Thursday, October 01, 2015

Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was one of the attractions that I intended to visit during my stay in Nanjing, along with a list of other historical spots such as the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum, Ming City Walls and the Temple of Confucius. 

I have always been fascinated with history and culture, but my interest in Chinese history was piqued after watching a drama series on Empress Wu, starring Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing (if you have yet to watch it, please do!). Nanjing is definitely one of the best Chinese cities to visit due to its rich history and culture, having been the capital of China for many years in the past.

I was amazed by how well documented the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was. In my opinion, it is one of the best war museums I have ever visited globally.

Photography may be prohibited inside the museum but the brutality of the event was recorded through detailed accounts from survivors and powerful yet graphic images of the atrocities committed by the invading Japanese troops, including exposed remains and skeletons of the dead. Everything remains fresh in my memory till this day.

What struck me most was how the seemingly grim and solemn atmosphere transformed into one of hope for our future generations at the end; hope that peace would prevail and that mankind would learn from our mistakes and continue to step up on our peacekeeping efforts to keep our world safe and free from war.
Hopefully, Japan's march back to militarism will not jeopardize the peace and stability that we have been taking for granted all this while.

Towards the end of the tour, we walked into a meditation hall filled with candles to pray for those who lost their lives in this event.

I was deeply moved by the Chinese prayer at the end of the room. Unfortunately, I felt that while the English translation captured the gist, it didn't bring out the essence and beauty of the prayer:

Let the white bones fall asleep

Let the grieving souls rest in peace

Turn the slaughtering sword to the cast of a warning bell

May the names of the departed be engraved in history

Let the children no longer have to be in fear

Let mothers no longer shed tears

Let war be distant from all mankind

Let peace spread fully to the world.


The statue of Peace marks the end of the tour, against the backdrop of white doves taking to the skies above, leaving you in amazement and wonder as you step out of the premises feeling a sense of renewed hope. 

I was just sharing on instagram (@reginachow_sg) about how grateful I am to be given the opportunity to learn more about my roots in such a fun and engaging way during my stay in Nanjing. Before I came over, I was told that there was nothing much to do or see in this city, but I am glad that this hypothesis has been proven wrong on several fronts. 

Having lived here for a while now, I have come to realise that Nanjing is one of the most liveable cities in China, complete with good food, friendly people (still, please beware of pickpockets in crowded areas), and beautiful places of attraction that are steeped in history. 

Don't get me wrong. I still miss home (not the haze though) because there's no place like home and I still intend to shuttle between both cities, but for now Nanjing seems like quite the perfect home away from home. 

Stay tuned to this space for more updates on what I'm up to, or if you prefer live updates, follow me on instagram!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

ToliV Hair Salon by Michelle Soh

 Just last month, I received a number of queries about how to contact my hairstylist Michelle who has since left her previous establishment. Well, here's the good news. Michelle now has her own salon! 

Michelle's brainchild, ToliV Hair Salon, is conveniently located at Purvis Street (close to both Bugis and City Hall MRT stations). I can't help but feel a sense of joy, seeing how far Michelle has come in the hair-styling industry, wielding her magic wand in the form of scissors and creating effortlessly chic hairstyles that require minimal maintenance. Thanks to her, I hardly have to style my hair before I head out of the house, much to the surprise of most people I know.


I had the opportunity to pop by ToliV to congratulate Michelle before I left for Nanjing. Her new salon is a quiet respite nestled in the bustling City Hall and Bugis area.

A newly refurbished shophouse with a minimalist vibe, it envelops guests in a veil of tranquility and puts everyone in the mood for an afternoon or evening of pure relaxation.

The name ToliV came about because Michelle's mantra is to live a life that embraces simplicity and freedom of expression. She hopes to achieve this through her salon and also inspire others to do the same.

This, coupled with her acute ability to create hairstyles that suit both the personality and lifestyle preferences of her customers, makes her a hair maestro. 

Knowing that I was going to be in Nanjing for a while, she suggested that I try out a centre parting hairstyle and a darker ash colour to change up my look without the fuss.


 True enough, I received several compliments on my brand new hairstyle. I could choose to leave it straight or curl it at the ends like what Michelle did for a more feminine look. Many of my friends exclaimed that my new hair was more versatile and seemed to make me look younger and fresher. 
I can only say that all the credit goes to Michelle.

It is without a doubt that it would be challenging for me to find another stylist in the same league as Michelle, especially in Nanjing, hence I am making it a point to visit her in Singapore at least once every 3 months!

ToliV Hair Salon


5 Purvis Street, #01-01


 6333 9223




Sunday, September 20, 2015

Arch Angel Brow Korean Eyebrow Embroidery Review

It is no secret that Korean eyebrows are able to take a few years off our faces and my personal experience with Korean Eyebrow Embroidery by Kelly, the lady boss at Arch Angel Brow confirms that. To give you a better idea of how much younger, fresher and well-groomed you can look with Korean brows, I am starting my review with a recent photo of myself taken two weeks on with just tinted sunblock and lash extensions.

Now, let's take a look at the before and after photos for a better comparison. As you can see from my after photo, Korean brows soften your facial expressions, giving you a more youthful appearance. 

Do excuse my untidy crescent-shaped brows (don't they resemble the moon? =S) in the before photo. My previous eyebrow embroidery done by Kelly two years ago when she was a trainer at another beauty salon had faded and lazy me just conveniently hid my brows under my bangs. Imagine my horror when I switched to centre parting! I could no longer hide my hideous brows from the world. Honestly, Kelly couldn't have approached me at a better time. 

Located at Clementi 321 Mall which is a stone's throw from Clementi MRT station, Arch Angel Brow was set up a few months ago by Kelly, who has close to 10 years of experience in this industry. The cozy atmosphere coupled with Kelly's friendly and amiable disposition made me feel at home instantly.

Why should you choose Arch Angel Brow? How is it different from other eyebrow embroidery salons?

 In this day and age, eyebrow embroidery salons are a dime and dozen. Aside from Kelly's experience and aesthetic eye, Arch Angel Brow's Korean Combo Eyebrow, an exclusive state-of-the-art eyebrow embroidery technology directly imported from Korea, gives it a competitive edge.  

After all, when it comes to Korean brows, who else can you trust but the Koreans?

Other eyebrow embroidery techniques would require that you isolate your brow area when you wash your face and you would also end up looking like Crayon Shin Chan's (aka 蜡笔小新)twin sister for a week. 

Thanks to Arch Angel Brow, there is absolutely no downtime. Most importantly, you will not become a victim of extremely dark brows in the style of Crayon Shin Chan. You can even wash your face and brows immediately after eyebrow embroidery as there isn't any wound at all.

Kelly was also based in Korea for a period of time and Arch Angel Brow is the only eyebrow embroidery salon in Singapore that is equipped with this technology currently. 

 Even the techniques and technology used for other services provided by Arch Angel Brow, such as eyeliner, lip and hairline embroidery, all hail from Korea.

What is the process like?

It is very much like any other eyebrow embroidery service and I will let the following photos do the talking. 

Kelly and I first had a discussion on my desired eyebrow shape before she proceeded to neaten and fill in my brows to alter its appearance. 

As my brows are naturally bushy, the Korean Combo Eyebrow service is suitable for me as it would enhance the colour of my brows using natural pigments that can be customised to suit your hair colour.

I originally wanted thick and straight brows, but my slightly higher brow bone and the shape of my eyes did not seem to suit this style of brows. I actually looked depressed with such brows! I could still go for thick brows, but a slight arch would complement my features much better.

 Kelly was quick to point this out. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get an expert's opinion  to determine the right type of eyebrow for your face. In fact, I actually turned down a few eyebrow embroidery sponsorship offers previously because I couldn't be completely sure if the outcome would be positive. With Kelly, I knew that I would be in good hands.

Once the desired shape was achieved, numbing cream was applied and I was led into a private room where the eyebrow embroidery process commenced with a slim, needle-like instrument. A brand new piece is used for each customer, perfect for those of us who are hygiene conscious.

Does it hurt? This is one question that I often get. Well, you'll be happy to know that the pain is very bearable and feels similar to eyebrow plucking.

After the procedure, Kelly sat me up to check if my brow colour was uniform. As I wasn't able to return to her shop promptly after two weeks for a touch-up, she took pains to ensure that my brows were given an additional coat of colour. Her attention to detail is truly remarkable.

Despite my darker brows, I could head out for events immediately the day after without drawing laughter or strange stares from passers-by.

Here I was, at the Uniqlo Re-Jean launch at Kallang Wave Mall.

The day after, I also attended Sample Store's Ka-Bloom event. Here's a photo of me taken at Lady M cafe after the event.

I couldn't be happier with my new brows. Even without the initial touch-up session after two weeks, you can tell from my very first photo in this review that my brows are still in excellent shape. The best part is, no maintenance is required except for the application of a treatment oil to keep the skin around the brow area moisturized. 

It was extremely liberating to be able to wash my face immediately after the procedure as well. Everything was so hassle-free! I'll be sure to head back to Arch Angel Brow for my touch-up the next time I return to Singapore.

Aside from eyebrow embroidery, I also had the opportunity to try their deep cleansing facial treatment that unclogged all my pores and left me with healthy glowing skin.


Thank you once again to Arch Angel Brow and Kelly for giving me beautiful brows and skin before I set off again for Nanjing!


Special Discount for Blog Readers

All readers of Shopping Queen's Haven will be entitled to 20% off eyebrow embroidery services and 50% off facial treatment services. Quote my name "Regina" to enjoy this exclusive discount!

The Korean Combo Embroidery costs $980 including two touch-ups, one after two weeks and the second one before a year is up.


Arch Angel Brow

321 Clementi Ave 3 (321 Clementi Mall)


Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10.30 am - 9.30 pm
Sat-Sun: 10.00am - 8.00pm


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fashion: Minimalist Matching Sets & Life In Nanjing

 For ease of travel and packing, my minimalist wardrobe now comprises several matching sets and comfy flats or sneakers. I never used to like sneakers but the Adidas Stan Smith collection caught my eye and had me head over heels in love, so much so I had to get them in both white and navy. The slim cut is a refreshing change from the classic Adidas Superstar range (and more sleek in my opinion). The fact that it is made from genuine leather also gives you unparalleled comfort without compromising on style. 

Today, I will be sharing with you some minimalist looks featuring my trusty Adidas sneakers and matching top and bottom sets.

Top and pants set from random shops in Singapore
Cap from Brian Lichtenberg
Bag from Givenchy
Sneakers from Adidas Stan Smith
Shades from Marc by Marc Jacobs

Top and shorts set from MURUA
Flats from Pazzion

Top and skirt set from random shops in Singapore
Sneakers from Adidas Stan Smith

 If you have been following me on instagram (@reginachow_sg) or Facebook here, you would have realized that I am currently in Nanjing. I am on sabbatical this year and will be shuttling between Singapore and China (yes, my blog will still be active!) as JW is based in Nanjing for the coming year.

 What a whirlwind the past few months has been. Thankfully, we are settling in well and we are finally getting the hang of things. Besides improving my grasp of the Chinese language and mastering the art of Taobao shopping without the use of agents, traveling ranks high on my priorities this year and I hope to explore as many cities as I possibly can. Some cities on my bucket list are Hangzhou, Suzhou, Chengdu, Mongolia and Tibet. I also plan to visit North Korea and Russia if time permits. 

For now, I can't wait to explore Nanjing and the many historical sites it has to offer. If you have any suggestions on where to go or places to visit, please let me know!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Svenson Hair Centre Scalp Treatment & Hair Myths Busted!

Given our sunny weather all year round, a common problem that we face is an itchy scalp and if left ignored, this could eventually result in hair loss issues. The scalp is one of the unsung heroes of our body and I truly felt like I was in scalp saver heaven after meeting with Joni, the expert consultant at Svenson Hair Centre. 

 During the consultation, she carefully asked me about my daily habits and routine, answering all my questions patiently. She also debunked some hair myths and assessed my scalp condition through a scalp scan before recommending a suitable scalp treatment for me.

Did you know that in theory, we can lose up to 100 strands of hair a day? 

However, due to our lifestyle, stress, dietary habits and lack of sleep, most people are not as healthy as before, and our hair regrowth is slower. This means that if we lose even 30 strands of hair daily (and it's usually double that amount, through daily actions such as running your fingers through your hair), we cannot replace the hair as fast as before, leading to hair loss issues.

Myth No. 1 - Since our hair is made of protein, we need protein shampoo

Yes, our hair is made of amino acids - the simplest form of protein. That is why we need to eat food rich in protein such as meat, fish, cheese, tofu, beans and nuts, and vitamins such as Vitamin B, as that helps us to keep our hair healthy and strong. Our digestive system's absorption process must also be efficient in order for our hair to gain sufficient nutrients.

However, this does not mean that you should run out to buy the latest protein shampoo (one of the haircare product trends recently). There really isn't a point to protein shampoos because they are on your hair for only a minute of cleansing before you wash it off. The objective of using shampoo is to ensure that both our scalp and hair are clean. That is why we should apply two rounds of shampoos: the first for the scalp, and the second for moisturizing the hair.

P.S. I have been doing this ever since my Svenson consultation with the Svenson products that Joni recommended to me, and I do feel a significant difference in both my scalp and hair! If you are interested,  click here to read my previous post for more details on these products.

Myth No. 2 - Washing your hair daily strips it of moisture and nutrients

Another common myth is that hair should not be washed daily as it strips its moisture and nutrients. Joni shared this is because many off-the-shelf brands contain a lot of cleaning agents within their shampoos, and this makes it harsher for the hair and scalp. But professional haircare brands such as Svenson contain a good proportion of herbal or organic ingredients that are good for daily hair wash.

For someone who works long hours and has late night baths like me, it is also important to blow dry the scalp and hair before sleeping, as warm and damp environments encourage bacteria growth, and really bad for the scalp.

How do you tell if your scalp is unhealthy? 

Joni scanned my scalp prior to the treatment and here are some examples of what an unhealthy scalp looks like.

See the really thin reed of hair versus the thick black one? That's a sign of weak follicles, especially if you have a lot of really thin reeds.

If there is a hair pore but no hair in it, that's also indicative of a damaged scalp because it's not growing hair anymore!

With problem areas identified, Joni recommended the Pre-Scalp Detox Therapy Treatment, High Frequency Treatment, the OxyJet Treatment, and the Corrective Treatment.

We went off to the treatment room, and look at how lovely the corridors are! 

Step 1: Pre-Scalp Detox Therapy

My therapist was a lovely lady, Justina, who started off the session with a wonderful shoulder massage, before applying a cooling detox scalp mask that was minty and cleansing. The Pre-Scalp Detox Therapy really helped to clear the scalp, as our hair follicles are often clogged with sweat and waste particles and if not properly cleansed, is not only irritated and itchy, but could also trigger baldness. 
Shampoos normally only clean the surface of the scalp, but cannot penetrate deep within the hair follicles. This treatment not only deeply cleanses the accumulation of dirt, dust, dead skin, sweat, oil and bacteria. It also stabilizes bacteria multiplication and removes dead skin/ dandruff / accumulation of chemical products that we have from hair dyes, perms and styling products. This is recommended to be done once a month to aid in healthy scalp and hair (the detox is done from root to the tips of the hair!)

Step 2: High Frequency Treatment 

This treatment was really interesting because an infra-red treatment was utilized as part of the process, which rejuvenates the scalp condition for improved hair growth. The high frequency stimulates cell renewal and improves the product penetration,helping to eliminate toxins and acne-causing bacteria. The rapid oscillation can't be felt so you can thoroughly relax during the treatment, but what happens is that the high frequency current improves nourishment and blood circulation, stimulates glandular activity and the heat soothes the nervous system to significantly improve the overall effectiveness of the post-treatment hair growth formulas.

Step 3: OxyJet Treatment 

The Oxy DH Therapy has a Peeling Phase and an Infusion Phase, and is important in revitalizing the scalp and hair with 95% pure oxygen! Justina used a specially-designed handpiece that delivered the oxygen to precise areas across my scalp. This treatment is extremely important in infusing peptides and actives to boost cell regeneration and lymphatic circulation. It also helps the penetration and absorption of the proprietary DH Hair Concentrate Serum formulated by Svenson's trichologists, that was applied on both my scalp and hair. Containing a high concentration of copper peptides and plant actives such as Gingko Biloba, it eradicates receptor sites that block off blood supply, oxygen and nutrients, to slow down hair loss and accelerate hair growth, helping to maintain hair's elasticity, texture and density!

Step 4: Corrective Treatment

Ever since my Outward Bound camp (yes I know it's been many years!), my scalp has never been the same again due to the harsh conditions. The Corrective Treatment was especially helpful because it balances hair and scalp for healthier hair. For people experiencing oily and flaky scalp, it regulates, soothes and reduces irritated scalp even for dandruff. Importantly, it also relieves itchy, scaly and seborrheic scalp conditions such as psoriasis, with anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that effectively exfoliates decaying and dying epidermal cells, preventing bacterial proliferation. I was then given a head vibrator machine massage, and a beautiful blow-dry.

How was the treatment?

The treatment process lasted for 1.5 hours, and I must say that I was really impressed with the professionalism of the Svenson staff. I was the last customer left in the outlet because I went after work, but my consultation was a proper one (that even went up to 45 minutes with Joni carefully diagnosing my hair and scalp issues) before they started the treatment. They did not cut corners on the process, and Justina took care of every step of the treatment and even did a nice blow-dry of my hair. They could have rushed through it or showed signs of disinterest, but they instead showed true passion for their work.

Joni stayed right to the end - when I finally walked out with a refreshed lightness to my scalp and bouncy glossy hair - just to say goodbye and answer any final questions I had. Truly this was a great experience, and I'm definitely going back for more treatments as I can really tell the difference to my scalp quality. Thank you Svenson!

The prices for the treatments are as follows: Pre-Scalp Detox Therapy Treatment $80, High Frequency Treatment $40, OxyJet Treatment $90, and Corrective Treatment $90. 


Svenson Hair Centre


360 Orchard Road
International Building
Singapore 238869

 6737 8575


[This post was written by Isabelle, a permanent writer on Shopping Queen's Haven.]

About the writer Isabelle:
An MBTI personality profile that believes in making the world a better place (one starfish at a time), Isabelle is a communications professional who enjoys creating good memories for others, and balances realism with a healthy dose of joie de vivre and can-do positivity. 



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