I have weird neighbours

“Come back home before 12 midnight!” my dad shouted out to me as I left the house for a party. My neighbour who was watering his plants heard this and got extremely mad.

“Excuse me? Who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he questioned my dad. I heard this while walking to the lift and decided to turn back to find out what was going on. The neighbour looked really, really angry.

“Hey, calm down, buddy. I was only talking to my daughter,” my dad explained.

“Yes, but who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he asked again.

“Hey, my dad was talking to me. Not to you. You can come home whatever time you want, dude,” I interjected the conversation.

“HE SAID IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND I HEARD IT. IF HE DIDN’T INTEND IT FOR ME, WHY DID HE SAY IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE? WHO IS HE TO TELL ME WHAT TIME TO COME HOME?!” he shouted. He was gesticulating a lot, his face was red, and he was trembling.

“OK, look, as a father, I just wanted to make sure my daughter is safe and I want her to come home before 12. As for you, you didn’t need to listen to what I have to say. Got it? I hope it’s clear now,” my father explained.

“Yes, I’m going to come home anytime I like, and it’s not up to YOU to tell me what to do, you stuck-in-the-mud old man,” he said, pointing his finger at my father, and rolling his eyes at the same time.

I sighed, “OK, whatever,” I muttered under my breath. My dad shook his head in resignation.

“Anyway, you should get your household in place. I’ve overheard the quarrels you have with your wife – do something about it. I’ve heard about how you are hoarding things in your air raid shelter – clear it out. It’s so dangerous, you know? Do something useful instead of going around telling people what to do, you hear me?” the neighbour continued.

“Yes, we are working on these. Thanks for your concern.”

“And it’s ridiculous! There’s this guy who stays at the next block – I heard he’s your. He’s a con-man, I heard. A cheater. A liar. A wayang-king. Seriously, what’s wrong with people in your family? All bloody hypocrites!” the neighbour refused to give up.

“He’s a very distant relative. Actually, we don’t even really talk to each other, not even during Chinese New year…” I explained.

“You’re all the same,” he cut me off, “I’m coming home at 1am today. I am doing whatever I like. You just watch me!” he gave my dad a death stare and said.

“Keep your archaic thinking to yourself and your daughter! Stop shoving it down my throat!” he gave his parting shot, went back to his house and slammed his door shut.

But that’s what we did, I thought.


Where Do You Buy Your Coach Products From?

Coach has always been a popular “entry-level” luxury brand that most women who have just started working and saving money go for. And it’s incredibly popular at overseas factory outlets. When I was in Chicago a few years ago, I remember that the queue to go into a Coach store just to shop is so long, it could have taken an hour just to go in. (I don’t know for sure because I decided to spend more time at other stores because I had limited time there.)

Actually, besides outlet stores and DFS, there are also online stores that offer pretty good discounts on Coach products that you can consider. Zalora is one of them.

This mini leather bag, for instance, usually retails at SGD598, but sells at SGD297.50 on the store. Yes, it’s 50% off if you’re counting.


It’s quite a steal, if you ask me. I’m almost sure some of the factory outlet stores don’t even give such a good discount on their products.

And it’s not just the bags. Check this out:

Coach Short Trench – Blue

This trench coat (in a gorgeous colour!) is supposed to retail at SGD995. But on the store it’s just SGD497.50. Yes, 50% off too!

I know of a lot of people who visit Coach DFS or factory outlet stores to snag some discounted Coach wristlets. They’re discounted on the Zalora store too: from SGD270 to SGD189 yo!


This wallet is drives a good bargain too.


From SGD545 to SGD327.

These goods all come direct from Coach, and since they’re all above SGD40, you get free delivery on them, which makes it more convenient and definitely cheaper than when you travel to visit DFS and factory outlet stores, for sure.

What do you think? Are you one of those who love to shop at factory outlet stores? If the objective is to snag good bargains, would you think that being able to enjoy discounts on online purchases is good enough for you?

2015 was all about “cleaning” for me

My body cleans itself out. I see the effects of chemotherapy in my battled body reversing themselves. My hair, eyelashes, brows, nails all grew out. My scars lightened. My stamina improved; I can now easily run 3km, whereas one year ago, I’d trip and fall walking down a short flight of stairs because my calves and knees can’t hold my body up. Other bodily troubles that people won’t see recovered. God made everything new again. And He will continue to heal me in 2016.

And I’ve stayed “clean” for another year. The cancer didn’t come back – praise the Lord. One year in remission. One more risky year to go. Fingers crossed.

I cleaned out my priorities. I spent time in only what is of value to me.
I cleaned out friends that bring negative vibes; the funny thing is that I’ve always known I don’t feel “comfortable” with these people but previously I’ve always allowed them to stick around myself to stick around.
I travelled to amazing places with my brother, my husband, my best friends – the only regret is that I didn’t manage to find time to travel with my parents. But that’ll definitely be a priority this year.
I refocused on Daily Vanity’s editorial offering, which had to suffer a slow-down because I had wedding planning and then fell horribly ill in 2014. We are on track again, and in 2015, I’ve been blessed with a team of amazing and committed writers.
I celebrated my first year wedding anniversary with Keith. I love this wonderful man who is now cleaning the bathrooms while I’m writing here. (My doting father-in-law has instructed him to do the tougher household chores so that I can be allowed to recuperate. My father-in-law wanted to help us with the lighter chores too i.e. he didn’t want me to do any. He helped us out for a while, but now that I’m a lot better, I’ve taken over. I still can’t believe how supportive my in-laws are.)

And my in-laws are “made clean”, through baptism. Keith is also accepted into the Catholic Church. Our family now shares the same faith, and I’m happy to journey with them.

I ate cleaner. I started cooking (fresh foods, not pre-packaged-microwaved food) – which is something I’d never have imagined myself doing two years ago – and I think I’m getting decently good at it. At least when I got my best buds over during Christmas and whipped up a meal for seven, all the food was cleaned up.

And yesterday, the last day of 2015, I spent my morning cleaning – a new space that I’d share more about when it is ready I am ready. And then also another new space to announce. Later this year!

In 2016, I aim to remain clean: in my thoughts, words, and deeds, in what I choose to spend my time on, and in the life I choose to lead.

Stop Saying I’m Lucky To Have Married My Husband – I’m Not

“Your husband is so nice to you. You’re soooo lucky!”

This must be the most common comment I’ve heard and if I get a dollar for every time I hear this, I’ll be very, very rich. (Pardon the cliched analogy.)

This comment frequently comes up when we talk about my cancer ordeal. Many people commended Keith for sticking by me while I’m going through the toughest time of my life one month into our marriage. And they said I was lucky that I had married someone who didn’t leave me in times of trouble.

keith juliet sirmione

To set the record straight, I think I have a wonderful husband…

I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I love him dearly, and he loves me back, and I know there’s no one else better than him to fill the role of “Mr. Right” in my life. This being said, I don’t attribute marrying him or what he’s done for me to “luck”.

Winning the lucky draw? Yes, that’s luck.
Walking one step ahead before the bird decided to poop at where you were standing? Luck.
Catching the bus although you were late because the bus was also late? Yes, luck!

But marrying Keith? No, not luck.

keith juliet venice

Keith and I were colleagues for some time before we started dating. And while we were colleagues, there were many things about him that stood out to me. First of all, he’s the Mr. Nice Guy that got along with everyone, never played politics, and was always helpful and enthusiastic. He’s also meticulous, a keen and fast learner, extremely humble, and had a shrewd business acumen. While we weren’t romantically involved when I noticed these traits, I think they set the right stage for our impending relationship. It is important for me to be with someone that I could look up to, and that I could respect.

I have dated many guys (non-exclusively) before I dated Keith. And I think I’ve met enough people to know it when it “clicked”. Very quickly during the courtship, I could tell that Keith was someone who is very serious about his relationship when he gets into one. He was very interested to know more about me, about my values, and what I was really like. I was serious too. So we asked a lot of right questions during courtship, even before we were dating exclusively.

keith juliet cheese fondue

The Catholic Marriage Preparation Course that we attended helped us a lot too. While a lot of people go for the course only when wedding plans have already been made (you need the course certificate to book a church wedding), we made the conscious decision to attend it even before he proposed. To us, it was a “marriage preparation” course after all, so we wanted to make sure we have discerned properly, know that we are both prepared spiritually, before we even make any wedding plans. Keith proposed shortly after we finished the course, and I said yes without hesitation. It was a simple decision because the course and the time spent dating him had helped me recognise that he had the traits that I wanted in a husband: rational, dependable, loyal, forgiving.

What he’s “done” are part of our vows

The Catholic wedding vow is beautiful because while it’s succinct, it encompasses everything that a marriage should be: I, (name), take you, (name) to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honour you, all the days of my life.

keith juliet chamonix

“Not leaving me” while I was sick is really just basic 101 for fulfilling his vows. In fact, he has vowed to be “true to me” and to “love and honour me” no matter what. This is what a Christian marriage is about: it is a reflection of Christ’s love for His church, the husband represents Jesus in the marriage, and the wife, the church. Will Jesus ever leave the church even when she’s “sick”? Of course not. He will continue to love her, perhaps love her even more. Keith is called to uphold this high standard of Christian marriage life. It’s in our vows. (The wife has her part to play in Christian marriage too, but that’s a story for another day.)

And very fortunately or perhaps, unfortunately (pun unintended), it’s a vow that we have to make a conscious decision to say yes to every single day. Sometimes we may forget that love is not an adjective, it’s a verb. This means that you need to put love into action for love to happen.

So I’m saying again, I’m not “lucky” to have married Keith…

keith and juliet sirmione

…because marrying him was a choice that I made. And I discerned very thoroughly before I said yes to marrying him. It’s not luck, because it was a calculated, well-considered decision. And it’s not “luck” because what Keith has done – and he would also agree to this – is what he has vowed to do before God, me, and our loved ones. And as the man of integrity and honour that I know him to be, I know he will keep his vows.


It’s Probably A Phase, But I’m Currently In Love With All Things Black-And-Gold

Anyone here go through – what I call – “colour phases”? This means that for a few weeks or even months, your eyes are somehow only attracted to a certain colour and can’t resist buying everything in that particular colour. I know I do.

I’ve previously gone through a mustard phase, pale pink phase, emerald green phase, cobalt blue phase… I can go to one shop and grab three items in the same colour just because I’m on that “zone” during that period. In fact, I’m sure I can kind of tell how old things in my wardrobe are by their colours.

Current phase? Definitely black and gold. And I like it in all kinds of forms. Not a good thing for my wallet.

Baroque-style dresses (I don’t care if it’s passé), but yes, please!

black and gold dress 1

black and gold dress 2

black and gold dress 3

I’m also in love with black and gold shoes. Just look at these!

black and white shoes 1 black and white shoes 2 black and white shoes 3

I only have two pairs of black and gold shoes, one of them is a pair of Ferragamo flats that I’m wearing to death. I have this suspicion I’m going to see more black-and-gold shoes in my cabinet.

And just look at this Michael Kors timepiece!


Oh, it doesn’t help that Michael Kors actually have more than one watch in this colour combo. Like this one:


And this obsession doesn’t stop at fashion (and that’s a huge problem). I’ve also been checking out nail inspirations that involve, obviously, black and gold designs. These are some of those I have my eyes on and have every intention to recreate them over this weekend or something. Which do you think is prettiest?

black and gold nails black and gold nails 3 black and gold nail 2

And I haven’t even talked about eye makeup looks:

eye makeup 3 eye makeup 2 eye makeup 1

I can’t say no to these.

Share with me: Do you go through any colour phases? How do you cope with it? Finally, which of these items/looks do you seriously think I should indulge myself in?

10 Reasons Why I Fell In Love With Clementi After Moving From Ang Mo Kio

I read an article circulating on social media about why Clementi is the best place to live in. I agree. But my husband and I both thought the article didn’t manage to give justice to exactly how wonderful Clementi is, and I’ve been challenged to do a better piece.

Just some background: I’ve stayed in Ang Mo Kio almost all my life, and never in my life have I thought that I was going to ever move to Clementi. The closest I’ve ever been a Clementi-er? When I was studying in NUS. But very reluctantly (at first), I gave in to my husband’s request to ballot for a place here, and we got it on our first try. Because I wasn’t used to it at all when I first moved, I didn’t like it. I missed Ang Mo Kio so much. Now that I’ve settled down for a year, I’m ready to show my love.

So, how do I love Clementi? Let me count the ways:

1. It’s super convenient

Because of where it is at on the MRT line (one stop from Jurong East), people tend to have the impression that we are in the West. To be fair, we are probably better described as South-west.

See? That’s definitely not WEST.

The other article said we are 20 minutes away from Yishun by MRT, well, that’s quite a stretch. (It makes me wonder if the writer has ever taken the MRT.) But it doesn’t matter, because who cares about going to freaking Yishun anyway?

We are, however…

  • just a 30-minute MRT ride to Orchard Road (15 minutes only if you drive, and I know because I do that every day, and you can skip all the ERP if you want)
  • board a JB-bound bus at Kranji MRT station within 20 minutes (20 to 30-minute drive via Tuas Second Link to Malaysia)
  • 30-minute bus or MRT ride to VivoCity (where you can get to Sentosa, and 15 minutes if you drive)
  • the nearest NEL station is just seven stops away at Outram Park, and the nearest Circle line station is two stops away at Bouna Vista

2. There are many good educational institutions nearby

If you’re planning ahead for children, you’ll be happy to know that there’s no lack of good educational institutions nearby: Nanhua Primary School, NUS High, Nanhua High, and National University of Singapore are all here. Not too far away (approximately 15-minute drive), you have Hwa Chong Institution, National Junior College, and Nanyang Girls’ High.

3. So many cool places to hang out at

When I stayed in Ang Mo Kio, the “coolest” place I hang out at was probably at Bishan Park (where there are cafes available). But after moving here, I find myself spending my weekends at Holland Village and Rochester Park, where there are many nice places to wile my time away at. Some nice places Keith and I spend time at:

  • Sixty40 at Rochester Mall, a nice bistro-bar that offers live music from Thursday to Saturday. We’ve heard Alfred, who does mainly country music, play there one night and it was good. He also does pop songs, take dedications and entertained us with his great imitation of singers like Elvis Presley. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with because he’s very humorous. The prices are reasonable, and you can find decent food and alcohol there.
  • If you, like us, really love live music, another place you can hang out at is Wala Wala, in Holland V. Most people already know about this, so I’m not going to elaborate.
  • W39 is within Clementi, and is a hidden-away bistro and bakery that is very popular, despite how difficult it is to find parking lots there. The food isn’t fantastic, we think, but it’s a good “hipster” joint to hang out at.

These are just three examples but really, there are so many more just within the Rochester Park and Holland V area. And if you need any more convincing, well, my Starbucks at Rochester Park looks cooler than your Starbucks. (That’s where you’ll find me working on Daily Vanity either after breakfast or after dinner on the weekends.)

4. Food, glorious food

Building on the previous point, there are also lots of good food to be found in or near Clementi (who says you only get good food in the East?!)

  • There’s a famous rojak place at Clementi central. The uncle mixes the rojak so professionally, it’s a joy to watch him. He’ll also try to sell you his signature dried squid. Our honest advice: just go for the rojak. The squid is not bad, but just a little too pricey. The rojak is worth the queue, though!
  • Right beside the rojak stall is a famous tutu kweh stall that also sees long queues all the time.
  • While you’re in Clementi central, might as well queue at the Blk 448’s hawker centre, home to a famous satay stall. At the same hawker centre, you’ll also find a famous fish porridge stall. This stall doesn’t have a queue, but you typically have to wait for 20-30 minutes for your food. It was the best porridge I’ve tried.
  • Did you know that the famous Maxwell Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice has a stall in Clementi (at Blk 450) too? At the same coffee shop, you’ll also find Golden Rooster, which sells yummy fried and BBQ chicken that my husband loves. Tian Tian usually sells out by around 7pm, so make sure you visit early.
  • We also have Botak Jones in Clementi (Blk 325)!
  • Go to West Coast market and look for the delicious duck rice ($3 for a set meal consisting of braised duck meat, tofu, egg and herbal soup). In the morning, don’t be surprised to see a long queue forming at the fishball noodles stall. We don’t particularly like it, but obviously, the queue says otherwise for many others.


  • Travel further to Bukit Timah and don’t forget to visit Udders Pancakes, which my husband and I absolutely love. Next to Udders Pancakes is Kim’s restaurant, which we heard serve really good Korean cuisine. (We haven’t tried it ourselves.)
  • If you’re a prata fan, Clementi is your place. Prata Planet (Blk 320) has one of the best prata to offer in Singapore. You can also check out Niqqi’s Cheese Prata (it’s where we used to go to when we were in NUS, but it doesn’t seem so good anymore) and Al-Azhar Eating Place at Bukit Timah, which is highly recommended too.

5. There are many pasar malam

I noticed Clementi West often holds pasar malam. I estimate it to happen around once every three months. I haven’t seen one in my Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood for at least 10 years. Where else can you get Ramly burgers in the neighbourhood?

6. It’s in Jurong GRC

Tharman. ’nuff said.

7. You have the sea near you too

Those who like water bodies will appreciate that the West Coast Park. The VivoCity waterfront, Keppel Bay, and Labrador Park are also a stone’s throw away. Sentosa is near too (see point 1). I like places with water bodies because I find it relaxing to be near them. This is a personal bonus for me.

8. Malls and more

I can have access to these shopping malls within 10 minutes: Clementi Mall, City Vibes, 321 Clementi, West Coast Plaza, Star Vista, Rochester Mall, IMM, Jcube, Westgate, JEM, and Big Box.

9. Home to award-winning HDB estate

The estate I stay in has won at least three awards, from what I understand. I don’t really know how often are HDB estates given awards – not that common, I suppose. Because it was in the news and there was a documentary that talked about it. One of the awards is the annual Fiabci Prix d’Excellence award, which is apparently a highly-regarded international award. On a separate note, did you know that on the plot of land where Casa Clementi now sits, they’ve found a bomb left behind from World War II?

10. A piece of cross that Jesus died on can be found in Clementi

This relic is securely kept in the Church of Holy Cross in Clementi, hence its name.

You tell me, where else in Singapore is more holy?

5 Things You’ll Need In Your Makeup Stash For Halloween

Halloween is an exciting day for kids because they’re going to receive lots of candies; as for adults, we can look forward to dressing up in the most flamboyant way, without being judged. There are going to be tons of makeup tutorials giving you ideas and teaching you how you can pull off different creative looks this Halloween, and I’m sure you already have your favourite YouTubers to get this covered for you. So I thought I’d just share some essentials that you can start stocking up now to achieve the Halloween makeup that you will be wearing on 31 October.

1. Ultra black eyeliner


Whether it is to dress up as a zombie, a vampire, or a witch, ultra black eyeliner to either create dark under eye circles or the goth look, is a must. Besides using it to line your eyes, eyeliners are also very useful for creating motifs such as fake tattoos, cracked lines, stitches, or scars on your skin.

Tip: To make sure your eye makeup last longer, layer some black eyeshadow powder on top of black cream eyeliner.

2. White face powder


White face powder may not be a staple in your usual makeup routine, but when it comes to Halloween makeup, white – yes, sheet white – face powder is super useful! Use it for looks like the dead geisha, porcelain doll, or zombie.

Tip: For a more convincing look, you’ll probably need to powder up your neck area too.

3. Bronzer

cat halloween

Contouring is an important technique particularly for Halloween makeup in order to give your face more definition or to emphasise your cheekbones (so you look more gaunt). It can also help you create the face shape that you’d like to achieve to look more like the character you’re dressing up as.

Tip: The bronzing powder that you pick should come in a shade that’s approximately two shades darker than your actual skin tone, so that the blending will look more seamless.

4. Faux blood

halloween blood

The most fun part of Halloween makeup? Blood! Even if you aren’t very creative, you can simply do the makeup that you’re used to doing every day, and then smear blood all over to achieve a gory, scary look.

Tip: Allow the faux blood to drip naturally to get a more realistic look.

5. Glitter

glitter zip halloween

If you find (faux) blood too gory, you can consider investing in glitter for a odd but glamorous look. The above image, for instance, shows you how you can replace where it is usually blood, with glitter, to give a more futuristic touch. The above example looks like an alien that’s wearing human skin. Very neat!

Tip: Be more generous with your glitter application because it’s definitely going to come off throughout the day as you perspire.