31 December 2014

Happy 2015!

It's gonna be a good year with Mickey, uh huh.

29 December 2014


I dare say that making tea drinking a serious hobby is probably one of the best things I've done this year.

The only contender would be taking school less seriously. Both has reduced my stress a lot. I remember there was one day in high school that I was on the verge of tearing up after receiving a not so great mark (physics I think?). In my (former self's) defense, that was probably a trigger for something else I was upset about. Luckily I get over things quickly.

Back on topic.
Sitting down and having tea is an easy way for me to step out of whatever I'm currently worried about. Making and tasting tea well (not implying that I'm good) requires an absurd amount of concentration relative to what you'd think. I'm especially bad at describing the smell and taste of tea. The particular flavour always seems so familiar yet I don't know how to pin it down to an exact word. So after focusing on deciding the exact vegetable that the particular Taiwanese oolong taste like (sweet pea? corn??), whatever I was previously stressed about is diminished.

In other (buzz)words, tea helps you focus on the present. I'll stretch the experience further by linking it to the concept of ichi go ichi e (一期一会, means the same thing as the Chinese characters), as every brew will never be the same.

For those whom I've had the pleasure of having tea with, hopefully you'll pick up the hobby too :D
And for those whom I haven't, you're always welcome.

ps. as if tea itself is not deep enough of a rabbit hole, there's always pots.

26 December 2014


In the spirit of boxing day, I've been thinking more of the clothes I wear in attempt of formulating a cohesive "wardrobe philosophy".

But first, other bloggers who have thought & wrote a lot more of this matter that I particularly admire: The Nife En L'air (I adore her entire blog) and Sloane Conde (and her archive at Je Vis Je Meurs)

The couple words that currently describe the direction that I want my wardrobe to head in is "luxuriously simple". Plain cashmere sweaters are a good example of what I mean. In worse terms, its like boring looking clothes that probably cost a lot. But obviously not every item has to fit into this description (this was actually the source of a lot of pain until I realized cohesive =/= without exceptions), such as today I just bought a jacquard leopard print skirt.

The motivation for having simple pieces is really just to avoid the "there's a million pieces in my closet but somehow I still feel I have nothing to wear" syndrome. By simple, I mean the following criterias:
  • Mostly neutral colours (which to me, encompasses black/grey/white, navy, browns/caramels) to facilitate greater compatibility between each item.
  • Items that align with my current lifestyle so I don't have unwearable pieces.
And the luxurious descriptor is to elevate simple beyond boring. By luxurious I mean:
  • Quality material, which most of the time means natural (eg. silks and wools) but some higher end pieces use synthetics beautifully. 
  • Evident that attention has been paid to the details (eg. neat stitching, buttons)
The combination of the two above usually equate a high price tag. I'm also a sucker for handcrafted / heritage / ethically sourced stuff, but have not yet been putting my money where my heart is (is Everlane a good start?). 

Some next steps:
  • Gather data of how frequent I wear each item to better allocate money for upgrades. Did a preliminary list of what I frequently wear in the winter, which was a lot more sweater and a lot less of other tops. Also mostly pants, which I plan to change to more skirts & dressed focused. 
  • Get better at maintenance, especially regarding shoes. 

25 December 2014

merry christmas

24 December 2014


Arup you are so amazing.

It's refreshing to hear something so ambitious, especially in regards to synergy between efficiency and quality (and also sustainability with delight, which I feel is equivalent to eating healthy and delicious) rather than compromise between the two.

22 December 2014


End of the year means reviewing time! First up is finances:

The results were rather surprising. To start, my methodology was to sum up all my credit card expenses (as its my primary form of payment) over the past 9 month since living by myself by categories, then average the total.

Compared to an random estimate from the beginning of the year, I spent less on food (both groceries and eating out) but more on clothing, entertainment, and personal care items (like those skincare hauls...). Especially personal care, since it's easy to forget a lot of the expenses in this category, such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc. Also it's expensive setting up a new place "orz The good news is that, even with a safety factor, I can afford my current lifestyle on close to minimum wage!

I'm proud that I've reduced the quantity of my clothing acquisition, which consist of the following over the entire year:
  • Uniqlo: back up cardigan, heattech leggings, something else I'm forgetting
  • Jcrew: purple cords, not the greatest buy but still useful since its winter half the year 
  • Gloves (gift)
  • Baggu small pouch
  • LOFT: black dress pants, grey tank top, linen tee, skirt
  • Sam Edelman Trina sandals
  • Talula black blazer
  • Printed scarf (gift)
  • MEC rain jacket
  • Everlane cardcase, sleeveless silk blouse
  • Black ankle boots
  • Thrifted cardigan
  • Talula dress and gloves
However, the reduction in quantity is offset by the increase in each item's price. So from a purely saving moneys point of view, this is not a success. However, I give more expensive purchases more consideration, which results in higher satisfaction.

Food-wise, I'm satisfied with how often I cook. Not eating out frequently makes an incredible difference in spendings. An addition benefit of cooking is a great destressor / break from studying. The following strategies has worked well for me:
  • roast meat (1, 2), seriously. cheap, very little active cooking time, last a long time.
  • noodles / pasta for when you can't be bothered.
  • Metro has really good deals on meat sometimes. One time chicken breasts were $2.99/lb. Also buy the value packs, meat last a long time in the freezer.
  • Farmers markets are not as expensive as I thought (or maybe it's more true that grocery stores has both expensive and crappy produce), especially for fruits in season. There is also a huuuge gap in how much better they taste (N=2, fruits and honey).
  • Snacks are a giant money sink.
  • Coffee / bubble tea are a even greater money sink. I vow to never buy them again, aside from social situations. But really all the money I saved from this plus not drinking goes straight into funding my tea purchases. 
  • Living downtown places you in proximity of way too many great restaurants. I've limited myself to only eating out for social situations and never because I don't have food.

21 December 2014


Exam times were not good for tea, here's two cups of pu-er from before and after.

19 December 2014

maxwell con't

Today's a good day, done exams so I made progress on Xillia. Still only reached chapter 2 though.

(image via)
But the end of chapter 1, shipping Jude x Milla so much. Are they not so adorable? They are so adorable together, like here, here, here, and especially here!!

16 December 2014

Silver Spoon 2

This series is like the spiritual successor to Honey & Clover, which is just about the highest praise I can give to a slice-of-life anime.
(Not to mention that the main character's brother has a scene at Japan's northern-most point on a motorcycle, hnnng)

While I strongly feel that this series should be at least 36 episodes (I wouldn't even mind 50), there is enough development for at least the main character in the limited time. However the supporting cast is rather static as a result, whereas H&C had the time to development almost everyone. Both series have a superb balance between hilarious antics and serious moments.

Recommended for anyone who still feels like they have growing up to do.

(It's been a while since I've watched an anime eh)

13 December 2014


I really like this window ledge, and this particular arrangement of objects under that moment's lighting.
& this reminds me of a beautiful quotation from Love in the Time of Cholera:
the ephemeral splendor of another afternoon that would never return

PS. droughts are sad, farming is tough.

12 December 2014

time flies, but you keep breaking its wings

^is that not one of the best lines of lyrics ever? (plus the godly 方文山 ofc)

I really like how the lighting is done in the MV.

11 December 2014


Little joys of living downtown: seeing golden speckles of the sunset reflected in the glass facade of tower.
(as pretty as they are, complete glass facades are still a terrible idea)

10 December 2014


Dave and I celebrating half way done finals with some brownies.

08 December 2014

I could know

More gemini club to accompany copious amounts of moisture and heat transfer.

Worth reading the explanation on their official tumblr.

07 December 2014


One steamer meals have even less cleaning to do than one pot meals. Plus it reheats leftovers at the same time.

Plus steamed eggs, leftover rice and vegetables. With only plates & bowls to wash afterwards, I am impressed.

But noodles are always good too.
(the egg whites are so overexposed that they look like they're badly photoshop'd in haha)
Happy to be eating more vegetables again, although my fridge still has a disproportional amount of meat (go metro sales).

06 December 2014

limit state design

I do definitely feel screwed for steel. Lots of past finals to go through with epik high playing.

Favourite song of the album

01 December 2014

building science 101

Today's studying music: