The Liebster Award

Liebster AwardThank you to Anna from musings in milan who recently nominated me for the Liebster Award. Check out her blog if you want to see life in Italy! Also, I like her new series of posts that she started, “Things I Love Sundays.” Normally, I don’t really talk about my personal life on my blog, but I thought it would be fun to change it up and participate in the Liebster Award.

The rules are simple:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to his/her blog
  • Answer the questions asked by the nominator
  • Nominate 5 – 10 bloggers with under 3,000 followers
  • Create 10 questions for the nominees to answer

Here are the questions that I had to answer:

1) What do you enjoy most about blogging?
My blog started because my San Francisco friends always encouraged me to start chronicling my food adventures. As clichéd as it might sound, I feel like my blog has become a small part of my identity and it’s also become an excellent way to meet other expat bloggers.

2) What is your favourite book?
I’ve always loved The Great Gatsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recently finished All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and highly recommend it!

3) If you were throwing a dinner party and could invite five famous people (dead or alive) who would you invite?
If I could go back in time, I wish I could go back to the Italian Renaissance. So I’d pick Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Donatello and Titian.

4) What is the most precious thing you own?
My childhood stuffed animal

5) What can you not live without?
Good food. It just brings people together and also brings so much joy in my life. Plus food was the whole inspiration for this blog!

6) Would you rather swim in a lake or the sea?
Probably the sea cause I like being able to watch the waves crash on the rocks/beach.

7) What is your favourite song?
It’s too hard to choose just one song. However, my favorite guilty pleasure karaoke song is Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it that Way.”

8) Puppies or kittens?
Definitely puppies

9) If you could play any musical instrument, what would you choose?
I haven’t played the piano since high school. Since I’m so out of practice, I can’t read sheet music easily anymore. If I had the time and means, I’d love to pick it up again.

10) If you could speak any language (other than English) which would you choose?
This is a tough one, but I’d probably pick Spanish because it ranks as the world’s No. 2 language (in terms of how many people speak it as their native language). However, if I’m going to have my dinner with my Renaissance guests, then I guess Italian would be vital. 😉

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day isn’t really a big holiday in China. This is partly because China has their own Valentine’s Day (七夕), which is July 7 on the lunar calendar. I knew about China, but my friend told me that Brazil celebrates their “Lover’s Day” on June 12. Who knew there were so many different days celebrating love around the world?

Henry Cavill Valentine

I digress. This year, I decided to go back to the age old tradition of when you’re in grade school and you would trade Valentine’s Days cards with your friends. I still remember picking out the “better” cards and setting them aside for my best friends. February 14 was the best and I’d come back with a big shoebox of red, pink and white cards. If I was really lucky, some of those cards would be filled with Life Savers candies.

Rather than give my friends heart-shaped letters, I decided what could be better than a Valentine with an extremely attractive man on it? Granted a lot of these are inside jokes, but I honestly had way too much fun making them and had to share (side note: friends’ names have been changed to protect their privacy).

Claire loves Henry Cavill. I honestly had no clue who the guy was and I have yet to see Man of Steel. I originally wanted to do a play on “Baby, you’re my Kyrptonite,” but then I was too inspired by the Fortress of Solitude. Because let’s face it. What girl doesn’t want to be whisked away by Superman to his castle?

Ryan Gosling Valentine

I seriously had never heard of Sambal until maybe a couple of months ago. It’s an Indonesian hot sauce that you can’t really find in Shanghai. Ann has to smuggle it in or get friends to smuggle it in for her. I have never seen anyone eat hot sauce straight from a jar. That’s how much Ann’s love for Sambal transcends everything. She can literally take a spoon and just eat Sambal (much like a person eats peanut butter straight from the jar). Originally, this Valentine said “Hey Girl, I made you some bacon,” but it absolutely had to be changed to Sambal for Ann.

Daniel Henney Valentine

In case you don’t recognize him, this is Daniel Henney– popular Korean American model and actor. He was the face of Shiseido Men in Japan and also the handsome American doctor in the popular K-Drama, My Lovely Sam Soon. I work in the optical business and just had to use this cheesy pick-up line on Amanda. It was too good not to use.

Bradley Cooper Valentine

This is probably the most obscure Valentine because it’s really an inside joke. Katherine is Dutch and introduced me to Tattas be like. Tattas be like went viral in Holland and features a bunch of memes that people post on Facebook. The memes make fun of Dutch people by playing up their stereotypes. Katherine had to sit next to me and translate each photo for me to actually understand what all the references were. Anyways, this one goes out to Katherine because Bradley Cooper is a gentleman and would never split a check with her.

Hope you enjoyed my homemade cards! Go out and enjoy the day with that special someone. Happy Valentine’s Day!

RBJello’s 2nd Blogiversary!

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my blog! It’s been a big milestone in my life. What started out as a hobby has turned into a real part of my life and a piece of my identity. I started my blog with no expectations, but I’ve gained so much from it. It has been a wonderful channel to journal my past year abroad in Paris and my experience in ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management.

I think my biggest surprise was the wonderful network of fellow bloggers I met in Paris. I had never met random strangers through my blog before, but I met a wonderful group of women whose blogs inspire mine. Much love and respect go out to Diane, Grace and Edna who supported me during my MBA this past year. It’s always great to find like-minded, adventurous people who have so many great stories to share (plus, it doesn’t hurt that we’re all super into food).

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts from the past couple of years:

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2003 Yearbook Flashback


I stumbled upon all my old yearbooks this weekend and sifted through the myriad of notes written in sparkly, multi-colored pens. One entry always stood out to me. I remember my senior year and having our graduation cap decorating party at my house. One of my classmates Jon* stayed behind. We had gone to the same school for 13 years (kindergarten-12th grade), but we weren’t close friends. The finality of high school graduation was hitting me. I’d gone to school for 13 years with the same person and now, we would be departing to our respective schools, across the country from one another. Would I see this person again?

As we sat across from each other in my kitchen, he asked to sign my yearbook. I watched in amazement as he filled up an entire page. I didn’t want to be rude or awkward so I read his entry after he left. It was the most poignant note that I’d ever read.

I always remembered Jon’s note as being touching, but I couldn’t remember the words he wrote. When I found my senior year yearbook, it was the first thing I reread. Nine years later, and it still evoked the same feelings I felt as a 17-year-old girl, getting ready to embark on the next chapter of her life.

Jon and I didn’t keep in touch. As fate would have it, we actually had a random mutual friend from his college and we hung out a few months ago for the first time since 2003. Ironically (or maybe not so ironically), he didn’t remember what he wrote in my yearbook, but I told him how much it meant to me.

It’s almost a decade later, but reading his note has served as a good reminder to stay true to myself. As cheesy as it sounds, I like the person that I was and still am. Thanks, Jon.

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My Bucket List: Check!

Perhaps, this blog post is not correctly name. It should probably be “My list of things I accomplished but didn’t try to do on purpose.” No, it’s not the end of the year and this isn’t some impetus to start my New Year’s resolutions. Something about Thanksgiving and the start of all the holidays is definitely making me reflect on this past year. So, in no particular order:

  1. Justin Bieber started following me on TwitterI can die happy.
  2. I ran 5 miles. I’ve only been able to do it once, but I did it (like a month and a half ago). This probably shows how weak sauce I am, considering my roommate just ran a half marathon. The goal is to be able to run 5 miles again and maybe even run farther.
  3. I made friends with chefs. I ate some really delicious food (and met some really amazing people).
  4. I rode a horse for the first time. Not only did I ride a horse for the first time, but also the horse galloped into “2nd gear.” It was exhilarating and scary at the same time.
  5. Virgin America paid for my weekend trip to Vegas. Technically, my best friend won an all expense paid trip (courtesy of Virgin America) and I was her +1. Now, I can say that people actually do win those contests.
  6. I tried acupuncture. Needles scare the crap out of me, but I’m hoping it will help with my wrist pain that’s been bothering me for the past 1.5+ years. I’m two sessions in. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  7. I helped pitch and secure The New York Times’ Style section. Bill Cunningham came to one of our work events. My only regret is that I did not get to meet him. Then, I could have died happy.
  8. I had my first New York bagel. On my 2nd trip to New York ever, I finally ate my first New York bagel. And yes, it was a life changing experience. Now, I know what the hell New Yorkers complain about when they eat our bagels in California. I no longer think you guys are snobs. I understand now!
  9. I successfully stalked someone a decade later. Leave it to LinkedIn’s “people you may know” section to find the boy who you dated when you were 16 in China. We are now Facebook friends. He is also probably reading this and thinking I’m crazy for talking about it publicly.
  10. I started a blog! It’s probably terribly cliché to talk about how I started a blog on my blog, but I’m really happy with it. It’s been almost 5 months since my first blog post and I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve been able to actually write and maintain the posts (28 posts, baby!).

2011 has been very good to me. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I also want to  thank you for reading and supporting my blog! You made me really happy. Check that off your bucket list!

It's been a good year

It's been a good year. Treat yo self!

I got a fever and the only prescription is more K-Drama

My name is Jackie and I am a TV whore. I watch so much television (and not even very good television). At the same time, I’m not willing to pay for Netflix because I’m afraid it would take my TV addiction to the next level. I tend to exhaust all my free shows on Hulu like it’s my job. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve now developed the really bad habit of watching things on my laptop before sleeping. So when it’s the mid-season TV break, I’m basically screwed.

Enter the Korean Drama

Last year, I was going through that mid-season lull when my friend Taya suggested Korean dramas aka K-dramas. Keep in mind that I already had friends that were semi-obsessed with K-dramas and I always made fun of them. I didn’t really get what was the appeal. Taya suggested that I first watch one of her favorite shows, Coffee Prince. A few episodes in, I was hooked. The story was compelling and the actors were great. After I finished the 17 episodes, I needed more. Taya suggested more dramas like Pasta, My Lovely Sam-Soon and Gourmet.

My addiction got worse. While watching My Lovely Sam-Soon, I watched 10 episodes in a row (1 episode is slightly longer than an hour) and only left my bed to eat, hydrate and take bathroom breaks. The only reason why I stopped watching that day was because I made plans with friends. I secretly cursed them under my breath while I changed out of my sweatpants.

You think that’s bad? These K-dramas were so intense that I would text my roommate when any major event happened in the story. Keep in my mind that my roommate was not even into these shows but humored me. I’ve even picked up key Korean phrases: 1) Saranghae (I love you), 2) Gomawo (thank you) and 3) Hajima! (Stop, don’t go!) Continue reading