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Monday, November 29, 2010

Retail Therapy

I forgot to mention that I got my first paycheck this week (woo!) and along with paying for my room I splurged yesterday and today.  I bought myself:

1.  A pink jersey dress
2.  A grey jersey cardigan
3.  A shirt (for work...had to justify a third item lol)
4.  A new fragrance: Versace Bright Crystal
5.  Concealer: Diorskin Sculpt

I know, it doesn't seem like much but I've been holding off and I just had to celebrate a bit.  I was pretty upset this morning because it seems that Singapore's post lost my package that my mom lovingly sent to me.  I was/am seriously bummed out about it.  My go-to red dress, my trusty curler, new and expensive makeup...and so much more!  It hurts!  Sigh.

Anyways, as a review, I'm really loving the perfume.  I've always wanted to try and find a new scent, but it's just so overwhelming with all the different options competing against each other. The fact that they have a limited selection and that they're so overpriced compared to that in the States just makes me want to cringe.  However, I had a day off and lots of time to kill today so I went to Sephora (which does NOT have the same return policy) and literally smelled every perfume they had until the very patient guy, Louise, help me decide on Versace Bright Crystal.  There was this other perfume that smelled perfect, exactly what I wanted, but it was something ridiculous like $388 SGD, which is almost $300 USD.  God.  I have expensive taste I guess.  But Versace is nice; I wanted something everyday, clean, soft, and non-offensive.  It smells like roses, to me, but not overbearingly floral.  The bottle is also sweet...I can't decide if its cute and simple or a bit tacky.  Hm.

Dior Skin Sculpt is a pretty good concealer from what I've seen so far.  It matches me perfectly (I dislike having to figure out my match) and comes in a wand-format...while convenient, I prefer something more sanitary like a tube. I think its a bit drier as a formula and am actually thinking about extending my splurge and getting Shu Uemura's tube of creamy somethingness (good one, right?).  It felt too thick on me at the time but maybe that was because I applied it in the middle of the day.

Okay, what a dull post, but it's my day off, gimme a break.  And really, boys just don't understand:  retail therapy works.  It makes us feel spoiled, accomplished, and above all: happy!  I'm going to end the day with a glass of wine because I can't imagine anything more perfect.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Weekend Report

I decided that despite my weak attempts to avoid mundane posts, I do miss blogging on a meandering basis.  I feel like I have to justify blogging by making it a quality post, which is pressure I avoid by not blogging at all.  I don't blog to impress people (though I do want to avoid any sort of negative impressions) as much as I do to mainly have an outlet that is quick, easy, accessible, while proving to my family back home that I'm still alive.  So with that, I decided that I would try and condense my personal updates and reports into weekly posts so that its easier to skip if you're bored. =)

With that, I'm excited to update with the fact that I will officially be renting out my own room starting December 1st!  Until now, I've never had to sign any contracts or feel legally bound in any way, even in college.  I definitely felt a lot of doubt and apprehension as I feel it's such a big commitment, but at the same time felt that it was time I bit the bullet and finally did what so many others have already done by now:  start being a grown-up.  (ew)

Work has been good...I like teaching and it's flexible, though it's a bit tricky with scheduling; FYI, I don't know my day's work schedule until the evening before.  I know, it's weird, you may not understand, but I can't schedule or plan ahead really...oh, and I work on weekends.  =/  It's tricky to organize any of my social activities, but I'm still in it, so text me.  =)

I had a really frustrating week of Thanksgiving apprehension only to have all my (hopeful) Thanksgiving plans fall through (as I can't plan ahead due to work, remember?).  However, I was able to eat a great steak on Saturday with mashed potatoes and even ordered grilled onions.  YES.  It actually satiated my Thanksgiving meal craving.  That's all I really wanted!  A good steak, mashed potatoes and grilled onions.  It was funny because when I asked for grilled onions, they were puzzled but brought out a big dish of grilled onions.  And I ate them ALL!  Muahahahaaa...I felt a bit ill afterwards, actually, but can you blame me?  It was my first steak in over 7 months!

Anyways, I'm sleepy now, so I'll cease typing.  Good night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, to fellow Americans!

Embarassingly enough, it took me all day to remind myself what to be thankful for.  I was in a pretty down mood as several attempts to make Thanksgiving dinner plans Thursday (today), Friday or Sunday all fell through due to work scheduling and conflicts.  Along with a terrible work schedule this week, the sky decided to dump buckets of water and get me uncomfortably damp for work.  Just little things that accumulated throughout the day made me bummed out and I felt like I had no one to support me or vent to, especially when it is a holiday you're supposed to be with family and friends.

Anyways, I gotta snap out of it.  Today was just "one of those days."

So, my list of what I'm thankful for:

1.  Health.  I still have the immune system like I'm the runt of the litter, but I'm still here!
2.  Family and Friends.  They may be thousands of miles away, but regardless, I have them in the first place.  I also have some wonderful friends in Singapore.
3.  I'm in Singapore.  How many people can say they are taking a risk and staying abroad?
4.  I've been able to travel.

I'll try to focus on the good right now.  The holidays seem to be a rough time for me being away from home.  I think I might just have to accept that I won't have a festive holiday season this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving in Singapore 2010

I've been doing research on where to find Thanksgiving dinners in Singapore and thought I'd just do a quick post on my findings for those who are also craving some holiday zest:

Marriott Hotel
4 Seasons Hotel
($75 per person, only on the 25th)
Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill
($52 per person for a 4-course meal, only on the 25th)
Fullerton Hotel
($58 per person, on the 25th. $158 per person with alcohol for Sunday Brunch)
Brewerkz

And that's as far as I've gotten on my search!  Does anyone else have more tips??  I know some of these places have Sunday Brunch as well...you'll have to call to check it out!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bali Bound

I went to Bali for the first time in November 2006 and wasn't impressed.  I was on Kuta Beach, a this nice little place (I say "place" because it wasn't a hotel, motel, inn or villa...what are they called?) but was generally uninspired by the griminess of Bali.

However, I had no idea how amazing Bali could be until I went this past weekend.  We stayed at this amazing villa called Saba Villa, which had different options in regards to how large your party was (you could link up several villas together...cool!).


We were picked up from the airport, driven to the villas, and given these lovely lei's the moment we got out...they smelled so amazing!  The welcome drink they gave us was lovely, as well.  It was some concoction of honeydew, lemon juice and...honey?  I forget, but it was rimmed with pink sugar!  I was already smitten!

The following photos are of the general villa, though I didn't take any photos of the bedroom.  Isn't it beautiful?   We had a private pool, an open-air living room and bathroom, and an ipod deck that was perfect to play our music.  They actually had fully loaded ipods for us to use but I used my own.




Friday night we went to this restaurant called Metis.  It's pretty new, I hear, and completely romantic.  I felt like a peasant being treated like a princess this weekend!  The photos don't do it justice, I was just too embarrassed to go all out with my giant SLR.  



We had the steak tartare, some sort of deep fried flower stuffed with goat cheese, crispy pork, shrimp and scallops, and lots of wine.  The food was delicious!  How could it not be?  We didn't even have room for dessert.

During the day, Saturday, we had a great breakfast at the villa (omlette, pancakes, sausage and eggs...I haven't really had a proper breakfast like this since I left the States!).  The customer service here is absolutely perfect, everyone was super nice.  We lounged around the pool swimming, tanning, napping, watching movies, more swimming, etc. until dinnertime.  Here are a few more photos of the villa during the day.


You can see the ipod deck here!  Super nice to have, I'll consider getting one one day.


This statue is so quirky on its own, but with the whole decor, it's really nice! I would never think of putting it all together like this.


I'd love to have my own place like this one day...

We were so lucky to have sun this weekend, especially with it being rainy season and all.  Last time we went to Railay Beach it was, unfortunately, rainy and overcast for most of the weekend.  This time we traded the rain in Singapore for the sun in Bali!

In the evening, we went to the famous restaurant, Ku De Ta.  If you remember, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel opened up a Ku De Ta at the top of their hotel right next to the infinity pool.  


This year is their 10 year anniversary, so they had these adorable red lanterns hanging outside of the place with the theme of "Celebrating 10 Years of Love."


Compared to Metis, Ku De Ta is much more trendy and upbeat.  It's an amazing place and totally blows the KDT at the Sands Hotel out of the water.  Maybe the food is similar, but the venue itself is incredible.  They have several different bars and even a rooftop bar (pictured below).



Again, didn't take great photos but you get the jist.  These lounges, actually, are facing the ocean where turtles lay their eggs.  I'm not joking when I say this place is impressive!  We had drinks on the lounges until our reservation: White Russian for me, Berry Bellinis, and too much white wine. 

For dinner we had pork belly (appetizer, omg), duck confit, beef tenderloin and cheek, 4 types of creme brulee and even more wine.  It was my first piece of steak since I'd left California so it was just pure heaven for me.  

We went to Hu'u Bar after but I didn't take any photos.  It was also very pretty with its twinkling lights and mellow music.  It was actually pouring in the evening.  I swear, I've seen it rain in several parts of Asia, but I've never heard rain pour like it does in Bali.  This time and the first time I came 4 years ago both had just straight downpours that soak you in half a second.  It was nice to listen to, though.  We went back to the villa and swam in the pool while it was raining for a bit, too!  

The next morning, we had another great breakfast (eggs benedict this time...yum!), swam and sunned and then had to sadly pack up and head to the airport.  I tried taking a few last second photos of the surrounding areas since we never left the villa during the day time prior.




A shot of the entrance through the rear window...good bye Saba!

So I guess the real reason people come to Bali is for the resorts, the villas, the restaurants and lifestyle at a bargain price (I say "bargain" because I still can't afford it, but people with real jobs can).  It was seriously one of the best weekends/trips/experiences I've had so far, definitely amongst my Top 3 (the other two include driving through Bohol, Philippines, and going caving in Sagada, Philippines).

Overall, the weekend was surprising, fun, exciting, indulgent, relaxing, and completely romantic.  Absolutely perfect.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

British-Speak

As into travel and culture that I am, I am surprised to realize that I know almost nothing about the other English-speaking cultures like the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  I love language and the linguistics, and it's been fun and fascinating to learn "new" words that use the same English language.  These are my three most notable for different reasons:

"Pants" is apparently underwear in the UK.  I sound inappropriately intimate when talking about someone's "pants" when I really intend to focus on their "trousers."  #1 spot because it comes up in conversations more often than not and so I actually say "trousers" now.

"Rude Boy."  Now I know what Rihanna's song is talking about.  Apparently this is a slang name for gangster bad boys in the UK.  #2 because it was like a revelation for me.  Yes, I focus on the important things in life.

"Bird."  I was the most thrown off by this one, actually!  It's slang for a female, of all things!  As in, "Who's that bird?"  I asked if it was meant in a derogatory manner and my British friends gave a negative on that. #3 because I had never, ever heard of this term before and it made me laugh.  I'm a bird?!

Can I take your picture?

As an amateur photographer, I really like macro settings, short focal points and people portraits.  My problem is, how do you ask someone to take their photo and then have them look natural again for your photos?  Fashion blogs or photoblogs like The Sartorialist take great photos of people who look so natural. Is it just that his targets WANT to be photographed?  That they're prepared?  Can someone offer advice on how to go about this?

Holiday Cravings

I'd really like to:

wear a sweater
wear a scarf
wear thigh-high boots (in the most non-hookerish way...ok or maybe just a classy hooker.  It's possible, people!)
drink peppermint mochas
take photos of people without looking like a stalker
dance and sing to holiday songs
cook a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner
bake cookies and give them away
figure out how to appreciate wine
have a kitten or puppy I could tie a red ribbon on
wear a red ribbon myself
wear leg warmers
make a snowman
build a snow fort
make snow angels

Yup!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wish List

With Christmas coming up and my initiation of gift shopping, I thought about what I want this year.  I don't usually have things I want, but this year, I actually want too much!  I guess it's just things in general that I want to be able to earn eventually:

A new camera lens.  My poor lens has never been the same on my Rebel T2i.  It's really discouraging me from wanting to take more photos and improve my skill with its handling if the camera can't focus!  I hope it's just the lens and not the actual camera with the problem...

A Kindle.  Amazon has apparently released the new Kindle and it looks pretty cool.  I really like reading but books are so darn expensive these days that a Kindle just makes more sense.  I could read on the MRT, the bus, while waiting...all in my purse.  Sounds nice!

Wacom Tablet.  Wacom makes the best tablets and I want to learn how to use one!  I remember I almost bought one for myself when I had saved up enough but then had to use the money for something else. Bummer.

New Phone.  Okay, as much as I love my True Blue, I think it's time for me to upgrade.  I've never had a "cool" phone, or even a current one, really.  I've always had hand-me-downs, or whatever free phone they gave out.  Blackberry, I'm looking at you!

Lynda.com subscription.  Okay, with my Wacom tablet, I will need to learn how to use all the various products like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.  Especially since I can't afford to go back to school to learn all this!

Those are my main things...as always, I also want a new bag, shoes, dress, etc.  Typical girl, aren't I?

I guess a lot of it stems from being abroad now...I usually wouldn't crave a Kindle or new lense so much except for the fact that I'm often in mid-transit. 

Actually, for this Christmas, I would love to be in California with my family.  I'd love to be cooking delicious dinners, baking yummy cookies and cakes, eating gluttonous meals, drinking peppermint mochas, seeing my friends, playing with my dogs in the leaves, wearing colorful scarves, and throwing an ugly sweater holiday party.  I'd like to be somewhere cooler than 80 degrees Farenheit! 

Anyways, I shouldn't complain, I'm in Singapore, living a different life, with different friends, different climate and different travel opportunities.  Life is good and I'm thankful for that. 

But I still miss California Christmases! =)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloweekend

I do the same thing every year for Halloween:  think and ponder about costumes, forget how quickly it comes up, scramble at the last minute, end up with a lame half-assed attempt at my original idea.

Last year, I was Lady Gaga:


Despite having a plan to be her, I didn't really put the necessary effort into replicating one of her notorious outfits because I know it would be cold in San Francisco, and I can't handle the cold at all.


This year was no different despite being in another country.


Apparently, Hello Kitty wears jeggings and a tshirt.  

I orginally had a whole other outfit that came complete with a red skirt, red suspenders and big yellow buttons, but due to several reasons, it didn't work out as I wanted to dress up Friday night since I thought I wouldn't be able to do so on Saturday.  Apparently, no one dresses up Friday  night, only Saturday.


Mostly everyone (ie girls) wear a cute outfit and animal ears of some sort.  Yup, creativity goes international.


We went to the popular expat club, Attica, at Clarke Quay and it was massively packed to insanity.  Luckily, the guys were able to sneak a table by saying they had reserved it and put their Magnums on the table to claim the spot.  Otherwise, I would have left in an instant as it was a big sweaty room.

Hopefully next year I'll find something more creative...!

Workin' it

I rarely weigh myself because I don't own a scale, but I do know that I generally fluctuate between 108 lbs and 115 lbs.  When I left the States in mid-April, I weighed a record low of 105 pounds.  I haven't been that light since high school and I blame it on the stress and schedule of working retail management (the ultimate diet: stress).  Upon leaving in April, I indulged myself in the amazing and wonderful foods of Hong Kong, the MSG-ridden crap of Manila, the healthy and fresh veggies of Vietnam, the heavy grease of China, and the various yummy items of Singapore (that also have lots and lots of MSG).  I weighed myself a couple weeks ago (just because my friend happened to have a scale in her restroom) and saw that I weighed 54.1 kg.

I thought to myself, "Okay, I think you just double the number to get pounds...so that's like 110 lbs, right?  That's about right..."

WRONG.

I googled the conversion and thats 119.2 lbs!  This may not sound like much, and no, I'm not saying I'm fat, but 10 pounds on my frame makes a big difference! Not that I want to start obsessing about my weight, but I'm determined to get back down to 113 lbs, ideally 110.

I started running.  I know, it's hard to believe, but I did!  I've gone running at least 3-4 times a week in the past 2 weeks and that's amazing for me because I don't run unless its to save my life.

Today, I weighed myself and I'm ::drumroll::  115 lbs (after a breakfast).  Woo!  A small victory for someone who has never really been able to maintain an exercise regimen.  In the end, it's not really about how much I weight, but how I fit into my clothes...don't get me wrong, I like that my boobs got an extra layer in fat, but most of it went to my stomach and thighs.  Ick!

You're Ma Boy, Blue!

Oh dear...another phone bites the dust!  Going from the snazzy Razr back to ma true blue.


Apparently, I used the screen as leverage when I was trying to hoist myself out of bed.  Oh, dear Razr, you lasted me...2 months?  This is why I can't get an iPhone...it would just be a wasted investment for me.  A Blackberry, however, would be nice...