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Christina of Tide & Bloom

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Asian Supermarket… literally.

In a Buford Highway plaza named “Asian Square”, you’ll find the “Asian Supermarket”. Yes, that’s what it’s named (in English anyways). This is where I’ve found one of my favorite wonton noodle soups! And it’s also where Ben can find some seriously numbing Sichuan fried chicken.

This is the roasted duck that also goes into my wonton soup. Because wonton soup is not wonton soup without some roast duck! Ugh, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. This night in particular we went with our friends Molly and Andy and they went the custom route – choosing random ingredients for a Sichuan stir fry. I’m so glad they did it because I never would have tried it and now I know, this is a delicious option. Thank god for Buford Highway.

vivi bubble tea

 I’ve made it my mission to expand my horizons on Buford Highway. Obviously I love Asian food and I love exploring new restaurants, but I can easily get into a rut where I visit the SAME places every time. I can’t help that I have specific cravings! Once I find something I like, it’s really hard to switch to something new.

Vivi Bubble Tea has all the makings of a good instagram, so I was skeptical about the quality of their bubble tea. Thankfully my new friend Helen (@atlanta_noms) got me to try it for our first IRL meeting and now I’m so happy we did! I’ve only been there twice now, but I was surprised by how much I liked their tea. I thought it was going to be too sweet for me, but it was on par with Kung Fu Tea.

I ordered this tiramisu bubble tea so I could get this cotton candy topping. Yes, for instagram. But again – to my delight – the bubble tea was delicious. I enjoyed the boba and also drank that little mason jar of extra tea. Probably not the healthiest thing for me to do, but you only live once right? I think my favorite bubble tea is still Tea House Formosa, but cheers to trying new things and making new friends!

and i sure would like some sweet company

i’m leaving tomorrow, what do you say?

Alright so yes, I admit it’s totally cheesy to be quoting the cups song with the third Pitch Perfect right around the corner, but you know what? I just don’t give a f***. It’s speaking to me right now. Although I have some pretty low lows every now and then (who doesn’t?), I’ve been feeling pretty damn high in the friendship game. Sure there’s always room for more because no one has enough time nowadays but I feel like this year has been the ultimate in memory-making and friendship rekindling.

It’s mostly because I left retail – you’d be surprised at how much that changes your life. But another part of it has been my own personal commitment to ensuring that I surround myself with people who understand, support, and love me. That sounds like pure common sense, but it really doesn’t become so crystal clear until you’re older because when you’re like trying to be an adult, you’re forced to prioritize and other people are forced to prioritize as well. Strong friendships come out of mutual prioritization. Sustained mutual prioritization.

Convenience used to be a factor. School or work or whatever group/association you were involved in used to greatly dictate your company. Then you grow up, have a job and bills, and realize you have to make real choices about how you spend your time… and a friend has to choose you right back.

I’ve let go of a lot of friendships in my day, as I’m sure you have too. A lot of friendships that I was 100% certain would stand the test of time. They didn’t. And although each set of circumstances was different, all of the friendships that dissolved did so because of the same essential issue – we stopped choosing each other, we stopped choosing our friendship. To reference Sex & The City (apologies for all the chick flick references), some relationships are short stories, but that doesn’t mean there’s any less love in them. It’s just a part of life.

I’m not sure where I intended to go with this. I don’t have any sage words of wisdom. I’m just writing to write. To get back into the habit and to make sure I remember what a special year this has been.

hello, it’s me… i’ve thought about you for a long long time

I’ve been extremely delinquent with this blog. It’s a good thing when I really think about it – I’ve been so busy living real life that my virtual life has taken a step back. There can only be so many hours in the day, right? And I’ve learned that it’s okay to go through ebbs and flows with different outlets. It’s just a part of figuring it all out.

photo by Lindsey LaRue Photography

What’s been most challenging for this blog in the past few months is coming up with ideas to write about that are different or more interesting than my instagram. I don’t want it to just be a reiteration of the same stuff. I was on a good track with my summer travels but then I just fell off. I still have SO many great pictures from the west coast and also from Montreal – I just gotta hunker down and edit that shiz! I think the answer is to just stop being a perfectionist. I probably don’t need to edit every single picture that goes on here… or do I? I don’t know. One thing I’ve learned recently though is…

I don’t have to be everything to everyone.

The past few months of my life have been all about the above statement. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t repeat this to myself. It’s been the antidote to feeling inadequate and feeling like colleagues are passing me by. Creating a new mindset requires a mantra, and this one has been mine.

I’m not sure where this blog is going to go. More food? Maybe. More artistic process? I don’t know. Just hang in there with me. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

My Salon Suite Facial

You may have noticed that I haven’t been showing my face as much as I used to – there are less style posts and less selfies overall (instastories don’t count). The reason for that is doublefold; the first is that I no longer work at Anthro so I’m not constantly buying new clothes. That’s a good reason. The second is that I’ve had a lot of trouble with my skin lately. Somehow in this year alone, I’ve gotten more cystic acne than ever before in my life!

I turned 30 this year and I have no idea if that has anything at all to do with it. I thought I had a skincare regimen down last winter and then sometime earlier this year.. things just began erupting. Not only that, but because of all the activity and how easily my skin darkens, I’m left with dark marks of pimples past. So there’s just crap all over my face! Relative to actual acne, I know it’s not that bad. But for me with the history of my skin, it really has been the worst (this picture doesn’t feel like it really portrays the worst I’ve had).

My Salon Suite came to my rescue, like the universe answered my prayers! They offered me a complimentary service of my choice and of course – duh – I wanted to see an aesthetician. I needed someone who could look at my skin objectively and help a sister out. I had never heard of My Salon Suite; it’s sort of like a boutique beauty office where you can have the opportunity to work with as many or as few beauty professionals in one space as possible. The suite set up allows each expert to set up their own suite and be their own boss. The lovely aesthetician I spent the morning with is named Donai with D’Vivre Beauty and she was telling me how much she really enjoyed having the freedom My Salon Suite provides to her, allowing her to branch out as an independent entrepreneur.

There’s not really many pictures because essentially it’s a dark and meditative room where I had it, but this is actually why it was so relaxing. I spent an hour and a half there with Donai working on my skin and me asking every question that came to my head, like a skin therapy session. The products she used on me were great – honestly I don’t know what they are but they’re all natural. I remember hearing papaya and pineapple (because those words get me going) enzymes and natural oils. She’s the expert – not me!

Donai also does massage therapy soooo it didn’t hurt that during my mask time, she also gave me a neck and head message. YAAASSSS. It was just wonderful; Donai talked about her goal being that she wants to give people the power to take care of themselves, to treat themselves, and feel beautiful. Yes it’s about the skin but it’s also about the way you feel and how it emanates outwards. She was pretty amazing. Her own journey into becoming an aesthetician started when she was dealing with her own skin issues. She found that there was so much information out there that it was too overwhelming and she decided she was going to figure out her skin the right way – which led her to here.

My skin is still on the road to recovery, but this facial got me on the right path and using My Salon Suite was easy. I’m a believer! Now how soon is too soon for another facial?…

If you’re feeling like you need a little pampering, please check out D’Vivre and book an appt ASAP! Before those winter feels really set in…

brush sushi izakaya

Alright, alright. Let’s get something clear! People think I eat out ALL the time and try new stuff ALL the time and it’s simply not true. Now that food bloggers and food instagrammers abound in the ATL, I am 100% certain that I am right in this respect. When I go somewhere new, it takes effort. I’ve settled into a comfort zone for most types of food so I have a mile-long list of places I want to try. Thankfully I finally made it (thanks to some good friends) to Brush Sushi Izakaya in downtown Decatur for brunch! Brunch? Yes, Sunday brunch at Brush Sushi. 

Another thing people think is just because you’re Asian means you’re an expert in all Asian cultures or foods. Also not true. I don’t know what I don’t know; all I know is what I like! I’ve been intrigued by Brush’s brunch for quite some time via social media – the menu is a little intimidating but I knew if I went hungry then I’d definitely find the right stuff. 

Fried octopus? Delicious. Maybe not my favorite preparation of octopus (because come on, have you had the Optimist’s octopus?) but still cooked well and tasty. The next dishes though were my favorites — katsu don, the matcha french toast, and the souffle pancakes. The Katsu Don is a bowl of fried pork cutlet with egg and green onion. Simple hearty and really tasty; I’d actually much more prefer this for dinner on a cold night though. So comforting!

Ben got the Katsu Sando which essentially is a fried chicken sandwich. This was probably our least favorite out of everything but given the bar set by the best dishes, this doesn’t mean it was bad! It was just a bit too saucy and sweet for our particular liking. We were missing the crunch of the fried chicken.   

The hands-down standout dishes were the brunchiest of everything – and on the sweet side! Matcha french toast was lovely, cut up into easy-to-eat-with-your-hands portions. The sweetness of this was balanced by the matcha so it was just a nice treat that I don’t think I’ve had anywhere else? Same goes for the souffle pancakes which were AMAZING. AMAZING. So fluffy, not too sweet, simply a delight all around.

Final verdict? A good brunch! Perhaps not the most versatile, but I think if you’re in the mood for a particular dish (ahem – souffle pancakes) then by all means. There wasn’t a wait, it was low key and easy in terms of the service. There was also a variety of ramen available but we didn’t sample those. So given that it’s kind of a drive and kind of a specific type of a brunch, I don’t think I’d be going there too often. I also feel that the menu skews very hot, as in a lot of the dishes and also the miso soup are dishes I’d prefer when it’s cold outside – but that’s just a me thing. Either way though, it was a treat to have a different kind of brunch experience. Definitely worth another visit.

Movie Love: Columbus

As you might be able to tell, writing blog posts doesn’t come as easily to me as it used to. And it’s not for a lack of content – on the contrary, it’s for a lack of time due to the abundance of content. Travels plus personal life moments plus trying to focus more on the here and now (people right in front of me) have led to a lot of life experience without feeling the need to ruminate or document. When I saw the movie “Columbus” upon the recommendation of my Art Dealer boss, I was prepared for the possibility that I could love it so much that I NEED to write about it. So here it is.  

30 is the new 25: my third-life crisis

I might be exaggerating, but the last few days I’ve really felt exactly how I felt about five years ago. So aptly named, the “quarter-life crisis” is something that us milennials know a thing or two about. I thought that it was behind me, but here I am feeling it all over again. How come no one tells you that this never stops happening? Maybe it does, but we just get numb to the feeling of it. Wish I could say I was.

I’m about to turn 30 next week and I sure as hell don’t feel like it. Have you ever had to answer that ice-breaker question – “if you could be any age, what age would you choose to be?” I have always answered 32. In my mind, this was the age, that magical age where things felt just right. You know what works but there is still so much life ahead of you that you are still driven and excited. I’m getting closer and closer to my “ideal age” and getting scared that I just won’t feel that ideal.

In the last five years, I’ve tried so many things and traveled down a lot of little winding paths. I learned so much about my boundaries and my priorities – I do feel like I’ve grown up and yet still, I feel very insecure about my future. I’m just not sure where to go next because I am so deeply aware of the potential I’ve yet to realize. Sometimes it can be paralyzing; knowing that you can be so much more and it’s right there for you to grab it if you’re brave enough. If you’re focused enough.

There’s no answer and I know that. I just have to work through it, continue living in the moment, and my life will go where it’s supposed to go.

[ photos courtesy of Lindsey LaRue Photography and Beautiful Wild Design ]