Monthly Archives: September 2010

Joyeux anniversaire Mon Cheri!

Jasmine: A post that’s part French, part food, part fashion and all princess…

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12 pm

On my birthday itself, we had brunch at Choupinette, a quaint little French bistro. Andrew chose this place and he really chose well- it was me to a tee, from the decor to the music to the fact that you could pore over fashion magazines while lunching.

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Oh yes, and the brunch sets were pretty good too.

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My birthday “cake”- a dark chocolate eclair!

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(The volume button on my dress is so that I can “mute” Andrew’s singing. Keeps malfunctioning though.)

[Andrew: It was extremely difficult to find a good French place to go to on a Sunday for lunch. A place I was intending to go to had shut down, another one wasn’t open on Sunday and my second last choice didn’t serve lunch on Sundays. I’m so glad we managed to find this place and even happier that Dearie loved it so much! I was also drawn to this place because the reviews claimed that it served really good eggs royale (Dearie’s favourite) and dark chocolate eclairs (also Dearie’s favourite) – hence the ‘eclair’ birthday cake! The owner of Choupinette was very friendly as well and very proactive in helping me set up the ‘eclair’ birthday surprise while Dearie went to the washroom. Extra points for great service!

What Jasmine forgot to include was a random photo-shoot that we had after lunch:

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Really sad story here. We wanted to separate the ‘Happy Birthday’ helium balloon (which you’ll see later) from the rest of the coloured balloons we are holding here. As I was separating it, I tugged too hard and didn’t realise that I wasn’t holding on to the ‘string’ attached to the helium balloon and it just drifted away! Argh!]

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(Okay, so this picture has nothing to do with anything. I’m just showing off my dress from Holland V.)

3 pm

Jasmine: And after that, Mr Chong proceeded to grant a lifelong wish by gallantly offering to sponsor a shopping spree at Far East! (Nothing really caught my eye though, and besides, I felt rather strange “using” his money, so we came away empty-handed.)

[Andrew: Of course I had back up in the case where Dearie didn’t manage to find anything she liked. Frankly I was quite surprised because the other times we’d been there, she’d always be able to find at least 3 items which she wanted to buy.]

Jasmine: And as is our usual practice, we had an(other) improvised photoshoot at the Goodwood Park Hotel carpark just opposite Far East!

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(Andrew wears Springfield shirt; Jazzy wears fake Marc Jacobs (Marc Fakobs??) dress)

Jasmine: We also ventured into the hotel lobby for some choice shots… Nobody stopped us, and in fact a well-suited member of staff even asked us if we needed help. I guess the secret of not getting caught for trespassing is to fake it till you make it.

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 6 pm

Jasmine: We then proceeded to Wild Honey, one of my favourite restaurants, for dinner… which was a painful experience for Andrew, who spent ages slowly chomping his steak sandwich but finally gave up.

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(I was wearing an outer space tee from Tsumori Chisato; Andrew was just spaced out after too much chewing)

[Andrew: It was a Vietnamese pork sandwich actually and I should mention too that I had my wisdom tooth extraction a few days ago, hence making it extremely difficult to chew. Nonetheless, in spite of the pain it caused me, I still managed to enjoy it. We’ll be back again to Wild Honey!]

720 pm

And in keeping with the French theme, we caught Heartbreaker!

And of course, Mr Chong being Mr Chong -meticulous and detail-oriented- had paid special attention to finishing touches. Here are three:

#1 Helium balloons

The day before, he picked me up from cell group, and I discovered a surprise waiting in his car:

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(Blowfish tee from Threadless)

I had been hinting to him about how dreamy it would be to take pictures with a bunch of balloons, so we did… everywhere we went.

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Even the pavement along which we parked the car was not spared from the photo blitz.

[Andrew: Getting the balloons was no easy task, requiring me to drive to part of Singapore I don’t usually go to with extremely challenging parking and walking a considerable distance to the balloon place. I had to time it specially such that I collected it only half an hour below the balloon placed closed as the helium balloons only have a 5-8 hour life-span. And of course, walking with helium balloons can be quite challenging when it gets even mildly windy. Heh. However, to see the smile on Dearie’s face when she got them was priceless 🙂

This is how they looked like when I first got them:

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Okay, back to Jasmine….]

#2 (Brace yourselves) …Tiara

Jasmine: Another cute flourish was the tiara that weighed it down! (Am a little embarrassed now that the truth is out. I  bet even my thirteen-year-old cousin would scoff at the idea of wearing a tiara, but dare I say I secretly loved it! We –ok, I—was taking pictures with the tiara at Choupinette when a little girl at the next table looked over rather longingly. I offered to loan her my crown but I think she was shy.)

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[Andrew: When the lady at the balloon shop offered me a tiara as an option for a ‘weight’ to hold the balloons down, I thought to myself, ‘WOW. This is perfect for my dearie’s ‘princess’ themed birthday!’. 🙂 I’m glad she loved it so much. Heh.]

#3 Flowers!

And of course, flowers- each bouquet more gorgeous than the previous…

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Hydrangeas and roses

[Andrew: There’s again another long story behind this bouquet. I asked Dearie to tell me what her favourite flowers were and out of the list (which included calla lillies, old English roses, purple hydrangeas), none of them could be found in any local florists! So I had to settle for blue hydrangeas. It was quite an arduous journey getting these flowers to us too. I had arranged for them to arrive the day before to her place to surprise her when we returned from church. However, there was nobody at her place to receive them and when they called us at church, we didn’t pick up! Hence the flowers had to be sent back and it foiled my plan to have a ‘double surprise’ on the day before her birthday. I arranged for the flowers to be sent to my place on Sunday and then made a ‘surprise’ drive back to my place after lunch to collect the flowers for Dearie. They were already ‘browning’ by then but I’m glad Dearie still loved them so much.]

Jasmine: To my dear- you know how they say there’s a younger person inside every older person? Well, firstly, I’m not old and never will be *denial alert*, and secondly, you made me feel like a kid again! Albeit a kid who eats French food but still… In a good way.

On my birthday, you were not just my boyfriend but also my fairy godmother, making my wishes come true. I know the day wasn’t perfect for you but it was for me. Merci mon cheri.

Andrew: I really enjoyed spending this birthday with you too my Dearie. Even though things didn’t work out as planned, it was the time spent together and the smile I saw on your face that brought real joy to me too. Happy Birthday my dear princess! 🙂

Who says we can’t do short entries?

Andrew: As a continuation of a ‘Roles we play’ series we did last year, Dearie and I will now review some of the performances/ movies we’ve watched over the past few months. We’ve been watching a lot more movies this term as compared to our first year of dating, probably because it’s the most relaxing way to spend time together – plus we love geeking out by dissecting every aspect of the film. 🙂

We’ve decided to make this post different by adhering to the principle, ‘brevity is the soul of wit’. Hence, each ‘review’ will be 7 words or less.

Here’s the rundown of some of the more memorable shows we watched:

Art-House Movies

Precious

Andrew: Moving without being melodramatic.

Jasmine: Breakthrough performances and gritty realism: combustible!

Berlin 36

Andrew: Succeeded more as a documentary than a drama.

Jasmine: A lot of story, but no heart.

Mainstream Films

Shanghai:

Andrew: A mediocre script enlivened by stunning performances.

Jasmine: Where can I get Gong Li’s cheongsams?

Salt

Andrew: Full of twists and turns.

Jasmine: Watch this to pass time.

The Joneses

Andrew: Social satire dumbed down to romantic comedy.

Jasmine: Billed as zeitgeist film; missed the mark.

Hurt Locker (Home Rental)

Jasmine: Felt like 4th member of bomb squad.

Andrew: So, what does the title mean?

Theatre productions

Chestnuts 3D

[This is a yearly performance written by Jonathan Lim poking fun at key events in Singapore over the year.]

Andrew: Who says Singaporean lack self-irony?

Jasmine: Uncomfortably crass, offset only by Ris satire.

Jasmine: So whose commentaries do you think were better? Leave your “vote” in the comments section- Andrew and I have agreed that the loser will treat the winner to ice-cream!

P.S I love you

Andrew: I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that between the two of us, Dearie is definitely, without a doubt the more creative one. One of the ways in which she uses her creativity to care for me is through cards! I’m always amazed at the amount of effort that goes into her cards and the varied styles that she uses. She could even set up her own card shop! Here are some of her most recent card ‘styles’:

Jazzy: Backup career calling. Set up shop on Etsy.

(Andrew’s note: Dearie was also the one who took all these shots, so you can see that the shots are more thoughtfully composed, with quirky inclusions that I would normally not do. I’d just take a picture where the card fills the whole frame, hence reinforcing my very first point. Heh.)

‘Style’ #1: World’s Smallest Postal Service

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Andrew: Technically this isn’t a ‘style’ of my Dearie’s own creation but it is definitely reflective of her resourcefulness in finding innovative ways to surprise me! There’s no way I’m leaving this note out of the series. This note was sent from www.worldssmallestpostalservice.com. As you can see, the note is really very small and requires a magnifying glass to view it. So cute! It was a surprise note indeed to encourage me through an arduous Term 3.

In the note, Dearie included one of her favourite poems, “It is Here” by Harold Pinter:

It is Here (for A)

What sound was that?

I turn away, into the shaking room.

What was that sound that came in on the dark?
What is this maze of light it leaves us in?
What is this stance we take,
to turn away and then turn back?
What did we hear?

It is the breath we took when we first met.

Listen. It is here.

Jazzy: The card is approximately the size of a thumb and comes with a magnifying glass to help you read the very fine print! This miniature card seems eminently DIY-able though, so I may just pirate this idea sometime in the future.

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And isn’t the Pinter poem amazing? It achieves such command and power through its directness and simplicity (note to self: watch, learn and reduce post length).

Style #2: Drawing

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Andrew: This was a Teachers’ Day card to encourage me as I had a particularly bad Teachers’ Day this year (don’t ask – but one of my students’ well-wishes included the word ‘woodblock’). I’m not sure though that the use of woodblock as toilet roll and a chair should be of encouragement to me since I’m not quite sure if there’s some hidden irony in the card. Nonetheless, I loved this card a lot because of its timeliness.

Jazzy: I thought I’d play with the negative connotation of ‘woodblock’ and turn the idea on its head. The full quote is, “You may be a woodblock [turn over to next page], but you’re my woodblock.”

Style #3: Stenciling and shading

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Backdrop: Card propped up on Andrew’s laptop case, next to his black bedhead

Andrew: This was my favourite card of all! It was a card to celebrate the end of term, along with organic snacks to sustain me through prelim marking. I was actually there to witness Dearie’s artistic process, though unfortunately I fell asleep 15 minutes into watching it (which kind of says something about how “interesting” the process was). Of course, when I woke up, I was delightfully surprised to see the mosaic of lab apparatus. Due to my “woodblocked-ness” (see above), the more subtle design elements had to be highlighted to me by Dearie as she told me how she had carefully selected certain apparatus to form the “border” and how she had to orientate the various apparatus to ‘fill up the spaces’.

Jazzy: I found an old-school chemistry stencil in my Dad’s stationery drawer and used that to construct the various line drawings in this “We Made It” card. This is my favourite style of card design because all it requires is a black marker to render something very complex, geometric and abstract from simple ideas and even simpler tools.

It took almost an hour (during which Andrew napped fitfully on the sofa whilst I slaved away) to fill it up in black ink because all I had was a Pilot G2 pen to color with!

Style 4: Mixed media (a term we picked up from our favourite reality TV show, Work of Art!)

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Materials used: cotton wool, plaster, sandpaper, masking tape

Backdrop: Andrew’s post-op medication, on his bedsheets

Andrew: This card was to comfort me after my wisdom tooth operation yesterday. Jasmine came all the way down to Wisma to help a groggy me make my way back home. Of course, along the way she did some shopping too.  This card was the best ‘medicine’ of all. 🙂

Jazzy: In all fairness, I bought Andrew a cold Milo and left him to read SuperFreakonomics at Food Republic for 15 minutes whilst I tried on a couple of clothes at Southaven.

The layers of masking tape revealing yet concealing a red backdrop on the front plays with the notion of the role of bandages in the healing process. I deliberately made the layers imperfect, scrunched-up and asymmetrical, inspired by the dishevelled dresses from the very cool design duo at Rodarte:

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Jazzy: I used a pen knife to etch out the word, “love”, on this paper doily. It was harder than expected because the paper was so flimsy that it would tear if I exerted the slightest bit of pressure on the knife tip.

Andrew: And this card came today, one day after my wisdom tooth operation, along with two sticks of honey (amaretto and mango flavoured) to suit my liquid diet requirements. On the card was a verse to encourage us through this transition period of changing churches. It was the message in this card that really touched me as I saw how Dearie really cared for me. Awww… Thanks Dearie! You’re the most creative and sweetest girlfriend ever 🙂

Top Chef (of eggs)

Delicious breakfasts specially cooked by Dearie

Our brunch during one of the days of our National Day break –

IMG_8749 Wonderfully fluffy scrambled eggs generously sprinkled with rosemary and oregano, cherry tomatoes, pork sausage and
a slice of garlic bread. Dearie’s seriously getting good at her scrambled eggs – the texture of the eggs this time was just perfect!

Dearie puts so much attention even into the plate selected for the dish. She chose a plate with a dark and rough look to highlight the brightness of the cherry tomatoes and the omelette! Doesn’t it just look so delicious?

And her latest inspiration….

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Garlic bread prepared ‘french toast’ style (i.e. soaked with eggs) and chilli, bacon and a Spanish melon salad.

The original recipe made use of crumpets/ muffins which we couldn’t find in NTUC, hence Dearie had to make do with garlic bread – it still turned out great! The Spanish melon was a genius idea as it added a delightful sweetness which complemented the saltiness of the bacon and bread very well. I especially liked the chilli too and asked Dearie for more of it. 🙂

Jasmine: This recipe was inspired by an English breakfast I saw Jamie Oliver whip up on TV.  After toasting the garlic bread lightly, I soaked it in egg batter with shredded thyme and fried it once more!