Archive for September, 2008

Pimpin’ My Other Blog

At one point last year I stumbled upon Photojojo, an awesome online newsletter that compiles photography tips and DIY projects, and was instantly obsessed with their Project 365 tutorial. The idea behind Project 365 is simple enough — you take (at least) one photo a day for an entire year. Sounds easy enough, right? I lasted maybe five months before I lost interest and dropped it. But with my recently renewed interest in photography, I’ve decided to undertake it once again. And this time around, I managed to dupe persuade a couple other friends to do it with me as well. For extra motivation, I created another blog where I post my pictures up so other people can call me out if I start to slip.

So check out my photoblog, Happy Accidents, if you get a chance. And be sure to stop by my friends’ Project 365 photoblogs as well. There’s Kristin at Point, Click, Shoot! and Amanda at 365…Or 1 a day. Better yet, join us and set up your own 365 project too.

Update: A couple more of my friends have jumped on the bandwagon. You can find Jess at Shutterbug 365, Jae at runs with cameras and Alicia at 365.

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September 25, 2008 at 9:22 pm 6 comments

Arte y Pico

Mimi, over at The Things We Do, gave me this award for my blog:

Pretty cool, eh?  The award originated on the Arte y Pico blog which is in Spanish so I can only understand every 8th word or so.  Literally translated it means ‘art and peak’ and is awarded to creative and interesting blogs.  Me?  Creative?  I’m having an “aw shucks” moment here.  Mimi cited my knitting…which is awesome considering she is a knitter herself.  It’s always nice to be acknowledged by your own kind.  😉  Anyway, as with most things, there are some rules…one of them being to post the rules.  So here they are:

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material & overall contribution to the blogger community.
2) Post the name of the author & a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.
3) Each award winner has to show the award & put the name & link to the blog that has given him or her the award.
4) The award winner & presenter should post the link of the “Arte y Pico” blog so everyone will know the origin of the award.
5) Post these rules.

The first four awardees will probably be familiar to you…they’re some of my other friends and make up the majority of my blog reading (or lurking these days) but for purposes of this award, I’m giving it to my fellow photo challengers:

1) Kristin writes about her life raising her toddler in Minneapolis.  She managed to talk me into going on the Oprah Cleanse diet and in return, she’s committed to doing Project 365 with me (taking a picture a day).  You can find her photoblog dedicated specifically to this project here.

2) Alicia not only writes about her life, but she is a profilic reader as well and it really shines through in her writing.  She does photo challenges, writing exercises, participates in memes, surveys, lists…you name it and she’s there.

3) Jess is another one of my fellow photo challenge buddies.  She is somewhat new to the whole blogging business, having just started up her blog this June, but she takes some great pictures and I always look forward to new entries from here (now if only she’d write more often.  hint hint!)

4) Jae takes some amazing photos.  Not only is she one of my photo challenge buddies, but lately she is something of a travel buddy of mine too.  She’s a photographer, she cooks, she bakes, she knows a zillion euphemisms for words you probably don’t ever want to teach your children…creativity at its finest.

5) Finally, I’m nominating my sister-in-law, Lien.  She literally just started blogging…like last week.  And she’s only got one post up so far, but she is probably one of the most creative people I know.  She is the go-to baker in the family and turns out not only delicious cakes, cookies and cupcakes, but also some of the most beautiful, insane, awesome cakes I’ve ever seen.  To get an idea of her creativity, check out her amazing cake gallery on her new website: http://www.crazycakecompany.com.

September 25, 2008 at 1:52 am 9 comments

Dangerous Times

These are dangerous times that we live in.

After safely weathering Typhoon Hagupit’s passage indoors yesterday, I was itching to get out today.  If nothing else, we needed groceries.  And these days, nothing brings home just how crazy this world is like a trip to the grocery store.

While Hong Kong has ton of local, outdoor markets, I prefer to shop at city’super — an upscale grocery store that caters to the expat crowd with its imported, organic and high-priced selection of food.  To some degree I’ve always felt a little snobby doing most of my shopping there — buying mostly imported and mostly organic — especially when I add up just how much I spend on groceries every week.  Case in point…the milk brand I buy is imported from Australia and at HK$33.50/liter (which comes out to a whopping US$17/gallon) is three times the cost of the local brand of milk.  But all that expense was justified during my trip today.  I strolled over to the milk aisle to find it completely sold out of my pricey imported brand.  Sure, there was still plenty of milk available, but the ones that were left were the Chinese brands.  And after the Chinese milk scandal these past couple of weeks, I feel like my uppity grocery shopping is now justified.  The peace of mind I have knowing that Noah is ok is so worth our ridiculous grocery bill, especially after reading that 54,000 children might be affected and that babies have died from this.

A few minutes later, while passing the soup aisle, I saw a notice posted on the shelves trying to reassure customers that city’super did not in fact import the Campbell’s soup that’s currently being recalled.  That was news to me and again I breathed a sigh of relief that Noah prefers the organic Pacific Foods soups (another food snob in training).  Once I got home, I opened the newspaper to read that Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety is now urging people to stop consuming a number of Chinese made cakes and candies, also because of high levels of melamine.

And that’s when I realized I was screwed.

In a fit of nostalgia a couple weeks ago I picked up a bag of White Rabbit candy, which was specifically named in the newspaper article as being bad for your kidneys.

I used to eat White Rabbit candy when I was little — it’s similar to taffy, only twice as sugary, and wrapped in a thin rice paper that dissolves in your mouth. I saw a bag of it and felt like reliving my childhood days and polished off the entire bag in one night. It was gooood. And it gave me a stomach ache, but that’s because I can’t moderate my eating.  I was actually craving some and thinking of picking up another bag, but not anymore. I’m sure I’ll be fine…it was just one bag after all…but I hope everyone learns from my mistake: Candy can kill!

September 24, 2008 at 9:42 pm 7 comments

Politics. As Usual.

Most people who know me know that I’m a big politics nerd. I majored in it at UC Berkeley and afterward worked for a campaign consulting company in San Francisco (which is where I met Mark). Although neither Mark nor I have worked in politics for a very long time now (our exit coincided with the beginning of Bush’s presidency), it’s still a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. That said, because I still get very passionate about it, it also means that I can become overly heated, overly emotional, less rational and very stubborn when discussing politics. In fact, I’ve found that I’m a much happier person when I stay away from political news and blogs.

With this upcoming election I’m finding it harder and harder to stay away and I find myself drawn to my old habits…obsessively checking Daily Kos for updates, reading campaign news on MSNBC’s political blog, hitting the Politics section of major newspapers and anxiously anticipating the first presidential debate on Sept. 26.

In actuality, I’m trying hard not to be so rabidly political because, frankly, I’m pretty sure it scares the children.  I tend to discuss my outrages only with Mark because I know he can handle the eye-rolling.  However, when I read articles like this one:

EPA won’t limit rocket fuel in U.S. drinking water – USA Today

it reminds me again why I’m so fervently Democratic and how I shouldn’t be afraid to voice that or my desire for a better standard of living in the US — a country that I love deeply despite not currently living in.

Anyway, perhaps this will be the only political post I ever write.  Or perhaps it’s only the first of many.  Either way, I honestly hope that everyone takes the time to educate themselves on the issues at hand in this upcoming election, identify what’s really important to them and hopefully vote for the candidate they feel best represents that.  Happy election season everyone!

Some important upcoming dates…
Friday, Sept. 26 — First presidential debate
Thursday, Oct. 2 — Vice-presidential debate
Tuesday, Oct. 7 — Second presidential debate
Wednesday, Oct. 15 — Third presidential debate
Tuesday, Nov. 4 — Election Day
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 — Inauguration Day

September 24, 2008 at 2:08 am 6 comments

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

I’m seriously in love with these cupcakes and I honestly think that you haven’t lived until you’ve had a devil’s food cupcake.  So to that end, I’m posting the recipe here.  So everyone go make it ok?  Ok.

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September 23, 2008 at 4:00 am 6 comments

Birthday Festivities, Day Two

Noah’s class threw a little party for him at school today and his teacher, Ms. Kiri, invited me to come in and join the fun (and to bring cupcakes of course).  So at 2 pm, 30 minutes before class usually ends, I popped into Noah’s classroom — my first time seeing his class in action and seeing his friends.

When Noah saw me in his classroom, he shouted out “That’s my mommy!” and ran over to give me a hug and kiss…immediately followed by three or four other of his friends lining up to give me hugs and kisses and to introduce themselves to me.  Noah was especially adamant about introducing me to Ruby, his classroom best friend.  Here he is posing for me while the rest of the class prepared for Circle Time:

At Circle Time, Ms. Kiri took some laminated cards with the names of the months on them and laid them in a circle around a cardboard sun with a candle on it. Then she gave Noah a ball painted up like Earth and, beginning at September, guided him around the months three times, representing three years passing by:

Afterward she let him blow out the candle, but in a class full of preschoolers, Noah had some competition to reach the candle first:

After looking at some baby pictures of Noah that I’d brought, they sat down for the main event — cupcakes! The class sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Noah and he got to pass out cupcakes to all his friends:

This is Noah showing off his chocolate fingers:

I’m proud to say that the cupcakes were a hit. Unfortunately, one of his friends had an egg allergy and another had a nut allergy so they couldn’t have cupcakes (one teacher said some flours were processed in the same plants as peanuts were so the nut guy couldn’t eat any. Poor guy. He was so excited about the cupcakes too). They did get some animal crackers to eat, which is a sad substitute for devil’s food cupcakes, but at least they got something.

I’m also proud to report that I have something of a reputation at his school for being an awesome baker. Even Ms. Kiri, who’s been with the school for less than a month, had heard about my coconut macaroons from last term.  It’s flattering, of course, but it also puts some pressure on me to keep wowing them with my mad baking skills.  Then again, I’m also going to use it as a reason to replace the immersion blender I’ve been using for two years as a pseudo-mixer/food processor for something more suited to the needs of a preschool master baker…perhaps along the lines of this:

Oh well, a girl can dream…

September 23, 2008 at 1:15 am 2 comments

A Very, Merry Un-Birthday to Noah!

This year, Noah’s third birthday falls on Tuesday.  Originally we were planning on taking him to Disneyland that day, but Mark’s so swamped at work he couldn’t take the day off.  Additionally, Noah’s school is holding a Meet The Teachers event that night which I plan on attending.  So, given that Mark is unavailable during the day and I’ll be gone in the evening, we decided instead to celebrate the boy’s birthday early and tell him that his birthday was on Sunday.

On Saturday, Mark and I sent the boy off with Clarita to hang out at the playground while we went to Toys R Us to pick up his present — a new bike.  We could’ve gotten it assembled at Toys R Us but it was going to take two hours and we had a dinner reservation at Bo Innovation to make.  Besides, I told Mark, it would be fun to put our son’s first real bike together ourselves.  Mark, sensing impending calamity and time-wasting, was reluctant but after offering to put the bike together by myself he consented to taking the bike back home in pieces.

That night after dinner, I got to work turning this:

into this:

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September 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm 5 comments

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