Aug 22, 2014

0 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

10 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.

Aug 9, 2014

8 My WWE Night

When I heard news that WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) would be performing live in Kuala Lumpur this October, I was brought back to a particular unforgettable life moment.

It was known as WWF (World Wrestling Federation) in the old days. I was no wrestling noob, thanks to dad who owned a video store then. I spent my teen years watching countless WWF shows. In 2002, many Malaysians were ecstatic when WWF announced that they were coming over to our corner of the world. My machoguy, who's also a big fan, got us a pair of tickets.

It was a long drive to the venue.

"Ling, got enough petrol?" I began after noticing that the dial was on low.

"More than ... " he gave a passing look at the dashboard.

The night was as exciting as being told that I'd gotten a job promotion. The stadium was packed with gusto-ic guys. People knew the chants! I was surrounded by 'manly' men and in me, was a call to roar along with them. Now, that would have been awkward since I was technically a rose among the thorns!

The show ended pretty late. There was much exciting chatter as we headed to the carpark and soon, a bit of a car queue ensued. We were stuck smack in the middle but managed to drive as far as out of our parking lot. We were inching over a speed bump....and then it happened. The car sputtered and stalled. This was followed by:


Some guys noticed our car trouble. Like super heroes out of a comic book, they gathered around our car. I swear I could've heard one of them say, "Stand back, ma'am. We'll handle this." They were glowing from some sort of wrestlemania adrenaline rush.

They gave our car a heave-ho over the bump. There were waves and claps all round with "thank you, brother!" and "no problem, man!". All a guy thing...and really amusing.

Machoguy started the engine and the car was running again. Thank our lucky stars! We figured out that when the vehicle was at a slant, this caused the little petrol that was left in the tank to roll back. So, we avoided hilly roads and slopes until we filled up. It was a relief that we had enough to get us to the nearest gas station. 

Well, that's the end of my not-too-dramatic night so long ago. We take better care of the car these days!

Jul 31, 2014

12 'Tis the season for Lemang

It's Lemang  season. What's that, you ask? Lemang is coconut glutinous rice, cooked in a bamboo stick lined with banana leaf, over a fire. Cooking this requires a bit of patience because it involves many hours, but the wait is worth it. This fragrant rice is usually enjoyed with a dollop of dry or thick curry.

Lemang and Rendang Curry

The lemang sellers were out in full force on the second day of Raya. For me, the roadside makeshift stalls were a welcome sight versus the quietness that had consumed the city two days before the Raya celebrations.

Many Malaysians celebrating the festival had gone back to their hometowns. Some chose to make use of the long weekend with a short vacation elsewhere. Us? Machoguy and I spent our time catching up with movies and roaming the far corners of the city for something 'special' to eat. Lemang being one of it, as you can see....and McDonald's. Yep, that happened because it was the only restaurant we could find that was open for business. Don't give me that look, now.  

~~~
On one of the days, we headed into Kajang to see if there were any satay stalls open. The shops were all closed and it was eerily quiet...until we drove into a little transportation hub. The streets were full of people. It was eye-opening to see that most of them were Bangladeshis. Why here, I wondered. I could not see signs of ample job or business opportunities. Aah..perhaps I visit the wrong day.

In one corner, I saw a neat long queue for the bus. I looked on in envy.


I wish we all behaved in the same manner at ticket booths...

~~~

The holidays have come to an end. The city will be bustling again. What's in August? Our National Day celebrations! Flying the flag, yes or no?

Jul 22, 2014

14 Surprise!.....A Prize!

Remember this post - We Roll ... Into Intel's Movie Night, where I had scored a movie ticket to watch Transformers 4 for free? During the event, we were asked to complete a contest form. I don't remember exactly what it was all about, but I recall writing some sort of slogan.

Last Monday, I received a call from Intel around noon. I was still groggy from being woken up. I'd slept at 5am that day.

Oh, don't blast me for staying up so late..or is that early. It was the World Cup Finals! The man of the house sniggered at my commitment. He didn't think I'd be able to stay awake but guess what? The adrenaline rush gave me the boost I needed to keep my eyes open.

Yes, back to the story. The call was to inform me that I'd won a prize! I was really excited about it. Had no idea what I was babbling about and didn't take the address down although it was repeated to me. Then, I went back to sleep. At 4pm, haha, I dialed the number and sheepishly asked for the details again. Sorry, Justin!            

Two days later, I went to collect the prize. I took a friend along and we decided to park by the roadside along with the other cars. It was a traffic free road. Just as we alighted from the car, we got back in again. Drats those pesky DBKL officers. They zoomed in to our corner and started issuing summons. I reparked the car inside the building, before they could get to me. Phew!

Well, this is what I got, a transformers collectible valued around RM200. Probably more, if I had been given a summons *wink*

This isn't just any toy. There's a guide book included to show you how to transform Optimus into a truck. Neat, huh.

Optimus - Transformers

I did watch the movie three times. So, I guess this is reward for being such a good fan? 

 

Jul 14, 2014

8 Floria Putrajaya : The Part 2

The good news this month : DBKL has shaved off approximately a hundred ringgit from our property assessment rate. A penny saved is a penny earned! Who's happy for me?

I'm celebrating it with a post on flowers, the same ones I saw at Floria Putrajaya a month back, plus a couple of neat ideas on home decorating. Both cheerful life events.

Identifying flowers is a bit of a challenge for me. I think these little babies are Asters.
 
Aster Flowers

Below is a beautiful floral sculpture by Brightmark, depicting the green peafowl, which is an endangered bird species. It's one of the best displays at the event.

Brightmark's Green PeaFowl

Brightmark's Green PeaFowl

A row of Marigold Yellow along the way.

Marigold Yellow

The dark red flowers along the road are called Begonias, which is the theme for this year's Floria.

Begonia Red (right, on the floor)
Every corner is a flower feast!

The purple Mona Lavender

This garden showcase (a horse amongst the orchids) was designed by Lawrence Sun from China, who breeds tropical orchids for a living. He is the Standing Vice Chairman of the Hainan Orchid Association and Standing Trustee of Orchid Branch, China Flower Association. What do you think? Neat?

Garden Showcase by Lawrence Sun

See the shutterbugs below? It's very challenging to snap photos during the weekends because of the crowd. That's why it's advisable to visit Floria during the week days.

The sun was really hot that afternoon. So, I moved along faster than I should instead of patiently photographing close-up pictures of flowers.

The Floria Shutterbugs

This white curtained passageway is great for a romantic stroll.

Theme : Romance

I picked up some ideas to decorate my home - Light hanging glassware that can be used to hold small plants. I have the plants, 4 succulents in hand. Now, to find these glasses.

Light Hanging Glassware

Hah! These wooden crates have been recycled to hold flower pots. I don't have wooden crates but I do know what colours I intend to have in my garden.

Recycled Wooden Crates

That's the end of my Floria post, until next year, that is.

Jul 7, 2014

12 We Roll ... Into Intel's Movie Night

We were treated to a movie by Intel Malaysia. It was a token of appreciation for their Facebook fans. How neat is that, but it was limited to the first 200 people who registered for the event. I was one of the blessed few, along with two loved ones.

Each ticket comes with one popcorn and two drinks!

The movie? Transformers : Age of Extinction. It was my third time watching it. Thursday night, Friday morning, Sunday morning! You must think I'm crazy but there is no feeling of boredom when one is in good company.

It all started the week before when my girl friend and I decided to go on a movie date. I informed the man that I was going to watch Transformers with said friend on Friday. Friday, because it was the day Citibank offers a Buy1-Free-1 ticket to all their Clear Card members.

"Sure...." an incredulous look followed, typical of my drama king. I thought nothing further of it.

Within the next instant, however, he was scouring the internet for tickets a day earlier than my date with friend.

"There's no way you girls are watching this movie first! "

Okayyyy...he got one for me too. I was too amused to decline.

The early bird gets the best seat!

That's a little about how I landed myself with three screenings, which I enjoyed thoroughly I must add. It was a lighthearted movie that had me tickled in many instances. The only seat cringing moments would be the scenes that include the teen stars - mostly cheesy. But hey, that's just my personal thoughts on it.

As funny as it sounds, I look out for gems of wisdom in every movie I watch. It's become a habit. I share two lines from the movie here.  

You gotta have faith. Maybe not in who we are, but who we can be.

A quiet man today can be an eloquent leader tomorrow, yes?

There are mysteries to the universe we were never meant to solve, but who we are and why we are here, are not among them. Those answers, we carry inside.


It carries some weight.
 
For the Intel movie event, our tickets came with popcorn, two drinks and a small souvenir (photo below). I was really touched by their generosity and look forward to attending more of their events. It was well organised, from seat allocation to distribution of tickets and goodies.

A fridge magnet that can be lighted up

The free popcorn, sealed in an airtight plastic bag

Well, that ends my Transformers movie run. It was an interesting week!

Jul 1, 2014

18 Flower Power at Floria Putrajaya 2014

I was adamant about making it to the event this year after having missed the last two. This well-known line rings true:

"When you want something badly enough, nothing can stop you...!"

There were many occasions that gave me reason to miss it - visiting-friends, work, the heat wave, an outstation trip for a wedding. But I kept a steady eye on the goal, as with many things in life.

The 'don't-stop-believing' side of gleeful me has fueled a number of achievements that I have, at first, perceived to be unobtainable. As I write this, I laugh at my silly optimism. All this, over a flower fair!

Floria Putrajaya, a flower and garden festival, is a week-long event which is held annually in Malaysia. It showcases international and local talents in floral arrangements, landscaping and art pieces. The activities are organised to ignite a love for plants. This is also a great place to stalk for special plants to buy I'm told, but I really can't tell as I sit under level 'newbie'.

You can read more about Floria at the official website : http://floriaputrajaya.com.my

Check out some of the photos I took on the last day of the event. The place was a flurry of photographing activities - selfies, wefies, groufies. You get the picture.

I love these colourful umbrellas. It provides partial shade from the scorching afternoon sun and adds liveliness to the atmosphere, don't you think?

Pretty shade of umbrellas

The walking path is lined with beautiful fresh flowers.

The purple flower that is Mona Lavender

This garden of pinwheel flowers, its petals swirling at the gust of a wind, is another popular photo-taking spot.

Picture pretty

Smile!

Behold! A ship in a man-made pond with live ducks, and bubbling water for that bit of realistic-ness.

Real ducks in a man-made pond

A majestic entrance for the royal themed park.

Taman DiRaja

As you can tell by now, this is one outing where you should really bring a camera along, but if you do forget to, there's always a photographer nearby for that souvenir shot.

Photographer on duty

I like this piece, but can't tell if it's part of Floria or if it has been there all along. It lists the names of all the parks that are located in Putrajaya. I intend to visit each one!

A Globe listing all of the parks in Putrajaya

I had an exciting day at the Floria festival and hope to return next year. Hopefully, on the first day to witness the grand opening, and preferably stay until late night to see the firework display and catch the lighted floral floats.

This visit spurs me to improve my gardening skills. If they can grow nice flowers and plants in this impossibly hot and smoke-hazy weather, so can I! I paid RM10, went home with four succulents. 


Jun 21, 2014

14 Confessions Of A Frog Who Took A Peek Outside

Katak di bawah tempurung (Frog under coconut shell) is a popular Malay proverb which describes a person who lives in a small world, someone with limited knowledge of what's beyond.

"On the rocks, ma'am? " asked the waiter when I ordered a Bailey's.

"Huh?"  the only word that left my lips as grey stones and brown pebbles flashed through my mind. I wrinkled my nose slowly.

"I mean, with ice, ma'am. "

"Ohhhhh.....! "

Well, that's embarrassing!

Do you recall first moments in your life? Your first bite of a Famous Amos cookie , that time you grazed your car, the first time your guy held your hand? What happened above was one of my firsts. I laugh at myself every time I think about it and go, "Gosh, did that really happen? "

This is me walking down memory lane.

Where I come from (which is a little island far, far away), coffee is a fuss-free drink that has no airs. It is simply served black or with milk. That's as easy as it gets.

The 'coffee queen' is a title reserved for someone who loves drinking black coffee more than once a day. Sorry about that, but there is no glory in being a white-coffee drinker here! Aah...life was uncomplicated then. We were happy just gathering around, sipping our drink, no thoughts on the correctness of coffee preparation or where it came from.

It was only when I moved to the city that I was slapped with the likes of Espresso, Cappuccino, Mocha, Latte. Gone were the days I could just walk in and say, "Kopi-O, satu!" (Black coffee, one!) without sounding like an unpolished old auntie in a regular coffee shop.

So, the first time I walked into Starbucks, I was in a daze and just asked for coffee.

"Which one? "

"AAaaaannnnyyyyy  one....." My eyes darted across the menu. Oh, help me God! It looks like I'm latte when it comes to jumping on the coffee bandwagon. It's an americano thing, no? I'm sure mocha is not a call to buy more cars and espresso is not telling me to be quick in my decision. Macchiato has nothing to do with the mafia, surely!   

If you have been following my blog, you'll know that I'm not big on coffee. While I feel that I've come a long way since my first Frappucino, I long for the good old days when camaraderie took front stage and coffee knowledge stayed a far distance behind.

For the anti-Starbucks folks, there's the more gourmet Illy brand and if you can't afford that, then there's a host of 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 coffee packs sold in supermarkets. Many Malaysians have great love for coffee, whatever kind I believe, and they try to outdo each other too.

"Ah Pek coffee ah, very nice! Drink before? "

"Have you tried this? The latest in the market! Great stuff! " which really translates to "I discovered it first! Hah!"

I have often felt the urge to hand them a trophy for 'Unpaid Employee Of The Month'. Haha-ing that thought!

How this post strayed so much into coffee, I'll never know...slurp. I'm ending this with a little something for coffee newbies. Caf-ay lah-tey, anyone?

An Illustrated Guide to Coffee Drinks
Source: http://visual.ly/illustrated-guide-coffee-drinks

This frog has jumped a step forward.

Jun 12, 2014

10 Penang : The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower

The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower
The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower - there's a feeling of grandeur in its name and this is further reflected in the intricate gold-painted carvings that surround the building.

The tower is located within the vicinity of Dhammikarama, a Burmese Temple founded in 1803, along Jalan Burma.

I had a lot of fun exploring this place. The temple site is well maintained, housing several beautiful religious structures and sculptures, some really small, some huge! The bell tower is a fairly new addition and an interesting one. 

I must warn you that this place draws large tourist crowds, by the way. The best time to visit? When you don't see buses around. It's the best advice I can give, if you know what it's like to have large groups of people circling around, going ooh and aah around you.

And don't get me started on my photo-taking experience. I have occasionally bumped into natural photobombers, the ones who don't even realise their uncanny talent of appearing out of nowhere. Here I am ready to take my shot of this amazing sculpture. My finger is halfway down and poof! I see a family in my snap.

The smiling wife is halfway towards me, "Hello there, would you mind helping us?" whilst handing out her camera.

"Uhh, sure...." I smiled in return. What! No! Yes, I do mind! Grrr, be nice now.

The 4-storey Golden Pagoda Bell Tower was built in 2011 to house marble replicas of ancient Buddhist shrines from 22 countries.

This is what it looks like inside (photo below). At the top of the gold pillar, the word 'ANONYMOUS' is inscribed, for a donor who doesn't want to be named. I've always found that a little weird and if given the opportunity, I would rename 'ANONYMOUS' to 'A Friend '. 

There's a lift at the end. This makes it very convenient for visitors. Penang's humid weather makes taking the stairs a challenge. On a cool day, I wouldn't complain.

Ground Floor - The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower

The marble replicas, an ambitious idea by the chief monk, are displayed in the first two floors. I have a close-up of one.

Marble

The work of Burmese artisans. An amazing piece.

Marble-carved

The view at the top is great. This corner overlooks the temple grounds.

The temple grounds of Dhammikarama

I bet this crow feels on top of the world. It stood confident against the wind and threat of rain.

Aah, a crow

The higher floors of the bell tower hold various religious sculptures.

Kassapa Buddha

Akasind Deva

Statue in front of the tower (left), Kakusanda (on the right)
A little note on the Golden Pagoda Bell Tower.

About Penang's Golden Pagoda Bell Tower


I enjoyed walking around this wonderful place, so this is one stop I would recommend to anyone visiting Penang, especially if they're into religious history.


 

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