Archive for January 2014

Giveaway : $400 Gift Card

January 31, 2014

have something really cool for you all today! It's Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard's third blog anniversary yay! And I'm just thrilled to be partnering with Janee and a group of other fantastic bloggers to bring you one awesome giveaway to celebrate. The prize is a $400 gift card! You will have your choice getting it to Target, Jet Blue, Tiffany's, Etsy or Amazon! This is an international giveaway which runs until Friday, February 21st. There are many ways to join and you can enter as few or as many times as you wish to below. Of course more entries will increase your odds of winning. Good luck!

{ brought to you by these amazing bloggers }

Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard | Cocorrina



Wishing a festive Lunar New Year & a happy, healthy & prosperous Year of the Horse to all of you who celebrate! 
新年快樂 !恭禧发财!
I'll be at the temple this morning to receive blessings for the new year and will catch up with everyone later.


Graphics courtesy Janee @ Yellow Bird + Yellow Bird

Favorite Asian Films on A Very Sweet Blog

January 30, 2014
I have a guest post over on A Very Sweet Blog. Many thanks to my pal Kim for inviting me to share some of my favorite Asian films for Chinese New Year week on her wonderful blog! Stop by and see my picks. And be sure to come back tomorrow for a really cool giveaway!

8 Lucky Foods For Chinese New Year

January 29, 2014
Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Food

The Lunar New Year begins this Friday January 31st and will last for 15 days. Chinese people consider this the most important holiday as it's a time for family reunions and sets the stage for new beginnings. To cast away bad energy, homes are thoroughly cleaned and new clothes are purchased. Food which already plays an important role in Chinese culture is especially meaningful during Chinese New Year. The traditional menu is always planned around auspicious symbolism and fortuitous themes. These are eight good luck foods that are typically served in hopes of ensuring good fortune. Eight is considered a very lucky number in our culture. Pronounced "bat" with a soft A, it sounds like the word for prosper which is "fat".

Fish : recipe
In Chinese, the word for fish is "yu" sounds like abundance. The fish is usually steamed and topped with a simple ginger, scallion and soy sauce mixture. The head and tail should be left on to represent a good year from start to finish. It's considered bad luck to break the bones and leaving some left overs is lucky since it signifies an overflow of abundance.

Stewed Dried Oysters, Black Moss, Mushrooms and Lettuce recipe
This Cantonese dish is rich both in taste and meaning. Dried oysters and black moss (hair seaweed) are considered two of the luckiest foods since their name together are "ho see fat choi" which is a homophone for good tidings and prosperity. Mushrooms symbolize the fulfillment of wishes. And lettuce (sang choi) sounds like growing wealth.

Dumplings : recipe
Dumplings traditionally represent wealth and financial success since their shape resembles Chinese gold inglots, an ancient form of currency. It's been said that eating more dumplings during the New Year leads to making more money during the year. Sometimes a coin is hidden in one dumpling and whoever finds it will be extra lucky that year.

Chicken or Duck : recipe
Chicken or duck is customarily served to symbolize a phoenix which is highly regarded as a bird of wealth. A whole bird connotes family unity, harmony and happiness. 

Noodles : recipe
Noodles are an age old symbol of longevity in the Chinese culture. Because of that they should be kept as long as possible for a rich and lofty life. To cut them means that you're cutting your life short. There is such a thing as longevity noodles (yi mein) which is a variety of Cantonese egg noodles made from wheat flour that are standard fare at Chinese birthday celebrations. These are also appropriate for CNY.

Chinese New Year Cake : recipe
This sweet glutinous rice cake called "nian gao" literally translates to "higher year" so eating it will lead to growth and achievement bettering the previous year. Their sweetness is meant to sweeten up one's prospects. These are popular gifts during the New Year due to their auspicious meaning.

Sweet Glutinous Rice Balls : recipe
The name for these is "tangyuan" which resembles the word for reunion. They're served in a sweet soup and can be filled with black sesame paste, red bean paste or peanuts. Their round shape signifies a complete circle of harmony and unity and their sweet flavor symbolizes a sweet life.

Pomelo
This large citrus fruit that is similar to a grapefruit is known as the fruit of reunion. In addition, it's name in Chinese is a homophone for "to have". Consuming it is said to reap good fortune and prosperity. It has a very thick skin and tastes like a sweet grapefruit. People will buy bunches of pomelo leaves and bathe with them on Chinese New Year's Eve as doing so is supposed to dispel bad luck/energy.

This is the year of the Wooden Horse which is characteristically a year of optimism and compassion. Here's to a healthy, happy, prosperous and delicious year!



photo credits: one/two/three/four/five/six/seven/eight/nine

Recent Loves

January 27, 2014

One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque : Dual purpose products are always great and when they work well, they're awesome. Mixed with water, this powder becomes a gentle exfoliating scrub. A little plain greek yogurt or raw honey transforms it into a skin renewing mask. It smells lovely and has done wonders for my pores. 

Yes to Cucumbers Daily Gel Cleanser : My skin tends to be more sensitive during the winter months and this soothing cleanser leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed without drying it out. A fantastic natural and cruelty free cleanser for under $10.

Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil : Last month I started using a half cup of coconut oil in my twice weekly mineral salt baths and it leaves my skin incredibly soft and moisturized. I also use it as a conditioning pre-wash treatment once a week and my hair is so much more manageable and easy to style now. 

These are my recent loves. Do you use any of these products? And do tell me about yours.

The Covet : Mittens

January 24, 2014
cute mittens
Judging by the size of my mitten collection, I have quite a addiction fondness for them. They're just so much warmer and happier than gloves to me cause your fingers get to stay together. I'm not purchasing any more at the moment since I have close to 20 pairs but that doesn't mean I can't still scope them out and these styles have caught my eye. I have a pair that looks alot like no. 2 and the pom poms are so fun. Do you wear mittens? Which pair would you pick?

Thanks for the very kind birthday wishes! We did brave the 10 degree weather and had a nice lunch at Miss Korea BBQ which is a fave. It wasn't so bad out if one was properly bundled and the wind didn't blow. The streets were oddly quiet. We picked up some treats including an incredible savory cheese donut from Paris Baguette and just chilled at home afterwards. I actually took a nap and it was awesome. It felt good to arrive at this birthday given the various ailments that I've been dealing with in the past year. And hubster gave me with an item that I'd been coveting for awhile. I hope to share it with you all in a photo with Rena and Ian soon. Jury duty worked out great too. I had to call in for 2 days and wasn't needed so I was dismissed without ever having to show up at the courthouse.


Eye Candy : Song Ji Hyo for 1st Look

January 22, 2014

Song Ji Hyo is the picture of glamour in this gorgeous editorial for 1st Look Korea. This is such a contrast from her weekly stints as the ace of Running Man where she barely wears makeup but she's pretty enough to pull that off. She makes her return to acting opposite Choi Jin Hyuk in the romantic comedy Emergency Couple. The two will be portraying a bitterly divorced couple who meet again as emergency room medical interns. It premiers later this week and I shall be watching this one as I adore them both. Incidentally Ji Hyo got her big break in Princess Hours (Goong) alongside last week's eye candy Ju Ji Hoon and was also rumored to be dating him in real life as well. Have to say that I like her Monday boyfriend Gary the best.

It's been kind of a weird week and I haven't been online much. I was supposed to have jury duty today but it turns out they don't need me yet. It's a relief since I really didn't want to spend my birthday at the courthouse. Hubster took the day off to be with me. We're going to try to wade through the pile up of snow that the storm brought for a celebratory lunch but I may wimp out if it's too cold.

Love Is Stronger Than Hate

January 20, 2014

Happy MLK Day! There are certain US holidays like Columbus Day, I find questionable but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a true hero whose life and legacy should definitely be honored and celebrated. Thank you for dedicating yourself to your beautiful dream and making the world a better place through your message of peace, understanding, love and compassion!

Photo Source: Glamour

How I Got A Cronut Without Waiting In Line

January 17, 2014

I finally tried a cronut yay! And I didn't even have to wait in line for it! In case you didn't know, the cronut, a croissant/donut hybrid created by chef Dominique Ansel has been abit of pastry phenomenon ever since it's debut in 2013. A limited number are made daily and since the demand exceeds the supply there has been a complete frenzy with people lining up at the crack of dawn outside his New York City bakery since last summer just to try to get a taste of this sweet treat.

Fashion : A Wedding Jumpsuit

January 15, 2014
J Crew Jumpsuit, Wedding Jumpsuit, Lace Jumpsuit, Wedding Dress Alternative

J. Crew included this stylish Eyelash Lace Jumpsuit in their Spring 2014 wedding collection and I think it's rather fresh and fabulous. I can see this as a chic option for a modern bride. The jumpsuit is an updated silhouette but it still retains the styling of a more traditional wedding gown. What's more it has pockets and pretty bow details in the back. If I were getting married now, I'd definitely consider it. I think the re-wearabilty factor would be awesome and could even see dyeing it black to get even more out of it. Would you get married in a jumpsuit?

Speaking of wedding gowns, I actually bought mine at a sample sale at the Mark Ingram Atelier during my lunch hour from work which I didn't even want to go to but a coworker convinced me to. It has similar sheer cap sleeves and a lace overlay like this jumpsuit along with a small kick train. As soon as I laid eyes on it, I had a feeling that it was going to be my dress. When it fit perfectly, I was convinced. And I couldn't believe my luck since it was marked down to $225 from $3,800. That had to be one of my best cases of shopping karma ever. If you're married, how did you find your wedding dress?



Photo Source: J. Crew

Eye Candy : Ju Ji Hoon for L'Officiel Hommes

January 14, 2014

I first noticed Ju Ji Hoon when he was the crown prince Lee Shin in the Korean drama Princess Hours (Goong). He proved he was more than a pretty face with his portrayal of a tortured lawyer in the revenge drama The Devil. The actor who debuted as a model tends to give off a kind of arrogant air in some of his pictorials which is not something I usually find attractive but I guess aloofness can be appealing in it's own way. That quality is definitely on display here in this L'Officiel Hommes Korea editorial and it certainly works for him.

Guest Post At Fashiony Fab

January 13, 2014

Happy Monday! I'm excited to be guest posting over at Fashiony Fab today, talking about my favorite neutral shade which happens to be gray. Thanks so much to Maru for having me! Click on over to see more and say hi!

Cook : Chicken with Soy Sauce & Balsamic Dressing Recipe

January 10, 2014
I tend to cook Asian food often because that's what hubster and I both grew up eating and what we find the most comforting. And a lot of what I make is served around rice. To save time, I like easy dishes like this that combine vegetables and protein. It's quite light and delicious as the marinade is incredibly bright and flavorful. And the leftovers taste even better the next day.

Chicken with Soy Sauce and Balsamic Dressing
adapted from Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking by Harumi Kurihara

Pinteresting Things : Brussels Sprouts Recipes

January 8, 2014
Brussels Sprouts Recipes, Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Garlic and Almonds 
pinned here, source: Donna Hay

I can't get enough of brussels sprouts both in real life and on Pinterest of late. The fact that they're in season and loaded with vitamins and great health benefits definitely contribute to my love. I enjoy them mostly in simple preparations like the first 2 recipes (they're so good with balsamic!) but I'm starting to branch out in how I cook them and can't wait to try the hot cheesy brussels sprouts dip next.  Are you a fan of brussels sprouts? How do you like them cooked?

Brussels Sprouts Recipes, Brussels Sprouts
Ina Garten's Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
pinned here, source: Alexandra Cooks

Eye Candy : Zhou Xun for Marie Claire

January 6, 2014

This Marie Claire China editorial featuring Zhou Xun is such an interesting portrait study. I really like the serene feel and character which comes through each image. I've always admired her dynamic screen presence and acting range. I recently re-watched Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress which is one of the films that brought her international recognition. It was as good as I remembered and it's amazing how well Zhou Xun and her co-stars Chen Kun and Liu Ye have aged and their careers have flourished. The actress who made her Hollywood debut as Tom Hanks' sister in the sci-fi fantasy Cloud Atlas will soon be making a return to Chinese television with an adaptation of Red Sorghum, the classic novel by Mo Yan.

I'm mostly over the flu but still taking it easy. I had forgotten about the simultaneous fever and cold chills that come with this illness along with the dizzying achiness. If it's another 10 years before I get it again, it won't be too soon. Btw Sambucol/Elderberry is really quite effective against flu symptoms. Thanks so much for all the well wishes! I hope to catch up with everyone soon.

Floral Friday : A New Bloom

January 3, 2014

I'm excited to be participating in a new photo series started by Trishie at Under Lock and KeyThe theme for January is "a new bloom." When a flower begins to bloom, it's like a new beginning full of promise and beauty, much like a new year don't you think?

Floral Fridays is a monthly photography project with different themes each month. This series is about fun and taking time out to smell the flowers. To play along, please email Trishie for next month's theme. And please do visit my fellow bloggers for more floral inspiration below.

I apologize for not being able to come by and say hello on everyone's blogs yet this year. I recovered quickly from that cold but my immune system was still weak and I've succumbed to the flu. It has completely knocked me out. I really must get back to regular workouts when my ankle is fully recovered because I hardly ever got sick like this when I did.


Happy New Year

January 1, 2014

The beginning of each new year brings such promise and hope. 2013 was particularly full of highs and lows for me so I'm really looking forward to a fresh start. I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. Ours was quiet but nice and I came down with my first cold in about 9 years. It didn't last for long thanks to copious hot beverages, zicam, ester C, mineral baths and not consuming anything cold. It totally sapped my energy but hubster took extra good care of me in that time. We are ushering a very chilly new year in NYC by staying in and mass wrapping dumplings. Happy New Year! I wish you all a 2014 filled with much happiness, good health, love and success!

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