Monday, January 11, 2016

Hello 2016, It's Me!

Sunrise and the Bay Bridge

2015 was somewhat of a rollercoaster for me, and my wish is that 2016 will be more stable and as full of travel as the previous year. I also just decided to make a 30 by 30 list. I love challenges, and getting a list down on paper will help motivate me when I'm sitting around feeling like there's nothing to do. Let's go!

  1. Alcatraz night tour. Went on the day tour with my mom a few years ago, and it was so fun! I would love to see the views at night though.
  2. Visit Antelope Canyon. 
  3. Flower arrange at least once a month. (Did this with my co-workers last night and I loved it! Also, great memories from working at Farmgirl Flowers last year!)
  4. Picnic. Something I did at Central Park maybe once or twice in the 5 years I lived in NYC. I would love to have a fancy picnic with rosé, lots of cheeses, and fruits. 
  5. Visit Palm Springs.
  6. Go down to L.A. At least twice. The food! The sun! The beach! Happiness.
  7. Dine at Le Bernardin in NYC.
  8. Host a party at my tiny apartment.
  9. Visit Big Sur.
  10. Learn to feel okay about staying in one place for a while.
  11. Visit Austin and eat my heart out.
  12. Add another restaurant to my short list of favorite restaurants in the world.
  13. Send more cards or letters to friends and family.
  14. Hike in Yosemite.
  15. Bring my bf to Monterey.
  16. Make fancy cocktails at home.
  17. Explore more neighborhoods in SF.
  18. Take a cable car ride.
  19. Blog more regularly.
  20. Continue to say aloud what I'm grateful for every day.
  21. See a broadway show. (Wicked in SF? Book of Mormon in NYC?)
  22. Arrange regular dinner dates with friends.
  23. Treat my parents and grandma to a really cool experience. Travel? Dinner? Staycation?
  24. Get back into photography. Be willing to bring around my heavy camera even though it's heavy.
  25. Bake more. Doughbies has been dangerous for me.
  26. Finish decorating the apartment. This means getting prints done at Artifact Uprising, hanging art up, and deciding on a shower curtain.
  27. Save, save, save. 2015 was an expensive year, and towards the end I started getting back on track with my finances, and getting really interested in the stock market. Now I just have to stay on track.
  28. Experience a hot air balloon ride.
  29. Plan a big trip to be taken this year or the next.
  30. Hike to a waterfall.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

L.A. for a Weekend

Has it really been over a month since I last posted here? Oops. During that time I moved apartments, made a lot of trips to IKEA, yelled at West Elm's customer service many times, and started cooking again! Good times.

More importantly, the bf and I went down to LA and Newport Beach last weekend to attend a friend's wedding, and everything was so perfect-- the weather, the wedding, the food...

Looking up right after parking the car

Gjusta's gorgeous open space

Baklava croissant at Gjusta

Pizza at Gjelina

Pretty water and paddle boarders at Laguna Beach 

The loveliest lunch at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach

Sunset views from the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach

Once our trip was booked, the first item I put on my list was Gjelina. I'd been wanting to try it since my last visit down to LA over a year ago. Although I couldn't get a reservation, we were lucky enough to be seated pretty quickly. I love that the pizza is served with a side plate of chili peppers, parmesan, and oregano, and I plan to do that when I make pizza at home later this month.

Gjusta was perfect for an early breakfast after our flight arrived LAX at 7am. This spacious juice bar/deli/bakery is beautiful, with skylights and an open kitchen, while the outdoor area is just as charming. I really wanted to stay put all morning there. The baklava croissant is a must-try!

We had the loveliest lunch with my aunt at Las Brisas, an upscale Mexican restaurant in Laguna Beach. The best window seats are given on a first come first serve basis, so make sure to go early! The steak salad tostada was so good-- juicy, tender, huge.

Our friends' wedding at Pelican Hill Resort was beyond amazing. Every detail, every dress the bride wore, and the delicious food... (mac and cheese! lobster corn dog!). The hotel is massive, and felt like a Las Vegas hotel but in a very good way. Water, sunset, greenery. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bali: The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

The past few months have been quite hectic but so much fun! At the end of June I went back to Hong Kong for a bit, then on to Bali to attend my best friend's beautiful wedding at Khayangan Estate in Uluwatu. My mom and grandma then flew back to San Francisco with me, and spent a month here. So much good food and family time.

For my recent visit to Bali, we looked for a Starwood hotel, and although I really wanted to stay at the W Hotel, it was a few hundred US dollars more per night than The Laguna Resort. I ended up being very happy with The Laguna Resort, and can't wait to return one day!

The open air lobby where you can sit anywhere, and a member of the front desk staff will come over to you to process the check in

Tasty and refreshing welcome drinks and cold towels (cold towels are one of my favorite things)

The pool seems to wind all throughout the hotel, and never felt too crowded.

Plenty of lounge chairs, the clearest ocean water, and none of those people constantly trying to sell you things while on the beach.

Lagoon access rooms on the ground floor of this hotel block

Cabanas are spread out over the property and available for rent

Banyubiru, the restaurant where International and Asian cuisines are served. The outdoor seating offers lagoon and garden views

We were upgraded from a deluxe garden room to a deluxe lagoon access room (3 tiers higher) at check in, but we never took advantage of jumping into the pool from the balcony. I thought the main pool was nicer, as it has prettier landscaping (palm trees and such) and a closer proximity to the beach, so on second thought, a higher floor room with a view (ocean or garden) would've probably been more enjoyable. In addition to its guest rooms, The Laguna Resort also offers villas with private pools.

The breakfast buffet at Banyubiru was nothing short of amazing, and I'm glad, because Asian hotels are known for having the best buffets. There's also a discount for SPG members. There are several restaurants on the premises, and above the beachfront restaurant, there were tiny lamps hanging from the trees. A lovely romantic option for couples! 

Overall a perfect stay with yet another SPG hotel. 

Kawasan Pariwisata 
Nusa Dua Lot N2 
Bali, 80363, Indonesia

SPG category 4

Rooms from US$215+

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

San Francisco City Tour By Car

San Francisco is a great city to live in after experiencing LA and NYC. LA requires way more driving and traffic than I can stand, and NYC's subway is so gritty. I like that SF is relatively small and very walkable (minus the crazy hills), and that when I do go somewhere farther, $7 Uberpool makes for a cheap and very convenient ride. After talking to a lot of friends, it seems that most people who do own cars in SF don't actually use them on a daily basis, but more for weekends. Street parking is difficult, and there is a lot of car window bashing and theft. The point of this ramble is that when my friend Natalie rented a car for a few days during her visit to SF, we took full advantage and hit up some of my favorite spots very quickly and efficiently. A car does come in handy in the city once in a while!

Waffle at Golden Coffee Shop

Lombard Street Views

Palace of Fine Arts
Golden Gate Bridge from Sausalito

  • My sister is so lucky to have Golden Coffee Shop right in her neighborhood. It's such a great diner run by a Chinese husband and wife team. There's a U-shaped bar that makes up the bulk of the seating here, and it's fun to be able to watch all the cooking, and to easily get someone's attention if you need anything! The food is cheap and delicious. The waffle is a must, and the bacon is always dry and crispy. Mmm...
  • It got nice and sunny as we finished up breakfast at Golden Coffee Shop, so we headed over to Lombard Street, the famous crooked street in Russian Hill that is lined by the most beautiful houses and flowers. The water and city views from this hill are stunning. 
  • Palace of Fine Arts in the marina district is the perfect place for a picnic. But we weren't hungry, so we just went to walk around, take in the architecture, and gawk at the beautiful houses. 
  • Vista Point (Conzelman Road) in Sausalito is the perfect spot for shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. It's off of the last exit in Sausalito before heading back into SF. If you have time, go to Fish for the best crab roll ever.
  • Natalie and I headed back into the city after taking pictures, and went straight to Ike's Place (in the mission), my favorite sandwich shop in SF. There are more choices than you could ever need, but make sure to try the Menage a Trois on the dutch crunch roll-- BBQ, cheddar, halal chicken, honey mustard, pepper jack, honey, and swiss. The sandwiches are BIG here. We shared one and were perfectly full.
  • Very conveniently, Bi-Rite Creamery is just a 5 minute walk from Ike's Place, and is home to the best ice cream! Since it was kind of windy that day, we were pleasantly surprised with a line of only 5 people! So good, and the dark colored wall outside the shop makes for a very nice backdrop for Instagram photos. 

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