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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A new season for our family

Hello hello! Man, it's been so long. Life has been zooming right past my face every single day, and before I realised it's already September now! 3 more months to 2018!! 😱

A lot has happened since my last update here. It would take me forever to try to update from where I left off so let's not do that hahaha. I update daily on Instagram Stories @careentxy though! And pretty often on Dayre! Feel free to follow my updates on those platforms cos it's seriously more convenient for me to update on-the-go. For blog posts, I usually prefer putting up more cohesive posts and to do that I would need to sit down at my laptop to do it, and that takes time πŸ™ˆ

So yes, a lot has happened, with the most significant one being a huge change for our family.

And no, I'm not pregnant 😏And neither is it Tyler's new haircut (which is indeed a really significant change to me!!).

It's Papa Boon! He was handpicked to join a new department about two months ago which required him to be more office-based. Which means he wouldn't need to travel for work much anymore, which also means he will be around more and we can spend so much more time together as a family 😭

This is like my secret wish coming true cos I've been secretly wishing that he wouldn't need to travel so much for work anymore. Ever since we started dating, we've been on a semi-long distance with him studying out of town, and since he started working he had been travelling for work a lot. Fast forward 13 years later, this is the first time that he is based here and not travelling anywhere for work, which feels really new to me cos all these years of being together, I've never really had him around for more than a few months straight πŸ˜”

Not that I'm complaining here, cos him travelling for work allowed us to be able to afford many things that we have now and also trips that we have made. But really at the end of the day, I'm willing to live simpler, own lesser and travel closer to home just to have him around. His presence is more important than any material things.

So for the past few months, we've been staying in our own home as opposed to moving in and out from our home to my parents' home like nomads on a weekly basis *sob sob*. I really appreciate all the help that our families have given us whenever Boon is away for work, but now I'm just really cherishing the times that we can spend together as a little family.

Since Boon is around more these days, we've been able to have some sort of routine at last. So for now, once a week he will do bible study with a cell group member, once a week we will catch up over different friends over meals, once a week we will have an exercise sesh together, and once in two weeks we will have a date night where we have a meal and catch a movie together without Tyler πŸ™ˆ So far this routine has been working out really well for us (of course in between other commitments like work, family meals, cell groups, church meetings, and so on!). And I realised that with a routine set in place, it is so much easier to plan for the weeks and months ahead. In the past there's no such thing as planning ahead cos we wouldn't know when Boon needs to leave again. Everything was KIV/TBC/TBD (kept in view/to be confirmed/to be determined) and it really made planning very difficult.

With more a organised calendar, I find that I'm able to be more focused on my tasks cos everything is more organised and in a way, stable. I realised that I'm so much more at peace and emotionally stable (not that I was an emotional hurricane before this lol, but I really do feel so much more stable as a person).

That's what having your loved one/support system around does to you. It's something that we can all take for granted so easily without realising, especially if our loved ones are ALWAYS there. So I'm making a point to count my blessings and be reminded on how I am very blessed to be able to have Boon with us more now.

He may not stay in this department and be office-based forever, but for as long as he does, I'm just gonna enjoy and cherish it.

See now I even have more time to take OOTDs lol. As in, I have someone to help me take OOTDs hahahaha.

Trying to make it a point to take more photos now before Tyler grows even bigger!

Papa and son ♥

Us before Tyler cried the entire salon down with his haircut hahahah.

Just a very quick and short update today that I really want to share with you guys. Updating on other platforms may be quicker and more convenient, but still, nothing beats updating here on my own blog. Archiving these special moments of my life whenever I can. Promise to try to update more frequently from now!

Okays, back to replying emails and sketching gown designs! 
Til the next one!

Love, Careen.
This post is filed under PersonalFamily, Thoughts

Monday, June 19, 2017

Stronger, Healthier Hair with Blackmores Vital Shine

Good hair days- when you have them, it's easy to go without noticing. But when you DON'T have them, you will definitely notice because bad hair days affect us more than we know.

One of the remarks that I always received from friends and strangers alike is that I have nice hair, which made me think, really?? πŸ€”  And it wasn't until I became a mom, started having rapid hair falls and dry, frizzy hair that I started to really look back and realize, oh my I really did have nice hair 😭

The condition of our hair affects our outlook and self-esteem more than we know. When I started to have hair falls a few months after giving birth, I realised that I became really conscious about that little bald patch that I have at my hair parting. After years of hair coloring, coupled with my hair length that weighs more and encourages hair falls even more, topping off with losing my body nutrients with breastfeeding (everything went to Tyler! that's why his hair so nice πŸ˜‚), my hair was showing signs of neglect and things started to go downhill. They became dry, frizzy, and balding *cries*

That was when I knew I needed to do something to salvage the situation, so I started going to the hair salon more for hair trim and treatment, became more hardworking with applying my home hair mask, and used anti-hair fall shampoo. Those were the only things I knew that were able to help me fix my hair problem.

They did help to a certain extent to prevent my hair situation from worsening, but I realised that like everything else– our skin, nails, and health in general– true change has to come from within. Applying products and treating from the outside can help with maintenance, but if we want to truly create a change in our body, we need to look into what we consume.

With that in mind, Blackmores has recently launched Vital Shine, the first hair tonic in the market which promotes healthy and strong hair, preventing hair greying and hair loss, and is made up of natural ingredients. 

Hair follicle cells experience high turnover, and they require a good supply of nutrients and energy. Lacking several components such as vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fatty acids may lead to structural abnormalities such as brittle and dry hair, pigmentation changes like hair greying, and hair loss.

Among the combination of carefully selected nourishing ingredients are- He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti), bamboo shoot extract, millet seed extract, white tea extract and sea buckthorn that helps reduce premature hair greying and build stronger hair from the roots.

Each box of Blackmores Vital Shine comes with 12 bottles of 50ml goodness, which is a very convenient size to carry around!

We're encouraged to take a bottle a day for full results, so most of the time I'll just pack a bottle into my handbag and take it before or after my meal.

This palm sized bottle of goodness isn't only power-packed with nutrients, it tastes really good too! It's made up of apple and prune extracts (which are two of my favorite fruits!) 😍  Some of you may be glad to know that Blackmores Vital Shine is certified halal by THIDA (Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association) which is a halal body recognised by JAKIM, Malaysia!

Been consuming Blackmores Vital Shine for about a month now, and apart from enjoying its taste, I'm feeling the positive changes in my hair, especially in the hair falls department. Each time I wash my hair, I will cringe to see the amount of hair that ends up clogging the drain. But these days, I'm seeing less of them so I'm very happy! Hopefully this continues seriously!

If you're suffering from any of the hair problems that I mentioned- dry and brittle hair, premature hair greying and hair losee, you can consider giving Blackmores Vital Shine a try! They're available in most pharmacies :)

'Til then!

Love, Careen.
This post in filed under Lifestyle, Fashion and Beauty, Advertorials.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Next Stop: Second Honeymoon?

Feeling very excited as I type on this keyboard in the still of the night at 2.25am. Everyone else is asleep at home, and I'm here sitting at my work desk trying to complete as many tasks as I can before we jet set this Saturday! πŸ›«

I've briefly shared on Instagram Stories and Dayre about our upcoming trip, but haven't officially mentioned anything on Instagram or the blog yet cos I've been just so swamped! Very motivated by our trip to work hard now so I can enjoy later!

Before I go into the details, just a little background story about Boon and I, 
and how we feel about travels.

Prior to getting married, we never really went on holidays alone together as a couple, because my parents set really strict rules for me, and also because we personally felt it would be more meaningful to travel together after we're married too. So one of the things that we REALLY looked forward to was travelling together. After 8 years of dating, we tied the knot and then began our travels as a married couple.

As compared to others, we may not have travelled the globe as widely as they have (individually maybe, but not really much as a couple). We've been to Bali together for our honeymoon (which was just amazing- first time travelling alone together!), and then Sydney and Melbourne for a friend's wedding where we spent a little more than a week there, Bangkok for my work trips every other quarter for 2 years plus, Tokyo for our 10 days in heaven lol, Sydney again for Hillsong Conference, and then Sydney again for Babymoon at 4 months pregnant, and then Sydney one more time for Color Conference hahahahaha. Until a point Boon banned us from going to Sydney in the next 5 years πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Our last trip abroad just the two of us was our Babymoon in Sydney, which we're glad we made happen (though it's to Sydney again hahaha sorry la I choose one). You know how they always say, "Go travel as much as you can before the baby comes"? We took that advice, and made it a point to just enjoy our last trip as a couple before we become a family!

Some pics from our Babymoon in 2015.

Looking back, I DID have that pregnancy glow! Now all I have glowing are oil on my forehead from all the stress lolol kidding! But yeah now no glow edi la hahahah.

Tyler thanks for making me glow πŸ˜‚✨

Things you never knew you'd miss- just simply strolling slowly, stopping by to see things, take pictures, just chat and laugh at each other.

Nowadays? With an active toddler, no such thing man. No strolling (it's chasing now), no stopping by to see things (cos the boss won't let us stop yo), no taking pictures (it's too difficult a task now), no just chat and laugh (cos we'll be too focused on chasing Tyler before he disappears into the crowd) πŸ˜…

Another thing that we miss?

Eating slowly and peacefully πŸ˜‚ Nowadays it's feeding Tyler first, then it's keeping him occupied and well-behaved with his books and whatever not we can find that may amuse him for a bit, while we quickly chomp down out food and leave before he's bored and begins fussing.

Can you spot my 4 months old baby bump here? Tyler inside! πŸ‘Ά

Another thing we miss? (OMG seems like we miss a lot of things! Hahaha)

Just looking into each other's eyes, and really enjoy the company of each other. Just us in a foreign land where nobody knows us, and we know nobody. Just us exploring and getting lost, finding new sights and eats together, making memories in that simple manner.

Nowadays we only look into each other's eyes when Tyler is asleep, or when he hasn't woken up hahaha. When Tyler is awake, the only eyes we stare into are his (when we lecture him for being naughty) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Of course, don't get me started on out Tokyo trip in 2014!

Look at how youthful we used to be...dewy skin and all...before our sleep got ruined forever πŸ˜‚

Hahahaha just kidding this photo was taken with some beauty filter one hahaha. We never looked this flawless in real life, we still don't and probably never will πŸ˜‚

Train rides going anywhere.

Squeezing in the rush hour with other people's armpits in our faces and laughing our asses off about the entire experience.

We tried train rides with Tyler before! LRT, BTS in Bangkok. In which he would go and touch other passenger's bags, shoulder, and want to run around which is a nightmare la. So we'll hold him tight to which he will fuss and scream. Doesn't seem like the Tyler you see on Instagram right? Hahahaha this is real life yo. Every toddler is liddis. We just no hands and no mood to Insta anything when he's throwing a tantrum.

Don't get me started on Tokyo Disneysea. OMG don't.

Recently I received an interview question that asks,
"What are some of the the happiest moments of your life?"

My answer was:
"When I got married, when we were in Tokyo Disneysea, and when Tyler was born."

This was how much I enjoyed Tokyo Disneysea. I was so happy, so free, I was like a kid in a candy land, running around with Boon without a care in the world.

To be honest, after one and a half years of being a mom (plus 10 months of pregnancy), I do miss feeling and being carefree. Now that I constantly have someone I'm responsible for, I can never feel 100% carefree cos I am always worried, especially if Tyler falls or injures himself. Ever since becoming a mom, I've become a paranoid and imagine things in the worst case scenarios and scare myself all the time. Cos...prevention is better than cure right? So that has changed me quite a bit.

Don't get me wrong though. Reason I'm sharing all of these things isn't to rant or complain about life as a mom. As much as many, many things have changed around and in me, I am more than happy and blessed to be a mother to Tyler. He's a gift that we prayed so hard for, and he's such a joy to us (not so much when he's being naughty la hahaha) and we love him no matter what.

It's just that there are days that I miss feeling free, and not having to look out for a little person all the time. Days that I miss just devoting all my attention to Boon and fall in love again and again like youngsters do lolol. Days that we get to really rest and feel truly recharged the next morning. I've been feeling tired for as long as I can remember seriously. It's like a tiredness that never goes away. Probably only when Tyler and his sibling(s) start going to uni πŸ˜…

That didn't stop us from planning another trip with Tyler though, this time a long distance trip some more! Without thinking that much, this brave couple bought tickets to London with a one and a half year old toddler, and was excitedly looking forward to spending fun, family time together! London is one of my bucket list destinations so I was really looking forward!

Until one day...

...when I went back to my parents' place for a meal and my dad started persuading me to leave Tyler with them, while me and Boon take this trip as a second honeymoon.

At first it was straight on no for me. 

"No laaaaaa, we want to spend family time together! It's a family trip!"

"No laaaa, it's okay we already expected not to be able to see or do a lit with a toddler in tow."

"No laaaaa how to leave him for 12 days? We will miss him terribly and you guys will have to take care of him for so long!"

I was giving all the No's, until I ran out of them and my dad started to convince me further that Tyler might not enjoy the trip as much as we think he would.

And that struck me. I never thought of it that way. I always thought that all three of us will really enjoy our family time together! Taking pics with the Big Ben, Tower Bridge, picnic at Hyde Park, etc.. I never really considered the long haul flight and how Tyler would be so restless that he would want to run up and down the plane, binge watch his shows and fuss cos he can't move around during landing and take-off. I never really considered how he would want to walk everywhere by himself and refuse to follow our lead, and we might end up just not seeing anything on the streets or in the museums. I never really considered how tiring or boring it might be for him.

I realised that I was naive to only imagine the best case scenarios, and not the worst. I kept telling myself that he will be fine, he will have fun with us, and he will behave.

And then I was reminded of our trip to Bangkok- 4D3N short trip which tired me out more than anything. To be fair, Tyler wasn't difficult during that trip. In fact we think he was pretty well-behaved. But as much as he was a good boy, he would still fuss when it's too warm, when he can't come down to run around, etc.. It got to a point where I was desperate to let him just run, that we paid an entrance fee to a kids play land for all three of us, and just let him run and crawl and tumble to burn his energy for 3 hours, and hoping he would nap well after. He didn't like the places we went to eat cos they were warm, most places didn't have baby chairs, and he didn't like being stationary in the BTS. All in all, it was a really exhausting trip and we ended up needing another vacation right after (which we did not take, of course). It was fun having him around but when he fusses it's no joke. We made some nice family memories, but the results are two very tired out parents who took turns falling sick after the trip, an a toddler super happy to be back in the comfort of his home.

It was then that these realistic experiences surfaced and opened my eyes to see that perhaps, just perhaps, my dad was right. I didn't tell him that right away. I told him okay we'll consider, and texted Boon about what happened.

As expected, his first reaction was, "Huh, nolaaaaa it's a family trip, etc". Same same like me. Cos we both had the same ideal scenario playing in our heads, a smiling, happy Tyler taking family pics with us at Big Ben. Happy, laughing Tyler enjoying picnic at Hyde Park πŸ˜‚ But we decided to just sit on it and ask parents around us.

And guess what, out of all the parents we asked- those who have brought their toddlers abroad and those who went alone as a couple- 99% said just go on our own. Their reason is that we may not get this opportunity to do so anytime soon when our second baby comes long. It'd be harder to leave two kids with the grandparents and by then Tyler will understand things better and enough to not let us leave. Many of them also said that they wished they also had someone volunteering to babysit their kids and ask them to go honeymoon, and told us to grab hold of this golden opportunity πŸ˜…

One of the reasons that struck me the most was this. One of our friends said, 

"I never knew I needed a trip away with my husband until we were on that trip. We see each other every day, and we did't think we would need this marriage time, but turns out we did. It did more for our marriage than we imagined it would."

Which brings me to this other thing that my dad said. I told him "No laaaaaa I cannot imagine leaving Tyler for 12 whole days! He may not miss me but I'll miss him like crazy! I don't think I can cope."

And my dad said this, "You have your husband already why would you still need to miss your son?"

At that point I was like, "Huh that does not make sense!" But I knew deep inside what my dad was trying to say. I knew he wanted me to put my husband and marriage first, prioritising them above my child, which should be the right way.

I guess my parents are concerned for our marriage also la hahaha. Cos to be honest we don't get the privilege of spending a lot of time together as a couple. Boon's been travelling for work frequently for the past 8 months or so, and only comes back as a weekend husband weekly. While me, I've just been keeping myself occupied with Tyler and work, and more work. Life's been really just crazy but it got to a point that we're used to it, which may not necessarily be a good thing.

When I told Boon what my dad said, he said, "But I think our marriage is fine ah. I really like how we are, honey. I think our marriage is awesome! I'm very happy with you baby." That last line touched me more than he knows, and sometimes it still rings in my head and I would melt a little πŸ™ˆ

But when we heard our friend say that we may not think we need marriage time until we actually have it, we thought okay, maybe this might be a good time to sow into our marriage. Sow time, effort, money lol and just enjoy each other in this trip. I don't know how much we actually need this marriage time, but I'm excited to see how it'll improve it that's for sure!

So we told ourselves, alright, we keep our options open now. Since we already bought Tyler's flight tickets, we can still bring him at the very last minute if we want to. In the meantime, we just see how he's like and make the decision as we go along.

Over the past month, we've been just observing and we realised that Tyler is far happier and well-behaved when he's at home. When he's comfortable, able to move around freely, when he's with his toys and books, and favourite shows, when he's having the freedom basically. Perhaps in this toddler age, being able to move about freely means a lot to him. Whenever we're out- even for just a quick meal, he'll get agitated quickly, fuss and not enjoy himself.

So we've decided- to not bring Tyler along with us in this trip. After asking every parent we can find, after deliberating again and again, after all the observations and contemplations, after all the dilemmas and guilt and what-ifs, we have FINALLY made a decision.

We're going on a second honeymoon. Just us. No baby. 
Just us as Careen and Boon again.

So yes, we'll be heading to these three spots, and we cannot wait!

Istanbul is for our long layover, and Paris was a last min addition to the itinerary since we decided not to bring Tyler along. Boon isn't too fond of Paris due to his bad experiences, but he knows it's my dream to visit, so we'll be covering Paris too!

To be honest we've not really done an extensive research on our itinerary yet cos we've just been so swamped, so if you have any travel tips for Istanbul, London or Paris, please leave a comment or drop me a message of IG/FB/email (! Would greatly appreciate your recommendations!

Will be updating more as I go along, hopefully with some time to do so during our trip too (since no toddler to put to sleep at night) πŸ˜›

In the meantime, I'll be updating on Instagram and IG Stories so follow me there at @careentxy!

'Til then!

Love, Careen.
This post is filed under Personal, Marriage, Travel

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jumping on the Bralette Bandwagon with Summer and Peach

Taking a break from parenting and wedding talks, and sharing a little about fashion today! As much as I'm a mom with a messy bun and practical comfy clothes chasing after an active toddler these days, I'm still pretty much a fashionista at heart okay 😏 *fake cough*

You'll probably have to peel through the layers to find that fashionista la hahaha, and I don't mean literally. I? 😏

Jokes aside, some of you who have been reading and following would notice that I'm not the first to jump on any trendy bandwagon. I got my first smartphone years after everyone owned the first iPhone, until my friends had to roll eyes at me when I asked them to SMS me instead of Whatsapp Sony Ericsson didn't have any apps πŸ˜‚ They scolded me cos I made them spend money. And also for the fact that I was completing not feeling the need to convert to being a cool kid πŸ˜‚

When everyone started wearing chokers, I admired from afar but didn't even feel the slightest itch to get one for myself cos...I don't feel it's very much my style. When everyone joined the sneaker obsession, I stand at one corner wondering how the brands make SO MUCH MONEY by releasing sneakers of different colours every other month and making everyone pay premium. I mean, I love a good pair of comfortable sneakers for walking and casual days but...I don't get the craze or hype la.

Then came the bralette trend that surfaced about a year or two ago? As usual me being me, I just admired from afar and never even thought of getting one cos...I was breastfeeding Tyler full time and feeling not an ounce of sexy πŸ˜‚

Until one day, my friends started Summer & Peach, a Malaysian online store selling bralettes imported from the US and various European countries, and asked me to help them with their branding and social media. To be honest, that was the first time I was truly exposed to the world of bralettes. I never actually worn one in my life, until I was given one by my generous friends (and also cos I can't do no branding if I never even tried on a bralette!).

When I held up a bralette, I looked at it and was like, no way will this breastfeeding mommy look sexy in this la come on. I was still in the middle of recovery from my C-sec and struggling to shed my pregnancy weight, and my boobs were nothing but milk machines meant to nourish a perpetually hungry infant.

However, when I tried it on, I felt different. For the first time in a long time, I felt womanly. I felt soft, feminine, and pardon me for saying this, I felt sexy πŸ™ˆ There's something pretty magical about such delicate pieces of lace. I may not have spotted deep cleavages or extra lift and support (cos that's not what bralettes are meant to do anyway), but I felt comfortable in my skin. I felt like I was one with my pre-baby self again. It was a subtle boost of confidence.

And of course, it goes without saying that Boon liked the sight of it la hahahaha πŸ™ˆ 
Okay enough of hamsap things!!

Aside from how it makes us feel, bralettes are undeniably versatile fashion pieces too!

Unlike lingerie, bralettes are fashion pieces that are appropriate enough to be worn in public, not necessarily just by itself, but it can be styled with various tops and outerwear to bring out a hint of sultry without getting unwanted awkward stares.

So if you're like me who shy away from it cos it's too sexy, etc, you'd be delighted to find there are many, many different styles of bralettes available! Some of them don't even look like a bralette, and more like a crop top instead!

More ideas on how to style a bralette over at Summer & Peach's Instagram and Facebook- @summerandpeach!

If you think Summer & Peach is run by some youngsters who love to dress skimpily, you'll be extremely mistaken! It is founded by two very lovely ladies, one of whom is an established power lady in the banking industry, and another being a mother of two! They got together for the love of bralettes, and decided to introduce the bralette culture to women here in Malaysia and the region! Each piece is carefully selected and imported from all over the world to suit the taste and frame of us Asian women!

For ladies in the western part of the world, bralettes are nothing new and have long become part of their wardrobe staple. But for us Asian who are more shy, it's still something new to us cos we've been so accustomed to choosing lingerie that is wired for the "lift" and "push". BUT, I must say more people have better understanding on bralettes these days seeing that Summer & Peach has been growing steadily in just less than a year in operations, securing themselves regular return customers and a loyal fan base on social media!

You know how we ladies always look forward to taking off our bra the first thing we reach home? That doesn't happen to me when I'm wearing a bralette, simply cos I don't feel restricted and confined. It feels so comfortable that I sometimes forget I'm actually wearing a bralette πŸ˜…

Check out Summer and Peach's website-, as well as their Instagram and Facebook to view their latest collections! Even if you're not a fan of bralettes (yet), it's still nice to see beautiful pictures everyday, so go follow!

That's all from me for now.
'Til then!

Love, Careen.
This post is filed under Advertorial, Fashion and Beauty.

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