Isn’t this wall of colorful donut pillows amazing? This was at the Doughnut Plant in Chelsea, where I ate a small creme brulee donut with Taurin this past weekend. His weekend visit coincided with my younger brother’s, so we spent the last few days escaping from the cold, eating, and seeing friends.
Once they left, I woke up all alone with a fever. So I’ve been using the extra time indoors to catch up on sleep and work. Early March is such an odd time of the year–not quite winter or spring. I’m beginning to run faster towards looming deadlines, preparing for the warm weather days that’ll arrive soon.
A hot cup of latte!
DIY cotton candy at Kenka.
Sous-vide and smoked wings at Momofuku Noodle Bar. So, so good.
Green curry ramen was on the Momofuku Noodle Bar special menu. I liked the crispy chicken meatballs and the chewy noodles, but I much prefer their original ramen.
Cafe Himalaya just might be my new favorite restaurant. Of course, we began the meal with salty yak butter tea!
Pan-fried pork momos.
Sweet rice for dessert. I can’t believe we had room for dessert.
Another lovely letter from Fiona arrived! I love the Malaysian tea she included.
Deco tape shooting out tiny daisies.
“Is it snowing where you are? All the world that I see from my tower is draped in white and the flakes are coming down as big as pop-corns. It’s late afternoon – the sun is just setting (a cold yellow colour) behind some colder violet hills, and I am up in my window seat using the last light to write to you.” ― Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs
The little pony pin is also from Fiona, which I put on my favorite bag from Baggu. I’ve stopped carrying my purses because the canvas backpack is so light and simple.
Miscellaneous things I like: My handy dandy iPad for school work, 3D paper pad and Muji pen for writing letters, and MT slim tape pack and blue baker’s twine for crafting.
I just got a baby blue Snugg case for my iPad and I’m in love! I used to have one from the Apple store that never felt really stable. This one’s perfectly sturdy and adorable.
Just when I thought I was really invincible, I came down with a nasty flu. It could be that my body knows me better than I know myself, and I needed to slow down. I spent a few days unable to do much other than sleep. Just in time for the beginning of my recovery, my friend Allison came to visit. It was good to get some fresh air and share some of my favorite parts of the city.
A cup of cappuccino and a croissant at La Colombe
We made it over to the Etsy Holiday Shop on their final day for a holiday ornament making workshop with the talented Tuesday Bassen. *Photo from the Etsy Holiday Shop website.
Tuesday told me she liked my moon-faced hand-painted ornament girl. She asked me if I was an illustrator, and it made me smile cheek to cheek. I think her little comment has inspired me to get out my brushes again!
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Today has been wonderfully slow. I did laundry and a bit of digital organizing. I remember a couple years ago, I had a PC, and there were so many programs you could run to declutter the computer hard drive. This might still be a gem if you have a PC, so check it out, but if you have a Mac like me, I’m still searching for a quick solution. In any case, I’m a huge believer that digital archiving is not too different from spring cleaning. They both take a bit of motivation and time, and both come with pangs of nostalgia and a sense of relief/achievement that comes after letting go of excess.
A couple people have asked me to share my photo organization process, and I finally gathered up enough courage to do this post. Screen-capping my computer organization felt a bit like airing out the underwear drawer. Some people are serious color-coders, but I am definitely more of a practical organizer. I love cameras and documenting daily life. I always end up accruing more photos, and spend time periodically making sure they are organized and backing them up so I don’t lose them all in a freak accident (it’s happened to the best of us!).
Please read on, if you are interested. My tools are really simple: Macbook Pro + external hard drive (500 GB).
All my new photos get uploaded onto my computer via iPhoto, and I keep the “Events” labeled by place or other memorable markers. I don’t ever log in information, metadata, or faces/places for these mass uploads, but iPhoto has all the options for you to do that. The benefits would be that your photos would be searchable.
Every 6-12 months, I export my iPhoto library onto my external hard drive, because I like to leave ample space on my laptop.
As for the photos that get selected to be uploaded onto Flickr or my blog, I keep a folder called “Photos” which is organized chronologically. I only keep the 2012 folder on my laptop, and the rest are stored in my external hard drive.
In some ways, I care more about keeping these selected photos safely than the iPhoto mass uploads, so I back these up on my external hard drive frequently. Some people have suggested backing it up once more on a cloud server like Dropbox. I’ve definitely been considering it.
And a bonus for good digital photo organizing: here’s a found-but-not-lost photo of my kitchen cerca 2009, which also includes my baby photo that I think I might have sadly lost…
Please feel free to ask questions or share your digital photo organization tips/ideas!
Hoi An is a quaint town, just few minutes south of Danang. The streets are lined with rustic houses, small galleries, markets, cafes, and restaurants. It’s also a wonderful place to experience local cuisine and get fitted at one of the town’s countless tailor shops for custom-made clothing. Despite the increase in tourism, Hoi An seems to have retained its ageless charm. Most of all, I love how everything moves at a slower pace in Central Vietnam.
Standing next to a lovely old house. I’ve been working on a summer tan!
Cao lau, a Hoi An specialty noodle dish, is a bowl of thick noodles topped with slices of stewed pork, vegetables, bean sprouts, herbs, and crispy fried dough. They say the water used to make the noodles must be drawn from the town’s historic Ba Le Well.
Hoi An style fried wontons topped with shrimp.
Cold Biere Larue and tangy papaya salad with crispy rice crackers.
Nearby the water on Hoang Dieu Street is Banh Mi Phuong, prominently featured on Anthony Bourdaine’s show.
Heaps of freshly baked baguette.
The sandwich-making station with all sorts of toppings and sauces.
The Anthony Bourdain segment with Ms. Phuong in action.
Here’s my sandwich with everything on it. This much deliciousness for only a dollar? I wanted to pack a dozen with me to go.
And of course, we stopped by a small juice stand for Taurin’s daily avocado shake.
Bale Well Restaurant (45-51 Tran Hung Dao St) is our absolute favorite place to grab food in Hoi An. They don’t have a menu, but it’s more or less, an all-you-can-eat Hoi An local food for less than $5. After the owner warmly welcomed us, we were literally fed until we were completely stuffed. Also, I’m convinced that the best cooks in Vietnam wear their PJs.
The usual spread: savory shrimp pancake (banh xeo), fried spring rolls (ram cuon), grilled pork (thit nuong), herbs, pickled veggies, rice paper, dipping sauces, and beers.
I like to carefully build these giant spring rolls.
Hoi An is a popular place for getting custom-made clothing and brimming with mishmash of good and bad tailor shops. Thanks to my friend Austin’s recommendation, I had a wonderful experience at Peace Tailor Shop (89A Tran Hung Dao St). It was really fun picking out the fabric, buttons, lace trims, and working out the details, and of course getting measured and fitted. I was a bit nervous, but both of my dresses turned out just as I had imagined and I didn’t have to break the bank.
And here is one of my dresses: my custom-made yellow dress with peter pan collars! It’s a bit wrinkled now because I crammed it inside my suitcase, but I’ll take a better photo of me wearing it soon.