15 July 2014

Wish I Was Here...

It's been a while since I have written a music post.  Life gets in the way, we get busy and I had forgotten how wonderful it is to make new music discoveries and listen to a beautiful song for the very first time...

Zach Braff has a new movie coming out.  Similar to his debut film, Garden State (which had an awesome soundtrack) Wish I Was Here boasts an equally impressive lineup for its soundtrack.

A few songs have been released on NPR for listening.  Do yourself a favour and have a listen...

Cat Power and ColdPlay: listen here
Bon Iver: listen here
The Shins: listen here

08 July 2014


What a tiring day to start the week.. It started off with me reading up on financial markets reform to prepare for an industry conference I am speaking at on Wednesday and ended up with me googling 'how to deal with toddler tantrums' after a big and quite a long tanty thrown by the little Miss... I am tired! But I do genuinely love being challenged by both in my life (on most days anyway).

For those parents out there, I did find an interesting article talking about the science behind toddler tantrums. Apparently they are primarily caused by their little brains not having developed the ability to understand reasoning, logic and self control yet.  I don't know.. I think the little Miss understands a lot more than she lets on sometimes and is just super duper determined.  So I don't think I will or should stop saying no to her #poorkidwithatigermum #imaginewhatshewillbelikeasateen

I hope the week ahead will be a little more drama (and tantrum) free!

03 July 2014

Choosing success

I recently wrote about success when I was making a difficult career decision.  Today I read a post by Deepak Chopra on Linkedin. A little bit new age and some may think a bit airy fairy but I thought it was worth sharing as good food for thought when making work and life decisions.

I have extracted some of the article below but the full article is in the link above.  As he writes:
Success is a magic word, and I believe in it too. When people are given the opportunity, almost all will pursue some kind of success. But matching opportunity with success is trickier than one might suppose. If Bill Gates had had the opportunity to fill Mother Teresa’s shoes, or vice versa, what would have happened? ... 
In India there's a term for the life that leads a person to the right path of success: Dharma. The word comes from the Sanskrit verb "to uphold," implying that the universe will support you when you find the path that is right for you. How do you know if you are in your Dharma? It's a delicate matter, because everyone is complex enough that mind, personality, interests, education, and background pull in different directions... 
Modern life gives far more latitude for choice, and yet external opportunities, important as they are, don't solve the question of how to find your dharma... In the midst of everyday life, the signals that direct us toward the best existence are constantly being given. 
Positive signals - "You're on the right track"
  • You welcome the next challenge.
  • You feel confident that you can meet the challenge.
  • You enjoy what you're doing.
  • You feel freer today than you were a year ago. 
  • There's something new to discover and explore. 
  • When you look around, your surroundings fit the life you want to live.
For many generations, these signals didn't pertain to the work a person did, they fit retirement. ...however, and now it's fair to say that given the opportunity, most of us want everything on this list today, not somewhere in our distant "golden years."  On the other hand, contrary forces still pull the other way. 
Negative signals - "This is where you have to be."
  • You can't wait to go home from work.
  • You feel underused and under-appreciated.
  • You work for the paycheck.
  • You find it hard to motivate yourself in your job.
  • There's pressure to conform, and you give in to the pressure.
  • You don't want to be here, but you can't figure out how to leave
These aren't huge existential matters - on an everyday basis you can begin to foster the strengths needed to move toward success... Only when your mind faces up to your situation, with all that's good, bad, or indifferent in it, can you create a space for change. Getting stuck is your enemy, and stuckness is an inner state... No matter how you define dharma, it's always an open, accepting state where you feel that you are growing and evolving...

Celebrity Lifestyle Blogs

Gwyneth started it with the launch of Goop in 2010 and I have noticed that increasingly celebrities are getting on the bandwagon and launching their own lifestyle websites. 

I know there are a lot of critics out there but I personally enjoy browsing through them.  For pop culture fans like me, you can really get a feel for the person behind the celebrity and get lots of tips in the meantime or even if it is just for a stickybeak.  

I give them credit for being entrepreneurial, finding an additional income stream and being in control of their own image and brand. 

Aside from Goop, a couple of my other favourite celebrity sites are: 

Recently launched by Meghan Markle (who plays Rachel Zane on one of my favourite shows, Suits), The Tig is described as 'a hub for the discerning palate - those with a hunger for food, travel, fashion & beauty".  Her posts seem very genuine and this page has become one of my frequent reads. 

I never watched her on The City but I do love Olivia Palermo's style.  Her site is more style than general lifestyle and the "I want what she's wearing" category is always full of outfit inspiration for me.  

30 June 2014

Holidays: Bali

I cannot wait for our holiday in a couple of weeks.  We are escaping for a week to Bali and splurging a little by staying at the W.  We're really looking forward to the break and especially the Mr who has been working his butt off recently.

We haven't been to Seminyak since our honeymoon so I can't wait to show it off to the little lady and try out some of the recommendations from my friend Andrea.

Yay for holidays!

26 June 2014

Good Vietnamese food in Singapore

Mrs Pho from Burpple

My mum is visiting us at the moment so I have been relishing in all the Vietnamese home cooking - she is so sweet and the first thing she did when she arrived was go to the supermarket and buy ingredients for dinner!

I love it when she visits as I can really get my Vietnamese food fix.   People often ask me where we go and find good Vietnamese food in Singapore.  I have to admit it isn't great but I can recommend a couple of places that are better than most of the pretty average offerings around town.

Mrs Pho

Opened up by friends of friends, this tiny little restaurant on Beach Road serves up a decent Pho and the best pork chop rice I have had so far in Singapore (most have been pretty abysmal).  The Pho's broth is full of flavour (so many places here have watery or bland soup for their Pho) and they use fresh noodles not the dry stuff out of the packet.   My only complaint is they don't give you enough fresh basil with your noodles but that is a common issue in Vietnamese restaurants here!   The Mr didn't rate the pork and spring roll vermicelli so I say stick to Pho or the rice when you visit.  Cute decor and a great vibe.

Nam Nam Noodle Bar

Opened up by the Les Amis group, several of these stores have popped up in various shopping centres around town after their initial opening in Raffles City. They serve up some yummy Banh Mi and decent Pho.  There is generally always a line (regardless of time of day) so that's a good sign.

Long Phung

A couple of Vietnamese places are located on Joo Chiat Road on the East.  We have been to Long Phung before and it was pretty good and filled with lots of other Vietnamese people.   Offering up more than just Pho, this would be a good place to visit as a group to enjoy a good mix of dishes.   It can get pretty crowded so there may be a bit of a wait.


My go to place for some comfort food when I am at work.  Not the greatest but not the worst, it serves up some pretty tasty banh mi and noodles if I need a Viet food fix at lunch time.  I was pretty happy when they opened up an outlet below my office at Marina Bay recently.

Singapore Guide: Design for Mankind

images from Design for Mankind

I saw this written up on my friend's blog and I couldn't help but share - such a delightful little insight into our lovely city.   Plus I am biased as it mentions a lot of our favourite places too!

Read the full "What to Do in Singapore" here.

17 June 2014

Pins and more pins

I am back to pinning and this is what has been inspiring me lately... Ps I love how pinning photos on Pinterest can make me feel more creative than I really am ;)

My perfect morning - croissants and coffee 

Everything in this picture!  The chair, those blooms, that white shabby table! 

This outfit - I need more white in my wardrobe

More of this please...

More on my Pinterest (link on the right) 

Island dreaming...

It is Tuesday night, I am nursing a cold and feeling a little sorry for myself.  So I am flicking through some holiday pics from my amazing girls trip to the Maldives with my big sister and a friend last month.  It was so lovely to have uninterrupted quality sister time. I am looking forward to more when my sister, mum, brother-in-law and little nephew visit next week. Can't wait!

13 June 2014

Coffee snob #2

The little lady woke me up at 4.30 yesterday morning and then was awake again last night between midnight and 2.30am! The Mr is away for work so unfortunately I have been on solo night duty... The poor thing has been sick so that doesn't help but it means a very very tired Phuong the last few days... hopefully she will be back on track again tonight!

So it has meant a bit more coffee than usual... Unfortunately there is a serious lack of good coffee close to my office so I had to make do with the office coffee machine. It did get me thinking though that I should update my list of favourite coffee places in Singapore. Over the past few years there has been a surge of 'third wave coffee' places opening - it seems there is a new cafe opening every couple of months.  All the better for us coffee snobs!

I am pleased to report that since my last post in 2011, all the cafes I listed are still open and still good.

To add to the list:

  • Common Man Coffee Roasters: From the folks who brought us 40 Hands, the coffee is I think the best in town.  Beautiful strong flavour and served with some pretty latte art in a special handpicked cup made my local potters.  The food menu is also extensive and has haloumi on it so you really can't go wrong!  Gets really busy - even at random times of the day - so my tip is to go early (we often go at 8am when it opens to get a pick of the tables)
  • Commune Cafe: Located in a bit of an odd spot at Millenia Walk, this place serves tasty coffee and simple food.  A good place for a bit of respite if you are out shopping that way. 
  • Dutch Colony Co: Located within Parsarbella at the Grandstand (think Singapore's version of Chelsea Market in New York), this place gets super busy on the weekends.  Excellent coffee in a cute little set up - pick up a cup of coffee whilst you browse and snack on all the goodies available at Parsarbella.

We are creatures of habit so we often stick to our faves on the weekends but there are quite a few places, I have read about that we will  need to try including: 
Singapore readers, please let me know if I am missing any! 

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