Friday, 29 June 2007

NGUM NGUM ho...

Today i was at a heartland mall ordering a cake for my colleague's birthday next week and i realised that wow, nowadays even the cakes at heartland places r so ex. i wanted to get bread talk's green tea cake and it was like $72 for 2kg. i don't mind paying for shangrila tiramisu (my ultimate favourite) or baker's inn jivara but ha? bread talk? no way. used to have a classmate in my part time interior design course whom we call "bread talk" cos he worked in bread talk. he offered to teach me how to make the green tea cake but after we completed the course, kinda didn't keep in touch anymore. darn... should have learnt from him. he has since quit baking to do interior design...

anyway, i went over to four leaves and chose a mango cake. the girl took down my order...

"miss, want pay now? pay now is $46. pay after saturday is different price ready."

chris happened to walk over n heard our conversation... he asked

"what's the diff? $2 maybe?"

"no... not two dollar. maybe egg to ten dollar."

"$8 to $10???? that's a lot!"

that's like a 17.4 to 21.7% increase! that's ridiculous! it's downright profiteering! how does a 2% increase in GST translate to 17% increase in cake price???? i just don't get it... chris was furious.

recently the ST reported that some hotels started charging revised rates for bookings after 1 Jul even though the payment is made before 1 Jul... that's so unreasonable....

and i heard on the news that prices of eggs will go up because the hens these days aren't laying as many eggs (must be Singaporean hens...)...

gosh, eveything is increasing except my pay... that's just not right.

chris shared this hilarious clip from his fav Mr brown show.... you've got to listen to this, it's classic =D The Mr Brown Show

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Know Thy Enemy

I was watchin TV when i received an sms from a friend..

"ann, can u help me to wrap a fruit basket this sat? i am visiting my girlfriend's parents for the first time."

~ ha? fruit basket? it's like for hospital visits. and isn't it a bit han suan?

"then what do you suggest?"

~ bird's nest

"ha? a bit extravagant leh..."

then he calls and i hear his anxious voice over the receiver...

"so how? i thought of getting roast duck..."

~ ha? so kua zhang... might as well suckling pig better!" ask your girlfriend what her mum or parents like.

"ok, i discuss w her... thanks"

so i replied with a list of suggestions depending on the "type" of mother-in-law-to-be...

ha ha... i think it's important for guys to do some research n find out what her mum is like. it's half the battle won. so for the fun of it, i have listed some categories here:

1) The Queen Bee/Matriarch
Her Bag: It's a brand we commoners have never heard of
Her Shoes: Handmade by master cobbler who makes shoes for royalty
She shops at: She doesn't shop, honey. Her favourite haute couture designer delivers the lastest range to her palace/castle for her private preview
Her Pet: Horses
Your father should be: Head of state
You arrive there in: A limousine, preferably with a little flag flappling on the bonnet, flanked by bodyguards on motorcycles
Gift to bring: Need u bother with such trivia? someone has already taken care of it.
Impress her by saying: Your Majesty/Highness...
You'd offend her if: You say "pleased to meet u" rather than "how do you do?"
The Wedding: Will be televised LIVE throughout the world. It will be declared a public holiday in your country.


2) The True Blue Tai Tai
Her Bag: Hermes birkin
Her Shoes: Manilo Blahnik
She shops at: Palais renaissance/millenia walk/paris/milan
Her Pet: Chihuahua/poodle
Your father should be: a millionaire/ billionaire/ celebrity/ politician/ COE of charitable organisation/ COE of major bank/ medical director/ director
You arrive there in: Lotus/lambourghini/ferrari/porsche/rolls royce/BMW Z4
Gift to bring: Something your girlfriend saw in Tatler magazine which u instructed your PA to get
Impress her by saying: Yesterday i was playing golf with Woffles (famous aesthetic surgeon) and....
You'd offend her if: u use your entree fork for the hors-d'oeuvre
The Wedding: It's an arranged marriage dude, for the good of the nation/corporation. it will be held at fullerton and featured in the coming issue of Tatler or Prestige magazine.

3) The Tai Tai Wannabe
Her Bag: Louis Vuitton
Her Shoes: Ferragamos
She shops at: Departmental stores in Orchard
Her Pet: Schnauzer/shitzu/angora rabbit
Your father should be: Senior civil servant/Professional
You arrive there in: Japanese/american/european car
Gift to bring: Bird's nest
Impress her by saying: Mrs XXXX, are those ferragamos? They look spectacular!
You'd offend her if: You ask, "Aunty, your LV bag real or not ha? my mum also has one, she paid $30. (1. she hates being called "aunty". 2. she paid $1500 for the bag. 3. you didn't speak proper English)
The Wedding: She wants a romantic, unforgettable, fairytale dream wedding for her daughter. Chute all the pattern she can chute that she didn't manage to chute for her own wedding. She offers to be your wedding coordinator. Prepare to fork out money for loads of flowers, live string quartet/harpist etc.

4) The HDB Tai Tai
Her Bag: Louis Vuiton
Her Shoes: Charles n Keith
She shops at: Departmental stores in heartland malls
Her Pet: Some easy to maintain breed of dog or cat/fish
Your father should be: Some civil servant
You arrive there in: Korean/malaysian/china car
Gift to bring: Ba Gua
Impress her by saying: Wa, aunty, your LV bag looks like real one!
You'd offend her if: You don't praise her cooking
The Wedding: Wedding banquet at 4/5 star hotel, must have shark's fin.

5) The Nasty Aunty
Her Bag: plastic bag
Her Shoes: slippers
She shops at: She doesn't shop.
Her Pet: Ah yo, don't keep animals la! jin la sahm!
Your father should be: Anybody
You arrive there in: a bus, then change to MRT NE line, change to NS line, then change to LRT, then take bus 11.
Gift to bring: anything, it's free ma so she sure will like
Impress her by saying: Wa, aunty! Sheng Siong got special offer leh!
You'd offend her if: More likely that she'd offend u... she will blatantly dig her nose then offer to peel prawns for u.
The Wedding: you're actually having second thoughts because u worry that your girlfriend will become like her mum.

6) The HERO
Her Bag: A haversack jampacked with loads of cash that she told the ATM machine to dispense.
Her Shoes: You can't see, cos she is invisible.
She shops at: She doesn't shop. her alter-ego does it for her at kirby building.
Her Pet: Where got time? got to save the world!
Your father should be: COE of Japanese Corporation who has a secret
You arrive there in: A flash. you teleported there.
Gift to bring: A painting of you saving the world in the future
Impress her by saying: What her mind thinks. you can read her mind.
You'd offend her if: You spontaneously combust due to surging levels of radioactivity within u.
The Wedding: Save the world first, baby. it's your destiny.

TV Show Review: Heroes

Chris shared a great piece of news to me today...

"Dear, heroes cast is coming to singapore..."

~ what? really? yeah! i get to see peter petrelli in person! he is so cute!

"i am more interested in nikki sanders..."

*pissed look*

"ok ok, i want to see hiro nakamura k?"

=)

oh yes, i love heroes. i'm not referring to mariah carey, jet li or toni leung... i'm talking about the TV show heroes. it's like X-men. the characters in the show discover they have special powers ranging from regeneration (i.e. indestructible or tai buay see), hearing people's thoughts (like mel gibson in "what women want"), ability to into anyone (like Mystic in X-men). of course there are two ultra powerful ones which i won't tell... keep the suspense. my fav power is peter petrelli's... ha, he is so hot. wolverine is cool, but peter petrelli is HOT. ok, so the plot is basically about a bunch of "heroes" whose destiny is to save the world. what's new? but it's such an exceptionally written piece of story so ingeniously woven together. every episode reveals a startling fact, a surprise and ends with a cliffhanger that makes you crave for more.

we were so hooked on it we started talking like WE are heroes...

1) i catch chris eating nutella with a spoon and exclaim...

~ dear!! u r eating nutella again!

"i'm invisible, you can't see me... you can't see me."

2) my girlfriend told me her husband bought her a one carat diamond ring for their wedding anniversary... so i tell chris while we were lying down on the bed...

~ james got yufen a one carat diamond ring

"wa, he very rich hor!"

~ it's supposed to be for their 10th year anniversary. this year is our 5th anniversary...

"i love you dear, good night!"

the next morning, i drew a picture of chris giving me a gigantic diamond ring n passed it to him

~ thaddeus (one of my teddy bears) drew this

"oh er... he can paint the future?"

~ can you read my mind or shall i use my power of persuasion?

"her...her..er...hm...i love you dear..." and pretends to really concentrate on ironing his shirt.

Excuse me, you are in public (Part 2)

I was sitting at the bus stop waiting for the bus after work today, listening to hillsongs and stoning cos i was exhausted. when looking out for the bus, i caught sight of a primary school boy in the midst of something utterly disgusting. The puny bespected boy in shorts rested his left ankle on his right knee and was ferociously scratching his left calf. At first I thought he just had a rash or some persistent itch but no, he was totally savouring the moment (literally). He rubbed and rubbed and boy, I could not believe what I saw... exfoliated bits of dead skin mixed with dirt, sweat and grime came off a la "Ji Gong"... like when u rub an eraser back and forth on a sheet of paper (it's called "gao guek" my mum would say)... I gasped... then he gathered them in the crevices of his nails, darted his eyes around to make sure no one saw and discretely swiped them into his mouth!!!! ARGHHH!!!!! I tried not to look but couldn't help it... he was in my field of vision when i looked for signs of my bus. he did it like 5 times and when my bus arrived, i prayed that he won't get on and sit beside me... thank God he didn't.

just when i was looking out of the bus window, recovering from the trauma i saw another boy walking along the pavement and fiercely digging his nose! Ah!!! what is wrong with these people! I immediately smsed some of my colleagues and chris. one of them replied, "wow, really disgusting. how come you always kena this type of thing?" yes, what have done to deserve these recurrent chains of obnoxious behaviour? someone pls tell me....

TNP recently ran an article about "nasty aunties" in which they reported "a bespected woman taking up two seats in the train clearing the gunk in her nose energetically" n another "peeling prawn shells on the bus"! apparently, videos of these disgusting people caught in action can be found on YouTube. just search for "singapore auntie". according to the paper, "the most difficult clip to watch is one entitled Hardcore nose digging auntie on MRT".

goodness.... i don't have to search YouTube, i see it live all the time...

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Movie Review: Ocean's 13 (***)

We caught Ocean's 13 last night and it was an enjoyable show on the whole although I liked the first one best. Loved the twist at the end. Ocean's 12 sucked big time. It was so bad and so boring even Pitt and Clooney could not keep me awake.

In Ocean's 13, the plan was not to reap obscene loads of loot but to heap revenge on Bank (scheming hotel and casino magnate) who faulted on his agreement with their long-time buddy Reuben.

The plot was engaging, punctuated with funny moments at appropriate times and Clooney and Pitt looked delicious (except when Pitt dressed up as a geo-scientist, yuck). The show started with an appearance from Brat Pitt and George Clooney, looking their usual best and I knew I would enjoy this movie. My sympathies go out to Matt Damon for having to put up with a prosthetic nose which makes drinking from a champagne flute almost impossible and having to seduce "a woman of a certain age" ha ha, so poor thing.

Won't give up too much of the plot (cos some people will scold me if I do) but generally, if you're a guy, you should enjoy the plot (warning: no Julia Roberts or Catherine Zeta Jones, severe lack of hot babes this time round). If you're female (my generation and before), you will enjoy it even more =) 'nough said.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

My Mezzaluna

I just had to show this. It's such a cool n beautiful piece. A Mezzaluna, or herb chopper. mine's a henckels' double-blade one. Martha Stewart uses a single blade which she inherited from her dad (how cool is that?) a guest chef on her show used a humongous TRIPLE blade one. v v cool. it chops really fast n well, especially stuff like parsley. not to mention u feel really shiok. i am going to pass this to my daughter (if i have one). u know how some guys get excited about the fastest computer, coolest phone, best camera etc? well, u may call me a gadget girl too, kitchen gadgets i mean... a cool piece of equipment to me is like a super fast n powerful computer to some of u. expensive but feel shiok using it don't u?

Somewhere over the rainbow

finally can go jogging... been sick for like 3 months since after CNY (mummy's cookies' fault) so i finally went jogging yesterday n boy, was it shiok.... i can feel every single pore purging out the toxins man... n the weather was great. at the end of my jog, i saw a rainbow (sorry, no pictures, i don't run w my camera!), what an excellent way to end a jog. i love rainbows. they're a reminder of God's covenant to Noah... n who but God could have come up with something so beautiful? i love nature, i love animals, all of God's creations r beautiful (including children if they're the adorable n cute kind like my friends' kids Sarah, Caleb, Charis, Danielle, Lizzie, Ashley! ha ha)

=) reminds me of two of my fav songs too "That's the love of God" which starts:

What made God take so much care to make creation glow
He could have made it black n white n we'd have never known...


and "This is my Father's world":

All nature sings n round me rings, the beauty of the sphere...

Beauty tip: Panda no more

Again from the black book of hollywood beauty secrets... u know people put cucumber slices on their eyes... well, according to the black book, chamomile tea bags n potato slices work best. yes, potato slices! i am not kidding. it's the first time i read about it but so many stars swear by it... anyone game for some french fries?

Beauty tip: Zap that zit

Don't u hate that cursed clogged pore that creates this mount which screams at u every time u look in the mirror? well, been reading "The black book of Hollywood beauty secrets" n guess what is the perfect remedy? throw out your clearisil or whatever pimple cream. they're too harsh for your delicate facial skin. what u really need is a lemon, teenie weenie bit of tooth paste or some pure tea tree oil. cut the lemon in half, stick your finger into it to get the juice n dab it on that zit. u can also dab a lil toothpaste (the white kind, not striped multi-colour type, just plain white) on it. or get a cotton bud, soak it in tea tree oil n press it on that erupting mount. boy, u can totally feel it zapping that zit. a bit smarting but i like.

P.S.: i tried all 3 n they work great. so i kinda alternate depending on whether i'm lazy to cut lemon =P

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Food Review: Marutama vs Miharu

I think there r only two decent ramen joints in town. Miharu in gallery hotel (closed on weds) n recently, Marutama @ central. Chris likes Miharu better because it's got a more flavourful broth n I like it because they r more generous with the ingredients. a regular bowl comes w bean sprouts, buttered corn, slice of char siew, sheet of yakinori n half a wedge of soft boiled egg. when it comes to ramen, the egg must be just cooked on the outside n the yolk still soft, not runny but the stage just past runny. at Marutama, u have to order the egg as ala carte, minus marks. but the broth is light yet hearty. good broth always warms my heart.

Miharu's Char-Mayo don is a must-have. It's v simple. just rice w char siew cubes mixed in jap mayo sitting on a sheet of yakinori topped w a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. mix it up n boy, it's v v satisfying, guaranteed blissful feeling. recently they've added gyoza to their menu... oh man, i love gyoza, crisp at the base, steamed at the top, juicy meat filling, dip it in a mixture of shoyu, vinegar n chilli oil n bite into it... oh, as the meat n crisp dumpling skin dance in your mouth, u feel e different flavours (savoury meat, salty shoyu, sour vinegar, spicy chilli oil) n textures (soft skin, juicy meat, crisp base) integrate into a very delightful combination... oh, yum.

Product Review: Salad Spinner

I must say that i can hardly get a decent salad in Singapore unless i go to a proper restaurant. What do i mean by a "decent salad"? well, i think it boils down to two Ds: DRY n DRESSING. the leaves (preferably assorted greens like butterhead, rockets, spinach, romaine etc. i don't really like iceberg in salads) must be DRY, absolutely DRY. nothing is worse than a soggy salad. how to make the leaves dry? tossing it in your colander will not make it dry, u have to use a salad spinner. it's like a colander except it has a cover n a mechanism (mine's a button u punch, have also seen the manual turning type) to make the basket spin at high speed, pushing out all the excess water. u'll be surprised to see the amount of liquid left in the bowl. n spun dry greens r crisp like chips! u can hear the crunch when u sink your teeth in "cr!" the salad spinner is also great for berries. next is the dressing. i don't know about u but i don't like store-bought dressings, they have to be home made, with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). i like balsamic vinegar, EVOO n a touch of honey. yum.

u know what, i just found out that Martha Stewart, the guru, uses the exact same salad spinner as moi! what can i say... =) i am pleased.

Product Review: Vidal Sassoon's Tourmaline Ceramic Hairbrush

For those like me not blessed w obedient hair but rather follicles that point in directions u don't want it to go yet hate to use hair products like wax, mousse, gel, spray etc, i've found the rescue. it's Vidal Sassoon's Tourmaline Ceramic Hairbrush. it's like an ordinary hairbrush except that it's got two sides, like a pair of tongs (see pic). u clip a lock of hair between the brushes n gently brush down as u run your warm hairdryer at it as u go. works much better than those hair irons i've tried. now i dare to let down my hair! i used to tie, braid or bun it n have learnt to tie my hair in a variety of ways, which my colleagues n people i see at work r quite amazed with but now, i can occasionally "let my hair down"! yeah!

Product Review: Christian Dior's DIORSHOW powder

My favourite face powder has got to be Christian Dior's DIORSHOW powder. after i tried it, it's the only powder i allow (other than johnson's baby) on my face. unlike other powders i have used that r either too cakey, too thick, not absorbent, makes my face shiny or worst, comedogenic n cause break outs, DIORSHOW is so light yet gives your face a radiant finish in a jiffy. it comes w a built-in puff applicator which is so fuss-free. no more fiddling w sponges or brushes n having the powder particles fly all over the place (which is such a waste, not to mention, mess too).

my favourite colour is 001 blanc podium n recently they have a limited edition 009 rose porcelaine.

it's a glamour must-have girls!

(btw, i took that pic, don't critique hor!)

Monday, 18 June 2007

The Chedi Chiang Mai

Just came back from Chiang Mai, a comfy 2.5 hours flight away. Stayed at The Chedi, a new chi chi hotel in the city w excellent service. it's the one andy lau n daniel wu stayed at in the show Protege. melody (my alter ego, kinda like hobbes for calvin) is v atas... she likes to be fetched by limousine, served cold towels scented w lemongrass essential oil n iced water on transfer, have the hotel staff come to us to check in rather than Q up, likes to be greeted "sawadeeka" when she walks around the hotel. adriel, my atas friend once remarked, "any hotel that requires u to Q up to check in cannot make it". aye, adriel, aye.

what i like best which is different from the others we stayed in is the automated blinds... u wake up when u feel like it, lie on your bed, it's still dark although it's 9am.... then u press the button by the side n "ch..." the blinds roll up to reveal the bright warm sunlight. cool, i like. kept playing w it... up down up down, up up, down down.... chris rolled his eye balls as usual.

chris loves it that this hotel doesn't have noisy irritating kids that disrupt the serenity of the place, so add points. n they serve buffet breakfast in bed. so just order what u want the night before n they serve it to u the next morning... add points again. of course u try to order everthing at one go la, even though it's a buffet. when i told jon, he wondered whether we can keep calling n order dish by dish, buffet ma... so funny that guy... well, we didn't try that but i'm sure they will oblige =P oh yes, for chris, he added 10 stars for unlimited wireless internet access =) to me, that's as useful as a shaver in the room.... ha ha.

as usual, what's a holiday in Thailand without spa...=) chris liked the thai traditional massage in which they contort your body into positions u never thought possible yourself to "crack" n loosen every muscle n ligament in your body. he did it twice. i had an oatmeal scrub, yogurt mask, aromatherapy massage n cleopatra milk bath w rose petals... ah... sigh of bliss. second time round i tried thai herbal steam, foot reflex n spa pedicure at a smaller spa near the hotel. it was less than half the price man.... but ambience really can't compare la... chedi is kickass. the pic above shows the thai massage room in the spa at chedi.

n i love thai food... i can totally have tom yam goong/gai/pla EVERYDAY. the tom yam in thailand looks innocently clear but boy, it's potent, every slurp packed w a powerful explosion of spices. Aroy mak mak!

Fare Thee Well

today we held a farewell party for the people leaving the club... had a really great time chatting while the more junior fellows slogged over the fire preparing the food... will really miss these guys, they're such wonderful workers n i really enjoyed working w them. especially kingston, ah howe, eunice n pres whom i was closest to... pres, the quiet listener who's such a wonderful worker, gets things done... flawless complexion... some people r just blessed w poreless face... eunice, i call her honey... really enjoy hanging around her cos she's fun to be with n i feel totally at ease w her. ah howe, the rotund teddy bear... when he is not talking (loudly), he is eating or burping... ha ha ha... roy finds him really cute. then there is kingston.... hard to find someone more narcissistic than me... he calls himself ultra cool yan dao, ha ha (but then again, he does have a face that can break hearts so oh well...) he also likes jap stuff n is one of e few singaporeans i have met so far besides chris n myself who can pronounce wasabi correctly. people, it's wasaBI, not wasaBE. v knowledgeable too... enjoyed chatting w him about japan, brings back wonderful memories when i talk about japan.

sigh... miss them already...

anyway, we went back to roy's apartment n he showed us his NZ photos on the projector n these guys criticised almost EVERY photo! ok, think there were two which they commented, "that's nice." first they commented on the "raw" painted wall which was the screen. roy said it's cheaper than to get a proper screen. mr ultra cool yan dao said, "at least paint it nicer." so they were like "wa, what were u tryin to do?", "it's out of focus.", "the focus is wrong", "u should have cropped that" n the most ultimate, "there's dirt on your lens" n made roy zoom in to reveal 2 tiny bugs which he claimed could have just flown past...

oh man, these guys aren't coming anywhere near my photos. i feel so inadequate in their midst.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Happy Birthday to Kor

Hi kor, if u r reading this...

happy birthday to you! (2X)
happy birthday to kor kor!
happy birthday to you!

happy birthday, hugs, i love u! =) u r e best kor, u know that right?

God bless!
your lil sis =)

Changi Airport.... the best?

Recently we were on holiday n were in T2 DFS doing some shopping. i must say it was an utterly disappointing experience. i think changi airport has deteriorated. it used to be much better. my favourite shoe boutique has now become a miserable area in a section called "luxury brands" n when i walked in i was stunned! they had a grand total of TWO pairs of shoes!!! i could not believe it. then i looked for my other favourite brand reputed for its tartan design. nowhere in sight.... i caught sight of a "renovation" sign.... oh, great, it's under renovation. so chris n i took the travellator to T1 to check out the shops there. i found a nice white top n i asked "can i try this?" but the girl refused to let me try, "you got make up, cannot try" i put it down n walked out of the boutique. come on, i am not going to pay $350 for a top i can't try! this is a good brand (the tartan design one) so they should have scarves for people w make up to try the white tops right? we went back to T2 n i got a pair of sunglasses because i liked it v much n the salesman was sincere n provided good service. it's such a competitive world out here n i tell u, people w bad service will not survive. so infuriating. did i grow up believing changi airport is one of the best? something is wrong....

of course, chris was secretly giving thanks in his heart that i didn't manage to buy my shoes n top. he smiled n said, "God's will dear" held my hand n led me to the boarding gate, the smile lingering on his face.

Sit off the Fat....?

Last sat morning, chris n i were channel-surfing n as usual, there were no decent shows. i tell u, there must be some conspiracy... during GSS, the TV shows really suck so u have to get out n spent money... it's a conspiracy.

anyway, we came to some "TV-mercial" which we had to watch because it was so ridiculously stupid we wanted to watch it to get a good laugh. they were two proportionately built americans, one male, one beautiful blond (who looks like georgia from ally mcbeal) promoting a belt which they claimed burned off fat from your waist. while wearing the belt, u can be doing anything, from being a couch potato to spending "quality time together" n they showed a couple wearing the bright orange-coloured belt laughing n chatting on the bed. they claimed that in 50 mins, the belt can "take at least an inch off your waist" so in order to "proof" their claim, they went to a fitness centre and "randomly" selected members to try out the belt. to make it look realistic, there was even a woman who declined w a reason, "sorry, i gotta pick up the kids." (if everyone agreed to try, it won't look realistic right?)

so these people had their waist measurements taken n tried the belt for 50 mins...

after 50 mins, the belt was removed to show droplets that looked like sweat. the blonde exclaims, "see the perspiration?! it means it's working!" after which she measured the person's waist again n voila! s/he lost an inch! the person responds excitedly, "wow! i can't believe it! i lost an inch!"

at this point, chris n i looked at each other n laughed.... all the while when we were watching, we had this "what crap!" look. i mean, are these people dumb or do they think the viewers r dumb? it doesn't take a genius to know that it's easy to have the measurements differ by an inch by measuring a fatter area loosely the first time n the not so fat area a little tighter the second time right? i can't believe there r still these ads n i wonder how many people buys these belts which cost $149...

as far as maintaining the ideal weight is concerned (apart from good genes), it's no pain, no gain. gotta exercise n sweat it out. the lazy methods are for rich people (lipo, injections etc... scary) but normal people like us should just eat wisely n exercise. there's no easy way out. yes i do love char kuay teow, hokkien mee, chwee kuay, laksa etc.... but eat in moderation. making simple agjustments to your diet also helps, like choosing only wholemeal bread, low fat milk n freshly squeezed fruit juices (those that say "juice drink" r loaded w sugar n sugar gathers at the waist baby).

finally, if u stop drinking carbonated drinks, u can lose more than an inch without doing anything, n probably save $149.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

My Fav Salon

My favourite hair salon is tucked in a mall at one end of orchard (no, not david gan's passion, siao, i can't afford). it's got excellent service. my hairdresser is ronda san, this young skinny japanese guy with a sincere smile n a beard that i think he is trying to grow. not really takuya kimura or takeshi kaneshiro material but likeable because he is friendly, treats my hair well n gives his best in service to make me feel it's worth the trip n money. actually, it costs almost the same as most salons in town. he doesn't speak much english but tries to. well, once u step in (make appointment first n request for japanese stylist if u want one), they take your handbag n keep it in the cabinet for u. then ronda san directs me to my seat, smiles n i pick up a lock of hair, looks at it n say "nagai kara... turimu...onegaishimasu" (long, so trim pls) n smile back. we'd go back n forth, him in his broken english n me in my broken japanese... quite fun for me. he'd cut first then shampoo. oh, the shampoo, it's my favourite part. they've got this mechanized chairs that r upright when u sit down then they press a button n it goes into the recline position. ronda san gently places a towel on my lap (to prevent zao geng i guess) n a plastic mask (the phantom of the opera type) on my face so that e stray droplets splashing around will not ruin my make-up, how thoughtful. i prefer to be shampooed by men then women because men have short nails but strong hands. so i feel the strong fingertips (not nails) massaging my scalp... hm.... shiok. at the end of the shampoo, he removes the mask, presses the button on the chair n plop, upright u go. back at the seat, he gives a wonderful head n shoulder massage. then proceeds to do a second cut. i always ask for ocha n they serve real green tea, not the cheapo chinese restaurant type of chinese tea (i mean, i like chinese tea too but not the made in bulk, tasteless type) that most salons here serve when u ask for tea. in fact, the first time i was there, i was presented w a drink menu, impressed. it's the little gestures that i appreciate. he just cuts my hair n does not start criticising every single follicle he sees n recommend that i do this treatment because my hair is v dry, or try that hair colour because the it looks dull etc. i just want a hair cut, n some peace, which ronda san gives me. so i ask about the treatments n decide to get one. ha ha...

i tell chris about this shop but he says he still prefers his no frills indian barber. he once asked the guy for a shampoo n was presented with a bottle of kao biore n directed to a wash basin... great. he is not bothered, gamely grabbed the bottle, washed his hair n asked for a towel.

Why Japanese Women Don't Grow Old or Fat.

I was at a bookstore yeaterday n a title caught my eye "Why Japanese Women Don't Grow Old or Fat". It's true. I hardly see fat Japanese (short, yes, but fat, no) in general n the Japanese women, even after chldbirth, look slim. but I don't have to read that book to know why. It's diet, climate n onsen (ok, genes too).

The japanese diet is very balanced n healthy. authentic Japanese cooking emphasizes fresh ingrdients n minimal seasoning to enhance the natural flavour of the ingredients. the method of cooking is often varied. there's raw, boiled, grilled, steamed, deep fried etc. the servings are small. some japs still have the habit of bringing mum's bento to work or school. even the bought ones are balanced n healthy. of course, they eat loads of fish (omega 3), drink green tea (high in antioxidants) n go to onsens saturated with minerals that nourish the skin. the climate is also perfect for the skin n hair i feel. when i am there, my skin doesn't get oily unlike in humid singapore. n my hair doesn't point in directions i don't want it to go (it's the humidity in singapore that gives us bad hair days i read somewhere).

let's compare a typical japanese meal w an american one n singaporean one. it's obvious why japanese are not fat:

japanese: salmon sashimi, miso soup, unagi don or some don, green tea, slice of fruit.

american: cream of mushroom soup, hamburger, fries, coke, choc brownie w ice cream. ok, maybe not so bad, let's replace cream of mushroom n fries w minestrone soup n mashed potatoes.

singaporean: ecomonical rice. sugarcane juice.

so, who will get fat n who will not? but then again, it's your choice of food. u can eat japanese every day but choose tempura. i don't think that's gonna help. what is important to note is if u walk into a japanese restaurant, it is likely that the percentage of "balanced, low-fat, healthy" food is much higher than that in a local hawker centre or american restaurant.

n no matter what creams or lotions u smear on your skin, nothing beats the nourishment by natural minerals in an onsen, not to mention it makes u sweat (detox) everytime u use it n it relaxes your body n mind too which is advantageous for overall well-being. of course, if u r blessed w good genes like the japanese, it helps =)

Tabemono



japanese food.... my last meal has got to be 'fugu' (puffer fish) sashimi or sushi. i love the sushi - vinegared rice w a slice of fugu n a shiso leaf. oh man... someone i know describes it as "it's worth dying for." enough said.

n kobe gyu... o, the pinnacle of excellence in beef. once u have tasted wagyu, normal beef will not satisfy u anymore. i read that wagyu is from cows that genetically have marbled fat high in omega 3 n in japan, i heard that they drink beer, get massages n listen to mozart. sorry to disappoint u cows out there but the thing is, u have to be BORN a wagyu cow. drinking beer, getting massages n listening to mozart DOES NOT make u wagyu grade. it's like wearing a kimono doesn't make u a japanese. wonder how much the stud fees for a wagyu bull is...


we visited a matsusaka gyu yakiniku place in namba, osaka n gosh, it was so good (not to mention the waiter is really cute)! the beef is succulent, tender n needs little or no seasoning. just grill it, dip it in the special blended sauce n enjoy it's authentic taste... yum. i was v fascinated w e way they served wasabi. in singapore, they give u this small lump of green wasabi paste. in that restaurant, they served the entire wasabi plant n a grater. it looks like a tiny yam, one u can hold in your hands. so u grate it n pick it up w your chopsticks into your shoyu. it dissolves instantly into the shoyu, unlike e paste type that needs poking n jabbing n some cajoling w your chopsticks before it stubbornly agrees to bind with the shoyu... i was so fascinated that the next day i went to doguyasuji to buy the shark skin grater for wasabi. it's still sitting in my kitchen cabinet because singapore doesn't sell fresh wasabi plant!!!!! ah!!!! not even isetan (i have not checked meidi ya). i'm waiting for the day i can impress my guest w my freshly grated wasabi =) but meidiya sells good wagyu beef =) ha ha...

finally, it's hokkaido king crab. never been to hokkaido although chris keeps peruading me, because i find it too cold. i did suggest going to hokkaido in summer n he turned to look at me, eyes narrowed, lips pursed. ok, sorry that i even suggested that. he was so bent on going that he tempted me, " dear, if i buy u a burberry winter jacket will u go to hokkaido w me?" i immediately stopped what i was doing, my eyes lit up, eyebrows raised...i seriously was tempted... that's not too bad an idea... let me think about it... "don't take too long to think" chris replied "... or i'll have to enjoy fresh hokkaido king crab myself, after a good soak in the outdoor onsen with a snow capped mountain backdrop!"


anyway, we found an excellent crab restaurant near koimizu street in kyoto called kani ya (kani - crab, ya - house) that serve kaiseki ryori, an elaborate feast of up to say 13 dishes, each cooked using a different method. at kani ya, all the dishes involve crab. so u have crab sashimi, boiled crab, grilled crab, fried crab, crab chawanmushi, crab hotpot (kani - crab, nabe - hotpot. i always feel awkward ordering this dish...)etc etc. it's crab galore. the legs are thick like thicker than your fingers n it slides out from one end if you push it from the other. our favourite is the crab porridge made using the stock at the end of crab steamboat. imagine all the essence of the crab absorbed by each rice grain...yum. i feel hungry already.

here's the website for kani ya if u r interested. they have various branches all over japan.
http://www.kani-ya.co.jp/english/kani/tenpo/kyoto_y.htm

Osaka - doguyasuji

doguyasuji in osaka. frankly, i probably won't stop by in osaka if not for this street. it's a chef's heaven. everything a japanese chef ever wants is there. i am not a chef but enjoy cooking n am utterly fascinated w the myriad of stuff they have there. everytime i am there, i lug at least 1 or 2 bags of stuff home. my guests r often impressed too when they see my stuff. i believe it adds to the enjoyment of the food (makes my less than excellent cooking forgiveable! ha ha!)i think martha stewart, anthony bourdain, nigella lawson will love that place.

Kyoto - koimizudera


kyoto's koimizu pottery is reputedly the best in japan i believe. there are 2 streets up to koimizu temple both of which are lined w little shops selling an excellent variety of japanese craft, pottery n other interesting stuff. koimizu means "clear water" or "qing shui" in chinese. for me, the temple is not the highlight (i'm not into temples although i do appreciate the architecture) but the streets r. i just go ga ga when i step into the shop selling koimizu pottery such as bowls, tea sets, sake sets, plates, everything u can find in a top notch japanese restaurant probably originated from there. but most of the time i can't afford the stuff with the words "qing shui" on it. i just window shop, soak it in n admire the workmanship. i tell myself, "ah ya, so expensive, even if i buy it i will not bear to use it..." that's how i console myself, ha ha. but i do buy the more affordable ones (those without "qing shui") n chris had to help me lug them back. there's so much variety n u r so spoiled for choice. the japs have a receptacle or equipment for every single purpose. somehow, walking up n down that street slows down the pace of life as u take time to admire the craft that someone else probably spent decades perfecting. there was an interesting lil shop selling only japanese fans, some of which had intricate hand painted drawings... v pretty. we once chanced upon a cosy coffee cum tea house, run by one man. it was on level two n we had to walk up a short flight of stairs. it was autumn so the sides were lined with lovely flowers, i recognised poinsettas... flowers always bring a smile to my face. chris had a coffee n i opted for matcha with sweet cake. Ah.... bliss. i observed the owner, who is probably in his late 30s, bespected, clean shaven, very neatly dressed in a crisp white shirt, beige pants n pinstriped navy blue apron, n wondered what high flying job he left to run this lil tea house on this lovely street.... n wished i could do the same.

Nippon


Everyone's going to Japan... my kor just left yesterday to japan, jiahui is planning to go in oct cos her girlfriend managed to get her hands on the supposedly much coveted tickets to SMAP concert to watch takuya kimura (the guy twirling his locks n dancing gayly to the song "i... can geeb u gatsby... gatsby.... gatsby" in the gatsby ad for hair wax)... n she offered to accompany her. makes me reminisce about japan, i love japan - the food, the culture, the architecture, the scenery, the people. somehow, japan's fruits are extra sweet, fish extra fresh, veg extra crunchy, shopping extra shiok, pottery extra refined, girls extra pretty, guys extra hot etc etc.... there must be something special in their soil, sea n climate, the combination of which is the perfect ingredient that makes everything beautiful. I have not been to many parts of japan but some of the places that stand out for me are koimizudera in kyoto n doguyasuji in osaka, mainly because i love admiring n if i can afford, buying beautiful japanese kitchenware.

when can i go back again?

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Excuse me, you are in public!

I was on the MRT today, seated comfortably, engrossed in my Mitch Albom book when the person on my right alighted n a teenage girl filled the space. Actually I didn't notice, or couldn't really be bothered until from the corner of my eye (women have wide-angled vision) i saw her engaging in a grosteque activity. She too was engrossed in her Chinese romance novel but like most women, she was multi-tasking. With her left pinkie, she was excavating her left aural cavity with such pleasure n delight, nonchalant that she is in public. I turned around slightly just to verify what I thought I saw and instantly regretted it... tried m' best not to contort my facial features too much, darted my eyes around to check if another commuter also caught sight of the disgusting act so that we can squirm in agreement but found none so I went back to Mitch and Morrie's conversation... But I could not concentrate, she was at it for the longest time and each time she was about to turn the page, she would rub her thumb and pinkie together before tranferring the waxy find onto the page! I would have gladly changed seats but the train was packed. So I tried to scoot my butt a little to my left, as far from her as possible (I did mention she was on my right n utilising her left pinkie right?). My ordeal lasted 10 page turns of her novel... yes, i counted.

Another time I saw an auntie who looked like she tried to put in effort to look fashionable clipping her nails on the MRT. I was reading somethin n the silence was punctuated with periodic "click click" sounds. When I looked up, I saw her happily clipping her nails n letting the bits fall to the ground!

I don't understand why some people think nothing about doing such stuff in public. There is protocol, people. Excavating things from any of your orifices (other than the occasional crustie in the eye) in public is not acceptable. Littering public transport with unwanted nail tips is also not acceptable. Pls do it in the privacy of your home, cubicle (when no one's around), toilet, car etc.... spare others the torture... we do not want to share your pleasure with you. Pls share it with your family, they'll always be there for you...