Say hello to my sexy ASUS Zenbook 3

For the longest time, I’ve been a desktop -using-gal. But that’s been something I’ve been looking to change for awhile now – I just didn’t find the right laptop to make me swoon.

I play a lot of computer games, and enjoy watching movies on a bigger screen, so that’s why I have a 27 inch screen and gaming rig set up. However, I remember what life with a handy laptop used to be like, and I missed it throughout the years after my old laptop died on me! The last laptop I had was incredibly slow, heavy, and rightfully so – that was in 2008, when laptops used to still weigh 3kg and functioned as fast as a tortoise. I’ve always been, and always be, a Windows girl, so I refuse to purchase anything that doesn’t provide me a Windows operating system.

Today, I’m really excited to share about the latest toy I’ve gotten my hands on and fallen in love with. No other laptop in recent history has made me as excited as this one – the all-new, sexy as hell, ASUS Zenbook 3!!!

The Zenbook 3 is ASUS’ newest baby, with much buzz about it circulating around town.

Some of its core features include:

Processor: 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor
Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Display: 12.5″ (16:9) LED backlit FHD (1920×1080)
Keyboard: Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard
Weight: 910 g with Battery
Dimensions: 296 x 191.2 x 11.9 mm (WxDxH)

I’ve had the utmost pleasure of owning one of these babies for about a month now, and I’ve taken it everywhere with me! Mainly to work in my cafe, Shiberty Bakes, where you’ll find me munching on a pizza or a macaron or two while doing research for new recipes and replying emails, but I’ve also taken my Zenbook 3 to the salon, my boyfriend’s house, and anywhere, really – why not when it’s less than a kilo in weight!

What I really like about the ASUS Zenbook 3:

✓ Super lightweight at only 910g with battery weight included, means I don’t have to worry about hurting my shoulders carrying it around all-day.
✓ Gorgeous display and graphics, important to me because I need to see accurate colors and details when editing pics for blog posts & discussing cake designs.
✓ Sleek and classy design, this laptop is so chic, it looks more like a fashion accessory than a device to do work on!
✓ Long lasting battery life, to see me through my various meetings of the day without fretting over the battery dying halfway.
✓ Did you know that it also has fingerprint login security feature? Passwords are soon to be a thing of the past!
✓ That deep gorgeous royal blue color that screams sophistication. Most laptops come in colors that I don’t like at all – think red, boring black or even – god no, baby pink.

I’m still blown away by the functionality and design. Look at how thin it is – my ballpoint pen is almost thicker in terms of width!!! How crazy is that!

Some of the daily duties and commitments that need to be fulfilled by a small business owner / cafe owner AKA myself, includes scheduling meetings with suppliers to discuss pricing and stocks, researching for hours on end about the newest food trends I’d like to dabble in, replying messages and emails regarding customized orders, meeting up with cake clients to talk about their wedding cakes and showing them our gallery of designs to choose from.

All of these activities have one thing in common: I need a reliable laptop to do all this work on! I’m glad to have Zenbook 3 to serve me while I go about my busy bee ways.

An average day in my working life – macarons, all-day brunch food, phone, my notebook and trusty Zenbook 3!

It feels so good to no longer be limited to working on a desktop. While I still enjoy using my desktop, I could definitely get used to working mobile and remotely. If I don’t feel like being cooped up at home, I can grab my laptop and head out to any cafe or my own and enjoy a different ambient setting on a day to day basis!

I can see why the ASUS Zenbook 3 has been making waves ever since its release. Head down to your nearest store to have a touch & feel of this beauty, to understand what it means when uncompromising style meets exceptional technology!

The ASUS ZenBook 3 is now available at all ASUS Brand Stores and Authorised Retailers, with prices starting from $1,998. Learn more about the amazing ASUS ZenBook 3 here!

xoxo,
Jess

The Urban Clinic

In case you didn’t already know.. here’s a fun fact of the day: I used to be obese.

Like, literally obese. I was 80+kg, and even though I stand pretty tall at 1.68m, that’s still severely overweight. To the point of having legitimately worrying health concerns and problems, apart from just a plummeting self esteem. I have no idea how I ever let myself get that big, but ever since then, I’ve been trying to shed off and KEEP off the weight.

I’ve been relatively successful, losing more than 20kg – yay, go me!

But one thing anyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight will tell you, is that losing the weight is the easier part – keeping it off it is even more difficult! Because you can lose weight in short bursts, but maintaining is depends on the rest of your lifestyle – every day, every month and every year! What’s worst is that no matter how much weight you lose, there will always be annoying problem areas with very stubborn fat for certain women. For myself, I struggle with huge love handles! My love handle situation is so bad, that it’s probably my second biggest insecurity of all time. Woes of a bottom heavy female..

But there’s hope and good news for us!!!

The Urban Clinic is the FIRST clinic in Singapore to bring in SculpSure – the world’s first FDA-cleared laser treatment for non-invasive lipolysis of the flanks and abdomen.

It is a state-of-the-art, controlled light-based technology for patients looking to get rid of stubborn fat. It is a a game changer in unwanted fat removal.

I was really excited to learn more about SculpSure through Dr Yanni Xu. During my consultation with her, it felt very much like talking to a friend rather than a doctor-to-patient conversation, because she is so warm and friendly!

She made the effort to understand my concerns regarding my face and body very thoroughly, and didn’t recommend me to do a whole bunch of procedures like other aesthetic clinics have previously proposed. She only suggested what she felt could benefit me more, and never once made me feel like there was anything “wrong” with the way I looked. The vibes at other clinics can feel a little judgemental sometimes – you can be rest assured there will be none of that here.

It made a deep impression me, and resulted in me feeling extremely comfortable doing any treatment at The Urban Clinic.

When I first walked into the clinic, I noticed how different it was from other clinics – a lot less white, less “sterile” and serious, much more fun, vibrant with good vibes all around! They’ve definitely done “Contemporary” right!

The Urban Clinic is the expression of Dr Yanni Xu’s dream to see many more people benefit from first-class aesthetic treatment.

They offer revolutionary aesthetic solutions and a range of products based on medical research. And the latest technology they’ve brought in, Sculpsure, will make any woman who wants to get rid of a problem area excited!

Since this is such an impressive machine and the first one in Singapore, let’s get down to the technical details… because it’s so important to do adequate research about what you’re doing to your own body whenever you’re getting some adjustments done, no matter temporary, or permanent! I have extracted helpful information about SculpSure from The Urban Clinic’s website to assist me in writing this post.

Innovative Technology to Sculpt and Define

The SculpSure 1060nm wavelength laser selectively targets adipose tissue (fat) below the dermis. Over time, the body naturally eliminates the fat cells. Positive results are seen in as little as six weeks with optimal results usually seen at 12 weeks. Sculpsure induces adipocyte injury by raising adipose temperature to a range of 42°C to 47°C with no damage to surrounding tissue.

A frame belt is used to hold paddles which are customized to targetted body fat areas. Using a controlled hyperthermic fat reduction technology, the paddles release energy at an optimum wavelength to be absorbed by fat cells; while leaving the surrounding dermal tissue intact.

No Disruption to Regular Activity

A patient can get right back to work or play after the 25 minutes treatment. Singaporeans lead busy lives. They require a body contouring solution which is fast and simple. Sculpsure meets this criteria and is ideal for on-the-go executives and busy mums.

Positive Customer Satisfaction and Lasting Results

In clinical tests, Sculpsure achieved patient satisfaction of 90%. Patients report that their clothes fit better and a visible improvement in their midsection (belly flab, love handles, or their hips).

Clinical trials report an average of 24% of fat cells reduced after one session. The results are visible within six weeks and optimum results will be visible in just 12 weeks. Results are expected to be long-term if a patient maintains his weight with regular diet and exercise.

So what do I personally think of it?

I got SculpSure done only on my love handles so far, which required two sessions over approximately two months. The pain level varied, some parts hurt more than others, and at any point in time when I felt like it was too uncomfortable, I would let them know to adjust the temperature, which provided immediate relief. I would say that the discomfort level will be extremely different for each individual, depending on your own pain tolerance and which part of the body you’re getting done. For me, the front side was so mild that I almost fell asleep doing the treatment.

You’ll feel cold and hot, then cold and hot sensations for 25 minutes straight… after the first ten minutes, your body won’t even recognize what temperature it is anymore, because it’s so confused by the constantly changing temperature settings! You will also feel contractions and pulsations in the area being treated, but they’re nothing intolerable.

Since the whole thing is only 25 minutes long (or short, in this case), by the time you start to get used to the sensations, it’s almost over. Back to whatever you have to do for the rest of the day, no down time! Apart from a slight aching feeling that lasts a few days, you won’t even remember you had anything done.

This would be a great treatment that office workers could go for during weekdays when they have their lunch break, because The Urban Clinic is located at Raffles City, so it’s really convenient for them to just pop by for a session before heading back for work. You’d be surprised to know that many SculpSure clients are actually males, and not a female dominated clientele group! I guess guys prefer more scientific based methods with proven technologies, rather than singing up for a slimming program at one of those centers, which some may feel are rather gimmicky and not as trustworthy as a medical clinic.

My results?

Before:

After: 

My love handles were visibly and measurably smaller & reduced after only TWO WEEKS!

Even my boyfriend, who is usually skeptical of these kinda treatments, commented that “they’re definitely smaller”! While it’s said that the maximum results will only be seen in a month or two, mine were obvious after just two weeks, which I found to be incredible.

No diet, no exercise, no lifestyle changes, no drastic measures had to be taken and for a 25 minute treatment, it sure worked its magic!

SculpSure is a procedure I would recommend for people who:

  • 1. Don’t want to commit to a treatment which requires many repeated trips or too much of your time
  • 2. Have specific areas of stubborn fat with a certain thickness
  • 3. Want to try something with scientific backing
  • 4. Prefer not having to diet to achieve inches lost

If you’re all of the above, then Sculpsure might just be for you!

Apart from SculpSure, Dr Yanni also did a botox injection for me to reduce bulging of the jaw muscles. I have a pretty wide jawline and very prominent jaw muscles that grow big because of the aggressive chewing I do mainly with my molars and back teeth, and a few simple jabs of botox will fix that right up!

They applied numbing cream, allowed it to set, then numbed my face even further with an ice pack (yay for taking extra precautions!) and what happened next actually made me laugh out loud.

They applied a vibrating device to my thigh (for distracting purposes) and then tapped me repeatedly on my forehead while they inserted the needle into my face. This hasn’t happened at the other clinics I’ve been to, but I really appreciated the extra effort just to distract me from the stinging sensation when the needle goes in!

The pain was extremely minimal, and definitely the most comfortable I’ve been doing any aesthetic procedure. I was actually laughing throughout the few minutes it took for the jabs to be done, because I found it ridiculous that someone was tapping my forehead the entire time.

The botox jaw reduction makes your face appear slimmer and sharper in a matter of weeks. The difference is obvious, yet extremely natural looking, and I can’t imagine anyone not loving this treatment! Thank you Dr Yanni from The Urban Clinic for providing such top notch services! I’m super pleased with my results of the treatments I have done, and I’ve been singing praises of this clinic to anyone who asks. If you pay them a visit, you’ll fall in love with the warm ambience of the clinic, just like I did!

The Urban Clinic

Website: http://tuc.com.sg/
Address: 52, North Bridge Road, #01-15, Raffles City Mall S179103 (next to the taxi stand facing Chijmes)
Phone: +65 62540407, +65 62540419
Email: info@tuc.com.sg

xoxo,
Jess

I got 99 problems but thinning hair won’t be one

So a few posts ago on my blog, I was talking about life and its problems, and one of them included thinning hair and an alarming amount of hair fall due to overwhelming stress.

Just to reiterate my point, here’s how my scalp was looking last year:

Horror of all horrors!!!!!!!!!

I was freaking out over how much hair I was losing, so I took some frenzied photos on my phone of my scalp and I was dismayed to find out that my worst fears were true – I WAS having a much more obvious gap in my hair line area and generally, my hair looked so wispy, thin and unhealthy! It had the barely-there look instead of full and luscious as it should have been. Please look at how my hand is covering my mouth in the 2nd pic, because I took the first photo, and gasped out loud because I couldn’t believe my eyes… I had to take another photo to reaffirm that what I was seeing is true. And damn. True it was, my thinning scalp staring back at me.

I used to have very healthy hair that was soft as silk to the touch and shined from every angle (NOT EVEN KIDDING), so it made me extremely upset to see my hair in this condition. I knew it was due a combination of reasons: poor lifestyle such as sleeping late or not getting enough rest, undesirable diet thus not getting enough nutrients and minerals, and most of all, a level of stress that my body wasn’t used to dealing with. To begin with, since birth, I’ve had thinner hair than people of a very fine texture that would break, snap or fall off easily. My hectic lifestyle wasn’t making things any better for my poor scalp.

I’m only 24!!!!!!! I can’t go balding so soon!!!! If my scalp looks like this at 24, I can only imagine what 42 would bring. I’m living proof that you don’t have to be middle aged or elderly to experience thinning hair problems. I’m barely in my mid twenties and already suffering from this condition.

So, what causes thinning hair? Here’s some reasons that could affect you…

  • Physical stress
  • Emotional stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Heredity
  • Female hormones (menopause, usage of oral contraceptives, etc)
  • Anemia (which I also have!)
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Antidepressants, blood thinners, and more
  • Overstyling (tight braids, constantly coloring your hair, using heat tools, etc)
  • Aging (which is natural)

For many months, I used to drop so much hair that I would have to sweep my room’s floor every single day, for it would be littered with strands of sad looking hair on the floor. Looking at how much hair I dropped only made me more stressed, which in turn, made me drop more hair. It was a horrible cycle.

I heard that washing your hair too often would cause it to fall, which turned out to be a silly myth because all that did was make my scalp clogged, disgusting and oily! Which could, in turn, lead to even more hair loss, by the way. I was really desperate to find something that would aid me in my situation, and so it was very timely that I was introduced to PHYTO in my moment of need!

For over 40 years, PHYTO has been working with the scientific world to fine-tune innovative products with scientifically proven results through clinical testing and patent submissions. PHYTO hair care products draw from the heart of the botanical world to reach the most high-performance active ingredients to preserve the health and reveal the natural beauty of the hair.

The Phytocyane series includes a Shampoo and Treatment product.

Shampoo: Improves the density and shine of fine, thinning hair with this unique combination of revitalizing botanicals and fortifying vitamins.
It prepares the scalp to receive the full benefit of ‘Phytocyane Revitalizing Serum’, leaving hair fuller, stronger and more lustrous with each use.

Treatment: The Phytocyane treatment is a triple action serum that supports fuller, thicker hair as it grows while delivering exceptional cosmetic and anti-aging benefits. The advanced formula supports scalp micro-circulation to create an optimal environment for healthy hair growth.

It powerfully combines sulphured amino acids, B vitamins, and silk proteins to encourage keratin production at the follicle level and improve thickness of the hair. Use it to create thickness on every strand, maximize fullness and enhance shine.

An added bonus: used year-round, this serum helps to keep gray hair at bay!

So how do you use the products?

For the shampoo, wet your hair in the shower, then massage it into your scalp and work it all the way to your hair ends, then leave it on for 2 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly. The smell of this shampoo isn’t your typical over the top fruity or sweet smelling soap. It has a brownish color, smells rather herbal / botanical in a pleasantly mild way, and the texture is more like a viscous gel than soap. Use daily.

As for the treatment, you’re supposed to carefully break off the top of the glass ampoule with a towel, then use the nozzle they’ve provided to apply it all over your towel-dried hair/scalp in straight lines, then massage in with your fingertips, and do not rinse off. Use 3 times a week for 1 month for intensive treatment, or once a week for 2 months for maintenance.

I actually really enjoying using the treatment ampoules very much because I love the tingly, cold feeling I get when the product is applied all over my scalp! It gives me a very refreshed feeling, and it’s also a good reason for myself to ask my boyfriend to give me a nice head massage. Win and win.

I’m really happy to report that my hair loss problem seems to have been visibly minimized in recent times, check out the results below for yourself, because seeing is believing!!

My scalp now, VS what it was less than a year ago, is truly a world of difference.

My hair line is a lot less visible, and my hair generally looks fuller, thicker, stronger and healthier.

So so happy that I don’t have to worry about thinning hair problems anymore… I’m too young to go through that right now!!!!

Also, check out how long my hair is now!

It hasn’t been this long in many years and I was so surprised when this back view photo was taken of me, because it doesn’t look this long from the front when I look into the mirror. You know what they all say. The longer hair is, the more difficult it is to maintain, so I’ve been putting extra effort into trying to take better care of my mane!

I have a useful hair tip for you girls, especially those with long hair. Avoid brushing your hair too much or with too much force when it’s wet.

I’ve found that my hair gets weak and breaks easily when I brush it straight out of the shower, so what I do nowadays is blow it dry under medium heat (nothing too hot which will dry out your hair even further) and then when I’m convinced it’s totally dry, I give it a few light strokes with my brush, and I leave it at that.

Just overjoyed to run my fingers through my head of hair now to feel its new found volume and health!!!!!

While my hair’s texture is still thin and fine because that’s how it’s always been, the overall quantity seen on my head is a visually significant improvement from before I started treating it with Phytocyane’s anti hair thinning products.

These kind of problems are best treated as soon as they are discovered, so if you find that you’ve been dropping a lot more hair than usual, please don’t sit around and wait for the condition to get worse! Find your problem, target it with treatment and fix it – you’ll be thankful to yourself that you did! I can rest easy now knowing that thinning hair isn’t on my list of problems. I got 99 problems but thinning hair won’t be one anymore.

Phytocyane Revitalizing Treatment (RSP: $149.90, 12 x 7.5ml) and Phytocyane Densifying Treatment Shampoo 200ml (RSP: $41.90, 200ml) are available at Beauty by Nature, Robinsons, Metro, Guardian, Watsons SaSa, and Unity store and online at Redmart: redmart.com/search/Phyto & Zalora: zalora.sg/phyto

I’m holding a giveaway where you get to win your very own set of Phytocyane Revitalizing Treatment which I’ve been talking about – head on to my Instagram (@Shiberty) to learn more!

xoxo,
Jess

Discovering Green Caviar with Meal Belly

We all know how important healthy eating is.

But we all also know, that healthy eating isn’t always the most feasible. For one or more of these reasons: not readily available, pricey, troublesome, or simply not being convenient or tasty enough.

Meal Belly intends to try change all of that, starting with one super ingredient! Founded in September 2016, Meal Belly is an online retailer specialising in gourmet ingredients and pioneers its flagship product, Green Caviar, through its e-commerce platform, www.mealbelly.com. They’re the first to launch Green Caviar, so you no longer have to travel overseas to have a taste of this product.

Most people in Singapore probably have never heard of this particular type of seaweed before, because it’s so uncommon over here. But here’s sharing some fun facts about Green Caviar:

  • Caulerpa lentillifera is the scientific name, and it’s a species of bryopsidale green algae from coastal regions in the Indo-Pacific
  • It’s also commonly known as Sea Grapes or Green Caviar, or Umibudo in Japanese
  • Effortless and convenient for everyday meals
  • Only 4 calories per 100 grams
  • Can be eaten on its own as a snack, with a dipping sauce, or as a side dish / garnish
  • It can only be readily purchased on www.mealbelly.com in Singapore, and will be delivered in 1-2 working days to your doorstep!
  • Safe for consumption for kids, expecting and breastfeeding mums in moderation – it also has high contents of iodine, which is ideal for them!

Considering there are so many benefits to this super seaweed, I was really interested in trying to incorporate this ingredient in my everyday meals, so here’s a super quick and easy recipe to share with you guys!

Cold Udon with Green Caviar

Ingredients: (serves 1)
1 serve of udon
30ml of udon sauce
150ml cold water
slivers of Japanese wakame
10g of cubed cold tofu
Meal Belly’s Green Caviar
garnish with cherry tomato / furikake

Directions:

  1. Rinse Green Caviar in water for 10 seconds, then soak in ice cold water for 3 minutes, before draining water and setting aside
  2. Blanch 1 serving of udon in hot water for 3 minutes, then run under cold water until cool to the touch, set aside
  3. Soak dried out Japanese wakame in water for a few minutes until fully rehydrated
  4. Combine udon sauce, cold water, cooked udon, tofu, wakame and top off with Green Caviar, then serve cold! Done in 5 minutes.

So preparing Meal Belly’s green caviar is completely fuss-free and idiot-proof, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is.

They come packed in little sachets of 20g such as these, and also in 100g & 200g. They’re sealed fresh and they really do still smell of the sea!

The texture is rather mushy and doesn’t look like much in this state. But just wait a few minutes and watch this seaweed spring back into life before your very eyes!

After rinsing, I dunked it in a cup of ice cold water for a few minutes.. then I saw the seaweed getting plumper and grow in size, which was really fun to witness!!!

After just 3 short minutes, this is what you’ll end up with.

A whole bunch of fresh Green Caviar! They do resemble sea grapes, huh? I find them strangely adorable!!!!

Don’t soak them in water for longer than a few minutes, because they’ll lose the crunch and texture, then return to the mushy state it was in before. It is advisable to rinse and soak them thoroughly so that they’re not too salty – they’re packed freshly in oxygenated water, so a good rinse will help reduce the sodium content before your immediate consumption.

I chose this cold udon recipe to pair with Green Caviar because I wanted to keep in line with the whole fuss-free, healthy eating theme.

Also, because Green Caviar is famed as an Okinawa delicacy, I had to pay tribute to Japanese cuisine. I really enjoy cold dishes because it’s so refreshing to have them in Singapore’s sweltering heat! I really enjoy Green Caviar’s crunchy texture and versatile nature, and can see myself including this as a topping to many different dishes. Salads, pastas, side sishes, and even soups!

It tastes like seaweed – slightly of the sea, slightly salty, but mild enough to accompany any type of sauce you soak it in. I think it’ll be pretty  delicious in something tangy and spicy. I’ll try it with Thai sweet chilli next!

What are its health benefits?

A tasty and affordable superfood, Green Caviar packs a nutritional punch. Here are some of the benefits of the vitamin and minerals that it contains.

  • Vitamin A: Helps to maintain a healthy eyesight and promotes skin regeneration for better skin.
  • Vitamin C: Strengthens the immune system, prevents stroke, cardiovascular and other diseases.
  • Calcium: Keeps bones strong, which prevents onset of osteoporosis.Iodine: Prevents thyroid disease, which can lead to dry skin, constipation, weight gain, fatigue and other symptoms.
  • Potassium: Helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure, maintain bone density, and prevent cardiovascular disease.

When I attended an event to learn more about Meal Belly’s Green Caviar, they served it up in a poke bowl, which is a Hawaiian concept for raw fish salad!

As you can see, Green Caviar is commonly associated with other healthy foods because of its highly nutritional contents.

Personally I think this is a great ingredient to have in my cabinets at home, because it’s so unique – I can bet that whoever I prepare this for will ask, “What is this?!” and it’s a sure conversation-starter! I feel it would go particularly well with canapes, something I love doing for events and house parties.

Green Caviar stores for at least 8 months in your fridge while sealed tightly in its original packaging, so you don’t have to worry about its shelf life either. you don’t have to worry about its shelf life either.

Due to the rise of superfood and healthy eating among consumers, the farming of green caviar has spread from Okinawa to other Asian countries, such as South Vietnam where it’s farmed and then harvested by hand for your enjoyment.

Meal Belly is the only store stocking this product now, so hit up their website to stock your kitchen with this unique superfood! Enjoy up to $16 off from now till end January.

Enter “Shibertyxmb” to receive additional 10% off!

xoxo,
Jess

A 24 year old’s rants about stress management, expectations, idealism and self-pressure

Extracted from my Dayre, because I’m feeling all of these emotions all over again..

Today’s post will just be random pent up feelings I’ve been holding in for a long time.

Yesterday, I was speaking to a doctor I’d just seen for the first time, who’s a lovely lady that I enjoyed chatting with for about an hour. She was examining my skin when she commented that I look like I don’t sleep enough. I guess she could tell just from looking at me.

“I don’t”, I told her, half laughing but half pitying myself because I’m hit by the harsh reality of this sad truth. I worry about a lot of things. I let my emotions get in the way too much. I don’t sleep well at all. I’ve got a never ending to list and work piled up to my neck each and every week. I don’t even have time for holidays but I forcefully put everything on hold at my own risk, because I just needed a breather.

Some peace, space, and sanity. There are good days, and there are near meltdown days. I’m happy most of the time, but I don’t have time to just sit back and BE happy. There’s always some kind of problem to be fixed in my life. There’s always a thousand and one things on my mind.

As I said this out loud to a stranger, I almost kind of teared up, because the amount of pressure I am constantly under kind of came out of my mouth like verbal diarrhea and here I was spilling my life story to someone I had just met.

Yes, I’m always smiling. I’m always joking around. But underneath that cheerfulness, lies something deeper and darker. For people like me, happiness is an everyday, conscious decision. It is a choice. It is making the effort to focus on the good, and not let the negative aspects take over my emotions and activities. It’s choosing to say, “I can do this. Yes I can.” Instead of, “Fuck me, fuck this shit, fuck the whole world.”

Happiness is simple, yes. But my life isn’t simple. It’s really anything but. But it’s the life I have, and it’s the life I chose. Even if I didn’t choose certain conditions, they sure did stick with me. So it shall be the life I live. I don’t know what it is with me, but sleep always seems impossible. Before I met my current boyfriend, quality sleep was something I used to dream about.

Ever since I broke up with my ex of many years, I’ve been struggling with insomnia a whole lot. I used to sleep A LOT. Like 12 hours some days. That was the good life. Now? My sleep schedule is completely fucked up.

I get so little sleep because I’m stressed and then I can’t function in the day because of how tired I am, and because I get so little done in the day I become even more stressed by night so then I can’t sleep even more and the next day I’m even more exhausted, and this cycle never seems to end.

Days of bad sleep dragged into weeks and then months, now I can’t even remember the last time I had good sleep that lasted sufficiently.

Stress management is something I never realized I was so bad at. I guess ever since I’ve started running the cafe, my stress levels have reached an all time high. My hair is dropping like nobody’s business. I gave up even sweeping the floor regularly.

Every time I’d sweep the floor, by hours later, it would be covered in hair again, because that is just how frequently strands are falling off my head. You can even see patches of baldness on my scalp now. I’m 24 and balding. Jesus.

Maybe my problem is that I want too much. I think I can handle everything, but the matter of fact is, I cannot do everything myself sometimes, and I’m not a superwoman.

I thought I could go out there and run a cafe by myself at 24 without an investor, business partner, mentor, no prior experience, and just make it work. While the numbers have got to work their magic, at the same time, I thought I would be able to manage a healthy social life at the same time.

Go out with friends, have romantic dates, go on holidays, maintain my social media, complete my blogging assignments on time, keep up with people in my life, do housework, travel when given the opportunity, all these while running the cafe, thinking constantly about how to improve and having to deal with problems thrown my way..

Some days, it just gets too much. I realized that in the midst of trying to be somebody, I ended up not wanting to be anybody. Recently, I realized that I just wanted to not have any responsibilities to my name. The feeling of not wanting to be shiberty, or a cafe owner, or have people chase me for blog drafts or look for me when problems arise.

I just wanted to be Jessica Loh, nameless happy carefree girl walking down the street, and nobody knows her name, but that’s alright. Because she’s happy just living her life in her own little bubble. Maybe a 9 to 5 standard office job isn’t as bad as I thought it was. I mean, it’s certainly something I could get used to.. Right?

But noooooo I couldn’t just be happy with that, could I? I wanted to start a cafe, and so I did. I wanted to be different, and so I am. Sometimes I wonder, what is so frightening about the ordinary. What is it about myself that screams inside “we refuse to conform to the norm” and seek self validation from being different. Why try to be different, when by doing so, you’re just being the same as everyone else?

I feel like I’ve been chasing ideals since forever, and well, I’m just sick of it. Tired of chasing perfection, to be putting myself under so much stress that I can barely function. Beating myself up over not performing as well as I wanted to or expected myself to. All these expectations, they’re killing me. They’re killing my happiness, vibes, creativity and soul.

They’re suffocating me. I’ve just had enough of these RIDICULOUS standards I’ve set for myself and my life, standards I wholeheartedly believed I needed to achieve in order to be happy.

Just like how I was on holiday recently with Daric, and everyday, I was out chasing the perfect itinerary, planning our days from morning to night, needing to know what we were going to get up to every hour, taking a ton of photos as we go, just so we could have the “perfect holiday”.

Now I realized just how fucking insane that was. Instead of taking the time to enjoy the time off work we had with each other in a foreign country, I’m shuttling us back and forth, from place to place. Gotta. Complete. Everything. On. Our. Itinerary.

It’s not until we have quiet moments to ourselves, when we DIDN’T plan anything but ended up enjoying ourselves anyway, that I realize, the less you expect, the more pleasantly surprised you’ll be. Some of my best moments in Perth with Daric were just simple ones of us laying beside each other on bean bags in front of a warm fireplace, as opposed to the grand adventures we went on. Adventures were nice, but the small nameless moments ended up being the most precious memories.

And in those moments, I had zero expectations for them to be magical…. They just were. In their own quiet little way. I loved that.

Of course it’s healthy to have expectations. But don’t kill yourself over them. Do your best, and let the rest happen naturally. I’m such an over thinker. I’m so concerned about whether it’s perfect, I would rather abandon the project than finish it knowing that it’s not the best I could do. I realize now that it’s not the right way to approach things. The best way to do something, is to get that thing done. An imperfectly done job is better than a perfect unexecuted idea on most days.

So yeah. While I have many reasons to be happy, I realized that two things have been making things much rougher for myself than they should’ve been, and that is having too many expectations, and poor stress / time management. Poor time management also leads to more stress, that’s why I grouped them together. Everything is interlinked.

I’m sharing this on my dayre because I know many of you in your twenties and thirties out there reading this are trying your best to place first in this rat race we call life, just like I am. We’re SOOO obsessed with being the best we could be. That’s what our generation has been told since we were young. We’re told we can do anything. We can be anybody we want to. But you don’t HAVE to be SOMEBODY in order to be somebody.

You can just do you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So what if you’re not outrightly extraordinary, commercially pretty or hugely successful. Just know that to the world, you may not feel like you’re somebody, but to someone, you’re their entire world.

You know who is an extraordinary person to me? Someone who can find something special in everyday, minute things. Someone who can smile in the face of adversity, and always make someone else laugh.

Being a good person and learning how to be contented with life is THE most successful thing you can achieve. I believe that with every inch of my beating heart. Some people walk around rich and successful, yet not realizing how to be a decent human being people actually like. It’s so sad.

Life is too complicated these days. All the gadgets, technology, fast paced living and getting caught up in the hustle and bustle. I want this to stop.

I wanna stop using my phone during dinner times. I remember someone asking me, “Why are you using your phone during dinner?” And I replied, “Because there’s always messages to reply.”

And they said, “So? You know there’s going to be never ending work no matter what. Even if you finish your work now, you’ll have more later on. So leave the work for later on. Have your meal in peace. Assign and allocate time to breathe, eat, think and work, separately.”

Those words stuck with me, and unless it’s something super urgent, I don’t think I’ve bothered attending calls or texts about work when I don’t feel like there’s an immediate impending urge to, since. Dinner times, are just dinner times now.

Gotta learn to let go.

Let go of your expectations Jess. And the self pressure. Negativity. The need to take photos at every happy moment. The need to be a slave to your phone, social image and work.

Go back to basics.

Enjoy the little things. Relish the nameless moments you never got to capture on camera because you were too busy living in it. Don’t forget to breathe. Tackle your to do list by checking things off one by one. Worrying never did anyone any good. Stop chasing after ideals that aren’t real life. Define your own life by what you think is good enough for you, instead of comparing yourself to other people. When you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place.

Back to the nice woman I met yesterday. After an accidental rant to her about how stressed I am with my life and job, she gave me a reassuring touch on the arm and said, “I think you’re doing a fantastic job.”

And these words she said made me want to burst out sobbing.

“I’ve never met you, but I’ve heard a lot about you from other people. They tell me about your blog, and the amazing food you make at your cafe. I would love to visit some day. Some people even openly expressed that I should engage you to write about my business when I mentioned that I was keen in doing marketing with bloggers! They say you’re different, and that they like you a lot. I think you’ve done really well, especially for your age.”

I’ve been my own harshest critic, so to hear these kind words being uttered from a stranger, meant the world. I just looked at her and said thank you. She has no idea how much weight her words hold. A bit of kindness definitely goes a long way.

I can never relate when people say things like “for your age”. I don’t feel like I’m doing well for my age at all, I always feel like I could be doing much BETTER. Could it be a disease we are all plagued with because we were born in Singapore? Perhaps it IS the truth – that I actually can do way, way better.

But I think I’ve been terribly unkind to myself by not recognizing what I’ve accomplished. By not giving myself credit for what I’ve already done, by choosing to only stress over and focus on what I HAVEN’T done.

I’ve got the rest of my life to do everything I want to do. What’s the big hurry? And what’s all the fuss about?

Stressing over something won’t get the job done. If anything, it hinders your productivity.

I swear, from today onwards, I’m going to live my life differently. I’m going to try nitpicking faults and wallowing in the shadows of “what ifs” and “could have beens”. Stop the comparisons, expectations, unnecessary negativity, and self given pressure. Stress is something self created. I need to stop giving myself shit I don’t deserve.

There will always be naysayers. People who tell you or make you feel like you’re not doing good enough. Perhaps that voice is your parents, your boss, your partner or even a voice inside your head. But don’t listen to it. Don’t let it consume you, because you know how hard you’ve worked for everything you have, and only you know what you can really achieve.

I will do my very best to learn from each and every mistake I make, and not let this be an excuse for complacency or pure laziness. I will live each day with no regrets, and I know that if I keep chasing ideals, I will always regret not doing better. I will reward myself when I’ve done well, but not punish myself for not doing the best I can, for the best is yet to be. I will learn to manage my time for work, relationships and pleasure so that I have enough for all of the above.

And SLEEP. God, I miss good sleep. You really can’t function without it.

I read before that the easiest way to have what you want, is to want what you have. And I have a lot to be grateful for. I never want to forget that. Because being happy is not just as simple as “be”. You gotta know what to hold onto, and what to let go.

Today, I’m letting go of unhealthy expectations, and I’m just going to let myself live. Mistakes are essential to becoming better, and I should embrace them with grace.

In our quest to make the most out of our lives, let us not forget how to actually live.

xoxo,
Jess
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