SGShop: Taobao shopping heaven

I've heard so much about Taobao and have had friends raving to me about their purchases (good quality and so cheap!). I've been soooo tempted to shop on the site, but my mandarin - or the lack thereof - is horrid. Just looking at the site with so many mandarin characters is so daunting and really confuses me. Imagine my delight when I was introduced to SGShop.com. Read this: SGShop is the agent for Taobao, and the website is in ENGLISH!! Hello, the world of affordable everything! 

I checked out the site excitedly and this is SGShop's promise:

1. High quality and low price - ok, this I obviously know already.

2. Speed guarantee: Guarantee shipment within stated period or discount will be given - wow, this is pretty impressive.

3. Free & secure inspection: Free Inspection done upon order arrives at China warehouse - so for those who have ordered stuff from China before, you know that their quality can sometimes really differ and items can get mixed up and all. Pretty chaotic basically...so this service is excellent! 

4. Online service: friendly customer care to be at your service - we all know how important it is to have someone to air our grievances to. "I really want that pair of shoes, but they sent it to me in the wrong size. HOW???!!!!" 

So far so good. I proceeded to check out the wares on SGShop. 

Apparel, shoes, bags and accessories, electronic gadget, beauty, home, sports and outdoors, toys and games, pets supplies, books and magazines, daily products, automobile and motor...WOW, they've got everything under one online roof! A quick look-around and they've even got wedding gowns. At such affordable prices! A wedding is in the cards for me and looking at these gowns, I can have as many gown changes as I want. How fun! 

These gowns are so pretty! 

I looked at home furnishing next. I've been looking at interior and furniture a lot recently as I've got a house coming next year. Whee ~ I can't wait! I think I really want a marble top dining table for the new home. Guess what? SGShop's got them too!

You can even pick the type of marbling you want. Amazing or what?! The price range for these tables are between $200 - 600. 

Ooh, but these wooden tables are so pretty. Maybe I should get a wooden table instead?

I checked out shipping methods and rates because I've already got a whole list of things I want to buy. There's no charge for the first 500g! To order, I'll have to add all items to cart on the website, pay, have them consolidate all my items at their warehouse and arrange for delivery to Singapore. Easy peasy!

Here's a list of the shipping rates. Assuming my dining table is 50kg, I'll have to pay $200 for shipment by sea. Ooh, and there's a promotion from Maybank too. I'll get a $10 rebate with every $50 spent! This promotion ends 30 Nov. Find out more about the promotion here. Looks like I gotta get shopping quick. I'm going to go and check out lights next. I've got a few friends who have gotten lights from Taobao and they can't stop raving. What's your shopping list from SGShop? ;)


SK-II's #ChangeDestiny launch party & prepping for Christmas (yes, already!)

I was recently invited along with my Gushcloud lovelies, Sophia and Tricia to SK-II's Change Destiny launch party at Vivo City to witness the unveiling of their new exclusive limited edition Facial Treatment Essence bottles for the upcoming festive season.

The beautiful floral designs on the bottles are designed by up-and-coming digital artist, Po-Chih Huang. He drew inspiration from four flowers - tulips, freesia, hydrangea and cypress to create the stunning design on the bottles. The different floral motif represent different facets of beauty - passion, elegance, compassion and wisdom. I like the purple hydrangea floral motif best. It represents compassion, appreciation and gratitude - qualities that I keep very close to my heart. Plus, I'm sure you all know that purple is my favourite colour.

True to SK-II's belief in empowerment and transformation, this collaboration between the brand and the designer is the first of SK-II's efforts to support emerging young artists. Kudos to SK-II for supporting young talent! These exclusive Facial Treatment Essence bottles will be available at all SK-II counters in Singapore starting October. For fans of the Treatment Essence, you won't want to miss this. The bottles will sit so pretty on your dresser! They'll surely also make such pretty gifts for Christmas. 

Tricia, Sophia and I at the entrance of the  Change Destiny Garden. With a wonderful marriage of beauty, art and fashion, we were given a visual treat at the launch party with a fashion runway show showcasing creations inspired by the designs on the new Facial Treatment essence bottles by LASALLE College of the arts graduates. With another partnership between SK-II and renowned UK illustrator, Melissa Bailey, Melissa drew inspiration from Po-Chih Huang's digital designs and transformed them into hand-crafted fashion illustrations. The graduates from LASALLE in turn brought Melissa's fashion illustrations to live by transforming the outfits from paper to real and showcased them during the runway show. This was the stunning results from the beautiful partnerships.

After the runway show, the new exclusive Facial Treatment Essence bottles were unveiled. The CEO of SK-II and Tangs were joined onstage by award-winning Korean actress, Lee Yeon Hee for the unveiling ceremony. Sophia, Tricia and I scored a private meet-and-greet with her before the show started. Lucky us! She's so beautiful in real life and her skin looks absolutely crystal clear, super dewy and amazing. The works of SK-II products I bet! 

The unveiling of the limited edition exclusive Facial Treatment Essence.

Us with Lee Yeon Hee.

Her skin is so radiant and glowing! 

A few days after the launch party, we were invited by SK-II once again for a private event called the #ChangeDestiny Garden Party for a Gift and Craft workshop. The good people at SK-II were so kind to arrange for their trainer, Louis, to have a skincare Q&A session with us for us to ask him about anything beauty. 

We could pick and gift SK-II products to our loved ones at this workshop, so we took this opportunity to ask Louie which products were suitable. I gifted for my mum, sister and Jon. (My dad doesn't use any skincare products. I'm not being biased!) 

We also asked him questions on how to care for our delicate eye area, how to keep our skin taut and firm and many more!

Here, he's demonstrating the correct way to apply eye cream. First, warm up the eye cream between your fingers so that they get absorbed into the skin better.

Then, using your third and forth finger, swipe from the middle of the bottom of your eye upwards towards your upper lids 6 times. Make sure you cover the entire area around your eyes. End at your temples and give it a gentle push for 5 counts, with the strongest push on the 3rd count.

Then swipe 6 times on your upper lid from inner to outer of your eye, and swipe 6 times on your bottom lid from inner to outer once again. End at the start of your nose bridge after swiping 6 times on the upper lid and give it a gentle push for 5 counts (strongest on the 3rd count). End at the nose area parallel to your lower lids after swiping 6 times on your lower lids and push for 5 counts. Try it, it feels really good and relaxing.

 To keep your cheeks firm and taut, apply moisturizer and then swipe 6 times on each cheek with your thumb and third finger upwards from bottom of cheek to ear. Then, hold your thumb and second finger together and form an 'O' shape and swipe from chin to ear, 6 times. 6 is like the magic number isn't it! Then push downwards (as shown in the picture above) from the back of your ears to the base of your neck near the collarbone to drain all excess fluids and toxins from your lymph nodes.

I've been doing this lymphathic massage method on my face and eyes every night since the workshop and (I hope I'm not imagining things) but my face seems to be smaller and less bloated from water retention!

Here's another tip: your body repairs all your major organs including your skin between the magical hour of 10pm - 4am. So, the ideal time to complete your night time skincare routine is by 10pm so that when your body starts working on your skin, all the goodness is already there waiting to be absorbed. This is the 2nd time that I've heard it already. 10pm is a little early for me, so I've not tried it. Do try and let me know how it works out!

Also, we learned from Louis that our skin's future is ours to control. SK-II actually provides in-depth consultations that recommend you the right products so that you can look forward to better quality skin for as long as the next 20 years!

So, back to the gifts. The lovely people at SK-II prepared all these gift boxes and tools for us to get crafty and decorate our gifts. We got busy and it was really fun.

I picked the Stem Power range Eye Cream, Essence and Rich Cream for my mum as it's suitable for mature skin.

I hear that the Cellumination Aura Essence is really good, so I packed that along with the Facial Treatment Essence for my sis.

As for Jon, I got him the Facial Treatment Clear Lotion (to be used in place of toners), Facial Treatment Essence and Cellumination Deep Surge EX. 

It almost felt like I was back in art school again. :) 

And my presents are ready! I'm so excited for Christmas to come already so that I can give it to them. I'm sure my mum, sis and Jon would love their presents. You can't top gifting the gift of good skin, really. It'll last them through way after Christmas has ended. Thank you SK-II for having us at this creative Gift & Craft workshop. I had a wonderful time learning more about SK-II products and I can't wait to use them! 

Also, if you would like to get a beautiful festive gift set for your loved ones, the prices are as follows!

SK-II Pitera Essence Set - S$99.00
Sk-II Miracle in a Bottle - S$233.00
SK-II Best Essential Set - S$398.00
SK-II Revival Deluxe Set - S$452.00
SK-II Aura Glow Set - S$532.00
SK-II Men Essentials Set - S$322.00
SK-II Colours Collection - S$69**

*Exclusive price available with any purchase



Acne trouble and dealing with it

It may come rather surprising to some, but I do and always have had acne/blemish prone skin. My skin looks clear and pimple-free most of the time because I've been visiting dermatologists since my teenage years. So mostly, I've got my acne under control. I've probably used most or almost all of the reputable acne creams in the market and was even on Roaccutane pills at one point of my life about ten years ago. I've always thought this 'problem' will go away once I passed puberty - well, that never happened. Then I thought, maybe it'll go away when I'm in my 30's. Guess what? I'm in my 30's and this problem is still persisting and bugging me. Like seriously?! 

Anyhow, I managed to control and manage the problem quite well for a couple of years and I was mostly very happily pimple-free with minimal flare ups - until about a year ago. I'm not quite sure what happened, really. It could be stress, the use of unsuitable products on my skin or haywire hormones. Perhaps, it was due to the frequent change in climates from all my traveling. I was breaking out way too often on both sides of my cheeks and forehead and getting increasingly frustrated with having to deal with zits on the face at the age of 30+. Yes, I've completely grown into my skin and I'm a confident adult, but my self-esteem can't help but take a beating on those days or weeks where the flare-ups are more than I can bear.

I decided to seek help once again from a dermatologist. I started doing my research and through friends and online reviews, I found IDS Clinic by Dr SK Tan. I've heard of Dr SK Tan quite many times over my many years of seeking help for my skin. For no real reason at all, I've just never gone to him for treatment. Through my research this time, I found out that Dr Tan is known for his expertise in the treatment of pigmentary conditions, especially acne. There were also so many good reviews of him helping people with acne conditions. Bingo! I think I found the clinic for me. 

I made an appointment with the clinic and was assigned to see Dr Heng. During my appointment, I lamented to him my skin troubles and of course asked him why my acne problem never seemed to go away for good. He told me the cold hard truth that acne never ever really goes away. Some people even have to manage it way into adulthood right until they hit menopause (at this point, I think I was cursing every swear word in my head), and it's all about managing, controlling the problem and keeping it down to a minimal. Well, I can't imaging having to deal with pimple issues even when I'm 40 something so all I basically said was ok, so what should I do to control and deal with my constant break outs now? He examined my skin and after discussions together, decided that I should go on a course of Doxycycline - commonly used to treat acne and embark on a range of skincare products by IDS.

The nurse led me to a separate room to go through all the products that I was going to be taking home with me and the product how-tos. She was very thorough and I left the clinic knowing exactly what I had to do.

IDS has a huge range of products for your skin needs. 

 Check out the number of accolades between two doctors on the wall.  

These are the products that I took home with me. From left to right, Refreshing Cleanser, Cleansing Gel (for removing makeup), Toner, Pore (for unclogging pores), C Plus (multi-tasking age fighter), Oil-free Moisturizer, Spot (on-the-spot acne treatment) Sunscreen (for day). 

It's been slightly over 2 weeks since I've started using all the products and I'm happy to report that my skin has cleared so much. All the tiny zits on my forehead (I believe they're called white heads) have all gone and the break-outs on my chin and cheeks are so much more under control. My cheeks are even almost clear now. Yay! Here are before/after pictures to show.

Before (left cheek): My main issue is clogged pores and tiny bumps. You can see a sprinkling of them over my left cheek.

After (left cheek): So much clearer! My skin is a lot less clogged and most of the tiny bumps have all gone away.

 Before (right cheek): Spots and bumps all over and on my chin too.

After (right cheek): Woo hoo! Short for a couple of spots and a blemish from an old zit that's taking awhile to clear, my skin is almost all clear. :) 

So much happiness for clear skin! I know that different treatments and products work differently on different skin but I've always been a firm believer in dermatologists especially for acne/blemish prone skin. Over the counter products - at least for me - just don't quite work as well in controlling pimple issues. My favourite product amongst all (ok I do love the ones that fight and kill the pimples) is C Plus. This product actually brightens my skin. I noticed my skin looking brighter right after the first night of using it already. It's like magic! 

I'm so glad that I found IDS products. Good riddance to pimples!