Arts & Entertainment, Photography, The organised chaos

Happy weekend!

It’s ridiculously hot today (as it has been for the past month) but I am hoping that I can still make it to the National Museum to catch the Christian Lacroix the costumer exhibition.

Because of the things that have been happening in my life, I have neglected many things that I once loved. I stopped singing, stopped reading, stopped shooting and stopped writing – things that used to be precious to me and defined me for who I am. And after getting married, all I want to do on my weekends is to chill out at home and watch telly, or get the chores done and keep the house clean. I am emotionally fulfilled but spiritually, I feel like an empty barrel rolling aimlessly about in the desert.

My next project was born out of this need to be creative, to try and infuse some “me” into the things around me again. One day, over lunch with Beks, we decided to challenge ourselves to shoot 20 photos that define us and our lives. Surprisingly, it was tough to take 20 good photos of my life. I couldn’t draw inspiration from my daily walks to the bus stops and the office, and I couldn’t see the beauty in the busy cosmopolitan life around me. I decided to scale it down to 10 photos a month and then bring it back up to 20 in due time.

I’m still one short of the 10 for the month of May but I will leave you with one of my favourites for the weekend. For the rest of the May photos, hop on over to my flickr set. It is by no means perfect or beautiful but at least I am trying and hopefully, I will get better with time. 🙂

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3336/3572747376_f3c76fc958.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3572747376/

Foodnotes

Happy meal #5: Going Hawaiian

Having forgotten to take the ingredients that our mothers had gifted us from the freezer (I always do that), I had to make a detour to the supermarket to grab something that would make a quick meal last night. I wandered the aisles for a good 10 minutes before making a decision.

Guess what we ended up making? Here’s a clue:

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It’s Pizzagate night!

We had been talking about ordering pizza to keep us company during the UEFA Champions League (sobs, my precious Man Utd lost but that’s another story) but rather than pay for pricey pizzas, why don’t I make them myself? But of course, being lazy and hungry (it was almost 8pm, in my defense), I grabbed a pack of ready made dough and tins of ingredients. I do make sure that the sodium level of the tinned food is not too high though. Plus, canned tomatoes can be really fresh because they pack them in when they are freshly plucked.

Armed with my Waitrose and Narcissus tins, I started chopping and slicing things up.

!(imgcenter)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2025/3571932905_af4a8a2abb.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3571932905/

Red peppers, pineapple slices, sliced ham and halved button mushrooms

Smear on the chunky tomato paste.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3322/3572739572_0138022bdb.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3572739572/

Pile on the ingredients.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3357/3571932251_4effde1c4d.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3571932251/

Topped with a mountain of cheese, the way I like my pizzas.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3638/3572738938_17b790614f.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3572738938/

And chuck it all into the oven for a good 15 to 20 minutes.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3306/3571931439_38d8407793.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3571931439/

As the cheese melts, it gets baked into a lovely shade of golden-brown. The mozzerella gives you the nice stringy cheese texture, which I have always loved since I was a kid.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the end product because we were starving. Let’s just put it this way: it didn’t look very pretty but it tasted pretty good. The four pizzas fed three persons comfortably, which is not bad for a meal that costs all of $18.

Ann has put up a pizza recipe on her blog, which looks fantastic! She, being more industrious and creative than I am, has made her own crust and it’s a nice, healthy option for those who are a bit less lazy than I am.

Arts & Entertainment

Of Ingrid Michaelson and the rain

It’s dark and grey outside, the rain threatening to pour down on us. It’s a good thing, right? It’s a respite from the scorching sun that we have been getting for the past few weeks. In the kitchen, the pot of prawn stock that I am preparing for tonight’s dinner simmers gently on the stove, its aroma wafting through the air.

I put Ingrid Michaelson on the stereo.

She has a wonderful warm voice that puts me at ease every time I listen to her. Her lyrics are simple and heartfelt, her melodies soothing. Just like other female talented singer-songwriters that I love, like Jewel, Regina Spektor, Sarah MacLachlan, her songs have the ability to lull me into another world that’s introspective and dreamy.

I was watching the 100th episode of Grey’s Anatomy when her new single Turn To Stone played during the wedding scene. It was amazingly perfect for the scene. Needless to say, I cried buckets, a testament to both the awesomeness of the TV producers as well as Ingrid Michaelson’s talent.

One of my favourite singers, for sure.

Little Miss Shopaholic

I’m famous! In Lianhe Zaobao!

At 9am on Friday morning, I received a text message from my mum, which said: “Saw you in papers. You look very prt.” (Isn’t she cool? She can text in SMS lingo!)

The reason for her excitement?

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3609/3559259834_2f57aa7cab.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3559259834/

That is the front page of zbnow, the lifestyle section of Lianhe Zaobao (think the Chinese version of ST Life!). Unfortunately, I did not make it to front page because I am extraordinarily gorgeous, or because I scaled Mount Everest.

It’s because I wear kids’ clothing.

YZ, a friend of MY (I know, my friends are all known by their abbreviations) is a reporter at zbnow and was looking for someone to interview for the story. I said yes, and she mentioned doing a photoshoot. Three weeks later, my mother-in-law rang while we were having breakfast on Friday morning to say that hey, I was on the front page and then Popartgirl texted me to tell me how her mother had dashed excitedly into her room to ask if that was me.

After receiving that funny text from my mum, I called her and she asked, “So, how much did they pay you?” She had thought that I was a paid model! When I told her I wasn’t paid at all, she groaned and said that the newspaper had gotten too good a deal because I looked so pretty. I love my mum.

Most of the clothes featured were mine and I even slyly added in my Manchester United boys jersey, heh heh.

I am probably breaking copyright laws by putting these up (Ass Pee Hedge was, afterall, my former employer and I know all about their ways) but heck. Here’s the second page of the story and the story is here if you want to read it. I’m simply amazed they can find the last character of my name in the system – it’s an ancient word that does not exist anymore.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3409/3559259846_9c7aae7292.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3559259846/

Foodnotes

Happy meal #4: Beer. Ass. Chicken.

This is a chicken.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3384/3518587556_13916399d3.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3518587556/

It has a beer can sticking up its ass.

Accuse us of animal cruelty for all you like but this was all in the name of good eating! We had the Billy Kong Guan band over for dinner one Saturday and decided that a roast was the easiest food that we can cook to feed the lot of them. And these are some serious bottomless pits we are talking about.

I adapted Ann’s recipe slightly, by adding lemon juice in the seasoning and also stuffing a lemon into the chicken’s neck to prevent the moisture from escaping through the head.

The result?

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3611/3517775737_c5222da516.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3517775737/

A juicy, tender and delicious bird.

The best bit was, it wasn’t difficult to cook it at all. The folks liked it, I liked it and everyone was fed. A great recipe for gatherings.

Friends

A plug for dottieshop

!(imgcenter)http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3ZT43L8psF4/SgfQBURPd2I/AAAAAAAAAB4/-b9dibIwHL4/s320/dottieshop+e-ad.jpg!

I have a friend named Dotz.
Dotz is a very special person.
She is not only one of the nicest, funniest and sweetest persons in the world, she is also absolutely amazing at handicraft.
She can make pretty things out of scrap paper, and turn Mathematics lecture notes into pieces of art.
So, she is really talented.
But how nice is Dotz?
Well, she is now creating and selling of artwork for a living but that’s not all.
Part of her profits will go to non-profit organisation, For The Silent.
If that is not nice, I don’t know what is.
If you are looking to buy unique and heartfelt gifts for a friend, or a card for your Dad, head over to dottieshop and check out what Dotz has in store for you.

Two of Us

Still newlyweds

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It’s been eight months and we are still happily married. Not that we expect to be otherwise in future, of course.

Thank you, Mr Thick, for being my biggest supporter and cushion when I am in need of a hug.
Thank you for doing the laundry, even though I complain that you wash our clothes far too often for my liking (once every five days).
Thank you for cooking and then doing the washing up because you know I am tired and not feeling great.
Thank you for devouring, like a hungry sumo wrestler, the food that I cook even though it is far from tasty.
Thank you for coming to my aid when an annoying bug flies into the house even though you are on the potty and doing your business (you help after flushing and washing your hands with soap, obviously).
Thank you for taping down those 3am football matches for me because you know I would rather be sleeping than watching the telly.

I miss our wedding day quite a bit but I like what happens after the wedding more.

Happy eight months!

Health Goddess

‘Twas the butt afterall

All those pain I was feeling in my right knee and ITB? I blamed it wrongly on my poor legs of uneven length.

After months of procrastinating and feeling poor, I decided to bite the bullet and have the legs checked out by a physio. I was just sick of feeling pain in my hips whenever I walk for too long, or during BodyPump, or when I wear my heels for too long. All I want is to walk and run normally again.

Today’s session was painful, to say the least. After assessing the way I stand and walk, the conclusion that Cindy, the physio from Core Concepts, had was that my glute muscles were weak. Huh? I thought. Apparently, the butt has a lot to do with running and walking. Because my glute muscles are weak, I am using other muscles such as the ITB to over-compensate. And the weakness is also causing my right knee to collapse inwards, which leads to added pressure on my hip. These lead to the over-working of the hips and ITB and cause the pain that I was feeling.

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

The silver lining is that the problems are all caused by weak muscles and not anatomical faults. Weak muscles can be trained and strengthened, there is nothing much you can do with anatomical flaws.

During the session, Cindy tried to massage away the tightness along my right thigh and boy, it hurt real bad (think applying pressure on a huge and painful bruise that you have). I was wincing all the time but strangely enough, it was a good kind of pain (am I masochistic or what) and it did feel nice to have the pain ease a little after a while. No bruising, thank goodness. On my part, I have to go home and do ‘homework’ everyday – exercises like the clam that would help to strengthen the glutes.

The sessions are not cheap ($80 for 30 minutes) and I would probably need about four sessions to sort out the problems. But I am hoping that I will be able to run and walk properly eventually.

Fingers crossed.

Arts & Entertainment

It’s a fictitious wedding but…

…it was beautiful.

I was watching the 100th episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which featured the wedding. Instead of the original Meredith-Derek nuptials, what emerged was the ceremony between Alex and Izzie.

True, it would not have happened if not for the fact that Izzie is dying on Alex and the rest of them. But the fact that it did and that her best friends were a part of what is the best day of her life makes it a touching moment. I loved at it was Bailey who came up with the idea, how Izzie picked Cristina as her maid of honour because Cristina was the one who pushed Izzie into receiving treatment and how George came to her aid so naturally and guided her down the aisle.

Today’s the day my life begins. All my life I’ve been just me, just a smart-mouthed kid. Today I become a man. Today I become a husband. Today I become accountable to someone other than myself. Today I become accountable to you, to our future, to all the possibilities that marriage has to offer. Together, no matter what happens, I’ll be ready. For anything. For everything. To take on life. To take on love. To take on possibility and responsibility. Today, Izzie Stevens, our life together begins. And I, for one, can’t wait.

Oh sure, it was television. But it was elegant TV, immersive acting and classy writing at its best. Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I was repressing the urge to sob, fearing that my husband would get the shock of his life. He did take a glance at my wet face and gather me into his arms as the waterworks burst.

It’s just…I love weddings. Really. The wondrous union of two people deeply in love, the happiness and love shining out of their faces as they get closer to starting that chapter of their lives, one step at a time.

But, as life goes on in east end, I have come to realise that while weddings are gorgeous and memorable, nothing beats marriage. Weddings mark the beginning of forever, marriage is forever.

Oh, and I love Ingrid Michaelson’s new song, Turn to Stone, playing in the background. That song, as wonderful as it is, did not even make it to her new album. I can’t wait for it to be out.