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Across Singapore's skyline lie many recognizable landmarks - the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Esplanade, and the ArtScience Museum, to name a few. Even though it is thereabouts, the Helix Bridge may be somewhat easy to miss. But get up close and the design and architectural features of this bridge will pique your interest...well, enough for you to pull out your iPhone and take a few shots at least!

For science geeks like me, the Helix Bridge will look familiar. It is designed to resemble the structure of DNA, aesthetically bringing to life the double strands of DNA that wind together to look like a helix. For the urbanite in me, the bridge offers an excellent vantage point to see the Singapore skyline and its key landmarks. For the photographer in me, the bridge and its surroundings provide interesting angles and views to capture.

The challenge? How to photograph this place without the constant herd of people! Well, I decided to sacrifice my beauty sleep to get here at 7:30am on a Sunday morning. Except for the occasional jogger, the bridge was fairly deserted. I quickly managed to take a few pictures and soak in the peace and quiet. What I didn't expect was the flock of Chinese tourists with their tour group flags to suddenly stampede this bridge shortly thereafter. Indeed, within an hour of my reaching, the Helix Bridge was back to its usual self with morning walkers, joggers, and tourists. Luckily, I had completed what I had set out for just in the nick of time.

Singapore's Helix Bridge on an early Sunday morning 
Two piece ensemble: Lowrys Farm | Necklace: Santorini
Shoes: Bombay shopping | Ring: Jaipur shopping | Bracelets: Amrita Singh | Purse: YSL
The lotus pond in front of the Marina Bay Shopping Center
As with any new fad, it took me a while to warm up to the crop top. I'll admit my biggest concern with this anxiety-inducing, stomach-baring item of clothing was, "I don't have flat abs! The crop top will only make my belly bulge show!" But then I realized two key things to rocking a crop top, no matter what your body type. 

The first realization was that a crop top actually brings attention to the narrowest part of your middle-section. That's the part between your ribcage and your waist. If you want to carry off a crop top effortlessly, try pairing it with a high-waisted bottom of some sort. Whatever tummy fat you may have is usually hidden with skirts or pants worn just a smidge higher, just at or below the navel. This serves to reduce the gap between where the crop top ends and where the said pant or skirt begins. So less skin show and more accentuating of the waist! Well, at least that's how I decided to style it and make it work for me.

The second more empowering realization was, "Who the heck cares! I'm going to embrace this crop top idea and just go with it. Don't people of all shapes and sizes wear stomach-baring saris all over India? So what's the big deal with this crop top thing then?" So there you have it, my moment of epiphany. I get them once in a while...

By the way, how was much was this skater park where the pictures were taken? Somerset Skate Park has rad grafitti art which is ever changing so that every time you come, there's something new to see. Oh and beware of flying skateboarders.

Crop top: Sheinside | Fringe necklace: Baublebar | High waist harem pants: H&M |
Sunglasses & sneakers: Bangkok street shopping
If you haven't already heard, the white dress is the new black dress. Personally, I find myself always drawn to white dresses simply because they make you feel so ethereal and fresh. The beauty of a white dress lies in its versatile color. I see it as a blank canvas on which you can layer additional clothing and accessories like pieces of art! Be it a short summer dress or a maxi, the possibilities of how to style a white dress are endless.

Here are a few ideas of how to make yourself stand out in that white dress:

1. Go for the black & white contrast. Pair that short white dress with edgy black boots or a black purse. You can see how I did it here in a previous post.

2. Go for a monochromatic look. Mix colors from the same family - ivory, beige, and browns work together to create a classic style. Try to mix textures to make the look more visually interesting.

3. Add splashes of color against the backdrop of the white dress. That's what I did below to make this look my own.

4. Pair it with denim. If it's a dress, throw on a denim jacket with a sleeveless white dress. If you're a guy, you can wear your crisp white shirt with jeans. Scroll down further for examples provided by my son and husband!
Dress: Sheinside.com | Wood bangles: Amrita Singh | Tassel Bracelets: Accessory Concierge |
Rings: Crazy & Co; Poshlocket | Purse: Nine West
Baby and husband making an appearance and showing you how to style your whites!
Going for the slightly boho look with these accessories and pops of color! 
What can I say? I have a flair for drama!
A trip to Laos is a bit like stepping back in time to when days were quieter, lazier, and simpler. In a way, time has stood still in this country without the trappings of mass tourism and commercialization. On a short visit to the city of Luang Prabang, not once did I see chain restaurants like McDonalds or Starbucks. The mode of transport was usually open-air tuk tuks and the sight of air-conditioned vehicles was rare. The locals were laid-back and sweet-natured. The whole experience was utterly refreshing. But don’t mistake all of these characteristics for a place that offers little to do. Quite the opposite, in fact! There is lots to explore within a 3-4 day time frame for Luang Prabang.

The highlights and inside travel tips from our trip are below, in the form of 10 do's and don'ts. Read on!

1. As a former French colony, Laos still has some remaining French influence. Do visit the local French bakery, La Banneton Cafe, for melt-in-your-mouth croissants and pain au chocolat that are baked fresh daily. I recommend a visit first thing in the morning when they open. That's when everything is the fresh out of the oven!

2. Do take part in watching the Buddhist monks make their daily, early morning walk through this city of temples to collect alms from the locals. This means having to wake up at 5:30 AM but the sight of a 100 monks or more in their bright saffron robes quietly walking down the street is a sight to behold. Do consider partaking in the offering of the alms (usually sticky rice). My husband and I did this and it was really quite memorable. 

3. Do plan a visit to the tribal Hmong and Khmou villages. The villages are about an hour's drive out of Luang Prabang. It was heart-warming to see the adorable little children come out to greet you with excitement and to observe the villagers in their daily activities.

4. If you're inclined to be more active during your trip, then I would highly recommend a trek to the famous Kuang Si waterfall. This is the 10 km trek that will change your life! We made our way through rice paddies, fields of hops, jungles, muddy slopes, and tribal villages. Many visitors opt to go directly to the waterfall but I would find that anti-climactic. The fun is in the journey of getting to the waterfall itself! And the views of the lush rice paddy fields along the way are worth the extra calories burned!

 5. Do visit the breath-taking Kuang Si waterfall! The striking turquoise color of the water comes from the limestone rocks. After the 4 hour trek, a jump into the cool, refreshing waters was just what we needed.

6. Do venture out to enjoy some local food. Having grown up in Thailand, I could identify a lot of similarities between Thai and Lao cuisine. At the same time, Lao cuisine is quite distinct in its own way. Surprisingly, it was incredibly easy to find vegetarian food in Luang Prabang as almost all the restaurants have veggie options in their menus. I would highly recommend the restaurant Tamarind which offers an excellent array of the local cuisine (suggestion: Go for the sampler plate pictured below!).

7. Of course, the trip isn't complete if you haven't visited the many temples (or "wats") of Luang Prabang. After all, that is the defining feature of this small city-town. However, I would say that most of the temples can be visited within a couple hours time. As the temples are all clustered nearby, one can easily walk around. These temples are quite distinct in architecture from ones you may have seen in Thailand. I simply fell in love with the rich gold tones of these wats!

8. Do consider staying in one of the guest houses in Luang Prabang. We had stayed at the Victoria Xienthong Hotel which used to be the residence of the last Lao royal family. While it was beautiful and we enjoyed our stay, we also realized that there are many guest houses in the city that are very attractive and quaint and may cost less.

9. Do visit Utopia and spend a few hours lazing there with a book and drink in hand. This is a restaurant/bar that overlooks the Mekong River with daybeds set up for you to just sit and chill for hours.

10. Take a walk through Luang Prabang by night. The city becomes transformed after the sun sets. Suddenly, there's a lot more buzz in the air and the warm lighting outside the stores and restaurants beckon you to enter. Everything just looks more quaint and cozy! 
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!