Life Lately in Shanghai

January 4, 2016
December was a busy, busy month for me here in Shanghai. It seems like just about every weekend was booked, as well as many of my weekdays. I love that there is always something fun going on and am enjoying the perks of living in a big city.

Here were some of the highlights of what I've been doing recently:

* Rachael, Steven, and Scott and I have been going on "double dates." Well, Rachael likes to call them that, even though these aren't actual dates in any way, shape, or form. For our first meeting, we went out for Thai food and then went to a nail shop. Steven and Scott got massages while Rachael got a mani/pedi and I got eyelash extensions. Since all of us loved our first date, we decided to go on another one. I was randomly searching Shanghai related hashtags on Instagram and came across some gorgeous pictures of others' having high tea and the Waldorf Astoria, and asked the others if we could go there next. Everyone agreed, and we had a lovely experience sipping on tea and sampling the sweet and savory snacks in the beautiful Waldorf Astoria. The tea is served at Peacock Alley, which had tables off to both sides with a walk way in between. On the menu there is a little blurb about how the set up makes it the perfect place to "see and be seen."

* I participated in several gift exchanges and went to some holiday parties. The school gift exchange was obligatory, but I was actually glad to participate because I LOVE finding that perfect gift for someone else. Plus, not going to lie, but it was nice to have a few gifts to open around Christmas since I told people from back home not to mail me anything. I had the most fun at our friends gift exchange! The girl that had me even stalked my Instagram feed to figure out that I liked Pepperidge Farm cookies and then bought me some. So thoughtful!

* Rachael and I signed up for a craft class! I told Rachael that she is my fun friend because it always seems like we do (what we think is, ha ha) the coolest stuff. There were several classes to pick from, but we decided to carve our own rubber stamps and use them to decorate handmade Christmas cards. At first we were a little discouraged because it wasn't really a class at all...It was more like we were provided with the materials we needed to make the stamps. My first stamp didn't look good, Rachael cut her finger, and the two ladies next to us were pros. Once we got the hang of it, we started to enjoy ourselves a whole lot more. We also realized that the stamps looked way better on paper than we thought they were going to. I have always liked doing crafts, so hopefully we can go back and try something else. I saw that they have a class where you are able to make your own dream catcher! How perfect would that be for me? Too bad it is when we'll be away, but we'll keep checking back.

* I got to visit two Christmas markets in Shanghai. The first one was with Taylor and Rachael. Although we didn't buy anything, it was nice to catch up and of course have some mulled wine. The second Christmas market I went to was packed, but for good reason. There were so many booths filled with wonderful handmade goodies. I ended up getting a lot of gifts there and bought some handmade tassel earrings for myself. We also got some hot chocolate spiked with Baileys and sampled some German food.

Photo courtesy of Taylor
* Scott and I found a new bar we like! We were talking about how we only know a few places and seem to keep going back to the same ones, so Scott found a new spot for us to try called Chalet. They had a good deal on happy hour drinks, so we will be back!

* I shopped, shopped, and shopped some more. Most of this was for Christmas gifts, but I did by some things for myself in Marks & Spencer. My British friend recommended that I try mince pie, Percy Pig gummies, and Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, so naturally I picked up all them! I also got a dress made for the upcoming banquet, but it will be good to have the dress in my wardrobe for future fancy occasions.

* I had a blast at our school's Christmas banquet! It was a buffet and we also got unlimited beer and wine. They had a raffle (which is called Lucky Draw here) and I even won a block of cheese! (Cheese is expensive in China and those in charge know that many foreigners like it.) I had a really good time talking to my friends and co-workers. Afterwards, Scott and I went out dancing. I don't always like to dance, but I certainly had a little too much fun on the night of the banquet. :)

* I tried a gel manicure for the first and second time. Lauren knew of this little nail shop in Jing'An that can pretty much recreate any design you want for your nails. The first time I got some feathers, and the second time I got them to put real pressed flowers in between my layers of nail polish. They also have all sorts of pretty gems and beads!

This weekend I didn't have that many plans, but it was a welcome reprieve! I got to blog, watch The Originals,  have a movie night with my friends, go grocery shopping, read, and go out to eat. Even though I didn't do anything super exciting for New Year's,  I finally got some time to rest and relax which I really needed.

How was your holiday break and the time leading up to it?
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