What I’ve gained from being a fashion minimalist

So for at least three years I’ve shopped quality over quantity. I no longer wear cosmetic jewellery or buy new fast clothing mindlessly.

I wear the same gold jewellery, well-made clothes and shoes again and again, and I don’t change my bags daily like I used to (while at the same time trying to look fine because I do like fashion). I’ve also wear the same hairstyle and little makeup.

With the time I’ve saved from being a minimalist in fashion and life, I think I’ve learned much: growing food, watercolour painting, writing calligraphy, playing the ukulele, hiking, diving, financial management, philosophy, first aid, etc. It’s amazing to know I only picked up these new skills in the last few years.

So excited to improve my new skills, and learn even more new things. Speaking Mandarin? Dancing maybe? Astronomy? Oh, I love how there’s so many things to look forward to in this life 

#minimalist #philomath #curatedlife

Salad dressings

My sister @amanda_khong religiously brings her healthy lunchbox to work from Monday to Thursday. So I help her spice it up by making different salad dressing every week.

This week, I made Miso-Mustard Dressing with:

🔸1/2 tsp grated ginger

🔸1 tbsp honey

🔸1 tbsp mustard

🔸2 tbsp miso

The chicken is marinated overnight in generous amount of spices – turmeric, cumin, white pepper, and sea salt – before grilling in the oven.

Yes, this is how she keeps her figure 💃🏻

I was in Sin Chew Daily, a local Chinese newspaper, last week. I had no idea what it was saying about me; I could only read my Chinese name and simple words like ‘big/ 大‘ and ‘person/ 人’.

Today Mommy read it to me. Chinese makes me sound impressive “大显身手 / tai yin san sau”. I feel like a kung-fu master 🗡🥋😜

A torch ginger flower is not a lotus…

Organising a two days long class or a painting excursion to a park seem impossible at the moment. 🌸🍃☀

So I took a 1 hour online class, google for a photo, and starting simply painting! 🎨

This is the result:

My sisters mistaken it as a lotus flower… 😭

Actually it’s Torch Ginger Flower (bunga kantan); the bud is used in Asam laksa and curries.

This is far from what I want to achieve. But I will take baby steps. One day it shall be as realistic as @art.by.ratna paintings💪

#bungakantan #flower #stationery #watercolour #watercolourpainting #art #pink #painting #travelpalette #torchginger #torchgingerflower #edibleflowers

Soy sauce ginger-coriander dip with free-range steamed chicken

Made a healthy and easy soy sauce ginger-coriander dip to go with free-range organic steamed chicken.

Just mix together pounded fresh ginger, julienned sawtooth coriander, soy sauce and chicken stock from the steamed chicken.

Oh, I love my sawtooth coriander plant. I find so many uses for it. Yesterday, I just made tomato vinaigrette with it for my sister’s lunchbox. I need to plant more of them soon.

I truly believe it’s not hard to eat healthy. My family has been quite busy lately. So we just made steamed chicken, stir-fry vegetables with mushroom, fried eggs with onions, and ABC soup. Our stomach and heart is so full! 🐓🍚🍳🥦🥢💕

What to quit to get ahead?

New idea: ‘strategic quitting’ (Sometimes You Have To Quit To Get Ahead)

This is difficult to fathom. I’m not quitter. When I make up my mind about something, I stick to it for a long time. No matter how tough, I will carry on. But looks like sometimes you gotta quit things that are getting you nowhere.

This is not about giving up because its hard. It’s about not wasting more time and effort on something that is holding you back from the life that you want. I need to find some time to figure out what I need to quit – materially, emotionally, and physically.

Life is too short to be unhappy or to have regrets. Give the last try to what you think is important to you. If you have tried your best but it still doesn’t work, perhaps it’s time to quit and move on to better things.

Vote with your wallet and mouse. The world is fuelled by economic gain. Do not pay for or click to read/watch things that you don’t want to see more of in this world.
Things I’ve quitted:
  • Clickbaits
  • Badly written/gossipy blogpost
  • ‘News’ from unknown sources
  • Sensational songs e.g Famous by Kanye West
  • Instagram of celebrities with opposing values 
Focus on:
  • Well written/classic books
  • Reputable publications
  • Thoughtful blogs e.g Brainpickings
  • Pleasant music
  • Positive IG accounts 
Pay for/ support:
  • Environmental-friendly artisanal products e.g handmade soap
  • Charity/religious fund
  • Organic produce/ free-range meat
  • Small local business
  • Plays/ concerts
Things to buy less of:
  • Mass produced clothing
  • Unnecessary FMCG products
People to see more of/ initiate conversation with:
  • Those who are caring, encouraging, and respectful
People to see less of/ talk less to:
  • People who are emotionally draining and/or indifferent.

#choosequality #qualityoverquantity #curatedmind #strategicquitting

Making time for hobbies

When I first do ‘adulting’, I forgot that I had hobbies: things I love to do for fun. Oh how dreary life (and I) was.

So decided to paint again. I organised a watercolour painting class with my friends and bought some art supplies from @stickerrific . But how do I find time to make it a part of my life?

I figured that if I watch less Instastories and scroll less of my Facebook feed, I will have some time. So I skipped consuming social media to sketch and paint. I do that in small blocks of time, 15 to 30 minutes.

This illustration of Cencaru Sambal is created over six sessions. I truly believe that when there’s a will, there’s a way.

Next I’ll love to organize a private watercolor class with @art.by.ratna and a sketching outing at a park. Who wants to join?

Weekend at the waterfalls

Our work need out eyes to be glued to the screen and bottoms on the seat. So whenever we can, we should look at greeneries and walk everywhere.

This weekend, I’ve hiked for hours, got lost in the jungle, and got bitten by leeches. I had such a good difficult time; I learned to endure bodily pain, deal with uncertainty, understand the spirit of adventure, and be calm.


Sometimes I wonder why I torture my body and mind like this. I could’ve just sleep in. But then when it’s all over, it’s amazing to *know* I can do more than I think I’m capable of. Besides I think my legs just got sexier from all the exercise 💪🌳🍂☀️🐜🕸

The Fay Khoo Awards Food Photography Workshop

Exploring food photography with SC Shekar last weekend. He makes beautiful images of food, scenery, and people (some which I’ve admired for years unknowingly).
The authenticity and ease Shekar injects into something I deem as artificial and complicated is inspiring.
I really dislike too much food styling which turn food into inedible art. Professional food photography was not something I agree with completely until last Saturday.
I would always keep my photo real even if it is not as pretty as it can be: what you see is what I cook.
Now I am sure I can make food images which are both beautiful and delicious.

More photos: