grand canyon- a name well earned

Two things that are true about my mom are: she gets her way, and she knows best.

After I did some actual research about driving from LA to the Grand Canyon, I realized it was a good 8 hour drive. I originally just thought it would be like 4 hours from LA. Nope, a good 8 hour drive (485 miles). I tried to persuade my mom that maybe the best use of our time would be to go somewhere closer to LA. We were only in LA for a week. However, she then started to Korean mom guilt trip me. “But, I’ve never been the Grand Canyon. I may never ever have a chance to go back again since I’m getting older,” she lamented.

First of all, she’s not that old. And second, since my brother and wife moved out to L.A., I had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last time on the west coast. Well, like the obedient daughter I am, I agreed to her long time wish of seeing these grand canyons and booked hotels a week before the trip.

So 8+ hours later, in our trusty Hyundai Sonata rental car, listening to hours of Descendants of the Sun soundtrack (thanks to Spotify), driving in the hot Arizona skies, we made it to the promise land. Our entire 3 day roadtrip trip looked like this: LA-Vegas (1 night)-Hoover Dam- Grand Canyon Sky Walk- Grand Canyon National Park(1 night)- Antelope Canyon-Horseshoe bend-Utah-LA.

It was utterly amazing. I’ve never seen anything in my life like this before. It definitely lived up to it’s name. You can’t help but feel in continual awe as you go from one view place to another. From people hiking in the trails, to wildlife along the trails, and just stopping to take incredible photos from all angles. We only had 2 days there, but I can’t wait to go back. I would love to hike some of the trails in the canyons and camp overnight the next time I come back.

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hong kong- hills, charm, and grit

Hong Kong is definitely one of my favorite cities in Asia. I always look forward to visiting this city full of surprises, charm, good food, and hills. It’s even more fun when you have good friends that live there (#jandjinhk). Hong Kong definitely has a good mix of urban grittiness and nature throughout.

We had a great time taking the ferry our to Lamma Island for an easy hike and stunning views. I also loved exploring Stanely with our guide Janice (next time we will do twin peaks). If you are in need of a workout, just walk around Hong Kong island. There are so many hilly streets and areas, with a lot to see on each street corner, we were definitely burning off all the food we ate! Here are some photos from Lamma Island, Stanley,and Hong Kong Island taken by my iphone 5s.

Stay tuned for more on our food adventures in HK…

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exploring singapore’s coney island

One of the things on my to do list for my vacation was to visit the newly opened Coney Island Park here in Singapore.  Unsurprisingly, this Coney Island bears very little resemblance to the famous Coney Island amusement park and beach in Brooklyn, New York. It was actually the original intent of this island when bought by an Indian businessman in the 1950s to be an amusement park like the one in NY(according to this blog post).

I quickly found out that Coney Island park is an oasis located in the far north eastern part of Singapore, where most don’t travel to unless they live there.  I admit it was my first time in punggol! Getting there wasn’t too difficult, as we took the purple line to punggol and then bus 84 to Punggol point/Punggol settlement. It was much closer than I imagined. The island has a few paths, but the whole length of the main walk of Coney Island is about 2.4km from one end to the other. Luckily we went during a weekday morning, so it was quiet, peaceful, and serene, which was much needed.  Despite not finding the cow (there’s one cow that lives on Coney Island, which you shouldn’t disturb if you encounter), we enjoyed the peaceful nature walk and took a lot of photos along the way. There are bikes available to rent in Punggol if you prefer to explore the island that way.

Coney Island park is definitely worth visiting at least once, and it can only take up a few hours to explore most of the island.  Make sure to catch the Punggol waterways at the end of the trip, which connects easily to Coney Island. Here are some of the photos from our explorations. I like the  few shots of me taking photos and what I was taking a photo of! Thanks to James for those unexpected candid photos! coneyisland-0907coneyisland-091012378104_10153743148403895_830121547605935895_o10259174_10153743146573895_5572487902331253054_oconeyisland-09211933356_10153743147663895_758122576763176798_oconeyisland-0933coneyisland-0923coneyisland-0926coneyisland-0925 coneyisland-0942coneyisland-0938coneyisland-0936

vacation means…

Vacation means sleeping in, hanging out with friends and their beautiful babies, taking photos, eating good food, reading, and blogging. I’m hoping to catch up on many overdue blog posts in these next few weeks while traveling and celebrating the holidays. Can you believe that 2015 is almost over? It’s definitely time to reflect on this year and make new year resolutions…which might include blogging more frequently.

Here are some photos from hanging out with Aimee and her beautiful family! 🙂 oscarmaggie-0832oscarmaggie-0861oscarmaggie-0883oscarmaggie-0845

exploring the streets of penang

On day 2 of our Penang trip, we explored the streets of Georgetown. This cute area in Penang is full of unexpected street art. I thought it would be a few pieces of art, but I was pleasantly surprised by the plethora of art all around. It was like going on a scavenger hunt. I’m so glad that we found the Bruce Lee street art. What you don’t see in my Bruce Lee photo is that afterwards I completely fell onto the sand pile I was jumping from. A special thanks to all the photographers, photography directors, and models from our street art exploration adventure. 🙂

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adventures in the empire state

This summer in New York, I was able to do a few firsts, like riding the Staten Island Ferry and going to the Top of the Rock. I didn’t want to wait in line for the actual ferry to Liberty Island and do the whole touristy thing, so we decided to take the Staten Island Ferry, which happens to be free. It was definitely full of tourists doing the same exact thing as us, so try to get in front of the line to board and get a good spot on the upper levels outside! The ferry runs frequently and you can get there from the South Ferry station. The views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline were pretty good!  Now I can say that I’ve actually been to Staten Island.

I was playing tour guide for my cousin’s daughter that was visiting NYC for the first time. So instead of going to the top of the Empire State building, I decided to take her to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. The views from the top were stunning. I think it might be my favorite view of NYC. I love that you can see the Empire State Building along with Central Park. I would highly recommend it! The food pics below are from Maison Kayser near the flatiron district, another yummy place for food and drinks. It’s always so hard leaving NYC…

 

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mokbar @ nyc

This summer, I had the chance to check out this new and delicious place called Mokbar located in Chelsea market. My friend recommended this place,and I’m glad she did. This is a new Korean-Japanese fusion ramen place, opened by a Korean-American, Esther Choi. They don’t have too many tables, so be prepared to wait if you have a bigger group.

We tried a whole bunch of different dishes. Their ho-cakes were interesting, as they put pork in them, making them taste more like a pa-jeon/pancakes then the usually sweet ho-dduk. I enjoyed their disco fries, because kimchi, cheese, and fries are some of my favorite foods, especially when they are combined! Their tteokboki had bacon and poached egg which was a unique twist on this classic korean dish. I ordered the kimchi ramen as my main dish, and enjoyed it! I would definitely recommend this place. Next time, I want to try out los tacos, which the taco place located next door!

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emily & victor {june 7.2014}

The recent trend these past few years has been to rush back to NY to be part of a wedding right after my school year ended. This year, I was so blessed to be able to make it back in time for Emily’s wedding.  I landed in NY on a Friday afternoon and had enough time to drop my bags off at home and shower (much needed after 24 hours of traveling) to make it to the rehearsal dinner. The next morning, I was up early in the morning to make it to the church to get our make-up and hair done!

Emily and co did a fabulous job of transforming our church gymnasium with their creative diy touches for the reception. All the meticulous details from the lemonade drinks stand outside, cute and practical fan like programs, lantern centerpieces, to the pinterest favorite- diy tassels, created a beautiful backdrop, for the real story. The story of a lifelong commitment, of God intervening and bringing two people together, and of a love that grows stronger in time.

For me, weddings are about those moments. I remember when the church doors opened, and the stunning bride, Emily walked down with her arm in her father’s. I remember  the groom, Victor was choked up and Emily had to dab at his tears. I remember the pastor trying to hold back his emotions. I remember the joy that exuded from the bride and groom as they face the audience as husband and wife for the first time. Thank you Emily and Victor for allowing me to be part of your beautiful wedding story!

Here are a few shots on my DLSR camera before the wedding. beach_jake-0476beach_jake-0463beach_jake-0465beach_jake-0468 beach_jake-0469beach_jake-0470 beach_jake-0472

Here are some photos, taken by my iphone 5s! IMG_0155IMG_0102 IMG_0131 IMG_0116 IMG_0127IMG_0179

a paris icon: the eiffel tower

When one thinks of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is one of the first things that most people think of. It’s an incredible icon of Paris. There were abundant reminders of this beautiful iron structure all over Paris. I must admit, I probably had close to 100 pictures with the Eiffel Tower in it.

One of the memorable parts of this Paris trip was actually going inside the Eiffel Tower to the upper levels. We must have waited for over an hour, and it was a chilly night, but definitely worth waiting for the elevator. Even though we didn’t go all the way to the tippy top (someone had a fear of heights, I won’t name names), it was well worth it. Now, I can say, I’ve been inside the Eiffel Tower. On our way down, we took the stairs, and I felt so bad for the people that were walking UP the tower! At one point, I started to encourage the people climbing up. I would not recommend walking up the stairs, especially on a cold day.

The last night in Paris, we of course went back to the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the lights while eating Pierre Herme macarons. I didn’t eat them all, and brought the remaining ones back with me to Singapore! I think the next country in Europe I plan on visiting is Spain! I just found out that one of my friends will be studying abroad there. Anyone interested?! 🙂

Stay tuned for more posts on my summer in ny!  

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