this skin of mine

When talking about skincare, mine has always been very difficult to manage. I used to have lots of scars due to allergic reaction which I wasn’t aware of for 5 years because I thought it was pimple breakouts instead. I was also very cautious with the type of food and drinks I take. Everything has to be less/no sugar and I ration my chocolate/ice cream intakes because I was afraid that it would cause more breakouts. I’ve also tried a few skincare products, from Clean & Clear, Garnier, Laneige, Clinique, Innisfree and Dermatologica while I was growing up. My daily skincare regime is the usual 3 step process; cleanser, toner and then moisturizer. Once or twice a week I would alternate between oil control mask and pore minimizer mask. I only use scrub cleanser when necessary because it makes my skin feel a bit too raw after. My skin type is a combination of dry and oily along the T-zone so it gets extra oily on my nose and forehead during the day. I also have a typically fair complexion that is slightly on the pale side. Which also means, if I don’t get enough sleep it’ll make my skin looks terrible, like as if my skin is not healthy and the dark circles will be very obvious. My scars are usually visible and it takes a while before the marks start to go away. By the time old marks are almost gone, new ones come out which is annoying, really.

It was only recently that my skin got better, once I figured that it was allergic reaction so I took the allergic pills when it gets itchy. But this is also mainly due to my shift towards using natural ingredient for my skincare regime. I haven’t totally shift all my products to natural ingredients but I’m slowly learning to make an alternative home based products that can replace my current skincare products. So these are what I used so far and it really works. I had a hard time believing when I was younger but I can now say that it works really well for my skin. I’m still figuring out a suitable natural ingredient cleanser because I’m using a milk based chemical cleanser for now so I’m not quite sure what’s the substitute for that. As for facial scrub wash, I’m still using the coconut and sea salt scrub from LUSH which makes my skin feel fresh every time after I use it. But since there’s no LUSH here in Malaysia (not that I know of), I’m planning to use sea salt, coconut oil, a bit of flour and peppermint oil as my scrub. To make this work, a base oil is needed and I opted for coconut oil because it’s easy to get. You can also use grapeseed oil, olive oil and many other base oil. Then you mix it with other ingredients such as the sea salt which will give a slightly rough texture and the flour to make it feel like paste instead of oil and the peppermint oil is what makes your skin feels fresh. Peppermint oil is good not only for skin but also for your scalp as it stimulates your skin and therefore encouraging hair growth and gives a radiant complexion. I do use that for my hair mask which mainly is a mixture of coconut, lavender and peppermint oil. It helps strengthen the hair and make it healthier too! Going back to my skincare, I use rose oil mixed with egg whites as face mask which I apply every two to three days. This combination really helps with my scars and oily face issues. The rose oil is generally popular for scar treatment and it has anti-aging properties so it’s really helpful if your skin has scars or wrinkles. The egg whites helps minimize the pores. My grandma used to say using the egg whites will make your skin feels like eggshells after. So it helps in giving you a smooth and soft skin texture. As for my toner and moisturizer, I usually wash my face clean with water followed by putting a few small drops of rose oil before I sleep every night. I’ve been doing that for a month now and my scars are not as visible and as much as it used to be. I feel better using my make ups as well because I don’t feel uncomfortable with my make up on after a few hours but I generally use very light make up to let the skin breathe.

There are so many natural products you can make or buy for your wellness. I’m looking into trying honey, sugar and coffee grounds as my main ingredients next. I was told that teatree oil really helps with acne problems. Aloe vera too, which is why it’s a good idea to plant your own aloe vera plant! Cinnamon and rosemary oil have lots of benefits as well. In terms of purchasing the essential oils, it may seem costly for some because it’s 100% extract organic oil so it’s only fair that it’s slightly pricey. But you don’t consume it as much as your usual products. I normally use about one or two droplets of oil in every mixture I make and even then you can tell that it’s quite strong from the smell of the oil itself. I know lots of small home based business do sell essential oils and some even make their own skincare so saves you all the trouble of researching and mixing it yourself! I haven’t fully explored the brands that sell essential oils but I know Tanamera, a local brand do sell these oils. They’re popular because lots of spa use their products so they have a wide range of products that you can browse through. The pricing is also not that bad, I would say it’s average. I bought my peppermint oil from Tanamera and I think for 15ml bottle it was about RM35, not more than RM40. But I would say that the price depends on the type of oil you choose. Some are generally more expensive because the process to extract is probably longer or harder. I got my lavender oil from Young Living, a product my friend introduced to me. It’s an overseas brand, made in US but it has a branch in Singapore and Malaysia if I’m not mistaken and the price was about RM100 for the 15ml bottle. The rose geranium oil is from a brand called Soul Shine, I think it’s from Australia but I bought it at Mediplex SDMC, a hospital in Subang Jaya. For 50ml, I paid about RM70-80, can’t remember the exact price but it’s within that range. I also got the coconut oil from Mediplex which was just RM17 and it’s fully organic too.

Basically, I’m just sharing this information with you especially those who have sensitive skin or wear heavy make up on daily basis. It’s a good idea to use some natural ingredient to take care of your wellbeing instead of the chemical products because they might have side effects or it’s not always easy to find one that’s suitable with your skin. I know and I can tell that it does help with my skin, which is sensitive to a lot of things and now I can even wear make up without getting that uncomfortable feeling on my skin! You can definitely try out more ingredients, mixtures as there are so many out there. Essential oils can also be used when you’re sick, your body, hair and even for massage. I really love the smell of rose geranium oil so when I want to distress myself, I put a few drops of it in a bowl of water and let it continuously heat up using candle in my room. It gives a sweet scent and help ease your sleeping difficulties.

Happy trying and hope this helps ! ūüôā

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Remembering you.

I’ve been caught up with family matters for the past few months and I know the routine by heart already now. As I was doing my rounds to check everything is in order and the doors are locked, I walked pass by my parents ¬†bedroom. With the room door slightly open, dark and empty the house suddenly felt so quiet. I feel so alone. Staring at this computer, I wanted to blog something here about what I feel but then it’s all messed up . I took some time to think of a suitable way to express my thoughts and realized that the best way is to remind myself of ¬†the memories I share with my dad. I want to remember the memories, and all the feelings that came with it. I’ll visit every memory I have with him and walk through it one by one hoping that I’ll never lose it.

I don’t think I can recall the first few years of my life but I remembered the day I started kindergarten. As a child, it probably is frightening to be in a crowd of strangers. I guess despite the excitement, I was also afraid of being alone in a class surrounded by people I don’t know. I can’t remember how it happened but I knew my dad sent me to the class on my first day. ¬†It was all good until he left. The moment I looked back and see that he is not outside of my classroom, I cried so bad all I wanted was to go home. The teachers had to call him back and when he came back, standing there it was all fine again. I felt safe. It went on for two weeks. I don’t remember exactly how many days but I knew he accompanied me every day and I would learn in class and look back every few minutes or so. Every time I looked back, he was there smiling and just standing there looking at what I was doing. Even when I think about it today, I can tell how I felt back then. I felt safe knowing that my dad was there looking after me and he’s just a few steps away.

Another time when I was in kindergarten as well, there was this concert and I had to dance chinese dance. I was dolled up in my cheongsam and red lipstick. Although I can’t remember the dance or who my partner was, I remembered looking at the audience finding my parents. The moment I saw them, standing by the door because there wasn’t any places left and it was so crowded but they were still there, I smiled happily. During the closing ceremony, we played Christina Aguilera’s song ‘I turn to you’ and it still got me all teary up til today because I remembered how they were being squeezed by other audience just to be there for my performance.

I remember the days when we would go to Lake Garden cycling and have picnics after. I was still using the tricycle and dad would be cycling by my side making sure that I don’t fall. Oh, there’s this one trip we went together which I think was one of the few outings I did only with my dad; a visit to the National Museum. I recalled seeing this huge crocodile and I asked my dad if it was real because it looked so real I thought the crocodile was alive! It was also the first time I learned about our culture and the ‘kampung’ life. I can’t recall any activities similar to this one, it’s probably the only museum I’ve ever visited with my dad. Dad was a strict person. He gets annoyed easily if things are not as how it expects it to be. The family would often argue because of the differences but he always wanted the best for us. I know he shows his love in ways that sometimes nobody understands. He gets protective to the point that it’s frustrating but only because he loves his children. We used to watch TV shows after dinner together and I often fall asleep halfway because I get sleepy so easily. Dad would usually carry me upstairs then and put me to sleep. Sometimes I was half awake but I let him carry and tuck me in anyway before dozing off.

Between all the memories, one thing I’ll always remember is how dad accompanied me to the sea every single time we visited the beach. I love the beach although I can’t swim. I like being in water and just watch the waves. I wasn’t afraid of drowning, probably because every time the tide pulled me, I would find my dad’s hands and hold onto them. Even when the tide pulled me and I lost my balance, dad’s hands would magically pull me back up. We had so much fun when we were younger, my siblings and I especially when we’re at the beach.

So much memories, so much feelings attached to it as well. There were also a lot of fights and tears. I was a difficult child. I wanted freedom, but my dad was always worried of my safety. He is so used of protecting his only daughter that even when I’m old, he would do his best to take care of me. He’s the one person that I could be in the same space and not talk for a long time but never gets awkward, just a comfortable sort of silence. I never really understood his way of loving but as I grow older, I learned to read between the lines or in his case, his attitude. He never knew how to raise a daughter so he kept me as sheltered as possible. He made sure that I had everything I needed, including discipline and manners. He tried his best to make sure that I don’t have to go any hardships while I was growing up . He made lots of mistakes as a father, but I know that being a father doesn’t come with a manual. He got me angry, sad, happy and all kinds of feelings before and despite not being a perfect father, he was the father I needed. He loved in his own ways and did his best to be part of the children’s lives.

I tweeted not long ago about how I felt hopeless and yet still very hopeful. I feel hopeless in a way that I cannot help him be better but I am hopeful, hopeful to God for him to be safe and return back to being healthy. I wish that my kids would one day have the chance to meet dad and have the privilege of being loved by him just as how he loves me. He taught me that as a child, we don’t choose our parents and we learn how to adapt to their ways. He also taught me that a father is also human who does mistakes and have flaws of their own. And for that, I would forgive him for his unintentional mistakes and love him always in my own way too.

stress, no?

Have you ever go through this period of time where you have deadlines every other week and in between all sorts of work come to you and you’re just like okay, I’m going to take it one at a time and you got it all under control until the last hurdle suddenly your body can’t take it so decides to fail on you? That’s me, right now. I think the stress due to workload is piling up and I can’t get it out of my chest it’s taking a toll on my health instead. I really wish I could cry easily because then, some of the stress would be relieved and I can let it go. I guess times like this makes me feel really really terrible knowing that I don’t have that anchor allowing me to fall back when I need to but I keep telling myself, He put you in a situation that will make you stronger and because He knows you can, so trust yourself girl. I had a talk with mum during the day about the things I’ve been working on because she asked why I’ve been quiet and it made me think about how my mum managed to do it all for us. This post is not really about International Women’s Day but while we’re talking about my mum, I do want to put it out there that women are beyond incredible. They have so much strength in them and it amaze me every single time how a woman can be a mother, a daughter, owns a job and be the glue to the family at the same time being a wife. Anyway, I wanted to talk about my mum because I miss her and being stress, all I can think of is how she managed hers.

Mum have always been there for me for as long as I can remember. I have to say that I am thankful our path crossed and she is the first woman I met in my life. She was so driven and motivated in achieving her dreams, I have always looked up to her. I remember those days when I was younger, she would wake up super early maybe at 4 30 or 5 in the morning, bathe, pray and straight away went down to make breakfast and prep for our lunch. I mean, really?! We had maid just so you now, and yet she prepares lunch for us. She made sure that we had food to eat and it’s not just one or two dishes but several because my eldest brother and I are slightly picky when it comes to food while the second love variation of food and doesn’t like repetitive menu (gosh, such demanding kids). Then after dad leaves for work, she would rush to get ready for work too. I remember sitting on the bed accompanying her and watching her pick clothes, apply makeup and send her off when I got no school. During my holidays, because I get so bored staying at home she always bring me to the office and show me what she’s doing. Mum generally have always talked about intelligent stuff since I was young, sometimes I don’t understand but she’s patient in explaining things. After work, despite a long day she would come back and straight away cook dinner for us. Because she needs to rush for Maghrib prayers, mum would go on full speed and the kitchen would be like on fire. Even until today, I still can’t really figure out how she managed to cook so many dishes less than an hour. Oh and yes, it is intense moment in the kitchen. If mum asked for green plate, it has to be a specific plate she wants. We had troubles getting the maid to coordinate with her style because mum is so precise in everything she does. But mum, she constantly motivated and disciplined me when I was young. ¬†She sent me to tuition when I was in standard 4 not because of anything, but she just wants me to do something instead of staying home. Ever since then, I’m always going on tuition although half the time I’m just there to play with friends.

As I grow older, mum was always involved in my life. She knew when I had boyfriends (although I didn’t want her to know, she found out anyway), understood my reason of skipping schools and always, always listen to my side of argument when we have differences. Trust me, I was a difficult child. I was restricted to so many things, maybe when I was younger I often feel like it’s unfair but now, I’m grateful to be discipline, to have my own principals and to learn to stick by it. I remembered that I was not allowed any outings, until I was form 5 i think? My first movie was The Bug’s Life with family and after that I’ve never been to the cinema until Bolt (the dog movie) came out which I watched it with my mum. I’ve never been on camps or even stay overnight somewhere else or even go on overnight trips. Because I’m the only girl, my dad sheltered me from so many things. He wanted to take care of me and I understand now why. Back then, not really so mum was the one who always balance things up, explaining to me why and listen to my views on all these unfairness. She was stern in her words, but also understanding. She makes me see the reason behind each argument instead of just telling me no. Not only she had to deal with me, but she had my brothers to deal with as well and all of us are close to her. We all had different sets of problems too. Mum manage the family, and although my dad played an important role too I think mum was the bridge between our dad and us. Because dad was more of an order person, I used to get defensive when he restrict me from some things. That’s when mum comes in. And of course now when I could see things clearly, I love my dad just as much. Oh and when I was younger, I used to cry a lot but mum always said you know what, if something so small like this and you’re already defeated, what makes you think you can survive the bigger world. She taught me to be stronger, to deal with difficult attitudes rather than whine about it. She made me think of a solution instead of complaining and asking for things to go my way. Even until today, mum would always challenge my thoughts. If I say I want to do something, she would be like are you sure, have you thought about this, that and covered from all aspects? what about the consequences, how are you going to convince your dad and so on. She taught me how to be thorough in deciding and to always think from different angle because in life, it’s not just about you. She taught me how to be more understanding, to see the reason why certain people behave certain ways instead of just judge them and say that they are inconsiderate. Mum, to me have always been amazing.

It is times like this that I wished I had an anchor. Well, I do have back home but they don’t really keep up with what I do here because they trust me to hold my own grounds and be independent.But when I’m forced to face this kind of stress I can’t deal with, I always remind myself the hardships my mum had to go through even when she was pregnant with me and how she survived every single day of it. I tell myself, if she could do it I could too. If she could hold her grounds despite everything else being shaky, I could handle my own problems. I hope one day, I would be just as strong as her. Mum is definitely a lioness.

beautiful women.

I had this thought the other day about how does one person define beauty in women, and then I wondered what is it that comes to their mind first thing when people ask about beauty. Do they look at appearance or other criteria first?

If people say appearance is the first thing they look to determine a person’s beauty, I would be slightly disappointed but also not surprised. We live in a world that encourage objectification of women and am comfortable being paraded around. However, we should realize there is a fine line between making women feel sexy and objectifying them for your personal benefit. There have been numerous campaign to put a stop in viewing women as an object, but rather to appreciate them as they are.

Beauty to me is subjective but is also so much more than just the appearance. Throughout my 23 years of living, I’ve seen many beautiful women and even men and I found a similarity in what I would say beautiful. To me, a beautiful person is somebody who spread positive vibes in their daily life. I am often charmed with those people who have so much warmth, so much laughter and always have something nice to say to others. Somehow they shine brighter than others and to me, that is so beautiful. I like seeing a person so passionate in doing what they love and work hard to achieve their goals. The heart and mind is a reflection of beauty, in my opinion and while appearance do reflect beauty to a certain extent, I feel that it is the heart and mind that truly shows what beauty mean.

I would define beautiful as someone strong enough to be able to stand on their own and be independent, someone who have been through a lot and yet choose to never let it affect their happiness, someone who is not scared to fight for what they believe in and protect those who can’t do it themselves. Beautiful is those women (and also men) out there who live to empower and lift others up not because it benefits them in any way, but simply because they can and they wish well for others. Beauty does not come in one size and it definitely is not measured based on appearance only. I cannot stress enough that women are not object to please others. Women are more than that and they should be appreciated for all the beautiful values they have in them.

So, to all my amazing women out there. Here’s a little note for you.

We seek beauty in the clothes we wear, the colors we put on our face and the painful heels but know that even if you are plain like a white canvas, you are undoubtedly¬†beautiful because your heart is as pure as snow and your mind, it’s powerful enough to move mountains. And that my ladies, is the beauty that you hold in you.¬†

Women.

It’s been quite some time since I last posted something on my blog, with internship and everything else going on I hardly have time to blog. This topic have been on my mind for quite some time and it is often a discussion by people from around the world.

What is it about being a women ? We have people fighting for women’s rights,  encouraging gender equality and doing all sorts of things to empower women. As a female myself, I have seen how the women around me grow and do things that are beyond amazing. To me, the word feminism isn’t something to be ashamed of. While some women are doing great things, there are also some in this world who are less fortunate. Us empowering others is simply a way to let others know that you are worth more than what you really think. I wouldn’t disregard the sacrifices men have to go through and I know some of it isn’t that pretty as well. But my focus today is about us women.

As a girl we grow up with many restrictions. Because of the way this world is, we have a limit to our exploration. We are taught about the ways a girl should be – demure, soft and only speak when allowed. In some culture, girls are not allowed to speak their opinions and only listen. But even with all the restrictions, we girls grow up learning things although it’s the hard way. Some will only learn after making mistakes, mistakes we probably will regret forever. Despite those mistakes, we live and face the world with courage. We tell ourselves to be strong because it’s the only way to move forward.

When we become older, we look at the world with a new hope. We tell ourselves that this is the time to do what we want to, to aim for the sky and say goodbye to all limitations. But along the way, people will continue breaking that dream because they see you’re a woman and they look down on you. They know a woman’s heart is soft so they fight with emotions. We take one step and we got pushed back ten steps by the world. Everywhere we go, people listen to our dreams but their response are doubtful. But even with all these challenges, I’ve seen many of us rise up and face the world with what I would call an unbreakable determination. We work hard to prove to others that we can. Along the way, our hearts tend to harden because of all the pain we go through. All the heartbreaks, the negativity thrown at us with no mercy. We keep people out so we don’t have to deal with their criticism or doubts.

And what about love, marriage? You see a woman who is pregnant with a baby in the office and you think it’s normal. But we wouldn’t know the pain of having to carry another life in her. Or that how her legs get tired by night time because she needs to work during the day. And not to mention the pain of delivering a baby. Or a mother who raise her kids, work and be there for the family until she hardly have time for herself. All she sees is others. She make time for her kids because they need her. She cooks for the family because the husband wants her cooking. She works to help lessen the family’s burden. 

Even with all that a woman is, not all are appreciated the way they should be. Not all receive the love they should be receiving. Some are abused and tortured until their willpower break. Some are told to submit and only listen instead of living the way they should be.

So it’s only natural that other women would want to empower others. Because we believe in each other and that every woman deserve to live a life they want. If you’re a father or a brother or even a husband, you would want your girl to achieve great things in life. Not to succumb to what society says. Let your girl achieve her dreams. Let her free. Be there for her. And respect the person she is.

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