Dan's another year older and wiser...

Posted by Gingerblossom at 5:16 AM

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Dan's birthday and my prezzies for him have included... a seiko watch, a rip curl tee, a new computer casing and... drum roll... for him to start playing his game earlier without me bugging him to stop and go to bed. I hope he enjoys his prezzies... I know the last one is most appreciated!

When you don't have much money to shop...

Posted by Gingerblossom at 4:24 AM

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You go to the zoo... like I do. No. It's not too see the pandas, it's to hit the wholesale centres next door * grin* . Yup. i went again today for some treasure hunting. My last foray before going to work on Monday. 

total damage:   360 RMB
Items bought: 10 
- a cheap but chic nine west black and white v-striped fabric shoulder bag for work
- a kathy van zeeland cream vinyl bag ( not sure if this is the real thing but seems real enough with the prerequisite tags, printed fabric and cute zipper. I mean.. who knows kathy van zeeland here??? It's not high end lux so who would want to fake it right??) 
- 2pcs of Women's secret lingerie ( this was a real steal)
- 2 elastic belts (one with a star buckle, the other with a bow. These are so cheap and fun to wear with dresses)
- an O'neil polo tee for Dan
- a basic white tee
- a turqoise colored sun dress 
- a pair of PJ pants with little piggy prints

With so much new booty, I'm happy!

When tai tai tries Thai Thai

Posted by Gingerblossom at 3:58 AM

Corny title, I know.  I'm just very pleased with myself today. I cooked dinner all by myself and it wasn't a 1 dish meal (a.k.a soup)  

With the help of online recipes and premix, I managed to whip up a 3 dish Thai dinner consisting:
1. Tom Yum Prawn& Mushroom Soup
2. Thai Basil Minced Pork
3. Pomelo Salad ( I peeled the darn pomelo myself!) 

I've been wanting to eat something spicy for a while. I like food so spicy it'll singe your eyebrows just by looking at it. Thai food is my fav food so I had very strong motivation to attempt preparing tonight's dinner. After spending 2 looong hours in the kitchen, success was mine! Dan pronounced dinner to be "very delicious". Yay! So this tai tai can finally claim to have at least cooked 1 full meal. 

100 most popular books - BBC poll

Posted by Gingerblossom at 7:26 AM

Monday, February 23, 2009

There's a game on facebook to see how many of 100 selected titles each individual would have read. The game claims that most people wouldn't have read more than 6 of those. Intrigued, I did some research on BBC. Turns out, the original list featured on BBC's site is quite different AND it's basically the 100 most popular books as polled by BBC readers... 

So let's play this game with the original list. 
TAG:  LXLB, miss Qoo, karma chameleon, Gina, yellow daffodils, addy
My results- 29. 

Look at the list and mark those you have read.
* = read it    ,** = read it, remember it     ,$$ = own it, haven't read yet.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien **
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen **
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee *
Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell **
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë **
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë *
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier *
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens *
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott **
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien **
Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
Middlemarch, George Eliot
A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens *
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl *
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
Persuasion, Jane Austen *
Dune, Frank Herbert
Emma, Jane Austen **
Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald **
The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas **
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Animal Farm, George Orwell *
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens *
Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy *
Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher *
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
The Stand, Stephen King
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy *
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell *
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden **
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens *
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
Mort, Terry Pratchett
The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
The Magus, John Fowles
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett *
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
Perfume, Patrick Süskind
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
Night Watch, Terry Pratchett *
Matilda, Roald Dahl
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Ulysses, James Joyce
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
The Twits, Roald Dahl
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Holes, Louis Sachar
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Magician, Raymond E Feist *
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel **
The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett *
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho **
Katherine, Anya Seton
Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie 

As I checked off the list, i realised that i read most of these books  between the ages of 13-24. Had a thing for Penguin classic then. Seems like my current reads are more frivolous. 

dresses at the Oscars

Posted by Gingerblossom at 2:19 AM

I love the style of this Zahair Murad Dress worn by Miley Cyrus at the 81st Academy Awards.
Not too sure about the bling on the dress itself though.. seems a little too much. Oh! And I loved what Angelina Jolie wore
Photos from the official oscars website. For more click here

Anniversary no. 7

Posted by Gingerblossom at 6:35 AM

Sunday, February 22, 2009

7 years ago on this same date, Dan & I registered our marriage. Each of the last 2555 days have filled with love, laughter and joy and I hope it'll continue in the years ahead! 

A little prayer for a little one

Posted by Gingerblossom at 7:42 AM

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm not a particularly religious sort but I hope someone up there hears this...

This is for a friend's baby who has been in ICU since birth in January. Baby Clef was born prematurely and needs help breathing and eating. He has his ups and downs which are updated periodically on facebook by his loving but frantic dad. Baby Clef still has a long way to go in building his strength and finally going home with mum and dad. 

Lord please watch over Baby Clef. Keep him healthy and safe, and please grant their family strength in riding out these difficult times. 

Muxiyuan cloth market

Posted by Gingerblossom at 2:42 AM

This is further south of Panjiayuan. I guess similar to the wholesale centres at the zoo but I didn't check out the wares. I went specifically to look for a cloth market. There were so many outlets there that Dan & I got kinda lost. 

We started out at a fabric market that sells materials for curtains and sofa covers. Not quite what I wanted but I did find material that looked exactly the same as the ultra suede seat covers I have back in Singapore on my dining chairs. That was brilliant! Our old covers are worn and one cover is even missing ( thanks to my last tenant!!!) I've been planning to replace them. Currently, 2 of the chairs sport temporary covers made with cheap ikea fabric. I need replacements! We snapped up the ultra suede for 25RMB per metre ( less than what I paid at Ikea!!!!!) 

We wandered around and found the market that sells cloth for clothing. Unfortunately, they were mostly closed for the day. On the plus side, the button shops were open so I managed to get some stuff which can double up as beads. 

In case you want to seek out the cloth/ button market, it's called Tian Hai clothing market 天海 服装批发市场. It's across the road from a fancier looking wholesale mall called Xin Shi Ji 新世纪.  There are 3 curtain markets in the area so you'll be spoilt for choice deciding what to get. Many offer sewing services. 

Another blog I keep

Posted by Gingerblossom at 7:57 AM

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Haven't updated it this week thanks to the running around to the vet and I suspect I won't have much time when I go back to work in March. Sigh... I miss tai tai dom already but it'll be nice to earn my own "ka-chiing" again.

Snow at last!

Posted by Gingerblossom at 6:16 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I drew this on a car parked by the road while walking home from a massage

Finally! Enough snow to cover everything in a layer of white. Much as I hate how dirty it gets and the traffic situation when it snows, today's weather is a welcome drop of moisture to the dry dry air.  BUT, it causes more heartache when I took Ody to the vet for the third time. The air was so cold! He was huddled under the towel and t-shirt in his carrier, shivering. I think its a combination of the cold and fear. Hopefully tomorrow's fourth visit is the final one.

See all that snow on my hood? took less than 2 mins to get that much snow.
Blurred pix... but you can see white spots in the background. Those are snowflakes! Pix taken with my mobile which doesn't seem to deal well with low light

My poor kitty cat!

Posted by Gingerblossom at 5:53 AM

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ody is sick! On Valentine's evening we discovered him trying to pee outside his litter tray. Upon closer inspection, we realized his pee was pink! With blood!!! I called the vet ( the one that's authorized by China's govt to give vaccinations and country exit health checks to pets). They were closing soon and said that they would need to keep Ody overnight to collect a urine sample. There was no way I was going to leave him at a foreign place overnight. Going to the vet is already quite scary. Staying there overnight would be traumatic.  So we opted to bring him in this morning.

Poor Ody must have been in a lot of pain or suffering very severe irritation. He didn't sleep the whole night, which is very rare. He paced, tried to pee on the quilt, peed many times in his tray, knocked things around, and meowed if we tried to sleep.  I ended sleeping on the couch to keep him company. Least that stopped him meowing and he slept for a bit beside me. 

Early this morning we managed to collect some urine samples which looked even redder, then headed off to the vet. My small little cat had to brave the cold and 3 hrs at the vet. He was terrified but valiantly submitted to the vet's ministrations to draw blood for tests, temperature checks with a thermometer up his ass, a 15min medicated drip and a tablet forced down his throat. It was truly heartbreaking to see him go through all that. Really. Truly. Heartbreaking.

Today's ordeal was just too exhausting for him so he's sleeping quite a bit now. We have to go back again tomorrow morning for a 2nd check up. In the meantime, little Ody's still peeing pink. Fingers crossed he'll be better tomorrow. 

Can't take my eyes off of you ( Frankie Vallie)

Posted by Gingerblossom at 10:33 PM

Friday, February 13, 2009

A. Put your music on shuffle.
B. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

1. What would you say if someone were to say, "Is this o.k.?"
Rich Girl ( Gwen Stefanie)

2. What do you like in a guy / girl?
We are the Champions ( Queen)

3. How do you feel today?
The Sun ( Maroon 5)

4. What is your life's purpose?
Familiar Feelings ( Moloko)

5. What is your motto?
How could I ever Know ( From the musical "Secret Garden".. LOL. yea. how would I know??) 

6. What do your friends think of you?
Your Song ( Josh Groban)

7. What do you think of your parents?
I'll be home for Christmas ( Michael Buble)

8. What do you often think about?
Me & Mr Jones ( Amy Winehouse.. eh? Who the hell is Mr Jones??) 

9. What is 2 + 2?
All Star ( Smash Mouth) 

10. What do you think of your best friend?
Memory ( From the Musical "Cats" by Elaine Paige)

11. What do you think of the person you like?
Make it Rain ( Fat Joe) 

12. What is your life story?
A Belle the Sleeping Car ( From "Starlight Express") 

13. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Macchine da guerra ( Andrea Bocelli... er... according to Babelfish, this read "Blots from a war"???? right...)

14. What comes to mind when you see the person you like?
The Blower's Daughter ( Damien Rice. uh?) 

15. What do your parents think of you?
Diamonds are Forever ( Kanye West.  I am a diamond of the first water.. the creme de la creme. Like real) 

16. What will you dance to at your wedding?
Miss Independent ( Kelly Clarkson. LOL) 

17. What will they play at your funeral?
Forever Live & Die ( OMD.. omigod! Seriously? Creepy) 

18. What is your hobby / interest?
Fergalicious ( Fergie) 

19. What do you think of your friends?
How many times, how many lies ( Pussycat Dolls - ouch. how sad) 

20. What is the worst that could happen?
Sexy Naughty ( tata young - that's not that bad! And I didn't even know I had this song!) 

21. How will you die?
Adam & Evenings ( Buddha Bar Living theatre vol 1) 

22. What is the one thing you regret most?
Home (  Michael Buble -  Not true leh. I love my home!) 

23. What makes you laugh?
Lady Sings the Blues ( Billie Holiday-  yes, I'm a sich person. I laugh when you are blue) 

24. What makes you cry?
Family Portrait  ( Pink- well.. I guess when I get struck by homesickness)

25. Will you ever get married?
Let it will be ( Madonna) 

26. What scares you the most?
On my own ( From Les Miserables - yea. it cld be quite scary being stuck on my own on a deserted island) 

27. Does anyone like you?
It had to be you ( Vic Damone) 

28. If you could go back in time, what would you change?
Raining again ( Moby) 

29. What hurts right now?
November has come ( Gorillaz.. yea it hurts to be cold in an unheated house) 

30. What will you post this as?
Can't take my eyes off of you ( Frankie Vallie)

Couch Potato heaven

Posted by Gingerblossom at 8:26 AM

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm in heaven. We got a satellite dish installed! After 2 weeks of no English TV, 2 years of watching only CNBC, BBC, Nat Geo and HBO... we finally have more interesting programs to watch!!!!! 

Since the dish was up last evening at 7pm, I've drowned myself in American Idol, CSI, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fairly Odd Parents, Spongebob, Rugrats... lalalala... Life is beautiful when I have TV to watch! 

Mosto Gusto

Posted by Gingerblossom at 8:09 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I had lunch the day before at Mosto. Lunch was with my ex-boss who's just about eaten at every new restaurant in Beijing. Really. If you read Chinese, you can check out his blog for places to eat in Beijing and Shanghai. 

Anyway, Mosto was the first place that came to mind for lunch and thankfully, he hasn't been there so it's like a new adventure. I haven't eaten at Mostos before but for some strange reason, the name got stuck in my head after I saw it.  

I love the casual feel about the restaurant. As I sat in there, I almost couldn't tell I was in China. (er... maybe the predominantly expat diners created that impression) Decor was simple - white walls, bits of stainless steel and beautiful wood floor stained in black.  

There was a huge lunch crowd. Maybe because they have a lunch set menu. 2 courses at 70MRB and 3 courses at 85RMB.  The portions were of a good size - not too heavy for lunch but enough fuel for the rest of the day.  The set menu offers choice between starters, 3 mains and 2 desserts. I had the Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola cheese. There wasn't all that much dressing but since I like it that way, it was just nice for me. My main was a Porcine Risotto with some kind of broth. That was yummy! Came served with a thin slice of grilled ( I think) Parmesan cheese on top. The broth helped make the risotto easier to finish. Otherwise I've always found Risotto too heavy a dish to finish alone. 

My dining partner had a different salad that had artichoke hearts and some mango flavored dressing.  His main was the panfried salmon which he pronounced to be very delicious. it was served with a side of potatoes.  
We both had dessert. I didn't think much of my chocolate mousse with pistachios. It was... mousse.  The other dessert was vanilla ice-cream with chocolate shavings. I think it was just so so.
Would I come back? Definitely. But probably for the 2 course set lunch only. The dinner prices are a bit steep at about 150RMB and above for a main course. I'll leave that for a very special occasion. 

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Posted by Gingerblossom at 12:33 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snip snip snip. And I'm back to looking and feeling like myself again. This is what I wore out for lunch and haircut today. This is a post-haircut photo. 

Khaki colored cotton coat from Mango ( bought many years ago), white crop cardigan from Far East Plaza  (which you can't see), Polka dotted tube dress with cat print ( gift from friends last month), 3inch high round toe patent pumps from Zara bought 2 yrs ago. These are my fav shoes cos they make me feel tall! I wear them most often for power meetings and events where I need to exercise some intimidation... grrr...

A fire in the city

Posted by Gingerblossom at 7:07 AM

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's the last day of CNY and while everyone's happily setting off fireworks, in one part of the city firemen are frantically trying to put out a massive blaze on one of Beijing's new iconic skyscrapers. The newly completed building in CCTV's north compound is at this very moment, a blazing inferno. (click to see article) It's gone up in smoke. More accurately, in flames. This new structure was supposed to house the Mandarin Oriental hotel. According to the hotel's website, operations were due to begin later this year but it looks like they'll have to start from scratch again.

We were on our way home from dinner and fireworks at my uncle's house. While setting off the fireworks, we saw scored os fire engines and attributed it to small accidents caused by tonight's pyrotechnics. It was only when Dan and I tried to catch a cab that we realised something was wrong. The road was closed. When we finally caught a cab, we heard on the radio and from Dan's friend there was a fire in the vicinity of the CCTV towers. 

Soon enough, we caught a faint glimpse of it. From more than 1km away, and in between other buildings, we saw a fiery orange glow emanating from a faraway skyscraper. At first it looked like a halo around the building but when we got a clearer look, we realised that the fire enveloped the whole building. There was even flaming debris falling off the sides.

It was a sight that effectively took away the excitement of playing with fireworks. Afterall, it could have been a stray firework that caused this fire. Tonight is meant to be a happy year, a day where you look forward to a promising year, a day when the bright round moon signifies a new and promising start. But tonight's full moon has been blotted out by oily black clouds. There haven't been any reports of casualties and I certainly hope there won't be. 

Dan & the Baci note

Posted by Gingerblossom at 3:07 AM

Friday, February 6, 2009

We have a box of Baci chox at home thanks to Sharon who gave them to me back in SG. I have a soft spot for Baci chox. In fact I have a soft spot for most stuff from Nestle... polo, cailliers, Kit Kat, Smarties, Maggi chilli sauce, Nescafe, Nespresso, Milkmaid, Movenpick ice cream, Nespresso, Nescafe, Milo ( but only Milo from the Milo truck).... you get the idea. 

But I digress...So last night, Dan & I each had a piece of Baci. I enjoy the little note you find under the wrapper. Reminds me of Fortune Cookies. Mine read "Love possesses not nor is it possessed". I asked Dan about his. 

Gingerblossom: What does yours say?

Dan * Silence* ( clicks away on mouse, smirks at computer screen)

GB: Dear! What does yours say? 

Dan: What? Oh  ( Smirks at me then at the chocolate) Mine says  "Eat me Seymour". 

Geddit? Well i didn't either. "Eat me Seymour" is apparently from the movie Little Shop of Horrors. BTW, that's not what his note says. I have no clue how he remembers these random and corny movie lines AND uses them when you least expect it!!! 

Is it warmer than usual or is it just me?

Posted by Gingerblossom at 3:00 AM

I wore ballet flats today, jeans, a regular short sleeve tee and a wool blend jacket. And I walked around with the jacket unzipped. My feet didn't even feel too cold.  Is it me or is it warmer this year in Beijing?? It's was apparently around 8 degrees at warmest today.  Seems like I can wear those open toe shoes again in a few weeks! 

An overheard tai tai conversation

Posted by Gingerblossom at 10:54 PM

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I was lunching at DinTaiFung at Shin Kong yesterday and overheard a conversation between 3 women at the next table.  I didn't mean to eavesdrop  but they were talking loudly. I only paid sporadic attention as I was trying to write something at the same time. All women look to be in their mid-late 30s. 

Woman 1 (slightly matronly tai tai): Children these days don't understand the value of money.

Woman 2 ( slightly more fashionable tai tai): I agree! My son is terrible. He's always spending money....

Woman 3 ( a very chic looking tai tai) nods in agreement

Woman 1: Well, good thing my daughter knows not to spend money frivolously. I give her a small allowance whenever we go to the supermarket, to allow her to pick up her own snacks. And I always tell her to make her own choice. She can choose to buy 1 expensive item and enjoy the snack once or buy a few cheaper ones and enjoy a little longer.  She always knows how to maximize what I give her. 

Woman 2: I'm always telling my son how great you've been with your daughter! If I give my son a 1000 yuan budget. He'll never pick the 900 yuan item. He'll always pick the one that's 1000 yuan and not a dollar less! And he won't know to pick several items. He'll just pick 1 item that meets the full budget or more. 

I wanted to raise my eyebrows at this point. Is this just an analogy or does woman 2 really give her son 1000 yuan to spend in a shop? That seems like quite a bit and from the general gist of this conversation, it seems that both women's kids are very young. I went back to scribbling some work down and eating my noodles. Until another bit of conversation interrupted my thoughts

Woman 3: Oh!  You have an LV bag! ( Woman 1 was carrying a dark brown LVbag. I have no clue which model it is) You know, there's a coffee colored version and a grey one. I like the coffee one and was planning to buy it when I was on holiday.  But considering that there are so many fakes of this model, i decided not to get the bag. 
( woman 3's mobile rings so she leaves conversation) 

Woman 1: Aiyah! This is not the real thing! It's a fake. I have a real LV wallet but I couldn't bear to spend on the real bag. Our family was on holiday in Paris and my husband offered to buy me the bag but i found it too extravagant. I mean, look at this bag. It looks quite real doesn't it? And it's functional. I don't have to worry about taking care of it. 

Woman 2: I agree! It's ok to buy yourself a fake one. Leave the expensive things for your man to buy for you!  That's the way it should be. That's why women need to marry well.

Woman 1 ( laughes): True but I would like my daughter to have her own career in future and have her own money.  I've told her many times that she should be a doctor when she grows up. And she understands where I'm coming from. She wants to be able to earn big bucks so that she can take care of us. 

Woman 2: You've taught your daughter well. If only my son was like that. It'll be great if my son grows up to marry well. Then I don't have worry about him. 

I was quite horrified by woman 2's responses. Whose fault is it that her son spends so much money and in future grows up to be a money grubbing, fortune hunting groom???  Hers! I wonder if that's what China's nouveau rich are teaching their kids these days.