Marco Creative Cuisine, 1U - “7 courses” for under RM100

Sunday, February 4, 2018

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C’mon guys, you know me well enough by now to know that I’m an absolute sucker for set deals because it’s generally less money for more value. So it was a no brainer that when I heard of a place that was serving a “7 course” set menu fine dining style for under RM100, I had to pay a visit.

Marco Creative Cuisine

My experience at Marco was in May 2017, back when its set menu was going for RM78+ per person. I went with my mom as a little treat and it was a fun experience eating together for over an hour. It’s gone up to RM98+ since then so chances are, the bill will come up to slightly over a hundred for the set which despite the raise, really won’t do much to knock off its position as an affordable fine dining venue.


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I should note that it’s fairly casual as a venue so you won’t be going there for the fancy atmosphere. For starters, it’s located in a mall where most are casually dressed and there isn’t a clear dress code. As in many Malaysian restaurants, you’ll find all sorts - the fancily dressed couple celebrating their anniversary, the family in their matching polo tees, the sulky preteen in the sweatpants and T-shirt, etc. So make of that what you will. 

Tell me about the food..

Allow me to take you through this course by course.


- Appetizer -


We kick things off with the appetizer, the chef’s choice of a savoury eclair. topped with aubergine caviar, green chili pesto and tomato confit. The pastry was more dense than I would’ve liked, but just the right amount of savoury to satisfy. 


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- Soup -


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For soup, you get an option between these three. We opted for the french onion soup and truffled mushroom soup.


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French onion soup with french toast


I enjoyed this a lot! Melted cheese topped the soup which made a hearty dish even richer. The fresh toast was delicious and buttery. If it sounds indulgent, it’s because it was.


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My mom opted for the truffled mushroom soup, described as a plant-based creamy mushroom soup infused with truffle oil. Gotta admit I didn’t taste the truffle but assuming the plant referred to was the mushrooms, it was a solid mushroom soup and we drank every drop.


- Entrée -


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For our entrée, surprise surprise, I opted for the savoury ice cream salad. This was really fun to eat because you know you’re having a salad, but your brain tricks you into thinking its dessert. It’s brilliant, especially for those who aren’t conventionally healthy food lovers.


The ice cream wasn’t weird either because I was half expecting frozen dressing. It tasted mild and salty, but not overwhelmingly so. Dishes like these give Marco its middle name and I wouldn’t mind having salad and ice cream more often.


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When we visited, the menu offered chicken liver parfait with bread and apple chips. It doesn’t seem to be part of the menu anymore but for posterity, I will note here that the first few bites were delicious. However, liver has a very strong flavour, and we left it mostly untouched after we ran out of bread to mop it up with.


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- Main -


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My choice of main was the duck breast, which was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious! They served it a little differently when I had it, and was described as “sous vide pan seared Pekin duck breast with orange puree, roasted beetroot and Valrhona Dark Chocolate”. They’ve changed it up a bit now, calling it the Smoked Duck Breast as seen above, but if they’ve cooked it as perfectly as they did before, I’m sure it’s still delicious.


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Best duck breast I’ve ever had.


My mom opted for the salmon, which when we had it, was described as “Atlantic salmon with squid ink hollandaise, garnished with pickled beetroot and green chile pesto”.  It’s now the Salmon with Green Chili Pesto. It was good then, and if they’re using the same green chili pesto in the appetizer, it should still be good now.


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- Desserts -


We’re at my favourite part of a meal - desserts! Honestly, I haven’t found a single fine dining restaurant that serves better dessert than restaurants that specialise only in desserts. But restaurants can’t get away without serving it either!


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Here, we got the crème brûlée which was yummy but not the best I’ve had. It could’ve been creamier and its crust could’ve been thinner, but it was decent nonetheless. However, it was a while since I’ve been there so maybe they’ve improved since then? Still a good choice for dessert, I reckon.


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When we were there, we opted for the Raspberry Decadence, a raspberry cheesecake with passion fruit gel and ice cream. It’s since been removed from the menu, which is just as well, because I remember it tasting pretty meh. They’ve replaced it with something called the Texture of Chocolate, which sounds amazing! But I’ll have to pay another visit to give it a try.


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- Palate cleanser  and drinks -


If you’ve been counting you’ll see that we’re at 5 courses and at the end of the meal. I was a little doubtful about calling this a 7 course menu (hence the inverted commas above) because here, the palate cleanser and drinks are considered a course each. This isn’t typical so in effect, it’s really a 5 course menu.


- Palate cleanser -


In the UK, I found that the water I drank had a bit of a metallic tinge (because I usually ordered tap water to save money LOL) so rather than help clear the taste of the previous course, it just left a iron-like taste on my tongue. That’s where palate cleansers come in!


The first time I had a palate cleanser, I had no clue why I was being served sorbet in between courses. Like whaat? I didn’t order this? Fortunately, I had more initiated friends which explained that it was akin to a refresh button between courses to make sure that you get to fully appreciate the flavours of each.


The waiters at Marcos are trained to explain your dish to you so rest assured, you’d get the appropriate introduction.


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Velvety Matcha-Lime Shooter.


The palate cleanser was served between the entrée and the main.


Not much to say about the drinks, but I suppose it’s nice to not have to pay extra.


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You should try it if…

  • You want to take your partner on a nice, yet affordable meal
  • You appreciate creativity in your food
  • You want to try fine dining for the first time
  • You want to treat your parents to something nice, but don’t want them to feel overwhelmed in an overly fancy restaurant
  • You enjoy taking your time with your meal
  • You’ve been there once before the menu change and wondering if it’s worth a revisit


You can make a reservation here 24 hours in advance from their website.


Minding Money Tip


Wish I knew this before I went, but booking through offpeak.com gives you a 15% discount on certain hours and days. You could even book through offpeak.com if you want to pay a visit on the same day as your booking which you can’t do on the website.


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You can click on the pic above or check it out here.


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Marco Creative Cuisine

Lot G146, Ground floor (Old Wing)

1Utama Shopping Centre

47800

Petaling Jaya 


Opening Hours: 

Daily

11am-9:30pm

Looking back on 2017, turning to 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Cheers to 2018!


Time flew, as time does, and we are into the third week of the month, which is the third week of the year. If you subscribe to cliches, as one does, then here we are, on the 3rd page of our 52 page book, 49 blank pages to go.


It’s nice to think that when we wake in the morning, every day has a potential to become extraordinary, but the truth is, so rarely do we begin with nothing on the page. We live in lives of routine and plans, with schedules and events. Some days are destined to be more eventful than others (the words ‘birthday!’ or "graduation!” scribbled across) and some days were always going to take a little more spirit to get through. The fact is - not all days are created equal.


And that’s okay.


2017 was a year that was filled with extraordinary days, with heart-wrenchingly sad days, and ordinary, plain days. I began the year telling myself that it was all about the attitude I brought, that good or bad days were entirely up to me. This meant that when I did have a bad day, I was weighted by the guilt of not having made it a good one. But over the year, I was humbled over and over again when I went through days where I did all the right things, yet all the wrong things happened, and days where all the wrong things I did led to joy. Truly, so little was in my control, and whilst I could control the perspective in which I saw these days, there was very little else I could do. This doesn’t by any stretch mean that we should stop trying to chase our dreams, or make decisions (I mean, if God’s gonna decide everything anyway), but it does mean that the pressure’s off when it comes to outcomes.


It was my favourite lesson of 2017 and I’m very happy to bring it to the new year with me.


Just briefly, for posterity, here were some of my 2017 highlights!


Exercise


Probably the most extraordinary thing that happened this year for me was the incorporation of regular exercise in my life. Long time readers have heard of my battles with coordination and my oft-repeated new year’s resolution to get off my bum and get the heart racing, but all the while, the closest I got to that was when my heart would pump faster to help me digest all the food I’ve eaten.


I certainly didn’t eat any less in 2017, but what I did do was exercise more and left my comfort zone far behind. I took part in a 5km run, and later on in the year, took part in a 7km run. I must confess that in both those runs I probably only ran half of it and walked the other, but it was a huge milestone for me nonetheless.


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I also started playing badminton more often and whilst I still believe I put the bad in badminton, I’ve also lost a lot of the fear I had for it. I don’t know if you can relate, but I used to get really anxious whenever I had to participate in a sport (1) because I’m a terrible terrible athlete and I’m always worried I’d end up being the hated team member, (2) I’m the queen of choking and even if it were a sport I could somewhat decently play, by the time it actually mattered my body would find it opportune to stop coordinating with my brain, and (3) because I have had very bad experiences with being hit by passing footballs, over enthusiastic shuttlecocks and don’t even get me started on the time I got whacked in the head by a racquet.


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But hey, ho, thanks to the patience of those around me, I’m less fearful and am more willing to try!


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Regular exercise also had to happen because I have an energetic dog who loves long walks. To keep her from ripping up my pots and plants (and my clothes), we try to take walks together up a neighbourhood hill.


Travels


I got the chance to do a fair bit of travelling, with a trip to Singapore to check out Google’s office. My dad had a meeting there and we were invited to tag along, getting the chance to try out their free cafeteria food and tour the massive space, equipped with spa, gym and snacks galore.


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America was once again paid a visit in 2017, this time to sit for my New York Bar Exam. There was so much to read and memorise that I got headaches from the sheer bulk of it. But glory to God, all went well! While I was there, though most of the time, I spent it indoors by the books, I did manage to sneak some fun in every now and then.


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Trips to the neighbourhood park to get some fresh air in the cool American summer.


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Attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with our seats sponsored by an anonymous philanthropist. He/she booked out an entire box for every day people to have the chance to watch the orchestra. Charity comes in all forms and hey, if you're all about turning society cultured, that’s one way to do it.


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I had my exam in Buffalo, New York, which was miles away from the iconic NYC. By the time I was released from the shackles from my 2 day exam, my sister (who kindly accompanied me all the way) and I only had time to call a quick taxi to Niagara Falls for a bout of tourism before our flight out the next morning.


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Speaking of my sister, she got engaged in 2017! Not exactly my news, but I’m going to have a brother-in-law so that’s grounds for excitement, right?


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I took some time after my exams to fly to the UK and visit those near and dear to me in heart. Summer in America and summer in the UK mean totally different things and although I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt in America, I stacked layer upon layer for the cool UK. Thank God for Jocelyn because I was not equipped for the weather and had to rely on her generosity in sharing her clothes (3 sizes too small for me FYI - that jacket never managed to zip up LOL).


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At the gardens of the Horniman Museum.


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Queuing for Padella at Covent Garden.


Boarded a cruise headed to Phuket with my mom and had a great time. We got to dress up and eat loads, so really, what more could I ask for?


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Friends


One of my favourite people paid a visit to Malaysia from Hong Kong and we touristed all over town!


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Rocking the baggy Asian trousers like any good ol’ foreigner would in front of the National Monument.


I’ll share our schedule later on for those who may have foreign friends visiting but although we barely had 3 days (a little more thanks to the typhoon in HK which delayed her flight back), we had so much fun together!


Threw a “just because” party for fun which was, well, a lot of fun! In 2017, I made it a point to call my friends rather than wait for plans to happen and I hope to continue this in 2018.


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Speaking of friends, we introduced a new furry one to the family. Meet Cookie, our tiny Maltese. She’s so small and blends in so well with the marble floor of our home that we had to tie a bell around her neck so we’d know when she was near. I don’t even want to think about all the times we kicked her by accident because we didn’t see her coming.


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I celebrated a quiet birthday in 2017. I was blessed to have surprises by my colleagues and bouquets by my loved ones over the week, which reminded me how much I had and how lucky I am.


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In 2018, I want to be more. I want to give more of me in the things I do. I want to be in the moment of all my moments. I want to write more and write well. I want to be healthy and live fully, finding enjoyment and purpose in all that I do, and finding strengths in the difficult people around me. I want to quit complaining and start thanking.


After all, there’s so much to be grateful for.

Tiffany x Traveloka: Escape to the KL Journal

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Full disclosure. I’m a bargain junkie. I store coupons in my wallet, have a pretty solid list of go-to apps for deals, subscribed to almost every kind of membership possible for discounts, and more often than not, take me to a mall and I’d be able to point out which store has an ongoing promotion. I’m all about stretching whatever ringgit I have, and especially so when spending on my wants.

In comes Traveloka, a pre-trip planning site that’s all about helping you get that bang for your buck. If you’re a fairly frequent traveller, you don’t need me to tell you that Traveloka isn’t the only player in the flight+hotels booking scene. But after getting acquainted with it, what I can tell you is that they’re all about playing this game well.

1. Flights + Hotel bookings

I think the ideal app is one that anticipates your needs. So checking out flights is pretty much the standard across all pre-trip planning sites where you key in the details of your journey (namely the departure and destination airport, dates, number of passengers, number of nights), and you wait the standard amount of time for the page to load with the cheapest flights available (about 30 seconds to a minute depending on where you’re going). Traveloka has all of that, and a little more.

Along with the usual calendar which highlights the lowest fare, it also includes the local public holidays which makes it so much easier for planning trips on long weekends!

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Lowest fares marked in green, February public holidays marked in red.

So you’ll need a little discernment when it comes to state holidays. For example, if it’s the Sultan of Terengganu’s birthday, the app would still mark it as red, but you’d be able to check out what the occasion is and evaluate its relevance to your state. But all in all, it makes bookings easier, saves you time, and don’t we all want travel planning to as fuss-free as can be?

I wish all travel sites did this!

2. Price Alert

If you’ve already downloaded one of the booking apps, you may be a little reluctant to add another to your home screen. But Traveloka’s Price Alerts alone is enough to make it worth the extra seconds needed to download the app, especially if you’re the sort to plan ahead for your trips.

It’s  no  secret that I’m in a long distance relationship, but along with a wonderful  boyfriend and many hours on FaceTime, comes an implied annual commitment to  fly  over  6,000  miles from KL to London, which can be very expensive if not well strategized. I asked around and it’s not unheard of to hear of friends who have paid over RM3,000 for a return ticket to London.

So price trackers aren’t new and plenty of sites allow you to set alerts for flights for a particular date have fallen in price. But Traveloka distinguishes itself by how flexible its alerts are!

For example, if I knew I wanted to go to London some time in April, the price alerts allow me to:
  • set the duration of my trip e.g. 11 days
  • set specific dates or the range of dates in which I’m willing to go e.g. 1 April - 30 April
  • set the maximum budget e.g. RM3,000
  • set the class I want to fly e.g. economy, business, etc
  • set the frequency of the alerts received e.g. daily, weekly
This makes a massive difference to trip planning because if I have a season I don’t want to miss (like sakura season in spring!) but still want to get the best price, this omits a lot of the guesswork in picking the best combination of dates for my journey.

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I’ve set some alerts for London, Philly and Sydney to visit my boyfriend, sister, and brother.

3. 0% Installment Plan

Okay, so I don’t think we should be going on a holiday if we plainly can’t afford it. If you’re willing to pay installments, you’re better off saving a little bit every month till you’ve reached your savings goal, then you spend on what you want. But I do see the value in not having to pay a lump sum to go on vacation.

Especially if you’re booking flights far in advance, it doesn’t always feel worth the pinch when you’re RM5k dryer in your bank account in January for a holiday in December. That’s money that would’ve been interest bearing had you let it sit in a fixed deposit!

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Traveloka introduces 0% installment plans (only for Maybank cards) so you aren’t charged extra for paying over a 6 month or 12 month period. There are some terms and conditions that apply though so be sure to read up before opting for this. If it’s a trip you were going to take anyway, and you’re confident you’ll be able to meet the monthly payments, it’s a really good way to spread out your big ticket travel expenditures over the year.

4. #honestprice + Best Price

We live in a time where the bargain app ecosystem has developed so much that we can pretty much approximate our entire budget for a trip before we step foot in it. But c’mon, how many times have you gotten excited over a perceived good deal for a flight online, only to realize that once you’ve added travel taxes, credit card surcharge and a multitude of other misc. fees, the flight was no where near the bargain you thought it was?

Title here’s self-explanatory! Traveloka’s quoted prices are the #honestprice so what you see is what you get. Bundle that together with its “Best Price” feature, which lets you redeem hotel credits for a purchase you’ve made if there’s a better price out there for the same details, and you’ve got confidence that what you’re booking is the cheapest and most transparent price you’d find.

As you can tell, I’m totally sold on Traveloka, but let me qualify the enthusiasm by saying that at least right now, it’s primarily geared for the Asian market. When I searched up flights from London to neighbouring European cities, the usual Easy Jet and Ryan Air flights didn’t come up. In fact, it took several searches before any flights showed up on the system. But for flights from Asia or to Asia, I highly recommend it! They’ve paired up with several airlines that offer exclusive deals to Traveloka members, so you’d have access to flights prices that other search engines won’t even be able to pick up! Definitely worth the download, available on Google Play or the App Store and you can do so here.

I got the chance to learn more about Traveloka when I was invited for a staycation in KL with one of the hotels featured on their site, the Kuala Lumpur Journal. Picturesque, relaxing, and set in the heart of KL, it’s the sort of hotel I’d recommend for those looking for something modern and cool. If you’re into supporting local, even better!

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Traveloka 2Open, leafy spaces that transforms into a chill speakeasy at night. Best part? Free-flow cocktails for ladies night on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays!

There’s been plenty of times my friends and I have discussed going on a staycation, possibly heading for a night out and having somewhere to spend the night after. The Journal sounds like just the place to hang with your friends, take gram worthy pictures, and enjoy all KL has to offer.

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Made myself very much at home beneath the fluffy sheets!

DSC_0104My roommate, Rika Jue, was getting ready for Comic Fiesta and I just had to try on her wig!

2017-12-27 12.12.33 1Getting to know Rika Jue and Renness.

I’m hardly a big time blogger (4 posts in 2017 is hardly reassuring) but I got the chance to partner with Traveloka thanks to The Butterfly Project, a blogger community set up by the ever enterprising Tammy who really created such a warm, welcoming community for those who blog.  It was my first time at a Butterfly event (lol so I was technically a caterpillar) but I wasn’t made to feel awkward or alone at all. Huge thanks to my roomie, Rika Jue, who took photos for me, introduced me to people and teman-ed me so I was never alone.
The bloggers I met and the teams behind the collaboration with Traveloka and the Journal were all so nice! I felt a little like a fresher back at university, and although I told myself to not do anything embarrassing for at least 24 hours, before half the day was even up, I had stabbed a wan tan a little too enthusiastically and of course, it had to fly across the room to the horror of a few around me. Couple that with hammering my fingers at the leather workshop they organised for us (more on that another time!) and a few stumbles here and there, by the end of the staycation I think I got a bit of a reputation amongst the Traveloka team for being so incredibly clumsy. “Any new bruises ah?”

2017-12-27 12.53.01 1Escaped with Traveloka! Thanks for the snap, Eros.


But praise the Lord, I escaped unscathed and will be back soon as I won myself another night’s stay at the hotel thanks to my #talkatiff video. LOL sorry if I’m more famous one day maybe I’ll host a giveaway, but for now, I’m excited to go back to play tourist in my home city.

Happy new year, everyone! My resolutions for the year are a little belated as I’m going to spend the week thinking about them, but if you have any suggestions of good habits to adopt, feel free to drop me a comment or an email!

This post is written in collaboration with Traveloka, which sponsored our stay at KL Journal.





Back to December..

Monday, December 4, 2017
Hello friends!



Every December,I find myself asking the same question - whether I should stop paying for my blog domain. I get sent a renewal email every beginning of December and it’s probably the main reason why so many of my new year’s resolutions over the past few years have listed “blog more” on it. Gotta make that domain worth it, y’all!

When I used to blog more regularly, the domain fee sorted itself out through the small amounts I used to earn from adverts or sponsored posts. But now that I’m working full time and studying in my free time, this blog’s been neglected by me (and those who used to read LOL sad). Every time I ask myself this question, I end up concluding that when I do get to blog, I LOVE it! And then, I make a renewed “commitment” to log more regularly, which unfortunately, doesn’t happen and so the story goes..

But this is where things change! Here, dear reader, is where I throw in the plot twist! Well, sort of. Rather than make another promise to blog, I’m giving myself an ultimatum-
“Publish something every week (no matter how short or long and if I don’t post at least 40 posts by the end of 2018, I’m shutting down this blog for good.”
It may seem pretty silly, making promises to a blog, but when I gave it some thought, I realised that writing here is really important to me. A large part of my day job involves writing, but it’s honestly a whole different ball game when you’re writing for leisure.
I did this exercise which is meant to help us evaluate what’s important for personal fulfilment. If you’re interested in doing it, follow the instructions step-by-step, doing what’s required before you read the next step. It pretty much goes like this-
Step 1.
List out 4 priorities in life.
Step 2.
Look at the list and remove any sort of priority that’s related to relationships or work.
Step 3.
If your list has shrunk, fill it up again till you’re back to 4 priorities.
When I arrived at my final list, one of the big ones that remained was creativity. In high school, I used to blog and write poetry/short stories for fun. I also used to aggressively enter slogan and caption competitions and won an assortment of prizes, from movie tickets to meal vouchers. In college I think the only remotely creative thing I did was think of Instagram captions for my friends LOL but I was very busy with my other passion in volunteer work so I was happy and content. Later on at university, I started scrapbooking and painting. Now that I’m at work, although I started bullet journalling a while back, it was more of an organisational effort rather than a creative endeavour. The realisation that I wasn’t nurturing one of the important aspects of myself led to the creation of #talkatiff, a series of short one minute videos I started posting on Instagram, and multiple failed attempts to revive this blog.
A post shared by @tiffanykml on

A post shared by @tiffanykml on


The point of the matter is, this blog has always been a creative space for me. Sure, it’s a little more restricted now that I’ve gotten older, my audience is older, and I’ve started working, but if I don’t make a deliberate effort to nurture this space, it’s very likely that I’ll soon forget how to create or write for fun. I think it’s particularly true, especially for those working, that you won’t have time for your hobbies if you don’t make time for them.

Beyond the broader purpose of trying to keep the passion for writing (and living) alive, a blog is just such a wonderful capsule of memories. I was looking back through my old posts and am really grateful that I documented my adventures and travels as a student in London (like my trip to Barcelona and breaking a world record), my first mission trip in Sabah, one of the many times I sprained my ankle, and other silly moments from 4 years ago. It’s a time capsule that’s very cringe-worthy but also gratitude-inspiring and I think I’d like to look back one day and look at what I thought was interesting to share on here.

Right now, here’s a little sampler on what’s on my plate at the moment to explain why it’s been so difficult to do something I claim I enjoy doing so much. So I sat for the New York Bar in June and by the grace of God, passed the exams. So I’m on to the other steps to qualification. Namely, the New York Law Exam that’s coming up on December 14th. I’m currently in the midst of an accredited Bahasa Melayu course, with an exam coming up on December 7th. On December 10th, my mom and I will be co-teaching Sunday School at our church. I’ve also been given the opportunity to serve as a committee member on the church’s pro-tem committee so there’s meetings for that as well in December. Unsurprisingly, considering the post title, I’m also spending my evenings working and binge-listening to Taylor Swift’s new album (reputation), trying to figure out if I love it or not.

And that’s all you’ll hear from me for this week!

Hope to see you again soon. Watch this space!

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