December 2, 2007

Paris, je t'aime

Last weekend I took a trip to Paris to meet up with Jason, who was visiting from Hawaii. I figured it would be nice to see an old friend, and what better place to hang out than Paris! The temperature was a glorious 10° C and the sun was still shining at 5:30pm. I didn't realize how much I really missed daylight — I felt so happy! Poor Jason though; being so spoiled by tropical weather he was suffering in the coldness and getting the sniffles, while I was basking in the "warmth." It was also great to be able to use my French again. People actually spoke back to me in French so I guess my French wasn't so terrible.

I arrived in Paris Saturday morning after only getting 2 hours of sleep the night before, waking up at 3am, taking a 1.5 hour shuttle bus to the airport, flying for 2 hours, and taking another 1.5 hour bus into Paris. Such is the cost for such cheap airfares: the buses end up costing more and take twice as long as the flight itself. Over the course of the trip Jason and I visited the Rodin museum, Notre Dame, went up the Eiffel Tower at night (but we just rushed around the balcony since we were absolutely freezing from the 1 hour wait for tickets), shopping along the Champs-Élysées, climbed up l'Arc de Triomphe, and explored the Montmatre area. We didn't really go on a hard-core sightseeing run and so it was a pretty relaxing trip, which was a nice change of pace for me. A lot of the time we just stayed in restaurants and cafés chatting and EATING! Since I first arrived in Europe I haven't really dined out but in Paris I totally pigged out... and it felt fabulous! Duck, rabbit, pasta, fruit tarts, crêpes, and French pastries, yummy yummy! You can't find this sort of good food in Sweden :(

On our last day together Jason had a flight to catch to Rome so we checked out of the hotel at 6am. After that I was left on my own to explore so I went to la Défense in the downtown area. Since it was still too early to do anything I lounged around at a café with my newly purchased French design magazine until the streets (and myself) started to wake up. I did some shopping, exploring, took another break at the nicest McDonald's I've ever seen, and then walked an hour to the bus station (but I was told that the walk was only 20 minutes.) In any case, my back felt completely broken from carrying my big backpack the entire morning. I really didn't pack that much, but I asked Jason to help me buy a sleeping bag from the States (plus a few cans of macedemia nuts :P), and I bought quite a bit of stuff, and tons of heavy magazines. Buying the magazines before I reached the airport was actually pretty dumb because I ended up having to pay an overweight surcharge for my bag at check-in. It turned out that I could have easily found my magazines in the airport terminal, DOH! But I really wasn't sure with these tiny airports so I erred on the safe side.

Even though this was my 2nd time in Paris, everything felt so new and exciting to me once more. I completely fell in love with the city all over again. The weather was gorgeous, people were so friendly and happy (as opposed to Stockholmers), I understood the language, and it reminded me again of Montreal — I didn't want to come back to Stockholm! The saddest thing was that I had to resort to do my shopping in Paris... definitely not the cheapest option, but still considerably cheaper than Sweden!

Posted by mich at 6:06 AM | return | dreams [0]

November 16, 2007

Daily Life in the Stock

It's been 2 weeks now in Stockholm and I'm getting used to the everyday routine of living here on my own. It hasn't been the easiest, but hopefully I'll feel more adjusted within the next few weeks.

Here are some of my thoughts about living here:


My colleagues are super nice and friendly so I really enjoy my work environment. Strangers however, sometimes seem quite cold upon first impressions but they are generally polite and friendly when you talk to them or ask for help. I'm still not used to salespeople in stores because they never greet or even acknowledge customers. They'll even completely ignore you and continue talking to their co-workers while blocking the shelf you're trying to look at. I'm told that this is quite common in Sweden since salespeople find the service industry to be beneath them so they tend to act snobby.

The thing that most surprised though is how pushy people are here. Multiple times, when walking up the escalator or walking along the people mover, people who wanted to walk faster (and everyone who's walked with me knows I'm definitely not a slow walker) would actually push me over the the right just to pass by. Like, what the hell? Who does that? Apparently lots of Swedes. The worst incident was yesterday when I was walking up the escalator and had to stop because there was a woman blocking the path. So I stopped too. But then a hand from behind extended over my should and pushed the woman and she fell over her kids! So then I turned around to the old man and told him he didn't need to push. And then he started to push me aggresively! Seriously, what's wrong with these people? Unbelievable! I wish I turned around and elbowed him in the face or something, but of course I did nothing.


My company enrolled me in a Swedish class so I started learning Swedish last week. It's fun, but it's pretty hard. My teacher is really good but she speaks only Swedish to the class so most of it still sounds like gibberish to me. I did learn some basic things like counting numbers, saying "My name is," "I come from," "I speak English," and so on. The pronunciation is the trickiest because things aren't pronounced the way they're spelled. For example the letter 'K' can sound like 'sh', so "Kina" would be pronounced "sheena", which means China. The city "Göteborg" looks like "gotburg" but it's really pronounced "yur-teh-boray".

The Swedish language is still kind of difficult for me to distinguish (it sounds nothing like the Muppet Chef!), so sometimes I can't really tell if someone is speaking Swedish or not. If I were in a different country and I heard Swedish, I probably wouldn't be able to pinpoint the language. I thought it would be a bit similar to German, but it isn't at all - it's much more soft and melodic. Also, everybody here speaks English (and they don't sound like the IKEA guy) so I'm never forced to bust out my phrasebook.


This place is freaking expensive! From the prices I've seen, many things are 2-3 times more expensive than back home. The most outrageous price I've seen was a puny head of iceberg lettuce for almost $8 yesterday!!! I almost dropped dead. I went shopping for running shoes since I couldn't find any sizes in the States or styles in Canada, and a simple pair of Adidas costed $200. Body Shop body butters were $30-$40 and books were double the price of the Canadian prices. On the streets in Stockholm, everyone sports a Canada Goose jacket, and even back home those cost a pretty penny, but here they seriously cost over $900!!! The most confusing thing is that full-time salaries are equivalent to those in Canada, but people here pay more income tax and sales tax and high living costs so I'm so confused how people can actually afford everything!

Fortunately, the prices at IKEA are cheaper than in Canada so I've already made 2 shopping trips there :) They also have a nice line of shower products and lotions so now I know where to go instead of the Body Shop!


I still haven't actually eaten out at a real restaurant since it's quite expensive. Pretty depressing huh? I've eaten a tiny plate of rice and chicken at IKEA that cost me over $10, and a food court meal, which also cost $10. Lunch time is when the best deals are to be had. That's when restaurants have fixed-price menus called Dagens Rätt offering salad, bread, entrée and a drink. I went to one place for lunch that had a huge selection of pizzas and I chose one called La Banana, which had curry, pineapple, banana, and ham. Sounded really unique and it tasted really good! The rest of the time I make myself dinner and lunch but It's usually boring stuff. I really miss good Chinese food. I did find a Chinese grocery store yesterday and bought some sauces and noodles... but... I don't know how to make anything yet :S


It's only been a week in my new place and already I've gotten quite annoyed with the 2 other women I live with: one is the landlady and the other is a Swedish woman and they're both middle-aged. My landlady is really nice and sweet but she's imposed some rules like no friends or visitors and no alcohol. There was a third rule I found out after I bought a package of spare ribs: no pork. She's muslim so she doesn't want pork around and made me return it to the store. I was pretty angry about that because I thought it was wrong for her to impose her own dietary restrictions on me. But being the softie that I am, I returned the ribs (surprisingly you can return meat...?) She's also been moving my stuff around in the kitchen and bathroom and comes into my room when I'm not home (and my door is kept shut all the time), so I had to speak to her about that.

As for the other woman, I had only met her over the weekend... sort of. She had gone travelling when I moved in and had returned on Tuesday. Her bedroom door was open and the light was on so when I passed by the door I looked in, but there was an old half-naked woman standing around! Yuck! That was awkward so I didn't say anything. The next day after returning to my building from work, the woman held the elevator door for me to go upstairs. I tried saying hi but she ignored me, so I thought she didn't realize I was living in the same place as her. But when we both got off on the same floor and she left the apartment door open for me after going in, it was obvious she knew who I was. Then I watched her take off her dirty shoes and throw them right onto my house slippers! That peeved me off but I didn't say anything. Later on when the landlady introduced us I said hi and smiled at her, but all she did was just look at me with a blank stare. No smile, no 'hi', nothing. Hmph, rude. The next day after coming home I saw her shoes on top of my slippers AGAIN. I wanted to say something to her but I didn't really see her come out of her room that night. So this morning I purposely put my slippers away to the side, pushed my two pairs of shoes together to the side of the shoe rack and made sure she had lots of space on the rack. But when I came home after work, there was an empty space on the rack and the woman's shoes were dumped onto BOTH my pairs of shoes!!!! *huff* I don't know what's wrong with this woman, but I was so mad I threw her shoes off of mine and off the rack. I still didn't see her tonight but I'm making sure I speak to her tomorrow.

Fortunately for me the Swedish woman is moving out in 2 weeks and the landlady is moving out end of December. There's a German girl my age coming in next month. Caaaan't wait.

Posted by mich at 3:14 PM | return | dreams [1]

November 7, 2007

Hej from Stockholm

Here I am in Stockholm. It’s been 4 days now and I still haven’t seen the city yet. I’m living in the suburbs 20 minutes away from downtown by metro and I’ve just stayed in my area trying to settle in since I arrived on Saturday evening.

At the airport before my departure I just didn’t want to go anymore. My flight over was miserable and depressing and I had no appetite when they served us meals at 1am and 6am. I had a 3-hour stopover in Warsaw, where I became hungry and thirsty with no Polish money and so utterly bored because there was absolutely nothing to see or do at the terminal. The place actually kind of reminded me of the airport in Beijing – both felt as if it had been frozen in time in the 70s.

Flying into Stockholm lifted my spirits a little as I saw the lights from above. It was so pretty, you could see the contours of all the islands… it reminded me of glitter scattered a in a curving, swirling pattern. The first thing I noticed when I landed was the piles of snow on the runway! It had snowed the night before, but it was all melting. Lugging my two overweight suitcases from the airport to the apartment was a struggle to say the least. When I couldn’t find elevators I was forced to take my luggage two sets of long escalators down to the trains. I seriously thought I’d topple over with them, but I was able to manage an efficient method… it was still pretty scary though.

Travelling from the airport I had these first impressions: people here are pretty stylish, it’s quite multicultural, it’s not as clean as I expected (quite a bit of litter), and there’s TONS of graffiti all over the place, even worse than Montreal if you can believe that. Can’t really say much else since I haven’t been to the central city yet, but hopefully soon!

My apartment is in Akalla, at the end of one of the metro lines. It’s right next to the metro station and 3 supermarkets, and it’s a 7-minute walk to my workplace. The place has 2 bedrooms and living room housing 4 people, and I have the huge living room. Tons of space, but unfortunately I’ve got barely anything to fill it up. I’ve even got a private balcony which would be really nice in the summer. However, it’s very sparsely furnished so it feels quite barren, and the only thing separating my room from the rest of the flat is a curtain. Not bad, but it’d be nice to have a desk and a real bed (I’m currently sleeping on a futon that caves in the middle when I lie on it), but that’ll change hopefully. Still don’t have internet at home so I feel quite disconnected.

On my first day here I did some grocery shopping downstairs. Food’s pretty expensive in Stockholm but not as bad as I expected. Cashiers don’t help you bag anything and if you use their plastic or paper bags, you have to purchase them along with your grocery items. Next I checked out a big mall in Kista (pronounced shista). I love how Swedes love hardwood flooring – they had it at the airport and the mall food court. There were 3 coffee stands scattered throughout the mall but the sitting area for those areas looked more like café lounges with plush sofas and chic tables and chairs – and they all had hardwood floors for their space :P My final stop was… IKEA! It was so incredibly busy and I had a mini spree shopping for a few necessities: hangers, laundry basket, storage containers, and an alarm clock. The alarm clock was an unfortunate purchase. Since it’s a windup clock it tick-tocks really fast and LOUD that I had trouble falling asleep that night. Then I was awoken in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep from the ticking. I stuffed it under my bed to muffle the sound, but it didn’t really help. To top it all off, the alarm never rang in the morning so I woke up only 15 minutes before I had to leave for work the next morning. Argh! Luckily I got a super sweet Sony Ericsson phone from work so I’m now using that as my alarm. I’ll give a summary of my workplace after the end of the week. Oh, and back to IKEA – they don’t have the equivalent of the $1 breakfasts that they do back home!!! The food at the IKEA restaurant was quite expensive, while their products are about the same price or cheaper than Canada.

ikea_entrance.JPG ikea_dinner.JPG

Many people have been wondering why as a Canadian I’d want to come live in Sweden. “Why trade snow for more snow?” they ask. Personally I love having seasons, and I couldn’t live somewhere that’s warm all year round and especially not somewhere that rains instead of snows during the winter. The thing I’d have a hard time adjusting to is the daylight hours. The sun here sets at 3:30pm and I think it sets at 2pm in December. The funniest looks I get are when people find out I’m not a hockey fan and I don’t drink coffee (apparently Swedes drink the most coffee per capita in the world after the Finns.)

I never had the chance to write about my last week before I left so I’ll do it now. In short, it was filled with gatherings: farewell dinner with friends at Fred’s Not Here, my last good Chinese restaurant dinner with relatives, a yummy dinner cooked by chef Wen San at her brand new condo, lunch with the March Entertainment crew at Penelope’s, and having my last amazing Utopia shrimp burrito with Eyal. I also played my last floor hockey game with my beloved team and I got to end my season with a sweet goal :P

I miss everyone back home but I’m so happy to get all the emails and messages from people! Send me your mailing addresses if you want a postcard or snail mail, you know how I love writing letters!

Posted by mich at 4:40 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 12, 2007

Thanksgiving Road Trip

I went on another road trip last weekend, and surprise surprise, I did all the driving... again. This time it was 1500km, whoaa baby! Chris and I went down to Pennsylvania mainly to go to Grove City's crazy outlet mall. Since we made it a 3-day trip we headed further down south to Pittsburgh first for some sightseeing. Besides the Andy Warhol museum, where I learned that Warhol grew up in Pitts, there really wasn't all that much to see or do. The city is actually quite pretty- it's surrounded by rivers and each city block has a different styled bridge to cross the water. I only saw about 15 bridges along one river, but I read the city actually has 446!!! The downtown core though was so dead on the weekend and all the shopping was closed, so we drove 10 minutes out into the suburbs to hit up the big malls.

We stayed at a motel in New Stanton about 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh, which actually worked out well for us since we had decided to drive a little further south to check out Frank Lloyd Wright's renowned Fallingwater House, which is built over a waterfall. Because we didn't make tour reservations at least a few weeks in advance, tours were completely sold out so we just walked around the exterior of the house instead. It was still quite an spectacular thing to see, especially in the fall.

It was about a 3 hour drive back up to Grove City, so we were left with only 3 hours of shopping by the time we got in at 4pm. Unfortunately, the mall closed at 7pm on Sundays which was 2 hours earlier than the rest of the week, booo. We hit up the Banana Republic outlet first, where we bumped into everyone: my mom's friend and daughter (whom I had also bumped into the last time I was in Grove City!), Christian's friend Yit and his friends, as well as Cass & co. Funny how such random events get clumped all together. After shopping, Christian and I checked into the Super 8 (where everyone else was staying too) and were giving our card key for a room. When we opened the door however, there was someone in the shower and a girl walking around &mash; we were assigned to an occupied room. The receptionist downstairs was absolutely mortified and couldn't figure out the problem, so we headed out to dinner in the meantime. Yit was scaring us because he said that when they checked in without a reservation, the girl had told him he had the very last available room. We had a reservation online, but were starting to get worried that the motel was double booked. Luckily by the time we returned to the motel, they had everything sorted out.

On the last day we went back to the mall by 10am sharp to finish up the rest of the stores we had missed. I went to my favourite store, Jimmy'z, where everything was 40% off, so I went completely buck wild. They also had clearance items that were already marked down by 50%, plus had an additional 60% off. I ended up with some great pairs of jeans that actually fit me well, and even found one for $12! How could you go wrong with that? I think everything item I bought that weekend was < $35... most of them were actually less than $15. The only thing I was disappointed about was the fact that I only really needed new running shoes (my current ones are now 9 years old and counting, and have outlived 2 other pairs). I found a couple styles that I really loved (and were super cheap), but none were in my size :( Now I'll have to look for them up here, but they'll be at least double the price. And if you all are feeling sorry for Christian about my shopping bonanza, don't. 'Cuz he shopped more like a girl than me, having bought twice as much as I did!


Last Friday I made my own Thanksgiving meal since my family was still away in Asia. I slaved over the kitchen for 3 hours, but I must say I completely outdid myself. I made sweet dumpling squash stuffed with pepper and wild rice, provencal roasted chicken with honey and thyme, and maple sweet dumpling squash. It was only the maple squash that didn't really turn out — even though I left it in the oven for twice as long as the recipe required, it still wasn't fully cooked so eating semi-raw squash was blech (thus, I didn't include the recipe at the bottom).

Sweet Dumpling Squash Stuffed with Peppers and Wild Rice

3 small Sweet Dumpling squash
6 pablano peppers (a mix of green and red is nice)
1 1/4 cup uncooked wild rice/brown rice mix
veggie broth
1 small onion, minced
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper

Bake whole squash until tender-firm to touch, but not totally soft, about 40 - 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool.

Cook the wild rice/brown rice mix with veggie broth instead of water.

Blacken the pablanos either under the broiler or by holding over a direct flame on the stovetop. Get them evenly charred all over and close them up in a plastic bag to steam and cool for about 20 minutes. The skins should easily peel off. Remove the stem and seeds and cut the pablanos into strips.

Once the squash has cooled, slice off the top in one piece and scoop out any seeds and strings. Cut around the sides and top of the squash to remove the flesh, taking care not to scrape too close to the sides of the squash so it remains intact. Dice the flesh.

Add some oil or butter to a skillet and sauté the onion. Add the squash pieces and sauté until tender all the way through, 5 - 10 minutes. Add the pablanos and rice and cook for a few minutes together until the flavors mix a bit together. Adjust salt and pepper.

Source: vanesscipes

Provencal Roasted Chicken with Honey and Thyme

1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, excess fat trimmed and giblets removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, sliced
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, zested in large strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the chicken: Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper, to taste. Stuff the chicken cavity with the shallot, half the thyme, and lemon zest. Set a v-rack or regular rack in a roasting pan, and brush chicken with a bit of the olive oil. Whisk the honey and remaining oil in a small bowl. Dip the remaining thyme in the mixture and use it to brush the chicken all over with the honey mixture. Season bird with salt and pepper, to taste.

Tuck the wings under the back, cross the legs, and tie them with kitchen string. Place the chicken breast side down on the rack and roast until the back is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the chicken breast side up. Cut the string where it holds the legs together and open up the legs a bit. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings, using the thyme sprigs as a brush. Roast the chicken again until the breast is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees F., 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.

For the sauce: Remove the rack from the roasting pan. Put the pan over medium-high heat, add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits that cling to the pan. Strain the pan drippings into a small bowl and spoon off the fat. Whisk in the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Carve the chicken and serve drizzled with the sauce.

Source: Food Network

Posted by mich at 6:49 PM | return | dreams [1]

September 17, 2007

Abandoned Part II

My family's gone on a huge vacation without me... again... *cries* The first time was a cruise to the Caribbean, this time it's a trip to Japan, HK, and China. Woe is me — I need vacation!! Being the sweet daughter that I am though I bought them a new digicam, the Canon SD750 and gave it a test run on a biking excursion from Eglinton to downtown along the Don Valley trail.

The nicest thing about the camera is the gigantic 3" LCD screen. At first I wasn't a big fan of the Canon buttons and interface (whereas Sony's interface is much more more elegant and intuitive), but after getting used to it, it's not too bad. The face detection failed me many times, so the most difficult part was getting it to focus where I wanted it to and there's no image stabilizer, so steady hands at high zoom is a must. Another thing I didn't like was that it only had a night portrait mode but no simple night scene mode so night pictures are killed by the flash. If I simply try to suppress the flash, it doesn't try to compensate for light by using a longer shutter so the picture ends up completely underexposed... big thumbs down.

But overall it was a great camera to use on the bike ride and Christian and I had loads of fun shooting ourselves scaling rocky bridge underpasses, running through open fields, and hiding in ferns that double our height. Actually it was just me doing all that crazy stuff and Chris doing the picture taking since he was wearing his super-duper clip-on shoes for his bike :P I had considered just getting a consumer point-and-shoot digi like the Canon one, but after playing around with it, I was pretty irked by the focusing and exposure problems. So today I finally ordered myself the Leica D-Lux 3 after eying it for months. The fact that it's a Leica that's actually somewhat affordable, has manual controls, shoots in 16:9 format, and it's not as clunky as my SLRs completely hooked me in. I went into a spending spree today because on top of the Leica, I also ordered a new Nikon 18-200mm lens o_O They're currently on their way to my cousin's place in the states and he'll be bringing them up for me when he comes visits in October... hey, gotta take advantage of the crazy exchange rate right? :D


During this year's TIFF I only got to watch one movie, but it turned out to be a little gem. None of the Toronto media had reviewed Son of Rambow so I had no idea whether it was actually good, but the premise sounded so precious. It's a coming of age comedy about two kids, one a bully and the other who had never been allowed to watch TV, who become inspired by the first Rambo film and set out to create their own film Son of Rambow. The movie's filled with colourful characters, hilarious muckups, imaginative fantasy sequences, and whimsical doodle-like animations. I absolutely loved the film and even cried a bit over the touching ending.

Posted by mich at 4:06 PM | return | dreams [1]

September 7, 2007

Summer, I Never Knew You

I can't believe it's already September. Where did the summer go? In fact, this whole year seems to be whizzing by. Well, technically summer's not officially over and the warm weather makes me happy still, but back to school always marks the end of summer fun. It especially sucks now commuting to and from work since the heavy traffic tacks on an extra 30 min each way.

Even though I didn't get to go away for the long weekend, it was still quite hectic, yet fun. I went to the CNE at night, which was my first time going to the Ex in probably 15 years. I've never been a fan of these types of fairs and midway rides, but all of a sudden I had the urge for Tiny Tim donuts and riding on the massive ferris wheel. I ended up having a great time: I rode the ferris wheel, which was a bit disappointing because it was quite slow, went into a cheesy haunted mansion, and then Christian forced me onto the big swinging pirate boat. My first and only time going on that kind of boat ride was when I was like 3, when I begged my dad to take me on it at Wonderland. It was a horrible experience and my parents claimed that my face turned green afterwards. Ever since, I had never dared to go back on that sort of ride... until last weekend. It was just as terrifying this time around and I was screaming like a banshee (I woke up the next morning with the worst sore throat), to the point where I got so tired of screaming that I wanted to stop, but couldn't suppress myself until the ride finally ended. The highlight of the evening was Aquarêves, an acrobatic and pyrotechnic street performance by La Compagnie Malabar. It was a mix of various acrobatic feats choreographed with stilt walkers and jugglers in alien costumes set against a gorgeous floating pirate ship. It ended with pyrotechnics, bursts of flying confetti, and a non-stop gush of foamy bubbles that blanketed the entire pavement. The whole audience ran into the stage area and just played in all the foam - it was fantastic!

The entire weekend mostly consisted of eating: junk at the Ex (butterfly chips, Tiny Tim's donuts, and deep-fried perogies), Italian dinner at Yorkville, Greg's ice cream, French brunch at La Palette in Kensington (must go back for dinner!), Japanese dinner with family, and breakfast at Chez Cora's with my sisters and almost-twin-brother, Jon :P

It was only on Monday evening when I concluded I need to go on a diet: I was putting on a dress I had bought in the beginning of the year only 45 minutes right before Eyal's wedding and came to the horrible realization that I could not zip up my dress! What was a girl to do? Naturally, I was freaking out. I tried on my sister's dress but it was a little too big, then I tried on my older formal dress but the fabric's started to pop out in weird places. My mom finally came to the rescue and with a little creative re-positioning and adjusting of the halter straps, she was able to squeeze me in. Whew, disaster averted. The wedding was great - it was a Jewish ceremony so it was quite festive and involved dancing, singing and lifting the bride and groom in their chairs. Quite different from the more reserved Chinese weddings I've been to! The food and desserts were absolutely delicious... which also did not bode well at all for my dress problem, shoooot.

Posted by mich at 6:30 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 24, 2007

Happiness Is a Pair of Yellow Shoes

At the beginning of the month I promised myself these pair of shoes if I got my project management job.... and here they are! I'm glad I waited this long though because they just went on sale last week, AND I was lucky enough to find the last pair in my size. Double score!

This weekend was a pretty busy, but still a relaxing weekend: dragonboat practice, scored my 2 Sweden books half off at BMV books, walked along Bloor between Yonge and Christie (whew!), had drinks at the Madison, tried the famous Dante's Pizza (so amazing!), played tennis, did a mini marathon of The Office, and cooked up a Red Roast Duck Curry, which honestly could rival the curry at Salad King.

Continue reading for the recipe...

Red Roast Duck Curry

[For this recipe, we only used half a duck and threw in broccoli, onion, red pepper and potatoes]

1 tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 spring onions, cut into 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) lengths
1 tbsp red curry paste, or to taste
400 ml coconut milk
750 g Chinese roast duck, chopped
450 g can pineapple pieces in syrup, drained
3 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
15 g chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tablespoons chopped mint

1. Heat a wok until very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, spring onion and paste and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

2. Stir in the coconut milk, duck, pineapple, lime leaves, coriander leaves and mint. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the duck is heated through. Serve with jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6.

Posted by mich at 11:46 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 5, 2007

New England Road Trip

Last week my family took a vacation where no one was actually left behind (our first one in 7 years!). Our main destination was Boston to visit my cousin's newborn baby, but we ended up booking a resort in Cape Cod 1.5 hours away from the city. We ended up only doing one day in Boston, where we hung out with my other cousin during the day checking out the Museum of Fine Arts and MIT's Strata Centre by my favourite architect, Frank Gehry (with all the money we shelled out, why couldn't the UT comp sci students get such an awesome building like this?!?) In the evening we drove all the way up to Chelmsford, which was faaaar &mdash we were almost at the New Hampshire border &mdash to see my other cousins and to play with the adorable new baby. The next day we ventured out to Newport in Rhode Island, where we took the scenic Ocean Drive, walked along the Cliff Walk overlooking the ocean, and visited a the gorgeous Bellevue Avenue historical mansions. In the evening we stopped at a factory outlet mall in Wrentham for some shopping, but I couldn't justify any purchases for myself after my shopping craze in HK. On our last full day in New England we drove around Cape Cod visiting the various towns (Hyannis, Yarmouth, Chatham and Orleans) and they're beaches and harbours. We bought 3 fresh lobsters and made ourselves a homemade lobster dinner back at the resort, yummy! On the drive back to Montreal we stopped in New Hampshire for some tax free shopping in Manchester. I scored myself my first pair of rollerblades and my very first laptop, a Sony Vaio, yay! Gotta take advantage of the exchange rate, y'know? ;)

In Montreal I went to see the Once Upon a Time Walt Disney exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was the only North American stop. It was a fascinating exhibit that looked at Disney's various inspirations ranging from literary and cinematic sources to classical art and architecture and that included original sketches, storyboards and design backgrounds of Disney's golden era that spanned from Snow White to The Jungle Book. I never had an appreciation for Sleeping Beauty's angular and stylized medieval look, but after having a chance to see one of the huge background paintings close up I noticed all the amazing detail and graphical patterns (and only using solid blocks of colour) that went into the forest scenes, I was in complete and total awe. Another highlight of the exhibit was the screening of the beautiful short film Destino, which was a collaboration between Salvador Dali and Disney that began in 1945 and was finally completed in 2003. Of the many exhibits I've been to, this one was definitely the BEST one I've ever seen by far (but I may be teeny bit biased!) If anybody is in Montreal this month (Coach Canada even has a super duper $10 deal for trips between Toronto and Montreal!) definitely check it out since it closes at the end of June.

The main reason for our stop in Montreal was for my sister's convocation at McGill. Thank goodness her music faculty was small so the ceremony only lasted a little over an hour, unlike the U of T ones that go over 3 hours. The best part was the reception afterwards with all the amazing food that just kept on coming and the delectable desserts. After all that food we had to walk it all off with some shopping at Simons before having a late dinner at an Indian restaurant at St. Laurent/Sherbrooke, which had the best Tandoori chicken I've ever tasted.

Posted by mich at 11:53 AM | return | dreams [0]

April 3, 2007

I Heart HK

I've been in Hong Kong now for 4 days now and it's fabulous, except for the super hot weather and construction 24/7 (even at 3am on the weekend!) Nothing's changed much since the last time I've been here 3 years ago, but this time I'm staying in the central area on Hong Kong Island with Cass instead of out in the New Territories with my relatives. It was a big jump adjusting from <10 degree weather to 28 degree weather with 80% humidity. Luckily though, today's pretty chilly at 14 degrees but the rain and clouds kinda suck. The great thing about Hong Kong is that no matter what kinda of itinerary you plan, every day eventually leads to shopping... either at one of the gazillion malls, stores, street markets or vendor stalls. Even the tiny narrow hallway leading to Cass' apartment turns into a girl's clothing store by day.

My first day here was SUPER long. I arrived at 7am and just hit the ground running. Cass took Christian and I around Causeway Bay for lunch, shopping, and just some exploring. We also hit the arcade, where we played a series of 3-person mini games, and raced against each other in Mario Kart. I also tried my hand at trying to pick up a cute piggy toy with those flimsy claws but with no success. In the evening we went to a really nice lounge on the 30th floor of a building that had a gorgeous view of the HK skyline at night. Afterwards we strolled along the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui, tried some fried chicken wings at McD's for "sui ye" before crashing at 3am.

In the past few days we also braved the crazy shopping crowds in the street markets of Mong Kok, ate the best croissant I ever had at Arome Bakery in Causeway Bay, had dinners with family, explored the financial district in Central, had one of the best dim sums ever in City Hall (normally I find the Chinese food in TO so much better, but this was an exception), rode the world's longest escalator up to mid-level of Victoria Peak (it took like 30 minutes!), and visited my mom's apartment where she used to live in Tsim Sha Tsui. Yesterday my uncle took my mom, Christian and I to Stanley, a pre-colonial fishing village that now looks like a British seaside town. It was a really neat place where we got to check out the outdoor Stanley Market, explore some residential areas, climb to the temple, which is one of the oldest on the island, and walk through the Murray House, which originally stood in Central but was dismantled and re-constructed on the opposite side of the island. It really had a European flavour to it, and most of the people who I saw were European all sitting at the British-style pubs. I've actually noticed quite a few French people here too... it's pretty funny to hear more people speaking French in HK than I ever do in Toronto!

Our last few days here will be pretty exciting, as we'll be visiting places that even I haven't been to before including Macau, Ocean Park and Lamma Island. Gotta get down to some shopping now!

Posted by mich at 8:48 PM | return | dreams [0]

March 26, 2007

I Own a Hasselblad!

I finally own one of these babies! Ever since university I've had an obsession with this camera. It was such a spontaneous purchase too, so I was having a bit of an anxiety attack yesterday afternoon when I realized what I had done... and right before vacation.

There was a photography show in my area yesterday, so I decided to check it out and try to score some deals on rechargeable battery packs, filters, film, etc. But the place was FILLED with all these old cameras, and I found two Hasselblads sitting on a table... the only two in the entire place. The price seemed pretty reasonable to me and after half an hour of indecisiveness, I finally decided to go for it *aiya!* As if I didn't blow enough money, I had moved onto another table full of film and cleaned out the guy's supply of Kodak 35mm film, picked up a few slide rolls, and stocked up 120 film for the Hassey. I also scored big-time on finding a $10 rechargeable battery for my D70s that I would have had to pay $60 elsewhere, and got a cheap developing tank so I can develop my own medium-format film, hooray!

One thing I wish I bought was a gorgeous foldable Polaroid SX-70 that was only going for $45 :O What a steal. Unfortunately, I couldn't justify such a purchase after having done all that mad-spending earlier. Such an expensive hobby I have *sigh*

Posted by mich at 12:31 PM | return | dreams [0]

March 8, 2007

Nuit Blanche Montreal

Aaargh, I posted this entry up, but somehow it didn't get saved so I had to re-type it. *sigh*

CN DerailementI'm back from my Nuit Blanche weekend in Montreal. We were fortunate enough to have fantastic weather the entire weekend— tons of snow and mild temperatures. Because of the snowstorm last Thursday, the huge CN derailment in Pickering hadn't cleared yet by Friday so there were concerns of the Via Rail trains being delayed at least 2 hours. Christian and I were really lucky in not having to bus it up to Oshawa to catch the train from there, and only ended up being delayed 25 minutes. (As we found out later, the next train after us at 6:30 wasn't so lucky; passengers had to take the bus and then transfer to the train, which ended up getting into Montreal at 2am. Yikes.) We got in at 10pm, dropped off everything at Vanessa's place, then headed out to Rockaberry's to indulge in some massive apple and strawberry/peach crumble pies with huge heapings of ice cream. Needless to say, I had no appetite the next morning for breakfast or lunch... whoops.

Snowed InOn our walk through McGill towards the Eaton Centre, we randomly bumped into Karman, who was just visiting for the weekend as well. We decided to meet up again later that night for the evening's festivities and went our own separate ways. I only had one destination that afternoon, and it was Simons of course! This occasion was quite record-breaking... normally I spend at least 2 hours in the store, but this time I was in and out within 30 min (so unheard of, eh?!) I wasn't too wowed by the collection this season, and I also felt really reserved in spending money on clothes, knowing that I'd be going shopping crazy in HK soon. I just ended up getting a turquoise knit sweater with nice big buttons that was on sale :) We killed the rest of the afternoon walking up St-Denis, strolling around the plateau and picking up our mandatory bagels from St-Viateur. For dinner we went out with Vanessa and Jeremy to Chinatown to try Restaurant Uyghur, which features cuisine from China's Xianjian Uyghur Autonomous Region, a remote, Muslim region in Western China. The food's an interesting blend of Chinese, Russian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Turkish cuisine. We had fresh hand-made noodles served with stir-fried lamb and vegetables called Laghman, fried meat dumplings (a little on the cold side though), stir-fried green onions and beef and a hot pan of curry chicken with veggies. Overall the food was pretty good, and nothing close to the typical Chinese food I'm used to.

Boingy BoingyDinner went on a bit later than we wanted so we missed the 8pm fireworks at Vieux Port. Our group made our way to Vieux Port where we met up again with Karman and Rick at the Montreal Science Centre, then walked around checking out a fresco on ice decorated by public participation, a silent disco dome and buskers at Place Jacques Cartier while eating our freshly rolled tire sure neige. We waited in line to get into City Hall where we watched some professional ballroom dancers strut their stuff, and later on, watched the public learn some moves.

Jérôme Fortin's Paper SculptureThe highlight of the evening was definitely the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was free all throughout the evening. The lobby was host to Les Imprudanses, an improvisational dance match between two professional dance teams, while the upper level showcased a set of 3 exhibits entitled Ingenious3 featuring Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Jérôme Fortin, Guy Ben-Ner. We saw some amazing kinetic, sonic and visual installations by Gauthier, massive wall pieces by Fortin that were constructed using rows upon rows of tediously folded printed material like mangas and maps, and a humourous instructional video by Ben-Ner that complemented his treehouse sculpture made with IKEA furniture pieces.

DovesAfter a good two hours at the museum we walked along Ste-Catherine to St. James United Church for The Organ Ogres performances. Not being a huge organ music fan, I thought it was just so-so. At 3am we went across the street to Édifice Belgo, an old building full of small gallery spaces, which really reminded me of U of T's art building on Spadina Circle. The best exhibit was the fantastical Foulard en Cou, where walking through a set of pink gauzy curtains revealed dreamy paradise filled with a raining cloud fountain, a swing set hanging from the ceiling, a video projection of a woman in a peacock headdress playing the harp, a fluffy cave, and white doves freely roaming around. I held a dove and it liked me so much that it wouldn't let go for the longest time, so I ended up walking around with a bird on my hand.

FloatingOn our way back to Place des Arts we happened upon an impromptu snowball fight between us pedestrians on the sidewalk and some strangers atop the balcony. I was doing well avoiding the snowballs, and even ducked a huge slab of snow coming towards me. Jeremy, however, decided he wanted to "protect" us from the slab and punched it, which flew towards my face. That was swell, thanks buddy! :P Finally, we checked out a small music performance and grabbed some greasy fries from La Belle Province before calling it a night at 4:30am.

We slept in until noon the next day, bought our stash of smoked meat from Schwartz across the street, and brunched at an great place Jeremy discovered called Caffè ArtJava on Mont-Royal. They're really well-known for their coffees, but their breakfast plates are absolutely fabulous. We tried each others different dishes and each was such a unique take on traditional breakfast fare. I must say that the french toast I ordered stuffed with cinnamon apples was the best french toast I've ever had. I must go back next time!

Posted by mich at 4:30 PM | return | dreams [0]

February 13, 2007


Hooray, my FlickrMOO MiniCards have finally come in! I chose a different picture for each of the 100 cards so they are all unique. The print and paper quality are surprisingly really good. Aren't they so cute? It's pretty fun giving these out since I get the greatest reactions when they first see the cards and pick through the pile.

Blue Mountain Weekend
Last weekend was spent up at Blue Mountain, where the weather was absolutely perfect: not too cold and lots of snow. We stayed at one of the resorts in the village, which was pretty cool. I even tried the outdoor hot tub; even though I had to endure a few seconds of having to run out in the cold to the tub, it was all worth it! I spent Saturday skiing and went for my 2nd attempt at snowboarding on Sunday. My first time boarding was 3 years ago, so it felt like I had to basically re-learn everything. But on this occasion, I was finally able to do S-curves!! I still fell a lot: on my knees, butt, wrists, hip, and even my head, but I survived. The next day though I felt like I was hit by a bus... I could barely get out of bed and I couldn't walk down the stairs without looking like loser. Even the front of my neck hurt so it was painful to yawn. I'm still quite sore but I hope I can recover in time for some yoga on Thursday.

Posted by mich at 11:36 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 29, 2006

Happy Holidays

Christmas Sugar CookiesHappy holidays everyone! This past week has been full of hectic baking, shopping and LOTS of eating. On Christmas Eve, I was invited to Christian's house mates' dinner gathering, where I experienced my first western-styled homemade feast complete with lit candles and the fun toy crackers. I couldn't believe how much food there was; apparently it took 2 days to cook it all, from the turkey and roast to the mashed/baked potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and an abundance of vegetables and salads (and there was even a bit of rice made for me)! I brought my yummy Candy Cane Cake, which was a great hit again, and some Christmas sugar cookies using a new recipe that turned out pretty good as well. (Continue reading for the sugar cookie recipe.)

Among some of the Christmas gifts I received were Designing Interactions (yes, I'm a geek), Cook This: Recipes for the Goodtime Girl, Quick & Easy: Meals in Minutes (hmm, am I supposed to take a hint?), super duper soft bathrobe and socks, and a cute Eeyore plush toy.

On Boxing Day instead of heading down to the Eaton Centre as I usually do each year, I headed to Yorkdale, and what a pain it was. The traffic was bumper to bumper on the highway just heading over to the mall, and parking was another story all on its own. After all that trouble I didn't come out with anything but a calendar. I really just had 3 specific things I was looking for that I had problems finding even before Christmas: the brown Aline Aldo bag, a brown RW&Co sweater in small, and the new wave of Disney Treasures DVDs. None of them were even sale items and yet they were all sold out. I did manage to find my bag the next day at the Aldo underground by my workplace- I was so lucky to have snatched the last one there :)

Coming to the close of the week, I'm so terribly exhausted. I really think it's all the food I've been eating that's making me feel sleepy all day, yet I still go to bed late. Eating out every day can really take a toll on a person, especially if there's 2 buffets in the week. I definitely need to go to the gym tomorrow!

Hope you all have a safe and happy new year!

Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough 30 minutes or until easy to handle. If using margarine instead of butter, quick chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in a 375 F oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. If desired, frost with icing sugar.

Posted by mich at 4:41 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 22, 2006


the story of my lifeThe past few weeks spent looking for the elusive Nintendo Wii have finally come to an end. From checking online stock availability, to phoning stores, to getting help from a fellow co-worker up in Sudbury, to even contemplating waiting in line for a Best Buy shipment, I was so very unsuccessful. My favourite picture is an empty skid in the place of a Wii on the Costco website!

Christian, on the other hand, actually just got one today from his friend, who was selling it second-hand (after only playing it 3 times). Yay, a Wii for Christmas!

Posted by mich at 2:20 PM | return | dreams [1]

December 21, 2006

Cockroach Spotting = Free Ice Cream

Last Friday Lilly, Christian and I had dinner at Hosu on Queen. Lilly had spotted a cockroach skittering by our table, which was really gross. None of the servers noticed us paying attention to the floor so I told Lilly, who was the closest to the bug, to point to it. That seemed to work since one of the waitresses freaked out when she saw it and smashed her foot on it. YUCK! She apologized to us and we thought that was that, but after our dinner she came back with green tea ice cream for us and a discount on our bill. She was so sweet about the whole thing, apologizing for the embarrassing display. Awww... apology accepted! :P That evening we had planned to the Harbourfront Centre for their DJ skating night. We left the restaurant at 10pm, but unfortunately the skating was only until 11. So we thought we'd be able to squeeze in more skate time if we headed to Nathan Phillips Square, which was much closer, however, the lights shut off at that rink at 10 :(

Since Friday night skating was a bust, I dragged Christian out with me on Saturday night for the skating party at Nathan Phillips. Before hitting the ice though we stopped at Butler's Pantry for dinner (they have the best salad dressing!) and we ended up missing the Stabilo performance. We were able to catch the fireworks performance, which was pretty neat. There was also a interesting 15-minute projection piece using the old city hall faade as the canvas.


This week I finally got my Christmas butt in gear. The tree is all decorated at last and even though I no longer have school exams as an excuse for starting my shopping this late, I think my Christmas procrastination is just innate. I don't think I've ever finished my Christmas shopping before Christmas Eve. 3 days left! Let the frenzy begin.

Posted by mich at 11:37 PM | return | dreams [1]

November 12, 2006

Really Mini!

I finally got my Rolleiflex Minidigi back in the mail after sending it in for replacement. I had barely gotten the chance to use it before it already died after a month. There went an extra $40 for shipping back and forth, haiii. That added to the burning fire that was my whole stressful one-month ordeal with and Adorama in getting my camera in the first place. So not worth all that trouble for this camera... but now I have it back so I better make the most out of it.

Posted by mich at 8:20 PM | return | dreams [0]

July 5, 2006

Shopped 'til She Dropped

During the Canada Day weekend, my parents and I were quite the patriots- we headed south of the border *hangs head in shame*. But seriously, if you're not going to celebrate in Ottawa, what point is there in staying here for the lame/non-existent celebrations in Toronto? So my family hit the road and drove down to Grove City, Pennsylvania, where there just happens to be a super duper humoungous factory outlet mall. SO many stores and so many sales; it took us 2 days to go through the whole place. They had a Coach store that was milling with women holding armfuls of bags, purses and wallets. I joined in the craze and got a cute shoulder sling bag. I also scored myself a pair of Adidas running shoes for $30(!!!), and I went absolutely buckwild at Bath & Body Works, where all their lotions, body sprays and shower gels were $5. *jackpot!* I also have a new favourite American store now called Jimmy'z, - carrying a unique style that melds together punk, rock, and surf - where I bought myself a few tops for a measly $4. The biggest doorcrasher I found was a funky Fossil bag that went from $60 straight to $10. How could I resist?! All in all, it was a completely satisfying weekend of shopping. For a 5-hour drive, it makes for a reasonable shopping destination.


On a completely different subject, what the hell is going on with this World Cup? It's turning into a disaster. How can a bunch of old has-beens, who beat out my 3 favourite teams when they barely even survived the round-robins, make it into the final to play another team who can't play for their life that make a sport out of diving on land? My head keeps shaking like a bobble-head doll. I'm boycotting the World Cup on Sunday.

Posted by mich at 10:19 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 30, 2006

Caban Sale

One of my favourite stores, Caban, is going out of business and holding a blowout sale. I found a gorgeous matte black cup and saucer set with shiny turquoise glaze on the interior that I bought for 20% off. They also have my cupcake book I was eyeing at Chapters for 30% off. I think I'll go pick that up next week. Oooh, the savings to be had!

I saw Superman Returns last night. It was a great movie, with amazing efects, good storylines, humourous moments, and.. eye candy actors :P Highly recommended *thumbs up*

Tomorrow I'm off to Grove City, PA for some hard-core shopping. Happy Canada Day!

Posted by mich at 8:38 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 17, 2006

Series of Unfortunate Events

It's been a long week and I'm glad that it's over. It was packed with some fun activities, but sprinkled with suckiness.

Last Friday I went to the Mod Club with Kerry to see Tokyo Police Club perform with a bunch of other artists under the Paperbag Records label. They were great live and I loved all the energy they brought onto the stage. The next two bands were a waste of my time: Cities in Smoke were absolutely horrible and ear splitting, and Uncut was nothing remarkable. Magneta Lane finally came just before midnight and they totally rocked out. I'm not a big fan of their music except for one song, but they are one talented bunch of chicks. The final band was controller.controller - I love their songs but I was quite disappointed by their live performance the last time I saw them - but I didn't stay to watch because I felt like I was going to pass out from tiredness.

The next morning I went to the Goethe-Institut to watch the film 108 - Walking through Tokyo as part of the soundaXis festival. The sound collage by the soundscape artist was really nicely done as it seamlessly weaved the sounds of various places throughout Tokyo. The images, however, left me unsatisfied. Out of a huge collection of photographs that could have been selected, only a handful were chosen to match with the sounds, and many of those were repeated throughout the film. I was left either looking at the same photo for either minutes on end, or staring into darkness.

Sunday afternoon was my dragonboat/dodgeball team's BBQ party at Ashbridge's Bay. I wanted to bring my Lomo Smena 8m, but realized it was still not fully fixed when the lens popped off last year. So I took the whole thing apart and tried constructing it part by part. I had everything put back together except the very last thing to control the depth of field. I just cannot screw the lens back on without getting it stuck when I try to adjust the DOF- quite annoying. Grrrr. So I left home without it. I ended up playing volleyball all afternoon which gave my nasty purple spots on my forearms... ouch. That evening I went out for Viet food with Cass, Angela and a couple of their friends.

Monday night was our dodgeball team's first playoff game against the top ranked team. Even though our first game against them a few weeks back was sooo close, we were creamed this time around (and physically too). I was beamed in the eye with the ball while sitting on the bench, and one of my teammates was attacked by so many balls at once that he fell badly on a ball and broke his foot/ankle so I had to help drive his car back home. Later that night I went on to order the Rolleiflex MiniDigi. What should have been a 5 minute process turned into 45-minutes of pure aggravation when my wireless signal kept dying on me and I had to restart my order over and over. When I finally pushed the submit button, it was taking forever to process and finally I a message saying that the order didn't go through. OMG was I mad *huff* Then I went down to the basement to order on the other computer and shipped it to the states since they don't ship to Canada. Fine, done. On Wednesady I got a call from Saba saying she already received the camera. Yay. But that night when I checked my e-mail, I got 2 e-mails from Amazon saying I had ordered the same product twice, as well as 2 seperate invoices from the third party vendor for my 2 orders. WTH?! I was freaking out but I couldn't send e-mails or check my orders page on Amazon because my stupid wireless connect was going down again and would only come back up for a few seconds before dying again. In my fury I started banging my mouse - hard - before that died on me too. What can I say, I hate computers and computers hate me.

Thursday I had planned to go see the TSO performance with Ben Heppner, but the tickets were already sold out. According to Christina, it was fabulous. I'll just have wait until it's aired on CBC radio, bah.

Friday evening I went to the patio of Peter Pan for dinner with Chris, Christina, and Wen San before Kris and I headed over to the brand new Four Seasons Centre for a night of the opera. Although the building is pretty nice, as a piece of modern architecture that's supposed to house spectacular and extravagant performances I was pretty disappointed by the plainness of the space. It's one thing to be minimalist (and be able to make a bold statement), but quite another to be bland. Nonetheless, the actual show itself was amazing. I was completely blown away by Aline Kutan's breathtaking performance of Der Hlle Rache where it seemed like she hit the highest note on a piano. Seriously. The celebratory show ended at 9:20 so I tried to rush to Union to catch the 9:40 GO bus back to Richmond Hill. Unfortunately I missed it by 2 minutes. The ride would have been super quick :( And when I started walking to the TTC to catch the subway, I realized I had left my beloved water bottle at the opera house, noooooo. Man, double whammy.

Posted by mich at 12:54 PM | return | dreams [0]

May 11, 2006

Lovin' My New Skirt

<-- Look how cute! I'm still in disbelief over how much I had splurged for this skirt, but all the compliments I've been getting for it kind of justify the purchase :P Now I need to find some cute matching shoes to go with it, perhaps these super comfy Lacoste ones. Hopefully Sandra can help me find cheaper ones over in HK! :D

I finally put my Home and Garden Cookbook to use and tried the Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce last Saturday. I had put in too much curry powder and sugar rendering it too spicy, yet without too much flavour. I gave it another go this evening and it turned out a bit better; I added lots of salt to bring out flavour, but I was a bit short on the curry powder and coconut milk. Third time's a charm I guess? The previous evening I had Salad King's famous Golden Curry, and I must say, my own curry paled in comparison :( My mission now is to figure out the secret to making curry like Salad King.

This week I also went to see the Boygroove play/musical with Christian, Justine, and Janine. It was my second time seeing it, but it was still hilarious nonetheless with a few new bits added. Definitely recommended! *thumbs up*

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 large red onion, chopped (1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finley chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 13 1/2- or 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
a tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablesppons snipped fresh basil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups hot cooked rice

1. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place chicken in a medium bowl. In a small bowl stir together the curry powder, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Sprinkle spice mixture over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours to allow spices to penetrate meat.

2. In a large nonstick wok or skillet cook and stir onion, garlic, and jalepeno peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Remove onion mixture from wok. Add halk of the chicken to wok. Cook and stire for 3 ot 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from wok. (If necessary, add additional oil.) Cook remaining chicken as above; remove from wok.

4. Combine coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to wok. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Return chicken and onion mixture to wok. Stir in basil and ginger. Cook and stir about 2 minutes more until heated through. Serve over hot rice.

Posted by mich at 10:29 PM | return | dreams [1]

April 18, 2006

Easter Weekend In Montral

It was a chilly and windy weekend in Montreal and now I'm getting sick *cough cough*. I had a fun time, although my sore legs are still trying to recuperate from all the walking we did. And after my legs get better I need to hit the gym to undo all the eating we did >.<

On Thursday Christian and I took the 5pm express train where it turned out that we had business class seats. So there were plugs and tables for us to watch videos on the laptop and for me to do some Flash work. We got into the city at 9:30 and cabbed it to my sister's place on St. Laurent. The three of us then went to Santropol, a really cute restaurant that has a really unique selection of sandwiches (minted ham sandwich anyone?). I wanted to try the Sweet Root sandwich, which consisted of nuts, raisins, apples and carrots, but they were completely out :( So I opted for a yummy Millet Pie that was very wheat-y and came with some sort of sweet and spicy ketchup. After our filling dinner we walked back to Vanessa's place and watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

Friday morning I woke up early to squeeze in some Flash work before everyone else woke up. At noon the three of us walked over to St. Denis for brunch at Caf Fruits Folies, where we all ordered different variations of french toast dishes. After eating, Vanessa went to the McGill to do work, while Chris and I walked up St. Denis towards Mont-Royal. We stopped into a cute boutique called Nahika and I found a cute tennis-style Groggy tank (I think this is the third time in a row where I went to Montreal and bought a Groggy item, haha... why don't Toronto stores carry them?!). Afterwards we turned onto Mont-Royal to check out used CD stores, walked about 20 minutes down the avenue, doubled back to St. Denis, then walked back down towards downtown. Once we made it down to Square St-Louis, we veered off the main road and found ourselves on Prince Arthur, a quaint pedestrian road dotted with restaurants and cafs. We made it across to St. Laurent, down to Sherbrooke then back across to St. Denis to continue down to St. Catherine. We walked on St. Catherine towards Place-des-Arts to meet with Sunnie, but on the trek there Chris had to have his mandatory fill of poutine at La Belle Province ("the working man's fries" says he!). After meeting with Sunnie we walked to Les Ailes de la Mode to pick up Chris' friend Thuy from work, then went back to Place-des-Arts to meet with my sister at 7. Vanessa suggested a Spanish tapas place that all her friends recommended, so we decided to eat there for dinner. The only problem was that she wasn't exactly sure where it was on St. Laurent, only that it was "north of her place". Ok fine... a bit of a hike, but no one was really that hungry yet. By 8:15 we were still walking up St. Laurent looking for the place, legs sore, bones chilled, and tummies growling. We gave up shortly after that (it turns out we turned back less than a block away!), and walked another 20 mintues to St. Denis to a Caribbean restaurant called Kalalu. It probably took another hour or so before we could eat because the service was pretty slow. We had Creole cigars (spicy seasoned beef, pork, crabmeat, scallions, and pollock in a spring roll wrap)and Accra (cod fish cakes fried and served with a lime pepper mayo and a mango dipping sauce) as appetizers, which turned out to be pretty good. However, the pork of my Griot dish was too dry, so it was kinda hard to eat.

On Saturday Christian, Vanessa and I headed to St-Viateur Bagel for a bagel sandwich brunch. It was pretty cool to see how they make bagels in the wood burning ovens; and of course I had to get a dozen Montreal style bagels to take home (but apparently you can order them online too!). Afterwards, as my sister headed home to study some more, Chris and I took the metro downtown to shop at Simons. He actually thought I was joking when I said I needed 2 hours in the store. But we really stayed there from 2-4:00 while I scoured the whole store and came out with 4 finds :) Next stop was the Museum of Contemporary Art to check out the Anselm Kiefer exhibit. For dinner that evening, we decided to give the Spanish restaurant another chance. This time, my sister had looked up the exact address and intersection of La Sala Rosa. It was only a 20 minute walk but we ended up having to wait an hour for a table >.< In the end, the wait was definitely worth it; ordered fried squid, garlic shrimp, fried goat cheese, potato and onion omelette with spanish sausage tortilla, sauted zuccuni, peppers and tomatoes on a nest of potatoes, and finally a chicken paella with vegetables. The food was absolutely scrumptious, but the fried cheese was definitely... interesting, to say the least. Later in the evening Christian and I headed to his friend's birthday party at a club called System. I didn't realize how smoky the club would be (they still allow smoking in bars/clubs) so I had to leave after half an hour because I was seriously suffocating. Yes I'm a big party pooper. So we headed back to my sister's area and met up with my sister and her friend at Frites Alors! for greasy snack at 1:30.

The next morning Chris and I walked over to Rockaberry's for drinks/lunch/dessert. My sister wasn't exaggerating when she said the pies there were amazing. I couldn't believe the selection they had, and it took us a while to finally decide on the apple crumble pie (warmed up, of course!) with a big hunk of ice cream. Christian's friends from the previous night dropped by to hang out for a bit. Afterwards, we went over to Schwartz's deli to endure the 20 minute lineup to get a piece of their famous smoked meat. Our final destination was a walk around Vieux Montreal before going to the train station to head back home.

Posted by mich at 5:44 PM | return | dreams [0]

April 3, 2006

My New Razr. It's Pink!

Yup, I got a new phone... so jaaaang! I've succumbed to the throw away consumer culture that corporations force down our throats. My two-year old Motorola V300 is still perfectly fine (with a few scratches here and there), but how can a girl resist the sexy Razr? Especially when her old contract ended and can take advantage of savings on a new phone??! She can't. Even Joy's rants isn't enough to deter me from getting a big banana phone like the ones I was enviously admiring while travelling in Japan.

Sunday afternoon Chris and I ended up walking 2.5 hours along Queen street from Ossington to Yonge, up and down the Eaton Centre, then back to Ossington (that's 14 TTC stops man!). We stopped by the crpes place for a savoury snack to satisfy my ice cream craving. YUM. But now my ankles are killing me and my knee keeps locking with every step I take >_<

Posted by mich at 10:59 PM | return | dreams [1]

December 26, 2005

Not Cut Out For Boxing Day Anymore

It's been a hectic few days this holiday weekend what with tons of shopping, eating, and more shopping; and it continues tomorrow with round #2 of boxing day :P

On the 21st I lunched with Dennis at Carnival Grill, a new Brazilian restaurant that opened at East Beaver Creek. It's actually a buffet/all-you-can-eat place there's not only a buffet table for you to fill your plates, they have waiters coming around to everyone with freshly grilled meats to anyone that wants. The best thing that came was the massive grilled pinepple coated in cinamon. YUM. Afterwards we visited Vaughan Mills to do a once around the block. The next day I had Christmas dinner with family and relatives at Pacific Mall. On the 23rd I took the car early in the morning and hit up the library to borrow a some DVDs like Nobody Knows, 21 Grams, Million Dollar Baby, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to name a few. I met up with Christian in the afternoon at Fairview Mall to buy a cute bonsai tree for my mom. We were only able to stay for 1.5 hours before I was beckoned by my parents to pick them up early from work. I got to my mom's workplace believing that she was all ready to leave, but we were left waiting for 45 min or so. The plan was to pick up my mom then pick up my dad from Hillcrest Mall, where he decided to go after work but didn't anticipate the extended stay... oops. When we arrived at Hillcrest, we spent around 20 minutes looking for him at the entrances of the Bay... it was like a game of hide and seek. I thought he just eventually fell asleep on one of the couches in the mall! But he actually meant that he was waiting for us at the Bay entrace *inside* the mall... aiya. Later that evening after dinner, Chris and I met up with Justine, Brad, and Jon for some dessert at Williams Coffee Pub waaay up north. The waffles were delish, although my milkshake wasn't too great >.< Stayed up until 3:30am working on some portfolio pieces.

Christmas Eve my family had to get to Pacific Mall for 11am to reserve a table for dim sum with Christian and his family at 11:30. Early in the morning and the restaurant was already so packed! The rest of the day was just spent walking around the mall and then grocery shopping at Loblaws for Christmas day meals that Chris and I were going to prepare. I found some really nice cookie cutters that were half price for a dollar, which was a much better deal than the cheap plastic one I got from Bulk Barn the day before. However, they were rung up at regular price and the cashier people had the biggest problem finding the proper price for them. Finally, 15 minutes later they resolved everything and they let me have one for free for all the trouble... so I got 3 cookie cutters for $2! Sweet! Haha, omg I'm such a nerd.

Christmas morning I woke up at 10:30 to make brunch for my family. Started preparing the food at 11am... and finished cooking at 1:15. I couldn't believe it took me over 2 HOURS to make a freakin' meal of homemade hashbrowns, cinamon pancakes, and omelettes with onions, peppers and cheese. And the worst part was... that it wasn't even enough food!! OMG. If a lazy sleepyhead (aka my boyfriend) didn't sleep in until 1pm, maybe a little help would've gone a long way :P But he did come to the rescue in the end by whipping up some yummy maple syrup covered sausages. So he actually *is* good for something (I kid I kid!) :P

After eating we all opened presents, then Chris and I went on to start preparing dinner at 4pm (because who wants to have dinner at 10pm?!) Anthony dropped by for a bit later in the afternoon so we had a nice chat with him. Then it was back to making our Herbed Roast Pork Loin and Gratin Dauphinois (but without the fatty cream that I used last week). At the same time we prepared the yummy Chocolate Chip Cream Chese Squares that we tried out last year. In the end, dinner and dessert all turned out great :)

At night we tried out our new mah-jong table and played until 1am. Christian and I played as a team, and having been our first real time playing the game, I must say, we kicked some serious butt :) Too bad we weren't playing with chips!

Waking up at 8am this morning was absolutely brutal. But that's the sacrifice one must make to land some great sales :P We all headed to the Club Monaco outlet at 9am where they had 50% off everything in the store. We shopped there until 11 then headed downtown to the Eaton Centre where Christian and I were almost killed >.< It turned out that there was a shooting by the mall right across from Sam the Record Man. We were right there only a couple of hours before the shooting! Scary man. We stayed at the mall until 6pm when everyone was totally shopped out and exhausted. It was so hardcore, it felt like we were back in Disneyworld.

Oh, note to everyone: NEVER go to Bubble Tease- it SUCKS. I normally would never go there for bubble tea, but today I was suffering from Shop 'Til You Drop syndrome and was craving some milk tea. I don't know what it is that I ended up drinking, but it did not taste like tea, or even juice. More like watered down sugary powder... YUCK!

Herbed Roast Pork Loin and Potatoes

1 boneless pork loin roast, about 3 to 4 pounds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 to 2 teaspoon freeze-dried or fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 to 6 medium potatoes
salt and pepper, to taste

Rub pork loin with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, then sprinkle with salt and pepper; place pork loin in a shallow roasting pan. Roast at 325 for 50 to 55 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter potatoes; cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain, let cool, and place potatoes in a large bowl; toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, chives, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Place potatoes around pork loin; roast an additional 45 to 60 minutes, or until pork registers at least 155 on a thermometer.

Cover roast pork loin with foil and let stand for about 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8 to 10.

Posted by mich at 10:15 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 8, 2005

The Girl's Version of Snow Pants

I was just reading the paper this morning and found a blurb about a brand new type of garment: snow skirt. Down filled and everything to keep your legs nice and toasty if you ever want to wear a skirt out in the winter. How cute is that? Too bad it's $$$!

Has anyone heard of Crumpler bags? These bags are specially made for equipment like laptops and cameras but they don't look like your typical laptop or camera bag. I went scouting for a 4 million dollar home for my camera but I couldn't find any at Henry's. The ones they carried were either too small or too big. :S

Also while flipping through the paper, I found out that the new Disney Treasures are out already! Wooo! *Jumps for joy* This year they're releasing Chronological Donald, Vol. 2: 1942-1946 and Celebrated Shorts: 1920s - 1960s. Reading through the list of shorts made me so excited... like Lambert, the Sheepish Lion, Pigs Is Pigs, Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom. Gaaaah, I want my childhood back!

Posted by mich at 11:07 PM | return | dreams [0]

May 28, 2005

Partially Unemployed Bum

I'm employed part-time as a photographer. Wooo! Should be fun going around Toronto to explore all the architecture, neighbourhoods, and attractions. Now I can put off buying an expensive digicam since the company will be lending me their Canon Rebel. I'll get to play around with the camera and see how I actually like working a digital SLR. I was considering dropping my Fashion Photography course at Ryerson in order to save money towards a Nikon D70S... but I think I can keep it for the moment :)

Yesterday afternoon I visited Sandra with Wensan, Chris Tang, and their friend. I baked Mrs. Field's Oatmeal Raisin cookies for San, but they didn't turn out as good as another recipe I usually use (I'll post the recipe later). But I'm glad San and her family enjoy them! :) And it was nice seeing Sandra looking well, lively, and back to her complaining self :P

I had a phone interview on Thursday with The Medea Group for a programmer/designer job, and now they want to interview me in person this upcoming Thursday. I'll be meeting with the CEO and President of the company- how intimidating is that?!

Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend. I went up to Montreal on Sat. with my family for a mini family reunion. Did the mandatory bai san on Mont Royale, then chilled out at my sister's apartment for a bit before going to dinner to meet up with my cousins from Boston, my cousin Lawrence's new Venezualan wife, and uncles, aunts, and grandma. The next day I went on a shopping bonanza at Simons. I was in the store right when it opened at noon (and it was already a zoo), and stayed there until 2:45 :O I don't think I've ever gone that crazy before. By 1:30 I was already starving, yet the shopaholic in me kept saying, "Must.... keep... going...". So after 2 rounds of purchases I ended up with 2 asymmetrical zip-up sweaters (one of which is Groggy!!), 2 tanks, a halter top, a white sheer t-shirt w/ asymmetrical neckline, socks for my kitten heels, and a black sheer sleeveless with a pink halter underneath. I was such a happy girl afterwards. But I had to restrain myself from buying anything else while walking around the downtown shops until 5pm. Over the weekend I was pretty productive (aside from the shopping mission). I read a short book that taught me how to create a web site in Flash, and I started reading my Flash Savvy book that I ordered from Chapters.

And speaking of productive, I finally got my portfolio site up and running. I still have to do some tweaks here and there, but here it is:

[Edit: added Oatmeal Raisin Chews recipe]

Oatmeal Raisin Chews

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup (8 oz.) raisins
1/2 cup (3 oz.) walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking sodea, salt, and oats. Mix well with wire whisk and set aside.

3. In a large bowl blend sugars with electrical mixer set at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

4. Add the flour mixture, raisins and walnuts, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool flat surface.

Makes 3 dozen without walnuts, 3 1/2 dozen with walnuts.

Posted by mich at 12:55 PM | return | dreams [1]

May 17, 2005

Bumming Around

Life as an unemployed bum is hard. Too much to do... I've become a busy busy bee. Aside from a full-time "job" of building my online art/design/photography portfolio and applying for jobs, a girl's got to have some fun too!

Last Tuesday was the CSSU handover dinner at The Keg, where I learned the hard way that prime rib is really steak instead of a rack of ribs (disappointment #1). The mashed potatoes were fabulous, but halfway through I decided to add butter. However, I had mistaken my small cup of horseradish for butter in the dim light. I mixed around the horseradish and practically choked on my first bite- it was utterly disgusting. I had completely ruined the rest of my scrumptious mashed potatoes (disappointment #2). After dinner a handful of us went to Dmitre's on Eglington for dessert. I was so tempted to get the strawberry milkshake, but learning from my lesson at the Keg for not diversifying from Chris' choice, I decided to try the strawberry smoothie. It was the WORST smoothie I ever had in my entire life. It was tasteless and SOUR. Should not have diversified (disapointment #3).

Wednesday, Christian came uptown to hang out for the day. We lunched with Chris, Tony and Sandra at Ding Tai Fong Shanghai restaurant at First Markham. Watched a few episodes of 24 in the afternoon and then made dinner for my family at night. This dinner was much more successful than our first attempt as we got no complaints from anyone (and had enough food for everyone)! The night's meal consisted of rice, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, BBQ spare ribs, and baked chicken breast. The rosated veggies and mashed potatoes were delish! Gotta love my Betty Crocker cookbook :) [continue reading for recipes]

Friday is known as couch potato day... really! I swear, Christian and I left permanent bum marks on the couch from sitting in front of the TV ALL day watching 24. Ok I exaggerate. We got up to make salad and perogies with onions for lunch. Then we plopped back down. 11 episodes in a day. 6 more to go!

On Sunday I was accomplice to a shopaholic spree at the Eaton Centre. I got to take Christian shopping for grownup clothes! He cleans up pretty nicely... from a bum to a lang jai all in one afternoon :P

'Twas a pretty long day today. Transported my bike downtown in the morning, grocery shopped in Kensignton with Christian for picnic lunch things, then prepared lunch. Early afternoon we went out with Joseph for a light lunch at a Tibetan restaurant where I tried some Momos (dumplings). On our walk back to Chris' place, a pigeon pooped on Chris' shoulder... yucky! (proof #1 that bad things happen to bad people). We took out our bikes and biked down Bathurst Street to Queen's Quay then along the lakeshore all the way to High Park. We biked around the park and in some forested areas then lunched on our yummy yummy sandwiches (I love that creamy Havarti cheese!). After that we visited Christian's best friend's family and socialized until the evening. During dinner, Chris sat on a stool that broke right when he sat down (proof #2 that bad things happen to bad people). Hm, I think I'm onto something.

Back to portfolio-ing.

Mashed Potatoes

6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

1. Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut into large pieces. Remove the margarine from the refrigerator so it can soften while the potatoes cook.

2. Add 1 inch of water (and the 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired) to the saucepan. Cover and heat the boiling over high heat. Add potato pieces. Cover and heat to boiling, reduce heat just enough so water bubbles gently.

3. Cook covered 20 to 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the potato pieces and the type of potato used. Drain potatoes in a strainer.

4. Return the drained potatoes to the saucepan, and cook over low heat about 1 minute to dry them. While cooking, shake the pan often to keep the potatoes from burning, which can happen very easily once the water has been drained off.

5. Place the potatoes in a medium bowl to be mashed. You can mash them in the same saucepan they were cooked in if the saucepan will not be damaged by the potato masher or electric mixer.

6. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer until no lumps remain. Add the milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. You may not use all the milk because the amount needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on the type of potato used. Add the margarine, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Beat vigourously until potatoes are light and fluffy.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Roasted Vegetables

1 medium red or green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound mushrooms
Olive oil-flavoured or regular cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, if desired

1. Cut the bell pepper lengthwise in half, and cut out seeds and membrane. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 strips.

2. Peel the onion, and cut in half. Wrap on half of onion, and refrigerate for another use. Cut remaining half into 4 wedges, then separate into pieces.

3. Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cut off and discard the end of each mushroom stem, and leave the mushrooms whole.

4. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in the sprayed pan. Spray the vegetables with cooking spray until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

5. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Turn vegetables over. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender when pierced with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 11:18 PM | return | dreams [1]

July 18, 2004

My Last Course Enrolement Ever

I enrolled in my courses on Tuesday. I only have 3 more half courses in art that I need to take in order to finish my visual studies major. I've already finished my comp sci major last year but I'm going to take a few more CS courses out of interest. The toughest part about enrolement this year was trying to select electives that will fit in nicely with my schedule. I have some courses that I really want to take, but it will make my schedule soooo ugly. For example, class at 9am-noon, then my next class from 6-9pm. How brutal is that? I know for a fact that I will develop at hatred for Tuesdays if I keep this scheduling. I considered a lot of different electives to take for this year: Biological Rhythms, Intro to Classical Mythology, Music in the 1960's, Global Cities, Chinese Migration, History of Espionnage, Architecture, Media and Technology, and Modern Standard Japanese. So many fun courses, so little time :(
So here are the courses that I'm enrolled in or trying to get into:

  • :: Introduction to Databases
  • :: Database System Technology
  • :: Capstone Design Project
  • :: Computer Science Project
  • :: Collage
  • :: Integrated Photobased Explorations
  • :: Visual Studies Internship
  • :: French Language Practice I
  • :: Global Cities

Tuesday afternoon I went to Aldo and bought these adorable kitty shoes on sale. How cute are they? And so cheap! $25 bucks man. :)

That night I went to the Harbourfront with Vanessa, Chris, Cass and her friend Elaine to watch the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's "Symphony Under the Stars". I quite enjoyed it; they played the crowd pleaser pieces. I only wish we got to sit in the seats rather than on the ground in the back. I couldn't see anything but peoples backs who were standing in front of me.
This weekend was a pretty fun weekend. Friday night I met my clubbing quota for the year by going to Distrikt for Kel's birthday. The club was alright; I just wished it wasn't just r&b and hip-hop music. I like more variety... we had like 5 minutes of house and then it reverted back to the same old. Saturday afternoon I went shopping with Cass around Yorkville and Eaton Center. That night I went out for a 12-course dinner with my family and relatives. I took the subway to Leslie station and my dad told me it was 1100 Sheppard, east of Leslie. So I started walking east, yet it was barren! I started jogging since I figured it would be a long way to go and I was going to be late. I passed by a building and the number said 1300. I was thinking, jeez, how long will I have to jog for? But I got a phone call from my family asking where I was... it turned out that it was actually *west* of Leslie. So I totally exited through the opposite end of the station and missed all the stores I was supposed to have seen. Today I just chilled out at home and went to the gym. Tomorrow, the start of another work week. *Sigh*
Posted by mich at 9:19 PM | return | dreams [2]

December 28, 2003

Boxing Day Madness

Well, power shopping is over for me. The few days leading up to Christmas I was running around shopping every day for gifts. I finished up my shopping at 5:50 pm on Christmas Eve- 10 minutes before the Eaton Center closed. My sisters and I were hanging out in the food court by the Queen's subway station at around 6. We didn't know it until it was on the news, but there was a gun firing somewhere on the upper level of the mall at the same time. Scary :O Christmas was my day of rest from shopping, then the craziness started up again for Boxing day at the Eaton Center. It was so crowded in some parts of the mall that we were moving like snails. Literally. I didn't get too much stuff though... I just ended up buying a couple of CDs and a shirt from Esprit.

So how was my Christmas? It was pretty unventful... nothing too special. I did, however, make Belgian waffles with a new waffle maker my mom bought a few days before. They didn't turn out so great because I used cake and pastry flour instead of all-purpose (there's a difference??). So, they weren't light and fluffy. But I think the recipe also sucked because I made apple cinammon waffles yet I could barely taste any apples or cinamon. A had a more successful baking endeavor in the afternoon when I made peanut butter cookies... yummm. I had also used the cake and pastry flour, but I guess it wasn't as catastrophic as when I used it for the waffles. Later that night I received a calll from Jason in L.A, which was a really nice surprise and a great end to the day.

So how was your Christmas and Boxing Day?

Posted by mich at 1:38 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 22, 2003

Happy Winter!

First day of winter! 'Tis the season of snow and peppermint hot chocolate! Saturday night I went out to Nathan Phillips Square with friends to see the Strange Fruit performance and to skate. Strange Fruit did their Spheres performance (which is only performed at night) with big bubbles... I enjoyed this one better than The Field one that I saw two summers ago. I took a few pictures of them- I hope they turn out because there were some really spectacular colours.

I'm about halfway done my Christmas shopping... I'll be doing some more today and tomorrow. Hopefully I won't be running around doing last minute shopping on Christmas Eve like I normally do, LOL!

Last night I watched Swimfan. That movie was absurdly ridiculous... I couldn't believe I wasted 85 min. watching something like that! The plot was unbelievable and the acting was terrible. I don't understand why Erika Christensen would ever be in this movie after doing Traffic. Terrible... don't watch the movie! Another movie I watched was Waking Life. Now that's a really interesting movie. The animation style changes from scene to scene, and even though it's really stylized and trippy, there's a sense of realism. I think they filmed the actors and coloured them in to create an animated feeling to it. Not only was it visually captivating, but the things being discussed in the movie were pretty interesting- mostly about philosophy and dreams. I'm not a big fan of philosophy, but a lot of it really made me think.

At the moment I'm obsessed with Michael Bubl! Who is he, you ask? He's a 25 year old swing/jazz/blues singer from Vancouver who's got a smooth Sinatra-like voice. I love the songs Down With Love (which is a really cute movie, BTW!), Fever, Moondance, and How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. I can't stop listening to his album, it's soooo good! :P

Posted by mich at 11:07 AM | return | dreams [0]

September 23, 2003

School, School & Shopping

[Mood] Lethargic
[Music] Jason Mraz- Prophet

School's getting crazy. I have so much work and so little time to relax. The first and second weekends since the beginning of school sucked, and to top it all off, I only got 4 hours of sleep the last 2 Monday nights (I had 9 am classes darn it). IT's my drawing class that's peeving me off. Don't get me wrong; the class is pretty interesting and I"m being challeged in so many ways, but jeez does it take a while to finish things for that course! Ok, I guess I'm kind of a slow drawer, but the workload is still a bit much. For example, I was madly finishing off the first assignment that was due today. Because of some misinterpretation, the substitute prof we had last week relayed some ideas that didn't exactly fit with the assignment goal that our prof had. Sooo, instead of getting the assignment off my shoulders, I need to fix up my drawings, which will be due in 2 weeks. On top of that, we just received our second assignment today that is due next week. Oh, did I also mention the daily drawings that we have to do??

I can't believe my first 2 weeks back at school have already been so stress-ridden! According to Michelle's Book of Rules, in order to prevent an early burnout, what's a girl to do but shop? *Grin* Let's just say I did a bit some splurging. I was just browsing throught some stores at Markville Mall on Saturday and checked out American Eagle Outfitters. Lo and behold there was a beautiful corduroy jacket hanging on the rack- it turned out there was only one more in size small, which fit me to a T! A bit on the costly side though. But hey, I DESERVED IT.

Posted by mich at 11:50 PM | return | dreams [0]

August 26, 2003

My Weekend

This past weekend was quite enjoyable. On Saturday morning I took the train up to Montreal and got there at 3 pm. I met up with my friend Lucy from P.E.I that I met back in 1999 in Montreal who now works in the city. We started off at Plteau Mont-Royal and walked down St. Laurent through the Latin Quarter, where I bought a cute little bag for $15. We continued walking down to Vieux Montreal and enjoyed the festival of Nouvelle France. Afterwards, we walked back up to the Eaton Center where I picked up my backpack from a locker, then took the mtro to Outremont to have dinner at a quaint Brazillian restaurant called Senzala. On our way back to the mtro we stopped by a great ice cream parlour that is claimed to have the best ice cream and sorbet in the city. I tried 2 sorbet flavours: pear and strawberry. Boy were they yummy! And they were made with real fruit!

That night I stayed at my aunt's place, where my cousin and her 2 kids were staying on a visit from Boston. The next morning I woke up at 7:45 am and couldn't go back to sleep because the kids were invading my sleeping area! I went out to dim sum with my relatives for brunch, then went off shopping on rue Ste. Catherine. Of course, I headed to Simons (I think I spend an hour and a half in there)! I bought two striped 3/4 sleeve blouses and a hair band. I was on the verge of purchasing more stuff but I had to control myself :P On top of that I bought the book Le Petit Prince as well as Kelly Clarkson's CD. Oh, and my cousin helped my get the iRiver SlimX 550 from the states! It's so nifty! Anyway, in the afternoon my parents and sisters arrived in Montreal and picked me up at McGill, then we headed to my sister's residence to help her move in to her new home. We went out to dinner at Chinatown, then took a stroll around View Montreal and watched some buskers. That night we stayed at the lovely Queen Elizabeth hotel.

On Monday morning I had brunch with my mom and sisters at Chez Cora. I've seen the lineups at this place during the weekends and they are crazy. You'd think it's because the food is amazing. But I tried 2 dishes and both were just OK, nothing special. Plus, the food is overpriced. After brunch we went to Simons for a bit then met up with my dad and relatives to head to the Mont Royale cemetary. I headed back to Toronto afterwards with my aunt, uncle and grandma while the rest of my family stayed for the week.

And now I have the whole house to myself for a week ;)

Posted by mich at 12:33 AM | return | dreams [0]

August 16, 2003

Shopping Is Good For You!

[Mood] Refreshed
[Music] The Platters- Summertime

Whoo... we've got the air conditioner back on today. Yesterday evening was stifling hot because we didn't turn on the A/C to conserve some energy. But last night at 11 pm the temperature was still at 29C and it wasn't dropping. It was getting unbearable so we turned it back on, yay :)

Here's an interesting article I read in The Toronto Star today:

Guy McKhann and Marilyn Albert, two of the world's leading experts on brain research, have a theory why women tend to live longer than men: They shop more.

Whether it's for clothes or groceries, shopping is a simple way to summarize what's good for the brain, say this cerebral husband and wife. It combines three elements that allow the brain to function better: staying physically active, challenging the brain, maintaining a positive self-image.

"Women go to the mall, and they have to walk around a lot, oftentimes carrying heavy bags. Secondly, they have to make a lot of decisions: `I have to compare this price with that,' `Will this particular piece fit in my home?' `I already have a sweater, do I need another sweater?' So they have to make all of these decisions. And when they're all done, they really feel good about themselves, like they've accomplished something," says McKhann, 70, professor of neurology and director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

"Men, on the other hand, are at home sitting in front of the television trying to help (their football team) along, and that doesn't do any of the three."

So go out and shop ok?

Posted by mich at 3:03 PM | return | dreams [1]

August 12, 2003

Impulse Buyer

Last night I found out about the wonderful world of lomography. Lomo cameras are Soviet manufactured and have a cult following. They're known for their unpredictability, supersaturated colours, and "artsy" pictures- you never know how your picture may turn out. So I was surfing around and found a Lomo model (Smena 8M)on eBay for $6 US. I just bid on it without thinking, which is so unlike me 'cuz I usually do so much research and comparison shopping before even settling on a brand/model. I ended up winning the darn thing for $6.50 US + $14 for shipping. So that's $30 CDN for a brand-spanking new camera (dunno how long it can actually last!). I'm definitely going to buy a proper camera soon to replace my beloved Olympus Newpic Zoom 90. But in the meantime, I'll have a fun toy to play with.

Posted by mich at 6:39 PM | return | dreams [3]

July 7, 2003

I Lost My Camera in Vegas

Anyone who's seen the M&M's 3-D movie at M&M's World in Las Vegas will recall the title, "I Lost My M in Vegas". Well, I left my Olympus Advantix newpic 90 camera at Caesars Palace (and someone stole it) with my whole roll of film gone that was almost finished. If you're gonna steal my camera, at least have the heart to leave the film behind! :( Good thing I also had my Contax RTS camera with me on the trip so I could still take great photos and not have to resort to buying disposible cameras (oh, the horror!).

Well, now I'm shopping for a new automatic camera. I'm looking at Advantix cameras... even though I know they're dying out I can't resist the three picture format choices, the easy drop-in loading, and the fact that you can change cartidges mid-roll (so you can switch between film speeds and between colour and B&W).

The Centurion S completely fulfills all my requirements for a camera (plus it's an SLR!), but it's discontinued and I can only find a refurbished one through Electro Net Distributers online.
I also like Yashica cameras so I've been eying the Profile Zoom 4000 IX. I like the unique shape of the model and the fact that the zoom is so powerful. But you can't change cartridges mid-roll which is a big minus.

Posted by mich at 11:22 PM | return | dreams [1]

June 21, 2003

Harry Potter!!!

I just received the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix today! *Excited* I pre-ordered it through Chapters online and Canada Post delivered to my house. The delivery guy just rang the doorbell, left the package in front of the door, and just started to leave. That's not right... what if no one was home? It could have been STOLEN *gasp*! :O

Here's an excerpt from the back of the book:
Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said, 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.'

I can't start reading it yet as I'm still re-reading the 4th one... can't wait to finally be able to read the 5th one!

Posted by mich at 2:04 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 17, 2003

Mama Coco's

I just received my Mama Coco's lip balm in the mail today! Straight from Hawaii dude! It's so great, it comes in a cute tin box and leaves your lips so soft and smooth. I got Tradewind Mint, which is a lovely blend of peppermint, vanilla, and coconut and only available during the summer. On top of my order, they also sent me a little jar of Red Hibiscus Lip Rouge, which is coloured by red rose petals... mmm!

Posted by mich at 6:49 PM | return | dreams [2]