Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My skin care routine

Periodically I get asked how I have such nice skin and let me tell you its by design not by nature, naturally I have dry sensitive skin that I need to look after. So I thought I would post some information on my skin regime for future reference.

One of the obvious things about me is that I have very pale skin and I prefer to keep it that way. This means that I avoid the sun and I use products with SPF protection. Where viable I also use whitening skin products from Asia, generally this means the products wash away dark visible marks and melatonin infused skin. Avoid products that claim to bleach or lighten skin as these are often toxic. I've tried the majority of pallid skin products on the market and those below are the best I have found.

Pond's White Beauty Detox $9 for 100mls

When things are in serious trouble such as when I've come into contact with something I'm allergic to or when I have had sun exposure that has damaged my skin I highly recommend Pond's White Beauty Detox I use the Pinkish White variant. Be aware this cream detoxes your skin by removing the damaged skin. When applied the skin turns cloudy and then comes off easily when rubbed, causing a slight pilling effect. Best use of this is sparingly (once or twice a year) with an application followed immediately by an exfoliation routine such as using a cleansing brush or facial towel. This should remove the damaged skin gently and reveal your usual pale skin below. Do not use on the sensitive eye area, do not use every day.

On the high end range the Lancome Blanc Expert Spot Eraser is quite effective but at $90 for 30 mls this is no better than the ponds for 10 times the price.

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes $10 for 50

To remove makeup I use Simple Cleansing Wipes or my cleanser; never soap or harsh makeup removers. With such dry sensitive skin the other key to my success is staying hydrated and avoiding things I'm allergic to. Hypoallergenic wipes like this are perfect. 

I use a number of Lancome products that I usually look for duty free or on sale. These are generally only available in Asia; prices listed are retail and usually ~1.5 times what I pay. 

Lancome Blanc Expert Purifying Foam $50 125ml

Every morning I use Lancome Blanc Expert Purifying Foam. This is gentle on sensitive skin but washes away tired and dead skin cells. It minimises pores wonderfully and leaves skin soft and supple. 

Lancome Blanc Expert Hydrating Emulsion - Moist $93 100ml

After cleansing and drying I apply Lancome Blanc Expert Hydrating Emulsion - Moist this is a very mild and highly moisturising cream. Only 1 pump is required to hydrate your face, so while this item is expensive one bottle will last upwards of 6 months. 

Blanc Expert Nuit $93 50ml

During Winter or when I am exposed to heavy wind (such as during sight seeing or sailing) then I also use the Blanc Expert Nuit Restoring Night Cream. I tend to not need as much of this and will often get by on samples and travel kit sizes that I am given during other purchases. Note that this cream is designed for use before bed and so does not contain any SPF protection, do not use it during the day if you wish to stay pallid.

Lancome UV Expert Makeup Base $60 for 30ml

When my face has dried from the moisturiser then I apply a makeup primer with high sun protection. I favour this Lancome UV Expert Active Protection Make Up Base. I would also highly recommend MAC Prep and Prime Face Protect or Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Face Primer. If you want great makeup a primer is a must; it smoothes pores, fills fine lines and keeps your makeup looking fresh all day. Think of it like priming a canvas before painting. 

Let me know if you found that interesting or useful, I can do a similar rundown on my daily makeup routine. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sleepless in Seattle: PAX Prime 2012

Finding friends in a new city is weird and honestly, I've had some trouble so far. Every time I stand alone and try and look vulnerable in clubs and in public I get the strangest assortment of pick up lines and start up pitches. So I thought about how I made friends when I moved to Sydney and I remember the best thing for me was when the guys from Games Paradise dragged me to a gaming con for the weekend.

Right! Thought I, lets see what's coming up soon. I was going to miss GenCon with a poorly timed trip to Australia but Penny Arcade eXpo was coming up and I'd always wanted to go. Some damage to my credit card later and we were away!

On arrival I had all the love of being given a deluxe upgrade to my room at the Grand Hyatt, despite being on the convention rate. The main advantage of deluxe rooms is always the view, here showing gorgeous weather and downtown Seattle at its finest.

In fantastic news my friend Kevin and his lovely lady managed to get tickets at the last minute, so I wasn't totally a stranger in a strange land. We spent Thursday night drinking and catching up about the US move and all the fun that goes with it. 

On Friday I was determined to hit the Expo floor before all the people who only had weekend passes showed up. I was worried about tales of queues at PAX and this line that took me out the door, through a park and round the corner had me in fear. However it turned out that everyone was lovely, trading game cards and playing DS in the line and despite the kilometer or so of line... we all got in in 15 mins of opening. 

Inside the Expo hall is a gamers wet dream. Just about every game, platform, hardware vendor, tradeable and more. There's games for sale, games for trying, games in competition! New things, favoured things, indie things, all the things!

I walked and walked and walked until I was totally exhausted, realising a little too late that buying a bag full of heavy comics and games wasn't smart. Thankfully though the convention is a several building affair and my hotel was smack bang in the middle so I dropped things off and found people again. 

A group of lovely folk from the PAX IRC channel invited me along to Karaoke and to say it was my kind of night out was a total understatement. Karaoke complete with Concrete Blonde and the Care Bears, Cider on tap (at $4.50 a pint too I might add) and a group of mad geeks belting out songs with not a care in the world. A++ would buy again.

Saturday I spent playing MMOs and earning a lot of free schwag. A hat tip to RaiderZ as I think this is the next big thing in that scene. 

Then it was time for panels, one on MMORPGs and then one on the new Kepler Nvidia hardware which was basically an hour long demonstration of how the GPU I'd just bought was sex on legs. 

And then... then I went for a cigarette, and in my usual fashion this meant I talked to a group of smokers for about 4 hours without moving. In the meantime I met a schwag of awesome people, most of whom it turns our are PAX Enforcers. These are the volunteer army of hardcore nerds and con goers. Between these guys, the PAX IRC folks and some WarCraft contacts I had a really social nerdly wonderful weekend which was totally what I needed. All it wants to make me to do is sign up for promotion activities straight away (hey I waited ... weeks before volunteering) so you can expect to hear about Enforcer talk in future. Later that night I went to the concerts, finally getting my chance to see Jonathan Coulton and MC Frontalot live, complete with building sized singalong of Still Alive. 

Then there was a lot of whiskey and <scene deleted> but I managed to wake up without too much of a hangover and still make it to see Wil Wheaton and isn't that the important bit? Wil gave a great recollection on how he fell in and out of love (and in again) with Magic the Gathering. Other great panels of the weekend included the Gaming Addiction panel and the Ratchet & Clank 10th Anniversary. 

I had a frankly marvellous time, and other than the desperate need to socialise one of the reasons is the scale and variety present. It's the same reason I like WGT over all the other goth festivals - because whatever your *thing* is you can do just that for 4 days straight... 



Tabletop gaming

Hand held gaming

PC Gaming

Competitive Gaming

Hardware modding 

Or y'now... just chilling the fuck out with your fellow nerdkind. 

Me? I mixed it up and did a little of everything. I had a great time, met some great people and came home with some great memories (and a few extra t-shirts).