Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum: Impossibly Cute!

Initially, I didn’t quite know what I’d like for Christmas. But now I do. :D

Have a look at these items from the Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum collection 2014! Devastatingly adorable and absolutely irresistible they are! I’ve picked out my favorites:

Chocoolate Tsum Tsum

Possibly the cutest sweatshirt ever:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum

Socks you’ll never want to take off. So grab more than one pair!

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum socks

For happy feet:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum shoes

Prettiest handphone case I’ve seen this year:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum collection handphone case

This backpack makes me smile:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum backpack

Priced from $23.90 to $179, these items will be available in Singapore from December 11, 2014 onwards, at i.t Bugis Junction, #02-11 and i.t Orchard Gateway, #01-18.

You can bet your last dollar that I’ll be there to check them out. :D I really do like that sweatshirt! :D And that backpack… my goodness!

If you’d like to see which are the other items in this collection, head over to this article by Her World Plus.

Maku Store: Pretty Pastels & Watches from Trifoglio Italia

The latest addition to my Maku Store collection is a pretty pastel purple backpack. :D

Maku Store Singapore

Like all Maku Store items, this backpack has its unique features. Besides the 3 inner compartments, there is a slot at the back for the straps so you can transform the backpack into a handbag. Just carry it by the strap at the top. Really cool.

Maku Store Singapore

I’m loving both this backpack and my one-and-only Maku Store wallet in pastel pink and green.

Maku Store Singapore

My wallet is a really special limited edition one – only one in Singapore. But don’t fret, if you like pastel shades, there are more pastel-colored wallets in store:

Maku Store Singapore

Maku Store Singapore

You have to pop by Maku Store at Bugis Junction #03-20 and check out the wide range yourself! There is also a ‘Limited Edition’ corner in the store where you can find items which are available in just ONE piece for the Singapore market. So you won’t find someone else carrying the same bag here. Isn’t that cool?! :P *Remember to show that you are a fan of my facebook page, and Maku Store’s too, and you get 15% off your bill! Check in-store for T&Cs!*

Also, Maku Store has brought in an exclusive range of watches. Here are some I like:

Maku Store Singapore

Maku Store Singapore

And this next range is for charity:

Maku Store Singapore

Maku Store Singapore

Tempted? ;)

Indulge in some retail therapy at Maku Store and get yourself an advance Christmas present! :D I know I’m popping by again soon!

Maku Store: Giveaway + Corporate Gifts! :D

I popped by Maku Store at Bugis Junction (#03-20) again recently and found yet another pretty, limited edition wallet! :D
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It is pastel pink all around, unlike the Maku Store wallet I am currently using which is half green.

This one has 9 card slots, 2 SIM card slots and a huge compartment for coins!

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And guess what? I’m going to give this away! :D

[I'd initally wanted to keep this wallet but the current one is still working well. So I am sharing the love!]

It is the only one of its kind in Singapore so it’s Super Limited Edition!

To win this wallet, leave a comment on this blogpost and tell me why I should pick you! :)

Besides the wallet, I also found corporate gifts:

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Maku Store Singapore does cater to corporate customers as well. Whether it is a cute souvenir (above), a card sticker (below) or any other customized product like luggage you need, speak to the awesome Maku Store folks. :)

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*And if you are getting any of the Maku Store items at their Bugis Junction outlet, show them you are a fan of my facebook page and get 15% discount off your purchase. Awesome much? :)

‘Top Gemstones for Investment’ – A Workshop by Hiranya Tangsubkul

Top Gemstones for Investment

Last weekend, I attended the ‘Top Gemstones for Investment’ workshop, which was held ahead of the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair 2014 (happening on 23rd – 26th October at Marina Bay Sands). At this insightful workshop, Ms Hiranya Tangsubkul from Thailand shared with us valuable tips regarding investing in these precious gemstones. Anya (as she is more fondly known) is the Head of Design and Business Development at ABC Jewellery & TREZ Jewellery (Thailand), and author of Diamond & Gemstone and Gemstones Handbook.

I also got to speak with her after the workshop and find out which pieces she holds close to her heart:

Grace and Anya

One piece of jewellery which never fails to make her smile is her engagement ring:

Anya's ring

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At this workshop, Anya was candid about how gemstone jewellery offers a type of “wearable investment” but has a limited number of trading markets, poor liquidity and also requires a fair amount of experience to trade profitably.

Hence, here is your crash course on investing in gemstones…

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3 Things To Keep In Mind When Investing In Gemstones:

1) Constantly refresh your gemstone market knowledge, at trade shows for instance.

2) Get a matching pair (e.g. earrings and bracelet) for better resale value. Build value through strategic purchasing and jewellery setting.

3) Know that this is a long-term investment which could span 5 years or more, and sometimes extend to beyond one generation.

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What Does Gemstone Investment Entail?

1) Investors keep jewellery in case other investments fail. If it is necessary, he will let go of the lower quality piece first.

2) Prize quality over quantity.

3) Be patient. Only buy if you can find top quality gemstones at reasonable prices, e.g. if there is a new mine find.

4) Professional setting of the stones can make it more valuable.

5) Take care not to put pieces next to one another to prevent scratches.

6) Don’t expect to resell at retail price unless you sell to the end consumer or auction houses. Jewellers have to get their cut.

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Top 3 Gemstones For Serious Investors:
*Tip: Don’t buy colorless diamonds now because prices have been fluctuating and because of the incidence of synthetic diamonds, which can be made in any size and quality!

1) Blue and Pink Diamonds

2) Rubies - If you can get top quality rubies for a good price, go ahead and buy. *Those which are larger in size are usually of lower quality.

3) Emeralds

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The Top 3 Heirloom Gemstones:

1) Blue Sapphire

2) Colored sapphire: *Pink Sapphire can be purchased at lower prices outside the auction house

3) Garnet

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General Questions To Ask When Buying Gemstones:
1) Has it been treated? Is the treatment permanent?

2) How do I take care of this piece?

3) Where is it from?

Anya shared with us about her Aquamarine Gemstone purchase story. She bought 30 stones from a person she has been trading with for a very long time – issued him a cheque and all. But she later found out that those were not gemstones; they were made of glass. Moral of her story: Look at the stone, then the certificate, and see if they match. If you have any doubt at all, don’t go for it.

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Final Tips:

Go for quality, not quantity.

Jewellery with a nice design and a beautiful name tend to get sold faster.

Jewellery setting is important, e.g. the surrounding stones must make the center stone look nicer.

{ 2 Samples From The Workshop }

Blue Sapphire

28.26carat Natural Untreated Blue Sapphire from Sri Lanka

Retail Price: S$560,000 – S$580,000

Ring

9.17 carat Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Ring: S$380,000

Find these pieces and more at the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair 2014 (23rd – 26th October at Marina Bay Sands), which will showcase over 2 billion dollars worth of gemstones and jewellery! Fashion jewellery and synthetic diamonds are rejected, so you are ensured of quality here. There is also the GIT on-site laboratory service, to give you peace of mind, and workshops to attend so you can learn more about GIA and GIT certification.

*Tip: Put the gemstones side-by-side under the same lighting when you are making comparisons.

For more information: http://singaporejewellerygemfair.com/

Adidas-Inspired Photoshoot with Maku Store Singapore Backpack :D

Maku Store Singapore

I got inspired by an Adidas campaign on my recent trip to Thailand. So I came back and went for this photoshoot on a whim. The backpack is from Maku Store Singapore. It was what I brought with me to Bangkok for my shopping trip. :)

It’s super roomy, with two side pockets for waterbottles and/or a foldable umbrella. In this next picture, you see my 1-litre Nalgene waterbottle, which doesn’t usually fit into many side pockets of backpacks ‘cos of its size. No trouble here; fits snugly and doesn’t fall out even during a jumpshot:

Maku Store Singapore

I’d initially thought the design was rather awkward: what’s that topmost compartment for? Then I realized the sheer genius behind it.

With backpacks, it is usually a hassle to unbuckle it all and release the straps before you can reach your passport, sunglasses, tissues, notebook, etc. But I can put all these into the topmost compartment and get them out any time I want! It’s spacious and just one zip separates me from what I want to get out of my backpack.

Maku Store Singapore

Check out Maku Store at #03-20 Bugis Junction for backpacks, wallets, totes, handbags, tees, luggage, and more! *Get 15% discount by showing that you are a fan of my facebook page!

[Lots of thanks to my dear photographer friend, Max Clyne, from Max Clyne At Work Pte Ltd, for braving the rain and lightning for this photoshoot! You’re the most professional, talented and obliging photographer I know! I promise not to put your life in similar danger again! :D]

Personalized Items From Summur & Co

Personalized Passport Cover

I’ve always wanted to have my own range of bags with my name on them! Super cool, don’t you think? I’ve taken one step forward with smaller, personalized items from Summur & Co. In the picture above, you see the new passport cover I had for my recent overseas trip.

I love the ‘handmade’ feel to these personalized items – if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that the letters are not all sitting on a straight line, because they were hand-stamped. I got to witness this in action; every letter is stamped on with the help of a hammer. And of course, you get to choose your favorite charm. :)

Also, I got a special sky blue laptop sleeve with my name on it. The sleeve is buttery smooth and the colors available cannot be found elsewhere. The owner of this online store also sources for the materials, colors and does some of the design work herself! On top of that, instead of ‘outsourcing’ the personalization work to other people, she ensures she hand-stamps them all, often working late into the night!

*When possible, place your orders early (e.g. for birthday gifts for friends), so she has ample time to personalize each item with love!

Got a Love charm for my laptop sleeve, ‘cos I love my work! :D

Personalized Laptop Sleeve

I also have a canary yellow notebook with my name and a princess charm on it. :D Yes, I’m supposed to be a blogger and I can take notes using my Evernote app, but I’m still old school like that. A teacher once told me that “The faintest ink is better than the best memory” and I make sure I carry a notebook around with me. :)

Personalized Notebook

Why yellow? ‘Cos it is bright and cheery and makes me happy looking at it!

The next time you are getting a gift for a friend, don’t go for store-bought items. Personalize one. So the person cannot say to you “I own that item already”. It happened to me this year – I bought a book and a tee for a girlfriend’s birthday. She replied saying that she has already read that book (what are the odds?!) and the tee’s too small (I’d already gotten it in the biggest size available). Oh dear. I’m definitely getting her something personalized next year!

If you’d like to make a purchase from Summur & Co, here are the prices of items I’ve featured above, and a discount code for your shopping:

Prices:

Passport Cover (rose pink) – S$15

Laptop Sleeve (sky blue) – S$28

Notebook (yellow) – S$19

Get 5% discount using this code ‘GRACE05′ at Summur & Co

Bangkok Fashion Outlet, Prawning in Bangkok, Century The Movie Plaza, Mo Chit to Don Mueang Airport

[Travel Journal: 5th Day in Bangkok. And I'm now back in SG! :D]

Located about a 10-minute walk away from Surasak station is Bangkok Fashion Outlet. There are 3 floors for your shopping pleasure – everything from fashion to home furnishing.

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I bought Wacoal lingerie here as the designs are pretty and the prices are low.

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Then we had lunch at the basement foodcourt. Get a cashcard (with refundable balance) for hassle-free cash-less payment for food and drinks.

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I had rice with a mixture of vegetables. It tasted so-so but the chilli sauce is potent.

At the atrium sale, I spotted Melissa shoes on sale at 399 baht. The original price tags showed prices ranging from 1-2K. But they were all leftover sizes e.g. 35 / 40.

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Outside the mall, I bought 4 pairs of earrings for 100 baht. :)

We then took a taxi to a prawning place recommended by a Thai blogger pal. The taxi ride cost 53 baht. Just showed the driver a printout (in thai) regarding the place, and he managed to get us there.

Thailand Prawning

Prawning costs 100 baht/hour. Cheap! This is less than half the price we have to pay in SG.

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Caught just 1 prawn which we gave away. I had zero luck here. Thankfully, we had gotten just one prawning rod to share.

We then walked to the SENAfest mall nearby (less than a minute away). It looks and feels like our Greenwich V mall in SG – very good place to chill.

There are many restaurants and kids education centres here.

We then wanted to go to a mall near the Victory Monument via taxi. The driver of a taxi we flagged down by the road didn’t know where we wanted to go because he doesn’t speak English. Thankfully, a security guard at the mall came to our rescue and radioed for another cab whose driver seemed to know where to take us.

It was around 4pm but traffic was pretty bad already – it made me feel like jumping out of the cab actually. Total cabfare: 109 baht.

At Century The Movie Plaza, we had dinner at Yayoi again – but it was a very long wait for the food.

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Bill: 568 baht for our dinner.

We then took the train to Mo Chit station (and went out the exit near the Yamazaki bakery) then boarded the A1 bus. It was a breeze; no wait, no fuss, just pure luck. Headed straight for the airport with light traffic most of the way, then traffic slows to a crawl after. Budget at least an hour for getting to the airport if you are heading there in peak hour traffic! Otherwise, the journey should take around 15 minutes, I guess.

At the Airport, if you are flying with Scoot, head for the NokScoot counters. It is great that there are shops and cafes to head to before boarding our flight.

You’ll find below additional information about taxi rides in Bangkok and my take on Scoot flights…

~ Taxi Fares in Bangkok ~

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If you’re flagging down a taxi by the roadside (not hopping into one in front of any of the major shopping spots e.g. Platinum), it is easier to get the driver to agree to charge by the meter. If you are leaving Platinum at night and trying to get a tuk tuk or cab, you’ll likely have to bargain or agree with the driver’s proposed fee before boarding.

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Interestingly, Scoot gave us stretch seats on both our flights to and from Bangkok! I guess it is a perk of booking early?? :)

Flight time is around 2 hours and 5 minutes. And the plane’s usually packed both ways with Singaporeans.

I’ve flown with Scoot three times this year. No complaints thus far! Thumbs up! Will definitely fly with Scoot again.

Bangkok: Platinum, Palladium, Hello Kitty Cafe, Siam Center – Greyhound Cafe

[Day 4 in Bangkok - Reporting 'Live' from the Land of a Thousand Shopping Malls (or more)]

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(Above) Is that a Batman shirt?! Oh wait… it’s ButtMan. :D LOL

Platinum is probably a 15-20 minute walk from Chit Lom BTS. We decided not to hire any tuk tuks or taxis on this trip, relying on ourselves and the BTS to get us everywhere.

Pratunam (opposite Platinum) looks terrible so we did not head there.

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At Platinum, we had lunch at Yum Saap. The longan and crab stick salad which the wait staff had said would be “little spicy” for us turned out to be very spicy. #eatitallnonetheless

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He had a green curry chicken and fishcake set while I ate the pad thai, which is good ‘cos it’s sweet, which I like. Will be back for this again. Total bill: 274 baht.

When we got tired of walking & shopping, we headed to Red Mango (at the Platinum building below Novotel) and had frozen yoghurt with mango and lychee toppings. Total cost: 159 baht.

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Because it was raining when we left Platinum, *thankful I brought ponchos and an umbrella!* we went to Palladium which is across the road from Platinum. Massages are cheaper there: 250baht at Platinum but 199 at Palldium (150baht for 40min).

I also bought a pair of rainbow flats for 100 baht here.

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At Platinum, I did not buy much though I saw many people dragging trolley bags filled with their purchases.

The only shop (on the ground floor) which earned the most money from me:

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I bought 3 dresses here at the “wholesale price” of 390 baht each. Really love the tulip print! :)

*Tip: Money changers at the basement offer better rates than those upstairs.

After Palladium, we headed back to MBK for his shirt fitting and ate at A&W on the way there. Oops. Could not resist!!! :D

And of course, like any self-respecting Hello Kitty fan, I had to visit the Hello Kitty cafe at Siam Square 1. There was a really long queue outside (the cafe was nice enough to provide benches). The cafe is located at the back of the mall on level 1. It is impossible to miss.

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I did not want to queue for kitty food, which likely will not taste nice anyway; just good for photography purposes. So we went to Greyhound Cafe at Siam Center.

He ordered the Buffalo Burger made from squid ink while I had the fettuccini with shrimp and mushroom cream sauce. The fettuccini was really yummy. Usually, pastas with cream sauce do not taste very good after the first mouthful. But this one was mindblowingly awesome. Must try!

We also ordered some vietnamese spring rolls – not bad but not awesome either. I could taste only the egg yolk:

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We then went to Pat Pong Night Market, near Sala Daeng BTS station. (That’s for another blogpost) ;)

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Terminal 21 and Nana Square

[Day 2 in Bangkok - 'Live' report :D]

To get to Chatuchak, take the BTS to Mo Chit station, head out of exit 1 and literally, “follow the crowd” right to Chatuchak Market. ;)

*Keep an eye on your belongings! Police patrol the area but it does not necessarily stop all crime! If you need a map of Chatuchak (and some air-conditioning), head to the police post.

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We reached Chatuchak at about 12 noon. And the heat was amazing. I was just sweating buckets! It’s a miracle we didn’t get heatstroke. (Bring a handheld fan if you are coming by Chatuchak)

We were done shopping in about 4 hours’ time. Here are some pictures:

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I bought a pair of shades for 39 baht. A ridiculously low price! That’s not even 2 Singapore dollars!

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(Above) Big guy cooking a big pan of paella. He was throwing ingredients, such as long beans, into the pan as he was walking away from it. Inevitably, many of them fell to the ground. But it still attracted many tourists.

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Hand-painted shoes at 350 baht. I really like colorful stuff. The first pair caught my eye.

Bf bought many shirts on this shopping trip. I didn’t even buy any dresses and shoes!!! Shopping skills gone rusty. Lol.

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Then we were off to Terminal 21 next to Asok BTS station.

We had a steamboat dinner at MK Restaurant (level 4 of Terminal 21). The bill came up to 676 baht.

When we got tired from exploring the huge mall, we stopped at a dessert place specializing in matcha desserts for a Matcha Latte Float (110 baht) which was yummy! The vanilla ice cream is really good! 
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We then walked all the way to Phrom Phong station where a mall – Emporium – was supposed to be. Sadly, it was under renovation. :(

On the way back to our hotel, we made a detour to Nana Square and had pizza at The Pizza Company cos the place is packed. It’s open till midnight too.

Bbq chicken wings and Seafood Cocktail pizza cost us 528 baht. Both items were dripping in oil. The pizza had lots of butter, strangely. I like the chicken wings, don’t quite fancy the pizza.
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Time for bed… and MBK tomorrow? :D

My New Wallet: Only One in SG! :D

Maku Store Singapore

Maku Store Singapore

This is my new pastel pink and green wallet from Maku Store Singapore. It also happens to be the only one that Maku Store brought in! That feeling of being the only person in Singapore to own this pretty item… indescribable. Also… #AchievementUnlocked :D

[And those macarons are from Ladurée – check out this blogpost about them]

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, Maku Store Singapore imports only a few pieces per item. So if you have your eyes on any bag, wallet or tee, just go ahead and buy it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone else carrying the same item.

Also, while the bags have interesting features, Maku Store’s wallets (maybe just some, not all) come with SIM card slots. Check this out:

Maku Store Singapore

This is really useful when traveling, don’t you think? I’m always terrified of losing my SG SIM card. It’ll be a hassle to get it replaced. Now it’ll always stay safe in my wallet. :D

Maku Store Singapore

The wallet itself is well-designed, with ample space for cash, so the dollar notes don’t get crushed like in some wallets I’ve used in the past. If you have “OCD” about dollar notes and always want your notes crisp, this is the wallet for you. (But unfortunately, it’s mine. So you hafta pop by Maku Store and find another one just for you. Hehe) The only issue I have with this wallet is the card slot just below the one I’ve used for my IC. That slot is empty ‘cos strangely enough, it’s not big enough for any of the cards to fit into. Other than that, I’m in love with this new wallet.

*Carrying more cash than usual in my wallet because I need to change it for Thai baht for my BKK trip next week. Can’t wait to go shopping there!!!

But wait… there’s more from Maku Store Singapore!

Trade-in Your Old Bag For A New Maku Store Bag!!!

Maku Store Singapore

I don’t know of any other bag store in Singapore that has such a (wonderful) trade-in program! :)

If you have an old bag that falls into any of these categories:

1) Sling / Messenger Bag

2) Backpack

3) Ladies’ Shoulder Bag (A4 size or bigger) …

Do a trade-in for a new Maku Store bag at 20% discount. If your old bag happens to be from Maku Store too, you get 30% discount!!!

Maku Store Singapore will then donate the old bags to a local charity. So while Maku Store will accept bags in any condition (e.g. dirtied, broken strap, etc), PLEASE know that the bags will go to charity, so do ensure that your bag is still usable and not falling apart because you’ll want the recipient of your bag to be happy about getting it, right?

Head over to Maku Store Singapore at #03-20 Bugis Junction and reward yourself with a new bag or wallet. Plus, there are lots of freebies, from specially designed folders, to socks and lanyards! Grab them whilst stocks last! Happy Shopping! :D