Asian-Style Flower Arrangements

I once worked with a manager whose hobby was Asian flower arrangements. She said she learned the craft by reading Hong Kong floral design books. She is so gifted and such a natural at it. Needless to say, her design is absolutely gorgeous. I found similar floral designas at Speaking Roses Singapore, an online florist website based in Singapore. Too bad they're not based in the United States, I'd be a regular customer for sure.

A typical floral gift is flowers in a vase like this one from 1-800, a popular florist website in the United States.

For my 10th year anniversary with the company, my manager presented me a plaque of recognition and an enormous peach roses bouquet (my favorite color). I didn't pay attention to what my manager said about me during the celebration, I was so mesmerized by the bouquet. I was just in awe by it. You can not wrap one arm around it, that was how big the bouquet was. There were layers of different wrapping papers that felt like fabric paper. Anyways, I asked my manager where did she buy the flowers and she said it was made by one of the department's managers.

Speaking Roses Singapore is the only website so far that I've come across that sells the kind of arrangements that I absolutely adore. If you browse their site, firstly if you're from the U.S., you will see what I mean by the creativity difference. If you're visiting my blog from an Asian country, I would assume that these kinds of flower arrangements are common in your country?

Clean Little Girl

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, for some reasons, I just loved cleaning. I always found something to wipe or reorganize. I mopped the kitchen floor every night after dinner, wiped coffee tables, countertops, TV stand, anything. I wiped my desk and disinfected my computer keyboard and phone everyday at work. People thought I was such a neat freak. My mom warned me the effect that it would have on my unborn child. She said the baby will grow up loving to clean and will be neat and organized. I just laughed it off thinking it would be a good trait to have.

My second daughter is now 4-year-old and she is what my mom she said she'd be: a neat little girl. When she was one, she loved to wipe the kitchen floor with tissues. She would just sit on the kitchen floor and wipe around. At age two, my mom who babysat my daughter when I was working, said that my little belle loved to wipe the window sill in the living room. She wiped it so often that it was clean. Of course, she loved to wipe the living room coffee table too. Whenever she's done playing with her toys, she puts them back in her toy boxes. She even cleans the living room when it gets cluttered and messy.

I was throwing out our bathrooms' garbage bins last night and when I came back up from the garage (our garbage, recycle, and compost bins are kept in the garage), my little girl had filled the 2 bathroom bins with plastic bags for me. I caught her trying to wash dishes several times and of course, that's a big no-no. She observed what goes on the dinner table and learned to set the table on her own. When I'm cooking, she would ask if we'd be using chopsticks or forks and then she pulls the utensil drawer and get the proper utensils to put on the table. Oh and paper napkins too.

I guess it is true that whatever a pregnant woman does while she is pregnant does effect her unborn child. My mom says you start teaching your child while it is still in your womb. I now believe that to be true.

Spectacular Sunsets

My house faces west and so on some evenings, the sky illuminates brilliantly as the sun sets. As the evening draws near, I often have my living room shades drawn but most of the time, the brilliant sunlight beams in between the shades' openings. When they do, I know the sky will have some awesome colors. Here are some of the spectacular sunset shots that I took using my phone. This is my favorite picture. The clouds above the lamp post on the left look like mountains, don't they?

As the sky gets darker, the illuminating center is still bright:

Here are some other sunsets:

Same shot as the one above but minutes apart:

On this particular day, the sky was especially bright as the sun beamed its bright rays before setting into the horizon:

Health Benefits of Strawberries


Strawberries are in season now and every produce store has them neatly displayed with huge bargain signs. As a matter of fact, I saw several stores that were offering buy one get one free deals. Take advantage of the low price and the freshness of strawberries right now to tap in the health benefits of this sweet fruit. Here are some health benefits of strawberries:

1) Good for your skin. Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C which is an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and reduces damage from free radicals. Free radicals cause skin to age unnecessarily premature.

2) Whiter teeth. Strawberries contain malic acid which is a natural astringent that can help remove discoloration from teeth.

3) Combat the common cold or flu: Eat strawberries as soon as you feel the onset symptoms of the common cold or flu from the following conditions: fevers accompanied by chills, dry cough, painful sore throat, and yellow nasal discharge. In Chinese medical terms, these symptoms mean you have heat in your lungs, eating strawberries will help cool the heat and moistens the lungs.

4) Aide in poor digestion: Eat strawberries before meals to treat poor digestion accompanied by abdominal pain.

5) Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): One of the symptoms associated with infection to the urinary system which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra is painful urination. Eating strawberries help relieve urinary difficulties and inability to urinate.

6) In addition to vitamin C, strawberries are also rich in silicon which is useful for arterial and all connective tissue repair.

Source: Healing with Whole Foods

Helpful Tips Using Google Search Field


I learned some cool functions that Google search field can perform to save users time and improve search results from Real Simple magazine. Hope you will find them helpful too!

1) Perform Calculations
To figure out what's 15% of $35.00, just enter "35x.15" into the search field and click "Search". The answer will appear up at the top of the results page.

2) Convert Measurements
Recipe measurements differ from country to country. How do I convert ounces of sugar to cups sugar? To figure out ounces to cups, simply enter "ounces to cups".

3) Track Flights
Find out if your flight is on time by entering your airline and flight number.

4) Locate Delivery Packages
Enter the tracking number of your package. If no result appears, try again but this time, type "track" and then the tracking number. (I edit out some in between numbers in the tracking number in the example screen shot.)

5) Look Up Addresses
Type in a person's home phone number and, if the person is listed, Google will turn up the mailing address.

6) Find Movie Showtimes
Type "movies" plus your city or ZIP code to see theaters and showtimes.

7) To Find PDFs, Excel Spreadsheets, or PowerPoint Presentations
Include the file type in your search and Google will turn up only relevant files. Use filetype:pdf (PDFs), filetype:xls (Excel), or filetype:ppt (PowerPoint). For example to find a Nikon camera manual, enter "Nikon manual filetype:pdf" in the search field.

8) To Narrow Down Information

Use a hyphen (minus sign). If you are looking for for lotus the car and not the flower, enter "lotus-car".

New Credit Card Law 2010: Credit Card Act of 2009

I hope everyone is aware of the new credit card law that will take into effect on February 22, 2010 in the United States. The date was moved up six months earlier from the original effective date of August 2010 because lawmakers sensed credit card companies were enforcing new strategies before they become restricted by the new law. Credit card companies are no dummies. They know the new law will restrict their ability to do many things such as interest rate increase so what did they do in late 2009? They hiked up people's interest rate for no reasons. No verbal or written explanation was given. Can you imagine an interest hike from 10.99% to 29.99%? Many people experienced similar shocks late last year when they found out their credit card companies raised their interest rates and reduced their credit limit. A friend of mine who had this happening to her threatened her credit card company with a complaint to the Better Business Bureau if they didn't lower her interest back to what it was before. They wouldn't so she wrote in to complain. She said she never made a late payment and always paid double the minimum payment. There was no justification for her rate increase. She paid off her balance and closed the account in January. Ben Pavone, an attorney from San Diego-CA, took a step further. He refused to pay Bank of America credit card until they reduce his interest rate. He threatens to sue the company if they ruin his credit.

The official title for the new law is Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, H.R. 627 of the 111th Congress of the United States or in short, The Credit Card Act of 2009. This reform, in my opinion is long overdue, and I am GLAD that it passed last year. Here are some of the highlights:

•Restrictions on rate increases. Except for introductory rates, there can be no rate changes for the first 12 months an account is open; after that, you’ll get notice of rate increases at least 45 days before the change. In addition, APRs can be increased on existing balances only if your minimum payment is 60 or more days late.
•New rules for payment allocation. If you have balances with different interest rates, any amount paid over the minimum payment will be applied first to balances with the highest rates, so you can pay down your balance quicker by paying more than the minimum payment.
•Overlimit fee opt-in. Unless you agree (“opt in”) to allow charges to go over your credit limit, companies will not be able to charge overlimit fees. This could save you money in fees, but be aware that if you’re too close to your credit limit and you attempt to use your card to make a purchase, your card may be denied.
•More consistent payment due dates. Payments will be due the same day every month, and you will have more time to pay — at least twenty-one days from the time your statement is mailed until the minimum payment is due.
•More information on your statement. You will be able to see how long it would take to pay off your balance — and the total cost to you (including interest and principal) — if you paid only the minimum payment each month. You’ll also receive notices about late fees or penalty rates (if they apply), and a toll-free phone number where you can get information about credit counseling, if you need it.
•Easier access to your credit card agreement. Credit card issuers will post representative samples of credit card agreements online. If you need to refer to your own credit card agreement, you will be able to request it online, and a copy will be mailed to you. Be sure to refer to your own credit card agreement when verifying terms of your account.