Seattle: Forza coffee

Forza is this little coffee joint, not as commercialised as a big chain but not one of those “single store” cafe. This stop wasn’t a deliberate one but I was craving for a chai latte before heading to where the tourist hot spots (Seattle Space Needle and EMP Museum) were.

Forza has an Italian origins and I remember my chai latte to be one of the best I ever had. I tried Googling for other locations nearer to my hotel but there were only a few locations available. The outlet that I popped by was near the Seattle Needle but has been reported to be closed.

There was only one other customer when I was there and it’s a great place to sit back, chill and read a book. I was quite intrigued by the decor too.

See the table?

It’s filled with coffee beans!

Check out the locations of Forza’s outlets to see if you’re near one.

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Ubud, Bali: Jangkrik Homestay

In Ubud, the most common and cheapest option for accommodation is to stay in a homestay. Typically, a Balinese family will own a compound where they rent out rooms to tourists. In central Ubud, there are so many options out there. A slightly pricier option will be staying in bungalows. There are numerous bungalow options, some come with the entire bungalow, others rooms but mostly with more facilities such as restaurants and pool.

However… please don’t trust a pool too much when you’re in Bali.

Before deciding on your accommodation, do hell lots of research and don’t rely on one review site only. Also, do note the dates of the reviews as the reviews could be outdated. Blog posts/reviews are also a great method of sussing the option out.

My criteria for my accommodation was:

  1. Relatively near to Yoga Barn (where I’ll be taking classes)
  2. Near a supermarket and Danamon ATM (My local bank has a partnership with Danamon, hence, lower overseas fee)
  3. Food options nearby
  4. Good and recent reviews everywhere (such as TripAdvisor and Booking.com) and blog reviews (I believe that if a place is good, people will write about it)
  5. Breakfast will be nice but it is not a must
  6. I can do without air conditioning but I cannot do without no wifi

I was glad to find Jangkrik Homestay and mostly, fitted into my requirements. I enjoyed my stay with the Balinese host family, Made, Kadek and their daughter, Nita (I think) and their pets.

How each homestay usually looks like, you enter through a tiny door with steep steps

Jangkrik Homestay shares the same compound with another homestay. If you book Jangkrik, the confirmation email will give you directions accordingly.

Jangkrik compound starts when you see the statue of Ganesha

There’s a gazebo on the left where you can have your breakfast or chill out for a smoke

Continue reading “Ubud, Bali: Jangkrik Homestay”

Bali post trip recap

I was kind of inspired by Eat Pray Love to do a “mini retreat” in Bali. Instead of cramming many things into a day, I decided to take it slow and steady this time. The idea was to relax and take a breather from my hectic life.

My initial idea was to do a yoga & surf retreat. There are actually numerous resorts/villas offering the surf and yoga retreat options where you get everything under one roof such as yoga classes, surf lessons, all meals, spa/massage hours, awesome villa with a gorgeous pool. Of course these comes with a nice price tag, usually about USD2.5k and up for 7 days. If you have the cash to spare, it sounds like a luxurious spend!

After much Googling and research, it looks like the only place you can possibly do a surf and yoga lessons together in one location is Canggu. And from what I read online, it looks like Canggu is more suitable for experienced surfers.

It was probably going to be crazy to do both yoga and surf lessons together at the same time so I’m glad I made the practical decision to break up my retreat into different parts. Here’s a break down:

  • Day 1: Enroute Bali
  • Day 2- 5: Yoga classes in Ubud
  • Day 6: Canggu
  • Day 7: Kerobokan
  • Day 8 – 11: Surfing in Kuta
  • Day 12: Enroute SG

I managed to keep my entire trip to about SGD1 – 1.2k including all yoga and surf lessons, food, transport, accommodation and three massage sessions. My air tickets were about $280SGD via Air Asia so all in, my 12-day trip costs approximately SGD1.2 – 1.5k which I thought was pretty okay. I think you can probably shave off  another $300 (or more) if you’re a thrifty and frugal traveler.

If I had a chance to revisit my itinerary, I’d probably have spent day 7 in Canggu and skipped Kerobokan entirely. I’ll definitely love to head back to Kuta to surf again next time.

Hope to be not so backlogged this time…

Omy Singapore Blog Awards 2014

Thank you Omy.sg for the invitation to Omy Singapore Blog Awards 2014! Congratulations to all the winners, here’s the link to the full list of winners. Plenty of new nominees this year.

The highlight of the event for me, was to meet some of the people I regularly stalk “see” online. Special shout out to Sunrise Odyssey, I’ve been reading their blog for a while, and was also inspired to go surfing at Kuta after reading about their surf adventures.

With Gina of Sunrise Odyssey

I’ve seen Gina around for the longest time but never met her properly, she was one batch my senior in secondary school then later, we were dancing in sister clubs – me in NUS Dance Blast and she in NTU MJ. Okay now, I’m starting to sound like a serious stalker…

But so glad I got to meet them (Gina and Daniel Bob – her other half) before they head off for a year traveling across Central Asia.

The theme was Derby Fashion

I haven’t been doing much blogger activities/events because I invest a lot of time/effort into each campaign. (And I never seem to have time these days.) During the period blogging for F&N Singapore Dance Delight (SDD), I was working after work on the entries, editing photos and tearing my hair out editing the videos for 2-3 weeks. There were even times, I worked during my lunch hour to get the videos done. But all is good… because I won the blogging competition for F&N SDD and will be heading to Osaka in two weeks’ time!

To be really honest, I didn’t expect to win and the competition slipped to the back of my mind. I just came back from a two week trip in Bali! I’ll be in SG for another two weeks and will fly to Osaka for a week.

This year, my goal is to… not be so backlogged (Ha wishful thinking as I’m still backlogged from USA March 2013) and do more blogger campaigns. Thank you Omy.sg for the various invitations and opportunities!

With the very eligible Hendric of Pohtecktoes.com

 

Happy National Day

This is probably the first time I’m spending National Day away from home. Usually, if I’m in Singapore, I’ll be watching the National Day Parade on TV.  My favourite part of the Parade is hearing all the National Day songs by the choir and selected singers.

My favourite memory of National Day was performing in the pre-parade segment when I was 15. It was pretty cool for a teenager then to be part of a huge performance, have endless fast food on Saturdays when there are rehearsals and hanging out with your best buddies then.

I’m such a cliche when it comes to National Day songs. This is my favourite version of Home. Happy National Day!

Seattle: Let’s go Huskies!

Sports is an unknown concept to me. I grew up with a focus on arts – I started dancing since I was a kid (on and off in my growing up years) and music was a huge part in my secondary school days. I ended up in the military band somehow (actually it was because there was no dance CCA then). Well, without music you can’t dance so I think there is a relationship there.

Anyway, it was intriguing for me to see that in USA, varsity sports is a huge thing. You support your alma mater team (most likely) and you’ll catch their games on TV/live. Watching games and matches that bit, I get it. Every four years, when the World Cup comes round the corner, Singapore gets into the football frenzy.

However, if you ask me, do I even know what’s my alma mater sports mascot… err, is it a bear? or a lion? Maybe it’s me being an ignorant but varsity sports is definitely not that big a thing in Singapore. Well if you think about it, we only have that few universities in Singapore (the official ones you can count with 1 hand, maybe two if you’ll like to include the Australian affiliated ones). The varsity games in Singapore include polytechnics, universities and vocational institutes because there are too little universities to compete within. That doesn’t make it much fun or competitive huh if you’re just competing amongst four teams.

The U District is named for University of Washington. The Huskies are what the sports team of UW are called. UW is often referred to as U Dub – which is short for W (which is pronounced as Double U).

There’s a paraphernalia store for Huskies smack in the middle and you can get all sorts of things you can possibly imagine to shout and scream your endless support for the dawgs

What’s a Husky store without some cute huskies?

 

Clothes for your huskies

I personally don’t think car plates are that a great idea, what if you’re driving in front of someone who’s supporting your rival team, is drunk and has road rage?

University Book Store
4326 University Way NE, Seattle,
WA 98105, United States
University Book Store on Google Map

Seattle: Trabant (U District)

Before I went to Seattle, I was a latte kind of girl. My friend, got me to try chai latte when I was there. It’s really hard to find a good chai latte in Singapore. The best one I had in Seattle was at this little cafe in U District, the chai latte was aromatic (which didn’t smell too herby/spiced) and the milk added to the fullness of the beverage.

Sipping hot chai latte in the cold weather was my sneaky comfort. I finished it so fast I forgot to take a picture of it. But it was a good chai latte!

Trabant was like this hipster cafe where patrons typed away furiously on their laptops. It’s complete with a graffiti filled toilet.

 

Trabant Coffee & Chai
1309 NE 45th St
University District
Seattle, WA98105
Trabant Coffee & Chai on Google Map
 

Retreat In Bali

So this is my view today while having breakfast:

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I’m doing a mini two week retreat in Bali where I’m getting lots of sleep, good food, exercise from exploring the town and yoga classes. It’s a good break for me from work since this is my first “official” holiday this year.

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Breakfast this morning

The wireless here is not the most fantastic hence, these mini updates. So, the service here is so slow too… perhaps, it’s a good reminder for me too to remember to slow down.