(So I'm a bit late on this post since I turned 27 last week, but my weekend was filled with mountain-hiking and colleague's wedding, and I can't really feel my legs since last night.)

I'm a firm believer of birthdays, and a long time ago when I think about my 27th birthday, I vowed to myself that I want be at least a bit better than my 26th year-old self.

Didn't even realized that I get to keep that vow, until the day itself.

Am finally a published author!

My project team presented our project's paper at Offshore Technology Conference Asia held at KL Convention Centre last week; and it didn't really hit me until that day when we were given the author pass and tag for the whole event. When I saw the tag, it suddenly hits me there's my name on that paper; after years of busting our asses off working to this level to see our project goes through at the eyes of world.

It felt like all these years that I've been slaving away in the office worth it.

And it didn't get any sweeter after the fiancé came all the way to KLCC to celebrate with me after work and treated me with cakes and Captain America. (would rather have Iron Man, but oh well, MARVEL has got to pick a better timing..) We managed to get through the whole evening without discussing the wedding prep, so yes, it was a bloody great night!

Can't believe I'm 27 now.

God, I have so much to thank You for thus far that I couldn't find the words. But most of all, thank You for giving me this amazing 27th birthday I wouldn't forget.

And thank You for giving me the greatest gift I could ever have this year.

(OTC Asia is an oil and gas conference where all major O & G companies around the world came together to broadcast all growing potential technologies and share knowledge through presentation of technical papers and panels. There was a lot of interesting booths and exhibition of the O & G companies too. The event ended last week, you can check out the website here)

The first time we got the wedding invitation cards ready in boxes, I think that's the time we both finally realized, "wow, it's really happening."

It's so surreal, really.

But I couldn't be happier seeing the cards; after weeks of going back and forth to the designer, we finally settled on the design we wanted and have it ready. Partly because I know I'd be busy and not bothering to check on the details of the card, and also because Mum has been calling me day and night, asking about the cards.

The inspiration behind the card?

Mum kept her wedding album safe and sound all these years, and I remember browsing through the old, rusty white album ever since I was old enough to understand that that was my parents on their wedding day. I remember Mum's nikah dress - it was all white with her veil on top of her thick black hair, sitting on her bed with her sister, my Mak Ngah with a smile so subtle, just like her.

Then I remember her sanding dresses - she had about 3 to 4 wedding dresses change - traditional songket, traditional kebaya, a Princess Diana-like wedding dress with the tail as long as the stairs. I remember Dad's simple baju melayu with songket, and a suit with a funny hat I called "the chef's hat" because it resembles the tall hat a chef would usually wear.

I won't bore you with details how she looked so gorgeous cause we all know I'd be biased, but I used to say to my primary school friends "my mum looks like Dian P Ramlee on her wedding day". Yes, I still think that!

Inside the album, among all the pictures of my parents, there was a page dedicated to their wedding invitation card. I remember seeing it before and not really thinking of anything - what 10-year old knew about wedding cards, really - but as I grew older, I learned that all those little things meant a lot to me.

I remember the card in white, with a hint of silver here and there (if I remember correctly), with the size of half an A4 paper, with my parents name at the front page. And there was a small, dainty red ribbon glued to the upper right front page. Mum said the card was actually my Tok Wan's idea, and I still wonder until now if it was the norm back then to have the ribbon glued to the cards cause it seems to me nowadays it would mean hard work just to do that!

But yes, basically that was the whole inspiration behind the card. Although I've been so busy and didn't get to glue the ribbons on each card, I'm determined to save at least a piece of MY invitation card inside my wedding album, just so my kids and their kids can look back and treasure that simple thing.

Yesterday was a hectic day for me.

Had a meeting at KLCC till 6 pm, rushed off to meet him before we went to my first fitting of the reception dress (I super freaking love the dress, though it's only 40% complete), and rushed off from the fitting to have our anniversary dinner.

Yup, celebrated our 8th anniversary yesterday! I feel old.

He took me to this steak buffet restaurant overlooking KLCC and for the record, we don't usually do this so I was so conscious at first. Imagine going this posh restaurant in your working attire with senget tudung and flushed face from the fitting; not to mention he had to carry my laptop bag since I brought it with me right after the meeting.

But it was all worth it, cause it was perfect.

I've never loved steaks more in my entire life.

It was a buffet so we get to try all these different dishes - I took three different steaks and grilled chicken and mashed potato with some veggies, while he had the steaks with rice. They have this cool thing on the table - every now and then the waiters would come and offer more steak (on sticks, similar to what you see at kebab stalls. It was cool) so there's a sign you can put on the table; one side is green to indicate you'd like the steaks coming, and the other side is red to indicate that you're full.

Took us some time to realize that haha.

It was a thousand times better than Chili's!

If you're looking for a romantic setting, I'd recommend this place - it's not too packed with people and you can opt for this view. The waiters were nice, too, considering they had to entertain my queries on the steaks a few times haha. The price range doesn't differ too much from Chili's, too.

And what did I get for this year's anniversary? A blender.

"Because we don't have a blender for our new kitchen yet"

Fine, I'll take it. But next year I'd like to request for a hugeass fridge for our new kitchen, please.


It's www.zatilaqmar.com now :)

Looking back, so many things prevented me from taking it to the next phase - primarily because I just didn't see the necessity.

I didn't realize how big of a part it is in my life, until I re-read previous posts (and having the urge to delete all of them I swear) and thought, I could never abandon it. Having been able to finally cash out my Nuffnang check, I decided to put it to good use. Don't know why I've been delaying it though!

So there you go.

I shall blog more now, I know.

Had a conversation with a colleague at the office today, when I was admiring her scarf.

She told me she got her scarf from a website in Malaysia, but at first I refused to believe - hers was the first of its own I've ever seen. It's a flower printed scarf and naturally, if you don't look too close you won't notice that she wore the scarf - pin less!

As a girl who needs 3 different pins every morning to keep her scarf in place, I thought the idea is brilliant.

"I got it from this website..you know, they even patented the scarf design cause it's unique"

Now in my line of work, that's something.

Then I told her how I've been having trouble finding scarves that really suit me; the material is of utmost important to me than anything else; because the way I wear them really depends on the material. While I have long steered away from bawal scarves (the reason? I find ironing task redundant), a long chiffon shawl now is my most go-to scarves but it's so ironic that I can't find the ones I like that easily.

Chiffon fabric is officially the most complicated fabric in my dictionary nowadays.

"Just get a sewing machine, go to Jakel, buy a metre-long fabric and sew your own scarf! It's that simple!"

I've heard that one before, so it's a lie if I say I've never thought of it.

"Yeah I would..but I can't sew"

"Learn! If you do make scarves, guarantee people will buy - they buy not because of the products sometimes, they buy because they see the passion behind it and why you want to sell it"

Hahaha ok granted, she's just being nice to me. But if I were to sell and start a business, I'd have to learn how to choose fabrics first. And then how to sew. And then I'd have to hire an accountant.

It does sound tempting though. No more hassle buying scarves I can't wear!

For quite sometime now, me and le fiancé have been scouring around KL to look for our potential new home.

For all soon-to-be newlyweds looking for the same thing, the process ain't easy.

One of the places we looked.

Step #1; surveying the potentials

One of the tasks we shared was to start looking on the net. I think this is the crucial part - because whoever you encounter on the net when it comes to property hunting, they WILL somehow become your real-estate agent. And once you start contacting them, at least a handful of them will come back to you with suggestions and options - and good part of it is, some of them are really good at their job and are really aggressive at getting you to buy their suggestions.

We contacted several of them, and got some callbacks - and thankfully some of the choices are really good, like this one (above picture).

Step #2; looking at the options

Once we have some call backs and narrowing down our choices, we get to start going to look at the places. Apartments, condos, 2-storey houses - the real-estate agents WILL come back to you and give you suggestions based on your preferences e.g if you want your potential new home to be in Puchong area and near to public transport, they will give some suggestions accordingly; but you'd also have to specify your price range. I think this is the challenging part - one place we looked is perfectly in our price range (we can even shed some 100 bucks off our budget every month!) but it comes with.. a below average toilet.

I was happy (especially when I saw an extra small room perfect for a wardrobe) until I saw the broken toilet seat and dirty pipes, I wanted to cry. We asked if the owner could do some fixing and renovations for the price we're paying, but the agent seems to think it will not suit our schedule so we decided that we're better off looking for a new place where we don't have to do anymore fixing.

Step #3; the options' pros and cons

When you go look at the options, some of the key things you'd have to pay attention to are the community it belongs to, the facilities, the access. We had to scratch some off our list because of the inaccessibility from our main route to work - it turns out that depending on Google Maps alone isn't enough -___-"

The facilities, because I have to go to gym. Hahaa.

Step #4; settling for the one

So far, we still have a few choices we haven't officially seen so there's no decision yet. Though I can tell that he's scratching "gym, one extra room for clothes" specifications off our list now.

It's a tiring process but I think we kind of enjoy it; except the part when I almost cried looking at the toilet. It reminds me of the new life we're about to embark; that somehow it all becomes real to me now.

As for him, his main criteria of the houses is the master bedroom's toilet because it's the first place he'd look once we enter the house. (which I kind of agree)

Will update more when we're done with Step #3.

Gahhh I miss blogging.

What I did these past few days? Finishing up work report and presentation slides, meeting with the CEO of the company (I have to say, the nicest CEO I've ever met; and I'm not even being biased here), going to meet up with our real estate agent, scouring around KL to see potential new home, getting borang nikah settled, etc.

All in all, I know I have to be thankful to have a really productive week, but I've gotta say - my highlight of the week is this.

Got myself a new pair of shoes.
Dropped by ZARA during one of the outings, and I saw this tag saying ZARA now carries a certain shoes in Asian size.

So I took this pair of shoes, tried them on, ensured that they fit and still couldn't believe my luck. I've been going in and out of the store frustrated for a few years now (it's a wonder how Japanese women can fit into ZARA shoes cause most of them have small feet) so seeing this tag changes my life.

Now, I can fit their shoes.

We were so used to celebrating each other's birthday separated by different continents these past few years; that when this year we get to be at least in the same country, I didn't really know how to celebrate his birthday.

Had no time to scrapbook, so I had to resort to conventional.

A birthday cake.

No, actually it was a slice of a cake.

Rushed from KLCC to his workplace after work, dropped by Secret Recipe to get this slice of red velvet, ordered my quick dinner cause I didn't get to have lunch (meetings took over my life..) while waiting for him to finish work.

What I got for him this year? The chocolate box and a tie from Zara. Regardless, I managed to snatch the tie after the meeting (this is why you need your office to be on top of a shopping mall) so when I handed him his birthday present inside the Zara bag with the price tag still in tact, he wasn't so amused.

He didn't like the tie either, I could tell, even if he was acting all macho about it.

"Yes, I still keep the receipt so you can go exchange it next time we go to KLCC"

I'm such a great girlfriend, aren't I? Tsk.

Happy 27th birthday, boyfriend. To think that we've been celebrating your birthday together since we were 19 years old, wow, we're old.

Last weekend he came back from his 3-week long business trip.

With these, as my omiyage.

Jagarico from Calbee brand was always my favorite snack back in uni (he always gets confused between the red and green one though -___-") so he'd bring these snacks back in bulk every time he flies there. Starbucks coffee sticks, well, just because Japan Starbucks always feels cheaper compared to Malaysia's I don't know why.

He told me that when his Japanese colleagues found out he brought these back for me as souvenirs, they were so shocked that he's not romantic - there were no flowers, teddy bears, cards or anything.

"But I think getting you these is the most romantic thing ever because I know how much you love them"

To be fair, I do think it's romantic. I'd rather get my favorite snacks than superficial flowers I know won't last and I'd end up throwing away anyway.

And now I have instant Starbucks coffee to boot!


my brain dump.