Come explore one of the most important Hindu shrines outside of India with me, taking in life around the caves and temples in the early morning to start.  Then we’ll climb the 272 steps up to the cave, where you’ll see statues, art, and live music played for those who’ve come to worship in a truly memorable setting.

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You never know what life in Malaysia will bring your way, and this was never more apparent to me as when I was spontaneously invited to my very first Malay-Muslim wedding reception in Kuala Lumpur.  It was so lovely, with such beautiful traditions and customs, and so splendid to behold.  The setting looked like the scene from every little girl’s fantasy of what her wedding day would look like, it was magical.

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Looking for something hilariously FUN to do while visiting Malaysia? Well, how about a ride in a super neon Hello Kitty tri-shaw blasting out pop music from massive speakers!  My Mom was here recently and that’s what we did and as strange as it is to admit, it was actually a highlight from her holiday, (no joke!).

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As dorky as it may be, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for using my first Bahasa word in a blog post title!  For anyone who doesn’t speak the language (like me), sedap means DELICIOUS … and that’s exactly what you’ll experience at TAPAK.  Launched just over 3 months ago by 4 reunited school mates to meet the growing demand in popularity of food trucks in Kuala Lumpur, TAPAK is KL’s first non-night market ‘urban street food’ experience open 7 nights a week, right downtown in the heart of the city.  In fact, it’s so close to Petronas Towers that you will leave TAPAK with a happy, full belly and awesome selfies taken gobbling up food with the towers in the background!

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Woohooooo! My 1st (non-airport) experience with the Malaysian government was fantastic … every single employee was kind, gracious and helpful (NOT something expats experience in some countries, trust me!!! I’ve been yelled at in China and India for not being in the right queue so this was a lovely experience!).

And those BUILDINGS! The architecture is absolutely beautiful and made me feel like I was in an oasis in the Sahara and not in Putrajaya for some reason 🙂

 

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Come explore Plaza Dataran Merdeka, Dataran Underground, and the energetic KL Hari Raya Eid Mubarak Festival 2016 with me! Coordinated by the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau to showcase the beauty and diversity of Malaysian culture and their cuisine, they extended an invitation not only to special guests but to every tourist in town to come enjoy themselves, and it was a day I won’t soon forget … with so much food I’m not even sure I captured it all!

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I’m currently spending a month in Bali curating travel content. This makes the 2nd time in less than 9 months that I’m here, with the previous visit lasting 60 days. It’s hectic, it’s fun, it’s a wonderful break from my own ‘real life’, and it reminds me often about what is really important as I see life through the eyes of the gracious people of Indonesia. Read More

This week I received an email from an aspiring writer looking for an opportunity to contribute to a blog.  He shared in his email that writing was his dream but that he has been met time and again with obstacles to his dream by publishers and blog owners refusing to give him a shot at doing what he loves.  And certainly we can all sympathise on some level with those types of frustrations. Read More

After living in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of months now, I finally spent an absolutely fun evening eating, drinking, and shopping at Pasar Malam Taman Connaught 康乐夜市, Malaysia’s largest Night Market in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.  The Street Food was an EXCITING mix of Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian with countless stalls cooking and selling things like giant squid, stinky tofu, black dumplings, steaming ice cream, Hello Kitty cakes …. and so much more.

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Today I ran across a post by an award-winning travel writer sharing tips on how to get lost on purpose that triggered a slew of memories. It was almost like one of those end-of-life flashbacks in films, with distinct scenes from some of my favourite trips from the past 15’ish years instantly playing in my mind. Some were snapshots of amazing monuments when they first came into view, while others were unforgettable and special experiences or moments in time. Read More

I’m a California native, 5th generation descendent of Irish, German, and British immigrants to the United States of America. My family didn’t go to the U.S. because they had a foreign worker’s post in the embassy – or a job at all! They were fleeing from a poor economic climate (mostly from Ireland), looking to improve their life in a country that promised a brighter future. My ancestors were immigrants, plain and simple. Luckily they weren’t fleeing to escape shellfire and tyranny like so many millions of people in 2016. However, just like 99.9% of all immigrants around the world today, they were good people just trying to provide a more secure life for their family. Read More

The guys from N.W.A. (from the movie Straight Outta Compton) were born within a few years of me, and in the town that bordered mine in Los Angeles County. I was born in Lynwood, which shares a border with Compton, and until I was 10 years old we lived next door in South Gate. If someone says they were born “in the ‘hood” or they are from the ‘hood’ (slang for neighbourhood), well … where I’m originally from in L.A. is one of those places. Read More

Looking for a truly ‘local’ experience in Kuala Lumpur? Then definitely check out Raj’s Banana Leaf for breakfast on the weekend. It is multi-cultural fabulousness at its best with ladies in sarees, folks in workout gear with crazy blingy gold sunglasses, urban hipsters with man buns and beards, westerners, and so much more.  The food and chai are very yummy to boot! And everything you see in the video came to a total of 20 Ringgits (the equivalent of $4.90 USD)!!! Amazing. Read More

After spending 7 weeks back in California in a very ‘white’ residential suburb, one of the things I’m loving most about being back in a city – especially one like Kuala Lumpur, and my new village of Mont Kiara – is being able to walk out the door and have a very multi-cultural life buzzing all around me. There’s something about that initial burst of morning fabulousness that really starts the day off perfectly. And for me that all begins at my friendly, local coffee shop and bakery on the ground floor of my building that is perfect for people watching. Read More

Shot this on Day 3 of my new life in Malaysia. I was staying in a service apartment, insanely jet-lagged (translation = NOT looking fresh or rested), and on the hunt for coffee … only to learn the hard way that not all neighbourhoods cater to the ‘morning coffee’ crowd! Read More

I still remember my first squatty toilet experience just like it was yesterday. I was 22 years old and on a fabulous road trip that took my dear friend Janine and I by car from Barcelona all the way to Gibraltar, then across on the ferry to Tangier and back again. The trip itself was laden with so many memorable travel moments that to this day it still ranks in my top 5 favourite trips of all time. And one of those memories is from a seaside restaurant in Africa where we were eating the most amazing fresh fish … and where I discovered the squatty toilet bathroom, and that a cupful of water can replace toilet paper. Read More

Whether it was the mercado in Spain, street vendors in India or the everyday grocery stores in Asia, there has always been something about shopping for that first home-cooked meal in a new country that is so truly memorable …. and today was that wonderful day again! I’ve just moved to Malaysia for a new job and it turns out that buying healthy food in Kuala Lumpur is very inexpensive, even when it’s organic vegetables and live fish. Read More

As you know, in some Asian countries all it takes is one unconscious act (ehem, mistake) to appear culturally insensitive, insult someone, or lose a friendly or business relationship altogether.  I’m from California and have resided and worked as an expat in Spain, India, mainland China, Hong Kong, and briefly in Bali so suffice it to say that I’ve made a fair share of (luckily, non-catastrophic!) cultural blunders over the years. Read More

I’m 45 years old and was born and raised in southern California. I haven’t lived in the U.S. in 13 years and as we can sadly see … things have certainly changed for the worse in America. When I lived there, generally speaking anyway, the worst thing I remember ‘learning’ about Muslims was that Muslim women were brainwashed into wearing the hijab and/or burka. Back then I didn’t know any Muslims so I blindly believed what I had been told without educating myself or thinking twice.

Well, thankfully I’m not the same blindly-believing-anything-I-hear American girl I once was…
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While abroad, the most common question any traveller hears is ‘So, where are you from?’ and I always share the same answer. That I’m from California but I haven’t lived in America in 13 years. When I was living in Europe, half of the time that would be enough but definitely since I’ve been living in Asia I always receive an almost instant, ‘So long! Why don’t you live in the U.S. (and of course, where do you live)?’ Again, I always share the same answer. The lack of gun control, all the plastic surgery and pressure on women to continually look younger and younger, and the lack of basics like socialised healthcare. My list is actually much longer but in the back of a taxi that usually is enough! Read More

I’ve officially been a food and luxury travel blogger since the summer of 2011. It started innocently enough with one Sunday brunch write up in India and I’m very proud to say it skyrocketed from there because my blog has introduced me to some amazing people, led me to experience new things … and it’s become my #1 favourite hobby after travelling. I don’t have a huge following on social media but my luxury travel blog is successful because it ranks #1 on Google because of the hundreds of hours of dedication I’ve put into it. In fact, it has even been written up and recommended in Condé Nast Traveller magazine because it was India’s very first luxury travel blog and because of the strict quality controls I’ve set for it. Read More

My last romantic kiss with a man was in India on August 1st 2013. Longing for that Indian in Bangalore played the biggest part in the first year of my quiet – good girl – celibacy but the 2nd year until now really is more a factor of my life and being overwhelmed by circumstance than anything else. I’m now in Bali for 2 months reviewing 5-star hotels and boutique villas – and well into year 3 alone – and wondering when is ‘enough’ enough? Read More

It’s been 48 hours since I left Hong Kong to live (up to) 60 days in Bali. Not being in the greatest place when I left Honkers, I decided to use this time to re-connect to the old me. That includes finding an awesome new job in Asia, losing some weight and flipping the chip in my head back to always being in a positive place again. Read More

If you’ve ever lived through a period of your life that caused you an intense amount of stress or that changed you – either mentally in a negative way or physically because you weren’t taking good care of yourself anymore – then you know where I’m at today. I’ve gained more weight than I wish to document here (it’s not a few kilos but way into the double digits). I stopped socialising, stopped trying to make friends, and stopped leaving my flat…sometimes for weeks on end. I went from being a social butterfly of sorts to a solitary hermit. Read More

Women around the world are so wonderfully diverse that it is makes perfect sense that we ladies have completely different ideas of beauty … and even more so 100% unique beauty regiments.  I remember shocking the hell out of people when I moved to Spain by telling them I shaved my legs.  You see, Spanish women only wax them so they saw me as barbaric and behind-the-times.  Until I lived in India I had only ever tweezed my eyebrows but that’s barbaric there because women only use threading. Read More

That photo above always transports me back to Marrakech and makes me smile because my daughter took it when we spent Christmas and New Year in Morocco 5 years ago. Travelling is a huge passion of mine (I’m now living in my 6th country, and have travelled around 31 countries) and my daughter and I had a lot of fun adventuring around different countries together…although life wasn’t always easy or financially secure. Yet somehow, that spirit to explore…that feeling of wanderlust…was always there no matter what.   Read More

In my heart I’ve always wanted to believe that racists are simply radicals who comprise a very small percentage of the population back in my native U.S.A. Sadly, that hope has been increasingly hard to hold onto over the years and it looks like 2015 might just be the year I have to admit that I’ve been wrong. Read More

The first time it happened to me, I was ‘broken up with’ via a message in 2011. I remember feeling truly gutted and genuinely hurt that this man – with whom I had shared more time than any other since around 2004 – ended up having so little respect for me that he could say goodbye with such coldness. Instead of talking to me, looking me in the eye when he said goodbye … he ended something special in a most undignified and impersonal way. No goodbye kiss, no respectful ‘I’ll miss you and wish you well’ and definitely no kindness. Of course, he came back a few weeks later after he’d cooled down but the hurt of his emotional heartlessness lingered. Read More

We all have a past. Sure they range from fantastic to tragic to inspiring or even painfully heart-breaking but we all have one. Depending on the situation, our history can be summed up in either short- or long-tail form regardless if we are talking about who we are, where we’re from or what we do. Read More

You’ll have to forgive me here from the beginning. What started a couple of weeks ago as a post about simply being grateful has turned into a melting pot of emotions. As I’m sure you know, this month marked the 70th year since the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, killing around 200,000 civilians and injuring another 70,000 (many of whom died from complications later). While I was sharing the idea for this blog post with an American mate back in the U.S., his gut reaction comment was, ‘We ended a war they started’ so now my initial being grateful post is gone and I’m riled up. Read More

Whenever something new happens I always feel a rush of happiness. Yet something happened recently that has made me insanely happy even though nothing new has happened to me recently. In fact, I’ve had a bit more stress lately so that makes this even more interesting to me. Read More

There is an undeniable thrill that accompanies all forms of opt-in change. A new job, new car, or certainly settling into a new home all have the power to breathe new life and energy back into us. Now … supercharge that change on some crazy bionic level and that is the exhilaration someone feels when settling into a new country as an expat.

My guess is that being happy as an expat depends greatly on if you CHOSE to be one in the first place.  We’ve all met the grumpy ones who bitch and moan about everything, who insist on only eating food from their homeland, and who don’t find joy in the cultural differences or challenges of living in a foreign country.  Normally they are someone who was forced to move by their company but didn’t want to (or in a surprisingly large amount of cases its the spouse of that person).  Anyway, hopefully that’s not you! Read More

Inspired by Cecil the Lion, this week I wrote all about it, encouraging others to take to social media  … not only on that day for Cecil’s sake but hopefully in the future again for any other cause that needed it.

It’s every citizen of the world’s responsibility to stand up and be heard when we care about an issue, see an injustice taking place or are bothered by something when no one else around us is.

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People across the globe have read with heartbreak this week about the illegal hunting and killing of Cecil the LionWe learned about the consequences that this hunter’s single action will have on the ecosystem of that entire pride, and especially on the many, many sons of Cecil who will now be killed by the next alpha male.

Although I’m not an activist, like so many this week I rallied. I read the news reports and was so outraged by it all that I Googled the now infamous dentist Walter Palmer and then took to social media to help spread the word and give my opinion, for what it was worth. Read More

First things first, please. Ask yourself…as a teenager were you your parent’s dream-come-true or a total nightmare that cost them hours of sleep and a whole lot of heartache? Well, I was the latter. Not that I’m proud of it but I want to establish my expertise on this topic here at the start. I thought that parties, skipping school to hang out at the beach and boys with blue eyes trumped anything else during high school and I caused my Mom a ton of grief.

Fast forward 28 years, and you’d be in the centre of my own daughter’s first years in university. Her dad and I divorced when she was just a baby and for the most part it has been just she and I over the years. Well, I’m proud to say that over those years that my little angel told me – I’m hoping VERY close – to everything fun and exciting and amazing that has happened to her. I can still recall her first kiss, and exactly how she told me about it. It was so sweet, and made me remember mine. Read More

Actually living in a foreign country instead of just visiting it paves the way for a whole slew of fabulous ‘local’ experiences that one wouldn’t normally be able to experience … and that time I dressed up and performed in traditional Chinese opera makeup and costume now sits high on my list of treasured experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. This wonderful afternoon and evening took place earlier this year during the first Chinese New Year I celebrated while actually living in greater China and it was so damn fun…I hope to have the chance to do it again (and again and again!).  I’ve saved the costume and headpiece so if anyone want to do it next year, I’m in!! Read More

That photo with my daughter was taken six years ago and I love it even more today than I did back when she was 13!  She is my biggest joy in life and there is honestly no scenario I can imagine where a man or a job or an experience could ever even come close to replacing the unending happiness that her mere existence brings me. Read More

Last week I saw two different writer friends in India sharing an article on social media and it made me want to click over to see what I was missing. Then I read it and walked away feeling personally disparaged. The author was coming off of a writing hiatus and essentially blaming ME (well, not me exactly but ‘foreign writers living in India’ during the time of the Delhi gang rape who wrote about it, which I was and DID) as one of the key culprits for her move away from the writing scene. Read More

The year was 1992 and I was 21 years old. I was living near the beach in southern California with one of my best friends from Redlands, working part time and attending the University of California Irvine. There was a great deal on a seven day trip to Puerto Vallarta so I decided to head out on my first international solo trip!

Mexico is a beautiful country that I had safely travelled to a few times already (well, dozens if you count Tijuana on the SoCal border because in the U.S. the legal drinking age is 21 but … not in Mexico, so imagine how popular it is for U.S. teens!). The very first day I made friends with a really sweet and fun group of locals who took me under their wing and showed me the side of Puerto Vallarta that tourists never see.  They took me to small clubs where a singer playing acoustic guitar belted out beautiful love songs, to a massive underground club far away from the touristy bars where I was the only foreigner, and to swim in beautiful lagoons … introduced me to real local food and taught me how to drink tequila like a Mexican (not the salt, shot, lime way we westerners do it). Read More

I was just reminded about my first kiss and no matter how many years — well, let me be honest … DECADES! — pass, the thought of it still brings a smile to my face.  It was the 80s in Southern California and he was my very first boyfriend.  He had blonde hair that he’d swish out from in front of his eyes with a sideways head flick and I thought he was simply dreamy. When he made the move from holding hands to a kiss let me tell you that it was nothing like the sweet kisses you see in movies though. Read More

It’s 10pm and the first raindrops of the monsoon season are falling in Hong Kong.  My speakers are belting out Steely Dan and I can’t seem to keep my toes from wigglin’ because tonight is the first time since the beginning of November that I’ve opened up my blog and wanted to type my little heart out again in ages.  And although I know this isn’t going to be a long epic post and it probably won’t be very interesting to anyone, for me it’s a milestone because tonight officially marks the end to six months of blogger’s block! Read More

Man have I missed food blogging and writing travel reviews since leaving India back in 2013 {oh my gawd, like totally a lot!}. So it is with a heart full of GLEE and LOVE that I introduce you to my new baby Angela’s Asia, which has just launched now that I’m all settled into life in my new home Hong Kong. Read More

If you know me or have followed along with my adventures then you know that the past four years have been hard. Not ‘cutting corners’ or ‘changing jobs’ hard but ‘we ate plain rice for a week’ and ‘I didn’t have a job for almost a year – a COUPLE of times’ – hard. The struggles were real and scary and caused a burden on my family and friends that was never there before…and cast doubts on the future for my daughter in terms of her education. Read More

Today is my birthday and what’s a girl to do when she’s fresh off the boat and doesn’t have friends yet in Hong Kong? Shop, darling…SHOP! And since I just signed the lease on the ‘tiny but fabulous’ flat I will be calling home in three days, well…this birthday handbags and shoes are being swapped for a water filter and furniture thanks in large part to a man named Ramesh and IKEA Hong Kong at Causeway Bay.

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It seems blissfully fitting that today is now officially the first day of the rest of my life because today is the day that the greatest joy in my life arrived 19 years ago when my daughter was born. While she has been enjoying her very first house party in her own apartment in the UK tonight, I relocated to Hong Kong! She is simply the best thing that ever happened to me and I’ve really missed her since she went off to uni a year ago, leaving me empty nested. So it feels ‘right’ for lack of a better term that this new chapter of my life should begin on the same day that the best part of my life began back in 1995. Read More

My birthday is coming up on the 18th and that’s always cause for reflection by anyone. We reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the past 12 months, on where we are with our career and often on what’s going on with our romantic life. So here I am, sat on a flight from NYC to SFO watching the film Moulin Rouge, which is pulling at my romantic heartstrings and making me wonder…is ENOUGH enough? Should I end the lifestyle I’ve been leading and start to think about the future and settling down? Read More

I’ve learned the fun way (through extensive stays in each city) that culinary distinctions are just the tip of the business lunch iceberg that you need to look out for when it comes to the basics of dining with work mates in Barcelona, Bangalore and San Francisco. It turns out that to truly navigate this area like a native and fit in it’s pretty easy…if you are up for changing your habits almost 100% at times and goin’ with the flow! Read More

Good thing I’m headed to Hong Kong for the new job in October because it turns out that I really am not meant to live in the USA any longer. Not because I don’t love and adore my friends and family. Not because I don’t find the landscape of both natural and urban jungles absolutely fabulous. And CERTAINLY not because I don’t gobble up the food and wine, happily and always looking forward to the next gobble-fest! Nope! I’ve gotta get the hell out of dodge because I can turn into an American-basher apparently at the drop of a hat – or shall we say more easily after a few drops of vino!?!? Read More

I’m sat on a plane, reminiscing. To say the least, the past year has been a crazy roller coaster of a ride. A little bit I’ve shared here and there, much of it I’m still not ready to blog about…but what I do know with 100% certainty is that the past 14 months have been filled with too many ups and downs. One definite and unexpected victim of the past year has been my life as a personal blogger, almost entirely. Read More

{Originally published via LinkedIn this week where it was a top 10 article for 2 days}

I’m unemployed and actively searching for a challenging and stable new job – hopefully one that I will enjoy for the next five or so years until my daughter is out of uni and completes her masters (fingers crossed!). As fate would have it, working almost exclusively with start-ups and in contract roles has meant that I look for work more frequently than the average Joe, so I’m certainly no spring chicken to the game. But this time around it feels different to me, in both very positive and very negative ways. Read More