Sunday, September 14, 2014

10 Things I am Liking This Summer

Being a resident of Texas, it's hard to enjoy summer when you are constantly bombed with 100 temperature and humidity. It's even harder when the AC in your room stopped working...

This year, I was fortunate enough to escape Texas for three months and spend summer at Chicago (to do my clinical rotation), it was the best I had for quite some years (not just the weather, I love the city and the people I have met). While summer is temporarily over at down here (as we all know, summer is a 6-months long in Texas), let me wrap things up a bit and show you items I have been enjoying for this past four months.
 1. Rilakkuma Stainless Spoon - It was a purchase from two years ago (only recovered recently because lil bro took it without me knowing). The spoon has a matte finish and a sleek and seamless body. It has the ability to double the fun for stirring tea and dessert. I would love to get the bigger, fork version for pasta, if it weren't 20 bucks...
If you follow my Instagram (There are three of you, I believe...I admit that my postings are largely trivial and boring), this is another deja-vu. 

2. Nephrite bracelet - Accessories wise, there are three things that are quite popular in the Chinese (in China) "Cultured" Youth/hipster circles: Prayer beads bracelet, Southern Red agate and lapis lazuli...Anyway, I strung the three together and now it becomes my signature accessory for the past year. I was constantly gazing at it because the beads reminds me of grapes and pomegranate...

While it might seem like a simple design, it took my 5-6 tries because I kept forgetting pieces of stopper, messing up the placement of colored bead and/or burning the nylon thread off while trying to seal the frayed end...
3. This Lemony bag from Rebecca Minkoff (Hudson Moto Mini?)  I saw at an outlet mall in Chicago (Kind of sort of regret for not buying it because it went 40% on top of the discount price during Independence Day long weekend).  
 4. Water Bottle by Knack 3 ($6.99 at Ross) - This is a summer find after I come back to Texas (where it's so hot that I had to constantly gulp down liquid just to cool down). I had never want an water bottle before as most of them in the market are metal (makes screeching noise), plastic (smells funny after being exposed to heat) or glass covered with protective silicon wrap (gets dirty and saggy quickly, especially under my possession).

Beside being a little heavy, these bottles are attractive, big, convenient and very easy to clean. I especially like the large opening, which allows me to dump (and retrieve!) teabags, lemons slices, and a lot of ice into it.
There are the rest of the stock at Ross. I am also liking the teal ripple and the orange flame (or wings?) ones. It seems somebody took one of the lids...

5. Speaking of teabags, here are the ones I have been brewing... I originally started off with coffee in order to stay awake, but it was too strong that it gave me elevated heart rate or I had to tone it down with hot chocolate (which kind of defeat the purpose as I was taking 10% coffee with 90% hot chocolate with extra sugar...All the sugar made me more drowsy).  Let me tuck in some mini-reviews:
a. Tradition whole leaves oolong with osmanthus petals (bought it at local Asian market) - The osmanthus part is refreshing and fragrant (only sniff-able when hot) but it's a weird match with oolong. Do not like, will not repurchase.

b. Tradition Barley (with black) Tea - Wholesome and comforting like lightly sweetened oatmeal, except there is no sugar or calories. I love it both cooled and slightly warm. I probably won't repurchase as there are other brands (like Meiji!) I want to try.

c. Pukka Gorgeous Earl Grey - First got sucked into the brand by the packaging. The tea is rich, fragrant and very strong (that it gives me a strong caffeine kick, so a second fill is easier on my heart). It's so delicious just hot without any sugar (so I never tried to sweetened it or add milk). Will definitely repurchase.

d. Pukka Three Green Tea - Picked it up since the earl grey was too thick to have after lunch. "A combo of organic Sencha, Oothu and Suoi Gang (have no clue what are the second and third) " sounds tempting right? It was actually was one of the most standard green tea tastes I have ever had, easily beaten by any bottled green tea in your local Asian market. Made slightly more tolerable when chilled and sweetened with honey.
The packaging of Pukka always get me.  They are hit or miss but on the bright side, it seems that I finally got over soda (or "pops" as people in Chicago/Toronto call it)...
Mighty Leaf - This is my probably my favorite mass-market brand of tea (overall) that I have tried in US.
6. (From July 2014 Issue of Mina, I think...) I don't own these two dresses but I would love to.
 7. Addi Turbo Circular Knitting Needles - Another thing I picked up in Chicago seriously (well, I always knitted when I lived in China and Toronto, a decade ago.) was knitting. Thanks to the prolonged commute time, I usually finish two hats per week on the red/blue lines. 

The German made nickle plated brass needles was a bit of splurge (picked up from Downtown Loopy Yarn) but oh-so-worth-it. It not only makes knitting faster, my stitches also never get caught near the joint.
Another hat I have finished (Ysolda's Rose Red) - I am a little conflicted because the five petal ones looks better shape wise (but usually come out too small) and six-petal ones always ended up too slouchy (that it make me look like a smurf).  Anyway, I love the designer's fairy tale inspired design and I am ready to venture in to the whole shawl territory. My only problem is that, I don't know how to read shawl patterns.
8.Maybelline Baby Lips Crystal - The packaging is so cute and the smell good (and different). Nope, I have not yet used them since I have too much untouched toys lined up...
9. Chicago Symphony Orchestra (and the poster boy Riccardo Muti)  - Can I just add it to my holy grail list? I am not writing a novel about it here but this is what make Chicago 100x more loveable (than what it already is) to me...
A touristy picture of the Bean - taken right after a Grant Park Music Festival Concert which I have also been enjoying. Chicago is the heaven for classical music lovers.
10.  Drama Hirugao - Discovered at the most awkward of times (aka 4 days before my board exam...I just had to marathon-ed all the episodes that were out). The social drama is about two wives having affairs, hmmm I am really bad at selling this. Just give it a try when you have an important test to study for time.

That's all (for my mostly non-beauty favorites), even though I was kind of disconnected to the whole beauty blog world (gotta enjoy every bit of the city!), here are the reviews that have triggered my card-reaching fingers. 

Kiko Longlasting Eyeshadow Stick

L'Oreal Infallible 24hr Eyeshadow (a mega post)

Besame now has a coral cream blush

A knitting blog which I have been visiting frequently (I like every shawl and hat she knitted)


  1. LOVE the nephrite bracelet! Where do you buy your jade beads or just jade anything? I'm really tempted to buy some online, but I have no idea how to tell between authentic and fake stuff :X

    1. I mainly go to the Chinese site taobao for the bracelet (since the fad is still contained in China). There are some vintage pieces on eBay (depends on sellers and time and if they have a constant supply, it's very likely not real). I think this business is definitely one of those that takes advantage of newbies (being it in store or online, Taobao or eBay).

      Strangely, when I was browsing by the windows in a Chicago Chinatown jeweler, all the jadeite (nephrite is not as popular outside China) pieces are genuine and very reasonably priced, as you can't even get that price at reputable Chinese net-seller....

  2. Does that Chicago Chinatown jeweler have a webstore? LOL love that yellow bag too by the way!

  3. I've been a long time follower of your blog, never realized you were a med student! I'm a MS2, are you an MS3?

    1. Oh I am not! (I admire your guys' drive though!) Just a type of medical technologist /you can call me a lab rat (certification pending, job-hunting though, lol). We had to go through clinical rotation before we can sit for the exam.


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