Friday, February 28, 2014

Optus RockCorps 2014

i was debating whether to go or not since i have been walking/standing all week. decided to go, even though the run-up this year is nowhere as awesome as last year's. i only know samantha jade, and heard of the others.

went to Ivanhoe place in mac park, where there are 60ish public housing places (well, the whole street), so people pay really cheap rents since the government subsides. the guy was from the salvation army, and he opened his home for people to go to the bathroom, how nice of him. it rained a but, but last year also drizzled as well. i was supposed to be in another group doing weeding, but group 1 got to do painting and i did weeding/planting last year, so my friends and i merged to group 1, and so did other people, since the other groups 2,3,4 had a noticeably smaller number.

yay painting murals! the brushes were really bad quality so hard to do fine lines. it was a super cramped space since they only set up minimal shelter combined with the extra amount of people, but it was fun. so tired since i was mainly squatting all the time =/ got paint all over my hands and trackies...this year the shirts are thinner material, but the salvos have a van with a coffee machine (since they provide weekly free coffee to the not so well off residents in the streets to have chats etc), so they provided coffee or tea. i got a hot choc (which has 2 things i'm currently not supposed to have), since i have cheap dilmah tea at home, and 4pm is too late to have coffee (well, i need to wake up not so late tomorrow morning). they also had water and lipton sparkling iced tea (better than V compared to last year), but i had the tea during o-week, and it's not that great so i didn't get any. and they had super massive muffins this year! better than muesli bars (: but no electronic wristband thing, and definitely less photo taking since it was raining...you know the nokia with 41mp, that is ridiculous, since 1 of their photos, and 5 of mine, which means that it would take up 5 times the amount of phone storage space-crazy. 



it says: welcome to Ivanhoe Estate

really awkward to take proper photos...i helped out a bit on the "To" part, then a bit on the "Ivanhoe". there was really limited brushes etc for 28 people, so really had to share colour etc. those gradients and purples/pinks are so pretty! people didn't realise that the trunk in the 2nd mural was actually the letter "T". the "To" was the easiest to do,  but people rushed it at the beginning and even towards the end, so personally i think its the ugliest lol. 

i was secretly hoping we could paint fences, but i think that would result in a massive paint fest, since people were already painting each other today.

wasn't in the city today ):

macq centre has changed so much! first time going in years. i past it often, but hardly step inside. never knew it had a grill'd there. it pretty much has everything there! and other international stores like Marks and Spencer or was it UniQlo are going to be there by Oct this year-they just keep on expanding. saw a wall of the "history" of macq centre, and i saw the 2000 renovation which i remember (and also i became sick during all the dust etc when they were renovating, according to my parents). after they added a level, i couldn't recognise it. i used to remember where everything was, now it's just all foreign to me...had onigiri for lunch, not worth it, but haven't had it in ages and it's fun unwrapping it.

bro sleeping over at school today for charity. does he even study?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

decided to go zumba today. it's not as tiring as i thought, just super sweaty since there's close to no breaks, and just continuous jumping etc for 1 hour. the air con was on, but my face was super red...should've gone in the summer to get ""toned". a lot of the people were all mums, and the person was like "if you can't keep up, go home and cook dinner" haha, which makes sense since it was about dinner time.

you know how yesterday i was supposed to go to uni by 8.30am, and i left the house at 7ish, but made it to uni at 9, but today i left 8ish, and got there well before 10am. now i know the week before uni starts that i can make 10am classes. TOO BAD I HAVE FIVE 9AM STARTS.

got a bit more quality freebies today. it was sooo quiet today, but i remember last year it wasn't as quite. probably cause of the rain, but it didn't rain yesterday and it was quite...oops, forgot to sign up for bible study...


echidna!


Taronga zoo's "Zoo Mobile" came today! didn't have a chance to look at all the turtles/lizards etc since they let the short beaked echidna go loose! and we could touch it (: it started to rain hard shortly after, so didn't look at the other animals, but it's sooo cute! yep, it's spiky lol. apparently they have a short beak, but their tongues are about 40cm long.

so nice seeing people for a while (: that computing thing where you copy and paste stuff and it changes to simplified words is actually pretty useful (if only i could understand and use it lol). i guess if you submit stuff to turn it in, the percentage would be a lot less.

2 other "cheap" bags to be chucked out. the rrp isn't even that cheap since they're branded, but the material they are made of is cheap. i totally understand all those uni students investing in quality bags. there are some branded bags which are made not to be brought to uni since they're probably too small, but there are other "high class" brands which have good sized totes and quality material. it's so embarrassing carrying around a broken bag ): #lifeofapoorunistudent

watched a bit of the amazing race during dinner. wow, the american one is up to its 24th race/season with "all stars". i actually recognise some of the teams! it was one of my favourite shows during primary and early high school, and the host hasn't actually aged that much either! really love that guy, haha. the aus amazing race can't be compared, we just don't have the sort of money for these type of shows.

it sucks how modern family and glee starts just before uni starts ):

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

driving to church tonight was quite surreal. the sky was a bright dark blue, but not black, and there was lighting/thunder flashes around, and accompanied by yellow/orange streetlights on a big road and no rain...i don't know, it's just a different feeling.

first night was good (: played human battleships and we won! basically set out 7x7 chairs each side and draw a curtain between. then you have a whiteboard and everyone collaborates which square/chair they want to hit.

also played a game i think Dandelion would love. it's like mafia but better as it has more roles (i don't really like mafia but this one was interesting). it's called werewolves. so werewolves are mafia, then there's villagers as civilians. defender as doctor. there's a witch who has a potion of life and death, so can only kill and save one life in the whole game. there's a huntsman, so if the huntsman dies, they can take someone to die with them. there's cupid who chooses 2 lovers, so if one of the lovers die, the other person also has to die with them. then there's an additional card-sheriff, so you can still be something else and sheriff. the role is decided on voting at the start/who wants to be it. it's role is to organise voting's (can nominate 3 people) and the vote for the person is counted twice. there's other roles as well, but we didn't have enough people since it was quite late already. i was a werewolf in both games, but i always lose. i can never defend myself in mafia...

ran around uni today in this super hot weather. came third in the scavenger hunt, but only first place gets iTunes voucher. it feels good giving advice to first years. also, had my first sausage today this week. it was a catered bbq so the sausages weren't as barbecued as much, which i guess it's slightly healthier...because i eat everything i'm given, i put onions in my roll, but after my first bite, i realised it was on my "banned" list of foods for now ): got more useful freebies today (:

what to do tomorrow? should i go to the apple store and listen to the creator of TWP app at the apple george st stall? or should i try go zumba before uni starts? or should i go pyrmont and have the $20 1kg steak? the challenge is back! if i was sharing with a friend, $10 for 500g is pretty cheap (don't think i can eat 1kg of steak and sides by myself =/). but it's not free anymore if you finish the steak, you just get $20 worth of beer vouchers. but on fridays there's $20 ribs! anyone??

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

all my life i've never been allergic to any type of food, and even if i don't like eating something, i can still eat it since i'm not a picky eater.

today was a complete brainwash. now i'm banned from all my favourite foods-at least 14 fruits ): this sucks. never before have i been "forced" to go on a "diet."

secretly glad i went to that person at the end of the break since i could still (ignorantly) enjoy my break filled with nice food, but in the long run, it's not good...no good fruit for at least 3 weeks...i just hope i can have proper food by the end of this year. it's really weird, "healthy" stuff for my dad is unhealthy for me and vice versa. so my mum is going to have so much fun cooking for the 2 of us, plus my brother who just wants delicious foods which doesn't fit under anything. all the stuff my mum and i thought was healthy (which they are for normal people) aren't healthy atm. bad blood circulation sucks. trying to be optimistic like carly on mkr-at least i can save money on food for now!

at least i can have ice cream! i would die if i can't have something normal. i really do love my food! apparently processed cow milk is healthier than normal cow milk. same with cake (: then again, there's the sugar content which isn't healthy to begin with for normal people =/

no lines at all at wet and wild today. only went for a bit, but it was the only day i could go before uni starts. mum actually went on the half pipe, haha. so tiring constantly walking up stairs/on hot tiles. found $2 on the ground, but i checked and the only thing you can buy with $2 is a 70c chupa chup.

my feet hurt so much. i don't have good feet to begin with, and apart from dinner and going to places, i have been constantly standing or walking or dancing since Friday. like at uni, you still walk but at least you can sit for 1 hour during lectures. it hurts to stand D=

slept in this morning, but how to get to uni by 8.30am tomorrow?

Monday, February 24, 2014

O-Week 2014

wow, repeatedly saying the same thing over 3 hours standing in the heat is quite tiring. luckily there's a lot of people on monday who are interested in stuff, but not sure how people will react by thursday...

this year i'm very selective into getting freebies, some stuff just becomes rubbish. like i don't need multiple yo-yos and freesbies and black pens and bags etc. only on wed i'll probably have a bbq, but other than that, i'm avoiding it. it feels like every day is "cheat day" since I've been going out to eat so much, but those cheap fatty sausages and white bread filled with heaps of sugar is just so unhealthy. same goes with the free pancakes, fairy floss and popcorn. they're not worth much, and your health is worth much more than those junk foods...i've added to my collection of those 0.4mm stabilo coloured pens which aren't cheap, and got an exercise book which will definitely come in handy. didn't bother getting lollies since i still have lollies from last year's o-week. i'd rather not take anything this year which i won't eat/use. also had a 600ml choc mint oak. i wanted the mocha one, but ceebs waiting since they put it in a machine to cool/shake it or something. i don't like choc mint, but this milk was surprisingly nice. the mint definitely made it less sweet than just normal choc, and the mint made the drink more "cool" and refreshing, rather than feeling bloated since you just drank quite a large carton. also, OB hot choc mint is nice as well. lipton sparkling drink reminds me of alcohol. it's just weird to have sparkling ice tea. didn't bother with the jumping castles although they do look fun. they have free grill'd burgers from a grill'd van this year for campus tours. this year they go on for 3 hours, last year was just 2 hours then a free bbq. no point for me going on a 3 hour campus tour just for a free burger (only 1 choice). even lining up for a free grill'd burger at parra only took 20ish minutes. got 2 scoops of ice cream since it was just so hot today.

also, the new residential buildings look so beautiful! all new with glass doors. i really wished i lived there (apart form the fact that i can't cook/have no money). it's $375 a week for a shared house (own bedroom/bathroom) but no food and it's a very small room. i think i checked prices last year, and if you want it catered, it's $500+ per week, which is enough to rent a normal sized house in some suburbs. i would love to live in a new building since it would feel like a new house (i.e. room)! looking forward to some decent shops opening there, which hopefully means good quality freebies worth my time.

my bruises have gone horribly worse. it looks like i have a really ugly birthmark/massive skin disease =/

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paintball

thanks for coming guys, esp Happy Apple all the way from Lithgow (: so lovely seeing everyone! can't believe i actually woke up before 7-earliest i've woken up since forever i.e. finals last year.

i don't think i was mentally prepared for today. i was just like, paintball on Sunday, whatever, but only until i actually got there all i could think was pain, pain, pain. seeing some really big aussie/middle easternish guys who looked quite pro with extra bandanas and gloves, i was like they are going to be ruthless. luckily they put our group with the other "small" group who also had a decent amount of girls.

the thing i was most scared about is that people "accidentally" hitting you closer than 5m=bleeding and bruising. there's not much you can do if a random person next to you accidentally shoot you...like the last game of capture the flag where the people guarding it was right next to the flag, so even if you could go close, you'd most likely be hit within 5m...the gun was heavier than i thought, and my hand has a few cuts etc, but then when i play laser tag, my skin sometimes also peels off from pulling the trigger too much. i think 100 paintballs for us was enough to get a feel and experience what paintball is like. i hid most of the time trying not to get hit lol. walked away without too much pain, biggest bruise i have is about 6cm is not a pretty sight, and its painful to touch (and slowly forming a lump =/). weird thing is i don't remember getting hit there...quite a few paintballs bounced off me as well, which actually surprisingly hurts. there's around 7 arenas, and we went to 3, which i think is pretty decent for the amount we paid.

probably won't be going again for a long while...


spontaneous lunch at El Jannah! first time (: i pass it sometimes , but never have actually gone into it...i think we over ordered...got a whole chicken w/ bread, garlic, pickles-$19.90 a roll each-i got the lahme which had lamb, hommus, parsley, pickles, onion, tomato-$7.50, 2 large chips-$6 each, 2 garlic sauces-$3 each. people are right-the garlic sauce is amazing! it doesn't look pretty on a plate, but it tastes sooo garlicy. it's not like eating a raw garlic (which is pretty gross if you haven't tried), and it's not smooth like aioli, but it was still creamy and delicious (: kept dipping into it for everything we ate, but it seemed never ending. $3 is pretty good, compared to places like ribs and rumps where you get this little tiny serving of sauce and you've already finished your sauce but half the meal is still there. this charcoal chicken isn't as heavily seasoned as nando's which is good since you can dip it into the sauce, and definitely not as dark which is a plus (since whenever there's burnt/dark bits, i just think it's cancerous and try to take it off...). i would've preferred the chips without chicken salt, but they still tasted good. like even my brother liked the food i brought home-he usually never cares about whatever food i eat/bring back home, even if it's gourmet style/expensive desserts. like at glass brasserie, all he wanted to do was hurry and eat and go home. he's also a picky eater, so for him to say that this sauce was nice and actually still eat it after i brought it home is saying something.

was so tired during service today, but it was pretty interesting since the pastor today did a "re-mix" of a song with words changed from a passage to make it easier to understand this particular part. also, apparently during my mum's service, the chinese pastor said one of the biggest news this morning was whatsapp crashing. no wonder why some messages i was supposed to receive early in the morning around 7am came through at about 11.30am! like even if i don't have internet/in poor reception, the time still comes up as the time the person sends it once you connect to internet.

noo, winter olympics are ending, guess it is time to head back to uni, which i am no where near ready D= everyone go to this link and sign this petition! read on the news that the site crashed because of this petition, so then i thought this is worth signing up for. it's about wanting to make the olympics women skating scores open. apparently for the women figure skating, 4/14 judges were russian, which is really unfair imo, considering how many countries participate in the olympics.

australia's dance has changed so much, after a 4 year break. 4th season this year: new host, new judges, new stage. like the judges aren't sitting to the side anymore like the original american version, they're now sitting directly in front with no long table-they have these small swivel tables. also no small "mosh pits" at the front. surprised they didn't start pairing people up first week, i thought they went straight into pairs for the first week...but you can tell after 4 years of no sytycd aus, that they've saved some money to make the production better, like already, the dances have quite a few props etc and are actually quite good to watch. yay for international choreographers! i.e american choreographers since aus can never compare to them. they have 10 seasons so far and going to be an 11th soon, pretty impressive.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

i've probably said this before, but i would rather kill my liver on expensive alcohol rather than cheap vodkas etc. anyways, cheap alcohol still isn't cheap, like i would much rather spend my money on food than drinks. also read in the news that liver cancer rates is equally as high as heart disease in australia. there's plenty of time to drink when you're older, so i just don't understand why people drink to get drunk for fun...

hope i wake up in time tomorrow

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sydney Cellar Door

i get it now! apparently you just need to show the original credit card once, so screw everything else...i guess there are times when i feel like i should have a credit card, but then all those chick flicks suggest otherwise...also, i understand those final stuff! for snowboard/ski cross, you get times first off to get ranked, the faster you are, you can choose your starting gate (there are 4). then there are 8 heats, then quarter finals, semi finals, then small finals to rank the 5-8th positions from semi finals, and big final to rank 1st-4th i.e. the medal place. so funny tonight in ladies ski cross since the commentators were like "fingers crossed the people in front fall" so the aussie can progress to the next round. only 2/4 people can go to the next round. a lot of people fall in ski cross compared to snowboard. i think snowboarding is really cool.

talk of the day yesterday was how fb bought whatsapp for $21billion aus, which is a lot of money compared to instagram which was just $1 billion. 

talk of the day today was half price messina. not many of these type of things are discounted. so once i saw the deal, i bought it straightaway, about an hour later, it was sold out even though it was 1 per person/account. also talk of the day was how that russian won first place in figure skating since she stumbled/wasn't perfect. like snowboard is all about "overall impression" but apparently since they want Russia to win, overall impression doesn't matter as much, even though to me overall impression for ice skating is pretty important! a lot of the stuff is rigged this year. like i've heard russia kind of rigged it to win the draw/bids to be the host country. another thing, my bro saw once russia was versing another country in ice hockey, and the puck was in-even the camera inside the goal showed it passed the line, but the referee overruled it so the team versing russia would lose. not that i despise Russia, i think the 15yr old Yulia is promising. i feel like her signature move is the mount and spin at the end of her routine since people are nowhere near as fast. i definitely prefer free skating over short-you can add in so much more style. i also like pair free skating since they chuck people around and are ever so synchronised. ice dances are just dancing and lifts, but they don't always have the usual ice skating jumps/turns.

yogurt berry and creme brûlée, nachito (pineapple, honey, cinnamon) sorbet and apple pie-$6 each

thanks JB-Hi5 for the shout (not sure if you read this since you're work life is so hectic!) the yogurt berry was very yogurty/creamy but not enough berry flavour. creme brûlée just had toffee bits and in vanilla bean gelato. i liked the nachito since you had a massive hit of cinnamon, and i love my cinnamon. pineapple was a bit subtle in it though. the apple pie tasted like its name. also, the salted coconut and mango salsa was interesting...

on the way back from uni, i saw the stands all set up, and coincidentally the Sydney Cellar Door started today, so spontaneous food adventure. it was at hyde park south this time, and unlike the night markets, this had a lot more stalls. obviously less food because most of the stalls were wine, but still more stalls set up/less tables and chairs. the food this time round was slightly more decently cheap (not saying it isn't overpriced), but less stir fries etc. there was also more samples to try as well. messina was there and if i didn't have it earlier today, i would've tried some of their other creations things since i wasn't in the city during their "carnivale" creations. the wine there isn't cheap. cheapest is 1 glass for $25 for 5 tokens, and each token is 60ml of wine, which is only about 3 standard servings...so about $8.30 a glass...oh, change of mind, that's actually decently priced to try the wines. i think it's pretty cute how they have different regions with their signs like Hunter, Orange etc. 




pork belly-$12

yes, it's not really worth it, but it's the most "worth it" thing there since it's by chefs from intercontinental sydney, and at Cafe Opera, you can't really find savoury stuff for $12. i think this was worth it, beautifully and "lovingly" presented by the chefs (well as beautiful as "fast food" can be plated on disposable plates). the pork belly was tender and nicely seasoned (but not overly salty), the sweet potato was sweet, the peaches and plums gave a slight acidity, and the crackle gave a nice texture (since there wasn't any pork crackling, but i'm guessing it's just harder to cook and maintain the crunchiness of a crackling in a small stall/outdoorish kitchen)

kangaroo and red wine pie-$5
not sure if it's supposed to be a kangaroo shape on the pie.

chunks of kangaroo!

didn't get any wine, but i walked past pie by Mick's Bakehouse and thought why not? it's a lot smaller than what you would probably get in one of the shops, but i'm at a wine festival, so i thought i should get this pie since it had some sort of wine, and i love my kangaroo. meat was in chunks, and was nice and tender. this pie is different to other pies, then again, it really depends on personal preference. this pie felt "healthier" than others since it was more doughy/sturdier, and not 99% butter filled puff pastry(even though it melts in your mouth and delicious-it's almost all fat...). the gravy was thicker so easier to eat and cut, unlike other pies which has it's sauce and mince spilling out making it messy to eat. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Paramount Coffee Project

so lovely catching up with Bitter today! i haven't seen her since...boxing day sales, i think...actually she reminded me it was nye, lol.

i have avoided walking up the massive hill since last year mid year break for my trek to bourke st bakery. all the cafes i've been to in surry hills haven't been a trek (: the paramount coffee project is in a really obscure spot, not close to anything really, and we kind of walked past it. it's quite spacious and bright inside, compared to other cafes. service was good, maybe a tad overly attentive, since they kept on asking if we were ready to order. i guess it was good they kept on walking by since i kept on asking for extra cups/plates etc.
menu for reference because there isn't one up anywhere

kochere filter coffee-$5, cappuccino milkshake-$8

so much froth, this kept me so full

jaffa: choc-orange ice cream, choc waffles, citrus syrup-$15, Crab Po Boy: soft shell crab, house slaw, milk bun-$19

couldn't really taste the orange in the ice cream, and the waffles were a bit hard to cut into. the dish as a whole tasted nice, but not as good as i was hopping it to be. the citrus syrup wasn't citrusy enough.

soft shell crab was nice and not overly seasoned (unlike when you have it at like thai places which is also delicious, but you know all that sodium content isn't good). the bun was nice and soft, but i would've liked more coleslaw. anyways, today was "cheat day". all that oil and fat filling me up...

so excited for modern family in australia! but was kinda ceebs to go circular quay. so many spoilers already =/

Circles and Circles

arghhhh, so angry at the world  right now (ok, not really, but pretty frustrated atm).

*deeeep breath* where should i start???

ok. you'd think buying tickets online is just simple as having a credit card and then they send you an e-ticket and you all ready to go. well, it IS that simple for domestic flights since i usually help my dad for his random flights around. but FAR OUT, not for major international airlines! no wonder why people go to travel agencies, but they earn heaps of commission, equivalent to buying another ticket overseas (we used to go to travel agents).

which leaves just me and my laptop. you have to use credit card if you are buying online, if you have a visa card, you need to register for Verified by Visa (will get to that in a moment). and for security purposes, when you check in, you need to show the original credit card or else they will most likely refuse you a boarding pass even though you have your e-ticket/passport etc. this means that you cannot buy tickets for another person without accompanying them, since the card holder needs to be present to fully validate the ticket/check in. i never knew that! like obviously you can buy someone a ticket with your frequent flyer points, but you cannot purchase a ticket with a credit card for someone else unless you're there to show your credit card. which means trouble, since if i use my dad's credit card, he won't be there when i check in from overseas so we may possibly not be able to board and return home.

so at this stage you'll probably be thinking: use my mum's credit card. that's where another problem arises. well, something happened ages ago, and the verified by visa function is blocked, and you need to call them up to unsuspend it. but my mum's english isn't good, and they don't allow me to translate/don't allow speaker phones, so thus they can't verify my mum over the phone and had to go to the branch. but we just went this morning to re-do all those security checks! and we already told them the phone people told us to come in and they can fix it up, but the branch people didn't know what to do and said to just register online or call them ourselves. but we can't register online since the whole function is blocked from that card! so off we go tomorrow back to the branch for the 3rd time. i'm pretty sure that lady remembers us now, but it's not our fault they can't freaking unsuspend Verified by Visa over the phone, tomorrow we're not leaving until this thing is fixed. sometimes i hate all this fancy added security.

more circles with our electricity bills. this is even longer to explain. but apparently since the house next to us started to be rented, apparently they swapped the electricity meters, and our meter which used to be energy australia got switched to AGL without our consent. then the bills got lost, and those big companies just realised, so our electricity may be cut anytime D= we freaking haven't received any bills either! how are we supposed to pay when they mixing up house addresses and meters? so my dad called and the people kept transferring calls back and forth between the companies. the actual story is longer than this mere paragraph.

why is all this stressful circling stuff happening right before uni? suddenly a million things also popped up in the last week of the 3 month break.

the only good thing (apart from the catchup today) was that tog finally got an app! i can now actually track my usage easily! i've been calling more 13 and 18 numbers more than 04 mobiles this past week...sigh...

if you asked me what i did in 3 months, here you go: 1 month working, 1 month watching tv (2 weeks tennis, 2 weeks olympics, catching up on movies and watching tv in general) combined with making/baking random stuff and tidying the house/chores, 2 weeks reading and 2+ weeks worth of going out. total of 12 weeks easily passed. not bored a single day.

not ready for uni.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Not your average pancakes and toast

couldn't find anything in the fridge i wanted to eat for lunch today, so it was the perfect time to make some single serving recipes from another insta account: nourishnotpunish. story behind this girl was that she suffered from anorexia etc, but now eating healthily

buckwheat pancakes with caramelised bananas

this looks like sludge...yeah, i'm pretty bad with presentation. i cut the banana up into random sized pieces =/ and i haven't flipped pancakes in a while, so it was originally a circle but....anyways, pancake mis was super simple: 1/4 cup buckwheat flour, 1/4 almond milk, 1 tbs cacao. didn't haven any mesquite powder so i just omitted it. i was a bit skeptical about buckwheat and almond milk, but it turned out to be a pretty good batter! fried the single serving pancake off with 1 tsp coconut oil, much healthier than butter. also used that oil to caramelise my banana with a dash of honey and cinnamon. again, much healthier than caramelising bananas in a block of butter like they did in mkr tonight... yum, some crunchy caramelised bits. the pancake was really filling, probably because of the buckwheat, and bananas fill you up as well. if you've never had cacao before, it has a bitter taste like dark choc, so the caramelised bananas added sweetness to the pancakes and there wasn't any need for extra honey/jam. 

coconut french toast

i didn't want to waste the little bit of coconut oil in the pan, so tried to do a healthy version of french toast. it kinda worked...ok, not as well as i expected it to. i didn't use plain/thick bread, but she used guten free normal sized bread. also, my bread came from the fridge... egg wash: 1 egg, cinnamon, dash of almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla essence, then dipped the bread into it and then coated with shredded coconut. second piece of bread didn't really have enough egg wash...and since the pan didn't have enough oil, it didn't really crisp up and become golden, and a tad bit of the egg cooked =/ but it still smelt nice (: and this is healthier than using heaps of butter to fry it. i totally understand what all those mc/mkr contestants mean by "keeping an eye on it". i had some random bits of coconut i wanted to toast so i put them in the pan for about a sec then turned off the heat and packed some stuff away. nek minnit the shredded coconut is a dark brown since the pan was still hot =/ i just had a slice of the toast (i try to not eat as much at home, usually it fails...)

zumbo had free tim tams at the star today and was apparently signing/taking photos! last time he was at rozelle for 1 hour only scooping ice cream, so no time for photos...but ceebs going out to the star just for free tim tams since they predicted torrential rains in the city in the arvo. and i think i'm kinda banned from buying tim tams since a couple of times my mum stocked up on them when they were half price, but almost all the time they expire before we even get through half the stash...and my bro and i aren't massive tim tam fans either....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Macadamia and Caramel Cheesecake

really love this recipe from twp. a cheeseless, butterless, biscuitless cheesecake. the base is made out of sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, coconut oil and honey. love the base since it does taste like a cheesecake base, and it's nut free so good for people allergic to nuts. also doesn't have as much carbs content compared to biscuits. next time i'll probably make 2/3 of the actual quantities to have a thinner base.

the filling is macadamias, coconut oil, coconut cream, honey (since i don't have brown rice syrup), vanilla essence (don't have extract) and lemon juice. i was scared that the nut's would severely scratch my bonder, but it was fine. it was quite a creamy mixture, but in the end it set because of the coconut oil. it's still quite rich, but nowhere as heavy as last time's no bake cheesecake. coconut cream still has fats, but it's better than just cream cheese and butter. you can modify the filling by blending in frozen berries and bananas to make it nut free and healthy (:

the caramel is blended meedjol dates and coconut cream. i hate blending dates since they stick together yet still not blended properly. times like this i wish i had a food processor or a $2k thermomix...dates are naturally sweet, so this caramel was quite sweet, but not as sweet as your typical caramel of sugar and butter. this cheesecake is technically sugar free since i didn't had any refined white/brown sugar unlike last time. so healthy and guilt free (: only natural sugar/fats.

it set!

there's a heart shaped hole at the bottom which i kinda think is cute.



i actually had trouble "plating" this cheesecake since the original recipe had drizzled the caramel over so it was slightly dripping, but my blender isn't powerful enough to make the caramel thin out. the recipe also gave the option of swirling the caramel into the filling, but i liked the pale cream colour without the caramel. so in the end i just kinda spread the caramel over...

i would also like to mention (if i haven't already) that winter olympics have the most confusing scoring systems. like those ski slope jumps where you "fly" for about 100m. even if you jumped the furthest you might not win since you get added and taken away points for wind and gate compensation...then like in figure skating there's two main components, but to get to that component there's different levels of tricks, which score differently. in some heats of snowboard cross, they don't release you're times, you just have to be top 3/4 in your heat to proceed to next round. something like aerials, which is like diving, except twice as more twists and turns and over 10x more dangerous since you're 4 stories high and you land on snow not water, and you can't repeat tricks/jumps.  there's around 6 judges who score, but the total score isn't the combined total, they factor in the difficulty then some formula thing to get the final total score. most summer olympics sports are just based on time.

so lovely to see people tonight, even though food was super unhealthy, haha. it's good to just catchup and talk (: and thanks again dandelion for the rose <3

Monday, February 17, 2014

every summer holiday where i don't go overseas, i do a massive room clean up. one year was re-painting my walls, another year was moving my bed, one year it was getting a new wardrobe, also getting a new dresser, rearranging position of clothes in my wardrobe. my room is relatively small and i don't study in it, but there's surprisingly a lot one can do. this weekend i changed my dresser for a older one and moved my newer one into the spare room. it just wasn't that good for storage...

i think i hoard too much stuff. now i'm only going to keep plastic bags which are "epi" or recyclable or else they just become a mess...and chucked out so many random samples...

i totally understand why people buy leather handbags, don't personally own any fully leather handbags atm, but i can see they will be a good investment. even brands like kate hill/roxy which aren't cheap, the plastic/synthetic material starts to "flake" after a while. same with those cheap hk bags... probably going to avoid buying cheap material handbags now since they wear and tear easily-like they won't last you for over 4 years if you keep on using it, unlike some of my mum's leather handbags which are still in good condition even though it's been a long time...so today i chucked out a good amount of stuff.

and i was so happy today after finding money in my old primary school wallet! it's not much, but it's enough to last me for eating food out for the mid year break (since i don't eat out, well close to no times during sem). felt so happy finding hidden money (: i usually put the money i get from CNY straight into the bank, but this year i already spent it all on food, clothes and presents. then again, i didn't get a lot (which is kinda good i guess since it limits the amount you spend...)

my room doesn't have much stuff in it, but it feels so clean since everything is out of sight inside the dresser and i vacuumed my room about 3 times.

smoothie: 1 banana, 1 cup frozen pineapples, almond milk, 1 medjool date, 1 tbs chia seeds

adapted this recipe from the boost website when they were promoting healthy drinks you could make yourself. the original recipe had parsley and ice, but i didn't have parsley, and frozen pineapples compensated for the ice. i don't eat dates just by themselves, but 1 date blended is actually quite nice since it gives it some sweetness, and it's a very subtle date flavour so you can still taste the banana and pineapples (:

so sore from dance ):

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ribs and Rumps Take 2

i think i'm at the point in life where birthdays are becoming overrated. another 21st dinner tonight, but just a dinner not party. it gets me thinking, i used to love parties and birthdays, but hosting massive parties cost thousands, and i don't even think people will come since i hardly have any friends. then the awkward moment of speeches-like i don't have anything funny/interesting for other people to talk about. i'd rather save up money for my wedding instead of spending big on a 21st. which is why i think just "dinner" is good, since people just pay for what they order. then again, there's not as much atmosphere if it's just a dinner like tonight and last nights...

went to the north ride (which is basically in macquarie park) ribs and rumps. there was over 30 of us, and even though we didn't hire the room, they gave it to us which is nice of them (: there was also a tv, and yay winter olympics. i do not understand snowboard cross, from individual times, to small finals, big finals, heats, qualifications, semi finals etc-so confusing. no idea how it works.

i think it's because it's a sunday night and the restaurant was pretty packed that tonight didn't compare at all to last time when i went for Bitter's birthday. that time was a lot nicer, things had more flavour/well marinated, the meat wasn't tough and only just warm. 

220g rump steak with mash-$22 and mushroom sauce $3


yeah, it was pretty disappointing. i guess I'm used to a massive piece of meat, i know it's only 220g, but this definitely wasn't worth $22. i've had pretty decent non chewy rump steaks before which were much larger for just $10. even though it was cooked medium rare and pink inside, the quality of the meat was on the tough side. other people had sirloins which is a slightly better cut of meat, but apparently it was pretty tough as well. the mash didn't have a lot of potato flavour, just a lot of salt. the mushroom sauce wasn't really mushroomy and was only warm. the chips weren't that nice either. i'm not sure if it's the north ryde one or just a lot of people tonight, but this was a rip off, a lot of other people agreed as well. other people have come to the north ryde one before and they said the steaks were better there, so i guess it's the amount of people...also, there is close to no parking there, have to park at other places around the offices there. weirdest place to have a ribs and rumps restaurant...

i miss high class potato mash and my scotch fillet steaks! even though it's super fattening, higher class places just ace the mash with the buttery, creamy potato fatness goodness. and those melt in your mouth steaks are just to die for (:

long room

at least there was cake which was from my local patisserie (:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Taste of Shanghai

this morning the optom couldn't make it since she had a car accident =/ meaning we had to reschedule appointments and there wasn't much to do apart from cleaning and fixing stuff...

went to Taste of Shanghai for friend;s birthday. ordered a decent amount, but the pan fried buns seemed like they were continuously coming since we ordered 8 plates-i had about 4 of them myself, hehe. i think i ate a lot, heaps of dumplings/wontons, noodles, rice, meat, dessert/fried stuff. at $23 a person tonight, i think it was decent. i think the city once is a tad bit less oily than when i went to the Eastwood one beginning of last year. they gave us an extra bowl of wontons since we got the bill already, but an extra bowl appeared (:


this was the beginning of food arriving, the food kept coming for a while (:

Friday, February 14, 2014


chia pudding with almond milk and coconut cream

another (almost) healthy, filling breakfast. it was supposed to be coconut milk instead of cream and my mum told me she opened a can of milk not cream, but she opened the can of cream which i was saving for something else ): i didn't even know i put coconut cream in the pudding, but at least the combo of almond and coconut liquid is really good, no need to add sweeteners/honey. last time i think i added water which needed some nice juicy mango to make it sweeter.

another good day to go wet n wild. there were more people than tuesday, but it was nice and cloudy and not cold, and no lines again. it's pretty tiring walking up stairs continuously.

finally got something from the grill'd "meat wave" thing-buy one get one free. the previous weeks i didn't want to pay $10 for a burger (since you only save about $2.50) and i didn't want the drinks they offered, and the first week i didn't have time to get a free burger, but i have still maintained my streak of getting discounted/free grill'd burgers!

summer sunset: Grilled grass fed lean beef, avocado, crispy trim bacon, golden pineapple, salad, relish & herbed mayo-$12.50, caesar's palace: Grilled chicken breast, crispy trim bacon, free range egg, shaved parmesan, baby cos & Caesar dressing-$12.50

even though these burgers don't have special sauces, i still get them since they have more fillings compared to others with a different sauce but not as much stuff. both of these burgers were nice as usual (: i think they are slightly shorter these days compared to beginning of last year since i can eat it without toppling...

i am so sick of the "amore" ads. probably the worst thing during winter olympics. whenever i watch, i always think winter olympics are only for rich kids, especially in aus. seriously, where are you going to find snow in aus apart from the small snowy mountains which has decent snow for only about a month? and as if the government will build a luge track for only about 3 people to train in for only 4 years. think about it, summer sports are super cheap compared to winter. even for swimming, when you're small you just need a pool and some decent swimmers for about $100 and when you do hit the olympics, you get laser cut suits (then that's all sponsored, but still nowhere as expensive as skiing gear). for skiing when you're small, all that gear is already a few hundred dollars and you haven't even started competing yet. also, going to ice skate just for fun is a lot more expensive than swimming for fun. so winter olympics are for rich people, while summer olympics are more affordable. i'm just trying to think of expensive summer sports...nothing really comes to mind...probably the most expensive is rowing, but you don't own a boat for 6 people to use on your own, so i don't think that counts...

i've always wanted to learn to figure skate, horse ride, surf or ski when i was young. if i was a rich kid, i would've chosen figure skating since it's not too hot or cold (and it's so pretty!), but it's a "rich" sport since you'd need to hire the whole arena to practice properly and the price would be super expensive. you know, most australians in the winter olympics don't even live in australia since we just don't have the facilities. it's kinda sad how aus finished last in the men's short skate...


Thursday, February 13, 2014

so happy today, spent the best $5 ever on a pair of branded pants which were originally $60 (((:

also for once, zara had sale stuff for under $20. most of it were really big sizes, but were decent for Australia, i guess.

everyone is finally coming down under! by everyone, i mean H&M, too bad they're only going to Melb, but they said they were going to make a special Aussie collection and make it "affordable fashion". i doubt it, the clothes prices inflate whilst they ship stuff down. i love H&M, especially in HK where it's affordable, and during sales the stuff is really nice, cheap and come in your sizes (: i feel like Miranda Kerr is being downgraded from David Jones, Victoria Secret now H&M and other smaller stuff. but i've never really liked Kerr. apparently stores like Uniqlo are coming as well, but i've never bought anything from there, even though i was forced by relatives to get something from the store since it's quite popular there-it's just not my style. i still can't imagine Myer and DJ merging together...

originally $3.90, now $2.15

they have a looney tunes promotion now so they have different flavours, cups and spoons to collect. the "special" flavours were: bugs bunny carrot cake-couldn't really taste the carrot in it but i'm not a fan of carrot cake to begin with, daffy duck's decadent dark choc orange-i normally don't like choc orange things but this one was quite nice-maybe because of the dark choc, (first day today). key lime tart which was slightly sour but was alright. other flavours i tried: peanut butter-it had some sweetness which is weird for peanut butter, almond mocha-tasked like chocolate more than coffee (it looked exactly like the other choc one, so maybe i just blended the two together), matcha green tea-not enough of the matcha powder flavour, key lime tart which was slightly sour but was alright and raspberry tart which had a good balance of sweet and sourness. too bad i missed out on free froyo at rouse hill on the weekend ):

speed skating is the most intense winter sport to watch. it has the most false starts (like that aussie person who represented russia this years but false started twice and couldn't skate, i've already seen 3 double faults...), and people falling which usually isn't your own fault, and people who you expect to lose win. like some of the relays tonight, a team was coming dead last but the 2 teams ahead fell on top of each other and the 2 teams behind skated past. then in one of the women's finals, after the first bend ie. 2 seconds, 3/4 people fell. in that one, the british was penalised since she kinda pushed the others, so the other 3 won medals. but sometimes people fall and at speed skating speeds, you can't dodge the tangle of people in time and imo sucks. sports like downhill skiing and snowboarding when people fall it's their own fault, not someone who tripped you up...

guys always seem to repeat costumes for figure skating, whilst the girls get different ones each time.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Youeni Foodstore

this place is so close to home (well 12 mins drive is close for me), and i've finally had time today to go. actually, it was pretty spontaneous. had some of the bread i made for brekkie, there's something about health foods like buckwheat which just fills you up without eating a lot, so i wasn't really hungry. 
cappucino-$3.50, green juice of apple, celery, spinach and ginger-$5.50

the coffee art is a nice tulip, but i don't think this is a cap even though we ordered one and the receipt says it's a cap. a cap needs some chocolate powder. this one was more like a flat white since it didn't have as much foam and a stronger coffee taste. maybe because this cup is smaller than others. also, the grounded coffee wasn'tt filtered probably since there was some grounded coffee bits at the bottom of the cup =/ i guess the price is decent for castle hill. cafes in towers serve a cup of coffee for well over $4.

the green juice was so refreshing for a hot day like today (: a hint of sweetness from the apple, and the celery and spinach wasn't too overpowering. even though i have a blender, you really need a juicer to have such "clean" juices without pulp and little bits and pieces. 

roast pork shoulder: baked apples, kipflers, fennel seed focaccia-$20

i really wanted to try their baked eggs (yes, even though today was hot) but breakfast ended at 11.30 and i went there quite late. luckily their kitchen closes 3.30pm nowadays. shared this dish with my mum since we were quite full from brekkie. ordered the most expensive thing...but it was nice (: the pork wasn't too heavily seasoned and easily pulled apart, and yes the skin had fat but i just cut that away. potatoes were nicely cooked and the apple was soft but not mushy. the bread was really, really soft, which made us buy a loaf home.


soft 7 grains-$5.50


weighed this at home, and it came to 648g, which is pretty decent. normal loafs we get are about 750g, so i think the price for organic bread at a cafe is good. the crust of this is hard unlike the white bread we had before (which actually cost more by the loaf than the grain one) but this one was still so soft inside (: also, serrated knives are really useful for bread. i feel like we should buy fresh bread more often so i can use the knife more.

after another night of snowboarding, i'm kinda sick of it. from pictures, you can actually tell so chi's half pipe is narrower and steeper than vancouver's. the guys tricks are a lot cooler than the women's though. apparently the names of the tricks are sometimes named after the person who did it first and they just make up a name. names like "yolo" and just some signature moves which aren't official moves but just signature moves which really do look cool. just wiki-ed snowboard tricks, so, so weird. you can probably find the names on a normal cafe menu...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wet and Wild Take 3



so empty in the morning. hardly had to wait today, literally sliding down, then going up the stairs to the point i was kinda tired from continuous stair walking...can't believe people pay $20+ to go on the sky coaster thing. why would you do that in Australia? i guess it's safer in aus, but the equivalent or better is much cheaper and bigger overseas...really nice day to go today, cloudy but not cold and i left when the sun came out (: 

the snow does seem really powdery and light at sochi. apparently sochi is like the gold coast of aus, and their winters are about 10 degrees. that's not cold at all for snow conditions...cousin in Toronto atm, and they're experiencing -17 degrees clear and sunny days. not sure how they survive...

i didn't even know iTunes radio was released in Australia today! only knew from the news...yay, second country with iTunes radio. i was so happy when they first announced iOS7 that there will be iTunes radio, but then there was that asterisks with "only in US". i don't really download songs anymore nor listen to music. so yay for a variety to stream (:

i personally think the $2m interview for schapelle is ridiculous. i mean from 20 years to 9 ish years of jail to 2+ million dollars richer. i think it's really, really bad. it's like telling people you can smuggle drugs and then get money for it-the only catch is a few years of your life. if you earn 100k a year, it would still take you 20 years to earn that much, but schapelle just sat in jail for 9 years and did nothing but still gets the equivalent of 20 years of full time work. so glad kochi lashed out at channel 7. same thing with that gittany case. the current gf gets paid 145 000 for just saying her bf is innocent.  ridiculous.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Buckwheat and Pear Bread

decided to make some healthy bread using buckwheat flour. the recipe said to use either water or milk, but i didn't have any milk, so i used water. i just think the water made it a less bread texture...the pears were actually "poached". it only they were more ripe to begin with...i used some sugar since i didn't have any coconut sugar, but everything else is super healthy (: another trusty recipe from the whole pantry app (: yay, they had an update a few days ago and there's this super healthy salted chocolate and rosemary tart. the only thing i'm missing is hazelnut spread...




i love winter olympics! actually i love all olympics. didn't have time to watch the whole opening or the encores during plus retreat, but i loved the ballet pieces and circusy inflatables (: no idea what order the countries walked out in, usually it's alphabetical...still think winter has so much more risks, injuries and dangerous obstacles compared to summer.

favourites are definitely figure skating! so glad they showed the ladies free and team pair free, twas so beautiful to watch. love their costumes. i think figure skaters are amazing. they need to know how to dance and have poise, be flexible like a gymnast and combined with flowing ice skating. i like to watch aussies during olympics, but the promotional ads are just a bit over the top. 

the snowboarding girls are all so pretty! i think the snow does good stuff to the skin. and most of the girl competitors are really friendly as well during the winter olympics. you don't see in normal olympics individual competitors hugging and cheering for each other, or still smiling even though they came 4th.

so glad you can switch between channel 10 and 1 for some variety. sometimes i don't know if i should watch mkr, dance or winter olympics! too much choice.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Plus Retreat 2014

went to The Entrance this year, which is a it further than Avoca etc, but not really. i gave up driving at 100, its not much difference compared to 110 tbh, and other red p's and l's were refs going over 100. haven't been there in a while since i managed to skip a few family outings. i remember we used to go there often with family friends at night and go prawning at long jetty. not sure if there are any prawns nowadays...but there used to be heaps to take home and eat (:

took the longer windy road up. it was sooo windy. all the guys just sped off, i'm pretty sure one of the guys just wanted to try their new car (i.e. its been modded over 10 times...)

the main house which we went to for hanging out etc was soo big. our original house was nice but it was really dirty, so we stayed at the smaller but tidier house. the main house was mostly where the guys slept. two levels with beach front views, two kitchens, about 8 toilets and 8+ bedrooms. played sardines in the dark on the first night with about 15 people, and on two occasions, i was the last person to find everyone. hate people who troll...people were so creative by hiding in storage places with stuff blocking them, and it's literally pitch balk so you would have to kick around to see if someone is hiding in the bottom corner or something.





beach views. so breezy (:

topic was on faith and we were all given a raw egg to take care of during the weekend-where ever we go, we had to take it. it ties in to show how we have to hold onto our faith. funny stories: a guy put his egg into his pocket ready to go beach but then walked into a chair and it cracked in his pocket...another guy took his egg out to swim at the beach to show the "great lengths" to protect his egg-it actually survived the waves...the entrance beach is saltier than others =/

i'm so dark now after a few hours at the beach (not even a whole day =/ )

played a new game-Jungle Speed! so fun (: why do people have such fun card games? it's like snap, where you see the same pattern as someone, you grab this plastic pole thing. it can get so aggressive at times. there's another version where there's a wooden pole-ouch, that would hurt so much. was a bit slow at first, but then you start to recognise the patterns and your reaction speed increases (: 

golden gaytime! late night snack. haven't had these in years. last one i had was probably in a kfc crusher years ago, and that just tasted like sugar. the actual ice cream is surprisingly not sweet.

so much food for brekkie, lunch and dinner. but so much carbs =/ first night, the guys took 2 hours to cook pasta =/

after having cereal, wraps, bacon, omelette, potatoes, steak for brekkie on the last day, i was super full. why not have ice cream/gelato for lunch?

500ml gelato: passionfruit, caramelised fig, salted caramel, boyensberry cheesecake, hazelnut-$12

i think this is pretty cheap since it was $3 per person. and it was definitely more than 500ml. so happy they scooped it so it was overfilled (: luckily we didn't need a lid. the passionfruit sorbet was quite sour, i picked the caramelised fig and that was pretty good. the salted caramel wasn't salted at all, and was just caramel. there wasn't enough berry flavour in the boyensberry cheesecake and hazelnut was nice.

also, i thought fish and chips would be pretty expensive here, but it's ok priced.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Devon Cafe

finally had time to go Devon Cafe! what i love about this cafe is that it's so close to central and no hill to walk up! we went at an awkward time when we had to order from the breakfast menu straightaway, or wait till 12 for the lunch menu. i think the kitchen people were on their lunch break. so we could only order drinks for that time. should've came in earlier-their lunch menu is shorter than the breakfast menu! luckily the thing i wanted was on both menus. actually, the lunch menu is just a smaller menu with about 1/2 the options they have for brekkie. the special today was some sort of sandwich, but i never order sandwiches outside (unless it's included in high tea), since you can make you own gourmet or club sandwich at home.

mocha-$4

the coffee was alright. it tasted more like a normal cap, but with a hint of dark chocolate.

breakfast with the sakuma's: salmon, eel croquette, 63 degree egg, radish salad, kepi mayonniase-$24.50

finally had a 63 degree egg! i've been watching so much Masterchef over the years, and not many place have 63 degree eggs, so i knew i had to try this dish! yum, the yolk oozed out and the egg white was runnyish as well. with poached eggs, the yolk does ooze out, but not as nicely as the 63 degrees and the egg white is more cooked. salmon was cooked well. the croquette was yum, a bit different since it has rice in it, but it wasn't too oily even though it was deep-fried. they have the same plates as The Grounds, but their signature colour is red whilst The Grounds is teal blueish colour for their coffee.

had a bit of the Heirloom salad which was beautifully stacked together. i would've preferred the balsamic vinegar to have a stronger kick. 

the guy there was so friendly, it was kinda weird. there was supposed to be $1.50 change, but i think they thought we were giving tips lol. 
four scoops: cookies and cream, burnt creme caramel, green tea, chocolate mud cake $14.50

first time at passionflower, actually first time paying for passionflower. i've had lychee rose, black sesame and another flavour free at O-week last year. people wanted something sweet, so four scoops is a lot cheaper than 1 scoop for $6. passionflower is a bit more expensive compared to other places, and i think it's ok but not creamy compared to Movenpick. i guess it really depends on personal preferences. cookies and cream tasted like Bulla's one, just not as sugary, burnt creme caramel was kinda like toffee-would've preferred it to have some crunchy bits. green tea could've been more bitter, but it was still nice. since everyone picked a flavour, i couldn't tell the person not to choose chocolate. i never get chocolate just by itself. this one was alright, again not too sweet. 

got $10 off a phone case. first time buying a phone case in aus, but when your diary gives you $10, why not use it? i think the case is really cute, but it's the most "unproductive" compared to my other cases and is the thickest. also bought branded notebooks today for uni. the designs of the covers with more pages aren't as pretty, so for the thinner notebooks, i made sure i got the Disney, since trademark/copyrighted stuff always cost a tad more.