Travel Guide: London 2017

I am finally able to post my London Travel guide. I got back from Europe in September and had a whirlwind of additional adventures that delayed this post. That being said, here are my top recommendations for London!

1. citzen M, bankside

20 Lavington St, London SE1 0NZ, UK

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My absolute favorite about the hotel was the bed. I know this sounds pretty mundane but if you've ever slept in a crappy hotel bed, you'll know what I mean. This giant XL King bed pushed all the way up against the window was by far the most comfortable I've ever been in making for the most peaceful nights. Can we also talk about the black out blinds? This was crucial for midday naps to escape the jetlag. 

I highly recommend opting for the breakfast buffet in the lobby. You can people watch through the floor to ceiling windows and enjoy a full English breakfast with an assortment of house made jams. They also have a fridge in every room (that they restock!) where everything is FREE. FREE. 

Finally, they do have more than 1 location in London if Bankside isn't your jam. Their Tower of London location has incredible views!

2. Fortnum + Mason

181 Piccadilly | Fortnum & Mason, London W1A 1ER, England

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You can't go to London without experiencing high tea! So many people recommended Fortnum & Mason to me so I had to check it out. They are unique in that they offer a "refillable" aka "all you can eat" food service. You can choose between savory or sweet. If you go with another person, you can pick both savory and sweet and share with one another. 

Be sure to make a reservation and allot time to check out their shopping area. We purchased most of our gifts from Fortnum as they offered a wide variety of teas, biscuits, and gift sets. If you're worried about luggage space, they also have an online store. 

Be forewarned it's not cheap but totally worth the splurge to feel like royalty. 

3. The Shard

32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK

While the sometimes frugal Asian in me tends to stray away from sightseeing that costs money, I'm so glad Willy encouraged me to fork over the entry fee to the Shard. The Shard is a modern vertical building with incredible views of London.

The Shard comprises 25 floors of high specification office space, three floors of restaurants, the 19-floor five-star Shangri-La Hotel, 13 floors of residential apartments and London’s highest public viewing gallery.
— https://www.the-shard.com/shard/level-guide/

4. Borough Market

8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK

Sadly, the food in London was a bit rough for me. Rough in the sense that most of it was in short, awful. The Borough Market however, was incredible. This huge outdoor market featured some of the best food I had in London. Located in the Bankside area, you can stop by before or after the Shard. They are walking distance from one another. 

Some of the highlights were: Scotch Egg from Scotchtails, an assortment of fresh seafood, Salted Caramel Stuffed Donut from Bread Ahead, and Beef Steak Pie from Pie Minister

By far the best however, was the Pork Belly sandwich from Roast to Go. "A sandwich of pork belly and crackling with bramley apple sauce is the crowd-puller, but there’s much more besides: rib of beef with horseradish, roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing, rare breed bacon butties."

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5. Buckingham Palace

Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, UK

We got super lucky that we visited London during the time that Buckingham was open to the public for tours. It was incredible seeing such an iconic landmark in person, let alone to be able to tour inside. The audio visual guide was included with the tickets and made you feel like you were on a personal tour. You aren't allowed to take photos inside but it's just like you imagined a palace would be. The dates for 2018 are July 21 - September 30. If you happen to be there in the summer, definitely check it out!

6. Dishoom

Various locations. 

I'm a huge fan of Indian food and up until Dishoom, I thought I'd definitely had the best Indian food in LA. I was clearly mistaken and Dishoom needs to come to LA. We got VERY lucky and happened to walk in and found ourselves first in line. From what I hear, the wait tends to be LONG. You can also make reservations which is highly recommended. 

We went to the Covent Garden location and it's a two story restaurant and the tables are pretty small. Overall, rather snug but honestly worth the claustrophobia. 

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My absolute favorite item that we ordered, and according to Yelp, a crowd favorite. Chicken Ruby: A good and proper curry redolent with spice and flavour. Tender chicken in a rich silky ‘makhani’ sauce, best mopped up with a Roomali Roti. 

7. SkyGarden

20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF, UK

This beautiful indoor garden hosts 3 stories of restaurants, bars, and viewing terraces. If you're looking for something hip and cool, consider checking this one out. I went to Sketch and was sorely disappointed with the food and service. Price points are similar but Darwin Brasserie (make a res) in SkyGarden has amazing service and delicious cocktails. The food was good, not super memorable considering I don't remember what I ate. The best thing to do here is drinks and views. Possibly the only rival to the views at the Shard. 

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Happy travels!

xo Jenny

JENNY LYComment
Delicious Little Tokyo Jul 21 - Jul 23, 2017

One of my favorite areas to visit in LA is Little Tokyo. There's always something exciting going on whether it's a fun festival or spotting people dressed as their favorite anime character. But let's talk about the real reason I love Little Tokyo, the food. The area is filled with everything from Traditional Japanese Cuisine to new age Fusion Food. Essentially, there's always something for everyone. 

This week from Friday, July 21 -  Sunday, July 23rd, Go Little Tokyo celebrates their 2nd Annual Delicious Little Tokyo which highlights all the delicious food and drink Little Tokyo has to offer. There are tons of workshops, tastings, and culinary celebrations going on all weekend. Baldoria is offering a pizza workshop - yes please. There's even a spam masubi making class!

Check their website for more details! Hope to see you there! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite moments from my most recent trip to Little Tokyo. 

Romper c/o Gear Relapse

Romper c/o Gear Relapse

Have you had the Takoyaki or Mitarashi Dango? One is fried octopus balls and the other is sweet sticky mochi on a stick. Both are my favorites! Get them at Mitsuru Cafe in the Japanese Village Plaza Mall. They also make these delicious red bean cakes called Imagawayaki. 

Afterwards, we went to the popular Cafe Dulce. They made incredible donuts and have refreshing coffees and teas. My favorite donut is the Strawberry Cream and Cinnamon Toast Crunch but you HAVE to get a half dozen in you plan on taking a cute photo. Obviously! They'll be hosting a latte art competition during Delicious Little Tokyo. 

I always finish off my Little Tokyo experience with a Pinkberry. Maybe because it's right by where I park and manages to lure me every time. Either way, I enjoy my original tart with strawberries, mochi, toasted almonds, and yogurt chips. 

xo Jenny

DETROIT TRAVEL GUIDE: Ford House + Best Paella

For the past three years, my sister has been finishing up her final years of training to become a full fledge practicing cardiologist complete with all the boards and bells and whistles. Her schooling and education has brought me to cities I never thought I'd visit. While I'm glad she's coming back to SoCal, I will miss my annual trip to Detroit.

 

Here are my current favorites from my last trip to Motor City. Ps, I never did run into Eminem. 

SHOPPING

1. Somerset Collection

2800 West Big Beaver Road Troy, MI 48084

c/o The Perna Team

c/o The Perna Team

With over 180 stores, the Somerset Collection has literally everything you could want. Stores range from Neiman Marcus to Lush to a new ginormous Zara coming soon. Also, the food court here is pretty incredible. I'm in love with Zoup! which is basically a soup heaven. 

 

2. Regeneration Clothing

126 E. 14 Mile Road Clawson, Michigan 48017 + 

23700 Woodward Avenue Pleasant Ridge, MI 48069

c/o Yelp

c/o Yelp

Per my previous post about buying and selling new & used clothing, I'm a huge fan of second hand stores. Regeneration has really great finds and the prices are insanely cheap. I scored a Marc Jacobs denim skirt for $6! That's crazy. That same skirt would have been $50 in Los Angeles. 

DINING

3. Vicente's Cuban Cuisine

1250 Library St. Detroit, MI 48226

@thedailyjenny

@thedailyjenny

Downtown Detroit has come such a long way and I genuinely love strolling the streets and trying out the restaurants. Upon arriving, my sister took us to this Cuban restaurant that serves up incredible paella, among other delicious tapas. We got the Cuban Style which has lobster, shrimp, calamari, scallops, Spanish sausage, chicken, clams, mussels, vegetables and Spanish saffron rice. Huge chunks of seafood served with super moist rice. Yum!

A few tips, you should call your paella in 30 minutes before you plan on arriving to the restaurant because it takes 30-45 minutes to prepare. Additionally, the paella is sold by the serving. The above is technically for two people but our family of four split it up with tapas and salads too. Each serving is about $30. 

 

4. Cotswold Cafe

1100 Lake Shore Rd, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236

Only open for lunch, the Cotswold Cafe is the best spot to go enjoy a piece of automotive history and a delicious selection of seasonal entrees. Located on the Edsel & Eleanor Ford's estate, the menu features delicious salads including the Maurice Salad, made famous my Hudson's department store. While they take great care into the details, like custom $500 chairs, they will be closing for TWO years to remodel. So go ASAP. Or check availability if you plan on going this year. They will return 2019. 

 

5. Eastern Market

2934 Russell St. Detroit, MI 48207

The Eastern Market is a large semi-outdoor market with artisanal foods + crafts. Saturdays are the foodcentric day so be sure to go then. You can find anything from fresh churned honey roasted peanut butter to little meat pies. In short, it's a huge farmer's market but Detroit style. I dig it. 

SIGHTSEEING

6. Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

1100 Lake Shore Rd, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236

After a delicious brunch at Cotswold Cafe, you need to sign up for the Ford House tour. Edsel is the only son/child of Henry Ford. He and his wife Eleanor left their house to the city as a museum. The guided tour takes you through the family's day to day life and shared lesser known fun facts.  The house is beautifully preserved and is embodies so much American history. After all, Ford Model T anyone? My first car ever was a Ford so it's like coming full circle!

Have you been to Detroit? What would you recommend?

xo Jenny

JENNY LYComment
Social Media Monday: Lucie Fink, xofashionica, How I Built This, Poshmark

It's not secret that I'm on social media & my phone - a lot. More than I'm honestly thrilled to admit. There are pros to my inevitable carpal tunnel though! I have a slew of favorite Youtube channels, Instagram accounts, podcasts, & apps that I adore. So here's to another segment of my blog I'm naming Social Media Monday where I share my current internet favorites just in time for the start of your work week full of long commutes and traffic jams. 

Youtube: Lucie Fink

image c/o: instagram.com/luciebfink

image c/o: instagram.com/luciebfink

On my flight home from Detroit (travel guide coming soon), I explored their "Series" television and something possessed me to click on the image of this adorable, smiling girl. The title was "Try Living with Lucie" and I literally had zero expectations. What I got was this charismatic, hilarious, pizza loving New Yorker who tries tons of trends and documents them for Refinery29. Topics include, not washing your hair for 10 days, eating pizza everyday for 5 days (sign me up), and 5 days of no sugar (hard pass). She also manages her own channel and is a self proclaimed stop motion goddess. I normally hate Try It videos because I feel the participants are scripted and spewing random comments for reactive value. But Lucie is so genuine. I just want to be her friend. The best kind of people honestly. So Lucie, when can we get pizza and make chocolate?

Instagram: xofashionica

I honestly am so obsessed with this little human whose creativity I cannot get enough of. She's got impeccable style that mixes unique thrift finds (see her Youtube channel for Game of Thrifts) and on trend pieces I can only dream of pulling off. Also, can we talk about her gorgeous AF hair? Literally, Nica, are you an Asian unicorn? Teach me your ways! I always feel so inspired after looking at her Instagram and for good reason. She takes great care into each and every detail of every photo. A true creative who constantly broadens her horizons. Also, girl loves to eat and eat well for that matter. You are my kind of people!

Podcast: How I Built This

I'm fully aware this podcast is not new. In fact, there's a great playlist of episodes for you to binge on (always half full amiright?). The podcast is however, new to me. I think NPR basically rules the pack of informative podcasts. How I Built This is no different. It focuses on entrepreneurs and interviews them on exactly what the title says, how they built their businesses. From Sara Blakely of Spanx to Nolan Bushnell of Ataris then later Chuck E Cheese, How I Built This inspires me to work harder and build my social media to something more than a collection of photos. Also, I'm a nosy biatch and I love to know how people did what they do. So this podcast is totally up my curious alley. 

App: Poshmark

Poshmark is an app (and desktop site) that allows you to buy and sell both new and preloved clothing. While some people buy wholesale and start boutiques, I think the majority of people are selling from their personal collections. I've been selling my preloved clothing, shoes, accessories for years. Literally since I was 14. I started this journey on ebay and was religious to it for years (basically up until this year). But as of late, their seller protection has been complete shit and as a result, I've chosen to close down my ebay operations. I've also tried all of the in store resell boutiques like Buffalo Exchange and Wasteland but they take so much of your potential earnings, it's literally robbery. I can honestly write an entire blog post on how to resell your clothing and make $$$. Let me know if that is of any interest to you and I'll gather all my experiences. 

I've been selling on Poshmark for 6 months now and there are so many little tricks that I've picked up that have helped me sell over 300 items that otherwise would have continued to collect dust. A few reasons why I love Poshmark. 

1. Amazing buyer AND seller protection.

2. The ability to negotiate and make offers. 

3. You control your pricing and can list items at your leisure. 

4. You can transfer your balance directly to your bank account whenever you want. This only takes 1-2 days to process. 

If you love Poshmark too, leave me your closet handle so I can check out your store! 


What are your current social media faves? Let me know!

xo, Jenny

Food For Thought: Don't Call Me Lucky

I've talked myself out of starting this segment on my blog where I talk about things that don't necessarily garner tons likes and positive comments for fear that people (you) would think I'm a dick. Well the truth is, I speak my mind in my regular life and for some reason being so public has caused me to shy away from that.

I'm starting Food For Thought where I dish on feeding the mind, and not the belly. 

And now...

Don't call me lucky. Luck is hitting 21 at the blackjack table or finding a $20 bill on the floor. That's luck. I will say that in many aspects of my life, I have been lucky. Lucky to have been born to a family of hard working immigrants who've supported me my entire life. Lucky to have been born in the United States where I have opportunities to go to school and not have to carry sacks of rice for pennies like my dad did in Vietnam. 

When I say, "don't call me lucky" - I'm referring specifically to my achievements in life that I have worked very hard for. Namely, Instagram and food blogging. I've been at it for about 5 years now and more seriously the last 2 years. On multiple occasions, people in my daily life have said that I'm lucky, identifying some of the perks of being an Instagram influencer/blogger. I didn't say anything at the time because I was taken aback. Not sure if I should be offended or just say thank you. I've given it a LOT of thought. Vented to Willy and best friends about it. And now I'm ready to address it. 

I love this. And so that there's a least one photo in this blog. I found this on Tumblr. 

I love this. And so that there's a least one photo in this blog. I found this on Tumblr. 

"You're so lucky you get to eat at all these restaurants."

Do you remember the last time you ate a meal? Did you have to rearrange all the table settings and rearrange the plates a dozen times before it all fit into a the perfect 1x1 or 4x5 frame? Do you have to awkwardly smile at the waiter as they watch you deliberately not eat your food so you can get the perfect flatlay? Did you wait until the food was room temperature before digging in? Did you take 10 interruptions to Instagram story each and every plate, geotagging the location, adding a time stamp, meticulously placing each caption and racking your brain to think of something witty only to come up with - DINNER TONIGHT because your mind isn't working because you haven't eaten yet and you're starving and all your food somehow ended up on the floor because the lighting was better than on the table so now you have to get on your hands and knees while other patrons stare at you like you're literally Tarzan incarnate? Yeah that was last night for me. 

I love my restaurant visits and I am so grateful that restaurants and PR teams invite me to try out new eateries and revisit some old time faves. It probably is the best perk of all of this. That being said, there is an expectation that as a food blogger, I will blog about it. I will share my favorite dishes with my followers and hopefully help bring more awareness to the restaurant. So yes the meal is comped (the tip is not; FYI fellow food bloggers), but it's not so that I can just relish in the abundance of food. It's so I have something to review and the restaurant has someone to review it. It's a win win. 

"You're so lucky you don't have to pay for any food."

This isn't even true. I do pay for food and voluntarily as a matter of fact. For one, I don't want to be jungle dining every meal so sometimes it's nice to just order your food, have it arrive, and eat it while it's still hot. Ya know, that old school vintage experience. Also, not all the restaurants I like work with food influencers. I'm talking to you Sugarfish. I didn't start food blogging because I wanted free food. I did it because I love food and love sharing what I'm eating and enjoying. So if I limited myself only to media meals, I would never get to eat at some of my favorite restaurants again. Plus, I really don't think Alberto from the taco cart is on Instagram. 

Also, if I did a media visit at a restaurant and loved it, I have no problem going back and paying to dine there. For instance, I love The Village in Studio City and had my rehearsal dinner there because I wanted all my friends and family to enjoy one of my favorites too. 

"LUCKY! Brands just send you stuff?" 

Stuff isn't just sent to me for kicks. Brands reach out to influencers with product in hopes that they will review the items, love it, and share it with their followers. When you buy a pair of jeans or get a manicure, there is an exchange of goods/services for your currency, in this case money. The concept of a brand sending product is exactly the same. They are exchanging their goods for our currency which in this case is review, photography, sharing, and/or our time.  

It's great to have a different currency to play with but again, it's not "free" because let's face it, nothing in life really is. 

"They just pay you to take photos? Lucky!"

Yes they do. Just as you would pay a professional photographer to take your wedding photos. Or take family photos at JC Penny. It's not a new concept for people to be paid for their photography. In the age where everyone's phones are armed with state of the art dual lens, depth effect cameras, I think we forget that photography is still an art. A career. Perfecting angles and studying lighting and editing. Everyone has a unique style. 

Instagrammers and bloggers have been able to turn it into a lucrative business and that should be applauded. Also, cameras are expensive AF. All the lighting and additions are expensive. I just shelled out over $200 for a textured surface. A surface! Not to mention how many plates and utensils I hoard in my poor kitchen cabinets. So yes, they do pay us to take photos. Because we are professionals and that's what you do when you hire someone for their services. You pay them. 

Calling someone who has worked very hard "lucky" discounts everything they've done to get to where they are. Trust me when I say no matter how well you may think you know someone on the internet, you couldn't possibly know everything. Everything they've struggled through. Their countless rejections or disappointments. Brands refusing to pay you for your work. The amount of time it takes us to edit a photo. The impending struggle of doubting your own work and creativity. Because we don't share these things. At least not all of them. Creative people poor their souls into their creations so when the content is rejected, it literally hurts. So please be mindful of how you choose your words. While the intent isn't to harm, it comes off that way. And listening to my good friend and fellow influencer, Corey Marshall's podcast interview, I know I'm not alone. 

Grateful.

So what do I consider myself? Grateful. Grateful that I have a passion for creativity and expressing myself through photo. Grateful that my hard work has manifested opportunities I could have never imagined. I always take a step back, look at Willy and say, "When you met me, I had cataloged all the happy hour menus in the area because we were so broke and it was the only way we could eat out on dates." I really don't know how many more times I can say that I'm grateful - because I am. I'm excited to continue working hard, forging relationships with other creators and exciting brands, traveling the world to share my love of street food and culture, and growing myself personally and professionally. 

So thank you for reading this. For following me. For supporting me. For helping make my foodie dreams a reality. 

xo, Jenny

 

 

JENNY LYComment