a subdued statement

b/w crystals
bronze cast crystal

These are little bronze stud earrings, but I love the way they look so symmetrical and spectacular up close. Delicate and rough all at once. These are straight from the designer, Andy Lifschutz, but there’s a great behind-the-scenes story of how he made the rose-silver versions for Of A Kind, with a picture of the original crystal the pieces were cast from. Isn’t nature beautiful? Happy belated christmas, self.

psst: if you like them, i’d suggest joining the mailing list and waiting for a sale — the designer seems to have quarterly 25% discounts!

(thanks dil for getting them to me safely :)

hidden find – trinket box


I’ve been on the hunt for some inexpensive jade jewellery (have somehow ended up on a quest to challenge grandma conventions — who says cheongsams and jade can’t be cool?) and this search has led me to dig around in the most unexpected places. Earlier this week, sam and i rediscovered the depths of peoples’ park centre, but even before that, there was some stolen time at a dim, dusty shop in holland village before tea with friends.

The store was a shrine of oriental kitsch — rosewood carvings, porcelain lamps, buddha statues…you know the type. However, dil and I spied a shelf that carried a series of trinket boxes in all colours and sizes, and i was sold. For just six dollars, my earrings got to move out of their sad ziplock bag homes, and I made a little dent in the jewellery organization task that haunts me daily. Not too shabby.

the devil is in the details #2

A parcel came from one of our favourite local businesses, Vanda Fine Clothing, (previously featured here and here)! Even though I ordered this for sam’s birthday present, I couldn’t help but rip into the box and take a peek at the incredible fabric on this pocket square..

detail 1: the print is incredibly detailed and varied, but the leaves, flowers and feathers remain fairly regular in style and size. to me, this ensures that the print doesn’t steal too much attention away from the overall colour palette, and it’s the brilliant vermillion set against the tones of blue that make this square one of the most beautiful i’ve seen.

detail 2: the subtle wave-like pattern adds a textural richness that runs on both sides of the square.

detail 3: the signature tightly rolled edges. the hand-stitching is almost invisible on both sides, and have you ever seen a piece of silk fold over with such softness and structure all at once?

Thank you, Diana and Gerald, for this beauty and for doing what you do! I think Sam’s going to be very pleased with this one, and I might just have to ‘borrow’ it sometime soon..

the devil is in the details


Admiring little touches today: smitten with the gentle shine on the leather, solid but delicate cutouts, and the subdued tricolour weave of these classic huarache sandals. New-to-me from the beautifully put-together Dear Golden Vintage.

brown buttery leather
brown buttery leather

These old faithfuls from zara are more than a year old and have held up beautifully to the many poundings I’ve put them through. Still as in love with the buttery leather and seamless straps as ever, which is a detail that is surprisingly hard to find in leather goods.

Let’s be real for a bit: I’ve never been afraid to admit that I enjoy shopping. But it can easily be a mindless, materialistic activity driven by ephemeral trends and social comparisons that are unhealthy for your psyche and your pocket. I know that you know what I’m talking about ;) Lately I’ve made efforts to stretch my dollar and respect the clever details and construction that go into the things I buy, and it feels a lot more fun — like I am a collector of precious finds rather than a player in a game of empty pursuit. Anyone else feeling the same way? Well-made things don’t come cheap, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find that beautiful, classic things don’t need to be exorbitant either.

seeing circles


Seeing circles — in a new skirt and a turquoise ring, and in a much-less-fun ultrasound scan yesterday by a doctor who essentially likened two tiny organs of mine to chocolate chip cookies… Not as cute as it sounds, but also not as bad as one might think? It should be easy when all you have to do is wait and see, but I’m having trouble focusing on meeting deadlines today. In the meantime, take care and be well everyone, and get your butt on over to a doctor if you think you’ve got the bug that’s been going around x

luck be a lady

Sam and I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon deep in conversations between ourselves and with two master tailors, in preparation for a project we are working on together. While the men talked about the gentleman’s predicament of balancing the flair of looking put together against traditional notions of masculinity, I couldn’t help but meditate on what it means to be a lady in this day and age.

The school I went to for most of my growing years often emphasized grooming and deportment. While other girls our age made beelines for campsites or enrichment programmes the moment the academic semester was over, we had dining etiquette classes, watched classic films and got colour-matched with our ‘seasons’ at least a quarter of the time. However, while we might have always had a teacher breathing down our necks, telling us to pull up our socks (literally) or walk gently (and not ‘stomp up the stairs like elephants!!’), we had more than our fair share of exhortations to become thoughtful women of calibre who lived lives of purpose and grace, and that lesson was not completely lost on me — I hope!

Perhaps it is because of these years at school that I will always associate blue dresses, gold, clean whites and sassy little ponytail holders with learning to be a lady.

Here is a selection of beautiful things for ladies of all sorts — for those who like their finery, but also for those who would very simply like to waltz through each day with a little bit of grace. The accompanying text consists of excerpts from Meg Goes to Vanity Fair, which is a chapter from Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’. It was a much re-read book chapter from childhood that taught me about the perils of vanity that come after the first flush of beauty, as well as the importance of having goodness, happiness and a heart made of a more extraordinary substance.

tulle dress & watercolour chiffon dress / Dear Golden Vintage

On the Thursday evening, Belle shut herself up with her maid, and between them they turned Meg into a fine lady. They crimped and curled her hair, they polished her neck and arms with some fragrant powder, touched her lips with coralline salve to make them redder, and Hortense would have added `a soupcon of rouge’, if Meg had not rebelled. They laced her into a sky-blue dress, which was so tight she could hardly breathe and so low in the neck that modest Meg blushed at herself in the mirror…Mademoiselle is chatmante, tres jolie, is she not? cried Hortense, clasping her hands in an affected rapture.

gold pearl ring / lapis lazuli ring

What shall you tell her? asked Meg, full of curiosity to know his opinion of her, yet feeling ill at ease with him for the first time.

I shall say I didn’t know you, for you look so grown-up and unlike yourself, I’m quite afraid of you, he said, fumbling at his glove button.

How absurd of you! The girls dressed me up for fun, and I rather like it. Wouldn’t Jo stare if she saw me? said Meg, bent on making him say whether he thought her improved or not.

Yes, I think she would, returned Laurie gravely.

cowl back silk blouse & scalloped silk blouse / stylemadehere

Don’t you like me so?‘ asked Meg.

No, I don’t, was the blunt reply.

Why not? in an anxious tone.

He glanced at her frizzled head, bare shoulders, and fantastically trimmed dress with an expression that abashed her more than his answer, which had not particle of his usual politeness in it.

I don’t like fuss and feathers.

the military & silk hair tie packages / Mane Message

She leaned her forehead on the cool pane, and stood half hidden by the curtains, never minding that her favorite waltz had begun, till some one touched her, and turning, she saw Laurie, looking penitent, as he said, with his very best bow and his hand out . . .Please forgive my rudeness, and come and dance with me.

I’m afraid it will be to disagreeable to you, said Meg, trying to look offended and failing entirely.

Not a bit of it, I’m dying to do it. Come, I’ll be good. I don’t like your gown, but I do think you are just splendid. And he waved his hands, as if words failed to express his admiration.



“My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world, marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing, and when well used, a noble thing, but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for.

I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”

the daily bag

diy laptop case

The macbook has been living on the edge lately. After a hole appeared in my previous laptop sleeve, the only one I had on hand was this dark green thick cotton sleeve that I sewed myself as a prototype for a school marketing project. The project idea was to release a customisable range of totes and laptop sleeves for everyday use, which is why a group member had my name printed on this one as an example.

ribbon closure

I love the colour and the signature blue ribbon closure, but this was sewed up at the last minute (as you do for school projects…you know what i mean) and I didn’t have time to insert batting as a protective layer. Since then I had been watching various options online, with this cute robot looking one as a top contender (thanks to my friend Ben who has the macbook air version), but these things cost more than a pretty penny. Yet, as my current work requires me to meet new people and present myself well, I needed something less cutesy.

fabrix satchel 2.0

So when I stumbled across this fabrix satchel on a huge discount in a boutique, I wasn’t about to walk away and regret it. I’ve been using it for a week and it works beautifully — the carrying handle makes it sleeker than holding a laptop in the crook of your arm, and the grey wool felt and tanned leather handles complement most of the navy, black and cream tones that I like to wear.

leather straps

The bag usually retails for USD $99 or SGD $129, but is available at the Cozycot store at Orchard Central for the much-sweeter price of SGD $71 for the month of June!

The Happy List #5

1. Feasting with friends.
cafe le caire, by wans

(photo by tan wan lin)

We had the mezzé at cafe le caire before languorously sipping on beers elsewhere, and it’s $16 for plentiful portions of hummus, tahina, olives, salad, babaganush, chickpeas and feta to be scooped up with flatbread. Also, the fluffiest falafel I’ve ever had! This incredible photo is by my talented friend wan lin, who is ace at capturing sunsets with practically any kind of photographic equipment.

poached eggs/group therapy cafeThe poached eggs at Group Therapy cafe were perfectly smooth, covered in hollandaise and crushed black peppercorns and served on light, thick toast.

2. A georgette blouse I want to pair with dark denim and gold accessories every day


3. The gift of words

finallySam bought me this book I’ve been stalking at Kinokuniya for years — a collection of (love) letters exchanged between Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé. Here is a section that made me melt:

Now I am closing my manuscript folder: the Visions are in it, the 12 novellas, many of which I will some day read to you, letters, pages filled with notes, and Ruth. Did I not myself write these lines once in some dream filled with presentiments?

“…until the whole world dropped away from me
And nothing of all that life remained
Except a boundless gratitude
And a love stretching on forever!…”

If they had not existed, I would have written them now. How wonderful that they do exist. For hence this strange exchange: I can express my happiness in your words. –And thus you in turn will understand my happiness. Is it not so?

starHe caught me sitting on the floor by the shelf, swooning and lost in its first few pages, and I felt like a guilty voyeur. I’m not very far into the book, but my favourite little detail so far is how Rilke signs off — it starts off formally with his full signature, but by his third letter he is René Maria, and then very simply, René.

5. My parents, Lauren and I are headed to Malacca tomorrow for what’s left of the weekend! I haven’t been there for ten years, but I’m looking forward to trying satay celup for the first time, visiting a man who restores antique jewellery, a popiah skin maker and a red paper cutter, and just wandering around with my dusty but trusty camera!

Something Blue





Two new, blue additions to the contents of my everyday bag: a smoky blue goatskin leather pouch for my earphones, and my phone case from Society6. I purchased the leather pouch along the AS1 walkway in school, from a recent NUS graduate who decided to carry on his grandfather’s business of belt-making and leather work. It was wonderful to meet someone so knowledgeable about his family’s craft, different sorts of dyes, materials, and how the leather will only grow more beautiful with time. The pouch was made from a piece of scrap leather, which explains the asymmetric flap and the supplier’s markings on the interior, and only cost a few dollars. Look out for him at the bazaars!