Wednesday, July 30, 2014

photo diary #28

New and old-ish photos as of late. Lots of adventures around the island and Lanikai being one of our favorites. The water is so incredibly clear and crisp. Each time I look at the photos, I just want to jump in to cool off especially with this Ewa Beach kind of heat. Since we've been doing a lot of cooking at home, we went to Costco the other day and bought 25 pounds of flour and have been attempting from scratch. I am the worst baker in the world and cooking is just not for me but I decided to challenge myself and attempted to make a coconut cake with coconut cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut. The boyfriend loved it and if he loves it, then I did a pretty good job! My brother also made pasta from scratch instead of using store bought pasta and there's no going back to store bought. Fresh pasta is the way to go. It was incredibly good. 

After months of trying to find the secret beach cave for like forever now, we finally found it! I kind of knew what part of the island it's located but the funny story is, we went looking for it last week and we went the opposite way of the cave and walked for an hour in the hot sun looking for it. Then after inspecting a video, I realized that the rocks were different and that they were the other way from where we started. Fail. So we went back this week and it took only 5 minutes to get to it. But we found it! But I'm not revealing the location, its a secret cave after all. You'll just have to come with me to see it for yourself. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

happy birthday charles

Happy Birthday to the man I love. You are an incredible person and I hope you get everything you dreamed of and more! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

photo diary #27: curry the yorkie

Curry the Yorkie is now an island dog! So far, he's been adjusting (slowly) but the people on this island LOVE Curry. He gets soooo much attention. We always get stopped by people. Always. Whenever we walk Curry in our community, people always stop and ask about him. A lot of times, they think he's a puppy and when we tell them that he's 6 years old, they seem really surprised! He's really small so I can see why. People love to pet Curry as well. Some people know how to approach Curry so he's really nice to them but Curry isn't too fond of people who just grab him. I always have to tell kids (even adults) to always hold out their hands so he can smell them first. But for the most part, a lot of people in our community know how to approach dogs because they too also own dogs. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

travel: portland september 2013

Here's another trip that we didn't plan on taking last year: Portland. I love traveling to new places and when I woke up one morning and found out that JetBlue was selling $55 one-way tickets to Portland, I could not pass up the opportunity. The problem was, I couldn't find a flight back at the price that was convenient for us so we booked a one-way and crossed our fingers that we could find a one-way back from Seattle (we figured we throw in Seattle in the mix because we were already near Seattle). Luckily, we found a one-way back on Virgin America. As soon as that was booked, we then booked a one-way bus ride on the Bolt Bus. If you buy it at the right time, you can get the bus fare for really cheap. For Charles, Kris, and myself, it cost us about $25 for all three. Super cheap right? 

So here's a list of the few things we did, see, and ate in the less than 24 hours that we were in Portland:

Where to stay
The Nines in Portland is a beautiful hotel to stay at. If you're familiar with the W hotels and the Sheratons, The Nines is in the same hotel company; Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The lobby is located on the 8th floor and when I say this is a beautiful hotel, I really mean it. The decor of the room was amazing with turquoise throughout the room. The bathroom was gorgeous with a cute vanity in the corner. The wallpaper was gorgeous. The whole room was gorgeous. Wish we had spent more time in this hotel room and we were there for only a night! Definitely will be staying here the next time I'm in Portland. 

When I think of Portland, I think of Voodoo Doughnuts. Maybe it's from The Travel Channel but that's the first thing that comes in mind. The Voodoo Doughnuts we went to was opened 24 hours (the 22 SW 3rd Ave) and there was a wait but it wasn't too long. This was the location that was closest to us. Ordered a bunch of doughnuts (or is it donut? I don't know) and I'll say it's worth a try if you're in Portland. When in Portland right?

After we landed in Portland and checked into our hotel room, Deschutes Brewery was one of the few restaurants opened that had really good reviews on Yelp. We walked quite a bit from our hotel room but it wasn't too bad of a walk. My brother likes to say that the burger he had here was the best that he has ever had. I'm not a beer person so I didn't get to try any but a good chunk of what they had were IPAs if you're into that kind of stuff. 

Mother's Bistro & Bar would have to be my favorite place to eat in Portland. Mother's is a cute, little place with delicious food. Charles ordered a stuffed frittata but the migas that I ordered was soooo good. The chipotle sour cream was on point but it was the salsa that completed the dish. I love the decor of the place (if you can't tell already, decor is something I really pay attention to everywhere I go) and we got wonderful service. 

One thing you'll notice about Portland (or Oregon for that matter) is how green it is. The Portland Japanese Garden was no exception. After we checked out of our hotel room and left our baggage with the front desk, we took a cab to the Portland Japanese Garden (and it definitely was an expensive cab ride), bought our tickets, and strolled the gardens. If you know me, I love Japanese gardens (actually all kinds of gardens) to the point that I was researching Japanese gardens in Japan. Yes, I have a few gardens I need to stop by when we go. There's a fee to get in but if you love gardens, I thought it was worth it. 

For my book-loving friends, this is the place to go! Powell's is incredibly huge. I ended up buying two books from here: The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior and The Little Book of Chanel by Emma Baxter-Wright. This place, like I said earlier, was massive. Took me awhile to find the books that I wanted (I actually was just looking for the fashion section in general to build my coffee table collection) but I had a lot of fun browsing around. 

We needed a place to hang out since we had to wait for our Bolt Bus to take us to Seattle. We decided to grab coffee and not surprisingly, the coffee was really good. The Pacific Northwest is known for their coffee so I wasn't too surprised that it was pretty good. 

If you're in Portland, definitely make a trip to Seattle if you haven't been. The Bolt Bus is a cheap alternative to getting yourself to Seattle (or vice versa; if you're ever in Seattle and never been to Portland, head out to Portland!). It was about three-ish maybe less hours to get to Seattle. It was comfortable, clean, and there was WiFi. But I didn't use it since I don't do well with cars and reading (hello motion sickness). We got to Seattle in a timely manner. No complaints from me. 

We were in Portland for less than 24 hours and it definitely did not give us enough time to explore the city. I wanted to eat at Pok Pok and all of the food stands but we just didn't have enough time (and when we did have time, the food stands were closed!). Tip: some of the best food stands close pretty early. There were also many, many restaurants that I wanted to try but couldn't. Definitely going back to Portland (not anytime soon, or maybe)!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

travel: new york january 2013

photos by Charles and myself with a Canon T2i

For our 10th year anniversary, Charles and I spent it in New York. The best part about this trip was that it was NYC Restaurant Week in New York. For my foodie friends who are familiar with DineLA, Restaurant Week is New York's version of a DineLA. I carefully looked over the list to see if there were any restaurants participating in NYC Restaurant Week that were also on my Yelp bookmarks and we got to dine at two restaurants during that week! 

Charles got food poisoning half way through the trip and we couldn't do much during the second half of the trip (and we saved everything for the last half of the trip!) so I don't have much to blog about except for the first part of the trip. 

Where to stay
When we do trips, we usually spend the first half at a really cheap (I mean, one to two star hotels kind of cheap like a sometimes-we're-scared-there's-going-to-be-bed-bugs kind of cheap) and then spend the second half at a pricier hotel. Luckily for this trip, we were able to stay the full week at the Eventi hotel, a Kimpton Hotel. It was our 10th year anniversary! Go big or stay home. This hotel has been on my list for hotels I wanted to stay in New York. 

Eventi Hotel was in a great location (although we had to walk a couple blocks to reach the subway). Our room was on the 15th floor. I loved this hotel due to their decor and the floor to ceiling windows. I love natural light and having floor to ceiling windows was a plus. The bed was comfy and did I mention yet that I love the decor? Yea, I loved it too much. 

I love Bumble and Bumble products (well Charles uses it more than I do) and decided to get a haircut at the location in the Meatpacking District. If you decide to get a haircut here, expect to pay a lot of money for a haircut. It ain't cheap. Still, it was an amazing experience getting a haircut here. The view is incredible from the salon. I'll definitely come back again!

This restaurant has since been closed since the end of last year because their lease ended but I really loved the concept of this restaurant. Because we were in New York during winter, it was called Park Avenue Winter and the restaurant changes each season: Park Avenue Spring, Park Avenue Summer, and Park Avenue Autumn. We decided to dine here for lunch since they were participating for NYC Restaurant Week. 

I don't remember what we ordered for the 3 course lunch (don't worry, I have already established that I need to bring a journal with me when I travel so I can accurately record what we ate at certain restaurants etc.) but I know that there was a filet mignon sandwich in there. 

We decided to try two restaurants on our actual anniversary. For lunch, we decided to eat at Gotham Bar and Grill. I've had Gotham Bar and Grill bookmarked on my Yelp for the longest and when I was browsing for restaurants for Restaurant Week, I noticed that Gotham Bar and Grill was on there! This place has been on my list especially since it has a Michelin Star (one star to be exact). Having dined at a Michelin Star restaurant is a big deal. Maybe I just watch too many cooking shows and such but I was really excited to eat here. 

Unfortunately, Charles got food poisoning the night before so he tried to enjoy his lunch as much as he could. The food was so delicious and again I am reminded that I need to bring a journal around so I can write down what we ate because I don't remember too much (especially with prix fixe menus since those are always changing) other than ordering a Gotham Burger which is on their regular lunch menu and not the Restaurant Week menu. I can tell you one thing about that burger; it was really good. I couldn't eat much of it though since I had to watch what I was eating (not due to diet purposes but medical reasons). 

For dinner, we made reservations for Morimoto but we had to cancel because Charles could not hold down his food and the rest of the trip was uneventful due to that. I tried to keep myself busy throughout the rest of the trip but I couldn't leave him in the hotel room by himself for too long. I do remember watching a Lakers game one night. I think we lost. Oh well.