Thursday, August 28, 2014

#TBT=#ThrowbackTravels #21: Punta Tombo, Argentina

Dave and his pet penguin for a minute...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Dream Day Style Challenge

I was approached by to take on the Dream Day Style Challenge. I already experienced my own dream day last year so this challenge was really just for fun.  Thinking about a wedding outfit with no wedding to plan and no budget restrictions is what makes it fun. I also got the chance to create my first collage ever (as obvious as it can be) on the blog. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

nykeiko eats: Red Rooster and Ginny's Supperclub [Harlem, NYC]

Long before moving to Harlem, Red Rooster has always been on our radar and on our (infinite) 'to-eat' list. But how many times have we showed up there but only to walk away because of the long queue? On a Friday night or the weekend, a typical wait time for dinner is maybe one to three-hour long and people seem to be willing to wait. Not us though, we always give up and head to Sylvia's just a block away instead or Amy Ruth's. This has already happened three times and one time, it was totally my fault for mixing up our reservation dates (sorry to my sister Melissa!). But finally, for our one year wedding anniversary, I made reservations a couple of weeks in advance to secure a favorable time slot as I think you can always snatch up a last minute reservation for late hours between 9:30 and 11 p.m.

Well, was it worth it? I hear a lot of "the food is okay" from people who have gone before. Some of them have also been multiple times so I am sure the food is more than okay. I personally thought our meal was very good. Not mind-blowing nor outstanding but it definitely finger lickin' good (The Fried Bird!). Below are some pictures I took of our meal and my thoughts. We also checked out Ginny's Supperclub afterwards since admission was free with our Red Rooster receipt in hand! Chop and Quench performed that night and it was super entertaining, exotic and so different. It was the perfect way to end the night!

Red Rooster Menu - July 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All I see is green and waterfalls... [Platte Cove, Catskills]

One week before our trip to Iceland, we decided to make one last hiking trip upstate. It's also a good excuse to explore more of the Hudson Valley, break into our new backpacks even more, and make sure our legs and thighs are ready for all the hiking/exploring we have planned for the land of ice. 

We drove to Upper Platte Cove in the Catskills to do one of the many trails available there. We had planned to do a long 4-5 hour hike but we got distracted in the town of Hudson (Hudson's farmer's market, brunching and shopping) and decided to do a shorter trail instead.  

When we arrived at the trail, we followed one trail marker which brought us to a beautiful waterfall- Plattekill Falls. After that, we had trouble following the trail markers and started going off-trail to explore. This led us to the top of another waterfall and then seeing it once more from afar. When we realized that we were going astray for too long (or just didn't feel like falling to our death), we returned to our car and decided to see what the other fork at the beginning of the trail offered. This led to the Overlook Bridge. Turns out, we were not on the trail we had initially planned the whole time but by that time, we had already wandered for two hours and it was too late to start a new trail. We did hike it a little just to see what we we missed out on but it got a bit boring and the first overlook was over maybe 2 miles away. Also, a bear sighting warning sign posted at the beginning of the trail made us a bit wary about continuing (We got to use our clip-integrated whistles on our backpack to scare off bears just for fun!) 

It was a really beautiful day for hiking. Knowing that there are other beautiful waterfalls out there in the Catskills makes me want to return over and over again. Summer is almost over and I wonder why we did not do this sooner. That waterfall looked perfect for a dip! Hiking during the Fall time will actually be just as beautiful especially with the leaf changing season. Can't wait!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#TBT=#ThrowbackTravels #20 : Peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yunnan, China

I'm posting many TBT from Asia but sheesh, China puts on the most breathtaking 'nature shows' all the time!

The only time I saw the peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain during our stay was when we were leaving Lijiang. I took this picture from the window on the back of the bus.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

nykeiko shops: A tinsy peek inside the Céline outlet store [Woodbury Common Premium Outlets]

We made a short trip to Woodbury Common outlets on our way back from Poughkeepsie this past Saturday (We visited the Walkway over the Hudson bridge.) Dave's mom needed to find a dress for an upcoming wedding and we were just happy to tag along (me happier than Dave to be exact). Even if we were there for a couple of hours, Dave's mom came out empty handed. Dave and I purchased 4 pairs of Smartwool socks at 50% off for our upcoming backpacking trip. The discount on these socks were more exciting to me than any other sales at the outlet. It is no doubt due to all the sample sales that I have access to which has made me indifferent to these outlet "deals". However, I know that there are some brands that do not host public sample sales- like Céline which only hosts private sales- so knowing there was a Céline outlet store picked my curiosity.

Céline is the first store I popped into, curious to see what was offered. I would have taken more pictures if the sales rep didn't stop me. She did offer to email me pictures of the items I wanted but I politely declined. I was hoping to take a peek at the price tags on some handbags. The trio and luggage handbags were not available but I did spot a few decent trapeze bags and red chain flap bags lying around. There were also many colorblock leathers pieces, totes, some shoes (heels and boots), sunglasses and clothing to shop. Still too pricy for me but a good deal for the fans!

Spring 2013 furry Céline shoes are $2850 from $4750. I wonder how many of these were ever sold at retail price?

Monday, August 18, 2014

nykeiko eats: Dinner at Ponty Bistro [Harlem, NYC]

Ze menu 'Ponty Bistro' in Harlem 

A new restaurant 'Ponty Bistro' just opened in our neighborhood almost two weeks ago and it took us no time to give it a try. It's a Senegalese French restaurant which has another established restaurant downtown by Gramercy Park. This one is only two blocks away from our apartment so there was no excuse not to check it out. It's so brand spankin' new that our waiter was working his first shift that night. That of course didn't come without a few minor mistakes with our orders but we were forgiving when free desert and drinks were offered at the end of our meal.

Dave arrived early and took advantage of the bar's happy hour and ordered himself an African lager 'Tusker'. We ordered the 'crispy tuna' for our appetizer which appeased our hunger very well. For our main course, our friend got the shrimp linguini, I got the wild mushroom risotto and Dave got a grilled sirloin steak marinated with Senegalese spices which is probably the only Senegalese thing we ordered that night. The portions were very generous and everyone's dishes were tasty. I was slightly disappointed not to find any "wild mushrooms" in my risotto unless they were so finely chopped up, I didn't see them.

Despite the server's mishap, we will definitely return and try out other dishes on the menu. We're so happy this place popped up and that we now we have a new joint in Harlem to take our out-of-town guests (or for dinner when we feel too lazy to cook).

Tusker African lager

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A week passed...

Cambridge Charles River
Last weekend, we were in Boston for a quickie trip. Nothing much to write about that but it was a short and sweet trip. Lots of napping and eating!

The weekend is quickly approaching and I felt like the week passed so fast. Maybe not because I was having so much fun but rather because I have been so busy at work. These past couple of months have been really busy for me and I have been putting off some of my writing. I haven't covered any sample sales for a couple of weeks (slow season), I haven't submitted anything new for CitizenMag and I haven't been writing much on my blog neither. On the other hand, I think it's a good thing that my job is keeping me stimulated and busy but I just feel weird not putting more time into blogging. I enjoyed taking the break but I didn't really want to. I wish writing was an easier process for me and that I could just sit down, write a post and not be worried about blabbering on and on and making tons of grammatical mistakes. (Well, it probably still happens even if I re-read my posts a zillion times.) I guess the more I write, the better I become but first, I have to write!

Anyway, this weekend, we have no concrete plans. A friend is visiting from Montreal but I am sure he's got plans of his own. Maybe I'll take some time to write this weekend that will be nice...

#TBT=#ThrowbackTravels #19 : Birds! Green Lake Park in Kunming, China

Green Lake Park 
People are holding out pieces of bread to feed these birds who have adapted to fly in a loop over and over to snatch a snack. Entrepreneurial men have also adapted to these tourists by taking and selling pictures of the tourists taken at the moment the bird is snatching up the bread straight from their fingers.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Up in the Hudson Valley in Kingston

Picture taken by Café East after our meal 
Before our mini hiking trip up at North-Point in the Catskills, we had the chance to fuel up (carb-wise) in the little town of Kingston in the Hudson Valley. We checked out a green market and although there was a great variety of fresh, locally-made pastries and delectables we didn't get to try everything. I was tempted to buy jars of homemade spreads, pickles and unprocessed raw honey but resisted. Dave had a gluten-free cheese and spinach bread while I tried a cup of black currant juice. Our main meal was a seafood paella from the market (yes, very Hudson Valley-like I know) and a plate of pad-thai from a local restaurant nearby; Café East. It was all very interesting which makes us want to check out more little towns in upstate NY and see what each one has to offer.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My #TBT=#ThrowbackTravels #18: Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina

Perito Moreno Argentina

This growing glacier in Argentina is so grandiose and surreal. It is just absolutely breathtaking when you see it in person. This picture does not do it justice at all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My latest post on CitizenMag is about sample sales...naturally

Vera Wang sample sale

For those who do not live in New York City (where sample sales thrive), you may not be familiar with this concept. Every year, hundreds of retail brands unload their excess merchandise-in the form of overstock and samples (design prototypes)- to the public via sample sales. If you’re lucky, you might find samples that were once used for fashion shows or one-of-a-kind designs that never went into production.
Sample sales happen all around the city, and year-round with peak seasons maybe twice a year. Shoppers can expect to save up to 70-90% off retail. What brands are we talking about? There are hundreds, but top luxe brands like Manolo Blahnik, Saint Laurent, Mulberry, Hermes, Hugo Boss, BCBG, Vera Wang, and Alexander Wang etc. are all part of the action. For some of them, the queue to enter may be a few hours long and chaos may ensue inside.
citizenHsini says:
my guilt is shopping and spending money on things I probably don’t need while my pleasure is telling people how much I spend on stuff like my $75 Jimmy Choo shoes.
These past few months, I have acquired some really good stuff. I nabbed a sample embroidered peplum dress from Alice & Olivia (probably never went into production and thus, one-of-a-kind) for $50, a 100% cashmere cardigan from Calypso St- Barth with a slight defect for only $19 (retails at over $300) and sample Current Elliott jeans for $25 (retails at $200+). I even got my husband dressed head-to-toe with sample sale garbs. From past Hugo Boss sample sales, he has nabbed dress shirts, Italian-made leather shoes, silver cuff links, a silk tie and underwear; and paid less than $200 for everything. Pretty nifty right?
If you are in town and looking for some sales, you might want to check out a sample sale or two if they are happening (don’t be fooled by some stores that put up ‘sample sale’ banners all year round).
To keep up with all sample sales related news in New York, you can check out for the latest with some sale reviews included! Or check out ‘Sample Sally’, which features more curated sample sale reviews.
Happy shopping!


Bouncy curls [My digital perm]

Four days without a hair wash is super rare for me but this past weekend, after a digital perm, it was recommended to leave my hair alone for at least two days. I persevered for four. During the summertime, I usually cannot go over two days without a hair wash or else Dave would divorce me. What I mean is that my hair gets so oily and emits a stench that I do not want to describe in full or I might actually lose some readers (Can anyone relate?) It's so bad that I can even use it as a scare tactic or even for a 'dare' on Dave. Anyway...What I mean is, I wash my hair often and salute those who are able to go shampoo-less for months. I could never, ever.