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Monday, January 31, 2011

Blincon Sweetie Series

Blincon is a Korean brand of disposable lenses that are available in certain optical shops in Malaysia. I've only seen their advertisements on Chinese newspapers so far. I only got to know this brand after I was informed that my wanted FreshKon Dazzle / Cool Green planos were unavailable.


In my opinion, Blincon lenses would be more of a better investment than in FreshLook and FreshKon lenses, compared to the Sweetie series at least. Better comfort, better enlarging, though the color is more muted. The FreshLooks and FreshKon's are better for color, but not for size.


Price-wise, the FreshKons and FreshLooks costs around RM40-50, cheaper when individual optical stores have individual promotions, and last for a month (30 days). The Blincons are priced at RM70 per pair, but can last for up to three months (90 days).


If you take good care of your lenses and you're willing to take the risk, you can extend the duration of wear for your lenses. If you experience blur vision, excess tearing, unusual sensitivity to light while wearing your lenses, you should stop wearing them and consult your optician.


The Blincon Sweeties come in small blister packs. After you open any new lenses, soak them in lens solution for at least four hours before first wear. I dunno whether this applies to conventional vision-correcting lenses, but they apply for cosmetic lenses.


The specs for the Blincon Sweetie lenses:



Available in:


Sweetie Blue


Sweetie Grey


Sweetie Violet


Sweetie Brown


Sweetie Green


I own the Sweetie Greens and here are some comparison photos on my eyes (forgive the redness =P):


Without lenses


With lenses


The lenses color in different lightings (I'm a noob at lens photography, proceed at your own risk):


Natural light


Bathroom light


Flash


It's basically very dark, and unless you have light-colored eyes and/or small irises, the color is not very visible. The pattern is pretty, and since these are enlarging lenses they have very dark outer rings, with a hint of color towards the center.


The color is more visible under sunlight, but with flash photography it's more of a turquoise-ish teal rather than green. If you're going for color, these are not the lenses for you, but they're yay in the enlarging department.


You would experience some discomfort if you're not used to wearing such large lenses. To get used to wearing lenses in general, wear it for about an hour for the first day, two hours on the second day and so on. Try not to wear lenses for more than 8 hours continuously a day.


Unlike what they say on the internet, cosmetic lenses (some call them color lenses) are perfectly safe and will not make you go blind. Just remember to clean and store them properly, stop wearing them after they pass their expiry date and don't wear them for too long.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's A Blog and How to Become A Good Blogger

I write this in reference to Xiaxue's Guide to Life video on blogging, in which she shares tips on how to become a popular blogger, which she is. No haters please. She's a bombshell of talent and personality.


The definition of a blog? Urban Dictionary says:

Short for weblog. A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life.

and

A place where people bitch about their daily activities which nobody is interested in.


I'll only say that the people who wrote these definitions are complete idiots who hasn't seen a real blog and has never bothered too. I'm pretty sure that they have blogs in which they 'bitch about their daily activities' too.


Whereas Wikipedia as another, more technical definition:

A blog is a type of website or part of a website which are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events or other material.


The less technical definition of a blog is a webpage that allows publishing of certain material, be it daily photos of life, music, controversy, etc.


There are many different ready-to-publish blogging websites, such as Wordpress, Xanga, Live Journal, Blogger and Tumblr. To publish material (aka post) is called to blog. The person who publishes the material is called a blogger. Hence, you have the activity called blogging.


From what I've heard, Wordpress is the best for blogging. My favorite local blogger moved from Blogger to Wordpress. Personally, I've only tried Blogger and Tumblr. Tumblr is cute, and pretty functional, but a tad bit bland. I seldom visit Live Journal and/or Xanga blogs. I guess what you could do is do a test run on every one to see which is best. I personally prefer blogger.


Before you even start to imagine how great your blog will be, you'll first have to think of an interesting or catchy blog name, which doesn't sound or look cheesy and/or stupid. Xiaxue's other video (though unrelated) explains a bit about this. You could change it later, but it would be better to start off nice. Your blog link should be of similar quality.


And you'll have to think about what you wanna blog about. There are people who blog only about food, makeup, their family, etc; and then there are also people who blog about anything and everything (something like Xiaxue and myself =P). Your blog name and link should be matching with your content, though mine clearly doesn't.


Think clearly before starting a blog - are you gonna update regularly? And if you are, please don't tell me you're gonna talk about some stupid emo shit (though sometimes blog-complaining is acceptable) all the time. If you're planning on updating once a month and/or write about moody emo crap, then please, use that time that you're using to type that emo crap and go study or work, or whatever.


To achieve a high number of readers, post (interesting / nice) pictures as often as possible, whether they were taken by your shitty phone camera or searched and saved from Google or Photobucket or wherever. Your layout should also be content-oriented - if your posts are going to be more text than pictures, use a colorful designed, easy-on-the-eyes layout; if your posts are more picture, than go for a simpler layout, with toned-down colors so that your pictures stand out more.


Make sure your text is well spaced. Like me, my paragraphs are fairly long, so I put at least 2 spaces in between each paragraph. Please keep in mind that what you blog are for people to read (whether you like it or not) and reading an entire, single-spaced paragraph with around 100 words would be a headache.


Keep your paragraphs simple, and if you really feel the need to add detail, simplify it. Especially if you know you're gonna have lots to write, categorize what you wanna write, write down the important points and treat it like an essay - simple, yet detailed.


Now your blog has lotsa pictures and is getting pretty good numbers, but the numbers are slowly declining. Why? This is perhaps your content is getting boring. Your text, your pictures, anything you put in your posts.


How do you improve your blog traffic? By reading - novels and popular blogs. Popular blogs are popular because they know how to simplify information/content and keep things interesting. Instead of using the same words repetitively, they switch words every now and then.


Also, plan ahead as you write. Planning your blog post would ensure that your content is in order and more understandable. The past me used to just blab whatever that came to my head, and when I read my own posts later on, I found that my content was sometimes completely unrelated and yet were in the same paragraph.


If you were to blog about something that involves titles and subtitles, opt for bold text, different fonts / color or increased size for the titles and/or subtitles. This was it's less easy to confuse your content.


Wanna link something? Just type your sentence normally, find the keyword and highlight it. Click the 'add hyperlink' icon or button, then copy and paste in your link (it would be safer than manually typing in, in case you make a typo).


The hard and fast rules of blogging:

  • never ever copy other people's content and post it in your own blog claiming that it's yours. It's immoral and it's effing embarrassing if you get caught.
  • always think of the consequences of what you write. If you're gonna fuck the shit outta someone, think about how it will affect your image.
  • don't be afraid to speak your mind. Let out your opinions and/or feelings, but keep watch on the context and language.
  • please don't put embedded music on your page. Imagine you're enjoying this new track that you've just ripped from your brand new CD, you click onto this blog and suddenly your music is mixed with the other person's embedded music. It's annoying. If you wanna share your musical interest, put them in links, pictures, or those little thumbnails that you sometimes see on some sidebars.

The few things I hate about some blogs is that their content is completely stupid - they have bad English, but they try to act as if their English is professional and use the words wrongly. Then there are some whose blogs which consists of their camwhore pictures and only that - the main text, on the header, in the sidebar, all over the place! No text, no captions, everything is only very ugly photos edited by a noob.


I don't really mind embedded music 'cause I don't always listen to music when I'm blog-walking, but sometimes some people have different music tastes than mine and their music embedding site is crappy.


So - interesting content, nice photos, good organisation, no copy-and-pasting, no embedded music. That's how you can become a good blogger, but keep in mind that it takes all kinds to make the world, and not every one thinks the same. What may be alright to you may be offensive to other people, so look at things from every possible angle.


To be even more well informed, watch the first linked video up in the first line. Then you can start blogging. I hope this was helpful to the people who are new to blogs and those who are experiencing decreasing blog traffic.


DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a professional blogger nor do I claim to be one. These are just tips that I gathered from various websites and personal experience that I wish to share.

Bad start

This year's CNY seems to suck for lotsa people - stress, family pressure, illnesses, etc.


In my case, the after-effects of long-term starvations and irregular sleeping hours are getting to me and I had an effing painful stomachache yesterday morning. I threw up what I ate (Munchy's Oat Krunch in Dark Chocolate) and was actually drenched in cold sweat. I took a couple of painkillers then took a rest. This morning I woke up at 8am and the stomachache threatened to attack again.


Then while waiting for our take aways at Herbs & Spices (sucky restaurant), Taiwan DAMI called to confirm my employment. They're willing to employ me, which is a pretty huge achievement for me (myself). And what did they do? 'What kinda person is the employer? Do you know that there are a lot of Taiwanese people who are bad people?' Always negative. Then 'Is there any letter of employment? What happens when they only pay you RM3 per hour instead of RM4 they promised?' Can't you just rejoice at my microscopic achievement? Why do you have to throw my back into the abyss when I've just got a leg out of it? And this is what they call 'family support'. They'll support both my sisters, not me. Being born smack in the center sucks like shit.


In my dear's case, family pressure + schoolwork pressure. He's got assignments piled up and yet his dad is nagging him about house-keeping. What's more his bedroom is taken by his grandma, he has to sleep on the couch...


Doesn't seem like the year is starting off nicely. Yeah, there's new stuff and whatnot, but things aren't looking good. Hope the tables will turn in our favor soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Visual Kei Makeup

According to Urban Dictionary, visual kei is roughly defined as a genre of rock music that involves men wearing elaborate costumes and such. Wikipedia, however, says otherwise. On Wikipedia, visual kei is defined as a movement among Japanese musicians, not a genre of music. If you listen closely enough, some visual kei bands' music sound pretty much like other regular Japanese rocker bands.


Even so, there are different genres of visual kei, such as oshare kei, decora kei, angura kei and so on. (The linked page is in Indonesian, and Google Translate doesn't work that well, so it might be a bit confusing) Each type of kei's makeup elements are different - some wear more, some wear less, some are pretty versatile.


In the visual kei movement, dressing your gender isn't necessary. You could be male and dress entirely like a female, or you could be female and wear masculine clothes.


The sheer basics of visual kei makeup is actually pretty simple - pale, porcelain skin, super contoured nose, sharp brows with no arch, pale lips, circle lenses and eye-enlarging makeup ... most of the time. I won't dive so much into the hair topic, but visual kei hair is usually spiky or extremely textured, which is achieved by lots of hairspray and teasing most of the time.


Whether or not they need eye-enlarging makeup, everyone wears eyeliner. I kid you not. Liquid or pencil, winged or not, they wear it. The eye makeup rules don't always apply in visual kei makeup, you can have not only harsh edges, but sharp edges as well.



The basic visual kei eye makeup would be over-the-top smokey eyes, which is achieved by smudging shitloads of black liner (gel or pencil). Depending on the type of kei, colors or others are added. Let's take visual kei band the GazettE for example - their style of makeup has changed somewhat throughout the years. Let's go by member. All of them have sharp brows, contoured noses and matte pale-ish lips.
  • Vo. Ruki - though his hair goes through lots of changes over the years (bleached, red, dreadlocked, etc) his makeup doesn't seem to have changed a lot. Sharp edged liner all over the lid, accented with funky lenses.
  • Gt. Aoi - his makeup also hasn't changed much - slightly downward winged sharp-edged liner that gives him a slightly sad-eyed look. Not a fan of his current hair though.
  • Gt. Uruha - his makeup is by far (among the band members) the most unique - fake crease makeup (which if effing hard to do). Uruha's eyes are naturally extremely small, and fake crease makeup joined with black all over the lid gives an illusion of bigger but sleepy looking eyes. Recently he's changed the look to super smoky eyes.
  • Ba. Reita - His eye makeup is something similar to Aoi's, which is downward winged liner which gives that sad eye look. His look is somewhat more special than the others thanks to the trademark noseband.
  • Dr. Kai - Kai's makeup is also similar to Aoi's and Ruki's, with some variation once in a while.

From this we can deduce that the basic eye makeup for visual kei bands is just a huge smudging and shaping of eyeliner on the lid. Let's move on to more colorful makeup.


SuG (Heavy Positive Metal) is an oshare band. Oshare bands are usually themed around upbeat and cute stuff, their music revolving around themes like friendship, puppy love and such. I don't know much about SuG's members apart from Vo. Takeru. As shown, the basics of their makeup is eyeliner, to accent the eye shape. I have a hunch that they use eyelid tape or glue, 'cause all of their eyes look really big. The hints of colors at the outer corners give their entire look that positive vibe, as well as their pinkish lips. The member on the far left has visible false lashes.


The theme and style of the makeup depends entirely of the type of kei or the pre-selected theme for the band. For example, the neo-classical J-rock band Versailles. Their band's theme is French aristocrat, so their outfits revolve around that, sometimes more elaborate and sometimes more toned down, but Gt. Hizaki and (RIP) Ba. Jasmine You always French dresses. Practically only Vo. Kamijo's nose is contoured.

  • The most elaborate makeup would be Ba. Jasmine You's. Thick black rimming of liner, super-dramatic false lashes, lipsticked lips, super-thin arched brows and face jewels. Part of his face is covered with his elaborate hair style, in which has also a super-elaborate hair piece.
  • The second most elaborate is Gt. Hizaki's. Think lolita makeup - super smokey eyes with a hint of color at the outside, light brows that are covered with bangs and pale pink lips. Sometimes he will wear false lashes or alter the shape of the liner a bit.
  • Gt. Teru would be the one with the super pale, flat face which looks as if no contouring whatsoever has been done. His makeup is similar to that of Hizaki's, but without color and washed out lips.
  • Vo. Kamijo also sports washed out lips, but he usually has subtly smoky eyes accented with extremely light colored lenses.
  • Dr. Yuki sports the most normal visual kei makeup - gentle smoky eyes, washed out lips and sharp brows.

There are some bands that are more gothic themed. Instead of the usual pale lips, they would sport dark colored lips, or just black or grey rimmed lips that gives that gothic feel to the face. These are usually paired with pale skin and dark eye makeup. Examples of gothic-themed visual kei bands are Moi dix Mois (created by Mana, the man who popularized visual kei) and Phantasmagoria (disbanded).


Piercings are a common sight among visual kei musicians. Lips, brows, ears, tongue. Smoking is also a common sight, even among vocalists. Phantasmagoria's vocalist Riku has multiple lip piercings; solo musician Miyavi has brow, lip and multiple ear piercings (let's hope his daughters don't accidentally pull on them =P).


The key to achieving visual kei style makeup is to master the art of black eyeshadow and eyeliner, flawless pale foundation, nose contouring, and the sharp brows. If you're really hardcore and plan to wear visual kei style makeup everyday (and please make sure that you're good at drawing brows), you can just shave your own brows into sharp brows and fill them in. Otherwise, you could cover your brows then carefully draw in the sharp brows.


Your foundation should always be one or two tones lighter than your natural skin tone, but please keep in mind that even foundation has color undertones. Some foundations are more yellow or more pink than others. For visual kei, you may want to go even lighter than the default foundation shades. If you're reluctant, test some of the shades and/or purchase multiple shades of different undertones (M.A.C makes lots of shades) to cover everything, unless you only use foundation for cosplaying. =x


For the circle lenses, I would recommend purchasing from your local opticians. If you really have to purchase online, go to reliable sites. I would recommend Mukuchu - they sell practically all colors and sizes and types of lenses from Geo and EOS (EOS would be more comfortable). If you're going for a cosplay event and you're not sure what type of lenses your character is wearing, you could ask them in the comment box and they'll get back to you. Same goes with purchasing.


Most lenses would cost around RM40-70 (locally) or US$20. Unfortunately, brands like G&G and EOS aren't available locally. As for how long you wear the lens depends on the type of lens. If it's the normal kinda lenses (enlargening, regular colors like green, blue, brown, black, purple), wear it for a maximum of 8 hours a day. If you have to wear them for more than that amount of time, take them out for about an hour or so to let your eyes get some air, then put them back on. As for special lenses like reds, whites and such, maximum 2 hours at a time.


Visual kei skin is MATTE - they very seldom have that 'sun-kissed glow' or peachy pink cheeks. You can contour your face, but with a brown shade. Keep the face pale and matte, no shimmers. As for the lips, stay as matte as possible - apply some colorless lip balm or any lip moisturizing product then pat on matte powder.


I would recommend using good quality, pigmented products for any type of makeup. I don't trust no-brand or generic brand products, as most things are made in China these days (though my 120 is MIC). There are lots of inexpensive drugstore brands that make amazing products.


If you need guides, it would be best to have good quality pictures of your chosen visual kei musician on hand and a pretty large range of colors and brushes to choose from. If you still can't replicate the look, there are countless tutorials on video sites like YouTube. The end note is to practice and have patience.


DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to be professional. I am only giving my own interpretations and opinions on the subject.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How-to: Owning A Dog

Owning a dog is like being a housewife - it's a full time job, 24/7, 365 days a year. Lots of people these days want dogs for various reasons - home security, companionship, or just the plain passion of it. But before you even imagine life with a dog ...


BEFORE GETTING THE DOG
Get some experience about handling and communicating with dogs by visiting a friend or relative who has a dog. Usually, the serious dog owners will know more about dogs than the average person. After a period of time, you should feel closer with the said dog, and would perhaps be able to interpret its facial expressions, reactions, etc.


Your house should be able to comfortably accommodate you, the dog and your family (if they're living with you). And also make sure that you will have enough time to take care of and teach the dog while its living with you. If you're about to be in the office most of the day, I would recommend you don't get a dog at all or hire some reliable help.


Your family members or house mates should be notified ahead of time so that they can prepare for what's coming, i.e. puddles, whining at night, etc. If even one of your house-mates disagree on having the dog in your place, it would be best to postpone the decision until you get your own place as to avoid animal abuse at some point.


Find out all you can about different breeds. Many different types of dog breed books are available in most bookstores or you could do some research online on a reliable website. Each dog is different from the other - size, coat maintenance, temperament, etc. Narrow down your choices by finding comparing the dogs' requirements and size with what you're looking for.


If you have children in your house, make sure that they will take up the responsibility of taking care of the dog and ensure that they will handle the dog appropriately. Overly violent handling may result in the dog retaliating violently.


PREPPING FOR THE DOG
Choose a name for your dog, and try to choose one that is unique and would most likely not sound like the commands you're planning to teach it, such as sit, lie down, etc. There are many dog name lists on the net. We chose Duke for our dog, as it's as royal as our pup was, and it was highly unlikely that any commands will clash with his name.


Your house may not be dog-friendly, especially if you have lots of stuff on display on delicate shelves and in reach of the dog (depending on the size). If you can, get a wooden cabinet with glass / plastic panes so that you can still display your decorations but minimize the risk of having something break. I would recommend purchasing at IKEA.


Remove all poisonous plants (to the dog) from your house, out of its reach at least. These poisonous plants include poinsettia (leaves), azaleas and rhododendrons (green leaves), dumb cane (leaves), Japanese yew (needles, bark, seed), oleander (leaves, stems, bark), English ivy (fruit), mushroom (Amanita species), precatory bean (seeds) and castor bean (seeds). * Source: The Complete Dog Owner's Manual by Amy Marder, V.M.D) *


Purchase all the necessities - food, food bowls, grooming tools, toys, leash, collar, a crate, treats, and a place to sleep, preferably somewhere soft and warm. The collar can be used for walking as well, but recommended for bigger dogs as they will be more easily controlled. For smaller dogs, opt for a body harness, which wraps around the torso.


When purchasing / adopting the dog, make sure the breeder is a legitimate and reliable one. I have no recommendations on this one as the only dog I owned came as a surprise. Inquire about the health status, date of birth, vaccination status, and similar information. You should also inquire regarding the health status of the parents of the pup (if you're adopting / purchasing a puppy) or about his previous visits to the veterinary (if you're getting a grown dog).


Draw up a time table so that everyone in the house will help with the doggy chores. Divide the feeding, poop-and-pee clearing, bathing, grooming and training as evenly as possible among the people in the house. The training sessions should go on throughout the day, and be completely consistent. E.g. if one person starts to teach 'sit', the others should follow suit, not adding any other words to the command as this will confuse the dog.


Try to keep the dog pickup trip minimised as a sudden crowd may scare the puppy or dog. Right after you get home, prepare some water for it and let it make a trip to its bathroom. After that, put it in its crate with the gate open or put it in an open space, allowing a large area around him. Avoid crowding him as, I've said before, crowding may scare it.


If you have other pets in the house such as cats, hamsters or guinea pigs, keep them out of reach of your new pooch for now. You can have them get to know each other later. If possible keep him or the other pet (either one) in a cage and then introduce them to each other. Be careful as it is widely known that cats and dogs don't always get along with each other (and this is not a Garfield comic strip).


Don't force it to do things such as come out of its cage or go to a particular person. Adapting to a new environment takes time, especially with a grown dog (though mine seems pretty happy right now =P). If the puppy wishes to stay where it is until the crowd disperses, let it. His curiosity will get the better of him and he will start to explore.


Take it to the vet the next day if he hasn't had his vaccinations, or if you're not sure it's at the peak of its health. Two people will suffice - one to carry it, and the other to do the paperwork and such. Listen closely to the veterinarian's instructions and follow them, even if the instructions span a week or so. Spay her or neuter him if you are not planning to become a breeder. Without neutering, male dogs would be more violent; females (bitches =x) on the other hand, may gain weight after spaying.


ADAPTING TO LIFE WITH THE DOG
Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and will sometimes snoop around something that they shouldn't. You (and your house-mates) will have to teach it what is safe to explore and what is not. Never discipline the dog with your bare hand - the dog will identify your hand as a source of pain and will bite whenever it looks as if you are going to discipline it.


An alternative is to get some newspaper, roll it up tight and tape it securely with lots of tape. This will serve as your 'discipline tool'. Whenever your dog does something wrong, give it a firm spank on the rump while saying a firm (don't shout though) 'no'. Only do this if it is caught in the act, and never go beyond two spanks, as it will retaliate.


On the dog's first day in your home, have a fixed schedule on when it will be fed, what time it will be let out to do it's business, when it will be given it's bath, etc. Although many dog owner manuals state that training should not be confined to one time period, I actually merged lunch time with training sessions.


Always have dog biscuits on hand if your dog is to be with you. Don't assume that the certain amount would be enough - always bring more than enough. Just in case, one doesn't work, you still have more.


Training should be firm, but gentle. Never shout at the dog or react violently. The dog is not a tool for you to let out your anger. If you're having a bad day and your temper is hot, it would be best to ask someone else to continue the training session. Always end your training sessions on a good note, i.e. when your dog successfully performs on command.


Alternate training sessions with and without treats. This would train it to obey commands even if no treat is to be given. This, in turn, will help you better manage your dog when he is out in the public.


Give him a selection of chewing toys to choose from. Only having one toy is much too boring, and after he tires of that single toy, he will find other toys, such as your hair brush, your shoes or anything else that it would like and is within its reach. Some dogs (like mine), however would favor one toy much more than another and would prefer that toy to any other new toys you give it in the long run.


If you plan to take it out for walks often, make sure he's used to having a leashed collar / body harness. In older dogs, this should be no problem, though if you're afraid that he might react violently to anything, you should put a muzzle when he is out in public. For puppies, most puppies would have sufficient exercise at home, but since you want him to get used to being on a leash, collar / harness him and attach the leash. Let him drag it around and at some points have him follow you on the leash.


The potty training part would be the most tedious of the puppy training mission. You can use any non-violent method of doing this. What we did with our puppy was wait for him to do his business, dip a rag in his pee or wrap up his poop, put it at his muzzle so he smells it while saying 'pee-pee' or 'poo-poo' (gawd this sounds like Despicable Me =P). By doing so he identifies the urine and the stool, and hopefully goes to the appropriate place to relieve himself of them.


Whenever you find a puddle, don't head straight for the 'discipline tool'. Since you have not caught him in the act, disciplining him now will lead to confusion on his side. Just clean up the puddle and be sure to keep an eye on him in the future. When you do catch him, give him a firm (but gentle) spank on the rump (with the 'discipline tool'), say a firm 'no', take him to where he should do his business and say 'pee-pee' (or whatever you want to call his urine) so that he will know where he should and should not pee.


Food-wise, restrict his early diet (if he's a puppy) to dog food only. Usually in their early years, puppies would be weaned at the earliest 6 weeks after birth from its mother's milk. Then he would either be staying with the mother, or given away. If yours is a fairly new-born pup, mix his usual puppy food with some puppy milk. This will provide the essential nutrients that are present is his mother's milk and will also help soften the hard pellets. DO NOT USE MILK MEANT FOR HUMAN INGESTION.


As he grows older, allow him certain bits of fruits and vegetables. Be aware, though - some foods may be poisonous to them, but not to us. Some examples of these foods are onions, chocolates, xylitol (the sugar you find in some brands of chewing gum), and so on. Do some research if you're really worried. Always make sure that whatever you give your dog is something very low or contains no excessive salt or oil at all. Excessive intake of salts and oils are unhealthy, and sometimes fatal, to dogs.


Even if you were to give any treats to him, set a limit to the amount and frequency. By any means necessary (of course, excluding violent means), resists those tearful goo-goo eyes. Ignore the whines and the incessant pestering. Dogs will eat whatever they are given, however large the portion (except for some picky eaters like mine was), and so giving up to the pestering will just lead to weight gain and obesity.


It would be useful to allow your dog to familiarize with other dogs. Some particular dogs like Akitas and Shiba Inus will stand their ground and most likely react aggressively toward other dogs. Try to have him in contact with other dogs as much as possible, observe their reactions and always keep a tight hand on your end of the leash in case he lashes out.


GROOMING THE DOG


Grooming of the dog varies in different breeds - some dogs may require more attention here than most. Long haired breeds, such as the American Cocker Spaniel, Schnauzer and Maltese would have floor length coats if left to grow. If your dog is to be pampered for dog shows and such, you will have to spend many hours a day only brushing his coat. Unlike walks in the park, missing one day of this will lead to endless mats and tangles in their long coats, especially in more active breeds.


Use an appropriate dog hair brush (never use human products) to gently comb through his coat. If you do encounter a mat or tangle, gently brush / comb through, if it still doesn't come undone, get a pair of scissors and cut off only the mat / tangle itself, do not go any higher than the mat itself.


The frequency of bathing your pooch also varies. The regular dog owner (me included) bathe their dogs once a week. Some dogs have natural water repelling coats under the coat that is usually visible, and bathing your dog too much may strip these coats of their natural functions. Some bathe their dogs only 'when necessary'. What do they mean by necessary? It means when the dog starts to scratch or smell more than usual.


Some owners would let their dogs dry themselves out under the sun, but other more wary owners would either A. let them air dry after toweling them as much as possible, or B. grab a hair dryer. Now human equipment isn't meant for canine use, but this is an exception. But if you were to use a hair dryer to blow dry his coat, opt for one that has a cool air function and is as silent as possible, as the noise might frighten him.


Needless to say, his shampoos, conditioners, powders and deodorants are to be made specially for dogs. NEVER EVER USE HUMAN PRODUCTS ON HIM. Rinse any shampoo and/or conditioner out thoroughly so that he will not suffer from skin sensitivity later on.


In my opinion, the most daunting task of dog grooming is the nail clipping. Our nails and their nails are different - dog's nail have a 'quick' (a whole junk-load of capillaries and nerves) at the base of their nails, and accidentally cutting that will result in bleeding and also immense pain for him. If your dog is constantly walked along tar roads or some rough surface, you can probably skip this step, especially if your dog always strains against the leash.





TRAVELLING
At some point you are going to leave the house for a few days at a time, regardless of the reason. You'll be left at the choice of A. bringing him along; B. leaving him at a reliable pet shop; or C. leaving him with a friend or neighbor.


A. If you're gonna take him along, make sure where you're gonna stay allows dogs. Bring enough food, his bowls, a couple of chew toys, a portable crate and some old T-shirts or such in case he'll have to sleep in the crate. Involve him in as many of the activities you have on your itinerary as possible, if not it'll pointless to bring him along.


B. Make sure your dog is in good condition before passing him to the pet shop staff, along with a couple of toys (in case he gets home sick) and any ailment information. When you (and he) gets home, observe his actions and check his body in case of any animal abuse or such.


C. I would say this would be the most unreliable way, especially if the friend / neighbor does not / has not owned a dog before. What may me tolerable to you might not be tolerable to him / her and may lead to violence towards him. Anyways the same steps should be taken as in B.


Your dog may experience anxiety especially if he isn't used to long-distance travelling, even more especially if he is to be in a confined space for such a long time. If you're travelling by car, it would be wise to find a rest stop, bring him to an isolated place and let him empty his bladder every once in a while. If he'll be in the luggage cargo at some point, line his portable crate with lots of absorbent material and be prepared for poop-covered paws.


IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO ...
Enjoying their company, their loyalty. Take pleasure in pampering and spoiling them (with a limit). I love cuddling dogs, pups and grown alike. We share kisses and hugs. XD Just enjoy playing with them. Sometimes when you don't know who to talk to, your pooch might just be the best listener.


Dogs' company is something like chocolate - no matter how down or tired you are, one cuddle and you're all warmed up. XD

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On-the-go + Travel Makeup Essentials

* Oops, I more or less written this post in the previous post already... =P *


For the girl / guy who likes to look at their best all the time, even when they're on the go~ The essentials and the extras~


Out on the go, you won't have the familiar surroundings and conditions you have when you're at home. Whether with good lighting or equipment or not, you'll have to put up with it.


Like I said in the previous post, the essentials include a white eye pencil, a pale pink lipstick / lip and cheek tint, concealer, dark-colored eyeshadow and a wet-formula mascara.


But if were to make a stop anywhere with a mirror, you could bring along an eye shadow duo or similar, but keep it simple. I would recommend a 12-color palette, with most of the colors being pigmented and skin-toned.


If you're opting for smokey eye look when you arrive at some place in the night-time, just bring along a soft eye liner pencil and a small, inexpensive fluffy brush / Q-tip. Just apply the liner thickly and blend with the brush / Q-tip till the desired effect is achieved.


Now if you can't live without eyelash curlers, I would recommend that you bring an heated lash curler rather than the conventional ones which take up pretty much space. It also threatens to rip a hole in a packed and weak-materialed bag.


Use a cream concealer instead of a liquid one as they're easier to blend. You could also use the concealer as a facial highlighter for your cheek bones and nose bridge.


As for foundation, I think I would use a powder foundation instead of a cream or liquid one. I'm just being practical and it's common sense. Creams and liquids need to be blended nicely, and fingers don't always do the job nicely. And to specially add another sponge / brush to your bag would be kinda unnecessary. Get those in compacts.


The brows can be filled in using your eyeliner pencil / a dark brown eye shadow from your shadow palette. Just be very light-handed when you're using the liner. You can use a Q-tip to apply the eyeshadow, though the effect won't be as good as using an angled brush or using conventional brow pencils.


Contouring, you say? Simple. Use your brown eyeshadow. Just make sure it matches your skin tone. If not you can skip that and use a brown blush with a hint of pink for this that comes in a small tub instead of a compact.


Lipstick or any cosmetic lip product doesn't look good on peeling lips. What you can do is use a tinted lip balm (I use Kiehl's) - it acts as a lip moisturizer and also a lip color, plus it doubles up as a blush ! Or you could just whip up a honey + sugar lip scrub (note that this is edible~ yays~!) and bring it along with you as a sweet snack. XD


* For some reason I feel that this post is completely unnecessary and some readers will actually say 'LAME !' and '无聊', but I felt like I had to post this anyways. I guess my blogging is better when I don't blog that often. =P *

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things You Should Have in Your Bag~

Anything could happen anytime and anywhere, so it's best that you be ready for as many things as possible. Sometimes you'd be surprised at how under- or over-equipped a person is. Some items may vary among different people, depending on their own preferences and needs.


THE BASICS
  1. Identity card
  2. Cash
  3. Handphone
  4. Pen and/or pencil
  5. Camera
  6. Sunblock
  7. Painkillers
  8. Medicated oil
  9. Some disinfectant
  10. Water
  11. Panty liners (girls)

THE SHORT TRIPS
You should bring these along if you're just making a short trip to the city for shopping or such:
  1. Another bag to carry your shopping (reduce plastic bag use)
  2. Product / promo vouchers
  3. Membership cards
  4. Loose change

THE LONG DISTANCE TRIPS
Whether by car, train, bus or plane:
  1. Passports or similar documents
  2. Non-messy food
  3. Some form of a self-defense tool in the vehicle
  4. A change of clothes / shoes
  5. Wet wipes
  6. Mild perfume / cologne
  7. Nausea medicine
  8. Candy
  9. Makeup kit (for the more self conscious)*
  10. Sample-sized skin routine products
  11. Moisture mask
  12. Contact lens equipment
  13. Hand cream
  14. Hair styling product (the simple stuff)
  15. Jacket / shawl
  16. Breath mints
  17. Some form of entertainment
  18. Sunglasses
* Each person's makeup kit varies for the other, but these are the bare basics:
  • A white eyeliner pencil can be used for highlighting key points of the face and eyes to reduce the tired look.
  • Some pale pink lipstick / lip and cheek tint to add color to your lips and cheeks.
  • Concealer for the sudden zits and such, as well as the dark circles.
  • If you really do need eyeliner, opt for a dark-colored eye shadow instead of using a pencil / liquid, as using powder would be more forgiving in a moving vehicle.
  • As for mascara, opt for one with a formula that would be quickly rubbed off in case you get some on your skin, but will still resist smudging after drying.

This post does not cater to everyone's needs, and is written based on personal experience. Hope this was helpful~

Celebrity post (again) !!!

Everyone has their idols and people inspirations, here's mine~ These are (in my opinion) the best in what they do or what they are. =) Hope you enjoy~

The best fashionista: Kim Kardashian



The best makeup artist: Michelle Phan (YouTube channel)



The best comedian: Ray William Johnson



The best blogger: Wendy Cheng aka Xiaxue



The best guitarist: Miyavi



The best lyricist: Vo. Ruki from the GazettE + hyde




The best rapper: Eminem



The best actor: Johnny Depp


The best singer: Adam Lambert



The best personal style: Gackt



The best writer: J. K. Rowling



The best dancer: Taeyang (aka SOL) from BIGBANG



The best tattoo artist: Kat Von D



The best celebrity designer: Victoria Beckham



The best kitchen queen: Nigella Lawson



The best supermodel: Gisele Bundchen



The best pianist: Taeyang (aka SOL) from BIGBANG



The best tennis player: Roger Federer



The best children's classics author: Enid Blyton



The best actress: Angelina Jolie



The best cellist: Kanon Wakeshima



The best talk show host: Oprah Winfrey



The best celebrity: Jennifer Lopez



The best American Idol judge: Simon Cowell



The best band: Maroon 5



The guy with the sexiest eyes: T.O.P from BIGBANG



The guy with the sexiest lips: Gt. Uruha from the GazettE


This was all I could come up with in 3 days. Now, some of you readers would disagree on certain parts of this post, but this is what I think. Most of the links would take you to a Wikipedia or YouTube page.