Friday, June 27, 2014

Travel: Across the World: China

I can't believe we're already back from China. This trip came and went so quickly! It was such an amazing vacation and experience, and I'm so excited to share it with you.

After one of the longest days of our lives (15+ hours in the air plus 8+ hours in airports), we arrived in Shanghai on a Friday evening (we left on Thursday but lost a day by heading west). You know the term "culture shock?" China definitely has that effect, but it's incredible. The sights, the people, the colors and the food. While I knew China would be an interesting journey, it's better than I could have imagined.

In Shanghai, we woke up to a beyond beautiful view of sprawling, smoggy Shanghai each day. We went to markets and ate fruit we'd never seen before. We drank Snow Beer at all times of the day (between 30 to 75 cents for 32 oz) in the street, in shops and on the subway, walked everywhere and became pros at mastering the "squat" toilets.

We ate steamed buns filled with pork and chicken (a favorite of mine!), tasted delicious, exotic teas, visited temples upon temples and learned how to write our names in Chinese characters. And we shopped.

We ate noodles in broth for breakfast, and I swore I'd never go back to eating traditional breakfast again. We stood in the presence of Buddhas. I was fit for my first qipao (and can't wait to wear it). We saw koi in ponds and koi for sale at the bird, insect and fish market. We almost took a cat or two home with us.

After a quick train ride to Beijing, we ventured into a quaint Beijing alley to find our hidden gem of a hotel. We enjoyed hot pot (lots and lots of it). We mastered the subway system and took a nap or two. We marveled at the history of old Beijing.

We did yoga on the Great Wall. Namaste.

We climbed. We climbed a lot and rewarded ourselves to frozen Snickers bars when we reached the "top." We wiped the sweat off our faces and pushed our sunglasses back up on the bridges of our noses in the 97 degree heat (true story). We stood in awe. To regain our energy, we ate the exotic local delights (scorpion and starfish). Not half bad.

We went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and made a new friend in our tour guide, Han, who took us to an acrobat show and helped us navigate the bus system. The best part? I spent ten incredible days with a truly wonderful bunch (group picture below!) in one of the most interesting places in the world. I'm a lucky girl.
|| All photos are property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. ||


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Life: Long Overdue Update

It's been a while. I think it's about time I filled you in.

First of all, we made it back from China. It was an incredible trip (photos to come very, very soon). Just as I was getting back into the swing of things after being gone for nearly two and a half weeks at work...

I dislocated my right shoulder.

You know the term "freak accident?" I don't think I've ever used the phrase until recently, but that's exactly what happened. A few Saturdays ago, just as a group of friends and I were heading out the door to go to dinner, I slipped on the (very adorable) yellow chevron rug in front of our sink. It slid out from underneath me completely. Being a normal human being, I put my right shoulder on our counter to catch myself. But that adorable (i.e. killer) yellow rug had other plans. Less than two seconds later, I bounced up from the ground and realized my right shoulder was really out of place. Oops. Luckily, one of my best friends Kelsey was here, and the cab that was taking us to dinner was now taking us to the emergency room.

I guess that's what I get for trying to tidy up my apartment before going to dinner.

After an ER visit, follow-up doctor appointment and many calls with my soon-to-be physical therapist, I'm just beginning to heal. While my arm is feeling better with each day, it's forcing me to become incredibly dependent on my left hand, and far less concerned with my physical appearance. Apart from wearing an incredibly sexy black sling for two weeks (currently still wearing it), losing the strength and movement of my right arm means no blow drying or styling my hair, makeup application with my left hand, and a truly difficult time getting dressed in the morning (loose and stretchy clothes are my new best friends). It's definitely not how I imagined my summer starting out, but what can I say, that's how life goes (see unhappy photo of me in my sling below).

|| Photo is property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. ||

As much as I hate not being able to do my hair each day (ladies, I seriously took for granted even throwing my hair up in a pony tail each day!), the far worst part is not being able to do yoga. As soon as it happened, yoga was the first thing that came to mind. It hasn't even been two weeks, and already I'm missing it like crazy. I'd wear that ugly black sling for months if I could just do yoga again! I haven't met with my physical therapist yet, but I'm thinking yoga's out of the picture until the fall (at least), and even then, it will be a very slow start getting back into it. I never really considered myself a true yogi or health nut, but losing my ability to be active is killing me (if you have suggestions on exercises for me, please share!)

While this situation hasn't been ideal, I'm forcing myself to see the positives, and it's made me realize a few very important things:

Good friends rock. Having Kelsey by my side through the entire ordeal was more than I could ever ask for. Her positive attitude and support actually caused me to make jokes even while they were putting my shoulder back into place. Since my "accident," she's given me rides, listened to me complain and has been such a fantastic friend. Good friends are hard to come by, and I've got to say, I'm a lucky girl for having her!

Yoga truly is my passion. It sounds cliche, but incorporating yoga into my daily schedule has made me a much more relaxed, grounded person. When I got back into yoga late last summer, I never thought it would have such a positive impact on me. My urge to get back into the studio as soon as possible is the driving force for me to take physical therapy seriously and learn to protect my shoulder going forward. It may take some time, but I'll be doing handstands again in the future!

It's important to be comfortable in your own skin. I've always had wavy hair. No, not the oceanside beachy waves kind of hair. Just wavy. Not that great. Has a mind of its own. I usually never wear my hair naturally wavy (unless I'm staying in or am running late in the morning). Because I'm not able to do my hair, I've worn it wavy for the past week and a half. It's forcing me to be comfortable with my natural beauty and accept my body. Once my arm is back in action, I'll obviously still style my hair (I'm not perfect) but I won't negative toward my natural self like I used to be. 

Some situations suck, but positivity makes all the difference. When I was in the emergency room and my team of doctors told me my shoulder was dislocated, I knew I had two choices. This could either be the worst thing that could have happened to me, or I could accept the situation for what it was and be positive. Not to mention, the entire evening (including my attractive doctors) would make a great story someday, right? While I was in a lot of pain, I'd like to say I had a really good attitude. Smiles when I could muster them, making jokes with Kelsey and the doctors, flirting a wee bit here and there (I blame that one on the painkillers)...overall, my ER visit was surprisingly one of the funniest things that's happened to me in a long time. I never thought that would have been possible.

So there you have it. While I'm not back in action yet, I finally can type again with two hands (a serious yay!) and will be blogging much more often, especially now that my Rutgers Social Media Mini-MBA program has ended! I'm glad to be (nearly) back.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Recipe: Sunday Bloody Sunday

Well hello there, gems. I'm back from China and am getting back on Minneapolis time. Very slowly. Happy Sunday.

Let's talk Sundays. They're slowly creeping their way into my hearts. Growing up, I hated Sundays. It meant the weekend was almost over, that I had to do my homework and that I had to go back to school the next day. As an adult (if I do say so myself), I'm starting to dig them. In my book, Sundays truly are a day of rest and relaxation. And when possible, I prefer to start them with brunch + cocktails.

Truth be told, I'm a mimosa girl myself. But every once in a while, I gotta have a bloody Mary. And on the days where I'm foregoing champagne (my true favorite), I've got to have the very best.

A few weeks ago, UV Vodka sent me a bottle of one of their newest flavors, sriracha vodka. A sriracha lover, I needed to give it a try. And while my parents were in town a few weeks ago, a bloody Mary before Mothers Day brunch/my sister's birthday was exactly what we needed.

First things first, I am not the best bloody Mary maker in the world. However, I had the best ingredients (thanks, UV Vodka!), and the perfect toppings. In my opinion, if you can't make it, fake it. Thankfully, this bloody passed the test!

As I'm working hard to get back on Minneapolis time and get organized for work this week, I might be making one of these for myself. Drinking at any time on Sundays is acceptable, right?

Makes one glass
UV Sriracha Vodka (a trust must for any bloody Mary): 1 shot
Bloody Mary Mix (I used Mr. & Mrs. T's): 1.5-2 cups depending on glass size
Horseradish: 1 teaspoon (add more for extra spiciness) 
Worcestershire Sauce: 1 teaspoon (add more for extra spiciness)
Celery Salt: 1 teaspoon
Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
Garnish: Pepperjack cheese and summer sausage
Ice: 1 cup

This one's easy. Mix everything together, and garnish with your cheese/meat of choice. Enjoy!

|| Photo property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. Product provided by UV Vodka. || 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mood: June Feel

Happy Saturday, gems!

We just touched down in the States, which means I can finally publish a few blog posts! To make a long story short (I'll elaborate later), Google was blocked in China last week, so all of my posts were on hold until now. I'm a few days late, but happy June! (hint, hint: use this photo on "tile" settings to create a June mood board desktop photo)

one || two || three || four || five || six

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