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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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?
When my friend said that he wanted to eat Mediterranean food at a new restaurant in DTLA 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 🙂 ).
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.
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!
Overall, 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?
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 (Disney Convention) in collaboration with Honda the expo showcased some of her flirty fashion choices throughout the years.
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’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!
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 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?
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 recently opened up a brick and mortar store in Orange County? *Does happy dance*
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
The 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).
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!
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
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!
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 (Instagram, Facebook) and want me to do more? Let me know in the comments below.
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!
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?
Summer is in full swing and LA is definitely cranking up the heat. Luckily, boba tea stations are popping up everywhere in the Southern California area, so there’s always a place to cool down with an iced cold beverage. I recently visited Toastea, a hybrid beverage and snack shop specializing in Taiwanese treats, and enjoyed the cozy atmosphere with some friends.
One of my favorite Taiwanese snacks is brick toast and if you’ve never heard of it, it’s a thick slice of bread covered with your favorite toppings. The Nutella one is my favorite, but there are 5 other delicious options to choose from including: Honey, Spicy Churro, Matcha-cha, Caramel-Apple Pie, and Banana Split. Yum!
While they’re known for using tea leaves (as opposed to powder) and preparing their beverages in small batches, they recently they launched a new summer line of lemonade drinks. Butterfly Rose, Tropical Hibiscus and Strawberry Matcha are the brainchild of one of their employees and is limited for the next few weeks. The middle (Tropical Hibiscus) was my favorite and tasted as if you were on the Big Island of Hawaii
Wow! Has it been a year already? It seems like it was only yesterday when I was getting trying on gowns and heels to prep for the pageant. In about a month we will be crowning a new class of young men and women and as I wrap up my year of service I hope that the new royal court will take advantage of every opportunity given to them. Here’s my advice for the new 2016-2017 class.
BEAUTY AND FASHION
Pageant Gowns: Give yourself plenty of time to shop for two long evening gowns and a short cocktail dress. I highly recommend going to Santee Alley, a two block area in downtown LA’s Fashion District that sells both apparel, cosmetics, and everything fashion related.
Shop in June/July as it’s after Prom season and shops want to move their inventory.
Noell is a very popular store among pageant girls as they sell super glamorous gowns with extensive beading and elaborate designs. The showroom is an enormous two floor building and it’s definitely a splurge should you pay them a visit. If memory serves me right I think dresses start at around $400, but can go upwards to $1000 of dollars. Also do make an appointment as other customers have commented on being turned away even during business hours.
Personally, I purchased all my gowns at Atria Couture as they were more in my price-range. I budgeted about $200 a gown and while the designs weren’t as loud, the quality of the cloth material was thick and the stitching and design was cohesive. I definitely bartered with them so work on your negotiating skills.
There are many stores that sell gowns at different price-points; however, I’ve noticed that the dresses that were less than a $100 tended to be a thinner fabric and the sequences were glued on as opposed to sewn. To each his own, but I felt that if these were dresses that I would wear throughout the year, I’d chose to invest in pieces that I could wear multiple times.
Jewelry: Buy costume jewelry while you shop for your dress. It helps when you have your dress with you so you can see if certain earrings and necklaces match. Also, large dangling earrings look wonderful on stage. Silver crystals type of jewelry matched pretty much all of my outfits, but
Shoes: Wear heels that have a platform at the front and pick either clear or a nude color. It will help elongate your figure.
Hair and Makeup: I chose to do my own hair and makeup as it was an additional expense that I did not want to take into account, but I would recommend buying fake eyelashes to make your eye makeup more dramatic. I randomly stumbled upon this shop called The Makeup Shake, and they have some really great products including their own 3D silk eyelashes. “Eye Poppin” and “Mad Eye” are two of my favorite lashes to wear, and I always get compliments on how pretty my eyes look. They also carry some professional makeup supplies that I see at the Annual International Makeup Artists Tradeshow (IMATs), so it’s great that I can get some of my favorite products without having to wait until the tradeshow.
At the time I chopped off 8 inches of my hair, so I had no idea how to style a short cut. I practiced with my curling iron and do a classic french twist (with a ton of bobby pins) to give the allusion that I had more hair. Ha!
The dreaded Fish Bowl Question: You never know what type of question you’ll get, but I thought of it as I would prepare for a job interview. I wrote down my answers and practiced in front of the mirror my responses. Practice makes perfect. Sometimes I’ll even practice my answers in the car as I’m driving. 🙂
Additionally, since this was a Taiwanese pageant I made sure to have responses in regards to Taiwan current events and learned about different government officials locally and abroad.
I think like anything you do you get out what you put in. Some contestants were very casual and didn’t prepare as aggressively as others, whereas others were diligent and gave it their all. I always give everything I do my 100% and as Miss Taiwanese World I had the opportunity to meet multiple government officials, celebrate community milestones, and use this as a platform with my family and friends to talk about Taiwan and build community relations. You can see a few of my cool adventures here (10/10 Black Tie Event, Monterey Park parade, Lunar New Year Celebration at TECO)
Whether you’re a natural on stage or someone who wants to try something outside your comfort zone the competition part was a great opportunity to improve my posture, poise, and speech. It’s definitely something I can check mark off my bucket list and I can say that I have some incredible memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Attending a night market is a great way to sample a lot of vendors in one centralized location while also browsing pop-up shops and playing carnival games. Oh how I’m so reminded of Taiwan’s nightlife – they have THE BEST night markets. I’d heard so much about the Ktown Night Market that I wanted to see if could be my US version of my favorite Taiwan activity. Held at a local community college in Los Angeles, this event was a popular destination among teens and college students for their Instagram worthy food. My foodie friend and I ordered a ton food to share and were stuffed by the end of the night. Here are the highlights!
Spire Works: Casual, yet robust flavors. At this event they featured their Bangkok and Peking sammys, which were inspired by Thai and Chinese palates respectively.
Mix-E: Specializing in Filipino Desserts such as Halo-Halo (shaved ice with toppings such as ice cream, red beans, etc.) this fun and colorful pop-up shop will be at the 626 Night market in July and August.
India Jones Chow Truck: Talk about flavors that are on a roll! I ordered a combo and got to try Butter Chicken Curry, Saag Paneer (Spinach and Cheese), naan, rice, and a samosa. Beautiful and extremely filling.
Sakura Monster: This truck made takoyaki balls (octopus balls) to order. It was so delicious and probably my favorite snack of the night. They don’t have a website, so check out their twitter page to see where they’re going next! Totally legit!
PuChao: Japanese Candy that’s gummy and soft. Yum!
Taco Fix: Priscela must be every dude’s best friend because her “Insane Nachos” and “Crazy Quesadilla” both have generous portion of meat and cheese. The plantains in the former is a nice touch and something I don’t usually see, but delicious. Homemade guacamole was extra and definitely worth it!
Manini Kine Grindz: Hawaiian food with entrees not commonly served on the mainland. My friend and I tried their Longanisa Loco Moco and Meat Jun and looooved it. They’re in the beginning stages of their business so give their Facebook page a shoutout!
What a fun and easy way to enjoy so many different Asian cuisines in one spot! The food was excellent and entertainment was lively and engaging. I would definitely come back here next year to check out LA’s latest and greatest!