Saturday, January 03, 2015

Christmas 2014: The One Where Everyone Said, "No Gifts, Ok?"

With a few groups of treasured friends to meet, Christmas had to start way early in 2014 as there were schedules to accommodate to before everyone disappeared from Singapore over the next few weeks. All the close friends who met up in early December declared that it would be a Christmas meet-up without gifts as it was way too early for our gifts to be ready. After all, the gift of friendship and love far outweigh any other material gifts.


~*AVJ at Outback Steakhouse*~

That Group That Shall Not Be Named (aka AVJ) met up in early December for an advanced Christmas dinner at Outback Steakhouse.




Viv and I started on the food first since April would be late. This bread, as what Viv and I felt, was so damn good that we finished everything without saving a single crumb for April.




Viv's steak with potato wedges and garden vegetables.




My steak with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables. The steak was so-so; I was expecting more from an Outback Steakhouse.




April is a super health-conscious babe that we were quite taken aback when she replied the waiter on her two choices of side dishes.
"I will have the fries... and the fries!"




We ordered chicken wings to share too.




Drinks and desserts to share.




We caught up with one another with serious matters as well as loads of bimbotic laughter and tears from laughing. That's what you get when there are 2 bimbos in the group. No prize for guessing right who the 2 bimbos are!




We were attempting a The Dog style of photo without the use of fish eye lens. We concluded that April and I looked quite dumb with our The Dog face while Vivi looked like a sinister cat with a sinister up-to-no-good smile.




The result of Vivi's creation using some photo app.




Jo and April were trying so hard to get a good shot and even switching seats for better lighting.




Viv and April got a great shot in just one try. Ok, twice coz there was a guy in the background for the first shot and I simply had to angle him away.




There was a raised platform somewhere in the Millenia Walk filled with Christmas decorations and we decided to take more shots there.




Viv said it was one of the rare times I wasn't in heels and had to take a full length picture of us together.




I'm not too sure why there were floating dots of lights on our faces. With the iPhone 5 front camera under very dim lighting and trying means and ways to angle the selfie stick, it was so difficult to capture a great photo of the 3 of us.




And yes, the first shot seems to be the best after all.




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



~*CJC at Charlene's Home*~

CJC (Cyn + Jo + Char) and family gathered at Charlene's place for a cozy advanced Christmas dinner.






We had a Asian fare of zi char dinner.




Top L-R: chilli crab, black pepper crab, sweet sour pork
Bottom L-R: toufu with minced meat and vegetables, nai bai vegetables, rojak




After dinner, the adults lazed about while the kids got active.




As usual, Jase is not just the good kor kor to his mei mei but to little Dylan as well. My godson is really a big and mature boy now. Can't believe that he would be in Primary 5 this year!




Look at how sweet Jase is to Mia.




Sweet little Mia looked so innocent here!




Cyn Mommy and Mia.




Dylan is no longer a toddler but quite a fine boy already. The first and last time I was at Charlene's place, he was still a cheeky toddler who loved to be around ladies. Now as a boy, he is more shy towards us but really sociable with kids, especially to Jase whom he looks up to.




It was really hilarious and cute how Dylan imitated Jase's every move.




Still as cheeky as ever, Dylan's cheekiness manifested during play. I loved to watch the 2 boys play football. Jase would be the goalkeeper and Dylan would keep doing fake moves and hopping over the ball instead of kicking, much to the chagrin of Jase.




Godpa Kh and Mia photobombed Jase and Dylan.




What a sweet picture of Godpa Kh and Mia (who looked like she was boxing him).




When Kh put Mia on Dylan's "throne", she felt really happy and kept smiling coyly at how she had gotten the throne seat of the house. I wasn't able to capture her coy smile.




Kh made Mia fold her arms and cross her legs, an action that I used to do as a toddler whenever adults say, "Fold your arms and cross your legs." Mia actually remained in position, looked at all of us and smiled coyly. Lol!




"Fold your arms and cross your legs."




Godpa with his little girl.




Godpa with his little man.





You know Facebook is really smart at face recognition whenever you do tagging? Well, Facebook keep mistaking Kh for Jase. I always chuckle at this mistake.




I realise that CJC didn't take a picture together that evening so here's a throwback one from last June which some of you would have seen before.




A parting anigif shot of all of us being spontaneously clad in red and black.




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



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As some of you would have known from my Instagram, I caught a full blown URTI bug and was so sick from the flight back home from Hanoi with no other medication but Panadol Extra. Flaring red tonsils, super painful throat, uncontrollable coughing, leaky stuffy nose, feeling like I'm drowning in my own thick mucus, pain through one side of the nose and forehead, blowing small trails of blood out and feeling like a useless bum sleeping and sleeping and sleeping.

Right now, I see zig zag flashes of light on my computer screen and I guess I could do nothing more but to sleep.

Hope all of you are keeping well and are in a better state than I am in the first week of 2015!

50 comments:

  1. What a beautiful family! :) I wish you all a fabulous 2015 and I hope you get better soon! xx

    Anett

    Bella Pummarola

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    1. Thank you for your kind compliments and well wishes, Anett. xo

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  2. Jo... I am so sorry to hear you have been feeling so sick... that is awful, I really hope and wish you feel better very soon. I was sick one year with strep throat when I was in my 20's and I thought I might never feel better again... it is awful when you feel so nasty, especially around the holidays.

    Take care of yourself and get as much rest as you possibly can, don't worry about anything but getting yourself better... I will send good wishes and prayers your way..

    I hope you have a much better new year than the start you have had... xox <3

    Your pictures are lovely the children are so adorable xox

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    1. Thank you for your concern and well wishes, Launna. We actually don't have much strep throat diagnosis here but I googled image "strep throat" and the images look similar to tonsillitis and I can imagine the pain you suffered coz I was in such great pain on both sides of the tonsils/throat and strep throat as I've read persist much longer. Once again, I appreciate your sweet words. *hugz*

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  3. What a great post! I love how you ladies went out together but that's a bit unfortunate you found the steak soso! My boyfriend would probably get fries with fries too! And that table full of take away looks sooo good! It may be surprising that even though I live in singapore it's rare that I eat kway teow, hor fun, raddish cake...and all that yummy stuff! I usually go for ban mian and mince meat noodles!! My family is like many here we don't celebrate christmas so no presents, no big deal. I actually quite don't like the idea of expecting presents, it may become a negative thing if one year a family can't afford to spend the money on gifts and then the children actually get upset or the parents still spend the money they can't afford to! I think spending time with loved ones far exceeds gifts! Hope you get better soon! Everyone seems to get down with some kind of bug around the end of year/ new years!!

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    1. Ooh Sharlynn... Why don't you go for all those yummy stuff? That's what most Singaporeans miss when overseas. After some years of childhood, my parents stopped giving gifts too and so we were brought up not to expect much. I guess it is good in a way. Parents nowadays can be too indulging. Haha... actually we have gifts for one another but they weren't ready in early Dec. Anyway, since we are all good friends, presents could just come belated and many occasions rolled into one gift or just the company of one another. And yes, there's indeed some upper respiratory tract bug around here!

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  4. All the food looks yummy!
    Georgia from <a href="www.lumublog.com>lumu</a>

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    1. Hi Georgia, Great to see newcomers here! =)

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  5. Happy New Year, Jo. Sorry to hear that you are sick but i hope you get well soon and 2015 is a better year for health. Fun get together. Awesome food and friends pictures as always. As i get older i actually dont care much about gifts anymore. Christmas here has become so commercial and i hate how hunting and buying gift take away the true meaning of Christmas and family. I am quite a Bah Humbug..haha.

    I have determined to return to blogging in 2015 but was glad i signed up for Instagram in order keep in touch with a few blogger friends like you there. Will see how long my effort lasts but at least i will try. Cant wait to catch up.

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    1. I like how you made "Bah humbug" into a noun! Yes, the shopping for gifts can be really stressful especially when squeezed together with so many others in packed malls. I was indeed so exhausted after 2 nights of Christmas shopping after work. After last Christmas, I wonder what other ideas I have for this year's Christmas and gosh that sure sounds stressful. I like that you're on Instagram coz at least I do catch up with your activities there! Great choice to hop onto it, Nelah. It is also a lot easier and less time-consuming to just post photos and craft simple captions as opposed to writing a blog post.

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  6. Hello Jo! Welcome back, hope you had an amazing time during your trip, looking forward to see then all the photos! So sorry you arent well, take care and stay warm. Happy New Year, may 2015 bring you new trips, new adventures and new great memories! I see you had such a wonderful time with your friends during both gatherings, I agree with what you wrote, no gift, friendship is already a good enough gift. You always look so sweet and lovely in the pics Jo, your selfie for me are among the best! And how sweet the pic of your hubby with Mia, to die for! Get better soon dear, hugs! xo

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    1. Haha... we do have gifts for one another but they weren't ready in early Dec. Anyway, since we are all good friends, presents could just come belated and many occasions rolled into one gift or just the company of one another. When it comes to good friends, we don't expect much from one another. Thank you for your sweet comment and well wishes, Lilli. I sure hope I have new trips, new adventures and great memories!

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  7. Being sick for the holiday sucks! the same thing happened to me...I didn't even go out for NYE, my husband didn't feel like it and I didn't want to risk a cold as it was insanely cold- now the temperature are normal again!

    Love the photos with your friends...so fun! You're right that one that one photo, one of your friend has that cat look on her face and the two of you also look adorable...

    food photos made me kind of hungry....

    wonderful family photos...time really flies, I have a feeling my nephew was born yesterday and he is already 4...and such a clever boy!

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    1. Oh dear. Hope you didn't catch anything serious, Ivana. I'm still recovering from my upper respiratory tract infection after more than a week. Can you believe it? My colleagues joked that I've been sick since last year. The concept that time really flies could clearly be seen when there are kids around you. It's like just yesterday my gal pal was pregnant and all of a sudden, her kid is 3! So I totally get what you mean about your nephew.

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    2. I can imagine...I came to visit my family and got this terrible stomach virus ...everyone in my family had it, my brother, my mother, sister in law and my nephew...the only person who didn't get sick was my father and the 2 moths old baby (but no one went near her and her mother wore a mask while she nursed her...we all joke because the baby recognizes everyone better with a medical mask...there were so many viruses going on this year that all of us wore a scarf or a medical masks when we were near her so she got used to masked people ha ha ha).

      Anyhow, I joked with my father that I will go on a meat died...he eats a lot of meat, especially red meat...and obviously it is not as unhealthy as they say, as he is the only one who hasn't been sick this winter.

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  8. I also have no gift for Christmas policy with my husband...it's more his idea but I agree...focusing more on non material things can make holidays a lot more meaningful.

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    1. My hubby and I did not out rightly state a no gift policy but we would check out some fine dining places during special occasions like our birthdays, anniversaries etc. And when either of us see some material things that we really like (at any time of the year), the other party would buy and decide that that gift would be a combination of birthday, anniversary etc depending on the price tag. I think it is fun that way. Getting what we really want! =)

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    2. It is indeed more fun this way...and less stressful!

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  9. Looks like a fun Christmas. Sorry to hear you took ill but I hope you are taking care and feeling better Jo! Happy new year to you and your hubby :)

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    1. Hi Rowena. It's been a while. Thank you for your well wishes and more than a week late here, may 2015 be a shining one for you!

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  10. Aww, looks like much fun was had with friends! My parents actually took all of my little sisters on a trip to Singapore in early December as a Christmas present, I was wishing that I could have gone with them! Sorry you've been so ill lately, hope you're feeling much better now!

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    1. Wow, you sound like you have many little sisters, Rachel and somehow, the Kardashians came to my mind. Thank you for your well wishes!

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  11. Aww this looks like so much fun. You all are so cute!
    I really like having a no gift Christmas. It makes shopping and stress nonexistent!

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    1. Haha... we do have gifts for one another but they weren't ready in early Dec. Yes, the shopping for gifts can be really stressful especially when squeezed together with so many others in packed malls. I was indeed so exhausted after 2 nights of Christmas shopping after work. After last Christmas, I wonder what other ideas I have for this year's Christmas and gosh that sure sounds stressful.

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  12. I know it must be exhausting at time, but I am so jealous of you for all the people in your life. So wonderful to see you so happy.

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    1. Thank you, Rick. That means a lot. Ah, "envious" would be a better word!

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  13. Everyone looks so happy :)) I love their little faces, the children are just the cutest ever...wonderful :))) Am glad you enjoyed yourself...love all the food :))) Xxx

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment. Yes, cute, happy and smiley children bring so much joy and laughter in life!

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  14. Oh, Jo, sorry to hear you are sick! Hope you feel better soon! Happy New Year! First of all, wish you lots of health because it's the most important thing! Second, seems that you had a lovely Christmas time with family and friends! You guys look so nice and happy on these photos! The photos from the night out with your girlfriends are cute, although made with the iPhone. The front camera is shi**y, but you look great! Love the little Mia! She's such an adorable child! Take care, Jo! xo

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    1. That's something I need a lot -- good health. My colleagues joked that I've been sick from last year till this year. Being sick robs many things from you and I wish to get well soon so thank you for that wish, Sany. Ah, iPhone front camera. I always wonder why can't they be as clear as the back camera? There's so much technology a small little gadget could hold, I suppose.

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  15. nice family pictures! I wish you a great year 2015!

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    1. Thank you Lady parisienne and have a shining 2015!

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  16. HI Jo! Glad to see you back on the blogosphere! (although I'm guilty of not coming here enough) Love seeing your posts about your personal life, but all the food pics is making me miss SG! =( Hope you feel better as you're reading this!

    xoxo, Kerina Mango ❤

    Blog | Youtube

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    1. So glad to see you here more often, Kerina. I'm still recovering from my upper respiratory tract infection after more than a week. Can you believe it? My colleagues joked that I've been sick from last year till this year.

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  17. I'm a huge fan of your personal posts, Jo, thank you for hearing it with your readers. I hope you'll feel better soon, it sounds terrible! Hugs, rest well my friend.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    1. I sure hope my personal posts do not sound as diary-like and ME-diocre and it is great to see that I've got a fan in you. Thanx so much, Shireen. That means a lot. xo

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  18. Bread at the Outback is really good. I have to remind myself that I love my family when we get takeout--so that I won't be selfish and eat it all. The fries and fries was funny and very appropriate. Celebrating is a time to indulge. Two of you looked hypnotized in the Dog picture. It's nice to see Jase and Dylan bonding. Connections are so important.

    Happy 2015 my friend!

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    1. Ah, I didn't know that Outback Steakhouse's standard remains the same in different countries. Are they only good for their bread? Coz I didn't find their steak good for a steakhouse and the views stem the same from some of my friends who dined at Outback in the recent years. Totally agree that celebrating is a time to indulge!

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  19. I love that you and your friends got together before Christmas (and without gifts). That's what friendships are all about. My mom and I went to an Outback Steakhouse this Summer. It has gone down. The bread is good, but I felt there steaks were not up to par. I've had them in the past and they were exceptionally good. The dessert looked good! So much fun at Charlene's! Love the pictures that were taken.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Hey Kim, from yours and Rick's comments, it seems like Outback Steakhouse's standard remains the same in different countries -- good bread but not so good steaks now. We do have gifts for one another but they weren't ready in early Dec. Anyway, since we are all good friends, presents could just come belated and many occasions rolled into one gift or just the company of one another is perfect too. =)

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  20. JO! Happy New Year, first off! I'm a little late, but just as you said, I am so glad we're connected on Facebook and Instagram! I, too, sort of drift from blog world. I get so busy in other little things and don't even mean to. Your comments mean the world to me! I love your interpretation and you're actually really correct in your interpretation--it has a lot to do with sort of the internal organs being ill in a sense, because I went through similar problems when I had uh, eating problems. Hee hee. You can probably tell what I mean. :) So I'm so glad that you said that! I literally smiled in person.

    I'm sorry about that bug you got! Augh, sounds awful. You poor thing, you never get a break! It's wonderful to hear that you and your friends cherish the holidays without the gifts. I am the same way--I just want to spend time with people!

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    1. Wow Ali. You mean I interpreted your intriguing art correctly? I feel so pleased about myself now. And isn't it cool that we suffer from the same gastrointestinal illness. It's always fun to find similarities in illness. Haha... We do have gifts for one another but they weren't ready in early Dec. Anyway, since we are all good friends, presents could just come belated and many occasions rolled into one gift or just the company of one another is perfect too. =)

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  21. Looks like you had a fantastic time with your friends and family, right in the spirit of Christmas. Lovely blog here btw! Would you like to follow each other on GFC? Please let me know on my blog so I can follow back. Thank you.
    Happy New Year
    Lenya
    FashionDreams&Lifestyle

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    1. Hi Lenya. Thank you for dropping by and leaving me a comment. Would check out your blog soon and may 2015 be a shining year for you! =)

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  22. Jo, Happy New Year! Your photos are always so fun to look at! We haven't exchanged Christmas gifts in a long time too. Actually, we don't even exchanged birthday gifts. You're right, friendship surpasses everything. Those kids are so darn cute too! Btw, you inspired me to visit Vietnam since I was born there. Hope you're feeling a lot better now! Take Care!

    xo Jo

    http://www.whiterosesandcoffee.com/

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    1. Hey Jo. Great to see you here more often. I'm always in awe with your food photos on Instagram whether it is dine out or whatever you cook and the latter really reminds me of my parents' cooking! I sure hope you get to visit Vietnam soon. We only did Hanoi this time round. I'm so gonna visit your blog after I saw your super throwback on Instagram.

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  23. Jo!! How have you been? I trust you had a lovely Christmas season and are enjoying the beginnings of a wonderful new year (so sorry to hear you are unwell at the moment). I only just read your comment on my blog -- if you haven't noticed, I've been VERY remiss about blogging lol.. Perhaps you can hook up with me on FB? https://www.facebook.com/umami.blythe Take good care, and keep in touch *hugs*

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    1. Hahaha... I could definitely tell and yay! I would love to be connected with you on other platforms too so FB is a great way. I'm beginning to connect more with other blog friends on FB too. I would add you as a friend now! Hope you have been well! xo

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  24. Haha I have no idea who the two bimbos are ;-) You girls are so funny. Steak and fries or fries and fries are my favs. I would have loved to try the zu char dinner one day. It looks very delicious. It looks like you guys had an amazing Christmas dinner. I wish I was there too. All the kiddies look super cute but I have to admit that Mia is my favorite. I'm so sorry you caught a Urti bug. Sounds pretty awful. Get well soon (I hope you are already healthy again).


    xx

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    1. Lol... The 2 bimbos are April and me! If you ever come to Singapore, I would take you to eat zi char. I've still got traces of cough and cold but overall recovered. Thanx for your concern, Mira.

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