[NEW YORK] EAT. SHOP. REPEAT

“I love New York. You can pop out of the Underworld in Central Park, hail a taxi, head down Fifth Avenue with a giant hellhound loping behind you, and nobody even looks at you funny.”
Rick Riordan

Eat, shop, dream, repeat! was all we did in New York during the winter. In early February, 0°C felt like much less, thanks to bone-chilling winds and an insufficient wardrobe. We had 3 days to spend right smack in the city, where you could literally shop all day and stay up at Times Square without realising it’s already midnight, and not even subzero temperatures could deter them creatures of the night.

Rick Riordan’s quote rang true when I realised literally anybody could dress up in anything and sell their crafts/ideas on Times Square. I forgot how many Big Birds, Cookie Monsters, Madagascar Penguins, Mickey Mouses and Eeyores I’ve seen accosting strangers in the streets, handing out pamphlets or just attempting to sell you something. Nobody found it weird and the reverse is true. The ones wearing them don’t feel judged at all.

Checking into The Paramount Hotel at Times Square felt like entering a club – dim lights, velvet couches, a DJ spinning on the console and bar drinks in the corner.

Straight off our flight, we headed for Koreatown in search of piping hot and spicy Korean food! Decided on New Wonjo because it looked spanking clean and boasts a really strong heater (we felt the emanating warmth just by walking past). Not once during our entire meal did we regret our choice. We had an amazing meal: Bean paste stew (된장찌개), Spicy Tofu Stew (순두부찌개), Short Rib Soup (갈비탕), Beef Glass Noodles (잡채), Rice Cakes (떡볶이), and Seafood Pancake (해물파전 ). Daresay this was one of the best Korean restaurants I’ve been to outside of Seoul.
    

During the trip I had one of the best Thai dishes in NYC too! New York’s melting pot of culture gives rise to an international array of good cuisines within the city centre. Yay me, who’s not a big fan of fast food. This was Thai green curry chicken from Pongsri Thai, a hip diner tucked between Broadway & 8th Ave, bringing you awesome Thai food since 1972.

The sweet-tooth in me jumped for joy at MAGNOLIA BAKERY, NYC’s very own vintage cupcakes store! This is one patisserie that I would seriously cry with happiness if it ever makes its way to Singapore…and guess what!! I just read this on their webpage:
In addition to our current locations, Magnolia Bakery is continuing to franchise internationally and will soon open in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

OH LORD I’LL SHED REAL TEARS OF JOY. Let me show you why:

Day One: Red Velvet Cupcake and Banana Pudding.
I’ve always been a huge fan of red velvet, but this is a whole new level of velvety goodness. It was so soft and creamy, that there was nothing cake-y about it at all. Just melt-in-your-mouth smooth satiny velvet, made red with cocoa, vanilla and “a little southern mystery”, topped with  special whipped vanilla icing and chocolate chips.
  

I’ve never eaten a banana pudding, and my first was pure orgasmic. I totally get why this is Sex-and-The-City-approved! Layers and layers of banana and melted vanilla wafers in a cup blended in rich vanilla mousse… this is helluva showstopper. Omg, so good I swear!

Banana-pudding-and-kindle kinda night

Day Two: Lemon Cheesecake and Magic Cookie Bars
Lemon cheesecake was my breakfast, and it was so totally amazing, I wanted to trudge back to the store in freezing winter just to get another. I love how moist their cupcakes are in the grand scheme of how cupcakes tend to be, and it’s sweet without being sinfully so (or at least they don’t taste sinfully sweet like a pure bar of sugar)
Curious about Magic Cookie Bars and just how magic they were, I tried one, and went to cookie heaven. Still wasn’t sure what was in them until I went over to their page:”Graham cracker crust with chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut topped with sweetened condensed milk then baked.  

Enough talk about food, moving on to the shopping part of my whirlwind stay. For me shopping is the main activity in the States. Without driving to outlet stores, NYC has a convenient selection around our hotel and down the streets. Big names are all listed on city maps designed with easy-to-navigate grids. Sephora awarded me their VI(B) thanks to my patronage every time I’m in the States.

We went into the Lego Store! – always such an innocently happy place. Larger than life-sized figurines such as the Statue of Liberty and Lego Movie characters were made of lego blocks only. I applaud the makers’ patience and their eye for details. This was where we took most of our shameless selfies that must have prompted many to judge us overenthusiastic Asian girls.

In the day, Times Square is incredibly, vividly lit. In the night, it’s not so different. Shopping from late evening on, I didn’t even notice that daylight was gone because the billboards were so intensely bright that they lit up almost the entire sky if you were to stand right in the middle of the streets. I’m reminded again of why NYC is the City that Truly Never Sleeps.

When it was time to go, I was just incredibly sad ): But knowing that I’ll be back someday makes me incredibly excited to explore new parts of the state and venture beyond the city centre!

Of course my bag suffered the brunt of my shopping.

 

Till next time,

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo4.PONT DES ARTS LOVELOCK BRIDGE

“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there,
not even poverty, nor sudden money,
nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong
nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition

So we found two very different bridges padded with lovelocks of all shapes and sizes – symbols of timeless promises and devotion to one’s significant other-halves. The first one, Vedettes du Pont Neuf, was tucked away in a corner along La Seine (so if you walked down Notre-Dame to the Louvre you’ll see it on your right-hand side). Unlike the more popular lovelock bridge at Pont des Arts, this one hasn’t collapsed.

pont neuf P1060938

Who could resist not taking selfies in Paris? Couples wishing to locate a spot for their locks will find a better chance at this place, and the view of La Seine is equally if not more breathtaking (sans the human congestion and men touting tourists to pay for souvenirs or a well-taken photograph).

paris blogger

Oh what a face only a célibataire on a bridge of love would make.

P1060943 P1060947 P1060948 P1060949

Onwards to the legitimate lovelock bridge – the Pont des Arts overlooking Pont Neuf at the Louvre Museum! The sheer number of locks amazed me, it’s really no wonder parts of the bridge have collapsed from the weight. Each day hundreds of new locks are added to the walls along the bridge, and seldom have any been unlocked or removed until the recent collapse. Many locks date back to the ’90s! Lovelock bridges are always a sight to behold – the greater significance of the locks far outweighs its physical presence on the bridge. So much hope for the future goes into each, of which the keys are deliberately lost. There’s no question why Pont des Arts remains an important icon in the City of Love.

lovelock bridge P1060953 P1060954 lovelock paris love lock bridge P1060965 P1060976

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o10.Lamai Beach Samui

Samui Asian Girls Beach

Ever taken a day from work to stroll all morning along the calmest beach on Koh Samui? I love how my traveling job makes it all easy to find myself on an entirely different city from day to day. Yet it makes me appreciative of nature’s beauty on a minuscule scale. I’m all excitement and “let’s take more pictures!”, even when all that’s truly picture-worthy are a row of colourful beach houses, or teeny-tiny pretty sea shell on the beach. Hell, if you’re not noticing these little things, you’re missing out on a whole lot in life.

Lamai Beach Samui

Lamai Beach Samui

Lamai Beach Samui

Lamai Beach Samui

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] oo7.Black Moon Party

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

This is Koh Samui’s very own Black Moon Party at Chaweng Stadium on a Friday Night. Thailand’s offshore islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are best known for their Full Moon, Half-Moon and Black Moon parties. Us party-goers were a good mix of Caucasians, Chinese and Japanese tourists, as well as the local Thais, filling the stadium for just 200Baht per entry. Thai artists were offering to decorate our body parts in neon body paint for a 100Baht but we managed to get ours for free! Also enjoyed the awesome spinning by the island DJs and the crazy neon party lights in the house.

Black Moon Party Koh Samui Girls

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Thailand

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui Drinks

Black Moon Party Koh Samui Girls

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Chaweng Stadium Koh Phangan Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Black Moon Party Koh Samui

Full Moon Party Samui

Party Samui

Dark Moon Party Thailand

Island Thailand Full Moon Party

DSCN4550

Full Moon Party Samui Thailand Girls

Full Moon Party Samui Thailand Girls

Full Moon Party Samui Thailand Girls

Full Moon Party Samui Thailand Girls

We’re gonna make it for the Full Moon Party for our next trip, definitely! Partying’s always fun and safe when you’re with the right mix.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Soi Reggae, Chaweng Beach,
Chaweng, Koh Samui, Thailand