The curse of jet lag

laelene Post in general blog
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I’ve learned a lesson to not plan international trips so tight. Ever since returning from Hong Kong Sunday morning, I have been tired, sleepless, and borderline unwell. I either fall asleep right after dinner or I can’t get to sleep all night. I’ve been waking up around 4-5 in the morning, then struggling to sleep again. I went back to work Monday, with no other recovery time or buffer to help adjust back to Eastern time.

It’s been tough. My appetite has been limited and anything too heavy or creamy doesn’t sound appealing at all. I wake up in the middle of the night starving and I nearly went crazy from the intense burning of indigestion Thursday morning. It was the first time in my life I took Tums. All I want now is light, soothing broths and noodles.

My poor body has been beat up by my inability to readjust and I get migraines constantly. I really should have allowed an extra day or two where I could sleep in and try to return to a more normal sleep pattern. Thank goodness it’s the weekend now! All I want to do is sleep and eat.

Homegrown Collective olive oil & vinegar infusion project

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I’ve been meaning to share the infusions I did from the May Homegrown GREENBOX, so here they are! This was a simple project that wasn’t super messy and didn’t require too many components – mostly just time. I chose to do the cold infusion method since it’s easy to let things just sit. I didn’t read their instructions online, so I missed the memo on the apple vinegar at the end, but I still like my results!

olive oil and balsamic vinegar infusion project ingredients

First, I laid out all the ingredients.

balsamic vinegar infusion project ingredients

I decided to infuse the vinegar with the japones peppers and rosemary.

balsamic vinegar infusion in jar with japones peppers and rosemary

I hope I put enough in there!

olive oil infusion project ingredients

I chose the lemon peel and basil leaves for the olive oil.

olive oil infusion in jar with lemon peel and basil leaf

Everything floating happily.

olive oil and balsamic vinegar infusing in jars by window

Infusing time! I let it sit for over three weeks.

infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar with extra flavor in jars

All ready and in their brand new jars. :)

The olive oil flavor is more subtle and doesn’t appear too much different, especially when I’m using it as part of cooking. The balsamic vinegar was definitely stronger due to the peppers! Overall I’m happy with the level of infusion for the vinegar and I’d do a second round of infusion for the oil next time to get a stronger flavor since the ones I chose were milder to begin with. This was a nice project and I’ve been using these as my go-to items when I need these ingredients for cooking.

Quickie in Korea

laelene Post in lifestyle glimpses
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On our way back from Hong Kong, we had a long layover in South Korea so we decided to take a quick trip to Seoul. No point in staying cooped up in the airport, right? We weren’t prepared for the cooler weather up there, so we didn’t stay out long. Just a quick walk from Seoul Station for a few blocks and a failed attempt to buy street food before returning to Seoul Station for breakfast. (When I tried to ask about the street food, the guy didn’t know English and eventually told me “no” and gestured for me to go elsewhere.)

reading glasses at incheon airport

Upon arrival, they even had reading glasses to help folks fill out customs forms.

view of sunrise from arex airport express connecting incheon airport to seoul station

AREX takes you straight from the airport to Seoul. As we headed out, the sun began to come out.

map of seoul station and surrounding area

Taking pictures of maps helped us get around.

sungnyemun gate

Sungnyemun gate wasn’t open yet (at 8 – another hour to go).

sungnyemun gate and surrounding area with large buildings in background

History among the growing modern surrounds.

namdaemun market with flags strung overhead

Entering into Namdaemun Market. The city was just waking up.

korean shoe stall at namdaemun market

No time to shop!

bottles of ginseng wine in korean stall

Fancy ginseng stuff. I didn’t realize it was wine until just now.

storage closet in underground walkway with supply of gas masks and other relief supply goods

Get your gas masks here.

plastic columns of red and green baskets outside of seoul station

Columns made of plastic baskets, outside of Seoul Station.

soap on a stick in korean bathroom

I thought I had to squeeze the blue thing to dispense soap. Turns out it WAS the soap.

korean tofu soup and sides for breakfast at seoul station

Tofu soup breakfast! Exhaustion made it hard to eat much.

button on restaurant door to open them

Buttons to enter!

buying arex tickets from seoul station back to incheon airport

We were in Seoul for less than 2 hours before we headed back to the airport.

money tray for collecting tickets and money

At first I didn’t know what those trays were for. Turns out that’s how you complete transactions, instead of handing money and tickets directly.

view from arex airport express train from seoul station to incheon airport

I could barely stay awake on the ride, but managed to snap this as I noticed water.

lounge room in incheon airport near arex airport express

Back at the airport, we explored its many amenities. By this point I managed to lose my wristlet – didn’t realize it until hours later!

airbus a320 double decker plane at gate

Our Airbus A320 from Seoul to LA. We got to sit on the second floor!

hallway in tom bradley international termina with colorful bands

Whoa, Tom Bradley looks quite different.

It was a whirlwind trip to Korea for the first time, but I’m sure we’ll be back for a proper visit. I learned that I have trouble telling the difference between Korean and Japanese. They both seem to have a lot of syllables and softer sounds. I’ll know next time to bring some key phrases with me so I can interact with the locals more. And I should definitely visit in the summer months or I might not want to go outside!

Hong Kong McCafe review

laelene Post in lifestyle glimpses, reviews
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Whoa, time flies when you’re out all day walking and exploring. Here’s a quick post about an interesting discovery abroad!

dessert case at mcdonald's mccafe in hong kong with cake slices, macarons, and drinks

Did I really just see macarons in the McDonald’s?

boxed set of mcdonald's macarons in five flavors: raspberry, chocolate, passionfruit, coffee, and mango

We got a mixed set to try.

slice of mcdonald's earl grey cake and chocolate macaron

I got the Earl Grey cake and a chocolate macaron to myself.

The cake was light and sweet with that tea undertone. There was a bit more frosting than I would have liked, so I left some on the fork. The macaron was totally different from what I expected. Most macarons I’ve had are light and crunchy but this was chewy. I actually liked that texture a lot! It reminded me of other snacks I enjoy that are soft, moist, and chewy. I plan on getting more before I leave.

Pepper Lunch HK review

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We got a chance to eat at a Pepper Lunch in a food court on our trip since I’d been wanting it for ages. The only one in the US is in NorCal and I haven’t been for at least a year or two. This one didn’t offer the selection that I’m used to from the US and Singapore ones, but I enjoyed the strong cracked pepper flavor and corn. I added an egg this time too!

pepper lunch sizzling plate with beef, rice, corn, and egg emptry pepper lunch skillet with spoon after meal has been eaten

Homegrown Collective September 2014 review

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I’m super sad I missed out on the August Homegrown Collective box. Mitchell of Homegrown kindly reached out to me when my annual subscription was about to end and offered me a discount. I was waiting for a new credit card I wanted to use to renew my subscription and I guess the payment didn’t make it in in time for last month’s box. I’m happy to be getting boxes again though!

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of melt & pour homegrown collective box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective september 2014 box with melt & pour theme

Project #1, charcoal & cedarwood soap: I’m a huge sucker for soaps of all types and I can’t wait to make these! This charcoal one will be particularly useful for me since I’ve recently gone through yet another round of annoyingly large and painful breakouts. I just can’t seem to keep my acne at bay. This soap will be great at helping to calm down all that craziness. Before I knew what the little jar of black charcoal was, I thought it was just an empty jar painted black on the inside. I opened it to look inside and nearly spilled the powder everywhere! Whoops.

the homegrown collective september 2014 project charcoal & cedarwood soap info card the homegrown collective september 2014 products for charcoal & cedarwood soap

Project #2, dead sea salt & lavender soap: This will be a more standard soap and I just love that I’ll get to mix in those dried lavender flowers. That’s going to be fun to use! I think I’ll probably cut the luffa in half and use one piece for this soap so I can get some exfoliation from it too. What fun! I love lathering up in the shower and this soap will certainly make it enjoyable.

the homegrown collective september 2014 project dead sea salt & lavender soap info card the homegrown collective september 2014 products for dead sea salt & lavender soap

Project #3, oatmeal, luffa & tuberose soap: Another great soothing soap that will be good for my skin. I really enjoyed my oatmeal soap from a brand I discovered at Green Festival DC 2012. I hope this soap foams as well as that one did! I’ll be using the other half of the luffa in this soap. I’m also really happy to have a grater, so now I can use it for future kitchen needs if they arise. As always, I love the tools that come with these projects.

the homegrown collective september 2014 project oatmeal, luffa, & tuberose soap info card the homegrown collective september 2014 products for oatmeal, luffa, & tuberose soap

I have a ton of soaps I’m working through but I always want more. These are totally going to have a cool factor because I get to make them myself! I had been meaning to get a soap-making kit and try it out sometime, so this will be a great start. There’s pride in being able to make something!

the homegrown collective september 2014 melt & pour info card

Honestly, you should be getting the Homegrown Collective for yourself, pronto. I’ve been with them a year and I still can’t get enough of the cool home projects they’ve sent to help me live a greener life.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Chalkfest

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Gosh, I meant to share this a month ago right after Chalkfest occurred in Reston, but somehow the time just flew by! There are always a ton of activities happening in the town center and this was one that my company, Canvas, decided to participate in. They got a space for our graphic designer to to add her contribution to the event. Check out what she drew starting the day before the event and a bunch of other chalk art from that day:

chalkfest reston space on ground for professional artist drawing

This is the space for Canvas, right as things were getting started.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of colorful owl in progress

A few hours later, I took a break from work to check in on things. Making good progress!

aerial view of chalkf art drawing of owl for chalkfest reston

As my colleagues were leaving work for the day, they stopped to admire the drawing.

Here are some of the entries from people of all ages and artistic abilities… what’s your fav?

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of woman's portrait chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of festive cultural people and halloween items chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of woman in dress and hat chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of star wars characters

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of dolphins and maze

On the right, the maze was drawn by a 42 (or was it 47?) year old man, which was amusing.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of green and red snake or dragon

Someone went rogue and drew in the pathway, just to make their mark.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of silhouette of girl blowing dandelion chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of alice in wonderland scene

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of rainforest animals

This was one of the professional artist entries. I believe it won first place!

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of colorful owl with canvas logo

Woo hoo! The Canvas owl got third!!

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of cat holding light saber riding unicorn over rainbow chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of landscape picture on artist's chair of landscape drawn for chalkfest reston chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of flower design with candle in middle

high score of 8058 in game of threes on ipad

We wandered into the Apple Store for a break and discovered the game of Threes. I’d say we did pretty well.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of octopus holding astronaut bear chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of host rcc

lady walking around reston town center with snake at chalkfest reston

There was a random lady walking around with her snake, which attracted a fair share of folks.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of silhouettes of buildings in dc

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of starry night trampled over rudely by inconsiderate people

It was so sad to see people had trampled all over this and messed it all up! #rude

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of crunch fitness logo

Fabletics Seychelles Outfit (Cayman Top + Rocha Legging) review

laelene Post in reviews, subscription boxes,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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I’ve been experimenting with sheer, so when I saw this Seychelles outfit, I had to try it out. With both the top and bottom incorporating a bit of sheerness, it’s definitely more risque than I’m normally comfortable with. The leggings are just so different I love it!

Fabletics is just under $50 per outfit credit and comes with a 2- or 3-piece set of athletic wear. Each month, three outfits are selected for you to choose from at the 1 outfit credit price point. You can always get other outfits at their VIP pricing of $50-80 (2- and 3- pieces available) or buy any individual item separately. Outfits are sent monthly unless you choose to skip (which is very easy to do). They offer a referral program that earns you money towards free outfits.

Get your first outfit for half off with my referral link! All fitted Fabletics items are chafe-resistant and feature four-way stretch for comfort and movement.

collage of front, back, and zip pocket of fabletics cayman top in white

Cayman Top in White

As always, I love the comfort of their designs. This top is super fun and definitely allows for wearing a showy sports bra underneath. When I’m at home, this is a great one to lounge in that offers a little more warmth than a tank top. I like how there’s a little zipper pocket to stick your keys in. The sheer back works nicely to show a bit of skin without totally exposing the back. Love it! Retail value for this is listed as $29.95.

collage of front, back, and hidden pocket of fabletics rocha leggings in black

Rocha Legging in Black

Such a unique design with the use of mesh here. I enjoy the look and feel of these. It’s kind of my little secret, but then people might get a glimpse and wonder if they just saw that right. I do feel like these fit a bit tighter since it’s less elastic all around. They’re almost like compression pants. Totally cute and great to wear out to be different without screaming different. The listed retail value for this is $49.95.

This outfit is another hit with me and I’ve enjoyed wearing both articles multiple times now. This whole sheer thing is still something I’m new to, but I’ve been liking it so far. Try out an outfit for yourself! Sign up for Fabletics to get your first outfit for just $25.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this outfit and wanted to share what I got!]

Escape Monthly September: Puerto Rico Box review

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Time to go to a warm climate full of festiveness. This time around, the box got updated with a new look inside and out. They’re also changing how they’re awarding the monthly prize to a subscriber (before it was a random ticket in the box and now it’s based on votes on FB or something).

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city. Each box comes with a Moon Handbooks guide for that region. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a lovely recurring referral commission program.

new exterior design of escape monthly box inner lid of escape monthly box with new design and messaging escape monthly september puerto rico box products showing escape monthly september puerto rico box info card escape monthly september puerto rico box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Nothing in the box was amazing, but I feel like I got a good sense of Puerto Rico from the selections. There are a lot of cute things!

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to San Juan, Vieques, & Culebra – Everything about Puerto Rico is new to me, so this will definitely be my go-to whenever a trip to that area is on my radar. I don’t even know these city names and I haven’t a clue what to do or see in this country.

Coqui pin – This is a cute little frog that isn’t useful for much, but symbolizes the region and love. I’d totally love to see them hopping around in front of me and I’m curious if they’d lull me to sleep at night the way crickets do.

El Isleno Plantain Chips – I was never much of a plantain person, so I’m hesitant to try these. I think they’ll be fine, but nothing that would make me want more. I do appreciate the look at a local snack and I’m sure plantains are far more popular there than they are with me.

Yaucono Cafe Puro Puerto Rican coffee – As a non-coffee drinker, I have kindly donated this to Panda’s pile of coffee to drink someday. I’m thinking I might want to just take it to work for someone else to enjoy.

Dulzura Borincana’s Coconut Pineapple candy – These were not at all the color or texture I expected. I thought they’d be white rather than yellow like the pineapple part of the flavoring. I also expected more of a hard candy, but these are like coconut shavings put into a little chewy bar. I didn’t really taste the pineapple. It’s an okay candy, but not something I’d reach for.

Mi Madre Natural hot sauce – I’m a bit nervous about this. I’m a lot better with spicy stuff, but I can’t bring myself to try this yet. I think I need to make a sandwich and drizzle some on so the bread can help absorb some of the heat.

Caribbean Vela Coconut scented candle – This is a fabulous candle that burned really easily. I like how it became clear when melted. I burned through the whole thing in just a few days of enjoyment. The jar is nice and I’ll keep it to put other things in. I’d totally love to have more of these.

Puerto Rican souvenir mini hat  – I’m pretty sure one of my coworkers has this exact type of little hat! It’s cute and I tried to put it on Smokey (she was not amused). After that I guess it’ll go up on a shelf.

This was a very food-centric box. I liked being introduced to some flavors I’m not as used to, but I would have loved to see something I can use for my body, whether lotion, shampoo, scrub, or otherwise What do you want from this Puerto Rico Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): RICOESCAPE, CARIBBEAN, or LONDON for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

In October we’re off to London!!! I love Britain and I can’t wait to see what will be brought from there. I sure hope to feel like I’m back there visiting.

escape monthly september puerto rico box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of london

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

The most adorable bowls

laelene Post in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Since I’ve been volunteering at the Natural History Museum consistently, I decided to check out some of the nearby places that I’ve been meaning to try. A few months ago, I went to get boba at Teaism. Since then, I’ve eaten there, gotten more tea, and shopped around in their store next door. That Teaism Shop is my new weakness. I’ve bought fancy chocolates there and now, these freakin’ adorable bowls. If I keep going, I’m sure I’ll end up with a variety of teas and accessories as well. I love the size of these, which encourage smaller portions. Plus, the little animals are impossibly cute. I’ll definitely be making these my primary bowls of choice from now on.

set of three mini bowls with a pink bunny, yellow monkey, and blue pig designs small bowl with cartoon monkey design inside small yellow bowl with cartoon monkey design on side small yellow bowl with back of cartoon monkey outline on side small bowl with cartoon pig design inside small blue bowl with cartoon pig design on side small blue bowl with back of cartoon pig outline on side small bowl with cartoon bunny design inside small pink bowl with cartoon bunny design on side small pink bowl with back of cartoon bunny outline on side

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