Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stuff Lately

Yah I know, so many throwback stuff until don't know which era I live in now already. So what's going on lately? It's been a month since I got back to Malaysia from that #SOLOYOLOTRIP and surprisingly it's not that bad as I expected to be. The withdrawal symptoms I mean hahahaha I guess because there are so many new stuff happening especially with the new job and the novelty of it has kept my mind off other things. Either that, or the promise of Japan (again!) this November is keeping me going (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ CAN'T WAIT OKAY!

The other day it popped into my mind that my skin was looking particularly dehydrated (signs on aging oh shit) despite the usual moisturizer that gets slapped on it every day and night. I love moisturizing you've no idea. Every time I get home every day, taking a shower and moisturizing from top to toe after that oh gawd it feels so damn good to practically hear the moisture soak into my skin. Which probably explains the many different types of face and body moisturizers stacked up in my room hmm. Oh wow getting all the excitement in life just by moisturizing. Really living it up huh.

Also am obsessed with beauty and skincare stuff. JQ, YOU ARE HEAVEN-SENT!! ♡

Back to the story. Dehydrated skin. Realized I needed a serum for that extra moisture boost so off to mom's dresser to rummage through any hidden treasures #cheapskate hahahaha stumbled upon this little bottle of oil and figured, hey oil, lots of moisture. Come into my skin now.  


Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil. The current love of my life. 

Don't know how on earth there's no buzz over this product! Granted, the reviews online are a mix of both positive and negative but they're mostly reviewers from other countries. Not Malaysia. So strange, is it because the warm humid weather keeps people wary of oil-based products? Or is it because Clarins is not actively spending on print and digital ad campaigns? Either way, here's the product description found on the Clarins website:

Naturally astringent for Oily or Combination Skin. 100% pure plant extracts. Clarins’ exclusive blend of Rosemary, Geranium and Lotus extracts purifies, tightens pores and refines the skin texture. Hazelnut Oil softens, soothes and seals in moisture to prevent fine lines.

Fight oil with oil, sound legit. Whatever the logic, IT REALLY WORKS

The morning after the first trial, I woke up to subtly radiant skin that looks noticeably smoother and the pores are just slightly shrunk. That sounds like a cliche off an ad but shit I ain't kidding y'all. My major skin issues are actually uneven skin tones, mega pores, pigmentation, dark eye circles and little wrinkles. To sum it up, A LOT OF ISSUES. The Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil works so well to combat many of these issues. Been using it for a week now and so far so good. Four drops every night instead of moisturizer, and every morning one drop mixed with my usual moisturizer. I've never gone out without makeup (except within the neighborhood to run errands) and for the past few days, I've actually contemplated going to work without applying anything on my skin. Contemplated only okay hahaha baby steps baby steps. 

Look, no filter no makeup yes lipbalm just ten minutes after waking up.


Dark circles still there (damn it) but skin overall condition much improved *tears ヾ(。◕ฺ∀◕ฺ)ノ 

I can't say it'll work the same for everyone, or if the effects are just temporary but hell, give it a shot if you have similar issues as I do. Not sure how much it costs, around RM150 I think. Greatest discovery in skincare since the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing range that I've been using for the past few years. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, thank you for coming into my life. Not a sponsored mention btw lol

On to other news, this scenery has been an eyesore for the past couple week. 

Every time I step out of the condo elevator, this horrid view greets me. The developers are literally clearing out the trees on the hill and leveling it out for more buildings. It's inevitable when you're living around Kuala Lumpur, I know, but it really makes me angry and really sad at the same time to the see lush greens replaced with this ugly ugly ugly product. Probably in the next year we'll all be surrounded by more buildings. Not fun. Back two years ago, there were literally mists whenever I left home for work in the early mornings but not at all now. Joel said there were more greens and nature way before I move into the neighborhood and I find these progressions terribly depressing.

Moving on to good food and great people. Grobe wanted to have Thai food for dinner early this week so we went to My Elephant @ Section 17, PJ. I had such a challenging time getting there - phone got barred, no wifi, no gps, phone unbarred, gps didn't work, got lost in the wrong direction, stuck in mad traffic, waze crashed, waze revived, gps detected but not responsive - and got so frustrated because it wasn't until almost 9PM that I finally reached. Nothing gets me more worked up than getting lost and stuck in traffic at the same time with the gps down, super hate the world mode on. When I was about 300 metres away from the destination only did waze started detecting the gps wtf. Luckily it wasn't a total unfamiliar location, Jalan Universiti still considered familiar grounds so I could test my luck to find my way from there. Sigh stress. But I got to My Elephant in the end and the patient Grobe has already ordered yay! TIME TO TUCK IN!

Seafood tomyam, chicken green curry, Thai style omelette and brown rice.

SO GOOD. The seafood tomyam was flavorful with the perfect level of spiciness (for my low tolerance) and the chicken green curry was incredibly tasty. The omelette was not too memorable, I was too focused on the tomyam and curry hahahaha lots of ingredients in these dishes, we both could barely finish them. Would totally love to go back again. We ended the meal with mango sticky rice and tub tim krob. Rather stingy with the mango, sour too. The red rubies were wonderful though. It was so lovely to have such a nice meal with my favorite Grobe 

Last weekend it was the highly anticipated Hapster Banana Leaf Gathering ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ

We went to a new place called Acha Curry House @ Jalan Gasing, PJ. The mango lassi was AMAZING. Fresh and filled to the brim with mango puree. Super love a generous serving of yogurt to go with banana leaf rice too, works wonderfully to tone down the spicy curries and tastes great too. I always order a cup/bowl just for myself because I'll finish it for sure hehe it was really fun to meet up with the full group (and plus ones) and survived without too many bruises. Abusive coconut is abusive. Have to strategize seating arrangements next time. 

  Just the sky on a beautiful evening after work.

The moon looked exceptionally huge along the horizon last Friday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

GakuPuro 7: Learning and Rotary Presentation

Continuing on to my mega throwback posts on the Fukushima, Japan trip back in 2012 °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖° Can't wait to finish them all so I can talk about my recent trip! So after all the farming and nature appreciation, we headed back to Fukushima University (i think) to learn a little more on the next step when it comes to processing food in Fukushima after the March 2011 disaster. 

Fishermen apparently don't fish anymore from the waters, that's understandable but a little tricky. This is because each individual area within a farm records different radiation levels so it's hard to just generalize that all fruits and vegetables in Fukushima are harmful. Farmers have to protect their little source of income too so the experts got together to come up with a system in order for the farmers to continue selling their produce. Plus, Fukushima fields produce a significant amount of rice to supply the country's demands so it's a big loss if everything is simply ruled out as harmful. Their solution to this problem? Properly test out EVERYTHING for radiation before it gets out into the market for sale. Almost everyone there has a home kit to measure radiation levels but for a more thorough measurement, all food stuff has to be sent to this centre where the experts will test them out to ensure safety for sale and consumption

The machines look like these on the left!

The professor tested out a bowl of uncooked rice as he explained the science behind it.

I think the subject matter was a tad too scientific so my translator wasn't able to translate the bulk of the session to me, am a little blur on how it works to be honest. But I was told that the people are concerned with the amount of time needed to analyze for radiation, the stuff won't be as fresh anymore once the process is done and sometimes has to be thrown away. On top of that, the Japanese consumers outside of Fukushima are still immensely wary of the safety of made-in-Fukushima products, especially food stuff. Despite the high standards of radiation assessment prior to the export, people are still not buying it. "Harmful rumours" is just another phrase used in high rotation throughout this experience, to illustrate some major issues the locals have to deal with everyday. After all that heavy physical and mental exercises, it was (finally) food time yay first we made some onigiri (rice balls) with rice grown in Fukushima. So fresh and good!

No photo of that because well, hands were busy hahaha only photo of proper nom time!

Lunch was courtersy of a group of Fukushima local moms. 

The small community started a bento campaign called the "Kachan no Chikara Project" (Power of Moms Project) to raise awareness on food safety in Fukushima and make the best use of the fresh, natural produce found at their own farms. The bento (as pictured below) consisted of fried rice with mushrooms and seaweed, boiled vegetables, potato stew, tamagoyaki, pickled seaweed, croquette, fishcake and pickles. Yums! 

After lunch, the learning sessions continued with a talk by the founder of  "Kachan no Chikara Project". Mind, it was immediately after a delicious, heavy lunch and you know what usually happens after that. Yeah, everybody got super sleepy hahahaha a few were openly taking their forty winks (or more) and I could barely keep my eyes open as well. The atmosphere was incredible quiet and I felt quite bad for the speaker lah to be honest but totally couldn't help it!(  。-_-  。) 

A most welcomed break. Some got up to stretch, some continued their nap, some got interviewed for tv hehe

After that, we got back to our cribs and freshened up for a fancy dinner at a hotel!

The entire program was actually organized by Fukushima University in partnership with the Minamisouma Rotary Club. This night, all the main members of the Minamisouma Rotary Club were there to hear the participants out on what we've learned so far and to speak on their reasons in sponsoring the entire program. The president took the stage and talked about how their intentions was not mislead us into believing something that's untrue. Fukushima is a complicated subject and there are many misguided assumptions on the situation, even until today. They simply wanted to let us into the lives of the locals and see from a first-hand perspective the true situation of their everyday lives. Any conclusion, positive or negative, that we formed at the end of the program, they are open to listen and accept it. As long as we take home with us the experience and learned new things, then the program will be considered a success in their heart. My respect for them grew tenfold after that little talk.

We were then split up into groups to summarize the entire experience so far.

Each group were hosted by a few organising committee members as they guided us into different topics to touch on.

Thanks for the English, guys hahahah the use of post-its still going strong.

After that, each team sent out representatives to talk about their opinions formed after the experiences.

About five to eight groups did the presentation and after that, it was dinnertime! Possibly the most luxurious meal throughout the entire trip hahahah no complains, it was a great meal and hey, free flow alcohol (〃▽〃) Everyone had such a good time, just enjoying the food, the great company in such a relaxing, casual atmosphere. I got so excited with Ribon and we went around checking out what others were doing, grabbing servings of her favourite shochu, chatting with the Club members, and taking photographs as we drink with everyone! 

Haruko, my host dad (though I didn't know yet at that time), and Ribon ♡ 


Little bits and pieces of yums

Fresh tenpura, fried on the spot omg ate so much ok! 

Cute little sweet treats *hoards


Clearly I went back many, many times for this. Especially the strawberries mmm! After the wonderful dinner treat, the foreign participants (only all three of us hahahaha) were arranged to spend the night with a host family. The families were actually members of the Minamisouma Rotary Club, so no strangers there haha more on that in the next post! Bye!