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life

Grace’s 40th Birthday


It took me a while to decide whether I wanted to have a birthday party for myself to celebrate this huge milestone – reaching 40. I’ve been planning my kid’s birthday parties, so organizing one for myself seemed like another tiring task on the plate. In the end, I contacted Rachel of Pretty Little Things to assist with the decorations for the party and she did an amazing job setting everything up. Alex helped to source and sandpaper all the wooden pallets you see here. And I added stress to myself thinking about my guests and what I could do to make it really fun for everyone, yet filled with things that were meaningful to me. So this was what I came up with:

1. A 15 minute massage station for guests

2. A personalised photo frame with all my guests’ names calligraphed by a friend, Cherbreena

3. A photo corner where my dedicated photographer, Chi Yin, took photos of all my guests who walked in and then Abel printed it out and placed it in the personalised frame

4. A pre-loved book section for my guests to adopt some of my personal book collection for their reading pleasure

5. A corner where guests could choose an air plant or succulent to bring home as gifts

6. A station where people could buy Naam.asia products (a social enterprise) and essential oils from Oilees (a business started by a friend, Michelle)

7. A soap making workshop corner, made possible by Esther & Elizabeth

Honestly, halfway through planning this party, I was wondering whether having a birthday party to celebrate yourself seems very narcissistic! I had to remind myself that it is ok to pamper yourself once in a while and to just enjoy the process. In the end, I truly had a blast on that day with all my precious friends. Seeing them happy made me truly happy too.

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Life’s Precious Moments

There were a lot of changes in my life over the past one month. On the 1st of May, while en-route on a company trip to Club Med, I got the news that my mom was struggling with her last breath at home. It was over WhatsApp that I said my goodbye to her. She was 81. Her death did not come as a surprise, because the month before that, my sister and I were going in and out of hospital, trying to rescue her infected toe that was turning into gangrene. Towards the last few weeks of her life, she had a lung and bladder infection, and the doctor basically just told us to be prepared.


My mum, looking very hip then! And the photo below was taken with my dad years ago when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Read a bit more about his journey here.

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Strengthening Marriages and Families

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about marriages, families and relationships. This is one topic that is close to my heart, and recently, Alex and I completed facilitating a 6 week course in our church on Strengthening your Marriage. It rejuvenated me, speaking to other couples and seeing how everyone had similar struggles in a way. One of the thoughts that I have been toying with is starting a video series related to these topics. Though we are primarily a photography and videography company, I feel as if my role could expand in its purpose… greater than what we are already doing in building a heritage of images for generations to come.

Despite talking about it with my team and of course my husband Alex, I struggle to actually get anything started. I guess because I worry a lot. Who would listen to me? Who am I, to speak authority in other people’s lives? What would the format look like? Can I actually finish something I start? (I have the tendency to start projects and end badly). But as the ideas begin to form in my head, I feel as if these questions shouldn’t matter. Let’s just start a discussion and get that going.

It clicked in my head today as I write this that we are already playing a part in strengthening relationships. One example would be when we photograph families, I sometimes ask elderly parents who might be in their 60s to do things like hug or kiss each other. Sometimes I get the incredulous look, sometimes I get brushed off, and sometimes I get the reluctant obligatory response. It tickles me but it also made me realise… Not many older married couples are comfortable with physical intimacy. 

I am not just talking about open displays of affection, but just the simple act of touching each other by holding hands or hugging. One of the topics that came up during our marriage course was intimacy, and how easily communication breakdowns lead to empty emotional tanks for both parties. With the arrival of young children, sexual and physical intimacy also suffers. One of the questionnaires we had to answer to review the state of our marriage stated, “How often do you touch each other on a scale of 1-10?” When I was honest with myself, I realised that even the goodnight and morning kisses and hugs were replaced with grunts of acknowledgment of each other’s existence.

These past 6 weeks, we made intentional time for each other, communicating to one another on a heart to heart level (conversations without kids) and in the process, filled up our emotional tanks. We felt happier.

Coming back to the elderly parents. Maybe just that simple act of asking a husband to give his wife a hug or kiss is enough to trigger a thought…“Have you done that lately?”

Why photos are important in daily life

It’s in the little moments. Those moments that we so easily forget within a year, a week or even a day. But it’s not just about capturing the moments. It’s about remembering the happiness that relationships bring. Photography helps you remember why you married your spouse so many years ago. It helps you remember those tiny little feet that brought a swelling to your heart the moment she was born. It even brings to mind that ‘slightly ugly family couch’ you lounged on years ago till your parents decided to finally buy a new one.

Sometimes we are caught up with the routines of daily life and hardly have time to reflect on things that bring us the greatest joy. If we are true to ourselves, we will acknowledge that real connections with the people most precious to us makes us happy. If we can just capture snippets of life with these people, and reflect on these memories when life throws us a hardball, we will begin to remember that feeling.

With the launch of new and better camera phones yearly, it’s no surprise that photography is pretty much a natural habit. But most of the time, we have snippets of so many memories taken without us being part of the picture. This is where I challenge you to include photography as part of your yearly personal budget… not viewed as an expense, but as an investment towards your future. You are building an album filled with happy memories.

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Reflections: Photography as a Lifestyle and Business

It’s 2am and I lie awake in bed, one of those nights where my thoughts lead me to my work, life and my general state of happiness as a person. It’s been 10 years since I started this journey as a photographer, and in these past 10 years, I’ve explored many areas of photography – from travel to documentary, posed portraits vs candid photography, learnt about studio and natural light, thought about diversifying my work to get various sources of income, and then thought about finding my niche so that I can get the type of clients that I really like.. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to grow my team, spending more time with my family yet running this business that I love and thinking about my retirement plan when my body is too weak to shoot.

These past 10 years, I’ve also felt insecurities as a photographer – not knowing if I am on the right path, feeling envy when others are successful, worried about how to move forward in this business.

How I wish there was a blueprint in running a successful photography business.

Many of the lessons I learnt while running this business was built on trial and error. I have swayed to the left and to the right over the years, and now, I think it’s time to go back to the start.

What drew me to photography in the first place?

I just love capturing life. 

People intrigue me. Everyone is so different and yet, the human emotions of love, joy or sadness connect us. I love photographing human connections – that moment when a child looks trustingly at his mother, when the father of the bride cries as his little daughter is finally getting married, that laughter shared between life-long friends.

This thought comes through again and again – keep doing what you love and you’ll excel in it. But it also takes a lot of work. On days when I am not shooting, I am trying to learn something new – reading about ways to improve my business, looking at Pinterest to find new inspiration, signing up for workshops  and trying out different genres of photography just to upskill myself.

So 10 years on, I am still learning and doing what I love. It’s what keeps me going.

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