Monthly Roundup for November, 2017

November is home to one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving.  Now that I’m living in Taiwan, this holiday has taken on different iterations.  One part that remains the same is that I still make sure to take some time to reflect on all that I am thankful for. This season, I am thankful that I have a strong support network, thankful for a career that is almost equal parts challenging and rewarding, and also thankful that I have some time to pursue my interests and hobbies, with cheerful abandon.

This month has been a particularly trying one for me and my family, and in the midst of it all, I’m trying my best to keep everything afloat.  A method that has worked particularly well is to make meticulous lists of things that I have to do~ which really brings a sense of calm and order.   The other method is to find a few moments everyday to do something that occupies both my mind and hands in a happy and healthy way (which really rules out sitting in front of the TV and eating potato chips!)

Early this morning, I spent a few minutes wrapping this adorable gift for a friend’s baby, and it made me feel happy and content knowing how much she would enjoy it.

P.S.: I may have to delay my posting scheduling here for the next few weeks. But I’ll try to update when I can!

This was not a sponsored post. I paid for all items shown here with my own money, and all opinions are based on my own experiences. 

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Looking forward to 2018 with the Hobonichi Techo Planner 

It’s almost that time of year again to shop around for a new planner! I always enjoy the annual the calendar and planner display at Eslite (Xinyi Branch)~ it’s a well-organized and inspiring place to discover what’s new in the field.

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There are so many colorful and tempting options this year!  In addition to the Taiwanese brands, there are also many different imported planners from around the world.

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The displays at Eslite also have good examples of how to incorporate washi tape and post-it notes to brighten up an otherwise staid calendar. (Seriously, I never thought to use my washi tapes vertically.  Or to cut them in half)

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However, despite all the colorful temptations, for my yearly planner, my preferred planner is the Hobonichi Techo, English edition.  I’ve been using this planner for the past three years, and I’ve been very happy with the format and size. It is the A6 size, with a January start. For this post, I thought I would give you a quick peek into how I use my planner, and a quick look at the 2018 edition.

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Yu Chocolatier 畬室 法式巧克力甜點

Information: Yu Chocolatier | Renai Road Section 4, Alley 112, Lane 3, No. 10, Da-An District, Taipei| Phone:02 -2701- 0792| 大安區仁愛路4段112巷3弄10號 (仁愛圓環台新大樓後方第一條巷子,近中山醫院)

I have a love/hate (to be honest, hate-hate) relationship with exercise. But of course it’s something that I must do, in order to be able to eat desserts and still maintain my health.  A friend of mine told me, “I work out every day just so I can eat my two pieces of chocolate.”  At first, I thought that was a high price to pay, but then I discovered chocolate that I would be willing to work that hard for.   And that chocolate would be the handmade,  artisinal chocolate from Yu Chocolatier.

Yu Chocolatier is a tiny, immaculate shop that seats just 8 people. Once you walk inside, you are greeted first by the heavenly smell of chocolate, then by very cheerful and friendly staff.


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Field Trip: CHANTEZ Pâtisserie 穿石

Information: CHANTEZ Pâtisserie 穿石| Address: No. 31, Section 3, Jinan Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106  | MRT:Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station, Exit 6| Phone:  02 2778 6865| Hours: 12:00-9:00 pm| 大安區濟南路三段31號| 忠孝新生捷運站3號/6號出口,步行3-5分鐘

This day had two firsts~ my first visit to Chantez Patisserie, and my first taste of fresh fig. Chantez is located in one of the quieter neighborhoods in Da-An district.  It’s an easy 5 minute walk from Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station, Exit 6. Right across, there is an old fashioned restored two story building, that is quite rare to see in Taipei.  During my visit there, I stared dreamily at the house, imagining how lovely it would be to live there.

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Monthly Roundup for October 2017

This month, we were fortunate to have two holidays~ one midweek for the Mid-Autumn Harvest Moon Festival (中秋節)and the other was a four day weekend, celebrating Taiwan’s birthday.  Since I am fantastically busy from now until the end of January, I made no major plans for either holiday, beyond having lunch with my family for the Mid-Harvest Moon Festival.  The rest of the time was spent catching up on sleep and work, and just some general stay-cation activities.

1) I discovered this tea place during one of my meetings. The admin assistant running the show had this fabulous, eye-catching icy and refreshing drink, while the rest of us sat around the table sipping cups of lukewarm tea.   Turns out, it was from the drink shop nearby, called Bao-Guo.  (I normally just pass right on by on my way to meetings, because I thought it was a bread shop). Coincidentally, I was in the neighborhood during the break, so I decided to try their iced grapefruit tea (regular ice, 50% sugar). I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s full of sliced grapefruit and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.

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Habit Shift:  Goodbye Things, Tip 31 (and mini reviews of beauty products)

Lately, I’ve been following some of the tips from the book Goodbye Things: On Minimalist Living, by Fumio Sasaki.  This week, I decided to try Tip 31, which is: Think of stores as your personal warehouses.  This tip is a useful reminder for me, because I have a habit of buying for now, and for the year(s) ahead.  As one part of my habit shift for the next 6 months, I am going to make better use of the items that I have and cut down on buying additional products until I absolutely need them.  As I mentioned before, I tend to accumulate a lot of products and then forget about them.  This season, I’ve corralled everything into one drawer. I take a photo every time I take out a new product, and save it on my phone.  If I’m out shopping and want to buy something, I refer back to the photo and check to make sure I don’t have something similar already.  I’m happy to report back that so far this method seems to be working, and I’ve really cut back on impulse purchases! Also as part of this new habit shift, I decided that I would save the empty bottles and packaging for a year, so I can make a more well-informed assessment of how long it takes me to use up particular products.

I did some research online and found that makeup and beauty products have a much shorter shelf life than I thought.  All the websites I read recommended keeping close tabs on products used near the eyes, such as mascara and eye shadow.  I had no idea that it was recommended that eye shadows be replaced after 3 months! I have a couple sets that I’ve been using for the past 2 years, and I thought they were was still going strong. Oops.  In case you are wondering if you are making the same mistakes, here is a short summary of my findings:In order to keep closer tabs on expiration dates, I’ve started to label each bottle with a start and end date.  For the products that I’ve been using before my project started, I label with an estimate of the month started, and the month/date of when I finished it.  Here are the empties that I have so far: (I’ll include mini reviews of some of the products towards the end of the post, if you’re interested!)

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Habit Shift: Goodbye Things (Tips 9, 10 and 11)

By this time of year, I’ve probably broken most, if not all of my new year’s resolutions.  I vaguely remembered something about having better work and life balance (ha!) and exercising more (ha ha!)  But for me, adopting and keeping new habits is hard, hard work. I decided this time around, instead of feeling guilty about the resolutions I didn’t keep, I’ll try to take smaller, more realistic steps, or shifts, if you will.  For me, the concept of a shift still implies change, but they seem to be more gradual.   One of the habit shifts that I hope to make is to have more control over my surroundings.  I’ve moved houses quite a few times over the past few years, and I thought I had whittled my possessions down to a bare minimum.  But lately, I’ve noticed that my space seems to feel cluttered and chaotic.  So one area in my life that I really want to work on is clearing out my living spaces and making better use of what I have. It’s definitely a work in progress, and I thought it would be helpful to document the process here.

I recently read Goodbye Things: On Minimalist Living, by Fumio Sasaki.  The book chronicles the author’s journey to a more minimalist lifestyle.  He eliminated most of his possessions, and now lives with just the barest of necessities.  He reduced his wardrobe down to three shirts, four pairs of trousers and four pairs of socks.  In the process of saying goodbye to his possessions, he gained clarity of mind, and control over his living environment.

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Field Trip: Feeling at home in Tainan 台南 @小房子

Information: @ 小房子 | Address: No.17, Alley 36, Lane 122, Kaishan Road, West Central District, Tainan City 700, Taiwan| Phone: 06-221-5328| 台南市中西區開山路122巷36弄17號

As I mentioned last week, we made whirlwind trip to Tainan towards the end of September.  Don’t be fooled by the flurry of activities, it was actually a very relaxing mini-break.  When we were wandering in the shopping area across from the Confucius temple, we discovered a tiny tea house tucked into one of the alleyways.

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