They say thanksgivings is a must in living a happy life, so this me counting my blessings.
I’m blessed to receive the numerous blooming bouquets from 10, and I’m starting to lose track.
These beautiful white roses and my paper toy piggies made up our Valentine’s Day in 2013. This year, it’s 10 stalks of crimson roses from my perfect 10, along with 14 date ideas wrapped in handmade fortune cookies :)
I couldn’t think of anything he wouldn’t expect, and I was determined to stray from the conventional V-day card. So after a couple of hours Googling the net for romantic ideas and DIY paper crafts, I decided to go for this fortune cookie date nights idea, since this year’s February 14 falls in conjunction with the last days of the Chinese new year.
I’m giving all the credits to Homemade Gifts Made Easy, despite the fact that I jazzed my own up instead of printing the original version. I had thrown in 14 personalized date ideas with 10, each wrapped in 14 fortune cookies. It’s pretty straightforward and you can create your own in no time, but I’m keeping the date ideas between 10 and I ;)
* * * * * * * * * *
Also, it’s been a long while since we’ve dined at a fancy place. We’ve been so comfortable with each other that anything goes for a dine-out, especially since our tastebuds are that of an elderly (porridge and tea, anyone?).
Unbeknownst to me, he arranged a special dinner at Italian restaurant il Mare, where we had one of our earliest dates at and instantly loved.
Unfortunately, the night’s air was quite rowdy.
The place was fully occupied. Waiters haste around to serve the next course in line, while diners had to amp up their volumes to hear anything remotely audible across the candle-lit tables.
As it turns out, all of Hotel Mulia’s restaurants, including il Mare, were celebrating the special day with pre-set menus for their lovely patrons. il Mare has nailed it with an exclusive 6-course dinner set menu that pairs with two glasses of sweet, rosy sparkling wines to stir up our guts.
In addition to that, every girl in the room received a stem of red rose, as well as a pair of miniature chocolates, courtesy of the restaurant.
If I have to condense what the dinner tasted like into one word … it’s intoxicating.
It was the best. The meals felt like a slow, progressive foreplay as the night went by, as if they’re meant to max out your fancy.
I mean, the bread bowl was sumptuous to begin with, all crisp and cheesy and crusty, and so I started to snap everything else in flash.
Gosh, seafood has never been this refreshing. The last time I had a juicy bite of sea urchin, I was stoked. This time I’m completely stirred, what with the cool cucumbers, the black truffle and all the citrus freshness.
Fish and fish roes are my best friends – especially when they’re this raw. This is one of the best carpaccio dishes I’ve ever tasted. I bet no one would’ve thought papaya could go along great with the classic angel hair and truffle combo.
Ah, is there anything better than eggs? Not with the sweetness of almonds titillating me alongside of it.
I died by this dish. You know how I feel about cheese. And spinach. And pasta and truffle. The doughy cheesy bitterness was sensational.
As for this combo of fish and tenderloin, I kind of wish it was some other squishier types of fish, like a Dory or sea bass, instead of a flounder. But other than that it was pretty good. I also love the mushy polenta, and the veal was oozing sweet, sweet juices at every cut.
Last but not least, I climaxed at the rum-soaked baba, a beloved French dessert. Rum is awesome enough, but the dough was also stuffed with orange zest and essences at its core.
I scarfed it all down pretty quickly, so I don’t have a picture of the inside. The dough was also baked to a perfect texture that’s chewier the average bread, but slightly harder than that of a cake. It was exceptionally sweet, but not in the sugary way.
And again, you know how I feel about cheese. Usually I hold my tongue back whenever I come across desserts that taste basically like nothing but an amass of sugars. But throw in some soft ricotta morsels and drizzles of orange water, and you won’t need so much fructose to spice up an ice cream. Enriched with subtle hints of citrus and a berry-bittersweet romance, it was the perfect bouquet to end our night.
Our toast for the night? May our bellies be happy always, and may St. Valentine continue to bless us today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
Much thanks to il Mare for the incredible dinner :)
Hotel Mulia Senayan
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 19 Jakarta Selatan 10270
(021) 574 7777
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M-Sa Lunch 12:00pm – 02:30pm
M-S Dinner 06:30pm – 10:30pm
S Brunch 11:00am – 02:30pm
It was our 29 months being together on Tuesday.
Early in the morning, I woke up with this on my face.
Case in point: Girls who say they don’t like flowers love ’em the most, and by girls, I mean me.
While I’ve already prepared a little over a week for what I was about to give him, I only managed to get it printed yesterday. Nevertheless his smile was still wide when he received it :)
It’s a standard 5 x 7″ card printed on an ivory cardstock paper. I purposely made my palette really cool so it’ll look soft, warm, and squishy when offset by the chalkiness of the paper.
I do make it for sale if you’re interested. Just drop me an e-mail over to firstname.lastname@example.org for your questions.
As you can see, I have a super cute cupig toy sitting by my greeting card. It was a really different surprise from the many little surprises 10 usually prepared for me. He got it when we went for a vacay to Singapore a few months ago, but to be exact, he didn’t buy this out of some piggyland store1. In fact, the cupig was a direct result of 10’s 3D-drawing skills.
Yes, the little cupig was 100% crystallized into reality by using 3D-printing technology, thanks to the creative people at Print 2 Life Studios :D When I received it, I thought the cupig’s face looked a lot like the couple in another one of the greeting cards I made for 10 some time ago.
He admitted that he treated these lovely cupigs as his muse all the while he was drawing the voluminous 3D-printed cupig. To that, I really think men are better when it comes to maps, angles, and perspectives. Somehow it frustrates me to have to think about all those mathematical dimensions while drawing. It’s supposed to be more of a flow thing and if I start to calculate anything at all even when I’m working flat, those creative juices simply evaporate.
So yeah, another monthiversary, another creative production – all because of love and for love. Plenty more memorable moments to come …
- which would be awesome of it exists. [↩]
My 2013 began with a commitment to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
I’ve been practicing the art of counting my blessings every Friday (such as being yourself and other manifestations of abundance not listed here). I believe that at any given circumstance, there is always hope. Always.
♡ My pessimism. Even though my immediate negative thoughts often overwhelms the present self, being a natural skeptic about near-future events often ensures me to be extra careful when I’m doing whatever I set myself up to do.
I may have made it a habit to load my mind up with worries 24/7. It’s daunting. But I’m learning how to replace the long bouts of mentally rehearsing worrisome thoughts into mindful meditation on the Word.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Besides, in reality, some things that never happen are never for me to worry about in the first place.
♡ I may be blue all the time, but these roses are really, really pink. On the night of June 19th, 2013, I came home to find this sitting neatly on my table :)
♡ My sunglasses. They keep the areas around my peepers, where you see first signs of aging, away from UV rays and ultrabright sunlight when I’m driving everyday.
My neighborhood was briefly submerged earlier this week from just one night of downpour, but for the rest of the week, the sun’s been scorching everything it shone on so far.
♡ Anywhere in the world with a wireless internet connection. That awesome moment when you found it for free :)
♡ My recent epiphany – During a sermon service facilitated in my office today, I suddenly realized that language makes a big difference on people’s thinking patterns. Well, duh.
On the service I heard the Indonesian phrase “terima kasih” a lot, which translates to “thank you.” Then I thought, hey, if it’s translated word-for-word, “terima kasih” means “receive love/give.” It’s a passive verb to say when you’re responding to someone’s act of kindness, thereby noting the act of receiving gift. In contrast, the act of saying “thank you” itself is a proactive verb, almost as if to say, “I’m expressing my gratitude to you by saying thank you” to give away some kind of a leave behind for the actor of kindness.
In my efforts to practice gratitude, I now choose to think of my blessings the Indonesian way.
Life itself is a gift from my parents, and for as long as I’m alive, I’m indebted to them for my contributions to the world. It is a lifelong act of receiving the gift of life and love. The least I can do is be kind to myself as I am to others.
♡ I’m thankful for the abundant stock of bananas I always have around at home. Whenever I feel stressed, anxious, or just plain moody, I down two pieces like a desperately hungry monkey. The yellow stuff is loaded with vitamin Bs and potassium, which calms your system down from head to toe.
♡ Besides the bananas, I’m thankful for the comfortable shelter, the ample wardrobe, and the sense of belonging at home that I have. I feel safe, and because of that, I feel a deeper need to give back to my givers and providers more. I owed a lot to them and probably never will be able to pay back all the love, care, and attention I’ve been given.
♡ I’m hopeful at heart. Deep down, I’m still fundamentally an optimist about a better, more positive future. Everyone can benefit from greater harmony and peaceful engagements amongst ourselves – no cover-ups, no lies, no putting on fake faces everyday, the faces we slowly learned to put on once we become grownups.
The hard part is … it all has to start with the self. An individual can only have peace by always keeping in touch with the inner child.
As Margaret Mead once said, “I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.” Wise indeed.
What about you? What are the things you’re grateful for this week?
Share your stories and blessings in section below Happy weekend!
TGIF! is my personal commitment to cultivate an attitude of gratitude this year.
THE WEEKLY TGIF! LIST IS WHERE I PRACTICE COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, NO MATTER HOW LITTLE OR BIG THEY ARE (LIKE THESE THINGS FROM LAST WEEK, OR THE COUNTLESS BLESSINGS NOT LISTED HERE). IN DOING SO, MY HOPE IS TO INSPIRE YOU TO DO THE SAME, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS SOMETHING BE THANKFUL FOR :)
♡ So happy for the happy couple :) Couldn’t help but shed some tears …
The man, Jony, booked seats for the whole blitzmegaplex‘s Velvet Lounge to fit his close-knit circle, so that we could witness his proposal while the theatre’s screening Star Trek Into Darkness. At the closing of the movie, the big screen played a video he prepared months before that featured slides of his own drawings, starring himself as the Pinguin and the woman in his life as the Cute Pinguin. A whole lot of backstory to tell here, but I’ll stop and just want to say I’m so thankful to be a part of it. The night was my first time witnessing a proposal in real life.
♡ Looking forward to the dinner date I’ll be having this Sunday night. With my dad. I can count the number of dates I have in my lifetime with him. I treasure each moment we can take away from our lives to just be together.
Sometimes I wonder whether he’s ever going to get tired, because I’m exhausted of life, but he simply never gives up on me. I’m skeptical from the very first moment we started dating. Somehow he’s always managed to smile in good times and bad times, and being with him has forced me to summon the genuine smile I now have today.
At one point while we were going long, I ordered him to stop sending me in the flowers for fear that one day he’ll disappoint me when he stops sending me the flowers. C’mon, let’s be real – men who send flowers consistently to the woman of their lives only exists in romcoms and melodramas. I didn’t ask for the flowers in the first place.
23 months later, I’m moved by his persistence. The one reason why I ended up saying yes as his girlfriend is because of his daily persistence. (and I literally mean daily). How often do you find a man like that?
I’m thankful for having him. The last bouquet was his way of saying goodbye before he leaves for a European cruise, which was tonight, until June 4. His last words when we met face-to-face last night: “You already made an impact, baby. You create a reason for me to return home to. You,” petting me on my head, “are my home.”
Most of the time, I think his greatness deserves much more coverage than the amount he’s already gracing on this blog.
So. Be prepared to get doubly bored of me raving about my love life.
♡ I’m thankful for living and working under conditions where I am constantly reminded that there are only three things that suffice to fulfill the needs of every human being (including you, myself, and every others) – you require nothing else other than these:
3. Love and connection
Do you realize the list resonates with Maslow’s hierarchy?
♡ I feel grateful for the aforementioned realization. Harsh conditions and difficult situations are character-building tests masked in ugly disguises.
Daily choosing to review that my only needs are already covered with, namely good health, a home with a roof on top, and all forms of love in my life, is an eye-opening experience that pushes my threshold of tolerance, just as the amplitude of obstacles just keeps fattening up. Which leads to …
♡ I’m thankful for the Truth. It gives me the ability to differ God’s standards from people’s standards.
♡ These new shoes are made for walking and running respectively.
♡ I’m grateful for the immense curiosity lurking within me. I have a constant thirst for knowledge and understanding. It’s like juxtaposing things together to see the big picture, like putting together a complete jigsaw puzzle. It’s finding the reason behind the maxim ‘everything happens for a reason’.
Though I haven’t quite been able to quit demanding for explanation in every situation, curiosity never fails to guide me into my subjects way beyond the surface/appearance, which are merely the tip of the icebergs that most would usually base all their judgments from.
♡ I’m thankful for being brave enough to pour out my thoughts on my diaries ever since I was little. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be fulfilling the 10,000-word-a-day adage to become an awesome writer.
Now I can throw up on screen all day and select the important pieces of
vomit information together for useful purposes, and, possibly, make some big impact for the group of audience who read them. Like what you’re reading now, an item of gratitude.
Being a journalist is awesome because you simply start appreciating each passing moment you’ve been given each day, month, and year. You can do whatever you want, go as far as you want, and be courageous enough to be whoever you want to be, as long as you put it all down into the planner, calendar, diary, journal, or blog, whatever form of viewer you choose. (But the challenges will never stop coming your way too :) you have to be able to swallow the unpleasant things the world freely offers you as you move ahead. Despite so, as long as you maintain your objective as a positive mission, you’ll be fine – you’ll be resilient).
♡ I am literate. The pen is really mightier than the sword, and there are some billion of people in the world who didn’t have the privilege to learn how to read or write – much less eat well and drink clean water.
It’s a pity that wealth distribution is under worldly power. But I trust God no matter what happens. I do my part, you do your part, He does His part. Each of us have a different scope of responsibilities, and my part is smithing words.
♡ This blog.
A platform for ranting and raving in front of you patient peeps.
What are the things you’re grateful for so far this week? I’m glad to have the TGIF! LIST TO count on every week. It’s like keeping a piggybank of blessings. Through self-reflection, I want to inspire you and let you know that there is always hope TO COPE WITH THE DIFFICULTIES IN LIFE, no matter how CHALLENGING life’s gonna get.
Never stop counting your blessings, people; it’s the least you can do to appreciate life for what it’s meant for. Enjoy the weekend!
Can’t believe it’s the last post of NaBloPoMo February 2013 for the week already! Time really does fly …
Prompt of the day: How did this Valentine’s Day
compare with Valentine’s Days of years past?
Well of course it’s different! In my 22 years living on this planet, this is the first time I’ve spent a Valentine’s Day with a boy! On a real date!! Okay that actually sounds more depressing than I thought.
For our Valentine’s, Stanley and I had a simple yet unforgettable date night: Exchanged gifts, had long and meaningful conversations, and shared a pleasant dinner at Momento.
I got a custom-arranged flower bouquet! Thank you babe for the beautiful white roses :) By now I can’t keep count of the many bouquets I’ve received from you. I love them all.
As you can see, I didn’t even dress up for the night like I probably should. Nothing too extravagant as it was a weeknight. We both had to sleep early anyway.
We’re saving the fancy dinner for Saturday night instead, although to us it didn’t really matter what we’re doing on Valentine’s, or on any other night. As long as we’re spending time together, we know we’ll have a pleasant time.
When it comes to gifting, I have a thing for not buying stuff – especially to the people I admire or treasure. Considering the vast artistic skills I’ve adopted in college, I don’t think purchasing stuff is a good-enough expression for the recipient to know that they’re special.
I draw vector portraits now and then, but on this special occasion, I wanted to make something a little bit more different than what I usually do. Something I can actually build with my physical hands …
These cuties are our lovely cupigs!!! (portmanteau for cute, pigs, and cupids)
The laughing one represents Joy and the one that looks like it’s daydreaming represents Gentleness.
Fortunately V-Day happens to fall on the 14th – just five days apart from our anniversary date on the 19th. So Joy and Gentleness are just a sneak preview of what else is to come. Until then, I shall keep the whole set of products a secret from Stanley :)
I’m just glad we’re in the same time zone this year on Valentine’s Day. No more long distance nonsense, no more late flower deliveries, no more “Hello? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?! I can’t hear you!!!” replays on Skype.
How was your Valentine’s Day? Are you postponing your dinner date for the weekend too?
Two days ago, on 19 December 2012, Stanley and I had a mini-cebration of our 18-month relationship together.
We’ve grown and we’ve known just the right things we needed to get each other happy.
In my case, I got to cook for him and his family my spinach fettucini alfredo. It was comforting for me to watch him eat the whole plate without breathing.
In his case, he got me NUTS!
He’s probably devising fantastic plans to drive me even more nuts in the celebrations to come. He also got me another one of his many bouquets of flowers…
For some reason, white roses are much more beautiful than the red and pink roses he’s gotten me in the past. They just look so pure…
I got the urge to take better care of them than the previous bouquets. I do replace water in the vase everyday for all the flowers I’ve received, but I’ve always kept them inside my bedroom. They’ve only lived and breathed under artificial sunlight and in an air-conditioned environment.
This time, I want these flowers to stay strong. To make sure they keep blooming and live longer, I placed these beautiful white roses in my mother’s balcony.
It’s such a depressing season. Everyday it rains heavily and traffic in Jakarta just keeps getting worse. When it rained yesterday, I was afraid these roses would not be strong enough to stand the howling winds blowing from all directions. I was going to my mother’s bedroom to unlock the balcony doors and retrieve these roses, but I took a peek first from the bedroom window while it was still raining outside.
The roses were better than ever (our balcony has a tiny roof to shelter the area where I placed this vase).
Today, unsurprisingly, the petals and leaves are extremely moist. Jakarta’s pretty humid, you see.
Still, the most important thing is that they’re blooming gracefully.
As I was taking these pictures, I’m also witnessing the calm before the storm …
I wish flowers are everlasting. As long as I take good care of them, they will last forever.
But the truth is, beauty is passing … and only love endures.
Tell me: How do you celebrate love with your loved ones? What are the little ways that you tell them they’re special?