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!
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:)
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 themhere. Limit 12 tickets per person.
What candy creation would you be most excited to see?
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!
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!
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.
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! After 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!
As a foodie I refuse to eat bad food, let alone expensive convention food. But with long lines, and long days it’s often hard to go too long without eating, and packing snacks/lunch is not only economical, but also healthy. At the time I was dieting for my Wonder Woman cosplay, so my choices leaned more on the nutritious side. I meal prepped the night before and packed roasted chicken, sautéed spinach, and quinoa in my tupperware for lunch. I usually ate out for dinner.
But if bringing your own lunch is too much of a hassel consider these snack items to munch on while you’re in line – you kill two birds with one stone and you won’t be hangry 😛 So here’s my list of food to bring to any convention. For convenience I buy in bulk at Costco
Packaged Seaweed – Seaweed has great health benefits is low in calories, and is low in calories. It helps curb my craving for something salty and it’s packs nicely in my bag. I usually get the 10 pack at Costco
Clementines – Easy to peel and sweet to eat. You can bring them as is, but I usually peel two cuties and put them in a tupperware for easy access and nom on them during the day. They’re always popular and you’ll make a lot of friends in line. Who can resist?
Figgin Fruit – At first I was skeptical about these snacks, because the last healthy bag that I bought tasted just that – healthy, yuck! But this brand is actually pretty tasty. It’s kind of like one of those bars, but in a bite sized circle form. At Costco they sell the Fig, Blueberry, and Acai flavor in a blue bag. I usually grab a handful and put them my tupperware or bag.
Meiji Hello Panda Chococlate Creme Filled Cookie – To be honest, I bought these because they were on sale at Costco, but it’s the perfect portion to curb my sweet tooth and they’re individually packaged so extremely convenient as well!
Ready Snack (carrots, grapes, cheese, and pretzel) – This was beyond convenient.
What do you bring for snacks when going out? If you’re going to LA Comic Con this weekend be sure to say hi! Chun Li (Friday), Wonder Woman (Saturday), and Sailor Mars (Sunday)
I still can’t believe that it’s already fall and that summer is behind us. Thankfully, I was able to capture the end of summer in a fabulous foodie fashion and made delicious memories. Over the Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend The LA Times – The Taste Sunday Block Party, where I got the chance to sip refreshing spirits and munch on tasty treats at Paramount Studios, CA.
The afternoon affair was complete with all the Labor Day BBQ favorites, but with a gourmet twist. Sliders with chunks of lobsters was Slapfish’s contribution and Dog Haus served their dogs on buttered brioche bread with all the fixin’s – Yum! Salt and Straw, a Portland based Ice Cream Shop that recently opened a branch in LA, was a favorite among attendees as the temperatures that day reached the 90s. I also got a chance to participate in an educational champagne tasting class where my wine glasses were never empty – cheers!
Chef Jet Tila of 101 Asian Dishes you Need to Cook Before you Die and Judge on Cut Throat Kitchen was also among several celebrity chefs at the event and he entertained attendees with a live cooking demonstration. I was luckily enough to snap a photo with this awesome Asian American as I allowed my belly to digest all the scrumptious samples from event.
I absolutely miss summer, but am excited about all the upcoming holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Which holiday are you looking forward to most?
Over the Labor Day weekend I came across a ridiculously awesome Flash Sale for a Six Flags Annual Pass. During that promotion I was able to get an upgraded Gold Pass with admission for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018, free parking, plus bonus “Holiday in the Park” ticket for a friend for just $80! Seemed like an amazing deal and since it’s been ages since I lasted visited Six Flags Magic Mountain I thought it’d be a great to revisit a theme park with my favorite DC characters and thrilling roller coasters!
I was completely thrilled at how they marketed their rides and restaurants. They had rides dedicated for Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, you name it! And if you’re a Flash fan, they have a “Big Belly Burger” – the best burgers across the universe according to Barry Allen.
Recently, they added a new family friendly ride called “Justice League: Battle for Metropolois” – held inside of “The Hall of Justice.” The interactive 4D ride allows guests (known as the “Justice League Reserves”) to shoot for points to rescue members of the Justice League captured by Lex Luther and The Joker. At the end of the ride, guests can view points earned and their shooting accuracy. If you love videos games, you’ll definitely love this ride!
My friend and I went on an incredibly hot day, so we can’t wait to go back during the winter season when it cools down. We stayed mainly in the DC area, but there are many other sections with some really cool coasters. Their season passes are also very reasonably priced and if you go twice it pays for itself.
All my travels this summer have been local, and while a part of me longs to fly away and explore new uncharted territories, I’m extremely lucky to have one of the most dynamic cities in my backyard – Los Angeles. Recently, I alongside my friend @foodiejudge (of Instagram) were invited to The Lexus Grand Tasting at LA Food and Wine at the historic Barker Hanger in Santa Monica where we wined and dined with some of the countries best chefs.
Twenty-five celebrity chefs from LA restaurant staples such as Bazaar By Jose,Astro Donuts, and Alexander Steakhouse plated the event and I was really impressed by the attention to detail placed on each dish. My friend and I enjoyed the diverse offerings and there were quite a few stations that incorporated exotic ingredients such as caviar, foie gras, and truffles. So fancy!! And of course there was plenty of beer and wine to go around.
Aside from the beautifully executed dishes and distinct alcoholic beverages, the venue location was also equally spectacular. The dramatic ceilings made for an impressive entrance to showcase some of Lexus’s specialty cars. I especially loved the car that was covered in LED lights. The event was definitely lit!
The afternoon event was sophisticated and fun, without being stuffy or arrogant. I especially loved how accessible the chefs were even got a photo with Celebrity Chef Brian Malarky, judge on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, and mentor on ABC’s The Taste! Overall, this was a great event and I can’t wait to go back next year!
What’s your favorite exotic ingredient to indulge in?
When I think of Labor Day Weekend I think of families and friends coming together to enjoy food and friendship, so when it came time again to attend the LA Times Annual Tasting event I was thrilled for another evening of scrumptious noms and sips. Saturday evening’s event entitled “Dinner with a twist hosted by Jonathan Gold” was almost too hot to handle, but a treat when enjoyed with people with great taste!
During the tasting my friends and sampled some unique flavor combinations in the Paramount Studios Lot. Some of my favorites were the black ink squid soup dumplings from Little Fatty as well as the lamb bacon and fig from Wolf. Yum! But the highlight of the night definitely was watching Phil Rosenthal (I’ll Have What Phil’s Having), and LA Time’s Food Critic Jonathan Gold speak about their culinary adventures on stage.
The evening also supported tourism for various countries and naturally I gravitated towards the motherland. The Tour Taiwan booth allowed “The Taste” attendees to sample Tea Station’s latte with artwork and boba and play games to win prizes. I was briefly interviewed as a past Miss Taiwanese World titleholder and got to mix and mingle with some other media personalities.
I’ve a veteran convention goer, but San Diego Comic Con is a completely other animal. The standard logic in making the most the most of a conventions don’t apply SDCC, and giving yourself enough time to secure an activity is of utmost importance.
For me, I absolutely love attending panels and I saw on the Comic Con app the new Marvel TV Show: Marvel’s Inhuman in Ballroom 20 – I definitely wanted to see that! So, after I hopped off the trolley, I headed straight to Ballroom 20 – arguable SDCC’s second most popular Hall. BTW, I highly recommend taking the trolley if you’re not staying in the Gaslamp District. Driving and parking in this area is really tough and expensive.
I was advised by some friends that if there’s a popular panel that you want to watch you should sit in on the panels before it to secure a spot. Not knowing if the new Marvel series would be a hit or miss I decided to sit through all the two panels beforehand. Luckily, the shows at least peaked my interest.
When I first entered Ballroom 20, I was blown away by the sheer size of the room, the room capacity is 4800 and and while it wasn’t overflowing, I’d say about 90% of the seats were taken. There were multiple screens for people to watch the panels so even at the back of the house attendees could still enjoy the panels.
After looking for single seats I was able to secure one about mid-way in the room. The Season 4 actors and actresses from “The Strain” all came out and they even showed us an exclusive clip from an upcoming episode. In a nutshell “The Strain” is an American horror drama television series about vampire zombies, and while it’s not really my type of show, it was cool chat with the cast.
The panel following was “Legion,” a series tied to the X-Men franchise. They showed an amazing silent film style clip of the mutants fighting to “Bolero” an orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel, and while the two ideas seem to clash it was so tastefully done. Prior to coming to this panel I knew very little about this series, but I left wanting to watch the entire series. Thankfully FX renewed Season 2 and the series is expected to air in February 2018.
Finally Marvel’s Inhumans Panel was up. I was beyond hungry at this point (my stomach kept growling at me), but was thrilled to learn all the juicy details on ABC’s newest series. The entire cast came and spoke about their auction experience and gave us some insight to their character. A number of them told us how they had no idea who they were auditioning for and after they were casted understood some of the very strange requests from the directors. It was pretty hilarious.
They then showed us a few teaser clips from the premier episode. One was of the royal family having a discussion on next steps and another was a battle scene between two unexpected characters.
The one thing I thought was silly was that they were going to show a premier of Inhumans THAT night – but it was scheduled to show right after this panel and at a location 15 minutes away. Good thing I’ll get to catch it at home on September 29th (8/7c).
Which show excites you most? “The Strain,” “Legion,” or “Inhumans”
One of my goals this summer was to eat healthier by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet, and limiting my carb intake. I often found it difficult to do both without sacrificing taste, but with an increase of poke shop poppin’ up, I’m able to accomplish both goals – so when my foodie friend (@Foodiejudge on instagram) invited me to the Poke Shack’s red carpet event to celebrate their Grand Opening I couldn’t say no.
The VIP event certainly was a show stopping one complete with a red carpet, live DJ spinning pop tunes, and photographers capturing every moment. I waited in a very short line to order my bowl, and since they’re customizable so you’re bound to have a great meal since you’re picking all the ingredients. I love salmon so I ordered two scoops of that and a scoop of ahi tuna. Both fish choices were really fresh and tasty, and they have an enormous selection of mix-ins and toppings so I definitely loaded up! However, next time I will omit the diced mangos since they tasted a bit unripe.
I think one thing that makes this poke spot special is their bamboo rice! I’m cutting traditional white rice out of my diet (as I mentioned above), so this was a nice substitute. My poke server also made a pretty flower design with a radish before handing me my bowl, which I felt like was a nice touch. Overall it’s a solid place to enjoy a healthy meal especially in a posh and sophisticated neighborhood like Beverly Hills.
What kind of mix-ins do you like in your poke bowl?