Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Review in randomness

The last post of the year is always the hardest to write. I'm cracking my head and going: wow, this year sure went fast! At the same time, it doesn't seem like it went that fast at all. Anyhoo, speed aside, I'd say it's been a pretty good year with the usual ups and downs and its fair share of joys and disappointments. But that's life, isn't it?

Along the way, I've met new people, made observations, been places, done new things, gained some insights... I'm not going try and structure everything I want to say. I'm just going to throw my random thoughts out there. Oh and I'm not wearing my rose-colored glasses either so please don't be offended if I say a negative thing here, touch a raw nerve there, even if it's New Year's Eve and we're supposed to be all happy and positive like.

1. Drink more tea. I know bubble tea has been around for ages but I only just discovered it -- by accident - this year. Go me! I've been hooked ever since. No boba for me though, not a fan. Boba is cute and all but the idea of chewing mini starch balls doesn't appeal to me. I usually go for the fruit tea or iced milk tea instead - half sugar, half ice.

2.Loyalty to parents (and siblings) comes first and foremost. This goes without saying but apparently some people don't get it. It's a no-brainer so you shouldn't have to stop and think about whose side to take. Your loyalty should always be to the ones who gave you life, raised you and showered you with love. Without your parents, you wouldn't have been born. End of story.

3. Believe not all that you hear. I've lost count of how many times this year that people have told me one thing and done entirely the opposite - without apology. It's not like I didn't know that already but at a professional level? Yes, sure, why not? If a person is prone to breaking promises, why would they stop just because they're representing a business, eh? Lesson learned!

4. Learn to let go - of excessive sugar, salt, toxic people in your life, things you wish you had but can't or don't, unhealthy habits, soda, processed food... To be fair, I just had a burger at Burger King yesterday and I pretended not to notice that juicy piece of bacon calling out to me. Oh man, so good!

5. Believe not everything that you see on the internet. This one goes out to all the boys and girls who genuinely believe that people actually live the kinds of lives they post on social media. What you see posted are those things about their so-called posh lives that they want you to see which represents only a tiny fraction of their real lives. You don't know what else is happening in their lives so don't be too quick to envy them and think that your own life sucks. I read that some people take their own lives thinking how pathetic their lives are compared to those they see on social media, and it breaks my heart. Don't ever do that! Be happy with who you are and what you have. Your life is beautiful in its own way. There's no need to compare.

6. Try new food. Cook new food. Seriously, when am I not talking about food? I ate a lot this year, discovered new restaurants and cuisines from other cultures, and found new food to love and cook.

Oh wait! Brainwave! I know what I'm going to cook for tonight's New Year's Eve dinner. Smoked salmon linguine it is - woohoo! Right so with that, huge hugs and a gigantic thank you for sticking around during my 2-year hiatus and continuing to read and comment on my blog. Be safe and have a Blessed New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers and followers who have stuck around in spite of my two year hiatus. I love you all! You guys rock!

Christmas rocks too. It has been my favorite season of the year like forever. I love the brightly lit Christmas trees and seasonal store displays and... the shopping, of course, thought these days, I've mellowed down to window shopping. When this time of year rolls around, I somehow feel 'obliged' to join in the rush whether it's just to browse or to grab a bite to eat. I know. It's not like I don't know what it's like to be stuck in traffic. I will go anyway. If I don't, I feel like I'm missing out on all that year-end fun. Yup, that's the kid in me!

To be honest, I don't even celebrate Christmas, not in a religious way, that is. I don't have a Christmas tree up in my living room but I will cook up a storm - roast turkey, brown gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed potatoes, the whole works. It's just a good excuse to celebrate.

Have a safe and wonderful rest of Christmas Day. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The problem with gift giving

So here we are, knee deep in another gift giving season. It's a time of year I love but! Not to dampen anyone's mood or anything, but isn't gift giving an unnecessary burden these days? With every year, friends and family are expecting ever bigger, more expensive gifts.

I remember the times when gifts were things from the heart, carefully, meaningfully and yes, often painstakingly, selected and didn't have to cost an arm and a leg to be appreciated. It's the thought that counts, I used to remind myself, not the price tag. Somehow those times seem to have been rushed out the door along with Christmas in October.

These days, the topmost questions that ring in my head as I join the holiday shopping rush all seem to have the word 'big' in them. Is this gift big enough? Is the price tag big enough? How big is my gift compared to the ones that everyone else is bringing?

Over the years, it's become all the more apparent to me that gift giving is some sort of contest. Whoever brings the biggest, most expensive gifts wins. The popularity polls, that is. And it goes without saying that people like me who are still hanging on to the good old spirit of it's the thought that counts will inadvertently end up at the bottom of said popularity charts. In fact, I may even have lost friends and family for that reason, and that reason alone.

We'd be fooling ourselves if we thought friendships and relationships are what they used to be. I won't generalize and say that all friendships and relationships are built on posh air and dollar signs but seeing all pretty picture-perfect pictures on social media just may have something to do with it. Or could it be our narcissistic nature at play here?

Even among family, there's this unhealthy contest of who bears the biggest, most expensive gifts. When I used to visit family and friends with my grandmother during the festive season, she would package some fruit or other edibles to bring along. I see nothing wrong with that.

As an adult, I decided I would preserve that tradition of fruits and homemade food gifts. But then I quickly realized it wouldn't work in this day and age. Not when other family members visit each other bearing baskets piled high with exotic foods and wine. Being me with my simple gifts from the heart, I stand a real risk of being labeled Scrooge for life.

Can you see why I'm none too excited about the season of gift giving? Because to me, it's not a contest and it certainly is not about the size and price of the gift.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Who loves onions?

Have I ever mentioned that I'm head over heels in love with onions? Cooked or raw, shredded or diced, boiled or baked, I love 'em just the same. I throw them into practically everything I eat and they always taste good no matter what.

What a difference a bed of shredded onions makes to a slice of grilled salmon!

I know some people are put off by its pungency but to me, what's an onion without that wicked pungent kick that rises up your nose and wakes up your senses all at once? Yeah, okay, maybe I'm a weird one LOL.

Seriously if anyone were to invent an onion-powered car, I'd be the first to buy one! Would you? What's your view of onions? Okay, let's have a show of hands. Love 'em, hate 'em, cry over 'em, put off by 'em? Chime in below.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I'm back!

Hey everyone, I think it was around this time of year that I went off on my short break. Well, the short break turned out to be two years long. Honestly, it didn't seem like such a massive amount of time has gone by... but it has. A lot has happened in this time, and I'll get to that as we chug along.

I think it's only fitting that I start blogging again at around the same time as when I stopped blogging two years ago. I want to thank every single one of you, my followers who have stuck around for the past two years. Two years! In internet time, that's like what, 200 years? Thank you for your patience. You guys are truly amazing. I love you all. And I have missed you.

I am excited to be back and I can't wait to get started...