14 March 2014
// iphoneography: august 2013
The month of (half of) August through my iPhone - of beaches and the sea.
Older: July 2013
How time flies. It's already the third month of 2014, and this would only mark the first post of my year. I have been too busy, and accumulating way too much backlog for the blog. I've finally found some time amidst a busy school week and a hectic work schedule to properly sit down and go through August's iPhone snaps. 7 months, has it been that quick?
The month of August was the last of my summer holidays before I returned to school to resume my third year of studies. And of course before that happened, I was sure to jam pack my schedule with lots of shoots and exciting escapades overseas. I struck off three new countries on my travel-bucket-list, and got together with the best man I could ever ask God for. August holds some of the fondest memories for me, and I will cherish these moments forever.
It has only been a few short days since my return from Bangkok, and my room was messy again. Strewn with clothes on the floor, I was busy packing for a 4D3N trip to Bali with Drea and Charlotte. We were going to be shooting lookbooks for 3 online stores - All Would Envy, The Tinsel Rack and Lollyrouge in Sanur and Ubud. We had a morning flight to catch, so our pseudo-family (N and Mattie) sent us to the airport and had breakfast together before they sent us off.
When we arrived in Bali, we were picked up by the concierge of Mahagiri Villas. We drove for 30 minutes before we reached Sanur, where our beautiful villa was. When we opened the doors to our villa, we were greeted by a private pool, 3 bathrooms (perfect for the three of us), complete with an outdoor shower and a living pavilion! It was such a beautiful and relaxing space to be in. We unpacked and got ready to start shooting All Would Envy's lookbook.
As the last rays of light peeped from behind our villa, we wrapped up for the day and headed back to freshen up before having a welcome dinner that was specially prepared by the restaurant at Mahagiri. It was only 7pm but the skies had darkened beyond its time, and temperatures were dropping quick. We were seated at the outdoor lounge pavilion and soon the cold became unbearable. We quickly finished up, thanked and wished the staff goodnight before retiring to bed. Our day was going to start extremely early the next day.
It was a quarter to 6 in the morning when we boarded the complimentary bus service from the villa to Sanur Beach. In a flash of minutes, we arrived at our destination. The moon was still hanging brightly in the background, and the skies were stained deep blue and purple, with a hint of orange at the horizon. It was especially windy and cold in the morning so we huddled by the breakwater, waiting to catch a glimpse of the first light of the day. Sunrises are such amazing things. They say that sunlight is the most precious gold to be found on Earth, and I couldn't agree any more. In the presence of such magnificence, it makes me wonder how insignificant we all really are. I guess sunrises make people pensive too.
So I tried to capture it all by trying to stitch several photos together but it was nowhere near successful. I wish you were there to experience the scene with me, to take it all in. It's true after all, that beautiful things don't ask for attention.
We finished shooting by 9am, and went back to have breakfast before checking out. Mahagiri was very hospitable, and even offered to have their concierge send us to our next villa in Ubud, which was an hour away. They also had cookies in the car, and we pigged out (occasionally) on the ride. When we reached our villa, Viceroy Bali, we were taken around in a buggy for a quick tour of the place. Ubud gives off a different feeling from Sanur; it's surrounded with lush greenery, scenic rice fields and a patchwork of traditional villages, perfect for relaxing in tranquility. We were given the Deluxe Terrace Villa upon check in, and its luxurious interior immediately made us feel pampered. We also had a private pool just outside our bedroom, and what caught our attention was the Bale Bengong (Balinese Gazebo) that was perched over the pool. It was beautiful and overlooked the river gorge, and we would have our breakfast here the next day just quietly enjoying the morning air.
We photographed The Tinsel Rack's lookbook for the rest of the afternoon and finished up during the sunrise next morning. Drea is the only person who is willing to wake up at the most unearthly hours to catch the golden light, and I'm so thankful for that. We lounged around for the rest of the morning, and checked out when it was time. Moving between different accommodations can be very troublesome, but we were excited to visit our next villa which was not too far away.
We arrived at our villa mid-afternoon at Kayumanis Ubud, and were served welcome drinks by the poolside after we had our luggages sorted. While waiting for our villa to be ready, we explored the vicinity and found the Ayung River right behind the compound. There, kids were playing in the water and they looked so carefree, unplagued by the worries of adulthood. Our villa was ready when we got back and we wasted no time in shooting Lollyrouge's collection at the villa. The sun sets quickly in Bali, so it wasn't long before it was dark again. We had dinner delivered to our villa and ate them by our private pool, talking our hearts out. This was already our last night in Bali, yet there was still so much left to see and experience. We promised each other to return to this beautiful island.
It was back to a hectic week of work and social life in Singapore before I was off jet setting to Cebu, Philippines with P. I don't know what led us to choose that destination but we did, and we spent the next three days in a quiet town he had chosen, Moalboal. When we reached our resort, we rented a scooter and P drove us around the town to explore till the sun set. We rode to Moalboal's White Beach, but it was quiet and devoid of people since the skies were already getting dark.
The next day at dawn P dragged me out of bed for breakfast, something that I have never practiced as a habit. He'd tell me that breakfast was they way to start your day right, but I'd grumpily disagree, as I wiped the sleep from my eyes. By 6.30am the skies were already bright, so we decided to go on a snorkeling trip till noon. P is a diver (read: really good swimmer) so water is his element and he enjoys being surrounded by the wildlife underwater; while I'm basically chicken - I panic unless I have a life jacket on.
By noon we were back at our resort for lunch before we took the scooter out for a half-an-hour ride to the next town, Badian to visit the Kawasan Falls. It was a really scenic ride as we passed by little villages, beaches and lots of rice fields. When we were finally there we put our belongings on the rocks nearby and sat ourselves in the cool water. For the next hour we were chatting like we were in our own world. It was here that he asked me to be his girlfriend, and of course I agreed. Now that's a way to romanticize our story, haha.
We rode back to Moalboal quietly; my arms around his waist and head against his shoulders as the wind licked our faces. We had pizza and beer for dinner, and played several games of pool against each other. When time came for us to sleep, we held each other and cuddled till the cold night turned to dawn. We checked out the next morning and said our goodbyes before taking a 4-hour cab ride back to the airport in Cebu. Maybe not this sleepy town again but I guess I'll be back, Philippines.
I finished up the last of summer with shoots and preparation for my upcoming trip to Paris with Drea which included getting my first manicure and changing my hair color. I've always had crazy hairstyles (having gone from waist-long to boy-cut to dying crazy colors and even shaving the sides of my head, so I was happy when my hairstylist suggested the new combination. I don't have a good photo here but hopefully you'll see better ones in my Paris photo diary.
It's only been half a month but so much has happened already. What happened for the remaining month included me going back to school, and then skipping a week of classes to go to Paris with Drea (I can't wait to share that on another post with you!). Emerging from the turbulence I experienced in life, I now understand that we all have the ability to make choices that makes us a happier and better person. Just maybe, maybe happiness can be forever.
Older: July 2013
P/S: An exciting change is about to come to this site… and that will be released mid next week, along with an exciting announcement. Please, please stay tuned! And thank you for reading my long overdue post! x
31 December 2013
// goodbye 2013!
Drea & I lying in the garden of Musée Rodin, Paris (on film; August 2013)
It's finally the 365th day of 2013! It has been a wonderful year blessed with both ups and downs, and I think I deserve a pat on my back for going and growing through it. I'm sure you've been through the same (since we're only humans!), so here's a pat on the back for you too! *pats*
2014 will be amazing. Not just because we wish it to be so,
but because we will work hard to make sure it will be so. :)
Lastly, thank you for all your support and love! Happy blessed new year! xx
02 December 2013
// cookies & eggs
White Chocolate Chip Cookies & Spanish Omelette with Bacon
Recipes via Andrea ; Photography by me
My close friends would never associate me with food, let alone cooking or being in the kitchen. I've always had a fear of fire and dangerous objects, and I'd been brought up to think that I may set the kitchen on fire instead if I ever attempted to cook. I managed to cook my first ever meal in Paris back in August (with P's supervision through Skype) and I'm just thankful I'm even alive. Am I that bad? I think my level of confidence says it all.
However a few months ago, I was inspired by P's culinary passion to pick up food photography and styling. He's such a talented chef especially with cooking meat dishes, but he's not particularly concerned about the aesthetics of his craft (yet). He's been extremely busy with college recently, so we haven't gotten round to creating anything. Being all excited and impatient, I decided to rope Drea in on my latest embarkment.
If you don't know, Drea is a closet housewife. She loves cooking for her loved ones and close friends (and that includes me yey) and does the ocasional baking too. Unlike P, she's more well-versed with Asian dishes but she has done such a great job making these don't you think?! I wouldn't say we make the best pair like Melody and Hosanna do (check out their amazing food photography and recipes if you haven't!), and maybe that's because we (particularly me) aren't so gifted in the kitchen.
Anyways here is our first attempt at cooking and styling for the camera. I honestly think it turned out pretty decent for a first. I know that I still have lots to improve on though. We've been going mad in cookware and provisional stores, and have spent quite a bit so far. We (I) must be crazy! Mid this month, we're going to come together to do a more elaborate set and I'm already looking forward to it!
Now that exams are over, this month's gonna get busy... sit tight, and happy December! :) xx
29 November 2013
// iphoneography: july 2013
The month of July through my iPhone - of adventures and Bangkok.
Older: June 2013 | Newer: August 2013
It is already the end of November and only now do I begin to write about the time I spent getting lost in another city - of my days under the sun, and nights bathed in colorful light. I'm spending today at a cafe sipping a sweet blend of chocolate and coffee (none of which I fancy too much), trying to recount July. Time has passed way quicker than I have imagined, and yesterdays begin to blur at its edges. At this point, I'm mentally kicking myself for taking far too long to write this post. So let me begin, raw and honest, on my escape. My July.
The month began with moody days from PMS and a desperate attempt at getting a grey stuffed bunny. A comfort toy for the bad days, I'd reasoned. And bad days they were, as I cried tears of childish want when the stores ran out of grey bunnies. By the third day, Drea and I found the bunny I had been crying so badly for. I quickly paid for Fluffy and clutched her soft body to my chest. Fluffy, I instinctively called her. And so for the next few days Fluffy followed me where ever I went, and she was my sunshine during my dark moments. My comfort, she truly was.
There is also a boy I've been seeing; I call him P. He was due to complete his conscription soon, and I surprised him with a celebratory dinner by the sea. We shared food over a hearty grilled platter, drinking wine and catching up on the day's events. And that was the beginning of better days in July. We were both looking forward to leave for Thailand in a few days - I for 21 days and he, 19.
The night before leaving, I stayed over at Drea's place and she sent me to the airport the next morning. We met P and our other friend Jz before getting breakfast at Starbucks. Soon, it was time to go. I exchanged hugs with Drea before leaving. We'd gotten so close like sisters in the past few months that this would be the longest time I'd be spending away from her. She was leaving for Tasmania soon too, and we would only be reunited in August. Nonetheless, I was ready for my adventure in Bangkok with the boys.
Some 2 hours later, we touched down in the land of smiles. I'd been to Bangkok several times before - when I was too young to remember anything, and every summer since I was 18 - but never quite ventured alone or with friends since my dad lives in Bangkok. This time, I had the adventurous and wanderlust sprit of my friends to accompany mine.
In our first week together, we walked the streets of Siam and Khaosan, and shopped at the weekend market. We would spent some hours in the day working out at the gym in the hotel, and then we would be in search for massage and food places before deciding on our night activities.
One afternoon, we made a trip to Wat Pho and explored the area before taking the Chao Phraya river cruise (a first for me!) around and then to Chinatown. I have never been to Chinatown before, and now I understand why my dad never brings me there. With P's trusty Lonely Planet guide, we managed to navigate through the ghost town past "Little India", to a flower market. It must be cheap to be a romantic here. Back in Singapore, wholesale roses would cost you a few bucks; yet a bunch of beautifully colored roses would cost you less than a dollar here at Pak Khlong Talat.
The end of the week drew close and it was time for the boys to carry on with their itinerary, to backpack into the wilderness of Northern Thailand on the bumpy roads of the Mae Hong Son Loop. I sent the boys to the bus terminal that morning, and made my way back to my dad's apartment with my luggage in tow. Honestly I was a little scared I wouldn't make it back alone, since a couple of taxi drivers didn't recognize the address where I was heading. Thankfully one finally did and I was on my way.
At home I was greeted by my dad and a little lion. His name is Bingo, a Pomeranian too spoiled for his own good. His morning cries were what annoyed me most when I was still asleep, yet when day comes the little fluffball would quietly sit on my lap while I work on my laptop. Dad left for Shanghai for a few days and I mostly stayed home with Bingo, or took quiet walks alone around Siam. I guess it's the most familiar area for me in Bangkok and maybe - just maybe - I like to stick to my comfort zone sometimes.
The boys came back to Bangkok ahead of schedule, and I received them at the bus terminal early one morning. We found ourselves visiting some more new places with what money we had left. But having spent over two weeks in Bangkok, we were starting to run out of ideas of what to do. And so we spent our remaining days watching three movies in the spacious theatres there, traveling for food, enjoying more massages and shopping at Platinum Mall. I've got to say though, you should watch the sun set at Pratunam from the overhead bridge if you're there. I could just stand there and watch the traffic go by as the sun goes down in the distance. It's an amazing sight.
During this trip, I also experienced the city's (or any other cities for that matter) night life for the first time. My friends Charlotte and Matthew visited Bangkok during the week that the boys left and we celebrated C's birthday at Route 66 at Royal City Avenue. It was a weeknight then, and so the music wasn't the best nor did we enjoy the crowd. I do however remember being my usual quirky self, subtly doing a goofy dance with the stranger next to me and then his friends saw what I was doing. We all laughed and smiled awkwardly at each other after... I'm putting it out here, it's no secret I'm an awkward person.
Other nights, the boys and I would visit go-go bars at Soi Cowboy and Nana (sorry dad, had to do it!). It's a messy place, yet it was such an eye opener. Those nights were the most fun - I was overzealous and the boys thought I was crazy. It's contradicting really, and as much as I enjoyed the nights, I was also saddened that women were still being objectified and that some (or maybe most) of them only do it because they need the money. You know they say that you travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us? This is exactly it. For all of us who have never been put in that position before, it's time to live our lives with so much more gratitude.
The boys returned to Singapore two days before I did, and I spent my last day with my dad. We had dinner by the river at Asiatique, and shopped a little before we went back to pack my luggage. There was a careless and funny incident with my shopping because only when I got back to Singapore did I realise I'd brought home two left shoes! Got to give a shout out to Perfect Combination though, for being incredibly patient and kind while I sent the shoes back to Bangkok (I got a pair of leather boots from them, which you will see when I publish photos from Paris).
My dad sent me to the airport the next day and we fell asleep as the cab drove in the rain for an hour. I was running late so we hurriedly checked in and walked to the departure gates. I hugged my dad goodbye as he nagged quickly about studying hard and not getting a boyfriend (haha). Then I was in. Honestly, flights alone are what I enjoy the most. Many wouldn't guess I'm introverted, but I love the solitude and feeling of independence when I travel alone. I'd usually request for a window seat, then I'd plug in my iPod and lose myself in the view for as long as I can, or scribble in my Moleskine.
The plane touched down and I broke out of my reverie. It was good to be back after being away for three weeks. At the immigration hall, I was shocked to see a crowd queueing to get through. I thought to myself that I was surely not going to make it out any time soon. But then it struck me that I was holding this biometric red passport that allowed me to beat the crowd, and what a blessing that was.
It was back to work (but to be able to do something I love, I wouldn't necessarily call it work) the next day, and I spent the afternoon shooting with the Fairebelle team to celebrate their 4th anniversary (yey!). For the remaining few days of July, I spent quiet days at home and afternoons catching up with my friends whom I've missed dearly.
It surely has been quite an eventful month but the promise of a more exciting month ahead was written on the upcoming days in my calendar. I was due back in school mid-August and nothing sounded better than making plans to fully enjoy the last days of my summer break. So, excitedly I say: Goodbye July, thank you for both the good and bad days.
Older: June 2013 | Newer: August 2013