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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.

Mother's Day Week!! Mommy & Me #4: Grand Hyatt afternoon tea

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By Andrea Claire · April 17, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

[please refresh the title if you don't see a video above here]

"You know, British is the most fanciest place on Earth!" This said to me by Zoie after I taught her that British people drink tea 'pinkies up'

Every little girl who is familiar with Eloise at The Plaza romanticizes about living in a hotel. Heck, I romanticize about living in a hotel. (Yup, heck; I have to keep it PG this week.) But, if you aren't able to reside in a hotel the next best thing is a fancy high tea. Zoie and I visited 10Scotts at the Grand Hyatt for just that.

It's a lovely mix of free flow savories and sweets. 

"Pretty much this whole thing is dessert" according to stuff Zoie says. 

Balancing your cheesecake is tough. 

The art of the clotted cream and jam being mastered. True clotted cream comes from a specific region in England but the Hyatt did a pretty darn good dupe!


According to Zoie this is how we test our hot chocolate to make sure it has cooled enough to drink. *sigh* you can lead a kid to hot chocolate... 

Interest was perked at the mention of an edible flower cake, so the chef sent one out for Zoie to try. 

"Girls that are older put their hair to the side" Really?! Lol. She might be right actually. 

"My favorite thing is coming here and spending time with mommy" 

Now THAT is why a great gift for Mother's Day is an afternoon tea! 

FYI, the quotes are truly unedited and what Stuff Zoie Says.

Thank you to 10Scotts at the Grand Hyatt for hosting Zoie and I for high tea.

Mother's Day Brunch is approaching! Don't forget to book in! And Moms will all receive a special gift from the Grand Hyatt as well, one complimentary bottle of champagne to each mother who dines with us in mezza9 for Brunch on the 11th of May!!

Mother's Day Week!! Mommy & Me #3: The Photo-Op

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

I love getting photos done with my family. Over the years it shows how we change and age (maybe me not so much anymore since I broke the seal and got Botox this year)

As I mentioned previously, my older daughters are not here (Singapore) and I don't have the budget to Photoshop them into my photo-op with Zoie.

Why have the run of mill photo when you can be goofy?

These images reflect the relationships we have with our mothers and daughters; the ups and downs. Always better to shoot these when you are in a fun mood vs arguing. Although stuff Zoie says is 5 (AND THREE QUARTERS!! she insists on that), and should love and adore her mother (me), place her (me) on a pedestal, she keeps me humbled by telling me that I am the meanest mother EVER. It is tough when one doesn't get their way. We need to learn that, the earlier the better. If we didn't learn that could you just imagine me shouting at an editor, creative director etc "You're the meanest EVER!" Although I have seen similar behaviours from adults on my sets over the years...  

So - of course you need one to appeal to family members overseas (hi mom!)

Happy Mother's Day!! May 11th! Which, by the way is significant to our family as it is Zoie's birthday;and in 2008, the year she was born, it fell on Mother's Day. A lovely gift - minus the labour pains.

A gift to your mommy dearest can be a spa treat, jewelry or a photo session.

Zurina Bryant took these photos for me. She has a mini portrait session that is 30 minutes for $250 and that includes 5 high resolution images in soft copy. You come camera ready with your makeup. Alternatively you can request a  hair & makeup artist, which is fun as well to kick it up a notch but that highers the price tag.

Mother's Day Week!! Mommy & Me #2: Jewelry or Jewellery

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By Andrea Claire · April 15, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

Jewels. Jewelry. Jewellery.

Who cares where y'all are from; we moms, mums, mothers and Mommy Dearests love accessories.

Stones That Rock Co-owners and designers, Leah Lambert and Annie Tsinonis believe strongly that beautiful, quality pieces do not need to come with a big price tag. Their range of handmade jewellery using fresh water pearls, semi-precious stones and crystals, reflects this philosophy. Materials are personally chosen by Leah and Annie and then hand crafted by skilled artisans. Emphasis is given to quality craftsmanship at an affordable price. Only a limited production is made of each style to further ensure that quality is never compromised.

Fay bracelet
: Platted leather bracelet with freshwater pearl & quartz crystal. Magnetic clasp

Corelli short necklace
: Chunky short necklace with Individually attached turquoise stones on chain

Girly long necklace: Long quartz crystal necklace with tassel

: 7 string turquoise and pearl mixed necklace with gold chain feature.

Is your mom living on the edge, a rock'n' roll mom? Killari Jewellery has got you covered. Meaning "moonlight" in the ancient Incan language, Quechua, the jewellery line focuses on hand-selected stones and minerals sourced from around the world and creatively handcrafted into sophisticated and refreshingly original designs.

I LOVE this Barbed Wire Grey Necklace. Find it in black & gold, white or tea rose and with worldwide shipping you have enough time to get 'er done!

And if you have a spare $25,000+ - Delfina Delettrez has a little something that I would die for.  FYI: Ms Delettrez belongs to Fendi's family fourth generation.

Special Order Skeleton Hand Bracelet

$25,553.00 by Delfina Delettrez at LUISAVIAROMA

Mother's Day Week!! Mommy & Me #1: The Glamourous Factory

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By Andrea Claire · April 14, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
I've decided to dub this: Mother's Day Week to hopefully share some ideas for you to treat you mother. Sure we all love flowers but why not branch out a little.

Mother's Day is approaching (May 11th!) and I sincerely hope my teenage daughters in Canada remember poor mommy here in Singapore...

even though they missed out on a mommy and me day at The Glamourous Factory with Zoie and I... 

This is my Bling-it-on manicure. The detailing is amazing! The nail techs did this freehand. I'm always amazed at nail art done freehand. I think I drink too much coffee to draw a straight line - however, being a hairstylist and makeup artist I can cut a straightline and draw straight eyeliner... I guess we all have our strengths.

With a few locations around the island we visited the location in a quiet corner at Plaza Singapura, the manicurists were happy to inspire from my picture reference for me and inspire from... Wait for it... Can you guess??

Frozen for Zoie Jean. ZJ dubbed it the Ice-icure

A little FYI: apparently the mommies of the world are flipping their lids because every little girl wants a Frozen birthday party theme but Disney can't keep up with the demand. Read more on Jezebel about parents losing their shit. I'm sure my mommy redhead fury will fuel up too because Zoie's birthday is in May and guess what themed party she wants this year...? MF.

Onto brighter things...

Mother's Day is all about pampering and indulgence and what better way to show mom the love but a spa treat! Turn it into a bonding session by booking yourself in too. Definitely a great way to share some rest and relaxation... and a little ohm to calm the icy nerves.
Mother's Day Promotion (From 2-11th May 2014)
Only $168  (Up to $362)
*         Spa Manicure
*         Spa Pedicure
*         Quick Dry Top Coat
*         Underarms VPL (Variable Pulsed Light) treatment (I can't do this one since the carpet matches the drapes and the underarms... you need dark hair for VPL)

The Glamourous Factory

I am a proud ambassador for The Glamourous Factory!! And you, my Singapore readers, are entitled to 10% off beauty services quoting "Andrea Claire" and upon liking the Facebook page of The Glamourous Factory. SWEET!! Thanks GF! We all love deals.

Stay tuned for the rest of the week here on Beauty & The Blog for some other Mother's Day gift ideas!!

NEW WORK! The Heart of Bangkok

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By Andrea Claire · March 25, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

[please refresh the title if you don't see a video above here]

Taken directly from Christopher Wadsworth:

This summer I returned to Thailand to direct a piece on Ratchaprasong, the heart of Bangkok. Centrally located in the city, it is home to many shrines, fine hotels, shopping malls, and spots to explore. If you know me well I've probably bent your ear more than once about Thailand so here I get to share my little love letter to a part of a city and country that has a special place in my heart. Please click on the image to watch the film.I had an amazing talented group of people working on this with me, from Thailand, Canada, India and Singapore. It's always that much better when you can work with friends.

Joyce and Jon, took a chance on me and hopped on a plane to star in this, neither had been on camera before, but I really wanted a real couple. Lucky for me they're adventurous travellers and two great people. Colston Julian took off time from his busy shooting schedule in India and Europe to be my cinematographer. Aditya Akash kept all the modified cameras running and everything in order.

images screen shot from the video

Andrea Claire flew in from Singapore to do the hair and make up and keep Joyce and Jon looking great despite the heat and humidity.

Sunya Golf Thadathanwong was gracious enough to take a break from his own shooting to be my Assistant Director, translator and all around go to guy. Thanks also have to go to Roroko Sriwanlapanon for always having my back and to Newbrain Studio Bangkok for the awesome grips/assistants Khun B and Khun Aum. Chris De Castro at 1188 Films in Toronto helped me squeeze the best possible colour and image out of our files. Iain Foxwell, aka Holobeams, crafted "Rose Tinted" the track that felt like sunshine through the tress to me and inspired much of the feeling in the film. Khun Montida Rattanasangsri was the producer on thisand helped arrange all the logistics.

Thanks to the Intercontinental Hotel Bangkok for perfect hospitality (Khun Nattinee Wiseschaisilp, Khun Mesini Keawratri), Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok (Khun Annabelle S. Daokaew), Gaysorn Plaza, Erawan Mall, Erawan Shrine, Platinum Mall, Khun Pacheewee Charoensuk at Gaysorn,
and Matt Bilewicz at 1188.

Special thanks to Khun Korakot Srivikorn and Khun Pomme Hongsananda (@6birdsflying) for this wonderful adventure and opportunity.

Are you a TAD bit of an Audiophile?

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By Andrea Claire · March 21, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
[there is a video above here, please refresh the title if you don't see it]

Audio is just a vehicle to convey emotion in music or sound via films. Think about it. The thunderous war battles, beauty in nature with crashing waves and the chatter of birds with the bellows from whales at sea or even intense devotion by the crackling warm fire while the howls of the wind are kept at bay outside a cabin door. 

Music helps sickness in recovery or calming the beast within. Music therapy anyone? For me that equates to Billy Talent and Prince.

TAD "Technical Audio Devices Laboratories,Inc.(TADL) grew from the sprit to discover technologies to perfectly recreate the pure sound of life performances with uncompromising craftsmanship. We have inherited our philosophy from Bart Locanthi ‐recognized across the globe as the ultimate sound technologist‐who believed that genuine technology is true to the basic and that genuine technology places greater importance on sound quality than on technology for its own sake. At TADL,we are honing our technology to create equipment that reproduces musical sounds that evoke both the energy and impact of life music."

*Andrew Jones director of speaker engineering
* speakers are important as they produce the sound
* TAD is future-proof as they have the ability to playback up to 384khz  which is higher than what's currently used - but then the technical speaking sounds like the adults on Peanuts and I'm totally lost.
Don't think you have an audio appreciation?

"Everyone has a trained ear"
For example: your child in a noisy, crowded room calls for you; you respond. You are trained to hear your own child. With sound we listen with our ears and our brain therefore, everyone has the ability to appreciate sound. Sadness, happiness, anger etc are conveyed through tone. GO TO YOUR ROOM! [see? I'm such a mom]
Great equipment will give you dynamic range, engineering, resolution, realism. The 'cowboy audio' example from the video above gives you the sense of space and depth. I'm not sure if that comes across my Instagram video, taken with my iPhone but honestly, I thought there was a cow beside me - and no, not Zurina Bryant who is actually quite lovely.
A good sound system takes you there. You want to feel it.

You don't want to hear the speaker or the sound session. Everything distorts but the distortion depends on the limits. The diction must be a clear dynamic range. [Anyone else here the adults on Peanuts...?] For example, Ferrari is not going to be driven to 200 mph but we know it can go there. Same with a high end audio system - pushed to the limits, the limits will show but the limits of equipment that costs $3000 will be less broad than the limits of equipment that costs $45,000. 
Reminds me of sitting in a room  as a teenager with my stepfather who would share new music and discussions of woofers and tweeters. I learned the appreciation of sound through him for sure, but the only tweeters I understand can be found here.

image source

The $42,000.00  Singapore dollar price tag on these speakers are for serious film and audio buffs or those who just want to show off their home theatre system.

You truly can keep up with the Joneses since these were developed by one.

Luxola presents Rachel K Cosmetics || A Google Hangout

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By Andrea Claire · February 28, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
It's been a crazy year for me to say the least and we haven't even started March yet.

I've had two surgeries - one on January 13 and one just a week ago; thus the very few blog posts to 2014 too.

And needless to say, I haven't been working. In fact I am officially not taking clients (sorry) or able to do hair and makeup on set for another 3+ weeks, so when Luxola asked if I could particpate as a beauty expert on their Google Hangout, where I didn't have to leave my house and could sit the whole time, I was all like "YES PLEASE!!"

I was very excited to be participating in Luxola's first ever Google Hangout and turns out, Rachel K's first hangout, as well as mine - we are were all just a bunch of virgins.

I've tried to join a few hangouts in the past with TV host Angelique Teo; I failed that join; and I also tried to join with Zurina Bryant and Angela Jacobson (Oz Supernanny), failed to join that one too. I didn't think I was a tech spaz... or am I?

Behold! The fruits of our (Luxola) labour! [there's video below, if you don't see it please refresh the title]

incrEDIBLE: Fantasia by Escribà

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By Andrea Claire · February 15, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
Pastry Chef Christian Escribà (pictured), together with his wife, Patricia Schmidt (also a pastry chef) and a team of various creative talents that include architects, actors, fellow chefs and more are bringing to Singapore Fantasia by Escriba, the Cirque du Soliel of the pastry world!
Escribà has "always worked with actors. We are trained to make the cakes but not to present them. That is why it's important for Fantasia to have actors."
A real trip into the fantasy world comme Charlie (Christian) and the Chocolate Factory and Singapore has been given the Golden Ticket!

The entrance to Escribà's fantasy world comes from a dream.  "One day I had a dream that my pastry truck exploded - cakes flying, everything in the air.  This is how it starts."

Expect to arrive with an empty belly and leave after your four hour journey on a sugar-high tasting cakes built several metres high, moving cakes, edible walls and luxury edible pieces. Known for landscape cakes that feature places like Madrid and New York I can't wait to see what's in store for Singapore!

*Luxury boutique of Barcelona - you will find the high end of what they do; perfection and elegance with some items apparently for sale too!
*a just for kids area consisting of 2000 sq metres of sugar heaven
At the press conference someone asked: How does Singapore weather effect the structures? The answer: aircon on 24hrs otherwise we will have a river of chocolate.
For those with dietary restrictions who want to partake in eating their way through, not to worry there will be sugar and gluten-free treats available. 
There will be an adults only show too! I think I'll be going twice - once with little Zoie and then onto sexy chocolate times! *wink*

From nature to luxury to play, this will be an edible extravaganza not to miss!

"Together with the passport, shaped just like a credit card is a map of Fantasìa. Presentation of your Fantasìa Passport at the different stations within Fantasìa will reward you with the opportunity to sample a wide array of sweet and savory signature Escribà foods, confections as well as beverages throughout different points within Fantasìa." FantasiaEscriba.com

Fantasia by Escribà
27 to 29 June 2014
Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956

Fantasia by Escribà on Facebook

Believing that the pastry world is a big family globally, Chef Christian is here now to promote the event, but to also publicly invite some Singapore chefs to participate! And! Some lucky young and talented Singaporean pastry chefs will be hand selected to attend a 6 week course in Barcelona!

I have actually visited Escribà in Barcelona years ago. YUMMY!

Andrea Claire 2.0

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By Andrea Claire · February 1, 2014 · 0 Comments ·
I've been somewhat chillin at home post-surgery; I had a labrum tear fixed in my right hip. 

Being told to sit on the couch and relax for 2-3 weeks is like torture for me. I've started this little post-surgical vay-cay by cleansing my condo; ridding it of trash and demons. Long overdue.


Now what?

Caught up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Now what.

I've been considering fighting the aging process with a little help from injectables for a while now. A common topic of course in my industry but also amongst my private clients who see me to get their hair done. I have to say, I had preconceived notions about Botox, fillers etc all based on Hollywood.

I have no desire to look like the notorious cat lady, nor do I care to own Nicole Kidman's forehead; plus there are many stereo typical ladies who lunch here in Singapore who aren't capable of revealing their emotions with simple facial expressions. But, after many conversations with clients who have revealed that yes, in fact they have had Botox or fillers done - well, I was a bit surprised at my own naïveté leading me to believe that Botox = crazy face. 
My Botox trepidation reminds me of my mother who said to me when I was in labour with my first daughter (Sage) : "Don't be a hero; if you want pain relief, take it."
Proudly,  I never did. Popped that baby right out as well as her sisters, all sans doping. *pounds chest*
But aging, that's something different. 
I have been lucky that my genes allow me to age extremely gracefully, I'm sure my freckles help too - often mistaken for being years to a decade younger than I am. 
So why jump on the Botox bandwagon? I have often counseled clients who have asked me if they should get it done by responding with:

Don't get things done for others. Get tweaks and enhancements done because YOU want them.
So yes. I look young for my age but lately when I've been putting on my makeup, time is fleeting; I see more fine lines developing around my eyes. Duh, I am 42 but those fine lines slowly turn to crevices and that's NOT ok with me, for me. This is not me telling you, my reader, if you have fine lines go get Botox; this is me saying it is a case by case basis and how you feel about you. 
I went to the dermatologist whom one of my clients swore by, Dr Komathy Rajaratnam. I've been recommending her to clients for years and they've all been über happy but I've never ventured in.
Walking into her office she smiles with eye contact "So what brings you here to see me today?"
Fine lines, and they are not crossed. 
She listens as I tell her about my apprehension. I have been proud of my slow aging process. I am a religious Dermalogica user. She does acknowledge that for my age and skin tone I am doing remarkably well and actually do look ten years younger than my age. I could hug her.
I tell her that the fine lines appearing around my eyes are seeming to be rapidly increasing, heavy eyelids run in my family, which I am starting to see signs of and my jowls,  I am not happy with. Again, this is for me and how I feel. 
I told her that I am not interested in looking overly injected and that I do want people to see that I can express emotion. 
The doctor examines me more closely and says that it's perfect timing, getting something done just as the signs of aging start - at 42!  She suggests a total of 16 units of Botox that would go around my eyes and slightly across my forehead and some Thermage on my face. 

So moving forward - I commit to clinging on to my youth. [video above - if you don't see it please refresh the post title]

Starting with Thermage 

Thermage treatments are all about energy – focusing radiofrequency energy to kick start the body’s own natural renewal process. Like most smart technologies, the process is relatively simple – it’s a combination of heat energy to treat deep tissue, and cooling effects, to protect the skin surface and deliver better patient comfort. And our latest evolution of Thermage includes patented Comfort Pulse Technology – gentle vibrations and interspersed cooling that make your Thermage treatment even more comfortable. Even so, it’s important to remember every patient’s circumstances are different, so for specifics, it’s best to consult your Thermage physician. Thermage.com

My face is cleansed and prepped to begin the Thermage.

Thermage works by stimulating the collagen cells with radio frequency for reproduction, lifting, firming and melting some of your fat away. 
At times it is mildly hot and painful. The doctor expresses that my tolerance is higher than the average - a trait of us redheads. It is key to tell the doctor when it's feeling too hot so she can turn it down. She gave me a pain scale of 1-5 and told me to vocalize when I'm leaving a 3; you can get burnt.

Seeing one side done, you immediately see the difference.  I have gotten RF facials regularly at Qi Mantra where the results are less dramatic but you can see them. The difference is Thermage results will last 2 years vs an RF facial where results last 2 months at best. 
Next up: Botox. You can see me get injected in the video earlier on in this post.
Seriously. What took me so long?!? 
I kid. 
I have booked appointments with the Lifestyle Clinic and then cancelled last minute, but this time I was truly ready. 
I am thrilled with the results and stare at myself in the mirror frequently raising my eyebrows and crinkling my face to see the results. I am not frozen in surprise, I am freshened and relaxed looking. Lord knows I could use a little relaxing.
Just enough. I tended to have a slightly lazy right eye too which I believe now looks to be more open and balanced.
I have heard from many clients that Botox can hurt or feel like a bee sting. Dr Komathy had applied numbing cream - I never felt a thing. 

Granted the before (left) is slightly different lighting-wise but... Behold! Youth restored! 

The marionette lines are diminished immediately and apparently Thermage continues to accumulate results 2-3 months post-treatment. Things are definitely looking up.

Yes. I succumbed to Botox. And Thermage. I think I can deal.

Pilates || Taking the bull by the horns with Vicki Berman

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

This was written today:

After suffering from a mosquito illness in Singapore 2008 I've been on a decline with my health and joints. Now suffering from an autoimmune condition I've decided to take the bull by the horn! I went from enjoying walking, bike riding, boxing, light hiking and excursions to the zoo with my family to being limited on physical activity. Knowing that this is not what I wanted for the rest of my life and from sharing my medical drama with Toronto-based Pilates/Yoga instructor Joyce Fredericks when we were on set in Bangkok, she told me about the reformer. I live in Singapore and chanced upon Vicki Berman at Como Shambhala. A godsend. Pilates is for everyone!

This was written post-surgery last week with some added updates today:

 [refresh the post title if you don't see a video above here]

If you are following my medical drama on Instagram then you know that I am currently recovering from surgery, so this Pilates video is not exactly current. I'm on Pilates hiatus.

But what a good time to share my experiences with Pilates as well as a little bit about the surgery I had.

  image source of Maria Kang

I am sure that there were many out there, like me, who suffer from one kind of one ailment or another that had to remind themselves not take offense to the 'what's your excuse' craziness. I don't know the whole story because I do not care to jump onto the whole trolling bandwagon but I know that when that image popped up with skinny mini and her cut body and three bambinos at her feet with the headline what's your excuse I immediately felt defensive and starting to list my excuses. 

I had to stop myself because, clearly I am not her target market. I really feel that her what's your excuse is targeting the people who really have the ability and the choices  but just choose to be happy in their skin; which is not wrong if you're happy.

 Her target is not somebody with an autoimmune disease; her target is the healthy but who are just not that into being fully cut like a human Barbie doll.. Of course maybe she should have consulted a PR department as starting off with what's your excuse is really just putting the people on defensive. Duh.

And you know, it seems like it's her J.O.B. She is in the world fitness world of looking good so she better be a walking billboard, perhaps just with a better tag-line.

It's all about choices for example my choice as I'm writing this with no one to help me make food since I just had the surgery, is to order McDonald's cause yes in Singapore, they deliver. 

My Pilates instructor Vicki and my husband are probably both cringing is they are reading this.

[funny story, as my McD's arrived I paid and actually tossed it in the garbage - cringe released] 

I've happily been on an upswing since discovering Pilates. Thanks Joyce & Vicki!

This is my glamorous hip during surgery. Oddly pretty.

My hip labral tear was fixed by Dr Leslie Leong. These are two of the three keyholes. I have to change the bandage now so figured I'd gross you out. (current photo taken January 26, 2014)

You bet once the stitches come out I'll be healing the scars with my Bio-Oil!

AND... since discovering last May that I've also been saddled with a hernia! Yay me! My GP has said that the Pilates has actually helped pull it together a little but not enough so I will be getting that surgery done too. The ugly side of motherhood.

 image source

It's the Year of no Horsing around.

Taking that horse by the reigns.

Get Fit. Be healthy.

Positive thinking.

*NOTE that I'm still in recovery mode and on painkillers, so don't judge my grammar.

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