the long and short of it.

29 Jan 2012 § 6 Comments

I’ve had long hair for as far back as I can remember. It’s been stick-straight, permed, colored, but never once short.

Circa 2006

However, 2.5 years ago after I had my daughter, I decided to take the plunge and chop off the messy layers that hasn’t seen the glint of a scissors blade in almost a year. By then, my hair was a nice six inches below my shoulders, but surprisingly, I felt not a single twinge of regret as my then stylist, Jojo, merrily snipped away. I left the hair salon feeling quite pleased with myself and the semi-long bob that I sported, but surprise! surprise!…in less than two months, I was back again, determined to go even shorter this time. And shorter I went, emerging with a chic chin-length angled bob that I totally loved! It felt fresh and light, though it also meant I could no longer get away with just toweling dry my hair.

Circa 2009

Since then, I’ve never looked back…it’s almost as if in cutting off my locks, I’ve gained an addiction to go even shorter, with one exception: however short my bobs have gone, I could not psych myself to venture into the territory of pixie crops! Now, according to articles in fashion magazines, I’m a perfect candidate for a pixie crop – fitting the petite, heart-shaped face, fine and straight hair criteria to the tee – but hey, who knows if Murphy’s law will be at work here? I know you can grow out a bad haircut, but no one ever mentions the time it takes to grow it out and the impossibility of going into hiding whilst doing so (vanity at its vainest here!).

And so, my visits to the salon always starts off with me announcing to my current hairstylist, Bambang, “I feel like going for a pixie cut this time…

…BUT… I’m too scared”.

I bet he silently chuckles at my false bravado, sigh.

Well, the new year has come and gone, and having had the same haircut, albeit with varying lengths, for the past two and a half years has finally taken its toll. Those two reasons, coupled with an unexpected third – namely being follicly-inspired by actress Anne Hathaway in a movie called ‘One Day’ (digressing slightly: the book is wayyyy better, trust me!) – finally pushed me into taking that final leap. In the movie, Anne Hathaway played a rather nerdy, awkward girl who moves to Paris halfway thru the story, chopping off her locks in process and emerging like a butterfly with such a lovely chic crop that I immediately turned to the boyfriend and asked if he thought the same cut would suit me, to which he replied yes!

Chic Anne Hathaway

With my confidence somewhat boosted and in preparation for my visit to the salon, I spent a couple of hours reading articles about 2012 hairstyle trends and Googling for other images of pixie crops – my favorites being Emma Watson and Gennifer Goodwin, and of course, the queen of gamine, Audrey Hepburn. At the very least, I knew that I would be comfortable with the back of my hair being short – in my past few cuts, it’s already been cropped pretty much the same length – so at least half the battle has been won!

Emma Watson, Nathalie Portman

Carey Mulligan, Gennifer Goodwin

After a consultation with Bambang, whom by now must be quite tired of reassuring me that I would look perfectly fine with that cut, I finally took the plunge! I felt I couldn’t quite pull off that short, barely-there fringe at the front, which is the trademark of a true-and-true pixie crop, so we decided to settle with side-swept bangs, which was a nice compromise and a good way of easing myself into a pixie crop.

Two hours later plus some highlights and a crash course on how to style my new ‘do, it was goodbye bob, hello pixie!

Circa 2012!

It’s still taking some getting used to, but I definitely have no regrets. The boyfriend has also enthusiastically embraced the new cut – firstly with a demand for a pic to see how his ‘new’ girlfriend looks like, then following it up by a virtual wolf-whistle much to my delight!

Styling it was much easier than I anticipated, though the 10 minutes that I can save from blowdrying is now painstakingly spent trying to muss up my hair to look as if I’d just stepped out of bed.

Fashion-wise, I noticed that I’ve been trying to compensate for the perceived loss in femininity by wearing dressier-than-usual dresses and paying more attention to accessorizing. I guess it’ll be a matter of time before I find a right balance between my worry of looking tomboyish and going back to wearing my beloved skinnies again! In the meantime, I’m having fun experimenting with the crop…here’s to rockin’ 2012 with a new ‘do!

the people who matter.

23 Jan 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m an atypical Chinese New Year grinch, disliking the hot weather, the traffic jams, the loud songs played across all the malls as Chinese New Year rolls around each year and for other reasons best left unsaid. Ironically, I strangely still adhere to the usual first day CNY superstitions, such as not sweeping the floor, wearing red and not washing my hair (oh, how I’ve tried to find ways around this, such as surreptitiously running a wet comb through my hair in the morning to tame the unruly strands) for fear of being struck down with infinite bad luck for the rest of the lunar year!

However, having been able to spend Chinese New Year with my parents and daughter in KL for the past three years has improved my attitude considerably and this year, I’ve even made the effort to put up a little CNY decor at home! The gold fishes and red lanterns made from angpao paper is reminiscent of the CNY decorations that I used to help my mom make when I was very young – in fact, we used to string CNY cards all over the house too!

Ultimately, Chinese New Year to me will always be about spending time with the people who matter – be it your parents, grandparents, cousins or extended family – I don’t believe in upholding tradition for tradition’s sake when there’s no heart behind it. So, as we usher in the year of the Water Dragon, I hope all of you are safely ensconced with the people you love and the ones you hold dear, may it be family, friends, or both!

Here’s wishing all of you a happy and fortuitous Chinese New Year!

GONG XI FA CAI!

sure of you.

19 Jan 2012 § 2 Comments

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Because sometimes, we lose our way, regardless of how sure we once were when we stepped down the path we chose. And all that’s needed is a little surety; some reassurance that there’s a point to everything that we’re going through now.

(As an aside, the above-mentioned quote is by A. A. Milne, author of the famed Winnie the Pooh books. I have a particular fondness for many of his quotes, most of which are very poignant and does tug at the heartstrings at times.)

“When you do the things that you can do, you will find a way.” ~ A. A. Milne

the red beanbag.

17 Jan 2012 § Leave a comment

There has been a buzz going around about a new Australian-inspired café at Publika that serves up some really wicked French Toast, and that was enough for me to decide that we had to have brunch there the past weekend.

The interior

We rustled up our usual eating buddies, and the four of us traipsed off to The Red Beanbag last Sunday, located just a few doors down from Nathalie’s Gourmet @ Publika.

The contents of the sack are related to the words printed on it!

Love the attention to detail – ‘imagine’ is left empty!

The café is located at a corner lot and has a huge balcony overlooking the open space of Publika’s retail area. The décor is nice and modern, with a raw concrete-like finishing on the wall, exposed ceilings and naked lightbulbs. The tables are well-spaced (I have a silent peeve with cafés that space their tables so closely that you practically have to jostle for elbow space with the customers next to you!), giving an airy and cheery feel to the place.

It aint’s heavy, it’s my breakfast

The all-day breakfast menu consists of the usual suspects – toast, muesli, french toast, pancakes, eggs Benedict and the big brekkie, or in this case – the ‘Signature Breakfast’. One dish stood out tho – RBB’s Specialty Baked Eggs (eggs, lamb bratwurst, sundried tomatoes, cheese and potato served with crusty bread), which is kinda reminiscent of the Tunisian Breakfast served up at Wild Honey, Singapore (an onion and tomato stew with chorizo sausages and fried eggs).

Freshly squeezed OJ

Signature Breakfast

The boyfriend had their Signature Breakfast – no complaints there. I would be quite worried for a café that can’t get their signature breakfast perfect, to be honest!

Specialty Baked Eggs

Our two friends had the Specialty Baked Eggs; both agreed that it was really delicious (heck, it sounded good enough as mere words on the menu!), but neither could finish off their individual servings as it was deemed too filling for breakfast. I’d originally wanted to order this dish as well, but sadly, they could not accommodate my request to exchange the lamb bratwurst to chicken sausages as the dish was already prepared beforehand….which was just as well because…

…I ended up ordering the Classic French Toast! Now bear with me while I wax lyrical about this scrumptious French toast, literally the best I’ve had so far. Yes, it’s even better than the one I usually have at G3 Kitchens. Imagine a thick slice of white bread, slightly eggy, soft and fluffy and liberally coated with chopped almonds with a small dollop of butter melting into a golden pool and seeping into the bread, served together with a shot glass of maple syrup, oh-so-sweet bananas and strawberries. Everything was just right and I pray fervently that the standard of this dish will NOT decline with time!

I would definitely love to return to try their Eggs Benedict and pancakes. As for now, I’m just happy that we’ve found such a lovely café – definitely something to look forward to on weekends!

The Red Beanbag
Lot A4-1-8, Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur
03-62115116
Open 8:30am – 5pm daily

weekend brunching.

15 Jan 2012 § 1 Comment

One of the things I look forward to during the weekend is a good brunch. Despite the deluge of cafes that have opened in and around KL and PJ, sadly, I’m yet to find any that serves up quality brekkies, similar to those you can find if you walk into any random cafe in Australia or New Zealand.

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The closest I’ve come to my elusive French toast with grilled bananas and pork bacon is here at G3 Kitchens @ Telawi 3 – they’ve managed to get the French toast right – there’s a nice eggy taste to it, the bananas are sweet and nicely grilled, but sadly it’s turkey ham in place of porky goodness. Ah well, beggars can’t be choosers eh?

20120114-153740.jpg

As for the boyfriend and his brother, they both had a Grande Brekkie each, and still had room to share a salted beef sandwich with mustard and gherkins, which apparently was really good, judging from the mmmms and ahhhhs I heard.

I’m continuing my quest for good brekkies today at The Red Beanbag @ Solaris Dutamas. Keeping my fingers crossed it lives up to the glowing reviews I’ve read!

Have a good Sunday, everyone!

half life.

12 Jan 2012 § Leave a comment

I love ads that have a ‘now-this-is-out-of-the-box’ quality, and this one is no exception.

It’s an extremely creative use of Facebook’s new Timeline feature by McCann Digital for an Anti-Drugs campaign for the Israeli Anti-Drug Authority, depicting the (short) story of fictional character Adam Barak’s two lives: one getting addicted to drugs (shown on the left of the Timeline), one staying clean (shown on the right of the Timeline).

The FB profile page has since been removed apparently due to some violations to Facebook’s T&Cs, but here’s the YouTube video:

The stark contrast between Adam Barak’s two lives if he’d stayed on the straight and narrow is hard-hitting. Show his life under addiction just by itself and the impact would’ve been totally lost. It screams “this is the life you should’ve been/should be living”…I personally think it’s brilliant!

a night of balloons, bubbles and cake.

11 Jan 2012 § 7 Comments

My little princess is turning three next Monday, and we invited friends and family to join us over the past weekend to celebrate her upcoming birthday. Much to the chagrin of my bank balance, I went rather overboard (though close friends will vouch that it’s not unusual when it comes to spending on my girl!) and ended up going all out to make it an unforgettable birthday bash for her.

The party was held at the multipurpose hall of the housing area where we stayed, and seeing as the hall looked quite bare, I decided to attempt to jazz up the place with some self-made arts and crafts. A shopping trip to Art Friend @ The Gardens saw me emerging with three bags filled with a wide selection of stationery…rolls and rolls of ribbons, styrofoam bases, paper, several types of glue, felt sheets, eyelets and a heavy duty kick-ass eyelet puncher – the list goes on!

Here are some of the decorations that I slaved over during the two-week period leading up to her party:

Birthday pennants using felt with free-style hand-cut alphabets glued to the front

More paper pennants to decorate the hall

My version of a ‘lollipop’ cake (sans lollies when I took the pic)

Birthday signage

Party day finally rolled around and thankfully, everything went as smooth as silk! Even the slight downpour in the evening ended right before the party started, much to my relief. The boyfriend (bless him!) arrived a few hours earlier to help me put up all the decorations, and my parents took up babysitting duties in the afternoon while we were busy setting up in the hall.

Here are some of the pics taken during the party, courtesy of our photographer, Peter…enjoy!

Delicate and floaty tissue paper pom-poms at the entrance (thank you, Martha Stewart!)

Birthday signage hanging at the stairs to greet the guests

Bouncy castle

More pennants decorating the stairs

Birthday pennants on the wall in the theme colors of the party

The completed lollipop cake

Awaiting the guests and birthday girl to arrive

The clown who made pretty amazing balloon sculptures for the kids (I saw one or two adults making off with some as well!)

Face painting and bottles of bubble mix for both adults and kids

The buffet spread

The birthday cake made exactly to the birthday girl’s specifications – chocolate cake with strawberries on top!

Pressies for the birthday girl!

‘Twas a wonderful night – the weather wasn’t too warm, there was a full moon shining in the sky – and it was lovely to hear the chatter and laughter from the kids as they enjoyed themselves. And as all mommies would agree, the ultimate reward was definitely seeing my little girl looking so excited and happy, especially when everyone was singing ‘Happy Birthday‘ as she stood in front of her birthday cake.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my darling girl! May you always be surrounded by family and friends and love!

For those who are interested, here are the nitty-gritty details and contacts of the companies/people I approached for the entertainment, food, etc.:

Bouncy castle from DJ Events: It took me quite awhile to find a company renting out bouncy castles and I was so happy when I stumbled across DJ Events. They have a pretty good selection of inflatables plus competitive prices, furthermore, you can order the bouncy castle online! The company was very professional as well, calling a day before to confirm the delivery time. The inflatable was clean, and set up only took less than an hour. (The boyfriend did have a good laugh at me when I still insisted on disinfecting the surface though!)

Clown and face painter from Mr. Stanley Foo: Unlimited balloon sculptures the whole night, much to the delight of the kids (once they got over their fear of clowns)! He made a lovely bicycle for the birthday girl, I saw plenty of ray-guns for the boys, and one cute green caterpillar! There were some lovely artwork from the face painter as well – one friend had a skull drawn on her hand!

Catering from Citarasa Uniq: I’ve used this company on two occasions and the feedback I’ve received about their food has been positive thus far. I really like the fact that they are always on time – both times, they arrive a good two hours before the event started to set-up the tables and food. They also provide paper plates and plastic cutlery, and are quite flexible when it comes to swapping some dishes in their menu. Post-party, they will help to clean up the place and pack all the unfinished food for you (you have to provide the containers though). Highly recommended!

Birthday cake from The Haute Food Co: I ordered my daughter’s birthday cake from Li, the owner of Haute Food, for both her 2nd and 3rd birthday party, and both times, the cake received many accolades and there were guests asking me where I’d bought it from. I’m absolutely head over heels in love with the desserts that she churns out at Haute Food, and the surprise that she threw in for this year’s birthday cake – a crunchy biscuit-y base – was so good that there wasn’t a slice of cake left by the end of the night!

Balloons from Party Moo Moo: I had an outstanding RM120 voucher when I purchased an animal balloon for my daughter from Party Moo Moo a couple of months ago, and I used that to purchase the lovely blue and white balloons that were left to float freely in the hall.

Photography by Mr. Peter Sim: I’ve never bothered trying to take photos during my daughter’s birthday parties as I know I’ll be too busy running around and will inadvertently miss out on some ‘Kodak’ moments. Thank god for Peter, a friend and the ‘official’ photographer for all of my daughter’s birthday parties…3 years and counting! I love that he takes the trouble to arrive earlier to take some pre-party pics, and he always manages to capture many candid moments during the party!  (Do leave a comment below if you want his contact details.)

Till next year!

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