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Yesterday, Carol & I decided to double date for lunch + prawning :) It was her first ever time going, so she was really excited, despite Mark’s (her bf’s) protestations that he and aquatic life weren’t exactly the best of friends. That said, it had also been a long time since Simeon (my bf) and I had gone, so we were pretty psyched too!

The prawning place we went to was quite close to Bishan (Junction 8), where we met to have lunch. It’s located near Sin Ming Avenue. Looking very much like a kampung, it had a roof of dried leaves, which made it a sheltered place from the sun. There were 4 ponds in the front and another 4 in the back, and we decided to settle in a corner that was both windy and sheltered :)

The first catch of the day was mine! We caught it in less than 15 minutes after settling down, which was awesome. The thing about prawning is it’s unpredictable, and a combination of luck + skill. I’m not very skillful myself but I managed to snag this one :) Almost immediately after I caught mine, my bf and Carol also caught their first catches in quick succession!

Carol was fascinated by the little pincers that came with each prawn – and we actually kept a tally and “collection” of the pincers piled up on the side ledge, but some discourteous couple invaded our territory and impolitely discarded and stepped on them without us realizing, so we didn’t manage to snap a picture of that :(

Caroline’s first catch turned out to be the LARGEST CATCH of the day! We henceforth named it the MONSTER PRAWN. Though there were a few people at the place who caught slightly larger prawns, but Carol’s prawn was pretty huge. In the picture it already had its pincers removed. It bit me.

(right) Caroline caught a prawn, panicked and swung it backwards, I gamely hold the prawn to remove its pincers and unhook it. (left) Carol and I holding her catch! :)

Of course, the best part of it was that we got to bring home yummy prawns to eat :)

The prawning place we went to is located at Sin Ming Avenue
Prices are as follows: 1 hour – $15, 2 hours – $25, 3 hours – $30
If you’re unable to stay for the full three hours, you can “keep” hours for your next visit

It’s the little things that count

These days, it isn’t just the bag or the purse that defines the woman – it’s also what’s inside that has increasingly begun to fascinate people all around the world. I for one, will fully admit I’m always highly curious about what people have inside their bags. What do they think is important? Lipstick? Eyeliner? An Umbrella? A book?

Aptly named Persona, this set of flickr photos showcases photographer Jason Travis’ work as he meets random people on the streets and requests to take photographs of them and the contents of their bags.

Are the items in your bag purely functional? What can’t you bear to leave at home when you’re out in the day? There’s a reason why everyone isn’t just toting around those tiny clutches on a daily basis and prefer to use large totes or satchels instead.

Particularly for those who’ve entered the working world, the contents of your bag just screams out your personality, since there’s no “dress code” when it comes to the contents of your bag :) Are you a neat freak who uses a bag organizer and have specific places to store each and every item? Or do you stick to a particular theme/colour scheme when it comes to your personal belongings?

Of course, it’s also great to be minimalist. hahaha!

A similar project, called Face Your Pockets, encourages people from all over the world to place the contents of your pockets + your face (optional) on the scanner & scan it! Sounds blinding, but it’s a pretty fascinating site.

It’s definitely a less neater version, but it’s interesting to see how different people choose to scan themselves. Side profile, just the nose, for some they’re content with a ghostly presence… Plus it’s the individuals themselves who dictate the arrangement of objects on screen.

* all pictures credit to their respective photographers

Local blogshop has a similar series that explores the contents of its local customers, bloggers as well as interesting people they meet off the street. All you have to do is email them or make a purchase to qualify

I especially love how they’ve come up with catchy phrases to describe each and every personality – it’s a nice personalized touch that makes everything all the more interesting!

Jietling, Highflying “jiet”-setter

I love the wordpuns they use! Plus I think it’s an innovative and great way for them to connect with their customer base, which I feel more local retailers should make an effort to do.

So what’s in your bag? A friend of mine told me that she has 3 “sets” of items to put in her bag, depending on the occasion. The “work day” set, the “weekend” set and the “night out” set, which actually makes sense to me, since I’d bring a different colour lipstick/makeup for touchups and would want to manage the weight of my bag for these different occasions.

Then again, some of just simply prefer to bring everything everywhere – it’s all part of our kiasu culture! :)

What’s in YOUR bag?

Hokkaido Day 3 [Part 1]: Toys Galore!

After a good rest in our hotel, we were up and ready to face our packed schedule for the next day! The great thing about Japan’s hotels is that even their most basic hotels trump all those hotels we stayed in during our China tour. Not only are the basic requirements met (i.e. nice pillow, toiletries, working toilet), but everything is very well maintained and though the rooms were not always very spacious, they never resembled the hostel rooms one gets in Hong Kong (where the door is literally at the foot of the bed..). The thing I loved most was the bathtub in every room we got. Nothing beats a nice soak in a hot tub after a day in winter :)

I don’t often travel to very cold countries during their winter period, so I don’t really own a lot of thick winter wear, nor do I see the need to buy so many and wearing them once or twice every few years or so. So I make do with a few woolen pieces and layer with knit wear, which I wear by their own in Singapore as well – it really isn’t too hot! The heart-striped pinafore above was purchased from Delias a few years back :) It’s one of my favourite online stores and I have quite a few pretty pieces from there!

Our first stop was a photostop at the famous Otaru Canal, located in the town of Otaru, which is famous for its glasswork shops and old stone warehouses.

Personally I didn’t really see anything really special or glorious about this Canal, but it was pretty fun playing in the snow. We made a few snowmen! haha :)

We then headed on to the Kitaichi Glass Shop, which sold a variety of glass art works, glass ware, toys and music boxes. Once again we were bedazzled by the sheer number and variety of toys and little trinkets.

the Good Luck Cat in various poses, expressions and forms. Super cute! Some even had kimonos

Unsurprisingly, the Music Box Shop was similarly packed from top to toe with toys and music boxes of all shapes, sizes and designs.

For those who are enthralled with Japanese kawaii culture, these toys and trinkets are definitely a sight to behold, not just within the tourist places we were brought to, but also their neighbouring shops as glasswork and trinkets seemed to be something that every single shop along the streets of Otaru specialised in. There were tons of green-pea looking trinkets (what looked to me like green peas with faces etc.) These are unique to Hokkaido, and represent a “moss ball”. Many buy moss balls to bring home and it just grows.. I have no idea why they like it. Owls also seemed to be very popular creatures.

Suffering from a cute overload, my dad convinced us to explore the local seafood stalls – where we saw various crabs, scallops and other dried/live seafood on sale. Since it was nearing lunch time and we were feeling slightly peckish, we decided to buy ONE scallop. Mind you, each scallop was pretty big, and one was more than enough for a huge piece for each of us.

The lady was barbecuing the scallops and selling them – we only bought them after several of our tour group members had tried them and were raving about them. It seemed quite common for the seafood stalls to cook the food on the spot once it was ordered. On the right is cooked King Crab. One packet costs 500 yen, which is about $8 SGD. By my parents’ calculations, the same amount of crab (same type) in Singapore would cost close to $20 SGD FROZEN, not fresh. Fresh King Crab is an impossibility on our sunny island. *sobs*!  Unlike us, who consume our crabs in chilli and black pepper goodness, the Japanese often prefer to eat their fresh crabs plain and cold, which is simply delicious as their meat is extremely sweet. Very different from our Sri Lankan crabs.

After a buffet lunch at a hotel, we headed for shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park Sapporo Kitahiroshima. It was opened just last year and holds loads of high-end stores, most of which had items costing even more than the total amount of yen my family had changed from SGD to. It was pretty empty actually, though there were considerably more locals there than tourists. I did however, like its spaciousness. Unlike similar high-end stores on the street, the outlet stores here contain more past-season items at great discounts. Coach was on 30-50% off, with a further 20% off on one item (upon entering the shop they would offer you a coupon). It also contained many other exclusive stores such as Burberry Blue Label (exclusive to Japan), Paul Smith, Armani, Barneys New York, Fossil, Ralph Lauren, Furla, Diesel, Folli Follie, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, BEBE, Vans etc. There are 128 stores in total, some of which are the only store that the brand has in Japan. The Outlet Park is also famous for its farmer’s market, which contains a large assortment of local produce from the farmers in the region.

Getting Organized

Planners are essential, & I’ve never shied away from spending a good buck because hey, it’s something that will last me for an entire year – I jot down inspirational quotes, doodle on the sidelines & well, I’m not so awesome with the scheduling stuff but it does help me keep organized, somewhat. So I couldn’t contain my excitement when my 2011 Kate Spade Calender arrived

As with every planner, I buy them about 1-2 months before the next year so I have time to leisurely doodle or paste cute stickers randomly all over it. Last year I went for a very plain, minimalistic planner. But I’ve decided to return back to the colour madness that I love so much, & the wonderful illustrations inside the Kate Spade planner met my expectations perfectly

This Kate Spade calender can be found on Fredflare at $22USD, (before 30% off fredflare discount ongoing now) <– hence my reason for buying it from Fredflare instead of the Kate Spade website (:

Even though I’ve already started doodling in it, I’m not finished with it yet – then again I won’t be finished with it til the end of 2011 because I love sticking in random tickets of the various concerts & events I go to in the course of the year on my planner.. but I’m sorely tempted to get these super cute stickers from Paper Exploits

These stickers can be purchased for $4 USD on her etsy store here & the set comes with 2 each of each design. I definitely favour stickers with white backgrounds because they blend in better with the planner

Another planner I was considering was Beth Jones’ Styit!

The cover didn’t impress me at all, but its content certainly did

Besides the spacious squares for monthly planning, Stylit has pre-sketched nude undergarments to assist the fashionista in her outfit planning

Besides these pages, the planner also contains travel pages, as well as doodling/notetaking pages. It can be purchased from her etsy store here for $25USD. However, I decided against this for several reasons: (1) I still don’t like the cover [even though I probably could dress it up with wrapping paper..], (2) I’m starting on my first fulltime, permanent position next year, this planner would be too distracting, (3) Kate Spade won me over with the mess of colours.

As an avid scrapbooker who loves the beautiful mess of scrapbooking, I was also leaning towards this Vintage Scrapbook

Isn’t it really pretty! I just love the colourful tabs at the side & the whole “handmade” feel to it. However, I felt it might be too bulky for daily use, even though I’m not a fan of the tiny purse bags, but this would seriously weigh down my bag, particularly since I like to add on & stick things inside, which would further add to its bulkiness.

It contains several doodling & note taking pages, & even an envelope to keep & organize small items/slips of paper. I really love how each month’s “theme” is quite different from the next. this can be purchased from lovecreationgirl’s etsy shop here for $23.50 USD. I do feel inspired though to add colourful tabs to my Kate Spade planner. I’m also tempted to try patterning my pages as shown above, but that’ll be quite hard work so I’ll leave that for the holidays :)

For those who’re into really tiny and compact planners, check out mod86designery, who has a super cute range of mini planners for the girl who loves small purses. Here are some of my favourite picks from the store:

Each of them retail at $15 USD at her etsy store here

Tips for getting a great planner

  1. Find one with a design & a layout that you really like – if you want to be able to stick to scheduling and penning down your thoughts and events on a daily basis, having a planner that makes you feel happy/looks aesthetically pleasing goes a long way in helping you keep to that resolution.
  2. Space! Know yourself. What kind of spaces do you like? Lined spaces, blank spaces, boxed spaces, rectangular spaces… each planner is different and unique from how it demarcates different days of the week/months. An avid sketcher & scrapbooker, I like blank pages in between months so I can sketch & paste in magazine cut outs for inspiration
  3. Accessorize it. use a clip to attach a sticker sheet at the back so you can “dress” up your organizer, sketch or even highlight important things
  4. Colour code – important events, school/work events, meetups with friends etc. so it’ll be easy to tell at a glance what type of activities you have for the day. This will help you decide what you should wear for the day, whether you should pack in accessories to change your outfit from “work” to “a night out”.
  5. Be practical. Think about your daily habits. Are you the type who carries a large tote? or a smaller purse? Pick your organizer based on your lifestyle and preferences.

Pessimism is the easy way out

& that’s what I plan to argue for the essay I’m working on presently. Certainly, many see optimists as naive or even, child-like – but in this world where there’s so much shit happening around us (not to mention, the looming threat of global warming, nuclear bombs and biological threats), people forget to take a step back & smell the roses.The capitalist-driven economy thrives on telling consumers they don’t have enough, and more, more, more is needed before “true” happiness and fulfillment can ever be attained. Well, I don’t begrudge those who strive for the better things in life, but I also believe one should never forget how to be happy.

I hope these brighten up your day!

My Fragmentary Post-Modern Self

I woke up late & decided to skip school

I have a semi-brilliant thesis & it is not writing itself.

distracted, distracted, distracted.

two unwatched episodes of Chuck & How I Met Your Mother are on my desktop

I feel disjoined & incoherent.

can you tell?

This picture makes me feel like experimenting with darker eyeliner.

10 journal articles down, 15 more to go.

Reading everything could possibly be the most sensible form of procrastination I’ve ever indulged in.

The Sparky Contagion

Few are those who can resist cute baby animal eyes

Read the rest of this entry

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