Tag Archives: New York City

We Love Sandra Boynton!

4 Aug

Sandra Boynton is my all time favorite illustrator and author for children’s book. I discovered her books while working in New York City back in the early 90s, after graduating from college. I am proud to say I have quite a sizeable collection of her titles.

My collection were read by M1 and M2 in their early years, and even me occasionally these days when the mood hits.

When M1 was a toddler, I taught her to read ‘But Not the Hippopotamus’. The child was amazing. She could recite the whole book with full of zest and expression without a glance at the pages. The only thing she struggled with was the long word ‘hippopotamus’ which came out as ‘neh-neh-neh-tamus’.

When M2 was 19 months’ old, she had her exposure to Sandra Boynton too. Multi-tasking at such an early age, she’s engrossed with ‘Barney’ on the TV while attempting to read ‘Doggies’ at the same time. You have to turn up the volume, ignore Barney and listen to her carefully.

Adorable is all I can say. Sigh… why do they grow up so fast?



I Think She’s Good Too

3 Jul

I must say both our girls make us proud. M1 has recently landed her second internship for this summer! Last year, she interned at the university’s seafood lab and this year, it will be with a leading seafood processing and distribution company.

I thought I was good getting an internship with WBMG, Inc. in New York City but M1 is better than me, with two internships! She starts this July.

Well done.

All Things Tiny

11 Apr

I love tiny kitchen gadgets. I think they are so cute. Obviously I am not one who cooks a lot and needs to have the latest or biggest equipment. For me as long as the gadget can be used, it’s good enough.

I have a tiny chopping board. Okay I admit it’s actually a cheese board. My house mate who was also my landlord gave it to me when I lived at her place on Upper East Side during my summer internship with WBMG, Inc. in the Big Apple dinosaur years ago.

I also have two mini cleavers and I use these kitchen tools all the time especially to cut fruits. Sometimes even vegetables…

I also have a tiny skillet that I bought from Las Vegas but this one, I don’t use.

Over the weekend, I was doing my weekly grocery purchases and stumbled upon a cute tiny cheese grater. How miniscule? Smaller than those Ikea cheese grates and looked simply adorable.

Did I buy it? Of course I did! How could I not add another tiny thing to my collection which I am known for?


You Gotta Look Up!

14 Mar

Two weekends ago, I had to go to the office to get something. As I was walking towards the elevator, this guy almost walked into me because he was not looking ahead but at his smartphone. Hrmph.

Nowadays I see a lot of people walking on the streets do not look at where they are going. Instead, they are constantly looking down at their smartphones, busy replying messages, reading status updates or even playing games. What these people don’t realize is how dangerous this is.

Firstly they don’t see where they are going and just walking blindly. Secondly they become oblivious to the surrounding and are not alert as to who or what are in their path. If something were to happen, chances are they would be caught off guard. I could have bumped the guy and have that smartphone knocked off his hands!

There was once I was caught off guard with my surrounding. And this was dinosaur years ago, an era without smartphones and it’s enough to leave a permanent scar.

I had just gotten off the PATH train from Jersey City at the World Trade Center in New York City. Remember this was dinosaur years ago and the World Trade Center still existed. On that fateful day, after I got off the train, I withdrew some cash from the ATM machine and was heading to the office on Broadway.

Somehow on that particular mid-morning, I was a bit dreamy and had my earphones plugged in, oblivious to my surrounding. I was heading down the stairs to get onto the subway when a foul smelling homeless guy bumped into me along the stairs!

I did not panic or whatsoever because I couldn’t hear what he was saying. My music was blasting so loud, I wasn’t paying attention and was totally caught off guard.

He grabbed me by my collar, gave me a shake and came close to my face; I could not avoid his reeking alcohol breath. Ugh, puke… With his other hand near my cheek, hiding a blade, he repeated himself.

One earphone dislodged from my ear when he shook me again and this time, I heard him, “Give me all your money or I’ll cut up you f@*king face.” Some things you remember for life, like this instance.

And still, I did not panicked. It took awhile before I registered what was happening. And when I realized what was going on, the first thought that came to my mind was ‘Oh crap! I just withdrew some cash!” Not a thought of my safety but the money! Geez.

I was being mugged in broad daylight at the World Trade Center! All because I wasn’t paying attention to my surrounding. Amazingly, there wasn’t anybody coming up or going down the stairs because the trains had left and the crowd dispersed so quickly.

“What…?” I said.

By now, I think a good few seconds passed but it felt like forever. Before I could react, thank goodness, someone did come up the stairs and disrupted the scene. Foul smelling guy released my collar and incredulously said, “Thank you for your time!” and hurried off up the stairs.

It was only at that exact moment that I panicked. I flew down the stairs (thankfully, I did not trip and tumbled down) and in haste, crossed the turnstile and prayed for the train to hurry up. The train came and I jumped in.

By then, both my legs were trembling when I sat down. Gosh! What a close call. The two years that I had lived in New York City and Jersey City, I never once had any trouble because I was always alert and aware of my surroundings. But this one time on an off chance of not being aware, I almost became a mugging statistic. Shudder, it could have ended badly. Thank goodness it didn’t.

From then on, I always, always pay attention to my surrounding and never fiddle with my iPhone5S whenever I am walking on the streets. One must always look up for you may never know what you will bump into or who may bump into you.

The Gum Ball Machine

9 Feb

I love my gum ball machine. It’s quite an authentic piece, made of metal and glass instead of plastic. I bought it in New York City during a blind date set up by my room mate dinosaur years ago. I agreed to the date only to oblige her. 

The date and I went to SoHo and ended up at the Cupping Room Cafe for lunch. Thereafter we browsed some shops nearby and I stumbled upon the gum ball machine. An unusual buy on a first date but what the heck? It’s a gum ball machine(!) just like the one in WBMG., Inc. albeit smaller. So the purchase was made.

Now, about the date… He was nice, polite and gentlemanly but too hairy for me. Gosh! Funny I can still recall the places we went and details like the hair at the back of his neck sticking out of his round-neck t-shirt but not his name. Ugh to the hair! There was no further second date. Thank goodness, otherwise I wouldn’t have tales of my M1, M2, hubby and Rooney to tell! 

Over the years, the gum ball machine has been in a discreet corner in the old office just collecting dust. Somehow I never considered displaying it at home, and it’s not like it’s a bad reminder of the date with Hairy Guy in SoHo. But I think it’s more of not wanting it filled with candy and enticing the girls (and myself) to have a sweet tooth.

Today, it sits proudly in a visible position in my office room! I will have to fill it up with M&M chocolate soon. The debate now is whether to have normal ones or with peanuts? Hmm… tough decision here.


I Have a Room

7 Feb

Throughout my professional career as a Graphic Designer/Assistant Art Director/Art Director/Design Director, I have never had a room of my own in the office. Maybe because when one works in a design studio or art department, these places are open concept environments.

At least it was like this for me in all the places that I have worked in. In New York City where I interned and then worked at, WBMG., Inc. was an open concept design and I had a drafting table in the organized design studio. And I must admit I modelled my own studio like their setup when we first started our company.

Then in Adweek, the old office on 23rd Street was also open concept and I had a drafting table amidst other drafting tables of the rather chaotic setup of the art department. Only the Editor had a room if I recall. When the company moved to their new place on Broadway and it was more organized, I had a cubicle workstation.

Although the cubicles were quite high, I could still yak with my colleagues. Now come to think of it, even though I may not see them because the cubicle system obstructed my view, I could still talk to everyone in the whole art department!

The next work place, a publishing house in KL was also the same with an open concept setup. No room, just a table and sufficient to work.

Then my own design studio. Open concept too. But after all these years of being in an open concept work environment, I now find myself having a room at our new office! A definite first for me.

And I think I kinda like it simply because I get to display all my toys in a more organized manner than anything else! They now have a wall to lean against without crowding my workspace. In an open office, it wasn’t easy to surround my space with plushies, my array of display-worthy collectibles and gum ball machine but now, I can do it! Nice.

Plus I can play my choice of music (Michael Buble! yay) without disagreement from the team. So having a room for a change is nice, very nice.


Spring Break

24 Mar

M1 is having her Spring Break now and has gone off skiing at the mountains with her friends. How fun! During my college days, I had the San Francisco Peaks and Arizona Snowbowl in my backyard but never once had I tried skiing the three years I was in Flagstaff. I did take the ski lifts though but it was during Fall and there wasn’t any snow yet! Does it count?

Then I moved to New York City. Together with hubby (who was boyfriend status then) and a group of friends, we took the opportunity and headed for Upstate New York to go skiing. I must say I did not enjoy it at all even though my experience was not on the slopes.

It was cold, I couldn’t balance and was afraid of the downhill speed if you can even call it speed on the bunny hill. Yes, bunny hill. The point being, I fell quite a bit, got bruised and felt pained all over. Ouch.

Well I hope M1’s experience will be better than mine.

But I like Spring Break. My first break, I flew to sunny California and hung out with a friend in Annaheim. We visited Disneyland and I did Knott’s Berry Farm when she was still having classes. And when we didn’t do the theme parks, we just hung out with her friends and enjoyed the Fullerton area. I think something like this is more fun than falling on my butt half the time and being chilled to the bones.

M1 returns to campus today.


“Mom! Lookie me!”


Beanie for warmth and helmet for safety


Is this how you do it?


And off they went!


Wonderful Times

27 Nov

The holiday season is here for Christmas shopping and a ‘Toys R Us’ catalog came in the mail recently. It was fun to look at the pictures of the offerings the toy store has for this year. It also brought back memories of when I first worked on a ‘Toys R Us’ catalog when I was an intern in New York City.

A semester prior, I had engineered an opportunity (before graduation) for a summer internship at WBMG, Inc. in New York City. The time, both in New York City and at WBMG, was exciting and the experience priceless. I had the privilege to work with Walter Bernard and his excellent team of designers as well as being counselled by Milton Glaser. My Polaroid picture is still on their website after all these years! (hint: look out for the bright green tee shirt and big glasses me!)

The project was to design a catalog for Toys R Us among other projects. During that time, the studio also redesigned Adweek, which I also assisted and eventually led to a full time job with the magazine.

Ahh… Such wonderful memories. Would I turn back time now to relive it? A definite yes! Do I regret leaving it? Well, no. I know this is contradictory to my earlier yes to turning back time but my life now is equally wonderful, with my two precious M1 and M2. So I will leave it as memories are meant to be made and cherished. Time and life is meant to be lived, move on and go on.

Summer Days

10 Jul

M1’s first summer is going on well, with classes keeping her busy. Weather-wise it can be hot and sometimes still cold.

Comparing her experience with mine, I came home for my first summer after a year away. Unlike M1, starting as a freshman, I started as a Sophomore, transferring a year’s liberal studies from the local community college. Anyway, Mom and Dad thought I should come home and I did for a whole 16 weeks. Sure I enjoyed the food, friends and family but I felt it was too long. Towards the end of my summer, I was agitated, bored to death and couldn’t wait to get back to college.

So by the time my second summer came around, I decided to continue working at the bookstore and took a summer class. Painting. It was very laid back and fun. Needless to say, I aced it.

And prior to my third summer, I engineered an internship opportunity in New York City. That summer came and I interned with WBMG, Inc. under the watchful eyes of Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser. The exposure and experience were priceless and the best time of my life!

Ahh… Those were the days.

How You Spell Your Name Again??

15 Jul

Thank goodness I named the my two girls, currently code named, M1 and M2, with sensible sounding names that are easy to pronounce. Yet, we have people pronouncing them wrongly, or worst, spelling wrongly! Horrors.

During my early working years, I encountered many creative minds and with creative names, it was such an eye opener. The one that stands out most after all these years was from my working at a local publishing house. An enthusiastic ad salesman came a calling and introduced himself as Calvin but spelt, ‘Qalvin’, proudly showing me his business card!

Unimpressed, I queried him on this choice of spelling for the name and then, pointed out to him that a ‘u’ technically should follow after the ‘Q’ – typical of the letter ‘Q’.

I then went on teasing him, purposely emphasizing “QUAIL-vin” prominently, and this embarrassed the heck out of him. I guess he wasn’t impressed too for he never dropped by after that incident.

Honestly, I have no objections to one having a creative name, I am just of the opinion that it must be spelt correctly. Remember my ‘English teacher’ calling my mother intended me for? And it would be a bonus if the chosen name goes well with the person’s physical appearance.

Call me old school or whatever but wouldn’t it be more significant if one looks like their name? I often asked my girls if I had switched their names, how would it be like? They’d squint their eyes for a minute before bursting into contagious laughter! Obviously, they cannot imagine one being the other. See my point of one looking like their name?

I’ve come across a sweet lady aptly named Apple (coincidently in New York City), a bridegroom named Cyclops, perfectly healthy and with two eyes unlike what the name conjures up in the mind (only in Hong Kong you get something like this!) and of course, the timid bird-like Qalvin (in Kuala Lumpur)!


Last week, I was down in Singapore attending an exhibition and met up with a ‘Seaman’ and a ‘Kinus’, from Singapore and Hong Kong respectively. I had to refrain from laughing in front of them as I found their choice of name so totally wrong with their physical appearance and country of origin.

Walking away, I commented to the hubby, “I met a Seaman.”

“Semen?” He asked incredulously.

“Oh stop it! It’s ‘s-e-A-m-A-n’. Got a couple of ‘A’s in between, ok?” I pointed out and in a way, was relieved Seaman did not look like a dick head.

“Aiyoh…. Why choose such a name?” the hubby could not fathom.

Makes me wonder too. Whatever happened to good old safe choices to avoid the embarrassment of correcting someone spelling your name wrongly?