Hello, I’m Marissa

28 years old. Based in Singapore.
Asian lifestyle blogger. A fan of colour and tapirs.
Chatting beauty, skincare, small businesses, self-care, wellness and Animal Crossing.

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    Experiencing Creativity Burnout With My Small Business

    If you run a small business or even a blog, I’m sure you’ve heard this term many times.

    Burnout.

    Burnout is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion from doing something repetitive (or not) over a long period of time. And damn, I’m experiencing it now! I didn’t think I would but here we are.

    My small business occupies so much of my brain that I even dream about it sometimes. It is what I think about the moment I wake up, when I’m at work, when I’m in the shower and before I fall asleep. My mind is just always thinking about what I can make next, what colours I can incorporate, whose orders I haven’t shipped out and sometimes even ‘why haven’t I gotten an order in a week?’

    There are a lot of times where I wish I didn’t care so much and took things slower and at a more relaxing pace. After all, the reason I set up my small business was only as a side hobby to earn a bit of extra pocket money, not for me to stress about it 24/7.

    Feeling the ‘imposter syndrome’.

    I didn’t really know what an imposter syndrome was until I saw many of my fellow creatives posting about it. The imposter syndrome is simply ‘psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

    I’m not saying I’m a fraud. Everything I put out is honest and from the heart. But people visit my instagram page and see over 2,000 followers, and immediately start to assume I’ve got a good sales flow. The truth is, I haven’t. I’m gonna be real with everyone.

    I’m lucky to even get a sale a day. Once, I went without a single order for 8 days. 

    Yes, it is very demoralising. Do people not like my products? Are they bored? Is my content too predictable? Do people not use soap anymore?

    As someone who intends on making this a full-time job one day, it hurt me really bad. 

    I have to occasionally stop myself and remind little old me that this isn’t as deep as I make it out to be. Maybe my customers haven’t finished what they previously bought yet. Maybe they’re taking a break. Maybe they forgot about my company for a bit – which is fine! I also have to remind myself that this happens to people all the time.

    Putting pressure on myself on making new things all the time.

    I used to release a new item every week. How crazy is that?! My brain was on fire and the serotonin I got from posting that new Instagram post showing everyone my latest creation was unreal. I still really want to do that now but my levels of creativity aren’t as high as they were before.

    I still am thinking about ideas but executing them is tough. My full time work schedule really hinders my progress with anything to do with my small business as I only come home at 10.30pm every night and I have about 2 hours to make everything I want before I have to go to bed to get my 8 hours to be prepared for work again the next day. 

    I get so tired a lot of the time and I barely have any proper ‘days off’. 

    Even though I have a phobia of people getting bored of seeing the ‘same old’ products, I need to tell myself that it’s okay to not release new things all the time. So many companies have one set of products that they have for months and continue to sell, so why do I feel the pressure to keep creating new things? 

    Help wanted! 

    Never wanting to take a break in fear of ‘losing out’ on sales.

    Whenever I see fellow small biz owners ‘take a break’, I sometimes wish I could do that too. But I can’t bring myself to do it – in fear of ‘losing out’.

    What if, it just so happens, that when I take my ‘break’, an influx of people all around the world suddenly really want to buy my stuff? They will proceed to visit my website, see that it is password protected and move on to the next maker to purchase something from. I’ve then lost a customer and a potential sale!

    In June 2021, this tweet of mine went viral with over 1 million views. It was a picture I tweeted of my Animal Crossing fossil soap. It happened overnight and I had so many orders, more than I had ever had before and I was happy but also so stressed! I only had 1 mould that needed to set for 12 hours at minimum. How was I going to fulfil those 20 orders?!

    I ordered 4 more moulds from the maker who was in the US, and spent $70 on those. They were expensive! But I knew they weren’t going to get to Singapore in time as the last time I ordered it took more than 5 weeks to get to me. I had too many orders already! 

    For the sake of my mental health (as I was really stressing over it 24/7), I put a stop to all sales for that item, and then proceeded to change it to a pre-order. Even though I felt slightly better after doing that, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had lost so many potential customers. My tweet had over 1 million impressions, for god’s sake! I could’ve gotten so many new customers! Did I miss out?! 

    The FOMO was real. It was my first and probably last time going viral. 

    Do any of you fellow creators experience burnout? How do you recover from it without feeling the guilt of not doing anything or potentially missing out? 

    I see people taking breaks from things all the time and as much as I would like to do that too, I feel like I wouldn’t get the rest I would need and I would still think about my small business all the time. Do you have any tips? 

    My Halloween drop is planned for mid-September and I am stressing out – but I do hope to get your support! Visit my website here


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    The Viral Tiktok Face Cream “Dr Jart Cicapair Re-Cover” — An Honest Review

    We are all on Tik Tok these days, aren’t we? There are definitely some days where I feel like I, as a 27 year old grown woman, should not be on that app as it seemed to be a place for the ‘youth’.

    But the more I spent time on it, the more I realised that it is very versatile, full of people from all over the world and of all ages – and it is the place I spend most of my time on now, if not Instagram. With time spent on any app, you learn about new things, and in my case, I learn a lot about new skincare and makeup – something I already like!

    I’m sure by now you’ve all heard of the ‘legendary’ Cicapair Re-Cover Cream by Dr Jart.

    It was raved about so much for being so good at colour correcting that people didn’t feel the need to put any foundation or concealer on their skin.. and to me, that was a BIG statement.

    A bit of background about my skin so you know what you’re comparing yourself to – I suffered from cystic acne for more than 10 years of my life so my skin is textured, oily, full of large pores and also red in the T-zone. I’ve been on accutane for about a year now and my active spots have cleared up, but the scars remain and that is expected. I do have a lot of redness so I did not expect this product to cure all my skin issues because no product has managed to do that so far.

    Price

    This is a mid-range priced product and I bought it from Shopee for $27.80. I would consider that a really fair price as the bottle is pretty big and the cream itself goes a super long way.

    A little dab of the finger into the cream and it’s enough to cover the face, so I would say $27.80 is definitely a great price!

    Packaging

    One thing I did not expected about this item is that the packaging was made of glass which made it feel classier than I originally thought it was. I am not sure what kind of material I expected, but it wasn’t glass.

    The balm sized tub is heavy due to the glass, but also compact enough to bring around. I love the green tint on the packaging too, and it comes with the little spooly pictured above.

    Overall, really love the packaging and I do not have any complaints!

    The Product

    As you can see on the picture above, the consistency is thick and creamy, and the colour of the product itself is a light green which is indeed the colour of a colour-correcting product.

    However, the green does not show on the skin which is fantastic.

    I have extremely oily skin and whilst this product does not claim to be suitable for a certain type of skin, I do feel that this as a moisturiser was a bit oilier than I would’ve liked it to be. I found that I had to powder down my face more than usual when using this, and I didn’t mind that much because it did cover the redness on my face which meant I could use less concealer! This is probably not the best for people with extremely oily skin, unless you aren’t planning to wear it out for a long day.

    Is it worth the hype?

    I think this product is amazing! I have tried loads of ‘colour-correcting’ products in the past and this is the only product that I noticed a difference with.

    I, however, do have oily skin. So this product doesn’t sit well on my face for more than 3-4 hours. If you are someone with normal-drier skin, I’m almost 100% sure this product will be of no issue for you. Then again, this product never claimed to be a mattifying product, so I’m not complaining! It does what it claims, which is to colour-correct and potentially let you go foundation-free for the day.

    Absolutely love it and would highly recommend anyone to try it!

    Also – anyone else surprised that so many of these viral TikTok skincare products are actually amazing?! I never expected this for sure. Have you tried this product? What are your thoughts?


  • Tips For Surviving A Hot Summer

    Most parts of the world are going through massive heatwaves at the moment and it’s really going crazy! It has been so so so warm and humid in Singapore, but I am grateful that we have air-conditioning in 90% of indoor places.

    Singapore, if you didn’t know, only has 1 season and that is summer. Living here most of my life has meant that I have almost become accustomed to the heat, whilst also hating it. Singaporeans hate heat and we hate the sun. That being said, we have also learned how to keep cool in our regular 34°c ‘heatwave’. You might even call us ‘connoisseurs in dealing with hot weather’.

    One of the main reasons why I love the UK more than Singapore is because of the weather. I would take cold and gloomy over humid and sunny anyday! I know it’s a weird concept to a lot of people, but cold weather is the one for me! I love love LOOOOVE cold weather.

    Here are some easy ways and products that can help you stay cool on a hot day!

    Thin Clothes and NO LONG SLEEVES!

    Out of 365 days a year, you’d probably only catch me in long sleeved clothing or jackets maybe….. 20 days a year. I would rather stay at home than go out in a sweater.

    This makes me sad because I LOVE wearing sweaters! It was pretty much all I wore during my time at university in the UK. I love being cosy and having warm clothing and basically being covered, but you can forget about that in Singapore. The moment I step out of my shower, I begin to sweat, so long-sleeved tops are basically a no-no, unless you are definitely going to be in a very cold, air-conditioned place for most of the day.

    Cinema trips and ice-skating rinks would be where you’d find most long-sleeved people in this country.

    Get A Mini Fan

    I have seen so many people out and about in Singapore holding mini USB fans and even though it might look ridiculous a lot of the time, those little things really help!

    I personally have a tiny double bladed fan that plugs into my iPhone and points at me. I use this instead of the USB fan for the pure reason of laziness, I don’t need to hold the fan as I use my phone! Yes, feel free to laugh.

    There are even some fans that spray a cool mist of water which can be very helpful but also annoying for people who wear makeup or glasses (both me!). Mini fans are usually less than $20 and you can get them from most electronic shops and online.

    Skin Products That Are Designed To Cool

    Summers spent in the UK were unbearable for me because of the lack of air conditioning almost everywhere. Fans were not nearly enough as all they did was blow hot air at your face. Might as well have had a hairdryer turned on in the room! I was in Boots one day and discovered they sold Cooling Sprays! The first one I tried was an Evian one (I know, how bougie) and all it was was basically an aerosol-like bottle that sprayed natural mineral water to cool you down.

    It’s a very very simple invention but strangely enough I found it worked enough to bring my body temperature down very very slightly. However, I do think it is quite a gimmicky product, as you could just as well get a fine mist spray bottle and fill it with water and it would work almost the same. But it has helped lots of my friends in the past and my boyfriend enjoyed using it too!

    Another thing I love and still use to this day is Original Source’s Tea Tree and Mint body wash. This is by far the best cooling body wash I’ve ever tried – it really does leave your skin all tingly and I love it!

    Socks In The… Fridge?

    How weird does that sound? I did this completely by random during my first year at university and I put a pair of my clean socks (make sure they’re actually clean!) in the freezer for about 2 hours before I was going out and it was really a pleasant surprise! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE SURE THE SOCKS ARE CLEAN. I’M BEGGING YOU!

    The cold didn’t stay for long, but the 30-45 minutes it did was amazing! By then I also learned… maybe stick with flip flops for the summer. My Vans-socks combo didn’t help my sweaty self. Don’t tell anyone but a couple of my flatmates actually put their…. underwear in the freezer….. yep. I would not do that if I were you.

    Ice Creams And Slushies Are Your Friends!

    My boyfriend and I had this weird but effective method of cooling down where we bought a slush puppy from a convenience store any chance we got! The one day the slush puppy machine broke down was the day we kinda broke down too.

    Stocking up on ice cream is also always a good (and very obviously easy) idea!

    Iced teas and pink lemonade were also favourites of mine and will always be!

    Remove Any Makeshift Carpets On Tiled Floor

    I love a good rug and carpet in my home. My entire room was carpeted at university which was a first for me as houses in Singapore are almost NEVER carpeted!

    Instead we have rugs which we wash once in awhile. But I’ve found that having rugs, carpets, or anything furry and thick in a humid bedroom almost makes it feel worse! I move all my thick items including curtains, blankets and rugs to make the room ‘cooler’, and I do think it works! Even my dogs don’t like lying down on carpet on really hot days as it traps more heat in their already thick fur. Tiled/marble floor is much better for hot weather!

    Of course, if you can’t actually pull your carpet out, there is nothing much to be done. That’s why I hope my house won’t be fully carpeted when I do get a house, because the heatwave will drive me mad!

    Turn Off Any Unnecessary Lights

    I am such a night person, so when I come back from work in the evenings, it is already completely dark out. The only light I’ll have on for the rest of the evening is a dim, yellow lamp from IKEA, or a small night light on my table.

    Any kind of lighting adds heat to a room, especially if you have multiple bulbs in 1 lamp. Studio lights are the worst, but I don’t expect anyone to have studio lights switched on 24/7 at home.

    I’m not sure if this is a placebo effect and whether or not I’m just fooling myself, but I always feel like having fewer lights on makes me stay cooler.

    With all that being said, going out to enjoy the sun once in awhile is fantastic and very good for you! Just look after yourself as too much sun isn’t great either. I hope these tips were handy in one way or another. Stay safe too!

    🌞 DON’T FORGET YOUR SPF50! 🌞 

    Feel free to leave your own tips down in the comments below to save me from the 24/7 summery weather that is Singapore, as well as any other reader who might be struggling with the heatwave across the world.


  • Trying A Neck And Shoulder Gua Sha Treatment For The First Time

    TRIGGER WARNING – mention of bodily pain and pictures of broken capillaries on my back will be in this post. Please scroll away if you do not want to see any of the above.

    Scoliosis – Scoliosis causes the spine to curve to one side. The curvature can be in any part of the spine, but the most commonly affected regions are the upper spine and lower back.

    That’s exactly what I had growing up! I’m sure it’s a word familiar to many of you, as it is quite a common abnormality (for lack of a better word) in many people. I didn’t even realise that until I was in my 20’s, and my scoliosis affected me the most during my teen years as I had to wear a hideous, humongous back brace from ages 13 to 15.

    Imagine the toll that had on my self esteem!

    I’m now 27 and I am an persistent back-and-neck-and-shoulder pain sufferer. On my desk at work you’ll find a bottle of Axe Oil, an Asian medicated oil that has a reputation for good use with people aged 60 and above. But I use it on a daily at 27 years old – surprise!

    I go for bi-weekly massages at a good ol’ massage place near my home with the same masseuse and I’m very happy with it. I’m a big fan of massages. Not a lot of people fancy them but I sometimes crave one, it’s insane.

    If you’re an avid Tik Tok user, you’ll know about Gua Sha. But maybe, just maybe, the ones you’re seeing around are only about Gua Sha on the face. Gua Sha can also be done on the body, in a much more coarse way. Coarse, but not bad.

    Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with this handy massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique may offer a unique approach to better health, addressing issues like chronic pain. In gua sha, a technician scrapes your skin with short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. They make these strokes with a smooth-edged instrument known as a gua massage tool. The technician applies massage oil to your skin, and then uses the tool to repeatedly scrape your skin in a downward motion. – Healthline.

    My grandma had recently visited a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) clinic that was just 5 minutes from my house that I didn’t know existed and she informed me that the physician had cured her arm pain that she’d been suffering with for weeks. I was soooo down to try it, albeit feeling a bit afraid because I didn’t know what I was in for, I booked an appointment.

    After meeting a very lovely young physician lady and after being asked a few short questions (like how I pooped, whether or not I drink a lot of iced drinks..), she began to use the gua sha tool on my shoulder and neck.

    This photo is what my back looked like half an hour after the gua sha was done.

    When my mum took and showed me this photo, I almost jumped out of my skin. Here’s why.

    The gua sha didn’t hurt me at all. It was like a massage with the help of a tool. There were some points where my neck and shoulders were tighter than others, and so the pressure was a little more tender, but nothing painful enough for my back to look like that. I was quite horrified.

    The red spots are tiny broken blood vessels (capillaries) under the skin were caused by the pressure of the gua sha tool. Sounds scary, but that’s exactly what happens with the right use of the tool and if you’ve got a patient with chronic pain like me. But it looked like it would’ve hurt, which surprised me.

    Alongside using the gua sha tool, she also used her hands to apply pressure at certain points of my shoulders where the tenseness was overwhelming. I’ve got really bad shoulders and neck, mostly from sitting at a desk all day and not exercising.

    I did not feel any pain for the hours or days following the treatment.

    This was what my back and neck looked like 3 days after. A little bruised but nothing that bad. I was quite happy with it! I did feel a bit of relief and it was nice to finally experience what Traditional Chinese Medicine was like.

    It has been about 2 weeks since I did the treatment and all marks are gone. Here’s what I have to say about the gua sha treatment in general.

    Did I feel pain relief?

    Yes, briefly. I felt good for 2 days but this is keeping in mind that my scoliosis alongside with my chronic back, shoulder and neck pain has been around for more than 10 years. My threshold with this treatment may be very different from yours and I think I would have to go a couple more times to see proper effects.

    Was it expensive?

    No, together with a consultation, the treatment and 8 bags of a Chinese herbal tea I was told to drink (to expel excess air from my body), it was 60SGD, roughly £32. But the treatment alone was 30SGD, roughly £16, which I think is reasonable.

    How long did it take?

    About 15-20 minutes. I wish it lasted longer if I’m honest.

    What did I have to do after?

    I was instructed not to keep my neck and shoulders away from exposure of cold air or air conditioning for the next 2-3 hours, as well as to not shower for the next 2-3 hours. I was also told to drink more water, cut the cold drinks (warm drinks are apparently the best), do some small neck and shoulder exercises daily and to get 8 hours of sleep every night.

    Other than that, there was not much maintenance.

    How often do you have to go back?

    I was told to come back 3-4 weeks after this treatment for another one if I felt like it, and I was also recommended acupuncture. I’m frankly afraid of it as I fear needles but I’ve heard that it doesn’t hurt, and I won’t even get to see the needles as it will be on my neck and shoulders.

    Would I recommend it?

    Yes! I feel this treatment does 0 harm and I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing problems after this treatment as I do think it is quite mild even though the photos of my back say otherwise. It isn’t too expensive and I’ve seen TCM Clinics all round the UK where they offer this treatment. If you’re up to try something new and if you have some back and neck pain, I’d say go for it!


  • The Journey Towards Not Comparing Myself To You

    This post is gonna be a bit different than my usual lifestyle slash beauty posts. Not only because my blog is a journal, but because it is my journal and I want to document things that I would like to keep track of.

    Comparing yourself to someone else. Who hasn’t done it? We’ve all done it at some point. But there can come a time where it can get obsessive and excessive, and I am ashamed to admit that I have possibly reached that point.

    For the past few months I’ve seen friends get engaged, have babies (although this is something I do not want – I don’t like babies), buy their first homes, get a new pet.. the list goes on. All during lockdown as well, what the heck! My bitterness relating to the fact that I have acquired none of these in my life has got me feeling really bad about myself.

    I have always dreamed of having my own home in the countryside in England but I’m 27 years old, stuck in a job I don’t really like, living under my parents’ roof.

    INSTAGRAM. The devil. This is where I mostly see all of these things that make me feel worse about myself, but yet, I can’t put the app away. Why, you ask? Because it might be an addiction. Am I addicted to looking at people’s almost-perfect lives, or am I addicted to deprecating myself? It’s a tough one to answer, but I think it might be both. On one hand, I definitely live vicariously through the lives of many of my friends, whilst also spending a lot of time dwelling on why I’m where I am.

    The pandemic certainly hasn’t helped. I’m more glued down than I ever was.

    If you have a relatively ‘good’ life, even though the meaning of a good life is different for everyone, I’ve probably, at some point, wished I were you.

    And I wish I didn’t.

    It’s not like I have a bad life. I have a roof over my head, a paying job, a boyfriend who loves me, a small circle of supportive friends and an even bigger circle of online friends. I don’t really have much to complain about.

    I like very simple things – lying in bed on my phone watching funny TikTok videos, making soaps for my small business, writing posts for my blog, having a really good tomato and cheese pasta, drinking my Yorkshire Tea every morning.. really simple things. And I enjoy them. But why do I also feel like they’re not enough? They seem enough, don’t they?

    I spend hours on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter looking at pictures of houses, new countries I haven’t seen and things I haven’t done and wish I had the bank balance of a Kardashian-Jenner to do all those things and more.

    BUT.. I feel stuck. Like, what have I accomplished in the past 3 years since graduating from university? My life has felt stagnant. I got my Master’s Degree and wasn’t even able to get a job related to my degree. Stuck in retail now, working past 9pm most nights.

    Whereas people have gone on to move to different countries, gotten married and gotten a home.

    Honestly – the home is what I want most. Obviously marriage has been in the talks, as well as a potential cockatiel for a pet, but the home is the most desired for me at the moment. I can’t believe I’m being this transparent – I don’t really like being so open. My boyfriend and I talk about our future little home all the time and what we’d have in it but the pandemic has honestly halted all the plans we had been speaking about.

    My constant chatter about wanting a home and how sad I am that I’m still in Singapore has definitely taken a toll on my boyfriend whom I do feel bad for. It is also part of why I am writing this post – to get this out of my system. I know that me talking about all that stuff with him makes him feel a little sad and bad, because we aren’t living the life we wished we had at 27. It also frustrates him because he always tells me that everyone’s circumstance is different and that comparing ourselves to other people does not make sense in the grand scheme of things.

    And I completely understand that! It makes perfect sense.

    So why do I still do it? Is it a call for pity from whoever will listen, or do I have some sort of warped dependency towards making myself feel lower than I am?

    I don’t know, and I’m sad that I don’t know. I want to be able to solve this issue as much as the next person and I want to openly talk about it with you guys. This is why I’m writing a post about it.

    Today, May 11th 2021, I start my journey.

    I want to stop comparing myself to you.