Photography

My porky chop

Just to recap: my little buddy Rai was born three weeks ahead of his due date. He was teeny tiny, at just a little over 2kg.

Exhibit A:

Rai at Day 1

Exhibit B:

Sleeping buddy at 1 week old

He was so fragile and so tiny! Aww.

10 weeks on, he’s no longer that tiny. In fact, he’s positively chubby.

Exhibit C:

Dad and his mini me

What a little porky chop! Those cheeks! They look like they can hold a week’s worth of food.

I really love my little buddy. He’s turning out to be such a sweet-natured and lovely baby. He doesn’t cry very much nor does he fuss often. Sometimes, he’d give a yell but stop yelling when you wave your hands in front of his face and talk to him. He’s a greedy little bugger too, wolfing down his bottle like there’s no tomorrow. I guess that’s why his cheeks have ballooned.

Uncle Jimmy is boring. Yawn.
Tiny foot

More on the life of Rai here.

Little Miss Shopaholic, Photography, The organised chaos

Valentino, and of turning 30

Note: Before I go on with the next post, I just want to thank all those who emailed/tweeted/texted me their support and encouragement, as well as those who hearted and commented on the previous post. Reading those wonderful messages showed me that I have much to thank for. To those whom I confided in, thanks for hearing me out all these times and for giving me the much-needed fuel to continue on this road.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

When I was 19, I was convinced that being 19 was the best year of my life. The thought of turning 20 depressed me greatly and I honestly thought that my life was coming to an end. There might have been a tear or two shed.

On my 25th birthday, I revelled in my youth. My life was ahead of me, I had so many dreams and aspirations to work towards. Leaving my 20s behind was something that happened in the distant future.

I blinked and then two weeks ago, I turned 30. Quietly and without fanfare.

And the world DIDN’T END.

Of course, life is not exactly as I had thought it would be. When I was a kid, I believed that I would have a family with two children and a career that I love by the time I hit the 30s. Well, turns out that the children are not exactly here yet and I have an aversion towards climbing up the corporate ladder.

But that’s not the end of the world, it just means my path has taken a different turn. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different.

Well, guess what?

30s is the new black, my friends.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On my 30th birthday, husband cleverly took me to see the Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future exhibition at Resorts World Sentosa. I had missed out on the Christian Lacroix showcase previously so I was super glad that he had made the effort to take me to see this.

The bad news was, we got there in time for the 7:30pm free guided tour and the exhibition closes at 8pm on weekdays. We didn’t exactly have enough time to wander around the dimly-lit aisles. The staff were kind enough to let us linger for a couple of minutes more but I would have preferred it if I had the leisure to stand and stare in hushed awe at these works of art.

The dresses were breathtakingly gorgeous.

I’ve adored Valentino since Julia Roberts wore his black and white vintage gown to the Oscars back in 2001. To me, it was the epitome of elegance, femininity and simplicity, and it made me realise that this was a designer who understands the female body well and makes clothing that drapes beautifully.

If you love and admire beautiful clothes as much as I do, please don’t miss this showcase. It runs until February 13 – and it’s so worth the trip to Sentosa!

(Methinks I missed out on a career in fashion, no?)

Bling

Audrey Hepburn collection, Spring/Summer 1968

Delicate

Worn by Jennifer Aniston

Love the toga, corsage and red

More photos here.

Photography

Universal Studios Singapore

When the theme park first opened, husband and I were adamant that we would not visit it. Our humid and sweltering climate would make queueing up for rides extremely uncomfortable. Plus, after getting our hearts enchanted by Disneyland in Tokyo, how could anything else from tiny Universal Studios Singapore come close?

As fate would have it, the cuz managed to get us some tickets for her company’s Family Day. (Sidenote: everyone needs cousins like mine, they are super awesome!) Thanks cuz and yay for husband and I! I mean, we didn’t pay for the tickets so technically, we weren’t going back on our words, right?

I have to admit, it was challenging going with a group that comprises of the matriarchs and a little man, who is a teeny weeny bit fearful of scary rides. I, on the other hand, am all LET’S TRY! I suspect that Mr Thick was secretly glad that the Battlestar Galactica rides were closed because I would have asked him to go for it with me and his queasy stomach would not have held. Don’t let his big frame fool you, the man has a fear of heights and gets all pukey when we take the bus facing backward.

We went mad at the Battlestar Galactica section though. To see our favourite TV show come to life – well, sort of – was nothing short of amazing. Bought a bunch of merchandise, yes, we were touristy suckers but suckers who LOVE Battlestar Galactica.

It was a tiny park and the rides were fun but I think it lacks a certain je nais se quoi. A bit of charm and personality, perhaps?

Kept the 30D home and brought my little plastic cameras out with me instead. Fab idea, really.

Arts & Entertainment, Photography, The organised chaos

Don’t look back

Orpheus melted the heart of Persephone,
But I never had yours
I followed you back to the end of the path
But I never found the door

And you can work to save your love
You can bear it from the earth below
You can work, but you can’t let go
Oh, oh but you have to know

Don’t look back, all you’ll ever get
Is the dust from the steps before
I don’t have to see you every day,
But I just want to know you’re there

Quietly took to the dark of the day
And the hiss of the summer night
The heat of the breeze was a cell block wall
And when I looked, you were out of sight

One of my favourite songs sung by one of my favourite actresses – Zooey Deschanel – and one of my favourite flowers in bloom (the other being calla).

Photography, Travel

Kyoto 2009: Fushimi Inari

Ah yes. We have now come to what I will fondly refer to as Mother of All Kyoto Shrines: the Fushimi Inari Taisha.

It was a good thing that we had allocated the morning to the shrine. It being away from the cluster of shrines like the Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu-dera meant that we had to visit it on its own. But it was definitely worth it, despite us suffering from severe hunger and thirst. We only packed a bottle of water for the two of us to share. Stupid and naive, that’s all I can say.

Fushimi Inari Taisha is famous for its many, MANY torii gates. These were donated to the shrine by worshippers and the gates are usually engraved with the names of the organizers as well as the date. You can also see many statues of kitsune, or fox, which is thought to be the messenger of the Shinto god of rice, Inari.

The shrine boasts of a wooded mountain in its backyard (how cool is that!) and being extremely gungho, we decided to go around the mountain. There is a path and lots of lots of steps so it’s definitely not something for the faint-hearted nor is it for those equipped with only one bottle of water. The entire journey took us more than two hours, including a pitstop at one of the little restaurants situated on the mountain.

When we first reached the shrine, we got seriously excited by the red torii gates and snapped a whole tonne of photos. Like, A LOT. This was one of them:

The entrance

And then we were awestruck by all! these! gates!:

Torii gates galore

Foolish, impressionable tourists, I mutter to myself now.

We started walking and climbing and walking and climbing. We went down,

Yes, there were people strolling and jogging while we were huffing and puffing along

and then we went up.

What goes down must come up

Along the way, we saw lots of cats and had a most delicious lunch of kitsune udon, inari (but of course, it’s husband’s favourite Japanese food and we were at a shrine dedicated to Inari) and macha latte at a cosy little restaurant nestled on top of the mountain.

Mmmmacha

There were gates by the side,

Torii gates can be made from stone too

and gates flanking the path.

Lots and lots of gates

By the time we emerged from the woods, we had probably walked by tens of thousands of gates and had reached about 233m above sea level. But it was awesome. The woods was quiet and shady, and very very peaceful. Most of the time, we were alone on the path but were joined by the occasional jogger (yes, there was this crazy woman running up and down the path!) and tourist.

After all that exercise, we had to celebrate!

A touristy torii gate for us!

We climbed the mountain at Fushimi Inari Taisha and what did we get for it? Why, a miniature torii gate, of course! (Which Coco really liked.)

For other Kyoto must-visit places, check out here.
For more Kyoto-Osaka pictures, click here.

Photography, Travel

Kyoto 2009: Yasaka Shrine

On our way down from Kiyomizu-dera to the Gion region to do some industrious geisha stalking, we passed by Yasaka shrine. By then, the skies had darkened significantly, even though it was barely 6pm.

But the lights of the lanterns in the shrine drew us in like moths to a flame. Not the best analogy, I reckon, but erm you get the point.

Entrance to Yasaka shrine
Lanterns at Yasaka shrine

I was immensely grateful that I had bought my Tammy lens before the trip because the f/2.8 really kicked some night ass! The kit lens would have been absolutely shite at taking night shots.

More lanterns

Geisha stalking so wasn’t happening for me because my battery – my hardworking, EFFICIENT battery – decided to take a hike and go on holiday. Yes, it died. And I was MISERABLE because we were in the middle of stalking geishas! And we still had a couple more days to go! In the end, we headed back to Osaka and into one of the big electronic shops (Yodabashi, I think), and bought me a charger. I was MAJORLY bummed. But husband was pretty sweet about it, he didn’t make fun of me or call me a loser.

But I did point out some geishas to him though so that’s cool. He did the whole paparazzi thing and chased after them with a crowd of similar kaypohs. I just stood by the road and gawked. But man, these geishas can move pretty quick in those slippers.

For other Kyoto must-visit places, check out here.
For more Kyoto-Osaka pictures, click here.

Photography, Travel

Kyoto 2009: Kiyomizu-dera

All these talk with Squirt and Popartgirl about Kyoto has reminded me that I haven’t finished recounting our trip there. Ah, well. Let’s just let the pictures do the talking then, shall we?

This is the Kiyomizu-dera which is perched on top of a hill in Kyoto. We had to go through a long and winding path up the ninenzaka and sannenzaka in order to reach the foot of Kiyomizu-dera. I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t huff and puff. Serious walking was done that day (though it wasn’t the MOST SERIOUS, as we would find out the next day). My boots turned dusty from all the effort. But yeah, these boots ARE made for walking.

But it was absolutely worth it. We got there at around sundown, which was fairly early at about 5pm during autumn, and saw a spectacular sunset over the city.

Entrance to Kiyomizu-dera
View from the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera
Love rocks at Jishu Shrine

This is one half of the love rocks at Jishu Shrine within Kiyomizu-dera. Legend has it that if you walk from one rock to the other with your eyes shut, you will find true love.

Sunset at Kiyomizu-dera
Oh so yummy!

After the SERIOUS WALKING up, we had to do some SERIOUS WALKING down too. And by then, as it was the end of the day, we were both zonked. The macha cream puff was a reward to ourselves for such heavy duty exercise and oh my goodness, BEST DECISION EVER. It was unbelievably light and refreshing. Yums. We downed it with green tea, of course.

For other Kyoto must-visit places, check out here.
For more Kyoto-Osaka pictures, click here.

Photography, The organised chaos

Tokyo raves: Meiji Shrine

Since this was my first trip to Japan, I decided that we should get all the touristy places out of the way. One of our first stops was Meiji Jingu, or Meiji Shrine.

The gravel path leading to the shrine was long but because the path was lined by trees and the weather was cool, we had a nice stroll.

When we were there, we were lucky enough to spot three wedding parties! I loved seeing the bride and groom dressed in the traditional outfits – they looked so elegant and beautiful.

We also saw lots of little children being blessed. They were so cute! It’s apparently a custom for children aged three, five or seven who are coming of age to be blessed by the priests at the shrine.

There was also some sort of procession going on when we got there. The priests were preceded by guards, who would clear the way and warn people to get out of their path.

At the shrine, we decided to spend 500-yen to buy an ema: a wooden tablet where you write your wishes or prayers. The ema is then hung at the shrine for the gods to receive them.

Despite the hordes of people at the shrine (we were there on a Sunday morning), there was still an air of serenity which was not dispelled. Exactly what we need on our holiday!