Monday, June 26, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 1 文化を習って、火山を見た。


Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village アイヌ民族博物館

All huts face the same direction and bears are regarded as gods of the mountains.

Traditional Ainu folk dance

Shiraoi Ainu Musuem and Village
http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/en/

The first attraction we visited was the Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village. The Ainu (Means 'human'.) people aren't really considered Japanese but they are the indigenous people of northern Japan. They believe that gods exist in all things, such as nature and animals, and that each entity comes from its own world and will return when it has completed its role. (source)

We were just in time for the Traditional Ainu folk dances, which happens every other hour. The hosts spoke only in Japanese but fret not, they have their scripts printed in a couple of languages which you can borrow. ◡̈ The songs and dances were really interesting and the village was incredibly tranquil and pretty.

(There's this section, though, where some bears and dogs are kept in incredibly cramped cages. ): You're not supposed to feed the animals but there was no one guarding, so there were a couple of visitors throwing food in and shouting at the animals to wake them up. )': Several complaints have been made online so hopefully, something gets done soon! )


Jigoku-dani 地獄谷

Earth boiling water.

Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley)
http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/?lang=en

Next stop was Hell Valley at Noboribetsu. This was basically my secondary school Physical Geography dream come true. Hot steam vents (Fumaroles, I think.) and white clouds of sulphur smoke littered the entire landscape. It was the first time that I saw how 'alive' the earth, which was really cool. I could't stop staring at the little boiling bubbles the earth was cooking!


Shoyu (Red) Ramen from Ippontei 一本亭の醤油(赤)ラーメン

Ramen Ippontei
http://good-hokkaido.info/en/ramen-ippontei/

For lunch, Mum found Ramen Ippontei which was included in the Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. It's a really small restaurant, which closes the minute they finish selling what they have prepared for the day. When we went there, it was actually full house (Everyone was Japanese. We were the only foreigners.) so we had to wait for a little while, which was totally worth it. I ate the bounciest noodles ever, incredibly al dente! And the broth was so rich but wasn't too overwhelming... It was the best ramen I had during the trip. :D

The only thing is that the people (Family?) who run the restaurant only speak in Japanese but if I remembered it right, they have got a menu in English so you can just point to whatever that you want. There are pictures anyway, so.

But just in case, Google has this really useful app called Google Translate. Download it, click on the camera icon, hover over Japanese words and tadahhh! The app will translate them into English for you and it's pretty accurate.


Aboard the gondola lift at Usuzan Ropeway 有珠山ロープウェイ。

Going up Mount Usu, which last erupted on March 31, 2000. That's Showa Shinzan, a baby mountain. (more)

Lake Toya 洞爺湖 and Showa Shinzan 昭和新山

Clouds casting shadows on Lake Toya 洞爺湖。

Gin’numa Great Crater formed during the 1977 eruption. (more)

Usuzan Ropeway
http://usuzan.hokkaido.jp/en/

The last attraction for the day was Mount Usu. It's an active volcano that has erupted 4 times in the last 100 years. We took the gondola lift up the mountain and the view at the peak was breathtaking. I don't exactly go for scenery but I was really wow-ed. It was just so beautiful... You could see the whole of Lake Toya (And how the clouds were casting shadows on it.), Showa Shinzan and the crater, which had smoke emitting out of it and I couldn't stop staring. It really reminded me of 君の名は and I was telling my brother that it would be life-changing if we could go over to the other side. Haha. We will literally go over to the other side if we go near it. Hahaha. Anyway, for the sporty ones, there are different hiking trails which you can take and each has its own duration and unique features. There are actually several blogs on the Internet detailing these trails, so Google away to find your best route! ◡̈

At the base of Mount Usu, there are several exhibits about the history of the place and of course, a pretty big souvenir shop. Hee. The souvenir shops that we went to on our trip sold mostly the same things and prices were consistent. Mum was looking out for certain snacks from Potato Farm but they were OOS. One of the sales people told us that it was because Japan doesn't have enough potatoes at the moment. :\ (more)


Standard Japanese-Western style room for 3-4 people.

The dinning area.

Pretty fireworks for the hotel wth.

The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort
http://en.nonokaze-resort.com

And finally, we checked into the best hotel everrr! As mentioned earlier, Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. did all the bookings for us so we really had no idea how grand this was. Thank you, Megumiさん, for including this into our itinerary! ♡ The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort, of course, overlooks Lake Toya and the service, food and rooms were a-mazing!!! The 3 of us were like, it would be very okay if we could just spend the rest of our trip in this hotel. Hahaha.

(Psst, if you're looking out for hotel deals, check out HotelsCombined! It compares prices for hotels across credible and top travel sites for you, so that you can get the best deal with just a few clicks.)

We were given the Standard Japanese-Western style room. And it had everything, including skincare from Shiseido, pyjamas and yukatas! Dinner and breakfast were buffet and the selection was so good... Gosh, best hotel everrr! Seriously. And oh yeah, there were fireworks at night. Like whuttt??! We, including the parental units, really didn't want to leave. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ)۶~~♥♥♥

But all good things have to come to an end and greater adventures awaited us. Like cakes and ice-cream. Hahaha. See you in the next entry! :DD

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Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Ainu Village + Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 0 北海道に着いた。


Lake Toya 洞爺湖

2 weeks ago, my family and I were in Japan for the very first time. Hokkaido, specifically. I was really excited because gosh, I have been trying to learn the language for about 3 years and maybe I could finally use it? *hopeful face* But... What a joke, I was terrible at it. Hahaha. Here's an example:

ガイド: Which language do you speak?
Me: Umm 英語と中学 chuugaku で話せます。(I speak English and middle school. Meant to say 'Mandarin 中国語 chuugokugo'.)
ガイド: ????????????!

Hahaha yep, that's 'Pre-advanced Japanese' for you. Hahaha. But anyway, I'll be attempting to blog about the entire trip in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I'll be able to sustain because we all know how terrible I am at travel entries (Just click on the tab above.). Heh.

Anyway, a quick shoutout before I begin... Dad didn't want to join a tour group because it would be too rushed and we couldn't go free-and-easy because you really need to drive in Hokkaido. So Dad went online and found Megumiさん from Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.. Together with my parents, they came up with the itinerary for our trip. Her company actually provides their own itineraries but feel free to make changes. Mum wanted a couple of places to be included so we changed quite a bit and Megumiさん was more than happy to accede to our requests. Her emails were also very prompt and my parents really couldn't stop gushing about how good she was. :D It was expensive but everything was arranged and booked for us (No admin needed!), we got our own driver in a huge and comfortable MPV and we didn't have to rush at all. :DDD どうもありがとうございました!^^

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Chitose Air Terminal Hotel エアターミナルホテル

Air Terminal Hotel
http://www.air-terminal-hotel.jp/eng/

We flew via JAL and reached the New Chitose Airport around 8 plus at night. It didn't make any sense to travel a couple of hours to Lake Toya so we spent a night at the Airport Terminal Hotel. I shared a room with my siblings, which wasn't small and was very clean. The staff were incredibly friendly and patient too. And the breakfast buffet was a-mazing. Unfortunately, I deleted my photos because Apple kept telling me my iPhone had no more space but please take my word for it. ಥ_ಥ The food was simple but it was very well done. In fact, I think I had my best Japanese rice there. *nods seriously* (Lol. We didn't really look out for food places to go this time round.) So good. And I'm going to douse my rice in furikake from now on. :D



Lawson, 最高なところ。

Oh yeah, just a note! By the time we got our luggage bags and everything, most shops at the airport were closed or about to. So we got our dinner from Lawson, which is GREAT. Hahaha. My favourite place, besides the drugstores. Heh. It has everything. Bento sets, onigiris (YUM.), spaghetti, bread, snacks, SHISEIDO skincare kits (SHISEIDO, wth! We only have this at up class counters!), makeup etc. #haven (▰˘◡˘▰)


Watanabeさん's car, where I spent several hours sleeping comfortably.

When we went down to check out, Watanabeさん, our driver/ guide, was already waiting for us (He is always on time! Really good.). He prepared a bottle of water for each of us every single day and there were umbrellas and plenty of leg space and comfort. :D Also, he's very friendly and shared a lot about Hokkaido with us. He even sang to us during long rides and patiently taught us the song 'Suki Desu Sapporo 好きです札幌'. :D

See, I can't stop gushing over how good the people from Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. is too! Haha. Anyway, it was about a 45-minute drive to our next destination and I will blog about it tomorrow. ◡̈

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Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Ainu Village + Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Monday, June 19, 2017

My First Japan Beauty Haul 最初の日本で買った化粧品

(In an attempt to practise my Japanese more, I'll be translating my blog titles in Japanese. They are probably wrong so please correct me if you happen to know the language. ありがとう!^^)

So... This year's theme is 'minimalism' for me and I'm supposed to be on a permanent no-buying-(only-replacing) ban but it was a little challenging to leave Japan's drugstores empty-handed. I mean, have you seen those magical places??? I want to spend hours there like how Belle spends hours in the library. Heh. (I really tried to contain the shopaholic/ hoarder in me and bought only things that I know I will use frequently.)

First up, I got the famous LuLuLun Face Masks in Hokkaido-exclusive flavours, Lavender and Corn. These masks come in a pack of 7 because you're supposed to use them daily. Unfortunately, these contain fragrances so I just got a pack each to try. Since, you know, exclusive. Lol. This special duo set was found in one of the departure area's shops at the New Chitose Airport.

Next, is another pack of daily masks from Loshi Horse Oil. Japan has horse oil products everywhere and it's so difficult to pick because everything is in Japanese (And my Japanese is terrible. :\). But this specific golden one was recommended by someone on Dayre so I got it. If I remembered correctly, she said she had poreless skin the next day. Looking forward to that. :D Beside it is a red packet of Lishan Horse Oil Mask. This was a free gift because Mum bought a box of Lishan Horse Oil. *points below*

As mentioned earlier, Japan has a ton of horse oil products but the Lishan Horse Oil has some kind of an award sticker on it (Not Cosme.) so I asked Mum to get that. I think the more well-known one is the Son Bahyu Horse Oil, which I'm currently using for my lips, but you don't see that everywhere. For those who are curious, you can get the latter from Singapore's Tokyu Hands, at an inflated price. :\

The Flowfushi Mote Liner is another Dayre recommendation (The beauty community there is great!). It comes in black, black brown, brown and navy, the last of which I was really tempted but maintain, inner shopaholic monster. Maintain. I tried the liners in stores and once they dry, they really don't budge. Also, the brushes are thin and firm, which make drawing easy, especially for beginners.

Then, it's another box of masks (Haha.) but this one has a Cosme sticker on it and it took first place in 2016. I came across the Minon Amino Moist Mask on Reddit (Another super great community! In fact, the greatest on the Internet.) and it was in every single drugstore, so yep. Also, apparently, this is meant for dry and sensitive skin a.k.a me. :D

Here, I have 3 acne creams which Candice from The Makeup Box blogged about. Ever since Erycane was discontinued, I have been on the hunt for my Holy Grail zit zapper and hopefully, I find it in one of these. *fingers crossed*

The Shiseido Moilip is yet another recommendation on Dayre. Haha. And it's really, really good for dry weather. My lips were flaking pretty bad in Hokkaido and my favourite DHC lip balm wasn't working (Btw, this is dirt cheap in Japan. Like SGD5 dirt cheap. Wth, Watsons!). But just one night of this potent balm and tadahhh, relief and smoothness. ◡̈ It's a bit much for Singapore though. Not that it's uncomfortable or anything like that, but price-wise, it's a lot more than the DHC one.

Finally, it's a small kawaii bottle of Hyaluronic Acid which I got because there was the Cosme sticker (No. 1 in 2007, which is actually a very long time ago...). You can drop a little of this in shampoos, face lotions, lip balms (?) etc. to boost hydration.

And yep, that's my first Japan beauty haul! Unfortunately, I can't remember the prices but they are mostly below SGD20. I will be using them in the coming weeks so let me know if you have any questions! ◡̈

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Keeping My Earrings

Trust and love are wonderful, but don't forget the earrings.
-Estée Lauder

I don't really wear accessories, save for a watch and earrings. The watch that I usually have on is a black Baby-G, which was bought with my first paycheck. I have a couple of other Casio ones, a red one from my parents and that's about it. Earrings, on the other hand, make a different story. I first got my ears pierced when I was 18, then when I was 19, 20, 23 and 26. I can remember the ages only because things happened and I wanted to remember them kind of permanently, so I got my ears pierced. Heh.

Anyway, earrings are usually the only accessories that I look out for when I'm shopping, especially in Bangkok. And since I go to the Land of Smiles quite frequently, I have amassed many, many pairs. *points above guilty* (Yes, earrings are on my not-to-buy-ever list.)

I usually keep my earrings in tiny ziplock bags, stuffed in a vintage chest of drawers. But out of sight means out of mind and I end up forgetting them. Quite recently, I visited my mentor's new apartment and she kept her earrings in little cubby holes in a drawer, which made them very visible. I haven't got an extra drawer but I have a happy place called Daiso. The above box cost SGD2 and though it can't contain all my earrings, at least I remember more of them.

(This frivolous piece is my attempt to KonMari my extremely cluttered room, though it's more tidying than throwing stuff away.)

Off to watch a Meryl Streep movie before dinner. She's my latest obsession. :D

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

How I decorate my face before bed

I have been 'decorating' my face before bed for the longest time. And I used to do it in front of this full-length mirror in my parents' room in the old house. Each time I stepped in, Dad would cheekily announced to Mum "Char's going to decorate her face. We will need the lights on for another hour.". Heh. Well, it helps me wind down for the night. :D

The following post comes mostly from my Dayre account, which I guess I'm not going to continue? Haha. Dayre's really convenient and it's more of a blog blog but I have too much here to abandon (Since 2010.). I still don't have a direction that my OCD/ semi-perfectionist self needs to take and that's okay. I am a mess and messes are beautiful. So there. Ha. Heh.

Okay, so from my Dayre with almost no edits, presenting to you my core skincare routine. :D

(I'm too lazy to retype this. I talk so much. :\ And I tried embedding my Dayre but it was so awful aesthetically. :\ I promise this will be the only entry here that's so rabak.)

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21/05/17: The inside of my head, day 1.
(original post)

Writing on Dayre has been an unnecessarily huge dilemma, just because you're only allowed to post using your phone (Right???) and I like the tapping sounds of the keyboard. But I have been stalking the #dayrebeauty community so much. It has almost become a nightly ritual, right before I hit the bed. And I want to share my beauty finds too. And also, bits and pieces of my life which I capture with my phone. Apps are so much easier/ more convenient to edit than Photoshop.

Still trying to figure out how this platform works but I will post my skincare routine in a bit because I haven't had skin this clear since God knows when. Right after I finish one piece out of my mountain backlog of Japanese homework. :\ My goal is to do one piece every day and hopefully conquer this mountain by the end of the holidays. And also, finally figure out 60% of what my classmates are saying.

Core Skincare Routine (Part 1)

Oh yay, I'm done! Picked a relatively short piece of homework, though I didn't quite know what was going because it was about Retinal Detachment. In Japanese. Mmhmm.

Anyway, here's my core skincare routine. By core, I mean what I have been using everyday recently. Unfortunately (Maybe?), our skin is a living organ so it changes according to our environment. My skin, unfortunately, happens to be rather reactive so I add and minus products according to its needs quite frequently.

Step 1: Cleansers

Okay, so these are my daily cleansers; Skin Origin's Cleansing Milk and Bioderma's Sensibio Make-up Removing Micelle Solution. I subscribe to the double cleansing method but I only cleanse once, at the end of the day.

If I'm going to exercise and if I have makeup on, I will use these two. But if I'm bumming around at home, then I will just swipe on Bioderma Sensibio or Witch Hazel & Rose Water Cleansing Toner.

The Skin Origin Cleansing Milk was recommended by my facial therapist. Because my skin is sensitive, a cleaning milk is more suitable. It's less harsh yet it still cleans away my sunscreen and makeup. I have been using Déjàvu Fiberwig (Extra Long) as mascara so it comes off quite easily. But if I'm using a tougher one, then I will need some Jojoba Oil to clean it off.

The cleansing milk was really quite expensive but it doesn't leave my skin dry and tight. And it's actually pretty soothing.

The Bioderma Sensibio is everywhere so I don't really need to talk about it. Umm... This is probably my 4th bottle already and I have a backup just sitting on my study table, waiting eagerly to be used. ٩(^‿^)۶

Step 2: Toners and intermediates

(Hmm... This entry is becoming really long, for a hi-I-am-trying-this-and-may-quit-if-it-doesn't-work-out kind of thing. Heh.)

I didn't think toners were necessary for the longest time because I didn't use them for many years, and my skin was relatively okay. But after reading Reddit's Asian Beauty quite obsessively and trying it out for myself, I do agree that skincare absorbs better on damp skin. And that's what I use my Witch Hazel & Rose Water for. Also, because it's expiring this year.

I do have Thayers as a backup (A Redditor was raving about it and I decided to try it again.) but I do love this simple, fuss-free Witch Hazel & Rose Water. Also, the ingredients are really simple. Just those 2 ingredients, purified water and some colouring. And the scent is light and floral and just so, so calming. (▰˘◡˘▰)

The CNP Peeling Booster is a discovery from stalking @sweetpea and is a recent addition (Just a week ago, in fact.) because my skin was looking dull and was getting quite clogged with blackheads. I was actually quite afraid to use this because my skin was just recovering from dry-air-induced eczema (Winter Itch.) but this chemical exfoliant (PHA) is supposed to be gentler AHA and BHA. I did patch test for a week, no irritations happened, took the plunge and covered my entire face with it.

And I have been continuously covering my face with it, happily. :D This is the solution to the bumps on my face which has been plaguing me for so impossibly long, that I thought I was just doomed to have them for the rest of my life. So thank you, @sweetpea! Ordered some travel-sized bottles for the brother, C and @katechiclove and hopefully I will be able to report back with good news too!

And finally, we have another famous product which is Drx's Comedone Formula. I started on this before the CNP Peeling Booster and it was helping with my skin's dullness and some bumps, but it was very slow. I'm guessing it was because I wasn't exfoliating my skin enough. Anyway, after adding the Peeling Booster, I'm noticing fewer blackheads and those that were always on my inner cheeks have pretty much disappeared. *grins*

(On a side note, I haven't tried using the Peeling Booster without CF.)

And yeah, that's the end of Part 1! Decided to make it into two parts because it was getting way too long. But I might check in again tonight because this Dayre thing feels a lot like Bridget Jones' Diary and gawd, did I love that book! Heh.

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22/05/17: Skin Talk Day 2
(original post)

Core Skincare Routine (Part 2)

I have sensitive skin and ever since I got older than a quarter of a century, my skin has been on the dry and dehydrated side. At least, based on what I have read and observed. Dry skin lacks oil and dehydrated skin lacks water. And having both means double the skin woes? Haha. Not a fact but it certainly feels that way. Heavy moisturisers keep my skin hydrated but birth a ton of blackheads. Light ones don't dot my face with full-stops but my skin feels tight and cracks into lines when I smile.

So it has been quite a feat trying to find a suitable moisturiser. Also, last year, I did laser, had the most beautiful skin ever, went to Korea and developed eczema because of the dry air. Eczema on my face. It was the worst nightmare ever. ಥ_ಥ

Anyway, I'm so glad and thankful that my skin has kind of recovered but I really need to be more than 101% careful with the products that I slather on my face. Always do a patch test, people. Always. No matter how troublesome (PTs) and eager (you).

Step 3: Moisturizers

Carrying on from yesterday, these 2 make up the last step of my routine; Aveeno's Eczema Therapy Moisturising Cream and Sulwhasoo's Overnight Vitalising Mask.

Last December, when I got back from Bangkok, my skin started to act up. It was red and bumpy, especially around my inner cheeks. My usual go-to moisturisers weren't working so I decided to slather the Aveeno Moisturising Cream because I remembered my facial therapist telling me that this brand cured her client's Eczema. And... It worked for me too! I have been using it ever since, but in different amounts.

When I have consecutive late nights or I'm stressed out and my skin starts to act up, I spam it. But otherwise, I dot pea-sized amounts on my cheeks and forehead, gently massaged the cream in and slowly covering my entire face in it. I always leave my nose area to the last, because that's where most of my blackheads reside.

Sulwhasoo's Overnight Vitalising Mask is also a recent addition, just because Zalora had some really good Mother's Day deals. Haha. And given its usual price point, I'm really glad (Hmm... Maybe not.) that I can feel my face getting soft after each use. But right now, I still can't decide if it's a need or a want. Okay, technically, most beauty products are not 'necessary' but you know what I mean... Heh.

Winding down in 3 2 1.

In bed now, with Naruko's Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear Mask and all ready to start on another episode of Grey's Anatomy. 4 more days till the end of the term!

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

REVIEW: Cosrx's Centella Blemish Cream

Cosrx's Centella Blemish Cream was really something that I ordered out of desperation. Late last year, I was breaking out terribly on my inner cheeks, so I went to Wishtrend (Qoo10) and ordered a bunch of acne/ zit medication. And because JH has been raving non-stop about Cosrx, this cream found itself in my cart. I only started using it after my whole laser-winterland fiasco. And boy, do I love it! The above is actually my 2nd tub. And I have gotten my brother and C hooked on this too. *grins*

According to the information on Wishtrend, the Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream is made for sensitive, acne-prone skin. It is formulated to reduce stress on the skin through hydration and treatment that helps improve and relieve sensitive skin. It forms a non-oily barrier over the skin so that the natural ingredients can work on imperfections in peace. The base ingredient is Centella Asiatica Leaf Water. It is derived from Centella Asiatica, which is a medicinal herb that has been shown to help with wound healing by speeding the process, boosting antioxidants, increasing bloody supply and strengthening the skin.

The cream takes on an ointment-like feel and smells medicinal, which is actually pretty calming for me (Then again, I really like the smell of herbs, Chinese or Western.). I use it as the last step of my skincare routine, dotting only the areas which are red and spotty. And when I wake up in the morning, the zits don't completely disappear but redness is visibly reduced. No kidding. Tried and tested by my brother and C too. And the best thing is that it doesn't aggravate my eczema-prone skin! *throws confetti*

As mentioned earlier, the zits are still there but smaller. I see this more as a long-term, maintenance kind of skin care, rather than an immediate, aggressive spot treatment... Which makes it really ideal for sensitive skin. :D

There are other products in the Centella range such as the toner and the ampoule but they weren't as effective. I use the toner as an occasional mist (Just so that I use it up.) and half of the ampoule is just lying around in my toilet. :\ So if you're getting anything from this range, do pick up the cream first!

Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream is priced at USD15.20 on Wishtrend.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

RAMBLINGS: 28 and still not quite sure.

I have been feeling 'lost' for a very long time now. In fact, ever since school ended, I feel like I have been 'floating about'. School was easy because everything was planned for you. You completed this level, took an exam and moved on to the next. Some people hated how rigid and boring that was but adulthood seems to have too much freedom for me. I enjoy my job but that's about it. It's just a job (I'm not talking about the relationships/ friendships that come out of my job. But what my job actually is.). I love teaching JC Mathematics (I sincerely find it very cool.) but it ends when I come home. And I really have zero desire to climb the ladder (Which involves doing a lot of stuff that doesn't include teaching.), which I guess is the reason why I find myself in a very disposable position.

There are things that I want to do, but they are risky and I'm not much of a risk-taker. I'm scared of failing and I'm scared that if I went all out and I failed, I would have wasted a huge chunk of my life and I would be too old to rectify anything. But I also know that if I carried on with this road, I would die very sad.

I know how much this sounds like a spoilt kid with a first world problem. I do know, so I'm really sorry but this is my space. And I'm going to use it to figure out what I want to do with my life. Also, I'm not really a figure so I still can be a little selfish. Heh.
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Where blogging is concerned... It has always been a huge part of my life. But there was a point when I felt that all my daily ramblings were frivolous and switched to writing about beauty. Then, I got all caught up in the whole beauty-blogger business and I felt like I 'lost' myself even more. And this is why I haven't been blogging much and why I'm penning this down now.

I want to write again. No matter how frivolous it seems to be, this is my space and I want to write for myself. I want to embark on all my little projects again and I want this space to be a journal of all my little 'messes'.

So yeah. Like what P told me, do what you want but make sure it's from your heart. Here's to courage, more courage and even more courage. x

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

WWW: Shopping with Ezbuy

I have known about Ezbuy for a long time now, but it was only late last year when I started doing a lot of my online shopping on this platform. And I have been very, very happy. ٩(^‿^)۶ Hahaha. There are many things we want that can be bought for a lot cheaper on Taobao but it isn't exactly an easy task navigating the website because it's all in Mandarin (Sorry 老师!). While I can still search for the things I want (Thank goodness!) and get a brief idea of what the reviews are saying, going through the buying process would be a whole different (horror) story.

Enter Ezbuy, or otherwise known as hassle-free Taobao shopping. \(^-^)/ All you need to do is to add your items to your Ezbuy cart, check out, and Ezbuy will do the rest for you. Yes, including communicating with the Taobao sellers in Mandarin. How awesome is that! And it doesn't just end here. This service provided by Ezbuy comes with inspection to ensure that your items are correctly bought and not defective, and aftersales support.

For those who are concerned about hidden shipping fees, well, fret not! All costs, including shipping fees, are reflected on the Ezbuy checkout page. So you get to decide if you're comfortable with the shipping fees before purchasing. Absolutely no unwanted surprises when your items arrive! :D

Here's a quick tutorial on how to shop on Ezbuy:

See the orange search box at the top right-hand corner? You can search for a particular category of items or just copy off the link from Taobao! Alternatively, check out Ezbuy's specially curated menu of the latest trends.

Psst, Ezbuy just launched their own Korea Marketplace! Get all your K-beauty needs there!

Here's a tip: If you need more info about you item options, just place your cursor on top of the images. A little text box will appear!

Right at the bottom bar is where you will see the total shipping fees for all the items you have selected.

When your items have arrived, Ezbuy has 4 different ways to get them to you; neighbourhood collection, MRT collection, warehouse collection and home delivery. It is so convenient!

Once you have placed your order, you can check the status of it under 'My Account > My Order'.

Just for the month of April, all Ezbuy shoppers will enjoy all these value-added services. Do also check out Ezbuy Prime service where you can enjoy unlimited shipping at only $2.99. Also, just for you, dear readers, sign up for an account now and get a complimentary SGD10 shopping voucher by using this link https://bit.ly/lovecharlene65. No minimum spending is required to redeem it. :D

Alrighty, I hope this post has been useful for you. ◡̈ Stay tuned for the next one where I'll show you my recent loot!

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Monday, April 10, 2017

REVIEW: Bepanthen Ointment

I spend half my life searching for steriod-free eczema remedies because my skin always acts up when I'm stressed. And I'm really stressed now. ಥ_ಥ I seriously cannot wait for the June holidays to roll in but anyways...

Last month, my inner cheeks got really irritated. They were red and flaky, and my usual arsenal of creams just wasn't working. So I turned to my favourite-st people on Earth for help, i.e. Redditors (I love you.) and found Bepanthen Oinment. This is actually a cream meant for nappy rash but it healed some Redditors' eczema so I thought I give it a shot. I mean, if it's gentle enough for a baby's butt, then it prolly can't wreck that much damage to my already damaged skin right? If it doesn't work. Lol, such negativity! #fromapersonwhohasnthadgoodskininthelongesttime

Made in Germany, this off-white cream has quite a clinical smell but it isn't strong. It looks milky soft in the photo but it's actually quick thick and sticky. After putting on my moisturiser, I put two little dots of this cream on my inner cheeks and tap it in. It leaves behind a slightly sticky balm-like texture which doesn't go away, so if the fan were to blow your hair into your face.. Hmm, it's like wearing sticky lip gloss. Haha. It can get pretty annoying. Heh. So I usually do this right before bed and dab just a little in the morning.

The morning after I first used it, I noticed a visible difference. My inner cheeks were a lot less red and looked a whole lot happier. And it just got better and better. Of course, this is no miracle product. My redness remains (Lack of sleep. ಠ_ಠ) but it's a lot less and my skin doesn't itch and flake anymore, which is really rare for me. So yay, big hearts to Bepanthen and of course, Redditors. ♥

Bepanthen Ointment is priced at SGD8.90 at Guardian.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

REVIEW: Cosrx's Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

Cosrx is a brand that I have been deeply acquainted with for the past few months. It started out with the really innocuous-looking Centella Blemish Cream (Will be blogging about this the next time!) and now, I have half a drawer full of backups and a couple of new products which I want to try. Heh.

For those who are unfamiliar with the brand, Cosrx comes from Korea and it prides itself in using only the necessary ingredients to get maximum effects. Most of their products have ingredient lists that are really, really short, especially when compared with the other Korean skincare brands. It is super huge on Reddit's Asian Beauty because of its efficacy, in particular their AHA and BHA products and of course, the above Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.

The Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence contains 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate to help hydrate and repair damage skin and improve skin elasticity. I use a dollop of this right after cleansing. The essence is really gooey and can take quite a while to sink into the skin completely, so I will do it in layers and tap it in gently. If you use too much, then there's a tacky after-feeling but otherwise, it's okay, even for the day. I usually follow up with my usual amount of moisturizer at night but I'll use a little less during the day or skip it completely.

I didn't notice any immediate magic effect but rather, a gradual change. My leftover marks from a recent breakout went away quicker than usual, my skin feels plumper and healthier and the bumpy area on my inner cheeks has become smoother. I like applying a little of this on fresh zits too because it calms them down and makes them less angry. Recently, I started applying this on the top of my back where eczema was starting to reappear. I don't exactly think that this is a remedy for eczema but it really makes mine a lot less itchy. I also got my brother started on this and his old scars are clearing up quite a bit. :D

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is priced at USD15.20 on Wishtrend or SGD23.20 on Qoo10 (Wishtrend).

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Friday, March 17, 2017

REVIEW: La Roche-Posay's UVIDEA XL Aqua Fresh Gel SPF50 PA++++

La Roche-Posay's UVIDEA XL Aqua Fresh Gel SPF50 PA++++ was mentioned before in my Post-Laser Skincare Routine, but I thought I give a more detailed review now that I have completely finished it. It's actually the first sunscreen that I finished in a very long time. :D

The UVIDEA XL Aqua Fresh Gel contains Mexoryl® XL which is a highly effective chemical sun filter. But unlike the more commonly used ones like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, Mexoryl® XL doesn't penetrate the skin easily and so, chances of it disrupting hormones or causing skin allergies are pretty low. You can read more about it here. The sunscreen also contains Detoxyl and of course, the brand's signature thermal spring water which calms the skin helps keep signs of ageing at bay. This is free from fragrances and parabens, and is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic.

Made in France, the gel-like cream sunscreen comes housed in a 30ml pump bottle. I apply this after moisturiser and I find that this gel-like cream sinks into my skin really quickly. It gives a very satiny-smooth finish which makes a great makeup base. I pat on my powder foundation without any caking. It's not very calming but it doesn't irritate my ultra-sensitive skin. As the day progresses, I don't experience any excessive greasiness despite our insane weather. My pores feel like they are breathing just fine and it is really comfortable. You don't feel it on your skin at all. As for its effectiveness in sun protection, it's rather difficult to gauge but I haven't noticed any new freckles and current ones aren't darkening.

People with sensitive skin and who don't like the thickness and whiteness of physical sunscreens will really appreciate this. I already have got a backup just in case my other sunscreens decide to wreck havoc. Heh. It is a little pricey at SGD38.90 for a such a small bottle but Watsons and Guardian are always having sales, so it's pretty okay. :DDD

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