beauty

Sunset in Newport Beach

Aaron and I grabbed our Canons to Newport Beach for a sunset photography session. We missed the sunset because we were circling around the parking lot for a good 30 minutes. It was such a beautiful day that all one million Orange County residents decided to go to the beach and enjoy the weather at the same time. I can’t blame them for that because we were basically there for the same reason.

Miraculously, we found parking and decided to challenge ourselves to take pictures with little lighting except from the rays beaming on the water.

Going to the beach always reminds me to be thankful for where I live. Sometimes we easily take the perfect weather in sunny SoCal for granted. We actually met a couple at the beach who were visiting from Chicago. Aaron and I were both thinking to ourselves, “Why would you visit Newport Beach? Why Orange County?” We realized it’s because the weather here can’t beat anything or anywhere else! We’re so blessed.

Thanks Aaron for challenging me to take pictures in a new setting instead of taking pictures of food! And thanks for listening to Taylor Swift in the car ride. Note to us: Go to beach a lot earlier because of parking.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 6 – Minneapolis, Minnesota

I woke up little before 5 in the morning to get ready for my next adventure. I washed up, packed up, and took some food from the continental breakfast room for to-go. Christian picked me up at 5:45am to take me to Bellair Shuttle station.

Huge thanks to Christian for waking up so early to drop me off! Thank you, thank you!

The shuttle was taking me from Bellingham to Seattle-Tacoma Airport. I thought about flying out of Bellingham to go to Minneapolis but it was about a hundred dollar difference. I was like nah-ah, not paying that much. Instead, I paid $37 for the shuttle to take me to Sea-Tac airport at 6am.

The bus ride was about 3.5 hours long in the rain. We made some stops to pick up more passengers. I felt that I chose a pretty good seat where I could get my own space and no one would sit next to me. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The bus was pretty empty with less than half the seats filled but somehow, some lady just had to sit next to me. She was harmless but I just wanted my space early in the morning. I’m usually a morning person and enjoy socializing but like I said, it was early. I ended up knocking out majority of the bus ride. At one point, I tried to stay awake but I failed to do so. My head just kept bobbing. I only knew one thing to keep me awake. Listen to K-pop.

I’m not a huge K-pop fan in general but there was this one K-pop singer who’s American and did a remix of a classic American song with a lot of swag that I really enjoyed. I knew this was going to keep me awake so I listened to it on repeat. Here’s Jay Park singing When A Man Loves A Woman by Michael Bolton:

After listening to it a few times, I was finally at Sea-Tac airport by 9:30am. I went over to Sun Country Airlines to check-in my baggage.

FYI: If you check-in online 1-24 hours before your departure with Sun Country Airlines, you can save $5 for your check-in baggage.

If you’re a SoCal native like myself, you may not know anything about Sun Country Airlines. I was hesitant about flying with them because one, I had never heard of it. Two, it was cheap that it was too good to be true. From Seattle to Minneapolis, it was only $74. Three, I read some bad reviews about this airline. Some compared it to Spirit. If you know about Spirit, you know that it’s not good.

As I was boarding my flight at 10:15am, I noticed that someone was sitting in my seat. I guess the passenger who was in my seat wanted to sit with her family since they were sitting in that same row. As I approached the passenger about the situation, a flight attendant came to the rescue and asked if I could sit somewhere else since there would be some empty seats on this flight. I stood in the back until everyone was seated. Next thing you know, I got the whole row to myself!

I knocked out pretty quickly on this 5 hour flight. I don’t remember much about my flight except missing the opportunity to get some water from the flight attendant. I got really thirsty after my nap.

I landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 3:20pm. My friend, Mark, picked me up from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The real adventure began from this point on.

I booked a room through AirBnB with a Chinese family. I thought it would be interesting to book a room at their house because I was curious about how they got to Minneapolis since there aren’t a lot of Asians in Minneapolis. The journalist side of me made me eager to learn their story. According to Wikipedia there’s only 4.9% of Asians in Minneapolis!

I texted the girl who I was communicating with from AirBnB that I was on my way to her house. She responded that her uncle should be home to let me in. So Mark dropped me off at the house. I rang the doorbell and an older Chinese lady opened the door. Immediately, she started talking to me in Chinese and pointed at Mark’s car.

Let me remind you that I am not Chinese. I’m Korean.

I was so caught off guard by the whole situation that there was definitely an awkward moment. I quickly told her that I wasn’t Chinese. She said, “Oh! Ok!” We both kind of laughed it off. I think she was trying to tell me that Mark should move his car to the driveway but I told her he wasn’t staying. So then she carried my luggage to my room and that was that.

I unpacked a little bit and then went to explore Minneapolis with Mark! He showed me around downtown Minneapolis and gave me a thorough history of it. The area reminded me of the cleaner and less congested version of Los Angeles.

We went to the Gold Medal Park in downtown Minneapolis. It’s a spacious park to walk around or sit down and relax to enjoy the view.

Yelpers comment that it’s a great place to jog or grab some fresh air. When I was here, there was definitely fresh, cold, and crisp air. On top of that, it was so windy that my hair got all static-y and I had to tie my hair into a ponytail! Even though it was messing up my hair, I still enjoyed the Minnesotan weather!

I loved this park since I was able to see a bunch of autumn leaves. Apparently the week before my arrival, all the leaves were on the trees but majority of them were all on the ground by the time I got there.

Right next to the park is the Guthrie Theater. Yelpers love this place as it currently has 4.5 stars with more than 100 reviews. We didn’t watch anything here but walked around it. I highly suggest you to check out the beauty of this facility. They really know how to publicize and honor well-known entertainment figures from the past. These photographs make this theater like an outdoors kind of museum.

Here’s a better exterior view of the theater:

Aren’t those large photographs amazing? Do you see that rectangular portion of the building sticking out to the left? It’s actually a balcony at the end of it! The balcony is something to check out because it has a perfect view of the Mississippi River.

From one side of the balcony, you’ll see an iconic sign in Minneapolis, Gold Medal Flour.

This historical sign is the predecessor of General Mills, one of the largest food companies in America. There’s a lot of history about General Mills that dates far back as the late 1800s. This building is no longer a flour factory but it has turned into Mill City Museum that is opened to the public. With 51 reviews, Yelp gives the museum 4 out of 5 stars.

On the other side of the balcony, you’ll see an aerial view of Gold Medal Park that I visited earlier. There’s a trail that circles around the hill located to the left of the picture. The trails leads to the top of the hill where you can also see the Mississippi River!

It got pretty chilly hanging outside in the balcony but I loved it. I was enjoying every moment of the coldness because I knew that I wouldn’t ever experience that kind of weather in SoCal. Afterwards, we left the theater and walked closer to the Mississippi River where I had to get one last closer shot of it.

Seeing the Mississippi River was really something. It made me reflect on my elementary days when I opened up my blue history book. I remember looking at the US map and seeing how long the river stretched down from Minnesota to Louisiana. It was the one river you just could not forget because of how historical it was. I really never imagined that I would see it in real life but I sure did that day!

The walking and the cold weather made us hungry. So for dinner we went to The Freehouse. I would compare this restaurant to a hip and an upscale version of Yard House. They’re known for their brewery selection and the fusion of different cuisines for their entrees. I got the Pesto Pappardelle that had asparagus, spinach, tomato, and basil pesto for $12. I love pesto so this meal just hit the spot. I think pesto is one of those sauces that can do no wrong.

Though Yelp rates them 3.5 stars with 142 reviews, it wouldn’t hurt to give this place a try. The ambiance here is upbeat where everyone’s enjoying their time even if it’s busy and loud. I wouldn’t mind coming back here and getting the same thing or even trying some of their unique plates.

After dinner, we went to a Target Express in Dinkytown. What’s Target Express and is Dinkytown real? Target Express is a like a convenient store that is located near a university. This store in particular only carries products that are necessities for college students. And yes, Dinkytown real.

Did you know that the Target Headquarters is located in Minneapolis?

There was actually no real reason to check out this Target Express in Dinkytown but just to see something different from the norm!

To end the night, we went to one of Mark’s favorite spots, Izzy’s Ice Cream. It is literally right next Gold Medal Park. After a long walk around the park, it’s a great idea to treat yourself to some Izzy’s! This little ice cream parlor has 4.5 stars with 64 reviews on Yelp.

You know an ice cream shop is a keeper when they change their menu of flavors on a daily or weekly basis. Izzy’s has 150 different flavors but they always have 32 flavors available. For that time being, I got two of their most popular ones on a Kiddie + Izzy waffle cone for $4. It’s a little more on the pricey end for ice cream but keep in mind that these are some unique flavors. For the Kiddie, I got the Norwegian Chai and for my Izzy, I got the Salted Caramel.

Say what? Who or what is Kiddie and Izzy? Kiddie is the larger or normal scoop of the ice cream and Izzy is the smaller and cuter scoop that goes on top of the big one. Cute concept, huh?

Ever since I tried the Apple Pie ice cream from my trip to Bellingham, Washington, my life has changed. Just kidding, not my life but my ice cream life has changed. So going to Izzy in Minneapolis got me all excited. The Norwegian Chai had a subtle spice flavor to it. According to Izzy’s, “…norwegian chai is finely ground, sweet orbs of Norwegian cardamom toast.” The Salted Caramel had a light sweet and savory taste to it which was perfectly balanced.

For a short amount of time on my first day in Minneapolis, I feel like we accomplished a lot! Thanks Mark for picking me up at the airport and showing me around Minneapolis! What a great start to my Minnesotan trip!

Bellingham, Washington

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 5 – Bellingham, Washington

My day didn’t start until late afternoon so I decided to take a stroll around the hotel. I was excited to take some pictures and make an adventure out of it!

I was walking down some road that led me to a residential neighborhood.

I found a hidden creek on the side!

At some point as I was walking, I made a right turn just because.

Then I found a bunch of leaves! They weren’t as colorful as the ones in Canada but these were still beautiful!

After being so excited to see so many leaves, I went back to the main street I was on. I kept walking and walking but the sidewalk came to an end where it just turned into grass and dirt. I noticed that there was so much open land to my right. It looked like it was the “right” moment to hitch hike because I almost felt like I was in the middle of nowhere but I wasn’t that far from my hotel. I looked across the street and saw horses just hanging out!

I wanted to walk across the street to get closer but there was a sign that said Private Property. So I turned around and headed back towards the hotel.

Far, far ahead of me, I thought I saw an animal but I thought I was going crazy. I got my phone out, zoomed in, and took a picture to see what was ahead of me. Do you see that brown spot next to the railing?

Well, guess what! A deer popped out of there!

I was a little scared encountering this deer but I tried to play it cool. I kept walking and then the deer crossed the street. I started recording this moment on my phone. The deer just walked like any other human being walking on a sidewalk in the afternoon. At one point we were parallel from each other and made eye contact which scared me. I think the deer knew that I was recording so I abruptly turned my camera down.

 

I continued my adventure and walked across the street where I saw some trees and a trail. I saw some lady come out of the woods with her dog. The weird thing was, there was no trail. It was more of a dead end.

I walked to the end of it and found nothing too exciting. It was a little scary so I wasn’t daring enough to venture out into the woods. After that, I finally went back to my hotel and waited until I got picked up to begin my real adventure in Bellingham!

 

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.

Model: Cindy Lee

Winter doesn’t really exist here in Southern California. The weather lately has been very much summer like but I think the weather is slowly realizing that it’s supposed to be winter. We’re just having a slow start in the cold weather.

With the weather being unusual, I thought it’d be a good time to do a photo shoot of my dear friend, Cindy! It was pretty hilarious doing this with her because she was being her usual self as a diva. I barely had to direct her on how to pose. She knew how to work it!

Cindy is one of a kind. I think some may know what I mean by one of a kind. She’s a ball full of high energy and can easily make anyone laugh. So to do something ‘serious’ like this with her was quite an entertainment. It all worked out because she was able to get into character pretty quickly as a high fashion model.

Thanks Cindy for making me laugh hysterically during all of this. It was a lot of fun hanging out with you like always! Let’s watch America’s Next Top Model for some inspiration and do this again! Actually, you probably don’t need to watch America’s Next Top Model. I’m sure you are an inspiration for yourself!