Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Crazy for Crazy Rich Asians

2018 was one hell of a year. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their big royal wedding, the Obama portraits were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery and my favourite Disney star and singer Miley Cyrus married her hunk of a beau Liam Hemsworth. Another huge pop-culture moment that defined 2018 was the theatrical release of Crazy Rich Asians!

I had not read the book, so I wanted to read it prior to seeing the movie because I refuse to let the movie ruin a good book for me. Truth be told, it is rare for a movie to capture the spirit and charm of the book that is based upon. In this case, the movie did not do the book justice, but that is alright because it helped achieve other amazing milestones. The Crazy Rich Asians movie boasted an all-Asian cast, bringing much-needed diversity to Hollywood. Not to mention, this rom-com was an absolute international sensation! 

Singaporean author Kevin Kwan does a marvelous job at creating the lavish world of the rich secretive families of Singapore. The store revolves around Rachel Chu who is supposedly just the average typical Chinese American aka not a crazy rich Asian. She is an intelligent economist and is a professor at NYU. Nicholas Young her love also happens to teach at NYU too and they live together in a tiny apartment. It is pretty weird that they keep their spending modest and that he hides the fact that his family is absurdly wealthy. The book portrays his family to be stupidly rich, so it is so bizarre that he keeps this opulent insane family an absolute secret from Rachel. 

The author has taken a lot of time to develop intricate family trees and yes, you are literally provided the family trees at the very beginning of the book which I myself referred back to many times! The family dynamics are what really drew me into the story. You too will find yourself flipping back to them as it takes some time to become familiar with all the families and who is married to who and who their kids are etc. The lineages are also important because a lot of the story revolves around one particular family. 

One particular thing that I found myself growing tired of was the constant mentions of brand names. It goes without saying that the families are wealthy beyond imagines, so they obviously own a lot of luxury goods. But beyond the first couple of chapters, the use of luxury names as descriptors for what they are wearing, or buying, or owned really did not add to the story very much. Just became a constant reminder that items crafted by the likes of Gucci, Oscar de la Renta or Alexander McQueen will never be everyday names for me. Needless to say, it got annoying!

Aside from the constant luxury brand name dropping, the book was written extremely well, often using elevated diction. It was a great read and I found myself completely engrossed in it while bussing to school or during my breaks. The intricate family trees brought an added layer of complexity. The best part, I was never able to predict what would happen next! Which made the book all the more interesting and fun! 

As I had mentioned earlier, the movie did not entirely do the book justice. The book has a lot of interwoven storylines which did not translate well onto the big screen. Thankfully my favourite character, the "evil" mother, Eleanor Young was impeccably portrayed! YAY! 

I am currently making my way through the second installment of the trilogy and thus far, it is just as exciting and fun as the first. I will keep you posted on my thoughts when I finish China Rich Girlfriend. 

Hopefully, I did not give away too many spoilers to those who may have not read or seen the movie yet! I highly recommend the read.


Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Blossom at Metropolis Art Installation

The sun is shining, the clouds are parting and the early signs of cherry blossoms have begun to appear! I am happy to report that Vancouver has brushed off the winter cold and is welcoming the beautiful warmth of Spring. In fact, today was gorgeous out and I found myself turning off the heater and opening the sunroof in my car because believe it or not, I was hot in my car. 

Cherry Blossom season in Vancouver is one of my favourite times of the year and I look forward to it after our long cold rainy winters. I probably take an excess of 500 pictures of the blossoms every year because I find them so beautiful. Furthermore, Cherry Blossoms are delicate little flowers and are around Vancouver for barely a month. The soft fluffy pink flowers bring smiles to everyone's faces in Vancouver and did you know, Vancouver and Victoria are the only cities in all of Canada that have the iconic pink flowers! 

To welcome the Cherry Blossom season in Vancouver, Metrotown Vancouver with the help of HFour, a Vancouver-based interactive arts company, has transformed the Grand Court into a stunning display of cherry blossoms! Nearly a quarter million blossoms are hung from the ceiling and are framed by massive metallic orbs that from afar almost look like magnificent silver clouds floating on branches of pink blossoms. It is honestly the most striking and ambitious installation that I have witnessed to date at Metrotown. What makes this installation unique is that a huge part of the work is suspended from the ceiling; therefore, patrons are able to see it from the second and third-floor balcony too! 

If I had to describe it in under 10 words: Larger Than Life Cherry Blossoms on Silver Clouds. 

The installation is not just above our heads. If you head down to the Grand Court, the floor has been covered with faux grass on which several large metal orbs have been affixed to and cherry blossoms circle the base of each ball. Since the balls are metal and metallic, it acts like a mirror giving the illusion that the installation is infinite. The balls on the ground are huge and visitors are encouraged to take a seat on one of the pink benches and gaze into the balls - perhaps it will reveal your future?

These mirrored spheres are magnificently huge and the largest has an impressive diameter of 4 meters across and is part of the overhead installation. 

The installation is truly unique and is something you will want to catch a glimpse of in person. You should head to Metrotown soon because like with all great things, the installation will be wrapping up at the end of the month, March 31st being its final day at Metrotown. 

Blossom at Metropolis is also accompanied by several workshops that will be running throughout the month of March. A couple that I myself am really interested in attending are the brush lettering workshops as well as traditional paper cutting. However, knowing my schedule, I am probably going to be far too busy to attend one the which makes me sad. Hopefully, you are able to go for me! 

You are probably curious as to where I got a kimono from to wear in the pictures. I was lucky enough to attend Blossom at Metropolis' media launch party at which they had traditional Japanese dancers as well as snacks and cocktails. A few of us were lucky enough to be outfitted in a kimono! I instantly gravitated towards this kimono because I personally find peach, pink and gold to be an elegant trio of colours. I do not believe the particular kimono I wore was made from silk, but if it was, that kimono in those colours would have been breathtaking. Also, can we take a moment to talk about what it takes to wear a kimono! It took three women to tie my kimono and they used some considerable force when tying the knots. It was fascinating how precise each fold and knot they made was. After they were done, I felt like I had just been outfitted into a corset because they really pulled the obi (the sash in the middle) tight! 

My friend Maggie from C'est La Vie Maggi attended the event with me and she too got to wear a kimono. Maggie has written a post on Blossom at Metropolis too, but unlike me, she posted about it a week and a half ago! 


Saturday, 16 March 2019

Happy 4th Birthday BLOG!

Happy 4th Birthday to my Blog! After a rough third year filled with setbacks, constantly being sick and switching jobs, I never expected to make it to year four. I am glad that I hung in there. Even though I wish I was able to put out more content, I am glad I focused more on the quality, so the small number of posts I did, I was really happy with them!

Going into my fourth year as a part-time hobbyist blogger, it is my hope that I am able to increase the frequency of posts. My ideal goal would be to post twice a week, but it is going to be a challenge as I actually do have a full-time job and attend school part-time. 

I really wanted to throw a big birthday party for Pink Tea Latte's 4th Birthday, but alas, I have been run down with the most brutal viral imaginable. So party planning was out of the question. Perhaps I will do a little something in the summer when Vancouver is finally sunny and beautiful. Stay tuned for that! 

In the meantime, I still had to celebrate this big milestone somehow, so I decided to bake a giant cookie cake! I have been seeing these cookie creations all over Instagram and even considered getting one for my 25th birthday. They are so freaking cute! 

I went with a simple sugar cookie from which I cut the letters and giant four freehand. Aside from a couple of wonky letters, my freehand cutting was pretty darn good. The top of the cookie is frosted with a fresh whip cream that I lightly sweetened with icing sugar. I used a big round tip to do the big dollops and then went in with a star tip to add some more texture. I wanted to keep the decorations simple. Obviously fresh strawberries and raspberries because they are my favourite fruits to use in desserts. I also used chocolate crisp pearls which are madly addictive. The crisp pearls are cereal covered in chocolate. If you live in Vancouver, you can get them from The Lazy Gourmet which is basically the best cookware and artisanal ingredient store ever! Now a Pink Tea Latte cake would not be complete without a touch of pink which is where the sprinkles come into play! And since I love yellow gold, you know I could not resist adding a little bling with gold balls. 

Thank you for always supporting my little blog! 


Monday, 11 March 2019

Riz Sushi Serving Up the Freshest Sashimi in Vancouver

When it comes to Sushi, Vancouverites are definitely spoiled as the city boasts a staggering number of Japanese restaurants, both high-end such as Miku and fast-casual like Togo Sushi. But as our fondness for Japan's most iconic dishes has grown, so has our appetite for quality sashimi. Over this past year, our craving for fresh fish was appeased by the influx of Poke Bars. But that too has become boring for our ever-evolving palettes.  

This is where Riz Sushi comes into play. Riz Sushi is literally at the cusp of Vancouver, a tiny storefront on the corner of Renfrew and East Broadway. Owner Keith invited me down to Riz Sushi for a taste and perhaps even a little education on Chirasi! 

To the average foodie, like moi, the Chirasi Don looked like a Poke bowl, but the similarities basically stop there. Poke hails from Hawaii and means "to cut." Small cubes of fish are marinated and served on a bed of rice with a vast variety of toppings like edamame, sauces and pineapple. 

Riz Sushi serves the Chirasi Don which originates from Japan! Chirasi in its simplest form is fish on rice in bowl form aka a Don. Owner Keith takes care to select and import the freshest whole fish from Japan and the whole fish is expertly broken down by the chefs at Riz Sushi. Since Riz Sushi has a massive catering aspect to their business, they go through the fish in a matter of days, so all of the fish is extremely fresh. Did I emphasize that enough? The fish is hella fresh! 

On offer is a build your own Chirasi bowl, so select your favourite pieces of sashimi. During my visit, Keith made me a bowl with his favourite pieces of fish. The bowl was stunning to look at. Beginning at the ikura (orange fish roe - little balls) and going clock-wise we have Hokkigai (looks like a pretty orange claw!), Japanese Hamachi, Salmon, Albacore Tuna and the crowning jewel in the middle, the Otoro (fatty pieces of bluefin tuna). 

Full Disclosure: I do not eat raw fish; however, I did bring a friend that loves sashimi and I trust his opinion:

--- The Albacore Tuna was the best albacore tuna he has had to date in Vancouver. In fact, you could clearly taste the freshness in every piece of fish. To his surprise, the Otoro was not his favourite despite it being the fattiest melt in your mouth piece of fish in the Chirasi. He would 100% be returning to Riz Sushi because he has not had fresher sashimi in all of Lower Mainland. ----

Keith was also a phenomenal host and probably spent an upwards of two hours chatting with us, sharing stories and feeding us until our stomachs were about to burst. It is hard not to see Keith's passion and the pride he takes in serving his customers the highest-quality fish. 

While we were at Riz Sushi, the Chirasi Don was one of many dishes Keith had us try. Since I do not eat raw fish, he was extremely accommodating and personally oversaw the making of a pan-fried salmon bowl which was YASSSS absolutely yummm. This was not just a special service just for me. You can always request a bowl with the fish of your choosing cooked. 

We rounded out our massive feast with one of my favourite Japanese snacks, pan-fried gyoza. Keith also had me try an Onsen egg. The egg is cooked whole at a low heat very slowly allowing the insides to become this luscious creamy custard-like texture. 

I whole-heartedly recommend checking out Riz Sushi especially if you appreciate high-quality sashimi. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried Riz Sushi yet as well if there are any other places in the Lower Mainland that you recommend!


Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Attending KNOW SHOW Fall/Winter 2019-2020

Working Guess' Shearling-Lined Denim Jacket at KnowShow Fall Winter 2019/2020
Have you ever wondered how shops acquire merchandise that they sell? Shops and Boutiques attend Trade Shows where brands showcase their latest products for shop buyers to order for the next season. Unfortunately, such trade shows are closed to the public and can only be attended by retailers. So getting the opportunity to attend KnowShow, Canada's largest tradeshow, was an absolute delight!

A couple weeks back, Know Show had their bi-annual tradeshow at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This was the Fall-Winter 2019/2020 trade show. We might be nearing the end of our chilly season, but the buying for next Fall-Winter takes place a year in advance, so the Spring-Summer tradeshow for 2020 is going to be coming up in a couple of months this summer 2019! 

This Trade Show was serious business because everywhere I looked, I saw retail buyers furiously examining products, taking notes and placing their orders. Unfortunately, it also meant that I could purchase any of the items because everything out on the floor was display only. So no deeply discounted wholesale pricing for me! However, on the plus side, I could really take my time and browse all the stalls at my leisure because I was at Know Show for fun. 

I was definitely the anomaly at this Trade Show as it is exclusively to buyers only. Every time I would go to a booth, I would be asked "where I am from". I kept responding with Vancouver because I literally thought buyers came from across North America. Turns out, they were asking what STORE I was purchasing for! Someone jokingly said I was from Wal-Mart which ended up being a running joke for the remainder of my time there. I practically convinced 3/4 of the brands that I was from Wal-Mart; however, I did come clean immediately after their initial reaction. 

Some of the brands were very secretive and had a strict no photograph policy. Such as Reebok which did not joke around and very much inforced their no photography rule. I understand sicne the "sneaker world" is extremely competitive and they do not want to reveal next years collection to the public. 

Since this was a Trade Show on the West Coast in Canada, snowboard/ski gear, chunky knits and hipster clothing was very much expected. After visiting all of the booths, here is a recap of the big trends for Fall/Winter 2019-20!

Everywhere I looked, the deep mustard yellow was shining in all its glory. It had a strong representation throughout the convention. I saw it being used for shows, accessories like toques and of course, in clothing. 

The closet staple is once again reunited with its love shearling. Invest in a quality shearling lined denim jacket. I recommend checking out Guess and Levis for all your denim needs!

Sanrio's iconic loveable kitty is partnering up with several brands including Levis and Herschel. It is time to dig out your Hello Kitty accessories because she is going to be everywhere next winter. 

It is time you ditched the boring white gym sock and upgraded to socks with bold prints. Socks are not just for keeping your toes warm but are a way to make a fashion statement.

Aside from getting a sneak peek at next years trends, I also fell in love with a few products that I am just dying to get my hands on! The main one being the leopard-print classic roller blades by Impala Roller Skates! These roller blades are too cool for words and I would kill to have a pair of them for summer! Another unexpected find was a pair of pink high-tops that featured an itty bitty embroidered rainbow which are by STRAYE Footwear and will hopefully be available for the summer. The last item that I really want to pick up for myself is the adorable little Levi's x Hello Kitty fannypack. The Hello Kitty Milk collection is the only Hello Kitty theme that I have ever liked. Again, it will be made available in the future, so until then, I will impatiently wait.