Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer '11: South of France

Wedding we attended was in the South of France, so we stayed in the regions for a few days. There we ping-pong-ed across a few townships/towns, namely: Nimes, Caissargues, Bouillargues & Arles.

Summarizing the weekend in (my favorite) - a bullet pointed list:

  • Train to SoF, check in at Etap
  • BBQ dinner at the Duhamel home - with kwentuhan and rehearsals
  • Out & about in Arles (farmer's market, UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Roman Theatre, Arena, around town and Old Hospital of Arles (subject in Van Gogh's paintings AND where he severed his own ear))
  • Out and about in Nimes (more UNESCO sites - Arenes de Nimes, La Maison Carree de Nimes)
  • Paella lunch in Bouillargues c/o of the Duhamels
  • Flight to Rome
And of course, a run down in (A LOT of) photos:


  • Cutting down on social media from my life. Twitter I can probably cut out, but facebook I'm thinking I should still maintain for (1) photo-dumping (though even this I'm thinking about), and (2) ready-venue for keeping in touch with friends. I'm pretty good about not checking when I'm at work, but usually spend a lot of my commute time (about 35 min each way), mindlessly flipping through these tools. Should just focus on living my own life as opposed to finding out what ever else is busy doing with theirs. 
  • Getting cable. Hahahaha, yes I know, I feel like this is on the total flip side of my first bullet point. But I usually have the TV on when I'm doing chores! And would also like to have it handy for guests (like I have so many people coming over right?!). I think cable + my long overdue library membership will be good company for those days I just want to bum at home.  Would you judge me if I opt NOT to get news channels? I'm thinking, cartoons (sorry, I LOVE cartoons), lifestyle, movies and educational channels. There are budget considerations of course for getting cable, so I must crunch some numbers and see how I can make it work.
  • Being more pro-active with planning my schedule. I've got a number of things to look forward to from now until April, but majority of these events are there because of my situation (obligations, invitations, etc), not because of any forward planning I did on my own and made happen for myself.  Rather than be pushed around by my circumstance, would like to start molding my life with my own hands (wow, did that sound cheesy). Inline with this is a "just do it" attitude that I've been trying to take on for quite some time now, and ironically, a "live in the moment" attitude as well. 
  • Regulating my hours. This includes getting out of work on time (goodluck), some regular exercise (mmmhmmm) and getting 7 - 8 hours of sleep (I can always dream can't I). Uhuh, I crave routine, and always look for it. Getting there.. slooooowly but surely
Ok, enough contemplation for the time being, there's action to be done!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer '11: Paris, France

I feel like I need to, should, post about the 2 weeks I spent in Europe. Especially since it's been about a month since we arrived! But how do you compress 14 days of exploring, and site seeing and bonding with friends in one blog post?

Rather than talk, will just show you in little bite size entries :)

I've learned to travel relatively light, and have learned the importance of having luggage that is easy to maneuver. When you hop from one place to another, which I find myself doing on many of the trips I take,  being able to manage your own luggage is important.

After 16 hours of traveling via Cathay Pacific to Paris, we check into Mimi & Petepete's "love nest".  They very graciously offered their place to us while they went ahead to Petepete's home town in the South of France to prep for the wedding.

First full day in Paris was packed - we did all the usual touristy sites and pretty much bull dozed through City of Lights. Quite an accomplishment I think given our full day(s) of traveling the day before.  Wonderful to see these sites again, don't think they'll ever get old!

Here's a quick run down:
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Mont Marte
  • Sacre Cour & lunch @ Petit Creux de Mont Marte
  • Louvre facade
  • Merienda at Angelina
  • L'Orangerie @ Jardin des Tuilleries
  • Champs Elysees
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Notre Dame
  • Eiffel Tower

Monday, August 22, 2011

Computer Fix

Finally got my hands on one of these from the office equipment pantry. So so so happy with this. I've never been happy with the distance between the laptop on the table and myself. If I bring my chair down, I feel like I'm squatting at my table. An office chair with adjustable height + this little table extension + mouse + extra keyboard are Godsend. No more placing my laptop ontop of a stack of books to get my laptop at a good level!


Home Happiness & Then Some

One last home discovery I forgot to mention in my last entry:

  • Dylon: my jeans stained this bright yellow silk shirt I recently bought. Was pretty bummed as I didn't even have a chance to wear it. Was wandering through a random store this weekend and found (in the arts & crafts section no less), a product called DYLON. This particular product claimed to restore "items stained by colour runs". I figured what the hell, let's give it a go. Guess what? My shirt's as good as new. Now if only I could get my hands on a product that would iron / press laundry so when you pull it out of the washing machine it's wrinkle free. 
On another not so happy home note:
  • Iron Burn: Thrilled to finally use my mini table top ironing board from IKEA (which I think I bought more because I thought it was cute), to iron my sheets. I sat on the floor doing this only because I thought it would be easier to manage a bed sheet that way. Unsurpisingly, the iron found it's way out of my hands and onto my bare thigh. Thankfully thigh lang diba? You shouldn't be too surprised to hear though that this isn't the first ironing accident I've had - I burned my costume the first time I ironed on tour in 2001. Then on another tour in 2006 I burned my hand. Ironing burn victim twice on tour and once living on my own - I think I've pretty much given away my personal ironing habits. 
  • Internet: the connection has been more spotty than usual. I should be grateful for the "free" internet but it's recently been getting to me. Hopefully the people providing the upgrade (fibre optics!) will do it soonest. 

Home Happiness

Made some recently "needed" acquisitions that sweetened my last week:
  • Hand Vacuum: At an attempt to create specific areas in my studio, I purchased a rug without realizing the kind of upkeep it needed. In true cheapskate style, I tried to get by cleaning the rug by brushing, sweeping, "lint-rolling"(ie: SCOTCH TAPING). All of the above took too damn long so I caved in an purchased a hand vacuum. Recently finished with it's initial 16-hour charge, it is patiently waiting for me at home so I can give it a test drive tonight. 
  • Suction Fixtures: tried to stay away from this for the longest time as I've always found them kinda tacky. Unfortunately, I can't drill holes into my walls without having to go through the trouble of plugging up the holes when I move out. And between suctioning something to a wall, and drilling holes- suctioning was an easy choice. Hee hee. Thankfully the fixtures I found weren't too much of an eyesore. And now my mind is soaring with everything else I can adhere to walls via suction / strong adhesive. I currently have a small shelf in the bathroom and a "towel" rack in my closet. The bathroom fixture's main purpose is to provide me with a place to hang up a hand towel and my jammies, PLUS make use of some badly used space in an already small bathroom. The rail in the closet was a solution to hang used clothes for reuse (ie: jeans, etc). Will need to add an additional rail above that, as well as some "S" hooks for my necklaces. Weeee! Excited. 
  • New Sheets: I borrowed really lovely sheets from a friend. I changed them recently with some sheets I purchased at IKEA when I first arrived here. While visually quite lovely, it feels incredibly different to the touch. Magnify that by my body's surface area. While I didn't think it would make too much of a difference, my body apparently felt differently as I tossed and turned the whole night :) So while I didn't get the exact sheets I wanted (bloody expensive!), I did get some sheets which I do think will be a nice middle ground. Never mind that I discovered I purchased a size too large when I went home, I'm excited to try them out in a few weeks. But "bloody expensive" sheets - I've got my eye on you. I'll own you one day!
I was wondering why I've recently not been too excited to purchase clothes / shoes / bags. Looks like the girlie need to shop is still there, I've just expanding the objects of my desire. 

Tea Time!

"Roasted brown rice & green tea" tea! Squealed with glee when I found this last week at the Korean grocery near work. This was the same place I discovered the yummy korean ice cream I was craving- and yes, I also squealed like the little piggie I can be, when I found the ice cream. If I discover that awesome Korean BBQ I had in Seoul then I'll tumbling for days!

ANYWAY, yes, very happy to find this tea. The first time I tried it was in New York. Then I remembered to look for a box when I visited Seoul last April. I relocated shortly after so never got to sample it again till I visited my family recently. It was during that time I was reminded of how yummy it was & made a note to look for it in Singapore. 

While I wish one tea bag provided more cups (or in the case of my ghetto kitchen setup: bowls), I couldn't be happier to add this to my relatively bare cupboard. Warming, nutty & comforting, its a welcome switch up from my usual evening cup of green tea.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'mmmm baaaaack

After 20 days, 4 countries (yes, Manila included in that count!), 9 cities, I'm back in the Lion City - rounder, blacker, broker, but definitely refreshed and reeling from the last few weeks.

Trip was wonderful of course. Nothing like taking a break from routine and getting to know the world at large, while learning more about yourself as well through the process of exploration.

I originally considered flying immediately to Singapore and going to work on Friday. VERY happy that i opted differently and that I'm slowly transitioning from surreality to reality.

With my quick layover in Manila, I was able to check off some of my priority errands: family time, pamper-myself-in-Manila-because-I'm-too-cheap-to-pay-for-it-in-Singapore time, fill up on some favorite meals (homemade spicy tuna pasta, chuckie, lily's pb + baguio strawberry jam sandwich, seryna, etc). Kept it on the downlow with friends (ie: i purposely didn't see anyone) due to short time span - strangely i think seeing too many peeps would've stressed me out more than relaxed me.

I opted to head back to Singapore late Saturday evening because I wanted Sunday to prep myself for full on reality immersion on Monday; get bearings on my finances, laundry, and after 3 weeks of ALWAYS being with people, some quiet time with myself. I thought I wouldn't be too excited to be back at the loft, but pleasantly found myself happy to be somewhere that was both familiar and mine.

Just like, half the year is gone. Will hopefully be able to plan another "big" trip  3rd quarter next year.

In the meantime - let me sort through my 25 gig worth of photos...

Unwinding at home with roasted rice tea from my trip to Seoul & 
bonne maman tarts (thanks for the suggestion D!) from Paris 

 LOOOVEE chuckkkiieee

 Dinner (our usual fare of oystercake & fried rice) and dessert with J on my Sunday off

 QT time!

 Seryna my love! Till next time!