As I mentioned in my last post, I was brainstorming ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I came across an Instagram post about “A Place at the Table.” Which is a curated box filled with treats from experienced home bakers and professional chefs honoring their Asian heritage. Of course, I had to support it!
As an additional bonus, a portion of the sales is donated to Heart of Dinner, a nonprofit combating food insecurity and isolation within NYC’s elderly Asian American community.
Check out the beautiful packaging.
Check out the desserts.
Of course my favorite was the Filipino focused one, which was a Mango, Coconut and Sago piece (I may or may not be biased 😉).
Here are the home bakers and chefs who participated (from top to bottom and left to right): Ying Ting Hu, Guadalupe Lucero, Andrew Cheng, Kimberly Camara, Ruth Li, Shirley Yu, Christine Yen, Joy Chu, Ayaka Ando, and Kelly Miao.
Glad I was able to participate in and support this initiative. The box was a bit pricey ($75, $82 with tax), but it was well worth it! I would love to see more collaborations like this in the future.
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.
In March, I took part in the ‘Eat Something New in Queens’ Challenge. The purpose was to step out of your comfort zone, try new restaurants and food, and support local restaurants around Queens. Although I took a little staycation during the challenge, I still tried to participate. All the food I tried was excellent!
Here are the restaurants I tried.
Nneji is a West African spot in Astoria. It’s more a pickup type of place but has fantastic food. Don’t feel shy and ask the owner for recommendations on what to eat.
Coco Malaysian Cuisine in Elmhurst.
I’m half Filipino, so Filipino food is life, but I did find a new dish I had never had before at Kabayan Authentic Filipino Cuisine in Woodside.
My family stayed at the TWA Hotel in JFK, in Jamaica, during the challenge (more on the hotel in another post), but we still tried some great food.
Yardie Bistro was in the food court area of the hotel.
Splurged a little at the Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges. It was well worth it!
I had a blast trying all the food. The challenge has an awesome Facebook group page that offers food ideas and recommendations year round. If you love food and live in Queens, or don’t mind traveling to the borough, join the group!
Easter was a two-day adventure this year. My family and I dyed and decorated some eggs, had two yummy feasts, creative Easter basket ideas, and egg hunts.
Dying and decorating the eggs was a family affair! My mom was in charge of the dye, but we all pitched in decorating the eggs with stickers.
Saturday night we had our big feast.
I got my daughter a Slumberkins Unicorn basket, and I got my husband and me a little planter that Maxine could also enjoy. She could watch the veggies grow before her eyes. She is still small, but I think she’ll still enjoy it.
Lastly, and my favorite, the egg hunts. I did two, one indoors at my Mom and Dad’s place on Saturday and another outside at my in-laws. Maxine had a blast!
My daughter Maxine celebrated her first birthday on December 19. She is growing up so fast. I really can’t believe it! My cousin’s girlfriend told me about a fun Chinese ceremony when a baby turns one. It’s called the zhua zhou ceremony, where symbolic objects are laid out in front of a baby to grab. Whatever the baby reaches for and plays with can indicate future employment prospects or interests.
We are a little late, but I thought it would be fun to do! I researched and found more information and potential objects to use via Gathered Gifts’ blog story.
Here is a list of some objects and meanings.
I substituted the following:
Abacus to Cash; Paint Brush to Hair Brush; Calculator to Whiteout; Chicken leg to Bamboo; Lego to Puzzle Piece; Microphone to Fan; Stethoscope to Thermometer; Sword to Shield
Moment of truth. Maxine’s top three…
1. Shallot = Intelligence
2. Measuring tape = Designer/Architect
3. Shield = Law enforcement
Rounding out top 5…
4. Cell phone = Tech Entrepreneur
5. Celery = Industrious
Not bad! LOL. I can’t wait till she is older to see what she likes and is passionate about.
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.
It was great to reflect on the year. I hope you had some time for reflection as well.
Last year it was hard to get together for the holidays. Not only was I pregnant, but Covid happened. So I’m not surprised that pretty much everyone is jumping on the holiday bandwagon early. I started the holiday season with my Mom at the beginning of November. We did an Ethel M Chocolate tasting and went to a holiday market to benefit The New York Junior League.
On November 5th, we participated in Ethel M Chocolates- Holiday Cactus Garden Lighting Online Tasting Experience. The event came with hot chocolate, a chocolate tasting kit for two, and some paperwork to remember and enhance our experience. This was the first virtual tasting experience for my mom, so I was excited for her.
The event kicked off via Zoom with speeches and the Cactus Garden lighting ceremony. Then our Chief Chocolatier did a hot chocolate demonstration focusing on three ways you could up your hot chocolate game. Lastly, it was chocolate time! We sampled a white chocolate peppermint silk piece, milk chocolate pecan pie, a pumpkin spice piece, dark chocolate egg nog, and then milk and dark chocolate fudge pieces. My mom’s favorite was the white chocolate peppermint silk, and mine was the milk chocolate fudge.
We had the best time! Ethel M has tastings all the time. Check out their website; they should have a holiday and a New Year tasting coming up.
On November 12, Mom and I attended The New York Junior League’s Golden Tree, a shopping event where the vendors give 20% back to the nonprofit. The league’s mission is to promote volunteerism, develop the potential in women, and improve communities. I also volunteer with the league, and this was the first event that I brought my mom.
Before we shopped, we enjoyed tea and yummy bites from Kings’ Carriage House.
After tea, we enjoyed three floors of vendors.
Golden Tree is done for the year but looking forward to more holiday markets like the Queens Craft Brigade event.
What holiday markets and events are you excited for?
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!
It’s officially Fall, but I’m still reminiscing about summertime. This year I got to enjoy the Catskills twice. The first time, I went camping with friends, and the second time, I stayed in a house with family.
Camping was fun, even with a seven-month baby! We stayed at a Tentrr campsite. Tentrr locations are unique because they provide all the camping material for you, and everything is already set up ready to go. We had a huge canvas tent, chairs, an area for campfires, and an area for eating. Another bonus of Tentrr locations is that they are pretty private. The place we chose is part of an abandoned zoo, and it was great because we were able to explore the area if we wanted to, and even though we were camping, we were able to use some bathroom facilities it had.
Here are some pictures of us camping.
While in the area, we enjoyed the local Farmer’s market and ice cream shop, hiked Kaaterskill Falls, and did a tasting at the Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company.
In late August, Andrew and I, with his family, rented a house via Airbnb. The house was by Hunter Mountain. It was simple, but it had plenty of room for us and had a pool and jacuzzi; we didn’t need anything else!
Oh my, so much has happened in the past ten years. The good, the bad and everything else in between. Here is my decade in review of some of my best memories.
I was working at Interference, an event marketing firm in Soho, and been with Andrew for almost two years. We decided to go on a romantic vacation to Costa Rica. This was the first trip we did an all-inclusive package and got SPOILED. Here is a picture of us getting ready to zipline and me on the beach. To be that thin again… le sigh.
I turned the big 3 0!!! We went on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. The port was in New Orleans, so of course we had to stay an extra couple of days to explore. Here is a picture of me clearly enjoying my birthday!
I started working for nonprofits around this time. My first one was the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. Now they are known by a different name but their mission is to mentor young chefs. I had the privilege to help plan their 2012 competition at the Culinary Institute of America. The winner represented USA at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France. No big deal right! Here is a photo of the competition set-up.
I became a condo owner!!
I began running this year. My first ever race was The Color Run. We had so much fun. I’m not sure why I’m the only one that got color blasted but ok.
I joined the Volunteer Training and Leadership committee at the New York Junior League this year. The committee is now known as Volunteer Education and Training and is pretty dear to my heart as I become the co-chair two years later. The league is one of the oldest and largest women volunteer organizations and the committee I chose to volunteer with focuses on training women on various topics to help with their professional and volunteer career. This picture is of my very first event that I helped with as part of the committee. I’m now part of the Annual Fund team.
I started Grad school! I decided to get my masters in Nonprofit Leadership.
I did the unthinkable, I ran the NYC marathon. Well I ran/walked it but still. I worked my butt off and I raised $5K for the New York Junior League. Look at all my medals.
I got married!!!
It’s been a year of me creating my own traditions with Andrew. This holiday season I did a lot of firsts. I carved my first pumpkin, I made my first thanksgiving meal all by myself and we got our first tree.