Christmas Update!

First off, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY! I spent days writing over 50 cards to send out to all those who signed up for a greeting card! I hope most of you have received it by now. 🙂

December is only time I am able to take a long break from work, so I thought I would get the opportunity to blog and perhaps give a makeover. I ended up going out everyday instead. So much for consistent blogging! *ahem*

And so here’s a a very, very, very long update post instead. It’s a 6-entries-in-1 kinda post. And because it’s going to be such a long entry, here’s a table of content for you to skim through:

Lunch with long-time blogger pals

Started out my break by meeting up with Teddy and Dayna. I’ve known them for years but have never really met them in person. We had a blast camwhoring and chatting about all sorts of things. Teddy took a whopping 100+ pictures of us.

To be fair I took 60+ photos too. Here’s one of mine. Technically it’s taken by Teddy with my camera.
Me, Teddy and Dayna

I was very impressed by Teddy’s photos, so I turned one of his shots into my avatar for all my social networks.

Teddy’s photos also inspired me to get a DSLR too! But as I’ve been proven time and time again, great pictures are never really about the camera. It’s the photographer that matters – and I’m just not very skilled at taking pictures. 🙁

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My 24th Birthday

I chose to spend my 24th birthday with my family this year. Thanks to years of college in Canadaland, I’ve not spent my birthday or Christmas with my parents for more than half a decade. So this year I enjoyed a scrumptious bout of shabu-shabu しゃぶしゃぶ or Japanese hotpot and some quick shopping with the folks.

I also bought a ton presents for myself including a netbook, which I previously wrote about, a new pair of designer shades (for a steal!), a new bag (also for a steal!) and a truck load of new clothes (because I lost a ton of weight! See diet entry for details).

All I’m missing now is a new scent. The perfume I’ve been wearing for the past few years, Ralph Cool has unfortunately been discontinued. But I found the perfect replacement with Salvatore Ferragamo’s Incanto Bliss. It’s just as light, floral and refreshing as the Ralph Cool. It’s also got the same musky base as the Cool. Now to set time and $ aside to buy it… As you can see, I’m quite a cheapskate when it comes to cosmetics; it somehow always feels overpriced to me. Edit: Bought!

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3 months on the Paleolithic Diet

The Caveman Diet has served me well the last 3 months. My eyes have completely returned to normal and my goiter is near non-existent. (I miss having ‘naturally’ large eyes but oh well, health over beauty.) I’ve also lost quite a bit of weight. I used to be a UK size 14-16 (US size 10-12). I’m now a UK size 10-12 (US size 8-10). I’ll start to take in a bit of carbs to maintain my weight when I hit UK size 8 (US size 6) because that was my original size before I developed my thyroid condition. I’m not really into the skinny look that’s so trendy these days. I think real women should have some boobies and booty, but I’ll leave that debate for another day.

I don’t like to plaster my face all over my blog but here’s a photo for inspiration to all those who are making “diet” their new year resolution and those who suffer from a thyroid condition like me. I don’t have full body shots but I think you can tell from my face. Both pictures are taken from a similar angle with a normal point and shoot. I know I wield Photoshop like a mighty sword, but I did not touch-up my face in any way in these photos.
diet result

And it’s really not just about the weight loss. I feel better as a whole and these pictures tell you that too. I’m more energetic than I have ever been in the last decade!

But like I’ve said in my original entry please, please do some research and check with your doctor before you embark on a diet – even if you’re perfectly healthy. My weight has a lot to do with a medical condition, so it may not work the same for you as it did for me.

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Soul Searching with Rollo May

People who have known me well enough or have followed my blog long enough will know that I have a darker, more philosophical, spiritual side to me. I guess it’s in my nature since I’m a sagittarius. The time as come for me to search for myself again. Most other people think of this search as a bout of depression or quarter life crisis or whatever other crisis you’d like to call it, but I’d like to see it as an opportunity to re-affirm who I am.

My last bout of “re-affirmation” was in college. That time Plato and Jean-Jacques Rousseau made me question my moral values. I came out with a new moral understanding thanks to Friedrich Nietzsche.

This time, I think joining the workforce and reading Alain de Botton have forced me to re-evaluate what I want in life and who I am. And with a friend’s recommendation, Rollo May seems to be clearing most of my doubts and questions. I have a feeling this reaffirmation cycle is going to take quite a bit more some time and effort than the last one.

And that’s enough philosophy and psychology on for the year. If you really wanna read my thoughts, you’re always welcome to read my philosophical learning log of sorts at Caution, you might think I’m a lunatic or a neurotic or a psychopath after reading. But it’s okay, I strongly believe that there’s a little bit of crazy in each of us to keep us sane. 🙂

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Christmas Dinner with Singapore Blogosphere

DK organized his annual Christmas gathering for the local blogosphere. We each had to bring a $20 gift to exchange for another attendee. I had a difficult time thinking of what to buy. There were people from all walks of life attending, so gender-specific gifts were out of the question. Chocolates and gift cards were probably going to be too common. I was thinking of getting program that helps you sort out your iTunes, but I forgot the name. (Let me know if you remember!) So I ended up buying a Moleskine instead.

After the gift exchange, I received this funky sports watch, which supposedly helps you recover faster from a rough workout thanks to the negative ions it emits. It’s going to come in helpful since I always fumble for my mp3 player for the time while running on the treadmill. So no more to klutzy fumbling thanks to Cl0udi3‘s very well thought-out gift!

Here’s a group shot I stole from DK’s blog (because mine came out blurry).

And that Paddington Bear is DK’s new best friend. I won’t go into details, but if you’d like to know, read about it at DK’s blog. 😀

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Singing Karaoke!

Asians LOVE Karaoke カラオケ. But since I’m not proficient in Chinese, Korean or Japanese, it’s never been a typical form of entertainment for me. The last time I went to a karaoke joint was in 2004. I went with a few Korean and Japanese high school classmates to a Korean karaoke box in Malaysia. I remember singing all the random English bits to the Korean songs and a few Japanese songs from memory. Quite a strange experience. LOL!

Thanks to Justin, I visited the karaoke box again last night. Had a blast since it’s been a long time since I last sang (outside of the shower). And of course the company was great fun too! We were such an odd bunch for karaoke because we all clearly listen to drastically different music but that just added to all the fun!

It’s a shame I couldn’t find my 十八番 jūhachiban, or in English, the one song you know you can sing well, at the karaoke box. My jūhachiban is Suga Shikao’s Yozora no Mukou [夜空ノムコウ] by the way.

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The rest of my long holiday has been scheduled. I also came up with a brilliant idea for a new layout for Let’s see if I can find time and effort to materialize it.

Okay, the word count for this entry is officially longer than some of my college essays. So that’s it from me for now.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010 to everyone! ♥ Ivy