Thursday, February 21, 2013

3D2Ns in Los Angeles

Well, technically it's 1.5 days and 2 nights in Los Angeles.

Over the President's Day long weekend we decided to do a recce trip to LA for the siblings' trip in March. Because we had been 'duped' by the GPS before, we took the safer but longer route of US101 all the way. We started at 9am in the morning, took a two-hour pitshop cum shopping spree at Gilroy, then continued on. There was heavy traffic as we neared LA and by the time we reached Miyako Hotel (small but convenient) in Little Tokyo, it was past six.

LA seems like a much larger city compared to SFO, and much more alive too. It reminds us of Asia because it appears to be bursting with people and activities all the time. We woke up to bright sunshine the next day and spent more than a morning's time walking around Santa Monica, and then in the late afternoon we headed to Hollywood Boulevard. There was a photo shoot going on at Hollywood/Vine St Station and then at Hollywood/Highland there were loads of hotdog vendors, movie characters, and hordes of people watching street performances. The atmosphere was really good!

So much so that when we crossed two blocks over to another tourist attraction, Sunset Boulevard, we were a tad disappointed that there was nothing much to see there. Hahaha.

The next morning, after having dim sum breakfast at Chinatown, we drove over to the Griffith Observatory in hope of taking a photo with the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, it was closed on Mondays and the road was blocked!

So we went on our way home, stopping at Gilroy (again!)

A friend was a little horrified that we drove all the way to LA, only to stop for two short nights. But then again, it's just something that's fun to do... a little touristy trip out of town.

Will be looking forward to all the other siblings' trips in March and April!

Santa Monica beach

At the Pier

The weather is much better here compared to the Bay area!

At Hollywood Boulevard

Street performance

A news crew reporting on the impending Oscars?

Models lining up for their photo shoot

Immediate projection onto the hotel facade... cool!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cheap cheap

I really love shopping in US, even if it's the simplest stuff. Today I walked into the nearby Staples to buy a notebook. Martha Stewart's office collection was having a clearance sale and I got my notebook, a file and a stack of cutely-shaped post-its all for $4. Saved more than $15!

Whole Foods and other grocers were also selling lovely flowers for less than $20 for Valentine's Day. No jacked up prices. No wonder guys can afford to be romantic here! Even grandpas were buying pretty bouquets for their loved one!

Costco sells stuff at really cheap prices (thanks to Victor and Jo for bringing me in!) I bought a 6-piece 400 thread count Egyptian cotton for less than $40. Back at home I spent $300 for similar quality. Say what?!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I was inspired to find new ways to keep fit. The jogging and muscle toning/stretching exercises were getting old and as a result, the daily push-ups and crunches had given way to half hearted leg lifts while we watched Warehouse 13 on Panda's MacBook.

In comes Basket, our new friend, freshly purchased from Sports Authority. I had an sudden motivation to shoot hoops cos I figured that it would help tone up the arms and solidify those bye-bye fats. Plus, I could do it while Panda is at work vs. playing tennis at night when it's freezing.

Coincidentally, Panda's boss brought him to watch the NBA games last night. He bought two Golden Gate Warriors jackets in support of the home team. I know nuts about NBA but still it's cool to join in the fun!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snip snip and away!

Some couples bond over food; some bond over shared interests. Us? We bond over haircut experience.

Panda wanted to cut his hair again. This time, he wanted to shave his head. I was horrified cos I thought his head would be cold. Or worse, round.

We spent 30 mins in the bathroom discussing which blade to use on which part of his hair. It wasn't as easy as it looked. We had to use #7 on top, #5 behind, #6 in the middle and #4 at the side, with some snipping around the ears with scissors. Our joint efforts yield some results. And fortunately, the many hours of gyming at lunch did him good. He looked rather fresh after his new hair cut.

After completing his hairdo, I got inspired to cut my hair too. Panda didn't have the courage to cut my hair, so I made do with shorter bangs.

How do we look?

Sunday, February 10, 2013


So I was wrong about not having pineapple tarts this Chinese New Year. Jo and Victor joined the Singaporeans United team at FC by landing here last week and lo and behold, they brought us pineapple tarts!! Yay!!

After much deliberation and loads of support from Panda, I got up my courage to invite them over for reunion dinner. I am extremely scared of cooking for other people because I am not that confident of my culinary skills yet - cooking for self and family seems safer cos they can always cook instant noodles if your food sucks. Haha. Turns out, the evening was really fun, no one died of food poisoning, and we were able to clear most of the dishes (hooray!) My motto now is: when you have guests, stick to the simple dishes and don't try to be ambitious!!

Our 初一 is pretty simple, with me sleeping past noon again and a hungry Panda pulling me out of bed to make breakfast. We had already 拜年 with our families in Hong Kong and Singapore the night before. Mom had brought over our red packets in advance during her visit, so the first thing we did at the breakfast table was to distribute them. I also had a red packet from Panda (hooray x3!) so am going to use that to shop for wardrobe essentials soon!

Chinese New Year used to be my least favorite festival cos I dislike all the dong-dong-dong-chang songs and red lanterns and all. Now that I am away from home, hearing all the cheesy CNY songs at the nearby Asian supermarket actually makes me smile. Talk about seeing/hearing things from a different perspective, man. Hahaha.

Black pepper prawns, scallops, lettuce, chicken, roast potatoes

Our first home cooked dinner guests

Wine makes us (actually me) happy!

My Ang Pao from Panda. Yay! :D

A dash of CNY at home

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Laziness strikes!

Oops. I know I should be writing all about the fun we had while dad and mom were here. The ski trip at Lake Tahoe, winery visits at Napa Valley, day trip to Monterey... But laziness got the better of me and I just let time zoom by like that!

Guess I felt so pampered with home cooked food and all the fun times and shopping that my sit-back-and-relax mode just kicked in and I literally shut down. Haha.

After Dad and Mom went back (sad!) we got busy with the start of the Stanford course where readings and homework have to be done. And of course, Warehouse 13 got us totally glued to the laptop - it has got to be one of the best sci-fi TV series around. Right now, that's all we do. We watch all the episodes from dinner time till bedtime.

So here's an update on our life here. Chinese New Year is coming next week but we are gonna have a quiet one for once. No pineapple tarts or bah kwa!

Coldness redefined

To the snow-packed slopes and beyond!

Mom learning how to make a 'pizza'

Up the slope we go

Clearing snow and ice from the windscreen

Lake Tahoe took our breathe away

Snowy cliffs are equally pretty!

Waiting for home cooked food

At Katy's Place, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Feel the sun, feel the wind, feel the ocean at 17-miles, Monterey!

Mom the squirrel befriender

Dad doing his dance

Beautiful skies at 17 miles

Wine Way Inn, Calistoga, Napa

Inside the cosy B&B

Wine tasting at Sterling Vineyard

A fantastic seafood lunch at Crab House, Fisherman's Wharf on the last day

Finally saying bye bye to Dad and Mom :(