Monthly Archives: May 2011

Cameron Highlands Adventure

It’s been almost a week since I got back from Cameron Highlands and I thought that it was time to consolidate my photos and do a post on how my Cameron Highlands trip went. This was actually my first time in Cameron Highlands. I’ve never been there before and it was a rather pleasant and memorable experience. I booked my trip with Konsortium, this travel agency located at Golden Mile Complex and they are like the gurus when it comes to Malaysian tours and given how well everything went this time round, I’m compelled to book all my Malaysian holidays with them! I paid $235 inclusive of coach back and forth and 3 night stay at Equatorial Hotel (4-star) which includes breakfast. A really good deal if you asked me. I enquired with Chan Brothers and they offered the same package at $250 so I’m really pleased that I managed to save $15.

Lobby of Hotel Equatorial

The bus ride was hell. 10 hours (most because they stop for toilet breaks and lunch for 30mins at a go). That’s like half your day spent on the bus. Thankfully it was a sleeper bus so you have wide leg rooms, really comfy chairs that recline all the way to the back and an entertainment system, just like those in airplanes. The movies aren’t so recent though, (think Clash of the Titans, Final Destination and Ghost of Girlfriends Past) but it was good nonetheless. They even had a selection of Chinese movies and cartoons as well. This really helped to ease the boredom on the long and winding bus ride.

And when we finally reached Brinchang, you step out of the bus and instant aircon! It’s fantastic! As mentioned in my previous post, Cameron Highlands is rather difficult to get around without a car so we joined alot of local tours. Mine was organized by Titiwangsa and helmed by three Indian men, Kumar, Satu and another dude. They are all relatives (apparently it’s a family business) so they were so welcoming and friendly. I felt that their hospitality was topnotch. We went for three tours namely the nature tour, the agro tour and the sun rise tour. Along with that we went jungle trekking but no pictures of that I’m afraid. It was serious down in the mud stuff so I didn’t have a free hand to take pictures.

My shoes AFTER the trek. And this is after I washed it with soap :\

The first stop on the nature tour was actually to see the Boh Tea plantations. As we stood from on top of the high hills, we could see the wide expanse of terraced slopes and hectare upon hectare of tea leaves growing from bush to bush. The guide then explained that only the little young shoots would be collected and processed to become tea. The premium one is actually the leaves itself and the lower quality ones or tea dust as it’s called, are packaged into tea bags.

Be sure to bring your sunnies, it is cool but the sun shines mercilessly!

After that little photo stop, our guides took us to the Mossy Forest where Satu introduced us to various species of plants and how they are uniquely found in Cameron Highlands because of the moist but cool weather. Plants in the picture include the pitcher plant, ginger flower and the nearly extinct cobra lily.

Satu is only 20 years old but he’s so knowledgeable. He actually knows all the latin names of these plants!

After that little interaction with nature, we then adjourned to the Boh Tea Centre where we could see the process of tea fermentation, learn about the history of Boh tea as well as to sit down for a cuppa and some scones!

After that we went for lunch at this zi char place in town. More about that and the agro tour in my next post! Stay tuned!

Smile for Food

It isn’t too hard to find joy in one of the basic necessities in life, food! Even those I know who’re on a specific diet (for various reasons) hardly allow themselves to get bored with what they have to eat, & constantly seek alternatives and tweaks that can rejuvenate their happiness when it comes to their food.

all pictures credit to Smile for Food

I’m extremely fond of snacking in the office and I must say, famous amos (packaged) chocolate chip cookies with meiji milk just about hit the spot every time. ah, but I run out of these so quickly and the calorie count isn’t exactly flattering. haha!

Or perhaps you’ll fancy some awesome homemade breakfast. I’d die with happiness if I could have sandwiches like these every morning.

Breakfast Bagel with Maple Glazed Prosciutto, Cheddar Cheese, and Fried Egg

Beef Stroganoff and Wild Mushrooms on Sourdough Toast

Cuban Chicken and Lean Ham Foccacia Panini Sandwich with Sweet and Spicy Pickle Chips, Swiss, Chipotle Mayo, and Sun-Dried Tomato Ale Mustard

pictures credit to Food is Art

But out of all the food groups, my favourite would definitely be carbs. Without it, I feel like a miserably tired dead soul. Carbs make me happy. Carbs make me feel full. Carbs give me energy! I am in full admiration for those who live without it & manage to maintain an energetic lifestyle…

fancy some spaghetti & meatballs?? I love mine with cheddar cheese in the sauce :)

seared scallops with lemon and vodka

this looks insanely awesome. I am such a HUGE avocado fan. and octopus fan. & calamari. & mango. *drools*

pictures credit to NOMNOMISM

*so hungry now*

Nail Mania III: Stunningly Suede

so post-sleepover, it was quite evident I hadn’t had enough of Rachel’s polishes. Kind, generous her allowed me to hold on to some from her stash to try in the following weeks so that I wouldn’t need to go insane alternating everything, hahaha. It’s been known for awhile that OPI released a few limited edition suede polishes, but somehow these never really seemed to take off like the cracked polishes.

I hardly ever paint my toe nails because personally I find it such a pain to remove polish off my toenails, but rachel convinced me to (plus there were really too many polishes to swatch). OPI’s Ink Suede is a much prettier blue than I expected, though it isn’t a true blue like OPI’s Blue My Mind, it holds its own. In the bottle it looks rather silvery and I was rather nervous whilst painting it because it seemed so clumpy. However, it was surprisingly easy to paint and turned out more blue than silver.

OPI Ink Suede

  • Colour: Matte blue with silver microshimmer
  • Opacity: in 2 coats
  • Dries: very quickly
  • Imperfections: very visible if not painted properly, prone to showing the ridges of nails if nails are not buffed. Apply thickly rather than thinly so that the coat can be smooth, as it dries really fast.

I cannot emphasize more how quickly the suede polishes dry, suffice it to say that by the time I’m done painting one hand, the first three fingers I painted would already be dry. Amazing! & awesome for the speedy urban chick who doesn’t want to waste time waving her hands around trying to get the polish to dry asap.

OPI’s We’ll Always have Paris Suede is more to my liking, I just have a weakness for purple polishes. As you can see, I couldn’t help showing how close the colour is to my room walls, haha. This polish is a really gorgeous colour and made me appreciate the matte finish so much more. I love it! However, a slight disadvantage of the suede polishes is that you can’t apply a topcoat. Doing so would render it glossy like any other polish and ruin the matte/suede effect.

OPI We’ll Always have Paris Suede

  • Colour: purple with silver mircroshimmer
  • Opacity: in 1 – 2 coats
  • Dries: very quickly
  • Imperfections: very visible if not painted properly, both suede polishes wear off/chip within 2 days due to the lack of a topcoat, which makes it quite a pity.

At the moment, all suede polishes from OPI are limited edition and have been discontinued, so if you see it on the shelf, grab it! Because that’s all that’s left now, production has ceased. Alternatively, you can look at various other polish lines that also produce polishes with the suede/matte effect. Having jumped onto the suede bandwagon, I  myself am considering purchasing colours from the Zoya Matte Velvet Winter and Fall Collections.

So what do you think about suede/matte polishes? Yay or Nay? Take our poll! :)

Panasonic Electric Eyelash Curler

You know, I’ve always dreamed of having curly lashes and I would buy different kinds of mascara formulas that promise me that but they don’t ever deliver. And while I know that I can go the conventional route and use an eyelash curler, I personally don’t know how to operate one. I have this crazed fear that it would hurt and that I would somehow rip my eyelashes out. So I am sooo happy to have discovered the Electric Eyelash Curler that makes use of heat to curl lashes. It’s so simple and easy. It’s like using tongs to curl your hair, only this time it’s your lashes. This is what it looks like.

It actually looks like an electronic toothbrush only that the head attachment doesn’t move when you turn it on. Here’s a closer look at what the head of the device looks like.

There are little nooks so that it helps to separate your lashes and prevent it from clumping because you are supposed to use this device only after applying mascara. It’s really simple to use actually. You just put in an AA battery, turn on the switch and wait for it to turn from purple to pink.

Then all you need to do is to rest your eyelashes on it. It’s quite interesting actually to put your lashes on a hot stick. Not as frightening as I thought it would be.

And after awhile, you will see nicely curled lashes! The instruction sheet also said that this device can be used on bottom lashes too! I’ve used this about 5 times already and I’m loving it. Only thing is that like all heating products, it might dry out my lashes and make it wispy. *shudder* but I guess that’s why they instruct you to coat your lashes with mascara first so it acts as a kind of heat protectant.

Will any of you give this a whirl? Or would you rather stick to the humble eyelash curler? I know of some friends who swear by their Shu Uemura lash curler and wouldn’t use anything else but that is one expensive eyelash curler. This electric one costs $19.90 at Isetan so I am very happy with my purchase! Curly lashes FTW!

Glee New York Fashion

I just watched the season finale of Glee and I have a whole lot of mixed feelings about it. Like Gossip Girl, it didn’t give me much to look forward to the next season. Everything seems to have been tied up too neatly. I mean, Finn and Rachel getting back together isn’t much of a surprise. Kurt seems to have everything going for him and Mr Schu is going to stay. I mean, things are looking up for New Directions. Even Sue has decided to stop her evil ways so really, what more can the new season bring?

But that being said, there were a couple of things that I did enjoy about the episode. Like the bright bold uses of colour. Seems like they’ve been inspired by Zara and Lancome as mentioned by Ruth.

Everyone just looks so fresh and full for energy! The boys look absolutely dapper and dashing and the girls are gorgeous with a capital G. I won’t go through every single look but I’ll just focus on my favourites. Namely Rachel, Santana and Brittany.

Ah Brittany. She seems to have grown alot wiser this season. Her last conversation with Santana actually shows that she has some depth and she’s not just a pretty face that can dance. I can’t wait to see whether sparks will fly with Santana next season. Fashion-wise, I love how she is totally rocking this golfer look. The cute little postman cap, the little cravat, that turf grass green college jacket and white denim. The colours just go so well together! I swear it’s the red/white candy cane striped cravat and how it contrasts nicely with the green of the jacket. Somehow red and green just make sense. It’s so christmassy!

And who can forget our hot latin girl, Santana. I’m so glad that they are featuring her alot more this season. She definitely has the vocal chops. She made me sit up and listen when she sang a solo line for Gaga’s Bad Romance. The new lesbian storyline is rather intriguing too. As much as I love Artie, I’m hoping that she and Brittany will get going already. I mean, all the repressed feelings between them is unhealthy no? At least come out and say it like Kurt!

I never thought that yellow and green would match but hey, this bold pairing actually works! I think it’s all about picking the right shade and somehow, that kelly green number just works. I love how it’s short so it shows off her beautiful legs and how I wish my hair could be so nice and luscious and long and TAME like hers. I mean, after bouncing around all day, still no flyaways! How’s that possible?

Urgh Rachel Berry. It’s really hard not to dislike her. She is pompous and self-absorbed and I really dunno what Jesse or Finn see in her (though admittedly, Finn is an indecisive idiot and they probably deserve each other.) This on and off relationship between them is getting stale. I’m not holding my breath about next season. I would much rather see some development with Quinn and new couple Mercedes and Sam (good on you Mercedes!!!)

But as annoying as Rachel is, she has great fashion sense. She epitomes the idea of preppy chic. And there’s so much to love about this outfit. The cream coloured beret, the colourful striped trench with the cute buttons even her naturally wavy hair and long LONG lashes. But this isn’t my favourite outfit of the episode. THIS is.

This dress is a dream! I love the cute little bows at the straps and how the back detail are tiny little strings that form a crossback and that cute little tick tack toe print. The little red capelet is so Little Red Riding Hood, the black gloves and pumps complete the look and the neatly combed ponytail is so chic… Love it all!

Do you love Glee fashion? Which is your favourite outfit? Share them with us!

Handmade Leathercraft from Hong Kong

Luggage Tags couldn’t be any cooler. or cuter. or pinker.

Witty quotes like “My Clothes won’t fit you” hit just the right note with me. It’s a humorous deterrent!

I also fell in love with this beautifully hand stiched leather passport case. It seems perfect for keeping all the miscellaneous airline tickets and stubs. Last year on my trip to Japan, my father lost his airline stub just before boarding and it gave us quite the heart attack. It just goes to show how even the most cautious can be victim to a moment of carelessness. Aside from looking really pretty, this looks like it could keep a small wad of emergency cash and a credit card or two as well!

& if you’re thinking that you’d like a bigger case to keep those long boarding passes, the husband and wife team at harlex fulfil your dream with this longer and larger passport case. It also holds up to 10 credit cards.

all images credit to Harlex

Appreciating Singapore

WHEW! I just got in from a 10 hour bus ride from Cameron Highlands and I must say, I am feeling a little bit woozy. It’s not just the super long bus ride with the annoying 30-min stops that succeeded in prolonging the pain, but it’s that feeling you get when the holiday cheer is over and you are finally letting reality sink in. It’s that feeling you get, that little churn of the stomach, that little nagging itch. It’s that sudden urgency that gnaws at you to will the bus to move quickly through customs so you can turn on your data plan and check your email/facebook/twitter.

I dunno about you, but all these signs just point to how much of a Singaporean I am. As much as I enjoy going on leisurely holidays to Perth and more recently, Cameron Highlands, to breathe in the fresh air, to take slow walks and to eat and sleep well, I can’t really imagine myself living in these places. I’ve never actually imagined myself living anywhere else except Singapore.

Sure, it’s hot. Humid. People are kiasu, impatient (believe me, I’m still boiling with rage and annoyance at an elderly couple who stole my cab. I FLAGGED it down and they unceremoniously got in and pretended I was non-existent. Seriously, if you just asked nicely, I would have been nice enough to give it up to you.) and they aren’t exactly the most considerate people on the planet. But seething rage aside, there are many things that I appreciate about Singapore. Like how easily accessible it is for me to take a bus/MRT/cab to get around.

In Cameron Highlands, I stayed at the Equatorial Hotel and that’s near Kia Farm which isn’t exactly near to the town area which is Brinchang. You can see this from this map here:

So in order to get to Brinchang and any other surrounding attraction eg. rose centre, you need a vehicle to get you there. Nothing is within walking distance (except the market square and the EQ strawberry farm but seriously, that’s not much). And to take a cab, you can’t just hail one. You need to call a cab which will take 20mins to arrive because it travels all the way from Tanah Rata to get to you. So really, this trip has really made me realise just how important transport is and how a good transport system really frees you and allows you to move around. I felt soooo trapped in Cameron because of the lack of transport options (it’s not like Perth where you can just rent a car and drive around. The winding roads are pretty perilous.)

Also, INTERNET. I cannot believe I survived three days without the Internet. I know when you are on holiday, you should just leave your cares and worries behind. Work? What work? Sadly, I’m quite the workaholic and while I did enjoy the visits to the tea plantations and the hydroponics farm, at the back of my mind is that nagging feeling that my email inbox is going to explode (thankfully it didn’t. Only got 22 emails! PHEW!) But yeah, that’s another thing that is so integral to my life. Internet. Staying connected with family and friends across the world through technology. It was SO PAINFUL not to tweet (yes, I have a serious tweeting addiction) and not to share my thoughts with someone as I was experiencing the wonders of strawberry picking and suffering through the jungle trek. So many times I was saying “Kill Me Now” in my head, to myself. And no one could reply me back. It was a horrible, lonely feeling. Sure, you may think it’s rather self-obsessed but I guess that’s just me.

I am at the very heart of it, an urbanite. It’s almost instinctual. The minute I touch down on Singapore soil, I immediately whip out my handphone, configure it to M1 GSM and start texting away. The minute I touch down, my walking pace increases. Luggage in hand, I walk with purpose. My sole aim? Get home quickly. Get home and get back to life. Might sound rather humdrum and pathetic but I think there is some kind of beauty in that.

I’m slowly getting used to this holiday time warp thing (you know, where you feel like time stops during the holiday period and it starts racing again when you get back to reality?) I’ll do a photo post on my Cameron trip soon. If you are thinking of going to Cameron, be sure to look out for that. Also, I’ve got quite the announcement coming up so stay tuned!

Nail Mania II: Faceshop & OPI

Continuing from where I left off previously on my sleepover nail fest with Rachel, here’s what I painted on my right hand – alternating shimmery pinks from OPI and The Faceshop :)

This pink PP407 by Faceshop was soo pretty! Pink with silver medium sized shimmer. Compared to the OPI of course, it definitely paled in terms of quality. Post-painting, the surface of this polish felt rather rough and coarse, I definitely had to use a top coat on this one. Comparatively, the OPI was smooth to the touch.

As part of the Serena Williams Grand Slam OPI Collection, Rally Pretty Pink (don’t you just love those witty OPI names?) is more of a gold, with a pink undertone. It wasn’t exactly my favourite when I put it on as I tend to lean towards silvers and greys far more, but it definitely grew on me because I loved the depth and how unique the colour was. Still not my favourite though, I do prefer the Faceshop colour over this one.

The OPI Grand Slam France Collection – credits to addictedtoallthingspretty

& here’s my outfit inspiration!

A Bright Burst of Lancome

It seems that everyone is going neon and bright this season. Right on the heels of ZARA‘s bright & bold collection I spoke about recently, Lancome has released an all new Eye Brightening All-in-One 5 Shadow & Liner Palette

The new palette comes in a huge range of gorgeous combinations, all of which have 1 base colour, 3 beautiful eyeshadow shades and 1 liner shade.

Amethyst Glam

Bronze Amour

Taupe Craze

Jade Fever

Teal Fury

Sienna Sultry

Midnight Rush

Pink Envy

Mauve Cherie

Coral Crush

The best part? Lancome has put together guides that you can download online to learn how to use the palette for day and night looks :) Of course if like me, you’ve already purchased other palettes that have similar colour combinations, you’d just might want to download the guide anyway, it’s free! Or well, you might not even have to, I’ve screencapped the full guide below:

all pictures credit to the official Lancome website

SK II review: Facial Treatment Essence & Facial Treatment Lotion

When I first used these two products, it pretty much felt like water to me, so I refrained from reviewing them until I had a better gauge of their effects. Now that they’re each about half gone, I think it’s easier for me to review them both. Overall I’d say that my satisfaction with these products is relatively high – I haven’t had any breakouts, my skin does feel firmer and well hydrated. It’s normally quite difficult for me to find facial treatments that prevent acne as well as keep my skin hydrated, as most acne prevention products tend to dry out the skin.

SK II however, seems to focus on increasing the growth rate and renewal of one’s skin whilst keeping it healthy. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I feel like my skin is glowing like its ambassadors Cate Blanchett, Haruka Ayase and Gong Li. lol. the false expectations advertisements bring…

The Facial Treatment Clear Lotion is a liquid lotion, not at all creamy like western lotions tend to be. It’s supposed to be step 2 of the regime, following the Facial Treatment Cleanser.

A blend of AHA, soothing moisturisers and Pitera, this lotion gently but effectively wipes dirt and dead skin cells off your facial zones.

I was skeptical at first about the cleansing power of this lotion, but was pleasantly surprised that it was indeed effective at removing oil and dirt. I’m not sure about dead skin cells since I don’t think they’re at all visible to the naked eye, but my skin definitely felt clean and hydrated after using the lotion.

Scent wise, this product doesn’t have an unpleasant or pungent scent, plus I didn’t detect any alcoholic content in it, which is the norm in most toners and lotions. I’m no nose expert so I can’t describe the scent, but it isn’t floral, it isn’t strong and it isn’t overly artificial either. (process of elimination!) Oh and despite the Pitera content, it doesn’t smell like rice to me, haha.

The Facial Treatment Essence is a step that follows after step 3 (the Mask) and is meant to be used daily, like the Facial Treatment Lotion. Texture and substance wise, it feels and looks exactly like the Facial Treatment Lotion but smells slightly different. Again, it’s not a scent I can put my finger on, so I’ll refrain from attempting to describe it.

Containing more than 90% Pitera, this facial essence helps the skin maintain its natural 28 day renewal cycle, leaving it smooth, radiant and crystal clear.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to see my skin become “radiant and crystal clear”, but it’s definitely smooth and supple, a feeling I definitely enjoy. And if you’re finding this familiar, well perhaps you’ll remember the Sammi Cheng Advert that showed on our local screens in the past (though I can’t find the Mandarin version..)

I distinctly remember there being a part where she would pat her face and go “pong pong pong” and that’s the exact feeling I get from my face at the moment. My skin is definitely “bouncier” and firmer, whilst being well hydrated. Hopefully, with regular use I’d be able to get the gorgeous skin that the SK II ambassadors have, because price-wise, I’m still unsure if it’s a skincare regime I’d invest in.

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