Sunday, August 6, 2017

I got rid of a lot of unused flower pots in my backyard and moved several shelves out of the way to donate.  Dead plants are thrown away and outdoor tables and chairs are dusted and cleaned.  I found whole bag of unused fertilizer and bark chips in the shed and gave all the plants several deep watering.

Within a few days my poor neglected backyard seems to be coming back to life.  After the big clean out it actually became very enjoyable space rather than a messy jungle.  Today I actually sat on the bench for a good while just relaxing, somethings I haven't done for a long time.

I still have to fix two fountains, have my BBQ grill serviced since I haven't used it for years and maybe add some outdoor string lights.  I can't wait to invite some friends over for some BBQ and drinks after everything is all fixed up.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's a small miracle that my vanda orchid bloomed.  There's no feeling like it, now that I know I can get them to bloom, maybe I will buy another one to add to my collection!

Every once in a while I like to change things up a little bit, a friend of mine had told me that it's good practice to move furniture around a little bit to change the energy of the room, and I think there might be some truth to it.  After all, when the furniture layout of a room is changed,  the way you feel about a room is different too.  I moved my desk around to different side of the room and decided that I was just going to let it "float" in the middle of the room.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

These days right when I wake up in the morning Bobby was the first thing that jump in my mind, it brings me a lot of sadness, but like that songs goes, " you are on my mind, you're always on my mind." 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This week was legitimately difficult for me, I had worked so much that when I finally got to bed I felt so sick and thought I was getting some bad virus infection and probably would never have the energy to get up in the morning, but I did and the sun came out so all was good that the world didn't collapse with my energy level.

Since I was away so much I really missed my doggies during the day, and crazy things happened too while I was away.  Apparently my back door somehow got open and that triggered my alarm and the police came, all the drama escaped me because, well, I just wasn't there.  I only found out because my back door was wide open and there was note from the cops in my mail box.  Since there was absolutely nothing of value in my house I didn't even bother to check, I counted the dogs and just assumed nothing was missing and went on my day.

After eating junk food all week I really felt like cooking so I picked up a ribeye steak from the store and bought a bottle of wine.  I have a pretty reliable steak recipe that I've been using for years and I'd like to share it here.

I learned this recipe in college while I was renting a room from a landlady in North Hollywood.  For about a year I was desperate to find a cheap place that's close enough to my campus so I didn't have to commute three hours a day.  Finally I saw some ad posted at the bulletin board at my music department.  Room for rent, $450 a month.  So I teared a strip of phone number off the bottom of the ad.  Turned out it was a huge Spanish house in North Hollywood owned by a Austrian lady.  She was also a piano teacher, and in her beautiful sprawling house she had a grand music room with two Steinway pianos and chandeliers.  it was a house furnished with a lot of European antique.  My room was a small bedroom in the back with my own full bath complete with antique bed and dresser and a beautiful bathroom with antique fixtures.

My landlady lived with her younger son, who at that time was in his late 20s and quite a looker and a stud.  The three of us became pretty good friends and since we were all music nerd, we had quite a bit in common.  My housemate actually taught me how to cook steak and it was one of the few recipes that he knew how to do because it helped him to "impress girls."  He certainly wasn't trying to impress me but rather thought I was more pitiful than him not having any cooking skills at all. So here are the instructions.

This recipe basically involves cooking steak with a quarter size of olive oil, or as I like to do, about two oz of butter, I also like to add cumin to the sizzling butter for add some extra kick to the flavor, season the steak with salt and pepper, and then cook on medium high heat for about five minutes on each side.  The trick is not to flip the steak except once.  The meat will stick to the pan, but once it's cooked enough it will release itself from the pan and that's when you flip it to the other side.

When the steak is done, I liked to serve with a light salad or boiled green beens and a glass of red wine, and for under 15 minutes you have a delicious dinner for very little.

I also liked to use the smallest pan that I could find, so it's the perfect size to cook for one person. There's something very comforting about preparing dinner and enjoying the wonderful sizzle and smell while cooking.  So now that the food is done, enjoy it under the candle light or a mini chandelier.  Bon Appetite!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

On the weirder side of me, on occasion I like to get a tarot card reading.  Maybe once or twice a year, and I go in to see some random psychics and have them tell me some things that I could totally tell myself, you need more exercise, eat healthier, some opportunity will come up in the next few years, a wild handsome beast is in your future type of thing, etc., etc.  I suppose people go in for no more reason other than to see if their fortune or health will improve in the near future, and I seek these answers just the same.  There's a bit more to it though.

It sort of started maybe a decade ago when I was still trying to better my piano playing skills and I met this teacher from Russia, she was this eccentric lady that was quite independent and full of adventurous spirit.  She lived in this big old ugly apartment complex that upon first impression looked like a stuccoed ship.  The whole structure felt oppressive, and when I got close enough I just felt like it was collapsing on me.  Once you were in the unit though it wasn't all that bad, it had a long balcony which over looked lots of trees and she lived there on her own with a small grand piano.   In all honesty she wasn't all that great of a teacher but I liked her personality and we cracked up way too many jokes for the lessons to be productive.  She told a lot of fascinating stories of her life back in Russia and chain smoked a lot, there was always some film noir playing on her grand old tv and somehow the whole set up was very comforting for me.

On my break she always made this special Armenian coffee, which was basically boiled coffee grounds with lots of sugar, sometimes she had food stocked in the fridge and then she would feed me too, but the coffee was really special as this was something very exotic to me and it was always a special treat.  On many occasions she had a friend who would joined us during our coffee break, it was an elderly lady and she looked like a legitimate witch from those fairytale movies that ate little children.  After I drank my cup she would flip the cup over and then read my fortune, and to great accuracy too.  Something about a table full of ladies talking about nonsense was a lot of fun, and while I no longer take piano lessons from anyone, this tradition sort of carried on with me.

Recently I found a stylish psychic lady whom her friend had let me in were in her 70s.  She looked so radiant and stylish and gave advice like she really had seen the world, and it was always a lot of fun. Nowadays I could have weird people sitting at my dinner table eating cake and drinking wine all night long, it's a nice break from the harsh reality and the 9 to 5 world.  Lately I have been thinking that life is so short and it is really fleeting right before my eyes, so if I want to be weird I should be weird, and if I want to work less I should work less.  After all no matter what fortune is foretold, life is going to be bittersweet, but willingness to experience it all is that makes it truly golden.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I have to be very budget conscious nowadays and try to eat at home as much as possible, and my pup's dinner also made it to the spending cut.  I've switched them on kibbles plus part of cooked food instead of all homemade food to keep costs down, but anyhow, still I think they are getting a good amount of fresh veggie and meat.

This recipe is what I call the "poor dog's meal,"  because it's relatively cheap and better than having a pack of sad dogs chewing dry bland kibbles while looking angrily at me.

So the easiest store with the cheapest option near me is Target, they have a produce section that often have eggs or meat on sale for very cheap, sometimes a pack of 80% lean ground beef only cost $3, and a bag of coleslaw mix is about $1.60, so for about $5 I can cook a batch of fresh meat and veggie mix meal for my pups.  I don't know what is cheaper than that, I mean a latte at Starbucks cost just as much, a medium sized one... not even a large latte, and all you get is one oz of espresso and frosted milk.

I usually cook one package of ground beef with 2/3 bag of coleslaw mix, adding a little water until the veggie is soft and meat is cooked through.  Some people feed their dog raw meat with cooked vegetable, I feed my pups cooked meat and that's just how I have it done at my house.

So I serve dinner with a mixture of kibble and the meat and veggie meal, sometimes if I'm feeling extra fancy I will add in a spoonful of whole fat organic yogurt.  After all that I will have enough left over for another batch in the morning for their breakfast.  My pups look forward to their walk and meals all day long so I try to supply as much as I can.

I've been looking at online pictures for some creative home renovation ideas.  The last time I did anything to the house was over three years ago, and I'm really looking forward to do something creative with the house again.  There is actually a large amount of work that still needs to be done.  Some of them include three bathrooms that badly needed renovation, a new kitchen, exterior paint, repairing the badly cracked drive way, and probably a complete rebuilt of the garage at the different spot of the backyard.

 The tv room in my 1923 cottage was originally a tiny bedroom.  Over time the previous owners pushed the ceilings and walls further out to make the room bigger, but the ceiling had low beams and weird layout.  And since there's no definition between the kitchen and tv room, this part of the house just looks like a huge long hallway.  This is probably the most heavily used room in my house and I'm never quite comfortable in it.  Lately I've been thinking about some renovation ideas like reconfiguring the ceiling and windows to make the look more consistently "vintage."  Or doing some kind of wall beam to make this open space a bit more defined.

Anyhow, lots of ideas and not enough time and energy to get it done, but a girl can dream right?

I really like the little round window idea.  I have a couple of half round windows from the 90s that I was never too fond of, and I would love to replace with round shaped windows or somehow tweak the framing to make it look more vintage.

The frame work of this bedroom is pretty much what I want my tv room to look like, albeit my room is not nearly as wide, but I think I can achieve that vaulted ceiling look complete with vintage chandeliers.

Anyhow, my renovation plan probably won't happen for quite sometime, but having some ideas is a good start!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Took this picture as I was walking out of late dinner at a local Italian restaurant couple nights ago.  I had just finished work late and whenever I'm tired and hungry I have no willpower to cook something healthy.  I ordered a plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine and finished my dinner just as the restaurant was closing up and all the guests were leaving.  It was very nice to step into the cool breeze of the night and the streets were sleepy and quiet.  Moments like this make everyday life feel like a bit of adventure. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I have a small collection of antique books that I found over the years, I've read them many times but I don't think I will ever get rid of them.  I mean, you can't judge a book by its cover but this one sure is pretty! 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Summer is approaching, though I have no time to do any of the fun summer activities.  It's come to the point that life has no more stories except work, work and work.  I would love to go on a couple of road trips this year and just improve my overall quality of life and be more active and healthy, in fact, I think that will be my resolution for the second half of the year.

Friday, May 12, 2017

It's hard to believe that I literally dropped off the face of earth for about two month, but that's what happens when things get busy.  I have to admit, when I'm working a lot there really is not much interesting things to post on my blog, it's just me doing the rounds between work and home, and if time allows then I have house chores to keep up with and dogs to take care of.  It's very easy to slide into a constant state of mundane and forget to have a bit of quality in life as well.

I have a small collection of vintage custom jewelry, mostly pins from 1940s that I found at antique malls or online for a fraction of what they are worth. I've been wearing them more often lately, these vintage jewelry are the highlights I have during the day.  They came from a more opulent past, wearing them is like wearing a small piece of history, and I like to think my life has some connection to it because of these jewels.

I'm looking forward to add a bit more interest to my life and get back to some of my favorite activities like kitting and cooking, it seems that if I don't make an effort things just skip through the cracks and nothing but work happens!

Friday, March 17, 2017

I've been working on Spring cleaning for the past few days, I had several months of running myself rugged over work so it was a much needed change of pace.  I took out bags and bags of clothes, shoes that don't fit right and purses I never wore and gave them away to Goodwill.  It feels like I still got a long way to go but it sure feels nice to unload.  My goal is to clean out one bag of stuff a day, and sometimes I get really into it I would do more.  There is something about focusing on what I own rather than how I live that simply don't sit well with me anymore.  I feel like the less things I have the simpler and better I can live, so hopefully purging extra clutter is going to help me live more purposefully!

A few weeks ago I found a super nice dog bed for very cheap, the quality was amazing so I got it for my doggies, dog beds are actually something that's in constant demand at my house, they just wear out after a year or so and I usually keep one or two beds in almost every room of my house to keep my pups comfortable. But as soon as I walked out of the shop I saw this homeless guy with his dog ready to spend the night outside in the cold.  He had a large black plastic bag filled with either blanket or clothing and that became the makeshift bed for the pup while he just sat on concrete himself.  The pup had a leash on and actually looked well cared for.  I just couldn't watch it so I ripped off the tag and gave the brand new bed to that little dog.  The doggie jumped in immediately, it was a really cold night and hopefully having a real bed helped him to keep warm.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I found this old picture of Uggie from a few years back, wasn't he just super adorable?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I got invited to a small dinner party last night and the food and drink was amazing.  I've been slacking off of work the past few days because I needed a break, and sometimes it's fine to get some rest when you need one.

I did some organizing around the house, which is always a huge task for me and worked on the backyard.  It's amazing what treasure one can find buried deep in the closet, I found this whole outfit that I completely forgot existed and there was more, safe to say I can shop in my own closet for a while now!  

Friday, February 10, 2017

A couple of weeks ago I rescued two dogs off a heavily trafficked street, thinking that their family would come looking for them at the shelter, I went to my local vet to arrange for a pick up.  It turned out that one of the neighbors in my area recognized the dogs and told me which house they came from, and after owner denied that they ever had dogs it was pretty apparent that they didn't want their pups back.  Before I knew it, one of them was adopted out, and this one was left as a rescue only because one day after she was spayed, someone tried to pet her and almost got bitten.

I hadn't seen the pup for two weeks and decided this morning to see how she was holding up, and she was not doing well at all because she got placed at the back where there was extra fence before the cage and no one could approach her.  She sat there looking like a completely changed puppy, broken spirited, solemn and sad, and the sight really broke my heart.

Luckily I have been in contact with a local rescue and they were ready to pull her out any minute, and after making a phone call, the rescue lady kindly met me at the shelter and helped me pull the puppy out.

I thanked the rescue lady and went on our way home.  Honestly these days I can hardly afford to take care of myself, it's a very bad time in my life right now but I can't turn a blind eye on helpless puppies.  My own experiences back in the days of having no money and nowhere to go but wondering empty streets in my car or crashing over night on school benches were really deeply felt experiences and I somehow can related to these homeless puppies.  For a day I forgot about my own headache and frustrations, I went out and got a collar and a tag for the pup and cooked a little bit extra food for dinner.

We don't have all the supplies yet, but she's got a name and a collar and a full belly, so far so good!

Kelly seems to be doing ok with another girl in the house.  She is probably used to my non-sense by now...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

One of my new year resolution is learning how to cook Chinese food.  I've made a couple of dishes so far and they turned out good!  Last night I made dumplings and braised pork belly, both came out pretty delicious!  Not a bad new year resolution to put on the list at all!  

Friday, January 27, 2017

My recent lamp project started with this vintage lamp I bought for quite cheap.

I have had this pottery barn shade for years and it sat in my garage for quite a while.  To give an idea of how tall this lamp is, the shade was meant for a floor lamp, but looked like the appropriate size for this table lamp.

About $8 worth of fabric later...

I now have a major stunner in my living room!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

From time to time when I cook dinner for my doggies, I will cook something for myself too on the other stove.  I threw some bacon bits, green beans and potato in the pan and boiled everything until the liquid evaporated and the veggie and potatoes were done, added a bit seasoning and soy sauce and dinner is ready.

My spur of the moment creation actually turned out pretty good, I think I will add this one to my own recipes from now on.


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