Lin was here for a business trip and decided to take leave for our taitai get-together.

In between exploring Alcatraz, shopping in San Francisco, dining at one star restaurants, getting drunk on Napa, seeing Ivana Trump at Beverly Hills Hotel, gazing the stars at LA Observatory and eating the best damn ramen in LA, something happened. K & I hit a milestone in our lives, particularly mine. Details later.

Lin was the official photographer so it will take a while to get the pics and post them here. Meantime, I shall regale you with my colourful new stuff.

I was over Coach but won't this sunny orange patent wristlet change your mind?

Square sunglasses. I love the subtle brown stripey pattern.

This was the real surprise! A cute flirty sunglass case! Stupid Blogger can't load correctly.

Blue and turquoise satin flats. I used to hate flats cos short people like me need extra height. But where I live, stilettos won't cut it. Imagine tottering in heels, while walking up and down hills. Rhymes. -_-

I bought these for cold windy Alcatraz. Good thing we went in summer. I don't know how people actually live there. Love that these soft slouchy boots can be worn 3 ways.

Wedding gift from Lin. Have been meaning to get myself a classic pearl necklace. Thanks dear.

Cookbooks from Lea. She gave me 2 when I came over last year. And they boosted my non-existent cooking skills tremendously. When I mentioned it to her, she offered to buy and ship me more. But I didn't want her to go through all that trouble. The thoughtful girl remembered and bought these to tongbang with Lin. Muacks! Hugs to Lin for bringing them here. Not to mention, the masks, kaya and bridal mag too.

I want to be an offbeat bride.
No white dress, check.
Leather gloves, check.
Bright coloured shoes, check.
Masquerade party, woohoo!

But as I search for wedding accessories, I realise the whole bridal industry is a conspiracy to make all women look like demure princesses. *rolls eyes* My dreams of being an offbeat bride are shattering by the minute as I make one purchase after another. The gown, these earrings...

I didn't like this pair initially cos I thought the shape was odd. Didn't help that Saks website had one ugly picture of them looking stiff and unmovable. Until I saw this bride with them. We have an Art Deco theme and the simple geometric design is perfect for it.

I was inexplicably drawn to these vintage clip earrings the moment I laid eyes on them. They are more than 20 years old but are in mint condition. The picture does not do justice to how sparkly the rhinestones are. Plan to use them in my bouquet.

This is the only offbeat accessory in the lot. Currently the birdcage veil is looking more like a turban. I know K is horrified and I'm hoping the hairstylist can work wonders.

Sigh, I spent ONE MONTH looking for the perfect shoes. Friends tell me that the shoes are hidden under the dress anyway, who can see? But if I have less stellar shoes, I will feel like the girl who's all dressed up in a sexy cocktail dress with granny undies.

I have found not one but many many perfect shoes. The problem is they cost above USD400. Times like this, I wish I was a real Beverly Hills taitai. But since I'm not, I have to extend mercy to K's wallet. So I settled for these champagne heels. They look sparkly and nice on my feet but I am getting further and further from my offbeat dreams.

I think it's time I start being more conscientious about using anti-aging products. I am lazy when it comes to skincare. My usual routine is a simple 2 step - wash face, put on moisturiser. When there is some big event, I do a mask the night before. But if I want to age as gracefully as Cherie Chung or Maggie Cheung, I better start my regime now.

So gals, can you share any effective miracle product you know that combines anti-aging, moisturiser and SPF? I have been using Lancome moisturiser for a while. Imagine my delight when my research turned up the Absolue Premium BX Creme which has everything I need! But I just bought a new moisturiser so going to finish that first.

I asked the salesgirl at Lancome counter about the difference between their anti-aging products and she recommended Lancome Primordiale Skin Recharge moisturiser for me. It's targeted at younger women, more for prevention rather than repair. By the way, if you compare an Asian and Angmoh woman of the same age, the Asian almost always looks younger. It's all the makeup women here apply. That's why the salesgirl think I am young. Muahaha! So move here if you want to look younger. Time-wise, can turn back 14 hours of your life.

Back to the moisturiser, I love it! It smells like roses and is non-sticky. Best of all, the effects are immediate! I put this on and my face is smoother and softer. Even when I wake up the next day, my face is still smooth and soft. Even when I skip my moisturiser for a day, face still retains the softness and smoothness. I have recommended it to another friend of mine who's equally laidback about skincare. ;)

So I don't know if I should move up to the Absolue Premium BX Creme. Will it be too strong? Any other creams, lotions, serums that you can recommend which I can buy in US?
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In 2000, it was 11%. Fast forward 8 years later, the figure has jumped by almost 4 times. Shows how much the immigrant population has grown in Singapore. If this trend continues, true blue Singaporeans will be a minority in a few years.

Read article here
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Laugh until peng man. This guy sent a damn funny email to Mr Brown, imploring him to post a bulletin on his blog requesting for all Singaporeans in UK to gather and sing Majulah Singapura. I also seeking Singaporeans in LA. Anyone??

"wah lau. Im writing this to you cos I listen to your podcast everytime in cold and miseerable london and then I walk to work listening.

sometimes almost langah by car cos distracted, sometimes pple look at me think I siao one cos I giggling to myself.

So today admist waiting for documents to be sent to me, I was talking to my friend shawn and we were thinkin "KNN! eeveryday newspaper in singapore say "ohmygod, all this braindrain to UK/USA. Singapore no more talent liao. The government using its major best efforts to entice all these talented people back."

KNN lah. Shawn call the embassy and they say National Day got no celebration. I call Contact Singapore, they say not their par sar cos they under different umbrella. So everyone tai chi shoot arrow everywhere. BEST EFFORTS KI LAN LAH! National Day my gahmen also cannot never come sayang me make me feel singaporean sing we are singapore we are singapore. knn.

so I angry so I call embassy and comprain. then got put through to this woman who was very nice about it as I ranted and ranted. She very patient and exprain she dunno who is sporean here etc etc.

so their basic excuse is "I dunno who is here in london how I invite people to my embassy for celebration?" machiam like they got a lot of invitation cards but dunno send to who.

so anyways, she say that now Aug a lot of students go home, so no point celebrating. I think "KNN LAH! TALK CCOOOCK! Working professionals here no need sing Count on me Singapore meh!" Then she diam diam. dunno what to say. Then she say, "our embassy in london very small, cannot open house". then I think "TALK EVEN MORE COOCK! small then cannot use ong beng seng's many many hotels meh! CDL dunno own how many buildings lor... cannot use one function room ah to Majulah Singapura?!"

Anyways, to spare you the rants, at the end of the day, we agreed that something had to be done.

So on 27th Sept apparently there's a celebration, invite only. So I write this email to tell you so you can tell all your Sporean friends/readers in UK/London to get themselevs on the VVVVVIP special singapura list - contact karolyn_poon (AT) to get them on the mailing list.

Got discounts one she say."



Just read about PP's earthquake experience in Tokyo. Good thing mother and son are both safe and sound. :) Good thing that Miki was with her. It's the loneliest feeling in the world to have no one around when you go through something like that.

It got me thinking about my own earthquake experience 2 weeks ago. The quake was a 5.4, what experts term as 'moderate'. Just slight damage to structures and buildings.

That morning, I got jolted awake by my violently swaying bed. In my groggy, half-asleep state, I thought it was one of those dreams where you fall and land so hard that you wake up. Then I saw my room spinning, heard the glass cabinets rattling and it dawned on me that there was an EARTHQUAKE.

So I got up and went to stand under the door. Though California is quake-zone, Kelly and I have never discussed in depth on what we to do in such situations. Nor do we have quake supplies. However, we have talked about the safest place to be in the house and that is under the door frame.

After a few minutes of rolling and shaking, it abruptly stopped. To my own surprise, my survival instincts kicked in. I filled up plastic bottles of water, packed a sweater, my passport, wallet and cereal in a bag in case a bigger quake strikes.

Then I tried calling Kelly but the phone lines were dead. Strangely TV and internet were still working. I tried contacting someone online for instructions on how to turn off the gas and water heaters so nothing leaks or explode. But no one replied.

So I went downstairs to my street. I could hear cars whizzing by in the background. But other than that, it was very quiet. No person, no sound, nothing. Up to this moment, I have not been scared. But now, I started feeling really helpless. I cannot reach anyone. I cannot drive. I had no food. I did not know how to turn off the gas. I did not know how to turn off the water heaters. I did not know anyone nearby that I could turn to. At that moment, I felt like I was the last person alive.

I went back to the house and miraculously my phone rang. It was Kelly's stepmom calling to check if I was alright. I was so relieved to hear a voice. After the call ended, I changed out of my pyjamas and decided to check on my neighbours. One wasn't home but another was. He's an old man who had been through his share of earthquakes and was super calm about this one. We chatted for a while. So the upside to all this is that I got to know a neighbour. 远亲不如近邻

Later that night when my initial adrenaline had passed, I was feeling rattled and miffed that K couldn't come home to be with me. Logically I knew he had work commitments. But at that time, all I thought was this is my first time experiencing a quake, it could happen again and you are leaving me to fend for myself?!! I wanted a warm body next to me.

Strangely, I found comfort in my neighbour's cat. Though I have not met the owner before, his cat visits me everyday. That night when the cat did its usual rounds, it felt so good to have him here. Animals can sense tremors before humans do and the cat's presence felt very reassuring.

The next day, it was like life as usual. The news channels ran updates for one day and that's it. We haven't even gotten our quake supplies. Which reminds me, I better ask K how to turn off the gas and water heaters tomorrow.
While searching ways to teach Kelly Mandarin, I came across this article on using building blocks to teach kids English. And laugh and laugh until peng. Here's a sampler.

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Vy shared this personality test on facebook so I went to try it today. *drum rolls*

I am a E (Extroverted) S (Sensing) F (Feeling) J (Judging)! Famous ESFJs include Bill Clinton and Danny Glover. The ESFJ person is warm-hearted, popular, and conscientious. Tend to put the needs of others over their own needs. Feel strong sense of responsibility and duty. Value traditions and security. Interested in serving others. Need positive reinforcement to feel good about themselves. Well-developed sense of space and function.

You can try the test here.
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We wanted customised wedding invitations. So I did a bit of research and found a lady whose works I like. I contacted her and her rates were reasonable.

So we paid her a design fee to create something entirely new for us. Working with her was really easy. She was fast. She had great ideas. She was responsive. I think part of her enthusiasm was due to the fact that she was excited about our ideas and theme. These are her words '
I have to admit, without patting myself on the back, that I really love this design too'

I was going to rave about her in the bridal forum. And then today, I saw that our invitations were up for sale on her website, right down to the wording that I had specially worded to reflect our 1920s theme. Right down to our wedding colours. Again these are her words 'I love the wording ideas'.

Isn't the point of paying a design fee to ensure we have something unique to us? Now every Tom, Dick and Harry can buy the invitations off her website WITHOUT paying the extra we did.

I am disappointed. We had a great working relationship and then she decided to violate it by putting the business and cents above the customer. Does she think I would not see it on her website? I will speak with her to rectify this.