Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thailand, Vietnam, and China

Tiger Temple- Thailand

Thai Boxing

Elephant trekking in Thailand

Climbing around in Pai, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Full Moon Party, only part of the beach, Koh Phangnan, Thailand
Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam
Halong Bay, Vietnam

Hong Kong by day
Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Peak

Hanging out with our friend in Guangzhou, China

I had to take a jumping picture!

I hope you've enjoyed taking a small look in to my travels, it was hard to just choose a few pictures because so much was done and seen.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Only A Backpack

For the past six months my husband and I had been trying to figure out what to do in the summer. We knew we wanted to spend a month away somewhere, but not exactly sure what that place would be. For a few months we decided that we would go inter railing through Europe, but then we had an even better idea. We booked our tickets to go backpacking in South East Asia two weeks before the departure date. 

We were beyond excited, it was the perfect plan. The original idea was to travel Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and a week in the south of China to spend some time with a close friend. We knew it was ambitious but thought we could pull it off. Our first stop was Bangkok, my first experience staying in a hostel. Luckily, it was a very nice and modern hostel, air condition and all. I started to think it won't be too hard "roughing" it for the next few weeks. To make a long story short, that was the nicest hostel we stayed in. Not that we stayed in bad places, they were all clean, for the most part. But it was definitely an experience. The weirdest part of it was not being able to share a bed with my husband, for almost a year now I'm used to him being right next to me. Most nights it was a struggle to sleep, but soon we realised it wasn't much more to get a private room in the hostel so we started to do that. 

I don't even know where to begin to talk about the actual trip itself, as in what we saw and did. We ended up spending just under 3 weeks in Thailand because we were enjoying it so much. We trekked on elephants, got to hold a tiger's head, trekked to waterfalls and up mountains, rode scooters in the mountain, stayed in a hut, went island hopping, and of course went to the full moon party. Our adventures in Vietnam consisted of buying silk, getting a tailor made suit, seeing a new wonder of the world, trying not to get run over, and once again riding scooters through the mountains and rice paddies. It was awesome. We stepped away from the world we are used to and its luxuries to really delve in to something completely different. We did what we wanted when we wanted to. 

I have never travelled like this. Half of the places we went to were small towns, no chain stores or restaurants. We didn't do any tours because we wanted to explore things at our own pace. Of course we bought things along the way, mainly clothes, but we kept to just a backpack each. My husband and I usually overpack for everything, but for once we made sure not to. The main shopping happened when we were in Guangzhou, China. We literally shopped till we dropped. If you're looking to buy some really trendy, good quality, and moderately priced clothes and accessories then go to Guangzhou.

I am so thankful to have had this experience, and I am sure it won't be the last. I think every few years we will do a backpacking trip to really get to the roots of a place, not the resorts and glam. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Going away donuts

One of our brothers recently came back from the Philippines where is he working on a project to help tsunami victims (check out his blog here). His departure had coincided with the weekend of our parent's anniversary and my recent addiction to baking. So I decided the best way to send him off was to bake him some donuts.

I have never fried donuts at home. Something in my heart tells me I would mess it up. I rationalize my fear by telling myself that baking is healthier anyways. These donuts have a wonderful cakey texture and come together pretty easily.  An added bonus is that this recipe helped me conquer my culinary fear of brown butter. Guys, brown butter is amazing. It adds so much depth to the spicy apple flavor of these morsels. Also, don't skimp on that glaze. Although lovely on their own these babies glory that extra sweetness. Can you tell I love this recipe? I have made it so many times now.

Apple Cinnamon baked Donuts with Brown Butter Glaze (adapted from Joy the Baker)

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground corrainder
pinch of ground cumin
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peeled, grated apple

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
3-4 tbsp whole milk

1. Preheat over to 350 and lightly grease donut pan
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice, salt and brown sugar with a whisk and set aside
3. Place a small saucepan on medium heat and melt all the butter (including what is needed for the glaze). Once the butter has melted reduce the flame to low. The butter will crackle as the water evaporates and then start to brown. Once it begins to smell nutty remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Keep a close eye on the butter. My first time it took me a few tries to get this right as it brown quickly.
4. In another bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of brown butter
5. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mix
6. Gently fold in the grated apple
7. Fill the donut pans using a spoon about 2/3 of the way full (about 2 tbsp per cavity)
8. Bake for 8-10 minutes
9. Place donuts on a wire rack to cool while making the glaze
10. Whisk together the sugar, salt and cinnamon
11. Add 2 tbsp brown butter, vanilla extract and milk
12. Frost the donuts by dipping them in the bowl and then pulling them out using a twirling motion
13. Put the donuts in the fridge for 10-15 min to harden the glaze

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sunday Bliss

Sunday is the day we slow down and really appreciate what is around us.  When we catch up with ourselves after a busy week. 

Yummy in my tummy. -T

Spending some time in Chatel. -M

Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Journal

Last week T and I were having a conversation about how sometimes we get down in to a bit of a funk. I'm sure it happens to all of us, you just feel down on yourself and on top of the fact that there's probably a million things going on in your life at the same time. We both firmly believe that you truly are your biggest critic. No one is meaner to you than you, yourself. It's really a silly thing to be honest, there's plenty of others out there trying to bring you down so why bring yourself down? Luckily, T and I have each other and great family and friends to support us. But I thought there's no one better to make myself feel better than me! I've decided to start a happy journal. Every night before bed I will write down at least one thing or thought that made me happy that day. So whenever I am feeling a little down, I can go back and remind myself what makes me happy.

I haven't just chosen any journal to do this in. Last year I went to the Harry Potter studios in London, which was amazing! My husband bought me Tom Riddle's journal; I have been saving it for something special. This journal is perfect for my happy journal, especially since it's from Adam.


Sunday Bliss

Sunday is the day we slow down and really appreciate what is around us.  When we catch up with ourselves after a busy week.

Sorry for missing the past few weeks, things have been so hectic lately!

Looks like someone wants my phone. -T

I spent the whole evening in my robe. -M

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Forever Valentine

This most recent February 14th my husband and I celebrated our first married Valentine's Day. It was actually, the second one we've spent together ever since our relationship was mainly long distance. I'm not a huge supporter of this so called holiday, I believe you should treat your significant other with love and respect all the time. You shouldn't need an excuse to do something nice for one another. On the other hand, it is a nice excuse to get dressed up and go for a nice dinner.

Adam woke up me with a sweet little breakfast in bed. We both start our day around 8 a.m, he needs to get to work and I need to get in to the studio. It ended up being a slow day, not many people were around in the studio so I asked Adam to pick me up around noon and I spent the day at the office with him trying to get ready for my up and coming assessment.

Once we got home I began getting ready by taking a shower and picking out a simple red dress. I took extra time with doing my makeup, I wanted to look perfect. I normally don't wear makeup on a day to day basis, so it takes me some time when I do. I did a simple eyeliner and a nice red lipstick. I kept my hair natural and wavy. To dress up my simple dress I wore a big necklace and a rose gold watch. I didn't bother with earrings, I have so much hair so they are usually never seen anyway.

Adam and I enjoyed a fun lobster dinner at a place called Steak and Lobster. I have never actually had to crack the shells open, and neither had he, so that was an experience. The food was great but of course the company was greater.

It was really nice to have a relaxed night with the one I care about. We easily get caught up in our own lives and forget to take care of our hearts. Even though we see each other all the time, and have been together for just under three and a half years; we never run out of things to say. Sure, plenty of stories are repeated, but that's the fun of it. It was a night full of laughter and happiness.

Dress: New Look, Necklace: H&M, Watch: Fossil, Lipstick: Red Carpet by Bobbi Brown