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Thursday, April 10

Seattle Vacation Recap Day Two

This post continues recapping my Seattle trip that look place in October, 2013. For the first part, please see here

The next morning we woke up at 10am and moseyed about Pike Place Market.This is a place I've wanted to visit forever. As I explored the hustle and bustle of a Saturday morning, we found a lovely little Crumpet Shop to grab breakfast at. I SO RECOMMEND.

I had never really had a crumpet before and so I opted for a simple honey drizzle so I could taste the crumpet. The crumpet itself was a thick pancake texture (think if you made pancakes into buns). Moist and chewy inside and made with just really delicious bread. These were so deliciously spongey that they soaked up the honey perfectly. My boyfriend, however, had his sights set on much greater things. He ordered the Vermont Crumpet, it was topped with maple butter and pecans. We've actually worked on recreating the recipe at home. Stay tuned! 

From there, we found our vehicle again and headed to Vancouver. Most of the day was spent driving but once we reached Vancouver, it was nothing but great sights. First, I thought the city was amazing. I love the densely packed residential high rises. They reminded me of China. The first moment I laid eyes on them, I basically decided this was my new dream city, not Seattle. In addition to the seemingly perfect city life, we also saw Stanley Park. We only walked around on a bit of the Seawall and there were a ton of people and dogs out and about. The scenery was perfect... and I even stole a giant leaf! 

We didn't stay too long at Stanley Park because it ultimately got too chilly for us. So, we drove back inland and found Chinatown. Now, we printed directions from our hotel to Stanley Park and from our hotel to Chinatown, but not from Stanley Park to Chinatown. Navigation was an adventure... to say the least. This was a interesting Chinatown, complete with a red painted bridge. The standout of Chinatown in Vancouver, other than being the oldest Chinatown in Canada, was the restaurant. We ended up walking into a "random" restaurant. Our initial choice didn't work out and when we passed by Bao Bei, it looked like it had a lovely atmosphere... and the name sounded familiar to me from Yelp/Urbanspoon/Trip Advisor browsing. Not completely random, but unplanned. 

After being seated, I was pretty nervous about the restaurant. Posh environment, clean setting, nicely dressed wait staff... but didn't appear to be any Chinese people! The menu was filled with lovely cocktails and the menu was entirely in English. I'm fine with Chinese-America/fusion dining, but I had really wanted a home cooked meal taste in Chinatown. I didn't have to worry for long though, because when I read the menu, it had fairly traditional dishes that I don't often see.

First, we had the "cold starter". This is a cucumber dish that my mother makes a lot. However, Bao Bei's version included some chili oil which was a great addition. 

Kinda went crazy with this meal! Since we converted 100 dollars to Canadian Dollars, I was determined to spend it all on this meal! Our next course was Shao Bing. While I hate sesame seeds and thin buns, this was still a good dish. 

I got a wonton soup because I wanted something light as I'd been snacking on gummy bears and chips in the car the ENTIRE time. Finished off with Xiao Long Bao (not pictured) which were so, so average. Compared to the steamed frozen stuff I usually make, these were disappointingly dry.

The rest of the evening was spent driving back to Seattle! I think we spent the majority of this day in the car, but I still had a ton of fun chatting and everything we did outside of the car was entirely worth it!

Thursday, April 3

American Taco Shop

American Taco Shop has always been by my college... but I've never been. I've always regarded it as a small, dirty, hole in the wall place. When I went there, I found it I wasn't necessarily wrong. It was small. Despite a large, clear sign and its location at the corner of some major crossroads, it was hard to locate. Lastly.. while I was there... there were flies. 

However, there was something that was really awesome about the shop that made me love it. The fact that its atmosphere was not amazing only added to its charm. Somehow... it was more authentic. These two carne tacos came at a very low price (less than 6 dollars) and were made with delicious fresh ingredients. Each bite was crisp and refreshing. The meat worked wonderfully with the cool veggies to make each bite savory but light. American Taco Shop is a chain store (at least in AZ); I highly recommend you visit!

Monday, March 31

MLIAM: How Quickly the Months Pass

Wow. Just a few short months ago, I started my job. Time passes by so quickly! 

via weheartit
You know how the monthly favorites of every blogger and youtuber always starts with something along the lines of "I can't believe this month passed so quickly." I started noticing this a few years ago, but now I think this is such common knowledge that bloggers acknowledge it themselves (ex: I know everyone says this every month, but this month really went by too fast!) I found myself thinking... Why do people feel like time went by too fast? How do we prevent that from happening? Here are my thoughts on the subject. I hope you contribute yours. 

Time goes by too fast when we are not aware of what is going on. Time goes by too fast when you're busy, whether you're having fun or being stressed. How often have you been working hard, only to realize that the whole day has passed you by? On the other hand, when you're bored, you're not involved in anything and the time is passing by so slowly... but think about it. 

In one situation, you're aware of the time. When you're bored in fact, you're hyperaware of the time. I'm sure we've all sat in our seats at school waiting for the clock on the wall to show 3:00 so we can go home. Being bored though, is no solution. However, instead of hurrying about our lives with no awareness of time, I propose we should assess how we spend our time.

Every minute, every second is something we'll never have back again. Isn't that a frightening concept? The time I'm spending writing this post and the time you're spending reading is now lost forever. So... everything, from the time spent taking an afternoon nap to the job you spend 40 (60? 80?) hours at is time you will never, ever get back. Now, that's not to say you should not stop to enjoy yourself. After all, I strongly believe that time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted at all. However, given that time can and does pass us so quickly we should spend it on something we deem worthwhile. Whether that's 80 hours at a job, catching up on entire seasons of television shows or talking with friends. 

Does it seem like time passes you by too quickly? 
What do you do to stop that from happening?

Thursday, March 20

New Purse & SammyDress Review

The prices on this website can't be beat. There. I said it. Forget whatever qualms you have about quality with ordering from foreign sites because if you're looking for something trendy to wear for a season or two, you can order it from this website.

Let me start from the top. I'm sure that if money were no object, we'd have nice things all the time. But for most of us, money is an object. In fact, it's a huge obstacle in our goal to BUY ALL THE THINGS. So then there's a little give and take. You can buy less. You can buy cheaper items. You can wait for deals. Most of us choose a combination of these options. Nothing new here. I go cheap for items I use and abuse as well as items trendy, one season items. 

Scarf: Francesca (Gift)
Shirt: Urban Outfitters (Old)
Jeans: H&M (17.95)
Bag: SammyDress ($19.94)
Boots: Ross ($21.56) 

This black bag from Sammydress definitely fits into the use and abuse category. I've tried my hand with expensive bags, but there's just too much up keep for them to be worth the value. Maybe I'm too rough, but my 300 dollar bags and my 30 dollar bags go through similar wear and tear. 

While luxury brands continue to appeal to me, there's too much to worry about since none of the executives in my office carry such expensive items. So, cheap bags it is!

When I first opened this package up, the purse was disappointing. The outside of it is less structured than I had imagined; travel had made it quite misshapen. This disappointment was quickly overcome as it bounced back into shape when I was investigating the purse. 

The Appearance: It's a standard black color with gold zippers (a look that I love!). There's four gold metal feet on the bottom. The outside is covered in little bumps (which I don't usually like) but it looked so unique that it really appealed to me. 

 The Handling: The bag has two stiff handles that stick straight up. They're perfect for carrying in your hand, or elbow and even work for putting over your shoulder. There's also a longer strap that can be attached. I'm quite impressed with the long strap as it seems very sturdy. Broader straps are always more comfortable on your shoulder. Two points I dislike though. First: the hook pulls up the area of the purse it links to. Overtime, this probably won't be good for the purse and it's unsightly. See large picture above. Secondly, the handles attached to the purse stand up... they always stand up. It's a bit awkward if you are carrying it by the longer strap since it can flop out to the side (see third picture).

 The Compartments: This bag is an absolute goldmine of compartments. First, there are two compartments on each side of the bag. These have zippers. You can't fit too much in these comparments without misshaping the bag, but small snacks, cards or earphones would be perfect here. On the outside of each side of the bag are two pockets with fairly tight magnetic snap closures. The inside of the bag holds one big compartment with magnetic snap closures. If you put too much stuff in here (as I am prone to do since this is generally the only pocket I use), it will have trouble closing. However, I wanted a smaller bag to discourage myself from carrying my life around. Definitely in love with its storage capacity. 

Overall? Love it. I would order more purses from Sammydress in a heartbeat! They're stylish, good quality and affordable. 

Monday, March 3

Featuring... Color Contrasts

I've been absolutely loving color contrasts for work clothes. This new love is the result of two factors. First, I have a ton of black and grey in my work wardrobe. Second, I love bright colors in the summer. These two factors just don't jive, so I've been wanting to add more color to work!
Featuring... Color Contrasts

While I really like this outfit, I'm not sure how I want to add more color to work yet. I think I'd totally rock this outfit if I worked in fashion or maybe advertising. But I have a relatively conservative (though laidback) office so I don't want to strut in feeling like Elle Woods. 

What's a good way to incorporate some color into work wear without standing out?

Thursday, February 13

Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleanser and Night Cream Review

Today, I'm bringing you two reviews on skincare, something that I'm trying to get more into lately. I think I harm my skin a lot with makeup; a lot goes on my skin and there's a lot of pulling and tugging. In order to heal from that, I've started really trying to be good about skincare! I picked up these Aveeno moisturizers after a particularly long day at work. 

The Aveeno Cleanser is a pearly liquid that leaves my face the tiniest bit tingly after application. It doesn't make my face feel squeaky clean, nor does it dry me out. It does a good job of cleaning out my pores and even removing makeup. The cleanser was more of an impulse purchase... I wasn't 100% sure that I needed it and now that I have it, I'm still not sure that I need it. It is not standout amoung the cleansers that I have used. The smell, while slightly perfumed, does not linger and is not offensive. 

The Aveeno Night Cream is very thick. The first time I overapplied because I underestimated how thick it would be. However, despite overapplying, it still absorbed within a reasonable time. I'm wondering how I've lived without this for so long. After applying this at night, I wake up in the morning and my skin is soft. It's unlike my skin's EVER been. It's actually touchablly soft. Now, this is the first thick night cream that I've tried so I don't have much to compare it to. However, the difference it makes in my skin is noticible... so I can't help but to love it. Highly recommend this product!

Thursday, February 6

Olive and Ivy - Oldtown Scottsdale Restaurant Review

Okay, I think I've pretty much tried all the Fox Restaurants in the Valley that I want to try. For my other reviews on this chain of restaurants, see my reviews on Modern SteakCulinary Dropout and True Food.

This last restaurant? Olive and Ivy. Olive and Ivy is located next to a few other Fox Restaurants in Scottsdale, but it is a tad pricer, which is why I haven't visited before. However, my boyfriend made surprise reservations one night! 

We really splurged on the exotic. This is the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin. It's served with spaghetti squash and tomato agrodolce which is a sweet tomato sauce. It was really delicious. I don't have pork tenderloin often and I never have it with any of these fancy sauces. 

And random artsy photos.

This is my dish, the veal and spinach ravioli with parmesan and mizuna. This was a relatively small dish, which is just as well, because if it had been any bigger, it would have been too rich. The ravioli was the perfect texture and a lovely two bites. The sauce here was amazing too. If I had a piece of bread, I would have cleaned my plate. (I think I attempted to clean my plate anyways.)
Overall, good restaurant, but just not within my day to day price range!