Beauty · review · Writing Samples

Dry Brushing : My Own Experience

Dry Brushing

It does not need much explanation, dry brushing is simply brushing your skin with a brush when it is dry. This practice traces its origins back to Indian Ayurveda, where people use it as a lymphatic drainage option. Though today people seem to find more benefits to keep this ancient knowledge alive.

How To Do It?

First, invest in a good quality brush. Focus on the bristles, the handles and everything in between..

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My cheap crappy brush

I got this from a pharmacy, because it has massage beads as well as the bristles. In my opinion, the bristles are quite sharp, not as good as Sukin one that I have. Unfortunately Sukin brush does not have the beads, so I use this one at the gym after my workout.

You can buy one from Amazon here.

Then, before your bath/ shower every day, gently brush from feet towards the heart; and when you do the hands, you brush them towards your chest. I do mine in a circular motion, but still swirling towards the trunk, When doing my stomach I would do a few more circles, as I really want my stubborn stomach fat to go away.

What Does Dry Brushing Do?

Aside from improving your lymphatic drainage, dry brushing is lauded to have other benefits. but the reasons why I started doing is not trying to improve the system. My lymph nodes are fine, because I am constantly moving around with a baby, and daily gym work.

The main reasons for me were exfoliating and getting rid of dirt from the pores, and hopefully scrub off enough layers of skin to fade some scars. Of course I could do wet brushing, which is brushing my skin under the shower or in the bath. But it’s Australia and it’s dry as a nun’s nasty here (yeah it’s a legit Aussie slang) so dry brushing saves water. After gym, while I am still hot and my pores are still open, that’s when I do mine.

Some would tell you that it is good to get rid of cellulite, the dimply appearance normally around the bums and thighs. Cellulite is a problem when you are sedentary and have a poor blood circulation, because the connective tissues between fat cells breakdown, then you will have that dimply look. It ain’t pretty, and you can’t treat it with diet and exercise.

Does it Work?

Not sure about the lymphatic drainage part, but I assume so because any form of movement will be good. Our lymph system has no pump, so it relies largely on muscle movement and external forces to push it to the liver. Hence all lymphatic massage is towards the liver/ body. Dry brushing is the same, but if you want to break up some extra fat stores, circular motion helps. No one said you cannot do it both ways, it does take time.

I will say that the pore cleaning definitely is true, I have seen icky stuff coming out of my skin. This was after few days of dry brushing after gym. That is probably a good thing, because I have been neglecting my skin for a tad too long. But exfoliation wise, there is some contention in that topic.

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If dry brushing is a great way to exfoliate, then I would not be suffering from ingrown hairs. Right now they are still as annoying as ever. Plus, that scar has not really faded. It is a scar, from scraping myself somewhere one day. This picture is taken three weeks after my almost daily routine of dry brushing. Cellulite wise, it did somewhat make my thighs smoother, though I cannot see my bum very well…

So far there is no improvement, or nothing that makes you think it is worth the effort for me. Having said that, a lot of people do have good results. It might be just me, though I am slightly disappointed. Overall, I think it is a good habit to have, it is just a few minutes a day.

Dry Brushing vs Body Scrub: which one is better?

Priori Advanced AHA Invigorating Face & Body Scrub

For me, dry brushing takes the cake. Main reason is because the brush would last you a lot longer than a body scrub. Another advantage is the brush is made usually from boar’s bristles, where as body scrubs come in all shape and formulation, a nightmare if you have sensitive skin. If you use it properly, and clean it often, I think you can use if indefinitely, at least more than six months right?

This AHA is a chemical body scrub, it has lactic acid that acts as exfoliate. For physical exfoliate, there is Body Shop’s sugar scrub, or Sukin’s purifying scrub. Okay maybe these scrubs have the extra moisturizing effect the brushes do not have *yet*…

The only problem with dry brushing is winter, it gets terribly cold and getting naked for five minutes can be a little hard. I do it at the gym, after a workout so my body remains a little warm while I quickly do a scrub. While that works for me, I know it is not for everyone. However, wet brushing will not give you that pore and skin cleansing benefits due to reduced friction. You will still get the cellulite and lymphatic advantage, that counts for something at least.

Of course, if you are not going for the brush and prefer scrubs, you can do a little massage as you go around your body. Lymphatic massage is a good companion to your body scrub routine, there are videos you can watch online. Whichever way you pick, it is the habit that promotes good health, because lymphatic system is tied closely to our health.

 

Book · thoughts · Writing Samples

Beautiful People : August Edition

Image From the Hosts

Beautiful People : For Writers and Dreamers

The answers for these questions are for one of my main characters: Christopher. He is a detective and I need to flesh him out a little more. Aside from the six pack and a good tan, I think he has to be a lot more than just eye- candy to be a detective… so without further ado…

I have done Beautiful People blog hop before, you can read it here (March. And another here. Then I got lazy, with travelling and kids.

What are they addicted to/can’t live without?

He is addicted to prescription medication, at this rate I think it should be a sleeping pill rather than a painkiller. I haven’t decided yet, but he cannot live without *hmmm* going to the gym.

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

3 Positives : courageous, determined, careful
3 negatives: racist, chauvinistic, messy

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?

A grudge, definitely emotional baggage…

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?

Probably a 3, bad enough that other people does his organizing for him in the office.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in?

So many Asians, quote politician Pauline Hanson (she’s a real person): Asian Invasion. That and Dominos Pizza is shrinking.

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?

On summers night it would be just shorts for a night IN. For a night out, a black shirt with jeans, because he can.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind?

Asics running shoes, a black dress shoe and loafers/ slippers whatever you call them.

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?

He is not a pet person, due to the nature of his work. But he might wish he has a pet Rottweiler to watch his back.

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?

His ex-wife who had ran off with an Asian (he never knew exactly which nationality) pilot.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?

Protein bars and more protein bars…

I need your help!

Suggest something that I could change in the list, and I might consider it. IF my book ever gets published I promise to put your name on the thank list =d

Book · interview · Writing Samples

Interview with : author Russ Colchamiro

Interview with: Author Russ Colchamiro

** all images are taken from his blog: http://russcolchamiro.com/ or Amazon**

Russ Colchamiro from his Blog

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Q: Was writing the books a fun experience for you?

A: I love to write … except when I hate it! Being a writer isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am. It’s a fundamental component of my personality. There’s an incredible rush when I’m clacking the keys and the ideas are flowing and I’m crafting my tales, reshaping, reforming, and chiseling away until the magic comes alive. But writing is also a solitary experience that requires untold hours—often late nights—grinding away, unclear if I’m on the right track. But ultimately I find it’s always worth it. The number one rule I apply to myself is that I’ll only put my name on a book if I’m proud of it. So far so good.

Q: After writing 5 books, which is your favorite?

A: Ha! Never ask a dad to pick their favorite children!
(Ailyn’s note: maybe they are all equally annoying? My kids are…)

Q: Do you have a day job aside from writing?

A: I’ve been a media specialist for more than 20 years. I started my career as a High School English teacher, but switched to journalism. For the first many years I was a healthcare journalist, and then commercial real estate. Now I provide strategic council and public relations services to various real estate companies. The biggest project I ever worked on was One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. I spent many years in that building while it was being built, and after it opened. I was up on the 90th floor one cold and blustery day … when there were no walls! Not a day I’ll ever forget.

Q: What inspired Jason Medley and Theo Barnes (from your Finders Keepers trilogy) to save the world?

A: These guys kinda just stumbled into it! Trust me … there was no grand design as far as they were concerned. Jason and Theo were just two guys from different parts of the world who connected in Europe on a crazy backpacking adventure, when fate decided they had a much larger role to play in the Universe than either one of them could have imagined! The discoveries they go through over the course of the three books was thrilling to write. I wasn’t so much the architect of the narrative as the conduit. The gods dictated the stories; I just clacked the keys.

Q: Can you see yourself in the characters that you created, who would you want to be?

A: There’s a part of me in every character. Jason Medley is very much my fictional alter ego. But if I had to choose who I’d like to be … hmm. Hank is probably more my speed. The older mystic who offers sage advice … while goofing off whenever he can.

(Ailyn’s note: that might be your high school teacher persona.. the mystic sage. Totally)


Q: How did you celebrate the release of your first book?

A: My kids were born just months before that—I have twins, a boy and girl; my little ninjas—so most of my celebrating at that time was spent changing diapers!

Q: Will there be a “deleted scenes” book one day?

A: Hmm. Interesting. There are deleted scenes—and one in particular from the Finders Keepers trilogy I’d like to find a place for someday. No plans for a deleted scenes book, but I’m thinking about taking some of the content in the three books and re-presenting it in a new way. Can’t talk about it yet, but stay tuned.

Q: Will you be venturing into other genres?

A: Definitely. I’m in the process of transitioning into mystery and crime fiction. I created a character—Angela Hardwicke—who’s a private eye. She makes a cameo in the second Finders Keepers book, Genius de Milo, and has a much larger role in the third one, Astropalooza. I always wanted to write a classic Sam Spade-type private eye, and she’s the one for me. Next week, as part of my team with Crazy 8 Press, we’ll be debuting our latest anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem. I’m the editor. The collection includes 15 stories. They all include at least one act of love or romance, and at least one murder, with mayhem welcome. We’ve got superhero and supervillain stories. AI, off-world, and space cruiser stories. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob!

Besides being the anthology’s editor, Love, Murder & Mayhem includes a short story I wrote, with Angela Hardwicke as the lead. It was a chance for me to experiment with tone, style, cadence, story structure, etc., to get a better feel for who she really is and how to write her. I’m also reading tons of crime and mystery fiction these days—Elmore Leonard, Sara Gran, Harlan Coben, and others. My next book will probably be a full-length Angela Hardwicke novel, or else a collection of Hardwicke stories. If things go as I hope, I’ll be writing her for a long, long time.

(Ailyn’s note: hopefully poor Angela has a better time and luck than Jason and Theo @_@)

Q: What do you most enjoyed being an author? The books, the fans or just writing?

A: A combination. Like I said, when the writing part is grooving, it’s the greatest rush. I’m also a convention warrior—meaning, I like to do a lot of conventions on book tour, mixing it up with new fans, existing fans, and other writers. I’ve been on book tour all spring, and have a big show next week—Shore Leave in Huntsville, MD—where me and my gang from Crazy 8 Press will be debuting Love, Murder & Mayhem.

(Ailyn’s note: with the kids? that would be a cool family outing)

Q: What do you hate most when writing a book?

A: There are times when I feel completely lost. When I’m at it for a while, I sometimes lose perspective, because as the manuscript grows, it becomes more difficult to get a sense of whether or not the narrative is working or if I’m going to pull it all together. But I’ve learned to trust my process. I do many rounds of revisions. Each one is stronger than the last. And inevitably it all clicks. Takes a while, but I get there. I’ve also found that the more work I do up front—storyboarding, outlines, research—the smoother things go.

Q: Do you use a special writing program, or are you a handwriter?

A: I clack the keys, in Microsoft Word. And I take notes wherever I am. On the back of napkins and receipts, scrap paper, or I’ll text or email myself ideas, pieces of dialogue, plots, etc., if I’m on the run and don’t want to forget. I can’t tell you how many ‘great ideas’ I had and thought, ‘oh, I’ll remember,’ and never did. So aggravating! So now I try to write EVERYTHING down.

Q: Do you think people should join authors group, are you in one?

A: Important topic for any writer. I do not belong to any writers groups, but I did. I joined one or two, and I formed one. But I found that they don’t work for me because they require reading other writers’ works, and giving notes, while only focusing on your own work in small doses, from time to time. I want more focused time. I’ve since narrowed my scope to 2 or 3 trusted readers (other writers I know) who can read my entire manuscript, and then give me detailed commentary.

I know lots of people who love writers groups, or have a large group of beta readers. There’s no right answer. It’s just whatever works for you. I like to keep the circle small. For anyone who wants to join a group, I’d suggest finding one where everyone is at least at their writing level, or better. You want to avoid being in a group (or share your work with a reader) with people who either tell you what you want to hear, or don’t know how to help you.

Asking someone to give you feedback is tricky, because giving feedback is a skill. There are technical aspects to writing, whether story structure, syntax, rhythm, pacing, tone, setting, and the various copy editing components. The best feedback you can get is the kind that makes you upset. It usually means that you’ve been confronted with a problem you had either overlooked or ignored. It’s painful, but it’s a key way to improve your story, and your writing overall. You need thick skin, but I also suggest that share your work only with people who genuinely have your best interests at heart. It may take some time to find those people, but if you stick with it, they’ll turn up.

Russ Colchamiro and Crazy 8 Press Proudly Presents

Published May 2017
Love, Murder & Mayhem: Cosmic Tales of the Heart Gone Deadly Wrong

Synopsis:

The Crazy 8 Press and Russ Colchamiro releases a fifteen author anthology, featuring superheroes and… Click To Tweet
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.

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.