Koh Samui: Sunday

Hello Friends,

After our cooking class on Saturday, we went back to the hotel to snag our bags. We took a taxi from the hotel to the airport. Due to the storm and the traffic we wanted to get there a little early to make sure we didn’t miss out flight. As luck would have it, traffic was easy and we got there a little too early. We decided to walk around the airport, and after that took some silly photos.

Our flight landed in Koh Samui and we took a taxi to our hotel The Kala. We were pretty tired at this point, as it was just after 11 our time. Annie and I had the lower floor of the villa, right by the pool. Her parents had the larger of the two rooms, taking all of the top floor.

We crashed and woke up pretty early the next morning to check out our gorgeous view. We had a tasty breakfast at the hotel, and then were off to our private tour with Nong and our driver. We started with a tour of a coconut farm, where the coconuts are harvested by trained monkeys. Annie and her mom were brave enough to allow the monkey to sit on their shoulder, but I was a little shy after the monkey made a pass for Nancy’s sunglasses.

From there we drove up the hillside to a gorgeous secret hidden garden. Built by an artist for himself and his wife, they enjoyed it until their death around forty years ago.

People soon knew of this hidden gem and would sneak onto his property to look at the waterfalls, and pay their respects to the statues. Eventually it was opened to the public and there’s a little shop at the road entrance. It started pouring at this point, so it was a little harder to explore with slippery steps. Even still it’s a stop you must make if you go to Koh Samui.

From there we drove on to a temple surrounding by water. It was serene and gorgeous. Apparently they had to create the road out to the temple out of sand and put pavement on it to little town on a former island, which still stands today as a big tourist attraction.

We stopped by this amazing pottery place where I picked up a few gifts and Annie’s mom got two gorgeous vases. It also rained a bit more.

 

From there we relaxed at our hotel for a bit, before heading into town for the local food festival (which is every Sunday) where we gorged ourselves on everything delicious.

All in all, a great first day on the island!

Love,

-S

Cooking Class

Hello Friends,

On Saturday we woke up bright and early and took a uber to our cooking class at Maliwan. It was truly a hidden gem in an alleyway, and to this day I have no idea how Annie found it a few years back all by herself. We had a great menu planned: pork phad see ew, yellow chicken curry, cucumber relish, emerald chicken with a sauce, and mango with sticky rice. We started by taking tuk-tuks a few miles down the street to yet a different market. We picked up a variety of different things as our Chef Mae explained about various Thai foods.

Mae described a green plant called morning glory, which is often pan friend in oil and eaten as a common Thai side dish.

We saw a banana flower, which as 10-15 mini banana seedling hiding behind each leaf. They are often eaten as a palate cleanser after greasy food, although Annie tried them and didn’t care for them. We also saw baby watermelon, which has a thick skin of multiple inches and is often cooked and used in curry’s similar to potatoes.

After picking up our groceries we headed back to the cooking school. Chef Mae had prepared a majority of the spices for us, but we were able to watch her explain a few steps of the recipe and then make our own exactly how we liked it.

We started with chopping up some onions and garlic and mixing it with some spices to add to our chopped chicken. We mixed it, wrapped them all up in leaves and left them in a bowl to marinate while we worked on other things. We came back later and cooked our chicken in oil for just a few minutes until browned.

Next we worked on our yellow curry. We diced onions and garlic, cut up a chili (you can add more if you want more spice). We sauteed our spices first, then added oil, chicken, coconut cream and coconut milk. I added sugar to make mine a little sweeter and salt for flavor. Yum.

Next we worked on the various sides: emerald chicken sauce, cucumber relish and the sticky rice. The emerald chicken sauce was pretty easy, as was the cucumber relish (mix up vinegar, sugar and salt with diced cucumbers, peppers and onions. We started the rice cooking in a double boiler as we worked on the creamy sweet sauce in a different pan. Chef Mae had already pre-rinsed and soaked the rice for us, so cooking of all the sides went quickly.

Our last dish we made was the phad see ew with pork.

We started with chopping up everything, and from there it all went into the pan with a little bit of oil. We had to keep stirring it in order to prevent it from sticking to the sides of the wok.

From there we put it all together and sat down to eat! There wasn’t much talking as we were all quietly eating! I really liked being able to personalize my curry to be milder, sweeter and creamier. It was interesting seeing the different colors of curry everyone had as they had added 1,2, or 4 chilies to their curry’s.  Yum.

Have you ever made any of these dishes before? Or tasted any of them? So good!

Love,

-S

Teak Boat Tours

 

 

Hello Friends,

Our first day in Bangkok we rose early thanks to jetlag. Bangkok is 14 hours ahead of California, so our bodies hadn’t quite caught up yet to our location here halfway around the world. 5:20 am my brain was wide away, so Annie and I showered and got ready for the day. Luckily there is both a Starbucks and a 7/11 on the same corner as our hotel, so we popped down for coffee after getting dressed. I tried to order my usual, but I’m not sure that the barista understood my order as I got some fruity green iced tea instead of my normal chai. It was tasty though not what I expected.

 

We had a teak boat tour scheduled for 8:30, so we left the hotel and took the river taxi down to the local metro called the BTS, and our stop was the  #7 Saphan Taksin Station. Each station was labeled by numbers as well.

Annie had taken the canal tour before and had secured the same tour guide named Nui for a 5 stop tour. We would explore a floating market, a pagoda, a garden temple, the orchid farm, lunch and an artists studio.

Our first stop was at the Wat Sat floating market, that due to flooding in the canals and the consequent building of flood locks was permanently moved to land. We were blown away by the exotic fruits they had: mangosteen, rambutan, pineapple,dragonfruit, lychee, and longan.

They also had people cooking and making prepared foods, like grilled meats, bananas and rice in a banana leaf. There were various rices in large bags and tons of flowers. We tasted the grilled banana wrapped in rice, as well as a freshly cut pineapple.

From there we hopped back on the teak boat and drove through the canals to the temple Wat Paknam, which is a popular attraction in Bangkok. Wat Paknam is a large, royal temple where many come to meditate.

We saw many monks dressed in bright orange as they went about their practices. We saw many golden Buddha statues and one large statue of a former abbot, but my favorite was the 5th floor glass statue and the ceiling. Airy and brilliant with color, you can also walk the balcony’s to get a great view of the city and the various canals.

From there, we jumped back into the teak boat and went to the garden temple. It was a totally different feel, very quiet, but closer to nature. Nui explained the Buddhist principle of karma, which is the closer relationship between cause and effect of the individual.

It was a warm day, roughly 88 with humidity, but the cool air and light spray from the water was great on the boats. Standing still and listening to Nui at each spot was a little warmer. My hat kept me cool and shady, but we had to have covered knees and shoulders for the various temples. The sun slid in and out of the clouds as we tried to stand in the shade of the trees. From the forest temple we jumped back into the boat, and on our way to the next stop, we passed some boats that were cooking food. We stopped and tasted two different dumplings: chive and taro with a chili oil sauce. The dumplings were steamed and then pan friend right before eating to ensure a crispy taste. They were served in a banana leaf bowl and were delicious! I almost wanted a second one, but I knew there was more food coming.

Then we continued on in the teak boat along the canals over to the orchid farm. It was rows upon rows of different flowers and different types of orchids. Apparently the farmer cuts of the top orchid and sells that, and the plant continues to grow more flowers. They had a tiny concrete walkway in between the rows for us to walk on. Nui kindly snapped a few pictures of us among the flowers.

At this point in the orchid farm it was far less breezy and pretty warm. Annie had gifted all of us with these mini fans for Christmas, and us two got them out. They were a lifesaver!

We jumped back into the boat and Nui and our boat driver steered us over over to our lunch spot. We had the best cashew chicken I have ever had in my life along with a tasty Panang curry. I had a pineapple smoothie, but Annie got a passionfruit one which had better flavor. Our coconut soup was delicious.

From there we walked down the walkway and over to the artists studio for a puppet show about Hamuman the monkey king and his love of this mermaid.After that many people took pictures with the puppets, but I was too shy. I instead took photos with the statue by the water. We drank iced coffees and Nui told us about the history of Thailand and King Rama.

From there we went back to our drop off point and walked to catch our train. Nui was absolutely the best! She told us funny jokes, took so many pictures of us, and directed us to all the best spots and food.

Nui handled all the talking, ordering and purchasing of everything. I totally recommend booking a tour with her if you are ever in Bangkok. Also she walked faster than any of us and was the smallest!Love her!

-S

Vlog of Seattle Wedding!

Hello Friends,

I made a short video about A’s and my weekend in Seattle. I snapped a few fun videos of exploring both Pike Place Market and of the wedding. It was a beautiful day! The song is not mine, but I adore it, it’s by Feist and it’s called One, Two, Three, Four. Enjoy. 🙂

Have you been to any summer weddings yet?

Love,

-S

Montreal Part 3-Bagels, Maple and Fries

Hello Friends, On our next day of our  trip, we were determined to find the best bagel in all of Montréal. We ended up trying two different bagel shops: La Maison de L’original Fairmount Bagel and the Boulangerie St. Viateur, and … Continue reading

on my radar June

Hello Friends!

Here is what’s on my radar for June. A few fun videos (Adele!) and two things on my wishlist. Enjoy.

 

Watching:

Carpool Karaoke! I’ve loved all the videos, but I think this one is the best one yet. Adele is such #goals. She is so down to earth, but still amazing. Apparently they drove around for a couple of hours and cut it down to this. I love her little laugh in the middle of the first song, and didn’t know she played the drums.

Norwegian Ad: This ad was so sweet and so well done.

Alike: This super creative film also brought me to tears.  The ending is perfect.

 

Wanting:

Onzie Yoga Bra’s: I’ve been going to hot yoga pretty often now, and am finding that a few of my workout clothes needed a refresh. This one has a pretty back, which I usually go for in my yoga tops. They have a bunch of cute ones, like this pink one, this black criss-cross one. I have to hold myself back from ordering every single color!

Pendent Necklace: I tend to like every basics for jewelry, but this little necklace on Baublebar caught my eye. Might be a perfect back to school present in the fall!

How’s your June going so far?

Love,

-S

Mother’s Day

Hello Friends!

I was out of town this past weekend for a friend’s wedding (Hi Carlo!) and thus scheduled our Mother’s Day celebration with my brother for the weekend before it. He and I met for sushi dinner a few weeks back and hashed out all the plans. We started out day off at home by making a great potato cheesy dish, and relaxing with the dog for a little bit of a lazy morning.

Then we drove down to Los Gatos for tea and pastries. It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day so we walked around Los Gatos a little bit before heading back to the house. We snoozed on the couch before preparing a yummy asian inspired dinner of potstickers, pork sticky buns, veggie egg rolls. We left then for a 7pm showing of Beauty and the Beast, which was adorable. I think Emma Watson can do no wrong, and she was splendid in it. I didn’t end up taking many pictures this day, as I was trying to be present with my family. 🙂

Have you seen Beauty and the Beast? What did you think of it? What did you do for mother’s day?

Love,

-S

On My Radar

 

 

Hello Friends,

This week we finally got a glimpse of summer. It has been pretty hot during the middle of the day, but cold and grey in the mornings. It’s all about layers people!

Here are a few things that I’ve found recently.

One: Beauty Lessons from a Ballet Dancer:

As a former ballerina, I really enjoyed this clip. She moves so gracefully and clearly loves what she does.

Two: Robot Love

This little girl finds a broken water heater at the curb and thinks it’s a robot. She is so pretty adorable.

Three: My Darling

This song has been on repeat on my playlist at school. So so good. I saw her live this fall and she is an amazing artist.

Four: 

Have any fun weekend plans anyone? I’m headed off to a wedding for a old college friend, and I can’t wait to see him and catch up!

Let me know what you are doing this weekend in the comments below!

Love,

-S

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

We had beautiful weather here this past weekend on Friday and Saturday. Gorgeous blue skies, 75 degrees with a light crisp wind. But then Sunday happened, it turned windy and cold, Monday and Tuesday it rained a bunch, and then was cold and grey the rest of the week.

But, Happy First Day of Spring! Ok, I know I’m a few days late, but sometimes that’s just how it goes. Here are a few things that I have seen lately that I would love to have.

These shoes  (above photo from Shopbop) look like the Chanel ones, but for a much better price. I have a few pairs of Sam Edelman’s flats, and I wear them all the time. So comfy!

I can see this shirt looking fabulous with white pants for a summer casual diner out with friends.

I just ordered this dress in blue for a spring wedding I have in Seattle in May. It’s back ordered but I can’t wait until it arrives!

I think this shirt could transition so well from work to dinner out. I love the white ties on the shoulders!

I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to wear to our graduation this year. Luckily, I won’t be on the stage this year as I’m not a senior mentor teacher anymore, so I don’t have to pick my dresses by calf length anymore. Yay! So I like the look of this one (in either the red or blue) or this one,  or this one in pink, or this one,  Which one should I go for guys? Any you love?

I’ve been looking at getting a milk frother for my tea/coffe/chai drinks at home. I’m looking at this model as it’s the one my parents have and love. Anyone have another brand or model that you would recommend?

Do you have any fun weekend plans? I’m hoping the weather goes back to being warm and blue skies!

Love,

-S

Life Lately

Hello Friends!

This week was kinda crazy at work, but in all the best ways. It was Spirit Week, and I really had no clue how big of an event this was at our school. I am pulling together a post on it, so you will see evidence of the crazy, exciting, loud and pretty amazing Spirit Week. But here are a few small pictures of how life has been outside of school.

I went up to SF last weekend and it was a grey moody day. It was fun to pull on a hat and sweater and embrace the wintery weather.

I had gotten some movie passes for Christmas, and so a friend and I met up for dinner at Straits and then walked to the movie theatre. It was funny, had great acting, and was a total must see movie.

Picked up some new pants! I mostly wear corduroy pants to work on throwing wheel days, and skirts and dresses on other days. But I had some tired old too big pants and needed a new weekend pair. My mom and O helped me pick these out.
She was playing dress up and wore the cutest giraffe onesie. I wish they made them in my size.


I went for a long walk after school one day, when it was sunny and blue skies and it reminded me that winter will end and summer will be here soon enough.

A and I got together last week for drinks in Los Altos. We took some silly photos and had a blast on a random Friday evening.

How was your week?

Love,

-S