January 14, 2018

Sunday Dialogues: Seeking Validation

Earlier this month, during my solo trip to Boston, I stayed at a hostel and lived with people from all over the world - France, Quebec, Australia, the Netherlands, China, Korea, Argentina, the US, you name it! Solo-traveling, during the bomb cyclone no less, merits a separate conversation of its own, but today's focus stems from a conversation I had with my French roommates. 

January 7, 2018

New Years Weekend: Snowed In

Just before Will and I headed off to our respective trips, our family came to stay with us over New Years. A little bit of snow, before the past week's blizzard, made for a great photo shoot opportunity after wrapping dumplings and baking confetti cookies. To make that food combination even more unexpected, we started off with a cheese board. These are just some things you have to get used to when you're born in the US but grow up in an Chinese home!

December 31, 2017

Sunday Dialogues: 2017 in review

There's a keepsake box in my room, with vintage travel stamps and photos of Paris, London, and New York printed on. It's about the size of those WB Mason boxes that school printer paper comes in (you remember those). In it, you'll find a tattered Minnie Mouse folder with letters from a Swedish pen pal, a glittery blue bow from a tap dance recital, a pale yellow baby blanket, a Memorial Sloan-Kettering lanyard. A CD player my dad bought me for my ninth birthday, sticker books with most of the stickers plastered on the covers, my first cell phone, a stack of birthday cards, a Chinese Coca-Cola bottle cap.

December 24, 2017

Brown Butter Coconut Caramel

This sauce. 

If you've never eaten anything with brown butter, you're in for a real treat - even if you're not a caramel fan (which I am not). Brown butter, or beurre noisette, is more than just melted butter. The word "brown" refers to the caramelization of the milk solids, giving the butter a nutty, malty, sweet flavor. (Read a bit about the Maillard reaction, here.) The addition of the coconut? A fun twist that adds a subtle taste of the tropics (literally!), which I'm sure can be appreciated by anyone who spends November-March in the cold.

Drizzle this caramel over a holiday pie, ice cream, or popcorn. Layer it in a cake, swirl it into a cheesecake, the options are endless. My Christmas gift to you!

December 10, 2017

Sunday Dialogues: Clenched Fists

Moments of infinity.
There she is. A city of glittering yellow and orange, a Southern skyline standing proudly in the shadows of a forest. The December chill sends a shiver down my spine, but I don't walk away. I can't. So I stay, lingering with the cold and the city.

They're the moments in which you can't stop smiling, inside and out. They're not gone in the blink of an eye, but you savor them as much as possible, wishing they would last forever. Your heart doesn't seem to have the capacity to hold this much joy, peace, contentment.
Moments of infinity.

December 3, 2017

From Russia With Love (Pt II)

If you missed Part I of my three-part series, you can find it here!

Day two of Russia happened to be one of the three sunny days that St. Petersburg gets every year. How lucky were we?