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Hello dear readers and wish you all a very Happy 2017! With a fresh start of a new year come new hopes, aspirations, motivations, and resolutions. Oddly enough, I haven't really thought about any of these for myself! I guess I've never really believed that you need a new year to make you think about what you want to achieve for yourself. You want to get fit now? Go for it. You want to start taking dance classes? Start now, why wait? You want to build your career further? Do something about it now. I suppose my philosophy basically comes down to this: Why start something tomorrow if you can do it today? My husband makes great fun of me for this "type A, taskmaster" personality of mine. Haha! But it's what keeps me active, productive, and happy.

So on that very resolute, action-oriented note, here's my first blog post of the year! I don't normally wear leather but this faux leather tank paired over a white tee and a classic pair of blue jeans makes for a casual and very wearable weekend look.

Leather tank and white tee: JUBA & Co | Tory Burch Ivy Leopard Crossbody | Bracelet from Lauren Elan Collections
Every girl loves a princess moment. I got mine recently thanks to a collaboration with my blogger friend Kamana from Social and Style and Rent a Dress Singapore. There is a wide variety of different dresses to pick from the Rent A Dress location, and we had a great girly time trying on different outfits! While Social and Style picked an adorable strapless lippy dress, it was instant love for me with this long breezy gown with the lime green color. It certainly stands out from the usual colors that one might pick when attending a holiday party or gala event. For our shoot location, we decided on the iconic Raffles Hotel which ended up providing the perfect backdrop! Blogger photo-taking was then followed by a nice blogger brunch with Social and Style and Suhina from LuxItGirl. Check out what the other girls wore here at this link.

So if you're looking for a diverse selection of dresses, Rent a Dress SG is definitely a great option. At the moment, I'd like to share a 15% off code ‘SOCIALANDSTYLE15’ for any purchases from Rent A Dress SG over $50. With all the holiday events around the corner, you may need to pull out the inner glam goddess in you.
Dress from Rent a Dress SG | Shoes from Charles & Keith |
Bracelets from Jaipur  | Earrings from Bangkok
With Christmas fast approaching, the holiday shopping season shows no signs of slowing down. There’s an added touch of excitement and frenzy in the air with people hurriedly making their way to stores to get that last bit of holiday shopping in. If you’re still looking for gift ideas for your kids, nieces, nephews, and friends’ children, don’t worry…it’s not too late! Perhaps you can try gifting something different instead of gravitating to the usual clothing and toy stores. Here are a few unique gift ideas from local businesses that might strike your fancy.

Pic via Good Label
1. A relatively new business started by two women here in Singapore, The Good Label is a company and a social movement that is slowly catching on. With a message of encouraging ethically conscious clothing for kids, the Good Label believes you shouldn’t have to compromise between quality, design, and sustainability. Check out their website for their catalog of baby clothes that are funky and spunky in design – I'm talking navy pirate jumpsuits, shorts with cute dreamcatcher designs, and bowtie singlets. From my own experience, I recently gifted a vintage floral romper to a friend’s newborn baby girl. This infant can now make a fashion statement with her conscious resting easy that her sartorial choices are good for her and for the environment. You’re welcome, child.

My son excited to receive his Josh & Cheri book delivery
2. It’s true what they say – “A book is a gift which you can open again and again.” When it comes to children’s books, you just can’t go wrong. Combine that with the idea of receiving a monthly subscription of curated, age-appropriate books for your child and you have a winner! Someone had gifted my son a 3-month subscription to Josh & Cherie books for his birthday, and I had loved their concept. Every month, my son looks forward to receiving a cute package with 2 picture books inside it. What a way to make books and reading an exciting and pleasurable experience for kids!

3. If you haven’t yet been to the Singapore ArtScience Museum, you’re missing something. A veritable merging of art and science, this museum has unique exhibits year round for adults and children alike. Why not consider gifting tickets for a children’s entry fee ($17) into the museum, which allows access to all the exhibits? My son is obsessed with the Future World exhibit, a permanent installation which takes you on a fantastical journey into a digital and interactive universe. I won’t reveal too much but suffice it to say that kids get absolutely immersed in this place. From my experience, this is appropriate for kids aged at least 2.5-3 years of age and above.

4. Mommy (or Daddy) & me dance classes: This is a great way to spend some fun quality time with your little one or to give that gift to another parent and their child. Groove away with the kiddies and show them the beauty of music and dance! There are several places that do it here in Singapore, most of which cater to kids that are at least 2-3 years of age and above. Some options are Footwork Twinkle Toes which offers summer classes at the Esplanade (jazz, ballet, swing and even Bollywood!), Jazz Cats, and All That Jazz.

5. An indoor climbing theme park in Singapore, you said? Wow, now they really have thought of everything! Clip 'n Climb has 19 colorful climbing challenges to try of varying difficulties, and children as young as six can attempt them. The entrance fees are very reasonably priced for 90 minutes of rocking climbing experience. For kids of a slightly older age group who love an active and stimulating activity, this is definitely worth considering!

If there is one thing you will learn about Singapore from living here, it’s that the Singaporeans take Christmas SERIOUSLY. You only have to walk along Orchard Road, the heart of the city’s shopping district, to know what I mean. In front of each shopping mall are thematic holiday decorations with leaping reindeers, glittering Christmas trees, jolly elves, icy igloos with polar bears, and the list goes on. In fact, every year, there’s a contest where people vote on which shopping mall has put up the best decorations. You’d have to be a Grinch not to get into the holiday spirit when Christmas is staring at you in the face like that! What’s more, it’s a complete delight for children to visit this neighborhood. I would recommend one evening to walk along the festive street to admire the sights and and take pictures with family and friends.

While Orchard Road can boast about having the greatest concentration of “Christmassy-ness”, other localities are not far behind. Many places (malls and otherwise) set up Christmas carnivals geared towards children with games and rides, fake snow outdoors, and storytelling sessions with Santa (some good ones are at Tanglin Mall and City Square Mall). An awesome place to check out for both adults and kids alike is the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay. It literally feels like you’ve entered a winter wonderland with dazzling set-ups, Christmas carolers, an ice-skating rink, games, rides, and a holiday market (just be sure to avoid the peak hours where it tends to get very crowded). For a dose of festive holiday atmosphere, you can also visit Chijmes which has a Christmas bazaar perfect for purchasing holiday gifts.

A couple weekends ago, I got together with fellow blogger Kamana from SocialandStyle. We dressed up in the holiday color (red, of course!) and had a blast capturing ourselves against the pretty installations along Orchard Road. The red lace jumpsuit I wore is from Style Theory, a recent startup that allows you to have an infinite wardrobe. For a reasonable monthly fee, you can pick 3 designer outfits which get delivered to your doorstop. It’s a great service and I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with different styles and outfits so far!

Jumpsuit by Adelyn Rae from StyleTheory | Clutch from India | Shoes from Robinson's Bangkok | Bracelet from Charles & Keith
I love to explore new areas and neighborhoods, and one of my favorite companions on these mini-expeditions is my 3-year old son. It's one of the ways I like to spend quality one-on-one time with him. It's also my way of encouraging him to observe and be curious about the world outside. Not too long ago, we set out to visit the Everton Murals, located on Everton Road in the Tanjong Pagar district. They were painted by Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong who wanted to depict scenes from his childhood days. Although his murals portray simple scenes from everyday life, they manage to evoke a sense of nostalgia about the "kampong" (meaning village or small community) feel of Singapore from decades ago. There are three sets of his paintings on Everton Road, titled "Amah", "Provision Shop", and "Barber".

My little kiddo loved walking around and looking at the murals! He asked questions about what he saw on the walls and we weaved stories about them. He excitedly pointed out details of the paintings that caught his eye. He playfully touched the animals painted on the walls. And the cutest part? He willingly obliged me by posing in front of the murals for pictures. It was an evening well-spent...and the best part was that this open-air museum experience was all for free!

In case you're interested to explore more, there are many places around Singapore where you'll find murals or graffiti. Certain areas are known for them, such as Haji Lane with its bright, eye-popping paints (my post about it here). But you'll also find them in unexpected, hidden corners or quiet residential neighborhoods. I'm talking about places like Tiong Bahru (post here), Somerset Park (post here), Kampong Glam area (picture here), and lastly the Everton Murals. For more information on Yip's paintings in different locations around Singapore, check out his website yipyc.com.
While my son was smitten by the lazy cat sitting on the chair, I couldn't help but notice the colorful bowls sitting on the cupboard, which are very characteristic of the Perenakan design
Pretending to feed the chickens
"Amah" mural showing a domestic helper with a washboard doing laundry
Mural portraying a street vendor handing a schoolboy a bowl of noodles and chopsticks
 "Provision Shop" showing an old-school convenience store of the kinds you barely see anymore
The artist putting his stamp on his paintings with his name, date, and website