Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wine Rack

I put together the wine rack I'd picked up earlier in the week for my pantry et le voila, mise en place:

It's actually meant to hold 12 bottles, but the rack is a couple inches too long for my pantry shelf so there you have it. I didn't use the glue that came with the box - I just hammered the pegs in so I'm wondering now if it'll be sufficient...Too lazy now to take it apart to glue together so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there won't be an accident.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Summer! Furniture!

Thanks to Wanderluster's tip, I hurried on over to the Ikea website and stumbled upon their outdoor furniture line - it's filed under Summer if you click on the link for All Departments! And HELLO, jackpot!

I had in mind a modular set similar to Nuevo Living's Cubit line which, guess what, Ikea has too! It's called Arholma!!

Here're some of my favs:

Ikea outdoor favs
Ikea outdoor favs - by phoenixc on

Monday, March 23, 2009

New pricing at Ikea?

I'm on the hunt for balcony furniture and it ain't cheap. What I need is for Ikea to come out with an outdoor furniture line. Their Urban chair came immediately to mind but there are no options table-wise for outdoors. And then I noticed the odd pricing:

Their pricing is typically round dollars - is there a web monkey behind the scenes having fun? I mean, what's with the Docksta for $228.65? You telling me I could have saved $40.35 if I'd waited a few more months?

P.S. I finally figured out how to print screen in Mac OS! Yay!!! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


photo via

It's finally Spring and the sun is peeking through the clouds. I have plans for an anti-social day today and I quite like it. I slept in until just before 10am and have been vegging in front of the TV watching a Megastructures episode on the Water Cube that I'd PVR'd earlier while eating wonton noodles.

I'm now dillydallying because I have a list of things I'd like to see to today - including the purchase of a cap for running. I'm convinced I look like a complete dork in a cap but I've decided this is something I need to overcome. After trying a few caps yesterday during my lunch hour, I'm sure my head is bigger than the average woman - or at least the average that's been decided by the designers at Nike and Adidas because they're too small for me. So looks like I'm going to have to get a man-sized cap.

My fridge also needs re-stocking and having read a few of the essays in Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, I've decided to make use of my kitchen this weekend...perhaps pull out my food processor for something complicated...or not, but fantastic nonetheless.

So off I go to get dressed...the day waits for no one!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I was wrong

I ordered this top from J. Crew a couple weekends ago and it arrived today at work via UPS after being re-directed from my home address because there obviously isn't anyone there to sign for it while I'm at work.

My first reaction when I pulled it out of the box was that it was too close in tone to my skin colour and the last thing I want is to wear something that makes me look washed out so I was all set to return it in exchange for a different colour. But I tried it when I got home and I've since changed my mind. The cut is super-flattering - the v-neck is just right and the gathered neckline and loose fit skims the body just-so so that on days when you feel bloated and ick, no one else will know. :)

All I need to make this colour good on me is a tan, and to that end, I've decided it's time to begin using my must-have moisturizer for the lead-up to summer - Jergen's Natural Glow. It has the same distinct smell as other self-tanners I've tried that I find mildly unpleasant, but I like that the price is reasonable and it works fairly quickly. I wonder if there will be a noticeable difference tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sky Burial

I just finished reading Xinran's Sky Burial and it truly is as its' subtitle suggests - an epic love story of Tibet.

Xinran recounts the true story of Shu Wen, a Chinese women she interviewed in Suzhou in 1994. Wen ventured into Tibet in the 1950s in search of her husband, a Chinese doctor and soldier who was missing in action.

She wandered for over 30 years in the mountains of north Tibet with a nomadic family who saved her with the unwavering belief that she would find her husband someway, somehow.

This is a fantastic study of Tibetan religious beliefs and the descriptions of the nomadic way of life and their instinctual movements as the seasons changed was eye-opening and beyond my imagining as a modern-day city girl.

While the fate of Wen's husband is revealed in the end, we're left wanting as to what becomes of Wen, who disappeared without a trace 2 days after her first meeting with Xinran.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First run out

It's a gorgeous spring day and I went for my first run outside this year. I headed west along Lake Shore through Coronation Park all the way to the Molson Ampitheatre and then doubled back along Queens Quay. I kept an easy pace and it felt awesome. So I treated myself to a grande-non-fat-no-foam-extra-hot tazo chai from Starbucks on my way home. :)

Hope you're out enjoying the great weather!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

One Week

I spent the rainy afternoon in a theatre with wL watching One Week and thoroughly enjoyed this unabashedly Canadian road trip movie.

Joshua Jackson is Ben Tyler, a grade school English teacher who's been diagnosed with terminal cancer who's not ready to be a patient, so he buys a motorcycle on the way home from hearing the news and sets off across country for one last grand adventure.

If it's playing in a theatre near you, go see it. It inspired wL and I to plan our hypothetical trip from coast to coast...something I'd love to do one day. We decided that we'd fly east to St. John's Newfoundland and rent a car to drive west. The one rule is that we'd stick to the Trans Canada Highway and only deviate within 100km from day...

Friday, March 06, 2009


Ellen Page via

I didn't want to be sitting at my desk this afternoon. The sun was flirting with me and while I'm not much of a cyclist, heading out for a spin would have been a lovely way to spend this Spring-like day.

Have a great weekend. :)

Flight's booked!

I've booked my free flight to Europe! Well, it wasn't actually free because I had to pay the taxes which were still about $370(!!!) but I've booked my flight for April 8! I'm flying into London to meet one of my best girls, my cousin A. I'll spend a week there before we fly together for a long weekend in Amsterdam for another cousin's wedding. We then head off for a week in Spain together, splitting our time between Barcelona and Madrid. My return flight is booked from Amsterdam so I still have to book the flights in between but I can't wait!

I haven't seen A and most of my other Dutch cousins since I was over there in 2006 so it'll be fantastic to be amongst so much family again. So excited!!! :)

BUT! It means my training for the 10K will be interrupted...well...let's be honest, it hasn't really started, which means I either have to get my ass in gear this month or forget about it. What to do?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

China Witness

I just got back from attending an interview of Xinran by John Fraser at U of T's Hart House. If you're not familiar with who Xinran is, she is the author of The Good Women of China, a collection of real life stories of Chinese women. It was, at times, a heartbreaking read for me because it made me wonder at the resilience and strength of Chinese women to persevere through the hardships and injustices of simply being born a woman in a culture that generally does not value them. And it made me grateful that I was lucky enough to be born and raised in the West.

She was here to promote her latest effort, China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation.

Fraser asked her about her childhood and her experience growing up in the Cultural Revolution. Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958. Her parents were both well-educated and from a wealthy background. She was seperated from her parents at an early age and was raised by her grandparents. She recounted the clear memory of meeting her mother for 10 minutes at the train station when she was 5, and the light purple clothing she wore. When she was 6 and a half, she was reunited with her parents only to be seperated again about 6 months later when the Cultural Revolution swept the nation and resulted in her parents imprisonment.

She spent the better part of her childhood living with other children in some sort of compound where she wasn't allowed to play let alone speak. And to this day, she still has nightmares that the Red Guards will darken her door in the middle of the night to take her away for a beating.

She spoke too, about her reasons for writing this book - Part of it is because Chinese youth today are completely ignorant of this period in China's modern history, and part of it is because if she doesn't do it now, it may be too late as most of the oral histories she collected were from interviewees in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

She shared with us a meeting she had with 22 young students outside a Beijing shopping district who were on break from their jobs. She asked them if any of them knew what the Cultural Revolution was and only 1 of them could answer correctly. She then asked them all to go home and call their parents for an answer, and in return, she would give them a gift the next day. When the next day came, all but 1 student came back. It's her belief that one can't move forward in the future without understanding one's past and what a disservice it is that so many of the young Chinese today have no idea.

When asked about her education, she said that she has 4(?) degrees the first being English and she wasn't able to communicate to the cab driver on her first trip to London; and while she has a computer science degree, she studied computers when the hardware took up an entire room. Despite being so well-educated, she got the most value from the stories she's been able to gather in talking to different people.

Anyway, it was rather a thrill to hear her speak of her first-hand experiences. I think I was third in line after Fraser to have her sign my book and I was rather dumbstruck. She asked me softly in mandarin if I was Chinese and I answered yes....and I can't recall now what her next question was, but I answered: "Wo shi Jianada waqiao", which means I am Canadian born Chinese...that was just about the only useful phrase I could recall at the moment after studying mandarin for 2 years. Lame. Then she said to me, in mandarin, "Please ask after your father and mother." Then I said "xiexie," thank you, and then I gathered up my things and left. Double lame.

In hindsight, I wish I could have told her that I really enjoyed reading The Good Women of China because it made me at times happy and sad and angry and hopeful. I wish I could have told her how much I am looking forward to reading China Witness for all that I will learn about my Chinese cultural heritage, but most of all, I wish I could have told her how thankful I am that she feels compelled to document so much Chinese history that would otherwise be lost.

I didn't then, so I'll do it now: "Xinran, xiexie ni."

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