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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day - Then & Now

You know how the older we grow, the more things that used to have so much meaning and importance seem to slowly not mean so much anymore and become just...another thing, another day?

Birthdays used to be like, wow. I'm turning 15 tomorrow. I'm older now!!! And when I opened my eyes on my birthday morning, I used to feel this dramatic feeling overwhelming me. Like, wow. I AM 15! Form 3 now!! Like suddenly I felt like I moved to another stage of life. And I felt special for the entire day like there's this glow on my face and bounce in my steps.

And now it's like, yeah I'm turning 25 tomorrow. Don't really feel any older nor wiser, but yeah let's go for spa and have some good food to celebrate with my loved ones. All I think about now is just to rest, eat, and hoping that fine lines and wrinkles don't appear so soon. Don't want surprises or anything dramatic. I just want to have a peaceful rest day where I can relax and eat.

Same goes for Valentine's Day. 

I used to judge older couples who never made any effort to plan on how to celebrate Valentine's Day. They'll say stuff like, "Aiya no need celebrate wan la. Everything so expensive, everywhere so many people. Celebrate another day lo. Everyday also Valentine's Day ma." And when I heard that I would feel very sad for the girlfriend or wife. I mean, every girl wants to feel romanced and appreciated. And Valentine's Day is another day to shower love and make someone you love feel special, so why not! Why so killjoy!

I used to feel very strongly about celebrating Valentine's Day, and get annoyed when people say V-day is overrated and commercialised, and only fools in love get sucked into the system. Used to think that it's a really sweet and romantic feeling when you know that you're celebrating love together with the rest of the world, and pride myself in being one of the many fools in love. #jiwang

I never expected to one day say this, but yeah, things seem to have changed! Here's how.

Valentine' Day, 10 years ago:

I would have started planning for Valentine's Day at least 2 weeks before Feb 14. Back then we were both students and had limited budget, so instead of buying presents, I made cards for Boon. I would go to bookstore to source for the best and most unique craft papers of all textures and colors (I was a big craft fan last time...til I got too busy for leisure sobs*), and started designing, planning, making, modifying, and changing designs again and again until I felt satisfied with it, until I felt it was good enough for Boon. It was a BIG project for me. Along with our monthsary and birthday and Christmas hahaha!! It was never-ending planning of giving gifts back then, and I was fun and exciting!

There was also limited access to the Internet back then, so the sneaky me would go to bookstores/gift shops like Memory Lane and look at Valentine's cards to steal inspirations. Whenever I see any good Valentine's quotes or poems, I would copy them into my phone. Back then there was no smartphone with camera, and not even digital camera pls! No apps in my phone to jot down notes. So I opened my 'Write Message' box on the legendary Nokia 3210, typed down the quotes and poems into several messages (cos one message only can contain 140 characters haha!!), and saved them into drafts. Go home, write them all down onto my notebook and start planning and see which ones suit my card the most.

That's not all! I would get a nice craft envelope to place my card too. The card was sacred and represented all my love and affection to my Valentine, and it was utmost importance to let him know that he meant a lot to me.

When I was 15, my pocket money was literally non-existent. And I remember that year, CNY was before V-day, so each angpow meant that I was one step closer to getting Boon a good gift! When I collected all my angpows and after giving back to my parents to give to other kids (sobs* such is life ain't it), I specially requested from my dad to allow me to keep some for myself. In the end I bought a RM129 G2000 black shirt for Boon. The most expensive item the 15 year old ever bought in her life! It felt painful to part with so much cash, but excited at the thought of him receiving the gift!

That's not all! I went to Memory Lane (again), brought along the shirt, folded nicely and placed it into a nice, rectangular silver box (that Boon is still keeping now, where he stores all the cards I gave him last time), and have the sales assistant tie a nice blue-colored bow over it. Kept the box in my closet for weeks until I could meet him and pass to him. The wait was torturous cos I was too excited!

That was me 10 years ago, and that was Valentine's Day to me back then.

Valentine's Day, 2015:

This year for Valentine's Day, we briefly asked each other what we wanted to do today, and we casually said, "Hey why don't we cook at home? Buy like steak all then have candle lit dinner?", and the talk stopped there. And I forgot about it. I really thought it was just an idea that we casually suggested for fun.

Few days before Valentine's Day, I asked Boon, "Eh dear what's our plan for Valentine's again ah". He said, "I thought we said we wanted to cook at home?"

When I heard it, it rang a bell and I was reminded of it. BUT, I'd been really busy and tired, and the thought of buying groceries and cooking just felt like it was too much work. So we decided to just go with the flow and see what happens (see the stark difference from 10 years ago?).

So Valentine's 2015 started with us going for brunch with some of my blogger friends and their plus ones at Underground Societe, Sunway.

Happy 11th Valentine's, honey!

Still the same pattern. Sometimes I feel like he never grows up, which I kinda like haha!

We stayed back with Karen and her bf, Wyman and chatted til 3-4pm. That's a 5-hour brunch, but it was fun. It felt nice to just sit and chill, not having to rush anywhere.

We went home to change and freshen up, and went to church! It was great to spend a part of our Valentine's Day in church, learning about love and being with the Valentine of our souls.

Went to the washroom, came out and saw silly boy holding a bouquet of flowers he got from our church florist while chatting with our friends. When I saw it I couldn't stop laughing. I thought it was a funny sight. Ok la, it was sweet but I still felt it was funny haha!

Wheeeee flowers!

So yes, he asked me where I wanted to dine and do that evening. After being in serial hecticness, I really craved for a chill-out evening, just sit and listen to a good jazz or indie band with a drink in my hand. The last time we sat for 2 hours listening to a really good band was in Chinahouse, Penang, and it was memorable for the both of us. 

So this time, I thought maybe we should do the same so I called up No Black Tie, and surprise surprise, it was fully booked!

Called up Alexis Ampang. They only had seats at the bar counter even for diners, and Valentine's menu cost RM150++ per person, without drinks. So plus drinks the whole night would come down to RM400 at least. Boon was open and wanted to give it a shot since that's what I really wanted, but when I think about RM400 in a night and how many good food I can eat with that amount of money, I said it's alright, we'll eat elsewhere and go home watch romantic comedy together.

Since we were nearby Bangsar, we deciced to go to La Bodega at BSC for dinner. They had a Valentine's menu at RM280++ per couple, but I really missed their mushroom tapas so we decided to just order our own.


Off-shoulder top- upcoming piece at

Boon's Gin and Tonic with my Cava.

The button mushroom tapas! Slurpppppsss.

Some Spanish chicken with BBQ sauce which was really tender!

Black squid paellas which were....okay. We had way better ones before so this felt mediocre. It was not bad, but not great. And we concluded that perhaps the problem was with us. Cos we had better ones and we couldn't help but compared so... :')

After dinner, we went home, showered and watched My Best Friend's Girl til way past midnight. Had to wake up early the day after for a CNY video shoot but it was all worth the lack of sleep :)

That sums up our Valentine's Day this year. Nothing super fancy, nothing super a lot of effort. We were just chill and going with the flow. As for our Valentine's gifts? Boon bought my perfume for me cos mine finished, and I told him that'll be my Valentine's gift then. He also bought me a pair of Nike Flyknit when we visited a streetwear bazaar that were supposed to be HIS shoe hunt. So that was my Vday gift too. As for his Vday gift? I'm still waiting for him to find his perfect pair of sneakers that he loves, and I'll buy for him. That shall be his Vday gift haha!

Nowadays, we're looking at the big picture. We want to help each other save money to build a family, to welcome babies into our home in the years to come. So we have become much more practical considering that we have got much more commitments now compared to 10 years ago. And we're perfectly fine at how things have become.

Is Valentine's Day still important to us as it was back then? Oh yes. But I guess now that we've grown and matured, we learn to take things easier and go with the flow. Though we didn't do anything extremely significant or big, and didn't spend the entire day dating alone, it was still a great day cos he was with me the whole time.

Do I feel sad that compared to 10 years ago, Valentine's Day seem to have been watered down by our lack of time and enthusiasm? Nope. I've accepted that as we grow, we change. I don't feel sad about how we're celebrating these days. We're equally happy, if not, more! And I've come to realise that it is not the deed itself, but the person you're with. How he/she makes you feel special everyday, including Valentine's Day. The little surprises, the meaningful conversations, the slow drive home. These are the things that make a date memorable.

Being the 11th year celebrating Valentine's Day together, we've seen how our methods of romancing each other changed over the years, how our expectations on ourselves and each other have changed, and how the meaning of a good celebration changed. And it's all good.

To the older couples that I used to silently judge in my heart, now I know better. We have become one of those couples that I used to judge, and now I understand that happiness isn't in the gifts or the deeds, but in the moments.

Now I know better.

To my Valentine, I love you. 
Here's to another 11 years to come!

love, Careen.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Beauty Review: Make Up For Ever- Step 1 Equalizer and HD Foundation

Meet the latest additions to my makeup collection- 
The Make Up For Ever Step-1 Equalizer and HD Foundation!

Have heard soooo much about these products from MUFE (Make Up For Ever), and so excited to finally lay my hands on them!

I've always known the importance of make up primers, on how they set the tone for the skin before foundations are applied, how they help our make up last longer, and many more. However, they had always been just head knowledge and even though I knew that they're important and extremely helpful, I was too lazy to start applying my primers (I have a few at home that still hasn't been used!).

The new MUFE Step-1 Skin Equalizers have been really hot in the market, and just when I wanted to try them out for myself, the team from MUFE sent me some products for review! So timely!!

So yes, from the full range of primers to choose from, I had such a hard time cos first of all, they all looked so pretty. I love the design and colors of the tubes! And secondly, I seem to need every single one of them! In the end after testing every one of them out in Sephora and consulting the sales assistant, she recommended me to go for the Hydrating primer as I have dry skin (which is sad but true). 

And here's my Step-1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer! The tube is supposedly white but under different lighting it turns out looking differently lol.

The secret to the Step-1 Skin Equalizer is the Equalizer Complex- a core active ingredient that runs throughout the range and acts on hydration, elasticity and cellular renewal for an instant beautiful skin effect.

I personally love the texture of the primer! It's extremely liquid and fine, and it absorbs into my skin within seconds! That means it's really absorbent, and also means that I do indeed have dry skin.

With its texture being so smooth and fine, I had no problem applying them onto my face at all. Some of the primers that I've tried previously were thick and sticky, which was one of the reasons why I decided never to use primers, until I came across this one. Been using them for a couple of weeks now and since the first time I tried it, I couldn't stop using it anymore.

The Step-1 Skin Equaliser is formulated to transform texture, balance colour and invisibly correct our skin's blemishes. It also helps to improve application (which I must agree!) and boost the hold of makeup on our skin, causing it not to melt away or smudge easily even after a full day of makeup.

The primer helps cover up my pores that cause uneven application of foundation on my skin, and smoothen my skin before I apply my foundation. I must say I see the difference for myself, that after applying Step-1, it's so much easier to apply my foundation! My fingers could literally glide across my face (yes I use my fingers to apply foundation hehe)!

That is also mainly because the MUFE HD foundation is really fine and boast of a smooth texture. Most make up artists I meet would recommend MUFE's HD foundation to me whenever I ask them about what's good and new in the market. After trying it out, I now know why they love it so much. It's because it's just so easy to apply! It's so fine!

Compared to most of the liquid foundations that I'd used before, the MUFE HD foundation is way thinner and more watery. Initially I was worried that with it being so thin and fine, it might not be able to cover my blemishes. But I was wrong. It has NO problem hiding any sort of redness and blemishes on my skin.

Post Step-1 Skin Equaliser + HD Foundation.

After applying both, I felt as if I didn't have any foundation on cos it was only such a thin layer. Surprisingly it was good enough to cover my blemishes and even out my skin tone. Pores were nicely covered by the skin equalizer and HD foundation, and the tiny holes (pimple scars) on my face were much less visible.

And the final look after applying liquid eyeliner, crayon eyeliner, mascara, blusher, lipstick and filling in the eyebrows. Even applying the rest of my makeup was a bliss, especially my brows! My eyebrow pencil literally glided across my brows and I drew them 'outlined' a couple of times because my foundations were just too smooth! :')

If you're looking for a good, long-lasting makeup foundation, try using the HD foundation and apply the Step-1 Skin Equalizer before that. I see the difference in using the primer first and it's something that I'll keep using from now onwards.

If you want to try it for yourself before purchasing it, you can do so! Make Up For Ever is currently having promo at Sephora, Sunway Pyramid, and you can redeem a 5ml deluxe sample simply by flashing the poster below to any MUFE expert.


Venue: Sephora Sunway (launchpad area)
Dates: Feb 5-16, 2015

Only a few days left to redeem a deluxe sample of the Step-1 Skin Equalizer, so do make your way to Sephora at Sunway Pyramid and show the poster above to get yourself one! :)

That's all from me for now! 
Have a great weekend and happy valentine's day to you! :)

love, Careen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Our First Indian Wedding Experience

Yesterday the husby and I attending our first Indian wedding yet! The wedding of his high school buddy Vishant and his sweetheart, Sarngini.

About a month prior to the wedding, Vishant and Gini brought us three couples for some costume shopping at Brickfields, KL. I usually only drive by KL Sentral, drive straight into Hilton KL but never walked along the streets nearby, so it was our first time walking along Brickfields in search for my saree cloth and Boon's punjabi suit (err did I get it right)!

My saree was for the wedding reception in the evening so for the morning temple ceremony, I wore a loose-fitting maxi dress and a cardigan over as ladies were supposed to wear not too tight, outfit to be below knee-length and shoulders covered. We were told that it'd be really hot and humid but it turned out to be pretty okay that day!

It was held in a Hindu temple in Klang. I'd always wondered how Indian weddings were like. I'd seen quite a few Indian wedding same day edit videos and photos before, and they always appeared to be very vibrant and colourful. Finally I got to experience it myself yesterday and I was more than excited about it!

The guys in their Jippas, each cost about RM70-80 if I'm not wrong.
 Kah Leong and Joel- They're the husby's buddies from high school til now.

The wives and gurpren!

I couldn't stop staring at how the ladies did their sarees so effortlessly. Knowing I had to wear one and drape it myself later in the evening made me a little nervous, thus I couldn't stop checkin the ladies out. I used to think that sarees were just, well, sarees. And that they all look the same. But after I got one for myself, I started to notice that there are soooooo many different ways we can style it!

More on the sarees later on.

The beautiful couple! Gini looked so gorgeous!

Wefie! Joel brought the wefie stick and it came in handy.

Lunch buffet. Love Indian food! Everything was served vegetarian that morning.

Oh, no footwear allowed inside the temple, so we were walking around barefooted and left our shoes outside the temple grounds. 

The elaborate and colourful setting. Beautiful indeed.

Groupic with the newlyweds!

Went back home, got some work completed and started getting ready for the wedding dinner at Majestic Hotel, KL. 

Back to the saree! From the start I knew I wanted one that is made of a stiffer material as opposed to a soft, flowy one. I just like the whole structured look so the whole time at Brickfields, I was only eyeing on the stiffer silk materials. After looking at the whole of two shops, I finally decided on this one! 

Why I loved this cloth was due to its colour. I'm a fan of blueish/purplish hues and it was a nice mix of both that is also slightly reflective and dual tone. To top it off, there were beautiful gold embroideries of peacocks on it that made perfect drapes! 

So I bought the cloth at around RM180, got it made at a humble but professional Indian tailor in PJ at RM125, with an additional RM10 for the decorations to be tied at the end of the strings (I call it the balls haha). Oh ya I got to custom make my whole saree, and decide on the length of my sleeves, neckline and back cut and design too (they showed us a catalogue of various sleeves and back designs)! Decided to go with something simple and elegant instead of flowery designs for the back.

The whole saree-making experience was so interesting! Loved every process of it. Very in love with my saree and proud of how it turned out :))

Took for photos before heading to the ballroom for dinner.

Managed to get hold of the beautiful bride!

The husby and his highschool buddies. Isn't it amazing to have friends who grow up and grow old with you every step of the way? Looking at their friendship makes me jelly. Wish I kept in touch with friends from Primary til now!

The wifeys.

Look at the elaborate setting! The stage OMG.

Door gift that is a tea leaf holder. Initially I thought it was an ice-cream scoop! #blondmoment

Menu of the night! I salivated upon reading it. Soooooo tantalising!

The Indian Tomato Soup was none like I've tasted before. It was soooo good! Wished I could get a second serving :P The bread was just on-point.

Halfway through dinner the husby together with Kah Leong and Joel made a speech about Vishant. They were very well-behaved and didn't say anything overly silly. Well done guys :P

Stalkish wife.


Stole some selfies too!

The Briyani was OMGGGGGG. Too shy to ask for additional rice haha but it was so good!

Desserts to end the night.

Experiences like this makes life richer and so much more colourful! Thanks Vishant and Gini for inviting us and giving us such a good first Indian wedding experience! 

Congrats on your beautiful wedding! We believe you guys will have a great marriage ahead :)

Ok that's all for now. Til' then guys!

love, Careen.

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