Gardens and Chocolate Photography Tour

As part of my photography group, we visited the Gardens by the Bay and the Cheese and Chocolate Bar at the Marina Bay Sands in December. The Gardens by the Bay is a new large park in Singapore with flower domes, super trees, sculptures and paths. We only visited one area of the park and I am looking forward to going back. We went in the late afternoon evening and were able to do the sky walk and view the light show at the super trees. Afterwards, we visited the Cheese and Chocolate Bar.  It was located at the top of the Marina Bay Sands and you had a pretty amazing view. The pictures at the chocolate bar are not the best, sorry, I think I was too excited to start eating! I can’t wait to go when we have visitors! Enjoy the pictures!

Gardens by the Bay

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The Chocolate and Cheese Bar

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My Plates-Don’t Judge!

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My Experience: Thaipusam in Singapore

**Disclaimer: This post has some pictures that display a variety of cultural body piercings. This might make you queazy.**

IMG_6395Last Friday, I was able to attend a Hindu festival here in Singapore with a bunch of friends. Thaipusam is a symbolic Hindu festival celebrated by Singapore’s Tamil community. It is an annual event that has a procession from one Temple to another where they seek blessings, fulfill vows and offer thanks. Walking in family units for  4.5 km from one temple to another, they carry milk pots and Kavadis for offerings. Some devotees also pierce their tongues and bodies.

This was a fascinating experience to attend.  I started at one temple observing different family groups preparing for their walk. I then stayed by one family and watched them through the entire process. I observed the process of body piercing. It was amazing to see their devotion, emotion, and pride. After wards, I walked the 4.5k along the route observing other families.

IMG_6475Preparing
IMG_6484 IMG_6490 IMG_6497 IMG_6500IMG_6517 IMG_6540 IMG_6542 IMG_6552 IMG_6556 IMG_6559 IMG_6572Some were very ornate. IMG_6427 IMG_6435 IMG_6418 IMG_6427 IMG_6448 IMG_6452 IMG_6456 IMG_6460 IMG_6593 Nails IMG_6602 He danced the while way. IMG_6616

Lombok, Indonesia: Part 2

Continuing with our Lombok vacation we spent some a lot of our time relaxing. Our relaxing vacation included reading, sleeping, eating, and drinking!

Most mornings we at our breakfast ocean side. It was an awesome view!IMG_0004_2 IMG_5756 IMG_5759 IMG_5978

Each evening there was a Happy Hour from 5-7 with buy one get one free special. We frequented this daily. Taylor’s drink of choice was a Singapore Sling and I often got a pineapple mojito. The drinks were made using super fresh fruit that was squeezed. They were tasty!IMG_5846 IMG_5847

One night, there was a large beach BBQ for dinner. We had a nice table set up ocean side and had a lovely meal.
IMG_6012 IMG_6018 IMG_6019 IMG_6021We spent  time getting some spa services. The spa had so many offerings and things were inexpensive by my standards(60 min massages for $30.) I frequented the spa often and Taylor even enjoyed a treatment. I started with a  manicure and pedicure, Taylor and I both got a Balinese messages, and then on the last day before we left I also got another Balinese message along with a body scrub. One day I got a massage on the beach for $10. It was not as good at the spa on the property but for $10 you couldn’t beat that price!IMG_0015_2IMG_5781

One morning I took a cooking class and learned how to prepare traditional Indonesian cuisine. It was exciting to learn with the chefs and get a sneak peak behind the scenes of the resort. I really enjoyed the class partially because was the only student plus it only cost $35, we got to eat all the food I cooked for lunch and I got an apron to keep! I prepared Nasi goreng Idgo, Sumatra Udang Balado, Sambai Banteng Ngangak, Beef Rendang, Peanut Sauce, Soto Lamongan, Sambai Laos, Sambai Tersai Bakar.IMG_6039 IMG_6040 IMG_6041 IMG_6042IMG_6044IMG_6043Taylor took some surf lessons on the beach. It cost $20 for as long as he wanted to go. He was pretty impressive and got up on the first try!IMG_6052IMG_6065IMG_6186IMG_6168In Lombok, we bought a few souvenirs home with us. I bought beach wraps from the ladies selling on the beach. They carried the stack around on their heads, it was so cool. We also went in to the closest town for about an hour and bought some artistic pieces to bring back like a wall wood carving, a large wooden bowl, a statue, etc. There were a lot of cool pieces, but we need to be able to bring it back in our luggage! IMG_6248That about rounds our our Lombok vacation! Hope you enjoyed!

Lombok, Indonesia: Part 1

For the Christmas holiday Taylor and I traveled to Lombok, Indonesia for a relaxing six day break. Lombok is about a two and a half hour direct flight from Singapore. Here is where it is located on a map(blue dot.)IMG_0021_2We stayed at a resort named Qunci Villas near the town of Senggigi. We really enjoyed staying here and only left the property once to do a little shopping. They had three resturants that served really good food, three large pools, and a spa. We really didn’t need much more that that!

Our Room IMG_5702 BathroomIMG_5706 IMG_5707 The View from the Edge of the BedIMG_5709

Our Arrival Fruit Plate
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Our Villa(Bottom Level was Ours)

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The property had some great artistic pieces, here are some examples of things that were spread throughout. IMG_5768 IMG_5769 IMG_5778 IMG_5779 IMG_5795

The first few days we had a bunch of rain which was a bummer, but it did not deter of from relaxing one bit. Finally, on Christmas Day the sun was out and it was beautiful the rest of the week. It was sad not spending the holiday with our families and our usual traditions. There was a large Christmas Eve set menu dinner, but we did not take part in it because we did not like the food that was being offered(venison, fish and something else we wouldn’t eat) and ended up going to one of the restaurants for their regular menu. It was a pretty low key Christmas talking with family via FaceTime(we love technology!), sitting by the pool and ending with dinner and a nice sunset. We ended up having Asian food for our Christmas dinner, it was pretty tasty, but we missed our traditional  favorite meals with our families!

Decorated Tree 
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FaceTime with Families
IMG_5982Our Holiday Meal
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To round out today’s post, I’ll leave you with some pictures of the amazing sunsets we saw. In these pictures, Bali is the island that you can see. Next week, I’ll post more about the food we ate and the really fun activities that we did!

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Happy 2014!

Good bye 2013, hello 2014! We hope everyone had a safe and fun New Years.

We have had an extremely exciting 2013 with travel, weddings of family and friends and of course our big move to Singapore. It’s hard to believe that we have been living here for 6+ months already. Here are few of our favorite memories captured from this past year!

Our Spring Break Caribbean Cruise(March)
CruiseOur Trip to Savannah for a Friend’s Wedding(April)IMG_0852

Camping(May)Campfire hot dogs for dinner the first night.

A Friend’s Wedding in West Lafayette(June)The Purdue Gang

Our Big Move to Singapore(June)We arrived!

New Experiences Abroad(June)photo (20)A Family and Friends Trip to Nantucket(July)IMG_1380Camping and Fishing with Family(July)IMG_1512My cousin’s Wedding in Indianapolis(September)
IMG_9077Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reef(Novemember)P1000719Visiting Sydney(November)IMG_5137Our Lombok Christmas Trip(December)IMG_6026

2014 looks like it will be just as exciting as 2013! We have some exciting trips planned in the next few months, visitors will be heading our way, and we have a trip back to Chicago in June. Towards the end of the year, Taylor’s project will be wrapping up here in Singapore and we will be on to our next adventure.

Happy New Year!

What did you do to ring in 2014?

Next week I’ll post about our trip to Lombok, Indonesia!