Paris Je ‘Taime

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Move over ASOS, there’s a new awesome-r online store in town!

Colette, situated at rue Saint-Honore in Paris, deals in high fashion designer wear, quirky home ornaments and desirable hi-tech goods in addition to critically-acclaimed collaborations with the likes of Terry Richardson, Chevignon, Tommy Hilfiger and Casio.

This exclusive Diana+ is covered in colette blue dots, which adds a charming retro feel to the plastic camera (90 Euros)

Cute enough to almost (huge almost) make me want to pick up smoking (15 Euros)

I don't really dig this collaboration (probably due to the bespectacled chimp) but apparently it is a big deal, so yeah (250 Euros)

This sponge makes me want to shower real bad, which is a mean feat indeed (8 Euros)

Since Impossible Project only ships films to our part of the world, why not get a Paul Giambarba edition Polaroid from colette instead? Besides, I'm sure The Click Shop won't mind (150 Euros)

This book by the renowned visual communication expert displays the key visual differences between the two fabled cities (12.90 Euros)

This classic helmet, in colette colours no less, would be perfect for your Vespa, if you had a Vespa (600 Euros)

As we are shopping outside Europe, we are exempted from paying the VAT tax, which results in a 20% deduction for the item of your choice.

Unfortunately, what we save on the VAT comes back to haunt us in the shape of shipping fees, which amounts to 25 Euros for deliveries to Asia. However, if you can afford such expenditure, why not invest in some Gallic charm?

While I must admit that most of colette’s items are whimsical and unnecessary as well as ludicrously priced, especially in this wretched economic climate, you can’t help but wonder at the wide array of visual eye candy that lies within this gorgeous website.

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Four Things I Learned This Weekend

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The weekend is almost over, so for the working crowd, collective groans will be heard throughout the night. Not for me though. Newly unemployed and loving it, I spent the weekend hanging out with friends and watching some good old sports on TV. While some may brand me as stubborn, I assure you that I have indeed learned some valuable lessons from this weekend’s round of matches and web-surfing =)

1) United must play their own game

Surely Ferguson didn’t think a midfield with Phil Jones and Darren Fletcher in the centre and a team deprived of Wayne Rooney and Nani would offer his side any attacking impetus at Anfield? On the back of last season’s comprehensive 3-1 away defeat by Kenny Dalglish’s men, the Manchester United manager’s team selection pointed to a strategy where containment was the name of the game. Park Ji-Sung was chosen ahead of Nani to offer Chris Smalling protection against the marauding runs of Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique on Liverpool’s left whilst Jones and Fletcher were instructed to stifle the creativity of Charlie Adam and returning captain Steven Gerrard in the middle of the pitch. Luis Suarez, United’s chief tormentor last season, was kept under wraps by an impressive centre defensive tandem of Johnny Evans and Rio Ferdinand, while Dirk Kuyt was never in danger of repeating his hattrick heroics.

That tactic nearly worked, until Ryan Giggs, a veteran of countless North West derbies, expertly ducked aside in the wall to allow a Gerrard freekick to beat an otherwise excellent David de Gea in the second half. Cue a change in personnel. Nani, Rooney and Hernandez were introduced in quick succession following Gerrard’s goal, and United started to play like, well, United. The Mexican striker equalised with a close range header late on, but fans, who are not used to a negative United, must be concerned with United’s inability to grab three points away from home after last month’s scrappy draw at Stoke City.

A point at the venue where United have previously tasted three straight defeats must be seen as a positive result, but with Manchester City, whose weakened team swatted aside previously undefeated Aston Villa to claim the lead in the Premier League, to come at Old Trafford next weekend, Ferguson would know better than anyone that any tinkering to his side’s swashbuckling style could mean a first defeat of the season at the hands of their bitter rivals.

2) New Zealand don’t really miss Daniel Carter

Missing arguably one of the world’s best ever fly-halves would be a setback to any rugby team, but New Zealand have shrugged off the loss of Daniel Carter to storm into the Rugby World Cup final next weekend following a dominant 20-6 victory over Tri-Nation rivals Australia. Led by the immaculate Cory Jane who was aptly named man of the match in the semi-final at Eden Park, the All Blacks will face France, whom they beat easily in pool play, in a repeat of the 1987 World Cup final where the hosts were victorious.

The Wallabies, dogged by a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Quade Cooper, were no match for the sheer commitment and all-action display from the All Blacks, who should have won by a bigger margin after a slew of wayward penalty kicks by the normally reliable Pipi Weepu. Aaron Cruden, who took over Carter number 10 jersey, looked more like a seasoned campaigner rather than a late replacement who only started following first reserve Colin Slade’s injury in the quarterfinal win over the Argentinian Pumas. The 21 year-old’s passing and penetrating runs were a plus for the rampant All Blacks, who gave the Kurtly Beale-less Aussies no chance.

With captain Richie McCaw in imperious form and Israel Dagg having a devastating tournament so far, New Zealand will start as favourites against the French next Sunday as no team has ever been beaten on the way to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup. A player of Carter’s calibre would certainly have added something special to next weekend’s spectacle, but as things stand, Graham Henry’s men look a good bet for the title even without their virtuoso playmaker.

3) Andy Murray deserves to be World Number Three

After a 15 match winning streak and a third straight title in as many weeks, Andy Murray must not be looking forward to the end of the year. The Brit successfully defended his Shanghai Masters title with a classy defeat of David Ferrer, whom he beat en route to last week’s Japan Open win, and in the process, ensured that he will leapfrog Roger Federer into the number three spot in the ATP rankings next week.

The latest turn of events caps a dismal season for the Swiss maestro, who will be ranked outside the top three for the first time since June 2003. To put this into perspective, that was before Federer won his first ever Grand Slam title in Wimbledon that year when Andy Roddick, yes the same A Rod who is no longer the highest ranked American on tour (yay Mardy Fish), was still world number one.

However, Federer’s poor form this year should not detract from the fact that Murray’s new accolade is thoroughly deserved. The 24 year-old has choked in the latter stages of Grand Slams before, but his performances on tour, especially in Masters events where he is absolutely lethal, is nothing short of phenomenal. With Rafa Nadal looking a shadow of his all-conquering self and Novak Djokovic realistically unable to maintain his sublime level of play beyond this season, 2012 could well be the year Murray captures his first Grand Slam title.

Beyond that, who knows what the talented albeit erratic Murray can achieve?

4) I really want the new Polaroid

A digital Polaroid camera that has the retro stylings of the One? I has to gets it!

The stumbling block? The insane price of nearly 300 pounds! Well, it certainly makes spending nearly RM90 on a film roll sound less ludicrous.

The Lazy Boy’s Guide to Singapore

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So yeah, I am back home following a 3-month stint at ESPN STAR Sports, so I would like to think I can recommend some good places to hang out while in Singapore. Not the usual suspects, mind you.

Sure, Universal Studios is awesome, but I have never been there due to the fact that I have motion sickness and I am allergic to adrenaline. The National Zoo and Night Safari? Well, too hot in the day for the zoo while I am usually sleepy once the sun sets, so go figure.

What I am about to tell you now is THE places I went t that I would want to go again, over and over again. So here we go!

Firstly, you might regard Orchard as simply the shopping district of Singapore (especially with the advent of H&M and the impending opening of A&F), but I usually rush to ION after work to get my hands on the scrumptious 4 Fingers Chicken, which is located just outside Food Opera. You can choose between garlic and hot, but I really recommend the garlic sauce since the hot option is inhumanly spicy. I normally complement the devilishly addictive chicken wings with Tori-Q tontoro pork, and gosh, thinking of it is making me drool.

If you prefer a more western meal, head on down to Everything With Fries at Orchard Central near Somerset and order yourself a har jeong kai burger! The burgers here are humongous, and though there are other burgers here, I always go for the har jeong kai burger (which is prawn paste fried chicken for the Mandarin challenged). Word of caution: even though the name of the restaurant suggests that the fries should be good, they aren’t really anything to shout about. Instead, down your meal with their delicious nutella tart or nutella shake (though the cupcakes are good as well). If you prefer ice cream as your dessert of choice, take a minute’s walk to Cold Stone (not to be confused with Cold Rock at 313) and try their awesome ice cream (add Reese’s Pieces for the perfect custom fare). Word of advice? No shakes. Overpriced and unsatisfying.

For the quirky and whimsical, visit Cat Socrates at Bras Basah Complex (opposite the SMU admin building). I spent nearly 45 minutes here and it wasn’t close to enough time to shift through all the goodies. From old polaroid cameras to cute handmade pouches, you are sure to find something in this cosy shop. The wide array of novelty items, arts and crafts and toys is just spellbinding! The Little Drom Store at Ann Siang Hill should be another stop if you are indie at heart. Perhaps housing the most extensive collection of Polaroid cameras I have ever seen in one place, The Little Drom Store also sells cakes, which I was too full (from overrated Koi damn it) to try unfortunately.

While I think you should definitely give Haji Lane a try, most of the items found in shops were on the high end of the price spectrum, so window shopping is the name of the game around here. Nonetheless, this little laneway is still an interesting place to visit, so do head over to Pluck to have some amazing ice cream and apple pie! If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see some street artists sitting on the floor doing a mural or people doing photo shoots, which adds to the eclectic vibe of Haji Lane.

Plus if you prefer park benches to skyscrapers, the Botanic Gardens is really a treat! With a scenery so beautiful, you’ll forget you’re in an urban jungle like Singapore. Whilst here, grab a spot for a picnic or just gaze at the cute dogs (and other moving animals) that are there for a stroll with their owners.

Moving back to food a little, how good is the Geylang frog porridge? I dunno where exactly my cousins brought me to, but the spicy and original flavoured frog mixed into porridge was just splendid! I’ve also never liked ramen before my little trip to Singapore, and I have Santouka over at Central to thank. Apparently an outlet has opened at Pavilion’s Tokyo Street, so I am definitely heading there for some ramen action soon! Ippudo over at Mandarin Gallery is also a treat, Nina and I simply adored the black garlic oil ramen, simply marvellous!

For those with a sweet tooth, Garrett’s Popcorn is a must buy. Hands-down best (and most expensive) popcorn ever! Their caramel flavoured popcorn is to die for! Once Upon a Milkshake? Best milkshake ever (discounting Soda Rock at Chapel and maybe Billy Bombers) period. And of course, who can forget the superbly magnificent WimblyLu cheesecake ice cream!

You know what? I just realised I didn’t get my Max Brenner fix while I was there. Excuse me while I go cry in the corner.

PS: If I remember anything else awesome to do in Singapore, I’ll let you know =)

If I Had Money…Part Three (I Think)

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Yeah I thought I would revive this part of my blog, you know, just for kicks.

Recently, as the few of you who have read my The Wknd article, I have been looking for a new pair of headphones to complement my Meelectronics M9Ps I got last year.

After an extensive bout of research (and I do mean extensive; Amazon and Head-Fi have become my most viewed websites for the past couple of months) as well as countless back and forths on which pair I would opt for, I eventually went for the Aiaiai (apparently pronounced aye aye aye captain!) Tracks.

Aesthetically, I was really drawn to the pop art colours of the Tracks (maybe I can match the Tracks with this CMYK Diana) as well as the minimalist retro design, which is modelled after the old Sony Walkman headphones of the 80’s.

The headphones are still going through a burning in process, so while I can’t really judge the sound quality as of yet, I have been pretty impressed by the bass and clarity so far, which is a step up from my previous earphones.

Truth be told, I really wanted a pair of full-sized headphones, and the Shure SRH440 was momentarily top of my list (albeit above my budget) until I actually tried it on at Stereo Plaza Singapura. Too bad full-sized headphones were definitely not designed with bespectacled people in mind; I seriously thought my specs were gonna crush my face and nose.

Don’t get me wrong, the 440s sounded phenomenal, but until I get a new pair of eyes (or laser eye surgery), I am perfectly content with the Tracks, and boy are they comfortable, light, and portable. I was about to go to a shop at Excelsior to check out the highly-rated Superlux HD668B too, but after I found an Epicentre at Somerset that sold the Tracks for SGD70 (they actually hiked up the price to SGD140 and claimed a 50% discount when the RRP in Singapore for the Tracks is SGD99), I was sold.

Sure the Danish company is relatively new to the ballgame, but if I had money, I would probably go for their TMA-1’s.

Apparently they sound fantastic (judging from the glowing endorsements on Head-Fi and CNet), I haven’t really seen them in stores yet, but the design is immaculate, clean and simple. If only I had two Benjamins, I would have them ship from Denmark right away, but that’s a story for another day (when I have a money tree).

What about the M9Ps you might ask (though I doubt it, but I will answer anyway)? I added some Comply Foams to bolster the noise isolation, and like advertised, the Foams really do improve on that aspect. My only gripe is the left sided Foams are pretty loose (the right sided ones fit very snugly), so I have a sinking suspicion that my ear holes vary in size.

Oh well, at least those uneven ear holes will have new headphones to pamper them with Ai?

PS: Aren’t Aiaiai gonna sue Sol Republic for having headphones dubbed “Tracks” too?

New Girls on the Block

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My TV shows preferences have been largely centered on bromance lately.

The boys from Entourage said goodbye after eight (awesome I might add) seasons on the air; Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard continue to nerd it out on Big Bang Theory though Leonard’s friendship with Raj could face testing times after the latter’s supposed hook-up with Penny; Chuck and Morgan (to a certain extent, with Casey and “Awesome”); we all know How I Met Your Mother, despite arcs about Lily and Robin, is reliant on the trident of Marshall, Barney, and to a lesser extent Ted; Abed and Troy are practically inseparable on Community, while Joey and Chandler are, well, Joey and Chandler.

I tried to continue along the bromance route with the season premiere of the Sheen-less Two and a Half Men, but alas, Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher were as funny as dry paint. Not even a surprise cameo from Dharma and Greg could save this sinking ship from going down in flames.

However, this season’s fall TV shows are looking to change that trend Bridesmaids-style! While I have been waiting forever for Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl ever since it was announced all those months ago, I only found out about 2 Broke Girls a couple of days back. I’ve been a moderate fan of Kat Dennings since Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, plus she was in Thor as the other girl who was not Thor’s mum, Natalie Portman’s character and the other Norse warrior.

2 Broke Girls is about, basically, two broke girls who are waitresses in a dingy diner. Max, played by Dennings, is edgy, down-to-earth and street-smart (but of course if she was THAT smart she probably would have known her boyfriend was a douche) whilst newcomer Beth Behrs’ Caroline is a spoiled former trust fund baby who has lost everything. Are they the ultimate odd couple? While there were genuinely funny moments (the pink taser comes to mind), I am still to be convinced by the premise of the show. The riches to rags to riches story has been told through the ages, but it only works when you have an affinity for the fallen heiress who learns humility. Honestly, I just don’t really like Caroline.

Meanwhile, is it just me or could New Girl do with a better theme song? While the pilot displayed real promise and most importantly, some heart that is sometimes lacking in comedy these days, I felt mildly disappointed after the 20 minutes were up. I do concede that my expectations for this show were sky high from the get go though I can’t help but feel that something was lacking.

Zooey’s Jess was well, at her quirkiest best, which unfortunately became slightly overbearing after a few scenes. After she finds her boyfriend cheating on her, she moves in with three guys. Schmidt’s character was fairly interesting; I don’t know whether to punch him or to like him, but the douchebag jar quip was simply inspired. Coach, well, his storyline will be pretty straightforward: personal trainer who can’t seem to talk to women, Jess to the rescue I suppose. Lastly, Nick, the sensitive one who is still not over his ex who dumped him six months ago, seems perfect for Jess. A potential housemate romance brewing? Either way, I thought the scene where the boys left the party to comfort Jess was kick ass with a pretty endearing rendition of “Time of my Life”.

Sisterly love and a FRIENDS-like living arrangement may not be the new bromance, but I can safely say that come next week, I will be tuning in to 2 Broke Girls and New Girl again, if only for Kat Dennings and Zooey Deschanel.