Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Crisp White Shirt

Lately I’ve been on the lookout for even more working clothes (well, they’re really the only things I can justify buying right now, since I’m working and have very few occasions to wear what I mostly have in my closet).. and I was thinking of investing in a great quality, crisp white shirt for super-formal meetings that I might have to attend with big clients in the future.

As I’ve quite belatedly discovered, since there are quite a few restrictions when it comes to work wear, investing in the basic essentials is a must because you’d be wearing them at least twice a month – though in my case, it comes pretty close to four times a month, I rotate my 10 outfits routinely now, that’s how limited my wardrobe choices are at the moment.

Woe to me, I don’t feel like I can “click” at all with work wear. They’re either too mumsy, or boring, or plain. I guess I just need some time to find my style in this new phase of my life, before I know exactly I want and shop in an efficient and organized manner. (Yes, I have, mostly out of the lack of monies, developed into that type of shopper.)

I didn’t manage to find any white shirts that matched my requirements today, I don’t know why it’s so hard! Zara, Mango, G2000, Raoul – you all have failed me. Especially Mango. I fitted their S to L perfectly well and all of them were too large for me… sigh perhaps it’s because I have tiny shoulders :(

What do you think are the basic work essentials?

Freshness Burger

The other day I was walking around Century Square looking to find a Wendy’s but instead, I stumbled across Freshness Burger and boy am I glad I did! This is my new favourite burger place and let me tell you why!

The concept of this place reminds me of Mos Burger. It markets itself as an upmarket, gourmet burger place yet it is served to you fast food style. I like the ambience of the place. Feels like a New York cafe right out of Gossip Girl with the mahogany furniture and the cute yellow trays. But to my surprise, it is actually a Japanese franchise from Hokkaido! Price wise is comparable to Mos I feel. $6.80 for a meal that includes burger, fries and coke. Also, there is free flow of sauces at the counter as well as napkins.

Between the two of us, we had a classic cheese and a freshness burger (since that was their recommendation) and we added nuggets. Let me just say that I get it now why their brand is called FRESHNESS because the ingredients used is really fresh!

I love the big slice of tomato in my burger and they used authentic viscous american cheddar cheese as well as fresh crisp lettuce in the classic burger so thumbs up to good quality. I don’t usually have ham burgers. I usually eat beef ones but this one took me by surprise. It was simply delicious. The patty was well-marinated, moist and just all round yummy. I also like the combination of mayo and sauteed onions in my burger. It’s really a combination made in heaven. It’s a wonder how no one thought of it before. The nuggets were also quite yummy. Full of chicken flavor and I was surprised that it didn’t taste like the Macdonalds one. Seems that they have found an alternative recipe that works! Good on them!

I will definitely be frequenting this place. Same price and packaging as Mos Burger but much better in terms of portion and quality.

Aside from Century Square, Freshness Burger also has outlets at Nex Serangoon and Central Mall at Clark Qua.

 

 

Sea Blue

After seeing All Lacquered Up’s post about Chanel’s Nouvelle Vague, I fell completely in love with the idea of having a sea blue on my fingers, especially since I’ve never owned any colours even close to that before.

Lucky for me, a friend passed to me even more of her old polishes, and amongst the stack of horrifyingly neon colours (which I then passed on to my big-eyed younger cousin), I found this pretty missha polish that had a shade really quite similar to chanel’s polish!

Comparatively, Missha is really cheap compared to salon brands such as Sally Hansen and OPI, so I wasn’t suprised when the formula was streaky and difficult to apply – I ended up with air bubbles on my third finger, which i later removed and repainted. The polish is also not as opaque as I would’ve liked, but colour-wise, it’s pleasingly close enough to Chanel’s to ease my polish craving. I do love the subtle silver shimmer in the Missha polish too, which is missing from chanel’s version.

If you’re interested, this colour is Missha BL201 :)

Have a great week ahead! Chase those Monday Blues away!

Tyra Banks is friggin hilarious

After seasons of hearing the public say “mehh.. America’s Next Top Model is just the same old s***”, Tyra Banks decided to amp it up with a different take altogether. I’m only into the first 5 minutes of the show, but already I’m laughing at how funny she can get.

are YOU ready for ANTM season 16??

With so many critics taking their pick of celebrities, shows and plots to make fun of, ANTM has had its fair share of negative publicity. “the girls aren’t model material, just good pickings for reality tv”, “tyra is biased”, etc etc. So seeing Tyra’s seven minute long rant about her own show was delightfully refreshing. I couldn’t stop laughing and had to rewind (just for the heck of it) because omg that woman has some great acting chops hidden in her. Why hasn’t she acted in any movies yet! (or maybe she has and I’m just ignorant).

Tyra shuffles between role playing the three most stereotypical of girls – I LOVE how she completely went all out with her various transformations, and with such an aptly written dialogue too. the over-done sweet accessories are so spot on for that nineteen, overenthusiastic girl look. frightful really, frightfully hilarious too!

Pretentious, know-it-all, overly confident girls have always been a constant feature on the ANTM shows. Tyra rocks this look with her hoop earrings, ghetto gestures and well, loads of confidence.

last but not least, my favourite of her looks. The emo-goth one. Tyra definitely wasn’t joking in past seasons when she told the girls how it was possible to be “ugly pretty”. Seriously, she looks positively satanic in the last picture, but omg what a transformation! It just shows you what great creative & artistic direction + great make up artists + a great stylist can do when they’ve been given something pretty awesome to work on. I bet they had fun with it, and kudos to Tyra for letting it all loose in the first 7 minutes of ANTM 16.

However, whether ANTM 16 lives up to what Tyra describes to be “a new era in Top Model”, is yet to be seen. As of now, apart from that petty little prank they pulled in the beginning, I’m not seeing what’s different about the show… yet.

Nandos Chicken Restaurant

I am quite the religious radio listener and I love listening to the Muttons because they just talk a whole lot of crap and it’s just super entertaining. And of course one day they were rambling on about food and they started talking about Nandos and how they were craving for the peri peri chicken. Well, they were so persuasive that I decided to try out Nandos today! Behold!

The decor was pretty nice, I love the wooden furniture and the ‘western’ vibe. Very homely. The tree decals behind Mark tells you the different levels of spiciness you can choose from: wild herb, mild, hot and extra hot. Also, they provide you with different sauces to go with your food:

But given the fact that my tolerance level for spiciness is very low, I decided to only try the tomato and garlic sauces. To my surprise, the sauces lean towards the sour side. I didn’t expect that but then again, I’ve never had portuguese food before today.

I also ordered drinks to help put out the flames if need be. Mark had a strawberry blended delight that tasted more fruity than milky (he preferred it to be milkier) but I like the fruity taste. You could really taste the strawberry! I had a Madeira red, a mix of pomegranate, lemonade and sprite. It tasted like a berry soda with pomegranate seeds in it. It was quite good and what I love about this place is that drinks are quite affordable. Mine was about $3.95 thereabouts? Not as expensive as some other joints but that could be the case because they don’t serve water. So unless you don’t get thirsty or can take spicy food, if not you’ll probably have to get something off the drinks menu.

Ok, down to the food. We had a mushroom soup and usually, I like my mushroom soup with pureed mushrooms, not the clear soup type. So this one definitely fit the bill. An interesting addition was chicken chunks. I was quite surprised when I taste it actually and there was quite a few of them. Call me a traditionalist but I think I prefer my mushroom soup sans chicken bits. I’m a purist that way. The accompanying bread slices were yummy though. A good complement to the soup.

The big star of the day was of course the peri peri chicken. I ordered a 1/4 chicken with 2 sidelines: mediterranean rice and old style chips. The side dishes weren’t anything to rave about. The rice was mildly flavored and had peas, corn and carrot, the evil trinity of fried rice imo. So I didn’t fancy it at all. The chips was better. Thick cut, packed full of potato flavor and fried till it is golden brown and crisp.

But nothing could steal the thunder from the chicken. It was soooooo tender and moist. I can definitely see why there are long queues at Nandos now. While the sour and spicy seasoning is an acquired taste, I thought the flame grilling of the chicken was fantastic. Super juicy and the meat just comes off the bone. I was really impressed. Next time though, I would order a 1/2 chicken minus the sides cos really, the real deal is the chicken itself. Though I have to say, this chicken meal set was quite the steal at $13. 90.

Nandos has currently three outlets in Singapore. One at Bugis Junction, one at Tanglin Mall and the last one at Plaza Singapura. Do check out their website (which is super interactive and easy to use) for more details.

I Am Number Four

I just got back from watching I Am Number Four and to be honest, I was really looking forward to watch this movie!

The first reason is Dianna Agron. I absolutely love her character Quinn in Glee and now that Sam is with Santana, I was hoping to see her get together with some other dude and move on! Even if it’s in another show.

The other reason is of course, Alex Pettyfer, the new ‘It’ guy who could possibly give Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner a run for their money. He kinda reminds me of Hayden Christensen actually! Both are blonde, muscular and have beautiful chiseled features. Good looks aside, I thought this movie is similar to Christensen’s Jumper in terms of plot: boy has superpowers, has to remain incognito for fear of being caught and exterminated. Meets girl, falls in love, stays and fight baddies. Wins fight. Wait for sequel.

But despite the predictable plot, I actually thought the show was pretty entertaining! It had a little something for everyone. Action scenes for the guys (which was well- executed I thought. Good use of CGI), a romance plot for the girls (we girls are just suckers when it comes to devoted men. David the hot alien dude is told that when his kind fall in love, he will love that girl forever. *swoons* Now imma get my hands on some hot aliens!) Move aside vampires and werewolves. You’ve got yourself some competition.

Part of the hype surrounding this movie is that Agron and Pettyfer were actually dating! hoho, not sure if this was a publicity stunt but this picture says it all! (sadly, I JUST read news about their split. Oh well, seems like the alien devotion thing doesn’t apply in reality. Bummer.)

Aside from their onscreen and offscreen chemistry, and the fact that they look so pleasing to the eye, the movie succeeded in instilling fear in me despite the fact that it had a PG rating. The baddies looked sufficiently scary what with the slits along the nose, the horrible horrible teeth (they need braces and veneers) and the strange gait. It was kind of Star Trek-ish in terms of the costume and the weapons used and given that the director of this film also directed Transformers, the magic glowing rock (like the Witwiki glasses in Transformers) provided some kind of mystery and was a useful tool to link us up to the follow up scene. I LOVE the beagle dog. I initially thought that it was some sinister tracking animal that was out to do him harm but alas! the trope of the devoted, loyal companion who is man’s best friend still applies (if only more films out there could break the stereotype of the evil cat. Cats are sweet and affectionate okay. They aren’t evil. Unless of course they are scratching up your furniture.)

In terms of teen movies, I thought this was way better than Twilight. There is way more action (the fight scene on the school grounds was pretty cool. Kinda like the final X-Men showdown scene), less brooding emo-ness and most importantly, I feel compelled and intrigued enough to watch the sequel. All in all, a great saturday night movie (Rotten Tomatoes seems to agree because the audience gave it 70+ percent!)

Food Review: The Ship

When Nex Mall just opened, Caroline and a friend came over to visit and see for themselves what all the hoo-hah was about. As we walked past The Ship, the two girls broke into stories of nostalgia of the days when their parents would bring them to this restaurant in Scotts Road. They urged me to try it and last weekend, the bf and I finally did so :)

Stepping into the restaurant, we were greeted by nautical-themed decorations, and I’ll fully admit that the nail fanatic in me thinking of how perfect it would be to wear China Glaze’s Anchors Away collection into this restaurant, or do one inspired by this decor! haha.

For a Western-styled restaurant, the portions aren’t as huge as say Billy Bombers (gave in the past – now they’ve become stingy and miserly.). However, the prices for their set lunch is simply delightful. My sirloin steak with anchovy butter was $16.90, whilst the boyfriend’s fried chicken with thai chilli sauce was about $11-12.90, I can’t exactly remember which. The staff were extremely friendly and accomodating – even though their soup of the day was Cream of Mushroom, which my bf is allergic to, they suggested a change to french onion soup instead, instead of depriving us of a chance to enjoy their set lunch :)

Our French Onion soup was lovely – the taste wasn’t too saturated, it wasn’t overly salty as some places tend to make it… I guess my only complaint would be that the bread served alongside it tasted like stale airplane bread. Had they lightly warmed the bread prior to serving, it would’ve been tons better!

I absolutely LOVED my sirloin steak, it was tender, juicy and the anchovy butter (still cold) complimented my steak to perfection. My bf’s fried chicken tasted really yummy as well, and we enjoyed the potato salad that was served with it.

The set was supposed to be served with a blueberry cheesecake for dessert as well, but since they ran out of it on that day, we had something else, which I can’t remember and forgot to take a picture of. We also had a choice of either coffee or tea.

All in all, it was really an enjoyable experience, and I’m torn between The Ship and Tao’s to bring my family to when I get my first paycheck :D It’s coming by the end of this month and I cannot wait to lay my hands on it! haha.

Disgrace

I’ve said before that it’s very hard for me to read for pleasure when I am actually reading a text for work purposes. I’ve come to realise that the reading experience is so different. When I’m reading a text for the purposes of teaching, I find myself really paying attention to the literary style and taking pains to absorb each detail before I flip a page. In a way, this slow careful reading process has allowed me to truly enjoy the book and I’ve been able to unveil many layers of meaning that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I were just to skim through it during my leisure time.

Coetzee is South Africa’s literary gem having won 2 Man Booker Prizes and honestly, I really enjoyed this novel immensely. Disgrace is basically about a literature professor David Lurie who falls into disgrace because of inappropriate sexual relations with his student. He then seeks refuge at his daughter, Lucy’s farm where a horrible incident occurs that forces them to reexamine their life and their priorities. Through that terrible ordeal, he learns to put down his lofty idealistic ambitions and finally discovers what humanity really is.

I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful this novel is. The use of biblical allusions, the animal imagery, the Wordsworthian and Byronic intertextual references, the levels of meaning associated with the rape and how this has historical bearings… it’s just such a rich text and so much meaning can be mined from it. Sure, Lurie comes across as a detestable figure. I can’t say that I like him very much and I initially found Lucy just as distasteful. But you know, the beauty of the novel is that through the course of some 200 pages, your opinions change. You begin to understand why the characters behave the way they do and you begin to empathize with them.

Being the hopeful optimist that I am, I try to view the ending as a positive one but yet there remains a feeling of melancholy and helplessness that leaves me hollow. It’s definitely a wonderful read for anyone who loves reading about a foreign land. Disgrace has certainly intrigued me enough to read up on South African history, the reasons why the apartheid came about and why Nelson Mendela was even persecuted.

It was really quite an enriching experience for me. I honestly can’t wait to watch the 2008 film starring John Malkovich. Keep you all posted once I do!

Style Inspiration: Houndstooth

It’s a classic fabric pattern that has resurfaced time and time again in the fashion industry, but somehow I never really found any love in my heart for it. It’s quite difficult to love, no? The complete opposite of what I normally go for – pretty florals and bright, happy colours.

That is, until these pictures off the Kate Spade website inspired me and now I just can’t wait to get my hands on something with that pattern. Preferably, a nice structured pencil skirt, because it looks so damn good on that model.

I have to say though, that the size and extent of enlargement does make a great difference to the clothing. Just take a look at this random pick of houndstooth-patterned items I picked out. A smaller houndstooth print leads to a more textured, woolen look whereas a larger houndstooth print is more “artsy” and visually eye catching. I very much prefer the latter :)

Having settled on what type of houndstooth print I preferred, lookbook.nu was my go-to for a reference on how ordinary people like me might style it and wear it. Sometimes, photoshoots can be very convincing AND mislead my shopping impulses lol. To my immense happiness, I really loved how others styled their houndstooth patterned items, and I can’t wait to try it out soon myself, once I find a suitably well fitted piece.

What’s your latest style inspiration?

Footglide Skin Protectant Review

I bought two pairs of Mitju shoes rather recently and along with my buys, I also got Footglide from Watsons. Footglide is actually a kind of balm that comes in this glue-stick packaging that prevents your foot from getting blisters. So all you need to do is to twist the tube and rub the waxy, blamy mixture in circular motions around your ankles and any possible areas that may blister. Remember, you have to do this BEFORE blisters form. It is a preventive measure, not a cure.

Previously, I used to buy those foot cushions (you know those jelly things?) and attach them to the back of the shoe because I usually get blisters forming at the heels but I realised that it wasn’t very cost effective to buy those for every shoe. Footglide is a more economical solution to blistering. While this little baby costs a hefty $17+ at Watsons, I realised that in terms of length of use, it actually can last quite long! And that’s because you only need to swipe bits of the balm at one time and even upon generous application (think whole foot application), there’s actually quite alot of product left for use! I reckon a tube like this can last for 3 months or more even after daily application.

I have to say, I love the result. I wouldn’t say I have no blisters whatsoever. I still get them now and then, just way less (depends on material of your shoe and the lining of it). But what I like about it? No weird residue left on your shoes. It doesn’t cause foot odour either. The formula is sufficiently waxy to prevent abrasion yet it is not so lubricated that it keeps your foot from slipping out of the shoe.

So all in all, a great product. But once again, the results may vary depending on the material of your shoe lining. I had no problems with felt, canvas and lined ballet flats. I still get slight redness with unlined, raw edged shoes though (you know those where the stitching rubs against your foot?) For more tips on keeping your feet happy and healthy, check out Ruth’s post here.

 

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