Life updates in photos and words make a super duper blog post!

Yay, finally got some time to blog some. June 2011 is a crazy busy month and we’re only halfway through! I’m going on a short break to Penang tomorrow. Chillax road trip, it’s already awesome! Right, life updates!

#1 – Celebrated Tate’s birthday at WIP, he turns ancient. Thanks folks for a super fun night :) So proud of myself for not touching a single drop of alcohol, heheh!

Ruk, Tate, Suanie

#2 – Been eating a lot of steamed vegetables for dinner. It’s not that bad but SO BORING!!! Was debating whether or not to spend RM 8 for a broccoli/ cauliflower marked grown in compost or organic (can’t remember) or take my chances with the RM2 China imported greens. Cheapness won, I took my chances with the country that came out with fake eggs.

Steamed vege for dinner

#3 – Been attending my Marie France Bodyline sessions regularly. Earlier this week I experienced a new machine with low frequency ultrasound technology, one of their latest treatments. Apparently it’s good to help break stagnant fats, but one could get uncomfortable with the zzzzz zzzz sound. What, I don’t know how to describe it ok! I also had another deep detoxifying massage, bloody brilliant. The therapist kneaded me like dough. Here’s a photo me in the treatment room because I can.

Suanie at Marie France Bodyline

#4 – Participated in a photoshoot for Passionately You, a campaign collaboration between Jaya One, PJ Live Arts, Assunta Hospital and Asia Assistance to raise awareness and raise funds for breast and cervical cancers. Some of the photos I received further confirmed my lack of chin. Not as in lack of bravery/ principles or anything like that, but the part where my chin is supposed to be… doesn’t exist! If you have a proper chin, well ain’t that just your good genetic luck :(

Anyway here are some of us… in paint. It’s supposed to be water-based but I still can’t get it out of my favourite denim shorts. If you know a way to do so, please enlighten me! If it works, I’ll… err… really appreciate it :) Really one.

Don't Duck It - Breast & Cervical Cancer Awareness shoot

#5 – Went back to my hometown for my grandpa’s + uncle’s + cousin’s birthday dinner. I didn’t eat the cake either. SO DISCIPLINED OMG! Please click here to vote for me ;)

Grandpa's birthday

Here’s a photo of me and my Dad, who was so happy to see me home.

Suanie and her dad... again

And my cousins. The one on the right looks like a Korean boyband superstar, the one in the middle is obsessed with G-Dragon and the one on the right tried to tempt me with all the stuff I couldn’t eat (or rather, chose not to eat because of their high fat content) and failed. Determination triumphs!

Suanie's cousins

- The End -

Weekend Trip: 8 Things I Did in Singapore

#1 – Took responsibility for Ryan on our first time traveling together to a different country, just the two of us. It is a lot of work keeping an eye on a kid, especially at the airport. But it was a fun learning experience (for me).

Ryan at the airport

#2 – Checked in to Novotel Clarke Quay with the rest of my family who arrived at different hours. Lovely rooms.

View from Novotel Clarke Quay

#3 – Dumped Left Ryan to my folks while I spent 3 hours getting reacquainted with Golden Ale at Brewerkz. Alone but oh so happy!

Beer and fries at Brewerkz Riverside

#4 – Attended my cousin’s wedding dinner. The dishes are a tad different from what I’m accustomed to in Malaysia. For example, the soup was almost bright orange in colour.

Suanie's cousin got married

#5 – Had possibly the worst chee cheong fun at Liang Court’s Kopitiam. It was this thick…

Liang Court Kopitiam chee cheong fun

#6 – Kept disturbing Ryan as he tried to watch Ben 10 in peace. No such luck.

Suanie disturbs Ryan

#7 – Met with Shirley!! <3

Shirley and Suanie

#8 – Had super awesome ramen at Tampopo, Liang Court. The soup is rich (great stock with pork bones), the ramen springy and the black pig shabu shabu DELICIOUS!

Tampopo Shabu Shabu black pig ramen

All in all, I had a blast :)

The Marie France Bodyline Challenge update #2

It’s incredible how supportive my friends and acquaintances are. Once they found out that I am doing this, messages of support and encouragement came pouring in. I’m very grateful to all of you and I appreciate your kind words.

Some friends aren’t quite sure what this is about. I don’t blame you, since I only posted the link to vote on my Facebook without much introduction. In a nutshell, I’m undergoing treatments/ sessions at Marie France Bodyline (MFB). This is a 30 days challenge with 3 other bloggers doing the same thing. There’s a Facebook contest on a voting basis, where the blogger with the most number of votes wins a 3D2N trip to Bali. If you’d like to vote for me, the link is here. Arigatou.

(But only vote for me if you think that I’m deserving. It’s not a popularity contest :) )

If I do win the grand prize, that would be friggin’ awesome because I love Bali (even more so if it costs nothing). If I don’t, well I’ve had all those fabulous MFB treatments for free. I’m quite enjoying them – so far it has been a spa-like experience.

Someone asked if I have to write all nice things about MFB. Nope, my obligation is only to blog about my experiences, good or bad. The only bad thing that I’ve experienced so far is the lack of parking availability at the MBF Uptown area. Then I got smart and pushed my appointments to an hour later and it ceased to be a problem.

Anyway let’s get back to summarising my 1st week of sessions. Caron, my MFB consultant decided to focus on my arms and tummy area (because if they get any bigger, they’d explode in your face). I went through a couple of wraps and massages. Damn shiok right? Told you it’s like a spa. But the massages can get a bit painful lah, ‘cos they are deep tissue massages. Don’t be fooled by the small size masseurs – they have fingers like iron.

As for the wraps, well here’s a photo of how I looked being wrapped.

Suanie at Marie France Bodyline

Why was I grinning? ‘Cos I didn’t want to look sad. Why did I have the thumbs up? ‘Cos I had limited movement options from the wrap. Why wrap my legs only? Actually they go through the whole body, but I’ve my family honour to consider before posting such a photo of my wrapped body sans robe. Oh and the sanctity of your eyes too.

The bandages that made me look like a mummy were actually soaked in some sort of ingredient to aid the slimming process, of course. Takes a bit of getting used to, as the rolls of towels were unwrapped, you could see the steam coming out. The therapist then rolls cling wrap all over to keep the towels in place. Then I’m free to do whatever I want for 25 minutes before they come off. I usually get a paraffin wax treatment for my hands, drink ginger tea and read Her World.

After the 1st week, I do feel that my tummy is slightly smaller. You know lah, when you wear your pants or something and they don’t feel as tight. I doubt it’s water loss because I’ve been drinking water like crazy. Perhaps it’s combined with my attempt to eat better + one Bootcamp session. Ok, 1/2 Bootcamp session ‘cos I nearly K.O.ed so I did only 30 mins. I know I’ve to workout more though.

Also, check out this tuna wrap that I made for dinner. Tuna in olive oil + chopped onion + chopped steamed carrot + mustard + salt + black pepper wrapped in this expensive rice wrap thingy I found in Village Grocer. 8 pieces for RM12+, taste wise is so-so. Next time I buy pita pocket bread better.

Tuna Wrap dinner

OK that’s all for now. If you want to check out Marie France’s specials, they’re currently having an on-line promotion: RM58 for a tummy reduction therapy + RM10 Coffee Bean voucher. *Link*

Marie France Bodyline
Click here for MFB Facebook page
Click here to vote for me!

The sure-fire crowd pleaser baked fish

Yes it’s a syiok sendiri title. I had this for dinner as part of my healthier eating for the Marie France Bodyline challenge. I let my Mom and Ryan have a taste. They really liked it. Three’s a crowd mah.

Har har har.

Village Grocer sells beautiful lemon sole (ikan sebelah) fillet. They look absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t help but to buy a 200g pack that costs about RM7+. The next pretty fish available was the cod fillet, triple the price of my lemon sole.

What I’m using here is half of the entire fillet. The other half was cooked in a white wine sauce that didn’t make it and I don’t want to talk about it.

First, pre-heat your oven to 180°C for about 10 mins. While that is being done, clean your fish fillet using running water, then pat dry with paper towels.

Do you have some herbs and spices? Yes = Good. No = Bad. For this mixture, I used some:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Paprika Powder, Garlic Powder, Mixed Italian herbs, Salt + Black Pepper

I feel that you can basically use whatever you have in your kitchen. If the combination doesn’t turn out well, at least you learned something new, right? :)

Easy Baked Fish - ingredients

Mix the mixture well, then add it to your fish fillet and coat thoroughly. You can add carrots to your baking dish as well to let them cook together. Saves time and electricity!

Bake for about 20 minutes. If you have a thicker cut of fish, then bake slightly longer lor.

Easy Baked Fish - preparing to bake

Serve with aforementioned carrots and cherry tomatoes. Or whatever sides you wish to serve it with. I’m the one who has to eat healthier, you don’t.

Easy Baked Fish

Absolutely delicious! At least three people thought so! :)

Suanie and the Marie France Bodyline challenge

I’ve some news that will make my Mom very happy:
I’m undergoing the full Marie France Bodyline slimming treatment for one month!!

Actually she already knows, so I’m really just telling the rest of you.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this experiment (as I call it) is a Nuffnang-initiated campaign in conjunction with Marie France Bodyline‘s 26th anniversary this year. On my part, I’m obliged to attend 3 sessions a week for 4 weeks and blog a little about my experience(s). Monetary compensation for this campaign is enough to buy 55 Happy Meals. Which of course, is something that I wouldn’t do ;)

Another reason why I said yes was because… ok well, this time last year, I looked like this:

Suanie and Alex @ Changkat BB
With Alex, my Genting Trailblazer 2010 buddy

This time this year, I look like this:

Suanie in late May 2011
With Matthew Pomeroy at Absolut Akademi

Tragic, I know. Boys and girls, that is the result of a mere few months of not working out + eating everything in sight + losing focus on lifestyle and health does to you. Do not be like me.

So I’m giving this a fair chance because I need to get back my mojo. Also at the end of this experiment, there may be a contest between me and 3 other bloggers who are undergoing the same thing. At the moment, I only know one of the bloggers, Tammy of Plus Size Kitten. She is my competitor, so to speak. I heard that she’s really raring to go and rather determined to win…

On Monday, I went to the Marie France Bodyline branch in Uptown for my 1st session. Can’t miss it, it’s nestled among the few slimming centres on the same main road. It’s so strange how slimming centres and bridal shops work alike – open one in a new location and a few months later, the area will be filled with similar shops/ services.

I met with Caron, consultant and branch manager. She’s rather pretty, friendly and informative.

Marie France Uptown - Caron
Caron of Marie France Bodyline

Caron sat me down and we had a long chat about slimming, Marie France Bodyline’s products and services, goals I should aim for and body target areas, etc. To be honest, I was a bit distracted by her eyes. She had those coloured contact lens that made her eyes look like a True Blood maenad victim.

Then Kim, my assigned nutritionist came in to talk about my diet. Based on friends’ true experiences at other slimming centres, I was expecting a cabbage soup recipe that I would be advised to consume if I wanted maximum results, which I was fully prepared to reject because that is a stupid diet programme. Don’t get me started on it.

Well that didn’t happen. She just asked me about my usual food intake, gave some suggestions about food choices and gave me a timetable for me to jot down what I eat (to be submitted to her later so we could have another discussion about areas to improve etc). I asked her about any dieting recipes that she may want to give me, she said nah, she trust me to do it on my own… first. After all, she read my blog and saw that I cook some, and she was sure that I’d be able to make my own healthier meals.

“Oh you read my blog? So you saw the homemade French fries la?”
“Yeah… I did… :X ”

For my 1st session, I underwent 3 hours of 2 types of treatments. One is VRST (don’t ask me what it stands for) for my arms and it includes: ultrasound wave to loosen the fat, a lifting procedure, a 35 min manual deep tissue massage, a mask made of seaweed ingredients (not a very pleasant smell) and an application of a really hot slimming serum. By hot, I mean it feels like you’ve rolled around in a bucket of prepared birds eye chilli.

The 2nd treatment is FEST (an acronym for something that I forgot) for my tummy, lasted 1.5 hours with the following: hot wrapping, manual massage, mask and hot blanket.

I liked the girl, Suggy who helped me with my treatments. Aside from having rather strong hands (for the massage), she was friendly and most importantly, knows when to converse and when not to. Apparently she has been doing this for 8 years, that’s a lot of experience there!

So that was about it for my 1st session. My subsequent updates won’t be as lengthy as this one, this is just an introduction. I didn’t really feel much different from the session, except that my arms was burning a bit from the serum. It went away after a while but not before I received some pretty weird glances my way at Subway…

Since then, I’ve not been working out (couldn’t wake up for Bootcamp) but I made an effort to eat better. Today I had: meehoon fishball soup + x1 coffee + x1 banana + 200g baked fish with 2 carrots and lots of cherry tomatoes + muesli with low fat milk. It’s a healthier and less than what I’ve been eating for the past few months. No wonder the difference in the 1st two photos!

Will make an effort to work out. Really one. Wish me luck!

Marie France Bodyline
Click here for their Facebook page

The Ryan-approved Spanish-style Baked Shrimps

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps I made this twice. First time was overcooked but edible. I have a tendency to overcook, something about fear of poisoning myself and others around me just because the ingredients are raw-er than they should be. Food poisoning doesn’t sound like a dignified way to go, if you get what I mean.

The second time, I separated it into two bowls. One with chilli for me and one without for Ryan the Nephew. I’m a great aunt like that. You should be so lucky to have an aunt like me.

This is a real easy and simple way to enjoy your shrimps. By the way, do you know the difference between shrimps and prawns without googling? I don’t, they’re the same to me. I’d always thought that shrimps are smaller and prawns are bigger. According to this article, they are biologically different. Shrimps have large front pincers and shorter legs. Prawns have longer legs and their second pincers are big. Interesting eh? There, you learned something new today. With the following recipe, you’d learn two new things! La vida es maravillosa!

Here’s what you need for the Ryan-approved Spanish-style Baked Shrimps:

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - ingredients

Ingredients:
- 400g Shrimp meat, de-shelled with tail intact, deveined
- 8 garlic cloves. More if you like, less if you like
- 1/3 cup / 80ml olive oil. I use extra virgin
- 1 tsp Salt
- Chilli Powder or Flakes for Adults (optional)
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice for Kids (optional)
- Fresh Italian parsley or cilantro/ coriander

First step: clean the shrimps. Village Grocer sells shrimp meat sans shells with tails intact, less work for me yay! But you still have to devein the darn things. Deveining prawns is a thankless job, and you only do it for the people whom you really love. It’s really so.not.fun.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - cleaning shrimp

Take a sharp knife and run it through the back part of the prawn. See the yucky black line thingy in the photo above? Toss. Do the same for the opposite part of the prawn, there would be a small, yucky clear line thingy. Toss. Rinse and repeat for all prawns.

At some point, you should pre-heat your oven to the highest setting for about 15 mins. Mine goes up to 250 degree Celcius.

Next: Lay the shrimps on a single layer on an oven-friendly baking dish. Or two dishes, if you are making an adult version (chilli) and a kids version (lemon juice). Feel free to arrange them like how I did. It earns you brownie points too, ‘cos your nephew would be praising you to high heavens for being so clever to make two prawns stick together like that.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - arranging

Your garlic cloves should have been peeled and cut to thin slices. I love garlic and I go way liberal with them. You can add or reduce the amount of garlic, but I’m telling you that they taste absolutely yummy.

Sprinkle the salt all over the prawns. Add however much chilli powder of chilli flakes your taste buds can take. The amount of chilli powder that I added in the photo below wasn’t enough for me :( I think chilli flakes give more kick.

For the kids version, you can opt to add the lemon juice. Or not. It makes some difference but not world-changing.

Lay out the garlic slices all over, then pour the olive oil on them.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - final preparation

Dump them into the pre-heated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. They’ll come out looking like this:

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - out from the oven

Add some chopped parsley/ coriander if you want to. Serve to appreciative nephew.

Spanish-style Baked Shrimps - end

Bask in the following adoring praises:
“Xiao Yi, this is the best prawn ever!”
“Xiao Yi, next time you should only cook this kind of prawn ok.”
“Xiao Yi, you are so clever!!”
“Xiao Yi, I love them so much! They are so delicious.”
“Xiao Yi, I don’t want to eat any other prawn but this prawn ok!”

Okay.

Ryan and his lyrics book

Do you remember how you learned to read? I don’t, exactly. It was a blur of alphabets and word posters and Peter and Jane. Thankfully my Mom being a teacher means that we had a lot of reading material lying around in the house.

I think Ryan was having some problems with his reading, generally from a lack of interest. Mom found a solution for that: by writing down lyrics (in big friendly letters) to his current favourite songs, which coincidentally are her favourite :D

See, big lyrics book with big handwriting for the boy.

Ryan and his lyrics book

… first page is a John Denver classic.

John Denver's classic in lyrics book

… this is Ryan reading and singing.

And this is Ryan with his evil youngest aunt in her most disheveled because it was at a comfortable place forcing him do everything according to her whim and fancies, in this case laughingly pose for a photograph.

Suanie and Ryan

Think it’s working. Ryan seems to enjoy learning to read via his lyrics book. Other oldies but goodies include Moon River, Knock Three Times and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree. All my favourites too!