parangtritis, indonesia
sinaporean gov't housing
food stalls!
roadside tent restaurant // weirdo // CAT CAFE!!
pigeon guy // more food stalls! // bananas
indian ocean
random singapore x 2 // too hot for clothes dryers
beach-side horse taxis
sloooooth // serabi // hong kong congee
gardens by the bay, singapore // cheeeeeez
random singapore
singapore flora
the singapore flyer

In January, I had the opportunity to travel with Brandon to visit Singapore (where my mother-in-law lives) and Indonesia (where a lot of B’s extended family lives).  Singapore is at least vaguely familiar – I got to visit with B back in 2010, and so I was excited to go back because Bread Talk and Toast Box and all the food things. I was pretty nervous (read: terrified) about Indonesia, though. We weren’t going to super-fancy Bali, or even Jakarta; this was going to be the real deal…we were going to visit the places where B’s parents grew up: Solo and Yogyakarta.

Brief summary of my Indonesia-related nervousness: air travel (I’ve realized I’m becoming more and more of a nervous flyer as I get older…is that just me??), dengue, the possibility of forgetting that I shouldn’t consume ice or non-bottled drinks/water, getting sick because of water/the way things are cooked/stored, not being able to communicate with anyone and feeling lonely about it, and squatty potties. I know, I'm a total winner. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked when my mother-in-law decided we were staying at hotels…yes, I know, not the real real experience. But it at least lessened my squatty potty-related anxiety.

Being in Indonesia was, overall, pretty incredible. It was cool to get a small snippet of what it was like for B’s parents growing up, to meet my new extended family, and to experience a place that has been a reasonably significant part of B’s life, too. And of course, Singapore was great. We did a lot of eating and shopping and wandering and even got to see Alison, who was there at the same time for a work trip.

//a few random things about Singapore and Indonesia//

It is, as expected, super frustrating to be constantly surrounded by conversations wherein you can’t really take part. It’s also kind of funny because you do a lot of smiling, nodding, and eating instead.

So. Sweaty. Though at least in the tropics, everyone becomes a sweaty monster, so there's less shame about it.

In Indo, I actually saw a man on the side of the road with a trained, dancing monkey. I’m not joking, and it was actually far more upsetting than you would think. But also a little funny because the monkey had masks it would use, one of which was basically a hollowed out doll head.

I forgot to take pictures of most of the food that I ate. Dummy. I also learned that even with all the hype, Din Tai Fung is actually pretty delicious.

Indonesia has this food thing called serabi. Texturally, it’s kind of like pancakes, pudding and mochi had a love child – a coconutty, delicious love child. They were amazing and I basically ate an entire box of them. I need to figure out how to make them.

Some of the best food you will ever find comes from little tents, garages, and stalls on the side of the road in Indonesia. Soto mie, satay, martabak, nasi goreng, nasi liwet… they were all amazing, despite my insane (but warranted?) fear of getting sick. I ate pretty small amounts of everything and instead kind of ended up wishing I had behaved like the true fat kid I am.

Singapore is basically one part hyper air conditioned shopping mall and one part nature reserve. The nature reserve is beautiful (they have a crazy awesome zoo, too), and the shopping malls are where a lot of really good food is…visit all of it.

Last but not least...I GOT TO GO TO A CAT CAFE. #lifegoals.



HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Or, good riddance 2014!)

Happy New Year! 

I hope everyone had a fun, festive, and/or drama-free holiday season. I decided to unplug for a bit around the holidays (and by unplugging what I really mean is still taking lots of instagram photos and watching everyone and their mother announce pregnancies, weddings, and engagements on facebook). It seems, from reading peoples' reflections on 2014, most people had a pretty great year. Which is awesome (really, I'm not being snarky). But...and I hate to be that person...but I am so, SO glad to say GTFO to 2014. Not a good year over here, and I'm happy to be moving on.

I have one, single new year's resolution: do everything in my power to make 2015 as rad as possible. 

Anyway, we'll get back into recipes next week, but I wanted to share a little iPhone photo/instagram run down of the last couple of weeks of 2014. If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen some (but not all!) of these already. If you don't follow me -- please do! My handle is helloitsmel.

So, the end of the year. First, I made a lot of baked goodies for coworkers as holiday gifts. And didn't blog about much of it. But, they included homemade cheez-its, vanilla-rum caramels, marshmallows and homemade hot chocolate mix, gingerbread cookies, and the cranberry-orange-white chocolate biscotti and homemade peppermint oreos below.

peppermint oreos

We flew to California to visit home for a few days. Obviously, the very first thing we did after navigating the hell that is the Southwest baggage claim at LAX: ate IN & OUT. So good. 

in and out

We re-realized how odd my home town is. Weird signs pointing to otherwise very clearly marked coffee shops and mannequins gettin' crazy at the town mall. We had some tasty beer, and went to the Ventura Harbor. And we went to LA to see Brandon's family and afterward drove to Beverly Hills for the sole purpose of finding the Bouchon Bakery over there. Totally worth it.


Of course, we went to Disneyland. It was crazy crowded, but still fun. We made friends with goats, took a selfie on Thunder Mountain, and Minnie Mouse tried to steal my boyfriend.

disney pano

We also played a round of mini golf (which I lost), and learned how to shoot with a bow and arrow. And Brandon grilled on Christmas.

One cat had to go to the vet and was on drugs. The other one wore a sweater.

And we had an incredible dinner at The Publican on New Year's Eve!


I'll be back next week with recipes! I've got a few new ideas to work on for you all, including a cocktail of the week series and a hot chocolate/marshmallow series. You'll also notice "Sprinkles" in the top nav of my site -- that's just were all the random life and travel posts are gonna be from now on.