Chanel's Cult Colors

Picture from chanel.com
Chanel is having a re-promo of their "Cult Color" Le Vernis: Beige, Particuliere, Pirate, Rouge Noir and Black Satin. Being a big Chanel nail polish fan, I've been following them for years, particularly when it started with Jade Collection circa 2009.

I don't know about you, but I feel there are better colors that would qualify into my personal the cult status than those five. Of course, I am no fashion guru, trend expert or such, but here are my five "cult" colors from Chanel:
  • Chanel Black Pearl. Unlike Black Satin, Black Pearl has, well, pearly finish to it that makes it that much wearable while still looking edgy and chic. Black Satin screams trendy to me, Black Pearl whispers sophistication.
  • Chanel June. A great Spring color for transitioning into Summer and late Summer as well. I cannot tell how many compliments I've got wearing this shade, everyone must ask what it is.
  • Chanel Tendresse. A great nude. Very chic, very barely-there.
  • Chanel Coromandel. Unlike Pirate, I think Coromandel has a little more depth to it, perhaps because of the golden shimmer, perhaps because of the base. It is mesmerizing to say the least. Also it leans warm, which means it works great on both warm and cool-toned skin and on blueish cold toes. The great red in my book. 
  • Chanel Morning Rose. For a very personal reason: I wore this color when BabyLorp was born. My nicely manicured toes cheered me up every time I looked at them during labor. Something sentimental, much like the nail polish you wear at your wedding, but this one is kicked up notches above (something to think about for those of you who are planning to have a baby: wear a nail color that you like!).

Five Chanel Le Vernis Personal "Cult" Colors

Honorable mention: Chanel Distraction. Not quite a coral, not quite a fuchsia either, it is a distraction.

What are your fave five from Chanel?


A Thankful Weekend

Having a free childcare (i.e. PapaLorp) for these past three days have been wonderful for me to recharge my battery, as a mother and as a person. In fact, I enjoy ToddlerLorp so much better by not having to worry about changing his diapers, preparing his meals, making sure he naps, etc. All his basic needs are covered by PapaLorp and I'm left to simply enjoy my family.

This wouldn't have been possible, also, without the sacrifices of so many men and women who defended our freedom, our basic need. I'm thinking particularly of the friends and family at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where the husband of my good friend from school and her family is stationed. Being a single mom while husband is on deployment can sometimes be very hairy, but my friend never flinch, knowing that this is what her husband dedicates his life for. He is not in the Army for getting through his college degree, he chose to be in the Army because of the dedication to his values. While I admire him for that, I admire my friend even more for sticking with him, through two re-deployments, while raising a son alone, go to school full-time and work part-time at night. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you, and we thank the sacrifices of their families as well. 


Odd bits and tips.

I was chatting with a friend today and I realized how much I love collecting odd tips for pretty much anything: cooking, makeup, life in general. Besides, who does not love a good tip? Here are a few to get the ball rolling:
  • When homemade broth is lacking depth in flavor, try adding lemon juice and/or sugar and/or soy sauce. Adjust them to taste, of course. Works for me every time.
  • For a deep, cystic pimple that is just emerging (you know when it does), dab over the counter hydrocortisone cream and cover with bandaid overnight. The cortisone decrease the inflammation and occlusive bandage will increase the absorption of cortisone. If you have higher-strength corticosteroid cream prescribed by your doctor, you can use this, too, but very, very sparingly because too much corticosteroid cream can cause thinning of the skin.
  • Rubbing hands under the water with stainless steel spoon (or fork, or anything) after chopping garlic will get rid of garlicky smell.
  • Wash your face in the morning using only water -- providing you washed it thoroughly the night before. I think I got this from several sources (including from Jennifer aka Madame Connoisseur here) and I was skeptical at first, but I tried and I never got any pimple/breakout from it.
  • Extra virgin coconut oil on everything. I'm talking about the coconut oil that is cold-pressed and still smells like coconut, very yummy in fact. I keep a big jar at home and I use it a lot on me (hair mask, lip balm, sauteing vegetables, also very useful for breastfeeding -- it has a mild anti-fungal property to keep the nasty thrush at bay) and on BabyLorp (as emollient/protective barrier against drool rash, diaper rash, etc.
  • Over-salted your soup/stew? Sugar works best. Potato doesn't. 
  • Get an extra mile from your retinoid creams by applying them on damp skin, not dry. 
Now your turn. What are some of your favorite tips?


Hot Weather Hair

Picture from glamour.com

We've been having a little taste of Summer here. Very unusually we had several days in the 80F! In an effort to look presentable while saving some time (see my previous post on how I get ready in the morning -- or I should say throughout the morning), I'm always on the look out for hair styling techniques.

My hair is naturally stick straight with somewhat of fine strands. I keep my hair about an inch longer below my shoulder as anything longer would prevent me from styling it fast. I also have got lots of baby hair sticking up all over from the nape and the crown, thanks to the shedding I've experienced after the delivery of BabyLorp (update: apparently quite a common problem, as discussed here in The Daily Connoisseur's video). In short, second day hair for me is a total mess, unintentional mullet to be exact. Wash and go used to be my go-to but I can't do it anymore due to this mullet predilection. So, I came across this inspiration of braided, boho chic updo of a sort. Heck, if it's chic enough for Diane Kruger, it's chic enough for me! Even our own Lisa Eldridge sported this look here in her video.

If you fancy the messy plaits, here's the tutorial straight from Adam Reed himself. I use Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray on dry, second-day hair, which gives me texture and enough hold to do the braiding. I simply keep on braiding until I cannot do it anymore (due to limited dexterity, that is, not the lack of hair), then I pull everything into a pony tail, loop and secure with bobby pins. I finish off with spraying the whole thing with strong hold hairspray (I use Aveda Control Force at the moment). This 'do won't budge, even through roughhousing with the Toddler in the park.

Do you have hair styling tricks for the summer or are you lucky enough to stay naturally coiffed?


Get Ready with Me: Everyday Edition.

5:00 AM or something.. wake up groggy to ToddlerLorp's cry for Mama, reassure him back to sleep, perhaps catch some more snooze.

6:30 Toddler is fully awake now and roaring to go. Kick PapaLorp's leg, it's his turn now to feed the Toddler.

7:30 My turn to be fully awake, but not really. Cooking breakfast while still trying to wake up. Hovering over hot stove on one foot while the other foot is being used by Toddler as a climbing post.

8:00 Frantic dash to brush teeth and use the toilet while Toddler screaming madly for Mama.

8:15 Papa heads out to work and he is late again!! Sing the "Good Bye" song with Toddler. Put Toddler into his training pants and hope he won't pee in it while....

9:00 Try to catch a quick snooze on the floor while Toddler uses my body as a platform to practice more climbing acrobatic skills.

9:30 Give Toddler his morning snack, strap him secure in his high chair. With the wild bear now in its enclosure, time to put on the uniform of the day (thanks to my Spring Uniform, this only takes a minute). Next, wash and put on the face of the day, i.e maybe just sunscreen and a bit of foundation. If the Toddler is especially hungry/enthusiastic about the food, then maybe add mascara and blush. If the Toddler is really, really, really happy being strapped for another 5 minutes, then maybe add tightlining to the eyes.

9:45 Go frantically back downstairs and find food all over the floor. Clean food and Toddler.

9:50 Catch Toddler and explain steps needed to be taken to go to the park for the 100th time, "Number 1. go potty, 2. put on diapers, pants, t-shirt, and jacket, 3. get strapped in the carseat, etc. etc."

10:20 Finally out the door to the park. Have loads of good time in the park with Toddler.

11:00 Go back home, put Toddler in bed for his morning nap. Cross fingers and pray that he will go down for a nap, a long one preferably.

11:15 Ahhhh.... peace. Take proper shower + proper hair wash + proper blow dry + proper makeup. Now I'm finally ready!


What Mama Really Wants

Image from flower89.com

The second part of Mother's Day installment is all about gifts of course. A part from the brunch, a day at the spa, flowers, perfumes, special hand-made art from the child, all the works (hint-hint Papa & ToddlerLorp!), I think all mothers really want an all-year-round gift that is not at all expensive, but shows that her effort is really appreciated.

Motherhood is a never-ending job. Before I became a mother, I always thought that women who are mothers are asking for it themselves. It being the management of their own children. Well, I didn't know any better... While we did make the decision with your own volition, none of us can even imagine or begin to realize the gravity of the immense responsibility that comes with motherhood until the children are here. It's like you are applying for a new job, then you work to learn the skills needed to do the job well, then you find out that the job demands more and more of your time, and the learning curve gets steeper and steeper, and you always need to be one-step ahead, and you ever get a break. Not even weekends, nights, holidays.

So, here's some last-minute gift ideas that you can give all year round and without a cost. The best part is, you can give these to any mothers out there while you go to work, do groceries, run errands, etc. These things are especially useful for mothers with small kids.
  • Offer to return her grocery cart back while she is trying to load up her children in the carseat and the groceries in the trunk
  • Open the door/help her hold the door open when she's trying to push the stroller in with one hand 
  • .... and speaking of the toilet, let her and her children use the big, handicap stall where the diaper change table usually is. Let her go first, if you can, because children are not good at waiting for just about anything but especially for toilets.
  • Hold the elevator door when she's trying to push the stroller in/out, or try to nudge her reluctant children to go out of the elevator (Kiddos think elevator ride is a ride. A RIDE! Nobody wants to stop, of course.)
  • When you see her on the grocery check out line flustered with a whining boy who wants candies, just move to the next check out line and give her some space
  • Give up your seat for her and her small children in the bus, train or other public transport.
  • When you see her about to cross the street to a park, stop your car long enough and far enough to give her and her children some space
  • Give her a break. If you know a mother and if you are comfortable with children, offer to watch them while she is taking a shower, or a sip of coffee at the corner shop. It doesn't take long for us to recharge our battery throughout the day, but when we don't, we get drained v. quickly. If you see a mother with a wailing kid in your local restaurant, give her a break by not looking at her. God knows what kind of day they have been in. Give her and the child some space to regroup. 
Finally, you don't have to compliment her children out of politeness, or try to make chit-chats with the tots if you don't want to. Even if you are not a child/kid person, these small gestures are greatly appreciated. I think these are just everyday manners and politeness that we can all extend to our fellow human being.

To all the mothers out there, wishing you a happy, relaxing day. May you be spoiled rotten, if only for a day.

P.S. For more Mother's Day gift ideas, flock over to The Beauty Look Book, or The Honest Toddler.


Musings about Moms

Mother's Day is coming up in the U.S. and I have two posts regarding Mother's Day. First up is this commercial video stopped me dead on my track hunting One Direction 'tubes:

Granted it is just an ad, but what strikes me is that both women are mothers and they are somewhat force of nature.

Now that I'm a mother, it is hard not to compare myself with my mother, which I sometimes found to be annoying. My mother and I grew up and live in very different world with different functions to fulfill in our role as mothers. Growing up, I remember her saying that she didn't want to be the same kind of mother that her mother was, and I found myself thinking and saying the same thing. Yet, I know there are things that I do or say that are exactly what she did.

Regardless, I'd like to think that my mother taught me a thing or two. Here are some quirky and un-quirky things I learned from my mom.

  • That women can have a career and a family (with a lot of help, which my mom failed to emphasize)
  • Household chores are important things to master and do well
  • Money is for saving, not for spending. "Buy only things that you need, not things that you want." (Note to self: v. prudent advice but still need to work on this)
  • Dental hygiene is also very important (she is, afterall, a dentist)
  • Hold your clutch close to your body and open your eyes wide while out and about in the crowded places (it really saved me one time from being mugged in a crowd, thanks mom!)
  • Learning to play tennis can open up doors
  • If you want to be taken seriously, wear less makeup (now I think what she really meant was to look polished without looking overdone)
  • You can eat faster and easier if you use fork instead of chopsticks
  • Don't be afraid of blood and gut (and thanks to mom, I love dissection in High School Biology)
  • When you get nauseous from motion sickness, look to things far in the horizon, that'll lessen the sickness
My mom is no Eunice Shriver, but she is also a force of nature of herself. Whenever she saw me, the first thing that came out of her mouth would be, "We should have redone your braces and pulled the two molars to make room for the rest," and the second would be, "Stand tall, sit straight up, and don't cover your mouth when you laugh."

Don't we love our mothers? Please share with us some quirky/un-quirky things you learned from your mom.


Summer Casualty

What? It's not even summer yet, but the heat has claimed its first victim.

I guess I never learned. Every summer, I always ruin a beauty product or two because I leave it baking in the hot car. This one is my beloved FaceStockholm for J.Crew Peony Pink. I use this so much, I put it in the diaper bag and one day, I forgot to take the bag with me while playing in the park.

Oh well.. an excuse to buy a new lipstick, right?


Beauty Things I Gave Up:

  • Shimmery blush/highlight. Even with it, my skin looks significantly aged compared to ToddlerLorp's youthful, smooth, plump, dewy, natural glow and he isn't even trying. In fact, the shimmer transfers onto Toddler's pristine skin and I can see every bit of it. For highlight, I use Burberry Fresh Glow or a dab of La Roche Posay DermoPediatrics sunscreen since it looks so sheen-y (Interestingly, Lisa Eldridge featured a primer to be used as highlight here -- much like what I've been doing with LRP).
  • Shimmer on lips. Because it transfer onto ToddlerLorp (see above).
  • Winged eye liner. Because my eyes are hooded, and because it never looks good on me. If a winged look is desired, I use a few falsies on the outer corner instead.
  • Shimmer on eyelids. Because it only accentuates the fine wrinkles and crepey skin.
  • Undereye concealer right up to the lash line. I leaned this from Bobbi Brown (see it in her video above), ugh, what a bad advice it was, at least for me! It makes my eyes look puffy, my wrinkles pronounced, etc. And another thing I have un-learned from Bobbi Brown:
  • Setting concealer with powder. Because it looks cakey no matter what and it makes whatever I'm trying to conceal looks more obvious. Yet another thing I un-learned from Bobbi:
  • Pilling up eye cream, corrector, concealer, and powder under the eyes. Fine, thin, ageing skin won't magically plump up just by applying eye cream. I found the trick is using less product and only on the areas where concealing are needed.
  • Eyelid primer. Because no matter what, shadows will crease at the end of the day. I use sheer wash of colors instead.
  • Waxing my upper lips. Because it is painful and it breaks me out. I shave instead (and no visible 5 o'clock shadows so far).
  • Shaving my legs. Because of the stubbles. I wax instead.
  • Tweezing my eyebrows. Because fuller brows = youthful face.
  • Dyeing and perming my hair. Because virgin hair is a lot sexier and chic.
  • Tanning, faux or otherwise. Because I never look natural with it.
  • Expensive shampoo. I have never came across one that will do the job after it rinses off.
  • Expensive mascara. Because the cheaper versions do the job as well.
  • Makeup dupes. Because the real deal is the real deal, and I'll never have to waste money finding the perfect dupe.

And a few beauty things I picked up:
  • Sunscreen. Religiously. Rain or shine.
  • Chemical exfoliant and retinol, nightly.
  • Tight-lining from the top part of the lash lines.
  • Blow drying at home. Good hair day makes me feel good and it even lasts till the next day or two.
  • Giving thanks. Feeling good inside = looking good outside.
What are yours?


Inside My Makeup Bag Now

  1. LaVanilla The Healthy Deodorant:
    a surprise find considering how stinky I can be most of the days (thanks hormones!). I think it's good for now when I'm not sweating too much, but I know I won't use this during summer months.
  2. The Honest Company Sunscreen:
    super white but super effective for the Toddler and me. I slather it on liberally on both of us.
  3. Burberry compact mirror.
  4. Burberry Lip Mist in Field Rose
  5. Burberry Lip Glow in Mallow Pink
  6. Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Pink Lily
  7. Clinique High Impact mascara sample
  8. Sonia Kashuk covered lip brush
  9. Hair tie
  10. Shiseido eye lash curler
  11. CanMake Cream Cheek No. 5
  12. RMS Beauty Modesty (sample pot)
  13. Boscia blotting papper 
  14. Supergood Serum SPF 30 sample
Makeup bag handmade by yours truly. Missing in action: another small hard case which contains my perfume samples.