Hi there! 

Thanks for stopping by :) You can reach out to me directly by leaving your message and email address on the columns on your right hand side. I will do my best to respond to it as soon as possible. 

Hope to hear from  you soon! 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Travel

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

Filtering by Category: Travel

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!

sanantonio (9 of 19)

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

screen-shot-2016-05-12-at-4-12-23-am.png

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

coverrr.jpg

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!

room7room8

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.

room1room3room2

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.

room6

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.

NYLOedited

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

NYLOedited-2

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.

 

Brunch at Cafe Henri, New York

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

As you might have seen on my social media channels, my family and I had just got back from a 5-day trip to New York City. After waiting for 4 years, we finally visited the very city where Mr. Man and I met for the first time since high school. It was amazing to come back to that city as a married couple with a kid of our own. Henri5

Now there were too many awesome things that we ate, saw and experienced there to put in one blog post, so I'm going to post about the trip sporadically. Starting with how we ended the trip : having brunch at Cafe Henri in Long Island City.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-by4fFGBQs

 

Through this post, I am also announcing that I am starting a youtube channel where I will be uploading short clips to support the contents of this blog. So for instance, if I'm posting an article here about a restaurant, you'd likely find a short video about it on the youtube channel. So please subscribe and show love :)

Henri1

Anyways, back to Cafe Henri. As you could probably see in the video, the eatery's ambience is very intimate and pretty with classic French menus that are served from as early as 8 a.m.

What we ordered :

Henri3

Le Pain Perdu aux amandes et fruits frais which is basically some fancy French Toast with Fruits and bacon. The maple syrup is bomb.

Henri2

Les Crêpes Citron Sucré which means Crepes with Lemon and Sugar. Citrusy yet sweet at the same time, just the way I like it.

Henri4

Tartine 4 : Baguette, Butter, and Natural Jams) for J. We also tried the Saumon Fumé, crème au basilic (Salmon with Basil Cream) and L’Omelette avec choix de trois (Omelette with Choice of 3) which were all amazing.

If you wanna stick to what you know, they also serve pasta and burger. But why eat a burger at a French bistro, bruh?

Anyways, what I also like is the fact that Cafe Henri is only walking distance from Long Island City Waterfront Promenade, where you can see the breathtaking view of Manhattan Skyline and Queensbridge (I like Brooklyn Bridge better tho). So yeah, we would definitely come back whenever we're in town!

A Hipster Stay. An Unexpected Trip. 

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Back in March, we have agreed to not go anywhere this summer. Why? Because we are saving up for our New York trip in December. We do not want to suffer once we get there and be 'on a tight budget'. We want to enjoy our trip, especially because NYC means a lot to Mr. Man and me. So yeah, we weren't planning to take any trip to anywhere until a few weeks ago, we got a text from Mr. Man's cousin who had just got accepted at the University of Texas in Austin. To cut cost, she had decided to fly all the way from Indonesia to Dallas. How would she get to UT? That's where we'd come in. We were to drive her to Austin. A roadtrip! Yeay! Wait, what? Doesn't that mean we have to spend some of our savings? Yup! For gas, accommodation (especially with a kid, you can't just take any room at any hotel!), and for dining. So to save money, and to try out the service we will be using in our New York trip this December, we decided to use Airbnb.

It was a decent place we rented for $90/night (tax included), with full kitchen, fresh towels, WiFi connection, and of course, the whole apartment to ourselves! This is better than hotels! Plus it was located in East Austin, only 7 minutes from UT, and also minutes away from cool restaurants.

Our host left us a thank you card, some fresh flowers, and her 'hip' belongings, like vintage vinyls, philosophy books, and organic cleaning supplies. Oh and also, J's favorite, her acoustic guitar!

Guess he was trying to do an acoustic version of a Run DMC song. haha.

One thing that bothered me though, was the fact tha the apartment had quite a few 'disturbing' images hung on the wall. Why disturbing? Because they were well...there's no subtle way to say this, but...satanic. Yes, and I wouldn't go into details. But I wasn't going to sleep with my kiddo with something like that hung beside my bed. So we put them away and we prayed over the place. Overall we had a pleasant stay regardless. We knew the One in us was greater ;)

Next time, however, I think I am going to stay with a 'regular' host and not a hipster (no offense you guys). Hehe.

Anyways, the highlight of my trip?

I would say one of them was JUICELAND. Just because it's unique, cozy, and fun. It's a perfect hangout spot that I wish we had here in Dallas.

They even have this Atari game table that you can play for FREE. And if you can top the scores, you can bring the table home! You can read my full review of the restaurants I visited in Austin on my Zomato account here.

 

The other highlight was our visit to UT. It was a nice walk around the university complex with our close friends. Glad that Mr. Man's cousin got the best tour guide too.

Oh these two boys. Aren't they adorable?

The crème de la crème of the trip though, was our unplanned stop to WACO. We were playing peek-a-boo and the traffic was bad, so we decided to just take the exit to Waco and see the whole Baylor University complex.

Right across a Baylor building, we found this amazing place called Mayborn Museum! They had a free admission that day so we changed J's diaper and went right in.

The kids section is amazing. J had a great time! They had little pretend everything like school, gas station, market, houses, everything! What a perfect place to bring your kids. And it's only 90 minutes from home. Okay well, that's far but, I would definitely come back here!

  

Too bad they were closed at 5 p.m. So we could only spend about 30 minutes in there before we had to drag J out of the building. It was nice though, to spend time with just the 3 of us. Talking about life, money, food, our anxiety, and the things we're grateful for.

 

Okay August is here, the summer is ending soon (well in Texas, the heat does not go away until October), so no more trips! New York is worth saving up for.

It is. Oh, it is.

Full of surprises. Our Little Staycation in Downtown Dallas.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Finally got a chance to sit down and post this! I've been too busy living last week, going out everyday with J, cooking some meals for women and children in a shelter with Gateway's Titus 2 women's group, and just enjoying every second without worrying about what picture to post on instagram, you know what I mean? It's pretty liberating - not streaming your thoughts and personal details to the world on daily basis and just...saying nice things like "I love you" straight to Mr.Man instead of posting a photo of him with lovey dovey caption on facebook. You know, the old-school style. Anyway...I love what I do, so this week, I'm back! At least to post this story because a lot went on during my birthday weekend. And I just thought I needed to share it to y'all.

So, I thought that my birthday weekend would be perfect - a staycation downtown, mother's day brunch, perfect weather, everything. I felt like I've earned this staycation, and I wanted to be celebrated! At least by my little family. But guess what happened?

First, we went to the famous Ellen's Southern Kitchen at West End Historical District for lunch.

IMG_1752_2

Everything was good for a few minutes, until J started to fuss and we found out that he had a mild fever.

IMG_1755_2

Oh no. "Why now? Why today?" - I grumbled. He felt very sick that I didn't even get the chance to eat my lunch (Ellen's famous buttermilk fried chicken!!), cause we had to take him to the hotel for nap. The little dude didn't even want to eat anything. He just wanted me to nurse him. With that dress that I was wearing? Yeah, it was impossible to nurse in public, so we rushed to the hotel. The beautiful Magnolia Hotel in downtown Dallas.

IMG_1760

It's a modern boutique hotel with a classic exterior (I think the building was an oil company or something). You'd recognize the building from its red flying horse light at the top. We checked in on Friday, and they were serving free lemonade and limeade at the lobby!

IMG_1759Check out that gorgeous ceiling!

IMG_1767_2

Happy birthday to Mom...Happy birthday to Mom...

IMG_1859

Oh wait, not feelin' it? Okay never mind.

J was too fussy to even do anything fun. So I nursed him and put him (and Elmo) to bed right away.

IMG_1770_2

I had planned to take a trolley and go uptown for some snacks or something. But since J's condition was worsen, we decided to stay at the hotel that afternoon. I really wanted to complain. But maybe at the second quarter of life, birthdays aren't meant to be all about you anymore. Maybe, now that you're older, you oughta celebrate your birthday by loving others. And in my case, it was my baby.

IMG_1774_2

The only thing that could soothe him besides my breastmilk? Music videos. Yes! And I'm not talking about explicit or oversexualized music videos here. They are positive music videos that I've compiled on a youtube playlist for him! (I'll share them to y'all soon). The thing that could soothe me on the other hand? Ehm...maybe some wine?

IMG_1773_2

Not a problem! Magnolia serves complimentary beer and wine (guests only) for a couple hours in the afternoon. And complimentary cookies and milk at night before bedtime! Sweet! This weekend will only get better, right?

Not really.

Because the next day, on our way to visit Dallas Aquarium, Mr. Man got a phone call from his mother in Indonesia...And we found out that...His grandmother had just passed away that morning.

IMG_1776

Again. "Why now? Why this weekend? Wasn't this weekend suppose to be a refreshing and rejuvenating getaway for us?" - I whined. Though J had recovered from his mild fever that morning, he still hadn't fully regained his strength. The rain was pouring and Opung Gendut (that's what we called Mr.Man's grandma) was gone. Perfect.

But there was no turning back. It was all happening outside our control. So we just prayed in the car, called some relatives to console them and decided to still make the most of this staycation.

IMG_1797_2

IMG_1790

We couldn't believe we were still in downtown Dallas. It felt like we were somewhere exotic. The Dallas Aquarium is definitely worth visiting! You get to see so many different animals in a very cool man-made environment.

IMG_1784_2

Btw, yes new hair. $19.95, thanks to Supercuts. Haha!

IMG_1818_2

IMG_1804_2

IMG_1795_2

Can't forget to represent ;) They have many different restaurants here, and in one of them, Indonesian comfort food called Nasi Goreng is regularly served! How cool is that!

Speaking of Indonesian comfort food, I have been craving for a Dutch comfort food that is also very popular in Indonesia (they invaded our country for 300 years plus my grandma's half Dutch so I love it!) called Bitterballen. Couldn't find it anywhere in Dallas so we settled for some good Croquette at Henk's European Deli.

IMG_1834

What's even cooler about this place is that they have so many dutch snacks and condiments that you can't find at a regular supermarket! Like chocolate muisjes !

IMG_1838

Dutch traditional spiced cookies called Spekulaas!

IMG_1837_2

And even...another Indonesian comfort food called Kerupuk!! Yeas!! They have it people!!

IMG_1842

Definitely coming back to this place more often, I'd probably try their famous Black Forrest cake one day.

Moving on to the next day, the Mother's Day, we ended our little staycation by checking out the hotel and having brunch at a health-conscious restaurant called True Food Kitchen.

IMG_1867 IMG_1872

I had quinoa pancake with Greek yoghurt and maple syrup, Mr. Man had the organic omelet with veggies and cheese, and J had the teriyaki chicken bowl. What a way to end a getaway weekend.

It really wasn't that flashy fun as I planned it to be. But It wasn't bad either. I guess the things in life, whatever they are, will only be as good as we make them.

Welcome to the 2nd quarter, Deb. Life has just begun!

Flying a Kite on a Windy Day at #ZilkerKiteFest

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

zilker8.jpg

When was the last time you flew a kite? I couldn't even remember. I must have been about 9, living in Ambon, being fascinated by this colorful flying thing that was so cheap to make. We actually made ours ourselves back in elementary school. When the Martinez family invited us to come down to Austin and visit the Zilker Kite Festival with them, we were in!

But first, we had to go through some serious drama, from icy/snowy roads with several car crashes happening, my iPhone 5 going blank for no reason, to a two-star hotel we booked from agoda.com that turned out to be very dodgy - there was never a dull moment on the first day of our trip.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetThe good thing was, we closed up the day by having some BBQ ribs and chicken fried steak at Hoover's followed by the highlight of the trip : Elaine's Pulled Pork & Pie's lime pie!!!

zilker13

zilker11 zilker14

They were so good that we got them again for our trip back to Dallas on the next day.

Anyways, weren't we talking about the Kite festival? Okay so it was windy and cloudy and just so not ideal for a day out in the park, but! We figured that it was still best to go since we were already in Austin. So we parked at Colorado road and took a $5-school bus-ride to Zilker Park.

zilker3My first time riding an american school bus.

We got there and were greeted by good music, a $4 hot cocoa, a cloudy sight of kites flying around, and a cold weather. No biggie, until J started crying.

zilker1

Yeap right after posing for the photos, he got so cold that he cried for like 1 minute.

zilker4

Ben was having fun though, he loves kites. J was too busy eating chicken tenders when this happened, the food helped to keep him warm.

The festival featured a contest with many different categories, like the smallest kite, the weirdest kite, etc.

zilker6

But we couldn't stay long enough to watch the contest, it was just too cold outside. So we focused on eating, after all festivals are all about the food trucks right?

zilker10

zilker9

This one's my favorite. The spinach and mushroom empanada is so yummy, but I bet the blueberry and mango ones are better. Too bad they didn't sell them that day.

There was also a crepe stall run by 3 deaf guys. Yes, deaf! How amazing is that? I felt so inspired of how these guys didn't see their disabilities as hindrances and excuses to not do anything with their lives. They also openly said "I'm deaf, please point at the menu" - which I thought was brave and cool.

We then headed back to Dallas, with J sleeping about 2/3 of the trip and me eating about 100% of the trip.Remember the pies? Oh yeah...

zikerpie Anyways Mr.Man was discussing deep issues throughout 3/4 of the trip. He was actually kind enough to use our savings to get me a new iPhone 5c (replacing my broken old one). He was also generous enough to get us out of the dodgy hotel we got before and moved us to a decent hotel. "Don't worry about money, your safety and comfort are more important to me," he said. Aah, isn't that what we all want to hear? :)

 

 

Houston Trip and 2015

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

A few days ago, after a 3-week visit, my parents finally flew back to Indonesia. Is that a big deal? Oh yeah, a very big deal, for me especially, because it marked the start of the new year. Everyone else in the world has probably gotten over the "new year, new me"-fever weeks ago, but I am just getting into it. Now that the holidays are officially over, we are finally back to our daily routines, a.k.a the reality again, and it's exciting! Since Thanksgiving, we had been going out and having fun a lot. And with my parents visiting, oh it got better. We ate out almost everyday, twice a day. We went shopping, snacking (Auntie Anne's, Bubble Tea, Cookies, you name it), and even roadtripping to Houston.

IMG_0115

IMG_0159

IMG_0166

IMG_0168

IMG_0164

Oh Houston, such a beautiful city. I love the bayous, how they combine the majestic sight of skyscrapers with the soothing view of trees and grass. IMG_0123

IMG_0178

Love the many good restaurants we went to, like the Elevation Burger (organic, grass-fed burgers! Vegan options available!) and Backstreet Cafe above.

IMG_0125

And the quite hotel mornings with this little dude.

And just the fact that I had my parents around to shower J with love - it was priceless.

But as I said from the beginning, it's time for us to get 'serious' again. Get back to being just us again. To start again.

I love new beginnings, especially the new years where we can set our priorities straight all over again, we get to remind ourselves about what we really want to achieve as a family and as individuals this year, and to actually plan to cross them off our list.

I have been so busy, daydreaming about working creatively with local Dallasite or actually just any awesome people out there wherever they are, through blogging, writing, instagramming and taking pictures. But now that I've thought about it, and meditated upon the fact that I've been too into it, I have decided to not get too crazy about it. I mean, it's not wrong to get serious and work hard to achieve your dreams, but I have to take it easy and put my family first. Because in the end, they are the ones who love us and need us the most right?

So yeah aside from blogging actively, exploring Dallas, and meeting new people, I have been focusing on other important things, like introducing a new habit to my family : JUICING.

Screen shot 2015-01-29 at 10.39.14 PM

Yes, thanks to Joe Cross, we are now convinced that including juice as a part of our daily diet is very crucial to get more nutrients (micro-nutrients, to be exact), vitamins, fiber, and tons of other benefits from consuming veggies and fruits. We tried to fast but we couldn't really do it, so we have decided to just cut our daily animal product intake like cheese and well, beef, while increasing organic plant-based food and beverage intake.

So now, I buy a LOT of fruits and vegetables each time we go grocery shopping. And most of them go to the juicer. We bought a new juicer from Hamilton Beach and it works amazingly (plus, it's affordable, hello).

I am practicing my handlettering and mobile-photography now, it's nice to find ordinary objects and turn it into beautiful photos.

IMG_0283 IMG_0286 IMG_0288

And last but defintiely not least, a new project I'm working on with Chicha, called Mamarantau. A Website dedicated to indonesian moms who are living overseas with their families, where they can share info, ideas, and stories to others.

Screen shot 2015-01-29 at 11.11.53 PM

Pretty cool huh? So if you know any, please let me know so I can contact and interview them. If you don't, just show love and visit the blog, follow on instagram, or like the fb page, will ya?

On top of it all, I have signed up for classes at YMCA, am planning to get pregnant again, AND to contribute to an Indonesian magazine soon. What?? I know, I've got a lot on my plate, but I will try as hard as I can to not bite more than I can chew.

Wish me luck, and happy new year! (or Chinse New Year, if that sounds more legit to you hehe).

 

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.

austin1

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.

austin2 austin3

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).

austin5

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.

austin4

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!

 

austin8

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.

austin9

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

austin10

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

austin11 austin12austin13

austin17

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).

austin16

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.

austin19

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.

austin21 austin22 austin23 austin24

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!

IMG_1414   Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetaustin25

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!

IMG_1440

IMG_1442

IMG_1446

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.

IMG_1452IMG_1462 IMG_1463

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.

 

Traveling to a Remote Area with a Toddler : The Checklist

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

riatrip3.jpg

as told by Ria Sarwono Traveling with toddlers can be very tricky. That's why when I saw pictures of this momma traveling with her kid to a remote area, I immediately contacted her to see how she managed to do that! And "these are the things that you never want to miss when you travel with them", she said.

riatrip1

 

1. The Right Amount of Comfortable Clothes
riatrip6
Day 1: tops & bottoms + tops & bottoms in case he gets wet + tops & bottoms in case he peed himself (or any other accident)

Bring a lot of diapers, and the older they get the less amount of clothes you need to bring.

2. Kid-friendly Fever / Common Cold Medicine
We will perfectly know the condition of the body and their stamina. We might have picked the wrong flight, so pack your meds!

riatrip2

3. Snacks & Finger Food
Cbb (Ria's boy) loves to eat milk crackers such as Marie Regal. Pack lot's of them!

riatrip5

4. Pre-packaged Food
Since it's a remote area and you don't know if whether your kid might like the food or not, compromise and pack up some pre-packaged food (the ones you can just heat up on the microwave). Keep it simple!
5. Books
Not iPad but books. They will keep your toddlers busy. Trust me.
riatrip3
Above all, my experience with Cbb to Flores (it was the first time I had ever traveled without my husband, just the two of us and a couple of my besties) has taught me that traveling with toddlers is a #rapopo trip. Meaning you have to be so patient and ready of whatever's coming. It's an up-and-down experience, emotionally and physically. But look at the bright sight, cause what I've gained from the trip was a deeper understanding towards my son, and him towards me :)