Archive for the ‘beauty’ Category

Optimism from a rubbish truck

Don’t you just hate it when you’re stuck behind a rubbish truck in traffic? If you’re in a cold or temperate country, it’s not big a deal, but when you’re in tropical Malaysia, rotting rubbish is an assault on your sense of smell (unless you’re having a load of snot so thick that a stinking fart doesn’t bother you).

This morning, my Uber driver picked me up just as the rubbish truck was leaving my neighbourhood… and we ended up behind it. Good morning!

Whenever I’m near a rubbish truck, I try to ignore it. If I’m walking, I just hold my breath and put on my imaginary blinkers. But today, something caught my eye – in one corner at the back of the truck a colourful wind spinner stood out defiantly against a dull backdrop of grey metal and dirt. It spun gaily in the morning breeze, spreading rainbows and unicorns to dour drivers (okay, that’s stretching it but you get the idea).

Kudos to the rubbish collectors for the cheerful optimism and bringing colour to an overcast morning. They still see beauty even in the dirtiest of jobs. I’m humbled.

I’m sorry I didn’t have time to snap a picture. If you’re ever stuck behind a rubbish truck, keep your eyes open and tell me what you see. I hope it’s something that would make your day a bit more bearable.


What a Difference Flowers Make

After a long, crappy day at the office, there is nothing I love more than to return to my sanctuary and be greeted by the distinct scent of fresh lilies. I love lilies, especially white ones, for their expressive bloom, and of course, smell. Plus, they last long, up to a week.

I usually get them as buds from a florist near my office. By the time the weekend arrives, when I’m at home to enjoy them, they are in full bloom. I don’t go for fancy arrangements. I just stick them in an old Japanese bottle. It’s taller and heavier than a wine bottle, so the weight supports the flowers.

Orchids are another flower I love, mainly because they last long too. The different colours and shapes also keep me from getting bored as move from white to purple, to yellow to red. I usually get my orchids from a wholesaler in KL’s Chinatown (opposite Popular Bookstore). At RM4 to RM8 a bunch (enough for 3 to 4 recycled brown malt bottles), they are affordable luxury. Lilies cost above RM20 as they are sold in bulk, so I just get my one stalk from the florist for RM12.

I buy flowers not for special occasions or because there are guests coming over. They’re just such a beautiful and simple way to lift the mood. Flowers are a great way to brighten up the space, make it feel more cosy, peaceful and inviting. I love how the restaurants, spas and hotels in Bali use flowers so effortlessly and thoughtfully to make their guests feel welcome and comfortable. They are a joy to gaze at, and can help divert your impatience when you are waiting for your meal to arrive. Flowers don’t need to be expensive arrangements. Even a solitary bloom in a bowl of water can change the atmosphere from drab to fab.

Pretty Happy


Feel pretty, feel happy. Looking good is not about being vain. It’s about being happy with who you see in the mirror. If you look crappy, you’ll feel crappy. 

If you like playing with makeup, I recommend Benefit Cosmetics. I love Benefit because it’s shameless about feeling pretty. It’s a quirky San Francisco brand founded by twins Jean and Jane Ford. It’s sassy, frisky and naughty. 

The beauty divas sure got their priorities right.


Way to go, girl!


I’m a sucker for packaging and word-play, and Benefit sure tickles my funny bone. It has the funniest and most interesting names for its products. ‘Do it daily’ moisturiser (what were you thinking?), ‘Gee… that was quick!’ makeup remover and ‘Honey… snap out of it!’ scrub are some of my favourites. Oh, and for that unexpected overnight at the boyfriend’s, there’s the ‘justincase’ mini beauty kit to pretty yourself up the morning after. 


Browzings is the best eyebrow fix I've ever tried. But it only works on groomed eyebrows.



Beauty tips from the girls.

Older and Better


More beautiful today than you were at 20 - Sharon Stone in a Dior ad


I went through part of last year thinking I was a year older. While I was delighted to find out I was actually a year younger, there was no denying that I am growing OLD. I had spotted my first crow’s feet and more people are calling me “Aunty”, including a taxi driver who is actually older than I am.

Two dear friends turned 30 last year. I told them after 30, the years go by very fast. You’d probably find yourself panicking about all the things you have yet to achieve, all the things you want to do and worrying if you could retire in comfort.

Hitting 30 is not downhill all the way. Being in my 30s (no, I’m not telling you my exact age) is great in so many ways:

Fewer insecurities                                                                                                            

You care less about what others think of you. 

You learn to love your looks                                                                                                

I used to hate my kinky hair and wished for straight hair like all those Chinese girls. Now I’m thankful for the extra body all that frizz gives. Big butt? Loved it  since J Lo turned it into her asset. 

You get your priorities right                                                                                      

My friend Wee Ling slaved her 20s away at work. Now she goes off early when she can and travels around the world for concerts and gigs. 

Better skin                                                                                                                            

Fewer zits and better skin texture. Either my hormones have finally settled down or all those expensive skincare and facials are showing results. 

More confidence                                                                                                              

Like good wine, it simply gets better with age. 

Better taste                                                                                                                           

You just learn what works and cultivate a better sense of aesthetics.

More money                                                                                                                          

Ha ha. Now I can afford to buy better clothes and travel to places I once only dreamed of. 


There is no shortcut to this. You have to earn your stripes.