Thursday, September 30, 2010

Moroccan Hammam - DIY Procedures

A big part of Moroccan Hammam Bath is about scrubbing off all the dead skin on your body and nourishing the skin with Moroccan Black Soap (Beldi Soup).  It is a strangely invigorating experience, despite the rough scrubbing.  I have written about my experience in the following posts:
Authentic Moroccan Bath (Hammam) Experience
Marrakech - Hammam (Moroccan Bathing Experience)

I fell in love with the scrubbing, and started to DIY at home weekly after returning from Morocco.  I have also given my friends some of the items needed for the ritual, but I doubt they remember the scrubbing procedures so here's a detailed explanation:
What you need -
1. Moroccan Black Soap / "Beldi" Soup - traditionally made with Argan Oil from the Argan tree, it is highly nourishing while at the same time loosens up dead skin for exfoliation.  Sometimes Black Soap is made with olive oil.
2. Hammam globes / "Kessa" - an exfoliating glove with a rough texture.  Very important in the Hammam ritual to scrub off dead skin.
3. Pure 100% Argan Oil - while not a must, it does nourish your skin very well after the scrub.

These products are very inexpensive if you buy them in Morocco drugstores.  However, if, like me, you will not be traveling to Morocco any time soon, then you can purchase online from stores like Argan Oil Tree.

Procedures at home (note that it uses a lot of water, so it is not very environmentally friendly):
1. Wet your entire body in a hot shower for a minute or so.  Hot is the keyword.
2. Leave some hot water running (through the tap) in order to keep the shower stall steamy, while you step away from the running water and apply the black soap paste to your entire body from neck to toe, avoiding the face and the hair.
3. Let the paste stay on your body for around 5 to 10 minutes while you stay in the hot and steam shower stall.
4. Wash the paste off your body with warm or hot water.  Do NOT use soap.
5. Turn off the hot water.  Use your hand to wipe excess water off your body, then use the glove to scrub your body in small circular motion.  Feel the skin being scrubbed with your other hand: you should feel the dead skin being scrubbed off.  If not, then the glove or your body is too wet.  Keep scrubbing from neck (too rough for the face) to toe, and rinse your body as needed.
6. When done, apply Argan oil to your body to finish the procedure.  If you do not have Argan oil, you may use other nourishing body oil or moisturizer instead.  Your skin will feel soft and have a nice glow.

This procedure is ideally done weekly.  At least that's what Moroccan women do, and they have beautiful skin!  Argan oil is ultra rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, increasingly known in the cosmetic world to be a highly nourishing oil for the skin.  If concerned, feel free to google and read about it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quote from "Shopgirl" ***SPOILER***

I just finished watching a movie, "Shopgirl", at home.  I had bought it at HMV thinking it would be a happy and silly romantic comedy, which turned out to be more serious than silly, thought-provoking than happy.  It was a good one, and I enjoyed it.


I do not intend to write about the storyline, as I believe that movies are best watched as a "surprise", without prior expectations.  Still, part of the dialogue touched me, and I really hope to share it here.  If you don't mind knowing in advance a few lines from the movie, please read on.

At one emotional point in the movie, the narrator said:
Only then did he realise how wanting part of her, and not all of her, had hurt them both.....
And how he cannot justify his actions, except was life.
These few lines touched me personally. Is partial, conditional love real "love"? It's debatable.  For what I know, either way it is not enough. Don't tell me you loved me but you are sorry given the circumstances you had to let go of me. It means you didn't love me enough.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Singapore Boutique Hotels

I love staying in boutique hotels when I travel to cosmopolitan cities.  Modern, chic, quaint designs just seem to blend in perfectly with those cities, complementing the city vacation spirit.  Tacky anything in a hotel room just doesn't work for me.

I've stayed in quite a few boutique hotels in Singapore and they generally didn't disappoint.  The Scarlet (picture on the left, taken with my miserable Nokia E71 phone camera which does not do the hotel justice) is my favourite so far.  Located in Chinatown, with a curvy floor hallway leading to the rooms, and sweet decor in the room itself.  Great attention to detail, very nice amenties in the bathroom, helpful staff throughout the hotel.

I just came across a blog article, Singapore Style - Hotels, from Hip Hong Kong website, on other newer boutique hotels in Singapore, featuring (among others which are not boutique hotels) the following which I thought I should share here - which would also serve as my bookmark for future Singapore travel reference:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sri Lanka - colors, grace, and subtlety (updated)

I traveled to Sri Lanka alone 3 years ago, in search of inner peace, adventure, and cultural experience.

I feel that Sri Lanka is a country which can only be fully appreciated in person, and with an open-mind.  Unlike countries like India, Barcelona, Brazil, Morocco, Japan,.....bursting with overwhelming madness, boldness, energy, which could be easily described in words, Sri Lanka strikes me as graceful, subtle and genuine, contrary to my prior expectation, but delivered the most pleasant surprise.

My trip started in Negombo, then continued to Kandy, Ella, Yala, Dickwella, Galle, and ended in Colombo.  I spent 9 days there, and loved every bit of it.  The extremely friendly and down-to-earth people, the needy driver, nerdy spice/herb salesman, my deaf-mute friend on the train who fell in love with me, the resort front desk boy who thought I would sleep with him for a cheaper room upgrade; the road-trip and the 7-hour mountain train ride; the mountain area and the coast; the botanical garden and the quirky Brief Garden; elephant orphanage and the safari.....

I truly hope such a beautiful country will remain unspoilt for a long time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Won't Try to Make You Understand Me

I only proactively shared my blog with fewer than 20 people.  If you happen to be one of them it means I have trust in you that either you are open-minded or know me well enough to NOT take everything I write literally, or judge me so quickly.  I am very direct and descriptive the way I express my strong feelings and thoughts - often times in the heat of the moment - and it could sometimes be offensive to the person/ people being written about.

If you were never given my blog address yet you actively searched for it - found it - and felt upset about what you read: my sincerest apologies.  It was the reason why I didn't share it with you in the first place.  Now that you do have the address, I can only ask that you consider the possibility of not taking any comments personally. 

I am not a bad person.  I am just a normal person - like you and everyone else - who reacts to things.  Except that I write about my thoughts and feelings, perhaps sometimes too passionately.

I used to write hoping to make some people I cared deeply about understand me.  It was my channel to communicate to them how much love and happiness I was feeling, and how much pain I was going through.  I stopped doing that after my breakup with Kevin.  The blog stopped being my hope of being understood and moving someone, and became purely a channel to share, express and obtain feedback.  I hate cliches.  Yet, I cannot deny that when that relationship died, a piece of me also died quietly.  And I lost my spirit to fight, to seek, to touch.   My current blog is reflective of that emotional journey of mine, as compared to my previous one which was much more emotional.

Anyhow, as I stated in the first post, this blog would focus on sharing rather than self-discovery and dwelling on sadness.  This will continue to be the direction of this blog.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

South Bay beach, Hong Kong

I love living in Hong Kong for the fact that I can be at the beach within 20mins.  South Bay is my favourite hangout when weather is great and I want to be far away from the crowds, especially on a weekday when it is absolutely quiet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thrive on Chaos

I realize that while some people thrive on stability, others thrive on chaos and challenges by nature.  I happen to belong to the latter group, although I do crave for stability.

Work has been relatively stable for weeks, and I was started to get bored and unchallenged.  I was not complaining though.  I wanted that stability and eventLESSness.  Then suddenly, these two days I suddenly became swamped with work, with numerous requests to respond to, emails to send out for requests, mini crisis to manage, rights (of my staff) to fight for, decisions to make, feedback to give, and so on and so forth.  Strangely, I immediately came alive with an adrenaline rush as these chaos approached and did more work in these 2 days than in the past 2 weeks!  So I came to the realization and hence conclusion that some people have an intrinsic ability and desire to deal with chaos.  It's almost like their life mission.  Chaos gives them purpose in life, reason for existence, since they have a natural instinct to rise to the occasion without the common first reaction of fear and avoidance.

I like watching others react to chaos.  That's when you see their true colors.

Family moving

I am feeling sad because a dear friend, who is like family to me, is considering moving back to the States. I felt sad all night after hearing the news.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alicia Keys: (Solo) Empire State of the Mind

Previously I posted the Jay-Z version.  This is Alicia Keys' solo version.  Love it even more.

Ooohh New York x2

Grew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
Noise was always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that's what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name on marquees found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I'm from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York!

On the avenue, there ain't never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling rock, preachers pray to God
Hail a gypsy cab, takes me down from Harlem to the Brooklyn Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger far more than an empty fridge

I'm gonna make it by any means, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I'm from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York!

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

In New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Now you're in New York!

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These street will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Koh Samui Thai Cooking Class - Siam Kitchen

Siam Kitchen's Thai cooking class is a must-do in Koh Samui, if you enjoy cooking, good food, and want to get a taste of Thai culture.

Koh Samui is not the most exciting or romantic travel destination in Thailand.  For shopping I'd go for Bangkok, for culture Chiangmai, for sun and beach Phuket, for tranquility Koh Lanta, etc.  My short Koh Samui trip wouldn't have been half as interesting if I hadn't spent 3 hours at Siam Kitchen, learning Thai cooking from Sont, the instructor and founder of this local cooking "school".

The class starts with Sont taking you to the local farmer market to show you typical ingredients used in Thai cooking and how to pick the freshest herbs, seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables.....

You will then be taken back to Sont's kitchen where he'll brief you on the principles of Thai cooking.

Before cooking each dish, he will give you a quick briefing.  Then you are expected to start cooking the dish following his instructions.  Sounds easy - but the cooking time is usually within 10 minutes, so everything happens very quickly!  Add in three-quarters tablespoon of vinegar now!  Half a teaspoon of sugar!  Taste it!  Is it sour enough?  Is it sweet enough!  Adjust the taste so the sweetness doesn't cover the sourness!  Keep tasting!  ........

It was really exciting, like being on a reality cooking show, in a cooking contest!   The dishes turned out perfect, better than any Thai food I had had in any Thai restaurants.  I really enjoyed the class and felt like I learned a lot from Sont.

The dishes I cooked were:
Laab Gai, Moo/ Spicy minced chicken or pork
Thom Khaa Gai/ Coconut milk soup with chicken
Phad Thai/ Stir-fried rice noodle”Thai”style
Gaeng Kiew Waahn Gai/ Green curry with chicken

After each dish, you'd have time to enjoy the food at a table on the pavement.  It was quite a special, local and authentic way to enjoy such authentic Thai food - Sont teaches only authentic Thai dishes cooked the traditional way, so nothing Americanized or internationalized!
Don't forget to book in advance.   Go to the website and email Sont to arrange directly.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two Puppies

Last night I went to a friend's place for dinner. I had a great time playing with her dogs, Ding Ding & Dau Dau, and watching them play among themselves.

Ding Ding is the smaller female puppy, Dau Dau is the older male. I watched how Dau Dau, even when chilling on the other side of the room/ sofa, stuck his head out to see what Ding Ding was doing, and how he would turn around when running to check on Ding Ding..... And for a second I thought to myself, I still want a boyfriend who'd look out for me like that, so naturally, out of love and concern.

It still saddens me how someone judged me to be too demanding hence still single.  I know I shouldn't care how others think but I do in this regards because I tried so hard to protect and grow my past few relationships, especially the last serious one.  Up till this day, I occasionally still break down crying when I recall vividly some of the scenes where I was feeling extremely hurt and heartbroken.  I still remember how I stood crying in Stanley Street when someone walked away from me out of anger. 

Today, I had a movie date.  The guy was already a bit quiet before the movie, probably because last night when he called to ask if I would give him a chance, I told him I felt like it was better to just stay friends for now.  When we arrived at the theater, he suddenly turned and walked away, towards the elevator!  I stood there, eyes wide open, jaw dropped, not believing what was happening.  He walked back and said he didn't feel like watching the movie anymore.  Still jaw dropping and stunned, I told him I was shocked he thought he could treat a girl like that.  Yes he has a right to his emotions, but it's extremely horrible to cancel a "date" last minute - right in front of the cinema - because of his mood!  I cannot believe at this age, I had to control my anger and try to calmly explain to a grown man why it was not right to walk out on a girl like that, why it was childish, immature, juvenile.  He apologized many times after that, and asked if I would still give him a chance.  Why should it be my job to tell guys how they should treat me, respect me, not hurt my feelings, not make me cry, not walk out on me?

Nostalgic Song: It's The Lover (Not The Love) by Tiffany

The other song I thought about today, from the late 80's.

He broke your heart and said goodbye
after promising forever
you wonder why you even tried
he was such a good pretender
the love you gave was all in vain
but nothing anyone can say
could ever make you love that way again


it's the lover not the love
who broke your heart last night
it's the lover not the dream
that didn't work out right
if you listen to your heart
oh! you'll know it's true
it's the lover not the love
who deserted you...

don't stop reaching for the stars
let tomorrow live inside you
and just remember who you are
keep the faith and love will find you
a heart in love can lose, it's true
but don't give up in time you'll find
the one who's right will come to you


it does no good to second guess
whether love is wrong or right
if it was really meant to be,
he'd be with you tonight, tonight...


Nostalgic Song: Could've Been by Tiffany


Today I suddenly thought of two songs from my teenage years.  Both of which belong to the Australian teen idol of the late 1980's.  If I could relive my high school days in Hong Kong, I would have entered the singing competition with this song. 

The flowers that you gave me
Are just about to die
When I think about what could've been
Makes me want to cry
The sweet words you whispered
Didn't mean a thing
I guess our song is over
As we begin to sing

Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
Could've been my lover
Everyday day of my life
Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
I'll never know what could've been
On a cold and lonely night

The memories of our lovin'
Still linger in the air
Like the faded scent of your roses
Stay with me everywhere
Everytime I get my hopes up
They only seem to fall
Still what could've been
Is better than what could never be at all

Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
Could've been my lover
Everyday day of my life
Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
You can't know what could've been
On a cold and lonely night

Could've been so beautiful
Could've been so right
You can't know what could've been
On a cold and lonely night
How can you know what could've been
On a cold and lonely night

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chocolate Indulgence: VERO Lounge, Hong Kong

No chocolate lover should live in or visit Hong Kong without indulging in a cup of decadent hot chocolate in VERO Lounge, a romantic chocolate lounge opened by a local premium chocolatier, VERO Chocolates, comparable to any world-class brands.

Located in Fenwick Pier Arcade by the harbour in Wanchai, this is a quiet location with a romantic ambience.  I am not a chocoholic, or chocolate junkie who eats all sorts of chocolates, but every once in a while I do enjoy fine chocolate.  

It is a must to try the hot chocolates in this lounge.  My friend and I shared three cups of dark and thick hot chocolate, each special in its own way:
Peru - Very refined, pure, with very understated sweetness and little acidity
Ecuador - Smooth, rich, sweet
Venezuela (Chuao) - Balanced taste, smooth and rich

Our favourite was Peru (blue one on the left - these pictures were newly added on Oct 22, 2010).  The Peru hot chocolate goes down so smoothly, and the delicate aroma was truly mesmerizing.  Each cup was also beautifully decorated with a colorful coating at the top.  Under the dim lighting, at first I thought it was a lid.  It was very pretty.  I did not expect such a lovely experience and did not bring my proper cameras to take pictures.  Next time I certainly will.  The experience left such an impression, we decided it should be preserved with only an occasional indulgence.  
The lounge also has chocolate cakes, brownies, and showcases of specially made chocolate display - such work of art - and their chocolate products.  They also serve alcohol, but I think the highlight is still the selection of hot chocolates.
I promise it will be a memorable experience.

A piece of advice:  When trying the hot chocolate, drink it from the cup instead of trying with the small spoon.  Like tasting wine, let the hot chocolate spread across your tongue to fully taste the true flavor.  If you only take small sips from the little spoon, likely you'll only concentrate on the tip of your tongue and the chocolate may taste much sweeter than it actually is.  Enjoy!

For more pictures, please refer to the new posting on Oct 22, 2010: Chocolate Indulgence: VERO Lounge (Pictures)

Address: 1/F, Fenwick Pier Arcade, 1 Lung King Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong 
Phone: (852) 25595882
Sunday to Wednesday: 10am to 10pm
Thursday to Saturday: 10am to midnight
They sometimes close for private functions.  Do call in advance to check before visiting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Times when I miss dating 懷念拍拖的日子

有些時候會特別懷念拍拖的的日子.  There are times when I particularly miss dating.
下大雨沒雨傘時.....  When stuck in the rain without an umbrella.....
下雪滑到時.....  When slipped on the snow.....
極快樂時.....  When extremely happy.....
極失落時.....  When extremely down.....
看到別人幸福時.....  When watching others surrounded by love.....
看到自己的幸福照片時.....  When watching myself surrounded by love in old pictures.....
一人旅遊時.....  When traveling alone.....
和別人旅遊時.....  When traveling with others.....
囍慶節日時.....  During festive days.....
極無聊時.....  When extremely bored with nothing to do.....
從極失敗的約會回來時.....  When coming home from a very bad date.....
深夜一人回家時.....  When coming home alone late at night.....
從婚宴回來時.....  When coming back from a wedding banquet.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Generation Y in the workplace

Generation Y, or Post 80's generation, is often a topic my friends and I (who belong to Generation X) passionately, head-shakingly discuss. 

I am not a sociologist, or anthropologist, so I won't even bother justifying my explanation of their unique behavior in the workplace.  Just want to share some funny discussions here for a laugh!

My friends and I are largely people managers/ team leaders, and people we work with largely belong to Generation Y.  We often find them lack of direction and purpose in life and career, quite egocentric, not very willing to conform to established formalities, like to feel that they are individualistic but without clear individual edge, very easily distracted/ short attention span, think it is uncool to take things too seriously (think it is cool to appear laid back), take everything including opportunities for granted, lack of perseverance, lack of motivation to progress and shine, over-reliant on technology, lack of confidence in human interaction (face-to-face communication, phone communication).....and the list goes on.

When talking to a colleague some staff evaluation of supervisors (360 degrees evaluation), my colleague told me one of her sub-ordinates had the nerve to write, as area for improvement for her:  _______ is not considerate, when she leaves the office she turns off the aircon for her work section.  Another sub-ordinate wrote: __________ needs to hire more proficient manager.  I don't think my manager is good enough.  I laughed out loud when I read her message!  Come on, kids, be a bit professional!  Don't write such juvenile comments!

When having dinner with some ex-colleagues, we discussed why Generation Y don't seem to learn from their mistakes.  If you watch over their shoulders, they call you nagging and not giving them freedom.  If you give them freedom, they abuse it by either not taking prompt actions as necessary, or they make big decisions - often times without thorough thinking and consideration of longer term consequences - without informing you.  Then someone raised a funny point:
When we were their age, after being scolded by our bosses or making a big mistake at work, during the time we traveled to and from office each day, we would reflect on what we had done wrong, why our bosses had scolded us.  Nowadays, Generation Y spend their traveling time finger swiping on their iPhones, iPod touch, playing games.  There are all these distractions for them to forget they had been scolded by their bosses!  That's why they don't learn!
So true! Ha ha!!

Managing and trying to motivate Generation Y can be a university course on its own.  I really hope these kids will miraculously grow up overnight and feel "cool" about being mature and professional.  At the same time there needs to be more updated people management trainings targeted to management of Generation Y as they clearly need to be motivated and managed differently.

感恩Give Thanks

I have been to a few Chinese Christian weddings where most of the speeches repeated the importance to give thanks 感恩. 

Whenever I am single, and have a moment to reflect on life before bed - which is a luxury when living with boyfriend because my mind is often occupied with other daily issues or worries - I often remember to give thanks to God for giving me a big comfortable bed to sleep in.  I have been doing this since about 5 years ago when I bought my IKEA bed frame and mattress with my own salary.  Now, despite the bed frame making squeaky noise and seemingly falling apart, mattress getting thinner and softer, I still go to bed feeling immense comfort and how blessed I am.

I do not take anything I have for granted.  Nothing is permanent in life.  I treasure everything I have while I can.  I hope by sharing with you these thoughts, you might also gain awareness of your own blessings from God.

Staying Single Does Not Mean I Screwed Up My Life

No one has the right to judge that a woman is screwing up her life by being single over 30.  

This is in response to my earlier posting, "And She Lived Ordinarily Ever After", and my friend's comment.  The more I think about my ex's comment, the more furious I get.  It was not even pity that he expressed, it was disapproval of my snobbish behaviour, stuck-up mentality, and concern for my miserable self-inflicted consequences.

I may be selective, but I am not snobbish.  All these years, I have given different guys a chance, even the most unlikely ones.  I have dated men of such different personalities and styles, no one can say that I am not open-minded.  I have even dated some whose personalities I actually despise now.  (Watch out for my upcoming posting on "Mutant Men".)

I may be single, I may be alone, but I am not miserable and I don't feel lonely.  I am living a content life, with a few great friends, and plenty others who care about me.  I travel, I work, I cook, I eat, I play, I laugh..... 

Plenty other women out there share my experience, and they too should not be judged.  If we had forced ourselves to stay in dead-end relationships, just so we would be married today and with kids, THAT would have truly screwed up our lives.  Nobody knows how people will change in the future, and how relationships will develop.  At least at the time, the relationship was not working out, or the date was truly horrible, we accepted the sad reality and coped with the change.

So, Mr. Ex, I do not envy your life, or your wife.  I once regretted dumping you 8 years ago, and in hindsight, I made the right decision.  I want a husband who supports me through my pregnancy and the different stages of raising a child, not someone who goes out with buddies to play golf or poker while I try to manage the newborn.  I want a husband who is not as shallow, thinking a woman should just randomly find someone to marry.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hong Kong Best Kept Secret - Home boutique, Soho

On 63 Peel Street, Soho, Hong Kong, there is a small quaint boutique called "Home", importing selected fashion items from Japan, Taiwan and Korea, usually free size and in very limited quantities.  There is also a great collection of accessories from beautiful scarves to headbands, belts, stockings, purses, etc.

I love the shirts they import from Korea, usually quite long and loose, very smooth and flowy fabric, perfect with a belt and tight pants/ leggings.  I like this relaxed romantic style very much.  The shirts are usually between HKD 300- 600, so they are very reasonably priced for the quality and style.

I was told that they have opened a showroom on Hollywood Road near Press Room.  If you feel that this could be your style, do check it out.  This place is a little treasure to me.  I am looking forward to their winter coats already!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Things which make me happy: My Sweet Home on Sundays

My home looks particularly nice on Sundays, after my helper spent 5 hours cleaning and tidying up. I really love this space a lot. Living alone is great when you have a space so customized to your style you feel you are in your own little world.  
Thanks to my new Sigma 10-20mm Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens, I was able to take pictures of the entire space.

Hong Kong's Best Kept Secret: Visage One, Private Jazz Club

This was a truly special night. Visage One is a hair salon by day run and owned by Ben, jazz club by night (first & second Saturday of each month). On jazz nights, it is transformed into the coziest space, for musicians to perform, jazz lovers to indulge in good music. No fancy furniture or decorations. No foods served. Just wine and music.

This is definitely one of Hong Kong's best kept secret. The whole atmosphere, respect & appreciation of music makes it special. Karissa Muse is very well known in the HK jazz scene, she is a female jazz guitarist, jazz radio show host, and jazz music critic. I had heard of her name for years, and had seen her numerous times in various jazz gigs but had never watched her perform/ listened to her play. Last night's visit to Visage One was an impromptu idea over dinner at my place with a few friends. I was so glad, after 2.5 years, I visited Visage One again and had the pleasure to listen to Karissa's music. She even played Chega de Saudade as the second last song - which I sing every other day in the shower in Portuguese.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brazilian Milk Pudding / Pudim de Leite

After years of having a sweet tooth, I am generally not crazy about desserts.  Pudim de Leite does remain a favourite of mine, and I'd like to share the recipe here with you.  

I found the recipe on, and it is more or less similar to the recipe my Brazilian friends have.  It is super easy to follow.  I did make some small adjustments to this recipe to fit my taste and my small oven:

1 cup sugar (for the caramel)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Equal volume of regular milk (use the can to measure)
3 eggs
1 8-inch ring mold for large ovens OR small ramekins if you have small counter top ovens

Place 1-2 inches of water in a roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F or 163 degrees C.

Traditional way: Put the sugar in the ring mold. Place the mold directly over medium heat. Keep turning the mold until the sugar melts into a golden brown caramel and spoon it up the sides of the mold. Be careful not to burn the sugar and yourself.

Alternative Way (My Way, tested): If you are using ramekins instead of a large ring mold, you can alternatively melt the sugar - preferably white sugar - in a saucepan.  You may wish to use a little bit more sugar because there will be some wastage.  So melt the sugar over medium heat, once it turns into golden brown caramel, immediately pour the sugar into the ramekins CAREFULLY but QUICKLY (the sugar solidifies in no time) and turn the ramekins to try and coat the bottom evenly as much as possible.  My experience is that you don't really need to coat it perfectly, because when you finally put the pudding in the oven to bake, the sugar naturally melts again and will evenly coat by itself.

Combine the condensed milk, regular milk, and eggs in a blender. Whip until smooth. Pour this mixture into the mold and place it in the center of the roasting pan with water. Bake the pudim for about 1 hour for large oven OR 30 minutes for small counter top oven using ramekins. It will turn golden brown on top and start separating from the sides of the mold. You can also use a toothpick or a fork to poke into the pudding and check if it comes out clean.  Let it cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator, preferably overnight (at least 6 hours).

Just before serving, run the tip of a knife around the inside of the mold. Place a deep platter over the mold and invert. The pudim should slide out easily. If not, give the mold a firm but careful shake. Spoon the caramel sauce on top and serve. 


Thursday, September 2, 2010

薛凯琪: 字花 (Sunset Version)

I haven't listened to Canto pop for many years, and have been lacking in songs to sing at home for years as a result.

Today I noticed two facebook friends posting a video of Fiona Sit (薛凯琪)'s first cut of her song 字花.  It's about a girl who wants to put a closure to memories of a person, through this song.   I read what she wrote about her thoughts on this new song, and it seems it came from her own personal (painful) experience and memories.

The song touches me, though without relating to any particular person in my life.  Just a general state of melancholy.  Hope you like it too.  (There are two versions, this one is Sunset Version.)

編:Allan Lau
監:Edward Chan, Charles Lee
自那天起 寫不出半首詩
留下到處 一張張廢紙
是我筆尖 發現文筆太亂
零落破碎 一想起你便斷

唯求用這首歌 唱出一種結束
如旋律內有雨 那就盡情哭
如文字會生花 也許明天會花開遍地
枯萎那個 無謂再目送

直到今天 寫一首最美的
旋律帶過 當天的記憶
為你寫歌 作別離的記認
文字抹去 今天的太任性

唯求用這首歌 唱出一種結束
如旋律內有雨 那就盡情哭
如文字會生花 也許明天會花開遍地
枯萎那個 無謂再目送

文字記載感情 無奈我已凋零
每字也是有關於你 我做過甚麼

唯求用這首歌 唱出一種結束
如旋律內有雨 那就盡情哭
如文字會生花 也許明天會花開遍地
枯萎那個 無謂再...

傷口會痛 無謂再亂碰

Beautiful Handmade Fashion, Accessories & Living Products -

Through a local blog I sometimes follow, called Sassy Hong Kong, I stumbled upon this online marketplace for handmade items called Etsy, where I had a very enjoyable time browsing through different sellers' handmade products from clothing to accessories, home decoration, etc..

In particular, I was drawn to this knitwear designer, iLE AiYE's, items:

A cardigan I'm thinking of getting

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Story from a Weirdo Magnet: Mr. Neighbor's SMS

I read this from my friend's facebook status message, and I laughed out loud.  So with my friend, J's, permission I am sharing her story here.

J is a hot, outgoing, active, single girl living in LA (with her dog Guinness).  Yesterday she received an sms from her neighbor - a married man with a child:
‎"friend of mine is organizing a "trade a massage party" in the afternoon of one the weekend days either this weekend or next. Are u interested? Guests are welcome to bring massage oils, clean towels, healthy foods and drinks, a little win...e or beer; dress code is anything sexy u want to wear to laungerie to nothing at all for the more daring spirits (I'm going to suggest that they change dress code to "wear ur towel only"). Ur suggestions r welcome. Idea is for those that just want to de-stress and relax to feel welcome and just trade massage n respected in a totally comfortable environment and those that want be more daring can be as daring as they want. Those that want to bring their hot date have to trade or share their date. Pushy guys will be kindly asked to leave so that nobody has to feel uncomfortable. Let me know if this sounds like something u want to try. It sounded like a ton of fun to me (I'm always begging for massage at home) and I was asked to pass along the invitation to anyone I thought was cool."
Poor J, she was completely grossed out by this freak who was obviously trying to cheat on his wife, inviting her to join an "as daring as you want" kind of swingers party, and replied saying it was not her cup of tea.  Mr. Neighbor, unaffected, had the nerves to shamelessly reply:
"That makes two of us, but I guess I'm more intrigued by it than you! If I end up going and it turns out to be fun I'll tell u about it. Enjoy the afternoon! U got me curious: what is ur cup of tea? I've always been intrigued by you - I think you are one of the most interesting worthwhile persons I know."
 How screwed up is that?!  To top it off, I told a male friend about it, and he didn't think it was a big deal.
"I don't see anything's wrong with it.  If she's not up for it, that's fine."
"Um, you are missing the point - the man is trying to cheat on his wife!"
 "Well, yeah sort of, but if she's not up for it, she just needs to be clear about it."
Sigh..... Please, where are the decent men out there?