Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm back!

Hello friends!

I am back from quite an epic trip down in Chile and Argentina. We traveled to Torres Del Paine in Chile and then on to El Calafate, Puerto Madryn and Buenos Aires in Argentina. I have no clue how I will update my blog with bits and pieces of our trip as I have thousands of photos I need to look through but I know I will write some type of "guide" along with pricing and an itinerary of our trip to help future backpackers with their planning. D did the most daunting tasks of finding hostels and transportation to budget our trip and he had to read through several websites and blogs to find useful pieces of information here and there so hopefully, I can provide most pertinent information in one spot.

For now, I leave you with some of my favorite pictures taken on my iphone.

Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine, Chile

Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina
Southern Right Whales, Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Punto Tombo, Argentina

La Recoleta cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

La caminito, La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Friday, November 16, 2012

I am now in Argentina ... Bye bye Chile

Wanted to make sure you guys know that I am still alive! We are in day 7 to our trip... We have arrived in El Calafate in Argentina after a five day trekking trip up in Torres Del Paine in Chile! It was quite a sight and exhausting at times. My left knee cap is totally busted and I struggle going down stairs and sometimes walking!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breezee! The view from up there [Bear Mountain]

Bear Mountain: Yellow to red beauty

I am traveling to Chile and Argentina for 20 days and trekking and hiking will cover half of our trip's itinerary. Hiking across Torres Del Paine and glaciers is going to be oh so awesome! So, I leave you off with some pictures from my last hiking trip in NY during the last week of October in Bear Mountain, NY. If you are surprised to see me venture into the "wilderness" so many times already these past few weeks, I am too.  This new rugged me is only temporary I think. We'll see what happens after the trip and during next hiking "season". Oh, we also went to the museum, did some Korean resto eating, Oktoberfest and shopping too, all in one day!

After seeing Kusama's Fireflies on the Water at Whitney museum, we drove to Fort Lee in NJ for a big hardy lunch. We went to So Kong Dong which is popular for their ribs and soft tofu soups-the only two but, delicious things on their menu. We digested the meal by making a quick stop at a scenic overlook off the NJ Palissades highway. 

The view from up here: Scenic view off the Palissades

Must take a closer look down...

Short ribs $15

Spicy seafood tofu soup $9

We then set out on our hiking journey up in Bear Mountain to hike the Perkins Tower trail which is a 3.9 mile challenging loop up and down the mountain. You can drive up there but climbing there is a much more rewarding experience! There was some steep rock climbing upwards and a more pleasant stroll downwards by taking the the Appalachian trail. The Appalachian trail is known to be the third longest marked hiking trail in America. We arrived to Bear Mountains in a timely matter but to our dismay, the parking lots were rapidly filling up and crowds swarmed to attend the last weekend of the annual Bear Mountain Oktoberfest festival held by Hession Lake. Word of advice, if you want a nice quiet stroll, do not go during Oktoberfest :) We decided we would check out the festival after our hike. A nice cold beer after hours of trekking didn't sound so bad but when we finished our hike, all we wanted was food! We enjoyed some German potato salad, a large pretzel and an all-dressed waffle. Although we were tired from the hike, a trip to Woodbury Commons which was on our way home was our next destination solely to return a shirt from Colombia purchased three weeks ago. Our friend who joined us for hiking had never been to Woodbury and so he was excited to check it out. So it was my duty as a friend to accompany him :) Instead of one hour, we shopped until closing time. Poor D, he had no interest in shopping and after looking at a couple of stores, he went back to the car to nap while monetary damage was done but not by me kinda. Naoto wanted to shop all the good Italian brands Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Bottega, Dolce and I complied.

The view from up there: Bear Mountain

The Appalachian trail by Perkins Tower

Appalachian trail were easy peezy to walk

Oktoberfest treat! All-dressed waffles!

Oktobertfest pretzel and potato salad

Woodbury Commons

Only that small bag is mine :)

All photos by me or Naoto Kitamura!
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Most dreadful packing situation for a nature loving fashionista...

I am leaving tmorrow and I haven't been able to blog anything as I had been so extremely busy at work plus after a long commute back home, all I want to do is sleep! Today was my last day at work before my vaca and it just hit 10 p.m. and I have to..gasp..PACK!  It is already a big challenge for me to pack lightly for a weekend getaway although I have been really good on my last few trips with a small size suit case, but now, I have to pack for a 3 week long trip where we will be going to different cities doing different activities in different temperatures. So how the hell am I suppose to pack everything in an oversized school bag? Lots of sacrifices shall be done...

This bag will fit my life for 3 weeks

Not only will my bag be comprised mostly of hiking gears but I have to sacrifice a few outfits that I would want to wear in Buenos Aires so that I don't have to carry all of it while backpacking for 6 days across Torres del Paine. So, even if I wish to wear this dress and those heels in Buenos Aires, I cannot imagine having to carry all that stuff I won't be needing for my hike. We have to carry food and sleeping bags too!

Blah! I have to wear this stuff for 2 weeks!

For backpacking, I have the essentials down to these few items:

This will carry me over during our stops in Torres Del Paines (Chile), Puerto Madryn (Argentina) and El Calafete (Argentina) but when we arrive in the modern buzzling city of Buenos Aires, nothing will give me more pleasure than to  ditch all that hiking gear for a cute dress.

-1 Smartwool long sleeve
-1 legging
-1 midweight underpants
-1 midweight long sleeve
-3 Smartwool socks
-2 top pants (one waterproof).
-1 pair of boots
-1 pair of gloves
-1 fleece
-1 top waterproof top jacket
-2 pairs of undies

Packing it

Argh, and what about the beauty essentials? No perfume or makeup for sure and everything will have to fit in travel size bottles and containers. I have a couple of things I would like to bring but may not due to weight/space. Everything has to be accounted for because even if a tube of mascara may weigh nothing at all, the total of all my stuff will become substantial when I will be walking distances in miles per day.

Beauty essentials:

3-Eye liner?

I figure, as long as the eyes look less tired so will the rest of my face?

Skin care essentials where most will be in small travel containers.
-Cetaphil face cleanser
-Laura Mercier face scrub (i have a feeling removing all sorts of dead skin from my face will keep me looking glowy during my many days of trekking between the windy mountains).
-Nivea or Rosebud salve (For dry skin).
-Occitane spray toner
-Josie Maran SPF 40 for face (full bottle because it will be used profusely daily)
-Josie Maran SPF 30 for body (full bottle?)

While I am still stuck with not quite sure what I will bring for the last 6 days in Buenos Aires, it will have to be airy light and easy to wash. No purses, accessories nor jewelries...not even THE ring :)
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Insta pics Brooklyn Flea November 4 2012

As everyone's lives began to return to somewhat normal with the return of power, hot showers and less body odor, we also returned to our beloved Brooklyn Flea on Sunday to support the local businesses :)

After enduring 3 days of a heck of commute to work, I did not want to go anywhere on Saturday.  I just wanted to sleep in and not wake up at 5 in the morning anymore. I napped and ate all sorts of leftover junk food including popcorn, caramel apple, Lays chips, chocolates and whatever I can find in the cabinets. D was not around so I was able to do whatever I wanted without any judgment! I was waiting for him to come back home from Atlantic City where he was helping his parents out with their flooded basement. I read Smorgasburg was on that day but decided that staying home was the better choice. D returned later that evening, we had dinner and fell asleep late at night.

On Sunday,  we decided to lunch it at the Brooklyn Flea by the waterfront...I was craving some grilled cheese so I was happy to see the grill cheese stand make it out to Williamsburg post storm!

Triple cheese grilled cheese sandwich $7.25

Fungi pizza from Pizza Moto! $12

Typesetter letters $2 each
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

My new favorite thing in our apartment...

I got these typesetter letters at the Brooklyn flea to put it in our typesetter drawer! 


Typesetter letters in typsetter

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So this is my post-Hurricane Sandy story....just a hell of a commute!

I wasn't sure if I wanted to share my hurricane Sandy story because from what I've read and seen out there, what I went through is not so bad at all. Actually, nothing worth sharing. We did not lose power and only briefly lost the internet during prime hurricane time. All I have to complain about was the painful commute to work days after the storm has gone.

Neighbors' plants and fence

We had a friend stay with us. He was stranded in the city for three days before being able to catch the first bus out of the city. The day after the hurricane passed, some grocery stores and cafes were open around our area so we were able to drink some hot diluted Stumptown coffee at Variety and pick up some provisions for a steak feast. It was also the day when I get a dreadful hint from my boss that he expects me to be at work for the rest of the week. I was so bummed. I thought I would have the whole week off or until the subways started running anyway again. My boss has been going to work during the hurricane because he lives on the Upper West Side and it takes him 20 minutes to walk across beautiful Central Park to get to work. I think he did not really know the severity of the storm and how it affected lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs. On Wednesday, with no subway trains restored yet, the commute to Manhattan from Brooklyn was BRUTAL! So for the last three work days, it was mission 'How to get to work'!

Cute doggy!

Spirits were high when we have food and coffee!

On Wednesday, a coworker rented a Zipcar and picked a few of us Brooklynites up to go to work together. She  picked me up just before 7 a.m. and we decided to take the Queensboro bridge. It was HELL traffic with 3 hours of stop and go. We got to work just before 10 a.m. but we were so tired. On our way back home, we commuted for a total of 4 hours where 2 of them was spent trying to get onto the Manhattan bridge near Chinatown. Lower Manhattan had completely lost power and we plunged into darkness when we drove downtown. While stuck in traffic, we felt bad for all the people who have lost power and heat. It was pretty scary for me to see so many people on the streets with flashlights and I was scared there would be violence or looting going on as we slowly drove by. I finally got home around 9:30 p.m. and the lesson learned from the first day back to work was that we would have to leave even earlier the next day to avoid wasting time in traffic. The next morning, I left the house at around 5:45 a.m. and it was such a great idea since we breezed through the commute and got to work around 6:20 a.m. A 3 person and more carpool rule was also instated for anyone traveling into Manhattan which might have helped with reducing traffic that day. Since we came in so early, we left early too. I got home at about 4 p.m. which was weird, had dinner at 6 p.m. and like an old person, I tried to go to bed at around 9 p.m. but because I am NOT old, I couldn't fall asleep until 11 p.m. or so. Therefore, the next day's wake up time of 5:30 a.m. was a torture and turns out, so was the commute again.

Silvercup studio by Queensboro bridge

Queensboro traffic 

Watching the sunrise at work was nice!

With the carpool rule and people's cars slowly running out of gas, traffic was expected to be a lot better that Friday however, our Zipcar was actually almost on 'E' when it was picked up. My coworker decided to drive it anyway in hopes of finding a gas station that had gas. At that point, most of New York and New Jersey's gas stations were running out of gas and those that were open had long line like at a YSL sample sale. See here if you don't get the reference. A gas station near my house was open and in business but it had cars waiting for several blocks down. People were angry and shouting since there were many cars trying to cut in line. We got in line too because we didnt think there would be another gas station with a better situation but gave up after 15 minutes of waiting since we moved only 2 car spaces and realized that we were not going to make it to work at a decent time if we waited 'til the end.  Driving was no longer a viable option unless we found gas and we were all unwilling to take the free MTA shuttle buses from Brooklyn to Manhattan due to the crowds and traffic. Our last resort was the free shuttle service offered by our company that day. It was all the way back in downtown Brooklyn. The shuttle was not close to the drop-off location of our Zipcar so we decided to park it somewhere closer call Zipcar and claim that we were almost running out of gas and wouldn't be able to drive it back to its original parking lot. That worked out and we walked two blocks to the shuttle stop. The shuttle came early and we got to work at a decent time of 7:20 a.m. with no traffic. Coming back was not so easy as well.  First off, the shuttle was late due to traffic but once it dropped us off back in downtown Brooklyn, my mission was to get home back home to Williamsburg. I could have taken a cab but I felt bad because buses were running again and I could at least try to find my way home. I managed to get home after 3 hours of commute again and was thankful that it was Friday already and did not have to go through this for the next couple of days.

Into the dark side in Lower Manhattan...

Good thing D was not around or else he would be hearing me bitch all night long however, I knew he wasn't any better since he was in Atlantic City helping out his parents. Atlantic city was evacuated during the storm due to flooding and there was loss of power. D had to take care of his flooded basement sooo I was glad he went to help out his parents to pump water out of the house while I was simply trying to get from point A to point B.

So that's my lame little story. Commuting was a biatch and I know I was not alone! Next time, I gotta buy a bike and save the headache of being on a motor vehicle solely reliant on a non-renewable source of energy...Oh and to make matters worst, we are not getting paid for those two days we could not make it into work even when public transportation was completely shut down! Yea..I know.

Jane's carousel was surrounded by water during Sandy but looked okay now!
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Something red ... [prada]

I have always been attracted to red. It is RED, how can it not steal my attention away from other boring colors out there? When you see someone accessorize with a dash of red, your eyes just go there...I have a red coat, red clutch, loads of red nail polish, red lipstick, red iPhone case, red umbrella, red cardigan, red top and still looking for a pair of red pumps.

Below is my latest red addition!

Prada business card holder

I know, I know. I shouldn't be spending prior to my trip but I couldn't help it. When I saw my friend going crazy at the Prada Outlet store in Woodbury and ended up buying two pairs of shoes, a wallet and a card holder (he says it is waaaay cheaper than in Japan), I also wanted to be part of the action! I had my eyes on these card holders. Although I really wanted a Prada bag or wallet (which I do not need), I was happy getting this small business card holder for going out and for my newly printed business cards. There were simpler smaller card holders in white, blue, fuscia, cream and black but I thought the folded ones were more spacy and I could use it for money and other things and not just cards. For the folded card holders, it was between cream, fuscia, red and blue. I originally wanted the blue (cornflower blue) when I layed my eyes on it last year but when it came down to red or blue, red wins it once more! The contrast with the gold logo seems more striking. It was also 40% off retail so double winss!

Prada folded card holder -
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