31 May 2010

Not Legal Tender?

Since when have the 20-cent coins and the 10-cent coins gone out of fashion? Since when can shopkeepers and bus drivers refuse to accept loose change as payment for goods or services? Are these two coins not legal tender anymore? I must have missed the press release.

Incident 1: A few months back, I was at the market last month and bought something. The total cost was HK$18. I usually try to give exact change if I have it. I handed over a $10 bill, one $5 coin, one $1 coin and then I had to dig around in my coin purse for an additional $2 and I came up with eight 20¢ coins and four 10¢ coins. The shopkeeper stopped me before I could hand over the small change and told me, “I’m sorry, but we do not accept 20¢ and 10¢ coins.” I then had to hand over a $100 bill instead, to which she gave had to give me change.

Incident 2: A high school student boarded the bus and instead of using his Octopus card to pay the fare, he counted out the total fare (HK$6.20) in small change and dropped the coins into the box. The driver called him back and admonished him for using all small change to pay his fare, mumbling something about how they could only accept small change for up to a certain amount. I was already seated when this whole exchange took place and I remember wondering if the bus driver woke up on the wrong side of the bed. This incident happened about a couple of months ago.

Incident 3: Just the other day. There is this new bubble tea place that opened right in our backyard. If you’ve been my bloggy friend for a while now, you’d know how sad I was that our favorite bubble tea place closed down. Anyway… I was immediately at the new bubble tea shop for my bubble tea fix. My favorite drink (honey green tea + pearl sago) came out to HK$13. I handed over a $10 coin, a $2 coin, and five 20¢ coins. Again, I got the I’m sorry, but we do not accept 20¢ coins line from the cashier. She explained that many customers do not like getting small coins as change. It’s not like I paid the entire amount in 65x 20¢ coins; it was only five 20¢ coins, because I did not have a $1 coin. Besides, last I checked, 20¢ coins are still legal tender. When I pointed this out to her, she took my money and rang up the sale.

What would you have done?

28 May 2010

A Little NaraCamicie Love

About a month ago, I’d entered a giveaway over at –Privilege. The prize? A US$175 gift certificate from the NaraCamicie store in San Francisco. The ever gracious LPC, –the author of –Privilege, who writes so eloquently and sagely on a wide variety of topics (fashion, parenthood, high WASP culture, among other things), –had so thoughtfully arranged it such that her readers outside of the US could participate (and win!) as well. And one of her readers outside the US did win. Me! (Thank you, LPC!)

The first time I’d come across the NaraCamicie brand was when LPC wrote in one of her posts about the extraordinary shirt that she had purchased from the San Francisco store. The photos from that post caught my eye. And then she had more photos of NaraCamicie tops in her giveaway post. Photos that made me sit up and actually google NaraCamicie to see yet more of their collection. This particular photo was my undoing.

image image

You see, I once had a white shirt very similar to what the lady’s wearing. A white shirt that I had bought in Paris. A white shirt that is sadly no more. Let’s just say that it suffered a little “meltdown.” Just as I’d loved that old shirt, I love everything about the NaraCamicie shirt above –the cool, casual look, the open V, the navy-white striped collar and inseam detailing. And I also fell in love with many of the others that I saw on the NaraCamicie SF website and Facebook page. Like this one:


and this one --image

and this --image

and this --image

Now can you understand why I had a hard time choosing? At the end of more than half a day of looking through the photos and driving Chris crazy about which one I should pick, I decided on the Daisy shirt: A “smart floral knit blouse [which] features a contrasting cotton collar and cuff giving the illusion of a 2 piece set. Stretch fabric provides an amazing fit and maximum comfort.”

NaraCamicie shirt2

In the end, it was down to how often I could see myself wearing each item and the Daisy shirt is more me –on most days. I am all about cost-per-wear (even though I won the shirt in a giveaway). I am practical like that. I like that with this top, I can channel the 3Cs --Casual, Classy, Comfortable, –because while I may be a mother of two tikesters and while my uniform these days is a pair of jeans + a comfortable top, comfortable does not necessarily have to be grungy. (Note that all these were factors that I’d considered when choosing the Daisy shirt –based only on photos from their website and their Facebook page.)

When the shirt finally arrived, I was very pleased to know that the NaraCamicie brand lives up to its promise. The brand has been around for over 25 years* and prides itself on high quality Italian shirt-making for men and women. Remember the shirt’s description said “…provides an amazing fit and maximum comfort”? You can say that again. The fit is very flattering and its material and cut allow for maximum movement without me having to worry about creases** and other such inconveniences. I think that beyond anything else, the fit is what I love most about the shirt. It’s the kind of fit that delivers confidence plus –confidence from knowing that you look fab, confidence from knowing that you are clothed well.

Every gal deserves at least one NaraCamicie shirt. And when you have one, you’ll most likely want another. And another.

If you are in San Francisco, you can stop by the store, browse, and be transported by extraordinary Italian designed shirts and blouses.
352 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 683-3204
For those not lucky enough to be in or near San Francisco, you can also shop by phone (see above) or by email (narasf@att.net). Let me assure you that my own experience of dealing with NaraCamicie San Francisco via email had been very smooth and most pleasant.

*Read more about the evolution of the brand here.
**Another reason why I love the Daisy shirt is that the material wears well under seatbelts. Don’t you just hate it when you wear a nice blouse for an evening out only to find it wrinkled on the short drive over?
Note: I was under no obligation to write up this post following my winning the giveaway. Good finds just need to be shared.

The original photo:4647424906_aca36474e2_b

Fix-It 1 – Basic edit:Fix-It1 (Basic Edit)

Fix-It #2Fix-It2

Fix-It #3 – A sort of combination of the two fixes above / cropped. fix-it7

Which one do you like more?

(For the first time since discovering Actions, I was not even tempted to use any in my edits above. That was liberating.)


Check out iheartfaces for more edits!

27 May 2010

Princess Butterfly

And so I did it. I painted faces and arms for a bunch of little kiddies at L’s birthday party. And it went more smoothly than I’d thought it would. Even though I was the only one doing it, as the other mommy who was going to do it together with me had a little baby to take care of. 

To make things easy for myself, I just gave the kiddies limited choices. They could choose to have any of these: Spider, balloons, flowers, butterflies, or ribbons. A few of the kiddies (3-year olds) were rather insistent about being a dog, a princess, or Batman. Luckily my charm worked on them and they skipped away happy with their flowers, ribbons, butterflies, and spiders. Three-year olds are so easy to please. *grin*

It was a princess party and funnily enough, the birthday girl and three other girls (including Zoë) dressed up as Cinderella! They were so cute in their little princess outfits, especially when they were inside the bouncy castle bouncing away and when they were going down the slide with their skirts up over their heads!

I wish I could have taken more pictures, but these were pretty much all I have that are not totally out-of-focus. Zoë had an absolute ball and could not stop talking about L’s party. I was initially a bit worried about looking after her while I did my face-painting, but she was such a doll. She readily joined in the games, sat quietly at the table while eating her food, and played really well with the other princesses.

At prayer time that night, when we’d asked her what she was thankful for that day, she immediately said, “L’s party. I had so much fun.” And guess what? I did, too.

26 May 2010


Do you remember how fun hopscotch could be?



I enjoyed watching Zoë having fun hopping around in her little polka dot dress (Thanks, Bev!).


For more WW fun, head on over to 7 Clown Circus and 5 Minutes for Mom.

25 May 2010

My Other “Husband”

When I first saw this at the store, I wanted one. When I found out that it’s called a “husband,” I wanted one even more. How cool would it be to have two husbands, with each filling a different need? Heh.


A husband pillow is basically a large, high-backed pillow with two "arms." It is portable and can be used to prop the user upright while in bed or on the floor. Perfect for reading or watching TV. I love the back support I get; so much better than regular pillows for propping one upright.

We don’t exactly have a cozy corner per se in the house, but with the husband pillow, my cozy corner could be anywhere I choose to plop down my husband –by the window seat, on the bed, on the floor...

I love both my husbands! *grin*

Check out other cozy corners over at Communal Global. Share with us what your cozy corner is like and link up.

Study 1 - black border (resized 278)

24 May 2010


I had to dabble in face-painting and practice on Josh and Zoë, because I’d promised a friend that I would help out at her daughter’s birthday party. I didn’t realize how much fun I would have… or how much patience would be required of me.


Josh wanted a spider on one cheek and a spider web on the other. Easy enough to do, as far as painting goes, but he just could. NOT. keep. still.


Then he wanted balloons on his arm.



And a rainbow on his other arm. He'd wanted a monster on one thigh. A superhero mark on his other thigh. I had to stop after the balloons. I was pooped. And this was even before I'd started on Zoë, who had wanted to be a butterfly. She wasn't content to have me draw a small butterfly on her cheek; she'd wanted the whole eye mask thing. Good thing the little diva was good at keeping still.


I don't know how many children my friend has invited to her daughter's party. I'm just glad that there's another mom who will be doing the face-painting together with me. I think I will have to say that I specialize only in small drawings... spiders, balloons, flowers, henna-ish hand designs, butterflies. I can handle those, but I'm no good with the "big" whole-face (or even half-face) mask thingies. I'm both dreading and looking forward to doing this... wish me luck!

iheartfaces - Week # 21 : Yellow

Keira4 copy 2

My niece, K.

She is golden.

We can't wait to see her again this summer!


This week's theme at I Heart Faces is "Yellow." Please head on over and check out more "Yellow" entries.

22 May 2010

Josh and I walked into the study and I saw Mahatma Gandhi on the PC screen. Gandhi is one of characters in Chris’ PC game, Civilization IV. I turned to Josh and said, “Look! It’s Gandhi.”


…and the following conversation ensued:

Josh: Yeah, I know him!

Me: Really? You know of him? (I knew this would be interesting.)

Josh: He’s in my Bible. God said to him, “Gandhi, gather your men and build an army!”

Me: Are you sure it was Gandhi?

Josh: Yes!

Me: But do you know that Gandhi was not even born yet during that time?

Josh: It was Gandhi!

I tried to explain to him how Gandhi could not have been in the Bible.

Josh: Oh, maybe it was GINDI, not Gandhi.

I don’t know what to say.

Image credit: Sinhale Hot News

21 May 2010

Since I started playing around with Photoshop this March, I've looked forward to I Heart Faces' Fix-It Fridays every week. I can't begin to tell you how much I have learned from participating in this exercise every week. It's great to see the contributors' edits and their step-by-step guide in how they did them. It's equally wonderful to see how the other participants do their fixes as well.

This week, we get to work on this photo of this cutie-patootie. Here is the original photo.


Here are my edits:

FIx-It #1: Basic Edit. Cropped, slight tilt. Sharpened. Adjusted levels, curves, hue & saturation. Applied surface blur. Worked on areas around the chin and under the eyes with the eyedropper tool and brush.FIx-It1 (Basic)

Fix-It #2: PW’s Lovely & Ethereal action Fix-It4(LovelyandEthereal)

Fix-It #3: Bit of BW FIx-It5 (LandEwithBW)

Fix #4: Bit of BW, with PW’s 70s action applied, but with opacity adjusted down.FIx-It6(LandEwithBW 70s)

Fix-It #5: Seventies, with more color Fix-It3 (Seventies)

Here they are, at a glance: Fix-It Week 55


Head on over to iheartfaces and play along.

20 May 2010

Eensy-Weensy Spider

On a hike to Lamma Island

with Chris and a visiting colleague from France,

we came across this little friend,

hard at work spinning her web

Paying no heed to the blowing wind

or the hot afternoon sun

or the intrusive lenses

of the cameras

of out-of-shape hikers*.

(*That would be me. Sad to say.)

19 May 2010

Berry Puzzling

Does anyone know what kind of a berry these are? Are they even berries? I had tried to google for images of different kinds of berries and have not come across this type.

I bought these at the market and all the shopkeeper could tell me was that they were yummy. And they were. Sweet and juicy, with a just a tad of sourness. It has a seed like that of a cherry’s.

Next time I go buy these, I’ll try to make the shopkeeper write down the name, even though it will be in Chinese… At least then I’ll have a starting point in my quest to learn more about this fruit.

[Edit: My mom gets the prize!! These are YUMBERRIES. What a great name.]

18 May 2010

Nobody But-Chew

This week’s theme at Communal Global’s Tuesdays Around the World is Today I Learned…

Study 1 - black border (resized 278)

1. I learned that both Zoë and Josh know the Wonder Girls’ hit Nobody. They’ve been singing “Nobody,nobody but-chew…” I’d never heard of this song until our helper mentioned that it seems that all the kids love this song and that this is the “nobody, nobody” song that both Josh and Zoë have been singing. I looked up the song on YouTube. This is what I found:

(If you’re a bit impatient, you can forward to the 2-minute mark to get to the tune right away, although the intro is rather funny…)

2. I learned that my little girl loves Clay Aiken and generally prefers music with a catchy beat over ballads. She has been requesting to listen to Aiken’s version Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Grease – in that order. Zoë would usually start out sitting on my lap for the first song and by the time Grease comes around, she’ll slide off my lap and start dancing around on the floor. After the song ends, she’d climb back on and ask either for a repeat or for another song. (Thanks, Aunt Lolo – you got me into this whole American Idol thing and have me searching through YouTube for old AI clips!)


Join us and link up your “Today I Learned…” post!

17 May 2010

zoe with flower

Our little Gerbera daisy.
Zoë says she wants to be a flower when she grows up.

My Love-ver Boy

Inspired by Tonggu Momma’s Top 10 post last Friday, I’d decided to see what Josh’s answers might be to similar questions…


I’d written out the statements and asked him to fill in the blanks. He gamely played along. He asked how to spell builder, cheese, and rainbow, but he did the rest on his own.

Not much surprise on most of his answers. I don’t know what I expected to find on #4 and #9, but his answers were not what I expected. And #10? He says that he wants to be a “builder of everything.” He has long since abandoned his wish to be a chef when he grows up. He still pretends to be a superhero at times, but he knows that superheroes are not real. Whatever he ends up doing when he grows up, I do believe that he will continue to be very good at love-ving.

14 May 2010

Both tikesters are napping, so I have a bit more time playing around with the edits this week. I just made a basic edit (adjusting levels, curves, sharpened, used the spot healing tool to take out a few red spots on the face, brightened the eyes a bit, cropped) and then I played around with a few of PW’s different actions.


The original:4605498646_3113e018e2_b

Fix-It #1: Basic editFix-It1

Fix-It #2: PW’s Boost ActionFix-It5

Fix-It #3: PW’s Seventies Action Fix-It4

Fix-It #4: Sepia Fix-It2

Fix-It #5: PW’s Colorized Action Fix-It3

Fix-It #6: CoffeeShop Sun-Kissed ActionFix-It6

Here they are, at a glance: FIXIT2

Head on over to iheartfaces and play along!

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