Friday, July 26, 2013

Sleep Tight, My Love

Eyes shut tight,
Surrendered finally
To her exhausted body.
Counting her long eyelashes one by one,
Watching her lips tremble slightly,
Listening to her soft, sweet breath.
A perfect face.
The most peaceful space.

Her little fingers clutching her baby bear,
She stretches her arms,
She rolls over and back,
Her legs cycle couple times,
Gradually settling back into her fetal position.
Sound asleep once again,
In the safest, the most familiar place.

If her angel face,
Shall be startled
By the whistle of the passing train,
I shall wipe her little tears,
And gently whisper,
Into her little ears,
"Sweet baby Omi,
Do not fear,
For mommy is here."
I will sing a lullaby,
I will say my little prayer,
till she rests her bewildered eyes,
Dozing off soundly in no time.

Keep her sheltered
From the evil,
the wickedness of this world.
Let there not be
One moment of darkness.
For if there shall be
Nights with no stars,
Days with no sun,
She shall still find
The little sparkles
You left in her heart.

Originally published on Wikinut:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You know you are Asian when ... Part II

Before I continue my "You know you are Asian when ..." series, I should clarify that when I say "Asian", I am referring to mostly Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese.

So here it goes ... you know you are Asian when you have close family members (cough cough ... like your mom) or relatives (no matter if they are close or not-so-close ones you know like the wife of the cousin of your dad's cousin) who would not hesitate to tell you that you have gained some weight recently (or "you are getting fat/chubbier!!!!" if they are more direct). And they are not afraid to make a remark like this in front of other relatives.

Now my parents won't say such things to me, but I still remember coming to the States for college and gaining about 15-20 lbs in the first year by eating junk food. You can't blame me, really. Dorm food sucked so bad and since we did not have a kitchen in our dorm and I could not really cook either, my friends and me frequently went to Royal Farms for fried chicken or those "2 for $5 " ice-cream specials. Sometimes we would also order pizza or Chinese takeout or those Jamaican wings at night. Man all those good memories! Needless to say, when I went back to Hong Kong the next summer, my relatives were quick to point out that my face has gotten chubbier, that I could lose some inches off my waist and that I had "fat thighs". Thanks Aunt XXX for the honesty and sharp observation!

Now these family members/relatives are not necessarily mean people, and they really don't mean to hurt people when they make such a comment about your body. It's just that it's such a socially-acceptable thing to say that other people won't even raise their eyes at such comments (even though it's very hurtful to that person to say the least).

Here in the States, a lot of people think that Asians are "genetically or naturally skinny"? Ugh, yes some of them are, but I have to tell you, a lot of them are pressured to be skinny. Body image (being skinny) is such a big thing in Asia and if you go to Hong Kong/Korea, you can see all those advertisements about diet pills, diet management program, body slimming and beauty products, plastic surgery everywhere, seriously and literally, everywhere. You can even see them in all the subway stations. Not to mention that some of the cutest clothes that they have there is one-size-fit-all, so it's almost like they are telling you that if you are not skinny, you are not worthy to be wearing their designs. Because of such misconception ("Of course you have to be skinny, you are Asian!"), a lot of my Asian American friends still feel the pressure to be slim from their family and friends even though they are in the States.

So if you are Asian/Non-Asian and you are reading this and are struggling with body image issues, you really need to take a step back and think for a moment - you know, nothing is more important than your health. It's really not worth it to wreck your body by taking all those diet pills or by going on those extreme diets. Being sexy is not about being skinny. Being sexy is to have a healthy body, a healthy mind and a smile on your face!

Originally published in Bubblews:

Image source: google search - label for reuse, even commercially

Things that I do when I am stressed ...

Things that I do when I am stressed:

1. Eat, eat and eat nonstop. Eat, eat, eat till I drop.
2. Forget to eat and starve myself
3. Bite my nails
4. Clean, declutter and organize things
5. Move furniture or stuff around
6. Drink many cups of coffee
7. Take a mid-day shower (has to be a hot shower)
8. Go onto blogs and read as an escape
9. Vent to friends through google chat
10. Drink soda (no Diet please)
11. Eat an entire bar of dark chocolate (so I guess that's part of #1 LOL), preferably with coffee
12. Take a day off and do nothing
13. Go shopping
14. Tell my baby to give me a hug and give me kisses
15. Take it out on hubby (*shame on me*)
16. Read Harry Potter again
17. Stay up and won't sleep (mmmm I kinda of do this regardless but it's worse when I am stressed)

Originally published on Bubblews:

Image Credit: morguefile

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gratitude Project #7 - Having health Insurance

Now we all know that the health care system in the States is really broken. Our hospital bills lack price transparency. Our drug companies charge ridiculous markups to the patients. Affordable individual insurance is non-existent. Medicare kept cutting reimbursement to our physicians, causing them to drop Medicare patients. I remember reading on the news that something like 60% of bankruptcy is due to medical bills. The premium of the group insurance that I have through my job keeps increasing, while the co-pays and out-of-pocket maximum keeps increasing every year too. But I am still grateful that we are able to have and to afford health insurance. Because the only predictable thing in life is that you can be sure that it is unpredictable. You will never know when you will get sick. I am grateful for all the prenatal care and all the well-child visits for my baby that we were able to have because of our insurance. I still remember how shocked I was when I opened up the bill from the hospital where I delivered my baby - just one week of NICU stay for my baby amounts to $25,000 without insurance! My heart definitely skipped a beat when I saw that!

Original published on Bubblews:

Image Credit: morguefile

Monday, July 22, 2013

You know you are Asian when ... Part I

You know you are Asian when you have been told by someone (well, your parents, grandparents or other elderly) that icy water/drink and cold food is not good for you, especially when you are menstruating and when you are pregnant. I have been told that cold drink and cold food lead to indigestion because it disrupts our system and our digestive systems becomes more stagnant as it has to first expend energy to bring the icy water/food back to normal body temperature. I was also told that during menstruation, women usually are at a stage where they don't have sufficient Qi (they called it YIN which means internal cold) so cold drink and food only make it worse, contributing to more cramps and more pain. Hot drinks and heating pad will alleviate the symptoms as you are balancing the internal cold in your body with external heat. I was also told that pregnant ladies should avoid ice cold drink during the first trimester especially as it may lead to miscarriages.

Now I am not sure if this is an old wives' tale or not, but we have 5000 years of ancient Chinese history to back this up LOL. All I know is that when I have my period, a cup of hot yummy chocolate certainly makes me feel a whole lot better (I am not sure if it's the 'hot' part or the 'chocolate' part that does the trick though). Oh I also forgot to mention that I couldn't live without ice or popsicle when I was pregnant (I think it's because I was anemic) and oops, and I had a few popsicles during my labor also .... I better not tell my grandmother about this. And, if our body has to expend extra energy to counteract the icy drink/food that we intake, wouldn't that be a good thing as it helps burn more calories? Anyway, next time if you go to a restaurant in Hong Kong, you shouldn't be surprised that instead of water with ice, you would be greeted with hot water or hot tea instead. It's all part of an ice-phobic culture.

Originally published on Bubblews

(Image Credit: morguefile)

Gratitdue Project #6 - Having hot water and a shower

I am grateful for having a shower and having hot water. No matter how stressful my day is, how rough of a time I am having, how hard I am trying to stay sane, I can always count on a hot shower to relax all the tensed muscles in my body, my aching back, the knots in my mind and to relieve all the anxieties that I have. Sometimes, if I have a busy day, that's the only ME time that I have and for that, I treasure my bath time even more. I like to let my mind run blank, and let all the external sensors of my body run free (sometimes we are so absorbed in whatever we are doing in our daily life that we ignore how our body is really feeling). I like to feel every stream of hot water that runs down my spine. I like to feel the rebound of every single cell in my body from the stress that I have imposed on myself that day. Five to ten minutes is all it takes to recover the inner peace in me. Plus I got to be all nice-smelling afterwards =). Having hot water is such a luxury in so many parts of the world but yet it's so basic in the States that sometimes we take it for granted. Well, enough self-reflection for today, now I am ready for a hot shower after getting my baby to bed!

Originally published on Bubblews:

(photo credit: image from google image search - labeled for commercial reuse)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Christians, how NOT to preach!

I have a lot of Christian friends (and non-Christian friends as well) and I have been wanting to write about this but reluctant because I am not sure if what I write would be offensive to people. But I decided I would give it a try. So here it goes:

Christians, how NOT to preach:

1. Do NOT force your faith onto someone when he/she is not ready.
I remember about three years ago, I attended a Sunday service at a church and the pastor said that "evangelism is a process, not a presentation" (listen to this sermon here). I remember I nodded my head at that line, and I started actually listening to his sermon (instead of falling asleep you know). I know that as a Christian, you are supposed to go out and share your faith and the Gospel. But if you go to a non-believer and tell he/she that "Jesus died for you for your sins and He loves you and He is awesome ... blah blah blah .... now that you know it, are you prepared to say the prayer of Salvation?". Now if your listener looks at you (and this is very likely), and says "no, thank you", please do not push him/her to say that prayer of Salvation because if anything, you are just infuriating that person if you keep doing so. It's like a salesman coming to your house to sell you a product that you don't want to buy at that moment and if that salesman keeps pushing the product into your hands, how would you feel? Similarly, if you bring a friend to church, do not force your friend to take communion.

2. Do NOT say the following to a non-believer when you preach: "You are a sinner!" or "You have never heard of Jesus? Oh, you are so deprived!"
Okay, we all know that we are no saints, of course we all have done something wrong in our lives but you don't need to yell "You are a sinner!" in someone's face, especially when you are preaching. And oh yeah "I am so deprived"? That instantly makes the other person think that you feel like you are above him/her, that you are more noble than he/she is.

3. Do NOT leave a bad tip, or worse, just a Gospel tract, when you go out to eat after Sunday service.
It's not uncommon to hear people say that Christians are the worst tippers. Some of the things that I kept hearing from Christians is that if they are giving God 10%, why should they give servers 15-20%?? In fact, a St. Louis pastor Alois Bell, infamously put a big fat zero on an automatic 18% tip receipt and left a note saying "I give God 10%, why do you get 18?". THANK YOU, pastor Alois Bell, you have just flushed Christ's reputation down the drain. There are so many verses in the Bible about generosity, and generosity that can be only be seen inside the church (tithing) is not real generosity. Now if you tip well, feel free to include that Gospel tract.

4. NOT practicing what you preach
Now we are just human. We make mistakes. We have our good days and our bad days. But everyone knows someone who is just the opposite of what he/she is preaching. What happened to "the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness" and if you are the representation of that fruit, think hard before you act.

5. Do NOT quote Bible verses constantly when you talk
Now if you are discussing certain topics related to the Christianity faith with other Christians. Go ahead and speak in this common language shared among your group. For our daily conversations, you can quote it once in a while. However, putting a Bible verse in every single thing that you talk about is very annoying, especially when you also give details down to the the book and the chapter and the exact verse. I know you have a very good memory, you are knowledgeable and you know your Bible well. But so what? And if there are non-believers and people who are not Christians when you are quoting your Bible verses, that just makes everyone very uncomfortable.

Originally published on Bubblews:

(Image Credit: Google search - labeled to be used or shared, even commercially)

Has your love language changed lately?

If you have read "The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts" by Gary Chapman, you know what I am talking about. The basic idea is that people perceive and express love differently and in order for someone to feel loved, we have to express our love to that person not using our own love language but his/her love language. Mostly people have one primary love language and some may have a secondary love language.

There are five love languages according to him:

1. Words of Affirmation (uses words to praise and affirm other people)
2. Acts of Service (for these people, actions speak louder than words)
3. Receiving Gifts (for some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift)
4. Quality Time (this language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention)
5. Physical Touch (to this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch)

I used to think that my primary love language is physical touch because we don't demonstrate love by hugging, kissing, touching much in my own family and I feel like I always crave physical touch. I used to think that words are not necessary at times, and the appropriate touch at the right time would mean the most to me. When I am really sad, having a friend to sit with, a friend who would give me a hug or give me a pat on my shoulders means much more than any words of consolation to me.

Today, I re-did the online quiz for love language again here, my score's breakdown is like this:
7 Words of Affirmation
6 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts
11 Acts of Service
6 Physical Touch

So apparently my primary love language is Acts of Service now. No wonder I feel great when my husband helps me clean up the house and helps me with my baby so that I can have some ME time. I think it must be a mother thing. As for my husband, he told me that his love language was "Acts of Service" when we were doing premarital counseling three and a half years ago. But lately he is telling me that he is adding physical touch, words of affirmation and receiving gifts to his love languages (despite me insisting that each person can only have one primary love language) LOL.

Has your love language changed over time?


Originally posted on Bubblews:

(Image Credit: Amazon)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gratitude Project #5 - Opportunity to be the mirror of my child

I am sure all of you parents know that kids are fast learners and the best imitators. They have superior five senses and they really take in everything that you do, down to the smallest details. It's fascinating but it's scary at times. The other day, I caught my toddler putting a rubber band in her mouth, across her lower teeth, each little hand of hers holding one end of the rubber band, moving it left and right, left and right. It wasn't long before I realized she was trying to floss her teeth, just like her daddy did earlier, with the rubber band. Another time, I caught her pouring milk from her Sippy cup onto her hands and rubbing it all over her body. Yup, her mommy was putting lotion on herself just before that. Now God helps me if I accidentally forget to screw the lid of her butt paste all the way in.

My toddler is generally a happy kid, but she is also super-active and impatient, and she just can't seem to grasp the concept of waiting. Combined with her slightly delayed language development, she gets frustrated easily, and sometimes she would even hits me (which will be followed by a time-out) and she throws tantrums when she does not get what she wants. One time I felt so discouraged and frustrated, and I said to my husband "you know, I am just not a good mom after all. I really have no clues when it comes to parenting. How come my kid has such bad temper (and these other kids that I saw have such good manners all the time)?". Then a frightening realization dawned on me. Children are mirrors of their parents. I have been stressed out lately and haven't had the best temper really. I tried my best not to, but I got impatient and yelled at my toddler more than I would like to, especially towards the end of the day when I was exhausted and she was exhausted. So she must be picking this bad temper thing up from me also. Now whenever I get frustrated with her, I would remind myself to calm down, and even though I am boiling inside, sometimes (I still can't manage to not get mad and raise my voice sometimes) I would intentionally lower my voice and just tell her that her behavior is not good and gives her a brief time-out (a minute or two only because she just won't be still). For some reason, she would actually listen instead of throwing more tantrums sometimes (not all the time but that's an improvement), so I guess I am moving in the right direction.

So parents, examine yourself and examine your own action. Being a mom definitely forces me to face my own weakness, and prompts me to really act on it, for my own good and for the good of my toddler. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful for the opportunity to be the mirror of my child and I hope I will put it to good use. Now next time when I cannot control my own temper, I would have to dig up this post and read this aloud to myself LOL.

Originally published on Bubblews:

I think I am a little ADD ...

I did not hear or know of anyone who had ADD/ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) when I was in elementary/middle school (so about 20 years ago). Now seems like every 4-5 person I talk to have some form of ADD/ADHD. I am not sure if kids were under-diagnosed in the old days or we are actually over-diagnosing these days but I feel like I have some mild forms of ADD these days too and I seriously think it has to do with technology.

Here are my ADD symptoms:

1. We have so many forms of communication these days. When I am at work, not only do I have to tend to hundreds of emails everyday, I also have to coordinate work with my co-workers or answer other's questions over the phone and the office communicator (some people just don't have the patience to wait for you to answer your emails and if you don't answer their emails within 5 minutes from the time when they are sent, these people would be upset). This, coupled with me working on multiple projects and having to report to multiple bosses (for different projects), one should not be surprised that I can only manage to stay sane with the help of coffee. Unfortunately, while coffee helps me focus, it also gives me anxiety.

2. Once upon a time, we don't have tabs in our browsers. Now every browser supports multi-tab, you know, for multi-tasking, so that I can read posts on different blogs, write a post for my blog, check my bank account balance, check my Facebook, check my Google mail, watch a YouTube video, pay my internet bill, all at the same time. Well, 15 minutes later, my post is only half-done, I forget to pay my internet bill, and I forget if I have enough money to pay my bill even though I have checked my bank account balance already. So much for multi-tasking! For me, multi-tasking just means that I am trying to do everything, but nothing is really getting done HA!

3. I fear public-speaking, because I cannot process my thoughts and turn them into words in time. It's like when I am talking about idea A, in my mind, I am already thinking about idea B, C and D. And I want to talk about idea D before I can finish talking about idea A. Sigh, why can't everyone's brain be installed with Bluetooth so that I can just transmit my brainwaves to them without words?

4. I have household chores ADD. Take today for example, I started loading my washer with dirty laundry, and remembering that I had a few dirty towels that I was supposed to wash in the last load, I quickly went into the bathroom to grab them. While I was in the bathroom, I was distracted (and disgusted) by all the hair on the floor (why am I losing so much hair?), so I grabbed my vacuum and started cleaning my bathroom. Then while I was on the way to return my vacuum back to where it belonged, I passed by the kitchen and saw dirty dishes in the sink so I started attacking them. Then I glanced over to the oven, and oh, cookies would be a great idea, I thought to myself. So I started baking my cookies and next minute I was chasing my baby, shoo-ing her out of the kitchen, only to return to my burnt cookies 30 minutes later because I have forgotten that I was actually baking. Oh yeah, then I remembered that I was actually trying to do laundry in the first place!!! Talking about ADD!

Modified from my original post on Bubblews:

(Image credit: morguefile)

Baby food pouches for adults?

My toddler has always been a very picky eater. So when I saw those squeezable baby food pouches that they put apple sauce in them, I have to give it a try. They have so many different flavors like mango apple, strawberry apple, strawberry yogurt, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, strawberry yogurt. Basically if you can name it, they have it. Some parents go as far as making their own baby pouches at home using this Infantino Squeeze Station. Besides, I thought that it would be a great to-go option too if we want to go somewhere for couple hours and take a snack with us. Sounds like a great plan right?
Well, well, well. Turns out my toddler doesn't really care for these either. She is more interested in screwing the cap on and off these food pouches than actually eating from it. And worse, she loves to squeeze the apple sauce out of the pouch, ummm, when her mouth is not in contact with the opening and making a big mess. Sigh! Then I was really hungry one night and it just happened that I ran out of food in my fridge. I proceeded to look in my pantry and saw these GoGo Squeez Mango Applesauce and decided to try it myself and ooops .... I was hooked!!! Then I saw this article about how the sale of baby food in jar has gone down 15% while that of the baby food in pouches have doubled. It also mentioned that brands like Happy Family and GoGo squeeze have already launched similar products for adults and other companies are playing catch-up and looking to do the same later this year or next year. So I guess I am not only adult who likes these baby food pouches (I feel so much better now)!

Originally posted on Bubblews:

(Image Credit: Amazon)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gratitude Project #4 - My Car

Yup, Lamborghini. That's my car, NOT!!!!!!!

I drive a little Corolla. Yes, it's nothing fancy. It doesn't look cool. It's not sexy. There is no fancy stereo inside the car (it only has a CD player). It doesn't have a sun-roof, doesn't have a butt warmer. It got a few dents in the body from irresponsible people who hit my car in my company parking lot few years ago and never left any notes. And now that I have installed a rear-facing car seat, my passenger seat does not have enough legroom so it's basically unusable.

But, here is the thing. I didn't have a car in the first 5 years after I moved to the States. I had to rely on my friends or the school shuttle system. This is my first car that I got myself after taking the bus to work for 6 months and I got it debt-free. To this day, I still remember the smile I had on my face when I drove my Corolla out of this little Toyota dealership in Alexandria VA, bouncing in my driver seat, tasting real freedom for the first time.

I have been driving my Corolla for 6 years now. She has become a very good friend of mine, and we share moments that belong to no one but us. She knows about all those times when I was sad but didn't want anyone to see me cry, when I would just go inside my car and quietly shed some tears there. She has seen the crazy wild side of me and she has seen the way I danced to the Zumba songs on radio when I was stuck in traffic. She caught all those moments when I felt insecure about myself as I looked into the mirror, trying to fix a few stray hair and my melting eyeliner or mascara. She knew how anxious I was during the last two months of my pregnancy when I had to go to the doctor three times a week, with a hospital bag all packed up in the backseat of my car.

I am just so grateful to have my car, a reliable mean of transportation and an old friend who always waits patiently in the parking lot, ready to take us to where life calls us to be.

Originally published on Bubblews:

(Image Credit: morguefile)

Oh Baby wipes, how I love thee?

I have a confession to make. I love baby wipes. Ever since I had a baby, baby wipes have become an essential part of my life. I would almost always carry a pack of baby wipes in my purse or my diaper bag when I go out. I know they are far from the most environmental friendly products but I feel much more secure to have a pack nearby, within my arm's reach. Otherwise, what do I do when my baby has an episode of BM mishaps when we are out at church? What do I do when my baby shakes her sippy cup so hard that she pops the cap open, squirting milk in every single direction when we are traveling in our car? Now I am not ridiculous like that one lady on My Strange Addiction show who uses 500 wipes a day and who uses wipes to clean herself instead of taking showers, I do sometimes use a bit more baby wipes that I would like myself to and I am working on minimizing that. But yeah, I do love my baby wipes and apparently my toddler does too, as I woke up one day to find her taking a big pile of wipes out from the package, and proceeded to wipe the door, the carpet, her toys, and everything with them. Now I need to remember to put the wipes away every night after I get her down to sleep =)

Originally published on Bubblews:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To My Inner Child

 My inner child,
 Do you remember,
 All those times,
 When you sat by the windowsill,
 Gazing up at a blue, blue sky,
 And the fluffy white clouds,
 Watching time crawl by.
 You never seemed to run out of time.
 You imagined that,
 There is a heaven,
 Sitting right on top of
 The endless layers of clouds,
 And when the souls enter the Gate of Heaven,
 they set their feet onto
 A blanket of warm and snuggly clouds.
 Whatever they need,
 Whatever they wish,
 The cloud shall grant them their hearts' desires.
 Cotton candy,
 Flying Dog in the sky,
 Chalk dust,
 Wings of an angel,
 A Sea of snow,
 Falcor in The Neverending Story.
 Whatever you see,
 Whatever you hear,
 However you feel,
 They are all real.
 My inner child,
 When you are shedding tears,
 you are just standing
 In the drizzle from the clouds.
 Try dancing in the puddle,
 And wait patiently,
 For the rainbow after the drizzle.
 Then follow this Stairway to Heaven
 to see all the faces of your loved ones
Originally published on Bubblews:

Which charities do you donate to?

I read that some of the charities spent less than 10% of their money they received on direct cash aid or on the program. This is just outrageous! That makes me wonder if some of the charities that I donated to in the past was really worth it. So guys, please remember to check the rating of the charities (on Charity Navigator and CharityWatch) before you donate and see how much of the donations they actually spent on the program and how efficient their fund-raising was (some of bad ones paid for-profit fundraising professionals over 75% of their total functional expenses on fundraising fees).

World Vision and Doctor Without Borders are two of my favorite charities and I looked up their scores and I am happy to see that they spend 85.6% and 85.9% of the total contributions on program expenses, respectively (not the best but definitely two solid charities nevertheless).


Originally published on Bubblews:

(Photo credit:

The United Nation of Caffeine

Good morning, welcome to the United Nation of Caffeine, where everyone is accepted regardless of his/her race, nationality, ethic background, religion, gender, political party, music preference, social status.

We are a caffeinated crowd. I am not sure how many of you are like me. I would prefer coffee to be the first thing that goes into my digestion system in the morning. It serves to wake my entire system up. It clears my muddy mind, it moves my sluggish limbs, it gives me a shot of energy, it lifts up my mood, it brings me back from the outer space to focus on the little screen in front of me where work is awaiting me. It has such a huge psychological effect on me that upon the first sip of my coffee, I can actually feel the relief the moment the coffee particle touches my lips, prompting me to let out a sigh of relief "ahhhhhhhhhh". When my coffee runs out or when I am too busy to have my morning coffee because of my toddler, beware, do not approach me, for I am a different person without my coffee. Heaven is where I can sip my coffee leisurely with all the people that I love.

And that's not counting the people who drink tea instead of coffee (I love Earl grey and jasmine tea) and the even a bigger crowd who downs cans and cans of soda everyday. I have to admit that I was addicted to soda when I was back in college and I tried to quit it at least 5 times and it wasn't until my pregnancy that I finally let it go. To this day, my ear still perks up at the popping sound when someone opens a can of Coca-cola. I still have moments when I crave soda badly. Man, no wonder they have to put caffeine in some of our migraine and headache medications. Yup, caffeine withdrawal gives you headaches, and then you proceed to take a medication that contains caffeine to relieve your headache. A little ironic here isn't it?

Originally published on Bubblews:

(Photo credit: Google image search - labeled for commercial reuse)

I look at my baby and I wish I could have her ...

@ Chalk It Up 2013 in Hendersonville NC

I look at my baby and I wish I could have her ...

  • Energy: She is on the move all the time. I mean, seriously, all the time. Climbing up and down the couch/bookcase/table/chairs. Running back and forth, running in circles. Bouncing here and there. Singing her favorite nursery rhymes 50 times a day.

  • Curiosity: She can manage to spot anything that's not supposed to be where they are at. She always manages to find toys, snacks, gadgets that I tried to hide from her.

  • Confidence: Man she is so full of herself these days. She would do something and tell herself and me that she did a good job. She would also look in the mirror, admire herself and flash me that proud smile of hers.

  • Audacity: Never afraid of challenging anyone's authority, including me and her daddy of course and saying no. Can't you tell that she is at her terrible-two stage? I wish I could have the courage to challenge myself and other people and actually say NO and set some boundaries sometimes.

  • Innocence: One morning I woke up, opened the door of her room and there she was, giving me a big smile. She said "good morning" in her own alien language that I have managed to master a bit better these days, gave me a big hug and told me "I love you" (in a semi-alien language). She is just so innocently happy all the time! So worry-free!

Best instant coffee I have ever had: Vinacafe 3-in-1

I am addicted to these little packages of VinaCafe - 3 in 1 Instant Vietname Coffee Mix. I love Vietnamese coffee and if you have ever had Vietnamese coffee at one of those little Pho noodle restaurants, you know what I am talking about. Yup, dark roasted Vietnamese coffee brewed with French drips filters added to a quarter cup of sweetened condensed milk. Vinacafe 3-in-1 instant mix has the perfect mix of coffee powder, creamer and sugar. Just add hot water and voila, you have a quick pick-me-up. It's great when you don't have a barista and don't have a K-cup machine and you don't want to make more coffee than you want using your coffeemaker. It's a life-saver when you run out of milk, half & half and creamer in your fridge =). I usually got mine from Amazon and at $11.75 for 40 packages it comes out to be around $0.3/cup. Now if they would only make a decaf version of it so that I can drink it at night.

Originally published on Bubblews:

(photo credit:

Gratitude Project #3 - My Washer and Dryer

The wardrobe of my baby with all the newborn to 3 months clothes, taken back in 2011

I meant to write about my family today but my brainwave just got hijacked by the sight of my washer & dryer so yeah, there you go ~

My washer & dryer are about 2 years old I got them brand new and before that I have always used those coin-based laundry machines they have in our rental place. I dislike those wholeheartedly because:

1. I am a bit germophobic. I hate the idea of sharing washers and dryers with other people, and i hate to think of what people have on their clothes and you know, their underwears. It's just gross.
2. I hate carrying heavy loads of laundry up and down the stairs and dropping a sock or two here and there.
3. People don't always empty their clothes from the washer and dryer on time and I am always stuck waiting for people to remove them (that leads to my #4)
4. I hate it when people move my laundry out of the washers/dryers for me. Now i always try to move my laundry within 10 minutes after my load of laundry is done. I really don't understand why people have to move my laundry (I don't even think I would want to touch other people's laundry because of #1). Just have a little patience people.
5. Have you ever met one of those creeps who steal from your laundry or even worse, put their clothes into your laundry?
6. Now that I have a baby at home. Without my washer/dryer, how can I survive those crazy episodes of projectile vomiting & stomach upsets?

Originally published on Bubblews:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The need to be in-control, NOT!

We all feel like we need to be in control of something to make us feel stronger, feel more worthy, to gain respect from others, to feel sane. But how much are we willing to sacrifice in order to feel "in control"?

We plan, plan, plan every trip, every event, our everyday lives down to hours, minutes, seconds so that we can better control our time, our money, the outcome. But in the process of planning, we are trapping our freedom in those little checklists that we have dutifully created on our smartphones & our tablets and stressing ourselves out because we cannot check off everything on our to-do list.

We yell at the top of our lungs during an argument with our spouse, so that we can show them we are actually the ones who have the say in the house, we are the ones in control here. Yet, we didn't realize that we have already lost by losing all self-control and self-composure in the yelling.

We try to protect ourselves from hurtful words and actions of others by building this wall around us. We control who we interact with. We stop trying new things. We stop making new friends. We stop investing our energy in other people. We stop opening our ears to listen. Slowly this protective wall collapses around us, and you wake up in cold sweats one night in a room so enclosed that you cannot breathe or move, fully debilitated by loneliness.

We all try to control our own destiny, our path and yet our lives keep swervin
g from it most of the time, no matter what we do. We think we have the steering wheel in our hands but most of the time the wheel is not even attached to the dashboard.

I am slowly learning to, slowly trying to let go of my desire to control everything in my life, and to appreciate the chaos and randomness in life.

Originally published on Bubblews:

(Photo credit: - labeled for commercial reuse)

Gratitude Project #2 - My Husband (obviously)

My husband. Now he really should be on day 1 of my gratitude project but this is a bit harder to write about than my baby, not because it's hard for me to think of all the good things in my life that I am able to have and enjoy because of him. Rather, it's because there are simply too many things that I can write about. I like to think of us as two lonely souls traversing this universe (yes we were literally more than 8000 miles apart) until one day, fate brought us together. Sounds cliche but that's really how i feel about this. We dated for seven and a half years, got married and now we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary (July 3). We have been together for a long time and while things have not always been easy for us, I am thankful to have him walk with me for the past ten years. I admit that I have taken him for granted at times, I have taken out my stress and my frustrations on him more times than I would like, I have said hurtful things to him for no good reasons, I have not given him enough of my time and attention ever since we had our first child. But he has been extra forgiving and understanding and although I struggle to verbalize how lucky I am to have him, I feel very very grateful in my heart. There is really no other person that I would like to be with, for he is my love, my best friend, my refuge.

Originally published on Bubblews:

Gratitude Project #1 - My Baby Girl

That's the hands of my baby when she was just a couple months old

Starting my own gratitude project. I need to, because I have so much negativity in my life lately. I will start with something easy =)

I am so grateful for having a beautiful baby girl (20-month toddler actually but she is still a baby to me). Yup, she is super active (a bit over-active) and she started the terrible two stage even before she turned 18 months. Yes, she drives me insane sometimes. She is such a picky eater that just the thought of feeding her gives me headaches. And yes she won't go down for a nap or go to sleep at night without putting up a fight. She is a master at creating chaos in our little apartment. BUT one giggle, one smile, one hug, one kiss from her takes me to the happiest place on earth. It's the most pure form of happiness I have ever experienced in my life. Sometimes when she sleeps, I stare at my little angel's face and fall in even deeper love with her every second that passes by. I hold her little hands in mine, counting out all ten fingers in the dark, feeling her soft baby skin against mine. And I think to myself, like countless times before, how amazing that she is so beautifully and fearfully made. She is so perfect in my eyes, and I pray that she will feel safe, even when she sleeps, even in her dreams, and even in the most trying times in her future. I grew up in the kind of culture where we are not used to saying "I love you" to our loved ones but with her I can say it however many times I want and more. I love her I love her I love her!

Originally published on Bubblews:

Am I a bad mom?

I know I know. TV is not good for toddlers. Ipad is not good for toddlers. But my 20-month old is a very bad eater. Sometimes when I try to distract her so that she'll eat a little more for me, or when I am just plain tried, I would tell her that we'll watch some videos together. She would climb up onto my computer chair herself and we would enjoy about 8-10 nursery rhymes on Youtube. Youtube is definitely a very good babysitter in our case LOL. My favorite Youtube channels for nursery rhymes are Super Simple Songs, Hooplakidz, The Giggle Bellies. I am in no way associated with them, but thanks to them, I am able to keep myself sane these days.

Originally published on Bubblews:

(Photo credit:

Jump onto the minimalist wagon?

Been reading some minimalist blogs lately and started decluttering a little bit. I am starting to see some benefits of it. For me, minimalism is not about having very few things. It's really about having more time, more space, more peace, less worries (I am a born over-worrier so I still have a lot to work on in this area). It enables me to focus on important things and people in my life. Now I have less household chores, less cleaning to do, less organizing and I can actually close my wardrobe drawers completely. And, I don't dread having last-minute guests anymore because now it only takes me an hour or two to re-organize everything and clean everything up. And my toddler is surely loving the extra space for her to run, roll, jump, and crawl =)

Originally published on Bubblews:

(Photo credit: morguefile)

Depression is ...

Depression is ...
  • the black cloud looming over your head, the rain in your head, the storm lashing at your body and spirit
  • going into work Monday and see emails piling up in your outlook and tasks piling up all the way up to your chest
  • the never-ending suffocating feeling
  • when you feel like you are always the one who got left behind
  • when you feel like you need to use food, drugs, exercise or any means to fill up that void in your heart
  • when the people who you think understand you the most tell you "why don't you stop being depressed?"
  • you have to act so tough, so infallible when you know a light shove can break you into pieces right at this moment
Originally published on Bubblews:

Baby/toddler products I love - Thermos Foogo Phase 2 Stainless Steel Sippy Cup

As parents, we buy and try so many baby products but a lot of them are just inefficient and some are simply JUNK. I plan to write about the baby products that I love. 

  • I have the pink and purple one. Perfect colors for my baby girl =) 
  • Yes, it's a little pricey (around $12-13) but it's well worth it. I surely spent a lot of money trying different sippy cups/straw cups and some leak after one try and some my baby don't like and refuse to use. This one is quite leak-proof for me. It has definitely passed the shaking testing of my baby girl
  • It does keeps the milk cold (up to 6-7 hours for me at least). I took it onto an airplane trip once and the milk is still cold after our 7-hour trip. To keep milk cold for even longer period of time, pour the milk into the sippy and store the sippy in the fridge for a couple hours before you hit the road

Originally published on Bubblews:

(photo credit: image from google image search - labeled for commercial reuse)