Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cancer Diagnosis + Revisiting my Bucket List

This summer has not been what I expected. I’d planned to go home for three weeks to get a branchial cyst removed, catch up with family and friends, then come back to my husband for a trip to Armenia and Georgia. But one week after my surgery, I went for my post-op, and heard a word I wasn’t prepared for: cancer.

Most of my time in Florida was spent in doctors’ offices. Luke had to hear the news over Skype. My sister and mother cried, and Dad went quiet. Even with a good prognosis (thyroid cancer is one of the most curable cancers), that C-word rattled us.

After hastily canceling our trip to the Caucasus region and returning to Bucharest, I’ve had a lot of time to think. What’s my purpose in life? Do I believe in a higher power? Should I stay abroad or move back home?  

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A Look Back at 2016

Year-Fire-MonkeyWho does a “year in review” post in the middle of February? Apparently I do. And I’m not going to apologize for it, because one of my New Year’s resolutions is to stop feeling so guilty for things I shouldn’t feel guilty about. Plus, this is my blog and I can do what I want.

2016 was a crazy year, end of story. Future generations will look back on 2016 and think, Geez, I’m so glad I didn’t live through that year! (Ok, they probably won’t say the word “geez.” In fact, I’m not even sure why I’m saying it now, in 2017.)

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Healthy Christmas Cookie Recipe

Healthy-Christmas-Cookies I like blaming my 30’s for a lot of things: the fine lines appearing under my eyes, the two-day hangovers, and the inability to lose weight the way I did in my 20’s.  And while I don’t have too much control over the first problem (let’s be honest, eye cream is just overpriced moisturizer), I can drink less (well, sometimes) and I can definitely make healthier eating choices during the holidays.

The idea of cookie exchanges has made its way to Shanghai, and so has Thanksgiving. For my day job, I’ve had to write listicles about turkey delivery services and where to go for the best cup of hot chocolate in the city. I’m also a food critic on the side, and it’s literally my job to eat fattening food. So I cut corners when I can.

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Video: 2 Weeks in Croatia

croatia-sail-islandsWinter has arrived in Shanghai, and even while I’m typing this (indoors), I’m wearing a scarf and fuzzy slippers. So naturally, I’m thinking of warmer places and warmer times, like this summer. For six weeks, Luke and I traveled around Croatia, Italy and Slovenia, eating pizza, lots of gelato, and kicking back in the beautiful nature that surrounded us.

We started our adventure in Croatia, deciding to cruise around the islands with Sail Croatia. I was actually hesitant to do something like this, as I hate organized group tours. Also, I had read reviews online about 30 and 40-somethings having to deal with all night parties and waking up to piles of puke outside their cabin doors. Continue reading

Pumpkin Ricotta Phyllo Tart

2016-10-17_0009I made this. From scratch. I am so freaking proud of myself, I want to post this everywhere.

It’s what I’m calling a “pumpkin ricotta phyllo tart,” but it should be called “the miraculous outcome of mixing and baking a hodgepodge of ingredients.”

A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in Shanghai online grocer Epermarket‘s “Halloween Battle.” Along with a few other food bloggers, I was sent a box of mystery ingredients, and asked to create one cohesive dish. A huge fan of the TV show, “Chopped,” I happily agreed.

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Juicing in Shanghai

2015-11-04_0003Deep-fried pork ribs crusted in cumin, pan-fried noodles smothered in thick soy sauce, steamed buns filled with fatty brisket, and Chinese crepes layered with cilantro and fried wontons. This, in a nutshell, is what I’ve been consuming since returning to Shanghai a few months ago.

Needless to say, I’ve been feeling a bit “fluffy,” as my mom and I like to say. (It sounds so much nicer than “fat” or “pudgy,” don’t you think?)

As a quick fix, and to put me back on the right track, I decided to do a juice cleanse. That’s right, a juice cleanse. As in, nothing but juice. For three days. Continue reading

Jennifer the Turkey

turkey

I’ve never cared too much for turkey. Deep fried, baked, white meat, dark meat, gravy, no gravy–it was all the same to me. But this year, my second Thanksgiving in Seoul, I couldn’t get the idea of a big turkey dinner out of my head. I had to have it.

So, I found a couple options. I could spend $50 on a turkey buffet in Itaewon (the foreign part of town), I could indulge in a $70 sit-down dinner in Apgujeong (the Beverly Hills of Seoul), or I could pick up a pre-made dinner from the military base (enough to feed 10-12 people) for $100. It was a no-brainer.

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