Sunday, September 28, 2014

31 Days Blog Challenges

The other day I was going through Pinterest and ran through 30 blog challenges. Then, I was inspired to make my own and do my own 30 day blog challenge. I looked through some 30 day blog challenges and a lot of them were good. But, there was still some stuff on the list that I didn't want to do. Also, I thought it might be fun to make up my own ideas. While I was thinking of challenges, I wanted to focus on challenges that required me to do a lot of writing versus media. Although I do love taking photos and making videos. The challenges ended up going to 31 since there are 31 days in October. Towards the end of the list, I added challenges that related to fear or Halloween. After I finished the list, I realized that it might be difficult for me to finish the challenges, so I'm looking forward to October and seeing which ones I can complete! I'm excited for the unicorn zombie apocalypse writing challenge.

1. Your main goals in life, dreams, and passions, and expectations
2. Describe 3 major events in your life and the importance.
3. What is something you and your family connect with and wished you did more of?
4. Favorites in media: favorite song, favorite movie, favorite show, etc...
5. Favorite holiday
6. Top 5 favorite things to do
7. Name 10 things you do now that you weren't doing 10 years ago and name 5 things you hope to do in 10 years.
8. All about blogging, why you blog, started, and continue to do it.
9. Name things that you wish you were better at.
10. Name some thoughts and perceptions of yourself and what you think of them.
11. Name some bad habits
12. What are some lessons you have learned in life?
13. What is something you always look forward to?
14. What is the last dream you had?
15. Compile a childhood toy, something you cant leave the house with, something you have in your car, a photo, random object, and an outfit.
16. Things you always wanted to do, but never had a chance to do.
17. What inspires you? Don't forget to add quotes or certain moments that trigger why they inspire you.
18. Name 5 people who majorly influenced or helped you out throughout life.
19. Name 5 things people dont know about you until they actually spend time you.
20. What would you do if you saw an unusual object, plant, or bug nearby?
21. What do you feel will never change or will take lifetimes of progress?
22. What are some things you think you would never do?
23. Name a reason why you can't fall asleep.
24. What is something you been hoping for the longest time?
25. What app do you think you will still be playing 5 years from now?
26. What do you think a lot the people in your life are afraid of or the most prevalent misconceptions?
27. If you were to be an animal, which one would you want to be and why?
28. What are things you do to avoid ghosts or monsters?
29. What is currently your greatest fear?
30. Name an event in life that scared you.
31. Inspired by the song unicorn zombie apocalypse and that its a Halloween. Make a unicorn zombie apocalypse story.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

John Santos Sextist in River Walk Park

Yesterday, I went with Chen and Michelle A. to River Walk Park since they said that there would be a Jazz festival there. I believe it was my first time at River Walk Park although I been around the area. I thought it was an amazing venue.

When we got there I found out that there was only going to be one band playing and that was John Santos Sextist. I expected more bands, but it was still cool that it only focused on one group.

I thought that a lot of people were well prepared when I came and saw a lot of people sitting on lawn chairs. I had my own in my car, but I didn't think I would need to bring it.

There wasn't many food trucks there. But, me and my friends decided on the Gyro 2 go truck. It's pretty much similar to the Halah food truck in Davis.

All of the people who were performing on stage are public school teachers, which I found pretty cool. I wasn't too close to them, but I could tell that they all enjoyed playing music. I don't know too many name of songs, but the band did play a lot of popular ones. In addition, there were some people in the band who did their own composition and they performed it.

I liked that the pyramid lit up at night. It's one of the most recognizable buildings in Sacramento.

I thought that it was a really relaxing night and the music was good. I really enjoyed it. The band made me really appreciate jazz and encourages me to open up my interests. It also made me think that I should come out to more local events in Sacramento area.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

End of Summer BBQ Potluck

Last Saturday, I held my end of the summer BBQ potluck. Most of the friends who came also came last time. In addition, some new friends and buddies came as well.

This time around, I was able to get a new location, which was better in terms of what the site had to offer. But, the site was far from the parking lot and it was very hot. We had to make a few rounds to carry all the stuff to the site and I actually stopped a few times since I got tired real fast. I realized I forgot some stuff this time and I went to get it back. But, then later I realized we also didn't have ketchup or barbeque sauce.

After we set up, Eric R and I practiced taking some panaromic photos. He actually taught me how to do it since I didn't really know how to do it beforehand. I think panaromic photos are pretty cool.

I think one of the frustrating parts of the event was telling everyone where we were located and to help them get there. The site it located in the middle of the park and I guess it can be confusing to those who don't frequent the area.

I'm glad that we got a all girls picture. I wanted to an all girls picture too, but all the guys were preoccupied most of the time and enjoying themselves. Most of us girls just stayed in one area and ate and played games.

My friends daughter accidentally threw my beach volleyball in the pond and I started freaking out. I barely used that ball and I didn't want to lose it. Eric S. was the first guy I saw that wasn't too busy, so I asked him to help. He went in the water a bit and then we one of the other guys told him to check how deep it was first before going further. I think Eric S. made waves to make the volleyball go back to us and Ricardo was talking to it like a dog to make it come back. It eventually came back and I was happy. Then, the guys realized that there was a beach volleyball net pretty close to where we were and went to play. I wanted to play too, but I didn't want to leave my other guests alone. The majority of the guys ended up play for 3 hours and they had a pretty good time.  When they came back they were all really thirsty, but not quite very hungry.

One of the ideas I thought of this time around was to make ice balloons to out in my cooler. I thought it was a good idea for me since my freezer only made a few. Ricardo thought that the ice balloons were cool and almost brought a few with him, but realized they were going to pop.

When the guys came back, they joined the rest of us who were playing the Apples to Apples board game. We were almost done with that game. Before we played Apples to Apples, I brought a game with me that I had to spend some time making. I first found out about the candy game through Pinterest and thought that it would be fun to play. I thought it was pretty fun, but no one seemed to like candy or I think it would have been more fun. After Apples to Apples, the guys played a game of Spoons, which Xeng demonstrated and played too. Last game of the day was Jenga. All of the games that the guys played, they all looked like they were having fun and intense moments.

After those games, I realized it was getting pretty dark and cleaned up a bit and ate some food. I realized that we finished a lot of the drinks that we brought or they were almost finished. The only one that wasn't opened was Pepsi. And if you know me, I'm a fan of Coca-Cola or I think I might have dranked some of it. We didn't have time to do s'mores, but I think I did a good job cleaning up after ourselves although it was kind of dark.

I had lots of fun at the BBQ potluck. I'm excited for the next one, but I might try to find a more convenient spot. Also, I will try to make more room for games and try to make the next one the best one possible. Hopefully, next time I will get to participate in some of the sport games too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lessons learned from Las Vegas

Before I went to Las Vegas, I did not know much about it. I mean I know I did some research about what to do and where to visit. But, what I didn't realize until I visited was that most of Las Vegas is a gamblers paradise. The strip is essentially consist of hotels, casinos, and restaurants. I was kind of surprised I didn't think too much about it. I wouldn't say Las Vegas is one of my favorite places, but it's certainly an experience. Whenever I go anywhere, I do expect experience of some kind, whether is a culture shock, great food, history lesson, etc...

I learned that the strip is a center for money to be won, spent, and loss. Lots of money are won in the casinos, but also a lot is loss. Lots of money are spent in restaurants and local attractions, which helps boom the strip by providing jobs to locals. But, all in all, Las Vegas benefits from all the losses, wins, and other ways that money are spent. It gains a lot of tourists. And, what do tourists do? They spend money in Las Vegas at the restaurants, hotels, and souvenirs.

I also learned that there are things I like to see when traveling. For example, I like to see beaches, the city at night, and nice buildings or architecture. I also realized that I really appreciate originality. I know that the Caesar hotel in Las Vegas has a replica of the coliseum and statues of Caesar and the fountains. I think it's nice to look at and fitting to resemble the originals. But, I think there's something special to seeing original work. I mean after all, I guess that's why people are more excited to see the Roman coliseum in Rome and not the ones in Las Vegas, China, and other places.

Final Day in Las Vegas

We finally reached the 3rd day of our mini vacation in Vegas. By now, we are very exhausted, but still eager to explore the city. I've also noticed that the only moments that I get a chance to drink a beverage is either when I'm in the hotel or in a restaurant. I seriously tried looking for a water fountain, but I didn't spot a single one. I think there were times when I might have been dehydrated, but I didn't stop to make a purchase of a beverage. At my hotel, they have an ice vending machine, which is cool. I do like drinking ice with my beverages since it makes it feel refreshing.

I also noticed that Chen and her family has a much smaller appetite than me and eat maybe 2 times a day and I also kept in mind brunch was at 2pm. I did not want to wait until 2pm again until I can eat. So, before I went to sleep I decided to wake up earlier than usual just to get some pastries at Starbucks. I set my alarm around 7am, but I didn't think I would be able to wake up, but I did. At Starbucks, I purchased a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate croissant and milk with ice. Yes, I asked for ice in my milk because I love the feeling of cold drinks. I decided to finish the chocolate chip cookie and the milk before I headed out.

Chen and I were suppose to wake up early again to go swimming, but Chen wasn't ready to wake up and told me to go ahead. Instead, I decided to go explore other parts of the strip that I didn't have a chance to go to yet. I left a note for Chen that I would be back by 8:45am since I left my phone to charge and would only be bringing my Ipad to take photos. During my solo exploration, I checked out Tropicana, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, New York New York, and MGM Grand. I also had the opportunity to purchase the t-shirts for my family and friend. At a small souvenir shop, I finally found the type of shot glass I wanted to get. After some souvenir shopping, I realized that I might be 10 minutes late, but Chen would probably still be asleep.

While I was on my solo exploration, there was one thing that really freaked me out and doubt whether or not I would be able to further explore. There are some bridges that are designed specifically for pedestrians and it allows me to cross from one side of the street to another. It's wide enough for pedestrian crossing and reasonably stable. But, the thing is I'm afraid of heights. But, the bridge was the only way to get around, so I had to cross them by myself and think of other thoughts, so I wouldn't freak out.

When I was walking to Luxor and Manadlay Bay, I realized how far it was from my hotel and the rest of the places on the strip. I also noticed that there was no shade. I thought that area was a cool place to check out and I'm glad I made the trip there.

When I came back to the hotel, I woke up Chen because we were suppose to head out by 10am to buy tickets to see the O show. When we arrived at the booth, we immediately found out that they didn't have the show that we wanted to see and to purchase tickets at that time was practically double the price. Because of the circumstances, we eventually decided to watch either Jabbawockez or The Blue Man Group. Ultimately, Blue Man Group was chosen.

After purchasing the tickets for the Blue Man Group show, we browsed around Coca-cola world and the M&M store. I always like Coca-cola, so it was nice to get to the Coca-cola store. I considered getting a sweater, but decided not to get it. I was glad that I got to take a picture with the polar bear!

After Coca-Cola world, we headed right next door to the M&M store. The M&M store has 4 stories! There was lot of cute items in there and lots of things to take pictures with. I couldn't resist taking pictures with a few of them :).

While we were at the 4th floor, Ms. Green came and she was dancing with some staff and some other people joined in too.

We had to get ready for brunch after browsing through the M&M store, but while walking back I managed to get some photos of places around us.

I made some vines of places I saw while I'm in Vegas, but it's mainly just random stuff, like the beautiful ceiling in Caesar's Palace or the carousel at Wynn.

It would have been cool to visit the Pepsi store. But, I dont think there was one, so I didn't visit it.

For brunch, me and Chen took the monorail to the Paris Hotel and went to Mon Ami Gabi. I was quite excited to have brunch there. The place is right across from Bellagio and has a pretty decent view of the water show. For brunch, me and Chen shared a chicken and mushroom crepe, which was delicious. I had a hard time deciding whether I liked the crepe better at Mon Ami Gabi or La Crepe in Davis. We also ordered one of the steak frites. I found both dishes to be delicious. While we were there, we ordered the chocolate mousse. I like the chocolate mousse, but I thought that there were places in Sacramento that had better chocolate mousse.

After brunch, I wanted to explore The Wynn since I heard that it's very beautiful and has a lot to see. So, we walked pretty far and explored the Wynn, a bit of Palazoo and also walked through Fashion Mall for some time before we headed back.

When we walked back to the hotel, we had little time to rest since we had to rush to make it to the show, which was in Monte Carlo. We were early for the show as they only begun to let people in. Overall, I thought that the show was ok. I like the beginning part of it more.

After the show, we explored Hershey's and Reese's. I thought that some of the souvenirs were also cute, but I didn't buy anything. Our last stop was dinner, which was at Hard Rock Cafe. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that we can have a view when eating. It was definitely nice eating a good burger while watching Las Vegas night life.

I think that was the best way to end my night in Las Vegas. Just relaxing and thinking about what I have experienced while enjoying a meal with a beverage. Not to mention the view was great :).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada

For my first day in Las Vegas, me and Chen wanted to go swimming early in the morning. Originally, we were going to go to the Grand Canyon tour, but the tour takes up a whole day, so we didn't choose to do the tour.

The both of us didn't end up getting out of bed until an hour after our alarm rang. I'm usually good at waking up right when my alarm rang, but I just turned mines off and went back to sleep because I was just tired.

Good thing, we both got up and ended up at the pool. It's always nice to be in a pool, especially in Las Vegas :).

After swimming, me and Chen met up with her mom and her mom's friend. We bought monorail tickets, so we wouldn't have to walk around as much. First, we headed to Monte Carlo since someone recommended a dining place to check out, but we didn't end up eating there. After checking out the food court at Monte Carlo, we took the monorail to The Quad/The Linq center and ate brunch at Hash House a go go. We didn't eat until 2ish and I was really hungry by then. It was recommended to share dishes at Hash House, so we split 2 dishes amongst the 4 of us.

I don't remember the name of the dishes I ordered. But, I thought it was really good. I dont have many brunch meals with meat and potatoes, so I like that.

After eating at Hash House, Chen headed back to our hotel to gather a few things before we headed out to see the Stratosphere. We took the monorail to the Stratosphere, which is the last stop on the monorail.

Ok, so we didn't end up touching or going as close as possible to the Stratosphere, but we saw it from a good distance. It's interesting to look at, but not the most amazing architecture. 

After reading reviews of souvenirs, I ran across recommendations to go to Bonanza for souvenirs, which is close by to the Stratosphere. Actually, Bonanza is closer to the monorail than the Stratosphere. It was a very sunny walk to Bonanza. The building looked very big from outside, but it wasn't as big as I imagined. I only ended up getting a few souvenirs for friends at Bonanza. After browsing through Bonanza, we headed back to the hotel and rest before we eat buffet food at MGM Grand.

I wasn't all too excited for buffet food even though I heard that there are some amazing buffets in Las Vegas. Even then, I had my doubts and I reviewed the ratings and photos on yelp and I don't know none of the dishes appealed to me. Anyways, after about an hour break we headed to the buffet after Chen's mom told us to hurry up because there was a line with a long wait. Since Chen's mom was already in line, we didn't have to wait to long. When we finally got inside, everything looked nice and organized. But, when I got to actually see what the buffet offered, I realized its just a regular buffet. As with every buffet, I grab only bits of items I think I will like because the chances of me not liking something is high and I don't want to feel bad about not finishing it. Also, I had to order soda because I believe it helps me digest or better enjoy what I put in my system in buffets. Overall, I liked the sesame chicken the first two times I had it. After the third time, I got tired of it.

For some reason, there's something about pretty desserts that make you want them. But the moment you have it, you realize how it's only just pretty and not tasty. I'm a big fan of chocolate, so you can sort of predict what I got from the picture above. Sadly, I didn't want to finish it. All of it tasted mediocre. Well, the only thing I liked from the dessert was the mint chip gelato, which was good.

After eating buffet food, we rode the monorail for a view of the strip at night, but it wasn't really scenic since we got the back view of everything. I think that the best way to grasp a view of the strip is simply to walk around and take it in moment by moment and finding that perfect spot. When me and Chen reached the Flamingo stop, we walked out and tried to go to Circus Circus, but we soon realized that it was pretty far from where we are at and decided to head back to the monorail.

I dont even remember the name of the hotel Chen and I went to to get a picture with this thing. I think it was supposed to say I <3 WESTGATE. So, it's the Westgate hotel?

We ended up walking around a lot that night and I took a lot of photos, but I'm not going to post them all on my blog since its over 300 of them on Facebook. Instead, I will post my favorites or one that will help add to the story I'm going to tell. One of the places I been to was Caesars Palace, which I thought was really nice. I enjoy walking through The Forum Shops although I knew I was going to purchase anything there.

I feel that Caesars Palace was one of my favorite hotels to visit during my trip. It had a lot to see even though some of the buildings may be replicas and weren't original. I always loved learning about Roman history and Italy was my #1 visiting spot when I was younger and it still is to this very day, which might also be why I liked Caesar's Palace.

Chen wanted to visit the Secret Garden at the Mirage. But, it was closed and you always have to pay a fee to go in, so boo :(. However, I did managed to capture a view of the waterfall and a cool looking dragon.

Chen has been to Las Vegas a few times before and one of the places she pointed out was the boats at the Venetian. I thought they were very pretty looking and it added a nice feel to the hotel. I guess since this hotel reminded me of Venice, I liked it.

After exploring the Venetian, me and Chen headed back after a long day of exploring. The next day would be our last day of our mini vacation. Although we might have explored many places in the strip, we certainly wasn't able to get through it in one day. But, we did managed to go through many spots and walked a lot, which I rate as good.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

First night in Las Vegas, Nevada

I couldn't believe it. I was going to Las Vegas! I wasn't quite sure what to expect since it was my first time there.

I finished packing by Monday since my flight was on Tuesday. I was going to get there a few hours later after Chen since I decided to go to Vegas a few months after she booked her ticket I had to book mines separately. I had to take 2 flights to get to Las Vegas, which was kind of annoying. My first flight departed at SMF at 6:25pm and my ending flight arrived in Las Vegas at 9:30pm.

 The first thing I see when I walked out of Las Vegas was a slot machine. I thought that was cool for an airport. I knew I was definitely in Las Vegas then.

 When I first arrived in Las Vegas, I took the shuttle to the hotel. There were shuttle options, but the first thing I saw when I walked out of the doors was the Showtime shuttle and did not notice the Supershuttle to my right. The shuttle was very fast and the shuttle stopped at my hotel first.

When I arrived at the hotel, I met with Chen and we went to go eat at Earl's Sandwich place. It was one of the places I researched and I was interested in dining there. I liked my sandwich. I thought that it was good and it was enough food for me that night. I think I could have fit in dessert though.

After eating, me and Chen explored the strip a bit. I thought that the strip looked very pretty at night. I love looking at tall buildings and different bright colored lights.

I wanted to get the Paris souvenir cup that night because I didn't want to carry it around in the morning. I immediately noticed the bar that I was able to get the Eiffel tower cup, as well as the Paris porcelain cup. I decided to get the Paris porcelain cup because I found it more unique. I got it with the drink inside. but I didn't like it too much and dumped it all out.

I thought that the Paris hotel was very nice. It was beautifully designed and I appreciated the Paris replicas and other designs of the hotel. After exploring the Paris hotel, we decided to head back to get enough rest for the next day. I was quite excited to explore more of the strip.