Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Chrstimas 2013 !!!

The day before Christmas, we received a Christmas card with a family newsletter from Charles’ long time friend from Oregon. I figure, it’s such a great idea to review what God has blessed us throughout the year and be thankful! 

Charles began the year of 2013 by tearing down our living room. Oh wait, I think he started it about the same time around Christmas 2012. We expected to transform it into a “warmer” space and added a little extra function as a fancy home theater. After six months of construction, Charles nailed it all by himself. We thought we were able to hold a Christmas Party this year in this brand new living room but unfortunately, the room is currently occupied as a photo studio and a storage of boxes. Why?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Travel | Return From the Land of Pretty - Part II

2013.11.25 - 2013.11.26 Nantou, Taiwan

這裡不是歐洲, 這裡是台灣南投的清境, 耗資上億台幣打造的一座歐式古堡: 老英格蘭莊園
老英格蘭莊園屬於民宿建築, 沒有電梯裝置, 總共只開放19間坪數不等的房間; 據說裡面的一磚一瓦都是不惜成本千里迢迢從國外進口而來, 是目前台灣數一數二最昂貴的民宿之一 <<官網>>


我們入住網上單價最低的牧歌四人房, 但特地選訂牧歌房型中唯一的挑高樓中樓, 無一處不是填滿歐式風格, 還可選取CD在室內播放, 古典的房間配上交響樂真的很搭! 入房的短廊設有小吧檯, 所有小冰箱內或是桌上的食物甚至酒精飲料皆不額外收費; 閣樓有個迷你交誼廳, 還可眺望隔壁的冰淇淋塔和一大片清境山巒... 

入住費用包括當日晚餐和隔日早餐, 晚餐後八時半有個專門炫耀音響的音樂會, 還提供免費酒精飲料喔, 可惜我們都不是音響迷, 還是喜歡觀賞莊園內外的陳設和景緻; 夜晚用燈點綴的老英格蘭格外美麗...

來到清境, 別忘了要去看羊羊!!

第二日終點站抵達奧萬大, 可惜楓葉還未紅, 兩老加一個大肚子對走路投降, 查理斯獨自走了兩個小時好幾里到達他心儀的大吊橋 XD 出發當天一路上還毛毛細雨, 擔心清境山上必訂濃霧滿布, 沒想到老天給了我們兩天暖暖的大晴天!! 不虛此行!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Travel | Return From the Land of Pretty - Part I

2013.11.15 - 2011.11.30 Northern Taiwan

探索不完的寶島, 要不是自己遠居國外, 可能還不會如此細細欣賞自己家鄉的甜美...

苗栗/ 嬸嬸堂姊的茶飲小站

苗栗/ 花露休閒農場

新北市/ 野柳地質公園: 小時候印象的野柳已模糊, 過去高聳的女王頭如今已被侵蝕得失去昔日的風采; 不過觀光客還是多得要排隊照相, 於是我們改跟候補女王頭合影...

台北/ 行動夢想館: 採用ASUS觸控隨身螢幕, 結合投影科技, 以夢想為主題的一項室內活動; 查理斯強烈建議 Universal Studio 該引進此項科技遊樂設施, 真的很炫~

"Honey, are you sure you know which title belongs to you? Just don't pick 洗碗人員..."

台北/ 西門町大車輪: 查理斯陪著我忍了五個月的禁食生魚片終於開戒了

台北/ 王品餐飲: 過去嘗過王品集團的西堤牛排, 陶板屋, 舒果, 這次我們還意外品嚐到火鍋連鎖 石二鍋 和燒烤連鎖 原燒; 令人印像深刻的還是他們優質的服務, 想想美國服務費就算很差都得給10%, 實在很不甘心...

回程, 我們還走了一趟歐洲...!?!?

To Be Continued…

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Two Months Later

Yep, this is the current status of our bathroom. You may not see much differences from the last update when we demolished the bathroom: 

Obviously, both floor and ceiling are gone and we’ve got a spiderman climbing in the attic!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wanna Visit a Haunted House

I got my “the other house” fixed up before Halloween! I believe this is the best current product among all kinds of houses/buildings that LEGO introduced. 

The landmark architecture is more about the appearance of the finished architecture. They are pretty cool but contain less fun elements from my point of view.
Example: Tower Bridge
A few of Creator buildings are so cute! If you’re willing to invest the collection, soon or later you’ll get a big city! I wish I could but I tried to refrain myself from breaking my bank…

The drawback is that once the building is done, it’s hard to move or change the interior design with the ceiling covers it all.

And then here comes the Monster Fighter's Haunting House. The story may not be the popular one (detail) but the house is reeeeeally awesome! Just like a dollhouse, I get to open up the whole house in half and actually move the furniture and characters around. Sweet~  
Image Via

I'm having fun :D

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pop of Wedding Memento

This wedding shadow box has been sitting in the middle of nowhere in the house for a very long time. I think I created this box of wedding memento a few months after the big day but there is just no good place to display it :(

It took four of our Taiwan photo session pictures, our wedding program (front and back) and my bouquet ribbons

I tended to display it on the built-in bookshelf that we started right after the living room reno (remember?) but the bookshelf most likely won’t be able to resume its construction until the bathroom is done… So the shadow box is currently displayed here in the family room:

I added another pop of wedding memento in the laundry nook too. Pretty purple frame with purple flower lights up this little corner :)

Moreover, I got this wedding-like birthday gift this year! It’s 100% handcrafted!! So neat and cute, isn’t it? My dearest cousin is going to make another one when Baby Chu comes in the world~

My miniature even gets a ring on the left hand!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Debt Free Kitchen

在查理斯還沒發現他自己這麼會動手改造時, 我們做了一個錯誤的決定: 在沒有完整的規畫下, 我們雇用了一個(非常之差勁的)承包商, 開始我們的債務之旅, 經過一年的償還, 今年八月底終於解脫了!!! 慶祝廚房零負擔!!!

其實雇請承包商不是件錯誤的事, 只是一個承包商的好壞得用時間和成品去證明, 所以第一次碰運氣的成分很高; 這名承包商用他的三寸不爛之舌說得我們放棄了預算下做不到的構想, 雖然重新翻修結束的滿意度有達 60%, 可是許多都是犧牲想法的妥協...

較為令人厭惡的是, 簽下合約後就再也看不見此人, 從沒見他來監工過, 需多細節還得自己提點, 材料顏色等選擇性極少, 最氣得還是諸多計較的金錢考量, 多有想法就是多砸錢... 拿了錢就拍拍屁股走人, 我們若干月後才發現市政府居然還要作最後一次的檢查, 實在很不負責!

在此次經驗後, 我們選擇自己開工, 歷時半年的家庭電影院完成, 若不計算後添傢俱, 包括影音器材總金額約為 $4K 起; 當然廚房和客廳論工時算材料當然差很多, 不能蘋果比橘子, 但能自己 DIY 完成成就感很大而且可以自行發揮, 自己開工的缺點就是工程時數有限, 開始到完工時間頗長, 但省下的可是一筆大數目! 就看看屋主本人能不能忍受長時間的施工了 

這一年來我們為廚房添加了一些 Bistro 小物件:

  • 小咖啡鐘
  • 廣告收信木夾
  • 餐桌小物

老式門鈴奇奇怪怪地裝在廚房裡, 我選用一幅小廚師, 後面釘上一條棉線, 掛上遮起來~


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Living in the House Without Bathroom

We’re not kidding. Our house is now a house with two bedrooms and zero bathroom. Let’s just keep how we solve our bathroom needs under the hat…

We hired out the demolition. Only one day of work everything was gone. I thought it would be bigger when the room is empty but it actually seemed much smaller!

We got bad luck that the demo guys accidentally cracked the shared wall of our bedroom :(
So Charles got some additional work to patch the wall.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Expanding the Chu’s Sweet Home

Every project gets so slow in August; mostly half done, unfinished, pending, to be continued...

To make Charles less stressful, I memo here in Chinese:

  • 家庭影院 BESTA 牆櫃
  • 固定拉門
  • 拉門重新噴漆
  • 廚房窗簾
  • 客廳書櫃
  • 客廳油漆
  • 床頭板上色
  • 浴室...

Everything gets a little slower than we expected because we’re expanding the Chu’s Sweet Home in different way. 

Guess what?!?!

We kept it to ourselves for a while only because we wanted to wait for the bump to make this photo project! XD

Yes, and we’re THRILLED!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Travel | If You’re Going To San Francisco

2013.08.09 - 2013.08.11 Big Sur + San Francisco, California, United States

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to drop by Big Sur to see the scenic sites (for those of who come from Southern California)

因為計畫了改造廁所的念頭, 本打算 Labor Day 長周末驅車前往 San Francisco 的小旅行無預警地在上個周末出發了!! 我們在 Big Sur 紮營露宿一宿, 再前往 San Francisco; 值得一提的是今年一月為了大溪地蜜月購買的 Intercontinental  Ambassador membership 第三度發揮功能, 我們在紐約之旅所累積的點數足以讓我們在舊金山郊區的 Holiday Inn 免費入住一晚!! 實在是物超所值!

Big Sur 距離 Santa Barbara 莫約四個多小時, 是一大片美麗的海岸自然風光; 我們紮營的 Limekiln, 即在沙灘旁, 背後又是一片綠油油的森林
第一站: 從營區步行至 Limekiln Waterfall Trail 僅短短20分鐘, 一路都沉浸在森林浴中 (左一圖)

第二站: 驅車前往著名的 McWay Waterfall, 這座瀑布原本直接注入太平洋, 將近三十年前的一場山崩滑坡, 滑出了一片沙灘, 使得瀑布直落落打在沙灘上 (右圖一)

第三站: Point Lobos State Reserve; 基本上是一座很大的自然園區, 可觀看海豹水瀨等動物, 天氣好又幸運的話還有可能看到鯨魚, 另外還劃分出執照潛水區

午餐停留山腰上的 Nepenthe 餐廳, 擁有絕佳山海景色, 既使當日天候不佳, 依然可以看到茂密的山林和霧中若隱若現的大海 :) (右圖二)

第四站: Pfeiffer Beach: 從山路彎進一條隱蔽小路抵達的海灘, 查理斯對其紫色沙灘十分有興趣, 雖然在我看來只是顏色比較深一點的沙... (左圖二)

第五站: 17-Mile Drive; 基本上是一塊 Pebble Beach 特別規劃的巨大社區, 與其說是進去看風景還不如說是去看豪宅, 社區設有21處迷你景點還有一片又一片的高爾夫球場; 最著名的是 Lone Cypress (左圖三), 獨立在一座海中石上歷經風吹雨打了250年仍屹立不搖; 一片空曠的綠地依著海岸, 美麗歸美麗但這裡可是屬於海嘯警戒區, 真的發生的時候我想跑也跑不掉....

For those who come to San Francisco. Be sure to wear some winter clothes even in summer...
明明正夏八月, 卻冷的連冬衣都帶上了....

果然還是喜歡大自然, 舊金山, 大約就是這樣了... 

查理斯說起來還是個舊金山人, 是他出生長大的地方, 開著車帶我去看他小時候長大的家, 還有他的高中, 小時候大大寬寬的馬路街坊, 如今看來都狹窄了許多...
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