An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

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


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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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Weekend in Los Angeles, California

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T and I took a trip up to LA 2 weekends ago so that I could be around some familiar faces. My friends G & K who live in Hollywood just had their 2nd baby around Christmas and it was also the baby’s full moon party. The best part other than seeing a childhood pal whom I’ve known since 6, was being able to bring Max along on this trip. It was a relatively easy drive and we had Max in a comfy hammock at the backseat of our Jeep Wrangler. IMG_3123IMG_3122

On this trip, we stayed at Motel 6 Hollywood (we’ve previously had good experiences with this pet-friendly chain) even though they have a bad rep for selling rooms by the hours in the past (if you know what I mean). We paid US$111 inclusive of taxes for a night’s stay in a relatively clean and very spacious room along Hollywood Boulevard. I mean, it was literally round the corner from the Hollywood Walk of Fame (0.4mi) and Mann’s Chinese Theatre (0.4mi).

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For dinner on Saturday, T and I went on a fancy dinner date to Osteria Mozza. If that sounds familiar, that’s because I wrote about the one I visited in Singapore last year. On top of that, we went to Farmer’s Market and had soul-foody lunch with my friends at Du-par’s.

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The key thing to this trip was having a dog-sitter because we couldn’t bring Max around when we went sight-seeing and while my pal G recommended several doggy daycare services, I found a true gem in dogvacay.com. I wrote to several dog-sitters to see who was available to take Max and a wonderful lady called Chriselle answered my call. We brought Max to Chriselle’s home once we got into LA and after he was introduced to her dogs, she took his leash, food and water bowl, and that was that. She lived in an apartment that is directly opposite the Bellevue Recreation Center so we know that he was frequently walked. She also sent us picture updates of Max making himself comfortable, going on a short hike and playing with her little dogs. So Max was left with Chriselle on Saturday from 12 to about 7.30pm. Then again on Sunday from 11.30am (after we checked out of the hotel) to about 3pm when we headed back home. Such a brilliant idea!

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It was a short weekend that allowed both of us to see more of LA and eat some yummy food. I liked that we got to do some touristy things and also hangout with friends. So great that LA is only about 4 hours drive away from us! Can’t wait to do more of these short weekend trips…


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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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Rants & Raves: My Whirlwind Holiday

T and I started planning for this holiday last Christmas. He was gonna wait till after the New Year’s to buy his ticket to Singapore but he bit the bullet and did it. He’s always been the more positive of the both of us – always so sure and encouraging; while I flirt with negativity and caution. His enthusiasm and excitement hit me. This was gonna be one of those holidays where we out-adventure ourselves till exhaustion. And we did.

I booked our tickets and accommodation to Kuala Lumpur, Batam and Bangkok. He had originally paid for our Kathmandu holidays but closer to our break, we both changed our minds and thought it’d be best if he spends more time in Singapore. It turned out to be a great decision because my family managed to spend more time getting to know him.

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Our holiday wasn’t without some heartache. My iPhone 5 was left in a taxi in Malaysia (but fortunately an awesome cabbie called B Teck Ang returned it). T lost his Sony RX-100 camera with all our proper holiday photos. We called COMFORT and also the Singapore Botanic Gardens but to no avail. (Please return us the photos! It has tons of photos of a red-faced angmo and a fat Asian woman.)

We ended our trip with a wonderful tea for two at the Twinings Tea Boutique in Bangkok, courtesy of the kind people at Twinings Singapore (another post for the near future)…

So yeah, in 12 days we were in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand…


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Rants & Raves: Hong Kong 2013

After Beijing, I headed to Hong Kong to hang out with my cousin Dawn and her boyfriend Nico. We had 3 days to catch up and I haven’t seen her in a while. Brought her up to speed on my work, personal life and future plans. She brought me to brunch at the Shangri La with her mates, we bonded over manicures at her regular shop and we had lots to eat around Hong Kong island where she lives. It’s the 2nd time in about 4 (or 5?) years that I’ve stayed at the apartment she shares with Nico. It’s a nice, cosy 2 bedroom apartment but getting through those dangerously steep slopes that Mid-levels is famous for… Killer! Luckily I was on holidays. I can’t imagine being late for work!

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Rants & Raves: Beijing 2013

I’m now in Beijing, China. Holidaaaaays are awesome! It’s been more than 2 years since I’ve been here and I’m glad to be back. Got in on Sunday morning at 11am, checked into Orange Hotel at Xi Zhi Men. It’s been really nice and cold!! I love the cold!! It’s been between 0 and -9 degrees Celsius. I climbed part of the Great Wall for 1hour, ate Peking Duck, wandered around the Hutongs and took lots of touristy photos!

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I’ll be here till this Saturday and then heading to Hong Kong to visit my cousin! Wheeeee….


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As they say… “Welcome to Taiwan”

I’m going on another holiday! From 17 – 24 December 2011, I’ll be in Taiwan! Have you seen the WELCOME TO TAIWAN ads?

For someone who hates travelling, three trips to three different countries in 1 year is a big thing to achieve! I guess it evens out since I did not travel for work this year. I was in England for the first two weeks of January and enjoyed a nice English winter (the tail end of it) and I jetted off to Bandung, Indonesia for a quick 5-day jaunt to reconnect with friends. Now, I’m heading to Taiwan!

Patsy booked us on a packaged-tour holiday (with 2 others) and I’m just riding the wave! Firstly, I don’t speak very good Mandarin (for some strange reason most people find my accent grating). Secondly, I’ve never been to Taiwan. Thirdly, I can’t read traditional Chinese script (we learn Simplified Chinese in Singapore). Fourthly, I’m not sure if I’m up with the programme. We’re travelling with a bus load of other strangers and there’s a fixed itinerary to follow. BUT YES! I’m excited and I’m making the most of it!

I’m excited because I have friends in Taiwan! And we’re going to meet up finally in their homeground, not mine. My friend Sky even said she’ll take me around Taipei on her motorcycle! WOOHOO!! And I’ve never travelled with Patsy (we were ex-colleagues)!

Anyway, I have started packing. I know I’m about 1 month away… but I do get terribly busy just before the trip and I’ll be working up to the day I leave. This gives me time to reorganise if necessary. All I’m bringing is a half-filled cabin-sized suitcase and a spare backpack. What do you think? 7-8 days away, this should be enough stuff right? I’ve got 4 tees, 4 dresses, 1 cardigan, 1 lightly padded trench coat, 1 pair of jeans, 3 pairs of opaque tights, 2 pairs of socks, a bag of accessories, a set of sleeping shorts/tee, a pair of ballet flats and sneakers. Of course, toiletries, make-up and underwear (half of which are icky disposables).

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