Thursday, August 30, 2012

★All American★

Playing: I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor-The Arctic Monkeys
Reading:Vogue September 2012
It was one of those weekends, where I had no idea what to do and decided to just head down to the beach area. Recently, the USS Iowa moved to San Pedro, so I decided to go check it out. (Smooth transition!) Down in San Pedro is Gaffey Street Diner, which is one of those all-American restaurants that looks like a complete dive, but actually sells really amazing food. I originally saw it on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, but I've gone back to it many times. The breakfast food tends to be better than the lunch courses, but my Country Fried Steak With Biscuit and Home Fries was pretty good although it was a tad burnt. The gravy is definitely one of the best things at the diner, so I highly suggest the Biscuit With Gravy there.
Parked in the lot right next to the USS Iowa was this wonderfully retro car. I feel like the cars from the fifties and sixties had more personality than cars do now, but I suppose that's because car manufacturers are aiming for more aerodynamic cars to increase fuel efficiency nowadays. You can actually see a lot of these vintage cars around the beach areas here.
As for the actual ship, it was incredible how large it was, but you didn't get to see a lot on the ship. They roped a lot of it off, so it felt like a tour, but the traffic was awful. You'd be standing at one spot for ten minutes to get into a room and then you'd be rushed through the rooms. In a few years, I think they'll improve it to a near perfect tour. However, this launched my dad into one of his Proud to be an American speeches that he gives me whenever we visit anything semi-patriotic. Like baseball games...
The whole area of San Pedro and Long Beach is filled with areas for commercial shipping. The boat pictured here carries around crates that are later attached to eighteen wheelers and ships them from country to country. Also, the red nub, for lack of a better word, protruding from the ship's front is used to break waves for a smoother ride and the people who operate the machines used to load and unload the crates make around $400,000 a year. Sounds like a good job to me and sorry for the random facts. My friend, Chelcee, always complains that I share useless facts with her. It's a trait I picked up from my dad.
Overall, the area around the USS Iowa is very lovely and if you're into military stuff and the USA's defense systems, I suggest visiting it. I actually saw quite a few foreigners there from Germany, France, and I believe, Belgium. At least, that's what I picked up from listening to them speak. If you'd like to, San Pedro and Long Beach also offer deep sea fishing trips, helicopter tours, seafood dining, and lots of Mexican culture, especially at this one port that is filled with Mexican seafood places. It's actually one of my favorite places to get seafood now.
 Also, I recently bought some Alexander McQueen sunglasses for myself, so that I can go out in the sun without my eyes watering, plus a Vince Camuto blazer. If you would like to see more photos of them, you can see them on The Suburban Urbanites. I did a perfume trade for the first time, where I got Dolce and Gabbana's Light Blue in exchange for my L'eau D'Issey. Super excited to wear it! At Target, I bought 10 Things I Hate About You, which is one of my favorite movies ever, and some notebooks for me to jot down ideas in. I like how each one is focused on some of my favorite cities: New York, Paris, and London.
Ooh, and then I purchased some more Sentimental Circus stationary to use for writing to my friends. It's so cute in a creepy, Tim Burton-esque way. Anyways, I hope you're enjoying your summer, while I sit at home doing my summer assignments and moan about how school needs to leave me alone.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two Birthdays, One Day

Playing: Everything Will Be Alright-The Killers
Reading: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Again!)
Left to Right: Maggie, Vivian, and Tina
On July 27th right before the Olympics, I went to celebrate both Maggie's and Tiffany's birthdays at Gen, an all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurant, along with Vivian and Tina. No Asian meetup is complete without tons of photos, right? Sorry whenever I hang out with a lot of Asian friends, I tend to make Asian jokes with them.
Such as when we all pulled out our cameras and cellphones to take photos of our food! How stereotypically Asian of us, huh? I found this tumblr called Pictures of Asians Taking Pictures of Food through Coffee Creek, so you should go check that out. It's really pretty funny. Gen had a wide selection of different meats to choose from and tons of side dishes, but I didn't like how most of the meat wasn't marinated like the meat at other Korean BBQ places. You kind of had to flavor the meat yourself using the various sauces they left for you. I did like how they offered a plate of vegetables to grill, since it helped break up the serious meat consumption.
Tina and I, despite us acting like the babies of the group, took charge and cooked for everybody. Since we were busy cooking for everyone else, a lot of the time, we got last choice and ended up eating not as much. What self sacrificing beings we are, cooking for everyone else. Hire the two of us for your next dinner party! The five of us still ended up eating twenty-three plates of food with only two plates of those being grilled veggies.
Left to Right: Maggie and Tiffany
After eating, the two of them opened up their presents and here are the two birthday girls. Maggie is posing here with her gift from Tiffany with Tiffany. Isn't it funny how the two of them are color coordinated too? Peach, camel, and white for both of them!
Tiffany got Maggie a Polaroid camera, which makes my Polaroid camera from the 1970's look excessively bulky. All of us went a bit crazy with the camera and took photos of everything. Luckily, Maggie was nice and let each one of us keep one of the group photographs to take home. If you zoom up on this picture, you can probably see me standing on my tippy toes. No way will I be the shortest one. I'll leave that duty for Tina.
While they were shopping around in Charlotte Rousse, I came across this pair of earrings. How interesting the way algebra works in retail stores. The more you buy, the more expensive each pair of earrings gets. That will definitely prompt me to buy more, while I'm there. (Sarcasm intended.)
I ended up leaving earlier than the rest because I needed to rush home to watch the opening ceremony for the London Olympics. By the way, how amazing was it? I liked how London mixed in their pop culture into the show with James Bond, Voldemort, Mary Poppins, The Beatles, The Arctic Monkeys, and of course, Rowan Atkinson. Rowan's bit was my favorite because it was something anyone in the world could laugh at, regardless of language and age. Anyways, back to the point. I have some seriously sick family members. My mum thought it would be funny to hang my Sentimental Circus bunny, Shappo, on a door. What is wrong with my family?
What was your favorite scene from the opening ceremony? (And I know I'm late, so you can do closing ceremony too.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

OC Fair+All American Rejects Concert

Playing: A White Demon Love Song-The Killers
Reading: Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
A few weeks ago, Rebecca and I had to rush to the OC Fair, since our SAT prep classes ended at 6:00PM and our All American Rejects concert started at 7:30PM. The traffic was awful, so by the time we got into the fair, it was already 7:12PM and we both wanted to use the restroom and buy dinner before the concert, so it was a bit like a mad dash. We ended up just grabbing a corn dog and a cheese on the stick for dinner and ate it on our way to the Pacific Amphitheatre, where the concert was.
Actually, there was no need to rush. Unlike other concerts I've been too, this one didn't start on time. In fact, it started about twenty minutes late. The opening band, Eve6, was pretty good, but no one was clapping for them, singing along with their songs, dancing, or anything, so Rebecca and I felt bad for them. We even tried Googling their songs on her phone that way we could try to sing along with them. When they were done, Rebecca and I tried to cheer loudly that way they wouldn't feel too bummed out...
But then, when the All American Rejects got on stage, we all went crazy. I screamed a lot, danced badly, and sang all of their songs. Rebecca and I were shocked by how much the lead singer, Tyson Ritter sweats. He's like a waterfall. Even though people have told me, they act like perverts on stage, I really didn't think they were that bad. Tyson made a few comments about how California girls are the best looking ever and that was about it.
They were actually much better than I thought they would be too, but I wish some of the other members other than just Tyson walked too, especially since Nick Wheeler is my favorite member (and my first celebrity crush) and Mike Kennerty seems pretty funny in interviews. It was really incredible for me to get to watch my first favorite band perform, especially since this is the band that got me interested in rock music. It felt amazing to see them after I was made fun of for a long time in elementary school for being the only kid that listened to rock and to see that I still loved them, even after kids gave me crap for it.
Anyways, back to the concert and to stop focusing on my taste of music and how much I hated elementary school. Here's their playlist from the night and some commentary from Tyson and me:
  • Dirty Little Secret
  • Beekeeper's Daughter
  • My Paper Heart
  • Fallin' Apart
  • Fast and Slow
  • I Wanna (Before Tyson started this song, he just said, "I wanna, I wanna touch you." Since those are the lyrics, I screamed back, "I wanna touch you too." And I got stares from the people around me...)
  • Walk Over Me ("Here's to all you girls, who are so amazing that I let you guys walk all over me.")
  • Stab My Back
  • Swing Swing (MY FAVORITE SONG BY THEM. "I used to write songs in my grandma's house. It was weird. I sat on a swing, when I wrote it. That's so fucking literal. You mean you sat on a swing? No fucking way!")
  • I For You ("This is one of our sweetest songs about love and all that shit. I had my heart broken so that's why I call it shit.")
  • Mona Lisa
  • Someday's Gone
  • It Ends Tonight
  • Gonzo
  • Move Along
  • Kids on the Street
  • Heartbeat Slowing Down ("This is probably our saddest, most tragic song.")
  • Gives You Hell (When the part in the middle in which everyone chants the song came started, Tyson stopped singing and the whole crowd sang it to him. It was amazing!)
After the concert, Rebecca and stood by a door for along time, hoping to meet them. All the people with the VIP passes were there, so we figured we could sneak on in. Needless to say, it didn't work. One day though, I hope to meet them. Maybe I can write for Rolling Stones or Billboard? Then I can meet all my favorite musicians and get paid to fan girl over them! Anyways, here's the closest thing we'll get to a photo with the band. Tada, fabulous!

Oh and this was my first time dressing up for a concert with more than just a band t-shirt. I got dressed up as Tyson from their music video for "Beekeeper's Daughter." The outfit isn't perfect, I know. My jeans aren't red enough, I wore Converse instead of boots, and I wore a t-shirt instead of a tank, but it's pretty darn close. I was so exited to find the denim vest for only $15 in Target's kids section, since Forever 21's cheapest one was $17 and I was only planning on wearing the vest for dress up purposes. (I'm wearing an Ann Taylor LOFT t-shirt, Cherokee vest, Mango jeans, Marc Jacobs necklace, Converse sneakers, and a Coach purse.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spain: Day 7 Part 1

Playing: Carla-Life in Film
Reading: Mayflower by Nathanial Philbrick
For breakfast, my family and I had given up on trying to find a place to eat, so we went to a chain restaurant (Oh my goodness, a chain! How mainstream!) called Café&Té, where I ordered the Spanish Brunch #3. It came with orange juice, hot tea, garlic mushrooms, pantumaca, scrambled eggs with ham, and toast. For the price of 7:50, you got a lot of food, even a bit too much for any one person to devour. In the photo, it showed the scrambled eggs with ham and mushrooms separated, so I was surprised to find it all mixed together. It tasted like any other American breakfast except for the pantumaca, which I've only had in Spain.
After breakfast, we went to El Real Jardin Botanico, which is the royal botanical garden. Very pretty and we went before it got hot that way we could enjoy it without complaining to each other about the heat. It's a nice place to walk around and by the end of our time in Madrid, we had started to run out of things to do, so we started to just visit gardens, plazas, and markets. After the park, we went to Museo Thyssen for two hours, which was way too long in my opinion. By then, that was our sixth art museum, so all of us except for my dad were getting tired of art museums. Therefore, I can't give you a good review of how it was.
For lunch, we ate at Cafe del Circulo de Bellas Arte, who had a price fixed menu to choose from. For my appaetizer, I ordered the Saute Artichokes with Cured Ham, which was very good. The artichoke was tender and filling, while the cured ham gave it a nice smoky flavor. they also had a too sweet balsamic vinegar reduction to dip your artichokes in. It was large enough to be an entree by itself.
For the entree, I got the Pampano Fisherman's style, which wasn't very good at all. The fish taste was overwhelming and every other bite was filled with bones. Plus, the shrimp were hard to eat and the fish was overcooked. I definitely would recommend ordering a different dish there. You also got a dessert with this, but I didn't understand the waitress' English very well, so all I heard was "chocolate" out of her long list of desserts available, so I just said chocolate and ended up getting a chocolate pudding. No picture necessary.
We then walked on to the Parque de El Retiro, which was gorgeous, but terribly hot. I ended up hiding a lot in the shade there, but they had this glass house by a pond there, which housed a whole art installation by the modern artist Nacho Creodo. The art installation was interesting, but I hid in there mostly because it was air conditioned and there were quite a few groups of cute guys there.
See, I told you, cute guys. Well, this is going to make me look creepy, but I took quite a few stalker photos of well dressed and/or cute guys that way I could try to convince my guy friends to let me redo their wardrobe. I like how guys in Europe wear colored jeans and collared tops all the time. I also like how the guy in green jeans kind of looks like a Persian Brendon Urie. Too perfect. Well hopefully, you don't find me too creepy by now. I should go.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tomatoes on Tomatoes and Used CD's

Over the summer, my brother and I really struggle to come up with things to do, so most of the time, our days revolve around food. I know that sounds lame, but eating is one of our favorite activities. The Fried Green Tomatoes at Eat Chow were very interesting. The green tomatoes were dipped in cornmeal batter, fried, and topped with an aioli of sorts plus salsa. It definitely has a Mexican flair even though it's a southern classic. 
For my entree, I ordered the Pan Seared Salmon Sandwich a la carte. It usually comes with a mixed greens salad or Caesar salad, but seeing as I don't eat most vegetables, it would've been a waste on me. I was surprised at how large the salmon steak was, but I found the bitterness from the asparagus to be overwhelming, so I took it out and then the sandwich was much better.
Just down the street is Second Spin, a used CD/DVD store. I love this place because of their large selection of every genre of music other than Gregorian monk music of course. (Please excuse my lame attempt at making you smile.) Second Spin also offers discounts and deals almost everyday, such as buy three used CD's or DVD's and get the third free.
I ended up purchasing three Killers CD's that I had not had the chance to buy yet. I've been listening to these CD's pretty much everyday since then. Since I bought two used CD's, the guy at the counter told me I would save money if I did their aforementioned deal, so I went for it. Haha, I fell for their plan, but whatever. As you can see, I grabbed another Joseph Gordon Levitt movie, 50/50, which was supposed to be funny, but it the story line was more depressing. Then my brother also chose The Dark Knight because we love the Batman series and the pencil trick in this film. Plus, how gorgeous is Christian Bale?
Afterwards, we drove down to Casey's Cupcakes to bring home a snack for the family. We got Scrumptious Cinnamon Sugar, Smokin S'Mores, Luscious Lemon, Grandma's German Chocolate, Peanut Butter Pizazz, and Caribbean Coconut. All of them were pretty tasty except Grandma's German Chocolate, but then again, chocolate cupcakes are usually pretty bad. My favorite are the lemon flavors at any given store.
Oh and since it's summer time, I feel like I have to show you as many photos of the beach as possible to prove I'm a Californian or something. The drive there takes you through many different beaches and you get a good idea of how wealthy the people of Newport Beach area are. Newport Beach houses some of the wealthiest people on the planet and most of the homes there will coast you over a million dollars including the rundown shacks. Oh, how great it is to have rich people in a town so close that way I can enjoy all of their fancy shopping centers and trendy restaurants.
Have you ever heard of Newport Beach before?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spain: Day 6 Part 2

Playing: Do You Know What I Mean?-One Night Only
Reading: To Buy or DIY? by Leandra Medine
After our visit to the Plaza Mayor, my family and I decided to check out the Museu del Jamon, which looked like a chain restaurant/market revolved around prosciutto. It was amazing to see how many hind legs they had hanging up and how the hooves were still attached to the prosciutto. I haven't seen this since my trip to Florence. Looking back, I should've eaten here at least once.
Since we were craving our own prosciutto, we stopped by Ferpal to get some hand cut prosciutto slices to snack on. It was cool to see this man cutting the slices by hand so quickly and thinly without using a machine. We ended up sitting outside, people watching, while eating all of the prosciutto we had bought. Once we finished eating, we went to the Convento de las Descalzas Reales, which was a complete rip off. For all Europeans, the admission is free, but the tour is only given in Spanish and you spend the whole time looking at art. You don't get to see how the nuns live and at least for my family, we had to pay for a tour we didn't understand.
For dinner, my brother and I shared two appetizers at Cafe de Chinitas. For our first appetizer, we got the Melon with Ham. Can you tell that we couldn't get enough prosciutto on the trip? Pretty standard dish though, just slices of prosciutto and some chunks of melon. Nothing special, but very pricey!
We also ordered the Fried Squid Andaluza Style, which was only ok. The calamari was pretty meaty, but I found the batter to be flavorless and suggest trying something else. Once again, it cost more than it should've. At least the portions were big here.
The main reason we went to Cafe de Chinitas was to catch a flamenco show before we left. It was definitely worth seeing and the show is the main reason the food is so expensive. The dancers were extremely impressive and they had a singer there that looked like Mick Jagger. (I will try to find the photo on my dad's camera for all of you.) The show lasted for about an hour and a half with many different performances, showing all types of flamenco dancing. You can probably reserve a seat through your hotel.
After the show and dinner, we walked past the Plaza Espagne, which looked beautiful at night. There were a lot of couples there and young people hanging out, so I felt like an idiot, when my brother dared me to run up a fountain's side and I agreed. How can you turn down a dare, especially one that sounds so easy? I was wearing Toms, so there was no traction on my shoes and I ended sliding right down from it. Normally, I can do it though; I promise. We ended up just walking around, but ended up back at our hotel by 12:00AM. That was about it for day six of our adventure.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

First Day Back From Spain

Playing: You Could Be Happy-Snow Patrol
Reading: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
On the first day back from my wonderful trip to Spain, I had to go to my first SAT prep class, which put me in a horrible mood because let's get real, what teenager would choose SAT prep class over sleeping in? To make up for the bad start of my day, I went down to Corona Del Mar to get my favorite sandwich from Bruegger's, the lox on a garlic onion bagel. I always get the works on it-capers, tomatoes, and red onions. My dad got my hooked on this, while we were staying at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Every morning for breakfast, I had a lox on a garlic or onion bagel at their breakfast buffet. Fun fact, they couldn't get my family two rooms next to each other like we requested, so they put us up in one of their nicest super private suites as an apology. Definitely makes my list of favorite hotels!
I walked around, shopping at all these small boutiques there and came across this lovely Thunderbird. The Thunderbird is my dream car and I've been wanting one, since I was in elementary school. I want one in pastel yellow, but this powdery blue is lovely too. Whenever I see one of these driving around, I always shout, "Thunderbird!" I did this once, when I was out with my friends, and they all stared at me...
My mum made up for forcing me to take SAT prep classes by getting me this Marc by Marc Jacobs jacket at one of the boutiques. I love the cut of it in the front with the cool cut out at the bottom and the long, thin lapels. What's weird is this is a size six and I fit into it, when I usually wear a size two or four for Marc by Marc Jacobs. I also like the subtle color changes in the weave of it.
My friend, Jackie, has been getting after me about eating healthier, since I've met her. Boy, would she be proud seeing me buy all of this, when I went to Albertson's after my trip to Corona Del Mar. I bought some yogurt to try in my smoothies that I've been having for breakfast and instead of getting my favorite Lay's crisps, I bought pop chips. Also, bought some frozen fruit for my smoothies and some yogurt drinks. The mushroom ravioli and light pesto sauce will be good for dinner. And I just tossed the Walker's shortbread in the photo to show you that I've been loving it recently.
After Corona Del Mar and Albertson's, I went to the post office to pick up all my mail from the week that I was gone. Surprisingly, I had three letters from Jessy, Sophie, and Rebecca. I replied to all of their letters and made envelopes for them. Rebecca's is the large pastel blue envelope, while Sophie's is the lavender one with scalloped edges and Killers' lyrics on it. Jessy got the only envelope with zig zag edges. The only regret I have is that I forgot to scent them. I love mailing letters to people, so I hope all three of them got their letters. Overall a very productive day until I fell asleep due to jet lag..
Oh and I forgot to tell you, I went to go see Ted the day we left for Spain with my brother, Ted. It was so cute and funny. I thought the story was very creative because we all have that one friend from when we were little that we wish could be alive. I really recommend it to all of you unless you're the type that gets easily offended by jokes that make fun of everyone and everything, especially Susan Boyle, Taylor Lautner, and Justin Bieber.
Have you seen any good movies lately?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spain: Day 6 Part 1

Playing: Heartbeat Slowing Down-The All American Rejects
Reading: How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
For our sixth day in Spain and our first full day in Madrid, my family and I kind of got tired hunting for inexpensive breakfasts, so we just went to a fast food place called Pans & Company, which was a sandwich and pastry chain. I'm not sure what the name of this is because I just pointed at it and said, "Uno por favor!" I do know that it was a cranberry muffin stuffed with vanilla yogurt though and it was surprisingly good.  The only issue I had with it was that after the first half, it tasted too sweet and too much like a vanilla cupcake.
After breakfast, we walked around and I looked at all the grafitti that was on the buildings. It's surprising how much grafitti was in Spain and how everywhere you look, there's grafitti. It's like your in the seedy parts of Los Angeles...I kind of liked this one though. It looks like me after my AP World teacher announced that we were going to have three more projects after we took the AP test. Either that or a psychotic toad. Not much of a difference to tell you the truth...
When we got to our destination, the Palacio Real, it was thirty minutes before the opening and there was still a line. I was standing behind these two girls, both over six feet, complaining to my mum about how she should've given me growth hormones. The Palacio Royal is a stunner, but it looks just like any other European palace to me. The most unique part of this palace was that we got to take a look in the royal pharmacy, but the armory was so confusing for the audio tour. I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking at. For this, you really should get in line before it opens because when we left, the line was at least two blocks long.
For lunch, it was another one of those times, where I pestered my dad into letting us eat anywhere because the heat was killing me and the walk felt like it was never going to end. We ended up at this little place called Cafeteria Otero, which I really liked because it felt like you were eating in your grandmother's kitchen. I ordered the Filete de ternera con champinion (veal with mushrooms) for only 7€, so this was my cheapest meal in Spain and probably one of the best ones I had. The veal was buttery and tender, while the mushrooms were lemony and full of garlic. Even their French fries were amazingly crisp and salty, which I stole from my family members' plates. You wouldn't have expected this, when you first stepped in because the place was empty, but I definitely recommend it to you. 
After lunch, we walked to the Plaza Mayor and here you can see my lovely parents standing right by the entrance to it. My dad's camera ran out of battery at this plaza, so he took over my camera asking me to take a photo of this and that for him. We both have camera sharing problems, so that's why we needed to get our own. We used to get into fights over it.  Anyways, this particular little entrance had all these cute places to eat and look at.
For example, look at this! How adorable are those giant gummy bears made of well, tiny gummy bears? It reminds me of the time we set fire to gummy bears in chemistry and how my chemistry teacher would always be snacking on them during lectures. Also, these long candy vines looked fun with all their bright colors, but I wasn't quite sure what they were. Are they licorice or what?
In the Plaza Mayor, there were locks attached to all of the lamps, so I'm guessing they serve the same purpose as the ones on Pont de l'Archevêché. It symbolizes couples everlasting love and then they usually toss the locks somewhere. That's what I'm guessing right now, but I could be wrong. If you know of this, let me know if I'm right! Thanks for reading!

PS Today is my last day of SAT prep class, so I'm celebrating by going to an All American Rejects concert with Rebecca!