Sunday, December 27, 2015

Radiohead From The Basement 2008.

Radiohead | In Rainbows (From the Basement)

I'm an ultimate Radiohead fan and this always sends chills down my spine, no matter how many times I've listened to the full show.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Chance Encounters by Jonathan Anderson for Loewe.

Ceramics by Lucie Rie, Kimono by Anthea Hamilton.

Photographs by Paul Nash.

s. vogue

Through Chance Encounters, an Art Basel Exhibit for Loewe curated by Jonathan Anderson, Anderson hopes to showcase
some of his design influences.

"It's kind of like a very movable mood board. It's showing art in its purest form. It's not really to interact with 
the products, it's really just to showcase the ideas." 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ways of Seeing.

In the first episode of a four part documentary, John Berger's Ways of Seeing talks about how the reproduction of art, afforded by cameras, have changed the ways we see these works. We view paintings out of their contexts, in the comfort of our homes. We view them along with other images, e.g. in a magazine, on our social media feed, and these contexts come to change the meanings we imbue to these paintings.

Berger also suggests that art is often mystified. The obvious interpretations of works of art are replaced by ones that are relayed to us through museum brochures or Wiki pages. Mystification makes these works of art feel remote as it forces us to accept one interpretation that is often presented by a privileged minority.

I love art but I can't pinpoint why. More often than not, it's an emotional connection. But I was afraid of people approaching me to ask, 'Why do you like this? What does it mean?'. The problem was that I don't know what the art is implying. If my memory doesn't fail me, I can impress you with the learned interpretation from art history classes and books. But I don't like these works of art by the way they have been defined. I like a Botticelli for the colours, for the way he paints textiles especially. I love a Rothko for the emotion I receive when I look at it. The works in the Rothko chapel are supposed to bring one to a meditative state or even some form of religious enlightenment, but those dark works just made me feel sorrow and nothing else. I felt so depressed when I sat in the centre of the black paintings.

Art is not reserved for the elites. Interpretation of art works is not reserved for the elites as well. You can just view it as it is, appreciate it for whatever element that intrigues you. I remember my art history teacher mentioning that he likes to view the art before reading the artwork's label. Perhaps his education would have already affected his interpretation, but I like how he's still trying to stay open and true to what he sees and how he feels. I will still appreciate the accepted interpretation as it does provide a better context of the work, but it's okay to not comprehend it and it's okay to not see a connection between the art and the information provided. That shouldn't ruin your experience of art.

Art has the immense capability to inspire creativity, to open conversations. So no one should be afraid that they don't see art the way it should be seen. Because there's no one way to see it. Our ways of seeing will be different because of our different backgrounds and the contexts that we are viewing it in. Don't overwhelm or trap yourself into one way of seeing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Apartamento: Florence Welch.

Shared this video plus another one from the same series over at the other space But while looking at the real homes of real people (i.e. not intentionally changed in a way for the public's view) I had some nice thoughts to share.

I think homes really tell a lot about a person or a family. I'm looking at my home and I'm like... It's not bad. Not bad at all. It may not be well-furnished or whatever, but it is what it is after we've lived here for 22 years. Every object says something about either a member of the family or us, collectively. Over the years, things have been moved around, added or even removed as we figure out our preferences and lifestyles.

My bed and my books form a mini sanctuary. My study table is strictly for studying only. I watch my sitcoms, blog, go to Facebook with my laptop placed on the coffee table in the living room. I think I demarcate my spaces according to their purpose, and I adhere to that so my mentality and mood changes every time I'm at a different spot. I only figured this out maybe at the start of this year, when I realised I can no longer study productively while seated anywhere near this coffee table. Haha. It's cool to learn that about myself.

And now that I'm 22, I think I've figured out what should stay and what should go. I've been in the kitchen for quite a bit over the past two years and tableware is something I would really love to collect. I've started with a few vintage pieces found at flea markets and some mass produced but still pretty ones from MUJI and 杂货店 (shops at heartlands that sell almost everything and anything). Magazines and art books are another big thing that I love collecting. I don't have money for crazy expensive ones but I really love the few ones that I've bought and been gifted with. And then the corner in my room where I place my silver accessories, cheap perfume and Rothko postcards... Okay I think I really love my bedroom haha, I can just go on and on. But that's good right? Haha.

But there are also things that I initially hated, and simply made do with. I don't have an air-con in my room. There's just an ugly fan that's deep green in colour. But funnily, I've grown to like that colour. My wardrobe (not the clothes but the actual closet) is a hand-me-down. It was actually a wedding gift for my mum I think, and it has this ugly '喜' sticker pasted on it. It's bad. But we painted a coat of white paint over it and I can actually live with it.

I did a presentation in school earlier today about the traditional kopitiams (coffee shops) in Singapore and the lament is that globalisation (Starbucks, Coffee Bean etc.) has brought along with it a form of standardisation. Things are starting to look similar because of mass production and also due in part to trends and fads. That's why when I look at my home, I still like that it's a completely unique space. I'm comforted by the fact that our home is so customised, it brings out some sort of a character that defines us. And when I look at my friends' collectibles and their own spaces (Xinying, Shermaine I'm talking about you all..), I really adore how much these things tell so much about them. I'm glad that I know people who remind me about the joy of sourcing for things that I really like, and not things that the mass culture tells me that I should like. I think Florence Welch over here has also reminded me on this. The way she shares the stories of the items in her home, her routine, her favourite spaces with a glee on her face tells me how much she loves them.

So, don't get lost in this crazy world. Don't be led on. Find yourself and enjoy the process. <3

Friday, September 25, 2015


I think I first got to know about Iris Apfel when I was flipping through an old issue of Vogue Japan. She was hard to miss. Her round-rimmed glasses, her bold accessories, the colours on her and her confidence were just so striking. I didn't know who she was but I knew, at that instant, that there is so much to know about her.

Really thankful to Albert Maysles for the documentary chronicling Iris Apfel. I love to hear her speak and I really love her sense of humour. Her life is spectacular, she really lived her life to the fullest. Her relationship with her husband, Carl Apfel, is so enviable. Those scenes where she was stroking Carl's head and putting on a thick shawl over his shoulders just showed how much they loved each other. My heart wrenched when I learnt that he had passed away in August this year, just days before he turned 101.

Iris Apfel, at 94 this year, is a true inspiration. Her adventures and her collections tell us so much about the century that she had witnessed. Her energy, enthusiasm and confidence is testament that one has to stay true to oneself, that we should embrace our individuality instead of conforming to norms and mass production. I will leave you with a quote from the film:

"I've never felt pretty and I don't feel pretty now. I'm not a pretty person. I don't like pretty, so I don't feel badly. And I think it worked out well because I found that for instance, all the girls that I know, who were very pretty girls and got by on their looks, as time went on and they faded, they were nothing. And they were very very disappointed. When you are somebody like myself, in order to get around and be attractive, you have to develop something, you have to learn something and you have to do something so you become a bit more interesting. And when you get old, you get by on that. Anyway, I don't happen to like pretty. Most of the world is not with me but I don't care." -Iris Apfel

I think I've insecurities of my own and reading the quote aloud made me feel so warm and encouraged. I tell people around me that I hate selfies, I kind of hate my face. But I will never want to change anything. I weigh above 50kg but I don't need to drop a size just to fit in and frankly, I don't want to because that might mean that I can't fit into my favourite trousers anymore. Haha. I love what I have in my closet and I love what I wear. Once, while walking up the stairs of a public bus, I realised that the old grandpa walking in front of me was wearing a pair of trousers that looked like what I have in my wardrobe. I smiled to myself and was really tempted to ask him where he got his pants from. My mum hates my style and she's never nice about it, I think that's the hardest part that I'll have to live with. But it's okay, maybe I will tell her about Iris Apfel and she will keep quiet later haha. 

I like the way I live now. I like to start collecting bits and pieces that I know I will keep for years. Even if I'm the only one in the whole world that thinks 'this is a pretty piece', I will still get it because that is all that matters.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

MUJI to GO 2015.

Another one from MUJI. This time it's a 6 minutes long advert that introduces to you all their MUJI to GO products. I really liked the art direction and the narrative. Funny thing was that right after watching it, I continued to see my screen moving from right to left. You will get what I mean after watching! Haha.

I actually visited MUJI 2 days ago just to grab some pens, and I was like 'I don't have to take a second look, I'm a regular and I know I got the right one.' I ended up purchasing 3 ballpoint pens instead of the gel ones that I always use! Sigh. I've been there so many times and I don't take note of what they have anymore. After watching this advert, I suddenly found the use for that to-do list notepad, and I didn't even know that the bluetooth speaker exists haha. If I'm travelling overseas, I will definitely purchase a portable laundry set for the trip because I hate to throw dirty socks and intimates back into the luggage. I appreciate that the products were designed to address practical needs.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

MUJI x Narita.

Chanced upon this new MUJI project, MUJI Furniture for Narita Airport Terminal 3. I really love those blue sofa benches! The airport terminal is really simple and I like how the MUJI furniture sits very well in that interior. They aren't striking but they look really comfortable. And comfort is what I think an airport needs! Those natural oak furniture in the airport's food court are beauties. I love the colour of the oak, and the arrangement makes the space so communal. You can view more pictures and a video here!

I randomly googled MUJI and came across this short article on how MUJI created a cult of followers (I'm one of them!) and I think it's pretty succinct and well-written. Read it here. It's really the philosophy that make me fall head over heels for MUJI. It's the no-brand aesthetic and how it uses its economies of scale to allow MUJI customers to experience affordable quality living that really bought me over. The marketing is in the brand's philosophy itself. They aren't trying to make you buy everything from them, and instead designed their products in such a way that fits into everything you already own. I love MUJI so so much, haha.

Also, if you don't already know, Café MUJI at Paragon has opened its doors! I've yet to visit but I will do so in the coming week. So happy and excited, yay! Oh and if you happen to be in town, do also give Noise Singapore's exhibition a visit! They've set up at B4 ION Station, the space outside ION MUJI. Love it when there's so much waiting for me to eat and see! <3

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sudio Earphones.

Using my Sudio Sweden earphones right now. I love its minimal look and the best sound quality it offers. It's so good that I can't hear my mum nagging away when I wear it haha.

Sudio's earphones come in designs that I think it complement Apple's products very well! They even have one that comes in a rose gold design and it's going to be so compatible with the new iPhone 6s rose gold model (which my sister is super obsessed with).

Before September comes to an end, visit Sudio Earphones if you're hunting for a pair of stylish earphones. Use the code 'stylohotmilo' to get a 15% discount! The code will be valid till the end of September so shop away!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters.

Finally visited Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters after so long. The pictures of the space and food are always taken under such great lighting and their eggs benedict just look so good. The café is located at the end of the street, residing in a small corner. It's full white - white walls, white tiles, white furniture.. The full-length windows welcome the sunlight and the space was beautifully lit up by the natural light.

I wasn't disappointed by the food as well, their Salmon Royale and Truffle Benedict were great. My friend had a Quinoa Salad and I think it was okay. I'm not a huge fan of salads so I'm not in the position to judge haha. I think Pacamara stands out from other local cafés in the sense that they don't just make do. The ingredients used were really good. I got the Salmon Royale and my poached eggs weren't covered in vinegar and the brioche was perfectly toasted. The toast was still slightly crisp after I poked the yolk! If the whole dish was less salty, I think it would have been perfect. The Hollandaise sauce of my friend's Truffle Benedict was the best, there was really a generous taste of truffle. We also ordered Chilli Beef Fries to share which I think was okay though not the best. They were really generous with the chilli beef though. Coffee wasn't too bad as well. I got the White 5 oz and it tasted like a flat white.

Café | Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters
185 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574333
10 minutes walk from Marymount MRT
Mon-Sun 9.00am to 11.00pm

Monday, August 10, 2015

For those who hate exercising.

I can't believe I'm actually going to write a post about exercising, and it's not about how much I dislike it but writing with the intent to motivate others like me to exercise. Before you dismiss this post with "Ah, another 'fitness guru' offering some 'useful' tips to exercising", I'm so not a fitness guru. I'm pathetic when it comes to exercising. I start walking after running 1km. Hahaha. Actually, I started on my 3 times per week exercise regime just last week. I've tried setting regimes like that for so many times but I've always failed. This is the second week and I'm actually starting to have a little more confidence and faith in myself. I'm writing this post not just to encourage you, but also to remind myself, on what makes me feel like running, and what motivates me to step out of my house just to exercise for an hour, 3 times a week.

I'm 22 this year, female, and I'm not starting on this regime so that I can wear cropped tops, have a thigh gap and attract a lot of boys. I hate that the posts I find on the Internet to motivate myself to run are about the idealised beauty. Okay, some posts do advocate exercising for health. But... the workouts recommended are just so unattainable, expensive (I have no money to purchase weird equipment), or difficult to follow. They are simply not for beginners, especially for those who hate exercising. I'm going to exercise simply because I'm 22 and I've this problem of not being able to walk properly after 5-6 days of intense walking. Sounds weird but it's a big problem when I travel free and easy. At the end of the trip, I find myself limping. My feet hurts and I don't know why. It started a year ago but I know that it can't go on like this forever. I'm guessing it might have to do with my posture and maybe my weight, so I told myself that I really need to start exercising. I'm not overweight but my BMI has been rising (seriously, don't always harp on your weight, calculate your BMI instead) and I really can't gain another kg. I love my fashionable trousers too so I want to wear them comfortably and not feel like it's gonna burst after a full meal haha.

So, (again, I'm no pro) here are some tips to get your body moving. I'm going to focus more specifically on running but most of the points do apply to other sports as well. Find a sport that you don't hate that much and start moving! Swimming actually looks so cool and refreshing, if only I know how to swim! But in any case, here goes:

1. Play with your mind
Exercising starts with the mind. I'm not a fan of exercising so my brain often goes "Ew running!". If you always feel the same, that's ok! Continue to dread running, haha. But walking... that sounds okay right? If you are also okay with the thought of walking, the next step will be to set a distance. Set a distance that takes at least 20-30 minutes to complete and one that can make you sweat, e.g. 3km (screw you if you can finish 3km in 10-15 minutes, this is not a post for you haha). This distance is the only thing that you will need determination for. Then go out and start walking 3km! What I realised is that miraculously, your body might react in a different way. As for me, I started to dread walking and I just wanted to cover the distance as quickly as possible. So my legs started to move a little faster, and I was jogging! Continue jogging or running until you feel that it's getting a little too hard, but don't stop there, you have to cover the 3km no matter what. Return to walking, but you will realise that you would start running after taking a little break by walking. Find your momentum and keep to it till the end. And taadaa, you've exercised! Increase your distance after you feel more comfortable. I usually set the distance to 3.2km but realised that I can end up walking 0.8-1km more every time. The next few points are what motivate me to keep to a longer distance.

p.s. If you still find yourself walking for the whole distance, that's okay too! You made the effort to step out of the house and you covered quite a distance there! The key idea is to just implant the thought that you are going to walk so that you won't dread it and you will actually get away from your damn computer and move. Think of running as an added bonus. Don't think from the perspective that you are lying to yourself, i.e. I'm going to walk but I know it's just a way to make myself run. That won't work. Genuinely tell yourself that you are just going to walk, then see what happens.

2. Find a good place to exercise
No, not the gym for me. I always feel embarrassed and depressed when I visit one. Perhaps, start exercising at an outdoor stadium or park in your neighbourhood, i.e. somewhere more encouraging, a place where the young and old visit. These are great locations in my opinion, because you can get motivated by the other people who are exercising. Watch the elderly brisk walk, watch the kids run and laugh. Run with them. It's not a downward comparison, it's thinking about 'why do they run' that helps motivate me to run further and longer. Obviously the old lady is not walking to be as curvy as Kim Kardashian, obviously little boys are not running to turn muscular. They are exercising to stay healthy, they exercise because they have fun with it. I feel so much more encouraged with these thoughts and with the people around me.

3. Figure out the immediate benefits of exercising
Screw all those 'I feel so good after a run/work-out' posts on social media. I don't. I feel hot and sticky. But my brain really clears up after a run. I'm typing this right after a 45-minute run. I always have new ideas after exercising. Also, my skin condition improved after a week of running. Actually, don't listen to what others have gotten out of exercising. You might feel disappointed that after trying your best, you don't achieve the same results. Motivating yourself to exercise again might then become even harder. Figure out what benefits are unique to you and think of them as reinforcements after a run.

4. Wear the proper gear
Change out of your pyjamas. It might not apply for all but wearing the right clothes may put you in the right mood. I was reading this book 'Where They Create' published by Frame and there's this guy who said that he wears t-shirts when he's doing creative work and will actually make the effort to change into a proper shirt when he's clearing the administrative stuff. Or else, invest in a pair of good running shoes that look so pretty you want to wear them all the time. Maybe that can help you find the motivation to run.

5. Reward yourself at the end
I don't mean a bacon sandwich at the end of a run but I think a refreshing cold beverage (a can of ice milo for me) is a good treat. Or, make yourself a good meal after the workout. I can't say this for everyone but since it takes so much more mental power and determination for people who hate exercising to actually exercise, treating yourself to something greasy and fatty seems like a waste of your precious effort. Your treat should still be worthy though, sometimes when the run gets difficult I actually chant 'Ice milo, ice milo' in my head and it miraculously gets easier hahaha. (But I don't take pictures of milo haha so here's a random picture of a refreshing drink.)

6. Run with music
Music at 130 bpm doesn't work for me. I hate all those playlists on Spotify. My head starts to throb and I feel like puking when I'm listening to those while I run. It takes a while to find the right music to run with. I realised that I prefer songs that are slower at the start but has an upbeat and catchy chorus later, e.g. Hyukoh's Comes and Goes, Big Bang's Sober. Again, I can't run well, I always end up walking. But when the chorus is playing, I feel the motivation to run or even sprint. This is just for me really, so who knows, maybe music at 130 bpm is the right kind for you. Go figure out!

(At the Jurong Bird Park yesterday, walked for 3 whole hours!)

7. Alternate between different venues
I realised that I dread running because if I've ran a 3km at the stadium today, I'll remember how dreadful it was when tomorrow comes. But a 3km at the park might feel different, I won't know since I can't gauge how far and tedious a 3km at the park feels like. I can then get myself to start running since I don't know what to expect. My memory can't remember the experience at each location after a few days, so alternating between a few locations allow me to start my run at a new location without thinking "Huh, 3km here so far leh!".

8. Set a system, not a goal
I came across this quote while doing a project for school and I really think that this applies to everything in life. Goals are easier to set because it marks the end of a process, e.g. losing 1kg. It's easier and more achievable since you are able to see the finishing line. However, that's actually the fatal point. You stop after losing 1kg because you need to find so much more motivation to start losing the next kg. It's like, after receiving my tuition fees at the end of the month (I teach little kids to earn extra pocket money), I dread going to the first lesson of the new month. They call this the fixed interval schedule effect in psychology. So, work to build a system. Goals are the little joys, still worth celebrating, but they are not the end. To me, finishing a 4km run/walk is my goal, but a regime of 3 times a week is my system.

At the end of the day, don't feel bad about under-perfoming when you're doing sports. Stay realistic and optimistic. If you realised, I've scattered lots of 'rewards' to motivate myself to move. I think the problem I have is that long term reinforcement feels so far away so I need all the short term rewards that I can get. I attribute my better skin to the run, I wear my pretty Nike shoes that makes me run, I owe my run to a can of ice milo haha. After my internship at a user experience company, I realised that some of us may hate exercising due to the bad experiences we had and bad experiences are caused by problems we've yet to correctly identify. The problem, is often not your stamina, your weight or your inability. It's the environment, the reinforcement and your mentality on what exactly is exercising. List down how you define exercising, your expectations and lower them slightly e.g. from running to walking, so that it's more bearable for a beginner and easier to follow even when you're lazy. List down why you don't want to start exercising and find ways, even the simplest ones (like my favourite ice milo treat haha), to correct your problems and improve your experience. When the experience turns good, you may realise that you want to start it all over again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day 6 and 7 of #seoulstylo.

We spent the last two days of our trip soaking up every bit of what Seoul has to offer. We tried it all - live octopus sashimi, spicy fish stew, ganjang gejang i.e. raw marinated crab, chimaek i.e. chicken + beer in the afternoon, Garosugil and finally, the greatest hurdle, an all female jjimjilbang i.e. Korean spa + sauna. You just have to not think so much when attempting some of the more challenging items in this list. Haha. It was fun!

We visited the famous fish market, Noryangjin, in the morning of Day 6. If you are a seafood fan, like me, this is a must-visit. I won't say the prices are affordable, I don't even know if we were ripped off since I don't know the market price, but the fresh seafood was worth it. You may also find other seafood products like anchovies while you're there.

Be sure to leave your best shoes in the hotel since Noryangjin is a wet market. If you are thinking of having a meal there, select your seafood first at the market. There are websites that offer you suggestions on what you should choose according to the season so be sure to check! We visited Seoul in May and it seems like flounder was in season. This is Korea so make sure you try white fish (e.g. flounder) instead of oily types like salmon which are more Japanese. They taste really different so I shan't spoil it for you by describing how our flounder sashimi tasted like! After selecting a stall and choosing your seafood, the kind fishmonger would usually slice up the fish for you if you inform him that you want it sashimi-style. Actually, instead of sashimi, they call the dish 'hoe' in Korean. If you want to try a fish stew as well, make sure you remind the fishmonger to keep the bones in a bag for you because it would make a good broth.

After making your payment, look around to find restaurants at the basement or at the second floor. There are actually a lot of restaurant staff standing around at the market waiting to bring you to their restaurant. It's okay, haha, you can go with either of them if there's no specific restaurant you want to visit. I was a little intimidated when a staff immediately took our purchases from the fishmonger and led us to this quiet restaurant at the basement, but I later realised that this is just a way to get hold of customers. Lots of Koreans streamed in later so we knew we were in safe hands.

People at the restaurant would take the seafood you purchased and suggest ways to cook it. It's likely that there are Chinese working there so you can communicate with them comfortably if you know Chinese. We had flounder sashimi, spicy fish stew (maeuntang) and live octopus sashimi (sannakji)! The live octopus was a challenge but I liked it haha. Dip it in sesame oil, throw it in your mouth and chew really quickly! It gets a little scary when the suction caps on its tentacles get stuck to your tongue.

After a full meal, we visited Hangang Park at Yeouido. Many Koreans were having a picnic there and it made us regret not bringing a mat along with us. We sat along the river eating super sweet Korean strawberries while enjoying the light breeze. Kings of Convenience was playing in the background.

After Hangang, we visited a nearby Lotte Mart and then another touristy spot - Namsam Tower - which wasn't in our itinerary. My sister suggested that we should visit the tower and we headed there after having a set of directions. Climbing up with hands full of bags of snacks we got at Lotte Mart was a torture, but the fine weather, cable car ride and beautiful view compensated for the hike. I thought the view outside the tower, at the deck with all the cheesy love locks, was most breathtaking. We stayed till sunset. It was nice to see the whole landscape changing in shades and colours.

Then it was time for dinner! We actually visited Gwangjang Market at the second or third day of our trip, but my mum liked it so much so we headed there again for dinner on day 6. We tried the famous ganjang gejang, i.e. raw crab marinated in soy sauce, while we were there. A small one costs S$12 approximately! I loved the crab roe but it was so so salty. I think my lips swelled up after eating one. It's still worth a try and I think it will go well with rice! We tried another version of the dish, yangnyeom gejang, crab marinated in spicy chilli paste, as a side dish for lunch at Insadong and we really loved that one.

Gwangjang market is also known for lots of other affordable and yummy Korean foods like the mungbean pancake (bindaetteok), spicy rice cake (tteokbokki), sesame oil noodle (japchae), fish cake soup (eomukguk), Korean mixed rice (bibimbap)... These can also be found at the market. We also bought 2 bags of kimchi while we were there. But be careful when bringing kimchi home! I heard of a story where someone's bag of kimchi 'exploded' in her luggage and... you can guess the rest of it.

Ok, that's day 6. I'm going to cover day 7 in this post as well since I didn't take any good pictures on that day and lest I procrastinate again, haha. Can't believe that I took 2 months to post about a 8-day trip. Day 7 was spent exploring Garosugil, Gangnam. We ended the day with a bang at a women-only jjimjilbang. More on that later, haha.

Garosugil in Gangnam is a popular shopping district for the trendy and artsy, and I should add - for those with deeeeeep pockets. I love the street but it was more window shopping and people-watching for me. We spotted Hong Seok-cheon filming a show with some models and there were also lots of streetstyle bloggers and blogshop models using Garosugil as backdrop for their photoshoots. Cafes also line the streets and we visited one for waffles and bingsu (Korean shaved ice). I remember that Åland has a huge outlet there so be sure to drop by if you're a fan. Otherwise, I think I was disappointed because of my high expectations.

At a friend's recommendation, we also headed to Kyochon Chicken at Gangnam for chimaek (chicken and beer). It was so good - my sister and mum agreed that it was their best meal there. (I had so much good food, I couldn't make up my mind.) 4 Fingers, Choo Choo Chicken or whatsoever in Singapore just can't beat it. Kyochon Chicken already has outlets in Southeast Asia so I hope they come to Singapore real soon. We tried the honey glaze fried chicken if I'm not wrong and we finished it in what, fifteen minutes?! The serving was very generous and with beer for my mum and I, we only paid approximately S$8 each. I'm craving for those drumettes while I'm typing this.

After the fried chicken, we headed back to the apartment to change for a trip to the jjimjilbang. Jjimjilbang is a Korean public bathhouse cum spa and you have to go commando when you are there. Because we visited a women-only jjimjilbang, the ladies were all undressed even when they were out of the shower and hot tub area. Everyone was just semi or stark naked while watching tv and sipping their sikhye (Korean sweet rice malt drink). It was an ultimate culture shock. It wasn't like we weren't mentally prepared though, I've watched a funny video of Conan O'Brien visiting a jjimjilbang before and I was pretty mind blown. But it took more guts to take it all off in front of strangers and also to not express any form of emotion when you see the other ladies. Hahaha. I knew I had to give it a try because I was with my family, I would never dare to go commando in front of my friends. My mum was so embarrassed it was funny to watch, but she later fell in love with the hot tub and sauna and after a while, she was totally relaxed. My sister is a fan of the sauna too. Ironically, I didn't have a good experience. I couldn't stand the heat in the hot sauna and ran out after maybe 30 seconds, and I had a migraine shortly after. It was still a crazy cultural experience though, and I enjoyed feeling insecure about absolutely nothing at all. Every lady in there was just strutting their stuff, scrubbing each others' back and laughing at one another's jokes. They were confident and comfortable with their bodies. I started to like my body a little more after a visit there. If you would like to visit a jjimjilbang, I would recommend asking the staff at the hotel counter or your apartment's host for the address to the nearest one. It feels really good to just chill at the jjimjilbang, shower then head back to your lodging for bed.

*Subway Station | Venue

Noryangjin | Noryangjin Fish Market
Exit 1. Walk 100m over the bridge.

Yeouinaru | Hangang Park
Exit 2 or 3.

Myeongdong | N Seoul Tower (Namsam Tower)
Detailed directions here.
We chose to alight at Myeongdong station, and walked out of Exit 3 to find Pacific Hotel. Upon finding the hotel, walk along the right side and walk straight for 15-20 minutes to find the boarding area. Reminder that it's an uphill slope!

Seoul Station | Lotte Mart
Exit 1.
Visit the mart to get all your Korean foods like dried seaweed, Choco Pie, instant ramen, chilli paste etc. We even got a pot often seen in Korean dramas - the small gold one used to cook ramen. I use it often to prepare soup for one!

Jongno 5-ga | Gwangjang Market
Exit 8.

Sinsa | Garosugil
Exit 8. Walk straight for 3 blocks (approx 250m) and turn left into Garosugil.

Gangnam | Kyochon Chicken
Exit 9. Detailed directions with image here.

So, this brings me to the end of #seoulstylo series! (Day 8 was spent rushing to the airport with the help of a friendly Korean man so there isn't anything I can share haha.) I really applaud bloggers with the determination to churn out posts like these because it wasn't easy at all. Phew! I started on these posts to remind myself on how great the trip was. It surprised me that I could actually recall the experience of locating the places when I was typing out the directions. There are so many places that I want to travel to in the near future and this #seoulstylo trip gave me greater confidence in planning a trip and navigating in a foreign land. I really hope that in return, these guides can build confidence in someone out there! Have fun while you are in Seoul!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 5 of #seoulstylo.

Day 5 was spent at Itaewon, which is my favourite place in Seoul. Itaewon houses MMMG, D&Department, ÅLAND, A.P.C. and lots of cafés. I didn't get to visit the cafés but I will still be providing the addresses to some of them at the end of this post.

Itaewon is seriously a must-visit. Alight at Hangangin Subway Station to find Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu - the street lined with lifestyle and fashion stores. I alighted at Itaewon Station instead and took a while to find Millimetre Milligram (MMMG) but when I saw the building, I was literally dashing into the shop space. Haha. MMMG has a great tagline that brings across their concept very well - "everything is something to us". It's a well curated store that sells a little bit of everything, from notebooks, stationery, fashion accessories to kitchenware. You will also find a café there.

The same building also houses my favourite shop in the whole of Seoul - D&Department. D&Department is a vintage kitchenware heaven. Some of the stuff are brand new, but many of them are used pieces. They are all in great condition though, and I got myself a plate and some chopsticks (new) while I was there. If only I could get some of those bowls! I was worried that they might not last the way home so I didn't purchase any ceramic or glass tableware. Some beautiful vintage Seiko clocks were also available for sale. The prices are a little steep but they are worth every penny. I really didn't want to leave the place!

Post Poetics can be found on the third floor of the same building. Pity that it was closed when we were there. They seem to carry a great collection of art books.

Also along the street of Hannam-dong is a two-storey A.P.C. I couldn't afford anything there, yet, haha but I went in and feasted my eyes on every piece. Really love A.P.C's aesthetics and I think I will be their loyal customer in the near future!

We also spotted ÅLAND at Itaewon, but the outlet there is smaller. You can also find Åland in Myeongdong, Garosu-gil, Hongdae etc. I prefer ÅLAND to Style Nanda, as they carry more unique pieces from different labels. Prices are slightly above mid-range (think Zara, COS) but mid-range is still not my range so I didn't get anything from them, haha.

Day 5 was spent shopping and we visited Hongdae as well. Style Nanda has a huge outlet at Hongdae so if you're a fan, you have to visit their space there. I very much preferred the boutique stores that lined the streets of Hongdae. Managed to find two pairs of quality trousers at a discounted price at a store by the corner and I'm still very much in love with my purchases.

We also visited Ewha but it started raining heavily so I didn't manage to take a decent picture of our shopping spree there. I really thought that I would go home with a bag of new clothes after shopping in Seoul, but I think I went home with less than ten pieces. Seoul is a great place to find quality basics but I skipped the other pieces because there were either sheer, too oversized or just out of my budget. For affordable pieces, you might be able to find some at the basement of Myeongdong's subway station or at Ewha. But don't expect a crazy shopping spree like one in Bangkok. The Seoul shopping experience should be quality over quantity. Glad that I went ahead and invested in some blouses and trousers, I've zero buyer's remorse.

Ended the day with a mandatory Korean BBQ dinner! This one was near our accommodation at Yangjae, recommended by our Airbnb hosts. They serve crazy good pork and the side dishes were really good too. We didn't have trouble ordering food there because it seemed like the popular restaurants all hired some helpers from China. I really love eating at restaurants recommended by the locals as I enjoy observing tables around us. Those scenes in dramas where people down soju shot after shot, and have ten over empty bottles on the table are not exaggerating. That's really the lifestyle there haha. It's lively and vibrant but even when drinking, there are rules to follow depending on who you are having the meal with. Refilling glasses for the seniors, covering half the face while downing a shot, not refusing a drink from the seniors are just some of them. It's interesting! If you are interested to know, we had the BBQ at 잰부닥. The place is near Yangjae Station, Exit 4. Once you are out the exit, walk to the street right beside the Pho restaurant. Then walk downhill and the restaurant will be on your left.

*Subway Station | Venue

Hangangin | MMMG/D&Department 
Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu, 12nn-8pm 
Closed on last Monday of every month 

Hangangin | A.P.C.
736-14 Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu

Hangangin | ÅLAND
736-10 Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu, 12nn-10pm

Hangangin | A&ND (café)
684-53 Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu

Hangangin/Itaewon | Honeyst (café)
325-6 Itaewon 2-dong, Yongsan-gu

Hangangin | Peer Coffee Roaster
684-32 Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu

Hongdae | Hongdae Shopping District
Exit 5

Hongdae | Style Nanda
Wausan-ro 29 da-gil, Mapo-gu

Hongdae | Your Mind Bookshop
5F, 326-29 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu
Highly recommended by my friend Pimpiga but I didn't manage to find it. :(

Hongdae | Tailor Coffee
329-15/338-1 (2nd floor) Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu
Open Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm
Once you spot this cafe, turn right and Style Nanda should along one of those few streets.

Sangsu | Fell + Cole
Exit 1, 310-11 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu
Come out the exit stairs and turn around and begin walking towards Hongik Univ. Turn left into the very first small alleyway, maybe one building after the exit. Follow the exit as it goes curves and goes downhill. As the alleyway meets a T-section, Fell + Cole will be on your left. It's a 3-minute walk from the station. 

Ewha | Ewha Shopping District
Exit 2