Tomorrow, yes, on Thursday tomorrow, I’m invited to attend the Celebration of the Armed Forces Day of the Russian Federation at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Having worked with the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Malaysia on numerous collaborations make me a familiar face among the Russian diplomats working in Malaysia. So, the Defence Attaché, Captain (Navy) Sergey Valeriyevich Zhevnovatiyy and his wife, Madam Natalya Zhevnovataya are among the nicest people from the Embassy and it’s a great honour to attend the Russian Armed Forces Day celebration. Actually, he forgot to send me the invitation last year. And honestly, I blame my former Russian flame, Iskandar for not sending me the invitation. But it was fine, we crashed the party anyway, my friend, Shanina Stepanenko and I while attending an event organized by the Ministry of Tourism.
The night Nina and I crashed the party next door last year
Usually before any special events as such, I’d have to crack my head just to decide on what to wear. Last year, during the Russian National Day celebration, I wore a custom-made white dress which was inspired by ahem, a bridal gown actually. Haha, yes, this is what we Malaysians call ‘berangan‘ (daydreaming). It took me a few weeks just to get the idea to come up with the design and a few more weeks to get my tailor, Kak Ina to make it. On top of that, I also sow some glittery beads on the sleeve and beaded lace on the hem. And voilà, it was done. I was a bride that night. Even the former Russian Ambassador, HE Lyudmila Giorgievna Vorobyeva said that I was ready to have a wedding. Forgive me, Your Excellency, my groom was standing somewhere in the hall drinking vodka with his friends while secretly eyeing me from a distance, so said my spies. Okay, this is a story in another confession!
I love my dress last year!
My Russian friend, Polina Matveycheva and I sort of agreed to wear something red this year. Yes, we’ve planned it, but in between, we’d Whatsapp each other and say, “I don’t know what to wear“. Finally, I’ve bought a dress from an online boutique and will keep my fingers crossed that nobody will wear the same dress! The dangers of buying online stuff, haha. And Polina also sent photos of lovely dresses and probably, she had a shaky moment, red or not red, haha! Of course, she’s sticking to red, we’ve promised, haha! The thing with us girls is, no matter how many dresses we have; when it comes to a special event, suddenly we couldn’t find the perfect dress and end up buying a new one. In my case, when I buy something new, most of the time, I end up buying Plan B and Plan C. The same goes with when getting something tailor-made. I usually have Plan B and Plan C. So, ladies and gentlemen, the vicious cycle continues. So, let’s test your Maths! If I buy or make a dress for a special event, and plus the Plan B and Plan C, just imagine how many dresses do I really have in the closet (and outside the closet?). Haha! And yet, I still don’t have a dress!
Looks familiar, girls? (Source: Internet)
And then, there’s the make-up and hair. Although, I generally can dab colours onto my face and try to look as decent as possible, I do however prefer it to be done by a professional. When I do my own make-up, I end up looking like my usual self, thanks to my Parkinson hands. I never get the shading right, nor the right spot to apply blusher. And eyeshadow, urghhh! When so many people have taught me how to apply eyeshadow, I still don’t get the smokey eye look correct. I have no idea what’s the V that they told me to create with deeper tone of colours. When people say blend, do I blend better with brush or my own fingers? Blahhhhh! When I get a special touch by others, aaahhh, that’s when magic happens. As the saying goes, leave it to the professional.
Parkinson hands, stop making me look like Mimi! (Source: Internet)
Same goes with hair. I swear, I can never get the hair right. I have hair dyer and curling thong and by right, I should be able to make my own hair. Unfortunately, I can’t achieve that wavy, poofy hair look that I so long desire. It’s what my girls and I call ‘kepuk-kepuk asmara‘. Again, I go to the professional. Usually I go to Michael Ong, my stylist to get my hair done. He does a wonderful job with creating the perfect crown for this so-called princess. And by the way, he’s the only great AND straight hair stylist I know. Besides, I just enjoy having a moment of pampering with me sitting back and let Michael turn my fine but limp baby hair into Farah Fawcett’s oh-s-famous waves.
Who does NOT love this hair? (Source: Internet)
This is more me (Source: Internet)
These are the things that we girls would love our adoring fans to see. And then, there are the small little bits and bobs that we want to hide. Yes, yes, not all of us are born with the perfect Barbie doll figure. Some of us including yours truly have figures like Kim Kardashian‘s plastic surgery gone wrong. In my case, my boobs are too small and my ahem, derrière is too big. To top it up, my tummy is what you may cite as the inspiration for Big Mac, haha! So, how do we achieve that post Nip/Tuck look? Well, there’s this invention of torture for women we call body shaping undergarments, haha! Ooops! I’m not going to share too much with you. Let me enjoy my night with the Russian hotties first and I’ll tell you in the next confession.
So this is how I really look like underneath, haha! (Source: Internet)
See you in the confession from the Armed Forces Day! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
It was quite a long weekend for most of us in Malaysia with Chinese New Year happening on Thursday and Friday. On top of that, the company that I work at ‘forced’ us to take one extra day off on Wednesday, it being a replacement holiday. So, what was to you guys a long weekend, for us, it was a longer weekend, haha!
What will the Year of the Goat be to an Aries like me? (Source: Internet)
Most of the time, I’d just stay at home when everyone else goes ‘balik kampung‘ in Johore. Since my sister married a Nogorian, they’d make a stop in Seremban too. In case anyone is wondering why I prefer to be left behind, I usually go back to Batu Pahat on regular weekends so I won’t be dragged to go visiting relatives here and there. Sorry, I’ve been a selfish b***h since my Atok (both paternal and maternal grandpas) passed away on my two separate birthdays, but let’s talk about that in my next confession. Do you remember back in the days when we watched PSAs by the police department talking about simple safety measurements to take when ‘balik kampung’ during festive seasons?
One of the reasons NOT to balik kampung during peak seasons, haha! (Source: Internet)
Well, my family (surprisingly from the oldest to the youngest member) has always had issues with simple safety measures such as switching on some lights when leaving home. To them, it’s wasteful since nobody will be around and by the end of the month, the bill will just be a killer. No matter how many times I keep reminding them, even on a regular day, whenever they leave the house and plan to arrive home later in the evening, just leave the lights on. At least the one at the porch or the one in the living room. Of course, numerous reminders and warnings fall on deaf ears. Stubborn people are just like mules, they simply won’t budge.
Yes, I believe at times, my family can be something like this! (Source: Internet)
So, this CNY break, as usual, it was one of those moments that I could just laze around the house, cooking my favourite food and watch all my favourite shows either on TV or YouTube; at the moment, I’m hooked on Hallmark Channel and Lifetime TV movies. When I’m home alone, I’d switch on the lights on alternate, perhaps one day the porch’s yellow lights, sometimes the white ones. I’ll also make sure the lights in the kitchen and the living room upstairs are also switched on. It gives the indication that someone is home. Besides, you never know who might be lurking outside, waiting to make a move. It actually happened during this long break. One night, as usual, after I’ve made some spicy pasta bolognaise for dinner, I retired to my room and started watching one of those romantic comedies on Hallmark. While I was enjoying my sinful pleasures, I heard some noises right outside my window which was opened since the weather had been very warm even at night. Instantly, I jumped off my bed and quickly closed and locked the window. I didn’t even bother checking if there was anything outside.
The night can be a little scary at times (Source: Internet)
You see, once upon a time, my Dad carelessly left the ladder outside the backyard. One fine morning when I was about to take the LRT to work, I checked my purse and realized that all my cash was gone. So was my cellphone. Luckily, there were some coins and I called home, asking my Dad to pick me up again. Upon reaching home, my brother complained that his cellphone was missing too. I went to my bedroom and looked outside my window which was usually left opened at night.
Guess what? The ladder was stacked on our cement wall, giving easy access to my window. So, someone actually broke into the house and stole small items that he could find. Luckily, I must’ve slept downstairs in the living room while watching TV on the same night and my brother was charging his cellphone in the living room upstairs. No one else lost anything. If you’re wondering why our windows are not installed with grills for safety, please refer to the photo of Donkey as you scroll up. Trust me, my Dad and I have argued about this like a thousand times and the result is still the same. Even when I told him, the staircase was not safe for children, he simply ignored me. I guess, the older the mules, I mean, men, the more stubborn they become. We ended up not reporting to the police because my Dad was embarrassed if the police would check the backyard and tell him the things that I’ve been telling him for many years. Truth be told, our family have had some unpleasant history with the local police, so let’s not dwell into it or I might get into trouble for writing s**t about them; no matter how true things are.
So our house was broken into… (Source: Internet)
So, the next day, I opened my window and looked outside. I noticed the plastic roof which covered the backyard was broken. The plastic roof was installed to avoid rain from falling and splashing water from the neighbour’s roof into our kitchen. So you can imagine if a cat walks on it, it won’t break. Imagine a full-grown person? So, I guess, somebody tried to break into the house again, thinking it was vacant. Sometimes I wonder, when is the right time to call the police? When you heard strange noises outside your house? When you actually see someone trying to break in? Or when somebody has broken into your house, then only you’re allowed to make a phone call? Then, what happens after you make the call? Will the police come to patrol around the neighbourhood? Or will they really come to your house to investigate? When they investigate, what happens? Could they identify people who tried to break in?
Well, I guess, I don’t have the answers either. All I could say is my neighbourhood has NOT been a safe place for many years now. I’ve stopped jogging around the neighbourhood, be it day or night because the last time I wanted to go out for a jog on a Saturday morning, three boys on motorbikes tried to attack me. Don’t even get me started on how many times my Mum, my sister, my neighbours and me myself had been victims of snatch thieves! As much as I’d love to continue complaining about this neighbourhood for all its flaws, this is home and I grew up here. So, when people tell me to move to a better place, let me ask you this, I’ve lived here for so many years, why should I move? Shouldn’t those criminals be caught instead? At the same time, let’s do our part to protect our own homes and neighbourhood. Light up when at night, even a small one, even when you’re at home. At least if anything happens, you won’t trip over something while trying to find out. What is your electricity bill compared to the safety of your home?
This might be useful for your next long break (Source: Rakan Cop)
See you in the next confession! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
William Shakespeare wrote this in Romeo and Juliet: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet…
Romeo & Juliet (1968) is my favourite version starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting (Source: Internet)
Many people often wonder if Paris was my real name. In fact, usually when people ask me if the name was in my identification card, I simply say, ‘Yes’. I don’t take it as a lie, I just don’t think it’s very nice to ask too many personal questions to others. Don’t you find it annoying when people ask you rude questions like “How long were you married?“, “When did you give birth to your daughter?” or “Are you divorced?”. Or to discriminate someone by asking, “Are you gay?” or “Why aren’t you dieting?” and the list is endless.
Anyway, as many people often wonder and I will open up a little bit here on The Miss Paris Diaries. I secretly used ‘Paris‘ as a pen name since I was in high school. Truth be told, I was actually inspired by this show I watched on TV with this character named ‘Asia‘, and no, it has nothing to do with Asia Argento. So, I thought, how cool it was to have a continent or country for a name. Remember the movie ‘Splash‘ with Daryl Hannah played a mermaid named ‘Madison‘ after Madison Square? Then I found more names inspired by places including Sydney, Savannah and many more. Later, I read that Kim Basinger named her daughter ‘Ireland‘ and I got more excited. In fact, Olivia Hussey’s daughter is called India Eisley, you might remember her from Underworld: Awakening. *Note: For more ideas of baby names inspired by places, you can check some out at www.babycenter.com. There are some male, female and unisex names that you may like for your babies.
Daryl Hannah was splashing-ly beautiful as a mermaid named Madison (Source: Internet)
Then, there was this TV series about The Three Muskateers being set in Paris and immediately, I fell in love with the name. So, I quietly began using Paris in the stories that I wrote as a teenager, sometimes as the character, sometimes as my pen name. And then I realized ‘Paris‘ had a nice ring when combined with my real name. Of course, I changed the spelling to ‘Ashiqin‘, just to make it sound a little more exotic, haha! So, say it with me, people. PARIS ASHIQIN. Now, doesn’t that sound cool? Of course, I used Paris Ashiqin a lot more since Year 2000. When I was in Germany in between 2002 and 2003, I noticed how my name was commonly mispronounced by many people and because the first name alone is long enough, it was quite a mouthful too. So, I just told them to call me ‘Paris. And everyone I knew there called me Paris.
When I moved to my permanent host parents’ house in Schmelz, that’s a small town about 30 kilometres from Saarbruecken, Saarland. From Berlin to Schmelz, where more speak French compared to English, due to the proximity (70 kilometres from the French border), being called Paris was a lot easier. Bear in mind, in a small town like Schmelz, everybody knows everybody and it was quite a privilege to be hosted by a family who owned the local bakery, the Fesenbecks. So, I was unofficially known as Paris Fesenbeck, haha, the host daughter of Karin and Horst Fesenbeck. People still asked though on the reason to use Paris. Suddenly, it hit me. My ustaz from primary school once told me the meaning of my full name ‘Nurashikin‘ is ‘Cahaya Kekasihku‘ or ‘The Light of Love‘, which I thought was a little funny at first, but then I learned to embrace it. So, I told my friends, my name is ‘The Light of Love’ and I was from Kuala Lumpur, the City of Lights and Paris sounded like a reflection of my name. Then, surprisingly a classmate actually told me, Paris the City of Love was just a couple of hours away by car from Schmelz and it suited me very well. I took that as a good sign to use Paris Ashiqin in my life.
*Note: Kerrie Hess is an Australian artist who has illustrated for many established brands including Vogue, Chanel, Kate Spade New York, Louis Vuitton and many others. She has lived in Hong Kong, Paris and London. She is also the author and illustrator for ‘Shoestring Chic‘. Perhaps Malaysians are familiar with her exclusive illustrations for a local brand called Covo Cosmetics, one of my favourite make-up brands. I swear Covo Cosmetics has the perfect foundation and Matte Lipstick in Dusty Rose.
The lovely Kerrie Hess, as lovely as her illustrations
(Source: Kerrie Hess Illustration) Coming home later and attending Universiti Teknologi MARA, Arau Campus, I continued to use Paris Ashiqin among friends and college mates. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. When some thought it was just a normal for a college girl to have fancy nicknames, some just couldn’t get pass that name. Don’t be surprised if I say, once, my class representative (somewhat like a class monitor) organized a meeting with our Head of Programme, Puan Hariyati Ariffin to discuss my refusal to use my real name in class. Being a little older than the rest of the class, I honestly thought it was extremely petty and totally unnecessary. It was not like I used Paris Ashiqin when writing papers or anything. I just used it as a nickname. Even when I was working for a sports organization and the broadcasting station, I was condemned by many for using Paris Ashiqin as a nickname. People even said silly stuff like I was trying to find fame from Paris Hilton, which was funny because I never knew who Paris Hilton was when I started using Paris Ashiqin. Sometimes on a good day, I’d just laugh and say, “Yes, I’m the Paris without the sex video“. Honestly, I was tired of explaining it to everyone too, so I when people asked if it’s in my IC, I just said ‘yes’. When people said even sillier stuff like, “Do you see yourself as a celebrity that you need a nickname like that?”, I just ignored them. Haters will be haters, people. Just don’t let them get to you. Besides, it’s just another sign how some people must be so boring AND bored to death that they need to be bothered about how other people (us the more interesting and exciting ones) run their lives.
Perez Hilton was inspired by Paris Hilton, but Paris Ashiqin was inspired by something else (Source: Internet)
The longer I use Paris Ashiqin, the more I learn about the importance of having a personal branding. Yes, I’m not a celebrity nor am I someone successful in business or known for anything great, but I’m actually proud because throughout my boring years of existence, I’ve achieved some things that others may not have. I guess that is the reason why I don’t really understand the terms like ‘jealousy‘, ‘back-stabbing‘ or ‘bringing others down‘ nor do I condone them. Of course, when many people around you are like that, it’s better to stay away. I just stick to the good ones. No point in downgrading yourself as a human being just to blend in the popular group. *Note:Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. (Source: Wikipedia)
You see the word ‘Trump’, you think ‘Donald Trump’. Now that’s a very good example of a strong brand name (Source: Internet)
Of course, personal branding such as mine can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. You’ll be surprised to know how sometimes my name has been used to spread rumours and gossips. One of the best examples was when I was working at the broadcasting station and I was at the surau to pray. Just as I finished praying and was sitting there quietly, I heard some women gossiping about me. It was not that hard to miss out the name ‘Paris‘ in the conversation. So, what did I do? I just took off my telekung and turned to show my face to those women and walked away. Not too long after that, somebody put up a signage that said, ‘Surau adalah tempat untuk beribadat dan bukan medan mengumpat‘ which literally translates into ‘The praying room is a place for worship and not gossip‘.
Bad Girl Riri doesn’t give a hoot to what people say about her, she’s still the one with fabulous songs and BIG MONEY! (Source: Internet)
There were moments that I just couldn’t stand it any more and I just cried as much as I can for relief. There were moments that I wished I could just scream and tell them to SHUT UP, but I couldn’t. Crying is indeed a great therapy and I intend to be the bigger, better person. I keep telling myself, people fear what they don’t understand. Perhaps some people feel threatened by my presence. It is like a she-wolf walking into a new pack every time, some alpha just might get offended and defensive. Of course, when it hurts, it hurts really bad, but when you’ve done something good and have people crediting to ‘Paris Ashiqin‘ for everything that you do right, nothing can beat that feeling of triumph. That’s why I always tell people, the road to success is never easy but when you strive and be sincere with everything you do, God will open the doors for you. All you have to do is enter with open arms and open heart.
Paris Ashiqin, the Mad Bitch From Hell!
As for me, I’m sticking to what I believe in, my own personal brand, Paris Ashiqin. I don’t need to be a successful businesswoman or a fashion designer or even a celebrity to have my own personal brand. I just want to stand out among the other Nurashikins or Nurul Ashiqins or Siti Norashikins or Asyikins in the world, I just want to be me. Then, who am I? I’m Paris Ashiqin, and if you can’t swallow that, then, there must be something wrong with your digestive system. Or you just took too much laxative today. And this video was taken from US TV Series, Pepper Dennis starring Rebecca Romjin and Josh Hopkins. See what happens when you don’t respect somebody’s desire for an alias. Oh, Josh Hopkins, you’re so cheeky!
See you in the next confession! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
My editor, Miss Lira J and I are working on a couple of articles on jewellery pieces so yesterday we went to Starhill Gallery to visit four high-end brands under Mystique Universal Sdn. Bhd. We were amazed to see the gorgeous bling blings of gold, diamonds and other precious stones. Let’s start with the first boutique we visited, Carrera y Carrera.
Carrera y Carrera is known as an international jewellery brand for its traditional and exceptional craftsmanship. Based in Madrid and now has spread its wings to 48 countries worldwide, Carrera y Carrera is among 30 most prestigious jewellery firms. This icon of luxury with more than 125 years of history is familiar among jewellery lovers for its unique style, imaginative designs and magnificent jewellery pieces where gold and precious stones come to life. With the beautiful Olivia Palermo as the Brand Ambassador, Carrera y Carrera is also famous among famous celebrities including J-Lo (she has two of Carrera y Carrera’s Tiger Rings!), Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, Alicia Keys and Paris Hilton. (Source: www.carreraycarrera.com) *Note: Oh, when will Miss Paris Ashiqin get her own Carrera y Carrera’s jewellery pieces? Will someone buy me one of the Reina Collection?
Actually, there were so many gorgeous jewellery pieces at the boutique, but let’s save that for our magazine. Here, I’ll share Carrera y Carrera‘s brand new LOVE Collection specially designed for Valentine’s Day. This beautiful collection is an exquisite take on love, drawing inspiration from both its written form and its many representations. Intricately carved and sculptured by the house’s skilful artisans, these pieces feature small diamond elements that bring a special sparkle. Carrera y Carrera’s signature combination of matte and polished finish is also beautifully showcased, giving these whimsical pieces a life of their own.
Thank you, Carrera y Carrera for the info and photos! The next boutique was Garrard.
Welcome to Garrard Boutique (Source: www.garrard.com)
Garrard is the oldest jewellery brand in the world, first established in London in 1735. Garrard is widely known as the jeweller of the British monarchy and has been in charge with the upkeep of the Crown Jewels for many years. Globally, Garrard is known as the designer of the famous sapphire ring that belonged to the late Princess Diana of Wales which was later resized and passed on to Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge when Prince William proposed to her. Garrard has also been commissioned by our local monarchy for the design and craftsman of many beautiful jewellery pieces, including the medals of honour in Perak. (Source: Wikipedia and Garrard Malaysia)
The iconic sapphire ring worn by Lady Diana and later, passed down to Kate Middleton (Source: Internet)
The stunning collection brings a new dimension to the lace-like design of the Anniversary collection, as well as a dazzling splash of colour. The collection is a brilliant reinterpretation of Garrard’s Wings Classic Collection, which celebrated its anniversary in 2013, marking 10 years of this much-loved collection. Available in white and rose gold, and set with rubies, sapphires, tsavorites as well as cognac diamonds and black diamonds, these pieces are a testament to the Garrard ethos of combining its rich history and excellent craftsmanship, with contemporary and relevant design.
Thank you, Garrard for the info and photos!
Then, there’s some lovely items from Gübelin, a Swiss jeweller that has been running for six generations. It first started as a watchmaker’s shop on October 11th, 1854 by Jakob Josef Moritz Breitschmid at the age of 22. Jakob married Emma Mohr and had five sons and a daughter named Bertha Sophia who later married a watchmaker Eduard Jakob Gübelin. In 1923, theGübelin Family began making jewellery along with watches and clocks. They also set up their own gemological laboratory to determine real stones from fake ones. Gübelin opened its door on 5th Avenue in New York in 1971. After 160 years, Gübelin has become another household name in jewellery. (Source: www.guebelin.ch) The new Red collection from renowned Swiss jewellers Gübelin celebrates the magical fire inside red gemstones. While the inimitable ruby is the star of the show, spinels, garnets and other fascinating red gems add their sparkle as well. Each piece is inspired by the unique story hidden deep within the stone, a story which is brought to stunning life by the company’s master jewellers.
Thank you, Gübelin for the info and photos! And finally, Samer Halimeh New York!
Samer Halimeh was a teenager when the Civil War in Lebanon broke and his parents sent him to California. After graduating from Business School and Gemology, he started travelling extensively to America, Africa and Russia to build network with important diamond suppliers. At 24, he started his own wholesale company located at 5th Avenue in New York with worldwide offices. Samer Halimeh’s Collections are known for the world’s most unique, hand-crafted custom jewellery using some of the rarest diamonds and precious gems. Partnering with some of the largest and most prominent diamond mines in the world, buyers get to select the finest, rarest and most unique rough diamonds and gemstones directly from the source. (Source: www.samerhalimeh.com)
When visiting the Samer Halimeh Boutique at Starhill Gallery, I was introduced to one of the managers, Calvin, who was extremely friendly and funny too. My guide, Melissa informed me that most of Samer Halimeh’s Collections have been packed away for delivery to a jewellery fair in Dubai but I saw some very gorgeous pieces. The necklaces on display were mostly long ones that one could turn into double- or triple-tier necklace. And Calvin was so nice, he knew I was there to write about the brands, he even took out some of the rings that he had already packed and sealed so that I could see and try them on.
Surprisingly, of all the four jewellery boutiques I’ve been to, Samer Halimeh’s rings fit my fat fingers perfectly. Even, Calvin told me, “I think, Samer Halimeh is for you. Maybe tonight you’ll dream of the rings calling you back“. Haha, once I find a rich sugar daddy, perhaps, Calvin! In case you’re wondering, the rings Calvin asked me to try on were worth more than RM 1 million each! Thank you, Samer Halimeh for the info and photos! And thank you, Calvin for making me feel very beautiful with those million-ringgit rings!
Honestly, it was a great day for me. Yes, although I cannot afford to own any of these lovely items, but at least for a while, I got to try some of them! Aaaaah! What a bliss to feel such cold precious metal wrapping my fingers and yet, they give me such warmth I could never explain. Ahaaaa, for the girls out there, nothing says ‘FOREVER’ better than diamonds! And you are diamonds, you’re precious yet extremely tough, so don’t let anyone tell you any less.
Trying out the Reina Collection from Carrera y Carrera, inspired by the Spanish Queen costumes
This Reina ring really puts my diamond and gold to shame!
Look at this food map of Mexico! (Source: Internet)
My first memory of anything Mexican was watching ‘Maria Mercedes‘ subtitled into Bahasa Melayu. It was so horrible that I didn’t bother watching it except when the theme song was playing during the opening and closing credit. And then there is the Tex-Mex cuisine which often confused people outside America including myself, thinking, “Oh, hey, this is Mexican dish!“. Of course, there is some truth in it, since the word ‘Tex-Mex‘ itself is a portmanteau of Texan and Mexican. *Note: Tex-Mex cuisine refers to the fusion of Ameican and Mexican cuisine, derived from the culinary creations of the Tejanos. Tejanos is the Spanish term for Texan. Among popular Tejanos include Selena Gomez and Eva Longoria. Being originated by the Spanish culture in Texas, Tex-Mex has grown from the South-Western of the United States of America, to the rest of the country and of course, Tex-Mex cuisine is also quite popular in Malaysia especially among those who love Western dishes. In Tex-Mex cuisine, it’s very common to see the excessive use of shredded cheese, meat, beans and spices. (Source: Wikipedia)
Welcome to La Mexicana, your gateway to true Mexican experience
Actually, I’ve been planning to do a review at La Mexicana for quite some time. Since 10th September 2014 actually, when I first met Chef Carmela De Ponte and her husband, Stephen Dennison at the Mexican National Day celebration at Hotel Renaissance, KL. It all started with me bumping into Mr. Jose Bustinza, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Peruvian Embassy in Malaysia who always sends me invitation to the Peruvian events. He introduced me to his friend, Joshua Norman from the American Embassy and with boys being boys, they were arguing about the history of tequila and mezcal. Mr. Bustinza said, tequila and mezcal were produced from two different plants while Joshua insisted that they were the same plant only from different districts in Mexico. Joshua made a RM100 bet that he was right. Of course, I was there as the referee. The tricky part was, none of us was a native Mexican. So, I called a couple of Mexicans whom I bumped into earlier and got them to help me with the bet. Even Amanda and her friends couldn’t really tell.
Chef Carmela De Ponte and husband, Stephen Dennison of La Mexicana
That’s when Amanda called Carmela De Pontewho was a Mexican chef. Aha, could we go wrong with a Mexican chef in the house? So, Chef Carmela explained that tequila and mezcal were produced from different plants. But Joshua, a typical American that he was, he actually Googled and it turned out that, both Mr. Bustinza and Joshua were right. Tequila is produced from blue agave, while mezcal is produced from maguey which is actually a different species of agave, haha! So, they both won the bet. Honestly, I was glad because I got to meetChef Carmela and her husband. Stephen invited me to do a review at La Mexicana but I just couldn’t find the time. And just recently, with me transferring to a new department, I managed to find time to come to La Mexicana with my colleague, Mel Muzammil aka MelZura.
Everything spells L.A. M.E.X.I.C.A.N.A. here!
Please, have a sit and enjoy the rest of the day at La Mexicana
The view in La Mexicana will leave you longing to fly to Mexico soon enough
Stepping into La Mexicana was already a pleasant experience as I was intrigued with the Mexican theme from the cactus plants outside the restaurant to the colourful decorations, all flown in from Mexico. What better way to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine other than in a true Mexican atmosphere? And don’t forget the sexxxayyy Latino songs filling up the air.
Among the Mexican decorations that you can see at La Mexicana
Look at these cute yet prickly cactus plants!
According to Chef Carmela De Ponte, she was professionally trained to cook authentic Italian cuisine as her father was from Italy, while her mother was Mexican. Before following her husband to Malaysia, Chef Carmela had three restaurants, all specializing in Italian food. Having spent 18 hours on a daily basis cooking and managing her restaurants, she finally decided to hang her apron for good and live life as a housewife. “I swore, never to open a restaurant again, it was too tiring,” said Chef Carmela.
The embroided cloths hanging from the ceiling are also flown in from Mexico
Among the wooden decorations signifying the Mexican identity
And she broke her words, which of course, was a great thing for all of us not having to lose another great chef in Malaysia, one who brought the real Mexican taste to Malaysian shores. Starting with catering commissions by the Embassy of Mexico in Malaysia, Chef Carmela‘s cooking earned her die-hard fans who seek the authentic taste of Mexican food and not Tex-Mex. Since 2012, La Mexicana has been a favourite hang-out among food lovers, especially among the Mexican community in Malaysia.
It was a privilege, having to meet one of the best chefs, Chef Carmela De Ponte
While chatting with Chef Carmela to find out more about the real deal Mexican cuisine, Chef Carmela served horchata and Agua de Jamaica drinks on ice! Horchata is a special Mexican beverage made of rice and milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon to heighten the sweet taste. Agua de Jamaica is actually made of roselle, of course, is no stranger among Malaysians. In fact, Chef Carmela said, hundreds of years ago, traders brought ingredients such as roselle and tamarind from other parts of the world particularly South East Asia to Mexico and the Mexicans began cultivating them for food. Honestly, when the roselle tasted just like any other roselle drinks, I fell in love with the taste of horchata. I couldn’t really describe how it tasted like, I think, it’d be best for you to try horchata yourself. It was neither too milky or too starchy, heck, it didn’t even taste like rice! I thought, it was something that I’d love to drink on a hot day.
What wouldn’t I do for another glass of this right now?
Later, we were served with tacos with various fillings. According to Stephen, many people often confused between tortilla and tacos. Tortilla refer to the flour used to make the flat bread that we all know used to make tacos, quesadillas and burritos.
Try this tacos with seafood and avocado slices! Yummm!
Each taco served comes with different condiments to complement the menu. You can request for chicken, beef or seafood filling for your taco, Chef Carmela will recommend the best menu. For the non-Muslim, feel free to order pork dishes. In fact, regular patrons of La Mexicana know Chef Carmela as a chef with visions. And I do mean, visions! Chef Carmela can simply look at you and guess your favourite food. “People think I’m a witch, but I know which food they like best and I recommend those to our guests,” she said again.
You can eat the tacos with Molcajete sauce
Or just eat them as they are.. When in doubt, ask Chef Carmela
Then, there were the Enchiladas Verde, corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and ooooh, bathed in salsa verde. In case your tongue gets twisted learning all these new Spanish terms, well, salsa means sauce while verde is green. So basically, salsa verde is green sauce made of tomatillos. Like cherry on ice cream, the chicken enchiladas verdes was served with Queso Panela (Panela cheese) on top of it.
To me, anything with cheese and chicken is the best, enough said!
The highlight during this lunch review was definitely the Nopal Asado con Queso, the grilled nopales cactus or Prickly Pear cactus with Panela cheese. I’m known among my friends as someone who loves salads and other types of vegetable dishes (and yes, I’m still fat). Honestly, I was extremely eager to try to nopal asado con queso and I was amazed with the unique taste of nopales. It was a fresh and crunchy, with a tinge of bitter-taste but was well-blended with the slightly salty taste of Panela cheese. With the sweet-sour salsa verde, I believed the best way to describe this explosion of taste was ‘heavenly‘.
Ever thought of eating cactus pads?
Chef Carmela told me, the nopales were known to have many nutrients including calcium and Vitamin C and also contained properties to assist in weight and cholesterol management. “In Mexico, you’ll see many overweight women but you’ll be surprised to know that they don’t have cholesterol issues,” she said. She also informed me on the current gastronomic trends in Mexico now. Apparently, after receiving recognition as part of the food cultural heritage by UNESCO along with French, Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisine, various Mexican groups are currently going to every village in Mexico to look for authentic recipes. According to Chef Carmela, back in the days, mothers only passed on recipes verbally and there was no written guide to all those amazing recipes, hence the effort to trace every single recipe before it becomes lost.
Food, glorious food!
On top of that, Mexicans are going back to the very basic of food, something that is inspired from the Aztec era where only the freshest ingredients and source of food are used. “Now, people are beginning to eat insects as they are not contaminated by chemicals and have high contents of protein and Omega 3. By the way, these are not the cockroaches that you have at home, we’re talking about the ones from the forest and mountains. In fact, the ant’s eggs are now known as the Mexican caviar,” Chef Carmela explained. Chef Carmela shared a funny incident that took place when she was back in Mexico to visit her family. “I followed my relatives to their ranch and they took me to the mountains for a little picnic. Then, they prepared something for me and I asked them what it was. They just told me to eat it first. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tried. After I finished eating it, only later my relatives told me to look around. I did and I saw snake skins hanging. Then, I knew, it wasn’t chicken that I ate,” she said, laughing.
Chef Carmela is proud of her own little garden
Continuing to talk about her passion for food, Chef Carmela said, her father always reminded her, if she wanted to have her own restaurant she must make sure that her family and friends eat there too. That was a good indicator that the food that she serves is of high quality. In fact, she grows some of the herbs and spices herself. She also spends time to make her own tortilla bread and Panela cheese which she also sells. The ones that she doesn’t grow, she will make sure she gets the best and freshest.
Another plant that she brought in from Mexico
So, up for another adventure in the gastronomic world? Well, La Mexicana is the place. Of course, must always remember, it’s a non-halal restaurant so for those who are sensitive about this sort of things, then, better not go. Visit La Mexicana which is located right behind Hock Chun building at Jalan Ampang.
241 – B – Lorong Nibong,
Off Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
For reservations, please call +603-4253 5251. Visit their website for further info: authmexicancuisine.com See you in the next confession! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
Recently Oliver and I went to watch ‘Jupiter Ascending‘ primarily because he’s a big fan of the Wachowski Brothers who are now better known as The Wachowskis (read more here) and I’m a big fan of Channing Tatum (hot, hot, hot!). First, we were already snickering with the intro on how Jupiter’s parents met while at university in St. Petersburg because he likes to tease me over my affiliations with the Russians in Malaysia. Haha, that’s another story in another confession. A couple of minutes into the movie, I realized there were some similarities with a few other sci-fi movies I’ve watched, particularly the Star Wars franchise. So, just imagine when reading Wikipedia on the movie, yup, I was right, many describe Jupiter Ascending as a cross between Matrix and Star Wars, hence the title above.
Jupiter Jones playing Cinderella to earn a living (Source: Warner Bros)
So, the movie is about Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) whose parents were physics/maths professors at a university in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her father, Max Jones (James D’Arcy) was murdered when their home was broken into, forcing her mother to flee to the United States for the famous American Dreams I guess. Fast-forward, Jupiter and her Russian family who refuse to speak Russian at home (perhaps to become more American, haha!) run their cleaning business. Jupiter’s cousin, Vladie (Kirk Gurry) convinces her to sell her eggs to a fertility clinic as a way to make money for Jupiter who has been dreaming of owning a telescope, sharing the same passion with her late father.
In that position? Is that really a fertility clinic? (Source: Warner Bros)
While at the fertility clinic, Jupiter is attacked by aliens disguising as humans. Then, the hottest alien in the movie, Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) saves her. Later, Caine introduces Jupiter to Stinger Apini (Sean Bean) who used to serve in the military with Caine but was punished and exiled to Earth. It turns out that Caine is a genetically engineered hunter by combining human and wolf DNA, making him a Lycantant. That explains his pointy ears and strong sense of smell while tracking Jupiter at the beginning of the movie. It is also revealed that Jupiter is an alien royalty, as Stinger explains it, the bees are created with the ability to identify the alien royalty or known as The Entitled from other types of aliens.
The nasty brats from the House of Abrasax (Source: Internet)
It is also revealed the heirs to the alien dynasty from the House of Abrasax (cool name, huh?) are all looking for Jupiter, each with his or her own ulterior motive. Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) is the eldest and supposedly the real heir of Earth, somewhat a sociopath and does very little to hide his greed in harvesting Earth. While Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) is the fun-loving playboy and there’s the sister, Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton) who tells Jupiter that she is the reincarnation of the Lady of Abrasax.
The Lady of Abrasax, the mother of Balem, Kalique and Titus (Source: Warner Bros)
Titus even goes as far as asking Jupiter to marry him, supposedly in the name of a better good. He also reveals that Earth is a farm for the aliens to preserve their youth, as they produce somewhat youth serum using the essence of humans. In fact, according to Titus, to produce a high quality canister of youth serum, 100 humans have to die. So, that is what they call harvesting. An act purely driven by greed which takes place once a planet has reached a certain number of occupants, obviously as we all know, Earth has already depleted most of its resources. Of course, when there are a beautiful girl and a beautiful boy, love sparks somewhere. When Jupiter tries to show her interests towards Caine, he rejects her, fearing that he might hurt her like he did before to an Entitled. Apparently, his beastly side got the best of him and he attacked the Entitled.
What a sexy, sexy alien Werewolf we have here! (Source: FB/JupiterAscending)
Oh, there is more to Jupiter Ascending, but I’m not going to spoil the fun. Overall Jupiter Ascending is a fun movie. Yes, if you Google, you may not read a lot of positive reviews, but honest to God, it was an amazing movie. The special effects are superb! The designs of the alien world along with the many, many designs of aliens are just great. It appears as if each of the Abrasax heir lives in the world that reflects their personality. My favourite abode goes to Kalique’s Utopian/Pandora-esque (Avatar) exterior and with Asrgardian/Ancient Eqyptian interior, simply breath-taking!
Kalique’s beautiful alien world (Source: Internet)
You’ve got to love the detailed designs in Jupiter Ascending (Source: Internet)
A little eerie? Yup, you guess right! This is Balem Abrasax’s place (Source: Internet)
Of course, when you notice some aliens are actually inspired by Earth animals such as lizard/bat hybrid, the human-deer hybrid Famulus (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and the bird-like assistant working for Kalique, the Elephant Man crew under Captain Domioka Tsing (Nikki Amuka-Bird) they will all get you wondering, perhaps the alien race was not so creative after all, haha. Animal Planet in space? Haha! And then, watch out for the Keepers. They look like Gollum’s cousins lost in space! Haha!
Kalique’s subjects including Bird Man Malidictes (Source: Internet)
Above all, I love the alien costumes! It was like watching Devil Wears Prada in space! Of course, one will gap seeing the wedding dress Jupiter wears, complete with her gorgeous head gear. The nude and red combination was simply amazing, it brings out Mila Kunis’s beauty even more. My next favourite costume is the one Jupiter wears while having dinner with Titus. Even the supportive characters have awesome outfits, for example, Kalique’s members of staff.
Don’t you just love that dress? Check out the necklace too! (Source: Internet)
I only wish the producers have written more about Jupiter and her links to the House of Abrasax. Yes, she is reincarnated, but how? Why?
One of the perks of being royalty, the bees don’t sting. How about snake or ant bites? (Source: Internet)
And if she is the real replica (not clone, clones are said to have brought problems in the movie, haha!) of the Lady of Abrasax, then wouldn’t Titus request to marry Jupiter seem somewhat incestuous? I mean, the alien royals did call her ‘Mother’. So, now, this has become Hamlet in space!
Eerrr… Marrying your own mother? Eawwww!! (Source: Internet)
Of course, when you watch this movie, you’ll feel a certain Deja Vu sweeping across the cinema hall with many scenes and many characters in it. In fact, Oliver thought the flying boots Caine wears reminded him of the Iron Man suit, haha! Remember the first time Tony Stark first invented the suit and he tried to fly? Yup, that was much like that. The best actor throughout the movie is definitely Eddie Redmayne! His portrayal of Balem Abrasax was simply evil. He didn’t use the cool but crazy approach Tom Hiddlestone did playing Loki, but Eddie is an amazing actor. Many British actors I know possess this charismatic aura and they can play any role thrown at them. To imagine how I first saw Eddie acted in The Other Boleyn Girl playing the sweet-natured William Strafford who married Mary Boleyn after leaving court.
What role can’t Eddie Redmayne pull off? Stephen Hawking and now evil alien royalty? (Source: FB/JupiterAscending)
If you love Sci-Fi, you’ll love this movie. If you love Channing Tatum, you’ll love this movie too. See you in the next confession! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
My friends have known me to be a pro-Russian since I started working with them through several collaborations since 2 years ago. Okay, perhaps the phrase ‘pro-Russian‘ sound a little too political, but I couldn’t describe such love and adoration I have for Russian culture, despite not having the chance to visit Russia myself.
Agent Lyubov’ S. Klubnichkina, Bond Girl, haha!
It all started 2 years ago by chance when I met the absolutely delicious former Third Secretary/Press Attaché, Alexey Kalugin for a discussion. Let’s keep the delicious story for another confession, yeah? Haha! Anyway, he was not sure on how we could work together, well, I don’t blame him. I guess he has never worked with a highly positive and creative person like me before. When the 20th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation emerged in December 2013, Alexey called and asked for a favour to help him with the publicity. Of course, having not much information about the history behind it, please excuse me, Russia was such an alien country to me, I requested to meet the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Malaysia, Her Excellency Liudmila G. Vorobyeva.
During an interview for our magazine
The initial idea was to tag my CEO along and get to know as many prominent people as possible, which would serve our company well. Honestly, I hadn’t the slightest idea about HE Liudmila Vorobyeva other than the info that I gathered from their website. I also copied her photo so that I wouldn’t mistaken an elderly lady for the cook and call her ‘Auntie’ or something.
During the opening of The Art of Russian Luxury
Honestly, her photo on the website did not do her justice as she was a very stylish beautiful woman with a certain aura, albeit being rather petite compared to the delicious Third Secretary who was 1.91cm tall. (Please don’t ask me how I got to know all this info about him, haha!). I was first intrigued when she shared facts about the relationship between Russia and Malaysia, particularly the story of the Battle of Penang. It was very surprising that most of us Malaysians are not aware of this historical event, perhaps in another confession. The meeting turned out great as I’ve also met her PA, Polina Matveycheva who speaks excellent Malay, so ‘jangan main-main’ (don’t play-play, haha!) when she’s around. As the world is getting smaller and smaller, let me tell you this, the world is indeed very small. I was there monitoring the International Public Speaking Competition the year before and recognized her as one of the contestants. Yes, Polina actually won Number 2, which I forgot, I just remembered a beautiful ‘orang putih’ (white girl); blonde and wearing a gold-coloured kebaya.
‘Jangan main-main’, she can speak excellent Malay
The longer I get to know the Russian Ambassador, the higher my respect for her becomes. She knows her stuff, and I do mean, she can just print out some notes and share them with an audience with charisma. In fact, when working on her publicity, people can just throw her any questions and she has every info and update at her fingertips.
While managing some of HE Liudmila Vorobyeva’s publicity
At Capital TV, Channel 420 HyppTV
Once I learned more personal stuff about her, the stories she shared, I like her even more. Sometimes we’d swap mummy stories, getting daughters pierced, daughters and boyfriends and so on. She tells very funny jokes too. In short, HE Liudmila Vorobyeva is simply amazing.
My friends had a lot of fun learning ‘The Navy’ dance with the Russian children
Sob … sob… I’m not in this photo, sob… sob… because I was the photographer
Even my Abah Careno’s son had the chance to sit with the humble Russian Ambassador
After 4 years posting in Malaysia, HE Liudmila Vorobyeva will fly back to Moscow and heads the Asia Pacific Division under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Of course, I wouldn’t miss her farewell party. I decided to bring Amelyn with me, it’d be great to have her at the party.
One of the days we get to hang out together
Unfortunately, the school just so happened to finish late. I ended up waiting for close to an hour, and then the hair salon issue. Urghhh! I couldn’t go with the Hair of Horror so Amelyn and I made a stop at Publika to find a hair salon. Imagine this, we went to two hair salons, both closed. Luckily, the third time, we found a hair salon and started getting our hair done. I had no idea which part of ‘in a hurry’ the shampoo girl didn’t understand, she just kept spending too much time massaging. So, I don’t think I’ll ever go there again. Stuck in traffic for more than an hour, we arrived at the nick of time; just half an hour before the party was over. Of course, no party ever starts on time, and no party ever ends on time; except during election, yes that sort of party, haha!
Our hair didn’t look too bad eh?
If people are wondering why I’d go through lengths to be at that party, well, I just didn’t think, I’d feel good not properly saying goodbye to the Russian Ambassador. Besides, if there was any embassy that makes me feel at home and an alient at the same time, it’s definitely the Russian Embassy, haha! 2 years down the road, the love-hate relationship I have with it and the people there, will definitely be a part of great memories in my life. To HE Liudmila Giorgievna Vorobyeva, wishing you all the best for your future endeavours! Thank you for giving me a chance to work with you and your wonderful staff! Thank you for opening up doors for me to do many, many great things with your Embassy. Thank you for organizing such a great Russian lunch for my friends and I. Thank you for inspiring me to get a third piercing on my left ear, had always wanted that since I was 18 but I was too paranoid until I met you. And finally, thank you for promoting me to Chief Gardener this year, haha! This is a private joke between the Embassy and I!
Our last photo together, will always remember her as a great woman
Malaysians and Russians, friends forever, hopefully
Hot Stuff United!
I’ll share more stories in other confessions. Right now, I just want to prepare for 26th February, the celebration of the Russian Armed Forces Day at the KL Convention Centre. The Defence Attache, Captain (Navy) Sergey Zhevnovatiyy has already sent me an invitation. Polina and I are already planning what to wear, probably red, but definitely sexy, haha! So, stay tuned to more updates on The Miss Paris Diaries.
One of our best photos together, taken on the Russian National Day 2014 (Photo: Roman Isaev)
See you in the next confession! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
Now why did Amelyn snap this photo while I was talking to the fresh blood at the Russian Embassy?
It’s the season of glitz, glamour and glad-handing – but what’s really going on behind the façade?
The Pinnacle is the place to stay during the Oscars, and this year the pre-Awards crises have reached fever pitch: a very recognizable body is found in the hotel pool; Hollywood’s most famous leading man is secretly holed up in the Presidential Suite; and the larger-than-life producer of the Oscars will stop at nothing for higher ratings.
The Academy Awards, the most prestigious Hollywood events (Source: Internet)
A consummate professional, the hotel’s PR manager manager Juliette Greyson must do a careful dance to rescue the Pinnacle’s reputation while somehow sparing himself and her famous clientèle in the process. But first Juliette must figure out what is real and what is staged. Who is lying and who is acting? And when does murder stop being murder – and start becoming damn good publicity?
(Source: Back Cover of Oscar Season)
Jessica Chastain seems like my perfect Juliette Greyson (Source: Internet)
After watching ‘Lying to be Perfect’, I think Poppy Montgomery is awesome! (Source: www.esquire.com)
This novel is about Juliette Greyson, the PR Manager of The Pinnacle who is now working extra hard to go through another Oscar Season. It is later revealed that Juliette’s ex-husband, Josh divorced her for a British actress Anna while filming a movie written by Josh. Weeks before the Oscar Season, a famous actor, Michael O’Connor secretly checked in with his nurse, Rory. It turns out that Michael is undergoing treatment for cancer and does not want the world to know it. In fact he has his body double fly to Morocco to fool the fans.
I’m so obsessed with Pierce Brosnan, he is my Michael O’Connor (Source: Internet)
Robert Redford is equally good too (Source: Internet)
Another actor, David Fulbright is later found dead in the Pinnacle’s swimming pool, giving Juliette the shock of her life. Just as she is trying to pull herself together, Juliette later finds out that it was just a gimmick to boost the Oscar ratings. Then, David feels bad about it and tries without success to apologize until he manages to break into her house much later. At the same time, Juliette is later shaken up when Josh was murdered. During that time of ordeal, somehow Juliette ends up sleeping with Michael and follows him to an event. While away from the Pinnacle, somebody attacks Michael. And how much, much later the murderer is revealed and honestly, I was shocked! You see, not all that glitters is gold. So, for those who think they might have read everything thrilling in chick-lit, guess again!
Miss Paris’s Notes
This is my first time reading a novel by Mary McNamara and I liked the way she writes with such details. And since she writes for LA Times, I can imagine how she puts passion and experience in her writing. Honestly, I’m impressed with foreign writers who can write with ease and such details. I am so envious, especially those very good writers who can just spin words and turn them into a beautiful story. In fact, the stories are so beautiful, upon reading them, I can envision everything. So, Mary McNamara, you inspire me to write better! See you in the next confession! All my love, XOXO, Miss Paris
Oliver and I saw the trailer of ‘Project Almanac’ a couple of weeks ago and decided to watch it recently. In my head, I had Michael Bay in my mind. Michael Bay. Michael Bay. Michael Bay. I mean, we’re talking about the guy with Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and the Transformers film series. So, would I be disappointed?
Let’s take a look at the trailer now, shall we?
So, there we were, Oliver and I, rushing from snapping photos of the Chinese New Year Decor at 1Utama to looking for flat shoes for work (since there will be less driving and more LRT rides after Thaipusam Day) and later getting the popcorn and soft drinks, and later straight into the cinema.
From the first scene, I was already put off by the found footage genre. Oliver and I asked each other how we didn’t see it from the trailer. Don’t mind us old dears, we get headaches every time we watch found footage genres. Just not for us.
*Note: Found Footage is a genre of film making, especially horror, in which all or parts of the film, as if the movie is made of the discovered recording left by the characters. Found footage is supposed to give the audience a more naturalistic view of the movie, as if we are part of the filming. Often the characters speak off screen while filming. The first known found footage genre is the 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust and became popular again during the heights of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity film series.
The movie begins with David Raskin (Jonny Weston) and his friends producing his admission video to MIT by showing a physics experiment. While his application to attend MIT is accepted, his application for loan is only met with a much smaller portion of the whole tuition fees.
Frustrated, David goes to their attic and finds a video camera from his 7th birthday. To his surprise, he sees his 17-year old self on the mirror reflection on the video which he shows to his sister, Christina (Virginia Gardner) and friends, Quinn Goldberg (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista).
David sees his current self in a video dated 10 years ago (Source: Internet)
They go their the Raskins’ basement and comes across Ben Raskin’s old project for the military to build a time machine called ‘Project Almanac‘. With the notes and blueprints of the machine, David and his friends begin to rebuild it. They try to use all sorts of power source to kick start the machine, after stealing hydrogen canisters from their school.
Finally, when a neighbour organizes a party, David tricks his high school crush, Jessie Pierce (Sofia Black D’Elia) to park her car at his house so that he can use her hybrid car battery. Just as he starts to switch on the machine, Jessie barges in and she sees the whole experiment with their toy car attached to a GoPro camera.
David and his friends start to rebuild the time machine (Source: Internet)
Among the effects from the science experiment (Source: Internet)
The gang tries to travel back in time and breaks into Quinn’s house. When Quinn draws a smiley on his nape, the Quinn from the past wakes up and they have a moment of facing each other, almost erasing both Quinns from the timeline. So, the gang sets some rules including never to jump into the past alone and to avoid from finding their other self.
They plan several jumps into the past to redo things they think they did wrong. The funniest part is definitely seeing Quinn jumping into the past several times to ace his chemistry test. Christina takes the opportunity to get back at her high school enemy, Sarah Nathan.
Christina actually spilled her drinks earlier, so she jumps back to spill two drinks this time! (Source: Internet)
Later, they all travel back into time to attend the Lollapalooza. When David and Jessie have a moment together, he lets it pass which disappoints Jessie. Feeling regret after going through the video at the message wall over and over again, David decides to break the rule to jump back into the past alone. He rectifies his mistake and comes back, realizing he’s in a relationship with Jessie.
David jumps back to steal the lost moment (Source: Internet)
However, changing the past has caused a ripple effect to everyone around him. So tries several times, one of which drags Jessie along. Jessie ends up meeting her past self and disappear from both timeline. Going back to the present, David is pursued by the police for Jessie’s disappearance.
While running away from the police, David runs back to his school to steal a hydrogen canister to jump back into time (Source: Internet)
Finally, he goes back to his 7th birthday party and meets his father. David warns his father of the machine’s dangerous consequences. When his father goes upstairs to say goodbye to 7 year-old David, 17 year-old David destroys the machine with everything else, deleting him from the timeline.
Then, we go back to the attic scene, this time, instead of one, David and Christina find two cameras; one with the original recording of what we’ve seen throughout the movie.
Overall, I think the movie was not too shabby, but enough with the found footage please! I’m an old lady, I’d like to relax my eyes when I watch the movie. I had another movie in my head, yes, something more like Transformers instead of the Blair Witch Project, urghhh… I guess, if David focuses more on going to MIT, well, it may not be appealing to the younger generation, so, yeah, it was not too bad. For those of you who love sci-fi, you’ll enjoy watching this. The effects are as usual, amaaaazing! Anything with Michael Bay written in it, you’re guaranteed full satisfaction when it comes to special effect!
Honestly, I’m not sure if Project Almanac will leave a deep impact in my life, but there are some very, very good movies about time travelling that I think you’ll agree.
10. Bill & Ted franchise
Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Theodore ‘Ted’ Logan (Keanu Reeves) are two high school dimwitted metalheads who meet Rufus (George Carlin) from the Year 2688 to ensure that the boys pass their history test for the sake of the future. And they travel with their iconic telephone booth time machine to meet historical figures to learn more about them.
In the sequel, Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland) and his robots, Evil Bill and Evil Ted travel back into time to stop the real Bill and Ted from winning the battle of the bands. The robots kill Bill and Ted and the two have to face Death and defeat him in games.
One of Keanu Reeves’s popular films (Source: Internet)
A cult classic you’re familiar with surely (Source: Internet)
9. Terminator franchise
“I’ll be back” has been one of the most memorable quotes in the Hollywood history. And guess what, he’ll be back soon in Terminator Genisys, woot woot! In case you’re wondering why I’m excited, well, the super gorgeous Jai Courtney will be in it too!
This franchise is probably the best of cyborg movies ever. Ironically, Arnold Schwarzenegger rarely speaks in throughout the movies, haha. When he does, well, it comes with the square, expressionless face, haha. Well, he plays a cyborg, of course.
With the fifth movie coming out soon, I’m sure, many would agree, this time-travelling franchise is a major classic. I know, I’ll definitely go and watch Genisys upon its release.
We can’t wait for Jai Courtney to strip, I mean, Terminator Genisys to come out! (Source:Internet)
8. The Butterfly Effect franchise
Yes, there is a franchise for those who don’t know. Probably people don’t know because the other two movies are not as strong as the first one.
Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) is a college student who used to experience unexplainable blackouts as a child. So, he learned to write journals as part of his therapy. One day he finds the journal and reads them. He starts to travel into the past right before he experiences a blackout, which finally explains his childhood ordeal.
He tries many times to change his past but when he returns to present time, he ends up changing his own future. The version I watched was the one which ended with Evan going back to his mother’s pregnancy and committed suicide by strangling himself with the umbilical cord, which was tragic for someone who grew up watching his comedies.
This psychological thriller really marked another milestone in Ashton Kutcher’s filmography (Source: Internet)
7. Austin Powers franchise
Although ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery‘ focuses on Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and Dr. Evil (yes, Mike Myers too) after being reawakened from a cryogenic sleep of 30 years, film No 2 The Spy Who Shagged Me and No 3 Goldmember actually centre time travelling.
In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin goes back into 1969 and meets CIA Agent, Felicity Shagwell (Heather Grahams) while in Goldmember, he goes back into 1975 to save his father, Nigel Powers (Michael Caine). His love interest this time is the super sexxxy, Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce).
The funny thing is, no matter how far he goes back, when Dr. Evil’s right hand man, Number Two (Robert Wagner) is portrayed by a Young Number Two (Rob Lowe), apparently Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) remains the same. Hahahaha!
Groovy Baby! Oh, behave! (Source: Internet)
6. Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Aaaah, this animation actually made me cry. The movie begins with Mr. Peabody (Ty Burell), a talking dog who adopts a boy he calls Sherman (Max Charles). Mr. Peabody and Sherman always take trips into the past to study history together.
When Sherman starts schooling, he meets Penny Peterson (Ariel Winter) and the two often argue until Penny pushes Sherman hard enough that he bites Penny. While trying to make amends with the Petersons, Sherman takes Penny time travelling.
I have a very high regard for this movie (Source: Internet)
5. Men In Black 3
I really hope MIB movies won’t end here. Since the first movie, it was all fun, fun, fun! Still, I think the first movie is the best. MIB3 brings Agent J (Will Smith) back in time to save his partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from being killed by Boris the Animal.
Just imagine Josh Brolin playing a young K supposedly in his late 20s, haha, what a laugh! You’ll feel touched to see how K never materializes his love affair with Agent O (Alice Eve plays the younger version, while Emma Thompson is the older version).
In this movie, you’ll find out the history between J and K long before movie No 1.
Agent J is back to change Agent K’s past (Source: Internet)
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
One of the highly anticipated movies of all, the latest X-Men movie! Instead of building a time machine, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her mutant power to bring Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the past. It was quite amusing to see the Wolverine with the original claws pre-Adamantium wearing bell-bottoms too!
In this movie, Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is trying to kill Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) from developing the Sentinel programme. Logan goes back in the 1970s to persuade Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to help him release Erik Lensherr/Magneto from a high security prison.
Series of adrenaline rush and action packed moments later, Mystique rescue President Nixon. Logan wakes up to a new history all over again, where none of his mutant friends died including his one true love, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).
Thank you, Dougray Scott for declining the role of Wolverine! Thank you, Hugh Jackman for ignoring your wife and took this role! (Source: Internet)
3. 13 Going On 30
Don’t you just love Jenna Rink’s transformation in this movie? Frustrated when her 13th birthday party doesn’t turn out the way she wants it, Jenna (Christa B. Allen) locks herself in the closet wishing she is 30, the perfect age for women according to Poise magazine.
But when she is 30, Jenna (Jennifer Garner) realizes she doesn’t have real friends, she has an affair with a colleague’s husband and that she has been selling information to a competitor. She tries to find Matt (Mark Ruffalo), her childhood friend and sparks fly between them, although Matt is engaged to a local weather girl.
It’s adorable when the two work together for a revamp photoshoot for Poise magazine with Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I?” playing in the background. Oooohhhh!
One of Jennifer Garner’s best! (Source:Internet)
2. The Time Traveler’s Wife
I’ve always loved watching Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in films. When they were paired for this movie, I was in heaven. I’ve watched this movie like dozens of time and every time, I’d hold back my tears.
Henry De Tamble (Eric Bana) is a librarian with a genetic disorder that allows him to time travel back and forth without control. Anything that triggers him can send him back into the past where he first meets Clare Abshire as a child and into the future to meet his daughter, Alba who also has the ability to time travel.
You’ll be touched with Henry’s struggle to remain at one time and one place with Clare, especially when at one point in time, Henry can’t return to his time, leaving his wife alone. It is also quite a saddening fact when Clare keeps suffering from miscarriages as the foetus also time travels.
The movie ends with Henry time travels into the future, long after he has passed away to meet Clare because she is his ‘big event’ after all.
A story of love, crossing the borders of time and place (Source: Internet)
1. Back to The Future franchise
Need I say more?
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) meets Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) who invents a time-travelling machine, DeLorean. Marty is sent to 1955 and meets his parents who attend the same high school. By saving his mother from being hit by his father’s, Marty has changed the past as his mother Lorraine Baines (Lea Thompson) starts developing feelings for her own son. Realizing he will disappear if his parents do not have a relationship, Marty tries to help his father, George (Crispin Glover) to win Lorraine’s heart. George also has changed the future when he stands up against Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) who continuously bullies George.
In movie No 2, Doc brings Marty and his girlfriend, Jennifer to the future to save their son from going to jail. Guess when ‘the future’ is? It was supposed to be 2015! Haha, a good excuse to get the DVDs from Speedy and watch all three movies back-to-back. This time, the old Biff Tannen steals the DeLorean and goes back to 1955 to pass his younger self the Sports Almanac which Marty originally purchased to make money. With Biff changing the past, upon returning to the present time, Marty finds out that his father has died, while his mother was forced to marry Biff.
And finally, in No 3, Marty and Doc travel to 1885 back in the days of cowboys and ladies in ground-sweeping dresses. In this final instalment, Biff’s great grandfather, Bufort ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen supposedly has killed Doc. Marty travels before the date to save Doc and meets his great-great-grandparents, Seamus and Maggie McFly who came all the way from Ireland. This movie also ends with Doc inventing another time travelling machine, the locomotive equipped with a flux capacitor.
This is my all-time favourite time-travel movie! (Source: Internet)
These are just my favourite movies about time-travelling. You may have your own favourite.