Color Factory

This past August, I got to spend an evening at The Color Factory with Ami and Kristin! It was a pop-up interactive exhibition in the city. It features work, celebrating color (duh) and material, from some amazing artists and collaborators like Jacob Dahlgren, Tom Stayte, Geronimo Balloons, Tosha Stimage, Stanton Jones, Andrew Neyer & Andy J. Miller, Carissa Potter, Jessica Hische, Rebecca Wright, Randi Brookman Harris, Leah Rosenberg and Erin Jang.

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These cuties <3

These cuties <3


The exhibition was, of course, very Instagram-worthy. More importantly, we really enjoyed how interactive it was. Unlike some insta-sensations nowadays, the real experience was also mindlessly fun and therapeutic to walk through. It was thoughtfully and carefully crafted, which I really appreciated. I forgot to take photos at several points, but there were also self-serve DSLR setups to take photos at different points throughout the exhibition (by simply tapping a card, the camera would countdown so you and your buddies can run to the spot and pose!) so we ended up with some gems like these :')

Photos by me, except the two below.

SF Summer Tales

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Spent an afternoon exploring Land's End with my first two visitors in SF! I had only been in the city for a week at this time, so we took this opportunity (with the nice weather) to be touristy together.

Made a visit to Thanh Long for the Dungeness crab and garlic noodles with the crew. They did not disappoint!

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Post-crab-dinner walk on an empty Ocean Beach.

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I spent my first month in San Francisco in corporate housing, which was located in South Beach. I spent many Saturday mornings walking to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, whether it's eat or the browse/shop the produce there. It's probably still one of my favorite things to do here in the city!

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Some snapshots of Corgi Con, at a not-so-empty Ocean Beach.

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Feasting and feeding these kiddos! Unfortunately these were the only photos that remain of my corporate housing.

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Ventured out to pick some strawberries with Rujia and Jenny in Pacifica.

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Classic San Francisco fog.

An afternoon at the Japanese Tea Garden with the sis and her gang.

Impromptu wine-tasting and blurry-cloudy fireworks from Treasure Island with the roomie! Can't beat Boston fireworks, but we got a good story to tell after this one :')


Some memories from the first two months in this new home. It was a lovely time having my sister and her friends here for 1.5 months, so we did lots of touristy things together. Time flew by like crazy these past few months: I didn't realize how many things I did until I started organizing these photos. Summer now feels like such a long time ago now that we've entered October, but we still have tidbits of warm weather here which I appreciate. Let's see if I can get the rest of summer photos out before October ends - no promises though ;)

As always, thanks for sticking with me!

Photos by me.

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Let's Catch Up

My last entry was about a day-trip that happened at the end of 2016. A lot has happened since then: wrapped up my freelance business with a large project, many scattered trips (domestic and international), countless job interviews, celebrations, goodbyes, and a move across the country! Months later, the chaos of this page turn has finally started to settle.

I have so many back-dated stories planned, but I can't promise I'll ever get to them all, so here's my attempt at highlighting a few moments from the past 8 months. I'd love to hear which parts you'd like to hear more on!


Travels

The past several months zoomed by because of all the traveling I did. Combined with an insane (and unhealthy) work schedule, it all feels like a blur to me now.

Phuket ⎯ Counting Down to 2017

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My family and I took a trip to Phuket, an island in southern Thailand, to ring in the new year. It was all sorts of wonderful. A much needed escape from the city, along with some quality family time.

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D.C.

Mid-March came, the fam had an opportunity for a short reunion in Washington D.C. due to my dad's conference colliding with my brother's spring break. The highlight of this trip was our celebratory dinner (my brother's birthday + early graduation toast) at minibar by José Andrés, to which with shear luck we managed to snag a Friday night reservation only a few days ahead of time. Sneak peak of how much fun we had below.

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Amsterdam

Michael and I visited one of my best friends from high school in Amsterdam at the end of March. Thanks for giving us beautiful weather, Amsterdam, and thank you a million times for having us, Prim <3

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NYC & Syracuse ⎯ Class of 2017!

The parents and I met up in New York City for a few days before joining forces with my cousins to drive over to Syracuse for my brother's graduation. Couldn't be more proud of this kid - congrats Duang!

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Paris & Lyon

My parents had a trip to France planned (another conference for dad extended into a mini vacation), so I took this opportunity to tag along since I had a few weeks in-between jobs.

Favorite couple exploring Lyon <3

Favorite couple exploring Lyon <3

 

Las Vegas ⎯ MIT'14 Pi Reunion

Did you know MIT has a Pi Reunion in July? This was my first time in Vegas and we had a blast! Can't say I'd want to come back again anytime soon since everything is overpriced there, but we really made the most out of it and I left feeling very satisfied. No beautiful photos from this trip: just a bunch of silly selfies, so those are private ;)


Career

This is a long one, but bear with me as I don't usually talk much about my career publicly.

In March, I wrapped up my last large project as a freelancer (or design consultant, for those who don't take freelancers seriously... but hey, you really should.) By that time, I had been freelancing for about 2 years. I learned a ton through the process and felt satisfied with the things I had set out to learn from this experience back when I quit my full-time job in 2015. My work-life balance line was also getting blurry: I found it hard to stop working, as literally the more I worked, the more I earned. Most importantly though, I had a pretty clear idea of what kind of company, team, and work I wanted in my next gig.

Several phone calls, interviews, design challenges (ugh), and flights/train rides later, I thrilled to share that I accepted Adobe's offer to work as a designer on their design system team!

I knew going into this job search that I wanted to work with a company with a sizable design team, with strong design leadership built in. Not only is this the case with Adobe, but the diversity (not in just race or gender, but age, experiences, upbringing etc.) is what really stood out to me from the rest of my interview experiences. Ultimately, however, what truly solidified my decision was the fact that I really resonate with my manager's outlook on growth, both for individual designers and Adobe Design as a whole. It's hard to believe it's been almost 3 months since I started at Adobe. Although it's been tiring, and at times overwhelming (it's a huge company after all), I couldn't be happier with the trust and support I have from my colleagues.

I am also honored and humbled to be a current Designer Fund Bridge fellow. It's been an incredible experience so far, and I'd love to share more about this special journey in a later post.


Boston → San Francisco

Charles River. Saying goodbye to this view on my last day in Boston :')

Charles River. Saying goodbye to this view on my last day in Boston :')

I said farewell to Boston (well, Cambridge to be exact) at the end of May. It was my home for 7 years and, although I am hungry for new adventures, I know I will miss it dearly. It's walkable, relatively safe, has wonderful summers and falls, but is still a city so there's always something to do (except when you're snowed in, but that's another adventure in its self!). I'd still seriously consider coming back to live here again later on in life, if that doesn't happen, I know I'll definitely be visiting again.

My new job is located in San Francisco and, to my surprise (and luck?), I've managed to find reasonable housing with wonderful roommates even before I got here. After a month of corporate housing, some handy work with the help of the little sis, and many many boxes later, I'm finally settling in and feeling at home in my new space. I'll save some SF summer adventures for a later post, but let me know if there's anything you'd recommend me checking out! Whether that's a food place, cafe, neighborhood, or anything pretty, I'm up for exploring them all.


Now that's a wrap and you're basically (almost) caught up with my life. Ask me for a high-five if you've read it all the way here ;) I still haven't quite decided in what order I'm going to upload the next string of photos and stories in. Chronologically? Backwards? Random? I'm leaning toward alternating between current vs. past stories, but you'll just have to stay tuned to see.

As always, thanks for sticking with me!

Photos by the family and me.

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Escape to Pattaya

During my visit home (in Bangkok, Thailand) this past winter, we decided to do an impromptu day trip to Pattaya, a beach city on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It's about 1.5 hours away from Bangkok and, because of its distance, a popular destination for both tourists and city escapers for a weekend getaway. We used to come here (and to Hua Hin) a lot growing up, but it's been a while since I've been back.

This time round, a few cousins, aunts/uncles, my siblings, and I randomly decided to drive out to Pattaya to take the yacht out for the afternoon. This was also something we did often growing up, but it's been a while - at least 5 years! - since I remember being here on the water. At least half of us live in the US now, so it was a pleasant reunion with the ocean :)

Treats on board!

Treats on board!

He never let go of that bag of spicy squid snack.

He never let go of that bag of spicy squid snack.

We started heading back to shore when the sun was setting.

We started heading back to shore when the sun was setting.

Made it back to Ocean Marina right before the sun went down!

Made it back to Ocean Marina right before the sun went down!

This happened a day before my immediate family headed out to Phuket to ring in 2017. Since I was back home for only 2 weeks, I actively spent most of my time with family and close friends. It was a tiring trip, with jet lag and all, but very refreshing and heart-warming. Stay tuned for more sea-side adventures in the coming posts!

Photos by me.

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Thanksgiving in the Bay

I spent Thanksgiving weekend with relatives in Pleasanton, CA this year. It was quite a family-fun-filled weekend as my cousins and brother flew in from New York as well. We took one of the little ones for a walk along Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Thanksgiving morning. Because everything there was closed, it was a great opportunity to stroll on the beach without its usual crowd.

Nina gardening!

Nina gardening!

An hour and a bit later, we arrived at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

An hour and a bit later, we arrived at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Festive home.

Festive home.

Turkey time!

Turkey time!

My aunt's masterpiece.

My aunt's masterpiece.

We had a massive Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving dinner with my aunt's friends and some of our friends too. Unfortunately, I was too busy and overwhelmed with the food and crowd that I forgot to take more photos of the feast. It was an American-style Thanksgiving dinner with a Thai twist. We went for a short hike the next day in an attempt to take some of our dinner off our bodies. My brother led us to Mount Diablo, which was right behind his high school.

Adopted Rujia as a family member for the weekend <3

Adopted Rujia as a family member for the weekend <3

It was a food-filled weekend, as per usual with any weekend spent with my family. I am very grateful to have friends and family here in the US that make it possible for me to spend Thanksgiving and feel so at home on the other side of the planet. I am also thankful that I can share this journey with you all here :)

Photos by me.

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Experiencing Eataly Boston

The countdown is finally ending! Eataly Boston opens its doors to us Bostonians on Nov 29th at 4PM. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to tour around the new space led by Nicola Farinetti (CEO) and Mario Batali (partner), both emphasizing how this Eataly is truly unique: apart from its layout being different, it's also filled with familiar faces like locally sourced produce, dairy, and various ingredients like oysters from Island Creek. Here's a sneak peak of what you can expect in their spacious 3-story Italian food playground.

Eataly Boston is located in the Prudential Center on 800 Boylston St.

Eataly Boston is located in the Prudential Center on 800 Boylston St.

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You can also LEARN how to make delicious Italian meals here!

You can also LEARN how to make delicious Italian meals here!

Eataly isn't just an Italian supermarket. It aims to be a place where we can EAT, SHOP, and LEARN. We will soon be able to come by for a bite, wander around the 45,000 square feet with a glass of wine in hand, and bring home the knowledge and quality ingredients to cook an authentic Italian meal in our homes.

I had a great time experiencing Eataly and will definitely be stopping by again soon once it is in its full swing. Again, doors open Nov 29th at 4PM and I hear that the first 100 lucky ones in line will receive a complimentary glass of wine!

Photos by me. (For any photography usage elsewhere, please give full credits and link back.)

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not compensated to write this post.

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Joe's American Bar & Grill - Newbury St, Boston

Joe's Newbury recently refreshed their brunch menu and I had the pleasure of experiencing it while also chatting with Executive Chef Dan Billo about his background and inspiration for his work. The restaurant was already bustling when I arrived, as you'll see in the photos below, so I'd recommend making reservations ahead of time just to be on the safe side. Plus, if you do you might be able to request to sit in their nice and open cafe area right alongside Newbury Street - featuring a retractable roof - where the lighting and environment seems so lovely!

Upper bar & cafe area

Upper bar & cafe area

Peach Bellini

Peach Bellini

Chef Dan Billo personally serving us with a huge smile!

Chef Dan Billo personally serving us with a huge smile!

Mojo Pork Slider. Citrus-marinated pork covered in rich Carolina barbecue sauce, topped with creamy coleslaw and pickles.

Mojo Pork Slider. Citrus-marinated pork covered in rich Carolina barbecue sauce, topped with creamy coleslaw and pickles.

Ahi Tuna Tartare. Fresh ahi tuna with avocado, cucumber, sesame wonton chips, and a soy reduction.

Ahi Tuna Tartare. Fresh ahi tuna with avocado, cucumber, sesame wonton chips, and a soy reduction.

Deviled Eggs. Four sinfully good eggs topped with maple-Cajun bacon.

Deviled Eggs. Four sinfully good eggs topped with maple-Cajun bacon.

Crab Cake Benedict. Lump crab meat, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and home fries.

Crab Cake Benedict. Lump crab meat, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and home fries.

Corned Beef Hash. Fried eggs, mustard cream sauce, and choice of toast. (Personal favorite!!)

Corned Beef Hash. Fried eggs, mustard cream sauce, and choice of toast. (Personal favorite!!)

Blueberry Pancakes. Cream cheese frosting and wild blueberry reduction.

Blueberry Pancakes. Cream cheese frosting and wild blueberry reduction.

Lox & Bagel. Lox, bagel, chive cream cheese, capers, minced red onion, and confit lemon.

Lox & Bagel. Lox, bagel, chive cream cheese, capers, minced red onion, and confit lemon.

Granola, Yogurt & Seasonal Fruit. Honey-mint yogurt, seasonal fruit, and house granola.

Granola, Yogurt & Seasonal Fruit. Honey-mint yogurt, seasonal fruit, and house granola.

Lobster Frittata. Fresh vegetables, Gruyère cheese, fine herbs, and petite greens.

Lobster Frittata. Fresh vegetables, Gruyère cheese, fine herbs, and petite greens.

Chef Dan Billo talks through his inspiration for the brunch menu which came from his travels and years of experience.

Chef Dan Billo talks through his inspiration for the brunch menu which came from his travels and years of experience.

The kitchen can be seen from the main dining area.

The kitchen can be seen from the main dining area.

My overall experience at Joe's was very heart-warming. I enjoyed the food, and so did the other bloggers who were there. I highly recommend the corned beef hash. It was definitely the star of the meal, even to those who don't usually like corned beef hash. I also got to try some of the crab cake benedict which felt a bit too dry for my taste even with all the sauce, so unless you're a die-hard crab cake fan I would go for something else (*ahem* did I mention the corned beef hash already!?) However, what stuck with me from this brunch was Joe's friendly atmosphere and staff. It was very apparent that Dan feels very at home in this restaurant and is truly passionate about his crafts. The entire restaurant staff seemed like a big happy family and it certainly shows in their service: approachable, flexible, and kind. It was very refreshing, especially on Newbury Street, to know there's a friendly and dependable spot in the midst of all the fine-dining and big chain restaurants.

You can try out Joe's new brunch menu for yourself on weekends from 11AM-3PM. They also have a special three-course thanksgiving dinner coming up. If you do check them out, please let me know in the comments - I'd love to know your thoughts!

Photos by me. (For any photography usage elsewhere, please give full credits and link back.)

In collaboration with Joe's Newbury; thoughts and opinions are my own.

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October Digest 2016

It's been a while! October came and flew by fast. Now that November has arrived, I thought this would be an appropriate time to reflect on such a busy month. This is (hopefully) the start of a 'Monthly Digest' series where I glance back on my favorite day-to-day moments from the past month in an attempt to not just let time zoom by in a blur.


Moments

I turned 25! I know, I know, I'm the hardest person to surprise. Even so, I had the best of friends who made me think that either they had forgotten my birthday completely or were just too busy to celebrate with me, before surprising me by hiding in my own apartment that evening. I haven't been all that excited for my birthdays abroad because it's when I miss my family and friends from home the most. This is why I was caught completely off-guard with this surprise that I shed tears ...but I guess it just made it all the more memorable :')

Before I walked in. Thanks for the photo, Tiffany :)

Before I walked in. Thanks for the photo, Tiffany :)

Another moment I cannot exclude is a tough one: the passing of Thailand's late King Bhumibol. I wrote a short post to explain why this has shaken the entire country, so I will not repeat that here. On a brighter side (which the western media doesn't seem to cover), His Majesty's passing has brought out several kind-hearted acts among his people: in addition to several charity movements, Thai people have been the most supportive and understanding of one another than I've ever witnessed.

As a side note, if you're concerned about traveling to Thailand in the near future, you have nothing to worry about! As long as you are respectful and understand that most people might be dressed in black or white clothing, you shouldn't have a problem and most businesses should be operating as usual.

King Bhumibol Square - Cambridge, MA

King Bhumibol Square - Cambridge, MA

Fall is in its full force! It's my favorite season to spend in Boston. I finally went on a hike to see the leaves changing colors for the very first time! I've been to New Hampshire in October plenty of times during college with student groups, but sadly hiking wasn't most people's favorite activity. Luckily, I've found these lovely people who share my enthusiasm for hiking and nature and we had a blast.

I also attended a beautiful wedding in Danvers, MA the day after this hike. Despite being dead tired and incredibly sore from the hike, having the opportunity to be part of one of the happiest moments in two people's lives was such an honor and it gives me all the feels. That weekend turned out to be one of the most exhausting ones in October, but it was also the highlight of my month.

Congrats May & Nick!!!

Congrats May & Nick!!!

Father-daughter dance <3

Father-daughter dance <3


Food

Of course, food is always a big part of my life. There were several good meals with great company, as well as warm hearty home-cooked ones. I'm so so lucky to be surrounded by friends who love and appreciate food like I do. A notable mention to my birthday dinner at Little Donkey, a new Tatte Bakery location in Harvard Square, and the fact that I gave Blue Apron a try for a couple of weeks, so be on the look out for my thoughts on the experience soon!

A successful potluck!

A successful potluck!

Lobster sandwich from Alive & Kicking Lobster

Lobster sandwich from Alive & Kicking Lobster


Work

Work has been very busy this month, in a good way. I've been working with clients located at the Idea Space in Back Bay, so it's been a pleasure to stroll on Newbury and Boylston almost everyday. I hope to share more about my journey as an independent designer on this blog in the coming months - more on that at the end of this post!

To Boston readers: if you'd like to help me out on my user research for about half an hour, hit me up! You basically answer some of my questions while interacting with an app we're testing :)


Favorites

A shoutout to some of my favorite things this past month:

1. TaoTronics Eye-caring Desk Lamp / I've used my old one since freshman year of college and it was too in-your-face bright and not easy on the eyes. This affordable find has been amazing, flexible, and looks pretty sleek too! I was hesitant since I tend to gravitate towards more vintage styles, but I've been very happy with this baby.

2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark-II / I'm surprised by how many people have asked about my camera, so here it is!

3. ESSIE polish in Lady Like and Wicked / Current shades on my nails!

4. I finally put up some of the water color postcards I like to collect from travel above my desk!


A Look Ahead

I've been giving a lot of thought on what I should post about on here (and it probably has taken a toll on my blog frequency). I know I want this space to be about me - as something to look back on and a tool to share my stories - but which aspect(s) of me I should share I wasn't so sure.

I've decided that, in addition to the current travel & food stories, I want to share more on my journey as a designer (things I learned from college, my first job, and transitioning to freelance) as well as challenges I take on to push myself. I hope to be a useful resource for those going through similar paths, as well as to paint a more complete picture of me (not just food and travel photos!)


And that's October for you! Writing this has been quite a task, but incredibly rewarding: reflecting on these thoughts and moments has put me in such a joyful and content mood. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you liked this Monthly Digest format. Any suggestions for a better name? Any thoughts on what YOU would like to read about on my blog?

As always, thanks for stopping by and being part of this!

Photos by me.

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Fall Foliage - Mt. Jackson, White Mountains, NH

We went for a mid-October hike with a couple of friends in White Mountains, New Hampshire, which was about a 3-hour drive from Boston. It was my first fall hike and we were all very excited to see the beautiful colors as well as to soak in some much-needed nature. October is a very popular hiking season, so for those who wish to spend the night nearby should definitely book well ahead of time before they're all taken! We chose to do the Mount Jackson trail (~6 miles) which is considered moderate/difficult from our research due to its steepness, but is still doable before sunset, giving us enough time to get dinner and drive all the way back in one day.

Weather was on the colder side, but it quickly got warmer as we started moving.

Weather was on the colder side, but it quickly got warmer as we started moving.

We made it!

We made it!

This fella was eyeing our lunch!

This fella was eyeing our lunch!

"Look at these leaves we got!"

"Look at these leaves we got!"

The view was breath-taking. We thought we knew what to expect from googling photos of the trail the night before, but none of them did Mount Jackson justice. We were also accompanied by these little birds on the way up (can anyone identify them for us?) and two of them even came by to see if we would offer up some snacks while we were at the top. The hike was definitely not a casual stroll, with several steep portions spread through out the trail, which made it really satisfying for us.

We made it back down to the road right when it was getting too dark. We got dinner at a small diner on our way back and arrived in Boston slightly before midnight. All of us were dead exhausted by that time, but we got a good workout, meaningful conversations, and lots of fresh air. It was a good day.

Photos by me. Shout out to Teresa for driving both ways! <3

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Little Donkey - Central Sq, Cambridge

Manti (Istanbul Meat Ravioli). Garlic‎ sour cream, red pepper butter.

Manti (Istanbul Meat Ravioli). Garlic‎ sour cream, red pepper butter.

(Right) Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail. Avocado, cilantro, saltines.

(Right) Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail. Avocado, cilantro, saltines.

Silver Queen Corn. Parmesan, bone marrow, bonito, aioli, hot sauce. (This was our favorite! Who knew a corn dish can be this good!?!)

Silver Queen Corn. Parmesan, bone marrow, bonito, aioli, hot sauce. (This was our favorite! Who knew a corn dish can be this good!?!)

Burger. Dry aged beef, buffalo pickles, onion soup mayo, foie gras, jalapeño chips

Burger. Dry aged beef, buffalo pickles, onion soup mayo, foie gras, jalapeño chips

Tikka Masala Fried Sole. Curry yogurt, cilantro, chili.

Tikka Masala Fried Sole. Curry yogurt, cilantro, chili.

Matzo Ball Ramen. Chicken broth, burnt onion, schmaltz tare, corn, spicy chicken. (Warning: NOT a "small plate" dish!)

Matzo Ball Ramen. Chicken broth, burnt onion, schmaltz tare, corn, spicy chicken. (Warning: NOT a "small plate" dish!)

Little Donkey, a global small plate restaurant, opened up this past summer right in Central Square - steps away from my place! It has been one of Boston's most highly anticipated restaurant openings of the year because of its two award-winning chefs: Ken Oringer & Jamie Bissonnette. We decided to finally give it a try as a little celebratory dinner for my birthday and we were not disappointed.

I'm always hesitant with tapas-style restaurants as I feel like we're often left with either an unsatisfied stomach, or an incredibly large bill. Our server recommended us to order 2-4 dishes per person, so we ended up getting 6. We were definitely stuffed by the end of our meal (even before the huge bowl of ramen came), so I would say the upper limit of the recommendation might be for those who order more of their hors d'oeuvres. The main dishes were not "small plates" - so consider yourselves warned!!

What we loved about Little Donkey was its variety. Very fitting for Central Sq's diversity, Little Donkey offers flavors from all around the globe. This made the meal exciting and unpredictable. Our favorite, surprisingly, was the spicy silver queen corn dish.

For restaurant enthusiasts, I'd highly recommend checking them out. If you're looking for an established dependable cuisine, this may not be the place for you. However, if you're up for some carefully crafted dishes with flavors from all your favorite cuisines, you're in for a treat. I believe this is something Central has been missing: not another convenient grab-and-go dinner place, but a dependably exciting treat after a long week of work. They're also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until late at night so I look forward to seeing the role they play in this neighborhood in the coming months!

Photos by me.

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Forever In Our Hearts

Today marks one of the saddest days in Thailand: our King, after 70 years on the throne (the world's longest-reigning monarch) has passed away at the age of 88. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is very loved by the entire nation.

To others, this may sound like some twisted propaganda but the people's love for King Bhumibol is for several good reasons. Not only was he the figure that united the nation which has suffered through multiple political crises, he was known to be one of the most humble man. He has done more good to the country than any politician/public figure has ever talked or campaigned about. It's a shame that his most active years were times long before things like the Internet and social media became so integrated in our daily lives that several of his projects and innovations have gone under the international media's radars (while political violence, for example, is much juicier news unfortunately.) If you read more about his sacrifices and pioneering work in agriculture and education, his passion for solving environmental problems in Thailand, or his love for jazz and music composition that has inspired millions, it should come as no surprise to why this loss has shaken the entire nation.

Today I stopped by Harvard Square, home to His Majesty's birth place, to pay my respects for not just my King, but a man I truly looked up to for his keen intellect, creativity, and selflessness.

I'm truly honored to have grown up with a king that is so loved by his people for his humbled personality, hard work, and dedication. Rest in peace, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. You have been loved and will always be.

Photos by me. Please give credits if used elsewhere.

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Brunches & Munches

Brunch w/ Jade at Sonsie. We got front-row seats! Too bad I forgot to take any photos.

Brunch w/ Jade at Sonsie. We got front-row seats! Too bad I forgot to take any photos.

Another weekend brunch at Brookline Lunch.

Another weekend brunch at Brookline Lunch.

Weekday lunch featuring The Chicken & Rice Guys at the Kendall Sq. Farmers Market.

Weekday lunch featuring The Chicken & Rice Guys at the Kendall Sq. Farmers Market.

Hi there!

Hi there!

We left the food festival feeling slightly disappointed, but James Hook & Co. didn't let us down.

We left the food festival feeling slightly disappointed, but James Hook & Co. didn't let us down.

Happy birthday, Tiffany! She was actually surprised :)

Happy birthday, Tiffany! She was actually surprised :)

Life Alive w/ Ami!

Life Alive w/ Ami!

Cooking & working night w/ Teresa and Michael.

Cooking & working night w/ Teresa and Michael.

Brunch w/ Yinfu & Ashley at Ball Square Cafe.

Brunch w/ Yinfu & Ashley at Ball Square Cafe.

I got the pear stuffed french toast and it was delicious! Definitely want to come back again.

I got the pear stuffed french toast and it was delicious! Definitely want to come back again.

Strolled through this bike path to Davis Square

Strolled through this bike path to Davis Square

Goodbye flowers :(

Goodbye flowers :(

This was also my first day breaking out the boots!

This was also my first day breaking out the boots!

Davis Square T stop.

Davis Square T stop.

This has been my work scene

This has been my work scene

September came and went. For the most part, the summer-to-fall transition has been on the gloomier side this year. It's been a busy month: friends visiting to recruit at the MIT Career Fair, updated my portfolio (still a work-in-progress), and started working with a new client located in one of the most iconic Boston neighborhoods - right off of Newbury Street! The result of all this craziness is that most of my photos end up being just photos of food.

October is now here and its arrival is always a weird mix of excitement for me (it's my birthday month!) You can definitely expect to see more activity on this space! Let me know what your favorite thing about fall is in the comments. For those of you who know Back Bay well, I'd really appreciate some restaurant/cafe tips since I'd be spending even more time around there this month!

Photos by me.

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Spend A Day In Ayutthaya

This past summer, I had the opportunity to take some of my MIT friends who were visiting Thailand around. Since two of them had already spent quite some time around the country (and Bangkok), I decided we should go on a half-day trip to Ayutthaya, an ancient capital of Thailand located 85 km north of Bangkok.

This post is a combination of the few things we visited, plus additional tips & suggestions of mine based on personal experience, research, and family recommendations. I hope those who are interested in visiting Ayutthaya find these information useful, whether you're a foreigner visiting Thailand or just a local looking for a break from the big city!


 

Food

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We only had a couple of hours in Ayutthaya, so we hit up what I think are Ayutthaya's must-haves: river prawns, old city historical ruins, and Roti Sai Mai. We had lunch as soon as we arrived at Pa Porn's Noodles, one of my mom's favorite spots. I called in advance to reserve one set of river prawns - these are famous and limited in number depending on the day, so it's safest to reserve your share! She's also famous for her traditional noodle dishes, pictured above.

Apart from the river prawns, Ayutthaya is also famous for its boat noodles. There are so many amazing food options to choose from in this town, so here are some of my suggestions:

Sala Ayutthaya (Hotel & Restaurant)
Trendy hotel with a restaurant boasting one of the best views you'll find in Ayutthaya!
9/2 Moo 4, U-Thong Road,
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand
+66-35242588 / Facebook

Pa Porn's Noodles (ร้านก๋วยเตี๋ยวหมูโบราณป้าพร)
Pictured above, a family favorite river prawn and noodles place.
121/2 Moo 8, Uthong Road
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand
+66-35251676 / Facebook

Ruan Thai Kung Pao (เรือนไทยกุ้งเผา วัดเชิงเลน)
Amazing & fresh river prawns located right by the river. Gets incredibly packed, so be sure to reserve your table way in advance!
Moo 4 1/2 Thetsaban 10 Alley,
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13190, Thailand
+66-35367730 / Facebook

Rim-Nam Boat Noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือริมน้ำ)
Affordable authentic noodle dishes with a view and seats where you're dangling your feat over the river.
Map / Facebook

 

Temples

My friends have had their fair share of temples from traveling around Thailand for the past month, so we only visited one small temple: Wat Phra Ram. It was quiet and small relative to the other sites I've visited, but it was a nice taste of the Ayutthaya battle ruins without the tourist chaos. It was conveniently located near the Rama Public Park, which was perfect for a little post-lunch stroll.

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For those seeking to visit the greatest of Ayutthaya's temples and take in as much of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as possible, I've listed some alternate temples here. I wouldn't recommend Wat Phra Ram if this is your first time in Ayutthaya, unless you're looking for a quick quiet site to stroll around to kill time. (Quick fact: Wat is the Thai word for temple!)

Wat Phra Si Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์)
Largest temple in Ayutthaya, located inside the former royal palace. Home to the iconic "Ayutthaya" photo of the 3 distinctive stupas (jedi's).
Map

Wat Yai Chai Mang Khon (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล)
The name literally means enormous. Its stupa (jedi) is visible across Ayutthaya. Also home to the giant reclining Buddha.
Map

Wat Chaiwattanarm (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม)
A larger and more impressive version of Wat Phra Ram (pictured) with its towering prangs and stupas which are accessed by steep steps.
Map

Wat Phra Mahathat (วัดมหาธาตุ)
Home to the famous Buddha head nested in tree roots.
Map

 

Desserts

Ayutthaya is very well-known for its Roti Sai Mai, a Thai version of cotton candy 'Sai Mai' (or candy floss) wrapped in a thin sweet crepe 'Roti'. It's very light and not overbearingly sweet (unlike most American desserts!) There are several famous stalls that sell Roti Sai Mai in Ayutthaya and you'll be in pretty good hands trying any of them.

We visited my grandma's all-time favorite stall "Roti Sai Mai Mae Pom" (simply translated to Mother Pom's Roti Saimai) where the owner greeted us with a huge smile and even invited us to try several wraps for free (even though we insisted on paying!) We ended up buying several bags for ourselves and as gifts for my family. The best part of all this is that Mae Pom sells these for only 80 Baht/Kilogram, whereas you'll find that some other stores sell these for up to 200 Bath/Kilogram!

Baan Kao Nhom (บ้านข้าวหนม)
Foreigner-friendly dessert cafe. Well decorated interior serving various traditional Thai desserts and coffee.
Map / Facebook

Roti Sai Mai Mae Pom (โรตีสายไหมแม่ป้อม)
Pictured above. Affordable and my family's favorite Roti Sai Mai stall!
Uthong Road
+66-897896931 / Facebook

 

Because we wanted to make it back to the city before rush hour, coupled with the fact that it started raining, we spent the evening back in Bangkok wandering around Siam. Our evening was filled with ice cream, tea, beer, and a dinner feast. We then proceeded to burn some of our dinner with karaoke, which was a nice end to our day.

Roxy got her fix of durian ice cream!

Roxy got her fix of durian ice cream!

Bing-soo! (Korean shaved-ice dessert which is becoming very popular in Bangkok)

Bing-soo! (Korean shaved-ice dessert which is becoming very popular in Bangkok)

Our dinner was at Som Tum Nua, a popular spot serving northeastern Thai cuisine (Issan) with famous dishes being their papaya salads (som-tam), sliced BBQ pork neck with spicy dipping sauce, deep-fried chicken wings, along with a basket of sticky rice. 

Our dinner was at Som Tum Nua, a popular spot serving northeastern Thai cuisine (Issan) with famous dishes being their papaya salads (som-tam), sliced BBQ pork neck with spicy dipping sauce, deep-fried chicken wings, along with a basket of sticky rice. 

Last bite before I sent her off at the airport: durian ice cream from Eathai at Central Embassy!

Last bite before I sent her off at the airport: durian ice cream from Eathai at Central Embassy!

Ayutthaya is a famous destination for Bangkok schools to take young children on day-trips because of its rich history. This makes Ayutthaya one of those places I've visited several times but, apart from the history, don't actually know much about. It was not until the past 5 years that I've come to appreciate and remember travel and food, so it's my mission to explore more of my home country every time I go back for a visit. It's not far from Bangkok at all, but gives you a completely unique environment and is a great chance to escape from the city life. Hope you found this post useful and if you have your own Ayutthaya favorites, definitely let me know in the comments. I'd love to check them out!

Photos by me.

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Summer Moments (Part II: Boston)

Afternoon tea inside the Boston Public Library! (The Courtyard)

Afternoon tea inside the Boston Public Library! (The Courtyard)

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Before leaving for Bangkok, I got to spend some time with my sister here in Boston. We did several things together which I didn't document, but one of my favorite moments was when we had afternoon tea at The Courtyard, located in the Boston Public Library. This wasn't because the food was fantastic (it was average, but the environment was really nice), but it was because we had really nice thought-provoking conversations about life which we don't do often enough. 

The rest of the photos here are from after I came back from Bangkok to spend the last bits of summer in Boston.

Restaurant week brunch straight off the plane with these ladies at Top of the Hub.

Restaurant week brunch straight off the plane with these ladies at Top of the Hub.

Chorizo Eggs Benedict

Chorizo Eggs Benedict

Grocery haul at the Haymarket farmers market!

Grocery haul at the Haymarket farmers market!

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An afternoon pick-me-up at Tosci's.

An afternoon pick-me-up at Tosci's.

Charles River Esplanade.

Charles River Esplanade.

Santouka, Harvard Square.

Santouka, Harvard Square.

Baked strawberry cheesecake muffins!

Baked strawberry cheesecake muffins!

Pre-Labor-Day fireworks dinner at Saus.

Pre-Labor-Day fireworks dinner at Saus.

Fireworks for Labor Day!

Fireworks for Labor Day!

View from the Christopher Columbus park.

View from the Christopher Columbus park.

I'm back in Cambridge! Summer and fall are my favorite seasons to spend in Boston. It's particularly lively here during summer because students are out of school, and there are so many (free) outdoor events on weekends. Unfortunately, the days are now starting to get shorter and the temperature has cooled down slightly. I think it's time to bid farewell to an adventure-filled summer with this post and welcome what's hopefully another beautiful autumn.

Photos by me.

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Summer Moments (Part I: Bangkok)

Breakfast By Madam, a family affair.

Breakfast By Madam, a family affair.

Work(?) day followed by desserts with Parinda at Tip's Bakehouse.

Work(?) day followed by desserts with Parinda at Tip's Bakehouse.

Impromptu afternoon with Natty at The Commons

Impromptu afternoon with Natty at The Commons

Bites from Sourced and wine from The Barrell at The Commons

Bites from Sourced and wine from The Barrell at The Commons

Pictured dish: hot and sour creamy prawn fat tom yam mantis shrimp noodles

Pictured dish: hot and sour creamy prawn fat tom yam mantis shrimp noodles

Coffee & Thai tea slushy with grass jelly

Coffee & Thai tea slushy with grass jelly

Celebrated Buddy's birthday in a very private dining experience at Flat Marble. Special thanks to the staff for accommodating (or tolerating) our loud and crazy gang!

Celebrated Buddy's birthday in a very private dining experience at Flat Marble. Special thanks to the staff for accommodating (or tolerating) our loud and crazy gang!

The restaurant is a small glass house that seats 11-13 people, facing the kitchen like bar seats.

The restaurant is a small glass house that seats 11-13 people, facing the kitchen like bar seats.

We threw a little cousins/siblings get-together before my brother flew back the Syracuse.

We threw a little cousins/siblings get-together before my brother flew back the Syracuse.

Home cooking for my brother's send-off dinner and to welcome Roxy!

Home cooking for my brother's send-off dinner and to welcome Roxy!

Madam and her sous chef

Madam and her sous chef

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Dad is a grill master.

Dad is a grill master.

Home cooking is a family affair.

Home cooking is a family affair.

Roxy visits!

Roxy visits!

Dessert: coffee jelly by the sous chef!

Dessert: coffee jelly by the sous chef!

ลิขิตไก่ย่าง / Thai BBQ chicken and various northeastern dishes with mom's badminton gang

ลิขิตไก่ย่าง / Thai BBQ chicken and various northeastern dishes with mom's badminton gang

Stopped by the exhibition for Her Majesty Queen Rambhai Barni.

Stopped by the exhibition for Her Majesty Queen Rambhai Barni.

Sukiyaki at Nabezo (Central Embassy)

Sukiyaki at Nabezo (Central Embassy)

Came with matcha desserts!

Came with matcha desserts!

BBQ plaza with the sis!

BBQ plaza with the sis!

Last dinner with the family at one of the best restaurants in town, Le Normandie.

Last dinner with the family at one of the best restaurants in town, Le Normandie.

They thought I was leaving for college for the first time, so they gave me flowers and cake, haha!

They thought I was leaving for college for the first time, so they gave me flowers and cake, haha!

With the nature of my job being independent (and portable for the most part), I was lucky to be able to spend some time at home in Bangkok, Thailand this summer. It was nice to be able to relax and spend time catching up with family and friends. The month went by really fast as it was filled with lots of people I haven't seen in a year, along with amazing food for half the price of anything here in Boston. My life revolves around food, and you can see where I got that from in these photos! 

Thank you everyone who had part in making my summer so special and for making it so hard to leave every single time. I am incredibly grateful to have this beautiful city I can always come back to and call home.

Photos by my family and me.

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When In Rome

The final stop of our 10-day vacation in Europe was Italy's capital: Rome! We drove from Sorrento to Rome, stopping by an outlet on the way, and arrived in the city just before evening rush hour traffic kicked in. We had two full days in Rome (three nights) and most of it was spent walking around both key tourist attractions and local streets near our restaurants. We visited the Vatican City, home to countless famous art and architectural landmarks including St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistene Chapel. The scale and details of everything there was unbelievable and these few photos really don't do them justice.

Evening sunset on our first dinner in Rome at La Pergola. Food and service were quite a let down for being Rome's only three-star Michelin restaurant, so no food photos made the cut!

Evening sunset on our first dinner in Rome at La Pergola. Food and service were quite a let down for being Rome's only three-star Michelin restaurant, so no food photos made the cut!

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By this point in the trip, we were so ready and quite desperate for some local Italian pizza and L'Isola della Pizza really hit the spot for us. Along with some refreshing appetizers, cold beer, and tiramisu, our overall experience here was authentic and amazing. We walked off our lunch at the Colosseum which was blazing hot that afternoon.

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Before dinner time, we took an evening stroll to see the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) and was stunned by the crowd it drew. Turns out this was normal, but we also happened to witness a cute marriage proposal and the entire crowd cheered for the happy couple afterwards. Dinner was at Al Moro, a small restaurant tucked in a quiet street between two bustling ones. It seemed to be a local's favorite: all the other guests were not tourists and the menu was in Italian only! Our server was very generous and entertaining and we had a nice pasta-filled meal.

Congrats to the happy couple!

Congrats to the happy couple!

The following day was also spent wandering around between tourist attractions and food places. We visited the Piazza Venezia, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Piazza Navona. Our meals today were not as memorable as the ones I've mentioned so far, so I chose to leave those photos out from here.

Pantheon.

Pantheon.

Venchi, although famous and nice-looking from the outside, had really bad service. The staff gave us condescending looks right when we entered. Please don't bother - there are so many other friendly shops around!

Venchi, although famous and nice-looking from the outside, had really bad service. The staff gave us condescending looks right when we entered. Please don't bother - there are so many other friendly shops around!

Discussing how rude the staff at Venchi were.

Discussing how rude the staff at Venchi were.

He made a friend!

He made a friend!

Saying goodbye to Rome concluded our family trip for the summer. The ten days went by fast, but we were also ready for some home-cooked meals and to be sleeping in our own beds again. I know it sounds cheesy and all, but what I really do love most about our trips together are the times spent during meals and conversations in the hotel at night. We don't see each other all that often and there's something about sitting down face-to-face in a foreign town (with some wine) that brings people together closer than ever before.

Photos by my family and me.

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Amalfi Coasting

Next on our agenda: Italy's Amalfi Coast! We flew from Santorini to Naples, then drove to Sorrento. We were welcomed with the unique Mediterranean landscapes on our 45-minute drive. By the time we reached our hotel, dinner time was approaching and so was the sunset. Our first meal here was at Terrazza Bosquet, a gourmet restaurant part of our hotel's dining experience.

Welcome treats!

Welcome treats!

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Dinner at Michelin-star Terrazza Bosquet.

Dinner at Michelin-star Terrazza Bosquet.

Madam in red.

Madam in red.

A BROKE MERINGUE. Lime ganache, brunoise and sorbet of strawberries lime and strawberries gel and lime sablé.

A BROKE MERINGUE. Lime ganache, brunoise and sorbet of strawberries lime and strawberries gel and lime sablé.

They gave out a glass of Limoncello to everyone in the restaurant!

They gave out a glass of Limoncello to everyone in the restaurant!

Limoncello is a Sorrento specialty.

Limoncello is a Sorrento specialty.

We stayed at the Excelsior Vittoria for our two nights in Sorrento. It is located in the heart of Sorrento, right in the midst of a lively square. However, once you turn into its entrance (pictured below), it feels as though you've transported into another place. Set in a unique location overlooking the Gulf of Naples, Excelsior Vittoria owns 20,000 square meters (5 acres) of lush Mediterranean garden to explore. This family-owned hotel just celebrated its 180th anniversary and has a very elegant-yet-authentic atmosphere.

The following morning was the only day we had to explore Amalfi Coast. We rode along the snake-like roads along the coastal line (warning: take medication if you get car-sick easily!) from Sorrento to Ravello, Amalfi, Positano, and then back to Sorrento. We had a lovely meal, walked around a bunch, and attempted shopping (though we're more window-shoppers). Mom got some lovely dishes for her cooking too!

Entrance/exit connecting the hotel to the lively town.

Entrance/exit connecting the hotel to the lively town.

Extended hotel lobby/lounge area.

Extended hotel lobby/lounge area.

The view that helped me get through the winding roads.

The view that helped me get through the winding roads.

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The Michelin-star chef was super friendly and took great care of us!

The Michelin-star chef was super friendly and took great care of us!

He convinced us to order 3 of their signature soufflè between the 5 of us and we were shocked by their size. Each one was bigger than any of our faces! Luckily they were very light and soft. We still could have shared one instead of three though.

He convinced us to order 3 of their signature soufflè between the 5 of us and we were shocked by their size. Each one was bigger than any of our faces! Luckily they were very light and soft. We still could have shared one instead of three though.

Dinner was at Don Alfonso 1890, which was possibly the best meal of this trip. Unfortunately, I was too sick from the car ride to take part in this endeavor (why body why) but the family thoroughly enjoyed this place. In dad's words: "Apart from being the best meal of this trip, the wine cellar here is most impressive. It is more than a thousand years old, 35 meters deep underground as a tunnel and housed uncountable numbers of invaluable wines!" We also had the chance take a night stroll around our hotel afterwards.

Wine cellar tour!

Wine cellar tour!

Morning view from the hotel.

Morning view from the hotel.

Our Amalfi Coast experience was very short. I would have had a more outstanding time if it weren't for my motion sickness from the winding roads - probably the worst carsick I've ever been - but putting that aside, we had a lovely time. We've been to Italy before, but not to the Southern coast. It was nothing like anywhere we've been to. Although slightly foggy during our time, it certainly lived up to its UNESCO World Heritage status as a cultural landscape.

We left for Rome the following morning, which was around 3-4 hours of driving. We spent 3 nights in Rome and it was the last stop in our trip. Stay tuned for our Rome adventures in a few days!

Photos by my family and me.

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A Kirini Tale

Our time in Santorini couldn't have been better. We stayed in this beautiful hotel called Kirini. Though not quite the stay I'd be able to afford every trip, I highly recommend Kirini for those who have saved up for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. It's very charming, peaceful, and has an amazing view of the island itself. This was my favorite hotel of our trip (we stayed at four!) and I hope to do it justice in sharing a glimpse of our experience here with you in this post.

Our room (below) was minimal and stylish. We felt like we were in a set from a movie the entire time. The all-white decor goes perfectly well with Santorini's aesthetics, not to mention how dreamy it felt with all the sunlight bouncing around the space.

It's a hike up and down everywhere here. Not for those with knee problems.

It's a hike up and down everywhere here. Not for those with knee problems.

Our last morning here before checkout was low-key and we really appreciated that. We spent the time enjoying the rest of the hotel and its outdoor pool. Our last meal in Greece was also here at the hotel's restaurant, Anthos, before we headed out to the airport.

Santorini, you've left quite an impression with our family and I truly hope I get to visit again. I've heard incredible things about the rest of the Greek islands too, but unfortunately our time here is limited. Naples, here we come!

Photos by my family and me.

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Santorini Spectacle (Part II)

Our second day in Santorini started on a quiet note as it was "early" for the islanders and tourists. We enjoyed a peaceful morning walk before heading to the Akrotiri excavation site. Akrotiri was a Bronze Age settlement, buried by the massive Theran eruption in mid-second millennium BC resulting in an incredibly well-preserved archaeological site.

A family of photographers.

A family of photographers.

In addition to its historical values, I was very impressed with the structure built over the site itself, which allows visitors to conveniently walk around and through the village without damaging any of the excavation work. The mechanical roof is relatively new (the old one collapsed in 2005); the wooden panels automatically adjust their angles according to the wind and the glass also open and close according to the weather. As a result, the entire site has a nice cool atmosphere even when the weather outside is blazing hot.

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Lunch at Seaside by Notos.
SEAFOOD POUCH. A Seaside classic.

SEAFOOD POUCH. A Seaside classic.

SEAFOOD POUCH.

SEAFOOD POUCH.

RISOTTO with cuttlefish ink and gold leaves.

RISOTTO with cuttlefish ink and gold leaves.

Ouzo, a signature Greek spirit.

Ouzo, a signature Greek spirit.

Lunch was at a lively and trendy beach-side restaurant: Seaside by Notos. Thanks to our lovely guide, we were offered to try a local spirit: Ouzo. It has a silky and distinct licorice flavor, which was definitely not my cup of tea. The restaurant is located right off the Perivolos beach and has additional seating on the beach for those who wish to be soaking the sun while enjoying their meal.

We then went wine-tasting in the afternoon at Santorini's biggest winery, Santo Wines, which had an incredibe view of the island. This was probably the very first wine-tasting we've been on as a family where all 5 of us are of the age to actually enjoy the wine and we had a blast.

Dinner at Red Bicycle.

Dinner at Red Bicycle.

We did another walk in Oia before dinner to stop by the postcard view spot. Because sunset was approaching, these viewpoints were very crowded with tourists. Some even come 3 hours ahead of time to snatch a good photo spot! As we weren't interested in the sunset chaos, we had dinner early and came back to our hotel just in time to witness a much more peaceful sunset by ourselves.

We had another morning in Santorini before we flew to Naples early afternoon the following day. I'll wrap up our Santorini experience with a post dedicated to our lovely hotel - stay tuned!

Photos by my family and me.

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Santorini Spectacle (Part I)

We arrived in Santorini (Oia) right before lunch time and wherever we looked, it was beautiful. The contrast between the buildings' white and pastels with the ocean's dark blue made it seem like we were looking at movie backdrops the entire time. The weather was burning hot, but more bearable than Athen's with the ocean breeze. The folks at Argo, our lunch spot, were very generous and gave us extra free dishes to make sure we get to try the best of Santorini food. We were completely stuffed by the end! Luckily for our bodies, walking on the island was quite the hike with all the steps and the heat.

Lunch at Argo.

Lunch at Argo.

Spicy squid something with flava beans mash.

Spicy squid something with flava beans mash.

Seafood platter!

Seafood platter!

Post-lunch walk.

Post-lunch walk.

Like icing on a cake

Like icing on a cake

Our guide, Dimitra, was lively, entertaining, and very knowledgable.

Our guide, Dimitra, was lively, entertaining, and very knowledgable.

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Kirini was our home for the duration of our Santorini stay. It was magical and is now my favorite hotel to date. I think I have a soft spot for white space and bodies of water. We took a catamaran ride in the evening to tour around the island. Although I was nervous because I usually get motion sickness, the staff were very accommodating: they provided medicine and distractions to keep my mind off the funny feeling down my stomach. It was quite an enjoyable ride and the scenery was definitely enough to keep my mind occupied. We also got a little unexpected splash (drenched the mom and the sister) due to a speedboat cutting right across our path. The staff immediately apologized, but we all laughed it off as the surprise splash became the highlight of our evening.

Steps to/from rooms.

Steps to/from rooms.

Our Catamaran ride in the evening.

Our Catamaran ride in the evening.

While Madam was enjoying the ride, a speedboat cut across our path...

While Madam was enjoying the ride, a speedboat cut across our path...

...which created a huge wave which splashed over the net!

...which created a huge wave which splashed over the net!

Victim #2

Victim #2

Gelato post-catamaran

Gelato post-catamaran

Sunset dinner at Selene.

Sunset dinner at Selene.

EGG & LEMON BOMB. Rooster yiouvarlakia, egg soufflé, truffle pearl.

EGG & LEMON BOMB. Rooster yiouvarlakia, egg soufflé, truffle pearl.

SEASCAPE. Sea urchin, clams, mussel with rice, shrimp, greek coffee scented botarga, dorado tartar, bonito, lettuce hearts.

SEASCAPE. Sea urchin, clams, mussel with rice, shrimp, greek coffee scented botarga, dorado tartar, bonito, lettuce hearts.

Mid-meal sunset

Mid-meal sunset

SEA BASS IN BREAD CRUST. Smoked herring salad, white beans cream, celery, carrot.

SEA BASS IN BREAD CRUST. Smoked herring salad, white beans cream, celery, carrot.

VEAL OSSO BUCO. Pasta with smoked eggplant & truffle, black garlic, sauté marrow.

VEAL OSSO BUCO. Pasta with smoked eggplant & truffle, black garlic, sauté marrow.

Santorini, in one day, just went high up my list of places to revisit. Definitely a very charming and romantic town. All the locals we interacted with were very friendly and welcoming. One caution: be prepared to hike. Santorini rests on top of the remains of an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the former single island. Because of its geography, you'll have to walk up and down a LOT of steps to get anywhere. We didn't mind the exercise and had an amazing time in Santorini.. which I'll show more of in Part Two!

Photos by my family and me.

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