Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sneak Preview: First Look at "Prada" Cocktail Dress!

Jasmine: I went for my first cocktail dress fitting with Mum and Charlene and to be frank, received the shock of my life when I realised that the colour of the skirt was not the colour I had envisioned. It was too purplish and the netting colour contrasted too greatly with the petticoat colour.

However, the seamstress had also cut out the Prada lace and helped me tack them onto the bodice of the dress. Bonus points to her for being exceptionally patient even as I fretted over how to alter the dress (and then finally deciding to leave it as it was).

So as promised, a first look at the cocktail dress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I just need to figure out when I’m gonna wear this dress.

Andrew: During the photo shoot! 🙂

The tailor was very professional during the first time we were there and gave Jasmine quite a good deal, so I’m sure the dress will turn out great! It will be finally my turn to get involved in the fitting tomorrow!

Sneak Preview: Jazzy’s “Prada” Cocktail Dress!

Jasmine: Hello readers, it’s me again, which means that this will be a wedding/ fashion post and not a food post. Which means that if you’re allergic to “girly” talk about cocktail dresses and/ or are male, you may wish to log off now.

Anyway, Andrew and I spotted this French-imported dress at a small boutique. It was promising but was just not quite there yet.

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I was brutally honest with the sales assistant about what I didn’t like about the dress: “The curly wires need to go, the hem needs to be let down at least eight inches, the floral appliques on the bodice are too dense, I prefer more open-work lace, ideally in one colour, kill the rhinestones, reduce the embroidery on the skirt and change the colour palette… and then we might have a cute dress.”

To her credit, the saleslady was extremely patient and accommodating even as I was comprehensively dissing her dress, and she even brought out her fabric swatches for me to pore over:

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I selected…

1) a dusky rose silk for the lining (the saleslady was very heart pain about this; she said that people used this fabric for evening wear but here I was using it as a lining)

2) one layer of pink tulle and two layers of iridescent white tulle (bottom left)

3) taupe silk, to be used for the waistband and

4) white lace, to be cut up and re-arranged into appliques

The white lace, by the way, is the same lace that Prada has used in its 2008 collections (seen here in charcoal):

Anyway, the cost of tailoring this cocktail dress was…

30% cheaper than the French-imported yellow dress (and using higher-quality materials too, such as silk for the lining instead of polyester)

40% lower than the price quoted by my bridal studio!

I’d really, really like to thank Mr Andrew Chong for being so accommodating about my bridal wardrobe. When we placed the order for the cheongsam, all he said was, “we’ll re-look our budget”, and when I asked him what he thought about customising a cocktail dress, he agreed without too much hesitation. Most men would have hemmed and hawed but he was ready to make all my silly dress dreams come true. Thank you dear!

Now all “my costume changes” have been settled… On to Andrew’s!

(p.s. come back tomorrow to see sneak pix from Jazzy’s first fitting!)

Healthy Food

Andrew: Jasmine and I have been trying to eat more healthily recently and started trying out interesting vegetarian places and other healthier options. There are days too when I opt to go for a vegetarian fast instead of a full fast, so this gives us some room to be creative with our choice of restaurants.

Here are a few good places to go to if you’re craving something interesting, but are concerned as well about calories. We’ll rank them in terms of price too!

1. Original Sin

Block 43, Jalan Merah Saga #01-64, Chipbee Gardens

Cost: Average about $30 per person for lunch

Andrew: Chip Bee Gardens has a very quaint, almost European vibe to it where you can find several restaurants and more upmarket grocery stores too. On a weekday afternoon, Original Sin was about 80% full which speaks of the quality of the food there. It is a Mediterranean vegetarian restaurant – the first and only in Singapore and prides itself on a love for fresh ingredients and passion for culinary creativity!

Dearie ordered the set lunch ($27++) which came with

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A smoothie – BLUSH (banana, strawberry & milk)

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A Mediterranean wrap

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Inside the wrap was chickpeas, pumpkin spread, grilled eggplant, feta & salad.

Jasmine: I enjoyed my wrap thoroughly, taking note of the lovely blend of bright colours and crunchiness of fresh veggies. It was a welcome change from meaty, fatty dishes, and yet it was filling too.

(Other choices for main courses include tofu burger, spaghetti or green salad)

and Dessert:

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Chocolate Brownie with ice-cream

Andrew: The set meal’s quite worth it because the smoothie on its own is at least $7 already. Because I like my food piping hot and warm, I didn’t quite like the Mediterranean wrap. The combination of vegetables was way too exotic for me and the flavours too mild. The chocolate cake was really good – moist and not too sweet. (Jasmine: Ditto- and I’m not much of a dessert person!)

For myself, I ordered

IMG_0313(Jasmine: On a random note, I love how Andrew’s Campbells T-shirt is a perfect fit for food entries. Heh.)

Vegetable Tandoori

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Chargrilled button mushroom, brinjal, capsicum, onion and tofu marinated in tandoori spices served with yoghurt, mango chutney and rice

Andrew: Now this was more my cup of tea. The intense flavours were great, though I’d have to say the tandoori spice doesn’t really go with some of the ingredients especially the lady’s fingers and mushrooms. However, it went fantastically with the sour tate of the tomatoes and the mushiness of the brinjals. Yum!

A big plus point about Original Sin is that reservation is easy. You can simply go to their website and make a reservation online. It’s fuss free and takes less than 3 minutes!

2. Skinny Pizza

The outlets we frequent more often are at Wheelock Place and Raffles Place.

Price: Dearie and I often end up paying about $25 per person but it’s because we only order one pizza per person or sometimes we order only one pizza and sides.

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Andrew: Yes, we know we’ve blogged about this before, but it still remains one of our favourite places for quality, healthy food. We went to Skinny Pizza again recently and we tried the Vietnamese Coconut Poached Chicken and Spinach with Cheese, which were both tremendously healthy (a bit too much!).

The Vietnamese chicken pizza (photographed above) consists of thick, broiled chicken breast pieces with vegetables, fresh onions, carrots, chili. It is generously doused with a Thai sweet chili sauce. Unfortunately, this is a ‘cold’ dish as the slices of chicken are cold and the rest of it is basically a salad. Very healthy, but once again, my disdain for cold meals applies here.

Jasmine: Poor dear. Upon first bite, his comment was "very tasty". Half a pizza later, it became "I think I’ll need a snack later", followed by helping himself to a slice of my pizza 🙂

Andrew: Besides the two we tried that day, we’ve also tried the Garlic Butter Chicken, Squid Ink and Wild Truffled Mushroom. My favourite is still the Wild Truffled Mushroom! If you are able to make it, they offer mini skinny pizzas at House@Dempsey’s High Tea buffets (Thursday and Fridays, 3 – 6 p.m.). It’s an affordable way to sample almost all of the Skinny Pizzas available.

Jasmine: Thumbs up for the Wild Truffled Mushroom- savoury and just a little woodsy! My spinach with egg pizza was filling, but the lumps of ricotta cheese made the whole dish too cloying, and the crispy pizza that is supposed to be Skinny’s signature eventually softened into a rubbery texture. I’ve also tried the squid ink pizza (it’s black!) with some girlfriends- it’s not something I’d recommend either, unfortunately. But I still love Skinny.

Andrew: If you’re keen on some sides, I strongly recommend the sweet potato nibbles as they are one of a kind and very good! You must share it though as they tend to get a bit too heavy going after a while.

3. Loving Hut

Location: Parklane Mall

Price: Average about $10 per person including drinks.

Andrew: Jasmine knew I was on a vegetarian fast and she actually spent a while doing a lot of research on interesting vegetarian food places that we could visit. We finally narrowed down our choices to Loving Hut. This is a place that serves vegan food and there are so many local delights done in a vegan fashion like Rendang, Sambal delight, Lemongrass curry, Assam curry etc.

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Andrew: I can’t remember the name of what I ordered, but it was very nice and savoury fried rice. (Jasmine: It was something akin to nasi bryani, if I remember correctly.) The egg was rather strange as it’s a ‘vegan egg’ – I’m not even sure what it’s made of, but they really replicated the entire texture of the egg! One gripe I had about the food though was that I felt it was too oily.

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Jasmine: I had the fried platter, which completely negated the point of visiting a vegetarian joint. Heh. The spring rolls and deep fried mushrooms were passable, but the fried "prawns", potato wedges and wantons were lacklustre and rather oily.

Subway Foot Long Club Sandwich

Cost: $6 per person (if you order a foot long sandwich, add on the meal and share it.)

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Andrew: And yes, if all else fails, there’s always Subway! Heh. Dearie brilliantly came up with a way to eat healthy and save money by ordering a foot-long meal and then share it! (Jasmine: Actually this was my mum’s idea! Heh.) It’s half the price and about 75% of the calories (as each of us eat only one cookie too!). If you have different preference for sauces and vegetables, you can always ask the sandwich master to vary the combination in different halves. Heh. Of course, the main ingredients must stay the same. We’ve had this at least 3 times already and it always makes for a rather satisfying meal – both in terms of calories and cost!

Jasmine: Andrew doesn’t consider a meal to be complete unless there’s some meat in it, so our favourites are Subway Club, Subway Melt and just this week we tried the Meatball Marinara- the meatballs were juicy and surprisingly had enough bite to them.

We like to be adventurous when exploring new eateries, but with Subway, we’ve kinda settled into a comfortable pattern. Our sauces are almost always a duet of Honey Mustard and Chipotle Southwest, while Andrew will go for the peanut cookie and I’ll stick with my beloved white chocolate chip. Well, it’s at least an alternative to Soup Spoon, which Mr Chong pesters me to visit with him on an almost weekly basis 🙂

Cocktail Dresses!

Jasmine: Unless you are the mother of the bride, a cocktail dress is formal and yet versatile enough for a whole host of dressy events ranging from weddings to D&Ds! Andrew and I actually went to Robinson’s with the express purpose of finding him a suit, but we got sidetracked in the women’s department.

All dresses are from Coast and Jessica at Robinson’s unless otherwise stated.

Andrew and I both liked this lace applique dress, which is tied with two ribbons in the back, but it looked too bridesmaid-ish.

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I was attracted to the slightly retro scallop tiers and contrast edging (see below), but the indeterminate greyish-mauve shade did nothing for my complexion. Avoid unless you are incredibly fair.

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A nice fuchsia pink colour, but let down by the conventionally “sweet” draping and neckline. Plus it’s too long for a cocktail dress, and too short for an evening gown.

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A 50s’ silhouette meets 21st-century print here. The most unusual dress of the lot, with neon yellow floral appliques that lent some textural interest to the piece. However, the taupe hue was dull and drab, and this was their smallest available size and still swallowed me whole.

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Price range: $129 – $439

Overall verdict: Robinson’s merchandise buyers seem to be on the safe side when it comes to formal dressing. If you are looking for wearable and “pretty” pieces at mid-range prices, this would be one possible place to hit since Robinson’s carries multiple labels. However, if making a fashion statement is what you want, go elsewhere.

Speaking of elsewhere, try some of my favourite places for unearthing cocktail dresses:

Dress made from ’70s fabric, worn for my 21st birthday, sourced from vintage boutique at Far East Plaza

Forget the LBD, every girl should have a little red dress in her closet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink dress, worn for wedding at Four Seasons: Lipsy

The blush-pink colour is neither too pastel nor too neutral, so with a soft colour like that, I  like the long drape that cascades from shoulder to knee for a subtly dramatic effect.

Yellow dress, worn for wedding at Fort Canning: River Island

For an outdoor or modern wedding, I like this dress because of its bold colour and origami-style pleats.

All three dresses cost under $200!

Evening Gowns: Far East vs Centrepoint

Jasmine: Is it worth splurging on an evening gown?

Note: my evening gown will be tailored by my bridal studio, but since we were in the Orchard area, I thought, no harm trying on a couple dresses… purely for research purposes, of course.

One of the most ubiquitous styles is the sweetheart neckline so we decided to focus our, ahem, comparative market research on that.

First, we went to Far East Plaza.

This was a fairly flattering blue but the waist was placed a little too low.

Cost: $380

The plus point is that you can rent this gown at $180 (because it doesn’t really make sense to buy a long gown unless you have several formal functions to attend or are royalty), but you have to pay extra for alterations. Unfortunately, alterations to this particular gown will be complicated as you have to bring up the waist and take in the gown through the back seams.

The following day, we went to Robinson’s at Centrepoint, where we saw a nearly-identical dress.

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This is a dress from UK label Coast, in a nice rich shade of aubergine. The pleating is alot finer and especially below the waist, the pleats are strategically centralised, which creates the illusion of added height and slimness. In contrast, the dress from Far East Plaza is gathered all around under the waist, which promotes the appearance of pregnancy (not a good look unless you really are pregnant.)

And get this… This dress from Coast only costs $389, which is only fractionally more expensive than the Far East version!

Verdict: I’m not bowled over by either dress, to be frank- they’re both somewhat generic. But if I’d have to choose, I’d say go for the Coast dress. Not only is it better made, it’s a negligible $9 difference.

On another note, avoid lace up backs like these:

They look rather pretty (if a little ’80s) but it took the sales assistant 15 min to help me lace it up! Not only that, it takes skill to lace you in tightly enough to flatter your figure, while still leaving you with enough breathing room. Unless you have your own dedicated P.A., go for zippered dresses (which are also much faster to change in and out of, for brides-to-be). Under no circumstances should you trust your husband with a lace-up back. It is not as simple as tying a shoelace 😛

Sneak Preview: Tailor-Made Wedding Cheongsams

Jasmine: On my mother’s side of the family, we have a collection of cheongsams courtesy of my grandmother, who used to get a cheongsam tailored for every formal occasion.

Here you’ll see my cousins and I modelling some of my grandmother’s cheongsams, some of which were made as early as the 1950s.

With that history in mind, I’ve decided to splurge on a tailor-made cheongsam of my own design for the upcoming wedding! I’ve been hearing unanimous rave reviews about a specialised cheongsam tailor in the East and last week I went down with Mr Chong for an appointment (don’t worry, it was just me making the cheongsam, not Andrew).

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An array of silks, duchess satins, and laces to choose from

Jasmine: Wilson also made a couple of quick sketches based on the design I had in mind.

Cheongsum

Jasmine: I’d actually envisioned a cheongsam with a streamlined, embellishment-free front but Wilson warned me that it would be too plain and insisted in Mandarin that “your guests will look better than you”.

In the end, we decided to have a little bit of lace running down from the collar to the ankles. The unbroken visual line should give me a much-needed semblance of tallness.

The way that Wilson does lace is also extremely labour-intensive. He cuts out lace flowers, arranges them, sews them onto the cheongsam by hand, and then adds beads or sequins around it so as to help it “blend” into the cheongsam fabric. This ensures that every customer gets a completely one-of-a-kind, made-to-measure cheongsam.

I’m very excited about collecting my cheongsam in three months’ time! I decided on a simple and clean design because I want to be able to wear this cheongsam when I’m 30, 40, 80 and then pass it down to my daughters and grand-daughters!

Andrew: I was really quite impressed with the tailor’s professionalism and advice. We’ve been doing lots of selection of wedding related items like clothes, cards etc. and I’m actually rather overwhelmed every time we go to a store with the whole range of choices of fabrics, patterns, colours etc. I’m so glad Dearie has such great taste that I can trust her to make such complicated choices! Heh.

Jasmine: Now, I highly de-recommend shopping with your man as it is boring for them and stressful for you. But as my appointment was only pencilled in at the last minute, I had no choice but to have Mr Chong tag along. A tip for ladies shopping with men. Before asking their advice, narrow down the choices to three or three options. This prevents them from getting overwhelmed. Also, keep them involved by assigning specific and manageable tasks i.e. “dear, would you help me take a picture of the sketch?” and praise them when they do so.

Andrew: Dearie has worn her grandmother’s cheongsam for her staff dinner before and she looked really good in it! I was really quite impressed with the tailor’s professionalism and advice. I can’t wait to see how this cheongsam turns out too!

Bridesmaid Dresses

Jasmine: Today was National Day so, in a show of support for our local economy, my sister and I traipsed down to Orchard to look at bridesmaid dresses!

These two were from Love Potion at Far East Plaza:

These two dresses were rejected. We disliked how the lilac dress looked like a split curtain.

On the other hand, the champagne pink dress was just ok. The pleating on the bodice was fairly pretty up close, but didn’t fit well because it was a size too large. In any case, we found a dress in the correct hue (our theme is purple) and that was the most flattering cut and colour for Charlene!

(Errm, this is obviously not my sister, as she didn’t want to reveal her dress beforehand. However, the A-line silhouette and deep eggplant hue are very similar to the bridesmaid dress we picked out for Charlene.)

The dress is not groundbreakingly avant-garde, but it is an elegant enough silhouette that my sister can re-use for D&Ds and other formal functions.

I’m not impressed with those silly convertible dresses that seem to be all the rage now as I find that they are not particularly flattering on anyone. The multiplicity of folds is overly-complicated and not even that appealing on camera. The stretchy nylon material is poor quality and will not age well after a few machine washes. Furthermore, although they’re supposedly “free size”, they do not do plus-size girls any justice (see previous point on “stretchy nylon material”). Even if you’re on a budget, it’s better to spend a little more money and get your bridesmaid something tailored and simple that she can (willingly) wear again.

And perhaps purple accessories to match?

Photo credits: Charlene. Thanks for the sneaky dressing-room shots!

Terracotta Warriors @ ACM

Andrew: Dearie and I love to go to museums, but we don’t often have the time to go down. ACM is a place that holds pleasant memories for us as it was one of the places we went for our first dates and the first time Jasmine and I met in a social setting outside of NIE was at Timbre, near ACM for a friend’s birthday. I had heard good things about the Terracotta Warrior exhibitions, hence we squeezed in some time to go down during the week to check it out!

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Andrew: Before we entered the exhibition halls, there was this series of clay figurines which captured the process of making the terracotta warriors. The exhibit captured almost every step of the construction of these warriors and the very tactile and drab feel of the exhibit conveyed very dramatically the torturous and demanding process of making these terracotta warriors.

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Jasmine: At the foyer, we were ‘treated’ to a display of contemporary art. I guess the placement of the artwork was suitable as it seemed like a parody of the original terracotta warriors, standing positions and all, but I actually grimaced quite a few times walking around this hall. Having quasi-classical Oriental figurines holding fire-engine red laptops and handbags seemed so tacky. Although the explanation given was that the artist was making commentary on the impact of consumerism and affluence on Chinese culture, the ‘artwork’ was far more apt for a shopping centre than the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Andrew: We had seen some of these exhibits at the National Museum before and weren’t impressed then – we weren’t impressed this time as well.

Jasmine: We are a family friendly blog ok, but I should warn you that for the first time in Andrew Loves Jazzy history, we will be posting a picture which depicts genitalia!? Tucked away in one corner was this glass case of naked figurines. These two are eunuchs. Don’t look too closely.

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Andrew: It was Dearie who pointed me to this exhibit and I was really rather amused by it. There was actually another set of statutes of non-eunuchs, with genitalia rather subtly carved in. Heh.

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Miniature version of the Terracotta warriors

Jasmine: I was really impressed with the suit of armour. It probably was my favourite exhibit in the gallery because it was visually imposing and more importantly, had a great story to give it depth. When archeologists found thousands of these limestone plates lying scattered in a mass tomb, they couldn’t figure out what it was.

It was only upon closer inspection that these were suits of armour which had been hung upon wooden stands. (80 suits have been excavated so far and work in that part of the tombs is still ongoing.) After many decades though, the wood had decomposed, leaving the limestone plates lining the ground.

Since then, they’ve been restrung and interlinked with copper wire in a fish-scale formation:

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Interestingly too, these pieces of stone armour are acknowledged to be too heavy for a soldier to wear them in battle, so debate is still continuing over the function of the armour.

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Jasmine: One of the highlights of the exhibition was the specially-created iPhone app! We actually went back three times to find all the hieroglyphic symbols. It was interactive and engaging for us and I can easily imagine kids having great fun seeing history come to life, literally. Although the app really only boasted that one function, the 3D concept has much potential for converting a new generation into museum-goers!

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Andrew: It was really a novel and effective idea to introduce an iPhone app to jazz up this exhibition. There was a guided tour to follow using the iPhone app to tell the story of a terracotta warrior. We weren’t patient enough to follow that, so we ended up just making use of the most ‘kiddy’ function of the application. It was really fun and most interesting of all, these figurines which appeared weren’t ‘static’, but actually animated. They would move in and out of the screen or move forward.

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Andrew: The animation above was one of the most dramatic animations in the exhibition. The Chinese character on the wall as ‘pan4’ (traitor) and it was huge! When I put the camera over, we only saw the tunnel initially with the glow of a flame. Gradually, this soldier would climb out of the tunnel and look around menacingly. It was fun! Heh.

Jasmine: These archers are virtual animations too. What gives them away? The fact that they cast no shadows.

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Andrew: This bell 3D graphic had an added dimension of interactivity and we could swipe the screen to ring the bell. Heh. What cheap thrill!

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Andrew: And of course, we save the best for last! These were the actual terracotta warriors shipped all the way from China.

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Andrew: The warriors had such a great aura of mystique about them. I found myself inexplicably drawn to them and was fascinated at just how much history was contained in these sculptures.  It was rather creepy too as it seemed like the warriors were looking at us out of the corner of their eyes.

Jasmine: Very delicate and detailed austere facial expressions on each of the soldiers. This exhibition was also laid out in a way that would mimic the original layout of the Xi’An tombs, as the soldiers were in the centre of the gallery, led by the general (who is much taller than the foot soldiers to connote his high rank), flanked by horses on both sides.

For more on the Terracotta Warriors, visit The China Guide (which is a commercial enterprise but the research is surprisingly comprehensive):

http://www.thebeijingguide.com/thexianguide/Terracotta_Warriors.htm

Andrew: It was a good exhibition indeed, which brought both classic and contemporary elements together very well. There was something for children & adults, for the history buff & someone who just dropped by due to curiosity.

The Proposal (Part 2)

Late dinner @ 1-Altitude and Walk down Memory Lane

Andrew: No proposal is complete without a great meal at a romantic restaurant!

I wanted to find a place that had a beautiful, uninterrupted view of the Singapore skyline and my research led me to 1-Altitude @ 1 Raffles Place. It was indeed an excellent choice as you will see later in the photos later! The view from here was just stunning!

The traffic on the way there was insane and we took almost 40 minutes just to drive down. The great plus point was then as we were on the way there, we could hear fireworks going off in the air and it was as if those fireworks were for us too, celebrating our joyous moment 🙂

We arrived at the lobby and were directed to the lift which took us up 63 stories! When we arrived at the restaurant, we were shown to our seats and they had given us a table at a quaint little corner which was very private and had an amazing view of the Marina Bay area:

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Imagine if you were seated here during NDP. You would be able to see everything happening on the floating platform and have a full view of the fireworks.

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Pre-dinner Photographs

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Rustic Warm Bread

I thought this was a very well-composed shot (can’t remember who took it?). The bread came with butter, olive oil & balsamic vinegar, olives and radishes. The radishes were an acquired taste – rather plain on their own, but went well with the butter and the bread as it added a nice crunch to the overall texture.

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Our main courses…

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Angus Rib Eye Steak

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All the steaks come with horse-radish crusted bone marrow, snail green chive potatoes and a daily selection of sauces and condiments. The steak was less juicy than I was used too – it was a rather ‘thin’ slice, so there wasn’t the usual bite that I enjoyed from my steak. The sides were good and unique though! I loved the jelly-like savoury flavour of the bone marrow and the creamy richness of the chive potatoes.

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Jasmine: The panoramic view was nothing short of fantastic, but the food left much to be desired. Although the fried apples and Iberico jamon imparted an ambrosial fruitiness to the pork, I have tasted Kurobuta pork belly that is more tender and seasoned. Sadly, the side of mashed potato (not pictured) was the best dish that night.

A closer look at our ‘fashion-choices’ for the night…

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(On Andrew: bespoke shirt from Rossi; on Jasmine: tulle dress from Hong Kong, heels from Andre Valentino)

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Jasmine: The desserts we had wanted were all out of stock at that late hour, so we settled for chocolate truffle cake and a chocolate tart from the patisserie. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that both offerings were light enough on the palate but not insubstantial- even Andrew, the voracious eater who used to eat six meals a day back in college, had to call it quits and leave the cakes unfinished.

Andrew: Dear, I don’t think these desserts could be considered light on any count. They were both intensely rich, chocolately desserts. As I was making my way slowly but steadily through the desserts, Dearie took the time to take many shots of her rings in multiple arrangements amongst the flowers. I was glad to see that she really loved her rings so much. Heh. 🙂

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Jasmine: Now we can finally disclose a little secret. This Michal Negrin ring which has made a couple of cameos on the blog was a gift from Andrew. He gave it to me when he invited me for Marriage Preparation Course (MPC) in April this year.

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Andrew had sneakily planned our walking route such that we would walk into Raffles City from the Robinson’s entrance. Once there, he steered me very cleverly to the Michal Negrin section, banking on the fact that I would not be able to resist a little shopping. Then he subtly got me to try on different pieces of jewelry (not difficult, as you can guess) and asked me which ring I preferred.

He then dropped me in Paper Market, another store which he knew I wouldn’t be able to say no to, whilst he went back and bought the ring which I had picked out.

Then he presented it to me that evening as we were sitting by the bays at the Esplanade.

Andrew: Yes, this was one of the best surprises I’ve planned thus far for Jasmine. I’m quite proud of it!

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Jasmine: If Andrew’s weakness is chocolate, then mine has got to be flowers. The velvety red roses were practically begging to be used as the background for our ring photos. (We’d also like to point out that none of these photos have been retouched or altered in any way, so the colors of the roses and the rings are true to life.)

And once again, the engagement ring from Tiffany & Co! We keep getting compliments on how unusual and "blingy" this ring is. One guy friend even pretended to shield his eyes because the "blinginess" of the ring was too blinding. Heh.

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Jasmine: And of course, one of the best parts of the night actually happened by accident. It was our slow walk back to the carpark, which took us past the historical City Hall area.

We strolled past Timbre, where we first met socially, and the Singapore River, where he brought me on one of our most memorable dates on a cruise, and Fullerton Hotel, where we had a class learning journey back when we were trainee teachers at NIE. What a wonderful (if slightly insane!) ride it’s been and I’m so blessed to have a man like Andrew in my life to take care of and cherish me.

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Our first picture together at our first ‘social’ gathering at Timbre

Andrew: As we enjoyed our meal at 1-Altitude, I shared with Dearie how writing the proposal speech brought back so many wonderful memories of our getting-to-know-each-other days in NIE – the funny moments shared with friends, the endless teasing, the working together on various projects and geeky review sessions we would do on MSN after each presentation.

2Working on projects together in NIE

In taking a step forward, I looked back on all our ‘first love’ moments and it was really a trip down beautiful memory lane. The journey has had its rough moments, but we’ve weathered it through together and emerged stronger and appreciative of each other. Thanks Dearie for being the best girlfriend ever!

A final picture of the ring, courtesy of Jasmine’s auntie:

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The Proposal (Part 1)

Andrew: Because of various hints I’d given (I’m not the best at hiding secrets), Jasmine already kind of knew that I was going to propose on this day. Hence, the ‘challenge’ for me was to still surprise her in spite of the fact that she knew it would happen. In planning this, I thought about what always brought Jasmine great joy and integrated them into the proposal! Heh.

My ‘formula’ for a successful surprise proposal was:

1. Flowers: The bouquet from Far East Flora that couldn’t have been more apt. It was named the ‘Will you Marry Me?’ bouquet and it had those words embossed in gold on all the roses!

2. Helium Balloons: Went back to Bez Balloons to get crazy foil helium balloons with declarations of ‘I love you’! That’s another thing Dearie (and I’m sure all girls) like – bold declarations of the guy’s affection and love for them! Heh.

3. Jasmine’s girls: Jasmine’s girls have a very special place in her heart and I knew that she would definitely have wanted to share this special moment with them. The location was also decided on because it was near to our church venue and hence convenient for the girls! Liaised with them via Facebook and gave them clear directions. We were thankful indeed that many of them came down to share our joy – now we’re waiting for the photos of the proposal that they took while hiding in the corner of Alexandra Arch. Heh.

 (Jasmine: It sounds like a simple plan but I am very sure that coordinating all these items was no mean feat. Thank you so much dear!)

I shall now let Jasmine take over and share the story from her perspective:

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Jasmine: When we reached HortPark, we went to the washroom, and while I was in the ladies’, I overheard Andrew (who was waiting for me outside) talking fairly loudly on the phone. I couldn’t catch everything, but I distinctly overheard him saying: “we are here already… no, that’s too far, come back.”

We headed back to the car, where Andrew opened the boot and out popped a bunch of balloons and a huge bouquet of roses. He then proceeded to walk me out in the direction of Treetop Walk, but refused to answer any questions about where we were going or how far we had to walk.

To be honest, the proposal itself happened rather quickly. Andrew stopped me in the middle of Alexandra Arch and gave his proposal speech. He knelt down on one knee and held the ring in front of me.

Jasmine’s girls helped take this picture while hiding in the corner.

Then he asked me to open the card that had come with the bouquet. The card simply said, “Will you marry me?”

Now, I thought I would give Andrew a surprise of my own in exchange for the many I knew he had planned for me (yes, knowing beforehand about a “planned” surprise sounds paradoxical, but it made it no less touching when he actually proposed). I had anticipated that this would be the day that Andrew would propose, so I had already prepared a card the night before, which simply said, “Yes.”

I gave it to him. After he read it,  he looked to his right and yelled, “She said yes. You can come out now!” and nine of my girls came running out from behind a pillar where they had been hiding all along.

That was when I cried.

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Jasmine: In classic Andrew fashion, Andrew had written out his proposal speech word for word. (Of course, he had to modify it slightly because the audience he’d intended it for was still hiding behind the pillar.)

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And here are pictures of THE ring from Tiffany & Co!

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This is a Soleste diamond engagement ring from Tiffany & Co. We should probably save the story of the ring for another time, but needless to say I truly loved its vintage feel and incessant sparkle, as I find solitaire rings rather plain and conventional.

After that, we stayed on the Alexandra Arch to take more photos by sunset!

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Andrew: We were indeed very blessed that evening too. As we were taking photos, this man came along and volunteered to take photos for us as he was waiting for his family. He was patient and accommodating and took the same shot many times to get what we wanted. This is one of our favourite pictures from the night:

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Andrew: After we took all the photos we wanted, we made our way down from Hort Park to our dinner destination for Part 2 of our the Proposal ‘celebrations’. (Jasmine: We don’t want to spam you with photos, so look out for that in a separate post!)

As we drove down, we spent some time thanking God for His goodness and provision in our journey together thus far. It was truly a special and heartfelt moment for us.