An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Guest Post: OUT OF THE CAKE BOX (Singapore)

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Remember Dana for the NYAW series? When we visited her at her flat last year, she surprised us by baking a cake in the image of Chloe and by also serving us so many yummy treats. At that point, she was just still completing her baking school and was on the verge of opening her own home bakery business. We knew just from the treats we sampled and the pictures of the amazing bespoke cakes that she showed us that it will be a runaway success.

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Fast forward to a year later and Dana has opened a brick and mortar cake shop! We were delighted to hear the wonderful news! We were invited to the soft-opening so JM and I went to check out what’s on offer. The shop’s located in the mature housing estate of Telok Blangah. It might sound obscure but it’s not. There’s an MRT station right at their doorstep and there are many buses that will take you straight into the city within minutes.

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The cake shop has a simple layout and basic interior design so you won’t find any hipster cafe pretensions here which is refreshing. The most striking thing about the interior is the beautiful 70-s mosaic floor tiles which Dana fought tooth & nail to keep. Anyway, the decor is the last thing one would notice because the star of this shop is the food – cakes and pastries!

Our Favourites

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Chendol Fudge Cake 

Gula melaka infused sponge cake layers with coconut gula melaka fudge and classic chendol toppings. We exclaimed in excitement when we first saw a photo of this on their FB page! Chendol in a cake! Perfect! We really enjoyed this because you get the flavours of chendol and the bits of attap chee and red bean. While one would expect a cake based on chendol to be cloyingly sweet, it wasn’t.

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Chicago Cheesecake 

Creamy and fluffy texture with subtle hints of citrus. This is really amazing. We’ve always found most American cheesecakes too dense and filling and the Japanese cheesecakes are too light and airy. Out of the Cakebox’s cheesecake is out of this world because they managed to get the right balance between the both. Highly recommended.

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Gnome Domes 

This was created by Dana’s pastry chef who they affectionately call the Pastry Gnome. It’s choux pastry with creme pattiserie. We don’t know how to describe except that it’s damn shiok. Really well made choux pastry with delightful cream with local flavours like Horlicks!

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Savoury Muffins 

I prefer savoury to sweet things so I was so happy to see this in the shop. Roast chicken, olives, petit pois, homemade pesto cream cheese frosting! Some people might be turned off by the idea of a savoury muffin but you just have to take that leap of faith and try it. Think Out of the Cakebox! You’d be surprised.

Tart au Citron 

It’s like biting into a super lemon tart. The tartness of the citrus hits you and then you taste the sweetness.

Milionaire’s Tart

Rich buttery short crust base topped off with sea-salt caramel and slow baked chocolate custard.

This is probably named Millionaire’s Tart because it’s so wonderfully rich

Everything we tasted at Out of the Cakebox was delicious and the staff were so friendly. We wish Dana and her partner, all the best and hope that their venture will continue to grow! They’ve worked so hard for this and we’re glad that Dana worked towards realising this cakery. She’s definitely not your average woman.

Do support Out of the Cakebox.

They are located at Blk 45 Telok Blangah Drive #01-173, Singapore 100045.

Like their page at https://www.facebook.com/outofthecakebox

Follow them on http://instagram.com/outofthecakebox

Written by Percy K.


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Not Your Average Woman: Katie Ichtertz

IMG_9120IMG_9144This is a special one – I went to visit Katie on 7th September when I was in New York City, to do this feature! Katie is my pal Ryddy’s ex-classmate from King’s College London (where they did their MA). Since they last met, Katie has lost a considerable amount of weight for health reasons but she did admit that she’ll “never be a toothpick” and at her current size, is probably the happiest she’s been. We go by the fashion industry’s misguided standards of anyone above a size 12 being PLUS SIZED and I’ve been happy flipping the metaphorical bird with my features of sassy, confident and stylish women who lead interesting, non-average lives. And I am proud to have Miss Katie Ichtertz (or kay-tee-aye as she’s more commonly known) in this month’s NYAW.

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Katie, a California native, is all of 25 years old. While she currently shares a cool apartment with 3 other flatmates in Downtown Brooklyn, she’s also lived in Spain and England. Her adventures started in 2008 when she graduated from the University of California to a lacklustre job market. She took the plunge and decided that the 1-year programme offered by KCL was going to be her next move.

IMG_9115For the last 3 years since finishing grad school, Katie has been living out of a suitcase. For work she has been jet-setting and living in different parts of the US – half a year at the Lincoln Center in New York, then the other half at the Sundance Film Festival (in Park City, Utah). How exciting is that? If anything, this girl is really dipping her fingers in every pie! Right now though, she’s decided that her base would be New York City and she’s also embarked on something else that has come her way – touring the country with the production “Man in a Case”, a play with stories adapted from Anton Chekov featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov! In case you’re wondering, he’s a famous Russian ballet dancer who’s also been in Sex & the City (wooing Carrie Bradshaw, no less).

And with Carrie Bradshaw, I’d now like segue to Katie’s style philosophy:

  • What is your dress/shoe size? I am a US dress size 14 with a size 10 shoe.
  • Describe Your Style Regal rocker. I love denim, studs and skulls, gems and jewels, wraps and classy frocks. I’m a huge fan of taking staple pieces like a color-blocked dress or a seemingly simple pencil skirt with blouse and glamming them up with fun statement accessories.
  • What do you normally wear to work or a work event/meeting? In the office, I usually wear black jeans with a blazer or a fun colorful blouse. I work long hours so I need to be comfortable but I also want to show off my personality and creativity. For events (of which there are many) I love to get dressed up to the nines. I plan a lot of parties and attend a lot of performances/screenings, so my favorite part is choosing what to wear (I’ve even calendered my outfits for festivals in my Outlook schedule!).
  • Where and how do you shop?  I have to be pretty strategic about my shopping since I live out of suitcases for much of the year. Each piece I buy has to count: it has to be timeless, comfortable and capable of being dressed up or dressed down. The benefit to being so calculating is that I only buy pieces that I absolutely love. You know when you’re in a dressing room of a shop and you think “I have to have this”… that’s my cue to buy. If it doesn’t scream to be taken home, I have to leave it behind. In the States, I most often shop at larger anchor stores like Macy’s, JC Penney’s, Target, etc. In London, I love Monsoon, Accessorize, and Dorothy P. In Spain, C&A is a trusty go-to… the sizing is too small and short (I’m 5′ 9”) everywhere else!
  • What are your favourite things to buy? JEWELRY! I go bonkers for fun earrings and necklaces. I spend more money on jewelry from Etsy, Modcloth and eBay than I do on clothing or shoes combined.
  • What are your favourite brands or shops? My favorite NYC shops for clothing are probably Fox’s and Century 21, both in the Upper West Side. I love finding unique and quirky jewelry on Etsy or at any of the awesome flea markets and craft fairs that pop up in Brooklyn (I love to support DIYers whenever I can!). For sneakers and sunglasses, I’m loyal to Converse and Ray-ban.
  • How do you dress on your blah-days? When I’m having one of those days, I put on a tried and true outfit, something that I know I look and feel great in and then I really doll myself up with makeup and baubles. Blah-days are when you most deserve to take some time to primp and pamper yourself.
  • When you were 12, what did you imagine your life would be like at your current age? When I was 12, I was absolutely convinced I would be married with children by 25. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would travel to and live in the places that I have. How lucky I am to have been so wrong. I hope for a family in the future, but right now I am very much in love with my gypsy life and my blossoming career.

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From being a UC Davis graduate in Spanish and International Relations to earning her MA in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College London to leading such an exciting, jet-setting life – this girl has energy, imagination and lots of guts! Go and be inspired by Kickass Katie!IMG_9121


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Not Your Average Woman: Audrey Sim

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Here’s a feature of another woman who has taken the road less travelled. Miss Audrey Sim is 32 years old and has just finished a stint as a flexi-adjunct teacher (a job she’s more than qualified for). As a former school teacher myself, I think it’s a very clever move as she has been getting almost the same salary as regular teachers but with 100% less administrative work and almost half the work-load. What a great scheme!

As this post is being published, she is on her way to Korea. Not just for a holiday, mind you. The last time she was there for a 2-week long holiday, she ended up staying almost 18 months. And then to keep herself afloat, set up an online shop selling CDs to K-pop/drama fans overseas and worked at the hostel she originally checked herself into.

This is not the story of an irresponsible woman who has no care for the world nor a rich, spolit brat who doesn’t need to work. Audrey’s love affair for Korea started in 2009 with the pretty faces (Kim Hyun Bin, I think) in K-dramas and has led her to Korea in 2011 to catch a 2AM concert, then missing her flight back to Singapore and in Audrey-fashion, making the best of the fiasco by staying on in the country for an adventure that lasted a whole year and a half.

This time though, the former school teacher is heading back to Korea for 3 months (or more) to learn the Korean language and she hopes to be proficient enough to read and write in Korean.

The elder of 2 sisters, Audrey has never felt pressured by her parents to conform to any Asian stereotypes. In fact, she says that her mother doesn’t believe that she owes anyone an explanation of how she leads her life. How open minded and awesome is that?

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Audrey graduated from the National University of Singapore’s Theatre Studies programme and headed to the National Institute of Education for teacher training. She spent the next 3 years teaching English and Literature in government institutions before finding that “the system” didn’t do anything for her. The following year she left the service and went to teach at enrichment centres as well as tutor privately before that fateful holiday to Korea.

Audrey loves K-drama and she’s part of a widespread fan community that spans Singapore and Malaysia. She and her other fellow fans translate movies and serials from Korean to Chinese, Chinese to English (subtitling) for the benefit of the general public. Something they do out of love and for practically nothing.

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Following this 3 month Korean language course she’s headed for, Audrey has many ideas up her sleeves including possible money-spinning business ones which she hopes her love for K-drama, K-pop and the skills in the language will give her a good foundation for. She is definitely not your run-of-the-mill, corporate Zombie type. Here’s a woman who is not bogged down by society’s demands and sees opportunities wherever she turns!

Fashion and style-wise, Audrey is something else too. Read on and make your own judgement:

  • What is your dress/shoe size? 18-20 UK/ shoe size really depends on cuts but 41 is a safe bet.
  • Describe Your Style Mostly a lot of mix-and-match. Really into dresses right now. And I like clothes that I can make the most out of, like a skirt that can double up as a top too. But no matter what I wear, it must be something that I’m confident of pulling off.
  • What do you normally wear to work or a work event/meeting? Smart casual. My former job as a teacher didn’t allow for a lot of creativity though I still try to inject a little bit of spunk here and there.
  • Where and how do you shop? Usually online. Plus size shops like Big and Beautiful. I go to thrift shops too. Because they actually carry plus sizes without crippling my savings account.
  • What are your favourite things to buy? Shoes. I am a shoe addict. I believe that shoes completes the look of an outfit.
  • What are your favourite brands or shops? I don’t really have a favourite brand or shop. Because it’s hard enough to find plus size clothes. We don’t really have the option to be picky.
  • How do you dress on your blah-days? If I’m going to stay home, I’d most probably be in my sleepwear. If I’m out but feeling blah, I just won’t put on make-up. Not even the basic.
  • When you were 12, what did you imagine your life would be like at your current age. Probably married with 2 kids. I have always wanted to be a housewife. It’s a notion that none of my friends believe. I don’t believe in that anymore too. Now, I just want to travel and experience as much as I can. Not wanderlust but the notion of settling down is unsettling to me.

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20130810-182235.jpgSo good luck, Audrey! See you on the flipside! Best of luck with your Korean language course and hope you find a business partner to help you fulfill your dreams!!