Ramblings

[Quickie] Innisfree Christmas 2017 box

Last December, I got tipped to one of the best deals I’ve seen on Innisfree products by Fiona. For RM120, you would get:

  • Green Tea Seed Serum (RRP: RM98)
  • Green Tea Sleeping Pack (RRP: RM58)
  • Green Tea Mineral Mist (RRP: RM22)
  • Orchid Enriched Cream (RRP: RM111)
  • Black Green-Tea Mask (RRP: RM111)

So that’s about RM400 worth of products for just RM120. Did I mention that everything here is full size and not those sample sizes? And because I made a purchase of at least RM120, they also threw in a Bija sample kit.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get the kit, but a random conversation with Rin led me to my purchase because of the Orchid Enriched Cream (anti-aging). I was already on my last quarter bottle of the serum anyway, so that made two items I wanted to get.

I ended up using the Black Green Tea Mask and the Orchid Enriched Cream first before anything else (mom got the Green Tea Sleeping Pack as hers was running out). The online reviews for these two products vary between “Mreh” to “OMG THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER” as beauty products tend to.

Impressions: Black Green Tea Mask

The Black Green Tea Mask is an interesting experience. According to the website, it contains 55% fermented Jeju green tea squeeze, obtained through fermentation and ripened by cedar. Supposedly, it is a great moisturiser and antioxidant.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this, except it was surprisingly strong on the tea scent. It was very calming and gentle on my skin. You will know when it’s on your skin, as it has a somewhat heavy feel to me, but once the absorption process begins it’s gone.

So I tried this twice, once following the instructions aka cleansing and toning before masking, and the other as an in-shower mask as recommended by Kathy of Your Seoul Key. The first time, it was fairly heavy on my skin, but the cleansing process left my face looking fresher and calmer.

The second time, my face felt much softer. It also felt that I didn’t need as much as the first time, probably because my face was a bit more moist and the mask could be spread much more easily. Interestingly enough, the shine on my face had cooled down quite a bit (there was much more during my first trial two days before this) but it seemed that I could see more uneven skin tone (or could just be the lighting from the computer).

Either way, the mask is a really great step if you want a luxurious and relaxing spa-at home session. I love it for this alone.

Impressions: Orchid Enriched Cream

This cream is… heavy. It also takes quite a bit of time to be absorbed into my skin. In case you’re wondering, this is no mean feat considering my skin tends to absorb almost everything in a matter of seconds rather than minutes. Also, my forehead becomes super shiny but my cheeks are ok.

The Orchid Enriched Cream works better as a night cream for me, though the worrying part is that I can feel it itching around the edges of my face. This usually indicates a skin reaction, but I’m going to trial this for two weeks as I’m coming off the part of my cycle where my skin usually breaks out anyway, so we’ll see.

Was this a good buy? Yes! Will I end up repurchasing? Check back in one year. :P

Ramblings

So Long, 2017!

Wow.

Didn’t expect December to sneak up on me so fast.

Sorry this blog has been so inactive the past few months. I’ve not updated it for a variety of reasons, but the chief is mainly lack of energy and inspiration, plus battling with the feeling that my screams were going into the void.

As funny as it may seem, a combination of Nanowrimo, low self-esteem at work and trying to journal every day via WriteADay (which has failed whenever I am at home and have access to GDocs and am too lazy to look at phone) has basically encouraged me to write.

In terms of setting down hours to write.

I noticed I now have short spurts where I feel I need to be writing. Not necessarily creating, because that word means a completely different thing to me, but just to be putting down words.

And that digressed pretty wildly.

So I’m writing this just to mention a few things:

Blog updates

  • RSS Feeds:
    I’m killing Feedburner. It’s long overdue; I’ve been putting it off simply because Feedburner itself is still running.

    • Subscribed via RSS readers and/or browsers: If you’ve subscribed anytime before today (4 December, 2017) via your browser’s services I think you should be fine.
    • Email subscribers: You’ll need to re-subscribe, sorry! I’ve got a widget in the sidebar for it.
  • Changed themes: Mainly due to previous theme somehow ending up switching my “Previous Posts” page with the RSS feed page from Feedburner (which is also why it has been removed). This theme is much simpler and cleaner, I hope.

  • More postings? Probably. The biggest obstacle I have to overcome is the inertia to write and publish. It’s been… weird and sad to say the least.

Life updates

This year has been fairly interesting. A few notable milestones:

  • Finances
    I bit the bullet and dug deep into one of my emergencies fund to clear off my credit card debts. My study loan too, should be repaid in full by the end of the month. This means that in January, I should be hopefully only be saddled by long-term debt aka my housing and car loans.

  • Shopping
    I admit I bought a lot of things this year. Unlike previous years though, I don’t think I went that crazy, but among the noticeable purchases were:

    • Bought a new car, because my old one was condemned and my brother wanted his MyVi back.
    • New HP – I got the Galaxy Note FE (aka the Note 7) which was also one of the reasons why I decided to simply clear off all my credit card debts.
    • Bought a new monitor too, to replace the one my brother lent me all those years ago. I consider this payback for having to deal with his crazy ex.
  • Health
    This year has been about recovery. Refilling the creative well. While I’d like to think I’ve been fairly successful, a few things have stood out:

    • End of year slump
      Towards the last quarter of the year, I often get itchy butt syndrome. I notice this is also accompanied by a dip in productivity and errors made.

    • Return of the viral fever
      I had viral fever earlier this year. Took me out for almost a week. To top it off, I also had rashes at the end of the the fever. The itch was really bad and annoying because why in the world did I get rashes after the fact?

    • Hello weight gain
      I have stopped running for the past few years and suddenly I’m larger than I’m used to (gone from a size XS/S to a M/L depending on the cutting). While I like the size of my boobs, the fat around my waist has me worried, so I will probably take up Pokemon Go as an excuse to walk and exercise more outside of mall running (I work in a mall now, window shopping is a legitimate exercise).

What’s next in 2018?

My wishes are simple: more cash (period, I just want more money) and healthier lifestyle.

My goals on the other hand, have nothing to do with my wishes (ha!). All I wanna do is write the two stories I have bouncing around in my head and sell some more to others. Simple, aren’t they?

The voice in my head is laughing at me, in case you were wondering.

Have a good 2018 everyone!

Geekiness, Ramblings

[rant] urgh Gardenscapes why

Gardenscapes header

So I love Gardenscapes. Made by the people at Playrix, it’s essentially a match-3 game that has a lovely story attached to it, filled with characters that come to life through the things you do in-game. I’ve reached puzzle 1324, which is not too bad since I started playing this game almost a year ago.

The person who takes you through Gardenscapes’ main story is your butler Austin. Yes, your butler, though from the way he orders you around I kind of doubt that. He comes across as a somewhat enthusiastic and friendly chap at first glance.

However, as I play the game more, I’m discovering inconsistencies with his character. I’m not sure if it’s lazy writing or a suspension of disbelief, but there are some things he’s done recently that make me wonder if the writers actually thought things through.

About 300-400 puzzles ago (I think it was then), Austin asked his friend to Robbie (who happens to be black) to help fix the bridges in the garden.

Robbie says that he can’t as he has too many orders for the day and that he could do it tomorrow, but Austin forces him to anyway. Robbie quickly comes over and does a quick job and then has to rush off.

The bridge falls apart later, turning Austin indignant, who believes Robbie had endangered Austin’s potential love interest. Austin goes into a fit, says some mean things to Robbie, and then more or less sulks. When the truth comes to light, Austin “apologises” to Robbie by buying an expensive tool he knew Robbie was eyeing.

Now, here’s the thing that pissed me off. From what I can see, Robbie did the best he could with the bridge, given the time constraints that he had. When it fell apart, it had nothing to do with his skills (beavers are to blame). But he gets the blame anyway.

There’s also the fact that nowhere does Austin acknowledge that he emotionally blackmailed Robbie. Nor does Austin, at any point, directly apologise to Robbie for blaming him falsely.

It feels a lot like Austin is taking advantage of his privilege as a white man, even if he isn’t aware of it. He seems to take most others for granted and his interactions with the few people of colour in the game is subtly different compared from the others we see as white. His “apology” took for granted that Robbie would forgive him, would always forgive him.

Which brings me to the current storyline.

[DETAILED SPOILERS AHEAD]

Alex is an intern at a cleaning company. She’s to help Austin clean the garden. During the cleaning process, they uncover gorgeous ballgowns and learn that that part of the garden is suitable for hosting parties.

Austin decides that the ballgowns are no longer needed and should be sent to a museum, since they’re early 1900s (maybe?) pieces, and in really good condition. Alex, who had been hoping to dress up in said gowns, is disappointed, but she can’t really ask Austin to give the dresses to her. Who is she anyway?

During this plotline, we see that Alex is an enthusiastic, well-meaning girl who is a real romantic. She’s so romantic, that when a random person comes up asking Austin for help with his wedding car, she takes it upon herself to decorate the car. Alone.

So, we’ve established she’s a romantic. She’s good with wedding stuff. And she loves music and to dance.

What happens?

Alex sends the ballgowns to the museum on behalf of Austin. That night, the player and Austin are awoken in the middle of the night by a mysterious sound and subsequently a figure that runs through the garden to escape them. This figure tracks mud all over the garden including areas you, the player, have already fixed.

Oddly, while Austin is alarmed, he doesn’t seem as spooked or angry or surprised. This is odd, considering how he panicked earlier in the game to the point he insisted on getting a dog.

The next day, as they are cleaning up, we discover that the intruder was Alex. She had taken one of the gowns for herself and decided to have a little midnight dance.

Her uncle/family decided to punish her (at least from what we see in the game) by making her clean a spooky old basement filled with spiders and other creepy crawlies. What is Austin’s reaction?

“Oh no, we must help her! Let us ask this other guy who is handy with vacuums to give her one as she asked so she can finish her job quicker.”

The thieving model with her sculptor takes a break
More or less. Alex is thus freed to “model” for the sculptor, who is recreating the romantic story that led to the ballgown’s discovery earlier.

Throughout it all, Austin’s reaction to Alex breaking his trust and stealing from the player has been sympathetic and forgiving. In fact, he never brings up the point that she abused his trust and/or she had stolen things but instead helps her to finish her punishment quicker.

It seems Austin is so desperate to win the approval of the eligible females in the game that he doesn’t just overlook their horrendous behaviour, he encourages it. I’m terribly disappointed with Playrix because they had started so well with the game’s earliest chapters.

Well that's nice of Austin
Contrast this to the way he treated Robbie. To say that he threw Robbie under the bus without even apologising is a major understatement. Heck, even when Claire couldn’t make it he is nicer to her than he was to Robbie!

Really Playrix, you can and should do better. Gardenscapes is a really fun game and I like the touches you’ve added to the match-3 component. I like the characters. What I don’t like is your lazy writing; glorifying Alex’s criminal transgressions while making light of the hard work like Robbie does.

Ramblings

[Ramblings] Thoughts on Wonder Woman

I have complicated feelings about Wonder Woman. (Also SPOILERS AHEAD).

There are many, many, and I want to stress, many beautiful moments of enjoyment to be found in this movie. Taken separately and savoured, they are delightful pieces, delightful scenes that make you reach for more.

HOWEVER.

When taken as a whole, there’s this feeling of dissonance. Like something doesn’t quite make sense, or doesn’t taste quite as good as you wish it could be. Something something different flavours that are great on their own, but mixed together, tastes really off.

I think this could be due to the way they played out Wonder Woman’s origins. I feel she’s naive, yes, but foolishly so. Is it due to the way her overprotective mother raised her? Is she at odds with the bloodthirstiness of Antiope? Or is it just this very teenage “I will make everything right by doing this ONE THING that only I can do” kind of aura?

Partially, but I think it also comes down to the reason why, she said, at the end of the movie, that she is motivated by “Love.”

I think for me, that was what disappointed me the most. Wonder Woman is this person who is the very epitome of justice. She is fair. She is honest, loyal perhaps to a fault to her ideals. But above all, she is compassionate.

I will admit that a large part of why I feel that dissonance is also because the word “Love” in movies are usually attached to romantic love, and to be honest, I like how Diana’s first romance is not at the forefront. In fact, it’s something that is “Sure, why not” and then “let’s get on with the mission” in the sense, it doesn’t consume her life.

Having her talk about Love instead of Compassion made me feel like it was both a missed opportunity and a devaluing of what Diana stands for, because her compassion was what drove her to run across No Man’s Land. And the setup for that scene, for the way she flew across the battlefield, did not back down and holy f the smackdown that was laid right after that.

She began to move because her heart and compassion was moved and it was glorious.

Using the word “Love” instead of compassion made me cry slightly inside.

I have another confession to make about the movie.

It is womanly.

While I may disagree with the casting of Gadot and how the story played out, I ADORE the unapologetic, badassery that Diana displayed. “I am no man’s props” nor “I am simply a man who happens to be in a female body” are two tropes that this could have easily fallen into, and they did not.

It’s not that kind of female hero movie where she’s seen to be “assisting” men with their “important” tasks. Working in the sidelines and all that. No, this is NOT that kind of movie.

It is not that kind of female superhero movie where her “feminine wiles” are what gets her ahead. No, if anything, Diana is anything but feminine (and I love that scene where they call her out for wearing glasses, as though it would hide her identity squee).

It’s a “kick ass, fuck you, take no names” individualistic kind of feminine strength. A third kind of on-screen feminine badassery. We are so overdue for this kind of non-masculine feminine strength. There are plenty of feminine role models out there in the real world, and I would love to see more of these. Diana, and more importantly, her Amazonian aunts and friends, are great examples.

Talking about this also brings to mind the fantastic masculinity of Newt Scamander. I loved how his character was played, and it wasn’t until I saw this video essay that I realised it resonated because it was a different version of masculinity than I had ever experienced in movies, and it is glorious.

So yes, despite my misgivings, I love Wonder Woman and I would like to see more movies like these please kthxbai.

Ramblings

Maybelline Loaded Bolds are here!

Maybelline Loaded Bolds Shelf

The Maybelline Loaded Bolds Lipsticks have finally landed in Malaysia! I saw the empty shelf while I was in Guardian, which usually means it will arrive in less than a month to stores, depending on which store orders how much. This excited me so much I was squeeing over Instagram.

You see, I’m the kind of girl who prefers strong colours when it comes to my lipsticks. While going pink or natural is nice, I love strong colours, like this gorgeous Trinity shade by Black Moon Cosmetics.

Most Asians don’t go for strong lip colours, so I was really surprised to see the Loaded Bolds on the shelf. However, I didn’t expect them to see them in stores until after Raya (think 20 June onwards) because usually these things are put up two weeks in advance.

Lo and behold, Watsons has them! And surprisingly, for a new Maybelline there were testers all ready for you to swatch (usually these don’t come out until after a month or so, which makes me very annoyed). The price was also cheaper than expected; it’s at RM26.91 for now instead of the recommended RM29.

I swatched the more unusual colours because let’s face it – if you want a really strong red colour payoff, there are plenty of lipsticks, lip gloss, lip tints, what have you on the market. Purples? Also getting more common. But black, white, blue and the rare brown? How could I say no?

Maybelline Loaded Bolds swatches

Initial impressions of these colours? Damn they go on so easy! The white was the only one I had issues with; as you can tell from all the others, a single swipe is all you need for that gorgeous matte lipstick look. They didn’t feel as drying as I thought they might be, considering the payoff, but they transfer really easily. I discovered this while I was walking about in Sephora and ran my hands against each other. Sigh.

Still, the colours are bold enough (as their namesake), and it is really nice to have lip options that aren’t liquid lipsticks. It is a creamy finish, and this is a nice alternative to the current matte lipstick trend we’ve been seeing for the past few years.

So, should you get the Loaded Bolds? Not right now, I’ll say. I think it’s a Watsons exclusive for now, so give it a month or so before it hits Guardian. In case you’re wondering, this is the reason why I’m discouraging people from getting anything at Watsons.