Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Art - Goh Soo Khim

“Art often acts like a window to the world and opens our minds to experience and accept differences in other people”.

The above quote is by one of the most respected figures in Singapore’s dance scene, Goh Soo Khim. It was extracted in her interview to Her World magazine, after being crowned Her World Woman of the Year 2008.

Art is abstract and I often find it difficult to pinpoint why I love it. Perhaps I can’t be specific because its effect on me when felt is hard to translate into words. And if I do, I fear I do it injustice. However, I think the quote above does it pretty well. Indeed, art helps one see beyond one’s limited perspective of life. And we are so much richer because of it.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I can't recall how I started writing in journals. It's likely that my parents bought me a cute, pink, girly notebook when I was a kid. The kind with scented pages, accompanied by a little golden lock and key. I began writing on an almost daily basis. I wrote about my days in school, how I worried about the upcoming Maths test, how I wanted to get into the school's badminton team etc. It all seems so trivial now, sometimes funny, sometimes cringeworthy, but they were HUGE issues to me back then.

As I became older, I continued writing but less often (there are just more and more things swallowing one's time). But I always made it a point to note significant events or those that meant something to me. I guess it stems from a want to preserve them, even the details, on paper, afraid that my own memory would fade with time. Having these documented, it's fun flipping through the pages once in a blue moon and have the scenes re-enacted in my head. I would take a look at myself then. How much have I changed? How am I still the same?

Check out these traveller's journals from Casual Poet. Can't wait to lay my hands on them and feel the texture of the paper (yes, I'm crazy about paper). How nice to be sitting in an alfresco cafe in Paris on a nice sunny morning, sipping coffee/tea. A pen in my hand, this gorgeous  Paris journal on the table. Watching the world go by...

[images from Casual Poet]

Friday, April 24, 2009

Got Milk

Milk is just milk. Milk is just what mum insisted I drink every morning when I was a kid. Until I saw these. What fat level content do you prefer? Skim? 2%? Whole? Doesn't the design just make so much sense?

I never really fancied strawberry milk. I think this just changed my mind. 

Other gorgeous daily products. Swooooon...

Schroeder understands the importance of packaging. I don't have to taste the milk. I know they are nutritional, soft and creamy. Now why didn't mum just gave me Schroeder milk? 

[images from Schroeder]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chapel of Love

"Spring is here
The sky is blue
Birds all sing
As if they knew
Today's the day
We'll say I do
And we'll never be lonely anymore

Because we're 
Goin' to the chapel and we're
Gonna get married
Goin' to the chapel and we're
Gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we're
Gonna get married
Goin' to the chapel of love"

I'm looking at wedding cakes today and doesn't this song gets you into the mood too? Come join me! Banishing thoughts on the amount of icing and calories. Aren't these cakes adorable? Brings out the fun and child in us. 

Or are you like me, who simply like classic white?

No? More colour perhaps, to fit your theme?

What about having something different?

I've always heard of newlyweds saving the top layer of their wedding cakes, freeze them and then consume them during their first year anniversary. If you are married, did you do that for yours?

All the above cakes can be found locally.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nitori- Japanese furniture and accessories store

I haven't blogged on interiors for a while and was thinking of what to write about. It was eureka before long and I could hardly wait to share this wonderful place with you.

We were entering the cold season and I was complaining of how icy cold my bedsheets were. It was making sleep unpleasant. Silly me was still sleeping on my cotton sheets. See, back in where I came from, we use cotton sheets all year long. Never did it enter my mind that one needed to switch to sheets of warmer materials. This was when my sweet Japanese friend introduced me to Nitori ニトリ.

Nitori turned out to be much more than I expected. My eyes widened like a little girl in a candy store the moment I stepped in. My heart was pumping and endorphins were released without me exercising. Nitori carried EVERYTHING from furniture, interior furnishings to kitchen ware and bedding. Beautiful, well-designed products. I told my Japanese friend in quick breaths that we would be taking a while in there. Nitori is Japan's answer to Ikea! I strolled down almost every single aisle, never mind that they were displaying things I obviously do not need.

Needless to say, I made several subsequent visits to Nitori. And I have been sleeping on snugly warm bedsheets ever since. 

[images from Nitori]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I received this little milk carton in the mail yesterday. On top of being cute, Moolah is "Melamine Free" and requires "no refrigeration, stays on top in all economic times". In case you can't read it clearly (I apologise for the poor lighting), one side of it reads--

Loose change, cash, leftover coins from overseas trips, hongbao fillings, 10% bonus

M: Mint money in the new year 888kcal
O: Outperform your competition 9.8g
O: Optimise your resources 10.8g
L: Lead in the marketplace 68g
A: Advance towards your goals 10mg
H: Head for the stars 107mg

During economic crisis

[click on images to enlarge] 

It's actually a marketing material by a local brand consultancy, A. S. Louken Group. Isn't it great how they pay attention to all the details on a typical milk carton and give it a twist? Creative, witty and cute!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Magic Faraway Tree

Check out these treehouses nestled in the rich green woods and beside a calm river. Do they call to mind anything? They certainly do for me! And bring with them a sense of nostalgia too.

[images from Krisatomic via Soon Lee]

I grew up on a staple diet of Enid Blyton book. As soon as I stepped into a bookstore, I would loosen my hand from my mum’s grip and dive for the Enid Blyton book shelves. I would disappear into the fantastical world of The Enchanted WoodsMagic Faraway Tree, wonder why I neither go to a boarding school nor get to enjoy midnight feasts, and I partook in the endless adventures of the Famous Five. These books definitely added much colour and excitement to my childhood.

Aren't these old book cover designs simply lovely? Were you a little Enid Blyton fan too?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Top 5 Things I would Do/Pursue

Do you look forward to weekends? I definitely do. It's the time when I can indulge in my hobbies, read, blog, get some exercise, bond with my loved ones etc.-- basically doing things I enjoy. But it's always a challenge fitting them all in into 2 short days. So some things I want to do never get done. I always find that having a day job inhibits me from doing the things I love. Other than draining me physically, it consumes my mind. I find myself thinking and worrying about work long after I've stepped out of the office. It's a sad reality because it means that the majority of my time is spent at work, doing things I love a lot lesser.

I envy and admire individuals who live their dreams and passion, pursuing them even if they are unconventional or contrary to what society perceives as "money-generating careers". Obviously, when embarking on such a path, practical concerns such as finances come into play. Afterall, one needs to eat, pay rent and it doesn't help that shopping is one of my loves. Someone once told me that as long as we are true to ourselves and chase our passion, the money will come. We don't have to worry so much about it that we never attempt to find out what our lives could be like. Imagine the possibilities!

Lately, I've been thinking about what I would do with my life if I left my day job and had time in my hands. So, I came up with my list of Top 5 things I would do/pursue:

1. Take up a visual communication/graphic design course
2. Set up an etsy shop (obviously entailing me doing craft/design work)
3. Freelance writing for magazines
4. Learn Japanese
5. Exercise everyday (jog, yoga)

What about you? What's your Top 5? Try imagining. Trust me, it's liberating.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Judging a Book by its Cover

Remember the days back in school when studying literature meant reading lots of classical works? The common perception is that classics are boring and heavy. So ingrained are these notions that I find these books repulsive even before flipping the covers open. This is reinforced by the look of the book which often screams "dullsville". I am sure many of you agree with me on that. Being aesthetic people, we are not sorry to judge a book by its cover. Much as I love reading, I was always behind time in lit class with these books and sometimes resort to reading the simplified versions as the exam dates drew near.

Oh, but times sure have changed. I spotted these lovely book covers over at Penguin Classics. Aren't they inviting? I hear their calls to enjoy the British countryside.

More beautiful English journeys here.

[images from Penguin Classics]

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Liliy bouquets

I love lilies. I love them for the elegance, simplicity and purity they exude. What better flowers to have for a bride bouquet than lilies? They look classic on their own and pretty when accented with other flowers too. These are some of my favourite liliy bouquets from Martha Stewart Weddings (which I can't resist because of its many gorgeous dreamy images). See more liliy bouquets here. Too many. Too beautiful. But what's a girl to do since she can only one wedding? What's your ideal bride bouquet or what did you have for your wedding?

[images from Martha Stewart Weddings]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


An ad in the papers caught my eye recently. It occupied almost an entire page but all it featured was a picture of a flower with just 2 lines of text. I couldn’t quite tell what it was about but Lien Foundation was clearly indicated and there was an URL: http://www.lifebeforedeath.org.sg. I was intrigued but did not check out the website till I came across a similar ad again. “Life Before Death” is actually a campaign to raise awareness on end-of-life care (hospice and palliative) and to promote understanding of the needs of patients and their families, with the vision that quality end-of-life care should be made available to all who needs it.

I found the website very informative. Death is something we shun from thinking about because it screams of the fragility of life. And we feel that we can hide from it until old age, until illness comes courting or when confronted with death of a loved one. Maybe death needs to be always personified as Brad Pitt for us to find it more approachable (“Meet Joe Black”). Recently, I caught the Japanese film, Departures, winner of the Academy Award, Best Foreign Language Film. The movie tackled the subject matter of death in an interesting way and infuses it with humour. It shows how different people react to it, reminding us how we should treasure the present, live life to the fullest and most of all, it is a flim about love. On seeing the trailer earlier on, I smugly felt I already knew what the film is about. I was wrong and it way exceeded my expectations. Excellent mise-en-scene and the shots of inaka (country-side) Japan really made me miss the place.

The topic on death seems to be surrounding me recently. But I was reminded that the answer to the fear of death is what we marked last Friday and Sunday. Because of the first Good Friday years ago, death is but a transition zone.

“He hangs, by whom the world was made,

beneath the darkened sky;

the everlasting ransom paid

I see my Savior die.”

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Uniqlo on local shores

Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo has arrived in Singapore!! The popular clothing giant is known for its trendy and casual wear, for men, women and kids. Yay! I recall going quite crazy about Uniqlo when I was in Japan. It was good-looking clothes at affordable prices. What more could I ask for (we all know the cost of living is not exactly low in the land of the rising sun)? My basket was always full when I was in Uniqlo (yes, they provide baskets for you to carry the clothes you are intending to purchase while you continue to shop). And I always had big Uniqlo bags in the house for re-use.

[images from Uniqlo].

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Harumi's Japanese Cooking

I am one who is head over heels in love with Japanese food. I thought I was having good Japanese food in Singapore until I went to Japan. And boy, was I blown away! Everything is delicious. Everything. My words here only do it injustice.

The freshest ingredients are used and food is prepared in such a way that it retains its original taste. Condiments if any, are used to enhance the original taste. On top of that, the food is presented so well aesthetically. The Japanese takes pride in preparing food. A proper meal is a holistic experience, not simply eating per se.

Now that I am back home, unless I pay a premium, the lackluster Japanese food I get is hardly satisfying my craving. I came across this cooking book, Harumi's Japanese Cooking at Kinokuniya a while ago. Harumi is a household name in Japan and this is one of her two cook books that is translated into English. I simply love it because it showcases Japanese food that is healthy, home-like and simple to prepare. Now, I just have to discover the culinary skills in me.

I should also dig out some pictures of my food adventures for a future post.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Silhouette - GreyMatter Photography

I have been looking at some wedding photography. These shots of the silhouettes of the couple caught my eye. I like them because they say so much even without the details.

[images from GreyMatter]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Simple Touches

Want to add a little baroque feel to your bedroom but have limited funds? A simple frame over the bed like this does the trick.

[Image from Home & Decor]