Friday, December 20, 2013

Reflection on 2013

Yeah, I know it's been a while! I was too busy living life. ;)

So, it's the time of the year and I'm doing my annual reflection on what 2013 has delivered for me.

  • I got married this year which I did not finish blogging about it.

  • And then I got pregnant. So easily. Just one try. I'm not complaining. It was just unexpected. :D

  • As compared to last year's gila traveling, I only went to Da Nang this year. Oh and not forgetting the pre-honeymoon sorta! trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley.

  • Attended Steph and Denny's wedding in Jakarta which sort of like a reunion with my Beijing crew. It was a short trip but I had a good time meeting them again and catching up.

  • Work wise, I got posted to a client company since February and met a few new people.

  • I started investing.

  • Moved to a new place.

  • I became a mother. I gave birth to my baby girl, Adele Chew Zhi Xuan, which I will blog about it later.

  • Fell in love with my baby girl.


  • Read my reflection on 2012 here.

    Sunday, September 29, 2013

    Jakarta Culinary Trip and Denny & Steph's Wedding

    In August, Ryan and I went to Jakarta for Denny and Steph's wedding. It was exciting for me because it was also the Beijing crew reunion. Martono was a great host to all of us during our stay there in Jakarta. He gave us his driver and his car to travel around while he's busy at work.

    Ryan and I arrived a day earlier than the rest. Well, the initial plan was to go for golf with Martono but the plan was cancelled after I got pregnant. Since the air ticket was bought much earlier, we just went a day earlier anyway.

    As there's really nothing much to do in Jakarta, I made this a culinary trip instead. So fortunate that I have Martono, a local, to take us around Jakarta to eat (when he's not working).

    Martono's driver taking us from the airport to a restaurant where Martono will meet us for lunch

    Our first meal at R.M. Baji Pamai somehwere in Teluk Kelapa Gading

    We stayed at Hotel Pullman Thamrin. The room was small for the price that we paid but tastefully furnished.

    Marina from Japan, arrived very early in the morning the next day.

    I met up with her at our hotel lobby and we walked to Plaza Indonesia which is just right opposite of the hotel for breakfast.

    Marina and I

    Hamburg and rice omelette at Ten Ten

    We shopped a bit at the supermarket in Plaza Indonesia. Marina bought some Indomie, coffee beans, etc.

    Around noon, Martono picked us up for lunch at Sate Khas Senayan in Kebon Sirih. Oooh, the food was good.

    The food we ordered at Sate Khas Senayan in Kebon Sirih
    Sup Buntut, Mixed Satay and Durian Cendol

    Martono likes to tease me like how Malaysia is always stealing Indonesia's food. So I teased him that this Satay is Malaysian food so is the Cendol and the Sup Buntut. Marina then pointed at the satay and told us that it's Japanese and it's called yakitori. Martono was like, "Fine...say whatever you guys want." LOL!

    With Marina and Martono

    For dinner, we went to Pondok Laguna in Batu Ceper. It's a famous restaurant in Jakarta with the locals. Robert arrived in the evening and the driver drove him there to meet us for dinner.

    The food we ordered at Pondok Laguna

    After dinner, we all went to Mandarin Oriental Hotel (where Robert was staying) to meet up with Denny and Stephanie for a quick drink. Mike arrived later in the evening and the driver drove him there to meet us. Now, we're complete. :D

    The Beijing crew reunion in Jakarta - It's amazing how we all flew in from different parts of the world and we all talked and joked as if we've never been apart

    Martono then took us to Skye Bar. Located in the heart of the city, on the 56th floor rooftop of BCA Tower - Grand Indonesia, Thamrin.

    Us at Skye Bar with the view of Jakarta behind us

    The next morning, Martono took us out for breakfast at Pinangsari.

    Breakfast at Pinangsari

    We went to Denny and Steph's traditional wedding blessing ceremony in the afternoon. This wedding event was of Aceh and Batak ethnic groups as Denny is half Acehnese and half Bataknese.

    Denny and Steph

    The dinner reception was a standing party. Apparently, I was told that standing party wedding dinner reception is a norm in Jakarta where the guests are all free to roam and mingle around.

    Marina in her Kimono and I all dolled up for the dinner reception

    My darling husband and I


    The party


    Marina and the flower she got from the bouquet tossing session


    Me, Mike and Marina

    All of us - Last kopek before we say our goodbyes again :(

    It was a memorable trip that I treasured so much. Our next reunion will probably be in Japan if Marina is inviting us to her wedding. I'm looking forward to it already. Lol!

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Starting to Invest

    So, now that the baby is coming along and I have been thinking a lot about money. I started to learn the ropes of investing a few months ago and started planning for my child's education fund.

    Sigh.

    "If only I started early..."

    This thought is always in my mind. It's like this quote from Warren Buffett, "Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago". Lol! Yes, I kind of regret that I didn't save much before. I've spent most chunk of my savings to travel and splurge on nice things. I'm going to stay grounded for a while now and be more frugal on my spending until I build a solid foundation for my future financials to make up for lost time. In one word, I'm planting that tree now so that I can sit in the shade tomorrow. Haha!

    I actually love the fact that both my husband and I produce income and not relying on only one sole bread-winner. Therefore, there will be no single source income problem in this household. At least if something bad happen to anyone of us (touch wood!), the other one can still contribute to the household income.

    So I started investing in the stock market since July. So far, I'm quite comfortable with the stocks I'm holding at the moment and at least I think I have a healthy portfolio. Below is the comparison between my portfolio against Bursa Composite and Fixed Deposit assuming my capital is put into bank's FD at average of 3.5% per annum (the current position as at 25 September 2013).

    KLCI is up 0.72% now from my first investment date.
    If I were to put my capital into the bank's FD, my earnings is only up 0.59% today.
    My current portfolio is up 8.43%.
    Therefore, the average earnings p.a (up to the date) is 37.52%.

    This is so much better than keeping my money in FD.

    Saturday, September 07, 2013

    Journey to Motherhood

    I am 26 weeks pregnant now. The journey has been great so far.

    When I tell people that I am going to move to a new house (which is still under renovation), I get questions and statements like:

    "Aren't pregnant woman not supposed to move to a new house?"
    "Pregnant woman should not enter an empty house"
    "You shouldn't do renovation when you're pregnant"


    I know that there're a lot of Chinese superstitious beliefs during pregnancy but I'm not a superstitious person. I think that those beliefs must have been created back in the olden days by someone with a motive. For example, maybe the pregnant woman is lazy, so she cooked up some story to say it's bad luck to help out in the house renovation. Or maybe there were some family politics like some monster-in-law who tried to keep her daughter-in-law away from meddling in her son's matter. I know it sounds like some Chinese soap opera but hey, anything could happen right?! Oh, don't let me start on the other superstitions I heard especially those food to avoid. Lol.

    Talking about renovation, I'm really excited to move in to this new house. It's been progressing well lately and we all aim to move in before I'm due. There are still some stuff that we need for the house like made-to-measure curtains, cabinets, etc. So, I'm currently looking at some good bargain for some stuffs that we still need. If you know any, let me know. Sponsors are welcome too! :D

    Okay. I digressed a little. Back to the pregnancy. It's thrilling to be going through something that I have not experienced before. I am just going with the flow. I do read here and there and I listen here and there. You know, when you're pregnant, there will be a flock of people around you giving you advises without you even asking for it. Then there are those type of people who thinks that they know-it-all which is kinda irritating.

    The sad part of the pregnancy is that I do get lonely sometimes. That's because I can't hangout like before and I'm growing distant from my friends. That's normal I guess. I think every pregnant woman goes through the same thing. Good thing is that I only feel this way like 2% throughout of this pregnancy so far. Some had it worst and that got them into depression.

    I can't wait to have my baby. Oh no, wait. I'm not ready for her yet. I still have a list of shopping to be done for her arrival. Gosh. I don't really like shopping now. Can someone shop for me, please? Haha!

    Sunday, August 04, 2013

    Da Nang, Vietnam

    When AirAsia announced that they are stopping flights to Da Nang, Vietnam, from June onwards, I decided to round up my closest friends to go for a short 3 days 2 nights trip to Da Nang.

    I made the right decision to stay at a really nice 2-bedroom pool villa because there is really nothing to do or see in Da Nang alone honestly. It was very quiet. All we did was eat, chill, gamble in the casino and sleep.

    We stayed at The Ocean Villas and it cost us MYR1,651.12 for 2 nights for 4 person. It's really cheap. As for transportation from the hotel to other places nearby, taxi is the only mode of transport. The hotel is a 20 minutes drive from the airport and it cost us VND 350K (approx. MYR55).

    Our villa surroundings
    Sun, sand, green grass, beach, sea breeze

    Our late lunch at the villa's restaurant

    Chilling at our own pool
    I must say that the night sky was really beautiful. So starry and I actually saw a shooting star!



    Club 99 is located at Furama Resort Danang. It is a small casino. They provide free transportation from the hotel to the casino. No, I didn't win money that night. No luck! :(

    We walked out to a restaurant for late dinner nearby Furama Resort Danang. Food was good and it wasn't expensive at all! I remember there's an English name for that restaurant but I just can't recall the name right now. All I got is their receipt and it says Restaurant Dong Duong 2. I'm pretty sure that is not the name on their signboard.

    Dinner at "Restaurant Dong Duong 2"

    Our dinner - VND651K (Approx. MYR99)

    The next day we went to Hoi An Ancient Town. Hoi An Ancient Town is listed as one of the UNESCO world heritage site. Its architecture is of traditional Vietnamese design, with Chinese and Japanese influences. The town actually look and feel like Malacca. :D

    Around Hoi An Ancient Town

    Japanes Bridge
    The Japanese Bridge is Hoi An’s signature landmark used widely as an emblem of the town. It was built by Japanese merchants in the 16the century.

    Around Hoi An Ancient Town

    We also went to My Khe Beach for seafood. My Khe Beach (aka China Beach) is a tourist spot in Da Nang. We didn't see much tourist when we were there though.

    We went to this famous seafood restaurant called Thanh Hien.



    Seafood lunch - VND865K (Approx. MYR132 with fried rice)

    My Khe Beach (aka Danang Beach)

    On our last night, the three of them finished the vodka they bought from the airport and everyone was being silly.

    The pregnant woman took this picture of the three drunkards being silly :D

    This trip only cost us MYR1500-ish per person. I think it's alright for a weekend getaway.

    Monday, May 06, 2013

    Our Wedding (Part 1)

    We registered on the 9th of March, 2013.
    The wedding ceremony and dinner reception was on the 16th of March, 2013. Oh what a tiring day but good memories!

    This is the slideshow of the morning event that took place on the 16th March. I think Jon Low did a great job. We're still waiting for the rest of the pictures so there will be a part 2.



    I wanted to post some videos of the wedding reception that my uncle from Canada recorded but my old and lousy notebook kept on shutting down due to over-heating each time I wanted to process it. I gave up. Lol.

    People I want to thank:
    1. Mummy and Daddy - For everything and I love you!
    2. My in-laws, Mama and Papa - For everything and I love you too!
    3. Brother, Colin - For the night event coordination and you did a great job emceeing for the night
    4. Sister-in-law, May - For helping me to coordinate the night event 
    5. My beloved new sisters, Steffi and Eve - For everything, for helping Ryan and for coordinating the night event. You guys are awesome!
    6. Maid of honor who is also my BFF, Jess Tan - For everything!
    7. Bridesmaids, Daphne, Lena, Seowei and Pu Foong - You guys are really awesome!
    8. Groomsmen, Kenneth, Alvin, Meow, Teh, Nicholas and Siang - Also awesome!
    9. Cousin Edmund - For being the Chinese emcee for the night
    10. To all the guests who attended the wedding - You made our day!


    Friday, April 26, 2013

    GlitterStraps.com

    I've just been given a 1 week sick leave as the doctor advised me that I should not be moving around and that I should get a lot of bed rest. Oh my! It's only 2 hours now and I already feel like a prisoner. Imagine I have 1 week. Oh well, I'll just see what I can do. Since I have a lot of time to kill, imma gonna blog a bit for now.

    Most of you know that I had my wedding last month. The dress I got for the dinner reception was a strapless white dress. The problem I had with the dress was that it kept dropping. My thoughts that time were if only the dress came with straps instead of strapless but the dress did have the fastening loop for bra straps. I probably had to buy my own strap.

    I didn't want a plain ugly bra strap. So, I was thinking if I had those jeweled bra straps especially with Swarovski crystal, that would be perfect. I searched high and low around town but to no avail. There are a few websites from the UK and US selling them so I ended up buying one from this US website for USD35 + USD24.25 for express shipping. *faint*

    GlitterStraps.com
    This is the bra strap I'm talking about!

    To those of you looking for the same thing and having a hard time looking for it locally, look no further because we have GlitterStraps.com now.

    GlitterStraps.com offers a stunning collection of adjustable detachable jeweled bra straps in Malaysia. Please be informed that it is not encrusted with Swarovski crystal. It is encrusted with clear crystal rhinestone but it is just as bling.

    The website is undergoing some maintenance but you can still shop from their facebook store cart. If you're browsing from your mobile phone, you won't be able to access the facebook store cart. It is only available on a normal web browser. 

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    San Francisco and Napa Valley

    I've been really busy and that explain why I haven't been blogging much. I've been busy with my career, my family, my health, the wedding and now the new house.

    Anyway, some updates on my trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley in January this year. We took Singapore Airlines (SIA). I always like SIA. It's expensive of course. I could have chosen Eva Air which is like RM1K cheaper for 2 person and with only one stop but the schedule wasn't right for me. So, SIA it is! =D

    For the first 3 nights in San Francisco, we stayed at The Herbert Hotel which is right in the middle between Union Square and Westfield mall. Great location and not too pricey. I like!

    Macy's in Union Square

    The view of Union Square from Cheesecake Factory in Macy's

    Cheesecake Factory
    This is a must-eat in San Francisco


    Original Cheesecake
    Very very yummy and filling


    More Cheesecakes

    6
    Around the city

    Pier 39
    Festival marketplace near Fisherman's Wharf offers shopping and dining guides, departures for Alcatraz tours, and the sea lions


    We went to the Aquarium of the Bay and I think it's a total rip off. Nothing special. =P

    Pictures from Aquarium of the Bay



    Around Pier 39

    Picture of us Alcatraz behind us

    Another picture of us

    We were sort of forced to pay USD2 for these pictures of the two of us. Well, there was this woman sitting at the bench and she saw us coming and she came to us saying, "Hello, would you like me to take some pictures for the two of you?" So, we let her and she snapped away. After that, she said, "Guys, can you spare me 2 dollars for coffee?". LOL!

    See how he bombed my photo

    We walked towards Fisherman's Wharf which is a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. You must have seafood there. You can either buy from the stalls by the street or you can dine in one of the many seafood restaurants there. We tried both. We had clam chowder from the street and other seafood from a restaurant.

    Fisherman's Wharf

    Street stall selling cold shrimps, prawns, lobster

    More seafood - so yummy

    Oooh lobsters

    Mmmm oysters

    I'm all ready to eat that Dungeness Crab

    After dinner, we walked 1.7 miles down south from Fisherman's Wharf back to our hotel in Union Square cutting through Chinatown using my Google Map on my iPhone to guide us. Long walk, tiring, but it was gooooooood.

    One of the many shops in Chinatown and Chinese street performer with their erhu

    Chinatown Entrance

    Tram

    Golden Gate Bridge

    Alcatraz - Close up from our Bay Cruise

    Sea lion

    Painted Ladies - These Victorian row houses are in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood

    We rented a car with GPS for our road trip to Napa Valley.

    Our car for 2.5 days

    On the road crossing the bridge to the Northern part of California

    After and hour or so, here we are at the Silverado Resort and Spa. I love our 1 bedroom fireplace suite! So warm and cozy. On our first day there, the weather was lousy. I was supposed to head out to the outlets for some shopping but I decided to stay indoor and relax while Ryan attend his conference.

    Our suite at Silverado Resort and Spa

    I love the fireplace

    Late night shopping at Walmart - I always love to go to angmoh's supermarket

    The next day, I drove to Vacaville Premium Outlet which is an hour from the hotel to do some shopping while Ryan went to his conference. I enjoyed the journey very much, driving all alone, in a foreign country, left hand drive, etc. Well, yeah, I drove into the wrong lane once in Vacaville and that's because the road was empty. No other cars to guide me until I see a car coming in the opposite direction in my lane. Lol!

    Vacaville Premium Outlet

    On the last day before we head back to San Francisco, we drove an hour plus again to this new outlet called Paragon Outlet in Livermore. It wasn't listed in the GPS because it was so new. Thanks to my Google Map on my iPhone which brought us there. It was Ryan's shopping time as he did not get to shop with me in Vacaville. I like this outlet very much as compared to Vacaville.

    Paragon Outlet @ Livermore

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