Showing posts from 2012

Yule celebrations expat style, then and now

By yule, I mean the 'period extending from December 24th to January 6th.' Or January 2nd for me as I'm back to reality, a.k.a. work before all the hang-over is over.  This is the first yule in five years that I stayed put in Bangkok. No crazy wrestling of crowds at airports, no time-limited tours around exotic places in neighboring countries, just good old apartment with films, little hearty meals, music, a few international dials to communicate with family beyond the South China Sea

and well, one shopping that got a bit out of control. But things happen and there's always a first so while I was at one I thought I'd just forgive myself, and go feel the joys of the season. Before I tried putting up a book Christmas tree after seeing the idea from Book Riot on Facebook, yule began with routine visa and work permit renewals at Government House -

which was accomplished smoothly last year, but a bit complicated this year with a tiny irregularity spotted on a document- so…

Xtemass in Buddha land

You might like this so I thought I would share. Eternal Encouragement is a magazine filled with yes, encouragement exactly, and of course many other practical tips and advice on living an abundant Christian life, with a special reference to the Christmas season.

Click here to read your first issue. Go on, it's absolutely free.
*** There is no connection between the worship of idols and the use of Christmas trees.We should not be anxious about baseless arguments against Christmas decorations. Rather, we should be focused on the Christ of Christmas and giving all diligence to remembering the real reason for the season. ~ John Macarthur
Bangkok does not lack Christmas decors in December, especially around malls. You look around and for a moment you would think you're not in a Buddhist country. Last year as I went about my normal Christmas shopping, the sight around made me think 'oh, this is just like home.'

Of course this could mainly be about the commercial side of things. …

Whittard of Chelsea

Whittard of Chelsea is one of Bangkok's many tea rooms. Walter Whittard founded Whittard of Chelsea in 1886. The first Whittard shop is said to have opened in London and then moved to Chelsea. That's probably how of Chelsea came to be part of the full name. They have several branches in Thailand. Life Center lists seven in Bangkok. I'm not sure if there might be a few more in cities where tourists flock like Pattaya, Huahin, Chiangmai or Phuket.  This branch a friend and I went to is in Siam Paragon. We didn't plan on relaxing here. It just happened to be right in front of us when we felt like having tea so in we went. Now I remember how comfy being seated in here was compared to that place I recently went to.

Ah, here comes the Waitress of Whittard -

I didn't keep track of who ordered what. My best guess is that the praline and Moroccan mint are mine, while my friend had banana and carrot cupcake. She probably paired it with peppermint. We talked about approaching …

Chocolate mint ice cream

When I ordered ice cream at a big lunch I hosted in 2004 for (m/l) 300 family and friends at my father's funeral reception, I also wondered how it was made. I like to have an idea of how something I'm eating came to be. The recipe I'm sharing comes from Rita on Food: Home of the Home Cook.

She says her son likes chocolate mint ice cream and she made this for his birthday. In the meantime I can only buy scoops for my son and for a slightly different reason - to bribe him to eat veggies. The plan though is to try this recipe myself when things at work calm down.

2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
9 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons pure mint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine.

Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirri…

Vintage Passion

It's been awhile since I decided to love vintage. And awhile since I've been reading about it comparing definitions, descriptions and illustrations as I know I most likely will not know how to distinguish vintage from antique just by looking. The first definition I read of vintage refers to wine, and as an adjective that means high quality, as in vintage claret. The Urban Dictionary defines vintage as "too old to be considered modern, but not old enough to be considered antique." There's vintage clothing which, according to Wikipedia, "is a generic term for new or second hand garments originating from a previous era." There's also vintage fashion which is "clothing and accessories that are at least 25 years old, and as, according to ATELIER-MAYER, "vintage fashion is now coveted the world over, it can be as little as two season's ago." There is also vintage furniture which is "furniture between 30 and 100 years old."


Red glasses at the White House

Links: WW HQ, Momspective, REDnesday, Royalegacy, Mama to 4 Blessings
The can't-shut-up version: Two friends were seated in front of us. We were waiting for the little guy's dinner to arrive, in a colonial-looking restaurant called White House. I've forgotten what I ordered for him but it was most likely chicken as it's his favorite dish morning, noon, and night. We were on a weekend holiday in Lopburi, a charming historical town about an hour by bus from Bangkok. I love ruins and history museums and this was one of those trips.


Umbel is "a mass of flowers springing from a single center." (The Phrontistery) The Science Dictionary defines it as "aflatorroundedindeterminateinflorescence inwhich theindividualflowerstalks(calledpedicels)arisefromaboutthesamepointonthestematthetipofthepeduncle." Umbel is a new-to-me word. I'm marking a few things I learned about it:

the flowers at the center of inflorescence are the youngestthe lower of outer flowers bloom firstgeranium, milkweed and onion have umbelsumbels come from latin umbella, meaning a sunshade (does 'umbrella' come to mind?)
I thought I would skip this week's U word, until I looked around to find examples of umbels and found a photo to show. As lantanas mature they change color "resulting in inflorescences (group or cluster of flowers on a stem) that are two- or three-colored." I found these lantanas along a pavement in a memorial park; I was visiting my father's grave in the Philippines

And these are lantanas…

That hormonal mama dolphin

Links: WW HQ, Momspective, REDnesday, Royalegacy, Mama to 4 Blessings
The can't-shut-up version: This was a day of touring an island city resort. We're back from a show where the main star, a pregnant dolphin, refused to come out at exactly action time. Management apologized. We then headed to a nearby restaurant where I took care of CJ's food that he couldn't consume.  With the heavy safety hat that he was forced to wear earlier and the dolphin show that never was, what kid wouldn't look like he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders?

Titanic artifact exhibition

The Titanic has always fascinated me. I read every story I could find, watch every available documentary about it. It's the very first film I saw during my first year abroad and I drowned in it for several weeks. Over the years I switched to occasional scholarly articles as the emotional side was too overwhelming. Unlike theme songs of other films I love playing on the piano, I hid the sheet music of My Heart Will Go On.

This year marks The Titanic's 100-year anniversary, and I was delighted that my neighborhood is one venue of an artifact exhibition which ran from June to September 2012 on the 8th floor of Central World.

They have some of the most familiar images at the entrance

It was such a wonderful travel back in time

When I checked in I was given a packet that in the excitement with history I forgot to give a look at until last night when I took photos of it.

I didn't realize that on the back of this boarding pass was a ticket replica of the youngest passenger on board …


This is my screwdriver during a birthday dinner with a girl friend. We ate at a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms.

The cake that cost me an overseas holiday

Wordless Wednesday HQ, Rednesday,Create With JoyMomspective, 5 Minutes for Mom, A Mother's RamblingsMama to 4 Blessings,

The Can't-Shut-Up version: It was the kiddo's 5th birthday. I was busy at work and didn't have time to look for a cake that was not as girly as this. I feared he wouldn't like it and he didn't. He was then on a tantrum-at-every-turn phase. When he saw this cake he gave me an appalled look. What? no Ultraman, Mom?  He cried. I felt so sorry for him. Guilt was written on my forehead while tantrum was looming on the MacDonald's horizon. The guests have arrived and in a snap I promised him all the heroes on his next cake and bribed him with Hong Kong Disneyland if he would not make a scene at his party. He managed to show enough decent behavior the whole time. The next year we flew Air Asia to Macau and ferried our butts to Hong Kong. Boys!

Secret Garden

There was no other reason why I tried Secret Garden. The name. I first noticed it in a Central World directory; forgot it, remembered it, forgot it again until last week in Siam Paragon while waiting for doors to open for the Twilight premiere. I'm not sure if this is a branch of the one in Sathon that everyone is talking about. As it appeared right in front of me while I wandered, and because I promised myself I would try the place, I got in. I was imagining a garden setting and a secret door.

Ahhh... too much novel reading. I sorted my order: pomegranate iced tea (which was too sour for my taste), and warm chocolate with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce, which I loved.

Coconut milk was evident in the warm chocolate cake. At least that's what I thought and I did enjoy it.

The only thing I didn't quite like were the backless chairs. I had to be seated in one as the couches were for four persons or more. Next time I will invite some friends to try the signature restauran…

Cooking Extravaganza - a review

In time for the most wonderful time of the year is the release of a Gabby Moms product called Cooking Extravaganza.

This is a special package designed to give you bright ideas to use for something which you and your family and friends will be very much involved in this Christmas season - food, cooking and dining. Author Lorrie Flem has put together 7 e-books and a print book - "What's For Dinner, Mom?" which I reviewed earlier. Here's an overview of the contents:

Bulk Cooking Tips and Tricks. If you are curious about bulk cooking, this will work well with you. It's loaded with how-to's for those who want to try this style of cooking. There hasn't been a need for me, at least not yet, to do bulk cooking, but the tips and tricks here are something to keep just in case I need to.

Fill Em Up. Do you have children who talk of snacking only a few minutes after the table has been cleared? This e-book is filled with delicious, cost-saving and even healthy choices fo…

Banana optimism

In my attempts to eat healthy food regularly, I went looking for something nice to read about the banana I was eating. The quote I found was not exactly to my liking so I thought I would tweak a few words to make it work for me -
When life gives you bananas, you can make smoothie. Now there's an inspiration! The smoothie you see is one I had from Piri Piri.

Here's a banana smoothie recipe I found on BBC Food Recipes by James Tanner from Ready Steady Cook. I was delightfully surprised at how simple, quick and yummy it sounded.

1 banana, peeled and sliced1/2 pink milkhandful of ice1-2 tbsp honeyPreparation Method
Place the banana, milk, ice and honey in a blender and then blend until smooth.Transfer to a serving glass and serve at once.*** Linking with