Monday, September 05, 2016

Midnight Musings

Sometimes I feel like... I wish I could redo things all over?

Start all over from when things were really simple, where all you did was follow instructions & your biggest decision was when to do your homework. Where you didn't have to make decisions that could affect the rest of your life. It's ironic but kids, your parents are right. Study hard, do well. I'll always regret not studying harder. I didn't do terribly, but the idea of not having done better, done more, done my best, will haunt me eternally. I can't say I would be happier if I had pursued a different academic route or career; life compromises of a lot more than that. But it would be one less thing to think about.

I perpetually find myself at a crossroad. Do I settle & make the best out of what I have right now? Or do I give it my all, say heck it & pursue something new, even if it means wasting another 4 years doing another degree and/or moving overseas? I did genuinely enjoy studying Sociology (my major), but interest & reality don't always coincide. And majoring in Sociology was never my goal. It was a lucky outcome because it turns out I enjoy it, but because it wasn't ever my plan, I have a never-ending list of What Ifs.

Sometimes I think about furthering my studies. I enjoy school, I always did. But again, interests & practicality often don't align. And I ask myself, maybe it's just time to suck it up & move on into the real world. Get a normal job, climb the corporate ladder... stop wasting time.

I try to console myself by stalking my peers. Of course some turned out to be overachievers. I feel jealous, with those feelings of That Should Be Me. At some juncture in their lives, they had a turning point & suddenly flourished. On the other hand, I look at some with prestigious backgrounds, promising prospects... & then just an average outcome. Maybe it's better to be one of those people who hit their peak later. You spend your early life feeling average, believing you're average & at some point, you develop your passion or skills & excel at them. The other group, is consistently above average at most stages in their lives & is above average at most things, but never excels at any of them. Yet there is a greater level of expectation placed on them due to the fact that they were comparatively above average from the start, which would lead to a greater sense of letdown.

I sometimes think I've already hit my peak. Or rather, my chance to have peaked. That that time was probably in my late teens to early twenties, when I was young & still studying. I had the luxury of time. I could have explored a million different things, maybe found something to concentrate on & excel at. Instead I dabbled in everything & excelled at nothing. I did some modelling, but never explored it seriously. I did decently well in school, but not enough to make something serious out of it. I could have done more with my blog, but it just ended up as a hobby & mild sideline.

I struggle with this inclination to want to do everything & anything. I end up doing a bit of everything & never fully concentrating on one thing. It's always safer to do a bit of all, to not put your eggs all in one basket. I could have taken a loan, gone overseas & studied something I really wanted, rather than sticking with what was safe - a degree at a local university. It's easy to say "follow your dreams". But reality hits you with constraints like time, finances, family, opportunities forgone... Did you know an overseas degree can easily cost half a million dollars (schooling + living cost)? It's an insane debt to start your adult life with. But is it worth it if it means you got to live your dream? Maybe. Is it too late now?

People always say it's never too late. But come on. It comes to a point where uprooting your current life to pursue your dreams just gets increasingly difficult. So I try to learn to settle. My peers seem happy, they tell me they're happy. We could all have achieved more, but we didn't. So I'm waiting for new priorities in my life to come; waiting for them to overshadow all my What Ifs & relegate them to It Doesn't Matter Anyway. Because right now with nothing in particular to be looking forward to in my future, my past is still casting its shadow of regret.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

IT Cosmetics - for beautiful skin

Earlier this month, Sephora Singapore sent me a box of IT Cosmetics products!

IT stands for Innovative Technology & I have to say that before this I did not know about this brand. I did a little research & the more I did, the more interested I was in their brand philosophy.

A little background information:

IT Cosmetics was developed in 2008 by CEO Jamie Lima, who was a TV news anchor suffering from rosacea & pigmentation. If you do not know about rosacea you can do a quick Google search, I know of people who suffer from it & it can range from mild to very severe, so it's a very real skin problem that affects many girls. In severe cases it can even spread to the eyes (ocular rosacea)!

IT Cosmetics is:
# Paraben-free (less worry about chemicals)
# Cruelty-free (no testing on animals)
# Developed by dermatologists & plastic surgeons

What this means is that IT Cosmetics is designed for sensitive skin, with a dermalogical background & avoiding chemical-laden products that can further harm your skin. And it's cruelty-free!


I don't really get acne but I have very dry skin.

If I let it get too dry, it stings when I sweat or even just smile. Most brands (ranging from drugstore to high-end) tend to sting my skin because of all the chemicals in them - to whiten, reverse aging, revitalise & what not. I couldn't use most brands & eventually turned to very mild, dermalogical brands such as Bioderma & Cetaphil. And yes this is in Singapore. When I go overseas... wow.

I sometimes develop a bit of redness on my face, usually at the cheek area or sometimes at the corner of my eyes & I try to avoid makeup for a few days till it clears. Basically from what I can tell, my skin generally behaves well but is a bit sensitive & this is why I keep my skincare regime very, very simple - makeup remover, moisturiser & sunblock.

Sephora sent me a whole range of products to create a full-face of makeup!
I'll be testing out ALL of them.

You can scroll to the end for a summarised review!

These products are sponsored, but I do not want to say that I love everything or you should buy everything, everything is amazing... etc, etc. I honestly don't even think it's possible for a makeup brand to be good in every single makeup product right? LOL.

For starters though, the packaging is really simple & minimalistic!

It's quite pleasing to the eye & I like the cute message in every single box:

"You Are Beautiful. You Are It!"

Featured above is their Confidence In A Cream, a night + day moisturiser with anti-aging properties! As I've mentioned, moisturiser is a BIG DEAL to me & I'm constantly on the lookout for good moisturisers!

This moisturiser is extremely rich & creamy! 
It smells a little like lemongrass, which is pretty relaxing.


I find this moisturiser only suitable for night use. This is especially because of Singapore's climate as it's not as dry as other countries. I used this moisturiser over a week & I noticed that even after 2 hours it hadn't fully been absorbed into my skin yet, which makes this unsuitable to wear below makeup during the day (unless you don't wear any & just need to repair your skin).

My recommendation would be to use this maybe only 2-3 times a week or to make sure you alternate this with another, lighter moisturiser. This is something I personally do as well, because if you keep buttering your skin with thick moisturisers I think you'll break out!

So all in all, definitely a moisturiser I would add into my rotation of moisturisers, but not on a daily basis & not for daytime use below makeup. Really quite like the smell though!

Moving on to the face products!
Here we have the:

Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer
Your Skin But Better CC Cream
Bye Bye Pores Loose Powder

On the left is the concealer (a more pinkish tone) & on the right is the CC cream. 
As you can see, both are thick & creamy.

After both the concealer + CC cream on the RIGHT side of my face.
As you can see, my general tone is greatly evened out & small pigmentation marks covered.


They both provide GREAT coverage & this would be the biggest plus point. 
I would say however that it's a little on the thick side. It didn't feel suffocating (kept it on for a few hours to test), but if you didn't need coverage to begin with then stick to just the concealer, which did a great job with my dark eye circles!

The Naturally Pretty Essentials Eyeshadows & hahaha I love the palette name!
This features a range of very basic matte eyeshadows & one slightly shimmering highlighter.

L-R: Tightline (3-in-1 primer, eyeliner, mascara), Superhero Mascara & Brow Power

I decided to blend 3 eyeshadows together, namely going from light to dark. I find that putting dark on the outer corner helps to elongate my eyes & create that cat-eye effect. I also used the dark blue eyeshadow to line my lower waterline, rather than an eyeliner.

Superhero Mascara:
As I have eyelash extensions the effect of the mascara is less obvious on my upper lashes, but look at the bottom! There is a rather noticeable difference in volume & length compared to my other eye!

Oh yes I didn't use the Brow Power eyebrow pencil at all LOL.
I apologise but my eyebrows are too thick & are covered by my bangs anyway.

As for the Tightline 3-in-1... I don't quite get it. I'm someone that has never really cared about primers (which helps your makeup stay on better) & as an eyeliner I prefer a conventional design.

Bye Bye Pores Loose Powder

I used the cushion that came with this rather than the powder brush!


It applied fairly well though it needed a bit of blending as the resulting matte-fiying effect is quite obvious (I mean look at how white & smooth my right cheek looks) so you need to ensure this is applied properly all over! Again I feel the focus of this product is more on coverage.

Next up would be the Your Most Beautiful You Bronzer, Luminizer & Blush.

The blush is a really pretty coral shade that applies easily with only one or two swipes!
Actually all 3 were fairly pigmented & applied easily on the back of my hand. I was also pleasantly surprised that the highlighter (luminizer) showed up clearly, even on camera!
(the strange bump is my vein...)
So for you girls that like to shine bright like a diamond, check it out LOL.

Here is the final half-face makeup look!

I went for a pretty made-up look so you can go for something more subdued if you prefer!

The brushes! I honestly don't have much experience with brushes so I can't give an accurate review of these. The bristles felt soft & gentle & I thought the packaging was great!

Yep. Naturally Pretty that's me LOL.

Oh yes & not forgetting the Blurred Lines Lipstick! This is an anti-aging, collagen-based lipstick! It's no wonder the application felt really smooth. This lipstick is more on the watery, glossy side but the pigmentation was surprisingly good (considering how it felt more on the "wet" side).

As you can see above, it came out a really bright, rich hot pink!

Final makeup!

Sephora Singapore reposted my picture to their Instagram & a user commented that "someone needs to blend that eyeshadow" LOL. Maybe I really didn't blend it well but anyway I find that it looks ok when I open my eyes; maybe because my eyes are a little more deep-set so the dark eyeshadow is less obvious on me!

Basically do whatever suits you ok! For example if you have single eyelids, putting heavy dark eyeshadows may be quite unsuitable for you. Whereas for me if I don't go thicker with eyeshadow, it's generally not very visible when I open my eyes.

By the way I have to say this:



I mean of course as this is a review on skincare/beauty products, I shouldn't be editing my skin in the first place. It would be pretty deceitful if I edited away dark-eye circles when reviewing a concealer right?

But my point is...


When I looked at the pictures I was like, WOW.
Normally I'm quite self-conscious & even if I don't edit my skin (for reasons just mentioned), I'd be thinking like... damn now everyone will see my dark eye circles & blemishes... etc.

But I'm actually pretty amazed at how my skin looks?

I mean sure, a little shadow under the eyes & around the mouth area.
But overall, still pretty impressed!

Here's my overall take:

Actually when I first tested out the products I felt they were quite normal. It wasn't until I had to do up this post, see my face close-up & zoomed in before resizing the pictures for uploading that I began to feel genuinely impressed. Like I said, I suddenly realised that I hadn't thought about my dark eye circles the entire time I was picking pictures & that was because... there was no need to be self-conscious about them. Because my skin looked edited already O.O

I mean you can scroll back up to my close-ups. I can even see small facial hairs. But my skin? Thumbs up. It looks smooth without having that over-edited (like after an over-zealous iPhone makeup app session) look to it. It looks good, but natural, with a few small freckles & shadows.

(P.S. Lipstick marks on teeth haha)


IT Cosmetics is clearly a great makeup brand that addresses actual skin concerns, providing coverage without further aggravating it. If you're someone with problem, sensitive skin & especially if you need coverage for blemishes & marks while you resolve your skin issues, then I think IT Cosmetics is a brand you can look into! Just go to a Sephora outlet, test it out, see how you feel!

I would say my favourite products (if it wasn't obvious already) would be the:

#1 Confidence In A Cream Moisturiser
#2 Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer
#3 Your Skin But Better CC Cream

I felt these 3 products made the biggest impact & are more unique as they are suitable for people with problem skin. When it comes to eyeshadows, blush, lipsticks & so on... there are a zillion competing mass-market brands out there that can devote an entire makeup counter to a 100 different shades LOL.

Personally I don't feel I need extensive coverage for my skin. As much as I love the super-good-in-pictures-skin I just raved about above, I still don't like the idea of a full face of makeup. If you're like me, I think we can skip the CC Cream & just stick to concealer for problem areas!

But again, if you have problem skin & need/want to wear makeup still, skip the "in" brands. 
Find what works for you & your skin! IT Cosmetics for one, provides really good coverage while having a dermalogical focus in its products & brand philosophy.

 Find IT Cosmetics online on or in Sephora stores! 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Seoul Wandering

I was in Seoul for just one day this month so I took the opportunity to arrange a mini-shoot session with a photographer from WanderZoom! I actually think this is a really great idea. How WanderZoom works is to help match you up with photographers located in the city you're visiting! Kinda like any generic hotel booking website.

I can't honestly say that if I weren't an "influencer" (whatever that means) I'd want to hire a photographer for holidays. I mean, it seems kinda excessive. But for a wedding shoot, a family portrait, special occasion... why not? It costs a lot to fly a Singaporean photographer overseas with you so instead you can work with a local one. I'd definitely be glad for this additional option when my time comes.

  It's actually my first time working with a photographer for my blog.  

No, really. I think it's pretty obvious that I've been quite out of the blogging/influencer scene for a while now due to my current job. During these 3 years things have changed so much & yeah, now we're apparently called Influencers? Creatives? Content Creators? - basically an ambiguous term for a group of people who are neither writers, photographers nor graphic artists. I've seen people comment that this new Influencer generation basically consists of talentless people who are just photogenic.

I can't honestly say I disagree. It of course doesn't apply to everyone. There are still many influencers who have many talents & create great original content. Then we have the other spectrum - the ones that are just famous for... what exactly? I'm not sure. Looking good in pictures & having a great team behind them?

As I was saying, I've been out of the blogging scene but of course I never totally exited from it.
Which means that I still continue to get the usual emails with advertising/sponsorship queries, event invites... but they now say... "will you & your photographer be joining us?"

And I'm like whutttttt....
When did this become a thing?

It's almost like a prerequisite now. I remember a hotel not-so-subtly replying me that it should be a photographer & not a +1 (be it your friend/partner). I mean excuse me?

But anyway, I digress.

Pictures were taken at Namsan Park & Namdaemun Market!

These are the 2 pictures that I uploaded to Instagram before doing this blogpost:

My friends commented that I had edited myself into oblivion.
It's true, I may have overdone it but I couldn't figure out a way to lessen the editing without it looking ugly HAHA. It ended up looking wayyyy too fake-doll-like but... oh well. And the photographer had already done a round of editing before sending me the pictures so I had to work with his prior edits. Result? Too many chefs spoil the brew or something like that.

By the way, completely edited on iPhone. It's so much easier with apps these days compared to Photoshop! I honestly prefer using editing apps to make those tweaks.

And. The overall likes/response for this photo above - in which I'm apparently unrecognisable - is higher & more favourable than normal. Uhhhh what you saying guys? LOL.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I find myself in these moods all the time. Sure when I'm out, with people, doing things... I laugh, I joke, I smile on cue for the camera... I post pictures, I look happy...

When I'm alone I cry so easily & so often it's embarrassing. 
I don't even know why I'm crying.

It hit me the other day:

I'm unhappy.

I've been unhappy for a really long time.
I can't even remember the last time I was happy.

I don't quite understand. I don't understand how it's like to be happy. To have your general state of being - happy. Sure some things make me happy here & there; favourite foods, playing with cats, a piece of good news... But they just feel like small patches in a big cloud of unhappiness.

I don't know how to stop being unhappy.
I don't know what I'm looking for, what will make me happy.
I don't know what to search for, where to start.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Taipei 2016

Flew up to Taipei in January to coincide with Shaun's birthday!
I'm not quite sure why we ended up picking Taipei actually. 

The original plan was skiing in Japan but that was more of something I wanted to do (LOL) & the tickets turned out pretty expensive during that period so we gave up! Ended up suggesting Taipei as it's nearby enough, isn't too costly & my boyfriend eats a lot so...

Our flight departed late at night from Changi Airport so we reached really early the next morning in Taipei! The plan was naturally to maximise the amount of time we'd have overseas; a natural tourist inclination right? Big mistake. We didn't factor in how tired we'd be & the fact that we had nowhere to rest since hotel check-ins are typically around 2pm...

P.S. This is why short-term home rentals like AirBnB or Roomorama are better as they are often more flexible with check-in timings since they don't continuously have guests using the room.

Anyhow, so we found ourselves at Taoyuan International Airport at 7am with nowhere to go.
Did I also mention it was raining? So sightseeing would have sucked too.

So we did what anybody would do (I think)...
We camped out at the airport. 
I actually slept like a solid 2 hours!

I considered booking a hotel room for those few hours but it was really too costly/troublesome.

Business idea for anyone: Short-stay rooms that are NOT "love" hotels.
I mean really, there's an obvious gap between late night/morning arrivals & hotel check-in times!

Anyway, it was finally onwards to night markets & street food!

Wow I swear this looked & sounded epic in theory - mashed potato, ham, CHEESE, corn...
But it was extremely meh in reality.

This, on the other hand was really yummy! Inside the dough are whatever fillings you like - ham, cheese & corn for mine. However, it tragically fell to its death before I could get a good bite T_T

To be honest, I really didn't enjoy Taiwan's food.
I already kinda suspected I wouldn't & this was confirmed LOL.
I don't eat squid, tofu... weird stuff like intestines...
Taipei's menu basically consisted of ALL MY WEIRD FOOD ITEMS.

Headed to Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf the next day!

That's the Lover's Bridge in the background, popular with people wanting to catch the sunset!

Unfortunately I'd have to say the wharf was pretty disappointing.
Somehow I imagined it to be more... wharf-y? LOL
Like seafood restaurants, picking out fresh seafood to be cooked on the spot, stuff like that.

In the end there was just an abysmal small row of shops that had NOTHING to do with seafood/sea.
Instead they peddled things like Japanese ramen, fried chicken & cheap generic souvenirs :(

Stray doggy in the shopping centre!

Bought dog food from the convenience store so here we are feeding them!

Headed to Tamsui (Danshui) Old Street after that!
It's really nearby the train/bus terminal so it's not hard to find.
Shops were similar to central Taipei street markets but things were slightly cheaper!

And definitely the best Taipei street market... Raohe!
The other night markets were a little disappointing as they were smaller & very repetitive.
So definitely go to Raohe! There was so much more food & things to see!

Yum, fried beef cubes!

Got a dessert crepe!

Bright & early the next day to go to Jiufen
Jiufen is a small town outside of Taipei & we took a bus there!

The hillside town is characterised by red hanging lanterns & was the inspiration for the village featured in Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away! I have watched that movie a few times & I can see some resemblance, but overall I wouldn't say it was that distinctive as there were no major markers other than maybe the red lanterns... The buildings & alleys are pretty commonplace among small towns.

Oh Jiufen is also famous for their teahouses! 
There were lots of quaint ones like these which offer you a great view down the hill!

This might be one of the settings which most reminded me of Spirited Away!

From Jiufen we took a bus to Ruifang train station. Ruifang station is a more major station from which you can go to Taipei, but before we headed back we made another stop...

To the...









Ok you get it.

Sooo many cats!
It's a really, really small village.
There isn't much else there other than the cats & a few shops selling cat-related trinkets!
I remember one shop had music sung/played in the form of meows.

As in... literally the song just went "meow meow meow meow" to the tune of a well-known song but I forgot what. And it was on loop. Non-stop meowing.

Cats sleeping in boxes as soon as you exit the train station!
I was soooo excited!

After Houtong we headed to Shifen to release lanterns!
Wow I didn't even recall that we did so many things in one day.

Again, really small village. I don't know if there's anything there other than lanterns actually.
We got there pretty late so nothing was open other than lantern shops!

The shopkeepers will come to you right away proposing their lanterns.
All the shops are priced the same anyway so it really doesn't matter!

You can pick various combinations of colours!
The most expensive is naturally having all 4 colours - one on each side - with each colour representing a particular part in life. Love, Health, Money... etc.

I can't recall exactly how much it cost but it was about S$10 - S$20.

Our money wish!
Who drew a better Fortune Kitty? :D

Decided not to bother with winning the lottery & things like that haha.
I think the most important is not having to worry about it - affording necessities like food, housing, education, healthcare... these can add up to A LOT. Not having money worries means you already have a decent amount of it :) Anything else is a luxurious bonus :)

Erm I forgot what the Chinese words are.

The shopkeepers will help you take pictures & videos as well!
Although I can't promise the same for when it's crowded in the daytime.
That was probably our most fulfilling day!

Because the next day... was checkout.
Before going to the airport we explored a little around our area for food!

If you might remember at the start of the post - I mentioned checking into a hotel.
Yes, I did book a hotel room for our stay in Taipei.

However when I got there... it was huge shock.
The room was SO disappointing.

It was really, really tiny. Sitting on the bed I could literally touch BOTH the toilet & main door.
We couldn't even open up the suitcase fully.

I had found it on & boy, are pictures deceiving.
I'm generally quite thorough with my research, checking reviews & ratings.
Both of these checked out good for this hotel.

P.S. It's called RF Hotel

Here is the review I left:

"The room was INCREDIBLY TINY. We opened the door & were incredibly shocked. The bed was literally right at the door & we couldn't even open up our suitcase. From the bed I am able to touch both the main door, & the toilet door. That is how little floor space there is. I know that for the price I couldn't expect a large room, but this room was far, far below expectation. Even the smallest room you see on their pictures, was larger than the one we got. So definitely not true to pictures. 

Upon entering the room I also went back to the website to check the reviews because I was confused how such a tiny room could get decent reviews. And I have to say that I realised the reviews are extremes - 9.9s & 10s (who ever gives 10s???) versus those like mine, which mention the tininess. I leave you to infer what you can from that. Finally in conclusion, the room was so depressing that we foreited our stay & checked out after 2 nights for another hotel."

I didn't expect luxury, but no hotel/hostel/apartment has fallen so far below my expectations.

And yes, I find the reviews incredibly fishy. Most of the reviews are extremes - either 9s & 10s or 3s & 4s. I find it hard to believe that people would give a full 10 to anything unless the experience was really fantastic, something I deem rather unlikely. Furthermore, many of these reviews supposedly came from Singapore. I don't know about you, but I have never heard of Singaporeans being particularly appreciative nor generous. In fact, we're famous for complaining about every little thing. How am I to believe that Singaporeans would give a perfect 10, or a 9.9 to anything?

So long story short...

I grappled for other options & managed to get in touch with Roomorama!
I forfeited my fully-paid-for stay & moved to an apartment I picked out.


The apartment was so nice!
Turned out even better than I expected as the listing on Roomorama only had 3 pictures.

I love all the natural light coming in, the big sofa area & especially the really cool bathroom!
It's not pictured, but above the bathtub is a skylight.

Thank you so much for coming through Roomorama!
If you sign up with MY LINK, you automatically get 50USD credit (approx S$70)!

My apartment was in a fantastic location as well - right beside the MTR & lots of nice cafes, restaurants & convenience stores! If you'd like to view my apartment's listing, click HERE.

And here is a rundown of my snaps during my Taipei trip!
If you haven't already, follow me on Snapchat @sophiewillocq :D

Yes this was the weather T_T
It rained literally 24/7 for the first few days.
It was so unfortunate that the weather was so gloomy!

That's not the worst part; when the rain stopped, the temperature drastically dipped.
It actually dropped to a low of 3°C! That was at the same time as Thailand's freak temperature drop to 15°C. I saw on the news that some old folks even died in more rural parts of Taiwan :O
It was just so unexpected & we were really not prepared!

See! 5°C FML T_T

Hehe I know it's a fake/inspired Craftholic toy but it's still cute!

CAT! So many cute cat-themed decorations all over Houtong!

#OOTD woes...

And yes. Right after we lit our lanterns then bought these little fortune kitty charms, the shopkeeper informed us the last train was leaving in 3 minutes! So we ran & I slipped & fell T_T
And after Shaun picked me up & we dashed into the train, 2 old ladies slowly ambled their way over.
Run & fall down for nothing... LOL

But anyway some people claim that when you make wishes, it can be a good thing that something minor happens to you. It's like getting rid of all the bad luck in a relatively harmless form rather than facing it in a bigger way later on! Ok shall #ThinkPositive.

I guess that about wraps up the Taipei trip!
My favourite was definitely the last day where we covered Jiufen, Houtong & Shifen!
Would definitely recommend a visit outside of Taipei!

Sadly I have to say overall our trip was a little unlucky; what with the cold spell, accommodation issues, perpetual rain, falling down... & my complete incompatibility with Taiwanese food... hahaha.

Ah but yes, I totally forgot about hot spring baths!
Those are really popular as well but we didn't get a chance to do them so do it if you get to!

Oh well... CAT CAT CAT CAT