Last weekend, my son and I made some Christmas cookies from a sugar cookie recipe I found online. I must confess it's not the best recipe because it had too much butter and I had to add a ton amount of flour but it finally turned out to be quite good. However, I won't write the recipe here because there are tons of sugar cookie/butter cookie recipes online and each person has their favorite :)
Here are a few I found: click here, and here, and here

What I want to talk about today is the cute wrapping Amal & I did to the cookies. It's really very simple!

What you need:
* Baking paper (find in baking stores such as Titan, on Jl. Fatmawati)
* Clear film
* Colored yarn/wool (can be found in stationery stores, such as Prapatan in Jl. Fatmawati)
* Glue
* Labels (which you can print from Free Printable Gift Tags)

- Wrap your cookie in a clear film to make sure it stays fresh
- Cut the baking paper in a rectangle that fits the cookie
- Wrap the baking paper and glue the extremities
- Tie your wool/yarn and make a knot
- Insert your label which you have inscribed the person to whom you want to give your cookie

Et voila! Take pleasure in the joy of giving :)



I was so moved by this video when I listened to it yesterday. Jessica Jackley is so passionate about what she does that it makes us excited about her work. Jessica is the founder of KIVA, an organization that helps to provide credit loans to entrepreneurs all around the world. The most interesting part of her talk comes at the end.... but I won't give it away... so you'll just have to see it for yourself :)



Dear friends, I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas (for those celebrating) and a great New Year 2011!
This year has been full of happy moments, challenges, experiences, new friends, new family members... I don't regret any part of it and I hope 2011 will be as amazing as this year :)

If you like this photo and would like to make one similar, just go to www.picnik.com, a free photo editing application where you can do lots of fun stuff to your photos. Have a go and let me know if you like it!




Since we're on the subject of health and food, I do believe that cooking at home is essential to knowing what you put in your stomach and also appreciating food more. However, many women of my generation have not had any experience in the kitchen and are more occupied at work or doing business rather than behind the stove. Which is understandable in many cases since it's sometimes difficult to live with only one salary per household. I myself am a working mom so I know how little time we have at home with our family. On the other hand, in order to teach your child about health and eating healthy food, I believe it's essential to cook for your child and with your child. It doesn't have to be everyday but maybe once in a while, during the weekend.
I don't have mad cooking skills but I'm fascinated by food, especially good food, and people who can cook up a great meal. One of them being Jamie Oliver. Now, what Jamie does that really grabbed my attention is cooking videos, available for free on YouTube. Check these out and tell me if you don't feel like cooking for your child after this:



Since we're on the subject of living a healthy life, take a look at this TED Talk video where Dan Buettner explains how he and his team have studied different communities in the world where people tend to live longer and happier. Here, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep these communities living older and healthier.
Among the habits are:
- Move naturally (no fitness centers, just walking and using stairs)
- Have a sense of purpose
- Eat wisely (mostly plants)
- Connect with your loved ones and belong to the right tribe


A very good friend of mine, Brett Money, who owns a first-class wellness center in Jakarta called OM Wellness, gave me these images a couple of weeks ago. He's very much into health and sports (he's actually a physiotherapist specialized in sports physiotherapy) and is the perfect example of a healthy, balanced person.
I really like these images because they're visual and as someone who is a visual-learner, I find these really easy to understand and apply :)

I believe most diseases are food-related these days. There used to be a time when we bought our groceries from the local market, cooked every meal at home and ate with our family every day. Nowadays, we have canned food, fast food and people rarely eat with family besides going to the restaurant. We live with pesticides, MSG and saturated fats and some don't even find it harmful. Well, I think it's time to get back to the old habits of cooking fresh food, knowing where your food came from and what ingredients are in your food.... Maybe by doing these 3 steps, we can start to live healthier :)



I found this DIY on the Design Mom blog and thought this was pretty cool. It's actually Gabrielle (of Design Mom)'s son Ralph who made these as Christmas presents for his brothers and sisters. I especially like the striped one, I think it turned out very cool.

Amal is on holiday for 2 weeks so this could be a fun project for us to do. All I need now is where to find colored t-shirts without any design on them. It's not that easy to find in Jakarta.

If you too are interested to try this out, click on the link for the easy step-by-step explanations.


As you must know by now, I love photography, especially the fun type. That's why I especially love my iPhone because I have a lot of photography apps which are great to use, like this one called Mobile Photobooth. I miss the old days when we could go with friends into a photo box and take fun pictures for souvenir.

My brother and sister-in-law were in town last week and I was really pleased because it was right on my brithday and so I had the whole family to celebrate with me :)
Ok, so as you can see, I think my son has learned a few lessons about posing in front of the camera...don't you think so?



My brother-in-law got married last weekend (actually it was the wedding reception, the religious ceremony being on Dec. 2nd) and it was a beautiful reception. The location was in Ciganjur, in a place called Plataran with traditional javanese and balinese houses, surrounded by greenery. I'll try to post more pics if I can get the official wedding photos :)

Anyway, as you can see in the photo above, the happy couple are very happy indeed and so is the whole family. I believe they are right for each other and they compliment each other very well. Here's a toast to many wonderful, happy years together filled with love, laughter, passion and friendship!



I'm currently reading a book called "Raising Boys" by Steve Biddulph and it's really quite an eye-opener, especially for Moms because we're the opposite sex as our child and we don't really (and girls will never really) understand boys!
For example, I feel like cuddling my son all the time, and all he wants to do with me is play-fight :)
The book opens with "The 3 Stages of Boyhood" and I think it's really interesting because I can see it with my own kid, even though these stages are up to adulthood. Here they are (quoted from the book):

0-6 years old: Boys need lots of affection so they can "learn to love". Talking and teaching one-to-one helps them to connect to the world. The mother is usually the best person to provide this, although a father can take this part.

6-14 years old: At about the age of six, boys show a strong interest in maleness, and the father becomes the primary parent. His interest and time become critical. The mother's part remains important, however, and she shouldn't "back off" from her son just because he is older.

14- adulthood: From about fourteen years of age, boys need mentors -other adults who care about them personally and help them move gradually into the larger world.

NB: For single mothers (like myself), the book says "Single mothers can raise boys well but must search carefully for good, safe, male role-models and must devote some time to self-care (since they are doing the work of two)."

[image of Amal and his dad, who coincidentally, wore the same color clothing on the same day]



I don't know about you but Woody Allen can't go wrong in my books... :)
All his movies have a great story line, great filmography and great actors. Here are two movies I haven't seen yet. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to find his movies here in Jakarta. What do you think?


I was looking around in the office the other day, because we received some books which we haven't sent to our Community Libraries in Cipanas and Kalimantan yet. And lo and behold, I found this amazing picture book called "Almost Everything", with great designs of animals, vegetables, costumes, music instruments, etc. It's quite a big book so it's even more impressive when you see it. I would definitely recommend this book for kids :)



Amal's school organized an Art Festival yesterday, where all students had to create a visual art, be it painting, diorama, sculpture, etc. I think it's an excellent idea and I wish this were done more often. Children need to imagine and create & see how their art touches other human beings. There were lots of excellent art during the Art Festival. My only regret is that I didn't get to talk to all the artists since the classes took turns to explain their creations.
Amal created a diorama of robots of the future who, according to him, will be helping human beings :)



I have a family wedding to attend to and one of the things that have been bugging me is "what do I do with my hair?". Well, my prayers have been answered and I saw this on This is Glamourous (found via Say Yes To Hoboken). Now, the question remains whether my hair is long enough for this kind of do...hahahaha... You'll find the step-by-step explanations below the photos.
Anyhow, I'm glad I found this and who knows, maybe you'll get inspired too :)

using a round brush, blow-dry hair smooth and straight, focusing on the top sections

once dry, use a large-barrel curling iron to create waves from the ears down

build height and volume at the crown by teasing hair gently with a fine-tooth comb

gather hair into a low ponytail; twist it along the nape of your neck, pinning as you go

once you reach your ear, shape the remaining hair into curls, and pin them back over



I've been a bit overwhelmed by work and other activities lately but I got my usual e-newsletter from The Cool Hunter and found some cute pics from The Sartorialist blog and had to go see. I found some amazing pictures, starting from this super cute little boy, then the young woman from Milan and her amazing striped t-shirt, and ending with a photo of two women laughing their heads off, which I find very well captured!




To be perfectly honest, I didn't even know that they weren't on iTunes :) I love this photo of them. I think this is the perfect photo for the launching of The Beatles on iTunes. Who didn't grow up listening to them? I know my dad had the John Lennon hair and the Ringo Starr mustache back in the days...hehehe...



When I lived in Paris, I fell in love with a cute little restaurant in the Marais area called "Le Loir dans la Theiere". They had wonderfully comfortable, cozy sofas and old chairs, lots of artwork and the most delicious quiches and pies I have ever tasted!
I tell every person I know who plans to go to Paris that he/she should absolutely go to this restaurant. I also dream one day of opening a restaurant like this in Jakarta :)
If you do one day go to Paris, here's the address: 3, rue des Rosiers, Paris 4eme (Metro: St Paul)

Photos taken from here, here, here, here and here.



A couple of days ago, I read on Paris Daily Photo's blog that bouquinistes were slowly becoming extinct in Paris. Bouquinistes are shopkeepers who are situated on the banks of the Seine river and usually sell old books and posters to passer-by. With huge bookstores opened, they are now an endangered species, which is a real pity because they are an integral part of Parisian life. What will become of stroll along the Seine banks without these booksellers? So I dedicate this post to them and pray that they will be able to guard their position as parisian landmark...

[photos found on Google and from my own private collection]


I sign up for Oprah's e-newsletter and usually find interesting information or useful tips in it. In this week's newsletter, Oprah talk about gifts that standout because they contribute by helping other people. I think this is an excellent idea! I wish there were more products or gifts out there where we could not only buy it for our own pleasure, but it would also benefit other people in need.
No cords, no bulbs, no electricity—all the Sunnan Lamp needs to shine is a sunny spot where it can recharge its batteries. Part of a collaboration between UNICEF and Swedish home-furnishing behemoth Ikea, the eco-friendly Sunnan comes in a literal rainbow of colors, and for every lamp purchased, another is donated to a child living without electricity in the developing world. Since the $20 Sunnan hit stores in June, more than half a million of them have reached kids in South Asia.

Sunnam Lamp, $20; Ikea.com

[as seen on Oprah's newsletter]



I have a great fascination with photography... especially through my iPhone. There are so many great apps that you can download to make your photos more unique, and Instagram is just one of them. Instagram offers several filters such as 1977, Lomo-fi, Earlybird, etc.. Here are the results:


Everybody needs a little black dress, right? So if I had to make a choice, this would be my pick for the perfect little black dress :)



Aren't these illustrations gorgeous? Even more to me because they are illustrations of recipes, which always excites me of course :) I was reading the Jakarta Post this morning where I saw an article about this blog called They Draw and Cook, and couldn't wait to write about it here. Have a look, you won't regret it!

Belgian Moules Frites

Chocolate Truffles

Strawberry Apple Pie



If you remember my post about YUM participating in the Jakarta International School Farmer's Market, then this is what I dream that Farmer's Market can be like one day.
So, these photos are from a market called Neighbourgoods Market, situated in Cape Town, South Africa. This award-winning market features over 100 specialty traders who get together once a week, bringing together local farmers, organic merchants, artisan producers, micro enterprises and more.

What's even more awesome is that they work together with a local recycling organization so they now have a recycling depot for the market waste as well as for the local community.

Don't you just wish Jakarta had a market like this? :)