Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Painting and Some Ratatouille

Another completed painting, done from the comfort of my home. I managed to finish, after the emotional roller coaster! Sometimes my paintings have to go through "stages" before it ends in its actual look. Hubby knows all about it, since he is constantly my critic (I always ask his opinion). He's seen it progress-- from a blank canvas, to a burst of colors...then my disappointment. Some attempt to improve it. Then transforming it to another concept. Art is a bit like our life-- we think it's going okay, only to discover transformations along the way, which ends up being better than we thought! Which brings me to the analogy of living in Malaysia. I thought I was "doomed" when we had to move to Malaysia. Instead, I found a place where I can call home.

It has been 8 months living in Malaysia. So far, so good. I think we just 8 months, one can develop quickly his sense of direction and driving on the "other" side of the car.

I paid a visit to the Embassy of The Philippines this week, to get some papers processed. Apparently, if one plans to purchase property in the Philippines through someone else (like my mom), I had to get a Special Power of Attorney signed by a witness -- the consul of the Philippine Embassy here in KL. I paid around RM96.00 for it. It was a hassle-free process, and I would say one will not have to wait too long. My tip: from the moment you call the embassy, or even enter the premises of the embassy, start speaking Tagalog! It definitely helps in the rapport. It took only 2 working days to get my paper signed.


Have you watched Ratatouille? We watched it at the Curve in Cineleisure. It was entertaining. And of course, it got me curious... I wonder how Ratatouille taste like? Since hubby is French, I requested a taste test! He got on the internet and downloaded the recipe. While I was completing the painting above, he was sweet enough to cook it -- and it did look somewhat like the one in the movie! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it. It tasted -- yummy! It's composed of all vegetables (no meat). Hmm, maybe after this movie, restaurants in Paris will quickly add this to their menu, as more and more tourists will be ordering it. Do try!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Painting, Some Donuts & Clean-up Day

We all work Monday to Friday's. That's how my life was in Manila. And that's how it is also now in KL. So since I was away last weekend (in Kota Kinabalu), the maid didn't get to come and clean our place. She comes to visit on Saturdays to do cleaning. The rates for Filipina part time cleaning are around RM 10-15 per hour. It takes about 5-6 hours for her to clean up my place, which has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a well-sized kitchen. That means my whole Saturday morning is tied up. It was a good time for me to tidy up my stuff too... which were all around the place! I managed to finally clean up the stuff from my luggage (since my U.S. trip), and my overnight bag (from KK trip).

While waiting for her to finish cleaning, I decided to start on another painting. It's still drying now, so I dare not take a photo yet... not sure if it's good enough though. Usually after you paint, leave it a day or two for the colors to settle. You will be surprised how the colors change, quite different from the way it was when you just finished it.

A painting I am quite proud of is the one I recently created, living in Kuala Lumpur. I took inspiration from flowers I have seen... and did an abstract rendition of it. Now, the large painting hangs proudly in our living room. I am sometimes still amazed I did that! Maybe I got lucky.

After a long day locked up at home, me and hubby decided to go out at 9pm. We went to do a quick viewing of the stuff on sale at Ikea. They are open until 11pm, so we had enough time. We didn't see anything interesting, so we walked across the street to the Curve to visit our favorite donut place.

Speaking about donuts, well, in Manila they already have Krispy Kreme. Since Malaysia does not have that popular U.S. donut brand, we are fortunate enough to have Big Apple Donuts! You will find it near Friday's and Eden. As well as beside the newly opened The Apartment (which I gave my quick review in the past blog entries). They have great donuts at good prices... you won't believe their price is even lower than Dunkin' Donuts! The quality is quite good. Something I would settle for which is close to the Krispy Kreme experience. Be sure to try their glazed donut, which to me is the best one. Don't get too tempted with the other flavors (though they do have quite an interesting variety!). Stick to the glazed one, believe me... it's the best choice. I have introduced this donut to a number of friends, and they all loved it. Maybe you should try it too! So far, I think Big Apple Donuts only have one branch. Maybe they'll open one somewhere soon (I hope near my office!)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Paintings: the cheerful expressionist

I recently found time to finish some new abstract paintings, which are actually meant for an interior designer friend. I'm quite eager to see if these will compliment her latest project.

It takes time to complete a painting, and also one will need inspiration. Thinking back about my trips to France, where you find inspiration and beauty all around! I completed almost 10 paintings during my 1 month vacation there... sadly I didn't bring them back, since we had too much stuff in our luggages already. But it's nice to reminisce.

It's my first time to create blue abstract paintings... now that I think of it. My only blue-inspired creation was the Mykonos painting, which I made after a beautiful week spent in Greece.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Trip to Kota Kinabalu

Living in Malaysia means being able to enjoy its beautiful resorts. This time, the adventure trip was 2.5 hours of Air Asia flight to reach the destination: Sabah. We stayed at the Nexus Resort Karambrunai, which is in Kota Kinabalu. It was beautiful.

The resort is a big one, which included a golf course, swimming pools, low rise accommodation which provided your private outdoor sitting area to enjoy the great weather. In one of the evenings, we enjoyed dancing away with the in-house band and singing in their KTV lounge. The resort also had a nice spa, small grocery (in case you need to buy food, water, etc). Food in the hotel was generally okay. One will always get service with a smile. The staff were courteous and helpful.

The beach located within the vicinity of the hotel itself is not white sand, but still good quality light brown sand. No rocks. Sand quality was not bad at all. The waters of the beach at Karambrunai reminded me of my trip to Siargao in the Philippines, because it had strong currents and waves. It was amazing to see non-stop waves which were higher than usual. And jumping into those waves was fun, but dangerous at some point.

Going into the highlight of the trip: white water rafting at Kiulu River. It was a blast! The drive from Nexus hotel to the river side was about 45 minutes. The river ride was around 1-1.5 hours. It's really a must-try when you are there! We went in a big group, around 28 people. So that meant we got a good price, and paid only RM150- per person. Which included a BBQ lunch (it was a tasty lunch!), the pick up and return to hotel, and the white water rafting. Plus, we also had a video coverage of our experience! For that price, not only will you experience white water rafting ... you will get to try body rafting too! We jumped out of our raft and slid along with the current! Awesome experience!

For the Pinoys out there, well, I know we have great beaches back in the Philippines. But this Kota Kinabalu is a must visit when in Malaysia!

Back in KL, Back to Eating!

My July U.S. trip was a memorable one. Walking down the famous Rodeo Drive, seeing Hollywood, and fun rides at Universal Studios in Orlando were some of the highlights. Shopping at the outlets in Los Angeles and Orlando meant finding good deals on stuff from Kenneth Cole, Nine West, Gap, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren and so on!

Food in the U.S. is abundant. And I mean abundant. Everything you order is huge. I guess for my type (Asian, small built, but eats a lot) the usual USA quantity is still too big. Which meant I ended up not finishing most of my orders. When I saw a stall selling drinks and they had a display of their different sizes, I was amazed with their definition of "LARGE". It was H-U-G-E!

Despite the 1.5 weeks in the U.S. and the abundance of food, I didn't really gain too much weight. Possibly because of my hectic schedule : attending the meetings and sessions which the company had set up for us; maybe from all the endless walking in the outlet stores; or simply, because I prefer Asian food and I didn't truly enjoy some of their USA specialities.

The first thing I was craving for when I got back to Kuala Lumpur was rice. I had rice for the next few days after being back home. Then I slowly got back to my usual rhythm, which was rice only every other day for lunch.

Me and hubby visited our favorite mall the weekend after my arrival. To our surprise, they have opened a new restaurant called THE APARTMENT at The Curve. Curious, we quickly tried it. The place was bustling with customers that evening. It has 2 floors plus an outside seating if you want to enjoy fresh air while dining. Ambiance is nice. Price is a bit on the high side. Their drinks list quite interesting (we had the soda which had some peach flavoring, which was quite refreshing). Food was okay. I had the duck while hubby tried the steak. Nothing too fabulous. Service was a bit slow, despite the many waiters walking around the place. I guess I have to cut them some slack, maybe they are still on a soft launch, where they are still adjusting to the pace. The chocolate cake dessert took quite long before it came, but it was worth the wait. It came with Vanilla ice cream, though quantity of ice cream was small. I took some photos of our dinner that evening....

My conclusion is that it's a place worth checking out. But not on my favorite list. The one that still tops the chart for me here in Malaysia would be DELICIOUS at Bangsar or 1 Utama. I simply love their food and dessert!

Other top favorites in this side of town: Dragon-i and Paddington House of Pancakes.

Back to Malaysia means back to good food. And back to more food adventures. Stay tuned!
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