Eating and drinking at the 1st Annual Brunch Life Fest in Long Beach, CA

Earlier this month I partnered with Trip.skyscanner.com to check out Southern California’s newest brunch festival – Brunch Life Fest!! Held outdoors at the Rainbow Lagoon Park in Downtown Long Beach, this one day event allowed everyone to enjoy some fresh beats, booze, and brunch!

Brunch Life Photos

With the sun shining brightly, many guests came dressed the part with floppy hats, sunglasses and hand with a glass of mimosa to complete the look. lol There were tons of bubbly drinks at the event so if you love your booze you won’t go thirsty here. Additionally, there were a number of fun backdrops for you and your brunch crew to strike a pose with your liquid encouragement.

As for food, Mussels and Pearls made some delicious fish tostado and La Traviata was pumpin’ out several different breakfast items including shortrib sammys, fried potatoes, and brussels sprouts! And of course you can’t end any meal without dessert! Sweet Nina’s chocolate chip cookies were so sinfully good.

img_0488As the inaugural event, I think this festival has a lot of potential and hope that next year they’ll invite a greater number of restaurants to come join the fun! One of which must prepare avocado toast! I mean brunch just doesn’t seem complete without this staple.

Whats your must have brunch food item?

XOXO,

Rockstar

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I Like Laika – FREE interactive exhibit outside SDCC

While most of the San Diego Comic Con was up and runnin’ on Wednesday (SDCC Preview Night), I was among the first guests to enter the Laika Live Experience – a FREE exhibit in the Gaslamp District.

Laika Exhibit

Upon waiting in line my friends and I were handed a fan with a character as well as a headband with the characters iconic headdress (I choose the helmet for Kubo) and we were seated to watch a short video regarding the movies. For my readers unfamiliar with the Laika, they’re known for handcrafted stop-motion animation and stunning visual effects. They swap out heads to mimic different expressions, but at the end of the day it takes hours to create a scene that lasts a couple of minutes. Whew!

Hot on set!

They also recreated a few life-size versions of certain scenes, but don’t let this comfy lookin’ couch fool you, it’s as hard as a rock. So deceptive! And my hinny was in great pain, but anything for the shot! lol

Figurines from the exhibit

I can’t say that I know the franchise all that well, but I am confidently impressed by the patience and care to detail these artists put in creating these features. During the exhibit the artist who worked on the movie showed us techniques and told us how they recorded people doing certain tasks and would emulate those actions with the characters. One artist informed us that his running style was used for one of the mother characters.

My friends who attended last year said that this was even bigger and better than last – who will check this exhibit out in 2019?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Macchiato’s Hacienda Heights Location Grand Opening – Potted Boba Drink!!

The weather has been extremely muggy, and the heat doesn’t make it any better. Yuck! But I guess at the very least that gives me a legitimate reason to savor some sweets treats and Macchiato one of my favorite Taiwanese dessert shops is opening another location in Hacienda Heights  (15840 Halliburton Rd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745)!!! WEE!!! To celebrate they’re giving away some goodies on Saturday August 11th from 11am-12am. See details below!

Potted Plant Drinks

The First 100 People will get a free drink; Next 100 People will get a BOGO Promotion (Same Drink); and if you miss those they’ll be doing BOG1 50% off all day. EVERYONE will be entered to win a Nintendo Switch! Oh!! I love how that sounds!

Charcoal Waffle and Sundae Waffle

They’re known for their Special Potted Plant Milk Tea ($4.50) and you’ve probably seen them all over Instagram or at the night-markets. In essence it’s crushed up Oreo cookies on top, with cream, and your choice of milk tea as the base. Super kawaii and a fun way to enjoy a cool beverage.

Be sure to pair your drink with some noms. These two are my top picks!

*Macchiato Sundae Waffle ($8.75) – Mochi style with strawberries, bananas, blueberries and three scoops of ice cream. Guests do have the option to order it crispy (which is a typical waffle), but the mochi style definitely gives the dish more flair. The chewy texture reminds me a lot of a traditional Chinese dessert and it’s beautifully presented. I ordered this at their Santa Ana location and the quality was consist here too! Loved it!

*Charcoal Waffle ($9.50) – A black waffle with strawberries and bananas paired with vanilla and Nutella ice cream and caramel sauce. I think this item is new because I didn’t recall a black waffle in the past. I wanted to order it as it seemed very Instagram worthy and to my surprise, it tasted really good as well! Photogenic desserts don’t always tasty as good as it looks, but this was the best of both worlds. It has a more cake-like texture with a charcoal aftertaste and goes nicely with the ice cream. Two thumbs up!

What will you be trying this weekend??

XOXO,

Rockstar

Macchiato Grand Opening – August 11th from 11am-12am – 15840 Halliburton Rd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Dragon Ball Z at SDCC – 3rd Anniversary Mobile Game Debut + Movie Promotion!

San Diego Comic Con is MASSIVE and I felt that I didn’t do the mecca nerd gathering justice by spending just a couple days.  So, this year I allocated more time to dwell in the summer nerd capitol and tried to do as many of the outside convention stuff. (See Conan Taping LIVE here.)

Dragon Ball Z life-size and miniature figurines

On Wednesday my friends and I ventured behind the convention to checkout the Dragon Ball Z area and considering it was Preview Night I was surprised at how many people were already waiting in lines! But those lines were no match for the My Hero Academia panel line (check out post here). Nevertheless, the setup was most impressive and there was a ton to do and see for the ultimate Dragon Ball fan! * Note * this area was within the sectioned SDCC Badge area.

Line to play the mobile game!

The main line was for dedicated to fans who wanted a Dragon Ball Z backpack and lanyard, among other goodies, whereas the side lines were for fans who wanted to try and win freebies such as a t-shirt or hat. There were also photo opportunities as well as figurine replicas re-enacting scenes from the series all to promote the third anniversary mobile game “Dragon Ball Dokkan Battle” – I tried it and it’s super hard, but practice makes perfect right? Lol

Photo opts!

Dragon Ball Z will also be premiering a movie later this year. No word on which theaters, but I hope it’s “Over 9000” haha… If you can have a private viewing of an upcoming movie, what movie would you want to see?

XOXO,

Rockstar

My Hero Academia Frenzy at Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con

One of my friends recently introduced me to a series called My Hero Academia, an anime focused on high school students training to become pro heroes and of course I got hooked (although 2nd season is MUCH better than the 1st). I binged all the dubbed episodes before Anime Expo and hoped to be among the first to watch a special screening of My Hero Academia: Two Hero’s at 12:30pm. My friend and I got there around 8:30am and to no success they passed out all the wristbands. *cries* One of my other friends got there around 6:30am and narrowly snagged one before they ran out.

Cosplayers at Anime Expo

This is (to say the least) the year of My Hero. EVERYONE was cosplaying as a character from this show. Whether in battle attire or a UA school uniform there was a plethora of Dekus, Todoroki, and Froppys as well as some pretty amazing Bakugos. My favorite character is Momo – who’s yours?

Artwork from Anime Expo’s Artists Alley

Fast-forward a couple weeks to San Diego Comic Con. The creator, Kohei Horikoshi, and American voice actors for Deku (Justin Briner) and All Might (Christopher Sabat) were scheduled to make an appearance! Considering the cult following, my friends and I got to the panel early and good thing too because this panel was beyond packed. I hope for 2019 Viz Media will request Ballroom 20 or another larger room to accommodate this fandom because there were so many people eager to attend.

(Left to Right): Moderator,  maybe a producer?, American voice actors for Deku (Justin Briner) and All Might (Christopher Sabat)

Thankfully my friends and I were able to snag a seat although not together as the panel before did not clear out. We were all given some swag items, including a poster, bandana and fan. Unfortunately, out of respect for the creator we were instructed to refrain from video recording and photography. When the creator came out he disclosed details on his inspiration and did a live drawing of Deku. Although there was rumors that they’d play the movie at SDCC, sadly they did not, but announced when it would be available in theaters – September 25th – October 2nd. I still had a great time and the energy in the room was “plus ultra!”

If you could choose a quirk (superpower) what would you pick? I’d pick super-speed, but only if it comes with a high metabolism 🙂

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Seeing Conan LIVE at Comic Con with Aquaman Cast!

It’s surprising to people that this is only my second time attending San Diego Comic Con and while I had a blast last year (Click here to read) there were so many things that I missed out on! This year a group of my friends and I entered the Invincible Conan San Diego 2018 lottery for a chance to see Conan, some VIP guests, and get an exclusive Conan Funko Pop! No luck on my end, but one of my girlfriends was lucky enough to score tickets for herself and friends! Woohoo!

Conan Store and Ticket to the Saturday Show!

The taping wasn’t until the afternoon; however, we were instructed to line-up bright and early in the morning to secure our tickets. The tickets all had assigned seats, but rumor had it if you got there earlier you could get seats closer to the stage. My friends and I arrived at Spreckels Theater around 6:30 am for the 9:00 am ticket distribution, and found that a huge line already formed. There were some people there as early as 4:30 am!

Artwork inside the ticket booth

Once 9:00 am hit we walked through their ticket booth decorated with all types of nerdy artwork, grabbed our tickets and went on our way. Just an FYI, tickets were somewhat random, as two guys in front of us were given Orchestra seats and we were given tickets Mezzanine. So, I really have no idea about seat selection. *shrugs*

Conan (center) with Aquaman Cast 

We returned around 2:30 pm (doors closed at 3:30 pm), and enjoyed the band play before Conan arrived on stage. Conan told a few jokes and eventually introduced the cast for Aquaman including: Director James Wan, Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Yahya abdul-mateen II and Dolph Lundgren. I think out of the interview Dolph Lundgren’s story about learning to swim for the role then finding out that he didn’t need to was the highlight of the interview. Though I think some would argue that the cast drink a can of Guinness was the best part of the show – to each his own!

Chun Li Cosplay with Hellboy Funko Pop

After the show we were each handed a Conan HellBoy Funko Pop as a souvenir. I believe if you attended the showing on the other days you had to redeem their pop at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. I think as a Comic Con newbie attending a Conan show should be on everyone’s to-do list. I for one would love to attend again next year!

Who would you love to see as Conan’s guest?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Unicorn spotted at Candytopia in Santa Monica, CA

Boy it’s been a long time since I’ve lasted blogged. Life gave me some lemons, but I also had some wonderful adventures. My most recent one was super sweet! I was invited by Trip Skyscanner to check out a pop-up shop up in Santa Monica called Candytopia and I definitely give it a 10!

Candytopia Rooms

If you love bright colors and handmade creations this interactive art exhibit is a dream come true. Rooms have fabulous sugary themes and so many wonderful photo opts. I had a blast prancing around letting my imagination run wild and each room came fully stocked with various packaged candy to keep your sugar rush high. My favorite was the full size dark chocolate crunch bar – which I devoured – no regrets O:)

Candy made sculptures and oversized playground 

I felt like a kid in a candy shop and I’m so glad that I got to experience it. Be sure to check it out for yourself if you haven’t done so already – their last day is July 22! Tickets are $30 for adults and $23 for children age 4-12. You can purchase them here. Limit 12 tickets per person.

 

What candy creation would you be most excited to see?

XOXO,
Rockstar

Tasting Fusion Taiwanese Cuisine at Tru Grits in Anaheim, CA

When I think of Anaheim I think of Mickey Mouse and tourists galore. Rarely, do I think about it being a destination for authentic ethnic food – let alone solid Taiwanese food. Yet, Celebrity Chef Theresa Lin recently debuted some of her signature dishes at Tru Grits so I obviously wanted to taste her creations. Good Taiwanese food outside of Taiwan is hard to come by so I was excitedly try some authentic dishes so close to home

Minced Pork Rice

Located inside the Sheraton Hotel, many guests wouldn’t think twice about a hotel offering tasty ethnic food; however, this branch deviates from that notion and dare I say the flavors are very comparable to a restaurant in Taiwan. The Taiwanese Minced Pork Rice dish ($9) was so simple, but packed with immense flavor and the Free-Range Hainan Quarter chicken ($13) with savory rice and pickled vegetables was so moist and tender. However, the signature tycoon beef short rib ($23) was easily the highlight of the night. When I cut into the meat, it just fell right off the bone and paired with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus made it a complete meal. The value on this particular dish is very reasonable, without compromising the taste.

Hainan Chicken and Tycoon Short Rib

We ended our meal with some traditional American faire and the bread pudding with ice cream is a must. I’m on a low carb diet for 2018, but this dish is definitely a decadent and wonderful treat. The presentation is wonderful as it’s delivered in a small cask-iron pan, and the taste is equally impressive. Get this and you will not be sorry!

Bread Pudding with Ice Cream 

Orange County isn’t typically known as an authentic Asian cuisine location. I typically drive up to the 626 area for that; however, I’m happy to welcome a great local option that’s just footsteps away from “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Cheers!

Bread pudding is one of my guilty pleasures. What’s yours?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Me, Myself and Irene – 2017 in Review

When I was first thinking about this post I thought to myself – man… I totally bombed the “will write a blog post every-week” goal, I “should” be making more money, I “should” be blah blah blah..  but as I looked through my rolo-dex of photos I realized that I had so many cool moments and while I didn’t meet all the goals I set out – I did achieve quite a bit and “should” remember those! This was definitely the year of “Me, Myself, and Irene” from my “Diary of a Beauty Queen’s Food and Travel Adventures (Instagram)” to opening up to my readers with my alias as @TheGeekyGuide (Instagram) to launching my College Consulting By Yu Youtube channel (website), I’m three people in one!

@yurockstar 2017 highlights

As @yurockstar I finished my term as Miss Taiwanese World Queen and passed the torch (blog entry), and visited so many cool restaurants – the Exchange Restaurant being my favorite this year! (blog entry) – and festivals as media including the LA Food and Wine Festival (blog entry 1; blog entry 2; blog entry 3) where I got to meet Tyler Florence and Brian Malarky. I also got to be a guest on Gordon Ramsay’s “The F Word” and critiqued the competitors dishes.  2017 was also the year when I got to visit San Diego Comic Con (blog entry) for the first time and hear Disney Legend Alan Menkin perform his classic hits at D23 (blog entry)! I also bought an annual pass to Six Flags Magic Mountain (blog entry) and convinced four of my friends to go on roller coasters with me. On a totally random note – I also won a mattress from an Instagram contest through yelp, woot!

@thegeekyguide 2017 highlights

To be honest, I was kind of a closet cosplayer and nervous about cosplaying one of my childhood idols. The live action Wonder Woman movie debuted earlier this year and I felt very conscientious about wearing a corset, let alone portray such an iconic character. I was selected as one of Game Spot’s Best DC Cosplay at SDCC  and WonderCon, and featured on the LA Time’s “Why Cosplay as Wonder Woman” video. But more importantly, I loved when kids came up to me to ask for a photo opt – just to see them smile made me feel that that 2 hours it took to do my hair and make-up all the worthwhile.

I also debuted Chun Li this year and was invited to join a Street Fighter group! Everyone does such a great job in portraying their character, and they inspired me to revisit and brush-up on my martial arts and dance techniques. I also upgraded some of my Sailor Mars uniform and had a blast with various photoshoots with the Sailor Scouts and Tuxedo Mask! I’ve made so many awesome friends through cosplay and it’s always awesome to see familiar faces portraying different heros and villians.

@Yucollege/ College Consulting By Yu Video Thumbnails

And yes, if you can believe it this was also the year that I decided to share my counseling knowledge through youtube. It’s been on my heart for a while so I finally bit the bullet and launched the channel:  College Consulting Youtube Channel (Instagram). I created 10 videos ranging from Survive a School Shooting to the Common App Tutorial, and boy you can definitely see improvements from video 1-10. There’s still much work to be done, and my goal next year is to do 40 more! Won’t you come and watch? (youtube link) 😉

I’ve learned that no matter what goal you’ve set yourself up for that if you didn’t meet it today, tomorrow is always a new day. My Resolution is to make each day count. What’s yours?

XOXO,
Rockstar

Getting the latest scoop at the 2nd Annual Sino-US Cultural Industry Summit at the Beverly Hilton

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual Sino-US Cultural Industry Summit at the historic Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. This non-profit organization and industry event brought restaurateurs and media alike to gain insight on the future of the culinary industry. Topics such as “Culinary Industry Trends,” “Cooking in LA’s Melting Pot” and the “Culture of Sharing” were shared in three collaborative panel discussions.

img_8348
Panel Members: Lulu Powers, Alexis Readinger, and Theresa Lin

Guests checked-in bright and early on Sunday and were greeted with a spread of finger food and drinks. We then migrated to the main ballroom and listened to different members of the restaurant community on their perspective of how the cultural landscape evolved. Powerhouse Theresa Lin (Julia Child of Taiwan), Alexis Readinger (Hospitality designer), and Celebrity Chef to the stars Lulu Powers (Will Smith, Madonna, and POTUS Bill Clinton) spoke about their experiences and gave advices to other aspiring women on how to build an empire.

Panel Members: Amir Vahdani, Adam Fleishman, and Hannah An; Chef Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen and me

In another panel CEO of Umami, Hannah An of The District by Hannah An, and Director of Food/Beverage of Four Seasons explained how they utilize this new wave of marketing techniques and as well as the latest food trend to see for 2018. Both plant-based menus as well as a resurgence comfort food (such as fried chicken, milk shakes, home-made pho etc.) but with a twist, were heavily emphasized in this panel discussion as were a growth in fast fine dinning establishments – restaurants that give you a gourmet meal without the formal dinning experience.

What home-made type of comfort food would you be most excited to try when dining out? I’d love to see how restaurants will replicated BBQ shortribs!

 

XOXO,

Rockstar