Taipei is the perfect layover city en route to LAX, but I would have preferred to stay a couple days as opposed to…8 hours.
A couple days after I booked our return flight to Los Angeles from Bangkok, I had a crazy idea: what if we went to Angkor Wat for a day from Bangkok? Continue Reading
Less than three hours away from Bangkok, we arrived in three large white vans to the lovely Anantasila Villa.
When my aunt told me that she’d be celebrating her 75th birthday in her home city of Bangkok, I was ecstatic. The last time I was in Bangkok I was 7 years old visiting her with my Mother and Grandmother, and I just couldn’t wait to reignite my love for this chaotic and stimulating city.
I wish I had stayed longer in Tokyo.
I’m sure everyone who’s ever dreamed of going there says that after their first trip. No matter what there will always be something to discover and explore. I didn’t hit half the things on my to-do list!
Stayed in Akasaka at the lovely Hotel M Innsomnia. I chose this hotel since the rooms were bigger than usual, it was central to most of our excursions, and it had a lovely cafe in the lobby where guests got free coffee!
At the top of my list was the Ghibli Museum. I found a tour on Viator that provided the hard to get tickets into the museum as well as transportation there. We spent most of the afternoon there, we even went through all the exhibitions twice! There was just so much detail and much to see. No photos inside though, but I bought a guide book that had great photos and explanations. We even had a late lunch in their lovely restaurant.
The food was amazing there, I never had a bad meal. We ate tonkatsu, sushi near the Tsukiji market, soba noodles, mochi and tempura, among other things.
And dessert in between shopping and wandering the city…
I can’t wait for my next trip there, hopefully in the fall or wintertime. Summer was just way too humid for me! I’ll do some more Tokyo posts when I can :))))
For as long as I’ve been employed I’ve tried to take a day off on my birthday. It’s just so nice to be somewhere other than work on a weekday, and places are just calmer on weekdays. So on the top of my wishlist was going to Santa Anita Westfield mall!
I know, I know, it says 31 at the top, and here I am wanting to go to the mall for my birthday. But they have a Hello Kitty cafe!
They had an assortment of desserts, but I settled for a strawberry tea which was so refreshing. I also got a mug! Took my drink up to Sidechick and ordered the Hainan chicken for lunch which was so tasty that I didn’t even get the chance to take a photo of it. Oh well, guess I’ll have to eat there again 🙂
Also headed over to my favorite stationery store, Maido, for some new pens. And then to Muji for some plastic travel bottles to hold my toner.
My parents and I threw a small dinner for the family at their house which was nice. Just a few dishes, smoked ribs and asparagus, noodles for long life, rice, fruit, and my lovely nieces presented the cutest bundt cake for me. They are super sweet.
The next day, my brother took me to Seu Jorge’s The Life Aquatic David Bowie Tribute at the Hollywood Bowl. He made a lovely picnic: poke, crackers, cheese, homemade popcorn, 1 bottle of white wine, 3 beers (2 for him, 1 for me), and I brought the bundt cake. Seu Jorge’s stories about the making of The Life Aquatic was so great as was the live music. We had fun people watching.
It’s weird, I don’t feel that much older. Only when my knees feel a bit more sore than usual, or I see another wrinkle slowly becoming deeper. But all in all, I still feel full of that wonder and awe as I did when I was 20. I hope that never goes away.
I was recently tasked with doing the party favors for a friend’s baby shower, and I wanted to do something outside my usual gifts of cookies and other baked goods so I thought–how about some Pocky?
Pocky was one of my favorite snacks as a kid, and I wanted to make something a little more grown-up and fun so I made Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Pocky! Here’s the basic recipe that I found in a AAA magazine, I just didn’t do the almonds, and honestly they are great without them. I think I made over 100 of these!
- Snyder’s large pretzel rods
- Heath Toffee bits
- Bittersweet chocolate (Trader Joe’s makes those huge pound size bars! Just chop to 1 inch pieces) or you can buy any chocolate that’s for melting
- Baking sheet lined with foil (best if they can fit in the fridge where the pretzels can cool)
- Medium pan with tall sides
- Small saucepan
- Wide bowl for the toffee bits
- Make a little assembly line, from left to right: A safe spot to place the saucepan filled with hot chocolate, the wide bowl for the toffee bits, and then the baking sheet line with foil.
- I don’t have a double boiler, so I like to fill a medium pan with water, halfway up the sides and get that to a light rolling simmer (never boiling!). Place chocolate in small saucepan and place that in the water, and stir until melted. When the chocolate is ready, bring it to your assembly line.
- Hold pretzel over chocolate and use a spatula to spread chocolate over 3/4 of the pretzel.
- Bring pretzel to toffee bits and use a spoon to sprinkle the bits onto the chocolate part of the pretzel.
- Place pretzel on foil and repeat until you run out of pretzels!
- Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 30 – 45 minutes. They last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
I was supposed to go to a concert this past Tuesday, but those plans fell through so I had a day all to myself. I decided I’d go to the Natural History Museum.
The last time I was here, I was in junior high. I don’t remember any of it, to be honest. So it was nice to go with new eyes. I spent a lot of my time in the mammal halls, looking at the lifelike displays. I arrived pretty early, so at times I’d have whole rooms all to myself.
The dinosaurs exhibits were very impressive, as is the gemstones section. There are so many gemstones there! I wish I’d spent more time there so I could do some sketches…
As a souvenir, the museum is doing a collaboration with Hello Kitty, so I bought a Hello Kitty tee that says “Let’s Go Find Dinosaurs!” It’s super cute.
Just before lunch it started to get crowded with families and students on their field trips, so it was just the right time to eat lunch.
Drove to Mitsuwa, a Japanese supermarket with food court and other shops, in Torrance for some katsudon (pork cutlet bowl). Ever since seeing katsudon on Yuri On Ice, I’ve been addicted. Also bought some matcha tea from Lupicia and groceries from the market (love those individually packaged rice crackers and instant ramen for those days when I feel especially lazy).
Most Mitsuwas have a bookstore or stationery shop attached, and that, my friend’s is my downfall. I love a good stationery shop. I carry my Hobonichi planner and Traveler’s Notebook everywhere I go and a whole slew of pens and pencils. I bought a journal refill for my Traveler’s Notebook, an erasable highlighter pen, cool binder clips, and two Pentel Aquash water brush pens in fine and medium.
After Mitsuwa, I headed over to Barnes and Noble in the Del Amo Fashion Center. I check every month if they have Flow, a Dutch magazine that promotes creativity and mindfulness and includes lovely paper inserts and illustrations. They didn’t have it, luckily I found it at another Barnes and Noble later in the day. Also did some light shopping at Macy’s and Uniqlo.
Wanted to unwind with some coffee so I went to Civil Coffee in Highland Park. I love their decor and their coffee is great too!
All in all, it was a nice day out despite not being able to go to the concert. I really enjoy going out on weekdays since there’s less people around. There’s also this naughty feeling to it knowing I should be at work (don’t worry I asked for this free day a long time ago). If I can do this at least once every season, I’m a happy camper.
If you could take everything I love about romantic comedies and marry it with everything I love about underdog athletes in sports films, you would get something like the anime, Yuri On Ice, my latest obsession.
After falling in last place in a major competition and suffering a nervous breakdown, 23 year old Japanese figure skater Yuuri Katsuki leaves his training rink and coach in Detroit after graduating college and returns to his family’s inn and spa in his hometown of Hasetsu, Japan.
Within days of his arrival, he garners the attention of his hero and idol the 27 year old Russian skater Victor Nikiforov, after a viral video is released (without Yuuri’s knowledge) of Yuuri performing Victor’s gold medal routine flawlessly . Victor sees the video and shows up at Yuuri’s onsen, offering to be Yuuri’s coach.
I love how Yuuri and Victor’s relationship blossoms. Their unequal footing brings about many comedic moments as Yuuri is still a fanboy and in shock that his idol would coach him. Yuuri has worked most of life to skate on the same ice as Victor, but his anxiety has held him back in many ways. It’s a fascinating dynamic–they bicker, they comfort each other, they grow closer with each day. I love this series’ journey as Yuuri becomes a more confident skater with Victor’s coaching. It’s probably one of my favorite romances in a long time.
I’m glossing over a lot of amazing characters such as the 15 year old Yuri Plitesky who also vies to be the only best ice skater named Yuri, and the many other skaters from all over the world who are all well rounded and unique. The skating sequences are also fun and spellbinding, each with its own unique soundtrack.
The series is so heartfelt and funny, and the progression of the character’s arcs feel so real–Yuuri is not in top form right away, no one really is, which is probably why I loved it so much. And there’s an amazing plot twist in episode 10! It’s why I’ve watched it twice in Japanese already, the plot twist paints the series in a whole new light. I’m working my way through the English dubbed version as well.
It’s been a while since I wrote a Crush post (or any post, in general). It felt appropriate and timely to feature my crush Keanu Reeves since his latest film, John Wick: Chapter Two came out this weekend. I loved every minute of it, and I’m already planning on seeing it again. No spoilers here, but here’s a re-cap of the first film.
John is an assassin pulled out of retirement when he goes on a revenge spree to avenge the death of his dog, a gift from his wife who had just passed away. Oh, and they also stole his beloved car. It’s super violent and shot well with long takes on a super steady camera. None of that Jason Bourne shaky cam. And seriously, look at that swagger out of the first film, John Wick. How does he make black turtlenecks look so badass?
His character is a man of few words and all action. I loved the fight sequences and the ornate set design in this underground world of international assassins.
Keanu Reeves really committed to this role, and I’m crushing so hard on his badassery. It’s hard to believe that at over 50 years old, he can do the moves and stunts he does and look amazing doing them, what a babe.