Can’t sleep rant

August 19, 2010 – 12:14 am

What the heck. Tried to go to bed. Couldn’t. So sat on the couch in the dark starring at the dark room. I think I started to hear the rats scurrying in the street.

Finally feeling sleepy. Probably from trying to write something/anything.

Refill Foam Soap Dispenser

June 30, 2010 – 1:03 pm


So recently I’ve been seeing more of these foam soap dispensers. They’re all over the place now. In people’s bathrooms, the restaurant bathrooms, etc. It’s like foam is suddenly all the rage.

joseph bought one for our bathroom and then like all soap dispensers, the soap was all used up. since we attempt frugality, we buy large tubs of soap refill from costco and we refill dispensers. at first i was like, crap no foam refill. Then thought to myself, “why do i need to buy foam refill? can’t i just dilute the other refill stuff?” well, guess what i did. It worked, and now I’m thinking about replacing the soap dispensers with foam soap dispensers instead. Since you’re diluting the soap with water, less refill for more use. That means my refill soap dollars get stretched just a little more, or maybe alot more. here’s how:

1. Fill your empty foam dispenser with 1/4 (quarter) hand soap refill

2. Fill remainder with water and replace pump attachment. Be sure to leave a little room for the pump attachment, so the water/soap doesn’t overflow

3. Lightly agitate the dispenser to thoroughly mix the soap and water. No need to shake vigorously

korea – day 11 – final day in korea

March 22, 2010 – 3:41 pm

over a year after the last post. this concludes the korea trip recount.  it has been nearly 2 years since we’ve gone to korea.  if we ever make it back to korea, i wonder how long those posts will take me.

our last day in korea was bittersweet. i was looking forward to going home and relaxing a little before having to go back to work. though i love korea and of course my family (as noted in previous posts) maintaining the level of respect, etc that is required by cultural laws always prohibit me from feeling 100% at ease. i never want to offend family especially when they spent so much time showing us love.

Leaving Korea

note the large box i have in the picture on the right. my uncle bought us seaweed. LOTS of it. i thought i was going to have to declare or even get taxed on some of it. thankfully not. some friends in nyc got to share in the bounty and the bulk of it went to my mom to help dispense to other aunts.

before leaving, joseph took the time to take pictures of the more communal areas at my aunt’s home in Bundang (a suburb of seoul about 45 minutes via bus). there are two half baths. one with a toilet, and sink, another with a shower head and sink.

Toilet Toilet Buttons

my aunt’s family live in a good area and are basically surrounded by a local park, so that means no more development in their specific neighborhood. one day joseph and i actually decided to walk up the park, but too bad we forgot to take pictures. maybe next time :)

this concludes the korea posts. definitely going out with a massive fizzle instead of a bang. if you want to see more pictures of our trip they’re here:

Toaster Series: Bacon and Cheese Omelet

December 9, 2009 – 12:41 pm

So here’s #2. Last week I made Ripert’s Caramelized Mangoes. This week, I present to you Bacon and Cheese Omelet. I originally hoped that it would be more like a quiche, but i’m having trouble calling it that without a crust. See below for recipe.

Bacon and Cheese Omelet

Bacon and Cheese Omelet

Read the rest of this entry »

Toaster Series: Mangoes a la mode

December 2, 2009 – 4:03 pm

I’ve been following Eric Ripert for a number of years now. I saw him on some PBS cooking show and thought he was a great chef. His food seemed accessible, but well done. He also seemed accessible and down to earth. I don’t feel the same way about most other celebrity chefs, like Bobby Flay. One day I heard about Ripert’s Toaster series and got excited. Watched a few and thought that I should make some of the recipes.

So here we go. I started with his Caramelized Mango with Rum recipe over Thanksgiving. My mom had two mangoes that were just sitting in the kitchen waiting to be eaten. And, well, we have easy access to alcohol since my parents own a liquor store. I took a shorty of bacardi gold and we were on our way.

Everyone seemed to like the recipe. I tried it at work with bananas using a coworker’s toaster oven. Quite tasty. I think I might even try making a quiche at work.

See below for recipe and video Read the rest of this entry »

Pregnancy – Third Trimester

December 1, 2009 – 2:46 pm

Some people asked how my pregnancy was going (when I was pregnant). Well, it’s went. It’s was both great and very bad at times. Here I’ll share mainly about my third trimester. Here’s how my first and second trimesters went. Third trimester is now officially over, with the birth of our daughter Zoe Pax Tsang. But more on the birth later (perhaps 9 months later =P).

Compared to the other trimesters, third was fairly uneventful. The most noticeable difference was my size.  i did grow a decent sized belly, but not enormous. but with the growth also came … stretch marks! >_< very unappealing in my opinion. but again, not horribly bad compared to what i’ve seen online. Yup and that lovely line right down the middle of the belly. Not too pretty either. here’s mine:

Stretch Marks

Stretch Marks

Growth of a belly also meant fun times trying to get out of bed in the morning.  if you want to know what i mean, strap a 20-40lbs backpack to your midsection lie down in bed and then try to get up. now do that every morning for about 3 months. yeah. now you get it. joseph was always very accommodating, sometimes helping to push me out of bed when i needed the extra nudge.

Walking around and going up and down stairs is not fun, but with the extra weight up front, it’s even more not fun. same test with the back pack. thankfully my feet didn’t swell, but i did start to feel pain in my hips and legs.  i definitely got sleepy around the 3pm mark. the only thing keeping me up at work was the constant talking around me from my coworkers. what i really wanted to do was curl up on the sofa behind me.

one thing i definitely liked during the last trimester, was all the people who let me have a seat on the subway. i did notice a bit of a trend. the people who gave up their seats were other women (usually older white ladies), and short latino men. but me, being the weirdo that I am, would always try to get the lame kids, who’s legs were sprawled apart into at least 2 seats, to move instead.

if you really must know more detail about being pregnant, just carry the backpack in your midsection all the time for 3 months.  soon you’ll be aching all over, and getting tired faster too :)

UglyDolls – UglyCon2008

March 19, 2009 – 8:00 am

why are we angry? because we were told to look angry =P the guy from the store was taking random pictures. there weren’t very many asians there in a store that’s probably run by mainly asians.

we were at Giant Robot. it’s a store that sells japanese/asian like trinkets and toys and such. they were the host of last year’s UglyCon

UglyCon is basically an excuse for people who love UglyDolls to get together and purchase various UglyDoll merchandise. Some are limited handmade editions and others are pre-releases, before they go on sale to the masses.

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and of course they had uglydoll related merchandise. like paintings, and prints

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before we got to uglycon we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. and really didn’t plan on buying anything in particular, but in the end we gave in and got some stuff we wanted :)

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due to some unfortunate (but very fortunate for us) mixup regarding the prints we ended up getting some prints for free!! :)

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We’re hoping to frame these and put them into the baby’s room. hopefully she’ll enjoy them as much as joseph and i like them :)

korea – day 10 – Gumi, Kimcheon, and NamDaeMoon

March 12, 2009 – 9:51 am

As I mentioned in the previous korea post, I MUST FINISH THIS.

After the trip to GyeongJu, we spent the night at my uncle’s home in Gumi.

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It’s a small and modest house in what most of us would consider a very rural area. this is where my dad’s family’s land is. most of it belongs to this particular uncle, since he was the only son to stay in korea, while the other two sons went off to the states. he built this home from “scratch”. he and his wife saved their entire lives in preparation for retirement.

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americans typically think of retirement as moving to florida, hanging out with other old people and going to denny’s for the senior grand slam special. koreans have a different view. my uncle and aunt spend their time farming the family land. the grow their own soybeans, and other vegetables. they do everything organically so everything is cooked simply and the flavor is amazing! they make their own soy sauce, tofu, soybean paste (dwenjang), red pepper paste (ggotchujang), and a number of other things.

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On basically what was our last full day in korea, my uncle gave us a tour of his home. extremely proud of what he’s been able to provide for his family, and also to show us that he’s taken care of our family land. he pointed to some of the dried greens that were hanging from the garage and said that it was my dad’s favorite vegetable. so he dries plenty of it each year hoping my dad comes for a visit. he showed us the mill he uses to grind the beans.

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before getting ready to take us to kimcheon, he wanted to show us one more thing. my dad’s best friend’s burial/memorial site and the buddhist temple the man had built and worshipped at. though my dad’s family is catholic, they were good friends with this man and also proud of his acheivements.

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i don’t know his name, but my dad showed me pictures. he was the provincial wrestling champion. but also a devout buddhist. he would go to a local cave and meditate for days without food or water. later he became a famous buddhist monk and raised money to build this temple. along with the temple he had a deep desire to serve the disabled and mentally handicapped. there is an adjacent home to the temple. we didn’t get to visit the facility so no pictures. unfortunately, my dad’s friend was murdered by one of the mentally ill. he was buried next to the temple.

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we then decided to take a quick trip to kimcheon. there’s a park there that features different types of art. including some very interesting statues like these:

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the first is joseph pretending to play a children’s game where you attempt to hop on someone’s back and play a game of rock, paper, scissors. next joseph was told to rub the buddha’s belly so we would have good luck in trying to have a baby. i proceeded to touch the belly button instead. the last two were all in good fun of course :)

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there should be no vacation/travel posts without the gluttonous amount food consumed! we went to a pork bbq place. instead of the usual vents that are fixed on the ceiling, you could pull these vents down towards the table and then push them back up and out of the way to eat. this basically concluded our trip to the kumi area. before we left my uncle proceeded to say “i’m sorry if they did anything wrong”. after this lengthy post of the hospitality and the family love they showed, suffice to say there was NOTHING wrong that they did. in fact, joseph and i probably should’ve said what they had said instead. we intruded on their quiet lives and they welcomed us with open arms.

my aunt and uncle put us on a high speed train back to seoul. this by itself is a treat. it’s like taking the acela instead of the regional train. time difference between the two is a few hours because there are also far fewer stops in between.

it actually dropped us off not too far from namdaemoon. so guess were we went next?

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this outdoor street market is HUGE. it’s a maze. i tried to be as diligent as possible to make sure we either knew where we were going, or at least know how to get back to where we came from. it’s a sea of wholesalers of all different types of stuff, of everything from clothes, socks, bras, pots, knives, computers….you name it, they probably have it. apparently there are alot of tourist from china and japan looking for korean ginseng. all the sales people kept yelling at me and joseph in cantonese, mandarin, taiwanese, japanese and korean – unsure whether we were one or another.

lastly, the last nite of being in korea meant that we finally got to spend some time with my cousin. usually he’s the one i spend most of my time with when i’m in korea. but this trip was obviously different. he’s also far busier now, running the furniture company that my uncle built. it used to be living room, bedroom and dining room furniture company. my cousin decided to change the direction of the company based on his research and noticing the fair share of furniture companies in asia. it was a smart investment and business strategy for him. the new direction was to build wardrobes for apartments. much like in the US, the real estate market BOOMED all over asia, with new buildings and renovations happening all over. guess who was building new wardrobes through many of korea’s new/remodeled homes?

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we ended up starting at a chicken place. like i said before, joseph was so smitten with kyochon, we looked for every opportunity to eat more of that kind of chicken. my cousin ended up taking us to this place where one of the owners looked like my aunt #6. we had some beer and chicken and caught up. instead of staying after we finished eating though, we headed off to a second place. some japanese place to eat more food and drink some more. by this time we get to this second place, i’m already a little tipsy, on the verge of drunk. i don’t think joseph was, though he did get quiet and looked very happy with a huge grin on his face. this is probably why there aren’t many pictures of our time spent with my cousin. man koreans can drink.

Pregnancy – Second Trimester

March 5, 2009 – 9:02 am

Some people have asked how my pregnancy has been going. Well, it’s been going. It’s been both great and very bad at times. Here I’ll share mainly about my second trimester. (first trimester shared here)

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second trimester was better than the first. for sure. only one incident of diarrhea and vomiting. and my appetite slowly came back. at the last doctors appointment of the trimester I had finally gained back 2.5lbs of the 10lbs i had lost.

that was really the most scary thing for me. everything i read and from other people’s experiences they had all GAINED weight during their pregnancy, nearly from the beginning. meanwhile i gained nothing, only lost. it scared me. i was definitely trying to eat more and more frequently. third trimester has been better. more on that in a later post.

i started to feel the baby move around. the fluttering feels a lot like GAS. but as the baby got bigger we could start to feel her kick. i found it sort of amusing and cute most of the time. joseph thinks it’s a little creepy, because it’s like a little alien in my belly.

the most amazing part of the second trimester is the sonogram. lying on the table and watching the screen. it was fun to see the face and body. and finding out that it was a girl!

i’m a little afraid to have a girl. i guess my “preference” was a boy. but only because i’m not sure if i know how to raise a girl. friends will have to put my daughter’s hair up for her. cos i have no clue, other than the basic pony tail. and what to do if she wants to wear a dress? how about make-up?!

thank goodness for god parents. we’ve selected and asked 4. two men and two women. their responsibilities are:

  1. to love our child
  2. to pray for her
  3. perhaps protect her
  4. to care for her
  5. (optional) braid her hair

here’s some gifts from some of the god parents. how fitting =P:

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headphones for the concerts baby tsang will go to in the future. she’s already been to at least 2: snow patrol and the killers.

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these are really fun cds. the U2 one we got long before i got pregnant but i’m still applying it since it’s from one of the god parents.

no… the god parents are NOT required to begin buying things for our child. that is not one of the responsibilities as mentioned above. :)

Pregnancy – First Trimester

February 26, 2009 – 11:57 am

Some people have asked how my pregnancy has been going. Well, it’s been going. It’s been both great and very bad at times. Here I’ll share mainly about my first trimester.

Joseph and I figured out around the annual Vision retreat that I might be pregnant. I’m fairly regular, but my period hadn’t come when it was supposed to. So once we got back home, we went to the pharmacy and got some tests. joseph shared about the experience here via some pictures. let me just tell you, trying to read and understand those lines was confusing!

Once I was sure, I started doing the research on hospitals and doctors. In NY, it’s a bit mind boggling. You’re basically choosing between the best Children’s hospital, best NICU, best pregnancy/birthing hospital, best high risk doctors, etc. It turned out, whatever hospital I chose would be either the best or at least ranked top 10 in the country in something or another.

Next was down-selecting the doctor. My criteria was:

  1. Recommended by a friend or more
  2. Takes my insurance
  3. Delivers at one of the better hospitals, per my previous paragraph

I made appointments with about 4 doctors after getting a list of about 20+ doctors from various friends and doctors. Only a few actually fit my 3 criteria. But then I canceled the rest of my appointments after having seen the first doctor. She was great. Joseph and I didn’t feel the need to see a bunch of other doctors after her.

Beyond the research and administrative stuff, my body was freaking out on me. Lack of appetite basically caused me to lose about 10lbs. Weird. Most people gain weight, instead I lose weight. I didn’t want to eat anything really. Meat was a definite turn off and actually still is, but I forced myself to eat it for protiens sake. However, almost anything spicy would be eaten no problem, just not a whole lot of it.

Morning sickness was more like ALL-DAY sickness. At one point I had both diarrehea and vomit coming from my body at the same time! (sat on the toilet with a trashcan in front of me)

The good is that I’m definitely eating better. I eat far more vegetables and my want for korean food is stronger than ever :) (perhaps to joseph’s chagrin =P)

And the GREAT is how loving and supportive joseph has been through all the ugliness, grossness, and pickiness.