#1876| Jemma for Jean Yip x Silky Smooth Sunshine

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Top: Primark | Skirt: H&M Europe | Necklace c/o Klarra | Heels: Topshop Istanbul | Hat c/o Bebe Singapore | Watch: G20104 Classic Couture Collection c/o Guy Laroche | Photos by Cepheus Chan for Uniquecolors

Coming back from seven months in Europe without a regular hairdresser and heading straight to Jean Yip barely a day after touchdown has become something of a quip between my friends and I. On one hand, I want silky smooth hair, on the other, I enjoy being various shades of blonde. The compromise is always an inordinate amount of time and attention focused on keeping my locks healthy, and you can do this several ways:

1. Regular trimming

I hate having to take a blade to my hair but this is one of those sad truths of life you get increasingly reconciled to as you get older. The way to grow your hair out healthily is paradoxically to regularly trim it to get rid of split ends – something very common if you bleach your hair like I do.

2. Proper home haircare

I’ll write a post on this soon, but right now the baseline is that it’s crucial that you treat your hair right from the day to day. My hair is bleached silly, so I condition my hair everyday, use a hair mask once a week, and apply an anti-frizz solution when I get out of the bath. (I’m using the O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum, for those of you asking, because sustainable living you guys.) I told you I’m very thorough with my hair. I also use my tangle teezer over my normal brushes because I feel like it works through the tangles more easily and puts less pressure on my scalp. One other thing that my hairdresser stresses on that I always try to remember is to lather my shampoo before applying it onto my scalp, because otherwise it might damage your hair or cause dandruff. In any case, I’ll consolidate all this into a separate post soon, because there’s way too much to talk about here.

3. Regular hair treatments

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With my personal stylist, David, who also did Wolverine’s hair once.

I’ve been also going for regular hair treatments with Jean Yip, which basically intensifies all the home haircare steps I’ve mentioned above. The first thing you should know about hair treatments is – it’s not permanent. Ie. You can’t just go for one and expect it to magically make your hair smooth and healthy forever. You have to either follow up with intensive home haircare, or go for treatments regularly. I know that if you’re not working yet it can be pricey, so I suggest you evaluate your finances before deciding to embark on a long term treatment plan with a salon.

The second thing you should know is, it works differently for everyone. For example, someone with less damaged hair might see drastic results after each session, but for someone like me who’s been bleaching her hair for over a year now, it’s more like a long term recovery plan. What i’m currently doing with Jean Yip is their signature treatment called the Super Silk because the name inspires so much confidence, heh heh. They customized the Super Silk treatment for me according to what I need, so everyone’s experience may not be exactly the same, but here’s what I do:

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Cleaning.

They use an electrical probe thingy to cleanse my scalp of all impurities for scalp health and also because if your hair follicles are blocked, it affects hair growth. It’s something like using a detoxing shampoo every week, the only difference being this is more intense. Sometimes at home you dont scrub thoroughly enough, or you accidentally neglect certain areas, but with this you hit every single spot. The only downside is you can’t use your touchscreen phone during this treatment because the electricity drives your phone mad. The first time I did this treatment while texting I went crazy trying to figure out why my phone was texting everyone strange letters and emojis. It was like a very sober and healthy version of drunk texting.

Treatment.

After this, they apply their custom blend of treatment products to your hair and leaves it in this huge balloon thing that inflates and steams your hair. Jean Yip produces all their own hair products, so you cant get it anywhere else! I also don’t have / wont post a picture of that hair balloon thing because I look ridiculous in it. If you want to know what it looks like you can pop your head into any salon, there are always a bunch of people doing it. The rationale for it is that the hot hair opens up your hair and increases the absorption of the treatment product, which is very similar to what I used to do in poolside saunas – apply hair oil to your hair and slowly cook yourself silly in a sauna – minus the whole getting messy and sweaty while waiting for your hair to smoothen out.

Beaming alien rays into my head.

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Ok, just kidding. I was really amused when they made me wear sunglasses to protect my eyes, but this light treatment is supposed to be able to penetrate your skin more easily and therefore have its effects felt more deeply. Check out how shiny my hair is afterwards:

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In any case, it’s a journey. I wouldnt say my hair is perfectly smooth now, but it’s getting smoother and there’s a marked difference from when I’d just touched down from Europe back in Singapore. My ultimate goal is hitting hair commercial level one day in the distant future, where they pull your hair through a ring and it silkily slips down your shoulder in waves, so I’ll be writing a post soon on proper haircare at home!

Meanwhile if you have any tips on how you keep your own hair healthy, hit me up in the comments or on ask.fm so I can take them into consideration while writing my next post! :)

x
♥jem

#1875| Guide to: Top Five Best Free Travel Apps

I feel somewhat like I’m writing more and more how-to posts than actual narratives from the places i’ve been. Still, for both my own bookmarking purposes and in the spirit of being generally helpful (..?), i’ve finally gotten round to compiling the list of phone applications I found most useful during the course of my seven month long trip. I did a bit of sounding out on my twitter about general interest in this post and you guys responded rather positively, so here we go!

Context:

I’m using an iPhone 5s but most of these apps have an android equivalent. I’ve given up on trying to use my blackberry for anything other than email and text.

A note on battery usage:

When i’m traveling, if i don’t get a local sim card i always turn my phone to airplane mode. This is because I use it pretty frequently to take photos interchangeably with my cameras, and I need to conserve battery. However, most of these apps need you to have a signal at least, so turn it on and off as and when you need it.

1. City Maps 2 Go

Despite my strong disapproval of any professional application (or person, actually) that uses “2″ instead of “to”, this is an amazing application. It’s basically offline maps for whatever city complete with a wiki guide and a gps locator. The free version gives you free maps for five cities with one extra with every person you refer, but they’re forever running special offers where you can upgrade to the pro unlimited version for free, which is what I did, so I suggest you download the free version now even if you’re not planning to travel soon and then wait for the pop up notice that says UPGRADE TO PRO FOR FREE TODAY ONLY!!!!

Because kiasu.

And then before you go to any new city, download the map for that country the night before and you’re good to go! It’s the best. I love it because despite all those articles on travel hacks, i still don’t understand how to do that stupid “ok maps” google maps hack. But whatever, i don’t need to be tech savvy. I have City Maps 2 Go.

Download it here for iPhone and here for Android

2. Trip Advisor Offline City Guides

Because who doesn’t use trip advisor, am i right?

Trip advisor has a bunch of apps that all do different things, but you should download the city guides one. It’s also an offline maps application, and you can save destinations that you wanna get to and then access them while out. It’s got a bunch of features, but the thing i like most about it is the Point Me There option for noobcakes like me who can’t read maps.

This is what it looks like.

I hate it when I’m trying to figure out how to read a map application and after like fifteen blocks of trying to find the little blue dot i realize I’m walking in the wrong direction. It happens more often than i’d care to admit. This app is awesome because it’s just one huge arrow that points you in whatever direction you need to be in and you can just follow it blindly. It works offline, and it’s idiot proof.

The only thing about this app is you’re limited to the city guides that they have listed in the application, so if you go to a less popular destination they may not have it (they don’t have Stuttgart, lol). But if you’re sticking to the main cities like Amsterdam, Budapest, Rome and so on, it’s perfect.

Download it here for iPhone and here (called City Guides Catalogue) for Android.

3. Foursquare

I hate the fact that Foursquare has split into half and now if i want to check in i have to download their new Swarm app or something. Whatever happened to streamlining? Now I just don’t check in anywhere anymore because i refuse to waste phone space on another application, which is a pity because i kind of liked collecting all the badges and what not. Still, it’s one of the apps i rely on the most.

This app works best if you have a local sim card, but if you don’t i guess you can just use it while you have wifi and save the directions or something within the app. I always use the “Best nearby” function to search up what’s the best thing to do in the area, and save it to a personalized list named after the city. You can read the tips left by other users as well, which are really hilarious sometimes. My favorite tip for London’s Victoria bus station is “This is where pigeons like to poop because they know we’re all poor people who can’t afford trains“. It cracks me up every time. Fantastic way to burn time, reading these comments.

But I digress. Back to mapping – I save all the places I’m interested in into a list, then when I’m out and about and i don’t know what to do next, i go to the list and activate map mode. This then shows me which of my “to-do” destinations are near me and how to get there. You can walk there via the in-app map or choose to open it in Google Maps. Pretty nifty.

If I don’t have anywhere saved, I just search for whatever’s near me that’s recommended by other users – it’s always proved reliable so far and is how i found out about Anauco Gourmet in Barcelona, which serves the best burgers in the WORLD, amongst other things.

Other reasons why foursquare is awesome: I’m always typing stupid search terms like “toilet” and “wifi” in the search box – other users always leave comments telling you what the wifi password is or where the nearest toilet is. It’s like a secret society of people who understand what it’s like to need to pee urgently all the time. It’s awesome.

Download it here for iPhone and here for Android.

4. Offline Dictionaries

This does exactly what it sounds like. You pre-install dictionaries like “German-English” or “English-Italian” and you can translate words when you’re out and about. You can’t translate phrases beyond those they have pre-loaded though, just individual words, but it’s better than nothing. I use it quite a bit in places that don’t use English much, like Spain or Italy. This is mostly applicable only to iPhone users though, because if you’re using Android you can actually download offline dictionaries from Google Translate directly. Because Google is discriminatory against Apple like that.

I use the free version because whatever, ads don’t bother me. It’s got an extremely basic design with only functionality going for it, but it works fine. If you don’t like ads then just get the pro version, but the ads in this app aren’t that in your face so i don’t know if it’s necessary, really.

Download it here for iPhone and here for Android.

5. Couchsurfing

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Again, this may not be for everyone. It’s basically an extension of the couch surfing website, and allows you to access your CS messages, look for hosts and so on. It’s very useful for me because I couchsurf quite frequently, and i don’t want to have to open up my computer to access my inbox every time. If you’re in a new city and something messes up with your accommodation, and you need a last minute host, you can put out a desperate plea for help and someone will almost certainly take you in. Also, if you’re traveling alone and you don’t mind hanging out with strangers, just put out a notice on the site and a bunch of people will be like OH I KNOW THIS AWESOME PLACE FOR DRINKS LETS GO TOGETHER and just like that, it’s a party.

For those of you not so clear on what couchsurfing is, you can read my Broke Student’s Guide to Couchsurfing here.

Download it here for Apple and here for Android

Bonus:

6. Spotify (Premium)

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I know this isn’t really a travel app per se, but I can’t live without Spotify. I’m not even sorry for the melodramatic theatrics. I have Spotify Premium, which allows for offline syncing of your playlists to your phone or iPod, and I’ve spent countless inter country train rides plugged in to Spotify while doing my writing or reading. And whenever Im running out of space on my phone i just de-sync a couple of playlists and it frees up space – much better than agonizing over which songs to delete in iTunes. A disclaimer: I am a Spotify Ambassador, but trust me when I say I would get Premium even if I weren’t. It’s ten bucks a month to get rid of ads and allow offline syncing, and that’s just the beginning – you won’t even feel the ten bucks, and it’s good for your conscience because you’re not illegally downloading music! I’m just saying.

Download it here for Apple and here for Android

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Alright, that rounds up my favorite travel apps. I also suggest buying a portable charger because it comes in handy for travel – although if you only use your phone on airplane mode to take photos usually an iPhone can last a day without problem. I’m currently using the XiaoMi phone charger and it’s perfect. I hope this was useful to you guys, and you know the drill – drop me a comment if you feel like i missed out any SUPER CRUCIAL travel app, because sharing is caring you guys.

Happy Trails! ~~

x
♥jem

#1874| Shane’s Super Sailing Surprise

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Ever since the sixth month affair that was our castle stay, I’d been wondering how to top / equal it for a long time coming. Call it love or call it competitiveness, but when White Sails and I decided to collaborate on a surprise yacht birthday party for Shane, part of me went ha! Your turn, bro. Game on. Either way, a secret part of me hopes this will evolve into an everlasting loop of one upping each other which you and I both know will be good news for my instagram feed, if not my pocket.

But wait, Jemma, you say, how does a yacht party one-up a weekend in a castle? For one, I’ve spent months touring Europe with Shane who seems to make it a point to yell at each boat we see as if it has personally offended him by not belonging to him. Stop being embarrassing, I’ll say, and he’ll look at me and go But i want a boat as if that is justification enough for lusting after another man’s property. (Oh well. Could be someone else’s wife.) Also, after everything was planned and confirmed for the party two months ago in secret, I casually brought up the notion of having a yacht party to him while sailing in Italy. Jem, he said, staring intently at me, if you throw me a yacht party one day I’ll buy you a penthouse. So, castle vs yacht or whatever, I still win. Somebody needs to teach that boy risk management.

I digress! Back to the proper story. I’d already set things up with White Sails but getting Shane to actually be at the harbor when he had school he insisted on attending that day was no mean feat. I left it to his boy gang to get him there but trust me when I say it took nothing less than a made up emergency to convince him to skip school and come down. Up till the point where they walked up to the yatch where we were at and burst into birthday song, he still didn’t get what was going on.

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Look at that face of confusion.

Later he told me he honestly didn’t get it even while walking towards where the yatch was docked. He caught sight of me and thought I had to be attending some event which was coincidentally in the area or something. Even though I was holding a birthday cake and grinning at him. I dont even know how to feel about dating someone with that level of naivety, but I suppose it could pass as cute..

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Food by yours truly, Cake by Natalie Eng

In any case, with everyone safely on board including the birthday boy, we set sail for Lazarus Island! Honestly, the worst that could happen did – it started pouring halfway into the boat ride. On the plus side, the yatch was insanely comfortable, being air conditioned (thanks White Sails, you’re a yatch charter after my own heart), and no one seemed to mind since we had food and cameras indoors.. the rain let up about half an hour after we reached Lazarus Island, and everyone started to go around either exploring the beaches or doing water activities like kayaking. Me, on the other hand, I just ran around feeding bits of my sandwich to the cats that populated the island. It was delightful.

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You see what I mean.

In any case, it was uh-mazing. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s the first surprise yacht party I’ve ever successfully pulled off, but hey. Do I get best girlfriend award yet? Still, it wouldn’t have been possible without the extreme generosity of so many parties..

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First off – Paris trained patisserie Natalie Eng for creating this gorgeous piece of art. Because that’s what it is, a work of art. I think to refer to it as a cake would be to do it gross injustice.

This creation consists a treat of jivara-manjari ganache montée, hazelnut cremeux, passionfruit jelly, chocolate joconde and chocolate fleur de sel sablé pressée. I wont even pretend I know what all that means, but she handed it to me with a wink and went It’s supposed to taste like nutella, and I made the color as manly as possible. It broke my heart, having to pierce it with candles and slice it up for serving. Ugh! Cakes like these should be immortalized in display cabinets. On the other hand, it was delicious as it was beautiful, so I guess that worked out well for everyone involved..

You can contact her at enquiries.engnatalie@gmail.com for orders and enquiries :) More of her gorgeous food photography at her online portfolio here, and I’m immensely thankful for + blown away by her crazy talent and generosity! If nothing else, you should definitely check her out on instagram at http://instagram.com/engnatalie because it’s enough to induce an insane urge to take up baking if only for the beautiful photos it yields.

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PPLOGO-LIGHT

Print A Party, for the most memorable party keepsakes ever! I figured there was no better way to have all the guests bring back a piece of the party than literally providing little customized instax prints, and Print A Party was perfect – from coming on board (literally, ha ha ha, Ive made this joke way too many times..) to working the instagram printbooth on the day itself while the party was ongoing. And yes, those are mini-Shanes decorating the prints, the graphics were done by our extremely talented Martin and Warren, personal friends and entirely too talented artists. Print a Party does, however, also offer a the option of having their own graphic designer do up your instax borders for you, and I love that they are literally the exact size of an instax print, which makes it so easy to stick in your diary or wallet. I’m never going to have another party without an instagram photo printing booth because this was such a hit!

For your own party – you can find Print a Party on printaparty.sg or their facebook page :) They even give you a little link after the event with a social media analytic report of your event (probably more relevant for bigger events like weddings or corporate parties) and a gallery of all images uploaded with your custom hashtag and printed!

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UC LOGO

Cepheus from Unique Colors Creative Media for being the official photographer of the day. The pictures were all I could have asked for and more. I’ve worked with Unique Colors for a long time now, and they always deliver perfectly on the photo front, but this is the first time I’ve needed any event photography and they were so wonderful. The photos turned out so beautiful, and I know for a fact that they’re well taken because I don’t look like absolute nonsense despite being all tired out from running around setting up the surprise and having no time to do my hair or make up properly. It sounds like such a trivial concern, but when you can rely on your photographer to make you look good even in less than optimal conditions, you know you’ve got a good one. Besides, don’t the photos speak for themselves? :)

You can find them on their website or facebook page.

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And finally, none of this would have been remotely possible without White Sails Singapore for providing the amazing Clipper Heritage Yacht for the party! They do a variety of charter options, from sunset cruises to overnight stays, but we went for the Lazarus Island afternoon trip where we basically sailed to Lazarus Island and docked there for an afternoon, exploring the island from there. It’s no exaggeration to say they think of everything – there’s even snorkeling and kayaking equipment on board if you’re keen on trying water sports.

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Or, if you can’t swim/ are scared of the water, there’s always the fallback activity of phototaking..

Seriously though. A yacht party is awesome on so many levels. Not only is it immediately impressive, because Hey, just casually hanging out in my birthday yacht, it also takes you places (haha! I have got to stop with the puns) and is a perfect prop for phototaking. Lets not even mention the impromptu OOTD photo diary I shot for EGP a few posts ago. Yachts automatically call to mind harbors, docks, the sea, and beaches, which are all obviously highly photogenic. And if you didn’t document a party in pictures, did it really happen?

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Exactly.

At the end of it all, I was exhausted, spent, and all other synonyms you can call to mind, but the one thing I was overwhelmingly was grateful. I could never have pulled this off without the help of so many people – Natalie Eng, Print a Party, White Sails, Cepheus, and most of all, Shane’s friends, who brought the most important element to the party – good company and laughter.

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This is the face of someone who knows she’s getting a penthouse.

Happy birthday, Shane. So very many people love you, and love is always something we must give thanks for. x

x
♥jem

#1873 | Flutterby

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Jemma Dress c/o Earlgreyparty | Watch c/o Daniel Wellington | Heels: Topshop | Photos by Andrea

Am I overwearing this dress? Probably. Do I really care? Hmm..

Anyway. I just popped in to talk briefly about my latest beauty obsession – japanese lash extensions! Not exactly my latest obsession per se, since anyone who’s been following me for awhile knows that I’m addicted to lash extensions because a very lazy part of me likes the option of waking up and being ready to go bare faced anytime, but a refreshed version of a beauty staple for me, perhaps? I was invited by iLash Bar to try their lash extensions recently, and I think it’s safe to say I’m never going back to regular extensions again.

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Me with regular lashes, ready to be made over, heh heh!

I know, i know. There’s always falsies. But I hate getting glue all over my fingers while trying to stick on falsies which always end up crooked somehow, and more crucially, I dont want to spend my mornings adding more steps to my make up routine! The idea is to be more efficient. Read: lazy.

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iLash Bar employs a full staff of japanese beauticians, so in any case you know you’re getting the authentic japanese stuff. Previously, I’d just go to any random shop in Far East to get my lashes done, and while they serve their purpose for dramatic enhancements and onscreen impact during shoots, they’re always a little inconvenient to have around because they’re so stiff. Half the time i end up knocking them a little askew before the month is up. I was enthusiastically assured by the iLash Bar technicians that this wouldnt happen with the Japanese extensions because they’re individually attached to each lash instead of mass-applied like with normal extensions, and so far they seem to be holding up pretty well to the guarantee. Before getting the extensions done, you also do a short consultation session with your beautician to discuss the shape and type of lash extensions you want, instead of simply subscribing to a cookie cutter design like in other stores. I picked something called the Sexy Unlimited (heh, these Japanese people!) lash because I wanted something that curved outwards, and I love how it turned out to be everything I wanted it to be!

In fact..

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Perfecting the I-woke-up-like-this morning selfie

I took this picture the other day after just waking up, pre-makeup. Look at the curve of that lash! How lush it is! I don’t mean to gush, but they’re the softest lash extensions I’ve ever done, and this is coming from someone who’s been extending her lashes monthly for over a year. I feel like I have a little japanese bird fluttering on my eyelids everytime I blink. For the more casual make up user, it could even replace a daily eyeliner routine – I like my eyeliner thick and solid, but otherwise I feel like I’d be fine walking out with just the lash extensions on. And it’s a bonus, but they’re insanely low maintenance – I forget they’re there most of the time and just get a happy surprise when photos turn out better in general because they really just wake up your face.

Anyway! The good people of iLash Bar are giving all of you guys a generous discount if you’re interested in getting something like this done.

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The prices now are about 100SGD for the natural lash extensions, 120SGD for the luscious ones, and 150SGD for the sexy ones, but you can get any style you want at 80SGD when you quote JEMMAWEI – it’s nearly 50% off if you get what I did, which was basically the Sexy Unlimited Eyelash heh heh. If you want something more natural, talk to your beautician, but I was pretty clear on what I wanted and boy oh boy do I love it.

You can iLash Bar hotline at 63373177 to book an appointment – I did mine at the Bugis outlet (#02-43) but they have another outlet in Raffles City Shopping Center too. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking to add a little pizzaz into their look.. or anyone, really. Eyelash extensions are a thing, you guys, and it’s time to get on board.

Thank you for having me, iLash Bar! x

x
♥jem