Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cherries Galore

I walked past this cherry sale at nearby Shop 'N Save this morning on my way to work and was sort of compelled to get some. As this cherry sale seldom happens in supermarkets here in Singapore, I planned to grab some after work.

The cherry sale at Shop 'N Save

However, I completely forgot about this cherry-cherry thing the whole day until I saw so many aunties next to me fighting for the good ones when I was hunting for some oranges after work.

These women can be fierce and aggressive human beings in a sale like this. 
Be strong.

In the end, I joined the force.

I thought they were quite cheap but turned out I had to fork more than $5 out of my pocket for only about 370 grams of them.

The cleaned red cherries ready to be attacked.

But anyway, they taste good. Such a worthy 5 bucks investment. Also, to console myself over buying such expensive fruit treats (especially after the $5 goma wakame trauma last night), I googled cherry health benefits (well, it is actually good to know for my own knowledge too).

Apparently cherries:
  • Contains many vitamins such as vitamin A and C
  • Are free radicals thus helps slowing the aging process down
  • Help fight cancer
  • Aid in prevention of heart disease
  • Relieve pain in Arthritis, Gout and headaches
  • Improve psychological and mental functions
  • Help losing weight
  • Are high in potassium and low in sodium
  • Help control water retention
  • Help increase metabolism

In summary, whenever you spot any imported cherry on sale in supermarkets, please help yourself to get some as they usually cost rather expensive compared to other tropical fruits. They taste good and seem to have quite a number of nutritious benefits too.

I'll share them with someone special tomorrow. Yay!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Santa's Bag is Full of Snacks

I always love snacking. Although I try to limit consuming snacks due to health reasons, somehow I cannot help my hand for not grabbing them from supermarket racks or grocery shops and eat them all like there's now tomorrow.

I love cheese balls, cheese rings, BBQ sticks, potato chips, shrimp sticks, seaweed crackers and the like - you name it. But I hate those wasabi or curry flavored ones.

Via WhatsApp, my fiance told me that he just did something crazy for me after he had his dinner tonight. He said he has just bought 25 different types of snack from the grocery shop next to his quarters for me to enjoy this weekend.

Snack frenzy: My Santa's presents although it's not Christmas.

25 of them! How to finish? My fiance said they are all in small packages and can be finished real fast. I thought, "Sure. Haha. Why not? Slowly we'll get there. Let's just be sure to get Pi Pa Gao or cooling water stand by for the post-snacking party effects." *joking*

Anyway, I'm so looking forward to choose which one to open first.

Thank you again, Darling! I know how you love to pamper me.

Lousy Goma Wakame

After discussing with my fiance on what food to eat this weekend this afternoon, I thought of sushi again. But, apparently I could not wait until this weekend for my seaweed craving and sushi. I hit NTUC Bishan right after work to buy some sushis and my favorite Japanese seaweed salad.

I had this craze over this cold green seaweed salad and literally paid $5.00 for a small box of goma wakame in NTUC. It is a smaller portion from the one sold in Shokudo and more expensive too. On top of that, I also bought three sushi items to take away which cost $ 0.70/piece.

I had a super high expectation on my dinner at home tonight.

Tonight's Japanese cold treat dinner from NTUC.
Free sushi soy sauce for minimum purchase of $2.50 worth of sushi and other items.

All the three sushis tasted quite nice and I sort of enjoyed all three of them. However, to my disappointment, the one that I really looked forward to enjoy the most tasted very weird. The goma wakame smelled so fishy that I could not take big bites of it and in the end, I took no bite at all.

I could not continue chewing it but had no heart to throw the almost untouched seaweed box away to the trash bin. I just placed it in my fridge for now. See what happens tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

There goes my S5.00 into the drain. Just like that.

Note: No more goma wakame from supermarkets from now on. Only get it from real Japanese restaurants. Period.

Oh, Man! She's So Big Now!

I always look forward to see Baby Obama in person. All the time.

All this while, I only get updates about her via phone calls with my parents or siblings and her photos that my sister occasionally posts on Facebook.

Finally after more than six months of expectation, I got to see her again. The last time I saw her, she was such a baby, though her size was a bit big for her age. Could not do much.

But now look at her. She can walk and runs and speak already! And she loves flipping fashion magazines and messing the folded and ironed clothes stack!

She is still very glued to my Mom. More than ever. More than to anyone. That makes her even cuter in my eyes.

Time for tying hair!

Why do you look so sad?

My favorite smile.

Chubby.. Chubby..

G.L.U.E.D.

Check her irresistible wavy hair!
'Gadis Bali' Style

Three days are not enough to catch up with her.

I want to see her again please. Longer, next time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blog Facelift

After the longest search for a new blog template that looks clean and suits my style, finally tonight I decided to use the new free template design application from blogspot. Initially, I was just playing around with it and trying many new designs offered. I browsed which one would look nice and is not too overused. After a while adjusting the color, font, size, width, etc - I snapped a photo of the new look of my blog and consulted it with my fiance via Whatsapp.

He said the new one is good. I clicked the APPLY TO BLOG tab. Such a liberation! My blog now looks different after two years.

Too bad there is no option to bring the border lines out for the photos uploaded.

It looks a bit too bright, huh?

Anyway, it's so green now. Like I always wanted.

Fresh. I'm contented.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Game Review: Enchanted by GodFinger

Game developers for iPhone have been working hard around the clock. They keep on inventing new games almost on daily basis.

At one point, I was so hooked to Zombie Farm and now I never touch it at all. My full attention now has been dedicated to GodFinger - a new iPhone game introduced by my new colleague few weeks ago during our Monday meeting.

I downloaded this game first. Then, I made my fiance downloaded this too. Then, I also forced my other colleague, Iris Tan, to download this game as well. The more the merrier, so they say.

GodFinger's Opening Page.

So, the task of this game is to run your own planet. You become the God. You are given a planet. You are given people and plants. You will be given a sun, two clouds and one dark cloud to run the whole planet into a civilization. You ask your people to pray hard for the 'mana' to do all the magical stuff like creating rain, thunder, solar power or fire and get your people to work hard to earn money through farming. Your people need rest too though, so you need to buy and build tents for them to restore their energy. Plus, you need to be careful in controlling your finger or else you'd create flood or fire and might kill your own people!

My kur2kee planet.

See my planet! See the lake for fishing?

You can add friends who have other planets and enchant their people to earn more money. My first and dearest friend in the galaxy was my fiance, then followed by Iris Tan. When my fiance decided to delete this game from his iPhone because he was quite bored with it already, I stopped playing this game for few days as there was no counterpart. Luckily, when he decided to re-download the game again, his account was saved in the server so he did not have to start the game from zero. Until now, both of us are still playing. Sometimes we secretly play one round during working hours too to reduce some stress at work.

My planet and my friends' planets in the galaxy. 
You can periodically earn extra mana and gold too from the asteroids in the galaxy.

It's a fun game as of now but it maybe boring too to some extent as it's quite monotonous. Also, this game hangs when we encounter internet connection problem.

See how long we'd last with this one.

Cooking Mixed Vegetables Dish and Sauteed Shrimps in English Sauce

I had been having a crave over my Mom's signature sauteed shrimps cooked with margarine and English sauce since my Malang trip. That's why I was planning to cook shrimps last Friday night and let my fiance taste this favorite dish again since he was about to visit me. I bought plenty of veggies and shrimps for Friday's dinner after work but something cropped up. So, Friday cooking plan was abolished.

Yesterday, my fiance and I had a long Sunday. Ran errands in Kota Tinggi. Did site work in Mersing. Dropped worker by Larkin's bus station. Went back to Singapore. And, oh we had some tiring two house viewings too in Clementi and Yishun. Both were not satisfying.

We came home at about 8.30pm last night, both were a bit tired and had not had any dinner yet then. Luckily, my housemates helped me keep the veggies in the fridge and freeze the shrimps for me before I left for JB on that Friday night. So, I quickly started preparing and cooking all these at around 8.45pm and an hour later, we managed to have our late dinner - thanks to the ordeal fighting with the unexpected rice bugs in the beginning that made the cooking process longer!

Anyway, good thing with keeping my fiance's stomach hungry last night was to make it spare extra space for too much food as again, I cooked too much portions for two.

Healthier choice: Mixed Veg (Carrot, Broccoli, Sugar Beans and Egg) and Sauteed Shrimps in English Sauce.

Sauteed Shrimps in English Sauce 


Ingredients:

Shrimps - Cleaned, cut and fried (with normal cooking oil and bit of garlic)
Margarine
Sliced Sweet Onions
English (or Worcestershire) Sauce - It's a must ingredient and so far I can only find this sauce only in Indonesia
Sweet soy sauce (as needed)
Pinch of pepper
Sugar (as needed)
Water (as needed)

In the end, we both could finish almost everything. The shrimps were good although a bit overcooked.

I was not ready for photo shoot after cooking but he snapped me anyway.

I love seeing him eating the food I cook!

I want the shrimps again!

What's in Kuala Sedili?

These days, my fiance is a real busy bee. His project deadline is drawing near and he is required to work extra hard and puts extra hours too. Needless to say, he had to work on Saturday and Sunday too last weekend.

I followed him to his Mersing site over the weekend and we have been staying in two different places, JB and Kota Tinggi, in one weekend. Despite his busy schedule, I sort of enjoy accompanying my fiance working because I get the chance to travel, enjoy different environment and try the local food around Johor. Since we got together, I have been exploring many places in Malaysia than I ever imagined or even thought of visiting. Lucky, huh? One stone, two birds.

For this weekend, I requested my fiance to take me to Kuala Sedili, the only place where he can eat Chinese food around his remote project location in Mersing. Sedili is located about 40 minutes from Kota Tinggi and about 20 minutes drive from his project in Tanjung Leman, Mersing.


Kuala Sedili is really such a fisheries and marine place. All you can see once you set your foot there is a small 'kampong nelayan' selling fish products. There are few Chinese restaurants offering seafood and other Malay food small restaurants around too. When you walk a bit further to the sea direction, you can see a lot of fishing boats and spot living sea animals below the bridge! You'd see all the sea creatures that you won't get to see in a commercialized beaches or other sea tourism spots.

 The Marine Police Station.

The Fishing Boats.

Tired and super moody couple of the week.
What a weekend to remember!

After hanging around the jetty and taking some photos, the Chinese seafood restaurant we wanted to visit was still not opened yet. Thanks to our hungry stomachs, in the end we decided to go to Kota Tinggi to have dinner, instead. It's getting late.

That was the end of my short visit in Kuala Sedili. Something new indeed.

One tough weekend we just had but it's a learning curve. Hope we learn something from every bumpy road we have as a couple and understand each other better. We are still adjusting anyway. Long way to go and we are trying to enjoy every bit of it!

IPA Small Reunion

IPA committee members have not seen each other for months already. The association was sort of idle since last year due to many reasons, therefore regular meetings were abandoned.

After so long not seeing all IPA committee fellows, I really sort of missed their accompany and chit chats. Then, after a couple of weeks of efforts in gathering whoever available in Singapore for quick catching up and dinner, finally 6 of us were reunited again in City Hall last Wednesday after work. These people are so busy, I tell you. It is harder to put them together for a quick dinner than putting together a bunch of speakers to deliver presentations at my conference. No pun intended. *joke*

In the end we decided to have dinner at Shokudo, City Hall. I ordered the exactly same menu for the three consecutive visits at this very restaurant. I love their Japanese rice and seaweed. The price of these dishes are quite affordable yet taste very delicious and their portions for these two dishes are just nice for me.

Shokudo's Sesame Seaweed (Goma Wakame) and mini Unagi-don

It was sort of a nice short gathering and we indeed need to have this kind of informal meetings more often. I got to see Utari, whom I have not seen for almost a year already. It was very good to see this girl fresh again after the whole ordeal she had few months ago. She definitely looked so fresh after her long break in Jakarta.

Chris and Utari. Photo credits by Oscar.

I got to get new updates from other association friends too: Four of them have decided to change jobs and moved on to a better working place. One is expecting a baby. One has just sold his favorite camera and now the photographer is temporarily using his phone's camera until he gets a new one.

It's so good to hear from each other again. When is our next meeting? Mega and Irena - you both should join us next time, if your busy time permits.

When is my turn to move on to a greener field?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tasting the Real Orchard at Kusuma Agrowisata, Batu

My family had special overseas guests over the weekend. We were obliged to bring them around the town and introduce many things from Malang, be it visiting the landmarks of the city or trying the famous local cuisines.

My hometown, Malang, also known as the Paris van East Java, offers not so many places for tourists (I think - as I always scratch my head when it comes to touring around Malang with the real tourists). It is just like any normal small city in Indonesia and only has two quite big shopping malls. Food over there is great - many things you can't find elsewhere. The cool weather there is apparently already heavily affected by global warming. Recently, the traffic in Malang is maddening. Hence, on top of the culinary tour in the city, we had to bring them to the suburb area to relax. The choice was Batu.

After the engagement party was over, we headed to Kusuma Agro Wisata, Batu located about 30-45 minutes from the center of the city. Entrance ticket per person was Rp. 35,000,- and with that, we got one small apple juice (produced from their apples) and the 'right' to pick two oranges or apples (depends on the availability).

We were supposed to harvest the renowned Malang apples straight from the trees but apparently they have just harvested the apples. Hence, no ripe apples left for us. Instead, we had orange harvest session. Equally fun and quite an interesting experience.

I love the green nature that they offer there. Great view. Great experience. I love the smell of the strong orange around the orchards. It was just so fresh! And, they have great collections of unique breed of birds, too. Interesting.

We met a wise-looking bird there!

 Mother and daughter.

This place is just wonderful!

Me and the beautiful orchid in the greenhouse. Flowers are for sale.

My fiance surrounded with the orchids.


Wild flowers..

The dragon fruit orchard.

 The orange orchard.

 We love the smell of the oranges!


Me and the apple trees! 
Their white flowers and the tree structure are just cute!

We should go there again! Recommended.

I'm Officially Engaged!

Yay! We are almost there. We just did our official engagement party back in my hometown over the weekend. It was a very small, modest and straight-to-the-point kind of event for family members and has definitely served its purpose.

During the preparation periods, it involved a lot of discussions, quarrels, confirmations, advices and arrangements. It was indeed a happy and simple event to be held but I must admit that I was quite frustrated when I was arranging it due to the different culture between me and my fiance and the distance between me and my family who helped me to settle all the logistics.

But again, like any other normal girls in this planet, I loved being a princess for a day (especially when the beloved prince was there!). I really loved the make-up session at the Salon (although I almost killed my fiance with boredom then) and the photo sessions (in a complete make up, hair do and pretty dress)! I feel like I have not done this 'Salon' thing for ages and I sort of missed it! Anyway, I was shy too, during the proceedings for being the center of attention and all of us were sort of blur with the processions during the engagement party.

Doing the Rp. 1 Million princess makeover at Gester Salon, Malang. 

The tortured man impatiently waited for me at the Salon for 2 solid hours.

 On the way to the Gang Djangrik Restaurant. 
Guests were waiting for us already.

The Prince and Princess of the Day: Engaged!

With my BFF Astrid and Michael who fortunately could make it despite my very short notice invitation.

My Dad and I after the party.

And this is another part that I love too of the engagement celebration in Indonesia - The red hampers distribution. It's a very traditional thing to do for engagement celebration amongst the Chinese community in Indonesia and I definitely enjoyed the process of preparing it (tho I helped a little bit only). The red hampers are distributed to the family friends and relatives to announce that the girl of one particular family has been taken by the guy's family. Wedding bell is definitely the next thing they should expect after this!

Red hampers ready for door-to-door distribution.

Luckily, I didn't go contemporary with the hamper. These days many couples change the content of the traditional engagement hampers with cute cookies, different flavor or candies, etc but I never regret of being a little bit outdated in this sense. I mean I am fine with the modern and pretty red hamper packages but to me, the contents have to be traditional. I purposely asked my Mom to order the original hamper with the traditional Chinese-style cookies and other ingredients that we can only enjoy when someone sends you engagement hamper since many years ago.

The content of the distributed red hampers minus a pack of caramelized sesame biscuits, a mandarin and a red apple.

I carried two extra hampers back to Singapore and distributed these to my dear colleagues, Iris and Rej. They were so excited opening and clearing all the hamper's contents. They found this very interesting as they have never been given such thing before in Singapore and the Philippines. I was so happy sharing this happy moment across the ocean!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

I have been seeing many people giving very good reviews for Toy Story 3 movie on Facebook. One friend in Facebook said she liked the movie and left a smiley remark about it. Another comment I saw mentioned that the movie made her shed her tears.


All this while, I have been keeping this skepticism about Toy Story. I thought the movie was no good. Not fun. No cute characters. There are no beautiful princesses or charming princes involved in this animation. And they are just about these walking and talking toys - how fantastic can they be? Hence, I never watched and was never interested in its first and second runs. However, all this mind set of mine towards Toy Story was recently changed. Due to these GOOD comments about its third sequel that I read, I was so compelled to catch this although I didn't watch the earlier ones.

I am a Disney die-hard cartoon FANATIC and luckily, my fiance shares the same sentiments towards cartoons as well. Hence, last Friday I made him take me to the cinema and catch Toy Story. Surprisingly, the JUSCO cinema has 3D Toy Story. I was excited and kind of motivated to test the good reviews about this movie - Whether it was actually as good as they commented.

I found the movie itself as quite good, entertaining and surprisingly, although princess-less, I still like the plot and the characters. However, our movie date was definitely ruined by this particular person sitting right behind me. OK... Now the Toy Story topic is switched to this chap we encountered at the cinema last Friday night. I was quite angry about this and could not resist not to blog about him.

This Malay chap was making such a big noise since the second the movie started. He was literally laughing and laughing very loudly for almost every second since the movie began until it concluded. He was laughing and making comments on not even funny scenes. When there were actually funny scenes, he broke even loudlier laughter like thunder.

In short, he was just super and pure annoying to us. Until now, I still can feel his "hahaha", "HAHAHAHAHA", "wahahahaha", "hihihi" very deafening to my ears. Plus, his laughter was louder than the movie volume itself. Amazing! He was just a one selfish and intolerant lad that is not supposed to be admitted to any cinema ever!

Because of him, I could not enjoy the movie to the max and was actually boiling hot until the point that I personally wanted to stand up, turn to him and scold him (three times) to mind other audience with his not cool laughing style. But then again, I thought of not making Toy Story 4 too early at that cinema plus I was just an audience in a foreign land. My fiance offered me to change seats to the front seat to stay away from him but the cinema was quite occupied. He even wanted to reply his laughter by laughing like him during the movie to make him realize how annoying he was, but in the end, he didn't do it either.

After the movie was over, both of us burst into frustrations about this man. In the car on our way home, we talked about it for so long and shared long stories on the disturbances that we both experienced before at cinemas. At cinemas, we'd be sharing the movie with hundreds of people and likely, some of them might have funny characters.

Followings are some arguments why we better watch DVDs at home than in cinemas since our movie session might be ruined by people such as:
  1. Those who crazily and non-stop laugh like mad man or graduates of a mental institution
  2. Those who bring toddlers and these little fellows cry and scream all the time during the movie
  3. Those who always repeat the lines of what the actors or actresses say
  4. Those who cannot catch the movie plot and always refer a friend next to them to explain what is going on with the story
  5. Those who always pick up their mobile phones and say "Sorry, I'm still at the cinema. I'll call you back later" way too often
  6. Those old generations who never set foot to cinema before and basically make comments about how fantastic a cinema is i.e. how loud the sound system is, how big the screen is, how clear the quality of the movie is, how big the size of the cinema is, etc.
  7. Those who bring hot food from outside and the food smell is really stuck inside the cinema
  8. Those scary lovebirds who shamelessly make out at the cinema
Anyway, these are just some random rants over my recent bad experiences at cinema. However, this will definitely not going to stop me from catching movies at cinemas or start watching DVDs at home just because of crazy people out there.

I love and appreciate good movies. And I do love catching them at the cinemas, especially when boredom kicks in.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

For the Love of Sushi

Amongst all the Japanese food varieties, I love Sushi the most. First thing I always do when I have my buffet lunch at hotels when running conference is to grab Sushi onto my plates. Even before my green salad entree. Sushi is like my entertainment of the day!

These past few weeks, my fiance and I have been feeding ourselves with Sushi more often than ever. We both love this pretty little delicious thing originated from Japan.

I love nori and other Japanese seaweed dishes.

He loves wasabi paste. I don't.

I love the sweet tamago taste.

He loves the fresh raw salmon feeling. I don't.

He is not a fussy eater. I am.

So... We set foot in Sakae Sushi for the first time in Bukit Panjang's West Mall, Singapore when my fiance visited me about three weeks ago. I love how Sakae Sushi operates its sushi outlets and the food they sell is just great! Fresh, yummy and a lot of variates!

Sushi is considered a pricey treat for my fiance and I so we both sort of eating them very consciously that day. We were so careful with the plate colors that we picked but anyway, what we paid was just worth the price. I'd love to come and have them again and again!

Blue plate: $2/plate.

Pink plate: S3/plate.

Ohh.. these pretty sushis are lurking around.

Red plate: $4/plate. My majesty unagi sushi
The unagi melts in your mouth.

Can't wait to finish them all!

I love sushi! Aww..

Can't get enough of them!

Hot green tea to cleanse your fat?

Last week, we could not bear parting from Sushi again. Before we caught our movie date, we dropped by the JUSCO supermarket in Seremban and bought a set of brand less sushi from there and ate them at the food court next door. We needed their chopsticks!

RM 14.90 Sushi Set from JUSCO.
Can't compare with Sakae's but still OK to satisfy our sushi craving.

Oh, how I love, love, love SUSHI!