#2034 | Jemma for Paypal: OOTD Overhaul / Fav online shops

Untitled

Dress: Gutsy Glam | Accessories: Wanderlust + Co | Both PayPal Merchants

Hey guys,

Happy times, happy times. Ever since I announced my engagement to PayPal, it seems everything in my life has come to revolve around it. Everything online, that is. After recently hosting a media event for them and getting a chance to meet some of their merchants, it occurred to me just how many people are on the platform – and why shouldnt they be? It’s great! Being a consumer myself of course I know little about the business side of things, but purely from a consumer’s POV I can tell you that using PayPal is such a fuss free experience that I find myself frequenting shops that offer PayPal as a payment gateway more than not because of their buyer protection scheme (basically insurance) (if your item comes and looks different from what you ordered/ is damaged, PayPal will refund you, and pay the return shipping fee for up to USD15!) and the fact that I am a lazy ass who doesn’t want to keep typing in her credit card details over and over again…

Ok, well. Not the point of the post. I’ll do a detailed how-to guide on PayPal in the future, but for now I actually wanted to put together a list of my favourite online shops because lemme tell you, the number ONE question I get emails on all the time is WHERE DO I BUY ALL MY SHIZZ? Seriously guys. More than anything else – more than people asking what books to read or what academic route to go down. Don’t you guys wanna read?! (Speaking of which, Books Actually also accepts PayPal .) Anyway. The list. Yes.

Disclaimer: Before you start shopping with PayPal, make sure you get the most of your dollar by figuring out the rebate system on your credit or debit cards. For example, my PayPal account is always linked to my Frank by OCBC card because of their 6% online shopping rebate. I checked, and as long as the PayPal merchant’s own code qualifies as an online shop, you still get the rebate even though the transaction is done through PayPal. So be sure to prime everything first to maximise both your dollar (rebates!) and your shopping time (convenient checkouts!) before you start your online shopping!

PS. All the shops featured here are PayPal merchants as well, so set up your PayPal account if you know what’s what asap!

Clothes

UntitledUntitledUntitled

All above coats from HVV

One of my absolute favourite online stores is Her Velvet Vase, which I wear all the time. Partly because I know and like the owners, Clare and Mag, and I want to support them, and partly because I really like their stuff. HVV is one of those brands that I feel has consistently evolved over the past few years to keep up with trends without losing the essence of the brand’s personal style: classic, feminine, and clean.

Untitled

Heels from HVV

Untitled

Knit top from HVV

UntitledUntitled

Casual dress from HVV, Maxi dress from HVV

Most importantly, the brand is very wearable. It’s not hard to pair up or down their pieces because they’re very easy to match on a daily basis, but they also stand alone well. I’d say HVV sells very upgraded basics. And because they cater both to the Singapore and USA market (they have a store in NYC too!), they do have clothes that match different seasons. Some of my favourite coats are from this brand!

Another local label that I find delivers consistently high quality pieces, albeit at a higher price point, is Klarra. I have a few Klarra pieces in my wardrobe that I find myself wearing over and over again, and the ones that I’ve worn for over two years still stay current in terms of trends. I often find myself reaching for the Klarra statement pieces when I have to host more formal events, and I think it’s a brand that suits most young working women looking to create a solid wardrobe of staples when entering the workforce.

UntitledUntitled

Full Klarra outfits

In fact, I recently represented Laneige to shoot the backstage of a fashion show they did – and Klarra was the main sponsor for the clothing label. Basically they paired make up looks with current fashion trends and organised a runway show around it. I think it was pretty successful! But then again, I’m a huge fan of Laneige myself, so I look upon most of what they do with puppy-eyed adoration. (Speaking of which! Laneige is available to purchase on Lazada – and guess what? Also a PayPal merchant. Ha.)

UntitledUntitledUntitled

Speaking of Make up

Laneige via Lazada is available for online shop, and so is Sephora – which recently launched it’s singapore online shop where you can top up your make up stash from the comfort of your home.

Untitled

But what about more international merchants? Something that had all of us really excited of late was the launch of instagram-famous make up brand Colourpop’s Worldwide Shipping – which includes all the way over here, to Singapore! Shipping starts at USD15 to Singapore, which is a bit steep – but if you share it with a few friends it evens out. Plus where else can you get six dollar lipsticks and five dollar eyeliner?!

I’ve bought from Colourpop twice, both times when I was in the States, and I’ve been generally pleased with the products I’ve gotten from them, so them launching worldwide shipping is very welcome news to me!! I personally think they smell a bit funny, but you really cant beat that price point and quality. And with that kind of five to seven dollar price range per item, you have the freedom to experiment by getting more colors or styles if you’re on a budget. My favourite items from them are their Lunch Money highlighter, which I use also as an eyeshadow, and their purple Piggy Bank creme gel liner.

I’ve also started using their Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks (my favourite is the More Better shade), which give really good color payoff for a lasting period of time – favoring it over their classic Lippie Stix range, which has a very clean and precise application for defined lips, but which I also find is a little drying.

Accessories

I feel like I got into the accessories game a little late, but what a huge difference it makes even to the simplest of outfits! I do have my favourite stores for both local and international when it comes to upping one’s accessories and / or timepiece game, and here they are:

International: Wanderlust + Co

UntitledUntitled

Wanderlust + Co is quickly becoming a cult street jewellery label – having been worn by the likes of Kendall Jenner herself! They have a ton of gorgeous rings and bangles, but their most iconic series (to me) is their laser cut word bangles. So iconic and what a statement piece. People are always coming up to me asking where they can get them! Well: now you know – Wanderlust + Co. You can keep up with their instagram community around the world by tracking the #WCOgirlgang hashtag, which i find to be quite helpful for accessory-newbies who wanna learn how to style their new accessories.

Local: The Ordinary Co

IMG_8253IMG_8188

The Ordinary Co is a local online jewellery store that sells minimal and clean accessories at a very affordable price point. Think below ten bucks for a necklace or ring, to fifteen for a multipack of several. It’s a great place to build one’s arm candy collection starting right from the basics, and it’s great that their products are so stackable as well – easily matched both with other types of jewellery and each other! They also frequently feature local girls in their monthly lookbooks, affectionately dubbed “The Ordinary Girl”. I was an Ordinary Girl once too..

International + Local: Just Tangy

Untitled

Multilabel store Just Tangy sells accessories, shoes, timepieces.. but my favourite thing from them is by far their Olivia Burton watch range. I actually wrote a whole post about it before, because I’ve never seen such exquisite and unusual watches in my life! Everytime I wear one out I get a compliment (mild) or someone grabbing my wrist and asking WHERE I GOT THIS (extreme). This life. Now you know. But yes, curatorial multi-label stores tend to bring in really gorgeous and unique pieces in on consignment, and because they’ve already gone through one level of curation, most of what you get to select from instore tends to be of a rather high quality already!

Lastly: Favorite lifestyle brand

UntitledUntitled

Passport case and Ooh La La keychain from ShopBando

ShopBando is a brand I absolutely love and cannot get enough of! It’s an LA based lifestyle brand that sells everything from hair accessories to planners to passport cases to balloons… like I said, lifestyle.

I first came across the brand through instagram, and I thought they had a really great vibe so I checked them out online, crossing my fingers hoping they’d ship to Singapore. They did! But alas! The flat rate shipping to Singapore is $32.15, which is mad expensive. So I shipped my stuff to a friend living in the US instead, who brought them back for me when she came to visit.

I’ve bought stuff from Bando thrice already, all online, and mostly on my visits to the US where I can ship directly to a new york address. I do find that US brands are very likely to take Paypal as a mode of payment, which is really reassuring because, you know, 1. familiarity and 2. PayPal buyer protection. The same goes for Bando. As a result, I have their iPhone cable, their 2015 planner, their passport case and keychains.. this is really a brand that I’m absolutely obsessed with. Thankfully in the continental US, shipping isn’t as expensive – they frequently have flat rate $5 shipping offers, so this might be one of those brands you might wanna hold of on first if you’re planning a trip to the US anytime soon. Or if, you know. You have friends there. But if you’re desperate for it, then you can consider splitting the cost of the shipping with friends and getting your entire clique some really freakin cute stuff to start the school term with.

Alright guys, that’s it. A list of some of my absolute favorite online stores – and a very convenient way to link people who ask me in the future WHERE I SHOP. There! Ta! Now you know! All of the above, as mentioned before, can be purchased via PayPal – and if you didn’t get where I was going with this, keep up: I’ll be penning a guide on how to use PayPal soon enough, and you’ll be wanting to stay tuned. Why? Because PayPal is New Money, and New Money brings you places. Like to shopping sites where you’ll get lost for hours in a wonderland of new and dazzling things. Ah, consumerism. Tis the age we live in!

x
♥jem

#2033| Jemma for Airbnb: Edinburgh Boutique Apartment

UntitledUntitled

imagesLondon, England.
This Airbnb Listing

What is with these beautiful apartments? Not quite a studio apartment, which by virtue of pedantic definition limits itself to a wall-less type of one-room living, but not exactly a family flat either. What do you call these in betweens? Regardless, I’m a convert. Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of staying in quite the number – the one in Seoul, the one in London, the one in Taipei.. All found on Airbnb, of course. The website is peppered with accommodation of all styles, and each trip I do I feel like I’ve been gifted the unique experience of lifestyle-shopping, living in different types of houses until I settle on the type I see myself in, long term. And these in betweens – small, studio-ish apartments (lets call them boutique apartments) that are best suited to accommodate one or two, completely self contained and beautifully manageable – they’re the ones I’ve fallen in love with.

My best friend and I stopped over in Edinburgh for a night before driving up to the Isle of Skye (another post on that in the future!) but when we walked in to the apartment the regret was real: why didn’t we stay another night? Who knows, who knows. All these unmade choices. All these alternate realities. The Edinburgh apartment was ridiculously gorgeous, like, professional tumblr material kind of gorgeous. I walked around, snapping photos, taking mental and photographic note of points I’d potentially work into my future apartment. Research, I told myself, but who am I kidding? I was just trying to make myself believe that I’d stay in this place forever.

UntitledUntitledUntitled

The charm of the boutique apartment wasnt just in how gorgeous it was – it seemed almost fortuitous that it was also planted firmly with one side of the apartment opening up to endless shrubbery. The result was the creation of a kind of insulated peace, waking up to fresh air and birdsong. Something I’ve noticed over my time in europe and the uk is that most cities dont bother installing air-conditioning units because it’s only hot all of two months in a year. No air-conditioned trains, buses, cafes.. but as horrifying as this sounds to a equatorially born traveler, I get it, I really do. When you can wake to crisp, cool air, that also smells of nothing but the word fresh, why would you bother?

Just to clarify, this was what airbnb calls an entire home booking, which means we had the whole boutique apartment to ourselves. As much as I love staying in a private room so I can chat with a readymade local (ha!) and figure out what’s what, this trip was predominantly a best friend anniversary sorta trip, so we stuck to booking entire places just so we had the luxury of lounging around watching game of thrones and having heart to hearts without having to worry that we’d be disturbing someone else in the house. Depending on the city you’re in, entire home bookings tend to be slightly more expensive, but this one was under $150 a night (and it drops to $88 during the low seasons), which I thought was pretty good for what we got. Claire, our host, met us at the door to let us in and show us around. Bread and eggs in the basket, some milk in the fridge

“Think you guys will be okay?”
I looked at her. “Claire,” I said, finally, as my best friend slipped away to admire the bookshelves and furniture, “I think we’ll be way more than okay.”

Say hi to Claire in Edinburgh.

x
♥jem

#2032| finally!

Untitled

Oh will you look at that. It’s been a month since I last showed my sorry face around here. So much for having a bunch of things I want to talk about. But I’m not even sorry because I have been doing this thing called having a life and it’s been GREAT, you guys.

Anyway, after two months of nearly obsessive suitcase living, a month in new york and the subsequent in london, I’m finally back on home ground. This is what happens when your friends keep migrating, okay? You have to go halfway across the world to see them. Why couldnt they have migrated to Bangkok where I can hop over for less than a thousand bucks a pop? But really, it’s been a blast. I came back happier and fatter and the viewers will have a lot to say about that, I know. Speaking of which, new hype hunt episodes upcoming now that summer is over and filming has resumed. We went on set the other day and as life would have it my first shoot after touchdown had to be an outdoor shoot. While I readjusted from the cooler airs of scotland and london. Isn’t life beautiful?

It feels like every single time I land in Singapore I ask the same thing: has it always been this hot, or ..? Global warming? I don’t know. Maybe it’s time to make peace with it. In my younger days I had all these opinions, most of them angry and strong. It seems that as time goes by I find myself considerably less interested in suffering. Perhaps the answer really is learning to let go. These days I have less feelings about whether the bus comes on time, but also less tension in my shoulders, less worries, and I’m generally happier.

Of course, I might take all that back really soon. As part of my scholarship bond, I’m bound to start teaching at the university this week. Tra and la! I spent the better part of my morning wrangling with the office printer and the highlight of my day was finding a stapler powerful enough to bind thirty five pages together in one shot. Perhaps next week I’ll be back on the blog pleading uncle. “This life is not for me!” And then the university will call me in for a talk on what is and isnt appropriate to discuss on social media. Like bitchin about waking up early for school again? Probably not okay. Can they do that? I dont even know.

In other news (and obsessions) I have been addicted to this book: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I feel like I might have said this before but I dont care because it is that good. How can you be addicted to a book, you ask? Like so: I’ve read it five times already, cover to cover, all 750 pages of it. I told you: when I get obsessed with something, I get obsessed hard. I adore this book so much I feel like it gives me life. When I met Tash in London and gushed about it he looked at me and went: you’re one of those who cried through the whole thing, didn’t you? Guilty, and guilty. But not sorry. Read it, you guys. I’ve also been really into this new Netflix original series: Stranger Things – which is fantastic. The storyline isnt anything we havent heard of before, but the set design, the costuming, the film colouring… incredible. It’s as if Stephen King cracked his brain open and draped oodles of brain all over an idea. Too graphic? But so is the show. Lastly! I caught Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime on West End this trip, after a lot of ragging from people around me. It was absolutely, totally, hands down worth the hype. It’s been so long since something has blown me away so thoroughly. We were all in tears by the end of it. Smiling so hard our faces hurt, shiny and taut with tears. So, so good. I expect I’ll be talking more about Curious Incident when I pen my London guides – I was actually in London on campaign with Skyscanner – but for now, just take my word for it: amazing.

And with that – you might have guessed already, but I’m here (as usual) because I’m procrastinating preparing for the semester’s syllabus. And also, the prospectus that I have to present to a board where they’ll decide if I’m worthy of confirmation, etcetera etcetera. It’s all part and parcel of being a masters student, and I might whine my ass off, but I love every bit of it. So far. You know what’s funny? I’m doing this premiere tomorrow evening that requires me to turn up in goth. Right after a lecture in the university. Guess who’s gonna scare the crap out of some fresh faced undergraduates tomorrow?

Bam.

See you guys sooner over later. Ta!

x
♥jem

#2031 | summer sun

Untitled

I dont know what possessed me to think that wearing a knit sweater out on a thirty five degree day was acceptable or even a legitimate idea. This is the problem that is real and happening when you get dressed in an air conditioned room – you think the world will adapt to your chilled ideas of how it should be, nice, cool to the touch, unflustered. And then you step out and the humidity assaults you and it is too late to go back and change and you have to fake-smile in all your photos when you’re really crying inside. Still, it is a cute sweater. And really, this is a privileged problem. Complaining about temperature differences between airconditioned room and the outside world: really, Jemma? This is a new level, even for you. Ah well. These internal monologues might serve to check one’s privilege, but can they also double up as an amusing blogpost? Yes. Yes they can.

x
♥jem

#2030 | Matcha Mondays: Cha Cha Matcha

UntitledUntitledUntitled

Mocha Mondays is a new and semi-regular feature on cafes and how workable they are, for freelancers or students looking for a place to park themselves at while getting work done. It may or may not actually feature mocha.

Apologies, guys, the Mocha Monday series that I was so enthused about at the start of last year seems to have taken quite the hiatus. The semi-regular in semi-regular feature being taken far too literally, if you will. But here I am again, and all I have to offer you by way of apology is this: a scathing sense of sarcasm, and also a gentle reminder that everything on this blog is free to read, FREE, i say! So, chill, yknw?

Anyway. I hit up Cha Cha Matcha on my last day in New York. It opened my last week there, actually, and immediately instagram was hit with a flood of pictures from the place, which looked like it was built to cater exclusively to hipsters and instagrammers. And indeed, when I stepped in, my first thought was: this is where hipsters go to die.

The first warning sign? Cha Cha Matcha is card-only, which means it doesn’t accept cash, at all. Because cash, ugh, you know? So mainstream. And in this cashless, trendy cafe, walls are decorated solely for the purpose of being backdrops to your perfect instagram photo – pink and green chairs, leaves, coffee cups. You can’t fault them for that: it’s working. People have been snapping this place nonstop since it opened, and it’s not tough to see why. The place is decorated like Malibu barbie’s pad on drugs. Like Katy Perry’s california girls song became a person and threw up all over the walls.

Was it too much to hope that a beautiful place like this would serve good matcha as well? Apparently so.

Came for the Instagram photo #honestinstagramcaptions #doitforthegram

A photo posted by Jemimah James Wei (@jemmawei) on

Our matcha tasted like nothing. It didn’t taste bad, you understand. It just didn’t taste like anything. Confused? So were we. We ordered both the classic matcha latte and the coconut matcha latte and they tasted exactly the same, which is to say, like an empty drink void of taste, that kind of left a little bubbly feeling on your tongue. The soft serve fared a little bit better, because you could actually tell it was matcha flavoured, if largely because it was half green. But if you’ve actually tried any decent matcha before, this brings nothing new to the table.

It left me wondering: what was it? Why were people raving about this place? Were they all brainwashed by the cute interior? Or had they simply never tried proper matcha? Or – best case scenario – were we the unlucky ones who got a dud batch, and did everyone else get heavenly tasting brews? Our answers were granted a week later, when another girlfriend went to CCM after seeing my snapchat. Jem, she texted me, Cha Cha Matcha sucks. Lol. Fullstop and all.

The real question, I suppose, is: does it matter? In an era where taste is fleeting and photos are forever, it seems that the six bucks you pay for a crap latte is really an entrance fee to the hippest photo prop for instagram right now. I sure paid my dues. Don’t we all? My only hope (and a fervent one), is that this doesn’t become a trend – substandard kitchen fare giving way to the perfect pastel paint job on the wall. Is it too optimistic? Or are we already there? Say it isn’t so!

When all is said and done, will one lonely pessimistic review on the net make a difference? Of course not. People will still flock to the place for it’s pink walls and green decor, and I don’t blame them. Ah, this instagram life! So be it.

Cha Cha Matcha
373 Broome St, New York, NY 10013, United States

x
♥jem