Michael’s 36th Birthday!

September 21, 2015

Happiest of birthdays to you my love!

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Due to the fact that I was working and also preparing for my job interview on Michael’s birthday, we decided to hold off on celebrating until the following day.

Instead, we had a low key night at home. I made him one of his favourites – bacon and mushroom risotto – for dinner.

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September 22, 2015

The following morning, I had my job interview, which was over quite quickly (more about that in a separate post) and I soon found myself back home with Mike!

Luckily, he had the day off as well and we had planned a dinner date/celebration at Tsuruya – a well known Japanese restaurant at the Capricorn Resort in Yeppoon.

We still had the whole day to ourselves though! Always nice to relax at home together on the our days off, catching up with TV shows and just enjoying each other’s company.

Made another special for Michael – shrimp toast for lunch.

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I spent the majority of the morning making the components of Mike’s birthday cake. He requested a ‘German Chocolate Cake‘ because he’d had it before and it was so richly chocolate and decadent. I had never made a German Chocolate Cake before, and after reading its description, insisted that he was mistaken. But the birthday boy was insistent that’s what he wanted! πŸ˜‰

We headed out to Yeppoon in the early evening for a stroll on the beach and to enjoy the sunset before dinner. Beautiful as always!

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Sculpture on Yeppoon beach front against the sunset

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Framed

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Gorgeous sunset colours

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One last photo together before heading to dinner!

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I will talk about our awesome dinner at Tsuruya in the next post!

We saved room for dessert, birthday cake! It doesn’t look the prettiest, but I tell you, it was tasty! Turns out German Chocolate Cake is not German at all! Invented in the US by a man with the last name German. Chocolate cake topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. Despite the discovery of a new delicious cake, Michael eventually conceded that what he had in mind was, in fact, Belgian chocolate cake, the silly man!

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I also finally gave Michael his birthday present… a scavenger hunt with 20 clues, each one with money inside. It didn’t take him too long to solve all the clues but he loved it, yay!

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Got himself a nice golf club (60deg wedge) with extra birthday money leftover for other enjoyments! Happy birthday my dearest! Here’s to many more to come!

Triple birthday dinner at The Ranch

September 12, 2015

Thank you to all of you who came out to celebrate our September babies – Garrett, Jess and Michael! I was amazed at the number of attendees on such late notice – you guys rock!

We decided on dinner at The Ranch Bar and Grill for a few reasons:

  • Very recently opened, so none of us had visited yet
  • Numerous good reviews
  • Convenient location for everyone!

The Ranch had just recently opened, so some hiccups were expected, but we luckily didn’t encounter too many! We initially made a reservation for 12 people at 8pm. However, because our friends are awesome and more people responded than anticipated, we had to change our reservation last minute to 16. The staff were lovely and more than accommodating with our request, however it did take quite a bit of time to set up. By the time we were seated, it was almost 9pm and we had to rush to get our orders in before the kitchen closed.

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I called in advance to make sure it would be okay with me bringing a cake. Yes, and they were more happy to keep our cake in the fridge – thank you! Made a banana chocolate raspberry cake with Nutella icing πŸ™‚

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They have a bar area (room to sit and stand), which was great while we waited to be seated, perfect to mingle and talk. A variety of beers on tap and a couple of special cocktails. For some reason, we weren’t able to order other bar drinks (ie. gin & tonic) – wasn’t sure why, but we didn’t push it!

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Did we mention there was live music? Yep! I have to admit, our group was more busy catching up with one another than tuning into the music, but the other patrons were certainly enjoying it!

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The menu looked great and everyone was happy with their meals! The portions were also generous and the food freshly cooked!

Both tables ordered the Wagon Train – Entree Combination Platter ($32 for 2 and $48 for 4) – Let’s just say… if you’re ordering the platter, you don’t need a main meal! A mix of potato skins, chicken tenders, stuffed jalapenos, and spicy chicken wings – a great value!

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2 of our birthday boys

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Everyone was quite happy with their steaks, which were cooked medium-rare. Unfortunately, due to the rush, they weren’t allowed to rest for the appropriate amount of time so all the juices ran out on the plate as soon as the steak was cut. Hand cut chips in the mini pails were a cute touch!

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Birthday girl, pretty in red!

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A terrible photo but my San Antonio Chicken Burger ($17.90) was yum! The succulent, crispy chicken really makes the burger!

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It was getting late by the time we were finished dinner and ready to move on to cake cutting. The staff were wonderful! They insisted it wouldn’t be too much trouble and even insisted on finding us enough matching tableware for the cake cutting/eating.

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Thank you so much! It worked out much better than taking the cake away and having to all head over to someone else’s house to eat it.

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Happy birthday you three!! Thank you to the staff at The Ranch! And of course, to all our friends for coming out to celebrate!

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We will definitely be coming back for more meals in the future!

Triple Birthday Dinner

September 12, 2015

We had 3 lovely people celebrating their birthdays within 1 week:

  • Garrett – Sept 14
  • Jessamine – Sept 18
  • Michael – Sept 21

So it made perfect sense to me to organise a birthday celebration for the September babies!

Started the day with a late morning picnic gathering at the beach. The initial plan was Rosalyn Bay Beach but it was incredibly windy so we opted for Lammermoor Beach instead. Thank you David, Farrah, Pei Yee, Amanda, Bryan, Usama for coming out! Unfortunately, both Jess and Jin were working during the day, so it was just for Garrett and Mike.

We drove to Keppel Bay Marina for a late lunch at The Waterline Restaurant. Beautiful views and delicious food! The lunch specials are great and they’ve got Brewhouse specials that are definitely worth checking out!

Can’t be a birthday celebration without a good dinner! More about that in the next post πŸ™‚

Jin’s birthday!

September 5, 2015

Celebrating one day early, thank you for inviting us Jess! Always lovely to spend time with friends and what makes it even better? A fire pit, of course. Happy birthday Jin!

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Ice cream cake for the birthday boy!

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They have matching eye smiles! πŸ™‚

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Mike & Meaghan’s birthday!

September 15, 2014

After a fiasco with booking our bus tickets to Kingston, we had to resort to asking Mike’s dad to drive up to Ottawa and get us. Thank goodness for him!

Today was a special family day, an early joint birthday celebration for Michael and and his sister Meaghan! Mike was turning 35 on Sept 21st and the first time he’s been home to celebrate with his family in over a decade. And Meaghan was turning the big 30 on Sept 26th.

Got to spend some quality time with the family, including Mike’s parents (Greg & Caroline), his brother Matt with his wife Jessice and 2 children, Jasper and RInoa, Aunt Patsy & Uncle Dan, as well asΒ Uncle Jim & Aunt Brenda πŸ™‚

Started off the day with a delicious lunch, thanks Matt – you make awesome grilled cheese! My mom sent a coconut lemon poppy seed cake that was fantastic and a hit with the family as well.

For dinner, Mike’s mum made meatballs, beans, caesar salad, and biscuits from Aunt Patsy – yum!

After dinner came the cake and singing! Caroline made 2 cakes, chocolate for Mike and vanilla for Meaghan.

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The vanilla cake provided lots of good laughs! It was supposed to be a lady bug πŸ˜‰ … a pretty cute one!

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Look at that smile!

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Happy early birthday guys! πŸ™‚

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Great to catch up!

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Aunt Brenda & Uncle Jim

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The birthday siblings

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With Uncle Jim

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The cute nephew, Jasper!

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Uncle Dan & Aunt Patsy – see you soon in Australia!

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Mike’s dad and his youngest grandchild πŸ™‚

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Jasper excited for cake!

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Matt and his son Jasper. Cake and ice cream, what better way to end the night?

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And finally, some family photos!

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My last opportunity to spend time with Mike’s family 😦 Thank you for having me and can’t wait until we see you again inΒ Australia!

Happy birthday mom!

Happy 52nd birthday mom!!

Her actual birthday was August 20th but we celebrated on August 15th πŸ™‚

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Even though we celebrated a few days early, I was really happy our whole family was able to spend her birthday together!

Thanks mum for being our biggest support throughout ourΒ entire lives and for always encouraging us to be the best we can be doing whatever it is that would make us happiest. We love you!

My sister ordered a key lime cake with buttercream icing. Beautiful scroll work and sugar flowers – they looked so real!

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Mommy with Benny – her favourite now

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Proper and complete family photo!

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I don’t… know how my brother does it

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I think the best part of this photo is Franklin, the turtle

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My favourite πŸ™‚

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Cutting the cake!

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Haha, I swear, we can normal

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So sweet!

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Franklin wants in too!

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Yum, so much icing!

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Presents and cards for mom!

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DHAL: July 28, 2014 – My 27th birthday!

Thanks to my lovely sister for spending the past weekend and indulging with me! Unfortunately, it was back to the real world for me and back to Vancouver for her this morning!

On the other hand, happy 27th birthday to me! Gosh, makes me feel old!Β I spent my birthday in the hospital, working hard and coming home late, just like any other day because no one knew it was my birthday and I felt it unnecessary to share.Β Despite being alone, I received so much love from family and friends in the form of text messages, phone calls and Facebook messages – many thanks everyone!

Facebook message and photo from my sister

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Received these 2 Pandora beads from my sister. The left one is the Birthday Bloom charm for my birth month. The left is an engagement present and called Forever Entwined. I love them, thanks Jenni!

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Cards from Mike’s parents and my sister (telling me to cheer up)!

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Facebook message and photo from Mike

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Received part 1 of my birthday gift at the airport from Michael. I’ve been wanting a fitbitΒ for a while – it’s a bracelet you wear that helps you track your activity as well as sleep, thanks love! I haven’t started using it yet because I have no one around to discuss it with at the moment. I’m also excited for part 2 of my gift – soon reunited!

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Facebook message and photo from my mum!

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Before I left Ottawa at the beginning of this year, my mum had already given me my birthday gift in advance – this gold heart Pandora charm. Perhaps she forgot about it and that’s why she has another present for me? πŸ˜›

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I even came home to a chocolate bar and well wishes from my housemate Lyndsay, thank you! πŸ™‚

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My first birthday spent truly by myself away from family and friends, but I felt the love!

Preparations for my Grandpa’s 80th Birthday

Hello friends!

My grandpa turned 80 years old last Sunday (Nov 24)! Our entire family thought it would be appropriate to throw him a surprise party and tasks were divided up in order to get everything organised for the big day.

My responsibilities included being in charge of decorations and making a big card for everyone to sign. This is pretty hard to do when you’re on the other side of the world, with exams, and haven’t seen what the rented room looks like or how many people will be attending, etc. But no worries, the cousins united once I got back in Ottawa to get things done!

We all met up at my house on Friday, Nov 22, to work on the decor and to make the giant birthday card – which featured hand-print trees from all 13 grandchildren.

Yes, my sister flew home just for the weekend for my grandpa, yay!

Some photos of us hard at work πŸ˜›

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The ooo’s and the aah’s that came after each person lifted their hand to reveal a perfect print was pretty hilarious. Who knew we had such mad skills!

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Getting there!

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I also decided to bake some mini cupcakes the next day – apple cinnamon with orange frosting and chocolate caramel with peanut butter frosting. Had to bake these at my cousin Janet’s house because our oven is too old and temperamental for baking.

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And our family present to my Grandpa! It was decided that every family would have their own present as opposed to pitching in for one large gift. As my grandpa really enjoys trying new foods, we decided to buy an assortment of interesting goodies for him to try and share with family and friends. Some items have personal notes on them as well πŸ˜€

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I’ll be posting photos of the actual birthday party soon! ^_^

Happy birthday Fi!

September 28, 2013

A small BBQ gathering to catch up with friends and more importantly, celebrate Fiona’s birthday! She’s only turned “24” this year guys πŸ˜‰

Blowing out the candles! It took many laughs and a lot of effort πŸ˜›

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And a few random pictures! Sorry Christine and Mike, somehow I missed you guys!

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Happy birthday again!

Mike’s 34th Birthday!

Another long overdue post!

Mike turned 34 on September 21, 2013 – woo hoo! We had a quiet day at home with just the 2 of us… focused on food, haha!

Started the day by making us some mini blueberry and white chocolate pancakes for breakfast! πŸ™‚

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For lunch we went to our favourite local sushi restaurant, Sakura Sushi – they have new menu items! They keep improving every time we visit – highly recommended!

And a lovely homemade meal to celebrate for dinner πŸ™‚

At Mike’s request, Banh Tam Xiu Mai – one of his favourite Viet dishes!

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Also made some coconut basil shrimp, mmm so tasty!

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Happy birthday my love!

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And also at his request, Caramel infused chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing. My best homemade cupcakes yet, huge stamp of approval from the birthday boy!

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And of course, presents!

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Wishing you many more happy birthdays to come my dear! ❀

Another year older…

Thought I should finally blog about my 26th birthday which was last month on July 28 – ah, I’m getting so old!

My birthday was very uneventful. I stayed at home all day and lounged on the couch, which was really just what I needed! πŸ˜€

For dinner, Mike made yummy chicken Kiev with potatoes and vegetables and chocolate cupcakes! I didn’t plan an event or do anything with friends, but perhaps next year!

Wasn’t expecting anything, but I even got presents…

Really cute wrapping from Mike, he was very impressed at his handiwork. Even the bow was handmade πŸ˜›

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Mike added 3 charms to my Pandora bracelet: Suitcase + Aeroplane, both representing each other’s travel buddy, the travels we’ve done together so far, and the places we’ll see together in the future. He also gifted me the Medical charm, also known as the Caduceus charm. Yes, we are both aware that the Rod of Asclepius (and not the Caduceus symbol) is the proper symbol of medicine!

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My sister sent me a package from Ottawa that contained a dinosaur card in an envelope that roared (sounding very much like my brother) when you opened it.

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Inside the card were my presents! Awesome gift certificates, you should take a look!

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In addition, I also received a bunch of Reese peanut butter cups! Delicious and not easily available, or cheap, in Australia.

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Unfortunately, they were all squished and looked like this!

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My brother ordered me a set of ceramic knives – nice! I’ve always wanted a few of these, and now I have some! He even gave me the “never sharpen ceramic knives” speech πŸ˜› Yes bro, of course I know that already! πŸ˜‰

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Thanks family!

And as a bonus, some gifts from Kristen! Cute heart-shaped silicone cupcake liners and a paper set with little decorations! Also a lovely brown skinny belt with a gold feather buckle and a turquoise clutch/wallet. Thank you my dear!

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Oh, did I mention my family back home had a party on my behalf? Thanks guys! Although I think you used my birthday as an excuse to eat cake πŸ˜› Just kidding! Thanks for remembering me and including me in the family!

Here are some pictures from the “party”:

Me with my cake!

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With mum and the siblings

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And Di Nam (mum’s sister)

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And altogether!

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Siblings and Janet

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Cutting my cake

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Even get to eat cake!

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Bonus:

My siblings, their pets, and cousin Janet

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We’re having a baaaall!

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26 years old… gosh time is going by too quickly! I wonder what this year will hold? πŸ™‚

Sono Japanese Restaurant for Amanda’s 22nd Birthday!

Thanks to Kee Ping for organising the surprise birthday party for Amanda on Saturday, June 16th! We had the private function room at Sono Japanese Restaurant with 17 people altogether.

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The privacy of the room was pretty nice, although I wish the 2 tables weren’t so segregated. Unfortunately, it was impossible to facilitate conversation between both tables at the same time. Service was very friendly, the servers wore lovely Kimino outfits and were very accommodating. Even though we were in a closed room, we weren’t forgotten and constantly checked upon.

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The food, however, was quite expensive and dishes were hit-or-miss. Some people were quite happy with their dishes but others found theirs lackluster.

Here were a handful of dishes at my table:

Ebi (prawn) Tempura. Delicious, but expensive at $15 for 3 prawns.

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Unagi (eel) Kabayaki ($28) – thick cuts and very flavourful!

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Soft Shell Crab with Shiso Salsa ($15) – Great dish with nice flavour and acidity. A little too much salsa than needed for the burst of flavour so the crab quickly got soft.

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Tenzaru Soba ($19) – This was my dish, which I chose because I had never had cold noodles before and wanted to try something new. The dish was quite bland if not for the tempura and unfortunately, I got really bad food poisoning later that night (the only one in our group who got sick and who had this dish). I’m almost sure it was from the cold noodles itself, probably Bacillus cereus, which is often associated with improperly stored starchy foods (ie. rice, noodles, pasta). Seriously the worst pain of my life, thank god it was over quickly.

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The most interesting, but unfortunately, the most disappointing dish of the night: Seafood Houbayaki ($26). Individually served and cooked at the table, rice is extra.

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Extremely bland! You can even see there seems to be no seasoning involved.

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Moving on to dessert and festivities with the birthday girl! πŸ™‚

Amanda was puzzled, trying to guess who was the person who ordered the chocolate cake decorated with macarons. Turns out it was from her sister back home in Malaysia!

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Taking pictures!

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Many sweets! Chocolate cake from her sister, cheesecake from her friends and I made some pear cupcakes!

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All smiles! Happy birthday girl!

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Great night and got to meet some lovely people! πŸ™‚

Would we come back to Sono? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong. We had a fantastic evening – service was great, with lovely traditional decor and great ambiance. However, most of the group agreed that it was too expensive for less than impressive food. It seemed like half the group really enjoyed their food and the other half (which included the 4 people who ordered the Seafood Houbayaki) simply thought, “Meh.” Also, the food poisoning was unfortunate and extremely unpleasant!

Sono Japanese City on Urbanspoon

Happy Lunar New Year!

Or as they say in Viet, “ChΓΊc mα»«ng nΔƒm mα»›i!”

I know, this post is a week late… but better late than never!

New year (Tet) was on February 10th this year but we didn’t do much to celebrate. Tet for me is mostly a celebration with the family, which means slight loneliness here in Australia. However, Mike and I did go out for a Chinese banquet dinner on Friday the 8th, which was quite yummy and also nice to just be out and relaxing πŸ™‚

On Sunday the 10th, we were back in Chinatown for Christine’s birthday lunch, which it also gave us the opportunity to check out the new year festivities. It was pretty crowded with performances on stage, restaurants full of patrons and many kiosks selling goods. Here are a few pictures!

Hey, it’s snowing on my blog!

And I can’t remember how to stop it… you’ll just have to deal with it until I fiddle around and find that magical switch to turn it off.

So… I’ve been back 2 weeks and have been terribly blog-silent, what have I been doing?

You might’ve seen me mention it in earlier posts, but home renovations took up quite a bit of time! Does it count if you’re not tearing down walls? Because I didn’t do that this time.

Our living room: Before

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Our living room: After

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Not too shabby? I am amazed I put this together without:

  • Destroying it
  • Having it fall on top of me
  • It being crooked!

I’ve also helped my brother with his bedroom but it’s still full of his unorganized junk, so no pictures for now!

What else – I FINALLY had Tim Hortons!

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Look at the glorious selection (or at least what’s available at 8pm). A dozen donuts for approx $7 – apple fritters, I have missed you!

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Even better that this Timmies is just on the corner of my street.

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Yum, makes me so happy! Got some apple fritters, blueberry fritters, apple cinnamon with jelly filling, Boston creams, blueberry/strawberry jelly-filled, maple cream, yum!

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We also had (really simple) Subway dinner with my grandparents on the evening of his 79th birthday (Nov 24)

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My sister brought her turtle, Franklin, over to visit my grandparents after dinner πŸ˜›

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The next day, Nov 25, we celebrated his birthday with the entire family!

The foods!

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The birthday man!

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Giving our cards and gifts

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Having lots of fun playing Articulate (came all the way from Australia!) after cake πŸ™‚

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FULL ALBUM HERE!

AYCE sushi with my family on November 28th at Sushi Kan!

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Mmm, green tea ice cream

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RANDOM! My new favourite combination: goat cheese (herb flavour) with blueberry jam – delicious! And bagels! Australia! Why you no have delicious bagels?!

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Met up with Bea on Friday, Nov 30 for lunch at Bobby’s Table. Good company and good food in a homely and friendly little place!

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And then for dinner met up with the girls for sushi at Genji – delicious! So nice to catch up with Ruixi (and hear all about her engagement!), Julia, Atong and Alyssa – you girls make me laugh non stop – love you guys!

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BONUS! My brother’s ugly face πŸ™‚

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Okay, I should go pack now… flying to Halifax tomorrow morning! πŸ™‚

Photo #208: Testing the Flash

September 24, 2012

Finally picked up some rechargeable batteries for the camera flash my brother got me for my birthday! Thanks bro! This was my first shot using it. Had all the lights off and Michael was just sitting in the dark patiently waiting for me to blind him πŸ˜›

FADU: Happy 50th Birthday Mommy!

August 20, 2012

Very lucky to not only be able to celebrate my 25th birthday this year with my family in Australia, but also my mom’s 50th!

Mike and I took my family down to visit the Gold Coast and have lunch at the Four Winds Revolving Restaurant. Although the food was quite lacking (I rate this restaurant 3.5/5), the view was amazing and definitely worth the visit.

Waiting for the train to Gold Coast!

Taking pictures at Surfers Paradise πŸ™‚

Fourwinds Revolving Restaurant at the top of Crowne Plaza Hotel

In the lobby of Crowne Plaza

The restaurant, lovely views!

Elevator shots! πŸ˜›

Cake, cards and presents at home!

Chocolate lime cupcakes – I’m sorry your cake isn’t as extravagant as it deserves to be mommy!

So sad… our last activity together! 😦 My mom and siblings are now somewhere across the Pacific Ocean back to Canada… miss them already!

Photo #152: Personalised Gifts

July 30, 2012

Sharing a few of the personalised gifts received from my sister – 25th birthday presents! Had so many laughs that night – big thanks to my family and Michael for all the wonderful presents not included in this picture! ❀

 

Photo #150: My Man

July 28, 2012

Meet Michael, he’s wonderful and we have a by-the-book-corny story of how we met:

I had finally landed in Australia and had just arrived at my temporary accommodation complete with 3 large and 2 small pieces of luggage (don’t judge me). The receptionist declared I needed to see the facilities and meet the other Canadians who had already arrived. Michael was the first person I was introduced to (and Yoni). She then told Michael to help me upstairs with my luggage and the rest they say, is history… πŸ˜›

Sidenote: Today is my birthday! I’m a quarter century old, woo hoo! We took our family up to Sunshine Coast to visit Noosa Heads Beach – what a lovely day with beautiful weather! And I received such lovely gifts at the end of the day, will share more in a future post!

Photo #80: Happy Birthday Jenni!

May 18, 2012

My sister, Jenni, turns 21 today! Woo hoo! Full-fledged adult!

This is my birthday card to you:

You will receive your present when you’re in Australia visiting me! πŸ™‚

(I believe this qualifies as a “Photo of the Day” because I took most if not all these ‘gorgeous’ pictures of my sister)

Happy Birthday Jawn!

There were about 15 people at our place celebrating Jawn’s birthday… and at the same time, it was also a farewell. Jawn is graduating this year, and recently received an offer to work in Perth! Yay for him and all the best!

In addition to the food guests brought, there was so much yummy food that Tap cooked: jellyfish and shrimp salad, fresh springrolls, crispy roasted pork, noodles in a cabbage bowl, deviled eggs, shrimp, chicken wings… and probably more that I can’t remember. Jawn is soo special πŸ˜›

I’m sorry about the blurriness… I wasn’t paying attention to my aperture!