Tuesday, December 31, 2013


"The idea of Blanche is, as the name suggests, built around the perception of the colour white, in an effort to capture untainted innocence." -Ben Gorham, founder of Byredo

2013 has been great for me. Not fantastic, but I am grateful. I finally have my own space where I can nest in and where I can cook my stress away. I traveled quite often and got a chance to visit not just one, but two new places.  Work has been wonderfully challenging, despite its ups and downs. My health has hit some low points but I still laughed a lot. I've met new people and made new friendships, enlarging my social circle and making me richer. 

And even though love has not made its way to stay, I crossed path with a beautiful stranger who filled my sky with fireworks; briefly yet beautifully.

As we are nearing the end of 2013, I wish to start the new year with a fresh and pure approach. Clean and crisp white pages set for more exciting stories of travel, laughter, love, and adventure. Paint it red, paint green, paint it black, paint it with rainbow; life in 2014 will be vividly colorful.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cooking for One

Asparagus a la Flamande and pasta in tomato mascarpone sauce with lots of basil

"You have time to cook?" 

This is a question I've heard too often. Some people always wonder how I managed to have time to cook or rather, why I want to invest that much time (in cooking). Especially because I live alone and I often come home late from work. "Aren't you tired?" they would later ask. 

Well, the answer is pretty simple: I like to spend some time in cooking my meals for therapeutic reasons.

Some people find solace after a long day in reading, sleeping, taking a long bath, or spending time with their kids or loved ones; I happen to find it in the kitchen among the spices and knifes (although a long hot bath is always welcomed, sadly I don't own a bath tub and even if I do, my water bill will give me more headache).

Besides, cooking a good meal for yourself is usually cheaper than eating out. And eating good food makes me feel good; it sparks this warm fuzzy feeling inside, like a worn out sweater you're comfortable with. 

I don't see why dining alone should be a frightening thing. A lot of people would associate it with being lonely, so they won't bother cooking anything elaborate (or at all). On the contrary, eating alone allows me to experiment freely with my food, whether it turns out to be extraordinary or just plain weird and unappetizing for some people. And I do love to set my food properly and make it look chic and fine dining-ish, complete with a nice set of cutlery and a glass of wine. 

After spending time in prepping and cooking a meal, I'd sit down and savor it slowly (after I took pictures of course), while reading a book, or thinking of my agenda or to do list for the next day, or better, what I should cook. This is one of my solitary high.

Though there are days when I would just cook a pack of instant noodle or eat toast with jam on the kitchen counter for a meal alone, I still feel content. 

Because being alone is not bad at all. If anything, it makes you have time to explore yourself, get to know yourself better, and to have lots of me-time. Savor it, don't resent it. Embrace it, don't deny it. Because at the end of the day, we'll be alone anyway, one way or another; and if you can't enjoy being with yourself, then how could anyone else enjoy being around you?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Latte Wisdom #4

Comfort is... the crisp smell of new sheet. The warm smell of freshly baked bread. The heavenly smell of morning coffee. The exotic scent of a burning aromatherapy candle. Or the comforting scent of your loved one's cologne.

Heck, comfort is having a good sense of smell.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Good Morning, You...

"May your joys be as bright as the morning, and your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble, enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort, enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness, enough wealth to meet your needs and one thing more; enough determination to make each day a wonderful day than the one before." -Irish blessing

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Broken Lid

I was cleaning up my toiletries one day when I accidentally dropped the lid of a ceramic pot that I used for storing cotton pads. It split and broke into two pieces, and I stood there for a millisecond to ponder on this small incident.

I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if there's someone who could fix this for me?" I know it's an easy job--just glue it on and get it over with--but I was implying on a bigger part, in a bigger picture. I used to have a "handyman" around. He would offer to help fix things as he is fond of building things and fixing stuffs. After he's gone, there's basically no one around to extend a hand or ask for help. 

I am alone.

This feeling became more obvious when I moved into my apartment. Even though I've been living alone for the past few years inside my small cramped rented room, being alone in a real living space (read: small apartment for one) is somewhat a bit different. Not just because I get to have a kitchen, a fridge, a proper bathroom, and so on, but also because I have to manage most household chores by myself. Last week, I managed to install the gas despite my paranoia and my being clueless, and earlier today I managed to lift and place a 19 liter water gallon into the dispenser (and mopped the flooded floor afterwards).

When I told my friend about my difficulties with the water gallon, he said, "Well, that's why most women get married. So that someone could lift it up for them." I chuckled at his sarcasm but I couldn't help thinking how true his words were.

Yes, I do want someone to be there for me to help with things. Fixing things, building things, and whatnot's. But most importantly, I want someone who could help me fix myself. Someone who would be there to hold me in his arms and fix my wings (or tail) when I am broken. Someone who would lift me up and clean my wounds when I tripped and fall along the way. Someone to hug me every morning before the day starts and to kiss me every night when the day ends. Someone who would hold my hand as we walk along side by side, despite the arguments and disagreements.

I'm comfortable being alone but I can't say that I like it all the time. Then again, who does? Even the most cynical and skeptical of the bunch don't enjoy it deep down (but they won't admit it of course, they'd say, "Who needs love? Not I."*). But for the moment, until my next "handyman" comes, alone will have to do. Alone will be fine.

If I managed to do some heavy chores by myself, then I sure as hell can endure more. 

* "Oooh, darling, who needs love? Who needs a heaven up above? Who needs the clouds in the sky, not I." (Who Needs Love - Razorlight)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lull Me to Sleep

"I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?" -Ernest Hemingway

Indeed, Mr. Hemingway. Perhaps that's why I have trouble waking up every morning? (Excuses for the sloth). For now, I feel like I sleep with my eyes open and live the day with my eyes closed. As much as I want to see and feel everything, there are days when I long for nothing more than to live inside my dreams, even though I hardly remember any of them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lost and Found

Perhaps all is not gone.

This set of pretty rings has been missing for around a year before it finally reappeared last night. I remembered feeling very upset when I lost it, not just because I love it but also because it was a gift from someone I cared about and vice versa--or so I thought.

Fast forward to present day, I found it inside a shoe box while I was cleaning up my room to move into my new apartment. Funny enough, I've been opening that box quite frequently to grab the shoes, but have never seen the rings laying inside. Despite the fact that today, I resented the giver, I am reminded again that sometimes good things can pop up in the most unexpected places, when you least expected it.

Maybe I should have more faith and not give up too easily on life and love.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Latte Wisdom #3

Some things in life are like ice cream. You enjoy it fast before it melts, and it gives you an instant temporary joy or happiness.

Salted caramel ice cream from La Maison du Chocolat, Hong Kong, 2011

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dear Sky God

Midnight prayers to Thien Kung (Sky God, he's like the Zeus of Chinese gods), a tradition every night before Chinese new year that my mom always follows. 

The altar would face different direction every year (not too sure how they decide on it). This year, it's to the west. 

Naturally, we pray for health and prosperity, and to ward off bad luck. The offerings are usually tea, chinese wine, fresh fruits (pineapple, jeruk bali, srikaya), kue keranjang (sticky cake made from glutinous rice flour and palm sugar), kue mangkok (steamed cake made from rice flour), and sweets, with "money" on the side to be burned later.

"You pray?" People asked. But to me, this is a tradition more than a belief. A tradition that would probably be diminished when my mom's gone. So I follow it whenever I can, because I will miss this colorful ritual when it's gone--just as much as I would miss my mom.

Gong xi fa chai, everyone. May the new year brings forth an abundance of luck, joy, and love.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Latte Wisdom #2

When you were 17 and you listened to a cheesy love song, you'd sigh and think, "Oh, how sweet! I want a love like that." Fast forward to 30 and you'd probably think, "What the eff is this guy rambling about?"

If I ever got married, my wedding song would be Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013: A Late Hello

I'm not am avid believer of "Starting Fresh on New Year" or "The New Year Brings Forth a New Chapter" or all those other familiar jargons you often see or hear come new year's eve. Life goes on anyway, whether you want to move forward or not, and everyday is a new day. You can start fresh anytime, so why wait 'til January 1st?

Positivity is also not written on my book nowadays. I'm as skeptical and cynical as a grumpy old lady who always complained about her neighbour. I always say that I'm a realistic person, but who are we kidding here? I am a dreamer just like many people out there. And if a dream of a perfect life (or love) is ridiculously impossible, then let's just dream of exploring and discovering. It is easier and more viable.

"The #resolution is to travel more. Years may change, but this never changed."

That was one of the things I wrote on my Path, shortly after we entered the new year. This may not be a real resolution, this could be just a wish that I've harboured all my life, ever since I learnt about the power of dreaming, the rush of exploring, and the satisfaction of discovering.  

So, in 2013, let's go places. Alone or with company, it doesn't matter--I will go places.