A few weeks ago, I got the privilege of hopping in a car with a couple of colleagues and driving five hours up North to beautiful Opononi. Here's what we got to see from a spectacular lookout. Isn't she a beauty? More to come.
I met the Sawreys for the first time on Christmas Eve last year. We were gathered at my aunt and uncle's, hanging out on the deck, barbeque roaring on a windy summer's day. They are the kind of people you know immediately are something special. So when work was in need of family photos, I quickly lined them up - a great excuse to spend an afternoon with some wonderful humans and their four kids who work the camera like it's their full-time job.
Valentine, Amie and I snuck out on our lunch breaks a few weeks ago for a mini engagement shoot in our neighbourhood park. It's springtime here which means the weather is proving to be rather, how should I put it - irrational. Erratic? Unpredictable? All of the above. In between downpours, we climbed over fences and braved our way (note: I had to be brave - Val and Amie were absolutely unphased) through the mud in our boots and got shootin'.
These two are getting married in a few months on a beautiful piece of farm land in a tiny spot of the South Island where Val grew up and guys, I got to see it on a recent work film trip, and it is a dream. Congratulations, you two!
At the beginning of the year, I arrived home from work one day to a big ol' brown box on my desk. Turns out, it had arrived all the way from Redding, California, and was packed full of goodies from one of my favourite humans. A belated Christmas gift in the the form of miniature corn hole (I know), gold paperclips, a millennial pink sweater, to name a few, as well as the marble diary in the picture above.
Knowing my track record with paper diaries in the past, I decided I would not relegate this gift to the pile of beautiful-but-unused items that I have amassed over the years. Instead, inspired by a fashion-forward teen on Instagram, I made a decision to start a new habit - the plan was to take a minute at the end of every evening, to write down some of the good things that had happened that day.
Why, you ask? (Or maybe you didn't ask. Well, I'm tell you anyway). More than just a sweet idea, it was a conscious part of my working to care for my heart in this season. It was needed more than anything. I needed to redirect my gaze each day to the highlights of the day just lived, even if they were seemingly inconsequential, so that I could not believe myself if the words, "Everything sucks right now - every single dang thing," ever haphazardly left my mouth, as it had before. And so it began.
21 January: New bed day! Finally back to a queen bed. Lisa helped me rearrange my entire room and it's so cozy.
22 January: Got to FaceTime the whole fam during Lorelai's birthday party. Heart exploded.
23 January: Spontaneous Sylvia Park trip - new denim shorts!
8 February: Told Melody I'm in to go watch Adele with her! So excited!
22 February: Went for a walk around the neighbourhood by myself this evening. Was so refreshed.
It was all going well for a couple of months and then I went silent in that diary. It's five months on and I honestly can't pin the reason why I stopped the ritual. But I did. And this afternoon, on this sunny crispy (read: very cold) winter day, following my first visit to the library in about seven years, pile of memoirs in hand, Skating Through Central Park playing through my headphones, I suddenly recalled the little marble diary and decided it was time to bring it back to the top of the pile of books on my bedside. Today it reads -
30 July: Played handball with the kids at church. (First time in 15 years). (Note: I never have nor will I ever be known for any level of sporting prowess so the only measure of success I felt this morning was utterly and totally related to the fact that I was playing against nine year olds, and I am okay with that). Went for a walk through the neighbourhood, made it to library, borrowed memoirs, including Grace Coddington's.
I am smack in the middle of days and nights that have left my heart feeling tired and tender. And so the plan is to do little somethings that will lift my gaze. This is one of them. Round two. No shame. Back in the saddle again. Let's see how it unfolds.
It's been a heck of a long time since I've posted here and I think I figured it out tonight. I have been putting way too much pressure on myself to keep this space utterly pristine and perfect and so I seized up and just stopped. I've been thinking about what I want to do here, thinking about what the outworking of creativity looks for me and the plan is to experiment. To take more photos (always), to write more, heck, maybe I'll even talk about clothes. Who knows. In the meantime, meet the Cloud Forest.
I got back from a trip back to the motherland, Singapore, a couple of weeks ago. It has been a couple of years since I had been back and it was just the best thing to be back. I always have the greatest time there and this time the reason for the trip was pretty dang great - celebrating Grandma's 80th birthday. We threw her a party with all her siblings and friends and it was a hoot.
One of the last days of the trip we took off to the other end of the country so I could finally step foot here, the Cloud Forest. Guys, this is easily one of my new all-time favourite spots in the world. It is an architectural feat and to me, a perfect representation of the brilliance that is Singapore. Can you believe that Singapore has only been an independent country for 50 years? Isn't she amazing? It's things like this that have me very proud to be a Singaporean.
I am two and a bit weeks into my three week Christmas/summer break and holy smokes, it was the best thing to hit the 'off' button on my recurring alarm set on my phone that first Saturday. Mysteriously, I did lose my ability to sleep through the night this last week and have since existed in a perpetual state of blurriness. I on a mission to fix this.
Though I would have loved to take a wild trip out of the country, it has been nice to take the days slow and go out on quick photo missions with the sister (Rachel Soh - her photos will change your life) and miscellaneous friends. We have become loyal advocates of the west coast, simply because it is the spot to be as the sun says goodnight (naturally). Thanks to daylight saving and summer, this is now happening at 8.45pm, leaving lots of time in the AM for catching up on New Girl, Modern Family, Friends (re-runs, always) and Quantico.
Anyway. Dotted along the west coast of Auckland are phenomenal black-sand beaches - Piha, Bethells, Muriwai, Karekare and Whatipu. This here is good ol' Piha. A surfer's paradise during the day and for us Asians dressed totally wrong for the beach, a photographer's dream in the evening.
Meet the MacCulloch family, now answering to The Barefoot Bandits. In the last few months of being back in New Zealand, I've been working on a magazine and Allie (mum) showed up in my life very much unexpectedly, a whirlwind of minimalist design, enviable wardrobe and utter hilarity as our brand new senior designer.
We churned out four, I dare say, beautiful magazines as part of the team and then she dropped the news. She was leaving.
She wasn't sick of us (not that she has admitted to, at least). She's off on a grand adventure with her sweet family to live their dream and travel the world. Allie puts it this way - "We are getting rid of our 'things' and re-discovering ourselves for who we are, and not what we have." Starting here in New Zealand, they are road-tripping the country and then have a one-way ticket to Europe where their only firm plans are to buy a caravan. From there? Who knows.
Did you catch the Golden Globes last night? It's the year for dreamers. It's the year for bravery. More on that soon. But in the meantime, these guys are doing just that. So thank you, MacCullochs. Thanks for saying the big Yes to your dreams and making them happen.
From here. Let me explain. A few weeks ago I started work again at my old faithful workplace who kindly take me back into their arms (desks) every summer. This time around, I am digital editor - assisting with our website content, two magazines, two podcasts, campaigns and the widest range of other creative projects. Please also read: Grammar Police.
My camera has taken a little break because let's be real, this girl is still figuring out how these 9-5 days work. Most have ended with me in bed with my BFF (Netflix), falling asleep to the sounds of Jessica and Harvey bickering (Suits) with make-up and lamp on - at 7.45pm.
Today on my walk back from the office (I'm lucky enough to work a short 15 minute walk away), I let my friend, Norah (Jones), serenade me while I took notice of the white cottage gates, climbing ivy and stone walls I wanted to take photos of. So perhaps when this weekend rolls around, I will gather myself and get my behind out roaming the neighbourhood with my camera in hand.
In the meantime, feel free to swing on by my Pinterest account because that's the one space outside of Instagram that's getting a few minutes of my creative mind right now. I'm also proposing that Pinterest breaks be integrated as a necessary part of a work day. Makes sense, no? Today I took a three-minute one whilst sipping on my Aeropress coffee (my skills are slowly improving) and munching on a custard-filled chocolate-drizzled mini cronut (it was as heavenly as it sounds) and I was sold. Anyway. See you back here soon, friend.