Happy Lunar New Year! This is probably taken in 1986 and we’re doing the very uniquely Singaporean Chinese traditional – Lo Hei. That’s Uncle Yap at the back, my Aunty Connie (Mum’s sister), Mum, me and my sister Candice playing with a toy camera. #tbt
My family came for about a month to visit me and it was really nice to have them around to spend Christmas with. Also taking them to New York and Arizona to meet T’s family. It’s probably the only time both our families will celebrate the holidays together. I’m glad we managed to do many different things and create lots of memories for a long time to come. And there was no drunken debauchery, didn’t catch any shows on the Strip nor any crazy late-night partying – I reckon that’d be easy and they can do that the next time they come since it’s on most people’s Vegas agenda. To be honest though, I’d have liked to watch an X-rated show just because… (But my goody-two-shoes husband doesn’t want to partake in any of that so I’ll need to go with someone else.)
Anyway, with my mother, shopping is definitely a big part of ALL her vacations so we did TONS of that. We visited the Las Vegas Premium Outlets – North and South, Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm Valley, as well as Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets in New York. If we had time (and they more luggage space), I’m sure we would have gone to one in Arizona as well. Oh yeah and when I took them to Town Square (it’s like a giant shopping mall area where locals go instead of getting their shopping, eating and entertainment fix on the Strip), we shopped up a storm at Old Navy itself (we spent about US$90 and took such a big advantage of the post-holiday sales that we saved more than US$100, and got some vouchers for spending later). Needless to say, they went home with 30 or more bags (mostly Kate Spade, Le Sportsac and some Coach), several pairs of shoes each (US$4.99 Nine West shoes SCORE!), skincare and cosmetics (apparently the Elizabeth Arden stuff here is like 1/5 of the price in Singapore), snacks and sweets (TARGET post-holiday clearances) as well as a lot of random other things. They came with 6 suitcases (2 of them were almost all my stuff) and left with 8 full ones (mostly their brand new shopping).
Other than the shopping, T and I took my city-folk family out for some nature walks – Valley of Fire (where we saw ancient Petroglyphs), Red Rock Canyon and (snowy cold) Mount Charleston. We even managed a picnic at Exploration Peak Park near our house – complete with a short trail walk, snacks, a potato salad, homemade egg as well as kaya sandwiches.
Some of the touristy things we did were:
- Taking pictures at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
- Visiting the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
- Walking down the Las Vegas Strip as well as Fremont Street (taking pictures of every crazy thing)
- Eating a buffet and trying our luck at the Rio (my Mum won $12 from the free credits they gave us)
- Ethel M Chocolate Factory (and Cactus Garden)
- The King’s Ransom Museum
- Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame (where we played some pinball and I won a Beanie Baby for 50c)
- Gold and Silver Pawn Shop (yes, the famous one on History Channel)
My Mum and my sisters even stayed 2 nights at Circus Circus so they could fully experience The Strip (T and I live about 30 minutes away in the ‘burbs). I highly recommend that if you’re coming to visit Las Vegas, try to stay on the Strip for at least 2 to 3 nights even if it’s at a Motel6. And if you’re a friend or family, please extend your stay at our house so I can take you to other places (hahahahha…)
There’s so much more to Las Vegas than just live entertainment, gambling and buffets. I’m glad I thoroughly made use of the time my family was here to explore the other places. It’s been great because I have never been to many of the attractions visited! Can’t wait till they come back again… *sigh* Back to boring ole housewifery…
I have no idea when this photo was taken but it’s me, my sister Rachel and then my sister Candice. I can tell you this is our living room with the old furniture at my mum’s house. This is where we grew up and looking at my tan, I’m probably 10 or 11 because I stopped swimming regularly after that. #tbt
I’ve been in the US just over 4 months and it’s been really unreal to be so far away from home. I still have debates with T over whether I should return to Singapore (and have him come with me) because I still feel lost and somewhat empty. On weekends, T tries to show me the sights and we go out to do stuff even though he might be too tired from working all week. I try not to bother him but it gets really boring here when you’re so far away from your people.
My days are spent cleaning the house, making food, watching reality TV and keeping Max the Maximum Dog company. I really don’t have anything to do except relax and be happy. T doesn’t care if the house is a mess or if I don’t bother doing anything in the day at all. I spend most of the afternoons yearning for T to return home from work and I do still get a little anxious when we are apart because at the back of my head, it’s too good to be true. And maybe, illogically, it feels like it’ll take months before we’ll see each other again and I am so relieved when he’s back by my side.
Having my family here though has been a great help. My mother and my sisters keep me occupied and busy. Their company in our quiet house has been much appreciated. We have been going out (in fact, we’re in New York for the Christmas holidays now), doing stuff (i.e. sight-seeing and shopping) as well as just enjoying the space here – we live in a nice, big house in Singapore but being in a big city, there’s no way to escape the street noise and crowds.
It’s also great to have my family’s approval of my current lifestyle. My mother seems to find our house in good shape and is impressed that I “maintain” the entire house on my own. She’s been taking tons of pictures since she got here and proudly telling everyone that I can do it without external help. It’s weird to many because it’s just cooking and cleaning but if you know how she’s never lifted a finger at home in her entire life and that we’ve always had a string of maids taking care of everything… then yeah.
I must say that the Internet is great! Even my mother agrees because I’ve learnt how to do the most basic of things like folding fitted sheets and scrubbing toilets by watching videos. Thank heavens for high-speed Internet! While I’m deliberating whether or not to stay here for good, my family seems to enjoy what the US (especially Vegas) has to offer. There are the crazy bright lights and polished malls along the Strip and the beautiful nature reserves just over an hour away. It is comforting to know that at least my younger sister wants to come back every Spring and Autumn (when she can), and that my mother loves the cheap shopping (fashion, handbags, groceries, gemstones etc) here to stay away for too long.
They say home is where the heart is and you know, I’m feeling homesick right now. T and I have been decorating our house for Christmas and it’s the first time he’s ever done that in his adult life since he’s never found the reason to. We put up stuff outside the porch, some lights on our balconies and also tried to cosy up our main living area. We’re trying to keep to about USD100 in all and our tree is largely bare. Also, part of our strategy is to take the next few years to really grow the collection so that every ornament has a story, rather than everything from a pre-packed store bought box.
I usually have lots of year end activities – non-stop parties and dinners with people close to my heart (sometimes juggling 2 to 3 events in a day). This year, we get to T’s home state of New York just before Christmas to spend it with his Mom’s extended family (also doubling up as our wedding celebrations with both our maternal units). Then we get back to Vegas just in time to drive 6 hours to Arizona to spend New Year’s with his Dad and Step Mom. The best part of course, is sharing this holiday season with my mother and sisters as well! As you’ve seen from my Throwback Thursday snaps, I miss my sisters a lot. Some of the things I ALWAYS have with me are pictures of us when we were little. It was always (usually *koffkoff*) great to have them to play with (bully *koffkoff*) and be a buffer for when I get mad with my parents but still want to make sure they’re okay.
T and I have been stretching the last of our dollars and spending those treasured Amazon giftcards we got for our wedding on some furniture – especially for the empty guestroom. My sisters will inaugurate our 2nd guest bedroom in a few days’ time! When this was T’s bachelor pad, it was a junk room with lots of dusty books, game cartridges & consoles (yes plural), exercise equipment, spare computers etc. When I visited previously, we kept the door to this room shut so that I won’t have to see the mess. However, 2 months ago, I threw myself into making this room usable. It took perhaps 3 weeks to clean, throw (imagine empty drink cans and receipts from 2009), sort, dust, wipe and vacuum the entire place!
I am very happy with what I’ve done with it and it’s another milestone in putting our home together. (Okay, after I cleaned it and cleared space, T had to physically put 4 hours of elbow grease into setting up the furniture.)
Because we don’t believe in credit cards, our finances are really tight at the moment – given the tens of thousands of dollars of upfront cash expenses we didn’t budget for (travelling back and forth to see each other, getting married, quitting my job, immigration fees, Max’s cancer etc) yet this year’s holidays will be especially wonderful for T and I. I don’t think we’ll ever get to do this in our lifetime again since all our families are so spread out. I’ll definitely savour every moment in the upcoming weeks.
Happy Holidays everyone and may all of you always have the warmth of family to share special occasions, wherever home may be for you!
Here’s a what I wore on my wedding day post. Not what I wore today, of course. This is a post long time coming. Firstly, I haven’t done an outfit post in a while, and secondly, I’ve been married for about 2 weeks.
So I didn’t wear a white wedding gown… I don’t like white, anyway. White is so difficult to move around in because you’re always afraid of getting stains here and there. Also, we did go to a Mexican restaurant after the wedding ceremony! If you know me, I was never going to be one of those brides all spanx-ed up and corsetted to look 5kgs slimmer. I don’t even get why brides order such delicious foods at their weddings but are unable to eat them. It’s my wedding and I’ll not only look the way I want, I will feel great and be deliriously happy. I WILL EAT, DRINK AND BE MARRIED!And seriously, nobody expects that someone who ran away to the US to marry an ang mo she met online, in Vegas, would have a traditional wedding to begin with, right? Those fluffy white gowns are difficult to manouver in! No trains, bustiers and weird bits that require another person to fasten or fuss about, not for this bride.
T and I didn’t have or need the luxury of an entire year (which seems like the norm) to plan our wedding. We decided we wanted to be together and we wanted to be married so that we could legally live together. And that’s that. It was definitely an occasion to celebrate. So eat some cake in our honour if you wish, make it red velvet. I’m just glad my mother didn’t kick up a big dramatic fuss with this (then again, she has another opportunity coming up to put together the wedding she wants and we did tell her we’d wear whatever she wants us to).So anyway, I went for a tried and tested look within my budget, and this is what I wore for my wedding in Vegas:
Dress: Blue floral “Vintage Elizabeth” tea dress from SOHOMODE (not custom, I bought one that I liked that was on sale and got it altered to fit)
Accessories: Faux Pearls and Bright Gold Tone Vintage flowers & leaves necklace from SWHALLON JEWELRY DESIGNS on etsy; Mint floral crown with russian veil from DRESS.DANCE.SING.LOVE.LIVE. Store on etsy
Bottom: Peach Meringue petticoat from DOMINO DOLLHOUSE
Footwear: Burgundy sueded platform wedge pumps with bow from HAILEY JEANS CO (on AMAZON)
I also wore 2 bracelets – one was a bronze vintage looking gift from T’s stepmom and another was a pearl bracelet which T’s Aunt loaned me as my “something borrowed”.
I did my own hair and make-up. I think a little enhancement is necessary but I find women who look drastically different in their wedding pictures, kinda disturbing. I like how I look when I am all put together on an average day and so does T. That’s all that matters, you know? What T sees, is what he gets. It’s all real, hunny! No fake eyelashes either!
What do you think? I reckon I did pretty well for a fat bride at 35 on a budget.
And special thanks to my Father-in-law for taking these photos!