Category Living

A weekend in Beverly Hills

Over the weekend, we got the chance to stay at a very upscale hotel in Beverly Hills, the SLS Luxury Collection Hotel.  From a design perspective, the interiors were designed with a focus on fashion and current trends. I was not expecting to see an AK-47 gun or a 5 foot tall black horse as lamps in the lobby, nor the backlit poster of Penelope Cruz adorning the entire wall of the reception area on my floor as I stepped out of the elevator.  For designers who love pop art and not just subtle clean design, this is a place to check out.

More than just staying at a nice hotel, we also got the chance to try out our friend’s highly recommended restaurant – Scratch. They make everything from scratch, from their butter, to their breads… not just that, but if you’re adventurous, try out the 16 course meal which the chefs will prepare for you, only letting you know what ingredients they’ll be using, and not telling you the sequence or combinations of how they’ll use the ingredients.  They change their menu every month on top of that. It’s a very bold concept created by a group of chefs, there are no servers in the restaurant, and the chefs who create the dish also take the time to explain to you what their creation is.

Such a lovely weekend. 1

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A Song for Tea

Right in the heart of San Francisco, I found a gem of a shop that carried precious tea from China and Taiwan.  Unlike how we describe wine through different terms like being full-bodied, fruity, etc.; I still cannot put a finger on how to describe my green tea experiences in life.  Let’s put aside all the different teas of the world for now and just focus on the humble teas from China and Taiwan.  I could relate it to fine tobacco in that only connoisseurs who really take the time to go through the different kinds of leaves and how they are processed get to appreciate the beauty of it.

It’s not the same as getting a bag of widely distributed Earl Gray tea and knowing that every first steep or cup would taste the same, because the flavor is measured to taste the same.  When you’re dealing with rolled tea leaves, sometimes the flavor comes gradually and only gets stronger after having a first rinse.  Thus the phrase “good things come to those who wait,” applies well here.

Although it does take a little more effort and time to prepare Chinese tea leaves compared to easily dipping a tea bag into a hot cup of water, it only makes sense to enjoy the slower process of it. The art of slow living… as some may call it.  Song Tea SF Tea shop San Francisco Tea ShopOn the table Song Tea interiors Tea Lifestyle Lifestyle PhotographyIf you fancy doing a tea tasting or want to get some good tea in SF, head on over to Lower Pacific Heights and visit Song Tea & Ceramics at 2120 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.

11 Howard

Over the weekend we flew to New York on a spontaneous trip for my birthday.  My love wanted me to choose a hotel, and we ended up staying at this nice boutique hotel that’s tied up with SPG.  11 Howard is situated right in the heart of Soho, just a stone’s throw from Manhattan’s Chinatown and Little Italy, as well as some other less touristy streets where good food can be found.

The moment we entered, I knew we made a good choice to try a different kind of hotel.  The doormen were wearing white Chinese collared shirts with dark cropped pants and dark loafers.  Not only that, some of them had hairstyles that looked like it came out of a stylish men’s magazine, and one or two could even pass as male models.  But aside from the people, the overall aesthetics was just a good change from the typical hotel.  There were no reception tables where a person stands behind the counter, just a round table in the middle of the lobby where there were two tablets to facilitate check in.  Similarly, you could find a tablet in your room that lets you request any service you might need to make your stay more comfortable.

When we entered the room, we were greeted with some welcome drinks, as well as a nice pack of gummy bears and chocolates.  And shortly after plopping onto the bed, a knock came from one of the crew with a cake and a handwritten note from the team.  All throughout our stay, the staff were always welcoming and helpful every time we passed through the building.  It’s these little details that make you feel you’re treated well, just how you’d like to be treated when you’re on vacation.
minimalist library Boutique hotel 11 Howard Hotel

By the way, this is not a paid ad, just sharing my unbiased customer experience from this hotel. 🙂

Location: 11 Howard St, New York, NY 10013

Blogger Spotlight on Sidechef

My dear friends at Sidechef recently asked me if I wanted to do a weekend takeover of their instagram account and of course I said yes!  In case you’ve still not heard of it, Sidechef is an awesome foodie app which teaches you how to cook step-by-step, with instructional videos and even an online shop so you can make a delicious meal with ease.  You can download it on the app store or in google play for androids.

Aside from taking over their instagram over the weekend, they did a short interview with me which they featured on their blog, which you can read here.  We talked a bit about my childhood, how I got into food photography, and… what superpower I’d want if I were a superheroine (or maybe even villain, muhahaha).
food photodream kitchen

My dream kitchen courtesy of Pinterest

Exploring San Diego

For the past two weeks we’ve been staying on the southernmost part of California, San Diego.  Unfortunately, we found out from locals that May and June have been known to have unpleasant weather names – May Gray and June Gloom, because of the gloomy weather for both months.  (Something to do with the clouds forming over cool water of California and then spreading overnight onto the coasts). In the mornings, I usually like to wake up early and see the sun rise, but unfortunately there will be no sunrise appearing on the horizon while we’re here.  The good thing about it though, is that we get cooler temperatures rather than toasting under the sun.

Thanks to a friend of mine who insists that this is one of her favorite cities to live in, her enthusiasm for the town helped me feel good about the place too. The parks you’ll see below are popular places around San Diego, namely: the Cabrillo National Park, Torrey Pines, and Balboa Park.
San DiegoLiberty Public Market SDSheraton SDCabrillo National ParkCabrillo Lighthouse San DiegoCabrillo LighthouseSan Diego photographyCliffCaliforniaSan Diego CabrilloFood photographySheraton MarinaSheraton San DiegoSan Diego HarborTorrey PinesBroken Hill TrailDesert PhotographyTorrey Pines SDBroken Hill Torrey PinesNature PhotographyBeach sideTravel landscapesRocky MountainsDesert FlowersBalboa ParkSpanish VillasBalboa Park huge treeNatural decayCactusDry FlowersJapanese GardenKoi FishSpanish Style ArchitectureBeautiful light