Trust

Here’s the thing with me: I’m a pretty private person. And to all of you reading this very public blog of mine, thinking I’m a phony, let me explain myself. It’s not that I’m excessively shy or have trust issues – I don’t.  I’m just a firm believer that not everyone needs to know everything. To me, the line that separates talking and saying is as apparent as Anthony Davis’ eyebrow (that was mean, I’m sorry, but I just saw http://alturl.com/ttcrf, so it’s fresh in my mind).

That being said, when I do speak, I go by a general rule of implied trust. If I tell someone something, I expect that the confidant(e) keeps it to him/herself, even if I don’t explicitly ask them to. Of course, if I say something trivial, like, I look like a cow today, and you repeated this, I wouldn’t care. I probably wouldn’t even notice. What I mean is that when I tell you a life changing, mind blowing, mountain moving secret, please don’t repeat it! And I return this favour, so I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable for me to ask this. 

Is it just me who has this idea that secrets should be kept? Or am I being too ambiguous – should I be specifically saying please don’t tell anyone, but…? What are your thoughts, opinions, arguments?

Be kind and God bless!
xx

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

So last night I made Vietnamese Spring Rolls, only because I’m fasting (Ramadan Mubarak, btw) and all I can think about is food. I also made chocolate chip cookies but they didn’t turn out well. Anyway, my first time making (and eating) these rolls were a major success. And by the murmurs of delight from my famished family, I could tell that it wasn’t just me. I combined two recipes to make this so I’m going to include parts of both.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
(Adapted from http://basil-albi.blogspot.ca/2011/10/spring-rolls-with-spicy-peanut-sauce.html and http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/08/vietnamese-spring-rolls-a-how-to.html)

Chicken Marinade:

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breasts
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste to taste

Just mix all the ingredients and leave to marinade for about an hour or two. After, just grill/broil and leave it to cool. Then, cut into thin slices.

Peanut Sauce:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, chopped
4 tablespoons red pepper flakes*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water 
2 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Heat the oil on medium heat and add the garlic, onions and red pepper flakes.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix, and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Warning: this is spicy, you can decrease/increase the red pepper flakes to your liking.
Rolls:
Ingredients:
Torn lettuce
Chopped carrots
Chopped onions
Shredded cabbage (I used coleslaw mix)
Rice Paper
Cilantro
Chicken
Optional: Vermicelli and Thai basil (I didn’t add them, but they’re pretty standard for these kinds of spring rolls)
The rice paper should have instructions on the back of the packet. But for me, I dipped the paper in a shallow dish of water for a few seconds and then placed it on my chopping board – over a minute, the rice paper softened and became very sticky.
At this point, I placed the lettuce, then chicken, some peanut sauce and the rest of the ingredients near the centre of the paper. I then rolled it once, folded the sides in and rolled it up again, creating a roll! (Say roll one more time – crack)
There was peanut sauce inside the roll, but it was so delicious, I ended up dipping the roll into the sauce again.
I wish I’d taken a nicer picture, but I forgot to until just before we ate it, so you will have to deal with my insta-pic. I apologize, hopefully when I make this again, I’ll remember to take proper pics for you guys.
Hope you guys enjoy this recipe!
Be kind and God bless!
xx

Paris

I thought I’d share some photos from my recent trip to Paris. It’s become my favourite city in the world (sorry, Hong Kong – you may be home but Paris is better). There’s a lot of hype around the Eiffel Tower (don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful, as is the view from the top), but my favourite monument has to be Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is breathtaking and every picture I’ve ever seen of it, did it no justice at all.

Seeing things I’ve only dreamed about has been such an amazing and humbling experience, and I really do hope that everyone who’s ever wanted to go to Paris does go.

Also, Laduree macarons (as well as the rose macaron from Pierre Herme) blows every macaron I’ve ever tasted out of the water. They melt in your mouth with an explosion of flavour and I’m afraid that I don’t think I can ever make macarons again. The bar has been set too high.

Be kind and God bless!
xx

Belgium

I know I promised some recipes (from my tea party) and I swear will soon enough.

But it’s been a while since I’ve blogged since I spent the last two weeks in Europe! Belgium, Paris and London, to be exact. It was stunning and tiring and I’m very much in love with the countries (and the hot French men). I thought I’d post some photos that I/my brother took of Belgium before I delete them off my computer (since my harddisk is full, making me a sad penguin).

I hope you guys enjoy the photos. I hope it inspires you all to visit Belgium as it is full of history and really is stunning. I also hope this makes you crave Belgian Waffles (which really are better in Belgium – they are more dense and a little harder – almost as though they are deep fried. And so so tasty!) as well as Belgian chocolates (which are not as sweet – less sugar, more cocoa!).

Image

Tea at Tiffany’s (but not really)

Hi hi hi! Been super busy lately with finals (I’m such a whiner about school) so I haven’t had the time to blog about anything. Still don’t, but I thought I’d share some pictures from the recent tea party I had for my friends.

I wish I was more technologically capable, then I’d be able to arrange these pictures aesthetically. But I’m not, so I can’t. Hope you like the photos anyway! (I’ll post recipes soon too!)

An eye for an eye..

So, I saw a status on Facebook that slightly upset me. In the interest of keeping this person anonymous, I’m not going to directly quote it; instead I’ll convey the gist of it:

You don’t need to take revenge – whoever hurt you will eventually hurt themselves, and, if you’re lucky, God will let you watch.

I agree – there is no need to take revenge. I’m a huge believer of Karma; how you treat others will be somewhat of an indication of how you will be treated. But just because someone hurts you, doesn’t mean they deserve to be hurt. I don’t think it’s up to people to decide what others deserve: it’s up to God. And it’s also important to remember that bad things happen to good people. So how do you differentiate between that and Karma?

Watching someone get hurt, despite whether or not you think they deserve it, is not luck. It’s not a blessing, it’s not a right, it’s not a privilege and it’s certainly not something to wish, want, or wait for.

Yes, you’re hurting, but just for a second, put yourself in their shoes (even if they didn’t extend that courtesy to you): do you want someone to feel the same pain you did? And more importantly: do you want to watch them get hurt and actually revel in the glory of it?

In an extreme example, let’s say someone drives while they’re drunk. He gets into a car crash, and no one is hurt but himself. Was this outcome somewhat expected? Yes. Was this his fault? Yes. Was this something he deserved? No. He didn’t think clearly, he made a horrible mistake, and unfortunately, it was a fatal one. He was a brother, a son, a husband or boyfriend; he was a person. He’s dead and gone but his family and his loved ones are suffering and no one deserves that.

Essentially, people should get what they deserve, but that’s not up to us to decide it and that should not be something we want.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” – Gandhi

So let’s focus on happiness, love and peace. Let’s make this world a better place.

Be kind and God bless,
xx

Webster Falls (Hamilton, ON)

I hope you guys had a lovely Victoria Day weekend (and to all you non-canadians: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Day). Mine was pretty action-packed and I wanted to share some photos with you from my visit to Webster Falls on monday.

Webster Falls is just one of several small waterfalls around that area and is a pretty popular site, as I discovered yesterday from to the lack of parking spots. The parking lot is basically a grassy lot with a myriad of trees that provide shade and so in fear of starting a fire, they don’t allow barbecues/grills. They also don’t allow radios/speakers/loud music, which is just a matter of courtesy – families are eating, napping and playing games all around. 

 

My apologies for the quality of these pictures – I took my fancy Nikon with me, but the photos only upload on a Windows computer, and as a Mac user, I was too lazy and impatient to transfer from computer to computer. You guys will have to make do with my hipster phone photos, instead.

To all nature-lovers, this is a fantastic place to go – it’s peaceful and beautiful. Parking is only $10 for the day so it’s definitely an affordable outing. To get to the area, it’s slightly confusing so make sure you get proper directions! Also, to get to the falls (not the parking lot), you have to go down a very rocky, very steep and slightly dangerous staircase so please be careful!

Be kind and God bless,
xx

Make up Review – Everlasting Liquid Love Lipstick

Today I discovered how much I can achieve when I’m not wasting my time on Pinterest or Facebook!

Since 9 this morning, I:
1. Failed my psych midterm
2. Tried out a new lipstick
3. Cleaned my washroom – scrubbed, swept and mopped!
4. Cleaned my room
5. Made a Twitter account

And now I’m about to blog! This probably seems like nothing to all you busy bodies out there, but if you guys knew how extremely capable I am at wasting time, you’d be proud of me.

But now to my make-up review. I needed a little SHAZAM today, so I thought I’d mosey on over to Sephora to try out some lip colours. It was then that I stumbled upon Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Love Lipstick, and I have to admit – it’s everything I want and more!

The colour was vibrant, and matte (which I think is important when wearing bright lip colours). It also lived up to its name – it lasted me a good six hours before I scrubbed it off with a toothbrush. I was also able to eat and drink with it on and it didn’t smudge around my mouth, nor did it transfer onto the fork/glass. The lipstick, amazingly, didn’t leave my lips dry, which is usually a huge problem for me. It also didn’t get on my teeth, which is my biggest fear (aside from death, bees, Joan Rivers, etc). For $23 (CAD) at Sephora, you’d be getting a medium-sized tube with a wand applicator (just like a gloss), but I think it’s worth it.

Instagram does change the colour a tiny bit; the lip shade is supposed to be bright red, it’s called “Outlaw”. They have around 6 shades, ranging from a beige to a coral, a hot pink to a bright red. I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone and everyone – I’m a happy customer!

Be kind and God bless
xx

Happy Mother’s Day! (+ a blueberry pancake recipe)

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and soon-to-be mothers! I hope your day is filled with the happiness and love you so rightly deserve!

My brothers and I (who are terribly broke + unemployed right now) pooled our money and bought mum a respectable bouquet of flowers which she loved. We also whipped up a couple of pancakes (with blueberry sauce) and chocolate covered strawberries. I had only made enough pancakes for mum so we all just sat at the table, watching her eat. She, being a mother, declared that she could only really eat one and so gave her greedy children the rest of her pancakes. However, she assured us that she LOVED the pancakes and so I decided to share the recipe with you guys!

Pancakes
(adapted from Betty Crocker’s recipe)

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Beat the egg until fluffy and add the milk.
2. Beat in the rest of the ingredients until fully incorporated. (For thinner pancakes, you can add another 1/4 cup of milk.)
3. Heat and grease (with butter) a griddle on high heat.
4. Pour in a dollop of pancake mix (I used a ladle which made medium sized pancakes. The mix should spread itself into a circle, but the pancake will be quite thick – I flattened the pancake using the ladle).
5. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

Voila – very few ingredients for very fluffy pancakes! You can also make them blueberry/chocolate chip/banana pancakes by adding: blueberry/chocolate chips/bananas. Easy peasy! Also accompanied by:

Blueberry Sauce
(thanks to Ms. Nigella Lawson)

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup maple syrup

1. Put the ingredients in a saucepan and (on medium heat) bring it to a boil. (This makes very runny sauce – I prefer mine a little thicker so I added a teensy bit of corn starch.)

Hope you guys enjoy the recipe and the food! Happy pancaking!

Be kind and god bless!
xx

Kobo Review

A couple months ago, while I was away at school, I got a very interesting phone call from my mother.

Mom: We got a macbook for the family!
Me: Oh, really? I’m impressed, you guys can barely work a PC, even after all these years. Why’d you buy a new laptop?
Mom: Laptop? Oh no, wait, it’s not a macbook, it’s the flat one.
Me: The ipad?
Mom: YES! The ipad! We bought an ipad!
Me: Well, now I’m really impressed!
Mom: But it’s only for books.
Me: … So you bought a Kobo?
Mom: Ahh, yes, that’s what it’s called!

Anyway, after that mess, I was introduced to the Kobo. At first, I was skeptical – I’d heard that it was just like reading a book, but I didn’t see how that could possibly be true. Plus, I’m generally quite old fashioned (aka I don’t like change) so I thought I’d prefer books over ebooks any day. And, as usual, I was wrong. And here’s why:

1. When people say “it’s just like reading a book”, believe them. The screen really is like paper! At first it bothered me that it was so dim but then I realized that books weren’t exactly backlit either, so once I adjusted my mind to the possibility of a dim electronic device, all was well.
2. It’s so light! It’s not like books weigh a ton or anything, but if you were carrying a thousand books at once, the weight would add up. But a Kobo is lighter than one book, but can store tons o’ books!
3. It can take quite a beating. My Kobo was always in my backpack, amidst a myriad of my heavy textbooks, my sharp clipboard and haphazardly thrown pens. Also, I tend to throw my backpack around without any regard of its contents. Despite all this, my Kobo survived.
4. Buying ebooks are cheaper than buying actual books. This makes sense as they’re probably saving a lot more time/energy/resources/money on just uploading books onto a computer rather than printing them out on paper. Although the price difference isn’t too drastic (generally it’s a dollar or two cheaper for the ebook), there are some pretty good deals on bookstore websites. Most of the classics (Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, etc) are also free.
5. You can also (probably) borrow ebooks from your local library. I was super excited to hear this because it meant that I could just borrow books online, without having to change out of my pyjamas and actually go outside. One downside is that libraries often don’t have many copies of a certain book so there are always waiting lists and not every book is available in ebook format, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid the sunlight.
6. The kobo help team is very prompt and helpful. Being as technologically impaired as I am, I couldn’t quite figure out how to load books onto my Kobo using Adobe Digital Editions, so I emailed the help team. They were prompt to email me back, asking several specific questions to get a better idea of my situation. I figured out how to load the books, so I disregarded the email. A week later, the concerned Kobo team emailed me back, just to see if I had figured things out (which was pretty nice of them to do).

Overall, I am pretty happy with my Kobo. It works well and it’s easy to use. One complaint though: when you press anything on the screen, it does this weird flashy thing where the colours of the screen (basically black and white) invert before settling on your chosen window. At first I thought it was just my Kobo, but I watched a youtube video on the Kobo and it happened there too (so I’m assuming it’s just a general Kobo thing). But this is just one minor complaint in the sea of positives I’ve already laid out.

So I hope I’ve convinced you towards a Kobo (or at least been somewhat helpful).
And yes, I’ve included pictures, in case you didn’t know what a book looks like. But also because they add some pizzazz to my posts.

Take care!
xx

disorganized but colourful – there’s another layer of books behind the ones you see!