A Day in the Life: October 2014

On a designated day each month, I post a linkup where bloggers can showcase what “a day in the life” that month is like with photos, text or a combination of the two. For more information about this project, click here.

a day in the life

This day was a fairly standard work day. Work all day… and then some play in the evening!


Breakfast! I used to never eat breakfast but lately I’ve gotten really into it. I picked up pumpkin butter and apple butter at an orchard a few weekends ago and they are both SO GOOD. I’ve taken to spreading one or the other on toasted English muffins each morning with a side of Hong Kong style milk tea.


My work Blackberry. Enough said about work.


A close up shot of part of my lunch! I’ll post the recipe soon as part of Global Eats.

Waiting on sidewalk

Waiting to cross the street on my way to a happy hour with friends.

Bluejacket Brewery

Beer time! My friends and I went to a new-to-me brewery that I LOVED. I’m only recently just starting to get into beer, and by “get into” I mean even agree to drink it. (There was a time in my life when I refused to drink all beer because I didn’t like the taste. It was a sad time. Although not so sad considering most of the beer in my life at that time was like, Keystone or Natty Light.)


Since it was an unseasonably warm night, my friends and I walked around a little bit after the happy hour before we parted ways to go home. We came across this pretty water fountain of sorts.

MacBook and candle

Winding down for the night with a lit candle and my MacBook. There’s ALWAYS something to do/check online when you’re a blogger!

I’d love for YOU to participate in this linkup and share what your typical day in the life is like! If you’re participating, please check out the brief linkup guidelines below and submit your link to the linkup at the bottom of this post. Next month’s date is November 17!

Rules for Participating in “A Day in the Life” Monthly Linkup

  1. Write a post that documents “a day in the life.” The link you submit to the linkup must be the actual post URL. All other links will be removed.
  2. Comment on the post before yours in the linkup. This linkup is all about getting to know each other and making friends!
  3. Link back to this project in your post. A free button is provided below.
A Day in the Life: A Linkup by Break the Sky

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement (Umbrella Revolution) #OccupyHK

It’s been a month since police used tear gas on peaceful students protesting for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Since then, the protests haven’t stopped; while the crowd size has ebbed and flowed, there is a continual presence of protesters in the protest sites at Admiralty/Central, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. CY Leung, the Hong Kong chief executive (equivalent of a governor), has refused to acquiesce to the students’ demands that he resign from his position, but the students have not backed down from continuing to demand his resignation. Talks (or debates) between the government and protest leaders are tenuous at best, with neither side refusing to budge or fully listen to the other.

HK Umbrella Movement 1

HK Umbrella Movement 2

I’ve been back from my visit to Hong Kong for two weeks and I have been avoiding writing this post mainly because my thoughts are still processing. I fear they will always be “still processing” so I figured now was as good a time as any to write it, and to share a few pictures.

HK Umbrella Movement 4

HK Umbrella Movement 9

But how can I fully express my feelings on the students and people of Hong Kong who are fighting for something that the government refuses to grant them? How can I articulately write about my despair at the way Beijing is indirectly handling this from afar, effectively giving neither the Hong Kong government nor the student protesters a way to change the status quo? How can I properly analyze the many dynamics at play in this situation, from the politics to the economics to the sociological to the historical? What can I possibly say that will convey my frustration and anger at CY Leung’s statement that granting universal suffrage will give the poor a disproportionately large voice in society?

I suppose Leung’s belief is only fitting for a man who received a mere 629 votes out of 1,200 people who chose the chief executive. Yes, only 1,200 extremely well-connected and powerful people were allowed to vote for who would lead a city of more than seven million.

HK Umbrella Movement 3

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HK Umbrella Movement 5

I worry about the high price of change, and yet I worry more about what the cost will be if nothing changes.

Next week is Election Day in the U.S. I can, and absolutely will, exercise my right to vote.

When will all the people of my beloved Hong Kong be able to do the same?

HK Umbrella Movement 6

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HK Umbrella Movement 12

Link Love, Vol. 71

link love

If you’re reading this through a feed reader or Bloglovin, click this link to see the new layout that I have up! Something classic and simple this time, with a touch of personalization. (The red Chinese characters in the header are a stylized version of my Chinese name, using old Chinese script. I’m in love with how it turned out.) Here’s hoping this is the layout that will stick and that I’ll never have to edit CSS ever again.

Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything just seemed to… suck? And for no discernible reason? It was so bad on Wednesday that all I wanted to do at the end of the day was crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for a million years. I think the post-vacation comedown has finally caught up with me and I’m missing my family and Hong Kong more than I’m willing to admit. (That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t blogged about my time in Hong Kong yet, nor the Hong Kong protests. I’m still trying to be a little stronger emotionally about the former, and my thoughts about the latter seem to perpetually be in “still processing” mode.) But I also think the fact that it’s SO dark when I wake up is affecting me, too. I am in no way mentally prepared for winter, especially since they say that there’s going to be a resurgence of the polar vortex. GAH.

Anyway. By Friday I seemed to mostly have snapped out of this funk. Which is a good thing, since this weekend was infinitely more enjoyable than it would have been had I still been cranky. I caught up with old friends over delicious German food, including a plate of Currywurst Mit Pommes:

A photo posted by amanda (@musicalpoem) on

But let’s be real. As delicious as the Currywurst Mit Pommes was, and as much as I’m looking forward to the chicken noodle soup I will make today, the highlight of my weekend was carving my very own pumpkin for the first time. Just look at this masterpiece!

A photo posted by amanda (@musicalpoem) on

Today, I plan on making chicken noodle soup and making headway with deep cleaning my apartment. Here’s hoping that this coming week won’t be as mentally straining as last week!

This creamy butternut, bacon and leek pappardelle sounds divine.

My mouth is watering in recollection of my childhood food memories that revolve around super soft Asian milk bread. Mmmmmmm. So good.

Mark Zuckerberg recently did a Q&A event at Tsinghua University in China speaking entirely in Mandarin. While that’s to be commended, why are we all so impressed by Zuckerberg speaking Mandarin?

This tone of amazement would seem hugely patronising if it were the other way round, no headlines congratulate Alibaba founder Jack Ma on his (fluent) English, despite that language being as alien to him as Mandarin is to Zuckerberg.

This might be my political wonkiness showing (oh God, I’ve just used a variation of That Word) but I particularly loved this Esquire longread “Help, We’re in a Living Hell and Don’t Know How to Get Out.” Journalist Mark Warren spoke to 90 members of the House and Senate to get their take on what’s gone so wrong in Congress.

Loved this email conversation in The Toast about Asian Americans in the media.

NZ Muse wants to talk about failure.

Sarah asks, could you go a year without new clothes?

I’m pretty sure Anna and I are blogging soul sisters since she captures SO MUCH of my feelings towards the blogosphere in her one year blogging anniversary reflection.

musicalpoem Around the Web

I recapped an episode of The OC over at Snark Squad! “The OC S02 E06 – Snow Elitism

My Favorite Things: The Billfold

the billfold

I fell into reading the personal finance (PF) blogging world about two years ago. New to the job market and overwhelmed by all of the information getting thrown at me about savings and 401(k)s and benefits, I turned to personal finance blogs as a way to sort of filter all of the “noise” I was encountering and to see what real, live people were doing with their finances. I was always conscious of the fact that different financial rules apply to different situations; I didn’t turn to PF blogs as an failsafe resource because that would have been ridiculously stupid. Rather, I turned to PF blogs as a way to see how different personal finance “rules” were being applied in real time to actual people’s lives.

I’ve fallen out of like with a lot of the personal finance blogs I once read, namely because I got tired of reading SEO content/poor writing and posts by staff writers. Since I had purged the majority of PF blogs I used to read from Feedly, I was at a bit of a loss for how to fill the PF-shaped hole in my feed reader. Then I stumbled across The Billfold, courtesy of NZ Muse. An entire website with a treasure trove of an archive filled with good writing about a topic as broad and varied as money? SCORE. Taken from their about page:

The Billfold is not another personal finance site. A personal finance site is a site for people who have decided to overhaul their financial lives, and want help doing it. We are a site about money. We are interested in people’s lives and how funds make those lives awesome, and not-so-awesome.

The Billfold aims to do away with the misbelief that talking about difficult money issues is uncomfortable, and create a space to have an honest conversation about how we save, spend and repay our debts. We are going to break one of the last taboos in our culture—talking about what you earn, what you spend, what you owe.

I’ve spent hours getting lost in The Billfold’s archives, which is likely apparent to anyone with a good memory and a close eye on my weekly link love roundups. I firmly believe that The Billfold is a site that will interest just about anyone — at least, anyone who’s as curious about other people’s lives and fascinated by the topic of money as I am. Some of my more favorite sections include How Other People Do Money, Rental Histories, and My Last Hundred Bucks. (I’ve even written a guest post for My Last Hundred Bucks.) I also enjoy the series they’ve done on “How the Baby-Sitter’s Club Does Money” and “How Wizards Do Money.”

That’s only scratching the tip of what The Billfold offers in its archives, but it’s a good place to start for anyone who’s in the market for a new favorite website. Personally, I’m off for my daily read of The Billfold’s homepage…

Recently Read #2

recently read 2

Since my last recently read post was well-received and I’m making decent headway in my 25 books for 2014 challenge, let’s take another look at the books I’ve read recently, shall we? This month I’m linking up with Kiki for the monthly #thecirclelinkup!

Peony in Love

I’ve always seen Lisa See’s books in bookstores but for whatever reason, I never picked one up until I came across PEONY IN LOVE at a book sale. For $1, how could I not pick up the paperback? I’m glad I did; PEONY IN LOVE was a great read and definitely left me wanting to read more of See’s work! A story of love that transcends this world and the next, See weaves together elements of Chinese tradition, history and folklore masterfully. Time to read more of her books!

This Lullaby

THIS LULLABY is my second favorite Sarah Dessen novel, tied with THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. (SOMEONE LIKE YOU will always be my favorite Dessen book.) I loved this as a teen and have read it multiple times, but for some odd reason, this latest reread didn’t stick as well with me as it did when I was 13. Is it because I’m older than the characters in the book? I guess, because the last time I read THIS LULLABY I had yet to fall in love and I guess that experience made me a little jaded when it comes to Remy and Dexter. Who knows?

Mary Poppins

I absolutely loved reading MARY POPPINS in grade school so when I saw they were available on Amazon Kindle, I snapped them up right away. It’s very different than the Disney movie, but I love this version of MARY POPPINS no more, no less than the movie adaptation. The first four books in the MARY POPPINS series are available on Amazon Kindle and I can’t wait to relive a part of my childhood by rereading all of them.

Old Town

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t finish a book. I really hate doing that; I try to finish reading a book always because otherwise I feel like I’ve wasted time on the part of the book I have already read. But OLD TOWN by Lin Zhe broke me. I’m not sure if it was the story or the translation, but the pacing of this book was godawful and I could really have done away with the religious references. Maybe I’ll pick this up and give it another go at some point in the future, but I can’t see that happening while I have a lot of anticipated good books on my to read list.

The Night Circus

Oh, how I loved THE NIGHT CIRCUS! Emily Morgenstern really brought the circus to life, and I loved how vividly described this book was. It was really as though I was there, and could picture all aspects of the circus around me. I just… I can’t properly articulate how much I loved this book. I didn’t want it to end, yet I couldn’t put it down. A superb, superb read.

What books have you read lately?

In Its Time