Monday, April 26, 2010

wishes, dreams and goals

This post is inspired by the 4-year vision that we are supposed to draw and present during the company's team building this coming Tuesday and by misscindee's post on wishes.

When I was a child, I wished for many things.

I wished to excel in my studies. I wished for a certain toy. I wished for more friends. I wished to be more sporty. I wished for people to like me. I wished for a white pony with wings or even a unicorn.

I wished to be an archaelogist. I wished to be teacher. I wished to be a lawyer, a forensic scientist, a policewoman, a designer, a biker chick... The list is endless coz whatever I watched on tv or read about, I wished for them.

Very soon I realised that if I can't possibly be all these, I could simply be an actress and act out these roles. Being an actress never happened for it's just a wish right?

Wishes don't come true except by chance and by working towards them. I've had some wishes which have since become dreams and goals and these became possible because I started acting on my wishes, transforming them into dreams and finally working towards my goals.


Here are the guidelines to drawing our 4-year vision...




And here's sharing my vision board


Pardon the amateurish drawings... I'm not an illustrator. =P


Even though visions are closer to goals, I wanna sprinkle some dash of wishes too. It's always fun to have wishes and dream a little further, don't you agree?


♥I wish to live by the mantra "live love laugh"♥



By doing so, we'll get to enjoy life to the fullest. We should not only love ourselves but the people around us. Be happy, smile and laugh. Make your day and someone else's day.

♥I wish to live abroad for a while, relocating to somehere with congenial environment for my future family♥

I really enjoy those times in Perth and Brisbane with kh and I would love to reside in the States too. As much as I love living abroad, I can't envision where we would be within the next 4 years because in kh's company, nothing is ever confirmed. Hence, I drew a home inside the heart to represent "home is where the heart is".

♥I wish to have two kids -- a boy and a girl...♥



and maybe a cat. Of course, having kids and determining their gender and birth order is something I can't work towards. Nevertheless, I feel it's fine to dream of having a boy first then a girl. The cat could easily be settled.


♥I wish for my parents to be happy♥



My parents have been working too hard and I've the impression that they would love to retire down under. My dad would go fishing during his free time while my mum can continue living her life full of dance and music. I wish my sisters and I have the capacity to pull our resources together and let our parents have their dreams come true. Even if it's just a wish, I wish for them to be happy. FYI, I drew them wearing the angel and devil shirt coz I think they look really cute in them.

I drew my sisters to be happy too. I don't know what they want so I can't draw it out but whatever it is, I hope they would be happy too.


♥I wish to be healthier and to adopt a healthy lifestyle♥



I really wish that I could be rid of my severe headache and nausea once and for all. The picture says it all but there is something which I need to add-- for me not to succumb to throat infection. I didn't quite know how to draw that one.

Right now, I'm remodelling my lifestyle quite a bit. I'm doing more sports and I hope this would continue. I haven't really changed my sleeping habits yet but I'm working towards sleeping at normal timings. The sleeping part is something that requires some time to get used to. I'm guilty to say that the time now is 3.10am and I've got to work in a few hours time.


♥I wish I could always be positive and happy♥




♥I wish for great friendship, perpetuating the close ties with some of my bestest friends and for all my friends to be happy♥



I care a lot for the people I like and I really wish for them to be happy. Also with all the positive energy and vibes, they could easily influence the people around them too.

I got a little tired drawing too many human figures so I had to resort to drawing stick figures. I didn't wanna draw faces with too much resemblance to any of my best mates coz I don't wanna risk spoiling their faces with my amateur drawing and I also didn't wanna rank my friends. Hence, I used smiley faces to represent them and their happiness.

♥I wish for Cynthia, one of my very bestest mate ever to have happiness raining on her and for my everdearest god daughter Charmaine to recover from her cancer. Cyn, Jase, Char would live together as a little joyful family.♥


♥I wish to have more money.♥



Whoever says money isn't everything must have tonnes of them that's why he or she could afford to say this. Money really IS important and I'm sure many people wish for more money as well. Of course some of you may have read this post of mine last year about poverty and would understand where I'm coming from. For those who haven't, here it is:
Has anyone experienced poverty at any point in your life?

♥I wish for my investments to grow.♥
Growing investments means more money. Kh and I need lots and lots of money to ensure a smooth life ahead for our future family.

♥I wish to own more labels.♥
Everyone of us has a materialistic streak and many of us drool over that coveted bag, shoes and jewellery every now and then. And yes, I definitely want that Chanel classic flap with gold hardware.


♥I wish to travel more♥



In this job, I can't travel in peace without worrying about affecting my classes. I envy my friends who get to clear their leaves and take holidays whenever possible. Of course I could always say "f*** it" and just go on holidays without worries but it's just not so easy to say "f*** it". I was really glad to be able to travel to NYC last Christmas and affecting 2 classes for 3 weeks without feeling much guilt but this can only be done once in a long long while.


♥I wish to pursue certain personal development plan♥



♥I wish to be more knowledgeable...♥
but how can I be when I ony read the online newspaper? I've gotta set aside some time to flip through the newspapers.

♥I wish to continue pursuing my interest in reading♥
I've to make it a point to cover more books of the various genres.

♥I wish to draw more♥
I haven't been drawing for a long time before this. The last time was probably when I designed part of my evening gown. Even though I'm no professional artist, I enjoy doodling and immersing myself into more serious drawings once in a blue, pink and purple moon.

♥I wish to ride a vespa for real♥


♥I wish to better myself by taking some courses
I've always wanted to take up some form of dancing, some exciting sports and some other activities to enrich my mind and body. I also want to rid myself off my hydrophobia by learning swimming for a start.

♥I wish to blog more♥




♥I wish to be a shoes person-- I wish for my problematic feet to be able to wear pretty shoes♥






♥I wish to have a rose or butterfly tattoo or some tribal ones♥



I can't find the perfect design online and these above are not exactly what I have in mind so I guess I would need to design them myself. They must be in black, colour tats are a no no for me. But my hubby would never allow it. What I see as art, he sees as blatant vandalism on the already imperfect body.


♥I wish for all the pitiful abandoned animals in the world to be adopted and for the wild animals to be protected♥




♥I wish for everyone to do their part in caring for our earth♥





Most people who work with me would know about my recycling efforts, recycling paper, tissue boxes, used plastic pens etc. I would urge my colleagues to recycle and to pass me any paper or plastic products to be thrown into the recycling bins. That's certainly not enough but imagine if each of us were to do our part, it would make a whole lot of difference.


~~♥~~♥~~♥~~♥~~♥~~♥~~♥~~


The whimsical wishes that I could only dream of...

♥I wish to be invisible when the need arises♥




♥I wish to have wings♥






♥I wish to soar into the sky♥






♥I wish I'd a magic wand♥




♥I wish that I could store all my wishes in a bottle and use them whenever I want♥






♥I wish that when I wish upon a dandelion and blow, my wishes would come true♥



What do you wish for?

[Picture Credits: weheartit]

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wedding Services FAQ Part II

Continuing from the previous post, here's part 2. I hope you would find it useful in your wedding preparation. I've initially wanted to include videographer and photographer's services in this post but due to a recent article about music copyright extending to weddings, I'd taken some time to seek advice from both VG and PG whether it's fine to upload their slideshows on public. For this post, I would be concentrating on hotel write up instead.

Similar to part 1, if you like what you see on the snippets, click on the hyperlinks to lead you to my past entries. Posts will open in a new window.

FAQ have already been answered in the comments section but if you have further queries, you can still drop me a comment and I'll try my best to answer them.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

~*Hotel for Banquet -- Mandarin Oriental*~
(Formerly known as The Oriental, Singapore)


[Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental]


[Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental]


[Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental]


Note: Mandarin Oriental would be abbreviated to "MO" in this post

MO hompage:
http://www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/

MO wedding page: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/special_occasions/wedding/


kh & jo's...
Wedding coordinator/ executive event manager: Bethany Tan
Wedding butler: Cha Lee
Wedding personal attendant: Viona
Banquet chef: Roy Chua


Our favourable experience prior to the wedding...

Bethany is a colleague-friend of kh's cousin who was working at MO back then. When we talked to her, we felt as if we were talking to a friend. There wasn't any professional distance between us so we could voice our queries and concerns without any restraints. She is really honest, friendly and accommodating to our every need. She also gave lots of great advice and threw in quite a bit of complimentary stuff to our package.

Every pre-wedding meet up with her was a comfortable experience and we knew we were in good hands with Bethany coordinating our wedding.

~~~~
*Detailed write up on the hotel "shopping" process for our dinner banquet
From the above link, you can read write ups on our experience at MO and view pictures of the 4 wedding decor themes with detailed description on why we chose the dream theme.
Besides MO, you can read write ups on Marina Mandarin and Marriott hotel as well. There is a short mention of Fullerton, Swissotel and Grand Copthorne Waterfront too.

I found out from Bethany that from 2010 onwards, there are 5 themes available.

This website takes you to more photos and description of the 5 themes:
http://www.singaporebrides.com/hotels/oriental/index.htm

~

We chose the dream team because it's been my dream to have a black table cloth theme for the banquet. I love the elegant table centrepiece which looked like roses in ice.




The original colour for the roses in this theme is yam (a light purplish colour). We changed them to red roses as we love the combination of black and red.




The VIP table was a large one to accommodate both sides of our families. We felt that both sides of the family are equally important to us and wanted everyone to sit together instead of having 2 separate smaller VIP tables.



Initially, the biggest table at MO could not accommodate the numbers. However, Bethany saw to it and made sure they managed to get a larger table for our wedding. I didn't know where they got the large table from but we were thankful for Bethany to go all out to make sure that the issue was solved.

Alas, the black table cloth was not big enough and so the decoration had to be modified.

~

MO has a good collection of wedding favours to choose from but I personally prefer the almond dragées.



Almond dragées are time-honoured traditional Greek wedding must haves which slowly made their way to Europe and America. I wanted something unique instead of the usual salt & pepper shakers, mini teddy bears, key chains, photo frames etc. I know that most of these favours wind up in the storerooms of most people's homes so an edible wedding favour would be more environmentally-friendly. The glass bottle is cute and can be used for craft work. Well, at least I hope my guests managed to recycle the bottles.

Nobody in mine and kh's family kept the wedding favour. We were all too busy and the bottles were taken by others. If any of my friends reading this have got the glass bottles and don't know what to do with them, can you throw them over to us?

I heard from Bethany that the almond dragées are no longer included as it isn't a popular choice for wedding favours. What a pity that not many locals appreciate it.
=(

~

A few days prior to our wedding, we met with huge problems due to the H1N1 restrictions last year.

Some guests over my side had flu-like symptoms and were advised by their doctors to stay at home. Over at kh side, things got really bad when kh's "company" issued tight measures on gathering of their staff since they are from the search and rescue team and the "company" could not afford any screw ups.

From an initial overload of guests, we started losing tables of guests by the days and our minimum 35 tables requirement to use the grand ballroom was affected. Seeing how upset we were, Bethany bent the rules a little and made special arrangement for us to continue using the grand ballroom, even allowing our vegetarian guests to add as headcounts for the 350 guests. We were thankful beyond words for her thoughtful gesture.

~~~~
*Food Tasting at Mandarin Oriental
You have to scroll 3/4 down the above post to "June rewind" to read the food tasting write up in detail. Apologies for the long long post that time. For those who are new to my blog, I was rather busy with my god daughter's cancer situation last year and was not very consistent in updating about any other stuff on my blog besides updates on her situation.

[Edited to include the write up here so that you needn't scroll.]

Copied & pasted from "June rewind"...
-->
Mandarin Oriental has got the BEST wedding munu around. Before our wedding, kh and I had never attended any weddings held at MO and hence we weren't aware of how good their food is and their various signature dishes.

We only got to know about our prudent choice from people who had good experience at MO. Whenever people heard that our wedding was to be held at MO, they all gave the thumbs up and said we could never go wrong with MO, be it the fantastic service or the mouth-watering dishes.

After having experienced all things pleasant during the whole pre-wedding process, the actual day and the follow up, we were really glad that we chose MO to hold our wedding banquet.

There were a few pte msgs on forums and emails (how do you people even get my blog and email @???) etc asking for advice and to share about our wedding at MO.

I would love to do a write up on our experience with MO but I haven't quite got the time. I would also love to share about the various services we engaged for our wedding as the questions asked by many seem to be the same. (Whitelink related, Photoshoot related, JP, wedding advice) I'll definitely do some write-ups should the time permit. It'll be much more convenient if I've got some posts to direct people to.

Here's a little sharing about the food tasting.

Our menu for food tasting:

APPETIZERS

Mandarin Oriental Combination Platter

Silver Bait
Sliced Suckling Pig
Roasted Duck
Jellyfish
Prawn Salad


SOUP

Double-Boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Chicken


SEAFOOD

Deep Fried King Prawns with Wasabi Mayo Sauce


MEAT

Stewed Duck with Five Treasures
Chestnuts, Red Dates, Sea Whelk, Taro and Lotus Seeds


Braised Baby Abalone and Dried Mushrooms
with Chinese Spinach


FISH

Baked Fillet of Cod in Superior Teriyaki Sauce
(Mock fish head and Tail)


VEGETABLES

Sautéed Broccoli with Fresh Scallops


NOODLES / RICE/ BUN

Crispy Mini Buns with Chilli Crabmeat Sauce


INDIVIDUALLY PLATED WESTERN DESSERTS

Double Happiness (5 portions)
Manjari Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Jelly and Mango


Sweet Passion (5 portions)
Passion Fruit Cream with Crispy Swirl,
Raspberry Compote and Pistachio Tuile


Boy am I hungry just looking at the menu and typing these words out.



1. Mandarin Oriental Combination Platter

2. & 3. Deep Fried King Prawns with Wasabi Mayo Sauce

4. & 5. Stewed Duck with Five Treasures

6. Double-Boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Chicken

7. Baked Fillet of Cod in Superior Teriyaki Sauce (with Mock fish head and Tail)

8. Individual portion of cod fish

9. Mock fish head and Tail combined




Food at a glance:

Crispy Mini Buns with Chilli Crabmeat Sauce

Sautéed Broccoli with Fresh Scallops

Braised Baby Abalone and Dried Mushrooms
with Chinese Spinach

Manjari Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Jelly and Mango

The ribs glazed with honey at the bottom left corner were complimentary sample from the chef. We weren't supposed to have it but we could not decide if we should opt for the duck for our AD or change to the ribs. Hence, they sneaked 2 pieces for us to try.

The ribs were highly recommended by both our coordinator and chef. After we sampled the ribs, we immediately replaced the duck with the ribs for our AD. The duck was good but the ribs were really delicious. It's also a unique dish as we don't see such food at wedding dinner. For a non-ribs person, I actually liked it a lot.

We also changed our desserts to or nee (yam paste) coz MO's or nee is touted the best by many or nee lovers. We also thought that our menu consisted of too many unique/ fusion dishes that we wanted something traditional for the older generation.

After the whole food tasting, both sets of parents commented that it was the best wedding dinner food they've ever eaten in their whole life. Our siblings also had nothing but praises for the food. However as advised by many wedded couples, we were rather strict in our written comments to the chef so as to maintain a high standard during the actual day.

The chef is ever so humble and thanked us for our comments. Our cute wedding coordinator laughed at our comments a day later when she received the slip of paper coz seriously ah, we wrote things like:

"The baby abalone is really baby. Can we have teenager abalones instead?"

Ok you get the drift.

~~~~

*Our experience on the wedding day

My married female friends told me that the bride has the least to worry about on her big day. Her only duty is to look beautiful and be pampered.

How true their words proved to be.

MO made our wedding a dream come through. The price may be a little steeper as compared to other hotels of the same range, but it was worth every penny. Moreover, we signed the package before a stipulated date and got additional discounts and perks. All in all, we felt that we've really made the right choice to hold our banquet there.

Right from when we first stepped into the hotel to get ready for the solemnization, we were pampered by the staff till the very end of our stay.


That's Bethany and us doing some last minute discussion to ensure the smooth flow of the event.




In-room English Afternoon Tea, a bottle of Moet and chocolate-coated strawberries. I didn't realise that there was a wedding cake till I saw hs's photos.




The bridal suite



My friends didn't quite believe when we said we didn't make use of the bath filled with roses at all. We were too exhausted by the end of the day and on the 2nd day, we went for the complimentary spa and didn't use the bath again. More on the spa later.

Complimentary one-night stay in a Deluxe Room for the jie meis which included breakfast for 2 the next day as well. I hope gera n zanne made full use of the complimentary brekkie.



[Thanx hs for snapping these photos, uploading them so quickly and sending them to me! You're always the efficient one.]

kh and I had a staff each to "wait on us" the whole evening. I had a so-called personal wedding attendant, Viona, to wait on me while a so-called hotel butler, Che lee, was assigned to kh.

During cocktail reception when I was mingling arond with the crowd at the lobby, Viona stood by my side the whole time. My bridesmaid didn't have to do anything at all as Viona would be the one constantly squatting down to arrange my train, holding my bouquet when I needed my hands to give bear hugs to all my lovely friends, following me into the side room to arrange my gowns, bringing a glass of water with straw and even offering mints. Some of my relatives asked how come I did not have any jie mei attached by my side and I pointed to Viona saying the hotel provided a very good PA so my jie meis could concentrate on helping at the reception table.

During the march in, kh was tekan by the notti swordbearers despite warning them not to. Both Cha Lee and Viona were roped in by the swordbearers to assist them in dishing out the "punishment" and even though they were of no fault, they apologised profusely to us in whispers as our "punishment" was meted out. At the last stage when kh had to carry me out (with heavy gown, trains and all) for a proper march in, Cha Lee was around to make sure that there was no accident. Imagine the embarrassment should I fall.

All the guests had nothing but praises for the food and service. Many people came forward to tell us that it was the best wedding banquet food they've ever eaten and complimented MO for their unique dishes. Many also gave the thumbs up to MO's top notch service.

Special mention to a waiter...
Kh's grandpa unintentionally dirtied his pants during dinner. A waiter immediately offered another pair of his own pants fresh and clean from his locker. We were really impressed by the waiter's thoughtful gesture. It's the first time I come across any service staff offering his own clothing item for a guest to change into.


The great service did not stop even after the banquet ended. Knowing that most brides and grooms would not have the time to eat during the banquet, the hotel provided the service of having individual portions of food from the whole course to be delivered to the bridal suite. Not to mention, they were served piping hot.



~~~~

*Our experience after the wedding day

MO's package includes a 3 days 2 nights stay. Since our wedding was on a Friday, we spent the whole weekend relaxing and enjoying or pleasant stay at MO.

The next day, we made use of our complimentary vouchers and ordered room service. Of course pigs being pigs, we had to top up as we ordered quite a fair bit.




After that, we went for their spa, which was an added perk in the package.


[Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental]

The couple spa was really relaxing. Even though it was our first spa ever and had no yardstick to measure upon, we felt like a king and queen.


On the final day, we had complimentary breakfast from Melt-- The World Cafe before checking out.




[Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental]

Everywhere we went, we were addressed "Mr and Mrs Ng". That gave us the idea that all the staff knew who we were and indeed this gave us the VIP feeling. I believe it's the same for all wedded couple who held or who are going to hold their wedding at MO.

We may just head over to MO for our 1 year anniversary. ~Heh~ Anyway I've always love MO coz that's where all the restaurants with great food like Morton's and Cherry Garden are located.


[Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental]


DISCLAIMER: All actual day photos taken by my wedding photographer, Gideon, have not been edited by me in any way (no collages, no watermarking, no borders) except for resizing. Please do not use my photos. THANK YOU! =)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fixing the pieces

There are drafts in dribs and drabs but none ready to be published. Part 2 of wedding FAQ had been drafted and redrafted all over again and right now I'm only halfway through. I find diffculty expressing myself. It doesn't help when I'm annoyed at my insensitive keyboard which is causing me a tenfold increase in time and effort to get any post done. On a few occasions, I felt like deleting the whole post in frustration.

I tried to coax my laptop not to be to hard on me. I hope it works.

Photobucket

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The girl with the endearing smile

I received an sms from Charlene early Sunday morning which read:

Sandra has just left us...

I was shocked and though I was running late for lesson, I hurriedly snapped open my laptop to check her Facebook profile.

Her status read:

Sandra Liu back from the most amazing vaction!:D last Saturday

I thought to myself it can't be true that she'd left us. She just had an amazing vacation on Saturday! I commented two months back on her lovely family portrait. How could it be? Scrolling down all the comments of eulogy left on her page confirmed that it wasn't all a dream.

My mind became unsettled. I've got a lesson that morning which required full concentration but all I could think of was how she's no longer with us. I've grown to like her and her mum a lot during my short stay in NYC and Cynthia ofen speaks fondly of both mum and daughter.

Grappling with the fact that the cheerful 18/19 year old Taiwanese friend I know from NYC has left us, I can't help thinking how transient life is. Sandra was such a fighter and nobody could have guessed she was sick except for that cute little knitted cap on her head. She was always so positive and had the most amazng smile-- smiling from her heart, warming everyone around her even though she was in pain.

Sandra was suffering from a rare kind of cancer-- a double cancer in fact. Pre-cancer, Sandra was quite an achiever. She's been to a few countries for studies and courses and used to be a sports person. She's musically inclined as well. She is talented, intelligent, beautiful, sweet... My impession of her is really positive and I admire her zest in life. Even though she's almost a decade younger than me, I feel I've a lot to learn from her.


Dear Sandra,
Even though we've only known each other during my short stay in NYC, I must say that I feel a connection to you and your mum. Your cheerful smile and disposition is truly inspiring and I often tell myself how amazing you are to be always constantly looking on the bright side and living life to the fullest. You're a great person to emulate and you'll always be in my heart.

Dear Auntie Fanny,
You're one of the most wonderful mother a child could ever wished for. Sandra left peacefully with her loving family by her side. She must be really happy to have seen all of you before moving safely into God's arm. Take good care of yourself.

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