Secret Dreams

Just a week ago, my sister was with me in New York visiting during her spring break. I hadn’t seen her for months so as you can imagine, we had a lot to catch up on. We talked about her friends, her SAT scores, her schoolwork, etc. She will be applying for colleges soon so eventually the topic of dreams came up. You know, the dreams and wishes we have deep down in our hearts. The ones others might laugh at us for, but the ones that we think about all the time.

 What are your secret dreams?

What are the things you secretly hope will come true?

What is something you think about all the time and hope to make a reality?

What fills you with hope?

I would love to know.

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Feast your eyes on General Tso

Surely you’ve heard of General Tso’s Chicken… In fact you’ve probably ordered it before.

The fried boneless chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce, found in Chinese restaurants across the United States…  I’ll admit it was one of my favorites growing up. mmm

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I have since moved onto more authentic Chinese dishes: dan dan noodles, xiao long bao, char siu bao…ever since I found out that General Tso’s Chicken isn’t actually Chinese. Yep you heard me right (By the way, neither are fortune cookies and beef with broccoli and many more… *tear*!)

What hasn’t changed is my curiosity about Chinese food and culture- in fact it’s grown over the years. If you follow my instagram you’ll notice that I often visit Chinatown, I’m trying to pick up Mandarin and I eat/cook Chinese food in an effort to learn more and more.

poster designed by pete fallon- I love it!

So naturally, I’m looking forward to watching The Search for General Tso as it makes its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday. I’m excited to learn more about what/who General Tso is… how to make it…where it originates but most importantly, what that says about how food shapes our world or how cultures have shaped our food.

Watch the trailer below which shows you how director Ian Cheney and his team traveled across America and to Hunan and Shanghai, China to unearth the roots of this popular dish. Does the title sound familiar? It may be because you’ve heard of Jennifer 8 Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (and producer of this film). I’m guessing one day you were curious and googled where fortune cookies came from or have seen her TED talk (like I have).

I ate some General Tso’s Chicken yesterday to remind myself what it tasted like. Besides, after watching the trailer I’m not really sure how you could NOT be tempted to eat it?

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For more information about the film, visit the Tribeca Film Festival site.

You can buy tickets to watch the film here. Both the Sunday and Thursday showing is sold out, but you can join the search on Monday 4/21!

Aren’t you TSO excited!? I could watch that trailer over and over.

If you can’t wait.. in the meantime you can make some at home following this recipe here…or ponder some more food mysteries.

And of course, see what I’m up to via instagram and/or….

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Things I wish I knew when I was 22

I love getting random emails and comments from readers.  In my last post, I even offered my style advice to a reader. The people who stumble across my blog often make my day :)

Not too long ago I got an email from someone who read my Crazy Rich Asians blog post and I eventually asked him for some advice. (Yea kind of random, but you never know where a conversation will lead…)

I asked him, what are some things you knew when you were 22?

Since he is a bit “old(er)” he was able to give me this answer. (and i quote…)

“If you asked me then, I probably thought I knew everything.
This may sound cliché; but in hindsight I’d have to saystay true to yourself.  Don’t let the noise around you cause you to lose focus.  Everything will eventually fall into place.  In the end nothing else matters, you are responsible for your own happiness.  It’s all about what you want, no one owes you anything.
here are a few more words of wisdom….
You don’t know everything
You CAN say no
Do it because you want to
Travel – do lots of it
Not everyone is going to like you or be a friend
EQ is more important than IQ
In ten years time and if you still chat with me, let me know if the above held true for you :)  good times ahead….”

This didn’t come from one of the many articles you see floating on the internet about self-improvement (which I read). This didn’t come from a tv show. This came to me in an email from someone who has lived and learned firsthand.

Reading it only reconfirmed what I already knew and have read about. It was such a good feeling.
Sometimes we doubt ourselves when really we should trust ourselves more. I’m still learning to do that.

This is why I love random emails. It gives me the perspective I need, to know that what I’m doing is “right.”

If you have something to say that you think will make my day, please feel free to share! I love hearing from you.
Thank you for reading. :)
What are some things you wish you knew when you were 22?

Keep living and learning,

-AndreaM

You can always see what I’m up to via instagram and/or….

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“I am a woman in process. I’m just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience, and learn from it. Life is never dull.”- Oprah Winfrey
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Style me for: Animal Kingdom

About a week ago, I got an email from someone who came across my blog, asking me what she should wear for her family’s upcoming trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (That is what my “Contact” page is for after all….:))
As a proud wife and mother of 3, she wants to look fashionable yet functional with a unique twist. She has her itinerary all set with venues to stay and play after reading reviews and choosing attractions.  She has a lot planned forsure- eating at some of the amazing restaurants in the area, watching aworld- class show, taking the kids to the amusement park or having drinks with her husband. This means there will be plenty of fun photo opportunities!

I don’t know her personally but I was more than happy to help because I know you can enjoy yourself more if you look and feel your best, especially when you travel. I have put together a look which includes a few of my favorite things.
Here’s what I think would be a chic ensemble to take her from day to night.

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CitizenM, NYC

As someone who has lived in New York for about 5 years now… I have come to dread passing through Times Square. It’s busy, crowded, loud and touristy but of course, it is also in the center of the city making it a convenient and a must visit area.

Last Friday I was invited to preview the new CitizenM hotel. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it was new and yet another hotel in New York. Once I saw this at the entrance,  I had a feeling it was going to be unlike anything I had ever seen before... and I was right.

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I walked in and it felt like I was visiting my artsiest and most stylish friend’s home- you know, something like those homes you see in the Selby.  It also felt like a museum- a collection of curated beautiful and interesting things. The lighting was dim and set me at ease almost immediately. I didn’t feel like I was in New York anymore which was great after a long week! I must’ve looked lost because someone asked if I could be helped. (To be clear, I was in awe). Once I signed in, I was free to look around.

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Building a business (fashionable) wardrobe on budget

Building a work wardrobe on a budget is difficult, especially as a millennial-I should know! You want to develop a style that is professional but you also need to be mindful of where you work and where you are going. Sometimes you even have to think about who you are meeting!

As a millennial:

1) I change jobs sooner and more often than previous generations, meaning dress codes change and my clothes need to be appropriate for various occasions/environments.

2) I want to be professional but still show personality

3) I need clothes that go from day to night, from work to play. Simply put, I need clothes that can keep up with me.

My general rule of thumb is to look presentable and put together. This means wearing simple make up, clothes that fit and colors that flatter me. All of this needs to be within budget. Since my style is always subject to change, I’d prefer to save money where I can, and spend when necessary.

Luckily I found a brand that will be my saving grace as I start to get settled and start my post-grad professional career and the best part? They specialize in dresses, which I find to be the best and easiest option for professional/work clothes!

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Hopeful Romantic in “Marry Me”

This past weekend I found myself watching a movie that you’ve probably never heard of. It’s one of my favorite movies, partly because it satisfies all of my hopeless romantic fantasies, but mostly because it is able to express my thoughts in the most direct (albeit cliche) way possible.

(yes it is a lifetime movie. laugh all you want)

Lucy Liu who plays Rae Carter sums up my optimistic view on relationships:

Mom: So what are you looking for?

Rae: A man who is honest and kind and sexy and exciting and secure and consistent and rational and who will love me like crazy until the day he dies. I want the kind of relationship where we make each other better by pursuing our highest selves so that at the end of a lifetime we can look back at what we built and pass that onto our children who will learn lessons about love and friendship and companionship from from two people who were willing to take the leap and trust that true love is real and not just real but the most powerful thing in the world.

Mom: How long have you been like this?

Rae: All my life

Mom: I wish I had known then we could’ve done something about it.

Rae: Well it’s too late now and i’m not settling for less

And she ends up with a happily ever after!

The point is, if you want to find love, you have to believe in it first. You have everything you need if you just believe.

-AndreaM

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“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t- you’re right”- Henry Ford

When you love and you have to let go

Note: This post has gone through multiple edits within the past four weeks. It’s amazing how you can write something in one state of mind and then read it through a completely different perspective. I’m sure it will still sound a bit all over the place but here it is:

A lot has happened in my life so far in 2014. I  got to travel to cities I had been wanting to visit for the longest time (HK and Taipei: amazing)… I left a job and started a new one in a different industry… I moved into a new neighborhood with new roommates…. Even with all of these (good) changes, possibilities and responsibilities (even jet lag at one point!) I could not fully embrace and enjoy the transition and newness. Changes usually bring excitement and jitters but instead, I found myself held back and bogged down by the thoughts of this one person. Simply put, I could not get this one guy out of my mind. I was distracted. He consumed my mind for weeks and I had to do something about it for it was dragging me down and for far too long.

What do you do when you love but have to let go?

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E in NY

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On My Radar: MAKERS

March is Women’s History Month (in case you didn’t know :)). What better way to celebrate than to share the stories of women who have built the past and shaped the world?

CEO’s, designers, activists, athletes- you name it- are featured on this site I came across: Makers.com. Some you may have heard of. Some may be completely new to you.

I watched these videos while I was doing my laundry and was so engaged that I almost forgot to get my clothes from the machine! Listening to them talk about their lives and hearing what happened, straight from the source is quite empowering. It’s much more powerful than reading about it or hearing about it. The energy they exude is infectious.

These women all show that “it” is possible, whatever it may be.

I hope the videos inspire you as much as it did me!

Videos like these help me get one step closer to the answers to these questions:

What kind of woman do you want to be?

Who are you and How do you want to live your life?

 

My favorites (in no particular order) are: Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Diane Von Furstenberg and Claudia Chan.

Excited to watch the documentary sometime soon!

Which women do you look up to?

Stay inspired,

-AndreaM

You can always see what I’m up to via instagram and/or….

Don’t forget to subscribe to the right or follow my twitter |facebook to stay updated!

” A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”