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Travel

Cities we visit, food we eat, and the fun things we do there. 

20 Hours in NYC - The Met, The Mark, and Vogue!

Debora Manusama

Visited NYC just to go to the Met and take a private tour at the Rei Kawakubo exhibit with Vogue and Amore Pacific. Had brunch, some skinny pizzas, and a lot of fun. 

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Quaint, Historic, and Enligthening - A Roadtrip To The Carolinas

Debora Manusama

A beautiful city filled with quaint coffeeshops and seafood joints, Charleston aka The Holy City has definitely capture our hearts! This low country gem is a must-visit, preferably in the fall though because it gets really humid during the summer. But anyways, here's our story!

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Palmettos and Lupe On Repeat - It's Our 2017 Roadtrip Playlist

Debora Manusama

A roadtrip wouldn't be complete without a dope playlist. This one is laidback, positive, and lit at the same time. 

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On Patience. Palm Trees. and Purpose.

Debora Manusama

2016 hit us pretty hard. Thankfully we made it through and things are getting better. Why was our LA vacation a huge deal for me? What did it mean to us? Well, EVERYTHING. It was like us, finally exhaling. Finally walking barefoot on the sand. Finally getting a change of scenery. 

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A Picker-Upper from the Fixer Upper

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Every once in a while, we need a little picker-upper to get through the day. I am grateful that last week, I found it at a pretty unlikely place, a bakery. Not just any bakery, it's Magnolia Flour! If you're a fan of the hit TV show Fixer Upper like me, you would have this place on your bucket list for sure.

Every corner of this place is pinterestable and instagrammable, owners Chip & Joanna must really know their market very well.

For a full picture of what it's like over there at The Silos, click play and watch the video :)

https://youtu.be/2JjlshfW27U

 

I had been planning to come here for a while, but the Texas heat and the 1-hour-and-40-minute drive was holding me back. Last week however, I spontaneously decided to go on a mini roadtrip with J and visit it.

I am just so inspired by their story. We might look at the glitz and the glam that surround them today, but we don't know the struggles that they had to go through in order to get where they are now.

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They have been doing what they're doing since 2003, but they didn't get their reality show until 2014. That means there was an 11-year gap there, where they were building their marriage, family, and business together while no one was watching. They have kept that genuine love and work ethic throughout the years, so when the spotlight is on them, they stay true to what they believe in and uphold.

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I looked at everything they have built and thought to myself, "I can do this. If they can, I can. Mr.Man and I can." Seriously, I think we all can if we're committed to our journey that is set for the both of us and not worry about others.

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We can't do it ourselves though, we need to surrender it all to God. Because what good is an empire or a palace if God isn't in it?

We tried the bacon and cheese biscuit + lemon lavender cupcakes and went home with happy bellies. Sweating though, because it was super hot that day.

Next time, let's wait for the weather to get cooler before we do this, J ;)

 

6 States in 5 Days.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

On the 4th of July weekend, my family and I decided to go visit Chicago. But not just Chicago, but also got to see Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and Oklahoma. As I stated in the previous article, this was the longest roadtrip we've ever done so far. But we loved it!

Highlights of the trip:

Memphis :

  • Central BBQ - try the half and half slab (half wet rub half dry rub ribs)
  • The Pyramid (Bass Pro Shop) - there are a LOT of things to do and see in here including the restaurants, the observation deck, shops, and they also have a giant aquarium which kids absolutely love.

Chicago :

  • Navy Pier - this is the 'Times Square' of Chi-town, very touristy, but you gotta visit it at least once, ride the ferris wheel, and even have dinner on the cruise. It's so worth it! Beautiful scenery, gorgeous weather, don't bother eating on the food court, get some food somewhere else!
  • Uno's Pizza - again touristy, but you just gotta try the deep-dish pizza to cross it off your bucket list
  • Michigan Ave - a lot of fancy shops, kinda like 5th Avenue in NYC, very nice to stroll around
  • Riverwalk - GORGEOUS, oh gosh! So many rooftop restaurants here
  • Firecakes Donuts - try the donut ice cream sandwich!
  • Lincoln Park Zoo - it's FREE so why not? parking is $25 though
  • Chicago Cultural Center - it's also FREE and gorgeous! right across the Cloud Gate
  • The Bean/ Cloud Gate - touristy, but why not?
  • Andy's Thai Kitchen (ATK) - delicious Thai food! Try the Tom Kha
  • Floriole - try the ricotta toast, pastries, and coffee selections

Missouri :

  • Mango - A Peruvian restaurant in downtown St. Louis, the ceviche is bomb!
  • The Arch - take pictures!

 

We didn't get to stay in Arkansas and Oklahoma, but maybe next time :) Even though summer is not over yet, I feel like my 'vacay mode' is simmering down. Why? Because next week is August already! And that means School is starting very soon! I really hope we'll be ready by then.

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The Art of Staycationing

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I don't know who came up with the term 'Staycation' and what do you guys usually do when you do it (I guess everybody's different), but for me and my family, the point of going on a staycation is getting away from our daily routines as you would when you go on a vacation, without having to travel very far.  ashton-27

So this month, we chose to 'travel' to our neighboring city, Fort Worth, TX. It's only 30 minutes from our apartment, it's got a good historic and downtown district, and it's got this beautiful hotel called The Ashton Hotel.

Located strategically by the city's Sundance Square, The Ashton is a luxury boutique hotel that has a lot of history in it. In fact, it is listed as a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Okay so what do you do on a staycation? Here's what we usually do.

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1. Chill in the hotel bathrobes and watch cable TV all afternoon

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Seriously guys, this is the best feeling ever. The thought of not having to do laundry, cook, and clean up is a vacation in itself to me! The hotel room was so luxurious and comfy, the custom bathrobes made me feel like a boss lady, and that view by that big window --- ohhh yesss, I can get used to this! At least for another 20 hours lol.

Don't try to do too much on your staycation. The point is to relax. So chill, watch tv, have some cookies, and savor the moment.

2. Enjoy room service if there's any or try the hotel breakfast

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The Ashton waffles were amazing. I wish they offered room service on the weekends, though.

3. Go to the nearest kid-friendly attraction

Choosing Fort Worth Zoo was a no-brainer. It's our favorite zoo in the DFW metroplex, it's got tons of attractions, and we got our FREE tickets from our POGO PASS :) If you're thinking of visiting Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austion, Arizona, or Vegas you can get entries to multiple family-friendly venues with just under $50 when you purchase the passes at pogopass.com with my code MOZDEB. 

4. Try the nearby restaurants

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We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Hanabi, and then made a quick stop at my favorite ice cream place in the metroplex, MELT. I had the cookies and cream but J had their vegan 'Out of the Blue' and it was amazing!

5. Take a walk around the hotel 

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We took a walk to Sundance Square, explored the downtown area a bit, and then went back to the hotel, took a nice warm shower, and watched a good movie until we fell asleep. It was definitely a rejuvenating getaway. We can't wait to do it again!

Hotel and Six 10 Grille photography by Beckley & Co. 

In partnership with The Ashton hotel. 

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Riverwalk, Tex-Mex - It's San Antonio!

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

This coming June marks the 2nd year of our living in Texas, and we've been wanting to visit all of the big cities in the state and experience Texas a little bit more. We have visited the state capital, Austin, 3x, Houston 2x (Hi Beyonce!), and last Memorial day weekend, we finally visited San Antonio! J woke up at 3 in the morning that day, instead of trying to put him back to sleep, we decided to drive to New Braunfels, a small German town near San Antonio for some breakfast at the oldest bakery in Texas called, Naegelin's. 

We loved the heavy German influence in the city, the beautiful European-style church buildings, small shops, and the beautiful Landa Park. We tried the Sausage Kolaches at the bakery which were delicious!

Next! San Antonio! Press play and please, don't forget to subscribe to my channel :)

https://youtu.be/juo4Fjyni88

Yes, as you can see in the video, we did the 'Dining with Shamu' thing at SeaWorld, where you get to eat on the poolside in a buffet setting, while watching the killer whales swim and do tricks. It's perfect for kids 4 and up, but I didn't think it was good for J. The lunch started at 1 pm, and by then he was already super tired.

Anyways, it was still a good experience. Now my favorite, Guenther House for brunch on the next day!

The ginger peach tea and the houseblend coffee were really good, the signature waffles were excellent and the pricing was surprisingly good!

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I really loved San Antonio's downtown area. In fact, I think it's the best downtown out of all the downtown areas in the big cities that I've visited in Texas. It's walkable, a lot of restaurants and shops, and it's more alive than downtown Dallas, Austin, and Houston in my opinion! Not to mention the riverwalk and the greeneries that make the downtown so much different than those of the other Texas cities.

Next, for dinner, we went to a famous mexican restaurant, Paloma Blanca

 

We had the Mango Camorita (margarita with mango flavor & a splash of chamoy), Ceviche del Mar (fish soaked in lime juice, onion, olive oil, and tomato), Enchiladas '09 (chicken enchilada in chipotle crema & shrimp in cilantro crema + spanish rice & beans) and their best-selling Enchiladas Verdes (chicken enchiladas in tomatillo sauce + spanish rice & beans). My favorite was the Ceviche and the Shrimp in Cilantro crema!

The margarita was strong, I liked it but I wish I could've tasted a little more of the chamoy flavor. The rest of our experience at the restaurant was amazing though, great service and waiting time, friendly staffs, and the casual-chic ambience was the cherry on top.

On our last day, we went to hip Pearl Brewery area try the breakfast menu at Bakery Lorraine. And then we drove for a little over 1 hour to Austin for lunch at Thai restaurant, Titaya's.

And then we drove another hour or so to have dessert in Waco at Heritage Creamery. Yes! 3 meals in 3 different cities! I would definitely do it again!

Over all, we are so grateful for the past 2 years living here in Texas. There are so many beautiful cities with yummy food and kind people. I look forward to many many years to come :)

Taking It Easy in The NYC

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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There are so many things to see, do, and eat in NYC. It is almost impossible for us to not get 'ambitious' whenever we take a trip to the Big Apple. But I have learned that when traveling with a toddler, it's best to take it easy. To do what they like, visit what appeals to them, and just relax. Because if we force them to do too much, they might throw tantrums or get sick, and that's no fun. Trust me, I did that back in December and both J and Mr.Man got sick after the trip. https://youtu.be/6MUcReF1ZQY

 

So yeah, parks, libraries, museums, and restaurants are ideal! Oh and I'd love to try the zoos next time.

If you notice in the vide, we spent a lot of time at Central Park, because they have a lot of things to do there!

NYC will always be there, so if you don't get to visit all of the 'must-visit' places in one trip, don't worry, you can always come back. Your child's happiness and health come first.

If you happen to have a youtube account, please remember to hit the subscribe button :) I will post the video of our culinary adventure in NYC soon!

A Little Pre-Valentine's Day Family Staycation

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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We don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day, because well...I'm just not into anything cheesy and lovey dovey like that (ever since I was a teenager, true story!). So when I noticed that Valentine's Day was like 2 weeks away from last weekend, I thought, hey, why not do a little staycation around my city of Las Colinas and have a little getaway with my little family. Any excuse to have a little getaway, right? So last weekend we stayed at NYLO Hotel Las Colinas. And we loved it!

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I like the modern and spacious loft design, with a touch of industrial decor around the hotel. The room is just the right size for our small family. To get the glimpse of our staycation, click play and don't forget to subscribe on youtube.

https://youtu.be/o3YnIEXMz10

We got everything from waffles, chinese food, to fresh-cut tulips, turned on the TV and just chilled there. It's nice to not have to clean up and make your bed every once in a while.

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Yes, J loves his orange juice. And I love spending a Saturday, not having to worry about events and what-not. I didn't even post anything on my social media that day! I think that's the essence of 'celebrating love' - as most people believe February 14th is all about. I personally like having J with us, because, well...my love is for him too, not just for Mr. Man. And it's just more convenient to have us all together. It's just the 3 of us anyways. But whatever works for you, kid or no kid, as long as you can have a little 'sabbath' from work and routines and getaway with your loved ones.

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We talked, argued a little bit, ate, laughed, and rested. I don't know what they put in our pillows but we slept good that night. Cute coffee mug? I know! I got it from ILY Couture. It's on sale now so get it quick!

The next day, we had breakfast at The Loft at NYLO.

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And Mr.Man played pool while Jerome chilled with his youtube videos.

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If you don't have any plans yet for Valentine's Day weekend, NYLO hotel Las Colinas offers special rates starting at $199 per couple, which include a 1 night stay and 3-course dinner on the Valentine's Day eve (Saturday, February 13th) with delicious menus like Peppercorn Orange Poached Shrimp. Lamb Chops, and Chocolate Walnut Bread Pudding. Yumm!!

Book your stay now and if you don't know where to go or what to do during your stay around Las Colinas/Irving, check out Visit Irving's blog.

*in-room photos by Beckley.Co // in partnership with NYLO Hotels.