Monday, February 23, 2015

Nine West at Zalora

Is there a particular brand of shoes that you would always have a soft spot for?

Mine would be Nine West.

My love for Nine West shoes started 8 years ago when I bought my very first pair of heels at a Takashimaya sale. Well, this isn't the best picture to depict the heels but it is the only clear one taken 8 years ago when I was snapping a picture of a rose tattoo I drew with liquid eyeliner.




The shoes still cost more than a hundred bucks even after the discount. But then again, Nine West is a brand which I would be willing to part a little more cash on as it carries a variety of beautiful designs with superb workmanship. Imagine my utter delight when I saw Nine West women's shoes on Zalora selling for less than a hundred after 50% discount.

Another reason for my soft spot?

Great ads and campaigns. Nine West has ads that made me want to go out to their store to buy those pretty shoes on the models' feet. I particularly love the whole series of Nine & the Gang ad campaign back then it was launched.











[Image Source: Nine West Facebook]



Do you like Nine West? Which is your favourite brand for shoes?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Very Different Valentine's Day (Prayer Request)

[Edited to add portion. Scroll to the end.]

Dear all,

Today is a very different Valentine's Day for me. My sweet eldest sister, Jasmine, is currently in ICU.

She suffered from a stroke (subarachnoid hemorrhage) on the afternoon of 12 Feb 15. Everything was normal that day. We even had a good chat on our "Chat Sisters" whatsapp group in the morning.

When she was at a work meeting, she had sudden severe pain in the head and spine. She wasn't able to move at all and started vomiting non-stop. It was really fortunate that she has quick-thinking colleagues who knew something was seriously wrong and called for an ambulance instead of dismissing these symptoms as mere headache and vomiting.

CT scans revealed that she was suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a rupture of an aneurysm on the left of her brain.

An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. There is no knowing how someone gets aneurysm and it may be inborn. According to the doctors, 1 in 3 people with ruptured aneurysm drop down dead on the spot. My sis is really fortunate she belongs to the 2 in 3.

She has 3 2 (the family conference with the doctor today revealed it was 2 complicated ones) of those aneurysm and 1 had ruptured, releasing blood into her brain and causing her brain to swell thereby building immense pressure. With that, her brain is unable to drain fluid on its own.

The first surgery last night (12 Feb 15) was to insert a draining tube in the brain to drain the fluid and relieve pressure. The operation went smoothly. Other than coughing and causing all the increase of readings on the machine, her condition was stable after sedation.

Yesterday (13 Feb 15), more scans were done to ascertain the next course of treatment which depends on the size and location of the aneurysm.

Two common surgeries are used to repair an aneurysm:
- Endovascular coiling is the less invasive technique most often done. During endovascular coiling, a catheter is passed through the groin up into the artery containing the aneurysm. An incision in the skull is not required.
- Clipping is invasive as it is done during open brain surgery (craniotomy)

My sis has aneurysm that weren't just simple berry/sac for coiling to be done. Hers were more complicated. They were curved on both side of the same blood vessel. (Usually people would have aneurysm on separate blood vessels) The more invasive and higher-risk clipping is the only surgical option for her. That holds a 15% mortality rate during surgery.

She would undergo that surgery on Monday (16 Feb 15). Please pray for a smooth surgery and healing for her.

~

She was practically drifting in and out of sleep the whole of Friday (13 Feb 15). In the morning, she responded to her name when the nurse called her.

In the evening, she woke up and was conscious and aware that she has a Valentine's Day date with my brother-in-law, Ben, tomorrow. I was glad to catch her awake for a brief moment and happy to know that she's aware of her surroundings.

Due to the respirator in her throat, she is feeling very uncomfortable and is often nauseous. When she tries to talk, all the readings on the machine would shoot right up. She is currently lightly sedated to keep her drowsy and sleep the nausea away. Doctors have also advised to keep her readings stabalized for fear of rupturing the aneurysm.

Today (14 Feb 15), she could still wave to us, albeit with just a slight lift of her wrist. She is conscious and aware though we feel that she could be suffering from short-term memory at times. Although she could only mouth words with great difficulty due to the respirator in her throat and many tubes everywhere, she kept asking "What happened?", "Why it happened?". She also wrote on my BIL's palm that today is Valentine's Day while he showed from through the glass the tulips he bought for her.

~

This is my most recent wefie with my sis during her wedding last November. She is the most beautiful that day and she would always be beautiful inside and out. You could tell that she is the kindest, most filial (to parents, grandparents and elders) and just such a great person from all the love, support and tears she has received from her family, friends, relatives and even friends of mine (some of whom are acquainted with her).




Wefie with my sis and BIL who has been with her tirelessly day in and out the past few days. It was supposed to be their first Valentine's Day as husband and wife. Life is not fair. But I have faith that they would be going through many many Valentine's Day together after her surgery. Tan Tock Seng Hospital has rounded up a team of experienced professionals for my sis's surgery scheduled on Monday morning led by neurosurgeon Prof Ivan Ng. Please pray for a smooth surgery and healing for her.




~

It is a difficult time for all of us and I apologise if I'm not always replying to messages on any medium. Thank you all for reading and for your kind thoughts, well wishes and prayers.

Love,
Jo


Edited to add:
After about 8 gruelling hours, my sis's op was over and it is a success! They had such a hard time sedating her back to complete sleep.  Such a stubborn sister. Thank you all for your prayers!!!  She still gotta be kept under close observation for post op complications and further procedures which would depend on her condition these few days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Instagram Snapshots ~*January 2015*~

What? It is already eleven days and two months into 2015. Seriously, where did all the lost time disappear to? Time is whizzing too quickly. Sometimes, I wished I had the power to freeze time, don't you? Anyway, here's February Instasummary.

Instagram videos on blog run in fast forwards, skips and jumps. They are better viewed on iamjolene Instagram page itself for sound and image quality, as well as full streaming and on smartphone Instagram app for emoji to display.





~1 January 2015~
Happy new year from Hanoi! May 2015 be a good year filled with peace, joy and good health for everyone!




~1 January 2015~
Latergram video. New Year's countdown party on the streets of Hanoi. Bye bye Hanoi and hello Singapore in a few hour's time.




~3 January 2015~
Memories from the turn of 2014 to 2015:
Caught a full blown URTI bug and was so sick from the flight back home 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. The only consolation of it all? The discovery that Kleenex Ultra Soft 3 Ply makes blowing nose such a joy and wondered what have I been doing blowing my nose with other brands of tissue paper and even toilet paper!




~6 January 2015~
The most refreshing feeling in the world -- The first shower after waking up from being sick in bed and bathed in perspiration for the whole day. It is as if all the heat, cough, cold, sore throat and whatever sick stuff have been washed off from the body for that brief moment. It is as if the refreshing water injects health and invigorates the soul for that temporal phase. A-MA-ZING! (Disclaimer: Image doesn't belong to me.)




~8 January 2015~
Throwback Thursday. The one where the bimbos melted at Butter Factory. It was such a boring place with such a boring crowd that we had to 自 high.




~11 January 2015~
Throwback to when I was saying a silent prayer for myself and my loved ones at La Madeleine, Paris. Fast forward to now, let's all say a prayer for those affected by the Paris shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket. Shifting the geographical lens closer, let's also say a prayer for those affected by the AirAsia QZ8501 crash and for the heroes working tirelessly to find the missing bodies and plane parts.




~13 January 2015~
Received a 3D Bomb Curl Brush as one of my Christmas gifts. Prior to this, I've never heard of this amazing brush at all. It could create spiral waves just by twirling the brush and blowing with a hair dryer. There are YouTube videos available. Just google "3D bomb curl brush". The spiral waves effect is beautiful just that it could not last overnight for my hair texture. With its hollow spherical shape, it could also be used to create volume and bounce for short hair. For my length of hair, I'm pleased with the result of my layers being curled inwards after blow drying my hair every night. It's the kinda style I like especially since my hair had gotten quite coarse and unruly with the hair ends going in all zig zag directions due to the change in pH of our water recently. The brush is a dream to use. My hair flows through it without much tugging and friction. It has since become my nightly blow dry hair brush. 😍😍😍




~17 January 2015~
Hubz thinks I should continue to grow out my fringe. Keep or cut? It is slowly growing outta the Rufus the Sheepdog phase.




~17 January 2015~
First time trying the baked bee hoon from Famous Kitchen. Me likey! So different from the usual crispy noodles. It is one of their signature dish. Romaine lettuce with preserved bean curd is a great greens side dish. I didn't quite like the lobster rolls fried with salted egg which is on promotion. You could choose the way it is done eg black pepper, salted egg etc. The salted egg part is good but the insides taste like very dry and tough meat instead of lobster. Guess that's why they are on promotion.




~18 January 2015~
I love how apt the picture is. Have you read Mark Manson's article The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck? It is trending on Facebook and if you haven't read it, you should. Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fuck do not deserve to be given and that's when life fucks us. We have to be like this cool cat every now and then.




~20 January 2015~
Grapes... Why you so nice to eat? 🍇🍇🍇




~21 January 2015~
Finally visited baby Sam today! What a pretty little girl looking so cute and small next to Hello Panda. Eyes look like Mummy @xtinaong. 😍 @tifducky ,we miss you.




~21 January 2015~
Baby Samantha has mummy @xtinaong's eyes and Daddy's smile.




~23 January 2015~
There are a few versions to this but I like "yeah right" best. #englishisfun #iloveenglish




~25 January 2015~
Gift from London. Same silk cashmere scarf, different colour, different packaging. Hmm. Which one should I choose?



~31 January 2015~
When I think of water colour illustration, Manolo Blahnik comes to my mind. I wanna learn how to do water colour art next!




~31 January 2015~
2015 was one of the rare year where there wasn't any free desktop calendar given out from any available source (work, vendors, agents, friends etc). Only in the 2nd week of January did I start to hunt high and low for a pleasant looking one with enough space for writing. I found one at great discount from Art Box because seriously, who buys calendar in the middle of January?




~31 January 2015~
You know how fussy I am with schedule books? I need them light and thin. I need them spineless. I need space at the dates to jot down notes. I need them to be of light colour. I need them to have the illustration style that I like. I need them to be pleasing to my eye. I love my 2014 Mixed Cats Schedule Book so much that I was looking forward to their 2015 one.
Alas, there wasn't any book remotely similar to Mixed Cats or even matching my criteria in the whole of Kinokuniya and various malls in Orchard. I wasn't the only one. While searching at Kinokuniya, a gal stood beside me and started lamenting to her partner that she was disappointed at the lack of variety this year. I struck up a conversation with her by relating to her how we were in the same "predicament". When I showed her my Mixed Cats schedule book, she got excited and said that was something like what she was looking for but there was NOTHING remotely similar. The wonders of how the search for schedule books could connect 2 complete strangers.
But I digress.
In the end, I bought this Peter Rabbit one. I love Peter Rabbit illustration but I don't understand WHY the cover is in such a shocking state of pink. Shouldn't Peter Rabbit's style be beige or light colours? It matches majority of my criteria but it sure took me some time to get over an excessively PINK schedule book.
Follow




~31 January 2015~
So since I was in the mood for posting flipagram videos and whining about how the variety of schedule books sucked for 2015, here's a throwback video of my 2014 Mixed Cats one which I absolutely adore. I don't care if you hate cats, I love this kinda cat illustration and colour scheme. I also love that it is light and thin and spineless and with space at dates to write notes and I just love to look at the cute kitties and sweet cookies illustration. 🐱🐱🐱





You can find me on Instagram by clicking the button below. If you like my pictures, do follow and drop me a message so that I could check out your page too! I really love it when my blog friends and I are connected on other social media platforms too since I know many of them don't blog as often yet have got a lot more updates on their Instagram page. If you're a newcomer asking for follow in exchange, I don't entertain follow for follow requests. However if we have enough meaningful exchanges here, I would naturally follow you back. Have a great week ahead!

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[This is a scheduled post.]

Sunday, February 08, 2015

How To Achieve Longer Slimmer Legs

If you are here because you genuinely want to achieve longer slimmer legs, then I'm sorry this post is not for you. You may refer to here, here and here for all the exercise and diet tips to get long and lean legs. If you are super hardcore and determined in altering your leg bones, you may want to embark on some strenuous exercising or even the extreme method of surgery.




Today I would share with all of you on how to achieve longer slimmer legs the cheater bug way in photos. Sometimes, it is all about the angle.

Taking a full length shot with your photographer crouching or doing a half squat would result in a longer and slimmer frame as opposed to if your photographer is standing at eye level or if the shot is taken from top down.

Left: Unedited picture taken when hub was crouching resulting in an overall longer frame
Right: Unedited picture taken when the photographer was at eye level resulting in short stumpy legs.




At times when angles fail, photo editing is a saviour! You don't need to have professional photo editors like Photoshop and the likes. All you need is a mobile app called MeituPic. It is a FREE app available for both iPhones and Androids.





MeituPic used to be called Mei Tu Xiu Xiu (美图秀秀) when everything was all in Chinese. The app is a breeze to use even for somebody like me who isn't very good at reading Traditional Chinese characters. In fact, this app was introduced by my ang mo pai (Westernized Chinese Singaporean) gal pal who said that the icons itself were self-explanatory and easy to navigate.

The updated version of this app is completely in English since last year so YAY for all English speakers! Now you can cheat your way through your photos. I often use mtxx's filters to edit my pictures but this is the first time I explore it for legs lengthening.




Some of you might remember me whining about how my legs are getting fatter and stumpier over the years in this post. I was pretty shocked by how my legs looked in the Christmas Day dinner photos that I decided to look for Mei Tu Xiu Xiu to conjure some magic.

This was how the original picture looked. Even the hub said, "Your legs look kind of... funny." He was kind enough not to say "fat and stumpy" which he sometimes do.




After mtxx-ing this pic, here is the after effect. Perhaps it is difficult to see the difference when the photo isn't side by side or isn't put into an animated gif. That's how natural mtxx editing is!




How about comparing the difference here?
Left: Original
Middle: Just nice
Right: Overdone and a little too fake




This anigif is a clearer depiction of the difference.




Now let's start the mtxx tutorial!


1. After you have downloaded the app, tap on "Retouch". You would be prompted to open a photo from your photo folder.






2. You would be led to this page. Tap the function "Taller".





3. 2 horizontal parallel lines would appear. Drag the lines to where your legs are.







4. Slide the slider left (original) to right (taller) to your desirable result.

Tip: You have to be very careful not to edit your photo such that the background is significantly altered and everyone could call your bluff. In this example, I dragged the top line to below the last step and the bottom line to just above the distinct line on the ground. In this way, the background would not look too drastically stretched. I could be greedy and include more region of my thighs but that would result in overstretched stairs.





4.1. For this photo, sliding to the middle of the bar looks the most natural.





4.2. Whereas if I slide it way to the right, my legs look a little too fake. I do not want a Barbie Doll's ratio of 2 parts legs and 1 part body.




5. When you're satisfied with the photo, save it and admire your new legs. Now you can look as hot as Blake Lively.
The whole process of achieving longer slimmer legs takes less than 3 minutes with MeituPic app! Great for Instafreaks on the go!




Here's another picture which I've edited using mtxx.
Left: Original
Middle: Just nice
Right: Overdone and a little too fake




Anigif comparison
I like how mtxx looks almost natural. Even with the many lines of wooden panels in the background, the after pictures do not look edited. If I hadn't mentioned anything about my photos being edited, most people wouldn't even have noticed anything. Perhaps my harshest critic are myself and my hubby precisely because we are aware of how my legs used to look. And for many friends who knew me from way before, they had to agree that my legs seemed to have grown stumpier over the years when in the past, they consider my legs as one of my best asset.




For those without smartphones, MeituPic is also available online. However, it is all in Chinese, lags a lot and does not have the lengthening legs function.

Besides legs lengthening, do try out the many functions MeituPic has to offer. I personally feel that this app is the best photo-editing tool ever and the best part is, you don't even need to be equipped with photo-editing skills like when using Photoshop. It is that easy to use!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Christmas 2014: The One That Concludes The Whole Christmas Season

[This is a scheduled post.]


It is five days and two months into 2015 and this post wraps up the whole of the 2014 Christmas series. 2014 concluded with lots of warmth and joy as it was one of the only year where I managed to meet up with almost all the different groups of good friends.

On Boxing Day, the F4 reunited as FOUR after more than a year! It so happened that Hs was back in Singapore for only a few days during the Christmas week and we all managed to make time after work for good food with the best company any gal could ever ask for.




We met up at Bar Bar Black Sheep (Bukit Timah, Cluny Court outlet) for a feast of North Indian, Thai and Western food.




Their North Indian food was lip-smacking. I could come back here any other day to satisfy my North Indian craving.




We were seated outdoors which was too dark to take any picture of food. I hate using flash to take pictures and so the "Lighting Crew" went into action of using their iPhone torchlight to shine on the food without me having to ask them do so. Lol... You gals are the best!




For desserts, we opted for Sweet Mango Sticky Rice from the Thai menu...




... and chocolate ice cream waffle from the Western menu. Both of them were good! Mango sticky rice is my favourite Thai dessert while rich chocolate ice cream would never go wrong.




We adjourned to the indoor seating when more patrons left. The outdoor patio was not conducive for chatting and taking photos. Furthermore, the flickering light from the huge LCD TV which was airing a soccer match was headache-inducing. Seeing green and short flashes of bright colours constantly on one another's faces amidst the dark outdoor environment was no fun at all unless of course you are these two dogs.


[Image Source]


Once we were indoors, Em was so excited about giving us her gifts. She had a huge paper bag of presents which got us all curious. She lugged this big bag of gifts the whole day till she met us. How sweet!
In this photo, Wy had to help Ems prop up the gifts since they were just too big while behind the smiley face in the background is a crew who got into our frame at the wrong time and had the weirdest half open eyes and mouth expression ever.




Em spread the gifts on the table and got us to pick one. We were obviously thrilled to receive our gifts.
"Are they all the same?"
"Are they the same thing but with different designs?"
"Are they similar stuff?"
"Is it a pillow?"
"Is it a cushion?"
"A bag?"
"Must be a soft toy!"




We continued feeling the gift through the glossy paper, asking questions and making guesses before ripping the wrapper off.




Craftholic!!! Ahhhhh! I know of MANY friends who love Craftholic. They are cute and huggable and look absolutely adorable sitting idly on the sofa but I would never ever buy one for myself. Now that I've gotten a Craftholic as a gift, I would definitely love it!




Isn't it cool that we all picked the pattern that we like?




My gifts to them pale in comparison with Em's. Glad that like their gifts even when Ems spoilt the market. Hahaha... We all chided Em for giving out her gifts first coz whatever that came after that would pale in comparison. And Hs quipped, "I came with no gifts, only a small sling bag!" We don't need any gift coz your company here with us in Singapore is a valuable gift. xo




WY got us treats from her trip. I super love the chocolate brownie and seaweed and everything else that I ate them all up  I always appreciate all the snacks from friends coz they wind up in my room as emergency energy stash during hungry moments before sleep.




As some of you would have seen on Instagram and the December Instasummary post, it was such telepathy for us to be dressed in shades of pink and red. We haven't gathered with full F4 force for a while and I really treasure moments like this. I was lacking in sleep during the whole of December (catching 3-4 hours sleep for 2 weeks around Christmas) but I just had to meet these gals before I flew off for the year. Even though I had to be at the airport at 6am in a few hour's time, we chatted till we were all yawning and still, we couldn't bear to part. Love you gals! xoxo
(Aside: That reminds me, I haven't blogged about our past few meet ups!)


[All photos in this post were taken using iPhone 6]

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