Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back from the Big Apple!

I got back from NYC yesterday and immediately jumped on the scale to see the "damage" of my weekend getaway.

I'm -0.4 lbs from last week's official weigh-in!
Jason's down -1.8 lbs from last week's weigh-in.

I had a lot of fun seeing my sister (even though we just said good bye to each other 1/9...haha) and catching up with old friends. In general, all the restaurants/dessert spots/cafes were chosen by me minus a one spontaneous Korean meal in K-town Saturday night. No one was giving me feedback online so I typed up my own itinerary with potential restaurant options after doing research online through Yelp! and food-related online publications.

I'd like to say I indulged this weekend within reason! We also got a lot of walking done going from place to place climbing stairs and carrying heavy bags so I felt like we burnt off what we ate.

The weather was beautiful Friday which was perfect for my birthday. I got to enjoy the wonderful weather on a solo date with myself before my friends got off work or got in to NYC. The weather became a lot colder Saturday into the weekend with large snow flurries in the morning. It was cold for the remainder of my trip so I'd like to think staying alive also made my body burn extra calories.

Now that I'm back though, I'm eager to tackle my to-do list that had to be put on hold due to my brief trip to NYC. Since being back from Taipei, I've been non-stop trying to get things together but I like being productive.

I hurt my left hand when I was helping my friend weigh her suitcase so my left wrist is slightly sprained and it hurts to curl my hands into a ball (or write anything...). I'm pretty annoyed that this happened but I'll do stretching exercises to slowly get my hands to where they were before this trip so I can do some yoga.

The boys seemed to have been fine this weekend without me. Jason texted me throughout the weekend with updates about what they were doing as well as photos of the meals he cooked for my brother. I'm surprised but they only ate out once when I was gone (wings..if anyone is wondering). Other than that, he made meals for the two of them! I did leave a giant breakfast casserole with sausage, broccoli, spinach, cheese, tomato, eggs, and herbs. Jason's been eating that for breakfast along with his morning cup of coffee. My brother ate it a few times but also ate some cereal.

I don't have any major travel plans in the coming months that are planned at this moment. There are a few things that are on our calendar but nothing we've booked yet. For now, I'm eager to stay put in Tampa to get things done. Travel always throws my rhythm off for a few days.

I leave this post with a couple photos of my trip in NYC.

Walking around Time Square on my way to my friend's apartment

Dark Chocolate Fondue at Ayza Chocolate and Wine

Sisters <3

Brunch at Prune with post-meal licorice 
(that no one touched but liked looking at?)

Buying necessary Chinese New Year accessories for all our respective households.
I got a bunch to bring back to Florida for the upcoming New Year next week!

Karaoke for a few hours and I promise I wasn't a mic-hog

Bubble Tea at Cha Chan Tang

Desserts and Tea at Cha An (Japanese Tea Room)

Dinner with friends at Coppelia (24-hr Cuban Diner)
I promise those seats were filled about 15 minutes later haha!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Back in the US!

The last few weeks in Taiwan were a whirlwind but the most exciting news to share is that

I am engaged!!!! 

To say that I had no clue it was coming would be a lie but even I was surprised to see myself shedding tears in the moment.

Some pictures of us on this Taiwan trip.

Two trees that grew together over time in the shape of a heart on A-Li Mountain (阿里山)

On the night of our engagement, we ordered a dessert with seven different individual desserts. It was called "7 Mortal Sins" but I'd like to think of it as 7 wonders or 7 years together.. 

Our engagement dinner was at the Marco Polo Restaurant  on the 38th Floor a the Shangri-La Hotel in Taipei. It had a gorgeous view of the Taipei skyline with an attached lounge with a clear view of Taipei 101 (2nd tallest building in the world).

We got engaged on January 3, 2014 (1.3.14) which in Chinese sounds like 一生一 (Yīshēng yīshì) or one life one lifetime. 

When's the big date? I have no clue. At the moment, I'm just enjoying my engagement and letting the dust settle. 

We got back late last night and I managed to unpack all the luggage as well as start a load of laundry. There are still small piles throughout the house because I like to unpack and sort things in piles and work through each pile. When I finish organizing all the piles, I'll work on cleaning the house from top to bottom. 

I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 so far! 

Jason and I are officially weighing-in first thing Tuesday. We're detoxing and going back to healthy eating starting today!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In Taipei!

Today is our full third day in Taipei and jet lag is slowly going away. I've managed to stay up "late" every night but I still wake up around 5:30-6 AM. Then again, that's my normal wake up time in the States so it's not too strange.

I do feel an afternoon sleepiness around 2 PM but if I can get my hands on a cup of coffee, I can power through it.

Coffee and desserts at Melange Cafe Taipei

I'll be doing little blurbs here and there throughout my trip but full recaps won't be until I get back to the States.

The weather here has been rainy the last couple of days in the mid 50s to low 60s. It's been raining lightly the last couple of days. The weather is supposed to cool off for the rest of the weekend and rain chances are significantly lower (one can only hope).

Riding the MRT (subway system) around town (best way to travel in the city!)
Throwback post from 6/15/2012 about the MRT system

We've eaten a lot of yummy food the last couple of days but I'd like to think we're still controlling ourselves. 

Besides eating, we've done a lot of walking around and shopping. To stay awake at night, we've taken out the mahjong set and taught the boys mahjong. We play speaking Chinese so my boyfriend can get used to hearing it. He's picked it up really quickly and he's actually won a few rounds. Almost every round he's one tile away from winning. 

I think his language has a lot of sounds and tones so he's been able to pick up some of the subtleties of the Chinese language. His vocabulary has been growing every year because I speak Mandarin Chinese to my parents when we webcam and I sometimes speak it (because it's faster) to my brother. The trips to Taiwan have also helped him learn the language.

My mom says it'll get easier especially when we have children. I want my children to speak Mandarin so Jason will learn with the kids!

So yesterday, I saw firsthand where I may have gotten my willingness to stand in line for hours for something hyped about.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (Taipei FB Page) opened its first store in Taipei this December in the Xinyi District (around Taipei 101, 2nd tallest building in the world). Since then, the lines for the American treat has been super long regardless of the rain. 

The line wrapping around the movie theatre!

When we walked around after lunch yesterday, I saw a bunch of people walking with their donuts. 

It reminded me when I stood in line for Cronuts in August (blog recap here).

I've never stood in line for Black Friday deals nor have I stood in line for the newest Apple product but for some crazy food that sounds delicious? Sign me up....

My longest wait time for something is about 2.5 hours. I find that time moves faster when the weather isn't unbearable and you have someone with you providing good conversation.

My boyfriend has never stood in line with me for food. He doesn't see the reason to. So with him, I try to find ways to cut down wait times by either buy it myself for him or make reservations months in advance before the spots fill up. 

Today's plan is Spicy Ma-La Hot Pot in the afternoon followed by long foot massages. Afterwards, I'm heading to a coffee shop while my sister, brother and mom get literally stepped on by a massage therapist. My boyfriend and I will get our afternoon caffeine fix while we wait for them to finish.

The plan is to head to Fu Da Night Market ( 輔大夜市). I've never been to this night market before so I thought it would be interesting. 

Nightmarkets are literally streets of outdoor vendors that come alive when night falls. It's normally a nightly thing but more people come out on the weekends. It's a fantastic place to try Taiwanese and Internationally-inspired street food. It also has plenty of carnival-like games and (cheap) shops!

So far my boyfriend has been to three night markets: 

Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) - Never again! Has become a tourist trap and is super crowded

Raohe Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市) - I like how organized it is. Small scale but neat!

blog recap here

Lehua Night Market (樂華夜市) - Decent but be careful of scooters weaving in and out regardless of pedestrians!

If we have the energy, we're hoping to head home, get dressed, and potentially head out for a drink somewhere. I have a few places written down to check-out so we'll see how it goes.

Have a lovely day! xoxo

Monday, December 23, 2013

NYC Trip (Happy Birthday Jason) Part 5

Late August, my brother, boyfriend and I went back up to NYC for a long weekend to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday! It was also the first PSU football game of the year (Syracuse v. PSU) at MetLife Stadium right outside of NYC in Jersey.

This is a recap (part 5) of our trip.

On our final day in NYC, we headed to Chelsea in the morning to go for a nice long walk on the High Line. I love that NYC has so an urban oasis like this where people can walk to their hearts content without worrying about traffic.
"The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side" - quote taken from the High Line website.
The Standard Hotel

Manhattan Beer Garden beneath the hotel

Underneath the overpass, we found a few NYC treats for the boys. My brother had a popsicle from People's Pops and my boyfriend had a New Orleans style coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee.

There were other things we could have tried but we were saving room for lunch.

Super cool water fountain!

After our walk, we worked up quite a big appetite for lunch. It was at an Indian buffet that I found through Yelp that had good reviews. The name of the restaurant was Chola Eclectic Indian Cuisine.

What captured my attention about this place versus other choices ( believe me the list was long) was that they bring freshly made Indian breads and meats to the table. Buffets sometimes get a bad rep because of food sitting out too long. Most curries are fine if not better over time but grilled meats and bread definitely need to be fresh.

Forgive the fuzzy photo!

My plate of food!

My Mango Lassi in a mason jar

After lunch, we had to make our way back to Brooklyn to clean up and finish packing. We all felt weighed down from all the yummy eating we did the last few days so for dinner, we chose to get fresh juice from a juice bar that just opened up in the neighborhood.

After we finished our juice, it was time to head to the airport!

BYE PUPPY..see youThanksgiving!

That concludes my NYC trip recaps from August! (I know...finally). I had a ton of fun with my siblings and boyfriend. New York City is such a fun city and I always have a blast when I'm there. I should be heading up there in January to meet up with my friends but for now I'm focusing on my trip to Taiwan.

I leave today for our trip to Asia. Travel anxiety is at peak levels but everything should be sorted out and dealt with. I mean, the most important thing I need to pack is my passport! Everything else can be replaced but I REALLY REALLY hope our suitcases get there without issue. 

I'm such a worrywart.

The next installment of recaps will be our mini getaway to Miami from Tampa in October. I'll be mixing them up with what's going on with us in Taipei but full recap of Taipei trip won't be until we get back.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Related Posts
NYC Trip (Happy BDay Jason) Part 1: Day 1 in NYC filled with food adventures
NYC Trip (Happy BDay Jason) Part 2: Breakfast, MoNH, Food Trucks, Kittichai
NYC Trip (Happy BDay Jason) Part 3: Game Day: PSU v. Syracuse
NYC Trip (Happy BDay Jason) Part 4: Best Pancakes in NYC, K-One Karaoke, Roberta's