Caffeinated Festivities

As the hype finally died down, I thought it would be a good time to post my thoughts on the Singapore Coffee Festival that happened a couple weeks back on 9 to 12 June. I personally bought a one day pass the instant I heard that this festival was happening. According to what I read, the Singapore Coffee Festival was supposed to be a gathering of both niche and mainstream coffee companies and cafes, to showcase their beans and brews.

The location was inside the F1 Pit Building. Though the air conditioning was much appreciated as it was completely packed with people, I had expected an outdoor, fair-like event. It didn’t feel like a festival, more like an exhibition. The different coffee brands had booths and it was incredibly hard to navigate due to overcrowding in such a small limited space. Half the time, all I saw were the backs of people’s heads as I shove through the herd of people to even catch a glance of the booths.

My height was a definite disadvantage here.

I will summarize my Singapore Coffee Festival experience into 5 main points.

1. Local brewers outweigh the international ones.

There were the usual suspects such as Common Man Roasters, Chye Seng Huat and a couple of familiar coffee places popping up. Some international booths too, such as the “Roasted in Japan” booth consisting of three Japanese coffee roasters, Indonesian coffee beans and some Aussie ones. However, most were local and the international booths are less attractive. Some just selling their beans and roast without the facility of a coffee maker.

 

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In that case, there isn’t a significant different between going to the actual cafes and going to the festival. The only advantage would to try out all the popular coffee brews in Singapore all at one go.

This brings be to my second point.

2. It’s almost impossible to try everything.

To be honest, I couldn’t try as much coffee as I would like because the lines for all the popular booths were insane. But it did drove me to pay attention to the emptier booths.

But other than that, you will find that most of your coffee fest experience is just you waiting in line to get your cuppa. For example, the “Roast in Japan” booth took me about 30 minutes to get my hands on a cup of hand drip coffee, costing me $7. Food booths were equally crowded. Particularly the third floor as we had to purchase tokens in order to pay for the food.

 

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3. The token system was a total rip off

The second level had an area where majority of the food stall are located at. Nestled in the middle of the crammed area is a sprinkling of tables and benches, random hammocks and a small stage where local acts were performing. The cafe food was made fresh, which a plus. However, the confined environment of the Pit Building meant that the entire floor will smell like a mixture of every single food you can think of. And it will stick to your hair and clothing, all day long.

Ventilation was definitely an issue here. And the token system. Basically for the food stalls in that level, we had to purchase tokens in order to purchase the food. The lines for the tokens were so long that you would want to bulk purchase these tokens, resulting in wasted tokens, if you don’t finish them up. And unless you buy the right amount of food and drinks, you will end up with small tokens you can’t use to purchase anything.

I don’t understand the reason for this completely separate system, other that to exploit us for more money. The other booths in the levels below accepted cash, no problem. Just the food stalls, funded by DBS had this ridiculous system.

That aside, the food was decent. Mostly cafe food, such as burgers, fries, pasta… The usual suspects. Everything had to be purchased, not at all at reduced prices. So expect steep cafe prices.

 

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4. Coffee was the saving grace

Despite all that, coffee managed to save the day. I didn’t get to try as many as I would want, considering that I had to pay for entry. Latte art was practically non-existent due to the mad rush for coffee and long lines. Yet the beans spoke for themselves.

Cold brews are all the rage it seems. People love the cool, apothecary style bottles that houses the smooth brews. Cold brews are made by steeping the coffee grounds in cold water for 24 hours or more. This makes the coffee smoother, less acidic and less bitter as well. I prefer mine with milk and a little sweetened. Though the one I had from Two Bakers in French Vanilla was way to sweet, there are some which are sold completely unsweetened.

My favourite is Huggs Coffee, especially their Latte Gula. It was bomb! Their beans are nutty and lightly sweetened with gula melaka, creating a coconut after taste that’s so different and lovely. Plus they were on of the very few booths that were giving out free coffee. A close second would be Chye Seng Huat’s brews that were bold and more acidic in flavour, but still very aromatic and smooth.

 

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Overall, it was a good caffeine driven event. However, it was a bit of a waste of money to be honest. Most of the cafes featured are in Singapore and you can visit them at your own convenience, without the giant crowd. The freebies are cute, but not enough to warrant the amount of money your will be spending on the food and drinks. Personally, I feel like the prices should be slightly reduced for the event. Also, the location is not ideal at all, a nightmare for anyone with a fear of crowds.

I wouldn’t go for the one happening next year. But I’m glad I went for it this year to form my own opinions on this.

 

Life’s a Peach.

Let’s talk about something that has taken the makeup world by storm and is almost impossible to get a hold of.

 

Behold! The Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette!

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This is a limited edition eye shadow palette to release from Too Faced, just in time for the summer season. It was released in the US a couple months ago and because of some major YouTube hype, people made a mad rush for it. It was constantly out of stock and therefore, you know how it is. The moment you can’t get your hands on something, you want it even more.

Seems like Singapore is the same thanks to our YouTube culture. My friend, Liz, told me that its everywhere in France because they don’t really gravitate to these peachy colours, which I thought was really interesting.

Currently this palette is out of stock in all the major Sephora’s in town but I’m pretty sure it will come back, otherwise, they would’ve just gotten rid of the display.

I’ve actually highlighted this ages ago on a summer post about product I can’t wait to get my hands on. People are going bonkers, either obsessing over this palette or completely bashing it, saying it’s just another neutral palette. Despite all this craziness, I managed to get my hands on it and I have to say, I don’t regret it at all. And even if there wasn’t all this hype, I would still go ahead and purchase it – based off the simple fact that these are my preferred eye shadow colours.

Is it another neutral palette? Yes. Definitely.

But it’s neutral with a warm twist. I personally am not a fan of any of the Urban Decay Naked palettes. Even though I own the original, I hardly pull it out because I felt the colours didn’t mesh well with my skin tone. I did not rush out to buy the other Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes or the previous Chocolate Bon Bons either. We all know how huge the hype was on those. Personally, they never called to me as I truly preferred an entirely warm palette.

My favourite palette had always been the Lorac Nude Skinny Palette. And if you look the colours in that one, they all very warm and peachy. So naturally, the Sweet Peach palette is my jam.

Seems like warm orange-peach colours are on trend for Summer and I ain’t mad. So when my prayers were answered and the Sweet Peach palette finally made its way to Singapore shores, I was ecstatic. The palette did not disappoint.

 

 

Formulation is stunning. One of the best I’ve tried and I dare say, superior to Urban Decay that tends to deliver colour with lots of fall out. Though it’s rich in pigment, the colours have barely any fall out, and it holds true even for the matte shades. Which I think is bloody impressive. All the colour appear true to colour, as in the pan, except for “candied peach”. That one shows up more matte on the lid, with specks of random pink glitter. Hardly noticeable, to be completely honest. I still use it as a crease shade to warm up a look and it works brilliantly.

The one thing I would say that this palette lacks is a solid mid-tone blending shade. The matte browns are way too deep on my skin, and tend to darken eye looks, making them more dramatic than I intended initially. The other gripe I have with this palette is the smell.

*cue gasp* Yes. To most, it’s the major selling point. People seem to be obsessed with the Too Faced palettes because their powdered products are infused with sweet fragrances. The Sweet Peach palette is supposed to smell like peaches, though to me, it has a very synthetic fruity scent. Imagine a combination of fruity candy and cough syrup. I don’t enjoy it at all, and it’s very strong. So strong, that it actually scents up my room whenever I open it up.

Perhaps I am the only old-fashioned one here who prefers my eyeshadows unscented, particularly as it will be around my eyes. But it seems like I’m alone on this because everyone else is raving about the scent.

So what’s the verdict on this one?

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I would say get it if you are a fan of large palettes, smooth buttery formulas and a completely warm toned look. This palette isn’t multi-faceted and thus, you can only create one sort of look even if you mix and match the shadows. You can’t do cool-toned looks, there aren’t any sophisticated, muted colours. Everything is pretty much bold and warm. And if that’s your thing then the Sweet Peach palette is worth the hype.

If you are looking for versatility and are looking to achieve a wide variety of looks, then skip this one. Also, if you are very sensitive to scents, most definitely skip this one. There are other shadows and palettes out there that can help achieve similar looks, so it isn’t incredibly unique.

But it’s a nice one to have, especially for a warm toned makeup lover like me.

 

 

Lookbook #1 : 90s

I’m still as obsessed as ever with the 90s trend. We are at the tail end of the trend, where things are tapering down. Summer looks are starting to gain popularity. People are getting into bronzed skin and heavy looks are taking a back seat.

So, I’m milking it for all its worth. Clinging to the 90s for dear life. I feel there is a deeper, peter pan issue here, but we are going to skirt past that heavy stuff and talk about clothes!

90s fashion is a plethora of styles. From the “Clueless” preppy look to grungy rock, there so many styles in between that include lots of denim, plaid, baggy shirts and crop tops. The interpretations are endless. The trend is to opt for a combination of the grunge look with chokers and band tees, along with brown toned makeup. Crop tops are a huge thing currently with the kids, but again, it’s not about going full-on 90s. It is more of a case of taking inspiration from it.

I’ll be incorporating more Lookbooks into this site in the future. Even though I am not a fashionista by any means, I  like translating current trends into my own daily looks as well as celebrating clothing pieces I own that I’m absolutely obsessed with. Everything that I own is pretty much high-street or dirt cheap, which I think is wardrobe of an average woman. Designer pieces are amazing and desirable, but not absolutely necessary in formulating your own style.

 

Look #1 : Black Denim and Cold Shoulders

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Top – Random outlet store ; One piece – Jack Wills 

 

Dungarees are so incredibly 90s in my opinion. I remember wearing them when I was a little kid and I never would’ve thought that I would go back to them as an adult. But I think its a cute way of wearing denim. The one I’m wearing is from Jack Wills and it’s black denim, which does give it a more modern twist. I’ve paired it with an off-shoulder striped top. Off shoulder tops seem so Beverly Hills 90210 to me. This trend is not specific to the 90s. The 80s was when showing off your shoulders became the “in” thing to do. But it has definitely transcended since then.

Now, off shoulder tops are often frilly and girly. Synonymous with summer and a bronze tan. I ended up really loving this outfit. It’s young and feminine, but still quite sophisticated; Thanks to the monochromatic colours. I’ve chosen to pair this outfit with a classic pair of Chuck Taylors, withstanding generations of fashion.

Nothing like good ole’ sneakers.

 

Look #2 : Grunge School Girl 

 

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Top – Forever 21 ; Skirt – Jack Wills ; Choker – Home made 

 

This look is bit more of an actual “look”. Meaning, it’s more of a statement and we are taking elements of 90s fashion more literally. I’ve taken the preppy checked plated skirts that were everywhere in the 90s and thrown on an old-school band tee, that is cut into a muscle tank. As the top is rather oversized, I’ve tied the excess around the waist, which was a super popular thing back then. Instant crop top! Super casual vibe. To complete the look, I’ve added a black choker, making it grunge quite instantly.

 

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If this is still too tame for you, do that double-bun thing I was banging on about here and here. Turns the look into a “bad girl gone cute” kind of vibe.

And yes, that was a Rihanna reference.

 

More to come, I feel like playing around abit more. I feel this trend will only really die off end of this year. But who knows? We might experience a second coming. I, for one, will support that 100%. Mainly because I felt that the 90s was all about expression, you can really mix and match any way you want and you don’t have to focus so much on looking polished or “done”.

Takes the pressure out of picking your outfit of the day that morning.

 

 

Photos : Josh Mabagnua

Journey to the Tarts

If you’re thinking of beating the crowd by coming in at 10am on a weekday, just to get your hands on the coveted Bake cheese Tarts? Think again, buddy.

The system is completely unhackable.

For those who don’t know, BAKE Cheese Tarts is a bakery from Hokkaido, Japan that’s particularly famous for their oozy cheese tarts. They have taken the traditional way of consuming the humble cheese tart, by serving them warm and gooey, before the cream cheese has time to set completely.  The juxtaposition of ultra-soft textures on a crispy pastry cup made people go bananas, gaining them massive popularity.

Since then, they have branched out and opened outlets throughout Japan and the Asian market. Hong Kong lapped it up and now it has finally arrived on our sunny shores, creating massive waves of hype.

In natural Singapore style, as soon as the stall opened, the hype was deafening and the queues began. I went to experience for myself the insane queue and to see whether it was worth the hype.

 

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I thought I could hack the system by going there early but a queue was already forming bright and early at 10am on a Monday morning before most of the shops in ION orchard are even open. When asked, the people at the front have been queueing since 9am. Due to overwhelming response, the ION security has installed crowd control queue markers, designating two lanes in front of Watsons just for BAKE customers. Before joining the queue, a sign looms at the entrance warning you that there is no guarantee that you will be able to get your hands on the tarts because only a finite amount is made each day.

The whole thing was pretty intense.

The cordoned lines gained the stares of curious passers who later joined the queue due to sheer curiosity and the typical Singaporean kiasu mind set. Thus, the line continues to grow. Some join the queue not realizing what they were even queueing for. Most who walk by will whip out their phones to take photos of this phenomenon, so prepare to feel like a zoo animal.

Desperation is real with people at the back of the queue asking the ones in the front if they can spare them a box due to the limitations of only two boxes of tarts per person. This rule was made to ensure that one crazy buyer does not deplete the entire day’s stock. Those thinking of mass purchasing these tarts have to resort to these measures to get their hands on a third box, if they are unwilling to join the enormous queue again. Which is all fair in my book! If you want to get your hands on these tarts, you’d have to queue like everyone else.

It’s part of the experience, really.

 

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Once at the front of the queue, I had to wait until the ‘Bake Bouncers’ get a signal via walkie-talkie allowing me to move forward to the actual store. Before he lets me go, he handed me a card that said “Confirmed: 12 pieces per one person. Please keep this ticket with you.” Another ‘Bake Bouncer’ was waiting to greet me at the store front, and only customers with tickets can proceed into the shop. This is some serious VIP shit.

I couldn’t help but feel triumphant when I finally entered the store. It’s like a marathoner finally seeing the finish line. I wanted to pump my fist and high-five everyone.

These ‘Bake Bouncers’ don’t have the easiest job, facing the zombified, tart-hungry crowd. They told me they had encountered some pretty nasty customers. In fact, the one behind me was pretty damn mean. It’s like the Walking Dead or something. We should realise that patience is not just for those queueing. These kids have it rough too.

 

So, was it worth the wait?

The only thing that kept me going is the wafts of cheesy, buttery goodness that go as far as the end of the queue, goading people to keep going. The tarts have a crispy sweet pastry bottom and a light fluffy cream cheese filling. The ooze was not as prominent as I thought it was going to be, which was a bit disappointing. The flavours are very rich despite its light texture but the pungent, cheesy after taste kept me from going for seconds. I don’t think I could finish an entire box, so 12 tarts per person is actually reasonable.

It tasted pretty damn amazing. But I think partly because it tasted like PURE GLORY to me, after suffering through that ordeal. I gave some to my friends at work and they told me it was good, but pretty average.

Overall, it was definitely a delicious tart. However, it’s safe to say, I will not be queueing an hour and half for it again.

Maybe I’ll drop by again, next year.

 

 

Slayin’ the 90s like Buffy

The 90s trend has been going strong since last year and the popularity of brown lipsticks, thanks to Kylie Jenner. I have been using brown lipsticks for ages, because I can never let the 90s go. Clinging on to youth for dear life. Personally, I thought that the trend would die. But it is now at its climax with not just 90s makeup trends making a comeback, but also 90s style clothing and fashion.

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I’m all for that. I know that trends come and go but this one is one that refuses to go away. As with everyone else, I love the 90s makeup look. There are several that were popular within the decade. From super model bombshell looks like Cindy Crawford to grungy, undone looks by Winona Ryder, there are many routes you can take with this trend. Personally, I prefer the grungy look; A monochromatic brown smokey eye withbrown lips. Trust me, it looks a lot better than it sounds.

 

Let me walk you through it!

All the products I feature here are super affordable. Even though the trend is going strong in Sephora, you don’t have to break the bank to jump on this one.

 

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Step 1 : Let’s start with the base. Matte skin is what it’s all about. The modern take on the 90s look incorporates extremely luminous skin. But I want to pay homage to the original. To prevent yourself from looking overdone or cakey, pair your favourite matte foundation with a moisturising primer. The L’oreal 24hr Infallible foundation (£8) is great for a high coverage, flawless finish. Underneath, I’ve used the Nivea Men After Shave Balm (S$9.95) in the ‘sensitive‘ version. Made famous by YouTube as the perfect drugstore primer thanks to glycerin as a main ingredient, which helps foundation stick to it and last all day.

Step 2 : Conceal any imperfections you want to conceal and prime the lids. I don’t focus too much on have an absolutely perfect canvas. I used the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer (S$18.90) in ‘Light‘. I don’t bother concealing my dark circles too much or my pigmentation because this makeup embraces imperfection.

Step 3 : Do your brows as per usual! Brows in the 90s are either big and unkempt or thin and over plucked. I suggest defining your natural brow slightly and combing it through with a brow gel to great bushiness and that textured appearance. I used the Missha Perfect Brow Styler (S$8.90) in ‘Dark Brown’ and Milani Brow Gel (S$10).

 

 

Step 4 : Let’s start with the colour! Red eyeshadow would be ideal, but it’s perfectly fine if you don’t have any. I’ve opted for a blush instead. This bright red blush is the CATRICE Defining Blush (S$6.90) in ‘I’m a Survivor‘ from a limited edition collection. But any bright red blush will do. Pack it on the mobile lid and all the way to the crease. Start with a light hand and build the colour slowly. Bring the colour with the same brush underneath the waterline, messily.

 

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Step 5 : Grab a rusty brown shade. I chose a satin reddish brown colour from Moonshot in ‘Russet‘ (S$16) and a fluffy crease brush. Blend the edges of the red with the brown into the crease, putting the most product on the outer V of the eye. Blend the same colour under the eye with the same brush. Don’t be afraid to bring the colour lower than you are used to. If you are starting to look like a red-eyed panda, you are doing it right!

Step 6 : Line your upper lash line with a dark brown or a purplish kohl liner. Here, I used the KIKO eyeliner (£5.90) in ‘Dark Tide‘. Before it sets, use a pencil brush and dip it in a deep burgundy eyeshadow. This is from the Wet n WildComfort Zone‘ eye palette in ‘Definer‘. Smudge the line out with this colour and go on the waterline as well to smoke it out. The darker the better!

 

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Step 7 : Mascara. LOAD IT UP!! Go crazy. Top and bottom lashes. Use a jet black formula that is very volumizing like this Sephora Lash Plumper (S$22) in ‘Ultra Black‘.

 

 

Step 8 : Finish up the face by adding definition with bronzer and colour with blush. I used the CATRICE Sun Glow Matt Bronzer (S$6.90) in ‘Deep Bronze‘ at the hollows of my cheeks to enhance the bonze structure. This, I feel is crucial to the look as it really adds dimension. Then I topped the cheeks off with KIKO Soft Touch Blush (US$3.90) in ‘Mauve‘, a perfect muted colour that matches the eyes perfectly. Make sure to do a light dusting as cheek products were not a big focus in 90s makeup. You can even skip this step, if you’re in a pinch.

 

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Step 9 : Last but certainly not least, complete the look with the perfect brown lipstick. Pick a shade that goes well with your skin colour. I picked shades that have reddish undertones within the brown so that it keeps my face from being washed out. For a creamier formula that is moisturising and perfect for everyday, I have Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick (S$21.90) in ‘Crazy for Coffee‘. For that super 90s feel, opt for a matte formula with the NYX Liquid Suede Lip Cream (S$15) in ‘Soft-spoken‘. A stunning mauve shade that is slightly cool toned, but incredibly flattering. This is supposedly the cheaper dupe of Kat Von D’s ‘Lolita‘.

Throw on a choker and BOOM! It’s as if you time travelled.

 

 

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I’ve been using this look on almost a daily basis, even with regular clothing, that might not be in the 90s style. The grunge look is very versatile, bold and feminine at the time. It’s incredibly easy to execute too.

Try it for yourself and let me know how it turned out for you. Hop on the bandwagon, y’all!

K-Haul

Korean beauty has been increasing in popularity for the past few years. 2016 seems to be the year that Korean beauty trends are transcending Asian regions and infiltrating the Western. Beyond the BB and CC creams, there are cushion compacts in every shape and form. Also, Western consumers can find Asian beauty products more readily available at Sephora stores and online Asian beat sites.

In Singapore, we are lucky enough to have a good mix of East and West beauty products to choose from. Personally, I am equally influenced by both. While I favour the Western style of make-up with bronzing, contouring, highlighting and the works, I tend to lean on Asian and European products for skincare.

Recently though, I have grown more interested in Korean skincare due to the hype it is having in the West. It’s easier for me to see reviews of products on different skin tones and types that are not just Asian. Also, more sites are translated to English so I can read the ingredients and directions more thoroughly. I was going through a major K-pop phase when I was younger and was obsessed with anything Korean. But I remembered coming out of it with pretty bad skin as I had adverse reactions to their skincare products. I found them too rich and highly fragranced with ingredients that aggravated my teen acne.

Safe to say I was semi traumatised by that experience and swore of Korean beauty products for years.

Now, I am slowly dipping my toes in it again. This time with a life vest and float. And by that I mean, proper knowledge of ingredients and how they work with my skin and a plethora of websites in English telling me whats inside each product with suggestions on how to best use them.

Isn’t the Internet great?

So, recently, at Duty Free, I picked up a couple of goodies that I thought I’d share with you.

 

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1. Belif First Aid Aqua Rush Mask

Belif is a Korean brand that has an amazing philosophy. It’s packing reminds me slightly of Kiehl’s in a sense that it’s simple and almost medical in style. Belif claims to leave out nasties like mineral oil, synthetic dyes and fragrances in their formulations. Making it great for sensitive skins. It’s pretty pricey but I was shocked at how much cheaper it is  at Duty Free Singapore. Almost half the price! It wasn’t even on sale or anything!

I have been interested in their “Aqua” range because I have dehydrated, combination skin. With all the travelling I did and using Retinol has created some dry eczema patches on my face, while my T-zone remained oily and acne-prone. Hence I needed something intensely hydrating yet non-poreclogging. I was initially interested in the Aqua Bomb moisturiser that everyone is raving about. But I hesitated as Alcohol Denat is quite high up in the ingredients list. So I opted for this mask instead and decided to use it as an overnight mask, even though it is meant to be removed after 20 mins.

It’s amazing for my dehydrated skin. It has a rich gel texture that feels great. It sinks in but still leaves a dewy film. I wake up to super plump looking skin.

 

2. Chosungah 22 Dong Gong Minn Brow Maker

I’ve been intrigued by this brand ever since I saw my favourite YouTubers haul it. It was on the Sephora US website for a while before the brand finally made its way here to Singapore. Exclusive to SASA, this is a makeup brand that is created by famous Korean makeup artist, Cho Sungah. I mainly am attracted to its distinct and quirky packaging. This one in particular is so fun!

It looks like a highlighter but it’s actually a tinted brow gel. The premise is to make the makeup look like inconspicuous items that one can bring to work or school easily. It’s a little pricey for a tinted brow gel, I’ll admit. Also, it has a strange spoolie, which claims to help you both fill in your brows and set them in place. More on this product soon!

 

3. Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner

This one, on the hand, is so affordable. Missha is famous for their Time Revolution range that contains the same fermented ingredients that is found in the super expensive SKII line. I bought this toner, thinking that it can somehow perform like the SKII Clear Lotion did on me. I’m genuinely shocked that the active ingredients are so high up the list and it doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients nor parabens. It’s amazing that it is so affordable with such quality ingredients in it.

I’ve been using this for a while now and I’m happy to report that my first impression is that it’s very comparable, if not more effective that the SKII counterpart. This toner has more AHAs and BHAs in it than the SKII Clear Lotion. Hence, it provides a stronger, but still gentle, exfoliation. Perfect for my easily congested skin. Will update you guys on the progress but so far I’m very happy.

 

4. Banila Co. Clean It Zero Purity

I have been eyeing this product for MONTHS. This is a cult Korean product that people swear by. It’s basically a cleansing balm that removes makeup quickly and effectively, without leaving any residue on the skin. It comes in various versions for different skin types and concerns, but the most popular will be the classic Clean It Zero that comes in a pink tub. I decided to go for the “Purity” version, which is made for sensitive skin as I do suffer from skin sensitivity. More so though, I opted against the original version as its primary ingredient is mineral oil, a cheap filler oil that doesn’t warrant the price tag and may potentially irritate the skin.

I haven’t tried this one yet as I am still using up my Japanese cleansing oil. However, I’m certainly looking forward to it.

 

5. It’s Skin Power 10 Formula GF Effector

Look at this amazing packaging! I almost mistook it for a very premium Skin Inc product. I was flabbergasted at how affordable the It’s Skin products are. This serum is part of their Power 10 serum range that has a serum for any concern you have. The one I chose was the hydrating serum as my skin, at that time, was super dry from the airplane air. You would think that at a price like this, the ingredients would be pretty rubbish. But ingredient deck is surprisingly impressive.

I’ve been using it for a while now every morning and I’m quite happy with it. It glides on the skin silkily and sinks in quickly, yet still leaving my face feeling super hydrated. It has knocked my previous morning serum out of my routine, which was the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Serum.

 

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I also received the Missha Tinted Gel Gloss in a coral colour. I got this for free when I purchased the Missha toner. It was so unexpected because the item was so affordable and yet they still gave me a free gift. Love Missha as a brand!

 

So that’s it for now! I’ll definitely do an update once I’ve properly tested these products out.

 

Book Fair was LIT.

As a book lover, I was super excited when I heard about the Singapore Art Book Fair happening at the Singapore Art Science Museum. It is basically a place for smaller publishing companies and independent artists to showcase and offer their work to the masses. What intrigued me was that I will be able to see books and other works that are not as mass produced as the books that we see in Kinokuniya or Popular.

 

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In a nutshell, this book fair is a huge gathering of hipsters and the art committee and Singapore. Both are obviously not mutually exclusive.

I decided to go on opening night. My thought process was that I will be able to see the entire range of what all the booths had to offer and certain exclusive books  or one-of-a-kind items won’t be gone.

 

 

Bad idea.

 

What was I even thinking? Looking back I wanted to shoot myself in the face for thinking this was a good idea. The opening night was incredibly packed. My assumption was that this fair will be held outdoors and there will be ample space to browse from booth to booth. Unfortunately the fair was indoors, on the 4th floor of the art science museum. And it was a tiny floor indeed. With the number of people that turned up, there was barely space to move, let alone to view the booth tables. Towards the end of the night, the Art Science Theatre had to call in security to do some crowd control. Rather elderly men and women clad in fluorescent orange shirts and gloves were manning the entrance like the door bitches to an exclusive club.

People who left the space to go out had a difficult time coming back into the building. My friend, Josh, was stuck outside because people were denied entry at about 9pm. Honestly, the space was a major concern.

I found myself pushed and shoved a lot. Also, I realised that the art committee in Singapore is very small. Everyone kind of knew everyone else. I found it tough to talk to the people mending the booth because they were mostly talking amongst themselves and catching up with each other. I felt like I was constantly interrupting them when I was inquiring about prices of certain zines or books. But that is expected on opening night as these booths probably invited a bunch of their friends to come and support them.

 

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So in hind sight, I should’ve waited till the days after the opening night to visit the fair. Hence, I would suggest that the next time you go for the actual Singapore Art Book Fair (which I believe is a yearly event) and skip the opening night.

Despite the crammed experience, I thought that the booths were all interesting. Local publishing company, ‘Books Actually‘ was particularly popular with hoards of youths gathering around their booth, grabbing for their poetry novels on the table. Some are frequent customers looking for specific writers, which I thought is so amazing for the local art scene. Local youths looking for poetry by fellow locals fills my heart with joy.

The Singapore Art Book Fair also featured artists and writers from all over the world; Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Australia. Besides books, they were selling merchandise like badges, iron-on patches, pottery, accessories and art work. Thus,  can see why the place was crawling with hipsters. I should’ve dressed to blend in with the crowd more.

 

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Another booth that was swarmed with people was ‘Magpie‘. Magpie is a local magazine distribution company that sells indie magazines from all over the world. Here, you won’t find Vogue or Men’s Health. She has a large collection of visually captivating magazines such as ‘B’ (a Korean magazine that dedicates each issue on the history of a Brand) and ‘Cereal’ (an independent travel and lifestyle magazine that gives Kinfolk a run for its money in terms of minimalist designs). All the magazines are slightly over priced, in my honest opinion. Most of them make for great coffee table books as they are so pleasing to the eye. However, lots of them feature more photos than actual articles to read.

Nevertheless, if you are a fan of design, the magazines are to die for! I, myself, bought one. An issue of ‘B’ magazine on Nars cosmetics, figures. It was $28, which is pretty steep for a magazine. But it was an ‘in-the-moment’ type of decision. Also there are good quality souvenir tote bags for $18 a pop. A perfect addition to a hipster wardrobe.

 

 

Overall, it was a good experience. Lots of interesting works to look at and if you are a sucker for aesthetic, you will feel like buying everything in sight. I wished that the location was a bit more open and that there were interesting stories I could extract from the vendors, but due to how popular the fair is, it’s pretty hard to have good one on one conversations. Still, I am happy to see that the arts scene in Singapore is buzzing with youth and excitement.

It truly gives me hope.

 

March Favourites

March came and went in a breeze. I almost didn’t realise that April had begun. It snuck in so quickly. Of course, I’m bringing a monthly round up of a few favourite things. I did some travelling in March so, I really got a good sense of what I consider an essential as I had to edit down the amount of stuff I packed. I’m far from a minimal packer, but I definitely strive to be. Don’t we all!

 

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1. Kindle  (SGD$ 250)

This is an absolute ESSENTIAL for me when I was travelling in Jakarta. I never went anywhere without it. With the crazy traffic in Jakarta, I spent long hours in the car trying to get from point A to point B. Though snoozing the whole way through is an option, I’m eternally grateful for my kindle because I managed to finish two books whilst I was there. Since I have the Paperwhite version, it has a lit screen, making it easy for me to read in the car even at night. It’s so light and compact, I can’t believe how I have lived without this.

 

2. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask  (SGD$ 27)

Besides it’s adorable frosted pink packaging that just looks so pretty on my vanity, this lip mask is a saviour for my dry, chapped lips. I wear lots of matte lipsticks during the day. Furthermore, the dry Jakarta air and airplane ventilation has ravaged my lips. Turning them into cracked desert ground. This lip mask is designed to be slapped on before bed, and you wake up with moisturised lips.

Firstly, I love the glossy, thick texture. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea as some don’t like the slippery consistency. I love it! It’s emollient, coating my lips with berry scented goodness. It isn’t the MOST hydrating thing I’ve tried, but it’s a pleasure to put on every night and it makes my lips very plump.

 

3. Hada Labo Air Aqua UV Day Emulsion, SPF50/PA+++  (SGD$ 19.90)

This is my holy grail sunscreen, hands down. Super accessible at Watsons or Guardian. It’s a light, runny moisturiser with a high broad spectrum SPF and it protects me from the tropical Singapore sun. I had initially regretted this particular purchase as I had accidentally bought the “dry skin” formula, instead of the one for oily skin. But I find that I am using this everyday as an all-in-one type product due to its extra moisturising properties. It truly acts as a moisturiser, sunscreen and primer in one. Helps me get ready quicker in the morning, cutting down all the product layering I previously had to do. It leaves my skin soft and velvety, also makes my pores look less apparent.

 

4. Real Techniques Setting Brush  (SGD$ 18)

A brush sold by itself (thank god) in the signature Pixiwoo Pink. This can be found in our local drugstores at a reasonable price. While this brush is made for precise setting of areas of the face with powder, it is incredible at multitasking. Thanks to its small size, yet fluffy  bristles, it is perfect to buff out concealer under the eyes and all over the face for a flawless, airbrushed complexion. The Setting Brush is also great for placing and blending highlight on the cheekbones, for a diffused luminosity. Perfection!! I definitely need more than one.

 

5. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown  (USD$ 21)

I’m back together with my OG brow pencil that I was once upon a time crazy about. This is still nowhere to be found in Singapore. I had to buy it off Beauty Bay and pray that it arrived to my house safely. Nowadays, I would recommend purchasing it from Beautylish. The hype for this micro brow pencil has finally died down and that was when I decided to pick it up again. I wanted to go through all the back ups I bought, due to the hype and I fell back in love with it. For people with sparse brows like me, this gives you the most natural looking full brows you can ever get. More so than the pomade, the definer and the brow powders, this brow wiz is the perfect consistency to imitate the look of hairs.

 

Special mention to Zayn’s new albumMind of Mine” has been on repeat all through March. To be honest, I had no real expectations, despite loving his single “Pillowtalk”. I was actually blown away by the Robin Thick-ese style with some solid R&B tunes. I also loved the Bollywood/Urdu influences that’s sprinkled in the album. Honestly, my jaw dropped when I heard him sing “Intermission:Flower”. So. Bloody. Good.

However, my favourite song in the whole album is hands down “Borderz”.

 

 

And that’s about it for last month. We are already full swing into April. Content on the site is likely to change in terms of its upload schedule as my job is starting to get a little hectic. But I will definitely be posting weekly, as per usual. Look for them especially on the weekend.

Ahoy, April! Let’s go!

Not Just Jakarta

Happy April, everyone! Some might notice that there has been a short halt in content up my website. The reason being I had to fly to Jakarta, Indonesia for a work & vacation thing this week with my family. I was initially planning to whip up couple of posts while I was there but it seemed impossible due to extremely slow wifi. It would’ve taken me hours to upload all these photos.

So I thought, instead of the other posts I had in mind, let’s have some travel talk! A short summary of my trip there could be interesting for those who have never been to Jakarta, or who have not been there in a while.

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, a hot southeast asian country that is made up of thousands of islands and have hundreds of different cultures and societies within it. Jakarta is the metropolitan city where businesses tend to go, where most people who live in the outskirts commute to work. Temperatures are hot, hot, hot! Right around 32 Degrees Celsius. However, it is different from Singapore, because the air is much drier and less humid. Hence, it isn’t the cloying, moist heat I was used to. Dry heat is infinitely better. But be sure to pack lots of light clothing.

 

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With the heat and smog of the city, the outskirts are actually much cooler in temperature. We went to ‘Puncak Gunung’, which is a pretty long drive to the countryside just outside Jakarta. This area is a mountainous region where tea plantations surround the entire base of the mountains. The weather there was cool and foggy, such a nice change from the city. It is a more rural side of Indonesia with more slums and poorly built housing, but in the midst of all that, there are tea factories and hotels to accommodate to the tourists that visit this area.

Here, we stayed at the Royal Safari Garden Resort & Convention. It’s a villa cum hotel that is affiliated with the Taman Safari (Safari Garden), close to that area. It’s a huge place with Safari themed rooms. Some rooms are more chalet like, others are more like apartments, with kitchens and a living room. We stayed at the “Giraffe Suite”, which was huge and comfortable. Plus, we had a great view of the mountains, during the day.

Puncak Gunung is a great place for hiking. The cooler air allows for a variety of plants and flowers to flourish. Which is why the mountains are covered with tea plantations. It was really cool visiting the gardens with gorgeous flowers and then going through rows and rows of tea plants. The whole area smelt like tea! For the daredevils out there, you can also parachute down the top of the mountain peak, sailing over all the plantations and greenery.

 

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When in Indonesia, it’s good to note that Wifi is easy to find, but most have very weak signals and are not very fast. Hence, why I couldn’t upload any posts, nor even watch Youtube videos whilst I was there. It’s better to purchase a SIM card with data as that data signal is often faster than the ones provided by wifi. I bought a SIM card that had 4GB data for just SGD$10, which more than suffice. I barely even used 1GB after 5 days. It’s completely worth it. I would suggest using “Telkomsel” as the service provider, as I managed to get 3G signal everywhere, even in the mountains. Whereas, my sister who chose a different service provider, though it had a larger data, had a much weaker signal.

The main Jakarta city is a great place to shop and enjoy some relaxation. Lots of massage parlours that offer amazing massages for only SGD$20, using high grade essential oils. Or you could opt of a salon wash and blow dry for just SGD$10. I would recommend trying out the new coffee places that are popping up everywhere, very similar to the ones in Singapore, only much much cheaper and with very distinct coffee beans.

I was so surprised at how Jakarta has evolved over the years. Shopping malls are not only huge, they are revamped and looking more chic than ever. They housed every brand you can think of under the sun. And the best part is that they are rarely crowded.

It seems that shopping is a tourist activity. Locals tend to indulge in shopping trips overseas, but not so much in their own malls. Indonesians tend to prefer exclusivity and foreign products that other locals can’t get their hands on. The malls that I visited such as the ‘Grand Indonesia’ was gigantic and rather empty, which felt like we had the mall all to ourselves.

 

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Here you will find many cool coffee places. My favourite being ‘Djournal’, with its super cute interior and amazing coffee. One of the best I have tasted, with a large latte being just SGD$3.70, I almost couldn’t believe it. I also visited ‘Blacklisted’, which was my least favourite but still very good and ‘Gambino Coffee’. Gambino has one of the BEST cold brew coffees I have EVER tasted in my life. So rich and smooth. UGH, I am obsessed! Needless to say, I had several cups in a day. Couldn’t get over the great quality and affordable price.

 

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I was honestly surprised at how “hipster” Jakarta had become. There were fairs at the mall atriums by young fashion students that were starting out their own clothing business with super cool, funky designs. Amazing cafes and restaurants. Plus, the shops were huge with large variety of items. Even when I stepped into Forever21 or H&M, there were so many designs I had never seen before, in full sizes, no lines in the fitting rooms and everything was cheaper!

And don’t even get me STARTED on the food!! In Jakarta you can eat like a GOD, and still the bill would amount to less than SGD$50. Everything is so delicious, from the fancy restaurants to the cheaper street food.

 

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Jakarta is, in my opinion, an underrated shopping destination. Most would go to Bangkok or Hong Kong. But these places have become rather expensive compared to the past. Right now, Jakarta is where it’s at. Much cheaper than Bali and a lot more satisfying, if you are looking for great shopping with well-known brands, amazing food and a buzzing coffee scene!

 

 

Empties # 1

Today, let’s talk trash! I’m bringing a popular series from YouTube into the site called “Empties“. This is a common beauty series that most beauty gurus do where they literally keep all their beauty-related trash and show them to their audience, summing up their thoughts after finishing the product as well as whether they would repurchase them.

I don’t know about you but I get so satisfied when I finish up an item. Unless it’s limited edition or really hard to get a hold of, in which case I will be gutted. For the most part, it’s hard for me to use a single product consistently and finish it up completely before moving on to the next one. Simply because the options are endless and new things are always popping up every day! It’s difficult to stay loyal to a product. But when I am loyal to something and finish it up, you know the love is real.

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So here’s a quick round up of my beauty trash!

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1. Pixi Glow Tonic  (US$30.50)

One of the most highly raved about AHA toners out there. Ever since skincare expert, Caroline Hirons, mentioned these, it blew up! Everyone in the UK started using it and it became a super hyped product in Europe and the US. Unfortunately, as with many things that are amazing, we can’t get this brand in Singapore. I actually picked this up when I was in London late last year. But do not despair! Recently ASOS has expanded their beauty section and you can now order this with free international shipping through them. However, be wary when purchasing items online (especially from ASOS). 

That being said, I would repurchase this and take that risk in a heartbeat because this toner is EVERYTHING. The Pixi Glow Tonic is an acid toner. Hence, it is packed with 5% Glycolic Acid as well as Ginseng extracts to help chemically exfoliate the skin. The AHAs in this toner will get rid of your dead skin cells without tugging the skin to reveal youthful, clear skin and it definitely helps with any textural issues I had. It’s great for all skin types and gentle enough to use daily. It’s one of those cases where a product is truly worth the hype.

I’ve used other AHA toners such as the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, but this is by far superior in its formulation. Definitely more forgiving on the skin, without losing its effectiveness. I’m already on to my back up bottle. Cannot live without this one!

 

2. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (SGD $15.90)

Holy Grail dry shampoo!! I know that dry shampoo isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to talk about. And it isn’t as widely used here in Asia as it is in the states. If you aren’t using Dry Shampoo, try some! It will change your life I guarantee it. It’s perfect for second day hair or refreshing your style after a low intensity gym session. Contrary to popular belief, it is damaging to wash your hair daily as it strips it of the natural oils it need to grow and become stronger. It’s especially bad for people with colour-treated hair as washing your hair too much can strip its colour.

This is the best dry shampoo I’ve found. And trust me, I’ve tried a substantial amount. The formula is gentle yet effective and does not leave a major white cast on your roots (hello fellow brunettes). This Klorane one also does not leave the hair feeling dirty or overloaded with product, like the Batiste one does for me. It’s very airy and has a gentle inoffensive scent that doesn’t clash with your perfume. Furthermore, it adds subtle texture to your hair whilst absorbing unwanted grease. When I found that Klorane made a tinted version for brown haired girls, you can just imagine the elation. Pure joy!!

Needless to say, I will definitely be repurchasing this, forever and ever. It’s completely flawless.

 

3. La Roche Posay Serozinc Spray (£8.50)

I think it is apparent that I am a huge fan of French Pharmaceutical brands. I find most of their formulas very gentle and suitable for my sensitive acne prone skin. Speaking of which, I have finished up another bottle of my Serozinc spray toner from La Roche Posay. This is my third bottle and I have 2 more back ups, ready for me. Yes, it is THAT good.

Although the brand is sold here in Singapore, this particular toner is only sold in France. But due to its popular demand, recently certain UK sites have started carrying it and they do have international shipping. Why are people going ga-ga over this? This is basically a zinc sulphate solution, designed specifically for oily, acne prone skin but people of all skin types are able to use it. Zinc sulphate helps reduce inflammation and soothes skin irritation. On top of that, it balances the skin and also contains sodium chloride, a mild astringent to help purify. Just three ingredients in total, including the La Roche Posay signature thermal spring water.

This is GODSEND for days when I am having breakouts and my skin is red and angry. It prevents the spread of my breakouts, whilst treating it and reducing its redness. As with all gentle products, it isn’t a miracle worker that cures acne overnight. However, I love how balanced my skin feels every time I use this.

Love. Love. Love. 

 

4. Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturising Eye Cream (SGD $21.90)

This is a standard eye cream that I enjoyed using. No fragrance, mineral oils plus a lightweight cream formula that sinks in quickly and does hydrate the skin under the eyes very well. Hada Labo features a super hyaluronic acid formula that contains 3 types of hyaluronic acid that really helps with oil-free hydration. Perfect day and night, works amazing under makeup. I’m not sure if I will go back to this, because this eye cream only targets hydration. I might graduate and take it to the next level by trying out a more anti-aging formula next.

 

5. Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution (SGD $120)

Amazing entry level retinol product that really does help with hyper pigmentation and scarring. I used this religiously for months, every night. You can read more here, where I explain in detail what retinol does and how this really helped my skin. I will definitely repurchase this for the ferulic acid, because it made my skin bright and even toned. However, I have since then moved to a stronger retinol formula so I will not be repurchasing this immediately. But I highly recommend this for its lightweight and effective concoction of antioxidants, acids and retinol. Say hello to bright, even skin!

 

 

 

Most of my empties are skincare products as I tend to use those up much more quickly than any makeup product. These kinds of things really give you a good idea of the prolonged performance of a product and encourages me to be less wasteful, to truly get every penny’s worth. I’m pumped to keep doing this and use up even more of my things.

Shop my stash more and be less fickle when it comes to beauty products.