Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sunday Afternoons; Haze

1. Petal is our cat and this is her latest hangout. before anyone judges her name, let me say that she was found in a bed of flowers which was why the people who found her named her Petal. anyhow, she is a cat with a supermodel figure (long body man) and she lazily says hi to our neighbours who passes the corridor. ^^' a cat's gotta do what a cat's gotta do.

2. my friend Abigail is currently in Channel U's Project Superstar and i filmed this as part of her special feature. basically she declared to the world that i was her 最爱的人. LOL ^^' we filmed this at Bishan Park and it was an extremely good day with an overzealous sun. when the footage was aired i had tons of people texting me commenting on my Chinese, my hair etc. and i kept getting screenshots of me talking. WHO LOOKS GLAM TALKING -.-. anyway it was pretty fun despite the fact that the wind that day didn't seem to agree with my hair. Project Superstar is still airing every Monday at 8PM. download ToggleNow to vote for Abigail!! *^^*

3. i had wanted to update after making some Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake but the
haze has been rather bad and i've developed somewhat of a dry cough from last night. i didn't even go to church because i was kept awake by this mysterious lump in my throat and only managed to fall asleep at 3AM.

4. i recently launched a project that i started on my own a couple of months ago. i'm bringing in an ex-YG dancer who was my dance instructor in Korea. (omg i have typed this so many times that i am just ._. ) but yes. she is a fantastic dancer and i had really wanted to bring her in because i felt that people who were into K-POP or dance or things like that would really appreciate the opportunity to learn from someone who have performed professionally in the industry.

organising this wasn't, and isn't easy. and saying that is the official opening of floodgates to come. i literally one-girl-showed everything from plane tickets, accommodation, studio, Facebook page, marketing and (almost) all promotional materials. through this experience (so far) i have really learnt so much. so so so much. and i've also experienced so much support that my friends and family have given me. i question myself and ask if this is the right thing to do. it had honestly started out simply because i wanted to help her, as a friend or a student. no thoughts of profits, no thoughts of business. and then, it just happened. so this is what i have been doing these days. spending the lasts of my days before work starts next week planning, marketing, promoting, photoshopping, selling. it's extremely draining and i found myself at a breaking point yesterday. but then again, it might be the drugs i'm on. anti-inflammatories has a tendency to make me depressed. it might also be because i had been staying home for some days trying to recover so that i can tutor my PSLE kid tomorrow without the fear of spreading any germs to her.

but yes. i have been learning a lot from this one project that i have single-handedly created, crafted, planned and eventually execute. i don't think i regret it.

5. i signed my contract yesterday, and i'd be starting work next week. a little short notice but i'm glad and am thankful that i had the buffer of about a month or so and that i really have been trying to make the best of everyday, going out with friends and spending time with people who are important because that's when time is meaningful. spending time alone is certainly meaningful as well but if you spend time alone everyday it starts to lose its value. which is why i had abi come out with me today and we had lunch together after which i'm spending some work time at Starbucks in Bugis, working and editing on more posters for publicity purposes, doing more arranging and planning and promotion. at least i feel slightly more sane than i was yesterday when i perpetually felt like i was rotting at home. waiting for abi to be done with shopping~

6. i am also taking this opportunity to really move closer to God and believing that all things work for His good. it isn't easy, isn't easy at all. but i'm starting to do my quiet time once again in a bid stop my mind from running at night and to help me sleep better. despite the cough syrup and flu pills, i am still having some trouble falling asleep.

7. i know it's already Wednesday and i'm like 3 days overdue. but i really have been rather busy and sick and trying to get well and somehow, i get stuck ever so often while typing this. but everything is made for man and not man for it right? we must learn to be flexible!!! hahahahaha. ok sorry. i will try to be on time more often.

meanwhile, i hope everyone's having a great week AND PLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE WORKSHOP if you're interested! means a lot to me. <3

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunday Afternoons; Hong Kong

View from Discovery Bay
Breakfast at Australia Dairy Company

i had missed last week's Sunday Afternoon because i was in Hong Kong! but i really do have tons to talk about so i think i'd be able to make up for it some time this week with another post.

On the Airport Express; Luggage and I
1. i made a spontaneous decision to join my parents in HK on Friday and booked my ticket on Friday evening for the flight the next day at 730AM. it was probably one of the most YOLO things i've done. and then i had to stay up to 2 in the morning trying to pack everything. ^^' i had only an hour to sleep before i had to get up and leave with my parents. we were booked on different flights about half hour away so i left with them. well, to cut the long story short, it turned out that in my excitement of being YOLO, i had booked my flight a day later instead of Saturday. absolutely fail moment and a lesson that i will definitely remember for a long long time. i tried to get it changed but there were no more seats left for the morning flights for the rest of the day, so i headed home, alone, with a luggage, on the train.

i was absolutely devastated. i got home to a very comforting brother who just laughed at me and told me that such nonsense happens and i shouldn't feel too bad about it. exhausted, i went back to sleep, only waking up to make lunch for my brother and i. after which my parents decided at 1pm that i should take the 3pm flight. so basically i was processing the change 2 hours before the flight, at home. then i got ready and my brother rushed me to the airport. i landed at about 7pm and took awhile to change some currency (yes i had no currency hahahaha) and buy an Octopus card out of the airport. made my way to Mongkok via the train and met my parents at the foot of Langham Place - where we were staying.

the following days were spent with my brother's gf's family and meeting friends residing in HK. eating, eating and EATING. and being fed up with the pre-mid-autumn weekend crowd. oh, and swimming in the really beautiful Langham Place's pool.

2. i made some awesome strawberry jam two days ago and it was mad easy. i'll be posting about it probably some time this week when i find the time to take some shots.

3. i came across this post on Compatibility and Chemistry in Relationships and find it to be extremely interesting and quite a theoretical way of analysing a relationship. pretty relevant i would say.

4. i love that Fall is closing in on us. i know we stay in Singapore and everyone says that we are summer all year round. that is true. but i think it is also undeniable that it does get cooler towards the end of the year and summer Summer in June is truly one of the hottest times of the year. signs of Fall in Singapore include the increased frequency in rainfall, wind and a slight drop in temperature. i actually do change my wardrobe according to season - there are some clothes that are really more Fall-Wintery while some are really bright, colourful and Summery.

so recently, it has been raining a little more often and it is slightly cooler i feel. not time to whip out those stockings or tights just yet but i have been pulling out a couple more knits and changing my shoes for the season. Fall is absolutely my favourite season of the year, followed by Winter. in fact, i really love the Winter season (definitely nothing close to true Winter) here, but the holiday mood just seeps right in and visions of memories flash past my mind more often. from Christmas Eve nights spent at Clarke Quay with Starbucks in hand, to days of Christmas Carolling at The Star Vista.

Blueberry Crumble Muffin

5. speaking of the change in season, i have also prepped my pantry to prepare for Fall goodies like Apple Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Pies (or pies, tarts and crumbles of any sort), and Baked Pastas. it could also be my love for apple and cinnamon and that fall just happens to be the season for it. i am also reminded of the Fall i spent in Korea exactly a year ago. Paris Baguettes literally serve up Apple breads and pastries of various sort and i had myself trying everything i could lay hands on. (which explains my weight gain then ^^') the food bloggers were posting all these Fall food recipes that i couldn't try because i had no oven in Korea so i bookmarked all of them and i WILL do all of them this year.

6. this leads me to discuss about the abundance of time that i currently enjoy. heh. honestly, my time for freedom left is rather uncertain so i really am trying to do everything that i want to before i begin the next phase of my life. it is exciting, absolutely. and i look forward to learn more and develop myself as a person in a new environment. so i will bake more this week, pack my room, decide on the additional decors i want and fix up everything else i want to do. (i really want to fix the kitchen.) this is also the reason why i will be cycling tomorrow (hopefully if air quality and weather permits) with Grandpa and Jo.

7. Grandpa asked me to cycle with him tomorrow. i was rather reluctant, honestly. swimming is more of my thing. but since he asked, and i'm not sure when i can spare such time to spend with him once i start working, i decided to get myself out and have some (hopefully) fresh air tomorrow. for context, the haze seems to be lingering in the air today, so i do hope that it'll be gone tomorrow.

Group Therapy
8. i have also been spending time with my favourite bff, making up for all the lost time for the past couple of years. i honestly think it keeps both of us sane and grounded to the things we believe in.

9. the start of a new week; learning to live in the present and not for the future.

10. it's going to be a fantastic week ahead <3
i feel myself overflow with positivity already

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sunday Afternoons; life milestones

1. i attended a cousin's wedding at Capella Singapore this morning/afternoon and probably had more alcohol than i ever had at any other wedding simply because the food service took rather long and there were plenty of waiting gaps which we (or i rather), spent sipping our glasses. since i don't take sodas or fizzy drinks, i settled with the other choices. :D it was a very beautiful wedding and my first wedding luncheon.

2. i am feeling extremely sleepy

3. my throat hurts and i'm convinced that it might be the drying alcohol. ok.

4. my BFF Wu Zhijun recently flew back (for good i presume), from Australia and i'm meeting her in the coming week *^^*

5. i have been feeling the weight of God's grace, mercy and abundant favour in my life, yet i have also been reminded that we all only have one life, and am really only young once. where do we want to invest our youth in? these 20-something years we have are numbered and limited. although age is sometimes really just a number.

there are really so many possibilities in our lives. we could do whatever we wanted to. limits are drawn by ourselves. but then do we really know what we want in life? a senior once told me that honestly you'll never know what you want until you go about trying different things. which is why i'd just try anything. but ultimately i think i do know the direction that i want to head. with this life that we have, what is it that you want to make sure that you'd never regret when you face death?

i'm not sure but i believe that everyone has had or have a vision of how they want or had wanted their lives to be like. how they would be living. will it always be a distant idea, somewhere that only exists in your head or are you going to go about doing something about that dream to make it your reality. i was listening to the radio the other day and the DJ mentioned that this was one of the top few regrets that many dying people have expressed. i was certain, at that point, that i didn't want to be one of them. doing is sometimes better to have not done at all.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sour Cream Blueberry Pancakes

For more pictures head here

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes (Yields ~12) 
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
7  tablespoon Flour
2 tablespoon Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Large Eggs
180g Sour Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Butter for greasing
  1. Whisk eggs and vanilla in a small bowl
  2. Sift all dry ingredients
  3. Mix dry ingredients into sour cream. Whisk in egg+vanilla mixture until just combined.
  4. Do not overmix
  5. Heat a pan over medium heat. Grease with butter or oil.
  6. Spoon some mixture into the pan. (add blueberries or fruits, nuts here if desired) Cook until bubbles form on the surface of the batter. Flip and cook for another minute. (NOTE. pancakes are extremely extremely soft and may be slightly difficult to flip. i found that they also burn easily.)
  7. Serve warm with fruits if desired, butter and syrup.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Afternoons; fearless

1. I made Sour Cream Pancakes littered with tons of berries because i had left over sour cream from making cupcakes and it seems to be the berry season when blueberries and strawberries are everywhere in supermarkets and going on sale. they are so much more affordable than usual. by the way, the pancakes were mad soft and fluffy and really really easy to make. no stand mixer or blender required. (yes it was even easier than throwing everything in the blender because washing the blender can be annoying.) recipe here

2. I have been making an effort in taking proper chio pictures, food or not and i even fished out my Canon G15 to snap shots of the glorious sour cream pancakes and its berry counterparts above. i have rekindled my interest in some decent photography after spending a week sorting out almost 5 years worth of old pictures and realising that i took more than just a handful of pointless, un-chio and sometimes blur pictures.
3. I had two dance classes and a swim session over the past week and my body is aching so much right now. at least i'm burning off energy (and hopefully fats) which can offset my recent high carb breakfasts (like pancakes, scones and bread).
4. I want to shift to wordpress. but am trying to figure out a way to do all that without losing anything. i googled but they lost me at DNS domain. ...

5. my ankle still feels funny, especially during dance with all the footwork in the current choreo. i am starting to wonder if i am making a fuss out of something called an old injury and if it can be improved or cured at all. i go for physio sessions (although i'd admit that i have lost all passion to do the exercises at home) and i tape up during dance. but it still bothers me enough. i will make an appointment to see the sports trainer (which i initially refused when the physio wanted me to). the discomfort is too depressing.
6. about two weeks ago, i returned to CGH for my usual ankle review. dr ng told me that my ankle was still slightly swollen. nothing swells for a year. since my MRI was clear of any bone or ligament injury, the next possibility would be a blood problem. so he had me run (more than just) a couple of blood tests, drawing four tubes of blood and putting me on medication. 
"what if it isn't?" i asked.
"so it should be."
i didn't know how to feel about it. i prayed and told God that I believe that all things will work for the good of His plans. thankfully when the results came last Wednesday, i was clear. my blood was normal and Dr Ng concluded that it must just be my body type and that the sprain left an irritation at my ankle that caused mild inflammation when annoyed and hence the mild swelling. if that makes sense. well there is apparently a name for that but i forgot.
the incident may be over, but it did made me think however, of life and living in general. was i afraid of dying? if i lived as if it was my last everyday, i'd probably be fearless. there would be nothing to lose. what would you do if you had nothing to lose?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wholemeal English Muffins

Wholemeal English Muffins
as i type, i actually have a batch of Wholemeal Raisin Walnut Bread in the oven. ^^' i picked up a reduced to clear bag of bread flour awhile back, which explains my sudden bread baking frenzy. i also found some wholemeal flour which was on sale. this English Muffin recipe used 100% all purpose flour. i subbed that out with half bread flour and a quarter wholemeal flour in an attempt to clear them before they expire. The Cooking Geek mentions that we shouldn't use bread flour to maintain the delicate crumb of an English Muffin but i love bread and i love the chewy starchy texture of bread so i really didn't mind. i mixed Bread Flour, Wholemeal flour and topped the rest with Top Flour (similar to Cake Flour)

these were mad yummy especially right out of the oven (then again, what isn't?), but i found them a tad on the salty side. The Cooking Geek used sea salt but said that table salt was fine. i used table salt and it was a little too salty for my family's liking. i would reduce the salt amount by half. maybe that's also cos my mom in particular loves having bread with salted butter and since these were already tasty on its own.... perhaps they would have been better with jam. but then i wouldn't know because i only managed to have one. :<

i made 8 in total and had one right from the oven. so i split the remaining 7 into bags for the family's breakfast tomorrow. i packed two individual muffins in a bag each, two muffins in one bag and the remaining three in another. i woke up the next morning to find that they were all gone T.T so apparently my mom took both individual muffins, my dad took the two muffins in one and my brother saw the last bag on the table and took it.. ._. and i was really looking forward to breakfast T^T. oh well. at least they cleared fast. ^^'

i was really pleased at how pretty the evening sun shone on them. a really gorgeous colours. these are not edited guys. no filter, no edits. #truestory

they puffed up really beautifully. :')

Wholemeal English Muffins (Yields 8) 
Adapted from The Cooking Geek
(pop over to The Cooking Geek for step-by-step instructions)

100g Bread Flour
100g Top Flour
50g Wholemeal Flour
(or use 250g all-purpose flour/cake flour/top flour)

150g warm water

1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Cornmeal as needed
  1. Sift all dry ingredients except cornmeal into a mixing bowl. (i used my Kenwood Kitchen Mixer, dough hook to do the work. so i used the Kenwood mixing bowl for the Kitchen Mixer)
  2. Melt butter and leave to cool
  3. Attach dough hook to Kitchen Mixer and fit in the mixing bowl. Turn up the power to 1 to mix dry ingredients. 
  4. Gradually add half the water. Add melted butter
  5. Slowly add the remaining water until a dough starts to form. (i usually eye at this point to see if there is too much or too little liquid and adjust accordingly)
  6. Leave the machine to knead for 6-8 minutes.
  7. Stop, remove the dough hook. The dough should be in a ball shape at the bottom of mixing bowl. Lightly grease with oil or butter and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and round of each piece of dough by folding in the sides and shaping with your palm.
  10. Dip in cornmeal to lightly coat them
  11. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  12. Heat a pan. Lightly oil or butter if you wish. (i usually don't or do so sparingly because i like the browning better with less oil) Once hot, place balls of dough in the pan.
  13. Do not overcrowd the pan because they will rise. Do not flatten.
  14. Flip once brown.
  15. Serve warm with butter or jam :)

artistic shots i try

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grandpa and I

I had been having trouble sleeping and i mentioned it while chatting with the physio and the other sports trainers the other day. i blame myself for staying home most of the time and not burning enough energy during the day these days. one of them suggested that i swim. i was rather hesitant initially, but with the lack of exercise and hardly any decent dance classes AND that i probably wouldn't be so free when i start work, i decided to get my lazy self out.

so i arranged to meet grandpa last week to swim, since he swims almost daily at the club. i did a good 14 laps or so and was thoroughly worn out by mid-noon. i slept really well that day. i had wanted to swim this week as well, but i couldn't and decided to go run at the gym instead. so i met grandpa this morning - i was late - and i headed to the other complex after he signed me in.

so this is what happened. i had rang CSC beforehand to ask if guests were allowed to use the gym and the person i spoke to said yes. i signed in at the gym with little difficulty. after the gym however, it seems that whether guests or not, there was a fee for gym usage. and members had to be present to sign the chit. i worried a little at this point because grandpa said i didn't have to wait for him after i was done. i spoke to the lady who ran a check on the system and exclaimed in shock that the member was an old man. LOL. i clarified and informed that he was my grandpa and she said that she knew him because he was such an old member and she has been working at the club for many years as well. i was terribly relieved in hopes that she would be able to help me out somehow. i explained that i could ring my grandpa but grandpa is 92 this year and hard of hearing. it would be really hard to speak to him on the phone. (he called me when i was late but couldn't hear me when i tried to explain repeatedly that i'd be there in 10 minutes. i could try ten times or twenty times over and not be frustrated but i hate the feeling that he might get upset at himself. so i'd rather not.)

anyhow, we managed to work things out. after showering, grandpa actually rang me and asked if i was done. he came to get me and we headed for lunch together. i updated him on my graduation, job search and showed him the family Whatsapp chat that the uncles, aunties and cousins have. we spoke about our trip to Medan where he reminisced about the food and the various beautiful places that we should have gone to. he told me that he didn't have anymore schoolmates, friends, and even some of our family anymore. i honestly didn't know how to respond at that point. i really wondered at that point, how my grandpa feels, when most of the people he knows aren't around any longer, or that he has lost contact with them. fear? sadness? loneliness? it really is quite a depressing thought that i'd rather choose not to think about.