Friday, December 12, 2014


"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

While driving yesterday, I heard of an interview with a couple who spoke about their current living experience with their 17 year old daughter who was suddenly diagnosed with leukaemia on the radio. Its funny that we hear these stories all the time, and often our heart simply goes out to them with pity and empathy. Perhaps we would stop for a moment and say a prayer for them to wish them speedy recovery, or also even decide to donate to these families who need help. And after that we move on and go about our daily lives.

But today, I don't know what struck me. From listening to this couple's experience, what really hit me was that one's life is really, truly limited. It is so strange, but I suddenly truly understood the essence of what it really means to "live each day like its the last". I imagined if I was the 17 year old girl's friend, what would I say to her? And I figured that I would probably be by her side actively encouraging her to do all the things that she wanted to do and accomplish in her life time. 

And then I thought, what if I was the one who had tomorrow as the last day of my life, what then would I do differently today? And I realised, how differently I would spend my day. In my life both in the master plans I've envisioned for the many years ahead, and down to the day-to-day nitty gritty, I realise I have so many things that truly matter to me that I want to accomplish. But yet I am guilty of wasting time and not using every minute purposefully. I acted like time was unlimited, infinite.

I am thankful for the message that struck hard in my heart and head today. That our time in this earth is limited. And what a difference I have observed in the way I conduct my day to day business and mindset.

Time is limited. Live like each day is the last and most probably, the things you choose to do each day will be the most purposeful. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pregnancy Updates - Week 19

12 Nov 2014

Today I'm at 19 weeks! which means the little one has already been growing and learning inside me for  41/2 months! which is kind of a halfway milestone for the whole pregnancy. My tummy is still relatively small, although lately my family has really been feeding me with so much food! I feel like I am eating at 40% more than my usual, especially since my appetite has sort of decreased ever since living in the US. Literally, at breakfast, I would be asked what I want for dinner, and at dinner I would be asked what I want for lunch the next day! Well, all I can say is, Lucky me! I think my family is just trying to feed me as much as they can for this one month. Though the quantities are still relatively small, I am not quite used to eating really proper food for every single meal, since I usually have very simple fruit or just a sandwich for lunch. Just yesterday I really decided I needed a food break and just had fruits for dinner.

It was an emotional day yesterday. In the afternoon, I experienced really painful and intense contractions for the first time, that was coupled with uncontrollable tears for not much rhyme or reason. The contractions were painful but not quite enough to warrant tears, I guess perhaps I felt helpless that's why. Read about it and found out that the contractions I experienced was probably Braxton-Hicks contractions which many women experience, although the intensity of it varies between women. But well, I hope I would only need to experience that just this once, until its really time for labour!

And at night when I laid in bed, when I was feeling particularly frustrated with the entire family for their lack of cooperation and childishness in their attitudes towards the business, and all the emotional baggage that comes with coming back to Singapore, I put my hand on my belly and suddenly felt a subtle kick for the first time! And oh my, all that frustration went away immediately! I felt as if my little one knew I was feeling unhappy and decided to cheer me up by presenting me with his first little kick! And as I messaged Justen to tell him about that, the little one suddenly became so active and was fluttering around my belly, probably waving his little arms excitedly to greet his daddy! So cute... I'm beginning to really feel its quite a magical experience to bear a little one for my loved one:)

In the morning when I awoke, everything felt pretty normal again and I didn't feel any movements in my belly. It was only when I messaged Justen, when I felt the little one flutter around in my belly again! How cute, looks like he really misses his daddy!

Can't wait to get back to give his daddy a real big hug!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Awoken in September

random thoughts
the heart speaks the loudest when the mind is quiet

I allowed my brain to slack off for a bit as I learned to deal with my new body with a little new life inside my tummy. With the progesterone raging in my body, it was hard to find motivation to do anything at all, especially when the work I do relies so much on self discipline. But as always, as I like to believe, everything happens for a reason. When our head stops bombarding us with things to do, to plan, to achieve, you suddenly hear what your heart desires loud and clear! Of course, the heart only speaks clearly after its fears and doubts that comes with embracing a new phase of life is addressed.

So cool! So I realised a heart's desire that never occurred to me - that I really wanted to spend time to nurture a child and mould him/her into a great human being that will make the world a better place. Wow, what a novel priority. And also, I am so glad to be bearing the child of my very dearly loved one! This kind of amazing joy and love towards my dearly loved husband is so indescribable, I can finally understand how new parents feel.

Also, so strangely, how all my musical dispositions are all awoken from their dormant sleep! Such that I devoured my music textbook that I studied for 4 years in secondary school all in one day. Such that hearing beautiful music played from the soul can bring tears to my eyes. Perhaps the little being in me was once a passionate and great player of music. Reading my music textbook again brought me to appreciate many great musicians of the past, this time with a more mature and thoughtful appreciation.  Just that poor Justen had to hear me rattle off excitedly the whole night on the history of music since the 1400s and the new discoveries I made on my new favorite composers.

I always knew Franz Liszt was a brilliant virtuoso pianist, but I never knew he was such a generous and nurturing musician of his time. I always knew Bach wrote many a great concertos, but never knew he had such a good strength of character and was a man who defied norms and pursued his dreams bravely! I always knew I loved Chopin's nocturnes, but never knew the piano piece with the very difficult left-hand parts that I always wanted to learn was the revolutionary etude he composed in response to seeing his country overtaken during the war! I never knew that I would one day ever appreciate music and the great musicians with this deep a fascination and appreciation. How I crave to play the piano again! To play my favourite Chopin's Nocturne in E flat major would feel so good.

Today, it also seems that the progesterone in me has worn down significantly and I find strength in pursuing my dreams again. I had toyed with the idea of creating a practical hand therapy ebook for a quite a while, but always questioned myself if I really am capable of producing a book of quality and use to hand therapy students and practitioners. But I figured... if I never try, I will never know.

Back to the gym today, the good ole slow jog also helped me straighten out my messy brain. Sorting out priorities for my life now in the US, and when I return to Singapore, and my career plans also feels really good. I am ready to be back on track to create a life that is filled with richness and beauty inside out.

Although I always felt uneasy about putting my career on a pause to fulfill my role as a devoted wife here in Tucson, I suddenly realise that this could indeed be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes pausing and taking a step back, certainly brings new surprise and perspectives. Consolidating my thoughts for the past months here, I learn that the most important thing is to be authentic and true to oneself. With that comes integrity, clarity and faith, which leads to true happiness from within.

Looking forward to a wonderful life that I create!

to an authentic self
create a beautiful life today.

Friday, August 1, 2014

white on white

white - the colour of everything

“Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” 
 Coco Chanel

top: ralph lauren / skirt: bangkok / bag: f21 / sandals: BCBG maxazria / accessories: hnm, gucci

In this extremely hot summer that has creeped up to 40+ deg Celsius on most days, white separates and dresses have become items that I reach out for the most, and of course, tons of sunscreen. How do you keep cool on hot days?

the rich color of white
create a beautiful life today.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Truth about Relationships

living practical miracles 
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” 
-C.G. Jung

You know the Cinderella story, the truth is that relationships are certainly no such fairy tale. But you know the only TV drama that I watch, Sex and the City? No, its definitely not so complex as well.

In my quest to live a happy and purposeful life in which I live and create the exact life I desire, I find that the truth about relationships is that it is mainly comprised of a few Cs, and I have an urge to share what I have learnt about this magical topic today.

By the way, I also happen to believe that the simpler you keep things, the happier one is. Usually, I find that simplifying things gives me more capacity to use my brain on more things. But, I speak from my own personal experience, so don't simply take my word for it.

C is for Complex
By Complex, I mean our own personal complex. Our thoughts, feelings and perceptions about ourselves. This is the basic personal filter where we consciously or unconsciously give meaning to our experiences and interactions with the world, especially with our partners since they are often very important to us. 'Nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it,' basically sums up how our complex can rule our world.

So, if our complex is somewhat mechanically faulty, this faulty root would most likely trip up circuits quite easily. To fix this symptom, I usually go back to the electric board to see what's all going on down there. Usually, there would be some deep feelings or resentment against certain things I rather not have in my life. When that bugger is finally fixed, one should usually expect the following -
Otherwise, just keep going back to that electrical board and keep working on it. When you finally get it, you can only expect the unicorn to much more, much more bad ass.

C is for Communication
Oh well, the age old adage of how important it is for couples to communicate effectively. 
But, are you really doing it? 
Have we recently reminded ourselves that Communication is most importantly Listening and Speaking?
If we simply truly listened to what our partner is saying, we would already have accomplished perhaps 70% of the needed communication. But well if we haven't even listened, we could still rely on all the fancy words in the world to bring home just a 30% success rate. Imagine if you could only fulfill your basic needs to a maximum of 30% repeatedly. It wouldn't be long till your starving tummy becomes a bloated tummy of air ready to explode any moment. Then apply this vision and imagine it on your partner - and you have intelligently decided what type of fate you really prefer.

C is for Compromise
This C I read it as Com-Promise. Traditionally meaning, a promise made mutually. A compromise also implies that the benefits and sacrifices are applicable to both parties. Compromise definitely does not mean that only one party is actively making the 'compromise', while the other repeatedly expects understanding for his/her situation but shows no empathy or adjustment for his/her partner's needs. If that is the case, wouldn't that sound more like TOS for Too Overly Stretched? I think some gentle everyday Yoga stretching is really already enough for any healthy homosapien to handle.

C is for Core Values
How very corporate sounding.. But if you find that approaching work is easier than broaching the topic of relationships and emotions, it may help to know that relationships can also be viewed as a corporation where only 2 people work in. 
Beneath the surface of all the technical how-tos, the core values of the 2 individuals are the most important fundamental building blocks of the story. A couple or may have opposite interests but still thrive if they have similar core values. Because ultimately, core values are what creates a person's actions and hence his/her character. If this jigsaw doesn't fit, no matter how good one's complex, communication or way of compromise is, the puzzle may not be so complete.

Ok, that's enough about relationships today. 
Writing about this has helped me crystallise my thoughts, and I hope it was useful in some way.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  -Einstein

create a beautiful life everyday

Friday, July 25, 2014

1 week in NYC

bright lights big city
'New York is not a city, its a world.'

I visited my very good, very old friend who had been living in New York for what seems to be forever. The best description of my 10 May days there would be - no plans, no targets. I wanted to experience the city like a new yorker - taking the subways, dashing through the temperamental rains, brunching around in the city's many cute cafes, and of course, walking many many blocks all around.

So I put together a little schedule of what I did there. These were planned day to day based on my friend's recommendations, and I must say I had a real blast going about these neighbourhoods and felt like I understood the city a lot as I traipsed around its sidewalks. Please excuse me for the sometimes lack of pictures as I was more about experiencing the moment, than taking photographs for this trip.

Day 1
I strolled around on the the south side of Central Park and really enjoyed the lush greenery. The Spring weather that day was absolutely perfect for lounging about on the grass.

After I was finally satisfied with enjoying the lush greenery, a little hop, skip and walk soon brought me  right to my favourite 5th Avenue. From Bergdof to Zara, Trump's tower to Tiffany's exquisite building, I loved the electric atmosphere of that street and how it never seems to slow down.

After having spent quite a few hours going through the adjacent streets of 5th avenue and the fabulous shopping it had to offer, I walked on to Times Square to marvel at the bright lights in this big city.

Day 2
Today was to traipse around the West Village. I took a walk to the famous Magnolia Bakery but skipped the cupcakes since somehow I wasn't quite in the mood for sweet nothings. Instead, I dined at the sidewalk of the fabulous Extra Virgin and watched people go about doing their everyday things -Models doing a shoot on the sidewalk of the fashionable meat packing district, mothers sending their children to school, a car ramming into another car as it parallel parked, an elderly gentleman, dressed in oxford shoes paired with bermudas and a knit cardigan sitting on the steps of his house opposite me, seemingly pondering about life and how he has lived his. And I wondered what his life was like before.

And then serendipitously, I chanced upon Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on 66 Perry Street as I strolled around the neighbourhood. How I love me a brownstone, and Manolo Blahniks!

I still wasn't tired and continued walking quite a many blocks to the nearby Chelsea, walked along the high line and explored the quaint bustling Chelsea market. Loved the independent artists and the work they showcased there. I was too immersed in the moment and probably too tired, and didn't take any photographs.

Day 3
But of course, the beautiful weather meant a trip around the hippie neighbourhood of the East Village. I had brunch by a cute little cafe, explored the little small shops and most of all enjoyed the interesting graffiti all around the hood.

After I was done exploring the East Village, I walked on to the bustling Union square, where the array of activities there included an outdoor farmer's market, people who played chess with you for a fee, and  buskers and street performers by the main square. In spring, many outdoor seats line the streets. So I grabbed a burrito from Chipotle, some juice and simply watched the city go by.

Day 4
A day of terminals, libraries, parks and museums.
I started the day of with a quick walk about at the Grand Central Station.

And then walked a few blocks to the historic New York Public Library, my other idea of heaven besides Bergdof's.

Stopped for a quick sandwich at Bryant Park just around the library, and my next destination was to MoMA a few blocks down the road! Was so excited to see Monet's Water Lilies, Van Gogh's Starry Night and Andy Warhol's pop art.

 You could also stop by K town for some korean food since its all about in the same vicinity. I wasn't really in the mood for kimchi and so I had a very full salad meal at a random salad shop that dots the streets of NY.

My plan was then to check out the city skyline at the Rockerfeller building (so that you could also view the empire state building), but by some twist of fate, I ended up feeling really faint and lost as I tried to figure out directions in the night. A gal's gotta go home when a gal's gotta go home, I thought, and subsequently spent another 50 minutes walking all over the street trying to find the subway station to head back home. Thankful for all the kind directions from kind strangers. So, to the Rockerfeller's another time!

Day 5
And after a good rest, I was up and running again for the day's agenda. Visited Eatily (over crowded!)  and the Flat Iron District. The lime light markets were unfortunately closed though.
Then I check out SOHO and the nearby Chinatown. Strangely enough, no photographs were taken for the whole day!

Day 6
I decided the day was to be a good day to be on Wall Street. And so I brought myself there. When I was young, I once wondered what it would be like to work in a large building when I walked amongst them skyscrapers on Shenton way one day. But that thought was quickly replaced with a repulsion at the thought of sitting at a desk all day working on a computer. Is Life, like the stock market, ruled by thought or emotion?

 After the market closed on Wall Street, I went to the nearby Fulton street to contribute to New York's economy, and then headed over to the 911 Memorial to take a moment to remember how we can never take peace and safety for granted. When I feel like my life is a joke here in Tucson, I remember the cause that I'm here for - to protect the country I love from harm's way. This gives me just some fuel to continue creating a beautiful and purposeful life I love even when the the conditions may not be the optimum.

Serendipitously again, I chanced upon the thick of action where newscasters stood in front of the World Trade Center to report on the commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the official end of the 911 rescue and recovery operations.

At night, my good ole friend met me downtown after her work to head to Brooklyn Bridge. A good friend and a good view in a good city.

Day 7
I wanted to do this but couldn't wake up in time - go for a run at Central Park! In the end, I ended up lounging about my friend's cute little how-very-pinterestsy apartment, with a book and cup of coffee.

And in the evening, we went for some drinks at a cute roof top bar, and later to Ola Gjeilo's Dreamweaver premiere at the Carnegie Hall. Loved the music!

And that, about sums up my time in NYC. And if you have a week there, you could do what I did, but don't take my word for it. The city is yours to discover, explore and thrill in. Have fun!

and the best place to be, is rivaled in every way by the best company to be with.

create a beautiful life everyday.

Friday, May 30, 2014

9 things to do in Las Vegas

bright lights small city
"Play, so that you may be serious."

Vegas has been a frequent haunt of late because of its proximity to Tucson. Interestingly, I now consider a 6 hour drive pretty close, ha! The recent Memorial Day long weekend was a good chance to visit Sin City again and I figured a summary of things to do in Vegas might help give you a good sneak peak of what goes on here.

1. Walk the strip.
A first time on the Strip of Sin City often finds one enthralled by the throngs of crowds crawling the streets even at 2am. In this city, night is day. Immerse yourself in a sensory overload of neon lights, sounds, unique street performances and bask in the myriad of of the different themed hotels dotted all along the strip.

Inside the Venetian

The modern Aria and Cosmopolitan

Inside The Bellagio

Beautiful chandeliers inside Paris Paris

2. Catch a Burlesque show. 
Well, what better place than Sin City to catch a classy adult show. We caught the Fantasy show at Luxor, where we treated to a bevy of Victoria Secrets-esque ladies. I personally loved all the beautiful costumes and make up that the girls wore, and thought that most parts of the show were classy with just a little risque. The only segment that I did not quite enjoy was a abrupt interception of a stand up comedian that seemed a tad too long. Tickets can be bought at HalfPriceTickets at the Fashion Show Mall for discounted prices.

3. Catch a good play.
Vegas is home to quite a few good acts, some so good you've got to book quite a bit in advance. Some worthy acts to check out -

"O" by Cirque Du Soleil at The Bellagio. 
This fast selling act often requires advanced booking. A pity we couldn't get the tickets to this much raved show!

Jersey Boys at Paris Paris.
We caught this show that spoke of the story of Frankie Valli and The 4 seasons, along with familiar evergreen tunes and references to the 50s pop art and show culture. A very enjoyable act!

4. The Fremont experience.
If you like a real look at the old Vegas, the Fremont experience is for ya. Quaint, busy, and just a little messy, this old school street covered by a transparent canvas is dotted with street artists, musicians, little shops and alfresco bars made for people watching.

5. Club your heart out.
But of course, Vegas has one of the best clubbing and party scenes. Choose from day beach clubs to night clubs, the party animal eats her heart out here. Watch happy campers throw dollar bills in glory all around the dance floor, surround yourself with beautiful people and revel in the music.

We went to XS at Encore and loved it. One of the best, the sprawling club comprised of both indoor and a large poolside area with beautiful decor and beautiful people. My only gripe was that the deejay of the night did not make a very good choice with his music that night, to the point that we actually got a bit bored. Besides that, everything was quite fabulous.

XS at Encore

6. Sin a little. 
Game a little, Drink a little and Smoke a little good cigar. Take the chance to indulge a little in Sin City. But of course, in moderation like a responsible adult.

7. Eat Good Food.
For the Asian/South-east asian cuisine deprived, Vegas has quite a few good places to satiate your cravings! We were quite pleased with the food at these places -

Lotus of Siam - 
Authentic, tasty thai cuisine. A tad pricey and expect long long queues, but quite delicious!
Try the Butter Prawns and their signature Drunken Noodles.

Soyo Korean Barstaurant-
Very yummy authentic Korean food with affordable prices, expect dishes to be spicy though!
Try their Spicy Seafood Tofu soup, Kalbi short ribs that melt in your mouth, Makgeoli and Lychee Soju.

Monta Japanese Noodle House-
This little place packs delicious bowls of slurping goodness. Small menu, small place, but big flavours and happy, friendly service. Try their miso ramen noodles!

8. Shop the Outlet Stores.
Vegas has two outlet stores, one North and one South. Coincide with a holiday sale like the Memorial Day Sale and be prepared to brave crowds! Good luck and chug some good deals back!

Cool tones to beat the summer heat

9. Indulge in a great hotel.
Experience the glamorous lifestyle that Sin City has to offer at least for a couple of nights, its part of the Vegas experience.

always a happy ending in Sin City.

of revelry and hedonistic pursuits