March 17, 2015

Things that are Underrated

 Wearing old-school watches. Watching the seconds tick away, and then losing track of time for once. Planning a day of what you know you love, not what you think is expected of you (and if you're a fellow introvert, these moments).

Genuine answers to "How are you?" - realizing it's always nice to hear responses beyond "I'm good" and "busy....!"

Thinking out loud. Letting your thoughts go off on a tangent and start exploring layer after layer of yourself. Not being afraid to say the wrong thing, but instead, afraid to miss the chance to share a thought, as random or silly it may seem. Because that's how the best ideas and grandest epiphanies come about.

Mindfulness, self-awareness. Being honest to oneself and really reflecting on why we do, think, want, or say certain things. Realizing the wisdom and truth that you chase after every day in fact was within you all along.

Having the courage to admit your fears and uncertainties. It's okay to share about what you are scared of. It's okay to admit you don't know. If only we could all be honest and real to ourselves and one another - wouldn't that be refreshing?

March 7, 2015

March Goals

Slightly late on the March Goals but here we go! I've only set two this month as I expect both to be pretty time-intensive, but I'm excited to see how they will turnout. March is probably my least favorite month, because, well, it's that post-holiday come down period, and nothing exciting really happens in March. Plus we get zero public holidays, which is never good.

Pass an exam
I have a professional exam for work coming up in mid March so life has been nothing but lots of coffee, tea and pink highlighters (way funner than yellow highlighters, IMO), so for March my goal is definitely to pass this and get it out of the way.

Seek out inspiration
Contrasting my (dry and quantitative) exam, I've been giving more thought to what really satisfies my soul. Without passion and hobbies, life is just a soulless, infinite loop of purpose-less events. But pace of life in Hong Kong is so fast that I can barely find time to slow down and really appreciate things that inspire me. This March, I want to try to let my interests in liberal and visual arts (fancy term but simply translates to mean pretty pictures and thought-provoking reading) take center stage at least every now and then after years of focusing solely on what I think is expected of me.

And how did I do on my February Goals you ask? Not too bad. I vowed to give my eyes a rest by wearing less contact lenses, which I did manage to do by bringing my glasses with me in my purse, and taking my contacts out mid-day whenever I knew nothing "important" was left in the day. I was actually slightly forced to make this happen as my eyes have been ridiculously dry and red lately... I think a decade of contact lens wearing has taken a huge toll on them. Any fellow contact lens wearers out there with the same struggle? Another goal I made was to sleep and wake up earlier. I definitely need to keep trying on that one...

Another goal that I've had on my list since January was to try to make eggs benedict - though now rethinking it, it's really just making poached eggs since I consciously want to skip that unhealthy Hollandaise sauce. After 2 failed eggs (which tasted equally good, it's all good!), I successfully made poached eggs for Valentine's Day breakfast, stacked on top of crispy bacon and an English muffin. Big thanks to Smitten Kitchen's tips and inspiration from this amazing video.

What are your plans for March?

February 28, 2015

Things I Love | February

February has been a happy and inspiring month. I've thought a lot more about the the idea of "fewer and better" - fewer, better clothes, fewer, better meals, fewer, better social interactions. As a direct result of this, beauty wise I've pretty much stuck to my plain old routine with only these few (but quality) lip products that are worth a shout out.

I rediscovered 2 old favorites (that I thought I'd lost but were in fact tucked away in a neglected makeup pouch) - the Body Shop Cocoa Butter Lip Care Stick and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in "Boy." The former smells decadent like chocolate and adds a velvety layer of moisture; the latter is my all-time favorite MLBB lipstick which never fails me.

I also sneaked in a little purchase this month as a new Bourjois shelf made its way into Hysan Place in Causeway Bay Hong Kong. Bourjois has been available at select drugstores in Hong Kong for years now, but the selection is often limited and we rarely get any of the exciting new launches. Seeing all the amazing lip products (AND healthy mix line... which is next on my wishlist!) in person proved too exciting to resist, and after swatching literally every shade of the Color Boost line, I ended up with the Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon in "Fushia Libre," a glossy, wearable, bright, happy pink. It's the perfect balance of bright and wearable, making it equally appropriate for office and happy hour. As for the formula, you know the drill... glossy, hydrating, sheer but pigmented... I feel like I sound like a broken record by now. But what's worth raving is that the Bourjois formula is top notch and in my opinion better than both the Clinique Chubby Sticks and Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. Well done Bourjois.

Not photographed, I've been obsessed with 2 randomly discovered albums - Echosmith "Talking Dreams" and Royal Teeth "Glow." Spotify on repeat. Food wise it's been all about the homemade dumplings which we make from scratch every Chinese New Year. Can't get enough of them!

How was your February?

February 19, 2015

Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year! Today is new year's day according to the lunar calendar, and also day one of a four-day weekend here in Hong Kong (YAY!). That means lots of family time, good food, fireworks and celebrations. Alan caught a cold over the weekend and since then we've both been all sniffly, but I'm determined not to let it get in the way of the festivities. Some bright and cheery makeup might help.

I always think of Dior Addict Extreme in "Lucky" this time of year - Chinese New Year is all about tradition and good fortune, so the name "Lucky" is so perfect for the occasion. It's also the most gorgeous bright red/pink hybrid shade - red is THE color for Chinese New Year! Also on my face today, my trusty NARS Tinted Moisturizer for some happy glowy skin, and Benefit Benetint - an oldie but a goodie. Keeping with the red and glowy theme, I've used Too Faced Shadow Insurance in "Candlelight" with a bit of Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in "Spice" on my eyes.

Whether or not you celebrate Chinese New Year, I hope you have a great week (and use the festivity as an excuse to enjoy some good food and play around with reds and pinks in your makeup stash!). And for those who do, I wish you a lovely time of celebration, and a healthy, happy new year.

P.S. The red sheet photographed says "fortune comes with blooming flowers," a lucky greeting for the new year. We put up these lucky messages all over the house as decorations for the new year!

February 15, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

As a kid, I never liked birthday cake. I even refused to eat my own 6th birthday cake. I thought all birthday cakes were the same - the classic, old school sponge cake, with assorted fruit and massive layers of cream. But then I discovered 2 types of cakes that changed everything - ice cream cakes, and cookie cakes.

Now as a grown up I've obviously discovered the wonderful, infinite array of cakes in this world, but cookie cakes still hold a special place in my heart. Since Alan loved my Christmas chocolate chip cookies so much, I decided to try making a cookie cake version of it for his birthday.

I've never made a cookie cake from scratch, but knew Sally's recipe wouldn't do me wrong, especially since she's guided me through my first chocolate chip AND oatmeal raisin cookies. Surprisingly, I found this even easier to make than individual cookies - I didn't have to chill the dough or worry about the dough over spreading in the oven, since the cake is baked in a 9 inch pie dish. Because I had grand plans to serve this with Alan's favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream (yes, more chocolate chips!), I tuned down the sweetness by skipping the chocolate frosting, and using 3/4 cups of chocolate chips instead of 1.5 cups.
^we had only seconds to take this picture. these candles were burning so fast some letters were starting to disappear!

The cookie cake turned out to be a success! (Alan's reaction was: "you made this!?" which I'll take as a compliment! He also had seconds, which is always a good sign.) Because of other plans, I did have to bake this 2 days in advance, but like most regular cookies, it held up perfectly well. Right before serving, we microwaved each slice for 30 seconds and added a nice big scoop of ice cream. Best birthday cake ever. We may be way into our 20s but we'll never be too old for cookie cakes!
Happy Valentine's weekend!


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