Photography

Dana Point Waterfall

#TBT to that one time it rained so much in California! Do you remember when there was a huge waterfall happening in Dana Point? Don’t remember? Read this Orange County Register article here to learn more about it!

BeeJay, Peter and I hung out again to practice taking pictures on this one night. We wanted to check out the waterfall and see what it was all about.

We drove by the waterfall a few times because of course, we couldn’t find it in the dark. We pulled into a lot to park our car and walked across the street hoping that we could find the waterfall.

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Well, it wasn’t raining so there was actually no waterfall at that moment but we at least knew where the fall would be. We hung around the area for a bit and then it started drizzling. Then within minutes, it started raining cats and dogs.

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We left the site and got to a hut that had picnic tables, and stayed there for about 10 or 15 minutes until the rain calmed down.

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While it was raining heavily, we suddenly heard a rushing sound of water. We were like, “Listen! Do you hear that?” We all stood still and were in much surprise because of how loud the water was.

By the time we wanted to check out the waterfall, the rain had stopped luckily. We followed the thunderous clashing sounds of water and were in awe of how monstrous this waterfall was.

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We took some long exposures in front of the waterfall and the street behind us.

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It was definitely an experience to be hanging outside in heavy downpour and to take pictures of this waterfall at night. Friends, it’s not a great idea to take pictures of a waterfall at night. No one really does that anyway.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see this waterfall when it rains in the morning or afternoon. Not when it’s dark.

Thanks Peter for teaching me again how to take long exposures and thanks BeeJay for driving! Hope you all had fun in the rain!

Model: Elaine Kim

When it comes to food, I usually know how I want to take pictures of my meal. It comes out naturally without hesitation on what angles and perspective of the food I want to focus on. On the other hand, when it comes to taking pictures of people, it’s a tad bit of a challenge. I wanted to challenge myself again and improve on taking pictures of my friends! So I had another photo shoot with my friend, Elaine Kim.

The last time we had a photo shoot, it was on a gloomy and rainy day in Orange County. Because it wasn’t so bright outside, it was easier to manage the lighting. Check out my first photo session with Elaine Kim here.

We went over to this neighborhood that has a park in every other street! Ok, not literally every other street but maybe every other, other street. This one park we went to is probably my favorite one in the neighborhood. The glossy wooden picnic table and the stone walls bring a homey feel to the park. I honestly don’t know how to get to this park exactly but the many times that I’ve gone, I’ve been lucky enough to find it easily.

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And that’s a wrap!

Elaine is an artsy lady so make sure to check out her Instagram. Also, for you to get to know her a little better, I asked her a few questions:

  1. How do you know Tina? We met at Bethel Church.
  2. What do you spend most of your time doing? Trying various cafes.
  3. What are three random facts about yourself? I love boba drinks excluding the boba. I absolutely hate all types of insects. Photographs and paintings are an exception. I can’t think of a third random fact.

Thanks Elaine for being so patient with me during this photo shoot!

Honey Pig

My mom wanted to take me to a new restaurant that she found with her friend in Irvine. She couldn’t remember the name of it but knew where it was located. So we went to this Korean restaurant that she was raving about because of their stew. Once we got there, I realized it was Honey Pig! I knew Honey Pig had opened “recently” in Irvine but completely forgot about it.

Honey Pig is probably at least a year old. In the afternoon, they have a special lunch menu which is when my mom tried their stew. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to take it, when it’s dinner time the menu is all about grilling. So we weren’t able to try out their stew. Next time I will though!

Three big factors set Honey Pig different from other KBBQ restaurants.

One. Honey Pig is not AYCE aka All You Can Eat. They charge you by the plate of meat. Downside is that you’re definitely paying a little more at Honey Pig compared to Gen or Cham Sut Gol where it’s about $20-$25 for unlimited meat. There is a minimum requirement to order two plates of meat no matter how small or big your party may be.

Two. The grill at Honey Pig has an upside down cone shape where it’s slightly tilted so that the oil can be drained from grilling. Other restaurants just have a flat grill.

Three. Vegetables such as spicy bean sprouts, kimchi, and sweet potato are grilled. If you end up not finishing all those vegetables or even the meat, they will put rice on the grill to make fried rice with those leftover vegetables. With that, you have a second serving for dinner! They know how to make your food not go to waste!

This is how Honey Pig works:
1) Grill them vegetables first!

2) Add the meat.

3) Once the meat has been cooked, wrap it in lettuce or rice cake with the grilled vegetables.

4) Once you’re done eating the meat with the wraps, it’s fried rice time! You just eat right off the grill.

5) No food shall go to waste. Upon completion of eating everything, your grill should look pretty spotless.

Two people eating two plates of meat with overload of vegetables and to end it with fried rice is doable but almost painful. So painful that my mom and I went out for ice cream at Baskin Robins to ease the pain from overeating. Downside about Honey Pig is that they don’t provide any fruit or sweets afterwards like other KBBQ restaurants. So we headed to Baskin Robins which it ironically and probably subconsciously made us feel a lot better.

Now, would I go to Honey PIg again? Eh, probably not. It’s just too expensive because we ended up spending a little more than $45 and I don’t like to stuff myself like that. I really do like their concept of twisting the traditional KBBQ.

If you want more information about Honey Pig, check out their Yelp. It’s definitely a great place to check out once if you’ve never tried it before!

Thanks umma (mom in Korea) for taking me out to dinner!

Model: Elaine Kim

Dear SoCal Weather,

You’re hot then you’re cold. You’re yes then you’re no. You’re in then you’re out. You’re up then you’re down.

Please make up your mind on how you want to treat us! Just kidding. I’m glad it rained that one weekend since we, Californians, are in a drought! Also, it was nice to see and feel a different kind of weather for once.

Though it was rainy, I wanted to take the opportunity to do a photo shoot. So I took some pictures of my friend, Elaine, who is one fashionista. I loved her oversized Anthropologie jacket and her leather Dooney & Bourke clutch from a garage sale!

Thank you SoCal Weather for not being sunny for once. The gloomy weather made the lighting perfect for this photo shoot.

Your one and only California girl,
Tina

P.S. I heard it’s going to rain this week. Is that true?

Saturday, It’s A Date!

Going on a date this Saturday but you have no idea what to do? Ok, maybe there’s no date but do you have any plans in general for this weekend? If not, then I can help you plan a few ideas of what you can do with your special someone, friends, or family! No need to pay me for this free event planning.

This Saturday, January 25th, more than 10 museums in LA will be offering free admissions! Check out the link here to see the list of museums that are free. I would suggest going to Los Angeles County Museum of Art since it’s a popular one and there’s a lot of exhibitions to check out. Click here to see what’s featured currently.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

After walking around the museum pensively for hours, I’m sure you’ll be hungry. So where should you go for food? Only 3 miles away from LACMA is Larchmont Bungalow. It’s a quaint little cafe known for their brunch menu. They have some unique items on the menu like their popular red velvet pancake or their lobster crab benedict. Yelp gives this place a 4 out of 5 stars with more than 1300 reviews! Even if it’s way past brunch time, I would still check it out. You just can’t say no to this place especially with those good ratings.

Red and Blue Velvet Pancake

Red and Blue Velvet Pancake

Maybe you can eat first and then head to the museum. Wherever you go first, please end it with dessert.

Because I have a sweet tooth, I would still get some kind of dessert even after the red velvet pancakes. Close to LACMA is Milk Jar Cookies. (Check out their website because it is darn cute! Too darn cute to believe that this shop exists!) You can tell that these cookies are made with lots of love. They are definitely pricey compared to your ordinary cookies but worth it because these cookies are the chewy ones that melt in your mouth. Yelp suggests that you try everything! Their popular ones are the chocolate chip cookies and the banana split.

Banana Split Cookie

Banana Split Cookie

At this point after dessert, you should be tired and head back home. Or! You can be spontaneous and do whatever your heart desires in LA. (YOLO!)

You’re welcome for planning this date out! Just kidding! Unfortunately, I won’t be going to the museum or eating at cute places this weekend. I’m going to stay home because I’ve been sick for awhile. I need some good rest! If you end up using this plan or hitting up any of the places mentioned above, I’d love to hear how it all works out! Tweet or Instagram me with the hashtag #TinaTalksToday.

Once I’m feeling better, I’m definitely going to use this plan with my friends!

Hannah & Andrew Wedding

I really didn’t think I was going to cry at Hannah and Andrew’s wedding. I told myself, “It’s just another day with Hannah…” It obviously wasn’t! Right when I saw Hannah walk down the aisle, I had tears running down both sides of my cheek! I was definitely the first one and maybe the only one to cry…I was just really happy for them!

Here are some highlights from the wedding:

Briana and I had to get our nails done since we were ushers. Rings brought to you by Tiffany & Co.

Briana and I had to get our nails done since we were ushers. Rings brought to you by Tiffany & Co.

Briana and I as ushers at the wedding!

Briana and I as ushers at the wedding!

Father & Bride.

Father & Bride.

This picture is for adults only! There is kissing involved!

First kiss as a married couple.

First kiss as a married couple.

L to R: Linda, Sarah, Me, Yesie, Briana, & Esther

L to R: Linda, Sarah, Me, Yesie, Briana, & Esther

Briana caught the bouquet!

Briana caught the bouquet!

L to R: Briana, Hannah the bride, & Me

L to R: Briana, Hannah the bride, & Me

I have to say that this one picture right below is pretty special because the four of us grew close in college. We haven’t been together in one setting since we graduated from college. There’s always one or two of us missing when we hang out but it was nice to finally be with these girls for a special occasion like this!

Group selfie with the bride!

Group selfie with the bride!

I don't think I took enough photo booth pictures...

I don’t think I took enough photo booth pictures…

I think my favorite part of the wedding would have to be after the wedding where a bunch of us got to sit down and talk to the bride and groom. Hannah’s twin brother, Phil, was able to share some juicy stories with all of us! There was definitely a lot of humorous and memorable moments throughout the whole night. The whole wedding was such a beautiful history to remember. I am so happy for both of them and can’t wait to see them grow together!

Surprise Briana!

Briana, Christian, Mark and I were in a group text to plan a hangout since we were all in town for the holidays. Christian and Briana were able to meet up, but Mark never really responded if he was free. As we were all texting, I started another group text with just Mark and Christian saying that we should surprise Briana for her belated 25th birthday. Mark and Christian were down to surprise her! So last minute Christian bailed on the hang out and Mark continued to remain silent in the group text with Briana.

Christian and I trolling Briana.

Christian and I trolling Briana.

Planning this mini surprise gathering was challenging but exciting. I like to say it was pretty successful though since Briana was a little upset that Mark didn’t respond at all and that Christian bailed. So it worked out that she was expecting to not see them!

We surprised her in downtown Fullerton where we grabbed brunch at Rialto Cafe. The wait was about 30-40 minutes long. We decided to take some hipster pictures while we were waiting since Briana was dressed up all cute and there were a lot of good spots to take pictures. Here are some pictures from our quick photo shoot by the restaurant:

Briana was a natural! I didn’t have to direct her that much!

Once we got seated, Briana suggested what was popular at Rialto Cafe according to Yelp-Rialto Cafe. As she was doing her research on Yelp, I remembered that whenever the four of us came together to hang out, we usually had a set role. Back in the day, Mark was always the driver, Christian was the DJ playing music in the car, Briana would be the one to look through Yelp to find out what to eat at the restaurant, and I would be the one to plan where to meet. It was funny how Briana was on top of her duty of Yelping even though it’s been awhile since the last time the four of us hung out.

For brunch I got one of the popular items which was the smoke salmon with scramble, hash brown, and wheat toast on the side.  I’m not sure why people like this a lot but maybe it’s because of the salmon. It was a little too simple for me but maybe that’s another reason why it was a popular item.
Smoked Salmon Scramble

Another popular item on the menu was the stuffed French toast which Briana got. I would’ve picked this over the smoke salmon because it was sweet! Downside was that there was no meat. I kind of need my meat for my meals.
Stuffed French Toast

It was so nice to catch up with Mark, Christian, and Briana. Our group dynamic hasn’t changed since we’ve all been separated. Hanging out with them brought a lot of memories back. As we were eating, we were talking about cool apps for our iPhones.

Tutorial on Cart Wheel from Mark

By the way, we are kind of a tech savvy group of friends. More so with Christian and Mark. They’re always on top of that and so Briana and I are always in the know thanks to them. Some things we learned from them at brunch was about the Cart Wheel app from Target. It helps you save money for various products at Target by using the app.
Target's Cart Wheel App

Another handy dandy app is Tab where it helps you split the bill from the restaurant if you’re with multiple people. You basically take a picture of the bill and the app will then divi it up. You can even add names to each item on the bill!
Tab App

Thanks to Christian for introducing Tab to us, we were able to easily split up the bill! After Rialto Cafe, Mark had to head out.
Group picture at Rialto Cafe

Briana, Christian, and I went over to Green Bliss literally across the street. It’s a hip vegetarian cafe that serves sandwiches, coffee, and tea. Because it was a warm day, Briana and I both got an iced vanilla latte. The expresso was so strong that we wanted a refund. You could barely taste the sweetness of it. Luckily, the customer service was above and beyond that they were willing to give us a refund. They were willing to make adjustments for us, but we just wanted our money back and get Milk and Honey instead.
Green Bliss

I want to give Green Bliss a second chance next time since the customer service was superb, the ambiance and decor there was quite eccentric in a good way, and it had good reviews on Yelp-Green Bliss! I’ll come back for you Green Bliss! Don’t worry!

After Green Bliss, we headed over to Costa Mesa. We shopped a little at South Coast Plaza and then grabbed a drink at Milk and Honey where we felt at home! Briana and I got our usual Peach Aloe Tea which you can’t go wrong with at all and Christian got shaved ice.
Milk & Honey

We talked and laughed a lot that day. Oh man, it was honestly a fun day hanging out with them. It made me miss our college days when we were young and had so much freedom to play and go on so many adventures! It was nice to know that we were able to just pick up where we left off.
Last Group Picture of 2013
Thanks Christian and Mark for being good actors to surprise Briana! Briana, hope you had as much fun as I did hanging out with them! Happy belated 25th birthday!