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!

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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!

 

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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!

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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 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 (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,

 

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).

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

 

Toastea – Brick Toast and Summer Specials!

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.

 

Nutella Brick Toast with strawberries, blueberries, banana and cream #nomnom

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

Which drink would you be excited to try?

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

Ktown Night Market Recap!

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, Mix-E, India Jones Chow Truck, and  Sakura Monster

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, Taco Fix, and Manini Kine Grindz

 

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!

 

What would you be most interested to try?

 

XOXO

Rockstar

 

 

Miss Taiwanese World advocates for Taiwan Education Fair

As an educator I support all types of college and career pathways, so when the royal court was invited to attend a Taiwan Education Fair I was thrilled about the opportunity. Held at the Culture Center of Los Angeles over the weekend we networked with different universities and also learned about the international education options.

Representatives from the Universities in Taiwan

Representatives from twelve universities flew in from Taiwan to educate prospective students and families on the various programs and majors offered by the institutions of higher learning. Each university managed a booth where they provided pamphlets and brochures that highlighted their school’s claim to fame. Representatives charismatically spoke about their undergraduate, graduate, and study abroad programs and it was wonderful to see families learn more their options after high school.

The royal court with National Taiwan University representatives

I think students who are interested in doing business or international relations would really benefit from attending a school oversees. Not only will you be completely immersed in another culture which will force you to hone in on your bilingual skills, but it will truly open your eyes on learning about the beautiful Taiwan culture. Bilingual speakers are incredibly valuable and highly sought after, so this is an excellent opportunity for students to experience something new and also build their resume portfolio.

What should students know about life after high school?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

Alphabet Dinner – “V” is for Vaca

My girlfriend started an Alphabet Dinner Club where a group of friends would dine out once a month at a restaurant that starts with that letter. We’re currently near the end of the alphabet and were thinking of some Letter V options. We took a poll via Facebook on where we wanted to eat and decided on Vaca, a Spanish tapas restaurant, near South Coast Plaza. To say the least it was a VERY good choice. We ordered 15 different dishes for 8 to share and it was amazing. Get ready for some major food porn!

Shrimp – Argh… I can’t believe I’m going to start off this review without the proper description, but in essence it was pump juicy shrimp swimming in liquid gold (butter) – it tasted was wonderful.

1 La Bola ($9) – Crispy potato balls with ground beef, aioli, spicy tomato sauce – This dish kind of reminded me of Porto’s famous potato balls, crispy on the outside and soft and savory on the inside

2 Croquetas De Pollo ($10) – Creamy chicken fritters – To be honest I don’t remember much about this dish, but it wasn’t bad

1 Bruselas ($10) – Brussels sprouts, chorizo, sherry gastrique – Roasted brussel sprouts are always good in my book.

1 Maiz ($9) – Charred corn, lime, pimentón, idiazabal – Also good, but nothing out of the ordinary

1 Ensalada De Berro ($11) – Watercress salad, butternut squash, vermouth vinaigrette, manchego, almonds – I ordered this time and it was such a nice refreshing contrast to the other more rich and bold flavors. I loved the acidity of the beets and crunch of the nuts. It was one of our healthier dishes that definitely can stand on its own.

1 Pulpo a La Gallega ($15) – Warm Spanish octopus, fingerling potatoes, pimenton and Spanish olive oil – Fresh Octopus, what can I say 🙂

1 Bikini Sandwich ($13) – Paleta iberica, manchego, truffles, Panini – For a sandwich was I was incredibly impressed considering all the tapas we ordered. It’s kind of strange to match nutty with meat, but it had an incredible taste that was both warm and comforting.

1 Alitas de pollo ($10) – Fried chicken wings, blue cheese, salsa roja, pickled carrots – Solid fried chicken but

2 Erizos Con Huevo ($32): Fresh sea urchin scramble eggs, miso butter toast – This was definitely the star of the show. Everyone at the table LOVED this dish. Next time I would order this all for myself. O:)

1 Bizcoho Tres Leche ($10): Beautiful and tasty, the perfect way to end a meal

2 Calamares Rellenos ($28) – Charcuterie stuffed calamari, squid ink aioli – One of my friends loved this dish, but it was not my favorite

1 Mama Santana Flan ($7) – Wow! This is very decadent. One bite was definitely enough for me

1 Coliflor ($9) – Roasted cauliflower, tahini, raisins, lemon – Cauliflower is usually a very boring vegetable, but the preparation was done well and I loved the char of the plant

1 Beef Rib Steak – ($130.64) – Priced at $55 a lb. Our server informed us that we could hand select our steak and directed us to their display fridge. After carefully looking through all the steaks and taking into account weight and marbling, we selected a beautiful 2 lb 6 oz as our luxury treat. The dry aged ribeye was served medium rare with a crusty exterior and just melted in your mouth. Wow!

(Not Pictured) 1 Hueso Al Horno ($16) – Roasted bone marrow, beef cheek toast, citrus – This was absolutely delicious. We all loved the creamy texture of the bone marrow that we spread over the small crostini, but alas I must have been too delusional because I can’t find the photo of it. *Cries* But it’s definitely worth getting!

 

Which food item looked the most foodporn worthy?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Miss Taiwanese World joins the Chinese Calligraphy & Painting Society of USA’s 20th Anniversary Celebration 

Celebrating 20 years is an incredible milestone for any organization, and the Chinese Calligraphy & Painting Society celebrated by displaying a curated collection of both traditional and modernized artwork at the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Culture Office (TECO) in El Monte.

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Miss Taiwanese and Royal Court celebrating!

This intimate event began with a formal ceremony recognizing key members and ended with photos and cake cutting. It was a simple event, but one where I felt highlighted the artwork – the real stars of the show. Congratulations and thank you for allowing me and the royal court (Mr. and Teen titleholder) join in on the festivity.

How would you celebrate a milestone? Small with family and friends or a huge bash? Comment below!

 

XOXO,

Rockstar