Tuesday, June 30, 2009

KLue Urbanscapes Report

If you’ve been living under a rock, then you probably won’t know what KLue is.

But if you’re a true urbanite then you probably know what KLue is all about…You may or may not have visited their website and noticed how awesome their content is… there’s also a good chance you’d have heard or attended KLue’s massive Urbanscapes event held last year, an event that promotes urban creativity and individuality…You also probably would’ve been at KLPAC more recently (27 - 28/6/2009 to be exact) for this year’s edition of Urbanscapes. And what an event it was…

We’ve been to our fair share of events, bazaars, music fests, arts exhibitions, carnivals etc. in recent years that let’s just say, “didn’t live up to the hype” or rather didn’t have any hype at all.

But the Urbanscapes 2009 incorporated ALL of the above, and as with the preceding year, made it a major success.

This year’s Urbanscapes was made up of 9 major “areas”:

1) The X Lawn – A showcase of acts that included Pop Shuvit, Yuna, Telebury, Pesawat, Gerhana Ska Cinta and many others voted by Xfresh listeners.

2) The Box – An intimate acoustic performance setup with open mic sessions and other up and comin artistes.

3) The Cinescapes Stage – Stage plays, film screenings and musical performances in an indoor stage.

4) The Sunset Disco – The Sunset disco features performers from the wknd showcase incorporating Malaysian independent musicians. Twilight Action Girl among one of the few performers.

5) Exhibitions – Titled Urbanscraps, the exhibition featured works from various Malaysian art gurus.

6) Indicine – True to the pun in its name, Indicine (Independent Cinema we think) featured screening of short films from various filmmakers.

7) Street Performances – An outdoor setting featuring a host of theatre and music groups

8) TiC Zone – Tongue in Chic Zone. The name says it all. Unique clothes, accessories and much more from vendors selected by Tongue in Chic.

9) X Marketplace – Loads of vendors selling all sorts of stuff in themed sections.

Unfortunately we didn’t have much time and only managed to get sneak peeks of the different highlights of the day. We did however, spend most of our time at the X Marketplace and the Tongue in Chic area.

Our own personal highlights of the day?

- The crowd
- The music
- The creative displays by the vendors at the marketplace
- The very well laid out exhibition areas
- A superb Lamb Hot Dog
- The many friends we met there

Our review is in no way comprehensive enough, because calling the event a total success would probably be a slight understatement. Even Mother Nature decided to call off the rain when dark clouds started looming (However the heat earlier in the day was relentless). The jam going into the event area itself was an indication of how “happening” it actually was, and just being there actually made us feel “happening”!

So a big thumbs up and congratulations to KLue for pulling off Urbanscapes yet again this year!

They set the bar last year, and raised it a whole lot this time round.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Le Tresor Galleria @ The Curve, Mutiara Damansara

Here’s something interesting we found over the weekend. Relatively hidden in a corner at The Curve is a mini-bazaar-like tenant opened by Le Tresor Galleria.

Apparently, the Le Tresor Galleria group is an established bazaar host and has organized countless bazaars in and around the city. Unfortunately for us, we haven’t really heard or noticed them before.

Their outlet at The Curve is pretty nicely set up and features a very nice premium bazaar-like feel which contrary to their French inspired name, feels a tad Middle Eastern.

Within their compounds are some rather interesting tenants offering an even more interesting variety of items from decorations, clothes, beachwear, and more. Although not really in large quantities, the variety is sufficiently diverse to make for an interesting visit.

We’re not sure how many times their tenants change or whether they even change or not but it’s definitely worth dropping by if you’re within the vicinity.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Legendary Pop King

There was once a time when everyone went crazy over the man in black who could do moon walks, who sings from the heart, who has made the whole world cried out with love. Today, we were shocked to receive the news that Michael Jackson, our pop king idol, passed away at 5am this morning when he collapsed at his own home around 4am, Malaysian timing. He was then brought to UCLA and was pronounced dead an hour later. We were experiencing an extreme mix feelings of pain and sadness.

Michael Jackson, has done nothing but good (Child molestation accusations aside) to his people and the rest of the world. He was the one who has spoken to the world that every dream is made possible to happen. He showed us a new way of living life in the world of music. Till today, many newborn artistes are following in his footsteps to succeed and he was once, and we believe, still is an idol for most people around the world.

We speak from the bottom of our hearts, dear Michael Jackson remains as our idol and although he is no longer with the world, the world is still with him. Rest in peace, M.Jackson.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


OK, if you’re a conservative, shy person…Don’t read this post.
Then again, maybe you should.

If you know what a Bikini Wax is, GREAT!
If you don’t, well NO it’s not something you use to make your Bikini/swimsuit shine and glimmer under the sun…It’s actually a process that involves removing hair from a certain part of your body. (Not your hands or arms or neck or chest or back or legs or armpits or face or head)

Here are the 3 common variants of Bikini Waxing that you can and perhaps should experience sometime:

American waxing – Otherwise known as a basic Bikini wax, it removes the hair on the thighs and below the naval. (doesn’t sound so bad does it?)

French waxing – A little bit more extreme, you basically get the “treatment” in the pubic area, leaving a small “strip” of hair. Also as an option, is the removal of hair in the “lower areas” hence its alternative names, the Playboy Wax or G-Wax. (Get it?)

Brazilian waxing – Is the whole nine yards and removes everything from front to back, from the pubic area to the “lower” areas, up until the buttocks. Very, very much needed in case you’re a thong bikini lover. (Still don’t get it?)

Among other names (you can use your imagination to figure out what they mean).
• The Bikini Line
• The Full Bikini
• The European
• The Triangle
• The Moustache
• The Heart
• The Landing Strip
• The Sphynx

So in case you’re interested, we found a spot to tend to all your waxing needs at The Curve! And here it is:

There probably are one or two other places to get “it” done. Unfortunately we haven’t come across them yet!

So get brave, get sexy, get beached and get waxed! Easier said than done of course.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IKEA’s Sweeeeedish Meatballs!

We don’t need to tell you what IKEA is.

Neither do we need to tell you just how engaging their second to none showrooms are.
We won’t even go on about their affordable prices nor do we feel the need to criticize some of their products to be slightly lacking in quality.

Instead, we want to tell you about their irresistibly good Swedish Meatballs!!
If you’ve been to the IKEA at the Ikano Power Centre, then you must have come across the IKEA restaurant in the heart of the store.

The IKEA restaurant serves all sorts of Swedish inspired dishes from meatballs to poached salmon. There are also some “safer” items on the menu to accommodate for those who don’t feel like going too “Swedish”. However, we are compelled to again tell you how much we love those Swedish meatballs!

They are available in either a 5 or 10 piece platter, and are priced at RM5 and RM10 respectively (After a complex mathematical calculation process, we’ve discovered they cost RM1 per ball!)

Of course their not served plain as their accompanied by a really good brown sauce (not sure of it’s Swedish or not), a berry-like sauce (which seems weird but is actually good), and a serving of French fries (definitely not Swedish) to complete the meal!

Another superb yet undeniably simple item in their menu is the Ham and Cheese Sandwich. As the name suggests, it is in fact a Ham and Cheese Sandwich. For some reason it just tastes really good.

Fortunately, the items on their menu haven’t been named the same way their furniture is named. Would be weird if their meatballs were called “Kottboll” (which is in fact a direct translation of meat-ball in Swedish).

And on that note, we bid you adjo! (Goodbye in Swedish)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cupcake Chic

Cupcakes recently seem to have made a return. No longer just a small cake, it now seems to be an actual trend!

Cupcake Chic made its debut appearance back in 2007, with a mission to introduce Malaysia to REAL cupcakes at a time where most of the cupcakes available seemed to be just mouthfuls of cream which looked good but tasted otherwise.

We managed to treat our taste buds to some of their cupcakes recently:

Red Velvet: Red velvet cake topped with Cream Cheese frosting.
- Didn’t quite like the cake part that had a hint of bitterness to it. It seemed to be chocolate but wasn’t rich chocolate so the bitterness felt a bit out of place. The frosting however, was superb.

Chocofee: Coffee Cake topped with light chocolate frosting
- A very light, easy to eat cake although slightly dry. Chocolate frosting was again, really good.

Fatal Attraction: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- Definite choice for chocolate lovers. The cake is good and the frosting is even better.

We didn’t manage to taste all the items on their menu, but based on our experience, here’s our verdict.

The cake itself is where Cupcake Chic’s cupcakes fall short. Although they do possess sufficient bite, they lack in sheer taste. We’ve had some home made cupcakes before which have close-your-eyes-in-appreciation levels of taste, Cupcake Chic’s are nowhere near.

However, their frosting is definitely one of THE BEST around, it saves the whole Cupcake Chic experience.

So if you decide to try one, make sure that the piece you place on your fork has a good balance of the frosting and the cake, let the cakes soft texture land on your tongue, then slowly bite through the frosting and savour the experience. As tempting as it may be, try not to finish all the frosting and leave the cake behind!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Kitchen can’t you cook in? Kitschen of course!

Kitsch ironically, is defined as being something of a questionable, sometimes bad design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. But in fashion lingo, it can be interpreted as being “one of a kind” or unique.

If you haven’t noticed it yourself already, Kitschen is actually a new member of the Malaysian Fashion scene and can be found in One Utama, Sunway Pyramid, and The Curve (we’ve been to these outlets) as well as at the Mines shopping center and Tropicana City (we haven’t been to these ones)

Oh, they’re also a part of the Nichii fashion group who in case you didn’t know, fit into the “have-a-huge-selection-of-all-sorts-of-stuff-at-really-good-prices” category.

Our impression of Kitschen is a good one:

We love and relate very well with their fashion sense.
You’ll find a healthy range of stuff suitable for everyday work and play, from niche to contemporary, from urban to country to bohemian, from conservative to extravagant, and all at very accessible prices.

There’s even a men’s section albeit in a very inferior portion of the store that features a decent selection of simple stuff to more metrosexual stuff, so guys don’t have to just follow their female partners around in the store.

Their interior deco is simplicity in style at its unique best.
Staying true to the pun in their name, they have kitchen inspired designs throughout the store and their kitchen-fashion theme is especially evident and well portrayed in their logo, which is a hanger cum whisker!

And to further state their kitchen influence, there’s even a simple top available in a host of colours, packed in a very neat foil papered box that looks more suitable for a take-away lasagna! As tempting as it may look, try to avoid putting it in a microwave, unless you want a heated top.

On a slight downside, their prices seem to have climbed slightly since our first visit a few months back but still manage to stay relatively low when compared to other competing stores. And as controversial as this statement may sound, in terms of sheer quality and value for money, Kitschen honestly feels a smarter choice as compared to Forever 21, a subjective topic no doubt.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Central Market Food Court

We constantly encounter food stalls that proudly claim to be of a certain origin and always seem to be famous for some reason. Stalls with signs that take advantage of “state-of-origin” food fames like Famous Penang Laksa, Ipoh Chicken Rice, Original Kajang Satay, and a bit more international; Original Thai Tom Yam etc. Get the drift?

Ironically, all these stalls are easily found in KL (so it’s not really “Penang Laksa”) and more often or not, these are just abused claims. Heck, there are so many Penang and Ipoh food stalls in KL, that Penang and Ipoh would no longer have anymore stalls of their own!

Of course there are a handful of really good stalls featuring actual styles of food preparation from a certain land of origin; a good example would be a Penang Char Kuey Teow stall in a certain coffee shop in Section 13, it’s so good it’s even been featured in the newspapers before.

If you’ve not been to the new and improved Central Market lately, it’s about time you take a trip there. Apart from the much, much improved decorations, layout and toilets, the food court is a major attraction that to us, seems to be rather underrated. And in this food court, you will find a whole lot of Penang this, Kedah that, Thailand this, Kelantan that etc. The difference is, almost all these stalls taste authentic!

The Food court now has a more premium feel to it, with premium plastic chairs and weaved rattan chairs, top notch cleanliness, really nice flooring and overall, it really looks well maintained. And unlike say the very overrated Midvalley Food Court, its prices are really, really affordable too!

Kelantan Nasi Campur RM5

Among the many Malay skewed food stalls, one that we must highlight is the Kelantan Nasi Campur (or something like that). It’s got SUPERB tasting rendang dishes, curries, fried stuff as well as a host of other Malay style favourites. We had a serving of belacan kangkung, mutton rendang, and fried egg all in pretty large portions for less than RM5! The taste alone makes up for the price.

Considering the constant flow of foreign tourists in the area, it’s good to know that the Central Market food court is good enough to make a good impression. And if you’re taking a day trip to the less premier part of KL, do yourself a favour… have some Kelantan Nasi Campur for lunch.

Local Chicken Rice RM6

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Review of Monsters vs Aliens


A reasonably brief intro:
Monsters vs Aliens is a 3D animated film that represents DreamWorks Animation’s latest effort in their on-going battle with Disney’s Pixar animation studios. And as the title suggests, the film is, from an Insectosaurus’ point of view, about Monsters versus an Alien who is bent on invading Earth. If you don’t already know, you’ll find out what an Insectosaurus is when you watch the show.

The story revolves around Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon), who gets hit by a meteorite on her wedding day to her weatherman husband-to-be, Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd). She absorbs a substance called Quantonium from the meteorite that causes her to grow into a giant. Unfortunately for her, her rapid growth happened inside the church she was to have her wedding in. (We’re quite puzzled as to how her undergarments seemed to enlarge and fit her now giant frame).

The military then arrives, led by General W.R Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), abducts her, calls her “Ginormica” and imprisons her with 4 other captured monsters;
Dr. Cockroach the mad scientist cockroach (Hugh Laurie),
Missing Link the fish-ape monster (Will Arnett),
B.O.B the brainless gelatinous blob (Seth Rogen),
and Insectosaurus the incredibly huge grub.

Galaxhar the octopus-like alien (Rainn Wilson), fueled by his greed for quantonium, traces the substance to Earth and decides to invade Earth to get it.

The dimwitted and obnoxious U.S President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert), after recognizing the threat, takes General W.R Monger’s advice to use the monsters to fight Galaxhar… Setting up a Monsters + Humans vs Aliens scenario of comedic proportions.

What we liked…
The characters in the show, especially B.O.B, effectively gave the film its unique sense of humour, whiles all 4 of the monsters’ personalities were so starkly contrasting that they shared good chemistry.

Adding to that, President Hathaway, although slightly slapstick in his jokes, still served up a handful of laugh-till-you-tear moments and there is not a single character in the show that didn’t have a sense of humour!

The voice talents behind the film did a really good job in bringing each character to life and the animators should be given a pat on the back as well. Their creations just begged to be turned into soft toys and placed in Toy Store shelves, which is sure to happen in time.

Some of the jokes took a stab at US politics that would have made an impact on the more mature audience. (Not sure if the younger crowd would get it though)

Although we didn’t watch it in 3D, there has been feedback that made us regret not doing so because the quality of animation even in non-3D was really good.

What we didn’t like too much…
Nothing much really…
The film was made for one thing only, which was to make us laugh, and it did that job quite well although it did lack the same sort of character depth like Toy Story or The Incredibles.

Some of the funny moments, were slightly too slapstick and made it seem as if the writers were trying a bit too hard with the jokes.

Considering that this is in fact a cartoon, or in modern terms, an animation, there really isn’t much to be critical about. As mentioned earlier, it did what it was supposed to do quite well and it lived up to its title.

Our rating.
7.5 / 10

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Planning a Wonderful Wedding on a Realistic Budget by Sara L. Ambarian


Contrary to what they say in the magazines and on-line now, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a wonderful, memorable wedding. The most important part of making a wedding memorable is focusing on and prioritizing what you want to achieve. Fortunately, that same focus will help you save money as well!

You can look at all the planning guidelines and timelines in magazines and on websites for ideas of things you might do, but don't get boxed in by them. Real weddings come together in a much different way than magazines and many experts suggest.

You and your fiancé need to sit down and really talk and think about what you want MOST for the wedding. A certain location, a large guest list, great photography, a really fancy gown and accessories. Start making notes of what you really want and what you can live without. Compare your ideas, and compromise when necessary, to come up with a wedding you'll both love.

When you have an idea of what's most important to you, you can start finding out what those things will cost. Call around, ask around, make notes, add things up. Then when you have an idea of what you'll do, start with the most important priorities FIRST, so you make sure you can afford them. Then you can compromise on, or even omit, some of the less important things as your budget gets stretched.

The following is a compilation of ideas sent to various brides who were looking to keep their expenses and/or weddings small, but memorable.

General Budget/Cash Flow Issues

- Careful timing can reduce reception costs. Do you have a time set for the wedding? If you don't want to spend a lot on refreshments, plan the wedding and reception at a time other than mealtime.

Usually, for instance, it's tough to have a morning wedding early enough to avoid feeding the guests lunch. Even a very short ceremony and reception that starts at 10 am is going to run into "lunchtime" (and some guests may expect brunch, since many morning weddings offer that.)

In the afternoon, you could plan the wedding to start, say, 1:30 or 2 pm, and figure you can have people on their way before 5 if there are no real activities except socializing and limited light refreshments.

In the evening, you can work it the same way, if you wish. Any ceremony after about 6:30 pm (or certainly 7) would be "after dinner" (in most regions), so you could plan to only serve dessert rather than a buffet or meal.

- Make some things for the wedding yourself. Doing-it-yourself is not always as much cheaper as it used to be, but it still saves you labor charges, if you have creative talents and energy. It is encouraged that couples and families to make garters or bridesmaids dresses, arrange flowers, cook the reception food, whatever they are good at. It's cheaper, and it's often more meaningful to have had a hand in the preparations personally. Also, many family and friends really ENJOY helping out with wedding prep. Don't be afraid to ask! : )

- Consider marrying on Friday evening. This is NOT the most convenient arrangement, because people have to get out of work early, etc. It can also be difficult for any out-of-town guests you might have, because it may force them to take an additional day off work to arrive in time for all the festivities. But you can sometimes get discounts on sites and services. If you are *really* tight in the budget, this could be an option worth researching.

- One other Very Important thing to remember when money is tight. Most of your bills will come due right before the wedding. Usually you pay 1/2 up-front for services, and then the last couple weeks before the wedding, everyone wants their other half paid. BE PREPARED FOR THIS! Try to look ahead so you will have the cash flow you need when all those payments go out at once. If you can, save extra Right Away while you are in the early planning stages, because you will need it later.

- Also, plan your budget Smaller than you think you could really afford. If your wedding expenses come within that figure, that will be great. But if one or two things turn out to be more expensive than you expected, you won't be right at the absolute limit of your funds. It will give you peace of mind.

Location/Guest List

- Keep your guest list small. The more people, the bigger the location, the more food, the more invitations, etc.

- Have the wedding and reception in the same place. It's trendy to have them separate locations, but frankly, as a guest, I really dislike the practice (all that extra driving and parking). And from the couple's standpoint, it's much cheaper to do it all in one place. It's also more convenient and relaxing for everyone involved.

- Consider an less-traditional location. In most areas, many attractive locations are willing to have weddings. Not just the churches, hotels and country clubs where most weddings take place. Some non-traditional locations will cost you more, but others may cost Considerably less. So do some research, and make some calls. Likely locations include, parks (local, state and national), bed-and-breakfasts, country inns, restaurants, public gardens, historic homes or monuments, museums, galleries, and private homes of friends or family.

When considering the suitability of any location, be sure to find out not just about the price to rent the location, but also about parking, seating, restrooms, food preparation and/or storage, dressing areas, security, electrical hook-ups, restrictions or regulations (on alcohol, attire, photography or videography, decorations, etc.) Anything not provided or conveniently available may cost you more to rent or provide on your own.



- The two best ways to save money on attire are to dress very casually, or to sew your own (or have a friend or relative sew your) gown and/or bridesmaids' gowns. But even casual gowns can be quite costly in the current market, unless you are able to take advantage of sales or other discounts.

Home-sewn gowns are less popular now than they were in the 70's and 80's. However, since the current styles and fabrics are actually fairly easy to sew, it seems a shame that more brides and their families do not make use of this option, especially for bridesmaids and flowergirls.

Obviously, good general sewing skills and a dependable sewing machine are necessary, as well as a reasonable "eye" for fitting. But if you consider that a bride recently commented that she was happy to find a flowergirl dress for only 2 times lesser than usual (other similar gowns were as much as RM450), it seems clear that sewing should be an option budget-conscious brides at least consider.

- Headpieces and some accessories are very inexpensive to make, as well. Good instructions are available in books and with patterns. If you are creative at all, you might look into this option. Mark-ups on headpieces, especially, are VERY high in most bridal boutiques, so this can net you a big savings from retail.

- If you will buy your gown "off-the-rack", big discount bridal stores and on-line resources can offer lower prices but consider what you may, or may not, get from these sources in the way of quality, personal service, dependability, selection, alterations, etc. Some are excellent; others are not. Working with a company or resource you have personal references for is the best, whenever possible.

- If you will hire a dressmaker to save money, remember that the talents and prices and quality provided will vary considerably. You might be fortunate to have a very inexpensive, but fabulously talented dressmaker available to you. On the other hand, to get the best deal from a more expensive dressmaker or designer, you might decide to simplify your fabric and detailing choices to include only what's MOST important to you. The other advantage of having a gown made is that, at least you will not have to worry about alterations costs on top of the purchase price.

- Menswear costs can be reduced by having the men wear suits they own, for example, rather than renting matching formalwear.



- If you will use fresh flowers, try to choose varieties which will be in-season at the time of your wedding date. Skip extra arrangements on the altars, reception tables, etc. If you must decorate these areas, consider using inexpensive live plants (home centers, discount stores, large nurseries, and even grocery stores sometimes have great prices on potted plants.) Be sure, however, that any plants or flowers used near food are not toxic.

- Keep the bouquets small. Let the bouquets do double-duty for decoration, by laying them out on your tables at the reception. Consider eliminating corsages and boutonnieres for anyone besides your own and your fiancé's parents.

- Consider arranging silk or dried flowers yourself. The price of professionally-arranged silk or dried bouquets is often about the same as fresh flower prices. However, if you use careful shopping, creative filler options, a bit of patience, and some ingenuity, you can often save money by arranging silk or dried flowers yourself. If you haven't worked with floral arranging before, start with the boutonnieres. They are easy to handle and help you get familiar with the general techniques and products you will use on the larger arrangements.

- Not all locations need extra decorations. It is not necessary to totally transform your ceremony or reception location in order to have a beautiful and memorable wedding. If your budget is tight, do the minimum you are comfortable with.

- If you really need some color and interest in a really boring reception location (a common problem), I have seen really pretty, classy effects achieved with really simple, inexpensive party materials, like balloons, streamers (especially metallic or pearlized), honeycomb wedding bells, inexpensive fabrics, candles, confetti and glitter.

If you choose to use materials like these, choose your colors carefully so they are not too harsh, and look for ways to combine materials and add small decorative details (silk flowers, ribbons, floating beads, etc.) to create a more complex, customized look.


- Your choice of refreshments is very important to how much the reception will cost.

Generally, the least expensive reception is a cake and punch reception. Cake is really the minimum food you should serve. You can cut cake costs, if necessary, by having a very small decorative and/or stacked cake, and supplementing the servings with additional sheet cake in the same flavor. Punch is an easy and inexpensive beverage, and it can be very fun to make.

A cake and punch reception usually also includes coffee and perhaps tea, individual sodas instead of punch if you prefer (but that costs more), and sometimes champagne or other alcohol (but that's a pricey item, too.) There has also recently been a trend toward offering other desserts besides cake, so you could have a "dessert and punch" reception for a little more than a standard cake and punch affair.

A pot-luck is next most expensive, because it should be assumed that you and your family will contribute several dishes. In some social circles, this works out very well, and makes for a very fun and tasty reception. There is a lot of variety in the food (something for everyone, usually) and even if some guests are not able/willing to bring something, there's usually plenty. This sort of arrangement works well for family- or church-oriented weddings, where guests feel that bringing a dish is a way to help the couple celebrate. In other circles, guests may consider this in poor taste, feeling that the bride's (and perhaps groom's family) should be treating the guests to a meal. You would have to check around with family and friends to see how they would feel about this idea.

Some hosting families opt to prepare the food themselves. It gives them control over the cost and menu, but eliminates the potluck concept of asking others to bring something. If you have a lot of guests, you could also ask for help from the bridal party members and your closest family and friends.

Cold food works the best for this because you can buy and prepare it ahead. If you have family or friends willing to help, it's not too taxing to have them each make a double or triple recipe of one dish like potato or crab salad, or a platter of cold cuts, or a tray of rolls. Warehouse and food service stores like Price Club and Smart and Final have made this even easier, providing good prices for large quantities, and (at Smart and Final and other restaurant suppliers), low cost serving dishes and utensils as well. I have found that big plastic punch bowls are excellent for serving salads and other large dishes attractively and economically.

Of Catered options, prices would range from purchasing trays at a supermarket or other deli, to having a restaurant or caterer provide trays or a simple buffet, to having a formal sit-down dinner cooked by the kitchen at the reception site or a private caterer, to really elaborate, multi-course banquets.


- Providing entertainment or activities costs extra, generally. If you want to keep the reception low-key, skip or at least limit music and dancing (this will also save you from having to rent a dance floor). If you have access to a small sound system, at the location or through a friend, you can supply your own background music through CDs or cassettes.

You may or may not need a microphone at all, depending on what you choose to include in the way of toasts and announcements. If you keep it really informal, just a chance to chat with guests, you can get away with almost no extra equipment or related preparation. This will also tend to keep the reception short, since guests won't be staying late to dance and party.



- Hiring professionals, of course, accounts for a great chunk of many wedding budgets. As a professional myself, and speaking for the many fine wedding professionals this is often money very well spent. However, people have married without the help of professional dressmakers, florists, caterers, photographers, videographers, musicians, and event planners for hundreds of years. And some couples still do.

If your budget is really tight, pick your professionals with care. Personally, photography is the most important professional priority (see article); and many couples have felt the same. For you, it might be a particular florist or caterer. But remember you do not have to hire every professional suggested in the bridal magazines, or by people you know. You can choose to spend the money you have on what matters most to you.

- Consultants, coordinators and event planners are currently touted by most magazines, and many bridal advisors, as an *essential* element of modern wedding planning. They site money savings, higher quality wedding "results", planning-stress reduction, and more. It is important to point out, however, that many, if not most, weddings are planned without the help of this type of professional. And most of them are beautiful, happy, fun and memorable.

There are situations where a bridal consultant, coordinator or event planner is very helpful-- and still another few situations where one might be essential. But if you are planning a relatively average wedding, and you are concerned with keeping costs down, this is a professional I believe you can safely skip no matter what the magazines say.

Good advice and information about wedding planning is available from many free or inexpensive sources-- friends and family, your local library, the internet, and many of the wedding professionals with whom you will be working. Don't sell any of these resources short!

And don't let anyone intimidate you by making wedding planning seem more complicated than it is. A lot of the people who emphasize the stresses, costs, and frustrations of planning are either selling something, or they have been heavily influenced by those who are.

LOTS of couples plan wonderful weddings without suffering tremendous stress, without going into years of debt, without having horrible fights with their future spouses-- and without losing sight of the reason they are doing all of this in the first place. You can, too! Best wishes to you!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Il Tempio @ Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

There are "Dining Enthusiasts" and then there are "Eating Enthusiasts"... What's the difference you ask?

Well eating is an activity of consuming something edible to satisfy one's hunger, whiles providing a pleasurable sensation to our sense of taste. (Duh..)
Dining on the other hand, involves not only our sense of taste, but also our sense of sound, sight and smell. Basically… dining is an experience.

KL is blessed with an anthology of dining outlets, from fine to casual, coming in all shapes and cuisines, Frangipani, Avanti, Carcossa, and La Fitte being some of the finest names around. However, most if not all of these dining outlets are Urban in every sense. As fantastic or exclusive as they may be, you always know that you're in the city. However, there is one restaurant that breaks that norm.

Il Tempio is a name unfamiliar to many, and basically means "The Temple" in the Italian language.And as the name suggests, it is a restaurant serving fine Italian cuisine as well... but it's as much a restaurant, as it is a work of art.

A dining experience with Il Tempio starts with the sense of sight and sound. As its tranquil setting hidden amidst lush greenery is backed by the soundtrack of nature and a very appropriate chill CD.Its unique monastery inspired architecture, soft intimate lighting, accents of flowing water, and numerous pieces of art including Buddha statues create an intimate, Zen like ambience.Its isolation from the city is a welcome atmosphere and really does deceive your sense of location. Because how can a place like this, be in KL?

Words will never do justice to just how visually enticing Il Tempio is, regardless of how many descriptive adjectives we use. Furthermore, it provides a sense of exclusivity like very few other restaurants do because of it’s “hidden away” nature.

The pictures speak for themselves.

After taking in the sights and sounds, Il Tempio's selection of fine Italian Cuisine tops off the dining experience by pampering your taste buds. The menu features a wide range of common dishes, albeit with a slight twist and a fancy name courtesy of Chef Daniele Sarno of Tuscany.

An interesting addition found in a few choices in the menu are almonds! Not something you'd normally see during dinner, but it's just one of the many touches ingeniously used by Chef Daniele.

Our orders were a Breaded Chicken Breast, stuffed with Mushrooms and cheese, accompanied by a few almond flakes.

Also, a Grilled Lamb Loin, served with a slice of grilled eggplant/aubergine and a unique mix of grilled tomatoes and something else of which we can't really recall.

In truth, although the dishes were uniquely prepared and reflected Il Tempio's attention to detail in its presentation, we'd rate the overall taste as being "quite good" compared to "extraordinary". However, that “shortcoming” is quickly and easily ignored.

Being a fine dining restaurant, it’s quite correct to assume that most of us would not consider dining here everyday for lunch and dinner, instead we’d see it as a luxury, once in a while kind of thing. Of course there are the lucky few who earn enough to make themselves regulars. But with that in mind, and with all things considered, Il Tempio’s pricing really is affordable. A simple meal for 1 would only set you back around RM80, but of course depending on how flamboyant you’re feeling on the night. There’s also a 3-4 course individual set menu at around RM160 per person, accompanied with a glass of wine. And if you’re a wine lover or are just in the mood for a glass of wine, Il Tempio boasts a rather comprehensive wine list.

As positive as this review sounds, I doubt it would do justice to just how memorable an evening with Il Tempio would actually be. If you do take our advice and decide to pay them a visit, be sure to make a reservation, as their seating is rather limited.

Here’s their URL for starters : http://www.tamarindrestaurants.com/