Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bump-It Up

I am a huge sucker for anything related to beauty products and accessories. You'd know this if you ever saw my bathroom counter. You can't even see what color it is because every inch is taken up by products, samples, clips, hair ties and so on. I'm always accumulating more stuff. It's a sickness really. One that I'm pretty sure gets worse as I get older.

So the minute I saw "Bump-Its" on The Ellen Show, I immediately knew I must own my own. I got online and ordered those puppies that day.

What are Bump-Its? Bump-Its are little plastic accessories from heaven. They were made for girls like me who have a hard time teasing innocent hair follicles into voluminous waves.

Here's what they look like.

They are also really easy to use. You insert these under a layer of your hair at the crown of your head. And magically, your hair looks like it defies gravity -- and Singapore humidity.


Wanna know what they look like in action? Of course you do.

before

after
Ta da! Insta-volume. I'm wearing the medium-sized one as the big one was a bit much for my beginner eyes. I'm not used to seeing so much volume here. I was even reluctant about this one when I first put it in.

Now, I'm loving it. I'm going to test it later by going outside. I'm very scared to see what the humidity will do to my teased Bump-It do.


Here's my favorite part though:
I have been dying for this much volume with a pony for years.

I heart you Bump-It.

P.S. In my excitement of ordering the Bump-Its, I accidentally ordered two boxes of them. Yes, I'm friggin' special like that. So now I'm debating on selling them on E-bay or to a friend. If anyone wants to buy them. Let me know. I don't think I'll be needing eight Bump-Its at my house. Plus, I must spread this joy around.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm a Pepper, Singapore is Not a Pepper



Singaporean woman at my office: This lady always drink Dr. Pepper with her lunch. I do not know how she do that. Dr. Pepper taste like medicine I take for cold.

Me: So you're saying that you have really delicious medicine in Singapore then?

Singaporean: No, lah! It does not taste good. I no like Dr. Pepper because it taste bad like that.

Me: I'm sorry, I don't follow you. Dr. Pepper is delicious and I think I need to find this medicine you speak of.

Singaporean: Oh no. It no good.



I honestly think I live in an alternate universe. I have never heard disdain over the 23 delicious flavors of this lovely soft drink. I'm quite confused. I sat in the break room for about 15 minutes pondering this conversation after everyone left. I just couldn't believe my ears.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pizza Rut

This is something that has long baffled me as a resident of Singapore.

How do you screw up something as easy as pizza?

And yet somehow they do. The pizza pictured above is a staple of every Singaporean pizza menu. It has scallops, imitation crab meat, shrimp, onions and garlic. I call it the "Effing Sick" pizza.

Another thing about Singaporean pizza is that they are incapable of putting less than four toppings on it. Ask for just pepperoni and they'll look at you like you have two heads. Oh and you want thin crust? Good luck buddy.

A couple of months ago we decided to try out a place that touted it had the best American-style pizza in Singapore. I was unreasonably optimistic. We ordered the Singaporean version of "meat lovers". When it arrived, we were terrified. The pepperoni was a disturbing shade of plum and the italian sausage was white as paper. I was unaware that this pizza place was Halal. That means that in order to make it suitable for Muslims (which are the majority in this part of the world), they have to take out pork...and the deliciousness. Thus the purple discs were beef pepperoni and the white chunks were "mystery meat" sausage. I cannot, for the life of me, determine what non-chicken, non-pork meat is white. Ignorance is probably best in this case. I quickly concluded that our "meat lovers" was merely three different types of beef and the mystery meat. Disappointment wouldn't even begin to cover my emotions.

It was the first time in my life that I threw away pizza leftovers. There was no cold pizza for breakfast the next morning. A little piece of my collegiate soul died that day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I didn't even know these still existed

outside of antique stores, that is.

For reasons I still cannot understand, I had to use one of these dinosaurs today. It was the most painful 45 minutes of my life.

I've never used so much White-out in my 24 years.

They should be banned. The torture was comparable to waterboarding and I'm only being a little dramatic.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Learning to cook, one burnt thing at a time

I'm trying to learn how to be a good cook. I've always envied the people that could take a few ingredients and throw them together at random to make something delicious. I was not born with this ability. I'm more of a recipe reader and an ingredient measurer. Not a splasher and dasher. I decided I need to change that.

So I read a lot of cookbooks, cooking magazines and cooking blogs. I own almost every one of Rachael Ray's cookbooks, get her magazine (Thanks Sis!), and have the Food Network.com bookmarked. I also watch what cooking shows they allowed to be played over here in the jungle.

But, you wanna know the best place I've found for recipes and cooking advice?

Pioneer Woman's website

This woman has really taught me a lot about cooking and I've never even met her. She is raising four young children and living on a real-life working ranch complete with cows and cowboys. She might just be my best fake friend. I just love her. She's so down-to-earth and funny. Plus, she's an amazing cook of the dasher and splasher variety. She uses real ingredients that you usually have on hand and makes delicious things. It's Midwest comfort food at its finest.

She's also a very good writer. Her recipe posts are never boring. AND she takes pictures of every step of her recipe so you know AS SOON as you've messed it up. Most of the recipes are also either her own creations or creations of friends.

I've made about five or six of her dishes and have loved every one of them. My all-time favorite would have to be her BBQ meatballs. Or her pot roast. Or maybe her baked mac and cheese. Actually forget it, EVERYTHING is delicious. If you're in a rut or need some inspiration, just check out her site. The options abound.

In the spirit of cooking, I have to tell you all about my first ever "created by Megan" recipe. It's the first thing that I made from scratch by just throwing some things together and saying a little prayer. It's Cream Cheesey Chicken Enchiladas. I'm pretty excited about it being both delicious and edible. Aaron and I love it so much that I make it about every two weeks. Plus it freezes well to reheat later when you don't feel like cooking.

To see the recipe, just click on the link to the right called "A Bun in the Oven". That's my sister and my cooking blog that we have slowly been adding things to. My sis is one of the best cooks I know and she's got oodles of delish recipes stashed away. She's also one of those people that can just throw things together and have it be delicious. She's a brat. :)

If you have any good recipes to share, please send them my way. I'm loving this cooking thing and I'm always up to try something new. Please just keep in mind that I live in Asia and I won't be able to find some things if you get too fancy, or American, on me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A day of Singaporean, lah

This is a video made by a Singaporean to show the typical day of a working class Singaporean. I originally wanted to post it because he is speaking Singlish. It took me months to understand Singlish and I thought this would be a good way to show you why. Try to understand the speaker without reading the subtitles.




There are some other interesting things in the video that are unique to Singapore.

The whole tissue thing on the tables, for instance. That was hard to learn. When they put their pack of tissues down, that means they've claimed the table. I've gotten yelled at by angry Aunties (Singlish for "old Singaporean women") for sitting at a table they "chopped with napkin". Those were fun days. Imagine an angry Asian woman yelling what I thought was jibberish at me until I moved from my seat. I had no idea what she was saying so I moved mostly to get away from her.

There's other things that are noted in the video too. I'm just getting so used to it now that I barely notice how different it is anymore.

What'd you notice? Humor me. I'm curious.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Portion size = The size of my love handles

Aaron came across an interesting article a couple of days ago that compared food portions sizes of today to portions in the 70s. My, have our eyes gotten bigger than our stomachs. Actually wait, I'm pretty sure those guts have more than caught up.

Because I didn't like the pictures in the original article, here's a similar article to pick over:

Portion Size, Then and Now


Let me tell ya, it's almost embarrassing to see what Americans consider a legitimate portion after living here.

It was a major challenge for us at first when we ordered food at Hawker stalls in Singapore. We would come back to our table with a little bowl of rice and a small glob of chicken. We were so sure that we'd have to go back for more food. I mean, how in the heck were we supposed to be full off of 5 bites of chicken and a mound of rice? That's just craziness. Then, after we ate and saw how long the line was to get more food --we somehow were full. And ya know what? We got used to it. Now we eat that much and it's the perfect amount. In fact, when we went home last March we ate out a lot and we NEVER finished anything on our plate. We even finally started sharing one meal like senior citizens do. Don't judge.

But really, who on Earth needs to eat a 24oz steak AND a salad AND mashed potatoes AND green beans with bacon AND a chocolate sundae for dessert? That's enough to feed a small village. Are you a village? No? Well, that's not what your butt looks like after eating that.

Did you know that if Singaporeans eat a large meal, they usually don't eat much else for the rest of the day other than a snack or two?

Oh and here, a size 8 is a large. A LARGE.

There's some perspective for portion control.

And...the eliptical machine is calling my name after that post.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guess What We're Getting!

and by "we" I mean the country of Singapore, of course. Hopefully, we'll get to go before they ship us out. Maybe I should start sending cookies to the construction site to see if they can be coaxed to hurry up. I'm also not above begging.

Please please please please please please????

Lost and Found

Ever wonder what happened to your old fanny pack from the 90s?

Well don't worry. I found them. They're all in Singapore. I see more of these in a given day than I see chopsticks. What's even better is that it's usually men wearing them. SWA--eeeet. They usually wear them with their short jean shorts too. I live in the 90s. I just need some Vanilla Ice on my Ipod and I'd be all set. Ya know what else I found here?

SCRUNCHIES!!!! I'm fairly sure that every Singaporean woman owns and still wears at least two scrunchies a week. They even still sell these things in accessory stores. While I don't see them tying their shirts with them yet, I'm sure they'll think of that soon.

(P.S. I'm sorry I have lame internet photos for this blog. I'm not allowed a camera on the base at my job and so it has extremely inhibited my Singapore picture taking. Don't worry though, as soon as I can carry a concealed camera again, I will photograph the proof.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

A lil' background

I can still remember the tears that welled up in my eyes when Aaron told me he was getting shipped off to Singapore. A lump the size of Texas settled in my throat and I had to force it down to choke out normal words so he wouldn't know how upset I was. I was sitting in my car at a red light and knew I had to keep it together for another thirty minutes to make it home from work in one piece. For all I knew, they were sending him into the depths of the jungle where there were no phones, internet or toilets. I was sure I'd never see him again. I had only heard of Singapore twice: Once, when I went to school with a kid who was born there. All that I remembered him telling me about it was that if he ever went there to visit family, they'd force him into the military to complete his mandatory National Service. The second time was when I heard about the kid that got caned for spray painting cars in the 90s. Even though Aaron was already military and I was sure he wouldn't be painting any cars, I was sure something awful was going to happen with him moving to such an awful place.

I am a bit of a drama queen.

So since I know there are others who thought or still think just like I did, I found this documentary that the Discovery Channel did and think that it is a very interesting portrayal of the place I live. It's a little out of date by about three years or so, but it's not too off.

(Just a warning: the quality is not the best and the audio is really loud so go ahead and turn down your speakers.)


The MRT (subway system) that is mentioned in the video is how we commute to work, the grocery store, out to dinner, etc. It really is pretty great -- minus the crowds, and the smells that a tropical island creates.

As you can see, Singapore is far from the place my worried little mind created. We have our ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. We're learning many lessons.

(See, I'm trying on my happy, optimistic Megan hat today. How's it look? Like I'm full of crap? Whatever.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Check the shoes!

This is what gecko poop looks like strung across your kitchen wall. Yummy, right?

I've yet to find the intruder.

Something tells me to check Aaron's shoes.

To the class of 2009

Everyone who's ever graduated has had to listen through a lame and mildly inspiring speech by some old guy during the really long ceremony. I don't remember anything from either my high school or college graduation ceremonies. Obviously, it didn't make that much of an impact on me.

Here's what will boys and girls:

Balls Deep Message from Drew Magary (Don't click here, Dad.)


This is the funniest and most truthful graduation message I've ever heard. It's littered with profanity and some rather icky sexual innuendos so that means that certain readers of this blog would probably not appreciate it. (Again, that means you Dad.) But it paints a rather clear picture of life in the real world. Especially the real world of today. Not the made up world that tells you to reach for the sky and set your dreams big. We're not selling crazy here today.

So that being said, I'd like to say congratulations to the grads I love: Scott, Alex and Sam.

P.S. Please don't tell your parents about the above link. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

World's Smallest Dishwasher

I'm seriously considering sending it's picture into the Guinness Book of World Records. Isn't it tiny?

This is what the family housing department (or whatever it's called) gave us in lieu of a real dishwasher. This thing is pitiful. It only fits approximately three plates, three bowls, three cups and maybe a small cooking dish if you're really good at loading a dishwasher. (Or in my case, really good at jamming things in and not caring if some plastic cups are bending from the strain.)

I run this thing all day long. I'm pretty sure Mother Earth hates me. I use up all of her energy, clean water and add dangerous soap to her water supplies because this thing needs three loads to do a day's worth of dishes. As you can tell, I'm not very green at all. (Although, I did switch to ECO dishwashing detergent to help out the streams and such.)


Also, look how much counter space this sucker takes up?

Ugh!
And I know some of you will say "Well, at least you HAVE a dishwasher!" and to that I will say, I lived in crapholes in college that had a better appliance than this. I admit it, I'm spoiled, but when my crappiest apartment in college has better digs than this, I must bitch. And trust me, I lived in some cheap apartments.

I suck at washing dishes by hand. This is something that directly correlates with our health. I'd hate to know that I gave my husband salmonella because I "missed a spot". Then again, the military pays our medical bills. Maybe that will get us a real dishwasher. Hmmm.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now They're Making Me Commercials

I've wanted a Mac ever since I first touched one in elementary school. I loved how easy they were to use and I loved all of the programs that were designed for them. At KU, I played on the J-School's Macs between every class. As for owning my own, still not so much. It turns out they are quite a chunk of change. While I could save up for one, I find myself needing other items first (like money for a house, car and furniture - which we have very little of). I still lust after the Macness daily though.

Now look what the Mac people had to go do:



They've catered their advertising to specifically target me! Oh no. I think we might have to cave.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flock Rocks

(You can make the picture easier to see by clicking on it)

After fighting a losing battle with Internet Explorer, we finally decided to get a new web browser. We did lots of research on all of Aaron's nerdy computer sites (love you babe!) and found this amazing new browser called Flock. Flock is now my best friend. Flock is to Internet Explorer what MP3s are to 8 Track tapes. It's a social networker's dream. And my internet crack.

The picture above is a screen shot of what Flock looks like in action. As you can kind of see, you still have your basic necessities such as an address bar, main browser window and basic Internet action buttons. (Please excuse me for not using the correct techie lingo.) Then Flock went and got all awesome on us. See that side bar to the left? That's my update bar. It gives me constant updates on whatever I tell it to while I'm surfing the web. Or in this case, blogging. In other words, I can have it set to update me on what my friends are doing on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter while I find a dinner recipe on FoodNetwork.com. I can set this bar to do RSS feeds and media feeds too. So that means that whenever my favorite news sources post a story, it'll appear on the left. When someone on my Facebook friends list posts new pictures, it lets me know.

What's even more awesome: it tells me this even when I'm not looking at it. See those glowing orange icons above the left side bar? Those mean that new stuff has happened that I haven't checked out yet.

I love it. It's the perfect solution for a gal with Internet ADD. I can see and do it all at once. What once took me an hour to do, takes me about twenty minutes now. I think I'm in heaven.

Aaron thinks I have a problem and that Flock is the crack dealer of my internet addiction.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Say it in Singlish

Singlish: "Oh, you meant to tell me that you're on rubber time."


In American English: "You should have told me you were going to take your sweet ass time."


The Singaporean ladies at my new workplace taught me this one. So when someone tells you that they're going to meet you at 7 and then decide to show up at 8:30, they're on "rubber" time. It's a bit of a stretch from the original time they said.

Aaron and I live our lives on rubber time. I'm sorry for those of you on standard time.

I just want my poppy seeds AND my job

The good news: I started my new job today and I think I'm going to like it.


The bad news: Since I work for the US Government, I have to submit random drug tests. That means I can't eat my delicious poppyseed dressing...




or "magic brownies".


Just kidding.

But just about the brownies. I really do want to eat my dressing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Making Myrna proud

While we were in Japan, Aaron and I stayed at The New Sanno, a resort for military families. It's a fancy resort in downtown Tokyo and for military members, it's crazy cheap. I mean like 45 bucks a night cheap. So this place books up very far in advance and we were lucky to squeeze in for one day. We were ecstatic.

We took a shuttle from the base to The New Sanno and since we arrived pretty early, our room was not yet ready. So we had some time to kill.

This is what we found to fill the time:

Aaron's grandma, Myrna, taught us both how to gamble while we were home in March. Previously, we had never been big gamblers. I usually like to wear, eat or drink what I spend my money on. However, I was not opposed to playing penny slots. There's less of a commitment when it's a few cents. BUT there was another challenge. Have you seen a slot machine lately? There's so many buttons on the frickin' thing that I had no idea which button to push and at what time to push it. They don't have the lever that you pull down anymore. It's all buttons, buttons, buttons. So Myrna taught us both how to play the complicated thingys. And we both ended up winning a wad of cash with her on the penny slots. I liked winning free money. So now I like gambling.

Except this time. Things did not go as well. I'll break it down for ya.

Thursday 11 am
Aaron deposits 5 dollars in the machine.
Megan deposits 1 dollar in the machine.

Five minutes later...
Aaron is up 7 dollars.
Megan is hounding Aaron for more money because she lost her dollar.

20 minutes later...
Aaron is up 10 dollars.
Megan has lost 10 of the 20 dollars her husband gave her.

10 minutes after that...
Aaron makes Megan walk away from the slots because she keeps losing money...and their room is ready.

The next day (Friday) 12pm
Aaron begins on a roll and is slowly gaining more momentum.
Megan is still slowly losing her money.


30 minutes later...
Aaron has accidentally hit MAX BET more than once and has squandered away his winnings down to zero.
Megan somehow got her sad little number up to 13 bucks.

10 minutes after that...
Aaron gets impatient watching Megan go up and down and makes her bet all of her money.
Megan realizes too late that it was actually a scam orchestrated by Aaron to make her lose all of her money so he could go get a sandwich.

Lesson learned: only gamble when Myrna is present. She is the good luck charm. And she will make sure that Aaron doesn't make Megan lose on purpose.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Never too old for dolls

Aren't these the cutest things you've ever seen? No? Whatever, I think they rock.

These are my Kokeshi dolls that I bought on our trip to Japan. I love them. Kokeshi dolls are handpainted wooden dolls that were originally toys for the children of farmers. They're quite simple in design, but some may have very elaborate paintings on them. Nowadays they are sold to tourists as it is has become a famous Japanese craft. They sold these in every souvenir shop we entered. I heart them a lot. I hope to get more the next time we're in Japan. They are made in different colors, heights and widths. They also come with different hair-dos and facial expressions.

Wikipedia says that the Mii characters on Nintendo Wii games are based on the Kokeshi doll. I've been taught to not believe everything you read on Wiki, but I'd say they look pretty similar.

Now my house has proof that I live in Asia...or at least have visited it. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crosswalks on Crack

My favorite place in Tokyo was the "Tokyo Times Square" aka Shibuya. This place is the one you see in movies that's all crazy and lit up with billboards and signs. We went during the day, so it wasn't as impressive. What was impressive was the sheer magnatude of people in the crosswalks of the streets. I use the term crosswalk lightly because as you will see in the video below, once the green walk sign is illuminated, it's a big free-for-all where crosswalks don't seem to exist.

video

What's funny is that Aaron and I were in awe of how many people there were. We found out later that we were there during a holiday and usually there's tons more people. A hotel employee told us that about a million people are said to cross this intersection at a given time. I don't know if that's accurate, but there's a heck of a lot of people.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Spreer's First Year

Aaron,

Happy Anniversary. We've made it through our first year. It really flew by, didn't it? It seems like just last week that we hopped on the plane to begin our new life together in Singapore. We've endured a lot since that day. Each day since has been filled with new joys and challenges. And I couldn't imagine facing any of them with anyone else. Thank you for being you.

And for putting up with me when I'm me.
Love you always and always,

Me