. off we sail to Lazarus island .

Before I start off on this entry, I would just like to confess that I’m a  living paradox. I love outdoor adventure and nature but I hate the sun. Yes, I’m one of those office ladies who have to carry an umbrella during lunch breaks just to avoid the merciless sun. I love the sea and breeze but throw me into the open sea and I tell you I’ll need a life vest, no matter what. Such an irony right?

Despite my dislike for the sun, I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity when CC and her family invited me to join them and family friends for a morning to set sail to the picturesque Lazarus island. My first yacht party and visit to Lazarus island was one of the best times I ever had and I’ve been talking about arranging a return trip since although nothing has materialized… Till now. Anyhow, since I wouldn’t be travelling much at all this year, I decided to bring the ‘travelling’ to home instead! :)

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The little twin captains who took the rein and steer the boat. They might be tiny in size but they sure do pack a punch!
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Although I have an absolute lack of maternal instincts, I think I do get along pretty well with kids in general. Strangely, I found myself quite contented basking in the sun (a usual BIG no-no for me) at the sun-deck with the kids, talking about their interests and dreams. The girls excel in gymnastics and have won medals in competitions, and the boy cannot wait till he’s 14 so that he can finally get a scuba diving license. When I was their age, all I wanted to do was to play catching and hide-and-seek with my siblings and friends. And I thought anyone older than me was just “uncool to talk to”. Hahaha.

If anything, I would think I’m like a much bigger sister to them but imagine my horror when a stranger at Lazarus island approached me to comment on how lucky “my kids” were because they were given the chance to have fun in the week leading up to their examinations. My kids? Which means I would have given birth to them when I was only 17 yrs old! Teen mum alert! Perhaps, I should consider a switch in career to become a nanny instead?

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Lazarus island has always been known as one of Singapore’s best kept secret because of its tranquility and breathtaking beach. However, with the recent buzz and hype, it’s not too surprising to learn that it is now a hit among both locals and tourists. It is not too uncommon to hear people squealing in delight as they first laid their eyes on the picturesque beach, a sight that most would never have thought existed on our little red dot.

For those who do not fancy chartering a yacht to this hidden gem, fret not as there is also a causeway that links St John island to Lazarus. So, pick an afternoon to head over to this island for a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters or have a picnic by the beach! :)

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Kids will love playing with the fine sand, and building sand castles, complete with a water moat. For our case, we decided to be creative and give her a mermaid tail! 
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I’ll admit – I’m jealous of a 10 yrs old girl. I’ve tried so hard to perform a handstand during my yoga classes but have never been successful in my feeble attempts. Yet, she does it so effortlessly … on the sand!
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To 14 years of friendship and  many more years to come till we become old and wrinkled! 
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. weekends: bits and pieces .

Weekends/ The allure of wild flowers – Lavender bunches/ Tragus-loop MOVEMBER double-chain earrings/ Mother-Daughter bonding time: Making our first air clay  crafts/ Reiki at Tirisula Yoga/ Empowering ourselves with self-healing energy at Reiki workshop Level 1 & 2/ November 8 Coffee & Company with gfs/ The rich man’s playground/ Off we set, sailing into the sea on the yacht/ Failed jump attempt at Seringat island/ Full of envy at the BEST COMPANY TO WORK FOR – Google Office / My first experience with Google Glass – Welcome to augmented reality! Very cool experience.

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. adventure through the lens: Bryan Smith .

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Being a typical Sagittarius, I’m an adventurer at heart and lust after new experiences and discoveries. Being easily bored and restless is one of my weakness, so I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting activities or events to be engaged in. Looking back, I must admit that I was nowhere as outgoing or adventurous in the past. In fact, I was a very studious and introverted girl during my secondary school and junior college years – Think neatly tucked-in uniform, thick glasses, someone who spends most of her time at home instead of hitting town when the rest of the student population are out shopping, well … you get the drift. It is only through the process of growing up and gaining life experiences that I slowly began to develop my own identity, build my self-confidence and foster this spirit of adventure.

So, where does this brings me to? While I’m trapped behind the safe confines of my cubicle at work, I pretty much contented to have the weekends free to embark on my little adventure on our tiny red dot. However, more than anything, I live my life vicariously through adventurers and explorers who have taken a step off the well-trodden path and pushed the boundaries. It’s simply a breath of fresh air. And so, I attended the recent National Geographic LIVE talk show featuring adventure filmmaker, Bryan Smith. Are you fascinated by the jaw-dropping footage of extreme adventurers performing awe-inspiring stunts such as highlining between cliffs, ice mountain climbing, venturing into a volcano? Well, you will need someone behind-the-scenes to capture such breath-taking footage and this responsibility lies in the filmmaker whose fearless and adventuresome attitude brings them to some of the world’s most challenging environments.

Through Bryan’s storytelling and video snippets, I managed to get a glimpse of the life and work of an extreme adventurer behind the lens. From filming ice-climbing in -35 degrees temperature to trekking in the Grizzly bear-laden wilderness of Kamchatka in Russia, Bryan has done it all. While most people would probably gasp in fear about visiting such treacherous locations for work, it is exactly this type of stuff that makes him alive. Fear, according to Bryan, is inevitable but it is also his best asset because it drives him to fully focus on what he has to do at present. Fear is a double-edged sword. A good amount of rational fear keeps you on your toes and allows you to take calculated risk; Having too much fear within, however, can keep you from trying out new things in life and stick to the routine. Personally, I have been on both sides of the equation. Overcoming some of my fears such as trying out new things alone (like how I attended this talk show by myself) or swimming in the open sea are some of the best things I have done for myself because such spontaneity brings forth very unique and unforgettable moments in our lives. Yet, my fear of befriending uncertainty in some aspects have left me opting for the safer option, which isn’t too bad a thing but it allows a load of excuses to own me. In other words, there is a part of me that looks forward to changes and challenges but when that time approaches, I can practically come up with a list of excuses not to go forward with it. To cut the long story short, this is why I admire the people who are continuously pushing their limits, leaving no chance for regrets.

Looking forward to next year’s installment of the National Geographic LIVE talk show events where I can continue to live off these extraordinary adventures! :) 

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. 6 months post neck injury .

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Wow.
Has it really been 6 months since my life-changing injury? Fast forward half a year since that fateful day, my spine doctor and physiotherapist have given me a clean bill of health. I’ve been discharged from therapy sessions and my doctor is surprised that my neck has healed way better than expected. During our last review 2 months ago, he warned me of the possibility for a neck surgery to realign one of the bones and I was so distraught by the news that I kinda sank into a temporary state of depression. Now, I’m relieved to say that my neck is probably about 80% of what it used to be, minus a certain degree of flexibility and range of rotation. Sure, it might not have recovered 100% but I’ll take it for I know that it could have really been worse. Thank you everyone for your encouragement and also, for staying with me throughout the entire recovery process! :)

Without a doubt, this year has been by far the toughest year in my life. I have talked excessively about my broken neck and to a lesser extent, my experience with alopecia areata that left me with a small bald spot on my scalp (thankfully, the hair has grown!) but what I did not mentioned on this blog was that I had also broken off from a long-term relationship with the boy just barely 6 weeks prior to my injury. Broken heart, broken neck, broken hair and more importantly, a broken soul. To say that the past 8 months of my life was a nightmare is a total understatement. It was almost as if I was watching a real-life drama scene unfolding right in front of my eyes, only that it was happening to me. To say the least, the series of traumatizing events had changed and reshaped my life in many ways. As much as I think I have coped with everything with as much optimism and strength as possible, I cannot deny that I felt very lost in many aspects of my life. For the first time ever, faith, love, work (albeit temporarily since I was on hospitalization leave) and yoga were completely taken away from me and it left me feeling a whole host of mixed emotions. What was my purpose in life? Where is my sense of identity? What can I do to feel productive again? There were a lot of philosophical questions that I had pondered on as I spent the past half a year to re-think about life. While I don’t believing in living my life totally based on societal standards and goals (e.g. get a job by 22, married by 25, have a first child by 27, second child by 30, you get the drift), it can get very frustrating when life takes an unexpected turn from your dreams and comes to a standstill.

At this junction, you have 2 options – Do you crumble under the weight of these crushed dreams or do you take it in your stride and press forward? The truth is I was definitely not happy with the turn of events but I knew that given time, things will fall right back into place. Time and patience. And I was right. However, being someone who likes instant gratification and results, I was resistant to some changes and fought hard against them. Which, on hindsight, was a terrible waste of energy and emotions. Nonetheless, I refused to let my neck injury and break-up get the better of me and started living my life vicariously once I got off the horrendous halo vest. Even with my neck collar, I went on heritage tours to offshore islands, made my own leather goods, visited many festivals of all sorts, hiked up Bukit Timah hill, settled my financial planning & investments and gasp, even baked rose-caramel macarons – something which I would normally have not done! In a way, this injury taught me to stop procrastinating about some things in life (although procrastination is still a weakness of mine) and put action into the plans that have been placed at the back burner. I’m excited to be making lots of plans for the months to come! :) 

So, am I any different from the old Stephanie pre-injury? Well, not really. I wish I can say that I now have the courage and wisdom to figure out what I want in life and live a life of my dreams. But nope, I’m not at that stage yet. However, what I have learnt through my own ordeal is to not allow trivial issues, or most issues for that matter, to get me down. People will always have their own opinions and judgement but always know that no one should or can dictate how you should live your life. The heart wants what the heart wants. At the end of the day, do what that makes you happy, even if you run the risk of being labelled unconventional or even, different. On a similar note, I’m also trying to learn how to embrace changes and go with the flow because sometimes, things are simply not within our control. The more you try to resist these changes, the harder it takes for you to accept them. Finally, while I’ve always been blessed to be surrounded by an amazing family, supportive relatives and great friends, I cherish and appreciate these relationships even more so than ever now. I cannot express my gratitude enough to my support group for being there for me, through the bad and good times. These days, most of my evenings or weekends are spent with loved ones, friends or bringing my furkids for long brisk walks! That’s also the reason why I barely have the time and energy to blog as much lol.

If you are still following me through this long blog entry, thank you for hanging in there! Honestly, I still cannot believe that it has already been 6 months since I was first told that I had broken my neck and might be paralysed for life. It really didn’t seem all that long ago when I had to be bedridden in the hospital. Now, what remains of that incident are 2 scars on my forehead (no thanks to the halo vest) and crankiness of the neck. I’m ready to close this traumatizing chapter but not forgetting the life lessons that it has taught me as I move forward in life. To take nothing for granted and know how blessed I have been. :)

To quote a fellow broken neck survivor, Chantal, “Through the pain, I found strength. Through the struggling, I learned to fight back and overcome everything I have faced. Through adversity, I have found beauty in life.

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. Shop at ZALORA Outlet Store .

Are you a fan of shopping at factory outlets? Well, here’s a great piece of news for online shopaholics like me because ZALORA Singapore has launched its very own outlet store. The ZALORA outlet store is housed separately from the main shopping site, where there is a wide collection of highly discounted or seasoned items specially for the bargain hunter!  A bigger bang for your buck!

Here are some of my favourite picks under the ZALORA Outlet Store:

69% off the MANGO loose-fit jersey dress, perfect for casual dates
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40% off the quirky and adorable Karl Lagerfeld by Melissa heels
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40% off a colourful and unique piece of chain necklace by Cheap Monday
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Save BIG now when you shop at ZALORA Outlet Store!

. my dog is smarter than me .

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He chases away my MONDAY BLUES!

. imperfection .

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