Friday, September 27, 2013

Vacation Time!

Leaving for Thailand with a few friends for the long weekend. Looking forward to some relaxing beach time, reading, recharging, and lots and lots of food. I don't think my vegetarian diet is going to be able to keep going for this duration. We'll see how strong my will is, and how delicious Thai cuisines look. Will report back when I come back.
Have a nice weekend!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rice Cake

I love rice cake. I've loved them ever since I was a little kid. Now let me be clear, when I say rice cake I don't mean the crunchy kind that is a poor substitute of chips. I mean the kind made from glutinous rice, the sticky, chewy kind. They come in both sweet and savory kind in a few different Asian cuisines. Japanese likes to roast theirs and then put them in azuki beans sweet soup as dessert.
Azuki bean soup with mochi
Or alternatively they dip them in slightly sweet soy sauce and wrap them in seaweed as snacks.
Mochi wrapped in seaweed
Korean likes to cook them in a sweet chili sauce.
Korean rice cake
I am certain many other cultures use glutinous rice in various manner, including in rice cake form. The above are just the ones I am familiar with.
Then there is the Chinese New Year standard, steamed sweet rice cake cut up into little rectangle and then pan fried. I love those. They're sweet, gooey goodness. Not exactly good for me and definitely not a health food item, but they are really delicious.
CNY nian gao
There is also the savory type, stir fry with Chinese cabbage, shitake mushroom, and pork.
Stir fry nian gao
Even the regular rice cakes are not something you would find in the healthy food aisle. They are high in calories, made from refined glutinous rice flour, and difficult to digest. But what can I say? I just love them. So I eat them in moderation.
I stir fried some carrots with garlic, added in some tomato and then a couple tablespoons of Korean rice cake chili sauce. Then I filled the pot half full with water and let it came to a boil before I put in the Korean rice cake. The rice cake only takes about three minutes to cook and soften. Just before I turned off the stove I added the baby spinach in. 

Photo credit:,,,,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole wheat penne with portobello mushroom. Pardon the dishes in the background.
I am a pasta person, I always have been. It's tasty, it's easy, and most of the time it doesn't take much time at all. When I was feeding four hungry college students with a limited combined budget, it's also cheap and filling.
I am a little particular about pasta. I don't really stray away from the brands that I know are good. Back in the US I used to get Barilla. It was readily available, reasonably priced, and was pretty good quality. Nowadays I've been using De Cecco. It is a little harder to find, and they don't always stock all the varieties at my supermarket. I like that they do have some slightly more unusual shapes and have all kinds of short pasta. My favorite is this one. My friends told me they look like little cocoons of butterfly, my mom actually told me once as I was eating my dinner that they looked like maggots (thanks, mom!). I like it because it's good with all kinds of sauces. And also because it is short and easy to cook in a sauce pan so I don't have to dig out that tall pasta pot. I know that pot is somewhere in my kitchen cabinet, I know it, my kitchen isn't that big. But I just can't find it for the life of me.
I've never contemplated switching to whole wheat pasta. It was probably because of this article I've come across years prior. In the article it basically explained why everyone should eat more whole grain and how people can do it by including whole wheat pasta on their menu. At the end of the article there was a taste test section where they compared multiple brands. I distinctly remember words like gummy, bitter, and gritty. I thought, how wonderful, and promptly forgot all about whole wheat pasta. Not that it was very difficult to do, since there aren't that many choices here in Hong Kong. Truth be told, I didn't even notice they were there until I went looking for them this past weekend.
Why am I reconsidering now? Since I've been trying to stay on the vegetarian diet, eating whole grain is more important than before. That and I am actually paying more attention at what I am eating and what they are doing to my body. With that I should at least give it a try mindset, I went to the supermarket this past weakend.
Whole wheat spaghetti is easiest to find. De Cecco has one, Waitrose makes one as well, and there is another brand there called Alce Nero that also carry a whole wheat spaghetti. There were literally two choices beside that, Waitrose offers a fusilli shape while Alce Nero in penne. I have tried some Marks and Spencer pasta before, and they were awful. Crumbly, cooked unevenly, tasted limp, and they were just regular pasta. So I was a little wary of pasta from England, even though Waitrose is not Marks and Spencer. Perhaps I was judging unfairly, and maybe the Waitrose fusilli is in fact very good. But if that is the case, I wouldn't know, since I went with my gut and got the Alce Nero Penne.
I think that the whole wheat pasta market has expanded quite significantly since that article I read years ago. I also think that the quality has vastly improve since then. The whole wheat penne cooked in about the same amount of time as regular pasta. I pinched one san sauce and it actually tasted pretty good. I made a sauce with shallot and portobello mushroom, then I added fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese on top. I almost couldn't tell that it wasn't regular pasta. It was slightly bit wheaty in flavor, and just a little bit less starchy than the regular kind. If I am being honest, I still prefer the regular pasta, but if I have to eat the whole wheat variety? I really don't mind.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Breakfast Granola

I went to a family dinner on Saturday night. It was a long and tedious affair. It almost always is. Relatives that I haven't seen for months and have no common interests in all gathered in a crammed and noisy Chinese restaurant. The food was mediocre, and it was always the same restaurant because apparently some of the extended family members know the manager there. I was there on time at seven o'clock, and my mom and I didn't leave until past eleven. Foods came sporadically, and since I am trying to stay on my mostly vegetarian diet I didn't eat most of them. I was also still on my weird schedule and was almost falling asleep for most of that time, even though I knew that would happen and actually bought a soy latte from Starbucks along with me. (That tall soy latte was my solace for a while, until it went cold and empty.) So I went home feeling pretty miserable and dead tired, and I went to bed as soon as I could managed.
This morning I woke up because I was hungry. I laid in bed, half awoke, wondering to myself whether I really needed to eat. Or perhaps I could just roll over and go back to sleep until I have to work this evening. After about thirty minutes of unsuccessfully trying to convince myself I don't really need to get up and put some food in my stomach, I finally gave up and faced the reality that I wasn't going to get more sleep before satisfying my growling stomach's high-handed demand. I rolled out of bed, padding around my tiny kitchen with the giant fridge that was always full of what mom thinks she needs but hadn't actually use in months, and tried to look for something quick and easy so I could just get back to the more important thing, sleep. I almost always have yogurt at home, and for some reason I can't quite recall I bought this container of fresh figs a couple of days ago. Fresh figs are a bit expensive here in Hong Kong, on par with the more perishable berries like raspberries and blackberries (not blueberries, for some reason they are very cheap). So I decided to take inspiration from many online bloggers in the past few weeks and had fresh figs with yogurt and granola. The granola was store bought, and was a mix of two different brands because I just couldn't decide whether I wanted what is familiar (the one with raisin), or to try the one with pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds. The yogurt wasn't tart enough to need honey, the figs was sweet and wonderful, and I really quite liked the new granola as well. It was just what my stomach needed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Last Day!

The last day of my 7-day vegetarian diet challenge, and I totally overslept. I got up a whooping hour later than I should and jumped out of bed. I was going to make peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast, but scratched that, no time. Instead I pulled the tub of greek yogurt out of the fridge and grabbed a banana and ran out of the door. Work was busy as usual, although it was better than yesterday. So I was able to steal a moment and made myself a coffee and chowed down a couple pieces of pita chips I keep at work just for that exact purpose. I ate that last bit of yogurt with the banana and oat bran for lunch. It was fantastic. Greek yogurt is probably the reason I would have to be at least a lacto-vegetarian.
For my last meal on the challenge, I decided to make a rice bowl.
Rice, veggies, soy cause with shallot, and natto.
Natto is basically fermented soy beans, it is sticky and smelly, and is kind of an acquired taste. I was first introduced to the unseemly brown beans by this manga, and then through a Japanese friend of mine I finally tried it in college. I liked it immediately, it was a little salty, a little bitter, but not unpleasant at all. I seem to be in the minority, however, since even some of my Japanese friends won't eat it. It was cheap and also very easy, cooked some rice and put it on top and it was lunch or dinner. When you live in a dorm room with very limited kitchen access, easy is very important. Once I moved out of the dorm and into an apartment I was cooking for four boys and myself, so I didn't eat of natto then. It wasn't particularly hard to find in Hong Kong, but I've kind of forgotten about it by then. So it wasn't until about a year ago when I came upon a discounted package of it (discounted because it was nearly expired, apparently Hong Kong people don't care for it). They mostly came in package of three little Styrofoam boxes with soy sauce and mustard included. I ate them all within the week, much to the disgust of my mother who wrinkled her nose and told me it even smelled revolting. Until the new Japanese supermarket opened about a month ago, the supply of natto at the other supermarket in my area was sporadic and unpredictable. Now, I know where to find them if I want them.
The whole rice bowl idea came from having natto in my fridge. I thought I ought to add more vegetables to the meal, so I cooked up some carrot, cucumber, and pumpkin. Just in case it tastes bland, I made a little container of dressing with diced shallot, sweet soy sauce and sesame oil.
To assemble the rice bowl at work I heated up the brown rice and the vegetables, mixed the natto with its pack of soy sauce and mustard and scooped it out on top of the rice.
Rice and mixed natto
Then I dumped the container of vegetables on top of it.
Not the best looking rice bowl
And if you think the natto sounds odd, and it didn't look very tasty in the picture above. Just wait... it get better.
Yum, sticky, smelly, natto rice bowl.
This is what it looked like all mixed together. Not the best looking food around, is it? But it was quite good in my opinion, but then again I do like natto. I added some hot chili oil to it and promptly finished the bowl. I like this rice bowl idea.
With this, my challenge comes to an end. I am feeling pretty good about finishing the challenge with only one slip up. I didn't miss the meat too much and I almost never went hungry in the past week. I didn't actually weigh myself before I got started, but I can tell I've lost weight. My body is slimmer and leaner, and I didn't feel like I needed the meat to function. My eating habit definitely had gotten better because of this. I am more conscious of what I am eating, the balance of vegetables, the need for lean protein and carbohydrate. It is definitely limiting at times, when occasionally I would think about some of the food I would normally eat and then suddenly remembered 'oh, right, can't eat this now!' Am I going to continue with my vegetarian diet? Probably not a strict one. Living in Hong Kong made it quite difficult to avoid all meat product, especially when I am out with family and friends. I will, however, continue to pay close attention to what I am eating on a daily basis.


It's hard to believe that it's been twelve years, so many things had happened between that time. But we still remember. We will never forget.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day six and cold egg sandwich

Foolish me, I should've known better. Making a scrambled egg sandwich with cheese just before work and expecting to have time to eat it once I got in was way too optimistic. I should have known that. I had the sandwich placed on top of the container of borwn rice fresh out of the cooker to keep it warm on the way. I was thinking about a coconut water to go with it. Then, then I walked into the office, and got ambushed by no less that three people asking me to do things. I was running around, going up and down the stair for three and a half hours straight. And when it finally slowed down enough for me to even think about that egg sandwich, it was cold.
My egg sandwich, when it was fresh and warm, and probably delicious.
It was still good, but I couldn't help but think that it would have been delicious if it was warm. Oh well, a mistake that I wouldn't soon make again. I had another milk tea with it, because I couldn't be bothered to go out for the coconut water. I did eventually have coconut water, actually, the box is sitting at my elbow as I type this but it isn't the same.
Since I have a very late breakfast (early lunch?) I am pushing what I was originally going to have for lunch to tomorrow. I'll probably have my Parmesan cheese and lemon juice dressed broccoli later and call it good. Work, not conducive to good eats. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day five and doing well.

Greek yogurt parfait with grapefruit and kiwi. I added oat bran just before I ate it all.
No headache and feeling pretty good after five days. About that headache, I honestly believe my really bad habit of not drinking enough water was the culprit. As I've been consciously trying to remedy that, it seemingly had gone away.
I had a couple of small slices of mozzarella pizza for breakfast before I headed out, and then I made myself a milk tea at work that I sipped when I had a moment of free time to catch my breath. Work was particularly busy today and I didn't have time to think about food until four to five hours later. I wasn't even particularly by then. It was something I am starting to notice. I used to get very easily distracted by food at work, and I was almost always hungry even when we were busy. The past couple of days there wasn't that restlessness from being hungry, or the constant craving for food. I consider myself doing pretty good. 
There is also another thing that I've realized. I think my mother had a slight confusion regarding the definition of vegetarianism. She seems to think that fish is fine with vegetarian. I am not doing this because of moral or philosophical reason, but when I was thinking about vegetarianism I wasn't thinking about 'but fish is okay!' The reason I said that was because she got me a smoked salmon and creamed spinach spaghetti for lunch/dinner along with the mozzarella pizza. When I scooped the salmon off the top and placed them on her plate of squid seafood linguine she looked confused. I explained my reason for doing that and she told me 'but it's just fish!' Well, already cheated yesterday, so not cheating again today. She happily told the extra pieces of fish. And the slightly bit dry spaghetti (what do I expect, it was sitting around for at least four hours before I got to it) with a bit of creamed spinach on top was my lunch. It wasn't a big box, but I was pretty full afterward. 
Originally, before my mom got home with pizza and pastas, I was going to make myself an egg and cheese sandwich with the little chunk of French bread left, and then a fruit and yogurt parfait at some point, along with roasted broccoli dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, and Parmesan cheese for dinner. nearly at the end of my shift, I ate the yogurt parfait and didn't have room enough for the broccoli. 
I started looking for more vegetarian recipe ideas, and some of them looked really good. Kale seems to be in a lot of them, but I've never actually seen them being sold around here. So I'm thinking of using spinach instead. Maybe a mushroom and spinach brown rice bowl? That actually sounds very good.
Okay, five days down, two more to go. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day four? five? I am confused.

First thing first, I cheated, with an unagi sushi.
So I asked my mother who was going out and was going to pass by a sushi restaurant to pick up a few nigiri sushi for me. She knew that I was on a vegetarian diet, and I asked specifically for no fish or meat. What do my lovely mother do in this case? Naturally, she picked up a variety pack with salmon, shellfish, and unagi(freshwater eel, my absolute favorite). There were a couple of gunkanmaki topped with goma wakame(seaweed salad), and a tamago nigiri(egg sushi). Granted, she was going to eat those salmon nigiri herself, and the only reason why she got the pack with the unagi nigiri was because she knew it was my favorite. So I wasn't going to say anything about it. After some contemplation and some internal struggling, I ate it anyway. It was very good, but I've never felt so guilty having a unagi nigiri sushi. Oh well, I'm going to chalk it up as a slip up and continue on.
Another thing is I am not ever sure whether I should cal this the continuation of day four or just call this day five. Well, since I cheated, part two of day four it is then. For the rest of the night, I finally made myself that curried carrot soup I've been thinking about making for a couple of days now. Beside that I'm probably going to have another sweet peas salad with avocado, depends on how hungry I feel.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day Four and work.

I still don't think I'm drinking enough water. Woke up this morning with another mild headache that was easily remedied by a glass of water. I was also ravenously hungry and quickly made myself a cheese sandwich with mayonnaise and brava sauce. I was going to do some reading after that, but half an hour later and I was hungry again. I was really craving some kind of soup with a thin broth, like chicken noodle soup, or noodle with broth. Or maybe I was just craving carbohydrate and a savory broth. I was battling with myself whether I really wanted to order a breakfast from my local restaurant that comes with a bowl of noodle, usually egg and ham, and a hot drink. Usually, this is where my will fail me and I would order the breakfast and then proceed to eat everything since I've already fallen off the wagon. Today however, I dug through my fridge and cabinet and came away with a bowl of miso soup with cubed potato in it. That certainly helped my resolve and I am back on track. Today is going to be a short day since I have to work tonight and will be heading to bed early. Thinking about ordering inari and egg sushi for dinner tonight before I head into work, then maybe I'll actually get the curried carrot soup made.
Well, reached the half way point and I think I'm doing pretty good so far. Three more days to go.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day Three and It's All Good.

Another day, another salad.

I woke up on day three of the challenge with a mild headache. It's so mild, in fact, that I tried at first to ignore it entirely. It persisted, however, even after my breakfast of slice of French bread with peanut butter and Hong Kong style milk tea. I also felt a bit tired even though I've just woken up. Then I thought maybe I'm actually dehydrated instead of suffering from lack of caffeine. After a glass of water, the headache slowly went away. I should drink more water, I know, but it's difficult sometimes.
Breakfast, and I really love peanut butter!

For lunch, I put together a salad of sweet peas, potato, pasta, cucumber, and avocado along with a tangy apple cider dressing. Even with the pasta and the potato, it's not quite as filling as I'd hope it would be. So what else but cherries to fill the gap.
I was fully prepared to have curried carrot soup for dinner, but as I am writing this I am feeling pretty sleepy. Since I still don't work tonight I think I am going to catch some sleep. Been thinking about making grilled cheese sandwich with that loaf of French bread as well. Perhaps for tomorrow.
On a side note, I was reading a food blog last night when I came across Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Good. More precisely, I came across a blogger who tried her no tomato, bread, eggs, milk, other bad foods diet. The author who had tried it for ten days said the recipes were surprisingly delicious. I was thinking the whole time, no bread? no milk? don't think it is ever going to work for me. Thinking more on the topic, however, I think I need to look more into the claim that those foods cause hypersensitivity and allergy. I am prone to some rather dramatic allergic reaction, although thankfully they were never anything life-threatening. Once, I had one of my eye swollen shut completely because I had some strawberries. Another time my back had swollen to twice its normal size and was hellishly itchy just a few hours before I had to board an international flight. Even if I might not be able to convert completely, it would be worth looking into.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day Two and scratching my brain for recipes.

My tofu, mushroom, zucchini salad. Might not look like much, but it sure was tasty.
So, onto the second day of my seven days vegetarian diet challenge. I had a cup of greek yogurt with kiwi and oat bran for breakfast. The tub of yogurt I have isn't particularly tart so I went without any honey. Oat bran is suppose to pack more nutrient than oatmeal and help weight-loss, it is also supposed to make you feel full. Well, that didn't happen, so I had another bowl of cherries. Remember what I said yesterday about the green smoothie could have been a lot worse. That's still true, but having said that the taste was still nothing to write home about. I was thinking about making another for breakfast and eventually just went with a cup of green tea. Why green tea instead of coffee this morning? I guess I'm just in the mood for something a bit more refreshing and lighter after the yogurt. And about that yogurt. I know there are probably a lot of people out there who eat a yogurt fruit parfait in the morning and do not feel hungry until lunch time. For me, however, whenever I had a yogurt parfait as breakfast I feel hungry about two hours later, sometimes even sooner. I don't know what is it about the yogurt, or what is it about me, but that just happens.
So two hours later I was feeling pretty restless. After a little bit of stalling and contemplating, I finally just gave up dwelling upon the logic of yogurt parfait and hunger and just made myself a tomato soup. I halved some small tomatoes on the vine and seeded them, and then laid them out onto a sheet pan. I had some fresh thyme from last week that I sprinkled on top along with some salt and pepper, and then with a good drizzle of olive oil I just  put them in the oven on medium to high heat for about twenty minutes. While it's cooking in the oven I poured about half a cup of milk and half a cup of water into the blender and added a teaspoon of bouillon powder. When the tomatoes were done cooking I poured everything into the blender and put it on high for about two minutes. The result was very satisfying and tasty with an English muffin cheese sandwich. A few hours later when I was feeling hungry again I put together a tofu, mushroom, zucchini salad that was just what I needed to feel good and motivated about continuing on.
I don't know whether it was because green tea do have some caffeine or for other strange reason (I am leaning toward the green tea), I am not feeling the fatigue and headache today. I have been feeling pretty good all day, with no craving on sugary food unlike yesterday. I've been told sometimes ago that once you are on a healthy diet, after a while you just don't get the craving for the fatty, salty/sugary, highly processed food anymore. It has only been a day, so I highly doubt that was the reason for me but I'll take the no craving anyway.
I am also running into a little problem and that is: two days in and I am not sure what else I can cook. I've finished all the tofu, mushroom, zucchini, and tomatoes in my fridge. I have one a half potato left along with a little bit of cucumber and pasta. I guess that would make a good salad. But I do need to get more grocery and I am not sure what to get, or what to make. Now I am surfing the internet for vegetarian recipes looking for idea.

Had a ristretto bianco from Starbucks while I was out grocery shopping. I was thinking about broccoli and cauliflower, instead I got a yellow bell pepper, quarter of a pumpkin, some sweet peas, and a bag of carrots. I think it's about time to look for curried carrot soup recipe. I also finished those pea shoots by blending it into a purple smoothie. Basically it's the same as yesterday with a bunch of frozen blueberries added. I am sipping it now as I sit in front of my laptop working on my other writing project.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day one and green smoothie.

How does this look appetizing?

First day of my seven days vegetarian diet challenge. I woke up feeling pretty good, and not particularly hungry. A family member brought home some pies, and instead of whatever breakfast I had planned, ate half a mushroom pie. That filled me up pretty well, so I only made myself my first ever green smoothie an hour or so later. I've heard so much about this green smoothie hype, but whenever I looked at the ingredients list I almost always felt that nagging doubt and then quickly abandoned the idea. I mean spinach? broccoli? all blended into some unappetizing bright green color? I can't imagine how that could taste good. But I do have some pea shoots sitting in my fridge waiting to be used up. I was going to use them in salad, but after chewing on a couple of them decided that I probably wouldn't like it. So into the blender they went. My mother got me a high-power blender about a month ago. It is not the vitamix, which seems to be the blender of choice for most people (that or blendtec). It was, however, similar enough in design and spec that I just use the recipe from vitamix users and everything so far had turned out just fine. Back to my first green smoothie. I decided not to push too far, so I used one cup of pea shoots, half a grapefruit, and about half and half of green and red apples, blended them all down with some water and ice. My first thought after I popped the lid and got a whiff of the juice was that I might regret this. After a very hesitant gulp, I decided that it wasn't too bad. Half a glass later, it could have been a whole lot worse. Another hour later I was feeling hungry again, so I just ate some cherries, and that tided me over til lunch.
For lunch I had half a steamed potato with a big spoonful of greek yogurt and blackpepper, along with a salad of mushroom, zucchini, and tofu. I had often made the mistake when I tried to have salad as a meal by not having enough protein or carbohydrate in it. It usually made me hungry within a couple hours afterward and then I would eat whatever happened to be there, and that was usually something sugary and unhealthy. After looking up a lot of salad recipes later, I tried adding more protein/carbohydrate in the salad. I tried quinoa, pasta, chicken, fish, etc, and found that it kept me feeling full a lot longer. Since this is a vegetarian challenge I skipped the chicken and fish and went for cube of tofu instead. It was very tasty, which was not surprising, since I've always been a fan of tofu. The whole meal over all was very delicious and filling enough that I didn't feel hungry a few hours later. 
The idea of replacing my daily cup of coffee with a healthier green smoothie was no doubt a good one in theory, but in practice it was not so successful. I felt a general lack of energy earlier during the day, and a dull headache coming on slowly as the day went on. A couple hours after lunch and I was really craving that cup of coffee. So I went online and read up on why coffee is bad for me. At the end of a lot of looking around, I came to the conclusion that one cup a day really isn't going to kill me, but four or six just might. Since I tend to limit myself to two at the very most, I decided what the heck and made myself a cup. Now I feel better. 
Oh, by the way, I work very odd and awkward hours, so I don't always eat three meals a day. It also really depends on whether I've been good or not, and whether I've been paying attention at what I'm putting into my body. Sometimes I eat two to three healthy meals, at my worst (which was recently) I eat four to five unhealthy meals. I indulged and had a small piece of stroopwafel with my coffee, and I might not eat much for dinner before I go to bed. I am feeling pretty good so far, tomorrow, I might stick to strictly home-cooked meals and skip that stroopwafel. But then again, it's stroopwafel, and it's so good.

Went to bed later than I thought I would. Had a toaster tart from Health Valley and small lettuce salad for dinner. As I was eating the toaster tart I thought I really should avoid the refined sugar and processed food. Well, try harder tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vegetarian Diet Challenge

Starting tomorrow I'll be on a vegetarian diet for seven days as a challenge. The reason I'm doing this is because my diet has been particularly horrendous as of late and I really think it's time for a change and set my diet back toward a more healthy direction. I've also been eyeing the 3-days juice cleanse for a while now and never had enough gut to actually do it, and this might be a good middle ground.
To prepare for it I've cut up some green and red apple, roasted some zucchini, cooked up some bow-tie pastas, and marinated some mushrooms in my fridge. Also in my fridge are some cherries, organic greek yogurt (I am going ovo-lacto, not vegan), grapefruits, kiwis, a head of lettuce, cucumbers, and a block of tofu. I'll be limiting my caffeine intake of one cup of coffee and a cup of green tea a day. In the following seven days, I'll be posting a daily journal of my progress and my thoughts on the challenge. I'm having a cup of sleepy time herbal tea at the moment and will be heading to bed soon. See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2013

An update on nails.

First off, this is a picture of my nail after ten days of wear, with five days of work.
Notice the gap between my nail bed and the actual polish? That was one of the reasons of me taking off the GelColor. The other reason being boredom. I was ready to see my real nails again after a week and a half. One thing I've never really realized was just how slow my nails grow. There was this the one time when I was on a trip for a whole month and had hardly needed to cut them whereas my friend who was with me had to cut hers twice in that same time period. I just chalked it up to hers growing abnormally fast, now that I've looked it up and with evidence right in front of me, the abnormal one seems to be me and not her. In my opinion, the GelColor wore like steel. As promised there was no chipping whatsoever. I was quite surprised. The shine, as well, lasted through the whole time.
Now, onto the taking off process. Because of how well it stayed on, it was a bit difficult to take off. All in all, it took me about an hour and a half of soaking and scraping to get them all off. There are supposedly easier ways to do it. For examples, go to a salon and have them take it off for you. But I opted for the home version, and here is what I did.
Step 1 - Soaked cotton balls with acetone based nail remover (100% acetone works better and faster, but I didn't have them on hand).
Step 2 - wrapped my cotton balled nails with tin foil.
Step 3 - wait 15-20 minutes.
Step 4 - Removed the foil and the cotton ball, use a blunt cuticle pusher to push the polish off.
Here is a picture of Step 2
I only managed to snap one picture of the removing process, but let me tell you, the aftermath on my desk was not pretty. It stunk of lavender laced heavier with acetone (my nail remover was lavender scented, why? I couldn't tell you.) With tin foil and cotton balls, along with pieces of soaked and scraped off polish strewn everywhere. I recommended laying down a piece of newspaper or plastic cover before attempting it at home. I certainly would the next time I do this.
I do intend to get the GelColor again in the future. Perhaps in some subtler nude color over the dramatic dark color. I figure the growth would be less obvious, and maybe I won't get bored with it as easily.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I am a gamer, and a bit of a geek. I love games, it's one of my most time consuming hobby. My first memory with the new generation of game consoles was on a gamecube. My then boyfriend introduced me to Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo system. I had watched people played it before but had never played it myself. My then boyfriend(let's call him Sam for simplicity's sake) pitched me against another complete newbie, our friend's girlfriend(now wife). Since I have watched them played before, I cheated and took the easy route of picking Kirby. If you are familiar with the game, then you'd know Kirby was pretty buoyant, and kind to newcomer. My opponent, who had far less insight into the game, picked the pretty princess Zelda. Zelda, or Sheik, would later became my go to character in that game. But she was slower, a bit clumsy, and compared to Kirby, practically laden with lead. Before long, she was falling down the side and getting kicked to oblivion by my big footed pink ball of a character.
I had access to every popular consoles available at the time. From the Nintendo Gamecube, to Sony's Playstation 2, and even the much used but lesser liked Xbox from Microsoft. I played the charming prince in Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, fought Hayate and Hayabusa(damn that Hayabusa and his special moves, and my friend who kept pulling them off) with Kasumi and Ayane, killed a lot of covenants with my Master Chief on the Xbox. I've since only brought the Nintendo Wii, and the Playstation 3, never coming around to the Xbox 360.
I don't exactly have a wide interest in games. Mainly I play the most popular, the Uncharted series, some Call of Duty here and there, there was the Prince of Persia series and now the trilogy on my PS3, Assassin's Creed (I still prefer Altair to Ezio, for one reason or another), and then there were Bioware's games. I think they are my favorite, Dragon Age was a great RPG, then of course the famed(or infamous, considering how it ended) Mass Effect trilogy.
The original Mass Effect was not released on Playstation, only on Xbox360 and PC. It finally came out on the PS3 around Christmas. I was struck on another playthrough of Dragon Age to play the Mass Effect series from start to finish. Now that I am near the tail end of Dragon Age 2 (in my humble opinion a far inferior game to Origins), I think I am going to pick that up next. Although I still have Assassin's Creed 3 and Call of Duty Black Ops 2 sitting on my shelf staring at me, asking to be played. I do think a Mass Effect complete playthrough is long overdue. I am looking forward to recruiting Garrus, and talking to Wrex about his family armor.
Photo Credit: Dawanda

Friday, January 4, 2013

Shellac Nails

I went to a tiny little nail salon, in an obscure little mall with the most complicated non floor plan yesterday. The place was like a maze, with a jumble of shops both local and chain alike side by side. There were counterfeits and legitimate goods right next to each other. Certainly very different. My sister took me there, and if it wasn't for her I likely would never found my way around. But I digress, the thing I wanted to talk about is nail color. CND shellac, or OPI GelColor, or similar system by different brand in different names. I was told they are essentially the same thing. I am sure people who've paid any amount of attention in nail lacquer trend at all would have known about already. But just in case some of us are like my sister (who didn't even understand the difference between gel nails and simple polish), I am just going to run through it.
Basically, it's a system that utilizes UV lamps to cure (is that the right word?) the special polish. It promises fourteen plus days of wear with no chipping, and super fast drying time. I have been wanting to try it for some time now, since with my line of work it's difficult to keep nail polish on. I have actually accumulated a pretty impressive array of bruises and cuts, all of them relatively minor, ever since I started in my current field  of work. So with this little tiny nail salon I decided to try it. I think mine is actually not CND, but OPI. I am not even really sure about it. I have another three days off work, so I won't really see how it fares at work for a few days yet.
Here is a link to Lisa Eldridge having her nails done with CND Shellac.
Here is a picture of my newly done nails -
Dark nails for the recently cooled down weather.
P.S. Congratulation on Tito Vilanova's so far speedy recovery! He had returned to training with FC Barcelona.