Monthly Archives: October 2011

Pieces of Thread – Art by Debbie Smyth

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. it kept repeating in my mind as I browsed through the beautiful art installations of Debbie Smyth. & to think that they were made of such simple materials! needles & thread.

Looking very much like pencil sketches, Debbie makes full use of the properties of thread – she shreds it at parts to make it more soft & dreamy, or she layers thread over thread to make it seem like one coloured a portion of the sketch.

I’m really liking the three-dimensional effect of it, especially when it’s suspended over the surface with needles. one can’t just do this on any wall though!

Kinda realistic, isn’t it? I love how she makes use of thread to convey the whole atmosphere of a rugged & weary ship, returning from its long journey with a sad, nostalgic sigh. It’s quite an evocative piece.

She doesn’t just use flat surfaces as some artists are prone to do (because it really is so much easier..) – & I think her innovative use of the wall corner to add on to the three dimensional effect of this installation is really fantastic! it makes it all the more realistic & interesting. I think it would be a talking centerpiece if I had something like this in my future home :) Plus, it would solve the problem of how to beautify a wall corner – which conventionally, always seems so hard to do.

stuff like this makes me feel that i need an artistic hobby of some sort, to engage myself in a therapeutic and satisfying activity that will take me away from the soul sucking abyss that my job seems to be at the moment. But day after day i return home lackluster & exhausted. :( It’s a bit of an adjustment & I need more stamina.

so. Inspired I returned from a good weekend’s rest & crossing my fingers, I find that rejuvenating outlet soon! (besides shopping) Have a great week everyone!

Tastefully Offensive

I just recently discovered this hilarious site called Tastefully Offensive and it is downright hilarious and a wonderful time waster. You are warned! Read only if you have a huge amount of time on your hands.

Given the iPhone 4S craze, some people have been speculating what Siri would be like a couple of years from now…

And with Halloween just around the corner, have you thought about what you will go as? How bout an Ewok? Cuteness max!!

Want to lash out at someone without losing composure? (expletives are so passe!) Then perhaps you should infuse some atas-ness into your speech. Take a leaf out of the Shakespeare Insult Kit. It’s easy!

I would totally use impertinent idle-headed giglet but if you wanted to use something alliterative, then try weedy weather-bitten wagtail! (that sounds like a Harry Potter spell!)

And this is so true. Why was F6 created? I don’t use it. Ever. *pushes F6 tab so it won’t feel redundant*

This is just scraping the surface though. They have loads more premium funny stuff. Videos, photos, captions… What a great way to kickstart the weekend!

David Nicholls: Starter for Ten and The Understudy

I’ve been on a bit of a reading rampage recently and polished off both of David Nicholls’ novels and halfway through Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. I’ve been gushing incessantly about how much I love One Day the novel and the movie and as a result, I was very motivated to read his other novels and I have to say they were just as easy to breeze through and they were both really enjoyable. I think it is the easy wit and the unpretentious prose. It’s like Sophie Kinsella meets Tony Parsons. You get that right amount of thoughtfulness and feeling coupled with some crazy misadventures and gets me smiling from ear to ear. While I enjoyed all three novels, I would have to say that One Day is still my all-time favourite (I love the melancholic ending even though it felt so typical Nicholas Sparks and Time Traveller’s Wife. I’m a hopeless romantic) followed by The Understudy then Starter for Ten.

Interestingly enough, I assumed that all the endings to his novels would be sort of melancholic and sadly happy (if that makes any sense) but they have all turned out alittle different each time and I think that’s actually pretty cool. Embrace the unpredictability.

Okay, brief synopsis of Starter for Ten. It is about a 19 year old teenage boy, Brian Jackson who just finished his A levels and is heading to a university leaving his working class family and friends behind and we see him try to fit in a new environment while facing challenges- acne, falling in love with someone entirely out of his league (sexy bombshell, Alice), deciding whether he is learning Eng Lit for all the right reasons, finding his political footing… very typical issues that a teen would face. And of course he meets other interesting people along the way. There’s Rebecca, the hard nut law student who is highly opinionated, Patrick the snobby twat the University Challenge team leader and amiable Lucy a bright Chinese medical student who is fighting against the stereotype of being well, Chinese. So does Brian get his girl? Will he remain an awkward geek forever? Will they win the University Challenge and show the world that nerds rule? Well, I won’t spoil it for you but here’s alittle snippet to whet your appetite.

“All young people worry about things, it’s a natural and inevitable part of growing up, and at the age of sixteen my greatest anxiety in life was that I’d never again achieve anything as good, or pure, or noble, or true, as my O-level results.”

“The sad fact is that I love Dickens and Donne and Keats and Eliot and Forster and Conrad and Fitzgerald and Kafka and Wilde and Orwell and Waugh and Marvell and Greene and Sterne and Shakespeare and Webster and Swift and Yeats and Joyce and Hardy, really, really love them. It’s just that they don’t love me back.”

“Alice doesn’t seem to mind because she’s laughing too, and biting her lip, all doe-eyed, and tossing her freshly washed hair, and Norton tosses his lovely, glossy hair back, and she tosses her hair in return, and he tosses his, and she tosses hers, and it;s like some mating ritual on a wildlife program.”

It’s amazing how Nicholls can infuse such great humour in such a mundane situation and most times I laugh because there’s so much truth in what he writes! Oh and if reading isn’t your thing then you can watch the movie (it was out in 2006) starring dreamy James McAvoy. Seriously. How can it get any better than this??

Okay, shifting gears now. Let’s talk about The Understudy. This is probably a darker story because by very nature of being an understudy, you need the main actor to falter and fail in order for you to get your big break. This is the exact same situation that Stephen McQueen is in. He wants so much to prove to his ex-wife and daughter that he can make it in the showbiz world and the lone person standing in his way is Josh Harper. The world’s 12 sexiest man alive. And of course what makes things worse is that Stephen falls for Nora, Josh’s wife. How is this mess going to be sorted out? Will Stephen get his big break?

Like the frequent references to booze and drugs in all his novels,  the witty remarks are fast and furious though it is clear that the humour takes a much darker turn.

“Josh likes to say he put the funk in ‘functional’. Personally I think he just put the ass in ’embarrassing’, but, hey, what do I know?”

Though by no means a spiteful man, Stephen had been fantasising about just such a glorious catastrophe, six days a week, twice on Saturdays and Wednesdays, for the last three months now. When Stephen told Josh to break a leg, he meant it: break it in two places, compound fractures please.

Both are excellent reads but somehow I feel like the dark humour of The Understudy was more refreshing than Starter for Ten that read alittle more like Teen fiction (though strangely enough, I have The Perks of Being a Wallflower in my wishlist). The Understudy really reminds me of Tony Parsons’ Man and Boy (don’t bother reading Man and Wife and Men from the Boys) so if you are a Tony Parsons’ fan, then I think you’ll really enjoy this novel.

Elizabeth and James Spring 2012

I think we are all familiar with the Olsen twins and the two of them are done so many incredible things together be it acting, creating their own company Dualstar and coming up with fashion brands, The Row and more recently in 2007, Elizabeth and James.

It always amuses me to know that Winter isn’t even here yet and fashion designers are already creating looks for the new year and the new season. It seems that Elizabeth and James are loving bold colours of pink and yellow this spring and of course, florals are still all the rage.

I’m looking at these clothes and they really look like what the Olsens will wear. You know, big, billowy pants and tops and they look mighty comfortable but I think some of the styling looks abit off. While I love that shade of yellow, I’m not loving how it’s paired with that pair of floral shorts and black see through top. I would think that it would look nicer with cream or white no?

I like experimenting with print on print but I think that the size of the floral prints seem too similar in design and size to really work though I would rather wear that out as opposed to this striped jailbird top and skirt. I mean seriously. I know vertical stripes are suppose to elongate your figure but I don’t quite fancy looking like a barcode. I think I’ll pass.

While I quite like the hot pink ensemble, I don’t like the floral-stripes pairing. I think the stripes at the sides of the pants was what did it for me. It’s too matchy-matchy. It’s like a tracksuit meets pajamas. Can’t imagine wearing that out. Perhaps the top with a solid colour bottom.

Ok, it’s not all bad. I think these two outfits look decent. I would totally wear the sky blue linen cargos rolled up and the black/purple top has a oriental twist to it that’s quite interesting though the matching pants that goes with it looks rather dated imo. I much prefer their solid colour ensembles like this nude-ish pink dress looks really flattering and I kinda like this salmon pink suit.

I think that the tailored suits and the airy quality of the chiffon pants looks really nice and it’s definitely something that I would wear. I think these pieces are probably the saving grace of this collection. I know, my taste seems mighty bland considering that Spring is all about vibrancy of colour, prints and fabrics but hey, why fix something that ain’t broken?

What do you think of the Olsens’ collection? Hit or Miss?

Traipsing Around Tokyo [Day Three] – Ikebukukuro!

Whilst in Tokyo, we stayed in one of the more active towns, Ikebukukuro!

As with any trip overseas, one of my favourite places to go to is their local convenience stores. It’s amazing how much you can glean about a culture from what a convenience store stocks. In Turkey, it was loads and loads of sweet stuff – & in Japan, they had lots of cooked & uncooked quick-to-go foods. It appears that the Japanese don’t often cook as home as much as their television dramas show, particularly in Tokyo where life is hectic and time is money.

Since it was winter, besides the fried foods, they also had yong tau foo style soups for sale. All you had to do was pick up a styrofoam bowl & fill it up with whatever ingredients you want. According to my friend, the 7 -11 fried chicken is really tasty, but we didn’t get to give it a try.

Here’s the street view near our hotel! Ikebukukuro is rather happening, with shopping malls opposite cram schools where students study like mad for their exams. Unlike our local and various other international universities, Japan doesn’t operate on an “honour roll” system. Rather, they go by the name of your school. So students study like crazy to get into a prestigious school & after that, all hell breaks loose. Just don’t flunk out while you’re in there.

An insane street crossing. Before (above), & after (below)

As I said, the weekday crowd in Japan pretty much kills the weekend crowd here in singapore. It was amazing, seeing so many people up and about. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so small & invisible..

So being the foodies that we are, we decided to try really awesome authentic Japanese Ramen!

We dropped by one of these tiny ramen shops in the alleyway (& apparently very good, according to my friend). Many of the Japanese restaurants have this vending machine ordering system. so basically the menu is on the machine & you drop your yen in before pressing your order. A ticket comes out, which you hand to the chef. It has a few pretty awesome benefits methinks,

  1. money doesn’t pass through the same hands that handle your food (hygenic!)
  2. they save paper coz they don’t have to print menus
  3. cuts down on the amount of servicing needed per customer
Of course, there were a few disadvantages to this system
  1. if you don’t know japanese, you can’t order because you have no idea what those japanese characters are saying.
  2. you can’t change your mind after getting the ticket!
But i guess it’s all part of the culture immersion that we were experiencing & it was a pretty novel experience – though we felt bad for hogging the machine for quite a bit. hahaha.
Pictured above is the main chef cooking our meal with some of his helpers. It was pretty amazing because many of Japan’s tiny restaurants have a bar concept where you can watch them do everything! & on the counter are our tickets stating our orders :) mmm! it was so yummy, & I’m getting hungry just thinking about it lol.
The head chef was super nice. Upon realizing that these camera crazy people (us) were tourists, he enquired if we needed aprons, in case we slurped & dirtied our clothing. So nice! Of course, we declined, since well, we know how to use our chopsticks & eat our food properly. haha.
At long last, our delicious meal! This is a medium sized bowl of ramen. It was huge. Too huge for us to completely finish! The stewed pork was insanely fatty & the noodles were very thick, quite different from the ramen in Singapore. The way they served it was also unlike what we see here. Cold noodles with a hot ingredients, accompanied by miso soup.
Post dinner, we walked around abit more & stumbled upon Krispy Kreme! Yumminess!
We then explored further & I was really intrigued by loads of things & forgot to snap pictures along the way, until I saw this really novel handphone concept.
You know how kids are always wanting to be like grown ups and want grownup stuff to look cool in front of their friends? Well these phones pictured above, are catered just for that. Not only are they cute & really cheap (about 50 yen, which works out to be $8 SGD), they’re not just useless toys but actual phones – with … get this, ONE BUTTON. & that one button dials directly to the kid’s guardian or parent. haha! It’s really cute. Their local service providers have specialised handphone plans for these too, that are really affordable. I think Singapore’s telecommunications industry should look into this.
& oh they had phones specialised for all types of age groups! old people who love going to onsens have waterproof phones with REALLY HUGE keypads etc. I found it really innovative & caring all at the same time. It’s nice to know that the Japanese think specifically for specific target groups & cater to their needs, instead of just flooding the mass market with one product.
Next up, our day tour to Mt Fuji & the famous Tsukiji Fish Market! :)

Graduation Photos!

At long last, my graduation photos are here! They were slightly delayed because there were some complications & necessitated changes, so the photos kept bouncing back & forth, but finally all the touchups are done & they look pretty awesome :)

Tada! Me with my family. & oh my mom’s not peranakan btw, she just thought it would be nice to wear it for the photoshoot.

You know how some people look perfect with the graduation hat because their face shape is so academic & all? HAHAHA. well I don’t have one of those faces & was really glad to take off the hat for some of my shots. Here’s my favourite pic with the bf! We’ll prob be using this at our wedding too (not anytime soon though!)

As our Photoshoot Package included 3 touched-up photos and 9 other untouched up photos, the rest of the photos you’ll be seeing here on are entirely untouched – though I plan to go for one of those corporate sponsored Adobe Photoshop courses to learn how to make these photos look better, in the future.

It’s somewhat sad that (to my eyes), the ugliest bit is the studio background. but oh well! according to the bf, it’s not something that some tedious photoshop grafting can’t fix.

& it’s kinda strange looking at these photos. It’s been what, more than a year since I graduated? How time flies. It seems so distant in my memory, even as I look upon these photos with a wistful nostalgia. Already, the myriad of changes to NUS – university town! the circle line! etc. have made me feel that school already isn’t what I recalled it to be.

Nevertheless, I’m happy I have these photographs to solidify that moment I graduated, eternally. That’s the beauty of the art of photography :)

Procrastination, thou art the Devil

Lately posts have been slow coz knowing how to get that work-life balance doesn’t seem as easy as it should be. The concept seems easy enough, but with a long work day that’s exhausted you physically & mentally, a work-life balance kinda seems impossible. particularly because my work involves quite a bit of writing, sometimes i just mentally shut down without thinking & stuff like this happens:

At the end of it all, procrastination is way easier than getting up to have a social life :( & it’s an addictive method of time wasting, i assure you.

so I look for interesting things that could spice up my life. Projects that aren’t that hard to accomplish & ones that could be really fun to do, you know?

Tada! An insanely simple way of making a pretty wrap that could be perfect for the office. The sleeves are missing, but getting a nice printed wrap could really spice up a muted work outfit, particularly if you’re meeting friends for a girl’s night out! :D Especially if most of your work clothes (like mine) are mostly made of muted colours or monochromatic ensembles. Here are a few prints I wouldn’t mind getting for this project: 

Geometric prints, animal prints, polka dots & flower prints.. these are a few of my favourite things! Too bad most of my work wardrobe doesn’t consist of such prints – so having a colourful & fun wrap would really brighten up my day :)

Another thing I’ve been thinking of doing is re-look at my eating habits. i.e. Eat more “negative calorie” foods, which are basically foods that take more energy & calories to digest than the amount of calories inside them! Smart way to diet without sacrificing on amount, eh?

Besides, looking at this list, I really do love quite alot of these foods, so it wouldn’t be a struggle to eat them, but I do have to make a more conscious effort / choice to eat healthily.

I love hush puppy shoes because they’re so damn comfortable, but the colours available are so bleah. I know it seems like a crime to vandalise a pair of $100 + pumps, but I’m seriously contemplating pulling a fairy godmother stunt to turn a plain pair of pumps into really pretty sparkly shoes

check out the glitter shoes tutorial on Pixie on Pump’s blog!

She used cheap shoes so I’m thinking I might practice my skills on a cheap throwable pair before trying it out on a pair of hush puppies. haha.

so yep! those are the few things I’m planning on doing! :D It’s always great to find inspiration. I just hope that I don’t end up like this:

HAHA. have a great week ahead everyone!!

One Day Movie

I have gushed about how wonderful this novel is to friends and of course I had to watch the movie on its opening day. I was so excited because Ann Hathaway plays Em almost to a T and Jim Sturgess was the charmingly detestable Dex. I thought that Ann succeeded in capturing Em’s endearing wit and I’m glad that some of my favourite lines were featured in the film.

“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if i could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle”

“Salmon. Salmon, salmon, salmon, salmon. I eat so much salmon at these weddings, twice a year I get this urge to swim upstream.”
 
“You’ve got to stop letting women slip drugs into your mouth, Dex, it’s unhygienic. And dangerous. One day it’ll be a cyanide capsule.”
 
 

For people who have not read the novel, the transitions between the years may be alittle abrupt and that’s really cos chunks of the story are missing like how Em has an affair with the Principal of the school she was teaching in or even Dex’s time in India was glossed over. But in all fairness it is difficult to represent a full year’s passing within a matter of minutes so yes, the significant scenes are all there, some of which are poignant to say the least.

“I’m not the consolation prize, Dex. I’m not something you resort to. I happen to think I’m worth more than that.”

“I love you. I just don’t like you very much anymore.”

In addition to the great chemistry that Ann and Jim share onscreen, I thought the magic was also present in the setting. Edinburgh, Paris… the landscape and the soundtrack was just made the novel come alive and of course, the cinematic ending where the two of them were gamboling down the hill was just breathtaking. It reminded me alittle of the ending to  Time Traveller’s Wife (with the flashbacks and all) and when they parted after saying goodbye with Em giving this confident, mischief in her eye glint… wow that was such a good ending. In short, I really really did enjoy it. I felt that it stayed true to the essence of the novel.  

Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway in One Day

I will end with my favourite quotes of all time from the novel:

“Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

Halloween Makeup!

It’s sad that the Night Safari no longer has its Halloween festivities and it is replaced with some strange Halloween Night at the Singapore Flyer (I don’t understand how the two go together. Sounds gimmicky imo) but despite the rather blah events and parties, Ruth and I won’t have our spirits dampened! We love Halloween. The candy corn, the costumes, the crazy makeup. It is all about artistic expression and just for one day, you can be anything you want to be! A ghoul. A Vampire. (Ruth went as a goth girl once). It is time to let your creative juices run wild!

But of course, executing a brilliant idea takes skill and here are some step-by-step guides to help you achieve your look.

Xteeener does a pretty good zombie look here. The awesome thing about coming as a zombie is that it isn’t take much precision in applying the makeup cos hey, they aren’t supposed to look put together but messy, splotchy and fierce. You don’t even need to curl your hair. Just leave it messy and frazzled! The downside? Removing all that body paint is gonna be a real pain! Be sure to cleanse thoroughly and use moisturiser after.

This Zombie look too mild for you? Unlimited Elizabeth offers a more elaborate, scary rendition.

And of course with Twilight and Vampire Diaries being all the craze, how can I not include a Vampire makeup tutorial? Jessica Harlow has a sexy, sultry interpretation that is bound to make you look hot. Boys, better watch out.

But of course if the vampy bad girl isn’t quite your thing or you think vampires are so passe, then perhaps you can go for something mysterious and whimsical. I like MissChievous Black Widow Spider Queen and this Pop Art Girl tutorial by iwanted2c1video.

 

Or if you want something girly and princessy, then nothing beats being a Disney Princess. frmheadtotoe does a wonderful replica of Princess Jasmine and Belle.

So what will you go as this Halloween? Hope this post gave you some inspiration!

Kanye West tries his hand at Fashion

Whilst browsing through the Spring 2012 collections of Paris Fashion Week, one name I didn’t expect to pop up was Kanye West, better known for his rapping skills than sewing ones.

Kanye with his signature huge sunglasses & neatly trimmed mustache.

Even more surprising, his collection consisted of clothes exclusively for women – though I would think that some of his tough & alpha male image would translate really well into clothes for the manlier man, especially with so much of men’s fashion gearing towards the skinny and androgynous at present.

All in all, I found it quite an incoherent collection. Lots of fur, leather, skinny jeans, tiny shorts, he had beaded cardigans, boob revealing tops… I think this was basically a collection of what Kanye felt the women he knew, would look good in, rather than a strong vision of a design aesthetic. I mean, the only thing I consistently saw in every picture was just basically the necklace.

That said, some critics seem to like his over-the-top use of fur (alert PETA!) & his mix of loose fit clothing with some really tight fitting clothing. It’s all definitely geared towards the male gaze. haha. funny how Carol & I both land on the same subject in our posts within the week. *bestie telepathy ftw!*

So what do you think of his collection? check out the rest on Style.com here

 

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