Family trip: Part Two – Grand Canyon

5 – 6 November 2017

On the third day of our trip, we took a stroll around the Mandalay Bay hotel to visit the wave pool before we checked out. It was non peak season, so not all the pools were open. Took us a while to find it since the place was huge. Love the sand that was around the pool!

We took Uber out to the car rental place. Rented a Cadillac for the rest of our trip since I found a good deal online, and I wanted it to be comfortable for my mum since we will be driving a lot. Before we headed toward Tusayan Arizona, we drove to Island Malaysian Cuisine to have some food that Larry and I really miss from Southeast Asia.

These are dishes that we would not be able to find in Oklahoma unless we drive four hours to Plano, Texas. I would be able to cook these noodle dishes, but I can’t seem to find decent packaged noodles at the Asian supermarkets in Tulsa. We also popped by a few Asian bakeries because we can’t get them in Tulsa. Do you see a trend? Haha, we were trying to eat everything we miss from Singapore.

Thus, with our multiple pit stops, we were driving most of the four hour drive in the dark. We missed out on the amazing view there, and only arrived in Tusayan Arizona around 10pm. By then, most food places were closed other than McDonalds. We rushed over to eat before we head back to the hotel.

I decided to book the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn because it was a short 13 minutes drive to the Grand Canyon, and there are some food options around. I contemplated staying at Flagstaff instead because it is a bigger town that is one and a half hours drive away. The drive on US-180 from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon looks scenic too, especially with the view of Humphreys Peak. However, I just went with the shorter distance because we still have a long road trip ahead.

The next morning, we headed to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center before having coffee and a quick bite at Bright Angel Bicycles & Mather Point Cafe. I did some online research on which trail we should go for, but it was so difficult to decide! We eventually randomly decided on the Bright Angel Trail that day.

Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon

As you can see from the photo, the view was breathtaking! I wish I trained up my stamina before this trip. The hike was tiring for me, as the path gets steeper the further you get. I was also letting fear get the better out of me because the path is not very wide and there are no barriers. Carrying a backpack and a heavy DSLR camera definitely didn’t make it any easier for me. Thankfully we went during the off season in November because there weren’t as many people.

I took it slow with my mum and we only made a round trip of 0.9 miles. My brother and Larry made it till the two mile mark before they made their way back. They said it got warmer as they went down. I was glad they felt like they got a workout with their 4 miles hike because I didn’t want them to feel like we are holding them back. I was also glad we packed lots of water because we finished every bit of it.

Time-Lapse at Grand Canyon Nov 2017
Took a time-lapse while waiting

Time flew by while we were hiking. It was close to sunset, so we drove over to the Dessert View Watchtower after our hike. The view was different there, and it was nice to see the river at the bottom. I really want to kayak in the Grand Canyon one day!


After chasing the sunset along the Grand Canyon, we went to We Cook Pizza and Pasta for some food. As expected, it was quite a pricey meal since we were kind of in the middle of nowhere. We got 10 wings, a large pizza and Alfredo fettuccine to share between the four of us. Wish we just bought wings and the salad bar for all of us instead!

We took a walk around Tusayan General Store to look at souvenirs before driving back to our hotel. The best part about staying at Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is the indoor pool and jacuzzi! It was so relaxing to chill at the pool and jacuzzi after a full day at the Grand Canyon.

Our visit to the Grand Canyon was actually my dad’s bucket list. I wish cancer didn’t take him away from us in 2014. He would have totally enjoyed himself. Larry and I both thought it was more beautiful than Niagara Falls.

Appreciate every day you have with your loved ones! You never know when it would be the last day.





6th Week of 2018

5 – 11 Feb 2018

Chinese New Year in Oklahoma, USA

Yet another week has flown by. Chinese New Year is on 16 February, so I have been putting up some decorations for it because it has been a tradition for me when I lived in Singapore. We didn’t drive out to Oklahoma City this year to shop for more festive decorations, so I just make do with what we have.


I found this set of Chinese New Year decorations that look so cute, but they have sold out already! Not too sure why I took so long to decide.. They weren’t too expensive either. I guess it is just hitting me how difficult it is to live in a different environment. That is growing up though, isn’t it? The older we get, the more we realize things and people are different from us. I will share my favorite Chinese New Year snack once I finish baking them. It is quite a tedious thing to bake, so I hope they turn out ok. (I’m not the best baker.)

Met up with my gardening friends at White River Fish Market last Friday. It is always a blast to chat with them because they are as enthusiastic about gardening and cooking as I’m. The broiled flounder that I ordered made me realize that I probably only like my fish fried with no breading or steamed. Haha, steamed fish is something I’m sure lots of you will not comprehend unless you are Asian or has lived in Asia.

Flounder at White River Fish Market Broken Arrow

2018 Gardening - Seeds Amy gave me
Check out all the seeds my friend gave me! How generous of her.

Lastly, I will end with a cute photo of my dog because I’ve been lazing around with her when I really should be doing more spring cleaning. Base on Chinese superstition, you need to get the house in tip-top conditions, so that you have “room” to bring in all the good luck for the new year. I need every excuse reason I can find to tidy up the house which really isn’t that bad other than my desk.


Coffee & me

How do you drink your coffee?

I like my coffee with lots of milk. Skimmed milk because I can’t taste the difference between skimmed and full milk, and it’s healthier. Thus, my drink of choice is iced lattes with a single shot of espresso. I get a little wonky (caffeine high) if I get a double shot latte.

It actually took me a while to like coffee. I always thought coffee tasted nasty because all I have tasted was the black coffee my parents drink every morning. I’m not sure when was the turning point. Maybe after I tried my first latte or mocha frappuccino? I may have wanted something strong to keep me alert while at work, and it just slowly grew on me.

Here are some neat things I have learned about coffee:

  1. Warm espresso drinks should not burn your tongue even if you drink it immediately.
  2. A good cup of espresso drink should taste good enough with or without sugar. A frothy milk will also add sweetness if you choose to have it in your coffee.
  3. Most iced espresso drinks are made with double shots of espresso. Sometimes Larry and I will buy a cup of latte, and we would get a cup of milk so we can mix and split between the two of us.
  4. If you drink espresso drinks very often, you should consider getting an espresso machine because it can cost lesser for you long term.
  5. An espresso machine needs to be cleaned after every use unless you get a Keurig or Nespresso machine. You need to do some research to decide what kind of espresso machine would suit your needs.
  6. I lucked out and found a Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine for $25 on Facebook Marketplace. I was planning to buy it from another lady for $100, but did another search to find the identical model for cheaper. (She may not have gotten many hits because she did not include the brand and model in her description.) Look out for good deals online because there are people who do not use their espresso machine often.


I’m a tea addict

Saw this Boba Bae sweatshirt  that I really want on Instagram! Not that I can afford $40 USD + $7 shipping but a girl can dream.

Let’s talk about boba tea. Have you tried it before? It’s a Taiwanese tea-based drink that was invented in 1980s. I used to call it bubble tea but it felt like most American places call it boba? I just realize the New York Times refers it to bubble tea in their recent article that sparked some virtual outrage. Hmm now I am a little confused.

Anyway, I was surprised to see how the editor seemed unaware of the drink that has been around for a long time, especially if she lives in the East Coast. Granted, she was posting on the Entrepreneurship section instead of Food.

Now, if she lives here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it would have been the other way around. I would think less than half of people living in this town has tried it. There are only around five places here that sell boba tea that I was actually looking into setting up a boba tea franchise.

Honestly though, it is both a blessing and a curse that I have not found a boba tea place I like here. As much as I am incredibly jealous of the wide variety of boba tea that the bigger cities get, I’m a tea addict that would spend way too much on them. I used to drink like one every day. Look at my excitement when I found my favorite boba tea place in Plano, Texas.

If you are new to boba tea, here are some of my recommendations.

  1. Try the classic flavor first.
    It is good to know how the OG tastes like, and it’s the safer choice as a first impression. That means it’s Milk Tea or a boba tea infused with black/red tea or Jasmine green tea.
  2. Go to a reputable outlet if you can.
    As with all caffeinated drinks, the quality varies. You would have better luck trying it at a well reviewed place. So far, I’ve only been to two that I like in Plano, Texas. I’m sure there are plenty more that I’m not aware of. My favorites are Gong Cha and 85°C Bakery Cafe.
  3. There will be toppings you can add in your drink.
    The boba in boba tea refers to chewy tapioca balls that are often added. You can ask for lesser boba if you are unsure, or try some jelly instead. There is also nothing wrong if you don’t add anything to your drink. I usually drink it without any because that’s added sugar that I don’t need.
  4. You are usually able to choose the sweetness level of your drink.
    That’s actually one of my favorite part of boba tea because I can choose to have it at 25, 30% sweetness. With that said, try it at at least 50% for the first time unless you always have your coffee/tea without sugar.

That’s it!