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Rested, Refreshed and Rejuvenated

It’s Monday! I hope all of you emerge from your weekends well rested, refreshed and rejuvenated. The important 3 Rs that are always essential in my weekend plans :) This weekend, I really caught up on my sleep debt and was really thankful for the “metime” to just sit back and relax – though I’ll admit that my love for time management games caused me some healthy frustration. haha.

& just in case you’re into stressful time management games like me (hey! the satisfaction of completing a level efficiently is very rejuvenating, ok!), here’s what I’ve been into lately, Burger Queen. It’s not listed on the “Top 25” of the iTunes list, but this app by Korean company Crecat Soft is well worth its $0.99 value. It’s been 3 days and I’m still addicted. The characters and animation are very comical and cute!

Of course, I didn’t just spend my entire weekend tapping away at my ipod touch (not converting yet to iphone! I’m still happily playing with my android phone whilst having my itouch lol) – I also looked for more decorations and additions for my still-rather-empty office space.

Tada! More flowers for my desk! :) We headed to IKEA with the intention of killing time before going to a friend’s house for mahjong, but I ended up going insane over the new range of pretty flowers there. This time, I was going for a different look and chose a long, elegant, transparent vase for my flowers – I only put four stalks in the vase as I wanted this to be more simple. I also picked two stalks of orchids – one purple and one white (as shown) so I can rotate the vase to suit my mood during the day :) For the vase, I accessorized with a black and gold chanel ribbon that has been lying around my desk forever (I stole it from my mom’s chanel perfume muhaha).

Here are closeups of the flowers

Besides the vase and flowers ($2.90 – $4.90 per stalk), I also bought a pink A4 sized photoframe to place my photos. Plus I also got this incredibly fuzzy pink pillow from Spotlight – slightly expensive at $24.95 (after 20% off) but it was a gift from the bf to indulge my girly insanity :D Pictures of those soon when I’ve placed them at my desk!

A little “me time” for my hair

Despite the hectic work schedule on weekdays and meetups & outings with the friends + the bf on weekends, I always make it a point to have time for myself, just to sit back, relax a little and give myself some pampering. Lately, besides my weekly face mask, I’ve begun to multi-task and do hair treatments at the same time as well, which really makes sense since both should be left on for about 10-15 mins :) It’s amazing how just setting aside 15 minutes each week can do such wonders for my hair, I’ve noticed HUGE improvements in my hair, and love how light, shiny and tangle-free it is at the moment.

Hair Masks are not new to my personal care repertoire, but I used to use them only monthly, instead of weekly as I’ve recently started doing. I always used to think that there was never enough time, but as it turns out, the satisfaction and happiness gained from having such lovely locks more than makes up for the tiny sacrifices I make in order to have the time to treat my hair :)

As usual, shown above are the hair treatments I’ve already tried.The Dove Regenerating Hair Mask was the first I tried, back in 2009 as I received it in one of the CozyCot fair goody bags. It was a pretty huge tub and I really enjoyed how my hair felt after that. It felt like hair conditioner, just that you leave it in your hair for a much longer time and it’s slightly harder to wash off.

The L’oreal Professional Lumino Contrast hair mask was a gift that came with my contact lens purchase late last year [2010] and though it was merely a sample size bottle, I had enough of it to last me through a month. Meant for those with dyed/highlighted hair, I definitely noticed that my hair colour stayed more vibrant for a longer period without fading. similar to Dove’s product, it felt like conditioner as well.

Last but not least, the Essentials Hair Damage Care Rich Premier Treatment was the only product I purchased, as I was freaking out slightly about the increasing number of split ends in my hair. It’s the one I’m presently using, and of all those I’ve tried, has the most pleasant scent. (the other two were quite scentless post-treatment). My hair is tangle free, my dyed hair looks vibrant and feels much smoother as well :)

All in all, I wouldn’t say that there’s a great difference between any of these hair treatment masks, but sparing just 5-15 mins (depending on instructions) each week using these had definitely made a wonderful difference for me, and I plan to continue doing so.

Post-Birthday Thoughts

It’s weird that I still vividly remember the day I turned 21. The horror, the sense of impending doom, that liberating feeling of joy and ecstasy, the superiority of adulthood. So you see, turning 23 has been somewhat of a surreal experience for me. I know  it happened, but somehow for me it hasn’t really settled into the depths of my brains yet.

This year, as I officially leave the sheltered walls of my schooling years, I hope to be the best that I can be, and find the fulfillment and motivation I never truly found in my studies. With my new job (I’m 2 weeks into it so it’s too early to tell), I picked it for the great environment & even with the stress, I’m really enjoying it. That said, I can’t say for sure it’s my life’s calling, so we’ll have to see about that :)

I hope to make wiser choices, and have the determination & perseverance to stick to them. It’s always easy to run away, but you’ll be a stronger one for staying put and facing difficulties head on :)

ty all for wishing me a happy birthday via the various social media channels I’m plugged into!

At this age, it’s no longer the presents that count.

It’s the people who make the effort to say a word, that counts.


Florals & Denim

Being on a holiday means I have loads of time to prep before an outing, so yesterday I decided to do yet another Anna Sui-inspired outfit, but instead of my previous crochet + floral look, I decided to go for denim + prints, though I didn’t go all the way as I don’t yet have a full denim piece, as seen on those on the Spring 2011 runway.

Cotton On Tanktop, Delias Skirt and Denim Shrug from Double Index

I love this floral skirt from Delias and usually wear it high waisted, and having a nude coloured tank top is always great to pair with patterned stuff. I used to steer away from anything plain coloured or clothing lacking detail, but now I’m learning how to match them with my heavily patterned pieces for some balance.

As my friends were slightly late, I sat down at my favourite coffee place Spinelli’s and tried out their Gingerbread Spin, [$6.60] an ice blended coffee with gingerbread cookies ground up and added to the mix. It wasn’t too bad but I felt that it didn’t have enough of a gingerbread kick, so I was slightly disappointed. Their Original Spin still remains my top favourite.

Spinelli’s @ Nex is fast becoming my favourite coffee place to hang out, as it’s so close to my place and has comfortable seats in a spacious area. Though I’d admit that I dislike the insane number of ceiling lights they have above the place (which is part of the design of Nex Mall, WHY???) because they’re quite glaring and hypnotic, particularly when they change colours… it’s still a great place to chill and chat with friends, or just to read a book, which I did for all of 5 minutes til my friends arrived :)

My friend Huilin had returned from her solo grad trip to Tokyo (she’s so brave!) and we exchanged stories and souvenirs from our trips to Japan. I passed her and Kaelyn the yummylicious Hokkaido Lover Chocolates and she gave Kaelyn and I each 2 cute sachets of tea

I continue to be absolutely amazed and intrigued by how innovative the Japanese are when it comes to packaging. They certainly take pride in how the present their products, and it even translates to personal style as they take pride in how they present themselves to people as well. That I think, is one thing we should learn from. Presenting yourself to others well shows pride in your self, as well as respect to other people because you make the effort to look good! The best part is, when you know or feel that you look good, you feel great and more confident as well :)

Dust, thou art my Enemy

this is how friggin neat and clean my room is now.

  • 9am-11am: Wrapped all the Christmas presents lying randomly around my floor
  • 11am-12pm: unpacked whatever remaining luggage there was from Hokkaido Trip. Wrapped more presents.
  • 12pm-1230pm: lunch break
  • 1230pm-430pm: Packed and Cleaned the rest of the room, with the power of ANTISEPTIC WIPES
  • 430pm-6pm: Christmas decorations AROUND THE HOUSE!

I do this every year and it exhausts me so but since I only clean my room thoroughly 6 times a year (i.e. not just packing and making things neat.. that’s a weekly affair, this is full scale on emptying out drawers and cleaning every nook and cranny), I always make sure I do a good job of it.


End of sem reflections

Today is pretty much the last day of school, the long awaited end of the semester. Looking back, it’s been a powerpack 4 months. I moved into hall, sharing a space with someone that I hardly knew, I had to cope with multiple assignments that often converge within the same week and I basically had to adjust to a new way of life and formulate a system for myself.

And you know what? I think I’ve done pretty well (not to toot my own horn but I’ve really become wayyy more independent. You can read more about it in my previous post). It is surprising how so much can change over 4 months. I never meant to grow so attached to people and places. I came into this with the mentality that the friendships I made in this course was purely for working purposes only. But somehow, I’ve actually built bonds here with student-teachers who share the same fire and passion that I have for my subject and for my students.

As much as there have been much flak (and complaints, that I do not deny) about NIE and doubts about how impractical and plain useless it is, I’ve discovered that this entire experience has been most enriching and I think that this journey, on the most part, has been inspiring. I’ve learnt to surround myself with like-minded individuals and their positivity has certainly fuelled me to push on. On the flipside, maybe it’s cos we share weal and woe together (ah those dreaded deadlines) but we’ve really become a tight-knit community (I love you all my lit and geog homies!) and now that these modules have come to an end, I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness and regret.

Great minds think alike

I know that this is really a silly notion to be having because hey, Singapore is so small! And it’s not like I’m never going to see these people again. But really if you think about it, once we all head out into the working world, we’ll all be too absorbed and busy with our lives that maintaining such a close relationship and bond will not be such an easy task anymore. And honestly, that scares the heck out of me. The fact that my support group is slowly dissolving and ultimately, I will have to embark on a solo career; to stand alone and to fend for myself (friends who know me well can very well relate to my insecurity and trepidation cos I am very much a social creature that thrives on constant affection. In short, I am needy and I will die without social interaction. Lol.)

Yup, that’s me.

I think this feeling of loss really hit me hard today because we had a farewell/Christmas party with my Geography cohort and we have been planning a Glee/High School Musical of sorts to act as a showcase for this event. Little did I realise that with constant rehearsals and with fiddling with decorations and food planning, how close I have become with my coursemates and in retrospect, I realised how lucky I’ve been because this class is awesome AND EXTREMELY RARE. Everyone gets along, there’s no drama, no friction. Just genuine sincere interactions. I know it sounds really exaggerated especially since I will still see them next semester for a final module, or maybe it’s just Christmas and that’s making me more reflective and emo. Whatever the case, I am so thankful for these people. I absolutely love them to bits and learning wouldn’t have been so fun and fruitful without them.

Awesome is what we are

The same can be said about my Lit class. While I don’t feel that we are as tightknit a group compared to my Geog class, I feel like NIE has given me a chance to really know a couple of people better. People that have only been hi-bye friends during my time in NUS. Maybe it’s because of the subject but there has been drama. Thrills and spills, anger, disappointment, crazy joy… Basically, it’s been a steep learning curve especially where working relationships  are concerned. But the upside of it all? I think my passion for Lit has been reignited. I have never read with such verocity since secondary school and now I feel a deep desire to infuse creativity in my lessons, to make others feel this passion too.

So in short, I will miss this awesome bunch of people.

But I will never miss them as much one special person.

My roomie moved out today. She isn’t gonna stay next sem so here I am, sitting in a room that is semi furnished (my half) while the other half is as bare as bare can be. It is a strange feeling to see her pack up her things and help her to lug her ‘china bags’ (as she so affectionately calls them) to the bus stop and wait for her cab to arrive. And boy golly, I started missing her the minute she walked out the door.

It’s really amazing how we’ve really become firm friends over the past 4 months. The late night movies and supper sessions, the silly games and heart-felt conversations. I’m gonna miss all of this (even her strange habits like doing laundry at 3am in the morning.) And I felt the full extent of the loss when I peered over at the towel rack and saw her teal towel missing. Or worse, the closet door was closed (being the vain people we are, we always leave the mirror side open lol.) That was when it really struck me. The fact that she was REALLY GONE and there I was. ALONE.

Yup, that’s me again.

My friend tried to comfort me by saying that I have more privacy now, more personal space. And while I try to be optimistic and cheerful about it especially since I will get a new roomie next semester (I love making new friends), I can’t help feeling sentimental and melancholic.

She is really the best roomie that anyone can ever ask for. Knowing what a gu niang I am, she refilled the air freshner and she even cleaned the floor before she left (though I have to say in my defense, that I clean the floor most of the time). So yes, I will miss her greatly but that being said, I’m thankful to have gotten to know her.

The coolest chick I know

So underlying this momentary sadness, is gladness. I’m thankful for this semester, this 4 months, NIE, hall life, the people I’ve met along the way… the whole works. As cliche as it may sound, it’s made me a better person. So as I look towards the new year and the new joys and heartaches that will soon come my way, I too want to hold these memories (fond or otherwise), in my heart. Thank you 2010, you’ve been awesome.

Cross Stitching!

Each time I go for a holiday, I ensure that I’ve something along for entertainment on those long coach rides so I won’t feel like I’m wasting my life away. Here’s what I’m bringing along with my ipod Touch this time!

it appears very crumpled coz I keep folding the cloth whenever I sew – I’ll iron it eventually!

Independence day

As my boyfriend is on a 20hr flight to Greece as we speak, I spent Hari Raya alone in the West (cos it didn’t make sense to travel back and forth just for a day) and instead of emo-ing and cooping myself up in my room, I decided to head out to Jurong Point, determined to have a good time. So armed with a book in hand, I sussed out Starbucks, bought myself a Dark Cherry Mocha Frap and a quiche and plopped myself down and started reading.

My book of choice was Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated and I am about 150 pages in.

Pretty good so far, reminded me a little of Middlesex with the whole,” tracing my lineage” theme. Seems like Greek and Jewish writers are very preoccupied with origins.

What was strange was that Foer created this character Alexander who speaks on behalf of the reader. So he reads Foer’s book and asks questions that we would ask and he communicates with Foer (who himself is a character in the book). So there is this really weird distinction going on between Foer the writer and Foer the character as well as Alex who in many ways is like another Foer ‘self.’ There’s abit of  a Me Myself and Irene vibe going on that is tad confusing. But that being said, I think the main plot that revolves around Brod is compelling and like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, there are many beautiful enigmatic moments created. I’ll like to share a quote that really spoke to me:

If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler’s felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does.

That was a ‘wow’ moment for me.

Yup. So after reading for about 2hours I relinquished my seat and went to walk around. Despite staying near JP, I’ve never really had time to shop around till today and I have to say that I am impressed with the selection of shops there especially shoe shops. My gosh there’s Mitju, Pretty Fit, Charles and Keith, Nodo, Mondo, Rubi, Anna Nucci, the list goes on. It is insane.

Anyhow, my first stop was to BodyShop to get me some of that detangling spray that Ruth got in her Bodyshop haul. And I was in luck because of the Hari Raya holiday, there was 20% storewide so I got it at around $14-16 (I can’t quite remb the price cos I don’t keep receipts. Oops) Not sure about whether it is an effective detangler cos there didn’t seem to have much effect when I spritz some in my hair but I guess the results aren’t instant and it’ll take some time to work (not to mention that my hair ends are super curly and mangly). But the scent is so damn niceeee! It’s like juicy blackcurrent aka ribena scent all over your hair (ok, maybe some of you girls might find it weird but I love it)!
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So after BodyShop, I passed by a nail place along the stretch where New York New York is and they had an express mani service for $6 so I figured, why not? I haven’t painted my nails in awhile and I deserved some pampering! So yay to pretty purple nails!

The colour turned out alot brighter in the picture. What I’ve got on my nails is more lavender purple. For the life of me, I can’t remb the name of the nail place. It’s this open-air concept place which also does makeup and hair services if I’m not mistaken. Anyhow, service was great. The person who attended to me was chatty and approachable despite my very limited Chinese. She shaped my nails square, just the way I like it and she did a pretty meticulous job. And she continued chatting with me while I waited for my nails to dry so that was pretty fun. Also, I got to witness an expert do makeup on a client for some wedding party. I’ve never seen something like that upclose before. Pretty cool! Especially eyeshadow application. These experts make it look so easy. Sigh.

Ok, after painting my nails I had to buy something for my Geog picnic tomorrow so I headed to a Famous Amos outlet and got choc chip and pecan cookies! Yum. (Of course I sneaked a bite here and there lol. It’s just hard not to.)

Then I popped into Stationery Island to look at pretty planners. Like Ruth, I absolutely love decorating my planner and I am one of those crazy people that have to pencil in assignments and meetups into an organizer the minute I hear about it so this was my heaven. And I emerged a happy happy woman because I didn’t buy something for myself but for a friend. Nothing makes me happier than surprising people with gifts and I am pretty darn sure that she’ll like what I bought cos as I flipped through it, my mind was screaming “OMGOMGOMG I need to get this for Chell”. Lol. I won’t delay the suspense further and show you what it is:
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It is a planner that features 64 photos taken of Berlin for each week! I cannot wait to give this to her and see her reaction! YAY to surprises and making people happy!

Haha and to round up my trip to JP, my last stop was at Dano (which was really quite random) cos a ruffled sweater caught my eye and I just had to have it. So there we go, another $33 flew out of my pocket but I have never been happier (I totally understand how Becky Bloomwood feels) clutching the paper bag in my hand knowing that the sweater is now MINE.

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Isn’t it so pretty? I absolutely love the ruffles and to merge it with cardigans, my other great love (I have a HUGE love affair with cardigans. God knows how many I have in my closet), that is just a match made in heaven. Too good to be true girls.

So that pretty much sums up my day! Me glowing from happiness because of my pretty nails and the awesome shopping I managed to squeeze in, and also from the reading and me time that is so hard to come by. What a luxury it is to be able to sip coffee, contemplate and just see the world go by. I got a taste of it today.

And what I most love about today? The fact that I can walk the whole of JP and be incognito. To don Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and just be free to do whatever I wanna do and not feel rushed to hand in assignments or meet people, not having to answer phonecalls or smses. How I savoured this feeling. The feeling of independence and absolute freedom. For lack of a better word, today was just AWESOME!

Holding the Man

Hello everyone, I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA recently. But the good news is that my hell week is over and hopefully I can post regularly again!

Now despite my busy busy schedule, the one thing that I can’t give up is reading. As you all know by now, I am quite the bookworm and the most recent book I’ve finished reading is Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave.

And let me just say that it is such a wonderful read! It was so accessible and engaging and for an autobiography, I felt that it was very truthful and sincere. The blurb reads:

The mid-seventies: at an all-boys Catholic school in Melbourne, Timothy Conigrave falls wildly and sweetly in love with the captain of the football team. So begins a relationship that weathers disapproval, separation and ultimately death. With honesty and insight, Holding the Man explores the highs and lows of any partnership, and the strength of heart both men have to find when they test positive for HIV. This is a book as refreshing and uplifting as it is moving; a funny and sad and celebratory account of growing up gay.

The blurb pretty much summarises it all. I haven’t had much exposure to Australian literature before this and honestly, it doesn’t feel any different from reading an American text. The humour, style and wit is pretty similar to David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day and to some degree, Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit. A kind of cryptic, satirical humour radiates throughout the text and somehow, that is a very effective means of subverting social norms and making us see the absurdity of our rigid, binaristic thinking. If anything, the text is conveying in its easygoing way: “What is all the fuss about? We are just two people deeply in love with one another.”

And maybe it’s just me but I think this unique brand of humour seems to be a defining trait of LGBT literature (and Ellen for that matter) and you know what, I absolutely love it. I love how this subgenre is totally opening my mind to new ways of viewing people and how it teaches me to withhold judgement and to see things in a new perspective. It definitely altered the misconceptions and stereotypes that I had (ahhh the beauty of literature and the power of the written word)

Conigrave’s style also reminds me of Tony Parsons. Both authors have this incredible gift of drawing the reader close to the characters and really making us feel for them. It’s hard not to be moved by Conigrave’s tale of him and his lover and their 15-year relationship. Sure, maybe Tim isn’t exactly the symbol of fidelity and he committed many acts that hurt John deeply but that doesn’t deter John from loving him any less.

I saw for the first time in a long time, how powerful and unwavering love is. And towards the end when both of them have to grapple with the notion of death and Tim has to carry on with life, a life without John, that was when the floodgates opened. I found myself sitting on my bed in my dorm room weeping openly (I know I sound pathetic). It has been A LONG TIME since a book made me feel this way. And this is coming from a girl who isn’t moved by Nicholas Sparks’ stories!

Somehow, the power of the words, the intensity of emotions, the ferocity of their love… the culmination of all these feelings was just overwhelming (didn’t help that I was preparing a poetry package on W. H. Auden’s Funeral Blues). And I think in part, the beauty of this novel lies in the fact that it gives me hope. Hope that such love does exist, hope that society will one day be less judgmental and hope that one day we’ll be more willing to accept and embrace difference.

Book Ads

How I wish local bookstores could take a hint or two from these innovative book ads.

once school is over & done with, I’m camping at the library.

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