Jun 20, 2016

northwest adventure

Last week, I embarked on a road trip up to the Pacific Northwest with Momma Pak. I drove more than 1,000 miles on this spontaneous adventure, and the sights were unforgettable. From the Bay to the Columbia River Gorge, I'll guide you along my journey through the following vlog and photos. This post is loaded with recommendations—so, if you ever decide to stop by these areas, I encourage you to take note of my suggestions!

Hope you enjoy the video! Yeah, I like to stick my foot into the frame a lot.

L O C A T I O N   / /   M E N L O   P A R K

Our first stop in the Bay Area was PACE Art + Technology, a thrilling digital art installation that will blow your mind. Tickets are $20 each, with a $5 discount if you show the front desk your student ID. This is a must-see if you're in town! My mom was skeptical about the price, but she was more excited than I was by the time we walked out of the exhibition. So cute.

L O C A T I O N   / /   S A N   F R A N C I S C O

The last time I dropped by the Golden Gate City was probably more than five years ago, so my memory of it is a bit fuzzy. I made sure to document it well this time! Personally, I think the best, panoramic view of the famous bridge is at Battery Spencer. My mom and I love bridges... it's overwhelmingly breathtaking when you realize how much effort went into creating each piece of every bridge. Before checking into our hotel, we dug into crêpes from Belly Good Cafe & Crepes, a darling shop in Japantown that sells Instagram-worthy desserts. Each crêpe features an adorably sculpted animal head; mine was an angry blue bear.

For breakfast the next morning, we visited the popular Sweet Maple. Try to get there early (right when they open is ideal) rather than at brunch time so that you don't have to wait in the tremendous line. I splurged on the Blackstone Eggs Benedict, which includes their famous Millionaire's bacon. It's glorious, I tell you. We headed to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse afterwards to grab a couple of their amazing cruffins. Again—a glorious, scrumptious must-try. One customer is limited to two cruffins (and don't forget to snap a picture in front of their slick motto). They're opening in southern California soon! Ready to get baked in Los Angeles.

L O C A T I O N   / /   P O R T L A N D

After hours and hours of nonstop driving, we finally arrived in the beautiful city of Portland. We booked a reservation at The Society Hotel, an up-and-coming rival of Ace Hotel Portland that boasts cheaper prices. Minimalistic rooms and matcha lattes in the ground floor cafe—perfect, if you ask me. It's located in Chinatown, which wasn't too bad but my mom was slightly irked by how many people creepily roamed the streets deep into the night. We also went with the shared bathroom package for the sake of the cost, and it wasn't a problem at all as the bathroom was kept spotlessly clean (being used to the dorm life, it exceeded any expectations for me).

I knew I had to try two things during my stay in Portland: doughnuts and ice cream. I wholeheartedly recommend Blue Star Donuts and Salt & Straw. I later found out that Los Angeles has both of them, whoops. The Blueberry Bourbon & Basil and Maple Bacon were my favorite donut flavors, while Honey Lavender stole the show at the inventive ice cream shop.

Other than sweets, Pine State Biscuits is the place to go for your brunch fix. A biscuit sandwich is a must—if you want savory, go for The Reggie. If you have a strong sweet tooth, choose The Chatfield (their apple butter is to die for). They also offer Stumptown coffee; the cold brew is so smooth! Next to their NE Alberta location, I found a gorgeous mural with an equally beautiful quote by Andrew Murphy: You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.

L O C A T I O N   / /   C O L U M B I A   R I V E R   G O R G E

Oregon, you are marvelous. Such lush, green forests and spectacular falls. I recommend Multomah Falls and Wahclella Falls. The first is super tall and a #1 tourist spot, while the latter was harder to find but my favorite of the two. It's a bit of a trek up Wahclella Falls Trailhead to reach the beauty. However, I assure you that the blood and sweat is worth every drop (okay not blood but you get my point). It's actually marked as an easy hike, but I have no muscles haha ~

About 1.5 hours eastward from Portland, you'll find Rowena Crest Viewpoint (the first photo of this bunch). You'll discover a long, winding road that's plain jaw-dropping and has been photographed by dozens of professionals.

Sadly, that's the end of my northwest adventure. We unfortunately didn't have enough time to visit Washington, but we'll be back. I promise. If you find yourself with more time in Oregon during the summer, I recommend visiting any of their splendid lavender fields or beaches. Traveling with my mom was so fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Love you lots.

If you have any suggestions for other wanderers, comment below! Be back soon,


P.S: If you have more time... go shopping! Oregon has no sales tax, bless.

Jun 4, 2016

summer bucket list

What time is it?! Summertime, it's our vacation ~ ♫
Guess what guys? I just finished my first year of college! *happy dance* My grades are pretty cringeworthy, but I'm not letting that get in the way of staying positive about summer plans and beyond.

Reflecting on freshman year, I've come to the conclusion that setting realistic goals is so, so important. Don't keep your expectations floating high up in the air, because life just doesn't always go the way you perfectly organized it to be. This applies to everything, from friendships and jobs to academics and hobbies. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but rather hoping to help you avoid unnecessary disappointment and discover smarter goal-setting techniques. Now, we've all got summer bucket lists one way or another. I'll share with y'all a few of my simple to-do things for the next few months and how I think you can efficiently check off your boxes during this vacation. It's time for some feel good, sunny summer days!

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D R I N K   C O C O N U T   W A T E R   S T R A I G H T   F R O M   T H E   F R U I T

Weird. Random. But why not! As you can judge by the photo, I have indeed completed this to-do already. It's all about starting off with small goals that you can fulfill easily. Keeping something as simple as drinking coconut water on your summer bucket list and being able to cross it off will still bring you satisfaction. The steps are itty-bitty, but you're all the more closer to finishing an entire list and you'll feel a push of motivation.

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F I L L   U P   A   D I S P O S A B L E   C A M E R A

Before my parents could trust me with a digital camera, they gifted me with a disposable one back when I was an elementary schooler. It was an exciting novelty. You snap dozens of pictures with it, but you have no idea how they're going to turn out until they're actually processed! Plus, disposable cameras are cheap and supplied at any local drugstore. I'll get back to you guys once I fill this baby up ~

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R E A D   F I V E   B O O K S

By read, I mean finish. Two books I definitely need to read:
1) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
2) Grit by Angela Duckworth (watch her TED talk, she's so inspirational)
If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!

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M A K E   Y O U T U B E   V I D E O S

I want the creative juices in my brain to be flowing this break! Youtube has been an addiction for me for years. I attempted many videos in the past, but I always took them down in embarrassment. It's about time that I try again.

These smaller goals can be step towards achieving bigger, heavier ones. I know it's not a direct connection, but I want this video-making process to help me hone my public speaking skills. My videos are going to have an audience, and that will pressure me to articulate my thoughts well in front of the camera.

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G E T   M Y   D R I V E R ' S   L I C E N S E

The sad reality: I failed the written test on my first try. I'm late in the game; but once I'm licensed, I have another "bigger" goal to fulfill. There are so many places I want to visit in Los Angeles! By places, of course I mean food. From Zero Express to Commissary, I'm ready to overflow my Instagram feed with California delights.

I hope this list inspired you in some way. Before I sign off, here's one last tip: never give up! Don't let anything crack your determination to cross off everything on your list.