Sunday, April 28, 2019

Beige Dress in autumn

This dress from Uniqlo in Taiwan is my absolute favorite clothing purchase since getting pregnant. I was walking around the Taipei 101 when I saw a very pregnant woman in this dress and immediately wanted on for myself. Of course, at that time I barely had a belly and didn't look pregnant at all in the dress. I wore it several times in my third trimester, and finally, in these photos I look obviously pregnant. 

Once I give birth, I plan to wear it again and either belt it or keep it loose. It is so comfortable and appropriate for all seasons. 

Dress: Uniqlo
Leggings: Motherhood Maternity
Clutch: Coach

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Incredible Bookstores of Taipei

After a visit to Taipei’s most famous library, I was eager to check out some of the city’s unique bookstores. We explored everything from the famous chains like Eslite and Kingstown, to obscure places like mystery-themed store Murder Ink and art book store Artland. This is a city where people love to read and appreciate a unique buying experience. 

Eslite 誠品網路書店
Taiwan’s largest and most famous bookstore is worth a visit for the sheer volume of it. There is an Eslite near practically every major station and each once has something special to offer. One Eslite we visited featured an art gallery on the fifth floor. I compare Eslite to Japan’s Tsutaya, which also exists in Taiwan.

Kingstone 金石堂書店
Another chain bookstore with the typical offerings, but a little more down to Earth and with cheaper prices on some items.

Mollie Used Books 茉莉二手書店
A popular stop down a narrow allow by the university, this bookstore offers a large variety of magazines and used books for very reasonable prices.

Murder Ink 偵探書屋
A mystery- and murder-themed bookstore and café, with a curated collection by the other and other enthusiasts of mystery novels.

Artland 亞典藝術書店
Focusing solely on Artbooks from around the world, Artland also features a small gallery with local artists, as well as a café.

VVG 好样本事
A small shop covered wth greenery sells foreign books and antiques. A very cool place to check out for gifts and things you can’t find in other shops.

Muji Books 無印良品

Famous clothing brand Muji from Japan has it’s own bookstore in Taipei, which features Chinese-translations of popular Japanese books.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Starbucks Japan's Sweet Potato Specials

On my trip to Taiwan I had a 3-hour lay over in Nartia - just enough time to swing by Starbucks for some unique drink specials. 

Sweet Potato was the flavor of the season and Starbucks had a full line up of frappuccinos, lattes, chiffon cake, and scones. 

I passed on the Sweet Potato scone which looked too artificial and dry, but Japanese Starbucks does cakes very well. The Sweet Potato Chiffon Cake was lightly sweetened, moist, and had just a hint of creaminess. 

For drinks I ordered both the Frappuccino and latte so I could taste the flavor in both versions. 

The Frappuccino, as with most Japanese concoctions, tasted like a liquid cake. If Japanese pastries are lightly sweetened, the Frappuccino more than makes up for that by being excessively sweetened. Still, I enjoyed the the taste as well as the corn flakes that were crushed into the drinks for a little texture. 

The latte was also sweet but not excessively so - and would be my preferred choice if I had to order again. The sweet potato flavor was a bit more bold, and didn't have all the extra competing flavors of the frappuccino. 

I always feel a certain sense of nostalgia by having special seasonal drinks at Starbucks in Japan. When I was living in the countryside, a 1-hour drive or 2-hour bus ride would take me to the nearest Starbucks and I would enjoy the drink offerings and ambience that I couldn't get in the countryside. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Starbucks Taiwan Lychee Tea

This past fall when I was in Taiwan, I was looking forward to trying some local drinks at Starbucks. Unfortunately it was still blisteringly hot, so all the drink specials were cold. Like these yogurt parfaits I never tried. 

What I did end up sampling was the Black tea lemonade with Lychee jelly, a perfect hybrid between Starbuck's Teavana series and Taiwan's obsession with jellies and boba. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Baby Shower

making salad before the guests arrive

Unlike most fashion posts where I deliberately have pictures taken of myself, this post will be different. My baby shower was a whirlwind day in which I completely forgot to stop and take pictures of my outfit before it began. So here are a few shots I took with friends (and cropped them out) as well as some of me opening presents. 

My dress is from H&M and it is not a maternity dress - it's just really really stretchy. Since I am getting bigger by the week, this was probably my last chance to wear it in pregnancy. It has a very interesting texture so my guests loved to rub my belly in this dress. 

Dress: H&M
Leggings: Motherhood Maternity
Glasses: Salt

So thankful to everyone who could attend my baby shower and bestowed amazing generosity onto my upcoming little one. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Oliver Sky Oasis in Narita

Every once in a while I come across something truly special in some airport around the world. Most are dull and generic. Many I'm forced to spend time in due to layovers, delays, or long security process. But occasionally there are those airports I wish I could venture into and hang out with no boarding pass. And Tokyo Narita's Terminal 1 is one of them.

It wasn't always like this. I've flown into, out of, or through Narita dozens of times. I can never recall being impressed with it. Honestly the airport felt dated, especially when compared to it's rivals in other Asian hubs like Seoul or Singapore or even Taipei's Taoyuan. But there've been some major changes in Narita recently, and one of the is the addition of Oliver Sky Oasis.

Adjacent to Starbucks, this is a great lounge for anyone to enjoy. Excellent seating, perfect atmosphere, natural lighting, outlets on every chair. I would rather be here than any of the premium lounges that require membership.

My go-to routine at Oliver Sky is to order at Starbucks then take a seat. Then I read off my Kindle or open my laptop to get some work done. Either way, it's one of the best places to be. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

China Airlines Review

I took China Airlines from Tokyo's Narita Airport to Taipei Taoyuan and back during my last trip to Taipei. I was amazing home many nonstop flights there are every day between the two cities. China Airlines has at east four flights a day, and they're not even the only airline between the two destinations. There's also Eva Air, Jetstar, Scoot, Tiger Air, and Vanilla Air. 

I've never actually been on those other airlines, but I can say with some certainty that China Airlines is the best. I was so impressed with both the comfort of the airplane and the amenities in economy class that I had to write about it. 

First, this was an Airbus A350, which is the largest plane I have been on. There were three seats on each side, and three seats in the middle, but it didn't feel cramped at all. The aisles were wide and there was probably about 6" more leg room in front of me that on Delta's Boeing flights. 

It's a small thing, but even the decoration of the walls and seats were interesting. They used a faux-wood wallpaper to give the lounge-like ambiance. 

At dusk, the plane's interior lights mirrored the outside with a radiant orange. 

In addition to the typical offerings of movies, TV shows, music, and games, their in-seat entertainment also included some useful things, like airport maps, immigration procedures, and connecting flight information. 

Their bathroom was the most spacious airplane bathroom I've ever been in. It was also the cleanest. In the course of the three hour flight I saw the attendants clean it multiple times, including spraying a scented mist every once in a while. 

Music also played in the bathroom on a loop. It was a string quartet when I went it. 

I took this photo to show how clean it was, and perhaps you can get a sense of the scale since I'm not standing right up next to the sink. 

Like most flights, I didn't eat the food, but I still appreciated the Black Tea Cookies they gave us, which were tasty and unique. 

I was also really excited and surprised to see that their juice offerings were from Greece! What is Greek juice doing on board a flight between Taiwan and Japan? Globalization....

The meal and drink service was also much more frequent that U.S. airlines. We were served one meal and three drinks in the span of a three hour flight. 

Once we landed, the airlines began playing a montage of nature images with soothing music. I assume this is to try to calm people as they get off the plane - usually they are in a frantic rush but with the video playing, the deplaning felt more relaxed. 

The Gambia: Photo Diaries from the City

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