When one C-Drama ruins another C-Drama….

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Recently I have been chasing “Princess Weiyoung” the hottest C-Drama this month. Starring real life couple Tang Yan and Luo Jin, the story is of a princess who tries to take revenge on the people who killed her family and enslaved her country. A palace drama with a decent cast of popular stars.

I initially waited until about 50% of the episodes have been broadcasted, before jumping in. I liked the drama so much I binged watched all the available episodes over a weekend and is now waiting each day to watch the 2 new broadcast episodes.

At first the drama was riveting, decent storyline, likeable cast, cute interactions, and pretty costumes. All the trappings of a successfully C-Drama. Then I made a major tactical error. Bored one night after I have finished my 2 episodes allocations, I decided to start watching Nirvana in Fire, another C-Drama that was broadcasted in 2015. I won’t go into details about the storyline, since the drama is quite famous. When it first came out, the storyline and cast didn’t really appeal to me, so I gave it a past. But lately as I am chasing Princess Weiyoung, I kept seeing Nirvana in Fire mentioned alongside. Mainly because people were using it as a point of reference in terms of themes similarity in the original novels for both. I finally got curiously enough to start watching the C-Drama.

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OMG, the first episode was riveting already. I finally understood what all the fuss was about last year. the drama is so well done, in terms of scenery, camera angles, and casting. But what really stands out is the storyline and dialogue. Bravo to the scriptwriter. The dialogue is intriguing and each episode really moves the story along. Even though the storyline is set up so that the viewer basically has an idea of what the ending will be, it doesn’t lessen the anticipation of episode to episode, because it is the journey that is making this entire drama so fascinating to watch.

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How beautiful is this evening shot?

So arriving at the point of this rant is that now that I have started watching Nirvana in Fire concurrently with Princess Weiyoung, I can’t enjoy the latter. When I am watching the new episodes I keep laughing at the massive plot-holes, dialogue between the villains and the heroes, and worst, what I can now see as wayyyyy overacting. My previous enjoyment of Princess Weiyoung has forever been spoiled, thanks to Nirvana in Fire.

My advice to all C-Drama fans, don’t watch Nirvana in Fire too closely to another C-Drama. You won’t be able to enjoy the 2nd drama as much, trust me.

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Disneyland Tip & Tricks – It’s a small world ride

  “It’s a small world after all…” If you are a Disneyland fan, you know this ride. Most likely it was one of first rides you rode on at Disneyland as a child. You can hum the song and let’s get real, you know the lyrics.  

For those that never been on the ride, there are 2 spots to board the boat. The cast members command center and the boat off loading section is in the middle and the boat loading is on the left and right side of the command center. Depending on the rope set up that day, when you get in line, either at the beginning or the middle of the line, you will reach a fork. My tip is to stay with the fork on your right. 

In my experience, the boat loading that is closest to the ride entrance is slightly faster. Hence if you stay with the line fork on the ride it will lead you the boat loading that is on side closest to the ride entrance. 

  The reason this is, because the fork on the left, it leads to the ramp with the loading that is closest to the line entrance. This is also the boat loading for special guests, wheelchair access guests, etc. Basically anyone that gets to cut the line will need to be loaded from this side. Therefore if you are in line, you will have to wait longer if there is a special boat that needs to get loaded first. 

From my experience, picking this line, I have shaved 5 to 10 mins wait time. This may not seem like much, but with small children, it can feel like an hour. The only downside is that there is less shade access since you are further from the trees. So pick your battles. Good luck!

  

Quick tip for Disneyland Annual Pass holders 


If you are one of the millions that still love Disneyland, despite the greedy tendencies of some management personnel, you may be an annual pass holder. And if you are one of the unlucky few like me whose renewal period falls on a blackout period, you may be clenching your teeth and wailing at the heavens for the loss opportunity to get your money’s worth on the annual pass. (Shake fist at sky. ) In my case, the last 2 weeks of my annual pass happens to be a entire block out period. Which needless to say is soooo annoying. Since of course I decide I want to squeeze in a couple more trips to the parks during this time. Also I should mention that I am planning on renewing my pass, but the rules are renewal of my pass still doesn’t allow me entrance during the blackout period if my pass is not the super fancy one.

Well I stumbled on a solution to my particular case. I am going to buy a ticket to park and go on a block out date. At the end of the day, I can take my ticket to the ticket booth and pay the difference to upgrade the ticket back to my renewal annual pass. Or in this case I am purchasing a “new” pass.

The only thing that I would be losing out on would be the renewal discount that Disney offers to annual pass holders if they renew before their passes expires. But since I have the least expensive pass, my discount would only have been $10.

So there you have it, my not so secret tip are getting around a Disneyland dilemma. This obviously doesn’t apply to most people, but if you happen to be one of those unfortunate souls like me, well now you a possible solution.

Oh and for those that are wondering, I am    a stay at mom with 2 little ones below the age of 3. So going to Disneyland is more like going to a park. We go almost once a week when weather and crowds permit. I don’t spend money on the food or toys. We are there for the activities, the rides, sunshine, light exercise, and people interaction.

If you are interested in other Disneyland tips, feel free to leave a comment. Or if you have interesting tips yourself, please share.

Loving my new toy , Moisture Monitor for my face


I have always been curious about the moisture level on my face. After all I spent hundreds of dollars a year on skincare, all in the effort to maintain my skin in the best possible condition. A huge part of this condition is keeping the moisture level high, since dry skin is never a desirable condition.

I have heard of moisture monitors. Tools that analyze moisture and even oil levels on your face. I finally caved recently and purchased one. Now I am addicted. So simple to use, just turn, and press the sensor to your face. After a few seconds, it beeps and gives a percentage. The higher the number, the better. The goal is to be above 50%. I tried it mid day, immediately after cleansing, and finally after I put on my skincare.


Definitely see a difference. At mid day when the air is dry and I am stressed, maybe didn’t drink enough water, my moisture level is hovering in the 30s. At night, after cleansing when it is dry and clean, it is in the low 40s. And finally when I have finished putting on my skincare, it is in the 60s.

I tested on my sister, who although takes good care of her skin, has a bad habit of not drinking enough water. Her numbers were much lower than mine. After the test, she realize she needs to keep hydrated, otherwise all that effort with her skincare is moot.

Long story short, keeping my ski in prime condition is not only about the products I put on it, but also ensuring that I am keeping my body hydrated and lowering my stress level. All these things the expects have been telling the public for years, but sometimes we just need a little extra kick or reminder.

On a side note, you can get your free reading at Kiehl’s. They call it their Dehydration Analyzer Tool. But I noticed it is the same model that I purchased off of Amazon for $20.  (Look at the right side of the picture below.)

 

My inflight beauty routine – Travel Tips

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I love spending foreign currency. So until my neighborhood Albertsons start accepting Euros and Yen, I am going to have to take this hobby overseas. I travel on average, 3 to 5 international trips a year. Work and pleasure. I generally take flights that are 10~15 hours long. Needless to say, these long haul flights are a killer on my skin. Over the years, I have perfected my inflight beauty routine so that now when I step off the plane, I am not embarrassed to show my face. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I am nowhere near celebrity camera ready. That would involve way more effort that I care for. No, what I mean is, when I get off the plane, if my travel companion happened to want to take a selfie right away to document their first time on foreign soil, I don’t need to duck the camera like I am one of America’s most wanted, instead I can just smile and pose like a human being, admittedly with dark sunglasses on, but still small steps.

So I want to share some of the products that I bring with me onboard and also the things I do prior to boarding.

In flight travel pouch

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First and foremost, have a designated travel pouch. This Prada’s only job is to be my inflight travel pouch. The perfect size to hold everything I need, no excess unused space and a light color so that it is easy to find in my carry on.  This pouch is always kept ready to go.

Skincare products

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I keep sample size of skincare products that I normally use in this pouch. Not too much, just enough for 1 or 2 round trips. Not everything, just the basics. These are the things I feel I require on the flight.

  • Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste. Because nothing is more gross than airplane breath.
  • Eye cream. Dark circles and puffiness is going to happen, but this is my way of minimizing the damage. And it helps me look less tired. A win win.
  • Which brings me to the eye drops. The plane air is super drying. If I catch any sleep, when I wake up, my eyes are always dry. And I watch a movie, by the end of the movie, my eyes are super dry. I use these eye drops so often that I don’t even keep them in the pouch during the flight. I keep them handy, either in my pocket or if the seat have a small compartment.
  • Blistex (chapstick, lip balm, lip cream, etc). Whatever you normally use, keep those lips moisturized! No point in taking care of the skin and than showing up with chapped lips.
  • Face wash. I feel like the recycled air on the planes is dirty after a while. So I like to wash my face once or twice on the flight. Also it helps to refresh me somewhat and make me less groggy and tired. I always wash before we land so that I am completely refreshed when I step off the plane. I sneak in a little facial massage during the wash to get the blood circulating.
  • Moisturizer is super important. I use a heavy duty one before I board and I always reapply after I wash my face. This helps me keep the breakouts to a minimum and also refreshes me.
  • In between all the face washing and reapplying of eye cream and moisturizer, I also use a facial mist. I spray the mist whenever I feel like it. I helps give my moisturizer and extra boost. Not completely necessary if the cream is heavy duty, but sometimes I am using a little bit more of a light weight item so the mist helps.

Sleeping Pack Mask & Face wipes

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In the early years I would bring a sheet mask on to the plane and basically give myself a mini facial. After I realize I was scaring my fellow passenger with the white sheet on my face, I started using sleeping masks. If you haven’t heard of these before, they are great. Like a moisturizer, they go on clear and absorb into your skin, but keeps a slight film on your face to lock in moisture.You can’t really see the mask on your face, but you will the difference. In theory they are like a super heavy duty moisturizer. I don’t use these masks if I do a couple rounds of washing and reapplying of my skincare, but if I am taking a red eye and think I can sleep through the flight, I would apply these over my moisturizer and wash off before I land. I also keep some face wipes handy, just in case I can’t get to the restroom.

Tools

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Eye mask, ear plugs, and hair tie. Pretty self explanatory. Plane hair is not a pretty sight. I didn’t used to have problems sleeping on the plane, but as I get older, my sleep got more sensitive so I found the eye mask helps so much and keeps me from waiting up every time someone walked past me on the plane.

Makeup

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Finally the last items to use before I get off the plane. Usually within the last hour before landing, I would go wash my face and reapply my skincare. Than CC cream with SPF to help even out my skin. I bring an eyelash curler, mascara, and lip & cheek stick. Although these are a simple version of my normal makeup routine, it is enough to make me look presentable after a long flight.

Other tips

If I am taking a redeye and is at home before the flight, I like to apply a moisturizing mask before my normal skincare and than use a slightly heavier moisturizer. This is normally enough to get me through most of the flight and I just do my face wash and makeup at the end before we land.

Not pictured are hand cream and CC cream with SPF.

I also bring on hand cream as the plane air totally dries out my hands and cuticles.

I use a CC cream with SPF, so that I protected from sun, but don’t have to worry about blending or contouring, etc etc.

These are just things that I learned over the years. Some from personal experience, but many from fellow bloggers, travel articles, and even chatty flight attendants. I am always on the lookout from tips and tricks from other people. And I love sharing my tips with anyone that asks. I just feel like travelers have to lookout for one another in this day and age.

PSA Travel Tips – Bali, Indonesia

Back in November, 2015, I traveled to Bali, Indonesia with a couple of girlfriends. This was the first time any of us have been to Bali. I will write more about the overall experience in a different post. But one of the experiences I had, I wanted to share as a travel tip/caution since I didn’t find any information regarding this in my initial travel research.

At the arrival area of the Bali airport, there are local men that loiter there to help arriving tourist with their luggage in exchange for tips. Any person that have traveled outside of the US knows, this is not an uncommon occurrence in other countries. In my personal experience, these “luggage handlers” can usually be spotted a mile away and easily sent on their way with a smile and firm shake no with the head. What made the Bali situation slightly difference from my past experiences was that this time, I had a pre-booked an airport car service. When the luggage handlers approached me, my driver did not seem concern and even spoke to them. Leading me to the conclusion that they were part of the same company. It was only later that I realized otherwise. I learned during my trip that in Bali, most drivers considered the luggage handlers to be just another facet of their local tourism business. Therefore they are on friendly terms and may even encourage the client to utilize the handlers at the airport.

Although we are not talking about a large amount of money, possibly less than what you may tip the bellhop at a nice hotel, I personally dislike using these luggage handlers. Especially when I am perfectly capable of handling my own luggage, after all I got it out of my house, to the airport, and off the carousel all by myself right?

The bottom line is that the Bali situation was unique in my experience as I didn’t expect the drivers to be part of it. Therefore my public service announcement is this, if you are traveling to Bali, upon arrival at the airport, there will be local luggage handlers loitering around. If you are okay with using them and tipping, that is great, they thank you for supporting their economy with your tourist dollars. but by no means be fooled into thinking they are with your driver if you see them conversing or he/she encourage you hand off your luggage. You are under no obligation to use these handlers. Travel safe. IMG_2482

When I think actresses look alike #1

Recently I have been watching C-drama Ban Shu Legend. I couldn’t help but think that the actress playing Empress Deng , Li Sheng, looks like korean actress Song Hye Kyo.

Li Sheng is a Chinese actress, she rose to fame when she played the leading role in the tv series New My Fair Princess (remake of Princess Returning Pearl). Rumor was that the author, Qiong Yao, personally selected her for the role.

Song Hye Kyo is a Korean actress. She has been in many Korean dramas since her breakout roles in Autumn in my heart and Full House. She is also the spokesperson for the skincare brand Laneige.

I think the similarities are due to the face shape and eyes. They are both beautiful and their features seemed refined without looking too delicate.

Ban Shu Legend – Introduction

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Ban Shu Legend  班淑传奇, C-Drama. 42 episodes, released in end of Fall/early Winter of 2015.

The drama focus on the main character of Ban Shu. The story is fiction but incorporates historical figures. The drama takes place during the Han Dynasty under the rule of Dowager Empress Deng Sui.

Backstory:

Ban Shu’s father is a member of the Ban clan, a general in the Han army. Her mother was a princess in one of the nomadic tribes. Due to the Ban clan not accepting her mother and forcing pressure on her father, before Ban Shu was born, her mother (pregnant with her) left her father and settled in the frontiers. Ban Shu’s mother died when she was young and it was only when she reached adulthood that she found out her parent’s history. She traveled to Luoyang from the frontiers to reunite with her father, but he died right before she could arrive. The elders of the Ban clan would not accept her due to her mixed heritage. She therefore decides to travel on to the capital. She hoped to reunite with her older brother, now a general in the Han army, and also to enter the palace to locate a book that belonged to her father and which would provide evidence to force the elders of the Ban clan to accept her into the family registry.

Story:

Through a series of events and obstacles, Ban Shu was able to enter the palace, become a royal teacher within the palace school, gain the respect of her peers, government officials, the backing of the Empress Deng, and finally able to have her name entered into the Ban clan’s family registry. In the process she finds true love and also discover her calling as a teacher who will shape the future of the Han government through the wisdom she imparts on her students.

 

 

Welcome! Come on in!

Welcome to the inaugural post for the Chic_is_Belle blog! If you read the About Me section, you would see that this blog is the brainchild of 2 sisters who have opinions about a wide range of topics. We love beauty, luxury goods, and style. But because we are two individuals, we have our own sets of interests and frequent discussions regarding these interests. This blog is a journal of our mutual and individual opinions. Here you will find our thoughts on everything ranging from cosmetics and skincare, to traveling, tv dramas, and even some mommy tips. Think of us as your two friends, that are janes of all trades, master of none. So welcome, come on in!

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