Monthly Roundup for July 2017: 5 things that I’ve been enjoying this past month

In the midst of one of the hottest summers on record, here is a list of five things that I’ve enjoyed using, watching, reading and eating this month (I’ve also been spending a bit too much time  dreaming about moving into a glass igloo in Finland (have you seen these?!)

1. I recently discovered Blackwing Pencils, a classic stationery item (favored by John Steinbeck and Truman Capote) One of the most useful features on this pencil is the replaceable eraser, which is held in place by a tiny clip. The eraser is flat like a piece of Chiclet gum, this design helps it from rolling around on your desk surface.  I also love their slogan: Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed. This most likely refers the buttery smoothness of the pencil lead, but I also like to think of it something applicable to life~ wouldn’t it be more effective if I could complete tasks with half the pressure and twice the speed?  Sometimes it’s not even the quantity of difficulty of the tasks, but the related mental and emotional baggage that stymies my progress.

Continue reading

Field Trip: L’idiot Restaurant 驢子餐廳 (華泰王子大飯店)

L’idiot has been on my list of restaurants to try, after watching the movie My Egg Boy (see the trailer here).  Trust me, watch the movie and you will understand why. Just fast forward through all the parts about the figurative eggs, and focus on the fabulous produce and cooking… and the person that does the cooking.  Currently the restaurant has moved from the original location in Ming Sheng community, to the first floor of the Gloria Prince Hotel, in Zhongshan District. Once you enter through the front doors to the hotel lobby, the restaurant is easy to spot~ there is a wire donkey statue right by the front door.  (I recommend making reservations~ especially for lunch because it was full even on a weekday).

Since the restaurant was pretty busy, it was hard to get a clear photo of the interior, without getting in the way. I took a quick glance around and found the decor to be a fun mix of quirky items.

Continue reading

Improving on a favorite: brown butter banana bread 焦化奶油香蕉麵包

I (optimistically) thought that there would be a temporary lull in work activity from July to August, but I was wrong.  It turns out my schedule is as packed as it was before but with different types of activities.  However, one of the best things about my work location is it operates on summer hours for the second part of July and most of August.  Summer hours means that the office closes earlier in the afternoons, and is closed on all day Fridays.   So my current plan is to work efficiently Monday-Thursdays from early in the mornings until 4:00, and then try to take a break from work-related activities on Fridays.  This Friday, I decided that I would bake~ and since my apartment’s temperature breaks 30C by 10:00 am, I try to do anything that involves turning on the oven early in the morning.  Bananas are really bountiful in Taiwan this time of year~ at really good prices, so I decided to take advantage of the situation and bake banana bread. I tried a new recipe this time, which involves using brown butter (also known as beurre noisette). Brown butter is  made by melting butter slowly over medium heat.  Once the butter begins to melt, it will foam, and the color will change from a sunny to golden yellow, until finally a toasty brown. (Note, I found it better to use a light bottomed pan to brown butter, because then you can easily observe the color changes~ also the butter will become very foamy~ make sure you push aside the foam with a spoon to check the color of the butter underneath!) Once you start to smell a slightly nutty, caramel-ly aroma, remove the pot from the stove and pour the butter into a bowl to cool.

最近工作時間有點小調整~事情雖然沒有少, 但內容有一些有趣的改變。 大概因為是夏天的關係吧, 最近都很早起。這段時間, 室內溫度沒有破 30 C 以前, 是一個烘培的好時機。 這一次, 我試著用焦化奶油做香蕉麵包。 焦化奶油會讓原本平凡的香蕉麵包味道多一個層次。

Continue reading

Product Review: Notebooks for Left-handed Writers(and the Eslite Ideal Stationery Fair)誠品理想的文具展|左撇子的筆記本推薦 

I always look forward to Eslite Bookstore’s exhibitions~ I think they are really well put together and are a balanced combination of both information and merchandise.  This past month, was the Ideal Stationery Fair, featuring illustrations by Japanese artist Chalkboy, some fun facts about everyday stationery items, and of course tons of affordable (and some aspirational) stationery products from around the world. 這週想跟大家分享我去誠品理想的文具展的一些照片及買的筆記本。

Continue reading

Monthly Roundup for June 2017: The 5 things that I’ve been enjoying this past month

I thought it would be fun to start a new series on the blog, detailing 5 things that I’ve been enjoying, using and reading this month.  Some bloggers do this on a weekly basis, but I think I will start with a monthly list and go forward from there.   Summer is in full swing here in Taiwan, and in June, I’ve enjoyed summer fruit and have been trying to get into some more healthful life habits.  時間真的過的很快, 忙著忙著 突然意識到,已經快七月了! 從這個月起, 我想開始一個新單元, 紀錄我這個月以來的生活點滴。

Continue reading

Homemade Yogurt 第一次做手工優格~大成功!

After my trip to Daylight last week, I felt inspired to try to make my own yogurt.  I’ve always had mixed feelings about doing so because I heard that homemade yogurt may involve complicated ingredients, like yogurt culture powder and warmers (as seen here and here)  But after a bit of research, I realized that it’s possible to make homemade yogurt with minimal fuss or equipment. For my first attempt, I used  an easy recipe from the New York Times as a guide. I made some improvisations, such as halving the recipe, so I wouldn’t waste too many ingredients in case it didn’t work.  I also liked this particular recipe, because it involves no special equipment or ingredients.  Just a pot, milk, and yogurt.

Continue reading

Field Trip: Daylight 光合箱子 Brunch

A few days ago, I visited Daylight 光合箱子~ a restaurant that specializes in enormous servings of fresh vegetables, freshly made bread and homemade yogurt.   For my first visit, I tried their salmon scrambled eggs, over freshly baked bread.  The plate arrived accompanied by the trademark generous serving of salad and roasted vegetables,  and a small serving of  handmade yogurt.

最近天氣真的開始熱了。 一到了這個季節 我就想過悠閒的日子~例如睡到自然醒, 然後再跟朋友們去吃早午餐。 最近發現了 Daylight 光合箱子 的 brunch~ 吃了兩次後, 非常推薦給大家。 喜歡他們超大份量的蔬菜 & 手工優格。

The entire plate was delicious. However, the star of the show was their handmade yogurt, which was creamy, with just a hint of tanginess, topped with brown sugar and assorted nuts and seeds.  This brunch kept me full, yet energized for almost the entire day~ from about 11:00 pm to 6:30 pm, through two meetings! Usually by the end of one of those meetings, I start craving sweets and coffee, but this time, I just sat calmly (and a bit smugly) in my chair, while the others ran out during the break to get their fix.

Continue reading

Happy Dragon Boat Festival! 端午節快樂!

It’s a long weekend in Taiwan this Monday~ we are celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival~ and in addition to all the relaxing, I will be doing some small projects around the house.  This holiday officially marks the beginning of summer, so I will probably be cleaning out my closets and switching seasons and taking winter sweaters and coats down to the dry cleaners.  My attempts at Marie Kondo types of cleaning have failed epically so far, but I’m going to give it another go this weekend.  Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

端午節快樂! 終於有假可以放啦。 這個假期我打算z整理家裡~ 衣服也要換季了。 當然也會好好的休息一下。 大家下禮拜再見喔!

Original image source: BBC