Not tasty pasta at Delifrance

Aunty Rinaz snaps a picture of toddler who will grow up to be a ladies man.

Geri had a fieldwork at Boon Lay last week. Since she was in the vicinity, decided to ask me out for dinner.

We went to have dinner at the new Delifrance Bistro at Jurong point as she wanted to have pasta, and I’d like to try something new. The décor looked pretty nice, a cosy cafe with nicer furniture and lightings. We sat down somewhere in the middle and were handed the menu.

Me: I’m hungry!
Geri: So am I!
Me: Gosh! (looking at the pictures) I could try this
Geri: I wanna have the cream based pasta.

I decided to choose an unpronounceable pasta, made of Fettuccine in tomato sauce with some vegetables and chicken while Geri wrote down the number of our orders on the paper to be passed to the waiter.

Ohh .. I cant wait for our noodles. MMmmmmm
(Waiter serves Geri’s pasta on the table)
(Peers … Bowl is tiny!)
Wait a sec, that’s it?
(Peers again at the height of the bowl)
Wah so small? How does it taste?
(Geri takes a bite and makes a face)
Not nice! Gosh this cream isn’t creamy at all …
Tastes more like pasta in onion soup …

(Tastes my own pasta)

How’s yours Marina?
Uh? Ok lah. It’s 13 dollars. So I have to like it.

(15 mins later)

Geri : Can we go now? I don’t like the food here. My tummy is complaining!
Me : I have to finish it! Make it value for money. Wah!
Geri : Lets go, we can have better food after this.
Me : Aren’t we going to stay for our free dessert?

Anyway, we had an Anderson’s ice cream and we chatted and updated news with each other. We had a walk around Jurong Point and I suddenly realise how much I have put on weight. My clothes don’t fit so well any more! I complained. I should do something about it, I said, licking my ice cream at the same time.

My complains materialised more as I weighed myself.

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Holy toot. I’m 56 (point two!) kilograms. I’ve never been that heavy. Ever. Back in Jurong Institute, I’d always hover about 50 kgs and below. And I gained weight a little more when I started working. I’m not the type of person who would weigh myself much so when I was in the gym with Shaheeda, an ex colleague, I was mortified to see that I was almost reaching 55 kgs.

Nice what, Marina. You look more voluptuous. Voluptuous? Me? I couldn’t believe my ears.

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Angelina Jolie is voluptious

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Monica Bellucci is voluptious

Me? I had to do a scientific comparison.

Before : Fresh faced Marina of the year 2001

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After : Slightly older, heavier, chubbier, world weary Marina circa 2005

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It’s funny. After years of being teased a “stick” or “crane” and other representation of thinness, I’d be called “voluptuous” It was too surreal.

You look healthier! Geri insisted. The first time when I met you, you looked so skinny, it didn’t look healthy.

Hmm … Ok then. I still have two kilograms more before I start becoming overweight. Lets see what the fasting month of Ramadhan will do to me.

Was snapping a few pictures in Shuqun and thought I’d share some of my snaps :

Which I desecrated to become :

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See what idle hands and boredom do?

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Cartcart and me watching the sunset, overlooking the sea, at our Secondlife house. I’ve been trying to repress myself and not to think too much of our happy times. Because the more I think about it, there more I’ll miss our times together and the more I’d pine myself. It’ll only make me feel miserable.

I want to be better. To make myself better. And now, the more I realise about the importance of future and thinking ahead. Who doesn’t want to have a better life? My life plan right now, is self improvement. I must stop being so irresponsible. Don’t like something? Just do something about it.

But I have also to have patience and to never give up and to always keep the light alive for those dark nights.

Its all in the mind … Its all in the mind … Its all in the mind …

Library and shopping center and food fun

I broke another shoe today. I give up. I guess I’m not fated to wear strappy shoes. They all die under my touch. I was walking on my way to work when the strap of my left shoe decided to break off. And I limped my way through the office. I had to use about ten rubber bands to fasten the bottom part to my feet.

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Good grief!

I wondered how I would survive the day with such a fashionable footware. So during lunch break, I rushed off to the nearest shoe shop as fast as I could. Which wasn’t very fast since I could only limp with my rubber band shoes.

Then the strap of my right shoe decided to break off too. I must say, that, that was the first time I ever encountered rubber band shoes in my quarter of a century (plus one) years of existence.

Anyway, I got me a pair of flatties. I hope it’ll last me longer than any of my heels couldn’t.

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Doesn’t this look interesting? I love the packaging of this. There is a man with a huge mouth. The mouth acts like a window to see the contents of the packaging. Bro loves poking the packet to make the content move around.

We went to Jurong East library since I saw a flyer that showcased digital designs by the Yusuf Ishak Secondary School students. I hoped that there were some workshops on the techniques. But upon reaching there, there was only a display. I was a little disappointed, but admired the wonderful work done by these talented teenagers.

I saw teenagers studying and I was amazed by the amount of graffiti on the chairs. It used to be pure beige the first time I saw it in mid 2004 and now it was covered with scribblings. Bro thinks that it was intentional.

We did a spot of reading and decided to have dinner at IMM and we walked past a carnival called “Generation Day” where the entire family, including the grandparents and grandchildren spent time together. The whole stretch along Jurong East Interchange was extremely crowded.

We then took the shuttle bus to IMM – the hypermart

I was amazed by the sheer amount of people there. Granted that I haven’t been there for a long while, but the place was bustling! I never imagined that the quiet shopping centre in the 90’s would turn out to be so active now.

After dinner, we walked around and chanced upon these many Osim Isqueeze about. I gave it a try and I quite like it.

There was a gathering over my aunt’s place on Sunday afternoon. Food galore! I love tapioca leaves with peanut sauce. Yum … I felt full and contented till dinner.

It seems that family gatherings are the time when it is obligatory to show off the babies,

Cute 🙂

Cute 🙂

Well, that’s all for the moment, I had better get to bed now for some snoozin .. Good night 🙂

Shoebie doobie doo

I am a shoe murderer.

This week alone I have killed two shoes accidentally. Its either that my shoes are too fragile or that I am too rough. Or maybe I’m just both.

The problem lies in the fact that I love strappy shoes.

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Love them love them love them. However, I walk alot and practically everywhere. Thus making it worn out as fast as 2 months.

I broke one of my favourite work shoes on monday when the heel broke off. What a pity, it was pretty, comfortable and matched with alot of outfits.

Just today, I was walking to my way to work in my beige strappy heels and walking up the staircase and suddenly the strap just snapped! I wasnt even running or walking roughly and it snapped … making the shoe useless for walking in.

Thus I walked barefooted all the way. Lo and behold, the first thing I saw was a student.

Random student : Good Afternoon Ms Marina
Me : Hello (desperately trying to cover my feet)
Random student : What are you doing Ms Marina?
Me : Uh nothing. I’m just uh … Enjoying the scenery here. Its quite beautiful
Random student : Well I’m going home, take care Ms Marina. There’s a shop selling slippers over there by the way
Me : (turns red) Okay thanks bye.

And I walked in the squishy muddy grass, the rough concrete floor, crossed the asphalt road warmed in the noonday sun and the tiles covered with many many footprints of all the people from all walks of lives …

I hurriedly grabbed a pair of flip flops and slipped a five dollar note to the lady selling and went on my way to school. It wasnt something that I would normally buy, but it all that there was and beggars cant be choosers after all …

I could hear sniggers and laughing students pointing…

I was wearing a baju kurung … with a BRIGHT YELLOW flip flops.

It was so embarassing … The baju kurung is a traditional formal malay outfit that I’d usually don on fridays being a holy day. Wearing a flip flop would equivalate it to wearing tuxedoes with flip flops. It didnt match at all!

Cousins and me (second from left) in baju kurung during hari raya

The first thing I saw when I stepped in the office was Raj, a fellow physical ed teacher who dragged me to the pantry as one of our colleagues had a promotion and we were treated to a North Indian lunch buffet.

It was full of teachers.

I have never felt so flabbergasted ever. It was as if there a spotlight on my feet and 40 different pair of eyes were looking at my feet.

Oh dear.

I’m always getting into these types of predicament. Singapore’s very own Bridget Jones. Fortunately, for me, it was a non teaching day and lasted me till about 5pm or so, and I managed to zoom home as soon as I was done with the technology club.

Very surreal day indeed. Oh well, worse things can happen.

My experience at a Face Shop opening at Plaza Singapura

What a nice day today was. Spent the day with my good friend Juli and we spent the day practically doing vain and girly things.

Juli took me to a make up shop in Plaza Singapura called “The Face Shop“. I think I almost went crazy with the things there. The moment you step in the shop, you’ll be greeted by all these lovely smells. I felt like I was stepping in a garden, barefooted, prancing in the fields with the sunshine streaming on my face.

Juli and I had a blast trying out the make up, and me, opening the bottles of cream and fragrances and dabbing it around. It’s not for us! Juli insisted. It is the products that we will be using when we start our business in june. I nodded my head vehemently in agreement.

I looked at the eyeshadows there and a nice lady went up to help me with it. She dabbed my eyes with some green and then later, purple colours and then topped it off with some shimmery stick. I was so in love!

I chatted with the lady for a bit and found out that her name was Doreen. She was also the owner of the branch there. Doreen was talking to me about the techniques of the application of eyeshadow. Base all over with light colour, then the crease with a darker colour and then edge of the lids with an even darker colour. One could top it out with an “eye brightener”

It was all very fascinating to me, even if I thought that doing all those steps were a tad troublesome for daily use. Maybe for special occasions instead. Regardless, I didn’t have to fuss about applying eye shadow since Doreen already carefully applied it for me .. hehehe.

Doreen later talked about the importance of a good skin care regimen. I really liked the fact that only flora and natural ingredients were used. It smelled soooo goood .. I could just eat them on the spot.

So I got me some items there. I couldn’t help myself. Such lovely products, and at such a nice price too. Doreen mentioned that the products, although affordable, is comparable to the higher classed brands like Clarins, Bobby Brown, Prescriptives. The reason why it was comparably cheaper is because it was produced by the Koreans. Korean ladies, she explained are very vain people. And they need to have very good quality facial care and cosmetics at a good price. Thus there were many competition in this area, making the price cheaper.

I’m the proud owner of:

1. Lavender Powder Cleanser (smells so heavenly!)

2. Dewy Flower Fresh Toner (With different white flowers and plant extract!)

3. Dewy Flower Moisturizer (Controls your oil sebum! Retains your moisture!)

Anyhow, I left the place with a spring in my step. Clutching my precious new options with me.

Juli and I later walked to Suntec City where there were a health and beauty convention going on. It was exciting to step in the place. We saw many things being displayed there. Hair styling products, Spa accessories, Exercise equipments … basically everything you’ll see in the health and beauty industry.

I was transfixed in the eyebrow tattooing display. It started out with a lady with practically very little eyebrows. She sat on a chair and had her eyebrow being vibrated with a hand held device. Every few seconds, the beautician would have to wipe away the eyebrow. (I assume it was for the ink or the blood … I couldn’t understand the Chinese language that well)

And some while later, presto! The lady has lovely, more defined, natural looking eyebrows. Everybody oooh’ed and ahhh’ed. I could only grimace since it looked really painful.

There was also a display which I found interesting – medicinal leech used for skin care product. Leeches has been recognized in medicine for its healing properties. One of the leech enzymes it seems, has a natural anti-coagulant properties. The brand decided to manufacture this principal to create skin care that stimulates the cell metabolism.

I asked, “so how many leeches go in a bottle of moisturiser?”

The consultant looked at me wide eyed for a full 5 seconds. As interesting as the product was, I didn’t have the desire to have leech juice over my face or body.

Juli pointed out that the wedding fair was just one level up so we decided to stop by there too. I have more ideas now for the different angles and location for the outdoor photography shots. Juli poured over the way the makeup and accessories were used. And we both ooh’ed at the gorgeous dresses.

We got hungry later on but unfortunately couldn’t decide on what to eat. I wasn’t really fussy on what to eat as long as it wasn’t expensive. Hawker center food would do. Juli wanted to eat Thai food. We walked round and round Suntec city basement. And then went to Millenia shopping centre, and then the esplanade. My feet were getting sore by then. Then we hopped on a bus to Orchard road to go to a Thai restaurant in Far East Plaza.

I was grateful for a seat. And all that walking really gave me an appetite! We both had a hearty dinner together.

Yesterday night was such a cool night. There was a chingay parade very near where I lived. At 6.30 pm the place was transformed with lights and full of people. I saw road blocks while I was jogging along the way with policemen at the edge of the road. Must be real important. So I thought I’d drop down and have a look see. I brought my sister Diana along.

It started out a little late. I took my sister to have a drink first in the nearby shops and came back just in time to see the floats and street performances. It was really festive! I really loved the atmosphere. It felt so alive! Some West Spring kids were there too to give support to the marching band. They were really good coincidentally. After the hours and hours of training in school – they gave a wonderful performance 🙂

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to bring my camera along, since it was dark and I knew my camera cant handle dark very well, even with flash, so I don’t have any pictures to show.

The grand finale was so cool, with 40 dragon dances performing simultaneously. And that made it to the Guinness world record for the most amount of dragon dances performing together. There were gold and silver confetti shooting out and seriously, I felt like I was in New York, during the New year countdown, the night air breeze blowing in making the place look like a snowy wonderland.

It was nice to see the adults and children alike, playing with the confetti. Makes one forget temporarily that these are the same people who keep pushing you to he train station, jostle for seats, trip you at the bus stops … cuts in queues …

It was a lovely night indeed – I really hope for the same thing to happen again next time – Taman Jurong won’t be such a boring town any more 🙂

My battle with acne

There are days when you look in the mirror and you think to yourself, “Hey I look pretty good. My skin looks clear, practically no eye-bags and my hair looks so shiny and managable”.

Today is not that day.

Last Friday, I wake up to having my skin feeling quite rough, like sandpaper. Okay, I thought. Better be a little more gentle on my skin. Maybe that Biore wash didn’t work very well. I’d better stop using that.

Come Saturday, I had little zits around my mouth. It swelled more on Sunday.

Come Monday, I had a really huge zit next to my mouth. Words cannot express how mortified I was. I looked like someone punched me and missed my mouth and landed on my jaw instead.

I felt really unattractive looking in the mirror. That huge swell. And the little tiny yellow dots. Yuck! Smiling felt weird too.

I contemplated what I did wrong.

  • Was it the facial wash?
  • Was it the food intake I took?
  • Was it the dehydration from the fast?
  • Was it from the germs from clothes and carpets?
  • Was it hormonal changes?
  • Is it because I didn’t pray enough? God?
  • Stress? Maybe eh

I’ve always hated it when I’ve gotten zits. Ever since I was 12, I’ve been plagued with this horrible skin malaise. I’ve always envied people who’ve gotten clear skin, like my best friend Hema for one. She’s never had these kind of problems. I learnt that both her parents never had zits either.

It was the type of zits that was on and off. I even remembered having a little book journal where I jotted down the different types of skin products that I was using and noted how it reacted on my skin.

It didn’t get so bad till I went to Junior College. The zits literally popped out. It was so bad that I had a birthday card with a classmate signing in

“Dear Marina, Happy birthday! Hope your pimples heal faster”

I really felt low. Unattractive. Disgusting. I sought out ways to cure myself.

But how was I to do that? How was a teen, not working, with no money, find ways to cure my problem without having to ask my parents for the money? For the longest time, I’ve always been independent on my stance about money – never liked asking for money, even from my parents.

So at length, I decided to go to a polyclinic. It was a government subsidised clinic where one can get prescriptions and check ups by the doctors at a very subsidized price. So one day, after school I proceeded to have an appointment.

The few things bad about the polyclinic is that its VERY slow. I had to wait for hours before the nurse called my name to enter next.

I sat down on the chair and the doctor asked me a few questions. She scribbled on a piece of paper, handed it to me and said thank you. I think that took less than 5 mins.

But anyway, what she prescribed to me was Tetracycline. It was a red and yellow pill that was supposed to stabilize hormones. I took 2 pills an hour before I had any meals.

I felt so pretty 6 months after when my entire face was clear. And stopped since I wasn’t supposed to take it long term.

But my zits flare up again, I think 2 years back. Again I went to the polyclinic, this time I was referred to the National Skin Center. Same thing again, the doctor asked me a few questions after me waiting for some time. And in less than 5 mins I was on my way. (I wasn’t particularly happy with one of the doctors there, she wasn’t very thorough with the check up and seemed to just want to get itover and done with)

This time they prescribed with a stronger drug called Doxycyclene. And again in 6 months. I was clear again!

But I didn’t enjoy the cycle of having to go to the doctors and then have clear skin for a while and then going back to the doctors again. I wanted something more permanent. I wanted something more natural.

I scoured the net for some inspiration and found a few articles that was interesting. “How to cure acne in 3 days” (yeah right) there were some also which looked pretty fascinating read. But I wasn’t prepared to shell out 50 US dollars for their e-book (not a physical book mind you and then I found an acne sufferers community. It looked pretty well documented. I read the articles and then followed some of the tips like kidney flush and reducing sugar and oil and it worked pretty nicely for me.

I then proceeded to up the ante a little by going to have facials to clear my pores. I hated the part when they poked my face and squeezed the zit out (extraction, they called it) I don’t really see any physical difference though.

Then the last facial session was a little horrible. It hurt a lot. When the beautician did her extraction. I couldn’t take it any more. Worst part is the next day, some zits came out. When I used my proactive facial wash, it stung my face.

So I went to a hunt for new facial routine in Jurong Point (the shopping centre I usually go to) I went to Sasa. There was this lady who tried to cajole me to get this facial masque. She said that it was really good. I tried my best not to stare at her blacked acne.

Then I went to a Fancl counter and read that it was all natural and preservative free. It looks pretty good. I gave the fennaty trial set a try. When I went home, joy! It didn’t sting my face and the lotion felt gentle and cooling.

Pretty soon my face was almost back to as it was before 🙂

So I’ve absolutely no idea why the very sudden explosion. And I really cant point to any reasons to it. But at the moment, I’m REALLY watching what I put in my mouth. My mom tried to console me by telling me of stories of her wedding day. She said that while she was getting made over. The make over artist said that her acne was so bad … that she had to put extra layer of make up over her face. Kids commented “the bride looked like she had cooties”

She gave me a tip that might gross some people out. I’ve heard this tip before too. I honestly don’t know if its old wives tale or whatever. But she (and a few other good samaritans said that) to have a clear skin, take your underwear. Make sure its clean. While its wet with water, gently rub it over your face and say a prayer.

I cringed the first time I heard it. But I’m actually okay with it now … HAHAHAHAHAHA … shows how desperate I am right now.

I’m sorry for the very long post. But I really gotta rant. I really feel ugly

Update: Do read Evolution of face on my battle with acne in June 2006