Friday, December 17, 2010

My Eyeshadow Lasted Through The Rain! ... psst, here's the secret

Ok, let's all admit it. Singapore is SCORCHING hot, and brides here SWEAT like nobody's business. Also, it tends to POUR almost every other day (and at the present moment, it's the monsoon season, so, every day).

Add that to touching speeches and teary moms, most brides tend to shed a tear on their wedding day - Recipe for eye makeup disaster!

So, a few days ago, I put on some pretty makeup (eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara) as I had a meeting. I confess I do not usually put on makeup otherwise - shock shock horror horror! But that's for a simple reason, read on.
I workout at the track 3 times a week. This time, when I got to the track, the coach said "You gotta hustle, it's gonna rain". So I zipped into the bathroom to get changed and forgot to wash my makeup off! And then the rain came. And we kept going. I trained in the rain for more than an hour, and then in the shelter for another half an hour.
And I was thinking, I look like CRAP! My mascara must be streaking down my face.
Understand me here, my entire class is made of boys.. and I didn't want to look like a wreck.

I only took a good look at myself when I got home and just before I showered. And I thought " OMG! That is like the most perfect end-of-day makeup EVER!!"
My eyes were still slightly smoky, my eyeliner was in place, and my mascara didn't run, it just flaked a little. And this was about 11 hours after I had applied it, gone into the rain and worked up a sweat!

OK, so I must must must share my secret. And then I am sure your makeup on your big day is going to be tear/sweat/rain resistant.. if not waterproof!

The Big Secret is....... Eyeshadow PRIMER !

It's not that big of a secret actually, because I use a primer on almost all my clients before applying eyeshadow. hahaha.

The main great benefits about using a primer are that it holds your eyeshadow to your lids for a longer duration without creasing, or dissolving into oily lids (so common in our climate right?). Also, the big effect you can see immediately is that eyeshadow looks really VIBRANT when applied on top of a primer. The colours pop and you wouldn't need to use as much colour to get the effect. Eyeshadow also blends much better when applied over a primer.

Easy test if you don't believe me? Go to a store, swab a little primer on your skin (back of the palm's good, really flat surface), smoothen it in. Afterwards, get any eyeshadow colour, or use one that you feel you have a hard time getting the colour to show up. Now apply the eyeshadow over the primer, and another time, over your bare skin.
Trust me, you'll see a world of difference.

The primer I used on myself was one from Red Earth. Esprit in Singapore used to carry it years ago, and then Sasa had it. Right now, I have no idea where they are. But I'm sure you can find Red Earth all around Australia.

Here are a few more options that I really do like:

Make Up Store Eyeprimer Tinted

This tinted formula (also comes in clear) goes on liquid smooth and is great for hydration and filling fine lines too. The eyeshadow, especially glittery ones, adhere firmly to your lids when applied on top of this primer.
Love it. It's a staple in my makeup bag.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

This one, I've just tried using recently and really am liking it. No creases, all holding power. Goes on nude and then dries to invisible.
They also have it in a matte finish and champagne shimmer, very cool, but you should use complimenting eyeshadows with it. No point using a matte finish primer with a shimmery eyeshadow or vice versa.
The personal sized one is great 'cos it has the applicator wand, but I'm gonna get myself the SUPERSIZED Professional Sized one without the applicator, although I have no idea how I'm going to finish using all 25mls of it :P

While we are on the topic of eyeshadow primers, don't forget the rest of your face! A little smoothing primer before your foundation goes a loooong way in keeping your makeup fresh all day.

I love Shu Uemura's UV Under Base SPF 30

It's a mousse and goes on great under foundation to even out skin tone and texture. I use this on brides on their big day and on models before a photoshoot..

Also really worth trying is RMK's Makeup Base Mat

I find it really funny that they don't spell it correctly as MATTE, but shorten it to MAT. Maybe it's a Japanese thing?
Anyway, on days when I want to go really light on my makeup, I use this and finish off with powder, skipping the foundation step. As it's slightly tinted, that works well for me, almost like a tinted moisturiser, but mattifying.

So there you go.. one BIG tip which will help your makeup go a long way especially on your wedding day!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Pros Get Personal in Sephora's X'mas Booklet! + My top picks for Christmas

Looking beyond the fact that my name was spelt wrongly, (it's Joanna, not Joanne!!!! everyone, please don't get it wrong. ) here are 12 makeup artists sharing their personal favourites from Sephora for Christmas.

So many times when I'm in Sephora, I make it a point to go to the Bliss section just to get some of their Lemon + Sage Body Butter to slather over my arms.. Opps, I know I can just buy it, but I just love having that fresh burst of yummy scent all over myself.

If you're looking for cool Christmas pressies for your girlies (and also boy friends- they have great perfumes, skincare and bath goodies for dudes too!) , make a stop at Sephora to check out all the new stuff they have for Christmas..

here are my top picks:

Sephora Massaging Duck

it looks cute, it floats in your tub, and.... *gasp* it vibrates!!!
definitely something fun to give to someone going to be travelling (alone) on an x'mas holiday

Sephora Holiday Blockbuster

I'm not surprised if this set is already sold out by the time you read this.
With 187 different colours, it boosts eyeshadows, lipglosses, eye pencils, gel eyeliners, blushers and travel brushes all in a cool folding set!
A fantastic pressie that won't break the bank, at only $79!

Toki Doki Eyeshadow Palattes

Italian artist Simone Legno, creator of Toki Doki, has teamed up with Sephora to create these cute palattes with amazingly rich colours , and a cool charm hanging off them. This guy on the palatte (above), is named Adios, looking suspiciously like the grim reaper.. but the devil suppossedly discovered his good natured ways and kicked him out of hell.
Surely will put a smile on any of your japanese/tokidoki-crazy girlies!
(and me too, I love the shades!)

Ole Henrikson Truth Serum

Your mouth might be saying your real age, but with Ole Henrikson's Truth Serum, your skin surely will be lying about it!
This collegen-boosting serum prevents and corrects the signs of aging, while feeling absolutely delectable on your skin. Best of all, it's not heavy or greasy, even if you don't have mature/dry skin, you can still enjoy the benefits (I'm talking amazing GLOW) of this product.
Also available: Truth Is In The Eyes (eye cream), Truth To Go Wipes, and Truth Revealed SPF 15 Super Creme to complete your daily regime

So till Christmas comes, Happy Shopping!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Destination: Bali (Part 2)

I hope you enjoyed my last post on wedding & honeymoon destinations in Bali, and as promised, here's part 2.

Ubud is a town close to the center of Bali, set nowhere near the beach, but is just as beautiful. You'll find rice paddy fields, art galleries, artists and craftsmen, temples and the Ubud Palace. Wander into the Ubud market and get caught up for hours wandering through 3 levels of clothes, art, home accessories, trinklets and spices.
And if you've heard of the famous Bali Babi Guling (Roast Pork), the best stall is right here in Ubud, on the left of the Ubud Palace.

You'll be spoilt for choice if you're looking for a perfect place for your wedding or honeymoon in Ubud. Here are my top picks:

Alila Ubud
Location: Ubud
Great for: Weddings, Honeymoon

Alila Hotels, a luxury chain of resorts, are found in Indonesia, Maldives, India, Thailand and Laos.
Their resort in Ubud is simply breathtaking.
The award winning pool (Travel+Living's 50 most spectacular pools in the world) is set above a lush green valley and the Ayung River.

Take a shower in your outdoor bathroom, enjoy your breakfast and afternoon tea by the pool side, and visit the spa for one of the most luxurious treatments you'll ever have.
If you're looking to set the mood for the evening, the ipod docks available in every room will do the trick for some romantic melodies.

They'll plan your wedding for you, and with a total of 56 rooms, there's enough space for your close friends and family to stay.

If you're coming here for your honeymoon, they have special couple's packages for you to choose from, whether you want a villa or a deluxe room.

It's gonna be one sweet stay.


Moziac Bali
Location: Ubud
Great for: Dinner, Drinks

Coming from Singapore where the International food scene can really spoil us for choice, I tend to think of the restaurants in Bali as scruffier but cheaper.
Moziac however, was a complete surprise.
What's not a surprise now, is to know that they have been honoured as the Top 6 Restaurants in Asia by the 2010 Miele Guide

Once you enter Moziac, you're ushered to a comfortable lounge where you can have pre-dinner drinks or tapas while they get your table ready. A great selection of fine wines and champagnes will keep you occupied, if you're not already enchanted by the singer and pianist there.

The setting for dinner is in an alfresco area facing the huge garden (hard to tell when you drive past! then again, lots of things in Bali are hidden behind small road-facing buildings.) If you lose track of what you've been eating, just like I did, they have thoughtfully placed a beautifully printed and rolled up menu on the table.

For dinner, you choose from four different tasting menus. That must have been the one and only time I had foie gras in Bali. And damn, it was good. Very good.
Vegetarians, if you've been put off by what I just said, the chef also offers a vegetarian menu.

Reservations are necessary. If you are staying in Sanur, or Kuta, it's about an hour's drive away.

Opening hours: 1745 till closed.
Contact: , +62 361 975768

Bali Botanica Day Spa
Location: Ubud
Great for: Affordable Ayurvedic Treatments & Spa Packages

Before I start, I need to tell you 2 things
1. Their website doesn't look very good
2. I have a knack for knowing what places are fantastic despite horrible websites and photographs.

Now, Bali Botanica is located a little far out from Ubud town, and that's why they offer a free pickup from your hotel. Being further out from town is a good thing, once we alighted, we had to walk about 50-100 m down a small winding path before we got to the reception.
No noise from the road, no people walking past and peeping in, just a quiet retreat in a forest.

At the reception, they have you fill in a detailed form about any allergies, injuries, preferred pressure and areas to concentrate on, as well as your choice of oils (which were described in great detail!).
Your therapist leads you to your treatment room, mine was facing the west, I had gorgeous soft sun rays streaming into my room when I entered!
Each room is fitted with your own tub and shower, so you don't have to run across the hallways to rinse off before and after your treatments.

snapshot of the treatment room when I got there

I had booked in for a 75min signature herbal massage (RP 150,000/ USD 17/ SGD 22) and a 45 min Ayurvedic Shirodara (RP 360,000 / USD 40 / SGD 53) , which is the Indian ayurvedic treatment where they drip warm oil onto your third eye area.

If you are thinking of having a body massage and Ayurvedic massage, just go straight for the Ayurvedic Chakra Dhara treatment ( RP 495,000 / USD 55 / SGD 72) which you will be put into bliss for 150mins.
In this treatment, warm oil is dripped onto your Chakra(energy) points and then massaged in, helping to detox your body and improve circulation.

I completely loved my Signature herbal massage, it eased out so much tension that was being constantly carried about.
My only regrets - not having enough time in Ubud to make another appointment back at the spa.

Appointments recommended. Opened till 8pm
Contact: , +62 361 976739

Next up : I'll bring you back to the south! Probably to Canggu & Seminyak.. And Kuta if I have enough energy for it! It's always stressful and such a rush there!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Destination: Bali ( Part 1)

Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Bali. And I mean, seriously, LURVE BALI!

So if you're ever planning for a destination wedding, or honeymoon in South East Asia, heck, Asia, I'm the first one to scream "GO TO BALI!!!"

Why? I can give you more than a hundred good reasons.. but these you should hear:
- BEAUTIFUL beaches set the backdrop for a tropical beach wedding
- Fantastic 5* villas at reasonable prices
- You can book the entire property and all the villas in it to hosts all your guests
- World-class food at a snap of your fingers
- Spa, Massage, you ask for it, you get it. And you can get it cheap, or uber luxurious.
- Wedding planners, hairstylists, photographers, makeup artists, florists, catering, all accessable
- Direct flights to Bali from most Austra-Asian cities , and if you're coming from anywhere else, you can always transit comfortably in Singapore


Mu Bali
Location: Bingin (The Bukit, South)
Great for: Honeymoon, Wedding, Romantic Getaway

With only 11 individually designed Bungalows spread over a huge property on top of the cliff above Bingin beach, Mu Bali is a back-to-nature-while-keeping-it-luxurious destination. I personally love the Cliff Bungalow (well, it's not really a bungalow because it has no walls or doors!) , the most private and quiet room cut into the cliff, all you hear are the rolling waves, all you see is the infinite sea and the glorious sunset.

The view when you wake up (these are my snap shots!)

Imagine your wedding right here! (A shot from Mu's site)

The property is run by Jerome from France and his excellent team of Balinese women who cook some darn amazing french and indonesian food!

Contact: Endang / Jerome

Shanti Residences
Location: Nusa Dua (South End of Bali, where all the fancy international hotels are)
Great for: Weddings, large family getaways

Shanti Residences is a gorgeous 5 bedroom Villa property, with your own private swimming pool, kitchen, gym, spa room, sitting room, garden, driveway and parking lot!
The five bedrooms are all different, from the largest Master Suite to the smallest twin room.
Three of the rooms have their own plunge pools and sitting rooms, while the twin rooms are located on the 2nd level and have spacious bathrooms (that's what I love most about Bali, HUGE bathroom spaces!)

Your own butler will take care of your every need, from planning your meals to grocery shopping, to arranging a picnic at the beach, or activities for kids, or picking up your guests. You also get a personal chef who can arrange a quiet romantic teppan dinner next to the pool, or whip up a storm for a large party.

They're extremely meticulous and experienced with weddings, so leave all your worries behind and place your trust in their good hands!

My snapshot of their garden!

Photography: Phil Date/ EastWest Imaging , with model Antonio chilling by the pool!

And if that's not enough for you, they have two more properties in Bali, Four@ Drupadi in Seminyak (if you wanna party with friends for your Stag/Hen's night), or Lotus Residences in Canggu for a quiet retreat near the paddy fields


Next post, (i promise I will post in the next 3 days or so)..... Part 2 of Destination: Bali

Sunday, November 7, 2010

*CLOSED* Manicure & Pedicure at BLISS Spa, ION Orchard

**Update: Bliss Spa at ION Orchard has CLOSED :(
But for all you jetsetters, you can get your Bliss fix at the W Hotel in Hong Kong

BLISS Spa in Singapore has been pretty quiet since it's opening in late 2009. Although it's part of an international chain of spas which has a line of extremely successful products, it's spa in ION orchard is tucked away in a quiet corner at the back of Sephora.

Last week, I decided to try out the BLISS Hot Cream Manicure & Pedicure (S$90), to see if their premium-priced treatments were worth the buck.

Entering their spa, I was ushered to their comfortable couch to fill in a consultation form. They have a small spread of bite-sized brownies, lemonade and hot teas which were an excellent touch.
The nail polishes from Essie and OPI were displayed on a clear wall which I got to pick from before beginning the manicure.

The manicure was then done over a table facing two large TVs playing Gossip Girl & Desperate Housewives! I hardly watch TV so this was the first time I got to watch Gossip Girl. If you're worried about it being noisy, it's not, as they have comfy headphones at each table.

Her tools were taken out of a specially sealed pack which means the tools were sterilized either with UV or in an Autoclave, then sealed in a special pack. That's great, since there was a big Hep B scare where Hep B was being spread during manicures.

So she started the manicure:
I have to say this again, why do manicurists keep filing the nails in a super fast, zigzag manner?
This webpage explains it in the simplest, best way:
"Nail filing should be reserved for simple shaping once the nails are at the desired length. Using the proper file, take a few gentle strokes from the corner to center in the same direction. Don’t file nails all the way across or from side to side. A few strokes should be all that is needed to get the ideal shape. Take care not to file down the sides of the nail aggressively - this area is essential to nail strength and should be left alone as much as possible."

After the filing she applied a TON of cuticle remover onto my cuticles, I was really suspicious about it since there was no washing of the remover after. Most cuticle removers need to be washed off since they're very alkaline and are drying to your skin. I asked her about it but she said it is done later.

So after the cutting of cuticles, she put a ton of cuticle oil on, followed by the "Hot Cream" part of the manicure.
Basically, it is cream in a plastic bag which is put into the heater, then wrapped around your hands, and then massaged in.

My hands were never washed or soaked. She only ran a hot wet towel over before applying the polish.

I had chosen Escapades from Essie for my fingernails and she also used Essie base and top coat. The paint job was gorgeous and Essie colours dry relatively quickly, I would say much more quickly than OPI & Orly colours.

Essie "Escapades"

The pedicure was done on these HUGE, PLUSH Chairs. That had got to be the most comfortable pedicure seat I was ever on. Or the most comfortable couch ever.
There were also TV screens right ahead and I got to watch GLEE. (My first time watching GLEE, can I get the DVD set for X'Mas? :P )

I briefed her that my large toenail was easily succeptable to becoming ingrown.. well it wasn't ingrown or inflammed but it always hurt on one side. It was really brittle and had taken months to grow out so I had now cut it extremely straight across. Told her not to cut or file it, and she acknowledged it, but when the filing started she immediately did what i told her NOT to do. I only realised what she had done after all the toes were done and when it started to hurt again. (The hurting comes from the pressure the nail plate puts on the nail bed, and cutting your nails straight shifts the pressure away from the side. So once the nail is cut rounded, the pressure gets put back)
Boy, did I give her a piece of my mind! :(
And yes, I explained about cutting the nail straight, but it makes me wonder, where are the manicurists trained?

The rest of the pedicure was pretty standard: The ton of cuticle remover, cuticle oil, scrub (with a wash off scrub and also with a large foot file), massage and then the polish.

I chose Essie's "Ballet Slippers", a pretty pastel pink. I was inspired by this gorgeous caucasian lady I saw at Great World City, with the most flawless pedicure and pretty polish, exactly like this one, wearing jewelled sandals. I had almost stepped up to her and asked her what shade it was, but figured I might come across abit too obsessive :P

Essie "Ballet Slippers"

Overall, the manicure and pedicure were good, I wouldn't classify it as value-for-money, it's more of a "once in a while, have a treat" kind of place. If you love somewhere hip and luxurious, it would be the place for you.
The major difference comes in their little, important touches, like sterile tools, warm towels, warm massage creams and scrubs, a soft comfy blanket when lying on the couch.

It would be perfect as a pre-wedding treat, or for a private hen's night spa party.

Once you're done, don't forget to get a free pictures of yourself at their little photobooth!

Ambience: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Skill: 3.5/5
Location: 5/5 (for those who take public transport)
3/5 (if you drive and have to pay exhorbitant rates for parking in town)
Price: 3/5
Variety of services: 4/5

Prices for nail services:
Hot Cream Manicure 30 min, $35
Bliss Basic Pedicure 60min, $55
Hot milk & almond pedicure 60min, $75
Double choc pedicure 60min, $75
Pedi colada 60min, $75
Foot Patrol 75 min, $85
additioanl French tips $10

at Sephora - ION
01- 05/06 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

10am - 9pm Daily
+65 6509 3511

On their menu:
Waxing - Facials - Massage - Nails - Slimming

note: 5 days later (today) Still no chips in nail polish!!! And I have been pretty rough on my hands! Impressive.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I haven't gone to a halloween party for the last 5,6 years, so this year when I was asked to do makeup for the Halloween event at Universal studios, I had a chance to check out their event.

If you're going for the Bridezilla look, let me know and we can work something similar out :P

I was doing the makeup for the band, here they are!

And some of my fav characters at the park

These clowns are too much fun :D

Chain Saw gang guy.... I think he's pretty cute! Does anyone know him?? :D


I'm going to try the Brazillian Blow Dry today, I'll let everyone know how it goes .. can't wait! I'm hoping for a miracle for my hair

Thursday, October 21, 2010

FULLY BOOKED FREE Manicures & Pedicures from ME on 26 Oct & 2 Nov

Thanks for your support :)

I've booked up all the slots, will post another event up soon... the next time it'll be about makeup! :)

Hullo gals!
I am going to sit for my exam to get my Diploma in Nail Treatments from CIBTAC

There is a requirement for me to do 25 (recorded) hours of manicures & pedicures.. See, I have been spending many hours in class and on photoshoots but I didnt record every pair of hands and feet I've worked on.

My exam's gonna be on 10 November, and I've got 2 more sessions of classes to go on the 26th of October, and 2nd of November.

Therefore.. I'm offerring FREE Manis & Pedis for anyone who would like to come down for one! :)

There a just a few easy conditions

1. Timing. You need to book an appointment with me so that you won't be left waiting for 1+hr while I attend to another person

2. Location. I must do this in the school, which is at Ang Mo Kio Central.

3. Picture. We need to take a picture together for me to present to the examiner. (pretty simple right!)

So if you're keen, please do check below for timings..

26 October 2010

2 November 2010

Leave a comment here with your email, or drop me an email at with

Subject title: Mani & Pedi
Contact number
Preferred timing
Preferred colours (I need to know so I can bring along the colours)

and for a parting shot, here's a picture of the manicure I did for Revolution Magazine awhile back (yes I have been painting nails on set for sometime, I just thought, why not get a Diploma to boot~!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

The great satisfaction lies within a tiny $6 $4.95 pack

I know my previous post was about honeymoons, but no, it's not a box of Durex!

My favourite drugstore buy is the humble but oh-so-genius Biore Pore Pack

Biore Pore Pack isn't new to the market.. wasn't it during the good ol' teenage days that we would obsess over getting great skin by using the newest Japanese product? (And maybe now, still)

Recently I did some facials where they told me I have blackheads (like I need to be reminded!), but didn't do anything to remove them.
So today I pulled out my trusty pore packs (I like the ones in black), and stuck them on while enjoying a clay mask.

I love the short and straightforward Wikipedia has on Blackheads:

"A blackhead is a yellow or blackish bump or plug on the skin. A blackhead is a type of acne vulgaris. Contrary to the common belief that it is caused by poor hygiene, blackheads are caused by excess oils that have accumulated in the sebaceous gland's duct. The substance found in these bumps mostly consists of keratin and modified sebum (an oily secretion of the sebaceous gland), which darkens as it oxidizes. Clogged hair follicles, where blackheads often occur, reflect light irregularly to produce a blackhead's "black" hue. For this reason, the blockage might not necessarily look black when extracted from the pore, but may have a more yellow-brown colour as a result of its melanin content."

Here I am now, feeling oh-so-pleased with my clear skin and damn, that was 45c well spent!

Biore Pore Packs are available at Watsons & Guardian Stores. You can also try your friendly heartland NTUCs and Mama stores! They're everywhere!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Beautiful Honeymoon Destination

Hey folks!
I'm back from my holiday..and it was an AMAZING PLACE! No, I did not go on my honeymoon :P, I'm not married. However, I think that this country is a fantastic place for you lovebirds to go on a honeymoon, or holiday together!


Land of the Thunder Dragon

above: The view of Tiger's Nest (Tatkshang), after a 5km trek to 900m above ground level

Ok, I can hear the questions now. Where's IS Bhutan? Who are the people there? Is it part of another country? Can they speak English?

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small country in the Eastern region of the Himalayas, it's neighbours are China, Tibet and India. There are about 700,000 Bhutanese people inhabiting this land. Their National language is Dzongkha, which is very similar to Tibetian, but almost everyone speaks English (and I dare say, some speak better English than Singaporeans :P). They also speak Hindi & Nepali, if you were thinking of flexing your language skills too!

They have four seasons and it's always a great time to go, although they do say that spring is best because of the blooming flowers (I say it could rival those korean travel brochures!), and winter, for the clear skies and visibility (You can see the tips of the Himalayas!)

above: At the Dochu-la pass on a cloudy autumn day. During Winter you can see the right to the tips of the Himalayas.

What's there to do in Bhutan?

For starters, there's always a monastry or temple located right down whichever street you're on.

Your journey can begin in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Spoil yourself and check into the majestic Taj Tashi Hotel to begin your romantic honeymoon and enjoy a local Hot Stone Bath or Indian Ayurvedic Massage.

Each of the major cities has a Dzong, a monastry fortress built to keep out Tibetian invaders, which will have a large courtyard for festivals, a monastry for the clergy and other blocks for administration.

above: Tashichhoedzong, and the Thimphu Tshechu Festival

Head down to the 12th Century Changgang Kha (Goddess of Compassion) Temple where it has been said that you make it in, you can make any wish and it will come true. Look for the dice once you enter the inner sanctum, make a wish, roll the dice, and there will be a monk who will tell you if your wish is good and if it will come true.

Although the hours of driving from town to town can get long, there are always interesting sights along the way. Roadside stands are set up selling local produce - always fresh, organic and grown in the wild, or roasted corn, yak cheese and other snacks.

Driving through the mountains will give you peeks of waterfalls, valleys, streams, farms, paddy fields and monastries set against dramatic backdrops of rich blue skies.

above: 108 Stupas built at the Dochu-la pass. The road runs from the current capital Thimphu to the ancient capital city of Punakha

Punakha is the winter home for the Monk body as it is at a slightly lower altitude and set in a warmer valley. Here, the Dzong is romantically set in between two rivers, the Male river & Female river.

Inside the monastry, the floor to ceiling paintings of Buddhist teachings, philisophies and stories, and statues of Guru Rinpoche and Buddha will completely blow your away with their details and colours, painstakingly restored and maintained.

above: Share a quiet moment in the Punakha Dzong under the Bodhi tree

above: The Punakha Dzong and the Moochu (female) River. I don't have any pictures within the monastries as photography is forbidden inside.

A town that you must not miss is the city of Paro (also where the airport is located at). It is also here where the world famous Tiger's Nest sits, right at the top of a cliff, 900m above ground level.
The Tiger's Nest monastry is built over a cave where Guru Rinpoche was said to have meditated for three months, when he flew (rode) into Paro on the back of a Tiger.
There are also little houses built right on the top of the cliff, where you can stay for three months to meditate.

Well, but for the rest of us, and for honeymooners, a stay at the Uma- Inland Retreats would be much more comfortable. Guess what? Tony Leung (hearts!) & Carina Lau had their wedding right at this resort! If it's good enough for them, it sure is good enough for us!

above: the start of the trek. see the little speck of white up there? that's where we are going! To the Tiger's Nest!

above: The view when you reach the top is worth the hard climb

I promise you, you'll fall in love all over again when you're in a place as beautiful as Bhutan, and not just with your partner, but in love with nature, religion, culture, and life.

And as for me, I know I'm going back again there someday soon :)

With Thanks:

To Sonam from Bhutan Nor Ter Adventures,
He's like a walking Bhutan history book, with tons of local information and a knack for outdoorsy activities like trekking, biking (KTM! or Mountain bikes) or just bringing you to the best spots you'll ever be at.

Get in touch with him if you'll like a customised tour across Bhutan or even India & Nepal

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Her World Brides Editorial

Hi Everyone! I'm been really bad, not updating this page for a while. It's been hectic, with editorials, commercials & brides! The Christmas season is around the corner, I know you might be thinking, it's 3 months away, but in media calender, it's when everyone starts this mad rush to prepare their Christmas ads.
As I really don't want to disappoint anyone, please do book me in advance, as my schedule fills up pretty quick (besides, I give a 15% discount to all brides who book me 5 months in advance :D )

I've firmed up my travel schedule for the next couple of months, No Bali trips! I miss Bali! If you are doing a pre-wedding photoshoot in Bali, Melbourne or Sydney, I'll be more than happy to give you a super super discounted rate. :)

I'll be away from:
18 September - 24 September
10 November - 15 November

Anyways, enough of words, here are the PICTURES!

Photography: Aik Chen
Styling: Furqan Saini
Hair & Makeup: Joanna Koh using Redken & Clinique, assisted by Angeline Chan
Models: Yana & Sandra/ Upfront

The full series is available on my FACEBOOK page

And incase you're wondering, what's this lovely foundation for the model's skin, it's Clinique Superfit Makeup, which I also use on almost all my clients. It's one of my favourite foundations simply because it lasts 6-8 hours through your oil, sweat and tears (sounds familiar for your big day?), doesnt clog pores, and gives a beautiful buildable coverage.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Manicure at Shine Studio @ Far East Plaza

Today I tried out the manicure at Shine Studio (under Citispa at Far East Plaza.

I chose a shade of cobalt blue, OPI's Blue My Mind ..this shade is amazing!

My nails are cut super short, so there was not much filing for her to do.
Rather disappointed at the way many manicurists here file nails. A zig-zag sawing motion will end up splitting your nails. Never file your nails that way. Instead, file your nails in a single direction, best to file them always towards the center of your nails.
Cuticle pushing & trimming were fine, she did briefly sanitise the metal instruments before beginning.
The arm massage was so-so, ho-hum..

What I was nicely impressed by was her speed and even-ness of her painting. At $18 for a manicure in town, done in 45mins, no one can really complain!
Mani & Pedi go for $38

Shine Studio
14 Scotts Road, Far East Plaza. #02-94
Tel: 6738 0700
Open from 11:30am

Next up.. I'm going to try Bliss Spa's Mani & Pedi! Once my nails grow out abit.. give me a couple of weeks :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Autumn / Winter Look 2010

My work in Elle Singapore, September 2010

The season's smokey eye is in smouldering purple tones, finished with a soft black definition

Brows are simply brushed and filled in only where needed

Cheeks have been kept natural, using a slight shimmery pink on light skin tones, or a shimmery plum on darker tones.

To top off the look, only a swipe of lipgloss is needed. Try a pinky-nude shade, as close to your natural lip colour

Perfect for an evening out!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nail Quest!

I have a new personal quest!
I'm going to try out as many manicure/pedicure places, so I can review and present them to you ladies :D

Although I had never been crazy over manicures and nail art, since I'm learning to do manicures now, I had better go see and experience what's out there. I've been a little phobic of nail salons because of the bad experiences I've had before.

One nail technician sliced all the hard skin off the soles of my feet, making walking extremely painful for a few days (by the way, some calluses develop also to protect the feet from friction, and for me, because I used to walk and exercise alot, I needed that extra cushioning).
Another one pushed a metal stick, the sort for cleaning under the nail, too deep and following that I developed a patch of fungus that took weeks to clear out, with the help of Dr. G's Clear Nail.
Others have nipped at my cuticles a little too enthusiastically which freaks me out!

Not all are bad.. I have had some occassional nice experiences.

Serenity Cove
at Holland Village won me over with their warm and personalised service, and their little extras - chocolate and cookies with your tea while having your feet scrubbed? Bliss!

So if you know of any nail salons/spas that you'll like to recommend me, drop me a note or comment and I'll be calling them up for my next appointment!

And if you're a nail spa and would like me to check your place out, feel free to email me :)

Makeup & Nails by Joanna Koh, for Revolution Magazine/ The Hour Glass

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Your Tropical Beach and Garden Bridal Hairstyle Solutions

Getting married in a tropical climate such as Singapore (or Bali! LOVE! ) can be a beauty nightmare for most. Curly hair gets frizzier, straight hair refuses to curl, your makeup starts sliding off.. well, I've got some simple solutions for you to have the best hair(and makeup) day at your tropical beach or garden wedding.

1. Be practical
If you hair is really straight and heavy, and no hairstylist has ever made your curls last for more than the time you stick around in the salon, don't expect any different on your wedding day, especially if you're having your wedding outdoors.
The weather in Singapore can go up to 34 degrees Celsius during the day, so you are bound to sweat (unless your bridesmaids are fanning you ala cleopatra!). If your shoulders are showing and your hair is down, be prepare to have it stick to your neck and back. These things show in pictures- and they don't look good. Opt for a classy updo instead and you'll be keeping your cool much more easily.

2. Work with your hair texture
For those of us who have curly hair, work with this texture to bring out your luscious curls and waves.
Try KMS Sea Salt Spray to add texture to your curls for that beach babe vibe.

Spray it in, diffuse dry, scruch a little wax in at the ends and set it with hair spray.
Pop in a pretty hair accessory and you're good to go in less than 30minutes!
Also, you'll be the envy of your counterparts who are going for option (1) above.

3. Explore your options with beautiful tropical flowers
Flowers can make amazing hair accessories that bring you back-to-nature. They jazz up your hairstyle, and can even be used as a wreath for yourself or for the flowergirl. Here, we are blessed with the perfect weather for cultivating Orchids and Frangipanis, which i hear are cut-throat expensive temperate climates.
You can choose flowers which compliment your hand bouquet or theme in terms of colour, but choose a different species to avoid looking too matchy-matchy. Good quality fresh flowers can last between 5 to 8 hours. If the type of flowers you choose can be dried and kept (eg Roses or Forget-Me-Nots, they will last even longer). Keep them in their wrap or in a vase until you're ready to have them pinned to your hair.

4. And for the girls...
Your bridesmaids too will be wanting to look their best for your wedding. One great way to stand out from them is to have a completely different hairstyle. So, if you're having an updo, request that they leave their hair down, or at least in a half-updo. A simple yet pretty way to have them do their hair is to add braids, a little french braid across the crown or to pull back their fringe can add uniformity to all your "jie meis", or bridesmaids. It's quick and they can do each other's hair too if they don't have a hairstylist to themselves.
Here's one that I did for a photoshoot with Jeff Chen

Once your hair's set and you're ready to go, just SMILE and have a great time. Believe me, you ARE the most gorgeous girl at your wedding. :D