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Hei hei xoxo Aurora's my secret middle name, friends call me TungTung, sometimes Cher - but here I am, Cherlyn for ya. Unceasing Foodfullness is my food blog, but Hei Days // Cherlyn Aurora is a treasure trove filled w personal recounts on everything under the sky - or even above. What's "hei"? It's Hebrew for grace. I know I'm living in His grace, that's more than sufficient for me. Currently studying Bachelor of Journalism at QUT! In the land of +61 <3 Find me on instagram: @cherlynaurora // Twitter: @CherlynAurora // YouTube: Cherlyn Aurora // All my love. Cherlyn Aurora

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Big Hullabaloo

Jesus, my Captain, my soul's trusted Lord, all my allegiance is rightfully yours. 

//Hillsong United, "Captain"

Sometimes, we think that everything will go smoothly, and without any bumps, as long as we've got Jesus in our boat, right? I mean, obviously, Jesus is always with us, our Captain, Saviour, Redeemer, our constant help - whatever or whoever you need Him to be, HE IS. In this season, Jesus is my restorer. 

Trials, tribulations and hiccups along the way happen for a reason. Sometimes, we wonder, why can't Jesus just swoop in and save us from the perils of this wretched world? We ask, pray and believe that He will intercede in our situation, and we put all our hope in Him alone, for He is our Hope that cannot disappoint. But then.... after waiting, waiting and w a i t i n g, you're like - hey Lord, what's happening? Then you remind yourself, God is never early or late, He is ALWAYS on time. Now that, I know. But, isn't it just frustrating when the miracle doesn't come to pass at the time you wish it would? 

"Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12 AMP

Coming from me, whose hope was dashed for countless times during the past month, let me recount my experience, and how verses like Romans 12:12 really carried me through it all. And hey, we all learn from our mistakes, and for the ditchers, no one is perfect, and forgiving them is the best way to let it all gooooooo. No, we are not about to cue Frozen's "Let It Go", the fad is over, dude. 


Let's continue where I left off - I said, "Let's take the plunge," - and that was when everything sorta went haywire. But I don't regret it. 

Well, it wasn't just MYYYY idea, Hui Eng agreed to go ahead with it too, even though we knew that it could go terribly wrong. Take into consideration of 2 really excited girls who had nothing to lose - well, maybe except the looming $3721/ person if we failed to get 2 students to take over our CLV contracts. YOLO, in every sense of the word.

Why was it so difficult to find people? Come, let me list the reasons. 
  • Expensive rent per week
  • Sem is ending in a matter of weeks
  • Only students are allowed
  • Subletting not allowed
  • Newbie taking over the contract must last till the end of 2015, not shorter
HOWEVER, at first, we were doing well for one of the rooms. Shortly after advertising on Gumtree, a Chinese guy called Sidney was interested in inspecting the place. We were thrilled, to say the least. When he came over the following day, we showed him the area, explained everything, gave tips on living in the student village, and he told us straightaway that he wanted to rent out one room - which was mine. To be honest, I was quite confident of having my room rented out, as my room is nicely decorated, and further away from the toilet which may make the room more marketable hahaha. Oh well. Whatever it is, me and Hui Eng agreed to share half of the costs if there were any incurred on either sides.

Now pause.

Let me just say, thank You Jesus for sending Sidney to takeover the room! If it wasn't for him, me and Hui Eng would have never gone ahead with our plans, as losing that much money just to move houses was seriously not worth it. It was like, the moment he agreed to sign the contract, I said, "ALL SYSTEMS GO."

Don't worry, I'm not leaving you guys hanging again, I'm going to carry on with my story for now. (Though I should really get on with revising for my law exam - okay, just a bit more!)

Press play.

I was over the moon. Who wouldn't be?

Well, that was until we proudly marched over to the reception on 18th Sept at 4pm to inform the staff about our move, with the intention of breaking Hui Eng's contract if we couldn't find someone to take over the room by the time we moved. Now that, was the mood downer when we received the shocking reply from the RA (residential assistants who are on duty 24/7, to aid students when the staff leave on the dot at 5pm). He said, "Oh sorry, we can't do that. You're going to have to find someone to take over your contract, if not, you'll have to pay till the end of the year."

UMM. EXCUSE ME? *splutters* What did you say?

I wonder if that thought registered on our faces, but I think we were lost for words in the split second he delivered that defining statement. If I were drinking tea, I would have most definitely choked.

First thought: OH MY GAWD. OH NO. OH, NO. 

This cannot be happening. Our perfect plan had just been ripped to shreds. You see, if we broke off Hui Eng's contract on 26th September, we would save a lot of kaching. Even if we waited for 2 more weeks to find a takeover, it would have been no problem, as our new place came with 2 weeks rent free! (Do you see why this place was just calling out to us?)

As mentioned in the previous blog post yesterday, losing the bond is akin to us moving out in mid-Nov, as we would have lost $1954 anyway. And that would have been split into two, which makes it super ideal for us. By the way, if you haven't seen the previous post, I suggest you start from there, as these few blog posts are gonna be continuous. Now, for those who have read it, let me begin the next portion by saying, student villages main priority is not the welfare of the students, it is money. While I must place a disclaimer here by saying, money is how the world works, and the student village IS NOT at fault for refusing our request, and we are bound by the contract. But the infuriating point is, the fact that they chose not to care about our situation, despite our desperate pleas and emails.

When we told the RA that in places like Urbanest and other student villages, we had heard of students being able to terminate their contract early, and lose the bond as compensation. However, Iglu had strict policies in place. He then told us to email the reception, and on Monday, the staff would see it and decide if they could make a special request, seeing as to how we had tried our best to find a replacement. Our weekend mood was clearly dampened. Every time we walked past the reception, we would harrumph in displeasure. We did, however, send an email to reception the moment we got back to our unit.

Monday came. No reply. And that was just the beginning.

We proceeded to reception in the afternoon to check up on the email, and one of the staff members reiterated that it was not possible to break the contract, and advised us against signing the contract agreement for our new place. She did, however, give us the direct email for the manager, and told us to try emailing him. So happened, he was at a conference in Sydney, but he would reply their emails.

After emailing him, and explaining our side of the situation fairly, he didn't reply us. For the next two days, there was still no reply from him. Forwarded the email to reception to ask them to relay the message to him, and even visited the reception again just to inform them about the email I sent, then finally did someone forward it to the manager. Talk about efficiency.

After checking my email like a madwoman, he finally replied me. And he said we are obligated to find someone to take over the room. Basically, his indirect reply in his entire email was, NO, we are not accepting your request. He even had the cheek to say that we gave him very little time to consider. *cue the rage that lies within thy soul*


Sheesh. Well, being the vulnerable party, you can't reply that way. Any right thinking ordinary member of society has better common sense than to do that. (LOL, such a law-inspired statement) ANYWHO. I replied, and got Hui Eng to bring out her writing chops as well, in an effort to get the manager to reconsider his decision, as we apologised for any inconveniences, and tried with all our might to ascertain a favourable response. Guess what happened next?



When he finally arrived back on the 28th of Sept, we had already moved to our new spot.
Like I said before, 

And now, my friends, here we begin the story of the 3 Ditchers and the Big Hooha..... in the next blog post. *evil grin*

Okay c'mon, gimme a break. There's seriously so much to tell, so let's do this in juicy bits k?

Just wait for tomorrow or something,
Cherlyn Aurora xoxo

Monday, 26 October 2015

In raging seas, He is with me

Many, many, MANY things have happened over the past month. Like probably the most tumultuous one I've experienced in quite a long while. I have been ditched last minute by 'potential' takeovers in the most rude and aggravating ways possible, 3 times in a row. Every time there was hope, it got crushed, stepped on, well till the point of giving up and going past my breaking point. Emotions ran high, but through this experience, I have grown up a lot, and realised that in this world we live in, it's a harsh reality that can be unrelenting, which has opened my eyes. BUT - though I am in the world, I am not of the world, and Daddy God is with me through it all, holding my hand & leading me towards greater things that I presently cannot see. Restoration is coming, and I know it.

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame." (Joel 2:25–26)

This long story ahead will detail the student village experience, the good and the bad, and lessons learnt from it all - all in the hope that juniors will have prior knowledge before entering any contract, as breaking one is not as easy and simple as one may think. It can well be the financial black hole if you do so. The following text is super grandmother story, and will be split into separate continuous posts, so if you're looking for a quick glance, prolly come back later? But, do read this with an open mind & heart. :) Also, note that I no longer harbour any bitter feelings towards CLV (aka Iglu) & the three ditchers, and I'm gonna let bygones be bygones.

LETTUCE BEGIN, MAH FRIENDS. (Don't you grammar Nazi me)

Well, as you would all have known by now, I've recently moved house with Hui Eng - yes, we moved during the mid-sem break heh. It all started on 1st Sept, when CLV (the student village we were living in) changed their management to Iglu, and when we checked their contract renewal for 2016, our jaws dropped. While our current contract goes for $296/week for rent, from 1st Jan 2016 onwards, it would be $309/week. I already knew that the price increases every year (no freaking idea why they do that when there are no upgrades in premises), but $309 was just.... superbly unreasonable. Yes, utilities are included in the rent, and we can basically go crazy using how much electricity we wanted, but internet is apart from that. Oh yes, they would try to argue, saying, oh it increased coz of the high usage in utilities etc, but for the 2016 contract, they would include 10GB worth of data every month for free. Sounds like a good deal right? N O P E. The biggest NOPEEEEEE ever puh-lease. *scoffs*

Let me break it down for you. In CLV, BigAir is the only Internet Service Provider (ISP) available and allowed for students to use. You're apparently not given permission to use a different ISP, which obviously sucks. After asking around, I realised that BigAir charges exorbitant prices for their data. Basically, each month while living there, I paid $40/month for 40GB, and to give it some credit, it was high-speed Internet, which was gladly welcomed. However, mind you, Australia's version of high-speed Internet is nowhere near Singapore's speed, which has evolved to optic fibre speeds, but over here down under, they have yet to catch up. Right now, in Aussie, the govt is rolling out NBN, aiming to get it ready to every home by 2018. To be fair, Australia is enormous, compared to tiny Singapore, and for that, there is no one to blame. My issue with CLV was that their ISP was fixed, and you can only use it for one, O N E  device at any point of time. Which means, only my laptop could be connected to the Internet, which is why I went with a $60/month prepaid Optus card for my mobile phone. To be honest, the Optus prepaid plan of $2/day = 500MB/day with free calls and text messages is a steal lah, which is why I'm still using it concurrently, even at my new place.


So, when Iglu took over, suddenly the data plans changed from 2016 onwards, whereby, if you wanted to top up your data from 10GB (which would have been included in the rent), to plans like 40GB, it would be an additional $7/week. While I agree that may sound pretty okay for now, it really isn't worth the money, and it just costs so much more than before. So, for the usual 40GB/month plan, that would cost you $1/GB, which is, well, expensive, but no choice right. But when you consider the new arrangements, the $13 increase in rent PER WEEK does not amount fairly to 10GB PER MONTH, as 10GB basically costs $30/month as a plan on its own, but if you use more than that a month, you'd upgrade to 40GB, at $40/month. I think generally everyone goes with 40GB at the very basic, since the price for 10GB isn't worth it haha. I'm not going to calculate it digit for digit, but if you have a look, and use logic to do so, you'll realise that the "free 10GB" is more than paid for in the rent increase. Sigh, and I need tons of data.


We hesitated on the thought of moving, as it would involve a lot of commitment, looking for a house, and bringing our independence up another level. The other problem is, the damned 1-year contract signed with CLV. For this student village, only 1-year contracts are available. 6-months are okay, but it will cost you more. Why can't this place learn from others and provide 6-month ones at the same price? Gosh, create so much trouble for residents who want to move. For me, I just had a niggling feeling that we SHOULD move. Now, after all this has happened, I know for sure it's the Holy Spirit that prompted the move.

With several unsuccessful attempts at finding the most suitable apartment, we nearly succumbed to renewing our contract with CLV. However, on 15th September, Hui Eng randomly checked the latest rental offers on Real Estate AU, and to our surprise, the preview pictures, furnishings, location and price matched our expectations. It was like, ohmygawd this looks promising! Our time after that moment was a COMPLETE WHIRLWIND.

That very morning, we checked the place out, registered our interest, and took the application forms home to fill up. We were majorly excited, coz when we inspected the unit, every inch seemed perfect! Maybe only the fact that the master bedroom had a queen sized bed, and I wanted it changed to king single so that there was space for the owner to fit in a study desk and chair (which I had requested for). Haha and we even offered a lower rental price (eh we didn't go that much lower k, from $520 -> $500/week), which was ACCEPTED. Yes, I had the shalom peace feels when I went into the unit, the furnishings exceeded our expectations, and our requests were all accepted! Side note: the owner left the queen sized bed as it is, so maybe it's a bit squeezy, but it's comfy, cozy, and bless, I've got a bigger bed now - can fit another family member or friend when they come over HAHA. Count my blessings, yeah? GOD IS GOOD. :)

Yes, Jesus is my constant, in this world of uncertainty.

Everything was gonna go well as planned. Put up ads on every site possible, hope that 2 people want to take over our individual contracts till 31st Dec, and get away scot-free without any liability. If not, just break our contracts and lose the bond (1 month of rent, usually paid at the start of the contract as a deposit that will be returned to you upon completion of the contract, provided there are no damages to the unit/room). Coz, losing the bond is akin to us moving houses in mid-Nov originally anyway. Things were going to go SWELL, and move like a boss.




First off, the reason why we HAD to move during mid-sem break (26th Sept) was coz the owner did not want to wait till November to rent the place, and I felt a gut-prompting feeling that we should move, as we may not find a place like this again. I totally remember saying to Hui Eng, "Let's take the plunge."


Want to find out what happened next? Stay tuned. Coming up real soon.

Seeya in a lil' while,
Cherlyn Aurora xoxo

Monday, 23 March 2015

Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's Hero

As I awoke today, I checked my snapchat, and when I saw what my friend sent - "omg I'm so sad" - I knew immediately that Mr Lee was gone. At 7am, that's pretty depressing news to start the day. Initially, I was feeling slightly sleepy, but the moment reality hit me, and when news sources confirmed my fears, I couldn't hold back my tears. 


I may not have spoken out much regarding LKY, but deep inside I have always held a great sense of respect for this man, who has really given up his entire life to pioneer Singapore to what it is today, and no matter whether the govt makes decisions in or out of favour with the people, I know that Mr LKY himself has strived to fulfil the Singaporean dream, and his wisdom, foresight & vision is the crucial factor that has propelled this nation to a first world country, that's recognised as a prominent cosmopolitan city.

He was a man full of hope and utmost determination, and I'm amazed at all he has done for Singapore. For that, I am grateful, and I cannot put into words how thankful I am for this man, whom God had ordained to build this country. We may be just a small red dot on the world map, but this dot today has become so significant, and we are truly, insanely blessed to be citizens of this land.

Trust me, back in SG, we've got it really good. The grass is not always greener on the other side - yes, our systems may suck at times, but let's all learn to look at the bright side of situations. At times, when I look at the comments on Yahoo, or Facebook, left by fellow Singaporeans, it really outrages me, as people are so quick to criticise. There's always something to be thankful for, guys. 

Over here, now that I'm in Brisbane, I appreciate Singapore even more than I did before. I do love where I am now though, no doubt about it. :)

Below is a quote from LKY which is just - woah. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Mr Lee - you're an inspiration to many, and Singaporeans today and in future generations will continue to thank you for all you've done for us. We shall never forget your sacrifice, and it's coz you first believed, that we have come this far. 

SG50 is gonna be bittersweet, but I'm glad you lived to see Singapore to its 50th year. 

It has been an honour to live in the generation when you were still alive. Your legacy will carry on.

Forever and always, in every Singaporean's heart. xoxo


Cherlyn Aurora xoxo

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Officially ONE Month in Aussie!!! xoxo

Hi guys!!!

Omg I'm so sorry I have been on hiatus for so darn long (mygawd it's been 7 months since my last post... *ashamed*) HAHAHA. Anyway, whoever's even reading this now - thanks for dropping by :P I'm now officially reviving my once-dead blog, and I hope to post more stuff now ^_^ {EDIT: Yes, I'm gonna revive my food blog too - I've been instagramming all my food lol @cherlynaurora}



I'm now studying Bachelor of Journalism in Queensland Uni of Technology - considered Year 2, due to credit exemption, but yep it's my first year here, everyone. So far, I'm really enjoying my time here, especially after making lots of new friends. The way they teach at QUT is quite practical - I mean, I just went to do a court story with a classmate the other day (we have to choose our own court hearings to go to - something I think uni in SG will never do), and we basically just winged it! I now know why everyone says Journalism at QUT is super fun, despite it being challenging. :) Hey, if you've got the passion, things can only get better. :D

So, maybe y'all are wondering - do I get homesick?

Yknow, I am super uberly attached to my family haha.

"Have you ever been to a place you're supposed to love, but all you can think about is home?"

Well, well... in the first week that my family left for SG, I was reduced to a legit crying mess for like 5 whole days. I was crying, wailing, bawling, sulking - basically coz it was my first time being away from my family (don't count holidays lahs), and I was on an emotional rollercoaster the whole way. Have no freaking idea how my family actually put up with me - but interestingly enough, after meeting friends and stuff over the weekend, homesickness didn't even occur to after that lol. From week 2 onwards, my mind was literally: "What is homesickness?" XDDD DRASTIC CHANGE LOLLL. Maybe it was coz my monthly friend visited during the 1st week of independence? O_O

Okay to be frank, it was coz I was pressurising myself to ensure I do well in my studies, live within a reasonable budget, surviving with insanely limited house wifi plans (KGSV I'm staring at you) and to cope with the apparent loneliness during that first week. One thing to know; when you're alone, your mind starts to play tricks on you. I honestly thought I was going to become depressed if I let it go on haha~ But yes, I began to play podcasts of Ps Joel Osteen & Ps Prince on my phone whenever I felt like it was overwhelming, blasted gospel music to drown out the emptiness - yeah it did work, but what I really needed was FRIENDS. And hey, I've overcome so many situations in life, and through it all, I knew that God is faithful, and when He brings me to a certain place, especially after a whole path of open doors, He will surely take care of me, supply me with more than enough, and of course, put great friends in my life! ^_^

Suddenly, at the end of the week, I kept meeting more and more and more new people, and they were really cool to chat with! Also, during the first week, I didn't feel hungry at all, was waking up at random hours - panicking and just crying coz I knew my family wasn't with me - it was just horrible. My body didn't want lunch for the whole week, and I shoved breakfast down my throat coz I knew that if I didn't eat, I might feel really faint lol. (Trust me, when you've fainted in an epic fashion before - you DO NOT want it to happen again) XD

It was like as if my body wasn't mine HAHA - it was a whole experience and feeling that was so foreign to me. Thank God I have no flatmate, she might have thought I was crazy hahaha. I don't even know how I suddenly snapped out of my homesick state, but in week 2 and now week 3, I can't even "feel" homesick - which is even more surprising (I can't believe I was such a sappy fella in week 1!)

ANYWAY. LIFE IS GOOD! Jesus is even better ;) He's just reaffirming me of why He's brought me all the way here, and I'm slowly discovering the greater purpose for me over here in Aussie. No matter how much I cried and got majorly depressed, I knew on the inside that there was a greater purpose in me being here, and I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be. And that The Lord is with me, and He will never leave nor forsake me!

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Right now, I'm loving life, appreciating every bit of each passing day, learning to treasure the amazing experience I'm blessed with, being content, and knowing that His supply is always greater than the demands in life. Jesus loves me, and that'll never change. xoxo


Will update more soon! Now moving over to my food blog at www.unceasingfoodfullness.blogspot.com to do some major food updating HAHA! :D

Think of this lifestyle blog as advice and my personal diary. :)

Go conquer the world & infect people with your joy,
Cherlyn Aurora xoxo


Friday, 8 August 2014

Planning 101: How to Prevent a Birthday Party Disaster

I don't know about you, but I've been a victim of planning 2 kinda disastrous parties HAHA. All because I tend to be overambitious at times, especially since both parties were super significant - The Sweet Sixteen. The first was my own party in 2009, and then, my sister's party a few months ago in March. How do you avoid making the same planning booboos as me? Read my advice down below. *Especially if you're about to plan your coming-of-age 21st bday*

1) Don't over-invite! 

I understand that we all have different groups of friends and relatives that you think you have to invite for your Sweet Sixteen, but let me tell you, at your most important parties, all you want are those friends/relatives whom you are really close with, as it's an occasion which you definitely wish to celebrate this joyous day with. Keep in mind, the numbers will also determine the amount you'll be spending on food. Now now, even if budgeting is a factor you don't need to worry about, then chew on this bit of honest info from me.

One mistake I made in my party was that I invited 60+ guests in total. You see, when you're in a girls' school (this was held when I was Sec 4), you will tend to invite your entire class to the party, as it would be rude and unkind of you to leave someone out - for the record, I got along fine with everyone, but maybe I should have invited the closest pals only, coz they added up as the largest group amongst my relatives and church mates. When you invite a group of friends that's twice as large as the other groups of guests attending, you will tend to socialise more with the bigger group, for some apparent reason. Go with a comfortable number of people instead.

In my opinion, I find it rude for a host (referring to myself) to leave the guest alone during most of the party, and should make an effort to spend time with everyone, since I already made the decision to invite the person. I would want to make the person feel right at home, despite the crowd, coz that's how I'd like to feel too! I regret not having spent time talking to every individual, and that's not something I want to repeat for my upcoming 21st. :)

A majorly late (5 years long) shoutout to my ex-RADICAL caregroup mates, if you're reading this, I do apologise for that time, I know you guys wanted to spend more time with me, and I should've :) Thanks for even staying till after 11pm, after I showered, after the rest of the guests all went home - you guys still stayed back just to personally hand me my gift and pray for me, and I found that so utterly precious. During the BBQ, the guys in the group even stepped up to help me start the fire! Thank you lovelies, you know who you are. xoxo

2) Don't attempt a BBQ. SERIOUS.

Firstly, you really wouldn't wanna reek of bbq. In that nice dress and makeup, I realised it was a recipe for perspiration to the maximum. So, given my intelligent mindset (ahem), why did I choose BBQ for food then? BECAUSE. BECAUSE. My theme was a pool party. You see, I really love water and all things flowingly aqueous, there's such a peace in seeing all that blue. And I still do! Just that, I really should've just used the function room, and had the theme. My friends were all jumping into the pool, which was directly beside the pit - so did I, but honestly, the bbq pit served no purpose but to waste time and leaving me panicking due to the lack of food on the table.

And really, if you don't know how to start a fire - ditch it.

3) Make sure you don't underestimate food & drinks.

Worst case scenario is when you suddenly realise you need a whole lot more drinks and food. That happened at my party. Halfway through, my mum told me to go to the nearby NTUC with her to get more drinks. Expectedly, for any birthday girl, you'd be furious and a bit - okay wait - superrrrr pissed at the fact that it's so anti-climatic to leave your party to get stuff. I was like. WHAT. Ugh. Yeah, so please estimate it well. If not, ensure that you have a nearby supermarket, and someone who is willing to go get them on your behalf. Birthday girls are meant to have a blast, without having to lift a finger, and to be at the center of the dance floor. Metaphorically.

4) Both parents have to be around! Unless you have your entourage of pals. 

You see, unlike my current status of having 10 pals to help plan my party and help with deco and such, at that point of time, that group wasn't established yet. I only had ONE friend to help me, which was Ruz. Pre F10 era. HAHA. I bet the lot of you are wondering who the heck is F10. I WILL TELL YOU GUYS IN THE NEXT POST. I PROMISE. Coming back to my point... well, my dad was overseas for work attachment during that period, so it left only my mum and my grandaunt to help me. *My grandaunt was around because during that time, I held it at her condo*

All I can say is that, if you are to plan your own party, do make sure your dad is around, as he will be of great help - in terms of helping you start the fire, sort out the food, be the cook for the night, getting items if needed etc. To give my mum credit, she really did try her best, but yeah. Friends are extremely important, as you'll need a handful of them to be at your beck and call on the day itself. Okay kidding at the beck and call part - later they read this and knife me ah hahaha - but they are honestly the bestEST help you can get, coz they know you well, and what to expect.

Oh yes, if you were wondering where my sister was in all of this chaos, I actually frankly can't remember. Most likely she was just sitting around and eating food. Yeah. Way to go sis, woohoooooooo. But okay, she was only 11 - like what could she even do HAHA. *I can totally foresee my sister coming to me after reading this portion*

5) Hire a caterer. If not, get your F10 to help bring a dish each. DO NOT D.I.Y. Forewarned.

Please, please, 제발 jebal - korean for please. This is one major factor that can make or break your party. There are plenty of caterers in SG, so do take your pick & choose wisely. Yes, I understand that caterers' pricing can blow a hole in your pocket as well, so here's my other wallet-friendly suggestion. Either completely order food delivery services from a variety of outlets, or rope in your closest pals to help you cook a dish of your choice to bring on that day itself.

You should handle drinks (buy them beforehand obviously), and you can go economical by getting a drink dispenser (I now own one, thanks to my dad who bought one), whereby you can buy several bottles of drinks, bags of ice, and just let your guests top up their drinks from there. Entirely fuss-free, and it's real easy to top up. Always having chilled drinks is the way to go! :)

Also, if you'd like to prep some food as well, ensure that it can be made the day/night before, because on the day of your party, it should be ALL ABOUT YOU. You shouldn't have to run around the kitchen making sure your food is gonna be ready on time. Coz, you gotta get into that glitzy dress of yours, and take your time to style your hair plus putting on special occasion makeup. This is how I plan to do my beach themed party in October. My most treasured pals - get ready, I've already decided on the deco I want heehee.

6) Don't buy commercial deco. Get your friends to help! 
Especially the arty-farty one.

Ready made decorations can be very expensive, and it's not wise to spend too much on it, as it only lasts for the day/night. However, when doing up your own creations, make sure you do it WAY BEFOREHAND. Do not, I repeat, never ever start your deco 1 night before the party. You will rush like mad, get no sleep, and look rather zombified at your sister's party the next day. Yup, this was what happened for my sis' party in March - I asked my ever so kind girlfriends to help me do the deco, and half of us were cooking & baking everything from scratch - I realised the stupidity of it all at that very moment at the end, when we were still up at 6am trying to finish up on the food. Unwise decisions, but it's a lesson learnt.

What my friends and I opted to do for all my friends' 21st bday parties (yes, me and my closest knit of 10 pals all turn 21 this year) is to think of a theme, and then think of the most appropriate unique deco for each party. Actually, most of the thinking and planning is given to me, coz I love to plan these things. Sherry nearly went insane after planning the logistics of Ruz' recent party HAHAHA. Actually coz it was a surprise lahs. I'm good w the logistics and the deco parts for planning-wise heh. Although yeah, me & my bestie Nicole Lai were going a lil' mad while cutting up all the 3D hot air balloons and clouds for Ruz' backdrop XDDD

Nicole's 21st in End-Jan
Priscilla's 21st in End-March
Yen Mei's 21st in Mid-April
Wanyu's 21st in Early July
Ruzana's 21st in End July
Tips for deco planning (okay this one I confirm won't botch up, so trust me on this):

  • Think of the party theme. What does the birthday girl/dude want? What does she/he like? Think of everything. Crack your brain if you have to. This is one party you've gotta nail. Okay lah, ask Jesus for help hahahaha. I suggest not choosing those overused themes of just having colours, think of a concept that the birthday friend of yours would love. It's time to think outta the box. For the record, for Wanyu's party, we did a TFIOS theme. ;)
  • What is your budget? Will you need balloons? Colours? Don't bother with the mini helium tanks from Spotlight. Tried and tested, blasted my $59.90 for nothing. The nozzle was so darn hard to even open, and it only fills up thirty 9 inch balloons. Blah. Remember that DIY deco will always be much cheaper than those conventional ones they sell in stores. Don't fall victim to fancy schmancy items, there's always a way around it!
  • What kind of backdrop do you like? Cloth/crepe paper rolls/wrapping paper/vanguard sheets/the list goes on... Do you want a photobooth styled area? Think of the props that are required.
  • Most importantly, the signage, e.g. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ________". What is the material/kind of paper/deco paper you'd like to have? I suggest buying deco papers from Artfriend/Made With Love/Paper Market, choose the patterns you like, then trace out the letters/numbers on them, and do a die-cut style. Now, think if you wanna string them up like a banner, or paste them on the wall. It all depends on the backing you have chosen. :)
  • If you'd like to have some balloons, don't go overboard. You can get specific colours at kind prices in party stores. Clarke Quay & Spotlight sells them individually, whereas those wholesalers tend to only sell them in bundle packs. For those signature helium balloons, yeah go crazy, but remember to take into consideration who's bringing it on the day itself, and the feasibility of it all. Take note to buy a weight to hang onto your precious balloon! If you want a lot of helium balloons all strung up, floating against the ceiling - do make a quick check of how high your ceiling is - coz at the end of your party, you do need to get them down. 
Nicole's helium Hello Kitty surprise!

7) Always hold the party in the late afternoon.

Mine was held in the late afternoon, and that was good. But for my sister, we couldn't get the afternoon slot for the function room, and were left with the morning slot (9am-3pm) - and honestly, who goes to a party in the morning? Especially on a saturday, most people would wanna sleep in. We settled for 12nn, but because of the mistake of being overambitious in terms of the DIY food, me & my friends were struggling to finish everything by 12nn - tempers were flaring coz we were a bunch of tired zonked out planners - I remember raising my voice with Pris coz we couldn't get the roux sauce to combine successfully, somehow the flour was clumping haha. Half of my pals were busy with the deco downstairs.

Alas, we finally did, and popped it into the oven with all the sliced potatoes, cauliflowers, carrots and shredded mozza. However, at that point of time it was already 12nn, and we hadn't even got the chocolate fondue marshmallows ready, yknow, having to wait for them to solidify together with the rainbow sprinkles, since we had planned for them to be strung up on individual satay sticks and placed beautifully on a styrofoam structure. OKAY. To anyone planning to do that marshmallow bonanza wowza to astound your guests - please. It was an epic failure, some didn't even hold up, it was so messy - and then you know what? WE FORGOT TO BRING IT DOWN TO THE PARTY. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Nobody was in their right mind to realise it, we were just happy to have finished slogging our butts off, so when we were done with the party & we held the after-party in my house, I facepalmed myself when I saw the marshies just sitting there on the kitchen counter. *cries*

Btw, when me & my pals finally went down to the function room, it was already 1+PM, and my mum was getting frustrated coz there wasn't any food on the table for the guests, and they were obviously hungry, seeing that they came for lunch. The whole party went past in a flurry. We had to rush to eat, take a ton of photos, and cut the customised birthday cake (of coz, take a whole lotta photos of the expensive fondant creation) - we really had no time to thoroughly enjoy the party, like my sis couldn't have enough hanging out time with her friends, and for that - I felt soooooo bad. I was really extremely angry at my incompetence, coz the sole purpose of why I planned it for her was coz from my past experience, one cannot plan your own party, so I decided to do it instead with the help of my friends - but coz of the lack of right timing, prep and overambitious-ness, it resulted in a flop AGAIN. You have no idea how mad I was at my planning oversight. Sigh.

But above all that, I know my sis appreciated the effort we put into it, and at the very end of the day, what matters most is that you celebrated it with a bunch of people that you care about, and despite whether it was a bumpy ride or not, it'll be memorable nonetheless. <3

Also guys, always book your function room slot early. At my place, 12 midnight is what they refer to as Fastest Fingers First LOL.

8) Allocate someone to do your hair & makeup.

If you've got plenty of cash to spare, that's wonderful! If you're looking for someone to do house call, you can look for Emily at 96777725, she does hair & makeup really nicely, as I've hired her for my school prom back in 2010, and my mum had her for her Dinner & Dance company bash previously. She's an extremely lovely girl, only a few years older than me, but very talented. :) FYI, I'm not sponsored or whatever lol, it's just that I will give a shoutout to those who deserve it. Customer service always pays off when done right. Her charges are $100 for hair & makeup, including falsies.

For those who find it quite dear, don't fret! This is where your friends come in. I'm sure one of them knows their way around hairstyles - those braids, curls and whatnot. As for makeup, one of them will be able to do it too, when you've been friends for so long, you'd definitely know who can rise to the occasion. If you've got a makeup stash, that is absolutely fab, and if you're not going for an entirely different look from what you've been sporting, then there's no need to buy any more products or eyeshadow palettes.

What if you don't? Then this is what you do. Take a look around Sephora, have a sample of what you'd like to have - don't worry about those Sephora staff hovering around you, take it as a chance to ask them what is suitable for your skin, but don't let them push you into buying anything. After taking a suitable selection of makeup you'd like to try on your face, ask for a demo from the polite and helpful beauty advisors, and they will proceed to doll you up. If they tell you they're only going to do one side of your face, due to the fact that they charge $50 for a full face makeup - DO NOT RELENT. I can be absolutely firm with my words and stance when I desire to, and I'd have you know that a very clever salesgirl will go with it, and do up your entire face - coz they understand that you'd wanna know how it changes up your look. :) *smirks*

If you're ever in Sephora ION/Ngee Ann City, and you see this tarte beauty advisor called Amanda, ASK HER FOR HELP. She is my favourite beauty advisor at Sephora, she will never push you to buy anything, and she will always recommend what's best for you, despite the fact that she's the tarte brand beauty advisor hahaha. She's extremely friendly, so if she happens to be in town, and you're there - good for you!

After deliberating over what to buy, and taking into consideration the budget which you have set aside, make your purchase, and don't forget about brushes! Very impt for application. Let your makeup artist pal take a look at what you have (best idea is to have her come with you to help), then she can come up with a few different looks, and ask you to choose. There, a more economical method!

OH YES. If you're a dude, I think all you need is some moisturiser, concealer, loose powder and a powder brush to make your face radiate flawlessness. ;D Guyliner is cool too, but uhm. Go easy on it if you do.

9) The birthday cake. 

For special parties, ordering a customised cake is a complete MUST DO. C'mon, how many times in your life is an occasion so special to the point we need an entirely customised cake? But, it is very important that you choose a bakery that is reputable, understands your requests, and does not charge insane prices. Also, it is crucial to place your order at least 1 or 2 months ahead, depending on how busy/popular the bakery is, to avoid disappointment. :)

My sister went with a garden party themed cake, with fondant flowers & butterflies, along with a 20 chocolate/mango cupcakes which spelt out in fondant letters, "HAPPY BDAY ALEXIS TUNG <3". She ordered it from Fresh Bakes.
For mine, I had a ginormous 16 numbered chocolate-mint buttercream & sponge cake, which was absolutely 5kg lovely. Even my friends liked it! Got that at Bake Inc.

*I will do up a Fresh Bakes customised cake review right after this on Unceasing Foodfullness*

Photo credit: Gilly :D Couldn't find my picture in my gallery lol

Some tips I will have to give you:

  • Fondant/Fresh Cream/Buttercream covered?
  • How many inches wide? Any tiers? Take note they charge a lot for tiers.
  • Theme & Colours
  • Flavours of the cake
  • Do you want cakes/cupcakes/both? Or would you prefer a cupcake-styled cake?
  • Is the price right? Do shop around and ask for quotes from various stores.
  • Make sure you go through with them thoroughly on EVERY detail.
  • Ensure you check on delivery whether they got everything right. 
  • Ask them for a receipt with all the details in it, sent to your email, before you pay them via bank transfer.
  • Conversing with them via email is better than phone calls, but always give them picture attachments to refer to the kind of design you fancy.

10) HAVE FUN! Take a ton of photos & birthday song video.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to chillax and have a great time hanging out with all your guests. And to make sure you remember all the fun moments in the years to come, prepare a fully-charged camera, and if you are blessed to have a polaroid, remember to stock up a least a few boxes of film to make sure you can take as many as you wish! Also, if your pal has a DSLR, you know what to do. If you happen to have a friend who can photograph well, kindly ask him/her to take on that role, coz it's really cool to see candid shots from everyone's point of view, and not only your own.

Most of all, taking videos during your birthday song, or short videos of wishes from all the guests, it'll be worth the memory and data it takes up. Coz this is one birthday you plan to remember.

Let's pop that champagne!
Cherlyn Aurora xoxo

P.S. If you want to ask me for some more tips for your birthday party, just email me at cherry_tomato052@hotmail.com
P.P.S. Craving for your regular teh or kopi instead of champagne? Pop over to www.unceasingfoodfullness.blogspot.sg for delightful recommendations!
None of the gifs are mine, just using them to portray the situations. :)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

I'm Not On A Diet

Hey guys!

If you've seen all the homemade meals I've been whipping up at my residence lately, you'd have definitely noticed the trend. A salad here, blueberries there, cherry tomatoes everywhere. Gosh, that rhymes, doesn't it? *does the smirk* Okay anyway. I bet some of you have been wondering... with all that healthy eating, am I on some salad greens diet or something? The answer is... NO.

I, Cherlyn Tung, do not diet. First of all, it takes some insane willpower to stay on a stupid diet where you can't just grab and munch anything you desire, and even though it helps to exercise self-control, it just drives me mad at times. I still remember I tried to take on a mini diet in Jan-Feb 2013, I was trying to stay away from everything unhealthy, and even made a vow not to touch BUBBLE TEA. If you guys haven't got a clue, yours truly here can't really live without doses of bbt. (okay of course now I can, coz I don't really fancy pearls already) I even wrote it down in a notebook, saying what I restricted myself from eating/drinking. I actually managed to honestly abstain from those stuff, like omg I didn't even allow myself to eat popcorn/chips during the freaking long Les Miserables movie back in Jan 2013 - you see, I have this habit of munching/drinking during a movie, coz to me, it completes the whole cinema experience. Eh I mean come on, you hear crunching of that lovely sweet caramel popcorn - imagine that.


It really didn't help that my dear cousin Elizabeth justtttt had to buy Cheetos to munch on during the movie - that nearly killed me, because my fellow friends, Cheetos is a crispy cheesy corn snack sent from up above to delight the tastebuds of every man and woman, and just happens to be one of my absolute faves. *cries* I chose to buy a packet of mixed nuts, yknow the kind with figs, dried fruit and baked assortments, (Disclaimer: I love nomming on nuts, but just keep to the point for now) and it took me a great deal not to simply reach to the side and delve inside that orange bag of cheesy goodness. She even handed the bag to me, asking me if I wanted some!!!! X_X

Ah yes, now I remember. I was on that mini diet for 1 month, the sole purpose was to slim down a bit before the CNY season. You know how cruel some relatives can be (mostly the distant ones), commenting on the difference between last year and the current year's look/physique/studies. Sometimes, I wish they would have some form of sensitivity and have the wisdom of when and where to ZIP IT. *inserts zip effect*

I think the o great laugh I have on the inside every year, is when they all come to me and say, "Wahhh, so tall already ah, grown up already!" On the outside, I'm all like, "Oh yes, hehehe. Thank you." Inside is, "Umm, I've been 160cm for pretty much more than half a decade..." Okay fine, to give them some credit, each year I up my game in the area of makeup - I always ensure to portray 3 different makeup looks for all 3 CNY days, hairstyling too - so maybe I tend to look different coz I never repeat them? Oh well. I treat CNY like a fashion show HAHAHA. Yknow being a girl, or might I say, a woman - who doesn't wanna look on the top of their game?

*gestures Queen Elizabeth's signature royal wave*

HAHA I JUST REMEMBERED. During the CNY season this year, I actually lugged all my makeup palettes around, and gave makeup tutorials & tips, using my cousin, Audrey as the model. Teehee.

My lovely cousin, Audrey xoxo
Purple shimmer gradient eyeshadow look

Aiyah at least next year, CNY I'll be in Aussie, so I rest my case. I'll be happily frolicking around uni, having the time of my life.

Back to the diet story.

So did the mini diet work? DID IT? I DON'T KNOW. I didn't look much different. :( Thus, I was like - screw this, BUBBLE TEA COME TO MAMA! Oh, the joy of not giving a damn.

My favourite bubble tea chain is Share Tea ;) Heh. Their pearls are simply outta this world in terms of chew factor. I once interviewed a Share Tea manager, and they said that they prep their famous pudding topping fresh daily. How about that for great slurps on a hot summery day? I'll feature my top faves for bubble tea choices on Unceasing Foodfullness some time later ^_^ Got quite a number to recommend you guys!

Anyways, I don't bother restraining from certain types of food these days, I have entrusted my weight and eating habits into Jesus' hands, for I know that He will guide me into eating what's best for me - coz I cannot, but He can. :) That's how we should treat life's situations too, don't depend on your self-effort to attain something, but just cast every care unto Him, knowing that He will complete and do an amazing work in your blessed life. :) Rest in His love for you, o favoured child of the most high God. 

Ever since I shifted to Punggol 7 months back, the land of no civilisation as of yet, and for the record - staying in a condo with no facilities downstairs unlike my previous house in Yishun, it prevents me from easy access to outside food. In fact, last time coz I'll always pass by Northpoint on the way home, I frequently felt tempted to buy Share Tea, Starbucks, Ya Kun, Shilin chix, Mos Burger or some other snack. I guess that has also helped deter random cravings for unhealthy food. Hahaha. I remember last time when walking to the bus interchange, my mind will suddenly ask me: "Should I get something to eat/drink?" My eyes would dart left and right, I would think of every possibility, and then without warning, my body heads to the store before I knew it. I used to tell my sister that my body has a mind of its own. LOL.

With the absence of habit from eating at the various coffeshops available downstairs, my family has begun to cook dinner at home more often, and buy a lot of groceries whenever visiting a supermarket. As my mum works very near NTUC finest too, I usually get her to buy whatever's on my fancy list. On my own accord, I really love nomming fruits, salad greens, and on a whole, partaking in wholesome foodstuffs. It's prolly just never kicked start a habit in me to do it regularly till now. Yknow, laziness does get to some of us haha.

Of course, the fact that I own a food blog would mean that I myself love conjuring up creative dishes, with a colourful palette. Making meals at home gave me more opportunities to try different things, opt for healthier palates, giving me a satisfaction I hadn't felt for a long time. :) 

Remember how I said that I gave this weight problem to Jesus? Well, He must have given me a change in palates and motivation to make more homemade meals - coz I absolutely crave for healthy stuff now. Every week, a box of salad greens would be replenished, along with a variety of other fruits & vegetables. I have a cereal dispenser at home too, and compared to last time, the cereal now goes wayyyyy faster, coz it's fun to dispense, and mighty fuss-free. Got mine at Robinsons. 

Amidst all this healthy eating that I love, I do want y'all to know that I eat plenty other delicious things that I sometimes don't feature on instagram. :) Chocolate waffles, ice cream, mos burger, bubble tea etc. - which brings me back to the whole point of this post. I eat what I want, exercise from time to time, and I have started to see results already *yay* You can watch your diet, exercise daily, do everything to make sure you drop those kilos, but when you've got Jesus who died for all your body fats on the cross, I don't see why you have to strive on our own effort to lose weight. Jesus knows the exact best method for you to lose weight, and if you'll just let Him lead you, look to Him, your weight problems vanish. :) 

I may be kinda distant from my ideal weight as of now (I used to be a slender 50kg several years back - another story for another day), and slowly but surely, Jesus will make it happen. For all my future weight loss, I give all the glory to Jesus alone. *lifts hands in praise*

Loving them fruits & veggies,
Cherlyn Aurora xoxo

P.S. For more about food, go to www.unceasingfoodfullness.blogspot.sg! :)