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Archive for the ‘My Travelogues’ Category

I am crazy over cute pencils/pens.

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Actually I am crazy over collecting many other things too.

For instance, when I was young, I used to collect batteries. Not really the different types of batteries, but I loved to collect a huge quantity of AA batteries because I listened to the walkman often then. Collecting the batteries gave me a sense of security.

Then, I started collecting pens and highlighters as well, as I used them often in school and I just loved to see my textbooks and assessment books looking colourful. During the study periods before exams, I would pester my aunt to drive me to the nearby stationery shop near our house to buy the different coloured pens and highlighters, even if I’d already had 20 of the same pilot/pentel pens at home. That was my way of de-stressing myself. My poor ATM, aka my mother/aunts. Haha.

As I grew older, I started writing lecture notes and paper became my new obsession. Till today, as I have been taking Japanese language lessons, I still collect different types of papers, notebooks and post-it pads for writing the notes. My latest collection revolves round those ring-binded papers aka loose leaf papers. They just give me the very Japanese feeling.

Since my uni days, I have also grown into a maniac over skincare and cosmetics products. Even if I already have an unused bottle of toner/moisturizer at home, I will still buy a second bottle just to give myself added security. Yes, I am that insecure about the things I use.

Some other unusual things that I still collect today or used to collect are – towels (I have many Disney ones), glass bowls and cups (mainly Sanrio types ‘cos they look very exquisite and cute), cute letterpads and stickers (oh!!! I used to collect many cute letterpads but I have no more use for them now. Who can I write to? I also have no secret lover/penpal. Hahaha. Sometimes I still collect stickers when I am feeling moody, because I always dream of pasting them all over my iphone, to the dismay of my act-macho hubby), and medicine (I fell sick often pre-pregnancy and have tons of medicine for all illnesses. My family liked to treat me as their pharmacist when they are lazy to go downstairs to the clinic.

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Anyway, today’s topic is the cute pencils/pens and they are mostly from Japan (Disneyland/Disneysea/Disney Store/Sanrio Puroland/Sanrio shops/Universal Studios Japan/Tokyu Hands/Kiddyland). Some are from Singapore (random push carts/Isetan or Taka Sanrio corners/A’n’BC). I think I have neglected them recently and it’s time to give them some attention on this blog, as well as make myself happy just by admiring them. Serious. I feel so happy just pouring them out and playing with them. The 3 guidelines I stick to when buying them are:

1) As far as possible, buy the mechanical pencil version instead of the pen version. This ensures that they last longer. The ink in pens dry up over time if left unused. However, exceptions are when the pen version looks too different from the mechanical pencil version and when the design is simply so cute that I need to buy both versions even if there are only slight differences. In such cases, yes, I would buy the mechanical pencil version AND the pen version.

2) 宁可杀错,不可放过 (lit. translation: I’d rather kill wrongly than to let go of any). This is really my mentality when I am overseas. I do not want to return to Singapore feeling regretful for not buying any of the pencils (like how I am feeling now as I look through my collection, as I seem to have missed out buying some of the characters’ pencils. Sad.). This often leads to me buying 5-6 different characters’ pencils from the same series in Disneyland, or ending up buying 2 same pencils as I sometimes forget what I have bought earlier on. Anyway, just buy first and worry later lah! 🙂

3) Winnie the Pooh is my favourite character (actually I have many “favourite characters” but that yellow bear is my top favourite), hence as far as possible, buy ALL Winnie The Pooh pencils even if they don’t look very nice. My favourite shop in Disneyland is Pooh’s Corner located at the exit of the ride, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. I would always take a shopping basket and start sweeping all the cute Pooh mechanical pencils. I really mean it. ALL.

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Please join me in admiring my humble collection (Sigh, wish I have bought more).

The ikea box used for storing them. Cannot even close the box as it is too full. Haha

Oops, really filled over the brim..

The heap of rubbish pencils/pens. Rubbish to you, but precious to me 🙂

From here onwards, I will just show some of the more special/memorable ones…

From left: (1) One of my first few cute pencils since primary school days. Loved it hence used it very often. (2) This Minnie pencil was given by a beloved Japanese Uncle (my mom’s old colleague who had passed away years ago) about 20 years ago. He also gave me a Mickey one but I don’t know where it has gone to! 😦 This set of Mickey and Minnie pencils sparked off my interest in Disneyland stuffs. (3) Minna no Tabo (I loved this character when young as he looks so cute with his mouth always open. Another Sanrio character that is rarely seen today) (4) Hello Kitty type of pen (just showing you all that this type of pens is worth buying because it uses the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refill.)

This Keroppi pencil was also very much loved and used by me. You can de-stress by playing with its mechanism to open/close the flower petals and peek at Keroppi! This pencil made me hunt for other pencils of such mechanism.

See what I mean? More of Keroppi-like mechanism pencils, mainly manufactured by Sanrio.

Big-head pencils!!! Most of them have some cute functions such as the characters nodding their heads or opening their mouths. The third one from the right is Mickey and Minnie riding a horse when you press the lever down.

Kaleidoscope series of mechanical pencils. All were from Disneyland except the far right one I think. That one is Pixar-collection and has the various Pixar cartoon characters on it.

This is The Incredibles Kaleidoscope pencil. Look through the peephole and you will see the image on the right. Sorry, unable to get a better shot of it. I love Jack Jack so much btw!!! It is so hard to find The Incredibles products in Disneyland, so when I see any, I just grab them, even if they are useless items.

The bulky series of mechanical pencils. These usually have some monkeys moving up/down some rod inside. Showing you all the Hello Kitty one for e.g.

Rare characters’ pencils. Must buy! In Disneyland, it’s easy to find Mickey, Minnie, Pooh and Marie characters’ items, but not these. The 2 pencils (collaboration between Kewpie and Disney) on the far left were probably bought from Tokyu Hands. The one on the far right is The Mummy, from Universal Studios Japan. Cute right?

These 2 are the funniest pencils in my collection. Bought from Tokyu Hands. Press the lever down and Cupid pees! You can even control the amount he pees! Haha.

Some cute pens/pencils bought in Singapore. For snacks lovers.

Ok, that’s all. Can’t show you every single item in that pink box. As you can see, I don’t have that many right! Time to go Japan and stock up soon (i.e. after baby is out)! Bye!

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The Japanese don’t just produce porn videos! During my most recent trip there, there was this certain paid video available in my hotel – “Craving to Sleep”. From its name, you could have guessed that it is a sleep-inducing video, but when watching it, I was busy laughing throughout and was thinking, “How do I sleep while watching this crap?!”

Yh took some pictures of the video to show everyone… See my comments below every picture.

An introduction of the video. Short and sweet intro.

Okay, predictable… counting sheep. This time, you don’t count inside your head, but you watch the sheep pass by and count. They actually found 108 real sheep for people to count.

Classic. Japanese saigong (aka priest) chanting away. Don’t know what he was chanting but this went on for about 5 mins. *raises one eyebrow* Wait, the video got weirder and weirder.

These Japanese were playing some mathematical game using their fingers. Throughout 5 mins, you will see them taking turns to stick out their fingers. I could not make any sense of the rule of the game but I knew they were reciting numbers in Japanese.

What? Watch 2 lao ah peks playing chess?! We actually spent about 5 mins watching them play chess, without any conversation. The video producer is creative I must say, he got these two very dull-looking uncles to play chess, instead of some hot chick/dude.

This water feature was dripping water drop by drop for about 5 mins as well.

Wah. More interesting scene. You get to see a train ride which lasted about 5 mins. People were boarding and alighting the train while the train moves through many stations. The scenery outside the train kept changing. Again, no conversation among the commuters.

Can see a guy at the bottom right hand corner? He was slowly mowing this lawn for about 5 to 10 mins, from one end to another end.

Watch the fish bait spiralling on the water surface for more than 5 mins, without any fish being caught.

Alamak. Park scene. Basically just watch people sitting there and dazing in front of the water fountain.

Car moving in a tunnel, followed by a mountain road. Note that it is not Initial D kind of speed ok.

Last scene in the video. Ultimate. There were flashing rows of Japanese phrases, I assume they are talking about Japan’s history (as seen from the background). This was being flashed for 5-10 mins!

Hey, easy video to produce right? Haha. I wonder if I will really fall asleep watching this… 🙂

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Part II ended with me collecting the fastpass ticket for the ride, Space Mountain. Since there was sometime before the stipulated fastpass-return-timing, we first went back to Main Street USA to find a breakfast venue. Not many choices leh.

We settled down at this cafe near the start of the Main Street USA and bought the peach danish, some pizza, coffee and Hong Kong iced milk tea. The seats at the cafe were pathetic too, and many people ended up having to takeaway. Fortunately, we found a seat (all were outdoors) under the shade of an umbrella. What if it rains huh? Hmmm..

Very Hong-Kong-nised, with Hong Kong iced milk tea served in Hong Kong Disneyland. 🙂 Btw, the peach danish and pizza tasted ordinary only. Disappointing based on Disneylands’ standards.

Strange thing, you can see sparrows in both the Tokyo and Hong Kong Disneylands. Was something being done deliberately to attact these cute little birds?

We saw people eating turkey legs and quickly went to buy one too. The Tokyo Disneyland ones were simply fantastic.Very tender and well marinated over there. The turkey leg at Hong Kong Disneyland was another great disappointment. Meat was tough and dry. KFC’s chicken is better than that.

Haha. I deliberately show you all this picture to prove that I can’t take decent pictures. Always appear blurry or out of focus.

Christmas decorations in the window displays.

Disneyland management is brilliant at gimmicks like these to earn money. They will sell hairbands, clips, caps, etc. associate with the fur/ears/colours of Mickey, Minnie, Pooh, Marie, Donald, and many other characters. I like the Marie and Pooh ones best. Shit… The hairband was too small for my big head. I had to try on with caution. Haha.

(ugly) Space-like structures in Tomorrowland. No rides inside, mainly for photo-taking.

See, more of such structures in Tomorrowland. I personally think they are quite a waste of space.

Space Mountain ahead! (the one with the white roof)

Outdoor seating for people to have meals. The area was quite big but somehow everyone was using the area more for resting rather than eating. Ended up no one wanted to get their butts off the chairs.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters! That is the fun shooting game!

Many people (including me) wanted to take pictures with Buzz Lightyear!

Oops, as we still had some time before the Space Mountain ride (as the fastpass return timing was not due yet), I pestered Yh to bring me back to the Winnie the Pooh ride! I was determined to request from the usher to allow us to sit in front, so that we could get an unblocked view. You may be sick of seeing the Pooh pictures again but he was really very cute!

Entrance to the ride…

Piglet! Shit, my head looks so much bigger than Piglet’s.

Just non-stop posing as we were queueing up for the ride.

So cute.. He was greedily digging into his hunny.

Owl flashing his armpit for all to smell. If they had designed Owl to be black instead of brown, he would probably be less adorable.

View that you will see while queueing up for the Pooh ride. The carousel is always able to enhance the magical and child-like elements of Disneyland. Not just children like to go on it, couples, the lazier adults and the elderly also like!

I must take picture with Pooh!

Piglet with the blur/sorrowful look.

Pooh saying hi to all!

Surprised that the legs of the small chair that fatty Pooh is sitting on had not given way.

Pooh again.

Picture taken before boarding the ride.

The plastic looking car that will drive us through the ride.

Every car will make their way through the entrance, which is like “entering a book”.

After the ride.

The place where people go to after the ride, to view their pictures. See the cheerful colours and pictures on the wall.

I just had to pose with Pooh again. 🙂

Entering the Pooh store for the second time that day… Small store and yet very crowded.

Cashier counter is quite big. I always love to take pictures of their cashier counters. They are usually elaborately decorated.

Will continue more in part IV. It’s already 20 mins past midnight and I am feeling very sleepy! Tata! *ending abruptly*

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After taking photos with Mickey and Minnie, we went around the theme park looking for the Space Mountain Fastpass ticketing booths to grab a Fastpass first.

We first passed by the Main Street which was really a very short street. Not many shops and only one or two eating places over there.

As you can see, the buildings were decorated according to the Christmas theme. The theme park is really small and you can see the Cinderella Castle so easily from the entrance of the Main Street.

Okay, a quick shot of the Cinderella Castle behind me. Does not look majestic enough.

Yay, we happened to pass by “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” which was the condensed version of “Pooh’s Hunny Hunt” in Tokyo Disneyland. The latter sounds more cute and creative right? I saw that there was only a short queue and hurriedly ran towards the entrance. Haha.

I didn’t even realise that Yh was not near me at that moment till I saw this picture. He did take the ride together with me, however much he dislikes Pooh. Haha.

Alamak. The “pages’ were so insincerely displayed as wall panels while queueing up. The Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in Tokyo Disneyland made those people queueing up enter this “book” before seeing the “pages”. Far more creative and cute right? You will have to refer to my Tokyo’s posts to see exactly what I mean.

Many more “pages” for you to read while queueing up.

That is the exit of the ride, where the “hunny pots” turn out from.

I like this. He looked so scared of Tigger. Hee hee.

Took another shot of it! Fortunately the people queueing up behind were very kind and obliging to wait for us to take those pictures. Phew.

Finally our turn soon. 🙂

 Seated at the back seat of the tram. Shit. I don’t like to take the back seat as our video will capture the heads of the people in front. No choice, we went back for a second round later on just to capture an unblocked video.

Took another picture of that page as I liked that. I like pictures expressing happiness.

This is something new, didn’t see that in Tokyo Disneyland. They take a photo of every tram during the ride and you can purchase that photo if you like it. Not very nice in my opinion, and not memorable enough.

The Pooh shop that sells all Pooh things. Just outside the ride. Very very small as compared to the Pooh shop in Tokyo Disneyland. Anyway, I would always pose with the Pooh stuff toy and now looking at this picture, I do regret not buying him home. 😦

“Take me home okay?”

The store is so small but the cashier counter is so big comparatively! As if business was good..

Why is this Pooh store selling other characters stuff toys too?! I think the Pooh I bought from Tokyo is cuter than the one seated right on top there.

The nicest part of the store. He was happily flying and carrying a pink (one of my favourite colours) balloon! 🙂

Another picture of the store.

The nice window display outside. This is a characteristic of all Disneylands, but often not getting much attention.

A closer view. If I were the designer of the window display, I would stuff every corner of it with a different Pooh stuff toy, i.e. if they have so many designs.

Cottage-like buildings. Very dull colours leh.

The famous (and common) Snow White Grotto. I always think that the statuettes look ghostly.

Me collecting my Fastpass ticket for Space Mountain.

I will show you all more photos in part III. Gotta end abruptly as it is 10 pm already, and it’s trying-to-sleep time! I try to have regular sleeping hours to avoid looking uglier and older as I grow older. Hahaha.

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Main Highlights:

  • Hong Kong Disneyland

It was Christmas Day and we were not going to spend our Christmas in Hong Kong walking on the streets. Of course we chose to spend it at Hong Kong Disneyland, since I am a huge Disney fan. Prior to our trip, I had read up some websites and forums which stated that it was actually quite “deserted” on Christmas Day at HK Disneyland. Those entries were dated 2006 or 2007. Anyway let me tell you, in my opinion, HK Disneyland is PACKED on Christmas Day 2009!!!!!! I am comparing it to the Tokyo Disneyland which is in(famously) crowded any day of the year, probably worse on festive occasions like Christmas Day.

As usual I will blog in chronological sequence, starting from the minute I complete shitting in the morning. 🙂

Rise and shine, time to open windows and see how foggy it was outside. City view. Streets looked deserted. (It was only 8+ am lor.)

Waiting for the train at Mongkok Station.

The wall behind me is distinctive of Hong Kong’s MTR Stations. You see it often in HK movies. We went to Lai King Station to make a train-transfer. Oh dear, quite many people were waiting for the same train as us, was everyone heading towards HK Disneyland too?! I know I am kiasu, but I can’t help being kiasu especially when it concerns DISNEYLAND.

The train had finally arrived.

Had to change train (again), this time it’s a train which sends ALL the Disneyland visitors to HK Disneyland directly. Crowded!

Mickey handles again, same as in the Tokyo Disneyland monorail. How innovative. I am waiting for the day when I see Pooh handles, Piglet handles, Minnie handles, etc. That would be really kawaiiiii. And when that day comes, if I see any commuter pulling the Pooh handle, I will step on his/her foot regardless of his/her age, because Pooh belongs to ME alone. Bwhahaha.

Reached the HK Disneyland station. Nice place. Somehow there is a Disney-feel to it though I don’t see Mickey parading around. Notice the Mickey-head windows on the train? You will see that on the Tokyo Disneyland monorails too.

Outside the station. Already so packed though it was only about 9.15 am. The park opened at 10 am that day.

Oh dear, still have to walk quite some distance in. 😦

The ticket booth with a Mickey head window too. NOT EVERYONE ADORES MICKEY MOUSE! Have some variations, Disney, I am sure you can do better than that!

Our HK Disneyland tickets! Pretty, aren’t they? *So happy to see that they were in a pair, Mickey and Minnie, not sure if it was a coincidence.* 🙂 I thought they were far prettier than the Tokyo Disneyland tickets! To see the Tokyo Disneyland tickets, click here

The entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland. The queue to enter is far shorter than the queues at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea.

Picture taken at 9:25 am, about 35 min before the main part of the park opens. Hong Kong Disneyland is strange, their Main Street (which is like Tokyo Disneyland’s World Bazaar) opens one hour before the official park opening and you can roam about in the shops or start queueing up to take pictures with Disney characters in the Main Street.

Once entering, I rushed to the nearest toilet. That was a toilet block.

The train “station” in the park. Disney likes to have such transport themes in their parks, such as trains, ships, rafts, trams, etc.

Real train entering the train station. The train ride is one of the attractions in the theme park.

Surprisingly very hot and sunny that day though it ought to be “winter” period in Hong Kong. Saw from news that it was one of the hottest Christmas in Hong Kong’s history. We were pondering whether to buy that Minnie umbrella which looked silly and childish, not cute at all.

Wow. Long long queue to take pictures with some characters in the pavillion.

We joined the winding queue too. Hehe.

Took this picture while we were queueing up to show you all the tall Christmas tree in Hong Disneyland. It definitely did not look very impressive during day time.

The characters like to suddenly disappear for about 5-10 minutes, either to make those queueing miss them more, or probably for real reasons like to drink water or to pee. Hmm.. How do they pee in that heavy costume/head-dress huh? Anyway, this shot was taken when they were back from their break.

Yay, we were getting nearer to Mickey and Minnie, and that was after about 40 minutes of queueing. They were dressed in their Christmas suit and dress! Not bad lah, quite cute right?

My turn. Frankly I DID NOT like taking photos with the Mickey and Minnie in Hong Kong Disneyland. Somehow, I felt that the people inside the characters were very hostile and rude. For instance, the Minnie did not seem to want to come near me though I tried to pull her nearer to me. At least I did not feel so un-welcomed in Tokyo Disneyland. It’s like so contradictory, Minnie looked all happy and smiley but the person inside was so hostile, probably feeling irritated that he/she had to continue posing for so many more photos. Bad experience. Probably my heart is still 99.9% with Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea lah.

Alright, that’s all I have for Hong Kong Day 2 – Disneyland Part I. Of course I still have many more pictures to show you all, over a course of several parts. 🙂 Btw, I am not a Hong Kong Disneyland guru, so some names of rides/attractions/places may be wrong. 🙂

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Main Highlights:

  • Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok
  • Christmas decorations nearby the hotel

The entire bus journey from the airport to the hotel took around half an hour or slightly more and so it was almost 9 when we reached the hotel. Quickly checked in so that we can venture outside to get into the “Christmas-mood”. 🙂

The hotel’s reception area. Looked very dark.

We quickly went into our room and the room did not disappoint us, despite its rather high cost. (Okay lay, may be cheap to you, but it was not cheap to us!)

Nice bathroom. I like bathrooms with white marble finishes. And the bathtub area overlooks the bed!! That means you can watch TV while soaking in the bathtub!

Another angle of the bathroom. I was sitting on the toiletbowl. Nice glass basin and there was a separate shower stall too.

Picture of the bedroom. Looks cosy huh. Somehow I did not sleep well in the hotel, will explain why later. 🙂

Wow, there is even an ipod dock in the room!

Plasma TV and painting on the wall. We were not artistic enough to appreciate it. 🙂

View from our room. Shows how cramped Hong Kong is. Most of the buildings, especially in the city, are very close to one another.

Picture of the bathroom taken from the bedroom area. I have always liked the idea of a glass wall partitioning the bedroom and bathroom, looks very luxurious. 🙂

The hotel corridor as we walked towards the lift lobby. I don’t like the colour of the walls, I think that’s rosewood colour? Have always found that colour to be very old-fashioned and “obiang”.

Just to show you all how the lift lobby looks like. Normal lor.

Outside Langham Place Mall. Very crowded that nice since it was Xmas eve. And that picture was taken around 11 pm.

 

Fulfilled one of our main aims in going Hong Kong on our first night. –> Xu Liu Shan! It’s a mango desserts chain of stalls everywhere in Hong Kong. I already know of 2 branches in Mongkok district, perhaps there are more. Our favourite was the mango-coconut-milk. Their drinks come with pearls too, but I still prefer those in bubble tea because the Xu Liu Shan’s ones are less chewy. 😦 The mango can be sweet and can be sour too, so don’t expect every cup to be of the same standard.

That’s me recording our expenses and noting down the details. I do that every trip.

Simple and nice decorations inside Langham Place Mall. Many Hong Kong people were busy snapping pictures with the decor as their backdrop. I think there was some theme, about some animal characters which we have not seen before.

More Xmas decors… At least you don’t see such stuffs in Singapore malls.

This is the bridge that links Langham Place Mall to Langham Place Hotel’s lobby. Specially decorated for the Xmas season too.

Yay, finally could go back to the room to rest. So tired. Was at work in the morning, on plane in the afternoon, and still walking around Mongkok at near 12 midnight. Can you see Yh’s reflection? 🙂

Back in our room. The walls were of rosewood colour too. I really don’t like that colour. You can’t find that colour in my house. Haha.

Wow. Impressed. They bothered to programme the phone! Personalised message. Alright, not that personalised, but at least we were addressed politely. 🙂

P.S. Don’t know why I seem to have lost interest in blogging, probably because I have been busy with many many things and have grown increasingly attached to my brother’s dog Kaylene. Having lots of fun bullying her every night after work. 🙂 Sigh, time (I meant personal time) seems so limited.

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I came across NARS blushes while I was in Hong Kong and was immediately attracted to almost all the colours available at the counter. Unfortunately, several popular colours were already out of stock at every NARS store. 😦 Nonetheless, I was damn curious as to why this award-winning blush can win the hearts (and loyalty) of so many ladies in U.S. etc., and forced the counter girls to try on different shades on my cheeks everyday. Sorry, didn’t take pictures to share with you all the effects, but my favourite colours would be Desire and Deep Throat. Did not bother trying Orgasm as it was so highly-raved that I thought it ought to look good on everyone.

Wait, you may wonder, why am I using so many sex terms in this post? They were the real names of the NARS blushes!

The following are rather highly-talked about colours for the NARS blushes – Orgasm, Deep Throat, Amour, Desire, Angelika, Mata Hari, Exhibit A (bright red!!), Dolce Vita, and so on. Basically every colour is very attractive because it is very pigmented, i.e. when the counter girl just dabbed a bit of the blush onto my face using the brush, the colour really shows. When I say a bit, means really a little; If you dab too much, you may end up looking like the ghostly paper dolls that some people burn/offer to the deceased. I liked the way that the different blush colours made my face look like I was naturally shy (Haha!) while blushing. Besides, I don’t usually buy pink blushes because somehow I find pink blushes very unnatural on my face; peach blushes tend to look more natural. NARS pink blushes are however very sweet shades of pink. Really.

Anyway, having felt extreme disappointment at being unable to buy the NARS blushes while in Hong Kong, I was really feeling sore about Singapore not selling NARS stuffs. Fortunately now, there is a spree now that is on-going to consolidate orders for NARS blushes. Please visit here to know more details of the spree! 🙂

P.S. Go google about NARS blushes and you will see many positive reviews (of course there are also negative reviews lah! Can’t be totally good for everyone in the world right?) I have even seen one youtube video of an Asian lady applying Exhibit A (which was a bright red blush) and it looked damn good on her!!! 🙂

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