5.31.2016

Dear May,

 Dear May,

You have been so good to me. I wrote in a blog post beginning of this year,

You don't just move on from your problems no matter how you want to. That is why I am afraid to make new year resolutions. Do we really stick to those? Having said that, I look back at the past two months and realized I've been subconsciously making changes to better myself, and I'd like to give myself credit for that...It's time I stop undermining myself and begin to truly live in the moment. To own less and to do more. To live, not regret. To love myself and be selfish if I needed to. To accept criticism but not broken. To see the world without losing myself. Easier said than done, but I am only human.

My confidence in new year resolutions is bleak but I believe in taking chances. One open door leads to another. It doesn't matter if I don't know where I'm going as long as I keep on going. What a cringe-worthy statement. Ew. But cliches are real.

Nigel went to Kenya for five weeks for his school's overseas community immersion programme. It's never easy being separated from a loved one by distance and time, even if five weeks seem so insignificant compared to a lifetime. But I am so lucky to be able to communicate with him every night because reading his text messages about his day makes me smile. This May, I was shown to a different side of love, a foreign concept that only a yearning heart could grasp. I am so lucky.

School is officially out. What a surreal moment having to be in the education system for more than 16 years. It's a long time, end of a chapter, but I feel like my life has just begun. Maybe it's pure foolishness of youth to think a working life would kill the soul, yet the 22-going-23-year-old self feels optimistic about my future. My friend Kaixin once told me, "you go to school to learn how to learn". May this attitude endure the rest of my adulthood.


Lastly, I spoke at a conference for the first time in my life. I promised to give myself due credit for the littlest milestones and I will today. I am very proud of myself. The past month has been surreal in every way. Expressing my thoughts on stage was cool, but receiving genuine feedback from people was a gift. We all need feedback, good or bad because that is how we grow. I am filled with so much gratitude.

Wow, what a difference a few months could make. Looking back, life is amazing and it's worth living. I wish I knew that in my teens.

Thank you, May. I want to always remember you.


5.15.2016

Room 180



She wore blue velvet
Bluer than velvet was the night
Softer than satin was the light
From the stars


It's quite obvious that Blue Velvet has been my favourite song this month. I couldn't pick one so I thought I'd share three versions with you. 

During my complimentary one-night stay at the luxurious Marina Bay Sands hotel, I convinced Jing to join me on this 'staycation' and of course we had to take full advantage of the room's interior and perfect lighting situation. I had just returned to my room after a fancy cocktail party with my evening dress and decent makeup, thanks to my industrial strength mattifying spray by Urban Decay, and I was not going to let my efforts getting glam go to waste! 

Jing has an eye for invisible details which most people including myself would overlook. This looks like a planned photoshoot but in fact, it's amusing how we finished it in 15 minutes all whilst chatting and rummaging corners of the room for alternative light sources. 

I love everything about this series. Not only for the retro style furniture and wallpaper which are rarities in our modern city, but I felt like I was living in a Mad Men set. That meant a lot to me because Mad Men is my all-time favourite TV series. Oh, and my favourite characters would have to be Joan for her sass, Betty for wardrobe and Roger for his tasteful yet offensive wit. The captions were some quotes I took from the show. They make absolutely no sense but that's okay. 

I'm wearing a Covet by Love, Bonito dress, ZARA nude pumps, vintage Casio watch, Kate Spade bag and YSL lip stain in No. 2. Skincare products in courtesy of my current skin treatment provider The Wellness Clinic.


Photographed by Yun Jing & captioned by me.

5.11.2016

12 Hours In Shanghai



During June last year, my maternal grandfather passed away which resulted in an emergency family trip back home. Shanghai, where I spent my childhood and kindergarten years in, is a nostalgic yet modern city. I decided to take a day to myself exploring some places as I reminisced and thought of my grandfather, wondering about the stories he would tell me if he were still alive.


Tian Zi Fang 田子坊

Xin Tian Di 新天地

Cheng Huang Temple 城隍庙

Old Shanghai Street 老上海街

The Bund 外滩

Nanking Road 南京路

Photographs and video originally recorded in June 2015.

The End

Grandfather's things: 1. Collection of tools 2. A computer grandfather used to Skype with us 3. Bed 
4. Plant 5. Island with a bulb 6. Table lamp 7—9. A ship grandfather made from scratch

How could you cry for me?
Cause I don't feel bad about it
So shut your eyes 
Kiss me goodbye
And sleep
Just sleep


The End.

My grandfather passed away last week. He was 84 years old, at his home in Shanghai.

I vaguely remember that my mother broke the news through a simple and straightforward text message. I was in the middle of a fashion show. It was sudden news, communicated through a medium of zero human interaction. I wasn't sure how to react, and there was nothing I could do because my grandfather resided overseas. I simply read, then ignored the text message until I felt like I was ready to reply an "okay".

Death is funny. Movies and social conventions taught me I'm supposed to react to death in a certain way, because death is a bad thing. However, the reality for me was that nothing changed. The world looked the same, and people are on the go. Businesses continue to operate, and my life goes on. Living away from my grandfather meant that there was no real "change" that I could see and feel. It's morbid that way, but it's the truth.

But again, how will things ever be the same? The next time I'm back in Shanghai, my grandfather is no longer around. My family has been living away from our Shanghai relatives for the past 14 years. We go back occasionally to visit. Maybe due to his already old age by the time I was able to remember, I don't remember him looking different that much. And because of that, his death never crossed my mind. It's difficult to picture death when you don't see visual evidence of deterioration.

My grandfather had diabetes but it was under control by diet, exercise, and medications. He was very active for his age and preferred to walk to grocery stores and clinics over taking the bus. He was a traditional and disciplined man who followed a good sleeping schedule.

But it was time for him to go.

My grandfather, the father to my mom, was an important family member who held me through my first steps, who watched over me when my mom was overwhelmed with two toddlers, taught me spelling in kindergarten, constantly sparked my curiosity and was someone who showed me nobody is ever really too old to learn.

He was a physics professor and had an eccentric range of hobbies, from making ship models from scratch to old school radios and construction work. He was a genius of his generation, having coached many top students in China and had his creations exhibited in galleries. He never stopped creating.

When I arrived at my grandfather's funeral in Shanghai, I finally felt death. Grandfather had died. One look at the guests and you will feel the loss. And then there was my grandfather in the casket, surrounded by fresh flowers, wearing his old-fashioned gold square spectacles he had been wearing since forever. My grandfather looked exactly the same I remembered him to be, but he will never wake up again. It was an incredibly difficult thought to swallow.

Why is it so hard to let someone go even though we have been equipped with the knowledge? I can come up with a list of reasons why it is okay, but there's no denying a void that was carved in my heart.

"Once you leave the house, you'll remember him just the way as you have always remembered him. It's all outside that door." — Mad Men


Originally written and unpublished in June 2015.

4.28.2016

Princess Diaries with Z Wedding at Chijmes



You're ringing the only wedding bell
And we're swimming the seas we've known so well
I've tried, to stay alive, in our bed, in our heads
Oh, but your wish is my command

The best part about writing a fashion blog is being able to be a part of fashion, to see fashion as a process and not just its glamourous output. Having worked with the wonderfully sweet ladies at Z Wedding for months now, the Z Wedding for Watabe Wedding Chijmes show was my most memorable one yet. I was granted a rare access backstage and stayed throughout to document the kind of chaos that is part and parcel of a successful runway show. 

Being backstage allows me to see everything up close. I tip-toed my way around the dressing room in curiosity and to not accidentally destroy any of the ever so delicate dresses. Models were transformed into modern day princesses with a flawless luminous complexion, a dash of champagne eyeshadow and bright red lips. Bejeweled hair accessories like tiaras and hair bands were added on top of a romantic up-do which showed-off the boutique's signature backless styles perfectly. Realistically speaking, up-dos are the best for Singapore's humid climate. Dresses were mostly of baby pastel hues that were fit for a mermaid! Meanwhile, a handful of classic white frocks screamed regal with structured bodices and sheer embroideries which resembled the gothic architecture style of Chijmes (this was confirmed when I spoke to one of the designers). Swear I died a little inside...

I can safely say that I'd choose to be backstage over the front row on any given day. Why? The passion and drive of the people who worked behind the scenes inspired me endlessly. I've always thought highly of Z Wedding and Le Grand Wedding but it wasn't until now that I understand why this bridal boutique is loved by many. From its in-house dress designers to tailors, makeup and hair artists, to PR people and the very sweet director, there was some kind of chemistry among them that made me feel right at home. The glam team took great care of the models, you could tell from the girls' wide smiles, which is not always the case in the not-so-merciful fashion industry. I'm not saying this out of courtesy but their kindness and professional working ethics tell me you could trust Le Grand Wedding a hundred percent in preparation for your big day.