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I know it’s cheesy & clichéd to go shopping at a mall or department store when you’re on vacation, but London has some of the most well-known, iconic, & oldest department stores in all the lands. So, it was an obvious choice to put these touristy famous shopping destinations on my list of must visit places. I wasn’t necessarily planning on buying anything, but I at the very least wanted to step inside & take a look around & to be able to say that I’ve been there.

Fortnum and Mason is one of those department stores where you know there’s going to be a lot of old, stuffy history, & where you know you’re going to look severely underdressed (& undertitled) compared to all of the high-society ladies who stop there for some exclusive afternoon tea. Jian is not in the least bit interested in shopping malls or department stores, so it was a bit of a task to convince him to go with me to Forntum and Mason.

When we got there, the place was packed to the gills with other tourist shoppers, all with the same intentions as we had…to buy semi non-kitschy souvenirs for friends & family. Of course Fortnum and Mason is well-known for their teas, but they also carried a massive variety of confectioneries & cookies/biscuits. We bought a few small tins of cookies/biscuits for Jian’s parents & a small box of marzipan for my mom. However, there was one item I kept passing by while we were browsing. It was a box of milk chocolates, but it wasn’t the chocolates that got me hooked. It was the absolutely adorable & clever packaging that caught my eye.

I am always a sucker for product packaging like cute gift wrapping, or souvenir boxes/tins. This chocolate box packaging was no exception. I 100 percent fell in love with the packaging as soon as I saw it. Also, I love chocolate, so it was a no-brainer that I had to pick this up as a souvenir for myself. Check out the packaging below.

 

fortnum chocolates collage.png

Please excuse my crappy photo-taking & editing. These were all shot on an iPhone SE.

  1. The box cover says “Cute as a button”. That got me hook, line, & sinker. Also, I loved the pink & blue pastel color scheme of the box.
  2. The back of the box has all of the nutritional information, blah, blah, blah…
  3. Inside, the chocolates are wrapped in tissue paper with a gold foil bumble bee sticker.
  4. I love the clever sewing theme of the box. The bottom side of the box lid has an adorable sewing lablel graphic that says “100% Delicious Made in England”.
  5. The side of the box lid has a super cute graphic of a pincushion with a thread & stitching graphic wrapping around the box lid.
  6. Inside is the real prize. The chocolates are shaped like actual antique buttons. That is just incredible attention to detail.

I can’t wait to sample these chocolates for myself. They almost look too delicious to eat, but who can pass up a piece of yummy chocolate? I know I can’t. Until then, cheers to chocolate mates!

Today’s song of the day:

“Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest

can i kick it.jpg

craziest time

So, remember that one time when I said I got a head cold? Well, guess what? Immediately after that happened, I seriously pulled a muscle in my left shoulder. My mom says that I pulled a rotator-thing-a-ma-jiggy because she pulled the exact same muscle in her right shoulder several months ago. However, I’m neither a doctor nor am I a physical therapist, so I’m just going to say that I pulled a generic muscle in my shoulder. The left one. Oh man, if you’ve never pulled a muscle in your body before, & this was my first time pulling a major muscle, you should feel so lucky, & grateful , & all that good stuff because it is definitely no picnic in the park…I’ll tell you that for sure.

Can you ever imagine, not being able to lift your arm even 45 degrees? Or not be able to put on a shirt or a bra? Or not be able to pull up your pants after you’ve finished peeing? Unless you are physically disabled, or have had a major accident or an outdoor/sports injury, I don’t think it’s imaginable. The struggle was real, guys. My shoulder was throbbing so bad from the pinch & the pain that it even hurt to keep my arm straight at my side. Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating slightly, but this was my very first experience pulling a muscle in my body, so of course I’m going to throw in a little over-the-top whining.

I’m just so thankful for my slight compulsive disorder to stockpile my medicine cabinet at all times, & for having tons of Salonpas pain relieving patches on-hand. Those sticky little mentholated, medicated pain relieving patches saved my aching shoulder. I slapped on several patches all over my shoulder, twice daily (once in the morning & another time at night), & after three days of having a non-working arm, I’m all patched up & well on my way to a full recovery.

So, that was my sort of depressing start to the month of December. I was very much looking forward to decorating our Christmas tree, but since I couldn’t lift my arm more than 20 degrees, my mom helped me with the decorations, & now our house looks festive & ready for Christmas!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

I thought I was being so clever by ordering some of my Christmas gifts online. Geez, I was wrong. I ordered two special gifts for my two older nieces online, & when the shipment arrived in the mail, the company got the entire order wrong & only sent me half of the items I paid for. I then made a special trip to the shopping mall to have my order corrected, only to be turned away by the store manager with her standard spiel about not being able to fulfill or correct website purchases, & that I would have to call their customer service hotline to rectify this glaring error. I was a little upset having to deal with this stupid mistake (which is entirely the fault of the company & its website staff), especially when Christmas is not so far away. I mean, nobody likes to have missing gifts at Christmastime. Well, I ended up canceling my entire order, sending back the half items that were sent to me, & bought my nieces something else entirely.

I’m rather relieved that most of my other online purchases arrived in a timely manner, & were the actual correct items. My Christmas shopping list is nearly complete, & I’m waiting for two more items to arrive in the mail. I’m ready to snuggle up beside the fireplace & watch some trashy reality TV shows. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Laura” by Coleman Hawkins

laura-by-coleman-hawkins


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


I haven’t really splurged big time on myself in a long time. Yes, I’ve gotten myself a few little trinkets here & there, but I haven’t exactly gone buck wild in a long while. So, this past week, I kind of went on an online shopping binge.

Firstly, I purchased a few necessities. I recently finished remodeling a room in my house, so I bought two BELL+HOWELL Ultrasonic Electromagnetic Pest Repellent wall plug-ins. I’ve got these little suckers pLugged into every single room in my house, & I pretty much swear by them to chase away 80% to 90% of the creepy crawlers (a.k.a. spiders, mice, ants, etc.). I usually buy them on Amazon, & they’re relatively inexpensive. I’ve been using these plug-ins in my house for nearly 3 years, & I’m quite happy with them. They’re quiet & have an extra outlet built in, so you’re not taking up precious outlet space. So they don’t repel every single bug that finds its way into your abode, but they DO keep out MOST of them, & that’s good enough for me.

Secondly, I bought a pair of wedge-heeled sandals to go with the formal dress I’m planning on wearing to my cousin’s destination wedding in Mexico. Her wedding is coming up in one month, & I’m very excited. Like I’ve said many times in the past, I’m not very fashion-minded, so I felt as though it was quite a bothersome chore to look for accessories & accoutrements to go with the equally hard-to-find dress to wear to a wedding. I think I do like to go shopping, a little bit, but I don’t get amped-up shopping for clothes or shoes like most women my age. However, I will say that I LOVE SHOPPING FOR GIFTS / BUYING GIFTS FOR OTHER PEOPLE. I also love picking out children’s clothes…especially for my young nephew & niece. I guess it’s sufficient to say that my wedding ensemble is nearly complete. I am contemplating on whether I should buy a hair clip to do up my hair for the event or not. We will see.

Next, I bought myself an extremely personal item that I do not wish to reveal its identity here. I will say that I’ve been wanting this time for a very long time, & I am extremely happy that I got it for myself. Well, I wouldn’t buy this item for anyone else. That would just be way too intimate & a little gross. That is all I’m going to say about it.

Lastly, I went crazy with stationery goods again. I bought three new sheets if stickers (sorry, no photo), & I splurged on even more pens. Yes,I know I’m nuts. I admit it. I just absolutely adore Pilot’s “Frixion” series of pens. These pens are incredible. The ink is so smooth & does not bleed or become spotty. They also erase cleanly. No other erasable pen series can boast their cleanliness like Pilot can! Seriously, these pens erase like a dream. I always keep two Frixion gel pens in my purse at all times. I recently learned about their felt tip color pen series & fell in love with them. They give off a watercolor texture & are so easy to use. The color pigments are so vibrant & beautiful…not as light as you might imagine with watercolor type pens. I bought my first set of these pens in a retail store. I ended up picking every color this store had (which was limited). I then found the other pen colors online. I decided not to get every single color, & only chose the colors I really wanted. Here is a picture of the pens:

The top row are my existing pens. The bottom row are the new addition to my set. The colors I have are:

  1. Honey Yellow
  2. Rose
  3. Black
  4. Red
  5. Brown
  6. Baby Pink
  7. Yellow
  8. Navy
  9. Pale Orange
  10. Pink
  11. Violet
  12. Orange
  13. Blue
  14. Mauve
  15. Light Blue
  16. Coral Pink
  17. Cobalt Blue
  18. Grey
  19. Green
  20. Emerald Green
  21. Lavender
  22. Soft Green

I think I may have gone overboard just a little bit. Pierre, my pen box/case (YES, I NAMED IT!!) is nearly reaching his max capacity. I may have to get a larger soon. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

「殺し屋危機一髪」Koroshi-ya Kikiippatsu (The Asassin’s Asassin) by SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS ft. Sheena Ringo

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This statement has probably been said millions of times over, but for me, I miss the fast-paced lifestyle & the bustling streets.  I miss the perfectly manicured socialites dressed to-the-nines hailing a cab in their triple-digit Christian Loubutin pumps; the savory aroma of the homely street vendor peddling fresh hot dogs & salted pretzels; the ever-present bright neon lights of the infamous Times Square… I miss it all.

You know, I’ve only been to New York once in my life, but one encounter was all it took for me to fall in love with the city. Being in New York reminds me of the wonderful times I’ve spent in Tokyo. Both cities are filled to the brim with skyscrapers & neon lights & gorgeous folks dashing to their next fabulous destination.

I just love the hustle & bustle of the ever-changing city & it’s extremely urban lifestyle & culture.

Ok, so…put all the couture shopping, gourmet eating & museum viewing aside. Forget about all the various landmarks the city has to offer. The key element that keeps me so entranced with the city is the whole atmosphere/aura of it all.

Sitting in a street cafe on the quaint shop corner, I love watching the people walk by, some with meticulouusly groomed dogs in tow, some pushing the baby strollers of their employer alongside a number of equally employed child-care staff, others walking the early morning path of shame leading from their miatress’ apartment…

I just love to sit in a cafe or on a park bench with my fiancée, sipping our coffee drinks & watching the scenery in the daytime. Then, after a light lunch, we’ll go for a little afternoon shopping before heading out to a fun dinner & night on the town.

This is the perfectly painted scene of a time spent in New York. Enjoy.

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