For a variety of different reasons, I'm basically grounded in NY for the summer but I'm still determined to have a good time. Although, actually I rarely ever go anywhere in the summer if I think about it. Summer is never a good time to travel because it's a busy season for travel since school's out. It's expensive too. Plus it doesn't make sense to travel when it's already warm where I'm currently at. Long Island summers are beautiful. I live right by the water so the beach is a simple 15 minute ride away. The city is a few hours away if I want to take a ride in to play there for a day. There are beautiful farmlands and flowerfields right next to me too. Sometimes I take living on Long Island for granted.
The funny thing is, it's always been around too but only now am I starting to appreciate all I have around me. Up until my late twenties, all I did on Long Island was go to the mall and movies. But as you get older, your priorities and outlook on things shift.
My mom sent me to Vietnam in 2009 because she wanted me to meet my grandmother before she got too old. At the time, I was ungrateful for the opportunity and didn't take full advantage of my trip. I just wanted to spend the summer with my boyfriend. I didn't take as nice pictures as I should have on that trip. Hopefully next year I'll get to make my second pilgrimage to the motherland with my mom and this time I'll get the most of the trip and really experience Vietnam and all it has to offer me. I actually really want to go this time.
But for the time being, I already went on vacation this spring on a trip to Paris. So this summer I'm using to buckle down and focus on working up on my finances to pay off my credit card debt and my Paris bill... and then be able to blow it all on another vacation in the fall. The cycle continues. I have a lot of things I want to do in the fall so I really should save up so I'm going to spend the summer being home here in New York.
But that doesn't mean I won't go anywhere. NYC is my playground. I'm always running away there every chance I get. Actually I've pretty much been there almost every day off or weeknd off I've had since returning home from Paris, lol. I have a love-hate relationship with my city. I love it because there is literally always something to do and explore and there's so much available to me. But I hate it every time I travel and visit another city because of what it doesn't have compared to another. It's not as cool as Tokyo or as pretty as Paris or has those LA vibes I love. But the funny thing is, NYC is not that big and somehow I still have yet to explore every corner of it. I don't think I'll ever succesfully see everything but hopefully most of it. And thus this summer since I'm home, I'm going to work on Project Eat My Way Through NYC. I want to try new restaurants and new dessert places every time I visit this summer. With family and with friends. Dining with my family gives me a great advantage too because I have such a big family of siblings. They eat pretty much everything so there are no food restrictions when it comes to picky eaters and it allows us all to order a different dish so I can try everything I want on the menu. And it helps for a nice spread for the gram too, hahaha. This was one of my favorite parts of going on a cruise with my family. Plus going on vacation with my family as adults is very different from when we were kids. We actually enjoy it more and I learn I do actually love spending time with my family. I have a lot of fun with them.
Which is pretty much what this past weekend was. Saturday I spent with my baby sister exploring NYC during the day. And then Sunday I went straight back to spend Father's day with my entire family in Soho. And then this past Wednesday, where did I go? Surprise, surprise, straight back to the city. It's funny because I can be a homebody and just be a hermit on my Netflix for days. But I also get cabin fever and want to get out and do something. Lately, I've been wanting to get out more though and explore. Which is unfortunate for the boy who just wants to stay home and play video games with his wife by his side, lol. I'm not a big gamer though and honestly I suck. The only thing I love to play is Oregon Trail and the Sims, ok?!
So Saturday I went to try dim sum at Now Wah Tea Parlor in the city. On our way there, we got distracted by this cute bake shop called Bake Culture. It's your typical Asian bakery like Tai Pan with similar goods but the prices are a little higher. We were drawn into the shop because we saw the seats through the window were a baggette and croissant swing. They were so cute! Of course I had to go inside and #doitforthegram. I didn't buy anything though because I wasn't really craving any bread and it was a hot day so I didn't want to carry it around all day and have any of the cream melt or go bad. My favorite pastry from Asian bake shops though are the coconut cream buns. I've had this since I was a little kid and I always love it. Next time I'll grab one to see if I can taste a difference and if the price increase is worth it. All the other pastries look so perfect and cute too with eyes and faces on them. Asians always make everything cute. This is one of the things I loved about my trip to Japan last year. Presentation is everything and they kill it.
When we got to Nom Wah, I worried about a line since I was working on a limited time frame that afternoon and needed to leave the city by 3pm to pick up the boy. And all the reviews on line said there's always a wait around noon and can be as long as 2 hours. But when we got there, since it was just us two, we actually got lucky and were seated right away. We ordered only a few dishes but we still had a nice spread and left feeling pretty full between the two of us. This is why it's better with a big family. You can order and sample a little bit of everything and leave it up to your siblings to finish what you can't. The food was definitely fresh and delicious though. I love shrimp rice rolls and these didn't disappoint. I would love to try other locations around the city.
Afterwards we explored the city some more. We made our way to Stax because I wanted to try the new lychee flavor but it wasn't available that Saturday. I tried the Jasmine Milk Tea with a scoop of Ube instead and it was delicious. Stax always does a good job. They were a great find from last year in my ice cream adventures. And their customer service is just amazing. The girls are so sweet and everyone is always helpful and accommodating.
Afterwards we made our way over to the Takashi Murakami art exhibit. We walked by during Mother's day but they were closing up so we didn't get to go in that day. And this weekend was the last of the exhibit so luckily enough we finally got to see it. The gallery was huge and it was interesting to see drafts of the artist's work and multiple stages and all the work that goes into one piece. It looks like a bunch of flowers all randomly placed but it's really not. Each piece of meticulously curated into its spot. The size, structure, placement, design, colors, and shape are all thought out beforehand and worked on until the artist feels it's 'right.' I loved all the colors and the brightness of the work. It evokes a sense of happiness and beauty. Life is meant to be colorful. I try to do black and white pictures from time to time but in the end, I love color and the richness it gives life. I'm a girl who dreams in seas of color.
Afterwards we made our way up to another dessert spot: New Territories. A friend recommended I stop by because they had a cute new dessert with a creme rose. This spot didn't disappoint. It was beautiful totally for the gram and the ice cream was delicious. They did a beautiful job with presentation. The girls there are so sweet and helpful and allow you to customize anything you want and try any flavors you want to substitute their preset creations. I love their paper flower wall. I would love to set up something similar in my house as decor.
I stopped by the Sezane store front again before leaving the city because it was such a nice day and why not? The store front is so instagrammable. I've actually never been inside because it's always busy in there. Maybe I'll make it inside sometime later this summer. Third time's the charm. And again, since it was a beautiful day, it was hard taking these pics because so many girls were there with the same idea, lol. A lot of Instagram husbands were out in full work mode.
I left the city soon after and grabbed some pho at The Rolling Spring Roll closer to home before picking up the boy from his flight. I've been here several times, both locations and I love it. The prices are fair for Long Island since it's very hard to find Vietnamese food and and sometimes Flushing/Chinatown is just too far of a drive. It's still cheap though compared to other dinner spots and the food is great. Hits the spot if you're craving Vietnamese and don't want to drive out to Queens or the city. Their spring rolls are the best! Even the vegetarian ones are good. It's a small place but they do a good job.
Sunday was Father's day and we took my dad out to Laduree for late lunch/early dinner. We chose it for several reasons. I was there last year and I loved it. It's a beautiful restaurant and the baby sis wanted to try and who am I to say to a return trip? And on our recent family cruise, we learned my dad has bougie side. He likes to try new fancy things. Laduree looks like a really girly restaurant so my friends were questioning us taking him there but he actually really loved it! And again, with a big family we were able to try a little bit of everything and had a great spread of food and desserts. This was a really nice experience. The waiters were all excellent and the service was friendly and helpful. I asked them to pick anything and everything pretty off the menu since I was there for the gram and they didn't disappoint. Everything was delicious! Service was a little slow but I feel it's not because it's actually slow but similar to how the atmosphere is in Paris and I only felt it may have been slow because I'm a New Yorker always in a hurry. When I was in Paris, I never felt rushed but rather they wanted us to relax and take our time with everything and enjoy. I would love to come back again. The restaurant is just stunning and the rooms are exquisite.
It's really nice though being all grown up and being able to take your parents out to dinner and take care of them. It's a sense of satisfaction knowing that you did well enough that you can afford to treat your parents to a good time. Especially when we started from such humble beginnings. My parents and I are first generation immigrants who came to America when I was about 1. They had nothing to their name and my dad worked hard to build a life for his wife and kids. We really struggled growing up so it's really nice to be able to have nice things and take them places now to show our gratitude and appreciation for all they did for us. From having to apply for free school lunch all the way up to bougie pinkie out restaurants, I think we did pretty good for ourselves. I'd like to think that my dad is pretty proud of all of his kids even though we're so different and don't look like the typical obedient Asian child. I think he's grown to accept us for who we are and is proud we're not only doing well but that we're pretty successful in our lives and not needing to rely on our parents anymore for help. We're adulting nicely enough for him to be able to cheese that hard and genuine on Father's day, that's for sure. And oh yeah, he's already picked a place he wants to go for his birthday next month, hahaha. Maybe this is where I get it from. My arms and my birthday-centric self.
We also walked around and shopped a little in Soho beforehand while we waited for our reservation. My dad was really cute. I bought some shoes(wow, surprise, surprise) and he insisted on carrying my bags for me while I took pictures with my mom. I can't post a picture of the shoes I bought because they're a birthday gift to my niece in a few weeks. But I guarantee they're super adorable and extra. You know what's funny, too? My dad has never said anything about the crazy amount of photos I take on a regular basis when he's out with me. He's always silent as I carry out my vain ways. But I can feel his silent judgement on me as he thinks in his head, "my daughter is a psychopath." LOLOLOLOLOL.
That's all for this trip. I'll post about this past Wednesday's adventure and photos soon when I get a chance. Hopefully before Saturday, the next adventure which is the baby's graduation! And after that I have a bunch of girl dates coming up. I have a day in the city with the Bitches next Saturday that I'm super excited about, along with a visit to Lavender by the Bay soon which is starting to bloom finally! And then the ballet to see Whipped Cream! And then another girl date with my homegirl Kerri! I have a full plate for the summer already. I can't wait to do more summer shoots as well. It's going to be a beautiful summer. I can feel it.
Til next time, bitches.