Monday, June 23, 2014

[Review] L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque

Photo By: Elin Chow

A while ago, I finished my last bottle of Kao Essential Nuance Airy Ultra Honey and Shea Butter Hair Mask which left me anxiously searching for a replacement product to treat my extremely damaged hair resulted from my frequent chemical treatment processes. Having no chance to visit a SaSa store, I decided ask my hair stylist for some recommendations. He introduced me to a few of the L'oreal hair mask and among them, he suggested me to try the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque as this is the one that will suit my hair condition the best.

So, without much consideration, I purchased it right away without expecting much. But to my surprise, this turns out to be one of the best hair product I have used so far.

What Does L'oreal Says

Formulated with Argan, Avocado, Cottonseed and Grape Seed oil blends, the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque is specially designed to replenish dry and damaged hair, thus leaving it feeling nourished, glossy and irresistibly soft to the touch.

Benefits of Argan Oil

Argan Oil, often also known as 'liquid gold' or 'Moroccan oil' by many others, is an organic plant oil extracted from the kernels of the Argan tree. For centuries, Argan Oil has been a well-kept secret among the Berber women in Morocco as Argan trees are extremely rare and can only be found growing in specific climate in the Southwestern Morocco.

Argan Oil is famous for its natural ability in treating damaged and frizzy hair resulted from frequent hair styling, chemical hair processes and environmental pollution. Being naturally light in weight enables it to easily penetrate the deeper layers of your hair, thus providing intense hydration and nourishment to tame frizziness.

Most commonly termed as miracle oil in today's world, Argan Oil contains a large amount of Vitamin E which is essential for healthier hair growth. It also helps to strengthen brittle hair to minimize breakage and hair loss.

Benefits of Avocado Oil

Studies has shown that Avocado Oil, an edible oil extracted from Avocado fruit pulp, is effective in reviving dried and damaged hair resulted from excessive hair styling, chemicals treatments and environmental pollution. The high concentration of monounsaturated fibers also helps to lock moisture into hair cuticles.

Benefits of Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed Oil, extracted from the seeds of cotton plants, it helps to provide nourishment to the hair, thus making it feeling extremely soft and smooth.

However, some have argued that Cottonseed Oil may contains natural toxins as people in the past had been using it to control insects and mite pests. Since it is insecticidal, it might be harmful when it is  applied on humans as well.

Benefits of Grape Seed Oil

Grape Seed Oil, extracted chemically from the seeds of grapes, typically wine grapes, contains a large amount of Vitamin E, an antioxidant known to be effective in strengthening brittle or weakened hair, thus creating a stronger, healthier and more shiny looking hair.

Apart from that, Grape Seed Oil is also know for its ability to lock in moisture to prevent damaged or frizzy hair due to its natural moisturizing and deep conditioning properties.

What Do I Like About This Product

1. Texture & Smell

The L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque comes in a 200 ml golden plastic tub with a open screw cap. The consistency of the masque is rather thick and creamy in texture. In fact, it feels like butter but does not feel greasy at all. I must admit that I was feeling a little worried at first that the product will leave a sticky feeling on my hair due to its thickness. However, I am really glad that there are no stickiness or greasiness left on my hair after application. Despite its thickness, the product still glides on smoothly onto my hair, leaving it feeling extremely soft and smooth.

As for the smell, not sure how should I describe it. Well, I am particularly not a fan of its smell. This product smells a bit like baby lotion and comes with a very strong powdery smell. I do not dislike it, but I do not like it either. To me, it is like a love-hate relationship.

The smell of the L'oreal masque linger on your hair for a whole day after every wash. However, it is not as strong and as lasting when compared to the Kao Essential Nuance Airy Ultra Honey and Shea Butter Hair Mask, I really miss the sweet scent of the Kao Essential Hair Mask. It just smell so wonderful!

2. Deeply Moisturizing

Just like the Kao Essential Nuance Airy Ultra Honey and Shea Butter Hair Mask, the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque works miracle on my hair. My hair feels very soft and smooth after each application, leaving it extremely hydrated with a healthy glow. I find my hair has become much more manageable than before since I started using this product.

Apart from that, this product is also great for treating chemically damaged hair. My hair was actually very damaged and dry after a straight perm session a month ago. However, I am pleased that the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque is able to revive my lifeless hair, making it feeling nourished and healthy once again.

3. Price

I bought my tub of L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque from my hair salon, which cost me RM 65. The price is quite reasonable considering that a tub of it might be able to last me for at least half a year. I am not sure where you could get this product in Malaysia but one thing for sure is that you would not be able to find the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque from any of the Watsons or Guardian outlets here. Most probably you would have to purchase this from hair salons or any of the hair products retail or online stores.

What Do I Dislike About This Product

There is nothing in particular that I dislike about this product except the bulky packaging which makes it not so travel-friendly. This means that I have to scoop out some of the masque (probably with a spoon) and transfer it to a small container if I would like to bring this product along with me while travelling. It will be great if L'oreal could launch a more portable and travel-friendly packaging.

How Do I Use This Product

I basically use this as a daily hair conditioner after I washed my hair everyday. Sometimes, I will switch between a cheaper drugstore hair conditioner and the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque. But still, I find myself reaching out for this product more often than the other as the result has never disappointed me.

The steps to apply this masque is as simple as below:

1. Shampoo your hair and towel dry it.

2. Run your fingers through your hair to detangle them.

3. Dig out an appropriate amount of the masque and massage them onto the ends of your hair. Avoid you scalp if you have oily hair.

4. Allow the masque to sit on your hair for 3 to 5 minutes. If you are a very patient person, you might wish to leave it on for much longer. I believe this will enable your hair to absorb this product better.

5. Rinse off and make sure you have washed every tiny bit of the product away.

Final Thoughts

If you are someone who is constantly bothered by damaged and dry hair, you may wish to try the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque out. It might do wonders for your chemically damaged hair. I am thankful that I had been introduced to this product by my hair stylist. Without the L'oreal Professional Mythic Oil Masque, I might still be fretting about my extremely damaged and straw-like hair which is almost unmanageable. However, with this masque, I will not have to worry about my hair being all messy, dry or damaged anymore. Definitely one of my must-have hair product! But of course, I still love the Kao Essential Nuance Airy Ultra Honey and Shea Butter Hair Mask very much too.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Book Review] Trafficked: The Diary Of A Sex Slave

"My Name is Elena and I used to be a human being. Now I am a sex slave. If you are reading this diary, then I am either dead or I have managed to escape."

Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave by Sibel Hodge. This is the first time I have finished an entire book in just one sitting. This is a 96 pages novella, written in the form of diary entries.

Having stumbled upon this novella by accident while checking on other books on Amazon, I clicked on the first page to read using the "Look inside" feature. Immediately, the very first sentence of the novella got me deeply engaged and within minutes, I could not get my eyes off the book.


Elena, a 22 year-old widow have been promised of a well-paying job at a Casino by her best friend. Lured by the prospect of earning good money, she left her elderly mother and four year-old daughter, Liliana for Italy in the hopes of a better life. However, never would she have expected that a much more brutal hell awaits her.

Betrayed by her best friend, she was kidnapped, sold, beaten and used brutally as a sex slave by the men who own her. Held captive in a brothel, the traffickers had threatened to kill her family if she ever try to escape. She was utterly broken and hurt, but for safety of her elderly mother and daughter, she had to stay strong as she waited for her chance to escape.

My Thoughts

Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave, a fictional novella created by Sibel Hodge to increase awareness of the sex trafficking industry throughout the world. Inspired by real victims' accounts and research into the sex trafficking industry, Sibel Hodge has successfully put together a very powerful novella that will definitely move the hearts of thousands or even millions in the world.

I started reading this novella with the impression of a true story. But it turns out to be fictional. Nevertheless, it is still a very gripping and heart-breaking story that could easily becomes the story of the thousands of women who have been trafficked around the globe every year.

Although the subject is highly sensitive and devastating, this is actually a very well-written and straightforward story. I really love Hodge's approach of choosing to write this novella in the form of a diary, which enables me to relate to Elena easily.

Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave is a diary secretly kept by Elena, a young woman who was not very much educated but was taught a little English by her father. I really think that Hodge did a great job in keeping everything written in the novella simple but honest. Instead of trying to impress her readers with her amazing language skills, she have chosen to keep the focus on the subject itself and wrote in the most basic English. It was a very easy and emotional read.

Everything written in the novella feels so realistic. I could relate to Elena easily. As Hodge narrates, I could picture every images in my mind as though I was Elena. I could feel her anxiety, her distress, her worries, her hopelessness and her fears while reading through the pages. Pages after pages I flipped, I find myself starting to care and pray for Elena. It was stupid but I just could not help.

I like the main character, Elena. She never loses hope and faith despite all the horrific ordeals she had been through. Her daughter, Liliana is her source of strength and the only reason why she is still alive. Her love for her family is the only thing that kept her life going.

"I am one of the lucky ones who have managed to escape. There are thousands out there who have not."

I am glad that this novella actually ends with a happy ending. Eventually, Elena was able to regain her freedom, reunite with Liliana, and start a brand new life. However, in reality, how many of the others who have been trafficked are able to escape and enjoy a happy ending like Elena. I believe there are not many.

"Now, when I look into the mirror, I have dead eyes too."

Many of the victims died, either from beatings, abuses, suicides or even sex diseases. For others who may have survived, they are left all broken. A happy ending? I believe most of them would have forgotten what it is like to be happy. Their souls were dead, their body were stained and their life were completely ruined. It became a scar of their life that will never heal forever. I feel extremely disgusted, heart-broken and angry with the traffickers who have destroyed the victims. What gives them the right to take away and control another's life? I hope the law will punish them severely.

Why Sex Trafficking Happens?

Some of you might ask why does sex trafficking happens in the first place? Well, I would say the basic economics theories of demand and supply applies here. Just like drugs and arms trafficking, sex slavery would not have existed if the demand for it is not present.

Where there is demand, there will always be supply. This is especially true when sex trafficking remains a high-profit, low risk underworld business across the globe.

Human trafficking, despite being the second largest and fast-growing criminal illicit industry in the world, has a relatively lower risk of getting caught and prosecuted. Hundred of thousands of young women of young women vanished every year and find themselves forced by violence into the multi-billion industry of modern slavery. Yet, unlike drugs or arms trafficking, human trafficking are rarely seen reported in new due to a number of factors.

"He told me that he assume I was a willing participant who enjoy sex - that I chose this profession. He thought I was earning most of the money that the massage parlor charged, which is £50 for half an hour, or maybe I was attracted by the lure of good money."

Yes, one of the reason why human trafficking remains unreported is partly due to the assumptions that the people usually made about others. We assumed that we know what the others are thinking and doing all the time. Too often, we tend to judge others based on the assumptions we made. It may not be true, but still, we chose to believe what we thought it should be.

Just like what it was narrated in Elena's diary where one of her client, Jamie, has always assumed that she was a willing participant in the sex industry. Jamie has seen her as a woman who either enjoy having sex with dozen of different men everyday or was just attracted to the idea of earning quick money.

If everyone make similar assumption like Jamie's, I believe none of them will have notice the pain behind the victims' smile. No help will ever be offered to the victims if the communities are unaware that sex slavery actually exist in the form of human trafficking in today's society. Some of the people could not be bothered to care because it is just none of their business. All they wanted is to have some 'fun', even at the expense of others' misery.

As a result, most of the victims would be reluctant to discuss about their horrific ordeals with their customers or to anyone who wish to help them. Instead of speaking up and fight for themselves, they would have chosen to suffer silently in pain as they fear that it might bring them greater horrors. Many of them have been threatened, tortured, abused and beaten when the traffickers discovered that they have spoken to someone about their plight. They have no one to trust and could not trust anyone because they have been once betrayed.

Some of you might ask why the law enforcement agencies have failed to detect human traffickers' movement and activities in their countries and across borders. This is largely due to the presence of corruption in the law enforcement and legal systems.

"The older police in the group glanced at me with mild amusement, and I could see from the look on his face they were not here to help us"

The stench of corruption in the human trafficking industry, it really anger me. If the border police and police officers are not bribed and have chosen to turn a blind eye on the victims, human trafficking could be stopped. Even though they knew what was going on, but they just could not care more about it. Even worst, some of them also took their turns to exploit the victims. What if such horror happens to their daughters too? Would they feel happy too?

So. when there are people who are willing to pay for such commercial sex acts, this became an incentive for the traffickers to go against the laws and make the profits they desired. Even though the cost of sleeping with a sex slave is relatively low, sex trafficking remains a highly profitable business as the traffickers do not have to pay their slaves a single cent. This would mean that all the income generated from the business will go directly to their profits.

A business with just revenues but no cost. Isn't human trafficking a very lucrative business for most businessmen?

What Could Be Done?

We ask ourselves what we could do to stop human trafficking. Well, we could not unless the demand for sexual exploitation against the women is no longer present.

However, we could help to increase the awareness of human trafficking in our communities by writing a book, articles, posters or even songs. Campaigns could be held to educate the public on the dangers and indicators of human trafficking. This would warn the public, especially the young women not to trust and fall into the trap of the traffickers easily.

Petitions could also be signed to request for stricter laws to be implemented to prosecute the traffickers. More stronger and completed safety nets could also be built to track down and combat human trafficking activities across countries. With stricter law enforcement, human trafficking will no longer remain a high-profit, low risk business.

An increased awareness in the public would also mean that more young women could be saved before everything is too late. Your strength might be small, but together, I believe we could make a difference. Just like what Sibel Hodge has done and for that, I sincerely gave her all my applauds.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Trip To Port Dickson, Malaysia - Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort

Photo By: Elin Chow
Address: Batu 2, Jalan Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, 71000 Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

My husband and I did not really planned our trip to Port Dickson two years ago. Rather, it was a bit of surprise and unexpected. Well, not really unexpected. It was just that visiting Port Dickson was not at our top priority list at that time.

In fact, prior to that, I have never heard of Port Dickson before in my life. I remember that my husband and I were discussing about our plans for our short vacation to Malaysia. Instead of spending all of our time in Kuala Lumpur, we wanted to visit somewhere else where we could relax and get a nice rest.

Cameron Highlands, Langkawi or Genting Highlands were on the top of our list. But we could not make a decision due to several factors.

Then, my husband suggested Port Dickson, a destination great for relaxation. So, I proceeded to look up Port Dickson on the internet. I was reluctant as there are nothing much to see there.

However, there are plenty of  beach resorts and villas built just above the sea. I was attracted by the idea of spending a night at a sea view villa. A villa with my own private pool. How nice will that be. 

Eventually, we decided to visit Port Dickson after figuring out that this will be the nearest destination from Kuala Lumpur where we could book ourselves a luxurious villa and enjoy a good nice rest. 

So, we started to search for accommodation online. There are a lot of options, but we could not decide as we have not expected that it will cost that much for a night stay at a villa in Malaysia. It was so much higher than our budget. After much consideration and comparison done, we finally booked a night stay at the Premium Pool Villa with Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort.

Port Dickson

Port Dickson, better known as PD among the local Malaysians, is one of the popular beach holiday destination in Malaysia. Situated about 32 Km from Seremban and 90 Km from Kuala Lumpur, Port Dickson is easily accessible by car via the North-South Expressway.

It was about an hour and a half drive from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson. We reached our destination at around 12.30pm in the afternoon and decided to explore Port Dickson a little bit more before we proceed to our resort to check in.

The weather was a little gloomy while we drove past kilometers after kilometers of fine sandy beaches and almost all of them were fully occupied with people who were there for some family gathering and bonding sessions. 

After about 45 minutes of exploring, we decided that it was time for us to check into our villa and enjoy the rest of our day in our luxurious room.

Grand Lexis Resort

Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort, previously also known as the Legend International Water Homes, is a Balinese inspired resort located along the coastal stretch of Port Dickson, 2 Km away from the town of Lukut.

Comprising a total of 317 spacious villas, the Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort offers three different types of luxurious accommodation options for their guests to choose from. They are namely the Water Villas, Garden Villas and Sky Pool Villas. 

So, what's the difference?

Water Villa - Built and located just right above the sea, the Water Villa has four different types of rooms - the Deluxe Pool Villa, Executive Pool Villa, Premium Pool Villa and Grand Pool Villa.

The Grand Pool Villa comes with an option of lower or upper units. The lower unit has an indoor covered pool whereas the upper unit has an outdoor infinity pool.

Garden Villa - Built and located on land, the Garden Villa also offers four different types of rooms - the Garden Pool Villa, Grand Garden Pool Villa, Deluxe Suite and Premier Suite.

Both of the Garden Pool Villa and the Grand Garden Pool Villa also comes with an option of lower or upper units where the lower unit has an indoor covered pool and the upper unit has an outdoor infinity pool.

Sky Pool Villa - Unlike the Water or Garden Villa, the Sky Pool Villa only has two different types of room - the Sky Pool Villa and Sky Pool Grand Villa.

Each of the villas also comes with a private pool built on a semi-open balcony decks that offer their guests a view of sea during their entire stay. In addition to that, there is a small garden nestled at the back of the villa where you could catch a spectacular view of the entire Grand Lexis Resort.

Be it the Water, Garden or the Sky Pool Villa, every of them has a private pool! Never once in my life have I expected that I would be able to stay in such a luxurious room someday. But it just happened without me even realizing it. Even until now, it feels like a dream.

Entering our unit with lots of excitement and high expectation, we were delighted to be greeted by a spacious room. It was very clean and everything is well-maintained. The sight of our pool, separated from our room by two sliding doors had never failed to make us go all wild and crazy.

We were so excited that we simply could not wait to jump into the pool and get ourselves wet. There is a open-air shower area located right at the back of the pool where you may wish to rinise yourself before getting into the pool. 

Whoa~~ Look how sexy my father-in-law was!

We had fun playing in our own private pool and indeed we felt so much more awesome that we do not need to share the crowded public pool with so many others. However, the bad part was that we found the waters a bit too cold for us to remain in the pool for too long.

The Premium Pool Villa also comes with two King size bed and a small dressing table. Oh, this is the first time I ever slept on a king size bed! 

The room is well-lit and has a very nice and relaxing ambience. It gives off a little romantic feel too which I thought will be great for couples to spend some quality time together here. 

Right beside our room, there is a alleyway that connects a small kitchenette and bathroom area to the whole unit. This makes the whole unit feels like home.

Nothing much. Just a microwave, a water boiler and some instant tea or coffee bags. However, none of them taste nice and apparently, cooking is not encouraged since there are no stove provided. Luckily, or else I believe it will make the whole place all greasy.

The bathroom area, which I did not like very much. Why? It's because the showering area is so cramped and small! 

Furthermore, Grand Lexis only provides four bath towels for each unit, where it could accommodate up to 6 people. Grand Lexis, why are you so stingy?

In addition, each of the villa at the Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort are equipped with basic amenities such as air-conditioning, a flat screen TV, in-room Wi-fi, security safe box and telephone. 

We believe the 2-seaters sofa is only there to serve a purpose. That is for us to start a photo taking session. Trust me. This is just one perfect spot to take nice looking pictures.

There is also a glass window panel on the floor which enable you to catch a glimpse of the sea below. I believe this is one of the unique feature which Grand Lexis has for all of their water villas. However, it's pity that the waters at Port Dickson are not crystal clear and thus, it's impossible for us to spot even a small fish swimming by. It will not be a great loss if you do not have this feature in your room.

Outside of our room, the view is beautifully impressive too. Every of the individual units are linked up by spacious boardwalks, offering all of the guests a magnificent view of the borderless sea and sunset.

I regretted for not leaving my room earlier to look at the sea. It should look so much more beautiful then.

Grand Lexis also provides buggy services to all their guests, transporting one after another to their unit safely. However, we prefer to do some walking ourselves.

An archery range. Something you might wish to do if you ever get bored after spending hours in your villa.

Or probably a game of beach volleyball? Oh wait, I am not sure whether this is for volleyball or some other sport activities. 

For those who love to cycle, you could rent a bicycle from Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort too.

Restoran Chardin Sea View Seafood Village

It was late evening when we finally decided to leave our comfortable villa. It was time to feed our growling stomach. So we drove out from our resort and arrived at Restoran Chardin Sea View Seafood Village for dinner. 

Sea view Seafood Village. Judging from its name, this is apparently a restaurant located near the seaside. 

Such a magnificent view from the restarant. I could not stop pressing the shutter button on my camera. Unsurprisingly, I was not the only one who was excited in capturing every tiny bits of beauty of Port Dickson. There were lots of others who just could not seem to take their hands off their camera.

I love this photo the most! Look how beautiful the rocks are!

After 15 minutes, I got bored with the sea and decided to explore the restaurant little bit more. Placed just at the entrance of the restaurant are rows and rows of aquariums with a varieties of live seafood offered for their diners to choose from. 

It was here that I came to know that there is such a seafood named Geoduck. It does not really look good to me.

Restoran Chardin Sea View Seafood Village, I will not recommend this restaurant to anyone who happens to visit Port Dickson. It was a rather unpleasant dining experience for us. Not only that the food was not up to standard, we really feel that everything was overpriced too. The bill came up to RM 300++ for the 5 dishes which we had ordered. Totally unworthy for not so awesome food.

The only thing which we would probably enjoy dining at the restaurant would be the beautiful sea view. I love the smell of the salty water and sound of the sea waves.

As the sun set, the surroundings began to darken. It was almost totally dark when we finished our meal. Everything feels so peaceful and calm.

Oh, did I mention there is also a public pool in the Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort? So if you happen to find that your private pool is a bit too small for you to have more fun, you could always visit the public pool. I believe this will be a better playground for kids as the pool is so much shallower than the private pool.

Well, I guess I have come to the end of this post. I have a wonderful time throughout my stay with the Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort. Really hope that I will have the chance to stay at a villa at Port Dickson again. Perhaps anyone here would love to sponsor me for another trip? Or else, I shall think about how I should convince my husband and get him to bring me for another trip again. So until then...

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!