27 February 2017


I forget that gradients and gifs don't play well together, so here's two static image instead:

image via.

黄昏 and Everglow are today's soundtracks.

26 February 2017


A couple of my skincare items ran out around this week so here's some thoughts on that.

I get the importance of scent, texture, packaging (well packaging I always knew) in beauty products now. When I first got into Asian beauty products through /r/asianbeauty, I was solely focused on a product's effectiveness. I'd scroll past everything until the performance review while browsing through the reddit reviews and the 20+ blogs that subscribed to. But after going through quite a bit of the generally agreed upon HG products and having a fairly intensive daily routine, the small annoyances of bad packaging, way too strong scent and drying time (!!!) really adds up. There's also the always present caveat of YMMV that erodes the utility of reading about effectiveness.

A list of complaints from the top of my head:

  • Mizon 8% AHA: fantastic bottle design, but terrible sticky feeling when applying subsequent layers even after a long wait time. If only the Dr. Wu AHA is more accessible and less expensive. 
  • Scinic Snail AIO: just opened this after finishing the CosRx snail ampoule, and ugh the scent is just way too strong. The scent is also a vaguely unpleasant generic floral perfume. I have little loyalty when it comes to snail products but I do miss Benton's serum. 
  • OST20 Vitamin C: also just started using again, not looking forward to the stickiness as well. It was fairly effective from what I recall. Too bad Canada lacks easy access to the cheaper Vit C E+F serums. 
  • Sulwhasoo First Care Serum: I used this for the first time this morning and had to make a post about it. Love the herbal scent, love how quick it sinks into your skin, love the luxurious packaging. I'm so down to spurge on this if it works. 

23 February 2017


Got back from New York with lots of yummy food in my stomach and a cold. I was overly optimistic about the weather forecast and forgot that New York is windy too sigh.

I finally opened up the sencha from Ippodo in Kyoto to celebrate the quasi-arrival of spring:

Not sure whether time has made the tea stale or I just can't taste anything because of my cold (hopefully the latter). At the very least I appreciate how smooth and gentle this tea is.

22 February 2017


Some photos not posted to Facebook.

Williamsburg: this park is amazing to watch the sun set over Manhattan from:

Astoria: funny how my AirBnB this time is literally the building next door down from where I stayed last time.

The southbound platform is in the sun during the morning, a much needed heat source because I didn't bring enough warm clothing.

Manhattan: I should really go to new areas instead of repeatedly wandering around the same midtown / chinatown blocks.

18 February 2017


Flying to New York this time was my first missed flight. I clearly did not heed my boss' experience of facing long lines at security early in the morning. Also forgot that Pearson does US customs before boarding the plane. But AA was amazingly gracious and sent us to the next flight out to DC and transferred there for no cost.

The silver lining of approach New York from the south is flying over the city before landing:

17 February 2017


Clearing my backlog of food photos because off to New York again. This is perhaps the most needed getaway yet.

There are many cans of tomato sitting in my cupboard, although I'll repurpose some for cooking Indian food. Cream cheese is a fine addition.

Pickles galore! In fact this meal encompasses all of the pickles I've made: the daikon pickle as a side, while the daikon kimchi, kale stem and even the super gingery carrot is fried into rice. Fried rice is the solution to pickles. Meal also featuring Indian spiced carrots and chickpea topping mixed with 老干妈.


Mom and I resumed our weekly lunches:

 Katto Sushi, which opened up shop in the place of ND Sushi. Brownie points for presentation (although mom's first comment was: now they serve sushi on chopping boards?). Taste wise, some hits ands misses.

Colaba Junction: steps away from Mumbai Street Food and I order the chaat to compare. Yelp also tipped off that the Thali came with a fancy plate so that was ordered as well. Overall the two are pretty darn similar.


Jeff eats here a lot:
I approve of the bibimbap

16 February 2017


Okay I'm convinced that the blue hour is just as magical as the golden hour. You'll just have to believe me since the atmosphere is not conveyed at all through these photos.

15 February 2017


This week's study music:

12 February 2017


I need to finish about 7lbs of potato hopefully before I leave for New York...

So far I've added them to roast meat, and made a tortilla:

I added enough oil to make it effectively not stick to my cast iron, but washing the pan took off another layer of seasoning... "orz When will I finally get a layer that sticks?

11 February 2017

wagashi - mizu yoke

Slightly late by 4 days, the first legit wagashi that I made!

mizu yokan, recipe via Just One Cookbook

I decided to be good and not alter the recipe in any way, and it turned out fantastic. Especially the texture which has been my previous struggle with agar-agar setting too hard, not a problem here. Good sweetness with just the koshi-an, will be even less fancy and just stir in the salt next time instead of garnishing.
Also happy that I got the flash to work well filling in the shadows.

Time to get some sesame paste *u*

10 February 2017

weight of sadness

On a slight Big Bang kick this week:

09 February 2017


It's been soup weather these couple of days, winter is finally setting in.

 vegetable miso soup

My SOP for the bare minimum miso soup is currently:

  1. Brown awase (mixed) miso and the white parts of a green onion (woah now I understand why its called a scallion in other places) with sesame oil.
  2. Add water, a glug of fish sauce and cook for some time. Usually I cook an egg in the same pot so it'd be the time it takes to bring the pot with egg to a boil + 5min. Meanwhile clean and chop the vegetable.
  3. Take out egg, put in vegetables along with green parts of green onion and cook until soft. I've been converted to liking soft vegetables in soup.
  4. Consume with joy.

kimchi tuna stew with my radish pickles (so yummy!) and other stir-fried Chinese vegetable

The radish kimchi turned out to be quite salty, unsure of how to remediate. Also gotta use up my pickled kale stems...and all the meat stocked up in my freezer "orz


Other heavy food for the cold weather:
 roast meat, beef ver. 

The link is mores for myself because I never remember the oven temperature and google search does a poor job crawling this blog.

cabbage gratin that I've basically turned into pizza-style

Not as good as I remember making it in Atlanta...probably because there's not even cheese this time.

08 February 2017


Today has been a challenging day, by which I mean its been an accumulation of small annoyances.

I was woken up at 9:23 by the realization that I forgot to submit an assignment that was due at 9...except we're allowed to miss three submissions without a penalty. So logically this is not a big deal. But it felt so irritating because of sunken cost (of not even that much, 2hr?). Is it sunken cost though? I've clearly learned from doing that assignment, which is a gain to myself; and haven't loss any marks from not submitting it. Goes to show the abysmal progress I've made decoupling my well-being from grades.

Then I forget to bring back my pot from Jeff's...again.
Also left my headphones there.

Which resulted in a miserable time CADing. Not having music was only partially responsible since I was able to borrow a pair. My productivity was fairly low since I haven't touched AutoCAD since Atlanta and has forgotten how to draft efficiently. Though for how much I complain about CAD, I don't actually dislike the task. Specializing in energy modelling is feasible still.

Some positives to balance the day out:

  • Nice dinner at Pren-up, one more thing on Trello done
  • Nice chat with professor on UK vs US grad schools


I wonder if there's a greater number of posts tagged with the combination of (schoolANDrant) or (foodANDphotolog)

At the very least it seems like most people are equally as overloaded. That or chill af, have not met someone not at an extreme yet.

05 February 2017

get out

This week's study music is sort of fitting:

03 February 2017


There's been a lot of eating out lately, which is great but need to cook more to maintain sanity.

It only took half a year to cross Dakgalbi off our trello list, a fair criticism to myself since I only wanted to go if bundled with a haircut. Fish cake soup is a smart accompaniment.

Spicy Mafia is too conveniently located, plus they have quail eggs! Their signature soup is legit.

Winterlicious at Bodega with Ang and Eleanor, only been 2 years since our last meal together. One more restaurant crossed off on Baldwin, one with good bread to boot. The terrine is quite good, as well as the desserts (perks of eating with a group is sampling all of the desserts).

02 February 2017


YS order right on CNY, am looking forward to when I can enjoy this. These two weeks are very crazy.

Basically a lot of wu liang pu er and some red & black tea for the winter that's becoming miserable. I've buried the stacks of cakes in my mom's closet in hopes that they'll survive the years, though will probably ask my dad to take them back to Chengdu since the climate is much more conducive to aging.