An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Rants & Raves: My CLARINS Haul

I’m raving about my CLARINS experience at the Raffles City Shopping Centre ROBINSONS today. I wasn’t really looking to buy anything but chanced upon CLARINS “Big Beautiful Eyes Pledge” on Facebook. By entering your particulars, you get invited to try some products out at your chosen CLARINS counter. I made my appointment at Raffles City because it was closest to work.

This experience didn’t start really well. I’m sure it’s partly because of how I look and dressed. To be fair, I didn’t identify myself and waited for the consultant to serve another 2 women before stepping up. The first thing I asked was about a gorgeously pink lipstick, then I passed her the printout (which you were supposed to bring to prove that you LIKED their page and signed up for the challenge). After clarifying, she explained that she could do it on my hand (which would be faster and simpler) or remove my make-up and try the products out on my face. I chose to try it out on my face because I have time anyways.

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I spent close to 1 hour and 30 minutes having my make-up removed, then getting the various products slathered on my face – including a mask. This allowed me to feel the products on my skin and see how they’re being used. It was full-on slather and not a half-hearted affair. During the trial, I asked questions because I was genuinely interested in the products as she was offering them to me. I got the feeling that she was more enthusiastic after I showed more interest. She wasn’t pushy and explained how the products were used, even answering my questions about some similar products I was already using from competitors like Shiseido.

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Anyway, long story short, I bought the lipstick (Rouge Prodige 102), Water Purify One-Step Cleanser, HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase and WHITE PLUS Whitening Velvet Emulsion with SPF20. I also received a full sized bottle of their Satin-Smooth Body Lotion with Sorbier Bud as well as a set of travel-sized skincare (toner, make-up remover, scrub etc) because they were having a promotion. Also, I was given a $50-off voucher to the Wheelock Place Clarins Spa once I was automatically made a member. AND because I spent over a certain amount, ROBINSONS gave me a $20 voucher (which the cashier promptly used to deduct from the total cost). In the end, I spent only $259 on everything!

I know it’s a little more spendy that I usually am (partly because I’m a bargain hunter and I am skint) but I think today’s haul is a fantastic deal! For those products that I was unsure of, I was given a suitable stash of samples to try. The consultant also indicated in a product guide, which ones to use, when (including the samples). I am impressed because this gives me an idea of what my entire skincare routine would entail and whether or not the extra products will benefit me.

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The beauty consultant that serviced me was Janice Han and I’m very happy with today’s CLARINS haul and experience (much better than what I can say for a certain SK-II counter where I was told I needed every product under the sun because I had really bad skin, then refused to give me more than 2 sample sachets to try out the products). I’m sure I lucked out with the triple-bonus and after today, I don’t think I’ll ever bring home that many  CLARINS products for $259. But then again, if they work, I don’t think I’ll be that worried because I know that I can try out the products adequately before I plonk down the moolah.

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So does this count as a haul?

 


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Plus Sized Ladies Shapewear

Other than owning too many clothes, I am guilty of owning waaaaay too much underwear. I can go for almost a month without doing laundry (eeeks!) and still have enough underwear for a fresh change at least twice a day. Ok, I actually do my laundry at least 2x a month, so… that’s still kinda decent right?

I’m sure I’m not alone – I somehow missed the memo for Plus-sized girls about getting a nice pair of tatas and a full booty with my excess weight. I want to hold bits in, and pad other bits out. Heh! Luckily for me, I live in the first world and I’ve been faking it with really good underwear. I also like them matchy-matchy, do you?

So anyway, I was directed to the SimplyYours website and I think I stuck gold!! 60% off, end of season sale! w00t! If you’re a little skint like me (Chinese New Year’s approaching and I’ve got to stretch it a little to give out those red packets), you might want to do as I do – “Sort by Price lowest to highest” first.

Here are my picks!

Gok Wan Underwired Lace Body £17.50

Gok Wan Underwired Bra £14.00 (comes with matching undies too!)

Gok Wan Briefs £6.00

Eve Light Control Bodyshaper £12.00

Wonderbra Gel Strapless Underwired Bra £25.00 (Ok this is not on sale, but I actually do own it and I SWEAR BY IT!!!)

 


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Couponing: Facial + Lymphatic Face Massage + Shoulder Relax Massage + Eyebrow Trimming at Xin Beauty

Date: 26 August 2011

Deal: 88% OFF on 75mins Facial (3 Choices) + Lymphatic Face Massage + Shoulder Relax Massage + Eyebrow Trimming @$25 ONLY

How it went:

Midpoint Orchard is a really strange building that’s out of place in fancy Orchard Road, especially with the addition of Ion Orchard, 313@Somerset and Orchard Central. It’s a building that’s stuck in the late 70s with minor renovations done probably in the early 90s. There are so many small beauty salons and electronic shops, I really wonder who patronises them. Xin Beauty is one of those neighbourhood shops that basically transported its entire operation there – no upscaling for town, and the size of my living room!

Whilst the location was good, everything was so basic that I’d rather not get a facial in town. My hair was sticking up after the facial and there was no space, nothing to help me get out into public without looking like a doofus. I just needed a hair brush and a hair dryer to sort the mane out. I went to one of the small hair salons and they tried charging me $12 to do just that. I’m not even asking for a wash. Just blow and brush. ARGH! Luckily they had those old fashion hand dryers in the toilets and I bent down, put my head under the hot air stream and brushed my hair out with my fingers. Sometimes old fashioned is good. Forget those fancy air-stream hand dryers where you dip your hands in.

Practical sized room. Just enough for the bed & a tray of products.

Practical sized room. Just enough for the bed & a tray of products.

Ok so anyway, this is a $25 facial in the heart of town but in a dingy building, where the entire shop (reception, pantry, and treatment rooms) was enclosed in a space the size of my living room (I’m not even joking). The deal was that I could choose from 3 facials – Option 1: Skin Perfector Anti-pigmentation Treatment; Option 2: Anti-blemish Skin Renewal Treatment; Option 3: Oxy-Pure Rejuvenating Treatment. I had no idea which treatment I received and it certainly didn’t match any of those fancy-titled options. It was largely one of those old fashioned “Mode Circle” (anybody remember those?) facials that I had in the early 90s. As a pimply teenager, I’d have been okay with it, thinking that facials were all like that. Painful, uncomfortable and awkward. But I’m not. It didn’t feel like it was worth my time. I didn’t feel any better after the treatment. Firstly, the technique was so-so. I wouldn’t say it was bad but I’ve had a lot better, many more times. Secondly, the products used were very generic and hardly anything special. Thirdly, I could hear the girls outside gossiping at the top of their voices because the entire space was open on the top and it is really small.

Generic products

Generic products

So was it worth $288? Nope! Of course not! But to be honest for $25, I suppose it’s justified. Also I might go back again (if I have a ride straight home) because the beautician working on me thought I was still in school. She thought I was a 22 year old with really dry skin. She tsk-tsked me when I said I barely used home care products other than the basic facial wash, make-up remover, exfoliator and sunblock. When she asked me to guess how old she was and it turned out she was only 5 years older than I was heehee… Cheap thrills, I know. But people should stop tsktsking me when I see so many people my age who actually look older!


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Couponing: Brand New Skin Facial at Beauticove

Date: 24 August 2011

Deal: 89% off Negative Energy Cleansing Facial (New in Singapore!) or Pore and Scar Reducing Facial or Tummy/Thigh Slimming at $22 (worth up to $200) FREE Eye Treatment for Facials (Clarke Quay)

How it went:

It actually was quite good! It didn’t start off well because I had a bit of a problem booking the appointment. I called 3 times before I managed to get someone on the phone but after that, I had SMS confirmation and reminders so that was good. My post title says a different thing from the actual deal because I went there with really bad skin that day. It was a terrible weekend before and I had a breakout. My surface skin was dehydrated but underneath it was oily and I had 4 huge zits like a constellation on my face!

Beauticove  at Riverside Point.

Beauticove at Riverside Point.

The treatment room and the terry towel tube I changed into

The treatment room and the terry towel tube I changed into

The other end of the room

The other end of the room

A Eurasian lady named Carole (who appears to be the boss) attended to me. She looked at my face and explained the various offers in this coupon. None of which matched the treatment I urgently needed so she decided to customise a session that was closer to their “Brand New Skin Facial” (usual price $130) but threw in the eye treatment from the coupon as well. The room was nice and spacious. They had about 3 treatment rooms side by side and it all opened up to become one big room for training. There was a projector overhead in my room and Carole reassured me it wasn’t a spy camera. Carole was very motherly, firm but gentle. I fell asleep almost immediately. There was no extraction (YAY! No pain!) and she said it wasn’t something they did at her beauty parlour anyway. She did 2 mild acid peels, followed by the masks and I swear my skin felt almost back to normal after the facial!

The overhead projector in the room

The overhead projector in the room

Beauticove uses Alpha-H products from Australia. I ended up buying the Liquid Gold for $60+. It has been doing wonders and I swear it works! I wasn’t being pushed to buy products or packages and I felt reassured that I could walk out without feeling any pressure. I’d be honest and say that I was skeptical about the Liquid Gold. It was a plain cheap packaging and I was bleagh about it. But after using it for almost a week, I’d buy it again once I’m done with this bottle! If you can get over the smell (like drinking sherry), then you should try it too! My pores are more refined, my t-zone less oily. Though I was told not to use it for an extended period because my skin is quite thin.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

So was it worth $200? Not really. I’d maybe pay between $80-$90. Would I go back again? Yes! I might even consider taking the 6-session package for the “Brand New Skin Facial” as I was offered a 30% discount. Clarke Quay MRT station is on the Northeast Line and less than 30mins ride on the train for me to get back home! I definitely am thinking about the offer. Also a boon is that Riverside Point is a strange place because it’s so quiet! I like it!


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Couponing: 3 Sessions Hair Rejuvenating Therapy by TK Trichokare

Date: 18, 22 & 28 August 2011

Deal: $49 instead of $537, 91% off 3 Sessions Hair Rejuvenating Therapy at 4 locations by TK Trichokare

How it went:

Let me just put it out there that I actually go to Svenson’s for oily scalp treatment as my hair has been thinning for some time. I have fine hair to begin with and I’ve never had a thick head of hair ever. My oily scalp makes things worse because the grease apparently clogs your hair follicles and you get a bald patch. I’m very satisfied with Svenson’s at this point in time but I am still shopping around for a good deal on similar treatments so I tried out this TK Trichokare.

Frilly filigree patterns on the wall

Frilly filigree patterns on the wall at the reception

Frilly wall patterns and individual stations.

Frilly wall patterns and individual stations divided by frosted glass panels

Quiet & dim common hair wash area

Quiet & dim common hair wash area

I went to the Wheelock Place branch on 3 different days over 2 weeks. It’s nice and quiet. The decor was fake classical European-esque (compared to the more Scandinavian style Svenson’s). There were these frilly gothic type patterns and gold frames. And on the 3 different times I went, it wasn’t crowded plus a ton of magazines for reading which I loved. After I was greeted at the reception, I was led into a small office for a “discussion” with their consultant Sharon (I think). She was probably Malaysian and spoke with an accent. I found it a little difficult to follow her train of thoughts and her language skills were a bit of a problem too. She didn’t seem too comfortable speaking in English and her grammar was all over the place. But I get the general drift. She felt that my hair was thinning and I wasn’t getting enough from my Svenson’s treatments. Also I should upgrade to this other thing and top up about $100 (even before I did the 3 sessions). Everything here was expensive but nothing exceptionally outstanding. It was good but it wasn’t worth $200 to wash my head.

I loved the hair wash. I also love $10 hair washes and head massages, who am I kidding? Then there was this squirting of some tonic after my hair wash. After which, a red light was shone on my head for a bit. Then my hair was blown dry and styled. That’s all.

So was it worth $537? Nope! Was it worth $49? Maybe… a little too much money for a hair wash, blow dry and application of tonic. But it was in a fancy building in the middle of Orchard Road. They had nice magazines for me to read and I did thoroughly enjoy my ME-time! If a similar coupon comes by, I wouldn’t hesitate to snap it up! I do like the ambience but the location was a bit out of the way if I wanted to go there frequently. The Svenson’s branch I visit is 10 minutes away from my house, so yup! Oh but I did end up spending about $39 for a bottle of TK Trichokare “Black Shine” hair serum. Very easy to use – one pump, rub it through your wet hair, and that’s it! It’s supposed to make your hair soft and shiny!


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Couponing: Meridian Slimming/Full Body Massage at Youth Infinite

Date: 15 August 2011

Deal: 91% Off (1)Full Body Massage OR (2)Facial Therapy OR (3)Merdian Slimming OR (4)Bust Enhancement at $28 (worth $320)

How it went:

Actually I don’t know which treatment I went for. It felt like both a full body massage and possibly a slimming treatment. It was largely painful and scary, and lasted too long for my liking. It’s not that it’s bad but… just something I didn’t like at all. The therapist was from China and spoke in Mandarin. She had other colleagues who appeared to be foreigners too, but probably from Malaysia as they spoke a little more English. I was in pain most of the time and it was difficult to figure out what they were saying to me. I walked away with a good Mandarin lesson on words related to massage therapy and weight-loss terms. (Here’s a funny one: She said something that sounded like “bee hive organisation” in Mandarin when I broke the words up. In my head I had no idea what it meant and I was so confused trying to figure out what all those sounds strung together could be. Turns out, it means cellulite! HAHA!)

Youth Infinite in Ang Mo Kio Central

Youth Infinite in Ang Mo Kio Central

The session started with me having to strip down to my underwear and then being weighed. As usual, they are always shocked to see what I weigh because for some reason I look smaller than the numbers on the scale. The bed was small, the room was a little cramped but well-equipped. The walls didn’t touch the ceilings so you could hear people walking around or talking. There was red heat lamp that shone directly on my belly as she prodded, kneaded, poked, and stabbed (I’m serious! She took a finger and she pressed it all the way down several points in my soft tummy and it hurt like a bitch!). I whimpered.

The room and the bed. Functional. And a Chinese acupoint chart.

The room and the bed. Functional. And a Chinese acupoint chart.

The other side of the room and some torture devices at the sink

The other side of the room and some torture devices at the sink

The worst thing was CUPPING! OMG! It hurt and I teared involuntarily. She told me it was going to be ok and that I hurt because I was weak. Glass jars were placed on my belly, thighs and arms. After that I flipped over and it was placed all over my back. Before that, she took a glass jar and heated the inside with a cotton ball of flame, then slid it up and down my back as it sucked at my flesh. IT HURT HURT HURT!!!! I was told the marks would go away in 3-4 days. Nope… mine took almost 14 days to completely disappear. GGgRrrr ggggRRrr!!!

Apparently I am sick/weak so the discolourations were darker

Apparently I am sick/weak so the discolourations were darker

I did some research and I read HERE that athletes do this all the time. Apparently these are not bruises because a bruise is the result of broken capillaries from impact traumas while these marks are the release of toxins. I don’t know and I don’t quite understand BUT if you can take the pain, I suggest you try it at least once. I suppose it can’t be that bad, it’s probably my own personal reaction to it. The massage hurt like mad but the day after, I immediately had better bowel movements (maybe from the vigorous prodding) and I felt better. Is it psychological? I don’t know.

So was it worth $320? NOPE! But it was definitely worth more than $28 if you understand that Chinese Physicians usually charge more for such treatments. So it’s a good deal, despite the torture, because it was an interesting experience. I was also offered a package deal which was quite expensive at $180 per session but then a 30% discount was thrown in because I came via a website (i.e. streetdeal.sg). The funny thing was I didn’t understand what she was saying and I was wondering why she told me that she’d give me a discount for a night stand. Turns out the sounds for “night” and “stand” together means “website”. HAHA on me again!


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Couponing: PTF Painless Permanent Hair Removal at uBeau

Date: 10 August 2011

Deal: 84% OFF, $25 for PTF Painless Permanent Hair Removal for Upper Lip Or Underarm Or Bikini Line worth up to $160 @ uBeau (2 mins from Bugis MRT)

How it went:

Booking an appointment was easy and it was at a convenient location between my gym and office. I ran off one day during lunch hour and got back to the office within 45mins!  This is my 2nd time doing PTF (Photo Therapy Flash, a new generation IPL technology) and for comparison purposes, I also chose to do it at my bikini line.

After climbing a flight of stairs to the 2nd level, I had to remove my shoes before entering the salon. It was small but clean and well laid out. There was a mani-pedi section on the right, then in the middle the reception, and to the left a few small rooms for other treatments (facials, hair removal etc). I was in and out of the treatment room within 10 minutes. It was really quick! Zap, zap and done!

I was very happy with my VPL (Variable Pulse Light) treatment for underarms but more than 2 years back, I spent over $1000 for 6 sessions. So this time, when I was offered a package for 10 sessions at $280, I took it. Also, I could use the 10 sessions for whatever area I wanted to use it on – upper lip, bikini line or underarms (for maintenance purpose). Quite flexible. Liz was fuss free, no nonsense and almost a little curt. It was good for me because I didn’t want too much small talk. She didn’t try too hard to push. It was more like “I’ve got an offer. This is a good deal. Do you want it? Yes? No? Ok.” and I appreciated that it was chopchop quick!

Was it worth $160? I don’t think so. I’m not sure if it works yet or if her machine is strong enough, or if that 1 – 2 zaps were effective. It seemed like this $25 version was a fast-job and possibly just a fraction of what a $160 session would be like. Seeing as I bought a small 10 session package at $280, I suppose you can say I approve of uBeau.