Three Days in Singapore

I’ve finally been sifting through all of our many many pictures from #PickensinSEAsia so that I could share about our trip. I’m breaking it down by destination and hopefully you’ll enjoy the series. First up is Singapore!

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Three days in Singapore is simply not enough. We really had 2.5 days, but who’s counting. Click on any of the images to enlarge and I apologize in advance for the oversharing of details and imagery, I couldn’t help it!

So, First things first, we landed just after midnight local time which I’d highly recommend (or any late eve landing if you can swing it) so that you can just get to your hotel, go to bed and wake up on the time–it worked swimmingly for us!

Our first day there, we opted to go in search of the hop-on hop-off bus. We’ve found that these are great ways to get to all of the main city sites especially when you have limited time. Most of the key tourist stops will be on one of their routes and you will get earphones with info along the way. The tours are all operated under different companies and you just have to look up where the routes may cross your paths and how to purchase in advance so if it’s cash on the bus, you are prepared to pay.

Unfortunately, despite adjusting well to the time, we didn’t adjust well with our sense of direction. We ended up turning right when we should have turned left and walked through a section of Chinatown, which despite not being part of our plan for that morning, was really interesting and fun. There are walking tours for Chinatown and Little India in Singapore that you can look into, or you can just wander through these areas and explore depending on your travel style.

Once we got ourselves turned around and back on track, we did find the bus and made it over to one of our first sites for the trip: The Singapore Flyer. This high flying ferris wheel was really cool, I’m not a super huge fan of heights, but P loves these types of attractions, and despite the hazy day, we still could see for miles. They say on a clear day you can see all the way to Malaysia, and if we still weren’t oriented enough, this vantage point allowed us to really get our bearings in the city.

When we got our feet back on solid ground we opted to walk across the river and made our way to the Gardens at Marina Bay. This area is one that if we had more time, I’d love to have explored at night with the sculptural trees and bridgewalk all illuminated. It looks stunning in pictures and I’m sure it would have been beautiful to see live. That said, we opted to just walk around the area for a little while, take in the Cloud and Flower Domes and explore the pathways that lead around the garden. It was a great walk, and we were able to pick back up the bus afterwards to keep our day going.

Next up, The Botanical Gardens. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I love flowers. LOVE. Any flower, any color, I just love them! So walking around the botanical gardens was a must for our trip. The gardens are so peaceful and they have a variety of of little gardens you can walk through. My favorites were the Orchid Garden (worth the fee-the botanical gardens in general are free of charge), the fragrance garden and our walk through the rainforest area.

Once we finished up here, we hopped back on the bus and stopped on Orchard Road, one of the big shopping districts in Singapore. Not really to do any shopping but our hotel and many restaurants were close enough to this stop that we just explored the area as we made our way back towards the Quays (pronounced ‘keys’–little ports along the river).

We had dinner in Clark Quay, sharing the famous Singapore Chili Crab, definitely a must try if you are okay with spicy foods, the flavor was really good, and even though it was extremely messy to eat, it was fun to share the experience and try the dish!

Day two we walked through the Quays a bit more, starting our morning in Clark Quay which is a bit quieter in the daylight than at night, but so beautiful to see with all of it’s pretty colors. We made our way back over to Orchard Road for brunch before finding the bus again (we opted for the 48 hour pass). We road around the city a bit and then transferred to a bus to go to Sentosa Island.

Sentosa Island has free shuttle/trolley transportation all around it, so we made our way to the Southernmost point of Continental Asia. Found a little spot on the beach and relaxed until the heat got to us. The palm trees were just as picturesque as you’d imagine they would be but we couldn’t stand the heat, so we made our way over to the center of the island to visit the Sentosa Merlion. I liked exploring this little part of the island. We got coffee, found a roaming peacock, saw the Merlion up close and then treated ourselves to popsicles before heading back to the bus stop.

From there we made our way back to the city center, hopped off the bus and just meandered. We made the iconic stop at Raffles Hotel and walked through the areas you are allowed if you aren’t a guest and it is stunning. If we win the lotto we will go back to Singapore and stay at the Raffles and have all the Singapore Slings and it will be fabulous. Until then, we will just enjoy the architecture.

We made our way through to the financial area, spotted a few more pretty little buildings and then found ourselves at the Singapore Merlion at sunset. It was the perfect place to see the really remarkable architecture that fills the Singapore skyline. Really a great way to end our last night in Singapore.

We walked along the river after sunset, got a little lost again and then found our way to Boat Quay for dinner where we had more delicious local foods before calling it a night.

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Day three, we took one last look around our area, behind Clark Quay and then called a cab and headed to the airport. We really enjoyed our time here, and although we made a list of all the things we would do if and when we ever come back, I think we filled our time really well and got to see everything we wanted to see.

Overall, Singapore felt like a really modern city, the food was great with a huge selection of cuisine you could get anything, the sites were beautiful and we really got our trip started on the right foot here!

Next stop in Southeast Asia: Georgetown on Penang Island, Malaysia! Check back tomorrow for all of the details.

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A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

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Second Anniversary Gift Guide | Cotton

We made it back from our #PickensinSEAsia adventure earlier this week and we have slowly but surely been getting back into our routine. The trip was beyond anything we could’ve imagined, but more on that later.

Our second anniversary is right around the corner and has practically snuck up on us with all that we’ve had on our plate’s lately! Last year I mentioned that we wanted to keep our anniversaries simple with a nice date and a traditional gift. In keeping with that, and being just over a week away, I thought it was only appropriate to brainstorm some good 2 year gifts.

The traditional gift for the second anniversary is Cotton. And the primary warning I’ve been given (along with many funny stories) is to make sure that whatever you buy actually has some cotton in the make-up. A lot of fabrics you might think are cotton are a whole blend of other stuff, so pay attention!

  1. PJ’s: Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning of snuggles or breakfast in bed, I love the idea of a new PJ set for each other. His, a classic cotton set from Brooks Brothers; Hers, sweet little polka dot set from Kate Spade NY with an adorable bow at the nape of the neck.
  2. Robes: I love a good robe and this is the perfect excuse to add a new robe to the rotation. If you’ve ever felt pima cotton, you know why I’ve selected the first two options, that said I’m also loving the little lace detail on the alternate option for her. His, classic pima cotton robe by Daniel Buchler; Hers, classic pima cotton robe by Skin OR a lace trimmed cotton robe by Daniel Buchler.
  3. Sheets: You really can’t beat sleeping in a set of good cotton sheets. Most people won’t splurge for good sheets for themselves but from my time working in the linen shop as well as working with my clients on their own linens, it is something that I insist on for us, and you should too! Use this cotton anniversary to get a good set in your life, you really won’t regret it! Pictured: Dashiel by Matouk in Chambray, I think we need these; We have a set by Matouk that we love, and we also have these by Ralph Lauren and I love this percale set by Ralph too… percale is the stuff dream sheets are made of.
  4. Pillows: As an alternate to just buying ‘stuff,’ I love the idea of getting something that offers a little bit more sentiment. Though it was easier to find something for year one which is paper, I love these customizable pillows that you can put anything from your wedding venue coordinates to the coordinates of your first home together or where you met. You could also do a meaningful phrase or song lyric… the possibilities are endless. Here’s a link to the Etsy shop (Love You More Boutique) where I found the pillow pictured.
  5. Blanket: A blanket is the perfect snuggly gift. You can get something for the living room or bedroom, something cozy and stylish. If you are handy at all (many of you know I knit), you could get cotton fabric or yarn and attempt a little DIY for your gift. Nothing says I love you quite like something handmade. These chunky cable-knit cotton-blend blankets from Pottery Barn are cozy and chic for any space.

These are all ideas perfect for either spouse, or something you may opt to buy together for you both to enjoy. What do you guys think? I have my heart set on something specific for P, so I will share that on Instagram come our actual anniversary (if I can swing it), but I’m curious to see what he is thinking for me…Time will tell 🙂

Have you guys kept with traditional gifts in your marriages or do anything special to honor your time together that is your own tradition? I love classic traditions but there is something really special about setting your own tradition with your loved ones that makes it so much better.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get through some of our travel pictures over the weekend and see if I can start to get some posts together to share our adventures next week.

What have you all been up to since we were gone? Anything fun this weekend?? I’m going to be busily working on my gift for P as well as sifting through all the pictures! Have a great weekend!!

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