Tag: shanghai

Screen Printing at Craft’d

Screen Printing at Craft’d

Last Friday I went to a Screen Printing Workshop at Craft’d. It’s a very cute little space in walking distance to our apartment and they offer lots of cool classes like sewing, making your own soap or cosmetics, calligraphy, designing bags …

The Screen Printing class was taught by Sarah from Pinyin Press. She showed us the different steps of screen printing: cutting out the stencil with a knife, sticking it onto the screen and finally printing onto paper and tote bags with different colors.

It was really fun to see the final results, there we so many cool designs. Also, I got to take home a few prints and a tote bag. To do screen printing at home you just need some sticky paper, a screen, acrylic paint and the thing to pull the paint over the screen. Next time I’m felling artsy (and once the feeling comes back to my index finger), I know what to do πŸ™‚

The class was organized by GGI (Girl Gone International), an amazing global women community with a big chapter in Shanghai. They have different groups here like Foodies, Book Club, Health & Fitness or Fashion & Beauty. This event was hosted by the Arts & Culture Group. Through GGI I’ve already gone to a Cheese Fondue Dinner, an event called “Shoes & Champagne” where we drank and shopped, a Pilates class and I also joined the book club, where we read a book every month and meet up to talk about it.

Shanghai Restaurant Week: We came, saw and ate

Shanghai Restaurant Week: We came, saw and ate

The last 10 days were all about food. Not that that’s so unusual for us but this time it was because of my new favorite event: It was Restaurant Week in Shanghai! Restaurant Week is a worldwide event that happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. For China Restaurant Week, hosted by DiningCity, Shanghai is 1 of 5 cities that participates. When it happened in the fall we were traveling, so I decided to fully take advantage this time.

For the 12th China Restaurant Week there were hundreds of restaurants all over Shanghai to choose from. They each offer special lunch and dinner menus, usually with 3 courses, at discounted prices:

  • Category C: Lunch for 68 RMB / Dinner for 108 RMB
  • Category B: Lunch for 108 RMB / Dinner for 188 RMB
  • Category A: Lunch for 138 RMB / Dinner for 278 RMB

It was a really good excuse to try out a bunch of new places. I was pretty ambitious and went to 9 restaurants, so I only missed 2 days where I had other plans. Here is a little picture review, sometimes I was too preoccupied eating that I only managed to take pictures of an appetizer and dessert πŸ™‚

Those are the places with my rating, or a combined rating with Thorben, of the dinners (and lunch at Wolfgang Puck).

  • Maya – Mexican: 3/5
  • Garlic – Turkish: 4.5/5
  • Wolfgang Puck – Bar & Grill: 3.5/5
  • Lychee – Asian Fusion: 3.5/5
  • The Beach House – Seafood: 4/5
  • Tomatito – Spanish: 3.75/5
  • Pasha – Turkish: 4/5
  • Tiacassia – European/Cheese: 4.5/5

Yesterday, for the last night of restaurant week, Shane and I went to “The Fellas”, an Italian restaurant at the Bund. The food was really good, I’d give it a 4.5, but the view was even better.

The next Foodie event done by DiningCity will be the China Brunch Weekend from June 29 – July 8. I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

Tailored clothes in Shanghai: Shopping at the Fabric Market

Tailored clothes in Shanghai: Shopping at the Fabric Market

I’ve been meaning to finish this blog post about the Fabric Market since last year and our last trip there was quite some time ago. I finally pulled together the pictures and took some of missing items, so here we go: better late then never πŸ™‚

The South Bund Soft Spinning Material Market

Ever since we first went, we have developed a little addiction to the Fabric Market, officially called the South Bund Soft Spinning Material Market. It is probably the best known market in Shanghai for getting tailor-made clothes, so there are many tourists here and the vendors speak English. The market has 3 stories with lots and lots of tailors and a few shops which sell scarves, belts and accessories. It’s open 7 days a week from 9 to 6.

The Fabric Market How to

I’d say there are 4 ways to get a piece if clothing made:

  • Bring something to copy
  • Bring a picture
  • Pick something there: either from the things on display or their catalogue
  • Describe what you want

I’ve had good results with all 4 strategies, but I think copying or picking something they have on display is the surest way to get the exact thing you want. For the other options it’s important to be as detailed and specific as possible.

The tailor usually shows you different fabrics and colors, based on what you want and then takes your measurements. If you get something copied they’ll probably skip the measuring unless you want some alterations to the sample.

Then the fun part starts: Haggling. If you go with someone, you can usually just get the price they paid previously. Some stores don’t haggle at all, most do a little, and others a lot. Typically you can get a better price if you buy several things and if you are a repeat customer. The craziest “discount” I’ve seen was Ellie paying 500 for a dress with a starting price of 2200 RMB. So if you are/look like a foreigner make sure you are not getting ripped off too much. I’m assuming we still overpay but hopefully not by a lot.

After you agree on a price you pay a deposit, usually 50-70% of the price. We always use WeChat or Alipay. I’m sure cash is fine, too and some stores take credit cards but probably not all.

They normally take a week to make the clothes and then you go back to try them on and discuss alterations if necessary. Once you’re satisfied you pay the balance and that’s it πŸ™‚

It was a little overwhelming going there the first time – how do you choose? – but now we have a few stalls we like and keep going back to. Here is a little overview of “our” tailors.

Faye Design – Booth 127

During our first trip to the fabric market we accompanied someone we met at an InterNations brunch and she took us to Faye Design on the first floor. We have been back many times since and kept bringing friends, so the prices have slowly decreased further and further. This is what we’ve bought so far:

Pants: 190 RMB (25 Euro).Β I brought my favorite pair of pants I wear to work all the time and had them copied a total of 4 times now in different colors. I made one bad fabric choice (sometimes it’s hard to tell how it will come out when you just have a small sample) but all the other ones are great. We started out here at 210 RMB but last time Ellie and I went and got a better price because we ordered 5 pairs together.

Dresses: 360 – 400 RMB (46 – 52 Euro): I picked a work dress out of their catalogue and got another summer dress based on a picture I brought with me. After that turned out great I ordered it again in pink and also in black with long sleeves. I paid 400 for the first 2 dresses but after coming again and again (and bringing them new customers), I got the price down to 360.

T-Shirts: Thorben wanted a few T-Shirts in a heavy fabric in the perfect length. They sketched it based on his description and after altering once he’s very happy with them.

Stitch & Co – Booth 2XX

Linda from Stitch & Co caught our attention by talking to us in German as we walked by. She knows all the important words like “massgeschneidert”, “Anzug” and “Hemd” (tailor-made, suit, shirt) and pronounces them like a pro. She really knows how to sell to you but was disappointed every time Thorben turned down getting an “Anzug” made.

Shirts: 130 RMB (17 Euro): Thorben got basic white button down shirt from her which fits nicely. However, another booth is a bit cheaper (see below) and we couldn’t tell a difference in quality, so we go there now.

Chinos: 220 RMB (29 Euro): Another pretty good buy. We didn’t have a picture or sample but they turned out nice.

Trench Coats: 500 RMB (65 Euro): I’ve been wanting a classic beige trench coat and Linda had one on display I really liked, so I ordered one. Ellie got a slightly longer one in green and a few weeks after me and I’m thinking I also might need another one πŸ™‚

Booth 146

Winter coat: 800 RMB (104 Euro):Β  Thorben saw a nice coat in this booth and got it in a different color.

Shirts: 110 RMB (14 Euro): Shirts are the main attraction at this booth and and Thorben has bought 5 so far. You can pick the fit, the cuffs and color and of course the fabric. They fit perfectly on the first try, so we had the second order delivered for just 10 RMB. The only downside to the shirts is that the fabric is not non-iron.

Booth 272

Skirt: 350 RMB: Ellie got a shirt here, I don’t have a picture but its the same style as the dresses you can see in the back of the store and the one she bought.

Dress: 500 RMB (65 Euros): This was the crazy haggling I mentioned. Ellie got them down from 2200. Having already bought a skirt there for 350 I have no idea how they thought she’d pay 2200.

Ling – Booth 217

Jeans: 190 RMB (25 Euro): Thorben had a pair of jeans copied which was a bit of a pain because they had to alter them twice so they would fit. He also didn’t pick a good fabric, so I think his won’t be worn much. Ellie also got some copied and she was really happy with the result so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t bring anything to copy and just said i wanted skinny jeans. They turned out great and are in a super comfy, stretchy fabric. I wear them to travel because they feel like sweatpants, to the office on Fridays and also anywhere else. They’re my favorite “jeans” by far, I need another pair.

Tom’s Leather Shop – Booth 270

Leather Jacket (male) cow leather: 1350 RMB (175 Euro):Β Thorben has been looking for a brown leather jacket for a while but hasn’t found one he likes so he decided to get his black one copied. He picked a very heavy cow leather. They did an excellent job, every little detail is the same, except the lining is not cotton as it is in the original one.

Leather jacket (female) sheep leather: 960 RMB (125 Euro):Β Ellie also bought a leather jacket at the same store and picked one they had on display to be made in her size. I don’t know if the price difference is because of the different leather, different cut (requiring less material) or her superior haggling skills. Maybe a bit of each.

Shanghai Spring and a trip to the Botanical Garden

Shanghai Spring and a trip to the Botanical Garden

It’s spring in Shanghai! This winter was definitely the shortest I’ve ever had, another great thing about living in Shanghai. (I’ll just try to forget about the crazy heat and humidity coming up πŸ™‚ ) For the past 10 days we’ve had really nice weather with 20-26 degrees, lots of sunshine and pretty spring blossoms.

Jing’An spring flowers

To take advantage of this we took a walk around our neighborhood Saturday morning. The platane trees are growing leaves again and there are lots of flowers and trees blooming in the streets and little parks around us.

Shanghai Botanical Garden

Sunday I headed to the Botanical Garden. Though I got a bit lost and it took me over an hour to get there is was worth it πŸ™‚

They had lots of beautiful flowers and everything was already really green.

My main reason for going, was to see the blossoming trees and it was really amazing. It looks like we will miss the cherry blossoms during our upcoming Japan trip so luckily I already got my fix πŸ™‚ Spring is officially my favorite season in Shanghai.

Shanghai winter

Shanghai winter

Even though it’s strawberry season it’s also winter in Shanghai. Here is what my weather app shows at the moment and judging by the comments from my coworkers this is as cold as it gets. Next week will be the second time we’ll have sub-zero temperatures at night. But whenever that happens, or really whenever it’s below 10, everyone complains about how freezing it is.

Last night and this morning it even snowed a bit, which is pretty rare for Shanghai. Here are some pictures of the “Winter Wonderland” taken from our apartment and the office window.

Though the temperatures make it look like Shanghai has mild winters it actually does feel really cold. One thing is the humidity which makes it seem much colder than it. Also, Shanghai is south of the north-south divide for central heating. Apparently, the heating line runs along the Huai River and Qin Mountains, so Shanghai doesn’t make the cut. We are lucky that floor heating was installed in our apartment before we moved in so at least at home it’s pretty comfortable. However, most places in Shanghai don’t have heating and the only way to make it warm is using the air conditioner. That includes our office. Hello, cold toes.

At least I have an excuse for my favorite winter activities: Staying home, cuddling up with my heated blanket and watching Grey’s Anatomy while eating all the Christmas candy πŸ™‚

Update by Thorben:

Everyone was very excited about the snow. Our colleagues from corporate research tried to build a snowman this morning. This afternoon we showed them how it is done.

2017 – A Year in Review

2017 – A Year in Review

2017, it’s been a crazy year.

January

Our China adventure started in January with a look and see trip to Shanghai. We spent 5 days and half the time I thought Thorben was crazy for wanting to move here. I got used to the idea when we visited Jing’An, the Bund and Xintiandi and our relocation agent showed me where to get Nutella and cheese πŸ˜‰

February

In February we started our preparation with an intercultural seminar followed by a 2 week intensive language class, which made my brain hurt and showed me how difficult learning Chinese is. While Thorben got over this traumatic experience and started studying again towards the end of the year I still haven’t recovered quite yet πŸ˜‰ I also got my job offer and started the visa process.

March

My host sister got married in California and I was happy to be part of the wedding as a bridesmaid. We also used the time to visit San Diego, Joshua Tree National Park and spent time with my American family in Ventura.

April

Thorben turned 30 in April and we took the chance to celebrate both his birthday and a farewell party. We also packed all our stuff into 25 boxes, handed over the key to our apartment and I dropped him off at the airport at the end of the month.

May

While Thorben was busy starting this blog, a new job, exploring China and finding us an apartment, I spent the month saying good bye to family and friends. I also took a trip to Budapest and celebrated my birthday winning at mini golf before hopping on a plane to Shanghai.

June

During my first week in Shanghai I met Pearl and we visited Zhujiajiao together.Β  We also received our air freight, which helped us settle into our new apartment. Thorben went to Japan with his coworkers while I discovered the avocado lady and spent a day exploring the city with Shane.

July

In July it was a bit rainy at times so we had fun playing board games and making travel plans. I also visited some touristy places as a friend from university was in town. Thorben went on his first business trip to Germany and we saw “Sleep no More” which he loved and I hated. We also faced some crazy temperatures – above 40! – but that didn’t keep us from trying lots of different restaurants and seeing the Lion King in Chinese.

August

During the summer we went to quite a few brunches and also cooked for the first time, not at our home but someone else at a home-style cooking class. In August we also met Ellie (at a brunch) and had some adventures with her and Pearl at a murder mystery dinner and trying to eat lung. At the end of the month Thorben and I took our first trip out of the country together and spent a long weekend in Seoul.

September

September was a mix between food and culture: I tried hot pot for the first time, we went to see the musical Sister Act. I hoarded cheese after hearing of a coming ban while Thorben took some pretty pictures at night. During our trip to Beijing we visited famous sights such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall and had some delicious Peking duck.

October

The month started out with a week long break – Golden Week – which we used to travel to Hong Kong and visit Jana in Taipei. I also had an epic scone bake-off with Ellie. Most of our weekends we spent at brunch, shopping for tailored clothes and getting Christmas presents at the Pearl Market.

November

Thorben tried some hairy crabs while they were in season and I indulged in yummy breakfast street food. I also got some more Christmas shopping done during Single’s Day. After months of eating out and Sherpa deliveries I finally cooked for the first time. We got to check off a big item on the travel bucket list and explored the magnificent temples of Angkor. After 4 beautiful days in Cambodia we also visited Singapore.

December

In December we had to say our final good bye to Ellie at the airport. The rest of the month was much more festive: We ate Raclette, baked some Christmas cookies and went to a Christmas market. After a crazy half a year we got on a plane to Germany to celebrate Christmas with our families and catch up with friends.

Thanks to everyone who made 2017 so fun. Let’s see what 2018 has to offer!