Friday, April 29, 2011

Say hi if you know me, don't read me silently

I was back in Singapore last night from my company's 2-day team building event in Desaru, Malaysia and it feels really good to be home. I had fun but it was physically exhausting and mentally draining. I'm still trying to work my body and mind back to normal and I will get back to all of your comments, emails and blogs slowly.

Bumping this portion up from my previous post...

I’m quite sure that many people who previously didn't know about the existence of my blog have stumbled onto my blog recently. As mentioned before and for those of you who have been following me for at least a year, you would have known that I deliberated for a long time to decide whether to close down my blog, move away or to continue blogging ever since it has become uncovered by so many strangers and 3rd degree friends alike throughout the years. For the more complete story, click "the author's journey" pink tab at the top of this page.

I’ve since decided on the 3rd choice as I realised that blogging has become a huge part of me and I’ve made many cherished friends from forums and all over the world. Moreover, I’ve got nothing to hide. Whatever that I dare display and write on FB and my blog are things which I don’t mind people knowing, except for maybe my students. Only when my students start stumbling onto my blog would I reconsider doing something about it. Recently my 14-year-old students started stalking me on FB even though my settings were private. I think FB had some problem and apparently, they could see my general info and friend list and started clicking on all my friends one by one. It doesn’t help that my hubby’s profile is super public and the damage had been done even though I unchecked and checked all the settings over again to double confirm. I was mad at the hubby for a while but it really isn't his fault.

If you happen to know me and have read up till this point, instead of reading me silently, why don’t you break the silence and drop me a note of hi? It might be a lot easier when we talk face to face knowing that you know rather than to pretend you are not reading me.

PS: Does anyone know how to disable search engine from finding your blog? I've already clicked on the option not to have my blog displayed in search engine for the longest time ever but I still see people getting to my blog from various keyword searches in the likes of google, yahoo and bing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Summer Trends Part II

Continuing from Spring Summer Trends Part I, the next fashion trend touches on denim. As seen from the various ViVi magazine spread in my previous post, denim attire in all sorts, whether it comes in the form of jeans, capri, dress, skirt, shorts or jumpers is a spring summer trend.

[Aside: I never knew that. I’m basically a denim shorts person in a land that experiences summer all year round.

Besides my boring old denim shorts, I decided to inch out of my comfort zone in experimenting with the denim trend. I wore my katie jumper in dark out for facial appointment, run some errands and meet my sister for dinner last Sunday. I paired it with my cute and classy (do you get the hidden joke?) Abercrombie Tee. I have the intention to pair the jumper with tube or bandeau one fine day when my abs are visible enough.

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The outfit invited lots of comments from everyone I interacted with that day. On any normal days, people don’t usually comment so much about my dressing coz I’m not really too adventurous in dressing up when it comes to normal outings.

One thing about jumpers would be that the strap constantly falls from my slight sloping shoulders. For this katie jumper, there would be times when I purposely left it hanging as I thought the red tartan design adds a dash of colour to the casual white and blue. Pop of colour is also synonymous to spring trends. The hanging strap kinda make me look sloppy and laid-back but I prefer to think I’m laid-back. The hubby however prefers to think that it’s kinky.
-_-

So why don’t you go creative with the denim trend in a totally-different-from-your-usual-manner this spring and share your look with me by leaving your link? I love to gain some inspirations from you too.

After having takeway McDonalds dinner with my sis at home, we decided to check out the reservoir nearby and also to test my month-old canon S95 for outdoor and low-light shots.

The authorities spruced up the land around the reservoir a few months back and we were surprised at the number of people and dogs of all shapes and sizes there. The place used to be frequented only by anglers and people who want to catch sight of crocodiles, which I highly suspect were giant monitor lizards roaming in the shallow waters of Singapore. Fast forward to now, it has become a family hang out place.

I tried out the continuous shots mode and combined them in an anigif. It’s no good when my sis has such shakey hands but I must say her photography skills improved that day. *LoL*

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The beautiful sunset hues of pink and purple in the sky were captured almost true to colour.

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My sis thinks I should take a shot with flowers to show that it’s spring so I found a pathetic morning glory on the ground for this shot.

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Soon the sun disppeared below the horizon. My old bimbotic pink fujifilm that died on me certainly would not be able to capture in such low lights as compared to my canon S95.

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Just a few seconds apart...

Over this side

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Over that side

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Here are some continuous mode test shots of the beautiful fountain put together by anigif. I think I’ve to figure out which scene mode to use coz these look a little blurry especially after compressing them to mak the gif.

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Do kids in other countries play with water fountain in this way or is is a Singapore culture?

I’m impressed by this low light, noiseless shot. My pink bimbotic fujifilm would have produced lots of noise or else then I’ve to up the exposure.

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Spring summer outfits worn in these two posts are from ClubCouture unless otherwise stated.

ClubCouture is currently having a promotion of free shipping worldwide. Double YAY for my international blogger friends. If any of you are of the same built as me and interested in the same items, you can always look at how the clothes fit on me as a gauge.

Don’t forget that exclusively for my friends and readers, enter the code JOLENE2011 all in capz to enjoy 15% discount when you check out your items.

Remember the photoshoot you saw a few posts back? Those with FB a/c, you can view more photos of the my dear friend regina, the other ambassadors and yours truly of course at ClubCouture's 2011 Fashion Ambassadors album.

I'm thrilled to know that they've stocked up on the monochrome silk dress I wore during the shoot which was out of stock back then. Cyrstal Luvz, you asked me before on this dress right? You can click the link. Now, I'm wondering if I should get it too. It's something that is not my style but even kh agrees that it's nice.

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Due to this ClubCouture album being posted to my FB wall as well as my blog link under each of my photo, I’m quite sure many of my co-workers have stumbled onto my blog since they, including my bosses, are on my FB friend list.

Well, I know some people may think that I’m so foolish to have so many co-workers on my friend list not blocked from my wall. However
as mentioned before and for those of you who have been following me for at least a year, you would have known that I deliberated for a long time to decide whether to close down my blog, move away or to continue blogging ever since it has become uncovered by so many strangers and 3rd degree friends alike throughout the years.

I’ve since decided on the 3rd choice as I realised that blogging has become a huge part of me and I’ve made many cherished friends from forums and all over the world. Moreover, I’ve got nothing to hide. Whatever that I dare display and write on FB and my blog are things which I don’t mind people knowing, except for maybe my students. When my students start stumbling on my blog, I think I would have to reconsider again. Recently my 14-year-old students started stalking me on FB even though my settings were private. I think FB had some problem and apparently, they could see my general info and friend list and started clicking on all my friends one by one. It doesn’t help that my hubby’s profile is super public and the damage had been done even though I unchecked and checked all the settings over again to double confirm.

If you happen to know me and have read up till this point, instead of reading me silently, why don’t you break the silence and drop me a note of hi? It might be a lot easier when we talk face to face knowing that you know rather than to pretend you are not reading me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Summer Trends Part I

Whenever I flip fashion magazines, I wish and I pray and I hope that I live in a country with the four seasons.

I know many of you four season people hate the winter and might probably be thinking “What? Are you crazy? How I wish I lived in a country with summer all year round!” But, the grass is always greener on the other side right? If you were to live in our hot and humid climate, I’m quite sure that you would also wish for the weather to be cold or cool at times.

I love to look at Japanese fashion magazines for inspirations and to simply marvel at their quirky yet fashionable styles. The Japanese really have the knack for dressing up. Outfits and styles which fashion pundits disapprove of somehow always look good on these Japanese.

I’ve been reading my international blogger friends’ blogs every now and then and it’s really cool to see their shift in dress sense as they usher in spring. Grey skies making way for the azure blue, fair slender legs seeing the light of day and skirts and shorts start emerging from their wardrobes. A few weeks ago, I read from some of them that spring had arrived late in some of their areas. However these few days it seems like they have officially welcomed spring with open arms.

Besides the usual bright and bold spring colours and the florals, some spring summer trends I gather from the March, April and May issues of ViVi magazine (Taiwan & Hong Kong edition) include many others trends for the year of 2011.


♥breezy white♥

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♥lace♥

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♥brownish tones like nude, cream, camel, mocha & other earthy tones♥

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♥denim♥

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♥layering♥

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♥chunky shoes♥

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With all these new-found knowledge in mind, I selected some items from ClubCouture with the intent to experiment with some spring summer trends by mixing and matching the new clothing items from ClubCouture with my existing ones.

[Ctrl & click on links to open page in a new tab.]

Here are what I bought:

mesh tiered skirt
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katie jumper in dark
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marled zip jacket
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sleeveless draped vest
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kensie boyfriend cardigan
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I haven't worn the kensie boyfriend cardigan yet and haven't thought of which outfit to pair it with. I might just do something like how the lady on the right of the picture does it -- white tone all the way with a pop of colour.

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In the meantime, I will share with you some spring summer looks which I’ve created.

Let’s start with the mesh tiered skirt! It is a high-waisted mesh skirt with a smocked faux corset waist and a tiered ruffled skirt.

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The various looks which I’ve created from this skirt matched the breezy white, lace, brownish tones, layering and chunky shoes trends all in one without being too OTT.

In Look 1, I wore an old “fairy top” bought 6 years ago and tucked it into the skirt with the corset detailing visible. Read all other descriptions in the photos.

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As for Look 2, I did not tuck in the top. It looked a little too flouncy and puffy so I added a cinched waist belt.

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For Look 3, I incorporated the idea of layering into the whole outfit. In our hot climate, the art of layering is indeed for fashion and nothing about keeping ourselves warm. Hence, I threw on the sleeveless draped vest.

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Look 4’s layering is practical for keeping oneself warm.

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The marled zip jacket when worn zipped or unzipped creates very different looks. I personally prefer it unzipped but I thought that the placement of the zip on the jacket is really unique as part of the jacket would gather in layers at the bottom middle portion.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed putting everything together. What do you think of the looks I’ve come up with and what are some spring summer trends that you’ve picked up for this year? Do share them with me.

Since I’ve already touched on breezy white, lace, brownish tones, layering and chunky shoes trends, I’m sure you know what Part II will be about. =) I hope to be able to get it done by the weekend.

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I’m so sorry for neglecting this space here. I see cobwebs forming! There are just too many things to be busy with that I’ve to push blogging to a corner and write a spring summer post in 2 parts.

It’s 5am now and I don’t feel sleepy at all but I’ve to sleep as I’ve gotta work later. Good night and good morning!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thought of You



Pure work of art -- incorporating fluid dance moves and seemingly simple animation coupled with a great song.

I would be interested to hear anyone's analysis of this short film to compare notes.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Our little actions could help save the earth

My company would organise a social work trip annually. I believe it’s a form of corporate social responsibility. However for last year, instead of doing social work, the focus was on environmental protection. Sometime last year, my company organised an awareness trip to Tzu Chi (慈济).

Even though Tzu Chi is a Buddhist organisation, I believe that charity and the love for human beings and our earth transcends all religions. Hence, even though I’m a Christian (sort of a non practicing one I always tell people jokingly), I stepped into the simple white building somewhere in the east of Singapore with an open mind and learnt so much from the trip.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

~*More about Tzu Chi*~

Tzu Chi strive to carry out the “Four Missions” and “Eight Footsteps” in the local community.

The eight footsteps include:
charitable services
medical care
moral development
humanity activities
international relief
bone marrow donation
environmental protection
community volunteerism

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We learnt quite a bit about how Tzu Chi has helped in the 8 realms but as mentioned at the beginning of this post, our focus for the trip was on environmental protection. Read more on Tzu Chi’s take on environmental protection here.

It doesn’t need an arm and a leg to contribute to saving the environment.

We watched videos of all the recent natural disasters and learn more about how our human actions have impacted on the environment. Ever noticed how our weather climate is going haywire over the years and at the multitude of natural disasters of late? It is all due to our selfish disregard for Gaia.

We also watched a very entertaining yet poignant video on how a pig farmer could no longer bear seeing his pigs slaughtered and how he and his pigs became vegetarians eventually.

I will include the video and the translation at the end of my post so as not to break the flow. I hope all of you could take some time to watch the video and for my non-Chinese readers, I’ve spent some time including the English translation.

After that, we toured around the building to learn more about the other footsteps of the organisation. Finally, we had hands on experience sorting out the various types of metals and plastics to recycle as well as dismantling old casette tapes and sort out the parts to be recycled. I would have loved to stay to do more sorting but there wasn't enough time.

I managed to talk to a volunteer who explained how volunteering really helps people feel good about themselves and about helping others; how they have many Christians and Muslim volunteers devoting their time to help others via Tzu Chi despite it being a buddhist organisation.

Back in the hall, we learnt how to "sing" a song about love using hand signals which I personally did not like as I'm bad at it. I was thinking more of going back to the shed to help sort the recyclable materials. =P

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I’m sure some of you know the reasons why people become vegetarian -- religious reasons, the love for animals, health reasons so on and so forth.

On the last pointer, many of you know that being a vegetarian not only serve as a preventive measure to human epidemics with animal origins such as mad cow disease or any avian flu. But do you know that being a vegetarian would help save the environment as well?

The primary benefit of adopting a meatless diet is the reduction of raising livestock which often costs excessive deforestation, ecosystem disruption, as well as air and water pollution. More importantly, the grains that were used to feed livestock could feed millions of people suffering from hunger.

To put it simply, you can do your part in saving the environment and keeping calamities at bay by going vegetarian.

I know it’s tough for many of us “meatarians” to go vegetarian all of a sudden and I’m not forcing any of you reading this to become a vegetarian.

For my part, I go vegetarian once or twice a week. I’m one who can’t live without meat so doing this is just something small which I can contribute to the environment. If more of us were to go vegetarian once or twice a week, I’m sure it would help in a way. As a Chinese saying goes '积少成多' (pronounced as ji shao cheng duo) loosely translated as many small things could accumulate into big things. Every small little effort counts and these could spread exponentially to people all around the world.

Another small effort you can put in to save our earth is to use your own utensils instead of using those disposable plastic forks and spoons and wooden chopsticks. This applies to all who often have “takeway” meals.

Imagine the number of such utensils you throw away in your whole lifetime should you eat takeway meals every day. That, times the number of people doing so, it adds up to lots of ammunition to kill Gaia.

I’m one who always buy my food up to my desk and I’m guilty of having killed many trees and contributing to those mountains of non biodegradable plastics cast away in some landfills.

My highly environmentally-friendly good friend xtina got me this pair of Winnie the Pooh chopsticks.

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I’ve been using them for all my noodle meals in the office for the past 3 years. That probably saved half a tree? Nonetheless, if more of us could use our own chopsticks, we could save a football field size of trees or even more.

Winnie the Pooh saved the trees but it couldn’t decrease the number of plastics on our land. I was still using disposable plastic spoons to drink my soup with.

Hence, “mini pink DS Lite” comes to the rescue!

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Now, I’ve got fork and spoon to go with my chopsticks. The set by the way also includes chopsticks but I can’t use my fork and spoon if i use them as chopsticks you see. From then onwards, Winnie the Pooh loves playing with mini DS Lite during meal times.

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That answers all of you from the previous post. My dear friend citrella is a genius who guessed it correctly and I reckon it’s coz this travel utensils syndrome is gradually catching up in Singapore.

I bought my mini pink DS Lite from Tzu Chi’s environmental shop by the way. They also sell dri-fit clothes and blankets which are made from recycled plastics! I’m really amazed coz the dri fit fabric feels so cooling and smooth to the touch whereas the blanket feels so warm and snuggly. These blankets are exactly those which they use to bring relief to disaster-struck areas for the victims to keep warm under whenever Tzu Chi volunteers in national relief.

I also bought warm socks for both sets of parents and for kh and myself as sleeping with our feet covered promotes overall well-being. Unfortunately, the fabric for these socks aren’t made from recycled plastics. I thought I could help save the environment in the process.

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Some mini books were handed out to us as a token of appreciation. I love some of the quotes in there. Though the teachings inside are buddhist-oriented, they are all-encompassing as long as you’re human.

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~*Video on the vegetarian pig farmer*~

The video is in Mandarin and a little Hokkien but with a some help from a Singaporean vegan blogger and modifications on my part, I’ve included the translations below the video.



The man in the video was previously a pig farmer. During peak periods, the number of pigs could go up to 160. His family has been raising pigs for more than 20 years, but he doesn’t dare to eat pork. In 2009, he decided to forgo his pig raising business and become a vegetarian. He treat the remaining pigs as his pets now and feed them a vegetarian diet.

When asked why he decide to forgo his pig raising business

In a usual visit from the pig dealer to catch his pigs to send for slaughter, what is usually done is they will put a sack over the pigs' head and the pig dealer will pull the pigs by the tail up to the vehicle. The pigs will normally criy out loudly and resist. However on one of the visits, there was one pig that behaved very differently, it was silent when the pig farmer pulled it. It simply looked at the pig farmer with souful eyes as if asking, "Where am I going?" Then it walked up the vehicle itself with great pride and never once looking back at the man anymore. The farmer was taken aback by this reaction and thus was not able to sleep that night. At 3am, he sped to the abattoir determined to buy the pig back at twice the amount, but by the time he arrived, only the pig’s trotter was left.

The farmer felt anguished that he could not save that pig when it had actually saved him, allowing him to discover that animals are full of sentience.

When asked what do pigs eat to grow

He asserts that whether pigs are fat depends on how people feed them. If he wants the pig to be fat in a certain area, he can control it. If he wants the pig to sleep for more than 10 hours, he can control it. He controls by using medicine to inject the pigs with and also adding hormones in the pig feed. During cold or hot days when the pigs can't sleep, or if they don't eat as much, such hormonal stuff would be once again fed to them which will control their appetite to encourage them to eat again. It is not because the pigs are naturally hungry that they eat, but they eat because there is no choice, they are controlled.

Usually after eating meat, you may feel tired, want to sleep, or when women have their menstruation earlier, these are due to the contents in the pig feed. These contents are still widely used today as farmers like to use it due to the ease of controlling the pigs.

When asked what benefits are there letting the pigs eat a vegetarian diet

He showed three tubs of pig feed. One contained only vegetables which did not have worms/maggots in it. The tub with milk and egg grew some small worms. The tub with meat were infested with big fat worms.

His pigs have been vegetarian for four months and they have slimmed down and look better. Ordinarily, pigs will fall sick when they slim down, but not these vegetarian pigs. They were beautifully slim with a healthier coat of fur as what he claims. Even the farmer himself on his vegetarian diet slimmed down and some of his ailments resolved themselves. He also feels a lot more energetic and healthier. He showed one pig whose leg was almost gone from a big tumour growing on it, but after eating a vegetarian diet, the tumour disppeared.

When asked whether he considered letting someone else raise his pigs

He said he considers his pigs as his own children so he wouldn't just give them away no matter how difficult it will be for himself to raise all his pigs.

When asked how he faces challenges in rearing his pigs

He asserts that it’s not difficult at all and at times when he sits down and looks at his pigs, his stress dissipates and he feels at ease. He addresses himself as “daddy” when he speaks to his pigs.

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I would be really impressed and grateful at the same time if you have read up till this point of my extremely lengthy post.

I hope that this sharing would motivate some of you to put environmental protection into action in your daily lives. I have shown that it could be as simple as what I’m currently doing and I hope that this isn’t a difficult practice to adopt for you.
You can get the ball rolling by throwing your unwanted paper, plastic, glass and metal into recycle bins instead of the dustbin for a start.

Remember, every little effort counts.



Credit: Some of the information in this post is taken from various parts in the Tzu Chi organisation website and has been put together and modified slightly by me.

Guess what this is

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Nah... It's not some giveaway post where you would win this when you guess it correct. I just wanted to know people's hazard guesses and how many people could actually guess it correctly.

I call it my little pink "DS Lite" though it is nothing close to a DS Lite. For a rough measurement of size. The length of my mini "DS Lite" is approximately the breadth of the real DS Lite

It's 3am here, my nose is stuck silly and fenfedrin isn't working too well with my nose today. I can't get to sleep but I have to try.

Good night!

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