Nara Circa 2016: Ham-Eating-Deer

My relationship with the animal kingdom is a complicated one.

We started out as friends, but not until one of you (a dog) decide to chase me down when I was cycling as a kid, that I decided to go my separate way as you have scarred me for life.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself actually enjoying my trip to Nara and making friends with these adorable deer!

If you are in Kyoto, this is definitely a place you should check out! Nara was wonderful, it was an big open park with wild deer roaming around amongst humans.

You would sometimes see them crossing the main street, even, and cars would stop patiently to wait for them to cross.

Japanese people are so zen with life, I’m jealous. I can imagine myself coming here one afternoon to just walk around and enjoy the outdoor.

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You can see that I was a bit scared even being very close to the deer, but they were very chill!

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Look at how pretty his antler was!

At the park, you can buy these biscuits to feed the deer, and boy, they loved it! As soon as they smell the biscuits in your hand, they would run towards you in a flock and keep following you until you show both your hands as if saying, “I have nothing left! See? See?!”

Damn, they are smart.

The biscuits were in a round shape, and they were brown. On first glance, they looked like ham, and I impulsively asked my boyfriend, “Are these ham?”

He looked at me, his brows furrowing.

“DO YOU THINK DEER EATS HAM?!”

Err.. okay. It just dawned on me that deer is herbivore, but HEY THE BISCUITS REALLY LOOK LIKE HAMS OKAYYYYYYYYYYY.

(Tina’s bimbo moments #255)

Intern Life: Part Uno

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Believe it or not, I am a responsible kid.

(Okay, some people may disagree – then again, I once got super drunk I passed out, only after breaking some glasses, hugging random people at the bar, and slurring “I want moreeeeeeee” to the bartender. I digress.)

But hey, everyone goes through THAT phase, right? Don’t tell me you suddenly transformed into your mature, adult self without making a few ridiculous mistakes along the way? And trust me, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, especially in my past haircut choices. What was I thinking?!

I don’t know why I always get sidetracked every time I’m about to get to the story.

So back to being responsible. What I meant was that I was a hardworking kid. I was so hardworking that I took up 4 internships between exams during university. My uni courses were such that we only took 1 subject at a time. We took classes and there would be a final assignment and an exam before we moved to another subject. After each class was completed, we would have these breaks while we were supposed to be working on our assignment and studying for the exam. After the exam, there would be a short break as well before the next subject.

So being a restless kid, and someone who wanted to earn a bit of pocket money so that I could afford to buy pretty dresses to party (ahem, 22 year Tina had so much to learn about priorities), I decided to try taking up some internships out of my own initiatives and see what it would take me.

Also, I aspired to be a journalist, or a successful working lady that I always see in the morning. (My friends and I used to pass by those bars where guys in sharp suits and ladies in pencil skirts drink after work, and pictured us being there when we entered the workforce, sipping champagne and talking in big words. We loved it.)

I had a lot of funny and (sometimes) awkward situations in these internships that I thought I would write about it. So this post is going to be about the first internship I have ever had at a Google marketing company.

I don’t recall much about interviewing for this position, aside from the emails exchange I managed to find in my Inbox between me and the boss and that it was so cringe worthy! I actually called him Sir.

Who does that?! I’m so awkward and old-fashioned! *hide underneath a rock*

The office I was interning at, was located in Raffles Place (in CBD area of Singapore) and I was so excited feeling like a grown-up every morning! The company size was quite small, I recall that I mainly just dealt with the big boss and there were probably only about 3-4 other people working there, and another intern who would join a few months after I did. I sat in an open working area, and my boss’ office was just right in front of me.

My job consisted of calling companies to offer them google marketing services, and no joke I had to use Yellow Pages to look up the phone numbers! Yes, the thick Yellow Pages book! I also had to update and key in those companies’ details in the excel sheet!

I TOTALLY FEEL YOU PEOPLE WHOSE JOB REVOLVE AROUND CALL CALLING! I’M SORRY FOR ALWAYS REJECTING YOU AND HANGING UP THE PHONE!

The boss also would ask me to research various websites, and provide my feedback and suggestions on what I would do differently. In the beginning, things were alright.

After a while, he would ask me to buy him coffee and lunch almost every day! Yes, that’s the epitome of an intern life, right?

Me: Yes, Sir.

Ahjusiiiii, you only pay me $400/month, why are you making me buy you lunch too?!

If you were to know how it was like during lunchtime in CBD area, it was mayhem! You have to always queue for a long time to buy anything, and I remember one vivid memory when I was queuing to buy chicken rice.

Me (in my mind): “1 boneless chicken rice, please.”

Me (what actually came out of my mouth): “1 brainless chicken rice.”

(silence)

Seller (in a loud voice): “WHAT? BRAINLESS CHICKEN? WE DON’T HAVE THAT. ALL OUR CHICKENS HAVE BRAINS.”

Everyone in the queue: Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Sigh. Mouth, why weren’t you cooperating with me? And uncle, must you yell it so loudly that people all the way in Jurong could hear it and laugh at me?!!!!

I was also given a strict lunch hour and tea break. I were to go for lunch at 11.30am sharp and I had to be back by 12.15pm! Not even a full hour! What is this. For a slow eater like me, I wouldn’t even have finished chewing the appetiser.

Okay, a tad dramatic, but you get what I mean.

After a while, I started noticing that the other staff were not always in the office, and sometimes the office would be entirely empty except for just the boss and one lady. She was a senior staff, but I have never spoken a word to her; she always walked around with her chin up so high I wondered if her neck wouldn’t be sore.

She always hung around the boss and I’m not joking, she and the boss would stay inside his room, locked, for hours.  It happened regularly that even I noticed! I started speculating this theory that they must be having an affair!

Otherwise, why stay inside a locked office almost every day for hours? Ahem.

WHOA WHOA WHOA DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.

I finished the internship without many other challenges. Honestly, it wasn’t the best internship, and a lot of times I would be quite bored, counting down the hours. The boss wasn’t really nice to me too. And I didn’t know if I gained much useful experience from there (aside from hey, AFFAIRS IN THE WORKPLACE IS REAL OMG OMG OMG).

Anyway, many years later, I was browsing through the newspaper and I saw a photo of someone that looked familiar! I was like hey, who is this person. The news was that this person in the picture was convicted of some sexual crime involving prostitutes and he was sentenced to prison.

I read the caption of the photo and saw the name…

LO AND BEHOLD. It was the big boss from that company!

WHATTTTTT.

IS THIS REAL LIFE. DID I REALLY WORK WITH THIS PERSON AND WHOA THOSE MOMENTS IN LOCKED OFFICE SUDDENLY HAUNTED ME AGAIN.

So that was the highlight of my first internship. Whoa. So uneventful and unmemorable.

Yay, Tina, go you and your luck! 

My writing journey.

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I have dreamed of being a writer ever since I was 7.

Lack of resources and (real) creativity, my sister and I used to publish our own “newsletter” when we were small, little kids.

What do 7 year old kids know about newsletter, and what could we possibly write about that was worthy enough to call it a ‘newsletter’, I have no idea.

We typed away in Notepad, or maybe it was an older program I couldn’t even remember and wrote stuffs about things that were happening around the house. I vividly remembered writing about how my driver farted.

Whoa. Real investigative journalism right there. Christiane Amanpour in the making!

We forced kindly asked our maids and driver to read it and it was very exciting. We published a new issue every week with stories as equally lame as the next.

I was quite an artsy kid; I’ve always loved language and arts growing up. English course never felt like an obligation to me, I loved learning new words, composing essays and talking in some language other than my mother tongue, and English was the first foreign language I studied. I wonder if I would share the same passion had my mom enrolled me in Chinese class instead. In my free time, I loved drawing and making stories too; I used to have this erasable drawing pad where my sister and I would draw on while creating storyline on the spot.

I loved drawing class at school, and I enjoyed designing letters and decorating pages. During my elementary years, my mom enrolled me in drawing course and I remembered being so excited, we learned things like how to combine colors and create more natural, flawless color transformation. It may sound silly, but I actually think even that drawing class has helped transform me into the kind of person I am today. In a way that I can’t really describe.

I started writing short stories for children’s magazines too. I remember writing so many stories (sometimes printed, sometimes handwritten) and putting them in envelopes, intending to send them to the magazine, but I don’t remember ever actually sending them. Maybe because I never really thought my stories would get featured, and I got embarrassed by the idea that someone else might actually read them.

As time went on, my passion of writing had both its ups and downs. There were periods when I intensely wrote in my diary every day. It was almost like an itch, as if I couldn’t feel contented if I haven’t come up with a post in a day. On the other hand, I had some hibernating moments too, vacuums in my life where I stopped writing altogether.

Especially when I started working and being caught up in this thing called ‘life’.

But thinking about it, even though I had my moments of intense productivity when it comes to writing, I always come back to it. After more than 20 years of writing on and off, I could still say that I loved writing so much and that I could express myself so much better in words.

At the end of the day, maybe having a passion about something doesn’t necessarily mean you have to feel so strongly about it all the time.

For the past years, I thought to myself that sure, it would be so sweet if I could write for a living. In fact, I’ve been to both spectrum: from being ‘I’ll be the next Carrie Bradshaw’ to ‘Who am I kidding? I’ve no real writing experience, who would hire me? And even if they would, who cares about what I think of guys in skinny jeans’?

However, I’ve come to realise that the act of writing itself is therapeutic enough that I would merely be content with doing it when I feel like it. Somehow it feels more liberating and comforting to me.

But at the end of the day, I’m still the same person who loves writing and talking nonsense about everything under the sun. And sure, the things that I write wouldn’t change the state of living in Africa, or cure Cancer, but I believe that I do have a voice and an opinion that at least could entertain a person or two.

Myself is one. If you are reading this – then thank you, you are the second and last person and I want to give you a big hug.

Now, I’m just going to enjoy the process of writing when I can – whether it’s here, or at work where I luckily have a lot of opportunities to write as a PR person. I’ve gotten to do some awesome freelance gigs in the past as well, and I just recently wrote a chapter for a book project and heck, I don’t know if I’m going to ever finish writing a book but I’m helluva going to try and it’s going to be a lot of fun attempting to do so!

Anyway, I think I’m babbling and it sounds like I’m ready to propose to writing seeing how much I’ve been gushing about it in the past 15 minutes.

But I’m just going to end this with… happiness is a choice. I can choose to be grateful for the things I’ve accomplished and what I’m still able to do, or feeling like a total failure because I’m not a writer and I don’t have my own column and I’m not even in the media industry and I’m not where I thought I would be…

Whichever you feel, it’s a decision that is entirely yours.

Full time dabbler.

In the days that I doubted my own capabilities, when I wondered whether I’m doing what I’m supposed to, God lent me a hand through helpful advice from people around me.

The truth is, only a handful of people can be truly certain of their dreams. Sometimes, we don’t even know our own aspirations, or our life’s greatest purpose aside from the generic need “to be happy”. I’m definitely one of those people. I’m one of the people who sometimes find myself in a meaningless job with no motivation or satisfaction. I’m one of those people who sometimes lay awake at night wondering if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life feeling like this.

I envy people who have extraordinary skills, like my good friend Elsa who is a piano maestro, or those who can confidently say, “ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved singing, so this is what I want to do for the rest of my llife.” Or even those folks who can fix computers, talk gadgets, play video games and become really, really good at it. Wouldn’t it be easy if each one of us is blessed with one extraordinary skill?

My problem is that I dabble on every little things all over the place, and I end up not getting really good at anything. I took organ class, art and drawing class, cooking lessons, did scouts throughout my school years; tried diving and rock climbing, learned Chinese, and other nonsense but always stopped halfway because… I didn’t think they were for me. I stopped doing things before I even got the chance to see if I were gonna be any good at them.

I’ve always known I have a short attention span, but this is just ridiculous. I think out of everything that I have tried doing, the only few things that stuck with me ’til now is how much I like writing, traveling and sharing my experience. But even those things I can’t do consistently and something always seems to get in the way.

In short, I think I’m someone who likes to always keep moving. Maybe not forward, more like sideways until I end up getting lost. And in those times, when I questioned myself whether ‘marketing’ is my forte (being in this line of work for 7 years now – which seems short in a span of a lifetime, but long when you come to think of those years spent of almost half your 20s), my sister said to me that it’s really okay to feel this way, But don’t just stop and admit defeat. Instead, continue dabble and figure out your true passion, While at it, try to do your best in marketing, or in whatever your line of work is. Because until you find something else that you can be really good at, who knows what you are capable of now?

Suddenly the song from Pocahontas crossed my mind:

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know.

I think, eventually only a few people in the world were born with an extraordinary skill. I think most of them achieve them through hard work and dedication.

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And another quote I would like to share with you is something from my new boss:
Never stop learning. The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing.

So, dabble away and find your true talent.

Or at least, don’t ever stop trying.

Korean Beauty Brands I Absolutely Went Crazy For!

So guys, as you know, I just came back from my virgin trip to Korea a few weeks ago, and honestly, I’m already counting down to the days that I can come back there again! I absolutely love Korea!

(This is something that if you were to tell the five-years-ago-me, you would have received so many eyerolls you couldn’t even count . But hey, I’m mature enough to admit when I’m wrong. Because WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN TO KOREA UNTIL NOW?!)

But anyway. I just decided that I will absolutely make up for the times that I deprived myself of the experience of being in Korea.. and their awesome beauty products. (Brb while I check out Tripadvisor for any flights promo..)

TEN MINUTES LATER….

Ok, I’m back. No cheap flights yet. I can continue writing.

So in this post I shall not go into too much details of the trip itself (I shall save it for the next post because hey, any excuse for writing and I can relieve the trip more), but focus on the beauty brands that I absolutely went crazy for over there!

If you are my friend on Facebook or Instagram then this first brand would probably come at no surprise. I mentioned this so many times, you would think I’m a shareholder. Or an ambassador. Voluntary, unpaid ambassador, more like it.

A side note, the brands that I mentioned here are those that I personally went gaga over. Some are those that I bought for myself, and therefore could vouch for, but some are those I purchased as gifts because they were too cute!

Innisfree

Oh my goodness, Innisfree, wouldn’t you take all my money already! And I said this as if I can’t find it back home, which I’m already a fan here anyway, but man, in Korea, Innisfree is on another level! Their stores are so much nicer, and some of the products are only available in Korea! So if you were there, I highly recommend you to check it out! Over the 10-days trip, I think I visited Innisfree stores more than 30 times. I was still even buying stuffs on the last day of the trip because they just launched this new makeup collections (blushes, eye shadows and their customizable palette that is so adorable!)

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We bought tons of their It’s Real Squeeze Face masks because they are awesome and you can buy one at less than S$1 (the retail price here in Singapore is S$2 each)! We bought so many that I think I have enough stocked up for 1 year worth of masks!

I’m also loving their various BB cushions! I got the Ampoule Intense Cushion, which I realize is not available in Singapore for some reason. It has UV protection and 24-hr coverage without any dryness. What I noticed was that, when I was in Korea and wearing this, my face tends to be more shiny which I did not like at first. But when I wear this in Singapore, I don’t encounter that issue and I’m loving it! Also, who doesn’t love the cute cushion packaging that you could choose yourself?

Aside from these, I also got their other products, like their Green Tea Sleeping Masks, Green Tea Seed Eye Cream, Green Tea Face Cleanser (their green tea collection smells super good!), some of their newly-launched eye shadows and blusher, and their nail stickers!

Side note, we also managed to visit their original store in Jeju, which hosts a cafe with amazing food and drinks presentation too. Innisfree, I think I’m ready to take the next chapter with you. Will you marry me?

Tony Moly

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This is one of those beauty collabs that are too cute to pass up! I have not tried any Tony Moly products before, but I got plenty of their Pokemon collection for gifts, how adorable are these! Now I wish I would have bought some for myself 😉

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Their lip tints which are equally adorable! I got some of these for my colleagues and they were raving about it! Since I actually brought a mixture of lip tints, masks and pressed powders for them to choose from, all the lip tints were quickly snapped within minutes! I guess girls just always have a thing for lip products right? 😉

Actually you can find many similar collaborations (like Face Shop coming up with Disney Princesses collections, Peripera and Powerpuff Girls, etc) and do get ’em as they are usually limited editions and it’s something you rarely find in the future!

Clio/Peripera

So you know that Koreans are very big on their lip-degradation style, and if you want to try this out, I recommend the lip collections from Peripera! You can find their products in Clio and goodness, there are just so many nice colors and I felt like buying ’em all!

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What I got were some colors from their Ink Velvet collections, which is matte on the lips. For more glossy finish, you can try their Peri Ink collections instead. The Ink Velvet’s texture is so creamy and very whipped-cream feel, and it’s easy for you to tap and create that ombre-lip effect. The colors that I got are more reddish, coral and pink. When I swatched some of the red colors on my hand, they actually looked quite dark and very pigmented, so I thought the darker colors may be too intense for me. However, when I applied it on my lips, the colors actually turned out to be lighter than those in my hand! I still adore them, but I wish I did buy some of their darker colors too!

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How pretty are these?!

Etude House

Oh my goodness, another brand that I did not think I would have so much fun trying is Etude House! Yes, they are available here in Singapore but I hardly ever visit their store, and I’m not very familiar with their products. I always have the impression that their products are more geared towards teenagers due to their princessy store design and cutesy packaging. However, the image just seems very different in Korea. I found myself wanting to check their stores and try some of their best-sellers.

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One product that they kept recommending at that time was this BB Cushion called Any Cushion All-Day Perfect. It’s advertised as lightweight cushion that would last the whole day and perfect for any occasions, and I actually got this for only 9,800 won which is only about S$12! I wore this religiously during my trip, and no complaint so far, it did the job and gave me decent coverage without making my skin oily or shiny.

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And.. another product from Etude House that I’m loving is their Dear Darling tint! Oh my goodness, I just saw this photo and I love the wine color at the very right end. I need to check it out if the Singapore store has it! I purchased their deep red color to try, and surprisingly was hooked!

What is also impressive is their lasting power because it stays in your lips practically the whole day! In Korea, there were many days I only put this on in the morning and at night I could still see the color despite having full meals and snacks and being out and about the whole day. What I do is apply it in the inner corner of the lips (again, for the ombre effects) and just smack the colors with your lips together or use your hands to pad on it, and voila! The colors are so pigmented too! However, as this is a lip tint, the finishing is more glossy and watery so if you prefer a matte effect, then you probably would prefer the Peripera Ink Velvet!

O-Lens

Okay, this is technically not a makeup brand, but I guess it still falls under Beauty, therefore I shall put it in here because guys! I am loving their contact lenses! I am obsessed and I. WANT. TO. BUY. THEM. ALL!

The only reason why I did not rob their stores yet is simply because I did not know whether their lens would be comfortable! As some of the colors that I liked are for monthly use, and I’m used to wearing dailies these days, I’m worried for the comfort level, so I only bought 3 different colors to try. But I have since tried their lens, and they are comfy guys! I do not even feel like my eyes are dry at the end of the night, and their colors are so unique and pretty! It’s not the same as just the usual colors you can find here in normal optics.

Check out these amazingly pretty colors..

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I can’t, guys…

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I know the photos are probably photoshopped, but seriously! TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!

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The colors are so ridiculously pretty! Also, they are priced reasonably cheap! The monthly ones is just 20,000 won for 2 lens (=S$25), and their daily lens is 30,000 lens for 20 pieces (S$37). The store often has buy-1-get-1 promo some more, which makes it even cheaper! It’s definitely something I would highly recommend you guys if you like to wear colored lenses! 🙂

Other Worthy Mentions..

Face Shop for their Aloe Vera Gel which is cheaper than Nature Republic’s ones (in fact, the Face Shop one is 99% aloe vera, as opposed to Nature Republic 92%’s!)

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I use this daily guys, as a moisturizer too, and it leaves a very cooling sensation which is surprisingly absorbed by the skin fast and does not leave your skin feeling oily or watery. Also, good to bring for travel as your skin normally gets dry overseas and this can help you soothe dryness and patchiness.

Holika Holika if you like anything Gudetama!

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This is another collab that you can’t miss if you’re a Gudetama fan! I am not, so I did not really buy anything from here, although their packaging is just so cute!

Pony Effect because of… well, Pony!

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I love Pony and her videos! She’s so pretty and a very talented make-up artist, so I was really excited to check out her collections there. You can find Pony Effect at Memebox store in Myeongdong or.. I also found them at Watsons over there!

I ended up not getting anything tho, just because I was not looking for something in particular and the prices are not very cheap either. Perhaps I’ll go back and read on more reviews on her bestsellers before picking up any!

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I did, however, get the Pony Effect Favorite Lip Fluid (how pretty is the packaging?!) as a present for a friend. I wish she would come out with darker and deeper colors for this though, as the darkest color in this collection is still pretty light for me!

Okay, I’m seriously going for Korea withdrawal now thanks to writing this post! 😉 Let’s just say that my sisters and I brought a big empty luggage to Korea, and went home with an overweight luggage which we had to pay extra for! We did not just go crazy over the beauty products, but we did end up getting plenty of clothes and snacks too!

Korea is indeed a shopping heaven and if any of you are going to Korea.. ping me so that I can ask for a favor and bring me home more of these products and lenses! 😉

Meanwhile.. let’s google those cheap tickets again..