2-minute facial

LumiSpaI’m not the kind of guy who goes for facials. And I’ve not had one in my life because I don’t feel that I need it.

A week ago, my wife bought me an ageLOC LumiSpa system for our upcoming anniversary. I was tickled because I had wanted to get one for her instead — she beat me to it.

Anyway, because it’s a present from my dearest, I decided to use it.

LumiSpa is easy to use — apply a dab of the cleanser on the silicon head, place it against the face and enjoy the gentle motion.

In fact, LumiSpa is so gentle that I was tempted to press it harder against my face just to be sure that it will exfoliate better. But, there’s no need to do that because the device will pause and vibrate when there’s too much pressure. This safety feature is to protect against damaging the skin.

The total process takes just two minutes — 30 seconds for each quadrant of the face. At the end of each 30-second slot, the head will pause and vibrate so that I can move on to the next quadrant.

The recommendation is to use LumiSpa twice a day — once in the morning and the other at night.

LumiSpa is claimed to “cleanse away dirt, oil, makeup, and toxins, leaving skin smoother and purer while reducing the appearance of pores”. The benefits are supposed to be:

  1. Skin renewal
  2. Skin smoothness
  3. Increased radiance
  4. Refreshed skin
  5. Purified skin
  6. Minimised appearance of pores
  7. Increased appearance of skin volume and density

As a facial nerd, I was not expecting much but this morning, I discovered that a blackhead that I’ve had since my teenage years is no longer there. It’s gone! I remember trying to get rid of that blackhead when I was younger to no success — hence, I left it alone.

But, its disappearance after a week of LumiSpa use has increased my faith in the device.

If you’re in Singapore and keen on getting one, drop me a message and I’ll connect you to my seller. Otherwise, check out the Nuskin site.

Bellroy Note Sleeve scores on slimness

Bellroy Note Sleeve handI’ve had a fascination with wallets since I was a kid. From plastic wallets in my childhood days to leather ones today, I have used, lost and worn out more than I can count. And I am not one to switch wallets frivolously. I will use it till it’s no longer presentable — or in my younger day, lost because of my playfulness.

Last month, I was drawn to the Bellroy wallet. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of this brand. A friend had pointed out a Bellroy sale to me last year, to which I did not pay much attention to.

But, this time, it was different. I have a need for a slimmer wallet. Imagine, I have to split my cards to two thick bulging wallets, carrying just one when I go out. But, the bulge makes the existing wallets unsuitable for travel. It’s cumbersome to slot in and take out from the front pocket of my pants/jeans, and takes up lots of space in my sling bag.

Back to Bellroy. The Australian company’s wallets are known for their slimness. I began reading more reviews and the more I read, the more my interest was piqued.

Next up was determining which model is best for me. I narrowed down to two — the Note Sleeve and the interestingly named Hide & Seek.

Bellroy Note Sleeve front.jpgBoth met my requirements but I opted for the Note Sleeve because of one tiny feature. The Hide & Seek is better in terms of compartments as it has two cash slots and can take one more card (12 compared to 11 for the Note Sleeve).

But that tiny feature is that the Hide & Seek has Bellroy’s metallic logo on the front while the Note Sleeve just has the brand debossed. This may not be much for most people but for me and my dry skin, it’s the difference between getting occasional scratches and no bleeding at all.

The prices vary from site to site but I managed to snag one for practically nothing with my KrisFlyer miles redemption — I just had to pay for the postage.

Bellroy Note Sleeve packagingBellroy is certainly consistent in its messaging because the wallet came in a slim box that resembles an envelope.

After transferring the 11 cards from my bulging wallet to the new acquisition, I was greatly impressed.

Bellroy Note Sleeve slim.jpgHere’s what I like about the Note Sleeve.

  • Slimness: Measuring just 102mm by 90mm, the Note Sleeve is really slim. Its compactness can be attributed to the design, which minimises the layers of leather to accommodate cards.
  • Stylish: The wallet comes in premium, environmentally certified leather that is soft and comfortable to the touch.
  • Sufficient card slots: It has three dedicated card slots when opened — the other cards can be bunched together in a slot with a pull tab for easy retrieval.
  • Stores notes easily: The full-sized note section is perfect for most, if not all, currency. A hidden pocket can store coins or additional cards.
  • Secured: It blocks RFID signals, protecting the cards inside

With a three-year warranty, I feel like I’m on to a winner. No more bulges. No more trying to shove it into my sling bag. And best of all, no scratches.

If you’re keen on getting the Bellroy Note Sleeve, check it here.

One is better when it comes to frequent flyer programme

Star Alliance

Few things get the adrenaline flowing more than flying — whether it’s for work or pleasure.

Airlines have mastered the art of customer service by treating travellers differently depending on the class of ticket.

How often people feel like second or even third class during check in or boarding time. The queue is long and the wait time longer at the economy check in counter and the boarding gate.

That’s unless you have the budget to buy a higher class ticket which comes with better service, lounge access and of course, wider seats and choice of meals.

The other alternative for mortals is to join a frequent flyer programme and clock up enough miles to enjoy the same perks as those travelling on more expensive tickets.

One mistake I’ve made is to join too many frequent flyer programmes. I’m a member of Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, and Eva Air and have my miles spread across all these.

The catch is that I need to clock up lots of miles on each of these to enjoy Gold status and the privileges that come with it.

It was only when a friend suggested that I consolidate my miles to one programme that I realised my folly. Why didn’t I think of that?

If I add the miles on those from the same alliance, such as Star Alliance, into one programme, I would have hit Gold status long ago. I should not have spread them in both Singapore Airlines and Eva Air. A word for the wise — it’s easier to earn miles from Eva Air which is more generous compared to Singapore Airlines.

So, if like me, you’re enrolled in several frequent flyer programmes, it would be good to just concentrate on one to clock up the miles. That way, you can get a faster upgrade and enjoy the perks.


Highs and lows of backing Kickstarter projects

Saw a project on Kickstarter that got your adrenaline flowing? Admittedly, I have felt that way many times.

The innovative project with a slick video to boot can sometimes be too great an opportunity to pass. With early bird prices so enticing compared to projected retail price, it doesn’t take rocket science to hit the button and back the project.

After payment, the wait begins. And in a few instances, that can be a long wait. Some companies bother to provide updates and explain the delay — perhaps the need to cope with the unexpectedly high number of orders or their supplier being unable to provide the right quality component. The worst are those companies who go total radio silent and leave backers wondering if they will ever see their order.

Kickstarter has given me both highs and lows.

XD Deisgn backpack.jpgWhen a project is delivered on time and meets the expectations created during the marketing spew, it is a joy. An example is the Bobby Compact backpack by XD Design which my daughter gave as a present to me.

It was exactly as described — compact, water repellent, hidden pockets, and safety strips. One thing I did not test is its anti-cut feature but I’ll just take their word for it.

My expectations were met with this purchase but that’s not the case with another project that I backed. To be fair to the project, I’ll not name it.

Essentially, it’s a multi-purpose jacket that took a long time to arrive (it was way overdue). And when it did, I was disappointed because it looked cheap, like those I would not give a second look to at a bargain shop.

The pockets were as described but when contents are added to the pockets, the jacket is so heavy that it becomes impractical for travel.

So, functionally, it works but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near my expectations in terms of look and usability.

Lessons learnt from my Kickstarter experience:

  1. Do your homework. Some projects look so familiar because others may have already listed similar products. Or worst yet, similar products may be available on retail. So, do your homework and check the web.
  2. Read comments. It pays to read what people are asking and saying about the project. Their opinions may not be gospel truth but at least, it should get you thinking.
  3. Don’t be pressured by time to complete the order. Take time to read the descriptions and watch the video. And if a project is still underwhelming after listing for months, beware because others may know something you don’t.
  4. Calibrate your expectations. The project is on Kickstarter for a reason. Most of the companies are startups without prior manufacturing experience. Their projected timelines may run once orders start coming in.

My conclusion is that Kickstarter projects can be hits or misses. But with due diligence, we may have more hits than misses.