Sunday, January 27, 2008

The unfamiliar place called home

HK Airport has changed a quite bit since I was last here, and that's no more than a year ago. There are new cafes lining both sides of the pathway to the departure gates as the numerical labels go up and more duty free stores. Watson’s is now “Nuance Watson” which I don’t get, but I guess that’s just 1 of HK’s many nuances (pun intended). Among others: a construction sign noting “Works in progress” and gadget product displays with the brand name “Ridgid” prominently imprinted on all items. I will never quite understand Asia’s use of the English language, but I guess it’s charming in its own way.

My watch says 3 o'clock, but it's really 7 o'clock early in the morning. The duty free stores are open and inviting. Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Hermes, and every cosmetic brand you can think of (most tempting for me, Shu Uemura). Even so, I feel most comfortable by gate 66 with my legs crossed and handcarries taking up 3 other seats to my side. A dog-eared New Yorker flipped open and a tall Starbucks soy latte balancing on my knee, I began peeling the organic navel orange I brought with me. I could smell fragrant roasted meat and steamed dumplings from the cafes nearby, but my senses aren't the least bit stirred. As I sit slowly eating wedges of sweet orange, I start to count the number of waif fair-skinned girls walking past me wearing 3” heels and heavy makeup, their large traveling cases dragging behind them. 1. 2. 3. 4.

I would never wear heels for a flight. Unless the trip called for a business meeting upon arrival, and provided the flight lasted no longer than 2 hours, I wouldn't put myself through that kind of torture. Even so, they’d have to be boots or closed toe pumps (soft leather only please). Right now I have no makeup on despite the 5 red spots on my forehead caused by stress, and my facialist’s recent extraction attempts. My bangs are pinned up with 2 no-nonsense black bobby pins. And I’m wearing black leggings, the simplest of tanks, and an oversized grey cardigan.

That simple observation, is what made me admit how distant I am from my own culture – the very same 1 I was born and raised in.

This may seem unsurprising to some. After all , you’re thinking, you’re Malaysian and not from Hong Kong. To explain myself better, I’m Chinese, and I grew up speaking Cantonese. Hong Kong, more than any other Asian country, is where my family visited every year for food and shopping prior to my college years. We have family and friends there, and I was as familiar to the streets of HK as I am the ones in KL, which isn’t saying much admittedly (I lived a sheltered childhood). I can bet a lot of money though, that this same culture will present itself in KL, Singapore, Indonesia… wherever Chinese is spoken.

Hopefully I'll show signs of adaptability in the next 3 weeks. That's certainly something to look forward to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New digs for my trip home

That's Singapore and KL for now.

I got these flats from Tod's (all thanks to dear Wendy)

They're primarily to replace the sad and forlorn 2-year old Burberry ones I have

Sorry I never treated you any better. I'm truly remorseful, especially since you've been so loyal and SO faithful matching almost every single 1 of my outfits. More so because I'll never be able to get ballet flats like you ever again what with all the buckles and patent linings in season now *Sob

Moving on...

An Anlo dark denim dress I got from Bloomie's. This was originally $290 with an almost 70% markdown. Steal! Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't buy a mini like this considering how I live in windy SF. In addition to that, most of my dresses are usually soft cotton weaved with lace, comfy modal jerseys, or floaty silks and chiffons. This however is just far too casual (perhaps kiddy is the word) for my style and not like anything I've worn since Form 2. But considering how I am going home to family and a bf who treats me like his baby, I guess it's ok to be a lil "young" for once :)

Practical shoes for work from Burberry. Boring

Moving on...

My $7 top. Yes, no kidding. It's about a 90% markdown from the original price and from some store in the Mission. Can't remember which. The picture doesn't do it much justice. It looks way better on, and has a heavy-like textile that I like. Will take more pics when I do wear it

Considering all the shopping and (over) eating I've been doing, I have to admit that they're just my way of stalling any thought of possibly having to make a decision. The decision to plan the bf's future and mine. And the decision to deal with what's really happening.

I'm ES-pecially excited for this trip because I know it'll be a real learning experience. Of course, it's also cause I haven't seen the bf in what seems like FOR-ever. 2 whole months!

3 more days and counting...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This... what happens when I grocery shop hungry.

What started as an innocent trip to the market for a healthy wholesome dinner became an uncontrollable (and disgusting) indulgence. I haven't even had a PopTart since I was 12! Oh well. This should tie me up till my trip to Singapore. It's no wonder why I get sick so often.


Paula Deen's gonna kill me

I've been on house arrest for the most part this weekend. A terrible cold has forced me to stay between the sheets (3 sheets to be exact), and when I did feel a slight moment of healthiness or strength, I literally ran out of my apt to hit the sales at Neiman's, Bloomie's and Barney's forgetting to get food. Talk about priorities.

So here I am on the last day of my long weekend feeling slightly better, still starved, and still generally under the weather, watching The Food Network. Nothing like self torture.

Barefoot Contessa was ok with her wholesome pea soup and roasted red pepper with goat cheese sandwich. Who goes crazy over pea soup anyway? Mario Batali talks too much. Giada. Well I don't remember what she made cause I just couldn't stop staring at her pretty face and awesome kitchenware. Yes, I'm gay like that.

What really caught my eye was Paula Deen's Chicken Florentine. With its crisp crumb and cheese topping concealing a creamy chicken spinach casserole, I was drooling before she even got to her cheese dill corn muffins. Mind you, I don't usually watch Paula especially not when I know her dessert recipes were designed to kill. But this dish! It's like frozen food (think frozen Marie Callender's) made from scratch! Yum. Am I suffering from delusion, staring at an oasis that isn't what it seems? Regardless, I looked up the recipe to find my accusations validated. It's a killer. Whether or not the word "killer" here is used as a positive or negative, I can't quite tell.

1 cup mayo. 1 cup sour cream. TWO cups cheddar. 1/2 cup parmesan. 2 cups cream of mushroom soup.

Unless I'm 6'10 and a basketball player in training, there is NO way I can digest this stuff. Still I'm going to make it when the bf comes back


Thursday, January 17, 2008

All the wrong indulgences

You know those
cheese sandwich bloggers? Well today, I'm going to be 1 of them more so than usual.

Right now, it's 12 midnight and I have a tarte d'Alsace with caramelized onions, ham and gruyere cheese baking in the oven. A bottle of smart water by my side and my laptop on my lap (where else could it be right?) I'm well-equipped to detox myself from all the alcohol in my system.

It all started with a presentation I had to do this afternoon for some partner agencies and a client. When asked for advice, a friend told me how he'd normally handle a task like this: simply down a shot of whiskey prior to the meeting. Of course, sensible me refused to do so, and headed into the conference room well-prepared. In the end, I think I did pretty well. Not to seem full of myself of course, but there was zero nervousness, which is a lot to say about me.

So right after work, I decided to celebrate with a coworker (and a Grey Goose gimlet as well as a Midori sour). Upon reaching home, I commended myself for handling everything so well and proceeded to bake some Macarune orders. And that, was when my Tiffany necklace (gift from the dear bf) and David Yurman chain necklace got tangled leaving me disarrayed. I finished up the Macarune order, and delivered it to my neighbor, the customer, upon which I was offered a glass of wine. Of course I couldn't resist a good Stag's Leap red (aren't I just all about product-placement today?), and so I sat.

Hours pass and there I was talking about politics and religion, red-in-the-face with wine. It took me quite a bit to get my ass off her comfy couch and hit the showers.

11:45PM. All I could think of as the water hits my face are Capital chicken wings. So here I am eating an otherwise decadent tarte wishing it were something else at 12:28AM. There's got to be something better than this.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I heart NY

Think smothering pollution, unpredictable weather, dirty subways and sky-high rent for shoe box apartments. People spit on the streets (not just in Chinatown) and shove you if you don't walk quickly enough. Behold, ladies and gents, the island of jaded folks who couldn't care less when a person screams for help in broad daylight:


Despite it all, I think I've fallen deeply in love once again (my first love being the bf, of course). It happened last week when I made a trip the big Apple for work, and stayed the weekend with friends. At work I experienced deja vu during a college-like lecture, and at play I experienced my first Shabbat (thanks Arielle for hosting my stay). We made it to the Ganservoort for work, and Bobby Flay's Bar Americain (with dear Wendy) for play. All in all, it was a great reunion of sorts and here are some pictures to share.

Where I stayed - W Hotel Union Square

Pictures from work:

Pictures from play:

Wendy at Bar Americain. We had all-American fries with red pepper aioli

Wendy and Marcos

Wendy and me at Craftbar

Ryan the tough guy

Ryan the overexcited storyteller

More on Facebook if you're my friend :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

A day of comfort food cookin'

Weekends are quiet without the bf. And when it rains, there's more reason to stay home making it twice as miserable. That's why I turn to kitchen therapy.

The last time I spent all day cooking comfort food was when the bf was around :( Now that he isn't, I took the opportunity to prepare things he wouldn't normally eat.

Warm zesty Pannetone bread and butter pudding: crispy on the outside, and wobbly on the inside (as Jamie Oliver would say)

Butternut squash risotto with saffron: cooked slowly with broth from Boulette's Larder

The roasted butternut squash is delightfully sweet from the caramelization! Mmmm...

Breakfast fruit loaf with oatmeal: this is a test run for the bf's dad who adores fruit cake. As an alternative I baked this because it's not as sweet and has no alcohol. That, and it's absolutely delish! My neighbor even proclaimed it "Ritz Carlton standards" because of the moistness

Studded with golden raisins and dried bing cherries, topped with nutty streusel

I can't wait to cook with you again hon. 20 days and counting...

Friday, January 4, 2008


Today I was reminded why I'm a terrible person.

Despite how someone was experiencing a heartbreaking life or death situation, I still managed to pull the usual whine, stressing "What about me?"* My theory is, if I simply can't be understanding now, I never will. And if I can treat the same person the way I do in a situation like this, I can easily do it again.

I just don't think I can forgive myself enough to go on playing the same role.

*Yes, I'm a bitch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tragedies begone

I found my current passport but not my old ones. And yes, they will matter. I'm sure they'll turn up soon enough. I shouldn't be dwelling because this kind of attitude just won't cut it for the new year.

Continued from yesterday:
  1. Swear off instant noodles
  2. Work with expert friend to set up the Macarune website
  3. Fix nose allergy symptoms
  4. Hit the gym at least twice a week
  5. Everything (always) in moderation
  6. Travel more outside of the country (both US and home)
  7. Stop dwelling on the smallest of things
  8. Learn to let go
  9. Avoid toxic friends at all cost
  10. Just be happy

I think number 10 sums it all up for the year. Number 7 and 8 should help.

2008 has already started with a few holes (albeit teeny) in my favorite Lacoste tee, the disappearing act of my old passports, and some other unfavorable events. But work starts again tomorrow, and I feel like it's my first day at school all over again.

With a brand new calendar adorned with light pink font over black and white photography, I shall start the year fresh.

Happy New Year everyone!

Notice how we're all looking into different directions? I'm excited to see what this year has in store

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why hello 2008

The new year is just minutes away.

Here I am, snuggled on my couch in a party frock waiting for my girlfriends to arrive. The apartment's been scrubbed clean, there are cookies baking in the oven (lemon ginger linzers and double choc chip), and a bottle of Veuve chilling in the fridge. After our lil' soiree, we'll head to an actual house party to do the countdown - cause that sure ain't happening at my place.

Like most other bloggers, I'm going to share with you my resolutions. I figured I can't quite cheat when the world's my witness:

  1. Swear off instant noodles
  2. Work with expert friend to set up the Macarune website
  3. Fix nose allergy symptoms
  4. Hit the gym at least twice a week
  5. Everything (always) in moderation
  6. Travel more outside of the country
P/s: I can't find my passport. Will have to continue this list later