Sunday, December 9, 2012

Beauty Motivation

One good excuse I give myself for my obsessive online buying habit is self respect. I'm beginning to even think that it is a crime to not invest in your looks! Here's why.....

Admittedly, working in the beauty industry now, surrounded by men and women alike who really take good care of their looks, I probably have a higher need than the average woman to look my optimal as much as I can. Still, it is exactly because I am in this environment, I appreciate the motivation for looking good.

It is not always as superficial as I used to think. Among some people and in some cultures, such as the Japanese, looking good is out of self respect and respect for the occasion and people around them. Japanese women wear makeup not to hide flaws, but to show their respect for themselves, regardless of age, dedicating time and attention to look presentable. By respecting oneself, she respects others around them.

I hardly ever wore foundation before, or powdered my face. I thought effortlessly natural looking great skin was to be proud of. After working in this company and interviewing women from various cultures which take beauty seriously, I learned to appreciate the strive for skills and technique (vs sans effort) to look flawless and perfect (vs great).

Same with clothing. Dressing well isn't about brand names, but showing that you gave your look of the day some thoughts, not just pulling together random pieces of clean, wearable clothing. Sometimes I see little kids dressed in ill-matching colors and mix of random patterns (think ducky Tshirt with checkered pants and polka dot jacket and lace hair clip...), I can't help but frown and wonder why the parents are doing that to the kid. Just like you would teach your kid basic hygiene since they are young, why wouldn't you teach him/her basic dressing principles? For that, I thank my mom for dressing me and my brother really well since young.

How cool is it to have a job that inspires me to be more beautiful!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Five Years

Five years ago, around this time of the year, someone dear to me at the time decided to leave me and move to another country.  (A few months later, after briefly reappearing, he disappeared for good.)

After five years of imagining that scene of meeting unexpectedly one day, it happened.  We ran into each other in an airport.  Interestingly - or uninterestingly, rather - there was no exchange of warm smiles, no tears of joy or regret, no eye contact.  Rather, I blurted, "Oh.  My.  God."

Received a short note from him next morning, but I never replied.  Yes I was curious to know everything that had happened to him in past 5 years, but I decided not to reply.

Thanks for the wonderful, intoxicating memories.  I am now living in a real world, with a real dog, a real boyfriend.  True, real world is nothing like that bliss I lived in, it does not have that sparkle that disappeared with you - but it is so much more predictable and grounded.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Conscious, peaceful, natural, comfortable-with-each-other-without-drama love

A few years ago when Carrie Bradshaw in SATC said, "I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't live-without-each-other love" I could not agree more. 

Today, it no longer resonates with me. I appreciate love. Real love. Conscious, peaceful, natural, comfortable-with-each-other-without-drama love. 

For the first time, I'm enjoying someone's company so much that just watching TV feels so peacefully happy. A kiss on the cheek feels so sweet. A hug feels so warm and reassuring. 

I'm not madly in love. But even better than madly in love, I am loving the feeling of loving this person.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2011 Great Finds (&Recommendations)

1. La Mer cream
Awesome for very dry skin.

2. Top Chef (reality TV show)
My favorite TV show, it is really impressive the creative dishes these professional chefs can whip up given short time limits.

3. Valencia, Spain (side trip destination in Spain)
I adore Spain, and I have been to some of the most popular cities. A business trip took me to Valencia, a relatively smaller city, and I loved how bohemian it was while still offering plenty of interesting architecture to admire.

4. Shiseido Tsubaki shampoo, conditioner, treatment and conditioning spray
Truly impressive results I had never experienced - my sun damaged hair became shiny and manageable. It was like miracle.

5. Shiseido Integrate swivel eyeliner/ shadow in golden brown color
My friend recommended this product to me in Japan drugstore. It glides on smoothlJy, no smearing for hours, and can be blended to work like an eye shadow. It's a beautiful product. My "HG".

6. Marks & Spenser thermo underwear line and heat-generating black leggings
Warm, nice looking and extremely comfortable, I cannot live without them in the winter. I wear them to sleep, and sometimes underneath my sweaters when I go out. As for the black leggings - they are soft like silk and very slimming. Suggest to buy one to two sizes larger than your normal size so the fabric stretches less and looks more black.

7. for online bed linen
At such affordable prices, the bed linen is soft and smooth, of top hotel quality. Delivery is also extremely fast.

8. for cute beaded wrap bracelets

9. Earl Grey martini at 001 Bar (Wellington Street x Graham Street)
It's one of my favorite hangouts, a quiet but quaint bar with a secret entrance in the wet market. No door sign. Just a black door. No photos allowed inside.

10. Gianicolo Trail in Rome
Very nice walk with a great view of Rome. Loved it.

11. Kiehl's original musk fragrance and body lotion
I feel so innocent when I have that scent on me!

12. Fragonard perfume, Paris
I was staying in this very charming boutique hotel where they supplied guests with the Fragonard fig scented toiletries. I fell in love with the scent, researched the brand, and dashed to the Fragonard museum to look for it - sacrificing a longer visit to the Louvre.

13. Crepes in Rue Montparnasse, Paris
Quite a few good creperies in this street.

14. Moka stovetop espresso machines
After making good coffee at home myself, I had trouble drinking bad coffee in restaurants.

15. Unforgettable brigadeiro made by my Brazilian friend, Marianne
It's a special Brazilian sweet made with condensed milk and cocoa powder. I love it way more than chocolate.

16. Amazing molten chocolate pudding in Sirocco restaurant, Soho

17. Po Toi Island for a nice island hike
Totally undeveloped island, it is a great way to spend a day away from the city.

18. A few true java outlets in Sheung Wan for a nice coffee in a quaint neighborhood
Honestly, I don't even remember the name of the place I went to. But, I read that Cafe Loisl is another special one.

19. Shore bone-in cowboy rib steak
Steak heaven!

20. Oolaa, best brunch restaurant / cafe in Hong Kong to spend a lazy afternoon
Love the all day brunch menu. Love the leather sofas. Love the space!