March 31, 2011

Spring Break IV: Muir Beach

I think one of my biggest disappointments after coming to California was realizing that The O.C. had fed me a LIE. Berkeley has no beaches, limited sunlight (mostly filtered through fog/ a thin shield of rain, especially during the spring) and no palm trees!!

Well, okay, that's not entirely true. We do have beaches about an hour away by car, and we decided to go to Muir Beach last Saturday because we were in the area (it was the same day that we went to Muir Woods)-
We were totally tricked into climbing up the side of the cliff by this sign:
LIES!! We literally scrambled up the side of the cliff and never reached the viewpoint.
Face of fear as I contemplated what falling off cliff might actually constitute.
Muir Beach is this adorable little place, fringed on one end by rolling cliffs, and on the other by hills dotted with residential homes. There were only 4 other groups there, and it was nice that it wasn't grossly overcrowded with tourists. A surfer brushed past me on the way to the beach from the parking lot, and he smiled, and I smiled; there was this camaraderie about it that was tinged with an understanding that this was not the best beach in the world for surfing, but it was our beach- that we were sharing those few moments together, the 5 groups of us on that beach, no matter how brief the moment.

I have come to better appreciate those few moments where you suddenly feel interconnected with a larger world- the world sometimes seems so beyond my reach, that my dreams are too large for me to grapple with and hold tangibly in the palm of my hands, but brief meetings like this give me hope. Not only that there is a greater humanity out there that I am a part of and that I am not alone, but also that physical presence can still hold the power that Twitter or Facebook cannot contain. THAT gives me a lot of hope.

We ate at Charlie Hong Kong in Mill Valley after that- it's a very safe town, a very pretty town. And the food was absolutely delicious (though the food we had the next day was even better!! Pacific Catch right opposite Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Haiwaiian Poke asian bowl is just... so. good. omg.) It's Chinese food but made with a ton of organic vegetables, free-range chicken, wheat-free noodles... this is basically Chinese food catered to the socially-conscious Californian consumer. I had the green curry chicken noodle, and the curry added just the right amount of kick. I felt super healthy eating my meal, even though I guess it's just something that I paid nearly 2x the price of a meal that I could have easily gotten at Thai Basil.

Charlie Hong Kong is at:
25 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941-1903

Spring break was only 3 days away, but why does it feel so much longer ago? Need to find that same sense of peace and balance again; I completed work today in a total haze of confusion and caffeine.

March 29, 2011

Spring Break III: Muir Woods

Muir Woods is intensely beautiful.
It was like an adventure to a lost world
Note to self: never again go to a nature reserve, decide to follow the muddiest path (see image above for reference), leap over waterfalls, climb bridges, jump from exposed tree root to exposed tree root- ALL IN BELOVED SPERRYS.

This is the result:
I know it's a blurry picture, but )):

So. Even after skipping all my classes and not going for work like intended (approx 6h of total work time), I still ended up spending over 5h on campus. All the pictures are green and brown and muddy, but there was just so much beauty in that one place. Absolutely worth the $5 entrance fee to keep it going. They also have ranger-led tours in the mornings, which might be fun to attend sometime.


I am all asunder on the inside, squirmy and roiling and in turmoil. I skipped all my classes this morning, and tried to get back to sleep (because in sleep there is an unconsciousness and a leaving, a going away and a going back that is only temporary- and then you can pick up and move on), but my legs were tangled in my sheets, and the apartment smelt empty and alone, and outside the sky was dark and annoyed.

Photograph from our trip to Muir Woods last Saturday.

I remember that I woke up at 5am last Friday and couldn't get back to sleep. I was nervous and jittery (even without coffee), and it felt like the world was rushing at me but in an assymptotic way, and I felt like I would get left behind if I wasn't awake now, now, now, now. I always have an itemized list of things to-do running through my head, and it was only really silenced when we stepped into the cool, musky air of Muir Woods and went on our lost boys adventure. There is such a need for external validation, or experiences that come from outside oneself. I think I'm going to change the way I've been blogging, and focus instead on the internal experiences of living in the Bay Area. I am trying to throw myself, net-like, out too much, and there has been a yearning to reach others that has overrided a yearning to reach myself.

March 28, 2011

Spring Break II: California Academy of Sciences

School is like a slap in the face after spring break. I mean, not even school (because I didn't actually have class today), but all the responsibility that has accumulated around school and being in college. It's actually kinda crazy how FAST spring break ended and responsibility began- the minute I woke up this morning, it was brush teeth/ change/ coffee/ out the house/ to Sproul to get contact list/ on the F to San Francisco/ to work + all the tiny little details that's part of my internship/ nonprofit site visit/ home for dinner/ AYS meeting/ email + reading + essay writing + case meeting

I'm actually really exhausted. Aaaaacccckkkkk.

But anyway. On to better days:

The Shakespeare Garden at the Golden Gate Park is one of the loveliest little walled gardens I've been in- all softly blooming trees and leaf-trodden pathways. There's even a little sun dial in the middle of the path, and there are benches all around.
(This is how we took 20 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the California Academy of Sciences... we are easily distracted people)

The Planeterium was super cool. It's basically a huge Imax theater, and they show this incredible movie on the story of the Big Bang. There's even live commentary in the middle of show to include some of the more up-to-date scientific research, and it's just incredibly magical. I found out today that you had to come at 9am when the center was first opened in order to struggle to get into the Planeterium show! We didn't have to do that- we easily got tickets, but I think it's because we went on a Tuesday, but even then, the theatre was still 5/6th full and the center was by no means empty.

This was possibly my favourite part of the center- it's an actual rainforest in a glass dome in the middle of the center, and they actually heat it up and make it humid such that it REALLY feels like you're in a rainforest. They divide it into 3 layers, and showcase different animals at each level.

In the undergrowth, you get ugly, squelchy animals-

And in the treetop canopy layer you get the gorgeous ones!

It was absolutely magical because there were tons of butterflies and birds flitting about, and they come so near to you. It actually got really, really humid and hot and it felt a little like being back home. Which made me a little sad. Sometimes homesickness just creeps up on you, and there's just this itch between your shoulders that makes it hard to concentrate on anything but the absence of something. It's easier to say that it's "homesickness" when you're far away from home, even though the very concept of home is unstable.

All of this was hiding under the rainforest! I loved how the center integrated everything together. They had huge walls of fish and it was absolutely gorgeous.

The colours of these fish!! The pink and orange one reminded me SO much of the Zara outfits I just posted.

Crazy camouflagey fish. Their skin would turn grainer once they settled into the sand to look like the ground. And their eyes were on the same side of their head (they swam HORIZONTALLY- it was mind blowing)

Teletubbies clearly come out to play on the center's Living Roof.

Ending with a gratuitously happy shot of us in front of fountain between the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young. Going to the California Academy of Sciences felt like going on a primary school field trip- reminded me of how we would take trips to the Discovery Center or the Science Center. Good times.

California Academy of Sciences is at:
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118

$30 for adult admission (unless you're like me with a bright happy shiny green pass. Then you and a guest get in for free. Beams happily to self). I highly recommend you go on a weekday- I went to the de Young on a Sunday and it was RIDICULOUSLY crowded. SF people, stop being so culture-conscious. You should be at home sleeping on a Sunday afternoon instead of out museum-hopping!

Spring Break I: Thoughts

It is technically Monday now (it's 1am), so spring break is officially over, but I'm still trying to cling on to the remaining vestiges of spring break by not going to bed even though I want to be at the office early tomorrow. I've had an absolutely lovely spring break- filled with a lot of very very happy moments (what of spring break that I was actually conscious, that is...) embarking on Bay Area adventures. There were times when I found myself catching my breath, like when we were in the Planeterium at the California Academy of Sciences watching Life: A Cosmic Journey on the Imax screen and all these gorgeous sweeping images of the universe were being shown. Or when we were in Muir Woods, leaping over waterfall streams and dodging trees on the paths, surrounded by these gigantic redwood trees that had seen generations of ambitious, eager, enthusiastic teenagers like us caper around them in the thin sunlight. Or when we were at my first NBA game (!!!!!!) this evening, watching all these lanky basketballers put their lives and fates in the spin of a ball.

Some flowers in the Shakespeare Garden at Golden Gate park- I love this place. More pictures to come of the California Academy of Sciences, Muir Woods, Muir Beach, the Balenciaga and Spain exhibition at the de Young (BREATHTAKING exhibition. Balenciaga's artistry is UNPARALLELED), and the Warriors v. Wizards game at the Oracle Arena!

I love this place. I love the Bay Area. There is so much beauty, and knowledge, and a deep-rootedness of history and past driven forward by technology innovation that makes this place such a oscillating tumble of past and future encased within the tumultous present.

March 24, 2011

Fashion at

By now you should know that I have a crazy abiding love for smart, intellectual, and 'inside' coverage of the fashion industry. I am an avid reader of The Business of Fashion (fawning post about my love for BoF here), the NY Times- Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn, I feel, really intellectualize fashion. They clearly have a love for fabric and fit, and write about fashion in a way that does not diminish the creative force behind the design and the history behind many of the fashion houses.

I also really love the Wall Street Journal's fashion coverage, especially since Anna Wintour is on their April cover!

Image from

Some of my favourite quotes from the article:

Instead, Wintour has an arid sense of humor about her reputation. At a screening of "The Devil Wears Prada," based on a roman à clef by a former Wintour assistant, she wore Prada. During a trip to China last fall, she was asked during a press conference whether she was really like that. "It's true, of course, that I beat all my assistants, lock them in a cupboard and don't pay them," she deadpanned. "She's got an eye-rolling way of laughing at the circus, even while she takes it deadly seriously," says Luhrmann. Wintour herself puts it more simply: "I care deeply about my friends and my family and they know it, but work is work."

"With all the new media outlets out there, with all the noise, a voice of authority and calm like Vogue becomes more important than ever. The more eyes on fashion, the more opinions about fashion, the more exploration of fashion around the world, the better it is for Vogue. Vogue is like Nike or Coca-Cola—this huge global brand. I want to enhance it, I want to protect it, and I want it to be part of the conversation."

Full article here. It speaks for itself, so there is no need for my further commentary except- I have the greatest of respect for Anna Wintour and am very amazed at how much she has achieved!
(They also have an interview with A.P.C.'s founder, Jean Touitou, up on their website now which is worth a read too, if you're like me and covet A.P.C. clothing every season)

p/s I just heard that Cal acceptances went out today, so if you got in, CONGRATULATIONS!! Cal is a GREAT school and I am fervently pro-Cal. If you have any questions (especially if you're a Singaporean who's comparing Berkeley with other schools, specifically Cal v. east coast colleges for economics/ international relations/ business/ english), feel free to ask me here (: I'm so excited for the new freshmen class, especially since the chorale boys all applied this year!! (chorale boys -and you know who you are- tell me how it went!)

Adorable Sherwin-Williams commercials

I spent yesterday sprawled on the couch in my PJs and an oversized sweatshirt. I watched TV basically for 12h straight (and only left the couch to get food from the kitchen or to use the bathroom)- it was the EPITOME of a PJ Day (these days I used to give myself in freshman year, where I would not change out of my PJs and stayed in my room the entire day sleeping, reading, and using my laptop).

I watched tons of reality TV (my love for the Kardashian clan -klan?- and The Hills is well-documented), and styling shows from HGTV, and I kept rewatching these ADORABLE commercials from Sherwin-Williams!

These aren't the actual commercials being aired now, but are the only ones that I could find on Youtube. The latest commercial is in the same vein, but uses hotair balloons and cities/ shadows instead. It is so creative and perfect! (Also- in the second posted video, how amazing is the ribbeting frog?)

Okay well, back to work + backlogged emails. Spring break is SO terrible for me because I have a cough now/ am sick, and it's raining, so I basically have ZERO reason to get out of bed and get work done even though I actually do have work that I need to complete by the end of spring break!! Especially since I'm the type who oscillates between being the most productive person ever and cranking out 2 essays + a bajillion emails + applications in one evening, and the couch potato who literally cannot find the strength to leave the couch, even if it's just walking to the kitchen.

March 23, 2011

Mary-Kate Olsen in Beastly

I had such a great day yesterday- Dan and I went to the California Academy of Sciences (pictures to come, I have billions of butterfly pictures. And albino alligator pictures!), which was super fun. I honestly think that if I had gone to the California Academy of Sciences as a kid I would have been so much more into science. Learnt so much, e.g. that piranhas don't eat human flesh unless you're the only meat source in a pool of shallow water with many piranha. And that they are efficient eaters because they take a bite of flesh and move away so that other piranha buddies can take their place and take bites. Also that the color of piranha skin is practically a dupe for NARS Orgasm blush... They are very pretty fish.

But we also watched Beastly afterwards with our $4.50 Groupon deal, and while it was a pretty cheesy movie with a very improbable storyline, the stellar cast and wardrobe made up for it. Neil Patrick Harris was a very Barney-esque blind guy (i.e. hilarious and awesome), Mary-Kate Olsen was this magical, tiny, swirling witch, and Alex Pettyfer... was just really hot. Which viewers had to constantly acknowledge via his many, many shirtless scenes (not that I'm complaining of course).

I LOVED Mary-Kate Olsen's wardrobe and makeup though.

Loved her darkly rimmed eyes (Jenny Humphrey- WATCH AND LEARN.)

MK Olsen might have been the most fashion-forward witch in the history of witches and I really liked all the little touches of fantastical witchiness (headpieces, feathered outfits, tattoo around eye, textured black clothing). Good inspiration for future Halloween looks.

Images from the Beastly facebook page