One Day in Connecticut


One day in Connecticut...


...starts with a morning drive out of NYC and straight to New Canaan...


The Fujiko Nakaya: Veil exhibition runs till the end of November. I imagine this fog would feel extra mystical on a windy afternoon. Thank you to Allen for snapping this photo and the one at top ^-^


From there, it's another hour drive to New Haven....


...for an afternoon of oolong and pu'erh at The Green Teahouse.


Both teas came with little snacks...


...chocolate mochi with oolong, and butter shortbread with pu'erh.


Next stop, pizza! We made it Sally's Apizza right as they opened and scored the very last table...


...for a garden pie with extra anchovies. We got a small pie in order to save room for...


...another pizza stop! Frank Pepe's is just a block away...


...half-calm pie and half-tomato pie with pepperoni. We were pretty full at that point but...


...didn't you know that ice cream goes in a different stomach?

One scoop Oreo-coffee with whipped cream at Ashley's. And then it's time to go back home ^-^

Thailand | Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai


Remember how I said we'd take a closer look at the Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai?


Are you ready?

This is a crazy/awesome property that stretches across 60 acres. It was Mandarin Oriental Chiang Mai until last year, but otherwise everything else is still the same.


It's 45-minute drive from the city center and was designed to feel like a secluded village. That's why there's a double gated entrance and a long bridge to announce the arrival of guests. The property is so big that everyone is offered bikes to get around (though you can call for a driver if needed).


The rooms are divided into suites and villas. Suites are on the northwest side, tucked inside two-story colonial-style buildings with high ceilings and gigantic bathrooms.


Here's the pool on the suite side...


...and here's the pool on the villa side. 


The teakwood villa overlook rice paddy fields...


Ground floor has kitchen, living, and dining room. Plus the piano and private outdoor pool.


Head upstairs...


...for the bedroom...




...and office area. It's tempting to take an afternoon nap...


...but then you'd miss out on potential spa time!


You already heard about the spa in this post. The signature bael tea is excellent (you can find the dried fruit online and make it at home). 


There are many restaurants on the property...make sure to visit Cake Shop for afternoon tea...

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...Farang Ses for French...

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...and Akaligo for the ultimate breakfast buffet.


Oh! And the bar for a nightcap heehee. 

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Early morning bikes rides were my favorite part of the day...peaceful and quiet. Also ideal for working up a bigger than usual appetite for breakfast!


Man this breakfast.


Hot noodle soups with you tiao, glasses of fresh coconut juice and bael tea...


...housemade yogurt with local fruits and honey (Chiang Mai is famous for lychee honey).


Till next time ^-^

Afternoon Tea at Bergdorf Goodman

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Afternoon tea on the 7th floor of Bergdorf's ^-^

Tea here always beautiful and lively, and now it's extra busy because tea at the Plaza is closed for renovations. Best time to visit is Monday at 3pm, right as service starts.

Compare and contrast with my last afternoon tea post from Bergdorf's. It's been awhile.


We're drinking Nuit à Versailles Tea from Dammann Frères, a sencha base with bergamot and orange blossoms.


Let's begin with smoked salmon...


...and a savory tart of prosciutto, mozzarella, and tomatoes...


...followed by sesame and ham. 


There's a chicken salad with parsley...


...and turkey with cranberries.


A good egg salad makes me so happy...

14964965655_f93ca1f38a_c.jpg does cucumber and cream cheese. Simple things!


Scones are dotted with cranberries and...


...served with clotted cream and Bonne Maman preserves. 


Macarons (in strawberry and pistachio) and...


...petit fours are outsourced.


While salted caramel tarts...


...fluffy coconut-lemon cakes...


...and dark chocolate bites with whipped ganache are made in-house ^-^

Summer Staycation in NYC

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How is it already mid/late August? January feels like it was a few weeks ago.

I did a good amount of travel this year (with more to come...stay tuned), but sometimes it's nice to have a quiet weekend in the city. Though the word itself is cheesy, I love staycations. I love the idea of staying close to home but not actually being at home. I love being in a place where everyone is in a state of transit...adventure! You never know what will happen. And I'll take any excuse to visit a great hotel. 

So before summer ends, visit Gotham Magazine for my picks for an NYC staycation. There's the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca (88 rooms, each furnished in a unique matter...think leather chairs in one, mosaic tiles in another)...

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...Mondrian Soho (that specific shade of blue is taken from Jean Cocteau's 1964 production of La Belle et la Bête)...

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...The Bowery Hotel (say hello to Bo the Bear for me!)...

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...the ever elegant Pierre Hotel (a third of the building is residential, so if you can't bear to end that staycation...)...

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...and of course, Mandarin Oriental New York ^-^

Thailand | Spa Teas

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My favorite part of going to the spa isn't the treatment itself (though that's a close second ;) but the teas served before/after the treatment. The teas are a small but essential touch. It encourages you relax upon arrival. And when leaving, it offers a feeling of completion.

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Each spa does it different. Some do green teas, most do herbal teas.

In Thailand the brews were particularly special (and now I have an urgent desire to explore spa teas in Japan! Vietnam! Russia! The list goes on.) I've highlighted a few favorites for xoVain, which include the...

Spa Drinks - 3 - Paresa.jpg mulberry tea at Paresa in Phuket. Mulberry is grown throughout Thailand and the dried leaves are commonly used for infusions. It's served chilled with honey at the beginning...

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...and hot (without honey) and a side of local pineapples post-treatment. 

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At Let's Relax Spa in Bangkok, they start with a chilled pandan tea...

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...and finish with hot oolong (grown in Chiang Rai) and a dish of sticky rice and mangoes.

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The most memorable spa tea was at Dhara Dhevi's Deva Spa. It's a combo of ginger, raw honey, and dried bael fruit (pictured below). They serve it chilled at the beginning and hot at the end with an excellent fruit and nut bar.

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I emailed the girls at the spa for the tea recipe...enjoy, enjoy ^-^ 

The Deva Spa Bael Tea  

  • 4-6 dried bael fruit pieces
  • 2-3 slices fresh ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 400 ml water

Bring water to a boil and add the dried bael and ginger and simmer for 15 minutes. Add honey and stir to dissolve, adjusting sweetness to taste. Serve hot, or lightly chilled (but not over crushed ice, as it lowers digestive ability).