Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The City by the Bay

So despite the fact that it's in the same state as me, I have never really gone to San Francisco. Sure, I went once in middle school with my mum, but we were there for her work conference so I don't remember ever leaving the hotel. Then I went again last year for my dear friend's bachelorette party, but we were busy with that itinerary and I had no time to actually explore the city. So when Joyce abandoned me for SF, I decided I would see the silver lining to this and use it to my advantage. Since she's currently not working, I went and spent a week with her and her hubby Richard. I'm going to be going into detail about my week-long itinerary, so be prepared for a very long blog post! :P

{Posing with an empty cable car. How touristy! ^^}

So this was also my first time flying Southwest. I like them--they make flying really easy! On Wednesday Joyce picked me up from SFO and we parked at a parking lot in the Tenderloin district (I thought LA parking prices were expensive but they're nothing compared to SF!). Went to Brenda's French Soul Food for lunch... what a perfectly delicious start to my SF trip! Then we walked to City Hall, where we witnessed three different couples either getting married or taking wedding pictures. Walked through the Civic Center Plaza and SF Public Library, browsed the farmer's market outside, passed Orpheum Theatre, and killed some time inside the Westfield. Then we went to my favourite store: Uniqlo! I ended up buying another vest for myself in addition to buying one for my mum. And I even talked Joyce into buying a jacket ^^ Then we checked out Union Square Park before taking the BART to the Mission district. We checked out Mission: Comics & Art because Yelpers had said it was the best comics store ever. Unfortunately I was disappointed in the place :/ But I quickly forgot about my disappointment once we went to Bi-Rite Creamery and I got a delicious Salted Caramel + Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl scoop! Yum :) Then we went to Foreign Cinema, where Richard was waiting for us. Yet another delicious meal! And to welcome me to SF, Richard drove us to Twin Peaks where the view of the city was breathtaking. It was especially awesome because it was a full moon~ And my first day in SF ended with us watching Drive on Netflix.

{With Joyce at Foreign Cinema! Posing in my new Uniqlo vest ^^}

On Thursday we started off with brunch at Dottie's True Blue Cafe... or so we tried. I wanted to go since it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives... but apparently everyone had the same idea as me. There was going to be a 45 minute wait and we were hungry so we ended up going to Olea's. Where sadly they were not serving brunch that day! Sigh. But we split two burgers for lunch and it was good. Then we drove to Nob Hill and checked out Grace Cathedral. It is so beautiful! Then we walked through Huntington Park and down the hill to the Cable Car Museum. Then we continued down the hill (what a day to be wearing my boots! Never made that mistake again -_-) to Washington Square Park. North Shore is such an interesting neighbourhood because they have painted the Italian flag on every single light pole :P And of course, in true tourist fashion, we took the cable car back up to the Cathedral. Then it was time to go back to Union Square as we had an appointment for afternoon tea at The Rotunda. It is really nice there! Neiman Marcus is so fancy schmancy. It was great having afternoon tea there :) Afterwards we walked around and shopped for a bit before going to Bourban & Branch for drinks. Then we headed home where Joyce had me watch The Young Victoria as well as a few eps of The Mindy Project. I really liked Rupert Friend from Homeland, but oh.em.gee. I fell head over heels for him in The Young Victoria... I definitely recommend this movie!

{We are classy ladies who go to afternoon tea}

On Friday, since it was a bit foggy in the morning, we started off at the Presidio with The Walt Disney Family Museum. I absolutely loved this museum. I have always respected Walt Disney, but getting to learn about his life and career in this much detail made me love and respect him even more. Such a great man. Then we went to Burma Superstar for lunch where I had Burmese food for the first time. I really liked it! Then we did all the GGB stuff: went to Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, stopped at Battery East, went to Fort Point, drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, and checked out Marin Headlands (where we also found Rodeo Beach). And of course I got my jumping shot with the Bridge in the background ^^ Afterwards we went to the Palace of Fine Arts, which Gardy recommended to me. It is really beautiful there! Then we went home so we could meet up with Richard, who drove us to Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden and then Ocean Beach. Our second beach in the same day! This beach was a lot bigger of course :P We saw the Camera Obscura while we were there but unfortunately it was already closed for the day :( We walked over to Sutro Baths and checked out the ruins--beautiful! We made a quick stop at Legion of Honor (just to see the outside) before going to Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center for dinner. It was a fun experience and we even ran into one of Joyce's friends from college. What a fun and busy day!

{Successful jumping shot!}

Saturday started off at Golden Gate Park, which is ginormous, and also where the California Academy of Sciences is located. The California Academy of Sciences is such a cool museum/planetarium/aquarium! Afterwards we walked across the street to check out the Hamon Tower and Observation Deck in de Young Museum. It was amazing getting to see all of San Francisco from there! Then we grabbed lunch at Lavash before heading to USF. The beautiful St. Ignatius Church is by USF so of course we checked it out--and there was a wedding going on! That was pretty cool to see :) USF has a beautiful campus and we checked out their Lone Mountain building, which was a little creepy I had to admit :P Afterwards we walked along the Embarcadero/Fisherman's Wharf, with a quick stop at Musée Mécanique, before heading to Pier 39. Yay for sea lions! Then we stopped at Fisherman's Grotto so I could get clam chowder in a bowl from Nick's Lighthouse. Joyce and Richard got food as well and we ate on a bench in SF Maritime National Historic Park. Walked through Ghirardelli Square on our way back to the car and then we headed over to Alamo Square. Got to see the "Painted Ladies" from Full House so that was cool :) On the way back home afterwards we stopped by the Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park so I could see the bison. Bison! Cool beans. After hanging out at home for a bit we walked over to The Spot Lounge for soju and chicken wings. Good times. Ended the night with a Korean movie on Netflix, The Sword with No Name. While it did teach me a little about Korean history, and I always love Jo Seung Woo, I would not recommend this movie -_-

{Presenting the Painted Ladies!}

Sunday was back to the Embarcadero! We started off the morning at the Ferry Building Marketplace, where I grabbed a Mixed Salumi Cone from Boccalone, an Affogato from Blue Bottle Coffee, and ate some of Joyce and Richard's Garlic Fries from Gott's Roadside. We walked along the Embarcadero Public Promenade for a while, which was really nice, before heading up the Filbert Steps to get to Coit Tower. That was a workout! We then went up to the top of Coit Tower, which had awesome views. After coming back down, I took a picture of Lombard Street (Joyce said it would be too dangerous for us to drive there) and then we took the Greenwich Street Stairs back to the Embarcadero. Since it was foggy, Richard took us to Stow Lake Boathouse so that we could rent could rent a pedal boat! Joyce and Richard pedalled so that I could just sit back and relax. It was a lot of fun :) After a quick stop at home (where I got to eat the classic It's It ice cream sandwich) we went to Kevin's Noodle House for dinner. We shared fried eggrolls and I got their #13 Pho with Steak and Brisket. Delicious! Ended the day with four episodes of The Mindy Project.

{We're on a boat!}

On Monday Joyce and I headed to Tartine for brunch. Ate most of our meal there but took two desserts to go. Ran some errands before heading towards Fisherman's Wharf. We parked at this lot nearby and then went to Buena Vista Cafe for their famous Irish Coffee. Walked to Pier 33 afterwards for our ride to Alcatraz! We took Alcatraz Cruises there and then spent a couple hours exploring the Island. We finished off our food from Tartine before we came back. Then it was time to take the MUNI subway to Powell where we did some shopping before taking the MUNI bus to dinner. That's right--during my time in SF, I went on all forms of public transporation! We met up with Richard for dinner at House of Prime Rib. Such a fancy and filling dinner! We tried to burn some of it off afterwards by walking along Pier 14 and enjoying the Bay Bridge Light Show. Then we checked out the Hyatt Regency because Richard said they used to have the largest atrium in the US. I have to admit, it's a really nice atrium. And it turns out they currently have the travelling Alcatraz exhibition so that was cool. Then the rest of the night was spent packing.

{Final group picture--thanks Joyce and Richard for everything!}

Yesterday morning I ran errands with Joyce again. Then we checked out Andronico's Community Market while waiting for San Tung to open. Even though we were just down the street from San Tung, someone still beat us there :P It's okay; the restaurant was mostly empty since we were the second party there. Their dry fried chicken was delicious and we had a very enjoyable meal. Came back to finish packing and also finish up season 1 of The Mindy Project. Had some snacks, finished my leftovers from House of Prime Rib, and then it was time to go to the airport. My mum picked me up last night; it's great to be back in LA! Home Sweet Home *^^* Although I did get some not-so-great news from my doctor regarding my blood test so boo to that. Unpacked when I got home and then wasted time on the internetz until 3AM this morning -_- The good news is that I got to sleep in until noon. Then my mum and I went to the mall, had Hot Dog on a Stick for lunch, and I finished reading Simon Pegg's Nerd Do Well. Then we ran some errands before coming back home. Well, that has been my past week! Whewt what a long post :P Now it's time to Hulu...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Being Productive

Man the past couple of weeks have been busy for me! I say this all the time, but even being unemployed, there are still not enough hours in the day! Thank goodness for funemployment ;)

On Monday (9/5), I headed over to the library to borrow the book I needed to read for my book club: Carson McCullers' "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter". I also got Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" since I had heard good things about it. After spending pretty much the entire day figuring out my itinerary for SF I watched House of Flying Daggers. Then on Tuesday after doing the Rose Bowl Loop Track with Dena, I went on a date with Joyce. We went to FIDM to see their "7th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibit. It wasn't as great as the one last year but we still enjoyed it. Afterwards we hung out at Koreatown Plaza for a bit before heading to Chunju Han-il Kwan for an early dinner. Their budae jjigae was really good :) Then we waited for traffic to die down at City Center. And before she dropped me off at home, Joyce treated me to a nice Frosted Signature Milky with Honey Boba and Pudding at Honeyboba. I'm still going to be loyal to Half and Half, but this place is good too!

On Wednesday I went hiking at Eaton Canyon with Shanon. I was so happy to make it to the waterfall! Afterwards we met up with Kathy (another Elite) at The Slaw Dogs in Pasadena for lunch. Desserts were purchased at Lette and then Carmela's. I got a half scoop of Strawberry Buttermilk and half scoop of Cantaloupe Sorbet--delicious! Then I napped after a shower.. only to wake up because I realised I was sick. So I basically spent the next 24 hours sleeping. I did make sure to finish The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter on Thursday though. And I also managed to watch Meet the Fockers. I was pretty much all better by Friday, thank goodness, since I had my book club meeting at Claim Jumper. Hit up the mall afterwards for a bunch of free goodies before coming home and completely catching up on Warehouse 13.

{At the waterfall with Shanon}

On Saturday I ran errands with my mum in ktown and also had my dentist appt. Fun times. Then on Sunday I picked Paul up for his last Sunday at Live Church LA with me. Then we went to lunch with Kelly and Jinwon at El Cholo Cafe. Delicious! Dropped off both Paul and Jinwon before rushing to meet up with Gardy so we could go to Medieval Times! We were on the Blue Knight's team and it was a lot of fun, especially since he was the winner! Met up with Joyce on Monday morning to do the Rose Bowl Loop Track, ran more errands with my mum (locally this time), and then read The Alchemist. Gardy came over after work and we headed over to Simplethings Restaurant to have some sandwiches and pie. Yum! On Tuesday I did the Rose Bowl Loop Track with Joyce in the morning again. And then I came home to find out that our power was out! For the entire neighbourhood actually. So I went to the library to return my books and borrow a couple more, ran errands, read a bit, and then napped. It was a pretty relaxing day ;)

{With the Blue Knight! (and also the Green Knight) ^^}

On Wednesday I started my 3-day Simplifast cleanse. I bought the stuff from Amazon; it's supposed to be similar to the master cleanse but they premixed everything for you, and you can just do 3 days if you want. They also allow you to eat fruit if you want, so that's nice. I really have no self control now because those three days were so hard for me -_- Wednesday was also important because our new smartphones came that day! So I am now the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S III and am back with Verizon :) On Thursday I also went to co-ed bible study; good times. On Saturday I was so happy to see that I had lost three pounds! (Alas, that was short lived *cries*) Headed over to Keri's house at noon for her daughter's birthday party. It was Hello Kitty themed ^^ Then it was time to prep for my potluck (I KNOW, the day after my cleanse!). Our theme was Food on a Stick. I made "pigs in a blanket" but on a stick. So I guess it's just a hot dog on a stick? :P The other apps/entrees were: Caprese (Christina), Spam Sliders (Ron), Chicken Satay (Charlie), IKEA meatballs with pepper and lingonberry sauce (Jessica), and toasted bread with cheese fondue (Michael). Our desserts were: Caramel Apples (Candace), Strawberry/Blueberry Hand Pies (Tiffany), and Melona Bars (Grace). Delicious as always! And Tiffany even brought over a game, Cards Against Humanity, so we had a lot of fun playing that. And Melody even came over to join us in the game!

{Group potluck picture}

Sunday was pretty chill and then yesterday I went to see a gastroenterologist in ktown since I've been having some "acid reflux" issues. Got an exam and they also took my blood. Will find out the results next week. Also got a couple presciptions... hopefully they will help. Afterwards my mum and I had lunch at Corner Place before running some more errands. In the evening I headed over to Keri's to have dinner with her and Gardy. We got pizza from Papa John's and it was so delicious, especially with the garlic sauce! Mmm... and then we had root beer floats after :) (Unfortunately, this is how I gained my weight back. Sigh.) Today is just another chill day at home so I can pack since tomorrow I'm flying up to San Francisco for a week! I am so excited... wish me a lot of fun! :D

Sunday, August 04, 2013

XGLA 2013

So on Thursday, like I mentioned before, I went to a Yelp Elite event. It wasn't really an event so much as Katie B. procured tickets to Pasadena Playhouse for some Yelp Elites and their +1s. I met up with Shanon, her +1 Melody, and Shanon's Elite friend Kevin N. (who was letting me be his +1). I can't believe this entire time I've never been to the Pasadena Playhouse--did you know it's been around since 1917?! I must definitely go back. We got to watch the rehearsal for Road to Palooza: A Cirque Variety Spectacular. It was a variety show with Cirque artists, local luminaries, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, singers, and a variety of other performers. Not perfect (it was the rehearsal after all) but it was entertaining and I was really happy that I got to meet several of the performers afterwards!

{With Brett Loudermilk, the amazing sword swallower}

But Friday... Friday was a BIG DAY for me. Like you all know, I'm a huge (but lazy) fan of the X Games. Well, it turns out this year is their last year in LA. After 11 years here, they're abandoning us and going to Texas (for four years). How could I let them leave without attending an event?! And since my friends fail me (because they work, ugh, who does that?!) I went by myself. I decided to buy tickets for Friday's Moto X Step Up and Moto X Speed & Style since I've always enjoyed those events and Nate Adams would be competing this year in the latter one (he couldn't compete last year because of his injury). X Games was having a fair all day so I got there a little over an hour before the event (which was at 7PM) to walk around and check it out. I got a few freebies, was sad about missing out on SEVEN different photobooths, but everything was worth it because I got a picture with and an autograph from Tanner Foust! He got Gold in Gymkhana GRID the very next day :D He also got Silver in RallyCross (and Bronze for the same event in Munich). Pretty darn awesome *^^*

Then it was time to go inside Staples Center and watch the two competitions! First up was Moto X Step Up, where I was rooting for both Ronnie Renner and Matt Buyten. Ronnie ended up taking Gold and Matt Bronze, with Libor Podmol taking Silver. Then it was time for Moto X Speed & Style, where Matt Buyten was competing again! While I wanted him to medal, I was mainly rooting for Nate Adams, who is the most decorated Moto X rider at X Games. With his Gold in this race, he now has 16 medals! Matt unfortunately didn't medal in this race (he came in 4th), but how can anyone blame him when he JUST competed right before this?! Blake Williams ended up with Silver and Andre Villa with Bronze. I recorded the final two races so you can see those on my YouTube page. You can read the recap of the entire day HERE. If you feeling like waxing nolstagic, here is X Games' farewell to LA, which includes a video on X Games athletes reflecting on LA *tear* And of course I leave you with the video for the Best of X Games 2013 (global):

Man, writing about X Games leaving breaks my heart. But let's move on to happier things. So on Friday my cousin flew in from SFO to spend a final weekend with us. But before I spent time with her yesterday, I had a birthday party to get to! It was my friend Allison's daughter's 1st birthday party, appropriately Hello Kitty themed :) Then I hung out with my cousin in the afternoon. We went shopping at the mall and then had a dinner date at Hamburger Hamlet. Today we went to Young Nak together and then headed to ktown to have lunch at Corner Place. Afterwards we dropped her off at LAX and came home, where I immediately proceeded to nap ;) Now that I'm well rested, it's time to watch some TV!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Goodbye July

Can you believe it's August already? Where did the time go?! It's been five months now since I got laid off and yet I feel like I have barely gotten started on catching up on life! There are seriously not enough hours in the day...

So last Tuesday, I picked up Jinwon from her work and took her to dinner at Il Forno Caldo. We had originally planned on going to Da Pasquale for dinner but seeing as I picked Jinwon up at 4PM we were there too early. Luckily Il Forno Caldo was open already so we went there, even though it ended up just being a mediocre meal. Then we headed over to the Magic Castle! We got to see Tom Craven in the Close-Up Gallery and then I showed Jinwon around the Castle for a bit until Nelson was able to join us. Then he did some cool card tricks for us, which ended up being even cooler because we would see those same tricks again, but by the performing magicians! We then saw Mark Haslam, Francis Tabary, and Valerie in the Palace; Gary Morton in the Parlour of Prestidigitation; Georges-Robert in the Parlour of Prestidigitation; and finally Jerome Cadeac in the Close-Up Gallery. Not only did we get to see all the performing magicians, but we also got to sit down with Harold (I think that's his name) who also showed us some cool card tricks. It was such an amazing night... made even better because NEIL PATRICK HARRIS was there!!! Jinwon and I both managed to get his autograph before he left (and I even got a HUG!) so it was just so perfect :D And coincidentally Margaret from AHS was there that night too! Such a memorable evening ♥

I spent Wednesday trying to organise stuff in my room and running errands with my mum. On Thursday Dena and I went to the Americana for Yoga on the Green with Lululemon. It was the first time we'd gone in a month and it was tiring -_- Then because I had a free Redbox code I rented and watched Django Unchained. Pretty good movie if you're a fan of Tarantino. Afterwards I met up with Gardy and Keri (and Katie) for dinner at In-N-Out. It was great catching up with them. I think Thursday was finally when I felt okay again after SDCC. Friday was another chill day, I spent it at home catching up on TV. Then on Saturday my mum and I went to IKEA, where I love to have lunch, and ran errands afterwards. And since Jinwon was in the mood to watch a movie, I had her rent Stoker from Redbox and come over. I didn't really know anything about the movie except that my love Matthew Goode was in it (along with Nicole Kidman) but that was reason enough for me. Yeah... it's a well made movie, but very disturbing. I wouldn't really recommend it :/

On Sunday I picked up Paul C. (who just flew in from Korea to visit for a couple of weeks) and we went to Live Church LA together. And of course I treated him to Carnitas afterwards to welcome him back. Later in the afternoon Gardy came over, we grabbed food from McDonald's, and took the metro to Old Town Pasadena where we then took the Rose Bowl shuttle. Why were we at the Rose Bowl you ask? For the LEGENDS OF THE SUMMER concert! We got there really early and spent a lot of time waiting... especially since the concert started 1.5 hours late -_- But it was worth it. Justin Timberlake + Jay Z = awesome concert! Unfortunately my camera hated the stage/lighting, but you can still see my concert videos on my YouTube page. The shuttle line afterwards was so ridiculous though that Gardy and I ended up walking back to the Old Town Pasadena metro station. What a night!

{Of course I got the concert tour t-shirt}

Good thing I don't work since I didn't get up past noon on Monday. Partly because my phone was dead, but also because I was exhausted from the concert. I met up with Jinwon in the evening and she drove us to Northridge where we met up with Paul for dinner. We went to Emle's for dinner and then went to Coffee Bean afterwards to chat some more. It was great to spend time, all three of us :) Tuesday was pretty busy; Selina and I went to go see a taping of Conan! Thank goodness I used to work at ** since I was able to get someone to call a walk-on for both of us so we were able to explore the lot and eat while we waited for the taping to start. I don't have any pictures unfortunately, but it was such a great show. And as if it was fate, NPH was one of the guests :D The other two guests were Shailene Woodley and Dan St. Germain. After the taping was over I met up with EAP folks at Fickle for dinner. I finally got to satisfy my bone marrow craving (after how many months?!) and I fell in love with the pork belly there. But most importantly, it was so good to see everyone since it had been ages since our last reunion!

{The three of us ^^}

Yesterday I treated Judy to lunch at Gaon for her birthday. It was nice having some one-on-one time with her without any kids nearby screaming for attention :P Later in the day Shanon came over and we carpooled to LA Live for a Yelp Elite event! I got to see the behind-the-scenes of the X Games (which started today!) and eat and drink yummies at Fleming's (my first time). It was a great event and you can read all about it here. And of course we had an after-party afterwards at Ham & Eggs Tavern... good times. Today Dena and I did Yoga on the Lawn with Lululemon again; it was even harder today! But it's okay because my mum treated me to McDonald's for lunch today. It's ridiculous how much I love McDs. I was going to spend a chill night at home tonight but instead I'll be going out to another Yelp Elite event, this time at the Pasadena Playhouse! The fun continues...

{Yelp Elites can be so silly}