Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Conversation Between Two Men

A conversation overheard, between two men.

Husband A:My wife is a great makeup artist. She can conjure up different looks every day.
Husband B: Ah... that's great. My wife isn't that good with her makeup brush. But I think she's the most beautiful woman in the world.

Now, before you think I have nothing better to do, posting up useless conversation I hear on the street, continue reading. Nothing wrong for an adoring husband to be proud of his pretty wife, you say. But, He(the husband) is visually handicapped.

See with your heart, not with your mind, and you shall see the beauty within.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweet Memories...

My last year's anniversary gift to hubby. Was going through some photos, and it looks so beautiful (at least to me), so I thought I would share.

Anniversary 2012
 Paper roses made by me. (You can find the instructions online)

What beautiful memory has made you smile today?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Beauty in Imperfection

“To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul. Your shortcomings then dim by comparison. The people who care about you are willing to let you be imperfect and beautiful, too."

- Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty

One does not have to be perfect in order to be beautiful. Those that torment you every day for your lack of physical beauty, are not worth your time. Save your time to love those that are worth it. Let those who love you see that their love is not in vain.

To those that are tortured every day by less than perfect external appearances, be glad. Be glad that you have people who love you despite your imperfections, beyond the standards and definitions of beauty set by society. Let this imperfect beauty shine through and let your naysayers be dazzled by the true beauty emanating from within you.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Random Photo

This candy was given to my boy by his beloved aunt, and I managed to take a photo of it before he takes it apart (Which will be soon, haha...). It looks so pretty, I thought I would share.

Sorry for the slowdown in updates. Chinese New Year is drawing to a close, so updates will (hopefully) be faster.

The Belle is working to bring you more reviews, so see you soon!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Ellips Hair Vitamin (Smooth & Shiny)

As I have mentioned before, I prefer to keep things simple for my hair. But, there are times when I do feel the need for a quick fix to give my hair a boost. (Bad hair days. You get the idea.)

I actually purchased this for use while travelling so that my hair would not turn into a blanket of frizz in the absence of my usual hair oil, which was to heavy to bring along. But alas, my over- excitement at the low price during the sale at Watson's led me to purchase more than I needed.

But did this product deliver? Let's see!

Ellips Hair Vitamin

-Left hair smooth and shiny, as promised. Less tangles in hair.
-Hair was left subtly scented, smell went away after awhile (good for sensitive noses!)
-Convenient packaging, so you only open what you need.

-Silicones in product left hair feeling weighed down. I could feel the slip from the silicones after I had applied the product to my hair.
-Effect only lasted till the next wash

Would I purchase it again? Probably not. It is not a bad product, but I am trying to cut down on silicones, which weigh down my fine hair. Those who do not mind silicones would probably like this product as it does leave the hair silky smooth and a breeze to handle.

Thank you for reading. See you soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Beautiful People

 "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, 1975, in Death, The Final Stage of Growth

So true, isn't it? There is so much happening in our day to day lives that we seldom slow down to appreciate beauty that is not of the superficial kind. We complain of life dealing us an unfair hand, yet fail to see and grow from the lessons taught. Yet, true beauty lies deep within all of us, and it shines especially in those that have been moulded and polished by the passage of time and fate.  It takes one that has gone through such rites of passage and learnt from them to truely show such beauty in its brightest splendor.

**I came across this quote while surfing around and found it to be quite meaningful, so I decided to share it.(Yes, and more reviews are coming up, as promised. Thank you for being patient!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Recipe: Brown Beauty (Salty Coconut Caramel)

Simple, and yummy! A random recipe to whet the appetite before I post up my reviews.

Salty coconut caramel

Salty Coconut Caramel

10 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons coconut cream
50 grams butter
Salt to taste (May be omitted if using salted butter)

1.Melt sugar in pan, adding a tablespoon or two of hot water to help it melt evenly. Do not stir excessively.
2. Cook gently over low fire until it turns amber.
3.Quickly whisk in butter. Careful! Mixture will bubble violently! Take off heat.
4.Whisk in coconut cream. Mixture will bubble violently again, so be careful!
5.Add in salt at this stage, if you are using unsalted butter.
6.Let cool to room temperature, and keep in the fridge. (Max 2 weeks. But it probably won't last that long. Eat by the spoonful, drizzle it over vanilla ice cream, or use it as a dip. Do what you like with it.

Gorgeous, isn't it? And yes, it is delicious. And no, I am not sharing. Make your own!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review:Kaminomoto Hair Growth Accelerator

I am not a person who likes to spend a lot of time on hair care. However, when I realized that instead of saying "twenty something", I would soon have to say "thirty" when someone asked for my age, I thought it would be a good idea to start taking better care of my hair. With genetics not on my side (Sigh. why didn't I inherit my mother's thick luxuriant head of hair in her youth?)

My scalp is extremely prone to the itchies. Singapore's erratic weather doesn't help either. (Don't get me wrong, I love my country, and I am proud to be a Singaporean. But not the itching.) This (the scratching) does not bode well for my hip length, super fine hair. Because of the length, hair fall seems to to be exaggerated. ( My husband gleefully told me one strand of hair falling from my head equals to 6 strands of his. You get the idea.)

Everyone knows that healthy hair begins at the scalp. In steps the hero: Kaminomoto Hair Growth Accelerator.

Kaminomoto Hair Growth Accelerator

(My apologies as I do not have a picture of the box, I threw it away by accident during the New Year spring cleaning. )

Now, I know the bottle practically screams 'old'. But let's not judge by appearances, shall we? Let's get down to business!

-Relieves scalp itching immediately. The Belle likes this!
-Scalp feels cleaner--oily scalps will probably like this product
-After using it on and off for a month, I saw baby hairs sprouting near my parting. This product works! Need I say more?

-Bottle is clumsy and difficult to handle. Dispensing hole needs to be improved.
-Strong smell of alchohol. But no biggie since it goes away really quickly.


Suprisingly, I really liked this product. Despite the packaging (I know, I know. Note to self: Do not judge a product by appearances.), and the 'old uncle' packaging, it is a product that really works (well, for me at least...) A change of packaging, and I may just be tempted enough to purchase it again for myself. (Right now, I shall just content my self with swiping it from The Husband's supply when need arises) A product worth trying, and at around 20SGD for 150ML, it doesn't burn a hole in your pocket, as compared to other similar products.

More reviews, on the way!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Belle's Mishap + Coming Soon!

The Belle will be back soon.

I am now typing mostly with only my left hand.

 (I stupidly used a metal fork to stir a boiling pot of noodles, forgetting what my Science teacher taught me about metals being a good conductor of heat. Then, to add on to the mess, I forgot to turn down the heat and the boiling water bubbled to cook my fingers together with the noodles. So now the fingers of my right hand are swollen and red. I am ashamed of myself...)

Sorry for ranting.

Testing and final product reviewing in progress. I promise to come back with something useful very soon. (When my fingers are more mobile.) Apologies for the delay!

Please wait, and watch this space!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Clarins Men Anti-Fatigue Eye Serum

I am constantly on the lookout for that miracle eye product that will get rid of dark circles, eyebags, and fine lines, etc... you get the drift. (Yes,I am greedy, I know.) I have terrible sleeping habits. (Just look at the timing of this post!) I have yet to find a product which is worthy of holy grail status yet. So, when I saw this product for points exchange in the Clarins rewards catalogue. I decided to give it a go. It was originally for my husband, but I figured out for myself awhile ago that if skin care works, it WORKS, no matter who or what the label says it is for.

Introducing the contestant of the day....drumrolls....

Clarins Men Anti Fatigue Eye Serum

Here is the breakdown, after 2 months of use.


-Does its job of reducing fatigue around the eyes. After tapping in the product, eyes feel instantly refreshed.
-Appearance of eyebags and dark circles are reduced. ( I notice the difference on days that I do not use it)
-Eye area felt moisturized after tapping in, but not greasy.


-Cause some minor milia seeds around my eyes when I didn't tap the product in properly, so those prone to milia seeds might want to take note
-Did little for fine lines under the eyes. (But then, it is not advertised to be an anti-aging product.)


While I generally do like most Clarins products, this one did not exactly meet my needs at this point in time. Maybe it is because I expected a lot from them due to past good experiences with them. Having said that, however, this is still a stellar product for those that only need a product to help with dark circles and eyebags.

More reviews coming up soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Looking Good, Babe!: Pig out Aftermath

With Chinese New Year, comes major pig out sessions (At least for me...) What to do if you can't fit into that favourite dress anymore? Never fear, the Belle is here to help.

What this post is not: Filled with unrealistic ideas that promise lightning quick weight loss, with unrealistic, unsustainable diets and exercise routine. If you came expecting an immediate solution... well, I am sorry, I do not have a magic wand...

What this post is: Ideas that I myself have tried and tested true over the years (Although I may not be putting them into practice now...haha...)that are easy to follow and keep up.The Belle likes things that are easily incorporated into the lifestyle.

I am an impatient person. I like seeing results quickly (Who doesn't?) and I have fallen victim to diets, pills, etc, but thankfully, no real damage was done to my health. It takes a lot to recover damaged health, and simply isn't worth it.

When it comes to shaping up, steady, sustained results should be what we are aiming for--my mantra is, if you can't make it part of your lifestyle, you won't be able to keep it up. The pounds will come creeping back sooner or later.

Enough of my nagging. Read on!


Junk Food-I am terrible at keeping to diets. I love food. Rather than abstinence from 'evil' foods, I prefer to eat them in small portions to satisfy myself, and then move on. Eating small portions of the real thing is better than substituting. (Come on, do you seriously think pastry made with margarine tastes better than pastry made with butter?) 

Sugary Drinks-Plain water is the best, but the Belle gets bored easily with plain water, so sweet drinks have become a great temptation. What to do? I keep reminding myself that sugar causes the skin to sag, so that I will think twice before reaching for that canned drink. Soups and teas are great alternatives, and it is a good thing that I do like green tea--plenty of antioxidants and good stuff in it.

Hunger-If I find myself snacking too often, I will stop and ask myself if I am really hungry, or just bored. Suprisingly, many people mistake dehydration for hunger pangs and reach for food rather than their water glass. Next time you find yourself hungry, try a glass of water instead.

Detoxing- So many people get stuck in a rut trying to cut the pounds, failing to realize the importance of detoxing the body first. Let's put it this way. Like a machine, if the body is clogged up with waste, it simply cannot function properly. Likewise, when it is clean, fat burning becomes more efficient, and pounds start to melt away. (Note:Detoxing is not crash dieting. Always consult a doctor before you start any intensive regime, especially if you have prior health problems.)


For lazybones-Exercise. Easier said than done, I know. A good idea, if you are lazy (like me), is to trick yourself into exercising. Insert it into your daily routine. For me, I walk my son to school, rather than take him there on the bus. 30 minutes to and fro, twice a day, means I do an hour of brisk walking a day, five times a week.

For the bored-Variety is key. I sometimes have little races and games with my son (provided we are not near the road or anywhere dangerous) on the way home. This way, I get exercise, and a happier kid. When The Husband is available to fetch the kid, I insert a short half an hour yoga session at home.(Note: Standing yoga positions and The Sun Salutations are good exercise for weight loss!). Remember, if you are bored, most probably, you will not keep up with the regime.

For the time strapped-For mothers, especially, sometimes, 24 hours simply isn't enough. A good idea would be to incorporated the exercise into your daily regime. Mopping the floor? Take the opportunity to use a cloth on hands and knees to do it rather than use a mop. (The floor gets cleaner too!) Wiping the windows? Alternate using the left and right hand, so that both sides get a workout. In the office? Do some dips on your office chair before you leave the office for the day. (When no one is looking, of course. Haha...) The possibilities are endless.

As I always say, and feel strongly, beauty takes time, and sustained effort. I hope I made it easier for you to work towards your dream body.

Product reviews, coming up next. Come back soon!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Looking Good, Babe!: Happy Chinese New Year!

It's Chinese New Year over here in Singapore, and I have been and will be busy this couple of days, so updates are a little slower than usual. Please be patient with me!

Coming up next will be some of my thoughts and journey on my battle of the bulge, plus some information (for shaping and slimming the body) that I have tried and tested true over the years.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! May the year of the Snake bring about bountiful harvests and good luck for all!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Looking Good,Babe!: Shape Me Slender!

With Lunar New Year round the corner, whats a girl to do? There's so much to prepare, and there simply isn't any time for exercise. Hiding at home is not an option. Now, you can look slimmer immediately (although temporarily). Impossible, I hear. Now, now, let Big Sister Crystal Belle help.

1) Posture- Keep tummy tucked in, and back straight. Instantly trims the figure, and helps to tone the tummy in the long term, if you make it a habit. You also look much taller!

2)Shapewear- Corsets are a great invention. They tuck in the excess, and lift what needs to be lifted. Plus, they can become part of your outfit. But don't limit yourself. There is shapewear designed specifically to shape the waist and tummy, as well as lift your derriere. While they may not magically shrink your spare tire, they smooth out the figure for shapelier curves. If they're good enough for Hollywood stars, they're good enough for us.

3)Killer heels-A good pair of heels can do so much for your legs(and your behind). And no, wedges look good, but the effect somehow isn't the same. To minimize discomfort, look for gel cushions to relieve the pressure on the foot.

Now, some may choose the option of tanning to look slimmer.While it does help to a limited extent, the Belle does not recommend it-- a patchy tan is hard to get rid of. Even the bottled ones.

The list is not exhaustive. Feel free to share if you have any good ideas.

Here's to looking good this Lunar New Year, Babes! *clinks glasses*

In the pipeline- a post to help you shed the excess inches and pounds after all the festive eating. See you soon!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Looking Good, Babe!: Drink Me Slim

Misleading as it may seem, I am not talking about any special diet drinks. What I am referring to about some readily available or easily made drinks and methods to help you fight the bloat brought about by water retention. Without further ado, I present to you my tried and tested methods.

Black Coffee

A well known diuretic. It flushes out water.  But those sensitive to caffeine might want to try other options.


Black tea or green tea should do the trick. Does the same thing as coffee,but with a little less caffeine. Again, those sensitive to caffeine might want to take note.

Barley Water

Listed as 'Cooling' in Chinese/Asian food. It helps to flush out excess water and toxins in the body. (Just boil barley in water, add sugar to taste, and if you like, a squeeze of lemon to add some zing)

Cranberry Juice

Again,a diuretic, plus yummy goodness. Mmmm...

Lemon Water

A refreshing drink that helps cleanse the insides. Feels particularly good after a meal-- it also helps to cut out the greasiness.  (Tip: To save time, freeze the juice into ice cubes. when you are ready to drink, just pop the preferred number of cubes in into a glass of water.)

Apple Cider Vinegar

Add a tablespoonful ACV to water, with some honey to taste. This not only helps with water retention, it has many other health benefits too. More about that later.

The list is not exhaustive. I have however tried and liked the above. Just be sure the restroom is nearby when you try them out. And try only ONE at a time please...(Those with existing health problems, please check with the doctor what you can or cannot take.)

With water retention, it is important that you avoid salt like the plague. Strange as it may sound, you need to drink more water to fight water retention. (Water retention happens when there is too much salt in the body, and the body therefore retains water to try to maintain the balance.)

 While the above may not slim you down immediately, they will greatly reduce bloatedness brought about by water retention. (And allow you to fit better into that gorgeous dress, or tight pair of pants.)

Coming next, quick tricks to make you look slimmer (ALMOST) immediately.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Looking Good, Babe!-Introduction

Doesn't everyone love festivities? I do.  But while I love the holidays, festive eating does not bode well  for my quest to a shapelier body. With Chinese Lunar New Year coming up, and festive feasting up ahead, dieting seems to have become a very distant possibility for me. (Not that I was able to stick to it in the first place.) So, exercise seems to have become the only option for me.

But as time is running short (Yikes, three more days to Chinese New Year), I will be sharing a few methods to help you look better in your new clothes in the next post--even if its just temporary. (Cheating,I know, but hey, what's a girl to do when time is running short?)

Watch this space!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Whitening Galore: Snow White's Reverie

To be honest, I to have gone through my fair share of stages, of wanting to be tanned when the tanned, healthy look was in. Then,later, as I realized the tanned look was not a good look on me (because I had a tendency to tan unevenly, and I was too poor to visit the tanning salon), I began to change my mindset. After all, what I basically had to do was nothing, as I am the sort that tans easily, but fades easily as well.

But gradually, I realized that as my tan faded, the damage done to my skin by the sun was not as easily reversed. Dryness, peeling and patchy skin told the tale of my misdemeanor.  I began to do research and read extensively on the topic. I tried out many different ways to make my skin regain its former glory, and my little successes through many rounds of trial and error, have been documented on this series of posts on whitening. I am still learning, but I honestly hope they are able to help you.

Having said all that, I am all for, and fully behind those that chose to tan, or are naturally a darker skin colour. Healthy skin is beautiful skin, no doubt about that. Please, do feel free to drop me a comment should you need any help, or simply a listening ear. I will do my best to oblige.

"I see your true colours, and that's why I love you. So don't be afraid, to let them show your true colours..."
 -Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whitening Galore: Cover Up!:Reviews

Sun protection. An integral step in our skincare routine, yet, so often forgotten. Especially in sunny Singapore where yours truly resides, neglecting protection can have devastating consequences. And no, I am not joking. (Repeat after me:UVA rays age, UVB rays burn.). Granted, we all do need our vitamin D from the sun. But, unless you are a hermit that lives in a cave, it is unlikely that you will be lacking.

So many options, which ones to choose? Here are my favourites out of the many I have tried over the years.

ZA True White Day Protector  SPF26PA++

This sunblock (face) has been a lifesaver during the period of time that my T-zone threatened to turn into an oil mine. The face stays matte and protected for hours, and makeup stays matte and perfect, with minimal blotting. It does not irritate my schizophrenic skin. I have however, since stopped using it temporarily since I noticed dry lines forming. (yes, my skin is really thirsty now). Dry skins may want to take note. Great product, nonetheless, especially for oily skins. Budget friendly!

Clarins UV Plus HP Day UVA/UVB Screen High Protection SPF40 PA+++

This sunblock (face) has a lovely light texture that spreads easily, and make up glides on after that. Mind you, I was wary of trying this since I have had bad reaction to mineral sunscreens before, so it took a little courage for me to try this out. But since it was by Clarins (Yes, I love the brand and have used products from it for years without any bad reactions. No I am not paid to say this), I took the plunge. And I was glad I did. This is now a staple in my routine that I reach for quite often. Now, if only the price was less steep...

 Sunplay Super Block SPF130 PA++

  I am sure many of us are familiar with this product. It has one of the highest SPFs on the market. I always had a bottle of this sunblock in my  bag for swimming, and at the beach. This one is a clear winner--I come back from the beach or the pool exactly the same shade as when I left home. It is liquid, and spreads easily, and is dries smooth and non sticky.  The clear winner, and I have not found any sunblock that has performed as well as this so far.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sun protection--even for those that like being tanned. (Why risk letting yourself become a skin cancer statistic?). For my dear Snow Whites, just think of it, all the work done to make yourself fairer, will go down the drain if you expose yourself to the sun without protection. (hey, long sleeves and umbrellas work too!)

***note: Sunblock on the body needs to be removed before cleansing, just like on the face!

Take care, and come back soon for more reads and some final words on whitening, and staying fair. See you soon!

**No photos here,but any requests, I will be glad to oblige. Just drop me a comment!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Whitening Galore: Soak in the Goodness!: Reviews

Now that we're clean, its time to pamper our skin . Without further ado, presenting my trusted friends!

Johnson's Baby Milk Lotion

I use the milk bath in the same variant, so it was only natural that I progressed to using this milk lotion. Lightly scented, this lotion is easily absorbed, and  non sticky. It does a good job of moisturizing. However, whitening effects are not obvious, and may take awhile before you can see results. However, I do notice that skin becomes healthier and even looking with frequent use. This product is more for maintenance than for heavy duty whitening.

Next up is my personal favourite.

Nivea Extra Whitening Cell Repair and Protect Body Milk
I was attracted to this product for 2 reasons. Firstly, because of the brand--my picky skin seemed to like it. And secondly, due to the 50x Vitamin C content. (Enough said about the anti oxidant properties of Vitamin C.) Goodies like camu camu and Acerola Cherry make for a stellar sounding product. But did it live up to the hype? It sure did. The  tan lines on my feet from wearing sandals faded considerably after about 2 weeks of use. (Without any other products. Sorry, no before and after photos for now due to a long overdue pedicure.) I used the product only once a day.  (Note to self:Consistency is key!) So, results would probably be better with more frequent usage.

I would like to emphasize again that the route to whitening is not a short one. Consistency is key. (And patience is a virtue...)  It has to become part of your lifestyle. (Now I sound like an old woman.)

 Next, sunblock to protect from the merciless rays of the sun....