Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jet Planes

Leaving Taiwan is never easy. So much family here. And of course: the food! Before I fly back to a place with no bubble tea, I picked up a cup on my way home today for one last time.
Despite all that, I am still very much looking forward to being home (in our new home!) and getting settled for real this time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Taipei World Design Expo

Today I dropped by the Design Expo that is going on in town. It is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. I definitely should've stopped by when I first arrived as there is so much to see! And there were a lot of crowds too.

They had all sorts of things on display and/or for sale, ranging from industrial to interior to product packaging design. My favorite product there that was for sale was this key chain/key holder set:
How brilliant & cute is that? I plan on going back and getting the brown house/white keychain tomorrow. They also have one that houses two sets of keys/birds, but I think I prefer the single one. What do you think?
I'm not sure if they even have the double-set in the brown house. You can get the single one online. According to the product page, the bird keychain is also a whistle! The genius in this design is endless. I wish the house was made of wood, though.

I also saw this product (I think in the same booth), but wasn't able to get near it to take a photo.
Seriously smart & cute. You can buy it here.

Tired

I don't think I've ever traveled so much in one vacation before. I returned to Taipei yesterday after some time in Xiamen where I ate & ate, then spent a few days in HangZhou where I learned about my family history on my dad's side. Apparently my great grandfather sold rice in his village near the Thousand Islands Lake just outside of the city. This is what his store looks like now:
Just a foundation.

And I saw West Lake/Xihu (HangZhou's main attraction), next to which my grandma lived before fleeing to Taiwan from the Communists. Below is my dad standing on a giant map that's been paved into the ground and pointing at the place where his mom lived.

This has certainly been a very tiring vacation, but very eventful & educational. Click here for more photos.

Sidenote: I never thought I'd want to publish posts via email, but when I found myself wanting to share thoughts while in China, that was the only way I could've posted. But I never activated that feature, hence the radio silence for the last week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finished.

I meant to post this before I flew out, but you know how life gets when you have places to be!

So here they are! The wedding invitation suite for D & J (sans wedding invite & rsvp though since they were completed much earlier & I'm not sure if I had the sense to take a photo of those before I sent them off. I forget).

Anyhow. That stack of orange cards you see is the mosaic/puzzle guest book poster I put together. 120 pieces, 30" x 36",  each piece is 3"x 3".

My biggest design project to date =) I'm pretty proud of the end result. Now I'm looking forward to seeing photos from D & J's wedding so I can see what all this looks like!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Working vacation

They are not a good idea. Especially when you have a short turn-around! I've got 2 weeks left in Taiwan, with one of those weeks travelling in China; and then on top of that I want to get 3 of my wedding invite ideas in for Minted's latest challenge, which ends in 2 weeks; and then I need to go shopping here in Taipei before I leave. Needless to say, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Oh, I forgot about voting for the last Minted challenge too. Speaking of which, I encourage anyone reading this to go vote!! There are so many good designs (though I've just been made aware that a designer's eye is very different from a customer's eye and that some of the ones I love may be considered boring to the average customer).

If you click on the images of my designs below, you can get to the voting page, but to see and vote for other designs, go here!
I highly recommend you vote for at least 300 if you can't vote for all of them because there are so many great designs that deserve to be seen. Some of my favorites can be found here, herehere, here, here, here, and here

I wish I knew what the new wedding challenge was all about (multi-cultural invites) 'cause then I would've just saved my three English/Chinese designs for that challenge! But it's OK: I've got a few new ideas in my head that I'm excited to try out =) Let's just hope I have the time to work on it!

Happy voting everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Taiwan - Last days

At least for I.S. He flew back today. Sigh. I misplaced my SD card reader so I couldn't upload any photos the last few days, but I found it today and so if you check out my picasa, you will see a few new albums =) I think my captions to the photos do a good job of re-capping our adventures so go check out the new albums for a real update!

In other news, I think we got a lot of use out of my little guide book, wouldn't you agree? I don't have a before-photo, but I can assure you it did not start out this tattered.

I think the most useful thing was having the MRT map in the back and a list of the open hours for the various touristy things we wanted to do: the latter piece of information made planning our days easier since we knew right away if we could fit in certain things or not. It was also nice to have the entrance fees listed for the touristy things too, just so we could be certain if we had enough money for the day, though it was never essential to know in advance since we always carried more cash than we needed.

I am starting to make a list of things that I want to change/add/take out of the guide book, so maybe when I have the time I will update it and re-print (but more nicely and less hacky). One major change will be the size: it would've been nice if it were half the size that it is, which is currently 5" x 7", to be able to slip into a pocket without having to fold it up. I think all vacations should be planned this way. And a more waterproof material for the paper too since you never know what kind of weather you will encounter on your trip! If only I could've fit a rain poncho into this book. Did I mention how much fun I had with this little project? =)


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Scooter

We rented a scooter! Just for 24hrs in Hualien. We highly recommend renting a scooter if you're planning on going up to Taroko National Park. $500NT for 24 hrs from Pony car/scooter rental (they seem to be the go-to place for foreigners without a local license). It was the easiest process ever. I.S. gave him his name, phone number, an ID for them to hold (he gave his expired student ID) and then off we were! It probably would've been a good idea to get I.S. an international license to be legit, but we would've needed to get that done before we left for Taiwan. So for anyone who may potentially want to rent a car or scooter when in another country: get an international license for more assurance that locals will rent to foreigners. Apparently going through AAA is the way to go. Google it.
And yes, my helmet is crooked.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Rain or Shine

We are about a week into our trip here and it has been surprisingly nice. Surprising because of this from last week. It has been a tiring day of hiking in street shoes so I will just leave you with a few snapshots of what we've been up to so far for now.
The National Palace Museum in Taipei. Saw some cool stuff, but also saw a bunch of super annoyingly loud tourists. Our favorite thing was probably the olive pit carved into a fishing boat with people on board and operational windows. Imagine the size of an average olive pit. It's TINY! No cameras were allowed so go click on the link and be amazed.
 At the Shilin Night Market. We were a little early, so we found a shaved ice place to sit and get our dinner appetites going with some red bean on milky shaved ice.


 We managed to run into the rehearsal for the October 10th celebration performance put on by the Taiwan military at the CKS Memorial Hall by pure chance. This is us at the memorial building after the rehearsal ended.
 Having a Hualien-specialty: brick toast stuff with whatever-deliciousness-you-can-think-of. If I had a food truck, I'd totally steal this idea. We got pineapple shrimp in ours. Other choices included peppered beef, satay beef, kung pao chicken, and dessert options such as chocolate, strawberry, etc. They had an impressive selection, but luckily we ran into the girl running the front desk at our B&B, who narrowed down the options for us & recommended her favorites.
The morning of the day we decided to explore Taroko National Park: it was rainy and overcast and not looking to be a good day but then we saw this on our bus ride to the park: a sliver of sun peeking through! By the time we got to our destination in the park, the sky was blue and the puffy white clouds had parted.

I.S. & me somewhere in the park near the beginning of our day.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Arrived

We made it as scheduled last night, despite having over-slept and missing our first flight by 3 minutes because the airplane decided to take off early.
One of my favorite parts of the trip: seeing a guy who missed the same flight as us, reunited with his wife & baby girl (though I'm still not sure how they got separated in the first place...).

Another favorite part of the trip: the free alcohol! Yay for international flights.