30 December 2013

2013 review

I've been putting this off for the longest time because it's such a daunting task, and I'm bound to forget somethings that I should mention. Here goes.

To start off, revisiting my resolutions made last year, I seem to have followed them. Slept more, hoping for higher grades (I doubt), bought less and used more of things I already had. Nothing much really happened in the second semester of first year.

First year... I'm glad I met my Chestnut friends. Otherwise I'd know almost zero people outside my program haha. Fun times eating (discovered good places!) and hanging out with them. Living together increases the rate that you feel close to people haha. Unfortunately, since we all split up in second year, I haven't been able to see them as much as I want/should. Missed out on a lot of gatherings simply because I'm lazy and didn't want to walk 30min+. Is this fact likely to change? I doubt it haha, my laziness is rather overwhelming, though good weather in the coming months will be a motivator to venture outside.

The big change from first to second year, aside from increased academic difficulty (this will be addressed later) is the change from living on res to off-campus.
Firstly, finding a condo downtown during the summer is a fucking pain in the ass that I don't ever want to do again. This is mostly because there were 4 opinions (in actuality, my roommates were chill, their parents weren't) that had to align, which does not converge fast enough for the downtown condo market. The place we ended up with is alright at best. The unit was not in the greatest of conditions (landlord clearly did not clean enough), and there are a lot of unusable space. The good thing is that its conveniently served by the TTC and the kitchen is actually usable.
I quite like living with 3 guys as roommates. Perks of having my own washroom (y), though at the expense that I can't just change clothes in my room (well the living room). We also had little conflict for the drastic differences in lifestyles (or more like me and them, in terms of eating preferences, siblings, housing type, etc). There were initial problems with dividing up the housework, which became more of a problem as midterms approached, and then died down again. Though it does prove that clear communication is the most important factor is resolving these issues. It's also important to not play the zero-sum game.
That being said, I think I would fare better living alone. My personality is too much of an introvert's haha, can't stand being with people for prolonged periods of time. There were so many days (and every single morning) when I was just really tired and did not want to interact with anyone. Its also because I'm stubborn and don't want to adjust my lifestyle to others, especially in regards to food. I need my husband to have similar culinary preferences lol.
Overall, I definitely don't regret my current living situation. It's a valuable learning experience living with non-family members. I also appreciate the time I spend with my parents now that they're not around, this is probably the first feeling of being a "grown-up"?

While on the topic of food, I'm really happy to be the coordinator of Sky Garden. This is the closest I've gotten to work and play being the same. Super excited about the upcoming season, especially since we might be expanding into the GB quad (but ugh, lack of sunlight). Also super glad that I have access to freshly picked vegetables and fruits, they do taste infinity better than out of season, grocery store varieties.

Also in the summer was my study abroad trip to England. It's always something I've dreamed of doing, and consequently had high expectations of (also because Shad was so amazing). Unfortunately, it wasn't fulfilled and I now wish I found a job instead (though that would have excluded Sky Garden, so all is fair). It's really my fault that I didn't make the most of this opportunity, I should have gotten to know more of my classmates and went out more. It was a weird situation though, on one hand I don't fit in with the Chinese students, nor do I with the American ones. Of course I'm generalizing here, but it's not an understatement to say that the majority of them follow their stereotype exactly (though this could be because I didn't get to know them). So I mostly stuck with the few friends that I did make, and stayed in my room a lot of the time. The stuff I learned was useful for civ220, but I didn't end up getting a CS/HSS credit that I wanted. What I did get was gorgeous sunset photos though.

Okay, academics, what the life of a student revolves around. Second year is much harder, or rather, the way that school is hard has changed. First year is hard because it's a new routine, second year is hard because the stuff you're learning is actually hard. Though I'm sure next year I'll be, third year is hard, wth was I thinking last year. And unfortunately, the seasoned profs for 3 of my courses are on sabbatical this year and we have new instructors. It turned out well for solids, but construction could definitely be better.
Though to be fair, I worked less this year. For example, my exams "studying" was almost a half-half mix of doing questions and being on reddit. Oh yeah discovering subreddits is the one of the best things that happened. Unfortunately that also means my ability to concentrate on one task is greatly diminished. I'll forever wonder how I managed to study calc for 8 hours straight in grade 12.

Through everything, I'm thankful that my family, friends, and especially Dave are there. I generally don't like being dependent, but knowing that they're there is good enough :) It's been good.

27 December 2013

2014 reading list

Whee finally got the library books that I put a hold on! Hopefully I'll be able to finish everything before break ends. Aka less Ni no Kuni (27 familiars away! But I'm being stubborn about tokos) and more reading.
 Food and philosophy (y), you might remember me mentioned Alain de Botton here and here.

Related,  here is the way too ambitious reading list for the upcoming year, partially crowdsourced from facebook friends. I'm betting on completing most of it during the summer months, so please ffxv don't come out until afterwards e_e"

  • The Accursed - Joyce Carol Oates
  • More Murakami
  • Whatever I haven't yet read from Vonnegut
  • Perhaps some classic sci-fi?
  • Brave New World
  • Metamorphosis  - Franz Kafka (rec'd by gr.12 English teacher, ahu's awesome)
  • Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (I've had it on my shelf for YEARS)
  • The Gourmet - Muriel Barbery (I feel as if I did read this but can't find a record of it)
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton (someday...)
  • Then We Came To The End-Joshua Ferris
  • Green Grass Running Water
  • Snow Queen
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  • The Glass Castle
  • East of Eden
  • Perfume
  • Mephisto 
  • Something by Malcolm Galdwell 
  • The Time Machine - H.G. Wells (this falls under classic sci-fi I guess)
  • This explains Everything - John Brockman
  • On Looking - Alexandre Horowitz
  • Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance  
  •  The discovery of the Future - H.G. Wells
  • Cooked - Michael Pollan
  • GEB (I don't plan on finishing it, just want to just farther than my last attempt, it really doesn't help that I have zero music knowledge and barely any formal logic knowledge) 
  • Letters of Note
Cookbook section (these are more for personal reference and there's actually way more, I just don't feel like digging through archives):
  • Land of Plenty -  Fuchsia Dunlop (best Chinese cookbook in English imo)
  • Vegetable Literacy - Deborah Madison (trying to eat less meat)
  • Little Jars, Big Flavour and Mastering Fermentation (gots to get going on preserving those bounty from the garden)
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking (gift to parents, but I'll steal it for reference sometimes)
  • More by Alice Walters

26 December 2013

Holiday 13 shopping

Finally saw the remenants of the ice storm after coming back uptown:
Rather pretty for the devastation it caused.

Boxing day was calmer than expected, probably due to the white Christmas making road conditions bad. Though it still took roughly half an hour to find parking at Yorkdale. Got the bunch of items from the planned shopping list (cords, jeans, loafers!!!) and an impulse purchase cause the bird print is too darn cute.

Overall, here's what I remember buying from 2013. My goal is for 2014's list to be shorter.

  • H&M white sundress 
  • Everlane silk blouse
  • Barbour jacket
  • chambray shirt
  • Tommy thick shawl collar cardigan
  • ECCO white sneakers
  • LL bean sailor shirt
  • H&M sheath dress
  • GAP legging cords
  • J.Crew toothpick jeans
  • J.Crew bird print shirt
  • Everlane ryan tee
  • Jeffery Campbell loafers 
PS. totally forgot about the swarovski crystal christmas tree, which use to be at Eaton's:

25 December 2013

merry christmas

One giant ice storm and finally back home after 72 hours of no power.
One Christmas day and 3 trophies left to go until platinum on Ni no Kuni (y).

Throughout all this, I've come to appreciate the company of my parents more. I think the near-20s is when we grow out of an overwhelming desire to be independent (least I think I'm getting there). On one hand the freedom of adulthood is just beginning, on the other hand, the nostalgia of childhood is just seeping in as well haha. Difficult to figure out how to enjoy this period of time. But for now, plat on Ni no Kuni!

22 December 2013

Cloud Atlas

Originally planned on watching this back in October because SIU drew a comic version, finally got around to it.

Took me a while to make the connections between the different subplots, still not entirely sure how all the characters are connected though. I get the SonMi parts (her lines are cool), and I get the nuclear reactor&music parts, and then there's the slave part which I don't really see how it relates aside from the diary.

The character designs and music is nice though.

Fate is a central motif (?) in the movie, and I somehow feel very privileged that I'm not bound by it (or at least don't realize that I am if it is indeed so).

21 December 2013


I always seem to schedule a packed day on last of exams.

Morning: solid mech exam. Not to a good subject to end with, ouch.

Lunch: mmm kebobs, I'm still amazed at how I finished such a large portion.

At Pamier Kabobs.

Afternoon: oh yeah guys, I have a summer research position now (y). It's with Professor Shiekh's group helping his grad students. It'll be a mix of lab work (seriously, UT's structural lab is pretty amazing, too bad undergrads don't get to use it, or even see a lot of it), and office work, so I should be able to get a lot of great experience from this. A previous student also got PEY at Arup, there is hooope!
Also played SGS with chestnut crew, man I miss SGS.

Evening: Date with Rui :p Grave of the Fireflies at TIFF, you should all go see the ghibli feature! They also have official artbooks in the store, just not of the films I want T_T" Look at the pretty pamphlats though!

We were fully prepared with tissues for a cry-fest, but the film was so depressing that no tears would even come out. But honestly, Seito could have prevented this! "orz Lesson: do not consume untreated water. The soundtrack and scenes with fireflies are absolutely beautiful.

Dinner: Khan San Road, super popular place. We arrived at around 8:30 and there was still a 30min wait. Worth it though, the Tom Yum soup is intensely flavourful! Every sip packed such a punch of spices. Was still full from lunch so just had the fresh rolls as a main, liked the basil in there.

17 December 2013

dissolved oxygen

Food eaten on past exam days in preparation for second last exam tomorrow (y)

 Deep dish pizza at College Q, a 6" may look small, but it is extremely filling.

Dimsum at Rol San, yeah we got a little greedy... I'm not the most adventurous at dimsum, always ordering my favourites. The top right corner, which has a chive and shrimp filling, is something new but will definitely be reordering.

15 December 2013

Love in the Time of Cholera

It is difficult to finish a novel during school times, but alas I am done reading this one.
I picked it up since it's by the same author as One Hundred Years of Solitude (oh hey I read that almost exactly half a year ago), hoping to relive some of the magic. It did and did not live up to the expectation. In short, I loved the writing, but not so much the ending.

Some exceptionally beautiful lines:
The ephemeral splendour of another afternoon that would never return
 It was a mediation on life, live, old age, death; ideas that had often fluttered around her head like nocturnal birds but dissolved into a trickle of feathers when she tried to catch hold of them.
The light of the city had disappeared over the horizon. Seen from the darkened deck in the light of a full moon, the smooth silent river and the pastureland on either bank became a phosphorescent plain.
Usually I skip over introduction of books, wanting to get straight into the story. I decided against doing so this time and was rewarded with a far more eloquent description of Marquez's writing style than mine own. I (severely) paraphrase: when reading his books, you sense that time cease to flow. Interestingly, the plot of both books also involves "stopping" time. This makes me read at a slower than normal pace, partly why it took so long to finish. Sometimes I catch myself lingering amongst a select passage, or rereading entire paragraphs just cause.

The plot of the book, as the title suggests, revolves around love. It follows the life of 2 characters and the changes in their view on love as they age. Select quotations include:
And he felt he had the fortitude to endure forgetting.

And it was always without pretensions of loving or being loved, although always in the hope of finding something that resembled love, but without the problems of love.
And he felt he had the fortitude to endure forgetting.

And it was always without pretensions of loving or being loved, although always in the hope of finding something that resembled love, but without the problems of love.
It was the first time in half a century that they had been so close and had enough time to look at each other with some serenity, and they had seen each other for what they were: two old people ambushed by death, who had nothing in common except the memory of an ephemeral past that was no longer theirs but belonged to two young people who had vanished and who could have been their grandchildren.

He had never been so exhausted by so brief a conversation, he felt pain in his heart, and each beat echoed with a metallic resonance in his arteries.

It is incredible how one can be happy for so many years in the midst  of so many squabbles, so many problems, damn it, and not really know if it was love or not.
In the end, the two's love is requited, and that's where my problem lies.  I didn't want to see Florentiono Ariza's love for Fermina Daza to be reciprocated.
(later edit: I thought my afternoon exam is in the morning, so I have time to spare and try to explain why I didn't like the ending)
I think it has to do with very realistic characters (eg. Fermina Daza with her fickle feelings) with a very idealistic ending. In their youth, their love was abruptly ended when Fermina Daza realized that her feelings towards Florentino Ariza was not actually love (+1 realism). However Florentino Ariza persists in his love (more like obsession) for her, waits until she is widowed, and again professes his love for her. He writes a reflective letter, which imo is the only redeeming action in their entire courtship (others include stalking her throughout the city...). The letter gives Fermina Daza strength to continue living despite her husband's death, and slowly bring them together in the end. I guess this is because their view on love changed in their old age, but to myself as a reader, the ending felt discontinuous with Fermina Daza paying him no attention the all the other time. On the other hand, I suppose this is the point the book is trying to make.

The last couple of sentences of the book is very impactful though, eg.
He was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits.
Also something to think about (to distract myself from my unwillingness to figure out my displeasure with the ending) :
No one described him better than he did when someone accused him of being rich. 'No, not rich,' he said. 'I am a poor man with money, which is not the same thing' 

So subjectivity aside, this book is beautifully written.

13 December 2013


Between looking up teas and teapots, I spent way too much time in this thread about fashion brands. Now I have a couple more things added to the already impossibly long "want" list (eg. in terms of super boss looking blazers: Theory and ofc YSL smoking jacket).

Some looks I'm saved:

Jason Wu is the only design whose collection I've followed, starting from the one with Versailles inspired decor. Obviously that was what hooked me in the first place, but I'm staying for his gowns. Really like how these 2 pieces transition from a body-con fit to beautiful draping.

Seriously I'd take the black one as my wedding gown if it was white. Though the side cutouts may not be the most appropriate. Though my all time favourite gown is still this one.

Elie Saab also makes gorgeous gowns. I was about to take some images, but the experience of using their website (and the zoom!) was good so I'll let you click through to there. Check out the detail photos to really appreciate how intricate each dress is (also cool to look at the sketches). His dresses don't change much season to season, but why change the perfect formula of beautiful lace+beading+drape?

The next designer is a new one that I discovered through the thread: Stephen Schneider. Really like the abundance of white space on the site, and how the landing page for each season's collection looks. Eg. the 2013 s/s below:
The left image is like a more glamourous version of Barbour's printed beadnell jacket. The right image just has amazing print. Gots to get myself a legit persian rug someday.

Speaking of which, watch this short documentary about Hermes and craftsmanship. Makes the high price of its items justified. Also just found a Leica and Hermes collaboration, woah.

12 December 2013


Skincare interlude! About to change routines and thought I'd note down some products for future reference.

Out-going empties:
Shu cleansing oil (fresh pore ver) / Laneige water bank line essence and gel cream.

The shu cleansing oil is the second bottle of cleansing oil I've tried (Lancome's was my first, cause my mom purchased it by mistake). Compared to Lancome's, the consistency is thinner, which took a while to get use to. I use it on days when I wear sunscreen or make-up, and it absolutely removes everything. In fact I was so happy when I found out Sephora is carrying them and use them in store to wipe off swatches from my hand haha. While massaging my face with it, I can feel some 'grit' coming out. So it is effective. That being said, it's really pricy for what's basically mineral oil, thus I'm trying a cheaper cleansing oil (see below) and seeing if there's really a difference.

The laneige line is alright as well, will not rebuy since I like Hado Labo Shirojyun better. Laneige has way better packaging (dat reflective surface and tinted glass *u*), but is more expensive and performs on par or even below compared to Hado Labo. That's not to say it was hydrating, in fact it's pretty good considering my heater's on 24/7 (plus Canadian winter whee...) and my skin's yet to be dry. Nevertheless Hado Labo is better and will be returning to that.

Also finished 2 lush cleanser samples (coal face and aqua marina). Coal face has actual bits of charcoal in it, which I found too harsh. Also there's no proven benefits of charcoal (ugh forgot where I read it from), so will be passing similar products in the future. Aqua marina was interesting to use, it's clay based so it doesn't lather at all. Also time consuming to pinch off a small amount to mix with water, so will also be passing up in the future. I'm still loyal to foaming cleansers.

Incoming new products to try:
Missha creamy latte green tea cleasner / Innisfree "it's real" sheet mask / Holika Holika soda pore cleansing oil / MBDM apple polyphenols sheet mask / Benton snail bee essense / Benton snail bee steam cream

Phew that's a lot to type.

Missha cleanser is very creamy and produces a thick foam which I like. The green tea is for oily skin, though my current skin is rather normal thanks to the winter weather offsetting my usual combination skin. I use it in the morning and it seems fine, nothing to write home about.

Innisfree vs MBDM, ohh this is tough. On one hand I like how MBDM has so much extra serum that I can use it for a couple days afterwards, but the downside is that the mask takes forever to dry. Innisfree's mask is also thinner (said to be made from artificial silk), which I prefer. Both works well as a temporary boost, but yet to see any long term improvements.

Have yet to try the cleansing oil. Don't think there'll be a big difference though.
later edit: it's very viscose compared to Shu's, similar to the Lancome one. The scent is bad though, like those cheap lemon-y car fragrances, definitely will not repurchase because of this. It cleans fine though, but gosh the scent!

Benton's snail bee line, ahh read so much good reviews about them. Desperately want it to be a miracle product for me as well. So far, mm not sure. While there could be a reduction in my hyperpigmentation, it could also be causing some breakouts. Going to persist through an entire bottle before making any final judgements. Textural wise, both are great. The essence absorbs very quickly, and the cream is thick but not greasy at all. They're also quite cheap, which makes me want to love them all the more.

Overall, /r/skincare has educated me to pay more attention to ingredients. Future purchases will be guided by this new found knowledge, and veer in the directions of AHAs&BHAs for exfoliation (trying some PC samples atm), and vitamin C serums.


Today in summary:
  • Good: eng math final went pretty well, mainly because the prof has the tendency to closely follow the format of his previous exams.
  • Bad: broke both of the lids of my favourite tea mugs in a single incident. It actually makes me so sad, especially since there's no option of replacing the lid of my absolute favourite 紫砂 teacup. Ughhh life sucks.
  • Good: exposure is so pretty, I made a post about 成都. Now I feel sad and nostalgic, fantastic. Maybe I can fit a Asia trip after PEY?

09 December 2013


Thanks to the internet, this blog can be filled with posts while I discern the construction lien act (y)
Second exam tomorrow, whee. This will be the one to slaughter my gpa.

Regardless, eggs! (webisodes about deconstructing dinner)

07 December 2013


Good food shall carry me through exam season!
 Pretty gradient carrots

Crusty bread dinner that was prepared in < 5min (y)


06 December 2013


First exam came and went, was alright.
Spent the day planning the itinerary of New York trip, which revolves around eating. In fact I'm barely going to any big-name tourist destinations. So sad that there's no events going on at the Hayden Planetarium while I'll be there though :(

Studying shall resume tomorrow.

05 December 2013


Help I'm tried of studying already and it's only the first exam.

Meanwhile this is fantastic for travel photos. Made a test post with some England snaps.

02 December 2013

answer's in the looking glass

Back to back oasis cause I feel miserable from the cold. Blocked nose is making my eyes water and it seems like I'm crying all the time "orz

01 December 2013

forever and a day

Unfortunately I got a cold from heading out yesterday. Cold, you can definitely go away.

30 November 2013


So I lied, more food photos lay ahead. I did study construction management for the afternoon though, then headed out to the Christmas Market.

It's pretty, no?

Went there mostly for the food:

Free apple cider & mini wheat cereal / cornish pastry from brick st bakery (incredibly delicious, and reminds me of my summer in the UK) / chocolate branch! didn't buy since the line was too long.

Did end up with a bottle of hazelnut oil from crescendo, totally impulse purchase, but it taste exactly like nutella. I'm an easy sell :( The saleslady said to make oatmeal with milk, caocao powder, and a drizzle of this oil, I'm so doing that.
In terms of non-food item, pretty packaging kills. Like these perfumes. Or just general cuteness, like these leather animal ottomans.

Final picture of pretty lights:


k one last food photo before going back to studying.
Free brownie bites courtesy of Ueat's brownie bake-off competition. Naturally they were all delicious. One had bacon bits (good salty taste amidst all the sweetness), one had pinto beans (never thought of incorporating beans, but it creates a velvety soft texture, though at the expense of making the brownie too soft), and one had fudge. So topping my next brownie with skor bits!

It's been a good week of slacking (y). Now back to studying for finals.

28 November 2013

all mine

If I judge my life through these blog posts, I'd be a glutton. But let's continue the theme with this post.

There was a holiday bazaar with local goods at UT today, went to take a look hoping to get a couple cool greeting cards, came back with a box of caramels (and a card too!).

(whee fluid mechanics in the background!)
There were originally 4 in the box, but two were devoured before it registered to take a photo. In total there were: cinnamon with milk chocolate, cayenne pepper with dark chocolate (this one was great, intense kick of pepper in between the sweetness of the caramel), candy cane with white chocolate, and salted dark chocolate. As of now, only one remains. Sigh I love salted caramels (best candies ever).

Also the perfect breakfast is granola with full fat yogurt topped with raspberries and a drizzle of honey. A small bowl of that is surprisingly filling.


Just to break the food monotony, here's a $250k camera that my professor uses to record images of rocks fracturing under dynamic load. Actually, it's not even used most of the time because it's too fast.
It's also transported in a case designed for guns. Though they do use various gun barrels in the lab.

25 November 2013


Two videos for your viewing pleasure:

exhibit A. Patagonia

I want to adopt this philosophy for my belongings, though it's going to be a tough journey.
Side note: there's some pretty ridiculous requests on /r/buyitforlife

exhibit B. Home2O

This is actually so smart (why did I not think of it!). 

24 November 2013

winter 13 revisited

I feel proud that my shopping list is dwindling in size (y).

Revision for winter&fall:
  • Everlane Ryan tee nah it's okay, cut is not perfect. Plus I have more than enough tops.
  • Thick cotton striped tee 3/4 sleeve bought couple of days after making the initial post. LL Bean's sailor shirt went on sale and I got the navy/cream version. Very happy that it's a thicker cotton material.
  • Black loafers, now a cheap pair. still looking "orz
  • Awesome thick wool socks for boots. will obtain once I make it to Costco
  • An actual set of suit items. Blazer, skirt, pants, all matching. Thinking of BR or Club Monaco during boxing day sale. Ugh tried on BR ones, cut was bad. Instead I'll probably just try to match a skirt to my current blazer. But I mean engineering interviews aren't that formal, I can probably do without a suiting set.
  • Conference dress. bought one from H&M, need a topper with it @_@
With these revisions in mind, here is the iterated version of the shopping list:
Gap legging cords / trousers / Uniqlo ocbd / Frye jillian oxfords / Talula shrunken exeter blazer

I debated about getting coloured cords, but then realized how much simpler and streamlined my wardrobe would be if I just stuck to neutral pants. Plus I regret getting my parka in purple, makes colour matching such a pain (does not go well with brown boots).

And one can never have too many blazers.
Thinking if I get the new blazer in black (it'd be the baby twin of my current one), maybe I can just match it to a pair of trousers and let that be the default interview outfit. I prefer skirt suits, but there's been huge debates on FFA about skirt vs pants for engineering interviews. The essence of the debate is really about how to handle the massive gender inequality in the profession, and whether its a better strategy to downplay (pants) or emphasize (skirt) the fact that you're a women.

So WISE has the potential to be great, though the current activities of the club is more focused on making industry connections rather than specifically targeting the issues faced by women. I also would much rather hold smaller, more intimate events, but our sponsors really push for attracting bigger crowds. Anyways off topic.

This post has a lot of silhouette inspiration.


It snowed today and was very cold.
(later edit: woke up the next morning and was -14 with windchill, seriously?)

Good to see old friends again, and meet the various loo people I have been hearing about :)


This is an adequate description of when it's hard to fall asleep:

22 November 2013


Savories crepes are good for any meal.
 At crepe-it-up, suggested by Dave's cousin as cheap and good. Indeed it was. White rose tea / tres amigos / the hot chick.

Soup is also the best dish for a cold winter's day.
At college Q, slightly pricy, but the chef there is really friendly.

20 November 2013


Wednesdays are the pit of the week ._.

18 November 2013


This is the pen I will buy as a graduation present to myself (titanium one would be too heavy I think, otherwise totally that one).

For now, I really have enough pens e_e" But I am going through my Pilot Juice/Uni Signo's super fast (thanks all the assignments, thanks)...maaaaaaybe...

17 November 2013

you say

In other news, Dave made cake, yay!

16 November 2013


I'm planning on visiting New York over reading week. Excited!

There's an overwhelming amount of food places to decide between. Was combing through Serious Eats NY until I realized I should postpone this until after the last APS301 quiz (it's an interesting course, ought to make a post about it).

So until then.

15 November 2013


Attempt #2 at the pear cake, except this time it's an apple cake.

Much better with apple imo. Would be even better if there was a layer of berry compote underneath the apple, and served with barely whipped cream.

Overall this will be a staple cake since it's so quick to make (swap browned butter with plain melted butter sped things up a lot). Not too much sugar & butter either, much less than that of a cookie. Been actually having it as breakfast, which is a good way to ensure a good start to your day :D


Today was also a good day because I got a new highscore without any gems in Blitz (y).
No this is not what I do all lecture (actually).

14 November 2013


David Robertson: Creative constraint from PopTech on Vimeo.

It's quite true that my fondest memory of playing with my Lego airplanes set (why did I even buy the airplanes set? I don't particularly like airplanes) is making up adventures for my planes to partake in. And also making a random plane, and challenging myself to make the most awesome fuel station out of the remaining blocks (why fuel station? No clue).

13 November 2013


Why is it that it takes a much greater amount of good moments to make a good day compared to the amount of bad moments it takes to make a bad day? 

It'd be nice if it was the other way around

11 November 2013


Listening to this yesterday induced a huge wave of nostalgia.
It's weird, I don't feel old enough to reminisce about childhood, but definitely old enough that I can dreamily refer to that period of time as childhood. It was the only time when you weren't preoccupied with the future and past, but instead just enjoyed each passing moment. So hard to do that now.

池塘边的榕树上  知了在声声地叫着夏天
操场边的秋千上  只有蝴蝶儿停在上面
黑板上老师的粉笔  还在拼命唧唧喳喳写个不停
等待着下课  等待着放学  等待游戏的童年

福利社里面什么都有  就是口袋里没有半毛钱
诸葛四郎和魔鬼党  到底谁抢到那支宝剑
隔壁班的那个女孩  怎么还没经过我的窗前
嘴里的零食  手里的漫画  心里初恋的童年

总是要等到睡觉前  才知道功课只做了一点点
总是要等到考试以后  才知道该念的书还没有念
一寸光阴一寸金  老师说过寸金难买寸光阴
一天又一天 一年又一年  迷迷糊糊的童年

没有人知道为什么  太阳总下到山的那一边
没有人能够告诉我  山里面有没有住着神仙
多少的日子里总是  一个人面对着天空发呆
就这么好奇  就这么幻想  这么孤单的童年

阳光下蜻蜓飞过来  一片片绿油油的稻田
水彩蜡笔和万花筒  画不出天边那一条彩虹
什么时候才能象高年级的同学  有张成熟与长大的脸
盼望着假期  盼望着明天  盼望着长大的童年
OH一天又一天 一年又一年  盼望着长大的童年

And now that I'm so close to the "grown-up" that I wished to be, I'm actually missing the childhood years. The glass is always greener is a different time haha. 

10 November 2013


Been using the oven a lot lately, mostly because a) butter finally went on sale and b) lettuce never appealed to me as the main vegetable in a salad, so instead I bake vegetables.

Had a week of baked butternut squash and carrots with broccoli crunch slaw, turned out well so trying a week of focaccia with baked zucchini (not much relation I know).

It's off to a good start as the zucchini is delicious, thanks to the generous helping of garlic. I ought to have a bottle of garlic infused olive oil on hand, I'm a firm believer that it makes any baked vegetable delicious (like those Kale chips from way back).

On the butter-y side, I'm 4/3 cups through 4 cups. So far it's mostly been these chocolate chip cookies.

To be honest, I've had enough for now. Yes they're so so delicious straight out of the oven, but the keyword here is straight out of the oven. Once they begin to cool, the cookies become very hard. It's impossible to eat any the next day without microwaving them wrapped in a damp paper towel. Thus, to maximize the delicious-ness, I end up eating at least 5 of them right after, which lead to the inevitable feeling of ughhhh.

I tried refrigerating the dough, to decent success. The dough, already very dry to begin with, becomes difficult to work with after sitting in the fridge. It does warm up in your hands, so you can squeeze them into little balls.

Taking a break from cookies, tried making a pear cake.

First thing I would change, layer the chocolate under the pear. Otherwise it's all good. This is more labour intensive than most cakes, as the eggs need a good whipping, butter needs browning, and pears need to be chopped (this took forever). Is the result worth it, mmm I guess. It's not overwhelmingly delicious, but the cake does have a good texture. Going to retry next time substituting apple for the pear, and forgoing the chocolate.

09 November 2013

sweet shrimp

My list of approved sushi places in Toronto has increased to two. In addition to ND sushi, now there's Solo Sushi Bekkan.

Went there with mom after a brief shopping date, shared a Sushi King Set:
Yummm. Spicy salmon roll at the back, and the tuna nigiri was especially delicious. Definitely going to reorder next time. Their sashimi also looked amazing (the table next to ours had seared white tuna). It is more expensive than most sushi shops (this was $18), but worth it imo. Also a very tiny place, it's likely that you'll have trouble finding a seat.

More on shopping, was sad to find that the Club Monaco coat I had my eyes on totally did not fit me. Also that they stopped carrying the trench coat in stores. Oh wells, to be honest I don't need a new coat.

Banana Republic suits also don't fit me, the blazer has extra fabric around the chest area, pants were horrible and only the skirt was alright. Finding a suit is going to be harder than I thought, maybe I don't need a suit either ah ha...

However, Artizia and H&M stuff do fit me well. Tried on the Ellis pants (damn that looked good AND is comfy, if only it was ~30 cheaper!) and a wool coat (also looked so good, except I really dislike the leather buttons and the green isn't what I'm looking for). Overhead the manager of the store really pressuring the salesperson helping me to make a sale, which I found weird. They were going to full thousand miles, bringing me additional styles, a flurry of compliments etc. Never encountered such pressure before. My theory is because I tried on an expensive item (which also looked good, really like the quilted detailing on the sleeves). 

Moving on, instead I bought a black sheath dress at H&M. My first "grown-up" dress hehe. Now I have something to wear at the WISE conference! (Side note, skirt suits look so so so much better than pant suits 99% of the time). Also found a pair of slim dress pants, though unfortunately they were out of my size. That could have been the alternative to the aforementioned Ellis pants, sob.


Forgot to post this before, but Yummy Korean BBQ has really awesome rice cakes (bottom pic):
The egg battered zucchini is great as well, makes me miss pool party & bbq at April's house.

07 November 2013


Now that I finally caught up to the end of 40 Days of Dating.
(spoilers below)


Not that the additional spacing helped since screen resolutions are so high now. Anyways.

I actually didn't know if they were going to stay together or break up throughout the 40 days. It's very difficult to articulate why I was so on the fence. On one hand, their struggles suggest that it will lead to a successful resolution, kind of how a hero faces trials and is rewarded at the end. On the other hand, their problems were pretty fundamental and it's a hard determine whether it's worth trying to resolve.
But then again I guess every relationship is like that. There's parts you like, and parts that you don't.

Was surprised at the speed in which things turned for the worse though. It's scary to think that on the surface, everything can seem to be converging at a solution, whereas a tiny perturbation can destroy it. It's always some little thing that otherwise would be insignificant.

Their last post reminds me a lot of how Honey and Clover ends. The whole idea of a relationship that didn't work out still being a valuable experience, and brings you hope about what the future holds.
Tim says in his entry:
In mythology, once an adventure is over and the reward has been secured, the hero or heroine usually leaves the “special world” to go back to the world where he or she first began. The final test for the hero is to realize what they’re bringing back to the old world, literally or metaphorically. They have lived to tell their story, and to inform society. That gives me a lot of solace. While I do feel heartbroken right now, I feel a tremendous amount of hope for my future.
Okay too much H&C feels coming up.

05 November 2013

chili oil

The good eats continue today at 巴山蜀水 (previously featured here). Got the dumplings and tofu again cause they are that good.

 Rice cakes with twice cooked meat (回锅肉年糕)

 Housemade tofu with mushroom and greens

Dumpling with chili oil (钟水饺)
These dumplings, the closest I'll get to the ones down my aunt's house in China. Those dumplings, best I've ever had, the fucking best.

04 November 2013


The completion of solids midterm deserve a good lunch in celebration.

First stop, Caplansky's Deli, Grace recommended this ages ago and I finally made the trek over.

Smoked meat sandwich and Knish. The Knish is amazing, totally getting this again, It has the perfect amount of salt. The meat in the sandwich is very tender as well.

Some pie at Wanda's (first visited on Kensington date) afterwards:

Sour cherry pie, mmm. One day, I will buy a 10" pie, and eat the whole thing myself without feeling any guilt (y).

03 November 2013


I am glad to report that I have made several lifestyle changes for the better. This is surprising to me since the stereotype seem to be that when you live along (or with friends), all healthy habits goes to hell. But alas, I'm managed to:
  • stop being a night-owl and wake up at ~9 on weekends. Weekend mornings are a blissful time my friends. 
  • hate cleaning less. There's still progress to be made on this front. 
My sleeping schedule is pretty consist throughout the entire week too, I'm generally able to asleep by 1 on weekdays! It's really nice to not feel sleepy at night and in the mornings, though certain lecture rooms still just put me to sleep.

Also stopped waking up at the latest possible time in the mornings. Gone is the pressure to rush through breakfast, instead I can actually make something nice and leisurely decide on what to wear. Aka no more grumpy mornings! I do get less sleep, so trying to make that up by sleeping earlier, which is hard to do since roommates are all night-owls. It's like there's a 3 hour timezone difference between us durr.

Related to having a more leisurely pace, I've also been trying to limit the amount of studying hours per day and leaving some time to do whatever. The whatever usually ends up being browsing some corner of the internet (likely to be reddit), but that's perfectly fine. I'm tempted to call this "wasted time" since it's not "productive", but it's not wasted since it makes me less stressed and happier. It's weird, and sad, that I need to schedule in free time, whereas it should be mostly free time with scheduled in work.

On the other hand, improvements in cleaning habit is motivated by fear of dirty pillowcase causing acne. I doubt the validity of this fear, but can't hurt to clean beddings more often. I've also learned to appreciate a shiny countertop, it's just so...shiny! Progress can still be made on wiping floors and dusting though.

Overall, I'm challenging myself to take better care of my possessions/living environment. This is a prerequisite that I've set before I'll allow myself to buy nice things. Nice things such as:
sources: throw / blanket / vase / mug / jars

A sidenote, I'd move to Brooklyn just cause they have the coolest boutiques. And yes online window shopping is a superb stress reliever for constant studying.

Really can't wait until I have my own place *u*

01 November 2013


Had a chill lecture so I went through camera roll. Here's some food pics that I never posted.

 Cookie and cream cupcake from Wafflian. Surprised at the bad reviews, this was a pretty good cupcake. A tad sweet (though my tolerance is pretty low), but good texture and good cake to frosting ratio.

 Spinach and ham quiche from Helena's Magical Kitchen, aka the place that I pilgrim to for shepherd's pie. Their quiches are equally yummy (flaky crust so good), the portion above is just the right size to fill me up.

 Oyako don, comfort food at it's finest. The pickles really compliment the dish well. This particular one is from a newly opened Japanese restaurant near Yonge&Wellesley.

Banh Mi Boys lunch with mom, we were a tad greedy. From front to back, grilled pork banh mi, pulled pork banh mi, and fried chicken bao. Pulled pork tasted the best out of the meat options, though everything was good. Particularly love the slightly pickled carrots with the cilantro.


Bonus content: just discovered random pumpkins tucked away in various places on campus.

31 October 2013

sunflower seeds

Monthly chinatown grocery trips are enough exercising for that month.
Though today's a special case where I had to walk down from Bloor e_e"

Disadvantage of living downtown is the inadequate grocery stores. Sobey's and Metro has like 3 aisles of produce... half of which is expensive organic produce which I would really like to buy but a poor student's budget restricts me (ditto for farmer markets, but they're also always during class times). Amy and I have long fb rants about grocery stores, aka first time cooking for self problems.

I miss the times when I had daikons, potatoes, a variety of leafy vegetables (aka not just bok choy), leeks, etc. Roommate don't particularly like vegetables. Actually, we have pretty different diets (aka me with my weird food preferences, like specialty bread, full fat yogurt, fancy honey and jam, etc etc...), which adds to the complication of living together.

Mm want buttery croissants.

28 October 2013

food for thought

Consecutive midterms tomorrow and day after, whee.