Recently, I developed a newfound love for flowers and been posting a lot of 'flower-themed' pictures on instagram since. I guess the timing is right because it's the spring season (duh!). But those who have known me forever know that I'm more of a chocolate kinda girl. Because of that, I never received flowers ever in my life up until recently. Yeap, sad truth.  

I consider myself a 'flower-newbie' because I still don't know much about them. This week I found out there are different species of roses and I just figured out the name of one of my favourite flowers: Ranunculus (That's how bad I am).  My mother-in-law gave me some tips on how to give flowers a longer vase life because she's quite an expert in this area. Based on what I learned, these are the basic 101 on what I do whenever I receive/buy fresh cut flowers. I hope this is helpful for fellow newbies out there. 

1. Arrange your flowers in a vase filled with lukewarm water (not hot/cold) immediately after you get your fresh cut flowers. 
2. Best to trim the ends of the stems at a 45 degrees angle before you put them in the vase. If I'm not mistaken, it's easier for the flowers to absorb water when cut at a certain angle.
3. Make sure all the leaves and branches stand above the water line. Excess leaves below the water line will encourage the growth of bacteria. 
4. Change your water as often as you can because you don't want bacteria to be seating inside the water and "eat" your flowers. Some flowers drink up more water so I usually check the water level every morning. I like to change it every one or two days. 
5. Trim the ends of the stems every day or every time you change your water to keep it fresh. Again, cut it at the same angle. 
6. Cut any part that looks wilted to keep the flowers looking fresh. If the whole flower looks dead, best to toss it in a compost bin.

Ready to re-arrange my flowers and change the water

I bought a bouquet of mixed peonies with poppies at the Farmers' market. After only two days, I had to throw a few of them away. Pretty sure they weren't that fresh when I bought them :(


Cloudy day at Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge, Washington 98045, USA
Rattlesnake Ledge was our first official hike together in Washington. Although both of us are not gym junkies, we do try to do activities together on a regular basis. We went running together (I must admit it's my least favourite exercise), we tried cycling, we do at-home-workout and since summer is approaching, we are planning to hike around Washington. 

I've been to a few hikes in Malaysia but those are nothing compared to the hikes here. The trails are much more challenging and you get to see more here. We chose Rattlesnake Ledge because it's a fairly easy trail and also amongst the famous short hike not so far from where we live. 

We drove about 45 mins to North Bend where the trail is and hiked up the foggy/misty trail. It wasn't a good day so we really couldn't see much once we reached the top of Rattlesnake Ledge. We were literally in the clouds. 

I saw some really nice pictures of the peak when the skies are clear and they look amazing. If I had known better, I would've chosen to go on a sunny day. But despite the weather, it was still a pretty good first hike (for me) and good experience for both of us.


Deception Pass on Mothers' day

Deception Pass, Washington 98277, USA
Two weekends ago on mothers' day, we decided to take a day trip to Deception Pass. We drove up from Seattle to Mukilteo ferry terminal and took a 20 minutes ferry to Whidbey Island where we had our quick lunch. I remember getting to Deception Pass was quite a journey but it was a perfect day trip. I am a nature person so it was worth the trip for me. 

Some short history via Wiki: Deception Pass is strait located in the northern part of Puget Sound, connecting Strait of Juan de Fuca and Skagit Bay. A pair of bridges known collectively as Deception Pass Bridge cross Deception Pass, and the bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places.


Peony season is here

I couldn't get peonies during our wedding last August so having the flowers in our bedroom now makes me happy. This flower arrangement adds a pop of colour in our room and I love seeing the flowers bloom from day to day.


the getaway in Dubai

Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai was a stop over during our last trip to the U.S via Emirates. My best friend is a staff so she was kind enough to give us a good deal using her employee benefits. To be honest, if it wasn't for her we wouldn't be thinking about stopping by for a few nights (not this soon at least) or consider flying with Emirates because it is not the cheapest flight you can get. But since it's my husband's dream to visit Dubai, we decided to give it a go.

At the time, it was a perfect time to go because we needed a breather after the last busy weeks we had. The trip was a good pause for both of us before we arrive in the U.S. It felt like a real getaway for three days. The flight to Dubai from Kuala Lumpur took us about 7 hours. It was a tiring journey but flying with Emirates was a pleasant experience.

Exploring Dubai made me realize how similar it is to Singapore. These two cities are known to be very developed and both the governments have that same vision to make their city as a tourist spot and a business hub for its respective region.

I must say that Dubai is the richest place I've been to even though it's the only part of the middle east that I've visited. It feels like a kingdom. The new Dubai (as how they like to call it) is very different from the old Dubai but the best thing is that the old Dubai remains untouched to preserve its history. This is probably one of the reasons why Dubai is listed as one of the best places for tourists. It's not just the cosmetic; how the city is designed to look pretty and classy for tourists and residents, it also protects the authenticity of what Dubai once was. And with everything that is going on in Dubai, I believe will create more job opportunities for individuals and business.

Some guide based on our stay:
Hotel: Hyatt Place (Al Rigga) - We purposely chose a hotel that is near the airport and easy to get to. This hotel is only 5 minutes walk from the Al Rigga train station and it is one stop away from the Old City which is very near the traditional souks and Dubai museum.

What to do:
1. You haven't really been to Dubai if you did not visit Burj Khalifa. Seeing the tallest building in the world makes me wonder; how can anything else be taller than that? It's magnificent. You can also buy ticket to go up to the deck to see the view of the city. It's not cheap but watching the view from above was well worth the money.
2. Walk along Jumeirah beach to get a better view of Burj Al-Arab. In case you didn't know yet, it is known as the world's 7 star luxurious hotel and stands amongst the world's tallest hotels.
3. Desert Safari. There are a lot of desert activities line up in Dubai but be sure to book one from reputable companies. Some companies can offer you a good price but with terrible service so it might leave you feeling unsatisfied.
4. Dubai museum is great place to visit to learn about the history of Dubai.
5. Spice and gold souk offer loads of goodies. Located in the middle of the old city and near the creek.
6. The Palm island is a beautifully done man-made island and this feature is one of the best attractions in Dubai.

You must see Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab with your own eyes! 

That's the priceless view from 124th floor of Burj Khalifa

We walked around Jumeira beach and saw this mosque. We like the intricacy of the design. 

This henna tattoo was 'supposed' to be complimentary when you book a desert safari tour. Of course it's complimentary when it's tiny. Lesson: when they ask "how big do want?", you ask them "how much?". Well lesson learned. 

You get entertained by belly dancers trying to balance a cane on her torso

Walking around a rather quiet Bastakiya quarter. We also spotted this man serving tea with style when we visited the Global Village. I believe this is adopted from a Turkish culture. 

The spice souk is a nice place to walk around too. You can find all kinds of spices, tea, scarfs and souvenirs.