Well, I just finished up celebrating he Thanksgiving holiday, & I’m so pooped, but that’s probably because I got a severe sinus & head cold right after returning from a fabulous trip to Disneyland (yet again, on both, being sick after a vacation & going to Disneyland after Thanksgiving). My body is still trying to push out the last bit of phlegm & mucous still lingering in my chest & sinus, but otherwise, I feel like I’m almost recovered. Boy, oh boy! I had a migraine during my cold so severe that it made me couch-ridden for nearly two days. 

Ugh, being sick right at the start of Christmas season is such a bummer. I wanted to decorate my tree early, so that our house would have decorations up throughout the entire month from start to end, but I ended up getting so sick that I had to put off my crazy decorating until just yesterday. Now I’m so excited that my beautiful Christmas tree is up, & it’s really getting me into the mood of this holiday season. I haven’t gotten any present shopping done yet,  but I’ve got ideas swirling around in my head, & once I put my mind to it, I can get my Christmas shopping done in no time. Until then, I’m going to drink some more hot tea & rest up some more, so I don’t aggravate my annoying cough. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“I’m Glad There Is You” by Oscar Peterson for Stan Getz


Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been somewhat of a “hoarder”. Not quite the packed-from-floor-to-ceiling, almost-buried-alive kind of hoarder, but more like one of those sentimental fools who can’t bear to get rid of anything…a “clutter bug”. I’m always keeping little things here & there from my childhood, calling them “collections” & whatnot, but what those things really are, are sentimental mementos eventually collecting dust as junk. This new “collection” of mine is slowly building, but at least they serve a function. I can actually use them around the house. They are drink coasters. I’ve got a tiny collection going, & I’m kind of proud of them. They not only serve a purpose, but they also show the places I’ve been to & the things I’ve done. Let’s take a look.

coaster2

Brew Dog beer is one of my all-time favorite brands of beer (originating from Scotland). I was very surprised to find one of their taprooms during my trip to Hong Kong earlier this year. I had a great time eating Shepherd’s Pie & drinking pints of their Hardcore IPA. I “borrowed” these 2 coasters as a souvenir to mark my 1st experience at a real Brew Dog Brewery taproom.

coaster1

Belga is an incredibly delicious Belgian-ish style restaurant in San Francisco. Every time I’ve eaten there (which is three times), I’m always blown away by the interior decor. The first time I sat at the bar counter, I fell in love with this drink coaster. First of all, I’d like to note that I am a big fan of typography & graphic fonts. The text on this coaster is so cool & perfectly matches the decor & taste of the restaurant. Secondly, I love the background. It reminds me of antique tiles, yet it’s still able to look simple & clean.

coaster6

I can’t, for the life of me, remember where I picked up this drink coaster. It was probably from one of the many bars I’ve frequented in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m not too sure why I had chosen this drink coaster other than the fact that I’m an avid whisk(e)y/bourbon drinker & I like Tullamore Irish whiskey.

coaster4

Earlier this year, my family & I took a small weekend trip to San Diego. On our way home, Jian & I stopped by the Stone Brewing Co. taproom at the San Diego International Airport. Jian is a huuuge fan & avid drinker of craft beer, so he was over the moon when he saw that Stone Brewing Co. had their own bar at the airport. Since San Diego is California’s epicenter for amazing craft beers, I grabbed one of these drink coasters as a sunny souvenir.

coaster10

This is another one of those drink coasters where I have no clue where I got it from. Yet again, it must be from one of the countless bars Jian & I have visited in or around the San Francisco  Bay Area. This was one of the first drink coasters I’ve ever kept from a bar. Way back in the day, Jian used to like drinking Lagunitas Brewery IPA, so I saved this coaster for him. He doesn’t drink this beer anymore, but I still kept the drink coaster.

coaster5

Coedo Brewery is one of my favorite Japanese craft beer brands. While we were visiting Hong Kong, I happened to stumble upon the Coedo taproom while searching for restaurant listings on Yelp. (Yes, Yelp works just as well as Open Rice in Hong Kong.) After a long day of subway rides & walking in the hot humid weather, we enjoyed a few glasses of ice cold beer & Japanese izakaya snacks. I kept this drink coaster as another souvenir from my trip to Hong Kong. I love how the coaster says “Beer Beautiful”, & I love the font & simplicity of the design. That’s Japanese artistry for ya!

coaster7

Mortar & Pestle is one of the few cool, hip bars in my city. The mixologists who work there are always friendly & the cocktails are pretty tasty. I feel like I’m getting a slice of the San Francisco’s craft cocktail experience right in the downtown of my bland & quiet hometown. I saved this drink coaster because it had a recipe to one of the bar’s signature drinks on the back, & was hoping that Jian would be able to spin his mixology magic & recreate that drink.

coaster9

Last year, I attended the 150th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games in the Bay Area hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. It was an amazing & overwhelming Scottish (& partly Irish) cultural festival. I had so much fun sampling Minced Meat Pies & Scotch Eggs, & watching bagpipe teams perform. I also got to sample loads of scrumptious whiskies from all over Scotland. Two of my friends that went to the festival with me got to sample some Crabbie’s ginger beer, & they saved me this coaster. I don’t like ginger beer, but I saved this coaster anyway as a memento of the special Scottish & Highland festival.

coaster8

Gitane is a very special restaurant that will always hold a special place in the hearts of Jian & myself. This is the first restaurant in San Francisco that we frequented so often that we became “regulars”, & practically everyone knew us there. The Iberian food & the cocktails were so good at this restaurant, it kept us coming back for more. Not only that, but we built solid friendships with a lot of the mixologists & the general manager of the restaurant. Eventually, a lot of the staff that we became friends with moved on to other restaurants or open their own bars, & we followed them as friends & loyal customers. This drink coaster symbolizes our “golden time” spent at this restaurant, making lasting friendships.

One of mine & Jian’s favorite bars in the San Francisco Bay Area is ABV (aptly named after the phrase “Alcohol By Volume”). At one time, this bar had a city theme on their drink coasters. These 4 coasters were the only cities we were able to find &/or collect during the last time we visited the place. I was pretty excited about these coasters because all of the cities represented places I want to visit at least once in my life, & so far I’ve already been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, & New York City. I would seriously love to visit Ireland at least once & do a whiskey crawl. That would be epic. The best part about these drink coasters are the different ways to say “Thank You” in each region’s native language. Although, I don’t understand why they would use the Mandarin language for Hong Kong when their native language is Cantonese (& sometimes we get a little butt-sore over people mixing up our dialects). I find it utterly hilarious that NYC’s saying is “Fuck Off”.

Well, that’s pretty much it. This is the end of my blog post. I am seriously going to try & cut back on my collecting of random things next year. Really. I’m getting sick & tired of myself having to cram little knick knacks & tchotchkes into every drawer & buying more storage boxes. I want to simplify my belongings & really de-clutter my life, but until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“Always Something There to Remind Me” by Naked Eyes

always-something-there

On my eldest niece’s last birthday (she turned 23), I got her the “The 52 Lists Project” book by Moorea Seal. The salesman at the shop sold me on buying the book, saying it was a very popular item. Then, I started seeing this same book pop up all over the place. Luckily my niece exclaimed that she loves writing down lists & journaling, so I was relieved to have picked this book for her birthday gift.

I, myself, had glanced through the lists in this book & had come upon one list in particular that I quite liked. It was List 2 titled “List your favorite characters from books, movies, etc.”. I started to think about what my picks would be, & originally I had chosen this list because I thought it would be easy to answer. I was so wrong. I had a difficult time choosing my answers. I was very consciously trying to not be so clever that it made me appear phony, or like I was trying hard to sound cool. I really truly wanted to choose thoughtful, meaningful answers to this list. I gave myself an extra challenge by changing the list to only female characters. That made my discisions even more difficult, but I think I’m happy with my final list.

list

Today’s song of the day:

“My Kind of Town” by Frank Sinatra *in honor of the 2016 MLB World Series

my-kind-of-town

I’d like to start out by disclaiming that I very rarely partake in luxury items. I don’t wear high-end designer clothes, or carry a designer label purse. I don’t tend to splurge on purchases (other than my smartphone, which is a once every 5 years expense), but one thing that I do splurge on is cologne. I would much rather call it cologne than perfume, as I do not like to wear perfume, especially the sickly sweet, overly-floral girly stuff. I prefer to wear cologne, or some sort of unisex fragrance. Most women’s perfume trigger my allergies. Plus, they generally tend to smell obnoxious.

I have, however, been able to find one brand that I absolutely love called BYREDO. The scented products created by this brand are so far removed from any other scented products brand you’ll find anywhere. The products by this brand are on the expensive side, but to me, they’re worth it, especially since this is the only product I would splurge on. So, I would rather choose a good quality brand like this one. The products last a very long time, & you really get your money’s worth in each bottle.

The male-oriented scents are quite masculine, yet soft enough that a woman would also be able to use the same product. The female-oriented scents are so gentle & inviting; they don’t overload your senses & make it seem like you’re trying too hard to smell pretty, or make you smell like an old granny sweater.

I very rarely ever wear makeup or other beauty products (except for blemish concealer), only on special occasions like weddings & special parties. However, I will wear cologne almost on a regular basis. I’ve probably amassed a collection of around 5 or 6 different colognes, & approximately 50% of my collection is by the brand BYREDO. Yep, that’s how much I have become loyal to this brand. I have truly become a fan of this brand, so much so that I’ve decided to write an unboxing post about it. I recently purchased two items from BYREDO. One is a replacement purchase of an item that I’ve recently finished using. The other is a brand new item that I will be trying for the first time. Let’s take a look.

byredo_collage

Like I said earlier, I love the fragrances by BYREDO. I’ve got 3 different fragrances from this brand that I use rather frequently. This scent called “FLOWERHEAD” is my all-time favorite scent (so far) by this brand. One thing I must say is that I really like the packaging used for this fragrance. BYREDO really goes to the high end route when it comes to its packaging design & quality. I’m not really a fan of the Art Deco style, but I really think it matches well with this packaging. I would have loved to keep this box, as it is thick & sturdy, & I would’ve kept small trinkets inside, but alas the box had a built-in insert to hold the fragrance bottle. So, the box ended up not being suitable for my needs.

byredo_collage1

Well, this is what the inside, plus the product itself, looks like. This fragrance actually can be purchased in two different sizes (50ml & 100ml). I got the 100ml bottle. I absolutely love the scent of this fragrance. It’s so soft, fresh, light, & fun! The first thing you’ll smell when you apply this fragrance is jasmine. That’s the first note to hit my nose right when I first apply this fragrance. This fragrance has floral notes without smelling like you ran through a huge field or a garden, & it doesn’t even give off that potpourri feeling one bit. It also has some fruity notes without smelling immature or sugary sweet. This scent is quite feminine without being overtly girly. No, you won’t look like a walking pink lacy bow.

One aspect of this brand that I really find innovative & refreshing is that each fragrance will change & adapt to your body’s natural oils throughout the day. So, the fragrance will smell the most potent at first application, but as the day wears on, the fragrance will subtly change according to your body’s reaction throughout the day. The longer you wear the fragrance, the gentler the scent will become. I really admire this aspect because I don’t want to go through an entire day smelling like I’ve been bathing in the makeup department at the department store. I want the scent to be subtle, yet noticeable as the day goes on. This is one of the main reasons why I love BYREDO because their scented products do exactly that. So, after finishing my first bottle of the “FLOWERHEAD” fragrance, I bought a refill. (That’s how much I love this scent.) Within the BYREDO family I’ve also got a 100ml bottle of the “BLACK SAFFRON” fragrance & a 50ml bottle of the “PULP” fragrance. I’d have to say “BLACK SAFFRON” is my 2nd favorite scent, & “PULP” is somewhere in the Top 5 of favorite BYREDO scents.

byredo_collage2

This is an entirely new product I will be trying for the first time ever. I’ve never in my life heard of hair perfume. When I first saw the advertisement for this product in an email newsletter, I was a little taken aback. I couldn’t believe that there was such an extravagant, indulgent product. I’ve always thought that spraying everyday ordinary perfume in your hair was the same thing as hair perfume, but I was wrong. I read the description of the product on the website, & I also tried the product in a shop, & according to the description, the formula of the fragrance is meant to compliment your hair. Ordinary perfume will weigh down your hair & cause your hair to become oily/greasy over time. This hair perfume is supposed to keep your hair nourished & weightless, & not cause any greasy build-up. Out of all the scents available for this line of hair perfumes, I chose “FLOWERHEAD”. It’s my most favorite scent, & I like the way the scent compliments my body type, my personality, & my mood.

do realize that spraying the body fragrance AND the hair perfume together might seem like a bit of an overload, but I am not planning on wearing these two products at the same time. If I’m wearing the hair perfume, then I won’t spray any of the body fragrance, & vice versa. Well, I’d like to test out my new hair perfume, & see how it works out. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

「ツバサ」by アンダーグラフ (“Tsubasa” by Under Graph)

tsubasa

  • I love how my local big box coffee shop plays a good mix of eclectic music. They can effortlessly transition from the classic Björk song “It’s Oh So Quiet” to Credence Clearwater Revival’s  popular song “Fortunate Son”.
  • Sometimes I love the autumn & winter seasons in my area because the weather tends to get very cloudy, & then I won’t have to always lug my awkwardly shaped sunglasses & its bulky case around in my purse.
  • However, I dislike the fact that once the weather starts to get colder, my skin rises to its optimum peak of itchiness, the height of its itch-factor. I could slather on 30 layers of extra-strength lotion every day. I could drink a hundred gallons of water for hydration. I could wrap my entire body in kitchen plastic saran wrap. I could do anything short of shedding my outer layer like a molting snake, but my skin would still itch like hell.
  • I often wish I could use a slim, compact purse. My purses are generally oversized & very often get in the way. I am either bumping into things when I’m inside a shop, or I am accidentally hitting people with the back of my purse.
  • Follow up thought: I carry way too much little things in my purse. I’m always worried that I will need something while I’m on the road & am not able to stop at a drugstore or convenience store. So I carry lots of little emergency items in my purse, which weighs my purse down heavily.
  • However, I’m even more worried that if I start eliminating things from my purse, then that’ll be right at the time when I need that specific item. ( Example: taking the emergency Tylenol out of my bag, & then immediately getting a headache in the car.)
  • Final purse thoughts: I am self conscious about carrying such a large purse, even though it was a fashion trend at one point within the last decade or so. I worry that I might look like an uncoordinated bag lady.
  • I recently started re-listening to the music I listened to back in high school. I dug up my old CDs that I bought in high school, & I uploaded the music onto my home computer. I have rediscovered my passion for music, & rekindled my love for the same music genres I loved back in the 1990s.
  • On that note, I have been rediscovering two genres of music I fell in love with in high school, & have fallen in love with those types of music all over again. I have rekindled my flames of passion for PUNK & SKA music, & I couldn’t be happier.
  • I can’t believe it’s already the month of November. Before we know it, I’ll be back in Anaheim, California, celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with my beloved nephew & niece at Disneyland yet again.

Today’s song of the day

“Mellow Out” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats


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