100 Days

 

Ellie 100 Days

Monday, January 30 marked 100 days with Ellie and this weekend we celebrated!  Before Ellie was born, Tae talked about how growing up in Korea, they celebrated babies with a 100th-day party to mark the milestone.  I’m all for any reason to celebrate our baby girl, so we had family over, amazing Korean food, the most beautiful cake, and Ellie even wore a hanbok.  It was such a fun day!

Ellie 100 Days

Here is Tae on his 100th-Day Party.  This picture kills me.  Ellie and Tae have the exact same hairdo at 100 days.  The only thing she is missing is the gold rings.  If you look realllllly close at this picture, you can see that Tae has a gold ring on every finger.  I tried to find one for Ellie, but they were hundreds of dollars and I’m just not that crazy.

Ellie with her cake.  (Not pictured – Tae under the table making sure that she is safe!)

DSC_0381

This cake was so beautiful.  A friend of Tae’s Aunt made it by hand and it took her all day!  The flowers are made from sweet potato and the cake is a traditional rice cake.  I still can’t get over how amazing it looked.

DSC_0346

When we were taking pictures, I am pretty sure every family member was hollering, clapping and most had a camera out.  I’m so glad that Tae pulled out his phone to document what it looked like from Ellie’s angle.

We love you so much, Ellie!

DSC_0389

DSC_0399

DSC_0405

DSC_0387

Ellie 100 Days

Ellie 100 Days

 

So much thanks to our friend Donna for coming over to take pictures of our sweet girl before her big day.

Ellie Ghee Yeon Yoo

Our baby girl is here!  Ellie Ghee Yeon Yoo joined us on October 22, 2016 at 1:59 am weighing 5 lbs 11 oz and measuring 18.5 inches.  Ellie surprised everyone by making her debut 5 weeks early.  One minute I was sitting talking to a coworker about a meeting we needed to have next week to discuss my maternity leave and the next thing I knew my water had broken and I was standing in a puddle!

Our first month with Ellie has been the fastest month of my life, with some very long nights sprinkled in the mix.  Ellie spent her first week in the special care nursery and while she seemed fine most of the time, I was a wreck having to leave her when I was discharged.  Luckily, the hospital was close and we were able to work out a plan where we could be with her most of the day and night.  Bringing Ellie home was the best!

If you missed it, Tae created a video of her first week that you can watch here.  We are beyond thankful for a healthy baby and love that she is here with us.

At one month, Ellie is still a pretty easy baby.  Her favorite things are eating, being chest to chest, and being cozy.  Currently, Ellie also likes to be wide awake in the night and sleep the day away.  Ellie’s least favorite things are diaper changes, changing clothes and not getting her food fast enough!

 

Park City

A few weeks ago, we went to Park City for a quick weekend snowboarding trip with friends.  It was my first time visiting and we stayed in an awesome house near the Town Lift.  I forgot to get pictures of the city area, but since we spent most of our short time on the mountain – it makes way more sense that I have those pictures!

I am not awesome at snowboarding…not at all, but I did manage to do two full days with only one wipeout, so I’m calling it a win.

We spent one day at Park City Mountain Resort and the second day at the Canyons.  Both were great.  Park City was a little friendlier to people like me who like to stick to the greens.  Unless you are trying to come home via the routes that bring you back to Town Lift.  You might accidentally end up on moguls and then have to walk over to run you meant to be on, but then find that it feels like you are going down a cliff because it is so steep.  You might inch your way down and it take triple the amount of time you thought it would.  (On a side note, some of our friends stayed a third day and realized that they could take the lift back DOWN the mountain and thus avoid all of the above for a second time.) So, you know – really plan things out if you are new and interested in getting home in one piece.

Phi Phi, Thailand

Phi Phi was our second (and last) stop in Thailand.  We spent three nights at the Holiday Inn Phi Phi and it was three nights of amazing relaxation.  Seriously, this place was the best way to end our honeymoon.  (Ps. You pronounce Phi Phi with a P not an F sound.)

To get from Phuket to Phi Phi, we took the Phi Phi Cruiser.  We splurged for the VIP section and let me tell you.  It was so worth it.  We got to keep our luggage with us and we got to sit in an air conditioned room for the ride.  If you take one of these, it takes about 4 hours and after a long day the day before, it was nice to stay out of the sun.

DSC_1009

We stopped in the main part of Phi Phi for lunch and a bit of snorkeling.  Because our hotel was on the other side of the island, the only way to get there was by another boat and then a long-tailed boat.  I’m really glad that we got to see the main part of Phi Phi, but even more glad that we were staying on a quieter side.

DSC_1060

DSC_1062

DSC_1064

DSC_1065

Our room was in awesome location.  We had the best view of the pool and ocean.

The beaches at this hotel were incredible.

DSC_1076

For meals, you could either dine at the hotel or there was a bit of beach area between our hotel and another resort that had local restaurants.

For the most part, we spent our time in Phi Phi at the pool and looking sort of like this…

DSC_1085

GOPR0554

DSC_1100

On the last night, we discovered the sunset bar.  You had to hike a bit behind the hotel and up stairs that overlooked a different side of the island to see the sunset.  It was such a fun way to change up an evening.

IMG_5415

DSC_1108

DSC_1128

To get back to the airport at the end of our stay, we decided to take a speed boat (more expensive, but gets you back to the mainland in about 45 minutes).   If I was going to Phi Phi ever again, I would probably just go straight to the speed boat option.

Phuket, Thailand

DSC_0933

We split our time in Thailand between Phuket and Phi Phi.  They were two totally different experiences.  Phuket was a more about the cultural experience whereas Phi Phi was a few days pure relaxation.

In Phuket, we spent three nights at the Rawai Palm Beach Resort.  It was clean, had a great pool, near an area with good restaurants, tons of Thai massage places, and close to the beach (although, the beach wasn’t necessarily a place you want to hang out).

I thought that I took a picture of the pool area, but all I can find is this one of Tae sleeping at the pool.

IMG_0584

DSC_0932

We made sure to take full advantage of the cheap massages while we were there.  Seriously, a Thai massage was about $8!

On our first full day in Phuket, our hotel recommended hiring a private taxi to take us on a tour of the area.  It was the BEST idea!  For about $40, we had our own taxi for four hours.  It was great because we went to a few really crowded places where it would have been hard to find a taxi to the next place.  The driver was able to sit and wait for us at each stop, gave us ideas for where to stop, and gave us tips at the different locations.

Big Buddha

DSC_0978

Big Buddha was beautiful – even under construction.  It was amazing to walk through the center and see people during their services.  The views in front of Big Buddha are also amazing (it was a little foggy, but you get the idea).

DSC_0961

Tiger Kingdom

Ok, I have mixed feelings about this one.  I wasn’t so sure about getting into an area with the tiger (and I am not so sure about why the tigers don’t seem to care that people are in there with them).  But, I’m not going to hold Tae back!  I stayed behind in the lounge area and Tae went in to pet the tigers.  I still want to cover my eyes a little bit when I see these…

IMG_5374

IMG_5385

The Phuket Country Club

DSC_0940

Naturally, Tae needed to stop at a golf course and get a golf ball.

We finished our day at the Phuket night market.  Tae was (unsuprisingly) interested in tasting as much of the food as possible.

DSC_0992

DSC_0990

DSC_0979

DSC_0987

We also checked out the Phuket Pearl and you can skip it, unless you are in the market for some pearls.

Our second full day, I really wanted to go to James Bond Island.  The actual island was somewhat underwhelming, but the tour we took was so much fun.  We did a tour with Asia Canoe Thailand.  The staff were great, the tour was great, and the food was good.  I’d highly recommend it as part of a trip to Phuket!

On the tour, you get to see:

Phang Na Bay

IMG_0597

James Bond Island

IMG_0644

IMG_0650

Canoeing (I think the area that we canoed was called “Tham Talu”)

IMG_0614

IMG_0620

Fisherman’s Village (Koh Panyee)

IMG_0680

IMG_0673

IMG_0670

IMG_0671

IMG_0676

Visiting the fisherman’s village was a highlight of the trip.  The village was built into the side of a cliff and extends out over the water.  When touring, there is a path to walk through the village and all of the homes along that path are filled with tourist items.  The path leads you to the school and basketball area.  It was so interesting to be able to walk around and see the village.  We learned that because the village is so far from the mainland, in high school students who attend have to go to a boarding school during the week and that women who are pregnant have to move to the mainland towards the end of their pregnancy.

Naka Island

This was a great beach for swimming and relaxing at the end of a long day.  We spent about an hour and a half there, which was perfect.  Apparently, I was so relaxed that I don’t have any pictures.  We have plenty of go pro videos, that I will have to share soon.

We had so much fun during our time in Phuket.  After two full days of tours, we couldn’t wait for our next stop in Phi Phi to just relax, but I will save that for another day.  During the cold end of February it is nice to reminisce about a warm vacation.

 

What I Read in February

When I sat down to write this, I thought “oh, I haven’t really read anything this month”.  Then, I started going through my goodreads and realized that between audible and reading, I actually  read 4 books this month, which is not to shabby!

I recently saw this mug that says “I like to party and by party I mean read books”.   It has to be one of my favorites and just speaks to my book-loving heart!

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

I stumbled upon The Sound of Glass on my audible “recommended” list.  The Sound of Glass is the story of a woman who inherits the house that belonged to the grandmother of her deceased husband and the relationships that grow as her step-mother and younger brother come to live with her.  This was one I listened to and was always excited to get in the car and hear the next part.  I have to say that I could pretty much see where the story was headed the whole time and there was very little that “surprised” me ahead of time.    Sometimes, that isn’t always a bad thing.  I’m giving this one 4/5 stars.

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Piccoult

I picked this one up of off a giveaway shelf.  I’m always up for a Jodi Piccoult and while I can’t say it was my favorite, it was just fine to read.  This is a story about a woman who finds out that she is not who she thought she was and the process of understanding decisions that her parent’s made when she was little.  Honestly, even after I read it I cannot remember if I had already read it!   2/5 stars.

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan

What She Knew is the story of a woman whose son goes missing when they are out for a walk in the woods.  It’s twisting and keeps your attention, which are always great in my book.  I listened to this one on audible, but I think I might have liked it more if I was reading it.  (Sometimes that pacing on audible just doesn’t match how fast I want to get through the book!)  3.5/5

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments is the story of a man who who has the job of reading the company e-mail (the book is set in 1999/2000).  His responsibility is to monitor web usage and keep everyone “working” during work hours.  While working, he finds e-mails between two women and as he continues to read them over the course of months as he falls for one of them.  The storyline is a bit slow, but it’s entertaining, an easy read and I am a sucker for things written in a different way (e-mail exchanges, texts, etc.).  3/5

What to Eat in Singapore

As promised, here is Tae sharing his take on what to eat in Singapore.

First of all, I’d like to thank my wife for letting me guest post on her massively successful blog.

For me, one of the main reasons for visiting Singapore was to try all the cross-cultural dishes I had drooled about for years (for those of you not familiar, check out No Reservations – Singapore).  Due to its unique history and demographics, Singapore is the only place that offers food that combines flavors from Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian cuisines; in some cases all in one dish.

Breakfast at Killiney Kopitiam

We landed around Midnight Singapore time so our first stop on our food tour was a close-by breakfast place called Killiney Kopitiam.  During the three days we were staying near Orchard Rd, we went to this restaurant every morning for breakfast.  It was always packed in the morning, even the morning after NYE.  Even though it is a chain, the food tasted very homemade and the prices were very reasonable.  As you can see in the pictures, like other Asian cultures, Singaporeans eat the same food breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Not surprisingly, Chelsea didn’t particularly enjoy the fish flavored dishes and spices for breakfast and stuck to her french toast for the most part.

IMG_5305

Killiney Kopitiam – Killiney Road location

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

Mee Rebus ($3 USD) – The dish is made of yellow egg noodles with a spicy slightly sweet curry-like gravy. The gravy is made from sweet potatoes, curry powder, water, salted soybeans, dried shrimps, and peanuts.

IMG_5303

Chicken Curry w/ Prata ($5) – Chicken made in spicy coconut milk based curry.

IMG_5346

Nasi Lemak ($2) – Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaf.

IMG_5347

Mee Siam ($3) – a dish of thin rice vermicelli with gravy made from rempah spice paste, tamarind and taucheo (salted soy bean).

IMG_5348

Cheong Fun ($2) – thin roll made from a wide strip of rice milk served with warm sweet soy sauce.

IMG_5349

Laksa ($3) – rice noodles fish, served in spicy soup, based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk.

IMG_5356

French Toast ($2) – Hawaiian bread toasted in egg with apple sauce (we think?) and butter.

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre

On our first full day in Singapore, we went to the world famous Maxwell Road Hawker Centre in China Town.  It is a semi-open food court with dozens of tiny (15 x 15 ft) food stalls that specialize in a few items.  Hawker centers are ubiquitous in Singapore but this is by far the best one in terms of food quality, cleanliness and popularity.

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

IMG_5323

Ah Tai – Ex-employees from the famous Tian Tian started this restaurant just a few stalls down from Tian Tian.  Tian Tian had a line about a 1/4 mile long so we ate here instead.

IMG_5319

Chicken Rice w/ Bok Choy in fish gravy ($3) – By far one of the most popular/famous dishes in Singapore.  I can’t say enough about this simple and boring-looking dish as this was our (Chelsea loved it too) favorite dish of the entire trip.  Probably the best rice I’ve had in my life.  The rice in this dish has a mixture of ginger and garlic flavors that is hard to describe but amazing.  For three US dollars, I would eat this daily if I lived in Singapore.

IMG_5321

IMG_5325

Oyster Omelette ($6) – Egg fried with fresh oysters served with sweet chili sauce.

IMG_5326

Carrot Cake – Black ($3) –  Oddly named dish since there is no carrot in it.  Made with radish cake (steamed rice flour, water, and shredded white daikon), which is then stir-fried with eggs, preserved radish, and other seasonings.

Little India

We were stuffed from eating at Maxwell, but we headed over to Little India to try some Indian cuisine.  There were so many dishes we (mainly me) wanted to try so we had to eat even when we were completely full.  Definitely the reason why I signed up for Weight Watchers after I came home.

IMG_5329

IMG_5331

Mutton Biryani ($7) – Spicy Indian rice served with Mutton curry.

IMG_5333

Fish Head Curry ($30) – head of a red snapper is semi-stewed in a Kerala-style curry with assorted vegetables such as okra and eggplants.

Golden Mile Food Centre

The next day, we were on a mission to try the famous Chili Crab.  We heard a rumor to try the next place and then were very clearly told by many to NOT try the chili crab there and to try the following.

Golden Mile Food Centre – Another well-known food court

Singapore Honeymoon Day2

Hokkien Prawn Mee ($3) –  Egg noodles and rice noodles stir-fried with egg and prawns, and garnished with sambal sauce.

Singapore Honeymoon Day2

IMG_0572

Young Tau Foo – Clear broth soup with fried tofu, vegetables and seafood.

No Signboard Seafood

For our last night in Singapore, we decided to go big and try the Chili Crab.  Chili Crab is claimed by Singaporeans as one of their national dishes.  Although you can get cheaper versions of it at food courts, we decided to take a couple of local people’s recommendations and head to No Signboard Seafood by Marina Bay for a fancy last meal.  It was a good thing that we were able to eat cheap at the food stalls because this meal was around $250!

IMG_5419

IMG_5424

Lobster Salad – Lobster and fruit topped with creamy custard.

DSC_0007

Shark Fin Soup – traditional soup or stewed item of Chinese cuisine served at special occasions such as weddings and banquets.

DSC_0009

Chili Crab – Various types of crabs stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce. Despite its name, Chilli Crab is not a very spicy dish.

And there you have it -our version of what to eat in Singapore.  I know that we missed places, but two people can only eat so much!  Have you been there?  Did we miss your favorite place?  Share the food wealth and tell us everything!

 

January Reading

January has been an excellent month of reading.  Knowing that we were going on our honeymoon and would have (many) hours of travel, I saved new books by some of my favorite authors.  It was the best decision.  This might be my favorite month of reading so far.  I’m also going to throw in my favorite December reads towards the bottom, just in case you need more ideas!

After You by Jojo Moyes

25041504

After You is the sequel to Me Before You, which I loved.   I was so excited to read it and it really did not disappoint.  This was on of my favorite pool reads of vacation.  I cannot recommend Jojo Moyes enough!

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

25387351

John Grisham always tops my list of favorite authors.  Every once in awhile, a new book might come out that misses the mark, but this one was reminiscent of some of his older books.  It was great and I only wish it was longer!  In fact, I won’t be surprised if this character is back in another book!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905

Rainbow Rowell is a new author to me, but I had heard her name a few times and then was listening to a podcast where they went more in depth and I couldn’t wait to try it.  It was a fun read, although I am not totally sure it would go on my list to recommend.  It was closer to YA fiction and lost me a few times, but still fun.

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

25809756

I’ve read all of the Shopaholic books at this point, so I feel sort of invested when a new one comes out.  I just have to see what happens, even if they no longer fall into my favorites.  Still, if you have read the others, go ahead and pick this one up.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

23638955

This book made me all kinds of uncomfortable!  It falls into the thriller category and I couldn’t put it down (which was mostly due to the fact that I was a nervous wreck reading the story!).

Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel by S.J. Watson

9736930

If I was going to use a emoji, it would be the one with really big eyes and a straight face, because.. WHOA.  I grabbed this one when I heard a librarian describe it and read it pretty quickly.  And then immediately after I read it, I discovered that it had been turned into a movie and we watched it on Netflix.  As usually happens, the book is so much better than the movie.  This one I would recommend only if you are ok with creepy and might-make-you-have-nightmares.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

21104828

This is my second Kate Morton book (the first was forever ago when I lived in Charleston) and I listened to this one on Audible in December.  It took a bit to get into (lots of characters, different time periods) but at some point, I was totally engaged.  The recording for this book is 21 hours, so it is a time investment – but well worth it!

Winter Stroll by Elin Hildebrand

24819476

This is the sequel to Winter Street (which I read in November). It was fun to be able to read them back to back. I can only hope that I will remember everything next year when the third comes out!

 

 

 

Singapore

We have recovered from the honeymoon and before we forget any details, I wanted to share our favorite parts of the trip!  Our honeymoon was to Singapore and Thailand.  Let me start here and say that it takes a REALLY long time to get there.  31 hours of travel is no joke, but really it was so much easier than I expected.    There is also an almost 12 hour time difference in Singapore, but we adjusted with no problem.  (Coming home is a whole different story.)  So, let’s start with Singapore.  Singapore is super clean, safe, and really easy to get around with public transportation.  English is one of their most spoken languages, so communicating was a breeze.

We spent 3 night in Singapore at the beginning of our trip (2 full days) and then one more night before returning to Chicago.  At the beginning of our trip, we stayed at the Hotel Jen OrchardGateway.    It was in the middle of a great shopping area, easy transportation, the pool had great views, and the Wifi was the best of our trip.

Honeymoon singapore Day2

The first day, Tae had big plans for all of the food he wanted to eat.  Food was definitely the driving force of our time in Singapore.  So much so, that he is going to do his own blog post JUST on the food.

We decided that the best way to hit the food spots and see a bunch of the city was to do our favorite thing – find the double decker tour bus!  We had no problem finding a company and decided to get our tickets to last two days.  Some of our favorite non-food stops the first day were:

Marina Bay Sands 

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

DSC_0014

Marina Bay Sands is famous for it’s architecture and the amazing infinity pool that spans the top of the building.  We took the elevator up to the rooftop restaurant and bar to share a drink and get a glimpse of the pool.

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

IMG_5317

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

Maxwell Food Center

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

I’m going to let Tae tell you more about this one, but it is the place to get the famous chicken rice, carrot cake, and much more.  It’s sort of a cafeteria, all of your food is served on plastic dishes, and then there are people walking around clearing plates and cleaning tables.

The architecture of Singapore is amazing.  No two buildings look alike and my favorite is that several buildings have all sorts of plants growing on them.

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

Honeymoon-Singapore Day 1

Singapore Honeymoon Day2

DSC_0016

On Day 2, we headed back to the bus to finish the tour route.  After our experience the day before at Marina Bay Sands, we knew that we wanted to see the gardens.  I’m so glad that we did, because this was SO cool.

Gardens by the Bay

Honeymoon singapore Day2

We walked through the gardens and decided to pay for The Cloud Forest.  You get to walk through an indoor rain forest, there is a waterfall, you walk around all sorts of elevated platforms, it is truly amazing.

Honeymoon singapore Day2

Honeymoon singapore Day2

Honeymoon singapore Day2

After the Gardens, Tae spotted a golf course that did not look too far away and he really wanted to get a souvenir.  We decided to walk from the gardens through a park area to the golf course.  As a reminder to us all, what looks close when you are staring down 650 feet in the air, may in fact, not be close at all.  You might end up on a quick detour that takes up at least an hour of your day.  But, we made it!

Honeymoon singapore Day2

After the golf course, we spent more time finding Tae food to getting back to the bus and riding around the city.  We didn’t stop here, but I hear the Singapore Botanic Gardens is well worth it.

Singapore Honeymoon Day2

At the end of our trip, we were back in Sinagpore for an afternoon and the night before heading home.  Our main goal was to try the Chilli Crab that is a famous dish in Singapore.  We went to No Signboard Seafood after hearing several recommendations.  One of my favorite parts of our dinner was that the restaurant is on the water and we got to hear a concert in the outdoor pavilion and see the laser light show from Marina Bay Sands!

IMG_5419

DSC_0010

We spent the last night at the Carlton City Hotel Singapore.  While we were barely there, it was a great place to stay and I would highly recommend it! The bathroom here was by far the most luxurious of our trip.  Seriously, some of the other bathrooms were practical and tiny!

IMG_5418

Overall, Singapore was mostly about the food for us during our visit.  We missed many of the recommended stops, but we hit everything we hoped to see.  If you are looking for Singapore food recommendations, Tae will be posting soon!

DSC_0011

A New Year

I know that everybody has their thoughts on New Years Resolutions.  My thoughts are that I love starting fresh, finding new inspiration, and setting goals for myself!  When I saw that there were a few bloggers starting a monthly link-up called “Let’s Talk” and their post for January was about New Years, it just made sense to post and here is why:

2015 was one of my favorite years ever.  We got married, I turned 30, we went to Hawaii…it was all amazing.  This year, we both sat down and tried to come up with our thoughts for the New Year.

Here are a few of mine:

Wedding from photographer

  1. Eat healthier.  Seriously.  You have no idea how many cookies and candies I have been eating at work.  I’m all about moderation, but my desserts were just getting silly.  I’m focusing on increasing my diet to lean more towards a whole food, plant-based diet.  It’s a slow process, but it’s happening.
  2. Add more yoga.  I was hoping for once a week, but now… I’m just hoping for more.  More yoga!  It’s good for the body, good for the soul, and I should be practicing more.
  3. Finish a few projects.  I’ve been working on some really fun stuff, that should be done soon and I can’t wait!
  4. Blog more.  I really love reading back through everything.  It’s ok if nobody else reads it, because it’s here for me.

I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

#letstalklinkup