Archive for the ‘ Etcetera ’ Category

New York – Day 3

1. Sleep-in and walk to Jane Restaurant in Greenwich Village for amazing brunch.
3. Drink complimentary cocktails and eat biscuits and lobster eggs benedict.
4. Walk through Chelsea and Meatpacking District. Enjoy the relative quiet.
5. Visit Highline Park. Decide it’s worth the hype. Admire creative reuse of space.
6. Buy refreshing ice cream sandwich made of ginger cookies and green tea ice cream.
7. Catch cab to 30 Rock. Accept that it beats the smelly subway.
8. Take elevator to top with swarms of international tourists. Take in the view in stifling heat.
9. Miss last ferry to Ellis Island, decide to explore Midtown instead.
10. Buy new flats and gold rings at BCBG Max Azria. Pick up a new dress. Visit Grand Central.
11. Meet Brie on a crossstreet and experience anlaysis paralysis on Yelp.
12. Find an Italian restaurant with lots of of candlelight, awkward waiters, and excellent pasta.
13. Walk through West Village, realize proximity of Brie’s apartment to our hotel.
14. Order drinks at hotel bar, sit outside, and hear about Brie’s new life in Manhattan.

< Read Day 2

New York – Day 2

1. Depart the mansion with Jen, Mark & Shar and drive to Queens for dim sum.
2. Eat really good shrimp balls in shark fin soup, chicken sticky rice, and dumplings.
3. Walk around and find neat Chinese bakery and tea shop (black sesame milk tea, please!).
4. Drive Jen to LGA and sit in mandatory traffic jam on the way into Manhattan.
5. Spy the New York City skyline in the distance and become nostalgic.
6. Drop off rental car and hit the streets, lose wheel on baggage, rest back the hotel.
7. Begin hour long fiasco trying to get to Central Midtown during a rainstorm via foot/subway.
8. Meet Ryan at Gilt restaurant convinced we lost our reservation. Get seated anyway.
9. Pick best entree: bouchot mussels with uni, green garlic dry ice cream, and edible shells.
10. Walk around Times Square. Endure humidity and swarms of tourists before subway.
11. Meet DC friends Zoe, Aimee, Angie & Carl at Park Bar in Union Square. Stay awhile.
12. Take photos, point at sailors, bar hop, and get free drinks from a Foursquare special.
13. Take lovely walk in now not so humid and comfortably warm night.
14. Find reputed best falafel shop in city and eat said falafels outside. Pay $2.50.
15. Feel happy to see everyone, walk back to our hotel, and get in bed by 3am.

< Read Day 1

Read Day 3 >

New York – Day 1

I really enjoyed Jenn’s Retroactive To Do List, so I started to make my own while in New York last weekend. I tend to over-complicate the writing process and thought I’d give this a shot instead. Hope that’s cool, Jenn!

1. Sleep in until 11am, wake up in a mansion in Long Island.
2. Have lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant with Ryan, Shar and Mark. Order too much food.
3. Meet up with Jenilynn back at the mansion. Admire her nice bridesmaid hairdo.
4. Rent bikes and ride to the coast with Ryan and Mark. Feel the ocean breeze on our faces.
5. Bike back uphill, return to the mansion, and jump into pool outside our room.
6. Drive back into town and try out a local bakery. Get ready for big night.
7. Attend Cindy and Ken’s ceremony, get blown away by bride’s beauty, witness vows. Love.
8. Partake in a cocktail hour + buffet, including a pasta station, prime rib, and a roasted pig.
9. Discover there are 3 rooms of food, waiters handing out hors d’oeuvres, AND an open bar.
10. Feel like we’re in the Capitol of Panem.
11. Take part in greatest bridal party intro: dancing, stunner shades, and LED tambourines.
12. Celebrate with friends. Dance with Ryan. Eat three course (second) dinner.
13. Dance s’more. Visit the dessert bar one too many times. Chat with Jenilynn.
14. Hang in the billiards room, see the newly weds, return to our room at the mansion at 2am.
15. Agree with everyone to use phrase “at the mansion” whenever possible.

Read Day 2 >

Arrival to Tokyo

It was pretty delightful flying direct to Japan, especially since I had been able to purchase tickets for both Ryan and I using my airline miles. The 10+ hours went by quickly as I was largely engrossed in reading Hunger Games for the first time, followed by an attempted nap. The highlights: scoring an entire row to ourselves to spread out, surprisingly delicious airplane food, and complimentary wine in coach.

We landed around 4PM local time and my excitement finally set in, after weeks of being focused on work! We found the airport to be relatively calm and made our way to take the train in Tokyo via the Narita Express. Trying to stay awake, I ordered some green tea on the train, saying, “Kore kudasai,” for the first of many times. Soon enough we arrived to Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world, where over 3.5 million travelers pass through it each day.

First look at Shunjuku

We began the trek to the hotel with our luggage, walking through the streets of Shinjuku and its bright lights and swarms of people. The walk is normally quite short (in fact, we later learned a there was another station right outside our hotel) but it being our first time it took us a little while to find our way, using Trevor’s phone as navigation to the Keio Plaza Hotel.

After an easy check-in with our English-speaking hotel staff, we dropped off our luggage and plunged outside. We didn’t need to walk far, the neon lights, restaurants and stores were right outside our doorstep and we wandered around the area, exploring. At some point we found a video game store that had over a dozen toy vending machines, and hoping to win the head of a brown bear doll I saw inside, I put in some coins and ended up with two very cute plush chick dolls.

It was getting late and it became tough deciding what to eat, but given that I was feeling famished and wasn’t ready to order completely in Japanese, I noticed a sushi restaurant with a conveyor belt and walked straight in. “Konbonwa. Sanin des,” I said, hoping she understood I needed seats for three people. She gestured to the bar and we all sat down. Success.

We sat there at the sushi restaurant then picking up small color-coded plates, just like you would at home, trying the different kinds of nigiri, many of which included shrimp. My favorite was a pink fish had a particularly glossy look to it, that melted in your mouth, and having never had it before I still have no idea what it was. We made our own green tea using the powder at our table, nibbling away until full, discussing, “So do we pay there at the cashier or request the check?” (We soon learned it’s always the former.) We paid and plopped back outside into the busy streets of Shinjuku, having had our first meal.

We continued to walk outside until the lack of sleep began to hit us. So did my stomach, as it said, “Hey I actually want to eat more! Five small plates of sushi were actually not enough!” and following the advice of friends before we left, we went to a 7-11. Despite their testimony and my doubt, I do concede that it is good. Ryan picked up some water and I found myself buying a tofu bowl with rice, not expecting much. After having it warmed, we sat on some poles in the eating area and I ate while Ryan and Trevor indulged my impulse. It was delicious. The steamed rice was perfectly cooked and it came with savory sauce with ground pork and hot oil that complimented the silky pieces of tofu. This was convenience store food? I ate every bite, sharing a little with Ryan, and we made our way back to the hotel where Trevor met up with a friend and Ryan and I went upstairs to crash after a long day of travel.

My “Girl Effect” Birthday Fundraiser

So this past birthday week has been pretty extraordinary. To top it off, we exceeded my fundraising goal by 273% this week and raised $682 The Girl Effect! Together we:

  • Provided training 24 girls in financial literacy so she can support herself and her family.
  • Purchased 3 weeks of meals for a student at the Daraja Academy in Kenya.
  • Purchased bicycle repair kits for 8 girls in Cambodia so they can ride to school.
  • Provided education for 75 girls in reproductive health.
  • Enrolled 90 girls in school in the Jalore district in Rajasthan, India.

Thank you so much for your support! To learn more about The Girl Effect, please watch this 3 minute cartoon:

Love, Only Love

I post this quote every Martin Luther King Jr. Day and this year is no different, if not more pressing. In 2011, I sadly felt more exposed to hateful rhetoric towards “others” than in years past. Rather than seeing red, this constantly reminds me that love, and only love, can drive it out.

Happy Martin Luther King Day Jr., all.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. … The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation

MLK Jr. Monument

MLK Jr. Monument

MLK Jr. Monument