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!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

China's National Holiday


Serene, green and full of life. Although I was unable to explore much of this vibrant country, we had a taste of a little bit of everything:

emerald waters,

fishing villages,

caves, monkeys,

city celebrations,

street life,

museums and astounding views.

The people were very friendly and always smiling. They seem to lead simple lives but are so thankful for what they have. It really is incredible to see. Seeing this makes me look forward to leaving the craziness of Shanghai and being able to explore more of the countryside/ villages throughout Southeast Asia.

Traveling also just makes me want to do more. I have an endless list of places to visit, hopefully someday will be able to take a few months to begin checking this list off.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


As summer winds down and melts into fall, although it's cooling off in the U.S., it still feels like an August day in Orlando out here in Shanghai.

The mid-autumn festival is upon us out here in China. Through a quick search on Wikipedia, I found out that this is a holiday where traditionally families gather to admire the full harvest moon and eat mooncakes. I don't quite understand, however I will say that I am quite enjoying the vouchers work gave us for these mooncakes from Haagen- Dazs! I picked up my package of treats today which contained: 2 small tubs of ice cream, 2 chocolate covered bars and a mooncake shaped ice cream with a white chocolate coating. Delicious.

These are traditional mooncakes which come with a variety of fillings: pork to coffee to blueberry flavored.

Along with autumn comes Fashion Week. I have been especially interested in it this year because of the shopping opportunities (mostly fake for my budget..) in China. At the fabric markets you can have anything made for you, so how great would it be to get some quintessential pieces for this year tailored especially for you?! I have been doing my research and really looking forward to the fall/winter looks in muted/earthy color palates:

Skinnies have quickly become one of my favorite staples of a wardrobe and I am very happy
they are continuing on into the fall/winter season. Those bangles and booties are also stunning.

It seems as if anything over the knee (boots/socks) is also a trend
for this year. I love the textures, colors and laid back feel of this outfit put together by H&M.
Couldn't resist putting it up. There are many H&M out here so I'm looking forward to raiding their fall/winter looks!

Sweaters, boots and scarves always call my name this time of year as I tend to dress rush seasonal wear. For example: when it's 90+ outside and I have a sweater in tow anxious for the opportunity to wear it in the subway. This chunky sweater has that great boyfriend style. Pair with a belt, dark wash skinny jeans and either tall boots or just booties- perfect! Just need a boys wardrobe to raid now (shorts/shirts, sweaters)... Just be careful with this please and don't overdo it. If you choose one boy item glam it up with a girly/fitted/patterned top or bottom.
Anyhow, during my research of this years trends I also came across an interesting one that is very popular in Shanghai. I had no idea this was an actual trend, just thought it was a Chinese thing maybe? But here it is in all its glory... fancy socks with heels...

My all time favorite accessory? Nail polish. It's cheap, easy to change up and removable. Essie's new fall collection is hot. I'm especially in love with this color: Sew Psyched. A grayish green which is unique and accents fall/winter colors perfectly!

I'm trying to write a bit less and do more showing of Shanghai. It's a work in progress, I vow to start taking my camera with me more often to have photos to share :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shanghainese Ramblings

A few random things that I have learned while living in Shanghai the past 2.5 months:

1. You can get ANY kind of food including personal favorite CJ's Chicago style pizza. This isn't even found in Los Angeles!

2. There is a seperate bike/scooter lane alongside most roads, but always, always look both ways when crossing the street. Even if it says walk... you may get hit by a bus/taxi/scooter..etc.

3. Speaking of scooters, you can also fit anything on them: families of up to 4, large dogs, propane tanks, doors, windows and more!

4. I never believed it, but yes! Whole birds (including heads) can be dried, preserved, put in a bag and sold in your local food store.

Mom- you won't like this one...

5. Midnight runs are the most exhilarating and refreshing that I have experienced. The air has cooled for the day, and if you run alongside the biking lane it's not busy and safe!
I have learned so much from this city. There will be more updates on this later on.

This photo was taken by Jenny (who also captured bird in a bag and propane scooter) while we were in Hangzhou. I'm just obsessed with it, this picture has such great character. It was taken while shopping in the market street. Love, love it Jenny!

And finally a quick fall fashion update from the Orient: denim print legging pants, flannel shirts and flow-y, flowery tops are all the rage. The best store for all your flannel needs? UNIQLO.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Long Time

So took a 'lil blogging hiatus... but am back now :-)

What has been going on this past month one may ask? Well let's see. Went to Hangzhou, booked flights to Thailand (January) as well as Vietnam (October), friend and family booked flights to visit me over Christmas (sooo excited to see familiar faces!!!), moved into a new apartment, took my first Shanghai shopping spree and learning new words, finding quirks in myself and others and understanding the culture I have been immersed in little by little.

I am very much looking forward to the opportunity that I have coming up in a month to visit Vietnam with friends. It will be amazing to have the chance to see more of Southeast Asia, then again to Thailand in mid-January. Vietnam trip is pretty much all set (thanks Jenny!!!), boat cruise up through Halong Bay, hotel stays in Hanoi. Although I think we're getting ahead of ourselves... speaking of traveling, I was just in Hangzhou two weeks ago!

It was so great to get out of the hustle and bustle of the big city Shanghai. Hangzhou is a beautiful and intensely green city with lakes, lush green grasses/trees/shrubbery, pagodas, temples, giant lily pads, babbling brooks, street markets and welcoming residents. My friend Jenny and I took the train there and back, only an hour and half- not bad! We decided to go for two days and spent the night at a cute hostel across the street from the lake and tucked back off a driveway surrounded by tangled trees. Unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries... but here is just a taste of Hangzhou thanks to Jenny's camera!

I also have moved. As much as I loved my little old Chinese lane house style apartment, neighbors who were older and always trying to tell me something in Chinese, and the beautiful tree lined street... I decided that moving in with friends, the chance to save more money and to be a touch closer to work was worth it. This new place is just about as opposite as one can get. I am in a large complex comprised of 4 buildings, on the 28th floor and it's near a busy intersection. This means as I'm typing at 12:05am, there is a lot of traffic noise. But the place is newer, has an oven (yay!), not to mention a kitchen that can fit more than one person in and a patio overlooking the crazy city lights and traffic. As pictures are taken you can bet they will be posted!

In case you were wondering, it is still quite steamy outside. Especially for it being September.. but slowly things are cooling down. It's only a high of 87 tomorrow!

Well it's a short but sweet-I will update again soon.

Monday, August 9, 2010


It is still hot, muggy and loud from the cicadas outside. I never thought I would say this, but I cannot wait until the fall and cooler weather! Not to mention I will then be able to break out my new rain/fall trench coat I had made for me at the fabric market ;-)

Everyday has gone by so quickly, I suppose this is a double edged sword... I just hope I'm not wasting too much of the well deserved off time. It's definitely difficult to stay motivated to go out and do something when it's 100 degrees outside, who wouldn't rather stay in their air conditioned apartment? With that being said, the nights are the best time to get out. It has cooled down (slightly) and there is no sun beating down which helps magnificently. So in that sense, the nights have not been wasted... To help you get a feel for the endless nightlife here's a starting list.

Shanghai Nighttime Romances (so far):

Tara 57: Been there twice, cool suave, intimate setting with red velour couches surrounding the bar while the DJ mixes it up in the corner. I went on Tuesday and there were few people, however on Friday it was hopping with Latin jams, salsa and men in pink shirts.

The Shelter: Literally a shelter, this old bomb shelter was converted into a bar and has great foreign DJ's when you are tired of the same hip hop mixes at the other clubs. Not sure you could fit through the entrance cement tunnel if above 5'8"... so beware. When I went it was bass and drums music with some techno and ended off with German's beatboxing.

Club 88: The generic Lady Gaga/hip hop mashup but with a lively dance crowd of mostly foreigners. There are a few tables and VIP couches, mostly this club revolves around the smoke machine, lights, bad "music videos", DJ and a stage for dancing. They did have actual, mediocre dancers on stage for a few songs (looked like Eastern European's- tall blondes), but otherwise it was crowded and smoky- perfect recipe for dance mania!

Paramount: You may get tricked into thinking you are walking into a movie theatre with a large store front on the busy street corner. Once you find your way inside and through the metal detector, there are stalactite/icicle looking blue lights from the ceiling, lighted stairs winding to the upper deck, a cage and bar. The cage is small and again mediocre Chinese hip hop dancers, someone lip-syncing the songs which are is again the standard mashup. Free drinks for both ladies and guys until 11 pm makes a great starting point. Disappointingly not as much dancing as expected though.

Boxing Cat: This is a nice expat bar. Predominately foreigners who are looking for burgers and brew. The Boxing Cat has their own brewery and a delicious selection from light to darks. A typical sport's bar atmosphere...

Monkey Lounge: Hidden off an alleyway and a monkey sculpture in the door already gives this place a certain appeal. Definitely a lounge, comfy laid back sofas with some top 40 jams in the background. Think of a speakeasy... just needs some live jazz or at least more alternative music selection.

Enoteca: This is a cozy wine bar that also serves up some delicious courses including amazing salads. Not much of an atmosphere, but the low lights gives a certain ambiance.

Malone's: Another sport's bar, amazing burger and beer specials. There's an outside patio, and inside is live music with a pool table upstairs. Typical American sport's bar... all foreigners.

JZ Club: Only here briefly, but the rooftop bar was incredible, plants, patio seating a little view of the French Concession, not a tall building so you can't see everything from up there. Seeing a brilliantly lit shooting star over Shanghai from the rooftop was incredible. Just walked through the bar inside, but it was a more upscale bar with the decor and top 40 hip hop songs- not much of a dance floor though.

El Coctel: Very loungy. After walking up the stairs and trying to figure out which door is the right one to get in, this bar offers a great vibe, classy and luxe with couches and stuffed chairs. The flowered wallpaper on the ceiling adds to the inviting and intimate setting. Great place to go even for some coffee or tea if not in the cocktail mood.

Well that's my preliminary list. As I get more experienced in this city that doesn't sleep, I'll make another posting and maybe even with pictures! My camera doesn't do the best in the dark... so my words will have to suffice for now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Just some scribbles while on the subway going into work.

Passing glances
Strangers' faces
Laughing children, origami wars
Jade for luck
Red, orange and blue lines
Moving fast, time moves too fast
Finally a seat
Face fears, take chances
Take the stairs
Adoring children
Bells/ whistles
Lonely stares
Strange letters, sounds, foods
Bad smells
Children are still children as are women and men
11 months.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Well, well, well. It has been a while... the heat is getting to me making me lazy and slow. It is 10am right now and is 97, feels like 113. Soo hot and I have at least 40 minutes of walking in my commute to/ from work. Hopefully the
rain will come soon enough to cool everything off a touch.

Last week I was finally able to get out of Shanghai for the day! Took a day trip through work to Oriental Land and raced dragon boats. This is difficult to do with a group of up to 10 in a boat, it was fun though.
After the boats we headed out to a water town: Zhaojiajiao. Here is a picture of the canal and great boats they "zip" around in.

I also visited some more green areas- Fuxing (pronounced *fushing) Park. This was a great area with many older people playing cards, a pond with large lily pads and flowers, a rose garden, cafe and mini kids amusement park. So much fun for everyone!

After the park and being green, I decided to go out and watch a movie- a nearby bar was playing "Blade Runner." It was fun to be in Shanghai and watching a movie in English. Once we were done with the free buttery goodness of popcorn, headed across the street to a local man selling skewers of raw veggies (large variety of mushrooms, potatoes etc.) as well as raw meat (chicken, and many unidentifiable meats, overheard a nearby English speaker saying chicken hearts...). I stuck with potatoes and the chicken that looked most promising. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was once it was cooked and spiced right in front of me! This is a bad night pic of the set-up. Just a street corner turned ultimate snack bar.
Another addition to my list of interesting food experiences: frogs. I was served frogs at lunch during the company outing. It reminded me of dissecting them in the middle school, looked and smelled the same. I was just as nauseous at the smell then as I was at lunch.

On a good note, I did make my first meal in the kitchen! I got some pre-cooked udon noodles, reheated them and added in some veggies. It was pretty good, needed some soy sauce or more seasoning though. I also made pico de gallo and bought some chips to bring in for co-workers (luckily I have a foreign mart right by me, so corn chips were easy to find). The local girls didn't know what Mexican food was, so I thought they should try a simple dish. They loved it, very excited to have something other than "traditional Chinese."

Fashion update:
Man bags are all the rage in Shanghai. Not briefcases, not laptop bags... man purses/bags. The guys here typically carry their ladies purse for them (which is amazing), but typically they have one of there own as well! Joey from Friends was right; man bags is where it's at!

Another interesting trend that's found throughout Asia in general, or so I've heard, is matching shirts. This is common in couples, not even just t-shirts, but matching exact, button downs or something similar. Fantastic. So just in case holding hands or smooching isn't enough to tell you're together, the shirt will let me know for a fact.

Deal of the Day:
10 yuan ($1.50) new copy of Lolita! This was bought off the back of a woman's bike. I pass her everyday at the corner outside my apartment so I finally caved. Also bought a jade necklace for 15yuan ($2). There are good deals here, they just have to be sought out.
I did learn a lesson last night however. I bought a DVD from a street vendor- Sex and the City 2. I went to play it and it was all in black and white. So.. you do have to be careful when purchasing the 5 yuan (less than $1) movies off carts.

Being in Shanghai has taught me how grateful I am that I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the states. Many locals here never leave Shanghai, it's too expensive for them and many just don't value the experience of travel. I'm also thankful that I haven't had to eat the same foods and to have diverse choices in the western world. There are foods in Shanghai from all over the globe, but again as a local, they stick to what they know.

There are video blogs up on YouTube as well: my neighborhood, Xiantandi, more of dragon boat racing and more! Take a look, I think you can get a better feel for this place through them over pictures alone. Next weeks topic: nightlife.. there's plenty of it! Any questions or if you want to know about anything please ask!