Saturday, September 16, 2017

This year I broke my birthday tradition.  I've been stressed lately and I just wanted to spend my birthday quietly.  I moved my flight and chose to stay for my birthday.  I decided to declare it a good-vibes-only-weekend.  Though I didn’t plan anything, I hoped it would be pleasant.  As it turned out….very pleasant.  
I love this picture.
It pretty much summarizes this year’s birthday vibe:
simple, delicious, and full of laughter.
I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I just let the weekend unfold on its own and just went with the flow.  The only thing really planned was the dinner on the day.  No effort from me except to show up.

This year’s birthday came with:
  • Plenty of cake:  So many cakes from different people.  The highlight is my favorite strawberry shortcake.  I have cravings for this.  I hoped for it….and it appeared! :)
yummmm!! my fave!!!!!

  • Plenty of food:  A feast is an understatement.  Most important, it was so delicious.  I always wish for a good meal on my birthday.  I definitely got it!

  • And plenty of happiness: There was so much smiles, so much laughter, and so much to be grateful for.
  • Bonus:  I did my first ever pull ups in my life!!!  Magically just happend.
face of shock
Declaring a good-vibes-only-weekend was great!  Sure I banged my elbow so hard that I thought I broke it, got a greeting from a db, and felt so exhausted with my to do list...but with good vibes only weekend, I just shoo-ed it all away and laughed.  I can sincerely say that I enjoyed my birthday and glad I decided to stay.  Grateful and thankful to everything and everyone.  And now, I'm happy to be home.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not."  --Oprah Winfrey

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters"  --Albert Einstein

"Do the right thing.  It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."  --Mark Twain

"Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right."  --Franklin Roosevelt

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."  --Buddha


Sunday, July 16, 2017

On Assignment: Media for a Day

A few weeks ago, I had fun spending the day on assignment as a photographer for media.  It was a day full of eating....Australian grass fed beef being the highlight.  Issue is out, my pictures are printed!!!!

Not my first time on, but always amusing when any of my stuff gets published. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Homemade Egg Noodles

Aside from making an ice cream cake last weekend, I also made homemade egg noodles.  I was excited to try the recipe the chef in Bali gave me during our cooking class.

Che'f Egg Noodle Recipe:
  • 1 kg Bread Flour
  • 20 Yolks
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1t Salt
  • 1 kitchen spoon ice water
  1. Dough Hook for about 20 Minutes.  Want the dough dry.
  2. 1 hour rest in the fridge.
I didn't quite have enough yolks and no bread flour so I had to modify my recipe.
My Recipe:
  • 500 g Whole Wheat Flour
  • 5 Yolks
  • 2 Eggs (then it seemed too dry, I added 1 more) -->3 Eggs.
  • 1t Salt (forgot to add)
  • 1 kitchen spoon ice water

Here we go....!  The dough took awhile to incorporate so I ended up adding one more egg and a tiny bit more of water, just enough to bind it.  I took out half the dough I wasn't sure if it was too dry so with the half left in the bowl, I added a little more water.

I finished the doughs on the table, kneading it a few times.  Then it was time to rest.  I left it overnight.

The next morning is the exciting part!  It's going to look like noodles...or so I hope.  I divided each piece in 2 before rolling out.  I took out my pasta maker and started rolling the dough out.

After the rolling and rolling and was time to cut the it into the noodles!!! This is like magic too!  In as one...out as many.

Tadah!!!! Homemade egg noodles!!!!!  Yehey!!!!  How nice eh???  Egg noodles are usually yellow, but since I used wholewheat flour, it's brownish.

I test cooked both of my doughs...the dry and the less dry.  They were both good...the wetter one was a little softer compared to the drier noodles.  The drier noodles were more desirable.  Just had to adjust cooking time of wetter noodles so it wouldn't be too soft,

I floured the noodles slightly and kept it in a container to prevent it from drying since they weren't being cooked until dinner time.  I didn't cook the noodle dish and good thing too because it was so delicious!  My task was to eat it.  Everyone liked the texture of it.  Success? YES! Keeper? YES!! :)

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

I spent a good chunk of last weekend sweating it out in the kitchen making a strawberry ice cream cake and birthday egg noodles!  This post is about the cake. :)

Since the cake is for a birthday, I made lady fingers to go around the outside and also as the base.  I haven't piped anything in so long. I was so rusty! Many of the fingers were unevenly ugly.

Despite being rusty, I enjoyed piping.  What I enjoy more is watching it in the oven.  Will it rise or will it fall?  It rose!  Watching it bake is like a magic show.  I never get bored of's looking good!!!

Next....make the ice cream!  While the lady fingers were cooking, I made the ice cream mix...standard vanilla ice cream mix and also the thawed and cooked the strawberries with a little sugar.  After these cooled, I let it rest in the fridge.

The next morning, it's time to churn the ice cream!!!  Churn churn churn!!! While the ice cream was churning, I had to prepare the lady fingers for the cake...a layer on the bottom and fingers all around.

I added the strawberries the last 5 minutes of the churning...just until the strawberries were incorporated.

Once the ice cream was ready....time to scoop it into the prepared cake! At first I used the big scoop, but changed to the smaller scooper so that it would be easier to flatten.

Using my small flat spatula...flatten flatten flatten....spread spread spread...smoothen smoothen smoothen.  It looked niceeeee!

Final stage...the chocolate writing.  I love chocolate writing!!!  Something I always look forward to.

After dinner, it was time to sing and blow the cake.  Then it was time the cake.  Note for next time, I undercooked the lady fingers just a tad, it stuck a little to the acetate when I was taking it off.

Each time I cook, people tell me how good it is.  I love hearing that, but I don't always believe it.  I believe it when their plate comes back empty, or in this case after second and third helpings, only the cake board is left.  Yup! I agree, it was yummy!

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Do your practice and all is coming." 
-Sri K. Pattabhi Jois-

The last couple of months, the back spasms forced me to slow down and I've have found myself consistently back on the mat. Many times I would only do sun salutes, when it was bad I would just lie down with my eyes closed and do the practice in my mind, or sometimes I would just sit and count my breath.

Today I am reminded the importance of showing up consistently. For the first time in months, I was surprisingly able to bend forward and breathe with ease .
The practice is not about the arm balances or the handstands (which can I get attached to). Rather, it's more about showing up and being present; respecting the body and observing the mind. Each day is different. And as with life, always changing. 

"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." 
-The Bhagavad Gita-

June 30, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunrise Hikes Never Get Old: Mt Batur

Of course when I say chill and do nothing, it's relative.  Bali's landscape is naturally beautiful, I was eager to get out of the urban areas and into nature, so it was off to the local live volcano, Mt Batur, for a sunrise hike!

The Schedule:
2:30 am - Depart Resort in Ubud
3:45 am - Start Hike
5:45 am - Reach the Peak
6:30 am - Watch the Sunrise and Explore
7:15 am - Hike Down
8:45 am - Done
Breakfast with Lake View
11:00am - Back in Ubud

The Ascend:
I must say it was a relatively easy hike, anyone can do this.  The first half of the climb was in a forest and the last 20 minutes in sand.  It took us less then two hours to get to the top and boy was it crowded!  I didn't feel it until near the peak, but this too was a tourist place!

Although it was an easy hike, it was quite eventful.

The Rock:
More than halfway up, the trail was a little trickier and the steps were steeper.  Someone must have mis-stepped their way up and caused a rock to go rolling down.  The rock was huge!  I'd show you by making a circle with my arms and fingertips touching.  It was that big.  As it went rolling down it was difficult to see it in the dark until it was near.  All we heard was, thud thud thud, as it was rolling towards us. An uncommon event, thankfully, the guides were alert enough to warn the hikers and groups behind them  It was a chain reaction of warnings until the rock stopped.  Because of their quick reactions, no one got hurt.  Always have to be alert regardless of difficulty level.

The Stars:
When we got out of the forest and could see the sky above us, it was such a beautiful sight to see the starry sky.  There were so much tinkling stars, such a rare sight!  I love it.
towns below
The Peak:
Oh my! It is the busiest peak I've been on!  It was crowded; packed with hikers.  Apparently, the mountain gets about 500 hikers a day!!! Everyone got a spot for the sunrise, but I didn't want to stay here.  Too many people!

Our View Point:
About another 5-10 minute hike from the peak was a much quieter place to watch the sunrise.  Much much better!

The Cold:
When I read bloggers mention the summit was cold and to bring jackets, they did not exaggerate.  Good thing I was prepared with my super light but warm Uniqlo wool shirt, my shell jacket, my fleece scarf, my fleece head/ear band, and my gloves.  I felt just warm enough to be able to enjoy the summit.
a town below covered in mist
The Canadians:
There were two Canadians that overtook me on the way up.  They wore tank tops and and short shorts!  How are they surviving the summit?  They told their guide they don't need jackets, they won't be cold.  They're Canadians.  I just felt so Un-Canadian when I found that out.  I swear, it really was cold.
Holy spot on the peak
Best Cup of Coffee:
I must say, I had one of the most satisfying cups of coffee in my life!  The daylight was starting to break and the weather was so chilly.  Experiencing the view in the cold with my hot tasty cup of joe....hmm.....perfect. ;)

The Monkey Attack:

The sun was finally starting to rise.  We were all enjoying nature's show and had our cameras ready.  Out of nowhere we hear all these sounds and as we turned around, there was a monkey invasion!!!

They've come out from their warm holes by the crater to steal all our food! I was avoiding monkeys this trip as I didn't enjoy their aggressive behavior in the Monkey forest from the first trip.  Here on Mt Batur, they aren't as aggressive, but still did not enjoy them.  They are smart, scary, and quick!

The Sunrise Show:
We were so lucky to be blessed with good weather for the hike and for the sunrise.  Got the best seats in the house.  The view was amazing and there was a sea of clouds beneath us.  Really couldn't ask for anything more.  The colours were amazing as the sun was coming out.  It was stunning.
It is important to always respect nature, be present, and be grateful.  This day was a reminder of that.  As we were enjoying the sunrise one minute, it was completely covered the next as the clouds suddenly rolled in.  We were all in the clouds and the view was gone.
in the clouds & monkey paws
The Steamed Eggs:
So the view was gone,  time to steam some eggs!  Since it is a live volcano, there are warm parts where the steam from the crater escapes.  Be careful not to get too close...HOT!  We had perfectly steamed eggs for a snack before heading down.

Human Traffic:
We waited for most of the people to head down first so that we avoid the human traffic and at the same time maybe hope for the clouds to clear and explore the crater.  Sadly, we didn't get to explore the crater because it didn't clear up enough.
Our descending pace was quick so we got caught up in the middle of the traffic.  Everyone was having a difficult time in the loose sand.  500 hikers on the mountain...gotta get away!

The Journey:
an old temple
The human traffic didn't last long.  Eventually, it disappeared and we were enjoying the trails again.  We passed temples, farms, and enjoyed the scenery we missed in the dark.  It was a nice hike from start to finish.  The memories to take home from this one is full from the journey and not just the destination.

By 11am I was back in my resort relaxing.  I am so thankful for another awe-inspiring safe hike.  It is definitely a highlight of the trip!


Someone asked a friend of mine how I'm doing.  My friend's answer, "Awesome, climbing mountains and swimming oceans."  I didn't think of it that way, macro view, but...hey yeah! Loving it <3 p="">