February 13th, 2011

One Bowerman

The inspiration. The waffle story

This is one of my favorite ads related to Nike while spring-cleaning my files. The other one is the Nike ad itself that states, There is no finishing line.

The other day during the SEA meetings, long service awards were given out to the staff. The average tenure here (locally) is about 5 years. It is common to meet a colleague who has worked for 5 years or more and ten years is actually quite common. There were about eight 5 year awards that were given out, five or so 10 year awards, two 15 year awards and one 20 year award. Not bad for a company that is only 33 years old (if you don't count the time where it started as Blue Ribbon Sports) and locally, about 20+ years. The person who was awarded with the 25 years of service award was one of the first employee. Just a testament to how much she loves the company, she lives far on the opposite side of Singapore and spends an average of 2 hours commuting (by car) daily.

I'm hitting my 5 year mark next year. Time flies. And all I can say is that my time so far has been spectacular. I've been working for MNCs for almost a decade and I would still say that this has been my best so far :) The inspiring moments here at the company as plentiful. We watch our marketing videos and I feel so proud, I get a lump in my throat.

Last year, one of my team mates won a local Maxim award. Nike has 11 maxims. You win a maxim if you demonstrate any of the maxims and have to be recommended by many. It is a big honor and prestige and goes right onto your resume and report card. Our whole team was so proud when he won it. This year, another of our team mate won a global maxim. Now, a global maxim is a lot tougher to win. You get nominated by the GM, directors etc etc and compete with others globally. There is only one winner for each maxim. He won it. Freaking amazing. His award has our CEO's and President of Brand's signatures on it. It's a double honor. I almost teared watching him go up to receive it. You see, that's the quality of the amazing people that I work with at work. How do you not get inspired?

Back to the image and ad. The Wall Street Journal used it in their ad. The waffle story. If you don't already know, one of our founders, Bill Bowerman, created the first running waffle sole. He was experimenting with different patterns of soles to create a good running outsole and finally got it when he pour urethane into his wife's waffle iron and created the perfect waffle sole. It's one of my favorite stories and being a runner, I totally relate to it. I love how it inspired TWSJ to use it.

If you can't read the text on the image, this is what it says -

Knowledge is vital. But understanding can help you perform much better.

Everybody loves a waffle with its distinctive flavor and unique waffle pattern. But it was only when one sporting waffle lover understood how that unique pattern could be transferred to the soles of running shoes to help runners run faster, that the entire running shoe business really took off. That's understanding. That's the Wall Street Journal Asia.

The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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Paper Market

I have always been enthralled by scrapbooking and bought a scrapbooking magazine on it. I sort of tried it once but never quite got the concept. Nonetheless, I think it's still a beautiful work of art, my sissy's girlfriend is very talented in this area and her creations never fail to amaze me. I hope that in future, I'll pick it up so that I can create beautiful memories for my family.

Walking around, trying to find a way to kill time while waiting for B.T, I came across Paper Market at Plaza Singapura. I've known about this shop because I used to walk past it quite often at Raffles City but was always in a rush and didn't have a chance to browse around the shop. I spent quite a bit of time inside, almost tempted to get scrapbooking stuff but decided to be practical and got what I needed.

I walked away with a set of puffy alphabet stickers - I'll share what I'm using them for later :P, a package of erasable florescent markers and the chalkboard remover for my clock. Most would have seen that clock of ours right? I decided that it was time to change the design and these markers are an excellent, if not better, alternative to using chalk! The chalkboard remover might sound like a gimmick but it isn't as after awhile, chalk or marker leaves marks on the board which water can't remove. So this remover does it really well and I have a perfectly clean square.

Anyway, for those Paper Market fans who aren't already a member, for the month of February, if you purchase SGD$35 and above (easily achieved) including a packet of sticky's (sweets at just SGD$3.90 and super yummy - I got the grape flavored ones), you can qualify for the VIP member and will also get a SGD$35 class voucher.

Paper Market
252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103
+(65) 6333 9007

Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
+(65) 6333 9002

Laine's Papeterie (Affiliated)
Wheelock Place
501 Orchard Road
Wheelock Place #03-12
+(65) 6333 6831

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Level 33

We hung out with W on Friday and we made an impromptu decision to swing by Level 33 at the Sail. Gorgeous view, heard that the rack of lamb and beef for sharing is really good, my mojito (or rather mo-chi-to as the waiter pronounced it -_-) was so so though awfully pricey at SGD$22+.

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Shabu Shabu

Sherried Tomato Soup

On Friday, I had a sudden inspiration to cook up a couple of new dishes over the weekend. Also, though I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, I decided to cook dinner for B.T since it's been awhile. Cooked up two dishes - first attempt! last evening and will be doing another one today!

I have a penchant for good soups. The types served at Soup Spoon - thick and creamy, chock-full of ingredients, a lot of texture and good enough as a meal (together with chunky bread or bread sticks). I've successfully done butternut squash soup and mushroom soup and have been wanting to experiment on more. Decided to try out a tomato soup and next up, french onion soup!

The tomato soup turned out to be the easiest to make and the secret behind the amazing taste is the addition of cooking sherry! The moment you add in the sherry, the aroma is friggin' amazing! I love how the chunks of diced tomatoes add great texture and ooomph to the soup and it's a soup that isn't as heavy as a mushroom creamed soup and has a lovely sweetish sour, tangy taste to it. I'm definitely going to cook this again!

As usual, I'll edit the recipe and tweak it - the fun part of cooking!

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Flaky cheese twisters

I tried my hand at baking bread when I was 17. I did it from scratch meaning I had to use smelly yeast, allow it to rise etc etc. It turned out successfully. It was orange bread and it was good but it was time consuming so I did it one or two more times and stopped. It's truly fresh bread at its best though! To bake bread from scratch (sorry, I don't consider baking bread using a bread machine baking bread because the machine does it all for you and there are pre-mixed packs around!) is fulfilling but it needs a lot of patience. I don't know many that do it these days except bakeries of course. The bread machine has made it a lot more convenient and it does serve the purpose but like I said, you can't exactly call it baking because it's almost idiot proof.

We usually eat our soups with just regular bread or baguettes or Meiji salted crackers. I decided to make bread sticks but that was more complicated so I decided on cheese straws which uses frozen puff pastry. Ironically, as I didn't have a rolling pin, it took me a much longer time to make these cheese straws than the soup. It was also a bit of a trial and error and figuring out whether I was doing it right as it was the first time working with puff pastry.

Few things I learnt about puff pastry. The frozen sheets cost more but well, it saves a lot of time - you don't need to thaw and roll it out. You can use it as it is. I bought a block because it was cheaper but obviously needs more work. I got overly enthusiastic in dusting my counter top with flour. Don't do that. Flour sticks onto the puff pastry and after some time, it almost forms a crusty flour layer which can't be removed! So lightly dust the board as the recipe instructs. Doh.

Finally, depending on the brand or type of puff pastry that you buy, the baking time varies and also depending on your oven. All I have is an oven toaster but it's amazing on what I've cooked with that tiny thing! SO watch the puff sticks when you are baking or toasting it as once the cheese burns, it's almost game over. Oh and one more thing. You can decide how long you want the straws to be. I'll make them half the length in future. It's easier to handle and eat but the baking time will naturally have to be reduced - larger exposed surface area to volume ratio. It's like how smaller chunks of meat cook faster than larger chunks.

The flaky cheese straws turned out, indeed, flaky. Went perfectly well with the tangy tomato soup and the saltiness of the cheese added a great punch to the meal. It's extremely flaky as puff pastries are made mostly of butter (yes, it's calorie laden and not something to cook all the time!). I think it's best eaten right away though you can keep it for a day or two in an air tight container and re-toast them when you want to eat it again.

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