Friday, February 15, 2008


Last night was the season finale of the Amazing Race Asia and Collin my kickboxing teacher won!!!! He is the one on the left. It was a race to the end with Collin and Adrian coming from behind. It was FAN-TA-STIC but I just realized that he may quit his part-time gig as kickboxing/spinning I'm sad.

Ok now on to other big news...this weekend is going to be a special one for 2 reasons:

1. There is a certain person by the name of Turkey that is celebrating her birthday. Happy Birthday Turkey. I hope the dogs and Mike dress up in special outfits for your big day. I am hoping that Gus sports the life preserver again! XOXO

2. Not only Kelly, not only Adam but Rita as well are all arriving in Singapore this weekend for our wonderful 10 day vacation. I AM SO EXCITED.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Red, White and WHO???

I am going to be really honest here….politics has never interested me. I should be ashamed to type that but it’s the truth and this blog is all about the truth even when it does make me look like an idiot. I think my interest peaked when Madonna, wrapped in the American flag, demanded that we vote, too bad I was like 15 then.

I do classify myself as a democrat, however, if there was a really trustworthy republican candidate I could be swayed (not sure how I would figure that out though b/c remember it does not interest me). I know that I hate George Bush and Rudy Giuliani and I know that Obama and Hillary are neck/neck (with HC slipping) but that is about it. Oh and I do know that Obama fell in JB’s rating when he brought Oprah onto the scene….but seriously this time….that is about it. I wish I cared more but I don’t and my lack of interest/knowledge was never really an issue at home as I could just sip my wine while my knowledgeable friends discussed the ins and outs and who stood for what.

Different story here! Why, Why did I have to move during an election year???? Seeing that I am one of very few Americans in my group of friends, they seem to see me as some sort of American politics expert (I can hear you giggling from here) always wanting to get the American perspective. When we were in Margaret River my friend Jim felt the need to check his blackberry every morning to give me update on the primaries…”hey Jenn Obama’s really pulling ahead” me: “Wow its really close” [what I was really thinking was can you go to!!] I can usually get out of a deep discussion by taking a huge sip of wine, looking perplexed and saying..”I just don’t know, I am really torn, both candidates (convo usually revolves around Hillary/Obama) have a lot to offer” that usually works and someone else will jump in with their opinions leaving this American free to think about other things. There are times when this canned reply just doesn’t cut it though and I am left blabbering on and on hoping that the confidence with which I am blabbering fools them into believing that I know my stuff…so far so good! It is this type of situation that has me intently watching Wolf Blitzer on CNN each morning like a school kid just short of taking notes. Seriously it is a lot of pressure to keep this up!

Oh the bright side, my constant fear of being found out as the political knowledge fraud that I am has actually made me learn a thing or two.

Don’t forget to vote!

Jenni “proud to be an American” B

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Pronounced Gong See Fa Choy means Happy New Year in Chinese! I am actually saying it and quite comfortable with my pronunciation if I do say so myself! It is strange because I have always been conscious of just how long you wish someone a happy new year after new years day. I have always gone by my own rule that after January 31st all “happy new years” were off! I always hated those people who you would see in March and they would wish you a happy new year. [inside my head] True, I may not have seen you since January but the year is not new lets move on! So here I am breaking my own rule…February 13 and I am wishing people Gong Xi Fa Cai! I am justify the breaking of the rule by 1) saying it in a different language 2) Actually celebrating the Rat and not 2008. Whew! I feel better now.

Ok while on the subject of Chinese New Year, I’d like to share some pictures of the client event I planned to help celebrate the occasion.

Lions for Lion Dance

Drummers...cheerful bunch huh?? but boy were they loud!

Standing Lions

Me and my beloved Lo-Hei GOD I LOVE THAT STUFF

Action Lo-Hei


Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm in Love!

With Margaret seriously! Everything about MR was amazing, weather (hot and sunny during the day/cool at night), beaches, wine, food…all my favorite things in one place. My one complaint is that I wish we had more time to include some sporty activities into the itinerary. Needless to say, we drank our way through the vacation and I managed to spend and exorbitant amount of money on wine…there is really no need to purchase 15 bottles, drink 7 there, came home with 6 in my bag and am awaiting a case to be delivered within the next couple of days which includes a $70 bottle of dessert wine (really necessary???). It was hard not to get caught up in the whole experience. I will say that I have done wine tasting in Napa and Italy and this was my favorite experience.

So the trip went something like this. We arrived into Perth at 2:00am on Wednesday and drove the 3.5 hours to Prevalley where we had rented a house for the four days. The drive was a bit nerve racking as the roads were so dark and we were warned about rambunctious kangaroos hopping across the roads. We, thankfully, did not have a “run in” with any ‘roos however a very large bat met his demise on the windshield of our car. That was pretty gross and the “SPLAT” remained on our windshield for the rest of the weekend. We arrived at the house around 6:00am. We all headed to bed and woke ready to start exploring!

The house was cute and a 5 minute walk to the beach so we got our bathing suits on and headed down. The beach was beautiful and the ocean even more breathtaking. I am saying this right now…Australia has the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. Everyone always raves about the beaches in Phuket…not even close!! We sat on the beach, watched (the huge) waves and surfers for the whole morning. It was great. By the time 1:00pm came around we were ready to get our wine on so we hopped in the car and headed to the first winery of the trip Cape Mentelle. * I won’t go into detail about the winerys but have outlined my favorite wines at the bottom of the entry.

That evening we went to the grocery store and had a BBQ for dinner. We sat on our terrace and watched the sunset. It was really beautiful. We sat, ate a wonderful meal and started drinking some of the wonderful wine we bought that day. Pure heaven. The night ended with heated games of poker, charades and 21. Good times.

Friday was all day wine tasting which began with a 10:00am tasting…sounds like trouble?? It was trouble! The vineyard was Moss Wood and this was probably the most exclusive one we visited. They had the most amazing Cabernets which they have not even bottled yet and let us taste out of the barrels! Another wonderful aspect of Moss Wood was their amazing wine museum where they kept all their inventory stock. Apparently wineries have to keep a certain number of stock from each vintage.

The day proceeded with more tasting, drunken singing to the 80’s in the car and the most fabulous lunch I have ever had at a winery called Vasse Felix (translated…Cat Piss). I don’t think I have ever had a meal this good. You could argue that it was the fact that I was a bit tipsy that made the meal so good but I don’t think so. It was amazing. The most innovative dishes I have ever had.

That evening we headed to the town of Prevalley for dinner followed by a couple of beers and pool at the local watering hole. This bar reminded me of the Jersey Shore meets, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, meets OTB. What do I mean by that?? Patrons were either 20 or 92 there was not much of a happy medium so we were defiantly in the minority. Group A) max 21 years old, really cute surfer girls and guys all tanned and blond and most, incredibly wasted…Group B) were all men well beyond their youth sporting weathered faces, pony tales and baseball hats..basically group A in 100 years. Pure comedy!

We headed back to the house and popped open one last bottle before bed which turned out to be many bottles and watching the sunrise. I knew that these people will be my friends for a very long time when during the conversation, “Name the song that you are most embarrassed to admit you like” (mine was the Macarena). John who is a FX trader, pretty tough British guy said that he loved the sound track from Les Miz!! I was shocked. His wife was like, yeah he really loves it. Sure enough it was on his ipod and we were singing all of our favorite tunes for the next hour.

Needless to say we were all pretty wrecked as we woke at 1pm but nothing could keep up away from one last day of tasting. We ended the day at a friend of mine from works winery, Green Valley. He encouraged us to pass by but warned that it was a very rustic place, not the atmosphere of most of the others. I was a bit nervous that his wine was going to be gross but it was wonderful and he won all these awards in Australia. It was such a special experience. He gave us the dirt on all the other wineries and gave us a tour of the whole vineyard, it was really special. We managed to take 3 cases off his hands and he said perhaps you can be my agent. Not a bad fall back option don’t ya think??? After the second great BBQ of the trip, we headed to the beach with some wine and watched the sunset one last time.

I would defiantly recommend this trip to anyone who is coming for a visit and not really interested in going for the real Asian experience.

I am not sure what the distribution is like in the U.S. but here were my favorites from the trip:

Moss Wood - Cabernet pricey but worth it.
Pierro – Blanc de Blanc. Great summer white wine
Green Valley – Riesling (not too sweet like reg. Riesling, Cabernet, Chardonnay)
Cape Mentelle – Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Marmaduke Red (wonderful wine and very cheap AUS$14/bottle)
Gralyn – White, port, pink port, Shiraz Port and Atrizan (the $70 dessert wine that tastes like caramel)

It was truly an amazing experience. Jim, the trip photograher, has some amazing pics that he is saving on a disk. I will share all once I receive.

Now only one more week until my next vacation!!!!!

Love Me

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vacation Reading

As you know, I am heading off to Australia this evening for the Chinese New Year holiday. That being said, I will not be blogging for the next four days. I know you are in a bit of a panic wondering "how am I going to procrastinate at work?" "Who is going to entertain me with her self deprecating stories?" "Who is going to keep my finger on the pulse of Singapore?" Well rest assured dear readers, for a daily dose of humor, recipes, news and music to aid in the passing of those endless work hours, please visit any one of the blogs under Sites I Visit, located on the right hand side of this page. I visit each every morning and I have managed not to start working until around 10:00am each day (I'm a real go-getter!)

In addition to the ones mentioned on the right, here are some others that are part of my morning ritual: (Cyndi is a bit stuck on posting pics but fun reading)

Happy Reading!

Love XO JB

Monday, February 4, 2008

Honest? Blunt? Rude? Mean? Lack of tact? You make the call!

One thing that I have yet to get used to, and not sure if I will, is the bluntness/rudeness/stupidity of some Singaporeans, especially women. Let me clarify that I am not saying all Singaporeans but there are many that just lack tact or a verbal filter when speaking to people.

Two stories come to mind as I try to illustrate my point here and they both involve my friend Rachel and they both happened to her on the same day. She was shopping and entered a local clothing store, where clothes are cheap and also made for women the size of a Barbie doll. Two steps into the store, the sales woman came up to her and immediately said, “Sorry no fat clothes here” Let me tell you that Rach is anything but fat! Not to be discouraged she ventured on to another local clothing store where, maybe having a bit more “tact” the sales woman said “Western woman are usually quite huge…but you’re not that bad”. Can you find the compliment in that statement??

As you know from previous posts, I myself have been on the receiving end of the Singaporean “honesty” but last night may have been the worst yet! This I would classify as pure meanness but you can make the call. I had an event last night and I (mistakenly) asked two assistants to help me with set-up/registration. I have met these two before and have gotten along quite well with them in the past but together they were my enemy. Not sure how I offended these two. So here’s how it went down:

Assistant 1: So Jenn are you going away for Chinese New Year?
Me: Yes, I am so excited I am going to Australia.
Ass 1: Sydney or Melbourne?
Me: I am going to Perth, Margaret River for some winery tours and beach
Ass 1: Are you bringing a bikini?
Me: Yup but if I keep eating the lo-hei I may not fit into my bathing suit (hahaha) [hands on stomach pretending my stomach is expanding]
Ass 1: Don’t worry there are tons of whales in Australia!

Ok are you kidding me right now?? This bitch did not just say that!!! This was complete meanness under the guise of trying to be funny!! Who says that???

Bitches! Ugg it gets me mad just writing it. And people call New Yorkers rude?

I am off to the gym!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Yu-Sheng Lo-hei

Today was a local co-worker lunch day and I got to experience a traditional Yu-Sheng Lo-hei. Yu-Sheng Lo-hei or (Lo-hei for short) is a Chinese New Year tradition that can be enjoyed any time and as many times during the 15 days of Chinese New Year. The purpose of the Lo-hei is to wish friends and family a very prosperous new year. The girls said I would love it as it is like a big tossed salad so I was in!

So we get to the restaurant….oh wait let me tell you about the restaurant. It was like an obstacle course to get to! We were in and out of buildings, up and down elevators, and finally arrived at the restaurant which was naturally located on the roof of a building in the middle of a parking garage. I told my co-workers please don’t leave me here I will never find my way back! Ok so we arrived and on a big lazy susan in the middle of the table was a huge dish containing raw fish (salmon), carrots, shredded jelly fish, crushed peanuts, ginger, radish, fried wonton crisps, some seasoning and two dishes of sauce. The server proceeded to do some seasoning of the fish and poured the oils over the ingredients all while uttering some blessing in Chinese. Once this ceremony was over, we all stood, grabbed our chopsticks and started to toss the ingredients while wishing each other a prosperous new year, more $$ in 2008, a baby for Rachel, boys for me and Wendy, good luck in her new job for Shareen, blah, blah..and apparently the higher you toss the more prosperous you will be!! It was really fun.

Now the thing that makes this even more special is that all the ingredients have a special meaning:

Step 1: Fish slices symbolize abundance or excess through the year (Nian-Nian you-yu)

Step 2: Pomelo for both luck and auspicious value (Da-ji-da-li)

Step 3: Pepper is then dashed over the ingredients in the hope of attracting more money and valuables (Zhao cai jin bao)

Step 4: Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients to increase all profits 10,000 times and encouraging money to flow in from all directions (Yi ben wan li & Cai yuan guang jin).

Step 5: Carrots are added to the fish indicating blessings of good luck. (Hong yun dang tou)

Step 6: Then the shredded green radish is placed on the fish symbolizing eternal youth. (Qing chun chang zhu).

Step 7: After which the shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work. (Feng sheng shui qi and Bu bu gao sheng).

Step 8: Peanut crumbs are then dusted on the dish symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. As an icon of longevity, peanuts also symbolize eternal youth.(Jin yin man wu).

Step 9: Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolizing a flourishing business. (Sheng yi xing long).

Step 10: Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold. (Pian di huang jin).

So are you wondering how is tasted???? Well it may be my new favorite thing. The mixture of all the ingredients, oils and seasoning is just amazing! They sell Lo-hei kits in the supermarket and I may have to buy one, toss and wish myself prosperity at home!!!

Have a great weekend.