the gap

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

“there is always that impulsive initial thought to react quickly, to make a move before others and to jump two steps forwards

there is always that gap between the thought and reaction

there is always space and room to make time between both of them, for a more thoughtful spectrum, a bigger picture, an understanding perspective and a moment to ease into each other’s feelings

create the space, leave it to breathe, listen actively, act reverently and acknowledge that you are better than what you were yesterday”
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A week ago, I took sometime off to Sydney to visit a family friend who recently got diagnosed with liver cancer. While it was hard for some to understand the sudden decision, it was more difficult to comprehend how unforgiving a common abnormal cell growth can just take over the body and allow us to fail in taking part in the most simplest daily activity.

Stepping away from the island was a blessing. Getting into the routine of cooking healthy plant-based food, nourishing others, yoga everyday, writing and long walks. It created a room between the daily life and future. It gave an opportunity to reflect about decisions made, done, the outcomes and what to do after.

Time stopped, the thoughts flowed as they should and feelings were placed in focus. You start asking yourself questions and values you hold close to the heart.

Words said that could hurt so much more than one can ever imagine. Words whispered to make the heart skips a few beats. Food so bad you cannot believe people want to eat them. Food, so wholesome, you wonder why people stop eating them. Laughters heard so loud, you smile just listening to them.

The people. The words. The food. The meanings.
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In the last few months, I lost the ability to acknowledge what is in front of me and started to have second thoughts. The reassurance of things were not promising. Helping to run the cafe came easy until I started doubting its sustainability. The daily ingredients, the connections we made, the lives we may change, the philosophy behind the minds and what entails beyond.

The doubt became fear, then like all introverts do best, we start caving in, giving in and caring less. An unknown unconscious action and feel somewhat, lost.

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Coming back to home ground, there was no air of freshness, but a subtle thought to reconnect the gap. To build trust again, take pride in the self & others, give time ( a lot of it), and stay grounded.

Acknowledge that we came here to have a good experience, start the day with a proactive thought, a simple gratitude to pen down, a respectable exchange between two souls and feed the body what nature gives us best.

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The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed – Jean Anthelme

Cafes visited:
Kawa
Single Origin Roaster, a big favourite
Earth to Table, so deliciously raw
Will & Co

Yoga:
Hom

allscript

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

“There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine — “Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.”

- Margaret Atwood

How many times have you flipped through a magazine and want to be exactly what it is? The images catch your soul, the words read your thoughts, the illustrations make your mind wonder and keep your daily chores interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the luxury of receiving magazines and subscribing from Allscript. They carry an abundance of cultured editorials from fashion, lifestyle, current affairs, comics and many more. Their membership program curates towards your needs and sends you good reads that thrive on your passion. Best of all, their collection includes foreign and regional editorials that are carefully selected and can only be found at selected bookstores.

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As an avid food magazine reader, Allscript sent me the trendy Fricote, lovely Cereal and contemporary Gourmand. Food has many dimensions and personal experiences. Through these magazines, I keep finding more pertinent elements, unique perspectives and sometimes a friend in the other food writers.

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Use Allscript to subscribe your favourite reads and keep sharing its great collection!

*magazines and subscription were all sponsored by Allscript

waking up

June 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

We all wake up differently.Sometimes to dreams still lingering in our heads, the last thought before falling into deep sleep, sometimes to a crooked neck, to people we love drooling on a new pillow case or to a heavy head for there is still a little bit of alcohol in the blood.. and really just want to sleep in a little bit more.. Maybe I’ve always enjoy the way our sun slowly lights up the room, the fresh scent of a new day, the excitement of knowing you can have the freedom to undo the wrongs and have a new chance to life. Renewal. Possibilities. Growth.

I used to wake up earlier than everyone else to have a little bit of a quiet time to myself. I make a cup of tea, have some fruits and regain a little bit of consciousness. To reflect on what was done and can be better, to the hours I will be giving and the people I will spent with, to the flow of a the day and how we can meet on common grounds.

These days, I find myself doing the same routine but with a different perspective. Looking back at the days ,trying to not regret on the decisions made and how to move forward with others. These days, life is taking its own course to change and be meaningfully simple. Be in sync with people that matters, stop when they are tired, go when they can, push them when there is a chance for goodness and nurturing into something wholesome.

A timely wake up call for a new shift.

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I used to believe we need to be on the same page or shoes to feel each others. But I am starting to think that we need to stop to try to be in sync, it’s nice to be in sync, but we are individuals. Individuals who try to be happy on our own, but come together and share the simple everyday joys just so.

Last night was exactly how it was meant to be, unadorned, honest and real. We finally got to celebrate our one year anniversary. It was perhaps the best way to enjoy an infant blossoming into something, hopefully, better. We are all silly, stubborn and eccentric. We are all a little insecure, quiet, and loud. We are all happy in our own ways, and searching for a sense of belonging.

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Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning – Mitch Albom

a year at necessary

June 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The cafe is turning a year old soon. These days I find myself looking back at the photographs, recollecting moments building the space, testing recipes, helping to cement the floors, staying late with the crew, meeting new people and finally, to what it is today.

I remember unlocking the door wee hours in the morning and baked the first batch of muffins. The girls setting the coffee bar up and arranging the flowers as we wait for the customers. A few curious ones from the neighbourhood came by, our regulars from Henry dropped in to show support, so did our family and friends. We fed them our usual staples and other new dishes. Every opening day, we did the same thing to keep people happy with our simple ways of getting by.

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Away from the hullabaloo of a city, there lies a cafe for individuals of all sorts sharing a meal or two at the table. Doing what they do as they like, spending them with good company, listening to lovely tunes, and indulging in anything honest and fresh. It is much adorn to remind yourself what is needed and return back to the basics.

I bake. That’s all I really do there. Baking sweet treats from dawn till mid afternoon. Then I carry on the day with yoga and writing, spend time with family and the cycle repeats. While it sounds so simple and pure, there are off days. Days when we get so packed, crap hits the ceiling. People demand for more, they want change, and are not use to the way we are. We become vulnerable to their dispositions and lose the bond.
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Then there are instances where we connect in every level, spend more time knowing each other and start to nurture the sense of community. My supplier who drops off a bag of fresh apricots, just cause; the little girl who runs around the table before getting on the stool to eat her bowl of granola; the french toast and brew coffee lady who sits there the whole morning with an iPad and two cellphones; the family that brings everyone out to dine in the evenings, and have hot chocolate to beer & fried rice to sandwich. A community of characters.

Somehow, I did not intend to stay this long. I had put school on hold for this to grow and continue with life. Following the rhythm, and be present to being here has been difficult to accept. This island has always made me feel like a fish out of water, I found comfort in other lands and had planned to explore. Yet, things change, well to be honest, I found love. Unrequited, supportive and mad affection. Instead of pushing what I had help build or watched what it is today away, and finding thoughts to leave with every discomfort, I learn to grow and embrace.

James, who now lives in the north-west, call it “grounded perspective”. We were so naive to drive across country through the rush hour. We have slowed down since and are still looking for grounds that appreciate who we are. Afterall, isn’t it all we want in life is to feel appreciate by others? And be comfortable with ourselves?

This sentimental post perhaps will make you feel lost in space, but there is no other way to put how this past year has been for me. Currently, we’re just going to dwell in what we have, appreciate its form and make the most out of them.

Anything else, just does not need to matter.
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getting by this end of may

May 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

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It’s been a personal battle the entire week. The earlier mornings and longer hours, tiredness from lack of sleep and mindful rest. Regardless of them all, it has been well worth it. For the smiles, they gave and continue giving, the laughters and excitements when they have our treats and get their caffeine/beer fix.

These days, I’ve realized more then ever that we often value our own beliefs. To think that we know the best, but to only recognize we are the best with people who truly loves our soul. The goodness of it, the best that is yet to come out of it and the growth of it. In highschool, we fight with our friends and have stronger friendship; in our rooms, we cry, to get it out and feel better; we run, to let it out.

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No one likes to be told, they are wrong and that they ought to change their ways. No one likes to listen to the things they don’t like to hear. They like promising words and encouragements regardless if its bad for their own good. An extra slice of cake, another pint of beer, buying a pack of cigarettes, one more pretty dress, another pair of fancy shoes etc. The vices we give in and waste our times instead of moving towards something better.

We have ways of coping with insecurities, the pressures, the tiredness. Get into a nourshing routine, don’t let the long night before or toxic people change your good habits. It is not worth the sacrifice of getting out of touch to be in tune with yourself. Be thankful for the little joys, be truthful to yourself and people you love. There is no point in doing things behind their backs. Lying to loved ones, is even more painful then lying to yourself.

Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego – unknown

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Found an amazing thunder rice store in bukit timah food centre on our only day off together and of course, a glimpse of him behind the line while celebrating mum’s birthday.

Found a heartfelt video of disconnecting ourselves with technology to get connected with the rest of the world. “Talk to one another, learn to co-exist”.

lift that weight

May 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

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This post is inspired by Felicia’s “the weight we carry”. Her words are always heartfelt and honest, which in this day and age, it’s hard to come by anything real like her. I live in a city where women are impossibly annoying and too cautious about their figures. The way their hips sit in a skirt, the size of their arms in a sleeveless top and the amount of food they put into their mouth. They take pride in “low-fat” food and work out regimes during lunch breaks and after work. Putting their social/family time on hold and taking heed of their looks rather than how lovely they already are inside.

I was that fat kid in the field, the last to finish, the kid who got teased at for being chubby, the one who did not want to celebrate her birthday because she knew her family members would be calling her names for eating a slice of cake. So at one point, I got tired of it all, started working out right, eating cleaner food and lost so much weight, everyone around me got worried.

At some point, I got wary of other things around me. Not the way my hips sit in a skirt, the size of my arms in a sleeveless top or the amount of food I put into my mouth. I took heed of how food fill us up inside and where our food came from. Restoring health and balance in a positive light: local ingredients, sustainable eating, cooking at home and feeding simple food.

Perhaps at one point, I lost control of myself and put a restraint on the food I enjoy. But that soon went away too. The amount of time wasted on projecting a perfect image, which could jolly well be focus on the happiness of your life.

Whatever it is, someone has something to say about the way you lead your life. Whatever it is, listen, accept or change, and just be yourself.

These days, there is no doubt to move on to bigger things. The awareness of finding balance through yoga, sustainable food, creating a holistic environment for the people I love and spreading these messages across, just like how Fel is doing. Thank you for the timely reminder, sending love to Brooklyn!

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a happy kitchen crew serving simple food at afterglow

“Your life does matter. It always matters whether you reach out in friendship or lash out in anger. It always matters whether you live with compassion and awareness or whether you succumb to distractions and trivia. It always matters how you treat other people, how you treat animals, and how you treat yourself. It always matters what you do. It always matters what you say. And it always matters what you eat.”

― John Robbins, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World

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Recently, we took a short break to Hong Kong, the city will still be beautiful when it is done. This time, we had too much to eat and was way over our budgets. But nothing compares to the splendid time spent with loved ones.

Next time in Hong Kong put these places in your list:
Cafe Corridor
Ronin
Amber
Hazel & Hershey’s

recently

May 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Perfection of effort is not required, by the way. It is the consistency of attempting to work these tools that brings the progress. It’s like anything else. If I want to tone muscle, lifting a ten-pound weight a few times every day will move me toward my goal much quicker than hoisting a fifty-pound barbell once a week. Yes, it really is true: “Slow and steady wins the race.” Just try a little, every day. You’ll see.

- Holly Mosier
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Another small mile stone for the cafe, more lessons learnt in life. We push and limit ourselves everyday to the things and people we value. There is a little bit of dignity stretched in the thoughts/actions placed with the community. Yet, we exert ourselves and allow the quiet to sink in.

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I have been testing more recipes for the cookbook. One of my favourites to make for the family is a simple hearty pasta dish. My attempt to get good meat from the butcher failed horribly. I left the bag at the bus stop and only realized it when I reached home. Which resulted in walking out of the house again, getting same amount of meat and carryon cooking. For a moment, I felt Julie Powell’s frustration with making beef bourguignon twice for an editor who didn’t show up. That moment when you almost thought you had a picture perfect dish and fades away with a silly mistake. Lucky enough, the family enjoyed dinner and was pleased.

Dinner for another evening was seafood vongole, butternut squash risotto and kale salad. Too much laughter, drinks and food, always a good evening.

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A heart felt coffee time with Ly after a very long time and a day out with the girl at the cafe. Leaving for a short vacation the next few days. It seems like a very long ago, I took the plane and gain some time away from this island. Looking forward to waking up in a new city.

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