Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011 happenings in a humongous nutshell

Writing a backdate post in September when all the leaves are withering in the upper hemisphere about Chinese New Year which happened in February where all the flowers were blooming happens once in a blue, pink and purple moon on other blogs.

Over here on Jo's Jumbled Jardinière, it is as common as missing the bus just when you're running late.

It's been so long so get ready for lots of photos.

~*Springcleaning and other preparations*~

This year's springcleaning included cleaning up both my current room and the room in my maiden home. The room in my maiden home had been left the way it was since my wedding and I had been very lazy to clean it up even though I go back home twice a week. My family had conveniently declutter the living room by cluttering my room and it was fast becoming a storeroom.

So anyway on that day, I was greeted by lots of knick knacks on the dining table as my parents were also decluttering their mess. 

This musical box is older than I am. It produces tinkling sounds with no particular tune upon winding. I remember using it as stage for my toys and in my little cognitive world, this ballerina was supposedly a famous ballerina who had come to Toys Town to perform.

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My parents old identity cards, together with lots of passport-sized photos were strewn all over the table. Don't you think my parents look so handsome and beautiful?

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Back at home, I helped my mother-in-law to make pineapple tarts. She was the only one making while all the BOYS in the family only knew how to eat them in batches. Seeing how unhelpful the boys in the family were, I volunteered to help her by inserting the fillings and rolling the pastries.

I missed out the part in the day when she was making the filling from scratch. I heard that it is the most back-breaking part of making pineapple tarts.

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We baked them in batches since my MIL used the microwave oven which did not have racks like conventional ovens.

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We baked till 5am.

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I know that the shapes and sizes aren't exactly standardised but they taste delicious. I was also experimenting with different amount of fillings and different ways of rolling the pastry which accounted for some of the ugly ones up there. We slowly made them smaller such that you could just pop them into your mouth without choking from the crumbles.

~*Pretty pretty nails by Clara*~

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As mentioned in one of the recent post, I said I would feature Clara's work of art on my stubby fingers with short nail beds.

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She could really do wonders to my sort of ugly nails without using fake tips or acrylic extensions. So what you see are cute 3d bows and crystals on my real nails and she did them with such speed and precision. I'm amazed at how fast she finished my nails while the other manicurist was still sticking crystals on a lady beside us who was there earlier.

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And yes, I made pineapple tarts the very day I did my nails. Nobody chewed on any bow or crystals of course.

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You could view more of Clara's work on her blog. Just click on the gallery and navigate from the different categories.

~*Day 1*~

Day 1 was spent visiting all the elders from my side and mainly the kh's side of the family.We went visiting at many of his distant relatives' houses that I got quite confused by the time we reached the last house.

Here's what I wore:

♥ A white lace cheongsam with a twist of modernity

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Accessories:
♥ Return to Tiffany heart tag choker
♥ Green Petals mismatched earrings that came in 4
♥ Ling Jewellery roman wedding band
♥ Tiffany engagement ring
♥ Green Petal Faux pearl and diamond ring

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For make up, I tend to focus a lot on my eyes. I tried this super drama lashes which I didn't quite like as you could see I look like Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street.

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I'm not sure if it's obvious but I pasted tape for deeper crease so that it is easier to apply my Maybelline eyeshadow to create a glittery smokey eye effect. Lower waterline is lined with Koji Springheart retractable crayon pencil liner. I further rimmed the lower lash line with a glitter white pencil from Sasa.

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I completed the whole look with greyish green contacts which were rather subtle. On my skin is Dr Young BB cream and I've since stopped using foundation. 

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This sums up my look for Day 1.

~*Day 2*~

Day 2 was more relaxed as we spent most of our time watching TV at just one family's house on both my side and his side each.

My little cousin came to me and plonked her hamster onto my palm.

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Here's what I wore:

♥ Cotton On white spaghetti top
♥ La Luce lace skirt
♥ Some Japanese brand lace long vest from Isetan (that cost more than $100 and I regret spending so much on a lace vest which doesn't even have a label on it)
♥ Crochet elastic belt to cinch at the waist

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Accessories:
♥ Fayfey broken heart and key necklace
♥ Topshop ice cream earrings (part of the xmas gift from Karen)

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I love what my mum did to this fake tree. This tree used to have those plastic orangey autumn leaves. It got very old and the leaves kept dropping. Lots of the leaves were plucked off by my cat back then when she was still around. My mother made use of the wrappings from flower bouquets to create the 3 big "flowers" you see below. Hand that creativity award to my mum already, will you?

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All the flowers outside my maiden house were in full bloom. That's my 2nd sis by the way who got a lift home from us while my happening parents and eldest sis went to other parties and gatherings of their own when it was already past midnight. There is a missing thought bubble at kh's head which says: "Why did I agree to my wife's request of taking pictures with fake flowers?"

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My make up was pretty much the same as Day 1-- the drama mama eyes.

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~*Day 3*~

We finished most relatives visiting by Day 2 and so Day 3 was spent watching Green Hornet with kh's cousins.

Here's what I wore:

♥ No label shirt dress
♥ Belt to cinch at waist

I kept my look simple so the only accessory I wore was my Tiffany choker.

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Because kh is such an irritant by doing a photo bomb on purpose, I shall post up this photo of his annoying face. That would teach him not to be annoying or his ugly expression would be posted up on my blog.

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I wanted to keep my make up simpler as compared to the previous 2 days and so I used my favourite and highly-utilised faux lashes which looked a lot more natural than the ones I've been using the past 2 days. I also skipped eye shadow and coloured contacts but continued to line my eyes as per normal. The photos you see below were taken at the end of the day so the make up isn't freshly applied.

[Photos at the top: without flash. Photos at the bottom: with flash.]

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I really love the effect of this cheap no brand lashes but I can't seem to find any with similar effect and hence kept re-using this pair. I should check out Dolly Wink soon but I find their lashes not as natural too.

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You could see that the stem of the lashes on the right (meaning my left eye) has been stained by lots of glittery eyeshadow and its shape is a little off. It's high time to throw them away but I'll continue to keep them till I find another pair which produces the same effect. You could also see how obvious the tape look when I close my eyes without blending in any eyeshadow that day. I'm still trying to master the art of pasting tape which appears invisible. I'm really amazed at how my wedding make up artist did it. 

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There was still quite a lot of pineapple filling left so my MIL kneaded some dough and we made pineapple tarts again. This time till 6am.

I'm one who hates doing repetitive stuff so I decided to mold a pig out from the dough just for fun.

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My MIL was so amused by my pig that she asked if I could do the 12 zodiac animals. lol... It was rather difficult due to the dough's soft consistency and so I could only managed pairs of pigs, ox and mice. I had wanted to make rabbits since it's the year of the rabbit but their ears just wouldn't stand up.

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The animals look a lot better before baking. After baking, the horns of the ox went down, the tail of the mouse broke and the pigs snouts had got no nostrils. I tried to test my youngest brother-in-law to see if he could identify all the animals I made.

He initially thought the oxen were the father and mother pigs while the pigs were the piglets. Fortunately after some prompting, he got all correct and as a reward he ate the pigs. He deemed the pigs cute and asked me to make more of them. I asked if he wanted to chip in his effort and he conveniently excused himself.

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video

I told kh to help me take some candid shots of my MIL and I making pineapple tarts and he took a video instead.


~*Day 7*~

Traditionally, there are 15 days of CNY and so during this whole period, Chinese would still go visiting even though there is only 2 official holidays in Singapore designated for CNY.

Day 7 is known as "ren ri" (人日, literally translated to Human Day). It refers specially to the 7th day of zhengyue (正月, the first month in the Chinese calendar). According to Chinese customs, ren ri was the day human beings were created. It is celebrated not only in China, but also other regions influenced by Chinese culture.

It was a packed off day for me. First, I dropped by to visit Cyn mommy and my godkids.

I took a long time to have a proper shot with the 2 cheeky monkeys while cyn took a hilarious video of the whole process. I shan't post the video here.

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I warned Jase not to drop any prawn roll crumbs on the bed and guess what happened? I was the one who dropped it when I plonked myself onto the mattress which tipped the opened jar of prawn rolls down.

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These were taken in February when Char was still mobile at that time though walking with difficulty. Jase was wearing Char's wig for fun and we thought he looked like a pretty boy. Char hasn't worn the wig yet as she's fine with her current state. Like most little girls, she used to be very vain and had her hair tied in all sorts of styles pre cancer days. Currently, she would be upset about her hair every now and then but generally she is fine with the way it is.

We did some "stained glass" art.

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My 2 lovely and cheeky godkids are just too adorable.

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Charmaine is so sweet. She hugged Jase kor kor and said, "I love you!"

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I had to cancel my facial appointment to spend more time with the kids. After that, I rushed to meet Karen as we had to do some fitting to our altered dresses at Dustbunny Vintage.

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The day ended with a ren ri dinner at Holland Village Crystal Jade where jw and reg joined us.

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We ordered a little too much as we thought the guy in our group would be able to finish everything. Little did we know that all the girls could eat more than jw. lol... Ethan and kh ought to be around to help finish the food!

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Here's what I wore:

♥ No label white breezy beach top
♥ White bandeau tube worn inside
♥ Coax denim shorts

Accessories:
♥ Fayfey broken heart and key necklace
♥ Topshop white bow earrings (part of the xmas gift from Karen)
♥ Sheer Romance flower hair clip

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~*Day 13*~

The company's CNY celebrations was held really late on Day 13 this year due to the directors' overseas schedule. My group was in charge of this event and we had great fun playing guessing the Chinese sayings and some play doh game.

I won a hamper in the lucky draw. I think it was the 3rd prize and I like it a lot more than the 1st and 2nd. Even though the goodies in the hamper weren't as good as the top 2 prizes, I love the picnic basket that came with it. I was only interested in the basket so I opened the hamper on the spot and donated the items to my office pantry and carried the empty basket home.

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It looks like this after the goodies were emptied.

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~*Day 14*~

We had dinner at Soup Restaurant 三盅两件 with my family. I've always loved the food there.

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They had raw salmon slices for Yu Sheng. Salmon slices are fast replacing other raw fish slices in the recent years. I love to eat Yu Sheng and will never get tired of eating it during CNY.

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My gorgeous parents... Quick do a comparison to their IC photos which I posted earlier in this post.

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~*Other random CNY happenings*~

I can't recall when these had taken place as I got the photos off Facebook.

My short term lunch kakis at work and I had vegetarian Yu Sheng during lunch one day. Instead of fish slices, jelly which looked like salmon slices were used.

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One of the Saturdays, we had a CNY bbq held at one of kh's distant relatives' place. We went at night after my work but in the day, games were played. One of the games included matching all our Chinese names to the really huge family tree.

Later on, kh's cousins related to me how someone from another family (distant relative) took my name slip and kept wondering who I was while our side of the cousins who knew me were rushing to place it on the tree.

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I've blurred some of the characters out. No, I don't want anyone knowing our whole family tree.

I won an ang pow (red packet) in the lucky draw. Not too bad for a newcomer to the family.

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This pretty much sums up CNY 2011. I hope I have not put anyone in the CNY mode after reading this post. ;P

17 comments:

  1. Dear Jolene,
    I got so many things to say. I like when you update with a lot of photos and funny stories.

    You look so beautiful with all the make up and also with not so much make up. I actually prefer you with not so much make up as a whole. But both are nice too.

    I realise you are always posting photos about what you wear nowadays and you have quite a lot of clothes. I only see that you sometimes wear the same tops but other than that is always different tops. They are all very nice even when you say no label. Is your closet very big? Hee hee. Maybe you can take photo of your closet one day.

    Even when your nails are short, they look nice. I think Clara has did a wonderful job. Too bad she is not in Sin anymore.

    I like the pigs tart alot. They are very cute. Maybe next time you can make pigs tart and sell. I would love to eat them. Yummy!

    Jase and Charmaine are so cute. I wish Charmaine speedy recovery and I will pray for her.

    Your daddy and mummy look so good. They look like the happy couple. Young and old also look great.

    I watched the video and find that you talk very cute. On your blog, your English is very cheem but when you talk, you mix Chinese like pai video. So cute.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Jo, I thought I would stalk on your blog again, hoping for a new post and wow, this is a humongous post. Firstly, the white cheongsam with modern twist is absolutely divine. So many lovely details on the photos, from the dainty nail art to the lovely long lashes.

    Haha, KH annoying presence (reminds me of some blogger's pet cat or dog wanting to have a share of the limelight) in the background is simply hilarious, but really ruin the very lovely photo of you.

    And the piggy tarts and mouse are awesome. one of it seemed to have a broken tail. So cute and creative.

    Char and Jase look extremely mischievous but they seem to enjoy themselves which is very sweet.

    I like the family tree. Unfortunately, bananas like myself can't recognise a single character. and yes, unfortunately, you have succeeded in putting me in the CNY mode. Im craving for some CNY cookies

    ReplyDelete
  3. This post is def worth the wait. I adore everything from nail arts, dresses to food. I miss CNY ever since I left home I can tell you that. From my childhood memories when my paternal grandpa and grandma (they were Chinese and spoke both Cantonese and Thai, I am half Thai/Chinese) were still alive, our family was much biggger than it is today. We had so many relatives coming and visiting day in and out. Gosh food was the highlight of the event, you know how that go. It was a lovely time. Your post brings back lots of great memories, Jo. Thanks for this.

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  4. I forgot to mention that your dad would make a hot Korean idol when looking at his old pic hehe. Both of your parents sure are a cute couple. You look similar to your mom when she was younger. I can't see your box on my phone, can't wait to see it at home.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yen,

    How I miss your comments! I know you would always say you're very "luo suo" and so don't dare to keep leaving too many but it's okie coz I love to read them.

    Actually I also kinda like myself better without much make up. I guess the drama mama look looks good only in photos. I hope I didn't scare people in real life.

    No... I don't have a lot of clothes. Well, I think I'm in the middle. Comparing to some friends, I've got a lot but comparing to other friends, my clothes are but 20% of what they have. So I think I'm still quite ok. My clothes take up 4/5 of a 2 door wardrobe here. I've since shifted some of them to the other door. Now that kh is away, the wardrobe doesn't look like it's bursting at the seams.

    I think Clara really made my ugly nails look good. I hope she comes back to Singapore after her fashion studies and make an impact.

    Thank you for your lovely words on my parents and my godkids.

    Ooh... Yes, I do speak Singlish and smattering of Chinese, Hokkien words and phrases in my daily speech. I've to be so careful to speak in proper and almost perfect English whenever I teach or whenever I'm with my godkids. You know how kids pick up bad language quickly?

    I would love to see you around more often!

    ~~~

    Peh Sun,

    This is amazing! The very busy Dr Peh Sun managed to blog a great post and also check out my blog on consecutive days. I wish for more days like this. lol... btw do you reside in London. I know you're in the UK right? If it's London, I would so love to meet you in Nov-Dec.

    I will tell kh when he next calls back about your comment on him being the pet wanting a share of the limelight. Lol... this really cracked me up!

    Thank you for all the lovely words. Aww... I'm sorry I made you miss CNY cookies.

    ~~~

    Nelah,

    Thank you for your lovely words and also for sharing with me a little about your childhood. Yes, I remember reading that you're Thai Chinese. I think I asked you once before. Actually, I'm quite bad. I don't really like many traditional practice of CNY coz I don't get why it has to be such a big occasion of visiting people we hardly know and whom we only see once a year. Over the years, I mellowed down and just try to enjoy the whole process. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

    Haha... about my dad. My sisters and I often look at my dad's young handsome photo, shake our heads and ask him what happen now. We're very mean but we like to joke this way. My dad is very cute. My 2nd sis look more like my mum when she was young. There was a teenaged photo of my mum whom I thought was my 2nd sis! When I grew older, more and more people commented that I look like my mum but people who know me all said otherwise.

    The musical box you mean? Oh, it's a very old Chinese looking box. Not those exquisite vintage victorian kind. I hope I didn't get your hopes up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ok Jo, this is the 3rd day in a row I am stalking your blog. Haha, you should go and buy a lottery, you never know your luck. Lol, it just so happened I am off duty this week, needing to sort something out and every now and then wander into the blogsphere. So here I am again, spamming....

    I would love to meet you in person. Unfortunately, I don't reside in London. I m actually based in the north...Scotland that is! and quite far up north of Scotland in the city of Aberdeen. If you do head up north, I would definitely love to meet you and your hubby. Scotland is very beautiful by the way. I previously lived in Brighton for 2 years (which is about an 1hr from London), then move to edinburgh (scotland) for further 5 yrs, then to Belfast (northern ireland) for 2 years and finally (relatively settled) in Aberdeen (scotland) for the last 4yrs + for work reasons.... Although the shopping experience is way better in London/England, Scotland is unbelievably scenic and the people are extremely friendly too (the only down side is that is freezing cold).

    hey, you speak Hokkein? That's my mother tongue. So we are KAKI LANG...(direct translation own people)..

    tata for now, you never know I might stalk again later

    ReplyDelete
  7. Peh Sun,

    Ka ki lang, ho boh? lol

    I hope you managed to sort out whatever stuff they needs to be sorted.

    Wow! You're so mobile! Thanx for sharing. It's interesting to know more about my blogger friends. I haven't lived away from Singapore before. Not even to do a school exchange program. I would think that the rest of UK is worth the visit too but I've got so many other places to cover and so have to choose only London and its outskirts. My hubby is actually more of the scenery type but I love to admire architecture and whatever's gotta do with art and culture.

    This is one stalker I really don't mind. Hahaha...

    ReplyDelete
  8. haha...Jin ya ho.. Jin ya ho..

    I told you I would be back. :)

    Anyways, joking aside, I totally agree, there is so much to do and see in London itself. If you have the chance, do go and watch a musical/play, they are really good. Definitely loads of cathedrals and architecture for you to admire. Even I feel excited for your trip!

    Anyways, Im going to stop spamming now because my behaviour is also starting to freak me out a little.

    p/s: Please dont hesitate to drop me a line (email if you prefer) if you need to find out/sort anything for your london/UK trip. I would be more than happy to help.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Peh Sun,

    I would definitely watch a musical or 2. Definitely. Ooh... I really never knew London has so much to offer till I met my friends to get advice. I'm also feeling very excited. I think I've enough info for London for now but thanx for offering your assistance. Pity you don't reside there or we could meet up!

    I'll always welcome this stalker of mine. lol

    ReplyDelete
  10. wow thanks for sharing your CNY with us. It looked like you had a fun, very warm CNY! You look very beautiful in that white lace cheongsam!! my husband wants me to wear one lol.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi,

    May I know where u got your white lace cheongsum? Thanks

    cheers,
    lyn

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aww your CNY festivities seem a lot more fun than mine. Ours never last close to 15 days. Usually we put aside 1 day and have dinner with all of our close relatives and that's it.

    I love the cute little pig pineapple tarts you made! They almost look a little too cute to be eaten haha. I love your makeup and outfits too, especially the lace cheongsam! It's got the traditional style and design but looks very modern with the white lace. Also, I like how the lashes you use really make your eyes stand out :) And Clara is really talented at nail art. I love the 3d bow and all the jewels! I've always wanted to get my nails done like that but I'm always afraid that the pieces may fall off :P

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nic Nic,

    Thank you, dear. My cheong sam isn't the traditional one. It would be great to get a traditional one and wear it for your husband!

    ~~~

    Lyn,

    Ah, a local reader with a name! I'm so glad you left a name so I don't have to be replying to "anonymous". =) I got it from a shop in Far East Plaza but I can't remember the exact location of the shop. So sorry.

    ~~~

    Rinny,

    That's coz you're in a Western country. I'm very sure your CNY would be very happening in a country with lots of Chinese. Are most of your relatives in the States as well or only your immediate family? I heard that in China, CNY is celebrated for 15 days. Over here, it's only 2-day official holiday but we'll still continue visiting relatives and friends during the weekends.

    I could not bear to eat them too so I happily let my BIL eat them. Thank you for all your lovely words as always, dear. I'm also afraid such 3d nail design would fall off easily but Clara's one lasted me for a long time. Imagine making pineapple tarts with them!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thats a long celebration!! I know people in Hong Kong kinda celebrates this way too but my family never does caz they think they are cooler than going away for the entire holiday-_-. We use to leave on lin30th night all the way until the 7th or 8th every year because its the only time my parents have a longer period off. Now I am all grown up and I miss it. I miss eating non-stop and able to see a lot of relatives, hanging out with kids and whatnot.

    I like how you put EVERYTHING in this post. Makeup, outfit, families, food. I am kinda scared of the mouse of that zodiac animal ... but the rest look really cute! they also look cute when the tails broke off (no offense). Your post is making me miss my family even more, and I am so looking forward to next year's cny already!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Winnie,

    I think HK and SG is really similar in many ways. That's why I always click with HK people outta all the Asian countries.

    I would love to go for holidays on CNY actually coz I really dislike all the trouble in visiting so many people outta respect but whom I hardly know. I'm evil this way. I don't think I would miss it much actually. Probably if I've relocated somewhere it would be a different story and I would miss it like you coz the grass is always greener on the other side eh? ;)

    CNY will come soon. Time always passes very quickly and you'll be able to see your family soon!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love all your outfits and your makeup..especially the first white one. I miss new year in Vietnam, in the states it's just another boring day..we dont really celebrate if it's on a weekday and most ppl are working or too busy.

    The pigs lil pastry looks so cute..too cute to eat it! :D looking at all your photos..i want some good asian food!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yvonne,

    Do you mean celebrate Chinese New Year or Vietnamese New Year? Sorry if I sound completely ignorant coz I really am.

    Thank you for your compliment. I know what you mean. No matter where I am, I would miss Asian food too and even in Western countries, I would have to eat Asian food every few days.

    ReplyDelete

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