Top 10 Instagram Moments from 2013

2013 was an amazing year. I don’t know if any other year will every compare, considering it was a year of great change. I lived in three different cities, visited 11 cities in nine countries, graduated from my MBA program, found a job that I love and relocated to Shanghai. I fully recognize that I probably will never travel that much in my life ever again. I definitely cherish every single moment of 2013. However, I’m excited for what 2014 will bring and for new Shanghai adventures.

It’s too difficult to rank my favorite moments of 2013, but I did want to capture 10 of my favorites (brought to you by the lens of my iPhone 4 and Instagram).

1. Invalides (Paris, France)

InvalidesI had just moved out of the suburbs of France and into Paris. After having a lovely brunch on a cold, snowy day, the Métro broke down and I had to walk home. What started out as a inconvenience, turned into an absolutely stunning walk and I got to capture this gorgeous shot of Invalides (which never would have happened if the Métro worked!).

2. Burj Khalifa (Dubai, UAE)

Burj KhalifaIt was my first trip to the Middle East and Dubai was such an eye-opening experience. I learned so much about the local culture and was also just stunned with the entire city. Everything was so opulent and it was more than I could have ever imagined. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world and I loved the way it was lit up at night with its own sparkling lights like the Eiffel Tower.

3. Château de Chenonceau (Loire Valley, France)

Loire ValleyI felt like I was on the set of Downton Abbey while wondering the vast halls and gardens during my Loire Valley Châteaux tour. It made me feel like a Pretty, Pretty Princess. The Loire Valley is definitely worth visiting and I personally enjoy it a lot more than visiting the palace in Versailles.

4. Victoria Harbor (Hong Kong)

Rubber DuckWho doesn’t love a giant, 6-story inflatable rubber duck? It was awesome to be in Hong Kong the same time as this wandering art installation from Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman.

5. Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)

Arc de TriompheThis was the night I found out that I was accepted for an amazing opportunity in Hong Kong and that I would be leaving the wonderful City of Light. It was such mixed emotions for me as I was excited to go to Hong Kong, but I was so sad to leave Paris earlier than anticipated. I took this photo right before hopping on the Métro. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized that I had captured a picture perfect “stolen moment” of a couple in love. I feel like this picture captured the true essence of l’amour and my own love affair with Paris.

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Hong Kong: Jackie’s 25 Things to Eat Before You Die

Black Pepper Crab at Katong

Black Pepper Crab at Katong

Mango Drink at Hui Lau Shan

Mango Drink at Hui Lau Shan

High Tea at Sevva

High Tea at Sevva

My time in Hong Kong has unfortunately come to an end and I’m off to a new city for a more permanent move. I’ve had the most amazing four months in Hong Kong and this is the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent here. I’ve fallen in love with the city, the people and most of all– the food!

I’m definitely not an expert on the food scene in Hong Kong, because it is absolutely epic here. Between the Michelin-rated restaurants and the down-and-dirty street food, there is such a wide variety of choices! I could honestly live in Hong Kong for years and probably not even make a dent on the restaurant scene.

From left to right: xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung; tomato crab vermicelli soup at Nha Trang; fish tacos at Brickhouse; steamed papaya soup at The Chinese Restaurant

From left to right: xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung; tomato crab vermicelli soup at Nha Trang; fish tacos at Brickhouse; steamed papaya soup at The Chinese Restaurant

I wanted to continue my tradition of creating a food guide when I leave a city. This follows the same vein as my 100 Things to Eat in San Francisco to Eat Before You Die and 50 Things to Eat in Paris Before You Die. You probably notice a pretty gaping hole and ask: “Jackie, where is the dim sum?” Don’t get me wrong. I had great dim sum, but I don’t feel like I’ve been able to truly explore the best of the best of Hong Kong’s dim sum. It was difficult since you can’t really order dim sum for one person. I leave that for my next challenge!

So finally, in no particular order, I present to you:

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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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Hello, Hong Kong!

Hong Kong Harbor

Taken my first night in Hong Kong

I still feel like I’m in a dream-like state and can’t believe I moved from Paris to Hong Kong. This will be my new home for the next 2+ months and it is actually the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent in this glorious city. I’m a little bit spoiled because I have family in Hong Kong (my grandmother has already well-fed me three times this week). I’m excited to get to know the city better and hopefully post some interesting updates! I thought I’d share a few pictures from the first week.

Tourist vs Local

Tourist vs. Locals

Junk Boat

I think I’m going to have to ride on of those junk boats before I leave.

Rubber Duck Hong Kong

Who doesn’t like a giant six-story rubber duck? Installation by Dutch artist, Florentijin Hofman.

It was a perfect time to be in Hong Kong because my friends and I got to attend Art|Basel’s first show in Hong Kong. It was a huge exhibit of modern and contemporary art held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Art Basel Hong Kong1

Left: This painting was incredible with the aerial shot of people; Right: Close-up.

Art Basel Hong Kong2

Left: Classmate and I posing; Right: I really liked the Lotus glass lanterns.

Art Basel Hong Kong3

The painting in the bottom right corner was one of my favorites.

It was a great first week despite the incessant thunderstorms. We survived our first episode of “black rain.” Black rain is when it is raining so hard that the sky turns black and everyone is ordered not to go into work or school until it calms down. We missed that memo and showed up to work anyways.

Looking forward to what is in store the next couple of months!

HK Night

Always vibrant in Hong Kong

Paris: Jackie’s 50 Things to Eat Before You Die

Escalope de foie gras chaud à ma façon at La Fontaine de Mars

Escalope de foie gras chaud à ma façon at La Fontaine de Mars

Affogato at Pozzetto

Affogato at Pozzetto

Oeufs de poule mollets roulés à la mie de pain, toasts de beurre truffé at Le Violin d’Ingres

Oeufs de poule mollets roulés à la mie de pain, toasts de beurre truffé at Le Violin d’Ingres

It is a little crazy to think that around this time last year, I was leaving San Francisco and developed my own list of 100 Things in San Francisco to Eat Before You Die. This past year in Paris has flown by and I’ve done so much (understatement of the year). I still can’t believe that this is my last week as a true Parisian.

Éclairs at L’Éclair de Génie

Éclairs at L’Éclair de Génie

While I cannot claim to be an expert on the crème de la crème of the food scene in Paris, I thought I would compile my own list of my favorite things in the City of Light. I believe that there is SO much good food still out there; alas, I can only vouch for the things that I’ve personally eaten.

Truffle risotto at Dans Les Landes

Truffle risotto at Dans Les Landes

I wish I lived here long enough to develop 100 things to eat before you die, but I guess you will just have to settle for 50. You’ll notice that some restaurants have multiple dishes listed because they just simply excel at gastronomy. One dish is not enough to list. Also, you’ll probably notice that there are a lot of desserts on the list. What can I say? No one can beat the French when it comes to pastries and dessert. In no particular order, I present to you:

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Je Suis Parisienne

Invalides Day

The View from my Patio

I’m officially a Parisian! I moved into my new apartment in the 7th arrondissement last Sunday so it’s been exactly one week. I could not be happier. I’m in love with my new place, my neighborhood and just being in the City of Light!

Coutume Cafe

Brunch at Coutume Café

After moving in, Christophe and I went to have brunch at Coutume Café. I had read reviews about Coutume in multiple blogs because all the expats have been raving about their coffee. I was quite happy with my latte and it was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in this city. The vibe of Coutume was really cool, reminding me of Greenwich Village in New York. The brunch was solid. While nothing blew me completely away, I found the mango yogurt refreshing and I enjoyed my plate of chicken and rice with a side of sweet potatoes. Everything tasted clean and light; I didn’t feel like I was going to roll over and take a nap (which is often how I feel after brunch).

Sanukiya and Dawa

Tempura and udon at Sanukiya (top left and right); Korean rice cakes with kimchi and seafood at Dawa (bottom left); and my own Chinese cooking (bottom right)

Ironically, I had a lot of Asian food and hit up some of favorites like Sanukiya and Dawa. The first meal I made in my kitchen was Chinese food too (although I cheated because I bought that hot and sour soup).

Snow in Paris

Snow in Paris

Me & Snow

On the Bridge by Notre Dame

It’s been an eventful week because it starting snowing this past weekend and the snow is actually sticking. As a native Californian, this is a big deal for me. I’ve been in snow when I’ve gone skiing, but I’ve never been in a major city with snow. This lead to a lot of wandering and taking pictures because this city is absolutely gorgeous in the snow.

Jacques Genin

Caramels, Hot Chocolate and Mille-Feuille at Jacques Genin

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