Friends

Birthday Extravaganza – Part 1

Woah, it’s been five months and a few weeks since I last blogged! I apologize for being MIA. Sometimes, you just have fun in life and forget to share it! That’s pretty much what happened to me.

I don’t even know where to begin but I’ll just share with you the most recent celebration. August was my birthday month! Yay me and for all those Leos out there! I always want to try to maximize my birthday month or even just any holiday month all for fun. Why not find a reason to have fun everyday, right? For my birthday month, I decided to wear a dress every day until the 20th, my real birthday. I was surprised at how many dresses I owned. It wasn’t even a struggle to figure out what to dress to wear each day. I just grabbed whatever I found first but saved the best ones for last.

Unfortunately, I did not take any selfies of my 20 days of dresses to show proof that I did it. If you don’t believe me then feel free to talk to my coworkers. They have witnessed me wearing a dress everyday!

Even though it’s over, I still continue to wear dresses. I may have gained some weight from wearing a dress everyday. My dresses tend to leave more room for dessert than pants hence the gain in weight. At the end of this dress extravaganza, I realized I probably own about 30 dresses. It’s not even funny.

Side note: My best friend and I made a pact this year to not go shopping unless we need to or if we have a gift card so we can save money and not become materialistic. We’ve been pretty good so far to not buy anything unless it’s a necessity. I think doing this 20 days of dresses confirmed even more so that I don’t need any more dresses or even clothes in general. I’m sure I still have a few dresses in my closet that I have yet to wear once or even twice maybe.

Aside from this 20 days of dresses, I celebrated my birthday a few times with friends and family. First one was a potluck at the park! Thank you friends for bringing all kinds of food! We had homemade guac, Costco food, salads, fruit, desserts, a lot of cold drinks and so much more! There was definitely a lot of food!

Thank you Kat for stopping by! I know you had a busy summer but really appreciated your presence there and with all the fruit you brought!

Hannerz! Thank you so much for making the long drive to come here! Thank you for bringing the wraps and keeping them cool using your mother-in-law’s ice packs! I know I need to return those to you still! Thanks for the gift as well!

Derek, I can’t believe you biked 10 miles to get here! Thank you for making it alive! Phil, that Almond Haus drink doe. What an awesome gift, thank you! CindyxBindy, thank you for the precious cake and the bluetooth! I feel so hip like you now! Briana, thank you for bringing fancy sushi and always surprising me with practical gifts on my birthday! Aaron, thank you for bringing chicken tenders from Carl’s Jr! I think it was a healthier choice to bring chicken tenders over them McNuggets.

Peter and Jenn, thank you for bringing Costco pizza! Thank you for being considerate of vegetarians and thanks for the gifts! Thank you Jamakea and Dan for each bringing a salad! And those flowers were beautiful, thank you! Winston, thanks for bringing so much dessert! Costco’s apple pie and cheesecake can never go wrong!

Ben, thanks for driving to multiple markets to look for Capri Sun drinks. Even though they were nowhere to be found, luckily the party was able to continue without them. No but really, thank you for bringing all the drinks and keeping them cold with ice! Kat, thanks for coming to my potluck instead of going to your bootcamp and thank you for the cookies! Matt and Alana, thank you for the chicken quinoa and the homemade guac dip! Delicious!

I know I didn’t get to take a picture with everyone who came but shoutouts to Elaine Linda, Andrea, Dan, and Dasom for coming! Thank you Elaine and Linda for coming over to make the guac and pasta salad with so much love! Andrea, thank you for stopping by and bringing food! Dan, that Mexican ice cream was amazing! Thank you for sharing it with me! Dasom, I was so happy to see you there! Thank you for the giant balloon and the sacrifice you went through to purchase it!

Thank you, thank you my friends for bringing all this wonderful food! Thank you for taking that extra time to prepare or purchase the food you brought. Everything was so good that I think We should have another potluck soon!

Pizza Rock

We all had a pretty good work out at the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink. Skating our hearts out to the crowd and picking up flowers from our fans on the ice rank made us pretty tired and hungry. We decided to celebrate our gold medals that we won from our unofficial competition against each other.

We went over to Pizza Rock for some rockin’ pizza. Ok, that was really cheesy. That was also an extra cheesy joke.

First, we got some Pizza Rock Meatballs as appetizers. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of these meatballs because I was so focused on eating that I forgot to take pictures! You will just have to go to Pizza Rock to know what they’re like! I highly suggest ordering them if you get the chance.

And of course, we got pizza! We ordered a classic Margherita pizza.

We also ordered one of their popular items called Stromboli which had three different kinds of pizza all on one platter! It was one very long pizza!

On one end of the pizza was the Romano’s Original 1950. It had Prosciutto di Parma, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozarella, American cheese, and sweet peppers.

Then the middle of the pizza was the 3 Cheese Roll which had mozzarella, ricotta, and crushed red peppers.

On the other side of the pizza was the Pepperolly that had pepperoni, mozzarella, garlic, and oregano.

It was such a bittersweet moment at dinner since it was our last night together! I wish we could have spent one more day hanging out in Sacramento. I must say that I think overall we maximized our time pretty well in a short amount of time. After dinner, Alex and I had to get going because we had a long drive ahead of us. We left Sacramento around 10pm and were on the road for 7 hours heading back to home sweet home.

There are so many things that I’m truly grateful for from this trip! Thank you to the Vu Family for letting me tag along on this trip! Alex, tell your parents I said thanks again. By the way, I still can’t believe your mom was a news anchor! Thank you to Briana for I don’t know what actually. Just kidding! Thank you for letting me crash at your place and for showing me all the popular spots in Sacramento. We need to get started on The Brina Band Tour 2015. Can’t wait! Thanks Justin for driving us around and for the cronuts! If you’re ever in SoCal, I will treat you out to some good milk tea! Thank you Jaclyn for making time to hang out with us from your busy schedule and thank you Phil aka Snow King for taking us to the best shaved ice place in Sacramento. I’m so glad that I was able to see you both from SoCal to NorCal! I hope we can all get together again one day! Thanks everyone for everything!

Seattle, Washington

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 3 – Seattle, Washington

I left Sacramento in the afternoon to fly over to Seattle, Washington! Whee! I checked the weather there before leaving and of course, it was raining. So I had to bundle up for the first time for the fall weather in my new water resistant peacoat!

Thanks Briana for dropping me off at a really nice and spacious international airport in Sacramento! I really can’t wait to hang out with you when you’re back in SoCal! Finish strong in pharm school!

The flight from Sacramento to Seattle on Alaska Air took about two hours.

I landed before my friend was able to pick me up. So while I was waiting, I decided to FaceTime my friend, Elaine, who was at the beach! She was chilling under the sun with a few friends. It looked like she was on a real vacation compared to me!

Can I just tell you how much I love technology? Elaine and I both laughed hysterically because we were FaceTiming. I don’t know why it was funny but I guess it just seemed out of the ordinary for us to be FaceTiming like that where I’m at the airport and she’s at the beach. Oh technology, you’re awesome!

When I got picked up by my friend Christian, he brought his friend Karl with him who is a Seattle native. The three of us went to downtown Seattle to hit all the fun spots that Karl knew of. We went over to the Public Market Center – Pike Place Market where fish is thrown in the air and fresh flowers are sold.

Did you know that Seattle natives don’t use umbrellas? So I basically looked like a native until I took this picture in front of the Public Market sign.

Check this video out where we saw a guy with a Starbucks cup balanced on his head and a fish thrown at him! Well, not directly to his face but thrown at the cup to knock it down!


This place was packed with high energy even though it was cold!

Karl said that whenever he’s at the Public Market, he always goes to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese for some homey mac and cheese! So we did just that!

My $5.75 Original Mac and Cheese was perfect for the rainy and gloomy weather in Seattle. Next time, I want to try their  Mariachi Mac and Cheese which has a slight spicy kick to it. I would highly suggest checking this place out as Yelp has given this cheesy restaurant 4 stars with more than 1,200 reviews!

The original Starbucks was located nearby so we went to check it out. The line was going out the door! I didn’t get anything but it was nice to see where America’s Starbucks addiction originated from!

I had to take a picture with lady Starbucks but I didn’t realize she was a little bit scandalous there.

We walked across the street to see the Pacific Ocean! Christian said, “This is the same ocean from California!” In disbelief, I just kept looking at the ocean to see if it was really the same ocean from California. (Sarcasm, my friends. Sarcasm.) It got super windy there but it felt really nice to experience a new change of weather for once as a SoCal native.

Karl shared how he also goes to Mee Sum Pastry for some BBQ Pork Buns so we had to check it out!

We started with something savory with the mac and cheese and ended with something sweet! The BBQ Pork Bun was also perfect for the cold weather. They served us fresh pork buns where the BBQ flavor was juicy and sweet stuffed in a warm bread! We just stood there on the sidewalk, enjoying every single bite of it. That reminds me, I want to go look for some good BBQ pork buns in Orange County or in LA. Who’s down to go with me? Ok, cool. Thanks.

Because I have a sweet tooth, I really liked this place! I was so tempted to get another one but I was so stuffed from the mac and cheese and this! Yelpers definitely liked this place. They currently have 4 out of stars with more than 323 reviews.

After exploring much around Pike Place, we went over to Space Needle! We didn’t go up the tower but walked around outside and inside. We couldn’t spend much time here as we had a long drive back home. It was definitely a defiant moment to see this historical architecture in person!

Thank you Christian and Karl for driving an hour and half to and from Seattle to pick me up! Thank you, thank you Karl for joining this spontaneous adventure and giving us a tour of your hometown!

 

SacTown

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 3 – Sacramento

I woke up early in the morning to get to the Greyhound station in San Jose. Huge thanks to Stacy and Yesie for waking up early to drop me off at 7am!

I was at the station to get a ride from San Jose to Sacramento for my next stop. It was $18.50 for this ride! So I was probably one of the first few people who arrived at the station early. So I just read and played on my iPad until the bus came.

Note to future self: You don’t need to get there an hour before your departure time especially if it’s early in the morning. Maybe get there 30 minutes before departure.

Right when I got inside the bus, I knew that this bus traveled many places with many kinds of people. It just smelled in there in the beginning and I’m sure I blended in with the smell so I couldn’t smell it anymore. I should’ve brought Febreeze. Oh well, next time.

Anyway, the bus had WiFi! I was so surprised how technology has advanced in that way but unfortunately, the WiFi was a little spotty. It wasn’t the best WiFi but hey, better than nothing, right?

So I checked my email and read some more. Then there was a stop in Oakland. I thought that we were picking more people up from Oakland but I quickly realized that they were dropping us off there! I was thinking to myself, “Oh man. I’m back in Oakland. Here we go again…” I was at the Oakland Greyhound station for an hour and time flew by quickly! Luckily, nothing shady happened. Wew!

So then after Oakland, we were finally on our way to Sacramento for an hour and a half drive! There were probably less than 20 people on the bus and the ride was not bad at all. It still smelled but I was just glad to be out of Oakland for my own safety.

Briana, my best frenemy, picked me up from the Sacramento Greyhound Station. By the way, Briana is one of the most punctual friends ever. I’m really thankful to have a friend like her who values time like that! Go Bri!

It was so surreal to see her in SacTown! We talk on the phone quite often so it felt like it was no big deal to see her there but then again, I couldn’t believe that I was visiting her in Sacramento!

Since I arrived in the afternoon, we grabbed lunch at Jack’s Urban Eats in downtown Sacramento. I told Briana that I didn’t care what I did in Sacramento but all I wanted to do was eat as healthy as I could.

This place is like Pluto’s where they make salad in front of you. They currently have 3.5 stars with more than 400 reviews on Yelp. Even though this place may be all about salad, one of their popular items is the garlic fries!

I got the Santa Fe Chicken which is like any other Santa Fe Chicken salad for $10.04. It had grilled chicken, romaine, fire-roasted red bell pepper, jicama, corn, black beans, tomato, tortilla strips, and tequila lime dressing. I don’t know why but I really like Santa Fe Chicken salads. I think it’s because I like how it has soft and crispy textures mixed in.

Jack’s Urban Eats is overall a simple salad and sandwich restaurant. It doesn’t hurt to check this place out but you’re also not missing out on much if you can’t stop by.

We were probably there for a few hours catching up. We tend to talk a lot in person and on the phone. Especially on the phone, we can easily talk for an hour minimum!

So we went over to her place and relaxed. Actually, she had to study for a bit which worked out perfectly because I wanted to work out! Yes, I worked out during my travels and it felt good!

Like I mentioned earlier, I told Briana that I didn’t really care for much what we were going to do. I didn’t Google what to do in Sacramento because I honestly didn’t mind taking it easy since I was only going to be there for a little less than 24 hours.

We did some errands as if we were just hanging out together in Orange County and picked up some food at Kabob Palace. This restaurant is an Afghan restaurant with 4 out of 5 stars and 58 reviews on Yelp. Though it currently has some decent reviews, this place was bare on a Friday night. Actually, the area we were in reminded me of South Orange County where shops close early and the town gets dark and quiet pretty quickly at night.

I enjoyed the chicken kabob I got for $12.95. It wasn’t greasy at all and had some spices to bring out the flavor of the chicken. The bread and the rice that comes with the kabob were pretty darn good. You can easily get addicted to it but I had to have some self control to not have so much carbs.

After dinner, we went over to one of her friend’s place to watch a movie. It was my first time watching any movie in a long time! I’m not much of a movie person unless it’s a documentary. Weird, I know. That’s a whole different story. Anyway, so we watched Insidious. It was fun watching it because I do enjoy scary and thriller movies. At one point though, I knocked out. I’m not sure if it was the loud noise from the movie that made me fall asleep or because I was already tired from traveling or that it was past my bed time. I did wake up just in time to see how it ended! But ugh…I knew there was something wrong with the dad! I just knew it!

It was definitely really late after watching the movie and my contacts were dried out! So we ended our Friday night with a scary movie!

Side note: Scary movies have no affect on me except to make me fall asleep. Just kidding-ish. I enjoy getting scared and don’t get nightmares after watching them. But! When people scream during the movie, it makes me jump out of my seat even though nothing actually happened in the movie. I’m usually pretty calm. And that’s what happened when I watched Insidious. People were screaming and it scared me. The end.

Thanks Briana for picking me up at the station and making it a chill visit!

The Bay

Eat Pray Love Journey – The Bay – Day 2

For my time in the Bay area, I actually did not plan anything. The only plan was to just go with the flow! I just wanted to hang out with the people there. It’s the people who make NorCal homey.

The first activity we did in the morning was to go hike! Michelle, Yesie, and I drove over to the Almaden Quicksilver Park in San Jose. Yelp gives this park 4.5 stars with 133 reviews!

We started the hike a little late in the morning since we slept in. The hike was tough with the heat creeping in but those uphills made the hike more of a challenge.

I thought those uphills were never going to end but the beautiful view on the way up was never ending!

The view of the fields, clear sky, and trees reminded me of Lion King. Specifically, the first 20 seconds from the clip below:

I should have played The Circle of Life song while I was hiking. I’ll have to do that next time! So after forty minutes of hiking uphill with the scenic view of mother nature, the hike started to get easier. We finished within an hour and fifteen minutes of hiking around this park! We made it alive!

For lunch we headed over to Ike’s, a popular sandwich shop in the Bay area. There, Yesie and I met up with Pastor Sam and his wife for a mini reunion!

Yelp reviews give all Ike’s locations a 4 star! That shows you how good this place is! For sunny SoCal residents, there is one that just opened up in LA!

They have all kinds of unique sandwiches on their menu and they all sound good! I got The 49er which had buffalo wings sauce, cheddar, halal chicken, and honey mustard! I would definitely not mind getting this again!

Isn’t that a beautiful sammich? I wish you could take a bite of this right now because the spread and the halal chicken went perfectly together! This was one thick halal chicken sandwich with a juicy spread! I was so full from one half of the sandwich that I had to save the other half for dinner.

Because we ate so much, the four of us walked around downtown San Jose for a little bit. Then Yesie and I headed over to Santana Row. This a fancy outdoorsy mall in San Jose. I would compare this place to The Grove or The Americana at Brand in LA or Fashion Island in Orange County. There are a bunch of stores and restaurants to check out, and spots to just sit down and relax!

Yesie and I had some real talk here as we waited for more of our friends to join us. I’m always encouraged when I talk to Yesie. She has an optimistic view in life that can easily bring anyone up!

Michelle and Grace joined us for dinner! We all went over to Pluto’s in Santana Row. It’s a make-your-own salad kind of restaurant that is only found in NorCal. For SoCal residents, I’d compare this place to Tender Greens. I didn’t get a plate of salad because I still had my other half from Ike’s but I just got a small plate of vegetables. It’s always good to have some greens in you!

Majority of the different Pluto’s location have 4 stars on Yelp. The one in particular we went to had 3.5 stars with more than 900 Yelp reviews. If you’re craving something clean, this is definitely the right restaurant to check out! Everything is made fresh right in front of you!

Connie joined us in the middle of dinner. It got merrier once she arrived!

The five us here have known each other since 2007! Seven years later, we are big kids who are still able to come together and pick up where we left off!

After a healthy dinner at Pluto’s, we went over to Peet’s for a warm drink on a cold night! Stacy was able to finally join us there! It was more time of fellowship with these girls where we encouraged each other, laughed, and helped Stacy use Instagram on her new iPhone 6!

We ended our night here with a prayer of gratitude and joyfulness! Many thanks to many friends who came out to eat and hang out with me! Thank you to Pastor Sam & Yehee SMN for providing lunch and challenging my faith at Ike’s! Thanks Grace for coming out after work! I’m glad that we were able to have a quick catch up session! Connie! It was good seeing you even for an hour! Thanks for making time for me even for a little bit! Michelle, I’m thankful that you were able to take time off and play with me! Again, thank you so much for picking me up from Millbrae! Stacy, I didn’t think I was going to see you because of your work situation but I’m so glad that we were able to spend the night together! And Yesie, my Yesie! I’m sorry you were stuck with me all day and night but I learned so much from you in such a short amount of time spent with you. Thank you again for opening up your house as always!

 

Eat Pray Love Journey

I recently decided to quit my stable job after working there for more than three years. I learned and grew a lot from my time there but it was time that I try something new. It’s called, “YOLO!” That’s right. You only love octopus. Just kidding. You only live once! Holla!

Actually, my friends would call it my Eat, Love, Pray journey like the book or the movie that featured Julia Roberts who traveled to rediscover herself.

After leaving my job on a good note, I was ready to treat myself to something exciting like travel to Peru or Costa Rica! It seems like Peru has become the new place to explore. Europe was so last year…Just kidding. Europe is still amazing in my books and I wouldn’t mind going there again. All my co-workers were telling me how I had to go to Peru. The only expensive thing about it was the flight there but other than that, everything like the food and hostels/hotels were cheap! After talking to a dozen people inside and outside of work, I was pretty set on going to Peru.

Except. I had no one to go with. Well, let me clarify that I do have friends but the whole Peru thing was just all bad timing. It was either they didn’t have the money or couldn’t take enough time off to travel with me. So I had to think of Plan B immediately!

One important lesson I learned when I traveled for the first time a few years to Europe was that it’s best to go somewhere if you know someone who lives there! I know it sounds like an obvious statement but it makes life so much easier! Thanks to my world traveling friend, Charlotte, she knew someone in all the countries we visited when we went to Europe and made our experience in Europe so memorable and stress-free.

So for my Plan B – Eat, Pray, Love Journey (EPLJ), I had to do just that. Visit friends who were living all over the place in Murica! It took two weeks of texting, calling, and being on my laptop to figure out the logistics for my whole trip.

I was able to figure out majority of my itinerary in a timely manner but there were some things where I just had to wing it for the spirit of spontaneity and YOLO-ness.

For the future posts coming up, I’ll be sharing my adventures in the different cities and states I visited. It may be a long journey to share but it’ll be a fun one to read!

Future Dr. Wu

I am so thankful for my friendship with Kat! She is so loving, giving, great listener, adventurous, artistic, intelligent, understanding, and the list goes on! I’m so glad that we were able to go on a Spontaneous Road Trip. We didn’t go just for one day. Nope, not two days but for three days! It was so much fun traveling with her before she had to start medical school. I’m really proud to see where she’s at and can’t wait to see where the future takes her!

Here are some photos of my dear friend Kat, I mean future Dr. Wu, in her fancy white coat!

Kat! I’m ready to eat some good food, explore, and take artsy pictures with you whenever you have free time from studying! I miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you again soon!