Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My cooking days

Never realised this could be an entry but since I did a photo diary of what I cooked during my final year in university. Guess I'll just upload it here and let you comment my humble attempts. Don't laugh, okay?

My 1st Lunch
My 1st dish : bak chang (I know this doesn't count as cooking!), fried french beans, fried japanese tofu with mixed vegie and carrot juice.

My all-in-one soup dishes. I put in the meat, fishball, vegies together and boil in the ikan bilis soup. Depending on my fancy, I accompany that soup dish with rice or fried meehoon..

When I was hardworking, I could cook 3 dishes as shown in these 2 examples. I find steaming easy... eheh steamed pork ribs, steamed fish and steamed chicken with ginger and "kei chi".

On a healthy day, I would opt for a ham sandwich with a cup of freshly squeezed juice. I haven't experimented all the different combination but normally end up having carrot juice and pear juice with celery. (Namely, cheaper and easier to make). :)

Oh yeah, noticed the similar ingredients? Remember I am a student so.. a packet of mixed vegies can last me sometime for my tofu dish and fried rice. :) The leafy green vegie was the cheapest sold in Jaya Jusco at *RM1.20 a pack (I forgot exactly the price but below RM2 and don't know the name of the vegie - reveals how much I know about vegetables.. ahha)

Japanese tofu would have cost me 90 cents per pack? But I would but like 3 tubes in a pack for RM2.10? Can't really remember the figures. But I have to admit I did splurge a little on the meat especially the fish or prawn. The fish above was half the fish slice I bought and would cost me about RM12 per slice. (so the cost of my one cooked meal is more than a meal eating outside but this one is healthier!! No MSG!!)

Those days, I would do marketing on Saturday mornings (did a few times with Doris those days). Bought vegies, meat... had to spend an hour or two later cleaning the meat-fish, chicken, prawn and packed it nicely in the freezer. Some night markets, I would go and stock up on my fruits for my juices... Wah.. those were the days.

Now? I'm back home and have lovely home-cooked meals (more canggih ones) from my lovely parents..... :)

Meanwhile... this entry is specially dedicated to Alina to encourage her to explore her cooking side... can't wait to see your mushroom dish!! :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shopaholic - Not!

Okay... found an interesting article/research from telegraph.co.uk on why sometimes women shop unnecessarily.Blame it on the hormones!! :P

Women's shopping habits linked to periods
Women's shopping habits are linked to their menstrual cycles, a study has shown.

By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 2:40AM BST 30 Mar 2009


In the ten days before their periods begin women are more likely to make extravagant impulse buys, according to researchers.

Psychologists believe that shopping sprees could be a way for premenstrual women to deal with the negative emotions created by their hormonal changes.

For the study 443 women were asked about their shopping patterns. The 153 women in the sample who were in the later stages of their menstrual cycle tended to have less control of their spending.

Professor Karen Pine of Hertfordshire University, who led the survey, told the Daily Mail: "Spending was less controlled, more impulsive and more excessive for women in the luteal phase [the days immediately before their period].

"The spending behaviour tends to be a reaction to intense emotions. They are feeling very stressed or depressed and are more likely to go shopping to cheer themselves up and using it to regulate emotions."

She added: "It is also a socially sanctioned way to deal with emotional overload compared to turning to drink or drugs.

"If women are worried about their spending behaviour then they should avoid going shopping at the end of their menstrual cycle."

The research will be presented at the British Psychological Society conference on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clarins Whitening Workshop & Marmalade

Wasn’t really thinking of writing a review… but oh well..

I saw the promotion in the Female magazine and quickly rounded up my other 3 friends to join me. This would be our second workshop. The first was Stila Makeup Workshop and it was kind of interesting despite my panda-makeup. :P Besides, these workshops proved a good time to have a an-girls outing doing “girly stuff”.

The itinerary seemed promising plus the picture of the door gifts. It promised hand pampering, manicure, massage and makeover. Hence, I was looking forward to it.

We had our lunch at Marmalade (highly recommended by my friend). I ordered quiche and was disappointed. Maybe I should have not ordered something I have never eaten before – very bland. My friend’s chicken pie was okay but I liked her side dishes of mashed potato and gravy – yes, I snuck a mouthful but she offered! :p (picture shows the chicken pie dish). Another friend’s dish was also yummy but I forgot what it was called.

Back to the workshop, hence with lunch, we were late for half and hour. The lady in charge said it was better if we ate outside and I presumed not to disturb the others. The workshop started with a simple explanation of their new whitening range using snow lotus from the mountains in Nepal and their good benefits. I sat quite back; plus lack of sleep so no idea what she was talking about.

The neck and should massage was in a form of a demonstration (disappointed). I think we missed the hand pampering since we had lunch earlier. Anyway,t we watched a blogger I recognized from plusizekitten.blogspot being treated to a facial. There were 2 models demonstrated using the new range. Actually a better detailed review can be found in her blog.
Later on, 2 spokesperson came to share their experiences using these products. We managed to take pictures with Low Ngai Yuen and had a nice talk with her. She looked young and great despite having 3 children already. (Most young mothers do look great these days). Sighh….

Next was the free session with manicure, makeover and food. We queued for our manicure and watched a scene of an “aunty” cutting queue rather rudely. (Nothing to comment except “You know, I know-lah”) The lady who did my nails painted them in nude pink and advised me how to care for my nails after I queried. She recommended getting O.P.I .nail hardener to harden my nails so I can keep it longer. We didn’t manage to get the other lady who could paint little flowers on the nails.

Two of us went for the makeover and this time, it turned out okay – without the panda-effect. During this time, the beautician came over to recommend their products (basic skincare and not what was demonstrated) – Ironic but no one seemed to care.

I bought the 2nd set promotion of 7 items for RM150 (normal price RM250) as I thought it was reasonable and I was running out of skincare products. My friend had asked so many questions that the lady even wrote down on the boxes the steps to use the products. Cute… but the funniest thing was she mistaken my friend as me because I asked my friend to help me buy first in my name. We all laughed every time she called my friend my name even though we corrected her.

I am pleased with the cute little doorgift as shown in the magazine. The skincare can be used; perfume I gave my mum as I have my own and kept the nude miniature lipstick for myself.

Parking costs me RM9 as I was there whole day plus my group discussion in the morning but in all, it was a fun day out with the girls! :p Where did the flea market go? (Haven’t been to Mt. Kiara in ages)

Confessions of a Shopaholic

The first book I read by Sophie Kinsella was “Can you Keep a Secret” and I was tickled with laughter at some of the silly things the character was portrayed to have done. However, it never did prompt me to get the shopaholic books because it was a series and I didn’t want to get “hooked” to it. But I just got “Undomestic Goddess” – wonder how it’ll turn out.

Anyway, thankfully, I managed to get hold of 4 free tickets for a preview of her first movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic. It’s a romantic comedy which my friends who have read the book commented have slightly altered plot from the original story. (Most storyline in the movies are altered from the book). One friend commented she preferred a blonde to emphasis on the “dumb blonde” typology but since I didn’t read the book, I have no complaints about the movie.

I have to admit certain part of the movies made me laugh out loud or feel embarrass for her. The actress expression and certain parts of her acting strangely remind me of the character from Enchanted (acted by Amy Adams). Trivia: Isla Rivers is engaged to Borat! :P

Back to the movie, if you love chick-flick or need a laugh, it is worth watching. But if you’re a Kinsella fan, then I’m not too sure if you will be disappointed or not.

For example, I read the book “P.S. I love you” and enjoyed it. When it came to the movie, somehow Hillary Swank wasn’t the person I pictured as the character in the book and despite obtaining the movie for sometime now; I have not brought myself to watch it. I fear my imagination from reading the book will be tainted with the reproduction as a movie.

Hence, I’m glad I didn’t read the book so I could enjoy the movie last night without comparing!

Freebies

The phrase “Nothing comes free in life” plays in my mind over and over again recently, especially since it was repeatedly mentioned to me.

But when I get the freebies, I do not think of it that way. I am not motivated by greed but just the surprise of winning something (normally little gifts). Few years back, I started buying certain women’s magazine to painstakingly fill all the competitions paste it on postcards to send out. Few months and sometimes a year later, I might get a letter informing me that I have won something. So there is no pressure or anxiety in waiting to know the results.

Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that some of this “freebies” are like honeyed-trap. Once you put your foot into the place, you get caught into buying or trying their products at a slight moment of weakness. Hence, I got caught in the web of trying to look slim and beautiful. Men! I blame you for your obsession with the lithe shaped women! :P

It is true; at a sane mind now, I didn’t think I would succumb to any temptations but when you put yourself in the honey trap; the droning of the salesperson voice plus your insecurities will create a potential sale.

Recently, I attended a workshop and bought some facial products at a discounted price with a RM36 voucher for a facial. I noticed the facial is a honey trap. While your face get pampered with their products, the beautician will carefully bring out the problems of your complexion and recommend products to counter the aging process, skin pigmentation, etc. Hence, in your weakness, you tend to buy one or two of their products.

It is not wrong; it is their business as nothing comes free in life. They give you a promotion to “try” their products and in your intrigue (I pinpoint this reason on being gullible and na├»ve), you “try”-loh! Hence, I tried and burned a hole in my pocket. But I don’t blame my “silly self” for putting myself in the honey trap. What I do now, is learn and avoid these places with the hopes of putting myself near any temptation.

Don’t you always wonder why you end up buying hair products or getting extra hair treatments when all you wanted was a simple haircut?

Don’t you realized that you wanted to buy a product but since the salesperson told you that if you buy 3 products, you can get a discount?

These are some of the gimmicks to increase their sales on the price-conscious person. Some might blame it as greed or the typical mentality, “It’s on sale – I must get it! It’s a steal!”

In short, what I learn is to paused and ask myself, do I need this extra product now? Do I really need that treatment? And finally, am I really that ugly that I need to believe all the beauty products that can miraculously turn any ugly duckling into a beautiful swan?

To you women out there, yes, we might look prettier with make-up and all, but learn the beauty of moderation to save yourself from an unnecessary debt to being a silly shopaholic. :p

Ironically, I am watching that movie tonight and a friend sarcastically remarked that I will learn to be a shopaholic by watching that. “Oh no!” :P

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Beauty Torture Inventions

IMHO, to date, these are the top 3 beauty torture inventions designed to torment women in the name of beauty.

1. High-heeled shoes
Yes, a women looks sexy and confident as she struts down the catwalk or anyway in those dangerously high thin stilettos.

But have you heard about the long terms effect of wearing high-heels? You will get pains ranging from hammer toes and bunions to irreversible damage to leg tendons and even back pain!

Many of the problems - which can occur simultaneously - are caused by the increased pressure high heels put on the ball of the foot; the higher the heel, the greater the pressure. The knee and back can also be affected. Images are taken from an article in Mail Online.

Hence, I usually wear high-heels for dinners and special events. Somehow, one of my male colleague will still ask me to wear heels to look nicer but my reply would be, "Why don't you try wearing them! Painful!" :p

Not a victim to fashion.... yet?

2. Laser skin treatment

I have pimpled blemish skin. I never really bothered about it till one day, a little girl's comment irked me enough to try laser treatment.

Despite putting some numbing cream, it was painful! Another invention to illustrate the lengths a women will tolerate pain in the name of beauty. I only went twice till my piggy bank runs dry. The treatment itself is quite costly.

In fact, beauty centers also provide this treatment. Previously I went to a skin specialist who recommended these sessions. Ironically, they just trained anyone without qualifications to do the treatment for me. Only the doctors will see you for higher range treatment.

Unless, you're having high degree burns on your skin, I personally would not recommend you try this treatment. It may prove to have results but the ones that I can recall now is dryer skin and building a higher endurance for pain.

3. Slim-wrap + hot blanket

I was kind of silly taking up a free session & massage with a slimming centre today. I sort of got carried away to try some other of their sessions to remove my tummy (Regretted after seeing the bill). But one of the session I could not tolerate was the slim-wrap in their hot blanket. (wonder how Rosie from Phu Chu Kang does it? hehe)

They literally wrap you in this transparent cling wrap, like you use to wrap left-overs after putting some ointment on you. Then they "baked" you in this hot blanket for 30 minutes.

Now I can honestly tell you how it feels like being baked in an oven. The idea was to make you sweat, but since I don't sweat easily; I got little sweat and very red inflamed skin!!


The sad thing about this centre, they happily took my statistics and all but the after consultation was just a typical salesgirl trying to push for a sales. Nothing was said about any (minimum) results but just pushing me to sign up a course. In fact, when I declined, she insisted I pay a deposit (which is refundable in vouchers for their facial treatment) to get the best of their promotion now.

D'oh! If I don't want, I would rather want my money back and not forced to take someother package. I "bluntly" told her I read in the papers about this kind of scam by slimming centers and I do not want it. Then only she rest her case and gave me my bill.

Why on earth did I bother trying the other sessions and paying few hundred Ringgit for the trial sessions? Sigh.. I got conned in the name of beauty and I haven't even gotten my free massage!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Prostitute-Drive

When my brother cleverly describe the USB flash drive as a "prostitute", I was outraged. However, now, I think that really describes how the USB flash drive works.

Why?

Well, my workstation has been infected with the autorun.exe virus. This is because my pc is set up to print coloured documents while some of my colleagues' computers cannot. (That's my office's policy to control abuse of coloured printing). Hence, my colleagues would happily "poke" their USB into my PC to print their documents; without scanning most of the time.

So, imagine this, one USB flash drive "pokes" into one PC,then another and another; easily transmitting virus/worms from each PC. Therefore, I agree; it does sound like a prostitute or more of a promiscuous person sleeping around. Or another way of saying it bluntly, a guy who pokes his d**k into different women without using protection or rubber or condom... then spreads STDs, HIV, etc.... You get the picture.

Hence, I guess the next "billionaire" will be the person who can create a condom-usb-drive to protect from all this ridiculous-irritating virus, worms, malware...

Of course, like men, they might not want to use the protection. So lets wait and see how it turns out while antivirus company continuously update their protection and removal tools to counter this. Arghh, discovered another worm in my pc which originated from USB flash drives!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Impulse Shopping

No, I am not a shopaholic.

But at times, I do indulge in a little shopping therapy. Sigh.

This normally happens after a prolong time of absence from any shopping malls or shopping activities. So all this suppressed urges get blown off with a need to buy something to make myself happy. Weird, huh?

In February, the urge to buy something for myself for Valentine's day was quite huge. Perhaps, added with feeling down and lost, I was easily enticed to buy something which I quite regret now and have not even used it.

There was a 50% sales at a jewellery boutique near my office. I was never really interested till out of boredom, I googled the designer pieces they advertised. I was hooked.

I was hooked by their designer's collection - Jeanine Payer.
When I saw her lovely creations with hand-engraved lovely words or poem engraved to little pieces of silver, I thought it was a meaningful gift as I so love words... :)

This is an excerpt about Jeanine Payer's works.

One of Payer’s first creations was designed as a gift: a tiny book engraved with a beloved poem by Rainer Maria Rilke that only the wearer knew was there. Today, Payer’s designs continue to be graced with the words of both contemporary and ancient voices such as Emily Dickinson, Rumi, Lao Tzu, Jane Hirshfield, and Ovid. “Each person brings their own particular meaning to the jewelry, therefore each piece becomes highly endowed,” says the designer. “These pieces become talismanic as they are chosen to mark emotional and philosophical moments in each person’s life.

I dropped by the boutique, thinking I might get one of those for myself. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford one. Minimum, it would have cost me RM700 plus and it is only silver which will oxidised and turn black (according to the saleslady). I strongly felt she didn't want me to buy the designer items.

In the end, after browsing an hour with the apt attention of the sales lady, I was sorely tempted to buy something. Another "customer" came in and hinted to me that the tennis bracelet was worth a buy. It would have been more expensive in a boutique (which I can't recall/don't know) in Bangsar Village. She bought a ring for herself.

Hence, since I got myself all worked up at buying something, I bought the tennis bracelet just because I got intrigued with the term "tennis bracelet". Weird huh?

After googling the term, I realised it is a in-line thin diamond bracelet named after the former World No. 1 woman tennis player and the winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, Chris Evert in 1987. It was accidentally broken during a match whereby the match was interrupted to allow Chris to recover her precious diamonds. Then it has been a trend since then.
Obviously the one I bought wasn't a diamond bracelet but a zirconian bracelet. I bought it at RM200.... sigh I know.. I shouldn't have splurged on this. I found a cheaper version in LYN for RM14. I silently wish perhaps the stones are more expensive than the LYN one.

Oh yeah, I have learned about online shopping. Bought one practical item before. Now about to order another item not available in Malaysia.

Conclusion, I can't run from impulse shopping but at least online- it will make me think long and hard as I have to bank in money, wait for postage, trust the seller, etc. What do you think? :p

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cross

What does the “cross” mean to me?

I can always remember the pastor telling us the danger of being obsessed with the image of a cross; as if it is a magical cross whereby we can use it to ward off evil spirits with a “boo”! The best example is the killing of the vampire with the stake.
That example is showing the danger of idolising the symbol of the “cross”. Even clinging to the cross wearing around your neck in hopes it will protect you is not encouraged. We are not supposed to be attached to any symbolism.

After all, we should be confident in God’s presence and protection all the time without the literal need of an object of protection or a protective covering around us like Bubble Boy.
To me and to most Christians, we see the cross as a symbol of our salvation. It is the symbol signifying the cross where Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins. Why?

Well, it is a simple reason. It is because God loved us so much that he was willing to send his only begotten son to die on the cross to atone for our sins (those done and those we are going to do).

Yes, I admit I know how to easily type and quote that but the most important thing is how that image and thought means to you deep down in your heart. I am always moved when I hear this song, "At the cross". It best described how I feel when I “see the cross”. I love the ending of the song which uses the term, "my friend" - showing how God is to us; our friend and relatable.

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by your mercy and I’m broken inside
Once again I thank you
Once again I pour out my life

Thank you for the cross
Thank you for the cross
Thank you for the cross, my friend




Another spirit-filled song by Hillsong entitled, "At the cross". Listen to the lyrics.


Imagine this:

You look at the cross and you remember Jesus was tortured as he was crucified. Yet, he cried out to Father God and ask forgiveness for us when the people was going to crucify him.
'Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' (Luke 23:34)

I feel like giving our Father a hug for this gift of salvation.... for Thank You for the cross, my friend.