Happy Mother's Day

I remember seeing her land the job of a lifetime. Our hearts full of anticipation as we stared at that fateful strip as it slowly turned pink. I remember the quietness in our house and the joyful cheer that suddenly erupted...In that instant she had a new job. A job that gave her one job title but required her to wear many hats. A job that demanded her everything but monetarily pays her nothing. A job that most men cannot do and probably will not understand. This is a job that she needs to do 24/7 for the rest of her life.

I remember her accepting the job with excitement and a slight of nerves. How can she not be? The job title as a Mother is never meant to be taken lightly. And now with three children running amok in our house, I can see that she has grown and matured into her responsibilities. This job became more than just a job, it became her devotion and destiny.Sometimes I secretly marvel at her instincts and insights about our children, wondering how and where she gained such wisdom. I am also equally perplexed at how she is able to put our children to sleep easily. Truly she must possess some sort of super powers! Our kids sometime say that she is an angel. And I agree. She has to be!

On this Mother's Day, I just want to give thanks for her being, for the wonderful job she has done for our family, for the compassionate way she mothers our three Aons, for her labor of love.

Happy Mother's Day, to my wife. And to all the mothers out there. You're all doing a wonderful job!
XOXO,
DrePhoto courtesy of Baby Nicole and her Mother. Photographed by Fen Soong.
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12 May 2013

Axioo outing 2013

Malacca

Everything you see on our beloved axioo.com - the photos, the stories, and everything you love about it - may seem to be the work of a handful of people. But it's not. Every masterpiece is a result of the hard work and dedication of many. It takes a village to pull off what we do everyday ... a very talented village, I might add. So as a thank you to our unsung heroes, the mighty people behind AXIOO, we went on a four-day getaway to Johor and Malacca.

Having fun is what we do best, so made good use of our strength and had a blast together. The best part has got to be, hands down, the crazy "running man" game we played throughout the trip. It reached the peak in Legoland where each team battled for the most points, ripping opponents name from their backs! It was so much fun! Kudos to the game committee who put this all together.

Togetherness has always been the team's strength I am most proud of. Having fun together brings everyone closer and energizes everyone to stare challenges in the face and bring creativity to a whole new level everyday. Fen and I could not be more grateful for this young, spirited and talented group of people we meet at the Axioo House day in and day out. They are our heroes.

Here are some pictures of our trip. Enjoy!

Cheers,
David

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13 Apr 2013

We've open our doors in Paradise

Axioo Bali

We fell in love with Bali. We love the blazing sun, the Simpson clouds, the sandy beaches, the lush rice terrace, and the soothing sounds of the clashing waves against the rugged coastlines. We love it so much that we couldn't resist making its magnificent landscapes a beautiful backdrop to many of the love stories we've captured.

So it is with great pride that we set our foot and build ourselves a home in paradise. We simply cannot wait to decorate more love stories with the amazing colors of this Island.

Thank you for all the love and all the support that you've given us as we celebrate a mew beginning. If you're ever on the island, please come and stop by. Our place is pretty hard to miss. Just look for the huge sign and the truck head.

Cheers,
David

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03 Apr 2013

Harper's Bazaar Kids

Photography by Fen

 

This was my first ever magazine spread photo shoot. I was super thrilled and super excited, but super scared at the same time. Thoughts like "how is it going to turn out?" and "will they like it?" kept me awake for some time before the day. But looking at these pictures, I've got to extend a huge Thank You to Vero from Harper's Bazaar. The idea for this shoot was pretty simple. It's about a parade of fashionable little girls with their traveling companions, which also happens to be her pets. I love this, because I personally think that pets make the best of friends some times (well no, most of the time!) The shoot took place in Kebun Raya Bogor, a beautiful tropical garden in a city just a few minutes outside Jakarta, which tickled my nerves a little, since we were shooting in late February on a rainy season in the City of Rain. But all that worrying was for nothing, because I happened to be shooting with some of the world's greatest creative minds, and the rushing and shifting from one idea to another easily became the funnest part of the whole day. There are a few things I learned on that day:1) Taking pictures of children is a challenge. Add animals in to the scene, and you've got yourself an awesome combo. But when you love what you do, nothing can ever be too difficult. 2) Taking chances and accepting challenges help you to grow. I love this quote "every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear" and I believe that. Choose to love what you do. While opportunities may some time hide behind mountains of obstacles, take the leap of faith in believing that you can do it. Plough through, until you finally see that opportunity, in blazing light, shining brightly in front of you. 3) Last but not least. Two words for you. Shill Accessories. I fell in love with everything they got. Hairpieces, brooches, hats... they are all so adorable and unbelievably charming. One glance, and you'd wish to get your hands on all of them.xoxo,Fen

 

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26 Mar 2013

Creativity is Magical

Sidney Mohede Portraits by Fen

Creativity is magical, but it is not magic. “

These are the words of Charles Limb, a doctor and a musician who researches the way musical creativity works in the brain. I have found that many people in the world think of creativity as a ‘flash of genius’ that happens only to the gifted and the chosen few. But as the quote above states, there is no ‘magic’ involved. We are all creative in our own ways, and it is not reserved to only the chosen few.

I have been a songwriter for quite a long time now. When I was 15, I had an assignment to write a song. The song was this 3-piece stanza, not even a verse or chorus, just lyrical melodies that was pure nonsense trying to sound poetic. It was a complete disaster and sounded horrible. I literally did not try to write another song for a good 10 years after that. You see, I did not become a songwriter by choice, but only because the primary songwriter in the group left us, and I was given the task to ‘be creative and write’ just because the band thought there was no one else who could do it. And the rest was history.

Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love what I do. Today, 25 years after I wrote my first song (and hundreds of published/recorded songs later), I am actually now feeling comfortable being called a ‘songwriter’. The famous French artist Edgar Degas once said, “Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50.” (or in my case, 40. Ha!)

So here’s the lesson I have observed. What people call ‘talent’ is simply the capacity and discipline for doing continuous work in the right way. Because beyond the talent and creativity lie all the usual words: discipline, passion, love, luck – but most of all, it is endurance. It takes hard work to be creative, not magic. So keep mastering your craft whether it’s photography, painting, medicine, education, programming, singing or songwriting. Then pour all our heart and soul and passion what we do, for we are shaped and fashion by what we love. Trust me, creativity is magical indeed.

Sidney Mohede

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13 Mar 2013

Forever Friends

Photography by Fen, Written by Maya

I asked my five-year-old daughter a few days ago if she had a best friend at school. She named two girls. I asked her why and she said “because they are nice to me and they like to share with me and we do everything together.” I smiled at the simplicity of her answer and realized that the meaning of friendship grew as we traveled the many seasons that pass through our lives. In Kindergarten, friendship meant just that: sharing candies and dancing together. In High School, friendship meant sharing homework and keeping secrets shared at sleepovers about meaningless crushes and far-off dreams of “when we grow up”. But a husband and three kids later, after real life happened, I realized that friendship for me had acquired a whole new meaning.

 

I would say that I am one blessed woman to have gone through a chapter of my life recently where I have found the meaning of friendship. I had attempted to journey an experience involving a risk and that required determination. Although at the end, the finish line was not where I imagined it to be and my plans didn’t roll out exactly as I had wanted it to, I am grateful to have seen my friends cheer me along the way until the end with their words of encouragements, their presence and most of all their big hearts that carried no judgments.   

 

Honestly when we ask ourselves which person meant the world to us, we often find that it wasn’t the ones who laughed with us at parties, or danced with us at celebrations, or even those who gave us advice or offered solutions to our problems. More often, we would find that it was those who shared our pains and touched our wounds with their warm and non-judgmental hands. I realize that the ones we truly appreciate are those with whom we can speak fearlessly on any subject even of our most foolish thoughts, the ones with whom we never have to weigh our words because we know that she will keep what is worth keeping and blow the rest away with kindness. I think that this quote says it best: “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

 

So, if you ever find such a friend in your life, here is a gentle reminder to go out and celebrate that person. And the best way to celebrate is by being such a friend yourself, because a friend is one of the nicest thing you can have and one of the best things you can be!

 

Oh, and on that note, be sure to visit our “Forever Friends” Exhibition today at Plaza Indonesia. We’ll be there only until tomorrow.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

With love,

Maya

 

 

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16 Feb 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

We were all born with the need to be loved and it’s a need we never outgrow. No matter what circumstances we are in, all throughout our lives, we all seek for that love experience. That’s the funny thing about love, you never know what it is until it hits you. Love is weird, it’s unpredictable, it’s happy and confusing and impossible, but we all still look forward to experience it.

Love is in more than the beautiful flowers or the expensive dinner or the lavish presents given on a grand occasion to celebrate a day. It is in the simplicity of everyday. It is in the frivolous chats over coffee at the corner coffee shop, or in the comfortable silence while reading the morning papers. It’s in the celebration of tiny victories and in the knowing that no burdens shall ever be shouldered alone. And it is also in the three little words spoken softly at bedtime in a tiny little toddler voice or in a hug of a dear friend. Love comes in so many forms. And whatever you are or wherever you are today, you are loved. Don’t be so hung up on a single definition that you miss the love that is around you. Be ready for love. Let love find you. Open your heart and let love in, because love is in there, in the air and in the people around you.

At this very minute, great dishes are being prepared, bouquets of flowers are being delivered, surprise presents are being hidden, cards are being written, heart-shaped cookies are being baked and Instagram feeds are flooding with #throwbackthursday posts about how much love there has been until today. At this very minute, the whole world is celebrating love. Wherever you are right now, revel in the joy of love that is washing over you. Whether you are with a lover or a friend, or even in your solitude, know that you are loved. And when you’ve realised that, you may just live through the grand experience that dreams are made of!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Love,

David

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14 Feb 2013

Live life to the fullest

Jennifer's Beauty Portraits by Fen

Dear friends , here are the five things,  I wish i knew, when I was turning sixteen,  the days when I said goodbye to toys and dolls, and said hello to make up and boys. 

1. Follow your dreams, they know the way. I believe God, the dream maker have planned seeds of dreams in everyone of us. When we are young, discover your gifts and talents. The most fullfilling life if you can do what you love for the rest of your life. So you hardly cannot tell the different between working and playing. 

2. Love your parents and treasure them, and make them proud.3. Treasure your best friends.  As you walk your path of life, you will meet people everyday. Most are simply met by chance. But, some are gifts from above, and become special friends. The ones who will stay with you forever to share your life. 

4. Travel the world and make countless of friends, pick up at least one foreign language. What you see, the places you travel, the people you meet, the friends you choose will help you grow and discover who you really are. Flourish your knowledge. Be Curious. Don't be afraid to ask question. 

5. Fall in love. When we are young, we sometimes misslead love and infatuation. Falling in love is like no other feeling in the world. To have someone to look forward to every waking hour, and smile when falling asleep. When you are in love, suddenly your Blackberry ping sounds so romantic, not because of the sound, but who sends you the message. The emoticon smile sent by him comes alive and makes you smile ear to ear.  The love songs made so much sense to you. it's amazing feeling, but it is important to know the different between love and infatuation. It is all started with feeling high over hills.

But these what I have learend in life.  Love stays. Love is something that takes time to grow and grows stronger over time, where nfatuation is like a bomb that goes off and then is gone. Infatuation is all about the moment, about attraction and desire. Infatuation feels like a magic-spell; it's out-there. It is when you intensely feel Love towards another. It's mostly all about how YOU feel. The person will seem perfect in every way. You think about them non stop. Just thinking about them makes your heart start pounding. You get so excited when around them. "Infatuation is chemical. Obsession is all about bodily chemicals and neurons firing and thoughts flitting in and out of your mind before they have time to settle.  Love lives in the heart and moves slowly, evoking warmth and smiles."

Love is about the future and security. Love is mature. When you're in love, you feel strong, full of life and happy. You feel secure and beautiful. With infatuation, you're full of anxiety and worry. You want them, but fear you might lose them. Or fear they might disappoint and be dissappointed. You fear a lot of things. With love, you have no fear of anything, because you're secure in the arms of the one you love. Knowing He or she loves you still no matter what. 

Love is patient . Time will prove love. Infatuation is about getting through today and hoping tomorrow will be good.

Love is secure. Love is knowing your heart is for another. Love means you accept each other as whole beings. Together you are make each of you, individually better.

Remember this, true and real Love begins with first finding yourself, cause only if you’re happy with yourself will you be able to embrace the other person just as he/she is. And you will find true love more easily. if its meant to be it will be! Without drama, it wil happen and you will make your happily ever after even better than the fairly tales. 

So Friends, before saying YES to datings, it is good to use both of your heart and your common senses. Wait, pray and make countless of friends before you decide becoming exclusive to someone. You are worth waiting for, you are born to be loved and love :) 

To Jen, thank you for trusting me to capture your sweet moment :) I really enjoyed and loved the photo session to the bone. I wish you an amazing journeys in every chapters of your life. Happy Birthday, Pretty :)

xoxo,

Fen :)  

 

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25 Jan 2013

Friends for a lifetime

Christina's Beauty Portraits by Ivan

Show me your friends and I'll show you, your future. Show me your dog and I'll show you, who you are. Of course it's my own quote haha but I truly believe the dogs we choose often surprisingly reflect our personality. Their health and appearance, show others your love. A good healthy well maintain dogs show that you take good responsibility of the life you decided to bring into your home.


The day these pictures were taken was their 9th birthday, time flies yet I can still clearly remember the day I visited the breeder back in December 2003 when I saw 5 mud-covered-fur-balls running towards me after a morning jump to the mud pool. The caretaker had to spray them with water hose before we all could see their fur colors and then I fall in love with their blue eyes. Two of them went home with me and it was one of the greatest decisions I made in life!
Having dogs or any other pet, meaning  you sort of can predict their life span, which is sad in a way but also a reminder for you to always treasure and love them throughout their 'short' years. Choosing to have a dog is not just about cuddling their warm fur but also loving them through all the seasons of their lives. When they were puppies, cute and could still fit in water bucket filled with ice. When they were not so small and wreaked havoc in your garden like pulling out all your mom's lotus or digging under your dad's bonsai and you had to pay for those. When they howled day and night just because they could. When they played it rough and tackled you to the ground. When they were sick and you have to check their condition constantly. Kiba the elder of the brothers is the one with blue brown eyes, he's the one who would dig my garden, howl the day away while Keigo the chubby one is the one who would follow whatever Kiba does and sometimes prefer to just sleep the day away. Together they reign the house and my life :DMy best friend, Ivan kindly took pictures of my dogs every 3 years so I can have all the greatest memories captured in thousands of photos I've collected until today. When their time arrived, I'd cry my eyes out like crazy but their love will remain forever not only in my memory but also in countless photos perfectly captured.Christina

 

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13 Jan 2013

To Every Season: Growth and Gratitude

Photography by David & Fen Soong

“It's the most wonderful time of the year 

There'll be much mistletoeing 

And hearts will be glowing 

When love ones are near 

It's the most wonderful time of the year”

 

I looked out the window at the streets of Singapore, looking pretty as always, especially adorned with all the Christmas lights and decorations. I feel sad, empty and lonely. In a few short moments, all of these will go away. The happiest and merriest season of all will soon be packed away in boxes to store until next year. I hate to say goodbye to all of it. I hate saying goodbye to holidays and to waking up to the picture perfect mountains covered with snow, to being sun-kissed, to each glorious snowflake that fall into my hands, and to making snow-angels. But as I sit here in my hotel room, writing this blog post at 2 am local time in Singapore, my mind is filled with excitement of what awaits for me in 2013. I suddenly could not wait to go home and start Axioo-ing once again. My mind drifted away through the highway of imagination via La La Land into the land full of dreams and possibilities. And I can’t sleep. (Either that, or I am totally jet-lagged!) 

I am reminded of an oak tree we passed during our adventures a few days ago. It looked so beautiful, frozen and covered in ice. Charming, that’s probably the best word to describe it. Oak trees are beautiful in every seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter. It is amazing how our God could paint the leaves differently in each season. It made me think about how I too have my own seasons to go through, including the season of quiet reflection and inner nourishment, also a season where I can blossom into the world and contribute the greatest expression of who I am. To be who I am. 

I imagine the oak tree never asked if it should really be a rose or a lily or a pine tree even. An oak tree accepts that which it is meant to be. It taught me that the only thing I should be seeking is inside myself, that the most and best I can hope for is to discover who I am supposed to be and be the of who I am. I should stop comparing myself with other and end this competition once and for all. 

I have come to understand that there is only one lesson to be learned here on earth: that I am a part of something greater than myself. So, tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I will walk over to this very window and look for the daily blessings waiting for me: the sun, the water, the earth, and the picture of the oak tree that reminds me to pay attention to the little details and be grateful. 

2012 went like a train inside my mind and I smiled at the memory. Everything – the sweet, the bitter, the glories, the pain, the tears, and the laughter – all the little moments that made 2012 a beautiful year. I am happy and blessed in every season of my life. And I know that being grateful is essential for my overall happiness. When I am grateful, I understand that there are still good things in our lives even when things don’t work out the way we’ve hoped. If we don’t understand and practice gratitude, we will always feel like there is more we should have, regardless of what we hold in our hands already. 

So, remember to look up every so often and give thanks, because what’s waiting for us in 2013 is greater than anything we’ve ever imagined. Happy New Year, dear friends. May your hearts be glowing in every season! J

 

With love,

Fen Soong

 

PS: I hope you enjoy some of our favorite moments from our holiday in Winter Wonderland. Now Swiss is definitely our number one choice of places to be on Christmas! 

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04 Jan 2013
All the way to the bottom already?