. Besides, adding magnets to the pieces will also ensure the cupcake bits stay around a little longer compared to when they are without since toddlers are notoriously known to misplace tiny bits and pieces of everything.

Here's how I assembled my build-a-cupcake kit for lil Ee, courtesy of Vol. 25.
  1. Download the free printables here and prin them on 160g card stock paper. I "borrowed" the card stock from lil Ee's drawing pad again and trimmed it to approximately A4 in size.
  2. Since these printables will be facing quite a bit of toddler-mishandling, I sprayed on a thin layer of lacquer and allowed it ample time to dry before turning the scissors loose on them.
  3. Glue a strip of magnet on the back of each piece and you're done!
You can stick the pieces onto the fridge door and let your toddler "bake" to his/her heart's content while you're in the kitchen. Or you can make a portable build-a-cupcake kit by arranging the pieces on a metal board/tray and present it to your toddler.

Here's three of the cupcakes lil Ee "baked" on our kitchen fridge door last weekend - looks good enough to eat :-)

I hope you've been inspired!



August 20, 2013

i feel like the biggest a schmuck of a mom ...

 ... and here's why. Sigh.

My baby boy tried to chase mama and tripped, literally falling flat on his face. The sound of his little noggin' hitting the floor is something I do not wish upon any mother to hear, ever.

My baby boy was howling buckets when I ran over to him, which indicates that he is most likely okay. It's been a few days since the fall and yes, I still feel like schmuck of mother. But schmuck or no schmuck, it is still good to learn the signs if your infant/toddler may be suffering from a concussion and needs immediate medical attention.
  • Your child has lost conciousness {obviously!} - this is especially true for an infant.
  • Your child is bleeding {obviously, again!}
  • Your child will not stop crying and is difficult to console.
  • Your child complains of head or neck pain.
  • Your child finds it difficult to walk and the coordination is off.
If your child does not show any of the above signs, it still does not mean that he/she is a-ok. Every child is different so trust your instints as a mother and not Google.

I kept a very close watch on lil Kai for the next three hours after I applied an ice-pack on his forehead, which he absolutely hated but it reduced 60% the ugly swelling in the photo. I watched for changes in his behaviour and for any of the signs below but once he cleared the three hour mark and was cheekier than ever, I was slightly relieved. I still felt like a schmuck mother, though.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Confusion.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Irritability.
  • Drainage - clear or bloody, from his nose, mouth, or ears.
Lil Kai fell asleep as usual but I did wake him up twice on the first and second hour mark. I poked him a little and he stirred, opened his eyes a tad, grunted and complained just a wee bit. I knew then my little man was fine. Of course, when he woke up the next morning ... he was showered him with a whole lot of kisses from the husband and the schmuck mama.

August 19, 2013

thelilacbox 4 sneak peak

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope it hasn't been too dreary as all Mondays are. Mine was totally kickstarted when I was asked for sign for a parcel before lunch.

Ladies, I present to you a sneak peek at the latest edition of the only premium brand beauty box in town. Feast your eyes on the very chic and posh-ed out edition of Thelilacbox; a beauty, ain't it? 

A full review coming up soon ... right after I've finished oggling at it.

So, did you subcribe to box four?

August 16, 2013

creative friday! decorating our "happy fifth!" cupcakes

The husband and I have been married for five years so last weekend, I made him a batch of nutella centered chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting to celebrate. When you have little kids literally running circles around you, you can forget about a quiet sit-down dinner and going to the movies for the next decade or so. Le sigh ...

So, back to the cupcakes - since chalkboard art is all the rage now, I thought I'd add some très chic to the whole presentation ... with a little help from DIY goddess - Lia Griffith.

Here's how I added some chic without the très price tag:
  1. Download and print Lia's free printable chalkboard gift tags found here and her Father's Day coaster labels found here - I printed the tags and coaster designs on 80g A4 paper.
  2. Next, select the tag design you want. I selected the "With Love" design and pasted it on card stock {aka my trusty art pad paper} and then trimmed around it with a slight black border showing. The next step is entirely optional but if you're anal about the white bits of paper showing on the border as I am, you might want to darken them out using a black Sharpie or any black marker/gel pen you have.
  3. For the coaster, I trimed it to size with a pair of lace patterned scissors I got from Tesco. I wanted to paste it on cardstock but found it too difficult to cut so I left it as it was.
  4. For the toothpick, you can either use a plain ol' toothpick and adhere it to the back of the tag with tape. Or you can up the ante by decorating it with washi/fabric tape - I used fabric tape I got from Mr. DIY.
  5. Finally, the wrapper. They are actually doilies which I trimmed in half - a little trick I learned from Pinterest and way, way much cheaper than getting the laser cut ones. All you have to do is fold the doily in half and then trim off the inner circle. Unfold it and cut the doily in half following your fold line and then using tape, wrap it around your cupcake and voila! However, I recommend you wrap the doily around your cupcake and tape it into place instead of inserting the cupcake into a prepared doily wrapper because it might not fit.

The final step is to assemble everything together, take loads of photographs, wow your recipient and enjoy your baked yummos.

I hope you have been inspired ... nom, nom, nom.



August 15, 2013

crabtree & evelyn goodies courtesy of thelilacbox

The three handsome guys at Thelilacbox is definitely full of surprises and here's their latest "ta-dah!" together with none other than one of my favourite brand, Crabtree & Evelyn.



This might be excuse enough for me to drive half an hour to my nearest Crabtree & Evelyn store, braving Evel-Knievel-wannabes and kampung chickens to check out their new conditioning hand wash range. I absolutely love how vintage it looks from its apothecary-like labels to the the beautiful hue of colours the formula comes in; it does retail at RM68 though. Hmm ...

Anyway, if you have downloaded Thelilacbox surprise, you will have to hurry though as it does come with an expiry date scheduled for end of August. Oh ... and you're welcome!

August 14, 2013

yves rocher florida orange shower gel

The only word I can come up with when referring to Yves Rocher's Florida Orange Shower Gel is "zing!" - the infamous word used by Count Dracula {... bleh! ble! bleh!} when he met his wife, Martha and also later experienced by his daughter Mavis when she met Johnny - all in the movie Hotel Transylvania - but in a citrusy sort of way. {Smacks self on back of head ... "citrusy sort of way"?!. Good grief! I have to stop watching all these animated movies with my kids}.

Right ... back to the subject at hand. Bleh! ble! Bleh! ... hehe. I couldn't help myself. 

Part of the Jardins du Monde range which literally translates into Gardens of the World, Yves Rocher's Florida Orange Shower Gel is the perfect scent to wake up to in the mornings. It packs just the right amount of citrusy punch while its fresh and sweet yet subtle tangy fragrance lingers on for a good half hour after you've step out of the shower. 

What I love most about this formula is that it really does smell like freshly sliced oranges - but with bubbles. Getting a shower gel to smell as its name implies especially in a shower gel seems to be something I find only Yves Rocher gets right - like their Fraîche Rose shower gel I reviewed a few months ago. Lathering up isn't bad either - I usually squirt a little - about the size of a five cent coin on my loofah and it's enough for a bubbly and invigorating shower experience that is absolutely addicting, that is if you love citrus.

So, would I recommend Yves Rocher's Florida Orange Shower Gel? Yes I would, that is if you can look past the RM9 price tag for a 200 ml plastic bottle that although closes shut with a satisfying "click!", can prove challenging to open especially when you well manicured fingernails.

Have you tried this orange orchard in the bottle ... whaddya think?

August 13, 2013

how we're kickstarting the most wonderful time of the year

I love Christimas ... even in our ridiculously warm, humid and occasionally hazy tropical weather. Perhaps it's a good thing I live right smack in the middle of the equator because if I was anywhere else cold and with snow ... like with my parents in Philly, I would most likely become a blithering incoherant pile of extremely excited seasonal mess starting Thanksgiving all the way up until New Year's.

Seriously, how can you not love Christmas when you have easy access to the divine fragrance of real pine trees, beautiful and affordable ornaments, all the Christmas decorations and carols a-ringing everywhere and not to mention ... the sale, people! Oh-to-the-M-to-the-Gee ... the holiday sales and all the pretty sets of makeup!


Oh well, like I said - a blithering incoherant pile of extremely excited seasonal mess; might be for the best that I'm on the wrong side of the planet. Hmrph ...

Anyway, for Christmas this year, the husband and I {... mostly just me since the husband lets me have free reign over our home} are thinking of starting a little holiday tradition for both our little ones - the elf on the shelf. Yes, you read right - the elf on the shelf; a special and magical scout elf sent from the North Pole by the big man himself - Santa Claus. Its mission is to help Santa manage his naughty and nice list, since his other elves are too busy licking his cookies and the yetis have their hands full churning out the toys.

Wondering how it works? Here's the children's version of what the elf on the shelf is all about.
Every year, Santa will send his scout elves out to the Elf Adoption Centers where they wait for families to adopt and take home. Then these very patient elves will hibernate until their family reads the book "The Elf On The Shelf" and gives it a name. Once named, the elf receives its Christmas magic and will fly back to the North Pole every night to report to Santa about the day's adventures around the house. Early each morning, the elf returns to its family and will "hide" in a somewhat secret location somewhere in the house while keeping watch over the family. The kids' mission is to find the elf but there are two simple rules that every child must learn when it comes to the family elf.

First; an elf cannot be touched. Second; an elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake ... after all, the elf is on a very important mission and its job is to watch and listen. On Christmas Eve, the elf will listen for Santa's bell and fly home to the North Pole ... that is, until Christmas next year.

Now for the adult version of what the elf on the shelf is all about -  It is essentially a story written by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell about little elf that keeps an eye on everyone in the house, and flies back to the North Pole every night to tell Santa who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Traditionally and this is a relatively new tradition as the book only dates as far back as 2005 - the Elf moves around the home every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve and then returns every year. Now, every "Elf on the Shelf" is sold in a keepsake box with the storybook.

I love the idea behind this elf, which in my opinion is a pretty neat way to teach my kids to behave - particularly lil Ee who has developed with the "Touch-Everything-eenitis" and the "Michieviously-Sneak-eenitis" syndromes. I think it's a good way to teach her and eventually lil Kai too, that rewards do not come automatically just because they want it but with good manners and good behaviour. Besides, most families have a Christmas tradition and I thought figured this would be a cute one to incorporate into ours.

So, how am I going to go about this? Well ... since the original elf retails for USD $30 excluding postage in the US and I am on the wrong side of the planet, the next couple of weeks will see me attempting a customized DIY of our own family elf - please do wish me loads of luck on that one!

Then on Thanksgiving weekend, I will wrap our little guy up in a box {assuming I am no longer struggling with the elf!}, address it to both my kids and make it look like its delivered all the way from the North Pole. Inside will be "handwritten" note from Santa explaning what Christmas is truly about and why he sent Moe - yes, our elf will be named Moe. Then the duties of Moe the elf will officially begin December 1 and hopefully come Christmas morning, both my kids would have earned a place in Santa's nice list.

For sure this will be a very labour intensive and mind boggling tradition since mama will have to come up with ideas on how to best pose Moe around the house for the kids to find every evening {I have a day job so morning elf-hunts are a no-go for me} when they come home from gramps but I have a feeling the husband and I are going to have quite a bit of fun with this one.

What do you think ... would the elf on the shelf idea make for a good Christmas tradition for the kids?

August 12, 2013

christian siriano for payless shoes is fierce!

Whenever I hear the name Christian Siriano, the first thing that comes to my mind are the words "fierce couture" - if you watched season four of Project Runway, you will understand why.

Best known for his couture pieces featuring a lot of ruffles, feathers and headwear which he featured quite a lot that season - shoes and at Payless, is not something I come to expect from this twenty-something designer. Yet while strolling down the aisles at Payless Shoes last weekend, I chanced upon this magnificent pair of Christian Siriano for Payless stilletos and fell absolutely in love. Yes, it was also very light and extremely comfortable even at over 3" high.

The one downer to this glorious, glorious sight in azure was that it was half a size too small. I so badly wanted to squeeze me fat feet into it but the all the buldging squishiness just made it look wrong. Or I would have hugged it all the way home, took a gazamillion photos and bombed you guys with a post on every single gorgeous faux golden stud and leopord spots on it.

There is a pair that is my size but it's in deep fuschia, which is gorgeous but what's stopping me is the fact that the shoe is suede and put that together with a light colour and our Malaysian weather just does not bode well especially when it comes to scratches and scuff marks.

What do you think ... would you hug a pair of RM89 designer shoes home and snap a gazamillion photos even it's not in a colour you want?

August 9, 2013

creative friday! ice cream chore trainer by fifth & hazel

I have been hogging quite a bit of space on my desktop lately with a lot of artsy downloads from the amazing digital space that is the Internet. So for today's post, I thought why not share some of my "loot" hence, the debut of the "Creative Friday!" series; a weekly post featuring some of my favourite downloads from some of my favourite designers and where to source for the materials.

While spring cleaning my files & folders during my blogging-time-off a few weeks ago, I came across a file I downloaded from Fifth & Hazel late last year which has been collecting digital dust since - the ice cream chore trainer. It was was originally downloaded as a method of teaching lil Ee the meaning of actions and consequences since she loves and still does a year on - ice cream.

Here's how the chart works:

There are six pages in the file, which you can download here containing coloured plus black & white ice cream and cones. There are also seventeen different chores, all pre-kindergarten children specific. It's a super simple DIY project that you can do in one weekend.

Here's how I assembled mine:
  1. Print the patterns on cardstock paper - I used 300g art paper I "borrowed" from lil Ee's drawing pad and trimmed it to approximately A4 in size.
  2. Cut and trim the patterns you want to use - the chores, the ice cream and cone. You don't have to trim the edges exactly to the line, a little white border can give your project a little character.
  3. Paste a chore behind an ice cream, be sure to glue it centred vertically but slightly lower horizontally as you will need space on the top to glue a magnet on the top. You can purchase magnets from Daiso's craft section in either single round ones or in one sided adhesive strips all for RM5 per pack - I used the stronger round magnets for the ice creams and trimmed long strips of magnet for the cone.
I stuck the assembled pieces on the lower door of my fridge - low enough to lil Ee to reach because I wanted her to be the one to add an ice cream to the cone whenever she accomplishes a task. However, having it so low is not without its disadvantages as another ice cream might "mysteriously appear" on the cone so for the ice creams that my little girl has yet to earn - those I stick high up and out of her reach.

My rules for lil Ee is pretty simple. In order for her to earn a reward, I will give her a different task to complete every day starting every Monday. It can be something simple like remembering to put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket after her bath or putting her toys away after play-time. It can also be something she is currently struggling with like finishing her meals or throwing a tantrum before & after her afternoon naps.

Then for every single task she completes successfully and without fuss, she gets to put an ice cream on top of her cone. If she has six ice creams on top of her cone come Saturday evening, we will reward her with a trip McDonald's on Sunday. The rewards will change with time depending on what she loves - for now, it's McDonald's.

Lil Ee's ice cream record stands at four but it's only been two weeks and so far, with a little bit of encouragement from both papa and mama, she's doing a pretty good job. Here's keeping my fingers crossed that my little girl is learning that her actions have consequences and not take her mama too much for granted; aka her personal launder picker-upper and toys put-away-ter.

I hope you've been inspired!



August 6, 2013

... of bee venom, snake serum and dragon's blood.

Yes - I am aware that it is only August. No - it is not an ingredient list for my Halloween cauldron. No - I have not gone off the deep end, yet. What I am actually referring to are the product names in Rodial's lineup of targetted anti-anging and firming skincare which are stemmed from nature and recreated with science.

See ...!

Rodial's Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel isn't formulated with real dragon's blood. It would be awesome if dragons still exists today {... yes, I believe in dragons and the fairy-folks. Don't you?!} but downright gross if the product contained real dragon's blood and not to mention, very very cruel.

The dragon's blood used in this particular Rodial's formula is actually the Dracaena cinnabari; also known as the Socotra Dragon Tree or Dragon Blood Tree which is native to and endemic on the Socotra archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is so called due to the red sap that the trees produce.

I first heard of this product while beauty blog surfing a few months back and have been lemming to try it out since but the price tag it came with is as grande as the actual creature itself - RM390 for a 50ml bottle from online Rodial.

So, when I saw this 15ml travel size listed on VanityTrove Malaysia, I quickly put together my second customized beauty trove after much squealing and it arrived within three days of payment confirmation. {Great job, VanityTrove Malaysia!}

I wanted to get another tube right after my second trove was processed but I could not find Rodial's Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel on the list anymore - perhaps it was snatched up el-pronto, which would not surprise me it because it is after all hailed as a revolutionary anti-aging gel that helps define facial contours and plumps up sagging skin - I suppose you can also think of it as the new-age liquid face lift without the scary knives and exorbitant price tags charged by the surgeons.

Rodial's sculpting gel supposedly works by forming a unique second skin-like film which protects, reduces redness and firms for a smoother, plump and more youthful complexion with a unique formulation of;
  • Dragon's blood; contains phytotherapeutic actives that when applied creates a second skin-like film to protect against free radical damage and stimulates cell regeneration. Anti-inflammatory properties soothe and repair skin and reduce redness.
  • Collageneer; a patented active ingredient that effectively increases the synthesis of collagen, ensuring skin appears tighter, firmer and more wrinkle-free by promoting the production of high quality collagen.
  • Volufiline; increases fatty deposits within the skin to provide a fuller and plumper more line-free appearance.
  • Commipheroline; renowned for its anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulant properties, a more line-free appearance is created through a plumping action, by modulating two key mechanisms that activate lipogenesis.
I've been using my precious little 15ml tube for four days now and although I have yet to see its coveted face-lifting and firming effects as my skin has yet to start its le-sagging process, my face does feels just a tad smoother and looks a little less dull, even with only an average of four hours sleep a night. Perhaps it's the sugarplums dancing around my head that caused the illusion but then, Rodial's Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel does have a fan base that includes some of Hollywood and Britain's top celebrities in the likes of Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Sienna Miller and Victoria Beckham.

I have been using this on its own during the day without a moisturiser before my usual face-painting routine and I've not had issues with dryness or oiliness during the day. During the night, I use the formula as a serum before applying my usual night time moisturiser and I wake up to smooth, calm skin ... the best part, not a single breakout, extra whitehead or blackhead in sight - just soft, smooth and calm skin that I cannot stop touching.

So ... is Rodial's Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel worth the hefty RM390 price tag it comes in? Well, other than the one complain I have - I wish my 15 ml was more than 15 ml because it's only 15 little minute ml's!, I personally think it is because it's now perched on the top of my Christmas lemming list.

What do you think ... would you pay RM390 for soft, smooth and calm skin and eventually {... and hopefully}, firmer more defined facial contours in the likes of Hollywood's elite, formulated with dragon's blood, no less?

August 2, 2013

vanitytrove malaysia july edition : kosé infinity box

Infinity by Kosé is all about infinite beauty; an anti-aging skincare line that allows you to age gracefully using selected rare ingredients and deep concentrated formulas.

Endorsed by Taiwanese makeup guru, Robin Niu {Niu Er 牛尔老师}, the Infinity skincare line caters to three different anti-aging groups - the Infinity Kosé Pure Advance is recommended for women in their twenties to early thirties while Infinity Kosé is recommended for women in their thirties and beyond. The third line, Infinity Kosé Prestigious is recommended for women who are experiencing significant aging symptoms such as sagging of the entire outline of the face.

VanityTrove Malaysia's July edition features an entire trove dedicated to the Infinity Kosé Pure Advance line, which in my opinion is a brilliant decision on their part - not only do subscribers get to trial a complete line for themselves, the products included are of deluxe sizes {except for the eye jelly} which means subcribers get more uses out of it to test out its effectiveness.

The Infinity Kosé Pure Advance line consists of seven products in the basic care lineup and two products in the special care lineup. The VanityTrove Malaysia's Infinity Box features six of these items and in my opinion are carefully thought out selections.

Here is what's included in the July edition of VanityTrove Malaysia, the Kosé Infinity Box:
  1. Pure Advance Oil Cleansing Gel is a gel-like formula that is suppose to thoroughly remove makeup and pore blocking dirt, creating brighter skin. A full size tube retails at RM119 for 120g.
  2. Pure Advance Clear Up Wash is formulated to gently remove dirt and sebum, creating clear skin from deep within the pores with its light and meringue-like bubbles. A full size tube retails at RM99 for 120g.
  3. Pure Advance Essence Lotion II is a lotion that hydrates and plumps the skin. It also contains essences which moisturizes skin open pores caused by dryness and sebum, making them less visible. A full size bottle at 160ml retails for RM169.
  4. Pure Advance Serum II is a emulsion type moisturizer that claims to adjusts the oil/water balance in skin creating an illusion of soft and poreless-like skin. A full size bottle at 120ml retails for RM169.
  5. Pure Advance Eye Jelly is a hydrating eye gel that instantly replenishes moisture around the eye area. A full size tube retails at RM180 for 20g.
  6. Deep Protective UV SPF 50+ PA ++++, a full size tube of 30g retails at RM118.
The actual value of this box as usual far exceeds the retail value of it; this particular trove is a little over 3.5 times it's normal retail price so when it comes to value for money, I say it's definitely a thumbs up from me. When it comes to the content ... as of this moment, I'm not quite yet a Kosé convert as I've only used the set once prior to writing this post but then, isn't that what purchasing beauty boxes are all about anyway - trying out new products and selecting the best from the best?

Anyhow, I do commend VanityTrove Malaysia for kick-starting the idea of a single brand skincare trove to sample and I absolutely look forward to other exclusive troves like these in the future.

Speaking of which, VanityTrove Malaysia is featuring a Sasa Exclusive Hari Raya valued at RM180 for only RM70. So if you would like to glam yourself up before the festive season or surprise someone special with a trove of goodies, here's what is included inside the trove.

{... pst! Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil is in the list, just in case you missed it.}
  1. Cure Natural Aqua Gel - 5 sachets in 1 pack.
  2. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil - 10ml
  3. Cyber Colors Cleansing Oil - 200ml
  4. Haruhada Yuzu Pore Cleanser {For Nose} - 50g
  5. Neogence Amino Acid Cleansing Mousse - 50ml
  6. BRTC Jasmine 3D Moist Powder - 5g
Until next week, have a great weekend!

August 1, 2013

giveaway winner announcement!

Hi ladies. Thank you so much for the entries in my "Guess Giveaway" but unfortunately there can only be one winner {... this time!}. There were many excellent guesses but I do absolutely love what I hid inside the box to bits so without further ado, my favourite product is from Dior and it is the Dior Addict Extrême lipstick.

Congratulations Judy! Please do drop me an email with your details and oh yeah, I will also need to know your preferred shade too. I guess one sugarplum down for you, huh? LOL!

Good try everyone and check back on me soon because there's something huge coming up in the works.