I Did A Self-Care Marathon And It was Worth It

Dating your skincare is equivalent to running laps on the tracks or swimming laps across the pool. Trying out product after product is like going on a date every few days. Just like finding a partner, your skin also has standards, too. Sensitive, yet oily, my skin has mainly been a blessing save for a few flaws. While I can handle makeup, I’ve had a harder time finding the right skincare as products have been a hit or miss. Just like the Olympics, every skincare product performs differently no matter how many times an esteemed publication or an influencer calls it “the best”.

Despite flogging skincare products on my Instagram and being given skincare products, I do the best I can to believe in my products as I’m constantly in the process of searching “the one” for my skin. However, I’ve had to outgrow some products as some of the ones I’ve used in the past were not compatible with Singapore weather or not working on my skin anymore as my texture has changed. If there was one product I have a hard time sticking to, it’s face masks.

Always on the hunt for THE perfect mask, there were some that REALLY did wonders for me and there were some that made me break out like crazy. Even for the ones that did perform well on me, I hated the fact that I had to pay a LOT of money for shipment given that I don’t live in the States anymore. Also, I loathe having to put in extra effort at finding a mask I really love as it requires me to travel outside of Singapore to get one. But what I don’t slip up on is having to include one in my skincare ritual. Day or night, I like to add on a layer of mask to prep my skin for moisturizer and serums. Adding on a layer of mask helps a TON to ensure that I can get my skin treated to be rid of maskne and/or receive hydration. Thankfully, LAPCOS has me covered as their PR team sent me a big box of masks to try.

Although I used to believe that masks were strictly for my face, I found out that it’s also important to mask up in different parts of your body. As I Goldilocks my way through the package, my face and body can only take in what it can absorb. Catch my verdict on which masks win gold!

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27 Things I learned at 27

Twenty-seven is a scary number. It’s that awkward stage when you’re not yet 30, but you’re still hanging on to the youth of your early 20s. It’s also that age when you’re trying to get yourself together. You either sink or swim.

While most of us dream of living life, there are sadly, a handful of icons who died far too young from the dark forces that consumed them whether it’s drug overdoses or freak accidents. While such unfortunate events are unintentional, The 27 Club is a one way trip without a return ticket. Joining the club is the last thing I ever want to do.

Though the siren call of living like Jim Morrison is a knock away, the flip side is that you can find stability and success. Or perhaps a renewed creative energy that leads you to produce your best work. While everyone of us finds directions either at this age, a little earlier or later, I feel that our journey is uniquely different from each other and that’s OK.

Standing in front of the crossroads isn’t easy, but being at 27, you don’t feel it until you are there. While my 28th birthday is a week away, I don’t ever want you to feel scared about the prospects of turning 27 because the fear of joining the Club is real.

Here are the top 27 things I’ve learned at 27:

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20 Things I learned in 2020

A year of vision and experience, there is no other year like 2020. Albeit it was shitty for most of us, it was a year of upheaval whether it was personal, mental, spiritual, etc. Not only did we physically have to contain ourselves inside four walls, we also felt the pandemic blues. Traveling, haircuts, trips to the cinema and concerts suddenly became luxuries at home to entertain ourselves when we got nothing to do besides work. Making questionable purchases on quarantine were things that could only give us relief whenever we needed a dose of laughter. Long walks to the park or around your neighbourhood were one of the only forms of relief when we’re bored of busting our butts off on YouTube workouts in our living rooms. Being unable to take a dip in the pool almost made me stir crazy. Maskne was hell for our skin. Our hair also suffered horrible grow outs as we couldn’t have access to a hairstylist for months. Some of you had no choice but to grab a buzzer, scissors or get a mullet out of boredom. Box dye was also optional, too.

While most of us have been leading busy lives, we also kept hanging on for every kind of connection on our phones whether it’s connecting with long distance old friends, cousins whom you haven’t spoken to in a year or swiping right on dating apps. Zoom’s the new hangout spot whether it’s platonically or romantically. Most of us had to sacrifice going out for our birthdays, which absolutely stank. We either had to do a birthday Zoom call or invite one or two friends over to our houses. But also, people from your past who suddenly popped out of thin air appeared on our WhatsApps, DMs or Facebooks. We were all trying our best to stay connected even though working from home zapped our energy.

Strangely, this year also brought us to start a business or do something creative that you’ve never done before. Taking risks were things we never considered in the past, yet it shaped our minds for the better. You also took a big leap for your mental health by deciding to do what you didn’t wanna do previously: get help. Sure, it was intimidating because some of you find it embarrassing to admit your struggles to your closest friends because you want them to think that you’re OK when your world fell apart. What you also learned was that it was OK to not be OK.

Although most of us spent our time at home, some of you went out to the streets to protest against racism at BLM protests from Los Angeles, Sydney and the UK. Being an advocate is sexy and I love that. While social justice is a cause I support, I also feel that some of you (myself included) have also decided to dedicate our time with helping out those who don’t have access to resources within our own back yard. Apart from protests and volunteering for charity, some of you have prayed for your loved ones and strangers who’ve suffered from COVID.

No matter how much you wanted to hate 2020, it was THE year that told us to level up inside out. We were not prepared to be stuck inside our homes or deal with a pandemic, but the one thing that we were being called to do was to look IN and see what WE could change about ourselves. (Myself included.)

Here are the top 20 things I learned in 2020:

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Cute Sustainable Gifts For Xmas

Staying in is the new going out and all the small things are suddenly becoming the new essentials. From toilet paper to face masks, it seems that big bags aren’t entirely necessary unless it’s for the most important grocery runs.

Thankfully, some of us are living in countries where we are lucky to go out. But for the rest of us, it’s unfortunate how y’all have to go through another series of lockdowns. Not letting Miss Rona steal our shine this December, there’s always a way how we can treat ourselves and our loved ones for the holidays. With practicality and sustainability being the new chic, I found some cute gifts that your friends or family will appreciate!

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Sustainability For Beginners: A Tried and True Guide To Shopping Smart

Stacks of shoes greeted me from floor to ceiling as I sauntered past the hallway in my apartment. Though I’ve had great city views of Marina del Rey, I was accustomed to the familiar sight, an array of funky footwear that I bought from Dolls Kill and Nasty Gal, coupled with a few from Miista, Doc Martens and secondhand vintage footwear from Depop. While my early 20s identity crisis was at its peak, I was constantly shopping to help myself fight against teenage body shaming.

My closet was filled with racks of Reformation dresses, Nasty Gal crop tops and leggings, a handful of cute trendy pleather overalls by LF, Rag & Bone skinny jeans and at least 50 percent of dope vintage purchases from Etsy. A few stacks of Uniqlo sweaters sat inside my closet, too. Ditto with a few cool unique vintage purchases from Tunnel Vision, a cult vintage boutique that also stores under-the-radar LA-based designers. At 22 on the brink of 23, how was it possible that a soon-to-be college graduate could accumulate *this* many things?

Now with the apparel business at a 50 percent slump since Miss Rona took over the world, it’s made me wonder if any of my past shopping habits truly changed. While it’s great that I am taking accountability for my own habits, I am beginning to realize that when it comes to sustainability, I haven’t shopped smarter. Although I still want to have fun with fashion, it doesn’t mean that I have to give it up altogether. Given that we still need to shop for essential apparel, we can do our part to still be supportive of the business, but be more responsible on where are contributions are going.

Here are the top 10 lessons I’ve learned about shopping sustainably:

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Real Girls Talk: Keeping Up With Faith In Chaos

At the beginning of the year, I had high hopes that 2020 would be my year of more optimism and adventures. I also had hopes that I’d be able to get more dough, land a stable job (in the office) and get a boyfriend. But, the radical shifts that were suddenly introduced shook up my life.

Thanks to Miss Rona, I had to work from home, abandon grand travel plans and celebrate a quarantine birthday. Though the effects sounded negative, the most surprising things always came out to be more positive than I expected. I became more active in doing household chores, got creative, sewn face masks out of fabric scraps for charity, set deadlines, continuously kept in touch with the friends I truly connected with, spent more time with my parents and reached out to cousins I haven’t talked to in AGES. While I appreciate the special moments from creating magical memories whenever I was outside, I realized that when I went out on a near daily basis, it has made me become selfish, irresponsible and lazy. By being plugged into my phone, I also realized that the majority of the time I spent was mainly for the ‘gram, getting money on Vestiaire Collective, WhatsApps, e-mails and/or dating apps. I wasn’t aware that I sought SO much validation by burning my energy on it until I saw my screen time. But if there was one thing that continuously lifted me up on the bad days and taught me gratitude for the good days, it was my faith.

Raised as a Baptist at 8-years-old, my relationship with God wasn’t always the strongest. Getting to know my spirituality felt so foreign to me as I was told to go to Sunday school and youth classes, which I heavily disliked because of being around other kids (except for my best friend). I only read Bible stories for the sake of pleasure during my childhood. Instead of meditating on the Bible, I used free time to read Perez Hilton as the way, the truth and the life to escape the reality of being a socially awkward misfit in high school. Though I did attend church throughout my teens, I really didn’t feel *that* connected to The Word as I saw church as a weekend ritual with my family.

One day, I met a really cool gal in church when I was in LA. She asked me to hang out with her. Little did I know that God sent in an angel into my life to walk me though faith and humble myself. We’d read the Scriptures at each other’s apartments, have deep conversations about Jesus and hang out for HOURS over coffee, did our homework together, etc. From there, she introduced me to Jessica Tanoesoebibjo, a mutual friend/fellow Biola babe who has a Master’s degree in theology.

Fervently passionate about her faith on her blog, Jess inspired me to be open about keeping in touch with our spirituality since the day we met four to five years ago. Now that we are coping with the world’s weariness over social injustice, a global pandemic, crippled economy and lack of job security, I feel that nothing is more important than wanting to build your faith. Whether you’re a believer or non-believer, you have the freedom to choose what you wish to believe.

Here, we catch up about how faith has uplifted her, what it means to have faith, the struggle to balance faith vs. life, why we shall fear God and how you can encourage your friends to build up on their spirituality.

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5 Non-Basic Ways To Wear Black

Striking, iconoclastic and sophisticated, no other color can make me smile more than black. Like second skin, it’s naturally part of my DNA as I cannot live without wearing it. It’s also my default color when I run out of ideas on what to wear.

Please watch this video on how to I wear black:

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Rooki’s Hayley teo is the next big mvp shaking up singapore’s beauty game

Lean, clean, green and litter-free, Singapore’s notoriously stringent approach to its urban layout applies to its inhabitants as well (myself included). With the clean beauty movement conquering the lovely little red dot, business is booming among beauty entrepreneurs. Looking no further than our kitchen cabinets, a handful of green beauty brands have tried to capture our attention with its all-natural ingredients and Glossier-esque packaging to build a steady market. Though I have previously featured Rooki, it was time to get to know its founder Hayley Teo, an ex-digital content creator turned skincare queen (who is still making killer content on Rooki’s Instagram!).

While we have yet to meet in person, we go deeper than our love for good skincare to talk about how she build her brand, why we need to listen to our skin, men’s vs. women’s approach to skincare, what to do you when you procrastinate on your skincare routine and her three upcoming superhero serums.

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Man Crush Monday: Cameron Hawthorn

Any man can upload a one minute clip, strum a guitar in his bedroom and belt out tunes for the Internet, but Cameron Hawthorn is not just another up-and-coming musician. Blessed with flawless skin, great hair that can make Aaron Samuels jealous, a sharp Cupid’s bow and a body that can fit into a tight tee, the Nashville based singer/songwriter has something that other upcoming singers don’t have: a vintage-inspired vision that feels freshly authentic.

Peppering his feed with photos of Judy Garland, Norman Rockwell-esque drawings, Huji’d out selfies and old family photos, Hawthorn is an old soul thrown into a modern world. Raised in Kansas and formerly based in Los Angeles, the 31-year-old graduated as a double major in communication and theater at USC.

While we have yet to meet in person, I felt inspired to reach out to him when I heard “Oh Hot Damn” through my friend’s Instagram, where they teased a snippet of the song. This lovely Leo and I chat about what inspired him to write his red hot single, LGBTQ positivity in the music industry, why he loves throwbacks and the biggest mistake that guys make when they want to find a partner.

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Larissa Schot Gets Candid About Life After America’s Next Top Model

Long and lean with shoulder-length blonde hair, Larissa Schot is a rising force in the making. Accessorized with a wide and cheerful smile, Schot is the model whose carefree aura graces your phone screen. While many of you are familiar with her from America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), I’ve known her as the volleyball player who used to sit tables away from me in zoology class during high school.

Years after we graduated high school, we reconnected via Facebook. In place of a uniform and a volleyball, she’s swapped them for skinny jeans and crop tops. Packed with determination and laser-sharp ambition, Schot still has the same precision of a volleyball player by aiming her ball towards the bigger goals in life. While it’s every girl’s dream to work with the biggest and boldest names, she also uses Instagram as a platform to promote body positivity with #ThickandThin, which focuses on raising awareness of the plus size community inside the fashion industry.

We chat about what really happens behind the cameras at ANTM, why she started #ThickandThin and the top body confidence boosting tip she swears by.

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