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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Snake Year 2013

Warning: super long post ahead, with many pictures (relevant or irrelevant).

One word to describe Chinese new year 2013: BUSY.

My older sister is now working in Singapore, and my mother had many other things to do than the usual CNY stuff, so I had to help with the CNY preparations. Not that I never helped in the past, but I had to be prodded every few minutes to get things done, and usually it was only one or two things.

As per usual, my mother made so many kuih lapis (layer cakes) for CNY. Instead of just wiping the table tops and all the tiny, boring stuff that I used to do, one day I would be assigned to just clean the bedroom floors, then take care of the curtains, then, for almost literally the first time in my life, go out with a shopping list to the morning market.

Family flooded in within a weekend, which was a teensy bit claustrophobic, since I had my room all to myself, subjecting it to my mess, and all of a sudden it had to be pristine (sheets changed, floors glistening) for my other family members to sleep in. It's not really convenient to move 6-8 stuffed toys of different sizes.

Face masks!!!
My father came home with mostly sheet masks for my mother (occasionally myself), lots of chilli peanuts, and a few collector's items. And with my father's return means I could change from my old Nokia C6-00 to a Samsung Galaxy Note. =D


Anyways, CNY eve was celebrated with conversations, jokes, and who could forgo the reunion dinner? Due to my grandmother's injury, we had to take the menu planning into our own hands.

Beer butter herb shrimp. Lots of butter and shrunken prawns.
An aunt brought some stewed sea cucumber, as well as some fried fish stomachs for the herbal soup. Another aunt stir-fried some vegetables, my mother steamed a couple of fishes with shoyu and ginger, and the most untouchable dish - dirty shrimp in beer butter sauce, made by yours truly~

I subscribe to a ton of people on Youtube, and Nicko's Kitchen is one of those channels. He's based in Australia, and we had a lot of shrimp/prawns at home (lots of beer and butter, too), so my mother asked me to make it for the dinner.

I have a few family members allergic to prawns, alcohol, and the sheer amount of butter needed for the recipe... just not really diet-friendly. ANYWAYS, cleaning the prawns was a pain to my stomach, the cooking was stressful (we started cooking later than planned), but it turned out (almost) beautifully. The prawns shrunk a little too much for my liking, though...

My favorite ice cream flavor from Baskin Robbins.
Dinner was awesome, and after dinner, the preparation for everything else commenced, but not before my parents went out to get some Baskin Robbins ice cream for everyone~ Chocolate chip cookie dough OMG!

I helped with the peeling of the ginkgo nuts (though I don't eat them) for the next morning's vegetarian pot. Then drove myself nuts trying to remember which incense sticks to use for what, and which to light when, etc. After all the incense and candles, there's all the paper money and whatnot.

Actually I didn't help with the incense and candles and stuff, but according to my grandmother, I was the daughter of my family (theoretically speaking), and both my other sisters were busy, so I had to subject my eyes and lungs to torture.

Just two of the many bottles of wine we had in the house!
A quick shower to get clean to welcome in the new year, and we had a drinking-snacking-chatting session until 3am (very nice wines, courtesy of my uncle!).


The ridiculous thickness of the pomelo skin. My dad and I were digging and digging and digging, before finally peeling it open.
Next morning woke up at 8am (as opposed to the originally planned 7am) to help my mother with the cooking of the vegetarian pot, and some other stuff.

Same T-shirt (different color), three different styles - sporty, casual, and *ahem* sexy. I also brought along my new purple Longchamp~
By around 11am, we were out, my sisters and I coordinated our tops. My mother's trip to Bangkok brought home many sets of threes (cheaper, supposedly), and we agreed on wearing a somewhat chibi owl print T-shirt for CNY.

I paired my T-shirt with a bright red layered pencil skirt (auspicious red), accessorized with a long pendant necklace, and a few random pieces as arm candy, one dangling earring which wasn't visible for most of the day, and since I had no other shoes, with the above-the-ankle heels.

Over-blended the brow filling product too much...
I was tearing my hair out regarding what make-up to wear, but due to my laziness and the lack of time, I opted for a "pin-up" look - winged liner and red lips. And I also had to "brown-ify" my eyebrows to match my now-lighter-brown hair.

Waiter preparing the auspicious yee sang. Crunchy bits of fried crackers, julienne fruits and veggies, with pomelo bits and jellyfish strips... GNAM!
The fish dish of the day. The deep fried fish skeleton was mostly edible.

After a round of snacks and light drinks, we went out to Super Tanker Restaurant at Damansara Kim for our new year lunch. For some queer reason, there was talk about animal slaughtering, debates about what a sea coconut is, and many other topics, which I found hard to participate in.

Such an obedient little baby! He was so adorable!!!
The kids were adorable, though... There were 3 kids there, all under 5 years old, and SO BLOODY ADORABLE OMG! One of the girls were super cute with a little cheongsam and bobbed hair; the other little girl had wispy braids and eyes that looked straight into your soul, rimmed with long, curled lashes; the youngest little boy was cute, quiet, and sucking on his thumb the entire day!

When we were back in the host house (my uncle's apartment in Bandar Utama), out came the cards and blackjack started.

Camwhoring behind the couch, feeling a little tipsy.
Some of the ladies huddled in the kitchen, chatting over mandarin wedges. A couple of guys enjoyed themselves on the couch with golf and/or their devices. While I was like a butterfly, moving from one island of activity to another, in the end finishing my beer WAYYY to quickly, and resorted to camwhoring.

My dad passed his specs to me for safekeeping, and I did, in my own way.
Next stop: Wangsa Maju. Usually the house would be jam packed with people, but because we were way more than late, the house was practically empty. But it slowly filled up, jammed with people, and while I was snacking on butter cookies and watching Hong Kong new year movies, the dining table once again became the blackjack table.

I didn't take dinner that night (lunch was really, really full), but joined in the drinking session (more like wine-tasting, actually).


I shall call the second day of new year shopping day. We went out to Mid Valley, and started walking. The places we spent the most time? Kiehl's, and Harvey Norman.

Don't need to spend much money to make my tummy happy =D Delicious kuih talam (coconut and pandan cake) from Nyonya Colors.
But not before we had breakfast at a restaurant with shitty service - everyone who went to the counter came back with a black face. Nyonya Colors is a local food restaurant in between The Gardens and Mid Valley Megamall, on the lower ground floor, I think. They have awesome kuih talam!

Kiehl's Fortune #817.
At Kiehl's, we got a fortune cookie. It was actually for my little cousin, but she didn't want it, so my dad and I opened it. I've come to actually like eating the fortune cookie (damn it, I love cookies!), and the "fortune" within the cookie wasn't really a fortune, per se, but more of a quote.

Love Kiehl's chemistry-inspired table... Featuring my younger sister's old Nokia~
We had lunch at Nando's, by which time I thought I was already getting anorexic. Just 1/4 of a chicken and I was full. I used to be able to eat lots, but now any more than a few decently sized morsels, maybe a glass of juice, and a little carbs... and I'm already feeling sick.

This bugger sneaks around my house now... It keeps crashing into things...
Since Harvey Norman was next to Nando's, my dad thought to go in for a look. Here's some advice: if you put two gadget-freak guys together in a gadget/household store like Harvey Norman, plan your other shopping routes. We spent about 1-2 hours there, but here's one of the loots of the day... (there's actually more)


Day 3 of CNY is called lazy day - while my dad and younger sister labored around the house (usually it's me), I slept in, checking me email every so often. When I (finally) got up, I started backing stuff up on Kies Air, then it was out for lunch...

3 cups for 3 stooges - Oreo Chocolate ice blended for the younger sister; pearl milk tea for dad; and a pop eggs milk tea for moi.
Of all places, we opted for Face to Face Noodles House. I really, really much prefer the self-service system at campus, but that's a different location altogether. A few doors down from F2F was Ochado, and that's where we went to use the Wi-Fi.

Just because P1 is a friggin' bitch and is almost completely useless. We've used up our quota, so we surf with really, really, REALLY low speeds. And usually loading one 5-minute Youtube video with only ONE person using the Wi-Fi already takes about half an hour.

The slow Wi-Fi was one of the causes of an argument in the house, and the source of much of my frustration. Thankfully, dad plans to upgrade to Unifi soon. =D

My second-hand Galaxy Note, and it's new portable charger =D
So right now I'll just have to get a few other things done, then I can reformat my new Note, and recustomize it! Did I mention that I got an unexpected power bank from my older sister as well?


C'est make-up shopping day~ Ken Min has been wanting to get some make-up for some time, and I'll need to teach him how to use the products soon...

I woke up later than I wanted to, but I got a pretty good parking space. We had McDonald's for breakfast (I didn't get the tamagotchi toy that was supposed to be in my Happy Meal!), then started the shopping quite gingerly.

Quote Love Soap: "The most astonishing feminine hygiene wash ever? You decide!" I mean, it's feminine wash... Unless you have 24k gold flakes in there, it's not that much astonishing at all... Spotted in Shins.
We took a look at the cosmetics at Daiso (really, The Mines and Sunway Pyramid has much more variety), then went down to Shins to look for brushes for Ken Min. There were the environmentally-friendly bamboo handle brushes, the basic ones, then...

My expression when I found the Real Techniques brushes. GIF from Google.
Pixiwoo is one of my favorite make-up gurus on Youtube, because their looks are just so beautiful, and they're more professional than Michelle Phan. Real Techniques is a line of brushes that Samantha Chapman created, and I NEVER THOUGHT I'D FIND THEM HERE BY ACCIDENT!!!

Sam's photo on the back of an angled foundation brush.
Real Techniques Travel Essentials. I supposed this is mostly for foundation and concealer (face work).
But they were expensive, so Ken Min settled for the basic 6-piece brush set (large face, 2 flat shadows, angled, brow-and-lash brush, and a pouch) from the bamboo handle brush line.

We got most of the stuff he needed at Watson's - over RM100 worth of cosmetics from Kate, Maybelline, In2It, and Silkygirl. In the process, there was a lot of testing of products on the back of the hands, on the jawlines, on the face, etc. Forgot that we could have brought in a video camera and vlogged the shopping~

Kah Yeng's haul from Daiso. Clockwise from top left: eyelash curler, super fine false lashes, eyelash glue, contour-and-highlight powder, cheek color, false lash holder, and eyelid glue.
It was then back to Daiso to get Kah Yeng's supplies. Instead of powders and products, she bought mostly accessories, i.e. false lashes (really fine ones, so she could trim then use for two purposes), eyelash curler, etc.

Left: Ocha-Ryo - green tea ice with black sesame balls, red beans, and mini pearls. Right: soya ice with grass jelly, pearls, lotus seeds, and barley (I think).
Lunch was Snowflake, if you could even call that lunch. I've missed having Snowflake, and I just realized we also have a habit of leaving tabs unpaid. (facepalm) I would usually take the Japan combo 2 (soya ice, mini pearls, red beans, and Taro Balls), but I decided to try the Ocha-Ryo.

Saw this in the Barbie store's display window. Seriously? Bella doesn't look like that, though I do like the William and Kate dolls.
A short camwhore session later, Kah Yeng joined her family, and Ken Min and I went to Rock Corner for a spin (tried searching for Davide Sonar's CDs, if there are any, but didn't find any), then proceeded home. And after editing a few photos, blogging a bit, I had to change to go out for a CNY open house in Tropicana.

C'est my sister et moi. Both almost completely in black.
I wore my little black dress from Kitschen, paired with purple (accented with pink and yellow) faux feather earrings to match my giant (eggplant) purple tote. I wanted to do a smudged look, but can't really be bothered to do a full-blown, picture-perfect smokey eye look, so I compromised where I could.

Artistry shadows in Sand, Basic Beige, Java, and Ash Black. shu uemura Creme Shadow as base. Face, jawline, and nose contoured with Bobbi Brown blusher.
The end result was a dark brown smokey eye with shadows from a neutral palette, accented with outer half lashes. I saved myself a lot of hassle by just using black shadow instead of liquid liner, and used a soft shadow brush to do my brows.

An open house at this particular family is usually accompanied by attentive adults and really good food. Here's what I had for dinner.

Herbed grilled chicken, veggie spring roll, chicken lasagna, spaghetti pesto with mushrooms and seafood (hence the giant mussel: deliciously fresh!)
Salmon mousse with tortilla strips.
Chicken and lamb satays, chicken drummets, mini chicken and mushroom pie, and another serving of chicken lasagna and another veggie spring roll.
Salsa dip with crackers before dinner officially commenced.
Johnny Walker Double Black Blended Scotch Whiskey~ Super deliciously smooooooth!
茶果 - Chinese flavored local cakes.
Cinnamon apple crumble version 1 - with custard (vanilla, I suppose, because there were black specks throughout the custard). Courtesy of Auntie Lee Choo~
My favorite dish of the night - cinnamon apple crumble with vanilla ice cream! Home-made by Auntie Lee Choo. The only apple crumble I will eat (for now, until I find another one that is as good as this, though I doubt that I will).
Kenzo has a really innocent, friendly face (but sharp, growing teeth).
After a short play session with the Shepherd puppy Kenzo out in the back, we headed home. Today will be Valentine's day, and since I don't have a date, I made a rough date with Kah Yeng and Ken Min to go out for dinner for the occasion~

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