Visiting the Homeland and Family.

Although I wasn’t born in Taiwan, I still consider it like a home since my parents had grown up there. They had a lot of good memories there and some of our family is over there.

I decided to take a last minute trip to Taiwan with my younger daughter to visit my dear aunt. She’s always held a special place in my heart so I knew I just had to take the trip during this time.

I’ve learned to pack smarter and know that international flights are usually more lenient on things (like an overweight bag) if you’re traveling alone with a child. Your bag shouldn’t be over 30 kg at most usually so bring an extra bag to take items out or be prepared with a nice sob story. My bag was clearly overweight from the booster seat, formula and fruit pouches I packed for this 2 week adventure with my super picky 14 month old eater, but I survived.

πŸ’Ÿ P.S. If you’re looking for a booster seat with tray that’s compact, I highly recommend the summer infant pop n’ sit portable booster. It collapses and you can sit it on the floor, chair and table top without worries of tipping over.

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aveling couldn't be easier with this amazing passport holder that can now store 5 passport inside. The company is called up and away and a must have with all the colors and inside pattern designs to store your important travel documents together.

If your child is under 2, request to get a bassinet. You’ll get way more leg room as well if she doesn’t sit in it. For international flights, 2 and under kiddos even though they’re not getting a seat they have to pay for 10% of your airfare just for using the air on the flight! πŸ™„

Since I’ve been to Taiwan so many times, I wasn’t planning to do much tourist stuff besides things that little A would perhaps be interested in. So, it was the gondola (which she opted to sleep instead) and the zoo. The zoo is nice and super cheap. In case you’re wondering, it was clean and very green!

We stayed near Da’An Park which is great to seeing some green space, go to the playground, and eat at some of the yummy places around. Our air bnb hosts were amazing and it was so easy to settle in. They even got the car service set up for us to take us to our apartment. If you want their contact, let me know! To note, there is also the MRT (subway) you can take into the Taipei for really cheap but I was just being lazy.

Anyhow, if you’re wondering if some place is good and you see a line – it definitely means it’s worth the wait. πŸ˜‹

My favorite street of grub has the infamous beef noodle soup, green onion pancakes, mango shaved ice, rice rolls in an illegal street cart, and now best crispy suncakes. Google Yong Kang Street when you’re in Taipei.

A must to do in Taipei is getting a hair wash/massage. You can get for as cheap as 250 NT which is about $8! Omg. I found an amazing place called Famous. They didn’t cut Addison’s hair like I wanted but oh well just had to get her a bowl cut just once. Lol

This trip we also took a ride on the high speed train to Ping Tung to see my grandpa’s place of rest and his factory.

We also saw my grandma who’s 95 now and looking great. Her view is amazing and so serene.

If you haven’t noticed it was a US girl cousins trip (Abigail was sad to be missing out but we got to FaceTime everyday and it was some of the cutest moments I’ve had with her). What was that saying – distance makes the heart grow fonder? Haha

Part 2 of our Asia family trip was seeing my brother and his family out in HK for the weekend. It’s only a quick 2 hour flight over but Addison sure made it feel like a century. Good times.

Hong Kong highlights included Hello Kitty dim sum, ice cream, burgers, and a typical HK breakfast before catching my flight back to Taiwan to go back to California. It sounds hectic and it sure was when you’re flying two different airlines so you have to pick up your luggage and check back in so definitely have a suitcase that has four wheels so you’re pushing it and not leaning it over to pull. Samsonite has some fabulous ones.

Good times and Addison got to play at the Hello Kitty playground in the Taoyuan airport (next to gate C4).

Cheers for now and definitely drop me a note if you’re looking for more info! xx

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Hamming in Hamptons.

Part 2 of our New York holiday ended perfectly with a gorgeous weekend in the Hamptons with our cousins. The iconic tall hedges and enormous homes was mesmerizing (so mesmerizing I forgot to take pictures!). 

We left the city earlier than everyone else so stopped at the famous Lobster Roll in Montauk from the showtime series, The Affair. Food was nothing to rave about but had a cute local ambiance to dining there. 


Did you know they have a Levain Bakery there too? Next to it is a good local seafood shop and the famous Goldberg’s bagels which I didnt get to try but heard it was delish! 


πŸ“·: Tried and true, you can freeze a cookie and when you’re ready to eat defrost and put in the oven for a bit and it’s just almost as good. 

We also went to the cutest and cleanest pumpkin patch ever – Hank’s Pumpkintown. Amazing fresh apple juice! 


Anyhow, I sure hope my kids are as close to my cousins as I am. #familyfirst 

 

Oh yes, wanted to add that at 14 weeks pregnant I went to Soul Cycle for the first time. Oh my gosh so tiring but survived with the good vibes and catching Brooke Shields when we were leaving from our class. I can now say I “spun” with Brooke. 😁

Cheers for now! Thanks for reading and yes this is a place you must visit – It must be even more lovely in the summer when it’s really pool and beach weather.  xx

Take a Bite Out Of The Big Apple With Two Munchkins.Β 

Following your husband on his business trip to New York may seem like a good idea but it’s definitely a little tough. It wasn’t all smiles like the pictures show. 😜 

But, yes – I’m that mom that always says to bring and travel with your kids to show them the big world and everything out there. Experiences are so much better live. So, these two monsters definitely got to take in New York – the toddler way – it wasn’t at all like when I used to live here with all the HH, late hours out and about, and nice restaurants we ate at! #timeflies

We stayed at the Westin Grand Central – pretty nice and central spot to get around the city. They gave the girls little kid’s bags with goodies inside in hopes of keeping them quiet during their stay. The only problem we ran into was getting a fridge. Literally painful how many times we had to call front desk. 

P.S. we took a morning direct flight from CA (6 hour flight). It was easy for our 4.5 year old toddler but our energetic 13 month was a bag of tricks. No amount of milk and goodies could put her to sleep. She was just too excited. 

First stop was Cafe Zaiya for black sesame soft serve. Omg so good. Dinner followed shortly after at Vezza. You have to get the shroomtown pizza if you’re a mushroom fan – the best. Pizza is the classic New York style pizza with a thin crust. 

P.S. all my food links are usually to #yelp being my favorite app to use and I’m not just a taker, I’m also Yelp Elite! More reviews (usually short and sweet), go here

Amazing New York weather so we walked to seriously the best bagel shop called Ess-a-bagel. It was right by my old apartment when I lived in NY so had to take the girls there and we ate on the remodeled entrance. 


We walked on Park Ave to Central Park after a quick stop at the Plaza Hotel. There is a crazy big food court inside with lots of yummy eats. Definitely worth checking out. 


Central Park was packed as it was a gorgeous day. Too bad the fall leaves hadn’t happened yet (beginning of October) but beautiful nonetheless. 


Since we were already in the 70s and heading to the Children’s museum of Manhattan, we just had to stop at the BEST cookie bakery ever. Levain Bakery – you’ve fulfilled my preggo cravings. Thank you! 


πŸ“·: The museum was fun and not crowded (whew). It was surprisingly pretty clean and of course very interactive. Super good idea for the cold & rainy day. The girls are twinning in gap – It always seems I can find their sizes at Gap (they’re about 3.5 years apart). Any brands you recommend?

Weekend is now over and this is when it turns to just me and the kids (of course meeting up with friends and cousins!). 

Here’s a quick read along with pictures and recommendations (things to note) of the 4 days out and about in the Big Apple. They’re in order of how it played out since we know transporting 2 kids (plus gummy bear in the making) and one stroller isn’t exactly smooth sailing so you have plan so you’re not backtracking and uber-ing too much. 

  • Monday – We took the 34th Street ferry to DUMBO and it’s great!! Clean, good views, fast, and only $2.75 (kids free). If you’re looking for some trendy, hipster pictures – definitely come here. Family pictures would have been fun here but we will make do with kids twinning. 
  • We ate at Shake Shack for lunch, playground after, walked Brooklyn Bridge (the entrance is stairs – no ramp) to catch the amazing skyline, another playground before dinner at the absolute best pizza joint – Juliana’s. If you’ve heard/eaten of Grimaldi’s, this is actually the real original Grimaldi’s πŸ• pizza joint (Patsy Grimaldi sold the Grimaldi’s name awhile back to a customer). I was super excited to meet Patsy! Before heading back on the ferry, we had to have Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. So good! 





  • Tuesday – Because of the time change (3 hours), the kids got up st 10am. Yay for me! We did dessert before lunch with getting some shaved ice from Sweet Moment and then pork chop rice at a local hole in the wall joint (just ok, so won’t blog about it) since we were already in Chinatown. 
  • Super nice day so we walked through Soho, downtown, and union square before getting to my cousin’s place. Abigail couldn’t have been more thrilled to be reunited with them. 


  • Wednesday – we went to the ever so popular Totto Ramen (it is basically this one or Ippudo). Both yummy! After that, we went to the coolest park ever – Riverside Hippo playground up in the Westside (they have super charming brownstones).  Thank you @minicitybabes for the rec! 
  • We topped off the afternoon with treats from Doughnut Planet. P.S. we decided to take the bus up and probably not the best idea with a stroller as it looks like you generally have to fold it up. They are definitely not like the London buses I’m used to! 




    πŸ“·: she could feel how tired this bus ride was making me. πŸ˜‚


    • Thursday – I wanted to take the girls to see the famous #NASA Enterprise space shuttle and tell her this is what her grandpa did for work. Not sure if she got it, but she did think it was really cool to see all the airplanes, submarine, drones, and space shuttle. We headed to a very late lunch at Gotham West Market which is perfect for an indecisive group to meet with all the different food choices. 
    • Of course, an afternoon isn’t complete without dessert – cookies specifically so went to both Schmackery and Amy’s Bread (close to each other). We also got Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles to go to meet up with my cousin that picked up Momofuku Milk Bar for me. Yes – it’s the great cookie test for my favorite cookie bakery. Winner goes to Levain Bakery!!! 





    πŸ’Ÿ P.S. we used the Uppababy lightweight stroller on this trip and loved it. It sits higher up so babe can just sit in there at a table instead of a  high chair. It’s also nice and narrow to fit through tight spaces. Stands up when folded but I still have to master closing it quickly with the button and pushing the sides together. Overall, definitely worth it as you can recline for your little and yes she slept in it several times. #win

    Anyone want to follow this schedule? It’s doable and amazing when you can have sweets to consume. It would have been a lot nicer with a glass of wine to top each day off. πŸ˜‚πŸ·

    Cheers for now and part 2 of New York coming soon. xx

    5 Months Ago.Β 

    I can’t believe just 5 months ago we were living in London and traveling to all these amazing countries so quickly. I didn’t think I would miss living in Europe so much but I do – the ease of getting around without driving, getting a quick bite to eat, seeing gorgeous architecture with a snap of my fingers, or just hanging out at a park/cafe people watching with an afternoon drink. 🍷😎


    πŸ“·: My favorite jewelry store, Boodles. It’s a British company so I just had to get a piece before leaving. I think Britain is missing me as much as I miss living there because I sadly lost one of the earrings the other day. πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯ #timetogoback #boodles 

    Without a doubt, my hubs will always be Cali dude (although he can’t swim…yet) so our 2 year stint in London was a lovely break. Maybe in a couple years, another opportunity will come along and we’ll be out of the ‘burbs again. #fingerscrossed 

    When we lived in London, we quickly abandoned the stroller for Abigail and she learned to walk everywhere and loved it. She walked 7 miles one day with no complaints. Rain or shine. 


    So, now that we moved back to socal, I went on a mission to find the perfect stroller for me to use for Addison. 
    My requirements: 

    • 4 wheels (at least 2 in the front to go up and down the escalator even though you’re not suppose to)
    • maneuver easily with one hand while holding a coffee 
    • baby A can face both ways
    • car seat friendly
    • not too heavy
    • easy to close without feeling like you’re going to pinch a finger

    Easy right?!
    I came across Kangaroo by Venice Child and fell in love. The colors, the simple design, versatile, and all terrain really caught my attention and not to mention it was founded in California (home again). πŸ‘πŸ»


    We got our Kangaroo last week and wow I can vouch that it meets all my needs. 

    She can see the world just a little higher up and at 3 different inclines.



    We can definitely easily manuever it one handed, easily close it, change the recline positions and oh my you’ll have to stop and chat with people on how styling your babe is in it. 


    Most importantly, A loves it and makes sure it’s nearby. 😜

    So cheers for now as baby A was snoozing in her Kangaroo by Venice Child while mama wrote this. 


    P.S. The front bar can be removed. Also, when you’re packing away in your car, I found the easiest is to just take off the seat and pack separately from the bottom part. #soinlove

    London Love.

    I can’t believe in 15 days we will be moving out of London. It’s been a whirlwind of fun here. I call it my 2 year holiday (hubs doesn’t as he was working both U.K. and U.S. hours) with all the memories we created here. 

    We’re soaking in (and getting soaked) some of our favorite spots and checking out the plethora of things to do with kids that make London so special – this weekend was ice skating. 

    Since our little toddler has been sick, we decided to let her sit in the Uppababy stroller for the day (Age – 3 years and 7 months old). 

    πŸ“·: There are lifts for your buggy at a lot of the stations but if there isn’t, there is always someone nice that will stop and help you out – I swear!

    πŸ“·: Am I going to continue to look right when I move back? πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ ➑️ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

    πŸ“·: Shoreditch is probably one of my favorite areas with the street art, street food, Indian food, cool coffee shops, and shopping. It’s a very up and coming area with lots of hipsters. Definitely worth going to. 

    πŸ’Ÿ: Uppababy Gluxe gets a parents approved from us. Folds up nicely and so easy to navigate. It has a light narrow build for help going through an urban lifestyle. Perfect for day to day with your baby as there is plenty of storage space and you can hang stuff quickly on the handles. They recommend baby being at least 3 months in age to use. To note, this pram isn’t car seat adaptable. 

    πŸ“·: Can’t leave London without a proper Sunday Roast. We love it at the Pig and Butcher (btw – It’s been in tons of articles as a delicious place to eat in London) 

    πŸ’Ÿ: Addison with her @twistshakebaby (how cool that the little container next to it fits inside the bottle to put a snack or another round of formula – so travel friendly. Plus, there is a mixer for baby colic!). AND guess what, use CODE: FANNY30 for 30% off! 

    πŸ“·: Ice skating at Tower of London. Doesn’t get any better with the view. If you’re planning on going, make reservations and pay online. Sessions to skate are 45 minutes. 

    πŸ“·: Twinning poses. πŸ˜‚ View of the Shard – currently the tallest building in the U.K.  

    πŸ“·: London skyline (it’s actually barely 4:30pm). 

    Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

    OMG, 22.Β 

    Abigail (3.5 years old) has now been to 22 European countries in the span of 2 years since moving to London. She’ll have some stories to tell but definitely iPhone pictures to share. Isn’t it crazy how tech savvy kids are?

    This trip to Cyprus was a little painful since she was sick with a cough and probably a sore throat, but she toughed it out for the most part and only made it apparent she was just a toddler 30% of the day and wanted tons of cuddles from us.

    We stayed at The Royal Apollonia for this holiday and we would definitely recommend it. It’s been renovated nicely and the hotel room floors are tile which makes it feel so much cleaner (plus, they provide hotel slippers!). We had a spectacular balcony view of the pool and Mediterranean Sea.

    πŸ“·: Outside our balcony πŸ’Ÿ Already drooling at 13 weeks but this Frecklebaby bib makes my list as absorbent, soft, bamboo, and the cutest prints on both sides. But wait, imagine nothing dropping on the floor with the unique snap on leash for a teething toy or paci.

    P.S. Use CODE: GIVE for $4 off any of my sets of books. Free shipping. Visit www.ajangsley.com 

     

    Breakfast is included and there is a pretty yummy range of food to choose from so get there before 10:30am. Oh and parking is free!

    πŸ“·: πŸ’Ÿ cutest organic panda bear outfits from Turtle Dove London. Super soft material, monochrome patterns, modern, and a new shop. Love!

    πŸ“·: one down, one more to go.  

    The pool. We went when the pools were not heated (indoor is) so it was pretty cold water. I think the ocean was warmer! They have their own beach which is great because there is also a jetty so the waves are not so big. Perfect for swimming in the sea.

    πŸ“·: the kiddie pool (this is sectioned off and the adult pool with pool bar is next to it).

    What was really sweet as I think we were also one of the few families with kids on the property was when the staff came at night for turn down service (they usually just give us chocolate) and gave us a jar of honey for Abigail’s cough. So thoughtful – thank you Royal Apollonia 

    Visiting the capital, Narcosia, was pretty neat. We got to see more locals, have a typical Greek lunch, and do some shopping (no, we didn’t bring home a bird!).

     


    πŸ“·: We had to get another Bebeaulait muslin infinity nursing scarf as she is constantly seeing Addison in it and wants to be just like mommy.

    Travel tip: bring a scarf (muslin would be ideal since it folds up so compact in your bag) as it comes in handy in so many ways for you and your little.

    πŸ“·: See you later Mediterranean Sea. πŸ’Ÿ: Thrilled to wear my Bellaha flip flops to see the world. This shop gives back to support infant and maternal health around the world. Win, win ladies – pretty and comfy sandals that give back!

    Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

    Mommy & Daughter France Trip.Β 

    It was a little crazy to go on a trip without the hubs at 32 weeks pregnant but I did have some of my besties there so I guess technically it wasn’t just the bugaboo and me.

    We took the Eurostar from London to Paris which is a smooth and quick 2.5 hour ride. The journey is pretty seamless so I would just advise getting to the station at least 1.5 hours in advance if you’re traveling with little(s). Oh, and if you’re preggos – you just may get special treatment. 😎

    This trip was mainly just to visit the main sights since it’s pretty amazing now how Abigail actually remembers things at age 3 versus age 2. We did Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, walked along the Champs Elysees to shop, Versailles & Giverny (Monet’s house). Relatively pretty relaxing as we used both the metro and uber along with walking of course.

    Thoughts traveling with a 3 year old (from my experience):

    • US people – get used to no toilet seat covers for your little (or yourself)
    • bring an extra change of clothes if you’re going to be out for the day
    • anti-bacterial wipes for everything they’re touching
    • ice cream is everywhere – this is perfect for bribing along with Haribo gummies. 😜

     

    πŸ“·: Rocking it “Thriller” style even after having to go potty right before in let’s say not a toilet. 😁 What do you parents do when they say they have to go and there is not a toilette in sight? #pleaseshare

    Product Review LOVE: EleStory

    OMG, I can’t stop raving about the quality and details of EleStory dresses. They really bring out the magic in dresses and where you’re at. I received several compliments during the day about her dress and how she was twirling about in it. Love the linen material, length (this is toddler 2/3), and of course the flutter sleeves.

    Product Review LOVE: TWELVElittle

    We have the Companion backpack in Plus (shown above) and it’s the perfect fit. It doesn’t feel or look like a diaper bag but has the compartments for easy access to baby needs.

    • In my backpack, I was able to easily put in snacks, ipad w/kid cover, 2 changes of outfits, light jacket, sunscreen, lotion, medicine, coloring book/pad with markers, and of course some of my things with room to spare to go shopping.
    • Another perk is the hidden zipper section on the bottom of the bag to put dirty nappies or something you want separated from the rest of things.  Since right now it is just for my toddler, it has straws, napkins, and paper (things won’t bend in here).
    • Maybe it’s the OCD in me, but one detail I noticed is the 4 metal balls at the bottom of the backpack so the waterproof material doesn’t touch the ground.  How nifty is that?
    • Of course, not every bag is perfect so I would note if they’re making new bags, I would love to have one bigger compartment to put papers/ipad in and also it would be great to have the jacket hang on the side of the bag instead of inside (probably wouldn’t look as fashionable but it sure will save space inside).

    πŸ“·: No Paris trip is complete without macaroons from Laduree.  We also had the pistachio milk shake and I was sure I was in heaven. Money well spent as it was also my last sweet I am to eat for this pregnancy now since I got the phone call from the hospital that my blood glucose level is too high. Buggers. πŸ˜“

    Product LOVE: Bows!

    I’m thrilled that she wants to wear bows and accessories in her hair so have found some amazing shops I support and love as they have the cutest prints and are well made. She doesn’t wear headbands so I can’t vouch for that, but future baby girl will be able to.

    Mia_Handmade – her amazing butterfly designs have made me fallen in love with this shop and the mama.  She also has pom poms and my personal favorite genuine leather bows. LOVE.

    Maddie and me London – who doesn’t love liberty of london fabric?  This American mom makes them and they are adorable.

    James and Faye – I love the way her bows are made. They look so cute in Abigail’s hair. Well made!

    πŸ“·: Versailles Palace was gorgeous! It was a cloudy day, but great for the girls pretending they were ballerinas in their dresses from Taylor Joelle Designs. What I would recommend is getting a golf cart (32 euros a hour).

    Product LOVE: Bella | Ha shoes

    These sandals are amazing and very comfortable (no joke!). What is probably the best part about this shop is they give back. With every pair of Bella | Ha shoes, it will help send solar suitcases to an area of the world in need. What is a solar suitcase?  It’s a portable, suitcase-like device that equips off-the-grid medical clinics with solar power so they can have light. Get your pair today! They can easily dress up an outfit.

    πŸ“·: Giverny – what a cute countryside and home to Claude Monet. We decided to drive from Paris to Versaille to Giverny so we weren’t confined to the hours of a day tour. It was a nice drive.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to visit inside Monet’s house since Abigail had too much fun at Versailles and was still snoozing in the car when we arrived and by the time she woke up, Monet’s house had closed (6pm).

    Product LOVE: Tiny Tinks

    How cute is this doll?  We couldn’t be more happier with her.  Ours also came with a tutu but we left it at home as this traveling dolly didn’t want to get her clothes dirty.  There are different accessories you can add on and you can pick your colors to make your perfect dolly for your little. This will be a dolly she won’t let out of her sight as she also sleeps with her!

    …and that wraps up our mommy/daughter trip before baby girl comes in August.

    Cheers for now!