greatest hits christmas

Our first Christmas without family creates new Read more

Merry Christmas

For the first time in history, I've managed to send out our Christmas card on time. Read more

christmas cookies

Christmas cookies gone wrong. Sugar cookie recipe meets Singapore Read more

a letter to Santa

Yesterday, Niamh wrote a letter to Santa. She covers all the key points... Read more

suck your stomach in!

"Suck your stomach in and put your shoulders back." How many times have I heard my mother say this? And Read more

the grass is always greener

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, chinglish, just because | Leave a comment

When I was back in Beijing the other week working out of our Beijing office, I was blown away by how many things have opened up in the office building since I moved away in March.

I worked out of that office for two years, and that building has been around as long as I can remember, looming over the third ring road. It’s hardly a new structure, yet the back buildings were always empty, and had been for years. It was never easy to eat around the office, and you were better off packing your lunch. The one thing in the building was a Blenz coffee, which you would never guess in a million years was part of a broader franchise – and is the kind of place that would have you praying to the coffee Gods to send you a Starbucks.

So you can imagine my horror when I walked into the lobby and spotted a Starbucks sign towards the back, with a big wrap-around ‘coming soon’ banner. On top of this, an upscale supermarket has opened, as well as a cantonese cafe chain, a Subway, a cooking school and western cafe and an entirely new and improved food court complete with dim sum sections.

Seriously this building has been there for years, and I’m not gone 6 months and everyone and their mom opens up shop. The injustice was excruciating.

In China, if one seller opens up, three more open up next to them – often selling the same stuff. It’s sort of a running joke about why are all the apple sellers stationed right next to each other?

Well recently I stumbled on this little gem online, apparantly coffee shops are an emerging craze in second tier cities in China. With blatant Starbucks rip-offs having been around for years, this one surely takes the cake.

Love how the blogger calls it a coffee brothel instead of a coffee bar.

China never ceases to amaze, or amuse. And that’s why I love it so much.

Thank you China, once again you have made my day.

the other L word

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in just because | Leave a comment

Recently, our scale hasn’t been working well, it was jumping from ranges such as 130 lbs (celebration!) to 190 (cry!) to 70 (hospitalization!). I knew something was wrong, so Dom changed the battery and for a few days, we seemed to be back on track. Until this morning. This morning, I stepped on the scale to face the music. This is what I got back:

Hmmm, the other L word. Let me know what you think it means!

deep conversations

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in mommyhood | Leave a comment

Now that Niamh is three, there are times where I undoubtedly overestimate the quality of conversation we can have.

Sure, she looks more and more like a little girl. Her English has caught up to her Chinese, and there are times where I’m completely blown away at how much she understands.

Yet, we can’t quite seem to connect on a meaningful level, or really ‘talk’ to each other yet.

Here’s what happened this morning,

Me: Hey, I heard from your teacher you are in the school play! How exciting, what are you?
Niamh: pi pi (meaning butt in Chinese or, bum bum as it repeats)
Me: Uh huh, ok, well that’s a little silly. Do you get to sing and dance?
Niamh: pi pi!!!!!
Me: Are you maybe a tree in the play?
Niamh: pi pi!
Me: I heard that you get a costume, that’s exciting. What are you going to be?
Niamh: pi pi!
Me: Ok, I don’t think you are a pi pi in the play. Do you like the singing and dancing? What is your favorite part?
Niamh: I wiggle my pi pi!!!!!!!!!!!! (insert dancing, girating child in her underwear jumping on my bed)
Me: Ok, good talk.

So I had a conversation with my daughter, in which all my questions were answered with the word ‘butt’.


Niamh in full pi pi mode

a good hair day

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in just because, southern y'all | Leave a comment

A good hair day is obviously when you wake up like this.

I’d say I have good hair days about 90% of the time. I know, you’re jealous.

On a side note, like a true southerner, I associate good hair with some volume, so its not ALL bad.

lost in translation

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, chinglish | Leave a comment

These last couple weeks I’ve been traveling for work, and was elated to be in Beijing again. Seeing old friends for dinner was a highlight of this trip, and I didn’t know how I would feel being back in Beijing… I spent my whole adult life there, would it feel weird? Would it feel like I had moved on? Would I miss it terribly? The answer is the latter! I felt at home again – and all too aware that in six months in Singapore, I’m still missing a lot.

I was surprised how cultural it felt to be back (I had this feeling in Thailand recently too). But mostly, the energy and charm of Beijing feel intoxicating again.

One of my favorite little moments of the trip was this little gem – from my menu at a sanlitun mexican restaurant which is an absolute pillar of alfresco drinking in Beijing – made me laugh out loud.

The menu reads:
1. Chips and Salsa
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Home-made tortilla corn chips with your choice of salsa

Amazing, and in case you thought this was a one-off blip on the menu – it appears under almost every description.

A new type of chinglish – but classic.

the hunt

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in just because, singapore | Leave a comment

One of the most awesome things to happen to us after uprooting and moving our family from Beijing to Singapore, was finding the perfect house, getting Niamh in at a new school, and settling down and unpacking the final boxes…until our landlord sold the house and the new landlords announced they wanted to move in.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been viewing properties here in Singapore with an agent arranged by our landlord, and she has shown us some pretty, erm, interesting places.

My favorite so far was this cluster house (read apartment complexes that are actually 2-3 story narrow houses), that had a built in bed protruding out of the wall and a shrine on the basement floor.

Instant sell in my book.

is this safe?

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, just because, travel | Leave a comment

I was standing outside my office in Beijing last week, realizing in my haze of nostalgia after moving to Singapore – that I had completely forgotten how bad Beijing traffic is. Add a little rain to that scenario, and you have an all out pavement based war going on for desperate workers looking for transport home.

After having someone steal my cab more than once, I was starting to despair. Then I recognized the telltale signs of opportunity: a car creeping up towards me, window going down just a crack. This is where years of your mother telling you not to get into the car with strangers flies out the window.

I immediately jump in the car and start negotiating. Black market cabs are so common in Beijing – and safe. They’re just people with cars looking to make a bit of extra cash, usually on rainy days or busy areas. I have many friends in Beijing who still heed their mothers advice, but I got over that a long time ago. And I had somewhere to be!

As we start driving, he flips over what I assumed was a CD player on the console, and puts in a disk. Seconds later, we’re both watching James Bond, in Chinese.

All I could think was how unsafe it was to have a DVD player in the driver’s view?! Is that even legal? (Then again, are black market cabs legal?)When I read about the 9 day traffic jam from Beijing to Inner Mongolia this week – I decided that a dvd player for the driver is entirely safe…for their sanity!

adfab: BMW scores with outdoor smackdown

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in adfab, marketing mumbo jumbo | Leave a comment

What do you do when your competitor directly challenges you?

If you’re BMW, you respond quickly with strategic placement and messaging. Funny. I don’t know which agency is behind this, but hats off. I laughed.

We saw a lot of this sort of quick-response messaging in our (Euro RSCG’s) campaigns for David Cameron’s election – where we had executions up within a matter of hours. (Original here, response here). Ironically, the ad that comes to mind also involved an audi…

In case you can’t see the first billboard well, it reads: Your Move BMW

online video of the day: cuban dancing baby

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in just because, marketing mumbo jumbo | Leave a comment

Like many people I adored the Evian roller babies, and whilst I’m probably biased because my company, Euro RSCG, created that rockin campaign – the proof was also in the pudding. It was the most watched commercial online video of all time, Time magazine’s Ad of the year and many more exciting factoids I could brag about.

Basically, Evian need to find this kid for their next Live Young campaign. Who needs awesome computer animated roller-skating babies when you’ve got this kid?

He is totally breaking it down, and is a better dancer as a baby than I am now.

Enjoy this youtube treasure.

my new hero

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in just because | Leave a comment

Any foreigner who has lived in Asia, specifically China, at one time or another has been shocked at the total disregard for the fasten seatbelt sign when flying. The times this rule is most ignored, is during takeoff and landing, naturally. How many times have I seen someone get up to get something out of the overhead compartment when we are only 100 feet off the ground? More than I can count.

How many times during taxiing to the gate after landing have people started to flood the aisles and collect their bags? Nearly the entire plane every single time. The stewardesses act mortified, but not surprised by the inability to adhere to the rules. They usually shout at passengers to ‘sit down’ because its ‘dangerous’ – all while smartly remaining seated in their chairs. This scene is so typical.

So when I read about the Jet Blue Diva (left) – he became my hero in a single moment. Not only is this guy not taking any shit, he made the exit of a lifetime. Something us mere mortals only dream of in our ‘what if’ scenarios.

Here’s a summary of what went down from

Steven Slater, a flight attendant on JetBlue airlines, has become an instant internet sensation after he decided that he had had enough with his job last night, cursed out a passenger, grabbed a beer, and evacuated the plane by deploying the emergency exit slide!

Slater got into an argument with a passenger who was attempting to take their luggage out of the compartment before the flight had completely landed at JFK. The luggage ended up hitting him in the face, and the passenger refused to apologize for causing the incident, and cursed at Slater.

As the plane landed, Slater got on the speaker and gave the entire plane a piece of his mind! He then grabbed a beer, deployed the emergency slide and took off down it!

Authorities apprehended him at his Queens home and he’s since been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, trespassing, and being an all-around badass.

You can show your support of Steven on one of his many Facebook fan pages HERE!

I laughed so hard when I read this. Of course its not right for him to open the emergency exit and slide outta there with a roadie in hand. But that passenger should also be in trouble for reckless endangerment and its not ok to curse out the steward for doing his job! Dude was endangering other passengers in the first place – and its sad that only Slater is being punished.
All I know is Slater would not be able to handle flying in China – he’d be overwhelmed by the chaos. Then again, the story never said where the flight originated…