Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Travelogue 0.3: The MUST-DO's when you are Travelling.

Yes, I'm having the wanderlust again. So here I am, writing about what I love most, travelling. Many of you would have known by now of my profound love for travelling but I'm not gonna blab about how much I love travelling in this post. I figured I'll share some tips about travelling that I myself find it as a MUST-DO for travelers.

But before I start on that, did I tell you guys how close was I to winning the iMasTraveler contest? Yea, its the Bali post that I posted up a few months back. You can read it all over here if you missed it. Anyways, yes, I was lucky enough to be chosen as the top 15 finalist from the 300++ entries. I pretty much gave up when I knew that there was only 277 likes for my post. Surprising enough for me, I got a congratulatory email from MAS when I was half dead during my exam period; it really uplifted my mood for a while. But unfortunately, I did not win anything except for a miniature Airbus A380. I have to say, it is a beauty, but I wanna be ON it not, to have a small model OF it.

Anyways, as promised, the MUST-DO's that I've learnt from my past travelling experiences:

#1. The comprehensive research.
I guess, this point is often forgotten by people who wishes to travel abroad. A comprehensive research is very important I must say. Not only does it help with money handling, it makes sure that you make full use of the limited time you have travelling abroad. You will also understand and connect with the locals better when you are over there. I don't know about you, but for me, this little point is pretty important for me, cause it enables me to understand how and why they live how they live. Learning about their culture, history and also knowing the must visit spots, ensure that you don't miss out on the best that a place have to offer you.

#2. Learn about making the best out of your money.
Remember, remember to check out the currency exchange rates before you travel. This is really important so you know exactly how much you are spending. In my recent trip to Philippines, me and my friend thought Philippines was really expensive and that deter us from spending unnecessarily. Funny thing was, after missing out on so many great bargains, I only realized much later that we have mistaken the conversion rate for Philippino Pesos. Things were so much cheaper that we thought. So hence, say goodbye to the cheap bargains that I pass up on. Other than shopping, I think its ultimately important to know this to stretch every dollar that you have in your pocket. 

Besides that, I also realized the importance of credit card in travelling. But if you are like me, only 21 and not having a stable income, I strictly advice you against that. And the best alternative would be to have Maybank's debit Visa card. Do remember to activate your account at maybank2u.com.my and also activate your account's "Plus" at your nearest ATM teller machine to enable you to withdraw money overseas(note that RM10 will be charged with every transaction). Other than m2u, I guess the last choice would be the traveller's check, which I find a bit troublesome. Money IS security especially when your travelling. I have gone totally broke when I'm travelling before and hell, it was scary. I guess, I should start learning a skill that I can perform on the streets to earn money just in case that unfortunate day really do come.

#3. Pack light.
Being someone who packs every weekend to go back to Kampar from KL, I dare say, I am a pretty pro packer now. But yet, me being a girl, its still kinda hard to pack without the essentials. And for a girl, essentials can be quite a lot; from skincare products, to everything a girl needs to making herself look like a fashionista walking down the streets(have to look good even though we are in a different country, don't you think so?) But still, I've learnt the hard way that its always good to pack light. One is that, you have extra space to fit all the shopping that you did, and also it'll be much easier for you to carry your bag around, of cause. For me, I would have to say, the latter didn't really mean so much to me. Cheap bargains is all that matters, yo!

#4. Snag a great travelling partner before you jump on the plane.
You can ignore my first three points, but this, believe me, is the most important of all. Travelling with someone who you can't stand, makes you hate the whole travelling experience, even the place that you traveled to all in all. If you think travelling with someone you can have a great time with means you he/she would be a breeze, think again. Travelling with someone can actually make you learn more about a person. Having a great time together ain't the same with spending every second of your day together. So yes, I agree when people say that  travelling is a great test for couples to see if they get along before they tie the knot. But at the end of the day, if you got yourself a great travelling mate, the trip would be a great one to remember for life.

Well, these are the basic four MUST-DOs that I feel everyone should do to have a great travelling experience. Travelling is after all for leisure and all together a learning experience to be kept for a lifetime and to be shared with your grandchildren. So make it the best story to tell for life!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Topshop Dress Up Preview Party Launch.

Luck, funny thing, I would say. I have never believed in luck since I was young but then, there couldn't be any more other explanation to why I actually won the free tickets to witness the new Topshop Dress Up Preview Party Launch. I actually got a ticket myself, being a F3 card member (I know it made no difference) but atleast I got a RM50 voucher all thanks to TiC.

So if you were wondering, why Topshop, KLCC was closed last 3 weeks ago (yes, I know this post is super back dated), lemme walk you through why:

#1. The outlet.
Here's the third largest Topshop outlet in the whole of Malaysia (if I'm not mistaken). Why do I know? That's cause I worked in Topshop before. Right after my SPM and if you ask, it wasn't so pleasant working there. The long hours with nothing to do, I'd rather you point a gun at me and shoot. Anyways, here's a picture of the shop as it closes down to prepare for the event. I was there rather early(with all my iPhone drama) so I got to see how people ended up pretty confused when they weren't allowed to enter the shop at 7pm.

# 2. The Clothes.
Yes, every girl's heaven. Every girl wishes her wardrobe to be the shopping mall, no? I know I do. But yeah, for now, I'll just stick to "dreaming that it'll happen". Anyways, Dress Up, the new line carried by only a few outlets in Malaysia, is a whole new line of dresses and clothes suitable for parties and events. It carries a touch of glamor with every design but yet maintains its chic. I saw a few dresses that I love. Gotta save up now, don't I? Anyways, girls, if you are looking for party dresses, make sure you check Topshop out.

# 3. The Fashionistas.
Everyone who went for the launch was very much a fashionista themselves. Everyone who attended was damn chio, making a fashion statement to leave a lasting impression. Here's some pictures.

This is Shantee from TiC, who handpicked me to win. Thanks Shantee!

This is what I wore the other day:
Top: Dorothy Perkins
High-waisted Skirt: Topshop
Jacket: Berjaya Times Square
Bracelets & Glasses: Flea Market
Bag: Dorothy Perkins
Shoes: Vincci (not in picture)

# 4. The new Make-Up line.
Topshop has just launched its new make up line and they had make up artists there to help us with the products. I tried some of the products and I would say, I really like the dark electric blue eye shadow. Its really nice but I didn't get them cause the products are mostly not waterproof/ smudgeproof. My skin gets oily easily so these two attributes for my make up is a must.

#5. The Party.
Topshop even hired a female DJ for this event. It was a pretty smart move to make the whole atmosphere more energetic and upbeat to suit the new line. Even the DJ was a fashionista herself! She was very well dressed, looking like a biker. What I remembered most was her biker's gloves. Love em'. They also had these cute bubble cakes for the guests as refreshments. And the people from Topshop took a picture of me when I was eating them. So cute ohh-eemm-geee.

So yeah, I sure hope that I cleared things up for you people who were wondering about the big hoo-haahh that was happening in Topshop KLCC 3 weeks ago. It was pretty fun for me I would say, meeting other fashionistas. More to come, more to come!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Makan-logue #2: Zuan Yuan Rice Dumpling Festival '11, One World Hotel.

Yes! The season of Rice Dumplings is here again! I have always loved dumplings since I was young. Being influenced deeply by the Hokkien society as my mother is a Hokkien, I have always been pampered with the wonderful food that every festival brings. Oh, did you know that every different type of food during different festivity has a symbolic reason to every mythical stories that had been passed down from generations to generations? Yup, I was intrigued when I learnt about the rice dumpling story. So here's how the story goes.

Mandarin Character of Rice Dumplings

Apparently, a strong and brave general during the olden days, got accused and framed. He was sentenced to exile but he ran away. He decides to jump off a river and die to prove his innocence rather than being caught and  punished for what he did not do. So, the villagers who believed in him, tries to help him even after he's dead by throwing rice dumplings into the river to avoid fishes from feasting on him to preserve his body. And so, this is the story of where the rice dumplings come from.

There are many different types of rice dumplings today to suit your taste buds which ranges from the sweet ones up to the savory ones. I personally like the savory Hokkien, black-ish, pork "Bak-Chang" without salted egg yolk. My grandma makes them best. But then again, I have always said, whats the harm of trying out different types of variety? And so, thanks to Rebecca, I got to join in for Zuan Yuan's rice dumpling festival food tasting last Friday at One World Hotel.

The dumplings are usually made of glutinous rice and packed with an assortment of fillings, such as salted egg yolk, chestnut, mushroom, black-eyes beans, wrapped in bamboo leaves. And at Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant, located on the lobby level of One World Hotel, Dim Sum Chef Jordan Chin Chee Hung and his team have created three very unique flavours for this celebration:

Chef Jordan.

Steamed Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Red Date Paste
RM8++ per dumpling

The red dates to make this rice dumpling are boiled for a maximum 8 hours and the skin removed to form the paste. This dumpling is perfect for sweet-tooths like me. The dumpling has a very fragrant aroma that lingers in your mouth with the right amount of sweetness.

Eight Treasure Glutinous Rice Dumpling Hong Kong Style
RM25++ per dumpling

This dumpling are made of 8 main ingredients; sliced roasted duck, pacific clam, salted egg yolk, gingko nut, lotus seed, barley, ground nuts, green bean, mushroom, black-eye bean and chest nut. I personally prefer this dumpling than the one with Abalone. This dumpling has a simple aromatic taste to it which I really like.

Traditional Five Grain Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Sliced Australian Abalone
RM58++ per dumpling

This mouth-watering almost 1 kg dumpling is a must try. With the traditional five grain glutinous rice (basmathi, black glutinous rice, oats, wild rice and brown rice) dumpling with sliced Australian abalone, sliced duck, dried scallop, diced mushroom, lotus seed, dried shrimps, salted egg yolk and chest nut. The taste of the abalone and the duck meat makes the dumpling taste richer and is perfect for meat lovers out there.

That was all that was supposed to be on the menu, but the people from One World Hotel was so kind that they wanted to ensure that our tummies are all well fed. They served us with more delicious food.

1/2 Herbal Roasted Duck
RM33++ per 1/2 duck

Crispy Red Bean Chinese Pancake with Banana

Durian Combination
(Durian flavored spring roll, pancake & Ice cream)

Double Boiled Fuji Apple with Lemon Grass and Aloe Vera

All of these dumplings are best paired with the wide variety of Chinese Tea. These dumplings are available during lunch and dinner for dine-in and take-away. Hurry now. These dumplings are only available from 23 May- 6 June 2011.

For reservations or orders, please call Zuan Yuan at 603 7681 1159

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nestle's new Drumstick launch: Meet the ALMOND THRILL!

It was yesterday when Nestle launched a new thrilling flavor to join their already famous Nestle Drumstick® family which consists of; "Vanilla's Got Nuts", "Chocolate Blast" and "Saucy Strawberry" as well as "Kit Kat®". The new flavor, deemed as the "Almond Thrill" promise to offer more crunch in each bite.

Nestle's newest Drumstick! The Almond Thrill!

This latest addition boasts a delectable new recipe – smooth and creamy pecan-flavoured ice cream in a rich, dark cone, surrounded by a thin chocolate ring and topped with a generous layer of crushed almond nuts. Savour the flavours of NESTLE DRUMSTICK ® ALMOND THRILL with small nibbles or chomp your way through the delicious crunchy outer layer. Either way, you’ll find that the ice cream gives a different sensation with every new bite, be it the delicate flavour from the hidden chocolate swirl in the centre or the satisfying chocolate nugget in the first bite.

I'm more of a berry flavored ice cream person so it was alil' too sweet for my liking but it was nonetheless, good for people who are NUTS for nuts! But I'll still recommend it to people regardless, with the terrible scorching weather nowadays as the retail price for this new sensation is only RM2.80.

Anyways, it was a fun day out yesterday at Sunway Giza, almost the whole Advertlets team was there. It was definitely a good break after the tons of work that we have back in the office. Also, getting to meet up with the Advertlets bloggers! Oh, did I tell you that so many of us bloggers won prizes during their game sessions? One of them even got an iPad! No, no. I din't win anything though. ah shucks, I know righht? But it was all fun. Even Rebecca suited up for some action!

With the Advertlets Bloggers.

Well if you missed out the fun during the launch yesterday, worry not. Nestle also launched the NESTLE DRUMSTICK® ALMOND THRILL What’s Yours? Contest. It offers ice cream lovers the chance to win prizes totaling up to RM57,000. Interested participants will have to convey how you would like to live your adventure with NESTLE DRUMSTICK®.

You first need to ‘Like’ the NESTLE DRUMSTICK® Facebook fan page and then register as a member of the NESTLE DRUMSTICK® ALMOND THRILL What’s Yours? Facebook ApplicationYou must then upload a video – not more than two miniutes long – based on the theme onto the Facebook app, or claim a video shot at any NESTLE DRUMSTICK® ALMOND THRILL What’s yours? On-ground event listed on www.drumstick.com.my. So what are you waiting for? Start winning now!

Friday, May 13, 2011

280311: I'm finally Legal! 3.0

And the chronicles of melaniehwa's big two-one continues. As I have said before, its a five-part blog post that I am gonna bore you with. So here's part three. I'm pretty sure you guys must be thinking, what else can this girl get for her birthday? She already had her long-wanted BBQ and a surprise party thrown for her. Well, those were all my friends. Today's post, is all about my family.

Saturday, 260311.
I was jokingly telling my mummy a few weeks back, about my coming birthday and to my surprise, she was really up for it. I was really happy about how supportive my parents and family are about it, though lately our family has been really tight financially. I swear I was the happiest girl, the moment my mother called me, asking me excitedly(like a little girl), which birthday cake would I like to have; she was over at Secret Recipe to get their brochure. My parents, together with my grandma were up early that day itself to prepare for everything. I felt so bad for waking up really late and doing nothing.

So we went over to my brother's place and to my joy, my niece was awake to play with me. Here's a picture of her. Please try not to gawk all over her excessive, tremendous, over flowing cute-ness kayys?

Meet Jacinda Hwa.

So yes, my family, both sides, were all there. Both my sides of my family have been very close ever since I could ever remember. My parents met each other since they were really young and both families were practically like one. We went over to the BBQ lot by the swimming pool and the ambience for the place when night came was perfect. Everyone was busy catching up, eating my mother's famous curry chicken, snapping lots and lots of stupid pictures with my cousins, oh, and they even made me give a speech! Don't ask me what the speech is about, cause, all I know was I was so embarrassed! Believe me, I'm not one who shy around when I'm asked to talk, but when its with my family, its different. Here's some pictures!

The Place.

The awesome food.

Crinkled-up sausages. =P

The perfect company.

Cousins, all grown up.

Being 21, I am still a kid inside. 

Me & my grandma's favourite cake. 
The Durian Cake. (Did I hear, yucksss? BOO you!)

Oh, and this is my audience. All standing up, ready for the speech I was telling you about.

I would like to extend my gratitude to every single one of my family members who were there, and also who weren't. I wouldn't be who I am today, without your love and guidance. I thank my grandma, my dad and my mum, for waking up so early, to prepare for the big day and I thank my brother and his wife, for the place. Thank you everyone for the gifts, the angpaus and the wishes. Special thanks to my dad and my mum, who've given me their best for the past 21 years.

Further Reads:

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