Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oh my how they've grown!

It’s so much fun being with family again. And playing with my little nephews and nieces! Here’s a pic of me and my nephew Oct 2005.

And here’s how he looks now. The little rascal didn’t want to greet me at first, but after a game of balloon volleyball he kept running around the house asking for me – and I was busy playing gin ;)

Same haircut!

Sigh. Kids are so cute. These ones got excited over homemade confetti. My lil sis is the one in yellow.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shots from our roadtrip

As promised. There weren't many pics. We got tired of the camera really quickly.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Two nights in Singapore

It's been 15 years since the last time I was here. Frankly I can't remember the last trip except for the loud music my dad blasted during our three-hour car ride and the fried rice with bright-colored ingredients at our first hawker stall.

This time it's different cause I'm staying with the bf, and meeting the rest of his extended family during my short stay. My parents insisted they drive down with me for a mini getaway during this holiday season, so here I am with mom, dad, small sis, and the even smaller sis. The anxiety of the inevitable meeting of these two sets of parents didn't hit me until we arrived. So I've been a little edgier than usual and anxious pretty much all day long. Definitely got this from my mom because everything went right (originally I typed wrong, till I did a spellcheck), but I just don't feel relaxed despite how everyone hit it off really well. Why??!

I'll have pics to show once we get home. But they're mostly of my sisters bickering in the car, or sleeping on each others shoulders. Kudos to the bf for dealing with these inexplainable concerns.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Home for the holidays - those beautiful red envelopes

I'm home! I'm home! I'm home!

I know no one's reading this, but all who matters know I'm back in Malaysia to celebrate the Chinese New Year. And this year is the year of the golden boar which only happens every 600 years. Not an ordinary boar year that's fer sure. Supposedly, kids who are born this year will prosperous for the most part and never suffer any hardship. All you married (or not. It's a choice really) couples out there. Buckle down - you still have time!

So back to me and my celebrations so far. I arrived on the first day of CNY. Mom and dad picked me up. There I was at the airport wishing them good fortune with what little festivity-vocabulary I have so I could quickly tuck the thick bright red envelopes in my pocket. Then we headed home where I saw dad's family happily playing cards and munching on vegetarian food. Fun fun. Too bad the jetlag hit me, so all I managed was many a "Happy CNY aunty/uncle/cuz! I wish you a year of wealth, health, and much more to look forward to" followed by a pause, a huge smile, and sometimes necessary "Ok, where's my angpow?" followed by another wide smile. Then I showered and hit the sack. A dear dear friend of mine chided my behavior, saying "Woah! What happened to being courteous and showing less greed here? Do you know what the red envelopes symbolize?" To which I said "Umm, money?" I can't even remember what his answer was but I started questioning my behavior. Mom and dad have always taught us to mind our Ps and Qs. There I was openly showing greed?

So I spent the next 36 hours at home studying my surroundings and finally realized that my three beautiful sisters do the exact same thing! And they're no less socially acquiescent and polite than my lovely role-model of a mother. To give you background - if ever there was a bevy of Asian debutantes from KL they'd come from the Chong family. I may think twice when one of us decides to be openly daring and burps in a fancy restaurant but most of my friends can attest - right? :) Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that it's really fine to ask for your well-deserved angpows (for holding off marriage for so long, or for dealing with grownups who tell you what to do all the time, etc.) as long as you ask it in the most mannerly fashion.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Turtle soup and South America

We had a college friend stay at our place straight from a 3-month long backpacking trip in
South America. I was awed by his adventures and kept asking to hear more, but I wasn’t impressed with his excessive smoking and beard-shaving activity in our bathroom. Call me anal. He was great company overall, so having him over was nice. Plus I got a scarf from Bolivia, specifically Cochabamba and a super cute turtle-shaped bread from Boudin Bakery, which I later used for serving spinach soup!

Bohemian Bolivian red scarf

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cubicle loss

Life in a cubicle can get cozy. Mine’s a little nook with my back facing the open. Meaning my IMs and search-results are wide open and for all to see. Even then I love it. The thrill of not knowing who may be watching and the idea of getting away with salivating over the weekly LookBook at shopbop.com excites me. The other agreeable characteristic of my little nook is that whatever knickknack I choose to display not only works to provide me some form of nostalgia, but creates a “Danielle only” area. Of course if you’re say Max, and you choose to hang strings of garlic at your “Max only” area, that says a lot about you too. I can’t elaborate further for now, because in the case of my current desk all you’ll see is a clean working area with nothing more than an organizer, two pens, a stapler, post-its and some tape. This really means I’m all about my work and I’m not planning on putting anything up just yet so I maintain whatever mystery’s left around me as the “new employee.”

While I enjoy the pseudo-confinements of my cubicle, others may loath it. My girlfriends however, just can’t live without it. Addictions to online shopping and playing Internet hooky aside, some really grow a dependency towards life within a cubicle. Take my ex-coworker from agency PD for example. Recently Lori moved on to a trendier agency named RB with a loft as an office. The idea was to eliminate cubicles and walls to create a more open space conducive to teamwork and collaboration. Sounds perfect right? Problem is Lori no longer eats. Her discomfort of eating in public outweighs RB’s good intentions. Therefore, point made today is: cubicles really aren’t that bad (strings of garlic aside).

Friday, February 16, 2007

A simple Valentine's

For Valentine’s this year I expected no secret Valentines (because I’m not single), bouquets at my desk (I made the bf swear he wouldn’t waste a ton on things that say “Here you go, now watch them die”), chocolates (how unoriginal), Tiffany-anything (that’s mommy-dearest’s thing) or fancy diamond jewelry (the bf hasn’t stopped ranting about the Oppenheimer conspiracy since college and we watched Blood Diamond).
Instead, my gift was a special-ordered Valentine’s princess cake from the organic SF bakery Miette. When I lifted the lid of the pink box it came in, the only thing I saw was a simple heart-shaped cake coated in pink fondant, sprinkled with crystallized sugar and finally wrapped around with a simple pink ribbon. How pretty! To top it off I can convince myself it’s somewhat healthy because it’s organic. Double yay! Of course I have no skill in cutting heart-shaped cakes (or anything really) so I merely dug into it with a butter knife, a fork and eventually my fingers. Fluffy layers of spongy vanilla cake spread with raspberry jam and topped with whipped cream coupled with the chewiness of the fondant made me sigh blissfully as I took bite after bite after bite. Taste aside, nothing beat the note that came with it:

“Chris and Danielle will turn you into poo!”

I asked the bf how the baker reacted and he said “not so good.” Haha. We even managed to make the bakers cringe. Fun.

Before you get any ideas, I’m not all just about receiving. The lucky bf got two Sopranos box sets (of his choice. Please pick Season 6). I know it doesn’t sound romantic, but a Soprano marathon night can get pretty damn sexy, and that’s even better than any romantic moment.
It’s not over yet. The Martha in me decided to whip something up for my coworkers, so I baked up a cookie lollipop storm in the kitchen. They turned out really buttery and yummy. I had people ask me where I got them from - Danielle’s little kitchen. That’s where.

I know this is picture overkill but I have to share this stained-glass heart version with you, cause it took me so long to get it right.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chicken or egg?

Image courtesy of GettyImages.com

Yesterday, I was at my desk developing a brief as I ate the whites off my hard-boiled eggs tossing the yolks in the recycling bin – maybe they’ll make pretty yellow paper with it. Please don’t judge. So the point is, it hit me that when my parents were young neither had the money or the chance to celebrate their birthdays and all they were given each year was a solitary hard-boiled egg dyed in red food coloring – a teeny red egg to celebrate another year of growth, wisdom and most likely increased muscle mass due to unsurprisingly labor-intensive house chores!

There I was leaning back on my Herman Miller, egg shells all over my desk, and yolks in a blue bin by my feet. How the world has changed. I felt guilt.

So I called home, spent an hour lamenting apologetically until my dad finally caved in and confessed that as the youngest child, he had the luxury of receiving a fried chicken drumstick each year during his birthday. Homemade fried chicken too! Damn. I guess I’ll start feeling bad the day I start tossing fried chicken in my little blue bin. Then again, the day I eat fried chicken at work is miraculous enough to merit a separate entry.

Friday, February 9, 2007


I'm a maniac of a twenty-something who does nothing better in this world than buzz around like a bee. I buzzed around when I was still in college, buzz around at work, buzz around in the kitchen, buzz around at home - you name it. So it's only natural (like honey!) that the bf nicknamed me bumblebee. Why a graduated bumblebee you ask? How does that even make sense? Well it's not because I just got out of college (I graduated way ahead of my class - not to show off or anything but it's just imperative that I make that clear since it greatly affects my life in various ways). It's mostly because as a twenty-something who can now look back at highschool pictures and go, "Boy was I young then" I can safely say I've graduated from a list of things I'm proud to announce:

1. all forms of higher education that got me a B.S. in Communications - the cert's chucked somewhere in a luggage
2. from living at home (although that's something I won't think twice about should I be in my home country - I love you mom and dad!)
3. from cheap whisky/soda in a Pepsi bottle to yummy homemade cocktails from my bar at home
4. from a teeny dorm room with Audrey posters everywhere and where clothes clean/dirty stay in the laundry bag to a real San Francisco apartment
5. from eating chocolate every night to eating oranges every night
6. from Progresso to homemade chicken soup
7. from worrying about my weight to loving my body as it is
8. from Glamour to Businessweek(.com)
9. ...

That said, all my chattering and buzzing have graduated to the form of a blog. A little late in the game I know, but it's never too late to save your loved ones from your constant bzzhting by spreading it out to the world..