128 Phoenix's Song

My bags are split into two categories: those able to fit an umbrella, but otherwise normally too bulky to carry around; and those unable to, but small and versatile enough to take with me around town. Thanks to the Kenix clutch, I think I've found the perfect middle ground! I might be bringing this cobalt beauty with me when I go Thailand in a few weeks (HELL YEAH)... It perfectly suits the style I've been hankering after since my exams ended: high-waist shorts, tucked in button-ups, and canvas loafers: a mix of Taylor Swift, the 50s, and Mata Mata

Read my review of the clutch here

127 The Railway Children

This began as a dream. I dreamt I was part of a rowdy crowd of 'railway children' who lived at the bottom of a mountain, and watched daily as the train bearing food and other goods wound its way up to the mysterious people at the top, like a dragon feeding its children. When I awoke I thought it would be a good story to write for my cousin, who is around four or five and fascinated with trains, but then I wrote this. It's hard to write for a child, and hard to write anything beyond such a short piece when you know nuts about trains, so here's all I have at the moment.

It came in the night.

We were not immediately aware of it, only of the smoke that filled the whole house from corner to corner, and of the unfamiliar sound outside the windows, rather like a deep-throated, phlegmatic coughing, which echoed the little ones’ coughs when the smoke got into their lungs. One within, one without.

“The dragon has awoken,” we heard Grandmother tell Mother.

We ran outside the minute we were allowed to and realized that the sounds were not so much coughing as a chugga-chugg-chugg, and that the smoke came from a shiny red dragon. It lay curled around the new building which the men had been working on for weeks. Its tail lay beyond our reach, but at its head were two glittering, empty eyes.

At eleven the whistles went.

As children of the mountain we are used to noises. The men sing and shout when they work in the fields. The women have their chatter as they hang out the laundry and chastise children. We children ourselves have our roars and yells, particularly as we scuffle in the dirt. But this shrill whistling was new.

It stopped shortly after. The men who had been surrounding the dragon stepped back and it roared into life. The smoke blew more biliously than ever, and it seemed to rise taut on its heels before slowly inching forward, gaining steam.

We were far from it, but stepped back all the same.

We watched as the dragon uncurled itself and went snaking up the mountain. It was so long it took a while before the tail whipped out of sight, and even then we saw the smoke trails winding their way through the trees, down to us. The coughing sound which we had come to attribute to the dragon still rang in our ears. It was close to noon, and the men were heading back to their homes, wiping their foreheads.

“Stop staring and come in for lunch, children,” Mother called. And that was that.

126 Monochrome + Mint

I was instantly smitten by Diane Kruger's choice to pair her black and white dress with a slew of pastel accessories: mint heels, pink clutch and pink nails. Guess my excitement with Naomie Harris stepped out two nights in a row with similarly matched looks! I used to own a pair of mint blue heels, but gave them away eventually: I think I might've outgrown them (literally) (a rare occurrence, but then again I guess our feet do grow a little every now and then). Now I'm tempted to buy a pair of coloured heels just for that extra pop to outfits; I'm weaning away from my Kate Middleton maxim of "nude heels go with everything" and starting to think, Why settle for something that goes with your outfit? Why not something that pops against it?

125 Entangled

FYI: I have a long list of fashion spreads like this one that I wanted to make since my preparation for the exams started, and I don't want to spam the blog with them while I have the drive to make them all at one go, so I'll be setting them on a queue.

I couldn't help but notice a trend between these three beautiful looks: the use of floral mesh to create an intriguing take on the fit-and-flare dress. I particularly like how a dichotomy is created between the mesh and the inner lining. Simply sheer, it's a trend that wears out after a while, but the placement of floral embroidery immediately makes the look as fresh as a bouquet.

I'm particularly taken by how Emmy Rossum chose to complement the print on hers with a bright satin clutch. Definitely an idea for my floral dresses, and for my upcoming trip to Bangkok: I'll have to start compiling a wishlist soon!

124 The Midi Skirt: Reloaded

View entire collection on Polyvore here.
So, after my last post on midi skirts, I have since accumulated two more. (*Four more, if you count the fact that my mum subsequently ordered the same two in bigger sizes that I can still hitch myself into with the help of a belt.) The midi skirt was already a big player in my closet, after the knee-length flared skirt, but mostly in printed varieties: one of my favourites is my first ever New Look purchase, a 'Monet circle skirt' with impressionist boat images (a then exhorbitant $33 buy, justified by its structure and versatility); followed by a cream lace midi my mum bought by proxy in Bangkok, which was discovered to be slightly less than 12.5" at the waist and hence only suitable for days when I don't eat much (though it's flattering to think that, when I'm not around, my mum thinks my waist is that tiny).

Now, I'm glad to see the preponderance of the high-waisted, plain midi skirt. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, with her light blue midi skirt, wide belt, and sleeves rolled up to the upper arm. A for Arcade's Leighton Midi was my first obsession, and still kind of is: I would've gotten all four colours if I could, only (a) I don't wear black, (b) I've had bad experiences with the colour 'peppermint', and (c) my mum already owns the tangerine colour. Then, after seeing this review on Best of Shopping, we eagerly proceeded to cart out Genie in a Closet's Nelly midi in both navy and black (navy for me, black for Mum). They are due to arrive via BO on the 4th of December, and I can't wait till then!

Above are four different ways I would style the midi skirt. My first weekend outfit after the end of the exams would be closest to the first: Love Kaisy's Fion top, in baby blue, paired with the Leighton midi in cobalt (see the pairing here); while my go-to smart casual outfit would probably be closest to the second: a white button-up shirt paired with, perhaps, the Nellie midi when it arrives.

Speaking of 'middles':

On the personal front, life after A levels has been frenzied and fun. I can't believe I no longer have to guilt trip myself about taking breaks and doing things I love (like making Polyvore sets). Here's a quick breakdown of what my first three days of freedom have been like:

Thursday (day of the last paper | first day of freedom)

  • Changed into the happiest, brightest dress I could find and took a bus to Orchard
  • Bought a book (Longbourn, by Jo Baker), an anthology (Love and Misadventure, by Lang Leav), and a magazine (InStyle's December edition: always one to watch for the Style 100) from Kinokuniya
  • Browsed through all my old favourite haunts and had a late lunch with Mum
  • Started on Longbourn the minute I got home
Friday (TGIF indeed!)
  • Woke up late, and decided impromptu to catch Hunger Games: Catching Fire with my brothers
  • Both the sibling bonding time and the movie proved to be extremely satisfying (the second novel was my favourite of the trilogy, after all)
  • Went to see Bolshoi Ballet's Swan Lake at the Esplanade in the evening. Bought the tickets months ago and was SO STOKED to cross this off my bucket list. Choreography was underwhelming, to say the least, but the Russians' ballon and, needless to say, ARCHES are amazing. Kudos to the men in particular, I felt, for carrying off such spectacular jumps! 
  • Stayed up till 1.30AM to finish Longbourn. I am so glad it's going to be made into a movie!!
  • Browsed the Internet till mid afternoon, then went for an hour's swim with my dad. It's been two years since I last swam, can you believe it? I forgot how awful chlorine tastes, though. 
Needless to say, it's been three days of things I absolutely love: books, ballet, and fashion. It's good to be back!


Ahhh, I've been waiting to do this GIF since forever. One photo after every exam, and it all adds up.
Sorry if I'm a little incoherent, I'm kind of numbly happy! My exams are finally over!

Here's a quote that struck me from the calendar: "May He enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope His call holds for you." This is amazing, for me. It reminds me that His call may not be the call I hear right now, and that, most importantly, you do not need qualifications to be the kind of person God wants you to be. You can be a virtuous, wholly good person, who brings light to everyone's days, and never leaves someone without making them smile, without acing every exam. This brings new meaning to "You are alright". I have to remind myself daily that God gave each of us talents, and not all of them can be used in the same way. We can only hope that each of us can use our God-given talents to further His goals of love, faith, and hope in the community; and thus my long-term goal for myself must not be, come March, to expect accolades but to use whatever grades that slip of paper may bring to make my life and that of those around me better.

122 Almost... There...

One more exam to liberation. I've got tomorrow off as a study break, but in the meantime, these two beauties came in the mail! I must commend Love Kaisy and Lollyrouge for their prompt service- I only ordered these on Friday, I think! (Lollyrouge on Thursday night, in between studying desperately for Lit Paper 3, but anyway...)
On a more personal front... I've finally got Instagram! Click on the link in the caption below to view my profile. 
Follow me!
I'm a total noob at this, though I've wanted to get IG for ages, so bear with me while I get my bearings (harhar, look, a pun of sorts). I really want to pursue the whole style blog/OOTD thing, and justifying the seeming invasion of privacy by acknowledging, finally, that no matter how academic the avenue I choose to tread from now, style and fashion will always be an integral, important part of me, and creating a style blog will be a fun way for me to process and track that. 

/The leotard in the picture above is from The Dance Chapter: their Paige Leotard is only the second gift I've won in a giveaway since I can remember (unless you count this clock I got in a lucky draw when I was a kid) (and I heard everyone won something so it doesn't count) It's so Grace Kelly and Diane Kruger  that I shamelessly took some selfies trying to capture its elegance. It's been a while since I practised my port de bras... 

I'm debating between the one above and the one below as my favourite:

121 Middle of the End

Or middle of the bend?
Just a mild update to let you guys know I am still alive and, thankfully, more than halfway through my papers. Just three papers and two subjects to go-- six days-- and I'll be F.R.E.E.!!

Credit: Alexandra Sophie Photography
Also, Aaron Tveit is my latest obsession.

If singing's not your thing, check out Tom Hiddleston dancing.

And, for good measure, let's hope the other candidates and I will 'get Loki':

120 We've been here before, haven't we?

1280 x 800
1280 x 800
A few inspirational words to get you through, if you, like me, are facing a long and tough road ahead. Not that long, admittedly -in 2 weeks I'll be scot-free- but it's as tough as I've ever faced. The last two are big enough for desktop backgrounds: the last one's my current favourite, as it perks up my day :)

Also updated my blackboard to a scoreboard of sorts:
After I came home today I realized I'd forgotten to include a whole lot of theories for one of my essays and misspelled an important philosopher's name... as well as the word "amassed". Plus, facing many sleepless nights ahead, as last night's tossing and turning testified. If you have any fail-safe tips for sleeping well, do share them!!

119 We Can Do This.

Aside from my excitement at trying out the stained glass edit tool on Photoshop (I'm such a kid) (how can I not have discovered this earlier?!)... here's one of my favourite quotes from the Bible, one that I repeat to myself when I get very stressed about the weeks ahead. It reminds me to keep track of the bigger picture, and keep calm.

Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Keep the faith.
-Adapted from the wise words of St. Paul

118 Looking for something I've never seen

(Today’s been another sticks-and-stones day) 
I fold my bones against the lashings of the wind 
I wonder if after the storm I’ll find you in the quiet, 
And in the hollows of your throat, 
In the recesses of your heart, 
I will find an alcove in which to hang my own
And take refuge against the rain. 
I was confronted by a most ferocious rainstorm today when going home from a consultation session and felt all alone and vulnerable, particularly when my brand new umbrella decided to fold itself against me with a rather defeatist squeak. What else to do? I wrote a poem.

117 Melanie, Melanie

It seems I have a fetish for white skirts: when I was in primary school, I spotted a similarly pleated white skirt and wore it to school for CNY, telling my mum excitedly, "Doesn't it look like I'm wearing the Nanyang school skirt?!" And now that I've graduated... old leopards don't change their spots.
Read my review of Missypixie's Melanie skirt here.

116 Admin Note: Ads

Hi everyone,

Just so you know, I've put a Dressabelle ad at the bottom of this page. (It's a pretty large banner and I didn't want it getting in the way of your reading, hence its position!)

What happens is, if you click on the ad to get to the website, and make an order within 30 days of clicking the ad, I'll get commission as part of their Affiliate Programme. You won't have to pay extra. It's a win-win situation! (Plus, you'll help this low-on-budget, high-on-fashion student earn some extra money.)

I have ordered a few times from Dressabelle before, for both my Mum and I. It's one of our few Mum Approved blogshops for their sizes, designs, and pricing. You can read my previous post on Dressabelle here.

Please click and order away! I promise you won't regret it. Now if only the skirt I'd been eyeing hadn't sold out...

115 Home is where your heart is set in stone.

It's midnight. I ought to have been in bed -or, at least, packing up my notes strewn on the floor in preparation for bedtime- about half an hour ago.

(I ought to have finished my mindmaps for the chapter of Economics I'm currently on. Only a few more pages to go, but I got delayed.)

I got delayed by five minutes watching a video the Nanyang teachers compiled for this year's graduating batch, and then by another ten minutes as I dawdled about what to write in the description when I 'shared' it on Facebook. I wrote and backspaced many times and sometimes stopped to think, "Should I just make this a blogpost?!"

I made it to a concise enough description in the end, but clearly decided on posting a blog post of my thoughts anyway. A fair warning that these are sleepy thoughts and incoherent words:

Someone once said (I'm going to refer quite often to these anonymous geniuses henceforth, who have said quite nicely everything I feel) that we never step in the same river twice. That when we say goodbye to a place, we are saying goodbye to who we met-- and who we were. (And, arguably, our memories; for even our memories become tainted with time, and we are no longer sure what really happened.)

When I said goodbye to Nanyang two years ago, I didn't really mean it. It was like what I imagine children would feel like, saying goodbye to their parents as they left for the 'last time', keys in hand to the new place, the independent launchpad. (The school across the bridge certainly felt like that, a tantalizing new horizon around the corner from which we would become birds, fully-fledged to fly.) Then the children come back, first for forgotten trinkets, then, over the years, to ask for advice and to pay tribute.

You see, it's never really goodbye. I felt that if I was going to see my classmates around the corner everywhere in school, there wasn't much point in saying proper goodbyes. In fact, it would be mighty awkward if you confessed mushy forever friendships, only to see each other within a month like nothing happened. So I didn't, I refrained; in my heart I thought everything would be the same. (Hey, a half-rhyme.)

But two years have passed, and inextricably, I have changed. Nanyang has changed. My classmates have changed. I reflect on this with a modicum of sadness, because sometimes I don't know if I'd still like to be the person I was when I graduated-- and if I do, what does that attribute to the two years spent since? When I watched the video, my first thought was, I don't recognize anyone. Have we hired that many new teachers?

But as the video concluded, I found myself oddly emotional and maybe a little teary-eyed, which is odd because This does not happen when you watch a video of strangers! Then I realized: I may not recognize the actors, but I know the script. I know this place, I know this feeling. And I realized that no matter what bridges have been burnt and however far the distance that has grown between my 'pillow sack' and I, I have not and will not graduate from the character Nanyang built in me.

One of my teachers gave me a copy of The Little Prince in secondary 1. Inscribed in the cover was a quote from the Fox: "What is essential is invisible to the eye." And this is something I have kept close to my heart since. I am proud when people tell me, "You're such a Nanyang girl." For all its negative connotations (for some), for me it signifies humility, simplicity, diligence, prudence, resilience, and a commitment to what is good and lasting over what is transient.

We build our own homes. I have planted my flags, however carelessly, and some places have planted their flags in me. They are here to stay. Watching the video felt like returning to a childhood home and finding my voice still echoing in its halls. Like Hogwarts, Nanyang "will always be there to welcome you home."