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28.1.12

messing with fairy lights: a room tour.

belt ~ thrifted
tank top ~ gap
skirt ~ thrifted
necklace ~ accessorize
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Spending a long, lazy afternoon with one of my best friends is always an amazing thing. Camilla and I have such similar thoughts & minds, which makes talking about anything and everything a breeze because we're very alike. She's also very supportive of my blogging career (which is why she'll have her own mini-column on this blog very soon!). I love her to bits, and her fierce passion for teenage bedrooms has rubbed off on me. Because of her, I've vowed to spend more time and effort redecorating my bedroom, to make it as colourful and vibrant as possible. 
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During your teenage years, a lot goes on in your bedroom. Be it sleepovers, homework, crying sessions, movie marathons, house parties or simply sleeping; your room ends up being your sanctuary, and to me, its important to decorate it accordingly. The process of decorating has been tedious and slow, yet it has brought me so much unexpected joy. I leafed through years' worth of ancient artifacts which brought me to tears and got a little bit exasperated in the process, but I'm proud of how much I've done, and I'm excited to continue this process. To me, there is no finished stage of a teenage bedroom, because *hairflick,* we as teenagers are infinite and everchanging. We evolve, we break, we heal and we triumph, and therefore its impossible to ever pinpoint a "finished product" in an endlessly dynamic process.

Key features of my room:
-My World Map. This was one of my infamous "spontaneous buys;" I sort of picked it up, felt like it was a good use of $50, and marched to the cash register without giving it a though (note: my spontaneous buys honestly end up being my BEST buys). If you sit cross legged on the ground wrapped in luminous fairy lights like Camilla and I did for hours in my room, you get a perfect view of it. It's so inspiring and breathtaking to roam the entire world in the comfort of your own room, and write lists of places you'd love to go. Best $50 I have ever spent.
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-My Tavi Shrine. While looking through RookieMag, I came across this article about room decorating which I really should have expected since RookieMag is run by Tavi, the queen of awesome bedrooms and anything Virgin-Suicide-y. But yeah, Rookie is awesome and I think every girl, old or young, should read it. My shrine is full of miscellaneous religious items (a mini statue of Virgin Mary, a crucifix, a rosary, etc), tiny perfume bottles, Elnett Hairspray because I think it's super iconic, and a ton of other pink girly items. And Tavi's beautiful face, of course.
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-My Desk (and it's surroundings). My desk is normally the messiest place in my room. But it's nice that there are so many windows around my desk, so natural light can come in and I can look into our garden when I'm sick of looking at my textbooks. To enlighten my dark, hellish hours of twilight studying, I've printed off and cut out all my favourite quotes; including those of John Green and Sylvia Plath.
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-My "Corner." It's not actually called my corner, I just couldn't think of anything else to call this awkward area of my room. It's covered in Vitamin Water labels because that stuff is my life, as well as assorted magazine covers, one of my favourite sayings ever ("Come, my dear, we have oceans to sail"), a bunch of ocean-y pictures, an oil painting of a beach that we always go to in Thailand done by my Grandma, three champagne bottles because I think they're pretty, a ton of polaroids, and books and magazines. And next to it is a mini-couch thing where I can sit and read by the window and daydream and be whisked away by the enchanting view of my neighbour's hideous garden. And I found some old film negatives, which I used to spell out "Afloat," another favourite word of mine. 
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-My Camp Shrine/Justin Bieber Wall. Both these elements are in dangerous proximity to my bed (meaning things fall on my head all the time). My Camp Shrine is one of my favourite parts of my room, it's basically a bunch of polaroids I took at dance camp last summer, as well as some camp sayings which I've sharpied onto my old pointe shoe ribbons and stuck up on my wall. And there are ticket stubs and pamphlets and my breakfast card and all sorts of little things that make me remember camp. And the Justin Bieber wall is self explanatory because I love him with all my heart and he will forever remain my most favouritest human being to ever walk this planet.


Okay this was far far too long a post, but I hope you enjoyed it. What are your bedrooms like?
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& If you're still interested in furthering your knowledge about teenage bedrooms, click here for a link to a tumblr blog dedicated entirely to publishing submissions of bedrooms from all over the world. And click here for THE PERFECT summary of what a teenage bedroom means, seriously guys click it omg it's so relevant and concise, unlike my writing. Do it. 
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24.1.12

golden globes 2012.

I absolutely loved watching the Golden Globes this year; it was the cosy charm of the dinner tables and small-ish audience (in comparison to the Grammy's!) that really hit home for me. It was heart-warming to see such a prestigious award ceremony held in such an intimate setting, I almost felt like I was in the same room as them! It was so difficult to nominate 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, so I ended up having to select two stunners for each category.

I had to give it to my two favourite Modern Family girls this time. Aside from being one of the funniest people ever, Sofia Vergara is absolutely stunning. I mean seriously, look at those curves! This sensual Vera Wang gown, reminiscent of ocean waves and stitched in stunning navy thread, made for a show-stopping silhouette.
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Although still fairly young, its clear that Sarah Hyland has a dazzling future paved out for her; not only in TV but maybe in fashion, too. A browse through her street-style shots will be sure to clear up any doubts that any of you have about her in no time. This vintage Dolce & Gabbana masterpiece highlights her slender figure and the colour scheme couldn't be more compatible with that of her skin/hair. Topped off with a few soft, loose curls, this 21 year old is nothing short of radiant, even though her zipper suffered a malfunction on the red carpet!

Not far behind in the competition comes Kate Beckinsale in a creamy Roberto Cavalli creation, adorned with jewels. My favourite thing about the dress isn't only the fact that it looks like it was made for her- it's that beautiful, structured curve at the top of the dress, which doesn't quite hug her cleavage, but does bring considerable attention to it. It's so refreshing from a structural point of view, seeing as the rest of the dress is either figure-hugging or frothy & flowing.
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Glee girl Lea Michele really wowed critics in a daring Marchesa piece. She looks party-ready in that glitzy, high-glitter creation, and I adore the McQueen-style detailing on the top half (although, at a first glance, I thought glitter-covered reptiles were clawing at her boobs). Baring a bit of skin- yet keeping it classy, that's Rachel Berry for you!

If her dress wasn't sprinkled with a fine dose of metallic shimmer, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed Jessica Alba's Gucci look half as much as I do right now. Although that isn't the most appetizing shade of lavender, the glitzy frosting amps up the power of the dress, and I have to give it to her for complementing her empire-waist gown with a cute clutch. She's so gorgeous, she can pull off anything. God, I hate people like that.
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Mila Kunis received her fair share of crap for wearing this slightly frumpy Dior dress, and although I must agree that the awkward waistline doesn't do anything for her figure, I didn't think it was a bad choice. This chick is sexy, and she proved that she could work this dress to her advantage by slicking her dark mane back and letting her fierce features shine. 

What did you guys think of the Golden Globes? Which dresses were your favourites?
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& Thanks to everyone who supported the short life of ShopSIS. Unfortunately I had to close it down for logistical reasons, but fortunately I got to keep the pieces that perhaps I didn't want to sell after all! Thanks to everyone who has also checked out the "Press" page in the right-hand sidebar. Feedback on the new blog buttons I've recently added is also very welcome!

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20.1.12

floaty florals.


all pictures from tumblr
The arrival of Spring, and more importantly, the debut of those S/S'12 collections in stores, seems to always hold such mild, ladylike connotations in my mind. I gathered a bunch of my favourite pictures on Tumblr of anything cream-colored, lacy, pastel pink, anything with frocks, ribbons, washed out florals or rusty gold ornamental jewelry, sleepy mornings, sunshine, lots and lots of pretty pretty flowers, sunny afternoons, Miss Dior Cherie (God, I drown myself in that stuff every morning) and ladylike hats (which I think should totally come back into fashion, like seriously). Spring is a time of awakening, the arrival of warm weather, the unfolding of opulent flowers and the long-anticipated farewell to winter for a whole year, and what better way to welcome the season than to pack up all those thermals and bulky coats, and step out in a girly ensemble consisting of luxuriously light hues and decadent fabrics? 


Veena's tips to Spring-ify your life: (Especially if you live in a country where seasons don't exist (Like Singapore! Yay Singapore!) and you're in exceptional need of some seasonal reassurance)
  1. Let your hair down (yes, I mean literally), and if you're feeling like a mega-cutie then stick a flower in your hair or something (but don't, like, start headbanging to Radiohead if you've put flowers in your hair; if you dress like one of dem sophisticated bitchez, then at least try to act like one). 
  2. Make yourself some tea and put it in an elegant, gold-edged teacup with a matching saucer and everything (empty Vitamin Water bottles suffice perfectly, in my case), and then sip it and stick your pinky out for maximum effect. And oh yeah, sit back and bathe in the knowledge that you're drinking tea because you CAN, and not because you're freezing your ass off and you need to drink it to defrost your lips.
  3. Just empty your closet of wintry influences. THAT SEASON IS OVER. Clear out any stray wintry things in your room; scarves, leg warmers, stray snowflakes and shit, the usual. It's Spring now, a new season with new possibilities, so throw petals in the air and embrace the crispness of the fresh season. 
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And I know this seems like ages ago, but I'm finally announcing the winner of my first ever giveaway! Anna Pitto of Followpix is the lucky girl, who'll find a parcel full of various goodies waiting in her mailbox sometime within the next few weeks! (depending on the speed of which I get off my ass and walk to the post office, and the subsequent speed of the postman on her side of the world).
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Thank you to everyone who entered; I got far more entries than I expected, so yeah. You guys are awesome.
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17.1.12

green poppies.

Subtle, loving message to all my darling readers: Before you scroll down, please note that as this was a submission to a magazine, it's an incredibly long, full-length article. If you have fifteen minutes on your hands and are keen to read this from start to finish, I would advise a quick trip to the bathroom and a comfy seat before commencing, to ensure maximum enjoyment and minimal fuss. 
I was wearing a dress from Zara, thrifted lace tights, Doc Martens and a Sisley handbag.
Photos by Max.
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Decked out in a fresh white embroidered summer dress (whipped out especially for Diwali*, she says), embellished wedges and a skinny belt, Hazel Lam is absolutely radiant. She sparkles with natural beauty, and unlike some Singaporean women who swear by slashings of liquid liner, her makeup is tastefully applied and brings out her cute-as-a-button features. A soft-spoken sari collector, Hazel Lam is the proud owner of an artsy boutique in Singapore’s famous Haji Lane; “Green Poppies.” After studying in Korea for a few years, she fell in love with the “street style and the vibrant, unique culture”, and upon her return to Singapore, she decided to bring in stock from her favourite labels in Korea. Although Green Poppies imports most clothing from Korea, it does manufacture its own line of simple laptop cases that are always in high demand. Aside from shopping overseas, Hazel enjoys shopping at River Island and Zara, which she instantly names her favourites. She recalls with a wistful smile her youthful hopes of working in the performing arts industry, and I’m convinced that Hazel might just be the most lovely, adorable person ever. Green Poppies celebrates its 4th year as an online store and it’s first year as a boutique next year, and it is clear that the brand is definitely on its way to even greener pastures.

*Diwali = an Indian Festival/Holiday which is also a public holiday in Singapore
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.She eagerly shows me to the second floor after we both chatted for a while and downed our drinks, where she unveils her newest collection. Pleated maxi skirts, floaty chiffon tops and intricate summer dresses are everywhere, and a sombre rack of black and white seperates is also part of the mix. A stunning array of wooden-handle clutches and various other art-deco style bags are on display, and at my feet are a magnificent line of mock-suede moccasins in rich tones (think Topshop-style shoes, a few notches down). Hazel shows me the new collection of heels as well, in particular a smouldering platform shoe with an electric red sole, and she insists they’re as comfortable as anything. “They have a platform that’s underneath the ball of your foot, so they’re a lot more comfortable than normal heels,” she says.
She pulls out a sleek black dress, cinched at the waist, pleated at the skirt and wonderfully voluptuous at the sleeves and instantly names it one of her favourites. As she roams the color coded shelves for more of the best of her newest collection, I can’t help but notice something that lured me to the store in the first place; the unflinching variety it promised. In all honesty, while I was roaming the racks of beautiful clothing, I couldn’t think of anything Hazel had missed. She had ticked all the boxes with her handpicked seperates, from girly to edgy to metallic to eveningwear. From sleek pencil skirts to dreamy ruffled pieces, the cozy, woody attic of her store was a delight to both my visual palate and my fingertips. I wondered how anyone could compress such a vast range of styles into such a compact place, but clearly Hazel could do it, and with an effortless grace, too.
She says that she doesn’t take inspiration from trends, as she says personal style is a lot more important. She chooses her collections based on her own eye, and she always likes to have a little bit of everything in the store so she can please a wide range of people.  This is obviously essential to a country like Singapore, which has an extremely limited fashion industry. If there’s one thing that anyone can notice about our country, it’s the humiliating lack of effort people put into dressing themselves well. Trends are entirely irrelevant to one’s style, and that’s only if they HAVE style. The vast majority of people you see in central Singapore dress according to one style rule: If it’s hot outside, wear flip flops. That’s all you ever really see here, sadly. T-shirts, shorts and flip flops.
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But Hazel is determined to change that. Her greatest pet peeve? “Local girls who dress well ruin it by wearing flip flops. They’re convenient and comfortable, but they just don’t look good!” she laughs. “At least wear sandals or wedges or something!”
What I love about this store is how much pride the owner takes in it. While corporate billionaires are leafing through their millions, galaxies away from the heart and soul of their brand, Hazel is buried right in the centre of it, taking charge of every decision, both big and small (she’s only got 4 staff members who are all part-timers, making this a one-woman mission). With the tireless effort she puts into maintaining the store, it’s safe to say that Green Poppies really is her little baby. She takes pride in not the store’s achievements and finances, but the happiness it brings her as a person and as an owner. Green Poppies isn’t only there to put money in her pocket, it’s to feed her passion. And as a fashionista, who could ask for more?
If you actually got to the bottom of this and read every single word in between; respect, bro.

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11.1.12

white, denim & leather.

button-down blouse ~ paradise on a hanger
acid washed jeans ~ h&m
brogues ~ the little things she needs
tank top  ~ cotton on
cross-body satchel ~ h&m
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One trend that never fails to weave its way into every single gossip magazine is the classic ensemble of white, denim, and leather. There’s something so expensive-looking about a crisp white shirt, blue denim bottoms and a leather bag, and this simple look has a 100% success rate with all body types and skin colors. One of the best things about this look is how versatile it is; throw on an off-white trench, jeans and a messenger bag in the winter, and opt for a slouchy white tank top, frayed Daisy Dukes and a cross-body pouch for an afternoon in the sun. 
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I teamed this floaty button-down with contrasting acid-washed jeans, which I rolled up to a three-quarter length for a more classy, refined silhouette. Creamy leather brogues would've been the ideal companion to this outfit, but for now, my battered, faux-leather ones (RIP) will have to do. It was the subtle detailing that drew me into purchasing this cross-body pouch; I like things that appear simple at a glance, but prove to be more intricate upon a second look.
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6.1.12

phuket photo diary.

A view of the lakeside Golf Course

Lounge Chairs overlooking the lake and the Golf Course.

The view from the poolside.

My reading material for this trip! Marie Claire UK and Instyle UK (both December 2011 issues), "Amelia" by Siobhan Parkinson and 
"The Valley of Secrets" by Charmian Hussey.

Lounge seats overlooking the lake and Golf Course.

 A tiny island near Phi Phi Island, where the James Bond movies were filmed!

 Another gorgeous piece of scenery.
 A few canoes roaming the inland lakes.
 Family photo on the first day of 2012!
 The gorgeous inland lake.

 Look at those puffy clouds!
 Bikini from Victoria's Secret.

After spending six days in Phuket, a wonderful island off Thailand filled with golden beaches and lobster-red tourists, describing my state of mind as rested and rejuvenated is an understatement. Living in such a fast paced city, sometimes I forget the importance of taking a break from schoolwork, friends and commitments and just having quality time with my family in a place I can pretty much call home. Trips to Phuket for the McCoole family are never too eventful, as they're just for all of us to recharge our batteries by floating around in the sea, chilling in our hotel and soaking up the heat. However, we did take a day-long sailing trip where we bobbed around in clear waters and explored inland lakes and caves which had the most stunning, natural rock formations. 
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I hope everyone had a restful winter holiday and a great start to 2012; here's to another year before we set the fireworks off on New Year's Eve all over again!


My Airplane Playlist:
The Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
Houdini - Foster the People
Safe and Sound - Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars
Heart Full of Wine - Angus and Julia Stone
Elephant Gun - Beirut
Folding Chair - Regina Spektor
Costume Party - Two Door Cinema Club
Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons
Miserable at Best - Mayday Parade
Manhattan From the Sky - Kate Voegele
Basic Space - The XX
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After the first round of "10 quick questions" received so much positive feedback from my readers, I've decided to make it a regular monthly feature on my blog. One of my blogging goals for this year is to try and feature and collaborate with as many people as possible, because although blogging is very much a solo mission, it's fun to put a few more heads together and see things from a fresh perspective
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This month, Lindsay LeBoyer of The Style Child Blog has kindly agreed to participate in this feature. Lindsay is a high school junior living in New York City, and her blog is an absolute joy to read!
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1) Designer that you think will make a big comeback in 2012: Azzedine Alaia has made an amazing comeback to couture, and I can't wait to see more from him in 2012.
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2) Best present you received this Christmas: The “Dior Couture Patrick Demarchelier” book. It’s beautiful.
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3) Your current favorite food: Blueberries!
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4) One trend that you hope will re-establish itself in 2012: I really hope the midi-hemline sticks around!
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5) Best present you gave this Christmas: I gave my friend a pair of red and white knit socks from J. Crew for Secret Santa.
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6) Book you're currently reading: The Great Gatsby.
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7) Top of your wishlist for next Christmas: A lomography camera, like maybe a fisheye or Holga.
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8) Favorite fragrance: Toss up between Gucci Guilty and Chloe.
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9) One place you hope to visit in your lifetime: There are so many places I hope to visit, but Paris is definitely the top of my list.
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10) If you had to shop at one store for the rest of your life, it would be: Bergdorfs if I had an unlimited budget, but if I was using my own money, probably Zara.



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1.1.12

graveyards.

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Every summer during our return to Ireland, our extended family always makes it a point to visit our beloved Auntie Kitty, who is peacefully buried in the little town of Cahir, Tipperary. I took loads of photos of this remarkably beautiful place this summer, so I could look back and relive those divine, obligation-free summer days at my leisure.
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Somehow I can’t find the right words to describe what we actually do when we’re visiting Auntie Kitty, because for that one afternoon, the hustle and bustle of life seems to evaporate entirely, leaving us astounded and somewhat dazed at the tranquil environment encapsulating us. We pack a small picnic in Granny’s picnic basket, and we dine amidst the damp grass in the shade of willowy trees. Dappled shadows smother the ground on which we laze, and a clear river trickles down from the mountains beside us.
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I have the fondest memories of this beautiful place; frolicking for endless hours in the adjacent sun-drenched fields (Irish weather seems to cooperate with us when it comes to Auntie Kitty!) and tumbling around atop hay rolls. There’s no better feeling than letting go and being a child again, even just for a day.
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Auntie Kitty couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful resting place next to her brother, and the little tradition of us going to see her once a year is something I hope will never cease. I believe Auntie Kitty is still alive in all of our hearts; busying herself in the kitchen baking her signature delicacies, or perched in an armchair, knitting us our very own winter woollies. Her scone recipes have lived on in all our kitchens, and her legacy of faith and indescribable zest for life is well ingrained in all of us. As Dad says, "the cold weather was what kept Auntie Kitty alive for so long.”
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