Game of Thrones S3 Premier Viewing Party

I am so excited for the SEASON 3 of Game of Thrones! My friend Jena and I are both absolutely obsessed with the show, we are so obsessed that we had thought about planning a GOT preview party since LAST year!

This year I am taking the initiative in planning out the menu. We had initially wanted our guests to dress up as their favorite GOT character for this preview party, but knowing how burdensome that could be for last minute guests who just wants to show up and watch the show at the party, I’ve decided that it should be *optional*.

For the party, I didn’t want to go for a overly complicated menu because 1) execution will be difficult — I don’t want to slave away in the kitchen and not enjoy the party, 2) I need a menu with items that I can make (or purchase) ahead of time, and 3) food is not the focal of the night, the show is, and I needed to make sure it will compliment the theme.

Here’s our menu for our GOT preview party… I also got the inspiration from here.

Let me know what you think!

I tried to be witty with the menu item names

I tried to be witty with the menu item names

Happy holidays

Maybe it’s just me but for some reason I see way more people on Facebook post “happy new year” than “Merry Christmas”. Maybe because the trend is that more people are becoming secular, or maybe people are just more self absorbed and wanted their social network to know that they celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends and wore fancy outfits.  Anyways, I spent the entire day making rounds visiting family with the bf and yes, I went out the night before and had a fantastic time instead of staying home.

Anyways, I’ve ranted enough, and here are some pictures of my Christmas Day meal, and all the food I prepared for the Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner.

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Why we love our dogs (cats, or any other animals)

dog and polar bear playing

It’s obvious that our society has an obsession when it comes to cute cuddly animals.  News stories with animal encounters are often sensationalized, and overshadows other more important national issues.  Cute cats playing with a box is much more entertaining to watch than an economist talking about the fiscal cliff.  Regardless of our obsessions, one thing is for sure – we can’t get enough of it.  I for one, is definitely one of those people who has an above average obsession with my dog. Okay, maybe not just above average, maybe well above average.  My dog Panda has a Twitter account, a Facebook fan page, a Facebook page, a website, and last but not least business cards and holiday cards made out specifically for him and his friends.   Call me crazy, but when you have an awesome well-behaved brilliant dog like Panda, it’s hard not to e-idolize him.  My friend said it would be a good idea to compile a list as to why I love my dog or why I love dogs in general and the awesome reasons as to why I would gladly pick him over any guy any day, I accepted this challenge. So here is my list as to why I love my dog. If you think I missed anything here, or something I should add on to here, please feel free to drop a comment and I’ll keep adding it onto here.

  1. My dog will always be there for me.
  2. My dog provide unconditional love.
  3. My dog will never lie to me.
  4. At the end of the day, I can always count on my dog to cheer me up.
  5. My dog keeps me warm at night.
  6. People sometimes talk to much. I enjoy the silence with my dog.
  7. Watching my dog do tricks for food = instant entertainment.
  8. My dog keeps all of my secrets and will never tell a soul.
  9. My dog will never judge me.
  10. Dogs don’t require a whole lot to be happy.  Love and nourishment is all they need.
  11. My dog doesn’t care how much money I have in my bank account.
  12. My dog doesn’t care how crappy my car is (even though it isn’t a crappy car, in fact, I have a nice car, but still).
  13. Dogs never talk back to you. Ever.
  14. You can’t get into an argument with a dog.
  15. Regardless if I weigh 200lb or 100lbs, my dog thinks I look fabulous.
  16. Dogs = fun.
  17. I don’t have to floss, shower or even wear makeup for my dog.
  18. Seeing how others treat my dog lets me know what kind of person they are.
  19. My dog can sense what I am thinking, and before I know it, he’s already a step ahead of me. He really can surprise me sometimes.
  20. Dogs are drama free.
  21. My dog thinks hot dogs are just as delicious as filet mignon steaks. In other words, cheap date.
  22. My dog never complains.
  23. My dog is always loyal to me.
  24. My dog doesn’t mind me being a lazy ass. In fact, he quite enjoys it.
  25. Dogs will never be two-faced; they will always let you know what they’re thinking right then and there,
  26. My dog will never try to argue with me.
  27. Dogs never wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
  28. My dog makes a better sleeping partner than any other bf.
  29. My dog is the best pillow ever.
  30. My dog will never ask me to buy him stuff.
  31. My dog will never borrow stuff and never return it.
  32. My dog enjoys watching whatever show/movie I am watching.
  33. My dog cleans my plates, bowls, glasses, forks, spoons, and whatever dinnerware that has food particles.
  34. My dog will always forgive me.
  35. My dog will always follow me.
  36. My dog will always protect me (or try to at least).
  37. My dog will feel and act guilty when he’s actually done something wrong.
  38. My dog will miss me when I am gone.
  39. My dog thinks my crazy driving is perfectly fine.
  40. My dog won’t leave me for another owner.
  41. My dog is easily satisfied with a belly rub.
  42. I can neuter my dog legally. Bwahhaa
  43. My dog will never try to manipulate me.
  44. My dog doesn’t know how to NAG.
  45. Dogs in general, are more focused on their job (if trained for that specific service).

More to come. Time to rest up for now!

In defense of the new TLC show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”

Today was my first time sitting down to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo show on TLC. It also happens to be its marathon.  I am not a typical viewer… sometimes I can go on days without turning the TV on, and today was one of those days where I just turned into a vegetable in front of the tube and sat through 3.5 hours of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  After a long day of cleaning 3 bathrooms, vacuuming a 5 bdrm house, 4 loads of laundry, and cooked a meal for 4, I was ready to relax.  I don’t normally follow reality TV, with the exception of Real House Wives of Beverly Hills. Other than that, the only stuff I enjoy on TV are Game of Thrones and Grey’s Anatomy. That’s about as much TV I’ll ever watch.  But today, after hearing all the buzz on the internet about this crazy new show, I had to give it an honest try.  I’ve heard people blast about June, who is the mother of pageant child Honey Boo Boo (Alana) about her controversial parenting methods such as giving the kid “go-go juice” before a pageant to get her pumped up.  I just sat through 3 and half episodes of that, and I didn’t see the go-go juice make a single appearance.

In the episode where the family goes to the water park sans Sugar Bear, June took to the water slides herself. Maybe it’s something hilarious about fat people going down a gigantic tube slide, or the fact that June herself is hilarious and fully aware but at the same time nonchalant about what other people thinks ▬ I was dying of laughter for good two solid minutes.  It’s been GIFed by the internet, so you know it’s funny.

In another episode where June serves the family “sketti”, which is pretty much the redneck version of spaghetti ▬ the sauce’s main ingredients are butter (or in June’s case, I Can’t Believe its Not Butter), ketchup, and ground beef.  At first I was grossed out by the fact that it was just ketchup and margarine for the sauce (I am a cook, so that instantly hit a wrong note with me), but with a little bit of thought after viewing that episode, I am actually curious to try as to what that would taste like, maybe just for kicks.   In a different episode, where the family goes out to find a new wig for Honey Boo Boo so that it might help her win a bigger title, the whole family decided to try on different kinds of wigs while they were there.  When June puts on a long blond wig, Sugar Bear expresses that he had gotten aroused seeing his beloved girlfriend of 8years looking so “smexy”, I couldn’t stop laughing again. Partially due to the fact that Sugar Bear himself is probably hands down my favorite character from the series (just watch the way he talks, and how he handles himself, you’ll see why), and the fact that he has so much love for June despite what most of the audiences and other people sees her.  This is genuine love, and that’s hard to find nowadays in the vain reality television world full of faux tans, big boobs, nose jobs and botox.  Sugar Bear is probably the most down to earth, sweetest and genuine character in reality television. Now I sound like I have a secret crush on the guy! LOL!

Go-go juice and other crazy antics aside, June’s method is  unconventional when it comes to raising Alana and her 3 sisters.  But with all judgement aside, after watching the entire family from an unbiased point of view, I actually think June is an excellent mother, and Sugar Bear is also an awesome father with permanent look of having a dip in his lip. Albeit they might be an unconventional redneck family that you’ll have a hard time understanding if it wasn’t for the subtitles, but this family is definitely worth watching, and there are lessons to be learned here while getting shamelessly entertained.

This is my new ring tone by the way:

I am seriously having trouble focusing and doing the things I use to love doing.   I am one of those people who have more hobbies than you can count on both hands… I dabble in a little bit of everything every now and then, and is a master of none of my hobbies.  Recently, I’ve been trying to get back into doing oil paintings again, and I thought to myself, what better way to get back into painting again than to pick up where I left off? When I first picked up painting again few years ago, I started this huge landscape painting of a scenic place that’s very famous in Shanghai.  The painting itself is about 3 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Before that, I painted a 1×1 sunflower, the next one was this humongous thing.  I thought to myself – I can handle this.  With my painting instructor by my side, I finished about 60% of the painting within 2 weeks – spending a total of 30 hours on it.  Fast forward 3 years later, with the painting brought back with me from China, I wanted to start painting again – only this time, I can’t find the painting anymore. The entire painting rolled up in a canvas cloth – GONE.

I mean, its one thing on my part for being lazy and not wanting to finish this ever – but another when I finally find the time and courage to do it again (it is quite daunting, trying to finish that thing), and not being able to find it again – and after spending so much time already – GONE???

It’s quite frustrating and saddening at the same time. Maybe it’s time I painted something else…

the unfinished painting (3x9ft)

^now officially missing.

the “never-will-be-finished” painting

Lessons in love

One of the things I have learned from being in relationships is that you learn not just how to be in a relationship, but you also learn a lot about yourself. Being in different relationships however, has taught me many lessons in life that I would have probably not learned about myself if I had been single. Each serious boyfriend I’ve ever had, has taught me tremendous lessons in life and helped my path to self discovery.

When I was younger, like most girls, I’ve always had a set of list that my potential boyfriend must qualify in order for me to date him. I remember making that list in high school, with most of my friends thinking how crazy I must be coming up with crazy shit like that, but deep inside, unlike most people who have a mental list in their mind, I had it listed out on an online journal (remember, I use to blog before blogging was even a term – this was between 1999-2001). I knew I was setting the bar high, but why not I thought to myself — I deserved it.

Like everything with time, expectations change, and as you grow and evolve to become an adult, a lot of the things that I had listed as a requirement when I was 15 had become superfluous, while other qualities illuminate as “must-haves”. But when you fall in love with a person, those items on the list becomes trivial – sometimes I even bend the rules a little bit to fit the bill. To be honest, most of the guys whom I have dated probably doesn’t even come close in passing half of the requirements on that list. If I could do a chart base on the different grades I would give to all of my ex-boyfriends and dudes I’ve dated, you would probably see a very inconsistent line that resembles a roller coaster ride. Let’s just say that base on my dating history, I went from having really high standards, to no standards, and finally to some standards. Do I still have that list or follow it? Of course not, but come to think of it, I still might have it stashed somewhere in a harddrive in the garage…

When you become intimate with another person, you don’t just learn about who they are, what they’re really like, you also learn how to be with that person. When you’re in love, there is no other feeling like it – the bliss, excitement, and rush of blood, and so on. But when it all comes to an end, there’s no pain like a sinking heart break. I am sure there are boundless literature and books out there that talks about the benefits of being in a relationship and how to deal after a breakup, but what I think I’ve learned the most from all of my relationships is that every day is a challenge to not only become a better person, but also a discovering of one’s innerself. Going back to lessons learn from the different people you become close with, I think it’s best if I just list it. For the purpose of this post, I will only reference the lessons I’ve learned from serious serious relationships.

The First:

No one will ever forget their first love. My first love changed me, and I didn’t know what being in love was like, until I saw myself changing before my eyes – and that’s a good thing. My first love was a boy who was a bit older than me and lived very far away. The idea of being with him was more fun than actually being with him to be honest. But being in love for the first time, for some reason, made me a much nicer person. I was friendlier, happier, and less stuck up – coincidentally, this is the same time I abandoned my list. I was so happy and stupid in love that I didn’t even care anymore about any “standards” I had previously lucidly concocted – and that’s a bad thing in hindsight. Even though it was brief, it left a lasting impression. Needless to say, I still have a lot to learn about love. My lesson from this boy however, was that some men are more cowardly than others. This one, well, he didn’t have the balls to breakup with me, so instead of breaking up with me, he just ignored me instead. So after a few weeks of constantly trying to find out what was going on and why he wasn’t returning my emails or call, I finally got the hint. But seriously, not even a word and just dropped off the radar? What a coward. Moral of the story: you have standards the first place, don’t let love blind you. They’re call “standards” for a reason.

The Dreamer (aka the Loser):

This was the boy that I was in and out of a relationship with over a span of 5 years. When you’re in your late teens and early 20s, 5 years is a long time to waste. However, of all of the ex BFs, I have to admit that he was the nicest to me. When I was ill and bed-ridden for a week, he didn’t left my sight and tended to me around the clock. Deep inside, he was a wonderful and kind person; however, his behavior and actions were the exact opposite. He was the liar, thief, con-artist, two-timing loser and shameless manipulator. With that being sad, what I learned from him is that you should never trust someone whole heartedly if you have a gut feeling deep inside, knowing that something isn’t right, and get the fuck out of that relationship the moment something is wrong. Some of the crazy stupid shit I’ve done while I was in a relationship with this guy made me realize how lucky I am to be alive today. Of course I didn’t learn my lesson of keeping the standards. Initially, the boy had potential, but when he started to downward spiral, I should’ve known better than to stick around. The lesson I learned was that, don’t ever go back to your ex because you still have feelings for that person, and hoping for the 30th time that you’ve broken up, that maybe this time, he will finally change for you. Truth is, he will never change. Moral of the story: It’s easier to move a mountain than to change a person’s character (Chinese proverb).

The Thinker:

Of all of the relationships, this was the one that opened my eyes about a lot of things. The Thinker was a brilliant young man with a lot of potential. However, potential is useless if you have no ambition or perseverance to harvest it. Intellectually, I had the best time with The Thinker. We were always exchanging thoughts and ideas, and was always challenged to think outside of the box. Not many people can make me do that – and he did, frequently. Good thing about being with someone as brilliant as he (he was clinically diagnosed as a genius) is that you learn to have new perspectives. With The Thinker, I learned to become more tolerant, learn to respect, and see things from others eyes. I can’t say enough good things about The Thinker because he opened my mind about a lot of things, but sometimes he enjoys analyzing things so much, and a lot of times even over-analyzing things, made it cumbersome to be around. In fact, intimately, things were going downhill. When that’s all he wanted to do – to analyze a situation, a thing, a person, etc., it gets tiring, mentally draining, and you lose focus on the simple things in life that made relationships important. In fact, he got so comfortable with me as a companion and friend, than a girlfriend, I eventually fell out of love. At the end of the relationship, we were both in two different stages in our life. I was ready to take the next step, he wasn’t. He still wanted to be a kid. I remember our fights use to be volatile because we were both stubborn, opinionated, and unforgiving at times. I’ve never been called out so many times during our fights where I thought I could bs my way through a fight (being a girl, you bs a lot in fights to get your way). Maybe because I reminded him too much of his own mother, and maybe if certain situations had been different, he could have easily been the one. Moral of the story: A successful relationship should be a well-rounded one, just because the other person is a great person, doesn’t mean he or she is the right person for you. If something is missing, and you feel that there’s a void there that you just can’t fill, get out.

The NYSX:

The reason I call this one the New York Stock Exchange because being with him was like a day at the stock market. You never know what’s going to happen. Somedays are great, somedays are terrible, and somedays you’re just barely getting by without losing it all. The NYSX and I have always had a thing for each other for a long time. When we first met, we instantly connected. In my mind, The NYSX was this glorious, unattainable, forbidden love that I like to fantasize about in my “what-if” situation thoughts. When we first met, we thought nothing serious could ever happen between the two of us because of the distance (we met when we were in our late teens, early 20s), so it all started with some shameless flirting when we were younger. Fast forward many years later, once we were reconnected thanks to mutual friends, we couldn’t help but give it a try – I mean come on, we’re adults now, we can do whatever we want! The NYSX taught me that to be with someone, you need to have patience, tolerance, courtesy, and don’t just hear the words your significant other is saying, you have to listen. Unlike The Thinker, The NYSX was a very giving and selfless lover. Some of our best times together were those very tender intimate moments. We made the most of our time together. We were so serious, that we even considered marriage. Maybe we were wiser when we were younger – knowing that it wouldn’t work the first place because of the distance – and ultimately, this was what broke us appart – the distance. That feeling of falling out of love had happened to me right before my eyes. As things took a turn for the worse with things not working out the way we had planned it (work, school, relocation etc), we knew the odds were against us. I always thought to myself, if we hadn’t actually try to have a relationship, The NYSX would have stayed beautiful, flawless and untarnished forever in my mind – something that I could no longer dream about. Now that we’ve experienced what it’s like to be together and get real serious, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly side that I never expected to see. Moral of the story: No matter how hard you try, if it’s not ment to be, it’s not meant to be.

I hope you enjoyed my stories, let me know what you think!

30 before 30 – the Bucket List

I was perusing the internet in the middle of the night (as always), and when I found a series of bloggers who had created their own 30 before 30 bucket lists, I knew I had to jump on this bandwagon.  I am 26, turning 27 in November, so I only have just a tad bit over 3 years to complete my list of 30 things before hitting the big three-O.  Time is flying by, and I’ll be graduating from grad school next Friday. Gone will be the days where I get to stay up till the crack of dawn doing whatever the fuck I want.  I’ll have to find a real job like any responsible tax paying members of the society, contribute to good causes, and maybe in the future, I’ll finally settle down.  The thought of actually growing up sounds pretty scary.  I am not sure if I want to be an adult yet, even though biologically and technically I already am one.  Anyways, here is my 30 before 30 bucket list:

  1. Jump or dive off a cliff somewhere, preferably not too high (and land in water)
  2. See some amazing fireworks for more than 30mins
  3. Visit another country other than China, Canada, or Mexico (as I frequent those often)
  4. Go on a vacation with my dad (this might be the most difficult task of my 30 lol)
  5. Attend a music festival
  6. Zip-lining
  7. Replenish my savings account
  8. Go sailing, or at least be in the boat that someone is sailing in
  9. Give away 30 things
  10. Rescue another animal
  11. Reduce my existing wardrobe by 30%
  12. Volunteer for a meaningful cause, instead of just donate money like I usually do
  13. Go vegetarian for a month
  14. Stay at a B&B for a weekend
  15. Lose (and never find it again) 15lbs
  16. Own a piece of property
  17. Shoot a gun
  18. Be surprised
  19. Take lessons on how to tango, and actually tango with someone without looking like an idiot
  20. Start and finish 5 paintings
  21. Get my ears pierced
  22. Camping trip/getaway with someone special, and spend an evening watching the stars (higher elevation = better view, you can actually see shootings stars)
  23. Own a scooter (and ride it regularly too)
  24. Leave 30 random notes of inspiration at random places where people will find it
  25. Have a picnic with my significant other.  Spend an afternoon lying on the grass under a tree shade, cuddle, look at the clouds and enjoy the moment
  26. Swim with sharks or dolphins
  27. Travel somewhere with just my backpack (I am leaving this open-ended to anywhere)
  28. Build up the courage to finally crop my hair short
  29. Moved and lived/live in a different city since I made this list for an extended period of time
  30. ?????????

Keeping my last item open — just in case something brilliant comes a long.

Let me know what you think!

The multipurpose flower – Chrysanthemum

My boyfriend asked me what kind of flowers I like – naturally I said Peonies.  Growing up in China, the Peony is like the national flower that symbolizes prosperity, happiest, and wealth, it’s nickname in China is literally translated to flower of the rich and honor.   During lunar new year, beautiful and quality potted plants of peonies along orchids are often sold to wealthy households as a symbol of prosperity.  Western countries have also had a long love affair with this coveted flower.  It’s hard to miss them nowadays in any bridal bouquet, as they are often reserved for the most important person in a wedding – the bride. Not only are they usually big buds full of soft petals of various fringe shape and sizes, they are also extremely fragrant.  Back to the boyfriend, who is so eager to seek out the nearest florist in a bitter cold city of Calgary for some peonies.  Due to the climate and availability, peonies are hard to come by.  So he asked, what’s my next favorite flower? Well, that would have to be the Chrysanthemum.

Chrysanthemum, is also another flower that is symbolically important to the Chinese culture.  In fact, they were first grown in China as a herb, not so much as a ornamental flower. They are boiled to make a sweet drink in some parts of Asia, called “Chrysanthemum Tea” that is used medicinally to help treat Influenza. In Korea there is a type of Rice Wine that is flavored with Chrysanthemums.

Certain type of Chrysanthemums are used as a natural insecticide, attacking the nervous systems of insects, and inhibiting female mosquitoes from biting. Chrysanthemum plants have been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by the NASA Clean Air study.

From various shapes and sizes, this versatile flower is definitely under-appreciated.  However, don’t go running to your nearest grocery store and buy a dozen of mums expecting it to do all the things I just mentioned, keep in mind that there are many different breeds of this flowers.

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The curious case of fillet-o-fish from McDonalds

As a non beef eater, fast food choices are often restricted to the typical chicken two-way (fried, grilled), and the occasional rare turkey. I don’t usually eat fast food to begin with as I like to cook at home, but it was one of those rare moments that I was just hankering for some unknown chemical substances masked in a perfect facade of a sandwich or burger in some form, served immediately over a drive thru. So I decided to give McDonald’s Fillet-O-Fish a try. Here is a quick summary of what the sandwich consists of:

So the F-O-F contains pollock or hoki, both of which, though not exactly seafood superstars, do qualify as actual fish.

Maybe the real question ought to be: what else does the Filet-O-Fish contain besides the fish? The caloric ratio of the sandwich is 46% fat, 39% carbs, and just 15% protein. Take another look at DietRiot, and you’ll notice, in addition to the “foaming agent” dimethylpolysiloxane, several partially hydrogenated oils, which produce trans fat.

Like any fried fish you’re going to eat, it’s only going to be good if it is fresh, and it’s also the determining factor whether if it will make you come back for more. The first time I had the sandwich where Ii got it piping hot right off the drive thru, I was obsessed. Perfectly steamed buns, just the right amount of juiciness and tartar sauce, I was hooked. So hooked that the following week, I went and got another. This time the sandwich was kind of warm. Unfortunately, despite it’s pristine exteriors, it was a boner killer. Maybe because I got it at a different McDonalds, and they only gave me half a slice of cheese (seriously) instead or a full size slice of cheese, I might have been happier, and that my obsession with this sandwich might have sustained. Instead it’s like one of those things: you tried it the first time and you absolutely loved it, but the second time around it was so blah that you no longer can sustain any sort of interest to give it another go next time. Maybe someday when I am desperate for fast food again, I will give this a try. Until then, I think I won’t be eating McDonalda again anytime soon.

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