Monday, March 31, 2014

I Hate Sewing: First {Master} Piece

Here's part II of my sewing episode. In case you missed out the first post and are scratching your head and wondering "okay she hates sewing, then why in the world she bought a sewing machine and sew?"  {story here}

As I finished my first project, I felt as if this was such an accomplishment or a milestone (may I say that?). The person who conquered his fear over the unknown dangers and the height of Mt. Everest must have felt this way when he reached the top of the mountain (okay I am being waaaaay over exaggerate). 

As previously mentioned in the last post, I was supposed to attend a  few more sewing classes. I was lazy I only went once more. That last time, an instructor taught me about the pattern and showed how to adjust/customize to my desired size/length. Then I came home and did my own study (thanks YouTube tutorials and other free resources on the internet). I felt I could take this project in my own hand and experimented with it. 

I ended up discarding the pattern which I bought from my sewing lesson. It's a little too complicated for a beginner like moi, I need something as easy as peeling a banana if there's such thing. I wanted straightforward, easy to understand and quick instructions.Tutorials after tutorials......head scratching after head scratching.....I finally found my potential skirt making project on Etsy website - Easy Skirt Tutorial.

I proudly present my very first skirt ever in the history. I guarantee you can do it too even without a sewing machine.

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During the fabric shopping process, I knew I wanted something floral..something white with splash of colors. An instructor accompanied me and suggested what kind of fabric to use. There were not that many options when it came to floral prints at that time but this fabric really caught my attention. I kept this fabric in its bag for a few weeks because I was not sure what style of skirt I wanted to do. Then I took a closer look and questioned my selection.

Me: "Does this fabric look like a curtain?" "I start to think it looks like a fabric for curtain? (it was really in the fabric for apparel section, not home improvement section..haha)"

Husband: Hesitant to answer for 10 seconds
Me: (-_-") Hmmm....

Husband:   Kinda but why don't you try and see what it looks like as a skirt.

Me: You're right. What the heck, right?

The rest was the history, one night I just sewn it away (with just basic straight stitch) and really liked how this skirt turned out. It looks like a summer skirt with a mix of red, orange, white and yellow color range. 

Don't ask me to show you the inside seams because you may have a sudden heart attack seeing how messy my thread was. I still have some leftover fabric in this print that I plan to make a Spring/Summer scarf with.

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Next project: I got carried away buying cute fabrics at JoAnn this past weekend. Got 5 different fabrics for a little lady in my life and 2 for myself. Little girls' dresses are so adorable I think I will be very inspired to sew. Below dress style appears easy to make. Can't wait to get down, sew away and see how it looks on my daughter. Isn't that fabric super cute??

At this point, I can't say I hate sewing (but not loving it yet). Trying something you have never done or are not familiar with can be very intimidating at the beginning. It is not because "you can't do it or oh I hate it", it is more about overcoming your doubt or fear...trying something new and different. I am slowly crossing that border. Experiencing and living life to the fullest :)

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Splash of Colors on Cloudy Day

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As soon as the winter is about to leave (maybe?), here comes more rain and cloudy skies. In the past few weekends, we couldn't get to do many outdoor activities due to that reason (except this recent weekend it was sunny and beautiful).

I generally am not fond of rainy day it makes me extra sleepy. However paying my flower bed a visit didn't sound too bad of an idea. There's unseen beauty in small little things even on a cloudy day. The sense of fresh rain and air lightly brushes against your skin. Small little raindrops on flower petals. The aroma from wet soil. A rainy day is not too bad after all (but I love sunny day more).
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

What to do in New Orleans

I thought I would wrap up my NOLA posts with a to do list for those who plan to visit this city in the future. I also included suggestions from my NOLA native/blogger friend Kim of A Very Sweet Blog here at the bottom of this post since her list is really wonderful. Food in New Orleans is generally good around French Quarter.

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{Breakfast at Café Fleur de Lis - my attempt to be somewhat healthy by ordering egg white, turkey bacon plus fruit. Dang I got hungry 5 mins later since we walked a lot. The next morning I gobbled up a giant breakfast at IHOP. .haha}

There were places we picked randomly and went without reading reviews, yet not disappointed one bit (except the price tag). You are looking at approximately $10 - 15 per person for breakfast. Then for dinner, generally about $15 - 30++ depending how fancy you want to dine (even not a fine dining, be prepare to spend at least $15). So for two people, you can estimate about $70++ per day unless you plan to eat at McDonald's or Subway.

During this trip we ate brunch and dinner plus snacks (Beignets) between meals. If you are like me. An Asian who can't live without Asian food. There are a few Asian restaurants. At every city we go, I MUST eat Thai food at least one time (fingers crossed they are authentic according to my standard). I craved for Thai food (what to expect right?). I could locate a good Thai restaurant in the French Quarter at Sukhothai restaurant (yellow curry was pretty good, Radna or stir fried flat rice noodle in thick gravy was a bit too sweet but not too bad). Then another meal I wanted noodle so I had Pho at a Vietnamese place called CreAsian. Got my Asian craving fixed!!

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{Alligator Sausage & Seafood Gumbo, RFG House Salad, Grilled Red Fish with Crab Meat at Red Fish Grill} 

When you think of New Orleans, think Jazz music..Ghost/Cemetery tour (didn't do any, no regret either...brrrr)..Gumbo..Crawfish but don't you forget the famous Beignets because you will miss out a very important thing (even though you may not like it, at least try so you can say you did). Cafe du Monde is "the place". We went two days in a row. First day we shared and got 1 and a half Beignets per person. On the second day, we each ordered two orders (3 each) and be a pig.

Do not fret by super duper long line. It appears like a mad house but is worth it. May i add they are open 24 hours a day. The line moves quickly. The first time we went we thought a sever would seat us like any restaurants. WRONG! You have to have a keen set of eyes to quickly glance an empty table that becomes available (among 100 tables). Once you locate one, walk there (a table will most likely be dirty and has powdered sugar all over the place). Wait a little while and a server will clean it for you. Be sure to bring CASH ONLY. Then dig in. I am amazed at the amount of powdered sugar they pile on the beignets. Want extra sugar, anyone?? People who eat there have evidence of powdered sugar on their clothes.  Messy good!

It may seem like we went there primarily to feed our bellies, we also went sightseeing at the Aquarium, the World War II museum (about $6 cab ride before tips from French Quarter) and did window shopping at The Shops at Canal Place.

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Below is a list from Kim as promised.

1. Cafe du Monde - You want the FRENCH MARKET LOCATION!
2. Acme Oyster House - They have the best oysters and seafood! It's an extremely casual atmosphere and great seafood. !
3. Brennan's Restaurant - This is upscale casual! Excellent for Breakfast or Dinner
4. Manning's Restaurant inside Harrah's Casino - This is the new HOT spot for anyone who wants great food, drinks and sports. Owned by Peyton Manning (NFL) and his family.

1. Court of Two Sisters - Very Old. Very Historic. Very Beautiful. Great Food. Jazz Music.

1. Pat O'Briens - They're know for their Hurricane drinks and music. Very fun place.

(Reservations Recommended)
1. Antoine's Restaurant -
2. Arnaud's Restaurant -
3. Emeril's Delmonico -
4. Galatoires Restaurant -
5. Muriel's Restaurant -

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
The Shops at Canal Place
The Theatres at Canal Place
Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Exploring The City of Jazz and Arts...

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{View in front of the hotel}

This is a part II of our NOLA trip. After a nine hour train ride, we arrived in New Orleans around 10 pm on Friday night and headed straight to check in at the hotel (Renaissance Pere Marquette). No late party for us (Boooo!!). Thought we saved our energy the next day since we planned to walk around and explore the French Quarter.

We started our day with breakfast at some café we stumbled upon our way. Then spent the rest of the day visiting shops and other eateries. I literally wanted to eat 5 meals per day because we burnt our energy by walking (probably walked several miles by the end of this trip). The weather was very pleasant with sunny blue sky on Saturday and it almost felt like early summer at a certain point (we probably got hot due to the fact that we walked non-stop). By the end of the day our feet and legs were incredibly sore (given that I wore walking shoes).

All the historic buildings and houses are very unique and beautiful. You will certainly enjoy this city if you love arts and jazz music. Bourbon street is fun if you are party lovers (I am a party pooper but it was still fun to experience that vibe). Food is great but can be expensive (because it's a touristy location) so be prepared to shell out your dollars. Tax rate is 9% (Houston is 8.25%). Comfortable shoes are the must (walking shoes, sneakers, running shoes). If you want to kill your feet, feel free to wear your pretty high heels or sandals. This is definitely a city that you should visit once in your life.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Journey to a Sounthern State

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This past weekend my husband and I embarked on a trip to a neighboring state, a charming and fun city - New Orleans or NOLA that is. This was somewhat our 10th year anniversary trip. Why NOLA you asked? The decision was not easy as you may think. Two cities came to our minds upon deciding on where to go - New York (my choice) or New Orleans (my husband's choice). We argued debated on and off for a few weeks and our debate got more intense in the last three days. Two years ago we were supposed to attend a wedding of a friend in NOLA but couldn't so this city was hung up in the air for awhile. So we finally came to a conclusion to visit NOLA, it was a good choice indeed.

I reached out to my sweetest blog friend who lives in New Orleans, Kim of A Very Sweet Blog, two years ago and she made me a wonderful list of major sightseeing and restaurants. Big thank to you again Kim :)

My husband has a passion for a train, this guy is fascinated
with train since young. Upon knowing that there is a passenger train that goes to NOLA, he was not hesitant to suggest that idea. I am the kind of person who cares less about scenery but rather get to my destination as fast as possible and spend time there. The thought of sitting in a train for 9 hours was not very appealing (he initially wanted to do round trip which would total up to 18 hours on train). Yet again after more debate, we compromised and settled on one way train ride from Houston to New Orleans (9 hours) and one way plane ride back home (1 hour). It was not as boring as I thought, I brought along a few books which I hadn't had a chance to read since my little one was born. We got a roomette which was a private room so we had our own little area. We ate lunch and dinner. The food was not bad, better than food served on the plane but I wouldn't say it's fantastic.

Will share more photos about this charming city in the next post.
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