Wedding cake…and other celebratory treats around the world (#1)

“Eat Around the World” is a monthly photo/writing challenge combining the love for food and travel. Share a dish based on the featured monthly prompt. The prompt could be around a particular dish, an ingredient, or a tool. 

Welcome to “Eat Around the World” — a new blog challenge…or is it a blog party? A blog potluck? A blog potluck is fun to say so I am going to stick with that.

This is the first post to kick off what I hope is going to become a long-running series where I invite the blogosphere to share their food around a certain theme each month. I wanted to combine my love of making food, eating food, dining out, and traveling. You don’t have to be a home cook to participate. In fact the inaugural theme is wedding cake and I don’t know many people who have actually made their own wedding cake.

I chose to make it monthly because that’s my bandwidth. But I am hoping I can challenge myself to attempt to make some of these foods throughout the month. Please bear with me since it is my first time doing anything like this.

To participate, please submit complete this brief form for review — this is to ensure that the people participating are well…real people. And it be populated on this sheet. Also, please pingback to this page. At the end of the month I will do a recap post.

The deadline to submit your responses is June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

If you have any tips on hosting a blogshare (blog potluck), please let me know! I greatly appreciate the feedback!

On to the theme of wedding cakes (and other celebratory treats). I chose wedding cake because June is peak season for weddings. Ironically, I do not like a lot of wedding cakes, especially the ones covered in fondant. Also, my wedding was not in June, it was in October.

The wedding cake is the center piece of any wedding reception. Cutting the wedding cake is its own event on the wedding reception program while the main course and hors d’oeuvres are just something to keep the guests from not being too hungry. I’ve seen some stunning wedding cakes — they almost look like sculptures. But when I look closer and see the cake is covered in fondant, I am immediately turned off. I find fondant barely edible. You’ll probably find me tearing the fondant out as soon as I get a slice.

When it came to my wedding, I did not want to spend a lot of money on a cake that was unpalatable because it was covered in fondant. I get that fondant makes the cake looks prettier, cleaner, and more polished. I understand fondant is all about the photos, not about how it tastes. But sorry, I actually like to eat food in general.

We decided to do a small two-tiered cake and have a dessert bar of cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and dulce de leche cookies. The cake was made by a friend. She did a vanilla cake with strawberries and cream filling. The cover is vanilla buttercream. Another friend of ours made the cake topper. The cupcakes and cookies were from Porto’s bakery. The vase, cake stand, and pastry covers were from me. The event venue had wooden crates. Though it’s not pictured, the boxes for people to pack their desserts were from Michaels.

I was surprised how incredibly inflated the prices were between a wedding cake versus a regular party cake when looking around for bakeries. The cake could serve the same amount of people, but the wedding cake price would be at least double (or triple) the price of a regular cake. Since I did not have it in my heart to lie that I wanted a cake for a really large party, I thought to look for other creative measures by asking a friend to make a small wedding cake and do a dessert bar of our favorite treats.

Here it is, our wedding cake and dessert bar on a budget.

Our vanilla wedding cake with strawberries and cream filling with vanilla buttercream

I recalled when planning for the wedding, I wanted to have a cookies-only bar. I spent my time researching recipes but did not have any time recipe testing. I spent a lot of time DIY-ing other details for the wedding such as the invitations, centerpieces, table cards, etc. I was DIY burnt out from the wedding. A few years later I did have an opportunity to do a cookies bar for a friend’s wedding. I was so enthused to contribute the moment she told me about her engagement.

Share us your wedding cake — whether you were the bride, groom, or guest! Or was there no wedding cake and you served donuts? Or share with us other celebratory treats from around the world — whether it’s celebrating a birthday, promotion, a new home, graduation, paid off your credit card debt, etc. because honestly there are many other milestones worth celebrating. You can pingback to this post or submit your post on this this form. The deadline to submit your responses will be June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

Week 8: Five Favorite Travel Blogs

Week 8: Five Favorite blogs

Since it’s Travel Tuesday, I’ll share some of my favorite travel blogs. Most of them I read for years and they are some of the reasons that contribute to my wander-lust.

Wild Junket – I believe I’ve read and followed Nellie of Wild Junket since I lived in San Diego. If you are an adventures junkie when you go travel, then this is for you. She’s gone to quite exciting places such as Iraq, Tibet, and Central Asia. It’s wonderful to see how much this blog as grown and she’s married and has a child and still travels. I hope when we have kids, we can still just as adventurous.

Boot n All Travel Blog – When I was first planning my trip to Southeast Asia in my early 20s, I loved going to this blog for inspiration. It was refreshing to see photos and read that you did not need to be rich to have a rich travel experience. At the time I was surrounded by people who told me that you could not have a great time if you did not spend a lot of money in a 5-star hotel. Reading and seeing photos on the blog of people wearing backpacks, riding bicycles, sitting in public transit were my type of travelers.

Manger – Not quite a travel blog but I am obsessed with Mimi Thorisson of Manger. Reading her blog and following her on Instagram transports me to the countryside of Medoc, France. Taking this a little bit further, I have her first cookbook, A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse it’s a staple in my kitchen and used quite a bit of her recipes on several occasions.


20170731_203417If I can’t travel, at least I can make something and bring the French countryside to my 1950s American Ranch-style home.

Her Packing List – This is a wonderful resource on all about packing light and travelling far. Female travelers review their backpacks and share what’s in their backpack for their travels People ask me “how was I able to fit two weeks of stuff in my backpack?” and I credit this site.

An American in Rome – Her photos are beautiful! Just like me, she’s originally from California but now she’s living in Rome. We stayed in Rome for a couple of day and reading through her blog made us wished we stayed longer — heck, stay and explore Italy and never come back! In the meantime, the closest thing I can do is go to the Neapolitan pizza place down the street.

Read more posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1: Your Favorite Travel Photo of You and Intro
Week 2: Little Known Travel Tips
Week 3: Funny Travel Story
Week 4: Travel Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual Travel Activities and Photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 4: That time we accidentally went glamping

Week  4 of the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge: Travel Misadventures

Maybe I can’t say “accidently went glamping.” It was more like a series of events happened and we went glamping.

To preface this, every year our friends and us go somewhere to camp. It somehow became an annual event and we called it the “Friends Camping Trip.” In 2012, we went to Anza Borrego and Sequoia. In 2015, we went to Yosemite. In 2016, we went to Zion. This year, we’re going to Sequoia. In 2018, we’re slated to go to Taiwan — I’m not sure if this is going to be an actual camping trip.

When we camp, we pitch tents in a campground, make food, make a campfire, go hiking, and not shower for x amount of days. From our campground, we don’t have cellular data nearby and for some people not having cellular data would drive them crazy. In 2015, on the Yosemite trip, we had a few first-time campers who were not sure what to do with their cell phone without any cellular data. Also there’s no outlet to charge your phone anywhere. These first-time campers did not want to come back camping with us the following year.

Back to the original story, when we went to Zion last year, there were a series of events that happened where we ended up glamping. We spent a fews hours at Las Vegas from Los Angeles to rest — it was the halfway point to get to Zion. From Las Vegas to Zion, we left at 3 in the morning and had breakfast halfway through our trip. By the time we got to Zion, it was not even  7 AM and the lines to get into Zion were jammed. By the time we arrived a lot of the camp spots were already occupied and they don’t do advanced reservations. It was first-come, first-serve. We spent about 2 hours driving in the park looking for a camp spot and no luck.

I wonder, if we left at 2 AM or maybe skipped breakfast we could have found a spot? Not sure. Oh yeah, I have to mention, we went to Zion a Memorial Day Weekend. We won’t plan camping trip around a holiday again.

What is our definition of “glamping”?

When we couldn’t find a camping spot in Zion, my friend said, “worst case scenario,  we can always find ourselves a dog friendly hotel.” I thought that was pretty funny.

I suggested let’s not look for a hotel in the area just yet. We already packed our tents, our sleeping bags, coolers of food, pillows. Packing for a camping trip is a lot of stuff for a rather short trip. Instead of looking a hotel, we looked for campgrounds outside of Zion.

And we found a place. It was a RV and campground right outside of Zion. About 30-40 minutes away from the main entrance, but about a five minute drive away from Kolob Canyon — a far less crowded part of the park.

The campground were nice, but I even have to say it rather fancy for a campground because it had:

  • Laundry unit which we used.
  • Wi-Fi
  • A full bathroom with toilet, sink, and showers. Yes, we showered during our camping trip. Instead of holding out until the last day of the camping trip and pay $5 to shower like in Yosemite, showers came with this campground and it was complementary.

Puppy sleeping

Teddy is the most glamped up of all.


A firepit we did not make and logs were provided by the campground!

french press

I was satisfied with my French Press coffee I brought on this camping trip, until I saw our neighbors drive into their spot with a cup of Starbucks. Are you telling me there’s a Starbucks close by? There was and we went to Starbucks. I can’t believe was “camping.”

  • Also to add, this campground was also an RV park and some of the RVs people had were nice! One of them had a karaoke machine in his RV and wanted to invite us over to karaoke. I wanted tell the person (jokingly), “Hi, not all Asians like to karaoke.”

What is your definition of glamping? Comment below!

Overall, our trip to Zion was a lot of fun. Instead of sharing all these unexciting photos of French press coffee and of Teddy sleeping in a tent, here’s a few photos of our Zion trip. I hope there will be opportunity to share more of these photos again, so here’s a teaser:

We’re cheering on Teddy to cross the river! This was Teddy’s first trip camping and being out of state.

The top-left photo is Kolob Canyon and the other two are Angel’s Landing.

Stay tuned for more photos of Zion in a future post!

Read more posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1: Your Favorite Travel Photo of You and Intro
Week 2: Little Known Travel Tips
Week 3: Funny Travel Story

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 3: Funny Travel Story…More Like Funny Posters…

Week 3: Funny travel story

Last week’s prompt was more wordy so for this week, I’ll share more photos. Actually more like some photos of funny signs and posters I’ve come across from my travels:

Cambodia, 2012. On a bus trip from Siem Riep to Phnom Penh. I understand eating durian in the bus, but rice?

Cambodia, 2012. Found this poster in a bar at Sihaunookville.


Thailand 2012. A cab ride in Bangkok. Normally I don’t take cab rides anywhere because they’re expensive and I anticipate there is a likely chance I’ll over pay. I was with a friend who is local and lives in Bangkok and let him do all the talking. For me, I noticed this sign. See? No durian allowed. Plus no fire arms, no alcohol, no goats, no dogs, and don’t have sex and smoke cigarettes in the taxi!

Most recently, a “covfefe” sign in Seattle.

I had a story about last year’s camping trip, but I feel it qualifies for next week in “Travel Misadventures” where we inadvertently went “glamping” — or at least this is our definition of “glamping”. Also, this is what happens when you don’t wake up early for the first come, first serve camp sites (har har).

Read more posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1: Your favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known travel tips

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own!