Wining and dining at the Pacific Wine and Food Classic at Newport Beach 

Orange County is home to “the real housewives”, beautiful beaches, and some amazing restaurants so it should come to no surprise that there’d be a spectacular outdoor festival to wrap up summer in pure California style. Over the weekend I partnered with Trip.com (a travel app) to attend the Pacific Wine and Food Classic at the Newport Dune Waterfront Resort (Newport Dunes, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, Ca 92660), where more than 100 food and beverages were prepared by some of Orange County’s finest chefs and mixologists.

Food and drinks from the event

If you need a vacation this resort-style tasting basically transports you to a relaxing getaway. With the event held on the sand overlooking the dunes, I enjoyed the warm weather and scenic view. The water glistened and the weather was perfect with the sun shining brightly with a small ocean breeze. Most foodies have to choose environment or food quality, but both were equally desirable here. I loved the variety of food available at the tasting and felt that the samples were light and evoked the essence of California cuisine. Some of the small bites that I enjoyed included fusion tacos, seared sashimi, scallops, gazpacho and sliders just to name a few.

VIP Patron Patio

I spent quite a bit of time at the VIP Patron Patio as the area was equipped with fun photo booth opportunities and unique booze infused creations. I had a patron infused pineapple popsicle, which kept me cool under the hot sun. The area also had several couches and seats for patrons to lounge around while enjoying the beautiful day – something I took full advantage of 🙂

Food samples and Simon Majumda of Food Network

During the event guests could also watch different cooking demonstrations of executive chefs signature dishes on the Fisher & Paykel / DCS Culinary Stage. Food Network Star, Simon Majumdar of Cutthroat Kitchen hosted and provided his own culinary tips and tricks as well.

I had such an amazing time at this tasting and one thing that I loved about this event was that it was well organized and not too crowded. The lines for each vendor were all very manageable and it was such a classy affair. I’d definitely come back next year, but will wear flip flops. I made the mistake to wear wedges not realizing that it was actually on the sand. Nevertheless, a great event and one where I think all adults would enjoy.

 

Whats your favorite food to enjoy on the beach?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

My First Time at San Diego Comic Con

AHHH!!! So it finally happened! I FINALLY got a badge and attended the world famous San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) – the mothership of geek conventions and the crown jewel of San Diego. And let me tell you SDCC definitely deserves all the hype and recognition of being the Con of all Cons, because it is. When I stepped off the trolley, I was beyond overwhelmed. There were lines everywhere and I wasn’t even inside the convention yet. But after I got my bearing I just took it all in and remembered that just being there was exciting!

World Famous San Diego Comic Con

Space wise, I wasn’t even close to covering the entire convention ground and I went four days! I didn’t dare brave the “Hall H” Line, which is a like a convention in and of itself – for virgin SDCC goers like myself, it’s in essence THE place to be to see popular blockbuster panels like Big Bang Theory, Justice League, Game of Thrones etc. People camp out at least a day in advance and if you planned to do Hall H on Saturday, be prepare to camp out on Thursday!

Hall H Line

And no joke, there are people who had legit camping tents and padded mattresses. I’ve been to other big scaled conventions (ie. Wondercon Disney D23, Anime Expo) where the hard-core fans camped out, but never had I seen it in this extreme fashion. There was a line to get into the convention, a line to see panels (other than Hall H), autograph lines, an “exclusives” line, concessions stand line, line to take pictures… actually they were more like mobs of people –  ha! Regardless, there were lines galore!

Justice League Autograph Panel

But, would I do it again, ABSOLUTELY! There’s no other convention quite like it. Sure there are other conventions where there are shorter lines or no lines, but the shear size and star power that this convention can attract is like no other. Where else can you get a sneak peak of upcoming trailers, autographs or photos from the entire cast from your favorite tv show, cosplay with groups of nerds, and hang out with geeks from all over the world? And don’t even get me started on the shopping. Nerd heaven!!!

DC Photoshoot – Where is Wonder Woman?

Now I get that getting a badge is extremely difficult, but the convention geek scene expands past the convention doors and the entire city basically welcomes the nerd herd to seek refuge at the Gaslamp District and beyond. There are TONS of giveaways just outside the convention, so even if you don’t have a badge you can still have a great time geeking out just like the rest of us.

As virgin SDCC goer, I didn’t really know what to expect, but if you love superheros, cosplayers, toys, free stuff, celebrities, this is the place to be – with or without a badge. I’m sorting through my photos and boy was that an adventure.

What part of SDCC are you most excited to read/see? Cosplay? Panels? Shopping? Life outside the Convention? Let me know below!

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

 

 

 

NEW rolled ice cream at “The Joint” in Garden Grove, CA

Rolled ice cream is all the craze and Garden Grove recently welcomed a new addition – appropriately called “The Joint Creamery” (13281 Brookhurst Street)Tucked away in a strip mall, this little hidden gem has colorful creations that would certainly stand out in a crowd, and with the weather heating up this is a great place to cool down. The trendy dessert shop created quirky names to match their unique creations such as “Franken Beans,” “Cracked Ice,” and “Pineapple Express,” and the fun doesn’t stop there. Patrons can select one of the popular combinations and have the exotic flavors crafted before their eyes. I ordered “Purple Rain” to test out their taro ice cream.       Everything worked well together and ice cream is always one of my favorite desserts to indulge in especially in the summer. I’m curious to try the galaxy, which is a sesame favored. What flavor would you be interested to try?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Confessions of a Beauty Queen and the New Miss Taiwanese World

One year ago, I entered in beauty pageant and while I felt that I didn’t fit the pageant girl mold, I decided to go for it and take it as a learning opportunity.  Hey if I could take these free classes to improve public speaking, grace and etiquette, why wouldn’t I take advantage of it? And so the journey began…

As a Taiwan ambassador I took part in many community engagements, holiday parades, and networked with local council members in the greater Los Angeles area. Some events were more glamorous than others, and while I likely will retire from this world it did teach me quite a bit, but not in ways I’d expect.

Miss Taiwanese World 2017-2018 and Me, Miss Taiwanese World 2016-2017

I am who I am… by this I mean I’ve grown to accept that I am a multi-layered individual who is always going to challenge the status quo. I’ve never fit in anywhere and always stuck out – most of the times unintentionally. In some ways participating in a pageant, helped me understand that I was born to stand out, not blend in. I embrace my quirks and imperfections, and while I still have a long way to go in becoming who I’m suppose to be I think I’m heading the right direction

To all the current and future titleholders… Take advantage of every moment to shine, You are worthy and never let anyone tell you otherwise. I can’t wait to see where the new year will take you and how much you will grow along the way.

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

D23 Expo (Disney Convention) Celebrity Sighting and Cosplay Characters!

Disneyland may be the “Happiest Place on Earth” but the biennial D23 Expo, Official Disney Convention, is definitely the most elusive and mysterious. Held at the Anaheim Convention Center, just footsteps away from the Magic Kingdom, D23 is a playground for the ultimate Disney fan and THE place to be if you want to hear first-hand Disney’s future projects, but beware, like many large conventions, D23 is not for the faint of heart – many die-hard fans camped out over night to certain panels/autograph sessions. I mistakenly thought that I could get a 9:00am autograph wristband at 6:30am – silly me!

img_6154-1
Disney Cosplayers
Of course there were some epic cosplays at the convention. I caught a few of these cosplayers in front of the hall when I was taking lunch. I loved the attention to detail with all these cosplays and how animated each individuals were. It was wonderful to see some of my favorite Disney characters in real life.

Sunday badge and complimentary coffee
Once my friends and I got into the convention we all split and waited in different lines to maximize our chances of redeeming things. And let me tell you even as the doors opened there were lines everywhere! One of the “shorter” lines was the coffee with Disney stamped on it. There were three different Mickey designs, and in the afternoon they’d debut a new set of stamps! Cool!

 

img_6153-1
Disney villain costumes 
There were tons of displays of costumes from movies and of course I gravitated to the grand villainous ensemble. Look how bold and regal each piece looks? Personally, I love the Queen of Hearts on the left as I think her personality is loud like mine, but Maleficent (center) attire looks so evil and sinister that I’d be terrified if I pissed her off.

If your fashion sense is more playful and flirty, Minnie Mouse also showcased some of her dresses at the expo as well. See my post here and let me know which ensemble was your favorite!

img_6135
Parading down the red carpet are Tangled Voice Actors – Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi
While I was not able to nab one of the coveted autograph wristbands, I still had an opportunity to grab a photo of the multi-talented Mandy Moore as she and her co-star Zachary Levi paraded down the red carpet! Just FYI, another random Disney patron said that he waited at 3am for the 9am autograph wristband and also got turned away – so I don’t quite feel as bad considering I came at 6:30am. It’s crazy what people are willing to do at these conventions!

Are you a huge Disney fan? Who’s your favorite character?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

 

The Exchange Restaurant – New Fushion Mediterranean Concept in DTLA 

When my friend said that he wanted to eat Mediterranean food at a new restaurant in DTLA called “The Exchange Restaurant“(416 W. 8TH ST, Los Angeles, CA) I was skeptical about driving from the OC for falafels and hummus. Boy was I in for a big surprise. This restaurant is an upscale fusion Israeli cuisine that uses bright and fresh ingredients for their healthy dishes. I’m on a diet, so finding anything that’s both appetizing to look at and to eat ranks top of my list (at least for now – I can be fat for winter 🙂 ).

Restaurant Interior

Upon entering you’ll notice the high ceiling and wood decor. It’s very rustic in nature and the natural lighting made it perfect to snap photos of all the Instagram worthy food and let me tell you the food not only looks but tastes uh-maz-ing.

My favorite dishes were as followed:
1) Pate – oh my gawd, so creamy and light. It just melted in my mouth. It was so luxurious without being overly indulgent. It’s really out of this world and you would be a fool not to order this.
2) Exchange Chraime – Presented in a pan filled with seafood galore swimming in a sea of tomato sauce. The presentation was on pointe, and tasted flavorful as well.

(Left to Right – 1st Row to 2nd): Pate, Exchange Chraime, Sweet Potatoe, and Olive Oil Cake 

3) Sweet Potato – I would hardly think that a vegetable could be a star dish, but this one definitely held it’s own. It’s roasted so it really heightened the root vegetables flavor and made a unique statement in taste. Super delicious!
4) Olive Oil Cake – OMG! I rarely order dessert at a restaurant, but I would definitely order this again and again. The flavor profile of this treat is moist and sweet, but not overly so. The  dollop of cream or whatever was on top paired with the cake perfectly. I’m a believer in desserts now!

img_5288-1Overall, this is a fantastic addition to DTLA. The atmosphere is beautiful, food is delicious and the service was on friendly and accommodating. Whether you’re planning to impress a hot date, discussing business, or going with a group of friends this is an excellent destination to enjoy a great meal with good company.

Which of the dishes would you be most excited to try?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Minnie Mouse Haute Couture Fashion Collection at D23 (Disney Convention) in Anaheim

Minnie Mouse is known for her iconic red dress with white polka dots (pink depending on which version), but for special occasions she debuts some bold fashion choices. At the bi-annual D23 Expo (Disney Convention) in collaboration with Honda the expo showcased some of her flirty fashion choices throughout the years.

Paris, California, Shanghai outsides

 

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary 2012 – This bell-sleeved pink-and-purple ombre dress is decorated with a night motif of stars and crescent moons.

Disneyland Resort 60th Anniversary 2015 – In Spring 2015, Minnie Mouse wore her traditional red dress silhouette with rhinestones and crystals to celebrate the Diamond Celebration.

Shanghai Disney Resort Grand Opening 2016 – With a Grand Opening, it’s expected for the host to debut a stunning number. Minnie Mouse certainly didn’t disappoint with her Asian inspired ensemble. With soft pinks and gold embroidery this piece is inexcusably royal

Minnie Van by Honda

Minnie’s dress is unmatched by her iconic oversized bow. I feel that this feminine accessory really makes any outside complete and of course Honda wouldn’t be doing Minnie justice without it.

In this photo I’m wearing my recently purchased clip-on bow from D23. They had designs inspired by all the Disney Princesses as well as some multi-colored one. Mine is the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and this design will be available at the parks at the end of the year!

Paris, Rock the Dots 2015, Rock the Dots 2017

Disneyland Paris Fashion Parade 2013 (Designed by Alber Elbaz of Lanvin Paris) – Minnie wouldn’t be a household name without taking some fashion risks and at Fashion capitol of the world, Minnie debuted an incredibly presidential attire. She adorned a form-fitting royal blue with symmetrically patterned jewels.

Rock the Dots 2015 (Designed by Christian Siriano) – Project Runway Winner and “Fierce” Haute Couture Designer created a one of a kind ensemble for this “Fierce” one of a kind mouse. He drew inspiration from her bubbly, but girly personality and added bows and rhinestones to show off her playful nature.

Rock the Dots 2017 (Designed by Olumpia Le-Tan) – This custom dyed blue dress was created with 53 custom appliquéd polka dots and paired with a signature monogram leather belt buckle of Olumpia Le-Tan. This little sequin dress is both flirty and fierce.

Hong Kong, Fashion LA, Russian Vogue Magazine

Hong Kong Disneyland 10th Anniversary 2015 – Wow! If you’re ready to party, this dress will definitely turn heads. This brightly colored and festive ensemble was designed by the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and designed to dance the night away.

Fashion Los Angeles Awards 2017 (Designed by Stacy Bendet of Alice + Olivia) – I definitely see nods to Jackie Kennedy here. This hight-low gown is covered with 14,000 hand-applied jet black crystals and accessorized with oversized glasses. The look is complete with red patent pumps – a staple in every girls closet.

Mink and Roses Russian Vogue 2008 (Designed by Oleg Ovsiyoy) – When Minnie took a vacation away from her sunny Southern California home, she certainly dressed to impress. WIth her faux mink fur and accented with sequins, this warm, fuzzy look is functional and stylish.

 

I loved Minnie’s daring Disneyland Paris Fashion Parade ensemble. Which outfit was your favorite?

 

XOXO,

 

Main Squeeze Grand Opening in Fountain Valley! 

You know that popular colorful lemonade drink that you often see at night markets and fairs? The ones in the oversized mason jars with the cute lemon in the front. Yes! That one! Did you know that they (the Main Squeeze -9430 Warner Avenue,  Fountain Valley, CA) recently opened up a brick and mortar store in Orange County? *Does happy dance*

img_5234-2
Inside their store

My friend and I recently attended their Grand Opening to welcome Fountain Valley’s newest addition. Because the weather has been atrociously hot as of late, an ice cold lemonade made for an excellent beverage choice to counter the unbearable heat. My friend and I were so excited that we were actually first and second in line! Yes, we were quite enthusiastic about redeeming swag as they advertised the first 100 people get a complimentary iphone 7 case or a baseball cap, plus a mason jar upgrade with light cube on the beverage of choice.

img_5240
Left: iphone 7 classes; Right: Mason Jars with lemonade

There was a wide array of drinks and desserts to choose from, but I decided to go with the cucumber mint lemonade with boba, which was incredibly refreshing. My friend ordered the lychee lemonade with added lychees and both were bright and super colorful.  These made-to-order drinks were just as I remembered at the fair and I’m glad that I can now enjoy this year-round!

img_5232-2
Motivation sign in lights!

I came to this little shop just wanting a drink to cool down, but was reminded of the lemons and lemonade concept – where you can always change for the better. If you’re going through a rough patch or feel unhappy, remember this it’s only temporary and that you can use your hardships and/or struggles for something greater. Just take a deep breath and take it one day at a time.

Are there lemons in your life? What kind of “lemonade” are you planning to make?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Sailor Moon Day – Autographs, Panel, and Photoshoot at Anime Expo!

I decided to do a Moonie Monday post in place of my normal Miss Taiwan entries as I wanted to share some photos from my latest adventure as my cosplay alias – @thegeekyguide.

Sailor Moon Convention Cosplayers!

During this past July 4th weekend, I along with hundreds of anime geeks attended the largest Anime Convention in North America – AX, short for Anime Expo. This four day event was a haven from geeks galore as they had table top games, themed concerts, cosplay meetups and contests, panels and more! As a second time attendee and first time cosplaying at this convention, I was thrilled to experience this crazy world as a character from one of my favorite Anime TV shows – Sailor Moon!

img_5041The popularity of this convention had grown exponentially since my first visit, and many attendees dubbed it LineCon, as individuals waited hours to get their badge or attend panel. My friend and I knew that the Sailor Moon panel was going to be a big hit among con-goers, so we started to line-up at 9:30 for the 11:00am panel. Thankfully, this year they had a large tent so attendees didn’t burn in the blistering heat (that wasn’t the case the first year I attended).

img_5043
Sailor Moon Crystal Voice Actors 

After waiting patiently, we were escorted back into the hall and seated in the enormous 1000+ people space for the special two hour panel. It was great to see the diversity of fans in the room – men, women, and children of all ages filled the space. When the program started the MC introduced all the Sailor Scouts, informed us on new merchandise that were available for purchase at the convention, as well as updates on the franchise. One of the most exciting news was Hot Topic’s New Sailor Moon Collection that will launch during the holidays. I guess I’ll be getting some new Guardian Gear this Christmas!

img_5059
Autographed Poster and Lucky Ticket Winner!

The MC also made an announcement that this year they changed their methodology in earning a free autograph signing session with the voice actors. In years past, people would line up the night before in the autograph line for a chance to get a spot, and this year the Viz Media Sailor Scout Helpers chose the ultimate fans – to which, I was one of them! Yay!!! FYI – a number of the fans selected were dressed up as a character, in case you’re interested in the future

img_5056
Voice Actors (Left to Right, Top to Bottom): Photo 1 – Cristina Valenzuela (Sailor Mars); Photo 2 -Sandy Fox (Sailor Chibi Moon); Photo 3 – Lauren Landa (Sailor Neptune) and Erica Mendez (Sailor Uranus); Photo 4 – Stephanie Sheh (Sailor Moon)

After the panel, about 50 lucky ticket holders exited the panel and headed downstairs towards the autograph signing booth. I loved how they had the Viz Media Cosplayers stood behind the voice actors so we could visual for which character each voice actor portrayed. All the voice-actors were so nice and personable. What a great experience!

img_4590
Inner Sailor Scouts – Mercury, Mars, Moon, Venus, and Jupiter

Soon afterwards, I rushed to the Sailor Moon Meetup where I got to do a photoshoot with other die hard Sailor Moon fans. By this time it was almost 5 and I was already exhausted, but what a day!

Do you like these cross-over posts with @thegeekyguide (InstagramFacebook) and want me to do more? Let me know in the comments below.

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

626 Night Market  

I’ve gone to my fair share of Night Markets (Ktown Night Market post here), but I’ve yet to visit the largest one in Southern California – The 626 Night Market! I know, shocking right? But I digress. Held at the Santa Anita Park, vendors from the greater Los Angeles area and guests from all over attended the two day event. I decided to get a sneak peak on Day 1 to get the scoop. The 626 night market was definitely an enormous event with various carnival games, food trucks, pop-up stands, and businesses promoting asian products. Spread across the vast parking lot, patrons could comfortably walk around the aisles to try the latest food craze. There were tons of options and while I was sweating off all my sunblock, my foodie friend and I tried some bold treats!

img_4908-1
Roasted Corn, July 4th Watermelon Drink,  and Rainbow Grilled Cheese
I think it’s safe to say that many vendors were bold in experimenting with colors and the rainbow/unicorn trend is here to stay. Which colorful treat are you interested to try? The watermelon drink was my favorite, because it was super refreshing and cooled me down on the hot day.

Tickets to the 626 Night Market is $3 on Friday and Sunday, and $5 for Saturday. Parking is free and they’ll be back on July 21, who will be going?

XOXO,

Rockstar