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Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekend in Lake Como

I never thought George Clooney was appealing despite women of all ages fawning over him. Until i met him.

No, not Clooney but a gentleman with a similiar style that made me think of George instantly. He is of French descent and his hair is all white. It matches well with his tanned skin. A man who have lived and worked in the most dangerous places, i reckon he makes a good grandfather with plenty of stories to enthrall. He believes in inculcating culture to his children who travelled the world and brought them up with a 'do not waste' motto. 'Do not waste food, do not waste time, do not waste intellect.'

I noticed his half rimmed black framed glass when we first met. With his satire humour, his voice was clam and charming. It didn't matter that he had a paunch or walked with a limp, there's something about him that appealed to me. He looked very sleek and smart, he joked that anyone wearing a dark suit with light brown shoes should be punished. He shared that 8 years ago, he started a fond collection of canes because of that limp. It made me think of my grandma. Her steps are labourous because of old age. A walking stick would help alleviate the pain, but she refuses to use one. Perhaps it's pride, perhaps it's denial of age, or maybe my grandma is really too vain and it damages her fashion.

But this man refuses to let his cane spoil his style. He wouldn't use one of those plastic ones. Instead, he scoured around the world for classy antique ones. Those that only rich men in the past would use. He has 20 over canes to suit different moods and style. This man is like a woman with shoes.

While we are on that topic of sauve old men, i spent a weekend in Lake Como where George Clooney allegedly lives.
In Italy where cities are hurried and packed with tourists, it was serene at our spot. Lake Como consists of many towns around the gigantic lake. We walked for miles without another person in sight sometimes.
One of us could pilot a boat, so we rented one and went house viewing. Trying to see if we can catch George Clooney sun bathing naked in one of them.
The houses are all pretty fancy and we start making up stories about the people living in there. Ironically, someone mentioned to us they have NEVER seen anyone coming out of those houses.
So we town hopped with our yatch and pretended to be rich and famous.
We didn't find George but came close enough to living his life cruising around the lake, licking gelatos and wolfing down pastas.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'll be There for You, Singapore


CiNE65 is a short film competition for film enthusiasts to tell their Singapore story.Through this competition, CiNE65 aims to capture our Singapore identity.

Temporary stationed overseas till the end of the year, is the grass really greener on the other side? It may look like it,
but come Dec, i will be knee deep in snow.
For the Singaporean who doesn't know the tricks of dressing for winter, i don't think i'm looking forward to sub zero.

There are currently 1.2 mil foreigners on our shores with many more eager to enter. If there're so many wanting to enter, why are Singaporeans so eager to leave? Worse are the ones who complain 24/7 and not actually do something about it. Is that really who/what a Singaporean is?

I currently work in a team with all walks of life. The American and Europeans have never interacted with a Singaporean before. They ask me what my country is like and what we are like.

While i said i cannot be representative of a Singaporean because i'm OTT with my dirty jokes and weird interests,
I did say taxi rides don't cost $30 for a 5 minute ride like it does in Europe,we will queue hours for food and that you can recognize a Singaporean distinctively through the way we speak.

My Hong Kong friend being able to connect in many ways because her nation is also 'small' & receiving many foreigners, she asked if we had our own army. She then asked if it means anything to me if my lover is a storeman as opposed to an officer when serving the compulsory service. I replied her if not for medical reasons, but purposefully chao keng so he can have an easy ride out or because he sees no reason in serving the nation, he wouldn't be the potential husband i'll sort after.
Surprisingly, despite Hong Kong not having their own army, my friend chorused in unison that she would also prefer a man who did his best in army.

It all boils down to a mindset. Do you make full use of a mandatory journey and turn it into an opportunity or do you turn bitter and sour? Life is full of unexpected events. When the MRT breaks down, is it an opportunity to call an old friend and catch up while waiting for service to get back on? A train delay in Singapore means getting home still in comfort. Missing a train in Europe means ending up on the train floor scented with vomit like i did travelling back from Florence.
Oh, not forgetting the union strikes that happen very frequently in the worst times possible, especially when you really need to get somewhere. Flights get cancelled, trains stop, service staff are non-existant etc. The locals don't bat an eyelid to the inconvenience, we should be ashamed of our behaviour during MRT break-downs and the many other complains.

Shops don't open on Sundays, which means you can possibly go hungry (very dramatic for a Singaporean). Leaves me no choice but to have a tomato buffet.
 Singapore too expensive to live in? I just bought a peice of toufu for $7, because its 'exotic'. A major determining factor for foreigners to relocate to Singapore is because of safety. Overseas, you have to look over your shoulder and clutch your bag all the time. I had my own scare in the supermarket. My friend who lived in Singapore for 4 years just moved to Milan and within a year, her wallet was pick-pocketed 3 times. She now chains her wallet in her handbag. Once, she felt her wallet tugging within her handbag and caught the criminal. She was a 11 year old Romanian! Gungho her brought the thief to the Italian police only to be told there's nothing they could do because she's a child. They suggested she 'write to the newspapers' instead. What absurdity!

What a coincidence that our international dialing code  (+65). is also our year of independence. 1965. ciNE65 is a short film competition for film enthusiasts to tell their Singapore story. In this second season of ciNE65, entries share their take on the theme "I'll Be There For You, Singapore" through a 3-minute film.

Launched in July 2011 by Nexus, ciNE65 invites the public to tell their Singapore story. Through ciNE65, they hope to harness the potential of short films to touch the hearts and minds of Singaporeans.

It did to mine.

I actually feel very proud that despite countless Europeans have never visited Singapore, they have heard of the wonderful things of this nation. We really have put ourselves on the map. Show your love for Singapore by voting for the shortlisted films here. You can even create your own movie poster on their Facebook. Vote for your favourite films and actors before 8 July to help pick a winner AND win shopping vouchers worth $200.
I will also be giving out movie tickets in my next post so watch this space!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Things Successful People Do on a Weekend

Success is determined by one's self. It could be satisfaction with your wealth, milestones achieved at a young age, or solid relationships with loved ones. However, more often than not, the world equates success to a high ranking position in your career at a young age.

I have not thought of myself as successful, but as age and experience creeps on, i became gradually proud of my life journey.

My conservative Asian parents reckons i play too much and sometimes nag at me. Their belief is "slog when young and reap the fruits at retirement".

Other than the fact that, you could possibly not live Forbes recently published an article of the 14 Things Successful People Do on a Weekend, and it further affirms my belief that my playfulness is what gives me my edge professionally.

After all, the whole point of the week is the weekend.

It is what you do on the weekend, that fuels you during the week. I never found the first five days after a weekend hard. Well, other than the fact that i have been very blessed with jobs that i love going to.

Partying or drinking excessively is something i do not do on a weekend. Getting wasted is wasting the weekend, even if socializing is listed as one of the 14 things.

I have a weekend routine. I start off my weekend with exercise. Even if it means waking up at 7am to catch the 8.30am yoga class. The best Tweets come to my head when i'm in the cobra or one legged standing pose.
On certain weekends, i do something a little more special like doing an adventure course, going out on a boat or visiting somewhere special. Being active and outdoors is an opportunity to disconnect, to pry myself away from the addictive finger swiping.
There are also days when i just want to stay home because i had been out socializing on the weekdays. On such weekends, i indulge in my passion. Blogging. This is also the reason why i didn't want to go into hardcore monetizing my blog or blog full-time. This is a hobby i keep, for me to do whenever i want and however i want. Some of my best blog posts are written on a Friday! While cinemas are a bad weekend idea because you're losing precious outdoor time, there are Saturdays where i like to veg out in front of a big screen with a movie that doesn't require much thinking. Now that I've relocated temporary to Europe, weekends staying in mean trying out new recipes.

I do plenty of weekend getaways as well. While many of my colleagues complain about the office being far from the city center back in Singapore, i took advantage of it being near the airport. Bangkok, Bali, Ho Chi Minh and even Malaysia are the usual suspects. That attitude didn't change, in fact increased its frequency now that i'm in Europe. I wasted no time in spending my weekends in Budapest, Florence and just last weekend Lake Como.
In fact, making future plans on a weekend is also an effective way of preparing for the work week. Being able to plan ahead makes me focused in achieving goals. It also makes me a more responsible worker. I am now planning for my next weekend getaway in Milan :)

My other ritual on a weekend is attending church. The 2 hours spent allows me to reflect, appreciate and be more introspective about larger issues.

How are your weekends like?


Friday, June 7, 2013

My Home Spa

Being away from the convenience of Singapore means i CANNOT INDULGE IN MY MONTHLY SPA AND FACIALS! That, is tough. Here, a manicure starts from SGD 150!! So I came prepared.
The change in climate in the initial weeks have made me breakout, peel and develop dandruff. The breakout was salvaged by Porcelain Face Spa's Balance Essence. It really is a skin and ego saver, removing pimples without medication! It even hydrates my skin. 
I was spoilt rotten by Phytho Hair Spa and Hairscience back home. Here, i maintain my hair spa with Silkpro Treatment Conditioner and Hair Tonic Concentrate. Silkpro has a new range with ingredients that seem to be pretty natural, chemical free. Do you know the one thing that Singaporean men fear the most? It is the loss of hair. NUMBER ONE FEAR.
It freaks me out whenever i comb or wash my hair. I drop alot of hair, so i googled and results say dropping 80 strands a day is normal. Especially if you have long hair, it is heavy (thus more hair fall) and it looks like alot in your hand because it is long. I confess, I have collected them in a day and counted them one strand by one strand. It is not severe hair loss (phew!).
But prevention can always start! The new Silkpro Hairvolution promotes balancing, strengthening and protecting the scalp to prevent hair loss.
My home spa also consist of Kneipp body scrub for the body and for the face, i love Khiel's microbeads facial scrub. You only need a 5 cent coin dollop. It is so fine, and it feels so good.
But first, i throughly remove any residue on my face with Porcelain Face Spa's make-up remover. I didn't know this before, but even if you do not have make-up on your face, you need to use one to throughly cleanse your face because sunblock can clog pores. Not Biore's Aqua UV though.
I then lay in a hot tub, with Porcelain Face Spa's Hydrocare paper mask on. Made from a bio-cellulose fabric that the salon launched in 2010 after research and lab work, it contours my face, while working to fight the signs of dryness and dehydration with ingredients like Sodium hyaluronate, lychee seed extract and fig fruit extract. It also has Vitamin E content that provides antioxidant protection and helps further nourish my skin.
Usually these paper masks always have an excess of mask serum in the pack. I either use it on my neck or i store it in a small container and use it for the next couple of days.

This is how i conduct my home spa, complete with lighting a scented candel and eating a scoop of ice-cream while my hair and face is being treated sitting in a bath tub!


Month in Snapshots

This was meant to be an April's post but only got around to uploading the pictures now.
Went out on a yatch with friends,
Weddings are good reunions for everybody. These were my Australain study mates, school times are always the best years (except polytechnic, where i found most classmates pretentious). The bride and groom's love story was a bittersweet one. Boy liked girl, girl wasn't sure. Both dated other people, but ended up with each other after 4 years. It's pretty romantic that they ended up together, despite the path not being a direct one.
Dining at Ocean Restaurant was worthwhile, the vain manta rays kept doing a dance right in front of us! With limited seating, make reservations at least 2 weeks in advance.
Ben & Jerry's appointed me as a moolet,
and then i had a series of farewells.
My last meal was chilli crab
Reading with disbelief, lol
I got cupcakes customized, it was meant to be a hand coming out from a grave to say 'i'm just temporary gone'. It was expensive, about 7 per peice but it was fun. My morbid humour.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Interesting Eye Care Tips

I have noticed quite many bloggers have very bad eye bags and dark eye rings. Must be due to the late night photo shopping and looking at the iphone at night in bed.
The skin surrounding your eyes is one of the most sensitive areas of the body and hence, needs to be given special attention. This tender area, which is ten times more thinner than the rest of your skin, is often exposed to an array of problems like puffy eyes, dark circles, wrinkles, loss of eyelashes and fine lines. Having a beautiful face but with wrinkles around the eye can make a person look old.
Thus, to maintain a youthful appearance, eye skin care is an absolute must. Thankfully, nowadays, there are a wide range of beauty treatments and products which can effectively treat the skin around the eyes. Then there are the various home remedies that can be used to cure puffy eyes and other problems without any side effects.
Drinking plenty of water and digging on fruits and vegetables is the key to healthy skin and will go a long way if you want to take care of your eye skin. Read on to find out how to get rid of baggy eyes and dark circles, secrets of healthy and beautiful eyes and much more.

Getting dark circles and baggy eyes has now become a common problem and haunts both old and middle-aged people and even youngsters these days. Stress, late working hours, faulty diet, etc can be blamed for causing puffy eyes and dark circles. However, it can be easily sorted out if you follow few precautionary measures and take effective steps. Read further to know how to curb the problem.

  • Mash a tomato well into a paste. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and lemon juice and apply this mixture underneath the eyes. After a period of ten minutes, wash your face with water. Do this regularly to ward off the dark circles.
  • Take a few drops of almond oil and massage it gently under your eyes for ten minutes to treat dark circles.
  • Take a bowl of ice cold water and dip two cotton wool balls in it. Now, take them out and squeeze out the excess liquid. Next, place the cotton balls on your eyes until they become warm.
  • Cut a cucumber into thick slices and place a slice over each eye. Lie down for ten to fifteen minutes and relax with your eyes closed. By doing this, not only your eyes get rejuvenated but it also aids in getting rid of tired and puffy eyes.
  • Another way to cool your eyes is to apply chilled tea bags or by wrapping an ice cube in a soft cloth and then placing it over your eyes.

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your eyes well-moisturized and sparkling.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol as it causes redness in the eyes.
  • To add a glamorous touch to your eyes and make them look attractive, use eye lash curlers. Many beauty stores today sell ordinary metal eye lash curlers at reasonable prices.
  • Avoid junk and salty foods as they cause water retention, which in turn makes the skin near the eyes bloated.
  • Wear glares to protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays. Buy branded sun glasses as cheap ones are harmful.
  • Every morning, splash your eyes with generous amounts of water to keep it cool and clean.
  • Gorge on foods that are rich in vitamin A and C such as mangoes, oranges, spinach, fish, pumpkins, tomato, capsicum, cabbage, and the like.
  • Constant glaring at computers or TV can damage your eyes so take few minutes break from time to time.
  • Avoid reading in dim light or working in front of the computer system for long hours as this will lead to dark circles and baggy eyes.
  • Taking adequate rest and sleeping for at least seven to eight hours is a must to keep your eyes glowing.

The above is a repost from Porcelain's Face Spa's blog.
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