#1957 | Osaka Diaries

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Grid Checkered Dress c/o MDS Collections | White Lindee Workbag c/o Sandytrove | Nude Loafers: Zalora SG

imagesOsaka, Japan.
All photos taken with the Nikon D5500

Osaka is weird. It’s no Tokyo, that’s to be sure, but neither is it stuffed and sewn with culture, like Kyoto. Instead, walking along the streets of Osaka, giant plastic figurines pour out of the side of buildings and reach down to you, crawling out of windows and smiling creepily at the passerbys down below. Quirky is one word to describe it. Weird is another.

Either way, I liked it. I think I would be hard pressed to find a place I didn’t like – as far as things go, I’m a relatively easy traveller, generally happy as long as I’m safe and the place has some sort of distinctive character. I didn’t fall in love with Osaka the same way I did Tokyo, but a strong liking is good in anyone’s books, mine included.

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We picked an apartment on Airbnb as usual, and stayed in the centre of Namba, the main shopping district in Osaka where things happen, where the weirdness centers.

If location is key, the apartment we stayed in was the listing to end all listings. For a location as perfect as this, I would have been happy with even the most pared down of apartments – but it was a major plus that the apartment was cozy, comfortable, and borderline luxurious for a self sufficient studio in the city centre. 10/10 would recommend.


Us girls getting our make up done in the mornings

The place comfortably fit the five of us, and was smack in the centre of the city. I dont think I can stress enough how convenient the place was, and how crucial convenience is to picking accommodation on trips. At every hour we could leave the apartment and there would be something to do along the streets downstairs – we could karaoke, we could bowl, we could snack, we could do a ton of things. It was incredible. We were never bored in Osaka – but then again, I think it’s impossible to be bored in Japan, ever. The place is a hotpot of entertainment, every corner eager to please.


There was an Ichiran near our place, which was awesome

Osaka was also the place where I had my virgin success at the Claw Machine – the first day we touched down, burning time while waiting for Penny to join us (she was coming from a different part of Japan), we walked into one of the many arcades that litter the streets of Osaka. Initially we were just going to try once just for the sake of it, because we were in Japan, but as I was walking out someone at the next machine won.. which meant the machines weren’t rigged!!!

Thus began the demise of my life savings.

Just kidding. I spent a good hour there clunking away at various machines, and finally won a giant Hello Kitty plushie which now sits proudly on my bed at home because it is the result of a LIFETIME of failed attempts at Claw Machines. I know I spent over 1000 yen but under 2000, which meant that the Hello Kitty plush cost me about 20SGD, and that’s totally ok with me because it also comes packaged with the sweet, sweet taste of success.

So if nothing else, I remember Osaka for this: validation and assurance that I do have minor successes in life 😀

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Namba at night

On retrospect, I think the city reminded me a little of a mix of Tokyo and Seoul. Obviously Japanese, but pace-wise similar to the capital of South Korea. Growing up on a diet of Asian teledramas has resulted in me putting asian cities on a sort of pedestal when it comes to nighttime scenes – walking happily down glowing streets, stalls steaming with various smells and bustling with cheerful noise on both sides, people generally being happy to be where they are, couples eating mochi, bright eyes reflecting the city lights all around. I love Asia, I love Asia at night, and I’m glad to say that Osaka was the same for me.


cozy nights in our airbnb place

Another thing – growing up, I was never allowed to have sleepovers, either at my friends places or mine. All class chalets ran till 10pm for me, after which I had to make my way home. Osaka for me was additionally special because it ran like a giant girly sleepover – even with the two boys there, we had a lot of fun just rolling around and having heart to hearts that ran late into the night. Huge props to the company and setting – I dont think I could have done Osaka any better, bookmarking the end of my undergraduate life with the people who’ve been there throughout. x

Thank you Airbnb Singapore for the perfect apartment – all of us adored it to no end!

x
♥jem

#1956 | Owl you need is love – Owl Cafe, Osaka

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Me trying to sneak a pic with a rather unimpressed owl

imagesOsaka, Japan.
All photos taken with the Nikon D5500

The one regret I had from my time in Tokyo was being unable to hit up an owl cafe. A classic example of too much to do, too little time. It was something at the top of my bucket list this time in Osaka, and the cherry on top of the pie: there was one was right down the street from our airbnb apartment in Osaka!

Fab. So we made plans to head to Lucky Owl first thing in the morning, a result of our experience fighting for attention with all the other cooing customers in various cat cafes a year before in Seoul. We needn’t have worried – we were the first people in. That’s what we forgot I think – the quintessential difference between Tokyo, Seoul, and Osaka, cityscapes ultimately running on differently paced schedules. The cafe itself opened at 10, but we were the only people in there for the entirety of our hour there.

You walk up the stairs and open the door to a gentle fluffing of wings and a roomful of curious eyes turned to fix on you. It’ll cost you 1000yen for a drink and an hour in the cafe. For us, the drinks were mostly abandoned to condensation and ignored in favour of the fluffy owls – there really is no point pretending you’re there to have a drink, because you’re not. From experience, drinks at these cafes tend to be terrible anyway, and these were no different.

There are a variety of owl breeds hosted in Lucky Owl. I say hosted because apparently the place doubles as a boarding house for privately owned owls when their owners go on holiday, which means that the place must be pretty trusted within the Japanese community, for people to be ok leaving their beloved pets there. No? Either way, you know that the owls here are very fussed over and loved – the 1000 yen you pay doesn’t hold much water with the owners in terms of handling the owls. They’re very strict with which owls you can touch, and how.

The owl stands are tagged by color, denoting which you can touch (only on the beak) , which you can hold, and which you can only look at. No flash photography at all times, obviously. And if you’d like to hold an owl, you cant just pick them up – you have to get the owner to help you wear a bird glove, and you can only hold them for a little while. And no picking them up, putting them down, and picking them up again – it’ll stress the birds out, so you get to pick them up once.

The level of strictness means no pictures with owls on your head or shoulder – only on your arm – which is ok with me, because that shows how serious the owners are with prioritising the owl’s comfort levels. The owners dont speak much english, but you can tell that they adore their fluffy friends. It radiates out of them.

A great two hours. Owl definitely recommend this place to anyone looking to have a hoot. Sorry – couldn’t resist making a bad pun or two..

Lucky Owl
2F 1-3-12 Matsumura Building,
Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka.
JR Line: Nipponbashi Station
Kintetsu Nara line: Kintetsunipponbashi Station

x
♥jem

#1955 | The year’s half gone..

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Some visuals from our pitstop at Pokeno Ice Cream, Great South Road, Auckland. Famous for the option of stacking 15 scoops of creamy eis atop a cone, unlikely home to the discovery that the takeaway fish and chips from the same store were overshadowed / mind-blowing.

Being forced to stay home in June and a good part of July thanks to the operation has given me a lot of space to think about the year gone by. In a couple of days I’ll be zipping off to London to watch my best friend graduate, but before then I just wanted to check in, to clear my head, to reflect a little..

To say that 2015 is a momentous year wouldn’t be technically wrong – graduation, new phases of life, etcetera etcetera – but it hasn’t felt that way so far. To be honest it’s been such a mad blur that I’ve just been taking things as they come, and it hasn’t sunk in yet that official academia is over for me. I suppose since I’m going on to do my Masters it’s more or less the same to me, but to everyone else (read: family) it’s a huge deal. When I got back my final year’s results to a yGPA of 5.0 and straight A+s I nearly burst into tears because as silly as it seems, results matter to me. When I put in effort into something I like seeing results, and whether these results affect anything except how I feel or not is a different story. I poured a lot of my heart and soul into the creation of something new for my final university thesis and now that that’s over I hold it in one hand, slightly crumpled, wondering where to take it from here. I still dont have an answer to that.

I dont think a single month has gone by without me flying the coop – Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Tokyo, Phuket, Penang, Osaka, Kyoto, Hong Kong – and the opportunity to zip around so much is something that wouldn’t even have been thinkable to me, four, five years ago. I think if you’re proud of something you should say so, and so I’m still slightly dazed and amazed when I say now that my Broke Student’s Guide, which originally started as more of a fun thing to do, started attracting the interest of brands and organisations awhile back. I never thought I’d be able to say this, but I now count Nikon and Airbnb amongst some of my closest working relationships. I guess things really do have a funny way of working themselves out. Beyond that, I concluded the run of my first long form reality tv series and started another. I started hosting more and more, I’ve done a couple of commercial advertisements and video campaigns, and I’m so glad to have found within the past few years two passions instead of one: writing and hosting. Everything’s been wonderful so far, and I find myself feeling mostly grateful at the people around me, both old and new.

At the same time, I dont know how I’ve progressed as a whole. I don’t think I’ve been happier, generally, but there’s still a sense of wanting something more.. which is why I’m going to be focusing the second half of the year not just on continuing the content creation that I do, but also directing a larger portion of my effort and time to writing, and improving in terms of photography, which is an area I feel like I’m still falling short in despite having the privilege of working with some very talented people from the Nikon family :) I’m putting this out here now so that if in half a year I havent improved in any way y’all can yell at me YOU PROMISED TO WORK ON IT, bc whatever is on the internet is forever you guys.

So yes, that’s the deal: I work on it, and you guys keep me in check. Deal?

And now – off to London. x

x
♥jem

#1954 | The Airbnb x Jemma’s Broke Student’s Guide Challenge – A day in Osaka for $50.

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imagesOsaka, Japan.
All photos taken with the Nikon D5500

One of the things I love about my relationship with Airbnb is how game they are for unconventional methods of collaboration. When they heard that I was headed to Japan again, they threw me a little challenge: doing a day in Osaka for 50SGD. That’s less than what I sometimes spend in Singapore per day even, but anything to spice up my trip a little, right? Challenge, accepted. So here we go: The Airbnb x Jemma BSG Challenge. (Spoiler: I won.)

Why SGD50?

When headed to Japan, most people recommend allocating 100SGD for expenses per day you are there. Now I dont know what sort of holiday these people are used to, but that’s pretty luxurious by my standards. So Airbnb boldly halved the recommended budget to see if the BSG could stick to it – and if so, how.

What’s that in yen?

The exchange rate for my trip was 90.09 yen per 1SGD, which is pretty damn good I think. I always change my money at Simei Eastpoint’s Basement, because they have the best rates in the East. For reference, tampines tried to give me 88.9 on the same day.

Ergo my budget in yen for the day was 90.09 x 50 = 4504.5yen.


My face hadnt woken up yet..

Every Single Thing about my $50 day

I didn’t want to just do a normal day within Osaka – because hey, that’s not too difficult right? Just dont spend anything except on three meals and you should be able to keep it to just under fifty. But theres no fun in that, and realistically speaking you’re going to want to do things, so I planned for this $50 day to include a day trip to Nara plus one other attraction. It’s going to be a freakin all rounded $50 day full of experiences you guys! Budget trippin doesn’t have to be miserable!

I wrote down every single thing I spent in that day, which I will detail in:

The Fifty Dollar Day

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You can see a little bit of my eyeliner smudged on my finger, excuse that..

I started off my day at the FamilyMart right at the foot of my Airbnb apartment building. Family Marts, Lawrys, and 7-11s are all pretty common in Japan, and they’re the staple of any budget trip because besides selling relatively cheap and convenient fare, they are also awesome. I had a coffee and two eggs, as per my daily breakfast abroad.

Total spent: 331yen.

Because we were planning to budget it out in an extremely photogenic way, I proposed a picnic in Nara. Penny was really enthusiastic about it because she apparently has this thing going on called #picnicgoals, where she picnics in every city she hits.. but okay. It meant she already had a picnic mat, which was great! All we needed was the food. For that, we went to one of the takeout places in the train station that charge you by weight. This one was called Cook Deli.

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We didn’t recognise most of the food we got, but that was ok, it all tasted great

We got a variety of things to share: japanese salads, onigiris, weird rolls… basically, japanese dishes which looked interesting and new. It came up to 470yen/person split between the five of us.

Now I know what you’ll say – it’s not fair, you can split everything by five, so of course it’s cheaper, right? Wrong. With more people, you need more food, and so even though the number of people you can split your cost with rises, so does the amount you spend on food overall. And we had two guys with sizeable appetites, so I think it was a pretty realistic gauge.. Generally, from experience, once you have over 2 people in your travelling party, food costs can go quite low because you can split everything.


Jap confectionaries are the bomb btw

We also got a lovely Japanese torched cheesecake (bottom row) because it was Penny’s birthday! 😀 That was 110yen/person.

Total spent: 911yen.

From there, we navigated the train ticketing system (alright, Candice did it, she had the best direction sense of us all) and bought our tickets to Nara!

Tip: Take the private Kintetsu Kyoto Line instead of the JR Nara line. It’s faster and cheaper, taking only 35 minutes for 560 yen. That’s only SGD6++ for a day trip out of Osaka!!! Crazy.

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Super quiet Japanese trains – ie. judgemental selfie time.

The Kintetsu Kyoto line, which is what we took, drops you off in the centre of Nara, which is far more preferable to the JR Nara line (a 20 minute walk to the city centre), so trust me when I say take the Kintetsu Line. Ask someone there if you dont know where to take the train!

Total spent: 1471yen.


What’s Up, Nara!

From where the train dropped us, it was only about a five to ten minutes walk to Nara Deer Park. The deers roam free, which is a pleasant surprise – I expected to pay an entry fee to see and pet the deer. The only thing you really have to pay for, which is optional anyway, are deer biscuits. This is optional and I dont know whether to recommend it or not because deer go batshit over these biscuits and will aggressively upskirt you in an attempt to get your biscuits. That’s what those antlers are for. So, yeah. It’s your call.

We went to the grounds opposite the deer park to have our picnic first, because they were relatively deer-free and we didn’t want to have to deal with deer trying to eat our food off the ground.


Happy Birthday, Penny!

Picnics are the best. Im going to appropriate Penny’s #picnicgoals and picnic everywhere I go from now on. It was the best way to spend an afternoon, just lounging on the grass and eating weird things we didn’t know the name of.

I 100% recommend picnicking because they add a nice cozy twist to any holiday. In Japan though, they’re not necessarily much cheaper than dining in a small eatery. In Europe, however, I picnicked across Salzburg and Switzerland, and it was the cheapest way to see those cities, hands down.

Ok, with lunch done, it was time to get some deer action going!! No entry fees, as mentioned before, so it was really open house all around.


Look at that look of lust on that deer’s face. TSK deer.


Me + my deer.

Because I am a Singaporean, I had to have a selfie with a deer. Unfortunately, that resulted in this:

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Unamused deer is unamused.

Hilarious, I know.
I still think I fared better than my friends though:


Penny with a deer.

The key is not to be scared of them, people! Fear never looks good in photos!

Anyway. I decided to go all out and buy a pack of deer biscuits, because they were only 150yen and I wanted to see what would happen if I did.


Basically this.

The conclusion is: deer dont leave you alone once they know you have the biscuits. In fact, they go quite crazy – this particular one kept lifting up my skirt with its antlers, because idk, maybe he thought that was where I kept the biscuits?! Crazy deer. So basically the biscuits were finished in no time since you cant move along much if the deer around you know you still have biscuits – they just harass you until they’re all gone.

Which made us wonder – why dont they attack the deer biscuit stalls? There were pushcarts stocked with deer biscuits everywhere, and they didn’t look particularly well protected. If anyone knows, please enlighten me :)

Anyway, I decided to nominate myself as the deer whisperer, because I was relatively unafraid of them – they didn’t look like they were the sort to attack people, and I really wanted some good pictures with them HAHA. Priorities!

I named this one Audrey.

Ha! Success.

So that was Nara deer park for us. I think it’s safe to say it was my first time seeing deer up close, and it was really lovely! They’re incredibly annoying and obnoxious without being violent, and remind me of my cat, which is probably my favourite thing about them. When I posted the deer pictures on instagram my dad texted me to say you could get fleas from them and die, but so far I’m ok, so I think all is good. Go forth and hang out with some deer.

We then headed to a sushi conveyor belt place in Nara central which was supposed to be pretty famous, although I dont know the name of the place.


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The sushi was so good I think I could die. I split everything I had with Penny – three dishes: roasted salmon, hotate, and frozen ichigo bliss. It came up to 640yen/person, which was pretty steep for someone on a budget I think, but really, really good.

After that we were thirsty so Penny and I split a giant carton of grapefruit juice for 70yen each at a 7-11 store.


Grapefruit juice is the best ^^

Super recommend buying the huge 1/1.5l cartons over the lame 500ml ones if you can, because they’re so much cheaper! Usually even when travelling alone, we’ll buy the big one and just carry it around, hugging it like a bolster. Girls get away with this easier, I think, because people just dismiss it as being cute. Lol. Gender stereotypes in action, but okay.

Total spent: 2331yen. (sushi + deer biscuits + grapefruit juice)

By this time it was pretty late in the afternoon, so we decided to leave Nara for Osaka Castle, one of those must-see things in Osaka.


#21stcenturyrelationships

I think all of us fell asleep on the train at some point because we were so exhausted by then. I’m telling you, fending off deer looking for biscuits is no joke. Anyway, the train ticket from Nara to Osaka was 560yen, and we topped up another 50yen to swap the ticket for one to Osaka Castle. Ask a train conductor if you need help with this – that’s what we did.

Total spent: 2941yen.

We timed it so our visit to Osaka castle would coincide nicely with the sunset, and it was lovely! The castle is quite a walk from the train station, which was a nice way to unwind after the long train ride and shake off the sleepy remains of our nap.


WOOHOO GOLDEN HOUR!!!

The castle was closed by the time we got there, which was ok by me because I dont like going into castles and what not – had enough of those when living in Europe, and learnt the hard way that these things are nicer from the outside than from within. *cough*Neuschwanstein Castle*cough*

Plus if you stay outside you save on the entry fee, woohoo!

The outside of Osaka Castle, though, was lovely. It’s a modest climb up, which means it affords some pretty awesome views of the cityscape and of the sunset. We stayed for an hour perched on the stone walls surrounding the castle, waiting for the sun to set.

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The squad in Osaka

As the last of the sunrays left, so did we. Dinner was had at a random joint, one of those vending machine eateries. I dont remember much about it but I do have a picture:

I also wrote down how much it cost in total per person – 630yen. Our train back to Namba, Osaka, where we stayed, was another 240yen.

Total spent: 3811yen.

Back in our area, we walked around for a bit before heading back, which is what we did every night: explore a little bit more of the Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi streets near our place. We discovered the best gyozas in the history of gyozas along the streets of Dontonbori and had some pretty great waffles in Shinsaibashi..

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Look for the red gyoza shop with a giant gyoza sticking out of the shop’s signboard

Shared Gyoza: 50yen
Shared Waffles: 100yen

And much later at night, after lazing around in our apartment and unloading our bags, we went for a midnight supper run at a Matsumo outlet near our place. In case you didn’t read my Keeping with the Kyotians post (TSK), Matsumo is one of the three 24hr eatery chains in japan that are absolutely amazing. You order via a vending machine, which gives you a ticket which the people there collect from you in exchange for hot food. AMAZING.

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We had curry rice and a beef bowl, split between Mart, Penny, and I. Didn’t care for the curry rice because I have zero tolerance for spicy food, but the beef bowl was incredible. I MISS IT EVEN NOW. Japanese gyudons are the best!!!

Stuffed and happy, we thus concluded our day and rolled cheerfully back to the apartment :)

Total spent: 4274yen.

Cost tally

Original Proposed Budget: 4504.5yen

Expenditure:

Breakfast: 331yen
Cheesecake: 110yen
Picnic food: 470yen
Ticket to Nara: 560yen
Deer Food: 150yen
Shared Sushi: 640yen
Shared Grapefruit Juice: 70yen
Ticket from Nara: 560yen
Ticket topup for Osaka Castle: 50yen
Dinner: 630yen
Ticket from Osaka Castle: 240yen
Shared Gyoza: 50yen
Shared Waffles: 100yen
Shared Matsumo Supper: 313yen
Total: 4274yen.

Leftover: 230.5yen

Actual amount spent in SGD: $47.5

Success!!

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It came as a mix of relief and surprise that I managed to stick within the budget – honestly, I didn’t know if I would be able to because fifty bucks is quite easily blown for me in Singapore. I think that’s because I cab to my meetings a lot on the basis that time is money, and cab fares accumulate quick. Plus, Japan is known to be a pricy Southeast Asian country, and to me you’re always more liberal with your spending on holidays than at home, because everything is very Once in a Lifetime and all that, you know?

But I think if you read through the post, it’s pretty clear that we didn’t suffer at all from the budget restriction. At no point in the day did I feel like I was missing out on anything because I had a budget limit placed on me – I think that comes through pretty clearly in the post, we basically did a whole bunch of things for very little money. It could have been less, even, if we didn’t indulge in midday sushi or random roadside snacks – but I think that’s the point, that we could enjoy all these little things and still not bust 50 bucks a day.

So, yeah! Very proud to announce that the Jemma x Airbnb 50bucks a day challenge was a success 😀 It is totally doable you guys, so stop thinking that Japan is going to be unendingly expensive and leave you bankrupt, and start planning for your next trip there!

Thank you Airbnb Singapore for the challenge – and for the rest of you, I cant wait to bring you more of such content in collaboration with the super awesome team at Airbnb :)

x
♥jem

#1953 | hey brow, do you even lift?

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Erabelle Prestige, Orchard Visioncrest.

Hey guys,

So this post is a long time in coming. After ages of being harassed by you guys online (and I’m speaking emails, askfms, comments on my IG going WHY DONT YOU DO YOUR BROWS???), I finally succumbed and got my brows professionally done at the start of this year with Erabelle.

I’ve never seen brows as a big deal, but of course that just goes to show that we all make mistakes sometimes. It’s never been a habit of mine to draw my brows, but the older I got the more people started commenting on them – so I started getting them regularly threaded. However, it soon became apparent that even that wasnt enough. Something about shape. So I tried filling them in, only to learn the hard way that your brows are the hardest part of your make up routine to get right.

For your entertainment:

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Before getting my brows done – without drawing them. You can see how they have virtually no shape and also, it’s becoming apparent that I dont have much by the way of brows to begin with..

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Laos, February. I have started trying to draw them on, but they still dont look like anything. Dammit! This is why I had bangs!

Soon I became pretty obsessed with them, and started pointing out other people’s brows to my friends, while at the same time trying desperately to get my own right via my mini eyebrow pencil. I also received quite a few emails from different brow embroidery companies asking after a sponsorship collaboration – which meant that my brow situation must’ve been getting a little too dire to ignore. Still, I shied away from saying yes to any of them because 1. I was afraid of getting anything permanent/semi permanent done in case I didn’t like it and 2. I dont like needles. I was slowly being bought over though.. and the final trigger was my girlfriend Xiaoqi. She and her sister went to get their brows done at Erabelle as paying customers, and both loved them. And they looked so good! I was convinced.

So okay, I said yes to Erabelle. This is where I must clarify that this isn’t a paid ad – in fact, I rarely take ads nowadays for my blog – and I told Erabelle the same. They sponsored the service with the understanding that I would only talk about it online if I really liked it, and they also knew that due to the high cost of the service I may or may not recommend it to younger readers.

After I got my brows done, I posted the results on instagram asking if people would be interested to read more about it, to which you guys said YES:

So here i am :)

First up, let’s get the pricing out of the way, because lets face it – that’s going to be the main consideration for most people.

The Erabrowlogy, which is what I did, costs SGD1314. This consists four sessions over the course of two years, which is approximately how long your brow perfection will last for with proper care. It includes face analysis and brow shaping beforehand so you know what you’ll look like post embroidery, and also comes with an aftercare set.

You can find more information here. Ask for Yuki, she’s amazing.

If it isn’t already obvious enough, I must say: I love the results and how it’s shaped my face. More gushing later, but essentially the advantages of having semi permanent embroidery done over tattooing is that it looks better, more natural, and you dont run the risk of having your face permanently looking surprised if it goes wrong (which it shouldn’t). That is also why it only lasts two years. This is the number one issue for me when it comes to recommending the service, because it’s not a small amount. At the same time, if you have the cash to spend, it really does change your entire look for the better. So this is what I concluded:

Recommended for: Working adults who would benefit the most from a polished, sophisticated look. Bc looking professional and on fleek is essential for working adults, plus by the time you hit 25 its time to seriously start investing in yourself and how you look!

Not Recommended for: People still in school. Bc students by nature have no money and you definitely should not be asking your parents to pay for your beauty needs okay? Learn to draw your brows the hard way like everyone else.

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This is what I looked like the week I had my brows done.

One other thing i did with Erabelle is their eyeliner embroidery service, called Eraliner. Eraliner is exactly what it sounds like – semi-permanent eyeliner embroidery. It costs SGD856 for single liner (just the top or bottom lid, both eyes) and SGD1319 for full liner (top and bottom, both eyes).

This is really more of a luxury than Erabrowlogy. What it realistically does is tightline your lashes, so your eyes look more defined. When you have eyeliner on, it saves you the trouble of tightlining and potentially embarrassing yourself if you dont do it properly (because how ugly is the skin gap when you forget to tightline?). When you dont have eyeliner on, you look decent. It’s especially useful when I go to the gym because I dont look like a complete trainwreck without my makeup on..

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This is what I look like without make up, with Eraliner done.

But yes. I still use my gel liner on top of my Eraliner on a regular basis because I like my liner thick and strong, so if you’re the type who uses a lot of eyeliner like me, this would really be an additional luxury I would only recommend if you have the cash to spend. On the other hand, I feel more at ease hanging out without make up on lazy days because they still make my eyes pop.

I think the bottom line is that it’s a good and effective service, but only if you have the money for it.

You can get more information on the Eraliner here. My eraliner artist is called Fannie, and I love what she did with my eyes.

Okay, so now that you know what the upfront cost is. Moving on..

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Make up routine: Streamlined

I’m not going to go into super specific detail regarding how beautiful the place is, the kind of music they play, or the type of tea they serve you when you reach, because honestly, if you’re there for the service, the place could be a collapsing building and you would still go in, in the name of beauty. So lets suffice to say that the interior decor is gorgeous, and everybody there is professional to the level of gently scary perfection. See picture one of this post for reference.

Instead, here are the important things to know if you’re considering erabrowlogy:

1. Shaping.
When you reach, your brow artist will shape and draw your brows for you after conducting a face analysis and talking to you regarding your face shape. She will also take before and after pictures using an iPad so you know where it’s at.

The brow artists have a lot of experience and therefore are masters of their craft, which means they aren’t amused by silly passing fads. If you request a certain brow style that is on trend and they dont think it suits your face they won’t do it for you. Which is something I like because to me, that’s integrity.

2. The Process
Takes about an hour, but to be safe allocate two hours because you have like pre-embroidery consultation and so on, plus the place is so chill you’re probably going to relax there after the procedure instead of rushing off.

The process itself is pretty comfortable. You sit on this cushy chair and they put numbing cream on your brows for awhile before using a huge pen-like machine to shade your brows. If you want, they’ll show you the ink they’re using plus the nibs of the pen and what not. It’s all very transparent. The machine and technology itself comes from Germany, and having lived in the country for 7 months I am obliged to say that that means it is TOP NOTCH. I fell asleep during the procedure, which goes to show that it is either very painless or that I can fall asleep anywhere.

3. Aftercare
Your brows can’t touch water for the rest of the day plus you have to apply super intense moisturising cream which they will give you for a week, to help your brows heal. I forgot a couple of times but I still turned out alright. I suggest you stick to their instructions though.

4. Immediate post procedure darkness
A lot of people are worried about looking weird for a week while the brows slowly fade back to normal. It was my concern as well because I’ve seen friends who do their brow embroidery elsewhere walk around with really dark brows for a week after.. but yeah, it was ok with mine. I had zero downtime and I think I looked normal after. In fact, I went straight from embroidery to shoot after my first touch up with Erabelle: you can see what it’s like in motion below:


You can see how it looks in real life, not just in pictures too – episode one was filmed right after I got my brows done, and episode two was about three weeks after.

However, for Eraliner, there’s a bit of a downtime depending on each individual. I didn’t wear eye make up for three to four days because my eyes were a little swollen after the eraliner procedure and i didn’t want to risk infection or anything, but I know of someone who had zero downtime for eraliner, so like I said, it depends.

Real Life Effect for me

This is the bit where I go on about how the brow embroidery has changed my life for the better. And dont say I’m being dramatic – because it has! Just for your reference, the moment I decided that brows really made a difference was post embroidery, when within a week, seven different people asked me if I lost weight. (I didn’t.)

So yes, the bit about good brows shaping your whole face is true.

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woohoo

Beyond that, it’s as simple as this: I just look better in pictures and onscreen. I look more polished, sharper, and I kinda look like I got my shit together. As opposed to before, when I looked more like a kid I guess. And the compliments! People comment on my brow game all the time, and when people (read: boys) dont realise I’ve gotten my brows done, they just make a vague comment about how I look better. I’m not trying to be annoying here, I’m just saying. Great brows make a difference.

Another part which I love – I look more on point when travelling. For some reason now looking at my old photos in Laos and Bangkok earlier this year before getting my brows done really annoys me because I cant stop noticing how unprofessional my old brows look. Here are some pictures from each trip following my Erabrowlogy procedure:


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Hong Kong, June

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Osaka, May

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Penang, May

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Tokyo, April

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Phuket, March

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Local Staycation, March

You see? I look like I know what’s up. It’s awesome.

Thank you for your generosity and hospitality, Erabelle Prestige! Erabelle has a bunch of outlets scattered around Singapore, which you can find listed here.

The one I went to was Erabelle Prestige at Orchard, off Dhoby Ghaut.

Erabelle Prestige
103 Penang Road, #01-06, 238467
6836 8388

I super recommend them, because, well, you saw the photos.

Thank you once again Erabelle :) And for everyone else, may you have beautiful brows forever because they are the best.

x
♥jem