Much Ado About Weddings

Monday April 28, 2014 | Culture Musings

If you are planning a small and simple wedding, here’s what you need to know…

Everyone will try to make it into something more complicated!

Wedding pointer

There is truly no point trying to make others happy and fit their mold of how your wedding ought to be.

It’s your wedding. If you stick to your guns, you can make your wedding as simple as you would like it to be.

For my wedding, (which is literally happening in a month–AAaaah!) all I want is:  Beach. Family. Friends… and lots of food!

Yet the simplicity of this idea was at first difficult to get across to our families. I even tried referring to the damn thing as a “beach party.”

But family members balked at this. They protested that we were making too light of a matter that is actually very serious.

Uhm…

Beach wedding archway

Another point of deviation: I did not get an engagement ring.

As I confessed in my previous post, sure! I wouldn’t mind one. I am a girl after all. A silly girl who can still be suckered into hankering after shiny, expensive things even though I am highly educated and progressive and know that engagements rings are a scam.

But ultimately, I would rather save that money for things that have REAL value. Like traveling!

Still, I am amused how whenever I tell people I’m engaged, their eyes will unfailingly trail down to my left hand.

Try it sometime. Tell people you’re engaged. Then watch how their eyes quickly dart over to your left hand in search of the bling.

Who trained us to be like this??

8

Not that I have anything against people who follow conventions.

Having a wedding is, by itself, inherently conventional. I just wonder what people used to do for weddings before it became this highly commercialized and contrived affair.

Eventually, we managed (I think) to get the idea across to our family and friends that ours is going to be a very simple and low-key affair.

The idea is… show up at the beach and you’ll probably get fed!

Wedding Cake

Behind the scenes, we’ve been slowly and steadily organizing this wedding over the months.

Details are coming along quite smoothly. Check-lists are being checked. Little fuss has been made. And you know what? It’s been very satisfying to get things done on our own.

How have we been managing to keep our wedding so simple and minimal?

We are keeping a small guest list. Less than 40 people. Of course we are making a little room for wedding ‘crashers,’ so we are counting on 45 to show up at the most.

One thing that has helped has been the use of Pinterest.

You may laugh. Yes, I used to laugh at girls who I thought were just sublimating their fantasies and frustrations on Pinterest. But now I know better. Pinterest can be useful for mapping out your ideas visually.

Just keep in mind that it’s a tool. And stay away from falling into the envious, hate-your-life-it’s-not-as-good-as-Pinterest trap.

Wedding Dress Detail

Dear readers, now you know!

This whole DIY wedding planning thing has been what’s keeping me so occupied these days.

That… and starting a new job!! One that I freaking love!!!

I’ve been staying happy, healthy and busy! And I hope you have too.

I will write more soon. Pinky promise :)

 

 

** Images taken from Pinterest. Obviously.
Of Spontaneous Road Trips And Magnetic Poetry

Sunday February 16, 2014 | Musings

Celebrating love is fun and sweet.

It should be done every day. Not just on Valentine’s Day.

But yesterday’s Valentine’s was perhaps one of the best I’ve ever had!

When Oliver got back from his business trip from Paris, I’d accidentally gotten a peek inside his luggage and saw there was something wrapped in plastic bubble. I knew it had to be a Valentine’s gift!

But since I am a civilized and decent human being, I restrained myself from tearing the wrapping with my claws and teeth like a scavenging raccoon.

Even the night before Valentine’s day I was already trying to convince him that we should exchange our gifts (I’m like this on Christmas Eve too.)

We woke up yesterday and I immediately began to jump around with excitement and clamor that we should exchange gifts.

I gave him his gift, which was a tin box with a French magnetic poetry kit inside…

French Magnetic Poetry Kit

Then I opened the gift he’d given me.

Which was…

A family of owls

The cutest family of three little owls!

He had bought them for me at an antiques market in Paris. They feel so soft and are made from real feathers.

Confession: I had felt a slight pang of disappointment because there had been a secret part of me that had hoped it would be a ring even though it was me who had told him not to get me one for our engagement.

Of course I was being silly.

Actually, there is a lot I could say about the silliness of weddings and the pressures of following certain traditions, which can come up even for couples who don’t really care much for conventions.

But I will save that rant for later.

Back to Valentine’s Day. I let the silly feeling go, adopted the family of owls and named them “The Muggies.”

Entre l'enfer et la piscine

Later, while eating our breakfast sandwiches and drinking our Starbucks coffees in the car, I had the spontaneous urge to go for a very very long drive.

So we did.

We drove north, without a destination in mind.

It was both a sunny and foggy day. We drove along Ocean Beach, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and looked at how the fog blanketed the bay.

Then we followed Route 101 for a bit, before turning our direction to the left, towards the coast. Past the smallest, quaintest little towns in the heart of Marin county.

Along windy little roads, under the shade of redwood forests.

Un chapeau miniscule

We hit upon the entrance of Point Reyes, where we stopped and looked at a map. We wondered what Sir Francis Drake was doing out here, all the way from his little English island across the Atlantic across the continent.

How long must that journey have taken back then, on little ships with little sails!

Our drive eventually led us back on to the California 1 Highway.

Imagine the most narrow and twisted little roads, and on the right, sheer cliffs dropping off into the rocky ocean below!

I’d never driven on such ridiculously dangerous roads before. So I drove like a little daredevil. A cautious daredevil at that, enjoying the lurching sensation as the car hugged the sharp curves of the road.

We stopped a few more times to enjoy the feeling of the air and the wind on our faces.

j'ai envie du champagne

The whole drive lasted for around two and a half hours. The rest of the afternoon was not as exciting, as we spent the time taking care of the things we needed to take care of.

But later in the evening, we opened a bottle of wine, lit some candles, danced to Sade’s “Smooth Operator” and had a good laugh at ourselves.

The Muggies

Cheers to the times that we spend with our best friends!

Wishing you Happy Valentines, from “the Muggies” !!!

3 Different Micellar Water Products & A Blind Test

Tuesday February 4, 2014 | Beauty Skin Care

Many people still have no clue as to what makes micellar waters so special. But I am obsessed.

In a previous blog post, I detailed the science behind micelle molecules. It’s actually quite fascinating, so go forth and read up on The Magic Of Micellar Water.

Today, I thought it would be fun to show you 3 different micellar products that I’ve been using. And then do a comparison of them with a blind test.

These products are of the French Pharmaceutical variety. Literally, I had someone visit my favorite pharmacies in Paris and bring them back in a suitcase.

Two of them are almost impossible to find outside of France, making them très précieux to my little quivering heart.

Jonzac, Bioderma, Uriage: 3 Different Micellar Waters

From Left To Right:

1) JONZAC Rehydrate Micellar Water For Sensitive Skin
2) BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution For Sensitive Skin
3) URIAGE Make-Up Remover Water For Normal To Combination Sensitive Skin

Take note of how different brands have different names for them. From micellar water, to micelle solution, to make-up remover. But whatever name you call it, all micellar products essentially do the same thing: remove impurities from the skin without irritating it.

Though they are targeted for sensitive skin, they prove useful no matter your skin type.

I mainly like to use micellars as my makeup-remover. My nightly routine begins with wiping off makeup and impurities from the day with a micellar soaked cotton pad.

Yah, I know what you’re wondering… “Why not just use regular ol’ makeup-remover?”

Well, my leery friend, micellar waters are formulated to cleanse without disturbing the skin’s natural pH balance. 

Some of the best micellars that I’ve tried are made with thermal waters, which boast of soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. 

These claims are hard to substantiate, but my positive experiences with micellars makes me a staunch believer that they have special, albeit subtle, magical  properties.

Not all micellars are created equal though. And here, I will attempt to describe and show the main difference between these 3 micellar products.

JONZAC Rehydrate Micellar Water 

Jonzac Rehydrate Micellar Water

This one contains the thermal spring waters from the Jonzac region of France. It can be used daily to cleanse sensitive, dehydrated skin.

It was developed and tested with a view to minimizing allergic reactions. It’s suitable even for babies and children.

My experience: This cleanses without drying out the skin. I like to use this one in the morning. Normally, when I just wash my face with regular tap water, my skin tends to feel dry and taut several minutes later. But when I follow up with this, my skin feels comfortably balanced.

The smell is very light and fresh. It does not irritate the eyes whatsoever. In terms of quantity, you get a lot more for around the same price as the others.

Ingredients: Water*, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Betaine, Sodium Levulinate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Unde ylenate, Fragrance, Lactic Acid.
* Jonzac Thermal Spring Water
** ingredients sourced from plants
** ingredients sourced from organic farming
Natural and organic cosmetic certified by ECOCERT. 

BIODERMA Sensibio H20

Bioderma Micellar Water

Bioderma’s Crealine Micellar Water is THE cult beauty staple among top makeup artists around the world.

The Sensibio is an even gentler version of the Crealine (though I never even thought that was necessary). Obviously this is for people with SUPER sensitive and reactive skin.

My Experience: The scent, which can be best described as “clinical,” is very light and subtle. It’s non-irritating to my rather sensitive eyes.

After cleansing, my skin feels comfortable, retains its natural balance and does not feel dry or tight.

Ingredients: Water, PED-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cucumis Satifus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide

URIAGE Makeup Remover Water

Uriage Micellar Water

Uriage micellar water is made with the thermal water from the Uriage Springs near the foot of the French Alps.

Thermal waters are naturally rich in minerals and trace elements, which enhance the skin’s ability to repair itself.

My Experience: I love the light, floral scent. For whatever reason, this one feels slightly cooler (and therefore quite soothing) on the skin.

As with the other micellars, my skin feels comfortable and retains its natural balance. It also effectively removes stubborn eye-makeup without causing irritation.

This was the first micellar water I’d ever tried.  I actually got it for a beauty swap, but ended up keeping it and using it. The beginning of a beautiful love story!

Ingrdients: Water, Uriage Thermal Spring Water, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cetrimoniom Bromide, PED-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract

THE MAKEUP “LIFT” FACTOR: A BLIND TEST

Ok. You could say that these 3 micellar products are hardly different from each other. They all work pretty much the same way.

They do, however, differ in one significant aspect: their ability to “lift” or remove makeup.

To show you what I mean, let’s do a blind test!

I will show you three images.

In each image, a different micellar product was used to remove make up.

I used four cotton pads, starting with the one on the left and ending with the one on the right.

Product A, Micellar Water Blind Test

Product B, Micellar Water Blind Test

Product C, Micellar Water Blind Test

For the above images, I tried my best to apply the same types and amount of makeup. But since these photos were taken weeks apart, it may have happened that I put on a little more mascara during one trial (ahem, as was obviously the case with Product B).

The most important thing is to look at how much makeup was removed with the first cotton pad and compare that to how much makeup was left on the last (4th) cotton pad.

Based on this criteria, I think we can all agree that Product C comes out the worst.

But when it comes to telling which product comes out on top, Product A or Product B, things are a little less clear.

The trickiness comes from the amount of black mascara on Product B’s first cotton pad, which makes the difference between the 1st and the 4th cotton look more dramatic than it actually is.

So to level the playing field, let’s make the 1st cotton pads disappear…

Micellar Water Blind Test

Micellar Water Blind Test

Now let’s compare Product A’s cotton pad 2 with its cotton pad 4. Then compare Product B’s cotton pad 2 with its cotton pad 4.

What do you think?

I think the difference is much more evident, making Product A officially the best at removing makeup!

Actually, from experience, I know Product A is the winner.

But if you think I’m being biased, there is another blogger I know who actually participated in a real blind trial. Her conclusion and that of 99 other bloggers matches mine.

And just for fun, I’m not going to reveal to you which one is Product A. Bwahaha!

If you are burning with curiosity, then go read The Micellar Blind Trial via Jo’s blog Patent Purple Life.

You’ll see, the winner is none other than Product A.

In Conclusion

Micellar waters are great for:

– Removing makeup
– Washing your face without having to wash your face (great for cleaning your face in the middle of the day)
– Keeping your skin’s natural balance
– Cleansing eye-makeup without any irritation

On very rare occasions, when I am just too tired at night,  I sometimes very quickly cleanse my face with micellar soaked cotton pads.

It’s the only way I would ever, EVER allow myself to go to sleep without first washing my face.

 

p.s. To help you narrow down which one is which, Product C is the Jonzac Rehydrate Micellar Water (womp, womp…)