Travel + Photos: Purrfect Cat Cafe (Penang)

Penang’s 1st and only cat cafe can be found in Jalan Muntri, a street connected to the famous Love Lane (Lorong Love), George Town.

The last stop of yesterday’s walking tour of Penang’s capital, George Town was Purrfect Cat Cafe along Jalan Muntri. I’m putting this one up first so I can link to it once I do the full walking tour post. Oh, and because the cats deserve a post of their own. Don’t you think? I’ve always loved animals, sometimes more than most people. If you watch the news on a regular basis, you’ll probably get me why I feel like this. My family in Manila owned dogs for as long as I can remember and in 2010, I also got a cat named Red. My grandparents and I (also my mother when she’s in Manila for a visit) spoil the hell out of him. He’s a diva, the queen of the household (I say ‘Queen’ because we strongly believe that he’s gay. There has been substantial evidence. And we basically love him more for it!), and the one with the most ‘tude in the household. Later on, my husband and I also got more dogs so his parents’ place and my grandparents’ are basically animal care institutions. Our pets are not just treated like family – they’re the babies. The favourites.

I was smiling from ear to ear upon entering this place. I was too excited.

So, it was ultimately heartbreaking when we moved to Malaysia and I found out that pets are not allowed in most buildings in Kuala Lumpur. Cats are sometimes tolerated but dogs are just a major no-no. When I read on a magazine a couple of months ago that there’s a Cat Cafe in Penang, I knew I just had to visit it. I miss having a furry friend around. :( But I’ll stop yapping now and let you see the photos from yesterday and tell you a bit about the experience:

It’s a place for cat worship. Can’t you tell? While there are a couple of Penang street art souvenirs, the cats really do dominate the store. From t-shirts to keychains, to stuffed toys.

All shapes and sizes. And in varying colours too. ;)

Hmm. What are we having today?

I wasn’t really hungry at the time as it was only a little past three (I had lunch at around 1:30 in the afternoon) so I just ordered a drink. There’s a minimum charge of RM18 (Php246.23, EUR4.33, USD5.49) for you to be able to hang out upstairs where the cats are. I only noticed this later on when I had already paid RM15.20 (Php207.93, EUR3.65, USD4.64) for my Dark Chocolate Sunset, a little over RM2 short, but the cashier didn’t seem to mind as it was kind of a slow Monday. There were only two other tables that were occupied upstairs.

The menu. Can you see it? I hope it can be zoomed. But drinks are priced between RM12-15, exclusive of tax.

Get to know the kitties. There 8 in total but Snowy was at the Cafe Manager’s home while Nala and Marble were resting in an enclosed space.

Cats as famous people or famous people as cats? Celebricats? Can you recognise them? ;)

Love cats? Leave them a message here.

Follow the house rules! ;) Shoes are to be left in an area behind the staircase that leads up to the cafe proper.

Oh, and remember… ;) I’m pretty comforted by this idea.

You pay downstairs and surrender your receipt here at the coffee bar where they will make your drink for you.

Eating in peace. You can opt to eat by the coffee bar and just go into the cat play room after.

They own you.

Curious much?

Teddy here had quite a long day of… well, playing.

Bear seemed a bit shy at first.

Molly was the exact opposite. She wanted some of my drink! ;)

Yep, definitely a curious bunch.

This is Orange. She was sleeping soundly until this couple who came in pulled her out of her box then carried her to the chair. She was obviously pissed at these ‘annoying humans’. Lol.

Purrfect Cat Cafe’s House Rules: Wash your hands before playing with the cats (This is common sense. You might have touched something outside that might make them sick!) Do not disturb sleeping cats. You can take photos of them but don’t use flash. These royal highnesses don’t like it when we humans get in the way of their nap time. Do not touch the cats when they are eating their cat food. This might affect their eating habits. No flash photography. When they’re asleep or when they’re awake. You’ll scare the hairballs out of them! Do not feed them with your food. A cat’s diet is not similar to that of a human’s. They need more protein and sometimes, human food might make them sick. If they try to eat your food or drink from your coffee, do stop them. No pinching and no violence towards the cats, please. Again, common sense. Don’t get too rough with them when playing either! Do not bring out the cats from the cat zone. No matter how much they want to explore the other side of the cafe. Hygienic reasons. ;) Please do not hold (I suppose they mean to carry or hug the cats) the cats. Most of the time, cats like to be left alone. Yeah, you can pet them but most of them don’t appreciate being carried around like babies. They’re too proud for that. ;) They might end up scratching you! The couple that came in after me to the cat zone insisted on carrying them around. Couldn’t help myself from smirking when Teddy tried to scratch one of them. C’mon. The cat doesn’t like it. Stop badgering him. Tend to your children. Children can’t read the rules yet so parents should advise the kids about the rules. They might end up hurting the kitties who might scratch them. :(

“What’s this you’re drinking, human?”

Here’s Leo who’s not that big a fan of the chocolate drink but would like to have some water.

And this was me, tired from all the walking I did around George Town, begging Leo to take a selfie with me. But alas – Cats = 10, Carol = 0.

At a little past 4, I said goodbye to the cats. My husband’s conference ends at 5 and I had so much to tell him once I get back to the hotel.

On the way down, you’ll notice this sign. Seems legit.

I was too tempted to buy one of these cat ear headbands. But a.) they’re not age appropriate anymore and b.) I already did Catwoman for halloween years ago.

Cute lil keychains!

I bought two postcards featuring Orange and Leo to send to two of my friends. Won’t post a photo here to keep them as a surprise. Postcards at the Cat Cafe cost RM4 (Php54.66, EUR0.96, USD1.44). You can buy stamps at the Camera Museum beside the Cat Cafe and drop them off at the post box along the street. Purrfect Cat Cafe is located at 53 Jalan Muntri, George Town, Penang, Malaysia. It’s open daily from 11:00am up to 9:30pm. It’s a really great place to relax after a long day. Especially if you’ve been walking under the heat of the sun. It’s extremely relaxing to be around these kitties who love a good scratch at the back of their ears and neck. Super adorable! More later! Love, Carol

Travel+ Food + Photos: Getting to Penang, Penang Hill, and some Food Worship

Hello from Penang! :) It seems we haven’t been spending a lot of time at home in our condo in KL. When my husband told me that he’s got a conference to attend on this island and that he’ll pay for my fare if I wanted to tag along, I was actually having second thoughts about going.

Yes, really! Carol, with the crazy levels of wanderlust and the constant travel whims! I guess after going to Sabah then to Langkawi (we even have a scheduled weekend trip to Singapore a couple of weeks from now!) in just a span of weeks then attending events in between, I just felt like we were never home anymore (and I am honestly in love with how cosy our condo is) and I know I have a ton of posts to write (all the traveling has given me quite a backlog).

I honestly felt that I wanted to just stay still for a bit – preferably on our couch, watching  Gossip Girl re-runs or baking. But hey, I couldn’t pass on the chance of seeing Penang with my husband. I knew I would be jealous if I was left at home. And though I’m missing the ASEAN Ladies’ Circle Coffee Morning this week (one of the events I’ve been looking forward to for a while!), I’m glad I went with him. Penang is just so beautiful!

From the moment we spotted the island from the air, I knew I’d have a special relationship with this place. Come to think of it, I was already aware of some of the great things about living in Penang through AmandaMuse, a vlogger on Youtube that I like. (She talks about beauty, travel, expat life, and motherhood. So if you’re into those things, I suggest you check her out.) I never expected I’ll be visiting Penang so soon but I guess that’s the beauty of my husband’s job. Almost nothing is certain, plans can always change. Guess who’s never bored? The crazy wife, of course. ;)

Anyhoo, we took the 55 minute flight from KLIA this morning and arrived past 10 am at Penang International Airport. Our hotel is at the Batu Ferringhi area (Penang’s well-loved beaches and resort-hotels are here) which is 31 kilometres away – at the opposite side of the island! Instead of taking a cab which would cost us RM74 (Php1010.81, EUR17.81, USD22.57), we took the 102 bus which only costs RM4 (Php54.64, EUR0.96, USD1.22) per person! Crazy price difference!

The bus is also a great way to see Georgetown, the State of Penang’s capital, as well. We dumped our stuff at the hotel, freshened up a bit, and went straight for one of the restaurants along the main road in Batu Ferringhi.

First order of business was food, of course! It was past lunch time and Penang being one of the most famous places in the world for food made our hunger even worse. (They weren’t serving meals at the Air Asia flight we took because we were traveling for less than an hour! Boo! I love Air Asia’s Nasi Lemak. Yes, I happen to like trying out plane food. KLM is my top pick, just so you know.)

Hunger games! Cafe Sanaa is located near Holiday Inn in Batu Ferringhi.

We ended up in a small place that serves authentic Middle Eastern food. Cafe Sanaa did not disappoint. Dishes are freshly made upon order, and the price points for the quality and the amount of servings aren’t so bad either. Our whole meal cost us around RM64 (Php874.22, EUR15.41, USD19.52). Here’s what we had:

Chicken Seekh Kebab for Alvin. Juicy meat with that authentic kebab taste. The spices are well blended and leave a distinct aftertaste with a slight spicy kick.

Chicken Tikka Masala for me. I asked them not to make it too spicy as my tolerance is kinda low and they happily obliged. Creamy, rustic flavour with enough spice to affect the taste and not leave me chugging down a litre of water after every bite.

Butter garlic rice that’s actually good for two but I finished almost all of it by myself. Good thing my husband asked for some at one point. I was eating on autopilot. Also creamy and with just the right amount of salt.

Butter Naan. Tasty enough to be eaten by itself, even better when you dip it in the Chicken Tikka Masala sauce. ;)

The guys running the place are also very helpful and nice. They’re kind enough to give directions and even stopped for a bit of small talk. After lunch, we took the 102 bus to the Komtar Bus Terminal where we were to take the 204 bus (the only type of bus) that will go straight to Penang Hill. However, we were pressed for time and the bus taking quite a while to get to the terminal so we took a cab instead. It cost us RM30 (Php409.79, EUR7.22, USD9.15).

Hello, Penang Hill! To get to the top, you will have to get on a funicular train, similar to the one they have at Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. Though the one here in Penang is quite modern in design and goes a lot faster (which kinda scared the bejeezus out of me at first).

The train ride costs RM8 (Php109.28, EUR1.93, USD2.44) for Malaysians and RM30 (Php409.79, EUR7.22, USD9.15) for foreigners. Keep your tickets as you will be asked for them on the way back to the foot of the hill.

It was kinda hard to get a decent photo of the train as there were so many people.

The train can be a bit crowded but I won’t say it’s uncomfy. It was a pretty great ride to the top. Or maybe that’s just the Filipino in me that’s pretty much used to riding our MRT back at home during rush hour. It’s a character building and skill improving experience back at home.

Once you get off at the top station, you’ll have to walk through a bridge that will take you to the top area where there’s a park, an Owl Museum, a couple of viewing decks, food establishments, and couple of other attractions.

There’s an open area at the top where you can walk towards the viewing decks. Children can also play here and take photos as there are a couple of playgrounds and some exotic animals that you can take photos with (for a fee of around RM10 paid to their owners, of course).

There’s also an older model of the funicular train.

If you walk a bit further up the hill, there’s another playground for kids as well as a mosque and a Hindu temple. It’s always nice to see religions coexisting peacefully in certain areas, don’t you think?

The Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang. It’s been around since the 1800s as a shrine for the Hindu deity Murugan, the god of war.

My husband and I were also talking that morning about how we miss Bali. It was one of our honeymoon destinations last year and we had so much fun there, immersing ourselves in the ever so vibrant culture/beliefs of Hinduism.

The Penang Hill Mosque primarily serves those who work and live on Penang Hill.

View from the top.

On one of the observation decks is a love-lock area. You might be familiar with this practice that became extremely famous in Paris where lovers would write their names on locks, attach it on one of the metal fixtures the Pont des Artes, and throw the key to the river. Well, you can also do it on Penang Hill! But a word from the wise – er, I meant cheapskate – bring your own padlocks! ;) Padlocks are sold in this area between RM25-RM35!

Here’s a secret: When I went to Paris last year, I left a lock on love lock bridge with our names on it. I also wrote: “Is it really meant to be?” on the back of the lock. HAHAHA. CHEESE! One for the movies! Alvin and I just finished obliterating (Obliterating? Lol!) a couple of HUGE, ugly, psychotic obstacles to our relationship then. I went to Europe for a month to think, be merry, and hit the refresh button on my life. Haha! When I got back from the trip, Alvin proposed and we got married a couple of months later. It really is meant to be after all. ;)

Update: I was thinking of looking for the lock I placed there when we go back to Paris next year but was surprised to see news today that the lovelocks at Pont des Artes are to be removed and the metal railings are to be replaced with glass panels! Well, the bridge was apparently starting to collapse due to the weight of all those locks (45tonnes according to the news! What?!). So I guess our love lock is gone! However, it makes me smile how my husband told me while were on top of Penang Hill that we don’t need locks to symbolise our love as it’s intangible and we ourselves know that it’s true and lasting. My husband is not really the cheesy type but he does have his moments. ;)

There’s also an Owl Museum on the hill. I was ready to dismiss it right away but what got me fumbling for my wallet and handing over RM10 (per person) was the promise of a Harry Potter photo-op. Yes, I’m a fan girl and it’s that easy to get me into a museum which I wasn’t really interested in at first.

I have to admit, it was pretty cute inside and we learned a bit more about the Wizarding World’s preferred post carriers.

Seems legit. ;)

This might just be my favourite photo of my husband – ever. My very own, Japanese Harry Potter! Lol! <3

No make up anymore, no problem! We spent more time at the different viewing decks. Tip: The best view is at the David Brown Restaurant’s terrace.

We got a bit tired and decided to check out the food court.

We shared this HUGE Iced Mango (Mango Kacang) that costs RM10 (Php136.60, EUR2.41, USD3.05). We weren’t able to finish it. It’s that big.

We took the 204 bus back to the Komtar Bus Station and the 102 bus back to Batu Ferringhi. It’s a good thing our hotel is near a lot of food places – from restaurants to small eateries down to hawker centres. Being the Filipinos that we are (we practically eat 8 times a day back in Manila), we had to get dinner before retiring to the hotel.

We went to the Long Beach Cafe which was basically a hawker centre.

Interior. Lots of locals and tourists. I can say the selection is pretty good. It’s got stalls serving Chinese, Middle Eastern, BBQ, and Western food.

Hot and cold Teh Tarik – only RM3 for both! ;)

My husband got some shrimps cooked in sweet sauce with cashew nuts and rice. I wasn’t able to take a photo as he was already too hungry. Didn’t have the heart to stop him. Haha!

I ordered a prawn and fired rice set for RM13. It was so good! The prawns were fresh and the rice was so tasty!

At night, the main road in Batu Ferringhi comes alive with stalls selling clothes, souvenirs, and other knick-knacks.

These cute, vintage earrings caught my eye.

Some tourists take these modified bikes/rickshaws to move around the area.

We’ll be here for a couple more days for my husband’s conference and while he’s busy working, I’ll probably be doing a bit of sigh seeing on my own. ;) I’m not the type of wife that can’t do a bit of exploring without her husband. But I’ll leave a couple more places to visit with him on our last day, of course. ;) More later, Carol P.S. Sorry for any typos. It’s past 1 in the morning here and I need to catch some sleep! Been awake since 5:30am. Zzzzz.

Republish: Albert Andrada wins ‘Most Connected Designer’ award at Asia Fashion Week

(An article I wrote yesterday, originally published on Rappler.com.)

MOST CONNECTED DESIGNER. Filipino Fashion Designer Albert Andrada (2nd from L) is named Asia’s Most Connected Designer at the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur. The award was presented by Mercedes Benz Malaysia CEO Roland Folger (L), Bloomberg TV Malaysia CEO Michael Chan, and Stylo founder Datuk Nancy Yeoh. All photos by Carol Ramoran

MOST CONNECTED DESIGNER. Filipino Fashion Designer Albert Andrada (2nd from L) is named Asia’s Most Connected Designer at the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur. The award was presented by Mercedes Benz Malaysia CEO Roland Folger (L), Bloomberg TV Malaysia CEO Michael Chan, and Stylo founder Datuk Nancy Yeoh.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – It was a night of glitz and glamour with designers all over Asia coming together to showcase their latest creations, and it came as no surprise when yet another Filipino stood out among the talent pool.

Filipino fashion designer Albert Andrada took home the Most Connected Designer Award, one of the three awards given at the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week held in Kuala Lumpur from October 17-22.

ASIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL. This year's Most Influential Designer, Joe Chia (L), in a light moment with last year’s winner, Avel Bacudio

ASIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL. This year’s Most Influential Designer, Joe Chia (L), in a light moment with last year’s winner, Avel Bacudio

Andrada’s collection was composed of soft-colored, whimsical pieces that – in true Andrada fashion – celebrated the female silhouette.

He says he drew inspiration from “under the sea,” bringing to life patterns that call to mind the gentle movements of waves, with flowy skirts taking centre stage.

Well-known shoe designer Jimmy Choo was also at the event and sat up front to watch Andrada’s show.

For about two decades, Andrada worked as a designer for the royal family of Fujeirah, one of the seven kingdoms of the United Arab Emirates before he made his way back to the Philippines.

His designs are coveted not just in Manila, but in different parts of the world. His work has also caught the eye of hotel heiress Paris Hilton, who wore a sequined ivory dress that was a part of his Chinese Empress collection, featured in Philippine Fashion Week 2013.

This isn’t the first time a Filipino has made waves in the fashion industry in Kuala Lumpur and Asia. Just last year, Filipino designer Avel Bacudio was named Asia’s Most Influential Designer at the same event. Winning the award, he said, changed his life.

FILIPINO PRIDE. Philippine Consul General and Charge d’Affaires Medardo Macaraig pose with Filipino designers who participated in the event

FILIPINO PRIDE. Philippine Consul General and Charge d’Affaires Medardo Macaraig pose with Filipino designers who participated in the event

Before the 2014 winner was named, Bacudio showed his latest collection of ready-to-wear fashion both for men and women featuring digital prints of church interiors. The crisp lines of Bacudio’s clothes paired with intricate gothic designs make for wearable yet elegant pieces that can be dressed up or down.

Despite all the success, the Filipino designer’s feet stay firmly planted on the ground. Bacudio thanked his friends, family, and the crowd that supported his designs, ending by saying “And lastly, I am very proud to be a Filipino.”

Bacudio also dropped by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for a courtesy call to Consul General and Charge d’Affaires Medardo Macaraig. During the meeting, the designer expressed his interest to promote Filipino talents further while helping his fellow Filipinos abroad in whichever way he can.

WINNERS. The awardees pose with designer Jimmy Choo, the organizers of the event, and the models wearing their creations

WINNERS. The awardees pose with designer Jimmy Choo, the organizers of the event, and the models wearing their creations

This year’s Most Influential Designer Award went to Malaysia’s Joe Chia who also won the Asian Industry’s Choice Award last year while Taiwan’s Chung Ting Liu was named Most Promising Designer.

This year’s Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week was held within the inaugural Malaysian Fashion Week. The endeavor is backed by the Malaysian government and is seen as a significant partnership in promoting Malaysian and other Asian designers to an international audience.

Other Filipino designers who were also featured during the event include Jeffrey Rogador, Rosenthal Tee, Roland Alzate, and Noel Crisostomo.  Rappler.com

Will post more photos from the Malaysia Fashion Week/Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in the next couple of days! :)
Carol

Travel: Langkawi Island Pt. 2 (Oriental Village + Cable Car)

Here’s a quick post while I wait for my homemade cheesecake to chill. ;) Still from our anniversary weekend, I wanted to share with you a couple of photos from the Oriental Village and the Cable Car ride to the highest point in the island.

Short side story first: When I first told one of the people I knew back in college that my husband was going to be posted in Malaysia, her first reaction was “Aww. But there’s nothing to see there!” While I told her that my husband’s gonna be going out of the country for work and not just sightseeing (and Malaysia, a neighbour country, is a great assignment where my husband will be trained extensively by the amount and importance of work here and his extremely smart bosses), I could also have told her of all the islands we could visit here but I didn’t waste my time anymore because I knew was talking to a girl who wore heels for a sight seeing/shopping trip in Hong Kong and Taiwan so she was clearly an inexperienced traveller and not that well-read. ;)

So. One of the islands to visit in Malaysia is of course, Langkawi. To all my Filipino friends, it’s like their version of Coron+Boracay. Beaches, rivers, and a long list of attractions.

RELATED POST: Travel: Langkawi Island Pt. 1 (Getting to the Island + Sunset Dinner Cruise)

We did  this on our second day at the island. We grabbed a cab to get to the Oriental Village where the entrance to the cable car ride was. The Oriental Village is actually a collection of shops, restaurants, spas, and mini attractions.

The Oriental Village entrance consists of two hanging bridges. Don’t worry, though. The water underneath is only up to your ankles. ;)

Hullo! This cute rabbit was in a fenced area of a bunny petting zoo! They’re all so adorable, I would have loved to stay and play for a bit but it was kind of gloomy that day and we were on a race against the rain.

The village itself looks like a park with a manmade lake in the middle. The shops in the village sell mostly souvenirs. Most of the restaurants offer Asian cuisine (duh) but there’s an Arabic and Western restaurant too.

We proceeded to fall in line at the cable car ticketing counter. We paid RM54 (Php739.86, EUR12.92, USD16.50) per person. We got combo tickets for the cable car ride and a 6D movie later on. But if you don’t have kids with you, I suggest you skip the 6D movie. It’s not that great to be honest. Graphics were so-so, the ‘movie’ was blah, and the effects were mediocre.

The cable car ride, however, is super worth it.

Hello there from the nerds! <3

The cable car ride in Langkawi offers an exquisite view of the forest. Oh, and it’s really high, by the way. So you better have someone with you to hold your hand in case you’re afraid of heights.

From your car, you can even see the Seven Wells Falls.

Have you tried the cable car ride in Ngong Ping in Hong Kong? Well, this one is a lot higher and way more steeper. I was having mini heart attacks as our car rode up to the mountain. You hardly feel it on the way up, though. Going back down is a different story.

We got off at the middle station to check out the view.

It was a bit misty/foggy that day. I think the fog was even laced with haze since forests are being burned again in nearby Indonesia. :( It was a good thing we could still see the view. There was no smokey-smell you’d expect from haze. Didn’t break out into a rash either. The view shown here is that of the Oriental Village and a nearby beach.

From the viewing deck, you can see the last station of the cable car which isn’t too far away. Don’t spend most of your time at the middle station as the view is better on the last platform.

My husband and I were so eager to try the SkyBridge! However, it was closed for improvements during our visit and will reopen on February next year.

It’s not that scary at this point. ;) It’s just the steep drop going to the middle station that made me so nervous!

At the last station, you’re gonna have to go up a couple more flights of stairs for the viewing deck.

There’s a small canteen prior to the top most part where families can enjoy snacks or ice cream if it’s not too cold.

While we were up at the top most viewing deck, it started to get dark. So we were really making haste in taking photos. Can you make out some of the small islands in the background?

See the fog getting thicker? It was starting to drizzle then. Eeep!

We boarded a cab right away and I was already getting a bit queasy as we were about to go through the steep part of the cable car ride. Good thing cable cars all over the world are almost always a bit slow and controlled. Whew!

Oh, and I was further saved from having a heart attack as we went down cos of this view from the window. Yep, can’t see a freakin’ thing cos of the fog. And the rain was starting to get really strong! The rain clears up the fog, supposedly – but not until it makes it super thick first! It looked like Dementors were to appear anytime! :S

I’ve been bugging my husband for the longest time to try out the fish spas in KL. Funny thing is I finally got him to do it in Langkawi and he liked it!

Fish Spa therapy at Anjung Spa.

The fish spa therapy costs only RM15 (Php205.77, EUR3.58, USD4.60) for 15 minutes. It’s a pretty relaxing experience after all the walking we did around the village and the viewing deck. Oh, and the fish did a great job when it comes to exfoliating. ;) Even though it was a bit ticklish and weird at first, it becomes rather pleasant after a minute or two. :D

Will post more things to do in Langkawi in the coming days. But for now, I have to get ready since we’re having people over after dinner for some coffee and cake. ;)

More later!

Carol

Beauty + Review: MAC Cosmetics’ Nouvelle Vogue Lipstick

My latest squeeze. MAC’s Nouvelle Vogue lipstick from The Matte Lip collection. <3

I AM IN LOVE! And no, this isn’t the anniversary high talking (though admittedly, it’s still there). This is the lipstick-crazy, MAC fanatic me taking over my whole persona.

I know, I know. I’m known among my friends as the girl having way too many bold red lipsticks. However, contrary to popular belief, I also wear different shades and own a lot of them actually. From pale nudes to electric pinks down to shocking purples. Okay, I think I have way too many lipsticks already but it’s my only vice. So let me have this one, okay?

And I declare – on this day, 17th of October 2014 – that my favourite pink lipstick ever is MAC Cosmetics’ Nouvelle Vogue! As soon as I saw it on display, I knew – we were meant for each other.

Swatches under indoor lighting. I should practice on swatching. The colour-lines look weird. Haha!

Swatches under sunlight. And now this one’s blurry. Promise to practice swatching and taking swatch photos with one hand! :D

Nouvelle Vogue comes from MAC’s new collection The Matte Lip – a collection of carefully selected matte shades to cater to the high demand for matte lipsticks nowadays because obviously, the trend that is matte lips is here to stay. (Called it years ago, ladies. Told ‘ya.) And though I occasionally try out Satin and Lustre shades, I’m a matte girl through and through. ;)

It’s a great everyday colour to brighten up your look even when you’re wearing very minimal makeup! In this photo, I’m only wearing moisturising sunblock (no tint), MAC Cosmetics’ Studio Fix Powder in NC25 (a shade darker than my skin tone because I’m too white!) and some Benetint – oh, and I also used Sephora’s Dark Brown eyebrow pencil for my brows. ;)

I’m a fan of matte lips and retro makeup looks so this collection was a total excitement for me. And though I am also in love with the other shades in the collection like Fashion Revival and Pander Me, it’s Nouvelle Vogue that gets all much of my love.

Nouvelle Vogue is “Soft Blue Pink” shade that once applied has a bit of a satin sheen but after an hour, becomes completely matte on your lips. Personally, I think the subtle blue undertones of this pink shade is what makes it so gorgeous and after 6 hours of wearing it, it’s still as vibrant as the first time I swiped it. MAC, after all, is famous for having long-wear formula. ;)

A closer look. :)

It’s a very Barbie–meets–everyday-pink shade that you can wear with a casual day look – be it for the office or for coffee with your friends at a mall. I also love how creamy it is. It’s extremely easy to apply as it glides smoothly even without lip conditioner.

And like most MAC Lipsticks, Nouvelle Vogue is very pigmented. One swipe leaves you with enough colour but building it up makes the shade even more rich and beautiful.

My husband says that Nouvelle Vogue is very close to my natural lip colour – only matte – that’s why he likes it a lot as well. ;) It looks like I’m gonna be using this colour a lot so I hope the MAC gods turns this into a permanent shade. Please, please, pretty please?

MAC Lipsticks retail here in Kuala Lumpur for RM70 (Php961.60, EUR16.68, USD21.38). I’ve been a fan of MAC for as long as I can remember since I always get the value of what I’m paying for in their products. I don’t mind splurging on their stuff since I know I’ll be using them for quite a looong time. I hardly do touch-ups when I’m wearing MAC, to be honest. It lasts the whole day on me which – come to think of it – makes for savings in the long run.

Here I go again justifying my beauty purchases. Haha! So. I won’t make this too long anymore as we’re about to have dinner. But if you’re a lover of matte lipsticks and you want a really pretty, wearable pink in your collection – then Nouvelle Vogue is perfect for you too. ;)

More later!

Love,

Carol

Travel: Langkawi Island Pt. 1 (Getting to the Island + Sunset Dinner Cruise)

I’m still on an anniversary high despite the worst possible kind of flu I had to live with the past couple of days. I was at my worst last Tuesday but the good news is I’ve been feeling a lot better since yesterday due to my husband’s care. Still coughing and sneezing though.

So. Langkawi island. One of the top tourist spots here in Malaysia. My husband kept our anniversary weekend getaway a secret for weeks until the night we had to leave.

We had dinner at home, exchanged gifts, and left for the Puduraya Bus Station at 10:30pm. Our bus left at almost midnight (It was originally scheduled to leave at 11). My husband booked our tickets in advance through Easybook.

The journey via the Sri Maju bus was rather pleasant. It’s an executive coach that costs RM 90 (Php1235, EUR21.73, USD27.55) for two people to the Kuala Perlis Jetty. The seats were roomy and my legs did not feel tired at all because of the leg and foot rests the seats were equipped with. However, if you plan to take the same bus, do remember to bring a jacket as it can be very cold.

We arrived in Kuala Perlis a little past 7 in the morning and boarded a ferry to Langkawi at 8:15. The ferry ride took about hour and 15 minutes and we arrived in the Langkawi Jetty. It was pretty crowded despite October being part of their low-season.

The side entrance to Jetty is lined up with private cars and cabs that can be hired to take you to your hotel.

We got a cab to take us to our hotel. We were booked at Resorts World Langkawi which is quite far from the jetty as it’s situated in a bit of a private enclave (where it’s super less busy). Cabs in Langkawi don’t have meters but the good thing is that they all have fixed rates from point A to B all over the island (fare tables can be seen at the port and in hotels) so no haggling is needed. A cab from the jetty to Resorts World costs RM34 (Php466, EUR8.21, USD10.41).

Home for the next 3 days. <3

I love how the entrance to the hotel has two lengthy koi ponds on each side.

When booking a room at Resorts World Langkawi, it’s best to ask for a room with a beach view. The other side of the hotel is a forest so if you’re more into that, you can request that as well.

View from our balcony.

After checking in, my husband booked us for a sunset dinner cruise so we ordered lunch in our rooms, had a bit of rest from the long journey and freshened up for the late afternoon activity we’ve got scheduled.

We walked to the hotel’s Fun & Activity Centre where the group for the cruise is meeting up.

We were a bit early so we had a bit of time to kill.

We took photos along the hotel’s boardwalk. I love how they have their own lighthouse facing the bay. And yes, I am in an even shade of stark white all over – from head to toe – in case you haven’t noticed it before. Been trying to tan though. But it fizzles out as fast as I burn. Meh.

We also had time for ice cream. I love this photo of my husband, trying not to smile with ice cream in his mouth. Hee. Still cute, sweetie.

We were ask to take off our footwear and we boarded a small boat to take us to the bigger one anchored a little further down the bay.

On board the yacht, we were able to settle down and wait for the next batches of little boats to bring the other guests for the dinner cruise.

It was a bit humid but it got more comfy and a bit windy once the yacht started moving.

The view from the yacht was just ah-mazing.

The bay was so peaceful and the light was just right.

I like how the yacht company made sure it wouldn’t be too crowded in the boat. There were only around 15 guests so there was so much space for us to move around.

They served drinks as soon as we got on board. It was an open bar all night and I have to admit – I had one too many whiskey cokes.

Oh, and because some of my friends have been asking, the dress is from H&M. ;) My mom got it for me a couple of years back. Makeup used: MAC’s True Love’s Kiss lipstick (limited edition), Sephora Eye Brow Pencil in Brown, Benefit’s Benetint, MAC Studio Fix Pressed Powder in NC25. I’m an NC20 but I use powder that’s a shade darker because I’m super super white all over. Also, all those years of part-time modelling trained my face to go directly towards the light (If you did a bit of modelling or if you’re an ANTM fan, you’d know what I mean). And yep, no foundation for this one as Langkawi is so humid! I didn’t want anything that will weigh my face down. A clean look is achievable without foundation or concealer after all. ;)

It was a barbeque dinner and they started cooking at the back of the yacht a few minutes into the cruise. It smelled so good.

At one point the crew of the yacht dropped a huge net on the side of the yacht which people can use as a ‘jacuzzi’. People sat on it and drank beer/soda as the yacht made its way around the bay. My husband and I weren’t in the mood for salt water and wanted to save the swimming for Sunday morning so we didn’t give it a try.

However, Megumi, the Japanese girl in the photo told me that it was a really good experience. And just in case you’re not comfy drying up in the yacht and feeling icky afterwards cos of salt water, the yacht has a shower facility. So we’ll try it next time. ;)

Looks enjoyable. yes?

The buffet dinner was served at around 6:30 and the selection was anything but shabby. We were stuffed!

Yummm!

The satay and the peanut sauce it comes with were the bomb. Well, everything’s too good. Even the rendang!

And if you’re on a diet, there’s a good number of choices for you too. ;)

As the night progressed, the scenery became even more stunning.

A photo was in order. ;)

And another. And another. Forgive us. It was our anniversary weekend.

There was also a huge platter of fruits for desserts for everyone to enjoy but the drinks completely got my attention. ;)

It was starting to get dark around 8pm so the yacht made its way nearer to the port where the smaller boat will take us back to the docks.

By the time it was completely dark, we were back in the docks – stuffed and in my case, a bit buzzed (my husband is not a fan of alcohol but is fine with letting me get my drink on in the right occasions. ;) ).

I highly recommend taking the Sunset Dinner Cruise in Langkawi. We booked through a company called Crystal Yacht at the lobby of Resorts World Langkawi. The Sunset Dinner Cruise costs RM280 (Php3836.48, EUR66.79, USD85.48) per person.

And here’s some good news. Remember The Entertainer? If you have the app on your phone or the book of coupons with you, you can avail of the Buy-One-Take-One offer on the Sunset Dinner Cruise! Pretty sweet deal, right?

Have you tried a cruise in Langkawi before? Let me know how it went for you! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or send an email. ;)

More later,
Carol

Husband Appreciation Post: On Our First Anniversary

Oh you knew this was coming, didn’t you? How can I keep a blog and not even dedicate a single post to my wonderful husband on our anniversary?

A year and a day ago. ;)

Happy anniversary to my a-dork-able husband! Thank you for making everyday a surprise – there’s just no boring day with you. I guess it’s cos we’re so different? It’s like learning something new about a person everyday. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s something that will make you go ‘awww’, and sometimes it’s something that will drive you bonkers (You have to see first hand how O.C. Alvin is – I think this is worthy of a separate post). But at the end of the day, we’re just crazy about each other.

One year into the marriage and we both learned a lot. I can honestly say that we’re both getting really good at all of this. Both of us learned how to adjust, when to give way and when to push for what you want (nicely, of course), and to communicate properly. Yeah, communication. You can’t just expect your partner to read your mind and go with everything that you want. No two people’s minds are exactly the same after all. Looking back, whenever we had a rough patch, it was never because we were mean on purpose or we were acting out of hate. The root of all our past fights is actually misunderstanding. Everything can be solved by a good talk as long as you don’t let your temper in to the picture. A difference in opinion can be subject for healthy debate (our favourite topics include Israel-Palestine, religion, and sometimes politics) and you shouldn’t let your feelings (no matter how strongly you feel about your side) get in the way.

When I met Alvin, he was reserved (an understatement). In the words of author (and fellow diplomat’s wife) Cherry Denman, “he has the stiffest upper-lip spread wide across his body”. Mrs Denman used that phrase to describe her husband Charlie in her book Diplomatic Incidents. Is that a diplomat thing? Maybe. But I’ve met some whose lips are not the least bit stiff – I shouldn’t be talking about that… for now. Haha!

Anyhoo, while Alvin was quite reserved, I was the exact opposite. I used to party a lot in college (which stopped when I became a journalist) and my favourite phrase was “open bar” (the drinking is still there to this day but a bit… tamed?). I believe Alvin and I were brought together to introduce new things to each other. I brought fun into his life and he brought peace and order into my chaotic existence.

Alvin now smiles more often (his resting bitch face/poker face is almost gone) and even makes funny faces. I laugh out loud at his crazy antics when we’re alone and his jokes. Yes, colleagues of Alvin. He makes extra funny ones and when he makes a funny comment, you’re guaranteed to get a fall-off-your-chair kind of laugh. I guess someone just needed to get it out of him? He’s also more showy about his feelings, something he didn’t do before we got together. It makes my heart swell to see how proud he is of what we have.

When your husband who hardly posts on Facebook does this, it’s just too adorable. I was getting messages all day about how cute Alvin is.

These days my drinking is kept to a safe level and my life is a whole lot quieter. Well, sort of. We’re still busy with embassy activities and my path to being a domesticated diva (something I never thought I’d end up to be) but at the end of the day, when it’s just the two of us on our couch with him massaging my feet and giving me kisses while we watch The Amazing Race, we’re content and happy.

Before, I wasn’t thinking of getting married. I thought the quiet life was boring. But it turns out, all it takes is to have the right person with you and everyday is an adventure. Thank you for being you, Alvin. A husband who takes leaps and risks (both big and small) just to put a smile on my face. Thank you for taking care of me when I’m sick – like now. I’m down with a very bad flu while writing this and my husband’s been buying me meds and food during his lunch break (I usually cook for him at home or we meet for mini lunch dates) and he’s now out doing the groceries right after a long day at work to get me some yogurt and orange juice. To think that we didn’t get enough sleep after arriving from our weekend trip at 4am this morning. And yes, he still went to work at 8am. He’s just so good in making me feel like a princess without smothering me.

Smothering is a nightmare for women like me who never saw themselves as a damsel in distress. I am perfectly capable of killing my own dragons, but I wouldn’t mind having someone to do it with. ;)

Taken over the weekend during our sunset dinner cruise in Langkawi. <3

My husband is also extremely smart. Give him any country and he’ll tell you it’s capital and a bit about its history and culture. He practically has an encyclopaedia stored in his brain. He did admit that he used to read it for fun as a child. However, my husband is never proud. He is humble and he doesn’t put other people down. He is helpful, thinks about the welfare of other people, and he is very secure with himself and I love that about him. In fact, it makes me respect him even more.

I’m lucky to be in a marriage where both our opinions are of equal value (even though we come from a patriarchal society). From the colour of our throw pillows to his career.

I’ll keep this short as you people might go blahhh over the cheese. But I guess this is just my way of making the world jealous of how lucky and loved I am. ;) But seriously – sometimes, I look at this guy just to wonder what kind of good I did to end up with him. <3

Here’s to more crazy adventures and butterfly-filled tummies with you, baby.

Carol