Friday, April 29, 2011

Pepper & Salt: The Real Apple

I must admit, it's been a lil harder than I think it is to create this series. Have a few sets of photos of the Pepper & Salt with me for a while now, but am thinking hard to get the story out.

Anyway, thought I did.. and here's one more installment of the Pepper & Salt series! :)

*For the full installment of the series go to: Pepper & Salt.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Your (INspiring) Story: Erika Toh & Being A Teacher

Last week I mentioned about the guest writer series that I'd like to do on this blog: What's Your (INspiring) Story.

And today, I'd like to share with you the first guest writer and her (INspring) story.

Presenting to you.. Erika Toh, a teacher based in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.. someone whom I've known from the online world - blogging & twitter.

This, is her story..

erika toh
Erika and her 1st teddy bear bouquet from her students.
“I look at you from top down and there’s nothing on you that tells us that you’re a teacher” –A close cousin of mine-

Yes, I’m a teacher although an educator sounds more prestigious and commonly used nowadays. I know I don’t look like one and perhaps I’ll never be but trust me, I’m a secondary school English teacher – a one of a kind and I’m proud of it!

erika toh desk
Erika's desk.
In the beginning, I didn’t find being a teacher as inspiring nor was it my first choice of career. Venturing into the teaching profession was supposed to serve as my back-up plan if my main plan fails. 
However, I fell in love with the teaching profession in just 3 short months during my practical training and have been a teacher since.

erika, april
Erika & her colleague, April.
Being a teacher may not seem glamorous, but it is rewarding & inspiring, and this is why..

erika teacher's day presents
Erika Toh's Teacher's Day presents.

First of all, I work an average of 8 hours a day with the ability to go home once the school’s dismissed unless if there are meetings or extra co-curricular activities held in the evenings and sometimes, on Saturdays. Then again, after comparing to some other careers’ working hours, being a teacher just seems a better option – more so if you wish to spend more time with your family even though you’re busy making a living.
erika toh, students
Erika, and the outing with her students.

Secondly, another reason as to why I became a teacher is that teachers have a lot of holidays. I get to go on school trips and participate in exciting activities which are often free of charge or discounted, receive better treatment than an average person and the list goes on and on… Plus, I get to relive my childhood and schooling memories such as camping, jungle-trekking, etc.

erika toh with students, mcd
More student & teacher bonding.

Next, in my hands, I hold the ability to influence and and inspire a whole generation. I can motivate and inspire students to dream and achieve their dreams. Future doctors, engineers, lawyers, businessmen are made under the watchful eyes and guidance of a person called a teacher and without a teacher, none of it could happen. Indeed, with so much power comes great responsibility :P

erika toh, class
Teacher Erika & her students in the classroom (I couldn't have guessed that there is a teacher here hehe) :)

Being a teacher gives me the chance to make connections and have a wide circle of influences and friends from various different backgrounds and expertise; education, medicine, engineering, law, police force and even politics if I wish to - you get the idea, aye? ;)

erika toh colleague
Erika & her colleagues.
Last but not least, watching my students a.k.a children grow up, realizing their potentials, achieving their dreams and inspiring others to do so too is just euphoric and intoxicating!
It is a feeling that you just have to experience to believe it. It’s great to inspire people in many possible ways; big or small.

And while I’m enriching my students’ lives, I’m in fact enriching my life too – making me a much better and rounder person as I go along the way. In fact, it's the students themselves who inspires me to be a teacher to inspire others.

erika toh students
Erika & her 4A class students.

Being with my students gives me immense pleasure and bliss. And I hope you enjoyed reading through my story and in some way or another inspired by it.

There you have it, my inspiring story of my life as a teacher. I love my career! XoXo~

*The 'What's Your (INspiring) Story? is a 12 weeks series where people from all walks of life are to come together and share anything that inspires them. If you have an INspiring story that you'd like to share & be featured on this blog, simply email me! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Masarap Filipino Food!

In 2009, I tried a fair bit of Filipino food, and fell in love with it. 

So when I was back this time round, I had simply more of it! Here are some of the masarap (ie yummy) food I tried. 

sentro 1771
This is Sentro 1771, a Filipino restaurant at Greenbelt, Makati. The food I ordered here are not the usual stuff I eat at the smaller restaurants.. the reason being I wanted to try some unique stuff, and it sure was.

However, I think I prefer the usual Filipino food more - those that I'm more accustomed too, though this wasn't bad, and really different! :)

cheescake manila restaurant

One of the restaurants that I went back to this time round was Cheesecake, etc, a franchise of bar/ restaurant with yummy cakes! While the last time I only had their desserts, I ordered their food this time round.

cheesecake manila
While the main food was okay, I enjoyed the cheesecake a lot! Guess the name of the restaurant says it all! :)

cheezee manila
This was my daily breakfast.. well for 2 days. Yes, this cheap & yummy cheese cream, Cheezee, was that good! I got it at the 7 Eleven, and it sure was one good buy! haha!

lydia's philippines
The one thing I like about Philippines is non other than the variety of pork food that is there! Just look at that btw! This restaurant, Lydia's, serves mixed rice that comes in set.. and like most of the time, the food was tasty!

achoose your smokey
I've mentioned before that I find a fair bit of similarities between the Philippines & USA.. take this hot dog for example. I got this at a stand at the mall. The nice thing bout this Choose Your Smokey is the wide variety of hot dogs it has! And not to mention the taste!

yellow cab pizza
Talking bout American food, another yummy food I tried is this - the Yellow Cab Pizza! I've wanted to try this since the 1st time I was in the Philippines, and am so happy I tried it finally! The pizza is different from the usual I always have back home... like its thin crust and different toppings along with it! Pizza fans should so try this!

adobo chicken
Back to local Filipino food, this is the chicken adobo which I got from the food court at Eastwood mall. It was nice having the adobo, as this is a popular dish there. Btw while this was not bad, but still, I prefer my friend's cooking! :)

The one restaurant that I never fail to eat its at the Binalot. This is a fast food chain serving local Filipino food, wrapped in banana leaves.

Oh I also had this yogurt ice cream while in Manila. Similar to its name, this Qoola is cool lah! We have something similar back here (where u take as much yougurt ice cream you want & then weigh it), but still.. this was nice. Maybe the whole environment & setting played a part to it (this was a 2 storey cafe serving only this!).

Was at here 2 days before, and I just had to come back to try it! :)

Looks like I quite had a 'feast' of sort this trip round. Yeah, I'm a Filipino food fan, and was in food heaven! The only missing food were - Jolibee and the oh-so-must-try balut! Too much to try that yeah, I just had to give these a miss! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Manila Souvenir, Military Dog Tag & Being Shirtless

So my Penang souvenir was the 1 week old tattoo.. but in Manila, I got something more concrete & longer lasting...

military dog tag
While passing by this booth, the items displayed got my attention.. and I was curious to know what it was.

Ah, so it is the military dog tag!

It looked rather interesting.. and since I haven't seen this before in Malaysia, I decided to get myself 1 of this.. yeah, a lil souvenir from Manila!

customise dog tag

I got it customised.. Yup, this is my 'syiok sendiri' tagline which took me a while to get the words. But anyway, it's my own dog tag and I can write whatever I want lah haha!

military dog tag manila
Soon enough, I was wearing my souvenir over! Ok, this doesn't seem like the photo huh.. (yeah, I need to be shirtless).

military dog tag manila
Yeah, so I took one more photo at a later part of the day.. of me & the dog tag (and my Batman case of course) haha! Now, it feels more like in the photo lah! Ehem... :)

Btw, check this video out on how I got my military dog tag!

*I found out that.. military dog tags were used to recognise soldiers during the war. It's supposed to be worn in a pair so that one can be untagged while the other remains on the dead soldier for identification.

*Talking bout being shirtless.. well this is my first photo I upload online! U can say I'm inspired by Manila in some ways.. more of that to come!

Friday, April 22, 2011

My First Tattoo!

See that's my tattoo! Yeah, if you don't count the bubble-gums-stick-on tattoos which I got when young, then officially this is my very first! Haha!

Btw, believe you me, getting a tattoo is not painful at all.. see the video, and you'll know why! :)

So, are you game for a tattoo too? Hehehe.

*This was taken during my 1st trip to Penang this year.. at the bazaar at Gurney Plaza! Sure, a different tourist I was!

*The tattoo was to stay on for a week or so, but by the 3rd day, it was fading real fast! Maybe a real tattoo the next time round? Hehe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Day I Met Bruce Lee & Neo (The Matrix)

Yes, believe me. I met these 2 superheroes. Live.

Here's proof!

Okay, yeah, they are not the real Bruce Lee nor Neo. Haha. Instead, this performance is part of Asus Malaysia press launch which I attended recently.

asus press event
Love the location where the event is held.. beautiful KLCC view! (from G Hotel, KL)

asus press event performance
There were a few performances - solo & in group, each representing & introducing the new laptops each.

The performances has been pretty much engaging and vibrant, which kind of represents the new laptop models.

asus malaysia dance performance

asus notebook dancers

asus new notebook
Models carrying the 4 of Asus new notebooks - the A, N, G & U Series.

While to me, a notebook is a notebook, and I'd rather go with a once size fits all - especially for a not so heavy user, but still, I was curious to check out the 4 different models offered.

asus light notebook
Model showing off how slim & light the laptop can be.
asus notebook
I don't know if colour is a big factor to choosing a notebook for you, but well, Asus provides that choice, with their cool coloured aluminium series. 
asus notebook
And if I do get one, I'll defnitely go with this gold offered!

asus notebook g series
The notebook that captured my attention most is the G series... that comes with 3D glasses!

Now, here's a quick brief of the 4 different series, each for a different user and their needs (btw, I'll make this as less foreign sounding, minus-ing the heavy jargons):

The A43: Stay Cool with Metalic Chic
Affordable laptop and is the world's first colourful aluminium laptops. It comes with a double sided motherboard that include IceCool techonology, lowering the temperature of the laptop (usually around 28-33 degrees).

The N53: Hear the Power Feel The Power
For those who is particular on sound quality. It comes with large top mounted speakers amplified by ASUS SonicMaster Technology delivering loud crystal clear sound, and life-like sound quality.

The G53SW: Strike In Silence
Built for the gamers, and for those who wanna watch 3D animation! Comes with a massive 1.5BG DG GDDR5 video memory for high resolution & vivid display, and  DirectX11 which is for faster graphics rendering.

The U36: Stunningly Light, Powerfully Beautiful
For those who want a light laptop with a powerful battery. This laptop claims to have 10+ hours battery life and is the world's slimmest 19mm Design with MG-AL alloy cover case.. yet only weighing 1.66kg!

Well after reading this, hopefully you'll consider your needs before buying your next laptop/ notebook. And of course, consider checking out Asus - cos after all, they are the top 3 consuder notebook vendor in the world, and have the bestselling & most award winning motherboards! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's Your (INspiring) Story?

I've been thinking of inviting guest bloggers to write on this blog for a while now. I tweeted bout this once to ask for topics to write about, and I got one pretty interesting one: Why married men cheat. 

I think I'll do that series someday cos that will definitely be a good read. However, I was thinking of doing something along the lines of something inspiring. 

Think, think, think (for a month or two).. and no idea really came about. Well, not till on the plane ride back from Manila! (told u the city is inspiring! hehe). 

So, this is the series that I'd like to do...

And I'd like to invite you! 
Yes, any of you reading this. Malaysian or from anywhere in the world. Blogger, or not. Teenager or adult. No matter what background you are. Simply anyone with an (INspiring) story. 

Uh hum... but what is inspiring?
Well, the thing is anything can be inspiring. 
It doesn't have to be such a big thing, but even simple things in life. 
Maybe your life. 
Or your family member - your mum, dad, brother, sis, newborn. 
Or why you like cooking. 
Or (certain) music. 
Movies too. 
Or a cool place/ city/ country that you've been to. 
How bout photography? 
Or your career. 
The list goes on..

Of course, I'm also open to ideas like your success story, a community project you did or was moved by, etc etc. 

If you are keen, simply drop me an email or tweet/ fb me. 

Let's share, and INspire, shall we? :)

*I'm not sure how many people I'll be inviting for the start, but maybe 1 guest a week for 12 consecutive weeks for the start? :)

Sawadeekap! And The End Of The 2 Weeks Travel Extravaganza!

siam paragon
Sawadeekap! Well, literally. Cos as I write this, I just got back (not too long ago) from the City of Angels - Bangkok!

Bangkok was my final destination in my 2 weeks travel extravaganza. The end of that holiday means the end of the super travels too!

Btw, I'm happy to have shared some of my travels like being a different tourist in Penang, to having fun in Manila & be Pinoy-fied, and then going back again to Penang for the char kuay teow.. However, these are only part of what I've did.. and yes, there's still much more to share..!

Off my mind, I know there's the 1st tattoo I had in Penang, the cool tees and malls in Manila, or even how Manila taught me to be more open (minded) - oh yeah, this will be a good read!..  And of course, the cool, fun & uncensored stuffs (ehem) I did in Bangkok, including visiting a lovely cafe in Silom!

That's really a load-full to write, but stay tuned... cos they are gonna be pretty fun reads (well I hope!) :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Mix @ Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie

Just before the start of my 2 weeks holidays extravaganza, I was invited to review this relatively new restaurant + lounge + bar.

The location was The Mix at Holiday Inn Glenmarie Hotel, near Subang and PJ. I've never been there, but it wasn't too hard to find with the GPS.

For starters we had the chicken taliwang. This Indonesian inspired dish is extremely yummy especially with the chicken floss at the side. And the meat was tender too.

The other starter is this set of 6 tapas, served in nice size bites.

Here's what is in this tapas:
1. Lamb koftas
2. Prawn yam dumpling
3. Chicken tikka
4. Coconut battered calamari
5. Spinach pancake
6. Vietnamese vegetable wrap

Next came the pizzas. I've never tasted such before - the La Sambal Pizza (which was the Malaysian style pizza with ikan bilis sambal) and the Pizza de Chino (roast duck, ear fungus & yam). While these were unique, however, I still think I prefer my reuglar Hawaiian pizzas.

We tried 2 different kind of pastas as well. This was the Chinese style inspired pasta - the Penne Spicy. I must say this was quite unique (Chinese + Western recipe!), and taste wise: it was nice for a chili lover like myself!

The other pasta, the spaghetti was a lil more traditional (arabiata style with chillies, olives & tomatoes) but still it tasted good. The sauce was just enough not over soaking the noodles.

We were served with 3 main course. This was the Jalee Kay Kebab, which came with minced lamb meatballs. This dish was to be eaten with the roti canai, and to even out the salty taste from the mince lamb meatballs.

The 2nd main course we tried was this Crusted Cod Fish. I'm fussy when it comes to fish especially at Western restaurants, but this kinda exceeded my expectations. The sauce at the side complimented the fish, which was cooked to perfection ie not too overcooked or undercooked.

And just like the fish, the Carribean Chicken was cooked just nice as well. This dish came with roasted vegetables & mashed young potatoes which blended well with the meat.

the mix dessert
The final servings were the desserts.. and another round of 'judgement'. Cos a good dessert will end the dinner sweet! (pun intended!).

The verdict: this set of tiramisu, banana toffee pudding, carrot cake & creme brulee is really good.
To me the tiramisu and the creme brulee tops!

Btw we also had a fair share of cocktail drinks that night. 
While the food is yummy, but if there's just one thing to come back here for - it has to be the drinks. They are unique, and mixed very well. 
It is partly a bar after all - and a good one at it. 

Yes, a bar that comes with a live band too! Oh did I mention that they are from the Philippines? Woot!

Okay now this is my overall conclusion:
If you are living in this part of town, I'd say this will be a cool chillout place. The location itself makes it like a lil paradise on its own.. and you can choose to dine or have drinks. Order some unique fusion dish if it's your first time here and a cocktail to go with it. It definitely won't disappoint! :)

*Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie
1 Jalan Usahawan U1/8, Seksyen U1
40250 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia 
Telephone + 603 7803 1000

Opening hours:
Dinner: 5.00pm – 1.00am
Live entertainment: 9.30pm – 1.00am
Happy Hours: 5.00pm – 8.00pm
Ladies Night: Wednesdays   5.00pm – 12.00am
Closed on Sundays