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January 22, 2015

New York, New York, big city of dreams

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a somewhat spontaneous trip to New York. I booked my flight for the following week and went out for a quick adventure. Though I had missed out on most of the day thanks to an early morning flight and the time difference, but I landed in New York with bright eyes.

I couldn't believe it had been six months since I'd last been in the city! Time has flown by, and it took me by surprise. But getting back to the city felt so familiar to me -- it was so easy falling back into the groove of trains and walking around, friends and copious amounts of pizza.

Before I dig in, please excuse the quality of the photos. I used my phone for all of these, though I did take my DSLR with me. There's something about New York that is so very different from Los Angeles -- in LA, I feel almost encouraged to take my camera out. In NY, I was much more nervous...as if I were being judged. Isn't that so strange?? 

Not really sure what that's about. But I didn't take my camera out, so I've tried to pick the least terrible photos to illustrate my trip.

My first night in, I dropped my stuff off at a friend's apartment and made my way to grab pizza with my friend, Grace. We went to Luzzo's in the East Village, followed by dessert at Veniero's. I need to tell you about how much I've missed New York pizza. I don't know what it is, but something about it makes it so delicious!

It was so great feeling mobile again, being able to travel alone on the train and walk wherever I needed to. There is a certain liberty that New York affords, and I missed it dearly.

As far as bagels go, I had my fair share. There's nothing like bagel sandwiches to me -- a nice everything bagel with egg, turkey sausage, and a smidge of vegetable cream cheese. Or regular cheese. Or just the vegetable cream cheese and nothing else.

But it has to be an everything bagel! Otherwise, you're totally missing out.

While I was in New York, I also had to make a stop by Ippudo to grab some pork buns. If you haven't had these yet, you've been missing out. To be fair, I haven't had a ton of pork buns before -- but these have set the bar high.

They're pretty pricey. Just two for $9, but if you're feeling the splurge, I definitely recommend! The ramen here is also pretty great. Again, it's a bit expensive, and the wait here can get crazy, but it's always a good time and you're sure to like whatever you get. My friend Lila had never been, so I knew it was a place we needed to go.

Who else would enjoy my insatiable love for pork buns more than someone who's never tried Ippudo's before?

Another highlight of my trip was our company's New Year party. I'm not saying that I planned my trip around this party...but I am saying that it happened while I was there and I was as prepared as I could've been.

We all got together and went to the Central Park Boathouse for good times and an ice bar. And ice bar! It was cold beyond anything else, and I was wearing a dress, but everything was completely worth it. I made some new friends and lasting memories. 

And then, there was brunch! If you don't know anything about me, one thing to note is that I love brunch. I had the best of both worlds -- pizza brunch and crabcake with poached eggs brunch. That's what I'm talking about!

If you're ever looking for somewhere to eat (or you're headed for one of the more popular spots in SoHo and the wait is crazy), head on over to Mother's Ruin. Their crabcakes are lip smackingly good. Their grilled cheese is something else -- cheese melted on top! And on the inside! Cheese overload, it's like a dream come true.

And, of course, a new storefront for Xi'an Famous Foods opened up near my office, so I had to go check it out. Barely any wait, the food was quick, and it's definitely something to write home about.

My pick is the N1, but everyone has their own meal that they stan. Are you a C1? B3?

My trip to New York was so much fun. It was short lived, but a wonderful little break from life here in LA. And it'll be the last trip I take before buckling down for some hardcore studying. I'll let you all know how that goes.

I'm so thankful for wonderful friends who came to see me and made time to make my trip memorable. From my friends Roxy and Micah for letting me stay with them last minute, Cynthia for introducing me to the wonderful world of Hanco's, Kim for letting me crash at her place (which was a ten minute walk from the office), everyone at work for showing me such love and reminding me how lucky I am for great co-workers and friends, Susan for the green tea when I really needed it, and then some.

I'm one lucky girl!

As I got on my plane and we chased the sunset across the country, I reflected a lot on where I am at this point in life. I've been feeling in limbo for the past few months, and I wasn't sure what I was going to do or what sort of trajectory I wanted.

This trip helped me clear my head and gave me many different perspectives, mostly all to say this: no matter where I go, no matter what I decide, the world will still be standing and I'll still be alive at the end of it. So it's okay. There's no reason to put all of that pressure and stress on myself. As long as I keep moving forward and challenging myself, I'll be getting somewhere.

Even if I don't know where that somewhere is yet.

And that's the end of my New York trip. As we touched down in LA, the clouds obstructing what's usually a brightly lit descent to Southern California, I reminded myself to be thankful.

Though I can't wait for my next trip (which is looking like it'll be in June -- perhaps Hawaii?)!

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January 19, 2015

Goodbye, Oregon!

I'm kind of sad that this is my last Oregon post for now, but I promise you it's a good one. 

This beach is empty to the point which it looks like a secret. Even though it's not a secret. It's just surprisingly...on its own. When you peek around the cliff in my last post, you'll find this amazing view.

And if you turn around, you'll find the other member of your party. The one who decided they didn't want to climb down and get their shoes wet. But you, brave adventurer, you decided to go down. And hopefully, you heeded the advice in my last Oregon Coast post and brought rain boots with you.

The mist from the waves creates a sort of haze through which you can see rock islands in the distance. They go on and on, seemingly forever. 

My sister and I commented that the area reminded us of The Goonies.

I'm still convinced there should have been a ship in the distance, waiting for us. Perhaps Orlando Bloom would come in dressed as Will Turner and -- oh. I'm getting carried away now.

If you have rain boots on, or the weather is nice enough for you to take your shoes off and go into the water, go in! Splash around and explore as much as your heart desires. If you're wearing normal boots like me, you might want to be a little bit more careful and find places to go that are safely above the waves.

"Bring me that horizon."

As much as I wanted to spend all day here, we had to go and get down the coast before it got dark. So we rushed off and onto a familiar place...

...Cooks Chasm, which you should remember from last time!

That geyser will always be impressive. 

On our way to our last stop, the sun burst through the clouds in another golden puddle in the middle of the ocean.

Can you believe how soft these waves looked? It wasn't just in the photos. The waves themselves looked soft and fluffy. Like they were happening in slow motion even in real life, through my own eyes.

We even spotted what we think are seals! Can you spot it?

In the end, you drive back to wherever you're going through what looks like miles and miles of forest. Magical looking forests that remind you of movies and stories you read as a child.

But still, what lasts in your mind is the memory of those waves. The rugged coast creating the most beautiful scene, and a lack of people that makes it all seem like your own personal adventure.

I can effectively say that I have fallen in love with the Oregon coast.

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January 15, 2015

The Oregon Islands

There's so much I want to say about this place, and so little that I know how to put into words.

When I last wrote, we were on our way after grabbing a taste of some oysters. We drove down through Newport and found a lookout point that was nearly empty. Only one other car was in the parking lot, and we were lucky enough to have the entire view to ourselves.

I believe this area's called the Oregon Islands. Personally, it makes me think of Treasure Island, or some pirate story in which I've found paradise. For lack of a better word, this place is absolutely magical.

Park your car and walk down this pathway.

It'll lead you through a patch of forest, which opens up to this view...

How about that for hello?

The classic jump shot while pulling my shirt down.

I'm sure you've noticed, but I got my hair done! I joined the ombre crowd. I think it makes me look a lot more beach-y and a lot more Korean.

But this is just the beginning. Take the stairs at the end of the path and into the forest. 

Keep following the mossy path until...

...this beauty is revealed to you.

Then prepare yourself for a little climb down, because you can go right to the edge of that cliff.

Right on the other side of that huge rock formation is a sliver that allows for the waves to sweep in. This picture definitely doesn't do it justice, but trust me when I say that it's breathtaking. You're wedged right between two cliffs, and very much in your own world.

Then you can peep back over by the cliff, where the promise of a beautiful beach awaits.

But I think that's enough for now. I promise to show you next time -- I have tons of photos I still want to share with you all!

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