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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.

Category Archives: Art/Design

So I’ve been putting off blogging about our epic Iceland trip for a while now. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, I just haven’t had the time, Second, I’ve been reluctant to do it because I feel like writing about the trip and sharing it with the world would somehow cheapen the amazing experience that it was. But I’ve since decided that that was a stupid idea and that I would love the chance to re-live this journey through blogging.

It was hands-down the best trip I’ve ever been on and I don’t know if anything will ever top it. We basically spent 8 days driving almost 1700 miles around the whole island. We saw waterfalls, glaciers, craters, geysers, hot springs, the northern lights. An abandoned ship, an abandoned plane, an abandoned natural hot water pool. Sand of black and ice of blue. And lots and lots of sheep. And miles and miles of desolate, unspoiled beauty. Some days we ate like kings, while others we had to resort to nothing but granola bars and cup noodles for meals. Everyday we had to stop ourselves from stopping the car every 5 minutes because there is such breathtaking views at every turn. Everything about the trip just felt so authentic, like this was what traveling should be about. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

So let me start recapping it with our first 2 days, which we spent in the capital city of Reykjavik.

We took a redeye flight from SF, with a layover in Boston, and we arrived in the morning in Reykjavik. We had to wait in the airport for a couple of hours to take a bus to our first destination – Blue Lagoon. Our first photo in Iceland!

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I was so glad we decided to stop by Blue Lagoon right after our flight. It was on the way to the city and it was the perfect way to relax after a long flight. The color of the water was the most unreal opaque light blue.

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We were there when it just opened so it wasn’t too crowded yet.

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After relaxing for a couple of hours and grabbing a quick lunch at the cafe, we were on our way to Reykjavik! We stayed at an Airbnb and it was in a pretty accessible location. We bought 2 Reykjavik Welcome Cards at the visitor center, which gave us bus access for 2 days and some discounts at museums and restaurants. It was a really good deal and we actually ended up using the bus quite a lot for the 2 days. After settling down a bit at our Airbnb, we headed out to check out some art museums. Unfortunately the first one we went to didn’t have any exhibits at the time, so we went to the next one on our list, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum. It was a small museum but had some really interesting stuff in it, and a nice sculpture garden outside.

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After that we took a bus to The Pearl, a mall with a dome and a 360-degree observation deck at the top.

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It offered some great views of the city and surrounding areas. We also sat in a cafe and enjoyed some hot chocolate. The glass dome looked pretty cool from the inside!

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Afterwards, we headed downtown for our dinner reservation at Grillmarket. We knew that we might not eat too well for the rest of the trip so we splurged on our 2 dinners in Reykjavik. We got bread with the fluffiest butter and smoked salt, a couple of appetizers, and for entrees Yufei got the Meat Gourmet, which was a trio of 3 different meats with sides, and I got the Fish Gourmet, with 3 different types of fish and sides.

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AND we had ice creams and sorbets for dessert. It was such a good meal. After a well-deserved good night sleep, we got up the next morning and went to Hallgrímskirkja, a really cool-looking church not too far from our Airbnb.

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We paid to go up to the tower, which had some nice views of the city. I love all these colorful houses!

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We then went to the National Museum of Iceland, which we got free admission to with our Welcome Cards. It had some really interesting exhibits on the history of Iceland. Then we grabbed a quick lunch at Bæjarins beztu pylsur, a famous hotdog stand. I love the crispy onions that’s in all the hotdogs in Iceland.

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Then we went to the Kolaportið Flea Market. There were lots of vendors selling food, vintage clothing, books, antiques, and other knickknacks.

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We also bought a slice of meringue cake that I was seeing everywhere. It was light and delicious and now I kind of regret not having more of it when we were in Iceland!

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Our next stop was the Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhus. It was another small museum but I quite enjoyed the sculptures, paintings, and interactive art there.

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Next up, we took a bus to the unique Icelandic Phallological Museum.

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I’m a fan of all kinds of weird museums and being someone in the medical field, I was quite intrigued when I found out about this place. It was again pretty small (I think you’re starting to see the trend here…), but there were preserved specimens of phalluses from all different animals as well as humorous poems, newspaper clippings, and art throughout the museum. A pretty interesting place to spend half an hour.

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After that, we took another bus to Harpa, a concert hall and conference center with a cool design along the water. There were lots of couches and chairs around for us to relax and admire the honeycomb-like walls and ceilings of the building.

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Finally, it was time for dinner! This time we decided to eat at Fish Company, where we got a 10% discount with the Welcome Card. We both chose the 4-course Around Iceland menu, with each course featuring ingredients found in different regions of Iceland. This was the lamb course.

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Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. Thus ended our stay in Reykjavik. The next day we start our epic journey around the island!

Days 3&4 – West Iceland
Days 5&6 – North Iceland
Days 7&8 – South Iceland

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I fail at blogging. I thought about just giving up because there’s just TOO MANY THINGS I need to catch up on, but they’re all such good things that I just must share. So here’s to me trying my best to post the events from the past 4 months, starting with our LA trip over Labor Day weekend.

Started at Getty Villa on our first day. Due to the draught they drained all the fountains, so what you see in the background is just an empty fountain painted blue.

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Dinner at The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. Delicious flatbread appetizer. There was a wedding happening at the beach/restaurant at the same time so we got some live entertainment out the window as we ate!

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Afterwards we walked on the beach and watched the sunset.

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Santa Monica Pier.

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LACMA the next morning! Holy crap this place was huge!

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Lunch at Bottega Louie. Their portobello fries are delicious!

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And of course I had to buy some macarons there as well.

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Another sunset on the beach.

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Dinner at Tsujita. Had tsukemen ramen for the first time ever and it was amazing. The broth was sooo rich and delectable.

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Part 2

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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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Day 1

Our second day in Chicago started with a hunt for a place for breakfast. Our hotel, the Tremont Chicago Hotel at Magnificent Mile, offered a $10 continental breakfast in the adjoining restaurant, but the selection looked limited. So we asked the girl at the front desk for recommendations and she suggested the Tempo Cafe a few blocks away. It was probably the most disappointing meal I’ve had in a while. Jin and I both ordered omelets, but what we got were humongous, thick, tasteless patties of rubbery egg.

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The “omelet” (I can’t call that a real omelet, because I love real omelets) wasn’t seasoned at all and the potatoes that it was weirdly served on top of had this strange oily taste to it. I don’t think either of us finished even half of our dishes.

After the very unappetizing meal, we walked over to the Chicago River for our architecture boat tour. There were 3 different companies that offered such tours, and we picked Wendella, which seemed to offer a good balance of everything (cost, length of tour, amount of information offered).

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It was a really good experience and we saw a lot of interesting buildings. My neck was getting sore at the end from staring up at all the skyscrapers. These 2 were of the coolest buildings we saw – Marina City, aka the corn cobs of Chicago. There are apartments in there with pie slice-shaped floor plans!

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Great view of Willis Tower:

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And the Chicago skyline from the mouth of the river:

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Aside from being really informative and fun, I’m glad that we did the tour early on in our trip because our tour guide actually gave us a lot of great recommendations for other stuff to do in Chicago. For example, she told us that the best view of Chicago from up high is from the women’s bathroom in the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. We were going to get a CityPass and the observatory in the John Hancock Center was one of the attractions that we could choose from. But we decided to just go up for a drink at the Signature Lounge and use the pass for something else. It was a wise choice! The view from up there was fantastic, and although the drink prices were a little on the high side, you’re really paying for the view.

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After that, we headed to the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the attractions on the CityPass.

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We were quite rushed since we got there about 1.5 hours before closing, so we didn’t get to see a lot of the museum. We did take the time to walk through the special exhibit Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. It was pretty fascinating (no photos were allowed though).

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Then we ran around the museum trying to see all of the most famous pieces there, like American Gothic and Chagall’s America Windows.

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We forgot to see The Great Wave off Kanagawa in our rush though. Oh well. We really should have budgeted more time for this. Anyway, after we left the Art Institute, we walked over to Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.

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It was right next to Lake Michigan, which was looking so picturesque on this gorgeous sunny day.

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For dinner that night we decided to try out deep dish pizza. I had never had it before so I was pretty excited! We went to Lou Malnati’s.

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We started with a spinach and pear salad (need veggies!).

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And we shared an 9″ Chicago Classic pizza, which had lean sausage, extra cheese and vine-ripened tomato sauce on Buttercrust. We also added mushrooms to it.

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It was really good and probably the cheesiest pizza I’ve ever had. It had a legit full LAYER of cheese. We also each got a glass of Goose Island 312, a Chicago craft beer recommended by our Wendella tour guide.

After our delicious and filling dinner, we decided to go back to the Signature Lounge to see the city at night. Except this time we only went to the bathroom haha. You don’t even need to pay to see this stunning view!

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Day 3
Days 4&5

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Yufei and I went on little weekend trip to Sacramento a few weeks ago. Megabus recently opened up some new routes in California and it was super cheap to take a bus to get to Sacramento (fares start at $1!). We got there in the early afternoon and our first stop after lunch was the Crocker Art Museum.

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It was a much bigger museum than we anticipated! There was everything from modern and contemporary art to European masterpieces to Asian and African art.

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There was even a special Norman Rockwell exhibit going on when we were there, which was a nice surprise. They had this little station set up where you can take a photo resembling Rockwell’s Triple Self Portrait.

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The next morning we walked around Capitol Park and eventually made our way over to the State Capitol. It was a beautiful sunny day but very cold. Too bad we couldn’t take a tour inside because it was a weekend.

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We walked around downtown a bit more and then in the afternoon went to the California Railroad Museum.

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We learned a lot about the history of the Transcontinental Railroad and California’s history (now we actually know where many of the names of the streets in SF come from!).

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There were also a lot of restored and reconstructed train cars that you can explore and even board. The coolest one was a sleeper car that even mimicked the motion of a travelling train!

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I had a lot of fun on this little trip. It was the perfect affordable mini day or weekend trip from SF!

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Reminder: You still have time to enter and win my very first giveaway of a beauty pack right here!

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Whoops, it’s been more than a month since my last post! I had been complaining about having no job and nothing to do when I first got to San Francisco, but over the last month or so I’ve been so busy that I literally did not have time to update this blog. I had 3 part-time jobs, working as a SAT instructor at 2 different test prep companies and a content writer at my aunt’s educational app company. And I was working to finish my dental school applications. So I was super busy and stressed out all the time. But summer SAT classes are over now and for the first time in a while, I’m currently writing this lying in bed at 10 in the morning! Ahh it feels nice to not have to get up at 7!

Anyways, I have managed to have some fun in SF as well, so here are some cool things I’ve done over the past month or so.

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts on a sunny afternoon:

Seeing the American Idiot musical:

Viewing big art at the SFMOMA:

Watching the sun set behind the Ferry Building:

And one of the most fun happy hour ideas ever: So You Think You Can Paint every Thursday at Club Six, with cheap drinks, music, and free painting supplies and lots of boards on the walls for you to paint on.

My masterpiece from my first visit:

There are some really amazing artists there every time:

So that’s a little taste of my life in SF lately. Now I’m experiencing a little break from working, but I’m still busy trying to finish supplemental applications for dental schools and such. But hopefully I will have more time to write more posts! I have a few posts coming up about SF food and Yufei and my trip to Las Vegas last week, so look forward to them!

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So I’ve been back in the Big Apple for 2 weeks now, though for some reason summer already feel so far away. The weather had been incredibly hot and humid for most of the past 2 weeks, and I’ve had to endure a lot of a sticky thighs on wooden chairs, mosquito bites, and stuffy dorms. But I’ve also tried to take advantage of the last bits of summer, for example, by going to Coney Island for the first time last Friday! The weather was gorgeous, and I was definitely craving some beach, so Yufei and I took the subway all the way down there.

I had no idea this was where the International Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place!

We pretty much just lied on the beach for a couple of hours, which was awesome.

But apart from being at the beach, that kind of heat was really quite uncomfortable. So I’m very excited that finally today, for the first time since I got back in the city, I was able to wear jeans! It was still beautiful outside, but the air was crisp and cool, perfect for an after lunch walk in Riverside Park followed by sun bathing on Columbia’s South Lawn (which, impressively, has been open the whole week!), and a visit to the Wallach Art Gallery right here on campus. I’d been wanting to check it out forever now, and right now they have this really interesting exhibit on Square Word Calligraphy, where Chinese artist Xu Bing “has devised a method of writing English words in rectangular arrangements which resemble Chinese characters.” So it basically looks like this:

Can you read it? It says “square word” and “Xu Bing” in the signature. Pretty cool right?

School-wise, things have been going alright. Classes are manageable as of now, though I’d rather not be taking 5 at the moment. My dorm is pretty nice – will post some photos as soon as it’s completely cleaned up and decorated.

In other news, I now have a Polaroid camera! Thanks to Yufei :) It’s so much fun!