A Few Things About Me To Tickle Your Fancy

tumblr_lobmukPhG41qbw5qso1_1280.jpgThere are several new people over the last few weeks that have visited my blog, and I thought it’d be good to share a few things about me to get to know me a little more. Please let me know something random, interesting, strange or quirky about you! This will sort of be a scattered pattern of words, as they pop into my head. Where are you from? This is one of the questions I get asked the most. I’m from New Zealand, but my parents are from Taiwan. What’s your favourite animal? I grew up on a farm, and am a huge animal lover! I am definitely more of a cat person than a dog person. I used to have two pet pigs who I adored.

What music do you listen to? I love listening to all kinds of music from classical, jazz, rock, pop to the good old classics. What’s your favourite food? I’m quite a sweet tooth but have slight allergies to milk. I love Japanese, Italian and Chinese food! What’s your favourite book? This is a tricky question. Pride & Prejudice is definitely one of my favourite books. I highly recommend reading it! What do you like to do in your free time? Anything from reading, writing, listening to music, going for walks, watching a movie or spending time with a loved one.

What’s one thing you used to bake a lot of? When I was living at home, I used to love baking brownies and the way it would make the whole house smell warm, toasty and chocolatey. What did you want to be growing up? When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist, zoologist, orchestral musician and writer. One of your pet peeves? People who put others down. Where would you like to travel? I’d love to travel to Japan and Italy some day. I learned Italian for almost two years, having a huge interest in the culture. Japan is a country I’ve always wanted to visit.

How would you describe yourself? Loving, kind hearted and passionate. I’m definitely someone who may seem shy at first, but am very friendly, quirky and caring at heart. As an INFJ and HSP, I sometimes give the impression that I prefer to be alone, but I do love talking to others and having really meaningful or funny conversations. What is one food you eat too much of? Oats, cereal and muesli (any breakfast food really!). I’m definitely a morning person and love to eat breakfast at any time of the day. Do you play any instruments? I play the piano, flute and a little bit of guitar. I also love to sing, but rarely am willing to sing in front of people.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? It’s not really a superpower, but the ability to read, write, speak and understand all the languages in the world would be truly amazing. What sports did you play in college? Hockey and swimming. I don’t consider myself a sporty person, but more of an artsy person. If you could be an animal, what would you be? A black panther, flying horse or a ginger cat. What is your favourite colour?  Yellow. It’s such a sunshine happy colour. The first thing I notice about someone. Their eyes, and the way they smile. What do you value? Many things. I value patience, kindness and being yourself.

If you’re curious to know how I came up with my blog name, you can read about it here. I share a few tips, thoughts and advice on my other blog here. If you’d like to read a little more, you can click the About Me page here.

image via

What Does Fashion Mean To You?

96424afe67169e4b38efe661859fae6cBack in 2015, I studied at a fashion college in Sydney, after realising how much time I spent during university reading about fashion and immersing myself into it. I love the way you could express yourself through the clothing you wore, without having to say a word. I love the creativity behind fashion in creating a piece of clothing. I’m sure if you asked anyone what does fashion mean to you? Each person would have a different answer. Self-expression is important, and the ability to choose what you wear is an instant way to tell others how you see yourself, and perhaps how you want others to see you.

Personal style is more important than trends, as it means that you can reflect and be yourself authentically. However, that isn’t to say one can’t wear something that’s trending if they like it. Personal style simply means not just wearing things just because it’s ‘in fashion’ or trending, but developing your own personal style. My love for fashion started when I bought my first fashion magazine as a teenager. I always had a hobby of drawing, painting and sketching, and in my spare time, I would design clothing. At first, the inspiration started from reading Beatrix Potter, and seeing how beautiful she would draw the clothing on the animals.

Fashion is important. Whether some may disagree, there’s no doubt that it’s something that encompasses our daily life because, well, everyone wears clothes! When we watch films, look at art or read a book, we see, feel or read descriptions of clothing. Last month I was at the museum, and as I walked through the different periods of history, I could see how much fashion changes with time. It’s a part of culture, history, identity, a person’s personality and artistic design. It can also be a form of hiding and disguising or open expression of our identity. In its functional elements, it ultimately keeps us warm, covered and comfortable.

Fashion is a form of communication. It can emote feelings, portray images, be visually pleasing or give us inspiration. We can communicate how we’re feeling, how we see ourselves, what we like and maybe shed a little part of our personality in what we choose to wear. There’s often a conception that the fashion industry is shallow, due to the visual elements. However, we wouldn’t be wearing the clothing we’re in right now, if the fashion industry didn’t exist. We wouldn’t be able to go into a store to purchase a clothing for certain occasions or find something that we feel comfortable or stylish wearing.

What does fashion mean to you?

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace

photography from caves collect

New Zealand Cruelty Free Beauty Brands

60cc6f698efa317df7fbcdb98d5b8316.jpgNew Zealand has many amazing cruelty free, vegan and organic skincare brands. For the sake of this article, I will focus on cruelty free brands (although many of these are vegan and organic too). When I was living in Australia, there was also an awareness of ethical brands and the ability to choose cruelty free and eco-friendly options.

There are many beauty and skin care products that promote ethical production. As we have increasingly more access to information online, there is more awareness about the brands we use. I’ve listed below just some of the cruelty free brands. However, if you have any that you know, please feel free to comment them down below!

Makeup Apotheka |Belle & Sage | Karen Murrell | Living Nature | World Organics

Haircare Belle & Sage | Earthwise | Ecostore | Essano  | Evolu | Lust | SavarThe Herb Farm

Skincare  Antipodes | Apheleia | ApicareApotheka | BeautousBelle & Sage |BestowBlue Earth | Bon Bon Vegan | Do No Harm | Ecostore | Essano | Ethique | Evolu | Geo Skincare Goodness | La’bonicLinden LeavesLiving Nature | Moana | Nellie Tier |OasisOlive |Only Good Orania | OxygenPlantae Sansceuticals | Skinfood |Snowberry | Stella For Cruelty FreeSurmanti | Tailor  | Tonic RoomTrilogy |Tribeca|  The Herb Farm | The Cruelty Free Shop | World Organics | You Are Loved

Washing Earthwise | Ecostore

Photography by Elias and Theresa Carlson

The Curiosity Of Noticing The Things Around Us

l.JPGA few months ago I wrote about learning from the past, planning for the future, and staying in the present. Curiosity makes me think of Alice in Wonderland, wondering into the Rabbit hole. It makes me think of adventure, exploring, experience and learning. When we’re a child, we’re always curious and constantly asking questions. Having curiosity is part of an education that lasts a lifetime. It’s the desire to learn and understand the world around us. We need to be present in order to truly live a fulfilling life.

When we’re curious about our surroundings, we’re more engaged and present. We don’t dwell on the past but focus on what’s happening in the now. It’s a spark that’s within all of us. A light that carries us and fuels us with energy. Imagine when you meet someone for the first time, you’re often curious to ask questions and know more about the person. Curiosity makes me think of a cat because they’re always very aware of their surroundings. In anything, we need balance. If we’re interacting with someone, it’s good to be curious, but not too much that we become intrusive or nosy.

I was walking into the city earlier this month, and there was live music playing. The band consist of a drummer, electric guitarist, bass player and singer. It was incredible to all experience standing there listening to the music. Some passerby would stop for a song or two to listen. I was curious to go to a jelly bar a week ago, held in a clothing store on High Street (below is a snapshot) I had a fig, honey and thyme jelly which was delicious. It was a lovely experience, and many people would wonder in wondering what event was happening. 17741046_430234223997531_433632794_n.jpgCuriosity is also important when we’re walking. When I wrote about the beauty of walking, I mentioned how walking creates awareness, presence and discovery into the unknown or a familiar environment. That is if we allow it to. We can give ourselves the choice to be aware and interested or be in a state of daydreaming and drifting. Curiosity in learning is largely seen as beneficial and important, as it makes our mind active, motivated, inspired, energetic and open to storing information. It encourages us to be creative and make new discoveries.

In socialising, it’s important, because it shows that you’re interested in the other person. Curiosity means living a far more fulfilling life, as opposed to a boring one. It broadens our mind and allows us to be more open minded about certain things. Curiosity can bring us out of our comfort zone and try something new. It means not being afraid to ask questions and having persistence in your goals. It can make us happier people because it makes us interested in life around us, the way the simple things like seeing a hedgehog walking across the garden could deeply amuse us as a child.

Photography by ! FlOrEcItA !

How To Improve Your Chinese Language Skills

7c71991f-36da-44d0-b63f-ff3239bb87cc.pngChinese is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. When you see the words themselves, each of them are like a picture. It is the most spoken language in the world by more than 1 billion people. I remember my Grandmother explaining to my sister and I the way each Chinese character are like a picture of the object. 火 means fire, 人 means person and 山 means mountain. If you look at them, they appear very much like the character itself. According to the NZ Chinese Language Week Trust, Chinese will be the third most common language spoken in New Zealand.

In order to improve a language, we must consistently speak it and expose ourselves to it. If you don’t speak the language with your family, it’s a good idea to find opportunities to speak it with someone. Try speaking it with a friend, language partner, on the phone or attending a Chinese event. The more you speak, the more you remember. A great app to add on your phone is Pleco. It’s a wonderful dictionary that’s easy to use. Try reading a small section of a book, text or magazine article and translate the words you don’t know by using Pleco (or your own dictionary).

Writing words down can also help you to remember what they look like. Learning and expanding your vocabulary is ultimately one of the ways to improve your skills. Listening is what we’re first exposed to when we’re a baby. We listen to the way our parents talk, and we imitate the words they speak. You can listen to Chinese music, watch a movie that speaks Mandarin, listen to a podcast or watch a Youtuber who speaks Chinese. Finding what works for you is important. Some may find certain Chinese language apps better than others. Some may work better by following a text book, taking lessons in class, having a private tutor or using an e-book.

Growing confidence in your skills is a wonderful thing. Improving is extremely rewarding. As something beneficial as Chinese, it can be encouraging to know that you will definitely be applying the language in many places. It’s a language that has a long history behind it. It is one of the oldest written language in the world. If you grew up reading Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah (I highly recommend the book!), she mentions: Chinese is a pictorial language, not a phonetic one. Our words come from images. The meaning of many characters is subtle and profound. Other words are poetic and even philosophical.

Photography of Ling BingBing by Sun Jun

The Ocean Of Blank Faces Walking In The City

]When we walk in the centre of the city, we’re surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar faces. Everyone’s walking towards somewhere for some reason. Sometimes I wonder in my mind, what’s happening in their lives. Amidst all the blank and neutral faces, I can’t always really tell. There’s this distant, emotionless and otherworldly expression. Then there are several people who might be using their phone, heads down and you have a game of dodging them. From the sea of crowds, there might be a sudden smile that forms or a laugh you hear in the distance.

On a grey day, the streets are silent, until a group of friends, family or travelers have a conversation nearby. You might hear a busker singing or the sound of rain dancing on the umbrellas. If you stare into a cafe, you might catch someone engaged in a conversation, a murmur of chatter, studying on their laptop or staring out the window. Walking is such an important part of our daily life that is often overlooked. It’s often seen as mundane and simply a means of getting us from point A to point B. Walking immerses us into the present and allows our thoughts to flow.

Walking on the streets means observing, daydreaming, wondering, people watching, thinking and sensing. The way we move and walk says a lot about who we are. Although, sometimes expressions can be deceiving. Perhaps you’ve heard of the resting face, and sometimes it can make one seem unapproachable. It can also be inaccurate, because many of us may have been asked if we’re okay, even on our best days. What is it about city life, that causes us to be so distant. From growing up in the countryside, it was natural to smile and say Good morning to a stranger. It was normal to see people you know, each time you head into town.

When we’re in a place with a larger population, many people keep to themselves. It’s also a sense of security, safety, time and focus. Some people are in a rush, some people are focused, some are talking on the phone and others are deep in thought (or daydreaming). There are moments when observing where I feel some people are more present than others. It’s a wonderful thing when you suddenly see a smile form and the crinkles around someones eyes, that makes one realise how much a smile creates light. Blank faces can often make our eyes appear empty.

It’s incredible to think how many people we walk past in a lifetime, knowing that we’ll never see them again or talk to them. We might see their faces in our subconscious when we dream, but there’s this gentle nudge that you’re not alone on this Earth. Everyone has a purpose. Then there’s  a lovely thought of how many times we may have subtly walked past or even encountered someone for weeks, months and years, that we later became friends with. Every person we have ever gotten to know, was once a stranger to us. They were once just a blank face in the sea of crowds.

That’s why it’s important to not judge a book by a cover. We can never really tell the content of someones character, until we truly take the time to get to know them. One way walking can be beneficial, is that it helps us for a moment to focus on the world, rather than ourselves. It reminds us to look around and take a breath of air. Thinking about the idea of blank faces, it makes me think of a white canvas. An artist can create something magical and colourful that brings so much emotion. In a way, we’re the artist in our lives, painting the strokes and textures, choosing what colours to paint with. The ocean of blank faces may seem unreadable, yet each face has such a unique and interesting story to tell.

image via

Ruby Autumn/Winter Collection 2017

ruby-volare-ruffle-dress-58b3ad9bab583.jpg
I was walking on High Street during the weekend, and couldn’t help walking into Ruby. I’ve featured my favourite pieces from the A/W Collection 2017. Ruby is a New Zealand fashion label that is best known for its designs that effortlessly embody youthful elegance and adventurous charm. From streetwear origins, RUBY has enchanted its audience under the direction of designer Deanna Didovich to become one of New Zealand’s most exciting brands. Check out the complete collection hereruby-viso-jacket-viso-jean-and-58b3ad77621a6ruby-pizzo-longsleeve-and-bambi-58b3afcfbcd03ruby-occhio-t-shirt-and-stella-d-58d3245f17c05ruby-ophelia-coat-bambi-shirr-58b3adfe86c66ruby-otto-turtleneck-and-rooftop-58b3b02656fd4ruby-paloma-wrap-top-and-paloma-58b3b18506268ruby-luna-dress-58b3b1d75af27pizzo-longsleeve-and-viso-jean-58b3ae90cb0c0

Photography from Ruby