January 22, 2016

Hidden Gems: Honest SKincare

Hey guys, so I'm starting this hidden Gems section in my blog to share my newly found on anything unique and I think useful to share - and perhaps you never heard about it. So, you are welcome!

Now that I'm pretty much out and about from Singapore's blogging scene, I wanted to have something interesting to share with my lovely readers. Anything range from a great home based skincare or cosmetics brand that work just as good, to perhaps a little jewelry shop down the hidden block.

As the first, I'm gonna share up a little about the wonderful brand in skincare genre, hope you guys like it and do share up with friends and family about the great brand you about to discover, here.

We all know, honestly, in beauty industry; sometimes we are kinda clueless on what's in the jar. Do you read what it is in the ingredients? I don't. What I only care to know is if it's working. Or not. 

With that in mind, I started to check #nzskincare on my instagram feed and found " HONEST SKINCARE ". The first thing that caught my attention was the brand. Then I kinda do the stalking thing by checking on Honest Skincare's website and blog, and i have to say that I like what I see in there, and i really like the way they introduce the natural skincare. 

Just like our body, our skin is as important, and if you don't want to eat it, you shouldn't put it in your skin as well. ( this line is totally cool, and it's not mine, it's their's).

So, moving on.. I contacted the brand :)
Yeap - you read it right, I made the first move to contact the brand and asked if they are open to answer few interview questions (and they said  YES!, and so we are engaged!)..LOL! no, not really. But we are finally engaging in a conversation :)

When I told this a friend, she was like " wow, how special is the brand? Usually, brands emailing you all.the.time and you don't even bother to reply some of them " That is not entirely true though, i reply all of them - only sometimes with a no as an answer for collaboration.

Anyhoo, I was so pleased to get an answer directly from the founder of Honest Skincare, Ms. Tonia and she agreed for the interview!!! Yaaas!!

Check out my interview to Ms. Tonia below:

E: How would you describe your brand? 
HS: Honest Skincare is all about limiting harm to people and the planet by eliminating the use of chemicals in our skincare products. We believe that processing plants, plastics and preservatives are unnecessary and we're out to prove it :) 

E: When did you starting Honest Skincare? what led you to take a step in creating a natural brand and how would you see in changing people's mindset in going au natural? 
Honest Skincare started for me as a hobby when I became frustrated with not being able to find truly natural skincare products on the market. There are plenty of products that claim to be safe and natural but many have to bow to the pressures of preservatives and artificial ingredients to maintain shelf life and to keep the texture of the product consistent in different climates.
My journey towards Honest Skincare started when I began to research and subsequently avoid processed foods around the time I fell pregnant with my first child around 10 years ago. Once I had eliminated most processed foods from my day-to-day diet I felt that all my efforts to eat as naturally as possible were being undone by slathering chemicals over my skin morning and night so I began to experiment with Olive Oil and Coconut Oil moisturisers. I have spent the last two years tweaking my recipes to get them perfect for sale and I think most people are ready to embrace a more natural lifestyle. There is a huge shift towards wellness industries across the board. People are in general becoming more aware of alternatives to mainstream products and are beginning to see the bigger picture and question age-old advices. There really is so much that we don't know about our bodies, about our health, about certain diseases and about the damage we're causing our planet. People are beginning to see the bigger picture which I think is a fantastic and exciting thing. 

E: How much do you spend your time for study/research the products/ingredients and creating it? 
HS: I spend a lot of time researching ingredients and their origins and even more time in my kitchen creating new blends and recipes! My motto has always been "if you wouldn't eat it, you shouldn't put it on your skin" so when I'm considering an ingredient I want minimally processed, natural products and preferably of organic origin. Our skin is our bodies largest organ, one that we can no longer think of as a protective barrier as it absorbs a great deal of what it comes into contact with into the bloodstream.

E: With the rise of natural products, should we as customer believe that it's 100% natural? 
HS: Very good question. My answer is NO. You shouldn't believe that it's 100% natural until you've done your research. There are a massive amount of products on our supermarket shelves that claim to be natural, organic, healthy and a myriad other buzz-words and, in my experience, 99% of them aren't entirely natural. I've written a post about the Greenwashing phenomenon here (http://www.honestskincare.co.nz/blog/post/5041/Greenwashing/) Please read it and please continue to read the ingredients list of the products you're using and research the ingredients yourself. You will be surprised at how many false claims advertisers can get away with. 
At Honest Skincare, every single ingredient we use is a natural, edible product and organic wherever possible. But don't take my word for it - read the ingredients and make your own mind about it. 

E: What are some feedbacks you've been getting from your customer?
I got some lovely feedback just this morning from a customer who had been suffering from a very bad case of eczema on her hands and arms. She had tried all sorts of products that claimed to be natural and gentle that had only exacerbated the problem. She wrote me today on our Facebook page "Hi Honest Skincare I've been using your body butter in yummy chai and it is delicious! It's amazing to finally find a moisturiser that doesn't upset my sensitive skin. And it must smell delicious as my puppy keeps following me around! definitely recommend smile emoticon"  

E: Which ones are your favorite range?  
HS: My absolutely favourite flavour is Vanilla Chai. It is so sweet and dreamy! I use the serum on my face morning and evening - I actually use it as a makeup remover before I go to bed. There's no need for water I just rub a small amour gently over my face and eyes to remove my mascara and foundation. I keep my makeup routine very basic on a day-to-day basis and use only natural cosmetics from a reputable New Zealand brand as you'd expect :). I also use the Vanilla Chai Body Butter every morning on arms and legs and I use the Sugar Scrub in place of soap or body wash in my morning shower. I'm very aware of what we as a household wash down our drains, so we avoid harmful chemicals as much as we possibly can while still being clean and hygienic. Of particular concern are the plastic micro beads in body washes and face scrubs that pass through our towns wastewater filtration systems and end up in our oceans causing a huge amount of damage to sea life. Honest Skincare don't use plastics anywhere in any of our products, inside or out. 

* What is your typical as mom and beauty entrepreneur? 
My typical day involves getting three kids ready for school (actually they're very independent so they pretty much get themselves ready). We walk the 1.5kms to school whenever we can, then I either hit the gym or take our puppy for a run in the park. I settle down to my desk, meetings and the post shop 4 days of the working week and spend the 5th day in the kitchen creating products to keep in stock. When the kids return from school we get into homework, after school activities, cooking and eating a healthy dinner together and preparing healthy lunchbox treats for the next day. We're a pretty average city family with an emphasis on being as happy, healthy and active as possible. We all have our off days and down time and that's perfectly normal. I was always told "It's what you do every day that counts, not what you do sometimes." 

E: What will be the best advise you can share in choosing the right product for our skin? 
HS: 1. Read the label. Not the front, the ingredients list. And if it doesn't have an ingredients list on the package find one online or don't use the product.
2. Use Aunty Google to research the ingredients. If there's an ingredient you don't recognise, google it and read the uses and the potential side effects of use. Chances are you'll be put off from giving it a go.
3. If you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin!  

Check out their lovely range, and be sure to let me know what do you think about the products after you tried it. They have the sample pack for you to try and it come handy for travelling as well. My favourite items is the body butter, it melts into my skin and giving my skin the hydration it needed.

Happy shopping, and 'till the next Hidden Gems :)
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January 02, 2016

Tips to feel good when you have " nothing to wear"..

..and you have to attend the wedding.

Fffttt, tough job, aye?

Sometimes ago, we were invited to friend's wedding in Auckland. For us, we are always feel honored for every invitation that come to our life, it is always nice to be remembered whenever people celebrating their happiest day. But like I said, I'm in the " I have nothing to wear " kind a stage - sounds familiar? and in the same time, although I know no one, I still want to look good and feel comfortable in what I'm wearing.

The first thing that came to my mind was:

Wear something safe

Whatever your definition of "safe" is - wear it. Weather it is a long maxi dress with nice neckline, little black dress, or the peplum dress to give some waist line, whatever it is - wear it.

For me, wearing something safe means dark color, medium length, and could hide my tummy after the dinner ^^, hell yea it is important. 

I bought this knee length dress from @Brandswelove -> check them out in IG for Indonesia and Singapore market. Loving the material, the cutting, and how the dress fit my body. They have lovely collection for you to choose, and the seller - Ms. Angie is really one lovely lady, too!

The wedding took place in one beautiful place up north in Matakana. It was a lovely place to tie the knot, the bride was stunning and the groom were as charming. Perfect day. Nice weather with a gentle breeze, by the side of little creek, and looks very green. I am lucky enough to not wear my pointy 5 inch heels to this place, or else I will be stuck in every step..so ladies, remember to:

Wear the right shoes!

Secara kita baru nyampe ni negara ya bok, dateng ke kondangan di New Zealand kok beda banget sama kawinan di Indo ato di SG yah? Ga ada ge-glam an lampu lampu, apalagi confetti di jeder pas wedding kiss..hahaha..disini kawinannya di samping danau, di sebelah farm orang, dan kawinnya di bawah pohon cantik..Tapi tetep, sah aja ya? 

Dan gw, yang bertambah gendut ini sering bener berasa, aduh gw ga ada baju neh buat pergi kondangan. Kalo di Indo, gw berasa pake dress batik cantik - I'm good. Dress batik gw rok nya lebar bener, ketiup angin model disini, yang ada saban menit gw sibuk kekep-in rok, ga deh - thank u. Gw share tips gini uda macam fashion guru yeh? padahal sendirinya juga masi kalang kabutan style in diri sendiri kalo ada acara gitu :P, cuman ini sekedar sharing yah..dari apa yg uda daku alamin.

The other thing that I think could really save us in dressing up is to choose:

The right material

Have you ever decided not to buy a dress because it looks cheapo? yes? Then remember the material, and don't wear those to the important event. I believe every single details matter in fashion, and material play a huge portion in it.

I love to pick something with classy material, a little stiff to define the shape and as wrinkle free as possible.

The last one: Wear the right make up

My personal signature make up is one bold eyeliner with nude lips. If you want to look good in camera, and make up isn't your thing, try this simple trick, it works. I always tell my client that whatever you put on your face, will be gone by 80% when the camera capture it. So if you are putting the "just enough" make up you see in the mirror, be ready to look washed out in photo. :)

Hopefully this little trick could help you save some time to figure out what to wear, and could make you feel good when you are in that " I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR " stage. Probably it will worth your time to check out your wardrobe collection and have few "safe dress" to get ready on.

Have fun trying!

Now, my joy of life..looking cute and handsome with his lil suit, thanks for the gorgeous set, auntie Fella!

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January 01, 2016

Hello 2016!

Aje gila yah da masuk taon baru lagi! Dan itu berarti kita uda tinggal di Auckland for 6 months lebih, omg! Time flies abis..dan rumah gw belon beres juga dong dari pindahan sampe hari ini. >.<

Looking back ke 2015, gw berasa that was a year of transition. Transisi dari idup kita yang di SG, ke idup di New Zealand. Transisi personal achievement gw dari yang mayan well known beauty blogger di SG, ke nobody blogger di NZ. Transisi dari Elrica yang city girl ke Elrica yang lebih laid back. Dan ternyata yang namanya transisi itu ga enak yah..apalagi di drag keluar dari comfort zone ke unknown future. Kayak yang uda pernah gw share sebelonnya, gw waktu awal awal pindah sempet depress banget kan , berasa nya susah ati lah ya bo. hahaha..Thank goodness, sekarang gw uda happy lalala lagi dong!

The biggest decision we made di taon 2015 itu adalah MOVING KE NEW ZEALAND! dan sekarang, I would say I am glad we made that decision. I am happy disini, Ethan happy, Bang Arip ga usah ditanya lagi lah ya..dia mah happy selalu kalo urusannya ma New Zealand. We both got a job, dan karena disini ga banyak yang bisa dibeli - lumbung pun jadi cepat penuh ^^. 

Oh talking about job, gw kan sekarang kerja part time yah..jadi gw berasa, well gw ga penting2 banget lah ya di kantor. Dan juga as a newbie, asia pula..jadi gw ga terlalu menonjol banget..tapi dong tiba tiba, di bulan October kemaren, which is yang di bulan ke 3 gw kerja..dan company monthly meeting - dimana seluruh divisi ke meeting room dan kita evaluasi kerja gitu sama ada nominasi nominasi siapa yang the best apalah gitu tiap bulan. Gw yang uda cuek cuek aja selama meeting dan nominasi itu..tiba tiba pas bagian " The most valuable Team member " - nama gw keluar dong di screen!! Jeeeeeng! Gw sampe kuaget pol, dan ga maju ambil voucher (hadiahnya)..hahaha..semua orang juga kaget kenapa nama gw, si orang baru, yang keluar. LOL! Tapi besokannya, sikap orang2 ke gw mulai berubah :) mereka start say hi ato ga basa basi ma gw. Dan bulan November nya, team gw..yang dimana cuman gw dan manager gw - kita jadi Team of The Month! Hihiy! Dan dapet voucher belanja lagi dong..seneng banget yah kerja di company yang ngehargain team nya.

Anyhoo, 2015 was one hell of a year buat gw! Grateful, Depressed, and Full of Blessing in the same time. Like always, God's rescue selalu mepet tapi ga pernah telat. Dan gw looking forward to miraculous and abundant blessing year di 2016. Semoga kita semua makin diberkati dan memberkati yah di taon yang baru ini. Amin.

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December 15, 2015

Season of giving with L'occitane

Let's celebrate and welcome 2016 with little gift to ourselves. Having a beautiful and well hydrated skin could be one of the gift that we give to our body. Try L'occitane Shea Butter Melting Honey collection and shea face collection. Known for their quality and expertise on skin, L'occitane will launch this gorgeous collection in January 2016! 

The Shea Butter Melting Honey collection is a nourishing Limited Edition body care line, created from a unique blend of Shea Butter and an organic, rare lavender honey. A fusion of two superfoods for the skin brings protective and skin-softening benefits, and also a luxurious pampering session for your skin.


My favourite hand cream ever!

Nourishing, protecting and repairing – the benefits of Shea Butter go beyond the body, and is also able to provide the absolute defense for the face. L’OCCITANE introduces three new protective Shea Butter face care products which are perfect for the dry and sensitive skin.

Apart from gifting myself this wonderful bundle, I believe in giving to others as well. We are blessed to be a blessing, and together with L'occitane, I am hoping for your support to help our visually handicapped friends. 

L’OCCITANE will be selling Limited Edition 2016 Shea Butter tote bags ($20) at all L’OCCITANE stores in Singapore, and all profits from the sale of our tote bags will be donated to the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.

Each tote bag includes a short quote from our visually handicapped friends, which they share about their struggles and dreams. Every purchase of the tote bag will entitle you to a lucky draw chance to win a pair of tickets to ‘NOX - Dine in the Dark’ (worth $208).

Let's start the season of giving!

December 13, 2015

Our first Xmas 2015 party in Auckland!

This place is definitely merrier when December has arrived!
Feast after feast, prezzie exchange, and get together seems so easy to arrange, I am loving the feeling of Christmas :)

We had our first Christmas party weeks ago at one of our friend's house. It was a blast, kiddos playing happily except when it comes to prezzie exchange time. He turned bad mood in a click, and in koala mode on me. 

Nemplok aje man ni si Ethan, pake acara merem pura pura tidur lagi. LOL - kayaknya logicnya tuh, if I just close my eyes, everything will be ok. Andei idup begitu tong, hahaha.  

After few moment, he finally start opening his eyes - without moving his sitting position tho. I would say this is one of the cutest moment of him! 

Ini mengapa ya dia ga mo turun sama sekali dong, beneran nemplok pol. Dan hari itu gw pake stressed jeans yang rerombengan, kl berlutut lama lama, gw takut serat jenas yang di lutut putus euy. Teteup ya mak nye? hahaha.

Have a great December guys, it's 12 more sleeps to the Christmas day!

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Watson's revamped!

I think everyone in my circle knows that Watsons is always my go-to place whenever I'm in Ngee Ann City. I was feeling a lil gutted not to be able to attend the event sometimes ago. I really want to see the transformation! The 7,000sqf outlet has undergone a top-to-toe transformation, presenting not just refreshed aesthetics but an enhanced browsing journey across all product categories.

As the market leader in this category, Watsons at Ngee Ann City features a Cosmetics & Nail Bar Zone in sleek black hues with many popular brand counters that are complemented with playtop spaces. Do look out for new and exclusive brands including Australis, Beauty UK and newly launched Wet & Wild. In addition, a vibrant nail bar will also be a mainstay, where manicurists will be available at scheduled times to provide nail services. OMG! Aren't you excited already? The next moment I landed back in Singapore, I will march my way to there!

Watsons definitely know their customer, because with more customers paying great attention to their hair, the Hair Care Zone takes on a new trendy look to allow customers to easily search for their favourite and the trendiest hair products. Let your hair soak up all the goodness from Watson’s latest exclusive hair care brands – Revlon Hits (from the U.S), Revlon Butter Cream (from the U.S), Green Grapy (from Korea), Valmona (from Korea), and All Nature (from Bulgaria).

Skincare lovers will be thrilled by the new line of treatment-based ranges exclusively introduced at this store – Phytocean (from France), Dr. Ci;Labo (from Japan), Labo Labo (from Japan), Manuka Doctor (from Australia), Physiogel CR Cream (from Germany), Faith in Face (from Korea), plus Sampar, a new brand from France. C'mon ladies, take your basket! :)

For wellness needs, one should make a beeline for the Health Corner, a wellbeing zone with pharmacy services including consultation led by the 2015 Singapore’s Community Pharmacist of the Year Award* winner, Ms Chung Wing Lam. A dedicated space devoted to the wellness range has been crafted for convenient browsing and trial of various health devices and mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walking sticks. 

How awesome is that? Very!
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December 07, 2015

Weekend kami :)

Living in Auckland is definitely a different kind of lifestyle compare to Singapore. It is true that shop closes at 5pm, only few like The warehouse and K-mart open pretty late for New Zealand standard. Jadi, ente weekend ngapain aje dong? 

Biasanya yah, kami pergi hunting tempat tempat makan enak dan lokasi nongkrong yang enak. Hare gene masi nongkrong? Ya eyaalaaah! Ihiy, cuman kl dl nongkrong si kfc paket hemat, sekarang kita maen nya ke Ponsonby Central, bikin #OOTD ala ala fashion blogger..

Ato ga biar ke emak emak-an, kita maen nya di pantai ngubek ngubek cari kerang buat dimasak, ato ga maen ke rumah orang. Tapi itu juga ga saban minggu ding, kebetulan itu weekend kmrn aje :p

Nanti kalo hawa males da ilang sikit, gw bikin guide on where to go on weekend pas di Auckland ah :) Ini hawa males belon mabur juga neh, gimana se.

Anyhoo..sekarang kan uda masuk December yah, hawa hawa xmas tuh uda kentel bener ni di atmosphere kiwi ini. Tapi mereka lebih heboh ke gift exchange, xmas dinner, get together dibanding hiasan hiasannya. Kalaaaah jauh ma SG kalo soal cantik cantikan natal. Dan gw, masi menjiwai kiasu-ism - kmrn itu gw beli pohon natal dan hiasannya..akhirnya, pohon natal pertama kita naek juga. 

Dapet nya good bargain banget deh, beli pas sample sale di kantor gw (btw, gw kerja di salah satu the biggest retail company di new zealand) dan sering bener sample sale! Jangan ditanya harga barang2 yg gw dapet, soalnya miring pol! Pas gw bilang ke nyokap gw, reaksinya " masak sih ca? Di pasar kopro aja ga dapet segitu" hahahaha..tau dong anceran harganya berapa.

Bodo amat dah ya, yang penting kl gw pake, ga bakalan ada yang nyangka itu baju lebih murah drpd kopro. Hahaha - mental murahan abis ya percakapan gw kali ini - tapi kl bahasa kerennya " Perks of the job " ihiy. Dan kenapa ya, yang namanya weekend tu cepet bener lewatnya..tau tau da senen lagi.

Biasanya kalian weekend ngapain?

November 23, 2015

Auckland Guide: Burger Burger @ Ponsonby Central

Being a newbie in Auckland has it's advantages! For me, i am giving myself an excuse to dine out weekly " in order " to have something new to share about great spot and food in Auckland. This time round, it's Burger burger at Ponsonby central.

Located in one of the prime location at the heart of Auckland, Ponsonby Central is definitely a must place to go for weekend brunch with family, friends, or alone (why not?). The place has gorgeous selection of restaurant to choose from, find out more about the restaurant here.

My date for the day was Sharon, we were strolling around to find a right spot for our catch up session, and because it was a peak Saturday brunch time (and raining; gosh, what a timing) - all places mostly are occupied, or not quite what we want to sit at. Then Sharon was like having a light bulb moment of Burger Burger.  Okie dokie, off we go in search of the resto.

Greeted by a very cheerful and helpful lady, and bunch of friendly kitchen staff as well - we just got our catch up spot. I decided to get a fish bunnuce (bun lettuce, geddit?), beef on bun for Sharon, kumara fries, coffee for myself and sparkling drink for Sharon.  The food was awesome, affordable $20ish per person, and everything was just nice. Although I am not very impressed of eating a fish with bunch of lettuce wrapped on at first, but i guess it's a very very good option for carb free diet.

It felt so good to have a few hours off " mommy duty" to just be with girl friend and sharing about everything. Having to move to Auckland worries me in  terms of getting new friends. I met Sharon at my current work place, it was really just a quick hi and bye as we were swamped by our work and stuff - then in the first 2 weeks i joined the company, Sharon left for next adventure. Thank goodness for whatsapp and social media, we are back catching up over food, coffee and more coffee.

Back to the location, do visit this place if you have a day or more to spend in Auckland city. It's worth it :D

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November 08, 2015

Long Weekend!

Gosh, This post was drafted during the labour day holiday and just happened to sit still in my draft and " poof!"  in November we are. Goodness, time does fly, ey?

Anyhoo, I jsut want to share my #OOTD on that awesome long weekend. Although, I always have my Monday off - I still loving the mood of everyone during long weekend. It's like you have 2 Fridays in a week :)

Wearing Zara Trench coat, tops, and legging - pair it up with Wakai platform :)
Pushing lil one in Phil & Ted buggy for a our stroll in the city.

And also, just a quick update - Life in Auckland is finally absorbing well in me. A little unhappiness here and there, but I finally start to think that this place might the next home for us. If you think you'll be interested to read more on my Auckland guide in this blog, comment up and let me know what would you like to know :)

Another moment for me to realize that GOD is so GOOD.
Jadi beberapa minggu ini, gw totally shut myself down dari semuanya, I stop being creative, ga mood masak, ga mood nge blog(apalagi ini ye), I just don't feel like doing anything. Kalo bisa, I would rather ngelingker di ranjang, sambil nontonin Harvey Specter. ihiy. Trus gw kepikriannya tuh, balik SG - I want to go back to my life di SG. Gw lupa what was the reason kita keluar dr SG dan pindah ke NZ and I hated my NZ life. Gw berasa I am supposed to be a better me disini, my life, my blog, my career. Tapi kenyataannya, ga gitu - dan gw manusia ambisius ini, stress sendiri. Then, I start asking " I want YOU to answer, tell me that the choice we made are the best " - dan dong, the next moment pas di gereja, pastor gw blg " Hey someone, when God tell Abraham to go, He asked him to believe the unseen future He set for him. It is going to be a same theme but different stories for you."
Amen to that. untung dijawab ye, kl enga - masi ga nge blog juga gw. hahahaha.

Thank u Pamela for your kind words and the soothing encouragement, dan Felicia yang blak blak an abis pointed out my problem, dan ya emang iya bener banget!! Aku finally feel better!

Ini gw kalo OOTD kok ya bingung mo bergaya gimana yah? hahahaha..mo nya hasilnya bagus cakep kayak fashion blogger nge top gitu..cuman susah aje. Ide dong, gimana ini?
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