Marion’s 21st.

On 17th October 2014, my bestest friend in the whole wide world and my loving partner turned 21.

I’m really happy to be sharing yet another birthday celebration with you, witnessing and experiencing the moments, mesmerising at the fact it’s been 6 birthdays with you, and to be the one that puts a smile on your face on this very special day.

For two weeks, The Peaceful Warriors and I have been throwing him off the idea that we will be celebrating his birthday with him. I told him I wanted to just have a celebration with him alone and nothing else as I would usually be the one organising one with the Peaceful Warriors for Marion’s. The good thing about Marion is that he is very blur and unsuspecting of things/hints even if it hits him in the face. It makes the task of pulling off a surprise party much easier. Every part of me wanted to let him know what was going on, I was the one getting excited! I wanted to throw him a Batman Themed Party for awhile now as I know he has this mad love for the Batman comics, so I have been saving that idea for awhile now, till he turns 21.

Backtrack – on 18th October, he thought that a chill day of tea and dinner would be all that there is of his celebration. He wasn’t sad or anything like that, he was pretty nonchalent about things – unlike myself.

Backtrack further – on 17th October (his actual birthday), his mum invited me to have dinner with them at Skinny Pizza. Prior to that, Chels and I went all over Singapore to collect the costumes; from Kampung Bahru Road, to Henderson Road to Northbridge Road, then to buy the ingredients for the food to be prepared on 19th October. Our quest started early in the morning, and we got back just an hour before it was time for me to get ready to meet Marion for dinner with his family. I have been communicating with his brother, Denzel, to get this party together and so he passed me his set of keys behind Marion’s back (literally) that night itself.

18th October, Saturday, it was the day set aside for a exclusive celebration for just the two of us. The intial plan was to go to Sunday Folks for waffles, for tea time, as Marion loves waffles. Unfortunately, the place was too crowded with a waiting time of an hour. Thankfully though, we passed by Baker and Cook, a place I’ve always wanted to try with Marion, so we went there for Tea instead.

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It was a pretty chill place though it was also pretty packed, mostly filled with Sunday Folks rejects. Haha, not that Baker and Cook isn’t good, but I guess people wanted waffles more and couldn’t stand the ridiculous waiting time.

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Baker and Cook; A great selection of breads, cakes and desserts. Pretty affordable too in my opinion.

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We ordered Smoked Salmon Quiche with Pear and Walnuts Salad on the side, Chocolate Caramel Brownie, Eclair, Raspberry Tart and Lemon Drizzle Cake; to share. Iced Latte for Marion, and Rooibus Creme Caramel caffeine-free tea for myself. We were wondering how we were gonna eat dinner afterwards when tea time was at 4pm. Haha.

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As the area inside was pretty crowded, we had no other choice but to sit at a table by the stairs, lots of passerbys, not exaclty the ideal table but oh well. To add, some were annoying to the point of actually stopping infront of our table to stare at us/the food for awhile before walking back. I felt like we were some exhibitions for them. It was pretty rude in my opinion.

After that, we headed over to Sentosa as dinner Reservations at Trapizza were at 6.30pm.

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We were still feeling pretty full so we took a slow walk over to Trapizza from Beach Station via Sentosa Express. Stoppped by this pier, thought it was a pretty beautiful scenery for photos, hence the camwhoring. But really though, I absolutely love that photo of Marion.

My experience at Trapizza wasn’t exactly one filled with compliments.

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Although it was a pretty nice place, in terms of ambience, the service was a little haphazard. The nice ambience was mostly due to the fact that it was by the beach which made it a pretty nice place to just wind down and chill. If I had not made reservations, I think we would have been standing there over 20 mins before someone could attend to us. There was no one to serve the customers by the queue so people started walking in on their own to grab their own seats as they got rather impatient from the lack of service, I guess I can understand why they did that. But later on they were told to go back as they were not done preparaing yet. It took me awhile to inform them that reservations had been made before they could seat us at our table. However, once seated, they were pretty nice to us and polite. I guess organisation isn’t their strongest factor but at least they aren’t rude.

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As we weren’t feeling that hungry, and still pretty full from Tea, we decided to just order Tomato Bruschetta, Pizza Siciliana and some Rosė wine.

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So that was the 18th, with a very happy birthday boy.

Now, the 19th Oct – The Batman Themed Surprise Party.

We came over slightly over 4pm to prepare the food, the decors and the costume makeup. I especially thank Denzel and Marion’s Mum for taking him out of the house despite the fact that he was getting tired and cranky, and for their cooperation to make this surprise party work.

Daffy, Nick and I blew close to a hundred black and yellow balloons and filled his living room with it, while Chels did their costume makeup in turns.

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The incredible talent of Chelsea Anne Rodrigues in turning Daffy into Poison Ivy.

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Nick as Two-Face, mad makeup skills by Chelsea Anne Rodrigues.

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Chels as Harley Quinn – and this is the talented Chelsea Anne Rodrigues we speak of.

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Myself as Catwoman – K luh, make up nothing much so don’t need to advertise. Just showing you the individual costumes.

Back to the surprise, as Marion was on his way up, we planted a GoPro to capture the whole thing though the video has not been uploaded yet.

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The first thing he could think of was “why are there balloons”, without suspecting that there was a surprise party going on. When he came in to turn on the lights, Chels said in a sinister voice “We’ve been expecting you”, followed by evil laughter from us. Then we told him to get changed to his Batman Costume that was prepared for him in his room.

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Special thanks to The Peaceful Warriors for helping me to organise this Surprise Party for Marion.

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Would also like to say a big thank you to Denzel and Marion’s Mum. Thanks Denzel for being the middleman to communicate info to your mum. To Marion’s Mum for such kind hospitality, for allowing us to set up your house while you guys were gone as I know most people would be uncomfortable with that idea and for buying back more food.

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The feast – Thanks Chels for preparing the meatballs, and for helping with the Bat Symbol of the Birthday Cake, as well as buying the ingredients for the dips and all; to Marion’s Mum for buying more food such as the Sushi Platter and the Popcorn as well as the Fruit Punch; to Daffy for getting the Chicken Wings and to Nick, for helping me wash up, slice up and seed the vegetables.

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The Birthday Cake made by me – A devil’s chocolate cake base with Chocolate Ganache and Yellow Buttercream Icing. No fondant involved cause I hate eating fondant, and very homemade in presentation. Could have been more presentable if I worked on it earlier.

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The second surprise was using relighting candles in which he did not figure out even after he tried multiple times to blow them out. Haha poor Marion.

We really hoped you enjoyed your 21st Birthday Celebration, love, and that it was a night you would always remember – the silliness, the laughter, the goofiness and the friendships endured after all these years. We love you.

 

A personal note from Catwoman-

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Though you really irritate the hell out of me sometimes, there is never a day I’m not thankful for your presence in my life.

Your birthday will always be a day worth celebrating, even if you think otherwise, because this date is important to me – it’s the day you were born and therefore, I’m always thankful for your existence in this world. You are always there to hold me up when I am losing my mind, always there to give me the emotional support I need when I am on the verge of a breakdown and always there even when I tell you I need to be alone for awhile.

There is a lot I am thankful for when it comes to you, a lot I have already said in a personal letter to you.

I hope you really enjoyed this 21st, and here’s to many more birthdays to come!

I love you with all my heart, and I will always be your partner in crime (maybe let’s do without the crime).

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Forever friend

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“Sometimes in life, you find a special friend. Someone who changes your life just by being part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can’t stop. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. This is forever friendship. When you’re down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full. Your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times and the confusing times. If you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows. If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on. Your forever friend holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay. And if you find such a friend, you feel happy and complete because you need not worry. You have a forever friend, and forever has no end.”

So today, we had a scare – we thought today would be the day. We were aware that with her heart murmur going up to a Stage 5, that she would show signs of difficulty in breathing but we were not prepared for the part where she actually collapses and starts yelping for help.

It started with a cough which we thought was a normal choke on saliva so Chels tried to soothe her throat and the next thing that happens – she collapses on the floor, body went limp and she yelps for help. I can’t get over that image, because I never know when it’s really her time to go. And I don’t think I can ever prepare for that moment, as mentioned in earlier entries. It’s hard losing a dog because dogs become part of your family. They have journeyed with you through many years and bonds have been formed between them and yourself. They open our hearts up to love, deep love and deep friendship. It’s never easy to say goodbye to that.

Suzie is the best thing that happened to us. She’s a Rodrigues. I hope we will still have a few more years with her left, and that when the time comes for her to go, she’d have as little suffering as possible. Deep in my heart, I know that when she does go, she never truly leaves us. She will always remain in my heart and like the quote says, forever has no end.

Snickers Cupcakes

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Saw this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try since it’s the boyfriend’s birthday week – and only because he loves Snickers. Didn’t turn out quite to my liking though it was a good attempt.

I think the problem I face when it comes to baking is that I am too by the book, I follow recipes closely when instinct tells me otherwise and the results always proves that my gut instinct would have made it better. Guess it’s all part of the learning experience. In addition, I haven’t been baking in awhile due to school. I haven’t really had the time to bake, and cleaning up is always a burden. It really is tiring to pack, wash up, and clean up after baking for hours.

To critique my own work for these Snickers Cupcakes –

In terms of taste, I think it worked fine. The chocolate cake batter turned out really nice and moist but it also made it difficult for the cupcake liners to stick to the cupcakes, which disrupts presentation style. The snickers filling, on the other hand, might have been a tad bit excessive in terms of sweetness. I should have baked it into the cupcake batter instead of cutting a cone in the middle to fill it in afterwards. I think I should have also attempted to make my own caramel sauce instead of using a pre-made one as that would have given me more control over the taste. I guess what held me back was when I first attempted to make caramel sauce and it came out so bitter, so I was afraid that I would make the same mistake again and waste the ingredients, given that I had not much time to do trial and error till I got it right. Overall, I would say the taste of my cupcakes, in my opinion were good, but if I could do it all over again, I would have preferred to have simplified some of the steps in the recipe so that it wouldn’t be a burst of diabetes in the mouth.

Aesthetically, I have yet to work harder on my presentation. Food photography probably won’t be able to save cupcakes that are not aesthetically pleasing in the first place. Haha. My piping bag burst on me yesterday while I was doing the icing which ruined the consistency of the pattern. I should have also made the decision to refrigerate the icing for awhile before working with it because it got really messy after. I think a bigger icing tip would have also worked better. Again, if I had prepared my own caramel sauce, it would have drizzled better over the cupcakes. I would still have kept the snickers for garnish, though I would have placed it more strategically to make it look more pleasing to the eyes. The cupcake liners were definitely too small as well, I wished for the cupcakes to be bigger. Speaking of liners, it would have probably worked better if they weren’t paper liners.

Oh well, I guess as long Marion likes it – I mean, it is, afterall, for him since it’s his birthday week. Though, in my opinion, it really could have been better but yeah, guess I am okay with my work. I have done better.

3 years

It took me that long to realise, I actually want to be part of the film industry.

I know it sounds pretty rdiculous cause I am in film school and I should have already felt that zest when I started out, but those close to me would know that I’ve always wanted to be a vet. Well, not always, but since the age of 13-14 I guess. I grew to love animals when we got Suzie, and I began to care for them way to much. Predator-prey relationships puts me in extreme emotional stress because I don’t want the deers to be eaten, neither do I want the lions to starve. So I worked really hard to improve my Sciences because I am not naturally good with Science. I had a plan to go to Murdoch to fulfill that Veterinary Course but no matter how hard I worked to get my Science grades up, I couldn’t get higher than a pass. So I gave up the idea of being a Vet and really reevaluated my reasons – being a Vet would mean saving animals’ lives, it would also mean getting a decent pay, and maybe being a Vet wasn’t my calling because I would not be able to put an animal to sleep. I would be trying desperately to save it. Being a Vet also means being objective, which I can’t do.

So back when I was 16, when my dad asked me what is my other option should I be rejected for Vet school, I told him this – “I want to be a filmmaker,” to which he replied, “those are very big dreams you have.” Today, I’m in my final year of filmschool in LASALLE College of the Arts. I made it this far. To be honest, I could have done well for my A’s because I was already doing well for the most part of it. I could have had a better JC life if I had known more people instead of being this anti-social, quiet, geeky girl. I was offered to be nominated to be in Student Council, I rejected that offer. I have been in Student Council clubs all my life and in CCA’s, and my goal was to just work hard to get through the A’s to get into NUS for the sake of getting into NUS. I had many chances, I took none, and when I got too emotionally affected, and already won the half journey of my JC life, I decided to just give it all up. I am talking about my grades. I decided that I would like to start having fun for once and to just stop being so tensed. So I stopped studying really hard for it. Although I knew I wouldn’t do as well as I had envisioned it, or as well as my potential, I couldn’t let go of the idea of just wanting to just say “screw this shit, I’m done,” cause that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Wanting to get into NUS was only because I wanted to prove to myself and to some of my relatives that love being nosy about my grades, that I could make it in to a local university, and not just any local university, the top in Singapore! Of course, that never happened and during the holidays after the A’s, I was already in to recording things for the sake of just videoing, and editing them together using free (lousy) editing software such as Windows Movie Maker. I kid you not! So I worked on documenting in video the journey the confirmants took under my church’s youth group, Project Jesus. I was satisfied though now when I look at it, I think “Dear Lord, what shit video did I make.”

Over breakfast one day, my dad’s friends were advising us what to do in Hong Kong for our trip and the wife asked me what was I interested in and I told her that I had recently picked up my mum’s camcorder, just filming random things. Apparently, she was doing a Masters Degree course in Fine Arts in LASALLE, and told me to pop by one day as there is a Film Degree Course there. So I did and she helped me to get acquainted with Gisli, the head of filmschool, and setting up a proper portfolio. I got in, and received this lovely acceptance letter on my 20th Birthday itself. What did I present to them during my interview, a stupid script I wrote because I was so amused with the screenwriting software, Final Draft 8, that one of my Instagram followers whom I have never met, told me about. So I learned how to use it on my own. Don’t know why Gisli was happy with my work cause when I read it today, I think it’s really one lousy script. Maybe he saw my determination and interest and maybe that’s how I got lucky. I don’t know but well, I am here aren’t I?

Upon embarking on my Lasalle journey, I learned a lot and I also learned, every single day, of the challenges of being in this industry. And as that information was constantly drilled in me, my flame started diminishing and I no longer felt that I wanted to be in this industry. I didn’t want to give up because I might as well stay and learn more since that place was offered to me, and I treasured that offer. I told myself that I would stay but I wouldn’t want to enter this industry because it wouldn’t be a stable enough job for me and I don’t think I can be accustomed to it. One year became two years, two years became three. It was only this year that I realised, this is really what I want to do and where I want to be. I don’t want some office job. I would love the pay, wouldn’t love what I do. I want to make films – not as a director but in terms of building the set. I would like to meet and know people through documentary, and experience their lives, wear their shoes and really understand what it really means to be them. This is life.

Just yesterday, after meeting one of my documentary subjects, he told me that he sees I have a very good heart and that my intentions are pure, that he was blessed to have crossed paths with me. I think I’m the one who is blessed to have this topic fall into my hands like that. I don’t know if I really do have a good heart sometimes, cause I feel that’s just people’s first impression of me. I can be really nasty sometimes actually cause I am very temparemental. But yeah, what he said really affirmed me yesterday, and affirmed me of my decision to carry on in this industry eventually. When our lecturers were getting to know us, they asked us this question “what’s your reason for choosing film?” I replied, “To impact and influence.” That was just the first thought that came to my mind, but I wasn’t convinced of my own reply. Today, I have it. It is to discover life, what it means to live through other people. It is to learn and never stop learning. As a filmmaker, I get to be so many things – I have the option of journeying to places I have never seen or been before, I get to see life through many perspectives and dimensions, I get to play investigator and historian in my studies of making films, I get to imagine I am picasso in designing a beautiful set, I get to feel so much and in feeling, I give back. People might tell me that the real deal is to really travel then. Sadly, I do not have the money for it, but not sadly enough, making films provides me that enriched experience of really living and learning new cultures, all at the comfort of being at home.

Jay told me, that maybe when I am 60 I will know why I was where I am now and why it was all meant to be. I think I already know the reasons why and I think I’m currently going through the process of really appreciating it. I am beyond stress with my assignments, but it’s no longer the stress that makes me wanna sigh and cry, it is the stress that fuels my excitement. I know I am so close now and I am filled with so much excitement to really take the bull by the horns for my final year.

Gentleness

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Thank you for your gentle love and reassurance. You’ve always been so accepting of things, that’s your greatest strength in this relationship. I’ve always been a tough love kind of girl, and now I know – I don’t need someone who is as tough as me or even tougher, I need someone who is strong enough to hold me in my brokenness and gentle enough to kiss my wounds. I am talking about you.

I love you, Marion Frayna; my Bestfriend and my Love