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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Armani & Diesel

Nothing is worse than losing your laptop to beer (thank you, Carlsberg and my own bloody klutziness), AND having your home fibre optic internet fail on you for no particular reason. So far I've been using data for emails, and replying messages on Line, Viber, and Whatsapp only...


But for a "modern" person like me to survive without WiFi for long is impossible. Probably close to anyone reviving a dinosaur. I desperately need to blog, Insta, etc, etc etc...


My Facebook got blocked or something recently. A friend told me he no longer saw me on Facebook, and I was like WTF?! Anyway, I got to campus today (for a class that was to start next week and not today), connected to i-Xcess, and found out that it was one of my life events (a break-up) that violated a community policy thing. It could be that I really did violate that policy without noticing it, but my major hunch is that someone reported it. Boh?


So now my Facebook is up again, but I'm disappointed by only 71 notifications in 3 days. =(


And seriously? I registered my semester 3 subjects almost as soon as the online registration was open, so... WHY IN THE BLAZES AM I REJECTED FOR BASIC JAPANESE?! I registered early, so there shouldn't be a problem. Sure, I registered a few days later than others, so maybe it was filled up by the time I signed up. But a friend of mine registered on the very first day! WTF?!


Too bad there's no Italian course. Signore Sonar, you have one obsessive fangirl here! =D But then again, I go all obsessive whenever I find, well, an obsession. Much like my obsession with taking up guitar lessons when I discovered Uruha! I'm what you would call a compulsive person, even when shopping: I'll take a quick scan, usually nothing interests me, but when it does, I'll pore over it for, boh? 2-3 days? With celebrities and people who make awesome music - much, much, MUCH longer!


As for the post title... I dunno, it's just random... Diesel has been a life-long obsession for me (Vin Diesel, my favorite jeans when I was 13 were from Diesel). And Armani... I seriously have no idea why... Even if it's Emporio or Giorgio, I have no idea, but it came to mind anyway...


End of filler post. Shall find more inspiration to blog again soon. Till then! Ciao!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Top 10 Dresses

Inspired by a friend's blog post~


You could say I've only recently (in 2011) started to wear short dresses. All my previous dresses were at the most a couple of inches above the knee. Reason? Well, being called "the chubby girl" since I was a kid actually did impact me psychologically. I was paranoid that people would point at my thighs, and having wide hips just make your thighs look even more huge.


But ANYWAY, fashion isn't really a major interest for me, but being a girl, who could resist?

Source.
#10 Turtle-neck dresses
I like how clingy turtle-neck dresses are. Although they're definitely not suited to Malaysia weather, it would be an awesome fashion piece to wear to a cold place. I'd pair it with a statement pendant or a nice scarf, and a classy watch.


Source.
#9 A-line dresses
This dress, given that it has suitable length, would be perfect if you're a pear-shape like me, as the skirt of the dress helps disguise chunky thighs, as well as a belly, if it has the right cut. And more often than not, A-line dresses would be fitting at the waist, giving the illusion of a slimmer waist.


Source.
#8 Empire waist dresses 
Perfect for a bust-boost and hide a potential belly. And depending on the design, you can play it up or down with different shoes and accessories!


Source.
#7 Lace dresses
Nothing screams feminine more than lace, and lace dresses are the perfect way to say "I'm a feminine lady, but I'm also mysteriously sexy".


Le moi and Akihiko-kun at Comic Fiesta 2012. On left is a ladies' yukata; and if I'm not mistaken, he's wearing a kimono (or a make-shift one, at least).
#6 Yukata
A yukata is a summer kimono, with less layers than a traditional kimono, and made from cotton rather than silk or other expensive cloths. I don't know if this is considered a "dress", per se, but it's a nice Japanese piece to own - it's ladylike (you can't walk in larger strides), and conservative, but still has a sexy touch to it. Pair it with red lips, an up-do, and a flower in your hair, and voila! The perfect Japanese look!


Source.
#5 Strapless floor-length evening gowns
Elegant, classy, and somewhat majestic. I love how floor-length gowns are so flowy, and evening gowns are always glamorous. The reason why I would prefer them strapless is because it adds to the sex appeal factor - I find defined collar bones on women a real turn-on.


I apologize for the dirty mirror...
#4 Tube dresses
Whether the cut it poufy, skin-tight, or peplum (which is all the rage right now), a tube-dress would be my go-to fashion piece - wear it as it is, or tone it down with a blazer or jacket! AND they can be worn with heels and sandals.


Source.
#3 String maxis
I absolutely love, love, LOVE maxi dresses! It's the perfect piece when you're just too lazy to coordinate your look from scratch, and ESPECIALLY if the weather is hot outside! String because I find it really sexy when the strings just lay on the collar bones (highlighting them even more!), and usually string maxis have a plunging neckline and/or a bareback.


Source.
#2 Backless dresses
Think Michelle Pfeiffer's shimmering black backless dress in Batman Returns. I fell in love with backless dresses the moment I laid eyes on it (and on Michelle Pfeiffer) - it exudes elegance, grace, and a touch of sexiness by exposing just the back.


Source.
#1 Asymmetrical dresses
If I was bored enough, I'd drape my bath towel over my torso in an asymmetric style. And when I saw Rosie's shimmering blue asymmetric dress in Transformers 3... I was breathless. The revealing of just one side of the body is just too much for words. While the long sleeve slims and elongates the arm, the cut-out part reveals the collar bone, the shoulders, and the arm, which is really sexy!


***

Dresses are something that a girl must have (at least one?), including a few basic pieces, such as a little black dress that can be used for different occasions via different accessories, layers, shoes, and make-up.


So there you go: my top 10 dresses. It took me more than a week to just decide which dresses I actually like (Rosie's dress being the first to come to mind). What about you? Which are your top 10 dresses?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two-face Make-up

Refer to this post for some background information. And by the way, no bashing on guys using make-up. I mean, c'mon, basically every male celebrity has some make-up on them. So please - I don't comment on how cynical your logic is, you don't bash my friend for doing what he likes. =)


So now that Kah Yeng and Ken Min has their make-up, it's time for some practical work. Sure, you could explain a million things to anyone, but if you don't really do it (especially that make-up has to adapt to different features), you won't learn.


After a nice lunch at Padi House (bland cappucino ice, and the usual pesto fondue grilled chicken), and a stop at Chatime for some drinks, we went back to my place. Pulled out the low table in the TV room, and I started moving every piece of make-up I had up to that table (too bad I didn't get a picture...).


I think it would be safe to say that my entire vanity is more than both of their make-up combined. But no worries, when one gets the hang of make-up (of course, along with the interest in the art), they'll start getting temptations to raid every single cosmetics store everywhere. I still get pangs of them when I pass by M.A.C, shu uemura, even just the cosmetics rack at Daiso...


I think we spent a good 4 hours - just experimenting, sharing opinions, and basically anything you could do with make-up (except Jigglypuff-esque face paint). This is what I came up with:

Look quite similar because of the wing...
Something more like a random demo-ish thingy that happened, but on my right eye I did a basic brown smokey eye, with lightly arched brows, spot-concealed under-eye circles, and sheer red lips. On the left is more like a Korean liner look, with straight and thick brows, along with full coverage foundation, and nude lip gloss.

Left: smokey; right: Korean-style.
For the smokey look:

  1. Apply base, then a wash all over the lid with a champagne shadow with a pink undertone.
  2. Neutral brown over the lids, then gradually build up the color to the desired intensity. Move from medium to darker browns (black, if using).
  3. Key to this look with the blending, so take some time to go over the harsh lines and soften them for a smouldering effect.
  4. Line eyes with eyeliner of your choice (waterlines as well!)
  5. Curl them lashes and hold their perk with mascara.
  6. I took one band of a false lash, cut it in half, and applied it to the outer corner as demi-lashes. Remember to blend the real and false lashes together!!!
  7. Trace over the spine of the false lashes to blend, winging out if desired.
  8. Fill in brows with a slightly stronger hand, arching the brow a little more for that sexy, questioning eyebrow. =D
  9. I just used some foundation on the under-eye circles (hence the red splotches).
  10. Contour the nose, temples, cheeks, and jawline.
  11. I used a shimmery translucent powder to highlight the C-zone (slightly above the brows, down to the cheekbone, and very lightly under the eye), and bridge of the nose.
  12. Finish off the look with either a nice nude color, or make it more dramatic with an eye-catching color (I used red, but a burgundy would give a more gothic feel).

For the Korean look:
  • Apply base, then a wash all over the lid with a vanilla color (this will help even out the color of your eyelids).
  • Use gel or liquid liner, start tracing out your line. Make it thick, and pull it straight out (no wing).
  • Slowly thicken and darken the line, and connect the top and bottom: from the end of your eyeline extension, draw a tapering line toward the middle of the lower lashline. Fill it in.
  • Set with a black powder, and smoke out the harsh line if you wish (which I did).
  • Curl and mascara!
  • Straighten and thicken your brows. I noticed Korean pop stars usually don't match their brows with their hair color, so use a dark brown or gray (no blacks). If you have an arch, try darkening the area below the arch to bring it down slightly.
  • Foundation all over for that flawless-looking skin.
  • Contour the nose, temples, cheeks, and jawline.
  • Highlight at the bridge of the nose, an inverted triangle at the apple of your cheek, and lightly on the C-zone. This will give that glowing look.
  • Finish off with a pale pink or nude lip color.

While the smokey eye look pretty much just plays with the color and blending to create a sultry effect, the Korean-style eyeliner actually stretches the eye horizontally, lengthening it, and thus giving the illusion of a slightly smaller, but mesmerizing gaze.

Even with my fringe down, it's quite obvious how the different styles of make-up produces different effects.
To be honest, I prefer the Korean liner look over the smokey look. Maybe it's because I've always liked more dramatic looks, and I've done the smokey eye in so many colors that it's become a TEENY bit boring (but it's still the classic go-to look, and the easiest to create).


And the style of the make-up... The typical smokey eye focuses on pulling the corner of the eye upwards, lifting it visually with the blurred shadow. The Korean eyeliner style pulls the eye outwards horizontally.


After I did mine, I did Ken Min's eyeliner. First was pencil, because he only had pencil liner (I find that it's the best to start with, compared to liquid and gel). Basically just tightlined his upper lashes, then a little bit on the lower waterline. Especially that his eye crease is higher (more eye space visible), just that subtle darkening at the roots of the lashes made his eyes look even more animated. Then he wanted to try liquid eyeliner...

Bad lighting and editing, but you can see the subtle lines (I extended the liquid eyeliner by about 1-2mm). And here he is enjoying some homemade black sesame ice cream.
I tried doing a smokey eye for Kah Yeng with black shadow, but it turned out... a little lacking in SOMETHING. And since I used black, her fine lashes were not really visible. MORE PRACTICE!!! And until then, ciao! A fashion post coming up soon, as soon as I organize everything!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A day of books

14th MARCH 2013

The day started off dreary - my sister and I weren't used to waking up anytime before 12pm, and yet we were ready and out of the house by 10.30am.


I took the familiar route to campus, and I definitely need to go out more: I almost literally melted under the morning sun.


Our first destination was the library, where I found a couple of books about Italian food. Yes, when I fangirl, I go all out! I'm the stalker-type fangirl, but I've gotten lazy: when I first found Gackt, I Googled him and went through over 50 pages of image search results, and saved over 600 photos.

Takes a look at the various food productions in the different regions of Italy (I realize Piedmont is always the first on the list).
Anyway, most of the Italian food books at the library were big, thick, and heavy (most of them hard-covered books). One about the food of each region with a few recipes, the other one of ICE CREAM. Like I need any more of that.

A book of recipes for gelatos, sorbetto, granita, and semifreddi.
We had some pretty bad lunch at U&I, and I got some access to some juicy gossip. Strange, because I seldom see guys gossiping. At least I don't remember seeing any guys gossiping. Anyway after lunch and gossiping, we (the odd trio) picked up our RM250 BB1M book vouchers.

Talk about cover design originality. Spotted at Borders, The Gardens.
Spotted at Borders, The Gardens. Since when has Spiderman and Metallica philosophy been related to religion? Unless my ignorance is depriving me of some knowledge.
Found these treasures at Borders, The Gardens. Why are English comics so expensive?!
We took a drive to Mid Valley, and checked out the book stores there (Sunway Pyramid and Paradigm Mall only have Popular Book Store, or do they?) for books that we can use our vouchers for.

Fully illustrated and full color book of tattoos. RM39.90 at MPH, Mid Valley. There were only 3 tattoo books (under ONE shelf of beauty books, where I also found the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual for RM76.90 [paperback]) - this one; one about dragon designs for tattoos; and the last one was thick, small, and tattered.
A lot of people will be mad with my choice of spending... but I bought a book on tattoos... My mother would be pissed off, and so would everyone else hoping I would give up on the sheer thought of getting another tattoo. But it's an interesting book: it explains some of the popular designs, with fully illustrated photos, and write-ups about some tattoo artists who specialize in specific designs of tattoos.


So, basically I came home with 3 books, and one ebikko mayo onigiri from Aeon (Jusco). And then went out again for nyonya dinner again. A bit filling, though, especially after the onigiri (better than the one I tried MAIU).


This time we ordered an otak-otak. In Malay it means "brain", but actually it's a spicy minced fish cake, either smooth, or with chunks of fish or shrimp in it. This isn't the typical "moist" one with lots of juices, but it was delicious enough without being too spicy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

House Food's Black Sesame Pudding Mix

I think I don't have to introduce everyone to an international 100 yen chain store called Daiso? Basically, it's an almost all-in-one store, with everything at a flat price of 100 yen (the price may vary by location and exchange rates: in Malaysia it's RM5; in Singapore it's S$2). Food, stationary, cosmetics, you name it.


Daiso would be my first stop to look for almost anything: make-up? Check. Snacks? Check. Assorted accessories? Check. And I really love to make food with prepared mixes - you buy the product (usually a powder), process it a little, and voila!: you have some nice, intricate, home-made food.


I used to get the mug cake mix (awesome, by the way), but since I'm on a black sesame craze, I bought the black sesame pudding. I've been eyeing these pudding mixes for a while, and I've tried one of them! (There's also green tea, and custard pudding, I think.)

Image from my Instagram.
The product comes in a cute little box, printed on every side with Japanese characters. The instructions are pretty easy to understand if you have a Chinese language background. The product doesn't use eggs, but relies on gelatine to give it that "sexy bouncy" texture.

No molds? Use any small bowls or cups. And strain them before allowing them to set, so there won't be any unsightly bubbles like mine.
Inside the box is the sachet of mix (17.5g) sufficient to make 4x100ml servings. So basically, these are the instructions:

  1. Mix 1 sachet of the pudding mix with 400ml whole milk (whole for better texture, according to the instructions), then heat on medium heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to low, and cook for approx. 1 minute.
  2. Transfer the mixture into molds, and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before chilling in the fridge for 1 hour or more.

It's actually really simple, but I almost overboiled the milk mixture, and I had no proper molds (not even ramekins), so I had to settle to using my mother's teacups. To unmold them, I just wet a small knife with warm water, then ran it along the sides of the pudding (took more than a few shakes to get it out, though...).

The finished product. It's supposed to have a dark "inverted top", so that it kind of looks like a black sesame custard pudding, no? =D
While quite aesthetically appealing (who can resist a wobbly, bouncy pudding?), the taste to me, and my sisters, was pretty much disappointing: there wasn't much of the aromatic black sesame flavor I had expected, and it just left a strange after-taste in the mouth. However, taste is a personal thing, so try it out - you might find a new favorite. =)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Japanese is my way to go most of the time - food, culture, music, etc. Even ice cream. Despite my favorites being cookies and cream, or a non-caramel, non-super-nutty creamy flavor, I tend to love matcha and black sesame ice cream.


Matcha flavor is starting to get very popular, because of the antioxidant properties that green tea possesses. But what about black sesame? I've tried it only once, and I've even forgotten when and where, but it left an imprint on my mind.

I placed the custard into a metal container and into the freezer, then mixed it around with a fork every few hours (hence the fork marks). The texture is creamy enough, and is thoroughly DELICIOUS!!!
I had a sudden craving for the seed-speckled gray ice cream a few months ago, and it took me a very long time (due to procrastination) to get the ingredients and equipment that I needed. Black sesame seeds are a no-brainer, but finding the special pestle and mortar for the sesame seeds was a bit challenging.


I made the ice cream on 3rd March based on a recipe I found on JustOneCookbook.com.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 400ml whole milk (I used fresh, if there's any difference)
  • 70g sugar (I used 100g of castor, adjust to suit your taste)
  • 3 egg yolks (used 4, because the third egg gave me a double-yolk)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp black sesame paste (homemade, also a recipe from JustOneCookbook.com)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I just remembered that I forgot to put this in...)
  • 200ml heavy cream (I used European dairy whipping cream)
  • pinch of salt
This is step 5. You could grind your black sesame seeds as finely as you desire, but don't grind for too long, if not they'll start secreting their own oils and become pasty, unless that's what you're going for.
Method:
  1. Roast the sesame seeds if they're not roasted yet. Just put it into a pan over heat, then gently roast until they start popping, and releases a nutty aroma.
  2. Grind them, using the pestle and mortar or a food processor, very finely.
  3. Heat the milk in a pot over low heat, until it reaches just a simmer. DO NOT BOIL.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy.
  5. Add the honey, ground sesame seeds, and sesame paste (store-bought or homemade), and mix until well combined.
  6. While mixing, add the milk in a slow stream. The hot milk could easily just scramble the egg yolks, hence the slow stream.
  7. Pour the mixture back into the pot, and cook very gently until the custard thickens. Heat the mixture to around 80-83'C. DO NOT EXCEED. (Though I didn't have a thermometer)
  8. Remove from the heat, then place the pot into a bowl of iced water to cool down. Add vanilla.
  9. You could do this ahead of time: whip the cream with the salt until peaks form. If you live in a crazy humid place like I do, whip until foamy, chill in the fridge for a while, before taking it out again to continue whipping. This will make sure that it doesn't split.
  10. Add the whipped cream to the custard mixture.
  11. Fold it in gently, and do not over-mix.
  12. Chill the mixture until completely cold, then process as ice cream.
  13. You could put it into an ice cream maker, or transfer the mixture into a metal container like I did, stick it in the freezer, then mix it around with a fork every few hours, until the entire mixture is no longer liquid-y. 

I would gladly get down and dirty to make the food that I like, but this is one of the foods that I'll not be making in the near future. The grinding, the mixing, the timing, the washing, and the SHEER AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT that I used. I'd rather make a tiramisu cake from scratch (baking my own savoiardi, etc). Recipe here. (I've gotta update this...)

Home-made black sesame paste. Pretty easy to do, but be sure NOT to put it into a jar like I did, if you're going to use it immediately.
For the black sesame paste, sufficient for the recipe above:

Roast 3 tbsp of black sesame seeds (it will release a nice, nutty aroma), then transfer into a suribachi mortar, and grind with the surikogi pestle, until the seeds secrete their oils, and the ground seeds become moist. You could also use a food processor for this. Transfer into another container, add 3 tbsp of honey (ratio of ground seeds to honey is 1 : 1), mix, then set aside.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How my laptop died

As much as I took it for granted, it was my baby. I've had it since 2011 (only 2 f**king years), and it's been my best friend ever since - all my hours spent on it, and it almost never threw tantrums.


Anyway, as to the cause of death: drowning by alcohol. It was late at night, and I was comfortably snuggled in the TV room, the laptop on a chair while I sat on the floor, in a Skype call with a friend, enjoying a nice beer. As usual, I placed the unfinished can of beer beside the laptop.


Within a split second - BAM! - there was foam over my keyboard, with the emerald Carlsberg can laying on it's side. Not being used to emergency situations like these, I froze for a few moments (a few moments too many), before rushing out of the room to find a towel.


By the time I was back, the screen was flashing on and off, and it wouldn't start up again. I tried drying it completely all between the keys, then gently blow drying it with a hair dryer, zip.


Over the next few days, I kept trying to start it, but it wouldn't.


Unedited photos of my wrecked laptop innards. The green thing is the motherboard, and if you know tech, you'll be cringing by now... At the top photo, you can see where the liquid flowed...
My sister's boyfriend finally performed an autopsy on my laptop, and it is, sadly, officially announced dead. You know how some people who work with computers just try to salvage parts from broken stuff? Yeah, he's that kind of guy, and nothing could be salvaged from the laptop. The motherboard was almost completely burnt.


According to a few people who deals with computers, replacing the motherboard would be almost equal to getting a new one. So basically I can't dissect my laptop, give it a few jolts of lightning, and Frankenstein-ify it back to life.


Fortunately, I'm born in a family with many people interested in technology, such as my dear uncle. Just as I was about to go around screaming that I have no idea which model to get, he narrowed down a few ultrabooks for me.
  1. Asus S46CM-WX121H
  2. Lenovo Ideapad U310
  3. HP Envy 4-1209

From first impressions, and research so far, option #1 is the best option (like my uncle described: sexy). So, hopefully, some good deals will be found at the PC/IT fairs.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hopefully temporarily dead laptop

Hello, space friends! I regret to inform you all that due to my own clumsiness, my laptop is temporarily DEAD. Reason? Enjoying a nice beer while Skyping with a friend, and someone's clumsy hand knocked over the can, all over the keyboard.

Source.
Instead of being smart and getting "first aid", I delayed the drying process by searching for a towel ('twas hidden in my own blanket LOL). So when I returned to my laptop, the screen was flashing on and off, and so was the power LED. After a while, it just blacked out. Tried blow drying it, etc, but to no avail. For now, it's RIP my current laptop, unless there's a chance to have it repaired.


Thankfully, I have 98% of my data on an external hard drive. Seriously. Invest in one (a good one, Western Digital, or something, but not Seagate, supposedly...), and put ERR'THANG IN THERE!


Therefore, for now, there will be no photos in blog posts (and hence no blog posts), because editing the photos on a completely disproportionate monitor (everything is stretched horizontally) is just ridiculous. I've finally filmed another video, though...