Trying out Hug Esan in Elmhurst Queens

Two weeks ago, I attended my first ‘Eat Something New in Queens’ meet-up at Hug Esan, a Thai restaurant in Elmhurst.

I had such a great time. It was a date night/food adventure/reunion kind of night. An old friend from high school, small world, planned the event, and Andrew and I got to venture out, try new things, and meet new people.

Everything was amazing! Here is what we ate.

Pork Spring Rolls
Bamboo Larb Salad- *the spiciest dish
Crispy Pork Belly
Tom Zabb- spicy and sour soup with spare ribs and various mushrooms *my favorite
Esan Pork Sausage
Chive Dumplings
Moo Num Tok- sliced pork salad with rice powder
Larb Pla- fried fish with herbs in a sweet and spicy sauce *the most exciting dish
Som Tum Thai- papaya salad
Coconut Ice Cream
Thai Coconut Pudding

Until the next time!

All about chocolate

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, but I’ve been celebrating all week.

On Wednesday, I took part in a chocolate-making class with my parents. It was a lot of fun and very hands-on. We learned how to temper chocolate and made jumbo peanut butter cups, pecan turtles, almond bear paws, dipped Oreos, and strawberries. It was messy yet yummy!

Getting everything ready!
Rolled up caramel and peanut butter and chocolate chunks.
I put Dad to work.
A bit messy but it still tasted fantastic.

On Friday, Andrew, my parents, and I did a Valentine’s Day-themed chocolate tasting. The tasting was packed with chocolate facts and insight on how they make the chocolate. We also tasted five different chocolate pieces, milk chocolate peanut butter heart, milk chocolate sea salt caramel, pecan toffee crisp, dark chocolate truffle, and dark chocolate lemon satin crème heart. Mom loved the peanut butter piece, I loved the dark chocolate truffle, Dad loved the truffle and lemon satin crème, and Andrew loved them all.

Enjoy your love day!!

So long 2021

My 2021 wasn’t terrible. I became a Mom, and I celebrated and enjoyed life as much as possible. I explored and pushed myself to try new things. I got creative with ways to motivate myself, and I continue to move forward. It sucks that I’m spending the last day taking care of a sick baby, but such is life.

Below is my picture recap of the year. I choose one picture to sum up each month.

January- I became a Mom! I gave birth to Maxine Amelia on Dec 19, 2020. My first month as a mom was rough and full of learning moments, but I’m thankful every day for my munchkin.
February- My mom turned 77 this year. With the pandemic, it was tough to see her and our family. This amazing picture (of three generations) was taken at my Aunt’s house. We celebrated my Mom’s birthday, and family members finally met Maxine.
March- With a new baby, it’s hard to get out, and it was tough to have time just for my husband and me. I signed us up for a beer and cheese virtual tasting as a date night. It was a lot of fun and informative.
April- I did many fun things in April, including an oyster shucking class and a cooking class with Daniel Boulud, but nothing can beat my Dad finally coming home from rehab after fracturing his hip. December 2020, my father fractured his hip, had to have surgery, and caught covid and pneumonia in the hospital. At the beginning of the year, my father was moved to a long-term care facility in Jersey first and finally placed in a rehab facility in Queens soon after. It was a challenging situation, mainly because of covid and I couldn’t see him. He finally came home at the end of April, and he got to meet his granddaughter for the first time.
May- I decided to sign-up for a flower CSA from May to October. It was a bit pricey, if I’m going to be honest, but so worth it! I picked up flowers every week; it was very refreshing. I even tried my hand at arranging the flowers. It was fun and relaxing.
June- Andrew and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by attending a virtual magic show by Dan White. It was AMAZING and blew our minds.
July- We celebrated Dad, who turned 79! My family has a house in Long Island that we share by the beach. My dad rarely visits, but my Aunt and Uncle threw him a little party, and he enjoyed the day and area.
August- We had a family vacation in the Catskills at the end of August. We rented a house with a pool and jacuzzi; it was amazing and much needed. I don’t have many pictures of my husband smiling, so I’m taking advantage and showing his beautiful smile.
September- Self-care became tricky during the pandemic. I finally decided enough was enough with my hair and chopped it off. Quite liberating if I say so myself.
October- I turned the big 4*0* this month. We decided to head over to Crystal Springs Resort for a few days and enjoy the fall season. The resort was fantastic with great food, and I took advantage of the spa. We went apple picking, pumpkin picking, went through a corn maze, and enjoyed wine and spirit tastings in the area. It was very low-key and chill.
November- Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I appreciate the time with family and the overall idea of gratitude. I shared my journal of things I’m grateful for already in another post. My husband had to work on Thanksgiving, but I still enjoyed the day, reflected on everything I’m thankful for, and cooked a feast.
December- This month was filled with friend and family activities, but I couldn’t help picking the time decorating the gingerbread house as my picture for the month. It gets harder and harder to find activities that my parents are willing to do and be a part of. Next year, I will continue to brainstorm ideas.

It was great to reflect on the year. I hope you had some time for reflection as well.

Cheers to 2022!

The Edge’s City Climb Experience

It’s the season of giving thanks and one of the things I’m truly grateful for is my love of adventure.

My husband and I participated in The Edge’s City Climb earlier this month. We climbed an angled staircase of a skyscraper and leaned out over the edge. It was scary, thrilling and liberating all at the same time. Extra bonus is that you get an amazing view of New York City.

The whole experience was about two hours. The first hour is all about safety. You fill out waivers, get suited up and checked multiple times, and learn about using the equipment. The next hour is enjoying the climb on the staircase and enjoying the view. I found the climb a little strenuous, because you have to pull your gear with you, but the view is totally worth it. I highly recommend it!

Here are some photos of our experience.

Right before our climb
Climbing up!
Half way there!
I was so scared! Looking down was way easier for me than falling back.

More treats than tricks this Halloween

Halloween this year was pretty amazing. It was just the right amount of activities for the entire family.

As a Halloween/Fall activity, I like to carve or decorate pumpkins. This year I didn’t get around to carving myself but we made it an activity for my husband’s niece and nephew.

I also decorated some pumpkins with some stickers.

One was focused on cats and one with bats and ghosts.

The night before Halloween, as a date night, my husband and I did a virtual Halloween Scavenger Hunt with Watson Adventures. It was pretty tough! The hunt had a haunted theme and we visited various websites with some kind of scary involved. What made it tricky was some of the questions involved us navigating links with virtual tours and 360 views that can be difficult to find and figure out on a laptop. Our daughter was also still awake and would not fall asleep. We had the lowest score of the night but it was still fun.

We were Team 8- Haunted Pumpkins. We didn’t really open our video because our daughter was all over the place.

The best part of Halloween was dressing up Maxine. She was the cutest baby leopard. I also had her in pumpkin pjs the night before Halloween.

On Halloween, instead of trick or treating, we did a virtual experience instead, and enjoyed a bubble show from Bubbledad. Maxine had no idea what was going on but it was cute to see all the kids who zoomed in participate in the interactive portion of the show. The kids got to make their own bubbles by using a cardboard tube, straws, and socks.

Bubbledad working his magic.

To cap the night off, I had myself a delicious treat from Pecking House.

Chili fried chicken and cauliflower with squash and candied pepitas, roasted brussels sprouts, and heirloom bean salad. Everything was delicious.

Next year, I want to aim to dress up as a family and enjoy trick or treating or attend a party.

Date Night Success- Van Gogh Experience

I can’t believe it’s already the end of August. This summer just flew by. Date nights are hard to come by these days, with Covid and having an eight-month-old, but Andrew and I recently hit up the Van Gogh experience in the city and then had dinner at DiWine in Astoria.

The Van Gogh experience was mesmerizing. There were three rooms that looped the same material, but each room was different, and I experienced the footage differently each time.

Here are some of my fav pics…

Before we headed home to our lovely baby, we had a fantastic dinner at DiWine. Not only is the restaurant conveniently close to my apartment, but they have great food.

A little taste of the yumminess…

Goodbye 2019

I’m not going to lie, 2019 was a rough year for me personally and professionally but I had some really great moments with the people I care about. So here is my year in review…

January was a tough month for me but Andrew and I were still able to have a kick ass date night at Secret Summer’s Aquarius party. Here I am with the naughty wolves.

In February, Andrew and I decided to get away from NY for Valentine’s Day and his birthday and headed to The French Manor Inn and Spa in the Poconos.

Early March, I celebrated my Mom’s birthday at one of our favorite restaurants London Lennies.

Enjoyed Cherry Blossom season in DC with my friends Dawn and Christie in April.

Kicked off the summer season with my girls at Jones Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. Got the weirdest tan which I still have till this day.

Andrew and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June. We enjoyed a beautiful boat cruise and then a few days later had dinner at our wedding venue. Here is Andrew messing around on the boat cruise.

Got to enjoy my family’s beach house in Shirley Long Island in July. I don’t go there enough. It was beautiful and peaceful.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with trying to hit all 50 states lately. After working on a small puzzle of the US for a team building exercise in August, I bought a bigger one and plotted my next adventure.

My next adventure turned out to be a road trip in South Dakota and Minnesota in September! Here is a picture of us in the Badlands.

October is a very important month because it’s BIRTHDAY month! I did a lot of celebrating but my fav was exploring the Sojo Spa in New Jersey. Multiple floors, hydrotherapy, infinity pool….I can go on and on. Here we are in the heated pool.

I kicked ass for Thanksgiving. I cooked a full menu, cooking a turkey for the first time, which included an apple pie. I really out did myself.

Here is a picture of my turkey pre-oven:

Here is my apple pie:

And lastly, December. I started the year rough and I ended the year rough but being with family this past week has been a god sent. One thing I’m really proud of this month is getting my tree. I’ve never really grown up with a tree so getting one was a big deal to me. I’m sure I’ll collect more ornaments in the future but it was the perfect first tree.

It’s been real 2019 but 2020 I’m coming for ya!

Halloween 2019

It’s been a minute but I’m back! Life happens and sometimes you just have to keep your head above water.

Celebrating Halloween is usually hit or miss for me. This year, I celebrated by carving pumpkins! I don’t have any memory of doing this when I was younger so I was truly excited. I would have loved to have gotten my pumpkins from an actual farm but it wasn’t in the cards. Got mine at Home Depot.

Here are some pictures of my husband and I having a blast.

The final products:

Mine, the true classic…

My husband brought out the creativity…

So happy how they came out!!

I want this to become a family tradition, even get other family members involved!

We didn’t dress up this year but our cats had no choice.

I was expecting them to fight me on this but they didn’t even meow! I dare say they might have enjoyed it.

Happy Halloween!

Exploring The Met Museum with Mom and Andrew

 

In February, I was lucky enough to visit the museum twice, once with my Mom and another time, on Valentine’s Day <3, with Andrew.

Mom and I focused on seeing the exhibits that were closing. I especially wanted her to see the Michelangelo one because she is quite religious. Here are my favorite shots (one not of the exhibit!).

Michaelangelo

We also got to see the Rodin exhibit, which was displayed in a single corridor. These sculptures were amazing. Mom and I spent the most time here, taking in all the beauty and laughing at some of the more interesting ones. Here are our favs!

Rodin's Sculptures

Our last stop was the Japanese Bamboo exhibit and the Chinese Courtyard. They had one huge bamboo sculpture, which I believe was specifically made for the room, but I could be wrong. It was pretty interesting. It reminded me of the bamboo exhibit many years ago on the rooftop. That was one of my favorite rooftop exhibits at The Met. Mom LOVED the Chinese Courtyard; I took a lot of solo shots of her in here.

Japanese Art

On Valentine’s Day, Andrew and I got to explore the museum after hours. It was pretty cool, less of a crowd and they had curators in various locations to give you more information. The whole museum wasn’t open, only certain sections but we still got to enjoy the beautiful paintings at the Thomas Cole exhibit, the Frank Lloyd Wright room in the American Wing and our favorite, Temple of Dendur. It’s usually crowded in the room, so it was pretty sweet that we got to see it so up close and personal. Andrew and I ended our night of exploring in the Dining Room at The Met where we had a very romantic dinner =).

MET AfterHours

Thomas Cole

Romance Under the Stars

This month is all about love and celebration, well for me it is! Before our amazing trip to the Dominican Republic, Andrew and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. We enjoyed the open bar, some snacks, and some tunes but what made the night was viewing the night sky in the planetarium. Astronomy gurus identified some of the constellations and shared some romantic stories about them. It was pretty amazing seeing them up close considering I can never identify them EVER just by looking at the sky =).

I was slightly disappointed with the food, though they did advertise hors d’ oeuvres only, the servers hardly got around to us because of the crowds and the small sampling sections they did have were limited. However, they did have three bars to make it up to us patrons! Overall it was a fun night.

valentines-day