Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I never thought that I would ever say this... "Hi, my name is Dewi, and I am a shopaholic". Just to make myself feel better, I want to explain that I am not the "regular" shopaholic (if there is in fact a categorization of regular and irregular or normal and abnormal shopaholic).

According to an online dictionary, a shopaholic is one who shops compulsively or frequently. This behaviour is actually considered a sickness because it is an addiction, something that one does compulsively despite knowing the harmful consequences, but provides momentary feel-good rush. (And of course the guilt afterwards).

So here is the simple checklist:
1. Can you control it? (Argghhhh... i TRY, i really do... at least i end up buying less stuffs than a lot more than i want)
2. Does it always happen when you enter a shop? (Mmm... yes...) <-- if there is a font smaller than that, i would have use it.
3. Do you feel that you have to buy something when you enter a shop otherwise you feel incomplete or empty? (Yup, that's me when I am at certain stores)
4. Does it have harmful consequences? (Duh, of course! Sakurata, u know? Flat pockets a.k.a. bokek, a.k.a. no money in your pockets)
5. Does it make you feel good? (of course, especially if i get a really good deal, hehehehe...)

Ok, now i will explain why I am not a "regular" shopaholic. I have watched the movie, and I must say that at least i dont act like her. I will only end up buying stuffs IF i go out (ya iyalah, masa blanja di rmh sendiri?) At least i dont shop online that often. But shopping at ebay gives me that rush feeling :P I dont go crazy over clothings, accessories, etc (see, i am not the "regular' type). But i will always end up buying something when i go to the supermarket and the cake ingredients & supplies shop. The good thing is, at least i am buying for the home requirements (trying to justify), and sometimes, the stuffs that i buy (like detergents, toiletries) do not expire and the house always needs these (another justification).

I have noticed that what used to be empty corners in parts of the house and my room, are now filled up with all the stuffs that i've bought! Clutters are taking over and they grow at a faster speed than consumption rate. It is like when you play the board game RISK, you see a dominating colour filling up the map.

I now have God knows how many baking pans. (One day, i will count them. Of course many are still brand new). I have probably about 25kg of various flours! More than 6kg of various kinds of chocolates! Then there are butter, nuts, cereals, bottles of colours and essences, and the list goes on and on. I can open up my own minimart now.

Initially my parents said that we would need another storage room. But yesterday my mom said that another storage room would not be enough to put all my things.

The easiest way is for me to avoid the supermarket and the cake supplies shops. That is one way. Had tried, but not that effective. Or maybe i should just go to a Shopaholic Anonymous club, if there is one.The assuring thing is, after reading a web article ( )
, i think i am just a mild case. Phew... :D

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Trekking in Nepal

I Remember…

I remember how puzzled we were when the pilot announced that the time difference between Bangkok and Kathmandu is 1 hour and 15 minutes (Yup, what is up with that 15 mins? Go figure).

I remember how the streets in Thamel, Kathmandu changed after 10pm when the trekking shops, pashmina shops, and Tibetan souveniers shops closed; and the shower dance neon signs started to come out.

I remember our sleepless night in Norling Guesthouse, which was only about 15m away from Pussycat Shower Dance club, with the loud dance music engulfing the street.

I remember the 8 hours Greenline bus ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara, with the long traffic jam, but it did not feel that long coz of the scenic ride of meandering mountain roads, white rivers, green hills, etc.

Traffic jam on both sides of greeny contoured hills

I remember the big plains near Pokhara where there is a big river surrounded by soft ylang-ylang-like plants that sways and dances with the wind.

I remember the still-lake water glittered and sparkled like gold when the sun set behind the hills.

Sunset at Phewa Lake, Pokhara

I remember the reflections of the various kinds of boats on Phewa Lake, and people will rent them to go on boat rides.

I remember in the morning, the ladies will carry their laundry in pails and washed them by the lake.

I remember the Peace Pagoda on the top of the hill, across the lake.

I remember hospitable Hom with his genuine sweet friendly smile.

I remember the flowers by the lake in front of Mike’s Fewa, which blushed from white to light pink and turn to fuschia pink as the sun shone on them (Amazing, eh?)

Serenity at Phewa Lake, Pokhara

I remember the vibrant purple morning glories, hot red hibiscus and lemony yellow flowers when I stand in front of our room No. 8 in Mike’s Fewa.

I remember the big black crows waiting to get a bite of any leftovers they can get a hold of.

I remember the many Kale (means Black in Nepali) kukur (means doggies in Nepali) I met, the first sweet one was at Mike’s Fewa and there was another sweetie and her boyfriend who followed us up the steps at Ghandruk.

I remember the many goats that we passed, them going downhill to be sold to the market for the Dashain Festival, us going uphill. Some with bloody hoofs, tiredness in their eyes, trails of blood marked the steps.

Sharing the way with the goats

I remember our porters, Uncle Risi and Kumar, each carrying 20kg of backpacks, including theirs, up the hilly steps, supported by a cloth against their foreheads.

I remember the endless beauty, strength and tenderness of the waterfalls and river streams.

I remember my Koko when I see the intricate designs nature has put in thousands and probably millions of years on the unique textured coloured rocks, but not sure which Himalayan rocks I should pick for him.

I remember even the rocks that made the stoney steps are beautiful. And the ones on the streams are silverish, copperish, greenish, and some layered with different minerals.

I remember all the other guides and porters we met along the way on Day 2, calling us “Didi” (means elder sis) and “Maya” (means love).

Michael's Angels (Nepali Didi, Didi, Maya)

I remember the fun and friendly people we met; Suzanne and Michael, Sashi, Otosan and his family, Malcom and his family, Paula and Clara from Netherland, Khaled and his friend, the waiter and bartender at Moondance, Bruno and Nacho from Spain, and seeing lots of three-gals group.

I remember the many varieties of lovely flowers I came across, both vibrant and soft.

Sweet smelling flowers that freshens the morning air

I remember feeling exhilarated, peaceful, and blessed to be at Poon Hill, with the breathtaking, spectacular sight of Himalayan mountains stretched in front of me, and wanting to stay there forever (or at least as long as I can).

Sunrise at Poon Hill

Happiness is being on top of Poon Hill

I remember I was literally above clouds, being at 3210 metres.

Look at the mountains behind me!

3 Angels at Poon Hill

I remember the misty, mystical rainforest which made me feel I was in a fantasy land.

Misty Mystical Fantasy Forest

I remember feeling sad on Day 3 of the trekking when I saw the waterfalls and river streams, flowing endlessly, sometimes dashing against the rocks and pebbles, but never stopping, and wish I could be as strong as the river flowing.

Clear cool river streams

I remember the biggest village that we passed during the trek was Ghandruk, which was made of mainly stone houses, with the kids playing in the front porches, surrounded by beautiful colourful flowers, and there were a little museum and monastery.

I remember enjoying the hot shower and delicious food at Annapurna Guesthouse in Ghandruk, owned by Sharaj. As Didi Frieda said too excitedly, “We have a toilet in the bathroom.” (what she meant was we had our own private bathroom)

I remember waking up to the sight of the majestic snowy mountains every morning when I draw the curtains.

Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) Mountain (the peak of this mountain looks like a fishtail)

I remember my first taste of the slightly sweet Tibetan bread, with the view of the snow-peaked mountains stretching in front of me, in awe with their beauty.

I remember the faces of the people are more Manchurian/Tibetan in the higher villages and more Indian-looking in the lower villages.

Nepali kids having Dal-Bhat (the local food)

I remember looking at Ghandruk from the hill across it and saw how far we had walked.

I remember we had to take the public rowing boat to reach the temple in the middle of the lake, and it was packed with devotees with men and women lining up separately to pray.

I remember the warmness of the pigeon’s droppings on my back at the lake temple.

I remember our impulsive decision to extend another day in Pokhara because the sky cleared up and the snow-capped mountains where at sight. That was a very good decision indeed.

Machhapuchhre Mountain

I remember my first paragliding experience, jumping off Sarangkot cliff and flying high like a bird, swooping with the breeze.

I remember I truly enjoyed being in relaxing and friendly Pokhara as compared with hectic crazy Kathmandu.

Sunrise at Phewa Lake

Busy festive Kathmandu streets

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu

I remember trying to hold onto all the memories, sights, experience and colours of this trip, which have made me a richer person.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Tea Walk at Puncak

It was such a pleasant day to go to Puncak. There was no traffic. The fasting month is actually the best time to go to Puncak. It was rather cloudy, but the weather was cool. We did about 1.5-2 hours trekking on the tea plantation. I can't recall the name, it starts with M, and there is a restaurant. It is not far after the big bottle of Kecap.

There are many routes, some gently sloped, some are steeper. We did not hire any guide as Riena was quite familiar with the area. It was a nice relaxing walk. It was very refreshing to see so much greenery. The landscape and flowers were simply beautiful. Just wanna share the peacefulness, tranquility, contours, and colours with you.

Just the seven of us

Long winding paths

Reflection on the lake

Monday, 31 August 2009

Mr Dashing 2 - Daniel Henney

Oh... all these Mr Dashings... keeping me away from my oven. I initially thought that my entries will be more about my baking and diving. And now this temporary craze over cute Korean hunks has taken over most of my time in the last few days. I hope it doesnt last too long, hahhaha...

Well, seasonality or not, let's feast and enjoy on another God's beautiful creation... Mr. Daniel Henney, 188cm (ohh.... droool droooollllll droooolllllllll....). Born in 1979, more manly.. ;)~~~ ABK = American Born Korean. Mix of Caucasian and Korean descents. Model and actor as well.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Life is like Trekking

I went trekking to Cisadon, Sentul, yesterday with Frieda and Adri. And it reflected on me that the whole journey seems so much like life. I started very enthusiastically. Without much physical preparation, i just started walking up hill on the stoney path. Within 10mins, i started running out of breath. And i started feeling quite dizzy and uncomfortable. If it wasn't for my buddy, Adri, i would have given up. Her encouragement kept me going. She said, "a little more, we are almost there, one step at a time, the road ahead is rather flatter." Frieda was ahead of us. She made numerous stops for me to catch up. Occassionally she would call out for me, checking me out and waved to me. Just like life, when you are going uphill, you need the support and encouragement of your good friends. Thank you, Dri & Frieda! :)

And like life, rest if you must, but do not quit. Remember the friends who were there for you on the way up and down and the guides who show you to the correct paths. Share the beauty of Nature with them. When you walk, don't just focus on the road, lift your head up and see the beauty around you. See the big and small things that make up the nature as it is, from the big mountains to the little spiders, bugs, snails. And like life, the route on the trek has the same pattern too. The steep challenging road up; people who are there giving encouragement; some flatter plains and the easier tracks; people you meet along the way whom give colours in different ways by sharing their experiences or ways of living; then uphill again and continue on to our journey. It is not the destination that counts, it is the journey...

Adri & Frieda waiting for me

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Lunch break

Happiness is sharing oreo with your sis

Now, this is what i call Coffee Beans

Natural Beauty

Misty Layers

in front of Pak RT's house

LtoR: Edi (guide), Jusuf (little guide), me, Adri, Frieda
Total distance: 12 km in 5 hours

Mr Dashing - Lee Min Hoo

Lee Min Hoo, he plays as the lead actor in Boys Before Flowers (a Korean drama series). I have never been a goo-goo-gaga fan of any artistes, not even during the era of NKOTB or any of those boys band that many girls can't help but go crazy over them. But somehow, this one is different. At least he makes me go out and search for his pics on the net. Hahaha... quite embarassing for me, but i still think he is dashing. He is 185cm, such handsome height ;) And his lips... ohhh... sweeter than any chocolate ;)~~ I don't know if it is because of his character in the movie that makes him so irresistible, or maybe coz he reminds me of someone...

Here are the proofs...

Look at those curls...

Such irresistible smile...

Dashingly cute...

Don't faint, gals...

as a Levi's model

Mc Slurpy...

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Korean Drama - Addictive and Exhausting

Sigh... what is the thing with Korean drama series? Each one made me cry, everytime. Well, not every episode, otherwise it will be so very exhausting. But it is emotionally stretchy watching them. I am not at that level of craziness towards Korean drama series, not one of those that actually goes out to look for the latest hits.

I havent watched Korean drama for years. But more than a month ago (or probably couple months ago), my bro's gf lent me 2 series. One is Boys Before Flowers, the other is East of Eden. I wasn't too keen to watch them. Forgetting how addictive they can be, I watched the first episode of Boys Before Flowers. I actually told Firda what a boring and cheezy show it was. It came to the point where I almost stopped watching. Out of curiousity, i pretty much hanged on watching the first two episodes. After that, i reached the point of return. I think I finish the 25 episodes series in 3 days and 2 sleepless nights. I slept at 6am and 4am, 6 to 8 hours of tv marathon.

Years ago, I watched Glass Shoes with my Mom (who also loves watching Korean drama). We cried within the first 15mins of the first episode. I remember that this series made me cry pretty much almost every episode. My mom and I cried so much that we actually prepared tissue box beside us before watching :)

The thing with Korean drama series is the songs and music co-ordination. It just brings your emotional being to a different level even though you may not understand the lyrics. Even when the story has a happy ending, I can't help not feeling melancholy. The struggle that the main characters has to go through before achieving their dreams. Some of the love stories are so sad. It makes me wonder lots about being in love. It is so beautiful and yet so scary too. You just never know when the person you love will leave you. In Korean drama, if someone dies, it is usually coz of Leukemia. I dun know why it is Leukemia most of the time.

So, a little warning, prepare yourself for the sleepless nights before you start watching. Good Luck! :)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

With the same batch of cookie mixture, you can bake this cookie either soft and chewy or crispy and crunchy. All you need to adjust is the baking time and how long you leave the cookies in the hot tray.

I notice that the Americans seem to like their chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy. While the Asians like them dry and crunchy. You don't actually need to follow the measurement in the recipe for the chocolate chips. Just add as much as you want :)

Baking with Jazz

I have diving logbooks, and now I have a baking logbook too :) Just like diving, baking is therapeutic for me. I usually have Frank Sinatra and the likes of him accompany me when I bake, sometimes through the wee hours of the night. Usually it is big band music during daytime baking and jazz during nighttime baking. And on Sundays, it is Oldies coz my Mom hangs out around the dining room. Of course I always have my faithful companions, the itchy bitchy mosquitoes. And what would I do without my baking best friend, Mr. Autan, a.k.a. mosquitoes repellent (of course I prefer a Mr to accompany me ;) ?

Here are a few of the stuffs I've baked. The pics aren't that good. Just like baking, I am still learning. It is usually lack of lighting. Too lazy to get a desk lamp and not a big fan of using flash in some instances. Maybe some of you can give me some tips :)

Kue Lapis Legit

This was my second attempt on baking a Kue Lapis Legit (Rich Layered Cake). I had always wanted to try to bake lapis legit. But just like most people, the number of egg yolks required to bake this kue just scared me away. Even if you half the recipe, you will still be looking at 20-30 egg yolks. I've heard someone using 80 egg yolks for a kue lapis legit! I don't know exactly how big the cake pan is, but am sure it is not too big. So you can imagine what a waste of eggs if the cake doesn't turn out well. That was what happened to my first try. I burnt 1/3 of the bottom of the cake :P It was a learning experience.

Now I know that lapis legit is mainly egg yolks and butter. Yup, mainly just those two ingredients. No wonder it is so legit (rich), and of course so yummy... :)~~

Brownies Ketan Hitam

I don't like this cake. The texture is coarse and rather sandy. Unlike regular flour, ketan hitam flour (Black Glutinous Rice flour) is a bit rough. And i can't taste the ketan hitam flavour. I dun know if people actually use flavourings/essence to get that flavour. Or perhaps they use actual ketan hitam.

Lemon Meringue Pie

My first encounter with Lemon Meringue Pie was when I was about 9 years old where I lived with a Singaporean family. My guardian occasionally baked this. After more than 20 years, i taste again the mixture of fresh tanginess of lemon, mix with the pillowy softness of the meringue, in contrast with the crunchy flakiness of pie crust.