Costa Rica 2014 Day 1 San Jose – Poas Volcano – Arenal – Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

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i went to costa rica back in august. i accidentally wiped my memory card and didnt realize it til it was too late to recover. i lost a lot of pictures i took in manuel antonio. i was so heart broken so i wasnt in the mood to write these posts til now. i still cant believe this happened, but oh well shit happens.

costa rica is rated #1 happiest country as well as the greenest country in the world. its one of a few sovereign nations without a standing army.

our itinerary for the six days in costa rica looked like this:
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normally i’d rent a car and drive myself, but costa rica is notorious for terrible road conditions. since we are only two girls traveling by ourselves, i didnt want to risk it. we mainly depended on private shuttles and tours. the roads were indeed terrible; i wouldve not been able to make it if i drove myself.

day 1. we arrived to san jose around 11:00 am. i booked a private driver to drive from the airport to our first hotel Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in arenal. shared shuttles to arenal wouldve been cheaper, but i wanted to visit poas volcano on the way to the arenal so we had to hire a private driver to drive us. the driver warned us that the best time to see the volcano is very early in the morning, we only had 40% chance of seeing the volcano at noon due to the clouds. i still insisted on going because we wouldnt have another time to go.

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we stopped by a ‘soda’, small diner, for some lunch.
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they serve casado which is a typical costa rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, and a portion of protein such as chicken and fish. pretty delicious
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we parked our car and walking to poas volcano
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we got to the top of poas volcano but it was cloudy so we couldnt see anything. although we couldnt see it, the smell of the sulfur was pretty strong.
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it supposed to look like this when its not cloudy oh well

we left poas volcano with disappointment. we stopped by la paz rio waterfall on the way down.
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arenal volcano from far away
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we also stopped by las iguanas restaurante. there were a lot lizards on the trees next to the restaurant thats why its called the lizards restaurant in english.
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we finally arrived to tabacon grand spa thermal resort

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the resort was beautiful. i will show more of the hotel pix in day 2.
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we went to the hot spring of our hotel. more photos to come in day 2.
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hot spring pool bar?! i could stay here forever
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The Taste of WGBH Food & Wine Festival 2014 Chef’s Gala Reception

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early sept i attended this year’s The Taste of WGBH Food & Wine Festival 2014 Chef’s Gala Reception. the reception featured 25 of the best chefs in boston. all the dishes were paired with selected wines and craft beers.

four seasons bristol lounge | brooke vosika | crab gougeres with chives, golden tomatoes and lobster coral
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catalyst | william kovel | spice crusted tuna, cucumber radish salad, lemon syrup, sesame tuile
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red lion inn | brian alberg | summer ratatouille w/tomato vinaigrette & mill river micro greens
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zapoteca/mixteca | shannon bard | lobster bisque
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ribelle | tim maslow | cherry tomatoes and kimi figs with gremolata, pangrattato, and dehydr8 riseling vinegar
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prohibition pig | michael werneke | corn muffins with cultured farmstead butter, smoked pork rillettes on crouton with pickle, and bailey hazen blue cheese tartlet with black walnuts and maple
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Bondir | jason bond | salmon
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brasserie 28 | matt morello | charcuterie
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tremont 647 | andy husbands | bbq brisket, kimchee sauce, yuzu apple slaw
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il casale cucina italianna/il casale cucina campana | dante de magistris | panzarotti: smoked scamorza stuffed potato croquette, roasted pepper sauce
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state room | david blessing | lobster banh mi sandwich, cilantro citrus marinated lobster, pickled fennel, chili aioli
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tao yuan | cara stadler | grandma tang’s roast pork buns
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mc spiedo | mark gaier & clark frasier | spit roasted suckling pig, macaroni, root vegatables, farm egg
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tallulah on thames | jake rojas | sweet berry farm peaches, curried yougurt, anise, hyssop, tarragon, pickled onion
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chef jake saw i was taking pictures, he plated one for me just to take pictures.
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Boston chops | chris coombs | steak tartare
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tavern road | louis dibicari | smoked bluefish pate with fennel pollen and orange mostarda
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puritan & co. | will gilson | heirloom tomato gazpacho with basil and marinated scallops
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80 thoreau | carolyn johnson | lamb dumplings with smoky eggplant and peppers
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millwright’s | tyler anderson | onions, chicken vin, fried chicken skin with pickled golden raisins
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zebra’s bistro | brandan pelley | cold smoked hanger steak tartare with cured egg yolk & bacon fat powder
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alden & harlow | michael scelfo | oil cured tuna, grilled potato, piccalilli, sweet corn aioli
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deuxave | jaime davis | milk chocolate cremeux, compressed apple cider, olive oil cake
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tres gatos | nevin taylor | lamb kofta and mixed vegetables with green goddess dressing
this tasted as bad as its presentation
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oleana | maura kilpatrick | figs chocolate cake
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live music by perry rossi band. they are pretty awesome
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this wine from france was super super good. please let me know if you know where i can find some!
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i had a blast at the taste of wgbh food and wine festival chef’s gala reception. the food and wine were great and it was nice to be able to talk to some of my fave chefs in boston. great live music as well. i hope i will have a chance to come again next year.
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Cat Cafe 北京猫小院猫主题咖啡西餐 Beijing, China

it’s been a while since my last post. i am still on vacation in asia, will be heading back to the states soon.

here’s a cat cafe ive been to in beijing. im not a fan of cats but i like taking pix of animals. the cats were kinda cute too, so i kinda liked it.

the cafe is located in one of beijing hutong, 胡同. two floors. the top floor is a roof top.
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i got a green tea milk tea, it tasted pretty good.
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this was my fave one. super cute
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猫小院猫主题咖啡西餐
地址: 东城区 北锣鼓巷北下洼子胡同14号(北锣鼓巷南口400米金色凉山餐厅斜对面)
beijing bei luo gu xiang
电话: 010-59146478

Hi

Here is a snippet of how I met bunny

I first met bunny in Beijing the summer of 2009. I was meeting up with her friend at a bar called 火山人(Volcano People)

Bunny didn’t say much, I was blabbing too much about nothing trying to be funny or something, but she didn’t really find me interesting, in fact she thought I was annoying and immature. We went to 后海 afterwards (houhai ), I was smoking at the time, because I thought it would make me cooler, but she saw right through me, she knew I wasn’t a natural smoker. After that, I never thought I would see her again. Almost half a year later, Bunny contacted me on Facebook, letting me know that she was visiting Washington DC, where I was studying. I agreed to meet her up and show her around, which I did, but I didn’t pay for anything, her and her friends thought I was cheap. Restless and unwilling to accept defeat, I still tried to keep in touch with her. I decided I was going to visit her in Syracuse, a 6-hour drive from where I lived.

I made the drive a few times. Bunny became my girlfriend after I forced her into it.

Our first date at some zoo in Syracuse, this crappy zoo barely had any animals. I summoned the courage to hold her hand. She thought It was weird, but still fell for it. Sucka
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I knew bunny was always down for adventures from when I met her. Our first week hanging out, I proposed that we go to Toronto. She agreed with no issues. One of the first movies we watched was UP, this is still our movie. I never seen someone cry so much from the intro. It was then I realized how big of a heart she had.

“I just met you and I love you”
Up-Kristin-and-Anita

Eating at Aji Ichiban in Toronto….

As time went on, we had our falling out and our getting back together. Through all of this we persevered. We went on many adventures together, LA, Beijing, Tokyo, Monteral……

Us watching a f1 race in Montreal

I am happy to be getting married to Bunny. In my life I have not found anyone else as caring, with the biggest heart, always putting other people ahead of them, and so awesome at anything they put their heart to. She can accept me for my flaws, and makes me a better person day by day. She is the most beautiful person, inside and out. I’ve come a long way from the boy that was smoking in Houhai. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, “Adventure is out there!”

Sony A7 with a Ring Flash, Metabones Adapter, and Canon 50mm F2.5 macro

pork belly likes to buy random stuff more than anything. today he bought a ring flash, so i took a few pix with my new sony a7 with a canon lens. fred4 fred3 fred2 fredthis was the raw file straight out of camera with no editing. so far, i think the sony is def better than my fuji x100s, but i dont think it is as good as my 5d mark ii or 6d yet. maybe its because im not using sony lenses. the wifi/app on the sony is wayyyy superior than the 6D tho.

Tips on Shooting Our Own Engagement/Wedding Photos

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i attempted to take some engagement/wedding photos for ourselves this past weekend because we need pictures the for our wedding as well as the invitations. taking our own pictures with just a tripod and no help was a lot more frustrating and difficult than i antipated. not only i had to worry about doing my own makeup/hair and looking good, i had to also worry about setting up the shoot, posing two people, shooting remotely, etc. i could barely move in the wedding dress.

i bought some cheap lighting and a red backdrop online. the backdrop wasnt big enough and we shot in our living room; we only had little room to work with. i shot with my 6D using the eos remote app which was painfully slow.
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we spent a whole day shooting, but i was only somewhat satisfied with a few pix. our bodies looked awkward in most of the pix or one person was blinking in the shot.

here are the a few that turned out ok comparing to the rest:

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it was such a stressful and frustrating experience that i dont think ill ever want to do it again, but here are the few things i couldve done better.
1. def find a larger space with a larger backdrop to work with.
2. stay further away from the background so no harsh shadows.
3. more lighting on porkbelly since he’s darker than me
4. better prepared wardrobe. pork belly told me last min he couldnt find his tie and shirt when i was all ready to shoot. i almost had a heart attack.
5. maybe actually get someone to help us press the shutter and hold the camera so we can shoot at different angles.

If any of you need engagement photos taken, I would love to help.

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