Nanjing Lake Park

For my 27th birthday, Zachary made all my dreams come true by planning a surprise trip for us. This is something I loooove! It doesn't matter where for me, it's really just about the travel, the getting away & the making of memories. He surprised me with a whole weekend get away to a city near and dear to my heart, Nanjing. I had been to Nanjing before for a summer and really longed to go back, reminisce and show Zachary the city that drew us back to China. We spent one afternoon strolling through Nanjing Lake Park, a park in the middle of the city, guarded on one side by the Nanjing Wall. It was beautiful and a great place to relax, chat and get a little exercise in. DSC00378DSC00382 
We love Chinese park culture. Because the cities are crowded & mostly concrete, you can often find little getaway parks or squares with in a city. They will always be buzzing with life, too. Chinese people love the easier exercises of dance, walking and Tai Chi, and the parks are where they go to to them. If you want to sit back, relax and people watch in China, a park is a good place to go.
The hazy Nanjing skyline. Yuck. But the park was beautiful still, and some how the air seemed fresher!DSC00391DSC00392 
In the middle of the park there was a lovely rose garden. There were tons of varieties and colors to see. DSC00395Though it was November, the cherry blossoms were still in bloom. DSC00396DSC00398DSC00422DSC00405 
We went to Nanjing in 'Movember' so Zachary was rocking the stache.
The happy birthday girl. :) DSC00418Though the park had many people enjoying the weather and scenery, it was still big enough to enjoy quiet spaces and strolls. The park entrance is part of the Nanjing wall. DSC00427
I always love this gold pegs on a red door feature that you see in tons of Chinese architecture. DSC00431
Nanjing Lake Park is a great place to go for free to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some scenery. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, before or after, you explore the Nanjing wall. The park also has small sail boats and paddle boats for rent.

Thank you sweet husband for making my dreams come true by planning a surprise trip! I love you!post signature


Back in America: Food Trends

Culture shock has actually been pretty minimal for Zachary and I. This is super surprising considering we've been living abroad for near 5 years and haven't set foot on American soil in 3!
There are however TONS of things I have noticed since being back in the Land of the Free. Here's a few things I've noticed when it comes to trends, especially food trends; 

This stuff is everywhere. I had no idea what it was nor had I ever tasted it before we landed in Los Angeles. But suddenly, with store shelves filled with it, fun local kombucha vendors & the drink popping up on my Instagram, that I can now freely acess sans China fire-wall, I was iterested in trying it. And I liked it! I get it. It's good. Zachary's in love. He's often planning ways to make his own.

This is a trend I am so glad is happening, because, yuuuuuum. Before we went overseas, of course, I knew what hummus was. I had enjoyed it many times. While overseas, we made it a few times & enjoyed it at many restaurants. Before we left, there was not however, sections at the grocery store dedicated to it. There are now, and I like that, a lot. I'm obsessed.

Almond Milk 
Again, almond milk existed before we left, but now it's everywhere. Most coffee shops offer it and there are several different brands and flavors at the stores. I like it. It's cheap & delicious & doesn't make my stomach feel terrible.
Greek Yogurt
When we left Greek Yogurt existed in the form of Oikos at a million dollars per pint, at least in Texas. I would wish to buy it because it was healthier and full of protein and because all the diets I'd attempt always included it but it was expensive. Now, it comes in several different brands & flavors. In some grocery stores I've had to search to find the regular yogurt over the Greek. I like this trend. Cheaper healthy food is a good trend! 

Coconut Oil

This started really trending when we were in China the first year. I got some and felt like I won the lottery. I love coconut oil and so, so happy that because of the trending, I discovered it.
There's tons of other things I've noticed but we'll just start with those few food trends. They're all awesome. I love it. I love the move (that's been happening) back to real food & that because of the demand prices are becoming more reasonable for real food. It's awesome all around. And I hope it's not just a trend but that our grocery stores will continue being filled with more wholesome goodness.

But, a word of caution! As always, READ INGREDIENT LISTS! Sometimes when large, world sucking brands that won't be named say, "100% Real Greek Yogurt" or "All Natural" they actually mean that it's mostly real yogurt but has a lot of other junk added to it. The same goes for all of the above. 

Any food trends you've noticed lately? 

Also, Cupcakeries & Yogurt Shops; still very delicious & found often, but without all the hooplah they had a few years ago.
And, Moscow mules have taken over the happy hour world. 

Also, tacos will never go out of style. That is all.
post signature


Fishing at 6 Mile

While at my Papa Ted's house last month, we (the fam) decided to make our way down to Taledo Bend Lake for some good ole' fishing. We made sure to stop on the way to get Sophie-girl her very own fishing pole, which came with this cute-Disney Princess tackle box! And because Sophie is hard core, she let me fill it with fishing worms.
We drove down to 6 Mile, not to be confused with Eminem's 8 Mile, for our fishing fun. My grandma and grandpa own a Lake House at Toledo Bend, and were in town for the weekend, so they happily joined our fishing party. DSC03127DSC03129Our underwater camera gets to do all kinds of fun things, like be emerged into the bucket of minnows. DSC03128The fishing area we choose was beautiful, people free, and gave us great views.
DSC03135Poor Minnow. DSC03136We loaded our rods with bait, sat down and did the thing you do when you're fishing. Waited. And waited. And reeled in. And cast out again. And waited. And got our hooks (okay, just mine) caught in plant life. And waited. DSC03142DSC03143He's super happy and always optimistic. And seems to enjoy the waiting. DSC03144DSC03146So we waited.DSC03145And looked at things through the binoculars.
DSC03126And waited. Watched the birds. And waited. DSC03152And waited. And caught 0 fish. Wamp wah. So really, we didn't have that great of a time fishing. Fishing's a little discouraging when you catch nothing, huh? But we had a fun time together! And that's what matters, yes? Also, Sophie-girl mastered casting her Princess Rod. She's a natural. :) So, that was good! Do you like fishing?
post signature


Harley Girl's Birthday Weekend

My sister Harley turned 21 in March. 21. Crazy. It's weird when your younger siblings start turning into legit, full out adults, right? Thankfully we still have little Sophie-sister, who's 3, to keep us all thinking we're still young. So! The weekend after Harley's birthday, she came into town to the parents house, and we all went out to dinner at Chuy's. Waiters and waitresses sang, she got to flash her new ID, and there was free ice cream with chocolate syrup. It's fun they still do that. Though she's 21 and had a baby next to her. YOLO. ;) DSC03177
In Heather style, Harley and I spent Saturday down town, drinking way too much coffee and consuming too many calories. It was awesome. I loooooove my sister! DSC03181This cuteness of a baby is my nephew. Nephew!! I'm an aunt! His name is Sebastian. He's the happiest. I love it. DSC03182DSC03184Sebastian really digged Houndstooth coffee where mommy got a latte and auntie got a cold brew. Fancy. DSC03202DSC03176Because we had only drank one cup of coffee and I knew Zachary would probably want me to spend more money ;), we headed to my favvvorite place, Beware Coffee. DSC03186That's Beware Coffee. It's cute & serves the one of the best lattes on the planet. IMO. If your an Austinite or wannabe, like me (I'm from Cedar Park...lame. If only you'd bought a house 10 miles further parents!-actually, whatever. I'm a Greater Austinite. Which is really better, because it means I pay (or my parents do) less taxes. So. Ya. ), it's in the Spiderhouse back parking lot. DSC03187Next door to Beware is Maggie's Waffles food truck. They serve delicious waffles. Obv. DSC03193We split the SXSW special (SXSW was that weekend) Oreo, Coconut whip cream filled waffle. Yomyom.DSC03192Also, should you be in this area, like we were, you can take photos of spackled (a word? yes?)  chairs & pavement. You can also view all the local wall art. It often changes & is always colorful. Usually I like to stand against walls like this and take selfies & cool photo back drop pictures but for some reason I just wasn't feeling the skull & pig demon back drop for my cute selfie. ;)DSC03189DSC03194There's the birthday cuteness enjoying the waffle. DSC03198We're super cool and hard core. DSC03175Oh there's a photo of Harley's Chuy's birthday festivities. It was a great weekend! Happy Birthday SisterLove!
post signature
Pin It button on image hover