#2097 | Skincare Sundays: The Multitasking Masking Millennial

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Hey guys,

So, as far as superhero names go, I feel I did quite okay with the multitasking masking millennial? We’ll see. But yes, back again with skincare sundays, and addressing a question that I asked a lot when I was first getting into the masking game (very late, compared to my peers): How do you find the damned time?!

The rise of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories have led me to realise just how late i was, getting into masking. Flipping through my nightly updates from friends made me realise that my girlfriends were always lying around with sheet masks or cream masks in the evenings, while I still struggled to remember to drink eight glasses of water a day. I solved the water consumption bit by downloading an app on my phone that rewarded me emotionally everytime I drank a glass of water by making this animated plant grow up (it’s called Plant Nanny, this app), but there is no app to my knowledge that will tell me to mask regularly.

Somehow, I found it hard to dedicate twenty minutes of my day to masking, especially when I’m always on the go.. But I knew it was important, especially given my lifestyle habits of travelling, working late, etcetera, so after months of experimenting, here’s what I came up with:

Multitasking and Masking for the Modern Millenial

(As you can tell, I’m pretty pleased with all my alliteration going on..)

So firstly, I don’t know how you guys feel about sheet masks, but I’m pretty on the fence about them. I dont mind them that much, but I do mind how they restrict my movement, and how I basically have to lie there while it’s on my face or risk it falling off if I run around doing things. As you can tell, I’m not really the kind of person who can sit still, and I really feel a bit panicky if I’m not doing something I can objectively classify as productive. This is why the discovery of gel, cream, and other types of application based masks has definitively changed my life. It’s just so much more.. mobile.

Secondly, over the past year, I came up with some ways in which I can integrate masking into my weekly routine, so that I can have nice skin without disrupting my normal routines that much. Heh. Here we go:

1. Do a clarifying morning mask over the weekends when you’re getting ready for your day.

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Realistically you cannot do this on a weekday because you will be rushing to work, ok? I used to work advertising in an office job, I remember how it goes. So do this on a weekend, when your mornings are significantly more elastic, time wise. You cannot do exfoliating /clarifying masks too often anyway, it will irritate your skin, so once or twice a week is good and I usually do it over the weekends anyway.

Using a mask that’s more on the clarifying/polishing/exfoliating side in the mornings is great because you accumulate a lot of dead skin on your face overnight. This is why they always say you should wash your face properly in the mornings (besides you know, needing the cold water splash to wake up). Here I’m using a chinese ginseng and rice clarifying polishing face mask from The Body Shop’s Expert Facial Mask range. All those words basically mean one thing: it’s an exfoliating mask. I do it while setting my hair (people with fine hair, do you feel me? Flat fringe woes are a real thing), brushing my teeth, etcetera. Then I wash it off and put on a day moisturiser, something light and hydration-focused, before sunscreen.

I find that this makes the skin tone less dull, instantly, and over prolonged use, contributes to that coveted skin glow that all those television people go on and on about. It’s also a really great way of making you feel like a winner early in the morning already, so no matter what happens during the day, you’re pretty much set! 😀

2. If you’re in the habit of following a TV series, schedule in a masking session the day each new weekly episode drops.

Unless you’re bingeing on netflix, in which case theres no weekly schedule.. but you can still mask anyway. The way I see it is, youre going to be sitting in one spot for half hour to full hour blocks anyway, watching your show. WHY NOT BE BEAUTIFUL AT THE SAME TIME? Hahahaha.

Because I love the chinese ginseng mask so much, I use that quite frequently when I’m watching shows. The texture of this particular mask means that it wont be likely to drip, unlike sheet masks which usually leak serum, and so it’s quite a convenient wash-off mask to use.

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(Right now I’m watching Season two of The Flash, which just dropped on Netflix. HBU?

Please remember to follow up any exfoliating or clay mask with a hydrating moisturiser. Or if you’re binge watching something, follow up with a hydrating mask, because why not? The general consensus, really, is that you can do a hydrating mask every day if you’d like. But more intense or targeted masks, only once or twice a week, to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

3. Do a moisturising mask before bed – while you do your nightly reading.

As you might remember from a few posts back, I am a huge proponent of committing to a nightly no-electronics, hour long reading session before bed (Five ways to read more daily / jemmawei.com). Because nourishing the mind is important, okay?

But while you nourish the mind, might as well nourish your face at the same time. I like using a honey mask in the evenings, because you’re likely to do this after you shower, and I find that the damp skin + honey combo always makes the honey mask more effective. I’m using the honey mask from the same The Body Shop Expert Facial Mask range, it’s called the Ethopian Honey Deep Nourishing mask. It’s also the same one I mentioned in the previous Skincare Sundays blogpost, and I did promise to talk about it more, so here I am!

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I find that honey based masks are particularly good if you’ve had a gruelling few days. I like using it after swimming or diving trips because honey is the stuff of the gods and actually reduces inflammation (in addition to fixing your sore throats, ulcers, so on and so forth..). And plus, it’s mega hydrating and naturally anti bacterial, so you can still use it even if you’ve had a breakout. It is mega, mega decadent.

Protip: in addition to using it on damp skin, also warm it up in your palms first before applying it to your face. That way, the honey melts a bit and the mask is more effective. This is true of all honey masks, not just the one from The Body Shop, so please take note!

4. Do a mask while doing desk-bound work at home.

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Maskin while marking..

This picture is from submissions period last semester, when I was teaching a couple of classes at NTU. Marking season is intense, any tutor will tell you that, and since I was gonna be stuck in one spot all weekend (MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND BY THE WAY) marking and marking and marking, I figured I better get something out of it. I tell you, doing a mask while working is so gratifying, because you really feel like youre being doubly productive. When I posted this photo to Facebook, it was like an epiphany for a lot of people. I got so many messages from friends saying that they are SO going to do this now whenever they do work late at night or at home. This is half sad because it just shows how we all really live in a society where we cannot stop working, but it is also half optimistic, cos now they all will have good skin.

Anyway! I usually work out of my office at The Hive, where masking is impossible unless i want a reputation as a madwoman, but I still do work at home on occasion. Of late, I’ll do work at home while accompanying my sister who’s staying up late studying for her A levels, and we will both do masks together. Very satisfying!

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This Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow mask is hands down my favourite mask from The Body Shop Expert Facial Mask range. My baby sister summed it up best: we did the mask together for the first time last year, and when she washed it off, she gasped and said: oh my gosh, I’m beautiful!

Gotta give it to that girl, she’s all about the self confidence. Love it. But yes, my sisters and I do this mask together often, it’s our favourite because of how visibly and tangibly smooth your skin is after. With that said..

5. Do a mask together with your friends/family

Masking is just so much more fun when you do it with other people. Maybe it’s because I grew up with two sisters, but we love doing girly stuff together like painting our nails, doing face masks, and talking about how dumb boys are. The motivation to get off your ass and do a mask is just so much more compelling when you have someone to do it with!

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Don’t know if you guys remember, but I used to snapchat my masking routines with my sisters every freaking sunday. This was all using the different masks from The Body Shop Expert Facial Mask range, which, full disclosure, I got as a media gift. But I love it so much, and I checked the prices online and they seem really reasonable for such great masks! This charcoal one, for example, is $32.90, and my sisters and I have been using it on and off for like, six months. Because it’s an applicator mask, you can decide how much you wanna use on your face (and even if you just wanna use it on a particular problem area and not your whole face!) and so it’s easy to ration out the mask, as opposed to if you use a sheet mask cos once you use it it’s basically done.

6. Do a mask while you do your chores.

Same concept as number 4. masking while working. But while you iron your laundry or fold your clothes, why not do a mask? I did a #jemmainajiffy video on this while back, and I just realised that the masks used in that video were also masks from this range (which I guess goes to show how much I like them), so I’m going to just include that here.

7. Lastly, do a multi-mask when you wanna treat yoself

Some days you just wanna have a bit of self-pampering, okay? Another advantage of applicator style masks is that you can put more than one mask on your face, depending on what you need. This is great for people with combi skin, because sometimes the different parts of your face just need different kinds of targeted treatments. Here I’m doing something recommended by The Body Shop team, called the replenish and recharge facial for sleepy and stressed skin, which sounds exactly like my entire existence.

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Basically, it’s the:

– Amazonian Acai Energising Radiance Mask on my forehead and nose
– Ethiopian Honey Mask on my cheeks
– British Rose Plumping mask on my chin and neck

And I while I wait the fifteen to twenty minutes for my skin to soak that all in, I listen to music and/or take a power nap on my couch. Protip: keep your hair out of your face while doing this with a cute headband, because #photoOp. It really is the most luxurious thing, taking a nap. Such a rarity as adulthood sets in.

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And tada! That’s it. Not bad right? Because of all these multi-tasking habits I’ve accumulated, I find that I’ve really started masking significantly more over the past year. And a lot of this is because of the mask set from The Body Shop lah, honestly, before I discovered it I was soooo lazy to mask! But I guess there’s just a lot of fun involved in picking a mask and doing it with my sisters over the weekends or in the evenings, and I really do like the masks, the Charcoal and Ginseng ones in particular.

I think getting into the habit of masking also falls in line with the larger theme of learning to take care of yourself as you get older. Mentally, it makes me feel more.. adult, if that makes sense. I feel more responsible for my own skin and therefore life, and I feel as though I’ve really taken ownership over my complexion. Does it work? You tell me. Here is a photo of me post-masking, with completely no make up and unedited except for color hor.

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I mean, I feel pretty happy with where my skin is at right now. I should probably clarify also that I dont really go for facials, I think I go like max once a year and sometimes not even then. Mostly when I go not cos I really wanna do something to my skin, but cos I’m stressed and feel like I just need to be TREATED RIGHT. Haha. I feel like if you have a good and regular home skincare routine, you don’t need to go for a facial unless you want something a little more intensive done, like a laser facial to get rid of pigmentation or the kind of facial to target acne scars. But for normal cleansing and moisturising, I feel like it’s more economical to make it a habit to just upkeep your skin regularly, and it’s worked for me so far.

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As mentioned earlier, all the masks I highlighted in this post are from The Body Shop, this is their Expert Facial Mask Range that you can purchase individually instores or online. Having used it for a pretty long time now, like almost a year, I think I’m being pretty objective when I say that it’s really worth the money and is a fantastic product! It’s also super affordable compared to other products in this genre, and I’m personally a fan 🙂

Alright, what a long post! Ciao, then, till next time. Happy masking!

x
Jem

#2079 | DIY KITCHEN UPCYCLING PROJECT – THE DELIVEROO CHALLENGE

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HOLA! From the land of thesis writing, script marking, and near-daily shoots. What a month it has been. Can you believe it’s April already? I cannot. April snuck up on me from behind and smacked me across the back of my head, and the ever pressing question is: what have I done with my life, now that a third of the year has gone by?

Not much in terms of concrete skill building. This is not something that I take issue with, to be honest, because this year I’ve been focusing on getting better at what I already do, plus you know, finishing my Masters degree, of which we now sit in the last leg. But last year, my resolution was to do/learn something new each month, and so twelve new things later, it does feel strange that I havent exactly done anything concretely new this year yet. So it was with apprehension and just the slightest gasp of desperate relief that I took on the Deliveroo upcycling 2017 challenge – a hands on project in redoing your kitchen, DIY style, into a space that my family would actually want and love.

The thing about kitchens is, they’re so full of clutter. I have to admit to being a bit of a technofreak, I get really excited whenever new gadgets and appliances come out. I got my parents a nespresso machine for christmas last year, and we’ve been enthusiastically using it every single day. This, however, is unfortunately not true for the rest of my kitchen gadgets, most of which just sit around taking up space. It’s so silly, because although I love to cook (not very good at it though), I hardly have the time, and so clutter accumulates, condiments, thingamabobs, gadgets, bread that moulds too fast. It was time to marie-kondo this shit, I said.

Let me show you the state of my kitchen before the uprising:

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I know…

The most infuriating thing was, half of this wasnt necessary. All those cups I collected from macdonalds during the olympics all those years ago? Never used them. We dont really eat bread, so I dont know why we got all those condiments, I suspect half of them are expired. And everyone at home has been trying not to eat rice, I dont know why we dont just put the rice cooker in deep storage and bring it out during chinese new year or something. All these things you dont even think about until youre forced to – and then bam! The place is a mess.

Btw, those jars on the kitchen counter were because my mother was trying to grow some beans or something to make kombucha, because she is a HIPPIE. I was like, Mum, i will deliveroo you some kombucha. And she just said, dont mess with my beans. They can hear you.

So this fit in perfectly with Deliveroo’s challenge, which was to rid oneself of all the unnecessary kitchen clutter, and to literally, leave it to the professionals if and when I wanted something a little more complicated to make. Of course, this differs from person to person – so if you’re the type who spends most of your time at home then you may want to always be experimenting in your kitchen, but if you’re on the go all the time like me, then realistically you’re not going to make full use of these random appliances, upon which they become – you’ve guessed it – CLUTTER.

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Deliveroo-ing while sketching out plans for the kitchen

Anyway, on to the planning stage!

Here’s the thing about my kitchen. Because of the way the HDBs in my area are built, there’s not that much light coming in through the kitchen cos the other blocks block it. It’s still bright, but relative to the rest of the house, it’s pretty much the gloomiest part of my flat. It’s also where my cat, her royal highness Athena Wei, eats, drinks, and sometimes sleeps. So my goal was threefold:

1. Create the illusion of space and light by clearing out the area – the walls are white ceramic, so if the area is cleared, the light will automatically reflect off them and make the place look brighter and more spacious
2. Introduce greenery to the kitchen – we love plants in our home, and I wanted my kitchen to look like some hippie pinterest modern fusion kitchen where you could sip a coffee and enjoy some nice fresh air, recycled by your friendly neighbourhood plants
3. Rehaul Athena’s area because she deserves a little upgrade too!

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“Who’s ready for a brand new home?”
*unwillingly, my photo prop*: “Me”

So phase one begun: the cleaning out phase.

To be honest, this phase is a pain in the ass because I hate housework. But I suppose once I get into it it’s quite alright. The gross bit was realising how long some of these “key” kitchen gadgets havent been touched – I had to wipe down and dissolve the lime buildup under some of them! *shudder*

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While this was ongoing, I basically lived off deliveroo, because no one else was allowed to use the kitchen at the same time. So that was a fun week – a lot of inertia regarding cooking complicated dishes is in the washing up, so while I wont make it a daily habit, it’s quite nice to just have dinner arrive readymade and packaged conveniently to recycle once finished with.

My mum and I also went out to buy 1. plants 2. floor mats 3. Athena’s water fountain and 4. Athenas new bedding. Don’t laugh – the reason why cats need a water fountain is because they are snobbish pricks who wont drink water out of a bowl – or they will, but they dont like it, and so they get very dehydrated. Something many cat owners/ cat cafes do is get a water fountain, because cats will drink willingly out of a moving water source. Mine cost about seventy bucks from Pet Safari in Vivocity.

Ready to see Athena’s new corner? :3

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Ready for your new place?
Notice: the new japanese patterned floor mat for her food bowls

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New cat bed from Pet Safari, Cat mirror from the Airbnb team – it was a birthday gift from them a couple years back. Thank you Grace! 🙂

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Overall look 🙂

I think we might have gone a bit nuts with the plants, but thats okay! Maybe now my hybrid greenhouse-kitchen dreams have been achieved?

I don’t know if you can tell, but if you’ve been following my Snapchat/Ig stories for awhile you might have guessed that actually my mother is obsessed with plants. We have plants all over our living room, and the theme has now spilt over to the kitchen! I love having plants around because they make the whole place look fresher and somehow, cleaner. They also inject life into any living space – and I’ve found myself drawn to apartments that have little pockets of greenery during my travels when looking for places to stay in. Even in my office space I keep flowers and little potted succulents around so my space always looks fresh, and so when planning for the kitchen this was really a no-brainer.

Anyway, it was soooo cute to watch Athena explore her new home. She’s a bit of a snob, so its rare that she openly displays curiosity or affection because she is damn act cool. But she was pretty pleased with her new upgraded corner, so that was nice!

And now! The rest of the kitchen:

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totally cleaned up this space. got rid of all the stupid cups and condiments, and made the mid shelf a green space instead! And yes – we left space for my mother’s kombucha station

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we dont bake that often, but to be honest i think the kitchen aid looks great, so we left it there. haha!

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“Look, ma! No dishes to do!”

I figured – if I really want some peanut butter cake or a really complicated and elaborate meal, I can always deliveroo it. How often am I realistically going to get down and dirty to cook a three course meal anyway? Their motto is “leave it to the professionals” after all. So away with the air fryer and away with the storage tins! The toaster gets to stay because it’s white and matches the rest of the kitchen, HAHA. #priorities

I also made the executive decision to move the nespresso to the other end of the kitchen, to replace the rice cooker, and create a kind of ‘Coffee Corner’ because my parents and I always make a point to have a coffee every morning, whether together or otherwise, and so it makes more sense that everything is congregated at one spot. This is also right under our cupboard where we keep beverages – coffee powder, tea bags, sugar and creamer, etcetera – all hidden away behind the clean white ceramic cupboard doors. So it makes more sense to have it here anyway, I think!

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My coffee corner..

This part of my kitchen actually also has a pull out table masquerading as a top shelf drawer, so if my parents and I want a coffee together, we can just pull it out and sit around the mini table.

It’s right next to the stove, so if we want to brew coffee and bring it out (my dad does this a lot), then our tumblers are all congregated there as well, next to the kettle. Shoutout to my gorgeous rose gold chrome tumbler from Starbucks, because I know I’m going to get emails asking where it’s from!

I’m just gonna say that this is what this corner used to look like before…

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See what I mean about the pull out table?

Ha! I feel so happy with my coffee corner lol. I just have to say, that my mum is actually really good with interior design. She basically had an idea of what she needed, then googled what kind of architecture would suit it, then got someone to come in and design it. That’s why we have these random things like pull out tables and small shelves to put condiments and now, plants on.

Finally, the cooking area..

Before:

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After:

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I
KNOW
RIGHT??

Here’s a break down of what I actually did:

– move the cooking oils and spices into the top left cupboard, where it is easily accessible should you want to cook
– keep the pots and pans in the cupboards below (my kitchen is full of cupboards)
– moved the salt and sugars into the – no prizes for guessing – condiment cupboard, then replaced it with creeping plants
– put a plant next to the sink
– added a nice floor mat (cant see it here, but you can see it in the first pic in this blogpost)
– cleaned up the area

Seems so easy but it makes such a huge difference!

I feel so optimistic just looking at it, LOL. The thing about clutter is, it keeps coming. So I’m sure it’ll start to accumulate again, but for now at least I have a fresh and clean start, and I think it looks great! Fingers crossed my family manages to keep it this way for a good while 🙂

Alright, so that’s about it! My deliveroo challenge, completed. I think I did pretty decent, and dont tell me if you think otherwise because take your negativity away from me! I feel extremely accomplished and very adult, and I hope this inspires you guys to at least get up and pack your room.

Thanks for the challenge Deliveroo – what’s next? Bring it. x

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x
Jem

#2054 | Razzle Dazzle Festivities

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Love & Co. Singapore
All photos shot on a Nikon D750, lenses: 50f1.4, 85f1.8

Tis the season..
.. when all my friends are getting hitched! When Love & Co. invited me down to style a series of pictures for their signature LVC Lovemark diamonds and LVC Charmes Petit Bear collection, I freaked out a bit. Tis the season for commitment, is what it is. But then I wondered – what makes diamonds and jewellery specifically a gift between lovers? What kind of love legitimises a rare stone that sparkles as much as your relationship does? So on and so forth. Despite being a bespoke bridal jeweller, what Love & Co. carries at the end of the day are gems, gorgeous, sparkly, trademarked 360degree ultimate light performance gems. Specifically – diamonds. And I’ve always been the kind of girl to over-philosophise and get sentimental over all relationships, not just romantic ones – after all, I did ‘friend-propose’ to my girlfriend of 7 years back in New York last Christmas…

And so i told myself – don’t over think it. So I’d gift these pieces to a girlfriend. Someone would gift these to their spouses-to-be. I have another freshly married girlfriend who gets random diamond earrings as gifts from her new husband because their romance makes us all look bad, that’s why. So yes. Gifts for all occasions, shaped to take the form of whatever we justify as legitimate. And as far as gifts go, these rank way high in terms of their sparkle factor.

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featured: Love and Co. LVC Petit Bear Pendant (comes with Rose Gold Chain), LVC Lovemark diamond ring

What is it about incredibly sparkly things? I’ve struggled with reconciling my academic side with my frivolous one for ages – I know that material goods have value attributed by social constructs that shape perception, but I cannot help but adore all things freakin glitzy, like glitter eyeshadow and sequinned shoes. I used to worry about not being taken seriously as an academic when I walk onto campus in my pink skirts and glitter sandals, but I’ve made peace with myself. And as sparkly things go, this is by far the most insane (as well as, funnily, socially accepted) bit of glitz that I’ve handled. The Lovemark Diamonds come with Light Performance Reports, which I privately think of as Glitter Score, and the inner rims of the ring band can be engraved with personalised messages if you wish. I could go on, but why not hear it from the professionals themselves instead?

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Setting: Crate & Barrel SG

Talk about a sparkly daydream. They gave us free reign to play with their entire collection of LVC Charmes Petit Bear pendants and LVC Lovemark diamonds, and I can safely say I’ve never touted so much in terms of cash value on my person as I pranced through ION Orchard before. Still, I’m pretty happy with the stills I got, and definitely appreciate the chance to have creative control over shooting and styling visuals for a commercial brand. When the time came for us to part, I have to say, a little bit of me cracked. Let me keep one! Just one! But no – I suppose – that’s a gift for another day, and from another love.

x
Jem

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#2051 | The Pre-Grad Prep List

You know what they say, guys, hindsight is 10/10. A year on and a little bit, and finally putting together this list of things I wish someone had told me/my friends before we approached the death of institutionalised academia (ie. graduation). I thought I was relatively well prepared, but when graduation actually hit, everything went nuts.. and i would say I have to deal with less than most people since I’d already decided that I’d be continuing with my Masters!

This I will say: things you need to do to prepare for post-graduation life that might seem overwhelming at point of grad cos its things you dont even think of in the day to day.. so it’s better to start preparing early. Here I’ve put together a list of pragmatic concerns that I hope proves helpful to you – but always open to suggestions, so email me if you’ve got anything you think I’ve missed out and I’ll add it in!

The Pre-Grad Prep List

1. Update your resume or LinkedIn profile

People always underestimate LinkedIn or assume it’s something only bankers use, but i cannot count the number of times I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a job offer (although I’ve never taken those up given my academic commitments) or been approached to host gigs through the platform (reasonably more successful takeup rate than the job bit). So just spend a bit of time doing it up, and you’ll never know where it brings you!

Important point regarding both LinkedIn and your resumes: Get someone to proofread it for you, and make sure you have different resumes for different jobs. For example, you wouldnt send the same generic resume to your application for, say, a banking job, to a creative agency. Some examples of good, specific resumes:

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Graphic Design Resume by Lenka Kubisova

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Professional but Eye catching Resume from Guru.

And of course, if you’re applying for a job in the banking field, your resume will look vastly different from this. But it’s always good to start cleaning up your resume early and figuring out what to include, instead of scrambling to get one together when the hiring cycle starts.

So yes: Tailor your resume to the field you are applying for, and make sure you proofread it. You don’t want to be stumbled by a grammatical error if you’re applying for a publishing house!

If you’re a freelancer, same rules goes for name cards
, which can frequently be your gateway to a resume or job request during networking sessions. Here’s an example of a really good namecard design done by my super talented friend Warren for our other friend Martin:

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See how the tip of the card is meant to resemble a tear off ticket stub? That’s form reinforcing content right there.

And on that note, clean up your social media profiles! Employers google potential employees, so make sure you dont have anything unsavoury floating around on the web.

2. Get your headshot photo properly taken

This doesn’t have to be a studio shot, but generally have extra samples of your photo ready that you can use for your IC, for your resume/linkedin profile, for your visa if you decide to apply for an international job, etc etc. It’s always better to be prepared, than to fumble and take a bad one at one of those machines that youre not happy with because youre pressed for time. After graduation I needed my head shot for many unexpected things – driving license application, passport renewal, diver’s license.. so it’s generally good to be prepared.

3. Have a good think about your finances.

A great shock to me post-grad is that you have so many BILLS to deal with! If you had a private insurance previously, you probably have to take over payments now, and it’s a total headache to figure out. Phone bills. Electricity bills – if you contribute the household expenses. Money for your parents. Paying off your student loans. Take check of how much debt you’re in (probably lump sum cos of uni fees), how much recurring debt you have (monthly payments like phone bills, household contributions), and how much savings you have.

This will help you figure out your lag time to look around and find a job you like. Most of you wont want to be taking the first job offer you get, but how long should you be looking around before settling down? This personal deadline is what you need to figure out when understanding your expenses and debt.

If you need help managing your finances on a day to day level, think about using an app to log your daily expenses so you know exactly where your money is going to, and what categories you can/should cut down on. I personally use this app called Moneyboard (I’ve tried a few, but I like this interface the best), which tracks my inflow and outflow of cash.

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The screen grabs from the app store

4. Speaking of which.. Understand your liabilities

So you are a human being with feelings and all that, which is, yknw, great. But to companies and corporations, you’re also a bunch of liabilities and this is what you need to have a good understanding of in order to make your next step decisions w.r.t. postgrad life.

EG. If you want to pursue postgrad education (like me), you need to understand what people look for in giving out scholarships. If youre applying overseas, we’re considered ‘non-native english speakers’ which is both annoying and troublesome because we have to take extra tests to prove english proficiency. So be aware of that.

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Although I must say, if you intend to pursue funded (scholarship) postgraduate study, a lot of your time will be spent trying to multitask like me, marking student scripts while getting my skincare on

And for health related issues, boy, you are a BUNCH of walking liabilities. So when making decisions on a) whether you can at the moment afford premium health policies (see pt 3 re: finances) b) whether you want to get health policies and if so c) what kind, you need to understand what kind of liabilities you represent to other people ie. insurers. An example of the factors that come into play are whether you smoke, whether you drink heavily, whether you have pre-existing medical conditions (this is NOT covered by any private insurer if your injuries/illnesses are sustained before point of purchase, but it IS covered by your own MediShield Life policy), so on and so forth.

It also helps to have a good understanding of what you are ALREADY covered for before moving forward. I don’t know how many if you know this, but you’re automatically covered by the government’s MediShield Life policy for life, which is essentially a government insurance policy paid for by either your own CPF or your parents CPF. You DONT HAVE TO APPLY for this, so please figure out what MSHL covers you for, especially when you’re a student or a fresh grad because that’s when you are gonna start thinking about your next steps in terms of healthcare, most of which will cost you upfront money.

Your MediShield Life (MSHL) policy covers your hospitalisation charges for amounts up to class B2/C wards in a public hospital. It also covers you for selected costly outpatient treatments (like kidney dialysis or chemotherapy). So even if you choose a higher class ward or a private hospital, you’re still covered, just that the amounts are pegged to class B2/C wards. MSHL covers you REGARDLESS of your pre-existing medical conditions. So if you have a ligament injury from your school sports days, it’s also covered under MSHL. Also, if you have an Integrated Shield Plan (IP), MSHL forms a part of it and you’d get to enjoy additional coverage depending on what your IP covers.

FOR EXAMPLE. I have a lot of friends who’ve gone through surgery (myself included, for my eye last year). A friend who is under an integrated shield plan recently had a gastrointestinal surgery (again, surprisingly common) shared her bill with me, and here are some things to take note of:

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No matter what, the government always subsidises your bill if you opt for a Class B2/C ward in a public hospital. Look at that 5.9k deduction – that’s the government subsidy my friend got for staying in a Class B2 ward in a public hospital. MSHL still covers you if you’re going to a private hospital, don’t get me wrong. But because private hospitals don’t have government subsidy, you end up paying a lot more.

When it comes to hospital bills, the amount is deducted this way: the government subsidy first, followed by your MSHL coverage or your IP (depending on what you have), then from Medisave and lastly cash payment. So in the bill above you see that they’ve automatically deducted a big part of the original bill (about 5.9k, which is the government subsidy), and from that, they deducted a portion from MSHL and the remaining was taken from Medisave.

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What is the real life impact of this?

– The most obvious point of the 1.3k you see above is that even though my friend had additional coverage from her IP, she didn’t need to use it in this case. Under the breakdown of payout, it was covered by MSHL. So if you’re okay with a class B2/C ward and not choosing your doctor, then MSHL will be sufficient. If you think you may need additional coverage, click on this link to find out more before making a decision.

And… this is the most important thing right now, I think, that the bills prove that while not a one-stop solution, MediShield Life does give you quite extensive coverage and so if you’re balancing a lot of post-grad debt, you don’t have to necessarily feel pressured into purchasing a health policy that you can’t afford at the moment. (:

PS. For those of you who want to know more, I’d suggest speaking to someone from Ministry of Health. They’re having a roadshow on Sunday, 27 November at Ang Mo Kio Central Stage 11AM-6PM. This is probably going to be very useful for those of you who in addition to the above, 1. Want to understand what kind of coverage you already have before moving forward and 2. Those of you who want to help your parents figure out their coverage, ESPECIALLY when it comes to pre-existing injuries or bigger medical bills. And so this might really be useful for those of you who are concerned about figuring out your parents’ medical situation and costs, especially since the older one gets the more susceptible to illnesses!

5. Start working out a personal savings plan.

I know, i know. Enough money talk! But sorry, real life calls. It might seem a bit premature to think about this before graduation, especially since youre looking at all the bills youre gonna have to level after grad (see pt. 3). But it’s never too early to start planning, and a proper head on your shoulders when it comes to managing your personal finances is really important, as I’ve said multiple times before (see: broke student’s guide to managing your finances). You shouldnt just be working towards paying off your bills, you need to start thinking about having some kind of savings pool on your own in case you (optimistically) want to have a spontaneous getaway or (pessimistically) suddenly need it for a rainy day emergency. And you never, never want to be living from paycheque to paycheque just because you didn’t do proper budgeting ahead of time. So get that sorted.


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Alright, so that’s about it! Did I miss out anything? This post went on for long enough, but you know the drill – email me if you have any essential points you think I missed out, and we will get to it in another post if there are enough things to note. But till then, enjoy the ride, and happy impending graduation you guys!

x
Jem

#2046 | Jemma for Seagate: Saving on Space while Traveling

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current travel essentials

Heads up guys, a new kid is on the block and boy is it gorgeous. The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim launched earlier this year to much fanfare, and it just makes me blush for the days I lugged a giant regular external hard drive (the kind that needs to be plugged into a power source) around for storage a mere five years ago. I even dragged that one to new york with me the first time, when I was 18, telling myself that the mess of wires and foregone luggage space was worth it for the promise of backed up photo memories. Well, it was. But those days are gone. I’ve been using portable hard drives ever since I hit 21, and I’ve never looked back. And yet none of them have been as beautiful as this one.

Portable hard drives have gotten cheaper and more accessible precisely at the point where laptops have started being made with less and less internal storage space. There are lots of pragmatic reasons for this I’m sure – a computer definitely runs faster when youre forced to be prudent about the amount of junk you keep on your desktop. But when you go from a 500GB macbook to a 120GB MBP retina not by choice but by circumstance, you’ll find that the reliance on portable storage spaces are real. Because so much of what I do requires me to edit high-res photos on the go (and fine, I’m also a hoarder, I keep every single photo I’ve taken, ever), it’s come to a point where I store nearly nothing on my laptop itself save for word documents, and run everything off either a portable hard drive that I carry everywhere with me, or off the cloud.

I currently have about four external hard drives in different colors and designs, from a variety of brands, and I segregate my drives by chronological order as well as by function – I even have a whole drive dedicated to storing old seasons of FRIENDS and other things when I need a little perk-me-up! But because of that, I’ve also reached a point where I dont just want a high functioning drive, I want one that is, well, fine, pretty. And the dimpled champagne sheen of the new Backup Plus Ultra Slim just makes me swoon for the silliest and most superficial of reasons. No complaints – I totally own my frivolous side. Don’t we all?

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working on the go at starbucks over the famous shibuya crossing in tokyo, japan

But on to more pragmatic things. Part of the reason why I’m so reliant on hard drives is because we all need space, okay? I don’t just mean that metaphorically – I mean that in every sense of the word. Photos when I was 18 used to run in the 20kb range, now a good picture can be about 6MB per picture. My DSLR has two card slots already and yet I run out of space all the time. And because I am by nature a scatter brain, I’ve had to discipline myself into proper storage back-up habits the hard way. Too many times I’ve experienced the split second oh shit moment right after I delete a bunch of pictures I hadn’t backed up because I needed to clear space in my camera, and there’s nearly no way of getting them back! There was once I was actually on the brink of tears while sitting alone, in public, because I stupidly reformatted my memory card and then remembered the minute I pressed the REFORMAT CARD, CONFIRM? YES! button that I needed some pictures in there for a blogpost and I hadnt transferred the pictures out yet. This life!!!! The pain!!!!

So now I force myself to transfer out and backup my photos on my different drives (and then back up that drive in the Cloud) every weekend, just to prevent this from happening again. Ha.

PSA: on that note, the hard drives comes with 200GB of Cloud storage on Microsoft OneDrive..

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Working on the go while abroad: hard drive + portable wifi egg

Part of the reason why I like this new hard drive so much (which, full disclaimer btw, Seagate sent to me for trial and review) is because it’s so light and portable. I mean, that sounds like a silly thing to say because I kind of take for granted that all portable drives are light and easy to carry around. And they are. But on first impression, the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim wasn’t just light, it also was portable in a way that didn’t feel dinky. That is to say, it felt sleek and compact, but also solid enough to slip into your pocket or handbag without worrying that it’d get knocked around and messed up. This is something I’ve noticed about Seagate external hard drives in general which I really appreciate – I’m actually using one of their older backupplus models in electric blue. They’re also very fast because the newer models use USB3.0 port which handles file transfers faster than normal, and this range comes in the 1 or 2TB iteration which I believe is the largest capacity for external HDDs of this physical size. That means 320,000 photos or 240 hours of high definition video ok – perfect if you edit videos or photos on the go. If you’re traveling, this is great. If you’re traveling on a really long trip, this is perfect. Months and months of memories securely backed up! And – I cannot get enough of saying this – it’s so damned pretty that you have no qualms carrying it around with you and displaying it proudly on your temporary workdesk. I know I did.

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Said display in action: busy working in Tokyo after a full day out and about

Alright guys. Here comes the whammer y’all have been waiting for. Seagate Singapore and I have partnered up to give away one of these babies to one of you in a color of your choice – it comes in gold or silver. All you have to do is leave a comment on my instagram post here telling me what your best storage story is, and Seagate SG will pick a winner in a week. EG. Had no space in my luggage to shop for new clothes in Bangkok but at least I took 300 photos of them that I can now keep and remember forever! And etcetera. You have to be residing in Singapore for the giveaway, but other than that, there are no restrictions so go crazy. Be creative 😀

And for everyone else, even if you don’t participate / don’t live in SG – if you’re looking for a gorgeous new HDD that doesn’t break the bank, or for the perfect christmas present for your trigger-happy friend, you know what’s up.

Have a great one, y’all.

This post was brought to you by Seagate

x
Jem