Monterey, Ca

I wish I was back in Monterey.

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Our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium was amazing. It really is a wonderful place to visit and very impressive. They have the best jellyfish exhibit on display and I saw so many that aren’t at the Aquarium of the Pacific. This is a must if you are visiting Monterey for sure.

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I can stare at all these jellyfish for days. Is it possible to have them as pets??

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Hearst Castle//San Simeon, Ca

Unfortunately for us our trip to Hearst Castle was met with rain. This didn’t deter us from enjoying our visit to this mansion on the hilltop. Taking pictures outside was a bit tricky because of the rain but I think it added to the mystique of it all.

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Hearst Castle, a National Historic Landmark in California, is a mansion  located near the community of San Simeon (about 250 miles from L.A.). It was designed by architect Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst—a newspaper magnate from 1919 until 1947. The mansion is really a sight and very impressive. The outside is truly breathtaking with its spectacular views. The insides are furnished with art from all over the world which span literally hundreds and thousands of years. However lovely and grand the art and furniture may be it can be a bit gaudy. We took the “upstairs tour” and it was really cool to see all the bedrooms. I was actually surprised how small Hearst’s room was and how claustrophobic I felt inside. Seriously the whole time I was there I was thinking to myself, “this is what Downton Abbey must be like, I wonder how many wild parties happened here”.

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and who can forget the famous outdoor Neptune Pool and indoor Roman Pool! That indoor pool is really breathtakingly stunning. I guess once a year they let their employees/volunteers use these pools as a perk. How awesome is that?!

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Solvang, Ca

Moments from Solvang, Ca.

Solvang

A couple of weeks ago I went on a quick trip up north to celebrate my sister’s birthday. We decided to drive up the coast and head up to Monterey(stopping in Solvang and San Simeon along the way).

The last time I was in Solvang was yearrrrrrrs ago, when I was about 11. It took us about 3 hours to reach Solvang from LA and we got there a little after 1p. The weather was a bit dreary and it drizzled a bit on us. Now I don’t know if it was because of the weather or because it was low season but it was completely dead around town. Perhaps it’s a good thing it wasn’t swarmed with tourists but I found it a bit depressing. All the shops closed at 5p so there really wasn’t that much for us to do but just walk around. I did love all the pretty flowers decorated around town and we tried several bakeries before they closed for the day. I just wasn’t impressed with their baked goods. I’ve never been a fan of danishes anyway so nothing looked that interesting to me except for this cookie called a “Napoleon Hat”, part cookie with a marzipan filling, yum!

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Napoleon Hat on the left and a raspberry cookie bar on the right.

We left Solvang by evening but right before we left I was racially attacked by a local. Like I mentioned there were a lot of pretty flowers all over the town and my mother had asked me to take a picture  for her. As I was taking the picture a car pulls up next to me(I was right by the street) and a young guy in his early twenties started saying “ching chong ching, you take pic-chaa?!” Let me add too that he made squinty eyes at me and stuck his teeth out mocking me. I was completely shocked and disgusted. I don’t remember the last time I was insulted for being an Asian, I mean it has been a reallllly long time since this has happened. I just turned to him and said(calmly), “you know, I speak PERFECT english” to which shocked him. His car had caught the red light so he was stuck right next to me for about a minute and I knew he wanted to die, I just stared at him until the green light. What a moron.

Okay, I’m not going to say everyone that lives in Solvang is a racist but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I haven’t been back in over 20 yrs and this is what I get? a dead town, lackluster food, a racist, and rude storeowners (I forgot to mention this lady at one of the bakeries chewed my mother’s head off when my mother innocently asked, “how come all the shops close at 5?” to which it was answered rudely, “we are ALL locals here, we have families to go home to!”). I mean really?? Goodbye Solvang, see you in another 20 years or never.

Beginnings

Gosh, the year went by fast! 2013 came and went and although there were some happy times, I am glad to say goodbye to it and begin 2014. It’s funny how we all wait till January to set goals and plan our futures. Shouldn’t we do that throughout the year? All I know is I need and want change, both in my career and in my personal life. Here’s to 2014, a year with no regrets and exciting experiences!!

Btw, here are my fondest December memories in a nutshell (since I never blogged that whole month!).

December

* I just had to add this… Disneyland during the holidays is truly magical and beautiful. I had loads of fun as usual but hated how crowded it was. Anyway, when we were waiting in line at the Matterhorn, we spotted Jason Bateman and his group sneak pass all us fools in line. Then later we spotted Zoe Saldana and her husband do the same. Yes, I know these are the perks of being a celebrity but man does that blow when you’ve been standing in line for 2 hours, yes TWO hours. Jason Bateman refused to look at anyone and I believe it was because of GUILT. I’m also going to add that Jason had a Disneyland escort usher him throughout the park. I mean seriously, I like him and enjoy most of his movies but YOU AIN’T NO BRAD PITT! No one is going to hound you or swarm around you or your family.

Later as we were making our way to Space Mountain my sister and I spotted none other than Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead. That was actually my highlight since I am a huge fan of the show and let me add this too, Steven had NO escort nor did he act like he was better than anyone else. Luv ya Glenn!!

San Francisco Part 1

My girl’s getaway to SF with my mother & sister was a blast. Our trip was filled with lots of walking, lots of sightseeing, and lots of eating.

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This is the first thing we saw when we arrived.

I first heard about Swan Oyster Depot from watching Anthony Bourdain. He is absolutely right, skip Fisherman’s Wharf and head straight to Swan for the freshest and tastiest seafood you will ever have.

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Grace Cathedral

We started our first dinner at the highly recommended Commonwealth. This was one of the most gorgeous meals I have ever had in my life. The portions are small but each bite is an explosion of flavors, plus come on, look at my pics. Each plate was a work of art.

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This frozen coffee mousse was divine and a perfect ending to our meal!

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Meyer Lemon & Chili drink, sounds weird but was refreshing.

More pics to come. Btw, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Nob Hill. The hotel was very nice and so was the area. However, we were entertained each morning by our nude neighbor from one of the apartments across from our window. It became comical each morning when we saw him in the buff…ya gotta love SF and all its eclecticism!

The Huntington Library

My sister has become somewhat of a “succulent whisperer” lately. She has babied and collected an impressive lot of it at home and I wanted to take her to The Huntington Library to check out their lovely desert garden. I’ve been to The Huntington a few times before but I never got the chance to check out their amazing desert garden. If you like desert plants and succulents I highly recommend checking The Huntington out. There are so many different varieties of plants there, some I have never seen before. I also suggest going early because their gardens are quite large and it will take time to walk from one to another.

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We spent so much time on the desert side that we barely had enough time (before they closed) to check out the Shakespeare garden, japanese garden, and chinese gardens. The Huntington Library is a must go or a visit if you are in So-Cal. It is so lovely!

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*of course my sister and I did not miss the opportunity to ham it up!

Guide cat helps blind dog

Awww, sweetest story ever!

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This story of Pwditat, the cat, helping Terfel, an 8 year old blind pup, melted my heart. See- all you cat haters, CATS ARE AWESOME!!

For the 8-year-old blind pup, Terfel’s life was mostly spent confined in his basket and bumping into walls after being diagnosed with cataracts. After his owner, Judy Godfrey-Brown, let a stray cat into the home, she noticed something remarkable happening. Pwditat walked right up to Terfel’s basket and led him to the garden. Ever since then, Pwditat has been guiding Terfel on his walks and around the house.

Godfrey-Brown also adds, “She uses her paws to help guide him…They are glued to each other and even sleep together now.”

Ugh, I die.

*story taken from here.

Ok, so unrelated to that heartwarming story…here is the final painting of Cosmo. My mother and step-dad were genuinely surprised. They had no idea I was painting this portrait of Cosmo for them and my step-dad actually teared up! It was a really nice moment for all of us.

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annnnd I just have to add this funny pic of Fergus inspecting the portrait of Cosmo! LOL, like I said, cats are awesome!

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RDR

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My grandfather was always good at taking me out to places. I remember going to the Queen Mary & the Spruce Goose as a kid on several occasions. So funny to look at this photo now as I live really close to the Queen Mary. Happy Birthday Grandpa, you are forever in my heart…