BUMPIE

When I discovered the BabyPics app, I completely got really excited about capturing my growing belly bump! It’s a great and easy photo-journaling tool to document your growing baby belly “bumpies” week after week. I’ve started when I was in week 16 and probably around week 28 is when you can start seeing some major belly growth!






He’s here!!! He’s finally here!!! Welcome Avery Grayson Reyes

WHAT ARE YOU HAVING, LUV?

Proper English Breakfast @ Café Concerto
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Bacon, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried toast with butter, sausages, and baked beans. Yummy in my tummy!

Kotteri Hakata Tonkotsu @ Shoryu Ramen
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Insanely delicious and super filling.The dish was fantastic, though a bit salty, but definitely not overpowering. The pork, broth, noodles, eggs, everything was cooked to perfection.

Fish & Chips @ Taylor Walker
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Stumbling into Taylor Walker fulfilled 2 things on my agenda. First was to experience an authentic British pub with a good selection of beers and secondly to try a plate of traditional fish and chips! Success!!!

Macaroons @ Laduree
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The macaroon flavors are endless- my favorite is the pistachio!

Chicken Tikka Masala @ Punjab Indian
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A friend recommended that it’s a MUST to try Indian food while in London. I have to admit, I was beyond confused when he suggested this. I did not realize that England’s Indian food was so highly regarded! So thanks to Yelp, we came across Punjab for dinner and had not only a great experience but some phenomenal Indian food. We started out with garlic naan and for our main course we shared chicken tikka masala and the butter chicken. All the dishes had their own unique flavor, spice, and aroma and all were very satisfying!

Terrarium Matcha Tiramisu @ Oliver Maki
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This Tiramisu “pot” is filled with green Matcha cream to create the “moss” covering and chocolate chunks to make the “rocks”. So whatever you do, don’t water this terrarium – unless you want to ruin a totally delectable dessert. We also ordered the Coconut Surprise which is a perfect harmony of coconut sorbet and passionfruit “surprise” with an almond flake wafer!

Beef Pho @ The Little Viet Kitchen
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Thanks to my friend Patti – I have found the most wonderful Vietnamese restaurant! Hidden away in Islington, a tiny chef called Thuy cooks up the most delicious soups, noodles, pho and nibbles, in a tiny kitchen. So excited when I bump into her during the Chapel Street Market. We started with the Viet fried spring rolls which were divine! For our main entree we ordered the Belly Pork w/rice&egg which was sooooo delish! And a bowl of the famous pho, with beef and bone marrow in the middle. Hot, steaming broth, succulent slices of beef, fresh greens and oodles of noodles. Truly, truly glorious on a chilly afternoon in London!

TAKING A BITE OUT OF THE BIG APPLE

I have been back from NYC for a couple of days now and I’ve got to say, as much as the city was a ton of fun, I’m happy to be home. My tummy is happy to be home too – I think I stuffed it past the point of reason!

SHAKE SHACK
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A Shake Shack burger, the first time I had one, is indescribable. So I went back for more! The char on the patty, the squish of the yellow Martin’s potato roll, the addictiveness of the Shack Sauce. It was amaze-balls!!! Plus, the crinkle cut fries got me every time. I love a good crinkle cut!

CAFE ORLIN
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The cafe ambience is great. Located in the Lower East Side. My friend & I were seated right away and we shared the buttermilk pancake topped w/ berry compote & blueberries! The food & coffee is amazing! Love love love.

MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR
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Remember how I said ramen is a thing now? It is. And Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City is doing it very well. Noodles and good vibes. This is what makes me happy. Little eats like this just make my heart sing. Left feeling happy, stuffed and wanting to come back. Definitely recommend.

OBAO
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Great Vietnamese and Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. Over 4,000 gold Thai temple bells line the ceiling above you while a warm glow hits your cheeks that may or may not come from the huge industrial whisks fitted with light bulbs. The only way to cool off is with one of their delicious craft cocktails – with names like “Bruiseberry Mojito” and “Ladyboy Dacquiri” – you’ll be sure to wanting more.

HALAL FOOD TRUCK
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Manhattan is home to many smells, but perhaps the most delicious is the chicken-y, savory scent that emanates from the city’s countless halal carts. I order the Chicken Over Rice topped w/ salad of iceberg and tomatoes, and that mysterious sweet-sour-tangy white sauce that just has to be ladled all over the chicken and rice for true street-style authenticity! OMG it was bomb dot com!!! Your NY trip is incomplete unless you visit one of these food trucks! They are the best, simply the best!

SPOT DESSERT BAR
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I had heard about this dessert place from a friend of mine who absolutely loved this place, so when I had the chance I decided to go and give it a try. Spot is a cute little dessert spot in the basement of one of the myriad of eateries lining St. Marks. Don’t be surprised if a dessert called “Harvest” arrives in earthenware pot, freshly potted with cocoa cookie crumble “soil”, topped with a fresh sprig of mint. The layers of shortcake and fresh fruit that lie within go perfectly with the raspberry sorbet and crème anglaise sauce that it is plated with. The Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake literally BLEW. MY. MIND!!! Hands down one of the best dessert places I have gone to. Who thinks of incorporating green tea into molten chocolate? Welcome to heaven!

BIBBLE & SIP
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1 word…yum!

Until next time NYC!

A NEW YORK LOVE AFFAIR

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Coming from the Northwest, I know that I have arrived in New York City when the first sights I see are the electrifying glow of Times Square and the hustle and bustle of endless yellow taxi cabs. Usually when I travel to New York, I know I’m going to splurge in a big way. But for me, splurging at certain times in life is about buying experiences. And in that vein, New York City is a perfect place to give myself permission to do just that. It is a city that represents the best in fine dining, the arts, and fashion — the things that make New York one of ( if not the) most interesting cities in the world.

Staying at The Palace Hotel
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The hotel was beautiful! Its historic nature really added to the ambiance. The view of the cathedral from our room was spectacular, and it was conveniently located for walking to many places. Not too mention, it is home to the Van der Woodson’s and affectionately known as Serena’s lair – the New York Palace Hotel is an icon in the Gossip Girl series.

Dining at Buddakan
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Wow. Definitely my favorite restaurant in New York. Love the flavors of Buddakan! Truly unique Asian food done to perfection. From the entrance, you wouldn’t think that the place was so large, but I was very impressed when we were taken to our table, walking down the grand staircase and into the most beautiful restaurant spaces I’ve seen – which served as the site of Carrie and Big’s engagement party on the movie Sex and the City.

Watching a off-Broadway Play : Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man
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Celebrating Angela’s bachelorette, with 10 girl-friends in arm (and after walking up the four flights of stairs because the elevator wasn’t working – though props for the show putting up fun signs along the way), we picked up our tickets at will call, got a ‘sexy’ goody-bag, order champagne, and got seated in the front row!

The show was great! An attractive cast, a funny script, and great audience involvement. I won’t say too much to spoil the play for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but it is hilarious! No, you probably won’t learn anything too shocking or new, but it’s a great play for a night out with friends!

Ice-skating The Rink at Rockefeller Center
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This was the biggest highlight of my trip!!! Yes, it’s a little cheesy. Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s not something you get to do every day! Sure it’s small and crowded but, it’s the spirit of Rockefeller Center, the rich history of NYC, that makes people like myself strap on some skates, shuffle around for a moment trying to find my balance, before getting into the zone. The music was pumping – everything from hip-hop/top 40s to house. I absolutely loved it!!!

RAMEN GIRL

Growing up, my parents introduced ramen to me at an early age…that instant ramen crap. Specifically the red ichiban –probably my first meal I ever learned to cook. As a kid, I didn’t know there was a better version of this until I grew up and moved to Seattle. Talk about life changing experience! Up until a few years ago, ramen joints have been opening up everywhere!! Hallelujah!!! Being in the Seattle area, a few of these ramen places started poppin up, and I just have to hit them up!!!

Yoroshiku is a small Japanese restaurant with a fairly cozy ambiance and an appealing interior design.
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My meal consisted of zangi, Yoroshiku’s version of Japanese fried chicken strips we normally recognize as chicken karaage. The thin batter coating fried in a light oil was delightfully tasty with the chili sauce. I followed that up with Shoyu Ramen and added a soft-boiled egg to mix in with the bamboo shoots, green onions, bean sprouts and the one slice of pork included in my ramen. I also ordered the cha shu donburi which was just okay. The ramen is where it’s at! The soup was flavorful and true to its description — chicken and fish broth seasoned with soy sauce!

Be forewarn: This place is so hidden! The sign didn’t actually say “Yoroshiku”, it was actually labeled “4649”! Just as heads up when you’re looking for the place.

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya is true to the Japanese theme where they loudly greet you as you enter and leave. Location is very easy to find, it’s in a shopping complex on Main street so plenty of parking is provided.
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This is one of my favorite places to get ramen! I ordered the Garlic Tonkatsu Shoyu and was very very satisfied. The broth is very strong and delicious and everything was cooked to perfection – even the egg! Mmmmmmm especially the egg, that thing was boiled perfectly. It tasted heavenly!! You could really taste the pork bones infused in the soup. I seriously love how the fatty pork appears to have been marinated and melts in your mouth with every bite. You MUST order the geso karaage (fried squid) it is too die for!!!

Jinya’s Ramen Bar interior design is simple with a huge community table in the middle. It is located at Crossroad Plaza, across from Sports Authority
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I had a combination meal: which includes a ramen, salad with a sort of miso flavor dressing, and chicken karaage which was amazing. For the ramen: I ordered the Premium Tonkotsu White. The pork and chicken broth was rich and flavorful, the thin noodles was a great texture of soft and chewy, and the pork chashu was more on the fatty side but still tender and delicious! As for the seasoned egg, it was PERFECT! You MUST order the brussel sprouts tempura with truffle essence and wash it all down with a nice cold glass of Sapparo!

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is a great small restaurant located in the heart of downtown Bellevue.
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As usual, I started off with the chicken karaage. This was pretty appetizing due to the large pieces being succulent and well-brined. For my bowl of ramen, I went for the Tonkatsu Shoyu ramen, annnnnd it was delicious. Dunking the fatty pork cheek slices in the hot broth yielded melt-in-my-mouth goodness. It wasn’t only about the texture as the flavour of the pork fat really came through. Firm and chewy, the noodles held up to the hot broth and completed the trifecta of yumminess. I usually never finish my ramen, since I tend to order a couple side dishes, so it’s nice that you can choose a small bowl for $1 less or a large bowl for $1 more. I found myself adding chili powder to give a little kick to the broth.

TO INFINITY & BEYOND

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When I found out I was coming to Singapore, I remembered coming across a magazine article of the most incredible pool in the world. Suspended from 3 towers. An infinity pool unlike any other. A pool of my wildest dreams. This pool is the SkyPark at the top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, the jewel of the city. Ever since I first laid eyes on that photo, it has been on my bucket list to swim&relax in the famously high pool overlooking the city.
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The Marina Bay Sands boasted the most innovative and modern design I had ever seen in a hotel. It contains three tower blocks and a ‘ship’ anchored across the top. At 57-storey’s high, you are pretty much guaranteed to get a room with a view. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property in the world!
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We stayed in a Premier Sea Room for around $350 a night, and for the money we paid, we honestly felt that the rooms were quite ordinary. However, what made the Marina Bay Sands worth the money was the view from our balcony overlooking the beautiful Gardens by the Bay.
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Right after settling into the room I threw on my swimsuit, grab a robe, and walk shoeless into the fancy elevator, got up to the 57th floor and was instantly speechless! The infinity pool is even more breath taking than what you seen in pictures. The pool goes to the very edge of the rooftop, you literally feel like you are swimming towards the skyline. I could spend hours in the pool and Jacuzzi marveling at the city views below.
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At night we got to watch the amazing fountain light show from the Observation Deck, which is a hub of its own and an pricey one if you’re not a hotel guest. Visitors can pay $23 to head to the deck area but only hotel guest have accessed to the pool – which is a good thing since the pool can get pretty crowded!!!
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The next day, I headed back to the pool. I just couldn’t get over this Ahhhhmazing view!
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Afterwards, we enjoy a delicious lunch at Cé La Vi Restaurant and Skybar which had amazing panoramic view across the city and all the huge skyscrapers housing international banks and hotels as well as views out onto the bay.
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We also checked out a Cirque du Soleil performance – TOTEM under the Blue and Yellow Big Top! The story of TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly – basically evolution of human.
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Overall, staying at the Marina Bay Sands made this Asia trip unforgettable and an experience I will always cherish. The ‘WOW’ moments I receive from friends and family members when I tell them where I’ve went is priceless…Thailand, Laos, and Singapore!!! I was so very, very happy to finally cross off a few things from my bucket list!!! Special thanks to my good friend Andre and Nik for making me tag along with them! You guys are seriously the best travel buddies! Thank you!

PHUKETASTIC!

From Laos, we headed back to Thailand – but instead of going back to Bangkok, we went to Phuket!

Anyone you ask has a different opinion about this mystical place based on their mentality.
One person will say it’s dirty, loud and full of tourists.
Another will say it’s like Candyland for adults, filled with locals and friends and all sorts of naughtiness!

I think it’s a mixture of both.

Here’s what we did:
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We climbed up onto a platform of wood and bamboo to wait for our elephant and the man who would guide us through our adventure. Even before we started to move we felt rather insecure, perched up there, with only a rope as a “seatbelt”. Slowly we moved off. I was all grins and happiness! At first the ride seemed fairly smooth, but soon we were traversing the slopes of the jungle through narrow pathways. It was like a fair ground ride – I was thrilled and exited and scared stiff at the same time!
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Experience Loy Krathong Festival, Thailand’s “festival of lights”. Before sending off our krathongs afloat, we had to light our candles and incense sticks that came with the floats we bought. With the glowing candles and burning incense, not just our prayers and wishes were offered up, but our troubles were carried away. We watched the flickering light diminishing down the stream, as long as we could. I was so glad to be able to experience one of Thailand’s beautiful traditions.
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Fell in love with thai-style omelette as well as all the other traditional dishes!
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Enjoyed live bands with majority of them being Filipino singers!
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Most of the tuk-tuks in Phuket are funky and colorful, and have music blasting from speakers fit for a stadium not a car.
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As hectic as Patong looks during the day, it gets a hellovalot hecticer at night. A few words come to mind when I think about Bangla Road:
Colorful, confusing, intoxicated, a night to remember than you actually won’t, how did she do that, loud, an experience, woman or man…the list goes on and on.

Everywhere you look: bar, restaurant/bar, go-go bar, tailor shop/bar, dentist/bar… the way alcohol flows here you’d think it was going out of fashion. Soon it was time to go home, a few dollar’s poorer, but with a bag filled with stories and memories that will last a lifetime!

THE SIGHTS OF VIENTIANE

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After spending 3 day in Bangkok, we made a last min. decision to fly over to Laos! We originally planned to be there for 2 days, but since we were loving Vientiane so much we extended our stay for another couple days!

Here’s what we did:
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^^ We rented mopeds and nearly got ourselves killed because of how dangerous the roads were and how drivers had little regard for measly mopeds on the road.
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^^ Danced to 25 Hours concert. Surprisingly enough, I actually enjoyed the music even though I didn’t understand a word they were saying!
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^^ Enjoyed much need massages…loads of ‘em
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^^ Visited Patuxai which is a war monument in the centre of Vientiane. This was built in 1957 and completed in 1968, dedicated to those who fought for the independence from France. The design is Laotian but it sort of resembles the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. For a small fee we climb up the Patuxai where the view was unbelievably gorgeous!
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^^ Sightseeing Pha That Luang which is probably the grandest temple in Vientiane and is the national symbol of Laos. Sheer beauty. I got to face another big gold reclining Buddha up front.
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^^ During our 4 day vacation in Laos, we stayed at 3 different hotels. This one being by far my favorite place! Lao Orchid Hotel. Right behind me is the Mekong River.
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^^ Went shopping at Vientiane Night Market which begins around sunset. A small army of sellers set up their red-roofed stalls directly on the riverside promenade – it was really clean and organized. We also met up with some new friends and enjoyed a delicious dinner by the Mekong River!

Last but not least – eating authentic Laos dishes!
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^^ yummy breakfast every morning
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^^ balut
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^^ dim sum
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^^ traditional lao soup
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^^ Khouvieng Fried Chicken (the local kfc)
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^^ fresh road side coconut juice

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Thank you to all the friends we met in Loas!!!

BANGKOK’S FLOATING MARKET

A long desired tick off my travel wish list was experiencing one of Thailand’s floating markets. Located about 1.5 hours from Bangkok – Damnoen Saduak is one of the most popular floating markets around.
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The area is made up of some 200 canals and taking a boat along them gives you an opportunity to see local houses and families.
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The first stop on our guided tour to the market was to a countryside coconut sugar plant, where our guide handed us coconut sugar water samples. In general it was a typical group tour pit stop with lots of souvenirs and silly photo ops, but it was a good excuse to get out and stretch our legs.
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As we continued to drift through the canals, we encountered many vendors selling all sorts of trinkets – keychains, sun hats, murals, you name it, they have it.For the brave and adventurous, you can get your photo taken with a python (or two). Definitely flag down the ladies selling bbq sticks as well as the coconut ice-cream!!!
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Our last stop was visiting a shrine in Buddhist temple – where people are praying, putting gold on the Buddha, or just admiring the architecture. I was able to get a blessing from a monk!!! Best part of the trip!!!
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The aftermath of being out in murky water and getting attacked by hungry mosquitos!

SUNNY SAN DEEZY

I just got back from a mini weekend getaway to sunny San Diego! Since this was going to be a quick trip, I tried to pack in as much sightseeing, eating/drinking, and more importantly meeting up with friends and families as I can!!!
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We flew early Friday morning via Alaska Airlines and I’m still amazed at the convenience of the in-flight charging station! I mean, how cool is that?!? Anyways, it just made me realized that it’s been awhile since I flew from Alaska!
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Our first stop of the trip was of course having brunch. We went to Richard Walker’s Pancake House and the food was so-so!
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Next up was finding one of San Diego’s hidden gem…Harper’s Topiary Garden in Mission Hills! Beautiful stop to view all sorts of whimsical characters from elephants, a rooster, a bunny, to shamu. I think it’s neat that a couple has put so much love and creativity into their front yard for people like us to enjoy!
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We then made our way to Balboa Park! The weather was a blazing 80 degree so we made a quick lookie-loo around the park since the heat was becoming unbearable!
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To cool off, we made our way over to Stone Brewing Bistro & Garden! This place is amazeballs!!!
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We ended the evening at Bang Bang restaurant so we can admire the infamous “Ryan Gosling” bathroom!

NATIONAL COFFEE DAY

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Moore Coffee Shop is my all-time favorite local spot! It’s small and cozy and they take coffee art to a whole ‘nother level. They’re well known for it’s unique, cute, fun, infamous latte art ranging from dogs, to lions, bears, and bunnies, even Hello Kitty and Shrek! I usually order the Nutella mocha, which is the perfect mix of chocolate and espresso! They also serve waffles, sandwiches, baked goods and light snacks. Definitely a MUST see/do whenever you’re in downtown Seattle!
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Also, I want to give a shout-out to IG user @thehiddenmug for featuring me and my mochas!!! Check them out http://www.thehiddenmug.com for amazing and unique spots to get a piping hot cup of joe!!!

A FANCY SCHMANCY AFTERNOON TEA PARTY

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Aside from the tea and a wide array of sandwiches, macaroons, tarts & sugar, the afternoon was perfect because I got to catch up with some old friends and meet new ones!!!
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My dear friend Nancy, set up the event at Mariposa located inside Neiman Marcus, where I always look forward to the tiny cups of warm chicken broth and the popovers, warm to melt the strawberry butter!
This was my first time having a Afternoon Tea party, I was really looking forward to all the cutesy tea cups…unfortunately they just had some plain jane white cups instead. Nonetheless, meeting up with beautiful friends and exchanging stories was the icy on my Sunday afternoon.