Monday, December 11, 2006

This December, I am into...


I'll be seeing you soon!

...empire-line dresses, to be worn alone or with straight leg /skinny jeans, lip gloss with a hint of peppermint, like those from Burt's Bees or Urban Decay, So You Think You Can Dance II, Smiling Pasta, boxing classes at the gym, mission trip to Cambodia, listening to FM 103.2 online, cranking out the Christmas tunes (guilty pleasures include Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas and 98 Degrees’ I’ll Be Home for Christmas), stuffing my face with party food, Christmas parties and NY celebrations, and last but not least, my birthday!

It’s going to be a great month. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

La Maison du Chocolat




Posting about the chocolate workshop yesterday reminded me about the lovely little box of chocolates I bought when I was in Tokyo in August. On my last day in Tokyo, I was walking along Omotesando and chanced upon the little La Maison du Chocolat stand, and tempted by the delicious array of truffles, bought one small box to bring home. We tried to save them for as long as possible, but that is just impossible when it comes to good quality chocolate. They were gone in a week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chocolate fun!


You can see more photos in my flickr account.

If there was one food you could name which is universally loved by everyone, I would have to say it’s chocolate. What else can inspire instant salivation at the mere mention of its name, giant smiles of satisfaction on the first taste, and instantly make a bad day good?

I decided it was time to take my appreciation of chocolate to the next level – it wasn’t enough to merely appreciate eating chocolate, I had to learn how it was done. And that’s how I found myself at Shermay’s Cooking School last Friday afternoon at a chocolate truffle workshop taught by Executive Chef of Au Petit Salut Patrick Heuberger.

I didn’t realise how much planning ahead was required, and what a precise science chocolate truffle-making was until I saw the entire process of tempering chocolate. The temperatures had to be right, or the chocolate wouldn’t crystallise properly to form the right bonds. Thankfully, we just had to sit back and relax and watch chef Patrick do all the hard work.

While I like to say that I made chocolates, I have to admit that everything had already been made in advance, like the ganache and praline fillings. All we had to do was decide what fillings we would like, and decorate the chocolate truffles. For this class, we had ganache, praline, roasted chestnuts, chestnut paste, marzipan, orange peel, hazelnuts, pistachios and white chocolate to play around with.

There was so much fun decorating the chocolates, I almost forgot that the greatest pleasure of chocolate was in the eating. Since the two boxes could only hold so many truffles, I just had to eat the remainder before leaving the class. Oh well. So this is what I ended up with:


Do you think I can become a professional chocolate maker now?

For more chocolate fun and other great classes, go to:

Shermay’s Cooking School
Chip Bee Gardens
Blk 43 Jalan Merah Saga
#03-64
Tel: 6479 8442

Monday, November 27, 2006

The soundtrack to your life

While reading Robot Johnny, I came across another iPod shuffle meme. I really can’t resist music memes, especially one that can construct a soundtrack to your life. So here’s how you play:

1. Open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod).
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing.
5. New question– press the next button.
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool.

Opening Credits
Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper

Waking Up
I Have Nothing, Whitney Houston

First Day at School
Too Funky, George Michael
So not true, I was a real nerd in school.

Falling in Love
Latin Simone, Gorillaz (featuring Ibrahim Ferrer)

Breaking Up
The Heart of Worship, Sonicflood
Errrr….okaaaaay.

Prom
The Vibes Ain’t Nothin’ But The Vibes, Barry Adamson

Life’s Okay
I Want to be Buried In Your Backyard, Nightmare of You
Shouldn’t this be in Funeral Song or Death Scene? And I don’t want to be buried in anyone’s backyard, thank you very much.

Mental Breakdown
6th Avenue Heartache, The Wallflowers

Driving
Holiness, Sonicflood
I am anything but holy when I drive.

Flashback
Breathe, Sixpence None The Richer

Getting Back Together
If I Ain’t Got You, Alicia Keys

Wedding
Tenderly, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Hey, this song actually fits!

Birth of a Child
You’re in Love, Wilson Philips

Final Battle
Symphony No. 5, Op. 107 (Andante), Mendelssohn

Death Scene
Last Dance, Donna Summer
I have to admit, this is quite apt.

Funeral Song
Ironic, Alanis Morissette
Oh no, do I strike lottery the day I die??

End Credits
Dances of the Swans, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake
I am a swanee swan swan!

With 1,075 songs in my iPod, I find it interesting that I can still get 2 songs from the same album in this mix. Looks the shuffle function needs to be more shuffley.

Go play it if you want and see what you come up with.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Laptop bags - anything but black!

Can you believe from the time I posted about getting a laptop bag for my laptop, I still have not bought a laptop bag yet? I think part of the problem is that most of the bags I see out there are just so darn obvious that they’re carrying a laptop inside them. But after a bit of hard work, I’ve found a few plum choices. The best part? None of them are a boring black.


These 2 are from Etsy: (L) it's amazing how a cleverly placed bow can transform an otherwise normal looking bag. Instant prettiness! US$160; (R) Custom made lappie bags in the print you desire. I like this chrysanthemum print shown above, US$70.


Clockwise from L: Fool people into thinking you’ve got groceries in your bag, US$385; Luxe-looking jade green brocade gives this messenger-style bag a more elegant look, $89.95; Although this is more of a traditional laptop bag shape, it is saved by the elegant black and white print, US$49.95-$59.95; Bold and bright colours transform this professional-looking tote to something a little more fun, $33.99

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Christmas presents: What (not) to give

My office is having a Christmas party and there is going to be a gift exchange, played very much the way my friends and I play it at our regular Christmas parties. Although I won’t be able to go for this party, I’ve started thinking about great presents I would buy to foist onto some lucky soul (all under S$30):



1. Mini penguin water dispenser: Great to put on your table in the office, and to make sure you'll drink your 8 cups of water a day!
2. Mr T in Your Pocket Keychain: I pity the fool who doesn't end up with this great keychain with 6 classic Mr T phrases.
3. Gnome & Garden: Gnomes are cool now, thanks to the movie Amelie. Now you can put one on your desk with a little mini garden!
4. Talking Lips Digital Radio: A radio with lips that would turn Angelina Jolie green with envy is the perfect perk me up for a slow afternoon in the office.
5. Magic Christmas Tree: Ah, what is Christmas without a Christmas tree? Grow your own Christmas tree right on your desk! All you need is magic water!

- All presents found from fredflare and eBay.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Threadless sale!


My orders (L-R): Nothing rhymes with orange, Milk and Cookies, Ah Munna Eat Choo

Hurrah, Threadless is having another of their US$10 T-shirt sales, so grab your favourites now before they're gone!

PS I just realised all my choices relate to food...hmm.

Friday, November 17, 2006

An etsy way to shop



While browsing the ever-stylish Fashion is Spinach, I came across Etsy, a prettily made shopping site very much in the model of eBay, but specialising in homemade items. I found so many pretty, pretty things which I wish I could buy immediately, but the bank balance is currently not in a state to be touched. So for now, I have to be content with just ogling.

I am however quite conflicted about getting the pink laptop bag shown above.

Friday, November 03, 2006

This November, I am into...


...my new Siwy and Joe’s jeans, macarons, looking at vintage fabric on eBay, getting back into the gym groove, new anime like Kemonozume and Coyote Ragtime Show, Japanese plum wine, finding outfits to match my lookalike Marc Jacobs Stam bag, trying not to shop this month after last month's orgy of spending.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A new Target



The new Target Go International range by Behnaz Sarafpour is now available online, and I have to admit I’m slightly disappointed. There are lots of nice basic pieces in black and white, but nothing really stood out for me, unlike the previous Paul & Joe range which had a few must-have pieces. Aside from the three looks above which appeal to me, everything else is a bit of a blah. That’s probably a good thing for my pocket. :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ShooStories: The return!

Can you believe the last time I did ShooStories was in December? I am appalled at my laziness. But anyhow, here's hoping this entry will continue my documentation of my shoo collection. In case you're new to this series, you can start reading about it here.

#29


The Shoo: Discoball
Circa: June 2006
Where: Nue, Paragon

The Story: I can never get enough of shiny ballet flats, so when I came across this pair of silver sparklies on sale at local label Nue during the Great Singapore Sale, I snapped them up. I wore them a few times over the last few months, but nowhere as often as when I brought them with me on my trip to San Jose/San Francisco. One problem I always have while packing for trips is deciding on footwear. This last trip was no exception. First, since it was fall, I’d need closed-toe shoos. I would have liked to wear my Havaianas, but I suspected my toes would freeze. Then, the shoos had to be comfortable enough to walk around in without giving me blisters. And finally (and very importantly), they had to be versatile enough to match everything in my suitcase. These silver shoos didn’t let me down. They were relatively comfortable (they survived a few shopping trips around Union Square and a half hour walk along Fisherman’s Wharf, no blisters!), and accompanied me while I explored Sausalito and wined around Napa and Sonoma Valley. And of course, they kept me happy during the long work sessions during the week. Now that I’m home, they have been kept in their shoo box for a long deserved rest.

Bonus!

Walking the boardwalk in Sausalito

-- View the full ShooStories photoset on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Back in the heat

One day you're walking along the Embarcadero in San Francisco on a gorgeous fall day, and the next, you're back in the office catching up on work.

More updates coming soon!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This October, I am into...


I love fall!
Originally uploaded by JellyGirl.
...fall fashion (it's all about layering!), platform-style shoes, my mother's blue trench coat, work trip in San Jose and weekends in San Francisco, stocking up on US brands not found back home (hello Urban Outfitters, Sephora, Banana Republic, A&F, Bath & Bodyworks etc), Korean dramas on Youtube, being more experimental with my wardrobe, Post Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal, trying not to faint from credit card bills once I return to Singapore.

How about you?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fashion Snap




While reading this interesting article on street photography in Ping Mag, I came across a link to Fashion Snap, a smaller but similar site to Tokyo Street Style, which features photos of normal people on the street.

Actually the word 'normal' shouldn't really be applied to Japanese style. Part of why I loved visiting Japan was seeing people's fashion style. It was always so varied, and even though we were in summer, people didn't fall back on the safe T-shirt and jeans combo, but would layer a few light pieces to come up with interesting looks. It was also very refreshing to go to the different areas, like Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, Daikanyama and Harajuku to see the differences in fashion style. Ginza had lots of immaculately-coiffed women with perfect perms dressed in big brand names, while Harajuku was colourful and experimental, and Daikanyama had a laidback, hippie but stylish look. Just looking at these pictures makes me want to go back to my wardrobe and experiment with different looks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Your website as a graphic


(L): Fluffy Stuff, (R): Where I work

If you've ever wondered what your website looked like as a graphic, maybe you should try this! Just enter your URL, hit 'Enter' and wala, you'll see the little flowers developing. Instant art. Fun!

- Link via Design Sojourn.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This September, I am into...



...enjoying all my purchases from Target (they have finally arrived!) and Japan (accessories galore!), getting wardrobe ideas from Japanese magazines like nonno and More, exploring the Arab Street area, green tea, straight leg jeans, Fancl Washing Powder, creating my own jewellery, watching Korean dramas on Youtube, enjoying nerdy humour from xkcd.

How about you?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Japan Hour (part 1)

It took me a while, but I have at last uploaded all my photos of Japan to foist on friends and loved ones. Part of the reason why I picked Tokyo for this year's holiday was all because of Japan Hour. If I happened to be home on a Sunday afternoon, I would always tune into Channel News Asia to catch lucky locals travel around Japan, stay at beautiful ryokans and having incredible oishi-looking kaiseki meals. After so many hours of salivating over the meals, I decided that enough was enough and that I had to go to Japan to get my own Japan Hour experience.

And these are the fruits of my labours. Before we get started on the kaiseki extravaganza, I thought we'd get all the food I had in Tokyo out of the way:


First lunch in Tokyo! I wandered around Shinjuku until it was lunchtime, and then randomly went into a sushi joint in one of the little side-streets. This place didn't have an English menu so I just ordered the cheapest set menu they had. It turned out to be a delicious bowl of rice topped of with sashimi, and a bowl of miso soup.


One of the things I love about the big department stores in Tokyo are the food basement halls. Think our own Takashimaya food hall, only bigger and better. The halls are chock full of fresh produce, aisles of Japanese sweeties (they sure love their pastries!), and lots of little takeaway dishes. I decided to eat cheap on my second night in Tokyo, and bought this set from the Comme Sa deli in the basement of Isetan in Shinjuku. This set came with Vietnamese rice paper rolls, two kinds of sushi and an almond jelly dessert.


This is in Gion, Kyoto. I had just had a very filling breakfast provided by the ryokan, so I decided to forego lunch. But, it was a very, very hot day, and I was parched from wandering around the temple and gardens in Gion, and was in need of a drink. Then, I spotted this little sweet shop with the little plastic imitations of its desserts in its front window. Everything looked so tantalising that I decided that I just had to try something from in there. It was a tough choice, but I ended up picking this green tea parfait. Par-fection.


Another day where I'd had a very filling breakfast and decided to skip lunch. This time, I had a huge sushi meal from the Tsukiji fish market, and just knew that the rice would be sitting in my stomach for a long time. But again when wandering around Asakusa, I saw another dessert place and just knew I had to have another one of the yummy desserts. This is an anmitsu something.


My last meal in Tokyo! Instead of eating Japanese, I decided to give their bakeries a try. This was a Danish (I think) bakery in Omotesando, which had a little cafe/deli in their basement. I was attracted by the cute little hamburger (hum-baa-gaa) set on display, and decided to give that a go. Everything was good, but I wasn't too keen on the dessert - some sort of custard.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A yen for Japan


(L): Sushi set dinner on my second night in Tokyo, (R): Little tablets found on the temple grounds in Gion, Kyoto

Much as I love a beach holiday, I also adore a holiday in a big city. I'm a city girl at heart, and I love looking at tall skyscrapers, twinkling lights, people-watching and poking down little alleyways.

So in that sense, Tokyo was the perfect city to pick. I am totally in love with Tokyo. The city is filled with interesting architecture, beautiful friendly people, safe streets, a bustling nightlife and all the best eating and shopping a girl could ask for. I went there with only the loosest of plans - to explore and wander around all the popular areas like Ginza, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Omotesando, Daikanyama, Akihabara and Asakusa - and also to take a trip to Kyoto to see the old cultural heart of Japan. And of course, to eat as much sushi and sashimi as my stomach could take.

And I am very pleased to report that the mission was pretty much accomplished. There were a few things that I didn't get to do, like visit Animate or the Ghibli museum, but I kept telling myself not to stress over what I didn't get to do, but to just enjoy everything that I did do, like watch a kabuki performance, visit the Tsukiji fish market, master the Tokyo subway system, and watch some Japanese festival performances. Anyhoo, there's always another time to visit the place. The city is large and there is yet much more to be explored.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sam Swoon

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I think I have found Korean drama #2 to replace Jewel in the Palace. I caught about one and a half episodes of My Lovely Sam Soon and already I'm hooked. True, the main plotline of chubby girl getting her man is quite cliched, but the main character is adorable, and there are some truly hilarious situations and gags in each episode. Also, any series that uses a Clazziquai song as its theme song is way cool in my book.

This does not bode well for my social life on week nights.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Little socks

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It's funny how that I was so taken by those darling little lace sockettes a couple of weeks ago, and hey presto, today Daily Candy delivers in my mailbox a link to minisock.com. These socks come in a dizzying array of colours (red and yellow and pink and green, purple...you get the drift), three types of fabric, and multiple styles. Ok, I'll admit these socks serve no function other than to make your feet look pretty, but since when did we need justification to buy anything that just looked good? :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lace and cupcakes


If you could just tear your eyes away from those yummy cupcakes on the right, you would see that the model is wearing what looks like white lace sockettes with a pair of pink shoes.

Normally, I'd say sockettes like that are just downright silly, but I have to say this is a very clever way of wearing them. It just makes me want to go out and look for a similar pair to wear with my flatties.

PS If you want to order those divine cupcakes, you can get them from c-cup.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Holiday fun fun fun!


After a few weeks of hmming and hawing, I finally got my act together and picked a holiday destination - Tokyo & Kyoto! I'm quite pleased that everything managed to fall into place very quickly, despite the almost last minute bookings. I managed to a get a flight at the dates I wanted, a recommended hotel in a good area at a reasonable price, and an overnight stay at this cute ryokan in Kyoto.

And I also consider this to be the perfect excuse to watch even more anime to try and pick up useful phrases*.

* Admittedly, all I've picked up from anime is to say Shut up!, How are you, and I'm OK. Oh, and how to bankai. Yep, that'll come in useful.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

This August, I am into...


All from Target's Go International Paul & Joe range

...yong tau foo from the Amara Hotel food court, waiting for my purchases from Target to arrive (I think I got a little too click-happy...oops), planning a holiday to somewhere (choices are Toronto, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo & Kyoto), resisting from making anymore online purchases this month, Shu Uemura UV Under Base, hip-hop classes at California Fitness, National Day bbq with friends.

How about you?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cupcake!


One of my favourite cupcakes is the nutella cupcake from Marmalade Pantry - a sinfully rich chocolate cupcake with nutella frosting on top. But that little package doesn't come cheap, at $5 each if I'm not mistaken. I always said it would be cheaper to make them on my own, and I finally got it right today.

My first attempt at recreating the Marmalade Pantry experience was not very successful. The chocolate cupcake recipe I used from Clare Crespo's Hey There, Cupcake! book turned out salty, and it required generous slatherings of Nutella on top to make them palatable.

Then I chanced upon another recipe from S'pore blogger The Baker, who had tweaked a Donna Hay recipe to create her own Nutella frosting cupcakes. The pictures looked sufficiently tempting enough for me to have another go.

My version is slightly different - I used one less egg, slightly more salt, and less baking powder (all accidents in measurement, I might add). I also didn't have vanilla extract in my fridge, so I subsituted that with some dessert port wine, which didn't seem to do the cupcakes any harm. I have to admit, I am quite pleased with the result; the cupcakes came out with just the right consistency and texture, although I could have swirled the nutella into the batter a little better. Well, there's always next time.

If you're interested, here's how I did my cupcakes:
140 grams unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar (I used cane sugar)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (200 grams) sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Nutella, more than half the 220g bottle!
1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Stir in flour, baking bowder, salt until batter is smooth.
4. Dollop batter into muffin trays until 3/4 full.
5. Top off with Nutella (as much or as little as you want), and swirl through batter with a toothpick
6. Bake in oven at about 170 deg for 15-20 min.
7. Remove, cool on wire rack.
8. Admire, then eat!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Locked on Target

I've really been on a complete accessories binge lately. I'm currently waiting for a bracelet to arrive and have now plonked down money for this pretty silk necklace from the Target Go International Tara Jarmon range. Target doesn't ship to international destinations, so I had it sent to my sister's apartment in Philadelphia. The good thing is she'll be back end of the month, so I'll be able to wear this very soon! Hurrah!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I is turning into a gym rat!

I've been sneezing the whole day, feeling hot and cold at turns, and a little headachey. Methinks those are classic symptoms of the flu. And yet I still want to go to the gym for boxercise class and some resistance training.

Am I turning into a gym rat? Eek!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This July, I am into...



...dresses, mint chocolates, surfing local jewellery sites (see previous post), going to the gym (I joined a gym, and that's a story for another time), rediscovering Bruch through Last.fm, rummaging through my mum's old wardrobe, wide elephant-leg pants, gold necklaces, more themes for Firefox.

How about you?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

DIY delights

I think we have a vast amount of creative talent in Singapore, as evidenced by the quick sprouting of little websites featuring pretty, quirky handmade jewellery. Ms Guise brought my attention to the delightful Crymeajustin, and it reminded me of a few other sites I've found while trawling the web:


Adorable brooch from Gleam In Your Eye


Tatty Devine lookalike brooches and necklaces from Frufru.net. They also have funky earrings and retro-looking clothes.


Custom-made jewellery from Divaesque. (Actually I didn't find this on the web, this was a recommendation from a friend)

Update (July 3): With more great recommendations coming in, I'm adding them to this post. Thanks everyone for the links!


Beautiful handmade earrings from Abigael the Beading Lady. I'm going to have to order me a pair soon!


Elegant pieces from Moondust.


Not exactly DIY, but this Singapore site features gorgeous and unique accessories from Paris. Be warned though, L'arti Chaut is expensive.


Summery designs from Summerfly.

Update (11 July): And the links keep coming in!

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Intricate earrings from Beads of Lav.

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Be charmed by Baileysvodka.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Now what?

I don't know how to fill my nights now that Da Chang Jin has finished on Channel U. I need another show to fixate on now.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rediscovery


#1

It all started when I was admiring a necklace a new acquaintance was wearing, and she told me she got it from Far East Plaza. I decided it was time to go back there and re-explore Far East Plaza again.

While wandering around, I discovered I really had been away for a long time. Many of the little shops I used to visit had gone and were replaced by newer and shinier shopfronts. I had lots of fun wandering the back lanes, and found a few places that sold cute and quirky jewellery (I found some L'ArtiChaut-lookalike necklaces!), pretty bag charms, vintage dresses and handbags.

But the find that really made my day was a little shop on the third floor which sold designer wear, like Tsumori Chisato, Rebecca Taylor and Marc Jacobs. I was initially attracted by a summery striped bubble dress with matching necklace (I know, after all I've said about bubble skirts, and here I was looking at a bubble dress), and when I went in to look around more, discovered a whole rack of dresses and tops with a protective plastic wrap over them. A couple of women were browsing the same rack, and one of them idly parted the dresses and revealed this denim Marc Jacobs dress. My head went *ding!*, as I recognised it instantly from pictures I'd seen of it on the runway. When they left, I immediately grabbed it, tried it on, and the rest, as they say, is history. The dress is now mine...muahaha.

#2

Not only am I an accessories queen, I think I am in danger of becoming a beauty junkie. Over the weekend, I started clearing through my little container of pots and creams beside my bed. I found:
  • 5 tubes of lip balm (Burt's Bees, Body Shop, Dirty Girl)
  • 2 kinds of moisturiser (Shiseido & The Natural Source)
  • 3 mini-vials of perfume (Stila, L'occitane, Philosophy)
  • 1 lip-scuff (Body Shop) & 1 lip plumper cream (Lancome)
  • 3 types of eye cream (Benefit, Aveda, Phytomer)
And let's not forget the 3 types of face wash, 2 types of toners, 3 types of face scrub, and 3 jars of masks sitting in my bathroom. The trouble is I am such a sucker for the deadly combination of pretty packaging and clever marketing copy. Phrases like "exfoliation that penetrates the skin" and "deep cleansing properties" and "soothe and nourish your skin" immediately convince me that the product MUST be effective.

This is it. I am banning myself from buying anymore beauty products until I finish everything sitting in my room.

Sidenote: The Phytomer eye cream is great! I must buy more of it...after I finish everything else of course.