Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy New Year (x2)!

Happy 2011 and Year of the Rabbit!
It's been a long time, but for good reason- visitors and vacation! I will update that later but first I thought it would be fun to do a photo re-cap of what an amazing year 2010 really was.

January-March 2010
Working as a behavior therapist and completed my first year with the company. Also began a season of adventures!

April-June 2010
Finished up behavior therapy work, re-organizing life, deciding to take job in China, packing and last minute vacations.

beach bonfire!
Vegas baby!
parents visit to LA before China

July- September 2010
Began getting settled in Shanghai, apartment, friends and
knowing the huge bustling city and what it's like to live amongst the Chinese..

summer crew
Hangzhou with Jenny

October-December 2010
Months of travel, trips included: Vietnam, Beijing and Huangshan as well as first visitors in December!

Vietnam with Jenny and Ben. Amazing trip.
Birthday din!
Huangshan with parents and Kelly. Beautiful and so nice to be out of the city. What a trek though!

Start of a new year: January 2011

mid-Jan Thailand getaway. Amazing.

Although it's already February and I've missed even the Chinese New Year: here's to a great year and full of even more travels, memories and adventures and to all my amazing friends and family both here and across the sea.


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Merry Christmas!

I have been lagging in the blogging world... been busy with getting ready for visitors. I finally get to see my parents and friend after 6 months and show them around this vast city. Definitely looking forward to it!

It has been just about half a year of being in Shanghai. That is something my head hasn't wrapped around yet. Crazy.

Anyway, here are a few pics of the 'Hai over the past month-ish..

Jenny and I took a trip to Century Park- beautiful and huge.
Looking over the river at sunset

Bridge and balloons in the Montreal section of the Park.

Pearl tower and Mao statue on the Bund

Busy streets.. everyone loves their bikes

And of course, I found Santa!

Right now I am listening to 'Santa Baby' on KOST radio station which is an LA station that plays Christmas music throughout Nov/ Dec. Getting in the holiday mood. It doesn't feel like it could possibly be Christmas in a few days! We have had a day of snow here which stayed for the
day.. and there are a few lights and trees up at the malls. Also, the entrance of the apartment building is decorated. Regardless of all of this, and friends leaving town to go home for the holidays, it doesn't seem like Christmas or even December. Just doesn't seem like I've been here long enough for it to be that time of year yet.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and a lovely Holiday Season! Will have more thoughts and photos to share in the New Year after visitors and travels around China/ SE Asia.


Monday, November 29, 2010


So... I'm a few days late... but just wanted to write a note in the honor of Thanksgiving.

What I am Thankful for this year:

- Wonderful new experiences

- Incredibly supportive family and friends

- Meeting amazing new friends

- Living well off in a crazy city

- Ability to have an open mind and travel

- Being from the USA and all that comes with it (freedom of internet and to be myself among many others...)

It's amazing what I have learnt about myself just through all the people I have met along this life journey. So much to be thankful for this year.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shanghai Style

I have been doing some searching of Shanghai fashion blogs and finding them coming up short. Decided I will start to dedicate more of this blog towards street wear and the people here. My new big girl starting Nikon d40x camera will help me on this venture :-)

For now I have been researching upcoming trends that I expect to migrate to the East just in time for the winter season. Here is a starting list and hopefully I will be able to
capture them as they begin to appear in the 'Hai.

First let's set the stage with colors for winter. Camel, nude, black and maybe an off white or pale pink if you want to push the color scheme. Pair these colors with some metallic or bedazzled accessories and/or nail polish and you're set for any trouble you want to cause.

1. Chunky Accessories

Think bangles, large beaded necklaces and cocktail rings. Just one chunk at a time. Please.

Paired with this:
2. Sweaters

These are always a winter staple. This year they get bigger, cozier and patterned.
- Anthropologie

- this one can be found at ZARA

3. High

The higher the better this season. Thigh high boots, platforms, at least knee high layered socks if you're going boho, short skirts and hot pants to boot!

4. Tights

Yes. Like you're 5 again, thick, patterned and knit tights are perfect under the short skirts and paired with the tall boots. Or even platform black shoes if you're into that.

5. The look.

We still are in love with the drape-y thrown together look all around. Some semi-fitted boy khakis paired with a sweater (or button down shirt) that is 3 sizes to big, bangles and booties. All in the nude color palette and you are set. Don't worry too much about your hair either. Keep it down with some natural waves, messy bun or a loose braid to the side.

6. Nails

Although 6 is an unsatisfying number for me to end with, here I go. Couldn't leave behind the nail polish. As per the usual holiday colors, my favorite this year is the silver sparkle. Obsessed with this one in particular from Sephora: it's like each nail is a disco ball. No way can you afford to pass that up. Perfect for New Years party!

So there it is: winter fashion in a nutshell. By next post hope to have street fashion pics. While you look over and agree/disagree with these, ponder spring 2011 and peek at Elizabeth and James spring/summer look book.

I love it all!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I recently took a spur of the moment trip to Beijing to pursue an amazing opportunity modeling. Although I did have to make some sacrifices to go, I believe it was very much worth it. It was exactly what I needed. We had perfect chilly fall days, saw the leaves turning colors, millions of stars and watched the sun set over the Great Wall of China 2 days in a row. I learned a lot about myself, what I want to get out of my China adventure and possibly life in general.

This journey started in Shanghai and when the people I was with offered me to join them in Beijing, there was no way I could turn it down. The people I met are incredibly talented and
more generous and welcoming than I could have ever imagined. Hope to meet up with them all again someday!

Here are some quick snapshots of Beijing and what we were up to...

Outside the Forbidden City

Relaxing and thawing out at a coffee shop

Forbidden City at night

The Commune at the Great Wall (hotel where we stayed)

Sunset at the Great Wall of China- absolutely stunning!

Two thoughts of the day:

I dare you to take a risk. See what happens and soak in and learn all you can from it.

We are all meant to live an extraordinary life. Find your passion, mold it and run with it as far as you can.
(This inspiration comes from Scott Robert Lim)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


One of the hardest things for me in China so far is finding a healthy balance of food groups. Before I came out here.. almost four months ago... I was doing an incredible job thanks to a certain someone as far as eating very healthy- lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, big spinach salads and wraps, smoked turkey and grilled chicken. Makes me drool just thinking about it! In Shanghai it has been incredibly difficult for me to find this same Farmer's Market fresh variety of foods. The past few months I go in spurts of eating a lot and then not being hungry ever and having to remember to eat thanks to co-workers.
This for me has been one of the biggest difficulties I have had to face here so far, and know many others with the same frustration. The food is quite delicious for the most part- don't get me wrong- but eating boiled, soggy vegetables, oil, grease, salt and MSG laden food with a side of starch (aka rice or noodles), that can't be good.

Eating out is much easier and oftentimes cheaper than making food. I always have a loaf of whole wheat bread in my cupboard however, along with peanut butter, oats and munchies: crackers,
cookies and dried hawthorne berries/ sweet potatoes. The refrigerator is quite empty as well:
strawberry jam, a few apples every once in a while, block of cheese and if i recently was grocery shopping some green peppers and lettuce mix to make salads. Typically my salads are bought at the convenient store just outside the apartment.

Typical lunch/dinner:
This is a bowl of lamian noodles ordered from downstairs. Hand-pulled noodles with a light sauce and a few veggies and a bit of beef thrown in. Delicious but again, cooked vegetables and an oily MSG laden sauce.

If motivated a typical lunch can be:

So it is possible to eat healthier, there's just a lot more effort than what I'm used to. But as far as fresh fruits and vegetables, the ones in the store make me wary, it is however my only option for now...

I recently found a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Shanghai. I am very excited about this find, but have yet to make my first order from it. It's super easy, order online from a list of 10 fruits/ vegetables and pick which 7 or so you want. Then they will deliver it to your door weekly- all for 99RMB... $14! You have to sign up for a 3 month minimum, but these veggies are grown organically at a farm just a few miles outside the city. Definitely will keep you updated and see how it turns out and document more of my journey along the way to finding fresh food and crunchy vegetables. And yes, this motivation was spawned by a silly yet fascinating food documentary "Food Matters." Got ten minutes in and was already feeling guilty about what I was eating and realized I need to make a change. Oh well, it's always nice to have good intentions towards better eating habits.
If interested info regarding Shanghai CSA can be found at:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day in the Life of... English teacher in Shanghai..

Alarm goes off. Its finally is starting to cool off, so I sleep with my window opened just a crack. This allows me to wake up to traffic, horns and lots of them as everyone scrambles into taxis and buses lazily make their way through the intersection nearly missing pedestrians, bikers and mopeds.
Check my e-mail, (advertisements from Walgreens, Shutterfly, Overstock and other American on-line stores that don't have reasonable shipping rates or not available in China, Runner's world "how to keep motivated", and a travel site telling me the top cities to travel to..) open Skype- good morning world, I'm ready to chat!

Begin with a morning stretch before a breakfast staple: bowl of oats with a spoonful of peanut butter and some honey! After the microwave is finished heating up this piping bowl of goodness, I head back to my room and plop down at my laptop to Skype with my mom.

I watch an episode of Arrested Development after a nice chat with mom, am tempted to watch the latest of Glee... that will have to wait for later. Debate going for a run but then after looking at all the traffic from my window decide not now. Instead it is time for the big decision of the day: what to wear. I open both closets and after about 10 minutes finally get the right combination of autumn, layers and boot appropriate look together (not always so picky, some days are just yoga pants and a sweater).

The bowl of oats earlier wasn't quite enough, already ready for a snack! I head down to the convenient store for some yogurt with fruit chunks. Delicious.

Some more Skyping and chatting with friends from back home on the computer. It really helps to be connected to everyone- keeps me updated as to what's going on and helps me to cope with being so far away!

Grab some lunch with my roommate before I have to head to work. A delicious Japanese restaurant just outside our complex- their lunch special is fantastic: grilled pork on rice, udon (hot or cold), tea, coffee and cabbage salad. Mmmm

Finally begin the bike into work. It was pretty nice out so biking was a good option- although it is about 7 miles and will be chilly and dark on the way home tonight..

My assistant teacher helps me to order some food as I will be hungry after classes! We decide on fried rice from the local lamian noodle place. The best handmade noodles you will ever have. Class starts at 3 so I prep my room for all three of my classes.

Done for the day! I finish up the other half of my rice and head down to my bike where I make my way back.

Text from a friend asking if I want to go out... hmm.... maybe... I have to recoup from the day first.

Decide to go out- it is ladies night after all with free champagne. I'll take it easy but just one glass is tempting enough!

Hop a cab with my roomie as he also enjoys ladies nights'.. Meet up with friends at the bar but it is packed.

Leaving so soon? Yes. It was way to busy and as fun as it is to meet new people, I'm exhausted and being shoulder to shoulder with strangers is the last thing I want tonight.

After a shower, it's time to finally catch up on Glee via Hulu. I grab a snack of dried sweet potato and climb into bed with my computer.

Read a few pages in my book "The Woman Warrior"- short stories about women in China and what they overcame. Unfortunately I can't get too far as my eyes are closing and mind fading. Goodnight Shanghai.....

All in all- it's pretty chill. I'm learning so much everyday from living abroad and working alongside local Chinese. This evening my teaching assistant helped me buy some chestnuts from the street vendor off his bike. I had been passing them everyday the last few weeks and when I asked her about it she went to help me. Never had chestnuts before- delicious! Apparently they are really good with meat, I look forward to trying it!

Another new autumn street food I have been seeing is sweet potatoes. The vendors cook them in the skin in this vat and you just eat it peeling as you go. They smell fantastic and I am also looking forward to tasting that treat. So many experiences. I will have more pictures posted as soon as it isn't rainy and I can take the camera out!