Saturday, July 23, 2016

Our First Airbnb Experience

As much as possible, when time and budget permits, I would like to take family vacations every year. 

For this year, we thought of exploring more places in California. . . initially (haha).  But then Hubby said it would be nice to go to a . . . new country!  So we checked the places where I (as a US resident) don't need a visa to travel and where the airfare won't break the budget!  And we came up with. . . VANCOUVER!  Did you know that Vancouver is just 3 hours away from LA?!  I didn't know that!  

It was an unforgettable vacation (not the way how I want it to be though).  Why?  My little big boy and I were under the weather (he was running a fever) the day we arrived in Vancouver that we had to stay in bed the whole day.  And the most stressful part about the trip was we had to rush him to the hospital one morning because he was having chills, his nails were turning purple and his lips were starting to turn purple too . . . I just got scared!  

So we really only had one day to explore Vancouver.  But it's okay, it gave us another reason to go back, haha!  We may not have seen a lot of places the city has to offer (and there are a LOT!) but we still had a good time because we were just chilling, taking things easy, eating (ofcourse! haha) and just enjoying each other's company (a good friend was with us too).   

And I think, staying in a place that is not a hotel or a place that has that touristy vibe made the trip more relaxing.  (You will see why shortly.)
Thanks to our Airbnb find!

It was actually our first time to try Airbnb.  I got inspired to try it  because some of my good friends (my childhood friends!) who went to Bali last year stayed at a beautiful villa which they got for a good price!  (To read more about their Bali weekend, please click here to head to my BFF M's blog.)

For our trip, we found a 2 bed and 2 bath condo which has a fully functional kitchen, washer and dryer. It is in a good location because there is a shopping mall across the place, restaurants nearby, walking distance to a train station and with what happened to us, we are thankful that it was also near a hospital!

The place was clean, bright, comfortable and homey!  It didn't have airconditioning system which is totally fine because we didn't need one!  The city had a lovely weather during our trip.

The place was everything we hoped for.  It was exactly how it was pictured and advertised.  Don't you just hate it how some places can mislead you with their published pictures?  Haha!

Here are some pictures of our beautiful nest . . .

Master's Bedroom

Walk-in closet

Master's Bath

Bedroom #2

The kitchen has everything we need. . . for cooking and eating.

We did our laundry before going back home, haha!

This is our view from our balcony . . .

As first time Airbnb users, we were lucky that we had a good experience!  And I hope it stays that way in our next trip. . . no, make that TRIPS!  Hehe

If you are planning for a vacation, I suggest you try checking out Airbnb!

As what Airbnb says in their commercial, when you travel, "don't go there, LIVE THERE!"

And that was exactly how we felt . . . having a home away from home =).

If you are planning to go to Vancouver, here is the link for the place where we stayed.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

You're the man Tyler!

July, you're here!!!! =)  Wow, more than half the year has gone by!  Did someone put it in fast forward?! 

Just as I've been doing for the past few months now, I start the month with a post about the recipes (mostly sweets, teehee) I've tried.  So for this month, I am posting about the Ultimate Cheesecake recipe of Tyler Florence. 

(Trivia:  Did you know that July 8 is National Blueberry Day?  I learned about it from the Princess' summer school)

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.  And if you ask what my favorite cheesecake is, I don't have a particular favorite but Blueberry will be up there in the list (and OMG, Cheesecake Factory's GODIVA Chocolate Cheesecake!)

Actually, I have a go to recipe for a blueberry cheesecake which I've blogged before here.  It is a super easy and quick, yummy recipe which needs NO BAKING!  I haven't tried making a baked cheesecake (yep, those pretty ones which we see in restaurants) because they intimidate me, haha.    

Since I had some blueberry pie filling leftovers sitting at the ref, I thought of challenging myself and stepping up my cheesecake game!

There are so many cheesecake recipes online and one of the highly rated I've seen is that of Tyler Florence's from the Food Network site.

And all I have to say is. . . you're the man Tyler!  (with matching fist bump, haha!) 

And thank you for sharing this recipe!  It is absolutely a winner!

But most specially, thank you for making me believe in myself, hahaha!

As Tyler mentioned in his video, what makes cheesecake smooth and creamy is putting them in a hot water bath (also called the Bain Marie method).  

To further explain why, I read this at

Why do I need a water bath?
Some cheesecake recipes don’t call for a water bath, but we prefer this method. The water bath (also known as a bain marie) is used to regulate the baking temperature of the cheesecake. Since the temperature of water never exceeds boiling point (it turns into steam), it keeps the cheesecake baking at an even, slow temperature. This prevents the cheesecake from overcooking (especially around the edges). The steam created by the water bath also further protects the baking cheesecake, keeping the air in the oven moist and humid to prevent the top of the cake from drying out and cracking.

For the complete recipe of Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cheesecake (I suggest you watch the video too), please click here.

My personal notes for this recipe (based on my experience):

1. I added 2-3 tbsps of sugar in the graham crust (only because the graham crackers I used aren't that tasty)

2. The recipe called for lemon rind but since I didn't have a rasp grater, I just used (1 tbsp of lemon juice).  The next time I make this, I would use 2-3 tbsps to get more "Zzzing".

3. If you see yourself baking cheesecakes (lots of them! haha) in your future, I suggest you buy a Springform pan =).

Happy Baking!  Here's to more good times with homemade cheesecakes!
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