Oct 24, 2014

0 Guardian Walkathon 2014

It looks like it's about to rain again. But I don't see dark clouds, not through this haze that's engulfed our city for as long as ..  I don't remember the last time I saw blue skies out of my dust-stained glass door. The rumbling noise from above signals that we're in for some wet weather. It's a nice time to blog.

Another Sunday has passed. Another one is around the corner. I had a pretty good week. I caught up with an ex-colleague, helped my animal-loving friend who needed to send a pair of cats, which she had gathered from her neighbourhood, for spaying and explored several recipes in the kitchen. A girlfriend stayed over for the weekend. That resulted in three days of mad girl-talk and window shopping, with a walkathon thrown in.

Yep. A walkathon. We signed up more than a month ago, enticed by a poster pinned on the wall just outside of Guardian Pharmacy. Charity. 3KM. Bah, we can handle this!

Time flew and here we are at the event. There was a huge turnout. The walk was held in Wetlands, Putrajaya this year.

The crowd!

The first thing we did when we arrived was drop the lucky draw forms off at the counter. I kept my fingers crossed but we left just as soon as we had finished the walk, before the draw even took place. I was famished, you see.

Lucky Draw

This is a photo of the warm-up session. The sun had just risen. I started scratching my leg. Ugh!! First to be bitten by a mosquito amongst our group. I was so happy to see Tiger Balm giving out mosquito repellant patches to everyone. I stuck one on my shirt and another on my shorts. It worked brilliantly.  

Guardian Walkathoners - Warming Up!

The mosquito patch wasn't the only freebie available - the organiser had arranged goodie bags for everyone. Wall's sponsored ice cream. It was a great event. The MC kept the crowd entertained with lots of fun activities.

And then I saw him, in red, white and blue - Captain America! I'm such a sucker for costumed peeps and mascots. Before I had even handed my camera phone to my friend ..

" Excuse me, my wife would like a photo with you, if you don't mind ", grinned the husband as he posed in position for a shot. I rolled my eyes.

There were several other costumed participants. These guys were geared to win hampers and vouchers for walking in the Most Outstanding Costume.

Fun at Guardian Walkathon 2014

We took part in the 3KM route. These are some of the photos I took of the walk and also a video of the flag-off. I loved that that had us waving our hands in the air to a couple of songs at the starting line.


Guardian Walkathon 2014 - Flagging off!

Guardian Walkathon 2014 - Heading to the starting point

Guardian Walkathon 2014 - Waving to the YMCA song

Guardian Walkathon - 3 KM route

At the finishing line, we were treated to a refreshing drink of 100plus and given a certificate of accomplishment. One of my best Sundays ♥

Oct 14, 2014

14 Escape Room at e@Curve ~ We Never Got Out!

Mari and I each had a pair of tickets to the Escape Room.  

It was won from a Facebook contest organised by KL Lifestyle Magazine. "Like" their page because there's always goodies to be won. I love their chirpy updates too!

Escape Room at e@Curve

Have you heard of this game or played it before? There is only one goal, and that is to escape from the room you're locked in. The only way out is to hunt for clues and solve the mystery. It ultimately leads to a key which will open the door to freedom. Did we make it? Mmm.. .. what do you think? The answer is in the title of this post. Hah!

I can't reveal the details of the game because that would be spoiling the fun for those who haven't tried it, but I can share a snippet of our adventure.

"It was dark. We swept our flashlights around the room. A booby trap!  Red laser beams crisscrossed the path before us. Oh boy, getting to the other side wasn't going to be easy..."

Game Over for us! Two of us pretended to be sad ;)

About the whole experience and the place: Escape Room offers several game themes. There's Prison Break, Pirate Ship, Slaughter House and many more. You can choose to imagine yourself as a  swashbuckling hero on a great adventure or someone trying to break out of jail. 

Making reservations online was easy. Took me just a couple of minutes. The rates are cheaper for non-peak hours.

We arrived 15 minutes before our time slot, registered and left our belongings inside a locker. The walls were lined with polaroid pictures of people who had taken the Escape Room challenge. I thought it was a brilliant way to decorate the walls - a personal touch.

Several props were arranged on the table. Handcuffs and a blindfold? I heard screams of terror from some of the other rooms and gulped down a "Lord, no. That had better not be us too! "

We were led into a dark corridor, brought into the room and briefed on the mission. Then, we were locked in for 45 minutes.

How did we fare? Great. I'm not saying that we won, but that we had a winning attitude about things. We left quite pleased with our silly selves!

Before we left, they grouped us together for a photo and gave us one to take home as souvenir.

Overall experience? Riveting!

Have I tempted you enough to give this activity a try? I'm making reservations for another room this November ;)

Photo credit: Some of these photos belong to Mari. I have her permission to use them.

 

Oct 4, 2014

22 Snacking ... Tip?

It's housecleaning day and I've completed my chores already. Sometimes I go "ugh" but today I'm feeling really pleased about it. That largely has to do with the weather. Sun and wind is my pick-me-up. Today, it's just glorious outside ..and inside. My heart says let's hug the furniture and polish the plates. I know how silly that sounds.  

This morning, I smiled while mopping the floor, hummed while scrubbing the bathroom and imagined I was in Hawaii while tending to my garden in the balcony. The opening song from the TV series Hawaii Five-0 kept playing over and over in my mind.

After that, I caught up with a segment on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday.

"It's what I call the haute couture, high-end version of fear... perfectionism.
Perfectionism is just fear in really good shoes." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert. Eat, Pray, Love.


Wanting to appear perfect to others stops us from doing the things we really want in life. Waiting for the perfect condition keeps us from going forward. We should 'dance in the rain', right? This is what I'm taking away with me - it's alright not to be perfect and I don't have to wait for things to be perfect to do the things I want to do.

Now that I'm done with all that, I'm here! Blogging ..and snacking.

So, here's a secret. I do this only when I'm all alone ..because I want to appear 'perfect-ly' normal in front of my friends. I'm kidding. I wouldn't be sharing this to everyone if that were the case.

The not-a-secret ~ I like using ice tongs to eat my snacks. By snacks, I mean chips, corn curls and the sort. It's how I keep my fingers clean so that I can continue typing away on the keyboard or watch a movie without interruption. Yes, I don't want to have to wash my hands every time I feel like having a bite. It also helps me reach far enough into the bag. That means no seasoning sticking onto my hand.

I keep my hands clean by using ice tongs to snack

Convenient.

Sep 29, 2014

10 The Unboxing Of The IKEA Bookbook™ XXL Exclusive Edition

IKEA Bookbook™ XXL Exclusive Edition

The Bookbook™ is all the rage now. When IKEA released the XXL version of the Bookbook™, I knew I had to get my hands on it!  If you still don't get what it's all about, it's time you visit www.IKEA.my/bookbook. Watch the full demo and be enlightened. I love the ad so much! 

Anyway, I dragged my visiting relatives to the store on the pretext of taking them shopping. When I saw the long queue near the entrance for the special edition, I started arguing inwardly with my conscience - Should I jump in and shoo the relatives off? No, wouldn't be right!  Long story short, I let it go but not without glancing back a couple of times. I didn't give up just like that though. When my relatives took a break in the restaurant, I rannnNnnn downstairs to check on the queue. True story and haha.

So how did I get this? I ordered it online, of course. IKEA's team was absolutely amazing. I received instant confirmation on the order and the package was delivered in a matter of days!

This post is really going to be about the unboxing of the limited edition IKEA Bookbook™ XXL aka Plus version that I've just received. It's double the fun and double the excitement!

Check out the unboxing in pictures:

IKEA Bookbook™ XXL - The Unboxing
I love the quick start guide. The word 'quick' is apt. I was able to use the Bookbook™ immediately. It really is an intuitive device that doesn't require us to crack our brains too much to figure out how to use it.

IKEA Bookbook™ XXL - Quick Start Guide

I love the battery life. It's been almost two weeks and I've never had to charge it once. The high-definition display is another plus point. There is absolutely no lag even though it is pre-installed with content that carries high resolution images. 

What kind of content are we looking at? Below is a screen shot of one of my favourite apps. It's called UsefulTips. Other than that, there's KitchenIdeas, BeddingBusiness, WardrobeWonder --- there's too many to list here!


Here is a glimpse of some of the content:


Well, that's about the features and stuff, but what about the durability. So, I did the 'bend test' to check how bendable this device could be. I needed to know how far it can go because I have a bad habit of leaving things everywhere and sometimes accidentally sit on it.



Bend test? Thumbs up!

Finally, how big is big? Here's a photo to give you an idea.

IKEA Bookbook™ XXL vs Bookbook™

Well, I hope you enjoyed my lengthy post on the IKEA Bookbook™ because I sure enjoyed writing and lol-ing over it!



Sep 23, 2014

14 A Cousin's Wedding Do At Passion Road

Invest in your marriage, not your wedding.

I was reminded of this lovely saying when I attended a cousin's wedding event recently. I thought it was sound advice not to overspend on weddings.

Passion Road, Kuala Lumpur

My cousin's beautiful moment was a small affair that included only the closest friends and family. Several relatives flew down for the special occasion. That's partly the reason my blog was left unattended for awhile. I'd been busy taking the family out around town. We shopped 'til our legs were wobbly. I'm exaggerating but it sure felt like it!

Anyway, I took some pictures of the wedding which was held at Passion Road - a cosy place located along Lorong Yap Kwan Seng. The decoration was fairy-tale like. The ambiance? Magical seems to be the right word. 

The Wedding Arrangement
The wedding cake was an attractive shade of blue that had us oohing and aahing all over it. Wait 'til you read what happened to the cake in the end! I'll post this story in my next blog post.

Another two of my cousins, both accomplished singers, were invited to perform live at the event. This is a video I recorded of them. Meet Genie (right) and Gabby (left)!



Loved their rendition of "All Of Me"? You can read more about the sisters on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/geniegabby

Well, that's how last week went for me. It was hectic fun, but boy, do I miss their company already!

Sep 19, 2014

8 Much Ado About Curry Puffs

We get it at this little stall that's stationed in front of CIMB - The Strand, Kota Damansara.

Curry Puff Stall At The Strand

I love these curry puffs. It's not greasy and they didn't stinge on the filling. I don't remember ever making curry puffs in my younger days. Sardine puffs were more our thing. The family isn't very fussy about food. I don't think anyone ever really complained about eating the same thing over and over again. Sardine puffs, I mean. In fact, we looked forward to it.

I remember the time I stuck to eating McDonald's McEgg almost every other day just because it costs under a Ringgit. I had left my hometown for the city to pursue my studies. I was always conscious about burdening my parents. Every penny that could be saved was saved. I never once groused, "McD againnnnn! " You could say that I was one of those people who never had to think too much over what-to-eat and where-to-eat.

Curry Puff 

These curry puffs cost RM0.50 each. It's filled with tender curried potatoes. Flavour-wise, this is sweetish and spicy. My husband raves over these to no end. One evening, I received a phone message with several photos and an apology for over-feeding us. Ten, he bought ten!

"Ling, I took some photos so you could blog about it! " he informed me rather enthusiastically.

I was tickled by his insistence. So here it is on my blog today.

Curry Potato Filling

Just to give you a better idea what the stall looks like and where it is, I'm attaching another photo :

The Curry Puff stall in front of CIMB Bank, The Strand

He sells nasi lemak too. Nasi lemak is coconut milk rice that's usually topped with a spicy chili sauce along with some fried peanuts, anchovies and fresh cucumber (ingredients may vary). It is then wrapped in banana leaf, as you can see from the picture below.

They sell Nasi Lemak too!

That's the end of my curry puff post. I'm curious - are you into curry puff and if you are, where are you getting it from .....or do you make your own (whoa) ?

Sep 4, 2014

24 The IKEA bookbook™ - You'll Want One!

I, and many of my friends and family are IKEA obsessed people. My sister-in-law is obsessed with their Swedish meatballs.

"Sharon, meatballs? "

"Huh? But we just had it like ..no. Thank you."

My aunt is obsessed with their kitchen utensils. Jen just about purchased an entire box of glassware for Christmas presents last week.

"Sha, it's too heavy. This is all I can carry! "

I gave Jen the stare, which typically means I'll help but you owe me an ice cream.

Half the furniture that sits in my home was born in IKEA and flown in by a yellow stork on wheels. Several in my circle are obsessed with the bookbook™. What's that, you ask?

This is a commercial that was released earlier in the day on IKEA Malaysia' Facebook. It's so hilarious that I had to share it with you. Meet the bookbook™!


Have you gotten a copy of IKEA's bookbook™ yet? This is my stash. I swipe 5-6 copies from our apartment management office each year to mail out to friends and family.

Ikea Catalogue 2015

Although my people can't lug home half the stuff they see in the store (because they live so far away), they love IKEA's bookbook™ as much as they love their favourite paperback novel. You won't catch them reading any other home magazine - technically, this is a catalogue but for us, it's much more than that.

Some say "ee-key-a", some say it's "eye-key-a". Both are used widely. I'm leaving you with this video where Jake Gyllenhaal mentions that there are only two places where his name gets pronounced authentically. Guess where?



Funny!

Aug 29, 2014

12 Ooo... Burnt Some Lanterns!

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also commonly referred to as "Mooncake Day" where I come from. On this day, my aunts gather families for a meal. We eat mooncakes, play lanterns and chat. The festival falls on the 8th of September this year.

Sharon's Fish Lantern for Mooncake Day 2014!

Mooncakes come in amazing variety these days - sugar free, cranberry, chocolate, coffee, durian! The only mooncake flavour I ever saw or tasted in my younger days were the ones with red bean or lotus seed paste filling. Some had an egg yolk in the center, some didn't.

Talking about the festival takes me back to my first year in college. I was left alone in the double storey house where I had rented a room. The landlady was away.

I didn't want to be left out, so I bought myself 10 paper lanterns to hang up. The clothes line outside the house seemed like a great place to hang the lanterns. I hung them up in a pretty row. My face glowed with some sort of pride. Yeah, I was alone and yet, not alone. These lanterns are going to brighten my mooncake day for sure.

Later that night, I lit all the candles in the lantern up. I was so pleased.

After spending some minutes admiring the calm flicker of yellow light, I went back into the house to have my meal. Then, went back out again for another round of oohing and aahing.

To my horror, the lanterns had caught fire! Oh, you should have seen my jaw drop. The clothes line snapped under the heat.

Putting the fire out was easy. A bucket of water did the job. The big question, for any teen, was really how to explain 'all this' to a vacationing landlady.

"Err ...Aunty, ah? Happy Mooncake Day.."  I wished her hesitantly. "Haha..know what? I kind of burnt the clothes line".

Kind of? ... Hah! Long story short. She let me off easy.

Lantern for Mooncake Day

This year, hubs bought us a fish lantern to light up. Isn't it cute? I'm going to celebrate this special occasion with a nice meal, one mooncake and looking out into the night sky. That's pretty much what I do every other year. No, I don't find it boring. Shoo!

Aug 22, 2014

14 The Progress Of My Cili Padi Plant

Friday is usually equated to being a fabulous day because it means the weekend is almost here. Well, I think there's something beautiful in every day. Happy Friday, everyone!

This post is about my chilli plant aka the bird's eye chilli.

I'm not known for having green fingers but I do try my best ..... annnd I feel like I'm getting somewhere! I water my plants religiously. I fertilise it regularly and clean off mealybugs whenever I see it. Some died, some are survivors. I'm beginning to understand what plants are suitable for the scorching afternoon sun that shines ever so brightly into my apartment.

This chilli seed (pictured below) was planted on 22nd Feb 2014.

The cili padi seed is planted

Two days later, a shoot appeared!

It sprouts!

Three months later, it seemed to be coming along nicely. Then, the leaves started curling up in a strange way. I knew I'd over-fertilised it. The instructions on the box said this much. I put in thaaaat much. Just thought I'd 'hurry things along ' ..you know. So, I stopped fertilising it for awhile and it got better.   

Except for the leaves, the plant is growing nicely

For the longest time, I checked on the plant each day for a chilli. On 24th July, it finally happened! I felt as proud as a mom over her kid.

Sob! A chilli!

Two to three weeks later, the green turned into a shade of red.

It's turning red

Today (I snapped this picture just hours ago), it is bright red. I guess I should 'harvest' it by now.

My red cili padi

Let me break it down for you:
Day 2 - Shoot appears
Month 5 - First chilli, it's green
Month 5.5 to 6 - Chilli turns a shade of red

That's my cili padi adventure. It has been six months. I now wait for a second fruit to appear. Well, surely there's more!

Aug 14, 2014

12 Yoga Pants - Women Love It!



In my previous post, I shared a chat I had with yoga beginner, Bernadette Harry, who gave us some tips on starting out. Regular practice and a good support group is key.

Bernadette Harry in a yoga pose
If you're one of those women who were inspired enough by the post to start on a yoga regimen, then the first thing you should ideally do is to get proper attire.

As you can see in the picture on the right, besides having a good top, a great pair of pants which allows for free movement is also essential.

This post is really all about the pants and why women love yoga pants!


3 REASONS WOMEN LOVE YOGA PANTS

Versatility. Some may refer to yoga pants as leggings or tights but one thing is for sure - it is a fashion item that a majority of women wear anywhere they go!

Yoga pants have a versatility that makes it wearable for many occasions. Women can match it with a tank top, a tunic or a sweater and still appear amazingly polished in casual wear.

As you can see, these pants are not strictly worn only for yoga or workout sessions. It can also be put on for casual day outs. Yoga pants, to me, are the perfect substitute for jeans.

There are different reasons why women worship yoga pants and use them as everyday wear.

The first reason is the fabric used. The snug fit celebrate women's curves, further contributing to a comfortable wear.  On days we call 'fat days', slipping on a pair of our favourite yoga pant leggings is convenient and that's truly a life saviour when we're not in the mood to be dressy.

Travel Friendly. The second reason yoga pants are a must-have for many women is because it is a great piece of outfit to bring along for traveling.

The lightweight fabric makes it easy to be packed along for short and long trips. It doesn't take up much luggage space. That leaves more room for souvenirs!

The elastic waistband screams eat as much as you want, it's a holiday! The stretchy material provides comfort for long rides or walks while sightseeing.

Affordable. The third reason that yoga pants are popular is because it's generally inexpensive. Comfort, style and affordability combined makes yoga leggings the best fashion item a woman can have in her wardrobe and let's not discount that it's long-lasting.

There is a wide range of colours and patterns available in the market. Women are spoilt for choice. Stock up on yoga pants with various colours and prints to match with a blouse or even an oversized tee. Have a variety because it'll also help you on your yoga journey, if you're starting on that. There's nothing more monotonous than wearing the same workout clothes day in, day out! 

Buying Tip! Where can you buy this if you're a woman who's too busy to sneak out of her hectic schedule to get to a store? Shop online, of course!

Zalora
is a website that offers a variety of beautiful yoga pants at a reasonable price. Check them out and purchase one for yourself!



Aug 13, 2014

10 A Chat With A Yoga Beginner

Bernadette Harry's a natural at yoga. Looking through her Facebook photos, anyone could have mistakenly believed that she'd been doing this for years. She's on a self-taught journey that really began only months ago.

I decided to interview my sister-in-law (yep, we're family!) to find out what drives her passion for yoga.


How did you get hooked on yoga?
I started yoga after seeing one of my friends doing it. She kept posting her yoga photos plus her progress on Facebook. From there, I was motivated to give it a try.

To be honest, I began with no idea how to do yoga. I had no basic training and until today, have never joined any yoga class.

I learned by doing my own reading, watching youtube and downloading pictures of yoga poses. After following a yoga tutorial on youtube for about a week, my body started aching from a muscle sore. I had to stop for 5 days but I felt really good about myself at the same time!

I think I’m getting stronger and healthier. A week later, my "yoga role model”  (the Facebook friend) added me as "Moms Talk Yoga” member, a closed group on Facebook. I got a lot of advice and tremendous support from fellow members. Once in a while, there will be yoga challenges going on and members are encouraged to participate. It was fun and I really enjoyed my “yoga time” with this group.

I guess there's no turning back for my sister-in-law now. It sounds extremely fun!

What do you love about yoga?
I love yoga because it can be a very simple form of exercise and I can do it any time I want. It does not necessarily have to be complicated yoga poses.

For example, I practice my Buddha pose and sit cross-legged in the office while doing my work. Sometimes I do simple stretching or even something as easy as deep inhale and exhale breathing. By doing this, we are actually allowing more oxygen to enter our lungs. It reaches every cell in our body and believe me, you will feel more relaxed and refreshed.

After practising yoga for awhile, I began to understand  and accept myself. I feel more and more comfortable towards my own body. With yoga, I started to see life at different angle.


Advice for beginners

Listen to your body. Do not force yourself to do any yoga poses or achieve any poses in a short time unless / until your body is ready. Practice to make progress and  be consistent.

Practice is the key to get where you want to be! Last but not least, keep breathing and enjoy your yoga! Namaste!



The cute thing is my two little nephews (both under five) have started doing yoga with their mom. It's a great family bonding exercise and keeps them away from mischief.

I hope you've been inspired by Bernadette's sharing.

If you intend to pick up yoga, you're going to need the right clothes too. I'll tell you where you can get some in my next post.

Note: The photos above were provided by Bernadette Harry, and used with permission.
 

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