November 29, 2011

LV and Australian animals

I emerge from the gluttonous depths of Thanksgiving to bring you the most adorable animal sculptures you will ever see. I might be slightly biased because after having worked as an assistant to the sales associates at esteemed Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, anything that contorts these bags that I know sadly too well into adorable squishy animals of Australian descent makes me super excited.

Aaacck I think this is ridiculously creative and is somewhat reminiscent of that math game I used to play as a kid- you know the one where you have to make objects from geometric shapes?

Pictures of our Chicago adventures to come. I had an amazing, amazing time; I was so sad to leave Chicago. I felt like I had stepped back into the Gen that I used to be in JC and everything felt safe and happy and filled with warmth and loving friends again. Not that my life in Berkeley sucks, but sometimes you just need a whole bunch of turkey and a whole bunch of faces you haven't seen in over 3 years to make you feel like a foreign land's surprisingly home.

Images from Fashionista

November 23, 2011

Rules for life

On my way to Chicago LATER TODAY- so excited, too excited! But first, an inspirational wall decal (yes it's a decal!) that I really like, if only because I think "love each other" is something that I've kind of forgotten about, or at least forgotten to express in recent days.


Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! There's always way too much to be thankful for and we always forget, but guess what- I am choosing to be thankful, I am choosing to be joyful, I am choosing to believe that everything will work out perfectly, just because it always has.

Image from UrbanWalls, buy it here

November 22, 2011

Warm and fuzzy

These pictures are making me all warm and woolly on the inside. It's been getting pretty cold here in Berkeleytown, but I know that nothing can compare to Chicago in slightly over a day (!)


The purple backpack that I currently carry to school actually looks exactly like these ones, but I bought them in Hong Kong for obscenely cheap, but I'm really loving how they've styled these. Cold Northern California beaches represent (:

Images from the Hershel Supply Co lookbook via Tomboy Style

November 17, 2011

Thursday music: celebrating California!


In the spirit of Big Game week, I'm celebrating all that is Cal (including an intensely protected history of free speech and the right to protest) with a mellow California-inspired playlist.

1. California One/ Youth and Beauty Brigade by The Decemberists
2. West Coast Friendship by Owl City
3. Maybe California by Tori Amos

It's been a slightly weird couple of days. I see people dancing, making art, planting flowers in the ground (this is literal; people have actually started transporting flowers to campus) on Sproul- there's this sense of exuberance, of hope, that I think this community hasn't seen since Obama was elected. But then I head up to Haas, and- we have counsellors coming to our classes, admin staff coming in with somber faces. In TBG on Wednesday, we had a moment of silence for Chris Travis.

On one hand there's a spirit of artistic, spirited protests; on the other hand I think my gut hasn't caught up with my brain. Today when I walked into the computing center, there was this little clutch in my stomach. Even though I know I am being ludicrous- anyone could have done it. With a gun and enough stress anyone at Haas could have done what he did, including myself. And that is what I think scares me the most, that the space we thought was safe, was sacred, that the people in our classes and in our lives- we don't know them. Not really.

Daily Cal coverage on Occupy Cal
More information on the shooting at Haas

Image from Antenna Farm- thousands of students at a night rally on Sproul on Tuesday as part of Occupy Cal. Also, the opinions expressed in this post are solely my opinions/ my views of the events taking place on campus as a Cal student and Haas undergraduate.

November 15, 2011

Veterans' Day weekend adventures II

That original date that got rained on- that was a trip to Tomales Bay (about 1.5h drive away from Berkeley) to eat oysters. Obviously we just hopped into the car and WENT, without considering that a. one requires tools to open oysters b. one requires a fair amount of dexterity to open oysters


But it's a good thing that Dan (and an extremely nice blond lady who took pity on us) played that role in our excursion, because I was abysmal at it.

Points of note:
1. Be prepared to work for your food! Oyster opening is hard work. I would know, of course, having successfully opened a grand total of 0 oysters
2. Be unafraid to ask for help. We definitely did more than our fair share of asking, but everyone was super sweet and didn't laugh at us (in our faces)! We basically ambled up to the guy selling the oysters and went, "so, what do we do now if we want to eat some of those?"
3. Go with friends. Dan and I were one of the few 2-person groups there and I just felt really sad. Like we had no friends. Which, you know, we do. Really.
4. Have a picnic! The site provides picnic tables and barbeque pits, so there are tons of potential picnicking options. Bring lemon, tabasco sauce, and some beer- we bought some tabasco sauce on site and it's permanent home is now in the car. Because a tabasco sauce emergency might always pop up. Like when you decide to have spur of the moment oyster trips. It could happen.

Tomales Bay Oyster Company
15479 Highway CA-1
Marshall, CA 94940

November 14, 2011

Light

I love these images from the November Urban Outfitters catalogue. They were shot in Finland, and the colours, light, water are absolutely transcendent.

I must believe that whatever happens, happens for a [good] reason. That it's the darkest before the dawn. That things must break in order for newer, better things to take hold. I think the nice thing about pretty pictures is that they remind you that there is still happiness, beauty, light in the world regardless of how you personally feel right now. That there's a bigger world out there, and so much to be thankful for.

November 13, 2011

Veterans' Day weekend adventures I

I'd been planning on having dinner at Flour + Water to celebrate Dan's 21st for the longest time, but our schedules always clashed, and we never found the time to make it all the way to San Francisco for a classy weekend dinner (for over 2 months... yes we are busy people). So when our plans for Veterans' Day fell through (darn rain!), we impetuously decided to have dinner there:


Points of note:
1. Their pasta is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. See excited faces with plates of pasta, and then (bottom-most left picture) FACE OF SADNESS at there being no more pasta to consume. I had the agnolotti dal plin (pasta stuffed with roast beef in a butter nutmeg sauce) and Dan had the saffron chitarra with braised squid, fennel, and chili. Both were unbelievably delicious- they hand make their pasta and you can tell how much thought goes into the food making because the flavours are insane and it's basically a party in your mouth.
2. The portions are teensy (they call it a "middle course"). It was depressing that there was such a limited quantity of such delicious pasta. I'm already planning a return trip, and I think I'll either get the pasta tasting menu ($60. Therefore this is only going to happen once I have an actual paying job), or split 3 pasta choices between 2 people.
3. The food is affordable- we paid ~$60 (pre-tip) for 2 pasta courses, a beer, and a delicious chocolate dessert, which is unthinkably affordable for the quality of the food we had.
4. Be prepared to wait if you don't have a reservation. We turned up at 6.40pm (foolish, foolish children!), and waited for 1.5h to get a table in the dining area. They open at 5.30pm. Go early. The restaurant isn't in the most commercial of districts, so we ended up having drinks at Cafe Gratitude across the road to get out of the cold/ rain (hence the first 2 pictures)- I highly recommend that too if you're waiting for a table.

Flour + Water
2401 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

In other news, I have been so distracted, easily upset, emotionally unhinged these past couple of days and it was driving me up the wall- I was so ashamed of my behaviour and yet there was this intense cognitive dissonance, like Crazy Gen was speaking and doing all these annoying things and Real Gen was trapped behind a glass wall going, "nooo don't do that" but unable to stop anything from happening. I think I'm figuring it out, though. This is what college is all about right? Losing yourself in the crazy process, but then coming to a halt and then hunting back for all the pieces you thought you lost, but really were in reach all along.

Have a great week ahead everyone :)

Sparkly Sunday

Am completely in love with Ban.do's latest crop of pictures for their Fall-Winter accessory line. They are seriously one of the most well-branded companies that I've seen on the internets, and their product shots are always so sparkly and fun.

The thing that caught my eye in the picture, though, was the amazingly sparkly mini dress (yes... I like sparkly things...) which is apparently from Forever 21, but also unfortunately can no longer be found on the F21 site. Big boos, but I've found an equally sparkly replacement from Lulu's (with a gorgeous back) that could serve as acceptable substitute:

Devastatingly enough, I have a feeling the sparkly substitute is a tad too short for me, and thus I BEHOOVE anyone under 5"7 to seize the opportunity to procure that dress on my behalf, and I will sparkle vicariously through you instead. Please send me pictures if you do.

Images from Ban.do via Oh Joy! and Lulu's

November 12, 2011

Once upon a time,

A talented designer named Christian Jackson designed some kick-ass posters recapitulating all the best parts of old fairytales with none of the Disney-added cheesiness.



The colours have that musty, muted quality about them that make these posters perfect for a little Fall purchasing pick-me-up. They represent the best kind of data visualization... and yes, I did just relate these artistic, minimalist posters to consultant speak. I should be shot.

Image from the Christian Jackson website; buy the posters here; via A Cup of Jo

November 11, 2011

Cuddly knits

Berkeley's been absolutely freezing lately. Okay I know, I know, listen to the girl in California whine about the cold- really?! In my defense, I come from a country on the equator and my weak blood has yet to acclimatize to subzero windchill. Yes, even after 3 years and no, I am not ashamed of that.

I basically look like this everyday now:

Except without the cool boots (I want boots like these so bad! Am stalking my local Buffalo Exchange like a complete creeper in the hopes that I will come across some that look as perfectly scuffed as these) and, sigh, the cheekbones.

Image from Stockholm Street Style and dang, those Swedes dress well.

November 9, 2011

What I would purchase with 3.7M

Well, a lot of things, but I'd start (and I guess, end) with Jenna Lyons' Brooklyn townhouse, which is now up for sale following her divorce ):


Seriously love her use of black- that stunning statement wall in her bedroom (I read a blogger describe it as "black walls are like the room giving you a hug"- SO TRUE. A little exaggerated, but the sentiment is true.), the bathtub and that gorgeous pop of mustard with the old-timey showerhead, the yellow striped ceiling (!!!! I die.) There's also a video on Oprah where she talks about her dream job and walks us through her closet. That colour-coded shoe closet kill me everytime.

On a slightly more random note, managerial accounting has completely dissociated me from how large 3.7M actually is because we work with balancing statements and counting for costs with such huge numbers that I have become completely immune to how large 3.7M actually is, and now only think about how much of a pain it is to type 6 zeros into my calculator every time I need to make a calculation. This is potential justification for any large-scale purchases I may or may not have in my near future.

Images via Fashionista

Missing home

Homesickness hits me at the most random of times- seeing images my ex-colleagues post on Facebook, for example, just gets at me sometimes. Or seeing my brother's name blink out on bbm. Or coming across images like this while randomly surfing the internet instead of studying for my microecon midterm on Thursday:


This was my home this summer- I was in this building so many times I knew all the shortcuts by the end of my first month (this is no mean feat seeing as backstage is a thorny maze of confusion and I have zero sense of direction). But looking at these images makes summer seem so far away and I know that it's going to hurt 100x more when I go back and realize how truly alien the building has become to me because I no longer have that shiny pass that beams me into backstage.

These sketches are gorgeous, though. They capture the angularity of lines that always fascinated me about the inside of the Esplanade. I remember standing on the 6th floor at the Rehearsal Studio (way above the top of the escalator on the right sketch) and being super amazed by the way that the lines crisscrossed and held the spiky panes of glass up.

Image from the Urban Sketchers Singapore blog by artist Buzwalker (via Notabilia). Urban Sketchers Singapore also has a book that just came out ($49 SGD), which would be lovely I think as a Christmas gift to someone far away from home (ahem), though, I think, painful as well. It's a little difficult reading that blog because of how all the places sketched seems so darn familiar, and yet at the same time remembering how far away they are and honestly, how it sometimes feels like I can never go back.

November 8, 2011

Sneak peek of Nadinoo Fall

...aaannnddd we're back to regular To Wit programming of lovely clothes, interesting art, gorgeous homes, art reviews, and good music. I've gotten over my weekend breakdown funk; am somewhat steadier and definitely less stressed.

These behind the scenes shots of Nadinoo's new Fall collection are adorable. I need, need, need that blue bird printed shirt! Also, I am having a hard time concentrating on my econ studying and am instead madly [window, unfortunately] shopping online. Boo.


Images from the Nadinoo blog

Poem: Details of the Woods, Richard Siken

Details of the Woods
Richard Siken

I looked at all the trees and didn't know what to do.

A box made out of leaves.
What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn't be inside of someone else.
I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.

From the landscape: a sense of scale.
From the dead: a sense of scale.

I turned my back on the story. A sense of superiority.
Everything casts a shadow.

Your body told me in a dream it's never been afraid of anything.

--
Dear friends (and you know who you are, but- Joel, Jorel, Ems, G, Joan, everyone)- your concern, love, thoughts, care, listening, means the world to me and you have no idea how much I appreciate you in my life. Thank you a thousand times over.

Tomorrow will be a better day because I refuse to be cowed by life. I refuse.

November 5, 2011

Poem: Two Countries, Naomi Shihab Nye

Two Countries
Naomi Shihab Nye


Skin remembers how long the years grow
when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel
of singleness, feather lost from the tail
of a bird, swirling onto a step,
swept away by someone who never saw
it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,
slept by itself, knew how to raise a
see-you-later hand. But skin felt
it was never seen, never known as
a land on the map, nose like a city,
hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque
and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.



--
It is tiring being silent about this. It is cold, and wet, and sometimes it seems as though we are very near, nearly tripping over the brink of never returning to the way that things were.

Review: Desdemona, by Toni Morrison, Rokia Traore, Peter Sellars

Desdemona, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello written by Toni Morrison, music by Rokia Traore, and directed by Peter Sellars. I think I went in with expectations that were way too high—I am a huge fan of Toni Morrison (I have quoted/ referenced Beloved more times than I am comfortable admitting), and Othello is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. There were a few moments in the production that really caught me, but overall I didn’t really see the productive value of turning Morrison’s script into an actual staged production.

November 4, 2011

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red

I am a HUGE fan of Sylvia Plath (yes, I am secretly still an adolescent girl). The first poetry anthology I ever bought was the complete collection of Plath's poetry, the first guy I liked gave me a copy of Ariel, lines from her poetry decorated the front cover of my organizer when I was sixteen; Plath played such a hugely influential role in my adolescence that I actually feel a little guilty now realizing that I haven't read her poetry for some years now. And the news that Mayor Gallery in London is having an exhibition from mid-November to December 16th of Plath's drawings is causing me great distress. This is primarily because I will arriving in London at 7am on December 17th.
):

From what I've managed to glean online, these are my favourites so far:

I love the first especially because according to The Telegraph, they reference a line from The Bell Jar,
“I had removed my patent leather shoes after a while, for they foundered badly in the sand. It pleased me to think they would be perched there on a silver log pointing out to sea, like a sort of soul-compass after I was dead”.
People in London, please go visit this exhibition on my behalf. The sharp lines, the keen detail, the forceful shadows- they remind me exceedingly of one of my favourite Plath poems, Tulips.

Images from the Mayor Gallery

November 3, 2011

Thursday music: for cold days

A cold front has hit the Bay Area- sun and dry heat in late October when the east coast is being beset by snow doesn't seem exactly right, so I'm glad we're back on track with the rest of the country (kind of). I skipped class today (oops) to get all my other work done and to get started on my studying because I've been so exhausted these couple of days. Really cranky and easily stressed out by things that usually just roll off my back. Being too analytical of myself and what I'm doing/ how I'm treating other people and it's driving me crazy. I need to draw a sharp line, carve it out carefully, colour it in, between being self-aware and being self-conscious; I need to let go of things I can't control and draw myself back into the self and what's important.

Music today, the kind of quiet music you curl up listening to with a cup of hot chai latte and a blanket in your nap, and friends around you; quiet talking, quiet singing, quiet being. Right now I'm alone at my desk with my economics homework sprawled out willynilly across the table, and it feels good, feels right. The satisfaction of work well done (yes, I just quoted Heart of Darkness...)

1. Blindsided by Bon Iver
2. I Won't Let You Go by James Morrison
3. Fidelity by Regina Spektor (this music video is perfection)

I would also add a ton of Morten Lauridsen to this list, but I've already fan girled about him sufficiently ;)

November 2, 2011

And away we goooo

It's that time of the semester where the second round of midterms are rolling in (again, the question I always ask myself: "mid" by definition is "middle" so how can there be TWO middles to the term?!) and I've basically checked out for a mental vacation break.

Here's where I'm REALLY at:
Time, hasten to winter break! Decadent European adventures await me in your lovely paper cut streets and charmingly delicate transportation systems!!

London and Paris paper cuts by Famille Summerbelle, via Oh Joy!

November 1, 2011

Interesting people doing interesting things: Berny Tan

This interview is extremely belated- I had the privilege of speaking to Berny when I was back in Singapore almost 3 months ago (!), and have only now found the time to do our interview justice on my blog. Berny is the incredible curator behind the PLACE art exhibition held in July (my review of the exhibition here), and is also an incredible graphic designer and all-round artistic, creative person. Our conversation about inspiration, place, curation, and the oddness of never quite leaving home:

What inspires you?
[We had a long discussion about whether or not this question meant inspiration “as an artist” or inspiration “in life,” we came to a happy in-between of the two.]
I draw a lot of inspiration from negative emotions, which push me to want to create. For my piece in PLACE, it was an idea of starting with the destructed [her piece in PLACE started with an image of paint peeling off an old wall], and then making a positive out of a negative. I am inspired by the sad and depressing things, but using them to create. I am also inspired by urban spaces—more formalistically though. Urban spaces are where I can get imagery from. I like looking at urban spaces more than trees, for example, though it is nice that Singapore has so many trees. Buildings, especially aging buildings—they literally represent surroundings and people. I take everything that happens in life and see what comes out of it. I can identify how something that happened in my life is reflected in every component of my work. It's a form of situational awareness. My friends call me an emo person, but really, I try to draw as much positivity out of any situation.

What is 1 thing in your room that encapsulates who you are right now?
My room is very messy now…and I am always wary of using objects to fully describe myself. But I think luggage, because I am leaving [for New York] in 3 weeks. It’s not in the sense of lostness or being in transit, but the knowledge that I am dividing my time and myself between Singapore and New York. I feel like a very different person in each place. Here, I feel at home. New York has a lot of stuff going on, exciting art related things, but—each place has its negative and positive points, but it really is just a sense that I am dividing my life between these two places. When I come home to Singapore, I feel like I have never left; I become who I was previously.

What does PLACE mean to you?
It is being aware of the surroundings, being aware of myself in those surroundings. Knowing what home feels like—understanding that it is in Singapore that I feel the most at home at. Knowing home, and knowing who in my life I can depend on.

What are some of the challenges in curating an exhibition?
I am new to curating, and especially because I am one of the artists, I had a tendency not to be decisive. As the curator, I had to maintain a clear mind, pinpoint problems and solutions, and voice that out. I had to be able to take charge of the situation and not let things slide—I feel like it’s my duty as a curator to be a support system to the artists, and to assist in making each person’s work as close to their artistic vision as possible. PLACE wasn’t a show of ready-made works. There was a lot of collaboration and creation specifically for the show, and I felt like I had to be in service of that idea rather than find a framework to fit the works into.

What’s your favourite colour and why?
It used to be orange and now it’s grey—take that in whatever light you’d prefer. I got very into grey in JC, and it’s not out of any cheesy life lessons about the grey areas in life, but because it is neutral and yet somber. My friends all know I love buying grey and drapey clothes! "I think I just looked at all these people wearing only black and wanted to wear monochrome in a different way. I wanted to wear monochrome in a different way. I like grey’s neutral quality; that it is very quiet but also very expressive. Okay, many deep thoughts about grey, but—it’s just grey actually.

Could you create a How-To manual for anyone who wants to curate an exhibition in Singapore?

Thank you, Berny! I will visit you in New York soon hopefully, and I hope you are keeping warm over in the snow-trodden east coast!

This interview is part of a series called Interesting People Doing Interesting Things. This unwiedly name nevertheless belies the many truly interesting things that people my age, on the cusp of adulthood at 21, are doing in Singapore and around the world. The first person to be profiled was the theater producer wunderkind Walter Wong. If you'd like to be profiled or know someone doing cool stuff, feel free to drop me an email at hello.towit@gmail.com!