Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Joy & Love from Thanksgiving till Christmas

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In the blink of an eye, we have almost passed the one-week's mark of the new year. Within these few days of 2013, there were a couple of events worth remembering but the one I'm happiest about is that I've finally bought an empty jar to start on my Gratitude Jar project for the new year and have put something into the jar.

I've been meaning to be consistent in my photo-story updates but illness, emo and busy-ness soon crept into my schedule insidiously.

In fact, this post "How I Went from Being Miss Positive Pants to Being Negative" written by Luminita D. Saviuc from Purpose Fairy neatly sums up how I have been feeling since a few months ago. I identified so much with this post of hers that as I read, I could not help but hear my voice in it. Instead of telling my story here, I'm gonna play cheat and direct those of you who are interested to click on the above post.

~

I had not been meeting any friends during my whole emo phase. Groups of lovely friends who read my emo post tried getting me to meet up, thinking it would take me away from my negativity and pain. However, I felt the best cooped up alone in my room. The only people I interacted with that whole time were my colleagues. I simply shunned away from the rest of the world.

My intestinal pains had also altered my eating habits. I used to eat a lot but now I could only eat half of what I used to eat. For a period of time, I developed a phobia for eating as I would suffer from intense pain before and after eating. During the holiday season, I was in pain with all the eating, drinking and indulging but I have gotten more of less used to the pain. Anyway even if I do not eat, drink and indulge, I would still suffer from pain (though less intense) so why not suffer (a bit more) while enjoying myself?

After that emo post, more transpired which I've chosen not to talk about on my blog and to anybody else coz frankly, I don't even know myself at times. As mentioned in my previous post, I would focus on the good, try my best to let go of the bad memories and usher in 2013 with open arms.

Thanksgiving 2012 was when I broke out of my rabbit hole and slowly tried to deposit little joys back into my bleak life. I also slowly overcame my phobia for eating and have since gotten used to the pain.

"The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters."
-- Audrey Hepburn



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~*Thanksgiving 2012 at Rabbit Carrot Gun*~

I would never miss anything that my dear friend Cyn organized. Well aware of my state, she hoped that I would be able to turn up for the event which she had organized to gather all the important people in her life who had helped her through her bleakest moments of dealing with little Charmaine's cancer and eventual passing.

Old friends, new friends, good friends and strangers-turned-good friends arrived at Rabbit Carrot Gun for a heartwarming Thanksgiving dinner. As soon as Cyn texted me the name of the place and showed me the illustration of the rabbit, I knew I would love that place.

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Rabbit Carrot Gun is a relatively new restaurant and it had not officially opened when we were there that night.

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It was a blessing that Cyn happened to make acquaintance with the owner of the restaurant who offered the place to host this private event prior to the official launch.

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The decor

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This was what we ate -- delicious dishes infused with loads of homemade English love.

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We were told that upon liking their Facebook page, we could get a complimentary glass of champagne. To which, I immediately took out my phone and liked the page. I was not supposed to take alcohol coz of my illness but it was a sin to resist my bubbly on happy occasions.

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Nobody knew what Rabbit Carrot Gun was until the owner explained to us that it is something like our Scissors Paper Stone.
Gun wins Rabbit by shooting the Rabbit.
Rabbit wins Carrot by eating the Carrot.
Carrot wins Gun by... o_O
Before the owner even got to that explanation, everyone with dirty little minds laughed unanimously and wondered how inserting Carrot into the Gun would win it.

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Next, it was time for Bingo!

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Jase was the Bingo Master for the night.

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Everyone had a wild time trying to cross out numbers on their cards.

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Jase was too fast and Cyn mommy had to step in to do damage control.

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Good friend Charlene had been busy nowadays with her bundle of joy Dylan. Dylan has the most adorable innocent-looking face ever and he looks so cute and cheeky when he smiles. We bumped into Charlene and Josh before we reached the place, so I was carrying Dylan all the way and pretending he was my son. When we reached, everyone was gushing over Dylan. Of course everyone knew Dylan belonged to Josh and Charlene but they all joked about how I had concealed so well and emerged after hiding with a cute kid. LOL Talk about this bunch of joker friends. Charlene was more than happy to pass Dylan to me and rest her arms.

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I swear he was smiling every now and then but when I asked him to smile at the camera, he would look as if I bullied him. He was in fact a little bully who puked on me.

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Thank you Weikang for this lovely photo and congrats on your engagement. Wheet!

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Soon, kh wrestled Dylan away from me.

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Jase kor kor also wanted a piece of Dylan.

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Only mummy knew how to make Dylan smile for the camera.

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Soon, it was time to tinkle on the champagne glass and for Cyn to give a speech.

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A wonderfully touching speech by Cyn.

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Family forever!

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We had a 2nd round of Bingo.

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Adam was the overall winner.

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I relish seeing how godpa and godson love and irritate each other.

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My coffee drinker hubby having his coffee after desserts.

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My camera alone would not have been able to capture so many great shots. Thanx to dear Angela for some of the photos you see here. We are like-minded when it comes to photos.

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The original Feisty Team Jo, Char, Cyn.
A quarter of the Feisty Team, Josse, could not make it that night.

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You could clearly tell who loves her drinks and who doesn't drink.

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Soon, it was late and people with kids had to go home.

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Cyn and Jase with Weikang, his sweet gf and the little cousins/ nephews

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Cyn and Jase with Chorina, Josh, Charlene, KO-ed Dylan

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Cyn with Chorina

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Cyn with Chris

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Charmaine's plight had certainly brought many many kind-hearted people together. These people are akin to angels on earth. Chorina and Chris are examples of how strangers/readers/supporters could slowly forge such firm friendship with us. Sometimes, it is life's many wonders that some people should cross paths and leave firm footprints in the most unlikely situations.


A parting shot of us, together with the owners ( a husband and wife team) shouting and making the signs for Rabbit Carrot Gun.

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"Oops... I can't see the full rabbit" was the statement that sparked off the next shot.

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Trixy, Cyn and Angela formed the team of empire cut dresses!

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Clearly, someone didn't belong in the picture below.

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
-- Melody Beattie


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~*Christmas Shopping*~

It was a day out with the hubby for Christmas shopping. It was mainly me doing the shopping for gifts for my friends and colleagues. And nope, we seldom buy gifts for each other during special occasions.

Before we charged to the mall and thronged through the sea of people, we had to charge our bodies for the grueling task of squeezing through the mad Christmas crowd. We had a really early dinner at Skinny Pizza.


We had Smoked Turkey Swiss and The Elegant Black Pepper Prawn Linguine to share for our mains.

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Truffle fries and a special can can mocktail drink to add on.

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I love how the place is into recycling.

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As proclaimed here.

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After shopping for all the gifts, something in my mind was calling out to me to drop by Ling Jewellery. Our wedding bands are from Ling Jewellery and it has been 3 years since we last stepped in. I merely thought of getting myself a necklace to wear for functions and decided to take a look without the intention to buy anything.

When I uttered my thoughts out, Kh was very surprised and quizzed me on why I had wanted to go there. It was only at the end of the day that he revealed to me that he had actually wanted to surprise me with a Christmas gift from there since he hadn't bought me anything for a number of occasions. Hence, he felt as if I had read his mind.

During our walk there, we were wondering if Ling would recognize or remember us since she has tons of customers.

"Ok if Ling is not there, we will leave. If Ling is there but doesn't remember us, we would just look at the jewellery at the window display and not go in. If she remembers us then no choice, we will go in," strategized kh.

Fortunately for me and unfortunately for him, Ling spotted us and called out our names so loudly. He had no choice but to go into the shop with me. Just like in the past, the service from her sister and her was excellent and the recommendations from her designer's eye were truthful. We spent 2 hours in the shop, talked like old friends and very soon she was once again throwing us pretty good discount for a chain and a pendant.

It reminded me of what she once said to us:
"You two better don't talk to me so much. The more I talk to you, the more discounts I'm actually throwing in."


Wanna see what Ling recommended for me?

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A bling bling tear drop diamond pendant to match a bling bling chain.

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Photos could not capture the brilliance of the diamonds although in real life, it is so super bling that I could only wear it for occasions. Damn, should have chosen a pendant for daily wear to make good use of it.

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After this gift, I don't think I could dream of getting any more presents from the hubz for the next 10 occasions but it's ok, I would rather spend the time going out to eat good food.


For supper, we went to Fat Boys The Burger Bar.

Fat Boy looked too cute with the santa hat.

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I told kh that the way he frowns sometimes remind me of Fat Boy and he vehemently denied it.

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We had light bites like Mozzarella Cheese Sticks and Chicken Mac and Cheese to share.

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~*Family Day at Singapore Discovery Centre*~

One thing I'm very thankful for in my new job is the great people in my department. It is like a big happy family there with almost zero politics. There is a super steep learning curve for me having switched from very different industries but the people in my department really made each day pass by with much laughter and joy.


Here are my lovely colleagues. I love snapping photos of photos.

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

~*More Christmas Shopping*~

It was another round of Christmas shopping with the hubby to get some last minute gifts.

Another round of charging to the mall and thronging through the sea of people.

Another round of charging our bodies for the grueling task of squeezing through the mad Christmas crowd.

This time, we charged our bodies at Big O Cafe.

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After shopping, we adjourned to TWG for light bites. I really love the service at TWG Ion.

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As I was editing the photos, I realised kh seemed to have a favourite shirt. I like this shirt of his too but I can't help but laugh when I see him wearing the same shirt on so many occasions in one post.


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~*The Red and Green Christmas Party with Colleagues*~

We had a formal Christmas party at the departmental level. After our way-forward meeting, the whole department went to Kushin Bo for Japanese buffet. Love the food there. Then, we went to a colleague's house for gift exchange. It was a lovely day. However since no camera phones are allowed at my workplace, I do not have any photos of the day's event.

~

Then over the Christmas weekend, we had an informal Christmas lunch party with some colleagues as well as ex colleagues whom I slowly got acquainted with.


We simply brought and bought too much food. Most of my colleagues are not big eaters and the biggest eater (yours truly) had cut down my intake of food by half.

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After eating, it was time for gift exchange. Few weeks prior to the party, we drew lots for secret santees and came up with a wish list. In this way, we get what we want w/o all the Christmas gifts wastage.

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At the end of the party, Jac was acting the passador and slicing up meat for easy takeaway.

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Everyone ready? Not quite.

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Yeah!

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After the Christmas lunch party, kh and I watched Rurouni Kenshin, a 2012 Japanese film adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin based on Nobuhiro Watsuki's popular manga of the same name. The movie was superb. I love all the violent, bloody fight scenes and how the actors and actresses portray their character true to the manga. You could tell that all the people in the audience were fans of the manga/ anime. Kh read the whole manga series when he was much younger and as for me, I was hooked to the anime for quite a while during my university days. After the movie, we had ramen at Ramen Champion Bugis Plus (which I would blog about it separately in a post wholly dedicated to ramen).

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During the movie, I received a Christmas greeting from Bei. She had used her new pet guinea pig to send Christmas greetings over text and I simply have to share this photo with all of you.

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~*Another Red and Green Christmas Eve Lunch at Prive with Colleagues*~

On xmas eve, all the poor souls in the department who didn't clear leave were in a holiday mood. It was a half day for all of us and by close to 12 pm, our big boss told us to pack up and leave, and enjoy Christmas so we scuttled off to Prive for brunch.


The red santarinas

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The green elves

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The one at the traffic junction -- traffic light (if you know what I mean)

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The red santarinas, the green santa's elves and the blue blue one

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We ordered these:
Eggs Benedict
Eggs Royale
Fish and Chips
Smoked Salmon Salad
Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad

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Bananalicious French Toast
Fizzy Chocolate Granache Tart
some banana chocolate thingy
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It looked more like house colours of red, green, blue, yellow rather than a red and green theme Xmas eve lunch that day.

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Then at night, it was dinner at Swenson's with the hubby and movie. We caught Jackie Chan's CZ12 also known as Chinese Zodiac. Possibly his last fight movie, it is a Chinese-Hong Kong action film co-produced, written, directed by and starring Jackie Chan.

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Hubby loves to play Scramble with Friends with his phone flat on the table.

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Outfit of the day:
♥ Cotton On Studded Tank Top
♥ Black Spag worn inside
♥ Skirt gifted by dear colleague

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~

Like all other years, I do not open my Christmas presents immediately after receiving them. There were a few years when I left them wrapped up so prettily in a big paper bag till the following year, my mum nagged at me to open them. I always reasoned with my mum that they looked a lot more gorgeous wrapped up and she could not understand my warped logic. When I got married and moved in with the hubz, he could not understand my warped logic too and since then, I've been opening my presents on Christmas day or boxing day itself.


Here are the presents from the people at work. Do you understand why I had to spend so much time buying presents now? Practically the whole department buy gifts for one another!

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Presents from my branch gals.

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~*Christmas Party at Josse's House*~

Remember a quarter of the Feisty Team was absent from Thanksgiving? We were at her place on Christmas Day itself.


Josse the lovely host.

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She throws a really mean Christmas party every year and that was the very first time I attended her party. I was really impressed by the house party from the decor to the dishes to the warmth and ambience at her place. She cooked many of the dishes herself with help from her domestic helper. Get ready to drool later when you look at the food.

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I really love all the quotes she placed on the tables.

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You know how I love to put my food pictures in collages? I couldn't possibly do it for Josse's food spread coz they simply deserve a lot more space than to be part of a collage. The smogasbord of food comprised the traditional, the Western, the Asian and the kids friendly. Notice how there are labels so you know what you are eating. This is the first time I see labels on food at a house party!

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Cyn mommy, Godma Jolene and Jase.

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Godma and Jase on the kinda swing we all love.

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Jase was really cute when out of the blue, he told us how he knew how to imitate Godpa kh's expression. I often told kh he has this certain expression and he never knew what I was talking about (or rather, he refused to admit that he has such an ugly signature facial expression). Jase actually noticed it too!

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Jase was such a tease.

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Jase was crying in the collage below. It all started when I picked a beetle off cyn's shoulder with a piece of tissue paper and refused to crush it. Sandy let it go and as what beetles always do, that beetle went smack against Jase's cheek. He was terrified and bawled his eyes out. Coz I refused to mommy this cowardly boy, he went to squeeze in with kh. As usual, I like to see them annoying each other.

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Shots of Sandy and kh from Jase's perspective.

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Cyn just had to have her wine.

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Soon it was dessert time. Dessert spread was a whole fanfare altogether.

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How could we not take a photo with the lovely host?

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The kids' playroom!

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The host's kids-- my favourite pretty boy Hyynen and shy Summer. Hyynen looked like a bigger version of the pretty boy I gushed about from the last time while Summer looked so different from the last time I saw her. She looked like a little Japanese doll now.

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Soon it was time for the gift exchange.

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There were so many presents that they weren't exactly under the tree.

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The decorations extended till the lift and the neighbours' compound. If I were their neighbour I would be more than happy to have the outer compounds of my house adorned with their decorations. I really love Christmas decorations. Even simple lighting decorations at the pavilion by the pool looked so heartwarming.

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Kh has put on soooooo much weight. His arm look really thick in this photo and it suddenly dawned on me that this was his new favourite shirt coz it could conceal his tummy quite well.

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I love this shot that Cyn took for us.

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My Christmas present looks like this when worn.

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Outfit of the day:
♥ No label flowy white top
♥ "Liz Lisa" cream tiered skorts

Pardon the dirty mirror!
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~*Family Day at Universal Studios*~

Kh's sqn held their family day last Saturday. It started off with lunch at Imperial Herbal Restaurant (Vivocity) and then free and easy time at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).

These were the only food picture I could snap before the bosses started to join our table and I felt too embarrassed to continue my usual food photo-taking habit.

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We took the tram from Vivocity to Sentosa.

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Look! I have big, fat pouty lips!

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We hung out with kh's coll who brought both his sons as we felt he might need some help with his wife tending to their newest addition at home. They were such well-behaved little boys!

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The Transformer ride was the newest ride which we had yet to sit prior to that day. The younger of the two boys was not able to sit as he had not reached the ideal height limit for that ride. Although he was eager to take the ride, he did not show his disappointment or wail like some little brats do. Such a well-behaved boy.

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We were told by the park attendants that would be a 70 min queue. So kh found another coll with his son and decided to queue together and make the 70 min wait less grueling.

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When we reached the air-conditioned interior, the wait seemed a lot faster.

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Finally we put on our 3D glasses and were ready to save the world.

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After queuing for 70 min to save the world within 5 min, we espied Bumblebee in disguise.

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Optimus Prime!

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It was time for Bumblebee to take over.

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Why couldn't we have the best of both worlds?

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Optimus Prime and BumbleBee met briefly before they went their separate ways.

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We had wanted to sit on Battlestar Galactica but the wait was about 30 min. Dark grey clouds were beginning to loom overhead. Kh and I decided to call it a day and headed for the shelter just as heavy drops of rain pelted down.

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The Rockafellas were performing at NYC and we had an up close and personal taste of B-Boyin. The volunteers were really sporting and the audience were truly entertained.

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Sesame Street in New York.

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Kh: Wat the fook... This is the world ugliest Elmo. It's a pig lor!
Jo: I wanna take picture with the world ugliest Elmo!

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Soon, it started to rain more heavily and a long queue for the tram formed.

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That was the shortest time we had ever spent at USS. I've personally gone to USS 4 times, sat on most of the rides and watched most of the shows. I was fine not making full use of our tickets and was satisfied to have sat on the newest Transformer ride.


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

~*Christmas Celebration with Vios at Mixx Pub*~

It was a hat themed Christmas KTV sing, drink and chill session with the Vios group at Mixx Pub where we booked the private room for ourselves. It was my first time there and I thought that it was a really great place to chill.
(Ignore the Happy Birthday decoration at the back. It was nobody's birthday.)

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P-break! The funny picture on the toilet door.

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It was supposed to be an all-girls shot so WJ covered his face.

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WJ brought some moustache and the girls decided to convert ourselves into men.


Moustache girl in the making.

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The moustache girls!

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kh could not accept the fact that he had actually married a man!

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When the night was still young, we did the gift exchange.

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Jac came up with a voting system for the gift exchange.

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Each of us would take a gift and unwrap it. Then, the gifts would be placed in a line and everyone would go round putting name slips on the gifts which they felt was suitable for that particular person.

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The presents included mini speakers, kitty fleece blanket, collagen drink, lotions, watch, manuka honey, boxing gloves, skin sprays (???), sea salt body scrub together with a shoe bag for sports.

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After generating the results for the votes, it was present presentation.

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It was a unanimous decision for the boxing gloves to go to Jon.

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Everyone received a handwritten card and a small little gift from Jully. That's really sweet of her. My card came with free eyebrow threading.

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Kinder in the shape of a hippo

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After that, the girls got bored with our own moustache.
Some of the girls exchanged moustache, some of them changed the moustache into soemthing else.

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And the most disgusting one? Changing the moustache into chest hair. I swear that while I'm crazy and bimbotic, I wasn't the one who came up with this crazy idea.

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The guyz wanted to transform themselves into 3 old uncles.

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Cheers!

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The uncle with lots of hair!

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Enough of moustache. After rounds of drinks, it was time to dance and party. I could not dance coz I did not have enough alcohol in me. I was suffering from tummy pain yet again and drank in moderation (1 glass only).

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The couple singing a couple song.

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After exchanging moustache, we exchanged hats for proper photo keepsake without those crazy moustache.

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Kh always likes to ruin an all-girls shot and he even ruined SL's face.

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Girls would be girls and we would jump at any chance to cam whore. Hence, we exchanged hats, took photo and exchanged hats and took photo and this went on till we have put on all the hats.

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The boys also joined in for the hats exchange and photo taking.

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Us with our own hats

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Outfit of the day:
♥ BCBG maxazria dress
♥ No label Straw Fedora Hat from Far East

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~~~

This post pretty much sums up my super packed holiday season. Christmas is probably my most favourite holiday which wraps up the whole year and I'm always at my happiest during the Christmas season.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”
-- Denis Waitley



Whenever you feel negative, always remember that things happen for a reason. They are here to give you life's lessons.

10 comments:

  1. OMGOOOOOOOOOOOOSH i just sat here and was like DROOOOOOLING i mean DROOLING over all your food pics. seriously how do you stay so skinny!! you eat so well ahahahah! you and your hubs are such a good looking couple hehe :p and your family and the kiddies are all so cute!!!! that one picture of your and the little baby.. ahah i think you are ready hahah looks so natural :p

    OMGOSH your christmas gift from the hubs is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo gorgeous. omgosh it looks like a super sparkly diamond leaf i love it! and it looks so pretty on your neckline! ohh i actually turn off all the lights and then i shoot the diamonds w/ the flash on :p try it lemme know how it goes hehe :p happy new year dear!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is a great catch up of your holiday Jo! Your pictures of your friends and family are always so heart-warm, and I'm so glad to see you smiling so happily!! That necklace your hubsband gave is very beautiful!! Hope you have a wonderful and healthy 2013 ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Between Thanksgiving week till New Years week, its always crazy fun with a mix of crazy stress. Yet there is no other way to celebrate but that way.

    The pictures explain how much fun you had. Oh, and the food looks so delicious. I hope the stomach pains go away. I'd feel miserable to see all that food, and have to learn how to eat in moderation to prevent any discomfort.

    I haven't been to Universal Studios (from the states) since I was 5! I believe I need to change that this year. :D

    Enjoy the New Year! Before you know it, it's Valentine's Day. YIKES!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're a precious gift to all of your friends. Cutting yourself off from them was bad for you and them. I'm glad you came out of your rabbit hole.

    I guess this would be the wrong time to mention whose name means rabbit (hare, actually). :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gorgeous holidays...loved the pictures...I hope the new year brings even more happy times x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jo: i hope this year will continue to bring you good cheers and many more positive vibes in the aspects of health and emotion wise. I know it can be extremely hard to be positive when you are not feeling well. Ii is the worst feeling no one wants to experience.

    I like seeing pictures of you and your hubby. Both of you are so cute together. Your dress is very pretty too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow what an epic holiday post Jo! Looks like you had a lot of fun, received a lot of great gifts:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. the food pictures look awesome, and yeeah I have been eating half of what I used to eat too, I think it has to do with more from being happy to stressed?! anyways looks like you had a great holiday!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think that good memories are determined mostly by the people that you are surrounded with - your family is adorable and I'm so glad you had a great experience! Free champagne is always a plus, too!

    x
    d a n i e l l e | daniellewu.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lisa,

    I always read your comments with a smile coz you could do a really quick summary of almost everything in a post and also you always have such pleasant words for everyone. =) Thank you for all the lovely compliments.

    You took those bling bling photos in the dark with flash? Gosh. I would never ever have thought of it! Lemme try it the next time round and I would inform you if it turns out well.

    ~~~
    Nic Nic,
    Hello dearie. Thank you for your lovely words.


    ~~~

    My-My,

    Oh, I totally agree with you about how time flies. I’m seeing lots and lots of Valentine ’s Day posts on social media now. You have to go to Universal Studios especially when it would be so much better in the States than in our small little country, Singapore. And thank you for your concern with regard to the tummy pain.


    ~~~

    Rick,

    You always put a smile on my face. Yes, getting out of my rabbit hole was a good move. I don’t quite understand the last part of your comment. Could you enlighten me?


    ~~~

    Ms Dainty Doll,

    And to you too!


    ~~~

    Nelah,

    Thanx so much for your concern, dearie. I really appreciate it.


    ~~~

    Bessie,

    I like the use of the word “epic” here.


    ~~~

    Pop Champagne,

    Ah, it is interesting that you eat less when you are happy. That is a lovely way to stay slim.


    ~~~

    Danielle,

    How true it is. The people around you really build towards your memories.

    ReplyDelete

I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)

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