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?