An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

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


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Oh by the way, I got married

20131029-035341.jpgOh hey… Guess what? I got married last Saturday. In Vegas, of course. By Darth Vader, no less. These pixellated photos are courtesy of screen captures from the LIVE STREAM. We didn’t have both our mothers in attendance and I also wanted to share the occasion with my close friends back in Singapore, so we had a video broadcast of the event!

Yes! We finally did it and this means, no more long distance. Hopefully, we will never ever have to spend a night apart again (okay, not for months at a stretch, I mean).

It was a small ceremony held at Viva Las Vegas, that hopefully is indicative of our lives together henceforth – there was some planning (we both wanted something that spoke to our geek sides), some budgeting (everything including BOTH our clothes, shoes, accessories, the rental of the chapel, photographer, minister’s fee, marriage license etc was under $2000), some frivolous fun, lots of laughter and always inclusive of our friends and families no matter where they are.

It still feels surreal.

Before the actual wedding, we had to get our marriage license. Easy peasy! USD60 as well as a valid passport or photo ID that displays your full name and date of birth is all it takes. The Clark County Marriage Bureau operates 365 days a year from 8am to midnight every day and when we were there, I observed people from all over, not just US citizens. All kinds of people come here to get married in the Wedding Capital of the World, many spontaneously and some were already in their wedding clothes – straight after getting their marriage licence, they would head to a chapel (there are dozens nearby) to be married!

Less than a year ago when T said he was going to marry me, I basically laughed and said “We’ll see about that…”, and now we’re here. I think my mother loved T more than any other guy I’ve brought home, because you know… he’s just so decent and proper, and was only too happy to let me do this (with just a hint of being scandalized because I didn’t do the proper “handover” aka Chinese tea ceremony before I ran away to get married to an Ang Mo in a foreign country). But that’s that and we’re going to try get it sorted out soon so my family’s honour can be restored… *koffkoff*

So hello everyone! This is it! I’m the new Mrs T Happ!

And if you want to bless our home with a gift or two… here’s our Amazon Wedding Gift Registry or scoot over there for some stalking and see what kind of people we are. HAHA!

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Max has cancer

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About a week before I arrived, Max had surgery to remove some tumours and a few days after I got here, we found out that those were malignant tumours. Long story short, after several rounds of testings and ultrasounds, we decided that the best course of action was to send Max for radiation therapy because the Vet couldn’t remove all the bad stuff.

Max is a loving and super friendly Black Lab that T adopted from a shelter about 4 years ago. He was originally named Droopy and T paid for his eyelid surgery to correct his you-guessed-it droopy eyelids. Max is not just a dog. Max is family. To be precise, T calls Max his ‘fursborn” child.

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So early on Monday morning, we went off to rent a car to take Max to the California Veterinary Specialists in Carlsbad, California. We picked up the car from ENTERPRISE Rent-A-Car (this time we rented a black FORD Focus for under $35 a day including taxes) and I drove it home, following behind T’s Corvette. By 8.30am, we’ve packed Max into the car and were headed to California. The drive was long and Max had no idea where we were taking him. It broke my heart to see him wagging his tail happily and I was teary-eyed almost all the way. Our appointment was for 3pm but because we’ve never taken this journey, we left early and got there by 1.30pm (even with 2 pitstops where Max got out to stretch his legs, drink water and do his business).

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Max will be boarding in the facility for the next 25 days or so to receive radiation treatment. When the 2 nurses came to take him away, he was confused and maybe a little scared. He kept trying to jump into T’s lap and pawed him. We had to walk a few steps with him so that he would budge. I was fighting to hold back my tears. One of the nurses saw my red eyes and tried to reassure me he’ll be fine and well taken care of. Instead, she herself started crying and said that they will email to update us regularly. T feels that it’s a good sign that the nurse cried because that means she knows how we feel and they will be gentle with Max.

This is definitely emotionally and financially draining. There was no question that for T, saving Max was of utmost importance and putting him down was a last resort. So, we’re now trying to figure out where all this money will come from and are trying to sell some of our stuff to pay for everything. When it rains, it pours. But I think we’ll be okay because we’re together, you know? We’re told that Max will have a 85% chance of full recovery and now that I’m here, T won’t have to take the dreary drive across the desert alone. We will be visiting him every weekend till he’s ready to come home.

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Goodbye New York!

T and I got home to Las Vegas just before 9pm last night. Our DELTA flight from JFK to McCarran took us about 5 hours and the taxi ride home was about 20 minutes.

We spent the last 5 days and 4 nights in upstate New York – amidst lush quiet greenery just across the Hudson River. I had a great time visiting T’s family and a wonderful stay at his Uncle and Aunt’s ranch house. (Not far from a cute ice cream parlour called Weir’s – YUM!!)

20130909-212550.jpgT’s uncle is a manly man who is handy with all things mechanical – fixing and building; his Aunt is the hostess with the mostest – great cook and decorator. I understand now why T was so looking forward to staying at their home.

I was introduced to as many people as possible yet it remained a leisurely trip. The last 2 weeks, I rather missed being in a big city and I’ve always loved taking the trains in foreign countries (mostly to get lost, wander aimlessly exploring and people watch). Our day trip to NYC satiated that for now.

With that said, I’m glad I’m back in our home in Enterprise, Las Vegas. There, I said it. I’m beginning to feel more and more like this is home, our home.

On this trip, I’ve gotten to know more of this man – he is a big, quirky man-child who interprets the world in ways that I sometimes don’t see but am curious to be led into. We’ve travelled quite a bit together in the last 6 months and from the get-go, we’ve always worked great as a team. T is very giving and it makes me very happy to go with what he wants to do too. It’s very much a “let’s take turns to flip our Choose Your Own Adventure book“. I love it!

20130909-212607.jpgT’s mother who now cares for his Grammy and lives with her in Nanuet has a beautiful garden that she happily showed me around. It’s a garden I wish I had! As much as T has done a great job with the house in Vegas, it’s still a desert climate. The flowers and shrubbery lovingly cultivated by my future mother-in-law is one I envy! Also Grammy’s house is a cute red cottage with the quaintest decor – not unlike the ones I used to fantasise about and build/furnish in The Sims!

20130909-212614.jpgOther than visiting homes, I loved the time we spent bonding with T’s mother. She told me stories about the family, showed me lots of old photos including adorable ones of T growing up, and also took us to an artisan village kinda place called Sugar Loaf – one of those places T used to go to when he was little. There were many shops with handmade crafts – soaps, pottery, wooden signages, crochet goods, containers and country-style decor made of gourds etc. A few shops were shut and it was relatively quiet when we went though. We assumed that it would be livelier on the weekends when most shops would be open for business.

I love that I got to see the places where T grew up. The streets he used to live on, his old haunts and where he went to school. Speaking of which, his old High School is just across from the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets! I went there yesterday with his Aunt a few hours before we had to leave for the airport. I was quite restraint because I need to make my money stretch and I only bought a pair of TIMBERLAND hiking boots (USD62 with tax). T’s Aunt bought me a stretchy belt from NINE WEST for the low low price of USD2.59 with tax – Hello, can we say SCORE!!!!!

That’s the thing with being on a long holiday – you have all the time in the world to shop but no money. But really, I don’t need those extras though. Being on a budget made me think twice, thrice and again.

20130909-212559.jpgTalking about tight budgets, I’m glad to announce that we spent a total of USD146 on our day trip to NYC. $33 for bus tickets from Monroe to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (thanks to Aunt K), $30 for both our Metro cards, $7 for ice cream at Baskin Robbins, $20 for large smoothies & lunch at Jamba Juice, $6 for 3 bottles of cider at a farmer’s market in downtown Brooklyn (1 bottle was for Katie whose awesome apartment we visited in Brooklyn), and $50 (including a cash tip) for the both of us when we had dinner with his cousins at Sofia’s in Little Italy (good call by T’s cousin D).

20130909-212623.jpgI got to see different parts of NYC – downtown Brooklyn, Times Square, almost the entire stretch of 5th Avenue, Central Park (special thanks to T’s cousin E & his girlfriend A for the special tour of the best bits), and Little Italy. We passed by several landmarks that I’ve always seen on TV or in movies – Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, Empire State Building, Tiffany & Co, Trump Towers…

I think we did well for my first trip and most definitely would have many more to come…

Thank you and adieu New York, the Empire State. Till we meet again…


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Hello from Arizona!

IMG_8715T and I got back yesterday evening from visiting his Dad and Stepmom (who live with their dog, Bandit) in Fountain Hills. We drove the rented FORD Taurus through a gorgeously scenic route that is the Joshua Tree Parkway and past places with cute names like Bullhead, Kingman, Wikieup and Wickenburg; into Phoenix and past Scottsdale before reaching Fountain Hills. The drive took us just under 6 hours and we made several pitstops to let Max out for a walk, do his business, hydrate etc. It was so fun!

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We stayed 2 nights at T’s Dad’s lovely home, ate lots of food, watched TV (and some movies) and had chatty conversations. Oh and T’s Stepmom gave me 2 of her old gold rings! I am a sucker for these things – I mean used things with sentimental value, not gold. She said she lost weight and couldn’t wear them anymore (I have fat fleshy fingers and I reckon I’d have to lose some weight to wear them properly as they’re kinda tight now.). One of them was designed and made by a friend who dabbled in jewellery-making on the side (I tried googling her name but nothing turned up).

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So anyway, it was the Labor Day holiday and most of the shops in downtown Fountain Hills, as well as their world famous fountain were not in operation. (Maybe the fountain wasn’t working for another reason, I don’t know.) I did enjoy the drive around to see what the town was like though. There were many metallic sculptures around town and along the streets which I loved.

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IMG_8800T’s Dad drove us to Sedona on Sunday and I pretty much enjoyed the red rock mountains as well as the Mexican-style shops/buildings dotting Uptown Sedona. Also, we had a cheese pizza at Famous Pizza & Beer, that had a great crispy crust, cheesy cheese and the perfect amount of grease that hit the right spot! (T’s Dad says Pizza is his favourite food group… heehee) The next time I go there, I’ll be more well-prepared. I picked up some free tourist guides and a map from the shops at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, and I will be able to identify all the formations before I visit again – Courthouse Rock, Bell Rock, etc.

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So that’s us signing out from T’s favourite state – Arizona. Next up, the state where T grew up – New York, to visit his Mom, Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles and cousins!


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What IS made in Singapore?

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I’m shopping for gifts to bring to the US next month when we visit T’s family. His mother and the extended family live in New York. His father and step-mother are in Arizona. His elder sister’s family is in California. Except for 1 of T’s uncles who has travelled to Singapore for work, I can safely say that the rest of the family only know Singapore is in the general vicinity of Asia so I can literally get anything. I’d love to get something really good though.

Forget tacky Merlion key chains or t-shirts with slogans like “Singapore is a FINE city”. I think those are my last resort.

My search for nice “Singapore” things to gift them has brought me to trawl the interwebs. I now have a short list of things that I might get. I haven’t decided if I want to and how I’m going to lug them over but I’m prepared to fill one entire suitcase with gifts. Here’s my list:

  • Charles & Keith handbags (shoes are difficult because I don’t know sizes)
  • TWG tea bags or kits
  • Tiger Balm ointment and lotions
  • +65 Indie Underground CD compilation released by UNIVERSAL MUSIC (I actually had a hand in this.)
  • Khong Guan biscuits (don’t knock it! I love Marie biccys dunked in milk tea or Milo!)
  • OSIM back or eye massager (anything bigger and I can’t carry it)
  • RISIS gold-plated Orchid necklace (T’s mother loves to garden and by extension, flowers.)
  • Uyii handmade bags (I ordered 3 purses with customized leather tags that they sadly don’t seem to carry anymore.)
  • Gryphon tea (more tea?)

Are there any other things you can think of? What about kiddie things?

Please send me your recommendations. I still have more than a month to go, so I have got lots of time to shop.