#1884| Hairway to Heaven

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Hair by Mervyn Wee, Jean Yip

You know, I never really realized how much I relied on my salon till I went abroad. I think it is a blessing that I only find myself retrospectively embarrassing – I’m generally happier and more content than the preceding day, and the same goes for my hair each time I do it. The last I came back from Germany, I rushed to the salon for a rescue mission on the bleached ends and outgrown roots that had ravaged this head of mine for seven months – it was mainly salvage, salvage, salvage. Each time I left the salon with softer, bouncier hair, I felt happier, and it never occurred to me to go beyond that before meeting Mervin.

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The dashing man you see here is none other than the illustrious Mervin Wee, husband to Jean Yip herself and hair stylist of the stars. He’s not always in Singapore, but when he is, I’m incredibly honored to share the same stylist as the likes of Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult. Midway between trust and starstruckness, I told him I’d leave my hair up to him. Do whatever you like, I said, I trust you.

Now, it seems I’m making a habit of saying this to people in the industry. The last time I said it, my waistlength hair got chopped off. There’s a sort of thrill that comes with total surrender – but Mervin still talked me through everything he was going to do with my hair so I had a clear idea of what was coming up. My hair is very fine – it’s something that’s been both a blessing and a curse – and subsequently it often lies very flat on the top of my head. It’s something I’ve tried to combat for years without submitting to a total chop, and I’m ecstatic that we’ve finally found a compromise. Mervin did some basic housekeeping on my bangs, sliced off half the length of the top layer of my hair to give it volume and body while maintaining my hair length, then lifted it to perform a hidden crown perm (very korean, I love!) underneath so the top of my hair would look fuller and bouncier.

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The underlayer of my hair

The result? It was like my hair had a face lift. I loved it.

We also decided to update my ombre for the second half of the year – giving it a deeper, softer ashy tone. Nothing too drastic, just something classy enough to turn heads at a function without the element of mild shock.

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Isn’t it the most decadent thing, to be able to fully trust your hairstylist to make you look good? I’ve literally never had to worry about my hair for ages now, and it’s the most liberating feeling. I begged Mervin to teach me the secret art of celebrity hair styling, and to everyone’s amusement he started giving me a live tutorial on how to muss, curl, and blow dry my hair to Korean standard perfection. Of course, my attempts are nowhere as good as anything salon-produced, but they’re more than enough for the daily grind.

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The final result? The softest imaginable cloud of cotton candy, colored an elegant brown fading to ash, with finally some semblance of structure and shape around my crown. I was a woman in love. I wanted to wear this hair to sleep. I wanted to take it off and preserve that level of perfection forever. I love that it’s not overtly in-your-face, but so very subtle. And it really does prove that a good haircut can make or break your entire look.

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With power couple and Jean Yip founders: Mervin Wee and Jean Yip

Following my own hair makeover, I’m delighted to announce two very exciting things to all of you – because sharing is caring, you guys.

Firstly, I’m going to be collaborating with Jean Yip The Brand to give away 30 sets of Jean Yip Group vouchers worth $1000 each! Please note – it isn’t a $1000 cash voucher, more like a gift set of discount vouchers you can use to get 50% off hair services, amazing deals for spa days at the luxurious Jean Yip Loft and so on. Perfect for planning a mother-daughter pampering day out, or a laid back afternoon with your girlfriends. All you have to do is comment on this instagram post telling me what your dream hair style is, and I’ll pick my thirty winners in a week! It’s that easy, yes.

And for those of you who are so very inspired by my new hair (fluff, fluff) and want to go get your hair done now, I’m super happy to announce Jean Yip The Brand has opened up this sweet deal to all of you:

Exclusively for you guys, you can now enjoy a Cut & Color hair makeover on weekdays at Jean Yip Plaza Singapura, which is the branch I go to, for $68 when you quote JEMMAWEI! (Usual Price: from $135)

Terms & Conditions
- Available only at Plaza Singapura Branch
- This promotion is not valid on Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays and Eve of Public Holidays.

I love that this is an open gift to everyone, because bending over a sink and doing your own hair is a pain in the ass (I’ve tried it), but salons can be pretty pricey if you’re making it a regular fixture in your life. This is perfect for anyone who wants to do something different to their hair but doesnt want to worry about cost – please call 6332 9916 beforehand to ensure you have a slot!

Thank you Mervin and Jean Yip for the lovely time – because every visit to Jean Yip isn’t just getting my hair did now, it’s an experience.

x
♥jem

#1883| Jemma for Oppo Singapore

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When I announced that I was headed to Korea a month back, Oppo Singapore sent me their N1 Mini for “all my instagram needs”, otherwise dubbed The Ultimate Selfie Smartphone. But I don’t even take selfies, I protested, and I could see it in their eyes Of course you don’t. You’re using an iphone. Well.

On first sight it struck me as very much a girl’s phone, given it’s gorgeous baby blue shade and selfie centered design, but the more I used it the more the other functions of the phone appealed to me. I should put it out there now that I wasn’t paid to write this post and it’s completely non-obligatory, but I genuinely want to review the phone because I really liked it over the month that I had it and I think it definitely should be up for consideration with girls everywhere. So Oppo in Korea – an unbiased everyday girl’s review – here we go:

The Good

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1. The camera

The camera on the Oppo is a 195 degree rotatable camera. You know how your front camera is always just that bit shittier than your back one, even in bright sunlight? Not a problem anymore. 13 megapixels of glory, here I come. It’s not just selfies – the rotating function gives me a good angle on flatlay shots, high angle shots, and so on. Because the camera was so sharp and crisp, I found myself reaching for it a lot more than I did for my DSLR, especially in places like Lotte World where it’s cumbersome to keep reaching into my bag. The phone is user-oriented (which phone isn’t?), which means that it has all these handy functions, my favorite being the fact that when you rotate the camera around, even if the phone is sleeping, it immediately activates the camera for use. Very handy for lazy people like me. Way more reliant on this than I’d care to admit. There’s also a GIF mode, which ups its cool factor, but I didn’t use it because I don’t like how grainy GIFs are.

On the other hand, I used this for a month to great pleasure but I don’t know how I feel about using this for two years. Obviously if you drop the phone at an angle, the rotation mechanism might dislodge or spoil. It’s not a critique of the phone, it’s just life – moving parts are always the first to go. But honestly, this is a phone you’d want to take care of, so I guess it’s less of a problem than it would be with a less pretty phone. Life lesson in superficiality right there.

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2. Selfies

Obviously. They were right – I took a disgusting number of selfies on the Oppo. I’m ashamed of myself. It was great though, I racked up a lot more photos together with my girlfriend Cindy than I would have if I were just shooting on my camera simply because we could wefie all the time. I find that if you take too many photos successively in the snap snap snap snap within a second kinda way, the camera tends to hang a bit.

Because they know you’ll be using it for selfies, there are options for all sorts of things inbuilt into the main camera app itself. Beauty mode, so your skin is smoother and fairer. A timer, if you’re using a selfie stick. Und so wieter. It’s a mirrored selfie, meaning it’s from the perspective of how you’d look in a mirror and not from another person’s point of view, which is nice. I was so used to seeing myself in beauty mode on reflection that I got a bit of a disconcerting shock looking into the mirror when brushing my teeth in the morning.

You can see the quality of the photos for yourself on instagram by tracking the hashtag #jemmaforoppo. You’ll see what I mean – all the photos are amazing! There’s this thing called Ultra HD mode where they use Pure Image 2.0 technology to pick out the best parts of six consecutive images and combine them into a 24MP HD picture. Unnecessary for me if I’m just going to be using it for instagram, but it was cool when taking pictures for web.

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Other functions I didn’t really use but thought were cool were the slow shutter mode for light effects and audio photos. Audio photos are a bit like multisensory diaries for lazy people, where you take a picture and record yourself talking afterwards, bringing whole new meaning to the phrase: Your phone is your whole life.

3. Privacy

The Oppo is pretty big on security. I didnt need to use this much because I didn’t have a sim card or anything private on my phone (I only used it a month!) but these features are essential must-knows for anyone considering the Oppo.

There’s this thing called Guest Mode – for when your friends want to borrow your phone to browse photos, or make calls, or whatever. You can turn it on with a password and it goes into a parallel mode where only certain functions, chosen by you, are accessible. Your messages, photos, contacts, or other apps you want kept private, just won’t be accessible.

Also, Quiet Time. For when you’re sleeping or studying, and dont want to be disturbed. You turn it on and all notifications are silenced. But how does that differ from normal silent mode? You ask. Firstly, you can determine how long you want it to be on QT for, while on silent mode it’s just silent till you turn it back to normal mode. Secondly, they make provisions for emergencies. Say someone wants to call you urgently because of a hospitalization or some super important crisis. After three missed calls from the same number, your phone starts to ring loudly, telling you that this call was important enough for someone to make thrice. It’s very.. human.

4. Convenience.

I already mentioned the phone activating when the camera is rotated. Other things that are convenient are the off screen gestures – the Oppo has buttons, but doesnt want to use them as far as possible, so you can actually double tap on the screen while your phone is sleeping and it’ll come alive. This eliminates the need for fumbling around for the power button. Also, they have a pull-down gesture panel where you can customize symbols that you can draw to pull up certain apps. All these are adjustable in settings, of course. The only thing is, when the phone was in my pocket it pulled up apps out of the blue sometimes. I suppose it might have brushed against something or knocked the volume/power buttons accidentally, but that was slightly annoying.

5. The price point

This is something you just can’t fight. The price point for the Oppo is fantastic. The last I know, it was going for under a hundred dollars if you buy it with a contracted plan in Singapore. That’s way attractive.

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The bad

1. The selfies

Well the obvious thing is that you look like a damn fool taking selfies all the time but hey, no shame in my game mister. Seriously though. I just took selfies all the time. It made me question a lot of things about myself. Well played, Oppo.

2. Usability vs Functionality

For those of you who don’t know what the difference between the two are, here it is: Functionality focuses on whether you can do what you need to do, ie. if the product works as it should. Usability focuses on HOW the consumer uses it and the consumer experience.

Oppo scores really high for Functionality, the stats are great, the phone works amazing.

For usability, I’m not so sure. It is of no fault of Oppo, but more of an OS debate that I’ve been having with some of my friends for a long time. Oppo runs on the Android OS. As an Apple user, I’m used to the way my phone works for certain things. Square mode for taking instagram photos. Etcetera. But more importantly, I’m very, very reliant on certain apps that only work well on Apple. Afterlight is one of them. Actually, Afterlight is the main thing. Pudding camera is another. I feel like 50% of your picture is how well you take it, and 50% is post processing, so apps are super important here. Now, if you use VSCO or something else that runs perfectly on Android, then that’s great. But if you’re like me and you depend on things that only work well on Apple, then things become a bit tricky.

The last I tested Afterlight for android, which is new, it was slow, took forever to apply filters, and didn’t have as many filters as the Apple version of the app. The pudding camera, which works perfectly on the iPhone, has a problematic camera in the latest Android update, and based on user reviews, dont seem to be resolving itself anytime soon. It boils down to culture – if developers keep developing superior versions of apps for the Apple store, then it becomes very difficult for phones to target the apple market for switchovers, because no matter how good your phone is, you cannot control the app developers, and apps make up a large part of the user experience. It’s the reason why the Windows phone, despite all it’s beauty, has flopped. (I actually liked the windows phone). It’s the reason why people started moving away from the Blackberry. People want things other people have, and they don’t like being left out.

Of course, this might just apply to me. I’m sure a lot of angry android users are ready to hit the comments and tell me how wonderful their android phones are – which I dont disagree with, I love android phones. I was sorely tempted by the HTC One, which is a thing of magic, and I love the Oppo as well. But if you ask me to switch completely from an iPhone to an Android phone, it becomes very difficult because I rely very heavily on these apps and there actually isn’t a compelling reason to switch if my iPhone is working – not fantastically – but fine.

So my bottomline is, I guess, it depends on what you’re looking for. It’s a great, fantastic phone, but if you’re looking to recontract or get a new phone, you should keep in mind that you’re not just buying a new phone, you’re buying into a new OS. It’s your decision – but if you should be keen on an Android phone, this phone is great.

Thank you for sending over the N1 Mini, Oppo Singapore! I had a lot of fun with it. x

x
♥jem

#1882 | Back to the Fuchsia

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Top: H&M | Skirt c/o The Tinsel Rack | Denim jacket c/o Lovebonito | Sneakers: Korea | Timepiece c/o Arbutus SG | Bag: Longchamp | Phone case c/o shopintoxication | Gelish nail art by Jean Yip Nails | Necklace c/o By Invite Only store

imagesSeoul, Korea.

Being cute in Korea, yes, no? It seems that I find excuses to inject all sorts of out-of-character things into my wardrobe once heading abroad. It’s like the hall pass of OOTDs. Cat ears? Sure. Oversized college jackets are a go. Bright neon boots? WHY NOT. Today, revealing one of the less embarrassing wardrobe variations from my recent trip to Seoul. Fuchsia is a color I dont remember ever wearing and which I feel like wearing all the time now. I was always one for overcompensation. If I had a car you know it’d be all blinged out to compensate for my tiny.. nevermind.

And pockets! Are they making a comeback only now or have I been oblivious to these wonderous things all the while? My pocket obsession has spread to nearly half my closet now and shows no sign of slowing. I feel like once you’ve had the convenience of a phone at a second’s reach, you’ll never go back. Am I really coming on the blog to talk about pockets now? Is this what I’ve come to?

Anyway. An afternoon in Garuso-gil, the famous tree lined street in Seoul, proved that the trees there looked exactly like the trees everywhere else. Either I need to be there in the middle of autumn to truly appreciate it, or I’ve fallen victim to a massive marketing scam. All the way to the other end of Seoul for trees! Either way, we spent the afternoon cafe-hopping and being very, very awake, bouncing with caffeine by midday. The shopping street in the area was the same I remembered from last year, all very shiny and hip and expensive, but the walk here was what struck us the most. We alighted a stop early at the Apgujeong area, famous for the concentration of plastic surgery clinics there, and were met with a host of posters and mirrors with helpful little arrows and markers showing us how much more beautiful we could be, if only we tried. It was interesting. It occurred to me in that moment that these are the pockets of each country that we keep with us, not so much the shops and coffee and photographs but the conversations, moments of clarity, and fleeting brushes of local life in a different society and culture. We are not called to pronouncement, only understanding.

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♥jem

#1881| Mornings with Guy Laroche

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Top c/o Earlgreyparty | Palazzo Pants from H&M | Hat c/o Bebe Singapore | Heels from Topshop Istanbul | Necklace c/o Klarra | L20104 timepiece from Guy Laroche

If I can’t wake up to this view, I can at least wake up unreasonably early to take a cab down and across the sea (somewhat) to catch the first rays of light.. No, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Between a hat that seems to have lost all original will to shape and a DIY jumpsuit crafted from an all black ensemble, the best thing about this look appears to be the gorgeous timepiece that made a cameo in my Haircare post a couple of weeks ago. Leather straps and a rose gold face. Roman numericals. It’s amazing how something so subtle pulls together a whole look. Suddenly it’s not sloppy, it’s laid back chic. It’s not taking refuge in a single color, it’s luxuriating in shades of black. I’m not a yawning, lazy girl shaking off the cobwebs of sleep. I’m punctual and put together. And I know what time it is. (Always, always tiger time. Or is that joke too old already?)

Thank you for this exquisite piece, Guy Laroche!
Quote Guy Laroche with Jemimah for 20% off all purchases at OG Orchard. x

x
♥jem