Thursday, December 25, 2008

Inspiration for the day

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” - the Dalai Lama

Reminded by Zen Habits' post, The Six Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Loved Ones (Plus Audio Tips on Achieving Goals).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hunny Holiday 1st Stop: Orlando! [Part 1]

First off - I think "honeymoon" screams CHEESY!, so we decided to call our trip "hunny holiday". =)

The journey that gets us to Orlando was pretty lengthy. The first flag of 14 hours flight brought us to Los Angeles Airport where we have to get our luggage and move them to the domestic airport to get them into the plane that we'll be boarding. We had to change the luggage tags cause the flight listed on the luggage tag is different to the one we'll be taking. Once we got those sorted - we dash to the domestic airport, got our boarding passes and quickly grab breakfast. Some egg-y breakfast burrito. Quite interesting, except that I find the tipping custom rather annoying. Ick! I like knowing exactly how much I will need to pay when I'm ordering. Oh well! It's only for a month and a bit. :P

When we got back to the boarding gate; we discovered that the flight has been delayed - there was some machine issue or something. Hmm.. not very good - considering the third flag of our flight is only an hour from our arrival time to Dallas (the next destination). Checked with the lady and she told us not to worry - there's always the next flight from Dallas to Orlando that we can take. Cool. So, we waited for a little bit. Half an hour later, found out that we'll get to board a different flight to our original flight - but we'll definitely be able to catch the next flight to Orlando (which is departing Dallas about 40mins from our estimated time in Dallas). Fast forward a little and we got on the flight - I slept the whole flight ~3 hours (not sure what Shanon was doing) - arrive in Dallas / Fort Worth and rush to catch the Orlando flight.

We boarded the Orlando flight successfully but were a little worried bout our luggages. Nothing we can do about it though. Hunger strikes! Luckily - Shanon got this chicken wrap thing from the stewardess of the previous flight for helping this other lady with luggage or something (while I was snoring like a pig :P). Yummm! Another nap after that for the rest of the flight. Finally got to Orlando within about two and a half hour. Bleh! We're both sick of flying by then.

I got super excited about finally getting there - only for Shanon to warn me not to get excited yet cause we might not get our luggage. ... So, we quickly get to the luggage pickup area, waited a little bit, and Shanon's luggage appears! Awesome! Yay! Hmmm - Waited some more... Hmmm - Hang on a sec. They've stopped the luggage train thing. What does that mean? Where is mine???

@#$!@$#$! D*mmit! Ick! Ick! Triple Ick!

The guy told us to go to the office to check. No luggage. They don't know where it is. Fill in forms & a little blah blah blah. Off we go. They'll send the luggage to the hotel when it gets to Orlando. Well there goes my beauty sleep - it'd be tricky to sleep cause I'll be worrying about whether or not we'll get the luggage as we're only in Orlando for 2 nights! Again - Nothing we can do though...

Exited the airport. Despite having done the research bout how best to get to the hotel - we were too tired and hence easily conned into getting this fancy taxi ride which ended up costing us $50 (~20 mins distance).

First impression of Orlando? Hmm.. Very quiet.

Got to the hotel. Super hungry. What should we do? Not to worry - there's supposed to be quite a few restaurants around the area. I purposely picked a hotel which is located in the International Drive (which is supposedly the "happening" place). Nope - most of them were closed (or closing). I guess it was late (nearly 11pm). Found this pizza place brochure in the hotel room. Called and asked for delivery. I got clean up (as much as I can without my luggage) and the food arrived. Not cheap considering they're bleh pizza n pasta. Still have to tip! Ick! Gemes!

We watched a little bit of tv n then bed time (again?) - yup - strangely we still managed to sleep after all those broken sleep on the plane. We needed to sleep though - for our big day tomorrow at Kennedy Space Center!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tempura & Dumpling House - Boxhill

Just before I left for my "honey holiday" to NYC; Elly, my motherly gal pal, finally took me to this La Mien (translate: Pulled Noodle) place that she's been raving about since she arrived in Melbourne about 2 years ago, Tempura & Dumpling House.

If I had known that it is located in the Centro building in Boxhill (i.e. where the Boxhill train station is!); I would have gone there a longggggg time ago!!!

It was super yummy! The spring onion pancake. The dumpling. The spicy beef brisket noodle. Slurrrppp... Plus, very reasonably priced too! Can't wait to go back.

In the mean time, I'm wandering the streets of New York, experiencing different kind of food each day... Living in heaven (well - temporarily - until I found a weight scale somewhere!) :P


Friday, November 28, 2008


Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Photo credit: wesleyrosenblum's photostream

Since listening to Paul & Shanon's conversation on Wednesday about Peanut Satay sauce I can't stop thinking about them. The above photos (and this one here, Jackie {Donnelly Images}'s photostream) seem to fit their description of the thick chutney style peanut sauce. Yum!!!

Tape Singkong (Fermented Sweet Cassava)

Photo credit: TAPE SINGKONG « Ketela go International

This one came out from discussion about yeast and beer with Brendan yesterday. Can't stop thinking about this too.. Hmm I wonder when do I get to eat these things...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Have and To Hold ....

... from this day onward.

To my better half, Shanon (Boris)...

I am one very very very VERY lucky gal - to have found the perfect fit in you, and most importantly, to have and enjoy love like ours.

Love, Shelvia (Mino)


P.S.: I can never really thank everyone enough for such an amazing and perfect memory of an ultra-special day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just What I Needed...

Using a House Move to De-Clutter - Relocation Expert (UK)

Declutter Before You Pack To Move House | Content for Reprint

VicRoads Change of Address Online Form

I love it! It's EXTREMELY simple and straight forward - with the right amount of details. Online form perfection I'd say.

Hmm.. The "Change of Gender" option (on the left side links) got me giggling though.. =P
I guess I'm not open-minded enough.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Minimalism & Decluttering

In the beginning of this year, I came across the following posts...
- "A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home" by Zen Habits;
- Editing Your Life by Stepcase Lifehack;
- Discardia.

I found the concept of decluttering and minimalism very intriguing.

I'm quite organised (or so I'd like to think); but my habit of hanging on to things is a big downfall in terms of clutter. Plus, once you live in a home for a few years, you just accumulate stuffs (hidden all around the house). However, I've been consciously acting on this though. Throughout this year, I've donated 3-4 times big batches of stuffs from home and I've tried to limit the buying of new stuffs. Still, one giant proper cleaning and sorting session is definitely long overdue.

Now - I'm moving out in a couple of weeks, to Shanon's place, to start our new life as "husband and wife" *giggles*. So I'm thinking - THIS is IT! This is the opportunity that I've been waiting for. I've always enjoy moving and organizing a new place, cause I get to see ALL the things that I have and placed them as I see fit NOW, instead of how I see them a few years ago. This is a bit tricky though, cause I'm not moving to an empty space. I'll have to work around that by first making room and perhaps organize some new storage options at Shanon's place.

Gosh - less than two weeks now!

I really want to use this opportunity to DOWN SIZE my belongings. I testify that I have experienced first hand the AWESOME feeling of having LESS stuffs. I love my wardrobe more and more at the end of my de-cluttering sessions. Plus, the benefits of dressing better because of it - people do comment - is great too! I have to say that it is much easier to pick the right clothing to wear when you love ALMOST-everything in your wardrobe.

Ideally, I'd like to ONLY keep the stuffs that I use or need or REALLY want. Everything else get donated, gifted or bin. How much can I hold on to my words? We'll see.

So far, I've cleaned out my wardrobe and I've learned a few things throughout my 3-4 cleanup sessions this year:
1. I like the structured version for small/medium bag; leave the unstructured ones for massive bag.
2. I very much DON'T like Rubber Waisted Skirt!!! Seriously. 99% of the time, they are very non-complimenting. Hmm.. I wonder why I bought them in the first place.
3. In general, I also don't like High Waisted Pants or even Medium High ones (the ones that reaches my belly button). They are very difficult to wear with anything. Rarely looks nice (well - on me anyway).
4. I have to be careful with my colour choice when shopping for clothing. Make sure I have at least something to wear with this new piece. Otherwise, it ends up just sitting there staring at me until the time of donation.
5. Stop buying MULTIPLE of the same things (especially when it looks rather unique). It just makes it less special! Actually, also on buying MULTIPLE things, I have to STOP buying TOO MUCH things that serves the SAME purpose (e.g. I really don't need 5 different scissors in every room - but I do).
6. As much as I'd like to be a girlie girl, I really don't need to stock 20 different necklaces, 20 different bracelets, 20 different earrings, etc etc.
7. Software CD or boot up diskette for Windows 98 are Waaaaaayyyyy OUT OF DATE! Bin please!

Anyway - I'll report more on my progress later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


*LOL* I have to say - this is one very strange post title for my blog! :) But - it is the right title!

I like Broccoli. Stir Fry with Garlic sauce. Steamed with a little bit of Salt & Pepper. I do like them a lot. The crunchy texture. The fresh taste.

Now - why the sudden love confession towards Broccoli - you may ask?

Well... I know a lot of people who don't like them and today, I stumbled across this very awesome food blog, The Amateur Gourmet, which has a post titled "The Best Broccoli of Your Life". Intrigued yet? =)

How about now?

I can't wait to try this out! :) Oh well.. I thought I should share this news anyway. Even if I can convert one or two people to be Broccoli lovers, my post would be worth it. :P

Yippee... Thanks Adam! Spectacular blog you have there by the way - if you're reading!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Most Recent Google Search Result

It's the "Favorite Wedding Band Engravings" page.

My personal favorite?
"Put me back on!" OR "Put it back on!"

Tee hee hee..

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I'm getting more and more intrigued by this particular interest of mine.

More recently, I'm starting to consider photography as an option to pursue as a career. Though I've only started to experiments with photo taking quite recently; I've always been mesmerized by photos. I used to love having my photos taken (what a narcissistic!) - but I got bored of it. There can only be so much faces one can pull! :P

I read this article today and thought that it might comes in handy one day (hopefully that one day isn't too far away!)... 5 Tips for Building Your Photography Portfolio

Now - I just need to do some calculation and figure out when can I afford to buy an SLR! :)


Not Just Any Sentence

"Often, it's the people closest to us who see the worst of us."
I read this sentence in "5 Reasons to Leave a Crappy Job" article by Steve Errey, from The Confidence Guy and think...
"What a well constructed sentence which delivers the message in such small number of words!"

There has been a few instances where I felt that way but when I try to put them in words, it becomes complicated to make sure I don't send the wrong message. :P I'm so happy to have found that sentence! (please don't think I'm a total freak or if you do, please keep it to yourself...)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Foodie Must Eat: Sydney

From my recent visit to Sydney with my sis and Lia comes a list of places in Sydney I will definitely make time to eat in when I visit...

* Sydney Fish Market (Lobster Mornay!!! Sashimi!!! Pat and Sticks Ice Cream!!!)
Blackwattle Bay. Cnr Pyrmont Bridge Road & Bank Street.
(02) 9004 1100 (website)

* Chat Thai (their mini Chinese Donut and Kaya sauce is just ..... YUMM!!!)
Shop 5 Food Ave, 500 George St
(02) 9264 7109

* Cafe Sopra
1/7 Danks St, Waterloo 2017.
Ph: (02) 9699 3174 (website)

* Sushi Bar Makoto City
119 Liverpool Street (Cnr, Pitt & Liverpool St.)
Phone: (02) 9283-6767

* Poporo Japancese Cafe in Market City

* Emperor's Puff in Chinatown

* Dragon Star Yum Cha
Market City Level 3
9 Hay Street, Haymarket, Chinatown Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 8388

* Uighur Cuisine
Shop 1/8 Dixon St, Sydney
(02) 9267 8555

* Grace Hotel - Super Yummy Chai Latte
77 York Street, Sydney

* Hurricane's Grill Darling Harbour - MAXI RIBS

* Harry de Wheels Chilli Dog ^.^

Then make sure get take away from Kingsford:
* Rosebery Martabak MARTABAK! what's more to say?) 341A Anzac Parade, Kingsford, NSW 2032
* Pinangsia Noodle (Bakso, Bakmi...)
* Nasi Goreng (sauce ayam sere dan sambal pecel lele)
* Ayam Goreng 99 (Hati, Ampla, Tempe, Tahu, Ayam bakar, Ayam kuning)
* Shallom (ayam bumbu rujak)

I've also tried out the crazy Deep Fried Mars Bar [] from Bondi Surf Seafood. Once in a life time type experience! :P haha

Then there's the to-try list...
* Portugese Chicken on Rice - yet to find where from - but probably Cafe de Macau
* Ramen Kan in Haymarket
* Daniang Dumpling
* Mamak (15 Goulbourn St, Sydney)

Dumb Little Man on Fair Rules

I really like this particular life tips....
"Demanding “fair” rules"
Frankly, life can never be perfectly fair. From the minute we’re born, we have different opportunities and advantages in life. Have you ever noticed how little kids kick up a fuss if you alter the rules of a game to help out the smallest one, or to give a disabled kid a chance? Don’t be like that in life. If you’re a white male, maybe you feel that positive discrimination by employers is totally unreasonable – but remember that life starts off unfair.
-- Taken from Dumb Little Man's Post, "Are You Behaving Like Dumb Little Kid?"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dainty Sichuan Food

One of Melbourne's unique food offering is Dainty Sichuan restaurant.

It's tucked away in an alleyway a little bit off the China Town area... 26 Corrs Lane, Melbourne. I normally enter from the dodgy-looking-alleyway off Lonsdale St, right next to the Dragon Boat Palace Restaurant (see below picture - near corner of Russell and Lonsdale).

I went there with my friend, Lia, on a Sunday afternoon to satisfy our craving of insanely spicy food a few weeks ago, not knowing that they are open on 2:30 in the afternoon on weekends. Luckily, we like our Sunday sleep ins and planned to have it as our late afternoon meal so it works out great for us. Here's a picture of Lia when it was JUST opened on that Sunday.

The restaurant became packed within the next 20 minutes or so. Crazy.

And here's a picture of my favorite dish...

Cold sesame noodle! Yum!!! :) It definitely gets my tongue moving! :P

Check out their review at The Age Epicure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do You Remember The Days Before Internet?

I don't.

At the beginning of my Yoga class today, I remembered about the itchy feeling that new wool knit cardigan that I bought yesterday (for a mere $7.5!!!) gives me. I quickly made a mental note to Google the solution for that. This thought brings another one, what would I do if I couldn't Google it. As in, what did people do at the time before the Internet become so widely available? Another mental note, blog about this. Yup - an excellent example of how to not do Bikram Yoga properly! (It's meant to be moving meditation!! Unfortunately, my brain just wouldn't stop at times.

Anyways - back to the main topic. Seriously. Stop and think about it. Think about how much the Internet has changed our lives. What has it allow us to do? Emails, Chatrooms, and Web Search!

Web search alone has pretty massive impact. Instead of having to go through the library and try to find the right books for a piece of information; we can simply now type it in Google and find them in a split second. Sure, the information might not always be accurate, but equipped with the right amount of experience and patience, we could generally easily get the right information. I use this ALL THE TIME. Seriously. All the time! Not sure how to spell a word? Type it in Google search bar. Not sure what a word means? Google search bar. Wondering how to clean oil stain from clothing? Google. Need to know what is the equivalent of replacing fresh herbs in a recipe with dried herbs? Ditto.

Recently I was made aware that the Australian Government is trying to push through Internet Censorship policy. Read Slashdot | Australian Government Censorship 'Worse Than Iran'. I think the plan to censor 'illegal material' is a VERY silly idea. The best thing about the Internet is its completeness! It's this MASSIVE & COMPREHENSIVE encyclopedia of the earth that is freely and widely available, full off all sorts of useful information, and not to forget, UP TO DATE!

So... blocking certain information from being made available is like trying to stick together some pages in an encyclopedia because "someone" deem the knowledge to be dangerous for us. Totally doesn't make sense, right? Why on earth would someone do that? Tsk! To top it, who's to say what topics are off limits and what's not? Plus, as many parents I'm sure will testify, shielding a child from knowledge of bad things that are happening is NOT the way to stop a child from engaging in those activities. If anything, it just makes them more likely to be blindly dragged into those activities by their peer OR prompting them to rebel and do those things anyway. That's the case with children. Surely, as adults, we deserve to be made aware of the bad things that are happening all around the world.

Remember, knowledge is power. Whether it is off bad or good things!

Ok - gotta go! Good nite.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Wisdom: The Importance of Gratitude

I came across "8 Tremendously Important Ways That Gratitude Can Change Your Life | Zen Habits" today.

What a great post!

Here's some of my personal notes...

"3. Instead of getting mad at someone, show gratitude."
I accidentally conform to this point yesterday and I couldn't be happier with the result. Just as I was starting to get angry at a friend, I stumble across this thing that she had bought for me a while ago. The anger stopped and instead I was reminded of the good things we've had. How miniscule and silly this argument is in comparison to the wonderful friendship and good times we've shared.
This totally cut the problem short. Instead of us taking turns being angry at each other. (Psst.. It is much harder for someone to stay angry when you're responding with kindness and understanding! This is one of my latest findings! Believe me - try and apply this as much as you can with your close ones - you'll see your relationships improving big time.)

"4. Instead of criticising your significant other, show gratitude."
This is something that I couldn't agree more with. Seriously. I feel extremely lucky that my relationship with Shanon has introduced me to this concept and taught me to do this naturally.
Try it out and find out for yourself.

"8. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, look at what you do have."
This, is one advice that I'm working on and keep reminding myself about. :)

Thanks Leo!


Wow! 26 days to go to the wedding day!

Time has definitely zoomed by! There are still a few things to sort out but the day is looking bright and shiny from here. :)

I went shopping during the weekend. I swiped $130.00 on my credit card for 3 pretty new tops and a pair of shorts. It still wasn't enough. So I went shopping again today at lunch time and bought 2 new basics tops, another pair of shorts and a long cardigan for a mere $25.00! [Psst.. If you're a budget clothing type of girl from Melbourne; go and check out Glassons in Spencer St DFO! They're having buy 1 get 1 free on ALL SALE items! It's crazy!!! So if a top is priced at $15.00 (on sale) you can get another item of the same price or less for free!!! CRAZY DEAL!]

These new items will get me all set for the Sydney trip this coming weekend. So excited about it! Should be awesome going with my recently-gotten-so-much-lovelier sister (:P) and one of my dearest pal, Lia! It's been a while! :)

By the time I come back from Sydney, it will be a mere 16 days till my parents arrive in Melbourne for the wedding. Followed by my 4 gorgeous bridesmaids who I love so much 2 days after that!
Gosh! It's all happening. Tick tock tick tock tick tock!
*Giggles* Hihihi... I hope I won't go crazy from this the excitement and nervousness! Especially cause I need my brain to function properly so that I can sort out the final details properly. :)

La la la la!

By the way - can somebody please do something about the USD? Pretty please. Get it back down! Or, just get the AUD to go back up! Somehow! Please! :P

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Importance of Relationships

For me, the people I have around me are the most important thing in my life.
"Without friends no one would choose to live,
though he had all other goods."
-- Artistotle

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."
-- Flavia Weedn

It doesn't matter if I have all the money in the world, all the knowledge, or whatever other thing. I need my dearest ones to share it with because without them, all those things are just taste bland. Don't you think?

Up to today - nothing ever beats the feeling of being loved and loving my family, partner, and close friends. Seriously. NOTHING!

I'm a greedy person though. My happiest time is when I feel loved or being loving across all those relationships - and my lowest points are when there are problems in any of those relationships.

Unfortunately, it's rather challenging to keep every one of the relationships at the highest point at all time. After all we are humans, with flaws.

But I was recently reminded how very lucky and blessed I am to have these relationships.

While having to fix one problematic relationship, I was shown the love and strength from another one. After I was brought down to tears by a thing that someone said, I was then lifted back up to clouds number nine with watery eyes by a thing that another person said... (Yes - I already know I am a cry baby! :P)

For now, I'm just glad to have the bliss and balance restored...

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Assumptions are the termites of relationships."
--Henry Winkler

"People change and forget to tell each other."
-- Lillian Hellman

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Magic of Digital Editing....

. . . Before & After . . .

45 Days to go... ^.^

Current local time in Melbourne, Australia is ...

Current local time in New York City, U.S.A. is ...

-- from

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vue de Monde (updated)

After reading the Steph's Food Journey: Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne [August 18, 2006] post, I emailed Vue de Monde to get the names of the food that we were served during our visit.

They've replied with full outline of the courses and the wine that Shanon had! It reminds me how speechlessly impressed I was of the food and the service.

I've updated my post, "a chatterbox's pensieve: Vue de Monde: The Love Affair, with pretty names for those spectacularly scrumptious dishes. Calling them food feels unfair and very degrading. Because they are definitely NOT just food. They were.... mmmmm.. heavenly! *I'm practically drooling when I looked at the pictures again*

Oh - what are they called anyway? Surely there is a better word for that heavenly thing than food! :P

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 08: Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day 08 - the day where "thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue - poverty." I was made aware by the "17 Images of Poverty" post at Digital Photography School Blog. Pictures definitely say a thousand word.

I grew up in Indonesia where poverty remains a problem for the majority of the people. Those pictures might as well be photos from my day-to-day life. Yet, I feel that I have been very well shielded from it (as most others middle/upper class families' kids have).

Only since I've moved to Australia that I realised that there are lots of people in Indonesia who is living way below the standard (in terms of food, clothes and housing). I'm not saying I've never seen beggars/homeless people in Jakarta. I definitely have. But, in my head, it was a normal thing to have beggars and that it didn't need to change and that there was nothing to be done. I'm not sure if it was what we were taught to do, or it is just me. I grew up thinking it's normal to only care about our own survival, focusing on getting the best of the best for ourselves and our family.

Recently I was made well-aware of the fact that something can be done to help those people. Something should be done. I could help. I could contribute. Instead of just watching, or even worse, ignoring, the growth of this issue. I want to help.
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -- The Dalai Lama

"What goes around, comes around." -- Unknown Author

"Conscious Evolution & [read my older post, The Meaning of Life]"

And last but not least, helping others provides a much better rewards than accumulating wealth or personal experience. I mean, I can only eat/buy/travel so much. Yet, all the materials in the world will never be enough - I'm sure I'll continue to want more and more and more. Hence, it's much better to focus on contributing to make the world a better place for everyone.

Now that I've established the fact that I could, should and want to help, what I am doing about it? Well, for a start, I'm going through the 88 Ways to DO Something About Poverty Right Now - Blog Action Day 2008 list and will work on applying a few of them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Big Mystery: "Larger Than Life" by Adele Parks

(Image Credit: Trashionista: Larger Than Life)

I'm currently at page 73 and I'm still curiously wondering - Have I read this book before? Certain paragraphs seem familiar but at the same time, I can't remember what happen in the book (at all!).

Hmmm... I might need to get my head checked by a specialist cause if I have read this book, it couldn't have been more than 3 years ago cause I've only started reading Adele Parks then.

Have you ever had the same experience?

Updated on the same day:
I've decided to give up reading this book. The leading character is going through a not-so-good pregnancy and really low self-esteem because of it. It's affecting my mind too much. Plus, the more I read, the more I am sure that I have read them, but still can't be certain and even when I try to flick to the back, can't quite relate to the story. Hmmm... Oh well! I'm still not going to read this book anymore. :P

Friday, October 10, 2008

Post #499: Friday Afternoon Wisdom on Relationships

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
-- The Dalai Lama
Yesterday I was reminded of how nice it feels to make someone else's day. Even a few hours after my friend told me I've given her "highlight of the week", I was still smiling and I remember thinking... "Hmm.. why do I feel that warm tingly feeling inside of me? Oh yes, it was because of what Lia said..".
I love and try to help out and be nice to people as much as I can... With especially rewarding appreciation like that, how can you not? They are definitely the best encouragement, don't you think? ;P (Note to self: It pays to practice being appreciative and grateful!)

"Success isn't how far you got,
but the distance you traveled from where you started."
-- Proverb
This year has been funny for me. I've changed a lot, mainly internally, yet I don't feel that I've changed that much (or maybe I do?).

I'm certain that I've changed for the better though. Why? Because these days, when I come across posts like these:
- "Create a Richer Life in 24 Hours or Less"
- "How to Make the Time for Your Personal Goals"
- "13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits"
- "6 Tips for Finding Balance"
- "The Seven Deadly Sins of a Relationship";
I find myself ticking a few of the tips off cause I'm already doing that. Or cause I am already happy with my current situation in that area. It feels amazing.

I have always been lucky (and smart - quality over quantity!) with relationships and I am VERY grateful for it. I love the people close to me (well - most of the time :P), each of them are special with their own unique personality, mind and habits. But, in the past year or so, my views and appreciations of these relationships have definitely matured a lot (special thanks to my awesome mentor/partner, plus the blogs that I've been referencing here and there). My eyes are opened and I'm beginning to see and understand myself (and my itty bitty); which then allows me to think/reflect on those relationships and do things as I see fit.

This is definitely the change that I'm most grateful for, especially since for me, "Life is all about relationships". (It's not just me, check out Uplifting Your Soul!: Life is all about relationships.)

"Try not. Do... or do not. There is no 'try'."
-- Jedi Master Yoda
That's not to say that I'm not going to improve my life further. After all, there is no better life goal than to become a better person. Which reminds me, I still need to apply the tips from this post, "How To: Keep Your Home Clean Without a Maid" *LOL*.

Anyways, before you go, please spend a little bit of time reading these great tips on life in one of Leo's best post, "A Letter to My Son, on Starting Out In Life", @ Zen Habits. The "Life isn't a competition" is definitely an awesome reminder for me.

To close off, here's another really good reminder quote on relationships...
"Before you try to change others,
remember how hard it is to change yourself."
-- Bill Bluestein

Have an AWESOME weekend, people! :)

Plan Your Holiday Online!

I recently utilise the Internet to the max for planning my honeymoon trip to the States. Thought I should properly document some of the awesome links for future reference.

First, I visit Trip Advisor to work out the activities that I'd like to do at the destination; then read up on Hotels recommendations, reviews and work out their locations!

I've also used the following sites when I want to find out even more about the destination and things to do and places to visit there:
* Google Maps & Google
* Frommer's Travel Guide
* Fodors Travel Guide
* Lonely Planet
* Wiki Travel
* Wikipedia
* All Experts Travel || All Experts Cities/Towns
* Travel Buddies
* MSN Travel
* Real Travel
* Travel Channel

Package/Day Tour...
* Viator

Then, to find the best rate for the accommodation... Try the following sites:
* Hotels Combined
* Hotel Price Bot
* Kayak
* Skoosh
* ||
* ||
* Splendia
* Travelocity
* Venere
* Travel Buddies Hotels
* Quik Book
* HotWire
* Side Step
* Only for when your travel date is coming up soon... Wotif || Last Minute Au

Plus, here's some randomly useful articles:
* How To Choose A Hotel & Save Money - MSN Travel Articles
* Budget Airlines of the United States - ExtremeTourist Magazine
* Money-Saving Tips for Your San Francisco Visit


NYC & Company’s website, , is a useful research tool. As for guidebooks, Time Out ( ), Lonely Planet ( ), Rough Guides ( and Eyewitness Guides ( all offer good, solid New York titles. The style-conscious might be better off with the Luxe guide ( ) or the Hedonist’s Guide ( ).

Once you’re in the Big Apple, pick up a copy of Time Out’s weekly listings magazine ( ) or City Guide ( ).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Bunch of Places Around Melbourne That I Want to Visit

My dad got me hooked on to traveling since I was a kiddie. He arranged to take us for yearly family trips to ...
- XXXX China (Beijing, Xia Men, Gui Lin, Hong Kong, Guang Zhou);
- XXXX Bali;
- 1998/1999: Australia & New Zealand (Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Queenstown and Christchurch);
- 1999/2000: United States (San Diego, Anaheim, LA, SF, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon);
- 2000/2001: Europe (England, Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania, France, Germany);
- 2001/2002: South Africa & Mauritius (Cape Town, Sun City, Johannesburg, Mauritius);
- 2002/2003: Australia (Sydney, Gold Coast);
- 2005/2006: Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, Mt Fuji, Tokyo).
Sorry, I didn't mean to list them all out, this is just to test my memory and remind myself to be grateful to have such loving parents!

I love the feeling of just being there, enjoying the surrounding, with no expectation from anyone; the stepping out of the routine feeling; the not having to plan (or think... :P); seeing and experiencing new things; the not giving a d*mn what people think; the peacefulness of being un-contact-able :P...

Now, I've found an even stronger motivation... Photography!

Last weekend, a couple friends of mine came down from Sydney, Nicko & Tasha. Nicko brought along this big and heavy SLR to our catch ups in Pancake Parlour. When I saw some of his pictures (which are now published on to his Facebook Photo Albums), I remember thinking, "Wow - where is that?" and yet, they're all taken around Melbourne!

Oh - how much fun would it be to be wondering around taking these pictures. Especially in a place as attractive as Melbourne. So here I am - putting together yet another list - this time it's for the places I want to visit around Melbourne (to take pictures or just to try it out) when I have the time...
* Brighton Beach Houses!
* Tuki Trout Farm [website]
* Daylesford [website]
* The Age Harvest Picnic At Werribee Park [website] - 30th November 2008
* The Age Harvest Picnic at Hanging Rock [website] - 22 February 2009
* Werribee Open Range Zoo [website] + I would like to take more pictures of the Werribee Mansion & the Rose Garden.. :P
* Mitchelton Winery [website]
* Peninsula Hot Springs [website]
* Dandenong Ranges (Puffing Billy...) [Visit Victoria link]
* Murray River [website]
* and one day... Sky Dive @ Lake Nagambie [website]

Here's some places I've been too and would like to visit again...
* Wilson's Prom [website] - I can never seem to get enough of this versatile and scenic place!
Pssst... I was told that there is this very cosy place with awesome view - highly recommended for a romantic weekend getaway... Coastal View Cabins, Yanakie, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia
* Grampians [website] - It seems like people recommend this place a lot more than I enjoyed it - so there must be something I'm missing - hmmmm...
Psst here too! I was advised to try Dulc holiday cabins the next time I visit Grampians. The TREE HOUSE definitely looks Super Cool! Not cheap though...
* Sorrento [website] - "Just Fine Foods" Vanilla Slice, enough said, photos here!
* Great Ocean Road [website] - The walks, the waterfalls, the drive and the view... What's there not to like?

Bento Oh Bento!

Check this out..

Aaaaaawww... I'm so going to make lunch boxes like this sometime in the near future (well - I hope)!

The above images are taken from The Food Pornographer Loves Bento posts. Aren't they super cute??? I love the little sticky love note in the bento box. It would totally make anyone's work day so much better and I'd be soooo looking forward to opening my lunch box to find out what it holds! :P

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today's Word Lesson

"Food for thought" - This noun was used in the book that I'm reading at the moment, "Girl Meets Ape" by Chris Manby. I was intrigued to find out the actual definition of it. According to The Free Dictionary, it means...
1. anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking

"Excuse the pun" - This, I've heard many times and I think I know what it means, but this time I thought I'll find out properly what it means, once and for all.. It's a little tricky to find an actual legit reference to this saying, but this Yahoo! Answer helps...
... A pun is play on words; so when people say "excuse the pun" they mean, excuse the bad joke or the bad play on words.
You could say “I keep falling off my bike, but I just get right back on it and ride. I'm a firm believer in re-cycling.” This pun is just used as a bad joke. ...

Plan to Try: Dolls at the Mount [Heidelberg]

So far, having read as much as I can dig around (not much) about this place (see below links), I'm very keen on planning a visit!

Perhaps with my sister and/or with Lia, Agnes, Jennifer, etc; sometimes during the next weekend... (It's gladly located near the train station, so it shouldn't be too difficult to arrange a visit!)

- Mietta's Australian Restaurants, Food & Wine - Dolls At The Mount Tea House, Northern Melbourne
- Missy Allets: Dolls on the Mount [20080828]
- Missy Allets: Princesses at the Mount [20080924]
- P O N I K U T A: Dolls On the Mount [20080902]
- P O N I K U T A: We Declare our Eternal love for Scones [20080915]
- Best Devonshire Scones in Melbourne - Thrifter
- The Kitchen Playground » Blog Archive » Dolls at the Mount

The 2 blogged visits in less than a month time by Missy Allets (and the scrumptious looking scones pictured in the posts) definitely got me convinced that it is worth the 1-hour train ride!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why Do I Blog?

This question was bluntly presented to me recently, and the answer is... I have no idea why.

Hmm.. I guess there is a combination of things that started me on blogging and keep me going.

I enjoy practising my writing skills. I like to share the things that I've learned. It's a good way to keep far-away friend informed on what I'm up to. Plus, it is very useful as a reference tool for myself, as my memory often fails me. I also used it as a tool to reflect and review my personal growth (by looking it what I wrote X month ago..)

It is a really good question though, cause it definitely got me thinking... What am I trying to achieve with my blog?

That's when the familiar thought bubble up again... I should declutter it, and try to be more specific with the direction of the blog instead of just dumping all my scattered thoughts and findings in it.

Then again, that particular thought has quite often come and go within me... But for some reason, the action has not been taken yet. Well, I guess now that the question has provided me a little extra motivation to begin the decluttering, I should start to do something...

Will try to keep posting updates on this.

Friday, October 03, 2008

October 2008's First Friday Wisdom Nibblets

Here's two really really well written posts from Leo at Zen Habits with some wise word to think about before the weekend starts...

* 6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life

The article begins with a quote from Abraham Lincoln,
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
, and after it gets us to think about what really matters, it finishes with a gentle reminder...
“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

* 7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them

I genuinely think that once you fully understand and apply the habit #1 "Positive Thinking", you'll start to see your life differently. However, it's not to say that the other six Leo's recommended habits are any less life changing.

I have personally tested and approved of the #7 Daily Routine, #2 Exercise, and most recently, #4 Focus on one goal. Plus, I'm currently working on #5 Eliminate the non-essential, and #6 Kindness. For some weird reason the #3 Single-tasking isn't as appealing as the rest to me. :P

Hope everyone have a great weekend ahead of you!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hello, October! [Take 2...]

G'morning October...

I'm putting all the bad thoughts and feelings behind. It's all in the past. Today is a brand new day. It's the 2nd of October. I'm starting the day with a bright new happy face and excitement!

I am happy... I am happy... I am very happy! *LOL*
(OK - That might come across a little crazy.)

Anyway - I'm grand! I'm going to change the things that I don't like where I can and for those I can't change, I'll stop worrying about them. Because worrying about them won't do me any good (read See How Easily You Can Overcome Your Worries at Ririan Project)! That's the best way to live! :)

I've spend too much time thinking, planning, organizing, worrying, and it's not good!!! I'm going to stick with doing and living! Yay!! I want to take even more photos, cook and bake even more, and try to get absorbed more into work. Stop agonizing about future uncontrolled things.

And, you know what? I've got quite a few holidays lined up in front of me... Sydney, US, Indonesia! I can't believe I'll be in New York City in December with Shanon!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! La la la la....

At the same time, I won't wait till the holiday arrive to live my life to the fullest. I'm going to start now. No more putting things on hold. It's back on the 4th gear (5th might be a bit much to handle and to fast to enjoy). :P

I'm back. My eyes are opened wide and my brain is functioning well. What a relief!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hello, October!

*Bleh* I have overwhelming amount of bad thoughts and feelings in my body that I feel I would soon explode from it.
Those constant good and happy feelings that I've had for quite some time *poof* have all vanished.
I'm left behind with negative thoughts and wrongly nagging desire to change the people that I love.

But thankfully, I know better than that.
I have learned from past experience that the desire to change someone will only result in frustration & disappointment (sometimes plus resentment too) to both party.
No good thing will ever come out of it.

Gosh - I wish I have a reset button.

I just want to go back to the accepting feeling of the people that I love. (Ignorance IS bliss in this instance!)
I just want to go back to actually wanting to eat properly. (Nope, ignorance IS NOT bliss here.)
I just want to go back to those good and happy days. It wasn't that long ago!

Watching my food intake is not my concern at the moment, it is just a distraction from my main concern.

I need to learn to let go of things that are out of my control (e.g. the shape of relationships, loved ones' feelings or decisions).
Otherwise, it's going to be long hard windy road ahead.

*Sigh* I wrote this post hoping that it would make me feel better.
But, ranting in discreet mode doesn't give you the same satisfaction, does it? *Bleh*

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Post for September: Calories on Menus

Gosh - I just realised how many posts I've made for this month! It's official the month with most posts, averaging at a little over 1 post a day.

Check out this interesting discussion, "Calories on Menus: Is It Good For New York?" at Diet Blog.

I personally think that this is one of the best thing that the government could do to help in reducing obesity rate.

As many of the comments in that post said, it is great to have the option to easily know how much calories are in our food. It helps us in choosing wiser more often. Plus, for others who couldn't care less about the calorie content, the information could easily be ignored (let's get real here - it can't be difficult to ignore small prints of numbers and letters if people can ignore that ugly image of diseases that are put on cigarette packets!).

Oh.. How I wish they would do this in Melbourne!

Yay! Cookbooks Festive!

I just received my new set of big fat thick cookbooks from Doubleday Book Club yesterday. It makes me want to cook more & more & more & more (don't hold me to these words - I don't know how long this feeling will last :P)! :) Yeehee!

Top (Left to Right): 500 Chocolate Delights [Lauren Floodgate]; AWW Cook [Australian Women's Weekly]; The Cook's Companion Second Edition [Stephanie Alexander]
Bottom (Left to Right): Nigella Express [Nigella Lawson]; Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite [Gordon Ramsay]

Along with these ones that I've had for a while and the cupcakes book that I got for my birthday (refer a chatterbox's pensieve: My Birthday Pressies...); they'll make a gorgeous collection when stacks together.
Top (Left to Right): 500 Cupcakes [Fergall Connolly]; Jamie's Dinners [Jamie Oliver]; Cook's Companion [Carole Clements]
Bottom (Left to Right): Simple Essentials: Chocolate [Donna Hay]; Instant Entertaining [Donna Hay]; Cupcakes! [Elinor Klivans]

Now I just need to find a nice shelf to host them and then make sure that I'm making use of them. Hihi hihi :)

-One very excited lady!-

Monday, September 29, 2008


Image Credit: Raymond's Vanilla Slice - Just Fine Food on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Image Credit: Miss marples tearoom1 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Define: Terrine

Last week at my usual book browsing session in Borders, I saw a picture of a Terrine dish in a recipe book. What is a Terrine dish?

According to Wikipedia,
Terrine "is a glazed earthenware (terracotta, French terre cuite) cooking dish with vertical sides and a tightly fitting lid, generally oblong or oval. Modern versions are also made of enameled cast-iron. By extension, the term also refers to food prepared and served in a terrine, mainly game and venison, brawn (head cheese) and pâtés. If it has been pressed and chilled, then turned out for serving in slices, a terrine becomes a pâté, which Julia Child called "a luxurious cold meatloaf"."

Here's an example photo of a terrine dish...
Image Credit: thepassionatecook: Red pepper, aubergine & scamorza terrine - a contribution to WTSIM!

Nice hmm? I like it very much.

Here's another example of a terrine savoury dish, Eel and Foie Gras Terrine Recipe, Rising Star Chef Yosuke Suga, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, New York 2007.

I think it creates an instant oomph and professional look to savoury food. Do you agree?

It definitely also creates a nice look for dessert, check out...
* A La Cuisine!: Coconut Panna Cotta and Pineapple Gelée Terrine (IMBB 9)
* CHOCOLATE TERRINE - recipe by Euros Owen

But in my humble opinion, the terrine dessert does not exude the same oomph as the savoury dish. Maybe because I've seen many terrine dessert in the past, but not savoury dish.

Oh well - just thought I'd share my recent discovery. I'd love to try preparing this type of dish, so I'll definitely be on the look out for a good recipe. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Birthday Pressies...

Mango & Passion fruit mousse cake (very yummy indeed) from Ganache Chocolate Cafe with special "SHELVIA" candles from Chin Yee...

Clockwise in the picture starting from the white paper bag:

Goodie bag from Class Cupcake course, Birthday card from the siblings, Betty Crocker Decorating Cakes and Cupcakes, Crazy about Cupcakes - Krystina Castella, a new set of "SHELVIA" candles, cupcake liners & piping tip (from the Class Cupcake goodie bag), Vue de Monde Business Card (which I have praise through my post, "Vue de Monde: The Love Affair") and Birthday card from Shanon...

The pictures from the birthday gathering with the gals (26th Sept 2008) @ Koko Black on Lygon St in Carlton.

The pictures from the family birthday dinner (27th Sept 2008) @ Sichuan Dining Room in Hawthorn...

The pretty & cutely wrapped up "HEART" from Louisa :)

The glamorously packed sleeping robe from Chin Yee :)

Thanks everyone... and thanks for the sweet birthday wishes too! :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Class Cupcake

As part of my birthday present bundle, I get to go to Class Cupcake, a cupcake decorating class. Lots of fun and I've definitely learned a thing or two cool things about the available tools.

These are the ones that I made... (some which I'm extremely embarrassed of, and some which I quite like :D)

Here's my favorite ones of Vida's creations during her demonstration...One day, mine would also look like this... I know it! I have faith in myself! =)

I'm not very proud of the pictures, I think I could have done much better shots. My excuse? The environment and rushing wasn't really made for awesome photo taking experience...

Oh well, that's just means that I'll have to make more cupcakes at home and decorate them for picture taking purposes. Perhaps me and my sis can do it for one of our 'sis nite in' session! :) Oh yeah, that reminds me, check out her decorating results, here! I really like her fish and pig ones. Super cute! :)

PS: But, Yong, Lek, thanks ya!!! =))) Loved the experience!

PS2: Look at this cute cupcake book!!! Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make: Alan Richardson, Karen Tack: Books. Crazy cute!!!!! Here's the blog to go with the book!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vue de Monde: The Love Affair

On the night of my 26th birthday; my lovely fiance *giggles* treated me to the extra ordinary Vue de Monde's Gastronomes Menu Gourmand experience...

I can't quite find the words to describe how spectacular the evening and the food was; especially since we got what I believe to be the best seat in the house (right in front of the chef's preparation table) and the last thing I want is to degrade it through ill-fitting words. Hopefully these photos will do a better job (though I'm sure nothing will do the justice of experiencing it)...

The itty-bitty...

AMUSE BOUCHE: "Petite Clair-de-Lune oyster served with a seaweed consommé and grapefruit air"

The 7 magnificent main courses were ...

Open avocado ravioli of smoked salmon and redclaw with watermelon, pumpernickel and Osetra caviar

Classically inspired truffle risotto

5 minute bouillabaisse, tartare of kingfish, buffalo milk skin, finished with aromatic herbs, and a touch of theatre

Parfait of goose liver ‘powdered’, nasturcium leaves, crispy rice and Thai capsicum curry

Marron, poached in an orange Pernod and saffron sauce with smoked clams and fennel

JUS AU VERJUS (Liquid frozen verjus) was served here...
For picture see the bottom left corner of "the itty-bitty" above.

Poached breast and confit leg of chicken with hand made Brussels sprouts and mushroom reduction

Roast duck breast and confit leg with cinnamon and baby turnips

FROMAGE: "Goats curd served with sugared rose petal, rose jelly topped with goats curd ice cream"

SALADE DE FRUIT: "Fruit salad"

PULLET EGGS: "Prune and Armagnac Eggnog; Pistachio Custard; White Chocolate and Orange Mousse"

Here comes the double dessert course...

Passionfruit cream with frangipane sand and passionfruit soufflé

Michel Bras' classic self-saucing Valrhona chocolate biscuit with mocha sauce, coffee and milk powder and iced double cream

Peppermint Tea & Petits-Fours

Handmade chocolates to take home

The close up kitchen view!

Getting tips from the chef...

The look of two very satisfied and happy customers!

PS: Check out Far View on Food « Far Blog - gosh - I want to go on Foodie trip too!!!

Updated on 14th Oct 2008:
I found these very well written posts from a Sydney foodie who had visited Vue de Monde three times.
Steph's Food Journey: Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne [January 21, 2006] || Steph's Food Journey: Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne [August 18, 2006] || Steph's Food Journey: Vue de Monde, Little Collins St, Melbourne [January 18, 2008]
Thanks, Steph!
Now I know, if I ever got the chance to visit Vue de Monde again, the table that I had and will only take is Table 2!!! :)