Pineapple Buns, Egg Tarts and Sausage Rolls!

For Christmas, Kim got Seth and I a baking class to make pineapple buns, egg tarts and sausage rolls! We just went today and had a great time.

The class was at The Mixing Bowl in Sheung Wan.  We had 8 people total in our class with one main instructor, Victor, and one more employee to help set up our materials and things. Victor was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. We learned some techniques on how to properly knead dough and shape it into some nice balls for our bread.

One thing that I didn’t like about the class is that they measured all the ingredients for you in order to save time. He did tell us the ingredients for each recipe and said that we will get the recipes in an e-mail which is good. Everything turned out delicious although they baked the egg tarts a bit too long. We even had a little break in the middle where we had some scones and tea!

Wedding Ring Shopping

Wedding ring shopping is fun but exhausting.  We went to many big jewelry chains in Hong Kong like Chow Tai Fook, Luk Fook, Chow Sang Sang as well independent stores that make custom made jewelry. I had no idea in terms of what I wanted since I don’t really wear rings and don’t know my size so it was nice going into stores and trying out different kinds of rings. Once I found out what kind of style I was looking for, I looked at some online stores like BrilliantEarth.com, BlueNile.com and JamesAllen.com to compare the prices and found that online stores have a lot more options on the different styles of bands and they tend to be a bit cheaper. I found a ring that I loved on James Allen’s site so I wanted to see if they had similar styles in the local stores but they didn’t; many independent stores said that they could make it but it would cost more than what it is on James Allen’s site. Also, many stores didn’t have rose gold since it’s not so popular here. So, it made sense for me to buy it online!

After a lot of research, I’ve found that James Allen was the best option for me. One reason was that their diamonds are conflict-free diamonds. Many of the diamonds in the big chain companies in HK come from De Beers and they are proud because it’s a well-known company. I guess they never heard of the monoploid practices of De Beers and its history of blood diamonds. Another reason why I chose James Allen is that you can really zoom in to see all the inclusions of the diamonds and the diamonds are all GIA certified. After researching the ideal proportions of diamonds as well as the 4 C’s – color, clarity, cut and carat – I was able to use the filter feature and find the perfect diamond. I also found out that since I bought a rose gold band, the color of the band will reflect a bit in the diamond. That means that I was able to save some money by not purchasing a colorless diamond. Other advantages of this site is that they offer free international shipping, have a 30 day refund policy, and have 24-hour online customer service.

So a month after I ordered it, it finally arrived yesterday! I think the ring looks a lot better in person than the picture they have on their website. The website has this 360 view which makes the ring look a bit stretched out. Overall, I had a good experience with James Allen and would recommend it to others! Well, here it is!

Well, here it is!

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It came in this nice box.

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There is a bottom compartment that holds the appraisal, receipt, GIA certificate and a cleaning cloth.

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My ring!

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I guess when I really zoom in, the diamond looks dark but it doesn’t look like that in person!

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I’m very happy with this ring. Thanks Seth!

 

Here are some things that I have learned from ring shopping in Hong Kong:

  • the prices on the rings are not the actual prices (they will give you a “good” price)
  • the salesperson will expect you to buy it if you like it
  • don’t shop in busy tourist areas (aka TST) but instead, go to stores in the New Territories
  • many places do not resize silver rings
  • one place that do resize silver rings is Power Jewellery Company (19A Hankow Road, G/F., Han Yee Mansion, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong) and they did it for a reasonable price

 

 

Engagement

As most of you all know, Seth proposed in Prague on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2015 on the St. Charles bridge!

Before going on the trip, I had a feeling that he was going to propose since we’ve talked about marriage for a while. When planning our trip to Dubai, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, Seth kept telling me how we need to go on the St. Charles bridge in Prague for some sunrise pictures because it looked amazing. He kept sending me pictures of it and repeating that we had to catch the sunrise or at least sunset there. The day before leaving for our trip, he was debating on whether or not to bring the tripod, which was unlike him (well, he did buy that tripod for our Iceland trip), but he decided not to.

So when we arrived in Prague to check into our hotel, the woman said that we got the best room in the hotel! I haven’t seen the other rooms but ours was really nice. There were basically four rooms – a bedroom, living room, an extra room with a desk, armoire, vanity table, and a bathroom. Inside the bathroom, we had a jacuzzi and two separate sinks. I thought maybe this hotel has something to do with him proposing but he swears that he didn’t pay anything extra for this room; it was just a standard room. That night, we basically just walked around the downtown area for a bit and at a pub. We were exhausted afterwards because we were still not used to the time difference (7 hour difference) so we went to bed early.

Because we were still jet lagged, we woke up around 5am the next day and headed out for the St. Charles bridge to see the sunrise. It was a great time to see the bridge since there were hardly anyone there except photographers. We went the previous night and it was packed with people. We were taking some photos and then Seth asked a stranger to help take a picture of us. That was when he got down on one knee and proposed! The photographer wasn’t expecting it but was a good sport in helping us capture the moment.

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It was a perfect day and he was right, the sunrise on the bridge was beautiful!

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That’s a bit weird to zoom in so much on my finger….but here’s the engagement ring he got me! It’s a traditional Irish ring called claddagh and it fitting since he has some Irish background in him. It represents love, loyalty and friendship. The hands holding the heart represents friendship, the heart represents love and the crown represents loyalty.

Seth has a great memory on how I talked about how I think it’s crazy that some people spend so much money on a ring and aren’t 100% sure that their partner is going to like it so he got me the claddagh ring as a temporary ring. It was very thoughtful of him and we were able to choose wedding rings together!

How to Apply for a China visa in Hong Kong

I hope that this post will help you to obtain your China visa in Hong Kong fast and without any problems.

For US citizens, we can apply for a 10-year China visa in Hong Kong. This is for citizens who previously had applied for a China visa in the past but for my boyfriend who have never been to China, he was still granted the 10-year visa. I’m not sure for non-US citizens, but I assume the process will be pretty similar.

The lines are long so make sure you have the following things before you head to the China Resource Building in Wanchai:

  • A filled out application form (Visa Application Form of the People’s Republic of China Form V. 2013). On page 2, 2.2 Intended number of entries, check Other (Please specify) and write 10 years (US citizens only)
  • One copy of a visa photo (same as a passport photo)
  • A copy of your passport and your Hong Kong visa (either travel visa or work visa)
  •  If you have a Hong Kong ID, make a copy of that too
  • Supporting documents of why you are going to China (ex: For a tourist visa, you need either a hotel confirmation with your name on it or a copy of flight tickets) (If you are applying for your whole family, make sure that the hotel confirmation has every guest name, especially the ones who are applying for the China visa. You need a copy of the hotel confirmation for each person applying for the visa.)
  • Your passport and Hong Kong ID (if you have one)

*If you have previously gotten a China visa, you need a copy of that old China visa* So if it’s in an old passport that expired, you can either bring that old passport or make a copy of it.

Right when you go to the 3rd floor of the China Resource Building, get in line to grab a ticket that tells you your place number. In order to get this number, you MUST have your application form all filled out.

Address: 3rd Floor, China Resource Building, No. 26 Harbor Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Wanchai subway station, exit A1.
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Hours: Monday- Friday (except public holidays) 9am-12 pm and 2-5pm

* I’d avoid going in Monday morning since it is one of the busiest days. Also, you should arrive at least a half an hour before it opens to avoid waiting for hours (get there by 8:30am).

*Notice that there is a 2 hour lunch break so if you leave the building during the break time, you won’t be able to enter the building until 2pm (there will be a line again).

Inquiry Hotline: +852-3413-2300/+852-3413-2424 (There is a 24-hour automated recording. If you want to talk to a staff member, call between 10-11am or 3-4pm)

Notes:

  • You are not allowed to bring any food or drinks in the building (that includes water bottles). If you bring it, then they will ask you to leave it outside the building.
  • If you need a visa photo, you can get it done in the China Resource Building. They have a photo booth on the 3rd floor on the right hand side where there is someone there to assist you. It costs $50 HKD and they give you 6 copies.
  • If you don’t have access to a copy machine, you can make copies there and it costs $1 HKD per page. Make sure to bring $1 coins since the machine does not give change or accept any other type of coins. Some people exchanged $1 coins at the photo booth.
  • When you turn in your application and documents, they will keep your passport; they need to keep your passport so that they can place your China visa in there.
  • The normal waiting time for the passport is 4 business days. You can pay more to have if completed earlier (2 or 3 business days).
  • For the normal processing time, it costs $1,100. Make sure to bring exact change. You pay when you pick up your China visa.

Good luck and remember to get there early with all your documents! When I went, I had to wait 4 hours until I was called whereas my boyfriend only had to wait about 15 minutes because he had all his documents in order before getting there.