Category Archives: Lifestyle/Health

Happy eating, Newport Restaurant Week has arrived!

The 11th Newport Beach Restaurant Week starts next week on Jan. 16, and as the new girl in town (approximately 2 months and 11 days), I am excited to experience what Orange County has to offer. The two-week long event, organized by Dine Newport Beach and Newport Beach Restaurant Association, has over 60 participating restaurants.

The two-week Newport Restaurant Week features over 60 restaurants. (Image Credit: Web/Newport Restaurant Week)

The two-week Newport Restaurant Week features over 60 restaurants. (Image Credit: Web/Newport Restaurant Week)

The event also rounded up this year’s food trends, including:

  • Dessert for Breakfast
  • Meat the “New” Meats
  • Bar Food Boom
  • Cauliflower Marches On
  • Vegetables are the New Comfort Food
  • Spice Up Your Life

These are not exactly new trends per se — take “Dessert for Breakfast,” for example, there are limitless variations when it comes to pancakes and waffles — but I am looking forward to each restaurant’s take on these trends!

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New Year Resolution (With a Twist): Workout Yes, Burger Yes

Sure as pairing Japanese green with Castella sponge cake or ordering my coffee extra hot, I have once more listed “workout more” as one of my new year resolutions.

I am not alone. Fitness and health resolutions are a January fixture — the most common New Year resolutions have to do with improving one’s physical fitness, with “exercise more frequently” and “loose weight” being the most common, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive online survey of U.S. adults.

While the survey also pointed out most fitness- and health-related resolutions dissipate by mid-year, I have decided to reverse the trend, committing to a sunrise and morning workout on the beach.

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Starting the new year with oceanside sunrise! (January 2017/Crystal Cove)

  • Commitment 3.8/5 stars (A January 2 start date is not as good as January 1, but decent)
  • Sunrise 3/5 (Rainy and cloudy, but the sky lit up around 8 a.m.)
  • Duration 4.2/5 (Hiked/Walked for approximately one hour 30 minutes)
  • Breakfast (… … …)

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Beauty up with animal (panda) mask

As much as I enjoy the busy news cycle of a financial journalist – reporting, writing and sometimes grabbing a cocktail or two, a girl must take care of herself. In addition to my regular beauty routine, facial masks are wonderful boosters. Nothing beats facial masks: simply clean your face, put on your mask for 15-20 minutes, remove, massage/pat the remaining extract unto your skin and feel your skin radiate with joy!

Ooh, I am feeling wonderful! What’s this? Hydrated? Moisturized? (Sherry’s post-facial-mask skin raving, ha!)

My latest obsession are animal masks (see link for Panda Facial Masks). I mean, if you are already going to look ridiculous no matter what — this is inevitable, I mean, surely nobody can look hot with a Phantom of the Opera-esque mask — why not have fun?

Facial masks are great instant beautifier, add fun into your beauty routine with panda mask!

Facial masks are great instant beautifier, add fun into your beauty routine with panda mask!

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Spring into spring with pink, purple and something black

To buy a bouquet of flowers, from a return on equity point of view, is bad investment. Flowers start to die the moment they are removed from the stem, and as they loose their freshness, their value depreciate. But we adore flowers nonetheless.

As Michael Pollan pointed out in his book, The Botany of Desire, attractive flowers have a higher chance of being noticed by insects and animals (acting as agents of pollination), and thus bearing fruits first. Humans are also susceptible to this attraction.

Of the humans, Sherry has been most fatally afflicted. In addition to pink calla lilies and yellow daffodils in my office, there are also a variety of blossoms in my apartment, including snapdragon, forget-me-not, pansy, zinnia… You get the picture. And to top off my flower frenzy, a seminar on flower arrangement!

(image credit: Web/Ashley Kate HR)

(image credit: Web/Ashley Kate HR)

Word of the Day: Flower 
Flower 花(hua/ㄏㄨㄚ)

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Is my $4 ice coffee still amazing if it can be packaged into a milk carton?

No, it’s old news. Blue Bottle, having successfully raised $25.75 million in venture capital January, 2014, launched Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced Coffee – purchasable in blue and white half-pints milk carton, that summer. I was aware of the launch. Not only had I read about the initiative in several business publications, I also chatted with a couple Lower East Side-based baristas who informed me that Blue Bottle was no longer true, in the pure specialty coffee sort of way, to those in the coffee community.

I didn’t care then because I had plenty of accessible and equally delicious cafes to choose from. It wasn’t until I grabbed my first New York Blue Bottle on Monday, that I noticed how deeply affected I was by the milk, I mean, coffee cartons.

Artisanal coffee, when mass produced like Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced Coffee, can still uphold its integrity? (image credit: http://fastcompany.net)

Artisanal/specialty coffee charges a higher price than, say Dunkin’ Donut brew, because more attention was paid to producing that perfect sip. From selecting special coffee beans, to paying special attention to roasting and brewing, and of course, making that cup specially for you, specialty coffee is special in a big way. And consumers, like myself, willingly fork over $4, $5 for cold brew and $6+ for latte in exchange. Continue reading

To hurt, to break: the heart beats on

Feeling unsure, the girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place.
Just for the time being.
So she put it in a bottle and hung it around her neck.
And that seemed to fix things … at first.

The girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place, for the time being. (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

The girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place, for the time being. (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

The above passage is from The Heart and the Bottle, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The picture book, which looks into how to make sense of death and loss, is now available in iTunes to buy and download as apps. The version is read by actress Helena Bonham Carter.

In the story, the girl, after losing her father. decided to protect her heart from hurting by putting it in a bottle around her neck. Of course, the problem with safeguarding her heart was that the girl no longer resembled her old exuberant, full-off-curiosity self. No more thinking about the stars or “the wonders of the sea,” she feels no pain, but also no happiness.

(Read previous post: “Ice Kachang Puppy Love”)

"She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea. She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…" (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

“She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea.
She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…” (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

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The 9-digit dance, and Petit Billy

Because this is life, and in life, shit happens, I am typing with nine and not ten fingers.

You see, I cut myself on the index finger while making dinner Easter Sunday. Not trying to be graphic here, but I bled profusely. It took a full 20+ minute of hard pressing for the bleeding to subside to an on-and-off ooze, and were it not for my level-headed roommate, who not only bandaged my wound but also assured me that I would not die, I don’t know what I would have done. The unfortunate accident resulted in my paying a visit to the ER, and, unintentionally, getting Good Monday off after all. Continue reading

It takes not working to fully appreciate, say Easter and Chinese New Year

What’s in a holiday if it does not come with vacation days? Not much, in my opinion.

(image credit: thecapecodmom.com)

In that regard, Easter is very much like the Chinese New Year. In the sense that both holidays have ceased to be significant once the perks — chocolate eggs and money-filled red envelops, respectively, stopped. But this year, getting Good Friday off (for the first time ever!) has propelled me to acknowledge Easter as a legitimate, celebratory-worthy holiday.

Which, brings me back to Chinese New Year.  Continue reading