May 31, 2011

Party inspiration- chairs

One of the main reasons why I chose to go back home this summer instead of fighting it out for an internship here is that I'll be celebrating my 21st in July, and my mum will be celebrating her 50th- now I'm regretting it a little, leaving Berkeley, because it means that I'll be 3 months away from Dan, and even though yes it is a little silly that I'm so upset about this when we've been apart from each other for longer/ when it was more stressful (e.g. when he was pledging a business fraternity and I was first starting out managing CREATE and stressed out of my mind). But anyway to cheer myself up/ take my mind off leaving in 3 days, I've been sourcing inspiration for my 21st party. I'm hell bent on having a dinner party at a unique location, with long tables, sparkly lights, candles, and tons and tons of flowers and dessert, but it's been such an uphill battle finding chairs!

Sorry, friends, for my constant rants these past days about chairs and the lack thereof of decently priced chair rentals in Singapore- red PVC is seriously not a good look. Some of the chairs that I've been dying to have are from Found, a vintage rental furniture company in SoCal:

All images from the Found website- what a great company! I am super sad that we don't have something like this in Singapore, sigh.

I love the seafoam green, the chippy paint, the rusticness of it all- I'm thinking of bringing in benches and cushions (instead of just chairs). It is a little excessive for a small dinner party for less than 30, but it is my 21st and I want it to completely reflect who I am. I think that people tend to overlook chairs and tables and focus exclusively on centerpieces and table settings when decorating for parties, but furniture is also SUPER important and I know that the entire look of the party would be ruined if I used white PVC rental chairs and plastic table cloths.

I've also learnt in recent years the importance of STICKING TO YOUR VISION and not compromising on important details (like chairs and location)- I'm usually very easily swayed by others even though I have a clear vision [in my head], so I'm documenting my thoughts and inspirations for this party through my blog so that I can always look back when I'm making decisions and stand firm!!

Yes, that was code for "Gen is extremely OCD and obsessively anal, and this blog will be documenting the thought processes of extreme detail orientedness." Is this normal? Serious question, but I'm having loads of fun sourcing inspiration online and I am determined to make this work.

May 29, 2011

"Your father, the goose?"

I am very bad at dealing with change, and it's hard to pack up an entire college sophomore year in a couple of boxes and suitcases and pray for the best. I walked into Dawn's completely empty room yesterday and felt incredibly, ridiculously sad because it does feel like the end of a chapter- we're all moving out of Benvenue and it's going to be different, so different. I am terrible at this, this moving away and moving on, not just moving out, but I always want to cling on to moments that seem to flee by all too quickly.

After Kungfu Panda 2... I love photo booths, but they should seriously make them larger. Or we should stop eating so much Ici's.

3 more days until I move into my new apartment, and 4 more days until I leave Berkeley for 3 months. Our apartment looks so empty now, and I'm packing up my suitcase for home. I can't imagine what going home will be like after so long (I haven't been back for over a year now), and being around family who love you and coddle you and take care of you all the time. I remember having the worst second semester at Cal, and then crying on the flight back to Berkeley and really wanting to give Berkeley up to stay back home, but I stuck it out and I've never been happier or more fulfilled- it is hard, to give up this new Gen, to give up the independence that I have wanted for so long. I don't know if I can slip back into the Gen I used to be, or if I even should be trying to do so. Onward and upward, onward and upward, but I keep wanting things to remain the same when I know they never can be.

May 27, 2011

A Tea Party for Old Men- 20th birthday party lookback

Sorry, friends around me. I've been obsessed with planning for my 21st party for the past few days and so all I can talk about is: Why do I have to pay to put a table on a strip of grass/ sand? Why are chair rentals in Singapore so damned expensive and ugly? Seriously, must I hit someone or spend $50 on a phone call to get some answers from location managers??

I think I will make a terrible party planner because I will drive everyone mad with my capricious whims, ridiculous ideas, and constant need for relative perfection :/ Decided to gain some perspective (and okay, this is just my 21st not my wedding. Even though I guess a 21st can never be repeated but a wedding technically can be) by remembering last year's party! I was really into moustaches and wanted to make everyone wear one, so I decided to hold a Tea Party for Old Men at my favorite (pseudo) coffee shop, Ya Kun. Plus I felt really old not being a teenager anymore, and so thought that it was appropriate- my mother thought I was crazy but she chuckled politely everytime I showed her my newest moustache-related party collateral, which I appreciate.

I declared myself the birthday king. It was pretty awesome being royal.
Sceptre of power and purple foam crown from Art Friend in Takashimaya

I made the moustaches by creating a moustache template on Photoshop, then cutting them out from black foam pieces and sticking them on thick chopsticks with black duct tape.
I got all my supplies from my house. No, I do not know why my parents have hoarded duct tape and no, I do not wish to know why either.

I Google Imaged pictures of old men including our beloved LKY and my hilarious grandfather, who was extremely confused why I wanted to dress up like a boy for my birthday and borrow his old glasses. He was so adorable about the whole event and wanted to lend me his wifebeater and one of his Crocodile polo t-shirts so that I could "look like [him], you want my glasses? When you wear it you cannot see! Like me!"

My friends wrote notes on them and stuck them into the floral foam on the table- which was my sneaky way of making sure that everyone wrote me a note for my birthday because I love notes/ letters/ cards and nobody seems to handwrite notes anymore ): This was just cardstock and toothpicks.

Because people had a choice of toasts, I made little toast toppers with little moustaches I cut into circles and taped it to small toothpicks so that no one would get a wrong order by accident.

Even my dad and mom got into it, which was hilarious.

Seeing all these familiar/ happy faces again make me miss them a lot ):
I held my party at the Ya Kun at Orchard Central, but if I could re-do it I would hold it somewhere more authentically kopitiam, because the Orchard Central Ya Kun had all these modernised features that distracted from the theme of the party! I had a lot of fun though, and would have spent more time planning (I pulled a lot of the details together at the very last minute and didn't delegate tasks very effectively or conveyed start times very well)- which is why I'm starting the planning for my 21st party a lot earlier this year i.e. NOW. So get ready for tons of 21st birthday party inspiration coming up on this blog- and when I mean tons, I really mean it; I just scanned in a billion pages of old Anthropologie catalogues. I love parties!

May 26, 2011

Driving down the 101, California, here we come~

Last Friday at 6pm, we decided to drive down to L.A. for the weekend.
Last Friday at 11pm, we decided to go over to A's to play beer pong, where I made our L.A. driver (Daniel, the long-suffering) drink all the beer (this was also the occasion where I discovered amazing athletic prowess. I maintain that beer pong is a sport!!)
Last Friday at 2am, we left A's and headed home to bed, where we found an even more drunk Dawn in the kitchen attempting to pop popcorn.

Last Saturday at 5am, we left for L.A.

Yes, we are insane. But yes, it was amazing.

Dawn and I doing the Homer dance of triumph at 5am!

Okay fine we didn't take the CA-101 (props if you know what song and what T.V. show I'm referencing!!) but the I-5 and the drivers on this freeway are ridiculous. We were driving at 90 and we were one of the slowest cars on the freeway. That is indeed miles per hour.

It was really gorgeous though, watching the sky unfurl. We drove in darkness for maybe half an hour before the sun started stretching up, and passing cars along the roads felt like we were in a secret club of crazy people who get up too early to do stupid things like drive 7h to L.A.- I fell asleep on the way there and when I woke up we were at an In-and-Out drive-through. Food + sleep + crazy music = best time ever.

We stopped over in Westwood, LA to visit one of my favorite museums

The gardens are in full bloom now and the view is stunningly beautiful- all of L.A. laid out before you, just waiting to be explored and discovered and loved. I think that L.A. is a difficult city to love though, it's too sprawling and dispersed and too wide to truly fall in love with all of the city, but we weren't there for the city but for Newport Beach-

Too gorgeous. The sun was beautiful and the sky/ sea seemed to go on forever in this eternal blueness. A very pure kind of blueness, you know, like if blue were to be defined this would be how one defined it pictorially. Being at Newport was like all the stress of the semester never happened, all the tears and irritation and frustration of the semester were irrelevant- I honestly don't know how people can live in Newport and not be happy 24/7 because it is such a resoundingly beautiful place. Maybe this is how being on Prozac feels like? The sun was a little too hot and I couldn't really see very well but still I walked around in a haze of beachy happiness.

We stayed at Long Beach for the night, and the 2nd street promenade had these really interesting street art where they painted shadows on the floor. It was really interesting to see how different cities bring in art among city architecture and I think Long Beach does a really cute job.

The next morning we went to the farmer's market across the street for free pre-breakfast (i.e., fruit samples from farmers... berries, Fuji apples, peaches, ohhhh)
And then we drove over an hour to get chicken and waffles for breakfast.

Ridiculously good. If I lived in Hollywood I would go to Roscoe's everyday (and gain 100 pounds in the process, but what's a little weight in the face of gastronomic goodness? The guy who invented this combination should win some sort of Nobel prize.)

Cupcakes for desert!

On our way back up the CA-1, we decided to (illegally) park by the side of the freeway and climb up a sand mountain

Midway up, Dawn and Dan decide to do the Homer dance in front of all the cars driving up the CA-1 to great success. I love the CA-1, the views from the freeway are so amazing.

Plus if you swerve 3 lanes across off the freeway like we recklessly did, there are small fruit stands by the side selling the most delicious strawberries in the world. Farmers are the chillest people I have ever met- he offered us a handful of cherries to take along and kept laughing at us because we gave him $5 in change, "No no I like change a lot don't apologize! Coins are good!"

One of the best trips I've been on, with two of the best friends anyone could ever have.

Almost made me wish that I lived in SoCal. Almost.

May 24, 2011

UC Botanical Gardens

The weather has been so gorgeous the past few days and I have felt this overwhelming lethargy- I ignore my gmail (this is why I haven't been replying emails, guys, I'm sorry, I've been ignoring the internet), ignore Facebook messages- all I want to do is sleep and watch mindless TV.

I have realized that I am slowly becoming my mother (except more lazy, because my mother is superhumanly busy and gets everything done; I honestly don't know how she does it). It's a little scary, but nice at the same time because even though my mother is far away and I never get to hang out with her now, I still have a little bit of her with me always. People say that I look exactly like her when she was younger, and that used to bother me a lot- the replicating of genes through the generations that makes me a copy of a copy (yes, very Baudrillard indeed), never original but always duplicating. Now it just makes me wonder, when she looks at me, does she remember her younger self? When she sees me pursuing my dreams, does she remember her pursuit? Does she think that we are copies, and our minds and dreams and hopes can map onto each other, like a replay of life but in someone else's body? I don't think I'd make a good mother because I'd scare my child with thoughts like this.

I've been so drawn to flowers lately, which is something that I always associate with my mother. When we were younger, she used to make us hike Macritchie Reservoir all the time, and I used to complain, ew, the mud is making my shoes dirty; please, can we sit down; the roots are so disgusting; is that a duck?? And my mother would push us forward and give us water and my brother and I would trip over the exposed roots and continue marching on. These days, I make Daniel go with me to places like Muir Woods, and we recently went to the UC Botanical Gardens:

It was absolutely gorgeous

I am obsessed with succulents. I want to get small pots of them and put them next to my bed next semester, because our new apartment has these gorgeous big windows that look out over Catholic church from across the street, and the sunlight just pours in. I am so excited.

They had a beautiful rose garden at the very top as well

Strawberry Creek also runs through the gardens, and they have really gorgeous water plants and details

And huge fields that we frolicked around in

It was such a gorgeous day, and the plants are absolutely gorgeous. It's free for UC students and faculty, and $9 for general admission, so I definitely recommend Cal students to go visit the gardens. It was a little overwhelming, to be honest, so very large and the colors are so big and vibrant and larger than life, and the gardens sprawl across the Berkeley hills in this gorgeously haphazard way. The sun was incredibly bright and everything felt too intense, too beautiful. The H comes here, and it stops by the bus stop by Evans, so it's really easy to get here and I want to pop by next Fall between classes. It's just, very quiet, very peaceful, very high up in the hills so the bay stretches before you and if you reach out your fingers you can maybe touch San Francisco. Can't really believe places like this exist in tandem with the academically hectic Cal world, but so very glad that they do.