Tag Archives: vacation

Easy, Breezy…

8 Jun

Two weeks ago, I took a quick trip back to California. Despite the ridiculous flight delay that had me grounded at JFK for 6 hours (on the runway! 6 hours!), I am so glad I went. A little dose of sunshine and a whole lot of love welcomed me and I spent my 5-day vacation catching up with family + friends.

Being away from my loves for 5 months really took its toll on me. Once home, I started questioning my decision to live in New York.

California is so easy. No subway, no evil characters. All my loved ones here. People who I have known for decades live here. How can I be away from them?

It didn’t help that once I got back to the city, I had to deal with a possible bug problem that left me in a hotel, depleting my impending vacation savings for Australia. Suffice to say, I was NOT a happy camper.

But these past few days I made sure to catch up with my friends here who matter most. Just talking with them and hearing their own troubles makes me feel like what I am going through is normal.

Let me be frank: New York is hard. Crazy hard. It’s dirty, rude, gritty, and challenging. But it can also be magical, rewarding, astounding, and exciting.

You could say I am in a love/hate relationship with NYC. Like a typical girl, I keep coming back for me ;)

Anyways, while home, I made this simply Strawberry Cake. Can I tell you a secret? I cheated and used Trader Joes Vanilla Bean Cake Mix. I often hesitate to buy cake mix because the flavors are muted and it tastes like cardboard. However, this mix was steller. Moist and natural, I would gladly use it again. For the frosting, I used this one that I love so much. Since you are using real strawberry preserves, you can actually taste the real bits of strawberry in the frosting.  I can’t wait to buy this mix again and pair it with other frostings and flavors. Anybody up for a funfetti cake?!

 

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Tales from the Road

23 Jun

What can I possibly say that will sum up my recent trip to Los Angeles? Sometimes, it is hard to put an experience in to words.

You know what I mean? I guess the one word that captures my trip is fun. Good, clean, solid fun. First of all, I should tell you that Linda from ButterSugarFlour is the sweetest, craziest, most lovable girl around. I swear, if could, I’d steal her away. Unfortunately, her family and friends probably want her in Australia. I will have to be content with the week we spent running around Los Angeles.

First of all, everyone says it but, LA traffic is the worst. It can’t be compared to anything else in this world. I don’t know how you Angelenos deal with it. I would go mad! No matter the time, there is always traffic. But you endure it because the Los Angeles is a city meant to be explored in the car. And explore we did. We visited practically every neighborhood in Los Angeles, with some minor exceptions. My favorite area has to be Venice because of its lowkey vibe and cute shops. But we spent most of our time in Santa Monica and West Hollywood where we ate to our hearts content.

We both fell in love with Huckleberry Café located in Santa Monica. Bright and busy, the café boasts a menu for all eaters. Their pastries are fresh and gorgeous while their savory egg dishes leave you completely satisfied. I’m a big people-watcher and this café is the perfect venue for that.

Another place we enjoyed was Joan’s on Third in Mid-City. It reminds me of a smaller version of the famed Dean and Deluca markets. Fresh salads, gourmet sandwiches, and eye-catching desserts. We tried the Vanilla and Raspberry Cupcake, Broiled Lemon Tart, and Snickers cake. The Snickers cake was by far the best thing I have had in a while. Layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse with a crunchy nut topping. Seriously, it was heavenly. I’d like to recreate it sometime soon. Also, the lemon tart was tart and sweet in the best way. Their tart dough was light and salty and the lemon filling tasted like pure lemon. The vanilla cupcake wasn’t dry (thank god) and the frosting was exactly how I like it. Not too buttery, sweet, and light.

For dinner, we enjoyed Pizzeria Mozza, a casual restaurant owned by Mario Batali. The menu has a plethora of pizza choices that will please everyone. We had the Fennel Sausage pizza, and while the toppings were divine, it was the pizza dough that won me over. Crispy, thin, and melt-in-your-mouth good.

We also had the pleasure of meeting two fine ladies: Joy and Terilyn. They are both as sweet as can be and I’m glad we were all able to talk for a bit. (By the way, Teri is a lovely photographer and her portfolio is worth checking out.)

Before Linda departed, I introduced her to some of our most “tasty” American foods. She had some Cheezits, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Hostess cupcakes, ding-dongs, and ho-hos. Also, we had an ice-cream tasting test of the finest ice cream we could fine: Ben & Jerrys Chunky Monkey, Half-Baked, Triple Caramel Chunk. Suffice to say, we saluted our spoons to friendship and the crazy world of the internet for bringing us together.

I’m a little bummed that my partner-in-crime has left me but I know that our paths will cross soon. Till then, I can always look back at these pictures and recall our crazy outings.

Road Tripping, Part II

20 Jun

Road Tripping, Part I

15 Jun

Too tired and suffering from post-vacation blues to write a proper post. Instead, I have planned a nice set of photo posts for you all. I promise to write a big summary for you all in due time… Till then…

Summer Break

7 Jun

You will have to forgive me but I am a little preoccupied. You see, a very fun Aussie is in town and we are hitting the road.

On Sunday, we met up for a little blogger meet up and guess who showed her pretty face? My favorite lady, Tracy from Shutterbean. We gabbed about all kinds of things while downing some yummy cocktails. I’ve got some major love for that lady.

Anyways, Linda and I plan on taking Los Angeles by storm. I plan on parking my butt on the beach everyday with a cocktail in hand. Be back sometime next week, hopefully thoroughly relaxed and a little sunburned.

Latin America love

21 Apr

Lately, I’ve been dreaming about vacationing in South America. It’s strange because I normally tend to lean towards Europe but there is something about South America’s lush beauty and vibrant energy that is drawing me in. I particularly want to explore Brazil and Argentina where the culture is thriving and electric.

1. Passeio ao vento, 2. Parque Lage – Lage Park, 3. Igreja de São Francisco Xavier Church Tijuca Teto ceiling Rio de Janeiro, 4. Quem é melhor?
Many say Rio De Janeiro is the Paris of the Southern Hemisphere and after seeing photos, I agree. Who could say no to late nights out at salsa clubs or lazy days spent at the beach? Since a trip like this is out of my price range for now, I must settle for my dreams and lovely photos…

Have any of you been to South America? What was experience like? Tell me all the juicy details!

Only in San Francisco

6 Nov

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The best part about living in Northern California is the proximity to the great attractions in California. I’m only a couple of hours away from the gorgeous Sierra Nevadas and the sparkling skyscrapers in San Francisco.  Unfortunately, my crazy work schedule has cut down on my day trips, but next week, I’m heading out on a fun girls trip to San Francisco. When the folks at Six Apart Media and the San Francisco Vistor’s Bureau contacted me about being a part of their Shop SF Bloggers campaign, I immediately said yes.

San Francisco will always hold a special part in my heart. I can remember the first time I traveled over the terrifying steel Bay Bridge, my eyes widening as a houses perched on hills and tall buildings slowly appeared. Throughout the years, I continued to visit the city, taking in the sights and sounds of this adventurous city. By far, the most memorable trip to San Francisco was in high school. My friends and I decided to ditch class and head out to the city, all by ourselves. We hopped on the subway, and spent a day just running around. In retrospect, it was pretty reckless, and my mom never found out (until now) but it was a great day that I won’t ever forget.

 

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I’ve already got some plans for next weekend. I’ve got a couple of tickets to see the “Wicked”, one of my favorite musicals ever. I also plan on doing some shopping and eating. If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments section. A trip to Miette and hopefully the Bi-Rite creamery are a must. I might get crazy and head over to Tartine too. Plan on some live blogging action next weekend as I spill all the details about my trip!

coastal california

10 Aug

It’s official: I’ve fallen even more in love with Northern California’s coast. Steep cliffs, sandy beaches, endless stretches of quiet highway. This past weekend, I soaked up the sun, ate some yummy pastries from my favorite Capitola bakery, Gayle’s, FINALLY finished “The Time Traveler’s Wife” which was so good I almost cried and saw “Julie & Julia”. Meryl Streep can do no wrong, and it was nice to see a movie that captured a fine and intelligent woman who had so much charisma and personality. Plus, I love Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams, so I knew I’d like it.

Also, I snapped so many pictures that I think it will take me at least a week to edit them all. I have some delicious recipes in the wings, so stay tuned. For more pictures of my weekend, visit my flickr photostream.

beach bound

26 May

I spent the holiday weekend in one of my favorite places in the world, Santa Cruz, CA. I needed just one day to clear my head and relax, which is exactly what I did.

I drank some coffee, laid out in the sun, ate some yummy sushi, and people-watched.

 

A little further south is the colorful Capitola Village. Out of all the places in the world, I’d die to have a summer home in Capitola, CA more. Some place to relax, bask in the sunlight, and hear the ocean waves every morning and night. I am planning on visiting Capitola and Santa Cruz a lot in the future.

melting away

6 Jul

Tons of pictures currently lay waiting in my computer. Recipes and stories are being held hostage.

Why?

Because the heat kills all motivation.

It’s 102 degrees outside right now. That’s unbearable. I woke up this morning, sweating already. Talk about disgusting. I guess I shouldn’t complain so much, considering I savoured the blue skies and open beach yesterday in Santa Cruz, CA.

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