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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!
Sunday, 31 December 2017 at 00:18 | 0 Comments
2017 has been a year, similar to many others I've lived through. It was with no doubt filled with ups and downs. Nonetheless, I feel that this year is a tad special to me.

The highlight of my 2017 is definitely my virgin trip to South Korea. As an avid fan of K-pop since I was a young teen, well, 14 to be exact, South Korea was my dream country to visit. During this gap of 11 years, there were countless of times where I've planned to go but failed due to the lack of financial support, in-dependency, and other factors. Finally, in May 2017, everything fell perfectly in place and I was able to take off to the land of Kimchi with my best travel mate, my boyfriend.

This trip to Korea was definitely the happiest, and the most memorable one we've taken so far. It was the very first time we got to travel to a country, 4,669km away from home, all by ourselves. We stayed in cosy Airbnbs which felt like home and the experience of having no one else but each other, made our relationship grew stronger. Getting to explore a country we've both never been to before was fun and thrilling. You can watch my Korea vlogs here, but I feel like the vlogs didn't quite capture the fun we had as most of the enjoyable parts were very candid and off-camera, especially towards the end because I was getting physically tired of filming. The biggest joy of this trip was definitely having my boyfriend by my side. Growing up with strict parents, being away from my family for 12 days was not an easy task, but my boyfriend made Korea feel like home.

When we went to Jeju, I was having second thoughts about driving in the island because I only had my license for 5 months, but his support made me step out of my comfort zone and I'm so glad I did it. This trip made me feel truly blessed to have met someone like him, and I think it's crazy how we make such a great team. I often hear that boys don't enjoy Korea, but I'm positively sure my boyfriend enjoyed it as much as I did because up till today, he still expresses that he wants to go back again one day.

During the 2 weeks in Korea, I've experienced many first-times including driving in a foreign country, driving for nearly 2 hours straight, which is something you can't really do here in Singapore, staying in a Hanok (a Korean traditional house), wearing a Hanbok (the Korean traditional costume), having a conversation in Korean with a Korean, visiting a public bath house (and being completely naked in front of so many strangers!!), and many more! All these experiences are what I cherish and treasure the most from my trip to Korea, and I am more than happy to be able to strike "Visit South Korea" off my bucket list.

In 2017, my channel definitely grew as I've gained a total of nearly 3,000 new subscribers which is insane. When I first started, I've never thought anyone would be interested in the videos I make, moreover work with me for videos! Therefore, I am so thankful to be able to work with so many new companies in 2017. Apart from the free goodies companies send me, I am also extremely grateful for the kind people I've met in my Youtube career. I now have a sponsor for my hair and it feels so surreal. The team at Hair Plus Korean Salon has been too kind and sweet to me. Thanks to them I also got to attend an event as a Youtuber! It was nerve-wrecking for sure, but they accompanied me throughout the event which made me feel at ease. As a frequent user of Ezbuy, I am so surprised that they approached me to work with them, and I also got my very first clothing sponsor from SthSweet.com which is an amazing online Korean clothing shop! Another new and fun experience was definitely filming for Avone Beauty Secrets. That was the very first time I was being filmed by someone else (the team from The Film Smith were very humorous and easy to work with). The proper filming equipment and lighting really fascinated me and it was also the first time I got to wear a clip-on microphone which was pretty cool! Not to mention, I got to work with The Body Shop and LUSH which are huge brands that I love way before I started my channel.

After I uploaded all my Korea Travelogues, I started feeling very unmotivated to film and edit. As my channel grew, I started to become more aware of the quality of the videos I upload and because of that I ended up filming a lot of videos, but only a few managed to pass my own standards and get uploaded. I am definitely trying to change this thought of mine because it defeats the initial purpose of why I wanted to start a channel, and that is to document my life. I noticed how I used to post chatty videos of random things like updating you guys about my job, etc and I wish to continue doing the same as before. Other than having a higher standard of what videos I upload, it was never easy, juggling a full-time job, a Youtube channel and a blog. I barely get enough rest during my rest days as those are the only days I get to film and edit. Thankfully, Youtube and Blogging is something that I genuinely enjoy doing, and that is one of the main reasons why I'm still keeping up with it.

Of course, I wouldn't be as motivated without my own little community of supporters and viewers who always take the time to watch, like, and comment on my videos, as well as chat with me on Instagram! As a small part-time Youtuber, every ounce of support means so much to me as it shows me that my efforts are being recognized, appreciated, and it doesn't make talking to a camera meaningless and one-dimensional anymore.

At 25, I've come to realize the importance and value of time. Therefore, 2017 has been rewarding for the fact that I managed to step out of a few toxic friendships. I didn't want to address this anymore, but I can't deny that this is indeed a huge change in my life that happened in 2017, and it is something that affected me for awhile. Prior to making the big step, I did hesitate a lot. I was scared and constantly tried to convince myself that they are friends worth keeping. I hovered around that thought for about 2 months, until it got really mentally tiring for me. It was not an easy decision to make, but I am glad I went with it.

Not many knew what happened because a lot of things we see on social media are molded to give the illusion like we are living the perfect life. We always appear to be 'friendship goals', but in real life, are we really? It was only until this whole thing happened, that I took a step back and think, do they really love and care for one another? No, they don't, and I didn't just assume that they don't, they proved it to me. For those of you curious souls, here's a 'summary' (my boyfriend always say I probably failed my 'summary' section in secondary school because I'm so bad at summarizing haha!) of what happened.

I've had a group of friends for the past 10 over years and despite drifting slightly apart from one another due to adult life, we still make the effort to meet up from time to time and especially on holidays such as Chinese New Year, and Christmas. They've always been an important group of friends to me and I believe how much they meant to me can be proven by the fact that I am always one of the few who makes the effort to organize and plan our gatherings despite being the lazy person I am. Everything appeared to be going well until mid-2017, when the girls started to exclude me from their gatherings because they, apparently, has been disliking me since 'a long time ago', as they said.

After I found out via my sixth sense (hahaha), I've tried multiple times to find out why and what I did wrong to deserve the hate from them. In response, they couldn't give me any reason. The worst thing was, before I prompted them for the reason, they were still pretending to be okay with me...*inserts snake emoji* I've thought about it over and over. What exactly have I done?

There is no such thing as a perfect friend. Heck, there's no such thing as a perfect sibling, a perfect parent, a perfect boyfriend, a perfect girlfriend, etc. It's okay to be lacking. There are bound to be things we dislike about a person but it all depends on whether you choose to keep it in your tiny heart, or be forgiving and let it go. Do I have things I dislike about them? Sure I do. But do I gather all these petty hate in my heart? No, because I don't expect people to live the way I please, I don't rule the world, and in other words, I'm not self-entitled. There's a saying that we're a good judge for the mistakes of others and a good lawyer for our own. I don't know what mistakes I've made relating to them to deserve the hate, but I know what I've done. I've done my part as a good friend and I'm confident and proud to be able to say that.

Haters. I've concluded, is what they are. When you hate someone because of a valid reason, it's most likely that you wouldn't want to have anything to do with them. But when you're a hater, you feed and thrive on hate. When you hate someone, you start to nitpick every little thing they do. You try to manipulate and gather more people to hate on that person, you twist and exaggerate situations to put that person in a bad light, and you keep yourself updated with that person's life just to see if there's anything more you can hate on. When a hater hates someone, it's not because that person has done something that deserves it, but because that person is most likely a billion times better than who the hater is.
"What you say about a person reflects what kind of person you are." 
After I found out the minority hates me, I was still keeping in touch with the majority and we talked a lot in private because I was struggling with the loss of this friendship. It affected me like a bad breakup, basically, it felt like my feelings were cheated on by an asshole. During those private talks, I found out a lot of truths about this group of 'close' friends. I have tea, but I'm choosing not to spill it. Let's just say that it opened my eyes to all the internal conflicts I didn't know existed. When I see them hanging out together now, I don't miss them, but rather, I feel glad that I'm no longer a part of them.

When it comes to relationships, I've always been a straight-forward person, to the point where I've once texted a guy and ask "hey, I heard that you like me, is that true?" in Secondary school (it's true by the way, and I turned him down because I was only 15 and grew up with strict parents). When I don't like someone, I don't, and I can't pretend that I do. When my boyfriend does something wrong, I tell him what he has done wrong and not be childish and say things like "don't you know what you've done?". I'm 25 and I'm too old for relationship games, or at least that was what I thought all 25 year olds would think. They still call each other a "clique" and they still insert heart emojis in their captions, but remember, I was once in the picture but was secretly hated on for 'a long time'.

That said, there are still a handful of fun, amazing, one-faced (hahaha) people in the group and we once had a lot of fun when we were together. It's just unfortunate that we didn't grow up at the same pace and some people just loves drama because their life isn't interesting on its own. Like I've said in this blog post here, I really hope one day them haters will find their inner peace and learn that we all have our unique strengths. Focus on that, focus on improving yourself, instead of constantly trying to grow hatred in your heart.

Many of my current friends have told me to not mention my 'ex-friends' anymore because they are not worth my time and emotions. But I don't think there's anything wrong to admit that you've been hurt and affected by a toxic relationship. To many of you, I might just be pixels on your screen, but in reality, I'm still a regular human being with feelings and the first thing I've learnt in 2017 is to not be ashamed of how I feel.

I recently chanced upon a video on Facebook and it talked about how people who cries in movies are stronger. I am one of those people who cries in movies, and dramas, and series. I've always felt embarrassed about this, so whenever I cry in a theater, I would always look away, blink like a thousand times per minute, and attempt to subtlety wipe away my tears so no one would notice. But apparently, according to that video, if you do cry in movies, it proves that you have a heart, is empathetic enough to relate yourself with the characters in the movie, and you're the kind of person who'd always put yourself in the shoes of others. Why was I so embarrassed about that?

I've also learnt how important it is to have an opinion of my own. I believe when many of us were younger, we used to hear the phrase 'peer pressure' very often, because it is a real thing. I grew up keeping my opinions shut in my heart whenever it differs from the majority. But in recent years, I've learnt that just because the majority thinks a certain way, it doesn't mean they are right and it doesn't mean I'm wrong to think another. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions and it's normal to have a different one. At 25, I believe it's time to quit being a blind follower and start having your own stand. One of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books in 2017, How To Kill A Mocking Bird is,
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
This simply means that (source) 'although the majority may agree, each person knows in their heart what the truth is. Each person has the responsibility to step up and do the right thing. This is especially poignant when we consider the Tom Robinson trial.'

In Tom Robinson's trial, he was wrongly accused of raping a white girl, simply because he is black. Even though majority voted him guilty, in their hearts, they all knew that he was innocent. Still, nobody dared go against the majority's vote, sentencing Tom Robinson to jail.

Another thing I've learnt in 2017 is, money is the easiest and laziest way to show someone you love them, especially for a capable working adult like myself. No amount of money and material items can replace love. Here's the simplest example, a person can buy me a 10-course meal in a fanciful restaurant as long as he/she can afford it, but it will never compare to a simple meal cooked by my mum. Something that involves effort and love, is always more valuable than something that only involves money.

The last thing I've learnt in 2017 is less, is more.

In 2018, I hope to be an even better person. I mentioned in my 'How to be a happier person' blog post that I am hoping to do some volunteer work. But up till today, I have yet to do any. I nearly went for one on Christmas Eve... But the slots were full, so hopefully better luck in 2018! Apart from being a better person to the society, I also hope to be an even better daughter, an even better sister, an even better girlfriend, and an even better friend.

In 2018, I hope to be a healthier person. Also in my 'How to be a happier person' blog post, I mentioned about taking care of my physical health and honestly, I was working out so much during the period I wrote that post, and it felt so incredibly good. Not only did I feel less lethargic, but I also felt confident about myself. I haven't worked out in ages because not long after I did that blog post, I fell sick for 2 whole weeks and pretty much lost my motivation and drive. I've constantly tried to get back on track but I always fall sick just when things are starting to get easy again. As for my mental health, 2017 was definitely a happier year for me since in 2016, I was really struggling with my anxiety disorder. In 2017, I tried really hard to keep my stress levels controlled by taking my de-stress routines very seriously, and so I hope to keep up with that in 2018.

As for my Youtube career, towards the end of 2017, I started to vlog more and I really enjoyed filming little snippets of my weekends! Prior to that, I would always laze around in bed after I've filmed my 'sit down' videos, but now, I find myself heading out and exploring even more thanks to vlogging! I've recently got myself a new camera for casual vlogging, so I look forward to more weekend vlogs. As I've mentioned, Youtube is something I genuinely love, so frankly speaking, I don't really need motivation for this, but I do hope to grow my channel even more.

Via my Youtube channel, I managed to step out of my comfort zone a number of times in 2017. I am an introvert, and a socially awkward person. I can be very loud and talkative when I'm around people I'm familiar with, but once I'm home, I'd feel so drained and exhausted. I absolutely hate meeting new people because of how awkward I am, but in 2017, I've met so many new people like the team from Hair Plus Korean Salon whom I met to discuss collaboration projects with, I've also turned up at the public event I mentioned above with Hair Plus Korean Salon as a Youtuber, I've met with the marketing team at Avone Beauty Secrets, the videographers from The Film Smith,... All these made me learn that stepping out of my comfort zone simply means expanding it. I'm still not the most positive when it comes to meeting new people especially for work (i.e. Youtube), but I hope in 2018, I'll be able to feel more comfortable about that and meet even more people!

So that sums up my 2017 and my hopes for the new year. As usual, if I can only have one new year wish, it'd be good health for all my loved ones. If you think this post isn't lengthy enough, I did a similar post at the end of 2016, so if you'd like to have a recap of my previous year, click here.

Happy new year, and I'll see you again next year!

Review: ALIVE LAB The True Love Story of Toner and Emulsion
Monday, 11 December 2017 at 09:50 | 0 Comments
As mentioned in my previous Alive Lab review, I was sent a total of 3 products to try out from Alive Lab. One of which is the Multi Ice Cream, and the other two is Alive Lab's The True Love Story of Toner and Emulsion, which is what I will be talking about today!

I'm sure you can already tell from the names of the products that they are a pair of toner and emulsion. One product is retailing at 15,000won each, however you can also get them in a set for a total of 25,000won (~S$31)! Once again, I was blown away by the adorable packaging of the products. It looks and reminds me so much of a bottled drink and that is the first I've seen for a toner and emulsion. Honestly, if I didn't know it was a toner, I'd probably thought it's a drink...

The True Love Story of Toner

Previously, I was using Mamonde's Rose Water Toner. However, I've emptied it and so this toner came just at the right time! Consistency wise, it really reminds me of the Rose Water Toner as it is very watery, light, and refreshing. It also has a mild floral fragrance that is barely noticeable for me.

The main point about this toner is that it does not contain any alcohol, therefore makes it very gentle on the skin and suitable for all skin types. If you've watched my updated skincare routine video, you will know that I prefer a low-irritant or non-irritant toner, like this one! I feel like moisturizing toners are becoming quite a trend recently that it's no longer a surprise to find out that your toners can be moisturizing too! This toner in particular has moisturizing properties in it which is awesome as you can either pour it into a spray bottle and use it as a facial mist, or if you have oily skin like I do, I love using moisturizing toners to quickly wipe off any excess oil on my skin while replenishing some of the loss moisture. This toner also helps to remove any stubborn dirt that you've failed to cleanse away with your cleanser, making sure that your skin is prepped for the essence and moisturizers you'll be applying next.

So far, I have been using this toner for a month and I haven't seen my skin reacting badly to it. I especially love how it leaves my skin feeling super clean and non-greasy.

The True Love Story of Emulsion

I've always heard of this skincare product called an 'Emulsion', but I've never tried one before until I received this product. So what exactly is an Emulsion? Well, an emulsion is simply a type of moisturizer that is lighter and 'thinner' than your average moisturizer. It is supposedly more suitable for people with thinner layers and sensitive skin as this thinner formula is less likely to irritate your skin or clog your pores.

First impressions, this moisturizer is definitely noticeably thinner than my usual moisturizer as it feels almost as if I've added water into my moisturizer to dilute it. Once you smooth it out onto your face, it feels quite watery and gel-like without any traces of oil, and I guess it's because this emulsion is water-based and contains 0 oil! Woohoo! Another good news for oily skin peeps like myself.

Honestly, in the beginning, I wasn't quite used to using an emulsion because of the different texture. However, I had my eyebrows embroidered and was told by the beautician that I have thin layers/sensitive skin. So since this product is beneficial to people with my skin type, I thought I'd give it a try and also because I need to do this review.

After using it for a month, I feel like I have become obsessed with this emulsion. I realized how thick my previous moisturizers were and it was probably clogging up my pores, making my acne problem worse. I don't feel like this is any less moisturizing than my previous moisturizers too!

Overall, I think it's safe to say that I am officially impressed with the products from Alive Lab and I will be looking forward to try out even more products from them once I've used up this set! Thank you so much Alive Lab for sending me all these amazing skincare products!

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My Current Favourite Candles
Friday, 8 December 2017 at 09:58 | 0 Comments
Let it burn let it burn let it burn...

Christmas is right around the corner, and that means it's time to bust out all your fairy lights, hot chocolate recipe, cosy blankets, Christmas films, and candles. I love candles, all year round, but I find it almost like a necessity to always have at least one light up during year end because it just effectively amps up my festive mood, and it creates the perfect atmosphere for the holiday season.

I know, there are probably more than a billion different scented candles to choose from, so if you're new to candles and would like to try out a couple before this year ends, good news! As today, I will be sharing with you a few of my current favourite candles, and hopefully that'll help you narrow down your choices.

Note: I'm not a candle expert, just a regular consumer who loves a good smelling environment!

1. Bath & Body Works Stress Relief Candles

If you've been following my Youtube channel, you will know these candles from Bath & Body Works. I have mentioned both candles in separate monthly favourites in the past, which proves my love for them. As you can also tell from the images, I'm nearly done with both of them, which is crazy considering the fact that I only got my second Stress Relief candle in September this year.

Honestly, both candles smell very similar to me and I really can't tell the difference. All I know is that they smell amazing and absolutely calming. I suffer from insomnia from time to time and I noticed that I definitely fall asleep quicker and better with the help of this candle. I've actually fell asleep once while this candle was burning so... erm... That was really dangerous, so do remember to put it out before you doze off!

This is also a 3-wick candle, and because my room is pretty small, the smell can sometimes get a little too much if you leave it burning for more than 3 hours.

2. Aromatherapy Associates Relax Candle

My next favourite is the Aromatherapy Associates's Relax Candle. It is a fairly new one to my humble collection, but I swear this is the most lovely and most relaxing candle I have ever owned. This candle comes in a simple frosted glass with tiny and delicate looking gold patterns all over it. Nothing too mind-blowing in my opinion as compared to the actual candle itself.

This candle is made with a blend of West Indian Bay and Myrrh Essential oils that will help to calm, soothe and uplift your mind. I'd say that it's very mildly sweet but it's nothing too overpowering like a birthday cake candle. As this candle is a lot smaller than the 3-wick candles from Bath & Body works, I feel like the smell is much more evenly distributed in my small room. It has a really strong scent actually as I can smell it without burning it! I find it really tough to describe the scent of this candle, but I am absolutely in love with it and I highly recommend it if you're into relaxing candles or aromatherapy. Trust me, you will not regret this.

The only downside to this candle is that it doesn't come with a cap or cover.

3. Diptyque Figuier / Fig Tree Scented Candle

I've seen Diptyque candles all over the internet and being the candle lover like I am, I was dying to try one out for myself to see what the hype was all about. I was so thrilled to see that they are available on Cosme-de.com, and so I quickly placed my order for their best selling candle which is the Figuier/Fig Tree Scented candle. As you should know by now, I'm obsessed with relaxing fragrances, but I wanted to try out something different from the mainstream relaxing scents, and this Fig Tree candle is the perfect alternative.

This candle has more of an earthy fragrance that will remind you of the crisp, fresh, and natural scents of nature and trees. I am someone who loves going out to the nature to de-stress as I find it very relaxing to be away from the "city area", thus this candle makes me feel like I'm actually out in the woods which is nice! I think this candle is more suitable to burn when you're working or trying to concentrate, rather than for sleeping. This candle also doesn't come with a cap or cover.

4. Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Scented Candle

The last candle is from Jo Malone, another brand that I've been meaning to try. Once again, I was happy to see their fragrances and scented candles available on Cosme-de.com. They offer a huge range of different scents, so once again, I've decided to go for one of their best selling, signature fragrance, the Lime Basil and Mandarin scent. This fragrance is a blend of peppery basil and aromatic white thyme.

I don't think this is particularly a relaxing scent, and since I do have a handful of relaxing scented candles, I just wanted something else for the rest of the house. I think this candle is perfect to light up in the living room to clear up any unwanted odour in the house as it is citrusy, fresh, and uplifting.

Like I said, there are so many scented candles in the market and I've tried many candles in my life, including scented candles from Ikea, and even though they only cost less than 5 bucks... There's literally no fragrance coming out from the candle. Therefore, from my experiences, I'd say that even though these candles I've mentioned are on the pricier side, they are definitely worth every penny because of the quality of the candle.

The last 3 candles on this list are available on Cosme-de.com, and after doing my research, I found that they are cheaper than the prices in stores as well as on other websites like Lazada! If you're planning on getting these candles from Cosme-de.com, don't forget to utilize my discount code "thatxxrin15" for an additional 15% off! One example is the Jo Malone candle which costs $104 on Lazada, but on Cosme-de.com, it only costs $79 after 15% off!

There are still so many more candles I wish to try out, but until then, these are my current favourites! Which are your favourite candles from Jo Malone and Diptyque? I would love to know!

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Review: ALIVE LAB Multi Ice Cream
Monday, 4 December 2017 at 09:30 | 0 Comments
Remember my previous blog post on Alive Lab's adorable products? Well today, I'm bringing you more! About a month ago, Alive Lab contacted me again and asked if I would like to review more products from them. If you've read or watched the previous review, then you'll know that I absolutely loved their innovative and cutely packaged products, I even mentioned their Cotton Candy Ball exfoliant in my monthly favourites! This time round, they've sent me a total of 3 products, and in today's review, I will be reviewing one of them which is the Alive Lab Multi Ice Cream. Yummms.

The Alive Lab Multi Ice Cream is one of Alive Lab's best-sellers, along with the Centella Dressing Powder, and Cotton Candy Ball. So what exactly is this Multi Ice Cream?

Well, it is essentially a cooling cream that has the ability to soothe any redness and skin problems arising from heat and UV rays. It also provides a cooling sensation to your skin to ease any discomfort caused by external skin irritants. I, freaking love, products that gives off a cooling sensation, so this product is already right up my alley!

This product has a gel-liked texture, so it feels extremely lightweight and refreshing on my skin. Since it is a gel-liked cream, it does not feel oily at all which is good news for people with oily skin (me)! You can either use this product occasionally when your skin is irritated or red due to breakouts or prolong sun exposure, or you can use it daily as a moisturizer as this cream also contains ingredients that provide moisture.

Personally, I have been using this cream occasionally as a replacement for my moisturizer. I make sure to keep it in the refrigerator to enhance the cooling effect. I love how it gets absorbed in quickly, leaving my skin feeling cooled and refreshed since it's always so hot in Singapore! I'm not a fan of heavily scented skincare products, so I like how this one has a really light sweet fragrance that's just right. I also notice that I tend to use this after I have exfoliated my face, to soothe the areas that has been scrubbed, and also because this cream is also suitable for sensitive skin.

I think this product is perfect if you're heading out to the beach, or if you know that you will be frequently exposed to the sun for a long period of time, eg, if you are travelling to a hot country like Singapore. Since it comes in a simple plastic tub, it is easy to carry around in your bag too.

Overall, I am so impressive with all the products from Alive Lab. I do love this product as it does what it's supposed to do and so far, after using it for a little more than a month, I can say that I've been really enjoying it. This 100ml tub is only retailing at 14,000won (~S$16) which once again, is very affordable! I will also be reviewing the other two products sent to me, so keep a look out!

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