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The Short Story

Vertically challenged me

In all my 60 inch splendour

 

Here’s the thing.

I never thought of myself as being short until I came to live in the States.  Up until then, I considered myself average.  That came to a screeching halt in 2007.  All of a sudden, 5 feet nothing seemed like, well, nothing.

It was quite funny, actually.

If I was walking down the hallways of Eve’s middle school, I’d very often be mistaken for a student.  From the back, of course.  I mean, no matter the power of (youthful, seemingly age-defying) Asian genes, one can only look that much younger when viewed from the front (it’s like gazing into a mirror with 5x amplification, very humbling).

Victorian White Lace Blouse & Distressed Denim Shorts (both H&M in Kuching) | Sunnies (Poshmark) | Spiked Blush Booties (Shoe Ocean) | Lipstick (22 @ Kylie Cosmetics)

Help was is always required when grocery shopping because, you know, the good stuff would invariably be placed on top shelves.

And public seats would always require some form of a foot step, you know.

Or a wee hop, skip, jump.

When it came to clothes, however, I was perfectly pleased to shop in the little miss department of Target and, yes, even Walmart because that was where the Olsen Twins first started selling their line of clothing.  Because let’s face it, even back then, they had stellar style.

Faux fur coats.  Sequinned patches on jeans.  Embellished knee high boots.  The most jaunty of animal print accessories.  Heavenly trims and bling and everything including the kitchen sink, done up tastefully, stylishly, and, above all, with a pinch of humour.

S W E E T

And since we’re being honest, there wasn’t anything too appealing hanging on racks in the women’s department at the time anyway.  Not for me.

Everything was either too frumpy.

Or too girly kiddish.

Clothes for grown-ass women veered towards being cute instead of empowering.  And that was something I could neither comprehend nor embrace.   But that’s a story for an entirely different setting.  Today, I’m playing on the word, “short“, and why wearing shorts has never been my thing.  Until lately.

Summer, to be precise.  When Eve cajoled (that’s putting it mildly, to be honest, essentially, she nagged and nagged and nagged, love you, boo!!!) me into purchasing my first ever pair of shorts from H&M while we were vacationing in Kuching.

Denim.  Cutoffs.  With distressed bits to boot.  And although it took four trips (and three returns/exchanges but hey, who’s counting?), I found my dream pair, which you now see before you, in its mid wash, low rise glory.  Paired with the prettiest white lace blouse ever.

I do apologise that this post lacks my usual from-the-heart-sharing theme but as I’ve just gone through rotator cuff surgery of the right shoulder (a week ago), finger typing is my MO for the time being, and it’s tiring to finger type a super long story.

And being right hand dominant for the most part, my greatest challenges have been to (1) draw my brows decently; and (2) apply mascara without poking my eyes (too often).

Do bear with me?  I have another three weeks of jail sling time to go.

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Alternative Therapy

Tatau. Tattoo.

The world of body art.

 

Some of my last few pieces have been on the serious side (alright alright, gloom and doom, and more gloom and doom), and I felt it high time to demonstrate that I actually do more with my life than just contemplate and ponder and dissect and analyse.  I really am a goofy (and occasionally) fun-to-be-around-with sort of person, pinkie swear (although you may want to ask Shelbee for her unbiased opinion, or perhaps Oby, or maybe you could drop Sofia a line to see what she has to say).  As such, for today (and perhaps the next post as well), allow me to share with you a few of the (major) cool things that Eve and I managed to do during our one week stay in Singapore. Once upon a time back in early June.  Shallow as the (vast majority of) people might be, there are still a gazillion and one epic things to partake of in the Lion City, such as Universal Studios, the Zoo, Gardens By The Bay, the Night Safari, stuff like that.

For starters, let’s talk about Eve’s tattoo tattoos.

Since she was 12, I’ve been (so not) subtly encouraging her to have one.  I have several, and her father has both arms covered with body art of all sorts.  She’s always told me that pigs would fly and socks would sing before that happened.  Well, not in those precise words but the message came out loud and clear.  Eve was not into tattoos.  So I left her alone and stopped trying to persuade her, say, 2, 3 years ago.  She was her own person and I had absolutely no right to bulldoze her into doing something I wanted.

Then a few months ago, she comes up to me and (ever so casually) confesses she’s been toying with the idea of getting one.

W E L L    T H E N

I only had two conditions and they were (1) I’d choose the tattoo parlour to be assured of the validity of their license, and the hygiene/cleanliness of both premises as well as equipment; and (2) that she conducted extensive research prior to deciding what to ink upon which part of her body, so she’d fully comprehend the pain level that would come with the process.

The last thing I wanted was for her to go into it blind.

Completely freak out, and not finish the exercise.

And be eternally traumatised by an incomplete tattoo.

So she did her thing and I did my thing, and for some reason it never happened. Not in Houston, anyway. Then as plans began forming for our trip to Singapore, things fell in place, and I knew where to take her.

You see, I had my very first ink done in 2000, at Johnny Two Thumbs which was, at the time, the only licensed tattoo parlour in Singapore.  It’d been recently glorified in a leading local women’s publication which made me feel confident that I would be in good hands.  No scary possibility of HIV infection (it was 17 years ago) or any sort of infection for that matter.  A year later, I went back for my second, and everything went smoothly then too.  It made sense was fitting, therefore, for Eve to have her first tattoo done where I’d done mine.

AT JOHNNY TWO THUMBS

Apropos, yes?

And that’s what we did.  For her first tattoo.  A gorgeous rose.  On the side of her wrist.  Which was a brilliant spot, I thought, simultaneously wondering why I hadn’t thought of that myself.  A situation I quickly rectified, as evident from subsequent photos in this post (yes, boo, I admit it, I copied you). And if you were wondering whether Belle had anything to do with her choice of design, that’d be a most emphatic, “Of course!!!!“.  Belle (and, later, Emma Watson) and the woman she represents has long served as role model, first to me, and then 26 years later, to my daughter.  Fiercely independent, intelligent, witty, a bookworm with a heart of gold, and the courage of a lion even when completely terrified.

That’s also where we went for her second tattoo.

Because, later that night, after her first,  Eve confessed she wanted a second.

To all tattoo virgins out there, yes, it’s highly addictive.

Here comes a fighter.  That’s what Eve chose as her second tattoo.  An acknowledgement of how she battled debilitating depression and anxiety two years ago.  That phase of her life to which she refers as, “When shit happened“.  When the mere thought of going to school would cause intense (and by that I mean severe AF) cramps.  Fever.  Nausea.  And she would curl up in a corner, shivering, completely unable to move.  Paralysed.  She continues to fight this on a daily basis but she has learned to recognise the signs.  She knows what her triggers are.  She knows what to do before they’re triggered, and she fights them like hell.

That, in my mind, is true courage.  That, to me, is a warrior.

By the by, you can read Eve’s side of the story too.  Here.

(I confess it’s taken me over three months to complete this post)

(as in I started writing it on 27th June)

So, I’m quite certain my support of body art and tattooing (for Eve) is going to create backlash amongst those who feel I really ought to be a “stricter parent“.  Well, that’s a truckload of rubbish your prerogative, and I respect that, just as I expect you to respect my views on body art.

There are, in my mind, so many other things that appear on my list of no-no’s.  Such as drugs and drinks and smoking, rudeness and a racist/sexist manner,  and wearing shorts so tiny one’s butt cheeks are exposed.

So tell me, what would YOU be alright with, and what wouldn’t you?  For yourself.  For your child.  Please do join in the discussion and leave me a comment, because many most of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel, your thoughts.

Happy weekend ahead, all!!!

Love, Sheela

I link up here.

Sheela | Sheela Writes

What Glam Means To Me

Being all chichi.

And dressed up to the nines.

 

Can I tell you a secret?

I hate the dressing up formally.  I really do.

Whenever the dresscode reads as Black Tie or Formal, I go just a lighter shade of pale.  And inwardly, I cringe.  Oh alright, on the outside as well.  There’s something about the notion of being all dolled up that really bothers me.  I haven’t quite put a finger on it but I suspect it has to do with the stereotypical perception of Formal = the colour Black.

You all know how much I loathe predictability.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Silver Grey Velvet Duster  (Boohoo) | Lace Bra (Poshmark) | Gym Tank (worn inside out, Firedaughter Clothing @ Etsy) | Black Capris (Herban Devi @ Etsy) | Fishnets (Halloween Spirit Store) | Swarovski Embellished Booties (Bakers) | Spiked Clutch (Betsey Johnson, thrifted) | Sunnies (Poshmark) | Lipstick (22 @ Kylie Cosmetics)

THE WORD "PREDICTABLE" OUGHT TO BE BANNED FROM THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

When I think Black Tie (or Formal), my mind immediately conjures up a room full of penguins and black blobs.  The latter being black blobs of dresses.  It just does.  And, of course, you could pose the argument that dressing up doesn’t necessarily need to be in the colour Black, and I would concur.  However, the point remains that 99.9% of the female population resorts to wearing black, in the form of a dress gown, 3/4 of the time, when the occasion calls for something formal.

I mean, why else would the abbreviation LBD ring an instant bell?

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

I’ve been guilty of that myself.

But I’ve also tried very hard to not wear black (here, here, here, and here) albeit I’m still wearing a dress in each of those posts.

So when it came to the tail-end of my capri collaboration (we’ve worn them athleisure style as well as ooh la la French Chic too) with Jodie and Eve, when the theme of Red Carpet Glam came up, I jumped at it.

Here was my chance to dress up, without wearing a dress.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Which then, naturally, led to a second conundrum.

How on earth does one make a pair of capris look worthy to strut the red carpet?

There’s a reason why capris are, in essence, regular pants cropped shorter aka for an informal silhouette.  Something less “stiff upper lip” and more “after work drinks“.  Isn’t that the epitome of all ironies?  That I’d find myself in in the position of needing to create a more glamorous feel to an item of clothing that was created specifically in the name of casual wear?

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

My first instinct was to go with sequins.  One of the first rules of after dark wear is, of course, bling be it in the form of jewellery or sequins.  And the second?  With thigh high boots.  Something with leather.  Eventually I ruled out both because I didn’t want to be predictable.

So, my friends, what you see before you is an outfit that came together approximately 15 minutes before my photographer Sofia came a-knocking on the door.  I think it looks rather pulled together (thankfully), don’t you?

And with that, dear ladies, this is how the five of us (Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself) set about creating our individual, unique interpretations of how to look all glammed up and spiffy whilst wearing capris.  What are your thoughts?

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

Eve | The World According To Eve

I love love this outfit.  The casual yet absolutely irrefutable glamour attached to wearing a ruffled red top, off one’s shoulders, is playful and chic, all at the one same time.  Would you believe that little red number is actually a one piece bathing suit?  Way to go, boo.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

Throw in spikes.  Spicy red lipstick.  Supernova high heels.  Fishnets.  And a duster cardigan worth of Darth Vader.  Fait accompli.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie | Jodie's Touch Of Style

So pretty and polished whilst remaining immensely down-to-reach and attainable.  I think I’ve finally found the perfect way to describe Jodie’s style.  Universally approachable with lovely nuances that keep her outfit fresh and now.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

Nancy | Jodie's Touch Of Style

Never underestimate the power of a bared shoulder.  Or two.  Nor the undeniable appeal of black to channel mystique, sophistication, and, yes, glamour.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

Charlotte | Jodie's Touch Of Style

Here is a more pared down approach to red carpet glam that no less delightful and memorable.  That delicious sorbet-hued cardigan adds a perfect touch of lightness to Charlotte’s outfit.

So tell me, which of these would you wear?  Or, better yet, would YOU wear capris to an official affair?  Please do also join in the discussion and leave me a comment, because many most of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel, your thoughts.

Happy weekend, all!!!

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Oui, Mademoiselle

French Chic.

What does that even mean?

 

I’ll be the first to admit to not quite grasping the entire concept of, “French Chic“.  And since I’m on that confessional train, let me also admit to neither being a fan thereof nor even believing the vibe actually exists.

As you all well know, I subscribe to the maxim of more is more.  Always have.  And from what I’ve gleaned of how the French dress today, the look is (often) clean and spare.  Minimal fuss.  Pared down with the occasional statement clutch or heel.  Chignons (or, at the very least, sleek hair).  Delicate jewellery.  Lipsticks are either very nude or very bold red.  And the colour black.  A lot of black.

French style is all about the nuances.  Subtlety.  Details.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Embellished Leather Jacket  (Pinko, purchased in Italy) | Striped Top & Beret (Forever21) | Black Capris with Attached Miniskirt (Herban Devi @ Etsy) | Striped Heels (Shoe Ocean) | Red Cuff (Kate Spade, thrifted) | Sunnies (Poshmark) | Lipstick (22 @ Kylie Cosmetics)

MY PERSONAL STYLE IS MAXIMALIST

One might even say it veers towards that of the Italians.

Unapologetically flamboyant.  And opulent.  I make no attempts to be even remotely minimalistic in my approach to dressing.

I say it loud, and I say it proud.

#sorrynotsorry

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Which brings us to the matter post at hand.

What was I thinking?  French chic?  I knew I really didn’t have all that many options save to leverage upon that classic French Riviera combination of B&W Stripes with a touch of red.  I did, however, try to add some whimsy to certain elements, just to be a little unexpected.

For instance, the stripes aren’t just on my knit cropped top but reappear on my feet in those lovely (but horribly uncomfortable) heels.  Yes, they’re gorgeous to look at but I wish you could see some of the outtakes (I am SO not sharing those here, I look so comically silly).  How my face is all scrunched up as I winced with each step.  Damn you heels.  You’re going to end up costing me a Botox shot or three GRIN

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

As for the beret, I had every intention of pinning a shiny brooch onto it.  For added visual interest but, of course, completely forgot.  Which is to be expected given that this outfit was pulled together just minutes before my photographer arrived.  What can I say, I love living on the edge (says Sheela with the merest hint of flippancy).

Then there’s that jacket.  My friends, this is the ultimate jacket.  Each and every single embellishment you see from embroidered flower to beaded applique was applied by hand.  Yes, by hand.  Painstakingly and ever so arduously.  True, it cost me a pretty penny Euro but it was worth it.  Completely worth it.  The lambskin is buttery soft and cradles my body in a snug hug.  The colours are beyond striking.  And the craftsmanship nothing short of outstanding.  And, I agree, it is rather ironic to be wearing an Italian leather jacket for a French-inspired outfit.

C’est la vie, I say.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Now we come to the star of this show, my Black Knit Jersey Capris with the attached miniskirt.  Isn’t it the coolest?  It’s pants but with an interesting sartorial twist (which has a double bonus of flattening the belly).  A third disclosure:  I have this in an entire array of colours and prints.  I like them that much.

Pssst.  Does the rose tattoo on my wrist count as an accessory?  I mean, La Vie En Rose et al.

And on that note, my friends, here before you are five interpretations of French Chic utilising Capris featuring Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself.  On Monday, we showcased our capris a la Athleisure, and today, it’s all about French Chic.  But you knew that already.  Friday is when we really kick things up a notch with Red Carpet Glam (yes, it can be done with Capris!!).

But for now, how do you think we pulled off French Chic?

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

Eve | The World According To Eve

There is no doubt in my mind that Eve would look absolutely at home on the streets of Paris with this outfit.  From those pearl encrusted sunnies to that delightful scarf (Edelweiss, I believe) adorning her tresses to her simple statement of a tee shirt.  Bien fait, baby girl.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

Sheela | Sheela Writes

Here’s me, doing French Chic in my trademark OTT fashion.  Stripes.  Black with White.  And a generous helping of fire engine red, topped off with a jaunty beret and oversized sunnies.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie | Jodie's Touch Of Style

For today’s post, Jodie’s look is my absolute fave.  There’s such a charming Audrey Hepburn and the French Riviera vibe here.  Those ballet flats and denim capris just stole my heart.  They really did.  And I adore that she straightened her hair for this outfit, sleek and pared down.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

Nancy | Jodie's Touch Of Style

Nancy looks like a welcoming breath of fresh air in this smoggy Houston weather (where are you, Fall?) in her crisp popover with oversized cuffs.  It’s interesting to note that she and I are wearing identical colours and yet our outfits couldn’t be more different.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

Charlotte | Jodie's Touch Of Style

Charlotte’s breton top is a simple but classic nod to French Chic and works wonderfully with her capris to create a timeless silhouette that works for practically any occasion.  We’re twinning again with the stripes!!!

Don’t forget to swing by again on Friday when we glam things up with Capris red carpet style.  I do hope you’ll also join in the discussion and leave me a comment too, because many most of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel, your thoughts.

Merci beaucoup, ma cherie!!!

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Sheela | Sheela Writes

Athleisure All Around

It’s been a while, I know.

Almost precisely two months, in fact.

 

Hello everyone!!  Sporadic would be an understatement to describe my presence here on the blog for the past three months.  Summer proved to be immensely challenging when it came to keeping up with posting.  At least, it was for me.  I know many of my peers demonstrate enviable organisational skills and foresight in the area of planning-ahead-when-vacation-comes but not I.  Clearly.

Firstly, we were in Singapore and Malaysia from 8th June all the way to 13th July.  Spending time with family and ex-family (is that even a valid concept?  When a couple divorces, does that mean they divorce the in-laws as well?  And do the in-laws become out-laws?).

CAN YOU TELL I'M A LITTLE OFF KILTER?

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Knit & Leather Jacket  (purchased in Italy) | Sports Bra (Target) | Black & Olive Green Capris (Herban Devi @ Etsy) | Embroidered Suede Trainers (Nike) | Black Crossover Bag (Prada, thrifted) | Sunnies (Poshmark) | Lipstick (22 @ Kylie Cosmetics)

In Asia, socialising with the family of one’s ex isn’t quite the norm.  Not like how it is here in the States.  Things are usually awkward and stiff.  And given the notion that most marital break-ups do not end on a positive note, families tend to take sides.

Which was also the case with my ex’s family and mine.  Not that we openly declared war.  No, nothing of the sort, we merely ignored each other for the past 12 years (yes, that’s how long it’s been since I’ve been to Singapore).  Perhaps that’s worse.  And, admittedly, stupid given that it wasn’t a healthy manner to conduct ourselves for Eve’s sake.  So, yes, back to Singapore we went, spending time with my ex and his family, and I must say, I did enjoy myself.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

FOR THE MOST PART

Of course there was some awkwardness still.

But we (all) got over ourselves.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Then we flew to Kuching (in Sarawak, where I’m from) to see my parents.  It was after that that things became blurry, like a whirlwind.

We returned to Houston on 13th July.  Precisely a week later, on the 20th, on the plane again were we, but this time, headed to Europe.  Specifically to Montauro, Italy by way of Rome.  To see my husband’s family.

It would’ve been a lovely vacation had my man not fallen ill the very day after we arrived and he had to be hospitalised for extreme dehydration (which caused his pressure to drop so low, he was bedridden for a bit hence the hospital).  Once that cleared, we managed to do a spot of touristy things (of which I’ll share in coming posts, along with recaps of our time in Asia).

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Coming home from Italy, we completely missed our connecting flight in Atlanta (hey, thanks, TSA, for detaining me in the interrogation room) but were blessed to find exactly five seats on the last plane out to Houston.

We got back around midnight of 15th August.  Three days later, on the 18th, we drove to Dallas to take Eve to college (I’ve finally gotten accustomed to using the term “college” for university, sometimes).  Perhaps as a premonition of things to come, our senses should’ve been alerted when we were stopped en route for speeding.  Sigh.  Anyway, moving on.

On our very first night there, my husband and I managed to get into an accident.  We’re fine.  The right front wheel, not so much.  Being tired from all that jetlag and having driven four hours, we missed that concrete divider staring us straight in the eye, and flew over it.  A concrete divider with metal studs which completely broke the wheel, and tore a huge flap of rubber from the tyre.  The sound was so deafening that, for the first time in my life, I really did think we were going to be badly hurt.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

Fortunately, we were badly shaken up and that was it.  The car, on the other hand, was  damaged.  It ended up with us extending our stay in Dallas (hurray for being able to see Eve longer) and driving very slowly back to Houston (it took us five hours to get home).  A drive which was extremely quiet and sombre.  And yes, I broke down and cried every few minutes.  Every little thing that reminded me of her just opened the floodgates.  I was (and still am) a mess.

We drove up to our house on 22nd August.  Drove our second son to College Station on the morning of the 23rd (he’s in his second year at A&M and was moving into an apartment).  And then we left on the 24th (back to Dallas) in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey, staying until the 31st when the highway back to our street was finally open.  In the aftermath of the devastation (we live in Memorial, right beside where the Buffalo Bayou tragedy occured), the blog was simply not a priority.

As you can imagine, I’m still feeling somewhat displaced.  In the past few months, my bed and I have not had much of an opportunity to rekindle our bond.  My regular routine?  Not really happening all that much.  Even now, as I write this, I’m back again in Dallas but for work this time (of course, being able to spend time with Eve is a boon).  On top of all that, I’m in mourning. Even as my heart is soaring to see how much Eve is enjoying herself in university, I miss her so much.  But I am truly happy that she is happy.  Making friends.  Relishing in this new chapter of her book.

Sheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela WritesSheela | Sheela Writes

So, as you can see read, much has transpired, my friends.

But I am very pleased to be able to finally dedicate time to the blog again.  And what better way to start anew then a tri-part project with Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself.  Regular readers will be no strangers to these beautiful, strong women, with whom I’ve had the pleasure and honour of collaborating with on numerous occasions.  For this particular collaboration, Eve and I came up with the capri challenge.  I love my capris.  I used to wear them 24/7/3665, regardless of how high temperatures soared.  Now that the word “shorts” has permeated my style vocabulary, I don’t don them quite that much but they remain firm faves.

For this joint venture, we (all five of us) are showing how versatile this nifty thing is.  And that capris need not be relegated (only) to those oh so familiar moments of “I just couldn’t be fussed“.  That they’re as easy to dress up as they are to dress cool.  Today, to kickstart things, we’re showcasing our interpretations of that street term “Athleisure“.

Tell me how you think we did.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

Eve | The World According To Eve

This is my favouritest look for today.  Not because it’s Eve but because there are so many playful, unexpected elements in her outfit such as the blush pink velvet turban (Lil Edie, much), the shredded rips of that distressed top.  Those super duper cool skull studs on her booties.  But, most of all, that ever so flip message on her muscle tank.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

A departure from my usual style but here’s a secret.  This is a look I’ve dreamt of wearing for ever so long.  It’s clearly athletically inspired with a strong street vibe.  I wanted to create an outfit that spoke volumes of “athlete off duty”, without looking as though I just completed my workout.  A look that could also take me to lunch.  Shopping.  Whatever I fancied.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie | Jodie's Touch Of Style

My friend here wins the “ADORBS” award for pose as well as for those charming sandals with their flirty tassels.  No one in the world would’ve guessed that those are Jodie’s actual workout pants (I’m glad you ditched those WNTW rules, Jodie!!!). They’re the perfect foil for that lovely, OTT batwing top which reminds me so much of a Madame Butterfly ensemble.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

Nancy | Jodie's Touch Of Style

I’m enjoying the fact that Nancy’s wearing a workout tee in her athleisure look here.  And that it looks utterly street cool with those denim capris (which are next on my must-buy list), not to mention floral espadrilles which look perfectly in tune with everything else.  It’s the little things, like the delicate jewellery, the confidence, and oh that smile.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

Charlotte | Jodie's Touch Of Style

Charlotte and I are style sisters today with the olive green palette and trainers.  Hers are quilted and ever so posh looking too.  Some flirty fringe.  Side cuff button trim.  A pretty scarf.  I’d say that her outfit is the most feminine interpretation of athleisure of us all.  It’s one of those things you could truly change the overall vibe with a simple change in accessories.

Come back and see us on Wednesday (we’ll be doing capris a la French chic, oui) as well as Friday (glamming things up with capri red carpet style).  I do hope you’ll also join in the discussion and leave me a comment too, because many most of my posts are inspired by what you say, how you feel, your thoughts.

Do you capri too?

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

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Making A Choice

Choosing is nerve-wracking.

Choosing is also really, really good.

 

You get to choose who you are.

There will be times in life when others try to tell you who you are. Don’t listen.

There will be times in life when others try to reduce you to a label, adjective, or judgment. Don’t acquiesce.

There will be times when others will tell you to focus on consumption and competition. Don’t look.

Our social, cultural, economic, religious, political systems will try to stuff your uniquely shaped soul into a boring box. Resist the temptation to conform and climb in.

RESIST WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT

You will be told there’s one way to be and one way to do. Don’t buy into that bullshit.

You are a multifaceted, dynamic, ever-changing, complex, precious soul inside a human body.

You can spend a lifetime trying to deprogramme, and unlearn these lies. It’s easy to feel lost in a mountain of falsehoods, searching for the shards of truth you once knew, and now have to claw your way to rediscovering.  And although shedding the mould of identity you’ve been pressed into can feel awkward, it’s well worth the discomfort (and occasional stab of pain).

Question the marketing machines that tell you, you are only worthy of love if you have a certain body type, a specific skin tone, or are of a particular sexual orientation.

Challenge the status quo that tells you, you are only successful when your bank account has a certain number of zeros, when you spend the winter in a mountain chalet, or you race through town in a super car, when your passport has multiple stamps per page, or your social calendar is bursting.

Discard the fearful, small-minded judgments, limitations, expectations, and obligations that have been layered on you, and are no longer serving you.  Only you can give them the power to hurt you.

You cannot tune into your soul if you’re flooded with the expectations of others.

You cannot live your great life if you are too busy living the life other people told you to live.

You free yourself to soulfully design a life you love when you venture into living with personal authority, consciousness, and love.

So #stepforward and choose the life you want to live, my fellow sister pioneers.  Go on, #stepforward right now.  There is nothing to be afraid of.

This post is a heartfelt collaboration with Famous Footwear. I’m wearing the Nike Women’s Kawa Slide Sandal in White/Silver, and if you’re following me on Instagram (please do, if you haven’t yet), you’ll see it’s been with me as I #stepforward all around the world.

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia

I link up here.

Explosive Moments

This will self destruct in 3 seconds.

3-2-1 BOOOOOOM!!!!!!

(just kidding, ish)

 

We’ve all been guilty of one or ten self destructive acts in our lifetimes, haven’t we?

I was just talking about it the other day, in one of my conversations with Eve about processing and accepting self love.  And decided I wanted to write a list of my Top 10 Acts of Self Destruction.  To see which ranked the highest.  How it happened.  What I could possibly have done differently.

Here we go.  The single most self destructive thing I’ve ever done to myself was to believe in someone else’s opinion of me.

I ALLOWED MYSELF TO PUT STOCK INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S PERCEPTION OF ME

I gave someone else permission to rule, manage and control my life, and the way I wanted to live.  I handed over my free will to someone else, and basically told them it was alright to let their perspective, their story, their limitations impose upon who I am.

Their vision took priority over mine.

I offered up my freedom and peace of mind, in exchange for approval.

Has it ever happened to you too?

So I’ve been thinking (it’s a dangerous past time, I know) and I do realise that writing aside, I need to consciously stop looking towards other people for validation.  It’s perfectly normal to seek validation and, to an extent, it’s a healthy pursuit.  But once I allow someone else’s perspective to navigate and control my actions, then it’s just not right.  I need to be my own mother, my own father, my own best friend, my own lover.  Because whatever wounds I’m carrying from childhood, or from a failed first marriage, or whatever life has dealt me, and no matter the voids I want to fill, they can only be filled by ME.

NO ONE ELSE

Believe you me, I’m not speaking lightly.  I know this is much easier said than done.  I know this is one of the hardest lessons to learn: that we truly do contain everything we seek.  Being the fallible humans that we are, it isn’t often that we see past the ends of our noses.

Think about it.

Everyone else will come and go.  Every single one.  But I still have to wake up with myself every single morning, and go to bed with myself every single night. Alone in the dark, I keep myself company.  Before celebrating a triumph with my husband, I’m fist pumping myself first.  I am with me for the rest of my life.

I need to STOP replaying other peoples’ opinions as though they’re gospel.

BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT

They’re someone else’s and, oftentimes, completely unsolicited.

The only opinion that matters is my own, and the only thing that should count is how I feel when I look myself in the mirror. Have I been my best self today? Was I less self critical, less harsh, and less judgemental? Was I kind and patient with myself? Did I allow myself to make mistakes today? And learn from the process? Did I nurture that creative aspect of myself, or was I too wired to meet deadlines to even breathe? Did I think about other people too, and not just myself?

Shaking off what everyone else wants for me is a unique liberation, friend.  I can’t even begin to describe how GLORIOUS it feels.  It’s a personal revolution.  A freedom that instantly clears the path and makes my next move that much more obvious.

Fuck what they say.  What do I want?

It could be said that the alchemy of radical self love occurs when you create your own myth, fill yourself up with messages of acceptance, and surround yourself with people, ideas, and images that inspire you to be your biggest, baddest, boldest self.

Not to say that those acts of self destruction will never again explode on my horizon (of course they will, I’m human and I’m wired to fall many times), but at least with all those fail safe measures in place, I can minimise the damage.  Make the BOOM smaller.  And smaller.  And smaller.

(I know it’s Summer and this isn’t a Summer outfit, but as I’ve been propagating, it’s my opinion that matters, right?  That and the fact that I have no other looks to share for now, which means you may even see some Fall/Winter garments in future posts GRIN)

What say you?

Shall we dream so big until it embarrasses us?  Shall we choose to only spend time around people who act like the VP of our fan clubs (because, of course, we’re the President of our own fan clubs)?  And keep kicking ass to make every single day better than the last (because that’s what we do)?  What say you?

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Old Habits

So, I’m in Singapore at the moment.

The sunny island of Singapore.

 

This is where, a long time ago, I lived, worked, got married and had a baby.  It’s where I had Eve.  Shortly after she was born, my marriage with Eve’s father deteriorated and we divorced.  I then moved to the States, to begin a new life with my husband, Pierluigi, and his two boys.

It’s been 12 years since I set foot here.

I have a complicated relationship with this place. 

It’s a mix of loathing and appreciation (more on this in a subsequent post, and how it’s gone a long way towards creating the woman that I am today).

If you’ve read my rant on Instagram, you’d understand part of the hate.  Women such as myself who are independent, free-spirited, intelligent, and articulate (in other words, not quite the traditional Asian female) are disliked, distrusted, unaccepted.  And heaven help us should we earn more than our men.

For the entire decade I was there, I was made fun of (for my size).  The way I speak English (with a British accent).  How I dressed (to please myself).  My profession (as a PR practitioner).  And the barbs came mostly from women.  Yes, my own gender.

Let me create a background of sorts for you.  In 1995, I weighed under 100lbs and was a Size 0 with measurements of, if I recall correctly, 32-26-36.  I did not exercise, nutrition was of the typical dismal carb-loaded variety, and I was skinny fat.  Yet, in the eyes of many Singaporean women, I was a giant.  They were like children in stature (or lack thereof).  The vast majority of them had no hips, no chest, no shoulders.  In part caused by genetics, but also very much a consequence of their lack of protein consumption.  Asian fare is often disproportionate in that rice (or noodles) makes up 75% of the plate, greens 20%, and meat 5%.

(Practically) every single day, for the entire decade I called Singapore my home, I had it drummed into my head that I was overweight and unattractive.  By Asian women.  The only ones who thought otherwise were either expatriates or those who’d spent most of their lives abroad (read: who understood I was no such thing, and that we come in all shapes and sizes).  After a while, it gets to you, you know.

No matter how strong you mentally are. 

It’s like the little Dutch boy and the leak in the dike.

I suppose it’ll come as little (or no) surprise that I quickly became, in turns, anorexic and bulimic.  There was a stage wherein my weight dropped to around 70lbs.  I found it fascinating to see food (and things) travel through intestines protruding up through my tummy.  And I thought it was cool that my spine was visible for all the world.  Thankfully, I got through that, and left before I inflicted further injury on myself.

22 years later and I’ve only been here 4 days, and I already feel like regurgitating everything in my stomach.  I’d be in the apartment, getting ready to walk around with Eve, feeling happy with how my body looks, how it’s become more toned, that I have muscles, and I’m still managing to lose weight consistently (83lbs to date).  Five minutes walking down Orchard Road, and my mind’s already messed up.  I see myself (again) as an awkward, clumsy rhinoceros lumbering across a field, trying my level best to not stomp on those itty bitty Meerkats.

Another thing, many Asians have no filters.  They tell you what I think as they think it.  For instance, I took Eve to have lunch with her paternal grandparents, and the first words to come out of both my ex-in-laws’ mouths were that I’d gained weight but I look good.  Like hello.  That’s the first thing you think of after not seeing me for 12 years?  I didn’t even bother to correct them that it’s 90% muscle.  What’s the point?  They’re part of a mentality that thinks the ideal size for a woman is that of a 10 year old child.  I’ll give you another visual comparison.  Eve’s 19 year old cousin, whom I truly adore, stands 4ft 7″ (ish), and looks like a 5th grader.  Then there’s Eve who just turned 18.  She stands 5′ 5″, is a Size 4 with all the curves of a woman, and they think she too is a giant.

ARRGGHHH.  IT'S HORRIBLE.

Embroidered Pin-Striped Shirtdress c/o of Shein | Embellished Bomber Jacket c/o Nasty Gal (option) | Sequinned Booties (similar) | Sunnies (Poshmark) | Clutch (option)

I recognise it for what it is. I’m fully aware that one simply cannot physically put on weight within the space of mere minutes. I know it’s all psychological. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real to me.  As you can imagine, I spend a few hours every day, talking to myself, rationalising things, and seeing them for what they are.  Stereotyping.

And that, my friends, is why I have no love for Singapore.

It took only a few words and five minutes of playing tourist to have my self esteem completely derailed. Followed by hours and hours of digging deep within, and finding balance again.  I talked to myself.  I reiterated all the positive changes I’d made to my life.  I talked more to myself.  I went to the gym.  And I’d feel at peace again until the next time.  I know I’ll be alright once I leave here but I really had to share my thoughts.  I mean, it happened so quickly and easily.  I have to fortify myself.  I need to build that well of self-love.  I truly do.

I must ask – has anything similar happened to you?  Does it happen often?  What’s your coping mechanism?

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

The View

I spent a long time mulling over this image. I debated on posting it and showing the world such a close view of my legs. Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike that part of my body. For many reasons. From shape and muscular structure, to girth, fat, and how scarred they are. It began from when I was a teenager. I had body dysmorphia even then, although I didn’t know it had a name. I only knew I hated the sight of my (tree trunk) legs and that if I could help it, no one would ever EVER see them.

That continued for many years until I was 26. I had a spurt of post-natal body love and participated in a beauty pageant which necessitated that I parade up and down the runway in a bikini (I know I know but it was an interesting experience). After that concluded, I retreated back into my shell. More than 1.5 decades were to pass before I, at the age of 40, felt they were sufficiently toned from working out that I could “bare” (and bear) them in capris. Big step for me. Until 2 years later, in 2014, when I began a 3-year long period of unexplained rash and hives.  Peppered with bouts of Angioedema.  All of which required local steroid shots to treat, at times numbering over 80 in a single sitting. Shots which left, in their wake, so many scars that my legs were beginning to look a lot like the rough, speckled surface of Mars.

I was devastated.

Now, it’s been 3 years, and whilst I still do need the occasional localised steroid shot, frequency has dwindled from every other day to 4, 5 times a year. And for that I am grateful.

But it does not take away from how my legs look. Rather, my right leg. Although it’s still scarred, my left has been spared for the most part. The rash (caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE, I was diagnosed with it in May 2015) seemed to be particularly fond of the right shin. Oh, and there are also the scars/keloids from (a) a motorcycle accident when I was a teenager as well as (b) incision scars on my kneecap from a micro-fracture surgery in October 2014.

Yes, I went back to wearing pants and skirts and dresses.  Long ones. And at the gym, pulling my capri workout pants as low as they would possibly go to hide the scars.  Hide.  Hide.  Hide.

Which is why this photo here is a big step for me. And although some poses have me covering my right with my left, you’ll see in some other shots, a full-tilt frontal display of the scarred shin. This isn’t the first time I’ve shown them. A while back, in February, I wore a miniskirt which, to be perfectly honest, shared the shit out of me. And after I saw the photos, I swore I’d never ever do it again. My hatred for my legs was renewed with a vengeance.

Until today.

True. I didn’t know how else to style this gorgeous ruffled denim jacket, and it IS a sponsored item of clothing so I have an obligation and responsibility to showcase it in the best possible light. At the same time, I look at these photos and I still don’t like what I see BUT I think I hate what I see a little less. Perhaps by 5%. I don’t know. It’s not something easily quantified. And it could very well change tomorrow, the next 10 minutes, depending on how quickly I find myself in an unflattering position. But as of right this very moment, I am 5% ok with how my legs look.

I spent the last half hour trying to come up with a suitable closing para to this and my mind is blank. I suppose it’s because this isn’t the sort of issue one writes about and then makes a concluding statement on what’s next. It’s one of those things that oscillate from here to there and back again, depending on how our day has progressed, isn’t it?

One thing though. I’m not writing this because I feel sorry for myself. Or want validation because I know it has to all come from within me to be lasting. I’m writing this because body dysmorphia is something I’ve struggled with for a very long time, and I’m continuing to struggle with it on an hourly basis.

I look in the mirror and I still see an elephant. I still see a woman who went from tiny to massive, and who, as a result thereof, had to use a cane to walk for the most part of 2015/2016. Who went on to become a recluse. Not leaving the house for almost two years. Who wouldn’t let anyone outside of the family see her, making up excuses to not attend important school events and activities, missing birthday celebrations. Who still purchases XL clothes because that’s how she sees herself.

I know it’s in my head.

And I want it out of my head.

One hour I’ll feel that I’ve made major progress, building muscle, shedding fat and toning up. And the next? I’ll be hating the crease near my armpit or cursing that fold under my chin which stubbornly refuses to go away despite having lost 80lbs. Even now, when I sit on the couch, I cover my midriff with a blanket because, well, it looks like the midriff of a bloated whale. To me.

I’m writing this because I hope that it will help me. I think it will. And maybe if others feel the same way, it could be of some use to them too. But mainly I’m writing this for me. I’m not even completely certain I’ll post this. I share a lot of myself, it’s true, but this is very personal even for me. Nobody likes to admit to having insecurities, or that something’s wrong. Particularly when it’s something wrong in our minds. The world at large tends to respond far more favourably to physical ailment than it does to mental and emotional.

We’ll see.

If you’re reading this, then it means that for better or for worse, I clicked on the Publish Now button. And that I truly do believe writing is my therapy.  What’s yours?

 

Love, Sheela

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset

A fresh start.

 

This will be a short one, my friends.  Yes, it does seem rather inadequate given that I’ve been silent and missing for a month.  But change is a-foot.  In my heart.  Within the family.  On the blog.  And that change has not only opened my eyes to an expanded level of awareness, it has also aided me in concluding how I am meant to continue on this writing journey.

WE ALL NEED A RESET BUTTON

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

Which is not a bad thing.

Starting from scratch can be good.

I’m certain many would concur that we all need to use that reset button now and again.  When time seems to pass ever. so. very. slowly.  When everything seems tried and tested, done and done.  When one begins to turn a deaf ear to the crisp rustle of turning pages.  And when the sight of lightning streaking across the sky no longer brings about a sigh of contentment and pleasure.  Well, those are my personal indicators, yours may very well be much different but I know you understand what I’m saying.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

When what used to be titillating and exciting becomes mundane and insipid. That’s when you know that it’s time to clear the mind, and wash the palette clean (I love you, Pat).

So here I go, exercising use of my reset button.

I am rebooting the way things have been transpiring here on the blog, and going back to the core things that mattered.  Topics which are ever near and dear to me.  Which put passion in my soul and fuel my senses.  I just feel that over the past year, I’ve strayed far too far from those pursuits.  From the roots that keep me grounded.  And that cannot must not be.

And also, friends, there are numerous things happening in my life (some for better, some not so much) that I can no longer confine what I write to merely my existing line-up of topics.  There are added thoughts and opinions to be shared and elaborated upon, and my current platform does not allow for that.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela WritesRecharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

Yes, change is coming, it is inevitable, and it is damn well good.

And as part of that recharging process, today marks my last participation in The Fab 40s series. It has been a joyous ride full of anticipation and surprises since I started this project in March 2015, and I can’t imagine leaving on a higher note.

Now, please join me in this final installment of the Fab 40s (for me, anyways, you can still, and should, visit the blogs of all these other ladies as they continue the trajectory), as we get dolled up in our favourite colours.  Suffice to say, my choice(s) weren’t all that unexpected, huh?

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Kremb de la Kremb

Smooth and velvety.

Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fashion On The Fourth Floor

Fresh and breezy.

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

Lighting up the room.

Mary, Curly Byrdie

Curly Byrdie

Pep in my step.

Sam, Fake Fabulous

Fake Fabulous

Pretty in pink (c’mon, you knew that was coming, Sam).

Veronica, CID Style File

Strong and sassy.

Our guest for May is none other than Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb.

If, like me, you’ve long been a fan of the “dressing to please no one else save myself” mantra, then her name will most certainly come (easily) to mind.  And for good reason too.  Catherine has been championing our rights to throw style rules out of the window, and enjoy fashion for what it is, for some time now, and once you read her posts, you’ll see why I’ve been a Catherine groupies for ages.

And, of course, there’s me.

Recharge, Reboot, Reset | Sheela Writes

Cheekily playing with the interpretation of my fave colours with achromatic tones.  I mean, both Black and White have been right up there on my list of must-wear colours since I was 6 or 7 years old.  And Red, whilst fairly new to my wardrobe (we bonded when I was in my late 20s, I believe), is THE colour I don whenever I want to kick some ass so why not kickass red lips?  I mean, going out with a bang is the only way, yes?

So, what’s your ABSOLUTE go-to colour to wear?

 

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.