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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

I got a mani-pedi at Velvety Nails & Beauty Spa the week after my boards as a treat from Yufei. This salon only opened a few months ago and I walk past it every time I go to my ortho appointment each month. They had really good reviews on Yelp and I decided to finally make an appointment and go in. The salon is really nice and new, the chairs are comfy and the ladies who worked there are really friendly. They really take their time and are very meticulous too.

For my hands I got this gorgeous fuchsia color. It’s by OPI but I can’t remember the exact name of the polish. It reminds me of orchids!

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For my feet I got Essie’s In the Cab-ana, a pretty aqua. Very beachy and perfect for the summer!

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What are your favorite mani-pedi color combos? I want to hear!

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Yufei and I took a short trip to Oregon in June at the beginning of my summer break. It was so nice to relax a bit after the first year of dental school! We rented a car and drove for the whole first day, spending the night at Klamath Falls. The next morning we drove to our first destination – Crater Lake National Park. As you can tell from its name, the lake used to be a volcano! And there’s a smaller volcano inside it too.

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The color of the water was this amazing deep blue. We bought sandwiches at a cafe in Klamath Falls before we left, and we had lunch with the prettiest view of the lake.

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Even though it was a nice sunny day at the end of June, there was still a ton of snow up on the mountains.

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We took a hike down to the shore too.

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The water looked so clear. I wished it was warm enough to swim in it.

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We left the park in the afternoon and drove towards Bend, our next stop on the trip. We took the rest of the day easy since we were pretty tired from the hike. The next day, we had scheduled a tour at Deschutes Brewery. But before that, we had lunch at their Bend public house. Yufei got the elk burger:

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And I had this wonderful steak salad with grilled romaine, grilled flank steak, and the most delicious cumin vinaigrette. I still dream about this salad from time to time…

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We got to the brewery a bit early, so we started on the tasting samples. We each got a stamp card for 4 beer tastings. So many different yummy beers!

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The tour itself was informative and we learned so much about the brewing process!

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Next stop – Portland!

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I’m way too behind on food posts so I’m going to lump several of the restaurants I wanted to write about into 1 blog post!

First up is an Inner Sunset neighborhood gem. I’ve walked past Nabe many times before but never had the chance to eat there until earlier this year. Yufei and I got the sukiyaki with wagyu beef and the shabu shabu with kurobuta pork in spicy miso.

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Everything was so delicious! Perfect for a cold foggy day (which happens quite often in the Inner Sunset). They make a rice porridge from the left over broth at the end of the meal, which is really good.

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Even though we were really full already, I wanted to try their house made mochi sponge cake for dessert. It had an interesting texture and was quite delicious! Can’t wait to go back there again.

Another neighborhood spot, Baan Thai. This is our go-to Thai place, and their food and service is always great. We usually don’t get dessert here, but I was craving mango and sticky rice one time so we ordered that. It was presented in a perfect heart-shape, how cute! And it was delicious too.

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We went to Roy’s SF for a second time this past spring. The appetizers we got were pretty meh (a soup and some kind of wonton type thing), but our entrees were great. I really enjoyed my scallops with pork belly (a delectable combination!)

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Yufei’s steak:

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Desserts!

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Candybar was one of the places we used to frequent when we lived in Lower Haight. They run Groupon deals once in a while, so the last time that happened we bought one and went back for some cocktails and desserts (so much dessert in this post… oops). Yufei’s ice cream sundae:

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My lemon and white chocolate:

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I’ve had quite a number of their desserts and they never disappoint. Definitely a cute spot for a date or just to hang out with friends (they had a lot of board games and cards there too!).

Ramen and takoyaki at Suzu Noodle House in Japantown. A decent ramen place inside the Japan Center, pretty convenient for before seeing a movie at the Sundance Kabuki theatre (which we’ve been going to a lot – can’t beat pre-selected seats, adult only, and alcoholic beverages at the movies!). And anywhere that has takoyaki is a plus in my book.

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I know this is hard to believe, but up until a few months ago, I had never ordered a steak at a restaurant before. I thought it was about time to lose my steak virginity, so I made a reservation at Ruth’s Chris Steak House during Dine About Town. The DAT deal is pretty good, and the meal came with a salad, a petit steak (extra for upgrade, which Yufei opted for), a side, and dessert. I just went with the petit steak and it was plenty for me. The steak itself was delicious and served on a sizzling buttered plate.

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And of course, dessert!

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So I’ve been kind of MIA here for a while… that’s because I’ve been studying hard for Part 1 of the National Board Dental Exam for the last 5 weeks! I finally took it yesterday and it feels so good to be done (IF I did indeed pass the exam. We’ll find out in 3 weeks!).

I knew I had a lot on my plate this summer, our one and only real summer break during dental school. I was a part of the Summer Research Fellowship Program, doing a study on pre- and post-operative patient experience using data from Twitter. It was something I’ve wanted to do since before I even started dental school, so I was pretty excited about it. It’s awesome that UCSF was able to support 20 of us this year, the biggest group ever.

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But even though it’s great that I got to do research, I also knew that I wanted to take my boards this summer, and that studying for it would be quite time-consuming. Luckily, my project is very self-directed and the work can be done from anywhere, with no need for a regular schedule or to go into a lab everyday. So I made it work! I will probably do another post on boards later when I get my exam results.

Before all of that though, after school ended, I took 2 weeks off to just relax. D1 year was tough and I really needed some time off. Some friends from school and I went exploring the week after school ended and we went up the Filbert Street Steps to Coit Tower.

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I had been to Coit Tower when I first arrived in SF but had never gone up to the top. It was a beautiful clear day and the views from the top were great.

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Afterwards we walked around North Beach, got gelato, and watched the dogs play in Washington Square Park.

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I also went on a big-little date with Jenny, and we got brunch at Kitchen Story and then went ceramics painting at Terra Mia.

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Terra Mia is a paint-your-own ceramics studio where you pick out pre-made pieces to paint, and they fire it and you go pick up the finished product. It was so much fun and we spent the whole afternoon there since you can stay as long as you want. I decided to paint a bowl to give to my mom for her birthday.

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Yufei and I also took a short trip to Oregon during those 2 weeks, and it was nice getting out of SF for a few days. So I will be writing catch-up posts for the next little while, including a lot of restaurant posts, Oregon recap, and other stuff I’ve been up to this summer!

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Even though spring quarter of D1 year was tough academically, I still had plenty of time to have fun outside of school to explore different places in SF and beyond. Here are some of the things I did!

The Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio. It’s a really cool museum and you learn so much about Walt Disney’s life and legacy. They also have special exhibits with art from different Disney artists. Highly recommended for any Disney fan!

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My dad, Yufei, and I went hiking in Tennessee Valley in Marin over Memorial Day weekend. We hiked all the way from the Tennessee Valley trailhead to Muir Beach – a hike that turned out to be much more physically demanding than we expected. There were so many ups and downs. But the views along the coast was incredible.

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We had lunch at Pelican Inn once we got to Muir Beach.

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After lunch, we took a much less scenic but much flatter and faster route back!

After we returned to SF from the hike, Yufei and I stopped by Baker Beach. It was our first time there and it was a gorgeous day for the beach.

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The view of the Golden Gate Bridge is great!

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Another weekend, another hike. This time we went to San Pedro Valley County Park. It got increasingly cold and foggy as we went higher and higher, so we eventually gave up and hiked back down before we reached the peak. The mountains did look very mystical in the fog though.

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Then the sun came out unexpectedly near the end of our hike!

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What do you do when you love making sweets and go to dental school? You make tooth-themed sweets! I did the tooth cupcakes, and then I did these chocolate tooth lollipops at the end of last quarter. When I saw this lollipop kit for sale on Amazon, I knew I had to have it.

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It came with a mold, lollipop sticks, cellophane bags, and twist ties. I decided to make 2-layered lollipops, with white chocolate on the bottom (or top, depending on how you look at it) and milk chocolate for the rest.

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They turned out pretty good! I ran out of white chocolate halfway through so I also ended up making some solid milk chocolate ones.

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After they were all bagged up, I gave them to some of the faculty at school and my friends as end of the year thank you gifts!

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It’s been a few weeks since D1 year ended and I think I’m finally ready to blog about it! The last quarter of the year was not an easy one but there were also plenty of fun moments.

In the beginning of May we had the annual DSD senior dinner, this year on a boat cruise around the bay!

Me and my amazing big sib Jenny:

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D1 Delts!

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It was such a fun night and the view of the city across the waters was beautiful. It’s really nice to have some of these moments to reflect on how lucky I am to live in a gorgeous city like San Francisco, to go to one of the best dental schools in the country, and to have met such incredible people here.

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My friend Kathleen and I participated in the UCSF Science & Health Education Partnership this past year, where we went to kindergarten classes and taught the students science and health lessons in the past 2 quarters. Even though it was exhausting at times, it turned out to be a really great experience. We got these really cute thank you books from one of the classes after our final lesson (the students had wrote about what they learned from us, accompanied by some very creative illustrations).

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As a member of the dental arm of the Chinese Health Professional Student Association, I volunteered for our very first dental outreach event in Chinatown this past quarter. We did screenings, exams, and fluoride varnish on a lot of the underserved population in the area. I was nervous about doing anything on an actual person who’s not a classmate, but I did just fine and it was such a rewarding feeling afterwards knowing that I even helped make the smallest difference in someone’s health. I can’t wait to help grow the outreach part of the organization even more next year!

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Now, for some real dentistry (on fake teeth)! Gold full veneer crown on tooth #3:

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Class II composite filling on tooth #30:

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Gold onlay prep on tooth #30:

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Finally, the last day of D1 year. It was a gorgeous SF day and we were so ready to celebrate after our last final. But first, we had to take a photo! This group of crazy kids kept me sane this year.

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Celebratory drinks at Noir Lounge after a delicious dinner at Mazzat. Me with Kathleen and MyChi, my awesome clinic partners and wonderful friends.

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After that we went to have dessert at Candybar. Can’t go wrong with food, drinks, followed by more food!

D1 year had been a total roller-coaster of a year, but at the end of it I’m really happy with everything: the knowledge and skills I learned, the people I met, and the new person I’ve grown into. OF course, I couldn’t have done any of it without the incredible support from my parents, my love Yufei, my new friends at school, and the faculty members at UCSF who gave their time to help me learn. I am full of gratitude as I reflect back on these past 9 months, and I’m eagerly looking forward to continuing this journey in D2 year.

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