well, after our 15+ hr bus ride we finally made it to rome. my first thoughts while we were driving into rome were that it (sadly) reminded me of peru (i hated peru) and that it was very dirty. it turned out to be the dirtiest place we went to on that trip. luckily, we booked our hotel at a fancy sheraton hotel (another travelzoo deal!) which turned out to be the nicest place we stayed at. the hotel is located on the outskirts of rome but they provided a free bus into and back from town all throughout the day so that was really nice and convenient. because to be honest, the subways in rome were the dirtiest! there is graffiti all over the city and even on the subway

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it is kind of sad that such a historical place has really been ruined by a lot of graffiti. luckily, there are not any on the major tourist sights! other than the dirtiness of it all (and it wasn’t that dirty…just not like the rest of europe that we had been to) rome is a pretty magical place. when you are there you can’t help but imagine yourself back in time and it feels very surreal.

after we got settled into our hotel, it was already evening by then, we headed into town to grab dinner and to walk around exploring. the things i liked best about italy as a whole, were that there are a lot of cool alleyways (that are not scary to walk through like the US) and all of the outdoor dining they have. it makes for such a lively atmosphere as you’re walking through town. in rome, there were tons of piazzas like this one

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around these squares are shops and restaurants and just tons of people milling around. our random walk happened to lead us to the pantheon

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before you know it, it was super late and time for bed. the next morning we headed to vatican city. fyi when you go there they have a strict dress code. in particular, girls must have their shoulders covered and their pants/dress must reach their knees!

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unfortunately, no sighting of the pope

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we visited st peter’s basilica and the vatican museum. both were quite impressive even though i am not religious or catholic.

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inside the vatican museum they have tons of different kinds of art

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everyone called this one the bill clinton statue. totally looks like him doesn’t it? 🙂

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boyrobot especially enjoyed the rooms that had all of the walls painted by raphael

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the coolest part was of course the sistine chapel but no pictures were allowed in there and i wasn’t daring enough to sneak one. i totally should have though!

after vatican city, we went back to rome to wander through more piazzas

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and this time we got to go inside of the pantheon

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did you know there is a hole in the middle of the pantheon ceiling? at first we were arguing if there was a hole or if there was a glass cover. turns out it’s a hole. and there are these holes in the ground to drain the water.

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we then wandered over to the famous trevi fountain. it was super crowded but we managed to find some seats and just chill there people watching

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and we ended our night at the spanish steps

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the next day was spent exploring the coliseum and the roman forums!

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inside of the coliseum

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this is the arch of constantine which is right next to the coliseum

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the following is some REALLY old stuff… 🙂

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rome inspired some deep thoughts and grand ideas

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boo…wish those women had gotten out of the picture!

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overall, rome was way better than peru. and like every city that we went to, i felt like i needed 1 more day to fully appreciate everything. but we were scheduled to head to florence the next day. i still can’t believe i got to do and see all of this last month!!!

ps. i apologize for any grammatical errors or misspellings. it’s super late and i’m realllllllly tired!

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i last left you off as we boarded the chunnel from london to paris. in case you didn’t know, the chunnel is a train tunnel that runs under the english channel. of course, as you’re riding the train you don’t know when you’re actually underwater since it’s pitch black. wouldn’t it be cool to have a few windows here and there? still cool though.

when we arrived in paris, we immediately went to our apt we had booked. i used a website called waytostay to get an amazing deal on an apt for four. much cheaper than booking a hotel! the owner of the apt we rented was super nice and gave us tips on good eats around the area. i highly recommend getting an apt if you stay in paris.

after grabbing a crepe and panini (they are everywhere!), we immediately jumped on the metro to begin exploring paris. my first impression of paris was that i liked it, but london was cooler. the people seemed a little snootier, it was dirtier and everything just seemed like a poor version of london. except for the food but that is for another post!

we hit up all of the major touristy spots like notre dame

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then we walked to the lesser known pantheon of paris

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as dusk began to settle, we wandered over to sacre coeur which is a really cool place where tons of ppl hang out. there is also live music and the atmosphere is just so fun. it is located at the summit of montmarte which is the highest point in the city so the view is just stunning. i would show pics of the view but we were in it and we had just come from dinner where we had lots of wine so we are an unflattering shade of red in all of the pics! 🙂

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the next day we visited the louvre.

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there were lots of naked statues. fun.

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i think this might be my favorite picture from the trip

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and this picture is so unbelievably dorky that it makes me laugh

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then we walked along the seine on our way to the eiffel tower

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first glimpse of the eiffel tower!

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and closer

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many more pics of the eiffel tower coming up…

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at night

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the light show

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and finally the view from the eiffel tower

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the arc de triomphe – for some reason i really liked this. i regret not buying a mini arc de triomphe from those souvenir shops >:(

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walking along champs elysees with all of the fancy stores that we can’t afford 😛

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we took a break to watch the craziest traffic jam we saw in europe

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at night, minh and i went back to the louvre to check it out all lit up. there were ppl making out all over the place! i guess paris is the most romantic city in the world 😛

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paris did not have the cool phonebooths like london, but they did have the paid bathrooms!

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paris consisted mostly of my food adventures so i will definitely have more to say on paris in that post. i am going to leave you with a picture at the train station where we were supposed to be booked for a sleeper train to rome

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unfortunately, france went on strike that day so they booked us on a BUS! and not one of those nice, fancy buses. it was one of those really small, cramped buses where we couldn’t even recline the seats. and we were on that bus for 15+ hrs!!! well i am just happy we made it to rome in one piece with no major problems. more on rome in my next post!

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i feel the need to blog about my europe trip just because i want to one day read back on this and remember it. it already feels like a really long time ago so i hope i remember all of the details! Prepare for some long-ish posts!

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europe started out in london. it turned out to be my favorite city out of the whole trip and definitely one of my favorite cities of all time. this surprised me since i consider food such a big part of how much i like a city and i thought london had very mediocre food. aside from the fish and chips i had which were amazing. (btw, i am going to have a whole separate post on all of the food i ate while in europe. can’t wait!)

we had such amazing luck with weather so i did not see much of the gloom that london is famous for so maybe my view of it is skewed. also, since this was the first place we went, i was all fresh and ready to explore a new city which also might have contributed to my excitement.

other impressions:
london is very stylish. everyone there is super well dressed. no american looking slobs here! i also hereby declare the british accent as my favorite accent of all time. I LOVE IT. the people we encountered in london were very nice and friendly. i felt comfortable there since i understood the language and the city was very clean. i could definitely see myself living there. if only i had known this when i was younger. my company has a station in london that they let engineers go work at for 2 yrs and they pay for everything – food/lodging. i hear it’s pretty easy to get into and boyrobot and i actually got asked to go but we were too busy with our current projects to take it up. plus, i really like my project so it was hard to think of leaving it. oh well. 🙁

i loved the buildings and streets of london. everything has so much history and even though things are old, it doesn’t look run down. it looks beautiful and timeless! the cars are super cute and small looking. the underground was fun to ride on and very convenient. whenever i visit places with a great metro system i can’t help but be jealous. anyways, i don’t really remember anything bad about london. it was a great way to start out the trip and helped us ease into the european culture. now onto the pictures! these are just a handful. i had 200+ pictures from london alone!

i had read that one of the first things you should do in london is to sign up for the hop on hop off tour. this is a great way for you to see the city while you are getting used to the time change. and boy were we jetlagged. on the first night, most of us were riding the bus asleep! haha

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there are 2 major double decker tour bus companies but make sure you go with the original london sightseeing tour, they run for longer hours and this is helpful since the passes work for 24 hrs. they hit up all of the major spots and it is a great way to get you oriented in the city. be sure to sit on the top for the excellent views! the tour guides are hit or miss. if you get one that is boring, just jump onto a different bus. we encountered some excellent guides that were very entertaining and offered interesting facts about the history of london.

we definitely had to hit up trafalgar square and buckingham palace. we had heard the changing of the guards was overrated so we did not stay to watch that. i am glad because there is so much more to see and do in london!

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the guards are pretty cool though. just like those toy soldiers!
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i forget the name of this street but it was one of the streets with a bunch of broadway shows. i didn’t realize musicals were so big in london. it seemed like they had every musical i’d ever heard of playing somewhere. we almost went and watched the lion king but we opted to go shopping on bond street instead. if only we had 1 more day we could have fit it all in!

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here is london’s famous ferris wheel, the london eye. i love ferris wheels but we decided not to go on this. it’s pretty cool looking but very pricy. it moves very slowly too and is not a typical ferris wheel. the “cars” are actually like rooms that you stand in. i think it takes something like half an hour to make one revolution and basically offers a nice view of london.

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my friend, mike, and i bought postcards to send back home and there was a cute london mailbox right outside of our hotel, the millenium mayfair. our hotel was through a travelzoo hot deal and was pretty nice. it was a great location…right next to hyde park and bond street!

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one of our london days was reserved for a mini day trip to stonehenge, bath, and the cotswold. boyrobot being the adventurous person he is decided it would be cool to rent a car for the day. yup, now he can say he has driven on the other side of the road!

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we ended up spending 2 hrs trying to get out of london proper because we made one wrong turn. boy was it an adventure!

our first destination was stonehenge. many people told us it was a tourist trap. (it is.) but we actually really enjoyed it! i think it was such a beautiful day and we were just having a lot of fun taking pictures. i never thought i would think a pile of rocks was so interesting haha.

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then we headed to bath which is this tiny, cute town. doesn’t this look fake?

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and this little park where we posed to spell out L O V E. i love my dorky friends!

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the main attraction in bath are the roman baths. unfortunately, we arrived JUST as they were closing. boyrobot was heartbroken. one day we’ll come back!!!

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we walked to the royal crescent, another major bath attraction, and chilled in the park for a bit. it was such a beautiful park and a beautiful day!

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after that, we attempted to head to the cotswold. unfortunately, we never found it. note to self: get a gps next time! again, i will have to come back here with boyrobot so we can find the cotswold!!

we then headed home and prepared for our next destination: paris!

here is a picture at the train station where we are going to take the chunnel to paris. this picture will probably only be funny to myself and my travelmates but it makes me laugh when i see it! it’s one of those “you had to be there”. a good trip is marked with a lot of inside jokes and we had plenty of those!!

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i love the location of our house. our walkability score is very high and all of the roads have bike lanes. now that summer is here i’ve been walking or riding my bike all around town.

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my blue cruiser looks so skinny here!

the other day i rode my bike to a new sno cone place that opened up down the street that was voted the best dessert in orange county. i foresee myself coming here a lot this summer.

i asked them what their most popular flavor was: tropical treat

Tropical Treat

orange and pineapple ice with fresh strawberries and ice cream. we also added condensed milk because we’re asian like that. and yes, it was as good as it looks and sounds.

their menu sounds amazing though: red velvet, reese’s buttercup, green tea & raspberries, peanut butter & jelly…i’m all about those weird and quirky flavors

service is a little slow but they grind that ice on the spot. besides, they have this fun wall hook game that you can play while you wait.

sno on the go
6840 Edinger Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

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dinner at the vintage steakhouse

i like the theme/decor of the place…it’s like you are eating inside of a train! and it’s right next to the amtrak so you’ll randomly see the train flying by sometimes just a few feet outside your window

outside, they had a mini garden growing their own herbs. not sure which one this is?

inside, they had interesting hanging artwork that you could purchase. one of these days i’ll be rich enough to own real art to hang on my walls

time to order

while we wait, we munch on fresh baked bread and butter

unfortunately, i wasn’t too impressed with their bread….and i usually love fresh bread

i decided on the rack of lamb

again, i was disappointed. i’m not too big a fan when restaurants overpower their meats with a sauce so that i can barely taste the meat. i was also disappointed with their sweet potato fries….how do you mess that up?? but they tasted like they had been sitting out and a quarter of them were drenched in the lamb sauce deeming them unedible. the best thing on this plate was the creamed corn. but so small! boo.

on the other hand, boyrobot ordered the 16oz ribeye with the twice baked potato (after the waiter kept pushing it on us). but now i see why, both were delish. the ribeye was soooo tender and wonderfully marbled. one of the best steaks i’ve had in a restaurant actually. i realize now, always get the house specials. rarely will you be disappointed.

i also realized at this point that i could never be a food photographer. when i get my food….i want it in my tummy! i don’t really want to be futzing around with ISO and aperture settings while my food gets cold. i don’t know how those food bloggers do it.

which is why i also don’t have a picture of our dessert, white chocolate mousse with blackberries. sounds yummy right? well i’m asian and i don’t like my desserts too sweet. which this surely was. should’ve went with the peanut butter creme brulee!

despite the so-so food, it was a fun night. boyrobot always makes me laugh and we dreamt up some money making schemes that will never see the day of light but are fun to think about. love these times.

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100 favorite dishes

01 Jun 2010

i love food. but i’ve been in a rut. we keep eating at our favorite places over and over again. not that i’m complaining since our staples are cheap and yummy. but it’s time to get to know our ‘hood (orange county) a little better. i present to you:

oc weekly’s 100 favorite dishes

we’ll be going down the list, one by one, once a week. i think i will declare sundays as our food adventure day. tell us if you are down to join us! we are starting with #100: jerk carnitas torta at the crosby

yum.

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just got back from using the 2nd day of our disney 2-day hopper passes that we scored for volunteering (best deal ever!). my feet are so tired but it was such a blast. these past 2 times visiting disney made me realize how much i love the place. it really is the happiest place on earth! too bad it’s so expensive for an annual pass.

part of the fun is of course the company. it was my first time going with boyrobot…who hadn’t been to disney for 10 yrs before this:

this picture was taken right before we slid on the ferris wheel…boyrobot was soooo scared!! haha. it’s so fun going on scary rides with him. but seriously, this ferris wheel is the best ever:


notice some of the cars moving along the loops in the middle? ferris wheels are already scary if you’re scared of heights, this one makes you feel like you are going to fly off as you’re going around.

we also went with our disney partners in crime, X and B:

B used to have an annual pass. let me tell you, it’s really great going with a seasoned disney goer. they know all the tricks and know where the rides are so you don’t need to consult the map every 5 mins! the coolest trick we learned was that you can use your fast pass after the time on the ticket. so we would get our fast passes as soon as we could and then go on the rides at our leisure.

highlights of california adventure:
1. toy story – omg, best game/ride ever!! we had so much fun on this we had to ride it twice. it’s so much better than buzz lightyear in disneyland
2. tower of terror – i don’t know why but i let my friends convince me to go on this. i was never so scared in my life. i was literally hanging onto my friend sitting next to me, with my head buried in her lap, and every chance i would get i would hit her for making me go on this ride lol. the whole time i had no idea if we were going up or down. it was so disorienting!! what a ride. i am glad i went on it….but i don’t know if i would ever go on it again. hehe.
3. white cheddar soup in a bread bowl – we went during the food and wine festival so we tried some of the small bites. this soup was in a mini bread bowl….so cute!! but the soup was THE BEST! it tasted like fondue cheese with a hint of alcohol…where can i buy this???
4. frozen strawberry lemonade – love this classic treat…especially on a beautiful day like we had that day!

5. smoke roasted turkey leg – we ended the day with a big ol’ turkey leg. we were really hungry so this tasted like the best thing ever. no pictures because we were too busy scarfing it down. but it was huge!
6. aladdin show – i had to catch this show before it ends in august. the set was really amazing….loved the “elephant” and flying carpet. and the genie in the show was hilarious. he adlibbed a lot of his jokes and he was sooooo funny! a lot of people gave him a standing ovation. i was not expecting to enjoy this show as much as i did! highly recommend!

i was sad as we were walking back knowing that i wouldn’t be back for awhile. hopefully disney throws something cool next year for free tickets again!

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today we used our free voucher from “volunteering” to go to disneyland!!!

the question of the day was – which is better…it’s a small world or mr. toad’s wild ride?


mr toad’s of course!!!!

other rides we went on:
space mountain (2x)
thunder mountain
peter pan
jungle cruise (or the comedy cruise as boyrobot lilkes to call it)
indiana jones (still so fun after all of these years!)
captain EO
innoventions
pirates of the caribbean
haunted house
star tours

highlights of the day:
discovering the all you can eat BBQ for $20…it was pretty good! and we were full for the whole day!
making boyrobot go into the tiki room…can you believe he’s never been in there? we all took a nice nap in there 😉
the short lines…it was so nice not having to wait on any of the rides

it was such a fun day with great friends. i can’t wait to go back to california adventure!

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one of my favorite bands came together for a reunion show tonight at the bamboozle festival

something corporate:

i forgot how much i love this band. listening to soco always brings back memories for me. konstantine is one of the songs i put on boyrobot’s first mix cd when we started dating. he loves that song. he also had a quote from it engraved on an ipod he gave me (“this is to a girl who got into my head“). sometimes i forget how much music is/was a part of my life but a good concert always reminds me.

Something Corporate Setlist Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA, USA, Bamboozle Festival 2010

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best sunday ever

14 Mar 2010

recipe for a perfect sunday:

my hiking shoes

a beautiful, bright day

streams to cross

and of course

the best part? this hike was all part of the disney give a day get a day program. (yes, we were one of the last ones to get it!!) so i had a perfect sunday AND I got a free disney ticket out of it. seriously….

best. sunday. ever.

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