I recently read an article which got me thinking. The article was titled “5 Ways Money Makes You Happy”, and turns the old adage, money can’t buy happiness, on its head. To be clear, the article does not extol the virtues of capitalism nor is it a superficial take on how to get more bang for your buck. Rather, it discusses, based on research findings, how money can be best utilised for maximum happiness.

The five ways are: 1) Buy experiences; 2) Make it a treat; 3) Buy time; 4) Pay now, consume later; and 5) Invest in others.

The first, third and fourth are of particular interest to me. The first is self-explanatory – instead of buying material things, buy experiences. According to the article, “[w]hile things may wear out their welcome, experiences can provide increasing benefits over time“. I have increasingly come to agree with this. I’ve always been a very things-centered spender. I spend on clothes, bags, makeup, soap – basically tangible things which I can collect and see. I have not been spending much on experiences – learning new things, hobbies, movies, concerts, musicals and the like. I’ve always considered spending on experiences kind of a waste – I’d enjoy it today but by tomorrow I’d have ‘used up’ the enjoyment and have nothing to show for it. In contrast, if I spent that money on a new dress, I could enjoy that dress for years and years. Recently, though, I’ve sort of hit a brick wall with this sort of thinking: first, I was accumulating too much stuff and second, I wasn’t feeling happy despite all my possessions. Getting to know a friend who travels extensively and eats incredibly good meals but takes public transport and saves on daily expenses has opened my eyes to the possibility of spending differently. It’s all about prioritising. Given a certain income, it’s all about deciding what it is you want to spend on and what it is you want to save on. You can’t have your cake and eat it. So I’ve decided to try to spend a little less on material things and more on travelling, meals with family and friends and such. (However, I think spending on soaps is still considered spending on experiences because they really make a difference to daily life, in my opinion.)

The third way, buying time, is also self-explanatory. One thing I always used to scrimp on was transport – I’d take a bus, walk, take a train – I would not spend on a taxi. My boyfriend spends very freely on taxis, which used to irk me to no end (although I’d get the benefit of it) because I felt it was a waste of money. Nowadays, however, given how busy we are and how little free time we have, I’m beginning to see how spending on taxis can be a worthwhile expenditure in the interests of time and convenience. On my own, I’d probably still take public transport where possible, but I won’t begrudge him this anymore.

The fourth way, paying now and consuming later, is about prolonging your enjoyment by anticipating a future pleasure. For example, booking a holiday – your enjoyment lasts not just during your holiday but in the whole period leading up to it. This is something I’ve definitely noticed, and ties in nicely with my plan of spending more on experiences.

Can’t wait to try these things out – it will be a total lifestyle change but hopefully it’ll be worth it!

The Yahoo article can be found here: http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/5-ways-money-buy-happiness-131502088.html

The Art of Showering: Part III

Hi all! In Part III, I’ll be talking about my top 10 favourite shower products 🙂 Being a real scent junkie, one of my favourite things to buy is shower gels and soap. I’ve tried a ton, and here are my top 10:

1) Lush Sultana of Soap – this is one of the first soaps that I tried since my obsession with nicely scented things started – it smells amazing and feels creamy on the skin, and is one of the few bar soaps that doesn’t leave the skin feeling too squeaky clean.
2) The Body Shop Spiced Vanilla shower gel – This was limited edition – it came out in Christmas 2010 and 2011, and then sadly in 2012 it was nowhere to be seen. The opening whiff smells like coca cola, with a bit more vanilla. Comfort scent.
3) Radox Soul Soother shower gel – I wrote about this a couple of posts ago. In short, it is a wonderfully fruity, creamy blackcurrant scent.
4) Korres Fig shower gel – smells like the shower gel version of my favourite perfume, Diptyque’s Philosykos, but a bit more woody. In short, it smells like what I’d imagine a spring/summer holiday in Greece would smell like.
5) Avalon Organics Peppermint shower gel – the absolute best remedy for headaches / a blocked nose. Just the smell of it causes my eyes to water slightly, but it feels wonderfully tingly and refreshing on the skin. Also great post-workouts.
6) Lush Honey I Washed the Kids soap It smells like milk and honey and is another one of the few non-drying soaps out there.
7) Lush I Should Coco soap – This is a retro soap, I believe. It is absolutely worth ordering online. Smells like a raw, slightly bitter coconut, and is both exfoliating and creamy. If you can’t already tell, I love creamy smells. It’s what a beach holiday in Bali might smell like.
8) Aromatherapy Associates bath and shower oils – I don’t use these directly on my body, but put a couple of drops on my shower floor before I step into the shower. All of them smell great, slightly herbal, and are just wonderful for relieving stress after a long day at work.
9) Philosophy Have a Cherry Christmas 3-in-1 shampoo, showergel and bubblebath – I use this only as a shower gel, and this is going to sound terrible, but it actually makes my skin sting a little. However, it’s made the list because the scent is just gorgeous – it’s supposed to smell like white cherries, whatever that is. The liquid itself is also gorgeous – a pale, shimmery pink. The stinging aside, it really feels very pampering when I use this shower gel.
10) L’Occitane Almond shower oil – feels moisturising and smells great. Probably the last on this list though.

Despite having so many shower products, I’m still itching to try a few more. What can I say? Variety is the spice of life…
1) Annick Goutal Songes shower gel – I love the perfume, and want to try the shower gel but it’s 18 pounds, which is a bit steep.
2) Victoria Secret Pure Seduction shower gel – purely on the recommendation of AllThatGlitters21.
3) Sephora Mango creamy body wash

Check back for more posts!

The Art of Showering (Part II)

This is the second in my series on The Art of Showering. This installment is about enhancing the shower experience.

1) Good shower products

First and most obviously, the kind of product which you use when showering would make the most significant difference to your shower experience. Whether you’re a soap kinda girl or a shower gel kinda girl (or a shower jelly/shower cream etc etc kinda girl), the product you pick should ideally smell good and feel luxurious. It really is about whatever works for you, whether you like a creamy floral or a zesty citrus.

I find that scents really have a big effect in terms of affecting one’s mood. Don’t think about the report you’ll have to finish writing once you get out of the shower. Don’t think about the shitty day you had. Just breathe deeply and enjoy the scent of the soap and the steam.

The third installment of this series will set out my list of my favourite shower products.

2) Layer products

Showers aren’t just about cleansing – you can also exfoliate, condition, moisturise, etc.

Layering products really adds to the shower experience because they complement each other and work better when they’re used together. When you exfoliate, you get rid of dead skin so that when you start to cleanse, the cleanser can really get in there and do a proper cleanse and when you moisturise, the moisturiser can penetrate the skin instead of just sitting on top of it.

There are now a whole host of products which allow you to do just this, and in various forms. Lush alone has body scrubs, sugar scrubs, body butters (which are exfoliators cum moisturisers)…

3) Massage

While you’re in the shower, it’s nice to take time to give yourself a little pampering massage. Since you’re already all soaped up, you don’t need massage oils, and all clothing obstacles would already have been dealt with since you’ll already be in the buff. Massaging not only puts you in a relaxed mood, it aids blood circulation. A cheating way of doing this is dry brushing before your shower.

4) Play music

This might sound a little cheesy, but music really does set the mood. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that playing relaxing music would help you to be in a relaxed mood. For luxurious shower times, I only play my favourites – leave the radio for some other time.

5) Take your time

I know it seems like doing all of the above would already take considerable time, but it is really important not to rush through the shower if you want it to help you relax.

To save some time, on days when I layer, I massage shampoo into my scalp, rub a scrub all over my body and then rinse. And then I work conditioner into the ends of my hair, cover my body with shower gel and then rinse. That’s two rinses in all, and I finish my shower in fifteen minutes.

6) Post shower experience

The post-shower experience is important too – just think, if you came out of the shower wrapped in a thin, ratty towel into a blast of cold air, how that would ruin whatever enjoyable experience you just had in the shower. Small things like these make all the difference. So I’d say, invest in a thick, fluffy towel and a thick, absorbent mat. Turn on the heater in your room so that when you come out of the shower, you still feel warm and toasty.

And that wraps up Part II of my series on The Art of Showering. I should say that this post isn’t about how everyone should shower everyday. It is about using the shower experience to relax, especially when you don’t have a bathtub handy. Therefore, this is not something to follow if you oversleep every morning and have to shower before rushing off to work.

Hope this was interesting, and I’ll be back with the third and last installment – my favourite shower products – hopefully soon!

Woke up at eleven.

Worked out on the elliptical while watching my Youtube beauty videos… all the April favourites are up around this time 🙂

Made myself a simple, yummy lunch of scrambled eggs with chopped onions and cheese.

It’s been raining on and off the entire morning, my favourite sort of weather.

And I’m preparing to go watch Iron Man 3!

All in all, it’s shaping up to be a great Sunday 🙂

April 2013 favourites :)

April has been a strange and stressful month. Weather-wise (because I always talk about the weather), it’s been alternately extremely hot and stifling, and then rainy. But I guess that’s normal where I live. Work-wise, it’s been a very trying month. Work has made me feel sad, unmotivated, stressed, indignant, tired… and yet I feel I have no alternative, and there are also days where I think it isn’t so bad and that I’ll just hold out for a bit more.

But enough about that. It’s the last day of April (though technically it’s already May as it’s past midnight here), and I’m going to focus on my favourites for the month of April 🙂

1) NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

I very nearly didn’t get to try this. My friend was placing an order with Sephora USA as her friend was in the US, so I took the chance to order some products. I ordered, amongst other things, Bare Minerals Well Rested, due to my huge problem with dark undereye circles. I’d wanted to try the new Bobbi Brown liquid concealer but it was all sold out in my colour. When my friend saw it, she said she was going to order this NARS concealer which she’d tested at the NARS counter and which seemed pretty good. I thought, why not?

My order came, and the rest is history. Except for today, I literally have not used any other concealer since I opened the NARS one right at the beginning of April. All of my concealers and undereye highlighters which were already in use when I opened the NARS one – Mac Select Moisturecover, Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, YSL Touche Eclat, L’Oreal True Match corrector, L’Oreal la touche magique – remain untouched. The Bare Minerals Well Rested remains in its packaging. NARS reigns supreme.

The concealer is incredibly pigmented and yet very lightweight and spreadable, making it perfect for under the eyes. I use the shade Custard, though I think I might get Honey as well because it’s more pink-toned which is good for under the eyes.

2) Radox Soul Soother shower gel

This was the first shower gel I bought when I started getting ‘into’ things like shower gel and nice smells. I credit it with being the shower gel that launched a thousand shower gels (for me). That was about four years ago, and I’ve only just finished using it up, which is why it’s going into my Favourites for the month. (It wasn’t a giant tube or anything, I’m just a hoarder.)

It’s a wonderful blend of blackcurrent, cranberries, chamomile and milk. It’s fruity, creamy, sweet and just absolutely lovely at any time.

3) Iced fruit tea

As mentioned, it’s been stifling and hot in Singapore as of late, which makes doing anything not in airconditioned comfort an absolute pain. One thing I’ve really enjoyed this past month however has been iced fruit tea.

I make this myself the simplest way there is – pour half a cup of hot water over a teabag of some fruity tea. Add a good amount of sugar, stir until it’s all dissolved and really sweet, and then add lots of ice. It’s fantastic, especially after exercising.

4) The Neighbourhood (the band)

Arose186 recommended the song Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood in one of her videos. I watched the MV on Youtube, didn’t think much of it but I liked the vibe. I downloaded the song and then proceeded to come OBSESSED with it. Since I liked it so much, I went in search of other songs but was quite disappointed to find that they number less than ten songs as The Neighbourhood is apparently a very young band (young as in new, not as in… OneDirection). Nonetheless, I really liked the other songs by The Neighbourhood, in particular Wires and Baby Come Home. All in all, I’m really pleased! You just need a band with the right vibe I think. The last band I fell in love with like this was probably Deerhunter.

5) Planning for my trip!

I’m going to London and Paris around the end of the month and I’m mega excited. Some things still remain to be booked like day trips and such, but booking is half the fun because you’re anticipating the enjoyment already. Apart from that, all the travel makeup bag / what’s in my luggage / what’s in my carry-on videos excite me!