Clouds and hanging out

Clouds and hanging out
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Okay, so fall is finally showing up. It was 95 on Thursday and the next day, we were in the 80’s. An unusual cloud formation was hanging in the morning sky and it was a wonderful 60+ degrees outside. Folks obviously have been waiting for this and were busting out their full winter gear. He-llo? This is California, we don’t let a few clouds get to us eh 😉 so I stuck with my tank top and shorts. It wasn’t too bad, just a bit chilly but nowhere near boot, scarf and jacket weather. Today we’re back to clear skies and searing sunshine.

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In other news, we hit the adventure trail at Trader Joe’s. So excited. They’ve got tons of whacky, exotic stuff and I’m so in love with their fun packaging. Okay, so here’s our stash – goat cheese, and 4-cheese ravioli (both yums), Bavarian bratwurst, and smoked apple chardonnay chicken sausages (both yums also), hash browns, habanero sauce (super spicy that but a bit too sour for me!), and a frozen pumpkin cheesecake (that we’re savoring slice by slice, so good).

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We stopped by Barnes and Noble, bookworm haunt #2. The girls are blown away by the massive, ultra-modern library on campus which boasts millions of books, so that’s #1 on their list of places to hang out between classes. But yeah, we like Barnes too. Was flipping through this book while I was there.

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So that was our week/weekend. Been cooking a lot (warning, more food posts on the way). How was your weekend?

The weekend that was

The weekend that was
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Now that was one lazy weekend. We slept in on both days, a rare luxury as we’ve been so busy lately trying to stretch these already long summer days by getting an early start. Up at 9 and enjoying an unhurried breakfast of coffee and mini wheats at home.

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The previous weekend, we’d visited a farmer’s market where we bought a jar of delicious but expensive homemade apricot jam. The box of raisins is from another farmer’s market.

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Saturday, we decided to go back to the farmers’ market where we bought the jam. That rustic feel of roaming among a dozen or so stalls of farmers selling their fresh, recently harvested produce and folk music playing in the background is somewhat new and exciting to a true blue city girl whose never even seen a live chicken before 😉 . This time, we bought an eggplant, okra, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and a quart of freshly squeezed orange juice (so yummy!).

Sunday was a sizzler. 102 degrees, to be exact. We were contemplating staying indoors all day – to avoid the heat, plus we desperately needed to sort out the packages that have been trickling in from our online purchases. It was good we got most of the stuff put away. I hate the sight of boxes laying about (don’t you?).

As we were throwing the bed linen into the laundry later, we decided, what the heck, we’ll just go to our newly-discovered Chinese fast food for their delicious Hong Kong dimsum. We like going there because we can always get a parking spot and table no matter what time we show up. And I think this goes for just about every restaurant around here 🙂 .

We spent the rest of our Sunday pottering around the house. It’s nice. Different from the city rush. And in the evening, we cooked our first meal at home. Our new set of cookware has finally arrived and we have pots and pans to cook with again. Strange feeling 😆 . Eating out is fun and all, but did you know you can actually get bored from eating out too often?

I’ll have posts of our dimsum lunch, and homecooked dinner up next. So stick around.

Another day of snow

Another day of snow
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It snowed all day Saturday and it was still snowing all through Sunday and right up till this morning. We peeked outside and we’re laughing. Pure white snow, even thicker and whiter than the day before, coating everything in sight. Prettiest thing ever.

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It was 30 degrees outside but we didn’t care. We piled on the layers and headed out again. It was snowing heavily. I love the sight of the snowflakes coming down and the feel of it on my face. #prettyawesome

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Our feet sank deep into the snow and we left even deeper footprints. There must’ve been at least a few inches of snow. If there’s one thing about snow, it’s that it has so much more character than rain. Rain is, well, just rain but snow, now that’s something else, it has a whole different personality.

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Everything was covered in a thick sheet of white. No kids on this playground and no one else around. Just us. People must think we’re crazy, trudging back and forth in the freezing cold, throwing snow at each other, building another snowman (a bigger one this time, the girls are getting pretty good at it) and taking pictures like it’s going out of style.

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I can’t get enough of seeing how beautiful the snow looks on the trees, the branches, the leaves. It’s stuff we see in the movies and yet it’s all real. It’s all right here in front of me. I can touch it, feel it and I’m a part of it. Pretty awesome. It makes me happy inside.

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Something fishy

Something fishy
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First thing I do when I jump out of bed these days, I’m checking the weather. Ya never know, right? Turns out Saturday was the day we’d been waiting for. 40+ degrees and no sign of the sun or those 100km/hour winds the weather man had warned about. A steady breeze blowing in from the ocean, so cold and refreshing, and the lightest of sprinkles from the cloudy skies. Such beautiful weather.

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Perfect for a walk to that neat little fish and chips place not far from our place. The kids jumped at the idea. We don’t eat out often these days. All they get for dinner are my failed Asian cooking experiments, haha! Of course, they wanted to eat out.

So we set off on a leisurely walk. There’s no hurry in weather this beautiful. The previous week, we wanted to try their calamari but they ran out. So we ordered their cod fish special aka all you can eat. That was the day I single-handedly gobbled up 5 pieces of fish 😳 and drank 3 cups of coffee. #notevenkidding

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Anyhoo, back to this calamari which still smelled of the ocean. So that was kinda weird. I have to admit too I was a little freaked out by those tentacles. They reminded me too much of Davy Jones (remember him from the Pirates of the Caribbean? eww!)… so no, we probably won’t be ordering this again.

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The cod fish was yummy as usual. I could eat 5 pieces… okay, I already mentioned that so I won’t embarrass myself again. But it’s so freakin’ good especially since each table has its own bottle of tartar sauce. Me and the kids, we practically get drunk on the stuff, haha. I remember the times we’ve had to ask endlessly for refills till one restaurant even had the nerve to ask us to pay for extra tartar sauce. What?!

And our server kept coming around offering more coffee and of course, how could I say no? So I drank every last drop of those endless cups of coffee she poured me. Their coffee is that good, seriously. Or maybe it’s cold out and any piping hot coffee would taste good. Nah, they honestly do make one mean brew. So there, that was our little outing – a very pleasant walk, a nice little treat and good company.

Did you eat out this weekend? What did you have?

5 things that rock my socks

5 things that rock my socks
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Okay, so it’s Valentine’s Day (no big deal) and since we’re supposedly all about love today, here are 5 things that totally rocked my socks this week.

  • A berrylicious smoothie. Do me a favor and pretend you’re not seeing those cheesecakes in the background. Sssh, we’re still working our way through 108 slices of those. #notevenkidding

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  • Homemade char siew (barbecue pork). Squawking like a peahen that my first attempt turned out so unbelievably delicious and authentic.

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  • Snow-capped mountains and a sliver of ocean.

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  • Shrimp cocktail. A regal appetizer for the queen and her princesses *giggles*.

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  • Heart theme in our hallway, just for kicks. My after-dinner workout.

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Have a fantastic weekend. And if you’re so inclined, what rocked your socks this week?

Creating your own piece of paradise

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The groundhog says it’ll be 6 more weeks till the end of winter and that’s got to be good, right? That gives us time to think about how we’re going to prep the yard in time for spring. Everyone has their own ideas of how to turn that yard into a garden in full bloom with all the features to make your piece of paradise. Maybe you want to have your own barbecue area, or kiddy playground, or fruit and veggie farm. It’s not too early to start dreaming and thinking and planning. Spring will be here before you know it.


Via: Arnold Parts

Hanging out with friends

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So I nipped out for a cuppa with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while. As usual, the conversation centered around a lot of depressing stuff. Beats me why people get such a kick out of flogging a dead horse to everyone they meet but it seems to be the norm. Duh!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. I just don’t particularly enjoy listening to depressing like how someone’s place got broken into and she’s had to run around looking for one of those ever popular biometric safes. On the bright side, I’m now a little wiser about the kind of safes available on the market these days.

Non-stop week

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I’ve never been more glad the weekend is here. It’s been a very tricky week, not as in trick or treat-like because I didn’t even realize it was Halloween till yesterday. Back-to-back errands like you cannot imagine put me in a bad mood.

I had to make a trip downtown and if you know me, you know I’m not really big on driving into the city. When I think of the traffic, I just feel like running back into the house and hide. That said, our trip downtown was quite smooth for the most part, given that it was a weekday and all, and we almost made it back without incident…

… save for that heart-stopping moment when we were approaching home and some biker swung out in front of my car and gave me a coronary. It’s beyond me how people can have so little regard for life. The new traffic rule is drive or walk any which way you want to and totally trust someone else to watch out and not hit you.

On Thursday, our week was sweetened by free tickets to the movie Thor, The Dark World. You know we’re always game for a free movie and popcorn. There wasn’t much of a plot to the movie itself so it should be easy for younger kids to follow. For me, it was a chance to sit back in a cool, dark space and not have to think about traffic and lines and bad customer service.

If it hadn’t been so deafening, I might even have gotten away with 40 winks. Thankfully as with most lacklustre movies, the takeaway is that there’s always something to joke and laugh about later. For instance, figuring out what Thor was mumbling about (not that he had that many lines) will definitely be a joke in the Hip household for a while.

Well, I’ve been on my feet all week. Time to kick off my shoes and sit back. Maybe an afternoon nap later.

Not quite so Riddick-ulous

Not quite so Riddick-ulous
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Okay so it’s been raining quite a bit lately. Just this week, it rained free movie tickets, soda and popcorn. Such a lovely surprise. But when we found out the tickets were for “Riddick”, the girls were disappointed. They’d read the reviews (they keep up, I don’t) which weren’t exactly the ravingest. But still, when free Gold Class movie tickets fall from the sky, who can say no, right? Not us, even if the movie’s so bad we end up falling asleep in free air-conditioned comfort, what’s wrong with that?!

So Riddick it was. I have to admit that after hearing what the girls had to say, I went in with pretty low expectations. Indeed I practically snored through the first 20 minutes or so. It was nice and cool and the seats were extra wide and comfy, okay? Who can blame a girl for catching up on her beauty sleep?… although if Paul Walker had been Riddick, I probably would’ve stayed up 😉 .

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Not that Vin Diesel isn’t cute. He is, very, even when they make his eyes glow like some kind of starry-eyed hyena on a dark night, … and that physique, hmm 😉 . Anyhoo, in the beginning, there was nothing but brown landscape (think “Mad Max” from ages ago, remember that brownness?) where Riddick fights for survival with only a hyena-like dog (see, I knew there was a connection) for company.

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I was beginning to think this was going to be one of those two-actor (a guy and his CGI hyenadog) movies when, surprise, 11 bounty hunters arrive in their spaceships looking for Riddick. Make that 10 men and 1 woman (strange that there are always so few women on other planets, what’s up with that?). Between Riddick and said bounty hunters trying to outsmart each other, I stayed wide awake.

Forget the reviews, the movie wasn’t half bad. It turned out to be much more exciting than what I expected. I liked it. Lots of action but be warned, lots of violence and colorful language too. For those who rate this movie “rotten tomatoes”, let me just say, this couldn’t be any worse than “Loopers” (the one we walked out on) or “Oblivion”. At the very least, this one rocks Vin Diesel.

Squirrels’ playground

Squirrels' playground
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A sweltering afternoon finds us sitting on a campus bench hiding from the sun when a little squirrel comes prancing our way. Totally unexpected. As I stand to take a picture of him, I’m taken aback when he scampers right up to me, stares me in the eyeball, and tilts his head as if to ask, now who the heck are you?! 😯

“He thinks you might have food for him,” Raine chuckles from the bench. Darn right she is. Wish I had some walnuts or pecans in my bag to share with him 🙁 .

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Pretty soon, his friend sneaks up on him and they start chasing each other around in sprightly play. We may as well be transparent. They pay no attention to us. Nope, these guys are so used to being in the midst of thousands of students, they aren’t the least bit worried about us. In fact, it seems we are the ones intruding on their playground.

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So this prancing and playing goes on, up and down the spacious grounds, back and forth under the trees and into the bushes.

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Watching them, it got me thinking. Life as a squirrel seems to be all fun and games. Lazy summer days spent without a care in the world. Living life the way it’s supposed to be 🙂 .

Have a safe Fourth of July!

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