Of dancers and right angles

Of dancers and right angles
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Remember how surprised I was to discover I had bird’s eye chilies growing in my garden and what a shame it was that they were green, not red? Well, imagine my surprise (again!) when I noticed this. Yes, they turned red. Now take a closer look! Do you see what I see?

Of dancers and right angles

Well, I see a pair of chilies dancing… the waltz, it looks like. What’s even more interesting is if you look just a little to the back there, there seems to be another chili that looks like it’s bending itself into a right angle? Hmmm!

Here’s another shot from a different angle. That right angle is so distinct and prominent I honestly don’t know what to make of it.

Of dancers and right angles

The only logical explanation I can think of right now straight out of my Biology textbook in high school is that they’re bending in the direction of the sun. Which is what plants are known to do in an attempt to get more sun. What’s strange though is that this is an open area where there’s no shade to block the sun. So I’m not really sure.

My other question is, of course, why this almost perfect right angle posture seems to be apparent only in just this one chili plant and not the rest. Could this be due to an abnormal DNA? And I don’t mean this in a negative way because I think this right angled chili is both unique and pretty. Any experts out there who might have the answer to this?

Hip to be #Shopping: Make a statement with bell sleeves

Hip to be #Shopping: Make a statement with bell sleeves
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Trumpet, flute, bell, call them what you want. They all point to elaborately flared sleeves that would be the envy of Elvira (remember her from the Addams Family).

Embroidered Lace Insert Flute Sleeve Dress
Embroidered Lace Insert Flute Sleeve Dress

This is you, the Queen of Elegance, when you step out in this simple yet classy burgundy tunic. Let the long flute sleeves of see-through embroidered lace do all the talking as you strut into the spotlight.

Trumpet Sleeve Geo Crochet Overlay Form Fitting Dress
Trumpet Sleeve Geo Crochet Overlay Form Fitting Dress

Or you could be the Queen of Pastel Pink in this form-fitting mini dress of all-over pencil cutout lace, unlined and see-through in its elaborate trumpet sleeves. Perfect for an afternoon garden wedding or a tea party with friends.

Exaggerate Bell Sleeve Buttoned Keyhole Dress
Exaggerate Bell Sleeve Buttoned Keyhole Dress

For a night out on the town, this black mini dress displays all of its elaborate elegance in those dramatic bell sleeves. Wave your hand with a flourish or lift a glass with grace, the theatrics are yours to create.

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No plastic lids, no straws, thanks

No plastic lids, no straws, thanks
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When I order a cup of coffee, it usually comes with a lid. They don’t ask if your order is “for here or to go”. They simply slap on the plastic lid. When I get to my table, I pop the lid off to let the coffee cool down while I eat. This is pretty much my routine and quite frankly, I never thought much about it…

No plastic lids, no straws, thanks

… until earlier this year when it struck me that the lid serves absolutely no purpose except to cover the cup for my walk from the counter to the table. After I pop it off, it sits there, brand new, and does nothing until I’m done and then it gets dumped in the trash with the paper cup and everything else. Which begs the question: why do I even need a plastic lid in the first place?

So now I tell them: No lid, please.

Aah, that’s better!

No plastic lids, no straws, thanks

Granted it’s just one little lid but it’s going straight into that ocean of plastic waste that’s polluting our environment and making our climate go crazy. Which, in the long run, is going to affect every single one of us and generations to come. So if I don’t need the lid, I’m going to tell them no, or pop it off right there and give it back. Simple!

Those stifling heatwaves, devastating storms, prolonged droughts and massive floods that’s going on all over the place sound really scary. And while some folks think it all “just happened to be worse this year”, in reality, it’s no coincidence.

The planet is getting way hotter than ever; the winds, rains and storms are getting much fiercer and the destruction and loss of life and limb is becoming impossible to ignore. And it’s all because our climate is changing. In a really bad way! So that means we really have to get off our butts and start doing something.

So when I was ordering a hamburger (for somebody, not for me) and saw this sign at McD’s recently, it made me smile (the sign, not the hamburger lol). Single-use straws are as harmful as single-use plastic bags although as far as I’m concerned, no plastic bag is ever single use. I recycle them by using them to line my trash bin.

No plastic lids, no straws, thanks

Those of us who’ve switched to recyclable bags for our groceries/shopping and our own containers for food takeout, and who’re saying no to straws, lids, etc should pat ourselves on the back. Not that we’re heroes or anything but at the rate climate change is happening, we really need to get off our butts and do something. Well, we got to start somewhere and every little bit helps. So join in and do your bit. Our planet (and future generations) will thank you. Cheers.

No plastic lids, no straws, thanks

Finally, roast pork with dry wantan noodles

Finally, roast pork with dry wantan noodles
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I’ve been hankering after that siu yoke (crispy skin roasted pork) ever since our dinner at that obscure restaurant in the swanky part of town whose siu yoke was all sold out for the day. Now one thing’s for sure. Nothing and no one stands in the way of me and my siu yoke, okay? Got it? 알았어요? Hence as soon as I arrived at our weekend haunt, I ordered this.

Finally, roast pork with dry wantan noodles

Ah yes, wantan noodles with siu yoke! Finally!

The “uncle” (commonly used to refer to older men) who runs this joint always makes sure my siu yoke is extra lean lol. The older folks especially swear that siu yoke is not the same without that layer of fat. But I jokingly remind him anyways, and he says “but of course, if I give you the fat, you’ll just cut it out and leave it behind, what’s the point in that?” Can’t argue with that. The man makes perfect sense.

Since the early days when he started noticing us there almost every weekend, he would come to our table whenever he could get away from the kitchen and personally take our orders. He is so customer-friendly and attentive I’m pretty sure he belongs in a world with a different number lol.

Look at how many pieces of siu yoke he gave me and how lean it is. Apparently his son roasts all the meat at the shop itself. That’s some mean crispy skin, I tell ya.

Finally, roast pork with dry wantan noodles

Everything here is perfection including the wantan (little meat dumplings) except I keep forgetting to get him to “chop up those tree trunks”.

Finally, roast pork with dry wantan noodles

So if you’re planning to try wantan noodles (and I hope you do), here are some quick tips for you. Wantan noodles are thin egg noodles traditionally served with char siu (barbecue pork). These days, you have the option of ordering it with the roast meat of your choice – either char siu, siu yoke or roast duck, or combinations thereof.

You can have the wantan noodles with soup or dry (mixed in flavored soy sauce). The dry version comes with the wantans in a separate bowl of the same soup the noodles come in if you order the soup version. Hope this makes sense ;).

Hip to be #Shopping: Embroidered black #dresses

Hip to be #Shopping: Embroidered black #dresses
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As busy moms and working women, we can all relate to the need for a black dress. Whether it’s to appear professional at work or to camouflage the random stains inflicted by a cranky kid at an eat-out, black dresses are the answers.

If you’re thinking bland and boring, remember, not all black dresses are created equal. Guess what clever black dresses are doing to get to the top of the pile.

Contrast Embroidery Mesh Tied Sleeve Frill Detail Dress
Contrast Embroidery Mesh Tied Sleeve Frill Detail Dress

This simple black dress refuses to stay simple. Instead it insists on playing things up with beautifully colored floral embroidery in see-through sleeves that end in a long swishy tie. Genius! Clearly this loose-fitting shift dress is made for looks and comfort.

Aztec Embroidered Hem Dress
Aztec Embroidered Hem Dress

Prefer a sorta tribal look? No problem. How about this black tunic with short sleeves and a geometric embroidered hem to invoke images of hills, tents, skies and sand? Hmm, I like it.

Lantern Sleeve Embroidered Rose Applique Dress
Lantern Sleeve Embroidered Rose Applique Dress

Looking for something stretchy that will keep you comfortable all day? This black sweatshirt dress is perfect for the cooler days of fall and features an eye-catching embroidered rose applique on its long sleeves.

Elbow Sleeve Embroidered Flare Dress
Elbow Sleeve Embroidered Flare Dress

One word comes to mind – classy! This black flare dress with white floral embroidery on the half sleeves and hem is so pretty and classy it’s going to turn heads for sure. What more can I say?

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The day I went carb-less, sorta

The day I went carb-less, sorta
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Some days the heat and humidity gets to me so much that I just want to get drunk on water and have nothing to do with food. But eat, I must! but to save myself the trouble of assembling a sandwich, I thought I’d take the easy way and go carb-less instead. Not that I’m some health freak. Not because I even believe in cutting out carbs. But out of plain old laziness.

Thrilled that I’d come up with such a brilliant idea, I danced downstairs and peeked in the fridge. Saw a tall glass of fruit juice and drank it between popping almonds and cashews. Spied a banana lying around and ate it. Dug around and found an avocado, ate half and donated the other half to an unworthy cause. And that’s it, I decided to call it a meal.

The day I went carb-less, sorta

Cynical me was laughing inside as I started upstairs wondering how long this so-called meal would last me. Pretty soon, I got engrossed in work and apparently 3 hours had slipped by unnoticed when I first heard my tummy growling. Thing is when you’re busy, you don’t hear these things. But the minute you slam on the brakes, bam!

… it jolts your brains into the sudden realization that your tummy’s been grinding on air. And by now, what must’ve started as a subtle throbbing in your temples is beginning to resemble the pounding of a drum. Yup, I know only too well the signs of an upcoming migraine.

Reluctantly I dragged myself downstairs – again – in search of food. Dang! Rummaging around for food is not something I relish, to be honest. I’m not normally a snacker so it’s hard to think of what to eat. If I could avoid it altogether, I wouldn’t even eat. But I didn’t have a choice. So suffer me some oatmeal, it is! And some watermelon I found in the fridge.

Up the stairs I skipped, happy in the knowledge that having fueled my tummy, I could now jump back to work. I had no idea how much time had gone by but heck, the pounding in my head had returned with a vengeance. I glanced at the clock and what do you know? It’s been 45 minutes since my oatmeal run.

Arrrgh, this can’t be happening!!! Now I have to find more food!!!

I dragged myself back down to the kitchen again!! Frankly, I had no idea what else to eat. But I had to find a way to stop the drum from turning into a battering ram, fast. Then I thought of the giant bottle of Skippy’s peanut butter from Costco, busted it out and spread it thick on 2 slices of cold bread from the fridge. Aah, that’s much better. Carbs, doncha just lurve ’em?!!

So yeah, I did go carb-less, or try to, sorta but it wasn’t pretty. To save myself the trouble of one meal, I ended up having to eat 3 meals! It wasn’t even like I went completely without. I just traded in the refined carbs for the good carbs and look what happened. I don’t think I was meant to go carb-less. Do you?

That #herbal noodle #soup

That #herbal noodle #soup
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I love it when menus come with photos of the food. At least it gives me some idea of what I’m getting. But photos can be misleading at best. A photo could look really good, leading you to false expectations when in reality, the portions will be smaller, items may be missing or replaced with inferior items and the serving nothing like the picture.

Or, and this almost never happens, the photo could look so meh that your eyes lose interest and simply skip over it in pursuit of other better-looking items in the menu. This is why I never thought to order this herbal chicken noodle soup.

While the word herbal typically sends my taste buds into overdrive, there’s always that teeny-tiny sliver of doubt creeping into my final decision. What kind of herbal is this – bitter, sweet, robust? Or fake, as in chucking a few measly bits of herbs into a huge big pot of salt water and passing it off as herbal?

That herbal noodle soup

One day, Hip2bDaughter ordered this herbal noodle. I had a sip of the soup and that was it! There was no turning back. This was, hands down, one of the best, if not the best, herbal noodle soup I’ve ever tasted, stat! I rarely use superlatives in my food descriptions because let’s face it, my standards are pretty high lol. But I’m making an exception here.

So how would I describe this bowl of noodles in one word? Well, for someone who loves words as much as I do, there’s simply no boiling any kind of description down to one word. But I’ll try. Dabomb. Genius. Stupendous. Out of this world (oops, there you go, that was 4 words). Well, okay, I tried.

Hmm, how about symphony? This herbal soup is a symphony of sweet, herbal and spicy (I threw in a bunch of raw Vietnamese bird’s eye chilies). There are sticks and slices of herbs, goji berries, a ton of enoki mushrooms and shredded roast chicken with skin on, and as for those skinny wanton noodles, they could be a little more al dente but at this point, who cares?

That herbal noodle soup

Well, words are just that – words. If only they could exude smell and taste as well, now wouldn’t that be something? Because I could go on and on if you don’t stop me now hohoho.

Hip to be #Shopping – In the mood for Halloween

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If you dress the kids up for Halloween every year but have always stood on the sidelines cheering them on their trick-or-treat adventures, then this may just be the year to join and get yourself into the mood for Halloween!

I promise you won’t have to gear up in some elaborate witchy outfit or block your vision with a pirate’s eye patch lol. This is going to be so simple you’ll wonder why you never got in the Halloween action sooner. Follow me, here’s what you do.

X-Ray Kitchen Oven Mitt

Baking monster cookies? Scare away the hungry little goblins milling around the cookie tray with these X-Ray Kitchen Oven Mitts.

Verae Much Appreciated Cardigan

Show your love, and your rib cage lol, and be that Verae Much Appreciated Cardigan-clad monster mom we all love.

Hell Bunny Haunt for Nothing Button-Up Top in Festive

Want something that’s sweet and subtle yet packs a punch with witches, ghouls and skeletons? This short-sleeved button down top is perfect for the job.

So don’t miss out. Have a fun Halloween with the kids this year. Booo!!

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Tissue box auntie

Tissue box auntie
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So I’m trying to pick out a few more boxes of Kleenex facial tissues. Chronic bulk shopper that I am, even with 7 packets of coffee, 6 body shampoo refill packs, 4 jumbo packs of 2 regular packs of 10 bathroom rolls (’cause 80 rolls is just how I roll lol) and 2 packs of 4 tissue boxes already in my cart, I’m still not done. Need to snag 2 more 4-packs. At least.

You’d think I’m running a freakin’ hotel. That’s right, running a household with 3 kids is like running a hotel. I don’t do last minute. I always buy in bulk and stock up. Because heaven forbid, if the Apocalypse should hit tomorrow and we run out of toilet rolls or peanut butter or batteries or something. So I kinda always wanna be prepared lol.

Back to my story. It’s a very busy day at the store, the Kleenex aisle is a moving river of women and my shopping cart is parked nearby. When I happen to glance over at it, I notice a well-dressed “auntie” in her 40’s peering left and right at the contents of my loaded cart.

So I’m like ??

Tissue box auntie

She: Ah, where (did) you get this?

Me: Over there. (pointing)

She goes over and is back in front of me in seconds.

She: Where? Where? (It’s) not there. Where (did) you find this?

Me: Over there. (swallowing hard and pointing again to the same shelf)

She disappears and reappears several more times, looking more frantic each time. I’m starting to think that she wants me to take her by the hand, lead her to the exact spot and place said tissue boxes into her arms.

Not happening!

Me: Well, it’s there somewhere or maybe they’ve run out.

Okay, “run out” is probably a bad choice of words. She might think I’m asking her to run out of the store (which might not be such a bad idea after all, come to think of it lol!). I’m guilty of flinging phrasal verbs around only to realize, wait a minute, I should probably grade my language, just in case.

Me: Err, maybe they’re out of stock.

She: I want (the) same one like this.

What?!?

Tissue box auntie

She wants the same box design that I have? *sweats* I’m like, well, if you can’t find the same exact design, what’s the big deal? Nothing special about these boxes – same price, same size – and they’re just tissues which you use once and throw away. Just pick something else and move on with life. Gah!

Guess what? She reappears, this time waving her cellphone. I’m like, NOW WHAT?

She: I take photo, okay? (pointing to my tissue pack)

Lololol this woman is something else. But I’m a nice person.

Me: Sure. (holding up the pack for her)

Then she’s gone, whew! For good, I hope. But no, she’s back and asking if she can borrow my tissue pack so she can go show it to the staff. What?! She can’t be serious! My parking ticket is expiring soon and I ain’t paying for another hour of parking just to entertain her needless pursuit.

Me: Look, lady, I don’t have time for this. I can’t be standing here all day. I have to go.

I start pushing my cart and walking away. You know, it’d be nice if people would realize when they’re stretching the limits on other people’s time. And like I always say, throwing in a thank-you and/or sorry is not only the polite thing to do but it’d be really nice. Just sayin’.

Hip to be #Shopping: Summery open shoulder blouses

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Guess what, ladies? It’s time to bare some shoulders. What you hidin’ them for? These are swelterin’ days and it ain’t gonna get cooler any time soon. So come on, bring out those poor suffocating shoulders and give ’em some air, will ya?

Floral Print Mesh Contrast Off Shoulder Blouse
Floral Print Mesh Contrast Off Shoulder Blouse

Hip2bMom’s Choice! This multi-colored floral print blouse is made for showing off those toned shoulders that have been hidden away for far too long. And while you’re at it, let that mesh top show off just a little more.

Whether it’s all year or just for those few magical months, those happy, bouncy gathers scream girlish fun and laughter. Pretty enough to be worn in the day and just peeky enough to be worn at night.

Butterfly Print Open Shoulder Blouse
Butterfly Print Open Shoulder Blouse

Keeping things simple is what this open shoulder blouse says to me. Let the pretty butterflies do all the talking as they flutter around those puffy sleeves so reminiscent of lanterns that flicker on the beach in the fading light. Save this top for a gorgeous day out.

Ruffle Sleeve Open Shoulder Floral Embroidered Blouse
Ruffle Sleeve Open Shoulder Floral Embroidered Blouse

Feeling like keeping things low-key? This blouse may seem plain and simple but it ain’t ordinary. Why? Because those embroidered red flowers bring just the right pop of attention to your day. And you just gotta love those cute ruffled sleeves with the cute ties.

Lace Contrast Open Shoulder Blouse
Lace Contrast Open Shoulder Blouse

Hip2bMom’s Choice! Feeling all bright and perky this morning? This is the perfect blouse for you – light pink and casual with enough pretty lace, gathers and puffs to lift your spirits up, up and away.

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