Favourite beauty products

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

No, I don’t define “beauty” only as how someone looks from the outside; and no, I don’t think we should splurge on cosmetics. However, I  believe some “beauty” products are there to keep our skin healthy, also, they really help when we need to meet some important people but we have just cried overnight, pulled an all-nighter, or been sick and might look pale. Well, you know.

Therefore, I think it won’t be a sin to share what are the products I love the most, and sometimes “can’t live without”.

Ristra Trustee Sulfur Soap Plus and Anti Acne Cream. I have a ‘combination face’ and a lot of acne/blemish problems. These two products really help me to conquer those problems. My mother used to be a loyal patient of dr. Retno Tranggono (the founder of Ristra), and my first facial experience was at House of Ristra. It’s pretty difficult to find the Sulfur Soap Plus now though.

Maybelline Volum Express Waterproof Mascara Hypercurl and Clear Smooth Minerals BB Cream. I technically don’t have eyelashes, so this hypercurl really helps my eyes to look “lively”. The BB cream is something really revolutionary, for me. Usually, heavy foundation brings acne breakouts to my face, but this cream covers my skin problems pretty well without causing more acne to come, moisturizes, and protects using SPF 26. Oh, and I also use Eye Studio Brown Gel Eyeliner. The last one is not available in Indonesia.

Hot by Benetton. First came out in 1997, this eau de toilette has been used by many. I was looking for a fresh – not romantic, nor sensual – perfume. Of course – who would not love to have YSL Parisienne that smells like Barbie’s hair? But, it was just too costly for me. So, Syarafina Alfiansyah recommended me this perfume, and I loved it. At C&F it only costs Rp120.000,-. Saviour!

Pourvous. I discovered this brand a few weeks ago while I was browsing through Female Daily. It’s 100% Indonesian – some call them “the Indonesian version of The Body Shop”. The headquarters are in Surabaya, but it provides free shipping to anywhere in Indonesia. All Pourvous products are paraben free, lanolin free, PABA free, color free, methanol fragrance free, and halal. They were not tested on animals either. Products can be purchased on mypourvous.com or on their Multiply page. My favourite product now is the cooling foot spray! Really helps my feet to relax after a long day full of driving.

What’s your favourite beauty products? Happy holiday!

If I never knew you

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

I suspect the following words are going to be few of the hardest ones to write. This is my second attempt, as my first draft vanished into the air right after I clicked “Save”. Ironic. Nevertheless, writing would be the best medium for me to express how I feel, what I would like to say, and the things I’d like to convey. I wanted to sing for you but I know nothing about intonations, let alone tunes, and I am going to ruin any song that I try to sing. I don’t draw, I don’t sew, I don’t make crafts… Therefore, I hope you’re okay with this.

So, hello, lad. We have been together for a few hundred days, huh? 365 felt so fast yet so slow at the same time. It feels so fast until I feel like I have never even known you before; it feels so slow I get to bitch about the fact that we have only been together for one year. Despite these, I am grateful I get to go through the ticks and the tocks with you. In between the traffic jams – so crazy they make most of us lose our sanity; and inside an airplane that takes off at 200 miles per hour. The way time goes by will always be a secret, but I can never ask for a better way to experience it.

You have changed me. You have made me a much better person. It has been full of surprises. You surprisingly have made me rediscover myself. My wounds and scars have surprisingly been healed. My phobias are even cured. No more being breathless in elevators. No more having a leaping heart while conversing on a rooftop for our anniversary dinner.

You are my version of Forrest Gump’s box full of chocolates, “You never know what you are going to get”. I did not know how you would “taste” before I “opened” you, before I saw everything in you – but as soon as I did, I completely love it. Both the sweet and bitterness. Day and night. 24/7/365. I consume it until it runs out, and am yearning for more. Can I ask for more? Can I melt with you?

I remember when you said you can promise me nothing about forever, for the future is full of uncertainties, and I told you we can never know who our soulmate is. But… I also remember when you promised me you would stay by my side no matter how ugly things might get, and you agreed when I told you the only thing to figure out if we are soulmate for each other or not would be to stay together until we depart.

Thank you.

For being the person who always reminds me to protect my dreams, and pursue them. For being the person who contains me. For wanting to stick with me no matter how irritating I have always been. For still being there and still listening whenever I babble about everything in my life. For being the place to lean on when I had to go through the lowest points of my life. For getting along with my family. For letting me get along with yours. For reminding me to always be good, and do good deeds to others. For making me wanting to be a much better version of myself. For wanting to make me proud. For succeeding of making me proud. For the gifts. For the surprise, stolen kisses. For the warmest hugs ever. For the stories. For the laughs. For the advices. For the lessons. For the dates. For the night outs. For the night ins. For wanting to invent your dreams with me. For letting me be a part of your life. For asking me to be a part of mine.

For wanting to be responsible for my feelings, especially my happiness.

Happy first anniversary, sweetheart. I hope this would not be our only one. I’ve got no problem if I’ll have to write a piece like this every year (as long as you give Telling the World song like today…). But, if, it is our only anniversary – I am sure I will never regret of agreeing to be in this relationship.

I love you. I hope I have made you happy.

I’m so grateful to you, I’d have lived my whole life through lost forever… if I never knew you.

Are you sure you’d like to blend?

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

One of my best friends, Sasha, recommended a song by Tonex, called “Blend“. It’s a great song, embedded with beautifully written lyrics. Tonex reminds me of DC Talk, both of them combine gospel and R&B, and are praised by doing so.

Have you ever wished you were someone else? Have you ever idolized someone so much you wish you could have been like him/her? Having a role model does not mean we have to follow everything he/she does. It means having an external motivation. It means having a tool to remind yourself that you can go beyond the boundaries, that you can go forth–eliminate the limits. It means you can be the best version of yourself. No need to be someone else. No need to be anyone else.

Do you really wanna be like them?
Do you really wanna act like them?
Do you really wanna sound like them?
Why do you try so hard to blend?

Do you really wanna look like them?
Do you really wanna talk like them?
Do you really wanna sing like them?
Why do you try so hard to blend?

You wonder why they hate you
You wonder why they tolerate you
You wonder why you had to be you
Cause you’re trying too hard to blend
You wonder why they spite you
No matter how hard you try
Because you’re never blending with them
You are unique in God’s eyes 

Cause by the time you blend into one thing
It’s time to blend into something else
Blending take
s too much of your energy
Be you for who you are
Because someone wants to be like you
And they might just lose their star

Who’s your role model, by the way? I got a lot, which includes Ronan Farrow. Oops, I meant, he’s a role model whom I’d love to have as a boyfriend. :>

Traveling tips

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

I traveled out of the city for a conference sometime ago for approximately 5 days. Everything I had to bring (including business attire) fitted in a small luggage and a small backpack. My friend brought two big luggages, one travel bag, and one carry-on women handbag. I can never travel like that. :p

I usually travel alone – yes, just like Ryan Bingham on “Up In The Air”. Here are some basic tips from me – especially if you are going to travel alone for the first time.

  1. Travel light – Yes, it is one of the most important things. If you want to have a fun trip, do not bring too many items (especially clothes). You won’t suffer wearing the same jeans, shoes, and jackets/coats everyday. It would be difficult to travel on your own if you bring so many luggages. Only bring what you can bring while traveling a far distance on foot. Before I pack, I always go to this website: The Universal Packing List.
  2. Research – Read a lot about the place you are going. Almost everything can be found on the Internet. You can also buy books about those places. Before I travel somewhere, I usually read about it on a number of websites. Here are my favourite websites: WikiTravel, TripAdvisor, and VirtualTourist. Also check about the public transportation and its costs.
  3. Re-check your documents – Read again! Do the names on your passport and ticket match? Do you need a visa to visit the place? If you do, have you applied? How long is the visa application process? Make copies of them and put these copies in all bags you bring.
  4. Prepare your cash – Some people choose to exchange their money abroad. Truth to be told, Rupiah is not that “internationally renowned”. It is never listed, therefore it can be assumed, people don’t ask for Rupiah and it makes Rupiah depreciated. We might lose much by exchanging our cash abroad. So, exchange your cash here (and not in the airport though)! I recommend Dua Sisi Money Changer (they have branches in Grand Indonesia, Senayan City, Plaza Senayan). They are very helpful, offer good rates, and sometimes have the currency others don’t. My family relative recommended Bali Inter, but they once sold CHF on IDR 10,000/CHF and wanted to buy my CHF for only IDR 8,000/CHF. What a rip off. Good thing Dua Sisi saved the day by buying my CHF at IDR 10,000/CHF.
  5. Prepare your cards, too – Your ATM card is probably accepted overseas. BCA is a part of the Cirrus and Maestro network, Mandiri is a part of Visa, and so on. Check your bank’s website to know how much will it cost to withdraw your money abroad (for emergency situations). However, I was advised that using credit card overseas is better than using debit card – because credit cards have fraud insurance. I once withdrew my cash using my Mandiri ATM card in London. I withdrew GBP 30. When I already arrived in Jakarta, I received a message (Mobile Banking), saying there is a debit transaction worth a few million Rupiahs for around 3 times. Apparently someone “recorded” my card details and used them to shop in Tesco, London. I lost my entire savings worth more than IDR 8,000,000. I then contacted Bank Mandiri in Jakarta and claimed, because I still had my card with me in Jakarta and had proofs that I was not in London; so then Bank Mandiri accepted my claim and returned my cash.

Last but not least… Have fun! What’s your traveling tip?