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San Diego Adventure

Five of my friends and I drove down to San Diego for the weekend just to relax and enjoy each other’s company! We were supposed to leave in the morning to do the Potato Chip Hike in Poway but it ended up being an epic fail. One friend didn’t wake up on time and another lost their car keys. It was a rough start in the morning!

It was a little bittersweet to not have done the Potato Chip hike because I wanted to take an epic picture on that thin cliff like the one below:

On the other hand, it worked out that we didn’t hike because I’ve heard from others that it’s the most painful hike ever. It’s so painful that there is no way of making it fun because of the nasty uphill.

Since we didn’t hike, we all met up at Phil’s BBQ. I felt a little guilty eating there because I wish I could have rewarded myself with it after a good long hike. There’s always next time to genuinely reward myself for that.

So don’t hate me for what I’m about to say. I’m actually not a huge fan of Phil’s BBQ because I think it’s a little overrated. They have great food and service, but it’s not worth the one to two hour wait. Luckily, our wait was less than 30 minutes but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there. There’s nothing too memorable about the food where I have a go to entree that I always order. It all tastes the same as Lucille’s and Wood Ranch. There’s no special sauce that strikes me and makes me want more of. One thing that might set this place apart from Lucille’s and Wood Ranch is that it’s cheaper. It’s more on the casual side where they give you a buzzer for your order and they have bibs!

After eating, we went over to the beach house that we rented out from Air BnB. We hung out at the house and then headed over to the beach to play some volleyball. We somehow couldn’t find any volleyball courts at the beach. I think it was meant to be for us to not do any physical activity for the weekend. We were forced to relax as God was not giving us the opportunity to work out. So we came to a point where we hung out by the water and enjoyed the breeze while the waves were crashing.

We got the chance to watch the sun set! Oh man, it was beautiful! It was crazy how subtly yet quickly the sun went down.

For dinner that night we went to Cotixan Mexican & Seafood. I suggest that you don’t go there. The food was cheap and a-ok. They definitely give you a lot there but it doesn’t give you that feeling of “Oh-em-gee. I need to come back here again next time.” Apparently it’s the Mexican version of McDonald’s because there are so many chains of it.

That night after dinner, we all ended up being grannies. Josephine commented, “It looks like we’re at a retirement home!” After she said that, we looked at each other in the living room and noticed that we all had blankets on our lap and we were literally watching Betty White’s: Off The Rockers. It was pretty funny how ridiculous we were that night for not doing much on our weekend vacation. I think we were all pooped out from just a long day of being out and about.

The next day, we hung outside in the backyard and soaked in the sun. The guys were taking charge of the kitchen. They made us some good guacamole dip for our afternoon snack. Then they stepped up even more for our late lunch! They grilled vegetables and made chili to go with our smoke apple sausage hotdogs! Well done, boys. Well done! We were all definitely stuffed after lunch!

Later, we had a jam session. The guys brought a keyboard and guitar from home! We had some talented artists in the house. Derek was on the guitar, Jerry on the keyboard, and the lead singer was Cindy. Josephine and Phil were the backup singers. I was the manager and producer of the group, making sure that everyone was doing their thing.

At night, we went out to Classics Malt Shop for some ice cream. It’s a cute little mom and pop kind of shop. Then we headed out to Gas Lamp. We checked out a restaurant known for their Ryan Gosling restroom. Say what? Mhm…that’s what I said. There is one stall in the woman’s restroom where the walls are covered in Ryan Gosling’s face! Josephine, Cindy and I were in the Ryan Gosling stall for quite some time SnapChatting our experience there.

Rather than showing you pictures, I thought I would try something new and make a video. Here’s a clip from the trip:

In general, there’s not much to do in Gas Lamp but to walk around and check out some bars and restaurants. Though Gas Lamp wasn’t that exciting, it was still fun because of the people I was with! Thanks Cindy, Derek, Jerry, Josephine, and Phil for making our weekend trip short and sweet!

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Throw Back Thursday : Foodie Adventure

Happy #TBT aka Throw Back Thursday! I look forward to TBT’s because it makes me reminisce about all the good times in life. Today, I’m throwing it back to Saturday, November 23, 2013 when I gathered a bunch of friends together for a “Foodie Adventure” as I called it to explore San Gabriel Valley. I’ve been there once, twice, but three times! Yet, I still can’t get enough of San Gabriel Valley because it has too many good places to eat.

The one place I had been wanting to try out since forever ago was Newport Tan Cang. This place has more than 1,500 reviews on Yelp with 4.5 stars! I had to take everyone here because I knew it couldn’t be a disappointment except the wait! The last time I tried to go there, the wait was 2 hours long! I knew that if I wanted to try that place out, I had to have a better game plan next time.

So I tweeted 626 Foodettes for some help since they are knowledgeable of the 626 area, hence their name. (Side note: This is why I love social media!)

With that, I thought it was best to leave from Orange County at 3:30PM. Even with some lag time, my friends and I were able to get there on time before the crazy long wait started. We got there a little before 5PM and waited for 30 minutes to get seated which wasn’t too bad compared to the normal 2 hour wait.

Girls were seated on one side.

Of course, the boys were on the other side.

Luckily, Doug was there to help us order some good Hong Kong style food. Thanks Doug! Everything we ordered was family style because we’re a family! Ok, I know that was cheesy…

We first got the House Special Lobster which is one of their most popular items on the menu. It was messy to eat BUT it was definitely the winner on the table for all of us.

Another popular item we ordered was the Beef Loc Lac – French Style. Now this was tender meat that melted in my mouth!

We also got the lettuce wrap, deep fried tofu, and some clams.

There was a point where no one said anything because the food was seriously that good. We were too focused on enjoying the food rather than each other’s company! We didn’t even realize the silence until someone had mentioned it!

We each paid about $15 including tip and tax for everything we ate. We were all stuffed but I’m sure we could have eaten a tad bit more because that darn lobster was one of a kind. Actually, everything on that table was darn good!

As a tradition when I’m in SGV, I have to end the night with Factory Tea Bar. It’s a hip boba place to hang out with your friends. The atmosphere is great but of course, the drinks are good! According to Yelp, this place has more than 700 reviews with 4 out 5 stars! Because we had dinner at an off hour, we arrived to Factory Tea Bar at an off hour also which worked out perfectly. We got seated pretty quickly around 8 or 8:30PM. Factory Tea Bar can get really busy just like Newport Tan Cang so definitely get there early especially if you want the good seats like the couches.

We played a lot of games there like Jenga and various card games.

I ordered my usual Honey Green Milk Tea. It’s the drink that never disappoints me or anyone else! If you end up not liking it for whatever reason, Factory Tea Bar is always good about customer satisfaction. They will adjust your drink accordingly as many times as necessary!

We hung out for awhile until food coma started kicking in. So we had to prepare ourselves for the hour long drive back to Orange County. It was a lot of fun eating good food and ending the night with some sweets and fun games!

Thanks Andrew, Anne, Annie, Daniel, Doug, Elaine, Eric, Josephine, Shawn, Stacy, and Victoria for joining me on this Foodie Adventure! Big thanks to those who drove!

Sorry but not sorry if this post made you hungry.

Sam Smith

In the past week, I’ve been listening to Sam Smith’s music on repeat through Spotify. The addiction all started when I learned a danced to “Dirty Boy” by La La La which featured Sam Smith.

After I learned the dance, I researched the music at home. From Wikipedia, I learned that Sam Smith is from the UK! He was born in 1992, so you know that means he’s one very young talented singer! I then realized that he is the one who also sings “Stay With Me” which is a beautiful song.

After that, I was caught off guard that he also sings “Lay Me Down” which is another beautiful song filled with heavy emotion.

I’ve listened to all of these songs multiple times before especially on the radio but somehow never knew the artist. If TRL still existed on MTV, I would have learned about Sam Smith sooner! Nowadays, I don’t know who sings what until I make the effort to research it or stumble upon it online just like now.

Question. Am I the only one who’s surprised by how his voice doesn’t match his appearance? There’s so much maturity within his lyrics and in his voice for a young adult! That voice of his is one of a kind. It’s soulful, powerful, and simply unique. Perhaps you can compare him to Adele where they’re both honest in their music and actually talented! And the obvious common denominator is that they’re both from the UK.

I feel relieved now that I know Sam Smith at a personal level after all that research. Ok, back to listening to him on repeat!

Thank you Kaba Modern’s dance class for encouraging me to discover new music. Final thanks to YouTube and Wikipedia for helping me with my research on Sam Smith!

Kevin Garcia | Hunter by Pharrell

I took another class from Kaba Modern at Focus Dance Center but this time Kevin Garcia taught the class! We learned a dance to Hunter by Pharrell. The choreography and the music itself had an old funk soul to it which made it more fun to dance in that style.

The class was pretty challenging because there were some intricate parts to that choreography! When everyone was dancing downwards, I was the one who was up. I was pretty much all over the place as the choreography became more difficult. In the midst of that though, I had a lot of fun and was inspired by the other dancers in that room! Check out what we learned and please don’t look for me but it might not be hard to find me, heh…

Kevin Garcia mentioned how dope Pharrell’s new album, Girl, is. Right after that class, I started listening to his album and I must say, it is dope! There’s a new taste to his style that I’m really digging!

K-Gar aka Kevin Garcia said that he’s more on the quiet side but when you see him dance, you definitely see his personality come out. Watch his group audition in the video below. He’s the one who starts on the right side.

I hope Kevin Garcia teaches more in the future! I’m looking forward to seeing him perform live and on YouTube!

Dancing In The Dark

There are some dances out there online that I can watch on repeat for hours and hours especially when the dancers can evoke such deep and raw emotions for the viewers to experience. I recently watched one that gave me the chills and brought me into a pensive mood. Watch Dancing In The Dark performed by Matt Luck and Emma Portner:

Did this dance just change your mood or what? Did it make you pause and think for a second? It sure made me reflect on the lyrics and the emotions that built up within me. Even though I’ve seen this so many times, I am constantly in awe by the artwork of this dance. You can feel the story they are telling us because Matt and Emma are so honest in every movement within this dance. They dance so effortlessly and flawlessly that their story is told naturally.

Thanks Chelsea for sharing this beautiful dance with me! Oh man, I’m definitely going to watch again now.

Mike Song | Stranger by Skrillex

Mike Song is a dancer and choreographer who I admire just from watching his work on YouTube. I thought I would never be able to take a class from him because of the difficulty of how meticulous his work is, but when I found out that he was teaching at Focus Dance Center in Irvine, I knew I had to take his class. To be honest, I was really scared because it’s MIKE SONG. He is one creative artist who is so talented that it’s intimidating. I just thought his class would be so hard but it was totally what I did not expect.

He broke down every 8 count so thoroughly that it was easy to remember. Now, the challenging part about the class was to make the moves look good. I couldn’t overcome that challenge because I just don’t have that swag yet. What I cared the most was remembering the choreography. Because I haven’t danced in a long, long time, my memory in picking up choreography isn’t as quick as before. But because he took the time to explain every move clearly, I was able to catch on! Thank you, God!

We learned a fun piece to Stranger by Skrillex. Here’s a clip of what he taught us that night:

After watching him do his solo, I realized that what made the dance look so good was the fact that there were small and natural movements that created a powerful statement. For this choreography in particular, less was more.

Chelsea, this is for you. Check out one of his most popular videos that got him to Ellen Degeneres’ show with his mom:

Ok, one more video! Check this one out also:

If you want to take Mike Song’s class in the future or any other classes hosted by Kaba Modern, feel free to join me at any time! April is a perfect month to take these classes since Kaba Modern is hosting 12 classes this month in Irvine. Each class is $10 to drop in or you can purchase the package for $40 to attend all 12!

Thanks RPM for challenging me this month to be active by trying a new physical activity! Also, thank you Kat, Daniel, and Andrew for joining me spontaneously! Lastly, thanks Mike Song (if you read this), for making this class so much fun and memorable for me and especially for my friends who were first timers in taking a dance class!

Night Tubing in Big Bear

Can you believe that it’s finally raining here in Southern California? What a perfect time to just drink some hot chocolate and get all cozy! Well, last Friday I was able to do just that! My friends and I needed to get out of town and relax somewhere far, far away.

We got a cabin through a convenient site called Air BnB. This cabin was so cute and cozy. We easily felt right at home. It had Netflix, all the appliances for cooking, and it was located close enough to the market and the slopes.

When we got there, Linda started making dinner for us. She made us some awesome homemade kalguksu (kahl-gook-sooh) aka knife noodles in literal Korean translation. So she made the noodles herself and added some chicken broth with some chicken and onions.

After eating, we went night tubing which was the main highlight of the trip! We each paid $20 for unlimited night tubing at Alpine Slide. It was about 20 minutes away from our cabin which wasn’t too bad. I’m glad we went to this place because they had flat escalators to take you to the top of the slope. After many rounds of going down, you actually get pretty tired surprisingly. So thank you Alpine Slide for having that flat escalator!

Here’s a clip of our adventures down the slope:

Oh man, I can’t get enough of that video. It’s just so hilarious to watch and it makes me want to go back now! I hope we can go back soon!

Later that night, we went to the market to pick up some late night snacks and relaxed in the cabin. We had some pizza as we were watching some movie thanks to Netflix!

Also had some hot chocolate! Thanks Linda for making us the hot chocolate!

It was one long night with these lovely ladies and I enjoyed every moment of it with them! Special thanks to Linda for driving and making us some YUMMY food!