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

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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.

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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

 

Seeing the official Justice League cast at San Diego Comic Convention

I grew up watching Bruce Timm’s Justice League animated series and could not be more excited about a live-action movie. So, when I successfully got San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) tickets as a first time attendee (Read my first impressions here) I was beyond thrilled that the Justice League cast planned to do a fan autograph signing during the convention. While I knew that it was going to be near impossible to get their autograph, I  made it a top priority to snap some shots of the entire cast at the DC booth – even though I faced several roadblocks. It didn’t say anywhere on the program when they were going to do the autograph session and staff members were quite hush hush on the details.  Attending SDCC on Saturday July 22nd was beyond crazy. There were crowds of people and swarms of fans left and right. And of course there was a DC meetup so I made sure to dress up as Amazon Princess herself – Wonder Woman! I got to meet some incredible cosplayers and was interviewed by LA Times (here). They asked, “Why cosplay as Wonder Woman” and I was lucky enough to be one of the Wonder Women featured!     img_6372-1After the DC shoot, I heard rumors that the Justice League autograph signing was going to happen in the late afternoon. Because I so desperately wanted to snap a few shots, I waited in the DC booth with 300 or so other fans just to try to get a glimpse. I felt like a can of sardines, but it was incredible when they finally came out. They also dropped a new trailer moments before the actors came out and it was very apparent that the Man of Steel will not be absent in this film.

Which villain do you suspect will make an appearance in the live action movie? I’m hoping for Dark Side!

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Day 2 – Wonder Woman rallies the Justice League at LA Comic Con

I can’t believe that the Justice League movie is coming out this week! (!!!!) I already reserved my movie tickets to watch it on Thursday night, but to celebrate I’m going to dedicate this week’s blog posts with all things Justice League – yay!!! So today’s post will be a throwback to when I cosplayed as Wonder Woman at LA Comic Con.

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DC Photoshoot and Cosplay Contest 

Saturday, October October 28th was epic on a number of fronts! It was the day when all San Diego Comic Con returning attendees entered the lottery to purchases badges (I’ll be returning! Yay!!) and the entertainment lineup at LA Comic Con was beyond amazing! My friends and I made sure to allocate enough time to get a wristband to watch a private Black Eyed Peas Concert and see Dwayne Johnson, more commonly known as The Rock! And of course we kept our eyes opened to recruit Justice League mini shoots! img_6342There were tons of guests dressed for Saturdays event and a designated DC meet-up outside the convention center. I got to hang-out with various members of the Justice League and strike some fierce poses with gang. Everyone was so nice and it’s great to see all the characters brought to life. I especially loved all the kids cosplays! The Batmans and Flashes were adorable!

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Stan Lee & Black Eyed Peas; Dwayne Johnson; DC Photoshoot; Cosplay Contest 

After the DC photoshoot my friends headed towards the main stage to catch a glimpse of the A-list celebrities. Stan Lee made an appearance when the entire Black Eyed Peas came up to talk about their new Alternate Reality Comic Book vision and “The Rock” one man act was a great closer for the evening. Afterwards my friends and I migrated to the Nova theater to see a front row seat at the Black Eyed Peas concert – but that’s story for another blog entry.

I think you all know who’s my favorite Justice League member, but who’s yours?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Veterans Day Celebration at Hero’s Hall in Costa Mesa, CA

This past Saturday I attended the “Salute to Veteran’s” community event held at the OC Fair Grounds in Costa Mesa, CA. The fun family friendly gathering had a great turnout and there was live music and entertainment, bounce houses and free food for veterans. Additionally there were 70+ booths with information on services for veterans including employment opportunities, health screening among other resources.img_6235Many veterans attended the event with their spouses and kids and I made sure to shake their hands to thank them for their service. Yet, not all servicemen and women were fortunate to attend,  so I made a thank you card at one of the vendor booth stations as a small gesture to thank thank for their service. img_6236I had a great time looking at all the military vehicles and see our military men and women united with their families, but the moment that stood out to me the most was when I entered Hero’s Hall. There were so many powerful images and it reminded me on the sacrifices men and women make every day so that we can live freely.  Thank you for your service and may God bless you.

Freedom isn’t free – how will you thank a vet?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Day 1 – Chun Li takes on LA Comic Con

I’ve been on an enormous cosplay kick these last few months so it shouldn’t be a shock that I spent so many days portraying different characters throughout October. (Click here for more cosplay!) The week and weekend leading up to Halloween was beyond exhausting and I’m still contemplating how I lasted – ha!!  So, my apologies for being MIA on the blog, but lets get right to the good stuff! Here are some photos and reflections from Day 1 (Friday) of LA Comic Con formerly known as Stan Lee Comikaze!   Last year was the first year I attended this convention and for readers who are curious about what a geek convention is like this is a good one to start! It’s no where near as crazy as the famous San Diego Comic Con but there are a good number of vendors and celebrity guest attendees! img_6157-2Friday was a pretty low-key day where guests could focus on shopping and snapping photos of their favorite cosplayers. I dressed up as Chun Li from Street Fighter met up with the adorable Cosplay Parents. I also saw someone dress-up as Jem from Jem and the Holograms and there were a number of girls dressed as Cammy, making the Chun-Li vs. Cammy battle one for the books. It was great to see so many familiar faces at the convention and while my goal was to do all my shopping that day, I took a ton of photos with friends and fans. img_6167On the floor, Hot Topic sold four exclusive LA Comic Con Funko Pops along with other seasonal Pops at their booth. I successfully purchased the last Halloween Town Sora – isn’t he so kawaii?!

If you could pick any character to battle Chun Li would you pick?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Coldplay – A Head Full is Dreams Tour at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA

Growing up I’ve had the mentality to wait – for the latest gadget to go sale, the hottest trend to cool down etc. and while that’s a great philosophy to abide by I’ve learned over the years that nothing lasts forever and that some things are worth the investment. I’ve always wanted to see Michael Jackson perform live, and since he’s gone I won’t ever be able to change that. As a result, I always make it a priority to watch live performances because I won’t know if I’ll get that opportunity again in the future. Last Friday my friend invited me to watch Coldplay at the Rose Bowl Stadium and while I’ve heard nightmare stories about parking and traffic (there was a Dodgers Game, Lakers Games, plus another concert going on in the area), but I knew that it’d be worth it.

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Tove Lo and Cold Play

To avoid the $40 parking fee at the Rose Bowl Stadium my friend and I parked at the Parson’s Parking Lot ($15 onsite) and took a shuttle to the stadium. If you pre-order your shuttle tickets online it’s $5 versus $10 round-trip at the venue. The show start time was 7pm and we parked at 6:30 and got to the venue at 6:50, just enough time before Swedish singer Tove Lo performed. She belted out her hits including: Talking Body and Habits. Cold Play came out around 9pm and boy was it a psychedelic performance! Each audience member had a light-up wristband, there was fireworks, and lots and lots of lights. Even after the performance I think I was still seeing stars. haha…

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Stadium with a full audience

Music feeds the soul, and listening to a performance live has is an experience that in unmatched.  Your eyes and ears get this rush from the audios and visuals, and you’ll find yourself dancin’ and fist pumpin’ to the beat.  I was definitely up and off my seat when Coldplay performed Yellow, Paradise, and Something just Like This – it just couldn’t be helped. They did an amazing show and I was glad that I got to be a part of it.

Whats your favorite Coldplay song?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

Geeking out at the 2nd Annual Nerdbot Con in Pasadena, CA 

I’ve been on a nerd/geek convention kick as of late and when I learned about a new one in Southern California I was excited to see what it was all about. Just in its second year, NerdBot Con is the latest addition to mark residency at the Pasadena Convention Center. The one day convention boasted of it’s large cosplay presence so I dusted off my Wonder Woman uniform, grabbed my Lasso of Truth, and flew my invisible jet to get a first hand look at newest geek gathering.

Snapshots from the convention

The two story venue made for a lovely location as there was natural light and ample space for artists and vendors to display their work.  One artist even drew a cartoon version of me – pretty accurate if you ask me 🙂 Check out his website: Jack of All Nerds Podcast.  The intimate gathering also delivered on costumed attendees as they certainly attracted many diverse cosplayers and photographers.

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cosplayers at the convention 

I also got to meet and take a photo with Carla Perez the actress who played the original Rita Repulsa from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. She complimented my Wonder Woman cosplay and encouraged me to cosplay as her character!! Oh!!! The creative juices in my brain are turning.

Which character  should consider brining to life at my next con?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Nibbling at Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

When I first started attending tastings I remembered the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival setting the bar of how all food festivals should be – refined and elegant, but casual and relaxed, all while highlighting the dishes as the stars of the show. I remembered each bite bringing together a myriad of bright fresh ingredients with complex flavors.  This festival has since become a household name and this year’s increase in guest attendees reflects it’s popularity. I had the opportunity to attend the event again this year and the culinary lineup for 2017 was equally spectacular.

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Snapshots from the event

During Sunday’s tasting my plus one and I enjoyed the finer things in life and indulged in so many delicious tastes. Many of Southern California’s most esteemed fined dinning establishments were present including Pelican Grill and Bar, Red O-Restaurant, and Alexander’s Steakhouse just to name a few and there was an abundance of seafood and steak options. If you love wine there’s not better place to sample so many different varieties, though I fancied the Kentucky Straight from Duke Bourbon. There was also a cooking demonstration by Top Chef contestants Chef Amar Santana and Katsuji Tanabe and viewers had an opportunity to sample their version of arroz con pollo. It was hilarious to see those two banter back and forth.

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Seafood and Steak noms

If you love seafood and steak, this event harmoniously brings two of my favorite proteins together with class and style. While many vendors offered them prepared in a variety of manners – marinated with secret ingredients, roasted, fried, my favorite dish was the Baja cocktail served in a tin-can from A&O Kitchen and Bar. It was simple, but the large chunks of charred squid and shrimp paired with the creaminess of the avocado on a crunchy tortilla chip just made it a perfect afternoon bite. It reminded me how good squid tastes and how infrequent I eat it.

If you could have a festival featuring your favorite protein exclusively what would you choose?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Chowing down tasty noms at the Taste of Santa Ana

Over the weekend I was invited to the Taste of Santa Ana at the lot of MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana. I’d gone to this event in the past, but this year definitely takes the cake in being their best year yet! From the pumpin’ live performances, to the fun giant games spread across the event, to the delicious noms and sips, this event has grown tremendously, and I had a great time. There were over 40 different food and beverage vendors and they all gave enormous portions for patrons to enjoy. There was everything from burgers from Slaters 50/50 to tacos from Wokano and everything in between.

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Snapshots from the event 

One thing that made this tasting stand out was the accessible price-point. There were many families at this event and at $25 for general admission, this AYCE extravaganza plus entertainment makes it an easy family-friendly outing for everyone to enjoy. There was so many options and my friends and I confess that I made extra rounds for dessert – The pear tart yogurt from Yogurtland was sinfully addicting as was the Italian ice from Mustache Mike.

 

Whats your favorite dessert?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar