10 days in…

It really is quite extraordinary what can be accomplished when you set your mind to it!

As previously mentioned, I’ve been attempting to re-learn the guitar for at least the last 10 years and in the last 10 days I’ve learnt: 9 chords, 2 scales and 4 songs that I can somewhat comfortably pick away at (Silent Night, Morning Has Broken, Amazing Grace, Waltzing Matilda)! Pretty happy with the progress though I’m developing calluses on my fingers (as should have been expected). It’s funny how I’ve been so precious about my fingers all my piano-playing life and now I’m purposely causing them pain… oh well, ‘no pain, no gain’ right?

Alongside this little challenge, I’ve been diligently eating only fruit and vege (though I ate two pieces of bread out of desperation since there was next to nothing without bread at one of those catered lunches!), I’ve been coffee-free, tried out lots of new recipes, got my gym program all set and going, started a new job, gone to Boot Camp once in the Flagstaff Gardens (so great to workout outdoors and run around the greenery!), watched Hugo (mmm, wasn’t the greatest), had a water balloon fight with my bro plus done a massive overhaul of my wardrobe, bookshelf and room in general. 2012 hasn’t started off that bad after all ;).

One lesson I’ve learnt is that less is more. I think it’s very easy to fall into the habit of accumulating more things, wanting the latest gadget or fashion. However, at the end of the day, it’s all just ‘stuff’. And stuff takes up a lot of room – my bedroom can vouch for that lol. I’m not against acquiring new items (I just invested in some new makeup thanks to Mookxi‘s suggestions) but I think it has to be balanced with giving away of either things we don’t use anymore or things that we can bless others with. In particular, cleaning out my room has made me evaluate: exactly how much of my resources and time do I spend on myself and those I care about compared with how much I spend on people who could never pay me back in return…?

Food for thought.

Lol, sorry this went in a more philosophical direction than I intended. This was really just an update on my progress and a note to say that I MISS YOUR FACES – such a Lor thing to say ;). I miss blogging – I guess you never realise how much something has become a part of your life until it is gone. So I figured, that since I have been a good girl with the guitar playing I don’t really need to bane myself from the blog… right??? I don’t think I’ll be doing proper reviews until after this 30 day challenge is complete but I may drop by everyone once in a while ;).

Hope your 2012 has been just as amazing!

♥ Ames

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Christmas in a few snaps…

Oh Christmas Tree...
The flute comes out for carolling...
Aussie-Asian Christmas
feasting...
Christmas cupcakes ♥

yep, that's taro filling...
Flowers arranged by the talented Lily :)
"Have one!"
Gingerbread houses seem to be all the craze this year..
Mum's Christmas ham
Christine's amazing garlic butter and chilli prawns
Hail and crazy cyclone weather = a Melbourne 'white' Christmas

First Christmas with a ‘new’ church family and some new family members:

Brayden, Emmanuel and Ada's first Christmas ^^

So much to be thankful for :).

Hope you had a blessed Christmas with friends and family!

♥ Ames

’tis the season

The year is wrapping up and that means that piano teaching is also being put on hold for the holiday season.  We had our annual ‘Purely Piano Play-out’ concert on the weekend and it was so great to see the improvement that’s taken place over the course of the year.  A number of the students have hit that point in their music education where lots of the connections have been made and they’re just flying – three students had their Book 1 Concert Set performance which was such a big achievement!  Seeing the progress of your students is the best present that any teacher could have for Christmas but these were kinda cool too:

It's too pretty to eat...

That last one is ‘Hot Chocolate in a Jar’ from the same family that put together ‘Cookie in a Jar‘.  I love the creativity, time and effort put into these eatable gifts – and they’re pretty yummy too ^^.

Continue reading “’tis the season”

BRB

Lunch at HuTong, dessert at Cacao Green, earrings and pretty dresses purchased… yep, freedom is sweet :).

I like how they’ve mixed two very difference songs together… and yep if you haven’t worked it out already, I’m walking on sunshine :).

Sand, sea and (hopefully some) sun, here I come!

BRB!

♥ Ames

say what??

At the moment my face looks like this:

‘Why Ames?’

Just take a look on this page and this page and see if you can work it out… my face is still very much stuck in that position right now… WHOA and PtL!!!

In other but related news, I think the nervous energy before RunMelbourne (which caused me to wake up at 6am on the day) has reset my body clock…I’ve generally always been a bit of a morning person (the kind that’s up before the sun) but since Winter set in, I’ve been more inclined to sleep those few extra moments that can be spared = being late to work all of last week.  Post-RunMelbourne though, I’ve been there mostly before or at least close to 9am nearly everyday! Woot!  However, I’ve also been staying up pretty late as well (hence this late night show!) so I’m not exactly sure how that works… hmmm.  Oh well, it’ll put me in good stead when uni starts again next week…ah, uni.   The holiday has really just flown past! But having said that, I look back on the last 5 weeks and I can honestly say it has been one productive and replenishing break from studying (well, full-time studying since I did do a Winter subject somewhere in there lols).

On the other hand, working the last 9 consecutive weekdays has once again helped me appreciate the uni student lifestyle and it’s been a reminder to really make the most of it while I can.  Hence, after some insightful discussion and prayer, I made the decision to drop one of my subjects this semester.  Did the calculations and the results were that 4 subjects + 1 internship paper + applying for clerkships may not be as sustainable or achievable (let alone mentally healthy) as I had first thought.  Plus I do want to have some sort of life as well :P.

I’m not really sure where this blog post is going so I’ll throw in a photo or two (this seems to be my default when I don’t know how to keep a post from becoming a train wreak!):

‘…errr, why do you have a photos of nails?’

Good question :P.  Having played piano from a very young age, I’ve always kept my nails short to prevent the clicking sound you hear when students don’t cut their nails! SO, when there is a window of opportunity i.e. I’m on holidays from teaching and I’m not scheduled to play piano anywhere, I let them grow… and grow… and grow… until they get annoying.  After a while, things get stuck under your nails, you get them caught in things, you unintentionally scratch yourself etc.  I did try to see how long I could grow them out to but sadly the kiddies are back to school this week hence back to piano teaching hence chop chop chop!

RAMEN!! After Ms I-Hua put the idea of ramen in my head, I had to go and hunt down a bowl of the yummy goodness… thankfully, I had a date with the NaiveChild the next day and since she is a big ramen fan herself, no complaints when I suggested Ramen Ya for lunch ^^.  I should do a separate review of the place some time (when I find the time lol!).

Speaking of food (how can a post go without another mention of food??), our work team went to China Red today (my first time there!).  Food was served quickly and it wasn’t bad in terms of taste BUT the big let down was the fact that our touch screen wasn’t working, service was a bit, for lack of a better word, ‘crappy’ and it was a bit on the expensive side… there are many other dumpling places that can do much better, at least on the price.  I sadly didn’t anticipate that we would be coming here so was camera-less and I was also a bit too shy to ask if I could snap pics on my iPhone ^^’.

Anyways, I think that fills out my word quota for the day… another long day on the other side of sleep! Ciao xo

♥ Ames

P.S. Please go to Blogger Idol and vote for my blog buddy, Chess who just got into the competition as a wildcard! Go Chess!!  Behind you 110% :D.

notice of sabbatical

Hello little blog (and anyone who reads you)!

I’m finally, definitely, positively, absolutely freeeeeeeeee!  That take-home exam was a drainer but lots happened before, during and after including:

  • running my first 6km session!
  • finding out that I won my first blog competition!!!
  • getting a long overdue email from JV :D
  • celebrating at Grigon & Orr 
  • getting a haircut (see here)!
  • buying a winter jacket…and a book… and a dress…
  • visiting my cousin’s lil boy who’s in hospital (if you are of the praying kind, prayers would be much appreciated for his speedy recovery from a virus)
I would go into more detail but having done an all-nighter last night, it is time for me to catch up on some sleep before heading off for a much-needed sabbatical in a few hours… have a great week, blogging friends and buddies!  Sorry I haven’t been around these joints or visited your blog homes for a while… I’ll make it up to y’all soon!
TTFN.
♥ Ames

“I lost my tooth!”

I think I’ve spent the last 4 Queen’s Birthdays at home – studying.  So with all my exams behind me, I saw the light of day for first time this past Aussie public holiday :).  Our family friends invited us over for lunch so I opted to make a salad to go with the BBQ that was fired up :).

Avocado and apple salad

(variation of the one I found in Super Food Ideas Christmas Special edition- Dec ’09/Jan ’10 hehe)

Serves 4 – since there were a few other dishes, I didn’t increase the portions

  • 1 iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 red oak lettuce, leaves separated
  • 2 small avocados, peeled, sliced
  • 1 large red delicious apple, cored, quartered, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice  (kinda added heaps more later on)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper
1. Arrange lettuce on a platter. Top with avocado, apple, onion and pine nuts.
2. Make dressing – Whisk lemon juice, oil and chives together in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle dressing over salad.
3. Serve :).

Other savoury dishes:

Some sweet things:

Yep, I finally got into some proper Lightroom editing ;).

The title:

I love little kids.  At times I feel like I’ve had some of my own since I teach them on a regular basis and am surrounded by either my cousins’ babies or the ones at church.  One of the girls at the Queen’s Birthday Feast had a wobbly tooth and my dad did the honours, giving the last little wiggle to produce her toothless grin in the left hand corner of the photo below :).

♥ Ames

Make Lemonade!

Sorry for the lack of proper posts over here…  there are so many things I want to write about but for the time being, this is what’s been happening this past week through photos:

black light 21st

Oh, before I go on… what was in the bag? It was this!!!

Just in time for a professional photography course I had booked myself in a few months earlier (I bought it for $38.00 via LivingSocial, worth $119.00).  I was content with bringing my Canon G11 but with a new (albeit expensive) toy to play with, I did the obvious and brought the SLR along… It was pretty good, the presenter went through the basics which I was familiar with but had not really known the theory behind why you would use certain settings in different environments… We got a chance to try out our newly acquired skills during the session, I’ll put a few of the photos that I took on the day some other time.

Obscura Gallery offers a variety of photography courses inside the gallery space. The next available 4 week  photography courses are starting on: Saturday 18th June, 10:30am – 1pm for 4 consecutive Saturdays OR Sunday 19th June, 7pm – 9:30pm for 4 consecutive Sundays.

OK, let’s continue ;).

Continue reading “Make Lemonade!”

Spoils from VN

So there was a question or two left unanswered around these parts… First, what costs $125? Unlocking a door apparently lols.  And how many bags of coffee would you bring back from an overseas trip?  That was a bit of a redundant question since I kinda gave you the answer with that photo haha so as you can see there were 12 bags:

This also reveals the fact that the parentals went to VN recently, specifically during the period when this blog was birthed (and why carelessly slamming a door closed without the key costed me $125)!  So now perhaps you can forgive me for the incessant posting that happened that week- I was terribly deprived of conversation and human contact, saved only by a few occasions including when my Aunty came and stayed for a night and my cousin came to visit.  I didn’t realise my cousin was such a foodie as well, as he spent a good half of his visit detailing the restaurants he frequented on his business trip to Sydney and gave me a list of places (he even drew me a map!) I just HAD to go to when we go in July :P.  Anyhow, besides the coffee, my parents brought back a few items I’m sure no one else would have brought back from VN: Continue reading “Spoils from VN”