Are you a dress watch person or a luxury timepiece girl?

Have you made any huge investment on timepieces before? I’m talking about shelling out a huge sum of money on watches that cost as much as an Hermes bag. I’ve heard that expensive timepieces from certain brands have investment value i.e. they may appreciate in value over time, and so it makes more sense to spend money on them, than on, say, an expensive leather bag.

I may get flak for this, but I’m still at a point where I hold a relatively expensive bag from Saint Laurent, but am happy to wear dress watches from Seiko to go along with it. When it comes to watches, I’m just a really practical person – I just need something that looks versatile enough for me to wear with my work and weekend getup, something that I can use to tell the time (I don’t really need any other function), and that is durable.

Given that I’m a really clumsy person, and I’ve watched (no pun intended) how often my new watches get scratched over just a short period of time, and it just sounds too unappealing for me to imagine one of those watches with a five-digit price tag have the same fate.

More reasons to buy dress watches instead of luxury watches?

  • With the same amount spent, I can buy many more dress watches to switch around with – variety, yay!
  • I don’t need to invest in better storage for them
  • I don’t have to worry about buying into a “poor investment” since dress watches aren’t investments anyway

And I shall end off this post abruptly with some of the pretty dress watches I’ve had my eyes on.

This one from ck looks like it’s versatile enough for just about any function – whether it is for boardroom or ballroom.

ck watch

These from Kate Spade are so playful and cute – perfect for weekends and girls’ night out!

kate spade watch

This is a good everyday watch for work.

seiko-9371-385683-1

My birthday’s coming, so looks like I may have decided what I want to get this year. #justsaying!

What to wear to the airport: Inspirations from Korean celebrities

“Airport fashion” is a term popularised by Korean celebrities, stemmed from how effortlessly-chic they look despite dressing in a comfortable and casual way. I’ve been travelling quite a bit in the last few months – including 2 two-week trips to Europe – so what to wear for a long flight is something I have to decide on more frequently recently. While I obviously am expecting to have my photos taken at the airport by the media and adoring fans, I still want to look good in my own photos since my itinerary would start pretty much right after I touch down. Here are some tips I picked up from looking at the airport fashion looks by Korean celebrities that had helped me:

1. Invest in a stylish outerwear

Whether it’s a trenchcoat, a blazer or a cute sweater, a chic outerwear helps jazz up any casual outfit immediately. I can pretty much get away with a comfy t-shirt-and-jeans combination and still look sharp when I throw a blazer on. What’s more, it serves the practical function of keeping me warm when I’m on the plane, or if I’m touching down to a colder climate. It can also be easily tucked away if I don’t need it while on the plane.

2. Sport sporty

Sportswear is comfort wear. I already have a collection of gym wear that looks pretty chic (because nice gym wear inspires me to go to the gym!) so why not give them even more mileage by wearing them on a plane? To avoid looking like you’ve really just stepped out of a gym, pair a sports top with a non-sports bottom – e.g. a jeggings (denim leggings) or other loose pants with strong designs.

3. Preppy works

Layer a comfortable shirt with a sweater, and complete the look with oxford boots or sneakers, and a sturdy satchel. It’s a stylish look to sport that you can get away with wearing socks, comfortable shoes, and a practical, roomy bag. You’ll even look put together with a pair of spectacles – after all, with the dehydrated air on the plane, you’ll definitely want to skip the contact lenses.

4. Accessorise with statement pieces

Photo source: mwave.interest.me

Photo source: mwave.interest.me

Wear your favourite white or grey basic t-shirt that you don’t mind sleeping in, worn-out jeans, and understated sneakers, then jazz up the look with a statement piece. It could be an amazing scarf or an eye-catching necklace. Remember to bring along a spacious bag with strong design to finish the look.

5 makeup brushes everyone should have

For a very long time, I’ve been applying my makeup with my fingers, or the applicators/brushes that come with the products I use. After speaking to and watching some makeup experts, I realise that investing in good makeup brushes can really help makeup look a lot better. I am still trying to pick up the right application skills, and build my arsenal of brushes. There are MANY types of brushes, and it can be very daunting – at least for me – because I obviously don’t have the means to own every single type of brush out there. After some research, I find that these are probably the most useful ones:

1. Foundation brush
brush - foundation

Applying foundation with fingers can get really messy, and it’s not uncommon to leave behind prints on your products and vanity table. I find sponges a good way to apply foundation evenly, but a good foundation brush can really help to blend out foundation properly. Less product is also wasted compared to a sponge, which tends to pick up more product than needed.

2. Kabuki brush

brush - kabuki

I have owned a kabuki brush for a long time. I find it a great multi-purpose tool for makeup products that you need to apply onto large surfaces. I use it mainly as a brush for applying blusher, it’s also great for applying loose powder or foundation powder.

3. Shading brush

brush - shading

This is a square-shaped brush with rounded edges and is dense and soft. This is a very important tool if you are into blending out several eyeshadow shades. A good shading brush can make blending effortless. The best shading brush, I find, is one that is soft enough so your eyelids won’t be hurt when you run it across the eyelids. At the same time, it should be firm enough to offer precision.

4. Liner brush

brush - liner

This is a thin brush that can help you pick up eyeliner – especially gel eyeliner. But if you’re not for dark eyeliner looks, you can use a liner brush to pick up eyeshadow in darker shade to act as an “eyeliner”. I find that this makes the look softer, and they tend to smudge less easily compared to eyeliner too.

5. Lip brush

brush - lip

While I use my lipstick directly from the tube most of the time, I invest in a lip brush to pick up lip colour from lipsticks that are almost empty. By then the lipstick would be sitting flat and very difficult to apply it onto my lips directly without messing up or hurting my lips. The lip brush then comes in very handy to make sure I get the last bit out of the product.

If you’re trying to build your brush collection like I am, some of the brands that I’ve heard are really good include Real Techniques, Zoeva, 13rushes, and Make Up For Ever.

I have weird neighbours

“Come back home before 12 midnight!” my dad shouted out to me as I left the house for a party. My neighbour who was watering his plants heard this and got extremely mad.

“Excuse me? Who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he questioned my dad. I heard this while walking to the lift and decided to turn back to find out what was going on. The neighbour looked really, really angry.

“Hey, calm down, buddy. I was only talking to my daughter,” my dad explained.

“Yes, but who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he asked again.

“Hey, my dad was talking to me. Not to you. You can come home whatever time you want, dude,” I interjected the conversation.

“HE SAID IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND I HEARD IT. IF HE DIDN’T INTEND IT FOR ME, WHY DID HE SAY IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE? WHO IS HE TO TELL ME WHAT TIME TO COME HOME?!” he shouted. He was gesticulating a lot, his face was red, and he was trembling.

“OK, look, as a father, I just wanted to make sure my daughter is safe and I want her to come home before 12. As for you, you didn’t need to listen to what I have to say. Got it? I hope it’s clear now,” my father explained.

“Yes, I’m going to come home anytime I like, and it’s not up to YOU to tell me what to do, you stuck-in-the-mud old man,” he said, pointing his finger at my father, and rolling his eyes at the same time.

I sighed, “OK, whatever,” I muttered under my breath. My dad shook his head in resignation.

“Anyway, you should get your household in place. I’ve overheard the quarrels you have with your wife – do something about it. I’ve heard about how you are hoarding things in your air raid shelter – clear it out. It’s so dangerous, you know? Do something useful instead of going around telling people what to do, you hear me?” the neighbour continued.

“Yes, we are working on these. Thanks for your concern.”

“And it’s ridiculous! There’s this guy who stays at the next block – I heard he’s your. He’s a con-man, I heard. A cheater. A liar. A wayang-king. Seriously, what’s wrong with people in your family? All bloody hypocrites!” the neighbour refused to give up.

“He’s a very distant relative. Actually, we don’t even really talk to each other, not even during Chinese New year…” I explained.

“You’re all the same,” he cut me off, “I’m coming home at 1am today. I am doing whatever I like. You just watch me!” he gave my dad a death stare and said.

“Keep your archaic thinking to yourself and your daughter! Stop shoving it down my throat!” he gave his parting shot, went back to his house and slammed his door shut.

But that’s what we did, I thought.

Where Do You Buy Your Coach Products From?

Coach has always been a popular “entry-level” luxury brand that most women who have just started working and saving money go for. And it’s incredibly popular at overseas factory outlets. When I was in Chicago a few years ago, I remember that the queue to go into a Coach store just to shop is so long, it could have taken an hour just to go in. (I don’t know for sure because I decided to spend more time at other stores because I had limited time there.)

Actually, besides outlet stores and DFS, there are also online stores that offer pretty good discounts on Coach products that you can consider. Zalora is one of them.

This mini leather bag, for instance, usually retails at SGD598, but sells at SGD297.50 on the store. Yes, it’s 50% off if you’re counting.

Coach MINI CROSBY CARRYALL IN LEATHER

It’s quite a steal, if you ask me. I’m almost sure some of the factory outlet stores don’t even give such a good discount on their products.

And it’s not just the bags. Check this out:

Coach Short Trench – Blue

This trench coat (in a gorgeous colour!) is supposed to retail at SGD995. But on the store it’s just SGD497.50. Yes, 50% off too!

I know of a lot of people who visit Coach DFS or factory outlet stores to snag some discounted Coach wristlets. They’re discounted on the Zalora store too: from SGD270 to SGD189 yo!

Coach NOLITA WRISTLET 19 IN POLISHED PEBBLE LEATHER

This wallet is drives a good bargain too.

Coach ACCORDION ZIP WALLET IN GATHERED LEATHER

From SGD545 to SGD327.

These goods all come direct from Coach, and since they’re all above SGD40, you get free delivery on them, which makes it more convenient and definitely cheaper than when you travel to visit DFS and factory outlet stores, for sure.

What do you think? Are you one of those who love to shop at factory outlet stores? If the objective is to snag good bargains, would you think that being able to enjoy discounts on online purchases is good enough for you?

2015 was all about “cleaning” for me

My body cleans itself out. I see the effects of chemotherapy in my battled body reversing themselves. My hair, eyelashes, brows, nails all grew out. My scars lightened. My stamina improved; I can now easily run 3km, whereas one year ago, I’d trip and fall walking down a short flight of stairs because my calves and knees can’t hold my body up. Other bodily troubles that people won’t see recovered. God made everything new again. And He will continue to heal me in 2016.

And I’ve stayed “clean” for another year. The cancer didn’t come back – praise the Lord. One year in remission. One more risky year to go. Fingers crossed.

I cleaned out my priorities. I spent time in only what is of value to me.
I cleaned out friends that bring negative vibes; the funny thing is that I’ve always known I don’t feel “comfortable” with these people but previously I’ve always allowed them to stick around myself to stick around.
I travelled to amazing places with my brother, my husband, my best friends – the only regret is that I didn’t manage to find time to travel with my parents. But that’ll definitely be a priority this year.
I refocused on Daily Vanity’s editorial offering, which had to suffer a slow-down because I had wedding planning and then fell horribly ill in 2014. We are on track again, and in 2015, I’ve been blessed with a team of amazing and committed writers.
I celebrated my first year wedding anniversary with Keith. I love this wonderful man who is now cleaning the bathrooms while I’m writing here. (My doting father-in-law has instructed him to do the tougher household chores so that I can be allowed to recuperate. My father-in-law wanted to help us with the lighter chores too i.e. he didn’t want me to do any. He helped us out for a while, but now that I’m a lot better, I’ve taken over. I still can’t believe how supportive my in-laws are.)

And my in-laws are “made clean”, through baptism. Keith is also accepted into the Catholic Church. Our family now shares the same faith, and I’m happy to journey with them.

I ate cleaner. I started cooking (fresh foods, not pre-packaged-microwaved food) – which is something I’d never have imagined myself doing two years ago – and I think I’m getting decently good at it. At least when I got my best buds over during Christmas and whipped up a meal for seven, all the food was cleaned up.

And yesterday, the last day of 2015, I spent my morning cleaning – a new space that I’d share more about when it is ready I am ready. And then also another new space to announce. Later this year!

In 2016, I aim to remain clean: in my thoughts, words, and deeds, in what I choose to spend my time on, and in the life I choose to lead.

Stop Saying I’m Lucky To Have Married My Husband – I’m Not

“Your husband is so nice to you. You’re soooo lucky!”

This must be the most common comment I’ve heard and if I get a dollar for every time I hear this, I’ll be very, very rich. (Pardon the cliched analogy.)

This comment frequently comes up when we talk about my cancer ordeal. Many people commended Keith for sticking by me while I’m going through the toughest time of my life one month into our marriage. And they said I was lucky that I had married someone who didn’t leave me in times of trouble.

keith juliet sirmione

To set the record straight, I think I have a wonderful husband…

I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I love him dearly, and he loves me back, and I know there’s no one else better than him to fill the role of “Mr. Right” in my life. This being said, I don’t attribute marrying him or what he’s done for me to “luck”.

Winning the lucky draw? Yes, that’s luck.
Walking one step ahead before the bird decided to poop at where you were standing? Luck.
Catching the bus although you were late because the bus was also late? Yes, luck!

But marrying Keith? No, not luck.

keith juliet venice

Keith and I were colleagues for some time before we started dating. And while we were colleagues, there were many things about him that stood out to me. First of all, he’s the Mr. Nice Guy that got along with everyone, never played politics, and was always helpful and enthusiastic. He’s also meticulous, a keen and fast learner, extremely humble, and had a shrewd business acumen. While we weren’t romantically involved when I noticed these traits, I think they set the right stage for our impending relationship. It is important for me to be with someone that I could look up to, and that I could respect.

I have dated many guys (non-exclusively) before I dated Keith. And I think I’ve met enough people to know it when it “clicked”. Very quickly during the courtship, I could tell that Keith was someone who is very serious about his relationship when he gets into one. He was very interested to know more about me, about my values, and what I was really like. I was serious too. So we asked a lot of right questions during courtship, even before we were dating exclusively.

keith juliet cheese fondue

The Catholic Marriage Preparation Course that we attended helped us a lot too. While a lot of people go for the course only when wedding plans have already been made (you need the course certificate to book a church wedding), we made the conscious decision to attend it even before he proposed. To us, it was a “marriage preparation” course after all, so we wanted to make sure we have discerned properly, know that we are both prepared spiritually, before we even make any wedding plans. Keith proposed shortly after we finished the course, and I said yes without hesitation. It was a simple decision because the course and the time spent dating him had helped me recognise that he had the traits that I wanted in a husband: rational, dependable, loyal, forgiving.

What he’s “done” are part of our vows

The Catholic wedding vow is beautiful because while it’s succinct, it encompasses everything that a marriage should be: I, (name), take you, (name) to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honour you, all the days of my life.

keith juliet chamonix

“Not leaving me” while I was sick is really just basic 101 for fulfilling his vows. In fact, he has vowed to be “true to me” and to “love and honour me” no matter what. This is what a Christian marriage is about: it is a reflection of Christ’s love for His church, the husband represents Jesus in the marriage, and the wife, the church. Will Jesus ever leave the church even when she’s “sick”? Of course not. He will continue to love her, perhaps love her even more. Keith is called to uphold this high standard of Christian marriage life. It’s in our vows. (The wife has her part to play in Christian marriage too, but that’s a story for another day.)

And very fortunately or perhaps, unfortunately (pun unintended), it’s a vow that we have to make a conscious decision to say yes to every single day. Sometimes we may forget that love is not an adjective, it’s a verb. This means that you need to put love into action for love to happen.

So I’m saying again, I’m not “lucky” to have married Keith…

keith and juliet sirmione

…because marrying him was a choice that I made. And I discerned very thoroughly before I said yes to marrying him. It’s not luck, because it was a calculated, well-considered decision. And it’s not “luck” because what Keith has done – and he would also agree to this – is what he has vowed to do before God, me, and our loved ones. And as the man of integrity and honour that I know him to be, I know he will keep his vows.