#1953 | hey brow, do you even lift?

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Erabelle Prestige, Orchard Visioncrest.

Hey guys,

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

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

For your entertainment:

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

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

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

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

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

So here i am 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Make up routine: Streamlined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Real Life Effect for me

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

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

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woohoo

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

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


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Hong Kong, June

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Osaka, May

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Penang, May

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Tokyo, April

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Phuket, March

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Local Staycation, March

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

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

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

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

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

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

x
♥jem

#1952 | dusky daze

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Outfit: Topshop
Pictures: Nikon D5500 on a 18-55mm lens

Quick poll: is this a leopard print skirt or is it just a lot of pandas? Anyway.

Dusky days out with the boyfriend. The air conditioned domed things along the Gardens that look like alien eggs always struck me as a slightly odd structure, but my first time there changed everything. They were having a fairytale-inspired tulip exhibition which we wanted to check out, so we braved the heat down one Saturday in May – and I do mean braved: it was thirty three degrees, all the non air conditioned flowers were wilting.

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They were also giving out free tulips that looked like they came right out of a Beautex tissue box

It was altogether a very touristy experience, fighting the throngs of other people jostling to get a good shot of the flowers. How did I get those relatively untouched shots above then, you ask? That’s a secret I’ll never spill… though it does have to do with Shane’s impressive intimidation skills. Ha.

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Perhaps the best part of the entire experience was finally settling down for tea in Pollen, their in-house restaurant in the Flower Dome. Unreasonably expensive, for sure, but an amazing respite from the crowds. What d’you know – we found the one crowd repellant more effective than mosquitoes. Overpriced brunch. I called it, you guys. You heard it here first.

x
♥jem

#1933 | style: schooled

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Kimono: Fox Out | Inner tank + Black Skirt: H&M | Black Backpack: Yesstyle |

I remember being fascinated by kimono-style outerwear ever since i laid eyes on street style queen alexa chung. That’s what i consider street style, by the way, a believable level of bochup-ness that produces the effect of resembling some kind of beautiful accident. Not the primped and set outfits that in all likelihood took four hours and two curators to put together, plus one photographer hiding behind a taxicab yelling look here, taylor! Yeah.. i watch too much tv.

Till this day the number of kimono pieces i have in my wardrobe far exceed reasonable levels.. And the sitting-on-steps thing, surely not the most hygienic of trends, i blame gossip girl. Goodness, i miss that trainwreck of a show.

x
♥jem

#1917| Jemma for Nikon, Photo Diary: Haji Lane

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imagesHaji Lane, Singapore.

I spent most of 2014 out of Singapore, country hopping and wandering down new and old streets. Over this time it’s occurred to me more than once that I’ve not done my own country the same justice I have others – never bothered to see it as more than just a landing point, a home, instead of a place beautiful in its own right – and subsequently, ever since coming back to Singapore I’ve been adopting a more objective (this weather is still terrible!) and equitable (what a lovely country!) lens when out and about.

In any case, my old girlfriend Georgina was visiting from New York, and it seemed the perfect time to bring out the Nikon D610 on a photowalk along what is debatably one of Singapore’s most photogenic streets while showing her around and introducing her to my friends here.

The Nikon D610 is an old friend – I’ve used it throughout my grand New Zealand road trip in December, giving me time to get used to the camera. It seems I can never take a bad photo with it, everything turns out extraordinarily crisp and vibrant, and the camera itself is delightfully fast. It is also incredibly stable – which puts me to ease, handing the camera over to random passerbys for group shots: I always worry that the photos will turn out blur if I’m not there to handle the camera personally, possibly the result of my mild OCD.

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
ISO 100, f/5.0, Shutter speed 1/60

We started off by trying to hit up Elffin and Elffin, an art gallery cafe, which for all intents and purposes should have gone peachy since it was listed as OPEN TODAY! on google, Facebook, and their website. This goes to show that the internet does not know everything. After ten minutes of loitering outside their gates, the girl from the shop next door came out and demanded to know what we were doing there told us they haven’t been open for awhile.

Still, we got a photo. To prove that we tried.

No matter – the Haji area is nothing if not full of cafes. My personal favourite is the illustrious Wonderland cafe, but I have always wanted to try Stateland Cafe’s ice cream toast, so undaunted by the non-existence of our first cafe attempt, we hopped over a street to Bali lane.

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
Indoor photography: ISO 500, f/2.5, Shutter speed 1/25

I just adore the bokeh effect you get on the 35mm lens. I’ve been using the 50mm prime lens my whole life, but it’s very close up so you have less flexibility with it. With the 35mm I feel like it just hits the sweet spot between range and clarity, and I feel like I can never go back to my 50mm again.

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
ISO 500, f/2.0, Shutter speed 1/15

Stateland also owns the Honeycomb ice cream store a couple of doors down, and the staff ran out and grabbed us a soft serve on the house just so we could try it. I find myself perpetually miffed by the fact that all the honeycomb soft serves I’ve tried in Singapore beat the ones I’ve paid way too much for in Korea, where the trend apparently originated/ got popular.

Stateland Cafe
Address: 30 Bali Lane, Singapore 189866
Phone:9296 4997

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
Outdoor Outfit Photography: ISO 100, f/4.0, Shutter Speed 1/60
Taken by Martin.

Top: Eightslate | Skirt: Topshop | Belle full leather bucket bag: Sandytrove | Gold capped ballet flats: Zalora

Post brunch traipsing down Haji and being continually told how affordable our boutique shopping is here compared to in America. I listened to that refrain over and over again till I nearly left with a whole new outfit myself. Self control was only very barely implemented; I had to continually remind myself that half my outfit for the day already was new, product of giving over to my shopping impulses or otherwise – I’d gone a little overboard at the Topshop sale the day before and splurged on this gorgeous camel midi skirt. Perfect, I’d told myself, for going with my new black bucket bag.

Of course, I was making excuses for myself. Everything goes with the perfection that is this bag; I’ve been dreaming about it since I was fifteen.

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
Outdoor photography: ISO 100, f/5.6, Shutter speed 1/80.
From left: Georgina, Shane, Me, Martin, Warren.

Haji is very much a photo taking opportunity at every corner – each shop front is a canvas for expression, and the resulting cluster of coloured shophouses is collectively the nearest we will get to an italian neighbourhood here in Singapore, I believe. Still, the most iconic, jaw-dropping, show-stopping, human traffic hold-up is arguably the wall art bookmarking the streets. Virtually every hipster tourist has an instagram photo with these walls, and Georgina would be no different.

(You see what I mean about group shots turning out reassuringly focused, even when taken by random passerbys? That’s the stabilising function on the Nikon D610 talking, my friends.)

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
ISO100, f5.0, Shutter speed 1/100

I think the boys did it better, no?

After the boys served their function (ie. being brunch company), they left to do whatever it is boys do on a lazy weekday afternoon and Georgina and I continued boutique shopping, with her perpetually going This would have cost 200 dollars back in America! and myself going Goodness, I want to go to America. If she looks different in the photos below, it’s because she bought a whole new outfit on the spot and not because we went out on a separate day and I didn’t bother to change, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, with the weather being what it is in Singapore, the one day we tried threading our way through the outdoor shops was the one day it decided to storm down on all of us. And I do mean storm. We ran into another one of my college friends who was also bringing a backpacker from Germany around (i know! Guten tag!) so we decided to do as the Germans do and head to a bar at 4pm.

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
Indoor, side lit photography: ISO 250, f/1.8, Shutter speed 1/8
From left: Georgina, Me, Dominic, Julianne

Bar stories! I adore Bar Stories. Let me tell you about Bar stories. Instead of a traditional menu like most places do, the bartender asks you a series of questions about your personality/mood and then crafts you a drink he thinks you’ll like. All drinks range 20-25 dollars. The first time I visited the place, over two years ago, I was a sweet little thing with no idea what a cruel place the world was. I got a cotton candy pink cocktail infused with strawberry ice. This time round, I got this:

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
Close up, indoor photography: ISO100, f/2.0, Shutter speed 1/15

I have no idea what it is because the bartender made it up on the spot, but I do believe that’s rosemary on flames up there. The drink itself was a citrusy wonder. I loved it.

We went one round around the table and concluded that Dominic got the best drink though – this gold speckled concoction with hazelnut, a dash of peanut butter, and various other things they refused to identify for us. Trade secret, they said. Feh. Still, bar stories remains one of my favourite bars in Singapore to date for it’s gorgeous setting, incredibly warm bartender, and surprise drinks.

Bar Stories
Address: 57A Haji Lane, Singapore 189250
Phone:6298 0838
Hours: 4:00 pm – 2:00 am

We stayed there, kept hostage by the rain, and exchanged travel stories for a good two hours. I got to practice my (shamefully) inadequate German. Was möchten Sie trinket? and all that. It was lovely.

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Nikon D610 on a AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
Indoor portraiture photography: ISO320, f/1.8, Shutter speed 1/60

After the rain had finally let up, we parted ways, made plans for introducing the internationals to our local concept of midnight dim sum in the future, and continued roaming around the area for a little while before nightfall. Haji at night is a whole different story – but one for another day.

One day in the not so hidden gem that is Haji – a lot of laughs, good conversation, and a gorgeous set of photos to remember it by. Not bad for a day out, as far as I’m concerned.

All photos in this post were taken with the Nikon D610, on an AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens, and post processed in Adobe Lightroom 3.

X
♥jem

*This post is written as part of a series of travel photography articles for Nikon Singapore and originally appeared on Nikon.com. Hop over to Nikon Singapore for more!

#1909| Hyperrealism 2.0: Alive without Breath

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Top: H&M Budapest | Theo long vest in Khaki c/o Love and Bravery | Pants: Zara | Bucket Bag c/o Sandytrove | Brown heels c/o Steve Madden Singapore

Photos taken on the Nikon DF, 35mm lens

Lets talk about how amazing this is for a minute. Just one hot minute, okay? I was burning two hours, bumming around town with the boyfriend, while waiting to catch Birdman – which is, by the way, HANDS DOWN the best movie of the year even though it’s only January. Seriously, watch it. Anyway, we were looking for a place to have coffee and ended up chancing upon this amazing art exhibition in Scotts Square, and I was completely blown away.

K+, a pop up space on the top floor of Scotts Square, puts on different exhibitions featuring various artists and photographers. We walked in on their first exhibition – running till 15th Feb, this series of hyperrealistic art pieces by Singaporean artist Keng Lye. It seems like all just pretty sculptures until you realise they’re all made of freaking resin. Layers and layers of resin painstakingly piled on to create incredibly realistic scenes of marine life, displaced or otherwise.

I was just so.. flabbergasted. I searched my internal thesaurus for a fitting adjective and I came up blank. We have so much talent right here in Singapore and I am just so ashamed that I have never heard of this Keng Lye man before. Maybe I’m just not connected enough with the local art scene, but boy oh boy am I glad we stumbled upon this exhibition. It’s free, and runs all the way till 15th Feb, after which K+ is bringing in other artists / photographers / etcetera. Definitely drop by if you’re in the area, which come on buddy, you will be. It’s smack in the middle of town.

K+
#03-14/15 Scotts Square
6 Scotts R.d
Singapore, 228209

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Of course I abused the exhibition space to shoot a couple of outfit shots. I mean, look at all that white space and natural light. It was begging to be used and abused.

I remember complaining years back while visiting New York that we just didn’t have that kind of access to art in Singapore, that art was either too high falutin for the public to be interested or came at a premium people didn’t want to pay for. I mean, what are our options, really? A weekend at the opera? Catching a musical? Paying to catch a traveling exhibition? That stuff is expensive, and it’s not normal fare for the everyday man. And lets face it – unless you were already into art, either by virtue of your academic field or via an inherited passion, most people just aren’t that interested. They’d rather catch the latest Marvel movie at a fraction of the price.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: it’s wonderful that art has become so accessible and consumable, at least locally. Whether due to my increasing contact with these events or an actual rise in accessibility and interest, it does feel as though it’s a lot easier to reach out and grasp culture now than it was say five years ago. And that’s something we should all appreciate, if not revel in.

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K+ is right next to Wild Honey, Scotts Square, for your reference. So you really can just have an afternoon of overpriced brunch and free art. There’s a disconnect somewhere there but if it means more exposure for art in Singapore, then I’m not complaining.

Already looking forward to the next exhibition, and also, a rewatching of Birdman, hopefully sooner than later.

X
♥jem