Friday, July 17, 2015

Old Luxu

Being back in Canada is nice. It's our normal and yet, there are so many times when we say "In China we'd do it like this...." and it makes us feel a little home-sick... 
So tonight I was flipping through a couple of shots of Old Luxu (Looshoo... Our town, like many in the west, has an old section and a new section) and I thought they'd be fun to share... 

So you know candy-apples, right? Well these are candy-hawthorn berries! They are very, very tart, and have seeds similar to apple seeds, but paired with the sweet candy coating they're delicious! And cheap too!! ($0.40 a stick) 

Cotton candy is the same as home... 

But again, SO CHEAP! $1 for this huge serving. 

Chemical dogs  I mean, hot dogs, but it's best for your system to take a pass... 

Potty-training, Chinese style! They literally encourage their children to "go" (number 1 or 2!!!!) anywhere they want so you really have to watch where you step on the sidewalks... 

But never fear!! The trusty street cleaners with their custom brooms (made from weeds) will come by and clean it up eventually!! 

I don't miss this.. I noticed how driving in China affected me when I came back here and drove through an intersection.. In a China it's just pure paranoia 100% of the time - especially in intersections, and not a trip on the scooter goes by without someone cutting us off or not stopping at a stop sign, or swerving into on-coming traffic (and directly towards us) and its affected how I drive! 

For now, we are enjoying all of our favorite foods, driving in safe conditions, and spending time with family and friends. 
Bye for now! 

Friday, June 12, 2015


I wasn't prepared for the "scooter culture" that dominates most of Asia, but seeing as how inexpensive they are (I got mine for about $400 brand new) it's no wonder it's the primary mode of transportation in small towns. This is our local grocery store on an average (not busy) night: 

This lot gets so busy that there are sometimes 5 rows of scooters! I'll try and catch a picture next time if there's good light! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Packing For Our Return

So to continue my saga about living in China and all of the ups and downs, here is what's in my "buy in Canada and bring back to China" list: 
1. Popcorn. They don't know what real, salt and delicious butter popcorn is here. It's a travesty. 
2. Winter clothes. REAL winter clothes. Who knew it would get so &@"&-ing cold here?!?!?
3. HOT weather clothes. Because you need about 3 outfits a day with the humidity here. 
4. Hair products. They don't have these here either so I pay through the nose to get them via Hong Kong... 
5. Shoes!!!! Size 11 female shoes!!! I totally misjudged my shoe needs! 
6. Gluten-free stuff. 
7. Makeup. All "western" brands are at least double the price. Eg. Maybelline mascara: $30 and up!!! Now imagine what L'ancome costs!! 
8. My bath robe. My plus-sized bath robe that fits me perfectly!!! They don't use bath towels to dry off, they have little hand-towels and just use that!!!! Ian and Phoenix bought me a towel for Mother's Day and I'm embarrassed to tell you how much it was... ($30)

(¥100 = $20)

Of course I have a whole bunch of cardmaking supplies I need to bring (my Christmas stamps were mistakenly put in storage!!) and some other odds and ends... Shipping is just way too much and it takes too long, so these trips home are kind of a shopping expedition too!! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jewelry Galore!

Before coming to Shanghai one thing I was really excited about was jewelry! It seemed every necklace I picked out at home said Made In China so I was like, WAHOO!!  Bring on the deals!!! I didn't find the deals.. Fake markets had tones of the stuff but it was all over-priced and you had to haggle for everything.  No thanks. 

Enter Taobao. 
Actually enter Taobao iPhone app... 

If you search something it remembers. (Enter spooky music)
So I search pens, next thing I know 50 different listings for pens pop up. 
Necklace? .... Jackpot! 

Seriously amazing deals... Check it out: 

As my brother says, "GUESS HOW MUCH?!?!" 

None of these pieces cost more than $4, and one necklace even cost $0.80!! lol
See anything you like? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Long Time No See!

I will admit to feeling guilty for not posting an update for many months but the truth is our lives haven't been that exciting! Everything that used to surprise us no longer does, and our day-to-day lives are much like they were at home: wake up, school, after-school activities, dinner, bed, and repeat! 
One thing that has livened up my life is the addition of musical theatre to my schedule and being able to sing and play music with kids again is so much fun. Chinese kids bring special challenges to a theatre production, but they are all giving their best and it's going to be a great show.. 

So we haven't been to Shanghai for a while (saving up for summer) but we have a week off so Phoenix and I headed for the fake market today to pick up some goodies... Here's what we found:

Phoenix needed a pair or two of shorts and we found these at a sports store. They're golf shorts so they have a lot of stretch which will hopefully survive all of the sports he's in.. 

Which brings me to the purchase that accompanied the shorts. Do you know what this is? We are in China so I shouldn't be surprised, but Phoenix has turned into a badminton addict.. I got him a good racket from Taobao (search Taobao on Google and look around.. You can buy everything on there from milk to shoes to makeup to scooters... Cheap!) so this is a racket bag.. It's holding three rackets, birdies, and extra grips. 
So the shorts, bag and thing of birdies for $60. 

Then I visited my makeup lady. I got this set of MAC brushes and case because some of my brushes are getting old and damaged. 
There are a couple of brushes in this set that I already own, so some people at home are going to get a present *wink wink*

Too Faced - eyeshadow primer
Dior Addict lipstick
Dior Eyeshadow palette
Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliners in brown and black
MAC lip pencil 

All makeup stuff for $80

And finally, Phoenix and I both got new pairs of Rayban prescription glasses.. 
$40 each! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fake Finds: November and Baby Bandit

It's been a while, eh? You know what that means, right???!!! We've been so busy doing incredibly exiting and amazing things and experiencing life and trying to soak it all in that I haven't had time to write a blog post. 

Or, it's what's actually happened: life. I got sick (pneumonia) and that lasted a good 3 weeks, our school underwent an inspection from the BC government (it happens every year so we can keep our diploma-giving status) and I was up to my eyeballs with boring paperwork, and we've just been busy with work. We haven't traveled anywhere exotic yet or gone to other cities in China because, well... 

Here's one reason: 

Baby Bandit. 

If you didn't read about him on Facebook, here's the story: 
Phoenix and I went for our traditional weekend scooter-ride and 
we passed a gigantic lumberyard right next to our school. 
As we drove through the wooden city this literal pack of dogs started emerging
from between the piles of wood and baby Bandit came running up to us. 

It's like a love story. Except doggy-style. 
I know how that sounds and I don't care. 

Anyway... We drove home, told Ian about this adorable puppy that
practically begged us to take him (as well as the Chinese workers who
shoved him into my arms and motioned for us to take him) and Ian was
intrigued. So intrigued that the next morning Ian drove there, picked up baby Bandit
and brought him home. 

So now we have two dogs in our tiny apartment but it's fine... It just means that traveling
will be a little bit more of an obstacle, but it's a small price to pay for the tiny
life we saved. He really is a sweet doggy too! 

So that's why we haven't gone away for weekend excursions, but we 
have gone into Shanghai a few more times and picked up a bunch of fake goodies... 

Here are some highlights: 

Rolex watch - $45
Rolex inner-workings and mechanisms.. Crystal face. It's a dream.

Living in China you can't ignore the pearls everywhere.. 
They're addictive! I got these 2/$45

Lots of different colours and shapes.. 

I fell in love with the design and bought a light necklace too!

So practical stuff... Socks. They have tonnes of them, and cheap of course!
$2.50/pair (BIG size for my BIG feet!)

I didn't bring dress shoes. So I picked some up 
for $25... Leather, kitten heel. Fit my huge feet! 

I have tried to find blue hair dye to colour my own hair, but nothing.. 
I bought some bright blue hair extensions... $2 for both. 

So something I've been unhappy with is the whole nail situation. 
I am used to getting really great nails in Canada and just haven't found the same
quality over here. So, I decided to pick up my own materials for doing my own nails 
from my makeup girl. (She's calls me her very best friend, hahaha)

UV Lamp $25
Gel Nail Polish $6 each

She gave me this stuff for free too: 
(Eyeshadow Primer and black eyeliner)

Do you want to see my first set of gel nails??? 

Not perfect, but a great start!! I am so glad I did this... This is 
going to save me lots of $$$ in the long-run trying to find someone
to do my nails! 
(I get gel nails because my nails are thin, and crack and bend 
hideously if I don't do something with them)

So how's that for a month of news? I will try not to go so long next time okay?! 
Talk soon!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fake Finds

I was thinking of doing a little feature every time we go to the "fake markets" to show you what we got! There are a lot of these fake markets, as I've said before, and some of them are better than others. Yesterday we went to "The Pearl Market" where they sell REAL pearls, they just may not be the best shape or colour, or some of them have a blemish... 

For example: 

This is a long string of grey pearls (opera length). They are freshwater pearls and most of them have a round-ish shape - this kind of pearl is referred to as "Baroque."

In Canada you would/could pay upwards of $100, and as my brother would say: guess how much?? 
$20. The girl who sold me them started out higher, of course, but I think I got an OK price. 

We left the pearl market with nothing except pearls (they had other fake stuff, but it wasn't good quality.. For Ex. their "Prada" bags said "Prdpr" and I was like, ya no... SO ONWARD! 

I went to this makeup booth where the lady said she'd try to score me some blue hair dye, but she couldn't find any. "More time" she said... So I bought a couple of things while there. 

So these eye-shadow palettes are some of the most recognizable makeup products on the planet, and they're pretty expensive, so of course China makes fakes. The interesting thing about this particular fake is that Urban Decay is made in China, so this fake is pretty damn close. I've watched some "spot a fake" videos about these and with my palette there's only one thing out of place.. The colours are all like the original and have good pigment loads, so I'm thrilled!!
Canadian price = $72 MY price, $0 (I'll tell you why in a sec...)

These sponges are crazy expensive...$20 at M.A.C. and at least that at Sephora. 
MY price $0 (I'll tell you why in a sec.)

If this one is a fake it is an IMPECCABLE fake and I am fine with it... It's the GHD Professional Straightener and I took a look at it last week and did my research this week. I watched all of the videos, found out how to check the serial numbers and it all checked out... So yay! I tried it on my hair in the booth and it definitely got to the temperature needed to straighten my thick hair, and it heated up in 60 seconds... SCORE! So my "friend" started out by asking around $140 (plus $30 for the eyeshadow and $8 for the sponge for a total of 950 Kuai or about $175) and then I said that is WAY too much and Ian came and said we don't have that kind of money etc etc... I said all I had to spend that day was 500 Kuai ($90) and that was it.. Ian and I started talking (kind of putting on a show) about how we needed to get home still with the taxi and the bus etc etc, so $500 was my max. I am still trying getting my feet wet as far as bargaining (I mean, I've offered some stupidly low prices and the people laughed us out of the booth - so they too have their bottom lines, lol!!) but I have been told to have a price in mind and don't go above it, and I wanted/needed that flat iron and I wanted to pay no more than $90.. 

Well I got all three for $90 and I was happy. She's still going to look for blue hair dye for me and I'll probably go back to her booth for more makeup so I left with our friendship intact.