A Carpet Auction Experience

First off, Happy Halloween! We are having a low key holiday celebration this year, but that’s OK. My mom had sent us some of our favorite treats in a package last week which was super sweet. I would have carved a pumpkin, but the large pumpkin I found cost  $59. I can think of better ways to spend our money, we will hold off on pumpkin carving until we return to the states!

This past weekend we attend our first carpet auction, it was put on by Taylor’s work spouses group. Lots of expats that we know have beautiful rugs in their home, so it was something that intrigued us. The auction was held at the American Club and the carpets were from Hedger’s Carpet(you can check their website for more carpet examples.)

We had no idea what to expect with the auction. We were going for the entertainment factor this time around. We know that we may want to leave Singapore with a rug, but not what style, size, etc. We did not buy anything this time around, but it did give us an idea of our the price range that we could afford and what styles we like. Maybe next time we’ll make a purchase!

Here’s some pictures from the evening!

At the Carpet Auction with Wine and Food

2013-10-26 18.23.47Examples of the Carpets. Some we liked, some we didn’t!
2013-10-26 18.24.15 2013-10-26 18.24.09 2013-10-26 18.24.01The Auction in Action!2013-10-26 22.47.442013-10-26 19.45.44We did come home with a little carpet gift!

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My last picture is of a meal that I tried this week with a friend. We ate at Tim Ho Won, which is a Hong Kong style dim sum place. The things I liked best are not in the picture, go figure, but it was these bbq pork rolls. They were tasty! I also managed the whole meal with chopsticks, pretty successfully. That was exciting!2013-10-29 13.13.26

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Fort Canning Park: Spice Walk

IMG_4042This past weekend Taylor and I took a  tour at Fort Canning Park. Every other month the park offers a Spice Trail tour which they guide you through their spice garden. We saw a lot of interesting plants and learned some new things!

Nutmeg

IMG_4071IMG_4075This is a seed from the nutmeg tree. The seed that is ground is wrapped in a red netting. Our guide told us this is the best part of the seed with the most flavor.

Vanilla

IMG_4081 IMG_4080This might be Taylor’s favorite plant! He loves vanilla! He wishes we could grow this on our porch! We both were shocked to know that the vanilla pod actually grow on vines and that it is part of the orchid famil. We learned something new! There have never been any flowers on this plant to produce pods do to not having  the birds here to pollinate the plants.

Black Pepper

IMG_4063Our next spice is a household staple, black pepper. It’s also grows on a vine!

Dill

IMG_4069I love dill. There were rows and rows of it. All of the dill smelled wonderful!

Winged Bean

IMG_4085 IMG_4084

Cacoa

IMG_4057IMG_4078Chocolate, enough said! The cocoa seeds did have a bunch of ants hanging out on them which was unusual.

On our tour we also were introduced to other spices and plants such as basil, turmeric, ginger and other Asian plants. It was interesting to see how everything grew and how much all of the plants like the Singapore climate!

Photography Class and Birthday

Photography Class

The past two weekends I was able to take part in a photography class that was offered here in Singapore. Through the AWA(American Women’s Association) I received information that a fellow member, who was a a photographer, was offering a digital photography course for dslr beginners. It was a four session course, I missed the first one because I was back in Indiana, but made it up by coming earlier to the other sessions. It was a small group, but was very much so tailored to us. We had lectures and outings to practice. Taylor and I have owned a dslr for sometime and I wish I would have learned more on how to use it sooner. I  have always had a goal of learning more about it and wanting to take more and better pictures. I jumped on this opportunity and am so glad that I did! It’s amazing, I now know what all the buttons on the camera can do! Before, I only took pictures in the auto mode, heck now I’m working in full manual mode! Hopefully you’ll be able to see a difference in the pictures that I’m posting. I hope to use our good camera more often, but you’ll still see some iphone pictures here and there and some with our point and shoot. My next goals are to learn how to use photoshop for processing at the end. Part of the course was spent one evening near the marina front where there are a lot of Singapore sights. First, we spent some time with the Merlion, the symbol of Singapore. It’s a lion’s head and fish’s body. There is a large version that sprays water and a smaller mosaic piece. Next, the sun was setting and took some pictures of Marina Bay Sands which  is a hotel, casino, mall,etc. This is a big piece of the Singapore skyline and the architecture here is amazing. Here are some of my favorites from the evening.

The MerlionIMG_9277IMG_9346IMG_9388The Smaller Mosaic MerlionIMG_9406 IMG_9411Marina Bay SandsIMG_9440Marina Bay Sands with a BoatIMG_9442

Birthday Celebration

Last week I also celebrated my 29th birthday. Below is a picture of the birthday cake a I made, it was a six layer chocolate caramel cake. It took awhile to make it and there were a lot of dishes to be cleaned up when all was done. Overall, I enjoyed the cake part, but would want to improve the frosting. The recipe can be found hereIMG_9517It’s hard to tell the inside layers, but they are there!IMG_9607 IMG_9610Taylor bought me some of my favorite flowers.

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On Saturday night we went to Dempsey Hill. It is an area that has some fun restaurants and stores. I can’t wait to go back! We ate at Taphouse which is part of the Brewwerkz which is a brewery. We each had a burger and a beer. As we were walking to the restaurant there is a women who has a bunch of parrots and other birds. I got to hold one, that was a first!

The RestaurantIMG_9563ParrotsIMG_9537 IMG_9536This was a first! Holding a parrot, it wouldn’t eat the food I was trying to give it, but it’s friend in the lower corner sure wanted it!IMG_9540

What was your favorite picture?

A Week of Outings in Singapore

This was a super busy week back in Singapore. I had scheduled three different outings that I was super excited to get back to. Here is what I was up to this week!

On Thursday I went on an outing with the spouses group from Taylor’s work for a Hawker Center Tour. We went to the Zion Riverside Center, which was super close to our place. I had no idea it was even there, we only had driven by it a dozen times! It was nice to go with this group and try new things. This go around I believe I tried Prawn Mee from Noo Cheng Adam Road. It is a dish that consisted of noodles in a broth with prawns and pork. It was full of flavor and the prawns were very large. I think I payed $8. The only downfall was that I am still a novice chop stick user. This made eating a tad difficult, but I managed. I also shared some carrot cake dishes with others. I posted about carrot cake in a previous post, to see this post click here. Over all this dish was OK, I’m not sure if I’d go out of my way to order it. I’m not a huge fan of noodles anymore and it did have a big seafood taste. I also ordered a mango juice drink to go along with my meal, it cost $3. photo (65)photo (66)

My adventure on Friday was with the American Women’s Association of Singapore and we went on a markets of Singapore tour. Our first stop was at the  wholesale market at Pasir Panjang. This market is one of the first stops in food entering Singapore and where it is the most cost effective to purchase food. The market was broken up into three sections fruits, vegetables, and dry foods.  I bought a jicama and two peppers for $2.50. I would have purchased more produce, but I did not want to have to carry it around all day and have it spoil. I will be going back to this area. There were also other small shops and stalls that catered more to Asian cuisine.

This is an example of how the food is displayed for sale. IMG_1664There are a lot of rows like this. IMG_1665Mmm…I love pineapples!IMG_1671This is a Jackfruit tree, you’ll see this fruit sold in Asia. I tried some, I didn’t really care for it. IMG_1669The fruit grow to be really large. This is a medium size fruit. IMG_1670This is the dry goods area, selling dried sardines and shrimp.
IMG_1663I couldn’t pass taking a picture of this. Not something that we would often see being sold back in the States!IMG_1662

The next stop was at the Tiong Bahru wet market. This is an open air market selling meats, eggs, and produce. It also has a food center attached with it. We arrived late in the day so most products were sold. It’s important to get there early!

Flower Stall at Tiong BahruIMG_1672Egg Stall

IMG_1674The last stop of the day was at the flower markets on Thompson Road. These stores were amazing! I love flowers and plants. They carried everything! From outdoor trees and flowers to fresh cut flowers there were so many choices. I purchased a dozen purple roses, a bunch of orchids and a bunch of Gerber daisies for $27 sgd. If I were back home the roses alone would have cost me more that that! I will be heading back to  these markets for sure! Here are some of my pictures, I was truly impressed by the large and inexpensive fresh cut sections!IMG_1675 IMG_1676 IMG_1677

My week of outings continued into Saturday with the start of the photography class I was taking. In the first day alone, I learned a ton! Next week I’ll be posting more and hopefully you’ll be seeing some better pictures too!