January 30, 2011

My shamefully large haul from HQhair



I have been waiting forever for my HQhair order to arrive... when it did land on my doorstep, I ripped the box open like there was no tomorrow. Goodness me, I didn't realise I ordered a salon-worth of hair products. Everything was at 30% off and shipped directly to my door. 


An assortment of products from daily shampoos & conditioners, hair treatments and styling products. Please don't judge me. :P


Kerastase Bain Oleo Curl, Curl Definition Shampoo for my unruly locks, which for that matter is looking much better now one month after my digital perm. 

Redken Smooth Down Conditioner that is known to be great on thick and coarse asian hair. 


Redken Real Control Overnight Treat - night recovery treatment for dense/dry/sensitised hair. I can't wait to try this. Heard some amazing reviews. 

Kerastase Noctogenist Serum Nuit - an overnight softening treatment. I've tried this so far and it's quite nice. 

More reviews on this coming up...


Redken Ringlet - Great on digital permed hair. This is the new formulation and my old bottle is almost close to finishing. 

Tigi Bedhead After Party to give hair more shine. lol to the packaging. Nice ;)


Sebastian Potion 9, a cult favourite for hairstylists in creating definition and texture. Also has treatment properties to heal damaged hair over time. 

Joico K-Pak Reconstruct Leave-in Protectant to prevent damage to hair. I'm itching to try this. But Wesley, my hairdresser told me to refrain from protein treatments/products till my new hair color has set in. 

(New hair BTW. I went darker and cut the fishtails off. I hated them to the core and lived with it for a month. I could feel my hair hurting. Now I don't have to live with bad roots in the cold country.)


Kerastase Nectar Thermique Nourishing Care with heat-styling protective agent. Great reviews about this product online, even when I can't figure why I bought it in the first place. 

Kerastase Masquintense Highly Concentrated Nourishing Treatment for Dry and Extremely Sensitive Hair. The secret to keeping the curly locks is to use plenty of conditioners and masques.


So that summarises my HQhair order. If you do plan to purchase from them, I recommend you hold off until they get their s@#( sorted. I previously blogged that they have gone into administration, and have been acquired by HutGroup. They have the worst customer service since then. Other than the great array of products they stock up, I still have faith that the site and operations will be back to its feet soon. 

More reviews, posts, FOTDs, will be coming up soon. :)

January 22, 2011

My Chanel Collection

I'm giving myself a break from blogging on yoga for once. :o) 

Sharing with you my obsession with all things pretty and lux... Chanel.

I think I have a fairly sizeable Chanel collection, most of which I have accumulated last year. Shocking, huh? I just can't resist all the pretty colours, especially the Rouge Cocos. They are one of the best lipsticks on the market and I prefer them over YSL Voluptes. 


Rouge Cocos have a bit of a frosty finish, but it doesn't accentuate your dry lips. It's best if you apply some chapstick before hand. I like that Chanel is continuing to release lovely shades from the Rouge Coco line, seeing all the alluring Spring 2011 collection. Of my Rouge Cocos, my favourite would be the shade in Chintz released last fall. 


This is how much space Chanel is taking up in my lipstick drawer. The C embossment is simply stunning and just makes my material heart swoon.


I love their glossimers too. When it comes to using glosses, I have a strict rule to try and finish one each time. It's a good and bad thing I suppose. Good in that it's fresh and lasts longer. But bad that you never realise how much beautiful things you have in your collection. 


I'm not as crazy about Chanel blushes but they're impart a gorgeous glow to the skin. I love each and every one of their blushes but I seem to exercise better restraint from blushes than lippies in general.


Chanel Tweed Corail Blush is by far my most used and reached for blush in my collection. It's the perfect peach blush and doesn't give too much shimmer or look flat on the cheeks. I would recommend it to anyone!


Joues Contraste blushes remind me of globes and planets. It's so pretty to look at and is simply stunning on the cheeks. Reflex is a color that is slightly more pigmented, but it's THE color for slightly tanned complexions. 


Pink Explosion is pure ecstasy. It's a cool toned pink that can be built up to create Japanese doll-like cheeks, or toned down for a natural flushy skin. Great on fair complexions. 


And lastly, my signature scent. It's been with me for the whole of last year and reminds me that I am beautiful all day and everyday.


I hope you enjoyed this post!

January 20, 2011

Do you believe in yoga? Day 18 of the Hot Yoga Challenge

Last week, you may recall I was moaning and groaning about the aches and pains from all that yoga. I was emotional and just over it.

So what's happening this week?
Yesterday afternoon I had the most amazing physical-eureka moment, and I am truly excited to share my experience with you! I was meant to write this yesterday while the memories are still fresh but I had to work...

This week I've been feeling as if the hot yoga is not giving me enough challenge even with the teachers who traditionally are tough in their classes. Day 13 and Day 14 (Sat and Sun), I lie in Shava-asana at the end of the class, I was waiting for the moment of satisfaction to kick in... huh? nada... not even the slightest feeling of tiredness. Day 15-Day 17, same thing happened. What is happening? My body is probably getting used to it. I feel stronger and I know how to control my breath much better now. In my head I'm all pumped for warrior pose and I love the feeling of my thighs burning through my yoga pants. But even then my mind is not well-rested at the end of my session. What's going on here?

How Running and Yoga are the Perfect 'Companions'
I've always tested my fitness level with a run at McRitchie. More often than none, I detest runs. I feel the worst at the last stretch of my 5km run (gosh, I'm not even a marathoner here and barely can make it past 3 km without heaving into a utter mess!). I consider myself an amateur even though I do sporadic runs here and there. The only way I can get myself to complete a 5km run is to let my willpower do most the running. Trust me, it's not the best formula when you're physically unfit.

So back to what I was writing previously, I was feeling uncontent with my yesterday's afternoon yoga session, so I dropped my bags at home, got changed and went for a run at McRitchie. I left work earlier, and didn't care too much about the emails I had to write to the Middle East (right, my priority yesterday afternoon was to get my body feeling right instead of fuzzing my eyes over data... *yawn*). I was frantically checking google about the Sunset times in Singapore... 7:16pm. I only had less than an hr to fit my run, shower and dial in to my conference call.

My run was a bit of a struggle at first. I do notice that I am less bothered by sweat. I must sweat a litre everyday with the way I'm going. My mind took a bit of time to warm up to the idea of running. But holy macaroni, by the last 2km stretch, my legs could go further and surprisingly fast too. Running felt sensationally good. The setting temperature just made the whole experience alot better. I'm far from petite, and I have always been considered quite 'big boned' for the most part. However, I felt really light in the legs and I was running as fast as those crazy marathoners. In fact, I could easily say that I was sprinting the last 1km (no, I am not exaggerating nor am I boasting). I was hopping across turfs and boundaries like it didn't matter how much extra 'work' I had to do to get my body across. The uphill challenges was no longer as hard as it used to. Wow!

What is it that has made me feel so remarkably different this time round compared to my other runs?
  • My pelvis is more open, which makes my strides longer
  • My muscles are comfortably stretched
  • My legs are alot stronger
  • And most of all, my mind is trained to endure and focus on nothing but being present in the moment. I could have focused on the negative. But in yoga classes, I learnt that it's equally important to not take things too seriously. Just let go, laugh a little at anything idiotic that happens to you, smile at yourself in the mirror, be ok on making mistakes and just appreciate all the moments (even when your legs hurt like a mofo) 
Conclusion, I'm going back to McRitchie on Friday night.

Okay okay... I know you're probably sick and tired of hearing me go on about yoga. Yoga teaches you to be connected to your body. 2 years ago I don't believe in yoga. I used to think that it's for the hippies of the modern day era. Why the change in heart? I think it really has to do with the fact that I wasn't feeling connected with myself. I get lost in my thoughts and can't focus at work or home because my body doesn't feel 100%. It's true that mind really does rule over the body. If you're healthy mentally, most likely you will be physically.

By the way, I had the best teleconference with Brazil last night too. :)

 Day 18-21, hot vinyasa. Namaste!

January 14, 2011

Day 12 of the Hot Yoga Challenge

Addicted to Hot Vinyasa
I have half an hour before my hot yoga class today and I thought of updating you on my progress. I am strangely addicted to the challenging poses now, although when I'm in the moment of the pose, I really want to take child's pose. I struggle the most with my morning classes (7am start). My mind yesterday morning was not focused and I was not breathing well. Breathing is so important in maintaining your poses, and also helps you get your mind off the 'challenge'. So yesterday was a really challenging day for me. Towards the end of the day, I desperately wanted to go home and rest, but I had to linger around till 9pm to meet a friend from the US. I got a little emotional towards the end of the day, but reminded myself that the feeling is only temporary and it will pass.

That brings me to the topic of 'Yoga Philosophy'. I love learning bits of yoga philosophy that can be applied to my daily life. One of the best things my yoga teacher taught me was that we as human beings we are naturally attached to our everyday comforts. We don't seek to explore and we get complacent. We fear the unknown and the consequences that new 'experiments' will bring to our bodies. We have grown up to always be in defense and protect ourselves. Just like when we're doing our practice on the yoga mat, we know that the pose is challenging and painful. So we don't bend as much as we should  and we don't get 100% out of the practice. It's okay to try and experience it. The moment of fear and pain will pass. Everything is only temporary.

Experiencing the benefits of Daily Hot Yoga at Week 2
A friend of mine commented on my 'glowy' skin. I'm convinced that yoga is doing that for me. I'm also alot more hungry. I doubt I'm losing weight. But weight-loss is not my primary goal in doing this challenge anyway. I notice my back being stronger, and the muscle around the curvature of the spine is firmer. My posture has improved and I feel uncomfortable when I slouch. And it's good to also get a firmer butt too. :)

I've begun to use hair treatments on the ends of my hair before my classes. I wet my hair at first, then apply a hair treatment, tie it in a bun, grab my 2 towels and a large bottle of water, settle down on my mat and wait for the heat to open the hair shafts. I figured that I may not be enjoying that day's class, but my hair is. On the other hand, my scalp is annoyingly itchy. I will need to do some scalp treatments at the salon at Day 20.

Validating my commitment to the Hot Yoga Challenge
I have daily moments where I think that I should quit from this challenge. I am seeing the benefits, but I'm also experiencing the side-effects. In fact, I have 2 months left in my yoga studio membership (not 1), so I can complete a 30-day yoga challenge. I will persist to Day 20 and see if my mind and body needs a rest.

In summary... Day 1-7 is a physical challenge. I fare well in those type of challenges cos I don't have to engage the mind as much. As long as you're physically fit, you can get through 7 days and feel great.

Day 8-14 is a mental challenge. This is the week I am learning to control my emotions. I am a perfectionist at heart. I need to know that I'm doing a pose better than yesterday. So when I know I'm not doing it well, I get emotional. I strain my body even more to achieve it and I exert it day after day. During my hours outside of yoga, I'm incredibly emotional and want to lock myself in a room. I tell my friends I just feel like going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 8am. They call me 'Granny Tracy'.

I will do another update next week. Wish me luck for the weekend classes - hot vinyasa 3 days in a row. Namaste!

January 10, 2011

My version of 'Eat Pray Love'

I have something personal to share with you... Something that I would call my version of 'Eat Pray Love' and what I would consider finding beauty in within.

I met up with a really close friend of mine recently. We both had a bad fall out, over some stupid argument. She shared with me something that a friend will only do to someone she cares about. I learnt that my tolerance level has really dropped ever since I started this intense job. I can't deal with daily annoyances like I used to and every small little thing gets to me. And I knew for the longest time, that I needed to change myself. But it hasn't been easy. It's hard to change character. And it's nearly impossible to change it when you don't remove the major imposing factor; that is my work.

Don't get me wrong; I love what I do. I think this job has really given me the opportunity to learn the most amazing business concepts. But I admit that this job stresses me out like never before and I can bet you that my brains are probably as fried out as my hair ends. Not to mention that I'm emotionally drained. There are moments at 2am, I'm slogging my heart out in panic because of a crazy deadline, and I feel alone and desperately insane.

So I changed the way I dealt with my stress by taking up a yoga membership and resigning from my regular kickboxing classes. I still miss punching the anonymous Mr. Villain in midair, but it really did nothin to calm my nerves down. After 60-minutes of hardcore punching, kicking and pretending to be as merciless as Jolie in the movie Salt, I am drained and exhausted. However, the next day at work, I'm still irritable and annoyed. Physically I was feeling great, but mentally I was still stressed out.

Fast forward 11 months later...
I have 1 more month left till my subscription to my yoga studio ends. It sucks that I cannot completely finish a 30-day Hot Yoga Challenge which is supposed to be the duration you require to feel any changes in your body - physically and mentally. People always claim that yoga is great for balance and internal healing. Well, I have been doing yoga for a year now and I can't truly say that it has completely met my expectations. Looking back at all the practices that I have done... I realise that I have been completely and utterly sporadic in my classes. I cancel classes all the time. I always make excuses. And I just simply substitute the class with running or lazing at home. Last month alone, I only attended 2 yoga classes and spent $170 bucks. What a waste of money, really.

Well, I guess it's not too late. I'm doing a 20-day Hot Yoga Challenge. It means that I will do 60-minutes of yoga, repeating 26 yoga sun salutations and breathing deeply to the core, in a room heated to 40 degrees. I will drench 2 towels worth of sweat. Kick my legs higher, open the pelvis, focus on the one spot, bend that right leg lower in a warrior pose, suck the belly in and cool down the aggressive 3rd voice that is telling me to quit.

I have been doing yoga everyday for 7 days now. I am scheduled for a trip to Brazil at the end of the month, which only leaves me with 20 days to complete my challenge. I suppose it's better than nothing and I'm curious to know how I do feel after 20 days of hot yoga. When I'm ready, I will do 60 days to fully torture myself and hopefully achieve some degree of mental enlightenment. Gee, that sounds really sadistic, huh?

So after day 7, my body is still aching from the upward dogs and my legs feel incredibly sore and numb when doing standing splits. When it comes to warrior pose, my mind is going on overdrive and telling myself to just take that child's pose. But I don't because I'm too proud of being seen as 'lesser' than the person next to me. Mistake number 1. Being completely unforgiving to your body because of pride.

But the true challenge of hot yoga is starting to reveal after 7 days of continuous practice. I can't do my Utkatasana (chair pose) like I did on Day 1 or 3. My ass hurts and my hip bones are stubbornly not aligned. Even worse, everything hurts like a mofo. My teacher tells the class softly "How are you going to deal with it?" At the back of my head, I'm thinking... I can deal with it by standing up and doing a forward bend... Uttanasana. Hmm.. lovely. An easy way out.

My scalp is itching like no other. I am always drenched with sweat and the yoga mat is probably infested with germs (from myself and all the people that use that mat alone). But I try to have some faith that the cleaners use some form of strong-grade detergent to remove any infestation. Still, I get acne on my scalp and it drives me crazy during work. My hair is getting drier too. I noticed that my hair ends are breaking. I suppose my hair was not enjoying the salt drenched hair and 40 degree heat everyday. It's not fun.

But I will not quit. Not yet. All this to feel a difference with how I feel about myself and in search for inner-peace. Yes, I agree... No pain no gain. But the best thing I've noticed already is the glow to my skin. I guess beauty can really come from within!

Pureology Hydrate Conditioner maybe worth the hefty £18.50


This is my first time trying Pureology products. Unfortunately, they're not available in Asia from what I know and can only be purchased from salons in the UK and USA. Last month I took advantage of the HQhair 30% discount and I decided to try the Pureology Hydrate Conditioner. For £18.50 it seems quite a hefty amount to spend on a 250mL conditioner. And I know friends who use drugstore shampoo and conditioners with hair that is soft to the touch and free of split ends. Life is unfair. So it seems quite ridiculous to be buying such an expensive conditioner. But, having over-processed hair and really crunchy ends is quite distressing. 

I'm using a new haircare regimen to hydrate my curls and protect my ends. Part of this haircare regimen is this amazing conditioner. I don't use it everyday because it's precious for every gram I squeeze out. Literally. If I ever run out of this thing, my hair will sorely miss it. 


Let me first begin by what this line is all about... After some research I found that this brand is a hairdressers favorite. It claims that their products are 'antifade', meaning that it is sulphate-free and helps to lock in coloured hair. Based on experts, sulphates strip the colour from the hair, making your hair look even drier and dulled over time. Well, that's interesting. And it's incredibly concentrated too. So, there's no water added to the ingredients of this conditioner. The smallest amount of product is all you need to fully get your mileage from this bottle. 


But the reason why  I love this conditioner is simply because it really makes my scalp tingle. It has minty scent, which I suppose some people may or may not like. I'm addicted to the smell. AND, I'm addicted to the feeling it gives me. I have not encountered any conditioner which can be applied directly to the scalp. It's almost like a tea-tree shampoo but better! I feel like I'm properly giving my oily scalp a good scrub with plenty of toothpaste, even though its a conditioner. The feeling is truly SENSATIONAL!



In terms of hair texture, it's nice. It leaves my my hair feeling soft but not slicked with silicones which is often the case with the Shiseido Tsubaki Conditioner (for damaged hair). However, Redken All Soft Conditioner still ranks very highly in terms of getting your hair super soft as compared to the Pureology Hydrate Conditioner. All in all, I really like this product, and I know I will be more than happy to repurchase if I ever ran out of conditioner. :)

January 9, 2011

Repeating Project 10 Pan

First of all, I want to really thank the readers who made a comment in my last post. I have been rethinking about what makeup means to me over the past week and I've believe I need to make some changes in my habits. I.e. less makeup shopping. I'm going to try to stay true to my NY resolution of not buying makeup in 2011. Instead, while I continue to use up my stash, I will review products as I go along and they will be a combination of permanent and limited edition products. 

In other words, I miss blogging already and I can't see how I can totally ignore what I love to do most during my weekends! 

I'm really happy to be doing Project 10 Pan. This is a means to get me started on 'finishing products' rather than letting it accumulate over time. 

I came up with 10 different makeup items that I hope to finish... 



Surprisingly, I am really big on primers. I am close to finishing my 2 primers; IPSA Pure Control Makeup Base in Pink and RMK Creamy Make Up Base Mat. And I'm on a new tube of the YSL Top Secrets Flash Radiance Skincare Brush, which I bought together with the YSL Faux Cils and YSL Touche Eclat in 2009. I will probably finish the first 2 tubes this week, and the 3rd tube in 4 weeks.


When it comes to foundation, I have stayed true and loyal to the Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturiser. It spreads easily and feels very lightweight on the skin. I'm almost done with this tube, and it has lasted 6 months of regular use. My bottle of Guerlain Lingerie de Peau foundation is relatively new so this will last me for 5-6 months.

Hitting pan on my IPSA Pure Control Pressed Powder was quite exciting. I have been a big fan of IPSA base makeup for the longest time. I love their base makeup range, and their skincare is lovely too. Give me 4 weeks of continuous use and I will pan out on this pressed powder.


 My lipstick drawer is an absolute disgrace. I have just too many lipsticks for the life of me. I need to finish a few of them before they go off. So here we go... Chanel Glossimer in Mica, Chanel Rouge Coco in Chintz and Dior Serum de Rouge.           


Benefit Samba-dy Loves Me is a gorgeous champagne cream eyeshadow that reminds me of the latest MAC paintpot in Vintage Selection. Benefit creaseless cream shadow/liner are definitely HG status. They have a slight caramel scent and is a dream to apply. This pot of 4.5 grams will take me a while to finish considering how I love to rotate eyeshadow looks. But I will see how this goes and I will try to use up more of this cream shadow before it completely dries out.

Paul & Joe Eye Color Primer 02 is great for evening out any discolorations or small veins on your eyelids. It's not as strong in holding power as compared to the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I hope to finish this in 3 months of every day use. 


Well, that's 11 things. I suppose Fragrances are not considered makeup. But I'm including this on Project 10 Pan since it's also close to finishing. I really love the Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum and I know that I'm going to miss it when it's completely done. 


So is anyone joining me on Project 10 Pan? If so, leave me a comment so I can follow you on your progress!


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