My Current Go-to Foundations

Personally, I believe that the main and biggest investment you should make when it comes to beauty is a good skincare routine. The second one will be an amazing foundation. Whether you prefer low-med coverage or high coverage, a good foundation will get you through even the worst day of your life… well, not quite, that’s probably a job for lipstick. I digress, but colour-matched foundation is important. So here are my top three that I find myself reaching out for every morning…

In terms of foundation, personally, I always pick light to medium coverage, especially for my daily make-up. Anything too high coverage feels very thick and cakey on my skin and I hate that feeling of wearing make-up. I spent so much time looking, searching and trying every foundation imaginable. Few I used to wear feels heavy and not sitting comfortably on my skin. The worst is when they settled into my lines, good gracious! I should probably mention that I have oily skin, with a slight dehydration and occasional hormonal breakouts.

The first one I found and love is SHISEIDO Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation with SPF20. This one has more of a watery texture, very light and feels very much like a second skin. I find this one stays on all day and I do powder at the end to ensure additional support for its all day “lasting” ability. Initially, because I have oily skin, the lady suggested a different one with even lighter texture and coverage. But I decided to go with the Synchro Skin because of the unique packaging (I know… I roll my eyes at myself too).

What took me so long to try this one, I don’t know, maybe cause I don’t want to be carried away by the hype. But finally, I picked up NARS Sheer Glow foundation at the end of last year. I do tend to use my hands when applying foundation, so this brand is perfect, apparently the brand’s founder and I have the same philosophy in applying foundation, with the two hands we’re given. I get the hype, everyone… Got the memo. Compare to SHISEIDO, this one is heavier in texture, however applies well onto the skin and you can gradually build to higher coverage if need be. I always use loose powder in order to set the foundation, as I believe the Sheer Glow formulation does not control oil. The annoying thing with NARS foundation, is the seperate pump that you can buy, why can’t they make one that already come with a pump in the Sheer Glow formulation, please…

Last but not least, my most recent purchase, ESTĒE LAUDER Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup with SPF10. I purchased this one at a discount store, hence the difference in packaging, for a cheaper price compared to Department Store. It was a little bit of an impulse buy, because I’ve always wanted to try the Double Wear foundation. But after trying this one, I will definitely re-purchase as this one is fast becoming a favourite of mine. The foundation is very light texture and sheer coverage. Without knowing, and I read about it after my purchase, this one actually helps to control oil BONUS! I don’t necessarily need to powder, in order to set the make-up because this foundation makes my skin looking dewy, even at the end of a long working day! I am so amazed because I have never find foundation that does that without powder to set. Trying this one makes me want to try the original ESTĒE LAUDER Double Wear Stay-in-Place foundation even more.

What is your current favourite foundation and why? Make sure to share with me your favourite in the comment section, maybe I could try others for next time.

Have a great week ahead everyone 🙂 Make sure you follow me on Instagram @karina.mandala and I will catch you next Saturday for another post.


“Mass” by Ron Mueck for NGV Melbourne Triennial

For the last few months, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) had been running their first Triennial. The NGV Triennial is a celebration of arts for a city that thrive from being the culture capital of Australia. There are both local and international artists involved within the Triennial. The Triennial also showcase variety of artistic expressions, from traditional sculptures to the very modern digital art form of virtual reality experience. As you can tell, there’s something in this for everyone. The most popular, perhaps most photographed artwork in the exhibition, in my opinion will be the following by Ron Mueck called, “Mass”,

Giant skulls piled on top of one another in such a chaotic fashion, it made you feel like you were walking into Giants mass graves. The idea of the piece, for the artist himself, is an artistic commentary on the mass killings throughout the history of civilisation. The artist made a specific reference to event such as the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime, or the Holocaust of the Jews in the hands of Nazi party.

The skulls are large in scale to evoke a specific emotion for us the viewers. The installation catch me by surprise, it is confronting and not the sort of view that I’m used to. For me at least, it felt like walking into a room confronting my own mortality. Death isn’t something any human can avoid, it is a definite final stop in our journey called life. Hence, the confrontational affect this work had over me felt like an eerie reminder.

Despite the grim first impression of this work, there’s a sense of beauty that brings you in. Perhaps, it was the brilliant placements of the artwork. The skulls were located within the Gallery’s 19th Century paintings. It was almost deliberate for the artist to point out, look at all the great legacy of beautiful paintings left by Great Masters. Can you appreciate the beauty of the Old Masters painting through the legacy of terror our generation seems to left behind?

However way these giant skulls installations affect you, the genuine narrative Mueck’s tried to convey through his artwork is honest and confronting for a reason. If you live in Melbourne, I hope you get a chance to see it at the NGV, highly recommended for you to just experience it in person.


A New Beginning

The thing I love the most about life is every time the sun rise, it is a brand new day, which for me means a second chance to do over. And today is no different than any other day, is the day I decided to start over with my blog.

I’m not planning to go too crazy and re-start from zero with this blog, as I feel that I have worked hard for it to be what it is up to today. Basically, what I’m saying is I’m planning to commit more towards the maintaining of this blog and hopefully, will be able to grow this blog and take this space further into the world. Having said that, I want to also make sure that this blog has a focus that is still me. And I am so many things in one being, I enjoy different aspects of what life has to offer, which also means that I have to curate what interest me the most.

SO… content wise, I will focus on topics that I am truly passionate about and here are the breakdown:

  • Beauty – will include both make-up and skincare, but I do believe in maintaining healthy skin and using less make-up, so I might end up writing more about skincare. I don’t discriminate on skincare meaning, I will try anything from Department Stores brands all the way to Korean Beauty Brands. Along the way, I hope I can also share few knowledge I have gain working for a natural beauty and lifestyle brand
  • Art & Culture – will includes snapshot overview of exhibitions happening in and around Melbourne, but also (cross all our fingers people) will includes exhibition or galleries I visit in my travels
  • Food – as a foodie and a cook myself, I will be sharing brunch places around Melbourne as well as healthy recipes I whipped up in my kitchen every now and then
  • Life – will be about my life in Melbourne or when I travel. I will also include personal opinion posts on certain topics that might affect me at the time. All in all, this section of the blog will hopefully be a small corner for life lessons, shared experiences and spirituality

My commitment for now is that I will post twice a week on the day that I have off from my full-time job, which will be Tuesday and Saturday. I will see how I go and will adjust accordingly in the future. I hope you can stay around and enjoy what The Lifestyle Monolog has to offer for you soon…

Thank you for staying around. See you on my next post 🙂


Gerhard Richter X QAGOMA

What a remarkable opportunity it is for me to be able to travel to Brisbane recently and witness the amazing retrospect exhibition of Gerhard Richter. The exhibition was held in Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane’s cultural precinct on the South Bank area. It took the gallery 5 years to put this amazing exhibition together, with many artworks are personally loan from the artist’s own personal archive. Richter is known to be experimental with his work, but most known for his Abstract work and his ability to blur the line between a painting and a photograph.

One of the work that completely took me off guard is a black and grey painting of baby Richter and his Aunty. I personally decided not to took a photo of the work, our of respect to the tragic story behind the painting, as well as my selfish reason of wanting to keep the emotional affect the painting had on me to myself. Grey is Richter colour of choice that helped him detached to an emotional experience, aside from his brilliant colourful abstract, his monotone works are some of my personal favourite. Richter’s memento mori series of painting, like the one above called “Two Candle” on loan from Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul – South Korea, are personally, one of the most moving work.

Very grateful to have the opportunity to go and see Richter’s exhibition. The brilliance of his work can be seen in the above detailed photo from one of his Abstract work. Using a sponge, Richter would drag the colours across his canvas, using this technique Richter have created a unique texture to the end result. Considering his age, a sprite 85 years old of age, this exhibition may well be Richter’s last big international exhibition. So grateful is not enough to describe how I’m feeling, but I feel so enrich by the experience and wish many more people are able to experience this amazing exhibition too.

Gerhard Richter The Life of Images

Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, Australia


Hokusai, NGV International

“If heaven gives me ten more years, or an extension of even five years, I shall surely become a true artist.” 

– Katsushika Hokusai, c. 1849

Having spent his entire life-time in poverty, Hokusai’s artwork ended up inspiring so many great artist including Van Gogh, whose artworks were also largely unknown until his death. The timing of this exhibition by NGV International was almost too perfect as Hokusai’s followed Van Gogh’s. The current exhibition contained 176 pieces of Hokusai’s works from NGV’s own collection and the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, Matsumoto. Beside Hokusai’s greatest work, The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1830-34), this exhibition features Hokusai’s early to mature works, as well as various works with the following themes, Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji, Waterfalls in Various Provinces, Remarkable views of bridges, One hundrer ghost stories, Snow Moon and Flowers, A true mirror of Chinese and Japanese Poetry, Eight view of the Ryukyu islands, Birds and flowers, One hundred poems explained by the nurse, Hokusai Manga, One hundred views of Mt Fuji and The life of Shakyamuni (NGV, 2017).

The above painting of Thunderstorm beneath the summit c.1830-34, has to be on of my favourite out of Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji series. The reds are vibrant and such a contrast to the clear sky above.

Photographs can never do justice to the vivid colours Hokusai painted on his wooden blocks. The exhibition were curated according to the different themes set, which helps the exhibition’s flow for visitors. The best time to go to this extremely popular exhibition will be early morning on weekdays. Keep in mind, once it gets busy there are not a lot of room to move or enjoy the works, as the room was divided in a tunnel like maze, which seemed to be NGV’s current mood in terms of exhibition lay out. Perhaps inpired by many European galleries, however I personally feel it to be such disadvantage for art lovers who prefers to roam and wander, as suppose to being lead through. Since The Great Wave is perhaps what every visitors come to see, there were plenty of space given for visitors to roam there. It was a wonderful exhibition to visit and just admire, however considering the smaller roaming space in comparison to the amount of visitors coming in, did made the exhibition less enjoyable. Regardless, worth the visit…

-love K.

Tatcha, The Essence

“May enduring beauty and the wisdom of centuries now be yours.” – Tatcha

Tatcha Institutes formulated The Essence to help plump the skin with hydration and maximize the performance of any treatments that follow, according to its founder Victoria Tsai.

First Impression… The Essence has similar texture to SKII‘s Facial Treatment Essence. What I love about this one is the fact that it does not have the strange scent that I personally not a huge fan of in SKII.

How I’ve been using The Essence… I’ve recently discovered the Korean beauty method of layering your toner or essence. The method supposedly suggest to layer minimum of SEVEN times! Ok… firstly, ain’t nobody got time for that! Second, this baby is precious and has a precious price tag attached to it as well. So I still layer them, three times instead of the suggested seven, and use it in my night-time routine. Keep in mind, Tatcha suggest to place Essence on palm and press all over your face/neck ONCE, so yes… do that 🙂

After the two weeks of use… I am so impressed by Tatcha The Essence. I have tried SKII and its more affordable K-beauty counter-part, Missha First Treatment Essence. I personally love Tatcha The Essence the most. Personally, the no-scent scent is a positive indication for me that Tatcha do not add random fragrance into their products. My skin definitely loves The Essence. I experience no reaction to the products either, which is a positive sign. Tatcha The Essence really do plump my skin and hydrates it properly, which helps even out the balance of water and oil in my skin during the day.

Do I recommend my family and friends to try… I personally have recommended The Essence to few work friend and they have personally purchased and enjoy it so so much. I must say, I will encourage you to go and get Tatcha The Essence if you’re not a fan of SKII scent and wanting a more affordable alternative. Not exactly a ground breaking must-have product for a lot of people, however personally for me, Tatcha The Essence have been doing positive improvements to my skin, so I LOVE it!

-love K.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Bangkok, Thailand

“Art should be something that liberates your SOUL.” – Keith Haring

Truth be told, one the privillage of traveling for me is to be able to experience new cultures. Places that I love to visit the most while traveling are local market and galleries or museums. Having been to Bangkok few times before, I’m pleased to see the development of the city has extend to a brand new Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Museum is privately own and perhaps not the easiest place to get too. But with the developement and extension of Skytrain line, this place will be easily accessible in a few years. But for now, taxi is the way to go and it was worth the time to visit. The building is five level filled with outstanding work by Thai artists. The ground floor is their temporary exhibitions, while the rest are the Museum’s own private collection of artworks.

Above paintings are self-potraits of the great Thai artists whose work filled the Museum space.

What I gather from roaming around the Museum, as a predominantly Buddhist country, the artworks produced by their artists are influenced by the principles of Buddhism. The idea of life is a suffering, the enlightenement and reincarnation are all reflected in many of the artwork. The below painting is so striking to me when I saw it, as it strips a woman bare of all her worldly possession and asked us the viewers to reflect on what really matters. At the end of it all, we are skull and bones. 

The play of colours in the following painting reminds me of the great work of British modern artist, William J. Turner. Such a playful and positive body of works, 

One of the floor of the Museum were dedicated to Surrealist arts. I must say, Thai surrealist artists are very unique. As they are still influenced by Buddhist principles, the ideas portrayed in the paintings are familiar. The first thing I noticed were Dali’s influenced in all the paintings, down to the use of eggs as the symbol of universe, 

The following painting has to be my ultimate favourite, as it brings so much joy when you see it, 

During the time of my visit, I was lucky to see the exhibition on the late King Bhumibol’s life, which was very moving and filled with love and adoration from the people of Thailand to their late King. 

The Museum is well curated, they are divided into very enjoyable rooms of organised works of art. Not to mention, very informative security guards that not only direct you to what you should see first, but also a fountain of knowledge in the meaning of some of these paintings.

For more information, check out their website,

MOCA Bangkok

-love K.