The Minions Special

It’s Thursday and the clock just struck 11 in the morning. Are you already all prepared to rush into your nearest McDonald’s to lay your hands on those minion figurines, which comes free with every Happy Meal for these two weeks? (We heard last week’s first set of three were a sold-out!)

If yes, we think you’ll like our special write-up on how else you can fully indulge in this craze.

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(Photo Credit: Bakerella)

Eat! Originally sidekicks to Despicable Me’s main character Gru, the minions army who speak cute gibberish have become so popular that everyone wants a slice of them.

Well, now you can. Literally.

Local cake store Cake Funtasie custom makes Despicable Me cake designs. Despite the hefty price tag of $320 for the 4kg cake, the store has seen a 20% increase in orders over the past two weeks, according to Straits Times. So if you are looking for a special something for an upcoming party, book early is our advice.

For those who are into DIY baking, look no further than popular blogger, Angie Dudley aka Bakerella. The creator of cake pops (i.e. cake + lollipops) has cashed in on the minions fever and come up with a new step-by-step recipe for those who are keen to remake these little yellow creatures at home. Too cute!

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Play! If Happy Meal figurines can’t satisfy you, head on to Toys R Us for a full collection of the pill-shaped cutie merchandise. From plush toys, figurines to battery-operated robots, we are sure you’ll be spoilt for choice.

If you are planning on getting one as a gift for your other half, we recommend you however to build your own minion from the ever trusty LEGO. Tutorials are aplenty online and they provide detailed instructions on how you can go about building your favorite minion character. This can also be a new bonding activity to spend quality time with your partner this weekend (ditch that usual eat-shop-movie routine for once!). Either way we are sure this will help you score extra brownie points from your girlfriend/wife!

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(Photo Credit: Instagram)

Ladies Only! Get in trend by having minions on your fingertips! Nail parlours are now joining in the competition by offering minions in drawing or gel manicure design. A gel manicure with the cartoon is said to go as high as $150. For the budget conscious, pop by Daisy Nail Shop at Far East Plaza. They offer decent minion nail art (see pic above) at $58.

For the interested, this graph picture titled “Guide to Despicable Me Minions” is where you can learn to differentiate these little yellow characters. Originally labelled as minions, they now have individual names which we think you should know before their spin-off movie “Minions” lands next year.

We also found some behind-the-scenes information here on the creation of these cute creatures, which makes for interesting good-to-know. Wouldn’t you want to know how the creators came up with the gibberish minion language?

And just in case you feel like listening to the famed “Banana Song” again for the millionth time, we made it easy by including it here. So click away and sing along!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCkerYMffMo

Running Man HaHa’s Comedic Wedding Photos

For those who are fans of popular South Korean variety show “Running Man”, we guess you must have been very much pleased with the casts’ recent visits to Singapore.

Following Muscle-man “Sparta” Kim Jong Kook’s visit earlier in February, the latest “Running Man” member to come for a fan meeting is, HaHa!

As the stage name suggests, HaHa whose real name is Ha Dong Hoon, is often the joker on set. He is the one who has numerous sneaky ideas up his sleeves and always up to crazy antics like staging his own movie in the middle of the chase. The 33-year-old, who is also affectionately known as “Haroro” for his resemblance to South Korean’s cartoon penguin “Haroro”, is also known for being “the betrayer”. In the action variety program where the seven-member cast form teams with celebrity guests each week to compete in various missions and rip off each other’s name tags, HaHa is famous for constantly betraying his teammates by telling on them or switching camps in order to win.

In his interviews with the local media before his fan meeting, the entertainer however emphasized that he is nothing like that in real life. “If people believe that is how I really am, they will definitely criticise. But I think my character is likeable. I trust the audience and hope they can enjoy my performance in the show. I believe that betrayal is death and this applies to everyone around me.”

While HaHa might not be the betrayer we see on screen, we think he is definitely the comedian in real life. And the evidence is none other than his wedding photos!

Taken last year before his marriage to South Korean singer Byul in December, the photos featuring “Running Man” and “Infinity Challenge” casts, exude HaHa’s signature wacky comedian spirit. Our favorite has to be the series with Korean Hip Hop duo Leessang, formed by “Running Man” Gary and “Infinite Challenge” Gil, pretending to be Byul’s body guards. The serious looking pair coupled with a confused looking Lee Kwang Soo in one photo sparks off the most comic effect. The bride was later quoted saying that she had so much fun and laughter during the shoot and we think that is the best memory one can have from a wedding photo shoot!

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(Photo Credits: ojs4wedding)

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HaHa and Byul’s wedding invitation card is also all about fun and breaking norms, with the couple portrayed in a cartoon caricature under a sea of stars. (Photo Credit: Lee Kyun’s Twitter)

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HaHa welcomed his first child, Dream, last Tuesday. The name is apparently inspired by children being seen as God’s dream. To the couple, our heartfelt congratulations!

HaHa will hold his first fan meeting in Singapore coming Saturday (July-20), 7pm at Zouk. He is joined by Skull, a South Korean reggae singer whose 2007 single “Boom Di Boom Di” made it to Top 3 of the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Singles Charts. Both singers will be belting reggae tunes off their individual albums as well as songs from the duo’s collaboration album “Ya Man”.

Ticket going at $128 and $88. To buy or for more information, go to LEAP IMS website or facebook.

Lifestyle: Necessary Provisions

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(Photo from Necessary Provisions Facebook)

What makes a good life, you say? Well, for us over here at Wedding & Travel, a good cuppa (all the better for hitting those deadlines, right?), and some quality me-time from the hustle and bustle definitely rank high on our list! And that’s why we were delighted to visit newly-opened Necessary Provisions (for about a month now), a café-restaurant by the same people who brought us Smitten Coffee and Tea Bar.

Located in the midst of a quiet residential estate at Eng Kong Terrace, Necessary Provisions is a lovely place to escape the hectic city and while the time away with a cup of coffee and a good book. The café’s all-day menu includes the usual suspects, such as sandwiches, toast and paninis. But coffee aficionados will be impressed with the store’s Thumper espresso blend (consisting the Brazilian Fazenda Serrado, Sumatran Wahana Natural & unwashed Ethiopian Sidamo), which is freshly roasted on the premises. Also look out for the baked goods, which change every day — be sure not to miss their Pandan Chiffon Cake, which is the surefire hot-seller! (We heard that some customers even call to reserve a slice as the cake is freshly baked everyday in small quantities!)

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(Photo from Necessary Provisions Facebook)
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(Photo by Wedding & Travel)

The dinner menu (available after 6pm) serves up a modest range of good sincere home-made food — freshly made pasta, rice dishes such as sambal fried rice and Japanese-styled pork rice bowl, and pork and fish mains — that will cater to any appetite. The chef has also thoughtfully included the Summer Pasta (ingredients change from day-to-day and may include cherry tomatoes, arugula, cucumbers, or Japanese shiso leaves) for vegetarians in the house.

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(Photo by Wedding & Travel)
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(Photo from Necessary Provisions Facebook)

With a strong menu and attentive service, Necessary Provisions will make you feel right at home. (Psst, if you are intending to pop by for dinner, do try to get there earlier to avoid disappointment as ingredients are limited and may run out before time!)

Necessary Provisions
21 Eng Kong Terrace, Singapore 598993
+65 9231 7920

Travel: “You Are The Apple Of My Eye”

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One of the best-selling movies across Asia in the year 2011, we think you wouldn’t be too unfamiliar with Taiwanese novelist-turned-movie director Gidden Ko’s feature debut “You Are The Apple of My Eye” (《那些年,我们一起追的女孩》). Adapted from Ko’s 2006 novel, the movie tells of Ko’s personal teenage romance with the girl of his dreams, Shen Jia Yi. It is a nostalgic throwback into yesteryears, reminding one of lost youths and bittersweet romances.

W&T took a day’s walk through two places along the Pingxi Railway Line where Ke Jing Teng and Shen Jia Yi went on their one and only date-trip in the movie. All we can say is, we were absolutely thrilled! If you, like us, are ardent fans of the film, here’s where you can relive those onscreen romantic moments in your next holiday to Taiwan.

Pingxi (平溪)
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Slowly shedding its ancient past as a coal mining town in the early 20th century, Pingxi is evolving along with the attention it has received as a newfound tourist destination. A vivid contrasting scene of the past and modernity, expect to find old wooden shop-houses juxtaposed with colorful graffiti and be spoilt for choice between finger-licking street food and hip cafes in hidden alleys. A railway track that cuts through the middle of the town also gives one the rare experience of eating and shopping beside a chugging train.

Pingxi is also home to Taiwan’s biggest lantern festival. Crowds from all over Taiwan, and most recently tourists, pour into the small town on the 15th day of Chinese New Year to release huge sky lanterns, known as Tian Deng (天灯), scribbled with well wishes.

The movie buff itinerary:
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1. Release a Sky Lantern: Shops that sell sky lanterns are aplenty in this small town but to replicate your own Ke Jing Teng and Shen Jia Yi moment, find Shi Di Bridge (石底桥) which is only a 10-minute walk from the station.

If you also happen to be a K-Pop fan, you’ll be psyched to know that Hallyu stars Super Junior visited Pingxi to release their own sky lantern two years back. The shop patronized by the Korean boy group is located on a slope near the station. To reach, you just have to walk away from Shi Di bridge and go uphill before you find the shop adorned with pictures of SJ. If unsure, just ask around. Shopkeepers in this area are hospitable people who will point you in the right direction.

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2. Eat an ice ball: This is located directly opposite the sky lantern shop with the SJ poster. These oval-shaped ice balls, which Ke Jing Teng and Shen Jia Yi had in the movie, are sold about a dollar each and come in various flavors like chocolate and mango. It reminded this writer of the long ice packs I used to love eating in primary school. Nostalgic much.

Jing Tong (菁桐)
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The last stop of the Pingxi Railway Line, Jing Tong is a small town boasting of a glorious past and a national monument. Located near the mines, the town in its golden days was a prosperous market place but now, it is on most days peacefully quiet.

The largest draw of the town is the preciously preserved wooden railway station built in the 1930s. It is one of the remaining four authentic Japanese-styled railway stations in Taiwan and still preserves many original features from its heyday, including traditional train tickets and electrical railway block instruments.

The movie buff itinerary:
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1. Walk along the railway tracks: It felt like time stood still when this writer was here. Jing Tong might have passed its prime of being a bustling town but it now possesses a serene beauty that few places in Taiwan can rival. Try balancing on the train tracks, like Ke Jing Teng and Shen Jia Yi did, and just soak in the tranquillity.

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2. Pop by the post office: Movie goers should remember scenes of the couple having a good time walking down an old street. Relish that here in Jing Tong and be entertained by quirky post office themed shops, selling cute items that will do good as souvenirs.

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3. Make a wish: This might not have appeared in the movie but we thought this would be something romantic to do for couples. Purchase a bamboo stick, write down your wish and hang it carefully along the fences surrounding the railway tracks. We saw many couples doing the same when we were there!

Apart from these two destinations, do make full use of your railway ticket by popping by other stops along the Pingxi Railway Line. Shifen (十分), neighbour to popular tourist destination Jiufen (九分), is home to “Taiwan’s Niagara Falls”, a scenic waterfall nestled within greenery. One can also opt to alight at Dahua Station and hike through a hilly terrain of bamboo forests to see the legendary Dahua Potholes, which are odd-shaped craters due to natural erosion.

Pingxi Railway Line is accessible at the Ruifang Train Station, a 40-minutes train ride from Taipei Main Station. For those who have more time to spare, consider planning in Shen Keng (深坑), a small district famed for its smelly tofu, where you can take a 30-minute bus that brings you straight to Jing Tong. Do note that train services along the Pingxi Railway Line are infrequent, so time your stops well. Train schedules are available on the Taiwan Railway website and at every station.

If you’ve been to Pingxi and Jing Tong before, tell us your favorite memories. We’ll love to hear from you!

Enchanted Atelier

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Romantic brides looking for inspiration for your wedding dress, look no further than Enchanted Atelier. Enchanted Atelier has always been one of our favourite designers to look out for everytime bridal week comes around, and its Spring/Summer 2014 collection does not disappoint.

Keeping with its signature ethereal and whimsical styling, Enchanted Atelier’s SS’14 collection celebrates romance and femininity through delicate lace fabrics and vintage silhouettes that recall the charms of yesteryear. The accessories, always a highlight in themselves, likewise draw inspiration from the bygone eras, specifically, the roaring 1920s, with references to flapper fashion apparent in the collection’s feather headpieces, bejewelled hair combs and lace gloves. You may also wish to take a leaf from the collection’s styling, which is polished and elegant with simple up-dos, a brown-based smoky eye for day, well-defined eyebrows, and of course, the classic red lip.

If you’re the bride who is not into the razzle and dazzle, but prefer wearing an easygoing charm, we reckon you’re going to like Enchanted Atelier as much as we do. Check out their SS’14 lookbook below and be enthralled!

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