Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MiCara My Face Reviews [SP]

I had always taken my (then) good skin for granted in my teenage years because I never had pimples or blemishes, and still had the luxury of going for monthly facials. I recently decided to stop going for facials altogether when my package ended because I felt bad that my mom was paying thousands to allow me to enjoy this luxury. I thought that I was capable of taking things in my own hands by looking after my own skin at home but boyyy was I wrong. My skin, especially the forehead region, was clogged, and my skin tone was horribly uneven. 

I was invited to MiCara My Face at a timely moment because I haven't went for a facial in months. I think more than anyone else, my mom was extremely pleased to hear that I was finally going back for a facial because my skin was beyond salvation. 


MiCara only uses top-of-the-line skincare brand, Babor. My skin was examined before a decision was made to use the mild AHA 10% peel mask.


This mask is to be used after cleansing and before extraction. It is for dry and dehydrated, oily combination, mature and wrinkled skin and skin prone to acne and blemishes. It corrects dark complexion and age-related skin changes, reduces fine lines and wrinkles and smoothens up roughness while restoring radiance. Apparently the AHA peel mask is not suitable for just anyone – it may be too strong and thus, unsuitable for individuals with highly sensitive skin. Those with mildly sensitive skin may feel a tingling sensation from this mask. I was surprised that I felt nothing at all despite my skin being sensitive! 

There's also an AHA 30% peel mask available. The difference in percentage means that it is stronger in glycolic acid. The product is strong, but the AHA will only work on aspects of the skin that are supposed to be treated. The panthenol will protect the rest of the skin :) 

The extraction done at MiCara was incredibly thorough. My therapist worked all the way from my hairline to my jawline. Extractions are one my favourite parts because 1) I really need the skin purge 2) I do enjoy the pain. Fun fact: my skin condition is so bad that I rarely get to enjoy face massages. I get so many extractions done each time that the therapist avoids massaging my face so as to stop further aggravation. This time was no exception, especially since I hadn't gone for a facial in months. But my therapist still did her best to give me a good face massage, while avoiding the infected areas. 


The ampoule was then applied after the peel mask for quick recovery. Ampoules serve as an instant remedy for blemishes and inflammations. They inhibit bacterial growth and promote healing so the redness and swelling from the extractions will be recover quickly and be less obvious. Babor ampoules are all organic, and are eight times more concentrated as compared to normal creams, so effects can be seen really quickly too. 
To end off, the cool purifying mask was applied on top of the soothing mask, and I fell into a deep slumber.



Post-facial glow! You can still see some redness and my massive pimple on my temple because it was freshly extracted, but my skin tone seemed a lot more even now. I've been told by many therapists that my forehead is darker than the rest of my face (which is weird because I have my bangs down sometimes) so I've gotta keep that in check.




Post-facial day one, with ZERO makeup. The size of my massive pimple on right temple reduced significantly and most of the bumps on my forehead disappeared. My dark circles faded and my forehead isn't as dark as it used to be. I learnt that you really cannot achieve such results at home, no matter what products/devices you use, so I highly recommend frequent facials if you have troubled skin like me.

MiCara is offering a trial price at $88 (U.P.: $128) with the mention of my name. After the trial, you'll get to enjoy 3 sessions for $98 each, pretty reasonable if you are familiar with the average price of facials (and you only need to go once a month!). It makes a good Mother's Day gift too heh I actually bought a session for my mom because she likes Babor products :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Project #GetFit

It's been a while since I updated this space and since I've been getting requests about fitness and how it all started for me, I think it's a good time to share. There are issues which I feel very strongly about and may end up ranting, so please pardon me :>


"So skinny already, you don't need to exercise!" I get this a lot, and it goes to show the number of people who still do not understand the purpose of exercise. I don't exercise to lose weight, I'm slim enough (avoiding the term "skinny" because so many people use it in a negative tone) – in fact, I would like to gain some more weight if that's even possible for me. 
I exercise because I'm sick of having people tell me that I'm too skinny. 
I exercise because I'm annoyed when people underestimate my strength (I have moved more than 40kg worth of baggage from London to Glasgow all by myself via public transport). 
I exercise because I don't want to be a regular at the doctors' (I don't remember the last time I stepped into a clinic and I'd like to keep it that way).
I exercise because I don't want my joints to degenerate when I'm older. 
I exercise because I want to be super fit and super strong for as long as I am alive. 
I could go on forever, but lastly (let's get real), I exercise because I want to look good in anything I wear (or don't wear lol). 

I may not look it, but I have always been quite a sporty person. At 7, I traded ballet slippers for taekwondo belts and left the sport with a brown belt after 5 years (I still regret not completing my brown-black and junior black). At 14, I quit dance for tennis and participated in yearly runs, jumps and swim meets in school, making sure I won at least a bronze medal for every breaststroke/relay event. After graduating from secondary school, I was pretty much leading a sedentary lifestyle – eating, drinking, partying.

In September 2013, I figured that I should do something with my life. I had always wanted to be super flexible, so I thought, why not start yoga and maybe I'd be flexible enough to progress to adult ballet after (ballet had always been my lifelong dream)? The common misconception is that you have to be flexible to do yoga – nope, you do yoga to be flexible. Trust me, with my gangly arms and legs, I was the most inflexible person alive. I couldn't do a split (still can't). I could not touch my toes standing or sitting (still a daily struggle for me to fold forward comfortably) – my sit and reach always pulled me down. The only thing I had was arm strength from years of swimming and tennis. I was 40kg and had never been heavier than 41kg.


This was about 6 months into yoga and I practiced twice a week.


Then I put on 7kg of what seemed like flab + maybe a bit of muscle mass. I don't weigh myself regularly because I don't see the need to. Numbers don't bother me because weight does not equate to progress, progress is when I see definition in the mirror. 

To illustrate:


 I found out about the weight gain when I could not fit into the shorts I had brought along to wear after yoga and ended up having to buy a skirt from H&M. I was 47kg then and was not pleased (because I could tell that it was flab).

I clocked in more workout hours and switched to an unlimited yoga membership. I practiced thrice a week and went to the gym twice a week.


In about 3 months, I felt like I was at my fittest thus far, with a fat percentage of 15.4%. 


Then I lost muscle mass when I stopped going to the gym. My workout then was purely yoga because I had no interest in gymming and no discipline to push myself in the gym, especially when I went alone. 

When I went to London for my internship, I exercised a grand total of 5 times over 6 months because I was busy studying, working and travelling. When I came home, I returned to my yoga practice thrice a week and was at 9.3% fat :')

After curriculum officially ended for me, I joined Lululemon and that's when things started to get sweatyyyy. We'd try out different workouts everyday, sometimes twice, thrice or even four times a day. (These are voluntary by the way, the company does not force us to go work out).











I now practice yoga, crossfit and spin regularly, and the strength gained from these workouts really help me hold my weight in pole. I still do have plenty to work on though, especially when it comes to my lower body (my legs are really weak). 

On a final note, here are some tips that I hope will serve as a motivation to work out, AND enjoy yourself while at it.

1) Find like-minded people who will work out with you.
When I used to go to the gym or go for classes alone, I had little motivation. Because I did not make plans with anyone to go for a workout together, I could skip class and sleep in instead. On the other hand, if you had already made plans with someone to hit the gym, you cannot bail last minute (well, you could but you'd be a horrible friend if you did it consistently). 
It's all about encouraging one another when you're working out too. A timely example: I usually go for yoga at True alone, where I'm a member. But my colleague and I agreed to try out a class at Pure and I left it to her to do the booking. She booked an advanced class and I panicked – I had never been to an advanced class because I was always afraid to attend it alone. The class was basically handstand variations for a good portion of the 90min class, where we were spurring each other on throughout and helping each other get into the poses. I'm so glad I attended a class (and with a friend!) that pushed my limits because I don't feel like taking an intermediate class anymore!
It's even more fun if you can find a whole group of friends to workout with – everyone could do with a little competition, especially in a crossfit box.  

2) Find a diet that works for you.
And by diet, I don't mean Atkins or South Beach – fad diets do not work in the long run. I have neither been on a diet nor have I counted my calories, macros etc. If I know that I can afford it (ie: I'll be working it off), I will eat that chocolate cake, and I will inhale those almond cookies. If I know that I'll be having a mean steak for dinner, I will enjoy my tofu soup for lunch. It's all about balancing out at the end of the day. I try to consume the right about of protein, fruits and vegetables each day, though I do admit that I don't consume enough protein because I'm not a fan of meat. Sometimes I supplement my lack of protein intake with a protein shake after a workout. If I feel like I'm lacking fibre, I make sure to grab a green juice. I personally feel that white rice makes me bloat, so I have made the switch to brown rice at home or wherever available outside (it's also packed with fibre, which we all need!). 

3) Find a workout that you enjoy
I LOVE Jade's Vinyasa classes at True Yoga because her flow variations are insane and there's always an arm balance and an inversion.
I LOVE spinning at CruCycle because the remixes are sick and it always feels like I'm at a dance party (it's not only spinning btw, it's a whole body workout because Cru uses weights to tone your arms and abs as you spin)
I LOVE Crossfit Firecity because Sam's workouts are always painful, but the atmosphere and competition makes it fun. Here's a glimpse of what we do at Firecity since many have been asking me about crossfit:


WOD = Workout of the day
AMRAP 12 = As many rounds as possible in 12mins
I don't think I even completed one and a half sets for this. Probably one of the toughest workouts I've done!


My favourite workouts are the ones where timings get taken at the end ^ because it makes the competition more fun :>

4) Stop making excuses!
"It's easier for you to get abs because you're skinny." "You can lift your own body weight because you're so light." Is it really true? Slimmer people cannot lift as heavy as bigger-sized people because we don't have as much strength to begin with. If anything, we have to train harder to gain all that strength. Your size is relatively proportionate to your strength, so a person who is 60kg would be able to lift his/her weight if he/she puts in the effort.
Legs too short to lift higher in dancer's pose, you say? At least you can fold forward with your head touching your shin.
Legs too long and you can't place your palms on the floor in a standing forward fold, you say (I admit I often grumble about this when I get frustrated with myself)? At least sitting in lotus is easier for you.
Bottom line: you win some, you lose some. Note to self: stop complaining and work on strength so you can rely on your strength, not your "assets", to help you enter the poses.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What you should know before your first yoga class

I always feel happy for people who tell me that they've just embarked on their yoga journey, or any other fitness regime for that matter. When you push yourself, you'll be amazed by what your body is capable of. Also, the post-workout high guarantees a good day ahead (for me at least). Here, I've compiled a list of things you should know before you attend your first yoga class. I'm no trained expert, nor am I a yoga instructor (YET! I intend to go for my YTT next year so if anyone has any recommendations, I'd love if you could comment or email me), I'm merely speaking through experience :)

1) Let the instructor know that it's your first lesson
This is not to allow the instructor to pick on you, but to help him control the pace of the class, pay closer attention to you and help you with alignment. Better than being a lost sheep in class!

2) Pick a good spot
A good spot is one that allows you to watch and follow the more experienced yogis in front of you, and one that is easy for the instructor to keep an eye on you or assist you If need be. I'd say pick a mat that is in the back row but in the center.

3) Familiarise yourself with some of the common postures
What I didn't know before my first yoga class was that instructors do not do the sequence with the class. Most of the time they dictate, and demonstrate only when many of the students are doing the posture wrongly. I feel that it is helpful to know some of the basic, more common postures so that the class would be easier to follow.

Following the sequence of a flow, L-R: Standing backbend, forward fold, plank, knees-chest-chin (beginner), chaturanga (intermediate), cobra (beginner), upward-facing dog (intermediate), downward-facing dog (THE classic yoga pose), child's pose.


The warrior series + wide-legged forward fold. L-R: warrior 1, warrior 2, warrior 3, wide-legged forward fold.

4) Rest in child's pose if you have to
Do not over exert yourself. The child's pose is a great recovery pose that you can rest in until you're ready to return to your practice. Instructors would much prefer this to you leaving the studio to take a breather.

5) Learn to be aware of your breath
The breath is very important in yoga. Make a conscious effort to flow with your breath - one breath with each movement. Breathing is done solely through the nostrils. Expand your belly with each inhale and contract your belly, pulling it towards the spine with each exhale. This technique helps you calm down (I also use this when I'm out of the studio and feeling anxious). Breathing through your mouth will make you pant, and breathing into your chest will speed up your heart rate and make you stressed.

6) Wear the right clothing
It is best to wear tight, light clothing so you don't unintentionally flash your fellow yogis. Avoid FBTs and your old PE attire. Invest in comfortable yoga apparel so that you won't be fiddling with your clothes in between poses - it is distracting to yourself and your fellow yogis, especially if the class is in a balancing pose! Vivre Active Wear does yoga apparel at a wallet-friendly price, perfect for new yogis who want to stock up on pretty, fancy workout clothes. I'd wear the left one for a hatha or flow class, and the right one for hot yoga because wearing too much clothing in 38-40 degrees makes me feel suffocated. I'd also pick long pants over shorts if I were to go for a more intense class with plenty of arm balances because wearing pants provides more friction.



Gotta love Vivre's attention to detail – strappy bras make me happy! In addition to wallet-friendly prices, Vivre Active Wear is offering 10% off till 15 Jan with the promo code ColletteVivre10.

I hope this post is helpful for new yogis! If there's anything else yoga-related that you'd like to know, feel free to email me at collettemiles@gmail.com because I'd really love to help or give you my two cents worth :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ [Sponsored by Samsung Asia]

Isn't it odd how phones get larger with every new release today, as compared to ten years ago? Just as I thought that phones are only gonna get bigger from here, Samsung releases a slim, sleek, stunning new phone that does not jut out of your pockets, and allows for one-handed typing without your thumb having to stretch to reach the keys at the far left. Introducing, the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+.



Mine is in a gorgeous frosted gold, a champagne-like colour. 


At 6.7mm, the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ is the slimmest GALAXY phone ever. 


Fingerprint recognition is not a very new feature in smartphones today, but what sets the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ apart from other smartphones is the fact that you can log in to websites like Gmail and Zalora simply by swiping your finger down the home button. You can even pay securely via PayPal using your fingerprint! It can register up to three fingerprints so if you injure your finger, unlocking your phone will still not be a problem :)

One of the most useful features of this phone has to be the ultra power saving mode. Sometimes, the juice in our phones run out before we expect it to. For me, it's mainly because I get so engrossed with scrolling through photos on Instagram haha. I have this 'thing' about having to take a cab home if my phone dies while I'm out because, what if something happens to me on the bus or while walking home, and I am unable to contact anyone because I have a dead phone?! With the ultra power saving mode, this will be the least of my concerns. 



10% battery life can last up to 10 hours worth of standby time! My phone, which was at 37% at the time of this picture, could've lasted me up to 4.1 days if I were to stay in the ultra power saving mode. This means that if I get stuck on an island with my phone, I have 4 days to figure a way out using whatever apps I have picked. 


In ultra power saving mode, the screen switches to black and white, and shuts down all unnecessary features. This is all that's on the home screen. By default, the phone includes your bare necessities on the home screen – phone, messages and Internet, aka features you'll need to find yourself a way out of the island. You are able to choose a maximum of three more from your existing apps – I picked WhatsApp.

Being an Instagram addict, the quality of the photos I post are very important. I have been eyeing the f/1.8 lens for my camera because it can give a very narrow depth of field (ie: subject will be clear, while background will be blur), which is what makes a photo look good. I was very impressed when I was told that the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ has a camera feature that can help achieve this effect. The feature is called the selective focus – you can choose if you want a near focus (subject=clear, background=blur), far focus (subject=blur, background=clear) or a pan focus (both subject and background=clear).



Altering the depth of field is easy peasy. There is no need for scale adjustments as seen in some photo editing apps – just touch either the near, far or pan focus button after you take the photo. I am so impressed by the effects! Oddly enough, the 12MP back camera is also brighter than my current Samsung GALAXY S4's 15MP camera. I no longer have to bring my bulky camera out for Instagram-ready shots ;)

This phone also comes with other privileges, which you will be able to find in GALAXY Life, an app that is essentially your digital loyalty card. As mentioned in my Samsung GALAXY Tab S post (which also featured this app), the aunty in me LOVES a good bargain.



With GALAXY Life, you can enjoy discounts at various F&B stores, boutiques and wellness centres. 1-for-1 bubble tea, cheap yoga sessions and discounts on durian puffs? I'm in!

Overall, I'm in love with how compact the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ – a rarity in today's smartphones. In spite of its size, the features and technical specifications are not compromised. It has an octacore processor (most phones only have quadcore processors) and an LTE Cat 6 capability (supporting up to 300Mbps), which is the fastest in the market. 

Apart from frosted gold, the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ comes in dazzling white and charcoal black. For more details on the Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+, please click here.

Get your Samsung GALAXY ALPHA 4G+ @ only $848 at any Samsung Experience Store. On top of that, there is an ongoing promotion which allows you to get a Tab 3 Lite (7.0") Wi-Fi for FREE!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Orange is the New Black | Halloween 2014


I'm guessing not many people in Singapore watch Orange Is The New Black because when we went out on Halloween, most people gave us weird stares, and some asked, "What outfit is this? Sexy nurse?". Which part of this inmate uniform looks sexy you tell me?! Hahaha we were probably the unsexiest in Clarke Quay, it was like we didn't get the slutty memo.
Alex Vause's outfit details and a huge bunch of Halloween party photos under the cut:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Makeup Favourites/Going-Out Essentials




I've never been a big fan of makeup. Sure, I love collecting them because they are so pretty, and they're nice to have, but I never have the time, talent or desire to experiment with them. The above are my 2014 favourites – and I'm pretty sure that most of them will remain my favourites in 2015. #1, #2, #3, #4 and #6 are from the UK, but Luxola now carries Sleek (YAYYY) so you'll be able to purchase them online, with next day delivery. Gotta love Luxola!

1) Collection Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer (in shade 02 medium cool)

I like concealers that have wands for easy application because tubes are a pain when you're trying to squeeze out that last bit of concealer. It's thicker than my other favourite, ZA Concealer Perfection, but not as pasty as Make Up For Ever's Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Creme (my least favourite under eye concealer, which I now use as tattoo cover when the occasion calls for it). This Collection concealer has the perfect consistency, and blends into my skin seamlessly.

2) Soap and Glory Archery Brow Tint and Precision Pencil (in Brownie Points)

The best eyebrow product I've tried so far. The felt tip allows you to fill in the gaps in your brows by drawing strokes in the direction of your hair growth, thus giving it a more natural look. The crayon helps to give your brows a perfect, defined shape.

3) Sleek Face Form Palette (in Light)

This is my travel face palette because it has a bronzer, blusher and highlighter all in one. It is the sister product of the famous Sleek Contour Kit (which consists of the same bronzer and highlighter, without the blusher). On most days, I only use the bronzer and highlighter because I'm not a fan of shimmery blush. The bronzer is in just the right shade for fair skin, and the highlighter isn't too glittery. I searched high and low for this one in London because it was so popular, it was out of stock at so many Superdrugs.

4) Sleek Blush by 3 Palette (in Lace)

Sleek blushers are cheap and highly pigmented, which is why I love them! This means that I only need to sweep my brush across the palette once to get my desired colour. I neglect the blush in the centre because it is too shimmery for my liking. Most of the time, I blend both the lovely coral and pink shades.

5) Maybelline Falsies (Singapore version)

I've tried millions of mascaras, from both drugstores and high-end brands, and nothing else seems to work for me as well as the Maybelline Falsies does. Even the UK version doesn't work as well, hence, it's specified "Singapore version" haha. It's the only mascara that is able to hold curl and add length to my lashes. $60 mascaras? Nah, I think I'll be sticking to my Falsies for life.

6) Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte by Kate Moss (in shade 110)

My current favourite shade of lip colour apart from my newly purchased MAC Cremesheen in Coral Bliss. I'm obsessed with coral shades and pale pinks, but once in a while it is nice to switch it up a little and go for a bolder colour. I love how Rimmel deviated from the typical pale coral shades and went with a bright coral that is a blend of orange and a tinge of red.

7) Majolica Majorca Brow and Lash Colourist (in Maroon Brown)

Mandy gave me two of these because it was too light for her brows. One tube is running out but I still use the wand as a spoolie to brush out my brows because whatever remaining colour that's left gives my brows a nice brown tint and helps to blend the colours. In fact, I like it better when there's less colour on the brush, so I try to scrape off the access against the tube when I use my second tube because I don't want to look as if my brows are painted on (what might happen if there's too much ink on your wand).

My day-out makeup routine consists of all the above (lip colour varies). If I'm going somewhere fancy, I sweep on my BareMinerals Matte Mineral Foundation (in fairly light), or buff in my Shu Uemura BB mousse.
For casual days, I use all but #5, and for school-to-home days, I use only #2. Haha I'm only thattttt adventurous with makeup because I look like an abused child when I attempt to wear eyeshadow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22

You can only really sing T. Swift's 22 and actually relate to it for only a year, so why not abuse it. I know I've been annoying all my friends with it haha. I initially wanted my 22nd birthday celebration to be a very chapalang affair, where my friends and I can all gather at a round table at a tze char "restaurant" and eat seafood with our hands. But friends like Evel and Erin and KC are allergic (oh you poor poor souls) so that was a no-go. BUT I'll finally be able to satisfy my seafood cravings proper next week at Mellben. I hope it's good! So here are the places I went to eat during my birthday week.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Say It With A Sub

How would you like someone to craft your apology for you? Or help you request for an early dismissal at work? On 10th October, Subway will help you Say It With A Sub (because sometimes words just aren't enough)!

Only on Subway's BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) day, purchasing a 6-inch sandwich will entitle you to a free 6-inch sub, packed into a Say It With A Sub bag of your choice. These limited edition bags are designed by some of the world's best budding artists such as So Youn Lee, Tom Whalen and JP Cuison.

 

 

 
On it are drawings with tongue-in-cheek quotes like:
- I hope you accept bribes
- This is what apology tastes like
- My other half for my better half

As well as more serious ones like:
- We need to talk...
- I don't know what I did but sorry anyway
- Can I leave at 4pm today?

Sure, you can struggle while trying to finish two 6-inch all by yourself on Subway's Buy One Get One Free day, but why not put these humorous limited edition bags to good use instead?


This bag is perfect for cowards like me who are always too afraid to ask for permission, but with this 'Say It With A Sub' bag, it would be so much easier for me to express myself!

Subway's Buy One Get One Free day is in its third year running, but these Say It With A Sub bags are spanking new. Therefore, giving these limited edition bags to someone will make them feel extra special, and they'll be more likely to forgive you, should you need to send an apology.

Also, if you want to get your hands on any of the designs on the bags, there is another way! Head over to Subway Singapore's Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/SubwaySingapore) for a link to an online charity auction!
You can bid for any of the signed artwork by these artists from now till 17 October.
All proceeds will go to the Business Times Budding Artist Fund (www.baf.sg), a charity which supports The Little Arts Academy's arts training programmes for children and youth from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds.

Subway's Buy One Get One Free day is happening on the 10th October, from 9am to 9pm; but the bags are while stocks last, so pick your subs up early!