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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fiery Dragon picture tutorial

2012 is the year of the dragon, according to the lunar calendar. The dragon is a sign of immortality and strength, which is basically why many Chinese parents hope for dragon children.


A very popular example of a person who was born in the year of the dragon was Bruce Lee, which is why National Geographic is now doing a huge series on him, entitled Bruce Lee: Curse of the Dragon, or something like that if my memory serves me correct.


Now in ancient folklore all over the world, dragons are mythical creatures who either bring about chaos, or shower the world with prosperity. This all depends on the local legends and myths, but the dragon we're focusing on here is the Chinese dragon.


The Chinese dragon is always synonymous with the Chinese phoenix, as the dragon is the "yang" (male) and the phoenix is the "yin" (female). Ancient emperors and empresses of China were dubbed the "dragon" and the "phoenix" because both symbolized power, immortality and strength, whilst both being mythical creatures.


In this look, I tried incorporating the colors of both Western and Chinese dragons. The Chinese dragons I've seen from TV dramas like Gods of Honour and Journey to the West, where the dragons were gods of the sea, one for each north, south, east and west. I wanted to capture the aura that they gave the people, which was luck, fortune, power and strength, which is symbolized by colors like red and gold.


To represent the Western dragons, such as the ones seen in Eragon, and also loosely based on the loch ness monster, I wanted to capture the steely coldness of those dragons, while still keeping the air of mystery there.


The stuff I used:

  • shu uemura Creme Eyeshadow in Beige (primer/base)
  • 120 palette
  • Abon Creme Eyeshadow Palette
  • Elianto Stay-On Pencil Eyeliner in Black
  • Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen in Black
  • MaxFactor False Lash Effect mascara in Black
  • Generic brand demi outer lashes + 1000Hour Lash Glue in Clear
  • The Body Shop Oil Free Balancing Foundation in 05 (undereye concealer)
  • Maybelline Clear Smooth Aqua Gel Foundation in 12 Natural
  • Pigeon Compact Baby Powder in Beige

Lately I've got into a habit of doing the face after the eyes, as it's actually much neater. I didn't really use blusher, because in this tutorial I was rushing (kinda) and I just slapped on some foundation to even out the entire look. As for the brows, I also forgot all about them, but I'll talk about that in a bit, let's get in with the tutorial.

BEFORE


I like to start off with a moisturized face, i.e. do your entire skin regime before all the makeup. Prime the entire lid and outer half of the lower lash line with a primer (this helps with stronger color pigmentation, longer lasting shadow color and anti-creasing).


Using a large flat brush, take Shade 2 from the 120 palette (shimmery pale champagne) and highlight the brow bone.


Using a flat shadow brush, take Shade 73 (shimmery fiery gold) and apply it on the inner 2/3s of the eye by patting (patting reduces fallouts and helps the color go on stronger, gentle patting can also lengthen the lifespan of your brushes). This is also help highlight the inner corner.


Using the same brush, take Shade 66 (matte bright orange) and apply it on the outer 1/3 of the eye, making sure to blend the color nicely with the gold.


With a fluffy crease brush, take Shade 47 (shimmery dark red) and apply it over the orange, letting the orange just peek through. Remember to blend out the outer edges to avoid harsh lines. All the colors we've been using represents the Chinese dragon - fiery reds, oranges and golds represent the auspiciousness and the ultimate strength of the Chinese dragon.


Use an angled brush, take Shade 83 (shimmery teal green) and apply it on the outer half of the lower lash line.


With the same angled brush, take Shade 15 (shimmery dark forest green) and layer it over the teal green. The greens represent the wildernesses in which some Western dragons reside, and also the metallic greenish scales on some dragons.


Line the upper and lower waterline, as well as the upper lashline with black pencil liner or black shadow.


Line the upper lashline with black liquid or gel liner. Keep the line simple - extend the line out only slightly, but if you want to wing it, try to keep it subtle. Remember to fill in the flesh-colored areas with your liquid or pencil liner. Make sure no skin peeks through at the upper lashline.


Curl your lashes and apply black mascara of your choice. I opted for volumizing mascara.


Of course, false lashes are optional. Here I used my generic strip lashes that I cut into demi lashes, and attached them using 1000Hour Clear Lash Glue and a pair of tweezers. For the brows, I usually would use a gel liner brush, apply Shade 7 on the entire brow, then later Shade 8 onto the arch and the outer point of the brow, then soften and blend it out with a spoolie brush.

AFTER
A last minute decision made me apply some shimmery cream purple eyeshadow to the outer corners with a gel liner brush to form double wings, then I set the cream shadow with Shade 30 (matte bluish purple). I also layered some Shade 60 (dark shimmery bronze) on the gold. The purple represents royalty and the power of the dragon, while also representing the mystical powers of them. The bronze represents armor, which are the hard, impenetrable skin and scales of the dragon.


Now you apply your concealer, foundation, and powder. The reason why I left this for last is because when you're using really dark and/or shimmery powder shadows, fallout is very common. Leaving the face make-up for last will help take care of that problem, because you can just cleanup the fallout with some facial wipes or make-up remover, or even just some moisturizer, even.


This look (with different facial expressions and photo editing) can be:


Sweet and pretty


Fierce


Or sultry and sexy.


For CNY I didn't put in the purple wings, but just for the added sultriness, I just felt the urge of slapping it on. I didn't pair this eye make-up with any particular lip color, but I think a sheer pink or really sheer red stick or gloss would work nicely. I just applied some Kiehl's Tinted Lip Balm in Hue 30G.


Yes, I realize the my pores are huge and my face looks basically bloated. I can't say anything about my skin condition, but that, fortunately or unfortunately, is my face shape.

Chinese Dragon Year

Sorry for the long, long hiatus. My internet was down for a week or so.


There's a twelve year cycle for each animal year. I'd suggest you Google the order of the animal years yourself. This year is the year of the dragon, and from what I heard, a lot of Chinese parents crave dragon children, so you know what to do.


During Chinese New Year, or called lunar new year in some cases, is celebrated with lots of noise and family gatherings. Usually the entire family would gather at the parent's or oldest siblings house, then have a reunion dinner or lunch (I have dinner with my mother's side relatives, and lunch with my dad's side relatives).


Traditionally, lots of fireworks and fire crackers should be lit because the noise will "drive away the evil spirits", and wearing red and/or yellow will guarantee you a prosperous and healthy year ahead. Wearing black is strictly prohibited (but I wore black this year) because it's the color you wear to funerals, and will thus ruin your entire year.


This year's lunar new year is much more quiet than the past few years, because Christmas and school openings have already rendered the shopping quota to a bare minimum. The family gathering this year was also quite silent, as a few of the relatives were unable to come home.


Let's start with a few events BEFORE the actual lunar new year - my grandma's birthday. She's around 85 years old now, and still kicking, though, like all other old people, sometimes forgetful and naggy. As a change from our usual Secret Recipe selection of cakes, mum thought we'd try some cake from the nearby Padi House.

The moist chocolate cake from Padi House. Looks pretty, doesn't taste like it looks.

It was called the Moist Chocolate Cake, and the only thing right was that it was chocolate. It could be that the cake was still too cold, but the cream overwhelmed the cake, and the cake itself was rather dry. The presentation of the cake was quite pretty, though.

Purple bodycon dress with gathers.
Blue bodycon dress - my favorite among the three. If you're wondering why this looks so nice, it's because I edited myself to look slimmer.
Black draping evening gown, which is designed to emphasize the hips, but just made me look bulkier than I really am.

Then there was the trip to Sunway before the end of our semester - that is, before our finals. Quinie was shopping for her new year's dress (it's tradition to have at least one new piece of clothing for Chinese new year) at Lence, and so I picked out a few dresses here and there to try. The dressing room sign said no photography, but what they don't know won't hurt them, and I'm basically promoting their brand.


On the last day of college I followed Jasmine, Brian and Cecilia to KL city, and met up with BF for Sakae Sushi, then kinda went home together. It's kinda hard to go home together when both are still heated up from an argument.



The four-pan shadow palette.
On the 30th night (the day before the official lunar new year), my dad came home from China, and had brought home lots of nuts and tea (like always). An expensive Guess watch for my sister, a magnifying mirror that came with a beauty product he got for my mum, and an FOC Laneige Snow Crystal Multi Professional Palette in 03 for me. Supposedly it's a free gift - it's bloody Laneige, and Snow Crystal, no less. Though that won't be of much use since I have my 120 palette, which I don't think I'll finish until I'm like 30 years old.

Before being unwrapped.
The tea unwrapped - the compressed tea leaves were wrapped with bamboo leaves, then encased in a rattan bolster-shaped thing, then covered with a nice Chinese duffel bag.

Also, he brought back something that looked like a bolster wrapped in a Chinese-style cover, but it turned out to be packed pu-er tea. My uncle and my dad kinda hacked the whole thing into pieces and basically distributed it to the entire family. What I don't understand is why he keeps bringing home tea - we seldom drink tea, except grandma. I personally prefer Ceylon tea to Chinese tea. Then we have like a whole truckload of tea in our cupboards that almost never get finished.


So then - for dinner. This year's reunion dinner wasn't as overwhelming as it was last year, because my grandma has a tendency to overestimate everyone's eating capacity. This year my mum had some control over the food to be cooked, and it was just nice - everyone was full, with only a few leftovers here and there. The highlight of the entire meal? The sea cucumber, and the steamed fish.


One of my uncle's wife was born from a fishing family in Pulau Ketam, and occasionally brings over some seafood. The steamed fish that night was beyond fresh, and with just the right amount of ginger and garlic, brought forth the flavor of the fish beautifully. Up until now it's still the 30th night. Everyone chatted until the wee hours of the night, then turned in.

Make-up. My floral dress from Colours (RM99.90), paired with a mini-cardi, also from Colours (RM39.90).
Full length of the dress minus the mini cardi.

I got up reasonably early the next morning, because the first thing on my agenda was make-up. Since I started learning make-up I'd think of some way to create a look that would embrace the Chinese new year-ness of the occasion. The first attempt was a pink and red look I found on a make-up blog, the next was the rainbow eyes, and then this year, it's a look I'd like to call "The Fiery Dragon" (picture tutorial coming after this).


DIY nail art - left: I messed up the middle finger, so I decided to make it into a demon rabbit, with a red aura~ right: random streaks here and there. I apologize for the messiness - I don't have the determination to "clean up" the edges every time I paint my nails or do nail art because the bits of nail polish stuck to the skin will eventually wash off in flakes anyway.
My nails were done a couple of days ago. I tried to recreate the messy pink and black nail-lengthening polish effect, but I gave up half way and ended up doing a variety of designs. I used Estee Lauder's polish in Shimmering Pink, Elianto's Shimmering Black, Elianto's Gold and a Japanese nail art polish in red.


On the new year's day itself, the morning was occupied by a huge serving of my mum's home cooked vegetarian breakfast. At 11am we set out to Bandar Utama to my uncle's house, then from there moved to Extra Super Tanker Restaurant in Damansara Kim. The food there was meh, but I did spot a waiter that resembled the BF a lot. I tried being paparazzi and wanted to take a picture of him but all attempts had failed.

At Bandar Utama. Everyone said I've put on lots of weight.

After lunch we proceeded to Wangsa Maju to my dad's godmother's house. Imagine around 30 people - old, young, and all in between - stuffed into a small double-storey house. My dad's godmother has around 6 children, and all those children has married and have at least two children each. The day was passed with a good conversation with a fan of my blog (it's nice to know that someone somewhere actually enjoys my incessant ranting) and some food, and a very interesting performance by all the kids of the family (excluding us, that is).

On the right is my uncle's godson, on the left is my first cousin's daughter~

We were home by around 6pm, and I took some time playing with my uncle's godson for a while. After a tiring day, some nice chatting and story-telling is pretty good stress relief. The next few days were pretty uneventful, except for the visit to Mid Valley on Tuesday, which gave me some insight on diamonds and another round of German lunch.


A few days later we went all the way to Sierra Damansara to preview my car-to-be. It's a Proton Satria Neo 1.6 Manual, and practically new. I'm not really a fan of manual cars, but what the heck, it's a car anyway.


I've been to karaokes with friends quite a few times already, but this is the first time I've tried going with family, to the one nearby my house which I've never really heard of, no less. MusiZone came to Jalan Radin Bagus when it kinda just opened to public, and I've always been curious as to how good it is.


My verdict? Not very. Yes, they had Gackt (Vanilla) and X Japan (Forever Love), but both were instrumental and had some kind of weird Asian video which had completely nothing to do with the song. The sound quality wasn't very good, and somehow there was no air conditioner controller - it was either on or off, no warmer or colder. Paired with the awkwardness of everyone having different musical tastes, it was really weird, and expensive, by the way.

Homemade salsa with porcini mushrooms and sundried tomatoes~ Absolute heaven~
Yam cake, also from Auntie Joanne's, which was really heavy with yam~

Just night before last had dinner with Auntie Joanne and Uncle Phua at Puchong, but before that we enjoyed a wonderful homemade salsa by Auntie Joanne at her place. Usually she would have an open house at her place during Chinese new year, but this year was an exception.

As the name suggests, Penang One gathers up all the great Penang food into one restaurant.
Hot chocolate. RM4.00
Asam laksa. RM8.90.

Dinner at Penang One was quite good - conversations and good food. Asam laksa can be found practically anywhere, but this is some good Penang asam laksa - it wasn't very overwhelmingly spicy (I picked out the chopped chilies), and the flavor was just right, though it was a rather awkward meal in accompaniment to a hot chocolate.


Yesterday was gewd. At around lunch time, dad, twerp and I walked out (speed walked, more like) for lunch, Unifi inquiries and tiramisu ingredients. I took lead, as I was the only one who knew how to get there by foot, and I took the shady route, which is the road behind the main road.


Nalanda Book Cafe had been closed for a really long time (my last time there was around 3 to 4 years ago), and since then they had changed their menu. The last time I went there, a "dry curry huang di mian" was available, now the entire menu changed to organic vegetarian healthy food.

Clear soup beehoon, with lots of veggies.
The chocolate oat drink.

In the confusion I ordered a clear soup beehoon, accompanied by a chocolate flavored oat drink. This bloody bowl of noodles is no bloody joke - it's downright intimidating! What looks to be a regular bowl of noodles with veggies, is actually almost double or triple the amount you would think it is (veggies and noodle ratio 1:1).


On to TM Point, and upon inquiry, they told us that Unifi "is not yet available in your area". ORLY? Then why all the promotional booths at junctions near our place? If you don't have the service "in my area", then don't torture people to sit under the sun and rain for useless promotion.


Then all the way to the baking shop (I think it's called that), got some icing sugar, whipping cream and cream cheese. Where the whipping cream is concerned, I bought way too much - I forgot the exact amount of cream needed for the tiramisu (150ml = 150g), and just got the 1 liter carton just in case. The thing is, there was a 200ml carton available. Oh well.


The making of the tiramisu itself was alright, because the twerp helped a bit (notice the term "a bit"), though the baking of the sponge fingers were a little awkward because we got a new fridge, and it's in place of the old one, while the old one is in place of the oven, and the oven is now set in an awkward location in the kitchen. Since the old fridge is taking up the power socket that was originally meant for the oven, we had to move the oven right up in front of our microwave oven to use the power socket there.


I shall now move on to doing the Fiery Dragon make-up tutorial. It's a little different because it's generally a recreation of the look, and I had some more time for more mistakes and "creativity".

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Idiot Awards

If there were such an award, I think I would have won it a few times straight. It all started when I didn't tell my mum OR my sister that I had morning classes the next day.


I packed everything for the badminton gig the next day, even extra clothes and some shampoos as baths. Everything was sailing so smoothly it kinda felt a little out of place. I set my phone alarm after I finished my bath, then since it was just before midnight I thought I'd do some more time on my laptop.


By the time I went to bed it was around 2am, which is considered normal for me. The next thing I knew I woke up with warm sunlight streaming through the curtains in my air-conditioned room. Then I realized - I had morning class. I was suddenly as awake as I would be in the evening, and was like shit: it's 8am.


My class starts at 8am. Both potential "drivers" were already out. Taking public transport would be a real hassle with all the things I had to take. Then Jasmine called. Told her my situation and really wanted to say "Why don't you just pick me up from my house then I'll compensate your toll funds", but my following guilt to put her through another potential round of traffic jams held my tongue.


This is one of the many reasons I FREAKIN' WANT A CAR. See, if I had my own car, things might have been different - I could have driven to campus, and maybe be in time for class, though really late, and not miss my badminton game. However, my dad refuses to buy me a car until "I have gotten the hang of it". Hello? If I had a car I'd automatically get the hang of it.

Food!

Who doesn't encounter food everyday? May it be the same things every single day, or something new for each day, or even a few new discoveries every once in a while! Bear with me though, I've not found an interesting enough topic to blog about just yet, and somehow I just can't pick my butt up to do a picture tutorial on make-up.



The ever popular Ritter Sport a la Mousse au Chocolat. Since I don't understand French I had to take the Chinese description - it basically dark chocolate with a chocolate cream filling. Whether it's because I ate it straight out of the fridge, it tasted and felt all round the same.


This was another banana-cream-Oreo-honey-chocolate blended concoction. Sometimes when I'm feeling like it I make an "energy shake" if there are bananas. I end up making it into a high calorie, high fat and high sugar blended paste by adding random bits of cream, milk, Oreos, Kit-Kats, honey, and topped it all off with marshmallows. There goes my new year's resolution.


My mum brought a few of these (single truffles only) home one day. After trying the Jack Daniels Swiss Chocolate, we kinda looked everywhere for it, and since this was in the office my mum brought home one each. Compared to the Swiss Chocolate, this is absolutely nothing - the chocolate bar was beautifully creamy, and the centre was filled with beautiful Jack Daniel's whiskey. This tasted like one of the Japanese truffles my aunt used to bring home every year, except the texture of this truffle is much smoother.


Lots Matcha Green Tea ice cream. Being a Japanese freak and a potential "health food" seeker (though I don't really stay true to that name), I love Japanese green tea, especially matcha, especially matcha or green tea ice cream. The last best one I've tasted was the one from Maiu Japanese Buffet. Lots can be found at Sunway Pyramid (no idea about other branches though) somewhere near Moo Cow. This ice cream is kinda like the Japanese version of the McD sundae cone - smooth and soft, and very flavorful.


Now I didn't actually eat this (I stole some from my friends), but the toppings were not bad, however the yogurt, to me, was a tad too sour. Moo Cow can be found in Sunway Pyramid and Pavilion KL. It's signature feature? The ginormous cow at the booth. The one at Sunway Pyramid moos really loudly (and rather annoyingly) during intervals.


At one point every one around me was practically crazy over melon milk (someone even bought an entire 1 liter carton to drink in class), so I decided to try it out. Turned out pretty nice, but this drink needs to be taken slowly - too fast and the taste and the lactose will be quite overbearing.


I know this isn't the greatest looking of food, but I can assure you it tastes goood~ This garlic and shallot roasted chicken is made by my younger sister, from scratch - from pounding the shallots and garlic into a paste, and roasting the chicken (though I'm afraid I have salmonella) with the potatoes and carrots. What she does is after pounding the garlic and shallots, she marinades the chicken with the paste, with some seasoning for the entire day. The she just sticks everything onto a roasting pan and cooks it up. While it tastes completely cooked, the texture and the color is actually a little pink.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Karaoke!

Whenever I go to karaoke, it's usually with friends who most sing only Chinese songs, and most of the Chinese songs that they like are those that I don't know how to sing, and whenever the song that I picked comes up (usually Japanese), I'm surrounded by awkward silences, and usually I regret even going with those friends.


Today was different, though. Jasmine picked me up at 10am, and after picking Brian up from campus went to Cecilia's house to give her a surprise for her birthday. Jasmine got three slices of cakes, and we shared them after giving her a really good morning fright.


Business class sucked. I won't say more.


We went straight to SS17 for the karaoke, and for the first time in my life I actually sang hard.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How to make delicious ramyun

One of my favorite foods is ramyun - the Korean type. Whether it's kimchi, seafood or whatever, as long as it's spicy, and from Nong Shim. Where quality and flavor are concerned, I prefer Nong Shim. I usually purchase my ramyun by the 5's pack, more often than not the Shin Ramyun (spicy) or the mushroom ramyun.


You could typically vamp up any instant noodle with veggies, eggs, frankfurters, crab sticks, etc, however, for ramyun, I would prefer only one revamper - cheese. Uncanny as it may be to some people, spicy ramyun is heavenly with some melted cheese~

Main ingredient: Shin Ramyun
2nd ingredient: cheeeese~

So what you will need are the basic items to make instant noodles: a pot, a bowl, a pair of chopsticks, desired amount of water*, your ramyun, and in this case, desired amount of cheese. It depends on how much cheese you want in your ramyun. Typically I'd put in two slices of regular processed cheese (I use Bega Super Slim), but feel free to put in as much or as little as you like.


*There are typically two water levels for two different cooking methods. Those, like me who are lazier, put in just enough water in the pot for the soup. We then cook the noodles in that water, and use the same water for the soup. Some people think this is an unhealthy way because all the preservatives and/or coloring are in the water. These people (like my grandma) doubles the amount of water required for the soup. Once that water comes to the boil, they pour it into the bowl for the soup first, then cook the noodles in the remaining water, draining the noodles later and discarding the cooking water.

Typical soup packet ingredient for Nong Shim Shin Ramyun: spicy soup powder, and dehydrated vegetables.

Like always, boil your water. I like having my water be at an absolutely rolling boil before I dunk in my noodle cake. While you're waiting for the water to boil, you could now open up the packet of noodles and empty out the seasoning and vegetable packet (if applicable) into a large bowl. You could also take out your cheese slices to thaw now so that it melts more easily later.


After you've dunked in your noodle cake, let it cook in the water for about a minute before stirring it to separate the noodles. Cooked noodle cakes are not cool.


Cook the ramyun for about 3-4 minutes, al dente or just softer. I prefer mine soft, without the al dente bite. It's all about personal preference though. When the ramyun is cooked to your preference, pour it out into the bowl with the seasoning. Mix it around until the soup is evenly colored (sounds a tad wrong).


Here's the fun part: unwrap the cheese slices, then tear them into smaller slices, placing them on the noodles. "Bury" the cheese chunks under the ramyun, then proceed with your other cheese slices, if you're using them. Take your chopsticks, grab a wad of noodle, then "wipe" it on the sides of the bowl to unstick any melted cheese from the sides.


If you want you could leave the cheese chunky and melted throughout the noodle, but I prefer to pull up the noodles bit by bit, then "dissipating" the cheese by "agitating" them with my chopsticks.



You could, of course, add in any other ingredients you want to your ramyun, but I would usually prefer more noodle to veggies and meat and whatnot. The plus with this ramyun is that when you've finished devouring the noodles, the soup is downright orgasm - all the melted cheese and spicy soup~