Week [0802].

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Hello, August…

And the theme of this week is…BIG.

It was announced last Sunday that our mother company will be joining with another industry big-wig in a “megamerger”.  So, we are now a family of 130,000 global employees (!). Wow. We haven’t really felt the effect in China yet, but let’s wait and see.

I now have my ticket home. SO. EXCITED. And finally. I’ve been saving up leave dates for this big trip and now I will enjoy a glorious three weeks back on North American soil. What’s new in Vancouver/NYC? I’m so excited to be visiting my two former home cities. Will make the usual first stop in Vancouver at Tim Hortons for coffee and a honey cruller, then just spoil myself rotten with everything I’ve been missing. Nom. I kind of want to start packing now but packing six weeks before a trip is kind of ridiculous…just so looking forward to the fresh air and good food and friends and fam.

Today is the birthday of a special boy who will never grow up. Even though he’s older than I am. So, big happy wishes to him, and may he forever be on an exciting adventure.

In the meantime…

I have had these delightful desktop backgrounds on rotation all week.

Clever food typography.

Channeling my inner Miranda Priestly via this poster.

Rilo Kiley accompanied me (not in person!) on many a train ride back in the UK. This song is appropriate.

Thoughtful ideas on the aforementioned merger. The new company name suggestions made me chuckle.

On travel blogging: “Many successful bloggers believe that the best way to both thrive and maintain a level of professionalism is to keep the focus on the reader.”

Have a larger-than-life weekend!

Photo: From the birthday boy, NYC, 2012.
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Week [0726].

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Shanghai suburbs hit an astounding 42°C yesterday, and we’ve just had a flash thunderstorm reminiscent of those of horror movies. What is happening to the world?

Unbelievably, it’s the last weekend of July. And this weekend will be full of errands, but fun errands – film to develop, letters to send, care packages to put together, maybe throw some paint on that naked easel. And that return I need to make in the spur of a bad choice made during some retail therapy.

Received some bad news from a bestie this week, and I’m crossing everything I can and sending her good vibes. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

And of course I can’t not say, Welcome to the world, little Prince George. George is one of my many nicknames (don’t ask), so I think his parents made a good choice!

In the meantime…

Love the first of these beautifully illustrated quotes.

Being overly ambitious in planning my September North American trip. Nantucket, anyone?

Coffee makes you less suicidal.

It’s good to be nostalgic.

These flavoured lemonades look so refreshing.

Have a replenishing weekend!

Photo: Hong Kong, 2012.

The Rain Room.

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With the mercury hitting 38°C today, everyone is looking for a respite from the heat that’s been hovering above us this week. And it seems as if tempers also rise along with the heat. Does patience somehow “melt” away?

How I wish I could pop into Random International’s Rain Room currently on exhibit at the MoMa in New York City (where it is also insanely hot right now, so I hear from pals) to reclaim a sense of coolness and calm. Its choreographed downpour also encourages each visitor to explore their reactions to the given scenario: Do I, or do I not, dare to step inside? Do I run through, do I attempt a pirouette, do I tip-toe across waiting to get drenched? Furthermore, it also allows the visitor to have a sense of control over something that otherwise would be uncontrollable (the weather).

I secretly love it when it rains. This is perhaps due to the fact that I am from Vancouver, where raindrops often beat out sunrays in attendance. So until our local rainclouds decide to grace us with their presence, those of you lucky enough to be in NYC please pay this stunning installation a visit so that I can vicariously cool down through you.

Image: MoMa

Wanderlust.

palawan Beach Philippines

After a rejuvenating weekend, my mind is now on the above. Planning a quick getaway but am having trouble decided between a) island life in Palawan b) visiting a friend and her sweet bubba in Tokyo c) somewhere else where I can just shut off from Shanghai life.

Mind you, this is probably wishful thinking on a Monday. Fingers crossed.

PS. Need a song for Monday? Try this sweet one. Reminds me of the times puttering about in my little London flat.

Image: Palawan.

Week [0419].

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This is my life. And I love it.

Surrounded by magazines, Post-Its with new ideas and tabs with market trends – this is when I’m in my element. Looking back, all the stress and planning and meetings and PowerPoint revisions this week in preparation for a major client workshop…despite my overseas WeChat complaints and whiny transatlantic BBM messages, I have secretly loved it all. It’s just the process that’s difficult to endure. The end result, luckily, has always been satisfactory. (Ask me again next time.)

I hit the ground running the minute I landed at PVG last Sunday, and it still feels as if my toes haven’t yet touched the ground after returning from Hong Kong. After the lovely recent distractions, it’s time to regroup after, um, regrouping.

In the meantime…

Congratulations to The Coffee Academics for becoming my new favourite café in the world.

Simple and stylish iPad sleeve? Yes, please.

Newest member of my spring skincare roster.

This article has been bookmarked for a long time, just waiting for when I finally make it over to Tokyo.

What amazing space in an amazing home!

Have a now-I-can-exhale-and-plant-my-feet-back-on-the-ground weekend!

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.

MIA.

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The hours have gone by too quickly and the recent sunshine has pulled me away from the Mac, hence the lack of updates in the past few days.

Speaking of missing, thoughts of the Big Apple keep billowing in my mind. I reckon it’s time to plan a visit to my once other-home, and to peer at one of my all-time favourite buildings, the Seagram, again. The New York Times has a great story on the building of this landmark today, filled with fun name-dropping anectdotes. Love.

But before I can schedule in another 12+ hour flight, I’ll make do with a 2.5-hour one. See you tonight, Hong Kong!

Photo: New York City, Columbus Circle, 2009.

Shelflife: Prince.

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Happy 70th birthday to the darling Petit Prince. Also known as “the book I collect in different languages and bring back editions from all over the world”.

Those precious life lessons from Planet B612 will continue to inspire for many years to come.

Dessin-moi un mouton…

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.

Week [0329].

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This chandelier is my favourite thing to photograph. In the world. Every time I’m in London, I have to head over and take multiple shots from every angle possible. It must be the curlicues and twists that resonate with me…the dimensions of a messy, creative mind?

What a week.

Lack of sleep and an abundance of stress does not make for a sharp Friday. The good news is, production week is over! So stress can, literally, be put to bed…until Monday anyway. March has always been a difficult month – I’m not sure why, but it is, every year. Then we always survive and ask, how can it be April already?

In the meantime…

This song has been on repeat at our little loft office. Or, rather, I have put it on repeat and everyone else is forced to listen. I love my team!

Daydreaming of this beach. Or maybe this beach. Any beach.

Will be popping by this guy’s studio later in one of my favourite ‘hoods in Shanghai, Tianzifang.  [“Busy” us ended up going for coffee & sweets at Baker & Spice. ]

Snacking on these MaltEaster Mini Bunnies that I hoarded during my recent UK trip. Nom.

Loving this Bill Claps work.

Hopefully I’ll also gather myself up this weekend to sort out recent travel photos, plus finish some more WIP artwork.

Happy a happy Easter weekend!

Photo: London, Victoria + Albert Museum, 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.

Less.

Picture 4Less is more. Agree?

In terms of design, yes. Simplicity often resonates the loudest because it then become your, the receiver’s, task to decipher and therefore dictate what it means to you. As an editor, I always tell writers to write succinctly. If the same sentence can be written with less words while maintaining the necessary inflections, then please, yes – do it.

But I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the same way when it comes to belongings.  One of the few resolutions that I have for this year is to downsize, or rather, minimalise the amount of “stuff” that I have. My problem though, is that I’m an emotional hoarder. Oh, that boarding pass to XX when we fell in love, or that ticket stub to the best!show!ever! with the BFF, or even a broken necklace that was once a thoughtful birthday gift…In a now-defunct blog, I even wrote about waiting until the last minute to throw out a pair of shoes because they had travelled with me, far and wide.

Or maybe it’s just because they remind me of things that matter(ed) to me. But they’re just things,  just stuff.

Memories. I’ll hold on to memories and make them matter.

In the meantime,  stumbling upon this article  today helped.  I think we can all benefit from looking around and filtering out things that really add value (we can also do this with people in our lives, but that’s a whole other discussion …), and perhaps our priorities will shift for the better.

Mission De-clutter begins (again), now.

Photo: London, Brick Lane, 2010.