Fall in Central Park and things I ate while away

Hello again! I feel like a bear that’s just emerged out of the winter hibernation, or in my case, fall hibernation.
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Unhappy face because my castle is taking too long to build.

What have I been up to? TBQH, not much. The last couple of months, I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Summer was this wonderful prolonged daydream with its nice weather and days spent strolling the outdoors. When fall came around, I suddenly felt this dread that another year was about to pass me by and that same fear that I had some how squandered my time. I was quite frustrated. October was a busy month in terms of my day job, and I didn’t have a lot of time for creative things. In addition, the past 6 months of eating out because I had no gas was finally starting to catch up to me. You know those terrible days when you wake up and suddenly all your clothes are a bit too tight? Yup, I was going through that all October and the beginning of November. Those feelings of being ugly compounded with frustrations of not having done enough left me feeling overwhelmed and uninspired.

Things I ate, which is probably why I got fatter included:
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Red bean matcha toast at Cha An

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The works at Xi’an Famous Foods, or rather beef noodle soup and vegetable dumplings. The vegetable dumplings are so good that they’ve converted Ray, who never eats his vegetables.

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Grilled cheese at Dominique Ansel. (Not pictured is the plate of pastries on the side, which included a DKA and lots of brioche.)

Fortunately, things started to change a bit, or else I wouldn’t be writing this. Work got slightly less busy; I got my gas back and I started working out more. (I am determined to fit back into my jeans without having to jump around to put them on.)

The first thing I made once I got my gas back was a complete meal of green tea soba with soft boiled egg.
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Yes, egg porn.

I guess what changed the most was that I started to think more about what my longer term priorities were and focusing on those. And the things that bothered me in the interim dissolved in my mind when I realized that in a year or two they probably wouldn’t be an issue. For all my cynicism and pessimism, I tried to think a bit more positively and change the things I had control over. I started to feel better.

And so the product of all those internal dialogues and quiet reflections is this post.
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When I think back to all those long strolls in Central Park this fall, there is some part of me that quivers at how gorgeous and in-the-present New York is.

Fall in New York is a lovely time.
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Sometimes I still feel a bit overwhelmed by the New York, but there’s something about this place that has slowly crept inside me and given me a bit of satisfaction at being here in the center of it all.

A lovely wedding and other musings

Already a week since my last post!

If you recall, previously this year I said one of my friends/old roommates was getting married. Well, the wedding has gone and past now.
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Both Ray and I somehow ended up in the wedding party, but it turned out absolutely lovely. I managed to get some photos during the wedding when I wasn’t running around too frantically and they turned out rather well.
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This is only the 3rd wedding I’ve ever been to (I’m just now approaching that age where weddings are starting to be more frequent). This was also the first wedding that I’ve been intimately involved with and I thought it was absolutely lovely. The wedding went on without much of a hitch, and the bride and groom were married in a nice little ceremony that I started tearing up during.

The bride of course was quite lovely and her dress was simple, sleek and sweet.
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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of her standing in its full glory, but it was sweepingly sweet down to the train of the dress.

And her reception was equally as sweet, from the homemade topper on her wedding cake, to the props for her polaroid photo booth.

See how cute the wedding cake topper was?
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It’ll also make a sentimental reminder of the day.

I thought this was a cute idea: handmade props for polaroid photo booth where the guests can use the photos taken to fill the guestbook.
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Congrats again Weiling & Jason!

A few other things, I was reading this article from the Atlantic on creativity the other day, and it really got me thinking about how in recent years, I’ve just felt that certain faucets of my interests have all but dried up due to work, stress, anxiety, depression, etc. And this blog, having been an expressive outlet, kind of died with my other hobbies like art. So the article made me think about practicing my “art” more, and to do so, I’m going to try keep posting more consistently, even smaller posts that don’t have as many photos, and also present things of other mediums, like sketches and comics.

Also, if you’ve noticed the new layout, be prepared to see it change a few more times. I’m currently experimenting with the look and feel of this blog again.

Until next time!

The magic of the Holiday Train Show and 2013 in review

Wow, Christmas and the New Year’s came by fast!

I’m currently still in Chicago just chilling and relaxing with some of my favorite people. Being back in my old home city has made me realize how much I miss having that broader support network so close to home.

For some reason this year didn’t feel as festive as previous years. It might have to do with the fact that there was no mulled apple cider or wine this year. (Back in my Chicago apartment Miranda and I did really festive baking things that helped with the Holiday spirit.)

But, this year I got to go see the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens.

This post just includes a few of my favorites, but you can see more here

Since it was a train show, it had a bunch of miniature trains.

And some famous buildings.

It’s a real eye pleasure if you’re into miniatures, trains, or Alice-in-Wonderland-esque vibes.

One of my favorite places in  Manhattan.

The Guggenheim museum

Old Penn Station



It still looks quite majestic even as a miniature.

The attention to detail in these miniatures was delightful.



I just loved how every thing about these miniatures was done so purposefully.

They even had bridge replicas

I’m so glad 2014 is finally here. Out with the old 2013 and in with the new 2014. Like I said in my last post, 2013 was an amazing and weird year. When I look back on it I feel very ambivalent. I wouldn’t call it my worst year, but if I were to measure it by length of time of different events that happened, it was pretty terrible and difficult year interspersed by a few high points, which were more or less my travels to Europe, my new job, and my move to NYC. At the same time, I recognized that I grew a lot this year and I hope 2014 brings new and exciting things for me.

Short post: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m back in Indiana celebrating the holidays with my family. This has meant a lot of hotpot and cards with the family. It’s also been the perfect time to go on a tv-watching binge. (I just finished watching “What Maisie Knew” and “Frances Ha”, which are both excellent movies to watch alone.)

All that said and done, it’s been a weird and amazing year.

(^My stock photo galore)

Crazy things happened earlier in the year, and I know it was a dramatic year for more than one of my friends.

Shortly thereafter and in between trips to Milan and Munich, I decided that I needed a change, and got a new job and moved to New York.

Here I am today, opening presents and plotting my plans for 2014. (Yes, plotting.)

(I got a new lens, so expect to see better photos.)

So yes, 2013 was a crazy year and thank you to all my friends and family out there for all your support.

Until next time!

Annual fall apple picking: gorgeous views and apple pie

Sorry for the radio silence, changing jobs is a bit hectic, especially if there’s no transitional period! I’ve already started the new job in New York (in my third week — my, how time flies!), but don’t have a place to call my own yet. The new job is pretty nice, really no complaints about it! Leaving behind Chicago and all my good friends there is a little difficult, but I look forward to opportunities to make new ones and to keep in touch with old ones.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any fun stories to post about in New York, but last month I did go on my annual apple picking visit. This time we went to this orchard in Indiana called “County Line Orchard“.
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Personally, I like the one I went to last years more. This orchard was a lot bigger, which meant there were more apples to pick, but I think I like smaller farms. They feel more intimate.

Regardless of my preference, it was a lot of fun and I look forward to my trip next year.
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The paths were littered with tons of rotting and fermenting apples that made it smell like apple cider vinegar as you walked through the trees. To me, it’s a pleasant and nostalgic smell of the summer turning into fall.

And for some reason, seeing all the huge boughs of apples made me really happy.
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Apple Picking Fall 2013
Apple Picking Fall 2013
Oh the nostalgia I’ll feel for not being in Chicago any more. I definitely feel like I’ve left something behind, but that’s what growing up is all about right?

There were other things at this orchard, including sunflower fields and pumpkin patches.

The sunflowers were gorgeous on that day.
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We saw some fallen sunflowers littering the ground with tons of seeds spilling out. The hoarder/kid in me wanted to stop there, sit down and collect all of the fallen ones.

We also got a pumpkin.
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But I never got a chance to cook it. :’c

And of course, we also made pie this year.
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Gorgeous delicious apple pie.

As I Get Older: reflections of summer past

It’s already the end of September!
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This is the first year that I’ve been a little bit sad to see the summer go. :c

Previously, I’ve always looked forward to the fall when all my favorite spiced things come into season and to new semesters at school, or starting a new job. Now that I’m working, it seems like things move a bit too fast, and I’m having a hard time keeping up and squeezing in all the things I want to do.
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Some days I just want to play with these two and sit in my room enjoying the quiet.

But there other times where I’m thankful for the company of friends, especially eating with friends.

I loved my summer dinners of grilled cheese and tomato soup.
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Homemade!

and the pizzas
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Arugula prosciutto pizza @ Balena.

and the fresh Merluza from Avec…
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which, had fresh grape tomatoes in it. I’m going to miss tomato season.

But, most of all I loved my year in Chicago, which I will miss sorely… since I’m moving to NYC!