Friday, March 30, 2012

Casio Sheen 2012 | Start of the Shining Journey ☆ キラキラ ☆

I am part of a new blogging campaign for Casio Sheen watches organised by and Casio Singapore. Casio Sheen is a new range of watches for the young, sophisticated modern women. The boy is a WIS {Watch Idiot Savant}, and because of him, I have an interest in beautiful watches too.

Casio Sheen wristwatches are very elegant, and have stunning details. As part of the campaign, I received the SHE-5020D-7A model shown above. It is a chronograph watch and I absolutely love the unique mesh metal strap, and dazzling SWAROVSKI crystals used for hour markers. Such interesting features! It works for both style and comfort. I prefer big watch faces and this model sits nice on my wrist. Released only recently, the new SHE-5020D-7A watch is water resistant, includes a date display and weighs just 95g.

This watch has a quiet, regal character about it. Love.

Last week the bloggers involved in the campaign met up for a photoshoot. We were told to flaunt our styles to match the different watches we were given. The photos here are taken by Thank you!

This dress reminds me a lot of the movie, The Stepford Wives haha. I chose this cheerful dress to match the watch to showcase its versatility. When one thinks of elegance, the image that comes to mind is usually a black gown for formal events. However, I believe you can be elegant at any moment, even during the day :) The full stainless steel metal SHE-5020D-7A makes it easy to wear day or night.

おしゃれじゃん? :)

The second outfit I chose is a lacey cocktail dress with a black Peter Pan collar, matched with black stockings. I love to wear stockings and think that they dress up an outfit instantly. This is a youthful, sophisticated look and the black/white dress & stockings is contrasted with the vivid red pumps. With no other accessories, the SHE-5020D-7A easily pops out as my statement jewelry piece.

My fave shot from the photoshoot.

The blogging campaign is until July 2012, and over the next few months I will be sharing my take on how to match the elegant SHE-5020D-7A with different outfits for different occasions. Be it for work, luncheons with friends or romantic dates with hubby, my Casio Sheen watch is sure to dazzle.

Hope you will enjoy this shining journey with me! ☆ You can view more updates and pictures on my facebook page, twitter & instagram feeds.

P.S. Check out the behind-the-scenes shots at the photoshoot!!

* Disclosure: Casio Sheen SHE-5020D-7A was provided by Casio Singapore for the blogging campaign, thanks to All other clothes & accessories belong to me. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {linky party}: Danboard Shower Time | Week 13

"Bom Bom" {local slang to shower} time to relax~

This photo is part of the 52 Weeks Danboard Photography series.


Sakura Haruka's Wordless Wednesday

Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Letter to my girl #5 | Joy is Being with You

Dear Lil Pumpkin,

It has been about 3 months since you started preschool. What does it mean to you? To Mummy and Daddy, it has shown us how much you have grown. You are now more "independent", and can eat, sleep and play well even without us around. Your teachers said that your reasoning skills are strong, and you can articulate your needs well. You also socialise and make friends easily in your own class, and in the playground with kids in other classes too. We never had doubts about that :) Lil Pumpkin, you are such a little joybug and am sure to bring cheer to whoever you meet! However can anybody resist you?? haha...

What we are relieved to hear is the part that you eat and nap well in preschool. My dear, meal-times can be such a struggle at home. Mummy has to try all sorts of soft and hard methods to get you to finish your meal. It's amazing that you are such a chubby one, considering how much you eat and how much you run around! Sleeping time has certainly gotten better since the day you were born. I remember those times when you would wake up every single hour at night. Now, maybe 3 times at the most. Will your 3rd birthday be the turning point for you to sleep through the night?

Speaking of which, your 3rd birthday is only about 1.5 months away! Are you excited?? Mummy sure is! I've been planning the birthday in my head {and well, on Pinterest} for a few months already. I would love to throw you a Pretty Princess Party for your 3rd birthday! Sometimes, you would tell us that you are a princess, and since you adore dress-ups and playing with make-up, this really seems like the best birthday theme for you :)

Mummy and Daddy will arrange for a small birthday party with your classmates on a school day. Last weekend I was at the shops and bought some stuff for the birthday loot bags already. Probably on the day itself, as it falls on a Saturday, we will have family come over to our home for a bigger party!! Wheee!! 楽しみ!すげいなぁ~!

Lil Pumpkin, Mummy just want to tell you that you were never in the phase of "Terrible Twos". Yes, you threw tantrums and had many bawling sessions, but isn't that the same for any other toddler? The times when you made us laugh, smile, dance, and want to cuddle you to death far outweighed any moments that made us angry or upset. You were certainly part of the "Terrific Twos" sweetie!

Joy is definitely being with you every single day.

Love always, Mummy


Sunday, March 25, 2012

He Writes: Funny Meme Posters #2

The boy's first post on funny memes poster is currently my most popular post haha. Back by popular demand, here is his second set of funny pictures based on well-known internet memes :P

Yes, the bub thinks it's funny to wear a diaper as a hat.
Actually, we think so too!

Opportunistic Parents heehee

If only meal-times were easier...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yay for Happy Hair ♪

Last weekend I went to trim and colour my hair. I've been wanting to do it for ages but since the salon I go to is in Orchard and usually super crowded, I've been procrastinating real bad.

That's Berne, my usual hairstylist. He is the Director of Degree Salon in Far East Plaza, and the only guy I completely trust with my hair. Berne listens to what I actually want, and does not push his ideas on me just because he is the "professional". He does offer suggestions, yes, but always in line with what I'm trying to achieve for my hair.

I've been going to Berne for a few years. Before Berne, I was a wandering soul looking for the perfect hairstylist with both the skills and character. Hairstyling is a personal business and sometimes, even if the skills are there, the character may not click with you. It's a bit dramatic I know, but I really relish the time where I can just relax, get some hair pampering and come out looking like a superstar! It's something very refreshing and uplifting to the soul. I am always in a good mood after an appoinment with Berne :) Even the boy notices that haha...

I am trying to let my hair grow long so I had a simple trim and layering. My hair takes forever to grow long, but it is thick as well so I prefer to layer it to keep it neat. I also like the ends of my hair to be kinda wispy.. not straight cut. This time, my hair colour was lightened a bit to ash brown for a different look. Yay to happy hair!!! :)

What do you think of my new happy hair? Do you have a usual hairstylist that you keep going back to?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {linky party}: Danboard Welcome to the Neighbourhood | Week 12

It's always great making new friends!

This photo is part of the 52 Weeks Danboard Photography series.


Sakura Haruka's Wordless Wednesday

Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Daddy is an Animal Doctor!"

Lil Pumpkin had a real treat last Sunday as we brought her down to the boy's workplace to actually see what her daddy does for a living. Does not hurt that she gets to play with the animals there too! ;p

Lil Pumpkin is comfortable with the idea that her daddy and mummy goes to work, and leave her for some parts of the weekdays at preschool or at grandma's. However, we have never gone into detail for what we actually do.

The boy is a vet, and we explained to the Lil Pumpkin that it means he is "an animal doctor". She understands those simple terms and grasps the concept easily. The vet practice is his family business and maybe one day, Lil Pumpkin might take over that business :)

I'm not sure if it is the same for all kids, but Lil Pumpkin does show a strong interest in animals. She will eagerly read books about them, or if she spots a dog/ cat/ bird on the street, she will run up to talk to it. No fear at all. I, on the other hand, am concerned about dirt and diseases that some animals might bring {paranoid mama strikes again!} but I will try not to impose such ideas on her to kill her natural love for animals or make her grow afraid of them. I believe that as much as possible, kids should explore and learn from experiences.. not just what the adults tell them to do. We can {and should} guide them, yes, but the ultimate decision should lie with them.

The boy and I do not keep any pets, which might be surprising to some people. A lot of people assume that vets keep pets, but seriously, not all do. Keeping a pet is a huge responsibility and with our current situation whereby we are not home most of the time, it is not ideal. Also, Lil Pumpkin still has her eczema which will hopefully tone down when she gets older, but now still has to be kept under control with constant medication and creams.

Lil Pumpkin was really excited during the visit to the boy's clinic. He introduced the various animals and instruments there, and let her "examine" his old cat, Mao Mao, which is 19 years old this year! Can you believe it? That's 93 human years old!

It was a great bonding time between Lil Pumpkin and her daddy and I'm glad we brought her down. The boy used to help his mother out in the clinic when he was a young boy too and those were valuable memories he still remembers today. It's what helped him to discover his "calling" and boosted his aspiration to be a vet. I'm looking forward to the Lil Pumpkin sharing similar precious memories with the boy....

Do any of your kids show signs of what they want to be in the future? :) Do you have dreams of what jobs you would like your kids to do?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bub & Me: Waterplay at Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre

The boy has been actively searching for new waterplay areas to bring the Lil Pumpkin and yesterday we went down to Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre. It's amazing that we have not gone there earlier because it is just about 15 minutes drive away!

Can you believe that such a water wonderland is a public pool and not some expensive theme park?? Admission is only $1/child and $2/adult on weekends! There are eight long slides {height restrictions apply}, a 50m competition pool, a jacuzzi pool, a children's area with extra slides for the small ones....

And even a covered pool! For those less sun-inclined I suppose haha... but funny thing is, even though it is covered, you are not supposed to swim in it during rainy weather with lightning. I reckon the lifeguards are being extra careful for the safety of the swimmers.

They are a real hard-working bunch and are very vigilant of what goes on in the pool. At the big slides area itself, I think I spotted at least 3! Every so often, I can hear a whistle go off to tell somebody not to do something dangerous like an adult going down the small kiddy slides, or children running around the pool. Kudos to them for being so attentive.

Playing in water is really fun, but you still have to follow water safety rules. Accidents happen and don't forget, a person can drown in just as little as 2cm of water. That's why we never take our eyes off Lil Pumpkin whenever she's playing with water, even at home.

Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre was pretty crowded when we went on a Saturday evening, but thankfully it's a big place so there was still room for enjoyment without feeling cramped. The more popular areas were the children's play area, jacuzzi and covered pool. I was surprised to see hardly a queue at the long slides :P

Lil Pumpkin spent most of her time at the children's play area and the depth was just nice for her to walk around without help. She particularly liked the water gushes and massive pail of water that tips over from time to time, much like the one at the Singapore Zoo.

Lockers, baby-care room and shower facilities are available at the pools area. Other than the great water attractions, Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre houses the Anchorvale Community Club with sports facilities like an indoor gym, badminton courts and multi-purpose hall, a sundry shop that sells swimwear, gear & snacks, and McDonalds. Parking is available but seems difficult on a weekend, so maybe it is better if you took a train to Sengkang MRT Station, which is close enough to walk to.

Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre
57 Anchorvale Road
Tel: 6315 3574
Tue - Sun: 8am - 9.30pm {Closed Mon, except PHs}

Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities. I'll be adding Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre to my list of kid-friendly places in Singapore :)

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored or paid post. All views expressed are my own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

PR-Friendly Bloggers, What Would You Do if the PR Company Did This to You?

Last weekend, I wrote a review of a health care and insurance website as requested by a certain PR/Social Media Marketing company in the US. I notified the company that the review post was live and I received notification to make some edits. Fair enough, as they had not seen nor requested to see the draft before it was published.

They also told me to "remove the disclosure that this article is a sponsored post." When I first read that, all I thought was "but whyyyyyy????"

Reason they gave? "It is our current policy that we want the article to look really natural as if the owner really posted the site and not because it's compensated." Am I the only one that sees something wrong here?!

Now, when I decided to let Sakura Haruka be PR-friendly, I spent a lot of time researching on best practices & reading about what other bloggers do when they accepted advertising on their blog. Blogging is not my full-time job, but I am serious about keeping my blog authentic to me and being a credible writer my readers can trust. I may not be a big-time blogger, but I have my principles.

In October 2009, the new US Federal Trade Commission {FTC} policy on blog disclosure went into effect. You can read the original FTC document to understand it better but basically it is trying to say that if you make a plug for something, you must disclose it even if you are promoting it in "non-traditional contexts" like blogging or tweeting. Simply put, don't mislead the consumers into thinking that you are endorsing something just because you like it.

I am not a US resident and maybe this does not apply to me, but being truthful on a blog is something that I advocate. Why would you cover up about being paid for writing something? Are you scared that the reader might view the endorsement differently if you were paid or given the product free?

On Sakura Haruka, I write a lot of reviews. If you look back, you will see that most are actually not even paid or sponsored reviews and I wrote them because I wanted to share the experiences. And even then, I explicitly state that in each review post to remove any ambiguity that I wrote it due to some benefit. Even if I did receive monetary compensation {none so far, this would have been my first} or the product free, I would write an honest review about it. Because that is how I stay true to myself and my blog.

I thought about the request from the company to remove the disclosure. It is a simple act and all I had to do was to delete that sentence and I could receive a nice amount of money. Not much, but still something. However, I cannot bring myself to do it. Call me foolish but I emailed back that sorry, I cannot do it because as a blogger, I need to uphold transparency and in the first place, they did not say that they did not want a disclosure in the post. I even linked them to the FTC policy but they blatantly disregard it. If I knew from the beginning, I would not have taken up the job.

In my mind, I felt cheated disappointed that after all the time and effort spent to go through the website, write a review post with pictures thankyouverymuch, and promote it on my social media accounts, I would not have gotten the payment that was promised. But, if they understood, yay for me for sticking to my guns, if not, it would be a lesson learnt.

And so my fellow PR-friendly bloggers, what would you do in such a situation? Who can we turn to for help if we are not compensated for work we already did? Also, please help me with the following questions on accepting sponsored reviews.
  1. Do you receive payment before or after the post goes live?
  2. Do the advertisers vet your draft first?
  3. How do you disclose that payment was received?
  4. Anybody uses the word "advertorial"?
  5. If you don't mind, how much do you charge for each sponsored review?
As of now, I have not received payment for that review because I did not remove my disclosure and I have taken the review down. Let this be a lesson learnt for anybody that receives a PR pitch from that company. Leave me a comment/message me if you want to know more details.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {linky party}: Danboard Kiss Kiss | Week 11

Nothing says "I Love You" better than a kiss! チュウゥゥ~

This photo is part of the 52 Weeks Danboard Photography series.


Sakura Haruka's Wordless Wednesday

Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spoof!!: Tiffany & Co. Winter Ad

We saw this romantic winter ad {I snapped a photo of it from the display heh} and immediately thought it would be a fun spoof shot for the boy and Lil Pumpkin. I am always drawn towards T&Co ads.. they always beautifully embrace the theme of love, be it between couples or parents and kids {like in this photo}, and make me go "awwww".
This is our tropical version ;p It would be much better if it was at the beach with palm trees at the background but we did not have a chance to go to Sentosa {Singapore's resort island} or the other beaches recently. Sorry but my Photoshop skills are pretty lame so I'm not sure how to edit onto a nicer tropical background haha. But it so happens I am taking a basic PS course these two days so hopefully I can do it soon!!

We bought that red Radio Flyer wagon when Lil Pumpkin was about 1 years old. This model comes with a canopy cover. As a SAHM then, I used to take her for walks around our estate in it :) Yes, we got a lot of friendly stares as red kiddy wagons are not very common in Singapore, especially in the heartlands. However, Lil Pumpkin enjoyed the rides and I had fun pulling her along sitting quietly in the wagon with some snacks. Since young, I always wanted a red wagon and I'm happy we can get one for our darling daughter to make memories with.

Oh, I heard that the Singapore Zoo rents the exact red wagons out to families who visit too so why not go ahead and let your children have some fun in it! I think it can take up to 80kg as well so if you want.. take a spin with your kid inside and let hubby pull you both along haha. It's an interesting way to travel around the zoo for sure.

Have you seen any ads lately that you like? Which companies do you think have the most touching ads or messages?

Check out our other Spoof!! paradies.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Preschool & Parent Communication

So it has been about 2 months since the Lil Pumpkin started Nursery 1. She goes to preschool about 3 times a week, and yes I am still anxious when she goes there {will it ever go away??} but certainly not as worried as when she first started.

And I think in a big way, it is thanks to the great communication system that her preschool set up. There is always fear in the unknown, but her preschool does make an effort to keep us parents up-to-date and informed on her progress in class, as well as what is happening in school.

For one, there is the daily Communication Book whereby we can write to the teachers, and the teachers can write to us if there is anything to be noted. Certainly beats asking your kid to carry notes to school that goodness knows may end up where :P

Another is the Class Blog - yes, you read me right! How cool! :) Apparently each class has a blog that is maintained by the class teachers, and they will post up class pictures, lesson plans, event calendars etc. there. All the parents have access to this blog and we can post entries too. Of course, I had written an entry or two in as well heehee. Personally, I feel this is an innovative idea and I love to check it out every week {there's an email prompt} to see the new entries of what went on in the class for the week and what other parents posted.

We have noticed Lil Pumpkin singing new songs and practising new skills like wearing her underwear all by herself, so it's nice to see how she came about to learn them.

Of course, there are the usual Parent-Teacher Meetings, Bulletin Boards, Newsletters and Emails. The emails are very current. A few weeks back, there were 2 suspected cases of Hand-Foot-Mouth disease {HFMD} in Lil Pumpkin's preschool. As soon as the suspected cases were discovered during the morning health checks, the preschool immediately sent out an email blast to all parents to keep them informed.

The boy usually sends Lil Pumpkin to class after dropping me off at work, and so I found out via email first about the HFMD cases even before he messaged me! Now that's what I call efficient!

We do talk to the Lil Pumpkin after class to encourage her to discuss and talk about what went on in preschool for the day. However, at her young age she isn't able to tell us a lot before babbling off about something else :P As parents, we want to participate as much as we can in her school-life so yay for her preschool in being proactive and enabling us to be more involved! Coming from a social media mama, if they use Facebook or Twitter, it might be even better hahaha...

How does your child's preschool {or childcare} communicate with you? What do you think is the most effective way for preschool-parent communication?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {linky party}: Danboard Eyes are Windows to Your Soul | Week 10

Shine on brightly~

This photo is part of the 52 Weeks Danboard Photography series.


Sakura Haruka's Wordless Wednesday

Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

9th Anniversary Celebrations @ Universal Studios Singapore {USS}

Live. Laugh. Love.


We've brought Lil Pumpkin to Universal Studios Singapore {USS} a few times but this is the first time we went there as just us - husband and wife. It was a fun "parenting-day off" just being a couple, nurturing the relationship we had for the past 9 years.

Sometimes I still find it amazing that 9 years have passed already, while other times I think wow, has it only been 9 years??! In a good way of course, because we've been living together for so long that it feels like a lifetime already, and yet, we still have so many more years ahead of us! Many more years of happy memories to make, many more years of adventures to travel, many more years of family blessings with the boy who makes me laugh {check out the funny meme posters he made}, feel and loves me for who I am, no matter what I do.

I was watching an old episode of How I Met Your Mother {love that show!!} and it got on the topic of final words. I want to make it a point to make my final words to the boy to be "I love you" every time before we part... or something to that degree :) Just in case anything happens, at least our last memory together is a happy, loving one...

At this moment, what were your last words to your hubby or partner?

P.S. Made the photo collages with My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software :)