Thursday, November 20, 2014

Instagram Snapshots ~*October 2014*~

Thank you all for sharing more about yourselves on my previous post. I felt like we were sitting down and having a lovely personal conversation over a cup of tea. I love the stuff some of you have shared about your ethnicity and the funny incidents too. It is definitely a joy reading and knowing more about you. I appreciate that you took the time to craft your comments and I will reply all of you over the next few days so check back on my replies here. Also, Taipei updates would take a back seat for the time being as you might just be tired of seeing Taipei, Taipei and more Taipei. Nah... in actual fact, I need lots of time to craft travelogue post as editing photos and doing some quick research for my contents would take some time.


Here's October instasummary. Instagram videos on blog run in fast forwards, skips and jumps. They are better viewed on iamjolene Instagram page itself for sound and image quality, as well as full streaming.

~2 October 2014~
Barlean's Olive Leaf Complex Review:☆☆☆☆ (4 stars)
Olive leaf extract (OLE) in general promotes cardiovascular support, immunity support and is a powerful antioxidant. People take OLE to keep cold, flu and infection at bay. This product helped kept an impending throat infection at bay today. I woke up with a pounding head and tight pain in the throat. Over the years, I know that headache, throat pain, and warm neck and face are signs of an impending Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI). Once I got home, I squirted the OLE into my throat and the symptoms of URTI slowly diminished.
I've been taking this product for the past 9 months rather irregularly. I put a bottle at the basin and whenever I remembered or am fine with subjecting myself to the YUCKY taste, I would squirt it directly into the back of the mouth. The squirt bottle is convenient for lazy people like me. For the past 9 months, the hubby was plagued with URTI sickness thrice and I haven't gotten any. As usual each time I felt the symptoms, I would take more OLE each day and the infection would be kept at bay. Placebo or not, I could feel the difference.
Why don't I recommend this to the hubby? Well, I did but he hates the taste of it so much that he tries to avoid taking it unless I force him. OLE has a very strong taste and the one from Barlean's has a super sweet peppermint taste masking the bitterness of the extract. I hate both overly sweet peppermint taste and the underlying bitter taste. Honestly, the taste takes time getting used to. Minus 1 star for that. Some of my friends have started taking it after I told them about it and most do not like the taste too.

~4 October 2014~
Another farewell for another colleague and friend. All of us were so sad to see her go but she bought macaroons to sweeten our lives... for as long as the macaroons lasted... and then we were sad again. Lol �� I didn't expect Bakerzin macaroons to be so delicious. Not so sweet. Me LIKEY!

~4 October 2014~
Goodbyes are hard but we hope that the memories we have spent together as a department would stay with you as you continue to walk a memorable journey of rich experience, fun-filled days and lots of love.
View full 15-sec video here.

~4 October 2014~
On the card is a sad puppy dog with a broken heart for my lovely colleague friend. Don't want another farewell...

~5 October 2014~
Brunch at Paris Baguette and then Yoguru for "desserts".

~5 October 2014~
I deeply appreciate all the likes, follows and loves on my Instagram account. I try as much as possible to visit your pages and return the likes. Frequent questions I always get on my Instagram page are on my nationality and ethnicity. So to all who asked, I'm not from Japan, Taiwan or Hong Kong. I'm from Singapore and I'm a Singaporean Chinese. I'm bilingual though my Chinese kinda sux. You can type to me in English or Chinese Mandarin. Thank you for your support all these while. Now, I want to get to know where all of you are from too so leave me a comment below! xoxo Jo ������

~6 October 2014~
Part 3 of our wedding anniversary staycation at the Tree Top Lofts is up on my blog ( This final installment walks you through our Dolphin Discovery interaction with a male dolphin called Sheng Guo. Muax!

~6 October 2014~
Pareidolia hits the hubby this time round. When my hot chocolate came, I wondered aloud if the art was meant to be any image. Without looking up from his cappuccino, the hubby replied in a matter-of-fact manner, "It's a cat." I thought he was humoring me by associating cats with me. To which he insisted, "IT IS A CAT! Can you see the eyes, the whiskers and the hands one up one down?" All these while, he was tracing the outline and ending with his arms one up one down like how some cats always do. Ok, so folks. Presenting a cat in my hot chocolate. A cat without ears.

~6 October 2014~
First time at Cafe Etc All Day Breakfast • Steakhouse. This used to be where the old Ice Edge II was. We had truffle fries, foie gras, eggs Benedict and crab meat pasta. Overall, the food and service were not bad and we would definitely come back again!

~11 October 2014~
~*Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends*~ And so Part 3 concludes the whole Kenshin movie series. For all the prime chops of the show, refer to the many great reviews online. I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't the room by room duel like in the manga and anime. I was eager to see how the movie would portray those battle scenes (esp Saito vs Usui) but I guess 135min isn't enough for those. A great movie nonetheless! Go watch it!

~12 October 2014~
Latergram Dinner at Senjyu. 2nd time dining there and 1st time with the hubz, still as expensive, still as delicious. This collage came many hours late coz of all problems (lagging, hanging, constant apps closure, phone taking a long time to switch off) of my iPhone 4s. Grr... ������

~15 October 2014~
Post pink products for breast cancer awareness month! My perfume collection all happens to be pink (except one purple) though they vary in smell. Chloe, Lancôme Miracle, Lanvin éclat, DKNY Be Delicious, Valentino Valentina Acqua Floreale.

~15 October 2014~
Spotted a boiboi cat called Chestnut at Cat Socrates, a shop at Bras Basah selling beautiful knick knacks.

~20 October 2014~

~22 October 2014~
SOoooo TIRED! Gonna be like these pandas soon. ������ Colleagues remarked that this public holiday really came at the wrong time when we needed the day to work before our major events. I guess this holiday forces us to have more rest? Happy Deepavali to all who celebrate!

~22 October 2014~
Notti cat! Evidence of her crime is still visible on her paw! @gnahiy I helped to discipline her just now. I whacked her with your slipper.

~22 October 2014~
We were so hungry just now. I asked the hubz, "Can I eat 1 笼 of 小笼包 all on my own? Coz I dowan to share." I love the ones at Paradise Dynasty Changi Airport. The first time I ate these xiao long bao with @eccentrice at the ION outlet, we felt they weren't too bad but just a novelty. This time round, I could taste all the flavours quite distinctively. Love the ginseng, foie gras, black truffle the best. For those who have eaten these, which are your favourite flavours?
View full 15-sec video here.

~22 October 2014~
Me and 1 whole basket of xiao long bao all to myself!!! Muahahaha... On a separate note, I learnt from a post of my dear Italian friend @insta_lilliness that one fashion trend in fall is to tuck long hair into the outer wear for a short hair look. I told her that I've always been following that fashion trend for a few seconds each time I wear an outerwear coz I hate the feeling of hair in the clothes. How about you?

~24 October 2014~
So heartwarming to see pictures of my gal pal's desk full of lovely photo memories of our New York days with the kids. So here's dedicating a photo to my dear friend. I finally wore your kitty cat T-shirt out!

~25 October 2014~
Bye bye to one of my favourite tops. You know there are just some outfits that you wear to death for years? Or some outfits with significance that you can't bear to throw? So sad that when I next take out one of my wear-to-death top, it has reached its end. Last wore this in may with a stretched neckline but it has totally widened two-folds now due to the loss in elasticity. Perhaps it could still be of use as a beach throw over!

~25 October 2014~
Some 李 place at JEM that serves humble Taiwanese delights. Not too bad! The Mee Sua reminds me of Ah Zhong Mian Xian.

~26 October 2014~
Long time no eat Fish & Co. Forgot how good their butter garlic cream sauce is! It was their butter garlic prawns more than a decade ago that inspired me to have butter garlic prawns as my signature dish during cook outs with friends in school back then.

~30 October 2014~
We can officially keep these tags aside! It has been gruelling and fun with blood, sweat and laughter from the pre preparation stage, up till show time and till the curtains come down. We have organized many MINDEF events but never a large scale public sector one like PS21 ExCEL Convention and the inaugural Innovation Conference. This whole experience is something for us to be proud of!

~30 October 2014~
A beautiful colourful pixels theme was adopted for the MINDEF PRIDE Day, PS21 ExCEL Convention and PS21 ExCEL Innovation Conference publicity materials. Even the PRIDE Annual with a refreshing new size and layout embraced the same theme. I honestly didn't like this colourful pixels theme initially but it slowly grew on me. ❤ Just like the many little pixels coming together to form a beautiful theme, various colleagues worked together and did an excellent job with these booklets. Be it in the planning, providing text contents, artwork or layout, everything was pieced together elaborately. My little contribution would be designing the Heart logo for our Innovation Conference, providing some contents in the PRIDE Annual and proof reading.

~31 October 2014~
Mini Tic Tac! So cute!

~31 October 2014~
Happy Halloween to all!!! We have officially quit making up and dressing up for Halloween. �� One of the Halloween parties which I enjoyed the most was the one that my dear old friend, Bei put together at short notice on the actual day after being inspired by my Facebook status then. She extended the invitation to my motley crew and so there we were "terrorizing" guests with our alter egos. �� In the 1st 10 flips, you would have seen how the motley crew were such experts at the 十连拍 (1 to 10 poses) while Bei, our lovely devil host was struggling to keep up with us. �� As for the last candid pic, well... Even our ghostly alter egos were interested in poring over a camera.
View full 15-sec video here.

You can find me on Instagram by clicking the button below. If you like my pictures, do follow and drop me a message so that I could check out your page too! I really love it when my blog friends and I are connected on other social media platforms too since I know many of them don't blog as often yet have got a lot more updates on their Instagram page. If you're a newcomer asking for follow in exchange, I don't entertain follow for follow requests. However if we have enough meaningful exchanges here, I would naturally follow you back. Have a great week ahead!

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[This is a scheduled post.]

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting to Know Me. Getting to Know You.

Ever since I wrote the post on Blog Comments Dos and Don'ts, I've made a lot more new blog friends, been getting a lot more comments from followers and stumblers alike, and receiving consistent return visits from fellow blog authors even if we aren't following each other. I simply love all these connections and interactions from everyone of you across the globe. And I'm always curious to know where all of you are from.

I did this on my Instagram and I'm going to do the same for my blog with a slightly similar agenda.

Instagrammers often asked me about my nationality and ethnicity. Nobody could ever get these 2 parts of me correct, with the most number of people asking if I am Japanese, Taiwanese, Hong Konger or Cantonese (Cantonese why??? It is a dialect and dialect group, not ethnicity btw).

I'm from Singapore and I'm a Singaporean Chinese. Whenever I'm in a foreign land and anybody guessed correctly that I'm from Singapore, I get really ecstatic. I'm bilingual in English and Mandarin-Chinese though my Chinese kinda sux. As for my Chinese dialect group, I'm a Hokkien. I can't speak much Hokkien but I can understand a smattering of it, especially the vulgarities. =D Some people mistake me for being a mix but I suspect it could be my grey or green-grey coloured contact lenses misleading them. Most Asians of Chinese descent, I reckon, don't have grey eyes unless you are Sayuri from Memoirs of a Geisha.

Old and new blog friends alike, I want to get to know where all of you are from, your nationality, ethnicity and anything interesting about yourself. Some of us have been the oldest blog friends for years but I only know the fashion side of you, the review side of you, the make-up junkie side of you, but I do not exactly know deeper aspects of you and I would love to get to know you!

Any questions for me? Leave me a comment and let's get to know each other better. Stumblers are welcome to comment too, if you do read the contents of this post. *winks*

Let's keep in touch via other platforms too! I don't do follow for follow but I would definitely return visits to your blogs and follow back if I find meaningful connection with you. Have a lovely weekend ahead!

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Taipei Throwback: Liberty Square, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall & Shida Night Market

Our next stop was Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂). While on the way to visit the memorial hall, most people would also spend some time around the large complex which includes the National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳), the National Theater (國家戲劇院), Liberty Square (自由廣場) and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park (中正紀念公園).

~*Liberty Square*~

Liberty Square (自由廣場) is a public plaza covering over 240,000 square meters in the Zhongzheng District of Taipei, Taiwan. Liberty Square serves as a major site for public gatherings in Taipei and is home to three major landmarks as well as civic parks. At the east end of Liberty Square stands the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The square is flanked by the National Concert Hall on the north and the National Theater on the south. A park surrounds the plaza and a wall surrounds the site. The square sits within sight of the Presidential Office Building. The name of the square recalls the important historical role it played in Taiwan's transition from one-party rule to modern democracy in the 1990s. [Edited and condensed from Wikipedia.]

This aerial view taken from Taiwan Explorer greatly aids in visualizing the whole area. The link provided also includes easy-to-read information and photos of the whole area.

We were first greeted by the sight of the National Theater (國家戲劇院).

Walking past the National Theater, we reached the open area and saw the National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳) right across.

The Gate of Integrity which supposed to bear the words "大中至正" from what I researched also bore the words "自由廣場" which means Liberty Square.

I was a little confused by how I did not get to see the words "大中至正". Still am. The words "大中至正" could probably on the other side of the gate.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which faced The Gate of Integrity, stood up prominently with its white marble building.

And as if the above orientation isn't enough, let's rotate around the middle spot of the open area as we view the surroundings! You have no idea how excited I was to find this spot empty and then having people doing the exact same thing I did after that.

North: National Concert Hall

South: National Theater

East: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

West: The Gate of Integrity

Video version of the rotating here. Pardon my hubby trying to act silly in the background and trying to worm his way into my video at the end.

Taiwan flag.
(I've been trying to remove the slightly grey cast and borders around this pic when uploaded onto blogger. The original photo has got no problem at all. Grr...)

~*Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall*~

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (traditional Chinese: 中正紀念堂; simplified Chinese: 中正纪念堂) is a famous monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.

The Memorial Hall is white with four sides. The roof is blue and octagonal, a shape that picks up the symbolism of the number 8. The number 8 is traditionally associated in Asia with abundance and good fortune. Two sets of white stairs, each with 89 steps to represent Chiang's age at the time of his death, lead to the main entrance. The ground level of the memorial houses a library and museum documenting Chiang Kai-shek's life and exhibits related to Republic of China-era Chinese history, and Taiwan's history and development. The main hall sits on the upper level where a large statue of Chiang Kai-shek is located, and where a guard mounting ceremony takes place in regular intervals. [Edited and condensed from Wikipedia.]

I would love to have P.E lessons out of school compound like these students too! It definitely puts the fun into running.

The huge door leads to the main hall.

While facing the door, behind us was this beautiful scene of Liberty Square.

An emblem of the Taiwan flag was on the ceiling.

Reading from right to left, the characters behind Chiang Kai-shek's statue read "Ethics", "Democracy", and "Science".

The inscriptions on the side read "The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity" and "The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe".

Chiang Kai-shek is known by multiple names. His official name is pronounced Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek in Cantonese), as well as the name Zhongzheng (中正), most commonly used to refer to Chiang Kai-shek. The Chinese name of the hall is in reference to this name, as is the countless Zhongzheng Roads found all over the island.

Having walked for the whole damn day, we simply spent the rest of the evening sitting on the white steps and engaged in people-watching from afar.

As usual, we hadn't done enough research to know what time the flag lowering was. We thought we had missed the hourly changing of guards and were simply resting on the steps when lo and behold, we saw the guards marching towards the flag pole! We hurriedly ran down the stairs to catch the flag lowering ceremony.

In strict military fashion, the guards' move was synchronized and syncopated by foot stomps and rifles. This video shows them marching towards the flag pole.

The guards were really tall and were almost of the same height. Their towering height made them look really suave and smart.

This video shows them lowering the flag.

This video shows them marching back.

I think those security guys in suits are so cool!

I love the little Chinese girl in red. She is just too cute. I was just hoping that she would face me long enough to capture a shot of her.

We decided to call it a day at Liberty Square and exited from the area via the Gate of Piety (大孝門).

Could we have such crossings in Singapore too?

In just 10 minutes, darkness crept over the city. Yup, 10 minutes passed from the previous picture to this.

~*Shida Night Market*~

We decided to end the day at a night market coz what else is Taiwan famous for but their night markets full of delectable Taiwanese snacks? Shida Night Market (師大夜市) was the nearest to where we were.

Shida is located in one of the most trendy neighborhoods in Taipei between two biggest universities in Taiwan, namely Shida 師大 (short for National Taiwan Normal University) and Taida 台大 (short for National Taiwan University).

Thus, it is geared more to the young adult crowd. As what some of my friends and websites say, the highlight of the experience is the plethora of trendy, inexpensive shopping choices, rock bars, cafés, and restaurants around the area. It certainly didn't look like those normal night markets I often see on variety shows.

I was so surprised to see pets being sold at the night market. Fortunately, we were in Taiwan. Should we be in another (AHEM) country, I would have feared that those kittens and puppies are meant to be slaughtered for food. I hope these little babies would go to responsible owners.

Since there was a long queue at this stall, the food had to be good.

This was our very first night market food in Taipei -- savoury crepe of mushrooms and ham. Totally western!

How could we miss out on salted crispy chicken (鹽酥雞) in Taiwan?

We saw many locals queuing up at this stall which is a sure indication that the food might be good.

The food reminded me of Yong Tau Foo back in Singapore and so we gave this a miss.

We ended buying predominantly Taiwanese food for dinner which consisted of some stuffed dishes with rice cakes and soup.

When in Taiwan, drink bubble tea! I was told by my friends that bubble tea in Taiwan whether famous or not would taste better than anywhere else in the world. I was craving for matcha and settled this craving at Cha Fan (茶番). "Fan" in Mandarin is pronounced as the "ah" sound like the English word "fun" and not the "air" sound like the English word "fan". Nevertheless, I wondered if the word "番" (fan) after the word "茶" which means tea, is really a pun on the English word "fan". As in you know, tea fan... a fan of tea.

If so, call me a Tea Fan!

This post concludes Day 1 of Taipei. Click the hyperlinks for Day 1 Part 1 and Part 2. I would be taking a break from posting about Taipei for the next few days as you might just be tired of seeing Taipei, Taipei and more Taipei. In actual fact, I've to catch up on other stuff so I would update my blog with filler posts next.


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