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

Filtering by Tag: Family

A Little Pre-Valentine's Day Family Staycation

Debora Manusama-Sinaga


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


1st Roadtrip of 2015 : Awesome Austin

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Ah, the new year is here. The holidays are over. We are back to the 1st month of the year again, along with new sets of goals and expectation we (or maybe others) usually set for ourselves to be fulfilled in the next 11 months or so. For me, it's the time to improve. And it started with our very refreshing roadtrip to Austin on January 2.


I wrote in my 2015 time capsule (a piece of paper where we write our hopes and wishes for the upcoming year, put in a sealed envelope that is to be opened on thanksgiving day - we just started this tradition thanks to Gateway Church, pretty cool right?) that I am hoping to be a better companion and partner for my husband this year. I even specifically wrote that I wanted to learn to respect him more. However, when the picture above was taken at the 'Greetings from Austin' mural, I was doing completely the opposite.

We were having a huge fight over a misunderstanding caused by my false assumption. We were screaming, J was crying, it was a mess. But then Mr. Man reminded me to not give up on this commitment, and that we can work it out if we really want to try.

So we talked it over, I apologized, he apologized, we hugged, we laughed about it to the point where we realized that we needed to eat. So we went to this famous doughnut truck for a start.

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Having seen it on travel channel and all over the internet, we were blown away by the deliciously fat (yes the doughnuts are big and fat) 'Granny's Pie' (on the left in the picture below) and 'Flying Pig' (on the right in the picture below).


You can't really see the doughnuts cause they are buried somewhere beneath the toppings, but I can tell you that they are GOOD. Seriously. A must-eat when you are in Austin!

Now that the sugar has melted our emotions away, we were in desperate need of some savory delicacy that we immediately found in Elizabeth Street Cafe.


The $8 banh mi was delicious, the Cafe Du Monde-brand Vietnamese coffee was also good (as usual), the place was pretty, perfect for family brunch. Next stop, The Oasis!



Not impressed by the food at all, but the view was pretty awesome. I said pretty awesome, and not really awesome, because it was foggy outside. We couldn't see the lake at all, but I bet it looks beautiful in the summer. Oh well, at least we can cross this one off our list. And at least J had fun with his pal, Benjamin.


Before checking into our hotel, we decided to have some pork ribs at County Line BBQ on the Lake.


Wait till you see the view at the back of the restaurant.

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It was so nice to see hills, a river, a lake and those many trees for a change. Here in Dallas, it's all flat land filled mostly with buildings and cars (not that I'm complaining or anything, I still love the big D).


Yeah my little man loves his pork ribs. I had to bathe him afterwards because the sauce was all over his face and sweater.

With that big of a dinner (or actually, pre-dinner, we ended up eating pasta just 2 hours after), we expected something lighter and healthier for breakfast the next day. Well, since we're traveling with my 'hippie' friend, Karen, we went to the most awesome Wholefoods store I have ever been to.


It's huge with so many different options of food to eat! From pizza, pancakes, tacos, sushi, ramen to fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies! I had pecan pancakes (not a good choice, the texture was weird to me) Mr. Man had pizza topped with some Green Goddess juice. yumm...

Since it's our 1st visit to Austin, we figured that it's best for us to go to the touristy spots, just to, again, cross them off our list. So yes, the picture below was taken in front of the UT tower and a George Washington statue.

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Ah yes, the first group photo with the Martinez. I am so grateful for our friendship with this lovely family. Looking forward to growing together this year (and to visiting Mexico, weekend hangouts, roadtrips, etc of course).

Next stop, the Capitol building!

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Stunning isn't it?

Now the Martinez decided to leave earlier. But we were in no rush. So what did we do? We ate some more good food of course!




You can find just about any food on trucks in Austin, from raviolis, shoarma, frozen hot chocolate (a.k.a iced chocolate). tacos, to thai and indian food. Make sure to check out this list here before you visit the 'weird' capitol of Texas (the motto of the city is literally, "Keep Austin Weird", probably because it is the most un-texan city in Texas - with its nature, arts, and hippie culture and all - I'm not sure).

And for nerds or history-fans like Mr. Man and I, make sure to download the Historic Austin Tours app right here. It's pretty cool, pointing us to the direction of old historic buildings around downtown Austin. Like the Driskill Hotel in the picture below.

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We had some coffee and banana split at the 1886 Driskill Cafe & Bakery, did number 2 (seriously, this is crucial, especially when you're about to go on a 3.5-hour drive), took some pictures and said goodbye to this delightful city.

Short. Refreshing. Inspiring. and Filling - just how a roadtrip should be.

Now bring it on, 2015. We're ready for you.