Friday, May 31, 2013

Frock Collectives

Here's a round up of new frocks I've gotten - all at bargain prices of course ;)

Glam Girl and me - I'm jealous of how fast she's slim down after being a mum, her waist is so tiny! I'm wearing a Warehouse jacquard lantern dress that I got at 50% off which I thought was an absolute steal except Hubs hates it. He said I looked as though I stepped off the cast of Scooby Doo. Hmmmph.

Warehouse winter floral peplum dress I got on sale - I like how edgy it looks with a longer hem at the back.

Topshop sleeveless textured dress that Aussie Godma had and I patiently stalked the shop until it was marked down. I like how the asymmetrical neckline adds a subtle twist.

A Dorothy Perkins dress - I like the blue and white china print on it and the fit and flare style is so flattering, plus very forgiving after a heavy meal.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cuti Cuti Malaysia: KL, Here We Come Again

Our KL stay this time around was a whirlwind trip and it was exhausting to say the least. Still, we came, we ate, we shopped, we rocked. 

Dinner was at Jagoya and I basically had nothing but fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, fresh coconut water and Haagen Dazs ice cream the whole night. We'd to pay RM10 for Bubs but it was worth it, considering the amount of coconut water and ice cream he had that night - we were wise enough to fill his little tummy up first with some grilled fish, rice and edamame to stop him from binging on the sweet stuff.

We'd a breakfast stop at Plan B - best French toast period. I asked Hubs if I died and went to Heaven, would there be a plate of this waiting for me there?

Friends and family shake their head each time I mention I go to Ikea. Is it the cheap furniture? The cute, gimmicky home decor items? More bookshelves? The famed meatballs with lingonberry jam? The mouthwatering Daim cake? Quite frankly, my dear, it's all of the above ;)

We'd a dinner date with Fairy Godma at Publika and I insisted on Ben's General again just for the amazing pizzas. This time around, we'd the lamb meatball with yoghurt and boy o' boy, it was stellar! I'd forgotten to take a photo of the lamb shank and side serve of green pesto pasta but let me reassure you, it is definitely on our to-order-again list.

Fairy Godma sneaked in a slice of Salted Caramel mille crepes from Food Foundry for us and it definitely ended dinner for us on a sweet note.

I was a good girl and resisted the urge to get a canister of this adorable Keep Calm and Carry On tea.

We walked around Publika.

Stumbled upon an art exhibition at the White Box.

And then made our way home to Penang the next day. It was a tiring but wonderful trip :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cuti Cuti Malaysia: An Ipoh Stop + a Night at Cameron Highlands

We took a mini break just going around our favourite places for the past week :) As we hate crowds and traffic jams, we planned this trip very carefully to coincide right before the school holidays start, before the Wesak day public holiday plus strictly on weekdays only.

Our first stop was at Burps & Giggles in Ipoh and the owner had a nice, long chat with us. We're head over heels over the lovely atmosphere, decadent food and fantastic service - not necessarily all in that order.

Look at the whimsical wall art they have.

Not to mention the yummiest food, hands down. This round we had a bagel with a soft egg and lamb rashers, churros (again! *hearts*) and crepes with Mars bars chunks with pears. If you love the heart, robust flavour of lamb, the bagel is a must try, it was simply out of this world, all the flavours went perfectly and even Bubs was attacking this. The Mars bars crepes was sinfully rich and delish right down to the last bite.We tah pao-ed a large box of sweet treats and had a long, leisurely drive up to Cameron Highlands.

My family used to make frequent trips there and I'd memories of bundling up in cosy sweaters as a child at Cameron Highlands, so I was a little disappointed that the weather there wasn't cold as I was expecting it to be. We all walked around during the day without jackets. Still Bubs wasn't complaining, he had a blast there plucking strawberries (his favourite fruit) and running around without breaking a sweat.

We stopped by the EQ strawberry farm where you pay RM25 for a group of two to pluck 500gm worth of fresh strawberries. Be warned that the inside of the farm is very steep and not exactly the best place to go traipsing around in heels. There were spots there we'd to carefully balance the tray full of strawberries and hold on tightly to Bubs to avoid tumbles.

Take a deep breath the moment you step inside the farm, the crisp air was filled with the heady aroma of ripe strawberries. Bubs squealed upon seeing all the pots of plants with juicy red strawberries hanging invitingly from the top and insisted on plucking most of them.

We had afternoon tea at the Cameron Highlands Resort which was known as the Merlin way back then. Stepping into the tea room was like taking a step back into old colonial times: it was filled with wooden flooring, heavy leather furniture, breezy ceiling fans and rugs casually thrown. Tea was RM60 for two and it came with a decent spread of divine scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, fresh strawberries with a pot of melted chocolate, savoury sandwiches and dainty cakes.

We then took a long, leisurely drive around and stopped at the Smokehouse Inn, one of the most picturesque spots to stretch our legs. The English style gardens were filled with colourful blooms and hydrangeas bigger than my head!

We found this vast, green lawn opposite the Smokehouse Inn and went wild there. We ran, we jumped and we romped. I wished we'd brought along some snacks and a good book, it would have been the perfect picnic spot.

Hubs insisted that the must do thing at Cameron Highlands was a steamboat dinner so we happily obliged. By night time, the weather had chilled considerably though it still wasn't cold enough yet for jackets. Bubs made do with a long sleeved top while we happily feasted. What I disliked about the place was that nearly every table had people smoking, even those sitting indoors so we were in a rush to finish our meal.

By the time we went back to the hotel and had a shower, we opened the windows and peeked out into the night sky to find eerie, pale white mists, almost like something from a supernatural movie. Creepy and loads of fun. 

The next day, we checked out and went onwards to the second part of our journey ...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What Thirteen People Wore to Their Interview With Anna Wintour

image credit
 What would you wear when meeting Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, for an interview? This interesting article documents what 13 aspiring interviewees wore when meeting her. From mohawks to Celine totes, some made it through the cut. Original article found here.

What Thirteen People Wore to Their Interview With Anna Wintour - BY THE CUT

The only thing that’s more intimidating than a meeting with Anna Wintour is a job interview with her. Even among staff members whom she likes working with, the editor-in-chief of Vogue is notorious for giving employees’ outfits a knowing once-over. So what happens when you not only need to dress up (it’s an interview, after all), but also must choose a look that convinces her you’re Vogue material? That’s what we asked dozens of people who’ve been through the ringer in the past few decades. Our thirteen favorite responses, full of Prada and plenty of subpar handbags hidden under desks, are below.

1. The Woman Who Spent More Than $5,000.They surprised me with scheduling my interview the very next day. Not having worked in fashion, I didn't have anything nicer than J.Crew. So, after work, I went to Barneys because it was the only store open until eight and I could bang it out. I also found a nail salon nearby open until nine, and got a blowout the next morning. I bought a silk Proenza tank dress, Prada heels, and a Celine belt. It was like a supermarket sweep, and I spent about $2,000. I didn't have a new bag, but then the receptionist held my (now downmarket) Marc by Marc bag anyway. They made me come in for another interview, which threw me. I started to really get into it and money stopped becoming a problem. I got a shift dress at Prada from the spring collection and then they sold me the blue patent shoes, and it all looked so good. The dress needed tailoring, but it was going to take a week and I needed it in a couple of days, so I name-dropped and they did it fast. The dress actually was on sale but still more than I ever paid for everything. I think that purchase must have been $3,500.
Got the job.

2. The Woman Who Was Told Not to CryI didn’t spend much money at all, as I have a stash of vintage finds. I wore a vintage, linen apricot dress with gold buttons and gold peep-toe heels. I borrowed my friend’s Prada clutch to match, and wore some jewelry from David Yurman, where my friend is a designer. Before the interview, the managing editor asked if I’d ever cried on a job (I hadn’t), because she and Anna “hated going into bathroom and fashion closets and hearing girls sniffle and cry over the 'little things' that go on throughout the day.”
When Anna opened my portfolio and saw my address, she said, "Ah, okay. So you live in BROOK-lyn, huh?" She seemed put off by that, and also asked what my parents did for a living. When I said that they used to be teachers, she was not impressed.
No dice.

3. The Woman Who Went Back — Three TimesConsidering it was, I believe, 1989, I'm guessing the ensemble probably involved a teeny Betsey Johnson skirt, opaque black Donna Karan tights, and …cow booties! I'm sure she shuddered.  When I got rehired there the second time, I was a bit savvier. I remember a simple black Calvin Klein sheath. And when I was interviewing for my third time back (glutton for punishment), I went to see a friend who was a personal shopper at Bergdorf for a full wardrobe!
Got three different jobs.

4. The Woman Who Wore Doc MartensI didn't know I was going to be interviewing with Anna that day, but even if I had known, I don't think I would have chosen my outfit any differently. I was just clueless enough to be unintimidated by the whole Vogue thing. (And it was a features assistant job, not a fashion job.)  I just wore my favorite outfit from my post-college wardrobe: a dark gray Anna Sui pleated skirt, black cardigan, black tights, and Doc Martens. This was 1993, what can I say?
Got the job.

5. The ManI got an e-mail on Thursday about meeting with Anna on Monday. As soon as I hung up, I just went into preparation mode, poring over every section of all the major international newspapers. I scheduled a haircut for the following day. As for what I wore, I kept it simple: a light gray Thom Browne suit, a white dress shirt with the top button left unbuttoned, glossy dark brown leather Church's dress shoes polished the day before (worn without socks, of course). The only flourish was a white linen pocket square and a very simple Valextra brief case. Before talking about the position, we talked about current events and then tennis (I've been playing sporadically since being on my high' school's team), which broke any ice. It wasn't scary. She was really lovely, in fact.
Got the job.

6. The Woman Who Bought $1,000 ShoesI got a call about my interview in the evening around 5 p.m. on a Monday night. “Can you meet with Anna tomorrow at two?” I agreed, hung up the phone, and ran to my closet. Nothing. I called a stylist friend, freaking out, who said, "Calm down, she is a professional, she interviews people all the time. Stop making such a big deal about it," before adding, "but whatever you do, don't wear last season's anything." I had time to go to Soho for a pair of shoes and was waiting outside when Kirna Zabete opened. Somehow I decided that my best option was a pair of Proenza open-toed, stacked heels, despite the rain. I justified the $1K price tag and ran back home to get dressed. I paired them with 3.1 Philip Lim high-waisted, silk pants and a black Celine tote I borrowed from my stylist friend, with a belted coat by Apiece Apart. Everything else I kept super simple: little to no makeup, straight brushed hair, and a wedding ring. By God, no fragrance.
Got the job.

7. The Woman With a MohawkThis was almost ten years ago, back when Anna Wintour didn’t have to interview everyone applying for a job on staff. I was in the art department, and I tried to push the limit a little by wearing neck ties as belts or going so far as to actually shave my hair into a mohawk. That never got more out of Anna than a look and a smirk.
Got the job.

8. The Woman Who Didn’t Know Enough to Be NervousIt was 1996. I wore some kind of black wool shift/schoolgirl dress (I want to say it was J.Crew or similar) over a white button-down buttoned all the way up and these cheetah-print YSL shoes that I thought were the best thing ever and I still have even though they have bald spots and don't really fit. I did not know enough to be worried that the look was probably not so great. I thought $300 for the shoes was pretty insane at the time and I definitely did not have Prada, Celine, or even Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Got the job.

9. The Woman Who Was Told to Get a BlowoutAnna was my ninth and final interview at Vogue. I luckily borrowed a friend's forest green Helmut Lang dress, which I wore with black tights from Alter and black Dolce Vita wedges. It was recommended by a Vogue staffer that I get a blowout for the meeting, and, reluctantly, I paid $30 to have my hair blow-dried for the first time ever at a Polish place in Greenpoint. Anna was to the point and all business, and the entire interview lasted under five minutes.
Got the job.

10. The Woman Who Had No MoneyHR called me and I had one day to prep. First was the interview with HR, who then rushed me down to meet with Virginia [Smith], then Jessica [Sailer], and then Meredith [Melling-Burke] one after the other. The next day, HR called and said they wanted me to come in again and meet with Anna. So I have one day to prep before my interview with Anna. I was never someone who agonized over outfits and I didn't buy anything for it. I was literally right out of college, so I had no money. I didn't realize people borrowed clothes; I didn't know that was a thing. I wore a J.Crew gold sequin skirt, Mulberry doctor bag, and white silk Equipment blouse buttoned up all the way to the top with a Robert Rodriguez blazer over it. My black heels must have been Zara or Dolce Vita because, like I said, no money. I quickly realized I would never wear anything like that again at Vogue, once I saw everyone was actually wearing clothes off the runway.
I think I spent about three hours doing my hair. I ended up sleeking it back with a high pony at the crown of my head so I couldn't fidget with it. I couldn't twirl my hair in front of Anna.
Got the job.

11. The Woman Who Asked Anna to WaitDuring my final weeks before graduating from college, I got a phone call from a Vogue editor offering an opportunity to interview for a position. In my thesis-writing delirium, I thought it was some kind of dream or hoax. I asked if they could wait till after graduation, and they said they would. Right after my graduation ceremony, I took a red-eye flight to begin preliminary interviews. After meeting with four different people, I met AW wearing a black crepe wool Balenciaga dress from the latest collection (all of my graduation money combined put a slight dent in its purchase, but I don't regret it as it's a favorite in my closet), a white dress shirt underneath with a crisp collar and cuffs, a simple-but-interesting pave pendulum necklace, and black Prada banana heels that were all the rage at the time.
Got the job.

12. The Woman Who Went VintageSo I was maybe 21, at my first job out of college, when I interviewed with her. At that time, I had no money and figured if I wasn't wearing high-end designer, I would do vintage. So I wore a very classic outfit with a vintage winter white pencil skirt, and a blouse that I don't remember. I had new accessories, like designer boots and a bag by Marc Jacobs. Vintage coat. I didn’t end up getting the job, but it was last minute anyway and they had someone in mind already.
No dice.

13. The Woman Who Wore the Vogue UniformI was a rover at Condé Nast at the time — it was early days at Vogue when black leggings, a Brooks Brothers boys department button-down, and a sweater wrapped around your waist was an adopted uniform on the editorial side. I wore a black pleated Agnes B. skirt, a black V-neck sweater from Charivari, black tights, and black pointy but squared-off Barneys loafers. Because I was already at 350 Madison that day, I left my black, pleather Ann Taylor tote bag under my desk.
Got the job.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Wesak Day

Wishing everyone a blessed Wesak Day, let us not forget the suffering of others, to cherish life no matter how small and to do good always.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mon Delice Patisserie, Penang

Psssst ... all you dessert lovers with sweet tooth, come here a lil closer ... I'm going to clue you in on a hidden gem right here in Penang.

Mon Delice Patisserie concocts the dreamiest and delicious desserts in town. They're newly opened and have a small selection of ready made sweet treats on display. They also take orders for cakes and interestingly enough, croquembouche!

Does the sight of this Mango Charlotte make you salivate? Trust me, it's as good as it looks, quite possibly even better. The chunks of mango were so ripe and juicy that it went perfectly well with the lightness of the cake. I'd to sneakily eat half of this while Bubs was having his afternoon nap or there wouldn't be any left the moment he sees this.

I'm not the hugest fan of Tiramisu but I got this for Hubs because I love the look of layered desserts in jars. And yes, you actually get to bring the entire glass jar home with you complete with a tiny bow. I had a few bites of it and for someone that doesn't like coffee based desserts, I've to admit this is quite good. It's definitely not cake but more of a very thick cream based texture with hints of chocolate and coffee in it.

If I'm not mistaken, they close on Mondays though I'd strongly advise that you call in advice to ask what takeaway desserts they have for the day to avoid disappointment.

Mon Delice Patisserie
81 Nagore Road (same row as Continental Bakery) Penang
 04-226 4394

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Little Things of Joy

Late work nights. Housework. Bubs in his Terrible Twos.


I know I should count my blessings. Working late means at least I'm still employed and my boss trusts me running a couple of projects for him. With housework comes a home, a sumbol of how hard we've worked to save up for our very own place. And Bubs, my little pint sized terror on two legs. As strong willed as I am, well, maybe even more. His staccato shouts whenever he is displeased "This ... is ... MY ... toy! Arrrgh!" Despite all that, he is still the cherry on top of my cake.

Here are a few little things of joy that have helped throughout the work stretched week :)

Hubs's brother and his wife had their registration of marriage - my new sis-in-law is such a sweet girl. Congrats, you lovebirds!

Remember my calamansi plant that I stole borrowed from my Dad? After Chinese New Year, Bubs and I stripped all of the fruit from the plant because my parents told me these are usually sprayed with chemicals to make the fruit a nice gold colour. I've been diligently watering the plant and using leftover tea to fertilise it and I was thrilled when it started blooming tiny little white flowers that have the most delicate scent. Wonder if this means it'll start fruiting soon again.

I have this thing for Korean food, not just the barbequed bulgogi but all the little assortment of dishes that come along with it. It's like those freebie toys that came attached in cereal boxes, you never know what you're going to get and that's part of the fun. My favourite has to be the kimchi pickled radishes that are sooo crunchy. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vanishing Memories: Candy Coloured Houses

Loving all the fun colours the owners chosen for their beautifully restored heritage houses in Kampung Malabar. That electric blue one with chestnut coloured wooden windows and doors is calling out my name!

 An abandoned, crumbling building against a gorgeous sunny sky.

The shop where the Jimmy Choo trained as an apprentice at Muntri Street.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to everyone celebrating it! Growing up, I kinda took everything my Mum did, from cross stitching personalised pencil cases for me, crocheting and sewing dresses, cooking my favourite dishes ... even doing my art homework when I couldn't do those hideous paper mache craft that every kid was forced to do ... for granted. Even when I was studying abroad, she wrote me letters with detailed recipes when I was craving for a decent Penang assam laksa and shipped over a bunch of bedsheets, pyjamas, even crockery so I could save my precious allowance on other essentials: new additions to my wardrobe makeup ;)

It took being a mummy myself to fully appreciate all the sleepless nights, worries, hopes and dreams that each mother has for her children. A piece of advice I read during pregnancy has stuck throughout motherhood: the day you become a mummy is the day you stop sleeping undisturbed. When Bubs was a newborn, he'd wake every couple of hours to cry for milk/demand to change his poopy diaper and during growth spurts, there were 45 min interval feeds, hoo boy, fun times indeed. As he grew bigger and started sleeping through the nights, I started worrying if he was fine since he was so silent. I remember tip toeing to his cot and trying to see if he was breathing in the dark and poking him just to make him move so I could go back to sleep assured. And that epic night where he was ill, refused to go back to bed after his medicine and we'd to bring him to walk around in the garden at 3am ...

Bubs sticking out his tummy when asked to strike a pose
Despite all those, it's definitely worth it whenever Bubs comes over unasked for a cuddle and a kiss, when he flashes that trademark cheeky grin of his, when he tumbles into bed and asks for a bedtime story :)

This year Hubs ordered mille crepes from Humble Beginnings again in my favourite flavour, Reeses Surprise, so very yummmm and more-ish. No prizes for guessing who had the largest slice.

Look what we got for Bubs - Jenga! I've never played with it before and I thought it'd be good to fine tune Bubs's motor development and teach him some patience.

We did lots of this ... plus crashing and restacking. I'm still a little surprised at how good Bubs is at this and how he's understanding the concept of rules. Anyone keen on challenging Bubs to a game? ;) When we got bored playing, we stacked the wooden logs like dominoes and set them all falling down in neat little piles.

And something arrived in the mail as a post Mother's Day pressie. I paid using Hubs's PayPal which he totally forgot about it until it arrived and he joked that if he knew about it, he'd have skipped the mille crepes. Cheapskate.

The prettiest pair of lapis lazuli earrings from Etsy seller Nell Belle Designs. She has the chicest and most elegant designs on her Etsy store and it was so hard to just narrow down to a single item. I'm getting really hooked onto Etsy shopping, I love how I'm supporting small business owners plus you are getting really good value for quality handmade items. The striking blue with pretty gold flecks and delicate gold wire wrap make these my current favourite pair of studs to wear daily.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Have you made any plans for this Mother's Day? My brother-in-law is getting married the day before so we're all going out for a nice family lunch right after that. He usually works out of state so it's nice that this year we're spending time together as a family.

Here's a list of cute gifts that would put a smile on Mum for this coming Mother's Day.

This handmade birds nest pearl necklace comes with a customisable initial and has an understated elegance to it.

If Mom has a sense of humour and a fondness for recipe books, Fifty Shades of Chicken ought to catch her fancy. This self styled "parody in a cookbook" offers both laughs (Mustard-Spanked Chicken, anyone?) and 50, what else, chicken recipes with cleverly styled photos.

Remember back then where photos were all developed from film and nearly every mum used the family compact camera to capture candid family photos? Give her back the gift of these memories - Instagram style. Printstagram lets you choose cute Instagram-based photo gifts from framed prints to minibooks.

Who says gifts have to be bought? Make Mum delighted by letting her wake up to these cheerfully coloured pancakes. ps - please remember to clean up the kitchen for her too. Just sayin'.

Does Mum fancy flowers but you want something different from bouquets? Try crafting this gorgeous wall hanging for her from paper mache letters and blooms.
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