From The Straits Times    |

We’ve all been there; we lament over our limited handbags as we scroll through hundreds of Instagram girls who practically own every bag and drool over their island escapades (that we will never go on). And contributing to our impossible bucket list is blogger Willabelle Ong.

On her blog (, she’s got it all covered – fashion, beauty, travel and tech. Need a new lipstick, she’s got one to recommend you. Dreaming of your next travel destination? She’s probably already been there.

Living her life one pretty picture at a time seems easy enough and the photo-envy is real. But for her followers who’ve reached out for advice on “the perfect life”, Willabelle is more than ready to give them a wake-up call.

“I’ve received emails and questions on how to achieve a ‘perfect life’, and it’s always the case that these individuals have unrealistic expectations of life through someone else’s perfectly curated Instagram feed.” –  Willabelle Ong

With a total of 153.5k followers on Instagram, Willabelle has built up a sizeable following with her well-shot pictures. She’s got about 2000 posts and most of her pictures have more than 50 comments. And she has been diligently giving us fashion and beauty reads since 2014 (there are more than 500 posts on her blog). How does she even keep up?

Well, here are her top three tips on how she manages the influx of activity on social media and how to lead a balanced life.

Tip 1: Always remember that what you see online is a filtered version of the imperfect reality

Living the perfect life online takes work – yes, ironic. So much work that we forget that these bloggers are people too. From the clothes they wear to the timing of the posts, everything is curated. We are, after all, only looking at an end product.

Willabelle isn’t afraid to admit that her pictures aren’t effortless. Behind the flawless pictures, Willabelle reveals that while happier days are documented on her feed, she has had her fair share of bad days too.

“There’s a lot going on behind-the-scenes. Life’s ups and downs, personal struggles and difficulties are not portrayed online,” she says in response to the several questions she’s gotten on living the perfect life.

Tip 2: Don’t get worked up over a bad picture

Even with her collection of beautifully shot travel photos, Willabelle doesn’t always have a team with her every time she leaves the country. She has taken trips sans social media and snapping a good travel photo doesn’t always have to be the first thing you do on a vacation.

While photographs are great keepsakes, Willabelle says that she refrains from getting upset over a missed photo opportunity, “When I’m travelling overseas, I prefer taking a few images/ videos and saving them first, only to post a day or maybe even a week later. If I do miss a photo opportunity, however, I don’t beat myself over it. It’s better to live in the moment.”

Tip 3: Take time off social media

You may think, she’s a blogger and because her brand is all about staying on, she can’t switch off.

Well, this may come as a surprise but being offline is so natural to Willabelle it has become a habit. And being a blogger doesn’t stop her from separating her real life from her insta-life.

Instead of going on full on social media detoxes, she limits her time on social media to a small part of her day.

“In general, I turn off my notifications for emails and social media (except for incoming comments on Instagram, in case there’s a profanity or spam word), and try to keep away from work-related things after a certain time daily. I also ensure I’m only on Instagram, for example, for a limited amount of time (whether it’s to post or to reply messages, etc),” Willabelle on how she manages her time spent on social media.

Other than just being conscious of the time she spends on social media, Willabelle prefers to work on her creativity without being slapped in the face with a saturation of information.

“It may look like I’m ‘on’ all the time but in reality, most times I only open up Instagram or other platforms to post and quickly catch up on my friends’ posts and stories. I rarely use the explore feed because it can be addictive with its endless scrolling, and social media in general can get a little toxic. I really prefer to be outdoors working on creative content like photography, or indoors curled up with a good book.” – Willabelle Ong

Girl, preach.

So yes, it’s okay to want to take great pictures, it’s alright to fuss over every pixel and it’s perfectly normal to catch the occasional travel-envy. But this fashion blogger is telling us that perfect insta-lives aren’t real, and we’re taking her word for it.