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All things beauty and then some. Andrea Claire has been a hairstylist and makeup artist for 23 years now. A Canadian based in Singapore since 2007, she has appeared on Asia's Next Top Model, Yahoo Asia, Canadian Idol, So Chic and more.

Franken-Mommy

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By Andrea Claire · October 16, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

A little add-on 2 weeks after my original posting.... 

I posted this piece for a few days then unpublished it. I was thinking:

'Did I over-share??' Probably.

'Will people think I'm promoting plastic surgery?' Maybe. For sure those who missed the point... and the trolls of the internet. 

There were other wild thoughts from the head of Andrea Claire...

But then I had a client sit in my hair chair and part way through her appointment she says 'Oh! I read your blog all the time!' [me a sheepish 'thanks!' as my mind reflects on my latest posts and rants] She tells me how she loved this post [I had unpublished it by this time], how real it was and how it's nice to hear from a real person who shares a lot of what our age group thinks about. So I decided, that if one person reads this or any other overly personal rant I have and feels better about their inner thoughts, fears and just feels like they have a voice with a common-ish ground... well... I had to put it back out there. So here it is... judge or feel a sigh of relief. I'm ok with either... just leave any troll-y thoughts to yourself and watch Aristocats for that lesson... 'If you can't say something nice...'

And so here it is, the original post about my belly...

______________________________________________

There is one thing I can honestly say about myself: I am an over-sharer. I have no filter and frequently catch myself revealing Too Much Information.

photo by Zurina Bryant 

I have an 'I'm an open book' personality as well as I am in the fashion/entertainment industry. It's a world of 'look at me'. It's not wrong, but, I do feel it's put me in a bad habit of talking about myself. Honestly, it's not horrible for many reasons, one being, our industry is gossipy; I do make it hard for anyone to accuse me of gossiping since my hot topic is, well: me.

Being fabulous is exhausting. I kid.

And on the subject of being fabulous and TMI let me share with you my most recent adventure: a hernia repair paired with a tummy tuck. Yup. I tried to fight vanity, vanity won. How Smurfy.

If you have been following my blog then you would know that I relocated with my daughters to Singapore in 2007 after I remarried. During the honeymoon stages of my fairy tale life I had a baby and then got bit by a mosquito that gave me chikungunya - it's become my Aedes aegypti heel. From 2008 to now, I've suffered the after effects that doctors say is officially an autoimmune disease with similar symptoms to arthritis, thus, reactive arthritis limiting my ability to work out. Wah wah. Boo hoo. Poor Andrea Claire.

Image source 

Before I move on to the dramatic fold - let me tell you something that you may or may not have known. Larger babies, repeated births and multiple births can result in a diastasis recti; the muscle wall separates! What can this mean? Well, the muscle wall is there to protect your abdomen and organs. There are risks depending on the degree of separation, for example: the smallest of separations can trap a piece of your intestine causing it to strangulate resulting in potential emergency surgery. Of course add in the esthetic, the degree of separation dictates the bulge that leaves you puzzled as to why you can't get rid of it. Not only had I not heard about this throughout my pregnancies, but not even during high school health classes nor prenatal classes; not one professional felt the urge to share this info.

I discovered this hernia post-babies, post-mozzie illness, post-relocation to Asia where everyone is body conscious (and not really in a healthy manner) post-40 and post- some 4 year old calling me fat on set of a fashion editorial shoot. Self-doubt and insecurities were not invented in Asia but the general criticism on appearance here doesn't help. Reformer Pilates was my latest working out venture that was easy on my joints that I managed to do consistently for six months and although my GP confirmed that the muscle wall closed a little, it wasn't enough. I have succumbed to the knife. But I do feel that for me, it was a necessary evil vanity. Well, there are medical reasons too but because it's a man's world and the insurance companies make manly decisions they consider this elective surgery. I BET that if it were men fighting the battle of the organ bulge (not the one they think with) , this surgery would be compulsory. 

___

I woke up from my surgical slumber, anesthetist hovering over me and at my feet lay a plastic jar. She called to the nurses, scolding them to remove it, apologizing to me. I asked what it was, she replied with some words I don't remember but BEHOLD it was my old belly button surrounded by the flesh that was cut away.

Like driving by a train wreck, I had to see it... 

The anesthetist hesitantly brought it to me which I responded with 'looks like sausages' and immediately returned to sleep. She reminded me of that conversation when I was awake in my room.  Thanks for the reminder forever killing my desire to eat sausages ever again.

As I lay in my hospital bed, day two post hernia/tummy tuck, morphine revoked, popping the equivalent of Tylenol 3s every 6 hours... I said to my lovely surgeon Dr Harry Fok "What the Fok was I thinking" (Let's be honest. I said f*ck.)

I remember cutting a client's hair in Toronto years ago who confided in me that she had a hernia fix / tummy tuck. Said it was the worst pain that she's ever felt, however worth every moment. 

The amount of pain that I was in was beyond anything I could have imagined – popping out mini watermelons from my vagina was less painful. Ok – they were my daughters, not watermelons and all three girls were over 9 lbs! (Bragger)

The nurses asked when I'd like the catheter removed - um, like, NEVER. At that moment lying in bed and peeing into a bag didn't seem all that bad. The thought of rolling over to hoist my new bod out to walk 15 steps to the toilet just didn't seem appealing. Death seemed more appealing at that moment. Drama Queen.

My friend Faz Gaffa  came to visit. I told her the story about the jar and then noticing tucked away in my hospital room corner was a grocery bag that I never had... um, no...!! Was it?... Faz courageously opened the bag... Yes. Behold! The jar with my stomach and sitting pretty as I looked down into it was my old belly button. (I have a photo but maybe here is not the place to put it? Yes? No?)

photo with the scar under my bikini by Zurina Bryant

Now behold my new: origami belly button! I'm sure it's a different method than origami but that's what comes to mind, a kind of paper folding trickery to make a new belly button.

 The decisions to have elective surgery for aesthetic reasons cuts deeper than the knife. Ultimately I decided for me. If you are not your number one reason for making this decision then perhaps you need a session or two with a therapist to help you decipher the real reason; after all you are going to be faced with hip-to-hip scarring that could be a negative or positive reminder – that's all up to you.

Ashley Judd touched on the female competitiveness in the world and sadly, I do see it. A mother's life, working or not; is not full of excuses, couches, bon-bons and daytime dramas. But tales of mistresses with their claws out, threatening that you keep your man happy or else they pounce; painful remarks made of mommy belly hurts down to the (lack of) abdominal core; advertisements selling to the post-baby 35+ using 17-21 year old models to set up false self-expectations and expectations from those who don't know any better. 

After your surgery you will need to wear compression garments. I did try control top underwear but two things: I never realized the stomach muscles involved to pull up control-top girdle undies. THAT HURT like a MOFO! And, if your hernia repair is quite high, the high-waisted band sits at a funny place cutting into the stitches leading to pain and swelling; that was me. The best undergarment that I've found are Design Veronique. There's a zipper along the side so you aren't ripping the muscles you had fixed contorting yourself to get in them and with a French name, they're clearly chic as well.

The running theme of TMI, which I prefer to call 'empowering sharezies', I had a disastrous pelvic floor.  

I swear my bladder was becoming weaker as I aged (#faceof43) and post three children; not once did I ever have an embarrassing moment but I truly felt it became close many times. Thank god I learned where all the toilets in Singapore were situated. Sure, I've done my Kegels... I went to my doctor prior to this hernia repair and she suggested physio - vaginal strengthening is apparently done with some special wand... I asked if it would vibrate. Apparently not. I might have tried physio then...I kid. I'm not a prude but that was just weird to me. She said it would be done by a woman. I think I'd prefer to DIY that at home.

(We need a mommy app to source out toilets globally when we are preggers or dealing with a weak bladder)

Speaking of toilets....

Some of the painkillers you get will cause constipation. If we are old enough for this surgery then you understand what fruits and veggies do. When our diet fails us, I found the best thing to help while I was going number two (having a poo).... Roll up a bath towel to counter any pressure. 

Getting out of bed I found the best way was rolling onto my left side and pushing up from my bedside table.

Scar repair is important. There are many creams and natural remedies. What the Fok said: Stratamed. He did say many women use Bio Oil, vitamin e or even honey; they all work. Honey is a little messy as it is sticky and won't absorb. I found that the Stratamed needed a little time to absorb so that was my opportunity to do the morning beautification process - blowout and makeup while dancing naked.

photo of Zoie and I by Zurina Bryant 

Zoie, who you will find online as #stuffZoiesays, loves to stare at my scar "I love disgusting stuff", she squeals. This is where I dubbed myself Franken-Mommy. Of course my children know I had this surgery. Zoie is six so she understands the six year old version and then I have teenagers who can read. I explained to them the hernia repair, and while one cannot deny the aesthetic value of the tuck, it has vastly improved my physical well-being.

Of course the emotional value is important to address. Some of you may remember me from the W Network's Stylin' Gypsies. After the show aired and we were still in production I remember being called into the editing suite to be shown a freeze frame of me bent over, mixing hair colour and asked if I could do something about *this* - pointing to my belly. Not only was I horrified and defensive but that's not what the show was about. I loved the show because we weren't about 'scalpels and skinny is beautiful'. We were about empowerment. I told them not to shoot me from that angle and stormed out.

Fast forward to me living in Singapore. I did a guest appearance for Tresemme on Asia's Next Top Model. As I was being mic'ed - with the padded mic wrap they do around the waist that any woman with on-camera experience tries to avoid, I was asked by some Australian man on the production if I would prefer the large t-shirt so it would fit better... Through gritted teeth I said that the medium was fine.

I worked as the key hair & makeup artist on another program here in Singapore where the director who had a massive gut made a joke in front of the entire crew, patting his belly and referencing me... WTF is wrong with people anyway?! Where is this ok? No place.

I wrote a piece for xoJane on my experience being called fat by a four year old and why I don't allow the F word in my house. The readers' comments proved to me that it was a failed article. Many said I was denying a valid body type and that I was fat shaming. No. I was not. Fat, according to many readers, was a valid descriptor word. I don't believe it is; and sure maybe because society has given FAT a negative power. My point was trying to express how bullying and shaming was not right and that we need to watch what we teach our children MANNERS. I've heard children in public ask their parents why some stranger is so fat; my children look at me horrified and always say 'that's not nice' because I have taught them to respect others and frankly, that isn't nice.

This is before and four weeks post surgery.

So yes, I had my hernia repair (and tummy tuck) because of many factors, some from my own desire and some that included me feeling bullied by people who should have chosen a more constructive method to express… actually, nothing. No one has rights to talk to you about your body unless you came out of their vagina, you married them or they're your medical doctor – perhaps a BFF or two.

Just turning 43, I was doing my best not to crack the 'getting work done' seal and I know it's not for everyone. I stress - do it for you - I'm happy with my choices even though I am still in recovery. I've actually seen many improvements including in my pelvic floor. I'm not dashing to a toilet while focusing on not wetting myself.

FAST FORWARD>>>

I wrote this piece for a Canadian magazine months ago and now I'm posting it here. On me wee blog for my 2.5 readers. I'm still VERY happy with my surgery. I had hip surgery in January too. It's been a tough year in the Andrea Claire bubble.

Yes, there are bigger things in the world than Andrea Claire's tummy melodrama; like human-trafficking... Read how I help fight that battle too.

Have you got the Beauty Blues?

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By Andrea Claire · October 13, 2014 · 0 Comments ·



*refresh the blog post title if you don't see a video




Blue in beauty has been around forever and you don't need to look like you're about to shout BINGO when you're wearing it.

This behind the scenes video I iPhoned *wink* is with Fiona Fussi for Urban SG cover shoot published months ago. I used NARS Eye Paint for the blue but did a second line with a black liquid liner - a duo-coloured winged-tip liner?! Craziness!  



Nars Eye Paint
 $25.00 USD at Neiman Marcus




My Furla inspired manicure using China Glaze colours. I believe the colours are: Shower Together (blue) with Mind the Gap (gold)  

I often get inspired by the ladies at Tips Nail Bar. Their nail techs are wicked-awesome-talented as well as Leeanne humours me when I ask her how-to or nail questions; for example, recently I had an art-deco-inspired mani and the manicurist here in Singapore used acrylics for using on canvas. Being a beauty pro me-self, I was a little leery of the artists' tube and the safety of the chemicals...

"I wouldn't say it isn't safe. In the 90's that's what we used for nail art. Nail art was a lot different then. I just don't know why they would! It doesn't last as long as regular polish or gel polish." Leeanne CEO and celebrity manicurist at Tips Nail Bar

Of course I'm a Drama Queen and couldn't stop there. 

"I couldn't find the MSDSs for that brand but I have attached it for Golden paints (also acrylic).
Generally they are pretty safe -they do contain small amounts of ammonia and formaldehyde.
The main health hazards are from the heavy metals in the pigments of the artists colours. Student colours don't usually have these - they are cheaper so they use cheaper pigments. 
The brand you indicated says they use fine pigments but the price looks kind of low so I wonder if they really do use artist pigments. It is hard to be sure. You can see the adverse health effects of the various pigments in the attached MSDS from Golden." Roohi, Occupational Medicine specialist and creator of Leaves of Trees (another must-have beauty product!!) 

If you don't have friends on speed dial like I have then you can also take a moment to Think Dirty with your beauty products.

Have a beautifully tanned glow to your skin? Whether naturally sun-kissed or powder-bronzed add NYX Color Blue Mascara  - it has a great payoff from little makeup effort! 

Men can get the blues too... 

FASHION-GERMANY-PATRICK MOHR

A makeup artist styles a model with blue contact lenses for the Autumn/Winter 2014/2015 fashion show of German designer Patrick Mohr.



   

 

 

Riverkids Get Ready Girls, trip 4!

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By Andrea Claire · October 6, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

photo of the entrance at Blue Lime hotel in Phnom Penh

It's been a while since I've made it to Cambodia. Having two surgeries earlier this year had set me back a little.

Recently I returned to Singapore from my forth trip with the Riverkids Project teaching the Get Ready Girls. The ages for enrollment into the GRG are 11-21. [There is a Get Ready Boys program that I am not involved in; accepted ages are 14 to 21]

If you are new to this information, the Get Ready programs are 6 month programs offered to high risk youth in the slums of Phnom Penh, prepping them for continued education and work opportunities. 

Once completed their 6 month program, only girls aged 15 and over can continue to other educational programs. NGOs like Hagar International or Friends International. Sadly, the high risk girls ages 11-14 are at a continued risk, working as garbage collectors, child labour and even sold into the sex trades. 

We need to somehow continue educational programs. But how?? Every time I go to Cambodia I learn more about life there. And what I know and what I contribute is such a minute drop in the bucket of what is needed. 

'The stronger the roots, the higher the reach'! This saying was on the back of a T-shirt that I saw a guy wearing on a scooter in Phnom Penh. How true. The importance of education is clear for growth and development. 

Sadly, one of the girls is being pulled from the Get Ready Girls program, one month into the six month program. Even though she is housed by Riverkids and given a living allowance; her mother lives in a rural area hours from Phnom Penh and has asked for her daughter to return - even with the pleading from the school and organization, but the young girl of 15 wants to go back to her mother too. Riverkids of course does not hold anyone who doesn't want to be there - it is a choice. They are working with a counselor to express the importance of education and her safety. There's more. There is NOTHING for this 15 year old girl to do in rural Cambodia; no education or real opportunities where her mother is. Her mother remarried so she also has abuse risks with her stepfather - most common being sexual, but physical as well.

---

As a group, we talked about goals and focus. Keeping your eye on the prize; aiming for what you want. One of the girls joked that her goal was to do charcoal delivery. Later that day, in my tuk tuk, I passed a charcoal delivery truck... Now I get the reference. I'm glad she was joking. 

I know of one person who criticized what I'm doing there; I'm sure there's more. Haters gonna hate. She expressed that teaching the girls hair and makeup gives them opportunity to turn tricks with male clients since they go hand and hand... [Um...? As a hairstylist, I give blow dries, not blow jobs.] And,  well, if they do, so be it; but, the hairstyles and makeup that I'm teaching them is for female clients so if they have male clients looking for the updos and makeup that they're learning from me, there should be no risk of that. And I also argue - the 'foreigners' that come to Phnom Penh for sex will pay more for a girl who speaks English - should we not teach them English because of that risk? Stupid people: sit down. You don't get to answer that. 

Four of the girls that I have taught have made their way into beauty. One GRG graduate is working at a salon while two others are doing further hairstyling training with Friends International and another is training to become a manicurist. 

I heard that another one of the girls I had taught was in the process of having her virginity sold by her mother to a Chinese man for $1000+ in US dollars. She leapt out of the car and got herself to Riverkids who protected her. From being enrolled in the Get Ready Girls program she now understands her worth, rights and has goals of a brighter future for herself. 

Me with one of the Riverkids teachers who always translates for me.

Sadly, the Get Ready Girls program can't move the girls to another program if they are under 15. The 6 month program pays the family an allowance during their enrollment in the program but other NGO training programs don't start until they are 15. So what happens to these high risk girls from 11-14? They need to get a paid for education or work. Child labour is a thing in Cambodia and families need money; it becomes about food or no food. Obviously surviving is not a negotiation. The girls work in garbage collection, factories and... Sigh... 

I don't know if the girls understand how hard it is for me to leave and it gets harder with every trip.

On my last day of this workshop I left with a speech addressing the group. We aren't to treat any of the girls differently but I wanted to plead with the girl who is being pulled by her mother, but also willingly pulled. So I addressed the class: "You are all worth it. You are worth an education. You can say no to situations and people that don't make you feel good and yes - that means no to some family members too."

I'm not a counselor and I try not to cross over where my knowledge is limited, but I was speaking as a woman, as a mother and someone who cares; from my heart.

I explained that I know that our lives and lifestyles are different. But I do know that living away from your mother is tough. My mother is a 27 hour trip away via 2 flights. But I took a risk getting married and moving away from family to Asia. Yes, Singapore is vastly different than the slums of Cambodia but it's still very much a man's world. I have been told on occasion in Singapore that 'they' need to call my husband for permission of various simple things. My husband argues that it's because he is the employment pass holder and I'm a dependent. But, I counter: I have a client, female, with an employment pass, her husband the dependent- they still do this to her 'ok, if we can just verify your husband's permission...' 

Men are treated differently than women, still to this day. It's nothing new, although I'm more aware of it at 43 than I was at 23. 

I told the girls: please know that you are worth it! I am honoured and privileged that you share your time with me and allow me to share what I know with you. It doesn't matter if you don't become a hair and makeup artist. Choose a job in a kitchen, a hotel, an office. Whatever you decide let it be YOUR decision and just get there. Because YOU are worth it. 

[tears were starting at this point with all of the girls... And me]

Funny, to be in beauty and essentially borrow from L'Oreal's tag line. But we as women deserve more than the right shade of lipstick. We deserve safety. We deserve love. We deserve an education. And it is our right not to be sold to the highest bidder. Our daughters and sisters should not live in fear that their safety and virginity has a price. 

Some hairstyles that I've taught the girls and of course, their hands-on free time. 

Please donate to Riverkids or any other organization that is fighting against human trafficking. Lend your skills and expertise as I do. If you want to help fund a beauty school please get in touch with me or comment on your donation to Riverkids that it's for the Andrea Claire / Riverkids Beauty School! Eye on the prize!! That's our goal!

And please, be a responsible tourist! 

Thank you.
Andrea Claire

*All photos are mine and used with permission

*special thanks to MAC Cosmetics, as always, I'm for the generous support. 

*Blue Lime Hotel for always being accommodating with my last minute requests 

*SilkAir for the added luggage allowance so I could bring clothes for the children (that I didn't manage to take full advantage of!! :( Next time!!) 

*Note: my air, hotel and meals are not sponsored. I do this completely out of my own pocket and from my own heart.

Please read my previous experiences here. 

Side note: Fear tends to hold people back. For example,  I'm not a fan of traveling by myself and I've been lucky to have had both of my elder daughters come on separate trips to Phnom Penh with me to help; an eye opening experience for them, for sure. My friend Faz came once as well.

My first experience, my eldest and I got the WORST food poisoning from Raffles Hotel. Confirmed that for me by the emergency clinic where I spent a day on iv that it was the Raffles burger. No compensation from Raffles at all! For shame. 

Then, my second trip I stayed at The Pavilion with my friend Faz. Entertaining as she is as she downed a tarantula at Romdeng, all for beauty. The Pavilion and Blue Lime share the same owners - I highly recommend them both for your Phnom Penh stay. 

Thank you for spending your time reading my blog post.

Happy Birthday NARS!!!

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By Andrea Claire · September 26, 2014 · 0 Comments ·




NARS
turned 20 and I was there with my friend Faz and the Singapore crowd to join in the celebrations!



The NARS Audacious Lipstick collection for Fall - get the whole collection for just under $1300 USD!


*Photos of Faz & I by Hello Stranger! 

Interview with Canadian beauty brand: Leaves of Trees

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By Andrea Claire · September 20, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
I don't mean for this to turn into Canada Week. It's just happening that way. You see, we aren't all about Timbits, mounties, Nickelback and fabulous redheads (points to self

It started off with da lish Cosmetics and now moving on to...

Leaves of Trees! Another Canadian beauty brand that I discovered this summer while I was home. A luxury handmade brand made with organic, unprocessed, fair-trade ingredients.

The beauty behind the brand is Roohi (L)
"I started out just making products for myself. I love luxury skin care products and I started making soaps and lip balms for myself.  I like to understand how things work. I didn't start out with a plan to sell the products or because I had a need for something which I could not find in the market."
Currently Roohi sources her argan oil directly from a women's cooperative in Morocco and frankincense from Oman. She knew that she wanted to feature these ingredients that she stumbled upon during her travels when she started making skin care products.

The key ingredient in Leaves of Trees is argan oil sourced from Morocco. Most of the other ingredients are sourced locally in Canada, although they originate abroad (eg. cocoa butter and shea butter from West Africa).  
I was intrigued by Roohi's medical background, although she didn't want to start with that foot forward with Leaves of Trees. 
"My training is in Occupational Medicine, with an interest in clinical toxicology. This prepared me for my work in Leaves of Trees by giving me the tools to critically evaluate information regarding benefits and adverse effects of various ingredients. This informs my formulations. I didn't want my medical background to be the focus of my brand as I wanted the product to stand on its own merit. I didn't want people to be influenced to like it because it was created by a doctor." 

I've seen the Leaves of Trees apothecary where the products are handmade. It's glorious! As the brand grows in popularity, I asked Roohi if she is afraid of sore hands developing as she is keeping up with the increasing demand.
"Haha! Yes that is a problem. I am training some of my staff to help me with production, under my supervision. I really want to keep production in house to maintain quality. I hope to be able to keep my prices low. "
Goat milk and oatmeal soap was the Leaves of Trees breaking ground product, with that, this seedling has sprouted many more branches.  
"I have recently expanded my offerings to include lifestyle products such as Turkish towels, culinary argan oil (made from roasted argan nuts and very good for you!) and my handmade laundry soap."
Her favorite? The argan oil because it is so versatile. "It has solved my medicine cabinet clutter problem and is great for travelling. I can use it on my hair, face and body. "
If someone could only buy two of her products she recommends the deodorant and the argan oil. Yes, that's deodorant in a tube!! Place a pea-sized amount onto your fingertip and lightly rub it in. You feel the mattifying clay working immediately and the natural scents are so fresh! (just what you need in your pits)
pssst! Leaves of Trees ships internationally!! 
There are a few products in the pipeline that Roohi is working on and LoT is expanding to other countries!! Asia perhaps?? I have proven that I'm a connector. 
"Thanks for the questions Andrea!" 

Thank YOU Roohi!! 

(Who doesn't love to be appreciated!!) 

Canadian beauty brand launches in Asia! da lish Cosmetics now on Luxola!

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By Andrea Claire · September 16, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

da lish campaign with hair & makeup by David Goviea

Yes, Canadian beauty brand da lish Cosmetics can be found on Luxola.

Can I get a Woop Woop!! 

I'm so thrilled because the brand is awesome AND I introduced them to Luxola. *dusts shoulders

Before you get all 'Oh! I see... finders fee!!' Nope. 

I've recommended brands to the good beauty peeps of Luxola before *cough* Red Burlesque *cough* Shadow Shields

I recommend brands that I have had the pleasure of testing out first hand and know that they are as fabulous as they sound. Red Burlesque gave me two lipsticks to try and Shadow Shields... I think I bought them...

da lish Cosmetics met up with me this summer while I was in Canada and was GIVEN their entire line gratis. um HELLO! Thanks dlC!!! Canadians are awesome! Fellow makeup artist David Goviea mentioned me to them as well as years ago I had met the CEO Melanie through a friend. 

da lish is gluten free. I know, you aren't eating it. Gluten is an unnecessary filler in cosmetics and with many people having allergies, sensitivities or just plain basic trendy girls why even bother with it?? 

The foundations blend beautifully. I used the blush, lippy and cream shadows from da lish Cosmetics here on this shoot for the new Thai restaurant in Singapore, Soi 60 shot via my recommendation by Joel Lim of Calibre Studios. Our model was from Basic Models in Singapore - also recommended by me. WOW! I bring the world together don't I? I'm nice like that. See more of my work here. 

And this behind the scenes lovely for an upcoming shall not be named editorial has da lish foundation, blush and highlighter. 

Zurina Bryant was on Channel News Asia talking photography and travel. She's a photographer. duh I dolled her up for camera and here she's wearing da lish blush B05 and a lippy that I'll have to double check which one it was. (I tried to embed the video but CNA was not making my post stick - as soon as I removed the video - pas de probleme!)

Here Zurina is before jetting to the news station with her 'Hurry the F up Andrea! I gotta go' smile.

I've pretty much hyper-linked like a MF what I can here for the affiliate program with Luxola. It doesn't really do me any good. I know MANY have bought on Luxola via my recos yet the links do nothing for me... FACE atelier is another fave of mine there but they introduced me to Luxola - so credit where credit is due in the reco dept. 

Happy shopping Beauties!

Review || Wise Guides travel app

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By Andrea Claire · September 7, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

You may recall that back in July I announced that I was selected as a Wise Guides ambassador; well the time has come and the app just launched a few days ago so you can download it for those with an iPhone from the App Store

It's very easy to use and frankly, you don't need to be a global traveller to share guides. Interesting places to see in your hometown believe it or not can be of interest to other people! I'm a Canadian that has been based in Singapore for the past 6 out of 7 years, one of those years I lived in Austin Texas. Recently I shot with ELLE India and among a team of mainly Singaporeans I suggested shooting at Haw Par Villa where most of the born and bread local team poo-pooed the idea.

ELLE wanted to see the location from my description and we ended up wrapping the shoot up there. Here's our model at Haw Par Villa. Remember what can be common to a local can be interesting to those new to your area for relocation, travel or photo-shoots!
 

One frustrating thing about travel is finding good places to eat. Paris is the worst; what I mean by that is that there are so many places to stop and eat at but for Paris you need to plan ahead. Way too many times I find myself wandering the streets of gay Paree and suddenly overcome by hunger... shopping really depletes the energy out of you (HB read: visiting galleries and museums). Not all frites and foie gras are created equal.

For this you can create a To Do list in the app. Genius.  Click on the '+' sign to add to your 'To Do's' TA DA! That simple! 

The year we lived in Austin we spent Christmas and New Year's in Argentina visiting many amazing places. I don't think I could build a guide for their as that is many years ago; Zoie (pictured) is now 6 so things may have changed there. In this picture we were in Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of Argentina. Iguassu Falls is a must - I'm sure they're still there laughing uncontrollably at Niagara staking a claim to Falls! Plus, Iguassu doesn't have a wax museum and a Burger King... at least then they didn't... 

There is a Subway restaurant at the base of The Great Wall in China. sigh

Review || Eumora Soap Bar, is it worth the hefty price tag?

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By Andrea Claire · September 1, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Eumora soap bar sells a package of 4 for $179 Singapore dollars. 

I know what you're thinking. Pears glycerin soap is about $1.79 per bar. Run to the pharmacy and call it a day? Why is Eumora so special?
Disodiumlauryl Sulfosuccinate & Sodium Coco-Sulfate & Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch & 1-Octadecamol & Parafin & C17789, Heilmoor Clay, Water, Olea Fruit Oil, Chamomillia Matricaria (Chamomile) Extract, Olive Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Aqua & Glycerin & Algae Extract & Polglucoronic Acid.
If that's all Greek to you:

Disodiumlauryl Sulfosuccinate is a de-greasing, emulsifier, and foaming agent used in many shampoos and other beauty cleansing products. The molecules are larger and cannot penetrate the skin therefore it is considered to be gentle, even on sensitive skin.

Heilmoor Clay; honestly I found mixed reviews on the web but I only look at professional views. The most common theme was that the clay was healing and mattifying. Healing and mattifying qualities are what you need for those suffering from acne and/or oily skin. I, however, have sensitive skin that can be reactive when I try new products. This Eumora bar... Nothing but good vibes! I feel at times a bubbling sensation that reminds me of the oxygen facial that Madonna loves.

They do say that the bar can replace all of your beauty products as it's an all-in-one. Claiming: cleansing, brightening, healing, lightens eye bags, lifting and firming. I do still use some of my regular products but this has been my cleanser for a while now.

If you want to look up the rest of the ingredients Paula's Choice is a great place to start and don't forget about the must-have Think Dirty beauty app!

This is me after I washed my hair with the Eumora Spa bar, different than the Eumora Soap bar. I am not an oopma-loompa, it's my crappy lighting and if I fixed the colors with my junior editing skills my red hair looked like the unred. ;)

This is is me day 2 of NOT washing it again taken with window light. I was able to curl it and create fabulous volume with my hair. I know you're thinking 'what is this sorcery from a veteran hairstylist?!' But you can drop the sarcasm.

Since living in Singapore for the past 6 out of 7 years living abroad, I've been forced to shampoo daily - which I hate. Shampooing daily strips your natural oils from your scalp and hair therefore, your scalp can get irritated, your hair can get dry, and in some cases frizzy. You are forced to blowdry your hair otherwise the humidity will get to it and your hair will appear lifeless. Is this you and your hair? I'm telling you, for the sake of fabulous hair, you NEED this Eumora Spa bar. When the Eumora people wanted to send me their products for review I said that  I review things honestly. They encouraged it.

Clearly they know their products are amazing. No word of a lie, it's that good. I can go days without washing my hair - which I prefer for hair health, my scalp is no longer irritated and any hairfall has been minimized and if that can be said by a licensed hairstylist of 25 years, you know it's worth the price of $189 for a package of 4 bars. Told ya there's a hefty price tag. Go on, you're worth it!

UPDATE: Eumora will be launching a sampling program watch for it here. 

VIDEO! #EmbraceParis learns to chill and stretch with The Dailey Method

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By Andrea Claire · August 26, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
It's so hard to believe that weeks have passed since I was embracing Paris with 9 lovely ladies that I can now call friends. Well, maybe not Jennifer since she was giving me great comedy in the video above and... well... I left it in. She was talking about her 'bird'.  



The last day was spent lazing around our rooms at Le Meurice and I embraced a glorious breakfast in mine. I was alone. I could have fed the whole group with my breakfast tray.



Special thanks to Jill Dailey McIntosh / Kinesiology and owner of The Dailey Method

"After several years of running a Personal Training/Pilates business with a partner, she realized that what she really wanted to do was to help people reshape their bodies in a more assertive manner while still maintaining proper alignment and structure. What she didn't realize is that through this process she would be able to help guide people beyond exercise so that it transferred throughout their day of standing taller, breathing deeper and feeling better. Jill also envisioned moving from teaching in a private setting to a class setting. She found the energy and camaraderie in a group environment to be a more effective model for most people." TheDaileyMethod.com




And thanks to Juice It and Neal Brothers for the healthy drinks & snacks!



And, I'm sorry x2 because I can't remember who gave us these dirt balls. They looked promising like chocolate-covered-brownie-something but... I'm sure an acquired taste for those that aren't used to grazing on dirt and grass. Sital, my friend and fellow makeup artist who is currently in Paris and a vegan, loved it (like a child, I took a bite, made a face and then handed it to her.) I'm sure it looks like this coming out too - that's ok as that would be a good sign of health... relax! Everyone poops! [I did say I was like a child] 


VIDEO! #embraceParis gets chef schooled || L'Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse

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By Andrea Claire · August 14, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
le sigh

Another fantastic experience with Embrace Paris that I filmed with stealth Spielberg skills on my Canon 600D just to share with you. (click the post title if you don't see the video, merci)

Alain Ducasse not only has a school for those who are looking to be a culinary pro but also team building classes where the gloves come off and the hair goes up.  

"We must open our doors to all lovers of cooking and let them get to know, try and understand where the delicious food served to them comes from. We are trying to offer classes to suit today's tastes, opening to other types of cooking, adapting to different levels in a modern and user-friendly space with efficient and easy-to-use equipment. This cooking school is a condensation of experiences and know-how, adapted to everyone's desires." le mot d'Alain Ducasse



I must say, I felt a little sorry for our Chef who was trying to teach us; a little like herding cats. The Embrace Paris ladies had spent a few days together already so we were a fun, cheeky bunch of global, professional digital influencers and many of us with on camera experience which means quite frankly that we are ON - and funny. I missed catching Chef on camera yelling (probably to get above our piercing cackles) with frustration "Focus Ladies!!!" 



Chef [omg, I forgot his name. Pas Alain...] with Lisa Ferguson

My question about why does asparagus make our pee smell was ignored with a smirk from the chef. See here. I can't help myself; I'm still a brat at 43, ask my mother. She'll confirm that. 

You have to look here on my Instagram too. It's a pretty layout. And check out Jennifer Brouwer, the tomato Picasso.

Hey - if I haven't bored y'all yet - can I just share a little tip for those who run online mags or blogs? Why am I asking?! 'Cause I'm not waiting for your answer... If you are linking from your post, set it up as 'open link to another window'. I've read posts, followed the link and then lost your post. It's annoying. Well, to me anyway. I'm easily annoyed. Maybe it's the red hair? Or brown as this beauty app suggests. Meh. 

Some photos to add colour to your green envy:



Pretty, right? Moldiv magazine app, not rocket science.   




Yes, I wore Michael Kors sequins to a cooking class and I took a selfie. The horror!! *shocked face* Instead of being all beyatchy about people and their selfies why not use your energy for good and not evil. Volunteer to make the world a better place. Sorry - I just can't deal with trolls



Speaking about envy... this is my 20 year old daughter, Sage, who is in culinary arts & management at George Brown who was tres jealouse about our class. Yes, I have a 20 year old. More horror and shocked face (from Sage because I posted this pic of her at school). Sage is wanting to be a chef but she is also doing some nails on the side. You can book her here so she can buy her own knives and stop calling me for my VISA number.



OMG! Another selfie. IT'S MADNESS! 

Not quite Tweezerman! This is for de-boning fish or Eugene Levy's brows.



Champagne and knives do mix! Not one sliced finger in the bunch!




Oh hey!!! Did you know that I'm a Wise Guides Ambassador?? I don't get red plates for my car or anything but... more to come on that travel APP launch soon!

[my sarcasm may be heightened in this post. I blame jetlag... maybe I should write more often when I'm tired... or maybe I only entertain myself... food for thought]

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