Summer Staycation at Disney Explorers Lodge, Hong Kong Disneyland

When we arrived, the first thing that caught my eye was this striking tree in front of the hotel.

The lobby was cavernous! High ceilings and beautiful decor that reminded me of the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World.

I have a thing for antique looking world maps with fun details.

I love how immersive it is – something fun to look at everywhere you turn!

Finally, we reached our room, which was really spacious by Hong Kong standards.

The essentials.

No bathtub, unfortunately, but the shower area was quite roomy, with that special shower feature that I can’t remember the name of at the moment… Rainfall shower head?

Two Queen beds! We napped on separate beds in the afternoon, but at night I wasn’t used to having all that space to myself, and crept into Edwin’s bed shortly after. XD

Can you spot the Mickey motif?

Ending with the view from our window.

The One Thing No One is Talking About in This Photo

So Singapore’s National Day is coming up (9th August), and people are getting ready to celebrate her 52nd birthday. It usually involves putting together a red and white outfit, and recently this picture has been making the rounds on Facebook:

Folks expressed their unhappiness over the choice of models in the photo, seeing that three out of four appear to be Caucasian. They pointed out that it wasn’t an accurate depiction of Singapore’s ethnic composition of “Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Other”, which means that only one of the models should be allowed to look vaguely white.

Whatever your stance is on the issue, take it elsewhere. I’m here to talk about a detail that I noticed just this morning. Now I can never unsee it, and neither should you.

Take a look at their collars:

Don’t see it yet?

Who wears polo tees buttoned all the way up? The woman and girl in the photo, apparently. That’s not how polo tees are usually worn. Sure, the top button wants to feel just as useful as its neighbour, and if that’s really your preference, go right ahead. Maybe both female models really do prefer to wear their tees in that manner.

What I find interesting is that the man and boy are wearing their respective tees the usual way, i.e. doing up just one button. So what we have here is this image – the male models end up exposing a little more neck, while the female models are more covered up.

I could be wrong, but my gut feeling tells me that this was deliberate styling. You know what it looks like to me? This ad is sending a message to us all, saying that women and girls should be modest and cover up at every given opportunity, while men and boys are not subject to the same expectations.

Am I overreacting? Possibly. But it’s not “just an ad”. There are countless ads and images out there that spread a similar message. (Yes, there are also others that have a completely different message, where cleavage is used to sell just about everything, but let’s save that for another argument.)

Most of you reading this will probably think that it’s just how the world works, and being angry about it won’t change anything. But here’s something to think about – people were quick to zoom in on the “whiteness” of the models, but no one has any issues with how the tees are worn differently by the male and female models. Sure, it’s a minor detail when that’s all you’re looking at, but it’s indicative of a bigger picture.

Most people aren’t afraid to call out racism. We know not to use racial slurs, and if someone has made inappropriate comments, they are promptly corrected. On the other hand, sexism is present in our everyday lives, but it isn’t as easily recognised and called out. Policing how women and girls should dress and behave is just one example. We have to sit with our knees together and our skirts can’t be too short. If we attract unwanted attention in public, somehow people think it’s okay to comment that we’re “asking for it”. I could go on and on, but I haven’t got all day.

So next week, when you’re reciting the pledge and thinking about how we’re equal “regardless of race, language, or religion”, don’t forget gender equality too.

What’s in My Bag?

In My BagThis is what you’ll see in my bag on any given day. Is it any wonder why it weighs as though it’s filled with bricks?

Book and glasses

I almost always carry a book with me, and alternate between fiction and non-fiction every month. In July, it was “Body Language: A Practical Guide” by Dr. Glenn Wilson. Right now, I’ve got Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”, which I hope to get started on soon!

Hair ties and bobby pins

These things disappear with alarming regularity, only to reappear in pockets and the washing machine from time to time.

Tissues, plasters (band-aids), and hand sanitiser

Germs are the worst.

Small pouch

For storing just about anything that will fit inside. I can’t tell you just how many times I’ve had to rummage in my bag to find a pack of tissues. Coupled with the urgency of the impending sneeze, it’s not a good place to be in.

Compact mirror

Strange that the days you forget to bring it out are the days you desperately need it. Applies to everything else, really.

Earphones

For watching that funny video on the train without making the other commuters an unwilling audience.

 

Phone

An absolute necessity in today’s world.

Wallet

Ditto.

Umbrella, sunglasses, and folding fan

The weather this summer has been alternating between “scorching hot” and “raining buckets”. How delightful. Wake me up when sweater weather is here!

Tinted lip balm, lip gloss, concealing balm and mini vial of perfume

For touch ups throughout the day, though I don’t really bother unless I’m going somewhere nice in the evening.

Scarf

Shopping malls in Hong Kong could double as walk-in freezers.

Candy

To keep those pesky sugar cravings at bay.

Earrings

Sometimes I take my earrings off in the middle of the day, and then forget to put them back on. It works in my favour because there are also times when I forget to wear earrings when leaving the house, and it’s nice to have a “spare” pair.

10 Ways to Embrace Your Inner Goddess

Hello everyone! This month, I’m taking a break from setting goals, and I’ve decided to do something a little different. The theme for August (and possibly the rest of the year) will be how to embrace one’s inner goddess. Like the studious geek that I am, the library was the first stop for research.

“The Goddess Guide” is a delicious manual full of lifestyle tips (style, beauty, home, travel, joie de vivre) for any woman (or man) seeking to get the most out of life, and that’s where I drew most of my inspiration from, and you’ll see more in the list below. “Naming the Goddess” is a series of essays featuring a myriad of actual goddesses, from Artemis to Kwan Yin to Sekhmet. One of my goals in July was to “embrace spirituality”, and this book is as good a starting point as any. It’s not exactly relevant to today’s post, but I just thought I’d share what’s on my reading list at the moment.

So before you get impatient with my rambling, here are ten ways to embrace your inner goddess:

  1. Get carried away by great works of fiction
  2. Surround yourself with art that you love
  3. Take lots of photographs, capture the beauty around you
  4. Go green
  5. Light a scented candle (or several)
  6. Delight in dark chocolate
  7. Savour breakfast
  8. Take a day off social media from time to time
  9. Invest in luxurious sleepwear
  10. Be mindful of the present

Is there anything you would add to the list? What inspires you? Let me know in the comments below!

Shopping in Singapore: Accessories, Books, and Disney Haul!

No introduction necessary – the title says it all.

Dress and belt from ViVi in Century Square, Tampines. I have to admit that this was a bit of an impulse buy, plus it cost more than what I would normally spend on a dress. Then again, it’s so hard for me to find a dress that fits, so I guess it’s okay. And it has pockets!

Yes, I’m trying to justify my purchase, but I can’t be the only one who does that, right?

Earrings from Lovisa. There aren’t many options for affordable costume jewellery in Hong Kong, so I allow myself the indulgence of getting something from Lovisa every time I’m back in Singapore.

More earrings! These were from Daiso, and so worth the $2. I know that marble-print is a bit of a cliche, but I love it all the same!

There was a massive sale at a bookstore (can’t remember the name – sorry!) where I picked up two books and a box of tarot cards. Edwin initially disapproved getting the tarot cards (deemed “an unnecessary purchase”), so I put them back. I asked him to help settle the payment of the books while I went to the washroom, and later on our way home I found that he had bought the cards as a surprise!

Tsum Tsum makeup bag, can’t remember where I got it from. I’ve since used this for two trips, and it’s great. I don’t know why I’ve been carrying my travel makeup, skincare, and beauty tools in separate small bags this whole time when I could’ve just packed them all into one bigger bag. So much easier!

Alice in Wonderland stationery from Simply Toys at Bugis Junction. There were so many Disney goodies, I was tempted to get them all!

Star Wars stationery that Natasha bought from the same store. We did a “paper exchange”, the way you’d trade stickers with your friends back in school. >.<

More stationery, this time from Daiso. More Wonderland goodness!

Tsum Tsum bathroom mat and quilt from Isetan. The latter almost caused our luggage to burst!

So… that concludes the series of Singapore-related posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed, and see you soon!

Food, Friends, Family

A collection of miscellaneous pictures featuring – what else? – food, friends, and family.

Mother’s Day lunch at Paradise Dynasty, Changi Airport Terminal 3.

Bak Kut Teh. Chef Martin Yan said that soup is the ultimate comfort food, and it’s true.

More soup, this time of the wild mushroom variety, along with tea at TCC.

Dinner with Natasha at Sakae Sushi. The menu’s been changed for the nth time, and many of my favourites are no longer available. This could possibly be my last visit.

After dinner, we had churros for dessert, and talked till the shop closed. The staff had changed out of their uniforms and started not-so-subtly sweeping the area around us.

My favourite Pontian wonton mee.

All desserts taste better when shared with the ones you love.

On afternoons when we didn’t have anything planned (which was rare), we had lunch at the Kopitiam near Edwin’s parents’ home, where we were staying.

Catching up with Frances, who was extremely pleased to find out she wasn’t the only one who carried a fan in her bag. In Hong Kong, it’s not uncommon to see people on the street using folding fans or those USB-charged spinning fans. Apparently in Singapore, aunties are the only people who carry fans, while the rest would rather melt in the heat than look “unglam”. Well, it may not look cool,  but I’d prefer to actually be cool, how ’bout that?

Tiramisu and coffee (hot cocoa in my case) at Da Paolo Gastronomia.

Penang-style char kway teow at Gurney Drive. Of course it just isn’t the same, but I’ll take what I can get.

Ice-cream with Zhenli at Gelare, after our dinner at Fish & Co.

Finally, nasi lemak at the airport before our flight back to Hong Kong!

It should go without saying that I miss everyone (and the food) badly, and I hope to see you all again soon! XOXO, Michelle

Black Nut – Fusion Food and Cocktails

As you may have guessed, I had quite the week in Singapore, meeting up with friends from various circles. On Saturday evening, I had dinner and drinks with my dear friend Zhenbin at Black Nut on Emerald Hill.

Crispy chicken crackling in a ginger flower marinade. Loved that little slaw on top – a little freshness to cut through all that deep-fried goodness!

Har cheong kai, or shrimp paste chicken. One can never have enough fried chicken.

Thin-crust pizza with prosciutto, pineapple, and rocket.

We ordered drinks too, but I forgot to take pictures of them. In any case, you can see that the place was incredibly dim, and taking pictures was a nightmare. Lack of lighting aside, we enjoyed the food very much, and I wouldn’t mind going back to try more of their fusion dishes.

So that’s it for this post, and I hope that my desperate attempts to clear the backlog were at least mildly entertaining. As usual, I’ve got loads more coming up, featuring more food, beauty, and Disney, so stay tuned!

Black Nut
2 Emerald Hill, Singapore
Tel: +65 6738 8818