10 Lessons Learned Since Graduating from College

December 16, 2013
This was taken from a bookstore in IFC Mall in Hong Kong.

Two weeks are left before the year ends. And it’s been almost two years since I graduated from college. My post-college life thus far has been a series of unexpected events, where I feel the theme is Learning How to Let Go of Unfulfilled Dreams and Chase After Better Ones.

In the past 21 months, I immersed myself in finding fulfilling work, exploring and experimenting – while letting go of plans, breaking a few promises in between. Living beyond the safe haven of my dear university is an exhilarating, sometimes frightful experience. I like to believe I’m now becoming less anxious about the pressures of the “real world” and taking better control of this newfound freedom. I’m still learning so much and making a lot of mistakes, but here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

Continue Reading


My Gilded Nest

November 28, 2012

I would like to share one of my favorite local accessory brands, My Gilded Nest. I still remember the first time I saw this store in a bazaar early this year, and I saw a bracelet with a Golden Snitch charm on it (to non-Harry Potter fans, it’s a walnut-sized gold ball with silver wings used in the wizarding sport Quidditch), which I immediately bought.

Angel, the creative and sweet artist behind My Gilded Nest creates quaint and delicate jewelry that suits girls who aren’t into loud, heavy accessories. She designs necklaces, earrings, and bracelets inspired by different things that many young girls love, such as travel, the Harry Potter novels, Alice in Wonderland, matryoshka dolls, nature. The intricate details in each charm, the carefully-chosen color combinations, and the exquisite handicraft found in every piece makes each accessory special, and feels like such precious things to wear.

Continue Reading


A Day in Delphi

July 23, 2012

This is going to be an introductory post of a series of entries featuring photos and some thoughts from my recent Greece trip last April 2012 with my family.

Sometimes, my messy self tends to do certain things backwards, such as reading a magazine (I often begin flipping through the last pages to the front) and studying (I like reviewing my lessons starting from the last chapter). Therefore, I somehow managed to first sort through the photos of our final day tour in Greece. I made sure to arrange the photos in chronological order though! I will also make sure that after this post, the rest of the entries in this series will start from day one.

Our last day tour was in Delphi, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As a site of ancient archaeological and architectural ruins, it is one of the most important sanctuaries in Greek history. This is where people worshipped and asked for wise counsel from the gods that they believed in. This place is similar to the modern religious temples, mosques, and churches that people visit today.

We rode a couple of hours from Athens to this far-flung town, along a mountain slope, at the lower-center of Greece. People from 400 to 800 B.C. walked many miles to reach this place to ask for advice from the oracle of DelphiPythia, which is the equivalent of a “priestess”, to whom they sought advice on personal, political, or stately affairs.

Delphi was once believed to be the place that was closest to the gods, a place where heaven and earth collide.

So many events took place here, including cultural festivals and athletic games. Pythian Games which were also held here in honor of Apollo. The Pythian Games was part of a series of athletic events known as the Panhellenic Games, held every four years. This four-year period is called an Olympiad, and now, the Greek tradition of holding grand athletic events every four years is still alive in today’s postmodern world, which everyone now knows as the Olympics, with the latest Summer Games having recently commenced in London today.

I could gush about the London 2012 Games and how it is an incredible testament to humanity’s progress and creativity all day, but that belongs in a separate post. London is now preparing for the biggest Paralympic Games in history which will be held in a couple of weeks. In two years, Sochi, Russia will host the Winter Games. Grand world events such as this are already so exhilarating to talk about. It’s my dream to take part in one at least once in my life.

Continue Reading


Hong Kong, Polaroids, and then some

June 18, 2012

We do live in a small world–The front facade of one of the most beautifully-made rides in Hong Kong Disneyland, “It’s a Small World”, taken December of last year. Riding this the third time never fails to give me tingles all over, seeing the intricately-made handcrafted dolls singing and dancing to the title song in different world languages.

I am grateful to have had several chances to visit to Hong Kong (since I was five). This world-class urban city has then by default become one of my most favorite places in the world (next to London). The reason for my ardent love for this bustling metropolis is less of it being a shopping and food haven, but more of its heaven-sent metro system and walk-friendly streets, the lively art scene, the admirable work culture where the value of hard work is evident, the huge airport–one of the best in the world–and the list goes on.

Being a city girl at heart, Hong Kong’s fast-paced lifestyle gives me rushes of exhilaration and excitement. Strangely, I like seeing people who seem to be up on their toes all the time and always rushing somewhere–Hong Kong people are the epitome of a multi-tasker. They skillfully walk on streets and ride the MTR while intensely preoccupied with their tablets and mobile phones (which now usually mean Samsung Galaxy S3s, iPads, and iPhone 4S‘s), and the service in restaurants and stores is usually speedy and fuss-free.

My family and I recently visited Hong Kong, and for several complicated reasons, my parents asked me not to bring my camera. As I want to practice taking better photos in new places, I was reluctant to leave it at home. But then, I had been able to focus better on being in the moment without it, such as paying complete attention to conversations, and fully experiencing the places and the things I run into without stopping to document them. Apart from the physical burden of lugging around a heavy camera, I felt considerably lighter with one less thing to worry about while traveling.

This then also gave me an opportunity to test my resourcefulness, I guess. In this case, it meant experimenting with a new Apple app I recently discovered, called Polamatic. I made virtual Polaroids with a few shots I captured from our trip with my iPod Touch, which has a low-quality camera. Making use of the right filters, I was able to make the photos look slightly clearer, brighter, and overall more pleasing to look at.

To introduce the app, I made a quick step-by-step guide on how to use Polamatic. It’s so simple to use, really, and perhaps my real purpose for making this guide is more of to show Polamatic’s pretty interface.


1. Capture a photo to make into a Polaroid.

Continue Reading


Traveling (almost) Solo in Saigon

May 30, 2012

Note: This is my first time to write a full-length entry (and the most photo-heavy entry I’ve ever done) about a personal travel experience, and I shall do my best to sound interesting, haha.

HO CHI Minh City (Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam) resembled Manila so much that when we left the airport, it felt I did not leave my hometown as I breathed the warm tropical breeze at two in the morning and looked out at the streets from our bus window. Yi, our tour guide, looked Filipino too, only that his accent when he speaks in English gave away his Vietnamese roots.

I had gone on a five-day Vietnam tour with my dad’s best friend and her wife last May–my first time to travel without friends or parents, and having a hotel room all to myself. I did not mind sleeping in a hotel room alone, especially when there is high-speed Internet (I got to use FaceTime with my parents for the first time which made my dad looked utterly thrilled, seeing me on his iPad screen).

We had a typical most-visited-tourist-spots-in-Vietnam itinerary. Well-traveled people often say traveling on tour will not give you a complete cultural experience of the country, compared to exploring the place yourself or going backpacking, but I am grateful how travel agencies lessen the burden of planning the logistics, and all we have to worry about is waking up on time, taking good pictures, and making the most of our trip.

Continue Reading


Suelas: The Traveling Shoes

May 22, 2012
Suelas 2

ONCE UPON a time (a.k.a. 3 years ago), two young twenty-something working girls are going on separate trips abroad. One will travel in Europe for a month, the other will embark on a weeklong backpacking trip around Asia. All is well and good and they were both beginning to get wildly ecstatic about their trips, until they face a similar dilemma: packing. They thought, how am I going to pack everything in a small piece of luggage? How many shoes should I bring?

Does this sound familiar to you girls who love to travel?  They thought so too!

The two girls, Kaye Ong and Jackie Tan, both thought, if only there were easy-to-pack shoes, we could bring more pairs for our travels.

Continue Reading

© 2014 Desiree Grace Tan. All Rights Reserved.

Back to top