30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 2

Of course we decided that our first full day in the city must begin as every proper day in the city does, with a very good bagel. We made our way down to Best Bagel and Coffee, a hole in the wall with great yelp reviews (always sure to be a winner!).

Best Bagel

There was already a line out the door but it seemed to be moving quickly so we joined the queue. Once inside it looked more or less like your run of the mill bagel shop with endless tubs of flavored cream cheese and baskets full of bagels.

Although I was dying for lox (no smoked fish while expecting :() Robert and I both opted for variations on egg and cheese bagel sandwiches.

Best Bagel Sandwich

They were of course delicious and very filling. Stuffed, we gave up our table and walked towards the subway, Central Park bound!


I find the subways more than a little confusing but they are definitely the most budget friendly and often the quickest way to traverse the city. Enter our first real adventure of the trip: Robert made it on to the subway car headed for Central Park and I didn’t. In case you are under the impression that Subway doors are like elevators and you can stick your arm out to cause one to re-open, they aren’t.

Luckily a few kind New Yorkers saw what had happened and took pity on me before I became full blown Home Alone 2 Lost in New York. They told me which car to take and where to get off. Meanwhile Robert was busy sending me text messages that read: “I miss you.” Very helpful under the circumstances.

Trump Towers

Soon enough we were reunited and found ourselves in front of  Trump Tower (Gross) and right outside the park! We bought a map and started at the south entrance.


I had been to New York several times prior to this trip but Central Park was one landmark I had never experienced and I couldn’t wait to check it out.

Central Park 3

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30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 1

Now that it’s in writing I guess I am officially 30! I’ve said it out loud plenty over the last month but this must be the first time I’ve actually typed it out because it looks so old  odd!

Robert’s family always makes a big deal out of celebrating birthdays and I am lucky that he has passed that on and makes sure that I feel special and celebrated each year. I met Robert a few months shy of my 21st birthday. We hadn’t had the DTR (defining the relationship) talk before I left for Las Vegas with my girlfriends to celebrate finally being legal. Upon checking into our hotel I learned that Robert had surprised me with a day at the hotel spa the morning after I turned 21. It was such a thoughtful gift and I returned from that trip with an “official boyfriend”. It also kicked off a long line of very sweet and special birthdays (except for the one fluke year where he forgot to get me a card and we ate McDonalds for lunch…but we don’t talk about that 😉 and this year was no exception.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, dinner with friends is always nice and a party (while pregnant) didn’t sound too fun so we decided to take a trip. I hadn’t been to New York City in years and Robert hadn’t been since he was in middle school so we decided it would make for a perfect long weekend. In true crazy planner fashion I started our itinerary right away. There were LOTS of sights I wanted to see, but more so there were LOTS of places I wanted to eat (I mean what else is a pregnant girl supposed to look forward to on vacation?). If you are planning a trip to the city I highly recommend you start following a few NYC Food Instagram accounts but prepare for your mouth to water.


We flew out on Thursday and arrived in NYC around noon, just in time for lunch! Of everything I wanted to try, I was the most excited about trying soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao. I tried a giant soup dumpling once when I was in China but couldn’t wait to try the cute little ones I’d seen all over instagram (and that aren’t available in any restraurants anywhere near where I live 😦


We wet to Pinch Chinese on Prince Street, a menu I had scoped out well ahead of time and couldn’t wait to order one of everything from. Much to my dismay, they weren’t serving the snow crab over glass noodles for lunch, so we opted for pork soup dumplings, beef pan fried dumplings and Shrimp and Pork Wontons which come in the most delicious broth. EVERYTHING was delicious, highly recommend, A+++. Everything we didn’t order that I saw others around us eating looked delicious too. If we return to NYC anytime soon we will definitely be making another visit to Pinch, preferably at dinner so I can get my hands on those crab noodles.

Soup Dumpling 2
The cutest little soup dumpling you ever did see
Making dumplings
Loved Watching this guy handroll each dumpling!

After lunch we walked around Nolita (Soho? The boroughs confuse me) and browsed through a few shops before stopping at Milk Bar for dessert.

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Canada Part 2: Kootenay & Radium Hot Springs

We began our second full day in Canada well rested and ready to hit the parks. Our destination for the day was Kootenay National Park, which turned out to be one of our favorite places!

We began at the Continental Divide between Kootenay (British Columbia) and Banff (Alberta).

CD 2


Next we headed for Stanley Glacier. The snow was heavier than it had been the day before and we met a hiker who informed us we may not get too far without snow shoes.


We hiked out as far as we could and found a few miles in that he was right…


Whoops! On to Marble Canyon!


If you are in Kootenay, Marble Canyon is a must do. We both agreed that it was our favorite hike of the trip; snow shoes not required 🙂


Marble Canyon is full of limestone and dolomite leftover from when the area was once covered by a tropical sea.


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Thailand Part 3: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (on a budget!)

A floating market was a must do on our itinerary ( I mean hello, that has to be one of the iconic images that comes to mind when you think of Thailand) and Damnoen Saduak is the largest and best known.

Originally, I had planned for Haley and I to take a half day tour to the market before we flew out of Bangkok that evening, but when the tour operator quoted me 3500 baht on the phone ($100 USD) I thought that sounded a bit steep. Still feeling the sting of our canal tour scam on day 1 I decided to do a little research and find a cheaper option. Thank goodness for google. After stumbling upon a few backpacker blogs I learned that it was very possible to get to the market on your own for only a fraction of the price, despite what the Thai looking to make a buck may tell you. I decided I would chronicle our budget journey in hopes that it may help other travelers, enjoy!


First of all, prepare to wake up EARLY (I never said this journey was convenient, just a lot cheaper). If you are still jetlagged like we were, this shouldn’t be a problem. You will be traveling to the market by mini bus, and the first one leaves at 6, with another leaving roughly every 30 minutes thereafter. The mini bus station is located at the Victory Monument. Our hotel was located within walking distance of the skytrain so we incurred our first expense and caught the first one at 6 AM. Skytrain Ticket : 30 Baht ($.85 USD) 

We got off at the stop for Victory Monument and asked around until we were pointed in the correct direction of the mini bus station. By the way, I use the word ‘station’ rather loosely here. Don’t expect a bus terminal, it’s really just a lot of large van’s parked all over and 100’s of people under umbrellas with cardboard signs selling tickets. All of the signs are in Thai so you’ll need to ask (and ask again and again) for the one that takes you to Damnoen Saduak. After what felt like a million questions we finally found it! Hooray! We paid 100 baht each for our tickets and hopped aboard the van. Mini Bus Ticket : 100 baht ($3 USD). 

The van pulled away around 6:30 and the ride took about an hour and a half, including a stop for gas and iced coffee. The AC worked well and I brought some reading material so the trip flew by!


Now, the minibus will drop you off at a canal dock, this is NOT where you want to be. If your driver speaks English, ask him to drop you off AT the market, not the dock. Depending on how in league with the dock workers your driver is, they may or may not do it. Haley and I forgot to ask, and our van stopped at the dock. Whoops. Immediately our little group was swarmed by several women with calculators quoting us prices for boat rides into the market. The woman that approached Haley and I quickly typed in 2500 baht (about $70 USD). HAH, no way Thailand, not this time. I scoffed at the price and told her we were going to walk into the market. “No, no can walk” she said smugly, “Only boat. Must take boat to market”. Laurin in Thailand on Day 1 may have fallen for that nonsense, but not Laurin in Thailand Day 3. So much knowledge gained in so little time.

Now some of our group had already fallen for this ruse and happily chucked away their 70 or 80 bucks and gotten onto the boats. Poor schmucks. The only other English speakers from our bus were two German girls who seemed skeptical of the prices as well. They asked me if we were really able to walk into the market, which I assured them they could and that they were welcome to follow Haley and I as we did so. The four of us started heading away from the docks and were pursued by the dock woman who kept trying to get our attention by typing lower and lower number into her calculator. “No walk!” she kept shouting at us, “only boat! Can’t walk in!”. Nice try lady.

“Sure we can walk,” I told her, “I read it online”. And with that simple statement she immediately went from motivated saleslady to a woman scorned by google. “OH YOU THINK YOU SO SMART!” she screamed at me, “YOU READ ON COMPUTER!” “OH OH OH FINE! YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, NO WALK!” (string of Thai expletives). Walking in to the market: FREE

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