Monday, 31 May 2010

Time to study!

It's that jolly time of year again... nope, not Christmas... it's time for exams! Today was my first day of exams and I gotta say both my English H and Asian Studies exam went much better then I had predicted, which is a plus. I've only got three more to go, and Mandarin and Science are tomorrow! Since I'm on the topic of exams, I just wanted to share with you some tid bits that I "typically" do while studying for exams.

Firstly, of course, I lovee to snack on something. My ultimate favorite study snack may sound quite ODD to you... pistachios and M&M's! I think they provide a great contrast to one another, because one is sweet while the other is salty- so it's two flavors in one! Haha:]

Plus, I like drinking fruity smoothies because they're both tasty and healthy, so I don't feel all that terrible about the M&M's! I like adding mango, passion fruit, strawberries, OJ, and ice (I'm not a big fan of banana's).

Although some people think listening to music is distracting while studying, I think it really gets me "in the mood". I tend to listen to cheerful tunes that somewhat encourage me to study more and finish my work... if you know what I mean. I often find myself nodding my head or tapping my foot... hehe:P

(If ONLY this was the current view from my bedroom!)
I usually cannot study for more than 45 minutes straight without a short 5-10 minute break. So, sometime I'll go onto my porch and just look off into the distance (trees, sunset, etc) for a few minutes, because it's not good to stare at a computer screen for a long time.

The smell of incense and the feel of dimmed lights really calm me, so I tend to study in a quite room and I like to light musk incents or smell essencial oils(massaging oils). For some reason many bright lights give me a headache and often distract me.

Lastly, this is kind of an odd one... my friend, Jane, told me today that if you stare at a bright color for a while then it will stimulate your brain cells and get you thinking faster. So I've actually started using this one today... BUT it doesn't seem to have the best results! Nonetheless, I'm still trying every method I can.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

A Life Purpose

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.
-- Dale Carnegie

I stumbled upon this quotation and it really made me think... There are so many opportunities in life that I should take advantage of, instead of being so restricted and confined. I've been told that I need to "live a little". When I was told this, I was quite sensative about it but now I understand why that specific person said that to me. I think I'm not a person who's often willing to take chances, because I overthink everything and only focus on the negative outcomes, as oppose to the positives ones. I don't want to spend my entire life dreaming about the amazing things I could be doing, instead, I want to go OUT THERE and do amazing things myself! My last goal in life is to be discontent and regretful of the things I could've done... When I'm elderly I want to look back on my life and be satisfied and pleased that I admired Earth's beauty, met my challenges, dared to be adventurous, played games, sang songs, and loved & be loved in return. Although I want to take chances and be happy, I also want to be willing to overcome my sorrows and confront my tragedies. Even though I will surely encounter people that don't want to take the same path as me in life and instead choose to take a different route, I shouldn't let them bring me down. I have turn to learn to make decisions for my well-being and because I want to, as oppose to always focusing on pleasing others. In conclusion, life is what you make of it and will always be that way. We are (I am certainly) too young to understand what the purpose of life is. There have been many, many, many philosophers and great intellects over time that have come up with their own definition as to "the purpose of life". But I don't think you can discover the purpose of life by simply relying on someone else's answers... in order to find the right answer you must look deep within you and... simply ask yourself.

By the way, I made some pretty massive vanilla sugar cookies today! I wasn't really in the mood to create something fancy since I have exams coming up... on Monday! Luckily, these turned out great. In case you were wondering, I found the recipe on Joy the Baker which is where I spend the majority of the time (that should be spent studying) drooling at her marvelous baked goods!

Friday, 28 May 2010


I can't believe it!! Freshman year is coming to an end quicker then I could've ever imagined it would. Like every other year, I have regrets. However, I also have many wonderful memories to take with me as I move on in life. Although there are some things that I regret about this year and some decisions that I made... there is no point worrying and wasting so much energy on something unchangable and as insignificant. Instead of looking back, I should be looking forward. I think one of my biggest problems is when it comes to be optimistic as oppose to pessimistic. I am quite the worry wort and tend to get worked up over the littlest things that are just not worth it! I remember my English H teacher this year, Ms. Conway, telling our class about how every morning as she walks down her staircase she counts her blessings. For example, "I'm thankful to have such caring friends" or "I am thankful to not be living in the middle of a war zone". Anyway, since this year is almost over, it has struck me how many things, including the great education that I get at T.A.S. are taken for granted. That's why I've taken what she said into consideration and am planning on counting my blessings everynight before I go to bed. Hopefully this will enable me to be more thankful about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in my life and not take as many things for granted because I know how fortunate I am.

Before we get to go off for summer vacation we first have to get through exams, which brings upon a lot of stress, frustration, hair-pulling, and tears. That's why I decided to make you some cupcakes... the best study food out there (it's been scientifically proven!) Frosting, sprinkles, and all that good stuff:)

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Summertime= berryfull.

Summer is the perfect time to have berries. In yogurt. Cereal. Shortbread. Granola. Ice-cream. Pie. Speaking of pie... berry cobbler pie bars! That's what I decided to make this weekend. It took me ages to decide, since there are so many great recipes on Joy the Baker's website, but I managed to narrow it down. When it came to choosing on which berries to use I was stumped. Sadly, they don't sell rasberries or blackberries in Taiwan. But, to my GREAT SURPRISE, I found frozen rasberries at G&G Delhi and knew I had to use them! Perhaps one of the best things about this dish is the sour creammmm. I love it. Don't get me wrong, this dish was extremly tangy from the lemon zest and berries, but it was also creamy- thanks to the sour cream.

I was planning on taking a hike today with my Mom, like I usually do on Sundays, but it's raining cats and dogs outside. Plus, I just feel like relaxing at home. I woke up really late today at 11:30, which isn't like me at all! I think the combination of the rain, waking up late, and exams coming up are making me feel lethargic and dozy. Maybe today would be a good day to catch up on all of the rest that I missed during the school week. Well, I'm going to go help my Mom make some rye bread nowwwww! Then it's off to some exam study planning. Oh joy.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

What is true happiness?

I have yet had the chance to answer this question. Some people are lucky enough to find it, while others spend their entire lives seeking it and sadly, some fail. Why does it seem like genuine happiness is so difficult to achieve? Is it because the majority of us are looking in the wrong places?
There is a roadblock standing in the way of true happiness and it all starts with the constant need to have something. Once you begin to demand something, you will spend the rest of your life doing so. Each one of us has numerous wishes and desires that we would like to achieve, but it is these very desires that can be quite catastrophic. Only a percentage of the desires that we have will eventually come true, as a result, the one's that we don't fulfill will cause us to be unhappy and dissapointed that we aren't getting what we want. If we are able to control our list of desires and wishes better, then the result will not be as tragic. Happiness is everyone's goal. Or so I think. It is a feeling that you have when you are not feeling... stressed, worried, hateful, envious, depressed, anxious, and the list goes on.
I'm not sure when my time will come to experiences genunine happiness, whether that be at college, when I get my first job, get married, etc. Or maybe I already have experienced it, I'm just unaware of it!
My goal in life is to be happy. Not to be a millionaire or have a dozen vacation houses across the globe. Just to be happy. As long as I have my loving family and close friends, I expect to one day experience true happiness... and I hope you do too! :)

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I recently watched Up and (personally speaking) thought it was pretty good! In case you haven't watched it yet, I won't give it away, but I have to say that the little boyscout is adorable!! Anyway, I came across this photo today which I couldn't help but post! :P

He's a real life cartoon character! Haha awwww

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Summer 10'

My summer destinations:
Neskowin, Oregon

La Grand, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

My brother, Jiggs, finally came back to Taiwan for the summer and he's gonna be here until August! I'm so excited. You see, he's going to Georgetown, which is located in Washington D.C. so I only get to see him 2-3 times a year. Speaking of summer... I can't believe we're going to be freeeee in about two weeks time!! First we'll have to get through exams. The sad thing is I'm not going to leave Taiwan till mid July and I'll only be going to the U.S. for two weeks. It's going to be a lot different from last summer, when I got to go to England, Wales, and Ireland. I guess I just like traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures and meeting interesting people... not that there are no "interesting" people in Oregon or anything... The rest of the summer I'm basically going to be chilling and working. I have an internship at the Community Center and I have to study my Mandarin and Russian-what joy! I guess there are positive things to look forward to, such as:
- chilling by the pool and at the beach
- sleeping in till noon
- no deadlines or tests to worry about
- all nighters, movies, and lot's of comfort food
- shopping! (of course)
- exploringgg... going places I've never been before and just being SPONTANEOUS and carefree
- relaxing! :]

Before I head off to bed I thought I'd share with you some pretty interesting yet random facts that I learned today:
- Butterflies smell with their feet.
- The reason honey is so easy to digest is that it’s already been digested by a bee.
- Blueberry juice boosts memory.
- The shrimp's heart is in it's head.
- Ants never sleep.
- The Germans tried to copy Coca Cola and came up with Fanta.
- The avocado has the most calories of any fruit.

And on that note.... tata

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Decisions, decisions

I'm faced with a very tough decision: do I want to do 2nd season basketball next year or touch rugby? This year I did in fact do basketball and I even managed to get onto the JV Gold team, but I don't know if I would enjoy playing basketball all four years of high school or be on varsity. You see, I think basketball is fun when you're fooling around with a group of friends, playing a casual game- nothing too serious. When it comes to rugby... I bet people think I'm supposed to be extremly pro because my brothers are so good, but the truth is: I'm not all that great!!! If I chose to try out for rugby next year I could probably train over the summer with my brother (if he was actually willing to help me). Although second season tryouts aren't until late October-mid November, I want to make my decision now so that I can begin focusing on that sport. For example, I'd have to work on my shot for basketball or hand/eye coordination for touch. If only they weren't during the same season! Any thoughts?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Laughing is healthy.

These photos will either make you laugh or smile- guaranteed.

Dog + Leash=

Disney's desperate housewives.

Crocs. Literally.
How sweet.
Mouse vs. trap.
Self portrait.
I've been studying the majority of the day since I have a big science test tomorrow, so I didn't have the time to write a long post. I thought the pictures were all pretty cute though, hope you enjoyed them:]

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Be happy, eat apple crisp:)

Everyone has their grouchy days... some more than others. You know what type of days I'm talking about, right? The type where you are irritated with everyone around you, whether you have a reason to be or not. The type where you are just so exasperated with your homework load that you wrinkle it up into a fist sized ball or rip it up into shreds. The type where you just can't stand the sound of lamb chops rolling around in people's open mouths during lunch that you throw a fork across the cafeteria. Or maybe that's just me. Nobody likes those days. I certainly don't. That's why I felt the need to share with you some of the things that cheer me up on gloomy, cantankerous days.
1. A bubble bath. Although this might sound cliche, a nice cozy bath of foam and bubbles seem to do the job of soaking my troubles away! Don't forget to light incents and candles.
2. Baking. I love whipping up something delicious in the kitchen.. whether it's something more complex like pavlova or something more simple like oatmeal cookies. Baking always seems to do the job. Trust me, the whipping, banging, thrashing, and whisking (I did not mean for that to sound perverted) will relieve your anger.
3. A brisk stroll. Get out of the house, the fresh air will do you good! While you're at it, do some yoga, tai chi, or meditation. This will give you a chance to reflect on the positive things in your life and count your blessings.
4. Tunes. I tend to listen to a mixture of joyful, mellow, and serene music. Bob Marley, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson... your pick.
5. Let it out. Find a way to express you emotions and feelings, whether that be through writing, poetry, song, dance, sports, or simply talking to a close friend or family member!

We all know that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. Well, what if life gives you apples? Kind seem to find the answer to that one? Not apple juice. Apple crisp! Joy has a marvelous apple crisp recipe that I knew I had to bake as soon as I layed my eyes upon the mouthwatering photos (as you can see). I'm just pleased at how delicious and appealing it turned out. This was heaven in a bowl when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now that you've heard about how great this recipe is... there's no turning back! Have funnnn and be happy:)
Photos from

Friday, 14 May 2010

Wheew, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies!

Wheew, yep that's right. Another long and tiresome day is over with... another week actually. Although this weekend is three days long (woohoo!) I'm not looking forward to it as much as I would have liked.. you see, I have tons of studying and cramming to do. Plus, on Monday I have a study party for science, ain't that just so much fun?! Today I have plans to meet Jane, buy her dress for the sports banquet, go running/play basketball, and chill at her house until it's time to leave for the banquet. How relaxing. Last night I made some warm chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and I ate them straight as they came out of the oven! Although baking chocolate chip cookies isn't my favorite pastime since they are quite basic, (I would rather bake an orange poppey seed bundt cake instead) they are a homey and hearty treat that is certainly worth the 10 minute wait. The cookies turned out soft in the center and crisp/crunchy around the edges-just how I like it! I'm planning on baking once more this weekend... perhaps on Sunday, so you'll have to wait and see what trick I have up my sleeve! :)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Weary Blues

Heeey! Hey- HEY, YOU THERE! YOU, YES YOU, BLUE. YOU! BLUE!!! I'm feelin' pretty blue right now too. You ain't alone. Aren't you feeling awfully weary and drowsy and...... just plain ol' tired? I certainly am. I know I need to get more sleep. Living in Taiwan, I'm so used to people telling me they go to bed at midnight or two o' clock or... sometimes even three thirty. It's unbelievable that people still have the energy (or not so much) to get out of bed, hop on the bus, and come to school five days a week. I tend to get in my bed between 9:30-10:00, which I think sounds pretty reasonable. Like any average teenager in high school I DO have homework to complete, presentations to prep for, and tests to study for... but I don't have heaps and loads and buckets of homework everynight that should be keeping me up till 3 AM!? Therefore, I think procrastination is one of the biggest issues contributing to this "late bedtime routine". It's obvious (and NO! you cannot deny it) that people are spending quite a bit of their time on entertaining sites such as Facebook, Youtube, MLIA, gossip blogs, and even the uhh... err.. hehe... occasional food blog. I am willing to confess that I visit Foodporndaily and Joythebaker everyday because I enjoy it. But, there comes a point when you gotta just say to yourself, "(add name here) what will be more important in 10 years time: what dress Blake Lively wore to the Golden Globes or your semester average in Honors English?" And yes, that does apply to me- but don't judge!!

Although she did look extremely stunning... in her BLUE dress:)

Monday, 10 May 2010

My Top Destinations

Since I've lived overseas my entire life (Hong Kong and currently Taiwan) I've been able to travel to a lot of different countries. I've seen Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Eiffel Tower in France, the Colleseum in Italy, Stonehenge in England, Blarney Castle in Ireland, the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, and I think you get my point! I love traveling and will always love it. I plan on living overseas when I'm older too, whether that means Asia, Europe, or the America's. I couldn't imagine being born, raised, and spending my entire life in one town, city, or zip code... although some people out there are like that. I think the gift of travel should be taken advantage of and enjoyed! So... today I'm going to share with you some of the top places I've never been to but I'd love to visit in the near future. You may not agree with me entirely, but there is something about each destination that I found so magical and intriguing, hence the reason it's on my list!

1. Vienna, Austria

2. The Taj Mahal, India

3. St. Petersburg, Russia

4. Copenhagen, Denmark

5. Praslin island, Seychelles

6. Greece

7. Cairo, Egypt

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Common Cold

I'm stuck at home today with the common cold. Coughing, sneezing, heavily breathing.
Luckily, it's just Monday so I'm not missing out on much. I've gone through a pile of Oprah magazines and have just started reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. She is extremly inspirational and an amazingly talented writer, poet, and figure to look up to! I'll fill you in when I finish the autobiography, which discusses the hardships and joyful memories she has about her childhood!
Nowww... hand over the Kleenex!

Mothers Day

Have you ever had one of those weekends that felt like it should be three days long, as oppose to a meager two days? Hmm?? Well, that's exactly how I felt today. I woke up quite early, at 7:30 to prepare for Mothers Day! I decorated the first floor with colorful cut out heart shapes and put flowers, chocolates, and cards on the dinning room table. I also helped my little brother, Myles, prepare for breakfast in bed. We made an omelette with tomatoes and herbs, fresh mango, yogurt, orange juice, poppey seed muffins, and.. of course, COFFEE! (with foam and chocolate shavings).
And... since I haven't baked at all this weekend (besides the simple poppey muffins) I decided to make a carrot cake! I added rich cream cheese frosting on top. Overall, it was a success. :)

Tomorrow I have a Asian Studies test which I am not looking forward too, but, I studied for up to three hours today with two of my friends, David and Louis. We went to Starbucks.. and now my papers reek of coffee beans- just how I like it:] I'm feeling quite sick at the moment... and should probably head of to bed. Toodles!~

Friday, 7 May 2010


Aren't puppies just adorable? Despite the shedding and the yapping and the... pooping, they're worth it, aren't they? Hate to disagree? Well, my siblings and I have been begging my parents for a puppy for quite sometime now. And I think we may actually have a chance! You see, we live in a town house, not an apartment... so it would have space to run about. As for what breed-I've got no clue! So, I was wondering if you had any suggestions? Toy poodle. Lab. Chihuahua. Beagle. Maltese. Collie.
Short post for today... I'm feeling quite queasy from all the food Jane and I ate after school (since it is in fact Fatty Friday). :)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Baking... for fun!

Avocado pound cake. Poppey seed cake with blueberry glaze. Berry cobbler pie bars. Yum, yum, delicious. I know what you're thinking.... obsessed. Infatuated. Fixated. Some may view my baking indulgence as obsessive, but no, I'm just passionate! Or so I think... To tell you the truth, I haven't always been a baking freak. In fact, I've only recently discovered the magnificent wonders that the kitchen holds. To me, baking is as whimsical as Alice in Wonderland. As imaginative as The Wizard of Oz. And you may hate me for saying this.. but as enjoyable as picking up Twilight or New Moon for the first time. There are so many fantasies that lie behind the kitchen cupboard... just waiting for someone (YOU!) to discover them. I am always digging up new recipes- just like an Archeologist, except I don't bake Prehistoric cakes, hehehe. I don't know what the point to this post is, but after spending most of my Journalism class on which happens to be my fave food blog- the thought of baked goods and the aroma of fresh, out of the oven Tres Leches cake was jiggeling with my brain cells! By the way, if you happen to be one of those fruitless people who constantly says "I can't cook" or "cooking is for 1950's housewives," then I'm glad you read this post of mine.. since it should be a WAKE UP call for you. Now, go buy yourself a lovely pinstripe apron and cook up a storm... or a dainty banana cream pie for that matter. :)

Photo courtesy of Ms. Joy herself! :D

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Spoken words..
Anis Mojgani's slam poetry is simply amazing.
My favorite poem of his: Shake the Dust is truly inspirational.
Who knew that a few words strung together could create something so beautiful? I certainly didn't. It was certainly a wake up call... one which I will never forget. Watch his video. Tell me what you think. Your reaction?

Speaking of words... in English today we analyzed Langston Hughes' renound poem: Mother to Son.

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the timeI'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps'
Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Hughes' poem was written during the Harlem Reniassance, which is basically just as it sounds: in Harlem and similar to a Reniassance (blooming of culture, music, the arts). In his poem, a mother is narrating to her son about her hardships in life. Although she has come across a number of "splinters" and "boards," she has perseverd and remained resiliant. She has not given up. The mother is sincere and hopeful- anything but synical! I'm hoping I can be more like this mother. Instead of being a pessimist I should be an OPTIMIST. Instead of being hopeless I should be HOPEFUL. Instead of giving up.. I should PERSEVERE.
Okay. I'm done. That didn't take too much brain power, did it? My goal wasn't to be preachy today, that's what Mothers and teachers are for! I just felt the need to share with you these poems, since they have truly touched me. Touched my heart. Touched my soul.