#2076 | The Wasteland

UntitledUntitled

I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

x
jem

#2071 | The Low Down: Circles Life, Singapore’s Unicorn Telco

Untitled

Okay guys so I’ve had a lot of people ask me about Circles over the last year, mostly because whenever I share a screenshot and they see that Circles telco sign at the top left hand side people get a shock and think it’s amazing because I’m one of the few who got on Circles really early on.

And now with that new 20GB plan launch, everyone is going nuts over Circles and i have gotten a TON of people suddenly messaging me on twitter and IG and wherever else, and it’s just like the taobao frenzy again. So I’ve decided to just write one detailed post on my experience with Circles, and everyone can please just REFER HERE when they want to send me a message about it instead!

DISCLAIMER

This is not a sponsored post.
Yknw, just putting it on the table so you dont ask me later.

BACKGROUND

I’ve been on Circles since May last year, which makes this my 11th month with Circles. That’s nearly a year! So I think that gives me a pretty good range of experience from which to speak of, especially since I joined Circles almost immediately after they launched, meaning I’m probably one of the oldest Singapore users.

How I got to know of Circles was, my kind of not-by-blood older sister Christel introduced me years back to her girlfriend Carrie, and last year Carrie made a job switch to Circles and was looking for people to be beta testers. Beta testers are people who try out new or upcoming products (can be skincare, apps, software, etc etc) and give the company feedback about their user experience. I was not engaged to advertise for Circles. I didn’t even tell anyone I was using it except my close friends around me who asked why I was suddenly using two phones. I was also not paid for this. This was done purely out of my own interest, because I’m a geek who likes new techy things (though I’m not always good at it), and because Carrie asked me.

Because I used two phones, for my Singtel number and my Circles number, I could also compare the difference in speed between the two, which I thought informed my experience with Circles better as well. At that time, I didn’t know yet if I would continue paying to use Circles after my beta testing period was up (3 months), and so I didn’t opt to port my Singtel number over in case I didn’t like it. In theory, the plan (data-centric, app-based, cheap) made a lot of sense to me, but who’s to say that it’d be the same in practice and execution right? So I just kept the two phones separate, and used the Circles one for work, and Singtel one for personal use since thats the number all my friends have.

CIRCLES: THE PLAN

I’m on the basic plan, which is $28/month for 3GB and 100 mins talk time. This comes with free “plus” features, like caller ID, unlimited whatsapp that doesn’t eat into your data allowance, 4g service over 3g, unlimited customisation of your plan, so you can choose to buy more data this month, then change back to only 3gb on less busy months, etc etc.


Untitled
this is my app’s homepage with my data tracking info

Because I signed up early, within the first two months of Circles launching, I had an extra 2GB/month early bird promo data allowance that stays on my line forever, bringing it up to 5gb.

Then I took part in one of their IG competitions, which is this hashtag competition called #neverrunoutofdata, which gave everyone who took part 1GB/month extra too. So 6GB/month.

Then when I hit my 6 month anniversary with Circles, they gave me a 500MB/month “loyalty” data bonus. So now 6.5GB/month.

Then my sister and one of my managers switched to Circles a few months after they saw me using it so happily, giving me 200MB/month referral bonus each. This brings us to 6.9GB/month. PS. IF U SIGN UP FOR CIRCLES PLS USE CODE “JEMMA” SO I GET 200MB THANK U THANK U. U ALSO GET $20 OFF YOUR REGISTRATION FEE IF IM NOT WRONG!
Finally, for the new year, Circles gave everyone a happy new year bonus of 1GB/month through till June 2017. Meaning now I have 7.9GB/month data allowance, but when July hits, I’ll go back down to 6.9GB.

And yes, now they have a $20 for 20GB data add on option, but I dont think its necessary just yet because I feel like I do ok with my current data allowance, in addition to my singtel line which I still keep because I dont want to give up that number.

Essentially, what Circles did was to keep randomly giving me data for “good” behaviour, like staying on their network, referring friends to them, using their hashtag, etc etc. I guess this is also a safeguard on their end, because they’re a no contract network meaning you can technically terminate anytime. But once you terminate, if you sign up again, youre back to your base data plan without all the add-ons that you’ve earned.

CIRCLES: DATA SPEED

But this is the key question, really. Everyone keeps asking me: but what is Circles’s data speed and reception / network / cellular service really like?

Circles is tied to M1’s network. So if you’re on M1 and you switch to Circles, you wont see a difference.
But, Circles is definitely slower than Singtel.
And I dunno about Starhub, cos I’m not on Starhub.

How do I know this? When I get a notification on my social media accounts, my Singtel phone gets the notification first, then after a few beats, my Circles phone. Easy.

Is it a huge difference? No. But it’s a difference lor.

But then the next two questions that follow are:

1. Can you feel the difference if you only use one phone?
I can tell mainly because I use two phones. But if I only have one, then I wouldn’t know that my phone is marginally slower, right?
and 2. Is the slight drop in speed worth it for the massive drop in price?

Probably.

Over my past year of using the network, I’ve also noticed that the network has improved significantly. Because I was a beta tester during my first three months, I was looking out for things that weren’t working well so I could feedback to them. Things like data calls being dropped at certain locations, reception being spotty at some areas, etc etc.. and I sent everything to them as and when. But over the last six months, the number of times I’ve thought “hey, I need to text Carrie about a problem” has happened only twice, both times because there was an error they were sorting out, which caused the network’s data service to be down for an hour or so.

Which makes me think that they’ll continue to improve, or at least try to. After all, past experience has shown that they did. So I’m hopeful that in six months, the number of things I’d think about sending in feedback for would run down to zero!

Untitled

PROS VS CONS

Ok, so moving on. Here are some of the things that I like about Circles:

– Fully controlled on the app. I do everything via the Circles Care app on my phone, like buy extra data when I need it, or check on my bill. No need to use website, I dont think I’ve ever logged on to their actual desktop website before actually.
– THE BILLING CYCLE IS JUST THE FIRST OF EVERY MONTH. If you sign up in the middle of the month, they just pro rate you until the start of the new month. This is so much better, seriously, cos it’s just so much more convenient to remember that in the new month you have new data!
– Bills are directly deducted from your credit card/ debit card. This is, again, great, cos i hate logging into the Singtel website to pay my bills. I always end up forgetting or putting it off, then paying late, and getting slapped with a fine.
– Cheap for lots of data.

Things I dont like about Circles:

– Can’t buy a cheaper phone when you sign up for a Circles plan. You can pay for a phone by installment, but its full price lah. It still works out cheaper in the long run than if you get a cheap phone and some expensive-ass plan, but I suppose the inertia of spending a thousand bucks for a non-contract phone is really high.
– Last time no roaming at all. But ok, this is another example of how i could see it really improved throughout my experience with it. As recently as last June, there were no roaming options for Circles at all. But now they have so many! Havent tried them yet, but i mean, it’s there.
– No non-mobile benefits. I have 30% off for all my family’s Singtel bills (including our MIO TV!) because of some family bundle. And I think Starhub does something like this too. But Circles doesn’t have it.. yet. And I dont know if they will also, because I suspect they’re (rightfully) focusing on getting mobile right before moving on to other things. But come to think of it, my plan is still cheaper than the post 30% discounted singtel bill.

But now writing it down, I think its pretty hard to find something I dont like about circles. Even the above is nitpicking already! Actually I’m quite happy with my Circles line one. Haha!

CONCLUSION

So, I feel like I’ve covered most of the things that people often ask me and that I wanted to say. Is there anything else? Well, I’m sure if there is, you’ll email me. But for now, this is just my own experience from being on the network for close to a year. Overall I’m pretty happy with it, and most of my friends who’ve signed up whether through my recommendation or not seem pretty damned pleased with it too! So I’d say, definitely think about it if youre always busting your data allowance, and if you cant even remember the last time your phone bill cost less than thirty bucks. Ahmaaaazing.

And PLEASE HOR. After that donkey ass long post, if you decide to sign up for circles, please use my promo code JEMMA to get $20 off your registration fee because then i can get 200mb data too! Don’t cb cos I already spend a lot of time writing this ok so dont just sign up and forget to use it. USE IT! JEMMA. J E M M A. My life dream is to get 20GB from referrals, so i dont have to buy then $20 20GB plan. Haha!

Ok, that’s it from me. It’s like 3am now. This took longer than expected. So I’m going to sleep, and you guys, dont forget: JEMMA. PROMO CODE JEMMA.

Night, guys x

x
Jem

#2068 | (Don’t) Break a Leg

Untitled

So nearly two years ago now, I received a call in the middle of the night from my boyfriend telling me he’d been side tackled during soccer and couldnt walk.

What do you mean you cant walk?
I cant walk.
You mean, your leg hurts?
No, I mean I literally can’t stand.

Don’t ask me why he was playing soccer in the middle of the night (he assures me night soccer is a thing) or how this happened (I am verily unacquainted with the technicalities and finer points of soccer) but after a night of anxious hand holding outside the hospital emergency room the verdict was a torn ACL. Or, as he likes to call it these days: Can’t go XXX, my leg spoil. The number one excuse for anything he doesn’t wanna do .. ha!

I remember sitting outside the hospital emergency room and briefly remembering a couple years back when I was wondering how relevant the Sport Science major my university offered was. Turns out the answer was very. A couple months on crutches and a year of physiotherapy later, it seems that sports injuries are insanely common and once gotten, a total pain in the ass. We can testify to that. (if you look at the photo above, you might be able to see his crutch peeking out from behind his leg during one of our anniversary dinners..)

Last year, when penning my Pre Grad Prep List, his injury came up again and again in my mind, especially when writing the bit about knowing your liabilities. Because the thing is, a year ago, we didn’t know the first thing about health coverage. A huge thing that we were worried about was his ligaments being pre-excluded from all future insurance policies – which can quickly turn into a really irritating preclusion since you have ligaments basically everywhere. If you run a quick search on torn ACLs and insurance policies on the web, sport forums are crawling with people worrying about being insured for their subsequent ligament injuries (again, re-ruptured ligaments are sadly common) and it seems like the likelihood of being covered again is 50/50 + 100% chance of headache when figuring that shit out.

I still won’t purport to know everything about health coverage or insurance, but having done some stuff with MediShield Life over the past couple of months, know a lot more than I did. And one of the biggest and most crucial takeaways for me, I think, is knowing that MediShield Life covers you for pre-existing conditions.*

**pre-existing conditions as an insurance term refers to medical conditions that you had before you purchased your insurance. So if you don’t have an insurance plan and you develop a condition, you won’t be able to buy a plan that will cover you for that condition..

Untitled

Immediately post-operation (the second one), where I was so distracted by Shane’s hair that I made him change his hairstyle to this after he discharged.
Him: “You come see me after an op and your biggest concern is my HAIR??”

This is something that few people know and even fewer people realise the implications of. In the process of figuring life out post-graduation (bills, bills, bills), getting properly insured is one of the hugest headaches because if youre anything like me, the nitty gritty details of an insurance policy and the different types youre recommended to get will give you a migraine. But this is something that I think is the most immediately relevant and crucial to everyone. The term pre-existing conditions gets thrown around a lot when dealing with insurance, and knowing that MediShield Life has a clause covering pre-existing conditions is a huge sigh of relief all around.

This is important because:

1. It’s damned hard to find a private insurer to cover your pre-existing conditions – there’s a 99.9% chance that they won’t.
2. It’s good to know for your parents because MediShield Life covers new and pre-existing heart related illnesses, and chronic conditions (think diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol), which are increasingly common in Singapore today.
3. EVERYONE HAS MEDISHIELD LIFE ALREADY. So knowing how it works for you is not only really important, it might save you a ton of money and worrying in the future!

Your MediShield Life claim amount gets renewed every policy year. Which effectively means what I’ve been saying this whole post: that you’re covered for pre-existing conditions, and your coverage will not change even if you develop a condition.

Yes. So that Public Service Announcement was basically the main point of this post – a huge highlighter ran over and over the point that you are covered for pre-existing conditions under MediShield Life. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to know this, both for yourself and for your parents moving forward. It is probably (to me) one of the hugest advantages of this healthcare policy and thankfully an inclusive one implemented by the state because it means that this huge advantage is dumped on you whether you understand it or not. Thankfully.

Untitled

waiting for shane while he goes for physiotherapy

So if you think healthcare insurance (i.e. MediShield Life and IPs) might be something you want to know more about, the right people to ask will be at the MediShield Life roadshow on 25th of Feb at Toa Payoh HDB Hub Mall – so make it a point to go down between 11am to 6pm and have a chat with them to get some answers and clarifications on how all this works.

Alright, so that’s about it. It’s really important to know, so I guess what I’m saying is, FIGURE IT OUT. Both for yourself and your loved ones, especially on behalf of your parents if they’re not the type to read up on the nitty gritties. It’s part of adulting.

Till next time.
x
Jem

#2035| Yes-man

Untitled

Are normal human beings supposed to be this sleepy? Ironically it is just as crunch time hits that my brain starts stuttering into distraction – the other day I spent half an hour curled up on the couch chuckling at F.R.I.E.N.D.S. jokes online. Me! The number one protestor against using your phone in your free time because it never yields anything productive! At the start of this year I set a self-imposed rule of not using my phone on public transport and as a result I read more books than ever – a record 31 books in five months. But of late I find myself reaching for – not the phone – but some peeling edge of my mind, perhaps? And holding on to it, zoning out, and then drifting into a vegetative state on the train. Is this old age? Is it obnoxious for me to say so yet?

It is now thursday, and I’m sitting in the office after teaching two morning classes at the university and having lunch with an old friend. Sent my boyfriend off to his operation in the hospital – a soccer related injury, the most cliche of cliches, as if there could be any other kind – and then got my nails did a politically correct neutrally anti-aggressive pink for tomorrow’s shoot. A breather, the wild and hopeless search for a dark quiet corner to take a nap in. But public naps in shared spaces are frowned upon, even in a place you dole out rent for monthly. So be it. Later: Vivienne Westwood’s FW16 show, and then to bed! Tomorrow: All day on set for Sephora. Beauty look upon beauty look, the main one being: how not to look like shit when you’re running on three cups of starbucks cold brew and five hours of sleep. Side note: I have begun actually strategising my best routes to work and school around starbucks stops, the quick fixes that seem indulgent but are in reality more necessary than I’d care to admit. And then packing, packing, and Saturday morning – emceeing a friend’s wedding, happiness, joy, and try not to cry, because right after that it’s a half-day shoot for a new client in the studios (but little joys – on set with my clicknetwork team, and that’s the best crew i could ever ask for). Dinner with the crew, or is that pushing my luck? And then it’s the airport, an ambien, and a red-eye flight to Seoul where I’ll be shooting for Laneige and representing Laneige SG for three days at their Global Beauty Camp and marking academic scripts by night. The funny thing is that I’m not even a beauty blogger, just a girl who likes make up. The vanity! My academic persona is always struggling to rationalise the balance in this. Perhaps the answer is simple: different things empower different people, and my empowerment (some of it?) comes in the form of shimmer and glitter and pots of paste you can smear on your lids. It is what it is. And then another red-eye flight, hopefully some wine, and bam. 5am Singapore on Wednesday, 930am lecture in the university. And so the days go on and on.

Don’t think i dont know it sounds crazy. I know. I know. But we are all mad here. The new realisation that comes with being almost 24 is that sometimes being mad should come with a side of sleep. Just a dab, maybe.

Till next time. x

x
♥jem

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

Untitled

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

Hey guys,

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

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

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

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

Clothes

UntitledUntitledUntitled

All above coats from HVV

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

Untitled

Heels from HVV

Untitled

Knit top from HVV

UntitledUntitled

Casual dress from HVV, Maxi dress from HVV

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

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

UntitledUntitled

Full Klarra outfits

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

UntitledUntitledUntitled

Speaking of Make up

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

Untitled

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

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

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

Accessories

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

International: Wanderlust + Co

UntitledUntitled

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

Local: The Ordinary Co

IMG_8253IMG_8188

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

International + Local: Just Tangy

Untitled

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

Lastly: Favorite lifestyle brand

UntitledUntitled

Passport case and Ooh La La keychain from ShopBando

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

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

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

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

x
♥jem