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Monday, January 06, 2014

The Christmas Season 2013

Edited to add on 8 January 2014
Argh... My photobucket has exceeded it's bandwidth again. Though it will reset on the 10th of each month for this account, I'm wondering if its GMT or Singapore time zone. Additionally, I reckon the bandwidth would exceed again very soon after the 10th as I've forgotten to reduce the file size of the December photos.


"Either open this page, wait for it to load and go do something else before coming back or just click the X button on the top right hand corner of your browser window and don’t come back."

We have almost passed the one-week's mark of the new year. I caught a nasty bug from the hubby and caught up with lots of lost sleep from the whole Christmas and New Year festive season. And then this whole weekend was plagued with prolonged tummy pain from after dinner till the next morning. It sucks to be sick but I felt very happy chronicling all the love and joy during this festive season in this post. Also, thank you for all your lovely comments on my past few posts. They really made my day. I will get down to replying and visiting your blogs during pockets of free time.

You have been warned, this is a looooooooooooooooong and image-heavy post. =)

~*Shining Bright Like A Diamond Christmas Theme Gathering*~

The Saturday before Christmas, we gathered at Gerra and Clement's cozy home for a night of snacks, drinks, Taboo and lots of photos.

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Pre-gathering prep
For the bimbos: Vintage butterfly magnets, magnetic tin holder with cute words and chocolates.
For the one himbo: Marks and Spencer shaving balm, magnetic tin holder with cute words and chocolates.
I forgot if I threw in other stuff.
No prizes for getting right which quotes suit who best. It's pretty obvious.

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Pre-gathering prep: Gift cards with notes at the back.

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Pre-gathering prep: Chocolates from Marks and Spencer for the other Himbos. Boys... They are always so surprised when they get a share of gifts/ goodies too. "Yay!!! We got presents too!" were their unanimous replies.

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The gift for the official gift exchange was actually wrapped by the hubz with a textured plastic bag. Why was it wrapped by him? Coz he made no contribution to the whole gathering and I forced him to help me to wrap while I prepared the other gifts.
PS: Later at the gathering, all of us Bimbos realized that we suck at wrapping presents. Hence, when Gerra picked my name and was presented this, she was truly impressed by how a plastic bag could actually look so decent as a wrapper and also impressed by kh's wrapping skill.

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Before the gathering, I was craving for Aston's wagyu steak. Alas, we could no longer find the restaurant at Sembawang Shopping Centre and settled for something with no queue -- Ajitsen Ramen!

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Super love Ajitsen for its affordable yet delicious ramen.

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Snacks were served 24 hours at Gerra and Clement's place.

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What's on the menu that evening?

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Finger food of potatoes and chicken wings.

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What do we do with a nice wall like this?

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Use it as a background for our individual photoshoot of course!

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Let's see who played according to the Shining Bright Like a Diamond Theme!

Bimbo Xtina with the millions of stardust sparkles on her blouse and shiny belt.

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Bimbo Zanne with a bling bling sequin top.

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Bimbo Gerra with a bling bling sequin top as well.

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Bimbo Jo with bling bling sequin mesh top and bow on head.

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Bimbo Tiff had no shiny stuff on her. She said Paul was her bling. Figurative words don't cound and so she needed the shiny pink Bottega bottle to fulfil the theme.

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Himbo Jimson with shiny prints on his T-shirt.

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Lester with shiny sequin bow tie.

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Kh with shiny sequin bow tie too.

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Paul had no shiny stuff except for the "gold bars".

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CoCo made Clement steal his gold bar back from Paul.

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I like all the randomness in Gerra's house, just like this cushion.

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And the objects on this table. Heck, I did not take any pictures of Gerra's artsy room of randomness!

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Taboo time!

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The gals were obviously winning!

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Time for the official gift exchange. Jimson had left by then but we did the exchange on his behalf.

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Who got what?

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It was time for a break.

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An Australian eating Singaporeans' childhood snacks. Hope he likes them. I super love Mamee even though it is super unhealthy. Haven't eaten Mamee for a whole year already.

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Moscato has since become the Bimbos' favourite alcoholic beverage. Featured here is the Bottega moscato (Pink Bottle). All the Bimbos and Himbos were quite enthusiastic in tasting a Bottega moscato possibly because it is BOTTEGA.

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Well, it is THE moscato with one of THE prettiest bottle but it is not the prettiest-tasting moscato. I opened a bottle with my family a few months back feeling so happy that we were about to drink a BRANDED moscato only to be disappointed by how it does not taste like moscato. It is too bubbly for moscato and tastes more like champagne instead. And then kh had to repeat the Bottega moscato story to everyone:
"When she saw the bottle, her eyes were so big and she was like 'WAH! BOTTEGA leh! Must buy!' She doesn't even care whether it tastes nice as long as it is branded."

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This photo features the unique coffee table with Xtina who just happened to be a model in the background.

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Tiff brought this Brown Brothers Moscato Rosa. Possibly one of the best Moscato around!

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From Primary 1 to Primary 4 and onwards. Cheers to 21--24 years of friendship! I hope I counted correctly.

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Check out how matching these 2 Bling Bow Boys were! Checkered and grey vs Grey and checkered with similar bow ties to boot!
That's the easiest way to dress our guys up to the theme-- $2 bow tie from Daiso.

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Bling Bow Us

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Our pink-hair host. That's her real hair.

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The shining couple. They did not need any bling to shine.

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Pretty boys in a row.

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We tested to see if they were bhimbotic enough for BHimbo shots. They were confident that they could outdo us. At the count of normal, cute, cool, silly and girlish.

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The Bimbo's turn!

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Our signature 1 to 10 poser shots.

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It has since become a large group's favourite to use this function of my camera.

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♥ FleurFaerie Embellished Mesh Tank Top
♥ Uniqlo inner lace spaghetti strap top
♥ Cotton On Q Short Super Marble
♥ Daiso bow party hair band

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Face: Dr Young 2p BB Cream; The Body Shop Brilliance Powder
Eyes: FreshKon Misty Grey lens; Heavy Rotation Perfect Eyeliner; Sasa Retractable Glittering Eyeliner in White, Maybelline Diamond Glow Eyeshadow in Green Copper; fake lashes

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95 and iPhone 4s.]

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~*Vios Bling Bling Christmas Dinner*~

As usual, each gathering with Vios would have a dress theme. Initially, the theme was "Glitter and Glam" which was changed to "Bling Bling" thereafter as it was a lot easier to dress bling than to dress glitter or glam. Kh and I were so glad that we could reuse ideas from the gathering with the Bimbos the previous day.

Kh recycled his bow tie from the previous day with an additional bling bling glowing ball. The glowing ball was from Daiso as well. It came with an unbroken mini light stick to be squeezed into the ball after breaking the tube. It is quite intriguing how the mini lightstick could be squeezed into the ball with just the many tiny spaces on the surface of the ball, exactly like what you see in the photo.

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As for me, I didn't want to be dressed in bling all the way. Instead, my outfit was plain black and the subtle bling came in the form of shiny eyeshadow, diamond necklace, diamond rings, faux diamond cuffs, faux diamond heels.

Little Black Dress gifted by my colleague
Kiyo teal grey heels

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Face: Dr Young 2p BB Cream
Eyes: FreshKon Misty Grey lens; Heavy Rotation Perfect Eyeliner; Maybelline Diamond Glow Eyeshadow in Green Copper; fake lashes
Accessories: Tiffany and Co engagement ring; Ling Jewellery wedding band; No label faux diamond bangle

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Forgot to add this into the collage: Ling Jewellery tear drop diamond pendant with necklace

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Pre-gathering prep: The usual generic gifts for the whole group-- Chocolates from Marks and Spencer.

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Dinner was at Flamingg Mangos. I ate there twice before and I found the food so-so. I don't understand the 4-star rating on Hungry Go Where. Probably we always caught them during their peak period with slow service and so-so food. Nevertheless, I loved their Christmas decorations though the restaurant was not quite conducive for taking photos due to the dim lighting. That's fine coz it is always the company that matters!

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We shared all the finger food which wasn't too bad. For mains, I had medium rare steak that tasted like medium well done instead. I was still craving for Aston's medium rare wagyu steak at that time when I ordered steak for my mains. The hubz is really into beer recently (which is no good).

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While waiting for our main course to arrive, we did the official gift exchange.

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Each of us drew lots and got to pick a number. For example, picking the lot which states #1 simply meant that you would be the first one to choose a gift from the gift pool. There was a catch though. Snatching of gift was allowed for each person ONCE. Hence, drawing the later numbers meant you had lesser gifts from the pool to choose from but you would stand a better chance of snatching gifts without the one you had picked being snatched. I was number 10 and I simply chose 1 from the remaining 3 gifts as I was too lazy to snatch. This anigif is rather grainy as the file size had to be compressed.

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#1 kh
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#2 Flor

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#3 WL

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#4 Jac

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#5 Ben

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#6 Jerm

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#7 Dot

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#8 Pegs

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#9 SL

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#10 Me

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#11 Jon decided to snatch from Ben. Everyone had been very civilized so far till it was Jon's turn. BTW, Ben was made to wear my bling bow hairband as we all felt his item for bling was a complete failure. He used a flashing torchlight app on his phone and insisted that was his bling item. -_-|||

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#12 Jules decided to snatch from kh

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We ended up getting matching presents, obviously given by a couple who turned out to be Jerm and Dot.

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Flor handed out bak kwa shaped in Christmas tree to everyone and then all of a sudden almost all the gals had mini gifts/goodies for everyone which were passed down the table.

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After that we headed to WL's place. Byng had just given birth to a baby boy, Iden.

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Took a full length photo with SL who was the most blingly dressed that evening. Besides her sequin tank top and shiny heels, the back of her pants had got bling bling words too!

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Everyone was too busy in November to celebrate the Vios November babies' birthday. Hence, we had a mini symbolic singing of the happy birthday song but with tubs of ice cream and a lighter instead of the traditional cake and candles for WL, SL and Ben.

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After the November babies had the first scoop of ice cream, everyone had a share too. So rude of the hubby to eat with such a big ladle.

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Like I said previously, it has since become a large group's favourite to use this function of my camera.

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For the parting shots, everyone disregard the bling theme and went for the baby theme.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95 and iPhone 4s. Some of the photos appear grainy as I had to up the brightness level in the dim restaurant.]

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~*Christmas Eve Eve Dinner*~

That Group That Shall Not Be Named (aka AVJ) met up on Christmas Eve Eve for dinner at Cedele.

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Cedele started off as a bakery though some of the outlets are bakery cafes and all-day dining restaurants. Cedele serves delicious yet nutritious food, championing naturally healthy ingredients and time-honoured, artisan techniques. In my opinion, the food tasted healthy and delicious but the portion was too little. Maybe that's part of the championing healthy eating.

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I love the cute girl illustration on their menu.

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Viv and April with their Little Twin Star bags. I know Viv likes Little Twin Star. As for April, I guess it should be fine for her as long as it isn't Hello Kitty and PINK and too girlish.

Jo: It's Sanrio but it's not Hello Kitty. It's sweet pastel colours and it's not all pink. You could let Talya use the bag next time.
April: Ah, this is ok. There is a boy there. (pointing to Kiki the blue-haired boy)

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While waiting for our food, Viv snapped this. I thought she was so adept at arranging quite quickly and presentably until I saw the next photo...

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From my view that evening, I thought the mouse was crouching in an awkward manner as if in pain. I did not notice that Viv had placed the tin upside down! No wonder the magnetic paws kept sticking onto the tin in that position.

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Viv had some mushroom risotto.

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I had prawn salad which was under the mains menu. It wasn't enough.

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April had beef steak salad, also under the mains menu.

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We shared a slice of carrot cake and dark chocolate fudge cake and were full after that.

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After dinner, we advanced to Coffee Club for drinks and more catching up.

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It has almost become a tradition for Viv to give her friends beautifully hand made Christmas cards. She claimed that for that year, the cards were not too well done as she was using up leftover scrap materials from card-making over the years. April and I begged to differ as we thought the cards were still quite pretty.

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We were so thrilled by the cute chipmunks and the laminated back.

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April's gift to us.

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As I do not open my presents till Boxing Day, Viv opened hers as we were both very curious to know what could be so heavy. It was a Christmas candle! I always hear people talking about how good real Christmas trees smell and I'm very sure I would love this!

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When Viv was opening the present, April was so smug about her wrapping skills, claiming that she used quite some creativity to wrap the candle. In place of ribbons, she used her hub's old shoelace. The collage further depicts the step-by-step unwrapping. We all had a good laugh over how she could be so CREATIVE. Yeah, we indulged in her all right.

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[All photos in this section were taken using iPhone 5.]

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~*Christmas Eve Lunch at The Lighthouse*~

Those who did not apply for leave had to go back to work for half a day on Christmas Eve. However, the mood in the office was merry and it was a joy working that day. I was the latest to leave the office and I still felt cheerful while thinking about the cheese platter at The Lighthouse, Fullerton Hotel. The hubz had made a Christmas eve lunch reservation for 2 that day as we both had craving for their cheese platter. After we dined there for my birthday last year, we both felt that the restaurant serves the BEST cheese platter we had ever eaten.

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This was what our lunch with a view looked like-- MBS under a slightly overcast sky. I wondered what the little balls of white in the water were. The looked like some kind of buoy.

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We were so hungry that we ate up all the bread.

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I had Moscato while Kh had white wine. Moscato wasn't on the wine list but they readily offered a glass when I asked for it. We later found out that it was on the dessert menu under dessert wine.

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Antipasti to share -- Proscuitto
18 Months Langhirano Aged Ham, Grilled Smoked Scamorza Cheese and Preserved Eggplant

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Antipasti to share -- Fritto Misto
Crispy Fried Seafood with Smoked Pepper Sauce

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Kh's mains-- Delzia al Tartufo
“Truffle Delight” Mini Ravioli, Melting Heart Truffle and Mascarpone Cheese in Aromatic Truffle Sauce

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My mains-- Paccheri di Gragnano
Gragnano’s Paccheri in Naples Style with Tomato Braised Beef Ragout and Ricotta Cheese Flakes

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Look at the size of our mains. Mine looked like a feast and kh's looked like some side dish. The menu was different from the last time. Kh was craving for the Home-made Pappardelle which was The Lighthouse's signature wild boar ragout or else then anything with truffles.

I chose the beef ragout as I thought it was the closest to the wild boar ragout and that I could share it wth kh. In the end after a few mouthfuls, I got sick of the rich tomato cream with cheese that I exchanged it for Kh's truffle ravioli. OMG. That was soooooooooo good!

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We did not see any cheese platter on the menu too. When we asked about it, the affable waiter said that it could be arranged for us. The cheese platter we had that day was not up to our expectation though. The various types of fruits and honey sauces that complemented the cheese we had the last time was absent this time round. You could compare the photos here to see how different the entire platter looked.

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Tiramisu for desserts.

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Kh had to have his coffee fix at any time of the day. The "f" does not stand for Facebook.

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I love the beautiful Christmas decorations in Fullerton Hotel.

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The lumps of black stuff in the foreground on the table looked like they did not belong at all. I was rather intrigued by them...

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... until I read the sign board. Lumps of charcoal sweets? Interesting! I didn't dare to touch them though. They looked inedible.

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A beary merry Christmas tree.

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A beary merry bear. The gingerbread man is so cute!

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Even the Koi pond had Christmas trees in them.

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I look like a dwarf here. Oh well, maybe a dwarf/ pixie/ elf to match the Christmas theme.

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After lunch, we had planned to catch a movie with Disney's Frozen as the number one choice since it is a Christmassy movie. Alas, all the tickets were sold out so we ended up watching The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. When we drove past The Fullerton Hotel, we looked up to try to spot where we were just now.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95.]

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~*Christmas Day*~

Christmas day was spent sleeping in till afternoon and running errands as the hubz would be going away for a short work trip after Christmas. As I was still craving for Aston's Wagyu steak since the beginning of the whole Christmas season, I suggested going to Aston's for a really late lunch or really early dinner.

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My craving was finally satisfied. Yummy! My usual side dishes would be mashed potato and garden vegetables. The restaurant only had carrots left. Kh ordered 2 servings of mac and cheese with the intention to share with me. Our plates look so yellow and unhealthy.

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Remind me never to order Snapple again. Snapple tastes like sugared water. Have some fun with the facts on the inside of the bottle cap.

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One of kh's errands to run that day was to buy soccer boots and being an ardent fan of Adidas, he would not settle for any other brands of soccer boots. He said that it is tried and tested that other brands are just not as good.

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I'm a brand snob. When it comes to sports apparel, I feel that Adidas is the best too. It is good AND fashionable. However, I just cannot fathom their bright gaudy colours for shoes this season. Fluorescent colours might look fashionable for casual wear but as soccer boots? They are totally OFF. The gaudy colours aren't limited to their soccer boots. Their running shoes, basketball shoes, trainers etc all sport the same ugly colours. Oh yes, in the end the hubz bought his soccer boots there.

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Since we are on the topic of bright colours, here is a picture of my froyo. Supposedly healthy, I made it sinful with toppings of strawberries, chocolate chips and fruity cornflakes.

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The whole Christmas weekend had been so hot and humid that there wasn't any chance for 2nd day curls. I had to wash my hair every night and recurl them for the next gathering. Hence, I was glad that the weather on Christmas Eve and Christmas day itself was cooling for unwashed 2nd day loose curls.

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The backview of the loose curls look almost straight.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95 and iPhone 4s.]

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~*Boxing Day*~

At the stroke of midnight, I started opening my presents.

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If you knew me from way before, there were times when I would just leave my Christmas presents and especially Teachers' Day presents unopened till the next year. My mother would nag at me when she saw paper bags full of presents. I used to tell her that the thought of giving and receiving presents in itself really made me happy and that the presents inside did not really mattered. I also used to say that many of the presents look prettier wrapped up than when opened (referring to the many useless gifts that my students used to give). Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate my students' thoughts but I just did not know what to do with their gifts. Every week before Teachers' Day, I would remind students not to buy anything and that if they really wanted to give me something, a card would be lovely. I ended up with a lot less unnecessary clutter and a lot more lovely notes.

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Gifts from all my good friends whom I had met up so far.

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Hand-made cards from Viv. I got a super belated birthday card too!

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When I first joined this organization/this department in 2012, I was taken aback when I heard my colleagues discussing about Christmas gifts and how some of them had already bought the gifts way before Christmas. From their conversation, I also discovered that many of them do not give generic gifts to their branch or clique. Back then in all the places I worked in, there were 2 sets of generic gifts for EVERYONE -- the closer ones and the not so close ones and giving generic gifts was already considered generous.

The many many gifts from the lovely people at work.
My good friends were all shocked by the number of presents received at work.
Them:"You mean your colleagues don't give generic gifts to everyone?"
Me:"Yup, that itself is a blessing and a curse."

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While many people would pen down the usual Christmas greetings, I'm always very pleased to see handwritten notes and other details which indicate that the gifter actually put in some effort to do a little personalization for their recipient. I am one who likes to personalize my gifts in little ways and so I really appreciate it when I see people doing that too coz I know it requires a little more time and effort doing so.

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Knowing my love for cats, two of my colleagues chose cat-themed stickers and gift tags for me. It's the little details like this that sets my heart fluttering.

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This colleague also wowed me not only with my gift but gifts she gave to others as well. A group of colleagues bought me the Valentina Acqua Floreale perfume for my birthday last year. From there, said colleague knew that I am definitely tuned to Valentino's perfume and got me a miniature shower gel! I'm so in love with the bottle! She also got miniature perfume-related gifts for some colleagues as she knew their tastes in perfume as well.

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There are too many gifts and I didn't take photos of them all. Just a few which I want to male special mention.
I'm so ashamed when I opened my gift from this new colleague/SM. She gifted me an Etude House BB Magic Mist when I only gave her a generic gift.
Right (top to bottom):
Cute cute stuff like a penguin handcream, a mouse luggage tag (the letter J is form of little personalization details as well), a gingerbread house mug cover.

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For the official departmental gift exchange, I got the first choice on my wish list. I read lots of raves on this compact powder and had very strong recommendations from Sasa promoters too. Ever since I started on BB cream, I stopped using compact powder except for under the eye to prevent my eyeliner from smudging. I don't like the overly powdered and cakey look I see on many ladies here in Singapore but I'm so tempted to try this for my whole face.

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Shirasu bids the Christmas season farewell.
Disclaimer: Shirasu is NOT my cat. You could find her owner's page here.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95.]

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~*Prepping for the Christmas season*~

Since I'm on the topic on gifts, I would insert a pre-Christmas prep section here. I thought that I would save lots of time by not making/drawing/writing Christmas cards for 2013 but in the end, I still spent lots of time. I had been lacking lots of sleep this Christmas season as I was busy 1) trying to think of what to give, 2) shopping for the gifts and packaging, 3) thinking of how to package the gifts in a presentable manner, 4) writing personalized gift tags.

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For generic gifts, I decided on Marks and Spencer chocolate bars and Christmas button chocolates as they look presentable enough. I swept almost all the chocolates off the shelves at 2 outlets and at the 2nd outlet, the person decided to let me have the box too. Lol. I also included them into those gift bags of non generic gifts too and bought about 200--250 bars in all. OMG... as I'm typing this, I just mentally calculated how much I've spent solely on chocolates. GASP!

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Generic chocolate gifts were packed into Hello Kitty Ziploc bags...

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or goody bags from Daiso as seen in the previous sections. All the Daiso outlets in Singapore seemed to have run out of paper packaging and I had to use plastic ones. Dear peeps, always opt for paper to save the environment. Have you seen how kids and adults alike throw all these wrappers away?

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Non generic mid range gifts were packed into the bear and rabbit plastic bags (also from Daiso).

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The rest of the non generic gifts were packed into Little Twin Stars bags (also from Daiso).

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I love all the designs on the magnetic metal tin holder so much that I wanna keep one of each for my own. Nyah... I didn't take a picture of all the other goodies inside unless my friends did when they received them.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95 and iPhone 4s.]

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~*Post Christmas Weekend Lunch at VeganBurg*~

The OEBabes met up for vegetarian lunch at VeganBurg the Saturday after Christmas. VeganBurg serves healthy yet great-tasting vegan food. I had VeganBurg once with my gal pal who is a vegan and I was amazed by the meaty texture of the patty.

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This short lunch gathering was possible courtesy of CW who had an unused voucher for a kids' party at VeganBurg The Grand Stand, 200 Turf Club Road. I love the decor of the kids' party area. The good people at Veganburg maintain that parties are not just for kiddoes and you could read more about it here.

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Pre-gathering prep: Nespresso for my secret santee LP. Fortunately LP and her hubz would drink these flavours. It was really funny how the sales assistant and I "stalked" LP's hubz to gather sensing of what flavours would suit them.
Like I already proclaim many times, I don't wrap well and I tend to wrap my gifts with magazine papers (and in this instance a plastic bag again) since most people toss the wrapper into the bin after that. The beautifully textured plastic bag was already used to wrap the gift which Gerra received (scroll to the first section if you've forgotten) and my poor secret santee LP had to make do with this.

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Gifts for the adults whom I've not met and the kids.

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The kids got a goody bag of pencil, a Percy Pig chocolate and a chocolate bar. I made it clear to the kids that they should ask their parents before eating the chocolates and allow their parents to have them should they not permit them to eat.

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VeganBurg @ The Grandstand is the only outlet that has Toy Swap. It is a really innovative concept and you could read more about it from the text in the middle of the cabinets.

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Cute toys for the girls.

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And for the boys.

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Since it was a kid's party, the tables and chairs were all in mini size and we felt like Gandalf in a hobbit's home.

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It was a kids' haven. The kids had fun with the toys and colouring sheets provided.

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JV looking all innocent.

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What a lot of fun a Polaroid camera brought!

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The package included 30 mini burgers and free flow of fries and sausages. Before the burgers were served, we could help ourselves with the fries and sausages. I almost forgot I was eating plant-based food when I happily munched on the sausages. They tasted just like sausages. The fries were very good. It could also be due to the fact that most of us were hungry.

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An artistic way to serve the burgers.

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I had two mini burgers. The Hawaiian Teriyaki...

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... and Smoky BBQ.

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HL, Pau and I were just trying to show how small the burgers were in relation to us.

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Pau had to leave earlier and hence after eating, we proceeded to do both the official and unofficial gift exchange.

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My secret santa was Shir. I was so thrilled by the Etude House packaging.

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My secret santee was LP who upon feeling the gift, could guess that it was sleeves of Nespresso capsules.

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HL's secret santee was Jac.

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Based on visual sensing, I felt that the gifts really suited Jac. I'm not sure if that's really the case. Lol.

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I don't know who is whose santas and santees so I can't write captions for the next few pictures. There are times when I would just pass my camera to the other ladies for them to snap.

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It's amazing. I've not known Cat before from work since she already left the dept when I came in but we could click quite well. I found somebody who is way lamer than me!

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Jac was my predecessor and Sock was Jac's predecessor so this is a shot of predecessors!

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We found a great backdrop!

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Some family shots. Oops... the bottom right of the collage are those whose families were not available that day.

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LP and her family.

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CW and her family.

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JD was no longer as shy as the first time I saw him. In fact, he was so cute and cheeky. Can pose with the peace sign summore though he looked more like shooting himself and pointing upwards due to the angle.

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This anigif shows how cheeky JD was.

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CQ and soon-to-be family.

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Cat and her hub.

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Back to friends shots!

Me and CW my unofficial buddy. Unfortunately, she sits in the same cubicle as me and I often had to bug her for many issues when I was new (up till now).

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CW and Cat

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CW, Cat, Jac.

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We simply had to have a parting shot with this pretty backdrop too.

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A group shot minus Pau and HL who had since left.

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Takeaway bags.

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Gifts received that day.

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I really love the 2013 Christmas wrapper and paper bag from Takashimaya. I could almost kick myself when I could not find anything to buy at Takashimaya just to get their paper bags. I love the muted earthy colours, the craft and patchwork feel and the quote "Live, Laugh, Love". I always get confused whether it is "Live, Laugh, Love" or "Live, Love, Laugh". I used to write the latter as I saw this version written in the Ronald McDonald House in New York where my god daughter was receiving treatment for her cancer a few years back. These three simple words which hold very powerful memories for me. Either way, it is a mantra I always strive to live by.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95.]

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~*One Sunday, Four Venues*~

Last Sunday was my god daughter Mia baby shower aka 'full month' (满月) party. Unlike the western baby shower whereby it is celebrated when the mum is still expecting, the birth of a baby in the Chinese world is first celebrated on the child's one month anniversary. Since Mia is of British and Singaporean Chinese blood, it is expected to have a mixture of practices and names for practices. (I just crapped my way through the explanation but I'm sure Cyn herself doesn't really care too. LoL)

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Since I got to see Mia twice before the baby shower, I did not attempt to carry her when many other guests were around. I figured it would be good to let others have a chance to hold and carry her that day. Finally when most of the guests had left. Godma Alexis and I had our turn to carry her and take pictures. Thanx Alexis for the lovely pictures! I love the shot on the right a lot. It seemed like Mia and I were talking when it wasn't so. Haha...

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With Cyn Mommy-- one of my bestest gal pal ever!

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A little something for Mia.

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I love the Baby Minnie and I hope she would love it too!

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Got some good books for my godson Jase too. All these books had good ratings and reviews. After reading the synopsis and reviews, I wanted to read them too! The Incredible Journey was one of my favourite childhood movies. I didn't know it was an adaptation from a book.

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Jase has no excuse not to read them as he was supposed to relate the plot to me when he is done reading. That boy doesn't have the habit of reading and I hope to cultivate good reading habits in him.

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After the baby shower, I went to town for an appointment and met Xtina at Din Tai Fung for dinner thereafter. Basically it was just me eating dinner which consisted of my usual beef soup la mian and xiao long bao. Xtina was too full from her dim sum lunch earlier on.

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We love Din Tai Fung's Rosella drink and Earl Grey Iced Lemon Tea!

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After dinner, we headed over to Bei's house for mulled wine, chocolates and company. Hahaha...
"I am offering mulled wine, chocolates and company" were her exact words when she suggested a gathering before the year ends. Everything was good, especially the company.

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This was taken outside on the porch where we saw a laser light show for split seconds from one of the buildings (MBS?) and then it was gone before I could snap.

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I love this art piece in Bei's bedroom. It is really intriguing. The animal is a bear and it is out of proportion in relation to the fir trees and house. I wonder what went through the artist's mind when he was crafting this.

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Criss cross mirror shot

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We sat at the bar for our mulled wine and chocolates.

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Bei made the wine herself by boiling spices, orange and sugar. It was great!

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And OMG, I love the chocolates and the Lebkuchen cookie! Lebkuchen is a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread.

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Beautiful wine bottles.

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Soon the bar seats got a little uncomfortable for us so we headed upstairs as our chats and updates were neverending. While we sat at the dining table, Bei's new schnauzer puppy Whiskey kept barking incessantly. Once we let him out, he was totally quiet and affectionate.

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Too affectionate... He kept trying to lick our faces.

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It was so difficult to get a good shot of him.

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He was so cute when he sat quietly or put his paws on our thighs and tried to be in the group. He also loved humping our legs. I have a video of how cheeky he is and you would see the video when I update on my December Instagram snapshots.

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We have lots of mutual friends with overlapping cliques and it had been 2 years since the 3 of us caught up proper. I loved the quality time we spent together that night and love this photo and love our ghostly but loving reflection on the glass door depicting our interlocking arms behind our backs. After that night, Bei changed the WhatsApp group chat title to "20 years and more to come". We are really getting old but I love to believe that we age gracefully like wine.

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[All photos in this section were taken using Canon S95 and iPhone 4s.]

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I wonder how many of you read up till the very end. I'm quite sure that many would scroll through this image-heavy post. As per every long post, I tend to write incoherently midway. Since I spent almost a whole weekend on and off to edit the photos and craft a post, I just could not wait to post it up. I had wanted to include the happenings on the New Year's Eve Eve and New Year's Eve too but decided to save them for another post as I'm too drained to continue.

I hope that the first official week of 2014 has been treating everyone kindly.

Have a great week ahead!


  1. Oh my goodness, dear. . That was a lot of pictures. The 2 things that stick with me most . Are you and you man in those matching bows and how stunning and elegant you looked in that black dress. All looks like so much fun :)

    1. The matching bows are from the same $2 place. Hahaha... And thanx for your compliment. Hope the first week of 2014 has been well with you.

  2. Despite all the shiny people at the pre-Christmas party, I think the kids party is my favorite--kids always steal the show! Lot's of good friends and good food...that's the perfect way to celebrate the holidays.

    PS - Tiff was sparkly all on her own! :)

    1. The cute kids added a lot more vibrancy to the very colourful and artsy backdrop of the whole party venue. I love how those photos turn out so beautifully. Exactly! Good food and good friends are just the way to celebrate the festive seasons. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

      PS: Tiff said her bling was Paul and we were all looking at Paul and thinking "You can't use figurative language to match the theme."

  3. Nice call on using the fancy wall for photoshoot! (And yay, I had ramen recently too...although for New Year's and not for Christmas holidays, hah)(+THE 'SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP' PRINT IS AWESOME)
    The animated pose shots are adorable, and I love using that function of the camera too! Makes pretty awesome/funny photo sequences
    You looked stunning/gorgeous for the 'Bling Bling' party! And laminated cards are beyond fancy, imo!
    I absolutely love shower gels--the Valentina one looks too beautiful to be put in the shower though!
    Ahhhhhh, I LOVE schnauzers! (Definitely don't want to see any dog humping though, but omg, doggie kisses are the best kisses though <3)

    Anyways, sounds like you had a hectic holiday! Hope you managed to enjoy the New Year's-ish, and I hope your tummy is hopefully much better now!(?)
    Vanessa | Citron and Guavaberry ʘ‿ʘ | Makeup & Silly things

    1. Ooh... a long comment. Me likey! My gal pal's whole abode is a great place for photoshoot! She has a cozy room that is a whole mix of randomness. I like her house so much. Hehehehe... I love making anigif with all these photos. Even my family has gotten used to posing different poses at split seconds and love this function too. Too bad, I can't make anigif with higher resolution using the free software (Photoscape) that I'm using and hence the photos appear grainy. I'm a sucker for pretty bottles that I can't bear to use the stuff inside and they just get so old and unusuable so now I'm gonna make sure I use the contents and reuse the bottle. I am not a dog owner so I don't quite like doggie kisses. LOL... When Whiskey kept wanting to lick my face, I had to hold him as far away from me as possible. Thank you sweets. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

  4. What a Christmas Jo! These pictures are fabulous. I need to pour a glass of Moscato and look at them again. I love those Christmas trees and how they were decorated. Fabulous gifts you all received and put together. You guys have the best food. OMG'd the humping dog. HAHAHA He's too precious. I love those pillows. Great post doll.

    1. You would need many glasses of Moscato for this long post. Lol... I had so much fun that I almost didn't want the year to end. Thanx for your kind words, sweetie. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

  5. These pictures look super doll, everyone looks happy and having a great time. What a precious baby too :) So sweet!! Am glad you had a wonderful time. Have a gorgeous new week xx

    1. Had such a wonderful time that I almost wished the year didn't come to an end. Hahaha... Thanx for your kind words, sweetie. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

  6. Happy New Year. The Nana place made me laugh as we have street shop called by the same name. Lovely photos and looks like a great time.

    1. I'm curious to know what the Nana shop over at your side sells? Thank you for your comment. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

  7. Hi Jo! Wow, Im so impressed by each photos, you must have put so much effort to edit them. Im really glad you had a great Christmas time, looking forward to see the next photos. You look beautiful and love the make up you did. Mia is such a sweet baby, the photos of you with her are the sweetest. That bear Xmas tree is one of the most adorable thing I ever saw!:) Have a good week ahead dear and hope you are better! xo

    1. Hey Lilli. Yeah, I'm such a sucker when it comes to editing my pictures for my blog and Facebook. I just canot stand posting raw photos. The editing of photos is really pretty fast as I only adjust some colours, brightness, contrast, add borders and watermark. The crafting of words require a lot more effort. Thank you for all your kind words, sweetie. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

  8. My goodness Jo, two thumbs up for editing and making this post. Bummer for sickness but you look great especially in that white dress and black one. And look at your long tress, beautiful when you let your hair down from the back view. So many fun gatherings and gifts. Looking through those photo make me smile. Fun times with friends.

    1. Nelah, So nice to see you around more frequently. Thank you for your sweet comments. There are times which I would think of getting a new look and cutting my hair but then I would always think of how curls look nicer with much longer hair. Hope the first week of 2014 has been treating you well.

  9. OMGOSH! i have to say i'm TOTALLY envious and jealous of your christmas!! looked so amazing i was sadly in germany just me and the hubs and our two fur babies.. i would have loved to be able to have spent it with friends!! love all the pics of you and your girlfriends can really tell you guys really love and care for each other!!!

    the pics of you and your hubs are so cute!! you guys are such an adorable couple and that steak oh man.. looks so good. i do that sometimes. order all mac & cheese. it's so unhealthy but i loveeee mashed potatos and mac & cheese. i have a really bad carb addiction lol!!

    thanks so much for all your contact lens info it's really super helpful! i actually was just thinking i was going to order a one months supply of the acuvue moist and a one month supply of the acuvue trueye!!! that way i can test which one is less irritating to me. as i heard the acuvue moist is really good and the trueye is THE NEW acuvue moist hehehe :p but it's the most expensive.

    good to know about the colored contacts as i know NOTHING about colored contacts. yeah i only wanted to try using them for like special occassions ect. not for everyday wear. my husband doesn't like them. he says it looks weird lol. but i want to try anyways. thats what scares me.. which one did you use that gave you the cornea infection so i'll know NOT to order from them!!! and do you order your freshkon online?? where do you go? have you tried the geo's i always see them on beauty bloggers do you like it?

    1. You had a very Christmassy Christmas in Germany with your hubz too. It's a different kind of amazing altogether!

      You're most welcome! Do let me know how's moist. If moist is good enough, I might switch to that instead of trueye as the latter is really the most expensive outta the whole lot of acuvue. The one I used before my cornea infection is sadly GEO. However, I don't think it's the brand of coloured lens per se that lef to the infection. It's a combination of many other factors like my lens hygiene etc or probably even a sheer stroke of bad luck.

      I still have a pair of purple GEO lens which I've not used as I'm not very sure how purple would look on me and I'm not very sure if I would get infection again. I think since I've already tried other brands of colours in between the infection till now, it should be safe for me to try the Geo lens again.

  10. Wow Jo, this post was kind of amazing, the photos all look so wonderful! (although I must say, my laptop was having a crisis trying to load this post up haha!)
    Eithr way, I didn't get to wish you before the holidays but I hope you've had an amazing holiday season darling and I so look forward to your new posts and all your lovely comments :)


    1. Sorry that the post jammed your laptop loading for quite a while. Hehehe... Thank you for your wishes, Sweetie. Same to you and will pop by your blog real soon!

  11. Wow what an amazing shiny Christmas you had and you looked marvelous in that dress. I have to say you could have made at least five posts with that many photos. I will come back and read all of it but right now I'm in a hurry (have to run errands). Haha I never keep my resolutions too but I still make them. Wish you a wonderful weekend Jo!!

    xx Mira

    1. That's so sweet of you to pop by here even when you are in a hurry to run errands. Same to you, dear. Have a lovely weekend!

  12. You definitely win the prize for longest post ever. What fun you had love the party photos, the food hungry now the adorable kids and then the cute dog. This post had everything have a fun week

    1. Hahaha... I tend to win that prize. I'm always behind in blogging and updating too much at once. LOL. Have a lovely weekend!

  13. OMG those food, those present :O
    I ove your super long post anyway. Hahaha. You got a lot of fun though :DD
    and, I love that kitty on your header :*


    1. Thank you for dropping by my blog and your sweet words, hun. I love seeing newcomers around! xoxo


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