Wow, January is coming to an end! How did your week go? Our bathtub diverter spout broke last week when Larry was giving our dog a bath. We waited till the weekend to go to Home Depot to look for a new one. Somehow they didn’t have the bigger name brands, so we ended up ordering it from Amazon instead. It was actually harder than I thought to decide on the design that we ended up getting the same thing, but we got the one that’s made of metal instead of plastic.
I don’t know if we will ever afford a bathroom of our dreams in our lifetime. Faucets alone are so expensive! A nice big tiled shower and freestanding bath tub would be so luxurious although I’m sure it requires a lot of work to keep a big bathroom & freestanding tub clean. Yep, that is how I console myself. Haha
May I now talk about food? This, my friends, is the beef nachos we have gotten two consecutive Fridays in a row because they were so good and it’s awesome to have a day off from cooking dinner. It is from El Ranchero Food Truck if you happen to live in Tulsa. I’m not a creature of habit. I would rather eat something new every day, but it may take me a while to be burnt out from these crispy nachos.
We also finally went back to our favorite Japanese place Hapa Japanese Cuisine on Saturday. I feel like I always have to explain myself when we talk about Japanese cuisine.
Everyone, please take note: sushi does not necessarily involve raw fish.
You can have sushi that does not include any raw fish. I would also sincerely urge you to try sashimi (raw thinly sliced fish/seafood) at a reputable restaurant (not run-of-the-mill buffet) at least twice before you decide you don’t like it. It took me a while to get over the mental block of eating something raw, but I’m glad I have learnt how to appreciate it because it’s so good! I have eaten sashimi countless of times in the past decade, and I’ve never fallen sick once.
Lastly, I thought I will share this Zucchini and Chicken Alfredo Pasta recipe.
Pasta of your choice (I went with bow tie pasta)
Cheese (I used Shredded Italian Cheese from Aldi)
Full cream (or whatever substitute you want to like half & half, skimmed milk, coconut milk, etc)
Cooking oil or butter
Spices (Pepper & Salt, Garlic Powder, Basil)
Slice chicken breast into big thin slices. Marinate with pepper & salt.
Boil a pot of water for your pasta.
Heat up pan and add butter or cooking oil. Add minced garlic if you want to.
Cook chicken breast in pan.
Place pasta in boiling water. Add a pinch of salt and cooking oil. Cook pasta according to box instructions.
Chop up zucchini and add it to the pan once the chicken breast is nicely grilled.
(You can cook the sauce in a different pan, but I’m lazy, so I just make the sauce in the same pan) Pour the full cream into the pan.
Once the full cream is heated up, add in the cheese, garlic powder and basil. You should start to have a nice creamy sauce.
Finally drain your cooked pasta. (Do not wash it, as it removes the starch.) Pour cooked pasta into your pan with the sauce.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to our living room. One of the reasons we bought this house was the vaulted ceiling and hardwood floor in the living room. As first time home buyers, we didn’t notice the lighting in the living room. It was only after living in our house for a few months did I realize that one ceiling fan light and two recessed lights is not enough to light up the whole room. I also notice that not everyone likes to light up their rooms as much as me.
After trying to recall all the houses we saw while house shopping, I’m almost certain we have not seen any recessed lighting in all the houses we have seen. It is just a rarity at our price range. We bought the brightest LED light bulbs we could find to replace the ones that are in the house.
We had to buy a ladder to change the two recessed lights, and when it came to the ceiling fan light, things didn’t go well. My husband tried to unscrew the globe off the ceiling fan but it just wouldn’t budge. Just imagine a guy on a ladder wrangling on the ceiling fan and suddenly the whole globe fell off because the wire tore off..
Yep, so now we are down to two recessed lights in our living room. I don’t know what to do now. It will cost a few hundred dollars to install more recessed lights and we can’t really afford that at the moment. Getting a new ceiling fan would cost at least $200, and it wouldn’t light up the ceiling room anyway. Light kits for ceiling fans are almost as expensive as getting a new ceiling fan unless I get the boring old designs. Below are some of the ceiling fans and light kits that I have shortlisted.
The Halloween decor in our guest bathroom cost less than $6, and I’m actually very happy with it considering the amount spent. It consists of these three items:
Ghost hand soap dispenser from Walmart for $2
Small skull plate from Michaels for $2.99
Spider craft piece from Target’s Bulleye’s Playground section (6 pieces for $1)
Oh, and the tiny glass jar is actually a Yoplait’s Oui yogurt.
There is also a smart bluetooth LED speaker bulb in our vanity light. We actually bought it last Christmas to test it out, and it’s fun when we can play seasonal music wherever we placed it. Our guests are always amused when we tell them how it works. We love putting it in our dining room light too.
Yay to a new season! The weather hasn’t really changed here in Oklahoma, but I can’t wait for cooler weather. Having four seasons is something quite new to me since I’m from a tropical country. There’s so many new things to learn for each season.
One of the first things I learned so far is that the new Starbucks drink Maple Pecan Latte is way too sweet for my liking. Haha now I need to find a good coffee shop to try a pumpkin spice latte since I have a feeling I won’t like it too.
By the way, apple season is part of Fall right? There wasn’t any apples at our local farmers’ market on Saturday morning. Maybe it is a few weeks later in Oklahoma since we are further south. I want to try these two apple recipes soon: Honey, Apple, Cheddar and Bacon Panini and Apple Crumb Muffins.
Here’s the simple fall decor I’ve done so far.
I wish I have a bigger budget, but I’ll just take my time to accumulate more over the years.