Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Lord Jesus!

Two thousand years ago, there was no room at the inn for the baby Jesus to be born, so Mary and Joseph had to make do with a manger in a stable with the animals. My prayer this Christmas, for all my friends, family and readers, and myself included is that we will always have room for him; that the doors of our hearts and souls will always be open to Him.

So 'Happy Birthday Lord Jesus', for in your birth, we have hope and life!

So to all .... have a Merry Christmas with all your loved ones, enjoy the holidays and have a splendid 2010 ahead!

And for my readers, thanks for your support and encouragement through the years!
God bless us all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Love Never Fails

I came across this lovely inspirational prose in an email subscription, there's just so much truth in it, especially for women, for us on whom falls the burden to keep the house festive and clean, to ensure the presents are wrapped, to make sure the tree is lit and the turkey is in the oven.

Time to take a moment to reflect before the mad Christmas Eve rush. Trust me, if you're a woman with a family and Christmas is upon you, this is worth the read, I hope you'll be blessed!

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style

©By Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family - it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of your way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Wishlist

As we approach the glorious 25th December, I've been thinkin', if hypothetically I'm given a miraculous opportunity to have 25 wishes fulfilled, what would I ask for? So here you go; my wish list, in no particular order of importance except for #25 which supersedes everything.

  1. I wish all the cats and dogs at PAWS and SPCA will be adopted into loving homes.
  2. I wish patience is a button that can be turned on with a flick of a switch.
  3. I wish, just for one day, a mere 24 hours, we will have a white Christmas in Malaysia.
  4. I wish for a Berry to complement the Apple; fruits are good for health!
  5. I wish eventually we can all charge our phone batteries just by mere contact with body heat so won’t have to carry / borrow chargers all over the place.
  6. I wish the worldwide association of electrical appliances (if there is such a thing!) abolishes all production of 2-pin plugs and standardize all to 3-pin plugs.
  7. I wish Asian girls will begin to realize that colored contact lenses are a disaster of epic proportions.
  8. I wish shopping malls stop hiring skinny, slouchy, badly dressed Santa Clauses with costumes recycled so many times they look utterly pathetic.
  9. I wish JPJ will implement an ‘idiocy test’ in addition to the undang and practical test so we have less idiots on the road.
  10. I wish my brother’s slipped disk will heal up miraculously so he can jump around like a monkey again.
  11. I wish we can find a permanent cure for High Blood Pressure so my dear hubby can eat all the bakuteh in the world.
  12. I wish all my friends would subscribe to the benefits of Twitter, it simplifies my communication efforts to just one window.
  13. I wish they won't abolish the visa-free policy for Malaysians going to the UK, no thanks to the inglorious overstayers.
  14. I wish air travel wasn’t so expensive so we can all be world citizens!
  15. I wish for all my single girlfriends to find true love.
  16. I wish for all my married friends to stay happily married and have great sex for the rest of their lives.
  17. I wish for a super high undefeatable indefatigable metabolic rate!
  18. I wish phone operators at various Call Centres (banks, TM, government, whatever!) speak better proper English. We are so embarrassing it’s almost painful.
  19. I wish we can buy Victoria’s Secret in Malaysia, the shipping charges from US are exorbitant! *wail*
  20. I wish some inconsiderate colleagues will develop the courtesy to clean up after themselves in the pantry instead of leaving coffee / sugar / creamer spills all over the pantry top.
  21. I wish Malaysians will stop littering; especially the misadjusted fools who throw trash out of their car windows.
  22. I wish for political transparency and integrity. Nuff said.
  23. I wish KLPAC will stage more unabridged Shakespeare plays; maybe set up a Shakespearean Society and let us have season passes!
  24. I wish we will discover a synthetic way to manufacture a cheaper, greener and everlasting substitute to organic fossil fuel; which means less pollution, cheaper air travel and no more wars.
  25. I wish for every man, woman and child to believe in God.

And no, I won't be greedy and make #25 a wish for more wishes. That would take the creativity and fun out of it all. What's your Christmas wish? :)

Building Character

I recently attended a spiritual conference where a pastor said; "God is more interested in our character than in your comfort" My retort? "Well, if you remove my comforts I'll be totally out of character for sure!" I think it's so funny. Just imagine your boss, spouse and best friend when he or she woke up without enough sleep or after an hour's drive in bad traffic jam; how much do you want to bet he or she will be somewhat out of character huh? *wink*

Jokes aside, it's true isn't it? It's soooo true, s**t happens to us sometimes so that they can mold us and shape us. I think if the same irritating thing keeps happening to you over and over, then I suppose it's safe to say you're still not getting the message right? The good thing is, God allows the same s**t to happen repeatedly because he doesn't give up on us. That's something I will bear in mind, difficult as it may be.

I love this quote I picked up on Max Lucado's tweet timeline: "Everything will work out in the end. If it's not working out, it's not the end"

Monday, December 21, 2009

5 Days to Christmas!

The Villa Manjarina home has just about completed festive decorations in preparation for the Christmas Eve dinner with the family. Here's two show-off pictures of the brand new tree and brand new table cloth!

Tree's all aglow with love and abounding with goodies!

Table's almost ready for turkey dinner this Thursday night!

There's still loads to do: decor to set up, things to clean and bake, oh yes bake! How I wish I don't have to work the next few days so I can spend time on Christmas baking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast!

So says Oscar Wilde. I never knew this. But I came across this in my mailbox .... see below:

Double click to enlarge.

If I'm actually going to pay RM149++ for brunch (without champagne, mind you) I can't possibly be all that brilliant now can I? Tsk tsk.

Close up below in case you can't read the 'fine' details:

Today's the kinda day where I don't feel like working but instead I've decided to be more productive and contribute to society by randomly posting and commenting on stuff that made their into my inbox.

For the record I'm totally brilliant in the morning after a steaming mug of sweet rich coffee and a couple of Dunhill Lights *smiles*

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You're so full of it!

Ok, now I've been gone over a month now, and not because I've been too lazy to blog but really I've had way too much I would like say and I can't figure out how to say them and when best to say them.

Friends and acquaintances. We get all sorts. Now I'm really not a super sociable kinda person. I'd rather spend time alone by myself or at home than hanging out with different groups of people all the time talking rots. I do have wonderful friends; and I do beleive in quality over quantity. Life, unfortunately once in a while give us a couple of people we can't stand yet we have to see them more often that we would like too.

Today I'd like to talk about self absorbed people. Me and two of my girlfriends recently tried to explain the root cause behind people who are full of themselves, friend A says "overconfidence", friend B says "insecure" I'd go with insecure.

Let's first expound what it means to be "full of oneself":

  1. You never ask people "how are you?" and be genuine about it, and when you do ask, you just want to hear "fine" so you can switch the topic back to yourself. You can't wait to get over formalities so you can start talking about yourself.
  2. 80% of the conversation centers around your own person; how you feel, your health, your work, your relationships, your pains and aches, your dissatisfactions, your needs and so forth.
  3. You look bored when others start talking about something else, or themselves.
  4. You shove your pictures, videos, stories down other people's throat but when they show you theirs, you won't even pretend to look interested.
  5. You almost never pay compliments or say anything positive and encouraging to others around you.
  6. You think everyone is checking you out all the time, so you're often poised and collected, you even sneeze or walk a certain way.
  7. You befriend people who makes you look good or important.
  8. You are often justifying and explaining your every single action because you're so obsessed how people see you.
  9. You change your Facebook profile picture every other day.
  10. You stare at the mirror / glass window at EVERY opportunity to check yourself out.
  11. When someone tells you their problems or grouses, you ALWAYS interrupt with similar stories of yourself, and then you rattle on and the other person forgot what they were saying in the first place.
  12. You're good at acting to some extend because you need to win adoration and admiration from different groups of people. Small-talk is your specialty.
  13. You initiate and post comments on other peoples pictures, blogs, tweets purely for the intention of getting them to do the same in return.
  14. You're constantly fishing; fishing for sympathy or fishing for compliments on a daily basis. This is how it works, you announce how sad your life is, how misunderstood you are, how much pain you're in, how fat and frumpy you look etc so that people can go "oh you poor thing" "oh no you're not fat, you're gorgeous" bla bla bla.
  15. More than half your bookshelf comprise of self-help books.
  16. You take a thousand personality quizzes to 'appraise' yourself and make your friends take multiple quizzes abut yourself; like the world is actually interested in the nitty gritties of your small existence.
  17. You take advantage of people to advance your own cause and won't even feel bad about it.
  18. You have a compelling desire to constantly update your many status-enhancing material acquisitions online, e.g. pictures of your latest customised designer handbags or limited edition Cartier jewelry piece and you shamelessly publicise outright the fact that you now live in a high end property in the upper east side, in local context read D'sara Heights , Kenny Hills, Dusa Nusantara etc. What do you aim to achieve? So that people can praise and compliment your wealth, your good luck, your exquisite taste in your imported Versace Home collection or your fifty thousand ringgit Bofi kitchen. Come on, seriously?
  19. You are often 'victimised' and feel sorry for yourself, then you story the world about your sorry life so everyone can hold a pity party in your honor.
  20. You can't participate in conversations about movies, books, world issues or even gossips, simply because you're clueless on anything outside your own world or when it does not benefit you in anyway.
  21. You don't have a sense of humor and you can't repeat a joke because you never paid attention to funny things you see or read, simply because it's always always about YOU.

I came up with the above 'checklist' after careful observation of various behavioral traits of multiple specimens in real time and on various social media platforms. The examples quoted here are for real, brand names have been changed to protect the 'victimised'. I would like to add the disclaimer that I am in no way qualified to psychoanalyze but I have proven to myself to be pretty good judge of character. Also, I do not assume the moral higher ground here as I've also been guilty of some of the above so I guess this also serves as a checklist for myself so I won't falter as well.

Of course, each one of us are guilty of some or more of the above on and off. I am particularly guilty of #10. It's really no big crime to be so full of yourself and show-off once in a while, it's only natural, it's the inevitable state of our fallen selfish selves. But it comes as a major turn off if you're repeatedly chronically self-absorbed. You'll come across as insecure, annoying and spoilt, and you wonder why people stopped inviting you to gatherings and parties? Having said that, it's ok to talk about yourself, but do at least give others same amount of air time, even if they are boring, have the courtesy to look interested, unless of course you're too self-absorbed to consider the feelings of your friends! Tsk tsk.

And when you ask "How are you?", don't just stop at "fine", ask them how their work is, how's their cat, dog, mother, father, one can probe without interrogating. Once in a while pay some compliments to others, tell them they look nice in their new hairdo or they have a nice outfit, instead waiting with bated breath for others to notice and comment on your new Prada clutch, they might not say anything, anyway they have already seen it multiple times online. Also, yea yea, we acknowledge how pretty and photogenic you are, we do not need to see a different (digitally enhanced) profile photo every two days! LOL.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Currently Reading: Mitch Albom's Latest

I made a online pre-booking almost two months back for this. In fact I ordered it because of the author Mitch Albom, without giving much thought to the title. I believe all book lovers know and most likely read Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven, well even if you have never read the books, you might have caught the film interpretation on Hallmark some years back.
Yup, so anyway, Mitch Albom is now in the position where I will buy his books without thinking twice or looking at the synopsis. When I actually received the actual package in the office, I was a tad surprised at the title. Faith. Wow, faith is an issue I have personally, clandestinely, ashamedly struggled with on many many levels which are too deep to expound here. I might probably get into that another time.

The cover: inspired an old prayer book.

The first paragraph from the first page.

Readers, this book is not about any religion in particular, although note that the author and his muse here are Jewish, so there are many Jewish based references, which I find very interesting. It's really warm, fuzzy, easy reading and nothing deeply, overly theological, but true accounts on mankind's struggle with live and faith in general. It has deep and poignant moments, but I think anyone of any faith can benefit from this well-written book. So far I'm finding great insights from it and enjoying every bit of it.

Happy weekend to all.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Rockstar French Pedicure

About two weeks ago I had a very interesting pedi job done, it's what I call the 'Rockstar French Pedicure' ... fiery red, black and a hint of glittery silver, bold and glam. I'm totally loving it! Kudos to the newly opened Lacquer Couture at Bangsar Shopping Centre. Well, it's almost fading now, next round maybe I'll try fuschsia and deep purple ....

Rockstar toes!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival

On October the third (15th day of the eight month in the Chinese calendar) we celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival, the second most revered and commercialized Chinese festivals, right after Chinese Lunar New Year. Two key elements marks this celebration; mooncakes and lanterns.

When we were kids we used to get together at grandma's house and 'play' lanterns with our cousins. Note that in my childhood, there were no 'battery-operated' lanterns, only real 'candle-operated' paper types. By 'play' what we actually do is light up the lanterns , walk around the neighbourhood and then set fire to all of them and dance around the bonfire in glee. Why set fire to the lanterns? Well, keep it in good minty condition and you can dash any hopes of getting a bigger and better one next year. Of course, before the 'lantern walkathon', we cousins engage in the customary 'who has the nicest biggest lantern' routine. We also arrange lit candles on just about every surface we can find, potted plants, fence, curb of the streets.

The next morning there will be ear-pulling and long sermons about leaving stale candle wax stumps all over the potted plants and driveway. But we do it again, year after year after year. The adults are way too busy watching Hong Kong serials while sipping tea and eating mooncakes indoors to bother much about we do anyway.

Now that I'm in my thirties, we've done away with lanterns. I don't think the younger children get to roam around the streets much as well, in view of the deterioration of public safety over the years. I suppose parents just get them battery-operated lanterns in shapes of Disney Princesses or Ben 10 and they play within their condo or gated community compound. Or maybe now kids send virtual lanterns on facebook, who knows right?

What I find most interesting about the evolution of this festival is the mooncake, we will get to that in a while after this introduction. Mooncakes are sweet baked delicacies made from lotus paste, sunflower seeds and occasionally with a salted egg yolk for that savory flavor. The roundness signifies the moon and I guess the sweetness and stickiness symbolizes family unity. For more on the history and myhtical stories behind the Mid Autumn Festival, Wiki here.

I make it a point to buy a box of mooncake for mum every year as the festival approaches. She loves those sickeningly sweet cakes. I don't find them particularly healthy and the cloying sweetness can really get to you so I usually avoid them , or worse, I'll dig out the precious salted egg yolk from the centre and secretly dispose of the rest. Anyway, I was One Utama two weeks back and they had a 'mooncake fair' where just about every bakery in town were displaying their flair with mooncakes in elaborately decorated booths. I was amazed at the effort and creativity put into this. Flavors like coffee, green tea, red bean and sesame are an acceptable development probably since the last five years or so. Bakeries have moved with the times to launch 'fat-free', 'less sweet', 'vegetarian', healthier options for a while now. Plain lotus paste and double yolk are almost passe; a thing of the past!

So, even non-mooncake-eating me succumbed and got myself some really unique mooncakes .... brace yourself, I got me 2 mooncakes from a bakery I've never heard of; Yong Sheng (and this is not a sponsored post!I just thought these guys really deserve the credit for these yummy stuff). These are what I got; Scallop Mooncake and Message of Love. What are they exactly?

Message of Love
Dragon fruit lotus paste with mochi, lychee pudding & cranberry. Seriously, I was like "are these guys for real?"
My verdict: acceptable sweetness with a fruity tang and distinctive lychee taste.

Scallop Mooncake
Lotus paste mooncake filled with mushroom scallops paste. The savory paste is enveloped in a thin bubble of white mochi in the centre of the lotus paste. I was skeptical as anything until they let you 'test' it on the spot. I did and was sold.
My verdict: I love the slightly fishy dried scallop taste, the savory centre balances the sweet lotus paste unbelievably well.

I liked the scallop one so much, a week later I got myself their Nonya Sambal mooncake. It's so fabulous; sweet, spicy, savory with a hint of shrimp and 'belacan' ... totally exceptional!

Well, I wonder what kind of 'innovative' mooncakes we will have next year. Culture and lifestyle has evolved so much that I can't begin to imagine how we will celebrate this festival in ten years to come. All I know for sure is, I will faithfully cart a box of mooncakes to mum, traditions do and always will keep people together, and that is what I really like about this festival. Plus the excuse to pig out on interesting mooncakes of course.

Have a sweet Mid Autumn celebration everyone!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Business Common Sense is Hard to Come By

I really don't get people who call people on official business on a public holiday. I totally get it if you're calling the family doctor or the neighborhood restaurant or a beauty salon for a spa booking any time of the day, but I don't get it when strangers (who gets my number from various sources) call me up on a public holiday and asks me if my organization can assist them with certain activities or provide official sponsorships etc. I'm like, "gosh if you really want me to help you, please at least send me an official email or contact me on official hours instead of calling me on my mobile on a public holiday / weekend at odd hours like 8pm with a less than politely-appealing tone and manner"

Common sense people. Do not bother your clients, business associates and management of companies whom you are appealing for help, especially when they owe you nothing. Then you wonder why they don't respond to you. if you need the help, you play the rules by their terms. Or at least learn proper acceptable business etiquette.

Come on, personal time is personal time. Holidays are holidays. I'm not a doctor on-call 24-hours. Unless it's a mater of life and death or you're paying my salary, please spare me the drama.

Earl Grey Cupcakes

I came across a beautifully illustrated cupcake recipe book (RM35.80) last week at MPH Subang Parade. This British publication contains recipes from an actual bakery in London known as the Primrose Bakery and they specialise in cupcakes primarily. It’s good to know that the recipes are tried and tested, plus the simple language and gorgeous pictures accompanying each and every recipe makes it a breeze to follow.

A few recipes caught my eye and I’ve shortlisted my “must try” list; these are the few I seriously plan to test out ...
  1. Earl Grey Cupcakes (this is the first recipe I’ve tried)
  2. Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes (using fresh strawberries)
  3. Raspberry Cupcakes (using raspberry jam)
I think there are over 20 types of cupcakes here with an equally wide assortment of icing, so if you mix and match the various cakes with different icing, you’re in business!
Thankfully for the long Raya (Eid) holidays, I found time to test this out and share it here ... presenting the recipe for Primrose Bakery's Earl Grey cuppas....

Here’s the (simplified*) recipe as per the book, comments in brackets.
  1. 125ml milk
  2. 4 Earl Grey tea bags
  3. 110g unsalted butter ( I use SCS salted, it’s fine as well, make sure it’s soft, at room temperature)
  4. 225g granulated sugar (you may drop to 210g as I found it rather sweet, especially with the icing)
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 125g self-rising flour, sifted
  7. 120g plain flour, sifted
    * not word for word
Ingredients for lilac icing:
  1. 110g unsalted butter ( I think regular salted butter offsets the sweetness)
  2. 60ml milk (room temperature)
  3. 500g icing sugar, sifted
  4. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (get the real stuff, not just the fake essence!)
  5. I can’t find lilac food colouring so I combined pink and blue food colouring; one tiny drop at a time, these stuff are heavy.
  6. Word of caution, this icing recipe makes ALOT of icing, probably enough for 2 batches of cupcakes, so half it accordingly or refrigerate the extra for another batch of cuppas.

Method, in Shorty's own words:
  1. Preheat oven to 160 C (settings should be top and bottom with fan) or 180 C (without fan). I find it more even with the fan on.
  2. Heat milk in a saucepan till boiling, then pour over the 4 teabags, let it infuse for 15 to 30 mins.
  3. Mix the sugar and butter for 3 to 5 mins till smooth and even. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing in between.
  4. Sift and combine flours separately, then add them to the egg+butter mix in batches.
  5. Pour in part of the milk infused with tea, alternating with the flour. The final mixture would have a rather liquid / soft consistency.
  6. Spoon them into paper cups, about two-thirds full.
  7. Bake for about 20 to 25 mins, depending on your oven, it takes about 22 mins in my Fagor for a 12–hole cupcake pan.
  8. Insert a toothpick into the centre of one of the cupcakes to see if they are done. If it comes out clean, it’s done!
  9. Remove pan from oven, let cakes sit in pan for 10 mins and then remove so they can cool on a wire rack.
  10. Once cakes are completely cooled, ice with the icing. Decorate with sprinkles of granulated sugar or purple sugar flowers. I decided to use white chocolate sprinkles. I thought the white looked so delicate on the pastel lilac., anyway it's too much effort to look for purple flowers, unless there's a special occassion.

Look, this recipe makes the cakes nicely brown and evenly raised. I hate it when cupcakes rise lop-sided!
Below; pastel lilac icing with white choc sprinkles.

Shortcake’s verdict?
These cakes are amazingly easy to make, just ensure you have quality teabags and plain milk on hand. The texture is very soft , melts in your mouth and the flavor is very delicate, like milky tea with a hint of bergamot. Perfect for those with a sensitive and well-developed palate, and tea lovers of course. Hubby thinks my ‘lilac’ icing looks like ‘grey’, how ironic.

Shorty’s loving them tea-cuppas!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What is Lost Will be Found

Hello again Robert Langdon (Tom Hank grins in my head)! I've been pining for this ever since I got wind of it online. I ordered the book via MPH online (at a 30% pre-order discount) and it arrived just before the long Raya weekend.

My precious long awaited first edition hardcover of The Lost Symbol:

Here's a sneak preview of the first paragraph of the first page ...

I can't wait to dive into Langdon's world of historical mystery and mortal danger, and yes, I'm also prepared for the token corny lines. But Dan Brown is a great storyteller all the same. Looks like farming is gonna take a backseat for awhile.

This is now available at all major bookstores; 20% off at MPH if I remember correctly.

Meanwhile I'm deep into Audrey Niffenegger's Time Traveler's Wife ... quarter more to go.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Salam Aidilfitri!

The cool thing about Malaysia is the amazing number of public holidays and festive celebrations we enjoy! We are now celebrating Aidilfitri or affectionately known as "Raya" in Malaysia. So Shortcake would like to wish all Muslim friends and all Malaysians...

"Selamat Hari Raya
Happy Holidays!"

I'd like to 'borrow' this uber-cute, super-charming greeting from my fav Doodolls (which incidentally is a Malaysian brand)

Uber cute greeting courtesy of Doodolls on Facebook.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What Are The Kids Up To?

So we go to work in the morning; I usually leave earlier but hubby wakes up just as I leave the house or sometimes later. Hence I just leave it for him to make the bed if he feels up to it in the morning.

In the evening, I almost always come home earlier than he does, hubby's always got gym sessions or meetings in the evening, plus the occasional happy hour thrown in. Sometimes when I come home after a long harrassed day at work, I walk into the bedroom, and this is what I find ....

Often the kids are all tucked into a neat row with the covers snuggling up to their necks, once I found them in a nice circle on the bed, as if conspiring something ....

There you go, that's how hubby makes the bed in the morning when he's in the mood for it. This always puts a smile on my face and whatever s*** happened during the way is wiped away clean and I'm cheerful as a bunny.

Thank you baby, I'm thankful you're my hubby *muaks*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More on Farming

I'm not too busy on the farm today, it's not time for harvest yet. For the clueless, this is how the farm looks like when crops are in progress. It takes anything from 2 hours to 4 days for the crops to be ready, depending on the type of crops you choose.

I've got a combination of Blueberries and Pineapples, which are the most 'profitable' and 'expensive' crops there are at this point.

So what does a farmer do when the crops are ready? Hire workers to harvest. This here is the marketplace where everyone congregate to hire and get hired to make more Farm Coins. If the stars are on you you'll probably make some new friendly acquaintances from all over the world. I've met a girl from Georgia, a guy from Dubai, a guy from Egypt and several Malaysians too. Well, once in a while you get some weirdo pervert.

That's about it on farming for the day ... I've got to run along to sharpen my sickle and plow now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cute Charity Tee

Look at this, so darn cute! Say you love KL for charity! I don't mind one really, plus it's for SPCA, the animals could really do with some help for sure. But would I look like a tourist? For the sake of cute puppies and stray kitties ... I don't mind one single bit. Not sure about the gymnasts though .... hmmm ....

Tees are available in various sizes for MEN, WOMEN and KIDS at Delicious till December at only RM25. Methinks they make meaningful gifts too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welcome to My Farm!

Yet again I have been rather distant and quiet .... wanna know why? I've been busy farming. Boy I gotta tell you, farming is seriously hard work. The slightest lapse in time management and good planning and your crops die on you, and you waste precious time and money.

This is how my farm look like ..... seriously, no, it's not a real farm *duh*, it's Farm Town, an online multi-player game on Facebook. Gotcha.

Here's a close up of my little house .... I spent forever saving up enough Farm Coins to get this. Sadly the real estate scene there is rather limited, wish they had more designs to select from.

And here we have my motley crew of barnyard animals .... cute but completely useless. You can't gain anything from having these little buggers in your farm, except maybe the occasional bleats and neighs may liven things up abit. Well, at least you don't have to feed them.

I'm so proud of my farm I can just stare and marvel at it for hours!

I might post another entry on how this actually work, but meanwhile I gotta get back to my little farm. My chili peppers need harvesting!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy 52nd Birthday Malaysia!

Happy birthday Malaysia!

You have come very far since your first Merdeka.

In the spirit of oneness, I'd like to share Pete Teo's 2008 track "Here in My Home" performed by Malaysian Artistes.

And happy holiday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August is for Malaysian Delicacies

We always try to make it a point to Buka Pusa once with our dear R during Ramadhan month so we did our break fast session last night at PJ Hilton. We were supposed to do Subak but due to the perpetual rain we then changed the venue to Al Nafourah at Le Meredien, but we were dissapointed to hear that Al Nafourah was not serving Middle Eastern cuisine, rather they were merely having local food, but at the same exorbitant price.

I've never been to a Buka Puasa Buffet in a hotel before, and boy it was FUN! There's so much more variety compared to you usual buffet. I see all my favorite local delicacies such as lemang, ketupat, serunding, nasi minyak, satay, rendang, and loads more. There were Tempura stuff, Chinese dishes and Indian dishes and mamak favorites like murtabak and mee goreng as well!

Once you're done, you can move on to dessert, and there was no shortage here; you can choose from cakes, chocolate fondue, creme brulee to the local stuff like kuih muih, sago, putu piring and loads more colorful stuff I can't even name! And at the end of it all, you can take home a box of Bubur Lambuk for you sahur the next morning. I'd say all in all that's worth the RM98++ we're paying.

I didn't take much photos for fear of being kicked out in public, but here are two photos; the first is my greedy starter platter; a medley of everything! The second is of my all-time favorites; lemang and ketupat with fragrant serunding ayam and daging plus a couple of succulent beef satay!

Crazy mixture of stuff ... I'm hungry just looking this photo!

I think food like this sums up why this is a great country!

The beef satay was truly superb.

Oh but we girls really had fun with all the stories and catching up on each other's lives. The stories went on and on and the there was virtually no end to food! But alas, we out-talked them, they started to clear away the desserts before 10pm, which was rather dissapointing, but we had our fill.

Look look, I even wore a brand new custom-made Baju to get into the mood of things, here's headless Shortcake and R.

Overall, great talk and great food. Splendid.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Preparing for Raya?

Here's an idea ... if you've got the moolah to splurge, why not make your Muslim friends, family, colleagues or bosses really happy this Raya with goodies from Crabtree & Evelyn festive hampers ... look, the last hamper's even got a hand wash and lotion! You know how everyone recycle festive gifts? I know I'll never trade aything I get from Crabtree & Evelyn!

Guaranteed to earn brownie points in the glam and class division for sure! I'm loving the baskets and boxes. Pweetty. I'm guessing you can customise these at their stores as well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August is for Malaysian Stories

August is a time of reflection for Malaysians ... I won't say I'm a patriotic zealot but I do love my country and I'm immensely proud of the creativity of Malaysians artists. P1 and 15Malaysia brings us 15 short films to celebrate the beauty of our diversity ... here are a series of short videos created to show us who we really are, so stay tuned ....

Excerpt from 15Malaysia's site:

"15Malaysia is a short film project. It consists of 15 short films made by 15 Malaysian filmmakers. These films not only deal with socio-political issues in Malaysia, they also feature some of the best-known faces in the country, including actors, musicians and top political leaders. You may think of them as funky little films made by 15 Malaysian voices for the people of Malaysia."

Screenshot taken of 15Malaysia's site.

These videos will be released one by one between 17 August till 16 September. So far, two videos can be viewed; Chocolate by Yasmin Ahmad and Potong Saga by Ho Yuhang. Get the latest buzz on their Facebook site or follow their tweets.

You may watch and even download the videos, go to: P1 or 15Malaysia

What to expect? Well, some are funny, some are sad, ironic and even a little bit silly; they may make you laugh or cry or invoke all kinds of emotions ... and some may even make you go "huh?"

Have fun everyone and enjoy being Malaysian!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Cuddly Friend

My crazy brother posted this photo of our family mutt on his facebook and I can't help but steal his pic and post it here, it's one of those rare moments where Cuddles actually look stoned and sad. She's normally running around panting like a crazy puppy on caffeine overdose. Anyway, she's looking like this because my brother was fixing his car outside the house instead of playing with her. Poor girl.

Cute hoh???

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Poetic Moment

We seldom have fights with our girlfriends, especially when you're in your thirties! The last time I had a major fight with a girlfriend was probably back in high school! Alas, recently, I had a major fight with one of my babes, that was probably over a month back. It was the kind of situation where you start raising your voices till the point someone screams, then someone cries, or maybe we started crying together, it's all a blur after that, and then it ends with hugs, love, forgiveness and more tears. Real drama la. The stuff that "gem of life" are made of (popular Hong Kong drama series rife with emo fights and tears)

As with most quarrels, it always turn out to be a turning point. For me, I felt that this gave us a chance to finally be really open to each other and understand each other better. It was a turning point for our friendship. Anyway, I've never believed in keeping it all in; kills you silently in the end. The drama may be uncomfortable, but sometimes necessary.

We made up nicely after our fight, and I was so touched that she wrote me a poem right after that, so with her permission, I will publish it here.

I am sorry for screaming earlier.
I am sorry too for my past action.
had you feel left out,
it should not have happen.
my walls to you are broken.

I had to reply in like fashion too ...

I won't hate u if u scream
it's better than silence
I'll take u for ice cream
as a pledge of my allegiance

We have yet to have that ice cream, but I think our friendship will survive the odds.

This post is a humble tribute and a small gift to this special friend. If and when you read this, may I just add a few more words I would probably find difficult to say in person .... I have not always been the perfect friend, I would have wounded you in many ways with my insensitivity, but know that you're special and I want to be there for you. I may not know how, I won't truly understand what you're going through, and I will never be able to be the comfort that you long for, but I will be your friend, I will listen if you want to scream, I will shut up if you wanna cry and I will hold you if you're weak. Babe, if all that fails to give you the slightest comfort, know that you're in my prayers, and there is a Greater Friend that knows our hearts' sorrow and cares for us beyond our imagination, I know cos He's been there there for me in my deepest darkest nights, and I know He will comfort you if you want Him to.

Meanwhile, let's do that ice cream kay? *hugs*

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Kuriya @ Bangsar

Hubby and I have been going to Spring Hatsuhana at BSC for years, almost a couple of times a month or monthly at the least. Why? Spring was the place for great variety and value for money Japanese food in a cosy and quiet, non-pretentious place. When BSC started renovating, Spring disappeared and we were devastated, so the hunt for a new Jap haunt began. We started to get quite fond of Yuzu at Gardens Mid Valley but alas it's alot of effort going there (parking, jam etc)

Imagine my delight when I discovered that a new Jap place found it's way into BSC ..... here are the pics of our rendezvous to the brand new Kuriya Japanese Restaurant last night ....

Kuriya is located on the newly renovated third floor at BSC (Bangsar Shopping Centre). Unfortunately Kuriya is not affiliated with Spring Hatsuhana. Kuriya is in fact a Singaporean chain. The BSC outlet opened in June 2009.

If you opt to sit outside on the balcony, like we did, you will have this view! Superb on a clear night, but may be rather warm for some. Having a mist curtain and some ceiling fans would be really GOOD!

Menu: here are some of the sashimi & sushi offerings on the menu; for those all out to indulge.

There are special lunch sets on the menu, decent variety and more value-added than ordering the individual ala carte. Alas, there are no dinner sets.

Salmon Salad: salad leaves with a yinyang combination of salmon sashimi and deep fried salmon and a tangy savory dressing on the side (RM18)

Chawan Mushi: taste like any decent chawan mushi (RM10)

Tori Karaage: Deep fried chicken pieces, thankfully no 'breast' parts, meat was tender and juicy and not heavily breaded at all. Good enough as a starter or snack for 2 average eaters, or 3 small eaters (RM16)

Enoki Hoiru Yaki: 3 types of mushrooms cooked in foil. Get a spoon to enjoy the soup inside! (RM16)

Hiyashi Kamo Seiro: Soba noddles with duck breast; an interesting savory cold dish with a runny egg, an adventurous option! (RM24)

Matcha Azuki: I love this; a combination of green tea pudding, green tea ice cream and red bean at the base, plus the bits of fruit for texture (RM16)

Oshiruko: Red bean paste porridge with mochi rice cake aka chewy glutinous rice cakes; a must for all red bean fans! Believe me, it taste much better than it looks ok! (RM8)

What we loved?
  • The fact that it's in BSC is great; convenient and easy parking.
  • The food we had were fabulous; would definitely order the Tori Karaage again.
  • The dessert array is truly tempting - loved the Matcha Azuki!
  • Alot of thought has been given to the interior decor; authentic and classy
  • A good place to impress bosses, international business associates and high maintenance clients.
  • The dim and moody lighting makes it a great date-place too.
What we didn't quite like ...
  • The price, nothing like Spring Hatsuhana, I suppose BSC is trying to upgrade itself.
  • Hubby prefers some bento options for dinner, his rationale is you want to 'sample' and try bits of different things at one time.
  • A wee bit on the pretentious side, not exactly a place for casual dining
  • They were so busy that it took some time to get a seat and to get some good attention from the waiters etc.
Will we be back? It's not a very strong yes, maybe for lunch.

Can anyone tell me where Spring Hatsuhana's gone to? I miss them *sniff*sob*

Itching to try Kuriya, details below;
3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre (old wing)
285 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-20939242

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Run Baby Run

I'm finally doing it.

Exercising .... *pant*pant*

I went for my run today, and yesterday, and I really have to try and keep this up. I've been saying I need to keep fit for MONTHS. And I did, well, I went running once every couple of months. What a chore ...

I'm starting again ... hope and pray I'll be more consistent now. I need to make a habit out of this since I can't stand going to a crowded sweaty gym full of men ogling your butt. I don't know why I just grew out of it, I've been gym-ing for YEARS, like 5 years or so and one day I just decided I can't do it anymore, and then I took a looooong break in couch potato land and became anti-gym-social.

So now I've got to make the best of my quiet cosy little condo compound.

Hubby says "I'm so proud of you" ... translates to ...

(a) "yeah she's gonna loose weight!"
(b) "yeah she's gonna stop complaining she looks fat in the pictures I take"
(c) "yeah, no more asking 'do I look fat in this?' when shopping"
(d) "yeah, I'm so proud of her"
(e) all the above

Which is the right answer??? Haha, I don't care, hubby has got to love me even though I am berisi! For richer for poorer, in sickness and health, in size 1 or size 5!

Actually I am proud of me too! * heheh*

Well, it's good for me; need to build some stamina, feel better and of course look better in photos too! Wish me luck!

Run baby run!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday Tea With My Girls

Girlfriends are really special, especially those that you grew up with. Once every couple of months, we make it a point to drop everything in our busy hectic schedules and catch up over food and goss.

Yesterday we tried out a cosy little place called Bijou, the neighbourhood brasserie of the Mont Kiara vicinity . This place has been around since late 2006 but somehow I've never had a reason to try them out. I like the cute unpretentious ambiance (kinda like Ikea in white and pink) and they are not particularly over-crowded. Since it was tea and not a major meal, we only managed to try out some tapas and desserts.

Here are the pretty food shots to make you salivate .....

Nothing quenches the afternoon heat like a tall glass of icy Homemade Ginger Beer.

The Apricot Slice: I will be back for this! Juicy fragrant cake with bits of dried apricot and sweet tangy cream sandwiched between the two layers ... heavenly and sinful at the same time!

They are apparently famous for cupcakes but alas, when we were there, all that's left was "The Morning After" which is actually coffee cupcake. Pretty okay but I wished they had more options *sulk*

The Fish Fingers were fabulous, we loved the herb tartar sauce. We ordered seconds!

Spicy Buffalo Drummets (wings) tasted great, the right balance of piquant spiciness. We ordered seconds too.

This is the small nondescript entrance just outside Damai Sari Condominiums.

This is the door that leads to the alfresco area facing the pool, wonderful on a nice breezy afternoon.

There is even a little playground to keep the little ones entertained.

We ate so much, I had no room for dinner after that ... but you wanna know what was the best part of the tea outing? Girlfriends! But of course!

Getting there; if you know how to get to Coffee Bean Mont Kiara, you would find your way with this map with no sweat at all. Or call them at 03 - 6201 2131. Oh, and Bijou means jewel in French.