Friday, February 27, 2009

Starbucks Cupcakes

A couple of years ago at his company's holiday party, hubs won a Starbucks gift card. Since neither one of us are coffee drinkers, the card has been sitting in my wallet ever since.

Few days ago, I found out that Starbucks carries cupcakes! Apparently they have been doing so for at least two years.

Better to be late than never, I couldn't wait to try.

Priced at $1.85 each or $5.95 for four, the price is a lot more reasonable than the other cupcakeries I visited before. Still expensive, but my gift card sealed the deal.

So after work today, I picked up four cupcakes - two Red Velvet, one Double Chocolate, and one Vanilla Bean. I *think* they only have these three flavors available.

After dinner, hubs and I dove right in.

Not usually a chocolate person, I actually liked the Double Chocolate the best. Maybe it was because it was the first one we tasted, but the moist chocolate cake combined with sweet buttercream frosting really hit the spot!

We had Red Velvet next, which I thought was too heavy and dense, especially the cream cheese frosting. I definitely felt the sugar shock afterwards. Hubs actually liked the Red Velvet the best - he's the exact opposite - the denser, the sweeter, the heavier, the better.

Lastly, the Vanilla Bean. While the cake portion was moist, I found the frosting, again, a bit too heavy for my taste. However, it had great a natural vanilla flavor.

I like my cupcakes light and fluffy so I am not a fan of Starbucks' heavy and, sometimes, overly sweet cupcakes. For hubs though, they were perfect for him. So I guess it all depends on what you prefer!

Would I try them again? Most likely not. But I would if they introduce new flavors. After all, I still have some money left on the gift card to spend. :)

Have a sweet weekend everyone!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles

I just love eating Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles!

This dish is basically flour noodles pan-fried until crispy, and then served together with vegetables, meat, and/or seafood in a gravy sauce on top. The texture of the dish is incredible, I really like the crispy noodles soaked in savory sauce! It is simply delicioso!

But what I like the most about this dish is that you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand.

You can make it all vegetarian with tofu, mushrooms, and veggies. Or all seafood with shrimps, crab meat, and scallops. There are so many options.

The most important part of this dish, though, is the sauce, so don't forget about that.

Hubs and I made two big platters for dinner and we licked our plates clean. There weren't even any left for me to pack for lunch the next day! Next time, we will be sure to make extra. :)

Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles:
(serves 2 hungry people)

- 1 16oz pkg. Hong Kong Style noodles (I used a bit more than half)
- 1 small chicken breast, sliced thinly
- 15-20 small shrimps, peeled and deveined
- 1 king oyster mushroom, sliced thinly
- 1 stalk bok choy, cleaned and cut
- 2 cloves garlic, minced

Marinade A:
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- Salt/pepper to taste

Marinade B:
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Salt/pepper to taste

Sauce:
- 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of cooking wine

Thickening:
- 1 tbsp of corn starch
- 2 tbsp of water

1. Add oil to a heated pan. Add noodles. The noodles should brown very quickly. Use a pair of chopsticks or a spatula to make sure the noodles are getting browned evenly. If you need to, use the spatula to press the noodles against the pan or add some more cooking oil to make sure you brown most of the noodles. Plate the noodles and set aside.
2. Marinate chicken with Marinade A. Set aside. Marinate shrimps with Marinade B. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for Sauce. In a smaller bowl, combine corn starch and water. Set aside.
3. Add oil to a heated pan and saute garlic until lightly brown. Add shrimps and cook thoroughly. Dish out.
4. Add oil to a heated pan and cook chicken until done. Dish out.
5. Add oil to a heated pan and cook bok choy and oyster mushroom. Add salt to taste. Cook until done. Add shrimps and chicken back to the pan. Stir well. Add the Sauce mixture. Bring it to a boil.
6. Add water/corn starch and give a quick stir. Bring it to a boil.
7. Pour gravy on top of the noodles. Serve immediately!

{For step-by-step instructions, click here}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

After the film received Best Picture in the Oscars, I finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched Slumdog Millionaire.

I thought the movie was very good - it had an element of freshness in the way the story was presented. The tale of two brothers' lives was told through flashbacks tied to an episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?". As Jamal answered each questions correctly, we learned the life events that gave him that knowledge. Very interesting and creative!

The film was dynamic and engaging. I enjoyed it a lot.

On the other hand, some people thought the movie was highly overrated and full of media hype - I sort of agree.

I didn't think the movie matched up to other Best Picture winners in the past. Namely, Titanic in 1998. Hubs would also argue that Slumdog was not at all comparable to one of his favorite movies, Braveheart, winner of Best Picture in 1996.

Any thoughts? Did you think it was Best Picture worthy?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

New Layout

I have been spending an awful lot of time on my blog layout.

I see many good design elements and I can't help but wanting to incorporate all of them into {sugarlens}. The biggest being the two sidebars to the right layout. I find this particular layout somewhat more professional-looking and less-cluttering.

According to Blogger Buster: Three column templates with both sidebars aligned to the right are a good choice for blogs which feature a lot of different content in the sidebars.

While I don't have a lot of different content in the sidebars, I am starting to feature ads. I am not sure if I like them yet. I see many blogs with (excessive) ads and it makes me want to visit them less frequently. Since I only have a small one, I hope my readers won't feel the same way.

However, to make sure the ads don't interfere with my blog design, layout, and content, I feel having two sidebars to the right would help.

So off I went to find a tutorial.

I tried and tried and the darn thing just wouldn't work! Argh!

I went as far as transferring my blog posts to WordPress, thinking that WP offers readily available two sidebars to the right layout options, but gave it up when I realized that, overall, WP isn't as user-friendly and I have zero desire to learn CSS.

So I went back to blogger and fiddled away some more.

Then it just happened. Ta-da! So simple, so straight-forward, so silly that it took me so long.

I am still tweaking - trying to see what other enhancements or widgets that can be add to my brand new side-by-side sidebars, but the overall layout is done.

Visually, I think this new layout is very appealing. What do you think?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Extra 30% Saving At Old Navy (and Gap and BR)

It's no secret that I <3 Old Navy so I am super happy about this deal.

Don't run to the store just yet though, the coupon is only valid between March 12-15. I already printed out several copies.

Last week I saw some really cute spring stuff at ON. Cropped cardigans, drawstring skirts, and empire tops! Hopefully by mid March, they will all be marked down, including these sweaters. The extra 30% off will make it especially sweet!

(click the image for coupon + print)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Five Senses Weekend

I thought this would be a fun way to sum up my weekend.

See
- The movie Role Models. I don't understand how the movie got 7.8 stars on IMDB. I thought it was rather boring!
- My friend Seana. She was visiting from St. Louis.
- A grocery bill that went from $24 to $15 after coupons. Triple coupon rocks!

Hear
- The usual hustle and bustle at Great Wall grocery store.
- "Do you have a CVS card?" Yes I do! And because of that, I got some pretty awesome deals.

Touch
- A new-to-me spring/summer dress from Anthropologie. My sister-in-law bought a dress that was too long on her, so she gave it to me! The length is perfect on me, but the chest area is a bit too tight. I will probably wear it with a cardigan. My very first Anthro dress! I love the ruffle details. Thanks Emilie!
- Tried on my Infinite dress. Blah! It looks great on infomercial, not so much on me. It's definitely NOT the only dress I will ever need.

Smell
- Stinky Pargo. Gave him a much-needed bath.
- Fresh air! Saturday was very nice - I opened all the windows for some breeze.

Taste
- Super spicy twice-cooked beef hot pot, yummy salt + pepper shrimps, and delicious tofu + eggplant stir fry. We went out to eat with hubs' side of family in honor of his birthday (on the Lunar calender).
- Mochi! Nom nom nom!
- Homemade chicken pho and rice noodles.

How was your weekend? Ready for a brand new week?

At least it's payday week! :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Typical Saturday

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Ultimate Home Fries

While we always have a bowl of cereal every morning, there is nothing like a hearty savory breakfast once in a while. My favorite is sausages, eggs, and home fries!

I made home fries from scratch the other day. They turned out perfect! Crispy potatoes seasoned with onions and peppers, doused in ketchup. Yum-o!

Simple and easy. I will never buy the frozen variety again.

This side recipe is incredibly versatile because you can pair it with an omelette in the morning, a sandwich at lunch, or a roast chicken at dinner. It's definitely not just for breakfast.

The Ulimate Home Fries:

- 3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Hot pepper sauce or ketchup, for serving

1. Put the potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a wet paper towel. Microwave for roughly 5-6 minutes, or until just tender. Coarsely chop the potatoes.
2. In a large heavy skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the vegetable oil. Add garlic, onion, and red bell peppers and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes.
3. Mix in the potatoes and press into an even layer in the skillet.
4. Cook over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Turn the potatoes and cook until well browned, about 5 more minutes.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tracking Our Dollars

Hubs and I are good at paying our bills on time and not carrying any debts. We are good at saving and penny-pinching whenever possible.

But, truthfully, we don't exactly know where we are spending all of our money. Or how much we are really saving. We see our savings accounts grow little by little, but can they be growing faster? We don't spend a lot, but can we be spending less?

My curious mind wants to know!

So for the next month, I am tracking every single purchase, no matter how small. Starting today.

I found this nice template online. Haha, is it too perfect or what? Did they make it just for moi? :) But in reality, I won't use this. I will set up a spreadsheet in Google Docs so I can share and collaborate with hubs.

Tracking our spending line by line will make every single purchase visible and paints a clear picture of where our money is going. After tracking, we should have a good idea of where we could be spending more wisely and how much we are saving.

I shall do a progress check on March 19!

{picture from savvysugar)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too Bad Winter Is Almost Over

I just bought 4 tins of Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix and 4 tins of Chocolate Mocha Hot Cocoa Mix - Ghirardelli brand - all for a little bit less than $20 shipped. That's $2.50 per tin, yo!

To get some for yourself, just use coupon code FBCLEVNT (40% off). I don't know when it expires, so get it while you can. According to Amazon, it's already on back order. Read the entire thread here.

I can't speak from experience, but I don't think I can go wrong with Ghirardelli. Besides, the price just can't be beat!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Celebrating Valentine's Day At Home

Although Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday this year, hubs and I still spent it apart for most of the day due to his classes. So I ended up spending the day with my family and hubs came over after school for dinner.

Then on Sunday*, we had a five-course meal (throughout the day).

Remember the menu I made a long time ago? Yeah, well, I never got around to it. Until now. =p Hubs had been giving me a hard time about it for the last five months and I finally, FINALLY (!), delivered my promise.

Making a five-course meal was labor-intensive - lots and lots of chopping involved. To make it easier, I broke it up into two parts - lunch and dinner. For lunch, we had appetizer and dessert. And for dinner, we had soup, side, and entrée.

I know I cheated a bit, but there was no way we could've ate all that food in one setting anyway.

I was most proud of my steaks. They were simply rubbed with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but they turned out so juicy and yummy. I cooked them in 10 minutes under the broiler.

Our entire meal was fabulous and I had so much fun cooking, it's definitely something I look forward to doing again for Valentine's Day next year or in the near future.

*We also exchanged cards. Hubs did the cutest drawing inside, with a sweet note. It's one of my favorite cards from him!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Red Bean Pastry Balls

I have been trying to eat healthier, and that means avoiding anything sugary. But yesterday I decided to throw it all out the window. After all, it was Valentine's Day and something sweet sounded so good.

So I made these Red Bean Pastry Balls with Yi-Hsin's help. The recipe is one of my mom's, she has been making them since...well, forever! Hers are always very pretty, professional-looking. Mine turned out the exact opposite (different sizes, red bean paste oozed out), but they were delicious nevertheless!

The hubs is a fan so I will be making them whenever we need some sweet indulgence from now on. :)

I love the flaky crust and the sweet red bean paste. These little pastry balls are just about perfect when eaten warm (microwave for 10 seconds), with a cup of tea.

Red Bean Pastry Balls:
-makes about 24
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees

- 1 8oz cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 stick (4oz) butter (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 18oz can Sweetened Red Bean Paste (available at Asian grocery stores or make it at home)

1. In a medium bowl, using your hands, mix cream cheese, butter, and flour until the mixture forms a dough. The texture should be slightly moist. Add more butter if it is too dry, or more flour, if the dough seems greasy.
2. Divide the dough evenly into 24 pieces and use a rolling pin to roll them flat.
3. Place a small amount (approx. 1 tsp) of filling into the middle of each dough. Fold the dough over the filling into a ball shape and pinch the edges to seal. Flatten a bit.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

When He's Bad, He's REALLY Bad.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cooking Disney: Canton Chicken

Canton Beef is one of the entrees available at Disney World's Nine Dragons Restaurant. Even though hubs and I have visited the restaurant several times, we never tried that particular dish.

I heard that Nine Dragons, since the renovation, has become (even more) overly priced for very little food. Plus, since there are so many other restaurants to try at Disney, it's unlikely we will return anytime soon.

But, I can still make Nine Dragons dishes at home! Remember that link I found last year? Well, I haven't forgotten about it. It's just taking me a very long time to go through it.

I had some bell peppers and onions in the fridge, so I decided to give Canton Beef a try. Instead of beef flank steak though, I used chicken breast. Since we never had it before at the restaurant, we had nothing to compare it to, but it was so delicious over white rice that I will surely make it again. Simple, succulent, and homey. I especially like it that it's a one-dish meal - less pots and dishes to wash.

This dish reminds me of Cashew Chicken, which makes sense since the sauce has the exact same ingredients.

Canton Chicken:

- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp oil (the original recipe called for 1 cup, yikes!)

Marinade:
- 4 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 egg white
- 4 tsp cornstarch

Sauce:
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine
- 2 tsp chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Pinch of white pepper
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil

1. Slice chicken breast. Combine marinade ingredients. Marinate chicken in a bowl for at least 30 minutes. Cut peppers and onion into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3. Place approximately 1 cup of cooking oil in a heated wok or fry pan and heat oil to medium heat. Place marinated chicken in heated oil and cook until almost done. Drain chicken into a strainer. Set aside.
4. Leave about a teaspoon of oil in the wok. Place it back on the stove. Stir-fry onion and peppers for 30 seconds. Pour sauce mixture over onions and green peppers. Stir occasionally with a spatula.
5. When sauce mixture begins to darken in color, place beef back into
the wok and stir-fry swiftly. The dish is done when the peppers have softened.
6. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

{recipe adapted from here}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

A Card For Your Valentine

I will always remember that hubs (then boyfriend) and I exchanged the exact same card on our first Valentine's Day together. We went to two separate Hallmark stores, on two different days, but ended up buying the same card.

We both avoided the loud pink/red V-day section and found the sweet + simple card at the Love section. I picked it because it was cute and light-hearted. On the front, it said, "We Are Good Together" and inside, "And We Look Cute Too". It featured Mickey and Minnie dancing. How fun.

Having gone through five Valentine's Day together now, our conversation went like this last night:

Hubs: No card, no flowers, no nothing this Valentine's Day, right?
Me: No, we will give cards.
Hubs: We are in a recession, no money.
Me: Then make one.
Hubs: No time. Besides, I don't want to make it in front of you, that's no fun.
Me: Hmmm...

Well, to help hubs out, I found this on Creature Comforts. I printed a copy (2 cards per page) on cardstock. One for him to give and one for me to give. You must be thinking, how lame, you will have already seen the card.

But this card is customizable! You fill in the adjective of your choice in the little speech bubble - can be sweet or snarky. So there will be an element of surprise!

I wonder what adjective hubs will pick?

The best part, we will give each other the same V-day card all over again. Okay, I know, not exactly the same.

This card can be used for whoever. Friends, coworkers, neighbors, enemies, or that secret crush. Hope I saved you some pennies this Valentine's Day. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Steamed Tofu with Ground Pork

I found this recipe via Rasa Malaysia. I've had many success with her recipes that I visit her website again and again.

The recipe I am posting below is more or less a carbon copy of hers, but with a few changes. I like to marinate my meat for a smoother texture and I substituted dried shrimps on her recipe for shiitake mushrooms. Instead of water, I used broth (just because I had some).

This is an easy and healthy dish, with minimal oil. Although it has the same key ingredients - ground pork and tofu - as Ma Po Tofu, this is definitely a more figure-friendly alternative.

You can opt to have chilled tofu (w/o steaming) if you wish to avoid even more work. I think chilled tofu will be very satisfying in the summer.

I hope you give it a try!

Steamed Tofu with Ground Pork:

Marinade:
- 1/4 lb ground pork
- Salt and sugar to taste
- 1/8 tsp corn starch

- 1 cube silken tofu
- 1 shiitake mushroom (cut into little cubes)
- 1 stalk scallions (diagonal cuts)
- 1 red chili pepper (diagonal cuts)
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup broth
- A few drops of sesame oil
- Pepper to taste

1. Combine pork, salt, sugar and corn starch in a small bowl and marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Using a steamer, steam tofu for 5 minutes, or until warm, and set aside.
3. Heat up pan with some oil and stir fry ground pork and shiitake mushroom until fragrant. Add in broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce and bring it to boil.
4. Add in scallions, red chili pepper, sesame oil, and pepper.
5. Quickly stir for 30 seconds and pour the topping onto steamed tofu.
6. Serve over hot rice.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My 'Hood Is Not Walkable

I discovered this interesting site called Walk Score.

It calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.

(Walk Score is just an approximation of walkability, though. There are a number of factors that contribute to walkability that are not part of the math such as public transit, street width, street design, and pedestrian-friendly community design. However, for the most part, I would say it's still paints a fairly accurate picture.)

I excitedly put in our address, and it showed that our neighborhood is only 32% walkable.

Basically, we are very car dependent. Boo.

But THIS explains why we are hermits!

I personally think if we lived in a more walkable-friendly area, hubs and I would get out and socialize more. We hate having to drive everywhere, especially in the horrific DC traffic.

Ideally, I would like to live somewhere that has the best of both city convenience and suburb perks. Hubs and I always talk about moving to San Francisco, which, coincidentally, is rated as #1 most walkable city in America!

What's your Walk Score? (It's so easy to use, try it!)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Like Blogs: foodgawker

foodgawker is a gallery where food bloggers can showcase their food and photography skills. It's a place to discover new sites, dishes, and recipes.

Anyone can submit entries by following a couple of simple rules. The key to get accepted, though, is to have good pictures. Pictures that have good presentation, good composition, and good lighting.

The photos on foodgawker are really amazing!

I submitted my Chicken Claypot Rice picture, just for fun. I wasn't expecting to get accepted on my first try, but I figured that I can learn from it (they give feedback if your entry is rejected).

Well guess what?! I submitted my entry merely a few hours ago and it is already approved and live. I am so thrilled!

I will definitely try my luck again in the future. In the meantime, I am going to visit foodgawker as often as possible and begin building my "favorites."

So if you are ever at loss on what to make for dinner, this is a yummy resource! If you ever want to just look at pretty photos, this is your one-stop shop.

You may want to prepare a napkin before clicking over there, though. You'll need it to wipe off the saliva on your monitor after you lick the screen. :)

Excuse me while I go wipe mine.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

(Another) Makeover!

As you may have noticed, I have been tinkering with the look of {sugarlens} quite a bit lately. I just can't seem to settle on something that I don't get bored with after two days. Do I want cute and girly? Sophisticated? Modern? Minimalistic? Edgy?

One thing I do know - I want unique.

A couple of days ago, I came across a food blog that has the exact same graphic as my previous header. Bah! Must. Change. Immediately.

So I have been designing my own header from scratch. After many many versions, I finally got it last night! It's simple and clean and I like it! I may keep it...um...for at least two weeks. :) I found the light gray grid background on COLOURlovers. There are lots of palettes and patterns for inspiration.

Besides the overall design of my blog, I have also been making less-noticeable enhancements, such as highlighting author comments, which is really neat and makes me want to leave comments to myself!

I am going to leave my blog design alone for now. I think I have wasted enough time on it...

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jamaica: Bonus Video

Missed my recaps? Read 'em here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6, 7, and 8.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my Jamaica vacation as much as I've enjoyed writing about it. Although time consuming, it's nice to document our entire trip on {sugarlens}. I know years from now, I will read my posts again and reminisce about the fun we had.

I have a video to share! The previous posts included mostly photos of the scenery, food, hotel, etc, but hardly any of us. So I put together this video of "us" pictures.

*WARNING* - it's a 5-minute long video of me and hubs. I won't be offended if you don't finish.

The music is Three Little Birds by Bob Marley.



Lastly, I want to talk about money. I know money is a touchy subject and most people don't like to disclose how much they pay for such and such. I don't mind, so here is a rough cost breakdown for our 7 nights/8 days vacation:

Airfare - $979
Airport Transfer RT - $80
Hotel - $609
Excursions - $140
Other (food, cab rides, tips, miscellaneous) - ~$300

We spent about $2100 on this trip. Not too bad, considering we went during high season. I am surprised we got by with just $300 for our daily expense for 8 days, but I suppose eating at little roadside mom-and-pop shops helped greatly. Yum, beef patties. Cheap and delicious.

Jamaica was truly a relaxing vacation. Hubs and I had never gone on a vacation where we had so much time to just sit around. I am the type who likes to go go go and see everything, but that was impossible to do (unless we had unlimited funds for excursions) in Jamaica. So instead, we saw the surrounding local area, but other than that, did a whole lot of nothing.

And really, it wasn't too bad! The laid-back island vibe was contagious.

Now that we are busy with our daily lives, I wish we could return to Jamaica this instant - go back to laying on the lounge chair and staring out to the blue blue waters.

Although the world is big and we don't like returning to the same place more than once (with the exception of Disney, of course), I am sure we will have another island vacation in the future. Living on the east coast, it would be a shame not to.

Yah mon. Respect. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 6, 2009

BB Two: The Sole Survivor

About two weeks ago, I wrote about Bunny, our female cichlid, and the 70+ eggs she spat out of her mouth just before she died.

I showed a video of our homemade tumbler. Hubs did a great job of using an empty dvd box and yarn to make a little home for the eggs. We did everything we could to help them survive the traumatic experience of having being released from their mother's mouth prematurely.

Unfortunately, the eggs were disappearing fast.

Some became fungus and had to be removed from the dvd box.

But some were literally disappearing! Every morning we would wake up and see less and less eggs in the dvd box. Why? No clue. Hubs suspected that other fishes in the tank swam into the box at night and ate them. I disagreed. No way, they were that smart. Besides, how did they know to do it at night when we are not watching? And come to think of it, how come they didn't finish all the eggs at once?

There were many unanswered questions.

Anyway, shortly, not even a week after, we found ourselves with two eggs left. Two! Still, we were happy campers because we didn't expect any to make it at all.

And guess what? They were slowly hatching! We saw their eyes and tails and egg sacs getting smaller. They were tiny, barely moving, and transparent.

I told hubs, "They are Bunny One and Bunny Two."

He responded, "Umm, okay. But how about BB One and BB Two? BB stands for Baby Bunny."

"Sure."

Few days ago, the unfortunate happened again. One baby didn't make it. We found him covered in white fuzz. So sad.

Hubs mentioned, "We don't know which one died, BB One or BB Two."

I decidedly said, "It was BB One who died. BB Two is left."

So there you have it. Out of 70+ eggs, only one survivor. BB Two is twitching more, his egg sac is noticeably smaller, but ultimately, he's still fighting for survival.

I am hoping for another miracle.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

{sugarlens} font

Get your own personalized font here. I named mine {sugarlens}. Duh.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hola España!

Last year, I left hubs and took a solo trip to visit my friend in St. Louis. This year, I am doing the same. Except I am traveling with my mom. And we are going to Spain!

The first and last time I was in Europe was over nine years ago. I was young and clueless. I did it the easy way and joined a tour group. I went to several countries, but looking back, I can't even explain what I saw, experienced, or thought.

This time, I am looking forward in immersing myself in the culture and environment (or as much as I could in 7 short days).

We are splitting our time between Madrid and Barcelona. I don't know much about either cities, to be completely honest. But it they are as amazing as what I've read or heard, I am in for a real treat. I can't wait to wrap my lens around the famous Gaudi architecture!

Spain is actually not on my Places To Go In Europe list (although I am beginning to think it totally should be), but we found a (relatively) good deal that was too silly to pass up. Plus, the dollar is steadily getting stronger since last summer. I just hope it holds up a bit longer.

It's too bad that hubs won't be there to experience it with me (boo), but I am happy about having my mom as my travel partner! It will be her first time in Europe! She is already doing tons of research on her own and she will want to see all the sights, just like me.

50 more days!

{source}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Changeling

If I was to write about every single movie hubs and I watch, my blog would be filled with nothing but movie reviews! Instead, I only post about the movies I enjoy.

Last month, we watched a number of movies, but except for Marley & Me, nothing was blog-worthy.

February is off to a good start - we just finished watching Changeling moments earlier and I am already writing about it. So needless to say, I thought the movie was fantastic - good screenplay, good story, and good acting!

Changeling told a story of a desperate mother (Angelina Jolie) trying to find her mysteriously disappeared son. While she tried to find her son she got entangled to a serious web of police arbitrariness and corruption.

Jolie delivered a powerful performance as Christine Collins, but truly really, all the child actors were amazing, too.

This is not a typical drama, but also a suspense/thriller that had me covering my eyes. It had a few disturbing scenes. The film was super long, clocking in at more than two hours. But to my surprise, the time went by fast. I was totally engrossed with every minute of the movie. Yes, it was that good.

I usually like bubbly movies, such as Bride Wars (which by the way, was not good), but Changeling is the first movie this new year that I would highly recommended without hesitation.

Anyone else love the movie as much as I do?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 2, 2009

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[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Personal Goals: February Oh-Nine

We survived January!

Admittedly, it was a stressful month. Hubs had classes almost every Saturday and Sunday. We didn't get a single good night sleep with a brand new puppy. The task of finding a new project at work piled on. There were lots of yelling and fuming. Not fun.

I am glad January is over and done.

Confession Time: I didn't do well on my goals for January.

1) Complete my second annual New Year card project. With hubs' swamped with classes early last month, he didn't have time to create an artwork for me this year. I searched online for cute images and spent at least two nights playing, but nothing worked. So I said, forget it. Instead, I spent time with friends and emailed (back and forth) with a couple of out-of-town friends.

2) Try to eat well. We were doing really well until the end of the month when our favorite tiramisu was on sale at the local grocery store. Then hubs birthday cake. Then brownies. Then Lunar New Year.

3) Organize my closet. Accomplished. I have two big bags of clothes ready to be donated. Now what's left in my closet are the pieces I really like.

This month I need to focus on a few things:

1) Spend time wisely. I really enjoy writing and posting on my site almost everyday. I’m hoping to manage my online time better and be a more efficient writer.

2) Try (again) to eat well. Same drill, different month.

3) DONATE the said two big bags of clothes. Salvation Army? Purple Heart? Or the local Unique Thrift Store?

4) Make a nice V-day spread. We don't celebrate Valentine's Day, but as it falls on a Saturday this year, I plan to make something special at home. Wish me luck!

Hmmm....I think that's all. What are your goals for this short month?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!