Thursday, May 31, 2012


I got an it-hurts-so-bad-that-it-is-so-good neck and back massage last night.  I intended for it to last only thirty minutes, but before I knew it I'd conceded to extend it to an hour.  The woman found a ton of knots and attacked it with gusto.  Apparently I carry all of my tension in my neck, shoulders and upper back.  Gee, who would've thought.  At one point as she discovered a huge patch of problem, she asked me with concern if I slept well at night, since the knots clearly blocked my qi (or some such theory).  I admitted that recently, I hadn't.  It may all be in my head, but after my mind-melting and muscle-drubbing massage, I slept better last night than I have in a while.  I'm so glad I went, and can only blame myself for not having gone earlier.  I think from now on I'm going to go once a month, and consider the massage as part of my workout routine.  It costs sooo much less than the personal trainer package Pure was trying to sell me, and I'd argue it makes me feel about 10x better.

Stumbled on this interesting article on high rent and tight space: Cramped Urban Living.  Personally I don't think I could bother to go to the trouble of putting my bed up or pulling my shelves aside to reveal my bathroom, but it's cool nonetheless.  Make sure to check out the video; a lot of these streets and scenes are what I see on a daily basis!

 In other fun news, it might be the feeling of summer, or the (too much) time I spend trolling blogs and fashion websites, but I've splurged on a few items recently.  The recent purchases:

I find it really inspiring that the founder and creator of this line of bags (Mischa) started her own business based on her love of Japanese prints and textiles.  It's wonderful when a passion or a hobby can become your work, isn't it?  I just love the color, the interlocking print, and the feel and weight of this bag.  It didn't hurt that the item was 30% discounted (unknown to me when I stepped in to "browse").  I do love when that happens.

Turquoise inside and out, with two side pockets, trimmed in a bronze metallic leather
I wanted to buy these shoes in a more subtle, neutral color, like gold, black or beige, but decided that the peachy pink would still go with plenty of outfits.  The crystals on these are something else - super shiny and definitely catches the eye!
Some sparkly dangly earrings that I thought were rather pretty:

Friday, May 25, 2012


This has been a rough week, with some unexpectedly late nights at work and a build-up of a fierce case of insomnia.  I am glad that it's Friday (albeit rainy) and I hope the weekend provides me with some down time to catch up my sleep schedule and veg out with some soup, mindless tv and a good book.

In other news, I will be stateside in two weeks!  Hellooooo New York, New York.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tram Jam

Random shot: the pile up of trams behind us in Wan Chai because the tram ahead of us got stuck.

An Event at the American Club

We went to The American Club in Tai Tam tonight.  One has to be a U.S. citizen residing in Hong Kong in order to apply for membership to this club.  Exclusive, much?  However, this was an instance where privilege and exclusivity sure were lovely.

We sat by the pool, one of the loveliest and largest outdoor pools I've seen while here.  For dinner, Michael and I each opted for burgers -  (I had a buffalo chicken burger with "hot lips" sauce, paired with generous chunks of bleu cheese) - and they were the best burgers we've had since we have been in Hong Kong.  But then again, if you can't even get a good burger at the American Club.... The weather cooperated beautifully - although a little cloudy at first, the sun set and the night turned twinkly, pleasant and breezy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trinkets and Such

I went to a wine and cheese party at a cute little boutique in Soho on Hollywood road Thursday night.  I couldn't resist walking away with these pink(!) chandelier(!) earrings.  In the days since I have been out and about with them on, I have been asked about them, and told they look like candy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Signspotting and Potstickers

We stumbled upon one of our new solid go-to restaurants (it's hearty food, it's across the street from us, it's pretty cheap, they deliver for free, what other reasons do you want) while looking for Thai food.  Why?  Well, because this was the sign that lured us upstairs:

That says: "Royal Thai Style Seafood & Dessert Fusion Restaurant & Pub"
So we went up to the second level of the big fancy building, expecting a seafood restaurant, a bar, maybe even a dance floor or, heck, a discotheque.  Nope.  No Sa Wat Dee Club to be found.  Instead, we wandered into a quiet, dark restaurant called "Hometown Dumpling," churning out pan fried dumplings and all kinds of meat and vegetable dishes in the Shandong style.  After dinner, I was still so mystified I asked the waiter where the Thai restaurant was located.  He chuckled and shook his head, explaining that the sign was for the former restaurant and simply too expensive to remove.  Hometown Dumpling has been in the space for over two years.  We shook our heads in amusement and admiration.  You have to give credit to a restaurant that can survive with such prominent advertising... for another restaurant!

Below, some snaps of Hometown Dumpling's goods:

Monday, May 14, 2012


Mangosteens are one of my favorite fruits.  I haven't had much experience eating them because they're not readily available in the US.  I sampled my first batch in Beijing (at the turn of the twenty-first century, dun dun dun) and then rarely had the opportunity to eat them in huge batches again.  Needless to say, my pulse quickened in anticipation when I glimpsed them at the local fruit stands here.  They have been a consistent presence in Hong Kong since my arrival, but this week they have popped up everywhere in earnest, and at significantly discounted prices.  They are in season!

Note: I would have posted pictures of these fruits many moons ago, except that every time, without fail, by the time I remembered about my blog, I had already eaten all of the mangosteens.

They look kind of like scabby, dirty stink bombs, and they have a good heft to them despite their wee size, due to their very thick skins:

If properly ripe, the mangosteens crack open easily at a gentle but firm press, yielding the creamy white fruit nestled within:

Some may not like the texture of the fruit, but the sweet, juicy interior wins me every time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Junk Trip

We went on our first junk trip of the season this Saturday.  A junk is a traditional wooden boat with large sails, like this one:

courtesy of Sassy Hong Kong
but now pretty much refer to any yacht or boat that can take a carousing group of friends / family / co-workers out to one of the many bays and beaches in the New Territories of Hong Kong.  People indulge in day-time drinking, lounging on the boat's ample decks, jumping off of the junk itself, and sometimes swimming to the sandy shores.  Our boat did not have the unfurling sails, but did have a spacious top deck lined with pads and bean bags and a wide, generous bow with unobstructed views.  Our boat looked like this (but was not this exact one):

courtesy of the rental company, Island Junks
The day dawned cloudy and gray and chilly, which was quite unfortunate.  The skies opened as soon as we boarded the boat with the catered tacos and craft beer and prepared to sail out of Hong Kong harbor.  Not deterred, everyone cracked open beers, began to mix margaritas, and generally got to know each other in the enclosed cabin.
angry skies as we leave port
We were heading to Snake Bay in Sai Kung, but about halfway through the trip the waters became so rough that half of the occupants on the boat were green from the boat's lurching and thumping.  I found myself gulping for air, simultaneously trying to "go with the rocking" of the boat and the waves as Michael earnestly encouraged, and to strenuously ignore the possibility of throwing up all over the side of the boat. The crew quickly realized they'd have no happy campers left if they continued onto our original destination, so we found ourselves on a quick detour into Clearwater Bay instead.

The view of our surroundings where the crew mercifully dropped anchor:

 A "shark protection" net enclosed the nearby beach, which was reassuring but for the fact that we we were anchored directly outside of the net:
After a pretty tasty lunch of tacos and margaritas, Michael and I quickly headed for the water.   It stopped raining as soon as we pulled into the bay, and the afternoon proceeded to get warmer and sunnier.  Michael climbed to the top deck and hurled himself off the edge, creating a spectacular splash.  Surfacing later, he admitted that it was a much longer way down than it appeared.  I opted for the more demure route, via the ladder off of the stern of the junk.  The junk had a good collection of floating noodles, which combined with the salt water made us quite buoyant.   Considering how hot Hong Kong has been lately, I found the water to be surprisingly cold.  It took a good few minutes of moving around in the water before we warmed up.  

A few snaps from our return trip:

Despite the rocky start of our journey, it turned out to be a very relaxing and fun day.  I loved the calm of the green, rolling hills that surrounded us once we dropped anchor.  It is amazing how quickly you can leave the congestion of Hong Kong island behind.    Of course, nothing quite beats the thrill of returning to the majestic skyline:

I look forward to more junk trips in the future!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

48 Hours in Chi City

Chi City, Chi City
I'm comin' home again
Do you think about me now and then?

I'm back from my whirlwind trip to Chicago!  It was brilliant, fun, exhausting and wonderful all at once.  I left Hong Kong on an 11:50 am flight Friday, May 4, checking in at the Hong Kong station in Central before boarding the Airport Express, then flying through security and immigration in a record twelve minutes. Guess this is a good time to travel!  We boarded quickly - as with all Cathay flights, each seat had a little coat hook, a color TV with remote, and tray tables which when lowered revealed an individual outlet for charging your iphone/ipod/laptop computer - then we were off!  I proceeded to read two books on my Kindle, which meant I did not slept more than three hours on this flight.  I knew this was not a good idea, considering we were landing at 1:30 pm and I had a full day of activities packed ahead of me, but I was too engrossed in my novels to care.

Upon landing, I hopped on the good ole' L (blue line and then the orange line) to my law school friend's apartment in the South Loop.  She would be coming to the wedding as well, and graciously let me crash in her second bedroom.  I met up with another very good friend from law school who was staying at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Ave.  I hadn't seen her in a year and was so excited to catch up.  From there we proceeded to Spiaggia, where the rehearsal dinner was held.  We had tasty drinks, yummy hors d'ouvres and best of all, got to catch up with old friends.

For Saturday, I was on a mission to cram as much into my day as possible, and to indulge in the many items that I cannot get in Hong Kong.  I met up with two law school friends for a delicious and filling brunch at Bongo Room.  I had the breakfast burrito and a delicious stack of pretzel and white chocolate hotcakes.  Ah, how I've missed a really good brunch.  I then proceeded to pick up items of all and sundry: mixed nuts, Trader Joe's Australian strawberry licorice, Gap underwear, body wash, sour candy... shirt and jeans and sunglasses at Anthropologie.

The wedding was held at the Elizabeth Notabaert Nature Museum.  The ceremony was outside and made all the more memorable by a few honking Canadian geese that kept flying overhead.  One of the geese did such an elaborate trumpeting call and neck waggle at the beginning of the ceremony that I thought it was planned!  It turns out that goose had a nest directly overlooking the proceedings.  The reception was beautiful, with glass votives and large green hydrangeas, purple tulips, purple and pink snapdragons and fragrant, white silky peonies in glass jars scattered all over the tables.  The father of the bride gave Hong Kong a shout-out in his welcome speech - for farthest distance traveled, woot woot!  The dance floor was lit up with green and purple paper lanterns and kept packed with steady, good beats all night long.  The bride and groom looked radiant.

Sunday morning found me packing and preparing for my departure.  The heavens had cooperated beautifully for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, and by Sunday mid-morning was seeking its vengeance for exhibiting such good behavior the few days before.  The rain was pouring down in sheets at one point, which, along with the fact that many of my good law school friends had already left the city, prompted me to give up on trying to lug my bags to the brunch.  I opted instead to have a quick cozy lunch at a restaurant in my friend's building, and headed to the airport shortly thereafter.

It's not Chicago without a travel delay.  My flight remained on time (to my surprise) until about 20 minutes before boarding time.  "Due to inclement weather," we ended up being delayed for two hours.  I consoled myself with the thought that at least it was a nonstop flight and I did not have to worry about making any connections.  As when all good things come to an end, the flight home seemed to stretch endlessly, despite the fact that I was able to fit in a few naps and watched the entire fourth season of Parks & Recreation.

When I finally got home on Monday night at 11:30 pm HK time (Monday 10:30 am Chicago time), I could only marvel at how I had traveled around the world in three days.  48 hours in Chi City and nearly 41 hours in transit - what an experience!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I fell in love again
all things go, all things go
drove to Chicago
all things know, all things know

While I will not be driving to Chicago this time around, I AM flying to Chicago in just one day!  Despite  bumpy scheduling due to work, I am going to be able to attend all of the big wedding festivities of one of my best friends from law school.  I expect the trip to be exhausting, but I am so pumped to see everyone that I'm hoping pure adrenaline gets me through the trip.  Held at the Lincoln Park zoo in beloved Chicago (funny, when I lived there I grumbled about the weather all the time, but now I am all sentiment and nostalgia), it promises to be absolutely beautiful.  Squee!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Beauty in the Little Things

I find gardenias intoxicating.  These flowers remind us, nay, urge us, to seek beauty in the little things.