Ballet in Vilnius and Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Recently I went to see the Nutcracker at the Vilnius Opera House. It was a pretty good show, not the best ballet I've seen, but good nonetheless. While at the Vilnius Opera House be sure to try the hot chocolate dessert, which is similar to a molten center of a chocolate cake. Yum!

Clapping at the end is a bit different. In the US I am used to free for all clapping and perhaps some whistles or whoops, instead in Lithuania people clap all together.

The Vilnius Opera House

Decorated Vilnius Opera House

Hot Chocolate Dessert

On a different, unrelated note, Happy Chinese New Year Everyone! May your day be filled with long noodles, gifts given in eights, and fireworks lit in questionable locations. I certainly will be celebrating tonight. Will you be celebrating tonight? What are your plans?

Boston, MA

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I was planning to enjoy an afternoon in Boston, however blizzard Hercules snowed (heavily) on those plans. Instead of spending an afternoon wandering the city, I spent the night at my sister's apartment to wait out the storm. In the morning I woke to over a foot of snow, which put a damper on my day trip.

The storm raged on

How I spent my time snowed in...

Hercules won't prevent me from providing travel tips for Boston though! Below are my sister's and my favorite spots to hang out in Boston.

1) The North End

  • Italian food and pastries abound in the North End. Try Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry Shop for Italian pastries like cannolis (yum!).

2) Newbury St.

  • Try the Trident Cafe and Bookstore
  • Sonsie has eclectic, international food

Today I'm linking up with Treasure Tromp for #TreatYoSelfThursday. I've enjoyed finding new blogs through this link-up. I hope you do too!

Blogging Schedule

Monday, January 27, 2014

Check back on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for blog posts! I will also occasionally post on the weekend so check back frequently.  Enjoy!

New Feature - A collection of ridiculous stories from living abroad

So, if you've read my blog from the beginning you'll already know this, but for you new readers out there, I've lived abroad in Kunming, China and I currently live in Vilnius, Lithuania. During my time spent living abroad some absolutely, unbelievable, and ridiculous situations have occurred. Now I don't want this to sound like complaints because often, many of these mishaps were my fault and are simply hilarious. I also do not intend for any of these stories to sound derogatory to the place that I was living. I am completely of the opinion that as a foreigner living abroad I am a guest in the country and I always strive to act as an ambassador of Americans (my home country- I want to play my small role in remedying bad opinions of Americans). Anyways, time for me to get off of my soapbox and roll on with the hilarity.

My first week of living in Kunming I went to a bar (Salvador's) with some friends who had lived in China for  many years. I went to the restroom at said bar only to find that it was an eastern-style squatting toilet. Needless to say I had never experienced a squatting toilet before and had no idea how to go about using it. I ended up completely taking off my pants in the bathroom and holding them in my hand while using the toilet. While putting back on my pants I was laughing pretty hysterically and recounted the story to my lovely friends (both men so they couldn't really relate) when I returned to the bar. I totally and completely made a fool of myself and now really love to think about that memory on particularly bad days. Now, I love squatting toilets, especially in public restrooms, but that first attempt was pitiful!

Have you had any travel mishaps, funny stories, or ridiculous occurrences? Comment below to share or send me an email at to get your story featured!

Today I'm linking up with a Dose of Paige with her #weekendreads feature. I hope you enjoy finding new blogs through this linkup!

Bonus Pictures from My Recent Day-Trip to NYC

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Check back tomorrow for a regular blog post!

Lithuanian Sweets

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sweets in Lithuania aren't particularly sweet. This is a roundup of my favorite Lithuanian sweet treats!

Lithuanian produced chocolate

Fried doughnut holes with powdered sugar

Mushroom-shaped gingerbread cookies

These are my favorite cookie in Lithuania.  You can purchase them from markets, Senemeisko krauskaite, and festivals.

Honey flavored cookies, which aren't terribly sweet but are great with coffee and tea.

Vilnius Christmas Market

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cathedral square

Ok, so this is a bit late for those interested in visiting the Christmas Market in Vilnius, but leaving my camera cord in Vilnius has put me a bit behind. So instead of planning for this year...use this as inspiration for planning your Christmas Market trips for next Christmas. Now, all of the blogs this year were very focused on the Christmas Markets in Germany and Prague, however I suggest avoiding the crowds and visiting markets off the beaten path. I suggest the Riga Christmas Market and the Vilnius Market, which I will elaborate on below.

Vilnius Christmas Market in Cathedral Square

Sweet treats

Vilniaus g. leading to Cathedral Square

the best store to buy ground coffee

Vilnius has amazing markets during warm weather months so I had high hopes for the shopping at the Christmas Market. Though the market had excellent snacks (cookies, doughnuts, coffee, etc.), I was disappointed by the options for gift shopping. I was hoping for some knit goods, gorgeous pottery, and other handicrafts that were regulars in warm weather markets, however they were all absent. Despite this disappointment the decorations were beautiful and they add to the overall look of the city.

I hope this inspires some trip planning!

Check back Friday for another post!

Travel Update: Recent Fire in Shangri-La, Yunnan, China

Monday, January 20, 2014

As I'm sure you've noticed from my past posts (see here and here), I love traveling in Yunnan Province, China and think of it as my second home. Sadly, a fire ravaged the Shangri-La Old Town on January 12. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but this will impact travel plans. I wish them luck in rebuilding!

Check back Wednesday for another post!

Travel Month - December 2013

Friday, January 17, 2014

Each month I like to reflect upon my monthly travel and explorations in my current city. I love remembering past trips and enjoy looking ahead to future plans. These monthly reflections help me to do just that.

At the end of each month I will now start to post a travel month in photos entry. Yes, I'm a bit late to be sharing a travel month in photos for December, but I forgot my camera to computer connector in Vilnius, LT while I was visiting the US over the holidays. So without further ado, feast your eyes on some travel inspiration.

A weekend in Riga, Latvia

Vilnius, Lithuania Christmas market

Vilniaus g. decorated for Christmas

The drawbridge in Mystic, CT

Tea time!

Sharing some cuberdons

Christmas in NYC

How was your month? What are your plans for next month?

Shopping in Southeastern Connecticut

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

As  I'm sure you've noticed from early posts, I am always looking for locally produced goods and small shops (shop local!). Southeaster Connecticut is becoming a popular tourist destination and the local shopping is constantly improving. Below are my picks in no particular order.

1) Grace in Niantic, CT is a small local business, which sells nautical themed home goods and clothes from smaller designers.

Cute winter heat

A very long string of beads

2) Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut is the best locally owned book shop around. They recently expanded to the store next-door, so now there are even more books to browse.

Bank Square Books

3) The Spice and Tea Exchange in Mystic, Connecticut sells unusual spices, teas, and sugars. Walk in and be prepared to smell the amazing aromas.

4) Bowerbird in Old Lyme, Connecticut sells crafts and gifts.


An Afternoon in New London, Connecticut

Monday, January 13, 2014

Downtown New London, Connecticut has gotten a major facelift in recent years. The New London downtown has numerous restaurants, bars, and several stores all surrounded by a waterfront view. It boasts delicious ethnic cuisine and the option to shop at numerous ethnic grocery stores. The city was founded in 1646 and is still used today as ferry harbor. A visit to downtown New London is a perfect edition to any trip to southeastern Connecticut.

Downtown New London

Eating Out:

  • Northern Indian Restaurant located on 150 State St. has oh so delicious and spicy Indian food. So good.
  • 2 Wives Brick Oven Pizza at 45 Huntington Street has delicious pizza, salads, and sweet desserts. Try the roasted beet salad and the margarita pizza. 2 Wives is also great for people with dietary restrictions because they have gluten free and vegan pizza options.


  • Fiddleheads Co-op isa grocery store, which sells all kinds of foods, specialty chocolate and teas, and candles, baskets, cookie cutters, and other cooking tools. This is the perfect place to find souvenirs made in Connecticut.

To do:

  • To relax a bit visit my favorite yoga studio, Blissworks Yoga and Healing Arts, at 228 State Street.
  • The Hygenic Art Gallery located at 79 Bank St. shows off the local New London art scene.
  • Catch a live play, musical, or ballet at the Garde Arts Center at 325 State St.
  • The Flock Theatre at Connecticut College also has live shows
Baskets from Fiddleheads Co-op

New London, Connecticut

New London

Note: Just be mindful of where you wander because some parts of New London are a bit rougher than others.

Restaurant Guide: Southeastern Connecticut

Friday, January 10, 2014

I am originally from Southeastern Connecticut and always enjoy catching up with friends and family over delicious meals at some of my favorite restaurants. Below is a roundup of my favorite restaurants from my frequent stomping grounds. Let your tastebuds rejoice!

East Lyme:

La Belle Aurore- I've raved about La Belle Auror in my Niantic/East Lyme, CT blog post. I love the breakfast at La Belle Aurore and I love that they use local, fresh food (75 Pennsylvania Ave).

Fruit stuffed french toast from La Belle Aurore
French toast at La Belle Aurore


Cafe Mangia is a delicious Italian restaurant on 68 Linwood Ave.

polenta cakes from cafe mangia in colchester
 Fish from cafe mangia


Singapore Grill - I only just tried the Singapore Grill a few weeks ago, and wow why didn't I try it sooner?! The Singapore Grill has Singapore food and sushi with the nicest owner who will literally make you anything you would like. I went here for lunch with my vegan friends and the owner made them each a special vegan meal that was absolutely delicious. My husband and I both had a daily special, which was absolutely delicious. (938 Bank St.).

Delicious foods from the Singapore Grill in Waterford
Food from the Singapore Grill in New London

Cafe NV - Cafe NV was started by some Greek ladies to compete with their husbands' pizza places. They serve traditional Greek food, salads, and delicious desserts (try the baklava and other Greek pastries!). Needless to say, the wives have been successful as their husbands. (57 Boston Post Road)

New London:

Northern Indian - The Northern Indian Restaurant at 150 State St. is the best Indian food in southeastern Connecticut. Try the chicken saag - yum!

The Northern Indian Restaurant in Downtown New London

2 Wives Pizza - 2 Wives has great pizza and salads and excellent weekly specials. My friends had their wedding reception here and it was relaxed and the food was delicious. Visit 2 Wives on 45 Huntington Ave.

On the Waterfront - The Waterfront on 250 Pequot Ave. is a nicer restaurant with a good calamari appetizer.

Fred's Shanty - If you are looking for a more casual fare try Fred's Shanty on 272 Pequot Ave. They have great hotdogs, fries, ice-cream, and seafood. Enjoy your food outdoors by the marina in New London.

Hanafin's Public House - Hanafin's is a fun place for happy hour and has great bar food. Try it on 312 State Street.


Paul's Pasta - Paul's Pasta makes and serves fresh, delicious pasta. The restaurant is always packed so get there early for a prime seat outside (223 Thames St).


Tio Juan's Margaritas Mexican Restaurant - I always enjoy this bar/restaurant for fun drinks and Tex-Mex food with friends. The restaurant is huge with two floors so it is especially good for large parties.  This restaurant serves Tex-Mex food but if you are looking for authentic Mexican head one town over to Stonington to try Milagros. (12 Water St)

Captain Daniel Packer Inn - This is probably one of my favorite restaurants. Be sure to eat downstairs in the bar for a better atmosphere. I love the goat cheese ball appetizer and all of their entrees. The downstairs part of the restaurant is very small so get their early for a good seat or be prepared to wait. (32 Water St)

Pita Spot - The Pita spot serves delicious Middle Eastern food and I enjoy eating outside there in the summertime. I really enjoy the Lala chicken. (45 Williams Ave)

The Pita Spot in Mystic

Food from the Pita Spot in Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Market - Mystic Market isn't really a sit down restaurant but has great take-out to heat up at home. (63 Williams Ave Route 1)


Noah's - I've mentioned Noah's in other blog posts so I won't go on and on, but I love the breakfasts there! Try the french toast! (113 Water St)

Noah's in Stonington

Milagro - Milagro's is an excellent Mexican restaurant serving authentic foods. I love the mole sauce. (142 Water St)

Old Lyme:

Jessie's Restaurant - I've eaten at Jessie's a few times and I really enjoy their sweet potato ravioli, which is served by a wonderful staff. Jessie's is in an unlikely location in the Old Lyme Plaza near the A&P grocery store on 90 Halls Road.

Old Saybrook:

Penny Lane Pub - The Penny Lane Pub has excellent sweet potato fries, sandwiches, and drinks. Try it out at 150 Main St. Today I went out to lunch with my mom and mother-in-law (1/6/2014) and wow my meal was delicious. I had sweet potato ravioli with chicken and veggies. This is a must order!

Paperback Cafe - Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and the meal that I like to eat out for. One of my favorite places to eat brunch at is the Paperback Cafe, which has delicious breakfast, especially the french toast. (210 Main St)

What are your favorite restaurants in southeastern Connecticut?