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If you follow my Instagram account, you'll know that I made a recent visit to Laos. "Laos? What's in Laos? Is that even a country?" That's generally the reaction I seemed to get when I told people that my husband and I were taking a trip there. Yes, it's a tiny country in Southeast Asia that probably suffers some neglect when compared to other popular tourist destinations like Thailand and Vietnam. But Laos turned out to be one of the best trips we've done in a while! I'll be sharing a separate travel post with tips and recommendations on what to do and where to go if you visit the city of Luang Prabang.

As any country in Southeast Asia during the month of August, the weather was quite hot and uncomfortable during the day (with some relief from the seasonal rains). But I couldn't necessarily pack shorts and skimpy tops for the whole trip! We had plans to visit the many famous temples of Luang Prabang and partake in the daily morning ritual of offering alms to the monks, which required conservative dressing. So I had to strike the balance of being covered while still wearing light, breathable clothing. This outfit I wore on the first day was actually perfect for the weather. The loose neoprene top was very breathable as were those bright yellow pants!
Top: SheInside | Pants: Zara | Sandals: Charles & Keith
Purse: Ralph Lauren | Sunglasses: Polaroid
Shopping around the local street market of Luang Prabang
Funky artwork and paintings at the street market
It was a hot, hot day but that didn't deter us from exploring the
quaint alleys and interesting corners of the city
Drinks with the hubby at a local cafe we stumbled upon that overlooked the Mekong River
Posing in front of an old, abandoned Buddhist temple...because that's just what bloggers do!
I've always been fond of the nautical look - the combination of stripes, whites and blues just come together in such a chic and classic way. On a visit to the National Museum of Singapore this weekend, I went into the summer nautical mode by pairing my cropped striped tee with navy blue palazzo pants. This gorgeous building with its elegant Victorian windows and grand entryways served as the perfect backdrop!

Of course, my trip to the museum wasn't just about picture-taking from the outside! I actually stepped inside and spent a few lovely hours getting lost in the interesting exhibits on display. I'm not one who craves museums or seeks them out. But once I'm there, I usually get drawn into a different world. This time was no different - the exhibit on "700 Years of Singapura" brought to life the history and multi-ethnic origins of this country. The "50 Made in Singapore Products" exhibit leads you through the decades of many known and trusted brands, such as Tiger Brand, Tiger Beer, and Bata, that made their manufacturing start in Singapore. Quite enjoyed the vintage items on display there. Later, I enjoyed a nice cuppa at the indoor museum cafe, soaking in the natural light filtering in through the glass rooftop.

If you haven't visited the National Museum of Singapore yet, I would certainly encourage you to spend a weekend afternoon doing so. There are lots of activities geared towards toddlers and kids as well, so it makes for a fun family outing!

Photography credit to Karnan (www.luminosity-pictures.tumblr.com).
Cropped tee: F21 | Pants: Jaspal | Shoes: VNC | Necklace: Zara |
Purse: Coach | Sunglasses: Charles & Keith

20 years ago, before the advent of iPhones, laptops, and other techy gadgets, I like to believe that people led a quieter pace of life. People spent time communicating face to face rather than through text messages. They read more and when they did, they read books not Kindles. They posted letters rather than  clicking the “send’ button on an email.

Sadly, this way of life seem like a remnant of the past, a quaint habit…a yesteryear nostalgia. Take my memories of 20 years ago, for instance. I remember in my school days, a research paper for a class would necessitate a visit to the library where I would search for books in catalogues and lumber around with heavy encyclopedias crammed with information. There was no internet and Wikipedia for a shortcut until later in my high school years.

When doing roadtrips with the family, we referred to actual maps, creased and worn from repeated use. There was no convenience of Google maps.

All through my childhood, I devoured books, getting lost in tales of fantasy, sci-fi adventure, and mysteries. Now I devour newsfeeds on Instagram and Facebook.

All this seems so “vintage-y” now and it’s with a twinge of nostalgia that I look back on those days. So many of the conveniences afforded by technological advances have made our lives easier. So much so that it's practically unrealistic to go back to doing things the old way, like using encyclopedias or real maps. But before technology took over our lives, we were also less siloed, less distracted, less harried. How many times do you look at your phone when having dinner with your loved one? I know I’m guilty of repeatedly checking my phone during mealtimes. And let’s face it, we all use our smart phones as a social crutch when sitting and waiting for someone or while eating alone so we don’t look like complete losers! Whatever happened to just sitting and watching the world go by or doing some quiet self-reflection?

So what am I trying to say here? This writing is a reminder to myself to strike the right balance and not fall victim to the ringing phone, the beep of a newly arrived text message, and the constant need to respond to an email right away. It’s okay to step away from it all and enjoy some retro activities…like talking to a real person in front of me. 

Dress: Zara | Purse: Marc Jacobs | Bracelet: Gorjana | Watch: Kate Spade | Shoes: Bangkok 
Photography by Utek Leong. Check out his photoblog on www.youtakephotos.com or his instagram account @utekkie.
People say Singapore is a "little red dot" with only a limited number of things to do, that it eventually gets stifling and mundane if you live here long enough. As I continue my exploration of this island country, I'm constantly surprised by the interesting places I discover. I suppose I'll reach a point where I've exhausted all the places to visit and things to do in Singapore. But I don't anticipate that happening anytime soon.

Last weekend, I made a jaunt to the Green Corridor, a heritage nature trail that connects several green spaces along a 24-km stretch of land. The lush grassland offers a refreshing change from the downtown cityscapes. Adding to the sense of charm and mystery is the presence of an old abandoned railroad (Bukit Timah Railway). I found the Green Corridor intriguing from both the historical and recreational perspective. Historically speaking, the railroad was first built in the 1900s and connected Singapore and Malaysia until it was decommissioned in 2011. Although it has only been a few years since the cast iron railway was silenced for good, nature has already reclaimed it as her own. From a recreation point of view, the Green Corridor is waiting to be explored by hikers, bikers, runners, and casual strollers! Depending on how ambitious you're feeling, there are routes of various distances along this green stretch. As a first-timer, you could start from the railway bridge and make your way over to Holland Village. Yup, a respectable walking distance of 1 mile (1.6 km), which would end with food & drinks (map here). Now, doesn't that sound like a nice weekend activity?
Adventures await! (Bukit Timah railway track)
Top: H&M | Skirt: Bangkok | Earrings: Crazy&Co | Purselet: India

Photography credit goes to Karnan who captured lovely pictures of the railway and surrounding area. You can visit his website as www.luminosity-pictures.tumblr.com.
I've always been intrigued by historical buildings and, if you've ever passed by Chijmes in the heart of the city, you know right away that this place has an interesting story to tell. From the outside, there's no mistaking that it's a church. But did you know that it's actually a 19th century Gothic-style chapel designed by a French priest and architect? The chapel was restored in the 1990s and as goes the way of most things nowadays, the site was converted into a commercial complex. I might sound rueful about it but it's actually quite nice! I loved the Gothic arches and the breezy passageways, the picturesque courtyard, and the surrounding restaurants and cafes. In the middle lies Chijmes Hall, the restored chapel with its high ceilings and stained glass windows that came from Belgium when built in the 1800s (no idea whether the stained glass windows I saw were the originals or not!). It's a charming place in which to wander around and enjoy a meal or drinks over the weekend. In my opinion, Chijmes is probably best visited during the daytime when you can see and admire the architectural details of this heritage building.

I was in a particularly flamboyant and colorful dressing mood the day I visited Chijmes. Against the cool white backdrop, my orange top and floral pants definitely pop! My little partner in crime was only too happy to accompany me, playing a game of hide and seek behind the pillars.

Many thanks to Liyana Lim, my patient photographer who managed to capture many precious moments of myself with my son and also my style shoot against this beautiful backdrop. You can check out her photography website at www.snapsnapliyana.tumblr.com.
Blouse: Banana Republic | Pants: Sheinside.com | Shoes: H&M | Cuff: Charles & Keith |
Tassle necklace: Lovisa
Full view of Chijmes Hall from the inside courtyard
Cafes peeking through the Gothic arches
Endless rows of pillars and arches
Don't mind me, I'm just hanging around...
Stained glass windows inside Chijmes Hall
Front facade of Chijmes