Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Italian Theme Dinner

My other half was in Hannover last Sunday to attend an exhibition on commercial vehicle production and I took the opportunity to prepare him dinner as how he like it. HOT.

Before going to that, I must really apologize for my limited food post here coz MUA, had been a lazy bum lately. She´s not too keen to take picture of food in the evening too unless its an evening more interesting than average. Hahahaha. Besides, we have been eating LOTS of store bought stuffs like meatballs, pates, hams, instant pasta and such and I guess, you all are not interested to see those, right?

Anyway, anyway ... back to this dinner. Here I was, trying to make everything perfect and I got the cork opener STUCKED into the wine cork for the very first time. It had NEVER HAPPENED in my life and NOW! Hence first thing Juergen did when he sat on the table was ... errr, what artwork is this? Hahahaha. Did not even get the chance to air the Casal Bordino, btw but it was a rather good bottle. It was a semi dry red from Italy, from year 2002 and figured it would pair well with a tomato based tortellini dish.

Reminder; I need a new wine opener SOON!

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I bought a fresh packet of Ricotta and Spinach filled Tortellini from Aldi and got them simmered with a simple gemuse (vegetables) and sausage based tomato sauce. The combination works but I would have preferred them the packet to come along with the right sauce combination as I find that my sauce drained the flavour of ricotta cheese out.

Anyway, I assumed that it came with the sauce and thougth of preparing them 10 minutes before he arrives home! But luckily, I checked the package half and hour earlier and scramble myself with a quick sauce fix. Hehehe.

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As he´d earlier informed me before stepping into the train in Hannover, he will arrive home at 7.30pm and he was ON TIME, as usual.

  • Candle Ligth - checked
  • Lara Fabian´s Italian track - checked
  • Wine - !$")$§")=/(/&"§!$!$§ almost got it
  • Ricotta Kase und Spinat Tortellini mit Gemuse und Wurst Sosse - checked

HONEY`S HOMEEEE!!!

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And so ... we sat down to another 2 course dinner at home on our breakfast table. Yum yum!

He shared with me on what´s in the exhibition, how big it was (and I´m thankful I did not tag along coz it sounded too huge!), shared with me on high speed train ride to Hannover (it was quite full and some were without seats coz its school holiday now), and his excitement on meeting his 20 years vehicle production contacts in the exhibition. I know how that feels. Meeting someone you´ve known after a long time.

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We later enjoyed a Weisser Nougat Eis mit pistachio topping and found the packet stuff GOOD!

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We also shared a super RICH Kaffee Schokolade Eis aka Coffee and Chocolate Ice Cream. No wonder I could not sleep that night!

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After dinner was TV time. How boring, hahahaha.

Doppelkopf Night

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Apart from Stammtisch Night (regular meeting over the table for drinks and chat) with the girls every month, we meet up for Doppelkopf game every last Thursday of the month too. My first time was at Silvia, with Arianna tuturing me. Anna, a friend of Sandra whom were visiting from Ireland were in town and helped me a lot in understanding some the game´s rule by translating them. That night, we played for 2 hours and I won about 50 cents! Beginner´s luck it seems.

Last week, we had another session at Arianna´s. It was suppose to be at Dotty´s but Arianna had to stay in to be with her kids for no ones home. Anna was not around, but thankfully, I was paired with Arianna. There´s 4 team for each game, and I was given a choice to play alone but I was simply not ready. Arianna tough me well, but luck was really not on our side for our cards were simply bad. Silvia on the other hand, had all the great cards. Simone, whom came all the way from Staedlohn joined us too but too bad that she will be transfered to Dusseldorf next month for her medic duties.

Anyway, anyway .. the reason why I´m blogging this is, I wanna find out if any of you is familiar with this game. If yes, please clue me IN! Coz I don´t like loosing money, you know BUT again, its also fun to be with the girls and while playing, we will be usually served bubbly, wine and all sort!

Here´s a little something I came across in Wikipedia.

Doppelkopf (German, lit. double-head), also abbreviated to "Doko," is a trick-taking card game for four players. The origins of this game are not well known; it is assumed that it originated from the game Schafkopf.

In Germany, Doppelkopf is nearly as popular as Skat, especially in Northern Germany and the Rhein-Main Region. Unlike in Skat, there are numerous variants. The variants use the same basic rules, but still require players to agree on a specific set of rules before their first game. Schafkopf however is still the preferred trick-tracking variant in Bavaria.

Game rules
In the following section, the common rules will be described. The more popular variants will be described afterwards.

General principles
Doppelkopf is a team game where each team normally consists of two players. The most distinguishing feature of the game is that the actual pairing is not known from the start, which is what makes the game interesting for most players.
The deck of cards consists of either 48 or 40 cards, with...
8 Nines worth 0 points each
8 Tens worth 10 points each
8 Jacks worth 2 points each
8 Queens worth 3 points each
8 Kings worth 4 points each, and
8 Aces worth 11 points each

... and with each group of 8 cards consisting of 2 cards from each suit: Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and Clubs. Each card exists twice in the deck (which leads to the name Doppelkopf) resulting in a total number of 240 points. In the following explanation, the more common 48-card version is assumed. The rules for the 40-card variant are the same, the only difference is that the Nines are missing.

In every game, there exist two parties, called Re and Kontra. To win, the Re-party must make 121 points or more; Kontra wins when Re fails to do so.

Preparation
Each player is dealt twelve cards, or ten in the 40-card variant. After the cards are dealt, the kind of game is determined. In non-tournament play, it is assumed that a normal game will be played and any player desiring a different game simply says so. In tournament games, a more complicated method is used to prevent players from gaining information about foreign hands.
The kinds of games that can be played only differ in what cards are considered trumps. When a player declares a game different from the normal game, he alone is Re and has to play against the other three players who form Kontra. These non-standard games are, therefore, called solo games.

In the standard game, the players who hold the Queen of Clubs ("Die Alten" ("The Elders")) constitute Re, while the other two are Kontra. In these games, the actual teams are not known from the start. In case a player has both Queens of Clubs, he declares Hochzeit (marriage).

Playing the cards
The player to the left of the dealer leads first; the other players follow in a clockwise direction. Each player must follow suit, that is, play a card in the same suit as the first-played card in the trick. If he cannot follow suit, he can play a trump or any other card. The player playing the highest trump or the highest card in the current suit wins the trick and plays the first card of the next trick. Since each card exists twice, there is the possibility of a tie; in that case, the first-played card wins the trick. For example, when the trick consists of ♠10 ♠A ♠9 ♠A, the player who played the first Ace of Spades wins the trick. When a trump card is played first, each player must play any trump card if possible, regardless of suit.

During the first tricks, each player may make some announcements which increase the value of the game.

After all the cards have been played, the point-values of the tricks are counted and each player in the winning party gets the game-value added to his score, while the losing players get the value subtracted.

Type of games

In the normal game, all Diamonds are trumps, as are all Queens and all Jacks. Therefore, there are as many trump cards as non-trump cards; this fact is mainly responsible for the specific Doppelkopf "feel" of play, noticeably different from other games of tricks, where there are usually far more non-trump cards than trump cards. In this game, the players holding the ♣Q form the Re party.

Hochzeit
When a player has both Queens of Clubs, he usually declares Hochzeit (lit. "marriage") and will form the Re party with the first foreign player to win a trick (most variants allow the player to announce a specific kind of trick that must be taken, e.g. the first non-trump trick). Apart from this, the game is played like the normal game.
The player can also decide not to announce Hochzeit, in which case he plays a "stilles Solo" (silent solo). This is played like a normal Diamonds solo; the only difference being that the other players do not know from the start they are playing against a solo. Apart from this, the game is scored like a normal solo (times 3 for solo player, normal for all others).

Solo games
A player can, if he wants to, announce a solo game. These games change the status of trump cards; the player also must play against the other three players. He will get thrice game value added (or subtracted) from his scoreboard in case of a win (or a loss).
The kinds of solo games that can be played vary wildly, the most common being "Bubensolo" (Jack solo), which only makes the Jacks trump cards; "Damensolo" (Queen solo) with only Queens as trumps; and "Fleischlos" (fleshless) where no trumps exist. Another possibility is the "Farbensolo" (color solo) which makes the announced suit along with Jacks and Queens trump cards. A "Diamond solo", therefore, has the same trumps as in a normal game.

Bids
During play, a player may make announcements claiming that his party will succeed in achieving a specific goal. These announcements increase the game value regardless of whether they are fulfilled. If a party fails to accomplish the self-given goal, it has automatically lost.
Apart from increasing the game value, the bids fulfill the secondary role of clarifying which side a player who makes them belongs to. Bids are often made more for this purpose than for the increased game value.

The bids that are possible are:

Re (or Kontra), announcing that the player is part of the Re (Kontra) party and his party will score more than 120 points. This announcement also tells all players if they play against or with the announcer.

Each of the following announcements can only be made after Re or Kontra. If Re was said and a player of the Kontra party wants to make an announcement, he also has to announce Kontra.

Keine 90 (no 90), often abbreviated to keine 9, meaning that the opponents will get less than 90 points.
Keine 60, or keine 6, announces the opposing party will not make 60 points
Keine 30 / keine 3

Schwarz (black), meaning the opponents will not get a single trick, not even a trick worth 0 points

Each announcement implies any previous announcements, for example, "keine 60" implies "keine 90" and "Re"/"Kontra", increasing the game-value by 4 (for the standard rules) points. Every bid may be countered by "Kontra" resp. "Re" when the opponents think the goal will not be met. For example, if the Re-Party announces "Re, keine 60", a reply of "Kontra" simply claims Kontra will score 60 points.

To be able to make a bid, the player must still hold a specific number of cards in his hands, the official rules state:

A Re or Kontra can be made with 11 cards left (that is, before the player plays his second card; it does not require the announcement to be made before the first card of the second trick is played). A Kontra/Re in response to a bid of the opposing party (for example, Re or "keine 90") may be made before the player wanting to say it plays his next card.

For keine 90, 10 cards must be held.
keine 60: 9 cards
keine 30: 8 cards
schwarz: 7 cards

A player that has, for example, announced "Re", but not "keine 90", may not announce keine 60 with 9 cards left, because the implied "keine 90" would not be legal.

Meme; My Bag

Our dear, sweet Daphne from Down Under tagged me yesterday with this meme and I just had to share them with you quickly. Its a bit personal but FUN and INTERESTING. If you are the nosy kind, like me ... and at the same time, love to share, do help yourself and join in!

Here are the rules.

Find a safe quiet place free of significant others, nosey meme makers, priests, nuns, all things religious and men in general. (If you're a guy just reverse this process to male and tell us about your wallet, tool box, briefcase or metro sexual accessory.)

1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents
3. Be brave and explain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves
5. Answer these questions:

Describe the contents of your handbag.
What's the most important thing in your handbag?
What's the most embarrassing thing in your handbag?
What's the smallest thing in your handbag?
Is there anything illegal in your handbag?

And here´s a sneak and MORE of what´s in my bag.

A lot of stuff horrrr ... so happen there´s a lot going on, otherwise its just the basic usually.
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This is a princess card which I´d just picked up few days ago for Ashleen. Its really cute, with pop up effect. The sticker on the left are princess sticker lohhhh ... ahhh, I tell you ah, she will surely keep them in her special bag and bring them to sleep at night!

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Silvia passed me a set of Doppelkopf card and a cue card for me to practise on Wednesday and I´d totally forgotten about it. Its sorta like mahjong, a tactical game but with LOTS OF RULES! And last Thursday, I won 20 cents! Hahaha.

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Here are my set of keys. One for the front entrance, the other for back entrance via the garden and hmmmm, I´m not sure which one is the other for. Actually I don´t really need keys as Mama´s always home and our entrance via the garden´s sometimes not locked. Anyway, apart from my set of keys and the key holes, our remote control and entertainment system are tagged too. Not too mention, our kitchen compartment and more! Yupppp ... this is germans way of life. Everything must have a system one.

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Usually, this are all I need. Here´s my Esprit sunglasses gift from Mama Else. Actually, it was a cash give for me to buy whatever I wanted. Nice eh. The left is my camera case, my beloved LUMIX. Further left is a watch I picked up from Mont Kiara stall. Infront of it is my Nokia, WHICH HARDLY RINGS *sob, sob*

... And of course, my purse which was a gift from my sis. Thanks again! I love it.

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My mini, indispensable dictionary and Ricola. Need them now coz of the weather here. And ahem ... the purple stuff is for woman´s monthly thingy lah. And I tell ya .. the ALWAWS brand is damn awesome lah. Its super thin, and super DRACULA.

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And of course, a hat is necessary whenever I do my cycling to keep my hair away from my face. I´m not an expert to cycle with one hand yet, of which I sometimes had to urge too, to remove the hair OUTTA my face so I figured, a hat does the trick eh.

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And here goes, the decription part.

Describe the contents of your handbag.

What's the most important thing in your handbag?
Dictionary, what else! Cannot live without it whenever I step out from the house. Other than that, my mobile is important too, just incase I get lost.

What's the most embarrassing thing in your handbag?
My house key which were coded with coloured tags, coz I´m proned to sticking the wrong key to the wrong HOLE! Its really embarassing to explain isn´t it?

What's the smallest thing in your handbag?
My Malaysian 10 cent coin, whom I found in a secret compartment. If only I can tag my luggage bag when I arrive here coz you should see the PINK mobile phone Ashleen secretly hidden in one corner of the luggage bag, hinting for me to call her as frequent as possible.

Is there anything illegal in your handbag?
Does Ricola contain any illegal drugs?

This meme was started by Mimi, Queen of Memes who thinks up brilliant memes.

If you are game, try it!

It's a nice way to think about what you put inside your bag...and perhaps do some clearing too!

And now, I am forwarding this Meme to;

  1. WMW! Sure a LOT of interesting stuff in her bag one hahahaha
  2. Cumi & Ciki, please do join in!
  3. FBB (I Knowwww you will love thiss!)
  4. Christy of Food Diary
  5. Jules, the EATING OUT KING!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Early Thanksgiving!

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In general, Germans do not celebrate Thanksgiving. But being a green nation that they are, most do commemorate them by having a mini gathering with friends and family. We had a small gathering in the garden today (btw, actual day is next Sunday) and did some harvesting on what´s left over from the summer season. This also signify a gathering to look forward to autumm and winter soon.

Me, Juergen were invited by Mama Else for cake and coffee session along with Dirk whom lives in Dortmurd, and drove all the way back for the gathering. When we arrive, the garden patio were already set in place. I love Mama Else´s china collection, and mind you ... she has LOTS of sets. I´m always amazed by her `never seen before collection`everytime we go down for a little coffee. This one´s from England. No idea what brand but it looks good for the garden!

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She baked quite a bit today. Two loaves of bread, one flat and one puffed up kind which we had them for dinner later, but my battery went flat on me, hence no photo.

Seen here is Cherry Cake and Gooseberry Cake.

It was LECKE! Means yummy in deutsch.

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Coffee and a little snack at 3.00pm ... German culture I tell ya!

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After 2 pieces of cake and 2 cups of coffee, we better do something! Hahaha .. harvesting time! Juergen was first to harvest the grapes, followed by Dirk. I helped load the grapes into baskets and boxes and boy! I though it was just a handful but as it turns out ...

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We filled up a whole basket! AND MORE!!!

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Its premium grapes mind you, not the ones we buy from store. This ones similar to Riesling grapes which are meant for making wine and its called .. hmmm, aiyo ..forgotten the name lah hehehe. It is small, firm, ripe and perfectly sweet.

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While the boys harvested the grapes, of which my monkey crawled to the top of the roof to gather more grapes hehehe, Mama and me went to pluck the remaining apples in the garden.

The tree were FULL and we could not finish the apple and plums last year BUT not this year, said Mama.

Oh well .. guess, I can always go over to Silvia´s place for apples and plums (of which I did last Thursday and carted home 30+ apples and now cracking my head on what to do with it!)

Anyway ... our apples were so fresh, sweet and juicy! There´s two apple trees though and one is of this sweet variety while the other is on sourish side.

And come Tuesday, we´re gonna make Grapes Marmalade!!!

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Wanna see our harvest? This is Part 1 ... which 3 loads of grapes and a handful of apples. Not bad. Seeing our fruitful harvest, we decided to celebrate with a little white wine.

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Then we recalled another plant waiting to be harvested! It was beans! Not sure if its broad beans or what beans. All I know is, it was hugeeee and long. Seen here, the two brothers plucking beans.

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Mama decided to pull some beets out for dinner later.

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And we drank, and harvested, drank and harvested more ... the wine was a young, sweet wine and it belong to Scheurebe Grape variety. It went really well with the grapes.

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Look! Beans. Can someone tell me what beans are these?

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And these are .......... grapes. Please fill in the blank.

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And tadaaaaa .. our final harvest with the beans added in, AND we found some left over strawberries from last season too! The strawberries are a bit small here (botton, middle and on a red napkin) but were nonetheless sweet and juicy.

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With sooooo many good harvest, no wonder my China-man so happy hor.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

And oh ... if you can, try and jaga our mother earth a bit more okay?

Sex And the City

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No, I´m not blogging about the movie. I´m blogging about my first attempt in making a cocktail called Cosmopolitan made famousby the program. Juergen is incharge of my beverage request usually, along with dessert but I wanted to give cocktail making a try. I had a recipe from Cointreau and off I went ... shaking along two nights ago.

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All I did was mix 50ml Cranberry Juice, 25 ml vodka, 20 ml Cointreau and 10 ml Lime Juice in and shake it till air incorporates in and that´s it! Not so difficult!

And it tasted good and STRONG! I would lessen the vodka to 15 ml next round but overall, it was a yummy drink for ladies.

Later that night, Juergen made us some Lemon Pudding and said that I can name it whatever I want. Hmmmm ... so here goes ...

This is Cocaine ++ aka Coconut Flakes with Chopped Pistachio and Chocolate!

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Okaylah .. I better not blog about drugs and stuff otherwise my sis whom reads this will be wondering what´s happening to her sis over here. Drinking alcohol more lately, and now drugs???!!! Hahaha ...

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Alright ... I´m a bit tipsy while typing this coz just had a fabulous HARVESTING DAY with Mama, Papa, Dirk and Juergen just now .. and we drank LOTS again.

Happy weekend everyone!

Backerei Pick of the Week

Germans are known for their extensive choices of yummy breads and confectionary.

This is true as I constantly find myself overwhelmed when in the bakery or Backerei as locally called, and can´t help falling in love with it again and again.

I picked this Eclair lookalike, but tasted nothing like it. It was actually butter cookie with chocolate sauce on top.
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I picked something nutty too, and it was lovely! The bread had a chewy, pretzel texture and slightly salty, with chocolate nutty outer.
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And of course, my favourite bread texture which is the pretzel kind. This came with lots of yummy seeds and it was lovely.
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Hmmmm .... I wonder what is in-store next week?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Celebrity Wannabe

I am currently sooooooo addicted to this morphing thing where you can combine two faces (one of yourself and the other is a celebrity) into one. Some turned out pretty well, but some where downright outrageous!

And may I introduce you to ...

Ahemmm ... Winona Kang :-)
270708 497.jpg's Face Combined with Winona Ryder -

Lianne Porter (hmmmm, too bad that the celebrity genes are stronger than mine. I can´t see myself in here).
The faces of 270708 497.jpg and Harry Potter combined together -

Monalisa Kang ...
270708 497.jpg and Mona Lisa -

Lianne Holmes aka Mrs. Cruise, I kinda like the broody look!
270708 497.jpg and Katie Holmes Faces Combined Together -

And this is my sister, Lianne Ziyi. Hahaha, NOT BAD!
270708 497.jpg's Face Combined with Zhang Ziyi -

Aiyo ... I aged Uma Thurman. Sorry!
The faces of 270708 497.jpg and Uma Thurman combined together -

This LiaKIRA is so puffed up. Will not do.
270708 497.jpg's Face Combined with Shakira -

Perhaps I can change my hair colour a little and do a bit of eyelid operation. Love this look!
270708 497.jpg and Ayumi Hamasaki Faces Combined Together -

Hmmm .. her trademark eyebrow which one gotta get use too.
The faces of 270708 497.jpg and Audrey Hepburn combined together -

Audrey Toutou Kang, ahhhh ... love her magnetic eye. If you don´t know her, go watch Amelie. Its my all time favourite movie.
270708 497.jpg and Audrey Tautou -

Lianne Jolie-Pitt! Oh YES! I can die happily now!
270708 497.jpg and Angelina Jolie Faces Combined Together -

Okay .. moving on to fun stuff ...

If I make baby with a chinese man, my boy will look like this.
The faces of 270708 497.jpg and Daniel Dae Kim combined together -

If with caucasian, look like this worrrr ... (btw, that´s Jude Law´s genes)
270708 497.jpg and Jude Law Faces Combined Together -

If Lianne Kang decides to be Lion King .. oh man, how it rhymes!
270708 497.jpg and Lion Faces Combined Together -

If I become the queen of England one day, my son will look like this. Goodness!
270708 497.jpg and Prince Charles -

Alas .. better be with a wise man, horrrrr ...
The faces of 270708 497.jpg and Yoda combined together -

Errr ... no lah. If I am given a choice ah, I´d rather be a latino babe anyday.

Check me out! Hehe ...

With Almudena Fernandez
270708 497.jpg's Face Combined with Almudena Fernandez -

Maria Menounos + Lianne Kang
270708 497.jpg's Face Combined with Maria Menounos -

Actually, Zhang Zi Yi´s not bad of all.