I never thought that after that last post, I would be completely occupied with almost no time to spare, including Instagram, where I posted almost daily back then. Everyday has been almost the same thing: planning at work, stay late at work, planning for a Showcase presentation in December where tons of visitors are coming to our school, and cooking. By the time I’m home, for the first time EVER, I just want to do… nothing. Sit back, watch TV, and binge on some kind of snack, fruit, or dessert. What is going onnnnn?!?
Adult life. That’s what. And before you know it, kids. Mortgage. Car loans. Ha! It’s not depressing at all though. It’s quite the opposite – exciting and full of adventures. But part of a reality check for me has been how precious time is. There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything I want and get the rest that I need. I still always try to make time for family and friends though – thanks to those who always reach out to me. I always appreciate it. I post because I’m motivated by all of you who visit everyday – thank you for being a continuous supporter.
So to share with you things that are not so tedious and more exciting happening, here are a few of the more cherished moments in the past few weeks 🙂
Lots of home-cooking! Not so great on the variety, but we try to fancy it up with some simple healthy ingredients. In this case, it was spare ribs on top of pumpkin with a side of Chinese broccoli.
if someone approached you and asked, “What part do you love best about you?” what would you say? Would it be your hands? Your eyes? What about your feet?
It seems so much easier for many to answer this question if it focused on the negative, just because society portrays so many things to be perfect… like the celebrities on the covers of different magazines. It’s easier to say things like “I don’t like my hands because they’re so wrinkly” or “I hate my curly hair – I wish it was straight.” So when we’re asked to think about something we LOVE about ourselves, we take a few seconds longer to ponder about it.
Have you ever heard of that saying “My brain is fried?” For the first time ever, MY BRAIN IS FRIED! Don’t worry though, inspiration continues, but I just have no time to share it right now with everything happening all at once! I barely even had any sleep the last few days. So for now, let me share a photo of my newest babies with you… they keep me sane as I tackle on some busy work at work 🙂 Plus when something is handpicked for a long time from your mom, it makes it extra special.
(If you’d like to keep up with me a little more frequently than the blog, please join me over at www.instagram.com/lilspirations ) It’s my most updated source of social media!
When something is quite out of the ordinary like my experience at Sakanaya, it’s hard not to want to share. I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and two friends who took me out a couple of weeks ago for my birthday to my first omakase experience. Omakase in Japanese basically means “I’ll leave it up to you.” That means from the moment you sit down to the moment you leave, every dish you eat is selected by the chef. I didn’t exactly know this, but immediately figured it out after our first dish arrived within two minutes of sitting.
Sakanaya officially had its grand opening last week (Congratulations!!) but we had the opportunity to reserve during its soft opening thanks to the recommendation of a fellow Yelp Elite friend. Although I don’t have anything to compare it to, I can say that the service goes beyond expectations. While we had to wait about 10 minutes for our seats, the waitress offered us seats to sit in, tea to drink, and apologized for the wait. Towards the end, well… you’ll see. They simply made my day with a never-before-seen-”cake”! But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Here’s a run-through of our meal experience!
And just like that, September is over and October begins. Is it me or time just speeds up as you get older? In the blink of an eye, I am in my 9th year of teaching and first time teaching third grade. I love it and it is definitely keeping me busy. Despite that, I’m always looking for opportunities to explore this city to share with you! For the first time ever two weeks ago, I went to the rooftop bar at the famous Standard Hotel. Yes, the one where Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s sister) supposedly attacked Jay-Z in the elevator.
The Standard to me was always that mysterious hotel that was famous for its rooftop bar as well as the fact that since the High Line cuts through it, people are known to stand or pose naked by the windows so pedestrians can see. I always wondered what it was like to be inside. Well, here’s a peek at my experience!
Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn! It seemed appropriate to wish summer farewell by making Vietnamese inspired summer rolls to end the season. I’ll have to come up with another one to welcome the Fall! 🙂 This appetizer is a very popular one served in most Vietnamese restaurants. They are made with sheets of rice paper softened in water and used to wrap ingredients such as cooked shrimp, rice noodles, herbs, and vegetables. It’s easy to make after a little practice in rolling, but just so you know, this post is a version of my mom’s cooking. We like to eat them with homemade fish sauce as opposed to the traditional peanut sauce. If you’d like something closer to the original recipe, you can try Chowhound’s recipe with peanut sauce.
Happy first day to many educators and children! Getting ready for the school year is always so exciting yet so nerve-racking. Though school officially began with students today, teachers go in way before to get the classroom ready. You wouldn’t believe the amount of work that goes behind the scenes. Just look at this photo of my classroom with my new co-teacher. Those books and label bins took over 4 hours to sort and make it look good. We had to unpack all those boxes just to make counter space for the green and blue bins. We had to unroll and vacuum those 2 giant rugs for parallel teaching. Whew* They didn’t tell us this when we applied to become teachers! =P
Just last Tuesday, the Oculus and Westfield Mall at World Trade Center had their official grand opening. It was exciting as I watched the area change gradually over the last couple of years! Some say the Oculus is almost like walking into heaven because everything is so bright and white. I’d definitely agree it’s quite beautiful (though many wonder whether the amount of money spent is worth $4 billion…) I went a couple of times before and after the grand opening so I’ll tell you this – it looks very different today with completely bare space in the middle and no couches or seating areas as you may find in these photos below. The mall has many designer brand shops, but also some more popular places such as the Apple Store and Kate Spade. If you walk away from the Oculus and into the other side, you’ll find stores such as Under Armor, Banana Republic, and H&M. There aren’t too many food places nor children-friendly stores, but hopefully those will be built later on. Meanwhile, you can always go to Hudson Eats in Brookfield for food and seating, which is now connected under the World Trade Center.
“All you need is love and a coffee,” and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Coffee Project in the East Village. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by a friendly hello and some smiles by co-owners, Chi Sum Ngai and Kaleena Teoh (pictured below, respectively). Sum, who is Malaysian-Chinese, had completed her barista training in Portland. She learned to blend different beans together, creating flavors that were beyond just the popular coffee that comprises of nuts and chocolate notes. She moved to New York City five years ago and began her planning to open a shop with Kaleena.
I hope you all liked the story behind Mahalo New York Bakery in Queens! If you’d like a chance to win one of two $30 gift cards to their bakery, visit www.instagram.com/lilspirations and look for this photo for instructions! : )