Archives for category: Photography

I’m at home.  Today, coincidentally, was Take-Our-Sons-And-Daughters-To-Work Day/Earth Day Celebration at GM, so I hung out with my parents with a bunch of elementary schoolers.  It was… something. >.>

The rest of this post isn’t accurate in the chronological sense, but it is a fair reflection of how I usually get home.  I grew up in the quaint little suburban city of Troy, Michigan, and when I can’t find a carpool heading back there for the odd weekend home, I take…

From the south...

...to the north!

…the train!  Amtrak’s actually pretty annoying; the train is usually late–last time by an hour and a half–and there’s no WiFi on the train or at the station.  Food, besides two sad, dirty-looking vending machines, is quite far away, and when you walk into the station, there’s almost a feeling of intruding on a scene from the past, this preserved space.  In other words, the place is dated.  And old.  Freaking old.  Not in a good way.

Riding on the train itself is usually an enjoyable experience.  Though Internet-less, there’s an outlet for my computer, so I can still write, upload photos, watch DVDs, play Plants vs. Zombies, and on the rare trip where I don’t feel like booting up the old laptop, read a good print book.

I usually go home for two, three days each month (this time around, school has ended :D and I carpooled with Lily).  Here’s what I always take:

My riff on those 'What's in your bag?' posts. :P

  • Clothing!  Most of my closet has migrated to #8, so I usually bring a couple outfits home.
  • Messenger bag.  I don’t usually like carrying around small purses, but my mum insists upon it, so this bright orange bag sits in my closet for most of the time, until I need to go home.  When my mummy’s around, I’m not allowed to use the Derek Lam brass-detailed satchel or the feather-python bucket bag. ='(
  • Glasses cases.  I’m a sucker for luxury brand plastic eye wear, and one should always take care of anything that assists in daily functions.  MaxMara frames for daily wear, and Miu Miu sunnies. 8D
  • BOOKS!  Underneath the glasses are five paperbacks.  There’s very little to do in Troy besides going to the library or shopping; there’s this little mall we have, called Somerset (you might’ve heard of it if you live in Michigan, or are Asian visiting Michigan… >.>).  Since the city’s being ridiculous and shutting down the library, it’s now BYOB–Bring Your Own Book!
  • BAGELS. And cream cheese.  My mother and sister, one cold, winter day ten years ago, wandered into a bagel shop in Ann Arbor and ate some bagels.  And fell in love.  And forgot to note the name of the bagel store.  When I moved to Ann Arbor, I asked around and we reasoned out that the mysterious, beloved bagel shop was Breugger’s, and now, every time I go home, I must bring at least half a dozen or be locked out!
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Guten morgen! And I mean that… I’ve only just gotten up about half an hour ago.  XD  A late night playing a raucous game of Apples to Apples and an unexpected, odd sleepover of sorts resulted in going to bed at 5AM and waking up past noon, leaving me to scramble and condense what I’d planned to do.

The About Me page is updated, with a very long, narcissistic rambling.  I also got rid of explications and just combined that in the general About page.

Also also also… here’s a hint of what I’m up to tonight!  No, it’s not a rave:

A lot going on this week… including my update pattern.  I think it’s very ironic that right after my blogging class concludes that I have increased motivation to write everyday.

Class at the University is wrapping up (I only have one, awful, long paper left to write), and then it will be S-U-M-M-E-R.  Not the real season, but the ridiculous, long four months of what should be planting season in our previously agriculture-based society, and like every year for the last six or so years, I am in a quandary of what my plans will be.  I have a general outline (working, reading, cooking, and blogging, of course), but there’s an anticipation for something wonderful, something exciting to happen, and I don’t know what that something is!

Obviously, one of my goals for the summer is to be coherent. =P

My usual state, which doesn't require verbal articulation, unless... something's on fire.

Anyway, this Wednesday, I practiced the favorite art of procrastination by baking; my un-studying was made better by the fact that a). it was done with friends and b). we brought joy (and cookies!) to other people.  I have a very self-focused philosophy of living to enjoy myself, and most other people’s happiness is of negligible import, but I do find it self-affirming to occasionally spread good cheer.  Happy people munching on my baking is like getting hugged, except I don’t even have to touch a person (long story short… I had a traumatizing experience with superglue as a teenager, and now have extreme aversions to physical contact).

My Bible study group got together at the apartment of our Fearless Leader (aka Rosalie), and we spent three hours baking cookies to pass out to hungry, harried students studying in the libraries on campus.  It was part outreach in that there were Bible verses printed out and wrapped with each cookie, but it was, for me, mostly another way to avoid studying and fun to do a random act of kindness.

The boys, left to right, Josh, Nathan, and Sassypants (Andy), at work.

All the eggs and butter we used... mmmm butter.

Benefit of unorthodoxly using one's hands to make cookie dough: eating the residue.

Fearless Leader/Rosalie taking over. That's Nathan in the back, still eating cookie dough.

The chocolate chip cookie dough Nathan was eating.

Sassypants Andy trying to mix the oatmeal raisin cookie dough with a spoon. When that failed...

...he decided to emulate Nathan's hands-on method (not... really sorry for the pun. =P). Josh is in the middle, and Jodi and Iris are working on sugar cookies to the right.

I was assigned white chocolate macadamia cookies. They're my mother's favorite!

Bert, the oven mitten monster that took over Josh's arm.

The overflowing box and basket of wrapped cookies. We made a lot of students happy. =3

And… finally… the last part of this post.  The Life of the Humble Sugar Cookie:

Iris creaming the butter and sugar together for the sugar cookie.

Rolled out and dusted with sugar before baking...

...and here they are, out of the oven.

There were good ones. They got wrapped up and paired with a Biblical message; don't really agree with Matthew here... but who reads inserts when there's a cookie right there? Besides with fortune cookies. =P

The many rejects. :D


This last Saturday, the sophomore class of AIV invited the freshmen to an afternoon of studying and bonding at Palmer Commons.  There were snacks, a sandwich bar, games, shenanigans, and lots of fun!

Most of the food. It was consumed quickly.

The freshmen, stick-figured. =)

In the throes of laughter and the middle of playing Mafia. Grace is laughing in the striped tank on the right.

Studying hard... or hardly studying? Jason is one of the three guys in this picture. Guess a). what these guys are playing, and b). which ones Jason!

Multi-tasking... studying AND Catan.

I wasn’t the only one taking pictures!  Here are some pictures of other friends taking pictures:

Maggie, to the right, and Rocky, on the left, snapping pictures.

My friend Kelli, and future neighbor in #4.

Christina, another future #4 resident, with Rockys camera.

And finally… the cookies.  My friend James dropped off a lot of the groceries at #8 the night before, to facilitate easier transportation to Palmer Commons than where he lives near North Campus, and the morning of, I decided to make chocolate chip cookies for everyone.  They also did double-duty as Jason’s breakfast.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from AllRecpies

Ingredients
1 cup (preferably dark) brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon  salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.

Fold the wet ingredients slowly into the dry, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheets, and then bake 9-11 minutes.

Makes… lots. ;)

Another quick post today… my friend and fabulous photographer Winnie Jeng (the visual genius behind Attention to Eating, written by the great Jason Siegfried) surprised me today with a photo from a shoot we did a long while ago.  The screenshot below is from her blog Snapshot Aesthetic, where she dumps all of her pictures taken from her growing vintage film camera collection.

This was taken between lighting changes, and the fabulous model is none other than Maeve.  To check out the full shoot and the final pictures, click HERE.

Today was the last day of classes… and there’s really a perceptible frustration in the air!  All my roommates and I are scrambling to finish projects, study for final exams, and write last papers, but oh, in just a week and a half, it’ll be all over.  We’re restless but there’s also an insatiable urge to procrastinate from finishing the last dregs of this semester.  !!!!

Usually at this time, I also get the urge to just go out and buy things.  So… I did, if you consider clicking on Amazon and then opening the packages two days later “going out” to buy things.  I bought a book of crossword puzzles, the Monday ones, but despite the entire book being “tame,” it takes a collective mind to solve just one.  Lily, Jason and I will sit down with the book opened flat to the puzzle of the moment, squinting and passing a pencil every now and then to scribble in some letters.  When we get stuck… I’ll admit it. I look in the back, where the answers are, after which, I’ll write in the answer to one line and then Jason will endlessly shout “CHEATING, CHEATING, CHEATING!”

You can't tell, but Jason would say that I'm a pumpkin eater. Yes, I do eat pumpkin.

I meant for the crosswords to be for myself, and they became a group activity; ironically, the blender I bought for all of us has only so far been utilized by myself.  That, however, doesn’t stop the roomies from asking me to make them smoothies instead of doing it themselves!

The great thing about this blender is that it’s kind of tiny; it can bust out at most 17 ounces (my smoothies average out to be about 14 ounces), and it’s super easy to clean.  I really like icy, light, fruity smoothies–any yogurt in liquid-y form makes me gag–so beware of brain freeze!

Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie

Ingredients
1 kiwi, peeled
1 cup strawberries, hulled
1 cup ice
1/2 cup orange juice

Directions

Put all the ingredients into the blender, then pulse until smooth!

Grace dressed hers up by adding whipped cream and strawberries!

I’ve been pretty lax in introducing my roommates, but finally, here they are! These fabulous folks are the ones who have daily put up with my quibbles for the last seven and a half months, and so they must be lauded! ;)

Rocky

I met Rocky last year; we were in the same weekly Bible study small group, and he was, funnily enough, my dormitory roommate Joy’s boyfriend for the better part of our first year of college.  Rocky was the one who asked me if I would take the fifth spot at #8; obviously, I said yes.

Rocky’s a dual business and psych major, and the mastermind behind the epic entertainment system of #8.  He is bright, cheery, a (recklessly) talented driver, and can sit through a whole season of Community in ONE night.  E-P-I-C.  Rocky also subscribes to the Wall Street Journal for his business classes, but that often involves picking up issues in the morning, stuffing them into a cabinet, and then recycling the sheaves every month or so.  He especially likes muffins and cookies and his girlfriend, Maggie.

Grace

I also met Grace last year at Bible study/small group; we hung out a bit, but weren’t too close until we moved into #8.  She’s a bit of a fashionista–her closet is massive–and she’s magical in her expertise with makeup.

Grace is studying neuroscience, having officially declared just yesterday, and is working towards either pharmacy or dental school; she hasn’t decided yet.  She is also a lifeguard at the CCRB, and works with me at [undisclosed location; don’t wanna get dooced!].  Grace is also the most violent of us all (she’s always egging me to beat up Jason!), and owns all the stuffed animals currently in residence in #8 (though Rocky was the one who insisted she bring them).  In August, she’ll be moving downstairs to #4.

Lily

I met Lily through Grace a few, fleeting times freshman year, but not until moving into #8 together did I get to really know Lily.  I found out that she is studying neuroscience, aiming for medical school, works with rats in a research laboratory, has perfect pitch, is an epic photographer, is kind of a sadist, likes really spicy food, can stare at a book and literally absorb information, drinks Monster, and loves to shout at the television, just like I do!

Lily and I usually bond over pictures and animated gifs of adorable baby animals.  We also like to watch medical procedurals together and critique shoddy laboratory practices, and we occasionally swap Russian literature (though neither of us have finished the first set of books we’ve traded, her copy of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov for my copy of Bulgakov’s The Master and the Margarita).  She has a cat at home that’s really fat, but adorably so.

Jason

Jason and I actually met on the very first day that we all moved into #8 together.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but we’ve become friends and he’s a wonderful roommate.  He’s kind of a sissypants shy and he didn’t want his face to show on the blog, so in this picture, flanked by Grace and I, he’s holding an Ugly Doll to mask himself.  He’s not ugly, though; just silly!

Jason’s studying computer science, and is a pretty epic Tetris player on Facebook (he’s even ranked).  He also does a lot of coding, for class and for his own entrepreneurial ventures, and is perpetually suffering from one physical injury or another, stemming from his many sports activities (tennis, volleyball, soccer).  We’re both night owls, but occasionally, Grace and Lily will also stay up, and we’ll have what we like to call “girl talk–with Jason!”  He’ll often just listen in, snigger at us, and then occasionally offer up his Y-chromosome expertise. =P  He can be quite infantile and petulant, sometimes, though, but it’s always amusing–his face, though you can’t see it, resembles a little boy, and one can’t help but be amused!

One of the most abysmal baking failures I’ve ever had was a few months ago, when I attempted to make fortune cookies. They kept on popping up on many of the food blogs that I follow, and I wanted to try making them–it seemed so easy!  Just mix, drop, bake, scrape, fold and mold… but they kept on going to pieces. =(

What was great about it, though, was that all five of us in the apartment had some fun.  Jason, Grace, and Lily all tried making them with me (Jason made the best ones!), and Rocky even joined in when we were writing fortunes to insert into the cookies.  No pictures of the fortune cookies (too ugly to photograph and keep my dignity!), but here are some messages we put up on the board for memories:

These could be called mottoes–top one is mine, bottom one is Grace’s!

Messages from Jason; you should especially take the last one seriously. ;)

Lily’s just looking out for your wellbeing.  heheheh :D

+

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Some mornings, I just like to experiment with breakfast.  When I get lucky, I post it. =P

This last weekend, I was volunteering at the Asian American Movement Building Conference; after the two-day circus of pure awesomeness, I was kind of pooped and wanted to nosh on something yummy. (Although much more to come about the conference; lots of pictures to wade through).

Believe it or not, but this recipe was inspired by Tomatoes Provencal, a traditional French tomato dish. I really, really wanted something baked in a dish to eat out of, and to eat it as soon as it came out of the oven (and after it cooled).  I’m a very veggie-centric person, but for me, protein = brain food (although in intense situations, broccoli really hits the spot!).

Asparagus (yeah, I like it), salami, sun-dried tomatoes, eggs, toast… BUTTER. This recipe is ridiculously simple and happy-making, and can be easily expanded to fit a bigger pan:

Morning Bake

Ingredients
2 slices toast
3 eggs
3 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
3 slices salami, sliced thinly/slivered
1/2 cup slivered asparagus
cooking spray
salt & pepper, to taste

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray a small 12×6″ rectangular, oven-safe dish with cooking spray, then lay down the toast (you may have to squish!).

Crack the eggs over top.  Sprinkle with the tomatoes, salami, and asparagus.

Bake 20-25 minutes.  For a harder yolk, cook longer (25-28 minutes).

Eat! Enjoy! :D Om nom nom…!