Friday, July 29, 2016

Photo of the Day: Seattle Cityscape Skyline

A beautiful view of Seattle, Washington (Eastlake) and the surrounding waters of Lake Union.

My Flickr Album
500px Gallery
My Facebook Page
National Geographic

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

WONDER WOMAN Comic-Con Trailer

Watch the official Comic-Con trailer below for the Wonder Woman film, starring Gal Gadot. From Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment comes the epic action adventure starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright releasing in theaters June 2, 2017.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to Make Mochi - Japanese Rice Cake Dessert {Recipe}

When I heard that we can make homemade Mocchi (Japanese Rice Cake) or Japanese Mooncakes, I took the opportunity to attend another workshop that was funded by the Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants with a few parents/moms I've met in the community.

This was so easy to make with simple ingredients. All it is the preparation time that takes a while. If you're not familiar what this dessert is, it's a glutinous rice ball with sweet filling in the center. You can use moulds to make cute shapes or just roll into a ball. Here is the recipe below on how to make Mochi (Japanese Rice Cake). This yields about a few dozen pieces.


50g rice flour
50g glutinous rice flour
30g wheat flour
50g sugar
230mL Milk (3.25%mf homo milk)


Mix the dry ingredients (rice flour, glutinous rice flour, wheat flour, and sugar in a large silver bowl. Then add milk and stir until smooth.

Cook the flour mixture in a double boiler or in a large pot of boiling water. Stirring occasionally. There will be clumps so keep stirring until the mixture becomes a thick paste. The clumps are the parts that are cooked.

Once fully cooked, remove from double boiler and set the bowl in cold water to let cool down. Stir until it is even.


Any type of sweet, starchy filling can be used. We used sweet potatoes, red bean paste, and black sesame paste. With the black sesame powder package (pictured below), we mixed some oil and sugar to create a paste. Other fillings you can also be yams, purple yams, sweetened taro, etc.

Mash sweet potatoes with potato masher to form a paste.

Then scoop a small amount and make into approximately 2-3cm balls. I recommend wearing plastic gloves or put vegetable oil on your hands first because it will get really sticky and messy.

Once the paste/dough is cooled, scoop about a golf ball sized amount, roll into a ball and flatten with fingers.

After flattening the dough, place the filling in center and seal it, making sure there are no holes or leakage. Then roll the ball in flour to prevent it from sticking. Slightly panfry the flour first.

Then place into the mould and press into shapes. When done, it is ready to be served.

We used these cute moulds to make the cute designs and shapes:


Giveaway: Enter to win a $175 Amazon Gift Card

Dropprice $175 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Dropprice is an innovative startup that rewards moms for being social. Essentially, they empower moms to drop prices of kids & baby products with a click. The price continues dropping as more moms click “Drop the price”. Every week new promotions are launched and moms drop prices by sharing them on social media. See the chart below to understand the power moms have and how important it is to share with other moms.

Dropprice $175 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

In today’s promotion for the Beatrix Kid Backpack, it started out at $52.00 and for each mom that clicks, the price drops a bit. The price will continue to drop for each mom that participates.

Dropprice $175 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

You can choose to share on social media to get more moms to click “Drop the price”, or you can “Buy Now” at the current price. Keep in mind that when the price gets low, they usually sell out and you will no longer have the chance to buy that item. As an added bonus every item on Dropprice ships for free!

Do you want to give it a try? This is such a fun and exciting way for moms to save lots of money by collaborating with each other. If you would like to have a chance to win a $175 Amazon gift card, you can experience dropping the price by following the instructions below.

Giveaway: Win a $175 Amazon Gift Card

All you have to do is help moms drop the price of this Backpack and you will be entered to win a $175 Amazon gift card. Just click “Drop the price” on the entry form below for a chance to win. For even more entries, share it on your social media networks via the entry form — every time one of your friends also clicks to drop the price, you’ll automatically receive additional giveaway entries!

This giveaway ends on 8/6/2016; you must be a US Resident and be 18 years or older to enter. Winners are randomly selected and contacted via email; the winners will be listed at the top of the entry form when the giveaway ends.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Photographing Tourist: A Storyteller’s Guide to Travel and Photography By David Noyes

It is award season in the independent book publishing business and first-time author and publisher David Noyes has been collecting high praise for, The Photographing Tourist: A Storyteller’s Guide to Travel and Photography (November 3, 2015). The growth of small publishing houses and self publishing has provided authors an opportunity to get their books published like never before, and with the fall and Christmas book season just around the corner, independent book awards are one way for new talent to be discovered.

APEX Awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. APEX Grand Awards honor the outstanding achievement in publication excellence and have awarded The Photographing Tourist with a Grand APEX Award for Print Media in 2016. “A massive and spectacular tour de force. Stunning photography -- coffee table book-style -- which is at once tutorial and fascinating travel journal through many lands, peoples and continents,” wrote the APEX judges. “If this doesn’t get you down to the passport office, nothing will!”

Awards for The Photographing Tourist include:
► 2016 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence

Grand APEX Award in Print Media 2016
Foreword Reviews' IndieFab Book of the Year Award
► Bronze: Photography

Finalist: Travel
Next Generation Indie Book Awards:
► First Place Grand Prize Winner for non-fiction
► Gold: Coffee Table Book/Photography
► Gold: Travel/Travel Guide
► Gold: Best Overall Design Non-Fiction

Independent Book Publishers Association —Benjamin Franklin Awards:
► Silver: Interior Design
► Silver: The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Nonfiction)

Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY)
► Bronze: Travel Essay

North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA)
► Gold: Travel Book

Beautifully illustrated with more than 300 photographs from around the world, and featuring twelve magazine-style travel narratives, THE PHOTOGRAPHING TOURIST takes you on a journey to remote corners of our fascinating world. Through a blend of tips, techniques, advice, anecdotes, and stories, Noyes will help you develop the well-trained eye of a travel photographer and inspire you to explore new places and cultures in more depth than a simple snapshot can reveal.

THE PHOTOGRAPHING TOURIST explores the photographic challenges of traveling on a guided or escorted tour—the “tour” in tourist. For a photographer, traveling as a tourist presents many challenges, the most significant is the constraint of an itinerary. “Meet back on the bus in 30 minutes” are dreaded words if you hope to create beautiful photography in an unfamiliar place. That doesn’t mean that you can’t produce great photography on a tour; it just means you need to appreciate your travel experience and make the most of the thirty minutes, hour, or two hours you have before moving on to the next location.

Filled with Noyes’ stories about isolated cultures, exploring local life, and challenging personal adventures, this storytellers guide to travel and photography reads like an eight-month collection of your favorite travel magazine. From environmental portraits and local lifestyles, to landmarks and sacred places, the chapters explore different photographic subjects that a tourist photographer will encounter. Sprinkled throughout the book are also technical shorts with valuable information on elements of design, composition, depth of filed, exposure, using lines, and developing a point of view.

The Photographing Tourist was written to be a timeless book that is as much about the experience of traveling as a photographer, as it is the techniques of travel photography. You will learn to think differently about travel and photography and to investigate a destination as part of the human condition. Above all, this book will encourage you to truly cherish your chance encounters as you photograph the world.


As a travel writer and photographer, David Noyes has been fortunate to visit some of the world’s great places and has been touched by both the beauty and tragedy of the human condition. He has received numerous awards for his photography and travel writing including the North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA) Travel Photographer of the Year, three consecutive years, and two prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards for excellence in travel journalism.

A graduate of R.I.T. and Harvard University, David started his career as a corporate and advertising photographer. He was also the founding publisher and editor of two award-winning lifestyle and travel magazines, including AAA Western and Central New York’s membership magazine. In 2013, David launched Innocent Eyes Project, Inc., a United States-based nonprofit corporation that supports child education programs in the developing world. He lives in Buffalo, New York.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

How to Make Asian Dumplings {Recipe}

I love eating dumplings, whether it is steamed, boiled, fried, or pan-fried. I've always wanted to learn how to make them from scratch at home. I had the chance to attend a workshop this past week that was funded by the Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants. We worked together as a community and it was all our teamwork that everything went smoothly.

There was no actual recipe, but most of the ingredients were just an estimate. For the dough (the wrap for the dumplings), all we need were just all-purpose flour and water (and little bit of salt if desired). Mix the flour and water, knead it into a dough and let sit and covered for about an hour or so. It's almost like making a pizza dough.

For the filling, you can use pretty much anything. We used ground pork (and/or ground chicken), scrambled eggs with chopped up chives, shrimp, zucchini, ginger, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Any combination of the mixture can be created. What they didn't have that could be included are frozen peas & corn. I've seen those as part of the filling from store-bought dumplings.

After the dough was ready, we set the table with foil sheets and sprinkle the surface with flour. Knead the dough again with flour to make sure it's not too sticky.

- take a handful/ball and roll it into a long shape
- then cut it in small pucks (about an inch thick and and inch diameter)
- press it flat with the palm of your hand and roll it into a very thin circular wrap

Add a bit of filling, fold the wrap, and pinch the outside to seal it. I think the sealing part was difficult for me. I wasn't sure how to make it look fancy, but more practice the better you get.

While some of the participants make the wraps, put in fillings, the other team take the batch and boil it in a large pot. Then we all had a chance to eat it. The whole process took a while to prepare (took longer than we thought). It was a fun learning hands-on experience. Would I make it myself at home, I ask? I'm not sure, but may I would try one day with a small amount.

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