The best gifts are the ones you buy yourself

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When I hit 90 days at my first job out of university, I bought myself a Tiffany necklace to celebrate. In a sense, it was also a 21st birthday present for myself, a rather late one, and a congrats on making it into the real world, from me to me. When I finished university, I was 20 with no idea what I wanted to do in life. Armed with a computer science degree, I went out and somehow got a job in the industry with an employer that treats me well.

A lot of it was luck, being at the right place at the right time, being turned down from jobs that lead me to this one. But a lot of it was also my hard work, adjusting to a new lifestyle, learning new things from scratch, all the work I did during university. So when I hit three months, I wanted to buy something to acknowledge it.

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There was something special buying a gift for yourself, with the money you earned on something you truly want. When I first got the necklace, I wore it for a few months straight, and every time I looked at it, it reminds me of my first few months at work, learning, being confused, growing up.

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When 2015 started, I was about to turn 22. Been out of uni for a year already, and almost been working for a year, I decided that I wanted to buy myself something nice. I have been looking for a wallet for the longest time, and when the SA at Prada told me that prices were going up very soon, I decided to talk the plunge and buy a wallet. And while the purchase was slightly impulsive, it was still a birthday / congrats on surviving one year in the adult world type of gift, from me to me.

The thing about buying gifts for yourself is that no one else knows you best, so you always know you’ll enjoy the gift. It doesn’t even have to be something designer or expensive, but it is the sentiment behind it that makes it meaningful.

What have you bought for yourself lately?

13 Things I learned before 23

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My 23rd birthday is right around the corner, leaving me extremely anxious about life, where I am and where I thought I would be. When I was young I thought I would be in fashion design, being fashionable in a big city at 23, when in reality I am in a job no where related to fashion design, and living in a tiny city called Auckland.

However, among all the things I don’t know about life, there are a few things I have learned along the way.

  1. Taking care of your body is important – at the end of the day no matter how much money you earn, you can’t enjoy it if you are in poor health
  2. Wear SPF and wash your face everyday
  3. Sometimes, it is okay to treat yo self – Whether it is a cookie, a new pair of shoes or a plane ticket home to see your parents
  4. Travel if you want – but don’t feel pressured to do it because everyone else is. Backpacking through Thailand and practicing yoga on the beach isn’t the only way to find your true self
  5. If you want something, work for it – opportunities don’t fall from the sky
  6. Spend time with your parents – being away from my parents taught me to appreciate them when they are around – and if you can’t physically be there with them, call them.
  7. You don’t know what you can achieve until you are put into the situation
  8. Makeup is fun and creative – don’t let people tell you otherwise – especially fuck boys that say people who wear makeup are ~false advertising~
  9. You gain nothing out of hoarding too much stuff – like that card you received in high school from that friend you no longer talk to – throw away the things that don’t belong in your life anymore
  10. Donate – whether it is old clothing or money to charities you believe in – studies show people are happier spending money on others than themselves
  11. People will walk in and out of your life – its a natural thing
  12. Learn how to be a functioning adult will get you far – learn to clean, cook, pay bills, claim insurance etc because the older you get, the less endearing not being a functioning adult becomes
  13. Just do you

2016 | Resolutions

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  1. Lose weight. I am reaching 23 in less than a months time, and my doctor told me it is unhealthy for me to continue on with my no exercise, eat everything lifestyle. Partly it is for vanity reasons, but mostly it is for not wanting to get a stroke at 30 reasons. I also want to not look like a fat potato in photos, so there’s that.
  2. Blog more – my blog is grow slowly, but surely. It is something I enjoy doing and want to continue doing. I also want to put more time into my content and photos, and try out a few new things like perhaps filming make up tutorials.
  3. Travel – I am taking a trip to Italy in May, and I want to take another trip at the end of the year. I think now is the time to travel and have fun, before I have too much commitment and responsibility. I also want to do more things within New Zealand.
  4. Go out more – and I don’t mean party more, but in general say yes to more plans, make more plans myself, connect with old friends and make new friends.
  5. Spend less money – 2015 was a big spending year for me. I didn’t save very much, bought a lot of stuff I really didn’t need, and was in general pretty #YOLO with my money. I have a bad mindset of ~oh I am still young I can start saving when I am older~. Except I am older (well, soon) and its time to get my financials together if I ever want my own roof to live under one day.

2016 | Make Up Goals

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I just got back to New Zealand in the last few days. After neglecting this blog for the whole duration of my Christmas break, I didn’t know what to write next. I didn’t want to do a stereotypical new years resolution post, because I still don’t know what my resolutions are yet. I also didn’t want to do a reflection on 2015 post because that chapter is behind me, and I didn’t want to start 2016 thinking about all the things I should have done in 2015.

So I decided to come up with some make up related goals.

I own a decent amount of make up. More than the average person, less than the average make up guru. My spending on make up reached a high last year when I made multiple Sephora orders within the first few months of the year, which landed me in VIB, as well as a drawer with a bunch of stuff I really didn’t need.

So for 2016, I want to cut down my spending on makeup.

Going through my drawer, I have so many things just sitting there, some not even opened, waiting around to finally get used. The reality is that I know I will never finish or even come close to finishing any of these products. I shouldn’t spend more money to buy things that’s just going to sit there gathering dust.

I also want to be more bold with my makeup, mainly with lipstick. I am scared to wear bold lipstick, especially at work. And while I still don’t think I will wear magenta lipstick at work, I want to wear it after work, when I am with friends, on the weekends.

I want to wear more makeup in 2016. And that might sound weird, but normally for work I either am too lazy in the morning or wake up 30 minutes before I am meant to be at work, so all I wear is some brow product. I want to actually fix my sleep schedule, wake up earlier so I actually have time to do things and put on proper makeup before heading out for the day.

And lastly, I want to do something about that makeup artist certificate I have. The one that sits under my university degree, not doing anything (along with my university degree). I dunno whether I would go into freelancing, doing tutorials or what, but I don’t want to put that to waste.

12 things I did in 2015

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  1. Started a blog
  2. Made some new friends
  3. Got promoted
  4. Started to take more responsibility financially (rather than rely on parents)
  5. Took care of my skin
  6. Read a lot more
  7. Learned to appreciate what I have before its gone
  8. Became less awkward at networking
  9. Decided what I wanted to do in the next few years
  10. Figured out my personal style – a mix of minimalist and preppy!
  11. Started to exercise – kinda
  12. Discovered new places in my local community

Bucket List: Travel

pexels-photo-largeWith the whole millennial ~wanderlust~ trend going around lately, sites are going crazy writing lists of why you should (or should not) travel (in your 20’s). I personally think that traveling is a good way to experience different cultures and different ways of life, while understanding yourself and others.

There are a few things on my travel bucket list:

  • Stay at one of the resorts in Maldives
  • Visit the pyramids
  • Visit Italy
  • Visit Santorini
  • Party in Rio
  • Visit the salt flats in Bolivia
  • New York
  • Go back to Thailand and Malaysia
  • Visit South Korea
  • Go cherry blossom watching in Japan
  • Disneyland
  • Stay at the Ritz in Paris
  • Road trip along the west coast of the US

Hopefully I can cross off a few in the next few years.

Life // Organization Tips

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When life throws more and more responsibilities at you, it is easy to lose track of everything. Your brain isn’t the most reliable when it comes to paying that car insurance bill, or reminding you that you have a meeting at too early in the morning.

1. Take photos of important documents and upload them on a cloud based service, like dropbox and google drive. Just in case you’re stuck in a foreign country, and your passport got stolen, you still have a copy of your documents online that you can access. I recently caved and paid for a yearly subscription of dropbox. My phone is connected to dropbox, so it backs up all my photos as well. I also back up my camera photos.

2. Write down to do lists in the order of importance. This is important because it is easy to forget things when there is just so much to be done.

3. Keep separate files for separate bills. The last thing you want when trying to find a specific piece of paper, is to be digging through a pile of bills that is in no order whatsoever. When you have paid off the bill, note that down and file it away.

4. Organize your phone contacts by categories. Eg, Family, friends, coworkers, restaurants, Family in HK etc. As you get older and accumulate more contacts, a name like ‘Bill’ doesn’t exactly describe who that person is.

5. Keep a folder of all your receipts, warranties and guides for your electrical devices. Sometimes it is annoying to keep all the boxes around, so keep the contents of the boxes filed away for the day your phone decides to stop working.

 

 

Recipe // Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

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  • 170g unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cups white standard flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 140g milk choc chip
  • 140g white choc chip
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups (optional)

Baking is one of those activities that I like to do when the weather is really bad outside. During the weekend, it wouldn’t stop raining so I decided that I will bring out the KitchenAid Mixed and bake some cookies.

Stir the butter in the mixer until soft. Add in the brown and white sugar, and beat until combined. Then add in the egg and vanilla essence, and mix until everything is combined fully.

Add the flour, cornflour, baking soda and salt into the mixture and mix at medium speed until all the ingredients have been combined.

Add the chocolate chips and mix slowly for a few seconds.

Wrap up the mixture and put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes

Take mixture out of fridge and wait till it becomes room temp.

Crush peanut butter cups into chunks.

Roll the cookie dough into golf ball size. Press some peanut butter chunks / extra chocolate chips onto the top of the cookie dough.

Bake for 9-10 minutes until the edges are golden, then take the cookies out of the oven and wait until it sets fully before moving the cookies onto a cooling rack.

Eat one while it is still warm and gooey, and leave the rest to cool before storing it in an air tight contained at room temp.

Then enjoy.

Work Wear Essentials

A huge part of the transition between university and work life is the change in your wardrobe. In a world where hoodies and jeans are not considered appropriate in the corporate workplace, it is hard to imagine how to even begin building your professional wardrobe. With items being quite expensive and a budget straight out of college, it isn’t easy.

 

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The items I have chosen are items that you should invest in if you have the money. Most of the items I have chosen is black, because it is a versatile colour that can be worn with anything so it is good as a base to build your professional wardrobe on.

 

Tops

 

A white blouse is an essential for a work wardrobe, because it can be worn with a pencil skirt and heels to be dressed up, or tucked into black pants and ankle boots for a more business casual look. I prefer blouses with a softer silky fabric, instead of the more structured shirts. A few patterned blouses are also nice to have.

Peplum tops or structured tops is not an office essential, but is something nice to have in your wardrobe. It can also be easily worn outside of work.

 

Bottoms

 

Pencil skirt and straight leg black pants are office essentials. These will never go out of style, and can be worn with blouses, knit jumpers or even a casual t-shirt tucked in.

 

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A nice winter coat will last you years as long as you take good care of it. Dry cleaning is essential for outerwear, and outerwear is where I like to spend my money on. A black blazer is a must for any young professional. Wear it with the typical blouse and pencil skirt for a classic put together look, or with a white t-shirt and jeans for a dressed down, but still chic look.

 

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I have chosen three different type of shoes. Ankle boots are good for days when it is cold and raining. Flats are nice for everyday wear, and you can never go wrong with a black closed toe pump.

A nice structured bag is a lot more professional looking than a slouchy one in my opinion. A bag is also something you should be willing to spend on. I am not saying go drop a few thousand on a Prada bag, but if you can, invest in a good quality leather bag.