Spring Break 2016 Link Roundup

Phew, we made it everybody! A (relatively) timely completion of vacation recaps. (If any of you mentions those Europe posts…….)

Here’s all of the links in one spot for reading convenience:

  1. Vegas
    1. Club Going Up… in Vegas
    2. Gotta Gotta Get Down… in Vegas
    3. Sin City Demands Sin…
  2. LA
    1. Rain, Art, & Lights
    2. Social in SoCal part 1
    3. Social in SoCal part 2
    4. MegaDon4Ever!
  3. Disneyland
    1. Disneyland: Before Food
    2. Disneyland: Before Dinner
    3. Disneyland: Before Bed
  4. Goodbye West Coast

Thanks for sticking by me with all these updates! Here’s a short photo series that I forgot to include in one of them:

Yep, that’s me trying to conquer the Sword in the Stone. Oh well, maybe next time.

See ya next time, West Coast!

MegaDon4Ever! | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we visited the beautiful Griffith Observatory, where I tried to get my fill of starry space stuff before heading to Koreatown to hang out with some friends from the Internet! It was a night of food and karaoke that I am so grateful for.

In case anyone forgot why we were on the west coast to begin with, the day of Don & Megan’s wedding finally arrived! We slept in a little bit on Sunday and then headed out for lunch and photos of the Arts District, since we hadn’t really hung around during daylight hours yet.

We were pretty starving, so we went for Umami Burger for lunch. We don’t have Umami in DC yet, but I’ve had the famous burger in New York before and I liked it there. Maybe it was because I was crazy hungry, because this burger was sooooo satisfying. It was juicy but didn’t make a complete mess, which honestly does ruin my burger experience if I end up having to eat burger remnants off my place with a fork. In shame.2016-04-10 14.08.45 2016-04-10 14.09.06 2016-04-10 14.09.20 2016-04-10 14.09.25

Then time to indulge in my vanity and embarrass Ben by taking a lot of photos with the awesome murals around town.DSC00684 DSC00689 DSC00692 DSC00699 While taking these photos, a man started approaching us, which got Ben really really nervous. I tried to stay calm but we were both pretty scared that a strange man was walking towards us and there was no one else around us. As it turns out, the man was notified of our presence because we set off the alarms at the warehouse where we were taking photos. He was homeless but the company that owned the warehouse was paying him to do security because people had been stealing copper and other scrap metal. His name was Anthony and he was so so kind to us, so friendly, and so appreciative of our time. He told us about how he was an injured vet, offered to introduce us to his pit bulls, and gave us more blessings than we deserved. Ben wanted to take a photo with him to preserve the memory of meeting this kind soul, but I felt weird and exploitative about that so I quietly rejected that idea, gave Anthony a hug and some money so that he could afford to buy into low-income housing, and walked away feeling really good about the whole interaction. It was even better considering how scared we were when he approached us! I hope he’s doing well now.DSC00703

The Wedding

Oh yeah, we had a wedding to attend! We did our long schlep (just kidding, it was literally 2 blocks away) after primping a little bit for the wedding. The Millwick was such a great venue, very LA, open, organic… And you know what? When we got there, the sun came out. And stayed out. Don and Megan were really worried about having to rent a tent for the ceremony and as it turns out, they didn’t need one. The weather finally cooperated and was perfect for the wedding. Here are a few photos from the lovely evening, provided by Anna Delores Photography.

They did it!
Dancing back down the aisle to “I Believe In a Thing Called Love”
The big combined family!
Megan’s mom giving her toast/roast
Groom + mom and bride + dad dancing
This shady photo of me getting funky
The ringbearer and his dad. FUN FACT: Multiple people asked me if this was my son during the evening. HE IS NOT.

We tried to go out for karaoke afterwards, but since Ben and I had an early drive out to Anaheim for Disney fun, we left before the newlyweds were able to join the crew. It was a great evening for MegaDon4Ever (Megan + Don) and we were so happy to be there to share this special day with our friends.

Watch yo self
Bridal Vegas crew!
How many people can we fit in a photo???

Next stop: DISNEYLAND.

We’re wrapping up Spring Break 2016 posts, can you even believe it? What have you been liking about them so far? What do you want to see more/less of?

Social in SoCal part 1 | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, Ben and I packed a lot of sightseeing into our first day in LA. We got a lot of rain while visiting several art museums and Hollywood, and it didn’t let up on Saturday as we eased up on sightseeing (just a little) and were lucky enough to see some friends!

Santa Monica + Venice

The first friend we saw was my old friend Ran. I attended Chinese school with Ran for a few years before she moved away, but she was one of my most cherished Chinese school friends, easily. My mom remembers her fondly because Ran was great at hamming it up at assemblies as the emcee. We were gunners in our class, striving to beat each other with our test scores and encouraging each other to be better while doing it. At the time, I remember being really jealous of Ran but she was so kind and positive that I could never really resent her. She was a great friend to have.

I hadn’t seen Ran in something like 15 years. Really. We’ve been in close-enough proximity, living in neighboring counties in New Jersey and attending college in the same metropolitan area. She recently moved to Los Angeles and I was living vicariously through her Instagram photos documenting her adventures. When I booked my own trip to LA, I went back to see where she had been visiting and having fun, and I decided to leave a little comment on one of them:

A shout in the dark... and a return!
A shout in the dark… and a return!

So, we headed out to Santa Monica on Saturday morning and walked around a little bit before it was time to see Ran again for the first time in 15 years. I’m always really nervous seeing people after a long time, and Ran and I hadn’t even kept in particularly good touch since we last saw each other. Would we have nothing to talk about? Would Ben feel uncomfortable, or vice versa? What if the coffee shop I looked up was terrible, all because I decided I no longer needed to visit Philz now that they have a DC location?

DSC00572DSC00573DSC005742016-04-09 14.29.46

(The coffee shop we visited was actually great! We went to The Refinery, where I enjoyed a nice cold brew and sipped some of the toasted lavender cappuccino that I got for Ben. I did have to wait a decent bit for my cold brew, because the handsome barista was doing latte art for the customers before me. He made them a little teddy bear, it was pretty cute.)

But it was great and amazing. Ran is still as bubbly and contagiously positive as I remember her being, maybe more. We talked and talked and talked, and then I refilled our parking meter, and then we talked and talked some more.  Then we went down to Venice Beach  and just walked around enjoying another iconic LA spot.DSC00583.JPG

I was really grateful that we were able to spend time laughing and smiling with Ran after all this time, and it really kicked me off to be nice and extroverted for the rest of the day. (I was actually concerned that I wasn’t going to be in a people mood, especially considering that the friends I would meet later in the day didn’t all know each other, but more on that soon!)

As great as it was to see Ran, we were staaaaarving and immediately set out to get our first…


We weren’t sure when we’d be able to get In-n-Out without purposely going out of our way to go. There weren’t any near our AirBnB and we weren’t doing sightseeing near any. So, despite locals’ insistence that we don’t make a special trip to eat In-n-Out, we did just that because we wouldn’t have been able to eat the iconic West Coast fast food otherwise!

Our biggest mistake was maybe choosing to eat at an In-n-Out that shared a parking lot with a Costco. On a Saturday. Early afternoon. Yes, we spent about 10 minutes just trying to move through the parking lot to see more filled parking spaces. It was very painful. We gave up on trying to get a parking spot and decided we’d just go through the drive-through and find another parking lot to eat our food in so that we could keep going with our  sightseeing without losing any more time.


Luckily! we found a spot right after leaving the drive-through as someone pulled out of his spot. It was great digging into our food next to a car in which the driver was doing the same. My animal-style hamburger really hit the spot given how absolutely starving we were. It’s not an amazing burger by any means, and I really don’t understand the comparison with Shake Shack, which I think is equally overhyped but a different category of burger joint, but it was definitely very tasty. I’ve had a lot of mediocre to meh burgers, so I’m glad it was just solid and good and cheap. Our car smelled of fries as we drove off to the Griffith Observatory.

I’ll leave off here for now, because this post will get too long otherwise, and I’ll let you know about the Griffith Observatory and my night out in Koreatown with some Internet friends (!!!) next time!

What do you think of In-n-Out?
Do you have friends from Chinese school, etc. that you still keep in touch with?

Rain, Art, & Lights | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we began exploring Los Angeles with pie and a some culture at the Getty Center. It was rainy the whole day, so we relished our time indoors and still marveled at how beautiful the museum was. But the day wasn’t over yet, and we had more art to take in at the Getty Villa.

Getty Villa

Tip: If you are planning on visiting the Getty Villa, you will need to register ahead of time online to get your FREE tickets. Yes, you need tickets, but yes, they are free. I actually had gotten tickets for 2 different times, with one being the last slot available so that we weren’t as rushed to leave the Getty Center. (Very sorry to anyone who wanted tickets for the slot I didn’t use and was unable to register.) Make sure to reserve your ticket and then either have your ticket saved on a mobile device or printed to show at the gate.


If you’d like to visit the Getty Center and the Getty Villa in one day, you can use your parking voucher from one at the other! (Aka free parking at your second Getty destination!) Since we went from the Getty Center to the Getty Villa, we had to first let the Getty Center parking folks know that we were headed to the Getty Villa so that they could give us a voucher to bring over to the Getty Villa. This worked out pretty well for us because the Getty Center has a ticketed garage and we were able to present our voucher to the guard at the Getty Villa, but I’m not sure how it works if you go from Villa to Center.


Some ceiling love

The Getty Villa is a gorgeous, stunning estate that is near Malibu but not quite there, despite what the museum itself advertises. (And I’m pretty sure their social media team is mad that I called them out on that. The truth will set you free, Getty Villa.) The estate was originally the residence for J. Paul Getty and slowly transformed into what it is today as he kept running out of room for displaying his antiquities. Not only did he want to display his really impressive collection, he wanted to display them in a way that reflected their time and how they would have been displayed in their time. The estate’s architectural design (oh, did you think you had escaped me talking about Getty architecture, guess again) is based on the Villa of the Papyri, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption that rendered Herculaneum to ruins. Not only is Getty Villa a pretty spectacular re-creation of a Greco/Roman antiquity villa, the entire estate is also modeled to be reminiscent of an archaeological dig, with some of the structures intentionally built to resemble half-uncovered ruins. And while the Getty Villa was the original and sole site of the Getty Museum, it now houses only the antiquities in the way they were meant to be displayed, so the pieces have a lot of room for admiration.


Also, the estate itself is art. The gardens were just beautiful and featured beautiful fountains. Also, just look at how obsessed I became with the beautiful tile work on the floors…Read More »

Pie & Architecture| Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we drove away from Las Vegas after indulging in gluttony and finally headed to Los Angeles for my first-ever visit to the City of Angels. We settled into our AirBnB studio in the scary-by-night Arts District and tried to catch up on rest knowing that we wouldn’t get many opportunities for rest over the rest of our trip.

This was also one of the few days that Megan and Don were rid of us. Maybe next time they’ll think twice before inviting us to the bachelor/ette parties right before the wedding AND to dine with them during their honeymoon at Disneyland right after the wedding. It was a lot of face time with us, possibly more than the cumulative time we’ve spent together during the rest of our friendship…

It rained all day on our first day in LA. This was pretty disappointing as I shook a fist at Adam Levine for teasing me with hot southern California days. From what I understand from my friends who live in the area, LA doesn’t handle rain very well. The wifi at our AirBnB studio wasn’t working, and when I contacted our really lovely host, she found out that all of downtown LA’s wifi had been knocked out by the rain. Welp, sorry data plan, I needed a lot of directions.

That also explained why I couldn’t check in on Belly at Pie Hole (review) the nearby pie shop that I was dying to visit as soon as I saw that it was near our studio. We gobbled down a little Shepherd’s Pie and a slice of Earl Grey pie, washed it down with a horchata latte, and braced ourselves for a taste of LA’s infamous freeway traffic as we prepared to head to…

The Getty Center

Ben and I weren’t really sure about what the must-see attractions in LA were, but The Getty Center came up time and time again, so we decided to visit on our first day. It took us 40 minutes to get off an exit ramp that was 1.5 miles away from our destination, but that’s fine, it wasn’t as bad as I thought the traffic would be getting there.


(I also may have had my only celebrity sighting trying to get off this exit ramp, as I maaaaaaay have seen Benny Fine driving past us? But, honestly, it could’ve just been a guy with dark curly hair and glasses…)

The Getty Center is one of the two buildings that comprise the J. Paul Getty Museum and it houses 19th- and 20th-century works of art across several multi-level buildings.

You take a tram up to the museum so that you don’t have to drive up to the ridge, so that there isn’t an ugly parking structure, and for fun!
Despite the rain, the drought wasn’t really helped

DSC00320One of the most famous pieces at the Getty Center is Van Gogh’s Irises, which became the 10th most expensive painting in the world (account for inflation) when it was acquired by the Getty Center.

My big head blocking your view of Irises
My big head blocking your view of Irises

I had a lot of fun getting in the museum mood with Ben and hiding from the rain that just would not let up…Read More »