Happy new year, long time no blog~ Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holiday!
Like most people, every year one of my New Year resolutions involve exercising more to stay healthy and in shape.... and then a few workout attempts later forget all about it.
This year, it's even MORE important that I keep this resolution to exercise regularly because I've had so many health problems last year (some still ongoing) that, with doctors' orders, require that I exercise regularly to help with recovery. Forget about "No pain = no gain", for me it's now "No exercise = more pain". =P
But I have a good feeling about this year because I plan to do exercises that I actually enjoy and will look forward to doing...
First, there's yoga. I love doing yoga, but had to stop taking classes 8 months ago first due to my yoga studio shutting down, and then for health reasons I had to stop doing yoga completely. I'm hoping I can start it up again in a few months.
Second, there's swimming. I used to swim in high school (not that well, but still...), but since then have stopped. Recently, I had a few chances to get back in the pool and realized how much I enjoy swimming and that I miss it. Since swimming is a doctor-recommended exercise for me, it'll be perfect timing for me to get back into it regularly this year.
I also just learned to swim the breaststroke, so I'm excited to practice it more. So far, it takes me a million strokes to finish a lap, but I'm sure there's a more effective way to move farther in the water per kick. I tried looking for some good instructional videos on Youtube but I was only able to find one video that was somewhat helpful. Any advanced swimmers out there with any breaststroke tips? ;)
Here's wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2009!
P.S. Can't wait for our new American president... in just a few more hours!!!!
I went to the Alicia Keys concert last night in the HK Asia-World Arena, and I gotta say... that girl has such an AMAZING voice, so soulful and powerful! If you listen to her songs, you can tell that she truly gives it her all. She's beautiful, and of course so talented, she played on a grand piano for many of her songs and she sounded incredible live.
She really made the crowd work hard for the encores, both of them, each time only coming out for one song. Of course we all went wild though when she came back out for the first encore with "No One", everyone in the crowd was really into it even those of us way in the back of the arena. We were all up on our feet singing along and rhythmically throwing our hands in the air to all the "OH OH OH OH!"'s of the song... :) What a blast! Then she came back out with a strong, powerful final performance of "If I Ain't Got You"... preceded by her graciously telling the crowd that she knows that she wouldn't be where she is, here playing in Hong Kong, if it weren't for all of us.
In her song "Superwoman", she has some cool lyrics encouraging and celebrating the strength of woman out there. I love the following lines: :)
"Even when I'm a mess I still put on a vest With an S on my chest Oh yes I'm a Superwoman"
Our seats were pretty far back and on the ground level though. So me being the shorty that I am and it being just my luck to sit in back of the tallest guy in the row in front of me (of course, Murphy's Law, grrrrr!), I couldn't see the stage at all. :( I spent the entire concert watching the performances from the big screen next to the stage. But it was DEFINITELY worth being there and hearing her sing live, even if I couldn't actually see her. I even ran into quite a few friends at the arena... Marsha, Terence, Steph... lots of Alicia Keys fans. =D
Being so far from the stage, I didn't get to take any photos or videos that were decent enough to post. But here are some YouTube videos (no official videos though, they've disabled the option to embed) of some of my favorite Alicia Keys songs performed live.
"Like You'll Never See Me Again" (my new favorite song!)
"If I Ain't Got You"
Yesterday evening was the opening of the photo exhibitwith images by four AnD photographers, Berton Chang, Chris Lay, Ohm Panhiroj and myself. Some of us made a trip up to Shenzhen to catch the opening party, which included a fun musical performance by Dirt Star. The exhibit runs for two weeks at Triple J Cafe, a cozy and cute little art cafe in Shenzhen, China. I had a good time and it was nice seeing familiar faces there and meeting some new folks including Chris (thanks for inviting me), the cafe owner JiaJia, Dirt Star (Ron), Jesse, and others.
A few random shots from the evening...
The Triple J and AliveNot Dead present"On the Road", a photo exhibit with images by Berton Chang, Ivy Lam, Christopher Lay, Liza Lebeda and Ohm Panphiroj, with live music by Dirtstar.
Opening Sunday, 17 Feb @ 7-11pm Photo Exhibition 17 Feb - 1 March Triple J Cafe, Shenzhen, China (behind the roller coaster, Culture Palace Park, Dongmen, Luohu) +86 134 1064 5216
First of all, Happy New Year! May the Year of the Rat be a great year for you all!
For anyone in HK who likes books and artwork, let me tell you about a cute little used bookshop in Central (LKF). It has a colorful, cozy setup with sofa and armchairs, a nice livingroom-feeling to it. Sadly, since it's on the second floor, it's sorta hidden so most people don't even know it's there. Other than books (English), they also sell original paintings and photos, which is displayed all around the shop.
* ahem* As a matter of fact, I have some of my travel photo prints for sale there, both framed and non-framed... ( shameless plug.. . haha)
Seriously, I wanna spread the word about the bookshop because I got to know the owner and she's a real cool gal, but due to financial reasons, she may be shutting down the shop by end of next month! It's sad cuz she's put all her time, money, and energy into running the shop which opened a year ago. Since I'm a huge booklover and enjoy browsing in bookstores, I'm gonna miss having a used bookstore in HK that's so cozy and comfortable.
So for HK book-lovers or art-lovers out there, support a small local business and check out the shop for some quality, discounted books and artwork if you have the chance... before it closes down soon! Thx for reading~
MUSE BOOKSHOP 2nd floor, 12 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
(Entrance located between the bars Club97 & Whiskey Priest. Go up 2 flights of stairs)
Open daily 11am-8pm
I feel like a lucky girl... In one week, I got to attend two big concerts... and best of all, both for free!
On Sunday, I got to see the Jacky Cheung concert again for the second time. It was the same tour as the concert I attended back in August, which I had blogged about here. This time it was held in a large outdoor venue, and our seats were a little better. The only thing was that it was outdoors on one of the few icy-cold evenings in HK, so our little group Raffi, Stephen, Boon, Kit, Phat, Tung Tung and I were sitting out there freezing our butts off for 3 hours... but it was worth it, at least for me... His voice was amazing, and I loved listening to all his old classics from the 80's & 90's. Thanks to Raffi, who had an extra free ticket and invited me. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see Jacky live, again, for free!
Then last night, I got to attend the My Chemical Romance concert cuz I won a contest. (Thanks, Beats Mag!) I was pretty happy cuz I NEVER win anything, much less anything this cool! I met up with Stephen, Patrick, Duc and some other folks who also planned on going, and we got to be in the same standing section in the front. I'm pretty new to their music, but I really enjoyed the concert and actually knew about 4 songs.
Here's the MV for my favorite MCR song, "I Don't Love You" (which sounded great live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duTBl5JH7pg
Yesterday, I joined my husband's office in their sponsored Christmas event with a local children's organization called Heep Hong Society, an organization which provides services for children with disabilities and their family members. As both sponsors and volunteers, we joined the staff, 40 of the children, and their family members for a day at a ranch where the kids were able to ride horses, ride in a cow-cart, play games, have a BBQ dinner, and receive presents from Santa.
The children, ages 2 to 6, suffer from physical, mental, and behavīoral disorders such as Autism, Down's Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy, so for most children there (if not all), it was their first time riding a horse or even seeing a live horse, and they were all very happy and excited. Apparently, one father was so happy that he cried when he saw his young autistic son ride the horse so well and so calmly for the first time.
During the BBQ dinner, one young girl was really cute. In seeing the adults holding the long metal forks BBQ-ing meat over the grill, she wanted to hold her little plastic fork with a meatball on it over the grill too... and her mom laughingly told her "You can't grill with a plastic fork, silly girl". It was really cute and funny. :)
It's amazing to see the family with their children. Even though it must be difficult for them, you could still see how much the parents/grandparents love their child/grandchild. I'm sure it's hard enough raising a kid as is, but so much more difficult raising a kid with mental and behavīoral disabilities. Even harder would be raising them as a single parent... which is sadly not uncommon. We met a handful of single moms doing their best to raise their autistic child on their own. :(
I think it's wonderful of my husband's office to not only donate money to such a meaningful organization, but actually volunteer their help and spend the day with them. According to the director of the center, there aren't many corporate sponsors who'd actually make this effort to get to know the children and their parents. This is the second year that his office has sponsored and volunteered at Heep Hong's events, and some of the children and parents actually recognize my husband and some of his office members, and I'm sure they all appreciate how much they really care about the children.
It felt great to be a part of such a special experience. I spent my time taking photos of the children on horseback. As it's such a rare opportunity for them, I wanted the family members to have photos to remember it by. For some it may even be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
At the end of the day, the children presented each of us volunteers with these cute handmade drawings... :)
For the last few days on the movie shoot, one of the crew members kept accidentally mixing me up with Renee. She kept calling me Renee, while calling Renee Ivy... and then corrected herself right afterwards. It was pretty amusing...
According to her, Renee and I look kind of alike from the back and side profile.... I suppose we're both the same height (shorties), same length of straight black hair, we've both been wearing baby tees everyday, and we both occasionally wear glasses and sometimes put our hair up in ponytails on the same day. Next time, we should put more planning into sync-ing up our hair and wardrobe... that'll really confuse her! haha
Here's a photo of me and Renee taken last night at a club opening. Do we look alike at all? :) (Never mind me being much more red-faced after one drink. hehe)
Here are a few other pictures from last night's party stop. After a long day (and long week, for that matter, that included like 6 straight days of filming, 2 of which were all-nighters), a bunch of us stopped by a club opening in Central for drinks. Some of us (like Kit, the exhausted director) especially needed a drink... :)
It's been a busy but exciting week... here's a recap.
Last weekend, I was in Zhuhai, China with my husband and a few friends. It was a short ferry ride away from HK and we spent our time eating, getting a 2-hour massage, partying, and eating some more. Thanks to Shan's suggestion, we ate dinner at "Seafood Street", which is literally a street of seafood restaurants with seafood vendors out front. You buy your own fresh seafood and then take it to your restaurant of choice where you pay them to cook the seafood for you however way you'd like. It was delicious and a good deal.
Last week was also the start of a movie filming which I'm shooting the still photography for. Can't disclose much about the film or the filming until after it's finished... but as my first time to shoot for a real movie production, I'm finding it to be a really exciting and interesting experience so far in seeing how a movie is filmed, witnessing the behind-the-scenes experiences, and photographing the different scenes. Very cool, indeed! I also got to finally meet Renee Chao after we'd met on AnD a few months ago. She's the Art Director for this movie, and I'm glad we're able to finally meet in person after meeting online and actually have the chance to work together. :)
Peachey was in town for a few days, so on Wednesday, I met up with her for coffee at a nearby shopping mall, where we enjoyed a nice chat and a bit of people-watching. :)
On Thursday, I went to the Jay Chou concert! I first discovered his music two years ago after moving to HK. I really love his music (especially his more R&B/rap-inspired tunes from his earlier albums, but I like his ballads too!) so I was super excited to go to his concert for the first time. I have to say that the concert was good, but our seats weren't so great... they were located right behind the stage, so during most of the concert, we saw mostly his back. Anyways, it was still good to get to see him in concert, he's definitely musically talented, and he sang one of my favorite songs, "Ye Qu" ( Nocturne).
Here are two heavily zoomed-in photos while he graced us with his presence on our side of the stage and where he actually turned towards our direction.
Here's a video clip of him singing "Ju Hua Tai" ("Crysanthemum Flower Bed"), the theme-song for his movie "Curse of the Golden Flower": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HL_Qc7xGg4&feature=user One cool moment was when his special guest, HK singer Andy Hui, joined him on stage and sang one of his songs with him while he played the piano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dK4fTXyfs&feature=userOn Friday, I watched the premiere of Will Smith's new movie "I Am Legend". I didn't know what to expect going in, but I ended up really enjoying it. It was so intense, thrilling, and freaky... it kept me on the edge of my seat for the last hour to hour & and half! I was sitting next to my friend Nicole and we were both huddled against each other and clutching each other's hands during the intense, scary scenes. haha! It was also nostalgic for me to see the familiar scenes of NYC, but sad to see them in such a desolate and broken state. Anyhow, go watch it!
Mr. Will Smith himself even came out to Hong Kong to appear at the premiere ceremony before the movie. How awesome is that?
After the movie, I managed to catch the Audiotraffic gig in time. Good show, as usual!
With Stephen (hiding behind me), Nani, and Stephen's friend， 小k.
With Lisa and her friend Gii.
Last Friday night was the big AnD/Diesel event, the opening party of the new exhibit by photographer, Terry Richardson. His exhibit, "From Rio to Hong Kong", featured many interesting photos, many of which involved naked people, including himself. Definitely not something you see often in HK... The second portion of the evening was a party with awesome live performances by three bands, My Love Puzzle, Hardpack, and Qiu Hong.
I had a great time checking out the exhibit, watching the bands play, hanging out and taking lots of fun photos with friends, and meeting new folks. As a total lightweight who doesn't normally drink, I somehow got convinced to have a few beers, so I was pretty red-faced during part of the evening. (I swear I wasn't drunk even though I was so red... just a little tipsy.) It was a fun night indeed! :)
Met wushu artist, Jingde He, who was really nice.
Shan, Pat Lee, and I working on our "cool" look. I think I need more practice... =P
With Shan and Boon
The guys hamming it up (Berton, Pat Lee, Terence, and Bobby)
With the guys (ok, probably a little buzzed by now.. hehe)
Me and Shan
Pat and I in our hats
With Jackie, Stephen, and Larry
Adrian's hungry for Janelle's cap
To celebrate my husband's birthday this past week, we went out for dinner and drinks with friends on Friday. We had a delicious dinner at a French private kitchen, where we were served a 6-course meal in an intimate, apartment-setting. (For those who aren't familiar, a "private kitchen" is a small restaurant set in an apartment or commercial tower where they serve quality food while giving a sense of being at home. No bigger than the size of an apartment, they generally can seat only a few tables. They have the feeling of a hideaway restaurant, and they're normally advertised by word-of-mouth. It's an increasingly popular restaurant trend in Hong Kong.)
Me and the birthday boy :)
After dinner, we met up with friends at a club, where we partied til the wee hours of the night. Stephen, Patrick, Shan, and a few of their friends including Wu Di, came out to join us. Here are a few pictures with them...
With Patrick lookin' all dapper in his suit. :)
With Shan... I was tipee-toeing with heels on while she was crouched down a bit, and I'm stillshorter than her! =D
Stephen and his new "stylin'-collar" look.. =D
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