Days 83 and 84: Makers, Mario and Me

We went to check out the Mini Maker Faire over the weekend. While it was really quite mini, we still got to see quite a lot of cool stuff. My favourite was getting to see 3D printers in action for the first time!
We also enjoyed the activities by the Sustainable Living Lab which were brilliant, such as:
A drip cold coffee maker made from ordinary household stuff such as hangers and old plastic bottles

Using egg shells as planters

They even made play stuff for children out of recycled/recyclable materials such as this mega Mario!
Top from a long time ago, shorts from the bag of goodies, shawl from my mom

I had a happy weekend. Hope you did too!

I'm still looking for meaningful activities to do or causes to support for 28 for 28. Keep the suggestions rolling in.
Dress from the bag of goodies, leather bag from Saatchi, shoes from Far East


Day 82: Casual Friday

Walking down the back lanes of Chinatown during a happy Friday lunchtime. 
Top a hand me down, chinos from uniqlo, leopard print shoes from Far East.

28 for 28

In 28 days, I will be turning 28. To celebrate 28 blessed years of life, I hope to do at least 28 things that will bless others. They might be simple gestures, but I hope they bring a smile. Join me in my journey. I have not decided on what the 28 things will be yet, so suggestions are welcome :) 

To start off, I'm lending my support to a worthy cause today. 

I read about Solar Sister on a climate change publication and I thought it was simply brilliant. It's a social enterprise that helps to bring women out of poverty by enabling them to sell solar powered products to their community. So it helps to empower women, bring electricity to places that do not have easy access to electricity, and helps spread the use of green energy. All issues close to my heart. 

What I appreciated was that when I had sent an email with questions regarding the sustainability of the business for the women it aims to help and affordability of products that they are selling, I got a detailed email from the CEO Katherine Lucey very quickly answering my questions and explaining more about how things work in and around the organisation and how the women involved feel about what they are doing. 

Let's hope my little contribution makes a difference to somebody. 

Any suggestions for tomorrow?


Day 81: Phantom in Magenta

I headed to catch the Phantom of the Opera in my magenta dress from Robinsons. 
Unfortunately, Phantom was quite a let down and we spent most of it struggling to see the stage, to hear what they were singing and ultimately, to stay awake. 
The good part was spending time with people I like. 

Day 80: OHana

A very cute little girl named Lilo once said, "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten." 

Oldham Hall was home for me in my late teens/early 20s, and this group of people became my OHana. As Assistant House Masters/Mistresses, we all lived under one very large roof, organised events together, woke up to countless false fire alarms together, poured our lives into the lives of our boarders together, had many late night meetings together, and had hours of fun together. 

While many of us have since left the Hall, it was awesome getting together again under the very large roof of Oldham Hall to catch up with each other. It was cool seeing how God has led each one of us along the journey of life. We rejoiced together over much good news and also prayed for each other. I am so thankful for this OHana.

Outfit of the day: Black and white dress from Bangkok, vest from London. 0 comments

Day 79: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had all the common answers to that question- teacher, stewardess, police woman, astronaut, lawyer. The answer usually changed depending on what the latest tv show was featuring.

What I wanted to do when I grew up also changed as I grew up and I discovered more about what I liked doing and what I did well.

My latest, and longest running answer to the question has been this: Tai Tai. So much so that one of my friends got this for me a few years ago. It still holds pride of place in my office cube :)

Today's outfit is one of my tai tai outfits. The photo doesn't really do it justice as you can't see that the blazer is happy and sparkly and my shoes are bright blue. While I still have to work, at least I can dress my tai tai part.
Tai Tai outfit: Blazer from my bag of goodies, pants from BYSI, heels from Berlin, leather bag from Saatchi

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I'll let you in on a secret. Actually, I just want to be happy and loved. So far, it's turning out well. :)

Days 77 and 78: Racial Harmony Day

21 July is Racial Harmony Day in Singapore.

It is a day that was introduced in Singapore schools to commemorate the anniversary of the 1964 racial riots in Singapore, reflect on and celebrate the racially  diverse yet harmonious society that we enjoy, and promote inter-racial understanding.

To celebrate racial harmony day, I wore traditional ethnic outfits on Sunday and I got my colleagues to wear ethnic clothes on Monday too! I wish we all wore our ethnic outfits more often. Not only does it remind us of our roots, it also brightens up a dull day.

Share with me your pics of you in ethnic outfits!
Kathy in her Chinese Silk top, and me in my Vietnamese sleeveless Ao Dai top with purple leggings 

Colleagues in their ethnic best all the major races were represented. From right: Me in my Malay outfit of a Kebaya top, black tank top and baju kurung skirt, Angie in her Indian tunic, Wan Jean in her cheongsam inspired dress, Joyce in her Ah Ma (Chinese maid) outfit, Candy and Wei Mei in their modern cheongsams

Day 76: Bag of Goodies, Passing It On

Just as I was scrapping the bottom of my closet for new outfits, reinforcements arrived.  A friend of mine moved back from the US recently and she was giving away clothes that she had accumulated over the years that could not fit back into the little flats in Singapore. So I got the chance to dig through her huge bags of clothes and I went away with a trash bag full of goodies! There were so many beautiful pieces, and even an gorgeous evening gown. I can't wait to wear them.

With a fabulous new in-flow, I'm passing the goodness on too! I'm thinking of hosting a clothes swap, or just giving some of the pretty stuff I hardly wear any more to others who will love them. Anyone interested?

The yellow shorts from the outfit of the day came from the bag of goodies, paired with my starry tank top from Anchor Point and rag shoes from Beijing. Cheery clothes for a cheery Saturday.

Day 75: Hari Raya Pasar Malam

Ramadan- the month when our Muslim friends fast from dawn till sunset. 

It's also the time when a sprawling night market or pasar malam is set up in the Geylang Serai area. 

I always love visiting the pasar malam during this time as there is a buzz of excitement about it every night as our Muslim friends go about purchasing all that is needed for the Hari Raya celebrations like buying new decorations and even furniture for the home. 
There is also the pretty clothes on display as they buy news clothes for Hari Raya. I really appreciate how they have such a wide array of clothes that are conservative yet immensely feminine and beautiful.
While I did not buy anything that night, it was such fun browsing through the many bright and colourful stores filled to the brim with beautiful things.
Outfit of the day: white tank top, striped skirt a hand me down, leather satchel from the karanguni guni uncle, and white loafers from Scotland 

Day 74: Cook a Pot of Curry

We finally got around to watching Cook A Pot Of Curry on Thursday after hearing many good reviews about it. While it was enjoyable with a fabulous cast, I felt it seemed to only present the more populist views. Oh well, maybe it's the civil servant speaking. 
Outfit of the day was my tailored silk shift dress, black ballet flats from Far East and black leather bag from Saatchi 

Day 73: My Parents Love Me

Having been traveling and doing house stuff and everything else in between, I haven't had the time to go to my parents' home for dinner in awhile.

My dad is the family chef and he cooks fabulous food for my family almost everyday. But when I called to ask if there was dinner at home, I found out he had been working late the past few days and did not have time to cook. 5 minutes later, my mom called me back and said, don't worry about it, she would cook, come home anyway. I did. And I found out my brothers were both not eating at home that day and my dad was working late. On such a day, my parents would usually just eat out or buy back food. But since I had asked, my mom had cooked specially for me and even cooked exactly what I wanted- sesame oil chicken. Yums. Despite a long day at work, dad also cut fruit for me after dinner, which is his usual practice. All I did was assume my usual spot in my parents' home lounging on the sofa.

My parents love me

I thank God for such wonderful parents :)

The outfit of the day has nothing to do with my parents' apart from the sense of style they have imparted to me:
layered white shift dress a hand me down, pink cropped jacket with peplum from a flea, silver shoes from Berlin

Day 72: Tali Pinggang

Tali Pinggang is the term for belt in Malay.

It's also used as the name of the metal chain belt used to hold up the batik sarong (skirt) of the Peranakan kebaya. Made out of gold, silver or copper in the old days, the belts have usually intricate designs of birds and flowers.

I managed to get a Tali Pinggang from an old uncle at Sungei Road Theives Market several years ago and I love pairing it with my work dresses. It immediately brings some definition and old world glamour to an otherwise plain outfit.

Charcoal Mango dress from a flea market, tali pinggang from Sungei Road Theives Market and Bback leather heels from Tangs Studio

Day 71: I *Heart* Leather

I'm a big fan of leather. The 100% genuine cow's hide kind of leather. Why? Because such items are incredibly strong, stand the test of time, and age immensely well. So even though leather products are usually many times more expensive than their faux leather cousins, I believe they are worth every cent. Or you can be a cheapo like me and buy leather stuff from flea markets. Who needs a Louis Vuitton when you have a fabulous full leather satchel for under $10?
I get my leather wisdom from my mom. When I first started work, she bought me this pair of leather shoes. While it was still under $100, it was the single most expensive item I acquired for work wear. Today, it is the only pair of office shoes that has lasted for so many years. I have worked my way through countless ballet flats and cheapo faux leather heels, but this pair, I have only had to replace the worn out soles. 
I have also had the privilege of inheriting some of my mom's fabulous leather pieces like her thick leather waist belt which I wear whenever I need definition in an outfit, and some of her leather bags. I hope one day to see my daughter (if I'm ever blessed with one) to be carrying/using my leather items too. 
Outfit of the day: $2 polkadot shift dress from Bangkok, pink cardigan and leather shoes

Day 70: Pasarbella

We went to checkout PasarBella on Sunday. Decorated in a rustic homely feel, the place was lovely.
Outfit of the day: Printed dress from JB. Unfortunately, you can't see it clearly here.
At 3pm, the place was still filled with people milling about looking at all the food on sale. The food all looked good and tasted decent, but it was a tad expensive, especially since it was like a food court concept where you had to find your own seats, queue up at the stalls and jostle back to your seats with your food. They didn't even have trays so I had to call for reinforcements when my food was ready.
Paella- $13 for a box

Oysters for $3 each
Touted as Singapore's "farmers market", I was disappointed. By definition, a farmers market is a place where food is sold directly by farmers to consumers. It is meant to cut out the middle man and all the time wasted in transporting and processing food so that consumers can enjoy fresher, better quality food and farmers can enjoy greater profits and immediate feedback. However, almost everything at PasarBella was imported and there were no farmers in sight. Furthermore, it seemed to focus on cooked food instead of fresh groceries (there was a grand total of 1 fruits stall). A number of the food stalls set up there are chain stores also have other outlets in more accessible areas in Singapore e.g. Da Paolo, SaladStop! and Hubers.

Overall, beyond the decor and atmosphere, I was not very impressed. Maybe they should just stop touting it as a farmers' market or grocery shopping destination. Because it definitely isn't. But if you are looking for a place with a homely atmosphere and a cluster of nice food places for a weekend meetup with your friends (and all your friends drive), you can consider PasarBella. Otherwise, it's not quite worth the journey.

If you are looking for a more authentic "farmers' market" experience in Singapore you can check out these places instead. 

They are quite far out, but they do sell fresh produce straight from the source. Pretty good for a day out. Some even have farm tours which are very educational. If anyone is interested in going let me know. We can do a weekend trip together. 

Day 69: National Day Parade Preview

Singapore's National Day is 9th August. But I got to enjoy the parade a little earlier as my friend Jolene managed to score a pair of tickets and invited me along. Thanks Jolene! It was a blast!
Best seats in the house
The parade this year was held at the Marina Bay Floating Platform so it was a cosier setting. Our tickets were for the best section of the grandstand (the President's "throne" was just next to us) and we were so close to the front that we could see the faces of the MCs. We were soooooo pleased. The parade seemed more like a musical than the usual parade with brilliant original songs interspersed throughout the show even during the march past. The additional touches such as the kachang puteh men and pop quiz segments of the programme were also great crowd-pleasers. 

The usual military parade had a terrorist attack simulation. I felt like I was in counterstrike.

The cute kids stole the show

The NS boy next to us guarding the "throne"

I don't know why, but the flag fly past makes my heart swell with pride to be a Singaporean.

As the night enveloped us, the light sticks came up. Isn't the flyer lovely in the background?

Almost like a rock concert

Taking the pledge together. It has been awhile since I did this.

Time to head home!
Today's outfit (very unglam): Red tank top (in line with our national colours), denim shorts, and NDP fun pack.


5 Years On

5 years ago, we donned mortar boards and Harry Potter-esque robes. We walked on stage and collected our scrolls. We heard musings about the 4 years we had spent together at the Singapore Management University, and speeches which were meant to inspire us for what lay ahead. We were young, clueless and excited. We were happy the days of freeloading projects group mates, zany presentations, rushing to meet deadlines of papers and fighting for class participation were over, yet we knew in our hearts those 4 years were among the best times of our lives.

I met a bunch of my friends from university to celebrate our 5th year graduation anniversary and were just thinking about how the years flew past so quickly. But one in the group mentioned, that if we actually sat down and thought about how much has happened in the last 5 years, it was not quick at all. So true. 
Since leaving the halls of SMU, we've gone on to do many things that we probably never even thought of while toting our laptops through the concourse, mugging in the library, or enjoying the many extra curricular activities.

Since graduation, 

I got married to a charming young man I had met while rock climbing in SMU.

We bought a home together.

I made difficult decisions.

I have left things/organisations/places I loved.

I took on a career in the public service dealing with international relations. 
At the climate change negotiations
My work allowed me to see parts of the world that were never in my sphere of consciousness.

Flat tire in Angola
Azure waters of Palau
Ruins in Panama
I have met many people who have inspired me and enlarged my horizons
At an ancient church in Armenia with my Albanian friend

Much has also happened around us. And our world has changed. 

Looking back to the past 5 years, I can trace the hand of God in my life and I am thankful that He has always led me and been with me through the ups and downs. 

5 years on, how has your life changed?


Day 66-68: A Quiet Week

It has been a quiet week of easing back into work for me, even though the office seems to be in a flurry of activity. So I'm going to be thankful for such blessings. Still I'm also so glad that the week is almost over and we are headed into the weekend!

Day 66: Blazer from Zara, Dress from BYSI, Leopard Print shoes from Far East

Dat 67: Charcoal dress from Harbourfront, Green cardigan from Bangkok, woven belt a gift from long long ago 

Day 68: Happy Friday outfit! Salmon cardigan from Giant, Orange dress from  a flea and my favourite blue/purple suede shoes! Colour block/clashing?