An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Christmas in New York 2014

I lie here in bed next to my snoring husband as I hammer out this post on my iPhone. It’s a quarter to 9 in the morning and I’ve already pottered around the house doing some chores – mostly laundry and lunch prep. We got home close to 11pm last night after flying out of New York State through Syracuse airport. We had originally gotten tickets in and out of JFK but the trauma of driving through New York City traffic after we arrived summoned our courage to spend another $2k to change our exit arrangements. So unlike the previous trips, we never ventured back into the city again.

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Our first stop was Nanuet where T’s grandmother still lived in the house his mother grew up in. It’s been there since the 40s and T’s Grandfather Swanson built it. We however checked ourselves into the Candlewood Suites, just 5 minutes away from that house, and stayed 2 nights. Good price, very nice amenities, updated interior, clean and spacious. So I don’t know what the fuss and low ratings for this place is for. And considering that we’ve stayed in at least 4 other hotels this year, I can say that we have a good idea of what decent accommodation entails.

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Christmas Eve was a cosy and quiet affair – just Grammy, T’s mom and the both of us. We had some spaghetti and meatballs, opened some presents, ate cookies and cake, then watched tv.

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On Christmas Day, we had brunch at his Aunt Kathy’s house (I also met his cousin Ray and his wife Sveva, who are doctors who live in Maine, for the first time) then we drove over 4 hours across upstate New York to Cato, near Syracuse, where T’s mom recently bought a house. One woman, 9 acres of land and a 3 bedroom house. Gulp! We spent another 2 nights there with her – a quiet Christmas dinner after a long day of driving, then the next day she showed us around her new hometown. We also went to her favourite junk shop – Ruby’s Antiques and Gifts. You see, as a retired nurse, she has a lot of time on her hands and she’s always itching to create and fix things up. Most of the furniture in her house were bought and refinished by herself. And other than gardening, she loves thrifting.

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Our last visit with T’s east coast family is another 3+hours drive away in the Adirondack region. His mother’s brother Uncle Joe owns 100 acres of land there and has recently added a huge mansion they custom built. They had an existing cabin which they use as a weekend retreat and hunting lodge for years. We had such a nice time with even more family – his cousin Patty’s family (husband and 3 kids) were there from Massachusetts too.

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And because the main house isn’t all completed yet, there wasn’t enough space to house all of us, we got to spend 2 nights in the cabin!! I thought it was a bit exciting and a bit scary all at once but I’m so glad we had the opportunity. I’m actually alright sleeping anywhere as long as I can take a hot shower and wash my hair in the morning after I get up. But a hunting cabin in the woods is pretty darn cool!

And that was our Christmas in New York. My favourite part about Christmas is family, then maybe followed closely by the feasting hahaha…


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My 1st Wedding Anniversary

It’s been one year since T and I got married in a frivolous ceremony officiated by Darth Vader and it’s been 14 months since I’ve been living permanently in the US.

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Things are still going strong despite lots of initial doubts from friends and family. We met on OKCupid and I don’t see any shame in letting anyone know that even if people gave me a lot of flak for giving up my career and getting married so quickly into the relationship (he proposed 4 days after we met in person and we got married 6 months after that). I think that the trick to maximizing your success rate with dating is to be as honest as you can from the get-go (bare faced, uninhibited bodily functions and what nots) and instead of waiting for things to happen. You will know when someone is out of your league or obviously not your type, you really don’t want to go into it thinking either one of you will change for the other.

T and I turned to Internet dating because we just weren’t getting any luck meeting the right people. We knew what we were looking for after actively trying to find a partner for years. On OKCupid, we answered a lot of personal and lifestyle questions (hundreds) that were presented on the site and with the science of computation and algorithm matching (Did I say that right?), we gave it a shot in real life and it worked.

I knew that a Saturday night with him wasn’t going to be painting the town red and there will be no Sunday flea markets to stroll through. I knew that he wasn’t going to care if I didn’t want to touch raw flesh and cook him a steak dinner or he wasn’t going to make me hang out at pubs drinking beer. We are dog people and we want children if we can. It really saved us a lot of time and grief because we already had a similar outlook on life  (over 90% match, yo)!

T is still the man I married (you’d be surprised how many people change within months of living together) and I’m in exactly the kind of relationship I’ve always wanted even though we are less than perfect human beings. Let’s be honest, we met in our mid-30s and with life experience, comes personal baggage – but hey! We’re a-okay!

My husband is a strange bedfellow who’d wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me his weird dreams or to look out the window to see a blood moon at 3am. He’d ask for permission to fart in bed – no permission needed, totally cool anytime as long as it’s not upwind towards my nasal region. Once I told him I was scared and didn’t like the weird howling sounds from the thunder storms while I was reading in bed and he ran all the way, booming steps and all, down the stairs from the 3rd floor office to our bedroom on the ground floor. Then jumped into bed, only to be bounced off onto the floor by the mattress springs and then jump back in immediately to give me a hug. The howling (read: hysterical laughing) for the next 5 minutes came from me – the hilarity of the situation is only signature of T’s behaviour.

This year has been especially emotionally, physically and financially challenging for the both of us but we’re coping and while I miss my friends, family and the most perfect job I had in the world, I would give it all up again for what I have now. It’s defies logic but matters of the heart are illogical to begin with.

Taking a chance on a whirlwind romance, the risk and excitement of it all! We’ve got a good story to start! So far so good right?


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T’s Mom visits

IMG_8469My husband’s mother is Mom. His Step-mother is Mama. My mother is Mummy. T grew up in New York and his Mom recently bought a house near Syracuse. In the midst of the busy move, she decided to take a break and come to the West coast for a holiday. The last time she was here to visit T was in 2009 and he didn’t have much furniture then. She and Grammy had to stay in a hotel. Now that we’re more settled in, I wanted to make sure she felt comfortable staying at her only son’s house while she visits for a week.

T’s been busy with his game and he didn’t have much time to take her out himself. He did get to spend a few hours a day with her and we went out for meals together. I think perhaps her favourite day might have been when he drove her to Mount Charleston. Just the day before, he drove 4.5hrs to Culver City to attend Indiecade (and another 4.5hrs back that night).

The last time I saw my MIL was last Christmas when I brought my family to meet T’s. I feel bad that T only sees his Mom a few days a year because he relocated to Nevada for work, so while she visited, I tried to do as much as I could with her.

This MIL is not the shopping type – unlike my Mum who can walk for hours at a mall. She loves nature, reading, arts and crafts, and antiquing. So while she was here, we drove around a lot just to see the sights. I took her to visit a super quaint village about 15 minutes away from where we live – they have 1 Elementary school, maybe about 50 quaint cottages and a general store that also houses the Sheriff’s department.

IMG_8471Mom is a very interesting person. She trained as a teacher (with a Masters in Education) before going back to school to get her nursing degree for better career prospects. There are some things she knows a lot of but they’re not just book-ish stuff. She’s almost 70 and recently just painted the interior of her own house. She also makes her own curtains for her windows, stains furniture and re-upholsteres old chairs. Her favourite activity now that she’s retired is… GARDENING! (While she was describing to me how she digs trenches and moves soil around to plant everything from roses to asparagus, I got really tired for her!) So of course, we had to visit some nurseries while she was in Las Vegas.

IMG_8472While Mom was here, we also went to

The Strip (just riding through it in the car)

Lake Las Vegas

IMG_8470Island Malaysian Cuisine for some Southeast Asian food which she’s never had. She wanted Cashew Chicken or Sweet and Sour but we ended up getting Nasi Goreng Ayam with Kuah Satay (aka Chicken Fried Rice and Sweet Peanut Sauce).

IMG_8467Mount Charleston (a 1hr drive from Las Vegas) where the trees grow green and tall (but the Aspens were turning Orange at this time of year). There is also a ski resort in operation during Winter.

IMG_8466– The Buffet At Wynn for lunch which had diabetic-friendly, Vegan and gluten-free options clearly marked. USA Today also recommended it as one of 5 Best Buffets in Las Vegas.

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– The newly opened Downtown Summerlin (directions to this place on their flyer was vague but I found it once I figured out I just have to go to Summerlin). We walked around and went in and out of several shops. It wasn’t my MIL’s cup of tea at all but we did sit down and have a nice frozen strawberry lemonade and some pretzels. I can’t imagine shopping there in Summer. The shops are really spread far apart and there’s hardly any shade. But we’ll see when the real test comes in the form of my sisters and Mum in December.

Downtown Las Vegas where we walked the old part of Las Vegas (the one you see in old movies) and Fremont East which houses Downtown Container Park and is also known as the hipster part of Las Vegas. Not that my mother-in-law cares about the hipsters or even knows what they are but there are cool little shops and cafes that dot the street. And it seems like it’s even more hipster than it was when I last was there in August. Hopefully it’ll grow exponentially and combat the commercialisation that is signature of Las Vegas.

IMG_8537And because it was her last night here in Las Vegas, we went out to dinner together yesterday. My mother-in-law is a very thrifty person and seldom affords herself any luxuries especially since she chose early retirement. Dining out at The Cheesecake Factory and Olive Garden are rare treats to her, so that’s what we did. She wanted dinner at Olive Garden, we had dinner at Olive Garden.

IMG_8536And that’s the end of my mother-in-law’s Las Vegas holiday. The next time we’ll see her, it’ll be in New York state for Christmas at her new house in Syracuse!


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Mini House Tour

Obviously I’m not going to tell you where I live or am I going to show you everything – it is the interwebs after all! But I thought I would share some photos I took of our Southwestern-style (by this I mean a lot of wood and browns) house in Las Vegas.

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So this is the street we live on. These are our neighbours’ houses obviously. It’s a very quiet neighbourhood and we love living in a family-friendly gated community.

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And this is our unit. It’s quite a generic structure so I’m not afraid to share it. There are so many houses that look like it here. T says this is the Spanish Colonial style. We have a roof deck which we never use – my mum did when she came to visit. She was up there dancing and singing in the mornings. I put out a hammock on our 3rd floor balcony and it’s lovely to lie out there with Max when the weather is not too cold.

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We have a small but I feel decent sized yard for a family our size. Max is out there most times.

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And more of that brown, yellow, orange in our bedroom.

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Even more browns in our 2 guestrooms. We current have 3 full-sized beds (even the bunk beds can sleep 2 persons on each deck). And we’ve had guests every other month since I moved in. It has been so nice!

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On the same floor as the guest bedrooms (and our laundry room), we have what T says is our bonus room. Apparently that’s what it’s called when he bought the house. As you can see here, it’s our TV space.

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And here’s the actual living room, and dining space (can’t see from the pictures here) and our open concept kitchen which I love. Other than that, we have a balcony, T’s office and a half-bath (aka powder room) up here on the 3rd floor. Carrying groceries up from the garage is a bitch! Argh! Luckily I have my strongman! Hahahaha… When I’m leaving the supermarket, I always text T to tell him I’m on my way home so he prepares to go meet me in the garage to carry all the stuff up. Then I put them away slowly.

And that’s it. My mini house tour. Unseen spaces are aplenty but I think you get the idea. There’s a lot of space for just 2 people and a dog but we hope that more people will come visit us and most of all, we can populate the house ourselves (if you know what I mean).


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My husband’s video game on the Playstation Network in 2015

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This is a post about how the world of frivolous living (aka me) collides with my geeky husband’s video game career. If you haven’t already read on my Facebook fanpage, my husband has recently signed a publishing contract with Sony Playstation for a game he’s been working on since 4 years ago. He’s still a small-time indie game developer so to be recognised by a major player is a huge deal. I’m so proud of him and his multiple talents!

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I love reading the comments from his fans on the Axiom Verge Facebook fanpage and sometimes on the blog entries itself. But since Sony’s announcement, I’ve been hooked on the comments and frenzy by gamers who’ve been following the progress as well as those who’ve just discovered it. There are of course cynics and critics but among the commenters, there are also those genuinely stoked about Axiom Verge.

Here are some of my favourites:

This game promises to be a true masterpiece, pray together my brothers so that it comes out on PC. Amen! – Zhn Nico

NOOOO, “coming out in early 2015″…… I wanna play this right now! – vstarwow

@AxiomVerge was easily the standout star of yesterday’s @PlayStation indie blowout. That soundtrack is killer and the game looks incredible – @NOLAnerdcast

SWEET JESUS @AxiomVerge JUST TAKE MY MONEY NOW!!! – Logan Via

Holy crap, this looks amazing! Super Metroid is one of my favorite games ever, and I just had some serious deja vu watching this trailer. Thanks for supporting vita too. I’m torn, I want you to take your time and make it perfect, but I NEED to play it now! – rabidninjamonky

This is going to be one hell of a game that I’ll most likely play for days on end w/o ever stopping to do anything, I repeat, ANYTHING. I wanna play this NOW!!:D:D – Daniel Brydson

And then there’s me – I shamelessly gush about T’s work and I think he’s really talented for doing everything on his own – animation, coding and music. I know I’m biased because he’s my husband. But he truly deserves all his success because when he works at Petroglyph Games in the day, he still comes home every night and work on Axiom Verge for 3 to 4 hours (most days till midnight), and when he works from home, he’s in his office for 10 to 12 hours daily (leaving me to my own devices while we’re in the same house). Even when we’re on holiday, he works on it for hours on the plane AND in hotel rooms! Luckily for the both of us, I don’t need constant supervision and can entertain myself independently. Hahahahha!!

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Other than that, I don’t know video games – don’t play, don’t follow. Those comments are a huge kick in my butt for not understanding the extent of what Axiom Verge is and why people are so psyched for its release – that there are unrelated strangers around the world hanging onto every update. My mind is BLOWN!

I don’t care that I didn’t marry a fancy-pantsy $$$ corporate, I no longer live in a fast-paced cosmopolitan city, and the days of fortnightly spa treatments and new clothes are long gone (until I start making my own money again). Life is far from perfect – especially having to deal with unexpected grief in our new family recently. But hey, the universe does what it needs to keep things balanced, right? As we cope with the trials and tribulations that is life, I want us to be able to unabashedly celebrate T’s success while working through our loss.

These days, my narcissism has taken a backseat and I’m enjoying the scenery while riding T’s wave. It’s been months since I’ve posted outfit pictures or anything else. There hasn’t been much to shout about and I don’t really want to bother T with taking my frivolous photos. Honestly, I don’t think he does a very good job. He does what he does well BUT he takes ugly photos of me and doesn’t seem to see it. I guess it’s also a good thing he thinks I look beautiful when I’m not, right? Hahahahahaha!

My world has changed so much since taking a huge leap of faith leaving Singapore and moving across the globe after a whirlwind romance to marry T. I traded in championing indie music to be a housewife and it’s opened up so many new experiences! Far from losing myself, I consider this a privileged opportunity to rediscover forgotten possibilities and reconnect with what is important to me. It took me 10 years longer than my peers have on average to find their partners and I’m not afraid to say that I savour being married! I have a great husband!! I am still my own person but for now I want to dedicate my time to play the wifely unit of the creator of Axiom Verge and put everything in cruise control.

Anyway, what is this Axiom Verge I keep talking about? Here’s the trailer to show you more

AND here are some links to T’s world – please like, share, follow!


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Back in Singapore!

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Time flies when you’re living your life… What can I say? I’m now a Permanent Resident of the US of A and for the next 2 years, that’s where I will be based. I’ve started the job hunt but I haven’t been too aggressive about it. T is working from home these days and it’s been really lovely to have lunch with him on the weekdays as well as the weekends. I’m really proud of my husband for doing so well at what he does that I don’t feel the pressure to look for a job just so that we can make ends meet. What’s great is, with my Green Card I can now leave and enter the US more freely and also with T’s more flexible work situation, it enabled us to return to Singapore for my mother’s long awaited Chinese Wedding tea ceremony.

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Despite having been married in the US since last year, I wasn’t technically married in the eyes of traditional Chinese customs until my husband and I serve tea to our elders who will seal our marriage with their blessings. We didn’t have another wedding in Singapore (we had 2 parties already – one in Las Vegas, one in New York) but instead a very intimate family affair (just my parents’ siblings and my cousins) organized by my 2 darling little sisters. T and I literally just had to buy our air tickets, get dressed on the day and turn up. Everything my sisters did for us was perfect because they poured so much love into every detail. I feel very blessed and I know I would love it all because I trust them so much. They baked cakes and hand delivered invitations, they put out a candy buffet table for the kiddies (and adults), picked the venue and menu and even sorted out all the logistics by themselves. All I had to do was introduce T to the rest of my family (make small talk about what he does for a living, where we live etc), take photos with them, serve tea to our elders (and listen to their life advice for a better marriage) and that was that. It was a good day. In fact all 3 of our wedding celebrations were such easy affairs, everyone took care of the little details. I highly recommend that all brides relinquish the planning and enjoy whatever comes along with the day. I wore whatever jewellery my mother wanted me to and I did what she wanted and at the end of the day, she was a very happy woman. I’m now both legally and culturally married!

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After the tea ceremony, T and I had the opportunity to roam around the island, see more of Singapore and eat foods I missed. The weather was mostly kind though we did feel a little heat exhaustion. I can’t believe it but I really missed the humidity! My skin is so much happier than it has ever been for the last 8 months!

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We’ve been back in Singapore a week now and in another 2 days we are returning home to the US. Max the Maximum Dog is waiting for us in Arizona where he’s been on vacation with my in-laws. I’ve had some precious times with close friends in the last few days and I’ve also made sure to eat at least 2 meals with my grandmother each day, so my heart is so so full of memories it would burst. Singapore, it has been great seeing you again!


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Throwback Thursday #20

IMG_9961I was about 9 in this photo and my sister Rachel was 4. I can’t remember what our old Shih Tzu was called. Darn! And it ran away one day when the gate was open 😦 Anyway, this is our house before the major renovation. It was an old house built in the 1960s and it was well over 20 years old by the time we took this photo. #tbt