Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years Resolutions 2012

Before you start moaning and groaning about New Year's resolutions and writing it off as stupid and something-I’m-not-gonna-stick-to-anyway-so-why-do-it, hear me out. Is it really such a bad thing to have goals for yourself? I must admit, I've almost never stuck with any of my resolutions before, and I think I know why.

I realized that my resolutions were either totally unreachable, I didn’t really want to do it, I didn’t know how to go about it, and most importantly, I wasn’t enjoying it or it didn’t make me happy. So this year, I’m doing things a little differently; I’m going to set easy, reachable and enjoyable goals and only do things that bring me happiness. The “theme” for my New Years resolutions for 2012 is: 

“Do what you love, and do it often.”

Now, that’s actually harder than it sounds. I need to figure out what I really love doing and what really makes ME happy, not what makes other people happy.

So, I’m going to do what I love, and I’ll do it more often:

  1. I love going on date nights with The Boyfriend
  2. I love burning candles in my house
  3. I love having lunch outside (open air restaurants or picnics)
  4. I love talking to my family on Skype.
  5. I love shopping and browsing.
  6. I love playing and cuddling with dogs
  7. I love watching my favorite TV shows
  8. I love traveling
  9. I love getting flowers for my house
  10. I love going out to restaurants with good friends
  11. I love reading
  12. I love buying gifts for loved ones
  13. I love going for walks in the city
  14. I love blogging
  15. I love taking photos
  16. I love being creative at work
  17. I love praying
  18. I love baking
  19. I love sending handwritten letters
  20. I love watching movies
Hopefully I managed to change your view on New Year’s resolutions. If not, well, you are lucky to be so freakin’ perfect! ;-) If so, please share your goals for 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


We are almost at the end of 2011, and I must say, I'm very excited for 2012! A fresh start; a clean slate; a new page. Anything is possible! But before I can even start to think about my goals for 2012, I want to reflect on the past year first.

2011 wasn't just a good year for Kate Middleton, I actually had a pretty amazing year myself. I didn't marry my prince yet, so her year might have been a teensy tiny bit better than mine, but I did have an exceptionally happy year.

I got to travel a lot, which I'm very thankful for. In January The Boyfriend and I went to visit my family in South Africa for two weeks. We also traveled to Thailand, the USA and Hong Kong. 

This year I've met some pretty incredible people and made wonderful new friends. I've been going strong at work and have had a very successful and fulfilling year at my job.

I finally decided to just do it and I got braces. It's been almost four months, and it's really not as bad as I'd imagined. Also, I changed my hair for the first time in almost three years. Going from blond to brunette was scary, and I've yet to decide if blondes have more fun.

In June I started blogging and have been enjoying it so much. I thought only my mom and The Boyfriend (after I force him) would read it, and have been pleasantly surprised by family, friends and strangers' encouragement and support.

Of course, everything is not always rainbows and unicorns, and we've been through some tough times as well. But I think the tough times are there to bring us closer and to make us stronger. It also makes us much more appreciative of the good times, and I've really been blessed to have many of those in 2011.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Food, gifts, friends, food, merriness… those are the words that pop up in my head when I think back over this past Christmas weekend. I ate so much that I probably won’t have to eat again until next Christmas.

Although I was feeling a bit under the weather, I still managed to make it to the two Christmas parties we were invited to. Nothing like fantastic food and even more fantastic friends to make you feel better. 

I wish I had some pictures to share, but Miss Scatterbrain forget to take her camera to the first party, and then took it to the second party and only took two photos of the turkey...

I trust that everyone had an amazing Christmas, and that you got to spend it with the people you love. Also, I hope you got some nice presents like I did!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Now let's get ready for the new year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 2 days...

Naughty or Nice?

We're almost there, Christmas freaks, only 2 days to go! Santa surprised me with early Christmas presents this morning; a sore throat and a throbbing headache, and don't forget the lovely red pimple next to my lip. Thanks a lot, Santa! Does that mean that I'm on Santa's Naughty List!? This actually got me to think about the past year, and reflect on my good and, shamefully, sometimes bad behavior.

Let's start with the bad behavior. First of all, I didn't keep any of my New Year's Resolutions, but who does? I didn't eat healthier, exercised regularly or read twenty books. Also, I went to Thailand, where the nightlife encourages bad behavior and having vodka and I-don't-know-what out of a bucket is the norm. I did learn my lesson though after having a hangover for almost three days. Anyway...
Thailand buckets
Other than that, the only other bad behavior would be my foul language when yelling obscenities to the construction site across the street. They have been working and building and drilling for almost a year, and they seem to get louder every month! I'm working myself up now, just thinking about it. (Mental note: New Year's Resolution #1 Be more patient and count to ten and #2 Buy a good pair of ear plugs.)

Let's move on to the things that should land me on Santa's Nice List. I did join a charity this year, by sponsoring Violet, a dog at Animals Taiwan, a local animal shelter and rescue here in Taipei. I send money every month and they use it to buy her food and other necessities. The money will also be used to get her a wheelchair that she needs because of her spine malformation.
Violet, from Animals Taiwan
Also, I've worked really hard at my job and gave 110%. Well, I guess that's easy to do when you love your job. But still, I'm very proud of myself for that. Let's see, what else? In general, I just try to be a good person; a good daughter, a good girlfriend, a good friend, a good co-worker, and even a good, friendly stranger.

Maybe Santa got me mixed up with someone else and somehow I landed on his Naught List, or maybe he's just getting a little more strict and is not forgiving me for the Thailand bucket incident. I guess I'll have to wait until Christmas Day to see if I'm, in fact, on his Naughty or Nice List.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 3 days...

As you probably already know, I am a lover of lists. Naturally, one of my favorite websites is This morning, I found this interesting list of 25 Things you didn’t know about Christmas. You can check out the full list here, but I listed my favorites below:

1. Mistletoe Literally meaning “dung twig”, mistletoe is named after the fact that it tends to spring out of bird droppings on trees after the seeds have passed through the bird’s digestive tract. Not only this, but it can also be very parasitic, often requiring a host tree in order to sustain itself. So, next time you kiss your significant other beneath the mistletoe, remember, you’re standing beneath a parasitic poop twig.

2. Retail Madness Everyone knows that America has the world’s leading consumer culture but even so, this little piece of Christmas trivia is borderline unbelievable. According to the statisticians, Christmas purchases account for a mind-blowing 1/6 of all annual retail sales in the United States

3. Breakup Season According to Facebook, around two weeks before Christmas is one of the most popular times of the year for couples to break up. Christmas itself, however, is one of the least likely days for a breakup. Evidently it’s a lot easier to open presents than it is to buy them.

4. The 12 Days of Christmas Next time you get a chance to listen to the 12 Days of Christmas try to count all of gifts that are exchanged. If you do it right you’ll notice that there are 364 in total, one for each day of the year. Were you to put all of these gifts under the tree it would cost you $18,348.87 according to PNC Financial Services.

5. World War II It seems like every year the holiday season gets extended and today some stores even start getting ready for Christmas before Halloween. Although much of this can be attributed to commercialization, it was during World War II that the season really got elongated when families had to send gifts to the troops early in order for them to arrive on time.

6. Rent-A-Santa Every year in the United States about 20,000 Rent-a-Santas are hired. Evidently, however, it isn’t the easiest job in the world. These Santas undergo training on how to cope with pressure from the public, how to deal with rowdy children, and even what not to eat to avoid having bad breath.

7. Rent-A-Con So, if there are 20,000 Rent-a-Santas running around putting children on their lap and handing out candy, one naturally has to wonder, how many of these guys have criminal records? According to the number is 7%.

8. Speedy Santa According to UNICEF, there are 2,106 million children under the age of 18 in the world. If you do the math it works out to about 842 million stops that Santa would have to make on Christmas Eve, meaning he would have to travel about 221 million miles total. In order to reach every stop that night he would need to go from house to house in less than 1/5,000 of a second, requiring an acceleration of 12.19 million miles per second every time.

9. The Santa Cause Every year North Pole, Alaska gets hundreds of thousands of letters from children all over the world. Volunteers from the small town of 1,600 make an effort to reply to every letter that has a return address.

10. The Statue of Liberty In 1886 the United States became the recipient of the largest Christmas present in history when France presented it with the Statue of Liberty – 225 tons and 46.5 meters high.

Christmas is only 3 days away! 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 4 days...

My first time in snow. (North Carolina, December 2009)
Gina from Anything Imaginable recently posted these 22 questions about Christmas. I've seen some other bloggers answer it, too. So here we go...

22 Questions about Christmas:

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? I'm South African, and I guess that's my excuse for not having a clue what Eggnog is. But I sure know what hot chocolate is, and I LOVE it!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa wraps most of them, but sometimes the bag or packaging is already pretty, so no wrapping would be necessary. 

3. Colored lights on tree/house, or white? I personally prefer small, white lights. They just create a more magical, Christmas feel.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. I don't even know if you can get mistletoe in Taiwan.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Some time during the first two weeks of December, when I feel overwhelmed by the Christmas spirit.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Anything my mom makes.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? My grandmother was always worried that my brothers, sister and I wouldn't get enough presents, so she wouldn't stop buying more until we each had at least twenty gifts from her.

8. When, and how, did you learn the truth about Santa? I always knew, I just humored the adults who thought they were being so clever and cute.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Since I can remember my family has always opened all gifts on Christmas Eve right after dinner. Christmas Day was just for eating, watching movies and relaxing with the fam.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I believe that less is more. This year, it took me almost an hour and a half to unfold all the branches on our new, fake Christmas tree. And then it only took about ten minutes to decorate it with some lights.

11. Snow! Love it, or dread it? Love love love it! I've only been in snow once. That was two years ago when The Boyfriend and I were with his family in North Carolina. I was the crazy girl running around in the snow by herself.

12. Can you ice skate? I don't know, I've never tried it. I can roller blade... does that count?

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I've received many memorable gifts, but I just immediately thought of the pink BMX bike, complete with a white basket on the front, that I got when I was about six or seven years old.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being able to celebrate it with the people I love.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? A South African dessert called "Malva Pudding". It's a sweet pudding served with hot custard.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Eating delicious food and exchanging gifts.

17. What tops your Christmas tree? A big, silver star.

18. Which do you prefer; giving or receiving gifts? I enjoy both. I love seeing someone opening a gift that I know they really want and I love the excitement of opening presents myself.

19. Candy canes; yuck or yum? With my braces, it would probably take me two days to eat one, but I think they're yummy.

20. Favorite Christmas show/movie? Home Alone

21. Saddest Christmas song? There are sad Christmas songs!? 

22. Favorite Christmas song? Winter Wonderland

Copy these questions and answer them on your blog if you want. Don’t forget to put the link to your post in the comments below so that I can check it out!

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 5 days...

Yesterday, I posted the 10 things I love about Christmas. Today, I want you to tell me what YOU love most about Christmas. This poll is completely anonymous, and you can choose as many as you like.

Quizzes by | SnapApp Quiz Apps

Let's continue our countdown to Christmas! 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 6 days...

Last time I was home for Christmas, Santa was feeling very generous.

Setting the table for our Christmas dinner at home in South Africa. The food choices are a little different when you celebrate Christmas in summer.
10 Things I love about Christmas:
  1. The general merriness of the masses – Not only children, but even adults just seem a lot happier around Christmas time, don’t you think?
  2. Decorations and bling – Even though I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that some stores and malls start putting up their Christmas decorations in October, I do love all the lights and shiny bling bling hanging from every surface possible.
  3. Christmas songs – I’ll admit, some Christmas songs are really corny, but I can’t help but belt out, or hum along to if I don’t know the words, these songs at random when the Christmas spirit overtakes me.
  4. Traditions – I love how each family has their special Christmas traditions.
  5. The food – When I think about Christmas at home with my family, I immediately think of all the delicious food my mom will prepare. There will usually be so much food that we can feed the entire neighborhood for a week.
  6. Christmas movies – Home Alone 1 and 2 are my favorite movies around Christmas time, I think it’s just the best Christmas movies ever.
  7. Drinking during the day – You can have a drink (or two) before noon, and no one will judge you.
  8. Giving presents – I enjoy planning on what to get everyone and to go search for the perfect gifts.
  9. Receiving presents – Nothing like ripping into a beautifully wrapped gift and finding something that you really really wanted.
  10. Togetherness – It’s hard to not be able to be with my family for Christmas this year, but I’m blessed to be able to spend it with The Boyfriend and our “Taiwan family”.
What do you love most about Christmas?

10... 9... 8... 7... 6...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 7 days...

How many times have you heard someone say: "Christmas isn't about the gifts."? Well, of course it's not ALL about the gifts, but it is a little about the gifts, right? Not only is it very excited to receive one, it feels good to give them as well.

Many people get stressed out about buying gifts this time of the year. The Boyfriend and I are definitely not those people. We basically just tell each other what we want, and that's that. I would rather someone spend their hard earned money on something they know I want, than having that awkward situation after opening an unwanted present and forcing the fake enthusiasm. 

I guess a surprise gift can also be nice, but only if you know the person really really well, and you know they'll be honest with you if they don't like it. I would only do that with my family to be honest.

Luckily I'm finished with my Christmas shopping for this year, because it can be quite tiring, even for a shopoholic like myself. Have you done all your shopping? Anyway, if you were thinking about getting me something (*wink wink), you can click here for some ideas.

One week to go until Christmas! 10... 9... 8... 7...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 8 days...

For only the fourth time in my life, I'm celebrating Christmas in winter. Growing up in the southern hemisphere, I associated Christmas time with fun in the sun, icy drinks, beach time and sunset at 8:30pm.

Only when I moved to Taiwan in 2008 did I experience my first cold Christmas. It was weird, but I also kind of liked it, because it reminded me of the movies, with people dressed really warmly in gloves, scarves and boots, and obviously the holiday songs about snow and reindeer and sleighs made a lot more sense to me.

Along with a winter Christmas, came Starbucks' holiday drinks (*mouth waters uncontrollably...) Loves it! In South Africa, we don't have Starbucks, and the very first one I ever had was a Gingerbread Latte, which was one of the two holiday drinks in Taiwan that year. Since then, this drink has remained my favorite for Christmas. (I still don't understand why they can't have them year-round?)

Unfortunately, this year, Starbucks does not offer the Gingerbread Latte, but the Toffee Nut Latte is also delicious and a close second as my favorite.  Hmm... tastes like Christmas in a cup!

Continuing the countdown to Christmas... 10... 9... 8 ...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 9 days...

I'm continuing my Countdown to Christmas with my favorite Christmas videos!

1. Phoebe's Christmas songs
If you are a FRIENDS freak like me, I'm sure you love these songs by Phoebe as well. Sorry I couldn't put the video up here, but just click on the link:

2. Schweddy Balls
This must be one of my favorite Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits of all time. Alec Baldwin, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer. I couldn't find the actual footage from that episode, only the audio. 

3. Hitler finds out Santa doesn't exist
I've probably watched this video a thousand times, and laugh every single time I see it!
What are your favorite holiday videos? Please share the links in the Comments below.
10... 9... 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Countdown to Christmas! 10 days...

Oh! Christmas tree... 

Yeah okay, I know it looks a little bare and the branches are all wrong, but it's not finished yet, okay. A much anticipated trip to IKEA is planned for the weekend, where I will get some pretty and sparkly decorations which will spice this baby right up!

The Boyfriend and I will spend our third Christmas together this year, and this one is extra special, because we have our very own tree for the first time. I originally wanted a white tree, but that got vetoed, so we opted for the classic green.

As you can probably see, our tree is as fake as Santa at the mall's jollyness. I don't think there are real Christmas trees in Taiwan, and I'm proud of being a friend of the environment. 

I'll admit, I'm one of those annoying over-excited-about-Christmas people, and that's why I will be blogging about all things Christmasy for the next ten days as we count down to Christmas Day.

So here we go! 10...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Girl gone mild!

Something really strange is happening to me. Lately, I get more excited at the prospect of going out to a nice quiet dinner than going out to drinks with friends, which is the usual Saturday night occasion. I am more energized by the thought of some afternoon shopping and a late night movie than getting dressed up for a night on the town. I’d really rather buy a new blanket or candle for our apartment than a new outfit or purse. I could be on an episode of “Girls gone Mild” for crying out loud, if something like that existed. What’s going on? What is this madness?

The Boyfriend and I have tried to solve this mystery, because at the moment, we don’t always see eye-to-eye. I am more 26 going on 40 and he is more 28 going on 22. I came to the conclusion that I have probably passed the party phase and that I’m somewhere stuck in between the dancing-on-a-table phase and the staying-home-on-a-Saturday-night-watching-Golden Girls phase.

Lately, I’m more Susie Homemaker than Susie Pour-me-another-drink. My mom would say that I’m “nesting” and she would be right. I don’t want to be considered boring or a party pooper, but I also don’t want to have to wash my hair twice the next day to get the smell of cigarettes out of it after a night in a smelly bar. 

Somehow I will have to find the inbetween, the balance; a phase that I will feel more comfortable with and that fits better with who I am now. But what phase is that?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Favorite books of 2011

For me, there's nothing quite like snuggling up with a good book under a comfy blanket, a nice scented candle burning and a cup of South African Rooibos tea. These are the books that I enjoyed the most this year:
  1. If you have to cry, go outside by Kelly Cutrone
  2. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  4. Summer in the City by Candace Bushnell
  5. The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
  6. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
  7. The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
  8. Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
  9. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
What was your favorite book(s) this year? I need some suggestions for next year! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dear Me

Dear Sixteen-year-old Liesl

This is a letter from your 26-year-old self. I know what you're thinking;  is this some kind of "Butterfly Effect" situation that's going on here? Relax, it's not. Actually, come to think of it, you will not know about this awesome movie for another few years. Never mind...

I'm not here to tell you about your future and who you're going to marry and where you're going to live and what not. Honestly, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe me! I'm just here to give you a little perspective on your life right now, which will help you a lot on your journey.

First things first; that boy you are obsessing about right now... STOP! Don't waste your time and energy on him anymore. He peaked in high school, and after ten years you will thank your lucky stars that he wasn't that into you. (Which, by the way, also turns out to be the title of a book you have to read). You are going to meet an amazing man from somewhere far away that will treat you like a princess, and make you feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

You hate Math class right now, I know, but you will get through it, and you will never have to think about it again. Ever! Always be nice and friendly to your teachers, one day you will understand why. Enjoy every day with your friends, because it's really hard to find friends like these, and unfortunately some of them wont be here forever. 

You have no idea how lucky you are to be growing up in a small town. I know it might seem boring sometimes, but you and your friends will always look back and be grateful for it. These friends you have now will feel like your family one day, so cherish them and tell them how much they mean to you.

Don't take everything too seriously, you are only in high school. This is as easy as your life is going to get. You have some spectacular adventures awaiting you, but it won't always be a walk in the park. You will see amazing places, places that you have not even heard of before, and it will change your life.

Mom is always right. Always! You might not see it now, or even like the idea, but one day you will. Follow her advice and example, and you will go far. Spend more time with Dad, he knows a lot about a lot, and it will only make you more interesting to know more.

The world will be an unbelievable place in ten years. I can't share too much with you, because learning about everything is part of the journey and the excitement of life, and also, I don't want to mess things up like Marty and Doc did in Back to the Future.

Enjoy your life, and always make sure that everyone you love, know how much you love them and appreciate them, because you never know when it will be the last time you see them.

Twenty six-year-old Liesl

P.S. Tell Mom and Dad to buy stocks in a company called Google. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Favorites 2011

Thanks to a super fun, whirlwind weekend in Hong Kong, I had a very successful shopping expedition which provided many favorites for the month of November. My favorite purchases were these black Tory Burch flats, which by the way are very pretty, but not the most comfortable shoes in the world, and the Michael Kors watch I've been obsessing about for the past couple of months.

My favorite experiences were getting to see my brother and his fiance and spending the day with them on the Diamond Princess in Hong Kong, and also my friend's birthday extravaganza which she held in a hotel room that has four jacuzzis, a swimming pool, a sauna, three big screen TV's and karaoke. 

Being a self-professed lip balm fanatic, I had to try these EOS lip balms I've been reading about a lot lately. I got the flavors Honeysuckle Honeydew and Summer Fruit. Love them both! They smell amazing, and I like the unusual sphere shape.

I was absolutely ecstatic to find a Yankee Candle store here in Taipei and got one in the scent Lavender Vanilla and have been burning it every day. Apparently they have a bunch of Christmas scented candles out, so I will have to go get a whiff of those at the store.

I'm a sucker for scarves, and although my collection is getting a little out of control, I adore this gray leopard print one I got a few weeks ago. It's pretty light, and perfect for the weather in Taiwan right now.

Last, but not least, is one of my new favorite blogs I discovered in November. Sam, a fellow South African, blogs about fashion and other girly things on Frills & Thrills

Have a wonderful December, everyone!


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