Sunday, August 17, 2014

DisneyWorld - Honeymoon Trip Booked!

Children dressed as a scarecrow, Minnie Mouse and Tinker Bell march along with Dopey at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Photo courtesy of DisneyWorld
Ok, so everyone knows I'm a HUGE DisneyWorld fan.  Ever since we got engaged in Cinderella's Castle back in 2012 (see our engagement story here), we've gone back every year, first during the Star Wars Weekend, and now for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Epcot Food & Wine Festival!

This trip, we have adopted a new strategy - visiting the parks in the morning, going back to hotel to nap during the hot afternoon, and back into the same park in the evening. No park hopping.

We have also purchased a DELUXE dining plan, so there will be a lot of dining and wining.

In the past, we have noticed that waiting for a Disney bus took up a considerable amount of time. Since car rental in the US is relatively inexpensive, AND parking is complimentary at the parks for Disney resort guests, we have also decided to rent a car so we won't have to spend time waiting for a bus. Let's see if it really does save time. I'm not sure yet.

Our preliminary schedule…

Day 1 - Hollywood Studios
Day 2 - EPCOT - focus on attractions
Day 3 - Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Day 4 - EPCOT - focus on Food & Wine Festival
Day 5 - Animal Kingdom
Day 6 - Florida Key West
Day 7 - Florida Miami

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm married!


I'm married! Yup, that's right. I'm officially a Mrs. The wedding was probably one of the most amazing days of my life (and of course for my hubby's too!). While planning for the big day, we initially thought it wouldn't change a thing since we're already been living together for the past 2 years, and feel like an old married couple already. But you know what? It IS different. Saying the vows in front of our guests and celebrating our marriage with a fun reception afterwards really made the commitment sink in, and even though on the surface all is same, fundamentally it is different because we are heading towards a new phase in our lives. I'm so incredibly thrilled and definitely living in that happy honeymoon bubble.  :)

Over the next little while, I'll document our wedding planning process in the hopes that it will help out any future brides in this seemingly daunting (but fun!) process. My advice - relax and have fun! Things don't have to be perfect, trust in that the day will work itself out in the end.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I started a new "habit" - and that is to work out while listening to audiobooks. I was getting bored in my daily workout routine and was starting to find it hard to motivate myself, until I came across this idea of working out my "brain" while working out my "brawn"s.  ;)

And it has done wonders. I now look forward to my daily workout sessions with enthusiasm and joy. The first book I listened to was "The Power of Habit: What We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg. This to me was fitting because I was having a hard time making exercise a habit!

I find the book relatively interesting, although I'm not sure that I fully agree with everything that it says, and at times his examples are a bit weak. I was also hoping for some more practical guidance as to how to build habits. None-the-less, here are some interesting facts that I had learned…
  • How consumer package industries heavily uses customer info metrics to understand how their consumers behave and thus subtlely change their buying pattern by forcing habits.
  • How AA uses habits to help addicts change their destructive patterns.
  • How casinos uses coupons and free stuff to entice gamblers to return to casinos and build their gambling habits.
From a practical sense, this is how I see it:
  • Create habits so you can free up more brain power for important things, since habits become routines and there is less decision required (e.g., when you brush your teeth, you don't need to really think about the next steps. It's automatic. Pick up toothbrush, put on toothpaste, brush, rinse, mouthwash - it's a routine). By creating as many routines as possible reduces the number of decisions that has to be made, and thus freeing up your brain for more important things.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What do Starbucks and Disney Princesses have in common?

Source: Wanelo
They've all been names on my latte!

Just for fun, I started giving out Disney princess names to the barristers for my morning lattes. Before long, I'm building up a little collection. It's fun and always funny to see the look of "huh?" on their faces once they've prepared the drink and was about to call out the name. "Vanilla latte, half syrup, lactose free for Cinderella!"

Great idea to cheer me up and to bring two of my favourite things together - Disney and coffee!

Have you ever given barristers different names just for fun?






Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fort Lauderdale: Riva Sunday Brunch Review

Oh my goodness what a treat that was! I was fortunate enough to enjoy a delicious brunch at Riva, complete with ... bottomless mimosa!

Atmosphere

Riva is open and bright, simple yet classy. The restaurant is approximately 1/2 indoor and 1/2 outdoor seating. We chose to sit outdoors that day because the weather was just gorgeous. The restaurant is clean and well maintained, and there is a cheerful and relaxing atmosphere.

Restaurant entrance
Outside, you can see the beautiful ocean with palm (?) trees, and there is this ever pleasant cross breeze that keeps you from being too hot.
View from the patio seating area


Eats

Desserts, desserts, desserts! Need I say more? Other than sweet treats, the buffet features a carving station, omelette station, king crab legs, shrimps, and salmon. Also my favourite - eggs benedict!

Menu
My savoury dish
And then, onwards to desserts…

Buffet area

My 2nd (3rd?) dessert plate


Whoa chocolate fountain!

These were delicious - chocolate cream cups

What my friends love most about this brunch is the UNLIMITED MIMOSAS - we got to a point where we just asked the waitress to leave us with the bottle of champaign and a jug of OJ. Six girls managed to finish 6 bottles of sparkling wine... that makes for a very wonderful afternoon.  ;)


Unlimited Mimosa
I also love that they give you cream in a little container that looks like a carton of milk. Delightful!

Overall

I had a relaxing fantastic afternoon hanging out with the girls at Riva. Food is decent/good (very reasonable at $40pp), and the service is top notch. The view is relaxing and we did not feel rushed at all.

The only downside is if you're not staying at the resort, the parking is valet only so be prepared to shell out some $ for parking. Still, I would come back to Riva for another Sunday Brunch in a heartbeat!



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fort Lauderdale: Dinner at Asia Bay

Dinner at Asia Bay

Address:
1111 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Lobster seafood pineapple fried rice

Tune Rock on Seaweed Salad - $16
















111
1111 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 - See more at: http://www.asiabayrestaurants.com/locations/#sthash.GCYBLUnj.dpuf
1111 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 - See more at: http://www.asiabayrestaurants.com/locations/#sthash.GCYBLUnj.dpuf

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Miami: Sunset at Mondrian South Beach

After a long day at Miami, our day ended at the beautiful Mondrian South Beach hotel.

The hotel was designed by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, and the visionary style of the hotel was to pay homage to "Sleeping Beauty's Castle". I'm not sure if this is why there is a giant doll head of a Jessica Alba anime head greeting us as soon as we enter the hotel!


The hotel is no doubt modern and uniquely designed. My Manhattan interior design friend is all excited about this place.


Hey look - you can use the vending machine to order anime figurines! Not sure how this fits into the overall Sleeping Beauty theme, but it's cool!




 At the back of the hotel is a poolside lounge, with a breathtaking view of the sunset.





Everything about this hotel is so unique and different, it wasn't what I had originally expected!