Art Jamming

15 05 2012

Recently I rediscovered the joys of art. I believe as a Libran who is built to enjoy and appreciate the finer and artistic things in life, I should be able to translate that literally onto a piece of canvas. Right? After all liking something will make doing something relatively less difficult right?

first hurdle- sketching

I couldn’t remember the last time I picked up a paint brush, squeezed out paint from a squishy tube, mixing and blending to get the accurate shade (what gives you orange? Is it red and yellow? Or some white too?). Probably since school days. Or perhaps it would somewhat be like make up? Blending and shading to get the right shade, getting your hands and fingers dirty, now that would be easy peasy.

So the brave me got down and dirty but of course I had a reference image- a vibrant work featuring a flamenco dancer which I saw along Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Brushes in every shape and tip- check. Canvas- check. Squishy tubes of color paste- check. First step- sketching. One of the art assistants told me matter-of-factly, ‘you can make changes in your sketch, but it will be too late once you start painting’. Comforting. And not exactly true. Small rectifications can be made with a little blending and sponging off here and there.

I must have taken a really long time to sketch cos everyone was already painting away enthusiastically once I was done.  Blending colors is an art itself. The difficult part- skin color! Followed by shadowing in different gradients to capture dimension, perspective and light. No child’s play.  Midway though, I was really into it. I never knew painting can be so therapeutic and stress relieving. Immersing yourself into a piece of work that is truly yours can be soooo rewarding. I really felt like an artist (and a kid) for the day. Now pass me the French beret!

And certainly it wouldn’t hurt to have something to decorate your room with at the end of the day.

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Tipping the scales

9 05 2012

I have become one of those women who’s starting to obsess over her weight. I have been slim most part of my life but horrors when I realised that I have put on 5 kg over the last couple of years! Not surprising, since I sit on my ass most part of the day in an air-conditioned office, indulge in pastas, Tim Tams, Pringles as and when I want and go for a session of yoga when I need to seek some redemption and feel good about myself after that mandatory instant noodle meal every Sunday.

But seriously, aside from the weight gain resulting from a slow down in metabolism, meaning your body stores whatever that is not burned off into energy into fats that probably comes in lumps of lard which then appear as muffin tops (not the edible kind) or love handles (nothing to love about); I’m also trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. I guess when you get enough winks, eat well, enjoy that occasional glass of wine, you just..well radiate a picture of health..your skin glows (no blusher needed), you feel happier thanks to the endorphins, you fall sick less often, you get less cramps, and the no brainers go on.

The golden rule- go low on carbs, work out. get enough sleep. BUT. IT. IS.HARD. WORK. For the past two weeks, I cannot recall the number of times I had fish soup and yong tau fu (like a mish mash of Chinese vegs and beancurds, something like that) or having to conjure up options that is non-rice/noodle based- which is really difficult in this city where rice and noodles are staples!

And the verdict? After about two weeks, the needle on the weighing scale has remained exactly where it was. Apparently it has to do with the type of workouts you do- trying to alternate hot yoga with hatha with vinyasa just means I would be able to maintain my current weight whilst toning my body, but that also means that I am building muscle which is bulk. So incorporate more cardio work into the regime- running, anything that makes you perspire like a frigging pig. For instance, one hour of hot yoga burns about 630 calories, that is about the equivalent of 0.5 hour of intense fast running, as compared to something more sedentary like slow walking (80 calories for 0.5 hours).

So here I am -trying to keep a fitness/diet diary and tracking my improvement, while watching Jlo’s videos everyday to inspire myself. Let’s see how this pans out then.

My inspiration





In 2011…

8 02 2012

I know it’s late posting this but I guess it’s never too late for anything in life right?

So in 2011, I..

1) self drove across the vast Scottish highlands, the place I always wonder about after Braveheart
2) heard bagpipes being played live for the first time in my life; it was truly music to the ears
3) set foot in the place where Nessie was spotted
4) visited the castle that had the same name as me, well sort of.. Eilean Donan Castle
5) went to Taiwan for the first (and second time) and can’t get enough of it
6) went to Ho Chi Minh for the first time and had quite enough of it
7) had many of my good friends move away and prompted me to seriously think what’s next for me too
8) understood the true meaning of karma when my evil ex boss got what she finally deserved
9) dated European men- unique breed really
10) took up Spanish- my fourth language! Viva España!                                             11) drove an ATV for the first time and got hooked. Cars are so boring in comparison
12) read many books- but wish I could read a lot faster so I could cover more
13) bought too many bags
14) bought too many shoes
15) considered going vegan after reading Eating Animals but still lacked the determination to do so
16) asked myself for the 2485th time why I am still working for this organisation
17) finally watched Last Tango in Paris
18) laid ownership to four phones in total- 2 iPhones died on me, changed my 3rd iPhone to my current one
19) went upside down after finally conquering headstands at yoga
20) met Samantha Brown who has the best job in the world
21) fell in love with Gaudi, there was reason for all that hype
22) lost my dear grandmother. You are in a better place we all know.





Bali Hai!

7 02 2012

It’s great to be two hours away from paradise! Bali is just one of the places that I never get sick of..just because it feels so much like home, yet so vastly different from Singapore. Some must-trys.

Eat

Bali is a place of great eats- cheap, tasty, no frills. That said, you can find great food at chi-chi places as well, you just need to know where to go.

Naughty Nuri’s

In a span of two trips, I have been here four times. Casual, unpretentious environment with great food. Patrons usually pop by, freshly sun-kissed in their board shorts and flip flops. Wash down their legendary juicy ribs and tuna steak (order rare) barbecued right in front of you with Bintang beer. No visit to Bali is complete without coming here.

Biku

Biku is a chance discovery on my way back from yoga and highly recommended by the folks at the yoga place. It’s a great place for brunch cos’ they are famous for their cakes, teas and coffee. But they have other great local delicacies such as beef rendang and nasi goreng. What really got me sold was the concept of the place- lounge, little wellness store (with chakras, aromatherapy), books, even tarot reading. Doesn’t hurt to have free wifi too.

Made’s Warung

Again, no visit is complete without savoring the famous nasi goreng here. The chilli here is to-die-for. Be wary of how much you add, cos it is fiery baby.

Also check out Hu’u Bar for excellent fusion food and La Luciola for by-the-beach Italian cuisine but a bit high on the $ side though great place for a date.

Pray

Bali is a great place for soul cleansing and getting in touch with nature and your inner self.

Jiwa Bikram Yoga

Jiwa was a spontaneous decision made after googling ‘yoga in seminyak’. I was initially hesitant on doing Bikram simply because it is hot enough out there! But boy was I wrong. A 1.5 hrs hot yoga session is no child’s play but you reap the rewards after that. I went back to the villa and slept like a baby. But what I truly love about yoga in Bali is that it is usually a one stop retreat. Jiwa sells affordable yoga wear- very pretty and comfy and stocks a juice bar where fresh coconut juice (full of electrolytes!) awaits you after that hard work.

If you are in Ubud, check out the famous Yoga Barn where you do your downward dog in the middle of rice fields. Hippie alert.

Love

Didn’t meet a hot brazilian like Julia Roberts in the movie but then there are many things and places to fall in love with!

Potato Head and Cocoon

One of the most famous beach clubs in Seminyak. Beach clubs like Potato Head house a restaurant, bar and an outdoor patio perfect for people watching. But so- so cocktails. Check out Cocoon along Legian 66 for the best drinks! The glory days of Legian are over for now but Cocoon is still a nice, quiet place for chilling. Lie on their huge day beds with a cocktail in hand while listening to the crashing of waves on the beachfront. Bliss.

Bali, I will be back!





Christmas is in the air

19 12 2011

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Hablo Español. Y tu?

27 11 2011

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One of my lifetime goals is to be able to master 5 languages. Excluding dialects.

I have always been interested in the spoken word. It’s a wonderful feeling being able to speak a native language in a foreign country all part of immersing yourself in the country’s culture.

One of the countries I have fallen deeply for is Spain. Beside the fact that speaking Spanish immediately elevates you to sex symbol status, I felt it was about time to start learning on a new language since I last did my Italian language scholarship a few years back.

And the verdict?

Me encanta! (I love it!)

Spanish is alot like Italian without the crazy hands.

Examples:
(How do you say..)
Spanish: Como se dice?
Italian: Come si dice?

(where’s the toilet?)
Spanish: Donde es el baño?
Italian: Dove e il bagno?

(I love you)
Spanish: Te amo
Italian: Ti amo

It will take me a few months, years even to master Spanish but I m loving the process. And I finally understood what ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ means!

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Black and White

3 10 2011

I am a huge fan of black and white photos.

With the absence of colours, it really draws the viewer to a different dimension- textures, expressions, emotions…In fact, when I get married one day, I might just have my photos in black and white!

I snapped these shots at the now defunct rail station in Singapore. I saw solitariness in the tasks people were doing and I think black and white shots best exemplify that.