Tokyo!

While it’s still snowy out here in Kiruna and we’re looking at a year of staying home, I’ve been going through pictures from our 2019 Tokyo trip.

After both wanting to go for years, we finally did it and we had an amazing time! It was our first trip someplace where we didn’t know anyone and we timed it so we could meet up with some friends from the States on their own trip to Japan.

We had such a good time that we’ve pretty much abandoned all ideas of going anywhere else on vacation and can’t wait to be in Tokyo again.

Tips! You can preorder your wifi! We picked it up at a Lawsons in the airport, this handy little gadget you stick in your bag for your own traveling hot spot. Google maps was amazing for getting around and navigating the trains, I would not want to find myself without internet. And then before we went home, we just put it in the included package and stuck it in the mailbox at the airport.

Tips! Don’t go in the summer. I grew up in California but this was a different level of hot. I had to give up wearing makeup because it was just melting off of me. Phong and I are not warm weather people, we prefer light jacket weather and no direct sunlight. That being said, we STILL loved our trip. That’s how great Tokyo was.

We went a little bit of everywhere. I absolutely loved the subway system. It was so easy to get around. Harajuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara were Phong’s favorite areas for the shopping. I liked Asakusa and Odaiba. The train to Odaiba was my favorite. It goes above ground and has beautiful views.

Tips! Travel with Phong. He doesn’t handle directions or any of the business side of traveling, but he’s a delight and he carries your luggage! And he’s so photogenic!

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Northern Lights Tour

My mom and stepdad visited us in Sweden for Christmas and New Years and I tried to take them on some truly Swedish adventures. One of those adventures was a Northern Lights wandering out in the arctic wilds near Kiruna.

I had to ask Linn (@booksnknitting) how to take pictures of northern lights and she talked me through setting up my camera with screenshots to help.

We went out with Britt from Guide in North and it was amazing! She met up with us and provided a bunch of winter clothes. After we suited up, we drove out of the city and into the dark. Already there were some waves of northern lights in the sky. And then we got into the sleighs behind scooters and went out onto a frozen river, farther out into the country.

The lights were amazing but I was even more blown away but just how many stars we could see. Britt even pointed out mars, winking red at us.

We saw a few moose, who stopped to stare back at us for a while. I did not get a picture of them. I happen to be weirded out by moose–they absolutely give me the heebie jeebies BUT my mom and Papa Pat got a kick out it.

Just when we were freezing our toes off, the tour continued up to a little cabin where we got to warm up by the fire, eat some food, drink some tea, and even have a bit of cake.

The lights were incredible, moving from one side of the sky overhead and to the other. It seemed like as soon as you marveled in one direction someone was pointing out the lights in another.

I don’t think Phong and I would ever have done anything like this if we weren’t entertaining guests.

If you find yourself in Kiruna and have any interest in going out to see the lights or look at moose or go fishing, I can’t recommend Guide in North enough. Britt and her husband were absolutely amazing and we had an evening we’ll never forget.

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From California to Sweden~What I miss and what I don’t

-Things I miss about California-

Halloween. It’s not really a thing in Sweden and I miss it. Growing up, we went to the pumpkin patch every year to pick out our own. My mom’s rule was that we could get any pumpkin we wanted, so long as we could carry it back on our own. I miss the haunted houses and adorable kids trying to remember what to say after getting up the nerve to ring the doorbell of a stranger.

Thunderstorms and downpours. I miss walking in it, garbage cans being swept down the street and getting soaked to the bone in a minute.

Cereal. I know that sounds silly. Of course, there’s cereal in Sweden but it’s healthy. They seem to think breakfast isn’t supposed to be dessert. Nonsense.

The smell of rain on hot asphalt.

Taco Bell. Don’t judge me.

Thanksgiving. Not actual Thanksgiving—just that week we get off from work/school. I miss that week…

Conversations with strangers. Yes, I’m one of those people that have a one-time interaction with someone in a line for coffee. It turns out that might be an American thing. Swedes look at me like I’m crazy sometimes if I try to talk to them in line. Even if I’m just giving them a compliment!

Target. It’s a recent infatuation but oh how I long for her. My desire is real, and it is red.

Roadside strawberries.

-Things I don’t miss about California-

The sun. I don’t tan, I just burn, and that’s hard living if you’re in California.

Apples that look perfect but taste like nothing. I’ll take the ugly little apples in Sweden any day.

It feels like all the cafes are Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong, I like Starbucks just fine, but Sweden is busting with privately owned cafes with their own bakeries and it’s amazing.

Public transportation. Outside big cities, it gets real sketchy real fast. Everyone has to have a car. My home town didn’t even always have sidewalks or crosswalks. You just had to get a ride to the other side or try making a run for it.

Did I mention the sun? I once burned my eyelids standing on a beach for five minutes talking to my aunt. Eyelids. Burned. Madness.

The spiders. Have you seen a wolf spider before? Google it if you want nightmares.

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NYC Food Adventures

We were in New York City for a handful of days in January this year and tried some great food. Here’s our favorites!

To know: We’re vegetarian. The regular kind. No meat but yes please to dairy and eggs.

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Bare Burger

BareBurger was great! It’s a burger chain. Super cute restaurant if you want to sit in and eat. We took ours to our hotel room because it was super close and pretty much scarfed everything down so fast that I barely got a picture.

They had a bunch of choices for burgers from patties (meaty meaty ones if you prefer!) to sauces. We also got fries, onion rings, brussel sprouts, and a bunch of dips. There were also milkshakes but they didn’t make it into a picture.

 

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Mökbar

Find it. Eat it. Do it. It’s in Chelsea Market and crazy busy and loud but it’s so worth it!IMG_6650

Phong is always on the hunt for noodles and was really pleased with these ones.

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Dumplings! I am such a sucker for dumplings. I could eat them all day long. I have before.

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And while Phong was after the noodles, I was after these. Disco fries. DISCO FRIES. French fries in a RAMEN GRAVY with kimchi on top! This was the first time I ate fries with chopsticks and have realized that if you don’t need to eat your fries with chopsticks, your fries are missing something–ramen gravy and kimchi. This was one of my favorite eats on the whole trip.

 

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The Cinnamon Snail

All vegan! I know, I was skeptical too, but while vegetarian isn’t always vegan, vegan is always vegetarian, and we love a restaurant with more than one thing we can order!

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There were also doughnuts in this mix, to be found in the previous blog post…

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My burger had jalapeno macaroni and cheese on it! And no, I have no idea what it was since it obviously couldn’t be actual cheese (vegan), but I don’t ask how the wizard does his magic. I just eat it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Phong’s burger was called a Sage burger and, I’ll admit, it was better than mine. Though I love the idea of jalapeno macaroni and cheese, it was the kind of hot that stains your mouth and makes other flavors impossible to taste.

Don’t get me wrong though, I ate the whole thing happily, but I also stole a couple bites of Phong’s.

 

 

More posts to come! Likely food related. Why is that all I take pictures of? I have more pictures of cake than I do of my own face. But let’s be honest, would you rather see 10 cakes or 10 pictures of my face? It’s cake right? I don’t blame you, I pick cakes too. <3

 

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Doughnuts in New York City!

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Doughnuts! It’s taken me six months but here’s a post from our US trip and it’s all about doughnuts!
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While in the States we visited NYC for the first time and of course had to try some doughnuts. Honestly, wherever you go, you should probably try some doughnuts.

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The Doughtnuttery makes these tiny little doughnuts and then tosses them in flavored sugar. Yummy and adorable but doesn’t exactly hit the doughnut craving spot.

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Dough Doughnuts was legit. Huge gooey doughnuts with the super soft fluffy dough.

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Phong loves all things coconut so he had no trouble choosing.

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Mine was so gooey it almost wouldn’t photograph.

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And lastly was Cinnamon Snail. All vegan but amazing! That raspberry chocolate beast there was mine and it was epic! Obviously, the toasted coconut one is Phong’s and the almond we ended up with because of a misunderstanding. All doughnut misunderstandings that result in MORE doughnuts are 100% okay.

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That’s Phong eating the shit out of my doughnut. Look how angry he looks! It’s so good it makes you angry. Who knew a vegan place would bring out our inner beasts?

More NYC food posts to come! <3

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