Snapshots:Brooklyn’s Famous Christmas Lights

I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the Christmas Season , so I thought I would share some photos from my night out in Brooklyn’s famous Dyker Heights Neighborhood.  Every year, scores of visitors flock to see the neighborhood’s … Continue reading

Help Me Plan the Greatest Summer in NYC (And Life Update)

It’s happened again.

Months have gone by without me posting a single thing. At least this time , it was for a good reason.

As the regular readers know, I came back from Korea a while ago and since then, have been trying to readjust. I was able to explore the States a little , bounced from one freelance gig to another , and finally started taking strides to do something I’ve been planning on doing since college: have a career in the publishing industry.

It took about six months, an unpaid internship, a few weeks of commuting from Philly to New York almost daily, and dozens and dozens of applications and interviews. At last I’m finally settled with a great job and a great temporary apartment. Since everything changed practically overnight ( I went on an interview, started working the next day , and after losing several apartments , found the best one yet and moved in hours later) I felt like I haven’t really had a chance to breathe until recently.

Now that I have free time again , I can devote it to Girl and Her Pink Backpack.

I have a  lot to update you all on. There’s a whole Caribbean vacation recap to finish, a very yummy ( and my first ) review, some tips and guides, and a whole summer ahead to share with you in New York.

And speaking of a summer in the city, I’d like to create content you’d all enjoy reading. So vote below and tell me which New York Summer Destinations you’d most like to hear about.

Ready? I am!

Bye,Philly: The Road to South Korea

My last week in Philly was supposed to be epic. I was going to do so many things and have so much material for this blog. I planned out a week that included seeing the Liberty Bell, stopping by the Edgar Allan Poe House, a photo next to the Declaration of Independence and finishing it all up with one more night on the town in South Philly.

Instead , I did a lot of cleaning, packing, and stocking up on deodorant. Then  I had family to say goodbye to, friends taking me out for farewell drinks, and on my very last day-I just wanted to sleep in my own bed one last time.

However, I did manage to fit some exciting things in my last weeks at home .

My friends took me to Korea Town in NYC to prepare. We stopped by the Mandoo Bar and I had my first taste of Korean food. It was pretty good but I must say-the food here in South Korea tastes better. Maybe it’s just the environment? 

Mandoo Bar 

2 W. 32nd St( Between 5th Ave and Broadway), NYC

Kimchi

Kimchi

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Mandoo

Miel Patisserie 

204 S. 17th St. Philadelphia, PA

Back in Philly, a high school buddy and I tried out Miel Patisserie, a bakery in the downtown area. The prices here are a bit high for the small pastries but they’re pretty rich. You can probably get a coffee drink and a sweet or two for under ten dollars. It’s a nice place to come for a quite chat or to catch up on some work alone. They also serve lunch here so that might be another option.

Macaroons and Latte

Macaroons and Latte

Vango Lounge & Skybar 

116 S. 18th St , Philadelphia, PA

Next up we stopped by Vango Bar. I was bit skeptical about this place; they have some pretty horrible reviews on Yelp.com but my friend had a Groupon special and cheap drinks are better than none. Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised. The staff was nice and courteous, the drinks strong and generous, and the food was the best I had in a long time.We shared four small plates of spicy tuna roll, vegetable dumplings, grilled claims, and teriyaki chicken. It was delicious-especially the  sushi. The decor is pretty special too-glass bottles are actually built in to the wall and illuminated and instead of chairs, there are couches for you to recline on. If you want a party, I suggest coming during the weekend after 8pm. If you just want to relax and enjoy your company, try a weeknight or come before 7. We visited during the slow hours and found everything to be great.

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Why I Blame Disney for My Wanderlust

In one of my first posts, I described succumbing to wanderlust after a semester abroad. The need-not desire but need- to travel was so intense and abrupt that I figured it was some minute part of my DNA that was bound to overtake me one day; I would have been attracted to a life of traveling even if I had never left my hometown.

Then, I spent a day re-watching some of my favorite Disney movies. In an afternoon I watched a misfit find happiness in Paris, an orphan travel from the UK to New York City in an oversized piece of fruit, and a long-lost king reclaim his throne in Africa. That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t born to travel. Disney brainwashed a sense of travel into me! To be honest, it was through their movies that I was first exposed to the far away places I desire to experience now. While the movies aren’t the most accurate of travel guides, they introduced me to foreign landmarks and cultures that I would later recognize during my travels. The stories -as outlandish as they were- got my imagination going and made the unconventional career of a professional traveler seem possible.

I’m not quite there yet but another thing that Disney taught me is that the unusual always wins. Especially if there’s singing involved.

Below are the top 5 Disney movies responsible for my Wanderlust .

5. James and the Giant Peach

imdb. com

imdb. com

This story of a neglected orphan who, along with a handful of insect friends, travels across the sea in a giant magical peach always intrigued me for some reason. This was probably my first encounter with NYC being the “land of dreams” and the happiness James and his new family finds there is enough to make the city seem magical to young and old.

4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

imdb.com

imdb.com

When I visited the Notre Dame Cathedral last year I wasn’t thinking about how beautiful of an archaeological feat it is. I took one look at it, pointed, and squealed, “Quasimodo’s House!”. I was around 5 when this movie came out so it was probably my first introduction to Paris, the Cathedral, and Victor Hugo’s tale of the deformed bell-ringer who lived inside its towers.

3. Mulan

thepinkexpat.com

amazon.com

I was obsessed with Mulan for years and had the collector dolls to prove it. The most memorable scene for me is of the title character defeating the villains with fireworks in The Imperial City. I see other bloggers documenting their visits here and can’t wait to do the same.

2. Aladdin

amazon.com

amazon.com

I never knew the exact location of Aladdin but it’s obviously someplace in the Middle East. My favorite scene is when Aladdin takes Princess Jasmine on a magic carpet ride around the world. They pass by the Pyramid, watch the fireworks over, the Forbidden City, and even see some future ruins of Greece.

1. The Lion King

thepinkexpat.com

amazon.com

The lucky animals in this movie not only talk but also live among some of the most beautiful backgrounds in animation history. Because of this movie, I’ve always thought of Africa as a lush, beautiful place. When I do get to Africa, I want to go on a Safari and, most likely, I will be the annoying one calling all the lions “Simba”.

What movies inspired your travel addiction ?

3 Ways to Spend Christmastime in New York City

Back in NYC, Christmas is once again in the air. The coffee shops I love to frequent have added yummy seasonal treats to their menu, window displays are decked out with fake snow and giant bows, and ,of course, one can’t … Continue reading

My New York

There’s something lovely about living in a new place. The process of the unfamiliar becoming the known is so interesting to me. All of a sudden your feet known the way home all by themselves and you’re on a first name basis with the cashiers at the drugstore. The best part is seeing how much you’ve grown post move. Since moving back home in July, I’ve been thinking about how different I am now than I was when I moved to New York four years ago. For one, I hate not being able to walk. Car dependency is so inconvenient. I also learned that despite what my family thinks , quiet little me can, and actually prefers to , make it on her own.

It’s always the places that make a neighborhood feel like home so below are some of the places that make New York City feel like home to me.

1.Café Bacio on 3rd between 71st & 70th

  2.Central Park ( 60th St. Entrance)

©http://www.centralparknyc.org/

 3.Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market 116th St between Malcolm X Blvd & Madison Ave

Picture from NYC Mag

 

4.New York Public Research Library 5th Ave & 42nd

5.Stumble Inn Bar on 2nd Ave & 76th

6.The Union Square Area 

Afros and Mohawks in Brooklyn, NY

This past weekend I visited my old stomping grounds and decided to stop by the Afro-Punk Music Festival. I was drawn to the festival because my favorite band, Gym Class Heroes , were scheduled to play but cancelled due to … Continue reading