Category Archives: Personal

Efficiency in the New Year.

I’ve read a lot of great posts about the many, many resolutions people are attempting in 2013. I’m very inspired just thinking about what everyone (else!) hopes to accomplish. While I don’t have any new earth shattering ambitions for the New Year, (I am still just trying to keep all my usual balls in the air PLUS take good care of the HKBundle, thank you very much) there are a few tools I’ve been using to help me attempt to ‘do it all’ with the end goal of being really present with the little man, as generous with my friends and family as possible, and a good contributor at work.

  • Wonderful Day App. I’ve been trying to do three things every day for the past few months and this app gently reminds me every day of these goals and let’s me check a green or red box (very satisfying for us Type-As) if I do or don’t complete them. For me they are: exercise, wear my retainers and write a note to someone I care about.

  • O.H.I.O. One of my professional idols and mentors is Elizabeth Mayhew (she’s an author, editor and her stationery armoire was written up in the NYTimes, need I say more?!) and she endorses this acronym (as do others I’m sure) but it stands for Only Handle It Once, whether it be an inbound email or a letter in the mail, you have one chance to touch it. She really manages to do it all… amazing mother and career… and I think this practice must be a big part of her success. So if you’re not ready to reply to that long, lovely email from a friend, don’t open it up! And when you sit down to open the mail, you better be ready to sort it. It’s really encouraged me to stop making endless piles and then re-making piles. Instead, I need to file, scan or toss! I have taped this up onto my monitor to remind me to stick to it.

  • My Tomatoes. Studies have shown that our maximum ability to focus, really focus is 25 minutes.  The Pomodor0 technique encourages you to do tasks in 25-minute blocks with five-minute breaks. This website helps you do that with timers and then gives you space to record what you did in each block. It is really, really tough to self-motivate to get work done or to stay on top of personal email while working from home with an adorable little baby. This site has gone a long way to helping me stay focused and instead of just logging hours upon hours at my desk with nothing to show for it, I now have a nice little list of what I’ve accomplished, which feels really, really good. And when that timer goes off and the truth is I’ve gone down an internet rabbit hole for the last 20 minutes and have nothing to fill in, I feel like crap about myself and really want to do better during the next tomato! Speaking of which, the clock on this post is almost up! I hope maybe these tools help you get on with your New Year resolution.

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Home for Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!!

This is the first time we’ve been home for Christmas and after a whirlwind, 4-city Thanksgiving US tour, boy does it feel good.

It feels so nice to be able to really enjoy our tree.

And our own little holiday ambience (that candle smells like a real wood fireplace) and those clove oranges I made with girlfriends at a holiday crafting night.

And our lil bundle who is getting cuter by the day.

We had the girls downstairs over for make your own ice cream sundaes, with homemade caramel and chocolate sauce and also hot chocolate (spiked for the adults). Ice cream sundaes does seem like the perfect holiday dessert here in Hong Kong.

It’s been unseasonably warm! We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the beach and I was really sweating when I tried to wear my new boots! Silly girl.

Friends from SF stopped by over the weekend for a holiday luncheon.

Francis now has his own seat at the table!

All of our holiday cards are en route.

Packages have been sent and most (fingers crossed!) have arrived. Have I mentioned here that I LOVE HKPost?? It costs the same to send a package from San Francisco to Boston as it does to send it from here to Boston. How is that possible?


Jam has been made… passionfruit this year instead of the usual red pepper jelly.

Now all the candles are lit!

I’m most excited about giving gifts from Vision First and of course I did buy a few of these pretty balls for our own growing ornament collection.

I’ve even made a few plates for our romantic little dinner just the two of us.

We’ve got a brilliant arrangement from Ellermann to make the house feel extra festive. So now we just wait for Baby Jesus to arrive.

Santa has already stopped by… if you’re wondering what that large suitcase is doing under the tree… well I asked Santa to fix my bag’s zippers (something I have been trying to do for no fewer than 18 months) and it looks like I may have been a good girl after all. Sending you all lots of warm wishes for a blessed Christmas day!

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Happy Halloween from Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee wishes you a very Happy Halloween!

He’s already a very good Kung Fu Fighter.

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HK bundle: 2 months.

Our little man is growing up so fast!!

He’s picked up a spare tire and is already outgrowing his clothes, which makes me ridiculously sad. Everyone tells you how tired you will be with a new baby, but they don’t tell you how much you will want to savor each second with your little one and how from day two you feel like they’re growing up too fast. I would definitely keep the sleepless nights in exchange for a few more days with his little self.

I feel like he has a hundred expressions a minute. And it is incredible how they can go from ecstatic to despondent in a mere instant.

Francis enjoyed a visit from his grandparents and he loved every second of it! And mom loved the company and ALL the help with the incessant diapers.

And also his Auntie Bridget, who is quite the baby whisperer!

How is that for a gangster scowl?

And I can’t help but leave you with a yawn. Baby yawns are seriously the cutest things in the world! All photos by Becky Beninans: beckybenians@yahoo.co.uk.

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HK bundle: One month.

I figured it was time to share some more photos of our little bundle seeing as he’s now just over a month old!

We pretty much spend all of our free time staring at him.

Francis Xavier enjoyed a visit from his grandparents immensely. I’m not sure he ever had to sleep on his own as a cuddler was always on hand.

The hardest part of being a new parent I think is not knowing how to calm him down when it seems he’s crying for no reason. And if you’re wondering where the lovely, handknit blanket came from… Francis’s grandmother knit that for him.

But Daddy really does have the magic touch. All photos by Becky Beninans: Becky Benians: beckybenians@yahoo.co.uk.
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