Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mobile blogging - Tea With The Ladies

I'm been looking forward to some down time with some of my close friends. I was invited to afternoon tea by Kathy, one of my cousin's coworkers. There was also Wendy and Jen, two of my good friends dated back from elementary school.

Two old friends. One that has been around all my life.  The other I've known also since I was 7, but had split paths going to different schools and living in different countries for a few years, but now together again in Vancouver. And the third, a relatively new friend. And we were all together enjoying a lovely afternoon over tea.

I love a good girl's get together. Of course, there was girl talk. Can't remember the last time I had such a gut-wrenching laugh. We were probably a little obnoxiously loud. Can't wait till our next get-together.

(Horrible photo quality due to me forgetting to remove the plastic over the camera on this replacement iphone. )

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mobile blogging - What Makes You Smile

A little bit of anger was stewing inside of me by the time my break rolled around. The pharmacy was chaotic when I stepped in. And the sad part is knowing that it's not because we were incredibly busy... But because of the lack of efficiency. I'm always pro team work, but when teammates don't pull their slack and you end up always cleaning up the mess, you naturally get a little angry.

A blister pack was shoved to me and I was told, "this is due. Do u want to check it? Or I can".

So I replied nicely, "yah, you can".

I don't like being abrupt and angry, but at the same time, why was I asked if I could do it if they could? Especially when I was already doing five other things just like everyone else was.

Nonetheless, I ended up going on my break late and I'm now sitting here rubbing the temples of my head hoping this tension will go away.

Right at the beginning of my break though, I received a text. And I was all smiles again. ( the last two messages. Not even my own daughter but still so very exciting and happy).

Regardless, work is not called
Work for no reason. Gonna take it in strides. And perhaps be inspired by my brother who quit his job yesterday. To follow his dreams.

Family Reunion Cruise Highlights #8 - Family Cha Cha

Whenever the live band starts to play, my aunt and uncle takes the dance floor so naturally and begins to dance. From the cha cha, to the waltz, to the fox trot... they knew it all. They're both in their 70's now, but they danced together ever since before they even got married when they were in their 20's. And when good music plays, they will dance. All these years. It's beautiful. 

With parents who love to dance, some of my cousins picked up a step or two from them. Even the ones with two left feet. Some went on to take a couple of their own classes. But it was all out of own interest and pure fun. So, when there wasn't much to do (ie. watching ice sculpture carvings doesn't tickle our fancy), we scoped the cruise ship for an empty spot to practice some cha-cha. 

At a family reunion, you're not allowed to not join in. Although reluctant at first, I learned a few steps too. It's not all new to me. I took ballroom for fun in my university days. But dancing with my cousins and uncle was a totally different experience. What I loved most is knowing that one activity can bring an entire family together. And at this moment in time, we didn't have a care in this world and enjoying some quality family time. Doing the cha cha. 

There were kids... 0-10 years old. Teens. My brother in his 20's. Me in my 30's. My cousins in their 40's. My mom in her 50's. My dad in his 60's. And some of my uncle and aunts in their 70's. And we were all dancing. It'll become a memory that none of us will forget.

(Top two photos : my dad's sister is teaching him cha cha moves. Bottom two photos : cousin with her daughter. And two other cousins dancing together).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Card Series

They call it a "series" when several of anything is similar or done with similar materials one after another. So, here is my two-card series. Same card stock. Same background. Done back to back. But for two different occasions. 

Can I say it when I adore one of my work? I love the wedding card that I made this time. I think the tiffany blue kinda aqua is so gorgeous for a wedding card. And I had so much fun making a veil and a bowtie for the love birds. Of course, I couldn't get away from my Sook-Wang tape glitter powder border. I love the simplicity of it. And I love the bold colours of the birds popping out from the soft background.

The second one is much more simple. I didn't want to go overboard with extravagance on a thank you card. I practiced writing "Thank You" in Chinese a gazillion times and it still turned out looking pretty shitty. I had to convince the OCD part of me that imperfection is what makes it personal. So I let it go and I was fine with it. This card made me wish I had a corner rounder. Good thing, since making the card and writing this post, I went out and bought myself one, so in future, I would hopefully curse at myself less.

On another note, I've taken many photos in the last little while but been feeling less inspired to write and post. But with Tony Bennett playing in the background tonight soothing the old soul inside of me, it somehow compelled me to pump out at least this one post.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Matty At Almost Four Months

Seriously, look at that face. What is he hiding in those cheeks? Ridiculously adorable. The cutest is now when he responds. You talk to him, and his eyes bug out, staring at you as if you're telling him the most interesting story ever. This baby is a roly poly one, which just adds doubly to his cuteness.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mobile blogging - Autumn Is Here

I believe today mark's the last day of summer. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to the Fall. The crispy air, the colourful leaves ( which goes well with my infatuation of trees), and the Fall fashion of coats and scarves ... It all brings a certain kind of cozy. When I think of Fall, I always embrace it with a cup of Buckies. I'm not a coffee drinker... But their pumpkin lattes and fall specials welcomes in the season quite nicely. Today, I warm up with a cup of half sweet hazelnut steamed milk with a dash of cinnamon. The weather is matching the exit of summer and the entrance of Fall. But the cloudiness matches the jazzy blues playing in Buckies a little better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Stomper


Sarah at 3.5 Months. She's a stomper. She enjoys being held up standing on a table. And when you do, she'll stomp her feet. Quite forcefully so you can hear a little feet kind of thud

She is quite long, which makes us think she may turn out to be a tall one. Her daddy makes the comment, "But her arms aren't that long." 

Her mommy adds, "Yah, like a little T-Rex". 


She looks at Sarah and adds, "But I love youuuu!".

Look at her cute shoes! Even Sarah was admiring them herself... she couldn't stop staring at them. She's quite the mellow baby. At least right after nappy and a good feed. If you talk to her, she'll talk back. She's a yakker. She is ridiculously cute. Auntie Amie adores you!

Monday, September 17, 2012

For A Canucks Fan

This cake has a lychee buttercream with lychee pieces as its filling.

While Kat worked on the bigger parts of it (like baking the cake), I worked on the details. It's a good thing that we both enjoy doing different things. I went to work with balls of fondant, coloring, and many fondant tools. My impatience in getting the right colour into the fondant (working too much colour at one time) left my hands dyed blue for a couple of days. I painted the orca logo copying it off a t-shirt... don't worry, it's all edible.

Kat layered on the fondant, and I drew in the stitches. This looks more like an albino pumpkin than anything.

The back.

The front. 

I don't know who Eddy is, but I sure darn hope he was happily surprised for his birthday. Pretty fun when a client tells you a theme and lets you choose to do whatever you please. Thanks Kat! For the opportunity. 

Have to tell you the funny story behind this cake... 

Kat insisted on baking the cake in a bowl. I had major doubts that would work. I would have baked it all in layers, stacked the cakes, and carved the shape. But, Kat wanted to save time and see if it would work. Never say no to Kat of course. So, into the oven the cake went... in a bowl. Checking up on the cake many times between bakes showed that the cake was not cooking. Eventually, had to give up on the idea of baking it in a bowl. There is a reason why there are bundt cake pans! 

So, Kat turned off the oven. Left the cake inside. And we went out with a group of us to enjoy some delicious hot pot before we came back with plans to start all over again and bake another cake. Almost three hours later, (dinner and a grocery trip to get more eggs), we returned back into the kitchen. I had already started separating the eggs, when Kat yelled, "STOP!". 

She decided to check the cake one last time when she took it out of the oven, and surprise surprise.... it was cooked! We chopped the middle section and had a taste... and by golly, it was cooked and moist. We tasted quite a bit of it to make sure that we weren't just imagining it. The cake actually cooked pretty well in a bowl ... in super low heat for three hours. Who would have thought... 

We both thought it was nuts. Had we not left the cake inside the oven before leaving, it would have gone to waste. Had we not eaten hot pot, dinner wouldn't have taken so long... and it wouldn't have cooked either. We were both shouting... "INSANE!!". 

Anyway, although possible, we aren't about to write a book about how you can bake a cake in a bowl in THREE hours. Who would do that? But, never say never... it is indeed... possible.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Lil' Tristan

I cannot get enough of this little guy's smile and giggles. He is crazy adorable. Today is his 1st birthday, and his mommy and daddy threw him a birthday party. He took a nice long nap right through half of it. His little friends were all so well behaved playing quietly with his toys waiting for his arrival to his own party. When he did finally wake up from his nap, even though still groggy, he was as happy as ever. It isn't hard for him to get him to smile. Once let loose, he made sure he explored his party scene. Grabbing plates off the table, grabbing balloons, grabbing cake... even running to another little one's dad before he got to him... he was right in there for all the action. It was one great party with his family and friends.

Happy Birthday, little one! I can't believe you're already one. Can't wait to continue to watch you grow.

(Can you see the St. John's Ambulance logo peeking through the background of the card photo? My first aid cert doubled as background. Hah...good enough).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Family Reunion Cruise Highlights #7 - Picture Time

If you've ever been on a cruise, you'll know that they give you ample of opportunities for photos. And although we all take our own photos with our own digicams, it's nice to have some "professional" photos (with better lighting, already printed...) for keepsake. We stepped into their makeshift "studios" whenever we had the chance. By the end of the cruise, all the photos you've taken by their staff on the cruise gets displayed on a wall, and you choose which ones you want to purchase.

My cousins went on a photo hunt and pulled all our photos off the wall... and the stack came to this (pictured above). We obviously didn't buy them all at $15-20 a pop, so we spent a great deal of time sifting through them all. I'm guessing only a family reunion can yield a stack like that.

Her parents didn't buy this one so I snuck a photo of it. This was taken during dinner of formal night. Everyone was dressed to their nines and a photographer came around to capture it all. When the photographer asked Maddy to smile, she did this. Her and her half-chewed cheese breadstick. Such a ham...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Family Reunion Cruise Highlights #6 - Play Time

One of babysitters' best friends is ... Play-Doh.

The kids spent an entire afternoon playing and building with Play-Doh. My cousins had brought tubs and tubs of it to entertain the kids. Along with Play-Doh, they used their own imagination to scope for other things they could use from around the ship. They found some toothpicks from the dining area, umbrellas from the bar, and straws from the drinks counter.

My cousin's 12-year-old, McKenna, taught me how to make roses with play-doh. 

With the roses, they thought of building a garden. This garden has a pathway that leads you into the fenced area and is surrounded by pebbles. Look at the mess in the background.

Here is one view of the garden. And oh yes, there are palm trees.

Lindsay made a fountain out of the Play-Doh container itself.

Of course, the fountain is right next to the house.

Here is someone else's rendition of a house.

Hayley shows me her little creature. Whatever that is... hah. Isn't it cute?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Closer To My Heart

My aunt is one of the greatest supporters of Parkinson Society Canada. My uncle suffered from Parkinson's, and even though he has now passed, my aunt still continues to help fund raise for the hope of a cure in the future. I remember how she used to organize information seminars to help those suffering from Parkinson's to understand it better. I used to do volunteer work for these sessions... helping people put on their name tags, helping people get in and out of chairs, and handing out brochures and guiding them into the seminar room. I would sit through these seminars myself and as a teenager, found every part of it fascinating. The long medical terms. The photos of a brain scan. The doctor who seemed to know it all. But watching my uncle deteriorate over the years was the biggest translation of what all of it meant. And so, it took me a while, a very long while... to accept that my own mother now suffers from Parkinson's.

Over the weekend, I attended the Superwalk for Parkinson's to help raise awareness and do a little bit of fundraising for research. I've been really lacking in effort in the past few years. By that I mean I haven't even shown up. To be completely honest, a small part of it had to do with me not wanting to face it. I'll admit. And I'm sure that feeling was mutual when my mom had said, "I don't feel like going this year". But we did. You'd think as a health care professional, I'd understand it better. And I do... but it doesn't make it easier. I'm older now and hopefully wiser, and I've accepted that this is just a part of my journey. Learning.

The Superwalk has certainly grown over the years, and it's nice to see all the supporters out there. I've decided that next year is going to be different for me. Maybe I won't be one of the top fundraiser like my aunt is every year or even run the 10km, but even if it's just to hand out brochures or volunteer t-shirts... I'm going back out there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thierry In The Summer

There was a post about Thierry in the winter. And this time, it's in the summer.

Thierry has their own house made sodas that come in flavours of elderberry/apple, white plum, sarsparilla, and ginger. On one rather cold summer day, (which was one out of not too many this summer), I still decided to go for something chilled and refreshing. I went with the elderberry/apple soda and it was so, so good. Would have been perfect if it was actually a hot summer day. 

I gave their macarons a second try. The first time I tried a red-coloured macaron from Thierry (cannot remember the flavour), it stained my mouth red. It was almost horrific how much food colouring they use. I decided to give it a second try before I give up on all their macarons, and went for a blackberry and a salted caramel one. And unfortunately, they just don't live up to the hype of macarons. I'm no macaron expert but I've tried enough (and made enough) to know that these just aren't... it. The blackberry macaron had no blackberry flavour other than an actual blackberry sandwiched in between the two almond shells. Salted caramel was indeed salted caramel, but nothing really amazing to write home about. 

Even though I may never buy another macaron from Thierry again, I have to say that I do love their desserts. I've tried some of their mini cakes and they were all very good. Cake moist. Flavourful mousse. Pretty to the eye. We ended up buying an espresso chocolate cake for KDer's birthday... and surprisingly, it wasn't too heavy or too sweet. And everyone enjoyed it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Herb Garden - Part 2

The before picture. And this is the after.


Basil. And a whole lot more.

Dad is snippin' away for me.

My basket of herbs. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sweetheart Cakes

In Chinese, they're called "Lo po beng". According to wiki, a sweetheart cake is a traditional Chinese pastry with flaky and thin skin made with winter melon, almond paste and sesame, and spiced with five spice powder (Chinese spice blend of fennel seed, star anise, licorice root and cloves).

These are homemade by Ming's mom, and they are perfect. The beautiful golden colour, the thin, super flaky skin, the cute and plump shape, the not-so-sweet filling... and on top of that, eating them right out of the oven... it was to-die-for.

If she'd take students, I'd love to learn how to make them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Some Of The Best

Some of the best things that make my world go 'round is the sweetest slice of watermelon on a hot sunny day.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family Reunion Cruise Highlights #5 - Me Time

Family reunions are of course for family time. I love my family, and everyday I feel blessed that I have such amazing people in my life. I have a great extended families with 10+ cousins on each of my mom and dad side. And even though with my dad side, we're separated by distance (most of them live in the States), every time I see them, I still feel very close to them. We all get along and love and care about each other. Family events and special occasions are always so festive and warm. I love it. 

But, even on a week-long family reunion, I still need my "me" time. To enjoy the stillness and tranquility. To soak in the moment. To think about nothing much at all. And it is at moments like these that I got to enjoy these amazing views. One of my favorite places to hang out was at the back of the boat. With a glass of wine (actually, it was my martini poured into a wine glass because for whatever reason, martini glasses were not allowed outside), looking out into the deep blue evening, I was at my calmest. Likewise in the morning, I would hang out at this same spot with my cup of tea, and look out to the dewy sunrise.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Family Reunion Cruise Highlights #4 - Maddy

Maddy : "Nooo... you can't have any....miiiinnne".

Maddy : "Mine."

Maddy : "No Auntie Amie, these are mine."

Me : "Ok, can I at least get a smile?".
Maddy : "CHEEEeeeeese!".

Maddy : "You can have these ones."

Maddy : "Are you still taking pictures?".

Maddy is the youngest in the family. She is two and ridiculously adorable. She is a cheeky monkey. She is normally bubbly and full of smiles and loves to make people laugh, but when she misses nap time, she can have a cranky side. Watching her can give you a good workout. She loved going up and down... and up... and down... the stairs even though she isn't quite big enough to go up and down the stairs properly. She would drag you into the gift shop and spin the stand of earrings around and around, and goes out kicking and screaming when you pull her away from it. But even then, she's super cute doing it. When she says "pee pee", it's a sign that you have to pick her up and GO... even if you ask her a second later, "Do you need to go pee pee?" and she replies, "Noooo." When you mention the words "baby monkey", she gets a little weary. Baby monkey is an ipod touch /iphone game that she has but she is afraid of the monkey. Everytime you mention the words, she looks at you with worried eyes thinking this "baby monkey" will pop out of somewhere. But, when you ask her to sing the "baby monkey" song, which is the song from the game... she will be all smiles and sings if for you along with her own little dance. That's Maddy.