Moments in December 2015

December was a busy work month, but also lots of fun moments!

December 4, 2015

Boat cruise to the Keppel Islands with the gen surg + ortho crew! Sail, eat, relax, and swim for an entire day in beautiful weather – does it get better?

We went on The Grace with Sail Capricornia – which was great and we highly recommend! Especially if you have a group of friends and want to rent it out for a private day!

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Group photo courtesy of Sail Capricornia – check them out!

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December 6, 2015

Breakfast date, checking out the Sizzler’s breakfast – not too shabby for less than $20! Easy fans, we have since been back a few times! I always enjoy some hot food including eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and hash browns before moving on to the sweet pastries, fruit, and of course, ice cream.

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December 10, 2015

The Great Debate: Interns vs Registrars. An annual tradition debating silly topics. This year, ‘Are clothes pins best left on the clothesline?’

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The interns (Jin, Marco and Chuan) debated yes while the registratrs were against the argument. Anyone would common sense would know you should always take the pins off the line: it’s more effort leaving them on and having to shuffle them and take them off each time to hang new laundry, they erode/get dirty/crack in the sun, and spiders!

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Unfortunately, the registrars were doomed to fail as the winning argument was decided by the volume of cheer awarded. Given it was a room full of interns… well you know what happened.

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The Paediatric Unit put in so much effort to decorate the ward for Christmas (Theme: Beach). Every year, there is a hospital wide contest, but unfortunately, we didn’t place first!

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The AMAZING stone fruit available this time of year. So good and so cheap! Can never get enough

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And also on December 10th, we had dinner with the Paediatric team at Stonegrill Restaurant (Ascot Hotel)! A chance to spend some quality time with colleagues outside of work.

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I’d read good reviews about the restaurant, but unfortunately, didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

Because we were a large group and they served everyone’s stonegrill at once, the ones prepared first were pretty much already cooked to nearly well done by the time they reached the table. I was one of them, which was sad because it really defeated the purpose of cooking my own steak, to my own liking.

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The service was really good though. The owner (?) spent time explaining the types of meat available and the proper way to cut and cook our steaks on the stonegrill – unfortunately, a few of us had to eat our food as quick as possible before it turned into a tough chewy mess. There were very few chips and they (as you can probably see from the photo) were soggy! The sauce was also very dilute and flavourless. For $30+/person – unfortunately left disappointed! I don’t often say this, but I would lean towards not coming back unless I had no other new restaurants to try 😦

Stonegrill Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


December 11, 2015

Michael and I made a delicious home cooked meal with slow cooked pulled pork, sweet potato mash, summer salad, cauliflower gratin and cinnamon buns! To share in the yumminess, we invited Amanda, Kon, Mike R, and Farrah over to join us for an early Christmas dinner!

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Our New Getaway – Great Keppel Island

November 20-21, 2015

We couldn’t believe we didn’t do this sooner – what an amazing place!

Less than an hour drive from Rockhampton to Keppel Bay Marina followed by a 30 minute ferry ride over – Great Keppel Island offers beautiful views and gorgeous beaches with soft white sand and calm, crystal clear waters.

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There are 2 main ferry operators: Larger ferry with Freedom Fast Cats ($55 return) and a smaller ride through Keppel Konnections ($45 return). Both ferries will drop you off on Fisherman’s Beach – the main beach and hub where accommodation and restaurants are located.

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There are two main accommodations: Great Keppel Island Hideaway and Great Keppel Island Holiday Village. Prices are extremely reasonable, especially during off season. Both offer a number of options for a variety of group sizes, including: camping sites, cabins, decked tents, bunk houses, and houses. Depends on your mood obviously, but check all the options available!

For our first visit, Michael and I decided to camp – so we packed up all our gear booked a plot at Holiday Village. Toilet and kitchen facilities provided, along with use of snorkel gear and paddle boards, which is great!

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Here is something we always do and highly recommend πŸ˜‰ Bring a no fuss meal to have your first evening on the island. Bring it to the beach and watch the beautiful sunset. Our favourite? A charcuterie dinner – lightweight, everything packs nicely in a small cooler bag, delicious variety, and goes perfect with a bottle of wine. A blanket, some crackers, bread, dips, olives, meats, cheese, fruit, a bottle of wine, some disposable cutlery and cups are all you need for a romantic, delicious sunset dinner.

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Look at how gorgeous it is!

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Our other food recommendation? Enjoy a filling hot buffet breakfast in the morning (available some days) at the GKI Hideaway Island Bar & Bistro before heading out. Bring lots of snacks and water and hike over to swim and enjoy the many other beautiful beaches! End your night back on the main beach enjoying cold drinks and a meal at one of the restaurants πŸ˜‰

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Yoga seagull

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Lots of opportunity for people watching (as you might have noticed already in this post)

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We have only explored some of the beaches on the South Eastern side of the island – but hope to explore others in the future!

GKI map

We definitely enjoyed hiking over to Long Beach, then back towards Monkey Beach and Shelving Beach. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear! There is some pretty decent coral reefs just a short swim from shore from Monkey and Shelving beaches! You will have to climb uphill so need to be in a little bit of shape!

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View of Fisherman’s Beach on our hike over to nearby beaches!

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And view of the nearby Keppel Islands

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Long Beach

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You know it, with views and peaceful scenery like that, we definitely have gone back. And plan to do so again many times as we can while we live in Rockhampton!

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Friends, come visit us! We will take you here! πŸ™‚

JC Wang – Talented busker from Taiwan

This is a long overdue post, but I wanted to share with you aΒ talented artist I met in Brisbane months ago. Her name is JC Wang, from Taiwan, and she busks in the CBDΒ – click HERE to check out her Facebook page and HERE to check out her Instagram.

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She uses water colours and specializes in beautiful portraits, bringing out one’s most beautiful features in a colourful splash.

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I happened to walk by her set upΒ in Queen Street Mall a few months ago. Like many passersby, I paused to admire her completed portraits on display. After seeing the simplistic resemblance captured in all her subjects, I decided to commission her for 2 pieces to give away as gifts.

A close up of one of the completed paintings – my grandparents! Given to them as a gift during their 60th Wedding Anniversary celebrations!

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JC holding up both my pieces, the other is, if you can’t tell of Mike and I. A birthday gift to him earlier this year. We are planning on getting it framed and displayed once we move into our new place in a few months πŸ™‚

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Thanks JC for the 2 beautiful works of art!

Stop by to say hello and check out her work if you’re in the city! She is super friendly and creates portraits of different sizes and prices – something for everyone πŸ™‚

Childhood Delights

I’m not sure how I got thinking about this today, but remember the days before internet and where not every household had a gaming console?

I do. Because back then I had the privilege of playing computer games instead! Gosh, they were just as addicting to video games and I still remember them to this day. πŸ˜› Of course, how could I forget? They sort of shaped my childhood!

These were my favourites, what were yours?

Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure

Crystal Caves

And of course, Duke Nukem!

Exploding seed pods!

These photos were taken so long ago, I can’t believe I haven’t posted them yet!

The pretty purple flower, Ruellia tuberosa, develop dry seed pods that explode on contact with water, in order to scatter their seeds.

Check out what happens in this video πŸ˜‰ Michael was smothering his laugh in the background, which made me giggle uncontrollably… sorry!

I was first introduced to this years ago in Vietnam when my mom insisted we put a pod in our mouth and see what happens. Needless to say, the explosion totally caught us by surprise but left a lot of giggles. The popping doesn’t hurt you at all, just an unexpected and funny sensation. They’re lots of fun to play with and even funnier when you can trick someone else to put some in their mouth πŸ˜‰

Let’s take a closer look…

Dry seed pods

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Split pod after it had exploded with some seeds landing in the water.

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What the seeds look like dry

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Once sitting in water for a bit, you can see the fuzzy texture of the seeds.

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And to end my random post, here is a picture of what the flowers look like in bloom πŸ™‚

Introducing: Dayspring Candle Company

Hi everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to our friends’, Mike and Tina’s, new online store: Dayspring Candle Company (DCC).

They are a husband and wife team based out of Dayspring, Nova Scotia, and their company offers a selection of unique (sometimes antique!) oil-burning candles and supplies.

“We pride oil candles for 3 main reasons… a brighter flame – long burn time – reusability. An oil candle doesn’t need to be thrown away, just refilled.”

Wavy Yellow Glass Candles

Wavy Yellow Glass Candles

 

“The standard Dayspring Candles, which come in a number of shapes and sizes, are a great way to add a warm ambiance to any room. They can be incorporated easily into craft projects and interior decorating.”

Rain Drop Glass Candle

Rain Drop Glass Candle

 

“If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, our ever changing collection of unique and one-of-a-kind candles are sure to delight. Being situated in such a historic and eclectic part of the world, our access to unique candle bases is excellent. This is the most enjoyable part for us. Our rolling supply is rarely ever the same twice! Check back often for new products or be notified in other ways!”

Striped Amber Glass Candle

Striped Amber Glass Candle

 

Not only do they have a beautiful selection of bottles (some very limited!) – they even ship worldwide… what could be more perfect?

A discount! That’s right, they have a GRAND OPENING SPECIAL: 25% off store wide until June 30th, 2013!

Please give them some of your time and check out their website HERE – you might find something you love or a perfect gift for someone else!

And don’t forget to LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK πŸ˜‰

Random moments of random days

While walking home one day, I saw this flock of Rose-breasted cockatoos – one of the most common and widespread cockatoos. Thought they might be friendly but they didn’t let me get too close!

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Pretty view of the clouds another day

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This always happens to me when exams roll around. Some store is having a book sale and I’m compelled to buy some and read them instead of studying. Don’t worry, I’m holding off this time.

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Had to take a picture so I remember! This Moscato is delicious!

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Forgot about this frog I picked up in Eumundi Market last year πŸ™‚ Running the stick down its back mimics a croaking frog

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Remember my review of Beastie Burgers? Although their burgers didn’t impress us, their wedges sure did and we said we’d be back for them! Perfect treat before watching Iron Man 3!

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Nom nom nom

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I can breathe underwater!

This past weekend, I tried something for the first time – scuba diving!

And I’m still here blogging, so that means I survived, which is always a good thing! I’m glad I tried it as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Now that I know I can breathe underwater without freaking out, I’m much more inclined to spend money in the future to get my Open Water Certification. πŸ˜€

We bought special $99 vouchers for Dive World. With the vouchers, you can either do 2 social dives if you are already certified (like Mike and Yoni) or 1 discovery dive, which is what Kee Ping and I did.

Things I enjoyed:

  • Trying out scuba diving for the first time and realizing I can do it!
  • Friendly staff
  • I got to see dolphins from the boat!

Things I did not enjoy:

  • As someone who has never even donned scuba gear going on a discovery dive, I expected to go into the ocean one-on-one with an instructor – which I have always seen with other companies, even in other countries. We were 4-to-1. An extremely uncomfortable situation to be in, especially when you have to buddy up with someone equally inexperienced. Worrying about yourself in that situation in hard enough, let alone worrying about the safety and comfort of your buddy AND being attached with 2 other inexperienced divers. What if someone had trouble? What if 2 people had trouble at once? How would the sole instructor take care of 4 people who have never gone scuba diving before? And there is precedence in Australia, someone has died before on a dive like this: Charges laid after investigation into dive death of Chinese student
  • In addition, our boat (the Cwilamanzi) had a capacity of 20 people but there were at least 22 people on board.
  • Toilet on board but no toilet paper – haven’t seen that since public toilets in Vietnam.
  • Refreshments included tea/coffee, some grapes, 1 package of Black & Gold brand assortment cookies and 1 package of Black & Gold brand gummy snakes. To share between 20+ people. For those who are not familiar, Black & Gold is a value brand, cheaper in price and similar to the Canadian “No Name” brand.
  • All the above makes me question their commitment to safety and quality. Yes, some of us on board paid a “discounted” price for this day trip. However, we felt like corners were cut elsewhere to make up for the cost.
  • Lastly, it was unfortunate that the weather conditions were not good. Heavy rain and huge swells on the way out to Tangalooma. It was calmer once we were there (the sun actually came out for a bit too!) but the current was unbelievably strong and visibility was quite poor, at best 4m.

Some pictures from the trip – when the sun finally came out for a bit!

Yoni getting ready to step in

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Tangalooma Wrecks

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Moreton Island

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Hi Kee Ping!

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Mike and Yoni returning from their second dive

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Back on the boat

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These don’t belong anywhere

A few pictures from here and there in the past few months that don’t belong anywhere in particular! Still wanted to share them though πŸ™‚

March 02. Homemade crispy chicken tossed with a garlic/fish sauce glaze, salad with fresh peaches and rice – yummy dinner!

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March 03. Saw Butter Baking‘s post on Peanut Butter Swirled Healthy Fudge Brownie Bites and readjusted it a little to suit what we had in our pantry. Tasted SO RICH, I couldn’t believe there was no butter/oil involved. Will definitely make them again πŸ™‚

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During Orientation week (March 20), we reviewed our fundoscopy (looking into the eye using a special device) skills. The best way to see the optic disc (where your nerves come out at the back of your eye) is with your pupil dilated. Most people had an eye dilated with Tropicamide so we could practice on each other. We then ended up walking around squinting one eye in the sun (sensitive!) because no one brought sunglasses. Or, like me, ended up having a hard time seeing/focusing properly for a few hours! Good fun though πŸ˜›

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Lunch and study date with Mike (March 21) at The Coffee Club in Fortitude Valley. Buy a drink and get a meal for $10. Iced jasmine green tea – so refreshing!

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Chicken club sandwiches for the both of us with fries and salad

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Nom nom nom

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Went into an art/bookstore with Yoni before our last exam and walked out with this $1 mug. I am the best.

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Mum saved these chocolates from Christmas to bring to Vietnam to give to Mike and I when we met up in Vietnam. Worth it. These are so tasty! And crunchy!

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A few videos from Vietnam :)

Play them in HD and I hope you enjoy!

Albino snakes: Supposedly a rarity and coveted in Vietnam. A relative of mine came across a snake right before she gave birth to a lot of 8 – 3 of which were albino. Very neat!

Stone fish = ugly, poisonous and not that tasty! Oh, and there’s a shark…

Mantis shrimp: Creepiest looking shrimp – note the half dead one on its back πŸ˜› Quite expensive as well, around 1 million VND (approx $50 CAD) for 1 kilo

Buying fresh, live squid. We were at Phu Quoc Island night market, picking out fresh seafood to be cooked on the spot for our dinner. The vendor taught us a neat trick to tell if our squid was live/fresh – spontaneous movement of markings on the squid!

Sao Beach at Phu Quoc Island. Beautiful crystal clear waters… loved it πŸ™‚ I hope it doesn’t develop too fast, like the rest of Vietnam, and retain its beauty for a long time to come.

Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs are one of the only 3 breeds that that has a ridge of hair that runs along its back in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. Of course we had to stop at a place selling them to see!

A few shots of sunrise at Long Hai Beach, Vietnam – at Tropicana Beach Resort. March 15, 2013

Our One Week Vacation in Vietnam

Hey everyone!

I’m so terribly sorry for not blogging during vacation! It turned out a lot busier than I expected, would get in late and get up early – no time to blog 😦

I have sorted my pictures and arranged them into a Facebook photo album – along with dates and descriptions. Please take a look! πŸ˜€

Click here: SANDRA’S VACATION IN VIETNAM PHOTO ALBUM

It took me hours to upload because Facebook is such a pain and I kept getting errors while uploading – but it’s finally done! I had a really good time and saw many little things I wouldn’t have known if I wasn’t traveling with my mom this time, so thanks mommy!

I also have a whole bunch of short video clips I’d like to share, which I will upload at another time. Unfortunately, I’m going straight into my next rotation (General Practice) so will probably not have time to write individual blogs about my experiences. Should that be the case, I hope this album records it well enough!

I hope you enjoy πŸ™‚

Big Day Out 2013

Mike and I went to Big Day Out at the Gold Coast on January 20th, my first concert ever – woo hoo!

Big Day Out is an annual music festival that, as of 2013, is held in five Australian cities: Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. It features seven or eight stages (depending on the venue) accommodating popular contemporary rock music, electronic music, mainstream international acts and local acts.

Tickets were a little pricey but definitely worth it for a full day of really good live music. We spent all day listening to great bands, many of which I’d never listened to before but now love!

Heading on the bus down to the Gold Coast

Got there quite early so lots of time to walk around and check out the venue

The 2 main stages

Multiple bands were playing at the time across the different stages throughout the entire day. This was the line up we chose to follow:

  • 11:30 – Jakarta Criers
  • 12:20 – The Medics
  • 13:20 – Delta Spirit
  • 14:25 – Gary Clark Jr
  • 15:50 – Band of Horses
  • 16:55 – Vampire Weekend
  • 18:00 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • 19:05 – The Killers
  • 20:30 – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Only took a few pictures of the acts, but enjoy!

The Medics

Gary Clark Jr

Vampire Weekend

Soooo much garbage. The only good thing is that most of it was recyclable

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Red Hot Chili Peppers

My RHCP song: The Otherside!

Made it home safe and sound!

My favourites of the day? Definitely Gary Clark Jr and Vampire Weekend! Please check them out, guaranteed enjoyment! πŸ™‚

And man, was it hot. SO HOT. So hot and so dirty. Yes the music was good. But would I rush to another outdoor music festival? Nope! πŸ™‚

She can put a smile on your face: Atong

My dearest chocolate friend, Atong, never fails puts a smile on my face.

If you’re lucky, you know her personally. But even if you don’t, I hope sharing this story will make you laugh too!

She’s currently in New Orleans and obviously having a blast. Sent the girls the following update yesterday:

Ladies, I cried in a restaurant last night. Lol. No joke. Tears came out of my ducts and rolled onto my face. Then I stole a goblet. My food was so good that I actually cried. No joke. I cried in the middle of the restaurant. I then stole the cup (it’s actually a goblet – it’s huge!). Actually, when I say ‘stole’ what I actually did was call the waitress over and ask her how she felt about me taking the goblet. She said she didn’t see anything and then helped me hide it. I love this place.

I went for a jog outside this morning. First of all, it’s hot. Second of all, the boys are so nice. I’ve been called a ‘pretty young thang’ so many times that I’ve lost count. Lol. I’m not coming back to Ottawa. There’s nothing there for me.

I’m just going to find my first husband in the next few days and just lock him down. This is the new me. Get used to it.

Things to note: She cried over food and she plans to find her first husband. Haha

She then added:

I had deep fried shrimp wrapped in crab stuffing. Sooooooo good. Sandra, if you do your rotations here, I will visit ALL THE TIME. The weather is gorgeous. The only downside is that I didn’t bring my booty shorts. Sad face.

I stole the goblet because it’s huge! It’s the equivalent of 3 drinks. It’s magnificent. I’m going to drink every thing out of it. Coffee, cocktails, beer. I might even put soup in it.

I miss this girl! πŸ˜‰

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

My sister gave me a Survival Kit in a Sardine Can before coming to Australia. It was a neat little gift that I wanted to save for the inevitable zombie apocalypse but curiosity got the best of me. I did hold out for nearly 2 years though, that’s got to count for something!

Here’s the little tin, it’s quite small and fits in the palm of your hand. It’s also packed pretty well so once you open it and unpack the items… it nearly impossible to fit everything back in.

Kit contains one of each:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol/Panadol)
  • Adhesive bandage
  • Alcohol prep
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Book matches
  • Tea bag
  • Chewing gum
  • Compass
  • Sugar
  • Whistle
  • Fire starter cube
  • Wire clip (paper clip)
  • First aid instructions
  • Fish hook and line
  • Note paper
  • Pencil
  • Razor blade
  • Duct tape
  • Salt packet
  • Energy nugget (a mini Tootsie roll)
  • Safety pin
  • Signal mirror (I don’t think I had this in my kit… am I supposed to use the inside of the tin as a mirror?)
  • Waterproof bag

There was also a little sheet that came with instructions and ideas on how to use each item – could be pretty useful πŸ˜€

The stash! That razor blade is normal size and that compass is as big as the tip of my finger so you can get an idea on the size of the other objects.

Thanks again sis! πŸ˜‰

The Cinnamon Challenge: Stupid!

What is the cinnamon challenge?

To swallow a tablespoon of powdered cinnamon without the aid of water in under 60 seconds.

It is unbelievable the number of people I’ve seen on YouTube attempting this challenge and failing… horribly. And it never stops, people just keep doing it and proudly posting their videos online!

Here’s a great compilation to show you what I’m talking about:

What did they expect would happen?! I’m sorry if anyone reading this has tried the cinnamon challenge but you have to admit… that was a really stupid decision. With that being said, I’m sorry you had to go through that nastiness, and had to clean up the mess afterward.

Cinnamon is spicy and the powder will completely dry out your mouth, your salivary glands will not be able to release enough saliva and you won’t be able to swallow. As soon as you take a breath, those fine little spice particles are going to on into your lungs and down your oesophagus causing: choking, vomiting, even aspiration pneumonia. Also, who knows what else can develop down the road if the cinnamon never gets cleared from your lungs!

Just stick with the Saltine Cracker Challenge… at least it’s safer!

New Project: Movie a Week

About a month ago, Mike and I decided that each week, we would take turns choosing one movie to watch at home. It would give us an opportunity to further share one of our interests (without resistance) and would facilitate discussion about the things we enjoy.

As it’s another one of those long term personal projects, I wanted to record our movie choices and thoughts!

#1. Michael’s choice – Total Recall (1990)

Although he had already seen this movie, the new Total Recall was out in theatres and had a surprisingly lower than expected rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A lot of the reviewers said they enjoyed the old one more so rather than go out to watch the new one, we decided to stay in to watch the old one.

Verdict: Thoroughly enjoyed the film. With the storyline and futuristic ideas, I can’t believe the new movie couldn’t live up to expectations. I had plenty of laughs and as usual, could not take Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent seriously!

#2: Sandra’s choice – Saving Private Ryan (1998)

A movie I’d always wanted to see. After seeing clips of this film in a fan-made music video for Metallica’s Fade to Black, I finally decided to watch it. Mike had already seen it before but because he liked the movie, he didn’t mind seeing it again.

Verdict: Great movie although very long. I think some scenes could’ve been cut and it wouldn’t have taken away from the movie. A lot of familiar actors and many gut wrenching scenes. The portrayed certain aspects of war that we will probably never see again, especially with such enormous advances in technology. Makes me hope that in future years, we will never forget the sacrifices millions have made for the world we live in today.

#3: Michael’s choice – The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

Michael though this would be a good comedy and I believed him.

Verdict: By the time we finished half the movie, we were groaning and wondering when it was going to end. Although we wanted to give up and turn the movie off, we couldn’t because too much time had already been invested! Sure, there were a few laughs and funny moments (all the good parts are shown in the trailer), but overall the movie just wasn’t funny.

#4: Sandra’s choice – Ratatouille (2007)

This movie came up in a conversation and I suggested we watched it. I loved it when I saw it the first time and Michael thought he would like it too.

Verdict: Great movie with memorable characters. We also love food, so may be a little biased. But it was a nice story and didn’t have musicals as fillers which was a plus. And as usual, Pixar animation is amazing!

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

A few of my Facebook friends posted this today. I thought it was lovely and wanted to share!

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee…

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first–the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

It’s hard sometimes not to get caught up in the little things and forget the more important aspects of life. Hope you enjoyed the read!

Photo A Day update coming soon

I know… I’m so behind on my photo project! I should really try to post daily but I keep letting the pictures pile up… 😦

I have one last exam tomorrow (Global and Community Med) and then I will start posting for sure!

In the meantime, I’m loving Billy Talent’s Surprise Surprise off their latest album, Dead Silence. Check it out!

Procrastinating… as usual -_-‘

I have 2 exams this Saturday: Clinical Science and Ethics & Professional Practice.

Am I ready yet? No.

Will I be ready? Maybe!

But as usual, I’m taking many breaks to go on (what Michael likes to call) YouTube Adventures!

Join me for a smile as I procrastinate!

Medical Terminology Concerto
(Not everyone will find this amusing as I do…)

2 Hamsters 1 Wheel
(Mike laughed so hard, he cried – for real)

Sugar Painting: Chinese Dragon
(Such a low cost business and so good! I wish I had such a talent!)

and because one video is never enough

Painting on Water
(Reminds me of doing marble nails if anyone has ever done that before)

Flexipan Small Cakes
(I really really want these pans now…)

Funny Japanese Pranks
(Because they never fail to make me laugh)

Gangnam Style!
(Come on… don’t tell me you haven’t seen this yet? :P)

FADU: Short Stay in Sydney

The five of us went down to Sydney on Friday, August 03 for a short visit… $45/person each way – woo hoo!

Mike and I had to head back on the 6th because of class but my family stayed until the 9th before heading to Perth.

Here’s a sorta-long summary of what we did!

Day 1 – Aug 3

Landed around 3:30pm and was picked up by Chet Muoi and his wife!

Went right away to check into our residence at Oaks Hyde Park Plaza. A great price for the location but the apartment we had was definitely too small for 5 people. Sleeping 3 nights on a dinky sofabed did terrible wonders on my back!

Immediately headed out. We walked down to Darling Harbour and up to visit the Sydney Aquarium. Very lively with beautiful views by the harbour.

The aquarium was well worth the visit! Lots of fun πŸ™‚

About to head in…

All manta rays have such cute faces!

The fish, they cry crystal tears!

Fluorescent jelly fish and enormous crab

Shark attack!

Nemo! Dory! I’ve found you!

We finished the map and got our gold coins! Chocolate, who could resist?

We headed back down to Chinatown for a visit and ended the night with a late Korean dinner – yum yum!

Day 2 – Aug 4

Woke up early to check out the rooftop facilities – heated pool, jacuzzi and a great view – what more do you need?

By 10:30am, we were on the train and headed to Cabramatta to meet my dad’s family.

A great dim sum lunch where we got to meet some family members for the first time and catch up with many others.

Lunch was followed by a walk around Viettown and then ‘the rounds’ What does that mean? Going from one person’s house to another for a few reasons: to check out their home, to talk some more, and to eat of course πŸ˜‰

We visited a total of 5 homes and soon it was time for dinner! Amazing food at a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant that left us completely stuffed.

We ended the night at The Star Casino. I cannot understand the appeal of losing money but lots of people looked like they were having fun πŸ˜›

Day 3 – Aug 5

A day to ourselves, yay! My mom came down with a migraine so didn’t join us for the first part. The four of us headed out to see more of the city. We decided the first stop would be Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

Onwards to the Sydney Fish Market, but on the way there, we got distracted by a lovely cafe and tasty treats.

When we finally got there, I wanted to leave immediately, haha. I really don’t like crowds… and it was SO crowded. Asians everywhere, haha. We did pick up a bottle of wine and some sashimi to share, very tasty!

Headed back going through Darling Harbour again to check it out during the day. Then we walked over to see… (you guessed it!) the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Then hopped on the free bus (love the free bus) back to our residence to pick up my mom for the evening activities – luckily she was feeling better!

First up, Mme Tussaud’s! Had a great time ‘meeting’ all the famous people!

Then over to the Sydney Tower Eye to check out Sydney at night – so pretty!

Then back to Opera House to see it again but against a black sky!

Finally ended the night with a super late but amazing Japanese dinner!

Day 4 – Aug 6

Wake up, pack up, go home! 😦 No time to do anything but haul ourselves to the airport, eat breakfast and head back to Brisbane! Luckily… our flights weren’t delayed! πŸ™‚

FULL SYDNEY ALBUM HERE!

FADU: South Bank and Yumminess!

July 8, 2012

Woke up to the wonderful smell of pan fried dumplings – thank you mommy for your jet lag and waking up at 4am to make us food!

Family breakfast complete with pyjamas and bed hair

We headed down to the CBD (downtown) for a stroll and to visit souvenir shops. A bed of furries – woo hoo!

My mom really liked the trees on Adelaide St

Trying not to laugh wearing a hat from the souvenir shop. Then getting a work out pushing big metallic spheres around.

We then walked over the bridge to visit South Bank

Exact tool my brother needs to work on his bike at home is available at the Community Bike Repair Station. He wishes there was one in our neighbourhood back home! And mom holding up the Wheel of Brisbane

Mom and sister being silly and posing

The man made beach in South Bank

Can’t visit South Bank with a stop at Max Brenner! Yum yum yum

Could not pass up the photo opportunity with Pedobear! Haha

Sun going down… time to go home and eat leftovers for dinner!

FADU: Family Adventures Down Under

I’m starting up a new category of blog posts! This one’s called Family Adventures Down Under or FADU for short.

These entries will be written to share the fun times Mike and I have with my mommy (Khanh), my sister (Jenni) and my brother (Andy) as they visit Australia from July 6 to August 21, 2012.

I’m already 2 weeks behind so let’s get started!

July 6, 2012

No pictures! 😦

My mom and siblings arrived in Brisbane around 1:30pm. Customs was a breeze for them – lucky! We took the taxi home (only $40!) and chilled out the rest of the day catching up and dealing with jet lag. For dinner, I made rice with vegetarian bulgogi (made with firm tofu) and stir fried veggies.

July 7, 2012

Eggs and bruschetta for breakfast – yum! Then off to Davies Park Market in West End to check out the local produce. On the way back, we visited Chinatown where mommy stalked up on Asian necessities to make Bun Rieu – my first food request, haha. Of course, knowing my mom – she also stocked up on enough things to make 3 other dishes. Had sushi, crepes and bubbletea while out and Domino’s Pizza for dinner!

Stole these pictures from my mom’s camera:

Waiting for the bus to the market!

For whatever reason… my mom was super fascinated by this building

Fam pic in front of Chinatown gate

Andy sashaying in public… πŸ˜›

Now to find room for all the groceries!

The importance of hand washing

It is unbelievable the number of people I come across who don’t bother washing their hands after using a public bathroom – especially when I’m at the hospital.

Oh people… that’s bad, you know that! Washing your hands is so easy. It prevents the spread of germs to other people and to your surroundings … it even protects you from infection and illness. Win-win situation for everyone!

Sadly, most people already understand the importance of hand washing, they just choose not to do it.

Those people need Hamish and Andy (with the help of ‘The MOB’) to shame them into washing their hands:

Starts at 1:26

Another Favourite Facial Product: BB Cream from Skin79

No, I’m most definitely not a beauty guru, but there are some things I like and want to share with you!

A few months ago, I talked about the Cure exfoliant – still one of my favs! (READ IT HERE)

Today I’d like to talk about BB cream, a product I’ve been using for almost a year now and love πŸ™‚

Taken from Wikipedia:

BB cream, also known as Blemish Balm, Blemish Base or Beblesh Balm, is a cosmetic item sold mainly in East and Southeast Asia, although larger beauty brands are increasingly introducing BB creams to Western markets as well. Originally formulated in Germany by dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek in the 1950s, the cream was initially used to protect skin after laser procedures and surgery, while also providing light coverage. Introduced to South Korea and Japan in the 1980s, BB cream has been named “the secret of Korean actresses” and has been heavily endorsed by Korean celebrities, which gained it large exposure in these Asian markets.

BB creams come in a variety of different formulations and qualities mainly perceived as being anti-inflammatory and having a soothing effect. As companies focused initially on the East Asian market, BB creams have a limited number of hues. Due to its “multi-tasking” all-in-one properties β€” moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock β€” the cream became a hit in Asia, especially in South Korea, where BB creams make up 13% of the cosmetics market.

Leading Asian brands include Missha, The Face Shop, Etude House, Sulhwasoo, Skin Food, and Nature Republic.

Companies began in 2011 to launch BB creams in Western markets, namely Garnier and Dr. Jart, with others such as Dior and Clinique following suit in 2012. BB creams have been tailored for Western markets: for example, although whitening properties are a main selling point of BB creams in Asia, EstΓ©e Lauder is not including it in their formulation for North America.

Yes, it was through my interest in Korean culture that I came across BB cream and decided to give it a try. πŸ˜‰ Due to the huge variety and properties of BB creams available, most people tend to sample with a couple before they find one they like. Luckily for me, my first try was a gem.

I absolutely love Skin79’s Hot Pink Super Plus Beblesh Balm, seen here:

For comprehensive product info, you can visit their North American website HERE

With the humidity of Brisbane, this one is perfect for my skin. It is moisturizing but never greasy, provides light (but great) coverage and UV protection. I have long ditched the use of foundation and concealers – this does the trick for me! Of course, it doesn’t cover up those nasty pimples, but if it’s that bad to begin with, you shouldn’t be applying a bunch of stuff on it anyway!

With this on my face and a little bronzer and blush, I’m ready to go about my day – love it!

In colder weather (like when I’m back in Canada for the winter!) Skin79’s VIP Gold Super Plus Beblesh Balm is great. It is super moisturizing (which makes my face greasy in the summer), but perfect when my skin is naturally drier. Info on that one HERE.

So… if you’ve checked out the links, you can see that these can be quite pricey, around $45/bottle not including shipping. Definitely not worth buying from the North American website. There are many online stores and eBay sellers (mainly based out of Korea) who offer genuine Skin79 products I mentioned above (and more!) for around $15/bottle with delivery.

Don’t forget to check the authenticity if you buy these products online!

High quality, distinctive packaging with perforations allowing you to open up the box and read more detailed information inside in multiple languages.

There should be an authenticity certificated label on the container. You can see the shadow of the word “VOID” in the holographic sticker. If that sticker has been tampered with, the word “VOID” will be become non-holographic and very apparent.

If you’re looking for something new to try, I definitely suggest these! You can easily find samples or small tubes (5g) of most Skin79 products for very reasonable prices online if you don’t want to buy a regular sized container!

My favourite facial product: Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Today I share with you one of my favourite (no-longer-secret) products – the best exfoliant EVER πŸ˜€

Cure’s Natural Aqua Gel

I first learned of this product a few years ago from people on YouTube. Although I thought it was an interesting product, I didn’t actually purchase it until last year.

So… what the heck is this Natural Aqua Gel?

It’s a gel exfoliant that is one of Japan’s best selling products – selling 1 bottle every 20 seconds. And after using it, I can really see why it’s so popular.

Taken directly from Cure’s website:

Cure Natural Aqua Gel is a gentle and natural exfoliating gel that removes dead skin effectively without causing undue stress to the skin. Unlike chemical peels which use strong acid, Cure is very gentle on the skin and only removes unwanted dead skin. It does not dry or thin your skin which causes your skin to be vulnerable to sunlight. Made of 90% revitalized hydrogen water and natural plant extracts of aloe vera, gingko and rosemary. Contains no preservatives, fragrance, artificial colourings and alcohol.

It is amaaaazing! Does exactly what it says.

How I use?

  • Comes in a 250g pump bottle. A somewhat opaque gel that turns into a clear and watery consistency once applied on the skin.
  • Start with a clean, dry face. Apply liberally using as many pumps as needed!
  • Leave for about 10-15 seconds. You will see the clear liquid become milky as it starts to react with your dead skin.
  • Begin rubbing your face gently in circular motions for about a minute.
  • THIS will happen:

Yep, that’s right. That is my dead skin rolling up into white balls as I rub my face.

  • Rinse off. Pat dry. Continue with normal facial routine.
  • Use 2-3 times a week.

Why I love?

  • It is SUPER gentle on my face. There are no microbeads/crushed nuts/crystals etc rubbing on my skin and causing trauma. Does not leave my skin feeling tight, irritated, dry and flaky! And there’s no fragrance – which is a plus for me!
  • It works and you SEE it!
  • Leaves my face feeling so soft and fresh! I can even feel my creams absorbing into my skin better afterwards.

It’s an expensive product, around $35-40 a bottle (with shipping) but completely worth it. If you can spend $15+ on a tiny bottle of foundation to cover up your face, it deserves a product like this even more. I don’t believe it’s sold in Canada/Australia, however, you can get it on eBay, YesStyle, Amazon, etc. Personally, I buy from eBay because it’s generally a few dollars cheaper. Also one bottle goes a long way, I’ve been using the same one since September and it’s still 2/3 full.

The end!

Ailee – From YouTube star to Kpop star

Most people know I’ve been a Kpop fan for years ❀ That is… until I moved to Australia and didn’t really have the time or the company to indulge. Now when I check Kpop news sites, there are so many new groups and solo artists – I have no idea where to start so I simply stick with my old favourites and see what they’re up to.

However, I recently came upon this young American-Korean lady and… I realllyyy like her! Ailee was already well known in the YouTube community a few years back for her voice and has just debuted in Korea!

Compared to the quality of many artists who debut in Korea, I am impressed! I love her voice and this song… perhaps she will even win Rookie of the Year. Good luck to her!

Heaven by Ailee
(If I remember correctly, this was her debut stage)
My favourite parts start at 2:05

And I’m adding in the MR (music recording) removed version of her performance πŸ™‚

My new home :)

Only a picture of the outside for now. Pictures inside when it’s neater!

I love it! And it’s so so so convenient to get around the city πŸ™‚

Bonus picture:

“I’m just going to search on Gumtree for a couch… zzzzZZZZ”

“I can also magically sleep while holding my iPhone and keeping my feet up…”

Last few pictures at Yeerongpilly

Right after I got back from Canada and before I moved to my new home!

No zoom… look how close to the bird I was!

I have no idea what this insect is (help me out if you know)… but it was as long as my thumb and even fatter!

In Tap’s car for Jawn’s going away dinner – rainbow!

Memories with the family

A few random moments to share!

My sister. Setting a Flight Control score record so high on my iPad, I still have yet to beat it 😦

My mom made steaks to have with our grandparents one night. Steaks were bigger than my face!

I put up the Christmas tree and decorations!

My Cau Mo Hai took us out to dinner with their family and my grandparents. I got to choose the restaurant – Koreana. For some reason, food was not as good as it used to be. Sorry, I know these pictures are bad, but they’re the only ones I have!

Snow! How pretty it is!

When my brother falls asleep, my sister plays a game. How many things can you pile on him before he wakes up? So far: Grandma’s sweater, bottle of wine, newspaper, tub of cookies

Apple and cinnamon – possibly my favourite dessert combination. But gum? Really? Gross!

“People of Walmart”

Haha, that’s all I have! I had many other memories and outings with family and friends, but I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures to share 😦

Vietnam Week 2: Monday, Oct 31 – Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011

More hospital work!

There was A LOT of downtime. After their morning rounds, doctors would spend hours writing up charts while we sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Luckily, we had our Oxford handbooks, otherwise we would’ve died of boredom. That almost happened anyways, numerous times. We also had tons of pent up frustration as we were repeatedly left on our own and ignored.

Soon, we realized that being polite and waiting around to be spoken to would get us nowhere. Instead, we began to track down doctors and declare that we would follow them. Surprisingly, they preferred this. They are too busy to ask us to come with them, so they appreciated that we came to them… okay then!

We saw and learned, a lot!

  • What tests do you perform to diagnose meningitis? Dengue fever? Malaria?
  • How can you narrow down which snake bit the patient? What do you treat them with?
  • What blood disorder do you find in snake bite patients?
  • What effects of Dengue fever do you have to watch out for? How do you monitor them?
  • How can you tell from CSF components what kind of meningitis the patient has? Is it fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic?
  • When would a patient be more susceptible to fungal meningitis?
  • What are the most common organisms that cause meningitis?
  • What is Stevens Johnson Syndrome (Erythema Multiforme)? Why do you see it so often in VN?
  • And so much more!

During the first 2 weeks, we also had a 6th year medical student, Ha, with us from Hungary. She is originally from Saigon, and took us to a number of really neat and yummy places to eat and hang out.

One of them was street food at it’s best. Sit on these little stools and call out your order. They have amazing dumplings, fresh spring rolls called ‘Bo Bia’, and cold tofu! Yumm! They’re open in the evening, but come early because the food will run out quickly! On the corner of Le Thanh Ton (and a street I don’t remember) close to Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh night market and surrounding areas

This is the Bitexco Financial Tower – the tallest building in Saigon with 68 floors.

She also took us to her 3 friends’ cafe called, ‘Da Tung Thay’ which literally translates to ‘Was Once Seen’ or ‘Deja Vu’ This gem is found at the end of an alley off 89 Ham Nghi St, with no identifying signs, not even a store sign.

Inside, it is full of charm and uniqueness. Most furnishings and decorations in this cafe are items from their past. Old catalogues and newspapers have been ripped and used as wallpaper, shelves are adorned with comic books from their childhood, bricks from one of the owners’ old house makes up a portion of the restaurant’s wall, etc.

We stopped by late at night for a drink when it was empty and tranquil. The owners insisted that we come by again for lunch, where they serve neat old fashioned meals. They promised it would be different but delicious and meet our expectations, and we promised to try and come back.

Sandar is a dragon!

Some of my friends call me ‘Sandar’ and I’ve always complained that it sounds like a dinosaur.

Well, I’ve been playing Dragonvale (oh so lame, I know) recently and it turns out Sandar is a dragon… a plant dragon as a matter of fact πŸ™‚ And no… I did not name it!

Elderly couple of 62 years play piano

So this video is a little old, but I just came across it today and wanted to share with you!

“An elderly couple walked into the lobby of the Mayo Clinic for a checkup and spotted a piano. They’ve been married for 62 years and he’ll be 90 this year. Check out this impromptu performance. We are only as old as we feel, it’s all attitude. Enjoy! They certainly do”

Reminds me to not take the little things for granted and to worry less and enjoy more!

A moving post I’d like to share

When you visit the WordPress homepage, a number of “Freshly Pressed” articles are displayed for you to read. These are written by bloggers of the WordPress community of all genres and subjects. Freshly Pressed articles are changed daily and are chosen by the WordPress staff to show viewers how blog posts can be used to “entertain, enlighten, or inspire” Needless to say, having one of your articles “Freshly Pressed” is a great opportunity as it brings in readers from the entire WordPress community and beyond.

I try to read as many Freshly Pressed posts as I can and this week, one really struck my heart.

Silent Death-Alzheimer’s DiseaseΒ story-1988” was written by Scott Dalzell, a former photojournalist. He weaves together the amazing love story between Paul and Mary, accompanied by his pictures that perfectly capture the definitions of emotion. The tale of how Paul’s Alzheimer’s affected his life and that of his wife’s is haunting and can resonate within us all.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ

I want to show you something…

… girls only though.

Unless you want to gift your woman one of these scarves and also demonstrate all the different ways to wear it… πŸ˜‰

Came across this video yesterday which I thought was really nice. Girl has class and great ideas. Would love to try some of these wraps out… soon! Just have to wait a little longer for winter to be over! Now… to find a scarf that big is another issue…

Anyway, enjoy!

Visit her website HERE

How great would it be…

… if all the grandmas we knew, sang as freely as Ba Ba Hue?

When someone suggested we sing karaoke the night of July 2nd when everyone got together at Ong Ba Ut’s house, she replied that she didn’t need any accompanying music and could sing right there on the spot.

With just a little encouragement, she broke out into song. I had to run into my room to grab my cell phone in order to record this!

I’m sure everyone back in Canada will enjoy it πŸ˜‰

After that, I asked her to sing a song especially for Ong Ba Ngoai – which she gladly did! I’m now sharing it with everyone back home

David Choi coming to Brisbane…

… but I won’t be able to see him because I’m still on my road trip!

(Road trip? Will update on that later)

He’s performing at my school! In the lecture hall that I have all my classes in! I would love to go hear him live! In addition, Jayesslee will be one of his supporting acts 😦 After following these people for years – it would really nice see them!

Oh well… Darwin, you will be worth it πŸ™‚

David Choi’s That Girl (original)

Jayesslee’s Officially Missing You (cover)

Song of the week…

… thanks to Kien! πŸ™‚

Description from Wiki:

The Elements” (1959) is a song by musical humorist Tom Lehrer, which recites the names of all the chemical elements known at the time of writing, up to number 102, nobelium. It can be found on his albums Tom Lehrer in Concert, More Songs by Tom Lehrer and An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. The song is sung to the tune of the Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.[1]