Flying 101

Flying 101Since it’s the holiday season where it’s kind of the peak period for traveling, I thought I have to share this. I don’t know if this is common knowledge, but it’s definitely important for first time airplane traveler should know.

When your flight is delayed, it is the airline’s responsibility to work it out for you if it will cause you to miss your connecting flight, or severely hinder your travel plans.

My mum and brother were flying last Sunday, and it was an absolute nightmare dealing with American Airlines. Their 8am flight was delayed by an hour and 15 minutes which result in them missing their connecting flight to Houston IAH airport. Now here’s the problem.

  1. They made all of us use the self check-in stations.
    Is this now the norm? I understand that some people like to check-in online or on their phones, but I can’t imagine everyone getting on the tech-savvy bandwagon. Like if we were flying on a budget airline and we have to pay extra to have our boarding tickets printed. We weren’t though. American Airlines is a full service airline.
  2. The self check-in station should have referred us to the counter when it shows that we would not make it for the connecting flight.
    In theory, yes we could have just picked our connecting flight on the screen, but it was more complicated than it sounds. They gave us like three options that we had to choose from, and they barely looked any different from each other besides being 15, 30 minutes apart. We ended up picking the flight that reaches Houston the earliest because my mum and brother had an international flight to catch in the evening.
  3. After confirming the flights, we then realized the screen only showed the two connecting flights to HOU airport instead of three flights to IAH airport.
    It was a mistake on our part, and we had to then queue in another line to speak to someone at the counter. We were still fine with it at this moment. I was amused that this self check-in process that’s meant to make the whole boarding process more efficient ended up creating a bigger hassle for us and American Airlines.
  4. When we finally got to the counter, the American Airlines staff told us to take a shuttle from HOU airport to IAH airport if we wanted to catch our international flight.
    This was an absolute no-no for me that she did that. My mum and brother should not be lugging two personal baggages, two carry on luggages and two check in luggages from HOU airport all the way to IAH airport because of a flight delay. I don’t even know if they would be able to collect their luggage at HOU airport because they are technically suppose to wait for their later flight to IAH airport. Also, she had no idea how long the shuttle from HOU airport to IAH airport is, or the frequency of the shuttle.
  5. The American Airlines staff recommended us to take a taxi from HOU airport to IAH airport if we do not want to take the airport shuttle.
    Why should we pay for their delay? (I just googled and it will cost about $70 by taxi and $40 by Uber.) We might as well pay for a direct flight to IAH airport if we knew we had to fork in more money and go through so much hassle, especially since they still had a 20+ hours flight back to Singapore after that.
  6. We had to continuously insist that American Airlines to get us to IAH airport on time, so that they would be able to make it for their international flight. It should not have been so difficult.
    It felt like we had to hustle our way to get the American Airlines staff to refer us to another airline to get us to our destination on time. I knew that it was possible for them to do that because I have had flights cancelled on me. I just wish they would actually listen to our situation and provided us a reasonable solution. I mean, even if we do not have an international flight to catch at IAH airport, we should not have to take a 9.15am flight from TUL to reach IAH airport around 5pm because the rest of their flights are fully booked.

Ultimately, do not accept unreasonable alternatives from the airlines. If it was just an hour or two of delay, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.

That’s really just the price airlines have to incur if they have any flight delays on top of fully booked flights. Do not let the airlines interrupt your travel plans by more than three hours unless it’s due to weather or natural disasters.

What do you think?

Also, another thing we learnt is that you should always try to book US domestic flights that are from the same airline alliance of your international flight. That may allow you to save on your check-in baggage charges.

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What is home?

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Is it funny that I was never homesick for the past 2.5 years of moving to America until my mum and brother came to visit me? It was so comforting when we finally moved out of our tiny rental (that we shared with my husband’s cousin) and into our very own home last October. The freedom to do whatever we want is so enjoyable. We could actually invest in everything that we own like getting brand new “adult” couches. Never once did I think that it was just the two of us until my mum and brother came over to stay for a month.

I have to admit it was not easy for all of us to adjust initially. We were all trying to figure out how we can function together without interfering too much into each others’ preferences. They made me realize that it’s really not that difficult to drive around by myself, and I should walk my dog around the neighborhood as often as I can. Yes, I am quite a wimp when it comes to doing anything by myself. Even when I was living in a city that’s filled with people everywhere, I rarely ever do anything myself other than going for yoga or dance classes.

Now that they have flown back home, I see the void; the lack of company to cook, exercise and shop with! It’s everything I liked and had when I was living back in Singapore. How am I going to do everything by myself again?

I need to remind myself that there was a lot more errands to do when it was the four of us. That’s a lot more housework to do too. Secondly, I don’t have to be shopping all the time since I have the luxury of not having to work at the moment. I can actually do most of the things I like at home. There’s youtube and other subscription based websites that allows me to do yoga, barre or dance at the comfort of my own home. Maybe when I do find a job around here that I like and actually start working, I can then use the extra cash to pay for yoga classes again.

Somehow I stumbled onto Jamie Beck’s post about her year living in Provence today. There are so many things that she said about living in the city that I do not miss too.

“I learned to live a life with less noise. My days in Provence are filled mostly with cooking, cleaning, and making photographs and those are the days when I am most happy. I found freedom. Above everything I learned, I discovered true freedom. Freedom exists beyond the ability to choose where you live or what you believe. I found freedom in my art and expression. I found freedom from money. Of course, we all need money to survive but they don’t worship it here in France and it’s amazing how much your stress levels dissolve when that’s not the goal to life. I’m really into being free from plastics and logos and that has brought down the noise in my life in the best way. I loved the freedom from a culture that tells woman how we are supposed to look. I loved being free from what society tells me I should be doing like having children and a corporate job so I have health insurance. I loved the freedom from ‘stuff’. I never had to walk outside my door and be reminded of all the ‘stuff’ I don’t have that I supposedly need to in order to be valuable. The value comes from within – in my mind, in my soul and if I can create something of meaning. I wish I had more time to work on these ideas. Time, I have come to find out, is the most valuable thing we have.”

If you love photography, do check out her Instagram Stories. The way she does her photography is so intriguing, especially when she shares the whole process of how she takes her photos. Right now she’s working on large format film photography.

2017 Christmas Haul from Target’s Bullseye’s Playground

2017 Christmas Mantle

Here is my messy Christmas mantle this year. It’s a mishmash of new and old stuff. I think my favorite buy from Target’s Bullseye’s Playground this year are the $3 ceramic tealight candle holder houses. I wish they had more designs, but it’s also fun to collect them over the years if they continue to put out new ones. There were $1 and $3 bottlebrush trees that come in silver, gold, white and ombre pink. Many people on the Target Facebook groups love the $5 sleigh. It looks really good when you add gnomes or even the $2 fake snowballs that Target is also selling.

Target Bullseye's Playground Christmas Haul 2017

Am I the only one that can’t resist all the Christmas stationery, especially when they are all $1 to $3? The stamps, ink pads and sticker labels are a dollar each. The Christmas cards (16pcs) and gift wrapping tissue paper were $3. The snow globe jars are also $3, so I grabbed all three designs.

Last but not the least, there are many garlands and signs for $3. The designs for the garlands are a little on the kiddish side, but I had to get at least one garland. I ended up purchasing the reindeer garland to go with some decor I got from Dollar Tree and the multi-color lights garland. The Merry Christmas sign above my mantle and the Fresh Cut Christmas Trees sign (pictured below) are both $3 which is quite a steal if you ask me.

Let me know if you need the DCPI for any of the items. I’ll try to find them for you to track them down on brickseek.com.

Christmas 2017 Dinning Room


Similar Post: The secret to get the best deals in Target

Fried rice with Thanksgiving leftovers

We hosted our own Thanksgiving dinner at our place on Sunday. It was just a small gathering of immediate family, so we had some leftovers.

Here’s our recipe for Fried Rice with Thanksgiving Leftovers.

– Ham / Turkey, Shredded

– Corn

– Green Beans

– Cooked Rice, preferably a night old

– Egg/s

– Cooking Oil

– Soya Sauce / Salt

Optional:

– Lettuce

– Cherry/Grape Tomatoes

– Mash Potatoes

1. Heat up your pan and coat it with some cooking oil of your choice.

2. Beat up some eggs (1 egg per person’s serving) and add them to the heated pan.

3. Once the eggs are cooked, cut them into small pieces before adding your shredded ham/turkey.

4. Add in your cooked rice after heating up your meat for a few minutes. Mix up the rice, meat and eggs.

5. Add some soya sauce/salt, green beans and corn. You can also add some cherry/grape tomatoes if you have some.

6. The dish is done after a few minutes of heating up and mixing everything. You can add some spices if you want to – pepper, cayenne powder, garlic powder, etc.

Optional:

  • You can cut up some lettuce and fresh tomatoes to eat with your fried rice.
  • We tried frying some of our leftover mashed potatoes by pressing them into small pancakes and coating them with a beaten egg. It turned out pretty good!

The secret to get the best deals in Target

Hi everyone, sorry for taking such a long break. I’m trying to recover from my flu and sore throat after our trip to visit Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Los Angeles early November. I can’t wait to tell you more. For now, I’m going to share how I shop for my home decor at Target.

Target has a section of good deals in the stores. It’s called Bullseye’s Playground and the items cost either $1, $3 or $5. So far, I have realized that they stock up their seasonal items about one to two months ahead of time. Halloween items were available around end August, and Christmas items have been out since 1st November.

The more I dig into the items that they release each season, the more I realize I need to up my game. Here’s my secret:

Through Instagram

Through Facebook

  • Join the Facebook groups that posts good deals on Target. I have been pretty obsessed with Bullseye’s Playground Fanatics. Nothing beats chatting with a group of people who like the same things you do. Lots of people are really helpful and friendly too.

Track the items you like thru Brickseek

  • Brickseek.com is a great site to track down the items that you want. It works for a few stores beyond Target too. What I usually do is find the DPCI of the items I want from Target and use Brickseek to find out which Target outlet still has the item. So far, it has been very accurate for me. Most people on Instagram or Facebook would tell you the DPCI number if you ask them. The numbers are usually located on the price tag of the item itself.

 

Let me know if you have any questions, or if you love Target as much as I do. 😉

Things I wish I knew when I was buying my first home

It is crazy how it has already been a year since we moved into our first home. I thought I would share some of the things I wish I knew while we were house shopping last year.

  1. Get an experienced realtor
    This will ensure you get your best bang for the buck. We naively went with the first realtor that called us back, and she just kept telling us to match whatever the sellers were asking for. I wish we got someone who would help us get a good deal. I mean we are paying them quite a few thousand if the deal goes through.
  2. Fully inspect your house before you buy it
    We didn’t realize there was a cover missing on one of the electrical outlet in one of the bedrooms because there was furniture that was blocking it. Also, another piece of furniture covered a small part of the carpet is ripped off at the corner.
  3. Try to inspect your yard on a rainy day
    We didn’t realize that most of our neighbors’ yards are higher than ours, so the rain flows through our backyard to drain at a ditch. We were too focussed on making sure our land is flat to realize about the drainage in the neighborhood.
  4. A good kitchen sink and faucet makes a world of difference
    I cook almost every day and thus wash dishes all the time. A big sink ensures you can wash huge pots and pans easily without splashing all over. Hopefully I’m not the only one that babies my stainless steel and non-stick pans. I rarely put them in my dishwasher. 😉
  5. Check if you have home warranty for your first year
    I don’t know how common this is but we had no idea that we had one year of home warranty until the last month before it expired. (Thanks to the spam mail to renew our home warranty.) It definitely saved us quite a bit from using our home warranty to get our dishwasher and jetted tub fixed.
  6. Get a good computer chair
    My husband kept telling me not to get the cheap computer chair ($99 from Office Depot) but I insisted that it would be fine and we could save some money. Guess who was right after two weeks.
  7. Look out for good deals on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and estate sales
    Just be patient and wait for the good deals for items that are alright to be second hand. So far, we have been very lucky. We have gotten a vintage dining table & four chairs for $20, a Lane recliner for less than a hundred, 7-piece outdoor cast iron dining set for around $300, vintage dresser and two side tables for $150, Breville espresso machine for $20, Zojirushi rice cooker $40 and a Weston dehydrator for $30.