HELLO 2019!

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I’ve totally dropped the ball on this blog. 2018 was such an eventful year — so much happened and it flew by just like that! I get very sentimental around this time of the year. We’ve made it through another year, a new one is about to start, and there’s so much that is about to happen that we don’t even know yet!

If you are familiar with Dancing With The Stars, you know about “most memorable year” night. For fun, my mom and I always discuss what our most memorable years would be. Before, I couldn’t really answer that question, but now, I’m pretty sure mine is 2018. It was a good year full of lessons and blessings, and I’ve learned a lot about myself because of it. I’m ready to welcome 2019 with open arms and excited for what’s to come – and hopefully have the time to blog about it 😛

I’m not very good at keeping my new year’s resolutions, but here goes another attempt at making them and trying to keep them. This 2019, I will try to:

  • work out consistently — seriously 😛
  • read a book a month
  • spend wisely/budget
  • go on more adventures
  • blog more

Wishing everyone an amazing 2019 full of good health, happiness, love, and amazing memories!

 

ILOCOS SUR | VIGAN CITY

Back in January, I went back to the Philippines to spend the holidays with my family. One weekend, we took a trip to the province of Ilocos Sur, just to get away from the city for a couple days. We stayed in the city of Vigan.

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Beautiful views — at least something to look at during that 10-hour drive away from the city!

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10+ hours later, finally arrived in Vigan. It is the only surviving city that dates back to the 16th century, which still exhibits the Spanish Colonial times. This city may be small, but it is beautiful.  Surrounded by horse-drawn carriages and cobblestone streets, walking the streets brings you back in time to when the Philippines was under Spanish rule.

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Because my family is huge, we decided our best option would be to rent a house through AirBnB. We were able to rent a beautiful house, big enough to house all of us for the weekend. Not only that, we had a view of the Bantay Bell Tower right from our bedroom. What a beautiful view to wake up to!

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Provincial life can be so beautiful!

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View from the top of the Bantay Bell Tower!

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Freshly made empanadas — must try when in Vigan! Hot and crunchy, so delicious! You eat this with vinegar — which is what makes it a Vigan specialty!

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This sunset made it hard to leave it all behind to head back to the city.

Although it is a rather long trip from the city to Vigan, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re willing to drive out there. I grew up visiting the Philippines every year, but this trip made me realize there’s so much of this country I have yet to explore. I’ve taken for granted how beautiful the Philippines really is.

I LEFT MY HEART IN…NAPA??

Spent a weekend in Napa a couple weeks ago and although I’ve always loved San Francisco, I think the city is facing some competition now.

A weekend was great, but next time, I’m definitely spending at least one more night in Napa. While more relaxed and not as congested with things to do as the city is, there is a lot to check out in Napa. Here are a couple of my favorites from the weekend.

1. V. Sattui Winery – 1111 White Ln., St Helena, CA 94574

Oldie but a goodie for sure. One of my go-to wineries whenever I’m in Napa Valley. This beautiful winery has three tasting rooms and wonderful staff that are knowledgeable and friendly. There is also a deli that sells a variety of delicious eats (my favorite is the mustard prawns!). You can pick up some hot food, cheeses, meats, etc.  and head outside (weather permitting). They have picnic tables ideal for a romantic picnic for two, or an ideal backdrop for enjoying a bottle of wine — or two — with a group of friends

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2. Oxbow Public Market – 610 & 644 1st St., Napa, CA 94559

This 40,000 square foot marketplace offers a number of vendors — coffee, wine, beer, food, what more could you ask for? All the necessities in one place! There’s such a great vibe here, so much to try. Great place to just hangout. We had dinner reservations for that night but ended up cancelling and stayed to try the various food offerings.

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3. Hog Island Oyster Co. – Oxbow Public Market

Located inside Oxbow Public Market, this place was poppin’ for a Saturday afternoon. We only had to wait about ten minutes for seats at the bar, but we were able to enjoy a glass of wine while waiting.  Kept it light and ordered the Oyster Bar Mix, which was an assortment of the day’s oysters and a bowl of clam chowder. Highly recommend!

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4. Hill Family Estate Wines – 6512 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

Found this place on Yelp when we were looking for a nearby tasting room so that we did not have to worry about driving after doing some wine tasting. This place was less than a 5-minute walk from our hotel. Hill Family Estate is a family-run business and has a more intimate and cozy feel compared to other wine tasting rooms. You walk in and it’s as if you’ve just walked into a friend’s house. The set-up resembles a living room with different sections for tastings. Jeff was very knowledgeable and even gave us a couple extra pours. We ended up returning that night to pick up a bottle of Syrah to enjoy on our final night in Napa.

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5. Atelier Fine Foods – 6505 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

Located across the street from Hill Family Estate, Atelier Fine Foods is a boutique that offers everything you need for the perfect charcuterie board. They sell an assortment of delicious meats, cheeses, and spreads. Even found a bag of black truffle chips that were way too delicious for their own good. I copped a few bags to bring back home!

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6. Gott’s Roadside 644 First St., Napa, CA 94559

When looking up places to check out in Napa, this was mentioned in a number of articles so we had to check it out. Really chill diner serving roadside classics. Definitely gives off that California vibe. We ordered the California Burger, chicken tenders, and brisket sandwich, which was their special for the day. Really good food. The line out the door was not lying.

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Definitely so much to see in Napa Valley. Might just have to make a Napa trip an annual tradition….

 

 

 

YAYOI KUSAMA: INFINITY MIRRORS

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A couple weeks ago, I was able to check out the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors Exhibit at The Broad. And I must say…. it was incredible. From the moment I read about this exhibit, I was excited and determined to get tickets. On the day of ticket release, it was difficult to get tickets — I almost wasn’t able to get tickets. Fortunately, my friend was online as well and she was able to score a spot in the virtual line that guaranteed her tickets.

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General admission to The Broad is free, as long as you make reservations online. Infinity Mirrors, however is a paid exhibit. But definitely worth it. This exhibit is so visually stunning.

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The only cons about the exhibit are that:

  1. You only have 30 seconds to experience each room, except for The Obliteration Room at the end.
  2. You have to go inside each room with at least two people. So if you were already thinking about that selfie, you can forget about it.
  3. Once you’ve gone through a room, you cannot go back.

Some cons, but definitely not dealbreakers. If you’re able to score tickets, I’m telling you, you won’t regret it.

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One of my favorite rooms was The Obliteration Room, which is at the end of the exhibit. You are given a sheet of polka dot stickers and can place them anywhere you want. I love the interactive aspect of this room — you get to be a part of creating the artwork.

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My favorite room of the entire exhibit was hands down Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity. Pictures do not do this room justice. When you enter this room, it’s as if you are surrounded by thousands of lanterns and it feels so magical.

Tickets are hard to come by, but if you’re able to get tickets to this exhibition, trust me, you will not regret it!

 

CHAI AND CHAI AGAIN…

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For those who know me, they know the love I have for lavender. It has pretty much reached obsession status if I’m going to be honest with myself. Doesn’t matter what it is — lavender milk tea, lavender latte, lavender macarons, lavender… ANYTHING! You can be sure that if I see it on the menu, there’s no chance of getting me to try anything else.

You already know that I love to try things. But coffee shops are actually my favorite type of place to check out. The more hipster it is, the better because they will most likely have something unusual on the menu. And lavender usually falls under that category because it’s pretty darn hipster.

So imagine my surprise when I was at the mall the other day and decided to stop by the Nordstrom EBar to get my usual honey almond latte, when I saw LAVENDER CHAI. It was under their hot beverage menu but the barista said she could put it over ice. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. This was the perfect lavender drink. Just the right amount of lavender flavor, and the right amount of sweetness, with a touch of chai. Oh, Nordstrom, you know what you’re doing. After an unexpected shopping spree, that was the perfect way to end my day.

I think I may have found a new reason to go to the mall.

 

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