#1976 | Graduation Edition

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Styling c/o StyledStory | Photography and Editing: Bobby Kiran Yeo | Venue: The Reading Room

I remember being in a salon once, flipping through the glossy pages of a magazine while getting my hair done, and chancing upon a high fashion british collegiate themed editorial. I think it must have been for Ted Baker, or a similar brand, but I remember thinking to myself These students are getting their vogue on. And ever since, my unrealistic graduation shoot goals were conceived and left to waste away in the recesses of my head.

But sometime in May, Liyi from StyledStory (formerly Au Lapin Blanc) approached me to do a photoshoot with Bobby, a personal friend of hers and a well known local wedding photographer – she ran a company that specialised in wedding and vintage props, styling, etcetera. I didn’t want to do a wedding shoot because 1. I’m not getting married and 2. I’m not getting married. But what I was getting, was graduated. And immediately the idea sparked off again in my head – my dream old English literary themed shoot was possible again!

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From Top: Warren, Martin, Shane, Myself

I called the goofiest, most spontaneous, least camera shy people I knew – my boyfriend and two of his best friends – and gave them one brief: To look glamorous and ridiculous at the same time. I think they did good. And yes, I was co-erced into smearing lipstick all over my teeth.

Because let’s face it – we were never going to match British Vogue. We could, however, create our own version of ivy league glamor: with high bookshelves, vintage props, and laughable expressions. And have a shit ton of fun along the way.

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Imagine travelling with those vintage suitcases.. to die for. Unsure if for sale, please contact Liyi for this thanks.

Half our shoot was done indoors, pressed up against the musty shelves of The Reading Room. Don’t you love the old smell of books? I do. I wish I had more time to actually get down to perusing the shelves – but that’s a visit for another day. After we wrapped up at The Reading Room, Bobby blindfolded us (ok, not really) and drove us to a location I couldn’t name even if I wanted to. There were no roadsigns and I have a bad sense of direction to begin with. But there were a lot of monkeys, very few people, and plenty of space for Liyi to work her magic again.

Graduation Edition: Part II
Outdoors

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Neil Gaiman, everybody. Obviously I was still hung up over my Sandman phase.

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Arts Graduates, everybody.

I actually hate graduation gowns. shapeless potato sacks that they are. There is virtually no way to make a graduation gown look good, or flattering, so we did away with them altogether and kept the motor board. The motar board is my favourite part of the entire graduation ensemble because it’s so distinct, plus I like the way it makes everyone look immediately more scholarly. Also, angles.

While we were goofing around and trying not to get our bags stolen by monkeys (a legitimate concern, I assure you), Liyi was setting up a corner under the tree, trying very hard to stick to the theme of a literary graduation shoot. It’s funny because actually only Shane and I are English majors (Martin does Film, Warren does Graphic Design), but because I was the contact point for the shoot I just shovelled all of them into the mould of English major. LISTEN TO THE WOMAN, YOU ALL!

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Unsure if throwing ripped pages is sacrilegious of an English major or not, but it sure is photogenic

I think she did pretty good, working with what she had, which is to say: THE GREAT OUTDOORS. I was particularly amazed by the pegged pages of Poe poetry hanging off the branches.. but like a magpie, I am easily distracted by new and shiny things, and jumped soon after at the suggestion of flinging poetry into the air.

However, the boys were obviously not content with just flinging paper into the air, they had to fling themselves too…

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Oh well

And being a couple/wedding photographer by vocation, Bobby couldnt help but sneak in a couple of these:

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Oh well

But overall, it was fantastic. And all props go to this wonderful team:

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Bobby, Liyi, and their photography/styling team, plus us

Very rarely do I get to appear on shoot and not have to get anything done beforehand – I do think much of the fun lies in the tiring process of sourcing your own props, making them at 3am, and pricking your finger on a damned needle five times over… but sometimes, it’s nice to have the professionals lift the heavy weight for you. 🙂 Thank you, Liyi and Bobby for being so game when I suggested the old-school literary shoot (after a period of being slightly stunned; it’s not the usual wedding photography fare, I know) – and for anyone else looking to conceptualise and execute your own uniquely themed photoshoot, you know who to call.

Styled Story | Bobby Kiran Photography

x
♥jem

#1928| It’s that time of the Semester again..

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December, 2014

And let me clarify first and foremost that I know that it is absolutely, completely, totally my fault. Two consecutive science examinations and knowledge-of-science standing at 0%, I really need to stop classifying impossible pursuits as challenges, as in, challenge: accepted. Not that I’ll have a chance to repeat my stupidity since I’m graduating in a two shakes of a bunny tail but still.

It seems like ever since getting news of my acceptance + scholarship for Masters, all I can think of is graduating from this stage of academia so I can move on to the next. I’m unreasonably excited about it, actually, and my excitement is revealing me to be an embarrassing sort of nerd. On the flip side, however, it does mean that I’m getting a little fussed at the last two examinations standing between me and that, especially since I’m pretty done with my writing and I’m just left with SCIENCE MODS I DONT LIKE. Yesterday twelve hours at starbucks had me grumbling under my breath why do i need to know anything about long chain fatty acids beyond not eating them in my food, causing quite a bit of alarm in the people at the next table.. but yeah, either way, I’ve always justified subjects that would be otherwise irrelevant to my life as good character training: eat your veggies, learn to be disciplined at things you’re called to do, etcetera. Also, consequently, I’ve been updating my book blog more than I have this one (oops). One on screenplay recommendations, one on recent reads and literary happenings, one on fav books.

ZOE
How do you write women so well?

MELVIN
(as he turns
toward her)
I think of a man and take away
reason and accountability.

So, if you haven’t…

I swear, I had more things to talk about when I opened up the compose post tab on my browser. But I think in light of the work that has to be done.. they flew right out of my head of their own volition. Procrastination will only cooperate so far. Till next time, then.

x
♥jem

#1915| A short literary one.

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Hey guys,

Hello from Laos – in between filming for a new exciting campaign and prepping a new Broke Student’s Guide to go up this weekend, I made up for my hiatus on the literary blog by releasing a new piece of fiction over there last night:

I know something has changed the minute I walk into the house. I see her standing there by the dinner table, candles lit, steak bloody, and I think to myself, this is it, and even though I don’t know what this is, I know I have been waiting for it and it is here.

Read the rest over at the book blog here.

X
♥jem

#1900| Mocha Mondays: The Assembly Ground

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Mocha Mondays is a new and semi-regular feature on cafes and how workable they are, for freelancers or students looking for a place to park themselves at while getting work done. It may or may not actually feature mocha.

Today, in honest food reviews…

Is anyone else here a coffee pretender? I feel like that’s me – I know what’s bad coffee when I taste it, I just don’t know what fantastic coffee is. Fantastic coffee to me is an acquired taste, just like wine or cheese, and while I’m content to just drink coffee that tastes relatively warm and homely, I can’t help but nod along and pretend to know what people are talking about when they start going on about grounds and body. I mean, this is a hot beverage, not Jessica Alba, you know?

Anyway, if you’ve read my best travel apps post, you already know that one of my favourite user based apps is Foursquare, despite it’s annoying new user interface. Whenever I’m out and about, I tend to pull out the phone and foursquare the best cafe near me – and I ended up sometime last week at The Assembly Ground.


TL;DR
The Assembly Ground
Famous for: Lattes
Seats: Plenty
Wifi: Yes, password required
Power points: One (Behind the couch)

They’re known for their lattes, which are touted as smooth, fantastic, and best in the area. Unfortunately, most of these reviews fail to mention that the aforementioned area contains just Starbucks down the road. And even I know better than to claim Starbucks as anything more than the sell-out of Coffeedom.

Give me your best coffee
, I told the barista, and they delivered a double shot skinny latte to my table along with an earl grey lavender cake (their recommendation).

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Now, I kind of know what good coffee technically constitutes. It should be strong, smooth, and sans a sour sort of aftertaste. Coffee purists will tell you that coffee should be bitter (something that seems to have come to signify a synonym for strong) and aromatic, but ironically bitter, like, you know, bitter on purpose. It should be untainted by the commercial nonsense that is creamer and sugar.

Coffee purists are also annoying.

My latte was very technically good, but it didn’t change the fact that I was cringing at how strong it was. I know what this is – it’s the kind of coffee people rave about but that the common man can’t understand. It’s like me, pretending to like high fashion. Dahling, isn’t the designer’s latest collection just so.. visionary? I don’t know, it looks kind of uncomfortable and also, is that a size negative six? That was me, and my latte.

I don’t mean to slight the skill of the baristas there, I’m sure they’re very good, and that a certain class of people and also hipsters will adore the drinks here in a cult like fashion. It just isn’t for me.

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The earl grey lavender cake, on the other hand, was delightful. Go ahead, roll your eyes. I have taken to classifying EGL cake under common hipster foods, much like pumpkin spiced whatevers and soy chai lattes. Very achievable levels of irony. A certain image afforded you at the low, low price of five ninety nine. Still, I really do enjoy EGL cake. I’ve said this before, but Wonderland down at Haji lane does a lovely one. And the one by The Assembly Ground is soft, light, and very flavourful.

In any case, I was here to get work done, and work I did. The place is spacious enough that you can plant yourself there for long hours without getting chased out, there’s free wifi, and a lone powerpoint hiding somewhere behind a couch. I googled for it and there are apparently 64 seats – and 1 in 64 is a lot better of a chance than the standard 1 in 20 that most other cafes offer at getting a place. The interior is sexy, muted, and very industrial chic, with brick walls and fairy lights, but it’s also dark, which means it’s better if you’re doing work on a laptop. I wouldn’t recommend coming here with a notepad and stacks of lecture notes to sift through. You need better lighting for that. (I’m looking at you, A level kids.)

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At the end of the day, this post is ultimately a roundabout way of announcing very excitedly that I FINALLY got fed up and bought a new macbook, after my old pro crashed on me. It’s been incredibly slow for ages, due to the photo editing I run on it and also I suspect my lack of space management skills, and then one day in New Zealand the whole thing blacked out. It was all very dramatic. Ie. I lost my shit. I finally managed to youtube a solution and unscrew the back of the macbook, rewire that shit, and get it revived all away from civilisation in the mountains, but that was it. I wasn’t going to risk having it crash on me in crucial moments again, and besides, I was kind of tired of lugging it around. I mean, that shit is heavy.

Manually unscrewing the motherboard and hardwiring the whole thing to life is going right up there on my list of CITYGIRL INDEPENDENT MOMENTS, along with my Showering in a Sink experience. Next up I’m probably going to learn to change a tyre, or something.

Anyway! I took advantage of the tail end of my status as a university student, and bought a macbook pro retina on the Apple Education Store. That’s 10% off the total bill to you, sir. It was delivered in three days and now working on it is a dream. It’s so light compared to my old pro, and the battery life is incredible. I’ve taken to just bringing it around even when I don’t actually need it, just so I have an excuse to talk about it. Oh this? Ha ha ha just my new macbook retina. Yes, I got a retina. Do you want to see my retina? No, not the eyeball. Did i mention? I got a new retina. I expect for the excitement to wear off and for me to get less annoying about it in approximately a year.

Right, that was a timely digression. Back to the body of the post. Here’s to the first Mocha Monday of 2015, everybody.

The Assembly Ground
Address: #01-21, 2 Handy Road, Singapore 229233 (First floor, The Cathay)
Phone:6733 3375
Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

X
♥jem

PS. Excerpt:

I can read relatively fast, a book a day, 11 words per second, they had me tested as a kid. But some books make you want to slow right down and savour each page as though it were your lover instead of tearing through it like a whore, and those are the ones that really stick with me. The Sandman series was one of these.

New Book Blog update on Gaiman’s Sandman series. Read here.

#1870| Closet Candy

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If you havent already realized from my instagram feed, I’m back in sunny Singapore where the weather and I are on cautious grounds and where life is once again, busy and somewhat fulfilling. I’m far from done with my blogposts from Europe (upcoming: top five free travel apps, broke student’s guide to rome, broke student’s guide to couchsurfing, etc), but I guess we’ll just have to backdate those, eh? One thing I’ve tried to export from my seven months in Europe: napping. Or at least, the general idea of taking things easy even when there’s a lot going on. It’s doing well so far, but we’ll just have to wait for crunch time to see..

Anyway, since I’ve touched down approximately a week ago, I’ve been up to a lot, like finally reuniting with ban-mian again. Ha ha, I kid. I think. Things I’m honestly thankful for, though, did happen, like heading straight for a staycation with the lit gang to catch up and say our teary goodbyes to Lex who’s headed to Paris for six months. This life!

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Who knew Singapore had more than one infinity pool, right? We had a night in the gorgeous Naumi hotel (were they going for Naomi or Now-me? Noone knows.) and I lived my kimono dreams again in my new Jemma dress from Earlgreyparty. This is the second time a retail store has named a dress after me and I’m putting that straight into my resume. It’s currently sold out (also going on my resume), but you can and should join the waiting list for it.

I also headed straight back to the salon after getting back to Singapore because hey, seven months without touching up one’s hair is no joke. Back to the ombre life for me and all that, albeit unintentionally. After a requisite number of tsks, the team at Jean Yip whipped my hair back into a more presentable state. Thank heavens.

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I’ll talk about their treatments in more detail soon, but for now just know that my hair game is strong. Quiet gold, a more subtle ombre (which for some reason I keep insisting on keeping), and hair so soft it feels like a halo. Nothing makes a girl feel like royalty quite as much as a good blow dry does. I went back again within the week for a blast of treatment and styling for this year’s HSS Dinner and Dance, where Drea and I were invited to judge at their beauty pageant.

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Lovingly dressed by Ted Baker Singapore once again. Is this what a long term long distance relationship feels like? Returning to an old lover after half a year? Honestly, baby, if we’re talking Ted Baker, you can have multiple flings or a marriage and I still wouldn’t mind. I’m channelling a very Wednesday Adams look here which possibly I ruined by smiling too much.

And then in the following week – caught up with old friends and new, finalized my timetable for the new semester, attended the K.blu swim Resort 2014 launch, caught the Juventus FC vs Singapore Selection game, spent time with family, and threw my boyfriend an elaborate surprise birthday party with the help of talented individuals I need to dedicate a post to soon. Like I said, pretty productive week. But overwhelmingly I feel an increasing sense of rightness, as if all is well and other philosophical cliched BS. There was a point in time I worried slightly about coming back and falling into the fabled Exchange Hangover, where I spend my whole life back home trying to live up to the epic adventures that consumed my seven months abroad, but that fear has long dissipated with my falling back in sync with my old life and routines. And more and more frequently, even as I jot down plans for country hopping and short getaways, I think to myself: I’m always leaving, but I will always be glad to come home.

x
♥jem