. SG Design Week: I’m a Designer! .

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Maketh Project x Think Tank Studio

Guess what? The leather wallet that I designed and made from scratch is on display for the SG Design Week 2015! I’m no professional artist or designer; Hence it is such a huge honor for me to have my very own creation specially selected for this mini exhibition! Definitely one of the proudest moments in my life! If you happened to be around Bugis area, remember to drop by Maketh Project studio and take a look at the other handmade leather crafts. Support & Buy Local! :) 

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I have always enjoyed making handicrafts since I was a little girl but when commitments set in, life gives way to bigger priorities such as working to earn a salary, exercising to keep healthy, hanging out with friends to maintain a work-life balance. In other words, gone were the days when I used to indulge in some DIY therapy. However, a life-threatening injury that I sustained last year made me reflect upon my life and I made the decision to return one of my first loves and give leather crafting a try!

There are several places that offer leather crafting workshops but what that drew me to Maketh Project is the owners’ willingness to share their passion for leather with the community and give the masses (like you and me) the opportunity to create leather products based on our own designs! Yes, you are your own designer and creator! :) Nothing beats the feeling and sense of accomplishment of being the ambassador of your own creation. Moreover, I like that the studio offers a hipster yet intimate environment that breaks down all pretence and encourages an exchange of ideas and creativity amongst like-minded people from all walks of life.

This red and black clutch replaces my “lunch bag” and it is designed such that it is compact enough to store my notes, essential cards and even, the mobile phone! My leather crafting addiction continues because there’s nothing more rewarding than to be able to design and craft your own products! 

. Jalan Kajeng, UBUD: Hollywood Stars Ave .

Do you know that Bali also has its very own version of the famed Hollywood’s Stars Avenue? Tucked in a hidden corner of Ubud town lies the unique street of Jalan Kajeng, where its cement tiles are inscribed with messages and artworks of all sorts! I took a lovely stroll along the ‘Signature’ street one evening as I explored the surrounding quaint shops and home-stays (planning to stay here the next time!) and kept a lookout for interesting or funny stone messages to share with friends!

Want to have your very own name and personal message  imprinted in the street of Ubud? Head down to either Luxe Cafe or Samara Villas (both located along Kajeng Road) and purchase a stone tile for only 25USD. All you have to do is to provide your message, drawing/ design (on paper) and leave the rest to the local artisans to create an engraved memory for you! :)

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Time for both locals and tourists to unleash their creative juices and get imaginative with their artworks!
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It’s also for the romance at heart – A celebration of the Jubilee Anniversary! How sweet!  ❤
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I love scouting the street, looking for inspirational and uplifting messages.  Having experienced several tumultuous periods in my life, I’m now a firm believer in the power and strength of positive affirmations and I hope these messages help cheer you on, in a way or two. 
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My personal favourite! A tongue-in-cheek message with reference to the best selling book, “Eat, Pray, Love”. Only this time, instead of one woman’s search for everything, it is one man’s quest for fulfillment!
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. Shop for STILA at ZALORA .

 I’m a Korean cosmetic girl at heart (no thanks to the gorgeous Korean ladies who guest-star on Running Man) but I have heard a lot of raves about the fantastic makeup line under the Stila brand. With unique products and vibrant colours, Stila is today a fashion style on its own. Its goal is to help every woman celebrate her own sense of beauty – To look and feel like the best version of herself and of course, to have fun doing it! 

Now, you don’t have to head all the way to USA or the departmental stores to get your hands on your favourite Stila items. Save time and enjoy a hassle-free experience when you shop for STILA at ZALORA !

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My favourite Stila items:

Stila One Step Correct: These days, I’m a lazy bum so the best type of product for me is an all-inclusive beauty product that caters to my needs. Want something to brighten, prime and nourish your skin? Well, you got it easy with the innovative Stila One Step Correct serum!

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Stila Waterproof Eyeliner: My essential makeup tool! The black/blue eyeliner – It’s simply something I cannot live without and the main reason why my eyes look fresh even though I’m half asleep most of the time. Stila has always been known for its wide range of long-lasting and waterproof eyeliner that stays defined and bold throughout the day. Goodbye to those annoying and pesky smudges!  

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Stila Lip Glaze: I’m not a fan of lipsticks but lip gloss? Bring it on! The delicious lip gloss adds a sexy shine to the lips and often compliments the smoky eye look. Just the perfect item to pucker up those alluring lips for the special someone!

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. Explore: Campuhan Ridge, Ubud .

 One of my favourite thing to do during a vacation is to sneak in some sort of adrenaline-pumping activity as I’m addicted to the thrill of an adrenaline rush. There were originally plans for me to embark on a white water rafting adventure down the mighty Telaga Waja River; however, at the last minute, I decided to eschew any forms of adventure and simply enjoy Bali in peace and solitude. A quick search on the internet brought my attention to the breath-taking Campuhan Ridge, which takes one into the beautiful and unspoiled rice fields of Ubud. I was sold. There is no better way to enjoy Ubud other than to take in the idyllic sights of its countryside that is still relatively undisturbed by tourism.

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The hike to Campuhan Ridge begins at the entrance of the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa, where you should spot a sign stating that it takes 2km to trek up to the famous Karsa Kafe (a restaurant that overlooks a beautiful rice field, also known as the pitstop for most hikers).
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The trail will also take you past the historical Gunung Lebah Temple, which was constructed in the 8th century by Danghyang Markandya, the man who was believed to have introduced Hinduism to the island of Bali. PhotoGrid_1424570121758

The spectacular view that greets me on New Year’s Day :) The hike was pretty easy and leisure (not much of a challenge for those who are looking for a workout), and I would highly recommend anyone to do it early morning before the afternoon sun comes out. Plus, if you are lucky, you might just get parts of the trail all to yourself! 
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artist at workAlong the way, I also met a female painter, Wayan, who brought me on a mini tour to her family’s art studio and introduced me to the miniature painting techniques that are required for egg painting. I might be no professional painter but I do enjoy dabbling in arts & craft during my leisure time, so it was such a privilege for me to be able to observe an artist at work. In fact, I have crazy dreams of taking a mini sabbatical to head to Bali and pick up a painting/ art course. Just for the fun of it. Call me a professional dreamer!

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magical tree house
Haven’t your parents often tell you not to enter into a stranger’s house? Well, I guess I broke the rule. It was along the rocky path beyond Karsa Kafe that I suddenly caught a glimpse of a “hanging” wooden bridge in the midst of the green foliage. Curious, I decided to peep around when an elderly man shouted to invite me to his humble abode. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to venture beyond the bridge and was surprised to be greeted by the sight of a wooden tree-house! I <3 tree-houses!

Despite the language barrier, the elderly man tried his best in making me feel at home by sharing with me pictures of his family and playing musical tunes on the traditional Balinese instrument (I think it was the gamelan). The house was built single-handedly by him and it provides a great respite for anyone who wanted to escape from the hustle and bustle of main street Ubud.

This serendipitous encounter is just one of the many that I had during my first solo trip in Bali and I know that such personal experiences would not have been possible, had I been travelling with others (especially with cautious friends)! I guess that’s the reason why so many people have opted to travel solo once they caught the bug … You end up making more friends and creating authentic experiences! :) 

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 This is the time in your life where you have the least amount to lose by taking some long-shot risks, so you should take them. Because its the disastrous failures of these years — that crazy love affair with the Taiwanese dancer that made your mother lose her hair, or the entrepreneurial joint venture some guy in Starbucks talked you into that turned out to be an elaborate pyramid scheme — it’s these failures that will set you up for your life successes down the line. They are the best lessons of your life. Get learning.

. the independent traveler: flying solo for the first time .

WOW. Where do I even begin?

As everyone would have known by now, 2014 has been an extremely dramatic and life-changing year  for me. The perfect life? It was far from it. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to celebrate the end of the year by doing something courageous that I have always wanted to do for the longest time. Yet, fear has been the one main factor that prevented me from accomplishing that goal.

With a new-found sense of courage, I decided to embark on my first ever solo trip and usher into the new year alone. Like most people, I was afraid of taking that step out of the well-trodden path but once I did, there was no turning back. It is often said that solo travel allows one to enjoy a country on his or her own terms and through that exhilarating journey, they might learn to re-discover parts of themselves that they never knew existed. For me, I went for this solo trip, expecting to spend the bulk of my time alone. Frankly, I was perfectly fine with doing most things alone because I have always had that independent streak in me and my personal belief is that life waits for no one. Waiting might simply translate to missed opportunities. What I found out, at the end of the trip, was that travelling solo brings forth way more interaction and socializing than one could get, if they were to travel with their family or friends.

During my 4 days stay in Bali, I had serendipitous encounters with people from all walks of life – Locals from the tourism industry, artists, medicine woman, primary school kids, and travelers from other parts of the world. Surprisingly, not only did I managed to gain cultural insights from my conversations with them, but I was also very lucky to foster deep and meaningful connections with some of these people. In fact, 2 months down the road, I am still in touch with some of the people whom I have met during my trip.

My first trip might be short but it wasn’t one without an adventure of a lifetime. On the eve of New Year, I drank a little too much (and that’s because I’m a terrible drinker), got drunk and my vision literally went blank while I was dining alone. Horrors of horrors. Had I been in a shady area, I could have been robbed, raped or kidnapped. Lady luck must have been on my side because the drunk episode turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I ended up meeting the Prince of Ubud, spending the rest of the night with the lovely marketing manager (who is now, a friend of mine) before celebrating the NYE countdown in style with the restaurant crew! Serendipity? You bet. Along the way, I also cooked a Balinese meal with a local family in their home compound, met my own version of Ketut Liyer (for those of you who read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, you would know what I’m talking about) – an old lady who flashed her boobs at me, had an unexpected lunch with an American who turned out to be working in Singapore,  and played ‘Santa’ to a group of kids in a local primary school.

My decision to start 2015 with a solo trip was one of the best choices of my life. All it takes is 1 moment of insane courage. But a lifetime of unforgettable memories and experiences. And trust me, once you start travelling alone, chances are that you will become addicted to it because it is so much more rewarding and enriching. Now, just remember that life waits for no one … So, take that leap of faith and give solo travel a try! :) 

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What does solo travel means to me? 

Freedom. Fulfillment. Self-confidence. Excitement. Being in control – not needing to be accountable to others. Spontaneity. Serendipitous experiences. And more important, a journey to explore more about myself and grow in ways that I can never learn from my school or workplace.

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. match-mini spotted at the mobile library .

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