I tried the 7-Step Korean Skin Care Regime! x Althea

Sunday, March 11, 2018

There are some things that really only work out when you start early. Flexibility, for instance. Now it's probably not impossible to become flexible when you're older because, as they say, with enough practice and stretching, anything is possible. But I can envision some sort of not worth it stage, where your bones have stiffened and you can hardly walk, where stretching out into a split is more likely to tear some sort of vital muscle than turn you into the ballerina you always wished you were.

But before I digress further, what I’m really trying to talk about is skin care. I've been blessed with good skin throughout my life that has generally been clear and even toned, but my time of not needing to moisturize or heck, even cleanse my face, is running out. I'm talking noticeable creases around my mouth and eyes and semi-frequent monthly break outs on my forehead. Friends have actually started commenting about my skin's steady deterioration so it's really about time that I started doing something about it, lest it becomes too late and all that can save me is a face lift or Botox lolol.


After 3 days of the skin care routine. You can still see some spots and redness but it was worse beforehand.

Rather than start out small, I thought, okay la, let’s do this properly. If we’re on the topic of skin care, no one does it as well as the Koreans and I decided to embark on the journey of..

7 Step Korean Skin Care

If 7 steps sound excessive, you should know that this isn’t even the full version. 7 steps is a fairly condensed version, with many incorporating 10 or even up to 14 steps in their daily routine! Just so we’re all on the same page, here’s what the 7 steps include! When I did some googling, there are some variations to this, but all in all, they generally follow this pattern:

Step 1: Oil cleanse

Step 2: Water cleanse (Yes, again)

Step 3: Exfoliate

Step 4: Toner

Step 5: Lifting cream

Step 6: Moisturize

Step 7: Mask

What was it like?

Step 1: Oil Cleanse
I used the Natural Pacific Perfect Deep Cleansing Oil for my first step which involved me slathering it on to my face and leaving it there for about a minute, rubbing in some water in to foam it up, and rinsing it off! Pretty straightforward and probably the most familiar step for those who cleanse on a regular basis.


Oily and sheer when on a dry face


Emulsified and milky

Step 2: Water Cleanse
So this double cleanse is a cornerstone of Korean skin care, because being Asian and competitive, ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH. The cleanser we’re meant to use for the second step is a water cleanser which I suppose is milder and leaves my skin feeling clean but not too dry. This is probably one of my favourite steps and all I have to do is soak a cotton pad with the solution, and wipe my face with it. Rub from inwards to outwards and don’t be too sparse with the cotton pads (it’s okay to use more than 1!) else you might end up just distributing your gunk around your face.


Step 3: Exfoliate

Exfoliating is probably one of my least favourites because I never know whether I’m being too rough with my skin. So, Korean skin care necessitates that we rub off those dead ol’ skin cells which will make the moisturisers to come more effective!

Step 4: Toner
Before this, I always presumed toners were something related to the colour tone of your skin. But, well, it’s not hahaha and toners are meant to balance the pH levels of your skin and like exfoliating, also helps in the absorption of all the good products to come. The toner I’m using is the Beauty Water which feels amazing! Use a cotton pad to swipe it across your face for the most shiok tingling sensation across it. It’s so quick to do, but the feeling afterwards makes me feel like I did something complicated and important for my skin.

Step 5: Lifting cream

To combat the early onset of wrinkles, I’m using Leaguertox V-Shot Silhouette Lifting Ampoule as a lifting ampoule which has instant results! This one is pretty cool where a little goes a long way and instantly lifts up my face. So I put some under my eyes and by the corners of my mouth and jaw, massage it upwards and it’s like an auto face-lift. What the gel does is that it kinda turns sticky once rubbed in and holds my face in place? Which I guess would be useful when I’m asleep so my face sort of “sets” in a not saggy way.


Step 6: Moisturise
Over the years, I’ve collected a variety of moisturisers from my half-hearted attempts at keeping my face supple over the dry winter months in UK. I never diligently used any of them but now that I’ve started trying to care for my skin properly, I’ve been playing around with a range of moisturisers. Haven’t found my go-to yet but I love how no matter what, I wake up with my skin feeling soft.

Step 7: Sheet mask

I found this very difficult to follow on a daily basis because it’s so over-the-top! Sheet masks have always felt like a treat to me so it seems a bit indulgent to do it every day, and I find myself giving this a miss every 2 days. But, if you really think about it, it’s only about RM3 per mask, so if it makes you feel like a queen, then by all means, it’s a small price to pay for royalty!

Where do I begin??

If you’re a first timer like I was, all of the above can sound a little overwhelming. My products came from a variety of brands and making an investment on things you don’t really know how to use can be intimidating. However, knowing what the 7 steps entail means that you know what you’re looking out for. More often than not, you probably already have some moisturiser lying around, a cleanser that you’re already using perhaps or even some exfoliating cream. Just put them all together, supplement the missing steps and you’re well on your way to starting on 7 steps.

If you have no idea where to start, my products were all from Althea, a Korean-Malaysian shopping site for Korean beauty products. Whilst they do sell most of the items individually, they periodically issue Althea Boxes which put together a collection of skin care or beauty products all in one box. I had the chance to review the 7-Step Korean Skincare Box which was absolutely perfect for a beginner like me because it pretty much sourced all the different products I needed and is much more affordable than getting the products on their own.

The box itself is sold out right now, but you can still get the items individually if you wish to. I’ve starred the ones I personally found amazing to use so definitely check those out.

P/S: Minding Money Tip: 15% off for first time customers!

Here's what was in the box and the links to them:

  • *Natural Pacific Perfect Deep Cleansing Oil - get it here
  • *The Saem Healing Tea Garden Tea Tree Cleansing Water - get it here
  • Dr.Frog Control-Tox Peeling Gel (120ml) - get it here
  • *Son & Park BEAUTY WATER (340ml) - get it here (non-Althea link)
  • *Leaguertox V-Shot Silhouette Lifting Ampoule - get it here
  • Rire Camu Camu Moisture Cream - get it here
  • Lebaton Pearl Whitening Essence Mask - get it here

Just as a general remark, I really recommend these Althea Boxes because they come at good price points and from what I’ve seen, include full sized products so you won’t have to worry about not getting your value for money. It’ll make a great gift for your girlfriends, your mother or even yourself.

Is it worth the effort?

I had so many questions when I first started this like do I have to wait between each step? How much time is this going to take? And ultimately, is it worth the effort??

For the first question, it’s recommended that you allow the product to set in before you apply your next one. So maybe a minute between each?

When I first started, it took me 30 minutes to go through the whole procedure, excluding the sheet mask. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, it takes less than 15 minutes, and can be a really therapeutic way to end the day. I’ll confess that I’ve given it a miss every now and then, but will at least try to water cleanse, toner and moisturise if I can.

This has done wonders to making me feel more adult and when I got a really strong tan after my recent trip to Australia, very quickly lightened me back to my slightly-less-tanned-but-still-tanned self.

The best part of this is really just feeling like I have cleaner and healthier skin. My recent period came and went without any major breakouts and whilst I still haven’t returned to the baby skin days of the past and don’t know if I ever will, it’s doing a lot better than it did prior to this!

All in all, it’s a commitment worth sticking to and I’ll do my best to keep at it!


Thanks again to Althea.kr for the sponsored box. As usual, I’m not being forced to say nice things and I’m only saying it if I mean it.

Tiffany x Caffe Bene: Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Series Party!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
I don’t think I’ve ever had a post so colour themed, so if you’re into purple, then you’re in for a treat!

Caffe Bene

K-culture blew up as I was a high school student, and I can still vividly remember when bingsu hit our shores (I guess it arrived with a Big Bang ;)). In fact, the first one I tried was at Caffe Bene, and I remember glorious toppings of chocolate ice cream and chunky brownies, so I guess you can say that we’ve had a pretty good relationship. But if you haven’t met bingsu yet, here’s an introduction for you: bingsu is pretty much the millennial ice kacang, which puts it squarely in the realm of being very Instagrammable.

I was recently invited for a party with the Butterfly Project at Caffe Bene to sample their new seasonal range: Ultra Violet Purple Sweet Potato Series. No prizes for guessing what the dress code was though I have to say, I never thought I’d ever try dressing up for a party to match the food being served.

My staple holiday dress

Caffe Bene(pronounced Kah-Fey Bey-ney and not Cafe Bean as I once thought)
The event was held at the One Utama outlet which is a beautiful two story store tucked away in the Old Wing, and the first of the Caffe Bene outlets to feature its modern, newer industrial look. With a focus on “more than coffee”, Caffe Bene is positioning itself as a everyday hang out especially for its new outlets in One Utama and Mid Valley, equipping its stores with story books, plug points and wide tables. If natural lighting and a comfy seat is your cup of tea, you’ll be happy to spend hours at Caffe Bene.


Tell me about the food..
Meet the cast of characters: the latte, bingsu, Frappeno and my personal favourite..

Cafe Benne

the waffle!

Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Cream Waffle (RM18.90)  - Vibrant purple sweet potato paste layered on top of Caffe Bene signature Belgium waffle, crunchy granola, topped with seasonal purple sweet potato gelato and dusted with some purple sweet potato powder.

Hahah look at the adoration the waffle’s receiving!

Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Bingsu (RM29.90)  - This ultra violet icy treat is built up with layers of shaved ice, purple sweet potato milk base, crunchy granola, bouncy agar jelly and topped with Caffe Bene’s seasonal Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Gelato.

You can eat bingsu in one of two ways: (1) press down on the ice cream and mix everything up so all the flavours are combined. The ice keeps the ice cream from melting too much and you get a creamy, almost McFlurry like concoction; or (2) eat it layer by layer but get left with some layers of just ice in the middle.

Caffe Bene recommends doing it the first way but since people like monstrosities like deconstructed cheesecakes, I’m sure some would prefer the second. Whatever floats your boat, man!


The bingsu was the most photogenic of the bunch and found itself the star of many photos. But as beautiful as it was, I think you’ve got to be a fan of sweet potato to really appreciate this. It had a very generous chunk of sweet potato paste in the middle but I was honestly more interested in the jelly pieces than anything else in the dessert. On the plus side, it wasn’t too sweet and we made it all the way to the bottom of the bowl.


Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Frappeno (RM16.90) 

I didn’t try the Frappeno so here’s the press release description: The perfect icy drink for a hot summer day. Ice blended purple sweet potato frappeno, topped with whipped cream and sprinkle of purple sweet potato powder for that finishing touch.

Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Latte (RM14.90)

This was comforting and tasted nothing like a latte I’ve had before. Because it was so creamy, it was almost like Nestum or oats. I didn’t taste the sweet potato in this one at all, but Xinaday gulped it down and said she really like how much it tasted like sweet potato (???!!!?) LOL maybe my palette isn’t cut out for food tasting if I’m missing notes like these but hey ho!

The series will be here till 15 April 2018 so you have about a month to try these ultra violet beauties.  
You should try it if..

  • You’re a fan of sweet potato
  • You love purple/ pastel colours
  • You don’t like desserts that are too sweet
  • You love bingsu and want to try something new
  • You’re in One Utama or Mid Valley and you want somewhere to sit down, charge your phone and relax
  • You want to introduce Korean desserts to a your elder relatives
Minding Money Tip
If you want to try the desserts, but you’re watching your wallet, here’s my Caffe Bene Minding Money tip for you: go on Wednesdays! Depending on the hour you go, you’re entitled to different discounts for different items from the menu.


Thanks to..
Caffe Bene and the Butterfly Project for the fun party! I took home a fun goodie bag with gifts from MAISON de gigi, JUICY Fresh Juice Bar and Caffe Bene Premix Coffee.


Special shoutout for this tube of Barbeque Flavoured Popcorn! Best prepackaged popcorn I’ve ever had! I honestly had good intentions about bringing some to work to share but it was so good, my family (okay, mostly me) finished it in less than a day. If you find it, it’s a must try! I hardly ever enjoy savoury snacks but this was a 10/10.


Anyway, it should go without saying that all the views here are my own and no one is forcing me to say nice things about them. If I’ve said nice things, it’s because I mean it.

See you next time!

Marco Creative Cuisine, 1U - “7 courses” for under RM100

Sunday, February 4, 2018


C’mon guys, you know me well enough by now to know that I’m an absolute sucker for set deals because it’s generally less money for more value. So it was a no brainer that when I heard of a place that was serving a “7 course” set menu fine dining style for under RM100, I had to pay a visit.

Marco Creative Cuisine

My experience at Marco was in May 2017, back when its set menu was going for RM78+ per person. I went with my mom as a little treat and it was a fun experience eating together for over an hour. It’s gone up to RM98+ since then so chances are, the bill will come up to slightly over a hundred for the set which despite the raise, really won’t do much to knock off its position as an affordable fine dining venue.


I should note that it’s fairly casual as a venue so you won’t be going there for the fancy atmosphere. For starters, it’s located in a mall where most are casually dressed and there isn’t a clear dress code. As in many Malaysian restaurants, you’ll find all sorts - the fancily dressed couple celebrating their anniversary, the family in their matching polo tees, the sulky preteen in the sweatpants and T-shirt, etc. So make of that what you will. 

Tell me about the food..

Allow me to take you through this course by course.

- Appetizer -

We kick things off with the appetizer, the chef’s choice of a savoury eclair. topped with aubergine caviar, green chili pesto and tomato confit. The pastry was more dense than I would’ve liked, but just the right amount of savoury to satisfy. 

DSC_1135 d

- Soup -


For soup, you get an option between these three. We opted for the french onion soup and truffled mushroom soup.


French onion soup with french toast

I enjoyed this a lot! Melted cheese topped the soup which made a hearty dish even richer. The fresh toast was delicious and buttery. If it sounds indulgent, it’s because it was.


My mom opted for the truffled mushroom soup, described as a plant-based creamy mushroom soup infused with truffle oil. Gotta admit I didn’t taste the truffle but assuming the plant referred to was the mushrooms, it was a solid mushroom soup and we drank every drop.

- Entrée -


For our entrée, surprise surprise, I opted for the savoury ice cream salad. This was really fun to eat because you know you’re having a salad, but your brain tricks you into thinking its dessert. It’s brilliant, especially for those who aren’t conventionally healthy food lovers.

The ice cream wasn’t weird either because I was half expecting frozen dressing. It tasted mild and salty, but not overwhelmingly so. Dishes like these give Marco its middle name and I wouldn’t mind having salad and ice cream more often.

DSC_1141savoury ice cream

When we visited, the menu offered chicken liver parfait with bread and apple chips. It doesn’t seem to be part of the menu anymore but for posterity, I will note here that the first few bites were delicious. However, liver has a very strong flavour, and we left it mostly untouched after we ran out of bread to mop it up with.


- Main -


My choice of main was the duck breast, which was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious! They served it a little differently when I had it, and was described as “sous vide pan seared Pekin duck breast with orange puree, roasted beetroot and Valrhona Dark Chocolate”. They’ve changed it up a bit now, calling it the Smoked Duck Breast as seen above, but if they’ve cooked it as perfectly as they did before, I’m sure it’s still delicious.


Best duck breast I’ve ever had.

My mom opted for the salmon, which when we had it, was described as “Atlantic salmon with squid ink hollandaise, garnished with pickled beetroot and green chile pesto”.  It’s now the Salmon with Green Chili Pesto. It was good then, and if they’re using the same green chili pesto in the appetizer, it should still be good now.


- Desserts -

We’re at my favourite part of a meal - desserts! Honestly, I haven’t found a single fine dining restaurant that serves better dessert than restaurants that specialise only in desserts. But restaurants can’t get away without serving it either!


Here, we got the crème brûlée which was yummy but not the best I’ve had. It could’ve been creamier and its crust could’ve been thinner, but it was decent nonetheless. However, it was a while since I’ve been there so maybe they’ve improved since then? Still a good choice for dessert, I reckon.


When we were there, we opted for the Raspberry Decadence, a raspberry cheesecake with passion fruit gel and ice cream. It’s since been removed from the menu, which is just as well, because I remember it tasting pretty meh. They’ve replaced it with something called the Texture of Chocolate, which sounds amazing! But I’ll have to pay another visit to give it a try.


- Palate cleanser  and drinks -

If you’ve been counting you’ll see that we’re at 5 courses and at the end of the meal. I was a little doubtful about calling this a 7 course menu (hence the inverted commas above) because here, the palate cleanser and drinks are considered a course each. This isn’t typical so in effect, it’s really a 5 course menu.

- Palate cleanser -

In the UK, I found that the water I drank had a bit of a metallic tinge (because I usually ordered tap water to save money LOL) so rather than help clear the taste of the previous course, it just left a iron-like taste on my tongue. That’s where palate cleansers come in!

The first time I had a palate cleanser, I had no clue why I was being served sorbet in between courses. Like whaat? I didn’t order this? Fortunately, I had more initiated friends which explained that it was akin to a refresh button between courses to make sure that you get to fully appreciate the flavours of each.

The waiters at Marcos are trained to explain your dish to you so rest assured, you’d get the appropriate introduction.


Velvety Matcha-Lime Shooter.

The palate cleanser was served between the entrée and the main.

Not much to say about the drinks, but I suppose it’s nice to not have to pay extra.


You should try it if…

  • You want to take your partner on a nice, yet affordable meal
  • You appreciate creativity in your food
  • You want to try fine dining for the first time
  • You want to treat your parents to something nice, but don’t want them to feel overwhelmed in an overly fancy restaurant
  • You enjoy taking your time with your meal
  • You’ve been there once before the menu change and wondering if it’s worth a revisit

You can make a reservation here 24 hours in advance from their website.

Minding Money Tip

Wish I knew this before I went, but booking through offpeak.com gives you a 15% discount on certain hours and days. You could even book through offpeak.com if you want to pay a visit on the same day as your booking which you can’t do on the website.


You can click on the pic above or check it out here.


Marco Creative Cuisine

Lot G146, Ground floor (Old Wing)

1Utama Shopping Centre


Petaling Jaya 

Opening Hours: 



Looking back on 2017, turning to 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Cheers to 2018!

Time flew, as time does, and we are into the third week of the month, which is the third week of the year. If you subscribe to cliches, as one does, then here we are, on the 3rd page of our 52 page book, 49 blank pages to go.

It’s nice to think that when we wake in the morning, every day has a potential to become extraordinary, but the truth is, so rarely do we begin with nothing on the page. We live in lives of routine and plans, with schedules and events. Some days are destined to be more eventful than others (the words ‘birthday!’ or "graduation!” scribbled across) and some days were always going to take a little more spirit to get through. The fact is - not all days are created equal.

And that’s okay.

2017 was a year that was filled with extraordinary days, with heart-wrenchingly sad days, and ordinary, plain days. I began the year telling myself that it was all about the attitude I brought, that good or bad days were entirely up to me. This meant that when I did have a bad day, I was weighted by the guilt of not having made it a good one. But over the year, I was humbled over and over again when I went through days where I did all the right things, yet all the wrong things happened, and days where all the wrong things I did led to joy. Truly, so little was in my control, and whilst I could control the perspective in which I saw these days, there was very little else I could do. This doesn’t by any stretch mean that we should stop trying to chase our dreams, or make decisions (I mean, if God’s gonna decide everything anyway), but it does mean that the pressure’s off when it comes to outcomes.

It was my favourite lesson of 2017 and I’m very happy to bring it to the new year with me.

Just briefly, for posterity, here were some of my 2017 highlights!


Probably the most extraordinary thing that happened this year for me was the incorporation of regular exercise in my life. Long time readers have heard of my battles with coordination and my oft-repeated new year’s resolution to get off my bum and get the heart racing, but all the while, the closest I got to that was when my heart would pump faster to help me digest all the food I’ve eaten.

I certainly didn’t eat any less in 2017, but what I did do was exercise more and left my comfort zone far behind. I took part in a 5km run, and later on in the year, took part in a 7km run. I must confess that in both those runs I probably only ran half of it and walked the other, but it was a huge milestone for me nonetheless.


I also started playing badminton more often and whilst I still believe I put the bad in badminton, I’ve also lost a lot of the fear I had for it. I don’t know if you can relate, but I used to get really anxious whenever I had to participate in a sport (1) because I’m a terrible terrible athlete and I’m always worried I’d end up being the hated team member, (2) I’m the queen of choking and even if it were a sport I could somewhat decently play, by the time it actually mattered my body would find it opportune to stop coordinating with my brain, and (3) because I have had very bad experiences with being hit by passing footballs, over enthusiastic shuttlecocks and don’t even get me started on the time I got whacked in the head by a racquet.


But hey, ho, thanks to the patience of those around me, I’m less fearful and am more willing to try!


Regular exercise also had to happen because I have an energetic dog who loves long walks. To keep her from ripping up my pots and plants (and my clothes), we try to take walks together up a neighbourhood hill.


I got the chance to do a fair bit of travelling, with a trip to Singapore to check out Google’s office. My dad had a meeting there and we were invited to tag along, getting the chance to try out their free cafeteria food and tour the massive space, equipped with spa, gym and snacks galore.


America was once again paid a visit in 2017, this time to sit for my New York Bar Exam. There was so much to read and memorise that I got headaches from the sheer bulk of it. But glory to God, all went well! While I was there, though most of the time, I spent it indoors by the books, I did manage to sneak some fun in every now and then.


Trips to the neighbourhood park to get some fresh air in the cool American summer.


Attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with our seats sponsored by an anonymous philanthropist. He/she booked out an entire box for every day people to have the chance to watch the orchestra. Charity comes in all forms and hey, if you're all about turning society cultured, that’s one way to do it.


I had my exam in Buffalo, New York, which was miles away from the iconic NYC. By the time I was released from the shackles from my 2 day exam, my sister (who kindly accompanied me all the way) and I only had time to call a quick taxi to Niagara Falls for a bout of tourism before our flight out the next morning.


Speaking of my sister, she got engaged in 2017! Not exactly my news, but I’m going to have a brother-in-law so that’s grounds for excitement, right?

better belly

I took some time after my exams to fly to the UK and visit those near and dear to me in heart. Summer in America and summer in the UK mean totally different things and although I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt in America, I stacked layer upon layer for the cool UK. Thank God for Jocelyn because I was not equipped for the weather and had to rely on her generosity in sharing her clothes (3 sizes too small for me FYI - that jacket never managed to zip up LOL).


At the gardens of the Horniman Museum.


Queuing for Padella at Covent Garden.

Boarded a cruise headed to Phuket with my mom and had a great time. We got to dress up and eat loads, so really, what more could I ask for?



One of my favourite people paid a visit to Malaysia from Hong Kong and we touristed all over town!


Rocking the baggy Asian trousers like any good ol’ foreigner would in front of the National Monument.

I’ll share our schedule later on for those who may have foreign friends visiting but although we barely had 3 days (a little more thanks to the typhoon in HK which delayed her flight back), we had so much fun together!

Threw a “just because” party for fun which was, well, a lot of fun! In 2017, I made it a point to call my friends rather than wait for plans to happen and I hope to continue this in 2018.


Speaking of friends, we introduced a new furry one to the family. Meet Cookie, our tiny Maltese. She’s so small and blends in so well with the marble floor of our home that we had to tie a bell around her neck so we’d know when she was near. I don’t even want to think about all the times we kicked her by accident because we didn’t see her coming.


I celebrated a quiet birthday in 2017. I was blessed to have surprises by my colleagues and bouquets by my loved ones over the week, which reminded me how much I had and how lucky I am.


In 2018, I want to be more. I want to give more of me in the things I do. I want to be in the moment of all my moments. I want to write more and write well. I want to be healthy and live fully, finding enjoyment and purpose in all that I do, and finding strengths in the difficult people around me. I want to quit complaining and start thanking.

After all, there’s so much to be grateful for.

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