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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I just realized that I haven’t left the country, or even the city, in over a year. To make up for that in a small way, I went on a day trip to Tainan with my aunt and brother. We took the high speed rail from Taipei around 10, and arrived in Tainan in two hours and 20 minutes.  Then we took the free shuttle from the high speed rail station into the city.  Despite the short amount of time that we were there, it turned out to be the most relaxing day, ever.  Probably because all we did was meander down the cozy alleyways and eat delicious food.

Our first stop right off the shuttle was for food.  Right near the shuttle stop was a place for ba-wan (meatballs wrapped in a glutinous rice wrapper).  These are the steamed version. Make sure to douse liberally with the sweet chili sauce!

Right next door is the Lily’s, which is one of the most well-known places to get fruit over shaved ice.

A lot of restaurants in Tainan offer outdoor seating- usually just tables set up near the sidewalks.  My advice is to have someone in your party grab a table first.  The menus are attached to clipboards and available at the front counter.  Decide what you want, check the boxes next to the item, write down your table number and pay first at the counter.


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Monthly Roundup for September 2017

Whenever September rolls around, I’m always reminded of the opening scenes of one of my favorite movies, “You’ve Got Mail,” when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks stroll down the streets of New York City to the background music of Dreams, by the Cranberries.  Bouquets of sharpened pencils, anyone? Yes, please!

 

1) Speaking of bouquets of sharpened pencils, one rainy afternoon, I took stock of all my writing utensils (pens, pencils, etc) and threw out all the worn out, dried out items.  Now I have good idea of what I have (a lot) and what I need to buy (not a lot)

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Field Trip: Moment Cafe and Bakery, at Grand Mayfull Hotel, Taipei 台北美福大飯店

Information: Moment Cafe and Bakery | Address: Le Qun Road, Section 2, No. 55 (First floor of the Grand Mayfull Hotel) |MRT Station: Jiannan Road Station (brown line) Exit 2| Phone: (02)77223397| Hours: Monday-Friday: 10:00-20:00 | 台北市中山區樂群二路55號(台北美福飯店1樓 | 電話:(02)77223397 |營業時間:週一至週日10:00-20:00

I visited Moment Cafe and Bakery in between meetings, and the second I came out of the MRT station, rain poured from the heavens with no sign of stopping.  I hopped into a cab to avoid being soaked, and it was only when I made my way back to the MRT station afterwards, that I realized how easy it was to walk to the Cafe.  Come out of Exit 2 of Jiannan Station, and you will see the black New Square building.  Turn left, and continue walking down the street, and after about 10 minutes or so, you will see the front door of the Grand Mayfull Hotel, where Moment Cafe is located on the first floor.

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Product Review: Cuisinart Immersion Blender (Model CSB-76TW 美膳雅專業級手持式攪拌棒 (CSB-76TW) 使用心得

Two years ago, I bought this immersion blender online.  Online shopping at night is dangerous. My defenses are down, and my imagination tends to runs amok.  Suddenly, I became THE  pulled together, healthy person who would serenely whip up a healthy smoothie everyday before work. In reality, all I usually have time for is a piece of toast, usually crunched down in a flurry of crumbs, while running around trying to find something to wear.  So the immersion blender sat in its box, forgotten and lonely in a corner of my closet, until I found it recently in my bout of clearing out (more on that later). I decided to rectify matters (and to justify why another appliance needed a home in my kitchen) and put it into good use.

最近工作太忙了 差一點忘了我有買了一個 Immersion Blender.  是 夏天smoothie 或是冬天濃湯的好幫手。 有些人可能會好奇, 如果我家有了打果汁機 或是攪拌機, 還會需要另一個廚具嗎? 後來查了一下資料, 發覺其實每一個功能都不太同。 果汁機能把食物液化 (liquefy) 。 攪拌機是能把食物結合, 但比較不能液化。Immersion blender 是手拿的多功能小工具,可以切,攪拌跟把食物液化。

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