Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Break in Napa

While our counterparts were busy getting triz-ashed in Cancun, Krissy and I spent our final college spring break living up a retired couple's lifestyle. We kicked off Spring Break 2007 with a Christina Aguilera concert (opening acts: Danity Kane and the Pussycat Dolls, not bad) -- which my parents and their friends also went to (random). We then brunched at the country club (again, with my parents and their friends -- what is wrong with us, really?) and drove to Napa, where we checked ourselves in at the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. That was sort of like what I imagine rehab to be like: lounging by the pool, drinking cucumber-infused water, and using the sauna and steam room. After an early dinner, we would retire to the hotel room, enjoy a glass of wine, and be asleep by midnight. After we left Napa, we spent time in my hometown getting foot massages and eating In-N-Out, one of my main food groups when I'm in California.

It was awesome.

At the Christina concert. I'm a little bitter that we had "meh" seats while the parentals and friends were down on the floor level. I mean, I really don't think my dad would be able to recognize Christina Aguilera if she walked up to him and smacked him in the face. But it's cool; I'm over it...

Itty-bitty Christina:

A very poorly-executed self-time shot:


Toto, I Think We're in Kansas

In May 2008, Lee and I went to Topeka, Kansas -- a first for both of us. We were there for Dylan and Priya's wedding, which was awesome and a lot of fun. The ceremony was half Hindu and half Jewish, and it was really great to see such a cool mix of cultures and customs. Priya looked absolutely gorgeous and had the most beautiful saris for the ceremony and reception. Mazel tov!

The newly-weds... so adorable!

Former roomies and partners in crime. That is, if by crime I mean the following: 24, football, and eating/drinking at Schultzy's in Seattle.

Enjoying the reception. You can't see Lee's yarmulke because his hair is huge here.

While Dylan and Priya were doing their last-minute preparations and counting down the minutes to their nuptials, Lee and I drove around Topeka and ended up at the zoo. Say what you will about the midwest being boring or whatever, but the zoo was actually pretty cool. In addition to the animals pictured below, there were lions, (no) tigers, and bears -- oh my!

The aviary/"tropical rainforest" was extremely hot and humid, and it smelled disgusting. Don't let the smile deceive you.

We couldn't really figure out what was going on with the zebra on the ground.
Dead? Playing dead? Sleeping?

Adorable otters nuzzling each other:

Can you find the giraffe?

Santa (Barbara) Baby

After celebrating Christmas 2007 with our folks, Lee and I took off for a mini road trip to Santa Barbara -- home to Sean and Gus of Psych -- for a few days. On our LA road trip, we really only stopped in SB for burgers. This time, we were able to explore the adorable downtown area (including visits to all of the Blue Bee stores!), meet up with Justin, and go visit the cute candy shops and trinket stores on the boardwalk. It was a nice, relaxing few days before I had to head back to work!

For anyone who is planning on visiting Santa Barbara, you must heed this advice: go to Tupelo Junction Cafe. Order the fried chicken salad with cornbread, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and herb buttermilk dressing. It might change your life.

We were pretty tired when we arrived at our hotel, so we decided to be lazy and order room service. I was planning on just getting a salad or something, but Lee, resident hotel expert (in his humble opinion), shot that down and explained that a salad wasn't the proper way to order room service. So we did it the "real" way and went a little nuts -- but we were able to finish almost everything and had some cold pizza left over for breakfast!

Lee with our ridiculous feast:

The weather was pretty cold out. We took a walk on the beach across the street from the hotel, but were bundled up in our coats!

I think both of us kept insisting to ourselves that we were in (kind of) southern California, so it must be warm enough to swim. We took a frigid dip in the pool, then immediately made a dash for the warm jacuzzi.

We had dinner with Justin and his friends at the Palace Grill -- it's pretty sweet to be a tourist in a town where your good friend works in the hospitality business! Our friends at the Four Seasons were able to get us great reservations -- thanks, guys!

I'm not really sure what's going on here... Lee looks amused.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

3 Days in Hong Kong

For Christmas 2006, my family took a 3-day trip to Hong Kong. Well, it was supposed to be the whole family -- and then my poor dad got appendicitis the week before, so he had to stay home to recover. He insisted that my mom, my sister, and I go anyway -- I guess this was his way of saying that he'd rather recuperate from appendicitis alone that have three females all up in his business. We met two of my cousins in Hong Kong -- Florence had spent the fall semester studying in HK, and Mimi joined us from L.A. for the ride. It was quite the whirlwind trip, considering that a flight there basically takes up a whole day! We stayed at the beautiful Shangri-La hotel, did a LOT of shopping, ate some amazingly delicious food, went sight-seeing, and I even got to hang out with Kameron and her friends!

I'd love to go back to Hong Kong, perhaps sometime when I have more than three days to spend there. Trip highlights: just taking in the experience with people I love and realizing that my cramped quarters in New York really aren't so bad. Trip lowlight: choking on a vitamin and practically passing out in the middle of a dim sum joint. Very public humiliation.

Mama, Catherine, Mimi, and me on the top of the mountain:

The girl cousins of my mom's side of the family:

Mango shaved ice with Kameron and Nikki:

We paid a visit to Santa in a mall in Times Square:

Bird's-eye view of Hong Kong:

View from the Kowloon side:

Demonstrating my best Bruce Lee form:

A nighttime view of the city from the rotating restaurant where Uncle Corey took us on our last night:

My third mango shaved ice in three days. Yum!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

California Dreamin'

The first trip that Lee and I took together was a road trip down the California coast during the summer of 2006. We started with a picnic in Monterey, then made our way down Highway 1. We stopped for a dinner of burgers at The Habit in Santa Barbara (pretty delicious, but it's no In-N-Out!) and got to Los Angeles after nightfall.

As much as I hate on L.A., I have to say that we enjoyed ourselves -- a lot. During our SoCal adventure, we went to the Santa Monica boardwalk, the Getty, the Century City Mall (random, I know), spent some time on Rodeo Drive, shared brownies and wine with Ana on her rooftop, went for dinner and drinks at the Bonaventure, visited the college that served as the set for the Harbor School on The O.C., went for a stroll and afternoon tea at the Huntington Library, and spent a day in Laguna Beach. We had a nice dinner at Cielo, a Beverly Hills restaurant that was reviewed as "the kind of place you would take your junior prom date." (I guess high school juniors in Beverly Hills are just really fancy?) We were both relieved to find that we made it through the trip without any of that quarreling that tends to flare up when you spend extended periods of time trapped in a car with someone -- the only real issue was that I only had about 3 hours' worth of music burned onto CDs, so we just listened to the same music over and over... until Lee decided that he couldn't handle listening to Hilary Duff's "Come Clean" anymore, haha.

All smiles as we set out for our Highway 1 road trip:

I'm glad we took the scenic route:

Hi, Liz! I think this was taken in Santa Barbara.

A lovely afternoon at the Getty.

Smog, yum...

Hanging out at the beach. Who knew back then that we'd end up married?

Japanese garden at Huntington Library:

Being the good-natured guy that he is, Lee humored me by taking the drive down to Laguna Beach, the site of where all this delicious MTV reality goodness began...

We decided to channel LC & Friends by dining at Pomodoro for lunch:

I thought this was pretty cool; it's mounted in the middle of downtown:

Laguna Surf & Sport, former place of employment for Stephen on Laguna Beach: The Real O.C.

Laguna has a lot of cool artsy outdoor spots, like the below:

Since it took us about 12 hours to drive from the Bay Area to L.A., we decided to take the fast way back home. Here's a shot of me on Highway 5. It was... a lot of open land.