Graphic Designer Pum Lefebure’s Insider’s Guide to Bangkok

 

Pum Lefebure, graphic designer and co-founder of award-winning design agency Design Army, was born and raised in Thailand. So though she now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and 8-year-old daughter Sophie, she goes back to visit her homeland every winter. The itinerary? Bangkok, of course, where her family lives. “I like to spend an evening with my mom in our home and talk until 3 in morning,” says the 38-year-old. “We might have a Thai beer called Singha along with some mango and sweet sticky rice and catch up.” She also heads to the beach town of Krabi in southern Thailand, where it’s a perfect 75 to 80 degrees in the dead of winter. “I love being in the ocean and on the beach at Krabi, one of the most beautiful places in the world,” says Lefebure. “It brings me back to my childhood days, especially as I watch Sophie enjoying the sand.”

 

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Here, Lefebure gives us an insider’s look into what to do and see in Bangkok.

* Must Visit: The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s riverside terrace. To be outdoors on the Chao Phraya River in December is pretty special. The service is incredible, the atmosphere is beautiful, and the Bamboo Bar is a great place to hang out and listen to jazz music.

* Must Buy: I love to shop for jewelry in Peninsula Plaza, where local Thai artists sell jewelry that’s beautiful and inexpensive. At Mungkara Jewelry, I’ve purchased unique pieces with amethyst, rubies and emeralds and lots of bracelets. And though I bring all my beauty products with me, I do buy the local Thai shampoo since it’s made for Asian hair.

The Chatuchak Weekend Market, also known as Jatujak Market, is one of the world’s largest markets. It’s famous for antiques, clothes, food, furniture, plants, pets and more. Everyone has a shop there. It’s easy to get to by BTS, Thailand’s Metro system. My advice is to wear light clothes and drink a lot of water — it’s hot in there.

 

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* Must Eat: We plan to try La Table de Tee, a new foodie place recommended by a friend. It’s Bangkok’s first “Chef’s Table,” where Chef Tee Kachonklin creates a daily changing tasting menu.

* Must Do: I must go to Wat Pho, home to the reclining Buddha, for a two-hour Thai massage at least twice. An hour-long, deep tissue massage is not even $10, and it’s the real deal. I’m sore for a few days afterwards, but it feels so good, and I return to the u.S. refreshed.

 

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For a more high-end experience, try the Oriental Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. It’s located across the river from the hotel, and they have a boat service to take you there.

* Best Local Hole-in-the-Wall: Khao San Road is a famous backpacker street where you can find authentic Thai food that’s inexpensive. It’s a perfect street for travelers to experience the food and feel of Thailand, and the locals make communication easy there.

* Best Lunch Spot: Greyhound Café is a great place to pop in and eat. It’s a mix of Thai and Western food. Each location has a different décor and artist’s work on display. I like the Thai noodle dishes and Sophie can still have a sandwich. You can get spaghetti with Thai anchovies, for example — very creative food. The owner used to be a creative director at an ad agency so everything about it is very design savvy.

* Best Tourist Attractions: Grand Palace is the symbol of Thailand — you have to see it when visiting Thailand.

Also Amphawa with its floating market is really popular. All food is brought in by boats. It’s a great place to hang out and experience Thai culture. You can also find a lot of homestays, the name they use for the “hotels” along the river because you feel like you’re staying at someone’s home.

 

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* Best Nightlife: The Vertigo restaurant and Moon Bar at the top of Banyan Tree Bangkok have spectacular views. I also like Patravadi Theatre. This cozy little theater on the Thonburi side of the river is a great spot to catch a performance of traditional Thai dance, or even a modern dance troupe, while enjoying some delicious Thai dishes, though it’s limited to weekends only.

See more of Pum Lefebure’s photos at Instagram.com/pumlefebure

Pum Lefebure photo by Dean Alexander; other photos courtesy of Pum Lefebure.

This story was originally printed in Audrey’s Winter 2013-14 issue. Get it here!

She Did It! Tessanne Chin Wins Singing Competition “The Voice”

We’ve been mesmerized by Chinese-Jamaican songstress Tessanne Chin on this season of The Voice ever since her rockin’ rendition of Pink’s “Try” turned the chairs of all four judges. She surprised everyone by picking Maroon 5′s Adam Levine over fellow diva Christina Aguilera — and good thing she did. Because with Levine’s guidance — which included brilliant song choices ranging from No Doubt’s “Underneath It All,” which showcased Chin’s reggae roots, the soaring “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a superb rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” and their brilliant duet of “Let It Be” (with a dash of reggae thrown in) — Chin has remained on top of the iTunes charts, keeping her in the competition week after week.

But beyond her superior singing chops, Chin won our hearts with her seriously sweet and humble demeanor, her adorable Chinese father and sister Tami cheering in the audience, as well as her cutie-pie husband, Michael Cuffe, and her badass faux-hawk.

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So we are beyond ecstatic that after a two-hour finale, the 28-year-old former backup singer for Jimmy Cliff was announced the winner of season 5 of The Voice, the number one singing competition on TV right now. We are huge fans and want her on our cover! Tessanne, call us?!?

Photos courtesy of NBC.

Aziz Ansari on Conan O’Brien Talks Racists: They’re Dying Off

Check out the hilarious comedian Aziz Ansari on Conan and his take on Miss America Nina Davuluri, Asians in the media, and racists.

 

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Get Ready to Party! Audrey Helps You Get Through the Holiday Season

’Tis the season to indulge, so go ahead — don’t let us be a wet blanket on the festivities. Just heed a bit of pre-party advice to minimize post-party fallout. And when you’ve binged to your heart’s content, we’ve got a few tips to help you recover.

PREGAME:

* Two weeks before, make sure your teeth are party-ready with Glo Science’s latest G-Vial whitening gel — just apply with a brush twice a day for 30 seconds.

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* Pregame like dermatologist extraordinaire Dr. Jessica Wu, who says in her book, Feed Your Face, that she like to have a snack (try almonds!) before a big dinner to avoid overeating.

* An hour out, before you slip on that special dress, maximize your hotness with a Wei Beauty Décolletage Treatment Pad, a mask with coconut water, kelp and free radical-fighting gingko, specifically made for the delicate skin on your chest.

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PARTY TIME:

* In her book, Dr. Wu recommends a dry red wine like cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir for maximum antioxidants (chardonnay, if you prefer white). If you’re more a cocktail kind of girl, she says go for vodka with club soda or diet tonic water.

* Don’t forget to hydrate with a glass of water after every drink. That’ll also help you moderate your drinking.

* After all that rich, scrumptious food, chew gum with xylitol, like Vitacare Whitening Gum, to freshen breath.

POST-PARTY:

* Whatever you do, don’t forget to take off your makeup. Keep Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water and Pure Cotton on your nightstand to remove even waterproof makeup with mineral-rich water from Japan’s Yumura Hot Springs — no tugging and no rinsing required.

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* In the morning, apply cotton balls soaked in soy milk (squeeze out the excess) for five minutes to reduce swelling, hydrate skin and constrict veins in bloodshot eyes, says Dr. Wu.

Read more tips to get you through the holiday season in Audrey‘s Winter 2013-14 issue, out now!

 

Something to Be Thankful For: Gap’s Anti-Racism Stand in Support of Waris Ahluwalia

With all the racist crap we seem to be bombarded with in popular culture lately (we’re talking to you, Katy Perry), here’s something that gave us hope.

It all started with Gap’s holiday ads with the theme of “Make Love.” One of the ads features actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, who happens to be Sikh. When New York photographer Robert Gerhardt forwarded a photo of the Gap poster outside a New York City subway that had been defaced with “Please stop driving taxis” and “Make bombs” instead of “Make Love” to Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor at the Islamic Monthly, Iftikhar tweeted the photo and it went viral. 

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Soon enough, the Gap took notice and not only replied to the tweet (“Hi there. Thanks for informing us. Can you please follow & DM (direct message) us? We’d like to know the location of this.”), it also immediately changed its Twitter banner photo to the Ahluwalia ad. A new Facebook page even popped up — “GAP, Thank you for featuring a Sikh model in your ‘Make Love’ campaign” — with hundreds of comments in support. One person tweeted, “Hey @Gap I just holiday shopped w/you because of yr anti-racist support of #Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia!”

“As the year 2014 inches closer to us, I want to live in an America where a fashion model can be a handsome, bearded brown dude in a turban,” Iftikhar wrote in an article on the Daily Beast yesterday. Amen.

 

You’ve Never Seen Vanessa Hudgens Like This: Trailer For “Gimme Shelter”

Vanessa Hudgens has come a long way since her High School Musical days. Working hard to shed her “good girl” image (see Spring Breakers), the Filipina takes on another gritty role in Roadside Attractions’ Gimme Shelter, due out in theaters January 24. Based on a true story, the film follows Agnes “Apple” Bailey, played by Hudgens, who is abused by her mother (Rosario Dawson) and abandoned by her Wall Street father (Brendan Fraser). Pregnant and alone, Apple ultimately finds compassion in a stranger (James Earl Jones), who takes her in at a suburban shelter for homeless teenagers.

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Following in the footsteps of other actresses who have undergone major physical transformations for roles that garnered critical acclaim, Hudgens dons shorn hair and is virtually unrecognizable in the film. She reportedly lived for weeks in pregnancy shelters, interacting with the young, homeless mothers who also appear in the movie, to prepare for her role. Will this be the making of Hudgens as a serious actress? Check out the trailer here or click here.

 

Photos courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

Editor’s Picks: Top 4 BB Creams

We’ve gone through a lot of BB creams here at Audrey, just to bring you our Ultimate Guide to BB Cream. There are a lot of BB creams listed there, so in case you want the short version, here are our editor’s picks of BB cream favorites and why you should run out and get these today.

1. Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream

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One of my all-time favorites. Seriously, this BB cream by Japanese brand Shiseido has it all: a super silky texture without feeling suffocating, a perfectly glowy finish without it looking like you just took an oil bath, and two shades that are great for yellow-based skin tones. It also gives me just enough coverage so that I actually dare to step out of my house without foundation or concealer. (Just a dab of powder on my oily T-zone and I’m good.) It doesn’t get better than that. Details 2 shades, (Medium, Dark), $33, shiseido.com.

2. Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream

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A newbie to the American cosmetics industry, Amarte was founded in Korea and brought to the U.S. in partnership with an American dermatologist. The entire skincare line is great, but the BB cream is extra special, with a cool airless pump to prevent contamination (think backwash), caviar extract and argan oil. Amarte claims you can sleep with their BB cream on and it won’t block pores thanks to its natural pigments and state-of-the-art protective moisturizing base. I haven’t tested that claim (this freaked me out too much to even try), but what I do know is the light, creamy texture goes on smoothly, blends easily and imparts a nice healthy glow that is not at all masky. Another plus is that both shades are more yellow-based so you don’t get that weird ashy or white look. Details 2 shades (Light, Natural), $49, amarteskincare.com.

3. Too Faced Air Buffed BB Creme Complete Coverage Makeup

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For full coverage, it doesn’t get better than Too Faced’s BB creme. The cream-to-powder formulation is made even better with their pop-off “Teddy Bear” hair brush, a dense flat top brush that buffs on the BB cream perfectly. It’s a cream in the tub, which turns into a powder on the face, leaving a very matte, very Photoshopped finish. Just swirl with the brush onto your face, pressing or stippling on areas that may need more coverage. This is the only product that not only controls my very oily T-zone, but simultaneously provides enough coverage to hide my sunspots, all without feeling tight or heavy. And three of the five shades are perfect for a broad range of Asian skin tones. Details 5 shades (porcelain pink-based to warm with golden undertones), $39, toofaced.com.

4. Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream

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Love mineral makeup? Then you’ll love Jane Iredale’s mineral BB cream. I actually love this BB cream as a treatment concealer. The formulation is quite thick, so a little goes a long way. Dab some on trouble spots, dust some loose powder over it all, and go. There’s a great range of shades, too, so practically every skin tone is covered. And the best part are all the botanical extracts that baby your skin: white tea leaf extract, green tea, grapefruit extract, apple extract, aloe leaf juice and sunflower seed oil. It practically is skincare in your makeup. Details 6 shades, $48, janeiredale.com.

For the rest of our BB cream reviews, check out our Ultimate Guide.

Help the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan — Here’s How

While there are many relief efforts out there to help the Philippines recover from the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, Filipina American Ruby Verdiano of Glamourbaby Diaries shares her trusted platforms, spearheaded by people she personally knows. Check out the below links to help the people of the Philippines.

GAWAD KALINGA
Donate to GK and help fund a food pack consisting of bottled water, canned goods and rice for a family of 4. It will last them for 3 days when they need it most. GK’s relief teams are on the ground now clearing roads to get the food packs in the devastated areas. 98% of all donations we’ll go to the victims and their donations are 100% tax-deductible. DONATE HERE. 
Bundles of Joy 
One “Bundle of Joy” for $10 provides water, food, light, and vitamins to Typhoon Haiyan survivors.
 DONATE HERE. 

No More 2-Hour Waits: Din Tai Fung Opens at The Americana at Brand

 

Anyone who’s tried to get a taste of those amazing soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung‘s Arcadia, Calif., location knows good things come to those who wait … and wait. But now with the famed award-winning Taiwanese restaurant open at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif., you may be slurping your way to goodness in no time at all.

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From left, Rick Caruso, Frank Yang, and Joanne Yang at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Din Tai Fung at The Americana at Brand.

 

Din Tai Fung owners Frank and Joanne Yang, along with Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated, the company behind The Americana at Brand, appeared at the ribbon cutting for the restaurant’s newest location this morning. Inside the 6,800-square-foot restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling glass and wood screen decor (an homage to the original design of the restaurant’s Xinyi location in Taiwan, which opened in 1967), Caruso talked about how he pursued the Yangs to convince them to open a Din Tai Fung at The Americana after trying their soup dumplings. “Most people west of Arcadia don’t know about Din Tai Fung,” he said.

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In the signature glass kitchen, half a dozen cooks were already busy rolling, pulling, flattening and wrapping juicy soup dumplings with perfect efficiency. Meanwhile, the petite, ever-smiling Joanne Yang was running around like a mother hen, making sure everything was running smoothly, greeting guests and thanking them for coming. One could hardly guess that Din Tai Fung now has more than 80 branches around the world and is arguably the most successful Taiwanese restaurant chain ever. In fact, quality control seemed to be the buzzword at the opening, with several reporters attesting to the consistency of the flavors at the various Din Tai Fung restaurants in Arcadia, Shanghai, Taiwan and Seoul.

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In addition to the usual goodies that have earned Din Tai Fung their Michelin Star in 2010 — Pork dumplings, Veggie and Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai, Noodle with Minced Pork Sauce, Shanghai Rice Cake with Chicken and Shrimp, and Pork Wonton in Spicy Sauce (ranging from $7 to $12) — The Americana location boasts an exclusive item, the Truffle Dumpling, traditionally reserved for VIPs in Taiwan, as well as a full bar of traditional and specialty cocktails. Add to that boba drinks, slushies and their paper-thin red bean dumpling for dessert, and you’ve got the makings for a pretty good night out.

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Find out more about Din Tai Fung here and The Americana at Brand here.

 

 

 

Get a K-pop Complexion: AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact

Coverage: Sheer

Shades: 4 (104, 106, 204, 208)

Price: $60

Benefits: SPF 50; Green Tea Treatment Complex™ brightens, prevents skin irritation, and provides antioxidant protection; hydrating bamboo sap formula replaces traditional water in oil base for deep moisturization. Their exclusive Long-Lasting Complex™ proprietary skin technology fills micro lines and ensures color builds into fine even layers.

Review: This CC compact comes in liquid form that turns into an emulsion on skin. It comes with its own specially designed anti-microbial “ruby-cell” puff which helps enhance the cooling feature of the sponge. You press the puff into the sponge, and liquid squeezes out. I like to swipe it on in short little strokes, rather than pat it on as recommended; I feel like I get more coverage that way. I tried the 204, which is Tan Gold — it sounds much darker than it actually is. The shade was fine for my light to medium Asian skin tone. However, the formula is very, very sheer, and I felt I needed to swipe on at least several layers to get any sort of coverage. It’s great for warm weather when a cream would feel suffocating on skin, or for oily skin that can’t take a cream. The finish is quite shiny, though, so make sure you dust on some powder.