Monday, October 29, 2012

Reservations.

The truth? There is no such thing as the truth, really.

For every fact that can be said, bears an exact opposite - and would also be correct. So, what would be this 'truth', be exactly? What was done, or what wasn't done? The in-between?

I know a lot of such facts, I'll go out on a limb, and say that I know all of it.

Alas, for every fact I know happened, I am also aware,  there is something that I don't know about, which didn't happen;

.. and vice versa, for what was told to me, had not occurred - therein lies something, which indeed, did occur.

At best - I will not be surprised, because I know. At worst, I might get hurt, because I didn't know. What else is there to say?




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baked Onion Dip

1.5 - 2lbs of flavourful onion (I used little cippolini onions)
6 ounces cream cheese (I used 8, came out too stodgy)
4-5 ounces sour cream
Fresh flat-leaf parsley (to taste, I added about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon of thyme
Parmesan to taste, I added 2 tablespoons
Salt + Pepper

Simmer onions (that you've chopped how you prefer, I cut them in half and sliced thinly) on medium heat until nicely brown, and finally on low until nicely caramelized, I was gradually adding salt  - total of 20min. Added the thyme, cream cheese (mine wasn't softened) I mixed it in, and added the sour cream and let the mixture simmer for not more than 3-4min, added flat leaf parsley, about 2 tablespoons.

I baked it all for about 20 minutes, and Fiance hit it with the blowtorch to nicely brown it on top. Voila..

It's a tad stodgy, but hits the spot - EXACTLY what I've been craving.

..Now for that wedding dress diet.. :( *dies*

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Memo?

I am very sad, because evidently, judging by recent events, actions and happenings, there has been a change of plans - but I don't think anyone warned me.

I'm devastated, for myself, and for getting my hopes up, which seem to be crashing down slowly but surely, just a little bit more every day.

I'll explain later, or maybe I won't - it's just too sad.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Say what?

I started this long weekend with awesome enthusiasm; now I'm smack in the intersection of dread, disappointment and apprehension.

It seems like a lot I've managed to put behind, mostly.. life has been painted vividly by new emotions and happenings, which in turn don't leave much room for memories about things past.

I am somewhat in struggle, as it is often the case in the last few weeks, with some thoughts and memories. 

I think by and large, it's far easier to struggle with bad memories in lieu of the good.
How does one 'get over' good memories? By associating them with the person who's the culprit, and thus turning them bad instantly? It seems like I'd be the one suffering a loss then, because I like to chalk up that whole experience as a failure due to my own inexperience and then lack of empathy and ability to concede. 

In whole, would it even matter what that particular period of my life is tagged as? Ultimately, I believe so, because I need the security of believing that my life decisions have since been based on a varied and complete experience, rather than something so biased.

Meh. Translation? I'd like someone to give me an educated analysis, and tell me that albeit some of my decisions were perhaps not correct, nor were they right at the time, but that in hindsight, it's good I did what I did.

Why the sudden urge for reassurance? I guess I'm not feeling that awesome all of a sudden. Maybe I know I was right, but did the wrong thing. I don't know. Sometimes the problem is simple, others not so much. Some matter, some don't. Some are forgotten as quickly as they happen, others linger. Some don't even dot on my radar, others I lose sleep over. Some I laugh at, others I cry about.
I think the bigger issue is that all I want, more than anything is clarity that I often shy away from seeking. That's why the above-mentioned - shying away from seeking explanations, information, clarity is often exactly what spares all sort of conflict and turmoil; so I'm right in that but without a doubt, it's a wrong course of action.

Someone once told me that things lose and/or gain relevance to people differently and my mistake is looking at everything through a prism of what I -believe- makes people happy, unsuspecting that in actuality, it's all different. I'm not sure if I still do that, but I'm afraid that could have been an unpleasantly accurate point.

I don't think I understood the above at first, I thought it was another fancily disguised way of calling me 'selfish'. Maybe it really was exactly that and over the years I've merely thought about it too much and morphed it into something complex.

I do that. 

I think, slowly I'm getting to the root of my recently-stemmed fears, concerns and hurt feelings. I need to go ahead and think about the topic before I put it out there in its full frenzied, messy glory for people to see and judge. 

Watch this space for a can of worms.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Point Taken


I don't know where to start exactly, I think with Nika..

She's starting kindergarten this year - it's so frightening to me.. she's quite looking forward to it actually. I'm consistently worried about how she'll socialize, whether she'll fit in, how she'll get on with her teachers..

I have no choice but to deal, though.. because my baby is all grown up, I've known this for a while, but until the start of kindergarten I can go on happily not acknowledging it just yet.

I think in many ways this is going to mark the new start of many things for us - the wedding planning is full-blown in motion.. Getting closer to the big day, looking forward to it (but more on that later).

I think also, we're (Fiance + I) pin-pointing a few things about the future that we want along the way.. you know, not just wedding-related aspects, but things like children, home-related stuff.

Should I be completely honest - I'd really like to talk about these things in lieu of coming to a realization 'on the go' in mid of many other things, but that's okay, sometimes things just happen like that. I think that's what causes a lot of my uncertainty though. I've always been uneasy about the future, so I take anything related to that very seriously.. which leads me to over-think or over-analyze, or psyche myself out. I'm trying not to, though.I just don't think I'm managing this all the right way. I guess, the most important thing is that I'm trying.

I'm trying a lot of different things: I don't want to have a lingering feeling of dread about something bad happening all the time. I don't want to believe that I'm worse or better than anyone, just that I'm myself.. and people I love, love me for just that, too.

I'm a little odd, kind of goofy. Easily scared, but very aggressive at the same time. I get hurt really easily but I never tell anyone, so people wouldn't even know; which leads them to believe that I'm a really strong person, but really.. I'm not. I'm really honest and I stand by what I believe. I think if I met me.. I'd like me.

I'm really lucky, and I never forget how lucky I am, not even for a day, not even when things aren't so great.  I think I had been very nervous about this last week because I didn't know what to expect, having had a few warnings, I was sort of dreading it - I know this is a bit cryptic, sorry.

I don't claim to have all the answers on how to make a relationship great, I don't even know if I'm making the right decisions about certain stuff - I just try to do what feels right, but more than anything, what I believe will make not only myself happy, but the people I love. I try to think about their happiness more than my own, because they're what makes me happy, it's all interlinked.

I knew I should expect some anger and frustration, maybe even an argument or two - but none of that happened, which in itself is great because it proves that being that little bit extra nice when things are difficult goes a long way, and doesn't go unnoticed.

Which brings me to a more difficult note:

I'm very easily emotionally manipulated, this is hardly news to anyone who has been even remotely emotionally close to me - I find it hard to break away from the bonds I've formed with people and often find myself manipulated into doing things for said people even long after there's no relationship of any sort going on, and say, even if there hadn't been friendship, communication or any tender feelings for a while.

I don't know why I do this, for lack of a better conclusion, I'll say it's because I'm a nice person and having once cared for someone deeply, I find it hard to turn my back to them, even if said person had let me go, left me alone - knowing I don't have any guidance; no devils, no gods, no family and at the time, not even friends.

'A person in need, is a friend indeed'. Maybe it's not all selfless, but the majority of my actions have been.

I need to change this about myself, and focus on more important things, and people.

I try to never go to bed upset, and never wake up upset, either - I also realized that I'm making a few mistakes along the way and at the moment I'm not sure how to correct that or prevent it, but it's something for me to work on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

(Relatively) Quick Breakfast Muffins

 I got the original recipe from here

But I didn't have a few of the ingredients the recipe called for, but luckily, I had enough creativity to get by.

I'm supposed to be watching what I eat.. but I tried one..a
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used my SO fancy flour, because we were out of the stuff that I, non-pro, regular mortal usually use!)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (we only have peanut oil.. but I've substituted the two before, and no biggie, only a hint of a nutty taste, which is hardly tragic)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
For the topping:
  • 2 medium peaches (I also used some raspberries)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (usually, we've got this lying around in the fridge, but not this time! Had to leave this out all together)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees

For the topping:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the sugar and grated ginger and cook until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the peaches to the pan and cook until they start to release their juices.  Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the batter.

For the muffins:

Place the cup of oats in the milk and let soak for at least 15 minutes (you can soak them the night before if you want to make them first thing in the morning).  *I soaked for 20 min for no reason at all. 

 Mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. *I used a sift, just to be sure everything mixed well.  Add the eggs, vanilla and oil to the milk and oat mixture then pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix just until combined, don’t overmix or you will have tough muffins.  *I used a small whisk to lightly fold in.

Fill cups of a lightly greased muffin tin (*I used a silicone form, it's all we've got) two-thirds to three-quarters full. *I over-filled, whoops, but no biggie, mine didn't rise too much.

 Top the muffins with 2 slices of peaches and spoon any remaining juices over the top.  Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and firm to the touch.

* We had some raspberries I wanted to put to a use, so towards the end of the baking time, I quickly popped the muffins out, threw the raspberries on and used some of the left over peach syrup.

*I used a smaller 'star' shaped silicone form to make some of them, and got those out at 15 minutes, the others had to be left in until 22 min and then an additional few while I struggled with setting up the cooling rack


The recipe is not cloyingly sweet.. and will go awesome with coffee in the morning! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Phoenix Hanson's Story

 Petition for Phoenix

Sign & SHARE THIS PETITION



CBS: End the silence! Tell Phoenix Hanson's Story! On June 06, 2012, Phoenix Hanson, a five year old with ASD in Osceola county, Florida, was attacked by his teacher at Narcoossee Elementary in front of an eyewitness, the teacher's aid. This was not the first incident, according to the teacher's aid. Prior to that day, the teacher verbally tormented Phoenix and encouraged his classmates to bully him, both physically and verbally. Phoenix's parents, Craig and Nina Hanson, were devastated. There had never been any indication anything was amiss.

Charges were filed and everything was handed over to the state as an abuse case. The state attorney still hasn't decided whether or not to pursue charges. Craig and Nina contacted local news stations to help share their story and bring light as to what's becoming an alarming trend in special ed classrooms. Despite being given all the information regarding the case, none of the local media has picked up the story. It's been kept quiet, which is not only a slap in the face to the Hanson family, saying that their story does not matter, but it's a disservice to other families who have a right to know what is happening in their country, in their own backyard,  at one of their schools that perhaps their own children go to.
Help Nina and Craig get their story out! Tell Orlando media to stop the silence and tell Phoenix's story!

http://iamninamoreno.tumblr.com/post/26834854414/the-day-someone-tried-to-break-him
myfoxorlando.com
clickorlando.com
wesh.com
wftv.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Tasha and Nika Bears Count Their Blessings

So the titled is inspired by the Berenstain Bear books.. but more about that in a moment.

What can I say? The title says it all.

I know I get frustrated, upset, discouraged, demotivated.. I'm grateful that I'm with a person who doesn't discard my requests for help or support. Who picks me up, dusts me off and encourages me to try again, but at the same time, doesn't push.

Sometimes I get really angry, disappointed or really sad - we all do, for different reasons, what's most important however, is that it's all a temporary occurrence.

How do I deal with it? I make the decision not to feel that way unless it's justified.

How do I decide whether or not it is? I think of the reason behind why I feel that way, and then I decide whether or not I can resolve things on my own.

If it's a spontaneous outburst, I seldom ever mention anything. If it's a build-up of emotions I have not been able to sort myself, I speak up.. sure sometimes waiting to talk about something results in me being far more emotional than called for.. but nobody is perfect. I make mistakes.. as do the people around me - I accept that.

Fact of the matter is, what temporarily upsets me one moment, is most likely not to even matter tomorrow, I try to admit if I'm really upset, but I also make sure it doesn't drag on longer than necessary for me to get it out of my system.

I've always wanted a relationship precisely like this: -

~ When you're not -completely- attached at the hip, but you secretly really miss each-other.
~ When you laugh at the same things and enjoy the passing time in a similar way.
~ When you needn't talk to each other -all- the time.. just being together is enough. 
~ When you don't have to be perfect, but just yourself - with all your strengths, weaknesses.. imperfections and distinguishments

The list goes on, but the most important point.. is that although some times are more difficult than others, this relationship is never a struggle.



What's there to say about Nika? She's the happiest kid you'll ever come across. She's showered with love, attention and affection.. and in return, she makes us smile and laugh at her quirky personality all the time. We adore her



Now.. onto the Berenstain bears..

It's not particularly easy to find just the right books for bedtime reading these days, not because there's a lack of them - quite the opposite actually, there are far too many!

Our personal favourite remains Dr Seuss, but we also enjoy Maurice Sendak and various others.

A bit too long for 'beginner' readers, but any parent can get through the books with a little bit of patience and 10 minutes devoted to 'reading time' each evening.

Even though some of the language is non-standard, the moral behind the story is always accurate and easy for children to understand.

The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers

I really recommend the 'Strangers' book, it's very educational and gives the child just enough information, whilst teaching them a lesson that you really need to be careful around strangers but it doesn't instill a sense of paranoia as of the other 'Strangers' themed books!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Last Maltese Relic


From http://sunrise-tur.com/2012/07/02/the-last-maltese-relic/#more-445

Отрывок из ненаписанного романа (киносценария) «Последняя мальтийская реликвия».

Таормина. 1798 год.

Высокий человек, закутавшись в длинный чёрный плащ, шел по улочкам Таормины. Внезапно, оглянувшись назад, он резко повернул в сторону Palazzo Corvaja и, свернув в очень узкий переулок, он, вдруг, подойдя к одной из дверей, плотно прижался к ней спиной и замер в таком положении. Со стороны ничто не выдавило его присутствие, плотные сумерки скрадывали его фигуру в тёмном дверном проёме.

Но его манёвр и тревога были напрасными, простояв неподвижно около четверти часа, он окончательно убедился, что за ним никто не идёт. После этого, он резко повернул в другую сторону и, поднявшись, почти до самых Ворот — Porta Di Mezzo, опять резко свернул направо и снова проделал то же самое, неподвижно застыл в одном из дверных проёмов.

Последний раз, убедившись в отсутствии слежки, он быстро подошёл к одной из дверей, ничем не выделявшейся среди других, и негромко постучал три раза с определенным интервалом, чувствовалось, что это был условный сигнал. Дверь, в ту же секунду, быстро открылась.
Седовласый хозяин дома, одетый в длинную темную накидку, сказал: «Вот и последний из сегодняшних гостей….  Прекрасно, что все добрались с Мальты в Таормину и очень хорошо, что сегодня, не надо никакого друг другу представлять, и мы можем сразу перейти к делу

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another quick note.

If this 30 Day Shred isn't going to kill me, it sure as heck better make me stronger.

Meh.

Update about that soon.

An Ex Occurance

Has anyone else ever noticed how the most bitterly lost exes, ironically, tend to result in being the ones that come back to haunt you in the most inappropriate of times?

"So.. how's life?" - Seriously? How is my life? Fantastic, thank you. Even if that weren't the case, I'd never tell you, anyway.

I even know what he'd say, if I let him talk. Let me guess, how it'd go:

"I just need to say a few words, get a couple of points across to you, can't you at least give me that?" Not really, not even that, no.

"Where did I make the mistake, the heinous one, what was it? Why won't you talk to me? Don't you understand, it's not all the same to me - I need to know this, I want to start it all over, this time only with the two of us - there will be nothing and nobody but the two of us this time, it will be different; happiness is not out of reach for us, not at all" He said to me last summer.

You know where and when you lost me? Somewhere in the mess of your life.. because it was dark and hectic, and you didn't know whether I was close or far, you didn't even notice, actually.

"I did everything I could, back then!" he insisted at me, when we spoke last.

Yes, well.. Cool story, bro.

This is the price some people choose to pay: spending the rest of their life with someone they claim not to even love; perhaps they're not loved by the other person either. How tragic.

How I don't miss that city, even more though: it was like an endless labyrinth of streets I didn't care for, I hated wondering through them. It's said to be one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe. I hope I never go back there, I hope I never have to. I cannot even get across how much pain and heartache I went through in that city, I will never have the words.  A reason why, would be because it all happened in my life far too early; but any later.. and it would have possibly brought on even more terrible repercussions. Cold, foreign city. I am still trying to forget that nasty feeling of being so alone. At one point, I was so convinced that love only comes along once per lifetime - and that I had no chance or choice. 

I still remember, being told with such warmth and love, and appreciation in his eyes, that I am 'exquisite'. The fascination with how I was unlike anyone he'd known turned into disdain because I was so different. And then.. a few excruciating months later, the bouquets of flowers he'd fill the apartment rooms with would not ever last, and the last one he brought, had long since wilted; and the love in his eyes had visibly faded too.

The ring on my finger grew darker and lost its shine, and then one day, I got told that I have nothing, I am nothing and I have nothing to give, that my looks would fade, too.. and soon I wouldn't even have my mirror reflection to love.

..Right, so tell me more.. about how the woman you are with, is so unlike me.. do you miss resenting me, instead?



For everything that happened so early on - it ended quickly, too.


Someone else figured out how to make me smile though, so it's okay. I even have new dresses that I like wearing. Another city. Different ways of doing things.

What else can be said, or done? For the life of me - I really don't know. Not a single person would be delusional or crazy enough to claim that there's something there that could make a friendship.

Are there aspects I miss? I guess, but that's also fine, I know better - people are different, for better and worse, stronger or weaker; nicer or more wicked.  As long as I love the person I am with and am loved in return.

The best lesson I learned from all this: the only person who is truly worth any tears - is the one who is ready to dry them; not pretend there weren't any the next day.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The things we do

The hardest thing about being a parent, is most likely admitting that you need help. The media often feeds us photos of Miranda Kerr, looking like her supermodel self, with her toddler on her hip - the average woman is absolutely correct in thinking 'if she can, why can't I?'.

Truth be told - it's hard, with help or without help.

We're talking about another human-being absolutely dependent on you, so much so, that they depend on you to teach them independence.

Q: How do you admit that you need help?


A: - Are you kidding me? You do not. I live for that little display of perfection - my child, absolutely.

Well, actually - I no longer have reservations about admitting that I need help, be it in the form of breaking down into tears if need be, or a simple request.. or both. I think after Nika turned 4, I've been fine with admitting that every so often, I need that bit of support.

'Give your hand, my little one.. we can manage together!' I proclaim an alliance with my kid, each day.  'For I need nothing else.. ever..' (I think.. but wait.. a manicure, it doesn't give itself.. maybe some time next month? Meh.)

Needless to say, it's more like: 'Work with me here, kid! We've got soo much to do, and if you -do- work with me.. how about a cookie! And a sticker.. and.. whatever it is you want!'

At the weekend, as I'm trying to reign my hair into a submittable agreement, hairbrush tangled at the back of my head - hair straightened in one hand, anti-frizz spray in the other - Nika stumbles in, usually saying something along the lines of 'whatcha you doin'?'. 'Making my hair nice.' I'd reply, to which she'd follow up with 'Hmm, looks ugly now..' That is when I'd say 'Go ask your daddy to put a show on for you!' and usher her out.

I have to admit, I want more opportunities that say that during the week. She'll be in school in a few weeks and gosh will I miss her dearly, but that's still several weeks away.

However..

You are 'Supermom' (just like every mom out there!) - you've got this. You're the woman with a set of spare batteries, wetnaps, snacks, a juice box, a band-aid, an antiseptic wipe, at least 15 minutes of entertainment uploaded onto phone, and of course - the lifesaving LeapFrog tablet; all sorts of other survival gear, all stuffed and organized in your deceivingly normal-sized handbag.What's figuring out how to do a few 'normal' things with an inquisitive, precocious and trouble-making 4 year old?

'Ridiculously difficult' is the answer.


You try your absolute best to work out, keep yourself in shape that is.. you know, be that what they call 'attractive' - but the continuation of yourself, your little miracle, a.k.a 'the child' - it sits on top of your back when you are trying to stretch, and mid-workout, as you are trying to follow the television, your little bit of perfection hands you the weights continuously, even if you don't need them and it never stops, until you muster the patience to keep going, or stop altogether.


Lest you go the other way, and try to politely say 'no, thank you' - your child breaks down emotionally and you must stop what you are doing on the spot, and comfort as best your abilities permit. Otherwise, the possibility of doing anything else that day deteriorates, you will spend the rest of your day trying to work around your emotionally-broken down pre-schooler.

What ever you do, you must incorporate that little bit of 'help' into the routine - wiping the table, counters, windows; dusting is not an easy feat.. the child climbs any chair or surface that you do, and tries to reach what you did, lest you have missed a spot.. mind you, the kid even tells you so.

Sometimes they nearly fall over - which leads you to perform an aerobic routine to snatch them to safety in time, then leads you to needing to sit down and catch your breath for fear of a heart-attack occurring.

Cleaning is NOT something that you just get over and do, it's not a quick wipe of the counters, dear friend - it's a careful game of pre-schooler Risk, we divide the territory, ever so carefully.



A bath? Excuse me? Bathing, without the company of your little angel, by the shower glass, at the door, or in the other room (possibly playing with EVERYTHING they shouldn't with, and loudly) - not in this life, no. Knock, knock... Who's there? Yes .. still you, I know, honey-bunny.

10 minute showers and in calm solitude are decadent.

Ironing becomes like a battle of Mortal Kombat - TEST YOUR MIGHT.. CHOOSE YOUR DESTINY.. FLAWLESS VICTORY; 

Dodging your little one with leg, free arm and hip, making sure that the iron is as far in sight as physically possible. Yes, yes.. with my never-ending love and iron-handling skills I'll protect you, my dearest... and then I'll help you finish that puzzle, and we'll even draw a kitty together, later!


The word 'later', mind you, must be used with great caution and skill - for little angels do NOT handle it well. Ensue breaking down emotionally, throwing a fit, screaming so loud you fear for the neighbours down the street; 'but you said TODAY!' your kid may scream. Then you're stuck explaining that 'later' is no worse than 'today' when you should really be folding some laundry, or dusting instead.

Coffee in the morning? At the computer? Checking e-mail, forums and Facebook? How normal life seems then to be, a moment of sanity? Shadowlit freaking facade, thank you - the tablet is on, the coco is drunk, the child needs a few minutes, then breakast. Their breakfast that is, not yours, of course.

Then, make sure the child is washed up, and lest you forget.. trip over yourself praising, in mid-process of success at anything.


Everything is fantastic without a doubt, of course you are proud, and who would not be? Albeit, let's admit - how nice would it be, to have that little bit of time for yourself in the day? It's not a crime, not at all. I used to feel guilty for thinking it was. Now, I'm too busy figuring out how to make everything work simultaneously to feel any guilt over wanting a moment to myself.

'THE WEEKEND', some wise man should proclaim - here you go, that's your time, woman - thou shalt no longer complain!

Yeah, thanks. The washing, the dusting, the vacuuming, the ironing, the scraping, the polishing, the organizing.. will do itself all of a sudden.

Organized documents, clean floors.
Pretty things in the home.
Surprises and nice things thought of weeks in advance.
Every thing is sorted, what else can there be?
- Cookies!
Your kid would happily reply, if you asked.

Mmkay, here you go.


Some days it's more fun, others not so much. Sometimes it's seemingly effortless.. other times, not at all. There are instances that are really hard.. like when hurt feelings, casually need to be pushed aside, along with tears wiped - life goes on and you cannot afford to skip a beat because then you'll fall behind.


My only crime in all this, I think, if I were to admit to something, would be.. I sometimes pretend that hurt feelings don't linger, but secretly, I just wait for them to go away. I often ask for help, and then I regret it and I wish I had not said anything, after all. I wish I had said to myself, I can manage .. taken a moment, perhaps.


The worst thing, I think, about asking for help.. is when people judge you for it, and wish you hadn't. 

But like I said, life doesn't skip a beat, so I don't either, at least I try not to.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What daddy best not see..

'My Beauty Diary' - Taiwanese face masks, awesome stuff, by far the best 'DIY' facials.This is a set of 'favourites': 
Red Vine Mask
Aloe Mask
Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Mask
Arbutin Whitening Mask
Black Pearl Mask
Bird's Nest Mask
Collagen Firming Mask
I have a face mask on. Nika comes up to me, glances up at me and says 'wazzat?' I explain it's a face mask, so my face would be pretty..

'Looks ugly though..' proclaims Nika. My response: -.-

'Scary even..' adds Nika.

-.-

'Good that daddy isn't seeing this, he'd get scared, and have bad dreams.' She says, and continues playing with her dolls.

Last time, I had a green 'fresh' face mask on from Lush (which was cold, messy and much less effective than I had expected). Nika saw me walking around with it on, and staring curiously, asked: 'You put your make-up on?' -.-

Children..

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sock Bun Tutorial

The Challenge: 'Mommy, I want Princess hair'.

I don't believe on using heat on her hair, so.. it was sock bun time!

The Aparatus:

- a sock you are willing to part with
- Bobby pins
- Scrunchies (I like the no pull kind, you need 2)
- Things you don't mind losing forever, in order to keep your child entertained, in my case.. used make-up and a brush.



Cut the top off the sock, like so:


 Give your child means of entertainment:
The instructions:


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Wedding: Beta stage.. part 1



So, I got word that my dress has come in - w00t!

They had initially said September which left me a tad uneasy, but looks like everything worked out perfectly.

I'll be going in next Saturday to get fitted and order some alterations.

In terms of the wedding planning, although we only started a few months ago, we have definitely come a long way.


- Find and Hire Coordinator
- Find and Book Venue
- Find and Order Dress
- Research caterers and photographers
  Create a Wedding Wbesite
- Send out 'Save The Date' announcements




I've been wanting to write up just how exactly things have been progressing in that respect, so here we go.


- Right after the proposal, we already knew where we wanted to get married - that left us with figuring out how we'd make it work.


Step 1: The Coordinator


Q: Why a coordinator?

A: Because I have a 4 year old, and a life. Don't get me wrong, planning the wedding is great fun, but it's also a stressful ordeal, and a lot of responsibility. Personally speaking, I know I could do it and I'd do it really well because I'm organized, I don't beat around the bush about what I want but I'm also a good negotiator and I have great taste, even if I do say so myself. Taking all of that into account, I've also got a 4 year old, I don't have experience in planning the kind of wedding I was picturing and more of, I wanted to enjoy this time, not stress about being able to get in contact, touch base and close loops with all the countless vendors I'll be dealing with.

So, in other words, we couldn't do without a planner, or I suppose we could have, but unanimously opted not to.

The Venue: 

In mid-search for a planner, we found the venue.. or maybe it was vice-versa. Anyway, I had looked weddings at the location we wanted, and specifically the venues where they were held. In mid-search for venues, I came a cross a wedding coordinator's portfolio - which I bookmarked, I absolutely fell in love with one of the venues she had posted.

While research coordinators, it turns out that the one with the perfect venue in her portfolio was also the perfect candidate - I made arrangements to talk to her on the phone asap, and from that moment on I knew she was exactly the sort of person I was looking for.

How I chose the coordinator:

Going by reviews, as well as coordinators that are 'location-specific'. Then, I looked at their previous work (i.e. the weddings they've coordinated), and narrowed down my list by the quality as well as aesthetically, what I found most fit my criteria.

 There was one coordinator that stood out especially. Granted, much of that was not exactly my cup of tea, but I liked the general execution as well as the fact that in every wedding in her portfolio, I saw at least one detail I really like.

Talking on the phone, she was finishing my sentences and understood exactly what I was trying to get across without me having explain twice, she also had all the contacts and experience I did not - so it was decided.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The Dress:

Dress Shopping - Tasha n' Crew style :)
The dress, was left behind in another city. That's right - I found one that was absolutely perfect and it was what I wanted and more. Upon seeing it on me, my girlfriends' eyes lit up - pure perfection, they said.

Alas, it was not within the budget and I didn't feel right even thinking about asking if I could cross that line.

So, bitterly and very sadly, I left it behind and bid goodbye to the most perfect dress I had ever seen or tried on, as though it were a newly acquired, most fantastic friend - whom I soon had to bid goodbye to, accepting we'll never meet again. With a grain of salt, I accepted it as a fact, because I had left behind more than just a dress.. much of everything and everyone really.

Now What?

 I was so sad then, because it was already February, and the wedding had originally been planned for November - no planning had been made, and I was very skeptical if we were even going to have a wedding. Needless to say, my friends told me to get over my pessimistic mindset, and assured me that they'll laugh at me for even thinking so, and they will do that at my wedding. My fiance was also fantastic - saying that he realized we were behind on the planning, and albeit there was a chance we won't get exactly what we had originally wanted, that it'd be all the more grand than what we expected.

That made me smile, and to get with the program. There was no more time to waste. Coordinator. Venue. Dress. That was the plan from then on, no more moping.

Moving Forward

A few weeks later, with little hope, I tore out a picture from a magazine - I had finally seen another dress I loved. I made an appointment, and with my future sister-in-law in tow, I nervously headed to the bridal boutique.

The dress was beautiful - imagine my disappointment, when I put it on, and realized that it was all wrong. Not because of the dress, but because of me. I was the wrong shape, height, skin and hair colour.

I was about to basically give up on life, and break down emotionally, similarly to how my daughter does when I tell her not to play with shoes.. but there was a silver-lining. There was plan B though: my bridal consultant had another dress, one that had been accidentally left behind after a show. Plus one more dress - an elegant classic.

The elegant classic, needs no other words - it's lovely. I liked the way I felt and I knew everyone would love the way it looked, too.


The dress that had been left behind after a show: I put it on, and was blown away by the 'wow' factor. It was nothing like the dress I had originally left behind, but it was everything else. The frightening part was that the 'wow' factor was so dazzling, that to be honest, for the longest time I stood there, and wondered if I was brave enough.

I left the bridal boutique that day.. I could not decide between the two dresses, one - a traditional, less dazzling but absolutely classic and beautiful gown and the other - so beautiful that I wondered if my looks were sufficient enough not to be outdone by the dress.

I'm afraid I can't give away the secret as to how I decided on the dress.. or even which dress I decided on, because that in itself is another story, from a different chapter that's coming up really soon: The 'Tasha (plus Nika, of course!) Tie The Knot' one.

But I'll tell you this much, the next morning I called my consultant and told her the news, by next weekend I had made an appointment and put down half the deposit. In mid all this, I met a fantastic jewelery maker, that will custom make my wedding jewelery. Was that luck? I don't believe in luck! It was 'score!!' moment :)

So.. a dress.. -the- dress I decided on, it's here.. That's what I wanted to say!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Going Blank.

I don't know what to say, or where to start.

I suppose I've stressed my fear of rejection more in the previous few posts than in the entire blog - why? I think because I have a sixth sense for these things, it's almost as though I know exactly when my feelings are about to be hurt. I suppose, on the other hand.. it is a 'fear', after all; by definition. I'm always afraid of my feelings getting hurt.

Out of bed last night, it was really late and even cold.. really cold, and I felt absolutely alone.

That's what hurt feelings do to me, sometimes. I get frightened. I was suddenly scared to speak up, scared to say anything at all, scared of the person I'm absolutely infatuated with. What kind of person gets like that? I don't know, what kind of person.. I just know that I do, and maybe because of that, there must be something wrong with me.

It takes a lot of courage for me to talk about the future, to make plans, pitch an idea. I've always been terrified of the subject, not the subject matter. Why? Well, see above, for a first reason; there are a few more, but I'm afraid that if I were admit to them, it'd be a validation of the fact that there are women out there who are so much more beautiful than me, if only because there is nothing wrong them, as there is with me.

I wish I had not said anything, to someone who was obviously very caught up in his own day(s), it would have been better if I had just continued letting him not look my way. Maybe there is more wrong with me. This is what love does, you see.

Was I mistaken? I'm not sure.

I do know that I don't want to say anything anymore. I don't want to try to make things magic when they're not. I'd say I'm sorry for always trying to look for a silver-lining when looking at a raging storm, and if I don't find one, for wanting to scribble one across the window glass - but I'm not sorry, not even a little bit, not at all. It's just what I do, and many people think it's why I am beautiful.

I know. There are people out there far more beautiful compared to me; but, I'm trying to be strong enough, just so you wouldn't see. I can't say you didn't notice me, I'd have been broken if you had walked by easily.

Вчера, ты не заметил, как сильно я люблю тебя.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Eyes Wide Open

Today has been such a long day, and it's not over yet. I woke up startled at 3 o'clock in the morning, the dimensions of the bed I was in no longer made sense, and the shapes on the ceiling were not something I instantly recognized. My heart was beating really fast and it took a few seconds for everything to fall in place. 

I took a few seconds to catch my breath, and then went through the usual cycle of thoughts - was the front door locked before we went to bed, was Nika okay? 

I'm used to waking up startled like that, but it hasn't happened in a while. My fiance and I had established quite early on, one night on our first vacation, he said 'Yeah, I don't really do dreams, I don't really like talking about them, they're not interesting to me'. So, I seldom ever say anything. This suits me okay, I really shouldn't talk about these things anyway. Mostly, I just mention that I didn't sleep well first thing in the morning, in order to explain my 'out-of-sorts' behaviour the next day. I don't mind keeping these things to myself, I have too much of a fear of rejection in order to share them, anyway. Besides, it used to be much worse, and the only reason why I used to even explain, was because certain people felt tears in the middle of the night weren't a sign of normalcy.

Anyway.

I got up to get some water, and checked Nika. Speaking of whom, about an hour later, as I was in bed - eyes wide open, I heard the familiar, even somewhat comforting sound of her toddle down the corridor and into our room. She plonked herself on the bed next to me, her weight making the new king-sized bed emit a little creaking sound. She then rolled over me, ending up directly in the middle.

Sometimes I wonder how awake she is, because no later than a few minutes afterward, I could hear her familiar 'sleepy' breathing, and giggles. She often giggles in her sleep.

I couldn't fall asleep, so I was listening to all the sounds outside the window - planes, birds and then, towards the morning.. the fountain.  At one point, even wondering how I usually sleep through all that.

Nika kicked, tossed, turned. Crawled under the covers and then out; flipped and wiggled - nothing unusual about that. I couldn't help but smile at every giggle I heard, some of them were particularly loud. She really is such a direct source of pure happiness.

I couldn't help thinking, that I'm really not done as of yet - I still feel like I can give something back as a parent, (not just to Nika, that is). So, I carefully ventured to the subject, in my mind - a little apprehensive, almost guilty. I don't know why.

What would having another child be like? Without the fear of being alone? The paranoia, the lingering feeling you are failing, dread of the future due to a plethora of volatile factors. Must be absolutely amazing to be pregnant within wedlock, the security of your family, the support and confidence in your significant other. I've always envied those women - up until recently, (more recently than people would imagine), I didn't think it was in the cards for me at all. It was a strange feeling, thinking about all of this in a different light, it didn't feel like a subject I couldn't fathom or something out of reach any more. Whereas it seemed to be exactly that just a few months ago. That's when I really began to go to town on what in my understanding, would make me happy.

I let myself think about this some more - the feeling, I must admit, was almost decadent.

Then, it got frightening. I felt like I had thought about these things too much. Almost habitually, I was going to tell myself that such things aren't for me, but this time I didn't. I didn't feel there was reason to.. for lack of a better expression, to take this away from myself.

Sure, there are things I'm still afraid of and worried about and will continue to be; the new one, now is .. what if things don't go according to this beautifully perfect plan my mind and heart set themselves up for last night?

 'I should savour some of these worries, I never know when they might go away, just like the other ones did', I joked with myself, in order to stop the sudden wave of negativity I was falling into again.

I used to worry about finding the right person, and then about never getting to have a relationship with the right person, and then,whether the right person believes our relationship is right. Of course, there was the fear of never getting engaged to the right person.. not getting married.

I think by nature, I have grown accustomed to analyze, nitpick and worry, because I abide a particular rule. I don't like to set expectations for anything or anyone - rather, I believe in taking actions and making decisions which, in turn, I believe would lead to the outcome I'd like to see. Sure, I get side-tracked sometimes, or worse.. I tear off the track altogether for one reason or other - mostly that pesky fear of rejection, hurt or something similar; but ultimately.. I do what I can to make my dreams a reality, never forgetting that the world doesn't revolve around me, not even my world does. My world revolves around the two people I love the most.

We'll see where this takes me.. I'm hoping, to where I want to be, because it's where the two people I love, want to be too. For the first time in my life, I'm learning to let myself decide exactly where, when, how and what I'd like to be. And I'm so, so scared.






Monday, April 30, 2012

I should be, but I'm not.

Being engaged and/or married is amazing when you are with the right person. Having said this, I must also admit that even though my significant other couldn't be more fantastic, being in a committed relationship has really made me face some underlying issues, most of which I've been aware of for a very long time, and unable to address or sort.

I won't go through each and every, but only one or two of them.

The first, being one that I've had ever since I can remember - asking for help. This is something that I struggle to do, I don't understand why but if I were to guess, I'd say it's because I'm afraid of rejection or disinterest. I can't say for sure where this originated, perhaps it's due to being alone and/or by myself for a very long time, regardless though - the point here is, when you're living with someone and nesting, putting together a home bit by bit, day by day; or all the more.. bringing up a child, one really cannot get by without asking the other person for help, support, assistance .. you know, those things I tend to be terrified of asking.

So how does that make me feel? Insignificant, somewhat inferior, insecure. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I've learned that once drowning, you must suck it up and learn how to float to shore.

I guess, I'm also afraid of being laughed at for being unable to do certain things. Which in turn leads to me ending up with so many heavy, complicated things to juggle that I really cannot cope with, but most of the time nobody knows, because I don't say anything.

There's nothing wrong with needing or wanting help, not in the least bit. One day, I hope to even believe that. It doesn't make me or anyone else inferior or less worthy of respect, worse than others or any different at all.

Another thing is - the case of the ex. Yeah, that.

People come with a past, I know. But I reserve the right to complain about the past stinging me in the present, and that's what I'm doing right now. Not for the first time in my life (much to my dismay), I'm put in a situation when sometimes opening a box or drawer is like playing dice with the devil.


My first recollection of such an incident was many, many years ago. I was moving things, clearing some space in order to take measurements - I was nesting up a home, you see. The Organizer

Then there was that guidebook, and other things.

Yesterday I cut open a box, in search of some documents. Talk about 'dice with the devil', again. One too many occasions, and more to come, I'm sure. I'm going to avoid some boxes as though they are the plague from now on and hope that these things don't come into my sight again.

I remember my ex, but then boyfriend, many years ago - the unfortunate keeper of the above-mentioned organizer; in mid-fight, I was hysterical (as I often was in that relationship) he was shaking me and screaming 'Why don't you understand?! I am over her, she is over me - the only person who isn't over something is you!'. 

He was absolutely correct, and I don't think I've changed.

 In this instance, it is very likely that everyone is over everything - except me. I continue to dwell on things, people and relationships that I wasn't even part of. Why? It's over now, so I don't know.




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chop, chop!

We were invited to an Easter party recently, and we saw our friends' son rather enjoying using chopsticks, curious at whether or not Nika would like a pair (she loooves Pho!), we ordered her some.

I couldn't be more proud of her! I didn't do anything special except hand them to her, and teach her how to hold them as well as remind her not to let go.

Her first try was.. barely anything, it was late and night and she just poked some noodles with the chopsticks and went to bed. Yesterday she got the chance to really try them out, and today she had her lunch using only them (by choice, of course!). This time, if she stopped holding them, she was able to figure out how to hold them with only minimal prompts from me.

So, I recommend these Edison chopsticks to anyone, they can be found on Amazon by running a search for 'chopsticks for children'.

These come with a 'thumb rest', which I never got around to putting onto them, but she seems to be doing perfectly fine without it..

I think they're a great way for turning finger foods into a fine-motor skill challenge.





And here's Nika in action!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

They said..

You know, there's a Russian song that goes 'I don't know, who's been spreading these rumours - rumours that I never cry' - I think that applies to me perfectly. What's wrong with people these days? They see the shell of someone's life on a social networking website or blog, and believe it to be the essence of their very being.

I know that what I call my life today, is something that can be deemed so close to perfect, it should be criminal. Never does a day go by, without me being grateful for that. Honest. Never do I forget that, I've shed oceans of tears over the course of many years, before I got to live  what I call my life today.

So, the audience wants to know what goes on behind the drawn curtains? ..Sure!

The wedding is being planned, and that's going really great.

But do you know what it took? Loving all the wrong people, gaining and losing the people I thought were friends - finding the only right person for me. Holding on to him so tight, it hurt. When times got hard, my hands would shake, when I'd hold my phone, looking at a picture of the two of us smiling at the camera. I would refuse and then promptly lose, but I'd pretend it was more like letting go. I'd be soon begging, hoping to get everything right back, get it and then.. decide to lose it all again.

Make a mistake. Lose it. Find it. Tear apart the letters I've written. Then get angry, delete the photos, feel terrible. Not sleep, smile bravely, pretend to be a friend to the people I considered enemy-like. Take deep breaths the next night, to be able to fall asleep; thinking of the flowers and what the summer sky had looked like when we met. Load a photo of us on my phone. Set as wallpaper. Keep trying to be my best, wait for his ringtone.

He was perfect, alas the timing, place and my life however, were not. So yeah, it didn't 'just' work out, but at the same time it did - with a lot of patience, swallowing the bitterness, understanding, time and the ability to forgive, forget and get on with life.

--

Nika is doing really well - she's adjusting to a new time, place and life just fine. She likes it more, I think. She doesn't say it, but it seems so. She's happy now.

The sky is the limit for her here, and the rest is up to her. I try to teach her something new every day, and most days, she learns two new things. She makes me really happy, but I'm happiest when I'm making her happy.

--

Sometimes I take a look at myself and get a little startled. I'm not used to being this way. Why? Well, I suppose I'm different now, I think I look different, too. But it's okay because.. the lack of lipstick; my shoes and sometimes I wear dresses - I'm of the same kind here, or at least, definitely no worse.

There are so many people that are beyond gone from my life, and I needn't talk to them, nor do I want to. I've always wanted to do that or at least be able to, or maybe to just have the choice - but I was short of the courage, or maybe the rudeness, perhaps the confidence, or all the aforementioned and maybe even a few more. It's this way now though, so that's what matters.

Those people made my life totally volatile, with almost every happening being an unexpected occurrence, or .. much like the book 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'. Sounds fun? Well it wasn't, at least.. not all the time, but sometimes.. I admit.

Short words of absolute happiness like 'I love you' or 'I need you' became totally obsolete then. These people turned my life into a carnival, and I struggled every day to make myself the princess of that carnival. It got exhausting and fast. But thankfully, growing up now.. I soar so high up above them. I don't know who is kissing whose lips, I don't try to find out.


 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kiddy Menu - Piatti

So, a new little blog tag dedicated to children menu reviews!

Brief Children Menu Review @ Piatti

Location:
3905 Rivermark Plaza
Santa Clara, CA 95054


So, my kid is partial to certain things - much like all kids really, there's a selection of things she likes and some that she doesn't.


Eating at home is one story, but eating out is another - generally she'll be happy to have pasta. She doesn't like anything 'long', so spaghetti and other similar pasta is out. I just about always ask for a penne or similar substitute if possible.

She'll be happy to get chicken tenders, breaded fish or shrimp with chips (..or French fries, as I should now learn how to call them!). Some sort of fish fillet and assorted veggies could also work out well on good days (though we're still working on getting her to be happy at seeing greens as happy as she is at seeing fries!).


Piatti is great for $6.95 we got crayons, some awesome colouring pages and a choice of:


Spaghetti - butter or tomato sauce
Bambini pizza - cheese, tomato sauce + cheese or peperoni topping
Chicken breast and assorted veggies


This included some juice and a scoop of ice cream at the end of dinner.



Nika is going through a stage where she's not too keen on cheese, so we asked for the pasta without cheese. Luckily we were able substitute the spaghetti with ricciutelle or maybe it was more of a short lasagnette type of pasta; anyway, you get the idea - the main thing is that it was a hit!

The portion was so generous that we even got to take some home, which she really enjoyed for lunch today:




Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Misc.

And she said to herself: 'just a tiny bit more patience, be a tad stronger and precisely that much more understanding, for a little bit longer' exactly like last month, and the one before.

Presumably, it won't be like this forever, but what do I do, if even 'a little' is becoming too much.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Decisions, decisions..

I suppose, being that the last couple of weeks have had everyone on edge, I should not interpret things casually said in mid conversation as a final decision. Albeit, on the other hand, why would anything of the sort be so casually said unless subconsciously  a decision has been made.

This is frightening almost, because at the very start, I was thinking differently until a certain point, and mind you, the change of my general mindset was not done single-handedly by me. I'm unsure of what to think and if I should think about any of this at all, but then a part of me feels that if such a decision was made and at cross purposes, why even go ahead with the rest of the plans, if it has suddenly become different.

I suppose, I could argue with myself about how one 'definite' plan affects the other, but in my mind, I felt like everything would suddenly be beautifully interconnected with a new beginning, and off to happiness.  I didn't expect a fork-road like this, because for me, until very recently, there was only one path available.

Just look at this, here I am 'supposing' this or that, or both, or nothing - it's back to being in the unknown again.
I'm kind of scared now, because just when I get used to the idea of normalcy, I get a rude awakening. I should not have thought about it, but who can blame me? When everything seems so close to perfect, with such happy things to look forward to in the future, I just presumed.. I guess I presumed wrongly. I need to find the courage to have this resolved and soon. Ideally before next week, but before the end of the month for sure. But it has all got to start with me - do I want this so much that I'm willing to say it out loud? I believe the answer is yes, and that scares me so much.What if this become the only, and possibly biggest factor of incompatibility?

Maybe it's a hurt sense of pride that stinging so much - how could a decision that would be made with me, be in any possible way worse, how is what I'm part of  today different? Is it because it's all been tried and done? That's not fair. Really not fair, because someone else's previous life and their impact on the present is in no way my fault. Had it been different, this would be so different too. Thus, not fair.

I don't know, once again I feel like there is just too much going on for a pause to pick apart my concerns and emotions in the open. Alas, upon attempting to do it by myself, I come to a bunch of baseless confused conclusions. Often, when I feel this way, it is as though I want to speak up about how I feel but for fear of a reaction to my actions, I have no voice.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

New phone, beauty stuff and Tabby 2.0

So, let's start with the least prominent point: nails.

Having been an acrylic/gel nail fan for a really long time, nobody knows the advantages as well as disadvantages of gettin' 'em done as well as I do. My nails needed a rest; so when I'm not toying around with every available to me Shellac shade every two weeks, in that rare colour break, I've been looking for new stuff to try. I got Sally Hansen's 'salon effects' kit in a lace print a few months ago and only just put it to some use.

What can I say.. all in all, it's definitely easy to use and took me all of half an hour, between watching my show and watching my fiance enjoy some quality time with the Wii, mind you, much deserved as we had an awesome Sunday. More about that in a second.

Nails: easy application, evidently good quality material, albeit needless to say, not comparable to a salon experience.

The day was great because we got out to our favourite restaurant in the neighbourhood, the one where our engagement party was hosted. They offer entertainment for the kids while the parents enjoy an undisturbed meal. Nika loves it and we are always happy with the service as well as got pleasantly surprised by a discount card we had asked for in return for them catering our party. In Moscow, unfulfilled promises are the norm if not even more common than the promises that are kept, so thumbs  up for the Bocconcino at Novoslobodskaya.

Now to more important things..a change in my life, an unexpected one: moving from the Sony Ericsson cult into the HTC coven. I am now a very impressed owner of the HTC Rhyme in a lush shade of plum purple. Within 24 hours of life with me, my new pet has become customized to its absolute potential. It has proven to be not only an impressive member of the smartphone gang but also made me giddy with joy upon the sight of all the shiny accessories that are not only new and exciting but also efficiently functional and light up super cute.. needless to say I'm talking about the charm here. The docking station is a cool touch as I love listening to my playlist whilst getting ready to go out but this has always proven to be somewhat a pain with my old phone due to power cords in the way, and it overheating and not charging much during the music play. Headphones are also really pleasing albeit I'll be switching to cordless Bluetooth again once those charge up.


And now for Tabby.. 'Tabby' is actually the 3G Samsung Galaxy tab I accidentally drowned in the rain last holiday. I was hopeful that there was a chance to salvage it, alas, that was actually not the case as it rejected a generic part and the repair centre has not been able to have an authentic Samsung one shipped here, presumably because it suits Samsung better to have customers replace tabs altogether in lieu of just a single part, sucks but oh well. I was relatively upset to hear that a repair wasn't possible and I could hear disappointed my fiance was at the news.. and so, thinking quick, I figured out a few innovative ways to replace the expensive tab in under a week. On Saturday, I was buying the tab again, the reason why is simple: I felt guilty for breaking something and couldn't not replace the thing being that I could.. and so I did, and I feel much better. I think it's part of being a family or rather, part of being a part of a family - when given the chance, making up for your mistakes.



Friday, January 13, 2012

The Big 4

What's the big 4 like? Well, bigger than the big 3, that's for sure!

It's rather shocking how time flies. And my little big 3 year old, turns into a little big 4 year old.

This year, Rainbow Cake ambitions cake true, and wow was it an interesting experiment!


Using this batter recipe:
 http://www.azcookbook.com/zebra-cake/

Preparation time: 10 minutes ---> took us 20
Cooking time: 40 minutes
  --> ours was in for about 30 min
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake

INGREDIENTS for Rainbow Cake recipe
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz / 250 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) oil (corn, vegetable or canola is fine)
2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 tablespoon (equals 3 teaspoons) baking powder (if not available, substitute with 1 teaspoon baking soda)


There's also cocoa in that recipe but we  didn't use any due to using food colouring.


I chose Wilton, a set of 4: red, orange, yellow and blue. In the end I wasn't happy with my choice of food colour because I didn't manage to get purple from the particular shade of blue and red - I need a cyan and a magenta. 


I lost some red during transportation, so getting a bright red colour was difficult due to me needing to scrub the botton of the little tub to get what was left over. I left the first batch sitting around too long, due to no fault of my own, and made the mistake of starting with the blue colour in the middle (which then spread out into the bottom of the pan, thus getting cooked first and ending up not so vivid), anyway.. my other mistake was having the convection on in the oven, making the first layer cook too quickly.


I lost some batter on my purple colour attempt so the recipe had yielded much more than I got, which in turn left me making another batch. Being much more cofident this time, steadier hand while pouring, I ended up with this result:







I got that by pouring the batter right into the middle of the pan, hand as steady as possible, and never moving the man and never spreading out the batter manually, that would mess the effect up.









I was super happy with its appearance but I definitely wasn't happy with the air bubbles I got inside it. No biggie, some Italian maringue frosting later (provided by my fiance who is ace at making frosting of any kind), I was super happy with the result





Used left over batter (because the second layer was made without even attempting purple, and being that I wanted them to be similar in size, I decided not to make too much coloured batter and so, having some left over, zebra cake!)