architecture

Paris in black and white edition: 2 by Jessica Lee


 I came back from Europe a few months ago, and I have all these pictures of Paris which I don't know what to do with, so I figured I might as well share them with the community.

I spent two weeks in Paris practicing my French, getting ignored by the French, then eventually taking a bus to Brussels.

Actually, the story is a little longer than that. Let me explain.


Paris is magical to me because it gets romanticized in basically every movie we see about this city. Examples: Midnight in Paris, Amelie, Moulin Rouge... Even if the plot isn't very romantic like The Da Vinci Code, the background scenes of Paris are gorgeous. To finally be in a place which is hyped universally by almost everyone in my network/media/influences was wonderful.

When I first arrived and saw the architecture, I was floored and fell in love with the city.

Then, after seeing my wide-open bag, a hostel staff warned me about pick pockets, and my fondness towards Paris died down a little but I was still enamoured with the city.


I love the smaller streets, the smell of fresh pastry wafting through the air, being able to find a specialty cheese shop on almost every corner and of course, all the rich history that seems to swallow you into its world. You simply can't be in a place like Paris and not imagine all the generations that have lived on these same streets.


But of course, a walk through Paris though beautiful, is sometimes lonely when you're only one. Parisians have a reputation of being snobs, which I found out unfortunately is mostly true.

There was an incident when I was trying to ask questions in French at a post office, and when my French vocabulary wasn't strong enough to get my question across, the clerk, who was in her late twenties, just ignored me and went back to reading her book. It wasn't until I was rescued by another customer who spoke both English and French that I got the answer I needed.

If you want to learn about customer service, don't go to Paris.


Anyway, I digress. Please don't let me stop you from going to Paris because of that one incident, in fact, I recommend going just to see what it's all about. I actually met a very funny and nice Parisian man in my third go-around to Paris, so no not everyone is a snob.

One of the reasons I love Paris so much is because it has so much art and culture, not to mention history. Like a difficult novel, you may not like it, but it's good for you, just so you know what it's like, so you can be informed and have an legitimate opinion on it.


You may have noticed I haven't mentioned shopping yet.

Well, I'm getting there. Keep in mind, these photos are only representative of the first few days I spent in Paris.


I mostly gravitated towards food on the first couple of days, which by the way, Parisian grocery stores have the best selection of brie. It's less than two euros for a whole block of cheese! In Canadian dollars, that's around $3. In Canada, good cheese starts from around $6, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered cheap good cheese in the grocery stores.

Dining out was slightly more expensive than back home, but I still went out a couple of times just to see what it was like. Disclaimer: I also gained a couple of pounds specifically from Paris, I think. I am blaming the croissants, but they are the most delicious thing in the world when they are still hot from the oven so I have no regrets.


I will be posting more photos from Paris as I edit them in the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy them!








Lund, Sweden: minimalist designs and progressive views by Jessica Lee


Lund, Sweden, was one of the first places I visited in Europe.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see a lot of it in the daytime because I was still recovering from jet lag and Sweden only gets about 3 hours of sunlight a day in Winter. The mood of walking around at night is dark and sombre- exactly like a Swedish film I saw a couple of years ago, Let the Right One In (2008). That's okay though, because the city centre was inviting and warm.

I think my favourite part about Lund was its small size. There aren't many tourist attractions so I didn't feel the pressure to rush from place to place. I took my time, went window shopping and sat in cafes.


One of the things I noticed about Lund (and I suppose Sweden in general) was its minimalistic design in everything from architecture to interiors.


The simple, practical design of the buildings in Sweden are quite different from say, the fancy Haussmann style of Paris.


I liked the design of this bathroom in their community centre. It was non-gendered, with just one big room and a communal sink but different stalls. It's utilitarian and gender-friendly. It allows women to use the men's stalls if there is a huge line-up of women and no men's line-up, because usually that's what happens. It also puts less pressure on transgendered people.


I think it's really cool Sweden's progressive views are reflected in their designs. Swedes are known around the world for being tolerant and having great social policies such as long parental leaves (480 days, 390 of them paid), a good welfare program, and fairly equal gender equality.


As much as I liked the aesthetics and generous amount of cafes in Sweden however, I think my favourite memory of Lund was taking part in an elaborate dinner with my friend's Swedish buddies.


It's always nice to have locals explain delicacies to you while showing you how to cook in their homes. It feels much more authentic than going to a restaurant. It's also really cool to know they play the same games we do in North America. We played a sweet game of charades after dinner. But of course, the pop culture references are different. For example, I didn't know some of the Swedish politicians the group brought up. Also, because I'm Canadian, whenever I play a guessing-type game with people of other nationalities, "Justin Bieber" always gets thrown into the hat (lucky me).

By the way, Swedes really love their cheese. Here is a photo of me with an "ordinary" sized block of cheese in a grocery store, which is HUGE even by North American standards:


I hope I get to visit Lund again a few years down the road. Of course, everything will be different because I won't know anyone there anymore (everyone I do know there is a temporary student), but I love to revisit places, retrace steps and relive memories.


Bruges, Belgium, in black and white by Jessica Lee


On the weekend, my friend Guilhem and I went to the medieval-looking town of Bruges, Belgium. It's a beautiful town, but unfortunately, there's not much to do there.


The main attractions would probably be 1. the palace 2. the folklore museum 3. the beautiful architecture and 4. maybe the shopping, as that's what most people were doing.


I don't enjoy "touristy" towns where bad gimmicky shopping is a pastime. I also don't like being surrounded by too many tourists. I heard that after the movie In Bruges (2008) came out, the town was suddenly flooded with tourists- which can be a good thing for the economy, but I imagine slightly annoying to the residents.

Here is the main square:



Bruges has this nice canal, much like in Venice, which would have been nice to explore on a rowboat. They had a speedboat tour, but I tend to not go for pre-rehearsed, mass-information-directed tours; instead, I gravitate towards smaller, improvised tours which can allow for unique moments to happen.



I think my favourite moment in Bruges would have to be the hot chocolate we had near the end of the day. Belgium is known for it's good chocolate, and the place we went to, Bitter Sweet, was no exception.

We were brought two cups of steamed milk and told to place our dark chocolate tulips in the cups. The tulips would float, then sink to the bottom and melt into the milk. It was fun, and absolutely delicious.


Bruges would be a fun place for a day trip. I wouldn't recommend more than two days here as the cafes and chocolate shops (great as they are) will probably get old fast. The town is more suited for slow travel, as in taking the time to walk around and discover places, as opposed to a bigger city where you're always stimulated by different attractions and rushing around to get to places.


Here are more photos of the trip:











A bike tour of Montreal by Jessica Lee


Marc and I took an expedition on our bicyclettes yesterday to explore the rest of downtown Montreal.

Biking along the St. Lawrence river had an old romantic feel to it, and it felt incredibly French. All we were missing was the picnic basket filled with gourmet cheeses and a baguette.


Going everywhere by bike was also very efficient as well. We saw three times as much as we would have had we walked on foot.


Here is Marc next to some pretty cool buildings.


There are actually lots of architecturally interesting buildings in downtown Montreal.


I loved how old architecture is mixed with modern styles.


We stopped by the Old Port, which reminded me of Toronto's Distillery District in the way that the floors were cobblestone and the buildings were older.


I had some maple taffy, which is really just maple syrup in thickened form thrown over ice and then rolled onto a stick. Like poutine, it is a very tasty tourist trap/one of the things you should try should you head to Quebec.

It starts out looking like this:


Then you roll it up...


And you put it in your mouth.


A magician's show was just setting up as I started my taffy so we stayed for a while and watched.


Then we headed into the artists corridor to look at some art.


The place was definitely touristy, but I loved the elegant buildings and the feeling one got when walking beside stone walls and on top of cobblestone- like you're in a classy European city.


If you popped into any of the stores you would see something like this: lovely small boutiques.


Or touristy t-shirts.

I loved the cafe scene as well. I was really tempted to stop for a cuppa or a creme de glace but we had a schedule and a lot of things to do.


Before that though, can I show you a few kitschy things that I adored?

Here ya go!

This sign:


And this fabulous t-shirt that was ridiculously priced.


Even though Old Port was incredibly consumerist and tourist-geared, I soaked up every minute of being there.


Soon it was time to head back on the bike trail.

There is this amazing trail that follows the river from Old Port to Atwater Market, which has lovely views of the city. In my mind, I was in a French movie and Le Denicheur was playing while I was biking down these gorgeous trails.


Please open that above link and listen by the way. It really sets the mood for the rest of this blog post and the photos.


We stopped over a bridge and saw these sets of buildings. I have no clue what they are but they look like apartments or dorm rooms. I wonder what the insides look like.


Here is a further away view so you can see the boats.


We took a few photos and then we were off again.













We made it to the Atwater Market, which is a farmer's market filled with yummy goods.

I bought a tin can of maple syrup for $6.50! What a deal considering fake maple syrup in grocery stores costs something like $4.50.




We wandered into a chocolate shop where I wanted to eat everything.

They had ice cream.


Lots of chocolate of course.


And truffles!


Here is a close-up of one of the truffles.


And this was the dessert I really wanted to try but it was really hot and I was thirsty and fleur de sel, which is salted caramel, would have been much too sweet.


We took the metro back downtown and walked into a student protest.


They had pots and pans and were banging away. It was quite loud.


Then a bit further down, we walked into the film festival where they were playing a silent film.


One of the things I love about Montreal is that like Toronto, there is always something happening in the city. Back when I lived in Sydney, we went to the library for entertainment.

I'm kidding obviously.

But most of the nightlife in Sydney revolved around clubs and if you didn't like clubbing, then have a nice life.


I'm not sure where this place is, but we discovered the area by biking near it then seeing it.


It was perfect. There was just the right amount of people in it so that the scene was lively but not too many so that we couldn't bike through.


Montreal is a pretty decent city to bike through.


If you have a free day, I definitely recommend exploring by bike.



A walk through Hyde Park and NSW State Library by Jessica Lee


I had my last day of class yesterday so it's officially exam season. Which means an excuse for an hour walk to the NSW state library to get some hardcore studying on! Above photo is me at the library.

This library is intense! It reminds me of the library in the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. It's got the wood paneling, sunroof, marble floors, fancy marble detailing on the roofs, etc, etc.


This is the Mitchell Room. You're not allowed to bring your camera inside, so I had to take this photo from outside.

It reminds me of the Harvard library. I haven't actually been in the Harvard library but I've seen it from various movies.

Security here is pretty strict. You're not allowed to bring bags in, only laptops and books. You have to rent a locker to put your stuff in.

This is what it looks like from the outside. It's quite impressive.


This is the entrance:


Back home (Toronto), our most impressive library would probably be the Robarts Library, which is shaped like a phoenix, but only the outside looks nice. Inside, the air is stuffy, the lighting is not the best and I feel like I'm in a prison.

They have high ceilings here so I feel fine.


Check out the bookcases! I guess the books are a pretty big deal too. Leather-bound and all.


Here is a photo of Sydney University's nicest library (in my opinion) as a comparison. Take into note Sydney University's libraries are pretty nice (compared to the gross gross gross library at University of Toronto Scarborough). This is the visual arts library. Not many students at the university know about this library.

Libraries like these make me feel like a prestigious academic. I feel "smarter" and somewhat pretentious being in the visual arts library, like I'm doing real work instead of just checking Facebook.


My favourite library at Sydney University would have to be the Law Library because it's clean-looking and has lots of outlet plugs. I do not have a photo of this library though because it's huge and really silent. If I took a photo, everyone would hear the shutter click and look over at me. My favourite library used to be the SciTech Library because of the booths with the cushions but then I got into the security guard's bad books. It's a long story.

To the NSW state library, instead of taking the bus, we decided to go on foot. It was a long walk, but it was also justified because we were going to the library to "study".

Here is Hyde Park, which we passed through to get to the library.


I love how this place is completely surrounded in trees. It's in the downtown core, just across the street from some office buildings. On our walk through, we saw some business men having lunch. If I worked near here, I would definitely have lunch here as well.


Here is another fancy building, as if Sydney doesn't have enough fancy buildings already.


Walk further along and you'll find a gorgeous water fountain.


Before coming to Sydney I never thought there would be so many nice buildings. Apparently they take their architecture seriously here.

Guess what this nice building is? (scroll down for answer)


It's a hospital!


If I were sick, staying in this building would cheer me up.

I'd never think of Sydney as an "architectural city"- those would be European cities, but now my mind is changing.

Readers: What is your favourite building for its architecture? It can be in any city in the world.

A night time tour of University of Sydney by Jessica Lee


I haven't done much exploring in the past few days, because I've been running errands with my housemates. We don't have an oven in our house, so we went out and bought a mini oven today since we all like to bake. We also picked up a mop and other essentials as well.

My schedule for the last couple of days since moving in consists of waking up at around 10 am (early for me) and making my housemates breakfast. I've done apple granola and Nutella banana pancakes so far (both were hits!). Tomorrow might be an omelette day...

(We each take care of different meals and cook for each other)

Then afterwards, we decide what we want to do. It might be buying groceries, going to the university or going to the markets.

At night, since we don't have internet in our house yet, I walk over to the university and use their wifi. The weather here is a nice, breezy 24 degrees C at night, so I sit on a park bench, drink my cranberry strawberry raspberry herbal iced tea, answer emails, and blog.

The internet in Australia generally is terrible, so it takes much longer than usual, but I figure the hardship I endure here will make me grateful when I'm back in Canada.

Anyway, I would like to show you around my campus today.


I decided to take photos of the campus at night because most of these buildings definitely look cooler when darkness strikes.

Look at that architecture!

This is where I sit with my iced tea.

And also, the campus is deserted at night, which makes for hassle-free (you don't have to deal with people walking into your photos) photo taking.

This is the Hogwarts building. (Just kidding)

Empty tents in preparation for orientation week.

This place is just lovely at night! I can't wait until I'm strapped down with hundreds of pages of readings and I have to stay here reading until early morning! (Just kidding about that one too)

Honestly, I am quite anxious about school in terms of difficulty level (a couple of 2,000 word essays are waiting for me). But at least the nice buildings will calm me down.


This is the graffiti hall that I walk through every time I want to go from my house to campus:

I thought it was a little sketchy (people here say "dodgy") at first because what if I encountered drug dealers at the end of the hall? But the first night I walked though it, I went with my housemate, so I felt safer.

I think it's pretty cool how the university has one of these halls. It has some "revolution" posters on it and it feels like I'm part of university in the 60's with "revolution" plastered everywhere because that's the time period when revolutions at universities really started to become big with the whole free love/peace thing. By allowing this hall, the university is sort of saying "yeah we value free expression and creativity here", so this hall gets a thumbs up from me.
Fresh graffiti cans.

It's going to be fall here soon. Fall starts in March. I feel like I'm cheating the weather system since I escaped Toronto in February, which is when the cold starts to get unbearable (it's after the holidays so there's no reason for snow anymore) and returning in the summer.

Museums, architecture, sneaking into buildings- oh my! by Jessica Lee

Today's goal was set high: Six museums in six hours.

Guess how many museums I ended up visiting in the end? Well, you'll have to read to find out...

But first! Brunch at Simply Life, which is a restaurant chain here in HK.

I had the Eggs Marine, which is an Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.

To be honest, it wasn't that great. The wait for the food was long (half an hour), the food was barely warm by the time it got here and it just didn't taste as good as the Eggs Benedicts I've had back in Toronto.

The mocha was done right, however.


And this is from their bakery section, which I am hoping to try next time I go:

The first museum I went to was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Museum. Getting there was quite an adventure. You have to take these escalators/movators (there were about four or five -maybe more- of them and they were really long) otherwise you'd have to walk up a huge hill.

See? Isn't this cool? You kind of have to imagine the rest of it because my camera lens is only so wide- but trust me, it was a huge escalator. I am quite amazed at how HK has been built/planned- I know this picture doesn't show it, but the escalators just kept going and going- and in different angles too. It reminded me of a ski lift.

This is the start of another escalator. Look how everything fits inside this narrow street!

It took a while, but I finally got to the street the museum was on.

Here is a picture looking downhill. I bet this would be a fun hill to toboggan down- if it ever snowed in HK.

The first museum was basically a biography of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's life. He is pretty important to China by the way because he brought democracy to the nation by helping overthrow the Qing Dynasty. Not only is his face featured in stamps and in currency in Asia, there is even a statue of him in our very own Toronto (Riverdale Park)!

Museum #2, Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, was a huge disappointment. It took a walk across town to get to (half an hour) and up another hill through a forest- and the kicker: when I got there, the museum was under renovations so there was only one installation for me to see.

But not all was lost. It was a lovely walk through the forest/park. It was VERY well designed. In fact, the park won an award for integrating urban structures with nature way back when. There was an aviary (a huge bird cage), a children's park, a garden and a look-out point.

I had to add this in. These are middle school students on a field trip posing for a photo. I thought it was a cute pose.


I also visited the Bank of China building.

The tourism board of HK doesn't advertise it, but you can get a free view of HK on the 43rd floor. You just have to show your passport. Some views...

It goes from floor one to 43. (And yes, that is me in the background)

Also worth mentioning is that you can get into the building beside the Bank of China without any security clearance. I think it was the fact that I smiled at the guard and he thought I knew what I was doing- I didn't. I thought I was going into the Bank of China building but it turns out I was lost and I was in an all together different building.

Here is a photo I shot in the mysterious building. It is an office building obviously, and it is quite nice.

By the time I was done looking at the views and getting lost, it was already close to 4 pm and many of the museums closed at 6 pm.

I wasted no time and got a cab. And took a ferry across to the Kowloon side of HK.

Once on the other side, I went to the Hong Kong Museum of Art and learned about how Chinese painters imitated Western painters' techniques- called export paintings. Most of the exhibit was about how the Chinese painters were inadequate compared to the Western painters (according to the description beside it) - and there were always two paintings of similar scenes- one by a Chinese painter and one by a Western painter. It was kind of sad- except in today's art/design scene, I think HK is doing so much better in terms of architecture (will post pictures as proof in an upcoming blogpost) than any "Western" city I can think of.

Another cool thing in the HK Museum of Art was the origami section.

I used to be really into folding origami.

There were instructions and I ended up making this phoenix.

It was hilarious during the folding part because everyone was so confused and frustrated. I shared a laugh with the guy beside me.

This is the pile of discards:

And here are the instructions if you want to make a phoenix too!

Last but not least, I went to the Space Museum!

This was fun because it reminded me of when I went to summer camp at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. One summer, we got to do the Challenger program, which is a simulated space flight. Everyone was given a specific job and your job affected whether the mission was a fail or a success. I was the announcer and controlled the cameras. I was basically Big Brother. Muahahaha!

Anyway- at the Space Museum, I went on a rocket pack simulator, and it was discovered that I don't quite yet have the coordination to fly my own rocket pack. (I wasn't as bad as some of the people before me though, so that made me feel better.)

I also got to simulate being on the moon. After looking like a clown in front of an audience, I have since decided that I like Earth's gravitational pull quite a bit.

Here's a (blurry) photo of me in the simulator:

I'm not quite sure yet what I'm doing tomorrow. But I know what I am going to do now. It's been a long day. I'm pooped! Good night, I'll see you in the morning!

Shopping demons and things that make my heart flutter by Jessica Lee

You know it's time to go home from the mall when you feel guilty after making a purchase.

The day started innocently enough. I woke up around 8 am and went for breakfast at TOASTBOX, a cha chaan teng at Olympian City.

I ordered instant noodles with spicy pork and an egg, a cold Horlick drink, which tastes sort of like malt and milk for those of you who haven't had it before, and a Pandan cake- which as I'm learning now from Wikipedia, has Malaysian origins and is made with Pandanus amarylifolius (a tropical plant) leaves. It is a green cake which gets its colour from the chlorophyll in the leaf juice. The cake was okay- tasted just like regular sponge cake.


After breakfast, I headed over to the International Finance Centre, which thankfully is more interesting than the name suggests. The IFC is a HUGE mall with brand names like Burberry, Coach and the like. It also has non-designer brands like Club Monaco and Zara.

I didn't really shop much, instead, I went around and explored. The architecture of the building is incredible. Here are some photos taken by yours truly that showcase its spectacular structure:


Here is the entrance
This here is one of the shopping levels

Gorgeous

More levels


This is the roof top. It is so pretty! The business people eat their lunches here. I hope they know how lucky they are. I would LOVE to have lunch here every day. It would make me feel like a million bucks. It's such a nice environment. There are free-for-all tables (they are nice tables) where you can bring your own food or buy something like McDonalds and just eat and have a good time with your co-workers.

And last but not least, fancy restaurant on the roof top!

I also found a really nice grocery store in this mall and almost bought a $3 CAD Kit Kat Cookies and Cream chocolate bar. It was my first time seeing such a bar and I was fascinated. Except $3 is a bit steep for a Kit Kat, which is why I didn't get it.

I also went to a bookstore in the mall and found a paperback copy of Timothy Ferriss' 4-Hour Work Week! I almost bought this too, except I did calculations and the paperback copy is almost as expensive as the hard cover copy. It's weird how in HK, you can find paperback releases of books that they are still selling hardcovers in North America. I had been waiting for a paperback version of Timothy Ferriss' books back in Toronto. (For anyone who doesn't know, Tim Ferriss is a genius, and you should read his books!)


For the Hunger Games fans, I also found paperback versions of all three books here. In Toronto, only the first book is in paperback right now!

I'm sure there's some method to this madness. I think publishers keep popular books in hardcover because then they can charge more to readers who can't wait until the softcover version comes out. But if this is the case, why does HK get a break? If anyone can explain this to me, please let me know!

After the mall, I went exploring in the Central region and I got hungry so I walked into Cafe de Coral, which is a fast food place that serves cha chaan teng dishes.

I had a mashed potato and chicken wing combo. It cost $3 CAD, and was delicious-though a bit cold when I got the food, and it didn't fill me up.


So I pulled out my handy dandy guide book and it led me to Lan Fong Yuen, which is a cha chaan teng that claims they invented the first milk tea! This is probably as authentic as it gets. It is a hole in the wall where the locals eat and share tables together.

I ordered the french toast (which translates loosely in English to "western toast") and a lai cha (milk tea). I don't usually drink milk tea, but I figured I might as well have it if I was at the place that invented it. It was good, but it hasn't converted me into someone who has to have one every time at a cha chaan teng. The french toast was amazing though.

I then wandered to Tai Cheong Bakery for egg tarts.

I am in love with egg tarts. When I bought my egg tarts, they were still hot from the oven. In Toronto, whenever I'm near Chinatown, I make it a point to go buy egg tarts. Usually, they are sold out unless you go really early (before noon).

I then made a trip to Causeway Bay and shopped at SOGO, which is a huge department store (think Sears, but with 16 floors). I went up to the 11th floor and then I couldn't go further because the 12th floor is wedding dresses and it felt awkward going to that floor since I'm not getting married anytime soon- at least not that I'm aware of. The floors after that were cooking classes and a spa and some other things that had no relevance to my life, so there weren't any excuses for me to go poking around up there.

However, I am pleased to report that I bought a hair straightener!

I wasn't actively looking for one, but it caught my eye and now we are happily together. It's one of those fancy little Asian technology jobs and it cost only $20 CAD. The only issue with it is that the plug is Asian and I have to find a travel adapter for it to use it in Canada. Oh yeah, and it's pink!

This is how small it is. I put a camera lens lid in the picture for comparison purposes. Asian technology is crazy! I've never seen such a small straightener before. I plan to use it on my (relatively) new bangs.

And then I wandered around and saw MUJI!!!

I nearly had an orgasm.

This store is pretty much my favourite store in any Asian country (and the sad part is they only exist in Asian countries as far as I know).

Here is a little context for those of you who don't know: Muji is a Japanese lifestyle store. They sell clothing, shoes, food, stationary, beauty products, bath products, beds, luggage, storage items, and other random things you didn't think you needed but realized you desperately did after seeing how cool they are.

Their "brand" is minimalist design.

About two years ago when I was visiting Taiwan, I bought flats at Muji for about $56 CAD and they have lasted me up until now. And this is with regular wearing!

I also buy a lot of notebooks and pens whenever I'm at Muji. Their stuff is simple and the paper is good quality.

Here is a picture of inside the store so you can see the wide range of its products: (see the stationary on the left, the scarves in the middle, the storage section in the back...)


Today I bought lounge pants (because it's much colder in HK than it appears to be- they are lying when they say 20 degrees, it feels more like 15), a cute backpack (not that I needed any more, but I really do have an obsession with buying backpacks and I think this is an okay obsession to have because it's not like I have an obsession with buying $60,000 designer purses- that would be bad for my financial health- and backpacks usually don't go over $100 so it's fine to indulge once in a while), some notebooks and a bag of chocolate cream-filled strawberry marshmallows.

I was happy with these purchases. Everything was sunshine and rainbows. Everything was lovely.

And then this is the part where it gets murky.

I went to Times Square (because the guidebook told me to, since it was in the area anyway). And I happened to walk INTO the Times Square mall. Curiosity always kills the cat.

And then I saw this store I absolutely adore. And it was downhill from there.

I won't reveal anymore, except that I look hot in this hoodie, it's keeping me warm and that I needed it anyway since I am running out of fresh laundry. So pretty much it's a matter of life or death. I would clearly freeze to death if I weren't wearing this hoodie right now. And who cares if they are now selling it for almost half the price at The Bay this week since I won't be back in Canada for the next six months?

If anything, this guilty feeling is coming from the fact that I charged my credit card (because I didn't have enough cash at that point in the day), which means that the purchase will have conversion rates added on to the already high price. Also, I just read from the receipt that they don't do refunds. Bummer.

Oh well. I am reading The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma and he says "there are no mistakes in life, only lessons". So this must be my lesson: always bring more cash. And no more impulse purchases! Except when the deal is too good to pass up.

Tomorrow, I am staying away from the shopping malls. It's museum day for me. Until then, readers!