7 Life Lessons for 20 Somethings from a 20 Something

posted on: Saturday, June 20, 2015

Punggol End by the sea-31 Punggol End 3 Punggol End by the sea-36 Punggol End by the sea-40 Punggol End by the sea-41I have always had a yearning for the sea, or any huge bodies of water for that matter. Perhaps because it's calming, it is limitless and a perfect embodiment of wanderlust. Feeling very much in my element in this print dress from Cynthia Vincent which matched the colors of the water perfectly. This year, just recently, I got diagnosed with a condition for my eye, shortly after which, I went on a 5 weeks long graduation trip, during which I turned 23 years old. That made me really reflect upon a lot of things in my life and whether I was spending time chasing after the right things.

So here's 7 Life Lessons I've learnt, which I hope will be helpful.

Punggol End by the sea-42 Punggol End 4Wearing Aqua Print Maxi Dress by Cynthia Vincent
Shot by Phoebe Chin

7 Life Lessons for 20 Somethings from a 20 Something

1. Take care of your body
It may sound like your mum nagging, but I've learnt this lesson the hard way. I got diagnosed with a condition in my left eye, which can be treated but only with surgical operation. It made me suddenly feel vulnerable. Sure, we are young, and we need to live in the present, but sleeping in the wee hours of morning and staring at screens all the time can really harm our health. And health is a funny thing. It's like when you have it, you take it completely for granted that you forget to be thankful that you're healthy. The moment you lose it, you lose everything else. So take care of yourself.

2. Create your own opportunities
I've learnt things the hard way since young - Nobody is going to help you unless you help yourself. So instead of always complaining that there are not enough opportunities, go out there and create opportunities for yourself. Reach out to people you admire, get yourself a mentor who can guide you in your career, just do it. I know that I've always wanted to be in the business side of fashion, probably in the fields of marketing, branding, social media management and content creation. And there's not enough opportunities in the limited Singapore market, but I'm going to try anyway - I'll apply overseas, I'll email people, I'll try to get myself out there. Because there is always no harm trying, and because people always appreciate effort.

3. Chase after the right things
We spend a lot of time on our mobile, but not really communicating with people or taking a step closer to our goal.
We sometimes let what other people - the society - think get to us and we chase after the things that are accepted as good and success. More money, a better car, branded bags... and in the process of that chase I think we sometimes lose sight of the things which really makes us happy.

So spend time chasing after the right things - things that make you feel good. Reach out to people and form genuine relationships. You wouldn't want to be regretting things when you're in your 30s and tied down by responsibilities which prevent you from accomplishing the things you wish to have accomplished when you were younger.

4. Spend money on experiences, instead of material goods
Saving up money and then spending a large part of them on my graduation trip is probably one of the best things I've done so far. I traveled to Greece (1 week), Turkey (2 weeks) then France (farmstay 2 weeks) and really exposed myself to local culture through some couchsurfing and submitted myself to nature with hikes on rock cliffs, mountains and around lakes. This is the thing that I'm going to remember when I'm 60 years old, probably not that new iPhone that I bought.

Experiences tend to bring us more happiness than material goods, as each time we recall those wonderful memories, the emotions will resurface. But for material goods, we will be happy for the first month we have it, and subsequently, we will crave for more or something different again.

5. Live life elegantly and simply
I spent two weeks in France on a farm up in the Midi-Pyrenees, meaning Mid-Pyrenees mountains. The area is in the extreme south of France which is near to the Spanish border. I arrived at the Toulouse airport alone, taking a train and then a bus to get to the farm's nearest town, all the time hoping that my host would be there to pick me up. Farm life taught me a lot; that will come in another blogpost, but the most important thing I took away was probably a way of life.

The people in the region and also on the farm practice a way of life very close to nature. They believe in good energy and the 5 elements, with some of them practicing energy of crystals and precious stones, an organic and vegetarian diet, and staying close to nature without disturbing its natural balance. My simple life at the farm was tiring yet fulfilling and it really put things in perspective for me - Some of the material things that we chase after in the city, and the complex emotions we hold against people, the worries and disputes all seemed kind of irrelevant and silly even, when we surrender ourselves to nature, notice and be thankful for the simple beautiful things in life, and pursue the goodness in people and everything around us.

I think the experience which I have had here will probably help to put things in perspective each time I get frustrated over something silly.

6. Take time to be alone
I feel like Asian culture doesn't really condone being alone; we always need to be together in our own little circle of friends. Who says one cannot dine alone, travel alone or watch a movie alone? Speaking of which, I have done all three before and it felt great to have some me time to reflect upon things. And it's self reflection that helps me to always be a better version of myself.

7. You are yourself, and that's OK
Sometimes I get frustrated at myself when I compare with others. My peers who go through the same course in uni, but whom graduates with a finance major is probably going to earn at least 2-3x more than me. But I know I'm not really intuitive when it comes to numbers, so I'll probably never be able to go into banking, trading or data analytics or logistics. I'll also probably never be as thin or as pretty as my idol, Kiko Mizuhara. I'll also never really like clubbing but instead prefer going interiors shopping, or grocery shopping even. I think it's important to stay true to yourself and tell yourself that it's OK if you like things that are not cool, or if you do things that stray from conventional measurements of success as defined by society. It's hard to come to terms with it, but I think as long as we have a passion, we work hard at perfecting it, we will be happy and good things will come.

I'll be graduating this November and starting a new chapter of my life soon, and I hope that these life lessons will guide me when I'm frustrated or lost, and also you in the process as well.

10 Short Bob Hairstyles for Cool Girls

posted on: Monday, June 15, 2015

I’m the type who likes change. I constantly want to be kept occupied doing something new and different, same goes for my hair. But I have kept the classic short-medium length bob hairstyle for more than 2 years already. Since I chopped off my long locks in Dec 2012, I’ve never looked back. 

Why? Because cool girls wear bobs. It’s not only a lot easier to manage - think less time spent blowdrying and styling - but also because it gives you a bit of an edge over all your other friends with long, straight hair. Think Anna Wintour, Alexa Chung, Rihanna (she had the asymmetric straight bob for a while), Miroslava Duma and Karlie Kloss, who all now have stuck to the same bob style over the years. In Singapore, I can think of 987FM DJ Sonia Chew and Yesah Designer Linda Hao.

It takes some confidence to wear a bob well. After all, you no longer have long hair to shield your face, and usually a bob (depending on the cut) will serve to emphasise some of your facial features even more. 

Bob Medium hairstyle-6
Jan 2013
So here’s me when I first chopped off my locks. I have had long, wavy hair before this, so the hairstylist straightened out my hair and then cut them to shoulder length. In a way it’s not a bob, but because it was the first time I was going short, I wanted to give myself a bit of leeway just in case I didn’t like having short hair. 

Bob Medium hairstyle-5
May 2013
And then, I went all short as in almost pixie cut short. I had this style cut in Jakarta - I literally just walked into a random salon, pointed to a reference photo and told them to cut it. Now thinking back, I was really quite young and reckless - the older me would never dare to let someone whom I can’t trust cut my hair. 

Bob Medium hairstyle-12
Dec 2013
The pixie cut grew out when I was in London and I went into a Toni & Guy Training Academy there and had them color it for me for free. I went from black into a ombre copper brown.

Bob Medium hairstyle-7
Apr 2014
And then in early 2014, I met Avan, my stylist whom I now cannot live without. He was the one who created the bob cut for me. The first style I went for was a classic bob style a la Kiko Mizuhara - the ends were curled in with a “one-curl rebonding” - which made it really easy to style my hair at home. All I have to do was to blow dry the roots first, then the rest of the hair, while curling the ends inwards using my fingers and the curl would stay. I went violet red with this style after a few months.

Bob Medium hairstyle-11
June 2015
As my hair grew out a bit more, I kept a chin-length bob which I think would probably remain as my classic style for the rest of my life. (Or not, till I get bored of it.) I went from violet red to honey-brown with copper brown highlights interspersed. 

Bob Medium hairstyle-3
Oct 2015
I also tried a wavy bob through a digital perm. 

Bob Medium hairstyle-8 Bob Medium hairstyle-1 Bob Medium hairstyle-4 I changed my color slightly each time I visited Avan but generally stuck to the same color family - Dark chestnut brown, light honey brown, dark red, violet etc. Generally, Avan gives me highlights each time to really show off the color and add layers to the hair, especially in sunlight. I've gotten compliments from people each time with the color and cut, so I pretty much trust Avan and Selyn (who usually handles my coloring) for anything. 

Bob Medium hairstyle-10I keep my hair healthy after so many chemical treatments by religiously applying hair oil every night. I use Morrocan Oil, which I apply on damp hair and then blow dry. It keeps my hair smooth and shiny on a day-to-day basis. On top of that, I also visit Pro Trim regularly for Japanese Mukota Treatments, which works wonders when you have dry, frizzy and tangled hair. And also, Kerastase Scalp Treatment to restore the health of our scalp, to ensure healthy hair regrowth. 

I'm sharing my stylist with you! If you'd like Avan to handle your hair, simply drop by Pro Trim Hair Salon at 313@Somerset, or call at 6238 7027. Quote my name and receive 20% off any hair services. 

Gnossem x Naked Glory - Talk about Flow

posted on: Thursday, June 11, 2015

Red Block Heel Mules from Charles & Keith
Shot by Nicole Lee

I love dresses which move together with me - It is almost an organic flow that is like an extension of your body. I think it just gives more allure to the wearer. This Gaurav & Ritika Sky Draped Dress from Gnossem is like the perfect combination of a fitted silhouette and draping - the back opens up with a cutout that give the dress a bit of a sex appeal, which is at the same time tasteful. 

Gnossem offers style for the unboring woman, giving options for the busy everyday woman who wants a little bit something more in her wardrobe choices. Its selection of designs are generally more unique, or even unconventional, but at the same time very tasteful. Indeed, why always stick to the same pencil or bodycon silhouette when it comes to cocktail dresses when you can have designs such as this fusion of drapery and fit? 

Other than publishing its own editorial content such as Editor's Style Picks, Gnossem also does profiles of inspiring women who have accomplished a lot on their own. I enjoyed looking through them and getting inspiration from them. Its founder, Lisa Crosswhite, is probably also a perfect example of that. Lisa has gone from being a strategist at Ogilvy to founding her own online boutique, and is always just so full of joie de vivre. To get a sense of Lisa's impeccable style, you can visit her house, as shot by my friend, Franz of Lilreddotfolks. Happy shopping!
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