Author Archives: karinamandala

About karinamandala

Lifestyle blogger from Melbourne, Australia.

Art Journal: Art is for everyone… is it really?

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” – Andy Warhol

Recently, one of the world’s leading auction house, Sotheby’s, held an incredible livestream auction titled, “Rembrandt to Richter”, which helped boost the auction house’s sale to $192.7 Million for the year. Despite the slowing down of business due to COVID-19 pandemic, it seems to me that the world in which Arts exist seems to operate under a different set of economic rules. The exhaustingly large sum amount of money float around the Arts is not something I want to talk about here, I just want to share an opinion piece to challenge the reality that art, is simply not for everyone.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/arts/design/sothebys-banksy-rembrandt.html

One of the piece that was sold to a private buyer that night was this remarkable self portrait by the renowned Dutch artist, Rembrandt. This painting created in 1632 was sold for the exorbitant amount of $18.7 Million. Throughout his life, Rembrandt must have painted plenty of work, with around eighty self-portrait, but have you ever wonder, how many of his work are actually available to be viewed by the public?

Once an artwork is sold in an auction to a private buyer, there’s a high chance that the general public will no longer able to view said great work. Here’s a small list of artworks that were sold and haven’t been seen since,

  • Leonardo DaVinci, Salvator Mundi, sold in November 15th, 2017 for a staggering $450.3 Million
  • Mark Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), dubbed the Rockefeller Rothko sold in May 2007 for an astonishing $72.84 Million, setting the record for the most expensive post-war work of art sold at auction at the time
  • Vincent van Gogh, “Portrait of Doctor Gachet”, sold in May 1990 for $82.5 Million, whereabouts of the painting is now unknown

And the list could continue… But you get the point, once it is sold to a private owner, some of these great artwork simply disappeared from the public eye. The point of the creation of these wonderful artworks for the artists must have been a mean to survive, however in today’s world, these great works are photographs of our history, the story of humanity. Each artists captured his or her moment in time, the way we now publicly parade our lives on our social media platform. The comparison of the two obviously stirs slight disgust, how could one compare great work of arts to a mere fame-obsessed social media posts, but the reality is sadly, our generation seems to care more about what a celebrity ate for the day than a great work by Rembrandt to disappear into a rich man’s private collection.

So, is it better than that these artworks belonged to people who truly appreciate them? Or similar to that of the social media, fame obsessed member of society, these private owner purchased these great artworks as a status symbol but never truly appreciate the meaning or the greatness of these works?

-k.

Skin Edit: Adding Probiotic to your face-care?

“Be picky with your time, your friends, and your skincare,” – Anonymous

For the longest time, Probiotic has long been promoted as the essential ingredient to a healthy gut. Off course, adding yoghurt to your daily diet is definitely highly recommended right? However, lately I have been noticing an insurgence of probiotic in many skincare product ingredient. Is there real benefit to probiotic for your skin???

NEOGEN DERMALOGY Probiotics line is one of many other beauty brands who are now adding this one ingredient into their product. Let’s find out more…

Probiotics are living cultures in our body that is responsible for our overall health, especially our digestive system. However, in skincare Probiotics can help to delivery good bacteria and nutrients to help balance and brighten our skin’s overall complexion. Therefore we can conclude that when your skin is balance, it will be able to effectively protect your skin from the outside aggressors to prevent early signs of ageing or other environmental damages. It has been said that probiotics contain an anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe redness, irritations or skin conditions such as rosacea or acne.

I am currently trying out the NEOGEN DERMALOGY Probiotics Double Action Serum, here are some details,

  • What is it? Combination of two serums, one uses probiotics to promote skin’s elasticity and restoring the skin while the second serum aims to strengthen and repair skin barrier
  • Key Ingredients? First serum contained black & white truffles to help with elasticity, probiotics to help with skin’s restoration and hyaluronic acid. The second serum contains ceramides to protect skin barrier and maintain moisture, as well as, collagen and propolis for its anti bacterial properties
  • What I think? Such a unique dual serum delivering freshly combined ingredients every time you pump. This serum has a light lavender scent, therefore keep that in mind if you do have a sensitivity to fragrance. The serum both have light textures that just sinks into the skin. Wonderful addition to my skincare routine, however I have yet to see any particular improvements on my skin. I believe this serum is not so much a mover & shaker, but a good preventative measure to possible future damage or speedy ageing process

Have you seen probiotics around on your local beauty aisle? Will you be giving probiotic a go?

-k.

Style Journey: My current love for Jeanne Damas

“Parisian never gives too much away. When it comes to herself, she follows one golden rule: less is definitely more,” – Caroline de Maigret

I love how Caroline de Maigret describes Parisian women, but my love for her will need a seperate post altogether. Let’s focus on my current style inspiration, Jeanne Damas. Something about Jeanne that is just so captivating in all her feminine glory. Something about her is so Parisian, her style is timeless, effortless and relevant to so many.

Here are Jeanne Damas’s style DNA break downs, in my opinion,

  • Vintage or Vintage Inspired Dresses, preferably with delicate floral and soft, light colour ways, made out of silk, satin or cotton. Jeanne loves her vintage or vintage-inspired silk dresses, which I must say seems to be a staple in many Parisian ladies’ wardrobes. Even in her own clothing line, Rouje, Damas included pieces that is vintage-inspired, which are absolutely beautiful
  • Delicate Floral Print Pencil Skirt, most of her seems to be cotton or silk base. Pencil skirt is always flattering for most body types and what I love, the skirt can be paired up with sandals or sneakers for a more comfort look
  • Good Fitting Denim Jeans, nobody will be disadvantaged from owning a pair of good fitting denim jeans. Jeanne’s preference seems to be high waist, straight legs or slightly flare at the bottom 70s style. Good fitting denim jeans definitely can give the illusion of beautiful ample bum bum, and I love high waisted, especially if you are 155cm or under, higher waist helped to give the illusion of longer set of pins
  • Cozy Cardigans, Jeanne seems to gravitate towards fluffy, slightly cropped type with round neckline to be worn over her many beautiful dresses. She also have plenty of V-neck lines thinner cardigan which she pairs with her beautiful skirts or tucked into her denim
  • That Jane Birkin Rattan Bucket Bag, single handedly causing me to browse Etsy to find one for myself. Summer is coming to Melbourne and I can not wait to find one for myself 🙂

Who are your style inspirations?

-k.

Mind Journal: Trying to adult and tackling financial challenges

“The thing I have discovered about working with personal finance is that the good news is that it is not rocket science. Personal finance is about 80% behaviour it is only about 20% head knowledge,” – Dave ramsey

For the longest time, I am so ignorant when it come to personal finances. As far as I am concerned, I started working when I was 18 years old and I have plenty of time to safe my money for my future.

Well, girl… you couldn’t be more wrong!

Fast forward to now, 16 years later, I still do not have savings nor assets to my name, despite working full time for a good 10 years of my young life. Isn’t that ridiculous? Luckily, in Australia where I live, anyone working is set up with a superannuation fund, which pretty much our retirement funds. Aside from that amazing security, I pretty have no other savings. Shock horror!

As we grew in both maturity and age, we started to receive few reality checks every now and then from life. Whether it is a small health challenges or a challenging financial situation, like getting into credit card debt, things happens that pretty much will burst your bubble one day. For me that bubble was burst because COVID-19 happened. My bubble of always feel secure in my 9-5 job, has suddenly became obsolete. Luckily, I did not loose my job but what if? I am sitting on $7500 credit card debt which I realised I needed to tackle luckily, earlier pre-COVID but I do have few thousand dollars left to tackle plus still a large lump sum of student loan that still needed to be paid off. WIth all that is happening, I have decided that I am turning my financial illiteracy around and stop making excuses for my past. Therefore in 2020, I am kicking start my financial journey to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough to be able to gain personal independence as well as, personal financial freedom.

Step 1…

I am getting some education in my brain. If I could do over, I would totally pay more attention to my finance classes at university, but well that is all in the past so forward, I am putting time and effort into financial education in ways that are available to me. I just finished re-reading, properly this time, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and really listen to what he is saying. Digesting the informations and relook at more explanation where needed. On top of that, I have ordered and will adding to my learning two more books, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi.

Step 2…

Get my finances sorted. This started in 2017, I finally admit that I am out of control and brave myself to book an appointment with a financial advisor at the bank that I am with. Most banks I believe, offer this service for little or no charge. I love my financial advisor and here are few things she changed in my life,

  • Tackling down my $7500 credit card debt. Most credit card debt has high interest, therefore she proposed to take out a personal loan with smaller interest (still a high interest), with 3 years term, weekly payments coming straight from my everyday accounts
  • Creating separate banking accounts to enable money management and budgeting. Therefore I started to have more than 1 bank account in 2017. I have one account for my daily spending, one account where my salary and bills comes in and out from and finally, one online savings account.

Step 3…

What am I doing right now to further my knowledge and commitments to this adulting business. In 2020, I decided to learn more about education and how I can reduce expenses as well, here are some things I have change,

  • Creating a new bank account that allow for higher interest for Online Savers. I did some research in order to find a bank that can offer a higher interest for my savings, therefore resulted in me opening an account with ING Direct, who gave my online savers a high 1.65% interests to my online savings
  • Budgeting – woohoo… onto the fun stuff. I have decided to be honest with myself and look at my finances in order for me to be able to create an honest and realistic budget. The hardest part about this budgeting is actually disciplining myself in order to stick to budget that I have set out, but again, finance is 80% behaviour!
  • Track my expenses – know where I spent the most money and learn from my spending habit every month. When I track my expenses, the aim is to learn from it not to punish myself or feel guilty because I spend. Part of educating myself is to learn from my mistakes as well as other people’s

Have you thought about your finances lately? What are you going to do to get your finances sorted, I you haven’t already…

-k.

Skin Edit: Trying out various powder facial cleansers

“Taking care of your skin is more important than covering it up,” – Unknown via Pinterest

To clean our skin properly at the end of our day has got to be the most important steps in maintaining a healthy skin. Growing up I was always super keen on using “strong” cleanser that exfoliate, products such as Neutrogena, Clean & Clear and even Proactive. No hate towards these brands, all I’m saying is I am glad to have further open my mind and increase my knowledge on skincare. I’m an avid believer of double cleansing which follow these steps, oil-based cleanser followed by water-based cleanser. For my second cleanse, I have been so obsessed with powder to foam cleansers and I thought it will be fun to share the three that I have tried so far…

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The three cleansers I will be sharing with you today are,

  • Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder
  • Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder
  • COSRX Centella Cleansing Powder

Powder cleanser can definitely be use as a gentle exfoliator through the use of enzymes, which is more gentle in comparison to acid exfoliation. So personally, I do think that powder cleanser can be the sensitive skin person’s answer to physical exfoliation, ever so gently and please patch test 🙂 To the review…

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder, AUD$104

  • The classic, I think this has to be one of the first ones in the Western beauty market to really create and introduce the powder to foam format in cleansers. However, as the brand in inspired by the Japanese Geisha, I do believe many Japanese beauty brands will have already introduced this type of cleansers to the masses earlier on
  • With all Tatcha products contained their Hadasei-3, which includes green tea, rice and algae, powerful antioxidants and helps to restore youthful looking skin. They contained very gentle exfoliation accompanied by the low pH Amino Acid based formulation, which helps to cleanse effectively without stripping the skin
  • Why I like them? Well, they are actually quite an effective cleansers and you get so much in the one container. Most of the powder dissolved into foam, with gentle powder left behind that helps with gently physically exfoliating your skin. Honestly, considering the price, I will not repurchase this as we now have so much options in powder cleansers with more affordable price

Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder, AUD$96

  • Using papaya & green tea derived enzymes, that will help to remove dead skin cells but at the same time, protect your skin with powerful anti-oxidants. Based on the ingredient’s list, this cleanser also contain few ingredients that helps with adding moisture and hydration, such as mannitol. Mannitol is a plant-derived or lab-made sugar that works as a humectant, it helps to bind moisture and condition the skin, which was listed first within their ingredients list
  • Why I like them? The powder is finely milled and this one, compared to the other two I’ve tried so far, formed the gentlest foam with no powder left over. Amore Pacific formulation contains fragrance, which I personally love however if you are allergic please skip this one. For one reason or another, this is the only one that I can feel a slight tingle during cleansing, which makes me wonder if this has the strongest enzymes in comparison to the other two hmmm…

COSRX Centella Cleansing Powder, AUD$27

  • The least number of ingredients in comparison to the other two, with a total of only NINE ingredients. Contained water activated enzymes that helps to remove impurities while maintaining moisture level on the skin. It is low pH which means there will be less chance of irritation and helps to protect skin’s acidity in order to maintain skin’s healthy condition
  • Why I like them? Fragrance free which makes it super gentle and good for people with sensitive skin. This one is individually packed in capsules for one time use, which means this is super handy to take for travels. I also personally think, because I am not opening and closing a container all the time, the powder remained fresh at all times 🙂

Final thoughts… To be honest, out of the three, my most favourite will have to be the Amore Pacific one, even though it is still on the pricier side, but I am enjoying the light foam and the fresh scent. There are plenty of other alternatives for powder cleanser at the moment and one from By Wishtrend Green Tea & Enzymes Powder Wash to be an apparent dupe for my favourite, which I am interested to try out soon. Definitely love the COSRX for travels.

-k.

Skin Edit: The Importance of Eye Serums… That I Never Knew I Need

“The most beautiful art is looking into someone’s eyes when they talk about the things they love,” – Anonymous via Pinterest.

Since the beginning when a romantic poet wrote a love poem, or when a melancholy wrote a tragic love story, they always describe the importance of the eyes. The eyes, some say, are the window to our souls. In reality, the eyes are indeed the fastest give-away how we are feeling, healthy wise. Whether you are tired, dehydrated or simply so stressed out that you can’t have a good night sleep, your eyes will let the world know your body’s state of mind.

Firstly, the area around our eyes do not produce their own oil (less sebaceous glands) in comparison to the rest of our face. This resulted in our eye area being less protected to aggressor or free radicals in comparison to the rest of our face. Secondly, the skin around our eye area is much thinner in comparison to the rest of our face, which again, make it a little more sensitive in comparison to the skin on the rest of your face. When your skin is dehydrated, usually it will show around the area of your eyes as dark circles, or fine lines. Lack of sleep usually gives you the dreaded eye bags or panda eyes with what appears to be a darker ring around your eyes, gorgeous.

For the longest time, I do not really pay much attention to the area around my eyes. I have to say, I do not necessarily deal with terrible dark circles or much fine lines. However, approaching the 30 years old mark, I started to notice the way my foundation sets on the fine lines under my eyes. Late nights on Netflix really did not help with my sudden development of puffy eyes either. Anyway, all these kick-start my journey to discover the best possible solutions to issues I am faced with, around my eyes…

I present to you, my secret duo that have been tackling my issues and become my new essentials, L’Occitane Immortelle Reset Eye Serum (top) & L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Eye Balm (bottom)

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L’Occitane Immortelle Reset Eye Serum

  • The latest in the Immortelle Overnight Reset family, this eye serum can be use as a booster base for your other eye cream/eye balm and effective enough to be use on its own. Here’s a breakdown of the important ingredients,
    • Immortelle Essential Oil, Marjoram Extract & Acmella Olarecea, the same three ingredients combo in the Reset Face Serum are also present in the Reset Eye Serum. The ingredients basically helps with boosting antioxidant to protect your eye area, wakes skin’s cells in order to ensure efficacy of ingredients and relaxes your skin with the use of Acmella, which is known to be nature’s botox
    • Botanical Compound,  which includes ingredients such as, centella asiatica that has been formulated specifically for the eye area to help reduce fine lines, dark circles and puffiness
    • Caffeine, much like the effect of caffeine in coffee for our body, caffeine is an effective ingredients used in many eye products for its ability to promote circulation and reduce puffiness
  • Why I love? Firstly, I love, love the fact that this serum is fragrance free! L’Occitane is a brand that is known to be sensorial, and quite famous for their fragrances, hence I am glad that they have decided to forgo that for this product. Secondly, I love the fast absorbing and the light texture of this serum. You only really need a pea sized amount on your ring fingers, quickly break the yellow bubbles and gently massage around your eye area.

L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Eye Balm

  • Newly formulated in 2019, the Immortelle Precious range is definitely such a delight to have in your routine. The important ingredients are,
    • Immortelle Essential Oil, which gives a great anti-ageing benefit to the skin, stimulate collagen production
    • Caffeine, just like a shot of espresso for your eyes, it helps to stimulate the circulation around your eye area, which in turn will help to reduce puffiness
  • Why I love? I fell in love with the texture of this eye balm, even though it is advertised as a balm, it is very light textured and fast absorbing. I love the sensorial scent of most L’Occitane products, but the Precious range is especially refreshing

At the end of the day, many people still believe that eye cream is a glorified version of your face cream, a way for a brand to make that extra cash. I do agree with the sentiment to some degree, however, I do think some eye creams have potent ingredients that could really benefit to refresh the window of your soul. I have been enjoying these two eye creams the most and been also applying them along my smile lines.

Since there are so much confusion in regards to eye cream and their benefit, Consumer Advocate spent a lot of time and research to provide an in-depth review and valuable information to see if eye cream really works. If you are interested in their research and findings, be sure to click on there link, http://www.consumeradvocate.org/eye-cream

-k.

Style Journey: Wardrobe Edit, a shopaholic way to fulfil her impulses without spending the money

“Why Grey? Cause my ideas are colourful…” – Unknown via Pinterest

I believe that it is in the make-up of my being that I am in love with the grey, navy and black. Possibly caused by growing in a city like Melbourne, who is so devoted to black, grey and navy are where I feel safe to express colour. However, once in a while, I will add a pop of other colour to my outfits to brighten my cloudy winter’s days.

Images via Pinterest, Death by Elocution

Ever since I have simplified my wardrobe and sticking to the minimalist approach, I get inspired to spice up my outfit through the varying shades of block colours. Whenever I need to update or hit refresh on my wardrobe, I always get plenty of inspirations from the world of street style photographies and do a quick edit of what I have. I find that doing a regular style edit of my own wardrobe, satisfied my inner shopaholic self. I managed to trick myself into thinking that I am shopping but I am not spending the money.

Images via Death by Elocution, Pinterest

Here are few simple steps I usually followed when I do my wardrobe edit,

  • Get Inspired
    • Using Pinterest or Instagram, I would give myself time to search specific trends I want to look up. My most look up search on Pinterest are, street style, minimalist style, minimal fashion and I would do a seasonal search of, winter or summer style
  • Pick 5-days worth of looks you want to emulate
    • From my Pinterest/Instagram search, I would pick up to five looks that I am inspired and loved the most, so much that I can see myself wearing the outfit combinations
  • Break down the outfit, go to your wardrobe and “shop” what you have
    • This the most fun part of the whole wardrobe edit for me. From the outfits photographs that I chose, I would break down each pieces and see what items I already have in my wardrobe
  • Take photos of your outfits with your phone, I use Polaroids cause I feel like my own magazine fashion editor 🙂
    • Using pieces from my wardrobe, I would do an outfit flatly on my bed and take photos of these outfits. I make this a fun and creative activity for me. Having these records on my phone or polaroids, helps shortened my time of picking what outfit to wear in the morning
  • Complete your look
    • In the occasion that you do not have certain piece in your wardrobe to complete your looks, I would make a purchase to complete my outfit. Here’s the important part, if it is a “trend” piece which will only be an IN look for this season, I would not invest too much of my money and would look into places like, ASOS or Uniqlo is one of my favourite

Images via Pinterest

I do my wardrobe edit twice a year, only when the season changes. I only do summer and winter wardrobe edit, our spring and autumn never last for very long here in Melbourne, hence I feel like I just extend my summer into spring and so on. Being in winter right now, I did my most recent wardrobe edit at the start of country-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 Corona Virus. This time, I added lilac jumper, burnt red oversized hoodie both from Stylenanda and an oatmeal coloured puffer jacket from Uniqlo. What style inspired you most lately?

-k.

Style Journey: A Call To Minimalism…

“Minimalism isn’t about removing the things you love. It’s about removing the things that distract you from the things you love,” – Joshua Becker

I love that quote. It gives me a clearer perspective on why I need to declutter my life. including my wardrobe. Ever since I was allowed to work part-time, I always chose to work in fashion retail. The love for both fashion and shopping are probably the biggest propeller of this career choice I have made for myself. For the best eight years of my working life, I have dedicated it to fashion retail and I have enjoyed most things about that experience, however I have also accumulated an insane amount of clothing items that I absolutely do not need. Here is the turning point…

Images via Pinterest

Over the years, my knowledge of who I am as a person have matured along with time. I have been quite comfortable with my being, body shape and all, for quiet sometimes now and clothes I wear have always been a my way of portraying who I am to the outside world. I am more drawn to simplicity, I am drawn to the quality of things rather than the quantity I own. My sense of style evolved and I am more drawn towards comfortable yet stylish outfits.

Images via Pinterest, Death by Elocution

Gathering my inspirations and thought on amazing platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, I slowly begin my style overhaul, so to speak. Finding items in my existing wardrobe, shopping from my own closet, curating items I love and wear often while donating items that no longer serve a purpose in my wardrobe. I began to notice my most loved and most worn clothing pieces are in grey, navy or black, how very Melbournian of me. The two pattern I seemed to love are stripes and polka dots, and clothing items within these two pattern qualifier I have managed to reduce in quantity to the bare necessities. I am glad that I go on this style journey towards Minimalism, because I now open my wardrobe everyday, with a huge sigh of pleasure. I am enjoying the moment of being with my clothing pieces and plan my outfit for the day. Most items are so easy to mix and match, and because I do not have unnecessary clutter covering clothing pieces I love, I have since stop saying to myself, I have NOTHING to wear…, which is a nice problem to not have. My current style obsession is matching hoodie/tracksuit pants with cool camel coat/jacket over the top, so effortlessly cool and comfortably chic on a different level.

What’s your current style obsession?

-k.