Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cleopatra's Heart.

Lately i have been quite troubled by a few things i've discovered that relates to the heart. And it was this discovery that compelled me to have this Egyptian themed photo shoot. But i'll get onto that later in this post. 

I'm just gonna roughly spill out some stuffs i've managed to pick up along the process of this Cleopatra/ Egyptian lady self-portrait project - right from the photography to the end product.

Here are the useless secrets :

Make-up. I just slapped on a generous amount of basic make up such as concealer, foundation powder and brown brow liner onto ma face before highlighting the colors for the lids. The eye shadow colors i used were glittery bronze, ocean blue and a bit of maroon for the shadow effect along the crease line. Finished up with the classic Egyptian cat eye with a black liquid eyeliner. Never ever forget touching up on your lips and cheeks lightly with your preferred gloss and blusher. Also remember to highlight important areas such as the nose bridge, forehead and cheek bones, plus apply your bronzer below your cheek bones and the sides of your nose bridge - this gives your face more definition in pictures. I skipped the mascara (because removing it will be a PAIN), neither did i use fake lashes (enough drama already).

Hair. The bangs were clip-on a.k.a. fake bangs.

Decoration and clothing. For the head piece, i used a gold net lace/ribbon and gold chain i had lying around. The neck cuff was actually cheat made out of a headband, taped with a strip of gold ribbon. As for the blouse, it was actually long-sleeved, but what i did was to pull back the sleeves and tie it to the back. Then i used a white shawl and tie it in a way that looks like i have a new set of sleeves. Also i touched up the beaded blouse with more gold ribbon.

If you're familiar with the software called Lightroom for RAW editing, you may be familiar with the available settings in Split Toning. I just found out from youtube about how much it could transform a picture to look a little like those from fashion magazines!!

All you gotta do is tweak the 'shadow and highlight' a little by replacing the preset color grey to something else like the famous blue shadows and yellow highlights most people would opt for. Compare the two pictures above and notice how such slight changes could portray a completely different feel to the pic!

And of course, i had fun cropping and rotating pictures, saving many many copies of a same photograph which i would later filter out the not-so-nice ones. And oh, i used CS5 (for the first time!) to meddle with the shadows, highlights (actually did most of these two in Lightroom), and perfecting a bit of my skin flaws.

ALSO i played with the wind! Artificial wind from the fan! It was super difficult because i was doing all these stuffs ALONE, photographing on timer mode! D: I didn't even know if i got the timing to flip my hair right, or was the position of my fan directed at my head effective, or did the hair effect complimented my pose, and so on!!

I had no choice but to keep trying and probably the only way to minimize the number of mistakes was to keep walking to and fro to view the display screen and with much hope, be able to point out where i need adjustments on my pose or the hair or whatever. Tiring!

I guess that's all about the production part. Now its about the concept. Or rather, what was it that drove me into doing such a tedious project.

Basically the discovery that got me into doing this has something to do with Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt back in the days of Moses (should be around 1393 BCE), whose heart was hardened by the Lord as written in Exodus. And i thought this fact was traumatizing!

I mean imagine if there was someone out there that could make you really really stubborn so that you will stumble and fall and receive the worst series of events in your life which in Pharaoh's case was the 10 plagues that took away lives upon lives! And imagine having your heart hardened for not once but many times! IT JUST BOGGLES MY MIND!!!

Learning that we are actually the ones who would take control over our hearts would make this sound even more crazy, because it would mean that we ourselves are the ones who would actually allow ourselves to be stubborn. To decide to have a hard heart. To shut down to whatever goodness other people would wanna input into us. Oh goodness!!!

However, for Pharaoh's case (from which all these thoughts of mine began at) that God actually has a purpose in all things which He does, was quite comforting to know.

Exodus 14:4
"And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. "

And to know that i've got such a great big wonderful God, is even more comforting. Because i know, if He could harden hearts, He'd be able to soften them as well - only if i allow it. (:

I guess by doing this photo shoot, it may perhaps remind me, to not be like Pharaoh, coming to a state where your heart hardens, eyes blinded, to have dull hearing and be darkened in understanding.

This should also be a reminder that if i do fall into such a situation, i should remember to turn back so that my heart may be allowed to be healed (as written in Matt 13:14-15).

Phew. It is not a dead end. Yet. 


This last pic... err... i think it looks kinda magazine-ish in terms of editing, though i am also fully aware of its imperfections which... i don't have to tell you. Hehe.


P.s. : The watermark in my pictures for this post is a bit different cause i edited them in CS5 instead of my usual editor, the Photoimpact. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


That strange urge to feed on Korean food via my pictures is back again. Mmm.. appetite increased!

I might have said this before in a previous post (link) but i'm gonna say it again.. if you're heading to Korea, you must try their meat dishes! Specifically ones with beef e.g. beef soup, beef noodles, beef bbq, beef bibimpap, etc.

1. A random shop by the alley

I can't tell you the location of this place cause we randomly entered this restaurant after browsing through their '3D Menu'.

#1 Interior

#2 "3D Menu"

#3 This is how it looks like closeup. Looks real right? How do you think they made it??

#4 Free kimchi on each table.

#5 Left to right : Pan-fried egg with various vegetables, beef soup (super looooove this!) and i think the third one is beef stomach spicy soup?

Now i'm a bit regretful for the late draft on this post. I can't remember exactly what i ate. T-T

#6 Happy faces!


2. Cafe Sobahn

Direction : 1st Flr, Gwanghamun Officia Building Sinmunno
Phone : 82-(0)2-730-7423
Time : 11am - 11pm

#7 Entrance.

#8 Self service available.

#9 Interior on the second floor.

#10 Tomato salad.

This was my very first time trying sweet cherry tomatoes! It's so juicy you feel like one plate is just not enough!

#11 Hot bibimpap set one.

#12 Hot bibimpap set two.

#13 Hot bibimpap set three.

These bibimpaps cost around 8,000 won (MYR 24) each and if my memory serves me right, the first one is fried rice with minced seaweed and fried egg; the second is minced pork(?) with rice; the third would be chicken(?) with rice.

Personal Rating : 7/10
Comments :
Surprisingly these three sets plus the cherry tomato salad could actually fill up all six of our tummies!

But i think the minus points would be because they were served hot - not that this is a bad thing but it is the bowls that i was worried about. Any three-second-skin-contact on these hot bowls could give you a big red blister!! Even i got burned twice... but no marks, luckily. Gotta eat with much caution.


3. Yoogane

Destination : Dak Galbi at Myeongdong
Phone : (02) 3789 3392 or (02) 775 3392
Time : 11am - 11pm
Website : www.yoogane.co.kr  

#14 Exterior.

#15 Before and after.

Basically this restaurant serves stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce, with sliced cabbage, sweet potatoes, scallions, onions and tteok (rice cakes) together on a hot plate.

#16 The stir frying is done live in front of you, triggering not only your saliva glands but your sensory smell as weeelllll. #drools

#17 Waiting and waiting...

#18 The frying isn't done by the customers ourselves, but the waiters and waitresses.

I heard that this cute guy here is the tauke/boss. My uncle told me lah.. and how he found out, i dunno.

#19 There is no fixed waiter/waitress serving a table. They'd serve in a very flexible manner. Like whoever passes by the tables are obliged to check on our pan and would fry our meal when necessary.

 If i'm not mistaken, they were 8,000 won (MYR 24) each. This meal is very heavy on meat, so if you're a carnivorous like me, you'll definitely love this place! But if you're not so fond of meat, no fear cause they do have vegetables fried along with the meat (refer pictures above).

Personal Rating : 8/10
Comments : 
Love how the tender meat genuinely expresses the essence of the sauce. Plus being made fresh just makes the meat maintain its heat for a longer time. However, the downside is that you'll have to wait and resist salivating too much. Plus, too much meat may not favor those who aren't meat lovers.


4. Sinseon Seolnongtang

Direction : Myeongdong
Time : 24 hours

This is a Korean beef soup restaurant.

#20 Modeum Soyuk - assorted boiled tender beef. (Australian brisket, boiled and pressed Korean ox head, Australian ox knee bone). Small 25,000 won; Large 33,000 won.

#21 Closeup.

Personal Rating : 7/10
Comments : 
The taste was alright. The soup for this was very very rich in flavor. The mild sweetness was just hard to forget and it also has a sort of milky-like texture/color to it. But i don't think i'll have a second go on this.  It was just alright for me.

#22 Seolnongtang (Australian ox bone and brisket). Small 7,000 won; Large 10,000 won.

Personal Rating : 9/10
Comments : 
I LOVE THIS TO BITS!!! Even my cousin who doesn't fancy meat, love this to the max. Most of us were trying not to fall into the temptation of snatching the whole bowl to ourselves. Haha.
The flavor was much richer than the Modeum Soyuk and leaves a sweet but faint beef essence on your taste buds which seduces you to have MORE sips! There isn't much meat in this one, and there were a few bones, but the soup was just perfect! PERFECT! It was that good to have me remember its taste til now! #imissthistastything.


Okay lah... I cannot go on. My saliva gland is aroused. :O

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#3 Art Out Loud : Spring Floral Nails

I was playing with my nail polishes the other day and got a bit curious with what i could do with the few colors that i had.

What can i do with white, blue and beige? Such boring colors and i wasn't willing to invest in more colors due to insufficient cash for the month. #sadness.

Anyway, i managed to do a set of floral nails great for spring! Or if you're unaffected by trends or seasons like me, then you can wear these any time you want!

#1 Spring Floral Nails!

I posted this picture in a previous post (link) and promised to do a tutorial.. so here it is!

This design is not as complicated as it looks like. I had 5 different designs on all five of my nails because i actually thought of just experimenting on the mix and matching between colors. Didn't expect to have it turn out so nicely as a whole!

But how did i get the red and green when i only had the blue, white and beige polishes? I'll tell you in a bit.

#2 Base colors.

I had the most boring colors made as the base. Once dried, then paint the flowers with a very very find brush. If you think you can do it with a toothpick then go ahead.

#3 Not in order.

Notice that i only had two colors for the flowers; red and blue. Yet each nail looks different; even though i used the same green for all my nails.. thanks to the different base colors which helps to create an illusion to the eyes.

#4 Same green but different lightness.

Or you can always play with light and dark colors. For example, in the picture above you can see a light green and a darker green color for my stems and leaves. For a darker color, just overlap the green again once it is dried.

#5 One last look.

One more thing... like i said before i didn't have any red or green polish colors. But i had them in cloth dyes. Haha.

Yeah.. i actually stained my nails with the dyes. Initially i was afraid it would smear when i rub 'em or maybe if would react to the transparent coating which i was about to apply when it dries out. But actually they set in perfectly! No signs of smears whatsoever!

I guess you can also try experimenting with some colored permanent marker pens? They may or may not have chemical reaction but i guess it is worth a try?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Making Real Clouds?

To be honest, i only made a cloud by mistake. Which means this is in fact another failed attempt of an experiment i attempted long long time ago when dinosaurs were man's best friend. :/

#1 The real experiment - attempt 1. Nothing came out.

I really just wanted to play around with bubbles, again, considering my first bubble experiment which phailed.

So this time i wanted to try making those gigantic jellyfish bubbles, which makes capturing them into photographs easier and would probably turn out remarkable. Plus i didn't wanna do a rehash of the previous bubble photo shoot and get frustrated with the camera all over again.

The jellyfish bubble failed cause i didn't have the correct ingredients. So improvisations had to be done.

And the results were... comical?

#2 Blurb blurb blubble?

Err... yeah. This long thingy is also soapy, knitted with small bubbles stuck onto each other looking foam-like.

#3 Foam dung? Fluffy foam dung?

It is very very easy to make actually. Step 1, cut an upright empty plastic bottle into half horizontally. Step 2, fill the bottom half of the bottle with some soap water. Step 3, cut a generous piece of rag cloth that is big enough to wrap the bigger opening of the upper half of the plastic bottle that you cut. Step 4 soak this cloth into the soap water and step 5 tie the soaked rag onto the big opening of the upper half of the plastic bottle you've cut out. You can use some rubber bands to secure it in place. Step 6 blow into your wrapped bottle from the smaller opening/the mouth piece (the part where you usually drink water from).

Good luck in trying to understand my instructions. -.-

#4 Errrr..... don't comment kay. Don't comment!

At certain angles, this fluffy thing kinda looks funny or may be offensive to some but don't let the illusion tickle your wrath okay! At least it doesn't look like a dollop of.. something. Ahem.

#5 Cloud on grass? I super like this pic!

Wouldn't you agree with me that from a distance this fluffy thing does look a little like a cloud?

No actually, it looks EXACTLY like one! #fascinated.

And how rare is it that you see a "cloud" on grass?! 

"The sky is falling!" cries Chicken Little.

#6 Baby cloud.

Ah.. releasing it back to where it belongs. At a glimpse, it is not quite easy to spot that tiny bubbly thing right??

#7 We made a lot of these babies.

Me and Julian had tremendous fun on this failed-bubble experiment which... turned into a productive-cloud-making...err...past time?

Photographing them pictures was of no sweat at all! Super easy to shoot even with a PNS (Point-and-Shoot camera)!

#8 Baby cloud, imma teach you howta dance with the wind!

#9 Go! Follow the light, my precious one!


#11 Fluffy!

I wonder if real clouds could actually be hand held like this, would they have the same fluffy, soft touch?

It feels a bit damp and when you press it against your cheek and you could also hear them whispering sizzles.

I guess if you don't wanna attempt on this DIY cloud, you can still play with the real ones...

#12 Pinch 'em!

#13 Grab em!

#14 Eat 'em!

Outdoor games are for the win, especially the ones your imagination invents.

I remember when i was younger, my friends and i would be creating numerous games when we get together in church.

Darkness Night. One Finder and 5-9 Hiders, played in a dark room at night. Finder with his eyes closed counts from one to ten while the Hiders hide in odd places around the room. Once the Finder finishes his countdown, he switches off the lights and proceeds to hunt down the Hiders. Once a Hider is caught, the Finder is required to guess his/her name before switching the lights on. If correct, the Hider becomes the next finder.  If wrong, the Finder remains as the Finder and the game restarts. Usually will be a very very silent and THRILLING game! Improvised version is, Hider have to hide in pairs, and there will be a pair of Finders too. Once the Hiders are caught, the Finder has to guess BOTH Hiders correctly to win. Only one rule, Finders can only scan the Hider by touching the face and no where else (cause there were both guys and girls playing together).Tough huh? :P

Shadow Shadow. Err... Just simply step on your friends' shadows.

Dragoon & Dragey. An imaginative game. Four players. Two becomes the humans and the other two becomes dragon pets. Somehow, we were only allowed to speak in American accents. And there's no rule but to just create our own plots as we act on e.g. pretend we're on a boat and one of us is drowning.The more drama, the more fun.

The Tree Man. Unlimited players, but all must have watched the X-Files (specifically the tree man episode). We understood that the tree man (as we learned from the episode) emerges into trees and would come out, grab someone, and merged them into trees - making new tree people. Rule of the game is simple, to scare ourselves that a tree man will appear behind.. a tree...to get us. Played at night only, in the field with BIG trees =.=

So yeah. Nothing beats fun childhood games!! Miss them a lot.. ):

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