The Last Day in 2014

It's the last day in 2014. I guess this year does fly. This morning started by drizzling rain but I still managed to go to the nearby yoga studio. I've been absent several times due to this and that. During December usually the studio is not too full since many yogis members are having holiday. Therefore I only met five yogis friends.  We practiced for 1,5 hours.

Feeling fresh after the practicing, my yogis friends asked us to have a year-end-lunch. We definitely said yes (I guess my appetite always gets stronger every time I finish my yoga practice #excuse). We decided to enjoy Balinese Cuisine by having crispy duck, sate lilit and their signature sambal at Bebek Tepi Sawah, Citos.

The rain was still on even after we finished our lunch but we didn't complain since people said that rain in a new year's eve means  prosperity, amen. Wish all the good things in 2015, happy new year!!!

The Strange Library

Title: The Strange Library
Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Harvill Secker, London, 2014
78 pages

Brains packed with knowledge are yummy. They're nice and creamy. And sort of grainy at the same time.
--The Strange Library, Haruki Murakami

Welcome to Murakamiland, a dark-dreamlike story awaits you. The Strange Library is actually a bite-size book since it only consists of less than 100 pages. And for the first time we will enjoy Murakami's work with illustration. But, this is not a book for kid since the story still in Murakami's usual way. The story was written back in 1982 but just translated in English in 2014. This is one of my super quick reading since I finished it within a couple of hours. I was just too curious to put the book down.

The story starts with an unnamed schoolboy visits a city library to return two books and asks for reading a subject he says has just popped into his head: Tax Collection in the Ottoman Empire. A female librarian sends him to room 107 where another strange librarian hands him the requested book and conducts him to a secret space --'a creepy room', behind a locked door and down a hall to a labyrinth of corridors where a small man dressed in a sheepskin puts him a cell under lock and key. A very strange library indeed.

What will happen to the boy?  And how to refer the quote on yummy brain as I stated above with the boy's story? Tell you what, you're dying to know the ending of the story, aren't you? Therefore I said this is my super quick reading. An alternative book for a new Murakami's reader. Simple comparing to other Murakami's works yet fascinating. 

Christmas Getaway: Novus Puncak

Puncak and its breathtaking view
We spent the last three days in Puncak area. Yep, the traffic is quite hectic. The good thing about Puncak area is it has one-way traffic arrangement thus we just wait the right hour to go up there and decide the time to go down home.
A Cold Swimming Pool
The Girls Favorite Jacuzzi
We stayed at Novus Giri Resort and Spa. With the cold air, nice athmosphere and non-stop raining, we decided to just stay in the hotel.  The hotel is quite kids friendly. It has a Rabbit Village. It's a well-maintained garden full of cute-fat rabbits. We found a cute rabbit wearing a santa hat. The girls proposed, "Can we bring it home, Ma?'  Well...not now baby, when then? Someday in the future (or perhaps never. Yes, I am a mean mom when it comes to pet). The hotel's Kids Club also exciting. The girls played there then continued swimming although they couldn't swim  too long since the water was too cold but Thank God, the hotel provided a jacuzzi with warm water that made the girls just wanted to stay there all day long. Pony-riding and  flying fox activity also available. 

Rabbit in Santa Costume
We left the hotel only to have our meal. Even on our last days we just ordered the room service and enjoyed our meals in the room. The girls loved it, Zea said "when in the world will mom let me eat on the bed instead in the hotel room?''s a double-standard rule, no eating on the bed at home but allow them do it at the hotel (sorry housekeeping department).  It's a holiday aniyway, let's us just do anything we want and forget about mom-rules for a while. Happy holiday, everybody!!!

Colette & Lola

Cute Box of Cookies
The holiday mood is already in the air. It's time for celebration. My girls, Najla and Zea, also enjoy their school break even our domestic helper, mba Yoyoh has already returned to her hometown since last Saturday. However parents are still busy keeping up with the deadline until last minutes.

Last Monday, I had to come to my office and so did my hubby. No one to look after our girls. Finally I decided to take them to my office. To calm them down we headed to one of the best cake shops in town, Colette & Lola at Senopati. I love everything about this shop. The interior, the product, the packaging even also its tagline Cakes & Dreams, how creative.

Finished choosing their cakes, cookies and drinks, the girls were ready to accompany mama working. Well… with full tummy, their tab and story books (the last one is clearly for Zea), they're so cooperative. I could finish my business in peace. If only they're this calm everyday perhaps mom will not get more grey hair ..haha..Happy holiday, everyone!!!  

The Little Prince (2015)

via Youtube 
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it.

--Antoine de Saint - Exupery, The Little Prince

The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) is an iconic masterpiece written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery back in 1943. Found the movie trailer and made me travelled back to my old days. The movie will be released on October 2015. Why does it take sooooo long???? Can't hardly wait for this timeless story.

Find more on the movie here while you can check the book here

Age won't Lie

#LatePost #WeekendStory

My daughter, Najla, handed me a pink invitation card last week while saying, "My teacher is getting married." I opened the invitation, reading and notifying all important info. One day before the D-day, I told my hubby about the invitation. He agreed to accompany us to the wedding party.

Last Sunday we were on the location. Lucky us, we could easily get a parking space. At the moment we wanted to enter the wedding reception hall, I noticed different names of the bride and the groom stated on the welcoming board. They're not Najla's teachers name. My hubby asked the security guard whether there's other reception hall in the area. While the conversation took place, I just felt that something wrong here.

Since we left the invitation card in the car, my hubby asked all of us to return to our car and re-check it. The day checked, the hour checked, the location checked but the date is….December 14 while that day was December 7. How could I miss such an important info? Yes..I know, it's an old age nothing but old age #CountingTheGreyHair. My hubby said nothing since for the past one week he already left two bags in the flight cabin and realised his belonging at home hours later #TenggakGibolanBareng.

The Lowland

Title: The Lowland
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Publisher: Vintage Books
May 2014
417 pages

This is the 4th book written by Jhumpa Lahiri after Interpreter of  Maladies, The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth. I always love the way Lahiri delivered her story. She's just a natural-born story teller. She comes out with stunning characters, compelling story and all will be written beautifully. No wonder if she received several awards including the Pulitzer Prize. 

In her latest novel The Lowland, she tells about two brothers close in age, only have 15 months age differences. Udayan is the rebellious one while Subhash is the responsible serious one. They grow up together in Tollygunge, a suburb of Calcutta during the 1960s political chaos. After college, Subhash heads to Rhode Island, US, to continue his study. Udayan stays in Calcutta and becomes involved in a political uprising. Udayan finally killed leaving behind a pregnant wife, Gauri. Subhash returns home and picks up the pieces including fills the role of a husband to widowed Gauri and a father to his niece-to-be.

It's a long-moving family saga. It takes almost 70 years of a family history from mid-twentieth century India to a contemporary America that has been a consistent feature of Lahiri's fiction. I enjoy not only the drama of the family but also Indian history. Lahiri did a great job of summarizing the political landscape of India in 1960s.

If you love The Namesake, you will definitely love this one as well. Highly recommended. 

Orange Juice and Fried Rice on Friday Morning

Preparation Time
Last Friday all Grade 4 students at Najla's school had a cooking competition. It's a group project. The obligatory menu were fried rice and orange juice however they still could modify the menu as long as the basic were still related to fried rice and orange. Najla and her group chose Hongkong Fried Rice and orange juice as their menu. 
The FIrst Winner: Sushi Fried Rice (Wow..such a creative kids!!!)
They practiced the cooking once in one of their friend's homes with the assistance of the mother but last Friday everything had to be handled by themselves, no more parents' interference.
Some are really good in cooking while others choose to be observers and supporters
Those amazing creations
I am sure that this cooking experiences are definitely a special moment for Najla and all her friends. Moreover her happiness was even doubled when the jury said that Najla's group became the second winner. Yay….way to go kids…proud of you all. As a wrap up, I am amazed to see all of the creations (since I don't cook. Yep, I don't get along well with kitchen and stuff). They definitely have the talent to be an excellent chef someday.

*All pics are courtesy of Tr Elyana.

Aruna & Lidahnya

My Today Breakfast Menu
Title: Aruna & Lidahnya
Author: Laksmi Pamuntjak
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Dates: November 2014
Pages: 427

After reading Laksmi Pamuntjak's latest novel Amba, I am impatiently waiting for her next writing project. I love her poetical way in telling stories. Unfortunately Aruna & Lidahnya is not poetic at all instead it is more on pop stories.

The setting of the book is during Avian Flu outbreak in Indonesia. As an Epidemiologist (Outbreak Expert) with specialization on Avian Flu, the central character here Aruna is assigned by her office to investigate Avian flu cases in eight cities in Indonesia. Aruna is a 35-year-old-single-woman who is obssesed by food. 

While completing her assignment, Aruna asked her two best friends, Bono the Chef and Nadezhda the Food and Travel Writer, to come along with her. Thus here you will enjoy three enjoyable stuff which are food, traveling and friendship.

Since the food in the book are described in details thus all seems so tempting and delicious therefore I recommend you to full your tummy first before you start drowning in Aruna's thought. Enjoyable reading. Love it.

Three Hectic yet Fun Days in Singapore

We spent the last three days in Singapore. We stayed at Jen Orchardgateway Hotel. The hotel location is quite accessible since it is above Orchard Gateway mall and Somerset MRT station is within walking distance as well. 

I took Najla and Zea to Garden by the Bay. This is their first visit thus they're so very excited enjoying everything in there. Walking along every garden and stepping on the Cloud Walk were some of their favorite activities. I also love this place. I enjoy the beautiful different variation of flowers and trees, a man-made forest completing with a waterfall, a playground, water splash for the kids and more. I guess this place is on my top list on places to visit in Singapore now. Glad to find other new exciting place instead of all busy and crowded malls there.  

I found Singapore is quite hectic now especially since we stayed around Orchard area. Every place is full. Furthermore on Friday and Saturday night, we got difficulties to find a peaceful place to have our dinner. Perhaps it's also due to the coming Christmas, people shop here and there. In spite of the crowded atmosphere, the good things about christmas are beautiful ornaments and decoration spread all over every shopping malls. 

However my girls said that the best part of this holiday is the rooftop swimming pool at Jen Orchard Hotel. It's too good to be true. This awesome view finally made my hubby and I let the girls experience one of their magic moments which was swimming in the evening on a rooftop of the hotel accompanied by twinkling stars. Although it's a bit hard to ask them to leave the pool later on still I realized that they smiled in their sleep that night.

Friday Morning at Setu Babakan

My daughter, Najla, and her classmates visited Setu Babakan last Friday. This was part of her school monthly visit agenda. Setu Babakan is located at Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. It's close by to Depok area. 

Since 2004 the government declared the place as a Betawi Cultural Heritage. You will find a man-made lake here where people usually go fishing. You can cycle, watch some Betawi performances, try some Betawi signature food such as Kerak Telor or Kue Rangi or just sit still and enjoy the surrounding.

According to Najla's school teacher, the government is now busy preparing for a small man-made island where a Betawi traditional house will be erected  completed with children playground. Moreover a  theatre hall and a multifunction hall are soon to be launched.

One of the alternative weekend places for family instead of stuck in a crowded mall. Find more on Setu Babakan here.

*All pics are courtesy of Teacher Elyana.


Title: Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Producers: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst
Casts: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine

"Do not go gentle into that good night; old age should burn and rave at close of the day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light." --Dylan Thomas

Science fiction is not my cup of tea. However reading lots of positive reviews for Interstellar make me curious to know more about it. I watched it yesterday and tell you what, this movie is epic. I guess it is one of the best movies in 2014. Moreover I think it's the only science-fiction movie that could make me sit still and watch it religiousy for almost three hours. Three hours with science fiction stuff  is quite an achievement for me.

Instead of getting bored with the movie, I even didn't dare to blink and miss the stunning athmosphere. I sometimes forgot that I was in a movie theater since I felt that I was lost in space and sucked into the adventure of this new space exploration. 

It's a story about the earth in the near future. It can no longer sustain humanity. It's been devastated by drought and famine causing a scarcity of food and extreme climate change. A team of space travellers are ready to travel through a wormhole in search of a new planet to live. Just a simple story with a breathtaking execution. One more thing, Anne Hathaway is amazing as usual. A must see movie!!!

The Silkworm

Title: The Silkworm (Ulat Sutra)
Author: Robert Galbraith
Translator: Siska Yuanita
Publisher:Gramedia, 2014
536 pages

I am not a fan of the legendary Harry Potter. I only read the first book and realised that I wasn't into it. But when J.K. Rowling transformed herself into Robert Galbraith and introduced her private detective, Cormoran Strike in The Cuckoo's Calling, I fell for it. I have never read any crime stories for quite a long time and this criminal story brought back my old memory about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's books.

In her latest book, The Silkworm, the author again tells us about her private detective, Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, dealing with a new case about a missing novelist, Owen Quine. The case is even more interesting for me since the plot is related to author, publisher, competitor, haters and also mistress. Following the detective's investigation, compiling the facts and evidence and finally starting to take a guess about the killer suspect turned out to be super exciting. Good for my brain exercise, lol. If you miss crime series book, this Cormoran Strike series won't disappoint you.

The Red House

After finished reading Mark Haddon's work A curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I wait for Haddon's other books. I like his witty way in elaborating every piece of a family. When I found The Red House having a 30% discount at Aksara bookshop, I directly bought it.

But after struggling for the first 50 difficult pages and started to doubt my ability in dealing with English literature. I finally gave up finishing Red House, a story about eight members of the family  and how they react during their mother's death. Perhaps the author changed his way of writing and telling stories and I am  not accustomed to it. 

One thing I love about my all-time-favorite author, Haruki Murakami, is the way he tells his stories. I always know his style. It's actually just a simple way with simple words but never fail in capturing my attention. 

A Weekend Getaway: Sentul

Playground at TumbarJinten Restaurant
We spent our last weekend in Sentul area. Arrived there during lunch time, we directly headed to Tumbar Jinten Restaurant. It's a nice place with a good food.  
Feeling happy with a happy tummy, we continued checking  in at Harris Hotel Sentul. It's a simple modern hotel. I love their color. It's orange. You can find orange everywhere. The wall, their bolster in the bedroom, the hotel sandals, the sofa even the staff's' t-shirts color. Such an energizing atmosphere. The hotel is really kids friendly. There are lots of activities to do. But the best part is the hotel's pool. All kids will love it. The girls were busy swimming, playing in the playground and dropping by at the kids club. The hotel also provide free bike if you want to go biking around the area.

The hotel location is also accessible. For our dinner, we decided to drop by at Ah Poong. Since it's saturday night, the place was quite hectic. We had a quick dinner and left the area soon. I think it's better to visit this place in the morning so the kids can do lots of things there such as boating or just playing in the eco-park.
An orange classic car at Harris Hotel
Checking out on Sunday noon. We tried to find a not-so-crowded place for lunch. Finally we arrived at Taman Budaya Sentul. Enjoyed lunch at Kopitiam Oey while the girls couldn't take their eyes off the pony ride, the flying fox, and the playground. Yes, there are a huge park here. It's heaven for the kids. Too bad we arrived there on a hot sunny day. Therefore the girls couldn't really explore the area. Never thought that Sentul could be one of the alternative places to spend with kids. Sure we'll be back. Next time we should be here early in the morning thus the weather is still friendly enough for the girls to play outside. 

Hidup Sederhana

Title: Hidup Sederhana
Author: Desi Anwar
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2014
288 pages

Membaca itu kegiatan soliter tetapi sekaligus jauh dari kesepian. Kegiatan sederhana yang membuka pikiran kita ke kompleksitas dan kemungkinan yang tak terbatas; suatu keheningan yang membawa kita ke perjalanan-perjalanan di luar yang dapat kita bayangkan."

--Hidup Sederhana by Desi Anwar.

People are expert in making life complicated. We fill the life with hope, worry and fear. We blame the past, we worry about the future and disregard our present moment. We fill our life with materialism. We buy everything and hope those things will turn into happiness but in the end we feel nothing. Just an empty feeling.

In Hidup Sederhana, Desi Anwar delivers her simple idea about life and how to deal with it in a simple way. As the author said in the introduction, "...bila kita menyederhanakan hidup, kita akan memandang hidup secara lebih jernih dan akan lebih menghargai keindahannya. Hidup menjadi sebuah perjalanan yang paling nikmat dijalani bila kita menyadari pemandangannya yang menakjubkan. Ketika Anda duduk bersandar seraya menyeruput secangkir teh, bahkan ketika kita bergerak ke arah tujuan kita." 

The book is a compilation of author's writings. Simple topic accompanied by beautiful pictures from all over the world and also touching quotes here and there. I have lots of favorite topic in this book, some of them are: Jalan Kaki on page 40, "Dan saya menikmati berjalan-jalan di atas tanah berselimutkan daun-daun kering ini, mendengarkan bunyi gemerisik di bawah sepatu saya. Saya juga senang menendang-nendangnya, yang membuat dedaunan kering ini bergemeresak dan berhamburan di udara yang berangin. Dan merebaklah aroma musim gugur di udara, menebar keharuman bumi." So poetic and sincere.

Other example on page 217 about Kebahagiaan, "Tampaknya kebahagiaan itu bukanlah memiliki apa yang kita inginkan, tetapi menginginkan apa yang sudah kita miliki. Kebahagiaan bukanlah suatu keadaan yang harus dipenuhi seperti rasa lapar yang perlu dipuaskan, melainkan keadaan bersyukur, doa syukur atas karunia makanan yang disantap."  

Since this book is a compilation, you don't have to read it from the first page until the end. Just choose any topic you are interested in, read it slowly, digest every idea while sipping a cup of tea and in the end the words there will inspire you. As a wrap, when you finish reading the whole book, you will have a new perspective of life and have a new way to live your life to the fullest. A must read.   

Check Desi Anwar's great website here.

A Sweet Escape

Out of the blue the idea of escape from Jakarta for awhile hit my head and I just popped it up to my three friends and to my surprise, they all had positive response. Haaa..I though they will reject it since they have to work and Wednesday is absolutely not an option for a sudden break. I guess we all just have something in common.  Ladies, love you all !!!

We went to Dusun Bambu in Lembang. This place is quite happening now. I though it's going to be not so crowded in the middle of the week but I was wrong. We arrived there at 12 pm and planned to have lunch at their Cafe Burangrang and you know what they said it's already fully booked. Oh my gosh, I can't imagine the crowd on weekend.  

We finally went to its market and bought some other food while enjoying the fresh air, the cloudy atmosphere, ah…it's just too good to be true. Extremely peaceful. I always amaze to see how Bandung and Bali people create lots of different awesome places to stay and to eat. They just never run out of new ideas and creativity. Just like this Dusun Bambu, every corner, every inch is crafted well. Love it all. Perfect recharge before we go back to our daily routine. 


Title: Adultery
Author: Paulo Coelho
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2014
261 pages

"If married people, for whatever reason, decide to look for another partner, this does not necessarily mean that the couple's relationship is not doing well. Nor do I believe that sex is the primary motive. It has more to do with boredom, with a lack of passion for life, with shortage of challenges. It's a combination of factors."

--Adultery by Paulo Coelho
Being greateful is not always easy. People keep comparing their life with others. Easily envy others while they actually never been in those people's shoes. Let's meet up Linda, the lead character in Paulo Coelho's latest book. Linda is a 31-year-old woman who has a perfect life, a solid and stable marriage, a loving husband, sweet and behaved children and a good job as a journalist.

But one day, a routine interview with a famous writer changes everything. The writer tells her about the meaning of happiness. This discussion turns Linda's world upside down. She starts to question the routine and predictability of her days.

Her life is even getting more complicated when she encounters Jacob, her ex-boy friend from her adolescence. Jacob is a succesfull politician now and during the interview something happens. He ends up arousing something in her she hadn't felt for a long time; passion. 

I think this time Coelho delivers his idea in a simple way. Easy to absorb yet it still comes out with new insights. And if you love beautiful quotes especially about husband and wife relationship, you will easily find it at almost every chapter.

One of a very touching statements from Linda's husband on page 213 of Adultery:
I controlled the jealousy I feel because of you, and I am happy with that. You know why? Because I always have to show I am worthy of your love. I have to fight for our marriage, for our union, in ways that have nothing to do with our children. I love you. I would endure anything, absolutely anything, to always have you by my side. But I can't stop you from leaving me one day. So if that day comes, you are free to leave and seek your happiness. My love for you is stronger than anything, and I would never stop you from being happy. 

Yay…Ikea is Here

Just arrived home and met a courier who delivered me a catalog. Not just an ordinary catalog but this one is Ikea 2015 Catalog. It's hard not to fall in love with this Scandinavian furniture and stuff. Their products are just awesome. Only looking at the catalog already inspiring me a lot. 

If in the old days, we had to fly to Singapore to visit their store (even some of my friends went to Singapore only to check Ikea's latest product). But no worry, Ikea finally arrive in Indonesia. As of October 15, they were officially open at Alam Sutera, Tangerang. Can't hardly wait to browse around the place.

Dee Lestari: Gelombang

Actually I am in the middle of finishing Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling's latest book The SilkWorm until today I got the book I have been waiting for Gelombang by Dee Lestari. I remembered I finished Dee's previous book Partikel within one day. No wonder if my excitement and expectation towards Gelombang is so high. Moreover I am truly addicted to her writing. Hope this one  won't disappoint me as well. I guess I have to put aside Cormoran Strike's murder case for awhile  and drown myself into Supernova's series.   

Amy Tan's Book: E-book Version

As a conventional person, I still think that the best way to read a book is by having a real book phisically. I adore the smell of a new book paper. Therefore I never have any interest to read an e-book. But lately it's getting hard to find time for reading. When I read at one of my friend blogs, Alaya, that she could read faster using the e-book, I think it's time for me to try it on.

To make it even better, Alaya generously sent the e-book version of Amy Tan's latest book. Couldn't thank you enough. It's time to set up a relax athmosphere before I try reading the e-book. Happy Sunday all...!!!

The Book of Life (2014)

It's been quite sometime I didn't take my girls, Najla and Zea, to a movie theatre. Not because I am too busy or something but I just couldn't find a suitable movie for them. So far there's no movie that interesting enough for the girls. Until I found out about The Book of Life. First, the title has successfully captured my heart then the story is also really impressive.

The story took place in Mexico. If American celebrate Halloween, Mexican also have their special day called Day of Dead. Let's follow the adventure of three best friends, Maria, Manolo and Joaquin. Beside its awesome story with Mexican culture here and there, the movie is enriched with lots of good songs, some are quite popular as well.

It's not only a movie for children yet it has a lot of life lesson for all of us, children and parents. The story is definitely inspiring. There are a lot to ponder. Just like the closing of the movie says, we all have our Book of Life and it's time for us to write our own story . A must see !!!

Find more about the The Book of Life the movie here.

Sunday Morning at the Pool

We went to Bogor last weekend. No, there is nothing special though. We just wanted to take the girls, Najla and Zea, swimming at  the Jungle. Najla as a swimming freak was on heaven. Her favorite was trying the pool with a high slide. She kept sliding all day long. While Zea, as a not-so-crazy about water sport, enjoyed the indoor pool hot water.  The girls really had a good time since they were able to choose the kind of pool they like according to their personality:) 
Yes, that's Najla up there!!!
We left the pool in the afternoon since it's already hot and crowded. Never ending visitors kept coming to the pool area. We had lunch at a nearby restaurant Rumah Air. They serve  Sundanese food. The place is nice surrounded by several bamboo hut, a lake full of fish under and a playground for the kids. The girls loved eating here because they could share their leftover food to all fish down there. All in all we're happy  for having a full tummy and an awesome weekend.