8 Simple Daily Routines to Keep Your Skin Glowing! The Basics 101.

Since it’s been awhile that I updated the blog, I thought I’d change the subject a bit and share with you ten simple ways you can improve your skin drastically- just by changing your daily habits! I am a skin care fanatic and had spent countless times trying out facials in Korea (and all over, but Korea by far is the best in beauty related services) and testing hundreds of different products. More so than makeup, I believe in looking flawless in your bare skin. While this can’t cure all, the simple steps below will definitely improve your skin within days. These are the things I wish my mother had told me growing up!

  1. Apply a lotion or toner IMMEDIATELY after you wash your face.

Yup, that’s right. Immediately means seconds after you wipe the water off of your face with a towel. Not a minute, or five minutes. or worst yet, 30 minutes after your wash because you were too busy changing into your night gown. You have just scraped off your skin raw by washing your face and trust me, your face is prone to all sorts of nasty stuff due to its dryness. The moral of the first rule: do not let your skin lose its moisture.

2.  Wait in between toners, serums, lotions, and creams. 

Have more than one skin care routine you follow? Once you apply a toner immediately after a wash (or lotion, or a serum, really depends on each individual), make sure that this time, you wait a bit in between applications.  Wash your face, immediately apply a toner. Then wait few minutes. Apply a serum. Wait again for few minutes. Apply lotion. Once you give your skin a chance to soak in all the beneficial goodies in one product, it’s in a better state to take in the next, rather than applying all the gunk one after another.

3.  Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT touch your face. ever.

If you must wipe, scratch, rub your face, use the back of your hands. Your hands have a lot of bacteria that you do not want near your sensitive face. This includes your cell phone- do not let the screen touch the side of your face.

4.  Wash your pillow cover once a week.

You should be changing all of your bedsheets once a week anyway, but for the students living in dorms who were lazy to wash your sheets, then wondered why you broke out all the time, your dirty pillow cover could be the reason! Did you know that some celebrities in Korea place a fresh new towel on top of their pillow every night and change it daily? They owe their glowing skin to fresh pillow covers. Yup, it’s true. My dermatologist in Korea who treats many Korean celebrities’ skin let loose this secret of theirs. Changing daily was a bit too much for me (I’m no celebrity), so I only change it once a week. But really, the more the merrier (for your skin)!

5.  Change your pillow once every two years. 

For the same reason above, change your pillow. You would be surprised at how much sweat, drool (embarrassingly yes), dust mites, fungus, bacteria, whatever it may be, your pillow absorbs. And keeps. So change your pillows frequently! I buy a cheap latex pillow like 100% Natural Latex Pillow by ExceptionalSheets, Queen or even Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover by Coop Home Goods – Made in the USA – QUEEN, use the heck out of it for a year or two years, then buy another.

6. Apply sunscreen all the time, even when you’re indoors in your home.

You’d be surprised at the amount of UVA that enters your home even if you’re indoors. Ever wonder why many Asian woman look young? Because we avoid sun at all costs. We do not tan. ever.  You can spot an Asian from far as we’re the one walking with our hands covering our faces even with the slightest sun out, and the one that is covered from head to toe (literally. the Korean ladies wear winter face masks in the summer) when we’re golfing or jogging. There’s no excuse to not wear one as there are great lightweight ones in the market which you barely feel it on your skin! Try to look for one above SPF 50. I highly highly highly recommend Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, 1.7 Fluid Ounce. The best sunscreen ever!

7.  Don’t have time for a facial? Use the black pore-declogging skin mask and Clarisonic brush once a week. 

Use the black mask to rid of your pores once a week, and a Clarisonic brush, such as Clarisonic Mia 2 Facial Sonic Cleansing System, Pink to help take off the dead skin on your face that your hands can’t. Keep in mind, though, that it’s good to be gentle on your skin. Clarisonic brush is definitely needed to take away your dead skin that is preventing your pores from absorbing all the nutrients easily, but once a week is enough! I also recommend using the delicate brush like this one: Clarisonic Replacement Brush Heads for Delicate Skin.

8.  Apply water, or mist, or both on your face, whenever you can.

The road to maintaining a youthful look is to avoid the sun and maintain the “water” on your face. And this can also mean literally. Koreans carry around a skin mist in their bags everywhere they go to keep their skin moisturized. D looks really young for his age, and I’ve observed after being with him for few years that he always keeps his eyes wet, as in, every time he enters the bathroom, he quickly puts water over his eyes and keeps it wet until it dries on its own. Yes, the water on its own can help in preventing wrinkles!  A celebrity in Korea stated her secret to maintaining youthful skin was to allow the water to dry naturally after a face wash, without using a towel. I hate dripping all over the place, and have no patience to do so, but for those unlike me, this is a great habit and you can still apply the rule #1- apply lotion even when your face is wet, and let it dry and soak in all at once!

Why I Chose Korea to give Birth- My Korean Postpartum Care Experience

 Three weeks after we brought Brevi home from the Korean postpartum centre, he’s put on a lot of weight and is thriving. He’s already doubled the size of his birthweight and now finally resembles something like a little human. Amazing how babies change so much! I can barely keep up with his ever-changing face and sometimes I have to do a double take to make sure I didn’t bring home the wrong baby. Despite still waking up every two hours each night to feed him, I feel more refreshed than ever (and much lighter), thanks to the amazing postpartum clinic I stayed in Korea. Though there were faults in the system that annoyed me a couple times, I believe it was worth the “investment.” And I say investment, because it was so absurdly expensive. Here’s my belated review on the Korean postpartum system and why I chose to give birth in Seoul, Korea, instead of Singapore (where I currently reside) or United States (our original home country)!

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Brevi’s Birth Story ♥

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Our beautiful bundle of joy is here!

Our little Brevi arrived earlier than we expected at 37 weeks and 1 day, weighing 2.62kgs on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014, at 10: 47am!

What an unforgettable *tear* :)

I still can’t believe I’m now a mommy! It feels so surreal. And I never thought I’d ever feel this way, but I am so thankful that I was born a female, for a different reason post this event. Yes, my pregnancy was hard- I had a severe case of morning sickness that lasted from week 6 to week 18 where I was throwing up every few hours every. single. day. I couldn’t stand the smell of basically everything. In the third trimester, my right rib cage went numb because my baby kicked in the same area repeatedly. My delivery- written below- was nothing I had imagined, and really really terrifying (yes, all you expecting mothers. it’s exactly as excruciatingly painful as everyone explained it’d be, and more), but I now have a newfound respect for all those that went through active labor. Yes, I feel so thankful that I’ve been born a female, so that I have the HONOR of experiencing a child kick and squirm inside me (growing from a little bean to a little human! I have grown a human!), and to have experienced giving BIRTH to an another being despite all that I went through for the past nine months.

So this is may be a bit personal, but I thought I’d write about my delivery to mark a truly blessed and humbling moment in my life so that I will forever remember every detail of my labor, which has been shared many many times with my family, friends, and oh, the other mommy’s at the confinement centre I got to know while brestfeeding in the last couple days. I will explain my confinement experience in the later post.

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Maternity Photography in Korea

It’s been a bit over two months since I’ve been in Korea… and I gotta say, Seoul, Korea is such an exciting place with so much happening. It’s a bit like New York in terms of variety of things to do but of course, the quality doesn’t quite meet up there yet. Only certain nicer parts of Seoul.  But as for quality of service and the price point of products offered, I think I’d rate Seoul as the number one city. It’s def not cheap here either, but you really get the top-notch quality products for the same price you’d pay in US (In US, you’d have to pay A LOT to find this quality) or Singapore (I’m sorry to say, but you’d have to pay A LOT in Singapore to get even the low-end products, if it’s available) Seoul just has too many talented ppl in every market you can think of, thus having too much competition which in return provides low prices for consumers.

Because we got so burnt from the ‘high-end’ popular photographer in the US (see my post below), we decided to look for affordable photographers in Korea for my real maternity photoshoot now that I’m at 36 weeks. And there were many.  There was, of course, the high-end one in every city where the celebrities and the rich gawk over (May Studio), but yes no more, I’m not falling into that trap anymore. I’ve visited to find out its price and we were so turned off by the absurd high pricing (though a lot lower than jen huang and it comes with an album and photo editing service. jen huang was just digital copies.) and their inflexibility in providing the original copies. They only provide you with five to ten copies out of the 100 pictures you’d probably take in an hour, and in order for you to buy the other prints, you’d have to pay for them. I guess that’s how it works with certain photographers, but if I’m in it, and if I hired you, then I want it without having to pay five bucks for each piece. I’m guessing it all depends on the photographer but koreans and freelance photographers are usually generous with sharing their unused leftover pictures. Anyway, by now we learned our lesson that expensive is not always better- we’d only go for up-and-coming, talented photographers, not those that are already up there to still hold the drive to want to cater and please the clients.

I searched and searched for the two perfect ones that seem to have both the quality AND the cheap price. It seems photoshoots are an excuse for girls to do a makeover and have fun :) So here are the two that I’ve narrowed down for Korean maternity photography, and they also do regular family shots and professional photos. so check them out next time you’re in Korea! Kindly take note that they are a bit farther out from Gangnam, Seoul. There are many chaeper options there as well, but I didn’t like the quality and concepts at all.

The service and products offered are unbelievable (in US and Sing standards):


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Few (more) tips when choosing a photographer (Wedding/Maternity)

I thought I’d share with you my views (and lesson learned) on hiring a ‘popular’ photographer.

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So at five months into my pregnancy (when my belly was still not so big), I flew to the states for my husband’s company party and to visit my lovely family. Because I only get see them once a year, I thought it’d be a great idea to hire a photographer and do a semi maternity/family/baby shower shoot for a small gathering with few friends and family at our house.

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