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From Doha, With Love : A Total Make-Up Blunder

DO you know how it feels to be on an 8-hour flight and suddenly realise that you've forgotten to pack something you can't live without? Well, I do. It's an engulfing, horible feeling of regret and stupidity, and you wish you were more careful in packing your stuff. That's exactly how I felt when I was above the clouds, flying across the Indian Ocean en route to Doha, Qatar to my husband, when I couldn't recall placing my make-up pouch into my luggage. Now, that's a total make-up blunder. Buying a whole new set of make-up isn't fun when you're on a holiday because...

a)It's EXPENSIVE. An entire range including a good mosturiser or foundation, face powder, concealer and blusher is dear. You wouldn't want to end up spending all your money on things you already have at home.
b) It's NOT EASY to find something that suits you well, especially in Doha. You'd be surprised to learn that some brands you are used to, are probably not heard of in som…

Running With Christmas In The Heart

WHEN it comes to running, I will always have Bob Dylan's Christmas In The Heart album to thank for. It's weird I know, but I must've listened to it like 10,000 times(since it was released in Oct 2009), sometimes over and over again, during long runs. Despite it being a Christmas album, I love running with Christmas In The Heart all year round simply because the country-style, jolly music gets me happy, and against Dylan's slow pace, I feel like a galloping horse as I run.

Running never came easy to me. I am still a new runner, since I only began early last year, however, I've improved so much to my surprise. Intially, I struggled even with 10 minutes of  running, but persistance won me over. I ran almost everyday, and pushed myself to run a minute or two longer each time. My friend Reeni, who is an avid runner, sometimes ran along and gave me tips. We ran at the gym, different parks and terrains. Over the months, I went from 10 mins to an hour, and sometimes longer…

The Glitter Chandelier Earrings

WHEN Christmas approaches, one of the fun things we do at my editorial desk is a nice, warm Christmas party. Every one of us, takes the effort to finish and clear stories, and close pages in time to make a gathering possible (it's not easy to get all editorial team members together at one time, especially in a daily publication team). We dress to a theme, have great food, and...exchange gifts! Last year, my Secret Santa, Sam, gave me a Byrd pen knife. It may be small, but it's the sharpest and sturdiest pen knife I've ever owned! It turned out that I was Sam's Secret Santa (we were each other's Secret Santa randomly through a draw), so I bought him a wind-chime - I tell ya, it not easy to shop for a burly man, who, is into knives and bug photography.

So when I got a female name in the 2010 draw last week, I was just too glad. Bavani, my team leader, is a woman, who, adores glitter and accesories, and that's just up my alley. I didn't need to hunt for a gift…

An Unfortunate Dress Incident

EVERYTIME things go terribly wrong for me, I console myself by thinking that it could've been a worse situation - like, if my car breaks down at a petrol station, I'd thank God with a relieved sigh, because it'd be much harder to get help if the old Vitara died on me on a dark, desserted highway, with very little or no mobile signal at all. Fluttery, long-lashes or not, I know, through experience, that it's not easy to get help from complete strangers to jump-start a stalled car even at a petrol station full of people, who may seem like caring Malaysians. While I've had kind strangers offering help during emegencies, most are just plain selfish. It's sad, really.

Though it wasn't car trouble this time, last Friday was a testing day. It was a working day, I was getting from one place to another, and in between that, I bought a black, babydoll dress I thought was nice and decent, for a Christmas party I was invited to in the evening. I desperately needed one …

Greetings from Germany

WHEN I was a kid, during the days when postal mail was still pretty much the only way to go about sending greetings cards and letters, Decembers were a month to wait by the window for postmen, bearing messages. In my world, they were like Santas. During Christmas seasons, I looked out for them, postmen, with Christmas hopes, and, at other months, I awaited letters from my pen pals.

In the late 80s, early 90s, there was a system where you can mail-order a pen friend. You could decide on a person's age, sex and country by paying a small sum, and the company/ agency found you a match accordingly. I ordered my first pal through this service when I was 12. Some weeks later, I received a mailing address of an Italian boy around my age by a Milano surname. Mail ordering him was exciting, but somehow, when I finally saw my deal printed on a paper, I lost all interest, and ended up not writing to him.

Months passed, and one day, I received a mysterious blue envelope, with my name written i…

A Christmas Cornucopia

SOME music touches your soul. It's so powerful, it moves you to tears or laughter, and connects or re-connects you to love, life and hope. Amidst many Christmas albums this year, Annie Lennox's A Christmas Cornucopia, has touched and re-connected me to the spirit of the season at a new level. The entire composition, which is soulful and rich, has been a hair-raising experience for me. I'd like to share the same experience with all, along with a universal hope of love, joy and peace, as we remember the Child, who was born unto us to save humanity. In that pretext, Lennox herself is a great individual in her works towards humanity. The Annie Lennox Foundation raises funds to conduct educational programmes pertaining to HIV/ AIDS for women and children in Africa. So after listening to it on day one, I went back on day two to purchase a few more CDs as gifts. Something as good as this needs to be shared.
The album, which was launched in mid November in the UK and US, comprises…

The Agate Daisies

THERE is something therapeutic about wire works. Everytime I sit down to bend and shape wires, I am thrilled at how beautiful they can be when tastefully crafted. Seeing that always leaves me with a high that makes me feel like I'm an artisan, and that's very inspiring. For Julie's necklace, I was toying around with some wires when this idea of combining shaped wires and beads turned up. I experimented with some coppery wires and a variety of stones including pearls, turqoise and glittery crystals till I found these gorgeous flower-shaped black agates at my beading school. When I saw those, I also saw Julie's necklace right away. I love the glossy black stones, and in such daisy shapes, they look like dark herbal candies. Sweet. So I made Julie some Agate Daisies.
 
 



Making this piece was so much fun. In fact, I rushed home by day end just so I could begin working on it. Snipping silvery wires with a cutter and using a wire-shaping plier, I curled each piece i…

Review: Talika Lipocils Expert

THE power of ads is amazing. It doesn't matter how immune you are to the promises of the hundreds of ads you see around you everyday, but there is always that one ad to win you over. When you see it, you let yourself slip away(sometimes immediately) and before you know it, you are at the cashier counter, swiping that card or paying cash for a product or service you probably don't need. It doesn't usually happen to me, but, it did about 4 months ago when I saw a huge poster (pic above)of a blue iris, long lashes, and statistics of how well the product lengthened, darkened and curled lashes in just 28 days. There is something about numbers that help to close a deal, and, this ad had just too many of it for me to resist. So, impulsively I parted with RM185 for the Talika Lipocils Expert lash enhancer. I didn't need it, but, I was lured.
The product promised visible lash enhancement in 28 days, but I saw a difference after 2 weeks of daily (evening and morning) application…

The Fairy Light Necklace


CHRISTMAS is just a month away. Many are actively thinking about gifts and my aunt Vic did too. So she asked me to make two sets of necklaces for her sisters, Doris and Julie. All she said to me was 'make something nice'. Big help there, but I guess, sometimes when the ball is in your court, it's easier to get a grip of things, as it can be fun to pick and choose and create something for someone. Days later, I went into my work space and looked at all my samples and materials, and thought of Doris, a young pharmacist. Quite a few display samples shouted Doris at me. My attention, however, fell on this small, tangled up ball of beads, hiding at a far corner. It looked messy but once pulled at the opposite ends, it plumped up into a beautiful piece of necklace. My beading teacher calls it the Tarantula Web Necklace and it's one of my favourites. I love it's pixie edge and it can be a playful and formal design all at the same time. So there&…

Strings and Seed Beads


  MY fascination with beads began even before I could talk. My late grandmother Mdm. Manonmani was my greatest influence. As a child, I sat on her bed, watching her get dressed for church every week (it is also by watching her that I learnt the art of tying a saree). Grandma wouldn't deck up jewellery on herself like a Christmas tree. Her style was simple and elegant, and many remember her for that. She wore a high bun, a pair or earrings and a matching bead strand, which was usually strung by her. She bought loose beads and strung them to match her clothings.

As I grew up to be a little girl, I got my own beads. She'd buy me strings and colurful seed beads to play with and I'd string whatever I could with them. Grandma also made me necklaces. I remember an elaborate piece she made using faux pearls one birthday. I loved looking at it rather than having it around my neck because when I did, I couldn't look at it to admire. But then again, as I am now, I wasn'…

Raj Pickles Too !!!

IT's not like I am crazy about pickles but I do love my dad's homemade ones. I'm so convinced by the product that I believe in it enough to want to market it and learn the making process to carry on with the heritage. You see, being referred to as the 'pickles girl' isn't cute but I love the recipes passed down to my father, Mr. Jayaraj (known as Raj, pic above)from his aunt, who got it from his grandmother. So it's been in the family for quite a while now. Only thing is that dad never introduced it to us because my brother and I were not fans of traditional Indian pickles. Personally I feel that most Indian pickles are either too sour OR salty, or just very spicy AND oily. How is that supposed to enhance food flavours I don't know. Pointless. So I avoided Indian pickles altogether till dad decided to make a batch one day. My dad is a great cook (mom is lucky because he does most of the cooking) but I didn't know then that Raj pickles too. Ever sinc…

What The Foot ??

HAVE you ever put your arm on an arm rest in a cinema and felt someone's shoe or bare foot resting on it instead? Well, I have. Countless times. Sometimes I get stinky shoes right next to my face and that's one reason why I prefer to watch movies at home (although everytime I encounter one with such primitive behaviour, I turn back and tell him/ her it's rude). Just today I witnessed someone do that at an event I attended. Only difference was that the venue was an auditorium and the lights were full on. A woman, seated next to me, had her foot on the arm rest in front of her (above pix). How crude is that? I couldn't help but steal a photo of it when she was wasn't noticing(trick is to put the phone on silent mode so it won't make that snap sound, and to pretend like you're checking a text message). The biggest turn-off was when she burped openly, and a few times at my face too, and there were no apologies. She seemed perfectly okay with everything that she…

Smoke in the Face

NOTHING against smokers but I just cannot stand those who smoke at No Smoking areas such as inside lifts, hospital lobbies, petrol stations and school compounds. I don't know if those who still do despite the warning signs are rude or simply retarded. But I guess we will always have such idiots around. Today I had the misfortune of attending an outdoor event, which, by the way, started two hours late. Waiting was one thing but having people holding lit cigarettes in their fingers like they were champagne-filled glasses throughout the whole time was certainly not avant garde. 
Practically every single person, both guests and organisers, had a cigarette in hand. No concerns for the few who didn't smoke and worst of all they blew smoke at all directions, not bothering if it was someone's face that they were blowing at.
Then there were those who held cigarettes at their sides. When they mingled, the lit and smoking cigs faced seated guests directly. Smoke in the face.
So guess wh…

Turmeric and Yoghurt Mask

GROWING up with a mother who applied all sorts of fresh herbs on her skin and hair has been a good thing for me. I learnt early in life not to splurge on expensive skincare products and to always fall back on natural herbs. So the need to invest in expensive products never emerged. There was only one time I succumbed to the power of advertising when I purchased a 75ml SKII Essense, and the catch phrase was 'Miracle Water'. The element of magic & water, along with the faithful testimonies of many who use it got me into trying it out myself. So I did and three months later, my skin's been the same. It maintained. No bad judgements and nothing against SKII Miracle Water, but I thought I should just stick to the herbs and plants I grew up with for maintenance. It's way cheaper and meddling with fresh ingredients can be fun, especially during slumber parties with your girlfriends!

One of the most commonly used kitchen spices that also frequently went onto my moth…

Monkey Business

It began with a monkey perched on a tree, trying to take a piss at Michele while she was running up a hill. Lucky she saw it on time to avoid the shower. Otherwise a territory would have been marked and I would've witnessed yet another squabble between man and monkey. Our run at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) park on Saturday sure sparked a whole lot of interesting conversation about monkeys.

Just a couple of years back, I saw a monkey snatch away a mobile phone from a terrified jogger at the same park. The poor lady couldn't begin to cajole the bullying creature to return her phone because it was aggressive, sneering at her and those who came in to help. Making matters worse, more of the little, hairy bullies ganged up to intimidate the human coalition. All snarls, teeth and Wolverine paws, they were not the cute creatures some joggers voluntarily fed everyday(and still do) despite the No Feeding The Monkeys signs at the park. 

During my years at University Science Malaysia (U…

Froyo for Frozen Yoghurt !

THAT photo on the left does not do justice to the product. During one of our strolls in Desa Sri Hartamas recently, Michele and I discovered this lovely frozen yoghurt place on Jalan 25/70A. It's called the Froyo Deli. For those who are used to choosing and twisting their own yoghurt at the Tutti Fruitti outlets, the menu at Froyo can be quite disappointing because you won't be spoilt for choices. It's either Plain or Strawberry or combine for a Twist. Twist is good. You can try both flavours and later decide on your favourite in the next visit. I've been there a couple of times by now, and still stick with Twist because both flavours are perfect. From its consistency to flavour, it's just really that good - packed with natural yoghurt taste, not just ice and artficial flavourings.  

I love the Strawberry flavour because fresh strawberies go into its making. A board at the deli says 10,000 strawberries are used for the recipe. It may look a little tacky on the bo…

Sookie Stackhouse Book 10

I now own a Sookie Stackhouse Book 10 - Dead In The Family by Charlaine Harris! After I've finished with Book 9 earlier this year, I went to the stores every month to check on the paperback version of Book 10, but since it was and still IS considerably new in this part of the world, there were none. The hardcover copies were plenty but they're double the price. Too expensive. Anyways, months after and still no signs of paperback version, my patience was running thin, and finally I paid RM65.90 and got the 10th edition of the series of books I love so much!
Every Sookie Stackhouse(SS) fan would agree that the books are addictive. They JUST are. Once you start on one, you want more of it, much like how V addicts are projected in the TV serie True Blood, which is also based on the SS books. V refers to vamp blood and it works like the E pills. There were times when I felt a little lost in between books (while waiting for the next one to arrive). It's like having withdrawal sy…

Review: Laura Mercier Mineral Cheek Powder

WHEN a friend passed me a container of Laura Mercier Mineral Cheek Powder in Pink Spark, I was my usual skeptic self. The last few times I tried on cheek powders, I ended up looking like a TV newscaster from the 80s - with strong colour and unnatural shine on the cheekbones, minus the big hair. I hated it and so I stuck by my matte blushers till I started using this product a few months ago - the rest is history. These days, my matte blushers only rise to very few occasions. Most times they lie at the bottom of my make-up box.

The mineral cheek powder is super-duper fine. Finer than you can imagine, really. It has this amazing ability to cling onto your skin like it knows it belongs there, and it stays for a whole day, taking durability to another level. Just be careful not to dab too much powder on your cheeks when powdering your face. Otherwise you'll end up toning down the glorious radiance.

It gives my cheeks a smooth, glowing effect, as if they are air-brushed. I know it becau…

Pump It With Pumpkins !

That's right. It was near Halloween and during an Xcelerate Fit Boot Camp session yesterday, we remembered the celebration with some pumpkins. But here's the thing. The fruits weren't glowing at us with hollow, orange eyes and we were not in Dracula costumes. Instead each one of us had a pumpkin in hand while we did various exercises during the session led by trainer Ben Yeoh. The pumpkins acted as weights when we did countless crunches, lunges, streching, runs and squats. Most pumpkins were about 2 to 3kg and mine was 2.2kg. I thought it was an easy weight to begin with, but when I did 20 repetitions of everything for three sets, 2.2kg felt a lot more heavier as the body got weary. The session would have been a lot more fun though if the field we were training at was not wet due to an earlier rain. I scurried in between sets to find a fairly dry spot to do that Mountain Climber or Plank but the soil was moderately soft everywhere, making me very cautious of slipping a…