Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Knives

I can't wait to get better knives. I'm 99% certain they will make me a faster cook, if not better. I mean, anything is better than these wretched ikea knives
but I think I've got my heart set on these puppies:



$300 for the set. Though it's received a limited number of reviews, they have all been raving on their quality for their price.

On the topic of cooking, I'm marinading some sliced beef in the following mixture of ingredients (per lb of beef), adopted from this recipe:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp red pepper powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 slice of ginger minced
1/2 bulb of garlic minced
2 stalks of green onion finely chopped

I'll update this post when I see how it turns out with a 2 hr marinade time.

**
I ended up marinading for 3 hrs and stir-fried it until cooked. I also tossed in mushroom slices just 'cause. 老公 & M. quite enjoyed it, so I conclude that it was a success, though I felt like the dish could've used *something * more... I just couldn't put my finger on what that is. Oh, the red pepper was not noticeable at all so next time I'll probably quadruple the amount.

**
I think it could've used some onions. I believe that is what was missing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Looks

I'm dreaming up a new look for this blog of mine. Not for the readers 'cause heaven knows that no one actually reads this unless I send people a specific link to a specific post, but for me. It'll be proof to myself that I've got some artsy-ness in me still.

In other news: the cilantro is getting wilty =(

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fear

"Being scared is OK, but not doing things because you're scared sucks."

I'm pretty sure he wanted to say "is lame" instead of "sucks", but he was probably trying to be nice.

Life would be pretty lame without him...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 11 & 12

Not much change. I guess the lettuce got a bit taller. The arugula seems to have stopped growing. I should look into that...


The chive straightened out! And the cilantro leaves bloomed =)

Snowboarding

It was awesome. Besides the ridiculous abuse my body took, I'd say it was a successful weekend of learning how to snowboard =D By mid-day on Day 1, I was getting the hang of leafing and turning from toe-edge to heel-edge, but not the other way around. That was still a challenge. Day 2 was more successful with the turning from heel-edge to toe-edge, albeit in slow-motion.

Our boards are cuddling on the way up =) Awww...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cilantro





The cilantro decided to sprout after seeing the chive pop up and now it's taking the lead! Life is amazing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cookies!

So H. was in town (yay!) and we decided to make cookies for Thursday night and they are probably the most epic cookies I've ever had. I went with a simple Betty Crocker recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies but I decided that the Almond Roca we just picked up would be a great substitute for some of the chocolate the recipe called for so we swapped out 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for 6 pieces of chopped Almond Roca.
We also didn't use actual chocolate chips: we just chopped up half a hershey's bar 'since Rite Aid was the only store we found that was open today. And since we substituted milk chocolate for semi-sweet chocolate, we reduced the sugar by about 1/4 cup. Our substitutions are noted in purple. For the next batch, I want to figure out how to make it a thicker cookie (does this have to do with bleached vs. unbleached flour?), add chopped nuts, and I want to add more chocolate 'cause I think it would be more satisfying with more melted chocolate chunks in each cookie. But as they are now, they are still pretty epic. We brought 2 dozen for Thursday night and kept a dozen for ourselves. mmmm... But in retrospect, we saved too few for ourselves.
Here is the original recipe, which yields about 3 dozen cookies:
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (reduced to 1 1/4 cup)
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour (only had bleached flour on hand)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (reduced by half to compensate for the salted butter)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz) (substituted for 1/2 cup chopped Hershey bar + 6 pieces of chopped Almond Roca)
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired (left out)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
2. Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
I think I ate a dozen this weekend...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sandwich


I made a wicked sandwich today. Whole wheat bread + turkey + bacon + avocado + tomato + cheese + freshly ground black pepper. mmmmmmm. I'm getting hungry for another one of these!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Computers 'n things

"Computer skills are sexually transmitted... you're welcome." - the boy

And while there is no way of validating this claim of his, I can attest to the fact that he gives me the braveness to do all the computer things I do these days. Granted, I'm still pretty handicapped with the user-friendly programs I use, but it's a step! I implemented ANCHORS, baby! Ahh, so sad how something so simple can give me such sense of accomplishment.

In other news: I'm super excited for Taiwan in the new year! SO excited. I feel like I should go there with a plan, like a set of goals to work towards while I'm there so that I don't mope around everyday eating ridiculously yummy food. Speaking of which, documenting my eats is one thing I'd like to do to give the 老公 some incentive to come join me in Taiwan in 2011! Something else I'd like to do is explore more of Taiwan (also in hopes of inspiring the 老公). I'm debating if I want to bring my climbing gear or not. The two gyms I've found that look decent & reliable are in opposite ends of town. Not sure if they require you to bring your own rope or what though.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Things I love


Growing things (something about bringing something to life is exciting).


Designing things (the reason is almost synonymous as the one for growing things... creating stuff is neat). This is my first polished draft of the rhyme/card design for our party invite. I'm quite proud of it. Not sure if those are the colours I want to commit to but for now, I like them. I like the punch the green gives, especially as the dot at the end. Definitely liking the contrast. And I'm not sure if the lower-case "i" is an idea I want to commit to as well, but I put it in mainly because of my concern of the "L + I" looking like a "U" in my name.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Party

The 老公 and I have decided on having more of an anniversary party than a wedding because there will be so many wedding traditions thrown out the window by the time we're done with it that there will be no point in labelling it a wedding in the first place! The decision came about one night as we lay in bed, in the dark, talking about our vision for the wedding. After going through the list of things we *didn't * want to have, we realized there was no way we could call it a wedding without certain traditionalists in our circle of friends giving us bad vibes for hosting such an "unconventional" wedding.

To us, the need to celebrate our marriage is just an excuse to gather close friends & family to get to know each other and know us better while having a good time. During our talk in the dark, it was hard for me to conceptualize our wedding because we kept saying, "yeah, we don't need to do/have that", relative to the "typical" wedding formula of ceremony+cocktail hr+reception+speeches+first dance+father/daughter dance+mother/son dance+cake cutting+meet&greet+being whisked away in a fancy car to the honeymoon. After deconstructing that wedding formula to fulfill the two things we wanted our "wedding" to be (gathering of close family & friends + fun), we realized we just had one big party on our hands and that made it easier for me to envision our day. The wedding formula was really bogging me down until I finally let it all go and it felt great. It felt great knowing this party would be unlike any I've been to or friends have been to. It felt great knowing we could do whatever we wanted and not be judged for it because we are already married. We could call this thing whatever we wanted and it felt great.

But then comes the hard part: we could do any.thing.we.wanted. Though I exaggerate a bit here because 老公 and I already decided that we wanted to host this at someone's cottage near his hometown. We're still trying to nail down a date, which I feel is the most difficult decision to make right now. October 2nd was the original potential date since it would be our official 1 year anniversary (of being a Mister & Misses) except it may be too cold for the locale we've chosen. We had first considered a California locale, which made the weather a non-issue, but it just made no sense to have family & friends who are mostly in EST to all fly out to PST, if they can even make the time. So a party in EST time made the most sense. But again, what date to pick... I'll have to come back to this another day because I'm just so indecisive right now (老公 is his usual indifferent self so I should note here that most final decisions will likely be made by me).

A venue is also up in the air but I'm confident that it's just a matter of the 老公 reaching out to his people and his peoples' connections to secure a site.

So what do I envision... for now, I will just leave a link to a wedding I recently came across that comes pretty close to what the 老公 and I want/wish we could have. Maybe I'll come up with a collage of ideas that I've become fond of through all the wedding-blog-perusal-ing I've been doing.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Family vs. Home

My recent visit to see my family has got me thinking about my new home and my new family. When I got back to the "house", it was almost foreign to me because the smells aren't what I'm used to anymore, none of my stuff is here, I don't know where things go in the cupboard and then it hit me: I can't call this "home" anymore. Back in college I'd always say "I'm going home" whenever I went back to see the family but now that I.S. & I are in Cali and settled, he is my new family and where ever he is, is where my home is.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Marriage Day

October 2nd came & went and we decided to call it our marriage day because we'd like to keep it separate from "wedding" day since in our minds, a wedding is a party held in celebration of the marriage. So now I have a marido and I.S. has an esposa.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lemon Loaf update



This is incredibly overdue, but here are a couple pics of the lemon loaf I made a couple months ago. Yum!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cinimim

My mom's attempt at spelling cinnamon bun in chat:

cinimim bun.

Apparently when I was a kid I couldn't pronounce cinnamon and kept saying "cininin."

The things he says

I want to try to do things with you as much as possible. Even though I have my own hobbies that you likely won't participate in, I think it's important for us to try to set aside time to do things together. I do think it's important not to be doing my own thing all the time though. So in case you've been feeling that way don't worry because I have too.

That made me :'( in a :) way.

It's important for partners in a relationship to have their own thing(s) and time outside of the relationship, but it's also important to not take the relationship for granted, thinking it's always going to be there no matter what because even the strongest relationships can fade when left alone for too long. People say, "I love you, no matter what" but let's be honest: there iS a limit! I mean, even shiny new cars lose their sparkle (& battery power) when left un-driven.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Marriage vs. Wedding

So I.S. & I are getting hitched in less than 2 weeks. Even though we've played it down a lot, I thought it was important to document this stepping-stone in our lives at some point. Only our nearest & dearest know thus far (the parents, siblings, and bestest of best friends). Why such a quiet approach to what most consider one-of-the-biggest-milestones-in-life? Because we don't want it to take away from the proposal & wedding celebration that is to come later. Because to us this is just a legality that we need to get done for reasons that need not be mentioned here. It's not the way we want to celebrate our union so we're saving the celebration for later, when we're more settled in our post-grad grown-up lives. It works for us because when we get around to our wedding celebration, we don't want to have to worry about our officiant sending in our papers or our witnesses signing in the right spot. We don't want to have to worry about our marriage license expiry date and timing that with venue bookings etc. It removes a stress from our later wedding celebration. It's unconventional and highly practical and many don't understand, but being unconventional and highly practical are what I.S. & I are all about. With the legalities out of the way, we can be 110% pumped for the celebration to follow because that's *all * it will be: one of the biggest parties we'll throw for ourselves and a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to one another (in a more romantic way, as opposed to a legal way). To the people who said, "even though you want to keep this on the D.L., it's still a big deal and I'm excited/happy for you," yes, it is a big legal deal because that is all that is happening on October 2nd. I suppose you could say that we've consciously extracted the legality out of the conventional approach to marriage/weddings but why not?

In light of our highly practical natures, we opted for titanium rings because titanium is strong, economical and does the job. I.S. got the ring below in 5mm width (picture is 4mm width) and I got the one pictured last. The husband from titaniumknights is alleged to have made our rings this morning, which means they should be on their way later this week =)
H. was strongly opposed to online ring purchases, which I can appreciate given the concerns she raised, but I loved that I had the opportunity to support the Etsy community so I had to take it. Overstock.com had some super-discounted titanium rings in I.S.'s size, but it felt more personal buying from Etsy as opposed to a big online store, which made me feel excited about the purchase, especially when I can imagine a couple hand-making our rings in their studio/shop/home.

So why get rings if this is just a legality? I guess we contradict ourselves a little in this respect, but it was still important for me that we had something to show for October 2nd besides a piece of paper. And because the rings do symbolize unity in a marriage and that is what October 2nd still is: a marriage.

I guess this post was mostly inspired from all the opinions and perceptions people who know about October 2nd have cast on us and I needed to get it off my chest because sometimes I feel like I need to defend the way we're doing this, which I shouldn't have to, but our culture has put this idea of marriage/weddings in our heads that I feel is threatening our approach because it doesn't conform to that norm. But having read so many wedding blogs (especially the likes of APW), it's empowered me to write this post because the bottom line to this post is that we are different from other couples and thus going to do things differently and I just needed to get that out there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What marriage means

'' I think marriage means more to you if you haven't found the right person because you'll keep thinking 'am I doing the right thing? Do I want to be with this person forever?'

But if you don't have those questions and just know, then it's just like 'whatever.' Tomorrow will be like today, but with something on your finger. "

My only retort is that it also means more to you when you have found the right person because there is no doubt in your mind that it's the right thing to do.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shoes!


So I realize I never did follow up with the resulting lemon loaf I made, BUT, I have something better to update on: new shoes! I got these because 1) I was really craving something new & 2) I 'needed' black heels for work (even though I'll be out of work by the end of next week). I browsed on piperlime.com and found these cute/sexy heels.
I was hesitant to get them in 7.5 since I usually go for an 8 as I straddle between 7.5 & 8 but only the 7.5 was on sale so I took a chance & got them since it's all free shipping/free returns. Best mouse clicks I ever made! They are SO comfortable (well, upon first wearing) and I can totally tell that these will be comfortable to be walking in all day 'cause they feel cushion-y. I do have one minor complaint... I can feel the peep toe part will cut into my big toe if I walk around in them for a long time. Hopefully that edge wears in and doesn't hurt later on =/ These are just such a staple shoe for the office in the summer and the heel is the perfect little height =)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Options

So I could work 40+ hrs/week for $X or potentially 14 hrs/week for about the same $X... I think I know what to do now.

Next step: printing business cards!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Climbing & lemon loaf

Today I did my first 10c! In 2 months, I've moved from 5.6/5.7 to 5.10a, 10b, and now 10c. My belay partner and teacher has been I.S. of course, to whom I owe much of my progress. In these 2 months, I've seen incredible growth not only in myself, but also my relationship with I.S. For me, it's taught me how to push myself, take risks, and to trust myself (and my feet!). There have been so many routes where I talked myself out of finishing but I.S. was right there, not letting me down until I reached the top, which has left me pretty impressed with myself. But equally important is the effect its had on our relationship. I've learned about this whole other level of communication, patience, respect, and trust between one another and it's given me all these warm & fuzzy feelings inside. <3

On the note of 'taking risks': I attempted to make a lemon loaf today! Well, I didn't just attempt, I actually did it (with I.S. standing in for the electric mixer that we don't have =p)! The house is filled with lemon-y goodness and I can't wait to eat it! It reminds me of the cake that my mom used to make from the store-bought cake mixes. The inspiration for my first attempt at baking from scratch (1st time in the last 18 years, that is) was Starbucks' lemon loaf. 
 
mmm... I can't wait for my lemon-y goodness to cool so I can glaze & set & slice! It is going to be divine. I will post pictures when I finish mine!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baby!

Look how big my baby has grown!

This is apparently what happens when you leave it starving for water for a week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

mmm...

So pretty. I would love them even more if they were in gold instead of silver. I'm loving blue + gold & pink + gold right now.

New clothes!

So I went shopping & stopped by SmartSet because I can always trust that they have reasonably priced things (when compared to the likes of Jacob). Out of that trip, I found two pieces to add to my wardrobe.Top #1: Sheer with a tie at the back and ruffles. I think it's so cute and can be dressed up with a tank top underneath & capris or bikini top underneath with a jean skirt/shorts for the warmer days =)

Top #2: Racer back with ruffles around the collar. It's loose-fitting and drape-y around the waist. I love love love ruffles right now. And royal blue. I think this would look so sharp with white shorts, so that is on my shopping list for next time.

I'm also looking for something in a dusty pink to add to my wardrobe: almost like an off-white with a hint of pink type of color. That is my vision. I hate it when I get into this moods 'cause then I get frustrated with shopping for the next few months when I realize there's nothing out there that fits my vision. Or at least nothing in my price range that fits my vision. sigh. I should really take up sewing and start making my own things 'cause you know, it's so easy to just pick up sewing. hah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Done & done.

It has been 3 days since I handed in my last school-related piece of writing and it's weird. The prospect of not being a student anymore is somewhat unsettling. I mean, after undergrad, I knew for sure that grad school would follow and that it did, but now, unless I decided to jump off the deep-end and do law school, I will not be a student again - at least not in the traditional sense of professors and lectures and grades and transcripts. I guess it's unsettling because there's now more uncertainty in my life than ever.

sigh.

So what now?

My brain is out-to-lunch. My mind is all over the place as well as being no where right now. It's a strange emptiness.

In random news: I snipped off the top leaves of my basil plant today. I think I wasn't doing it right (i.e. nurturing it to be bushy) so now it's just tall and quite UN-bushy.
Yes, that is a chopstick supporting it =p It was the only thing tall and skinny enough to act as an appropriate support. But anyway, as I was taking that photo, I inspected my plant a little closer and found THIS!
yay!! It looks like it's going to start branching!! You (I'm guessing you are my only reader, R.Z.) would not believe how worried I've been for my little plant! I'm going to miss it =( I think I will leave it with J.L. 'cause she said that she takes care of all the plants in her house so I have faith she'll work her green-thumb magic and make it super bushy by the time I see it next. I feel like this is my baby and I'm giving it up for adoption when I leave. I will only retain visitation rights. haha. Melodramatic? Maybe, but I've never grown something from seed before and I feel like this little plant has beat the odds, like little Nemo, 'cause it grew all awkward in its original pot and now it's super healthy! Except those two leaves at the bottom (the first leaves that sprouted) are still super stubby. Totally like Nemo's roughed up fin, eh?

OK, enough about my baby basil. *tear *

Monday, April 06, 2009

Love, love, love...




Is doing what you love the same as loving what you do?

I <3 architecture

So this morning I did my usual sweep of my spam mailings. I have filters to categorize spam that I've signed up for because sometimes I like to indulge my fantasies in buying new things. Anyway: when I checked out my Amazon.com mailing, I saw a picture of this:
I've been hearing about prefab homes for a few years now so this caught my attention pretty quickly. From what I've been learning about prefab homes, they are more efficient and environmentally friendly (minus the whole shipping-the-parts-out-to-your-land thing). I think what I love most about Michelle Kaufmann Designs is the indoor-outdoor living spaces that just flow into each other. I think mkDesigns accurately captures the vision of my dream home. Green homes, however, I feel like I've known about since I was a kid: my dad brought me to his work one day when they had a model of a house that had rain water catchment and a green roof etc. I think that's the moment I fell in love with the idea of environmental-conscientiousness and architecture.


Looking at the pictures and reading about their design philosophy really makes me regret not having done something with my love of architecture. I love what I do now, but it's just not quite the same...


(Images are linked to their sources.)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

New to the music library.

The latest addition to my library. It makes me think of spring, which is slowly coming out of its shell now (though it's back to freezing temperatures + snow on Monday).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pollutants In The News

Through my usual sifting of the online news pages, I came across this one article that talks about a study that links PFOA & PFOS to infertility

When I recalled that PFOA is linked to Teflon, which I remember being in the news back in the day, I did a news archive search on GoogleNewsArchive of "PFOS PFOA" to see the history of this compound through the news.

I found, for each of the years ranging from 1997 to 2008, there were 2, 1, 0, 5, 6, 10, 167, 533, 1160, 1420, 347, and 314 article results for those years, respectively. It clearly reached a peak in 2006 but then rapidly dropped off the headlines in 2007. What happened?

The same type of search with "BPA bisphenol" gave me the following results ranging from years 1994 to 2008: 7, 3, 11, 16, 24, 37, 62, 71, 106, 108, 144, 206, 181, 359, 1750. To-date, BPA peaked in the news last year, the year that Canada banned BPA.

In 2008 California placed limits on PFOA in food packaging, with a voluntary phase-out by 2015, suggested by the EPA. Based on my article search, the banning of PFOA floated in the news for quite a few years in the early 2000's but has only recently made much progress in the EPA arena.

It's interesting to see how these compounds have moved through the news and to consider what has been done about either of them. There's a lot more I could say to these two trends, but anyone who's aware of the relationship between government, industry, and the chemicals will be able to fill in the blank....

Friday, January 16, 2009