Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Victoria's Secret Angels & a Sexy Con Man

This past weekend was pretty eventful, but I can't help but complain about the weather. I grew up spoiled with the California sun! I was pretty lucky on Saturday though. It was mid 60's, perfect blazer weather. I woke up "early" for a Saturday and headed down to Soho, to have the chance of meeting 3 victoria secret angels, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr, and Candice Swanepoel (PulseJFK). I never imagined meeting any of them, but of course as I always insist people need more of, PATIENCE! I waited around and stood by them while they took pictures for the press. Before signing autographs, they took a quick break when I was able to meet Alessandra. While they did not let us take photos with them (ugh) I was able to compliment her on her beauty! She replied with how beautiful my make up was. These three models were extremely sweet, not the cattiness people usually expect of models. Perhaps for this reason, they are the promotion models!

Since I had to buy a strapless bra, I was able to get in line for their autographs! I met a really cool guy in line who had purchased something just to stand in line. We were both freaking out about meeting them (well, again for me). After about 45 minutes of standing out in the sun, we finally made it to the inside line. They had requested that people not take pictures for copyright purposes, but I managed to sneak a photo. You know me! Never obeying the silly little rules. There were staff handing out sticky notes with our names on it, so that the models would know what name to write on their photo. It was an interesting set up because they were on a platform behind a table decorated with flowers, and you stand by yourself in front of them. They look at you, and sign, look at you, and compliment. It was frightening to be in front of these 3 gorgeous women! However, I enjoyed it - probably never going to happen again!

Alessandra, Miranda, and Candice.

After leaving the VS store, I headed down to lunch in Chinatown. Had some vietnamese food and a yummy avocado shake.  On a full stomach, I headed to City Hall, where I heard White Collar was filming.  I started watching White Collar in California, and never imagined watching Matt Bomer (Neal Caffrey) filming for it! I walked around in circles trying to find the set, but only saw their trailers. Out of no where, I see film crew leaving the site, and I thought I lost my chance. Little did I know Matt Bomer was standing right behind me! I turned around and smiled really big as I walked over to him. He shook my hand and introduced himself. I asked to take a photo with him and Tim Dekay (Peter). They were all so nice and thanked me for my support! 

Tim Dekay and Matt Bomer

As I was walking back, confused where the subway was, I bumped into Matt again! Of course super embarrassed, I didn't say anything and I ran in a random direction. I went home elated though!

That night I met up with Eric Kiang, my lil bro from China! Well not really, but I hadn't seen him since last summer when he came to California! His friends visited my apartment, then we headed out to Rattle N Hum, a cool bar/brewery near my apartment. The night was kind of random after that...

Sunday = bad weather = uneventful.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I heard that White Collar would be filming near my I decided to bring Joe, who is an even bigger fan of the show with me. We were SO lucky we bumped into him because we literally got to his trailer 30 seconds before he got there...the rain made us run so FATE brought us together. HAHA! Matt took one look at me and was like "Hey, I know you!!" I replied, "UH OMG YOU REMEMBER!?" Took a new photo under his clear umbrella and got to ask him a few questions. Joe was shaking afterward, as little as he wants to admit it. 

Matt saved me from the rain!

After work I tried to find the set of "Something Borrowed" while waiting to get my Macbook powercord fixed. Unfortunately, I neither fixed my powercord, nor saw any celebs, but I did find the set and the trailers. Better luck next time! The set is actually moving up towards my workplace, so hopefully I can see something on Friday, or over the weekend. Hopefully, Kate Hudson! 

Headed to "The Restaurant" set tomorrow for the Food Network with Annabelle and Yaniv. I hope it doesn't fall through this time!!

Til next time!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Because I care.

Well..I should be working on my TEFL certification, Unit 12 Modals and Passive voice. But who's to say what I do these days anyway... I'm a graduate! I love the real world :) However, inspiring myself to do homework now... must mean I really like the subject.

What have I been up to lately? A whole lot of nothing at work! Since my main manager is on vacation, I'm pretty bored doing the mundane. Anneken and I have had some amazing conversations this week though. I learned all about the European Union's structure and the German political parties, as well as "reported speech" for Unit 10 of my TEFL... I have gotten really into reading the news daily, even though it depresses me to see the turmoil around the world. When will people see that it doesn't matter how we dress, what we look like, and how we feel? When it comes down to it, we are all skin and flesh and need to cooperate to save this world that we are living in. Ok, that's about as hippie as I get.

Outside of work, I have occupied my free time with a little thing society likes to call "volunteering", and guess what...I love it! Never do I feel like it is something juvenile delinquents do to fulfill their unhappy lives for their probation hours.  It's some time out of the week where I stop thinking about myself and start thinking about those who really need other's help.

I recently joined New York Cares, a volunteer organization that started with a few friends who wanted to help out in a soup kitchen.  These days, the org boasts a few thousand volunteers.  It's flexible, meaning you can fit in volunteering to any day of your schedule, no weekly/monthly commitments necessary. There have been so many volunteers that New York Cares doesn't even have enough projects to supply!

On Saturday, I completed my first project with NYCares with the REACH students from the Bronx.  We met up at the Sony Wonder Tech Lab so that they could explore the wonder of science and technology. Not only were the kids awesome, but the other volunteers are amazing people. I met a woman my age who had participated for a year, and we hit it off from the moment we shook hands.  The team leader even asked us if we were friends beforehand!

Today, I went to my second project on the Lower East Side, at the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) center to help new Chinese immigrants with conversational English.  My language partner was so sweet! Mrs. Wang (王妈妈)and her husband moved to New York to live with her son's family a month ago, and have been looking for conversational English group. Fate had brought us together, but I thought her English was phenomenal! We got along so well that our conversation lasted for 2 hours, non stop! She didn't know that our volunteering was a week to week basis, so when I let her know that I was not able to sign up for next week because the group was already full, she was upset! I had to ask the team leader to sign me up for next week, no matter what, he finally said okay! The funny part was that after our conversations, 王妈妈's husband came up to me and said "My wife was very lucky because you were the only language partner who could speak Chinese". I laughed and replied, "This is an English learning center, I'm not going to make it that easy for you!"

Anyhow, volunteering has opened a whole new world to me, I have actually looked into more volunteering opportunities in NY as well as future opportunities in Shanghai. There are plenty! I have messaged one org about "garbage scuba diving" and as gross as that sounds it is to help clean out the Hudson river in NY or Huangpu river in Shanghai. If you won't do it, who will? Me! What an experience too! If I die from toxins and such, I died trying to save the planet rather than gorging myself with mercury-ridden tuna sashimi! (Read the news, its true).

Even with volunteering, my celebrity hunt has not escaped me. I visited the set of Kate Winslet's new show "Mildred Pierce", and I now know that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise live next to my friends apartment, close by. This should be fun. :) I'm trying to see Naomi Watts speak about her new movie on Sunday, but not sure if she is scheduled to be in Soho.

Anyway. I hope this post is inspiring to you young folk out there to become more active in your communities. Because really...what have you done today? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh. Canada.

Paraphrased blogging style yet again. I hate when I wait so long before a new post.
I'm awaiting my mother's photos.

Friday April 2nd. 
Half day of work. Why? I can't remember. Wow.
Cleaned my my parents wouldn't think I was the same piggy that left their house 4 years ago.

Saturday April 3rd. 8AM. [family time!]
First Saturday in a long time that I woke up so early.
Mom called to say they (my family) was almost to my apartment.
We went to starbucks for breakfast then a fast 6 train ride down to battery park.
Saw the insane line of 1000+ people waiting for the ellis island ferry so started to walk uptown.
Saw ground zero, last time I visited was in 2002. Time flies, and not much has changed...
Trotted over to Wall Street then finally to Canal, where I showed my parents the BEST 蛋挞 [egg tart] in all of Manhattan! They showed me that the portuguese style tasted better than the original...they were right.
Brought them to the best 珍珠奶茶 [bubble tea] place around the corner. 天仁!
I'm pretty sure my brother said he was exhausted so we took the 6 train up back to my apartment and walked to Times Square, where we were staying [Marriott Marquis].
Along the way had pho at Pho32. Wasn't that bad, wasn't super either.
Relaxed the rest of the afternoon, stared out into Times Square from my window.
Met up with Ryan, my cousin studying at Columbia, for dinner. Our attempt to eat dinner in Times Square was futile. I HATE Times Square now.
We ended up taking the subway 1 stop [for my mom's sake] to K-town, where we had korean bbq!

Sunday April 4.
Woke up around 10, 'trekked' from Times Square back to my apartment, picked up the car and headed to Toronto!
Brother begged for Dunkin Donuts only to realize after the first bite of his bagel, it wasn't all he thought it to be.
Drove for 7+ hours, slept and drooled most of the way there. Ate an entire bag of cinnamon sugar pita chips. Guilty pleasure.
Finally reached Niagara Falls and stayed at Fallsview Marriott overlooking the falls, hence "Fallsview".
Walked around during the brief remainder of the daylight and had dinner at one of the many chain restaurants. Tony Roma's. I think the last time I ate at one, I was 6.

Monday April 5.
Late start to the day yet again! Love sleeping in.
Walked down to Niagara Falls with the family. Paid to go behind the water fall too.
While in the tunnels, you can actually feel the pressure weighing down on your body. Apparently, the negatively charged ions in the water are also extremely rejuvenating considering our positively charged ions in our body are what gives us cancer. Nerdy!
Because we were too lazy to walk back, we took a tram...up a little hill, and actually paid money for it.

After YEARS of waiting, I finally made my pilgrimage to HOCKEY HALL OF FAME.
It reminded me of basketball hall of fame in Springfield. Not much displayed, but the only thing worthy was the trophies! Saw the ORIGINAL Stanley from Lord Stanley's time. And kissed one of the rotating Stanley Cups. Yes, there is more than one, one always remains in the hall of fame.

Visited the CN tower, and got over my vertigo and stood over a glass plate 113 floors above ground, something I couldn't do when I was 9 [so my dad says].

Had hot pot in Toronto's Chinatown, which was decently sized and had some pretty authentic food. Yum! Bubble tea to end the night.
Drove 1.5 hours back to Niagra Falls.

Tuesday April 6.
10 am start to the day.  :) Packed up our baggies and headed back towards the American border.
Briefly stopped over at American falls and Bridal falls.
Snapped some pictures and headed through New York only to head back up to Canada. Montreal!
Checked into Chateau Champlain Marriott, right next to Bell Centre, where the habs play.
Why so many Marriotts? Because I know someone in corporate and got a special discount :)
Had dinner along Saint Catherine's, smack center of downtown. Some chinese restaurant within a subway. Classy...but REALLY yummy.

Wednesday April 7. 
Finally got up a little earlier. Weather sucked so we did most of our sightseeing from our car.
Drove past Olympic stadium. Took a few snapshots.
Headed to Vieux-Montreal [old Montreal and old port].
Ate at a little cafe and had a panini. Of course dessert was flambéed right in front of us.

Visited Montreal's Notre Dame cathedral.

Vieux Montreal reminded me a lot of Vieux Nice, minus the beautiful weather.
Weather can seriously affect the emotions you feel towards a city and the impression it leaves you.
I went on a hunt for "Queue du castor" [beaver tail] a popular dessert that resembles a beaver tail, but majority of the replies I received led me to nothing. Next time, I guess.
Bought a few gifts for my managers, and my Marriott corporate contact. Some maple soap and candles. Smelled really yummy, and the price agreed.
Walked to Montreal's chinatown, which I'm sorry to say was pathetic. One block. not even comparable to our measly k-town on 32nd street. Who cares, I still found bubble tea. :) Wasn't good, but I drank it.
Visited the infamous "underground city" and was disappointed, it was literally tunnels with some shops [which were all closed]. For those who have experienced TW's underground cities, don't visit.
Had dinner at the chinese place again, but my brother wanted a subway sandwich instead this time.
Walked up and down Saint Catherine's, lined with designer stores. It was pretty crowded for a cold Wednesday night.

Thursday April 8.
Headed back down to NYC!
On the way had a REALLY good meal in vermont which ended with MAPLE CHEESECAKE. I want more.
Made a stop off at SMITH! I didn't realize how much junk I had left behind...I have to figure out how I am shipping this stuff..but first I need to know to where it will be shipped!
Finally made it back to NYC!
Checked back into the Marriott Marquis, and this time we had a FULL view of Times Square from the 43rd floor.
JUNIORS CHEESECAKE FOR DINNER! So warm, we ate outside on the patio.
My dad must have been hungry since he ordered an appetizer plus a soup plus a 10 oz burger. AND cheesecake.
Got my red velvet cheesecake. Yum. If you haven't realize by now, it's all about food and drink with me.

Friday April 9. 
First time we woke up EARLY. I mean, like 9 AM. We had a busy day!
Skipped breakfast and walked from Times Square to the Intrepid, the air craft carrier on the Hudson River.
Took a cab to my workplace where I dropped off various gifts to my managers. Showed my parents my little workspace, and introduced them to the other interns.
Took the train down to E. Broadway [real chinatown] and had a great dimsum lunch.
Forced my parents to follow me to Shuang Wen elementary school [yup the school I volunteered at during January]. Got to see all my smiling 3rd graders. I didn't realize how much I missed them!
Got 3 boxes of girl scout cookies [I only buy Caramel Delights, or Samoas].
Took the train all the way up to 57th street, base of Central Park.
Walked for a couple hours through the park with my family, all the way up to Belvedere Castle on 79th.
We were pretty exhausted by then.
Hopped on the subway again to K-town and showed my parents Woorijip! Best store in K-town.
Slowly trekked back to Times Square.
Had to jolt myself up for LION KING on broadway! It was a spectacular show, I would definitely go watch it again, but maybe not pay $128 to see it. Row 5 was great, THANKS DADDY!
Where did we end up after the show? Junior's cheesecake, conveniently located across from the Marquis and next to the theater....

Saturday April 10. 
Visited a family friend in NJ who took us out to a sushi buffet. You bet I crammed my face like none other. You know what's the best? Green tea soft serve. Um,  yeah!
My parent's had to rush back to NY to drop me off and say their goodbyes.
Pretty lonely the rest of the day.

Sunday April 11.
Happy birthday daddy! Too bad we didn't get to spend it together, but you ate enough cake the previous 2 days to last you a year! :)
Ran some errands. Love Trader Joes.
Met up with Annabelle, Kelley and Yaniv to visit the Central Park Zoo. It wasn't very big, but it was a great NYC outing on a BEAUTIFUL day.

Yesterday April 12. 
My manager is still really busy with reports that don't concern me, can't wait to start planning the next event though!
After work, I went to the New York Cares volunteer orientation. I am so excited for my first volunteer project coming up on Saturday!
Afterward, I headed to Annabelle's apartment for dinner and Gossip Girl! What a great way to start the week.

Today April 13.
Same 'ol same 'ol.
But...I WORKED OUT. How long has it been? 3 months? was about time.

Sharks vs. Avs game 1 of round 1 playoffs.
FRIDAY- half day of work. Thanks Annabelle for inviting me to be on the Food Network! Yup! More to come later!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

District of Chaos

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit DC to meet up with my past couchsurfers as well as take in the beautiful cherry blossoms blooming along the tidal basin. Of course after laughing at my couchsurfers for choosing "the best weekend" to come to new york when it was pouring rain, I myself chose "the best weekend" to visit was in the 50s, after peaking at 80+ the week before...

I took a half day on Friday and ran to 33rd at 7th to catch the Bolt bus, a four hour trip to downtown DC. I was impressed with the legroom and leather chairs that reclined more than 10 degrees on the bus. While bus rides are never comfortable, the trip to DC went by fairly quickly, as I checked my iPhone map constantly...

I made it to 10th st & H st around 5pm and figured out the subway system pretty fast. Thank goodness for iPhone applications, as I pre-downloaded a picture of the metro map. Unlike NYC, you have to keep your one way ticket in order to get out...On the metro along the way to my couch surfing host's apartment, I lost my I had to plead with the metro security to let me out, otherwise the gates don't let you through! I explained that it was my first time ever on the Metro, and had no idea i still needed my ticket. I still thought it was strange that I had lost it in 5 metro stops.  On another note, I was in awe of how clean DC's metros are!

Capitol Hill at Sunset (from my phone) clean!

I met up with my 2 couchsurfers for their friend's birthday dinner at an Afghani restaurant. The food was amazing and CRAZY story is: Rita, the girl who was celebrating her birthday was sitting next to me, and all of a sudden she starts speaking Chinese! (she is not chinese). She told me she studied abroad in Beijing fall 2008...I asked where...she told me BLCU! OMG. We were on the same campus at the same time, and I randomly meet her in Washington DC. How crazy is that!?! WHAT A SMALL WORLD! That night I felt a little sick, just from the rapid temperature change, so I had an early night in.

Spinach and lamb, yum!


Connie, my new york couch surfer!

Saturday morning was my time to explore the national mall area. I walked...a lot! My couch surfing host lives 2 blocks from the capitol, which is all at the very east end of the mall. I walked from the Capitol all the way to the washington monument, where the annual kite festival was occurring.  It took me forever to walk around all the active kite-flyers (?). From the monument I walked to the tidal basin, where the entire area was tree-lined with cherry blossoms.  Most of the trees had not budded yet, but it was still a gorgeous sight. I sat along the basin and just people watched for 30 mins.  I really had the yearning to go paddle boating, but I figured it was less fun when looking like an idiot by yourself. Hah! Traveling alone isn't always all that!

Capitol Hill

Kite festival on national mall.


For a late lunch I picked up some Thai food and awaited a call from my friends. I met up with Connie and her friend Arooj at Eastern Market, just about 4 blocks away from my apt. The flea market was beginning to close up, but there were a lot of cute/quaint accessories, nick-nacks, etc...just PRICEY! After perusing the street vendors, we hopped on the train to Virginia (?!) Yeah, random I know. We got a tip to go to Kings St. but it was so cold that when we got there we ducked into a Dunkin Donuts and sat there for an hour talking about what our latter plans would be...The conversation was hilarious, but so nice to get to know both of the girls better...through planning how to get home, where to party, etc.

We finally decided to take the metro back to my apartment, pick up some clothes for the night, and head to their apartment in Maryland (?!) Yeah, I know...far! It took us about an hour on the metro to get to Rockville, but we got back around 10ish, picked up some Lebanese food for dinner, and got dressed to go out. Around midnight we headed back down to DC (insanity), Georgetown to be exact and an hour and x-metro transfers later, we arrived at the Georgetown stop...which was a lot further than I expected. At least I got to see what this part of DC looked like...I was quite shocked. University ave by Stanford has some major competition. Georgetown's downtown is lined with Steve Madden, Betsey Johnson, Zara, American Apparel, Kate Spade, White House Black Label, Urban Outiftters, the list goes on and on. I would seriously lose my money at that school and seriously shopping instead of studying.

Around 1:30 we find a random bar, skip out of paying the cover (woot woot!), and enjoy some great music. Definitely an equivalent of a NYC dive bar in East Village, nothing more. BUT, I did have a great time and met some random people. Sadly, we left at 2...WHO DOES THAT? Well, we did, because the metro closes at 3 am. LAME! We ran to the station and caught the LAST subway and LAST transfer. Even though we left the bar early...we still got to bed LATE. Pretty lame. I think I'll stick to NYC nightlife. I have been so spoiled living in a city that literally never sleeps, plus transportation is such a huge convenience here.

After sleeping 4 hours on Sunday morning, I woke up at 10 so that I could do some last minute sightseeing downtown/at the national mall.  I took the metro for an hour again back to the Capitol to pick up my stuff, said bye to my host and gave her some dove chocolates (yum). With my large duffle I trekked to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. I reminisced about being 9 years old, as that was the last time I visited the museum.  I bought my brother and myself some dog tags...after we each had 2 sets before. I can honestly say the dog tags get cheaper looking each time.

One section of the museum made me particularly happy. It was a section about the WASPs (women air service pilots). During my first year at Smith, I wrote a paper exploring the origins of women in the air force during WWII, documenting Jacquelyn Cochran's efforts to institute women efforts during the war. It was amazing to see their uniform up close.

My first year seminar report!

I was constantly sending my parents pictures via text, and because they were so exhilarated that I was taking advantage of my time there, they started telling me what to see. "You should go see the Hope diamond at the National museum of natural history". I took my dad's advice and trekked across the mall to the museum, found the hope diamond (54 karat diamond in the Harry Winston gallery) and snapped a pic to send to my dad. "How in the world did you get there so fast?" Haha. New york must have trained me to walk with super speed. I went from the air and space museum, to the national history museum, to the White house, to the bus stop in 2 hours. This included sight-seeing as well.  I was pretty impressed especially with the weight of my duffle.  The ride back felt like forever, but I finally made it back to NY and bought a bubble tea on my walk home.

I overheard a woman saying thats not very big...I would like to see her pay for it.

Yesterday, I went to a chocolate taste testing at the Armani store on 5th ave. GORGEOUS store, with an amazing staircase (apparently imported from italy, weird).  I was visiting my longtime mentor who helped me get a job in Shanghai when I was there. She is the global CEO of Pricewaterhouse Coopers and is part of so many world-wide initiatives, I just can't keep up with her! She gave me so much advise regarding my future plans (or lack there of) and even suggested to find funding for me to travel through SE Asia! I love this woman! Anyway, the chocolate was amazing - even though a bit hyped up. Apparently this is the ONLY Armani store in the US to  carry the Armani/Dolci delacacies...which make a really great present to your out-of-state relatives and friends. That's exactly what she did...dropped $500 on chocolates. If only I had her "no-fear" mentality to strive for what I want...She is constant inspiration.

I'm happy to hear that my fellow student ambassadors of session1 are on their way to Shanghai in 2 weeks! I wish them a safe trip, and don't party too hard otherwise Shanghai won't have enough energy for ME!

Recently, I've also been playing travel agent for my parents, planning our trips and hotel reservations. If anyone can advise us on 5-star hotels in HK or Shanghai, it would be much appreciated. My parents are saying no to the Shangri-La in Pudong as we stayed their twice, and they somehow feel like I know another one (?!).

Til next time! Going to hockeyland (Canada) on Saturday and won't be able to post until the 2nd week of April.

Design by Creative Commons // Copyright 2009 Chaos of Gotham