Beauty · thoughts · Writing Samples

Skin Care for Those Who Prefer Books

Skin Care for Those Who Prefer Books

I love reading books, and I also love looking younger than my actual age. Both need money to maintain, and it is not like I have unlimited resources. To feed these two habits and myself, I have resorted to some measures. Sometimes I would buy a good quality skin care product, like Estee Lauder Night Repair or Clinique Repairwear Laser.  Because there is a before and after difference, you do get what you paid for sometimes.

But when times get tough, and every penny counts, I try to stretch out so I cannot indulge myself so often. Sometimes I wish my kids are cute enough to be a model, but that will be unfair to them, because they wouldn’t have a fun childhood right?

My secret wish: to look thirty even though I am really fifty.

Homemade Skin Care

I am not saying that you should homemade everything, because that would actually defeat

Homemade Beauty Products

the purpose of this practice:  spending less money on skin care. Unless you already have all the basic ingredients, or you are doing it because you have other good reasons, chances are you will waste a lot of time and money making everything from scratch.

 

In this case, I am suggesting that you use what you already have at home. The simplest and best example would be coconut oil or olive oil with sugar and salt, to make a body scrub. If you use ground coffee, that works as a body exfoliate too. It’s dry July, a wine soak is good for the skin with all the reservatrols in it. You can save on skincare by using what you have, since you do not need much anyway.

Do not be fooled into thinking that homemade is cheap, frequently it is not. Not only you have to buy the ingredients, but the tool as well. Some products take a lot of time to make, which is probably better spent reading a good book.

There’s more to it, but I have already talked about it here about facial masks. Of course, alternative to homemade stuff, is buying things that have multiple uses. Rosehip oil is good for hair and face, you can even use it as a hand cream in a pinch. Or products like BB or CC cream, because multi-tasking is in.

Face Yoga

Face Yoga

I know right? What is this world coming to? Face Yoga is nothing new actually, but the jury is still out on this one.

On one hand, it does make sense to exercise the muscles on your face. The theory is that if you exercise them, they maintain their elasticity to help you keep wrinkles at bay. On the other hand, a study in 2014 stated that the nine “researches” that was done was in poor quality. Basically, case studies and what a handful of people say is not enough to convince everyone that this is good for you.

It’s great if it works, but the study said that no one knows if it might hasten the aging process because you are over doing your face. That’s the worry anyway. But hey…

It is pretty fun doing funny faces with your brats. From these pictures, you can see that face yoga and be done any time and place. The problem is remembering to do it.

Ice Bath

Last but not least, the Koreans are loving the new old trend the ice bath. It is what it is: dunking your face into icy water or into a bowl of ice. Not only it will wake you right up, the cold water tightens pores and makes the skin firmer by shocking it into action. I am not a fan of this personally, because I have been washing my face with cold water and it is not fun at all.

But, a lot of people swear by it. If you have a lot of ice at home, and if it’s summer, why not give it a go right? Skin care is not only about creams and lotions, but daily habits as well. Good skin care habits like hygiene and using quality products are just one step in a routine.

Same with face yoga, not much prove that it works long term. But if you want to look refreshed and alert, icy face bath is a good free trick. It does not have to be a long dunk, and this is not a daily thing. If you are trying to save water (Australia water is expensive), just keep a wet towel in the freezer and use as needed, that works too!

Rich People will Always Look Good

Mainly because they have the resources to invest in their good looks. It will be cool to have facial every week, but I cannot afford it regularly. Doing it at home seems to be the only option for me presently, so I am looking for ways and tricks. If you do have a good tip for me, please comment and let me know.

Until then, I will be exercising my face and hope that my kids do not stress me out too much. Maybe I should take a more drastic action, like using derma roller. But since virgin bloods are hard to come by, it might be prudent to stick to the normal mainstream method of creams and lotions to stave off wrinkles.

bloghop · Book · review

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts Hop : Samantha Watkins #1 Review

(un)Conventional Bookviews hosts this weekly meme

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts

This time I found an interesting book that has food in it. It is

Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life
Author: Aurélie Venem with translator S.E. Battis
Series: Samantha Watkins Series Book 1
Genre: paranormal, mystery, vampire


A little blurry, so I had to write it down

Everything was delicious. The meat melted in my mouth, the vegetables were perfectly seasoned, the bread was crusty, the cheese soft, and the tart… to die for. I was so absorbed by my meal that I didn’t realize until my second slice of strawberry tart that Velvet Voice was staring at me

For a Thirsty Thursday, I hope that is enough?

Review

I like the premise of the story, a good blend of real life and paranormal. It is as if vampire is real in this world, and Samantha is just caught up in it. The characters are solid, even though some are cliche. The story started like most vampire/ human combo stories, a girl who narrowly escapes death, ends up under the care of a vampire.

Thankfully, nothing romantic in this book yet. Samantha is a character who is apparently socially awkward, while Phoenix the Velvet Voice Vampire is too detached to have a normal relationship. It is interesting to note, that there is an underlying current with Phoenix, I think he has a secret but not really sure. Samantha is like an open book, and a lot of fun to read.

The mystery part is slightly lacking, if you are going after that plot you would be disappointed. Samantha Watkins is more a character based book. This book is perfect for Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts, because it would be fun to show a passage that tells how Phoenix choked on human food. I settled for this one, so it does not giveaway too much.

Verdict

Samantha Watkins 1 is a thrilling vampire/ human combo story that you will love to sink your teeth into. Click To Tweet

It is well translated, since I read it in English. But if you find it in its original, please tell me if it is any good?

Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life is interesting, however the second book has not been translated yet. I hope it does, because Samantha’s life is not going to be ordinary any longer.

Book · review

Fairy Boy of Calton Hill Books 2 and 3 Review

Fairy Boy’s Adventure Continues with…

The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill Book 2
The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill Book 3

Series: Fairy Boy Chronicles
Author: Sean Paul Thomas
Genre: YA, Fantasy/ Fairies, Adventure

Book 1 review here…

I am back with Book 2 and 3 of Fairy Boy Chronicles, mainly because I have grown lazy with too many chores. Plus the story links together anyway. Life is busy at the moment, babies are hard work, and worse when they start crawling and calling out for every minor detail.

Fairy Boy 2 Review

The story picks up where it left of in Book 1, which is lucky because I read all three in the span of ten days. since this is a younger reader genre. Nothing too twisted and unpredictable, and mostly focus on importance of friendship and helping one another.

Which is why I am recommending this book, not only because it is easy to understand, but its focus. Some kid/ YA genres can be dark, while that is not a problem for an adult, you have to consider which age group you want to give to. Liam is a great hero because he’s the kind of friend that children should be taught to be.

What seemed like a good deal for Liam and friend Lucy turned sour, as they fall prey into a trap the fairy king and Zorn planned. It is a dastardly plan, no one saw it coming. After that, the story focuses more on running away from the mad King and his crazy wizard.

Through it all, Liam never lost sight of hope.

Fairy 3 Review

When things were looking up, Zorn appears, with a gift. Not the happy type of course, crazy Zorn adds to book three a deadline and a sense of urgency. Before that, a few pirate ships to pillage and burn! As Liam tries to save his friends, and get back to his own world, he has to first cross the seven seas.

Man, I love the Peter Pan reference to it. I do have the distinct feel that Fairy Boy of Calton Hill lends a lot of its ideas from Peter Pan, but this is not a rewrite. Half the fun of the book involves our hero finding ways to reach his goal without causing anyone harm (intentionally)

However, this series is far from over. The author throws a curve ball of a twist, even though it is not a cliffhanger ending, I pine for more. As our hero (heroes) are still stuck in trouble, it will be awhile before they face the enemy/ final boss. There is also an air of mystery surrounding the Fairy King and Zorn, why are they such assholes?

All the reasons to read Fairy Boy Chronicles, Liam has definitely grown and still maturing over the three books. He knows his mission, but is lost on how to achieve it. He a strong and likable hero you will want your children to know.

Verdict

The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill just keeps getting more exciting and unpredictable, even for an adult. Your kid will thank you.

Beauty · thoughts · Writing Samples

Question: Will You Use These Anti-Aging Products

Anti-Aging, is it important to you?

Perhaps I should start with that question, is looking young important enough to you? While some seem to be able to age gracefully, most try to avoid looking old. A lot of people try tablets and potions, and a fair few who can afford it go for injections and more drastic moves.

Botox is one of the more famous anti-aging measures, if looking tight and stiff is your thing. Dermal fillers are pretty in as well, some of the fillers are also used in medical procedures. Most fillers were part of the medical procedure until someone finds another use for them.

You might agree that it is risky going under the knife, or injecting poison under your skin. However, people can be desperate enough to take that risk just to look “younger”. We cannot all stop our skin from sagging and getting wrinkly, but we sure can try. There are a lot of anti-aging stuff out there in the market, we cannot deny that this is a big chunk of the beauty industry. Once we hit a certain age, somehow we will go for preserving our youth, rather than flaunting it.

Would you try these anti-aging stuff?

Bee Venom

Lanocorp Lanocreme Bee Venom Face Mask

Bee Venom gained popularity in 2013, owing to toxin melittin in its venom to stimulate more blood to the skin. Apparently research says that it can help increase collagen and elastin, owing to the stimulation. What used to be an expensive product due to small quantities, now you can find it in some drug store. Though I am not sure what is the difference in concentration, companies say that because they can get more bee venom effectively, hence it becomes cheaper.

You would be happy to know that no bees are harmed during the harvesting. Because their lance/ stinger does not separate from the bee’s body. Good news right?

Snake Venom

Babaria Snake Venom Anti-wrinkle Face Cream 2 X 50ml + Eye Cream 1 X 12ml.


If you are allergic to bees, what then? Of course it will be terrible if you swell up every time you use a cream.

Snake venom of course! Don’t worry, this is a synthetic version to make sure that no reptiles are harmed. SYN- AKE is a laboratory product that mimics snake venom’s paralyzing effect. Much like Botox, except this comes in a cream or serum. High enough to give you a good result (up till 52% depending on brand/ concentration/ quality) but not low enough to give you your human expressions back.

Because it is synthetic, snake venom is also cheaper than Bee Venom. Plus it is more consistent in terms of concentration, quality and purity. SYN- AKE makes it easier to avoid really issues like symptoms relating to overdose. Because snakes use their venom to paralyze their prey before swallowing them whole. I am sure I do not want to be looking like I cannot move my face, just because I applied too much cream.

Snail Slime

mothermade® Deep Moisturizing Rich Snail Facial Mask 10 individually packaged bundle – 100% cotton Cupra sheet, Anti-aging, Anti-Wrinkle, Deep Hydration, Snail Secretion Filtrate (5,000 ppm)

Snail was prescribed by Hippocrates for inflammation, prescription: crush them and take with sour milk. Ew.  What’s more yucky about this is that people use snail slime as a beauty product. I do use it, and I like it a lot. There are a few brands that uses this, see my blog posts on Taiwan’s My Scheming Brand, and Korea’s SAEM brand. Snail slim contains hyaluronic acid, proteins, antimicrobial properties and copper peptides to help the snail sanitize itself and keep moist. Little wonder how those creatures manage to crawl to surfaces and stay alive right?

Korea uses the normal garden variety pests ( I hate them, they ate my lettuce), grown in labs not gardens. Plus snail slime undergoes some processes before packing. Unless you go to a snail spa, where you want snails to walk all over your face, chances are your product is clean and well. If mask is not your thing, try this sleeping pack.

SAEM Snail Sleeping Pack

I Want To Try…

All of them of course, currently I am loving the snail mask regime, but it is quite pricey. Of course there are many other living creatures out there that people use for skin care, I am not very well informed. However, these at least I know does not really harm the animals. I do prefer other bee products like royal jelly and propolis, because it sounds cruel to have a bee continually sting a piece of glass.

SYN-AKE sounds very promising, and if I do find any decent brand that has an acceptable price tag, I might do it. While the bee venom has pretty good research, the snake venom does sound more effective. However, these are just possible selections you can try to delay the aging process. It does not, and never will halt the body’s natural deterioration.

Do remember, UV is one of the biggest causes of aging, so wear a sunscreen before trying everything else. Or it will be a waste of money, you undo the work when you step into the sun without protection anyway. In reality, I am not ready to age gracefully yet. When people tells me I look young and radiant, it makes my heart skip a beat. Because I know I feel old with two little monsters running me to the bone.

Book · review

Champions: At Fire’s End


Champions: At Fire’s End
Author: Charlotte Jain
Series: Champions series 1
Genre: YA, fantasy, action

Champions of ?

At the start of the book, there is a brief explanation on how four babies were born and selected to become representatives for the Gods and Titans. This provide the basis and the whole book revolves around these beings who were tired of being at war. So somehow, four people go involved in this all or nothing, through no fault of their own.

The story starts with Kyle battling it out with his friend April, guided by God Ares. The scene is impressive, Fire and Water sparring for strength. It provides a promise that this story is going to be good, or at least exciting. This also gives the impression, telling me that if you are a Percy Jackson fan, you might like it. These two know their fate, and are training to avoid losing the fight.

It is all fine and dandy. Except these two are also dreamers, hence we have conflict number 2. By now, this is becoming a book for younger audience. Further along confirms my doubt, but I continue as this is a fellow Australian’s work I am reading.

Characters

There are two point of views in Champions: At Fire’s End: April who owns telepathy and fire powers, and Kyle who has water powers and something else that I cannot remember. Their mission is to find their enemy first, flipping between the two makes it easier to see each other’s point of view.

Then there are the Gods and Titans, and the other two Champions. I would like to say that there is some inconsistencies, and I am not feeling the people in the book. Not even the heroes, whom I find a little bit too whiny for my liking.

As this is the first of the series, I shall reserve judgement and hope that they grow into their skin a little.

Verdict

I tried to like it but failed, to be fair I find Percy Jackson a little juvenile as well. But if you have a kid who loves him, and other action type, friendship based stories, then by all means. Champion is not really an adult’s book, it is simplistic and frankly does not have much big twists. However, it is perfect for a younger reader, who will enjoy the fights and betrayal.