Sunday, December 09, 2012

Serious coffee at EspressoLab

I was satisfied with my past encounters with EspressoLab at Gardens mall. So when I heard hubby mentioned they have a Publika branch, we ventured and looked for it because it was not located in. Visible area. Long ago I know they started in Publika but I guess the foot traffic then was low, and now they came back.

The place is very, very humble. Meaning it was not fully renovated to impress. Simply, they just put the place together in the most cost effective manner and all they care about is to sell good coffee.

I was surprised that despite its secretive location in the underdeveloped area of Publika, it was full!!!

We were not disappointed. My latte was superb especially on the first sip! Heaven!

No wonder people keep coming back. Seriously, if you try their coffee you will find it hard to go back to Starbucks latte.

Simple place. Serious coffee.

Espresso Lab
D1-G4-6, Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Duta Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel No.: 603-6211 0662

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Yeast Boulangerie Bangsar Review

Hubby and I decided to check out the newest addition to Bangsar's food scene. A new French place called Yeast opened right beside Antipodean (same row as La Bodega).

True to the French cultural behavior, I found the owner not too friendly (very French). Hubby himself was a bit disappointed with the way the French owner didn't engage with us despite we were one of the earliest customers.

Worth noting is the pain Au chocolat (chocolate croissant). The rest were okay. The coffee (latte and Capuccino) we're both watery and left us not satisfied with our Saturday brekkie.

In the end, we paid our stuff and left for Antipodean for some real coffee. Little daughter enjoyed playing at the play area of Antipodean while parents enjoyed some chat time over coffee and banana pancakes.

The French boulangerie had some traffic by the time we left Antipodean at 10am. I do hope they would improve some stuff:

- more lighting on their bread cabinet so people can see better
- open the door a bit more. Their entrance door was so cramped bec they closed most of it to conserve Aircon. It felt unwelcoming for guests.
-owner should be more friendly
- coffee needs significant improvement
- add more breakfast choices as it is limited
- add more bread to their Egg Cocotte because we were very short of it with two small pieces! We tried to order baguette but it was not ready at 830am!

Probably will give this place a try again next year when they get their act together. Meanwhile you can check it out yourself and be the judge.

yeast bistro
24g Jalan telawi 2, Bangsar
Opens at 8am

Egg Cocotte (we thought the bread portions were too small)

Outside seating area


Weekend breakfast at Yeast

Bill for 2 adults and 1 child

Bread Selection

Eggs are a speciality -- only on weekends!

Coffee was disappointing. Better head to Antipodean to grab some real coffee!

Interior of Yeast - reminds me of the Paris restaurants!

Pain au Chocolat

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Are A Brand - Value Yourself!

My second article was published in the Star Newspaper a few weeks ago. What made me happy is not the fact that it was printed, but having someone write to me as a reaction to it. It is a great feeling to know that you have touched someone -- whether it was my painting, or my writing, or something I created or maybe what I said. I am glad my blog did help out a few people, and I even ended up gaining a number of good friends ... all fruits of my labor because I wanted to help out.

The article I wrote was about branding... not just any brand. This is about branding yourself -- increasing your own value, your own worth especially in the world of career. I myself have been through that ladder. And I wanted to share some insights to people who are out there constantly trying to improve themselves while in the working world.

This is what I wrote...

"You Are a Brand"

You are presented with 2 cups of coffee. One that is in aplain white paper cup while the other cup’s exterior shows the green round logowith the siren-mermaid picture within. Which one will you choose?

Another scenario, (for the ladies): the fairy godmotherarrives and presented two handbags. Both made of fine leather. The first onedoes not bear a brand. The second bag looks fancier with a famous brand attachedto it (Louis Vuitton? Maybe Prada?). The magical fairy asked you to pick one,which one would you choose?

My point for both scenarios: branding matters. It doesn’tstop with just material things. Branding yourself is important because when itcomes to the workplace – whether it’s a job interview, working in a company oreven just being amongst people, those who have worked on their own personalbranding will stand out from the rest.

Brands across the world spend millions of dollars tostrengthen their image, to increase their profile and to maintain theirrelevance in the market. Those who have been successful in creating a strongbrand garner a good following and can command a premium. Investing on brandingyourself will have the same effect.

Where do you start? Let’s work on the basics. An essentialingredient is good grooming. Nothing can replace a good shower, fresh breath, adecent hairstyle and well-trimmed nails.

Next step, be more than just ‘basic’. To do that, carefuland tasteful choices on clothing, shoes, and accessories are needed. There is asaying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sadly, our ultra-speedy brainanalyzes everything before we can even stop it. The “first impression” justhappened before we tell the brain ‘don’t judge’. Choosing the right style neednot be expensive, as there are tons of options out there.

Should you merely dress the part? Or go beyond that? Irecall a quote: “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you wantto have.” I personally witnessed an individual who showed up at work anddressed “more” than his part – and it did bring him places. He was dressedimpeccably despite his small role in the company. Add that to the fact that healso had a positive outlook & gift of gab, he was able to elevate hisprofile. In time, I watched him grow from a small position to the place wherehe wanted to be.  My own observation fromthe sidelines would point to the “branding” he has made for himself, whichhelped him turbo boost to where he wanted to be.

It is a natural human behavior to gravitate towards allthings beautiful. My own silly theory is that in the real world if a hiringmanager needed to make a decision between two equally qualified candidates, he/shewill tend to choose the visually appealing one over the other, if no othercriteria were to be imposed upon the decision making process. Therefore, lookyour best at all times in all job interviews. If you are unsure of theappropriate look, ask a friend who is in the same industry or do your research(online). This highly depends on what type of company you plan to work for andwhat position you are aiming for.

There is no harm in looking your best at all times. However,being at your best is not just about appearances. Looking pretty will not bringyou too far if you just stop there. Another important element in your personalbranding is your communication.

A well-versed individual can impress people wherever theygo. Fluency, diction, pronunciation, vocabulary and body language are thingsyou need to take note of when you are communicating. These elements worktogether to express your confidence and intelligence. To improve any elementunder communication, there are no shortcuts – practice, practice, and practice!

Some of the tactics that worked for me (as well as for somepeople I know): practice by talking to yourself (or to the mirror or while youare driving!); repeat after television newscasters; look up the difficult words(immediately) to increase your vocabulary; practice before your presentation(don’t be afraid to look silly role playing together with your slides or evenwith gestures); watch your body language as this equally gives off signs &can be misinterpreted; learn to look at people in the eye while conversing (toshow sincerity); voice modulation is important – if you know your voice is toosoft, work on your volume until you get it right.

Another branding element is recall. When you hear the brandAir Asia, what comes to mind? Cheap flights? Affordable? This is the same for theindividual. If someone were to ask about you, what do you think would be thedominant trait or description they would say about you? If you want to be knownfor something, then make sure you work towards that. For example, if you wantto be described as someone professional, you will need to make sure that yourimage, work ethics & choice of words will pave the way to that impression.

In conclusion, there are tons of books and trainingsavailable for good grooming, dressing for success, as well as communicationsskills. You don’t have to wait until you finish reading that self-help book or toget a certificate from some training. You can start increasing your brand valuetoday. The Internet, media and your circle of friends and family can be astarting ground. The most important is being conscious about it and wanting todo something to improve it today. Branding matters.

French Products & Shop for a Cause

Long ago when I worked for the radio station BFM 89.9, I chanced upon one of the touching interviews with the owner of Gadis Manis. Her story is so touching and special that I had to meet her in person after I listened to the podcast.

I visited her shop in Solaris Dutamas and fell in love with her work. Her stuff are really well designed and perfect as gifts for friends who have visited Malaysia or for foreigners who want to have a piece of Malaysia with them as a good remembrance.

It's funny because of a little coincidence that happened today. I wore one of the shirts I bought from Gadis Manis to school today (currently I am studying in Alliance Francaise Bangsar). I got compliments from the French teachers and they quickly noted down the name of the shop. They immediately thought of SHANGHAI TANG when they saw my shirt -- and true enough that is the inspiration of the owner of Gadis Manis. Just when I had all that discussion about the brand, I received an email from the owner... and had to share this piece of news.

For all lovers of French products and would like to shop for a good cause, do drop by the upcoming event.  It will be a good place to shop for unique gifts for your love ones this coming holidays.. plus the venue is a beautiful hotel which I find very charming. See you there.

Legoland & Hello Kitty Town in Malaysia

With a little girl who is about to turn 3 years old in November, I could not resist the thought of bringing her to see the newly opened Legoland and Hello Kitty Town. At the time of my research, Legoland is below 6 months old while one cannot find a lot of info on Hello Kitty Town yet.

On Nov 16-18, 2012 we spent some time in Johor, something we have not yet done despite living here in Kuala Lumpur for almost 6 years now. Nothing in Johor really prompted us to visit that place. And now, with the allure of both parks we made our way there.

Driving was smooth and so easy. The road was straight almost all the way. Unlike Penang and Cameron Highlands, this trip was an easy drive. I switched with hubby every now and then to break the monotony since it was getting too "boring" as it was a straight drive almost all throughout. We needed a few breaks which was easily available. The drive with little daughter was pretty easy and it took us about 4 hours from Mont Kiara.

We reached Johor about lunch time and headed straight to the Italian restaurant (which I read about on TripAdvisor). Will probably make my own comments on TripAdvisor when I get the time. The place was okay and I wouldn't say I would go over the top just to go back there.

After lunch we checked in to a boutique hotel in town, which I will also comment on TripAdvisor. We didn't waste any time and went straight to Hello Kitty town about 2:00pm. It was a 30-minute drive from town.

We stayed from 2:30pm to 5:00pm, which I would say was enough time to spend in Hello Kitty Town. We didn't bother going to the other attraction which was right at the same building (which includes Bob the Builder and Barney, etc) since we didn't have enough time. You can buy combo tickets for both attractions or just buy for one park. For expats: don't forget to bring your Resident Pass card or whatever identification that shows you have a work permit or resident status in Malaysia as that allows you a discounted price for the entrance fees.

A quick run down on Hello Kitty Town:

- very cute and suitable for little girls between the age of 2-10 years old (in my humble opinion). Which means it was perfect for my little one. I saw lots of older girls like teenagers who were also smitten by the Hello Kitty fever. I must admit I enjoyed it too, especially as I grew up with all the Sanrio characters back in Manila
- they had a tea cup ride which was perfect for my little girl. Cute. Not too wild. Just enough to entertain her and she got on it about 5 to 6 times! We went on a Friday so that meant less people than the weekend crowd. The staff mentioned that it was less busy than weekends. So I suggest that people go off-peak else it would have been hell to queue up for all the stuff there.
- they had a nail salon session as part of the activities you will find in Kitty Town. My little girl enjoyed it and I found the small stickers sooooo cute! However, in true Malaysian fashion, maintenance is an issue. The concept was good: little girls with their parents can go into a room and do some nail polish time... however: the nail polish were all dried up and sticky (too thick already), they ran out of nail polish remover and they did not provide ample time for people to enjoy inside. I would say they need a lot of improvement in overall execution of the activities
- same goes for the other activity which is jewelry making. Instead of having some fun experience making something with my daughter, the staff just decided (maybe on that day?) to just hand out the Hello Kitty necklaces. It made a nice remembrance for our trip, however I would have enjoyed better if we had the true experience of what the creator probably had thought of in the first place. Execution, execution, execution
- horrible toilet experience!!! We arrived and at the toilet they did not have tissue paper. One would think that if we pay RM50 for the entrance fee (per person), they would at least have decent toilets with paper??? Especially as we would be coming with little ones!
- at close to 5pm, the cafe at the ground floor, which was supposed to give you a hello kitty cafe experience was plain, well, ordinary and lacking of variety. I tried to order cupcakes but the staff there explained everything was almost finished because it was close to end of the day. Hmm... I would have thought they would make more cute stuff in Kitty designs to give you a superb experience. I was wrong.
- The souvenir shop: they ran out of the Hello Kitty Castle which was at the play area and the kids all loved it. When I asked, they said they ran out. I wish they could at least analyze what are the fast-moving items and stock on it? Clearly it was super popular with the little girls and they had a model unit for playing at the store.
- The photography: they had some photo shoot service and again maybe we were unfortunate. All the shots taken were so-so, and when we had one nice family shot, the girl didn't center it and instead took more of the sofa and the empty space on the side. We asked if it could be cropped and the answer was no. We didn't get to buy any photo... sigh.
- My daughter enjoyed the maze part of the activity. There was a problem-solving part which you had to hold your own lantern and solve the riddle. She enjoyed the little activity (me and hubby too). That was worth doing and glad they did such a thing.
- They have this street show which was short but nice. Hello Kitty and friends would come on stage and dance with little girls. That was fun.
- the parking was unfinished at the venue. We parked at the basement and had to suffer a lot of noise and cement smell. It was not even stroller-friendly. I would highly say the place is still half-finished. Perhaps if you visit after 6 months it will be better
- I read many articles where people were expecting a big Hello Kitty Town like Japan or China. There are NO (as in NONE) outdoor activity. This is simply a big building where they housed Hello Kitty town in one floor. It is just a fun thing to do with the kids for maybe half a day. Don't go with too high expectations... Legoland is a totally different story (and the investment that was put there is way different)

Overall, I can imagine if the place was packed, we would not have enjoyed as much. I have my share of complaints but my daughter did enjoy the trip. So it was worth going -- however don't fly to Johor or drive there just for Hello Kitty town only. I find that is impractical. Make sure it will be a joint trip with Legoland.

Legoland - Nov 17, 2012
By the time we went there, we read many reviews and expected hot weather. Online, people complained about the lack of trees and shade -- which I can totally understand and comprehend now. It was extremely hot when we arrived at the opening time (10am). There were hundreds of people by the time we arrived. I would highly recommend that people go during opening time to maximize the day. And also because during this time, it often rains in the afternoon (in KL)... and the same happened to us on that day. It rained at 3pm and it was non-stop until 7pm. Basically we just enjoyed half a day at Legoland.

I thought the place was well built. You can see the infrastructure was well thought of. The lack of trees and shade, well, I hope they can address that because you can really die of heat! It was extremely hot and you need to be prepared with sunblock, umbrellas, hats and water. Yes, you can bring your own food and drink (which is so different from the usual amusement parks).

We enjoyed some of the rides with our toddler: like the Lego boat, the airplane and the choo-choo train around Legoland. They even have a toddler mini choo choo train which was cute and perfect for my daughter to ride alone.

We did not have enough time to finish the whole Legoland. In fact, I would recommend 2 days for that if you have little children with you. The queues were long for some of the rides... long, hot and tiring. Some of the staff were very friendly and helpful... while others -- you could see boredom in their faces and they didn't have the jolly look which I thought these people should be having since they are at an amusement park (and supposed to deliver happiness to guests?). Disneyland and Universal Studios were better at their "happy staff" execution.

For the lunch, I would say the food is okay. I would not rave about it yet I cannot complain. It was okay and we spent about RM 90 for 3 adult lunch sets plus 1 child lunch set. It was chaotic though at the lunch area... the cashier counters and the condiments area were not well planned (again, my humble opinion) and there could be some improvement there.

My little girl was about to turn 3 years old. So on the day of the visit she was not 3 years old yet, hence we did not have to pay for her entrance fee.

It is a good concept and I am glad they opened in Malaysia. Just hope they will improve over time. Maybe a year from now when they open the Legoland hotel it would be worth revisiting. Meantime, I find it was worth the money and time going there.  Parents with little kids will enjoy the place as there were lots to do with toddlers.

We stayed 2 nights in total at Johor. If I do come back, I would not book the boutique hotel (it was too cramped for my taste though the service and staff were extremely helpful and wonderful).  Maybe I will book Thistle to ensure quality and space. Or hoping that the Legoland hotel will be open by then.

My little girl had fond memories of the visits and still mentions it every now and then. Glad we did it. Not too pricey, not too far and perfect for little girls. 

One of the better rides for toddlers

Hmm... I wonder who is taller?

A great place for toddlers to play and run

For 3 years old and above I think they will enjoy driving around in Lego cars

Sunny day -- be prepared with sunscreen!

The Choo-Choo train which my daughter enjoyed. Good for little ones

At the entrance of Legoland

One of the best rides for young kids --- they feel independent as they ride themselves sans adult supervision

Had a grand time in Legoland

The baby area -- they had a place especially for babies. Didn't check out the inside since mine is a toddler. I am sure parents of young babies will appreciate this area

One of the computers at Hello Kitty Town

Hello Kitty goddess

Daddy and daughter enjoyed this little teacup ride. Dizzy!

The Hello Kitty Town not fully "cleaned up"... I hope they get their act together after months of operation. 

Enjoying the Hello Kitty teacup ride

Super sunny day at Legoland. See Choo Choo train passing by the water area

Kids get to drive the cars themselves

Boat ride was fun -- a must do for those with toddlers 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dr Cafe Publika

My personal choice of coffee when in Publika usually ends with Plan B at the grocery area (Ben's) due to their strong, tasty lattes. We decided to be different and tried something new today.

The Dr Cafe which is located outside Publika was a good choice for our coffee adventure on a Sunday after lunch. Lots of space and comfy chairs...and not too crowded. Perfect for a cup of coffee with hubby and daughter toddler.

The Capuccino did not disappoint. Definitely far better than the usual Starbucks or other popular chains out there.

Would try again when I am around Publika.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chinesepinkaddict Stats and Experience

After reviewing my statistics (for my blog) I am pleasantly surprised with the amount of traffic I have received over the years. When I started this way back, I did not imagine having 100,000+ page views. All I had in mind was to post something useful so that other expatriates who may be looking for information can at least find it here ... as I document my life here in Malaysia.

Glad that I was able to help some people from different walks of life. And honestly, I made some new friends over the years! There were some people who contacted me (thanking, asking for more info) and there were others who wanted to meet up. A chosen few became good friends and our families did some get-togethers which were memorable. Some of those friends have left already -- being expats-- after 2-3 years had to go back to their home country. I am amazed at what this blog brought me -- new friends and helping people who are searching for certain information.

Just wanted to share the stats I saw today on my blogger profile... Thanks again and do keep on reading!

Internet In Malaysia & How We Don't Need Cable TV

This December marks our 6th year anniversary in Malaysia. For 5 years, we subscribed to Astro (the one and only cable provider for TV). We did that mostly because we wanted to watch CNN and BBC to stay in touch with what is going on with the world.

We were cheap -- as we took the most basic plan they have. It was around RM 50 to RM 65 per month (price increase during the whole duration). The only time I remember being glued to the TV was when I was pregnant. I watched AFC (Asian Food Channel) religiously every evening. But even that was bad because I watched every night, that meant I knew every show and I noticed a lot of reruns! After delivering the baby, my TV-watching evenings came to a halt.

For 5 years we paid our dues to Astro -- without really watching much TV. Earlier this year, hubby decided to put a stop to it -- and a wise move. Since we cut our cable TV I did not even miss it at all! There was even a funny incident where the Astro bill and customer service (who replies via email) insist that we should still pay RM50 after the service was halted -- because we need to return the electronic card. Good thing when I mailed (Snail Mail - registered mail via POS Malaysia) the card, I took a photo of the registration sticker. I emailed back to them stating that they should check with their own office as I have mailed it way back. In the end they retracted and put the balance due to zero. Another funny incident was right after we terminated the account, a salesperson called me on the phone to offer the Astro Beyond cable service... which I turned down of course. Then I received in the mail a flyer from Astro stating that perhaps I would consider to upgrade my account. Sigh, all this advertising will not bring me back to Astro anymore.

How do we survive then? What do we watch? Well, hubby installed the APPLE TV since 2-3 years ago and have been watching stuff from there since then. We upgraded to the latest Apple TV (which is a smaller box) and we often access things from there -- photos, videos, YouTube, Movies and Songs. Don't ask me about the technicalities behind it because I just consume the stuff there while hubby is the genius behind all the technological set-up. What is important to note though is that the experience is significantly enjoyable since we took a different internet provider -- TIME.COM. When we had the old TM (Telekom Malaysia) we were at a snail's pace. The Time.Com service is definitely worth every ringgit in terms of speed and quality.

This no-cable-TV life is so different with what I am used to back in the Philippines. We used to "have to" subscribe to SkyCable back then, in order to enjoy more tv shows. With the world changing and the internet creeping into our lives, the whole media experience have dramatically changed.

I am happy with our savings every month. Goodbye to Astro!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunrise Free Shuttle Bus for Residents going to Publika

Wanted to share the most recent schedule timing of the free shuttle bus that Sunrise residents can take for their trips to Publika.

This is useful for expat families who have one car or if the wife does not drive and need to buy groceries. Or perhaps bringing kids to play or eat out in Publika sans the parking nightmares.

I see many people utilizing the Sunrise free shuttle, even for visits to Plaza Mont Kiara and One mont Kiara shopping mall.

And if course one of the services I have tried was their Free Shuttle Service to Gardens Mall ... Very practical!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...