Monthly Archives: August 2011
I haven’t been this excited about back to school probably since freshman year. Why? Here are some reasons why I can’t wait to get back on campus!
1. I’m going to be a senior!
2. Last year in New York City – time to do all those things I thought I had time to do in the Big Apple!
3. New fall clothes (fall is probably my favourite season fashion-wise)!
4. New seasons of my favourite TV shows (HIMYM, The Big Bang Theory, Community), and maybe even a couple of new shows!
5. I finally (after 3 years!) have an idea of what I want to do with my life – and I’m taking the steps to work towards that. More on this later.
6. I’m planning to take up belly dancing classes!
7. A tropical trip in November (more on that when the time comes).
8. No morning classes fall semester! I will probably be studying anyway, but still, just the idea of no morning classes is nice.
9. Even though life after graduation still looks uncertain at this point, I’m looking forward to life beyond college.
And just for fun, a few things I’m definitely NOT excited about:
1. Moving in. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.
2. Spending a fortune on textbooks.
3. The inevitable crazy amount of work I will need to do.
For the first time in more than 2 and a half years together, I was finally able to celebrate Yufei’s birthday with him! For the last 2 years, we were always half a globe from each other on the special day – first me in China and him in Canada, then me in Austria and him in New York. But this year we’re finally together in San Francisco! So of course we had to celebrate – with lots of delicious food!
After sleeping in until a luxuriously late hour, which is highly suggested for one’s birthday, we got ready and headed to Burma Superstar, one of an oddly large number of Burmese restaurants in the city. Neither of us had had Burmese food before, but I really wanted to try it out, so I took Yufei there for lunch. The place had great reviews online, and there was a line when we got there at past 1pm on a Monday morning – this place better be good! After about 20 minutes, we got seated in a corner of the restaurant.
We started with chicken samusas and a Burmese salad:
The sambusas were nice and hot and crispy and we both liked them. The salad had an interesting freshness to it, which I enjoyed more than Yufei. For our mains, Yufei got the nan gyi dok noodles, with flour noodles instead of rice noodles:
It had a nice coconut curry sauce and was really good! I stole a lot from Yufei’s plate. I got a Burnese chicken curry dish with tan poi rice:
The curry was delicious and the rice was very interesting – it had huge raisins in it! I’m always adamant about having dessert, so even though we were both quite full, we ordered a fried banana and ice cream dessert to share:
Which was a good call because it was so yummy! After lunch we decided to go to Golden Gate Park since we were nearby. We visited the California Academy of Sciences first (we are such nerds), where they had this really cool green roof:
The museum itself was pretty cool, but we ran out of time before they closed so we didn’t get to see everything. We walked around the park for a bit and then went to to Japanese tea garden.
It was quite a lovely place, but a little too crowded when we were there, which kind of takes away the serenity of the garden. But it was still a nice place to spend an afternoon. By then it was starting to get late and we hopped on a bus to go to dinner. I had made reservations at Frascati, a Mediterranean style bistro on Russian Hill. We were greeted warmly upon arrival, and they even wished Yufei a happy birthday (always a good sign when they actually pay attention to what you mention during the reservation). We were seated upstairs, which is smaller and more private than the first floor. We started with a couple of appetizers, the gnocchi and the duck confit salad:
Both were delicious! The salad had quite a lot of duck in it, which was great. And of course since we’re finally both legal, we each had a glass of chardonnay with our meal. Yufei ordered the duck breast for his main:
And I had the wild California salmon:
Both dishes were fantastic! And of course, we had to have dessert again at dinner, so Yufei got the affogato and I had the blueberry cobbler. Yufei’s dessert came with a birthday candle, which got blown out since it was a little drafty, but our server did his best trying to re-light it (and it was on the house!).
The meal was absolutely wonderful, the service was great, and we both had an excellent time. We were much too full and a little tired to go through with plans of hitting a bar, so we just walked home and watched a movie on the couch. It was a a day well spent – and I hope that I’ll be able to spend many more of Yufei’s birthdays like this!
So school is starting again soon, and for me, this will be my last year at Columbia. Yes, I’m going to be a senior! It’s hard to believe that just 3 years ago, I was an excited freshman in NYC, eager to embark on this journey called college. Back then, I had no idea of the kind of things I would learn, the experiences I would have, the people I would meet… But looking back, I think I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons and realized a lot of hard truths. I’m not claiming to know it all now, because trust me, I am still trying to figure life out, but my experiences in the past 3 years have taught me so much. So I’ve decided to create a new weekly feature on my blog this year called Take it from a senior (TIFAS), where I will share the little nuggets of wisdom and advice from my own personal experience. I hope that this will serve both as a reminder for myself of how far I’ve come and all the obstacles I’ve overcome, as well as useful advice to those readers who are just starting college or are in the middle of it. Look for the first post next week!
This is the long-awaited follow-up post to my previous post on make-up for Asian eyelashes! A couple of readers wanted to know how I do eyeliner and eye shadow, so here it goes for eyeliner. I guess this isn’t really specifically targeted at Asian eyes, but as someone who does have Asian eyes this is how I do things.
Ok, so first let’s talk about the actual eyeliner pens/pencils. Here are a few that I use the most:
I’ll just go over them now and talk about how I use them later.
The first 2 are the CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner. I’ve only ever used the plum and black color, and they are very different. The black goes on a lot smoother and darker but also smudges very easily, and the plum is more subtle and doesn’t smudge as much. And you don’t have to sharpen these – big plus!
The third one down is my favorite liner ever – it’s by MAC but I got it in China. It’s a liquid liner pen. It looks and feels like a very fine felt tipped pen and it’s so easy to use. I believe it’s the Penultimate Eye Liner, but I’d have to try it and see if it’s the same. I love liquid liner pens because they create precise, sharp looking lines and don’t smudge!
The fourth one is one I recently bought – the Waterproof Eyeliner Pen from e.l.f. It’s another liquid liner pen since my MAC one is starting to run out and I’m looking for a replacement. This one works pretty well, the tip is not as high quality (it’s a little harder and rougher) and the color saturation can be a little “eh”, but for only $1 and tons of colors it’s a pretty good deal!
The last one is also from e.l.f., the Shimmer Eyeliner Pencil. They come in all sorts of pretty colors and are soft and go on easily (but also a little bit smudgey). And you have to sharpen which I hate. But they are very pretty and sparkly.
Ok! So now this is how I actually do my eyeliner for just an everyday look. I feel a little silly posting this because it’s so simple. I usually line my top lash line with a pen liner, going right along the lash line from the inner corner to the outer corner of the eye. I always, always, do a mini cat-eye at the outer corner, by extending the line up and out just a little bit. Here I used the MAC liner pen.
What about the bottom lash line? If I’m lazy or short on time, I usually do nothing. But if I feel like doing a little extra, I take a softer pencil liner in a lighter color and line the bottom lash line from the outer corner and extending about 2/3 of the way in. Here I used the CoverGirl in plum.
And that’s it! Here’s another look:
Notice how the top and bottom lines don’t actually meet, which makes for a very simple, subtle look you can wear everyday.
And then you can do variations of this look by using different liners and colors. For example, using the e.l.f. shimmer liner on the bottom creates a really cute and playful look, and using any smudgeable pencil liner on the top can make thing less harsh and softer.
If you want something a little more dramatic, here’s something I’ve figured out how to do just recently. Using a combination of black liquid pen liner and a softer pencil liner, I’ve lined the top of the lash line from corner to corner, and the bottom 2/3 as before. But I’ve extended both lines and joined them together at the outer corner of the eye and again did a small cat-eye.
This will make your eyes look much bigger and brighter and this heavier look is perfect for nighttime!
This look is also great for glasses since I find that they wash out your make-up. What do you think?
I’m no beauty expert by any means, but I hope this was somewhat helpful! And keep experimenting because each person is unique and you never know what looks good on you until you try it.
The California adventure continues! Yufei and I headed down to Monterey for the weekend (2 weeks ago), on the Greyhound, which we both agreed we’d never take again since it was awfully delayed (not the first time it’s happened). Anyway, I’m going to skip over the unpleasant business of getting there and say that we did eventually arrive at the bed and breakfast we were staying at late in the afternoon. It was the Martine Inn, which sits by the ocean in Pacific Grove, a beautiful Victorian abode. From the moment we stepped inside the house, we knew we were somewhere special. The place was impeccably decorated, gorgeously warm and welcoming in every way. Here’s the lovely living room:
And the beautiful garden:
They even had a little games room:
The whole place was just so quaint and charming – we had a clawfoot bathtub! – I just loved it! Props to my awesome boyfriend for picking such a perfect place!
After we got settled in, we were right on time for the daily afternoon hors d’heuvre and wine in the dining room (can I love this place any more?). Having satisfied our palates on the delectable treats, we set out for a trek along the beach on the seaside trail. It was a rather grey day, but not windy and therefore not as chilly as it was in San Francisco. Quite pleasant, actually. We passed by some harbour seals along the way:
Then we made our way down to Cannery Row and walked around the shops and attractions, and where I felt very compelled to read the Steinbeck novel for which the street was named after (in fact, I think I shall soon). As it was starting to get dark, we walked over to The Sardine Factory, where we had dinner reservations.
We had looked up the place on Yelp and made a reservation earlier that afternoon in a rush, and I was in no way expecting such a fancy place from a name like “The Sardine Factory”. But fancy it was indeed, and I felt under-dressed, but oh well. Though we were half an hour early for our reservation, we were seated right away in a nice little corner by the window. Warm bread (love that!) along with butter, seasoned olives, and a bean spread, was brought to us promptly:
The bread was so fluffy and warm and delicious that we had to force ourselves to stop eating them lest we stuff ourselves before the real meal even begins. We started out by sharing the Salinas Valley Salad, which was very good:
For our main courses, Yufei had a steak with a side of mashed potatoes:
And I knew I had to get some sort of seafood, and I opted for the seafood pasta:
We were both very impressed with the food so far, and even though we were pretty full by the time we finished (or in me case, attempted to finish) our mains, we wanted desert. After taking a look at the dessert menu, we decided to have the ice cream bonbons. We had no idea what that actually meant, but it was supposed to be “served dramatically with dry ice”. And indeed it was:
It was so dramatic that it elicited “oohs” and “ahs” and camera flashes from the table next to us! Turns out the bonbons were strawberry ice cream on a stick covered in chocolate, served with caramel sauce and crushed peanuts for dipping. Delicious! Overall we had a wonderful experience at the Sardine Factory and went home with happy stomachs.
The next morning we got up in time for breakfast served in the dining room overlooking the bay. French toast with berries and sausages, coffee, and apple juice – all served fresh (this place is seriously awesome!).
After breakfast we reluctantly left the lovely B&B (they gave us homemade banana bread upon departure!) and walked towards the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we spent the better part of the day. We saw lots of colorful fish:
Strange sea horses and sea dragons:
Beautiful yet deadly jellies:
And lots of other fish, rays, coastal birds, penguins, sea otters, starfish, crabs, lobsters, and tons more. Here’s me sitting in a clam!
By the time we were finished with the aquarium, it was already afternoon, so we hopped on a free tourist bus and went to downtown Monterey to walk around a bit before catching another bus to Salinas. And having vowed to never take the Greyhound again, we went to the Amtrak station and bought train tickets back to SF. And thus ended our weekend in Monterey! Sigh… I want to go back already!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Morning: Went to Twitter with Yufei and had breakfast there, which consisted of a delicious bagel (it was Bagel Monday!) topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and tomatoes and cucumbers, and some fruit and yogurt. Then I went shopping downtown for a few hours, before coming back for lunch at Twitter (I’m such a moocher). Seriously, this places is awesome.
Afternoon: Lounged around and then met Yufei for dinner at Tandoori Mahal. We got chicken samosas, rice, naan, chicken tikka masala, and lamb korma, and it was all delicious!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Morning: Slept in, had leftovers for lunch.
Afternoon: Went to the Cartoon Art Museum, which had exhibits on Archie, The Green Lantern, and the art of Howl, as well as a permanent exhibit on the history and progression of cartoons and comics.
It was a nice little museum, plus it was pay-what-you-want day, so it was definitely worth the visit! They had a nice little gift shop too, with some pretty cool stuff local comic artists too.
And a starter of spicy mini chicken drumsticks. For our entrees, I got the individual sized paella and Yufei got the grilled sirloin:
I was a huge fan of my paella, while Yufei’s steak was just okay. We finished off by sharing a warm chocolate molten cake, which was so good! Overall a great meal, our server was very nice, and I really liked the place!
We came back after dinner and decided to watch a movie at home. We ended up seeing The Adjustment Bureau, which I had high expectations for since I found the premise fascinating and it got pretty good reviews. But we were both disappointed by the movie. For me, I just felt like I kept expecting it to get this point that would just blow my mind, and it just never got there and all of sudden it was over. Oh well, there goes an hour and a half of my life.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Morning: I walked over to the School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific to check it out. The walk was pretty much uphill the whole way, which caused me to take way longer than the predicted time on Google Maps. Anyways, the school was really nice, and I even talked with one of the admissions people. The only thing is that they want me to take more biology labs (ugh). Sigh… we’ll see. My walk back was decidedly more pleasant, offering me views like this:
And I got lunch at Gallery Cafe, half a block from Yufei’s place. Cute little neighbourhood cafe.
Afternoon: Tired from my morning walk, I just took it easy until dinner time. We met up at Passion Cafe, a nice French bistro in a pretty sketchy part of town. We got a grilled chicken salad, Yufei got a burger, and I had a calamari.
The salad was great, Yufei liked his burger, but my calamari was a little bit over-fried. Regrettably, we didn’t really order anything French, although our waiter did have a discernible French accent and that’s always a good sign. Perhaps next time!
After dinner, we went to a nearby theater to see Cowboys & Aliens, which I found to be okay, and Yufei loved it (of course, since it was his pick – my turn the next night!).
Thursday, August 4, 211
Morning: Umm… I don’t think I did anything.
Afternoon: Another day in SF, another dental school visit. This time, I decided to check out the Dental School at UCSF. UCSF consist only of graduate schools in the health sciences, and it is located in a cold, windy, misty part of town. The campus is considerably bigger than Pacific since the dental school is kind of lumped together with everything else, so I couldn’t really see much. But I did talk to admissions and got some info. Gosh, this dental school business is getting pretty serious!
For dinner, I met up with a friend from Columbia who lives and is interning in the city. We went to the Ferry Building:
After dinner I met up with Yufei to go see my movie of choice: Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was one of the best romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while. The cast was amazing, and they all gave great performances – what a refreshing role for Steve Carell! Really pleasantly surprised by him. There seemed to be too many story lines in the movie at one point, but they were all brought together in an unexpected, hilarious yet heartbreaking twist (honest haven’t laughed that hard in a theater in a while). A realistic look at love that is at times funny, at times agonizing, but ultimately heartwarming and optimistic – highly recommended!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Morning: Not much until lunch, which I had at Out the Door at Westfield Center, one of 3 locations for the less formal eateries spawned from The Slanted Door. I started with a half portion of the spring rolls with a really yummy peanut sauce:
And for my main I got the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken:
It was good but somewhat unremarkable, which is probably no unexpected for such a simple dish. Anyways, pretty good meal!
After lunch, I walked over to the Asian Art Museum, where they were having a special exhibit on Bali, which was completely worth the extra $5. It was a beautiful and fascinating display of Balinese art, rituals, and performance, as exemplified by this amazingly intricate and elaborate offering made from rice dough, called a Sarad:
I didn’t realize how big the museum was and spent too much time in the Bali exhibit, and had to rush through the rest of it before they closed. But it was really quite a nice museum! I wish I had planned to spend more time there.
To celebrate the end of the work week, Yufei and I went down to Pier 39 to embark on the Happy Hour on the Bay Cruise from Blue and Gold Fleet! They had some snacks and a bar where you get one free drink – and I think I finally look past 21 since I didn’t get carded, ha! It was unfortunately too foggy out to go to the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz, so we headed the other way and went past the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park instead.
The cruise lasted an hour and a half and was pretty fun, but afterwards we were still hungry so we headed to In-N-Out for burgers! Being in NYC exposed us to a lot of debate over Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out, so we had to try for ourselves! Granted, I’ve never really had a freshly made burger from Shake Shake before, only a somewhat small and unimpressive one in a take-out bag that’s probably not the best for judging. But the burgers at In-N-Out were decently sized, freshly made, and the value is excellent! The fries were just average though.
I wish they had more topping choices (like bacon!), but at just over $2 for a burger, you can’t complain. But I think Five Guys still wins overall for quality and variety and huge servings of good fries (and free peanuts!). And for best value, M2M still has a special place in my heart. (Wow, I cannot believe I just wrote this much reviewing burgers! This is all Yufei’s fault).
So this wraps up the work week! A special weekend post coming up!
So I’m back from San Francisco now, but I’ve been too busy having a good time there that I still need to write about it, starting with the weekend after I arrived!
On Saturday, Yufei and I walked down to the water to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf after having a delicious dim sum lunch in Chinatown. The sea-lion-brities (cheesiest marine mammal related pun ever) were lounging by the water at Pier 39 as always, drawing a huge crowd of spectators:
We then dropped by the Mechanical Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, which houses a huge collection of old-fashioned arcade games, music machines, photo booths, and the like, and it was super fun! I especially like how our photo booth pictures came out:
We then made our way to the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine, and took a tour inside, which was pretty cool. Then we also went on the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, where Yufei had fun operating (avoiding the word “pretending” here) the anti-aircraft gun:
And we had a nice view of the city on this gorgeous day (and the Pampanito’s right there too):
Then we took a stroll around the wharf and stopped for a quick bite at Sally’s Famous Fishwich. Regrettably, neither of us had the titular fishwich, because I really wanted the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and Yufei is not the biggest fan of seafood and opted for the chickenwich. Both were delicious but I think I’ll have to come back for the fishwich sometime!
After that we hopped on a bus to Golden Gate Bridge, but by then the sun was gone and replaced by clouds and fog. Still, the bridge looked quite majestic:
Us on the bridge:
And that was it for Saturday! We went home and rested early because the next day we headed to Santa Clara on the Caltrain to go to California’s Great America! It was an amusement park plus a water park all in one, and we had a really great time there. I was too chicken to go on any of the really high thrill coasters (I just have some unresolved issue with being upside down, okay?), but I’m proud that I did go on the drop tower!
Another one of my favourite rides was the Centrifuge:
I could not stop laughing the whole time on that ride, partly because it was just really fun and partly because we were stupid and didn’t realize that with me sitting on the outside seat I would get pretty squished by Yufei once the thing started spinning and there was nothing we could do against the force.
The water park was also really fun and a great addition to the park. We really enjoyed going on all the different slides and the lazy river. I hadn’t been to a water park since about grade seven and I hadn’t realized how much fun it was until now! Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed the day at the park, although the food and the lockers were expensive, the rides were great and the lines were not bad at all. More San Fran tales coming soon!