Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fashion, Pains and the Great Sufferings

Leather, fur and exotic accessories are associated with luxury. They are the most sourced items as we can see they are in high demand around this time of the year. While most of us adore the “luxurious” feel and look of exotic products, have we ever paused and thought about how animals were killed and how their lives were before their skins transformed into a beautiful purse?

I am not gonna lie because I too am one of many ladies who like the look of leather, fur and exotic stuff. But I cannot always afford the real things which I think is good. The only “real” leather product I own up to this point in my life is a lambskin flap. After doing some research on how animals are killed for their skin/fur, I literally gasped in horror and tears filled both of my eyes. This whole thing made me pause and think long and hard about my future purchases – be it clothes, shoes, handbags or other accessories. Of course, animals are human’s food - I don’t detest this fact. It has been that way for centuries and I have yet to fully convert to a vegetarian at this point. Killing animals for consumption may not be wrong but raising and killing animals brutally is UNACCEPTABLE.

All along, I thought animals are killed before being skinned. Little did I know, most of them are skinned ALIVE – yes “ALIVE” and left to die in pain slowly. I can’t imagine how much pains and sufferings animals must have gone through during their short lives. The poor condition they “lived” in every day. The constant fear and distress they must have gone through every second.
I know this sounds awful and heartbreaking, and most people don’t even want to read further but bear with me and continue if you haven’t known already. Who am I to tell people to stop buying leather goods or fur coats?? The least I can do is to share what I have read with someone because I believe most people don't know this just like myself.

I do not work for PETA or any animal organization but I have a VERY weak spot for animals. Reading stories about how people abuse animals never fail to bring tears to my eyes and make me depress. Today, out of the blue I was looking at one stunning croc bag and happened to be curious as how crocodiles are killed for their skin. Then the research began and the rest was a history. The way I viewed luxury goods forever changed.

[Contents via Actionforourplanet]
Exotic Skins
Many animal skins are considered exotic including the skins of snakes, alligators, crocodiles, turtles, eels, ostriches and kangaroos. Millions of reptiles are bred or taken from their jungle homes every year to provide for the growing exotic skins industry.
Snakes are nailed to trees and skinned alive, bludgeoned, decapitated and their live bodies are filled with water to stretch out their skin. Lizards are captured in the wild using snares before being cut open with knives and decapitated. Alligators and crocodiles sometimes have a chisel and hammer smashed into the back of their head to paralyse them. All reptiles have slow metabolisms which means they experience pain even if they have been decapitated. Their skins are then tanned and used to make fashion accessories.
Fifty million animals are cruelly killed every year for their fur pelts. The majority of animals are kept on fur farms where they are kept in tiny cages either isolated or with other animals. These cages are extremely small and animals are unable to fulfil their social, physical and natural living requirements. Therefore, many animals suffer from psychological problems, repetitive habits, self inflicted injuries and limb pain. No anaesthetic or veterinary care is provided to the animals so they are forced to endure ailments their entire lives. Foxes, mink, rabbits, sable, dogs, cats and chinchilla are just some of the animals exploited for their furs.
When the animals coat is ready to be removed, fur farm employees pull the animal from it’s cage and begin the slow and agonising slaughter process. Animals may be hung upside down and strangled or may have a blunt knife inserted inside their body to cut off the skin. The live animal is then dumped in a pile to die in pain. Foxes are often anally electrocuted whilst mink are gassed, poisoned and have their bones broken. Dogs and cats may be hung upside down and drowned, skinned or bludgeoned to death.
Over one billion animals are killed a year for their skins which are tanned and made into leather products. The leather trade makes  around half of all profits generated by slaughterhouses and many animals are bred specifically for their skins. Cattle, sheep, goats and pigs are among some of the animals kept in extreme confinement for leather production. In India, cattle are forced to march hundreds of miles without any food or water. Those that tire have tobacco and chilli power rubbed into their eyes or their tail bones broken. Once they reach their destination they are slaughtered, often being hacked to death or skinned alive. During the slaughter process of most leather bearing animals, they receive no anaesthetic whilst they are being scalded alive, electrocuted, skinned, cut open or bleed to death.
After reading these, will you continue to buy?
Personally, I won't.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eye Candy: Tom Ford Sunglasses

I normally own a pair of sunglasses at a time and use them until they literally fall apart. Living in Texas, sunglasses are must have accessories. I don't think I wear sunglasses as often as I should to protect my eyes from harsh and harmful sunlight. My previous pair was from Guess which I have had for at least 2-3 years. Not exactly sure why I don't have a few pairs to switch around just like clothes. Well that may sound a little too excessive but it would be fun to have two or three pairs to switch around just like clothes, shoes or bags.
I guess the reason I don't like buying glasses or sunglasses in general is due to the fact that I don't quite know what shape really suits my face so I would rather buy when I need to. Tryinig on glasses can be fun but frustrating at the same time. Buying online is not my preferred option.
However...okay...however, I broke my rule when Groupon (oh my god, I am loving Groupon!) advertised this Tom Ford sunglasses deal a month ago. It was too good to pass, plus it was a perfect timing since I was on a lookout for a new pair anyway. I scored this beauty for about $90 something (retail price $550). They were made of metal (I always opt for plastic for lightness but thought I tried something different). Love the color.
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The Day to Give "Thanks"

Has eveveryone slowly recovered from a mega annual Turkey feast on Thanksgiving and the Black Friday shopping madness at this point???? I think I am, at least the eating part. Still have leftover in the fridge to finish in the couple of days but I think I can handle that.

It has been a tradition in our family. Every year we cook up some side dishs or desserts (or both) to bring over to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner while they provide turkey, cranberry sauce and some other delicious dishes. This year they added a deep fried turkey to the table on top of a traditional roasted version so we ended up having two turkeys (total of 30 lbs). I made my Cranberry Bars along with Roasted Butternut Squash to join the feast. One thing I wished (or everybody wished) was to have more room in my stomach because everything was so delicious, I didn't bother thinking about diet of any sort that day. Screw it!!!!
I especially liked the table decoration my mother in law put together. It looked pretty and rustic from leaves to variety of winter sqaushes. Four thumbs up for her beautiful job, well done.
Talking about Black Friday, I didn't buy a thing (good for my wallet..hip..hip..hooray!). Somehow I  feel that Black Friday is gaining more and more recognition thanThanksgiving day itself! I know economy is tough and they need to make profits but it is ridiculous every year the way retailers attempt to attrack customers. I feel sorry for employees who can't spend the day to be with their families, I really do.
Fun times always come and go fast, much faster than we want it to. It seems like we wait and wait for this day for a very long time and it goes by just like that. After having four days off this week, I know it is going to be a struggle when having to get up and go to work on Monday!! I am not really looking forward to it.
{Please excuse my lack of comment and visit, I shall make my appearance on your comment seciton soon in a few days :) }

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Series: Pumpkin Bread with Butter & Sugar Glazing

A holiday spirit must have possessed me this past weekend, I spent a majority of my time in the kitchen cooking up the storm (which left me with a bunch of dirty dishes in kitchen sinks – sigh).
 I made a fancy breakfast which I normally don’t do. For lunch I decided to make homemade pizzas which were perfect and super quick to make for football season. The husband was fascinated and glued to TV – what’s new right? I also whipped up something special for myself, Pumpkin bread – that was! This blog will temporarily turn into food blog until my cooking inspirations escape and my same old laziness settles in.
There is something whimsical and comforting about pumpkin and cinnamon around this time of the year. I am especially craving for anything that has pumpkin as a main ingredient following by sweet aroma of cinnamon. 
Allrecipes is my go-to site for great home cook meals, their recipes never fail to deliver the goodness of homestyle cooking because recipes are submitted by people like us - not the celebrity chefs. I always find the comment section very helpful because those previously tried the recipe have suggestion as how to make it better or prevent certain mistakes.
This pumpkin bread recipe too came from It has over 5,000 reviews and 5 stars out of 5 so I gotta tried this. However I tweaked it to suit my pallette and reduce some calories(cut ½ cup of oil / 1 cup of sugar / 1 egg / 1 tsp of baking soda / 1 tsp of salt and subsituted with apple sauce & greek yogurt). .Okay I am notorious for altering recipes, my husband knows this too well. You can find original recipe here – Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread. I did add butter/brown sugar glaze and some pecans/walnuts on top. YUM!!!!!
Just like Banana Bread, it tastes even better and more moist the next day. I like that it is rather easy to make. It is just a matter of mixing the ingredients together, pour and bake. Voila!~ I also decided to beautify by putting 2-3 slices in a Chinese take-out box (.99 cent/box from Michael's) and shared the yumminess to a few peole. Talking about fancy shmancy here.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A refreshing breakfast to wake up to

As we all hear over and over again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have always been a breakfast lover and rarely miss one for as long as I can recall. I just can't go on if I don't have anything in my stomach, I simply can't function and literally starve. Oatmeal must be one out of the two breakfast items in my book (the other is fruit/yogurt combo).
This particular "Steel cut" oat and I have a love affair for years since I knew of its existence. Its texture is so different than regular oatmeal, I feel that it is more filling. The only downside is that it takes a very long time to cook, but totally worth every second. This is my kind of breakfast to make on weekends when I don't have to get myself and my little girl out the door in the mad morning rush.
My favorite condiments include: Orange | Dried cranberries | Walnuts (and sometimes banana)
Sugar is not neccessary as there is plenty of natural sweetness from fruit.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flora Maxi

As much as I enjoy the cool weather and the fun layering pieces of winter clothes, there are times I miss summer and its warm breeze. This is the second maxi dress I have worn so far this year and all I know is I can't wait to venture out in the maxi dress path. This particular floral maxi was purchased in Thailand when we found out we were going to attend a wedding in Kuaui, Hawaii. I was speficially looking for something colorful, fun, vibrant, flowy and feminine. The dress perfectly fit the bill. With some tweaks and different styling, I can probably wear it in spring and again next summer.
That day, I didn't have much time myself to get ready so forget about glamorous hair and makeup. We had to take our little flower girl to get her hair done which took awhile. Everything was such a mad rush, it only left me with 20 minutes to get dressed, apply some makeup and did my hair. Thus I relied on nature - plumeria flower that is! Picked and sticked them in my hair - voila - my good hair day ~
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our Trio Furry Devils

We have three cats - yes way too many indeed. Not sure if we are true cat lovers but I guess we have to be ones since we have THREE!! Gotta love and hate them at the same time. They drive us crazy alright, especially the new addition which my husband rescued and brought home since April. A kitten is now 6 months old, she is much bigger and full of sassy personalities/attitudes. She is one bad bad kitty!!
If you asked why we did not adopt any dog, hey good question! It must be a destiny (or our bad luck - lol) I suppose.
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Meet our number # 1 - Mr. S.  He is always shy and likes to hide. He hates the new kitty to his guts! My husband brought him home first and later that evening brought a second one to join the pack.
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Meet our number # 2 - Ms. N. She is a sister to our number 1 from the same litter 8 years ago. They were left in an abandoned vehicle. As you can see, she likes to sleep VERY MUCH. She also snores!!!
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And some of you have seen our latest evil addition. Ms. B.
Gotta love them - Yeah...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

It must be the magic of fall/winter and holiday season that get me in the mood to shop and bake up the strom lately. Don't get me start on the shopping part - I obviously have been on my shopping roll, more on that later. I find myself spending more time in the kitchen and being so inspired to experiment many new recipes.
My oven is extra busy than ususal around this time of the year after sitting (barely) untouched in the past 9 months. Magic is in the air. The sweet aroma of Thanksgiving and Christmas - that is. A few weeks ago, I came across a photo of this decadent Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie.
  Bourbon + Chocolate + Pecan = PURE LOVE
(Find full recipe {here} - sorry I gotta go watch the Walking Dead - it is more important!! wahaha)
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My little helper - she helped for one minute and left
My in-between indulgence: Pumpkin Praline cupcake (bought from a bakery - so freaking good)
Final result
Although I am not a liquer drinker, it just sounds delish. I just couldn't stop thinking about it!! Diet - what is diet!?!?! Screw it!! Gosh I am going to gain 10 lbs by the end of December, or what!! This tastes nothing like a traditional pecan pie. It is a pecan pie with a twist of full Bourbon and Chocolate flavor. It is pretty good and a keeper!