Daily Prompt: Candle

behind-the-candelabra-piano
Image Courtesy: Behind the Candelabra. Michael Douglas as Liberace

via Daily Prompt: Candle

Candles. Something about that flame. I just have to to pass my fingers through the flame. To and fro, to and fro. Not paying attention to the people I am with. Just playing with that flame.

Or pick at the dripping stalactite-like wax and stab it back into the flame to watch it melt. Or poke my finger into the wet wax to watch it form a seal on my finger. All this usually ends up with either the candle tipping over or the flame going out completely.

Other than candles and me being a potential fire hazard they are little flames of joy. Twinkling in bathrooms, foyers, on dining tables, side boards, gardens, entrance ways and path ways. Imagine a public toilet with some tastefully placed candles.

The wonder of candles didn’t escape the makeup companies who  scrambled to make powders purported to make us look like we we were kissed by candle light. A light dusting on cheekbones was all we needed to look beautiful. Why? Because we are supposed to look better by candle light.

A bit insulting really. I spend a lot of time walking around in daylight so what are you trying to tell me Too Faced ?

But even candles can get annoying. Like when used as ‘background’ of almost every novice beauty vlogger on Youtube! They are placed so mindlessly it’s distracting. Moreover make-up is pretty enough, you don’t need a candle to make your content attractive.

Or when placed on compact tables for two in restaurants. The food starts to arrive and soon the glasses and plates are jostling for space with the candle. No one will remove the candle and by now I have already singed my wrist trying to reach over the flame to get to my food or drink.

And seriously how funny is a candelabra on a dining table ?  Next time count the times you are you ducking, diving and twisting your head so you can actually see the person sitting across from you. Unless you and your guests are so tall that your eye level is above the height of the candles sitting atop the candelabra. Haha Not!

And then there are fragranced candles. My absolute favourite kind but also my biggest bug bear.

Maybe I hate waste or maybe I am stingy, but this is what gets me. Buy fragranced candle, light fragranced candle, blow out fragranced candle for another day. Do this a a few times and soon there is a deep hole in the centre of the candle with a big fat, almost untouched rim.

How many candles have I had to throw out because I could not get the wick to burn the wax uniformly ? I have melted, microwaved, immersed in hot water. Everything, but with  very little success. Defeated is what I am when I finally bin it.

I think it is amazing when a company knows how to make ‘use up all the wax’ candle. Till I can find that one company that does it,  the only way to prevent the waste might be to never blow out the candle. That’s not possible.   So my current quest remains to find that elusive ‘waste-not-want-not’ fragranced candle.

That, and dripless candles.

I wanted to end this post saying nothing can beat the real thing and how LED t-lights can’t hold a candle.……but that’s just naff.

 

 

 

 

My SPF Is Driving Me Crazy

My AM skincare has a few steps (toner, essence, serum, eye serum, eye cream, moisturiser) and often I forget a step in the routine. No biggie.

However throw sunscreen in the mix and I start to panic. I don’t believe the SPF in makeup to be as effective and prefer my sunscreen to be separate to my moisturiser, so that adds one more step. Again no big deal.

What gets me with sunscreen are the rules.

Everywhere you turn someone is harping on about facial sunscreen. Especially amongst the beauty community because wrinkles and anti-ageing is our number one (first world) problem. And for that you follow the RULES.

SPF:The Rules of Engagement

1. the right order – I belong to the after moisturiser sunscreen camp. And in an ideal world I would be able to wait a good 10-15 mins before the SPF goes on.

2.the right amount1/4th tsp for just face. Do you KNOW how much that is ??? I need to apply 3 layers of ‘apply-wait-absorb’ to finish the 1/4tsp. It’s a LOT.

3. the right time to wait after application- 30 mins before you step outside. Beautypedia scared the sh*t out me saying that sun damage starts to happen in the first 1 min in the sun. FIRST 1 MIN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

and the nearly impossible to follow

4. the re-application – don’t even get me started, especially if I am wearing makeup. All that glow of the blush and carefully placed contour and highlight, gone, as soon as you apply the sunscreen (usually in powder form when over makeup)

Seriously Sun-Damage you are a kill joy.

I often do not have 30 mins to hang around before stepping out and nearly always don’t bother (forget) with the re-application. What’s the point ?

No point. This then leads me down the depressing path of ignoring the world around me to solely focus on the sun turning my face into crocodile skin.

More often than not this stress is not even worth it because  I am more indoors than out. Maybe a total of 30-40 mins in the sun.

But to get those mins right I have to go through the rules. Remember sun damage starts in the 1st min of unprotected skin Bah!

And have I told you all this malarky of waiting around for the ‘sunscreen to absorb’,  I end up running late, which means NO time to put on makeup ?

Makeup. Time that I actually enjoy applying, layering & blending.

I really cant be bothered.  Just dress like a Ninja and be done with.

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Bengali Cooking: Masur Dal

red-lentils

My mother was a proud Bengali. Her university of choice was Rabindranath Tagore’s idyllic school of learning, Shantiniketan in West Bengal and while we grew up in Bombay, India, she made sure we maintained a ‘Bengali way of life’.

And food is an important part of a Bengali’s life. Between money and food and lot of Bengali’s tend to focus on the food. ‘Typical Bengali cooking’ of river fish, dal and vegetables was a part of our daily diet.

mammy in her roomcroppedIt was from her I inherited my love of masur dal (red lentils). She claimed that this is the staple dal of the Bengalis (is it?) and it needs to be prepared very particularly.

Stage 1: Firstly it’s a ‘sensitive’ dal (yeah!) so I should try not to touch it too much at pre-wash, then once on the heat I should not disturb the initial cooking process by stirring with spoons or spatula and not even add salt or condiments at this stage.

Stage 2: Once cooked to the right consistency I should do the following- finely slice a  medium onions, 2 whole dry red chillies, salt, turmeric and 1 small chopped tomato (optional.)

Heat oil, add the dry chilli. Then add onions. Fry till brown. Brown is KEY. Incase of using tomatoes add it now, along with salt and turmeric.

Once flavours are nicely mixed add the cooked dal and give it a good boil and then on sim for a while.

The dal is NOT thick, rather fairly runny. Must be eaten with rice and a squish of the special Bengali lime. No its not Kaffir. It’s seriously headier than the kaffir lime. Imagine a fragrance of lime, sweet mandarin with a hint of jasmine.  That’s the Gondhoraj Lime.

But as children will, I decided to rebel. Rebel against this rather puritanical dal Dos-n-Don’ts.

I wanted to cook dal with the gay abandon of my Punjabi friends cooking their ginger-garlic-onion-tomato-cumin-cardamon soaked thick dals.

So I do a lot of don’ts. But only at Stage 2.  (Mess with Stage 1 ? Have you lost your mind ? )

So Stage 2. Sometimes I burst mustard seeds before the dry red chilli). Sometimes I swap chopped green chillies instead of dry. Sometimes I add garlic (sacrilege!). I almost always add tomatoes and then when I want to live on the edge I add vegetables after the tomato cooking stage.

Spinach and squash are my two most favourite veges.to add.

All this extra additions definitely makes the dal heavier and to enjoy this I would say LOSE the Gondhoraj lime and instead add bolder flavours of a mango pickle and a papad or two as accompaniments.

But however you swing it my most fav dal IS the masur dal.

The black dal and dal makhani can have their global followings, but my subtle masur dal with the king of limes is pure…… magic.

 

 

 

 

Sasa Hong Kong: Sasatinnie Brushes

Disclaimer: I use the word ‘soft’ here a lot. And it’s true. But please don’t compare it to the ‘I-set-the-standard-on-what-SOFT-is’ Wayne Goss brushes (and a price tag to match !)

Living in Hong Kong we don’t have access to mid-priced makeup brushes that are good quality. It’s all high end department store brands MAC, Bobbi Brown etc.

So I have been on a quest to buy and test out all manner of brushes on display at Bonjour, Sasa & Colormix.

After enough encounters with scratchy hard brushes (husband uses them to clean his key board and music instruments now) I must say I have been happy with some of my Sasatinnie Brushes from Sasa. Below are my favs!

EYE SHADER

Nice flat brush. Large enough to cover lid to brow bone in two swipes. Perfect for base shadow. It’s not fluffy enough for blending but still good enough to even out what you have placed.

ANGLED CREASE

The angled crease brush is great for my small eyes. I have spent enough time blending edges with the pointy end and it’s as soft as ever. However what I didn’t quite get was how/when to use the flat kabuki-like top. Anyhoo the edges are great for both crease and outer V.

20161013_112216Another soft, fluffy brush. The edge is great to place contour, flat side great for bronzer and blush. It’s probably not as great at blending as the Real Techniques Blush Brush but good enough! It’s not as gigantic as the RT blush brush either and I find myself reaching for this more than my RT.

POWDERThis powder brush is a travel size and pretty fluffy for all over powder, even under my eyes.  Soft enough for under my eyes? That’s saying a lot for a cheapie. And it hasn’t frayed in-spite of my rough handling of this poor brush. (I want to buy the mini Bobbi Brown face/powder brush so hoping my rough handling will ruin it and justify a purchase. But no it’s not quitting on me :))

FOUNDI am not a foundation brush person, rather more of a Beauty Blender or fingers kind of person. So I have not used this brush for foundation rather I (mis)use it to put on all manner of face packs. I treat it so callously. Hot water, cold water, harsh detergents, Dettol soap, basically whatever is at hand. But it doesn’t shed or fray.

In summary these cheap brushes they do a good job.  Good on you Sasa!

Cautionary Note: Please be sure to check ‘made in’. I think these brushes are made in Europe. After my horrible experience with the Sasatinnie eyeliner pencilquality control of the brand doesn’t seem to be Sasa’s forte and who knows the next lot of brushes you buy just might be rough scratchy brushes made in God knows where.

 

Exfoliation & The Environment

As we age, exfoliation is a must.

I like to nag my friends to wear SPF and exfoliate. Forcibly if need be (I think secretly) because NO ONE wants to look like a leather handbag…or Keith Richards

So we must, we must, we must…….or our faces will go bust.

My personal weapon of choice are chemical exfoliants (AHA and BHA). These acids are far more efficient in eating away dead skin and clearing out pores than scrubbing it off topically with a facial scrub.

I am not a fan of physical exfoliation at-all. These scrubs typically come with itty bitty grit in them.  And these, be it natural walnut kernels, quartz or plastic beads, are too abrasive for my facial skin, especially as all my efforts are geared towards anti-ageing skin care.

PLASTIC: I do not want micro scratches (abrasions) on my face, and anyone on the wrong side of 30 also needs to be mindful of that. Add to that the fact that store bought scrubs come with plastic micro beads which is harming our marine life.

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I LOVE THIS SCRUB BECAUSE OF THE ACIDS IT HAS, BUT NEED TO PARK IT TILL THEY REMOVE THE PLASTIC BEADS !

(*Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyethylene beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).)

So please stop. Just…. stop.

Now if you are all ’50 Shades of Grey’ and like it rough, and a warm face cloth is not doing it for you then go for facial scrubs with Jojoba beads. It’s environmentally friendly AND the uniform edge of the beads is less likely to jab your skin compared to the uneven edges of natural grit, stone or walnut kernels.

But remember true exfoliation will only come with AHA and BHA, facial scrubs is just S&M. Well thats MY opinion.

LANDFILL: The type of AHA & BHA exfoliation I currently use brings me to my own environmentally unfriendly dilemma. Disposing those cotton pads after the toner, or those (uhmayzing) disposable exfoliating toner pads.IMGP2646FAB

But exfoliate I must. So what’s a gal to do ?

WIN WIN 1: There is hope ! Everyone, who is anyone who knows anything about makeup and skincare, (haha) knows that Paula’s Choice.

PC has some of the most effective skincare around. And what is really attracting me to Paula’s Choice is their AHA and BHA toners. They have LEAVE ON ones. Which means NO cotton pads no landfill and the perfect % for the right exfoliation.

WIN WIN 2: But till I get my hands on PC I guess a face mask of Turmeric, Honey and Yogurt should do the trick. It gives you Chemical and Physical. The lactic acid of the yogurt and as you wipe-wash it off (after 20 mins) you feel the graininess of the turmeric powder which gives you the satisfaction of the “rough” scrub.

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(Super) Power of Makeup

No not the Nikkie Tutorials trend of The Power of Makeup , rather my belief that dabbling in makeup and beauty can give you super powers.

For me it’s the superpower of Ambidexterity.

Other than wanting to be able to sing I have always wanted to be ambidextrous. (Yea, I dream big. Bee-Eye-Gee)

Sometimes in school, just for kicks, I would start to write with my left (weak) hand. But it was tedious, slow and produced horrible penmanship.  Even now when I try it, it yields the same slow, rubbish results.

However messing around with beauty and makeup rituals started to build this superpower. For me, like many, it all started with nail polish. Polishing nails on both hands. Shaky and slow. So I wasn’t too happy.

I wanted to be legit.  I moved up to my face.  Where my right hand would naturally leap up to do the task, I started to use my left, especially for the left side of my face. To apply creams, serums, remove makeup or to wash off cleanser.

Then, I upped the stakes.

Applying makeup is the real deal my friend!

I started  with eye shadow.Then moved to mascara. A little scary as you try your best to not jab yourself in the eye.

My right would often leap out and I would correct myself. Put Right away. Use Left.

I then moved onto Eyelash curlers. Tricky at most times with pinching lids and what-not.

And then just 2 days ago something magical happened.

Unconsciously my weak hand took hold of my liquid eyeliner pen and started to draw a line along my left eyelid.

YES !!

I did it without thinking.

WTF??!! Have I finally acquired the superpower of Ambidexterity ??

Granted I still need my right hand to correct the slightly jagged edge of my eyeliner but come on? How great to not even realise I am using my weak (Left) hand, huh ?

Makeup that did it!

PS: I still can’t do my eye brows though

Sasa Duds: Sasatinnie Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Pencil

I have been impressed by Sasatinnie products in the past. Fluffy powder brush, angled face brush and a lip liner.

The lip liner is INDESTRUCTIBLE. It never dries up, doesn’t go bad and will survive the end of the world. It’s made in Germany.

Anyway given how impressed I am with my lip liner I decided to dip more into the Sasatinnie brand.

I bought the Waterproof Smooth Gel Eyeliner Pen. Made in Korea. It has a twist up nib and cost me HKD 48. I have had it for 1 week and this morning I threw it in the bin.

I usually never bin makeup. I persevere till it hurts or give it away.

This one. In the bin it went!imgp3329Application: It skips. Does not apply in one smooth line. It’s hard and dry.20161010_093028As you try and reapply over the skipped bits, it starts to flake and get in your eyes.20161010_093005

And I spent all day indoors in the aircon and it smudged. Under and on my lids

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It’s bright outside hence the scowl

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It’s dry and hard, it smudges and flakes.

Don’t waste your cash.

Sasa Duds: BCL 24h Browlash Water Strong Eyeliner

BCL BROWLASH EX Water Strong  Eyeliner is a double ended eyeliner pen with an eye shadow powder on the other end.

It’s made in Japan  and claims to be waterproof, with a no smudge long lasting (that’s the 24h stamp for you ) formula.

I bought this in Sasa for HKD 89. I bought the black one with a light gold shimmer shadow.

bcl-brow-lash-ex-water-strong-w-eyeliner

If you google BCL you will find a few Asian blogs, all singing it’s praises.

The brush is gorgeous. Soft and flexible. It’s beautifully thin and hugs my lashline very easily. And I always have trouble finding something thin enough for that.

It’s fantastic for my small hooded eyes because it defines the eye without overwhelming it.

While the eye shadow dome feels rough the eye shadow  in itself delivers a subtle sheen. Probably more noticeable on lighter skin tones than mine. It’s subtle enough to say wear it for a job interview!

I was so happy I wanted to walk right back into Sasa and buy a second one.

But I got busy and didn’t. ……And THANK F***ING GOD I DIDN’T!! Because for the next two days it showed its fugly side!

If you draw a normal, slightly thicker line ie not a lash-hugging line it Fails, Flakes, Smudges and eventually goes into COMPLETE Melt down mode.

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LOOK 1: SMUDGING. Not sweating but slightly sticky. Mainly aircon.
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LOOK 2: Flaking. Walked around running errands, in the out of aircon.
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LOOK 3: MENTAL. 30 mins in sun, it’s humid and my face is wet.
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LOOK 4: PISSED OFF. Continues to melt inspite of me wiping off the ‘meltdown’ in Look 3

The above pictures were all taken after applying my ‘matt’ sunscreen. I did give the sunscreen 20 mins to absorb.

So I decided to try it without sunscreen but after moisturiser, after giving it time to fully absorb.

I tried it without moisturiser or eye cream.

Same bullsh*t. Waterproof ? Smudge proof? my big fat a**

Rant Over.

Thank you have a nice day.