cool things

Things I Love: Haribo Cola Gummi Candy

Haribo Gummi Candy, Happy-Cola, 5-Ounce BagI’ve spoken at length about my devotion to Marks & Spencer’s fruit gums. So if you can’t tell, I love gummy candies and one of the best in market has got to be Haribo’s Happy Cola Gummy Candy. It really is the perfect combination – coca cola and gummy candy. I happen to love both.

Each individual gummy in the bag is shaped like a coke bottle. For the most part, the texture is nice and chewy unless you get a rogue hard piece. The coke flavour is also very nice. I’m a fan fan fan.

Haribo Gummi Candy, Fizzy Cola, 5-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

But did you know it can get even better? Haribo also came out with Fizzy Cola. It’s exactly like the original, except with an added sour, sweet, tangy coating.

Fuckin delicious. Excuse my language.



Things I Love: Letters of Note

I discovered Letters of Note a few years back. Compiled by a man named Shaun Usher, it’s a blog that features an ongoing, eclectic collection of written correspondence from the past. Featuring snarky missives to love letters to fan mail from the famous, infamous, and never famous, the blog itself is a beautiful love note to the dying art of pen on paper.

In this age of email and texting (& tweets & snaps), it’s good for us to be reminded of the beauty, charm, and power of the written word. More than a few times, I was blown away by the eloquence of these writers, most of them normal man or woman like you and me. At other times, I’m either crying or laughing out loud when reading these correspondence. No matter the tone, each letter featured is precious because it evokes something in readers and gives you a glimpse of a moment in time.

My only regret reading this blog is that I probably won’t ever receive these kind of letters in my mailbox, not in this lifetime.

P.S. He also came out with 2 books. You can buy both on Amazon here and here.


Things I Love: Canvas Tote Bags


I love a fancy handbag but canvas bags are just tried and true, you know? I often find myself reaching for my canvas tote over other bags when I run errands, hop on the metro, go to the coffee shop, etc. It’s practical and fits everything. Also, they add a certain insouciance to your look. In Paris, to look like a cool girl, wear cropped jeans, leather jacket, Adidas sneakers, then throw a canvas bag over your shoulder. And voila, you chic chaton !

There’re so many styles and colours of canvas bags, but my favourite is the natural colour. I think it’s super important to find a good quality one that lasts for years. I’ve had many canvas bags that just snapped after a few use…just hateful. The one I use now is one I bought from Stumper & Fielding in London (107 Portobello Road) many years back. It’s of superb quality and at a very reasonable price! Go visit their store if you’re in London! (it’s a men’s clothing store FYI)

Things I Love: Monocle Magazine

I’m a big magazine fan. But my favourite? Hands down it’s MONOCLE.

Monocle cites itself as a “global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture, and design.” I’m happy to report it is exactly that. Current affairs, business, et al may sound dry but I assure you, articles in the Monocle can make even the most sundry of subjects fascinating. You would not believe how absorbed you can be in the political intrigues of some far flung country, or the retail revolution in Thailand, or the life of a knife maker in Japan. It’s all so bloody interesting!

It also helps that Monocle magazine is, simply put, beautiful. From a design perspective, it’s just pleasing to the eye. Not only does the magazine cover design, it itself is eye-wateringly exquisite. You are what you preach.

Anyway, I’m a big fan. I’m personally a big info junkie and I appreciate beautiful things. Monocle delivers on both fronts. Reading the magazine is like talking to a really cool, intellectual, and sexy friend. You just feel elevated by association.

The only deterrence is the price. This magazine retails for £6 in UK and $13 in US at bookstores and magazine stands. You can also do a 6-month subscription for £55 or 1-year for £100. See link for details. 

Things I Love: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

I’m obsessed with Korean skincare (and makeup). I know I’m generalizing but many Korean ladies (and gents) really know their stuff and are METICULOUS with their massive multi-step skincare routine. Spas, massages, facials, dermatologist appointments, treatments, etc. are just part of their weekly routine. Not to mention…plastic surgery! South Korea is plastic surgery capital of the world.

I half-admire their society’s commitment to looking young and beautiful. I say half-admire because annyeong I too want to look like a gorgeously dewy poreless k-drama actress or k-pop idol. But living in a society where looks are everything is incredibly tough. Appearance matters in most societies, but it’s especially true in East Asian cultures. I say this as an East Asian who grew up in both the East and West. I’d concede that physical beauty is prized everywhere in the world. But in my opinion, one of the more positive things about living in a Western society is that there’s more breadth in terms of beauty ideals (I’m not saying today’s Western beauty ideals are any better, just that there’s more diversity). I find the East Asia’s conception of beauty ideal to be quite narrow (and somewhat unrealistic). I’m wrongly lumping all Eastern cultures together but in general, for women, the trend is to look young, natural, have milky-white smooth skin, double-eyelids, big eyes, small nose, and a slim, oval face.

And fight me on this, but East Asian guys can get away with not looking “traditionally handsome” as long as they’re je-ne-sais-quoi charming, have a high nose bridge, and are above 180 cm. Can we say double standards?? I’m not dismissing that there’s an unfair global prejudice against short men, but nevertheless, it’s still harder to be a woman. Anyway, I think this rigid female beauty standard has extended to the rest of the continent, particularly Southeast Asia. On one hand, as an Asian, I admire the asian-nification and rise of Korean influence on beauty and culture. On the other hand, it’s always hard to look like something you are not naturally. In Asia, is this modern Eastern beauty ideal an improvement over the near-unattainable Caucasian beauty ideal of yesteryears? Or is it merely another incarnation of the latter?

I don’t really know.

I also want to point out that in Asia, people tend to be more openly judgmental and vocal about your looks. Body shaming? It happens. A stranger auntie (stranger danger!) on the street would feel entitled to tell you you’re fat. Let’s just say the body positive movement has not made it to most of Asia. In S. Korea, you have to submit a headshot with your job application and your looks are absolutely judged – just like any of your other qualifications. As an aside, you also have to include your headshot in your CV in France…but my French mentor in HR told me it’s so they can put a face to the application (uh-huhhh sure).

Pretty people in general are at advantage in life. It’s a fact and I’m not bitter about it. You can’t help being born beautiful, just like you can’t help being born smart. It is the hand you are dealt in this life. I just hope that for the sake of our younger generation, we expand the definition of what it means to be beautiful.

Sorry for my long ass ramble lol. Now back to my regular programming….I wanted to talk about Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask. I ♥ this product!! Getting enough sleep is still the best way to achieving good skin, but if you don’t get enough sleep, have no fear, there’s Laneige water sleeping mask!!

I use this about twice a week; you apply the gel on your face and leave it overnight and rinse in the morning. I don’t know what’s in this product but whatever it is, it’s 100% pure magic. Your skin looks and feels moisturized and revitalized, as if you got 20 hours of beauty rest.

You can buy it online here. In the U.S., Laneige was carried at select Targets, but I think they’re moving out of that distribution and into Sephora! Stay tuned.


Things I Love: Castor Oil

In keeping with my evangelical mission (see last past) to promote oil as part of your skincare routine, I want to talk to you guys about magical properties of castor oil.

Once upon my youth, I was shaving my legs when I got an itch for my forehead. Naturally, I went to scratch it….AND SHAVED OFF HALF MY EYEBROW in the process. I shit you not, it never grew back. For 10 years, I lived with an aborted left eyebrow. Tragic doesn’t even begin to cover it, especially since we’re now experiencing a renaissance of thick brows.

Luckily, I found a cure. Or my mum did. She gave me a bottle of Jamaican cold-pressed black castor oil and wished me luck on my journey to having a full brows again. For a few weeks, I religiously applied castor oil to the ends of my left eyebrow and prayed to the gods of hair-growth. Through rigorous application and blind faith, hair slowly but surely grew back in. Yas omg castor oil works!! I am living testimony to its success. As long as you are diligent, you too can (re)grow hair.

You can buy this online or at your local health store (i.e. Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.).

Things I Love: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

Some people are wary of rubbing oil all over their face because it sounds like a one way street to acne eruptions. I get it…but they couldn’t be more wrong!! Oils can actually be amazing for your skin! Take DHC Deep Cleansing Oil…

…it is my FAVOURITE makeup remover of all time. This olive-oil based cleanser from no. 1 Japanese skincare brand DHC removes all traces of makeup in seconds – even super stubborn waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Poof! Gone!

You first apply the oil to your dry hands and then massage it to your dry face. Then, add water and the oil transforms into emulsion that rinses clean. It leaves ZERO residue and leaves your skin feeling so clean, soft, and nurtured. I swear by it!! I’m also particularly fond of DHC’s cleansing oil because my eyes (I’m talking about my literal eyeballs, not the area around my eyes) are very sensitive and this cleanser removes all my eye makeup without stinging my eyes (super important!).

If you’re not in Asia or in areas that sell Asian skincare, you can buy DHC cleaning online here.