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There are only 4 days left in 2014!!


This is a great time for all of us to set some New Year Resolutions for the New Year. Each year, many of us go with the usual “lose more weight”, “exercise more”, which frankly, has been how I’ve done my resolutions in the past. This year though, I’m determined to make better resolutions…with the help of Psychology research, of course.


So what does Psychology tell us about writing New Year Resolutions?

1. Share your resolutions with others
Research shows that you’re more likely to stick with your plans if you tell other people about it. As social human beings, we want the recognition of others. More importantly, we don’t want to fail in the eyes of others. Your family and friends can hold you accountable and you’re more likely to reach your goals.

Countdown to Christmas

Good morning everyone (and Good evening to my readers in Asia and afternoon in Europe)! Happy Tuesday.


This past weekend was quite the eventful weekend – I’m trying to soak in all the festivities before friends start leaving the city for the holidays.


2 main things that happened –

1. T-Box (Twelve Bars of Xmas) bar crawl on Saturday. An annual bar crawl from 8am-8pm around Wrigleyville. Everyone was dressed in festive wear and I wore a mandatory christmas sweater, unfortunately not an ugly one.

2. Lincoln Park Zoo Lights – breathtaking display of lights around the zoo. I dare say it was the prettiest lights I’ve ever seen in my life. Comparing this to Xmas lights in HK and London, it says a lot. Here are some pictures (that doesn’t really do it justice)…

Entrance of the Lincoln Park Zoo

Continue reading Countdown to Christmas

Apple Tart/Pie

Hey guys,


It’s Sunday again! I’m amazed at how fast time flies by every week. There’s only 24 more days in this calendar year, which is kind of unreal.

For my readers who are not in Chicago, this city is just overflowing with festivities. There is a Christmas Market in the Loop (where I work), there’s an ice-skating rink in Millennium Park, lights on trees along the Magnificent Mile.

I’ve been telling people that Chicago is one of the most under-rated cities in the world. Despite the fact that it never fails to remind me it is super duper WINDY as soon as I step out of my apartment, I love all aspects of this city and proud of call Chi-town my home. (Chi-town does not stand for Chinatown! :P)

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Continue reading Apple Tart/Pie

Apple Muffin: from picking to baking

Happy Sunday!

Wherever you were for the past few days, hope you had a great Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends.

I’ve been getting some feedback on my blog over the past few days – so thank you for those who did, and please keep them coming!


So – this post is a little overdue.

Firstly, I went on a mini-road trip to an apple orchard more than a month ago. We picked a HUGE bag of apples…which only meant apples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then, those apples stayed in my fridge for another two weeks after that (because I can’t actually eat apples 3 times a day) and really needed to be used asap.


photo 1
Tractor out to the orchard 🙂

Continue reading Apple Muffin: from picking to baking

Thanksgiving’s popular FB words

Hey guys,

Want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving :)! If you’re spending the long weekend on the east coast, stay warm through the snowstorm. But regardless of where you are, stay safe throughout the holiday.

As you prepare for that food coma from that huge turkey (you know it’s coming!), don’t forget to give thanks to people around you, especially those you care about. You shouldn’t need a special holiday to give thanks, but if you need one – ‘tis is the one!


pumpkin meme


So, back to business. Instead of writing about an actual Psychology theory, I’ve decided to show you some on-going Psychology research that I have been doing.


Continue reading Thanksgiving’s popular FB words

Inattentional Blindness – Videos

Hey guys,

I think it’s time for a change from writing and images. Here are 2 YouTube videos that illustrate the idea of Inattentional Blindness 😉




Selective attention allows us to function in our day to day lives. However, we should know the limitations to our attention. How observant are you of your surrounding?


Get ready for a short week of work! It’s Thanksgiving time 🙂



Competence in Appearance – Who are you voting for?

If you were following US news around November 4th, you would know that it was the Midterm Elections. If you were like 36% of the US population, you would have participated in the vote. If you were like me, you would have voted for the first time.


But do you know who those people are you voted for?


How does one decide who to vote for?



Continue reading Competence in Appearance – Who are you voting for?

Beef Stew with Beer

Hey guys!


Sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve been getting addicted to the idea of “Lazy Sundays” and have been slacking on “Blogging Sundays” – my apologies.


This past weekend has been quite productive though. I’ve cooked Beef Stew for the first time, and made Apple Muffin – both of which I’ll share with you today.


Old-Time Beef Stew


Paula Deen's Beef Stew
Paula Deen’s Beef Stew


I came across the idea of making beef stew because I’ve never made anything that required cooking time of over 30 minutes – my usuals are stir-fry, salmon, pasta, salads, quick soups, etc.


Continue reading Beef Stew with Beer

What are your actions saying?

Self-Perception Theory is when you determine your beliefs/attitudes based on your actions.


This is contrary to conventional wisdom. Usually, we have an attitude towards an object/person/event etc. From there, we will choose actions that are in line with our attitudes.


What I Believe –> How I Act


However, sometimes we’ll do something strange. We’ll reverse the logic. We’ll reason:


How I Act –> What I believe


This suggests that we look at our actions (as if from a 3rd party perspective) and make judgments about our thoughts. Sound a little weird?


"Smiling" Condition
“Smiling” Condition


"Angry" Condition
“Angry” Condition

An experiment showed that when people were asked to bite on a pencil (using the muscles that make a smile), they report to be HAPPIER afterwards than people who were asked to hold a pencil on their upper lip (using the muscles that make a frown).






A personal example is when I went to Six Flags in December 2010.


My college friends and I were on a road trip in Cali, and visited Six Flags Magic Mountain in LA. It was surprisingly cold, and the temperature even dropped down to 32°F after sunset.


It was already pitch black when we were waiting for our last ride – X2. With dives, flips, and twists, along with fire flames and flashing lights – the whole shebang – it was no ordinary ride. At that point, I started to shiver.


X2 Ride with flames
X2 Ride with flames

I’m not normally scared of roller coasters. Like others, I’ll feel the rush of adrenaline and a mixture of excitement and nervousness. But I’ll never SHIVER.


…I guess I’m just EXCEPTIONALLY scared about this ride?


Here, I looked at my movement (shivering) and decided my attitude (I’m scared of the ride).


In hindsight, I wasn’t shaking because of the ride. I was shaking because it was freezing cold! … in California!


When we experience things that are ambiguous or novel (like going on that ride for the first time), we’ll likely take clues from our own actions to verbalize our attitudes even though it might not always be reflective of our true thoughts.


Can you think of a time you used your actions to make judgments about your attitudes?





Guest Post: Review of Eataly

By Jenny Xia


I happened to visit Steph on a rainy weekend. Outside, the streets were drenched with rain. Inside, Eataly buzzed with the voices of customers and the clanging of pots and pans from its many small kitchens.

Pasta and Pizza Station
Pasta and Pizza Station

For those who haven’t been, Eataly is a food emporium that carries specialty Italian foods and hosts a wide array of vendors. At Eataly, you can find vendors selling hot foods ranging from pizza to more upscale Italian entrées.

Continue reading Guest Post: Review of Eataly