Thursday, October 15, 2020

The best buns you'll ever make

BestBunRecipe_SydneysFashionDiary
I have always been into baking. My obsession with baking increased since lockdown. It's on another level since I got my dream mixer (lol!). I've been baking non-stop for the past few weeks. Family and friends definitely got to enjoy delicious pastries from me. Today, I wanted to share an easy but delicious recipe for Chinese buns. The best part about this recipe is that you can pick any filling you desire (or even no filling). I found the original recipe on YouTube but I adjusted a few things and have perfected the recipe.

Ingredients for sponge dough:

Ingredients for main dough:

  • 1 cup bread-flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter
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Directions:
  • In the mixing bowl, combine warm water, milk, yeast, sugar
  • Set the mixture aside to proof for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, add bread flour to the mixture and mix well using a spatula
  • Turn on your mixer. Use the flat beater and mix the dough for 3 minutes on speed # 2
  • You can do one of the following methods to proof the dough: Method # 1. If you have an instant pot, you can use the yogurt option. Put the dough in a container and put the container inside the pot. Select the yogurt option and set the timer for 1.5 hour. Method # 2: Turn the oven on for 1 minute (just enough to warm the oven). Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover the bowl with a warm towel, turn on the oven light and put the mixing bowl in the oven. Set the timer for 1.5 hour and do not oven the oven door (your oven should be off). After 1.5 hour, the dough should be double in size
  • Combine all ingredients for main dough with the sponge dough in the mixing bowl
  • Use the spiral dough hook and mix both mixtures for 5 minutes 
  • Proof the dough the second time using the same method for an hour
  • After an hour, you're ready to roll
  • Divide the dough into 16 equal balls and start filling those delicious buns
  • So far, I've made them with cream cheese, shredded pork filling or brush the outside with spring onion or cinnamon sugar. They all taste delicious.
  • Roll out each ball into a circle. Put the filling in the middle of the circle. Fold dough over filling to meet in the center and pinch edges to seal.
  • Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in the oven once again for 30 minutes. Don't place them very close to each other. The buns will double in size after 30 minutes
  • Mix one egg yolk with one teaspoon of water and brush the top of the buns with the egg mixture
  • Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown
There is nothing like a hot cream cheese filled bun when it comes fresh out of the oven. Sadly, they don't last very long in my household. Leave me a comment if you ended up making them.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Amazon Prime Day :: 10 tried-and-true items in my household

Amazon Prime Day is finally here. This is a great opportunity to pick up some amazing items at a steep discounts. I am rounding up 10 items that I personally own and love. I use these items on a daily basis.
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1. Instant Pot: I officially cannot live without my instant pot. I actually own 2 of them (for different purposes). If you don't own an instant pot, what are you doing? It's a life saver for sure. 

2. Apple AirPods: Most days, I am in meetings all day. I don't know what I would do without my AirPods. I use it every single day for work and for running. The battery lasts super long. Overall, it's just a wonderful Apple product. 

3. Foreo: This is a steal for this little gadget. This tool is part of my skincare routine

4. Dog clipper: I don't use this to trim Finn's body but I use it to trim his paws. It works really well. The tool is super quiet and the battery lasts a long time. There are over 21000 reviews for a reason. It's a fantastic trimmer if you do pet-trimming at home

5. Pet grooming gloves: Another wonderful gadget for my dog. I use this as a bath brush. I put a bit of shampoo onto the gloves and rub them together. They lather very nicely. Finn loves it and it makes bath time more fun and enjoyable.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

My skincare routine (AM & PM)

Pumpkin&SpicesSkincare_SydneysFashionDiary
It's been 4 years since I shared my skincare routine! I am still using some of my my tried-and-true products but I also added a few new skincare items to my AM & PM routine. I thought I 'd do an updated post just in case you're interested. Since I am home most days, my skincare routine is very simple.
Pumpkin&SpiceSkincare_SydneysFashionDiary

Friday, October 9, 2020

To Keep Or Not To Keep

ExpressBlazerDress_SydneysFashionDiary
Happy Friday, everyone! It's been a long work week. I am so ready for the weekend. Express has been killing it lately. I used to be a fan of Express years ago. Fun fact: Their distribution center is down the street from where I live. I used to work there when I was in college. I worked second shift from 3:30 p.m. to midnight for a couple of years. What I miss most about working there is their sample sales. Everything was dirt cheap =) Being so close to the distribution center, I get my stuff super quick. I stopped shopping there for the past few years simply because nothing caught my eye. Recently, I find myself wanting to shop there again. Their Fall collection is amazing. I picked up a couple of pieces. I am sharing one of them today. The problem is - Not sure if I should keep it or not. This blazer romper is 50% off today if you're interested - All 50% off styles hereOutfit details: Express rompers *size XXS* | Jimmy Choo shoes | VCA necklace | Chanel classic flap (M/L)

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Handbag Review :: Teddy Blake Sophia Bag

TeddyBlakeSophia_SydneysFashionDiary
Did you know PurseBlog has created National Handbag day in 2012? For 2020, National Handbag day is this Saturday 10/10. In honor of this fun day, I have a handbag review for you. There is no secret that I love luxury handbags but I love a bag even more when it looks and feels expensive without the luxury price tag. I've worked with Teddy Blake many times throughout the years and I can't say enough good things about the brand. Today, I am reviewing the Sophia which is one of their newest styles. Fall is officially here and what better way to celebrate the new season than adding a gorgeous bag to your Fall wardrobe. The Sophia measures 6"(H) x 3"(W) x 9"(L), this bag is perfect for everyday use. It has room for all my daily essentials yet small enough to look fashionable without overwhelming my petite frame. What I love about Teddy Blake bags in general is that all their bags are made of premium Italian leather. This one is no exception. The Sophia is handcrafted with a combination of 100% genuine leather and genuine suede yet, somehow it's lightweight. The bag features gold-toned detailing, one interior side pocket and a flap with magnetic closure.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Birthday trip to the Smokies :: Where we stayed

GrizzlyManor_SydneysFashionDiary
Happy Monday, everyone! I finally got around to share the trip we took last month. We spent a week in the Great Smoky mountains with friends and family and it was exactly what we needed. As mentioned in this post, we rented a 5-bedroom cabin to stay with 4 other families for the week. I am so glad that I got a chance to catch up with friends that I haven't seen for year. It was the first time visiting TN for everyone so the trip was even more special. Today, I am sharing where we stayed just in case you're interested. If it's up to me, I would delay our trip until October but with school and work commitments, it wasn't possible. Regardless, the Smokies are still beautiful. It was peaceful and quiet in picturesque surroundings. It was gorgeous back in August and I am sure it's even more beautiful in the Fall. We rented this cabin and it exceeded our expectations. Magnificent views from the balcony. The cabin itself is super spacious. It has more than enough room for 10 of us. It has a fantastic game room, washer & dryer, an outdoor hot tub, a spacious kitchen and more. I couldn't show you all bedrooms due to privacy but you can view the entire cabin here. I also couldn't get some of the shots I wanted because I forgot my zoom lens at home =( Pigeon Forge (the closet town) was 15 minutes away. We went grocery shopping and stocked up the fridge. We had homemade meals every night. It was so wonderful just to sit down, relax and enjoy the beautiful views from our very own balcony. The cabin is placed quite high up in the mountain so a 4WD vehicle is highly recommended. I am very pleased with the location. It's away from crowds yet close to everything. I am definitely open to the idea of going back to watch the Fall foliage one day. I'll share what we did in the next post.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A belated birthday gift

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This post is probably not relevant to most of you but I still wanted to share because it makes me happy. If you're from Vietnam, you probably have heard the name "Ho Ngoc Ha" before. She's a very famous singer. One thing you probably don't know about me is that I don't have a strong/crazy interest in celebrities. I admire a few people but it usually stops there. She is one of the very few people I admire. She is the definition of a modern woman. A modern woman for me is something who wants it all and can have it all. She is an amazing singer, a successful business woman and a loving mother. She strives to make every aspect of her life a great one. I firmly believe that women can have it all. Everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it. Long story short, she owns a cosmetics company and just launched a brand-new lipstick collection. Being here in the U.S, it's not easy for me to get my hands on them. So thankful for my childhood friend to purchase and send them from halfway around the world to me. You know I am not makeup junkie. If there is one makeup product that I am willing to spend my money on, it will be for sure a lip product. I am beyond excited to own the whole collection of 12 lipsticks. They are too pretty to use (lol!). The quality of these lipsticks are fantastic. The whole set is about $200 but you can purchase individual lipsticks here.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Mother Daughter Matching Masks

Mommy&MeMasks_SydneysFashionDIary
Masks have become a part of daily life now and they are here to stay. By wearing a mask, you're stopping the spread and protecting others. Since masks are required in schools, I've been searching for kid-friendly, comfortable masks, in a breathable fabric at the beginning of the school year for Madelyn. After trying out a handful of masks, we decided these are the most comfortable out of the bunch. Comfort is my number one concern when it comes to finding the right mask. They must be comfortable enough for her to wear for at least 7 hours while in school without needing to touch them for take them off too frequently (they do have mask breaks throughout the day). These cute masks are made of 100% tee shirt cotton fabric and they are insanely comfortable. Earloops are made of the same soft fabric (which is key). She won't ear anything with elastic earloops.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Madelyn is 8!

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September is a busy month for our family. I celebrated my birthday the first week of Sept. Madelyn's birthday is the 2nd week of Sept and we will be celebrating our anniversary the 3rd week of Sept =) Last weekend, 3 of Madelyn's best friends came over for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday. Can't believe my little girl is 8 years old! Not so little anymore =( I purchased this DIY balloon arch kit from Amazon and it turned out so nice. Super easy to do as well and she loved it. They played together, made pizzas, cupcakes and slimes (I got this slime kit for them). We ended the night watching the new "Mulan" movie. It was a perfect birthday at home for my sweet girl. She is very into American Girl lately. Thanks to friends and family for chipping in and getting Madelyn Joss (Girl of the Year 2020) and all the accessories. She loves everything and has been playing non-stop. They even have the matching jacket. We also purchased this Hover electric scooter for her (save over $100 now). It's so much fun. Even I enjoy cruising it around the neighborhood. Happy Friday, everyone! The weather cools down quite a bit and I am loving it. Looking forward to all the Fall activities with the kids. Link to the current version of Madelyn's bunk bed. She loves it so much. Every night she gets to decide whether she wants to sleep on the top bunk or the bottom bunk =)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

What I got for my birthday 2020

WhatIgotForMyBirthday_SydneysFashionDiary
Today's post is my annual what I got for my birthday! I always try to save up and get myself one big gift every year. This year is no exception. A week before my birthday, my family and I took a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains (will share soon). I considered that as my birthday trip. I expected nothing else but as always, friends and family have spoiled me. My husband knew I wanted this mixer for a long time. However, the price is kind of hard to swallow (even when it's on sale). I went back and forth for the longest time but at last, he got my dream mixer for my birthday. I can't wait to start my holiday baking. I also got some birthday money and gift cards from my in-laws and a friend. I was joking that I just turned 21 so my friend got me this card =)
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