Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meet the Author

I must have ran into Luck today, for I met a really friendly, funny author, Graham McEune at a book reading in Popular (a bookstore I rarely patronise :P) At the reading, he shared with us some amusing anecdotes and vignettes, which tickled every funny bone in me, from his latest book, Upcountry - Adventures and Misadventures in Malaysia. My favourite was his visit to a local sinseh in Ipoh. That got me laughing into stitches! LOL!

The reading ended with an autograph session with his new fans and a photograph session with yours truly! Oh! and,...I'll be reviewing his book soon! :) In the meantime, I'm trying to arrange an online q&a session with him :) Till then, stay hooked! :)

To those who'd like to know him a little better, visit his website at http://grahammceune.com

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Afternoon @ PJ Shelter Home

The book donation went well! Hurray! My parents, my hubby and I were there at about 12.30pm. There were 15 children altogether, and they were a jolly bunch! Most of them were really friendly, jovial and pretty hyper :) Only one or two of the boys who were quiet and reserved. The boys played "sticks" while the rest were busy talking and playing.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the caretaker, Visa (If I heard/remembered her correctly), who briefed us a little on the kids. Generally, the kids there have been abused, neglected and raped. Yes, raped, even as young as 4 years old. Visitors are advised not to ask them any personal questions. Anyway, when Visa rang a bell, a bunch of them came downstairs quite immediately and greeted us with "Hello Aunty/Uncle/Brother/Sister." Some shook our hands and greeted us Merry Christmas!


My hubby with my fav Burmese gal (on the left) :)

We managed to chat with a few of them while we were there. There were two of them who loved my hubby's camera. So they busied themselves with it and snapped a few "blurry" pictures haha One of the girls was really cute. She was the youngest there. A Burmese. A fair child, short hair and very mischievous :) But I kinda liked her hehe

All of these kids will go to Shelter 2 (females) and Shelter 3 (males) after turning 12. When they turn 18, they will have to live on their own. Some of the luckier ones, will be taken back by their parent(s).

I am glad this trip is successful. Now, I'm just hoping that they'll like the books. Should have asked for a number to check on them once in awhile, or maybe, I'd just pay them another visit?
hehe


the books donated

Special thanks to my parents, 8th uncle & family, Pansing and Andrea :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thanks To All Who Donated!

Special thanks to my parents, my 8th uncle & family, my aunt Fenny, Pansing, and Andrea for donating your books. All of them are in good condition and are great page turners. Some of them are classics! I really hope the children will enjoy reading them :)

See the "presents" in the picture? In it, are books wrapped by yours truly. I used old wrapping papers, newspapers and ribbons. Like I've said before, I want to play my part in saving the environment. So I didn't purchase any new wrapping papers or ribbons. Anyway, what matters is what's inside :P (I was very tempted to keep some of the books for myself HAHAHAHA :P)

My dad found a Home in PJ, called PJ Shelter Home. And all of us; me, my husband and my parents will be heading there tomorrow! I'm excited! :)

Till then, have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Cut Above Celebrates Its 30th!

I've never met someone as down to earth as Winnie Loo. The first time we ever "conversed" was via email, and since then we kept in touch quite regularly. And although we have met only twice, she remembers my name. She even remembers the name of my blog! I mean, for a person of her status, whom had had met so many other people, to remember my name and my blog, is truly an honour to me!

I feel very privileged to have known her. She's definitely the epitome of class and substance. Winnie also serves as a great reminder to all of us, that no matter who or where you are, you can succeed if you believe in yourself. If you have passion, stick to it, fight for it, and let your love for it drive you ahead. When you steer it to the right direction, it'll bring you even further in life. You and I know, Winnie's career had a very humble beginning. Her salon was 428 sq ft then, and now there is a total of 5 other major outlets in the country! And she helped Malaysia gain a stronger foothold in the world map with her numerous international awards.

Despite all her success and achievements, Winnie remains humble and down-to-earth. In fact, she is also one of the most modest celebrity I've ever met. (Oh believe me, there are quite a number of those whom I've met who have their nose high up in the air.) And this opinion didn't just come from me. My husband, who had the chance to meet up with Winnie at her A Cut Above's 30th Anniversary, shared the same sentiment too.

Yes, A Cut Above is 30 next year :) Oh and the party was a blast! Her hair show was superb. Should check out her Iconic Collection. I have 2 of my favourites in there hehe According to her, bob would still be a hit next year...you know those ala Victoria Beckham's etc type? Dang, can't wait to chop off my locks now! It's getting longggggg haha Maybe I should pay A Cut Above a second visit hehe

Anyway, congratulations to you, Winnie, and to A Cut Above. I'm sure greater success awaits you and your team next year and in years to come :)

My Christmas Gift :)

I was super elated when I opened my Christmas gift from my dearest husband, coz I never expected any from him. (And I felt so lousy for not getting him anything :( ) Not this year, especially after we have spent so much on our wedding. But, my husband, whom always believed in making his wife happy, never bothered all that, and bought me a little something for Christmas. And it's something I've always wanted.... :)

I fell in love with its scent the first time I caught it at a departmental store (Issey Miyake's original) and had been telling almost everyone about it haha I had never purchased it coz I already had so many other bottles of perfumes and I thought this particular one was slightly "overpriced" :P (I did buy the summer fragrance tho. Coz it was slightly cheaper haha but the scent wasn't as good as the original's)

And because he knew how much I wanted it, he bought it for me for Christmas :D Thank you so much deeeear! I love you! *mmmuax* Merry Christmas everyone!

Touched by Him....

I cried after reading this...Thanks pa for sharing it with us...

In Phoenix, Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up & fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dream to come true.

She took her son' s hand and asked, 'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?'

‘Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona , where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix. She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy -- one-with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast.'

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station.

He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van, and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition. The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes…Will you please do me a favour? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire?'

'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?'

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window--------16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room.

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, 'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been singing…'

He closed his eyes one last time.

This story is powerful and there is nothing attached. Uplifting stories are one of the best gifts we receive. And it also reminds us how God is ever present in our lives, especially when we most need Him. Many other lives have been touched by Him, including mine :) And I'm glad that He has chosen me as one of his children!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Inkheart's Spell

I don't really read fantasy, I only watch them. Don't ask me why :P Anyway, I gave Inkheart a try only because a friend of mine told me it'll be out in the movies next year. (I have this weird thing about reading the book first before the movie. If I happened to watch the movie before the book, I'd end up not reading the book. Ever. Even if the movie was good. Like Harry Potter and LOTR :P Again, don't ask me why.)

Anyway, this book is simply about a little girl, named Meggie, who had a dad, Mortimer, a bookbinder, who could read characters out of a book, when he read aloud. (Read: make the characters come to live, literally.) He happened to have read Inkheart to his wife one night, and all the malevolent, evil characters came out of it and into our world; while his wife, entered the Inkworld. After successfully chasing the villians away, he tried reading his wife back into our world, but with no success. After 9 years running away from Capricorn (the most feared character in Inkheart), Mortimer was finally found. Thus, the adventure begins.

The story unfolds with many unexpected twists, every time luring you deeper into the story. Each character was so well developed that you begin to imagine them coming to live in your own world.

There are other quite interesting characters in this book besides Meggie and Mortimer. My favourites are, Meggie's aunt, Elinor, and the fire-eater, Dustfinger. They both have quite a sarcastic sense of humour. Dark, dry, and funny. And both of them were never fond of each other...until maybe later :)

This book is specially dedicated to all book lovers like me :) Coz besides narrating the adventure, almost every other detail in there, relates to being a book lover - it talks about how valuable a book is to a reader because in it, it holds a whole new world, waiting to come alive in our minds. And how much one goes to great extent to care for a book - proper binding, no dog ears, no folded pages, no "bitten" off edges, no lines drawn, no scribbles, carefully kept in racks, and how much each book means to people like us. (Which is why I could relate to Elinor! haha She had a house of books!!!)

I intended to write a few of my favourite paragraphs in here. But due to the fact that I flipped the pages too quickly I wasn't able to write them down, and the fact that I NEVER SCRIBBLED ANY OF MY BOOKS, I now have nothing to "quote" from :( But nevermind...let me end with my favourite "opening" paragraphs from one of the chapters...

'"What do these children do without story books?" Naftali asked.

And Reb Zebulun replied: "They have to make do. Storybooks aren't bread. You can live without them."

"I couldn't live without them," Naftali said.' (page 18)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Published again :)

Have a green celebration!
By Veronica Khoo (my new byline haha :P)

THE season of giving and sharing is here, so why not do our part and give back to the environment by reusing and recycling? I’m sure you are aware that our Mother Earth is suffering. So let us stop torturing her and do our part to prevent further harm.

Before I reveal what I’m doing this Christmas, let me forewarn my friends and family members that I’m not trying to be a cheapskate here. Please, look at the bigger picture. All I’m trying to do is to contribute my share to help our home – the world.

So here goes, the four simple ways, which you could do too, to preserve our environment:
1. Donate books: I’ve organised a little book donation this Christmas and have successfully donated boxes full of great reads to an orphanage. It’s a win-win situation here. First, the books donated have been saved from being thrown away. Second, no new books need to be bought. Save paper, save energy, save the environment! Third, the children get to read new stories!

2. Reuse wrapping paper: To those who are receiving presents from me, I’m unashamed to admit that your presents will be wrapped using my previous Christmas gifts’ wrapping paper which is still in good, beautiful condition! (If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I open my presents very gently and carefully.) Don’t worry if the paper’s a little creased, because once you’re done wrapping, it’s hardly noticeable. Anyway, if your friends or family members care about the environment, they will understand.

3. Reuse presents: Yes, I’m guilty as charged. I give away gifts that I don’t use. Don’t get me wrong. I give away useful, practical gifts. Just that, I happen not to use them. For example: new bottles of perfumes and cosmetic creams (I have one too many of those) as well as books (I don’t really dig chick lit and romance).

And just so you know, they are all new and branded. Come on, don’t stock up all your unused things in your storeroom pleeeease. And don’t keep telling yourself you’ll be using them one day, because most probably, you won’t. But if for certain reasons, you have to buy new presents, try getting them from an eco-friendly store!

4. Use only one plastic bag: Yeah... I’m still trying to remind myself to take my recycled shopping bag with me whenever I go out. But if I happen to forget, I make sure I remember to use only one plastic bag. And I’m happy some others are practising it too. Just the other day when I was at a cashier, a lady in her early 40s in front of me rejected a plastic bag and told the cashier she already had one. She then took her newly bought things and placed them all into a big plastic bag that already had some other purchases. She did it with such pizzazz that she made the act of recycling superbly stylish. Kudos to you, lady!

For the link http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2008/12/21/lifefocus/2795145&sec=lifefocus

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again!

Did I mention that my hubby got us free tickets to Mamma Mia musical from The Star? :) We were there for the matinee show today...hehe So...was it good??? Well,...this is my verdict. It was...so-so. It wasn't really spectacular. But maybe it's because we were seated quite far away, and wasn't able to 'catch' the mood or the vibes from the stage. Because towards the end of the show, everyone from tier 1 (first level) gave the performance a standing ovation. They even danced and clapped with them. I did too lah...but didn't stand or dance.

Altho the sound system was weak, the cast was good. Donna sang well (Although, I still think Meryl Streep did it better haha But my hubby's rationale was, in movies, they get to cut and edit, and THEY DON'T SING LIVE :P ya lah ya lah i know lah...I LIKE MERYLL! DON't CHA GEDIT? hehe :P) Sophie was okay...there were times I couldn't hear her voice. The 3 men did fantabulously! Ohhh ohh...let me not forget to mention the other men! haha To those of you who would like to see good looking, half naked, great bodies, talented men dance and sing live...this is worth the watch hehe

My favourite scene was the one where Tanya and her 'toy boys' danced at the beach. THAT WAS HILARIOUS! I seriously enjoyed that :)

Anyways, to those who have not seen it, if it's your first time watching a musical, I'd suggest you take the front seats :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Got Lucky!

You wouldn't believe what happened to me today. Yes, yes, I got lucky. But you don't know the story haha So it goes like this.

As you know, I've not been feeling well, and this morning, I was feeling just as shitty (NO, NOT MORNING SICKNESS!), and for the past few days, I was running out of luck at work.

Anw, today, I intended to attend my hubby's boss' dinner, so I was supposed to dress quite appropriately. But because I was feeling so darn under the weather, I just grabbed a shirt hanging on the wall nearest to my wardrobe and my usual pair of jeans and left for work. And told my hubby that I don't think I can make it to the dinner.

When I entered the office, my colleague checked with me about an event we were supposed to attend today, which I had totally forgotten. I told him I don't think I can make it, coz I wasn't feeling well. But somehow, towards the afternoon, and after lunch, I felt a little better (maybe it was due to the fact that I gulped one spoonful of organic raw honey before I left for work). So my colleague said, hey, why not just go and drop by for awhile. Moreover, maybe can get some goodie bags since the party was for some women's products. So I thought, argh, what the heck. Few minutes won't kill. And thank goodness I RSVP-ed also lah.

When we were there, we were given this huge paper bag, but wasn't filled with goodies. Disappointed! Almost wanted to go back liao haha Then they said, got games, can win prizes! I thought, aiyah, since we were there already, juz play the games lah. the games were quite fun, everyone won a little something. then they had some treasure hunt, but we didn't get to participate coz we were too 'slow' in grabbing those little furry hairbands.

So anw, the event proceeded with some gifts given away to the treasure hunters lah...most kissable lips lah...most voluptuous lips lah and one more can't remember. No, I didn't win any. I think they were given to other editors from more 'prestigious' magazines, it hardly seemed to me they were 'fairly' judged (yea me sore loser :P)

Then there was lucky draw. Since it felt like a long wait, I wanted to tell my colleague to leave early since I never had luck in lucky draws. NEVER EVER. But before I could even say it, they announced my name as THE FIRST PRIZE WINNER!!! I almost didnt believe it. (Also because they pronounced my name wrongly :P) For the very first time, I WAS FIRST! hahaha

Anyway...that's the story...THE END

P/S I made it to my hubby's boss' dinner too despite 'under-dressing' Well...since it was a 5* hotel, and I was feeling better, and won FIRST PRIZE FIRST TIME, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS! The last thing to do to end the day is to indulge in some really good food haha :P

Friday, December 12, 2008

My DUH Moment

I wasn't feeling well today so I thought I'd better visit the Doc before it worsened. (This was last week lah by the way. And it hasn't improved at all today :P) Luckily there's a clinic at my office's building. (How convenient huh) So into the clinic I went. When my name was called, I went in to see the doc, and the conversation below took place:

Doc: So how can I help you?
Me: I'm not feeling well - sore throat, cough, slight flu and fever.
Doc: Wow. Let me take your temperature.
(He took my temperature and told me it's fine)
Me: But doc, I feel feverish.
Doc: Hmm...let me take your pulse.
After which he said my pulse is beating very fast and that my body is trying to fight against the virus.

Doc: Okay, you don't need antibiotics. All you need to do is to 2000mg of Vitamin C, get more rest, drink more water. Then you should be fine.
Me: Oh okay. Is that all?
Doc: Yes.

So out of the room I walked and towards the door, thinking the doctor was a miracle doctor and that he was one of the best doctor I had ever met! I mean, NO NEED MEDICATION?!! He didn't even want to earn a sen from me! I was smiling to myself when I heard my name called as I exit the door. It was the nurse, saying I had not gotten my med.

I'm like huh? I told her, that the doc advised me to just take Vitamin Cs.

Then her face went quite blank, and told me that she had yet to issue me my medications. Then she called me back to the counter and asked me to wait awhile.

Later, she gave me medicine that came up to RM40.

(wah piang)

But I don't think I was being blur lor...the doc did say that all I needed was Vitamin Cs what!! :P

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas with Nigella!

This Christmas, Nigella shares with you some of her reliable, easy-to-follow recipes and reassuring advice about planning and cooking ahead. Nigella Christmas is everything you could wish for to make your life and your Christmas easy and enjoyable: from party canapes, cocktails and manageable mass catering to scrumptious Christmas caks and puddings; from no-fuss brunch to quick and easy homemade presents and edible tree-decorations.

There are mouthwatering recipes with a seasonal twist and sipmle menus for feeding friends and family over the extended holiday season with minimum stress and maximum enjoyment! With glorious illustrations, Nigella Christmas will surely be a perennial favourite, the book you will all reach for - for inspiration and reassurance, especially during this time of the year :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Reads!

Yes yes...I still am trying to squeeze in some of my free time to post up some reviews. These are some of my recommendations to keep your Christmas occupied (if you aren't celebrating or if you happen to be an anti-social :P)

The theme? Family dramas...spicy, juicy, full of unexpected twists and turns! Will keep you home long enough to finish the book ;P

the Supper Club by Sophie King
Once a month, Lucy and her friends take turns to have a supper party at different homes. It's a great way for them to meet up and meet new people. But as usual, nothing goes quite as planned. Lucy's sister is allergic to her blind date. Best friend Maggie turns up unexpectedly at the same time as her cheating ex and his new girlfriend. *gasp*! Chrissy loses her appetitie when an old flame arrives, and Lucy can't quite get rid of Luke's ghost, still sitting at the head of the table...And more things unravel as the story continues...It's quite a fun, and an entertaining read ;)

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
Two boys grow up in Thomaston, upstate New York. One of them gets away to become a painter in Italy, while the other stays to marry Sarah, and to run a small empire of convenience stores and to tell their story. Louise (aka Lucy), although seems reliable, secretly longs for what he can't have. Now at 60 yrs old, he and Sarah are about to travel to Venice, where Lucy's oldest friend and rival has traded past and famil for a life far removed from Thomaston. This story reveals the truth about why he left and the ties that bind these 3 friends...A deeply compelling and heartbreaking story...

Special Delivery by Zoe Barnes
Ally and her sister are as different as night and day. Ally is happily married to Luke, while Miranda is child-free, has a millionaire husband and lives in a show home that wouldn't be out of place int he pages of House & Garden. Ally gave up trying to compete with her, but she is shocked when Miranda sought her help...That is to provide her the one thing that is mising from her almost-perfect life: a baby. Ally has every sympathy for Miranda's infertility problems, but can shed really have a baby and hand it over to someone else,...someone who has an almost perfect life?

Growing Pains of a Hapless House-husband by Sam Holden
Be ready to be entertained and laugh your way through! In theory, life for Sam as a stay at home hubby is idyllic and stress free. In practice the Holden Childcare Programme has fallen out of favour. Sam's days are filled with tantrums, food fights and undisclosed amounts of telly watching, and he can't help but feel the aching tedium and financial pinch. Even the flattering advances of Jodhpur Mum aren't enough to life his spirits. But things change dramatically when his status goes national via his own hit TV show, WonderHubby.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Momma says...

Life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you'll get till you drop by Bubba Gump!

Yes! Bubba Gump at The Curve, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia has great shrimps! and food :P The place's quaintly decorated with quotes from Forrest Gump, with signs such as "Run Forrest Run!" (to indicate you don't need any help from the friendly waiters/waitresses whom looked ever ready to attend to your needs) and "Stop Forrest Stop!" (to indicate you need some help from the crew) placed on your dining table. Now, how cool and creative is that!

We ordered one of their shrimps specials (forgot the name but it was the one that was spicy). IT WAS YUMMILICIOUS! I had my chicken salad which was scrumptious and my hubby had his baramundi....all equally good :) What lacked was the variety in their menu. But I guess that's understandable since they're a specialised shrimp restaurant. Besides that, the ambience was great, service was good, staff were friendly and approacable and not to mention those witty hilarious signs! I'm gonna be back to take pictures! haha

Our verdict? Bubba just won themselves two new customers! ;)

Oh yeah, please come here in a pleasant mood or else they'll charge you $10 for having to put up with your grumpy behaviour :P (it was written on one of the signboards lol)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Date with My Hubby

It's such a wonderful day today...Finally, my husband and I could take our time and not think about anything else, but just...well...have fun and date like we used to (during our dating days that is :P) ! ;)

We went to the city...took some pictures of some Christmas deco...shopped a little...had coffee...then...THE event of the night,...dinner @ Luk Yu Teahouse in Starhill :D It was a voucher given to the media courtesy of A Journey Through Time 2 HAHA The benefits you get working for the media haha :P (k lah k lah call it bribery if you want :P)

What a great break from all the tedious wedding preps we had to do months ago!

Oh yea...I'm still in d midst of executing some plans for my book donation. I NEED HELP!! Especially in picking up the books! Any helpers....??? PLEEEEASSSEEE???

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Going Crrrraaazy!

Okay...b4 you think that I've abandoned this blog, I better write something :P Let me keep you up to date on what's happening now and why you are 'reading' lesser and lesser 'stories' and see only all these cut-and-paste events (which I think are equally important as well :P).

Like I've mentioned before, I'm organising a little book donation this Christmas and since time is against me, I've gotta quickly get as much help as possible to organise the gathering of books from various donors, collecting and sorting out the books, and choosing the appropriate homes to donate them to.

I know it sounds really easy and all...but trust me, it isn't. Especially when it comes to organising, planning and executing (something which I suck at!), and thinking and...having to juggle all these with work at the office is driving me nuts!!

So now that you know...I'm off to bed! Catch you soon...! Oh ya...btw, my wedding's over....pics can be seen in my facebook :P

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