Archive | April, 2013

Liebster Award: Pay It Forward

20 Apr

Liebster Award: Pay It Forward

I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my blog lately. As you may know, wordpress is one of the many sites that China has blocked in recent years. I’ve been able to continue posting thanks to a paid service that allows me access some of these censored sites, but lately it hasn’t been doing its job (I’m still waiting for their reply on this matter). So, this is why I need to split this post in 2. Last week I found I got nominated for the Liebster award by the lovely Monique from A Reel Chick. This award consists on answering some questions, sharing random facts about me, passing the good vibe on to other bloggers, and creating a new list of questions for the newly nominated bloggers to answer. The thing is, I can’t look at my list of favorite blogs nor find new ones at the moment due to my current technical situation. So, I will start with what I can do, which is answer the questions and let you know a bit about myself. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get this issue resolved soon and post the 2nd part soon (blogs I like plus the questions)

I’ve done a bit of research on this award and, although there isn’t much information on how the award originated, it seems that it is something started out by bloggers and passed on to other bloggers. I think this is actually better than an “official” award! It is more of a peer to peer support system, which I find it to be beautiful. In a time where we all strive to be better, stronger, lovelier, etc., it is nice to every now and then turn our eyes towards other people and let them know how cool they are 🙂

So, I think this is a great way to get to know each other and for you to discover other blogs.
So here we go.

This are the 11 questions that Monique from A Reel Chick asked us to answer:
1. Honey bees, Honey Boo Boo or Honey Badger?
Honey Badger!
2. Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or fly?
Fly. Free travel for life!
3. Which reality show would you most want to be on: Top Chef, The Bachelor/Bachelorette or Survivor?
Top Chef as a judge though, so I could enjoy all the dishes. And Survivor soon after, to get me back to my pre Top Chef weight.
4. Your favorite Romantic Comedy?
I have so many! The Notebook, The Five-Year Engagement, No Reservations. I like movies that have some traveling and cooking involved in the plot 🙂
5. For dessert: sweet & chocolatey or tangy & lemony?
I usually crave something hot chocolate with marshmallows during winter and lemony desserts in the summer.
6. Morning person or night owl?
Morning person
7. Favorite cheese?
I’m crazy about cheese. I love Grana Padano, Provolone, Mozarella di Buffala (Italian); Queso Panela, Asadero, Oaxaca (Mexican); and of course, string cheese 🙂
8. Dogs or Cats?
Dogs. I had a Great Dane called Banjo for more than 10 years. He was one of the most beautiful and elegant dogs I’ve ever seen.
9. London, Paris, Tokyo or New York?
Sadly, I’ve never been to any of these wonderful cities, but I will visit them someday. I would love to start off by visiting Paris: wine, bread, cheese, and then macaroons for desert!
10. Fashion item or style you would most like to see come back?
I like the boho chic style from the 70’s, but it has already made its comeback. I love wearing flowers in my hair in the summertime.
11. Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello?
Elvis Presley. I love “(I can’t help) falling in love with you”

And these are the 11 random facts about me
1. I’m quite an introvert person, but love being around positive people.
2. I grew up in San Diego (USA) and in Tijuana (Mexico), so I have friends on both sides of the border 😉
3. I went to a Catholic elementary school, and when I was in 4th grade, my teacher (a nun) considered me a good candidate to becoming a future nun.
4. I’m a visual person. I need visual stimulation in order for me to really grasp an idea.
5. I’m afraid of elevators, UFO’s, darkness, spirits. And this is the reason why I haven’t watched a scary movie in the last 5 years!
6. I love flowers. I think they bring a positive vibe to any room.
7. I got hit by a car, was hospitalized for 4 days, lost 12lbs. in one week due to a severe flu; all during my first year living in Italy.
8. I love coffee. As soon as I get up I must have come caffeine otherwise I get a headache. I know, it’s a bad habit, but I really enjoy drinking coffee.
9. One day I will do one of the “Camino de Santiago” routes.
10. I love going on road trips.
11. Things I dislike: disrespect, dishonesty, negativity, bullying and bashing, intolerance, discrimination and racism. I strongly believe the world be a better place if we were a little bit more respectful, tolerant and tried to see the glass half full 🙂

I will post my favorite blogs as soon as get the matter resolved.
Maybe you can suggest some new ones 🙂


My Recent Craving

10 Apr

My Recent Craving

About a month ago we went to one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai: Maya.

Maya is one of the three Mexican restaurants I usually go to whenever I crave guacamole and chips (which is ALWAYS!). The other 2 restaurants serve really good authentic Mexican food, but their guacamole isn’t as good as Maya’s.

I grew up in a house where fresh Mexican food was prepared every day (don’t hate me for this 😉 ) so I know what Mexican food tastes like. Maya’s dishes are very delicious, but I consider them more like “fusion” food/cuisine. They alter the core dishes in Mexican cuisine and add their own personal touch.

Since I haven’t been to Shanghai in a while, I’ve been deprived of my favorite food for almost a month now. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any avocados in town, so I can’t prepare any guacamole :(. But one of the wonderful things about Mexican cuisine is that you can create so many dishes starting from the same basic ingredients: tomatoes, chile serrano, onions, garlic, pepper, coriander, etc.

Another good thing is that I can find all the above in most local markets here in Taizhou. I think I’ll try to do my own homemade Mexican food and see if I can finally satisfy my cravings 🙂

PS.: in case you’re interested in learning more about the restaurants I was talking about, here are the links to:
TEOTIHUACAN apparently doesn’t have an active website 😦


Hold It Together, You Bamboo!

9 Apr

Hold It Together, You Bamboo!

Bamboo is a very versatile plant, indeed. I’ve always liked bamboo as a decorative plant, for it always looks graceful, elegant and green! (plants in my house don’t stay green for too long 😦 )
But it wasn’t until I moved to China that I actually started seeing how this simple plant can tranform into something very useful: furniture, cooking utensils, food (bamboo shoot is very popular here), and can even be used as building material.
The best part is that bamboos are one the fastest growing plants in the world. This is specially important because as you may know, bamboos are very widely used in Asian countries, both as a food source and raw material.
PS. Bamboo is also used in Feng Shui practices. As I said, bamboo is a very versatile plant, indeed.


Mandarin Headaches

6 Apr

Mandarin Headaches

I’ve been studying Mandarin for a while now, and I still find it very difficult to grasp certain concepts. I can only read about 5 characters and can only speak and write through the help of pinyin. So, you can say I’m pretty much an illiterate here in China 😦
I speak English, Spanish and Italian. Italian came pretty easy because the structure and grammar are very similar to Spanish, but there’s nothing between Mandarin and these languages that can allow my brain to make some sort of connection.
I keep trying, though. Hard work never hurt nobody 😉

“hao hao xue xi, tian tian xiang shang”
“study hard, make progress every day”


My New Chinese Stuff

5 Apr

My New Chinese Stuff

I recently bough a book about “Chinese stuff” that can be found in almost any Chinese home. As soon as I started looking at the pictures I started laughing because a lot of those things can be found at my apartment. I must say a lot of them are pretty useful.
For instance, whenever I have a headache I rub a little bit of this green minty liquid that refreshes and soothes at the same time; pretty useful during hot summer days.
Sometimes, unknowingly you start incorporating certain “stuff” to your lifestyle that stay with you for the rest of your life. In my case it’s tea. I starting drinking chamomille tea when I first moved to Italy and have ever since. Every night, we drink a cup of tea because it relaxes us after a hectic day and it helps us sleep better. Now we have added Chinese Oolong and Pu-erh tea to our repertoire, which are said to bring many benefits to our health.
How about you? have you added any new “stuff” into your lifestyle lately?


Spring Inspo

2 Apr

Spring Inspo

April is finally here! The weather is starting to get better here in Taizhou and the sun comes out almost every day, so it definitely feels more like spring now.
About 2 months ago we moved to a new apartment and we are still trying to figure out how to make it feel more like our own place. When you are constantly migrating from one place to another, you can’t accumulate too many things because you may end up having to throw them away once you move on to your next house 😦 .
I still like to add some details to make our place feel like home. After all, it is our current home.
Flowers, bright colors, lots of natural light, some music and good home made food can always make a place feel more cozy and welcoming.