Wednesday, 6 September 2017

New beginnings

A huge shout out to Samson, @7braidstrong for another fun shoot and for making me hang out in a random carpark/fake basketball court. It's always a dope time with him. Follow him on Insta and check out more of his work at

Anyway, this series of shots became all the more special because I'm using this post to bookmark a change in my life. Having worked in the same financial institution for over five years, I've decided to try something new and will be moving into a new industry - e-commerce! I'm excited by the tech space and I can't wait to be inspired by that whole start-up life.

Obviously I'm nervous too, it's a big change and I'm taking a big step out of my comfort zone but if not now, then when, am I right?

I actually felt a little melancholic when I made my intention to leave known, as it brought back many wonderful memories, getting to know so many people, and having so many great experiences.

Things I will miss include but are not limited to:
  • Proximity to acai bowls
  • The ease of simply hopping on a train to get some Tori Q
  • Free Nescafe coffee that coffee snobs would turn their nose up to, but that I've gotten very accustomed to
  • Free company exercise activities 
  • Egg tarts from Hong Lim Park
  • Full length mirrors in bathrooms with great natural lighting for when you wanna show your friend your outfit cos it's totally on point that day
Last but not least, my work friends! If you're reading this, keep fighting the good fight and soaring towards greater achievements. Thank you for all the guidance, care and advice over the years/months of knowing me. Working was made easier with you around and you will be deeply missed.

Anyway, onward ho! Thanks for reading! BIG HUGS!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

You give good face

So I wrote a post about this a while back when Nic was vying to be shortlisted for the top 6 out of 15 finalists for Nyx Singapore's inaugural Face Awards. Anyway, because of her talent, hardwork and dedication, she actually was shortlisted for the top 6!

Her third and final challenge was to create a makeup video around the theme of "Royalty" and she decided to do a video of TWO looks - The queen of light and the queen of darkness! Nic has a lot to be proud of, she's a self-taught special effects makeup artist, a newbie to video creation and editing, and also a newly minted pro skills props maker (she made her crowns and sceptor from scratch)!

Mad pro makeup skillz and photos courtesy of @electric.eggplant

The award ceremony to announce Nyx Singapore's first ever "Beauty Vlogger of the Year" was held on the 13th of July at Pixel Studios and invited us to get to know each of the 6 finalists a little better while also showcasing their videos. I thought they all did well but obviously I was rooting for Nic to win and to get $5000 worth of Nyx makeup and an all-expenses paid trip to California to attend the Nyx USA Face Awards Finals. Unfortunately, Nic didn't manage to bag the top prize  (which went to Rosalie Parnes who goes by @wink818) but I think she's got so much to be proud of since she really grew from strength to strength, learned crazy awesome makeup skills as she competed, and delivered masterful looks that were winners in my eyes.

Giving her short interview about what inspired her looks

Finalists and judges

Still a winner

Le makeup by yours truly complete with insane flyaways

With pro makeup artist Larry Yeo

Mouse squad for life

I'm always ruining normal photos

Didn't get the memo that we were doing "sexy"

So I thought I would write a post to commemorate the event and pay tribute to Nic's skills, talent, passion and diligence. If you're a makeup junkie, or someone who appreciates art, or even just someone who appreciates hard work, please give her your support. Watch her videos on her YouTube channel and follow her on instagram at @electric.eggplant and do send her positive vibes!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dark brown is the new black

So when I was 12 years old, my classmate found the first strand of white hair in my head. She sat behind me in class and saw it shining on my head and she helped me pull it out. Then she found a whole treasure trove of them and proceeded very monkey-like to help me rid my poor head of them. My teacher told us to quit it but that day really cemented my lifelong yearning for ridding my head of them.

I'm not 12 anymore so by now you can imagine those little a$$holes have multiplied and spread like some disease on a colony for the diseased. I may be being dramatic right now, hard to tell. Since pulling them off my head, while satisfying, could potentially turn me into a bald eagle (minus the cool eagle flying bit), I've had to turn to less violent methods.

I used to dye my hair with either L'oreal or some Japanese brand box dye. But now with my no animal testing policy, I've shifted away from that and found a non animal-tested brand on iHerb called Herbatint!

We don't really have many cruelty-free solutions for hair dye here in Singapore so I really didn't have much of a choice but I combed iHerb for all the hair dye brands they had and found that this one had good reviews so I thought I'd try it out. I normally buy jet black dye and kinda let it fade to my natural soft black but I read that the product was quite dark so I chose the 2N dark brown.

The product comes in two little bottles and you need to pour it into a plastic or glass bowl in equal proportions and then mix it to make it to a gel-like consistency. Slap on the plastic gloves and spread it into the hair like a pro. Although I failed at that part. I'm used to using bottle applicators so this was kind of a mess but I was prepared and had spread newspaper all over my bathroom floor like I was going to be painting my bathroom.

After applying it kind of messily all over my head, I waited 40 minutes (according to the box, this is super important to be adhered to) and then washed it off. It didn't smell unpleasant like the normal ammonia dye I used to use, and it wasn't too drippy (although I used a disposable shower cap over just in case)

Because of its more natural ingredients, it definitely didn't make my hair feel like it had been treated to a chemical bath, and I felt that less hair than normal fell. In addition, my hair didn't smell gross!

I think I'm pleased with the results. It's been about a week since, and my hair looks pretty good, it's covered most of the white hairs (except for those I missed because I'm so bad at DIY hair dyeing).

Damn I look good with this new shade

Pros of Herbatint:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Doesn't smell gross
  • Covers white hairs
  • Natural ingredients are not harsh on the hair
  • Affordable - It's about S$15 on iHerb
Cons of Herbatint:
  • No applicator so can be messy to apply
  • The gloves provided aren't great, they're too short I feel
All in all, I'm pleased with the purchase and happy to repurchase when the time comes (boo hiss I hate you white hairs!!!)

Hair that's as dark as my soul

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Scissors, Paper, MICE! Update post

Hey y'all, so I was going to edit the original post but it's already crazy long so here's a new post about the same thing because one can never get enough of TP amirite?!?

So, I think a couple of days after the original post, I received a response from NooTrees. Coinkidink? I think not! Obviously the people at NooTrees love reading very amateur blogs by flaky women.

NooTrees responded on Monday 19 June
Anyway, yay that they don't test on animals. Boo that they take over a month to respond to Facebook messages. But I guess I can't blame them, I don't always reply Facebook messages, especially ones from crazy hippies.

Anyhoodle. Because I was so chuffed about CloverSoft's response times and highly informative responses, I decided to tell them that I blogged about them.

They were kind enough to continue responding in their typical loving fashion. But then they totally did me one better:
Like a broken robot, I reiterated the no animal testing thing. Beggars CAN be choosers apparently.

It's a love-fest and Clovie and I are going steady now.
And within 2 days...
To add to my $80 collection of tissue paper!
PREMIUM TISSUE PAPER YOU GUYS!! I'm basically the Gywneth Paltrow of tissue paper (which means to say I'm fancy).

Anyway, this isn't an ad for CloverSoft, nor was I sponsored by them, although I guess now I kinda am a little since I got some free stuff. Is this what it feels like to be an influencer???

Thank you Clovie and the CloverSoft team for making me fancy, adding to my TP collection, and for giving me yet another reason to write a blog about TP!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Scissors, paper, MICE!

Hello, so you may recall that I said in this blog post that I'm becoming some tree-hugging-animal saving-earth-mama.  Well, since then, I've definitely embarked on quite the project. For me, the lowest hanging fruit was to take a stand against the use of animal-testing in beauty and household products, my belief for this is really that I don't want to give my money to companies that support something I believe is unethical and largely unnecessary. I thought this would be fairly simple, but hey, guess what, it's a HUGE endeavour. Bet you've never thought about all the products in your house that are produced by brands that conduct animal testing. It is, in official and totally quantifiable terms, a BUTTLOAD.

Basically, huge conglomerates own everything and in order to maximise profits, they sell globally and are required by some country laws and regulations to conduct safety checks which include testing their products on animals. A good indication of whether things are tested on animals is if they are sold in China, as laws require it.

Pic taken from Zero Hedge
So, as I embark on this insane journey of obsessive replacing my regularly used product for cruelty-free ones, my commitment is to do my best to eliminate products from companies that conduct animal testing, within reason. What this means is that because I have a mortgage to pay, I'm probably not going to pay like 3 times more for a product just to escape a company that tests on animals, because that wouldn't be sustainable in the long run.

Today, my post is about something that most probably wouldn't spend much time thinking about - paper products. I'm talking about tissue paper and toilet roll! I have a really bad habit of using a lot of paper products, be it to clean my ears after I get outta the shower, or even when pooping (I mean, come on, no one wants to have some one-ply wipe situation. That is just unsanitary and you might as well poke your poop with your finger if so). I'm trying to cut down on how much I use of course because let's save the trees but let's get that pesky animal testing thing out of the way as well.

Anyway, what I've used since forever: Kleenex

Kleenex is a famous household brand owned by Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, one of those giant conglomerates that probably produces a large percentage of your personal and healthcare products. Long story short: They conduct animal testing. (Booo hisss boooo thumbs down!)

Image from the Vegan Rabbit

So I decided I would start looking for cruelty-free companies with paper product brands being sold in Singapore. That was the first challenge. Seventh Generation is a leading cruelty-free household product provider but finding them in Singapore is akin to drawing blood from a stone. Stores in Singapore that carry the line don't carry the tissue paper and toilet roll. But if you're looking for their washing liquids and other stuff, you can try:

  1. Pupsik (I've never bought from this site, don't know if it's legit)
  2. SuperNature
  3. RedMart

I considered ordering from Amazon but the delivery fee would basically bankrupt me so yeah. NO.

To that end, I started looking at brands that I had never heard of, because I guess, if you've never heard of a brand, then it's probably not owned by a conglomerate, right? I started researching "green" brands which are basically suggesting that their use of bamboo products is 'better for the environment' (I'll touch more on this later). The shortlist:

  1. NooTrees
  2. CloverSoft
  3. Dr Blanc
However, on their websites, they didn't mention anything about animal testing (cruelty-free labels don't rank highly in Singapore) so I decided to write to them.

I direct messaged NooTrees via their Facebook account but till today, I've not received a response:

Or maybe there won't be any cricket sounds since they may test their products on crickets for all we know. I was checking out their "About NooTrees" page just to ensure I didn't miss any animal-testing notices and noticed something I've circled in red:

I fixed it for them!


Anyway, not to be deterred, I also wrote to CloverSoft and Dr. Blanc and oh boy, CloverSoft's customer service officer/s went all out. Below are screenshots from my Facebook of the actual conversation. Ps, read from top left, all the way to the bottom, then  top right, all the way down.
Click to enlarge (I hope it can be enlarged, I've never tried this, you might need a magnifying glass, sorry.)

TL;DR? The summary is:

  • CloverSoft didn't want to test any animals but one product, the CloverSoft Baby Wipes, were required to be tested by regulation. 
  • They say they tested the baby wipes for the first and only time on mice.
  • They say they tested in their Swiss lab and there were no abnormalities or deaths reported (although what's become of the mice was not stated).
  • They conducted human patch tests for skin sensitivity reactions instead of using mice.
  • All other CloverSoft products were free of animal testing.
  • I was pleased to hear this and recommended that, for the ease of the consumer, for them to implement this indicator of "tested on animals" on their website.
  • Within a day of my suggestion, this indicator on their Singapore website was made available (I checked!) 
  • The bottom line is that while they cannot claim to be a cruelty-free company, I believe that they have made efforts to avoid animal testing. (Please note that I forgot to ask whether they hire 3rd parties that do conduct animal testing so this is a grey area).

From scrolling through the CloverSoft website, I came to realise that Dr. Blanc and CloverSoft are essentially affiliated. And Dr. Blanc issued a response to me (albeit a much more delayed one):

Clearly Dr. Blanc is a busy doctor, unlike 'Clovie'
So while I was disappointed with the fact that the CloverSoft baby wipes were tested on mice, I was pleased to hear that the products that I would use were said to be free of animal testing. And I was heartened by how the company had engaged with me and taken my feedback seriously instead of writing me off as a crazy hippie.

I decided that I would try to mix up my purchase and get Dr. Blanc rolls (which are bleached if I'm not wrong) and CloverSoft tissue paper (which are unbleached). But before purchasing, I did one last thing - a price analysis!

Toilet roll
$19.45 for 30 ($0.65)
Dr Blanc
$12 for 20 ($0.60)
Tissue paper
$6.10 for 5 ($1.22)
72.75 for 60 ($1.21)

So it would actually be more cost competitive to buy from CloverSoft and Dr. Blanc! So obviously I had to buy $80 worth of toilet roll and tissue paper (Not. Extreme. At. All). It only makes sense in order to get free delivery. Plus they gave me a coupon (it didn't end up working but I got the first time purchaser $5 discount online). It's practically SAVING money!

This is what $80 worth of tissue paper looks like. Dog for scale.

As for the actual product review, for the Dr. Blanc toilet roll, I am pretty pleased. It's not as thick nor smooth as the Kleenex (the dotted pattern might be the reason for it) but it serves its purpose and it doesn't feel like I'm sand-papering my butt. The CloverSoft tissue paper is rougher than the Kleenex but it's nice to know I'm not dabbing bleached tissue on my face and bonus, my soul feels soothed knowing that I'm not complicit in the act of animal cruelty.

We're nearly at the end of this post! Hahaha who would have guessed I could talk so much about something so seemingly unexciting! Sadly, laws and regulations change all the time, so I'll always need to keep in mind that the animal testing status can change.

One last note, if you're tempted to buy these because of their "green" status. Do check out some articles here and here about "green-washing".  At this time, I don't really know where I stand on this because I can't say I know enough about the science behind it, but I think it's important to at least read up more, and not immediately buy into the marketing spiel.

Thanks for reading!

In case you need a kick in the butt to remind you why animal testing sucks, read this and then watch this.