Week [0628].

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When the entire week feels like a blur you really need to stop yourself and think – hey, wait a second, something is not right. And when you figure out (or when it’s blatantly obvious) why things aren’t the way they should/could be, then you’ve got some trouble on your hands. Or if you’re better at this than I am, then you’ll actually realise that this is a good opportunity for change.

CHANGE. The bane of my existence, the motivation that keeps me going. Change is my friend, one of my best friends, in fact, but if so, then why does it seem so unrealistic to hold its hand?

As a true Taurean, loyalty is my best virtue. It is also my worst enemy sometimes because it makes it difficult for me to know exactly when to let go…

Last weekend I attended my first-ever (and the second-ever) TEDx event in Shanghai. 14 speakers in 6 hours surprisingly flown by, and the variety of topics and enthusiastic speakers were very inspiring indeed. It really is great to see Shanghai participate in something of a global scale, and make its own mark with its calibre of success.  I was also very impressed by the audience, who stayed for the full six- hour event.

So here’s to the last weekend of June. 2013 is now officially half over.

In the meantime…

I’m such a sucker for any “design-your-own” branded product anything. Personalised lip balm, what? Loving Elephantastic and London Calling, of course.

The Tiny Instagram Projector. Genius.

The perfect weekend bag. I want one in every colour!

Needed a refresher this week: How to Manage Creative People.

“It is fine to take from the same well – but not from the same bucket.” China’s copycat habit and its influence on architecture.

Have a sunny weekend!

Photo: Amsterdam, 2013. 
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Week [0614].

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It’s another week and I am way behind on…everything. Just a quick one before I continue on with piles of editing…There is both good and bad in three-day holidays. Good: They make the work week shorter. Bad: They make the work week shorter.

It was during the holiday that I finally managed to see the fantastic Andy Warhol show at the Power Station of Art, which, as a venue, seems promising. I hope this means we’ll be seeing more shows of this scale in Shanghai. For a split second I felt like I was back at the Tate in London, so delightful. More on this show soon, but I definitely discovered a new love in Andy’s cheeky photobooth shots.

In the meantime:

As a Lomography fanatic, I must get this film scanner.

Whenever I need inspiration, I always turn to the stunning portfolios of this Swedish agency.

Ah, oui. Isabel Marant x H&M. November couldn’t come sooner.

Book clutches – yay or nay? Literary-inspired wardrobe goodies.

Ooh la la, I’ve been thinking about you a lot, Paris. (The city, not the person…!)

Have a full-of-daydreams weekend!

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.

 

 

Flâneur.

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“No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner.”

To think, I had bought my copy of Viginia Woolf’s “Street Haunting” years before I knew I would end up in London, albeit temporarily, myself. The beauty of its prose encapsulates the wonder of wandering at best.

Aside from having a personal affinity towards the word “flâneur”, for me, there’s no other way to acquaint myself with a new city than by getting lost, preferably with a camera in tow. Try it. Then get lost again. Go find spots that aren’t in the guidebooks and make them yours. Walk. Just keep walking.  Do it in your own city. I’ve been living in Shanghai for over 6 years and I’m still constantly “getting lost”.

Perhaps all writers romanticise walks. Maybe we possess an additional percentage of curiosity that enables us to look further into otherwise mundane corners and everyday crosswalks. Or that we are comfortable in solitude so that seemingly lonely walks instead become poetic inspiration.

So, go.  Writer’s block, life stress, heartbreak, boredom, whatever it may be. Go walk it off. Start at one point, in place and thought, and keep going until you’ve forgotten what your first point was at all.

 There’s an intersection waiting for you…somewhere.

Have a curious weekend.

Image: Flavorwire.

Rest.

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Difficult to say whether it’s been all work and no play or all play without work…but it’s times like these when the lines are blurred do you stop and consider the one thing that trumps all.

Health.

That’s what I need to tackle and prioritise for the next while.

Despite this, I did sneak out to attend a session at my beloved SILF this weekend. Good to get back in the swing of things and to see some familiar faces in the community.

Hope you all had a restful weekend.

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.

Shelflife: Lit Parade.

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Of all the events in Shanghai, hands down my favourite one is the Shanghai International Literary Festival.

My love for the event began when I was an editor at an entertainment magazine. We would receive stacks of book to review, dates for author interviews, and the roster of talent to introduce to our readers. Our almighty all-access event passes equalled live blogging at each session at the gorgeous Glamour Bar on the Bund. This experience remains a highlight of my editorial career, and it is because of this event that one of my most favorite sounds of Shanghai is now the chime of the Customs House clock.

Over the years I have attended sessions from Gore Vidal, Zadie Smith, Lynn Pan, Nuri Vitacchi, Graham Earnshaw and many more. I still follow Anne Enright’s soft-spoken advice today – “Just sit down and write.” Otherwise it will never get written.

Last year was my first time attending SILF simply as a patron, and I still had a great time hearing about the science of building supertalls from Gensler, and Amy Tan’s candid talk about her life and work. It’s always so nice to be among the like-minded crowd and to feel that camaraderie of the community and love for the art, all out here in China.

I’m off to Europe next week, but it’s nice to have something like the Lit Fest to look forward to coming back to.

Have a cozy weekend!

Photo: Shanghai, 2012.

Stop.

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This past weekend was a reminder to stop. Just stop thinking about the millions of tasks that still need to be ticked off the list, the suitcase that needs to be packed, next issue’s contents that needs to be planned, that extra project I’m working on that has a super tight deadline –  stop stressing about being stressed!

When was the last time I started in one corner of the city (aka a café) and ended up in another (café), with no plans whatsoever?

So on this past sunny Sunday, fueled by good conversation with a pal and a delicious latte from the charming Aroom (photo), we set off to wander through the Former French Concession.  There was happy chatter all around and an obvious energy in everyone’s steps as a reaction to the first signs of spring. Can I also mention the stylish duds that all the DOGS were sporting? Adorable.

The Platanes that line the avenues were still mostly in their winter nakedness, but despite this, we meandered through the streets, discovering cute shops and quaint cafés that have popped up all around town. I spent some time joking with the shopkeeper at the fabulous BrutCake and was excited to see so many up-and-coming designers making their mark on our creative scene.

Now that it’s Monday again, the blues are inevitable when the work week green light says GO. But the great thing is that weekends are always just 5 days away.

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.