Category Archives: Bucket List

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I had originally chosen the Seven Lions Middlelands set as my current jam, but sadly YouTube had to take it down due to copyright infringements… So! Here’s the set I loved the most next from Middlelands (which I’ve already listened to again twice since then).

Currently jammin’ to: Illenium at Middlelands 2017 set

Illenium is an amazing artist whom I highly recommend anyone to check out. :)

Life as Karen knows

I had a different post in the makes, but I scrapped it for this one because I wanted to change the focus. It’s been awhile since I last updated about my life (almost two months), aside from my last post focused solely on the death of my friend, so I figure its best to mention how life’s been treating me before rambling on about other things. More than likely this will be a really long post considering I have two months of stuff to write about.

Originally, I planned to head back to Arlington/Dallas mid-May and be at home for a couple months before I found a place in Dallas to live closer to school. I had already informed my work place of my last day, but due to multiple other coworkers also leaving, I was asked if I would be willing to stay longer. As I didn’t have exact reasons to be in Dallas (aside from some weekend events and trips that I had planned) and I was going to try to get a job over the summer anyways, it seemed easier to just keep the job I already had so long as enough hours were provided to make it worthwhile (and that my friend, whom I am staying with, is okay with me staying around longer). In the end, that’s exactly what they provided to me (the hours) and thus my stay in Austin (slash my friend’s place) has now extended to the end of July.

While it hasn’t been too difficult, and I greatly enjoy the extra time spent in Austin, it definitely did mess with some of the plans I initially planned to be at. Now I’m back in this every other weekend in Dallas schedule again. Some of it was just for traveling from Dallas (DFW airport) rather than actually doing things there, but some was also being in Dallas.

I’ll probably miss some things in recent events that have been happening, but I’ll try my best to be true to my blog idea aka personal tracking of my life events (for everyone else to see as well). Last time, these were the things I said I was looking forward to: Middlelands, Atlanta visit, climbing more, volleyball, trying Franklins BBQ, visiting Hamilton Pool, and seeing lots of friends. I haven’t actually been able to climb more yet (did buy shoes though), or play volleyball much, or visit Hamilton Pool, but I have seen friends, gone to Atlanta, attended Middlelands, and tried Franklins BBQ finally. I also went to Portland, checked out a remote part of Greenbelt, night time kayaked to live latino music, and had a scattering of birthday parties, small concerts, and events (like Mother’s day). So again, warning that this post will probably be pretty long, but cool if you’re bored and wanna read all about my life. Or just scroll for pictures. :)

Fun with friends in Austin

A big surprise came in the form of meeting up with an old friend from Emory that I hadn’t seen (or even talked to) in five or six years who was down in Austin for a wedding. Consequently, I got to try out some places I’d never been in Austin, like Veracruz tacos, Radio coffee and bar, JuiceLand,  swimming in Greenbelt off some random path, and the Botanical Gardens. Who knew I’d see more of Austin from someone coming to visit from Austin?

Swimming in Greenbelt was definitely the highlight. A short hike entering from some random neighborhood and we found ourselves at a lovely pool of water/stream. Wejumped off the cliff into the cool water which wasn’t too cold despite this still being late April (and the weather was maybe high 70s?). We had brought some Veracruz tacos with us to eat there and had Radio coffee while waiting for the food beforehand.

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the crew going swimming to Greenbelt!

Afterwards we ate at Tan My which had pretty good bun bo hue (well, I just tried some didn’t actually order anything), and I consequently found out one of the newfound friends was dating my current roommate’s old co-worker (that I had met before long ago). Once again somewhat proving how small the world sometimes feels.

We went to Graffiti Castle (or the Hope Outdoor Gallery as it is officially called now) as well as the Botanical Gardens afterwards. I’d always wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens (mostly to Pokemon hunt XD) but it was still… an experience I guess. Whenever i think of botanical gardens, I think flowers. I’m not sure if maybe it was still too early or what, but I feel like I had to try really hard to find some flowers (literal flowers ;)). In the end, at least I can say that I’ve gone. We did some hiking to the 360 bridge as well, but only to the overlook.

It was a fun time, filled with outdoor activities and food, which is exactly what I like. Plus I got to catch up with an old friend and meet new ones.

Lots of birthdays, some going away parties, one Mother’s Day, and many other scattering of events (Corona Electric beach party, ARMNHRM at Kingdom, etc) occurred in various fashion. I’d go into all of them more but I’m not trying to dictate my whole entire life up here (well, I kind of am, but not to that extreme).

One other Austin highlight recently was that I finally got to kayak! It was actually an evening/night time kayak event with live Latino music serenading us as well. The weather couldn’t have been any nicer, honestly. I had an amazing time on Lady Bird Lake and enjoyed some wine, beer, and finger foods (grapes & mangoes). There were also some people who got onto the band’s platform and salsa danced. It really made me want to get better at salsa dancing. Maybe someday I’ll find a partner to do that more with ;) maybe.

The Road to Middlelands

Let me start by saying these events aren’t exactly in chronological order, so while the swimming in Greenbelt happened in late April, the kayaking happened this past Friday night, and Middlelands occurred in eary May, to give you an idea. So apologies ahead of time if this somehow gets confusing in terms of timelines. Anyways.

I know it’s kind of bad to do, but I totally have no problem with talking about how amazing Middlelands was to people who didn’t go. It’s been probably the best music festivals I’ve ever attended. The music, the people, everything was near perfect and most times better than I expected. My one regret was getting drunk enough to forget to go to Big Gigantic on the first night. Who knew taking big gulps of vodka early on would keep me drunk the whole night? In the end, I missed one of the more unique artists that I really wanted to see, but regardless of missing Big Gigantic, all the shows I did catch easily make Middlelands one of the best festivals ever attended. This is not just an opinion I hold, but honestly many attendees felt this way as apparent through many blogs, posts, groups, people, etc that I’ve read and talked to after the festival. Some felt that way having gone to many festivals in the past, and some felt that way from it being their first festival. Honestly, if you didn’t know what PLUR really was before, you could’ve definitely learned about it at Middlelands. It was really that kind of feel.

Middlelands 2017 music festival

some of the Middlelands peeps I was hangin’ with that weekend :)

And the music, I could relive that whole weekend again with just that music. So many amazing artists, and some that surprised me in expectations. My favorite set, as I said earlier in this post, was Seven Lions with Illenium coming in close second. But other sets, like Bassnectar, Alice in Wonderland, and Louis the Child were also incredible. I also learned about a few new (to me) artists like Quix and Ephwurd, both of whom were amazing live as well.

middlelands stage music festival 2017

my favorite stage at Middlelands! where Illenium and Seven Lions killed it

I honestly probably could have made a whole post about Middlelands alone, but I’ll refrain. I’ll just post pictures and relive in them and the uploaded sets from then. I will say that I’m really sad it won’t be at the Texas Renaissance Festival anymore due to some locals complaining about the noise. I very much hope it will stay in Texas, but I know where ever it ends up being held, it will still be amazing. This year’s is basically legendary (in my book), and if it stays in Texas I’ll probably be back again. Sherwood, I’m looking at you!

Atlanta, aka Dallas and Houston mixed together

Back in undergrad, I made some life long friends during my time in Resident Life as an RA. We decided that five years after we graduated, we would all meet up for a reunion in a city we’d never been to (at the time, it was decidedly Seattle), and each of us would bring X, Y, and Z. I think mine was bringing a husband or something, and my other friend was like a pet bird, and another was a foreign wife, or something weird and crazy. In the end, we didn’t go to a new city but back to Atlanta (though I, as previously mentioned, have now been to Seattle anyways), our old stomping grounds, and none of us brought any of the decided things (which we all forgot anyways), but we did have our reunion. Additionally, it was one of my friend’s birthdays that weekend, so we reminisced, did an escape room, watched some stand-up comedy, and checked out old and new Atlanta places.

escape room atlanta

we almost finished. Last puzzle :(

I’m so grateful for my friends, both the ones I gained at Emory and the ones before and after. It’s always tough to stay in touch when everyone lives everywhere else (Atlanta, Chicago, Japan/Boulder, etc), but I’m glad that we’ve still made attempts to stay in contact and connected to each other. I’ll be seeing them again later this year for the first one of us to get married, but we planned to once again meet in 5 years at the latest. I hope we’re able to keep our promise again. :)

The hike to Portland (or really, in)

Another city I’d never been to and another activity I’d never really done has once again been accomplished: I took a 13+ mile hike in Portland, Oregon last weekend. I was actually somewhat worried about my physical capabilities for the hike, but surprisingly handled it well. I guess I’m in better shape that I think? Or more like I can stay active for a lot longer than I give myself credit for. Either way, it was a wonderful experience. Portland is very lush and beautiful. Such amazing views and nature feels. Naturally, we also toured around some food places and caught really by chance events, like their Starlight Parade and a random Trump/”freedom of speech” white supremacy rally and consequent anti-rally/protest. It was one of the most spontaneous (aka a nice way to say unplanned, but not necessarily unpleasant) trips I’ve recently taken, but still had some great times.

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the lovely Portland hiking group being fancy :)

I’ve never been a part of a rally or a protest (at least not physically), so it was pretty interesting to see. There was an enormous crowd for the protest while the rally itself seemed much smaller. I think that’s actually pretty reflective of America as a whole, but that’s another can to be opened a different time.

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some signs at the rally (but from the protesters)

The Starlight parade (which is part of their International Rose Festival, but has nothing to really do with roses?) was pretty cool too. We only caught parts of it because we had reservations at this whiskey library bar, but we did see a slew of DeLoreans parade through decked out with lights. As you can imagine, the parade is held at night time and features lots of floats with pretty lights. There was also quite a few high school marching bands, to my surprise.

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there was a bit in the parade that was just DeLoreans :)

To sum up what we did in Portland, we hiked, ate lots of food (mostly decent but to be completely honest Seattle was better, sorry), drank a variety of alcohol (we went to a bar which provided tasting shots 4 for $5, one of which you could choose a wasabi vodka), and part took in some local recreational fun. We actually ended up checking out their Japanese garden and Rose garden, both of which were cool. Seeing all those beautiful roses was actually pretty cool. If I were to go back to Portland, I’d definitely want to just go for hiking and camping. There are so many trails you can go on and so many beautiful views to be seen. Plus, the weather was really nice (when we were there).

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a Great Pyrenees meet up at the market!

Check out the actual hike pictures here. For some reason, WordPress won’t properly show the pictures from Instagram on my post. And I’m too lazy to figure it out.

If you didn’t already know, Portland is for some reason famous for its strip clubs. We didn’t go to any, but had a very interesting lyft driver who kept talking about the perverse side of Portland and its strip clubs, particularly one that was vegan. So I guess Portland is lots of hiking and strip clubs. I think I’ll just stick to the hiking parts though.

Another interesting part (coming from Texas) of Portland is the people. We went to a Thai restaurant, and all the workers (cooks, dishwashers, etc) were white while the owner/some servers were Asian. It was weird and that’s how it was everywhere. It came to us not exactly as a surprise, but just so different from where we come from. It was also weird how extreme the sides of Portland people are. There are some really nice, open-minded people there, and then there are some really white supremacy extremists too. Definitely unexpected. Anyways.

Given how much I had to go through, I tried to condense and not ramble too much about everything. Usually I like to post personal thoughts and what not, but the length of this post is already pretty high up there so I’ll refrain this time. Maybe I’ll make a post later for just thoughts. Maybe. I’m surprised I didn’t talk much about the recent amazing food I’ve been having (which definitely still happened in Portland and elsewhere, just didn’t write about it.) Well, maybe I’ll just post on IG or something. ‘Til another time! :)

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Snowboarding and food, that’s what I did

Oh man, there are a lot of songs I’ve been jammin’ to recently. So many new (to me) tunes that I’ve been introduced to by others and so many old ones I still love… In the end, I have to spotlight this one song that I keep finding myself searching for to play – All My Friends featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper by Snakehips

Good music, food, company = amazing times

It’s been an exploratory year already for sure. I’ve been pushing boundaries I’d set for myself in ways I didn’t think I would, and yet my personal belief in no regrets continues. It’s definitely been a whirlwind, and one I haven’t fully stopped long enough to completely consider in all its complications, but regardless, it’s been a blast.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, but this post is basically only about my trip to Whistler/Vancouver/Seattle. Definitely worth some reading if you’re planning a trip up (especially to Seattle), but otherwise just primarily jotting my life down like a diary here.

As (probably) mentioned before, I went on another snowboarding trip with about the same people as before (but less of them) to Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb mountain. What’s new about this? For one, I’d never been to Vancouver and I’d never really explored Canada, and of course I’d never snowboarded in Whistler BC, which is ranked as the #2 place to snowboard in the world. Was I incredibly excited? Heck yes. I also got to knock off my list visiting Seattle in the same trip, which was just a super awesome extra plus. My close college group of friends and I had talked about visiting Seattle as our 5-year reunion (which is this year) but decided the less financially burdensome option was to just visit our old stomping grounds: Atlanta, GA. So Seattle was still a city I’d never been to but wanted to go.

What can/should I say about the trip? Despite some pre-trip drama, it was amazing. The food was some of the best I’ve ever had. At times, I was at a loss to describe how wonderful it was. And of course, I once again improved in my efforts to become a better snowboarder. I truly wish I were going on another boarding trip this year, because at the end of our third day on the mountain, I was feeling awesome and having a blast. To be somewhat fair, I also partook in some recreational happiness whilst on the mountain this time. (In fact, this whole trip was pretty much like that.) Though it definitely wasn’t just because of that, I can’t discredit the potential influence it may have held in my relaxed and more confident abilities down the mountain.

I think mostly my improvements came from trying out a few different boards from my own. My friends and I kind of swapped around boards the last day (and partly the second to last day) just to see how each other’s felt and consider adjustments to our own. I had a surprisingly easy time carving/kicking with a relatively pliable and scratched up board. Because of how easy it was to switch heel-toe on it, I ended up improving my confidence in doing so which transferred to my/other boards as well. Totally worth the switching to see those differences transfer over.

We were fortunate with the weather (though perhaps a few days before we arrived would have been even better). Rain came the day after we finished on the mountain, so we were able to get some powder in, albeit melting by the end of it and somewhat clumpy because of some previous rainfall. Still, some of the runs had some of the smoothest, fullest powder I’d ridden on in years. I have to say, the first day was the best weather, but the most crowded sadly. The second day was supposedly a national holiday for Canada and so everyone kept telling us it would be super crowded, but compared to the day before (which was a Sunday/weekend) it was a lot less. And yet, our third day (Tuesday, non-holiday) it was even emptier than the day before. We were told there were times you wouldn’t see more than five people on the mountain since Whistler tends to be an international hot spot with varying travel peaks, and I could totally see how that could be true on our last day.

Whistler, Whistler BC, Vancouver, Canada, snowboarding, mountains, snow, boarding

Whistler Blackcomb mountaintop (this is Whistler mountain respectively)

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the fallen snowboard… there was so much snow it went past our knees walking

As for the food, we started off with some Cambodian food in Seattle when we landed. While definitely not the best of the trip, it set us off on a decent route in terms of exploring around. We also hit up a ton of bubble tea shops (with our ever challenge of who has to go to the bathroom first) before heading up to Canada. To clarify, we flew into Seattle, had some food/tea and loaded up on fun things (because apparently liquor costs more in Canada?), then drove up, spent three days on the mountains, one half-day after in Vancouver, and about 2-ish days in Seattle. In between on one of the mountain days, we headed into the city (Vancouver) and ate ramen – Kintaro Ramen. Again, not the best of the trip (and not the best ramen I’ve had either), but satisfying after a day of snowboarding. Plus it was cool to see a bit of the Asian community in Vancouver.

Speaking of Asians in Vancouver, it’s super real y’all. I seriously felt like I was visiting an Asian country (a first world one anyways) half the time because of how many Asians there were. I mean, I know people have told me a lot of Asians live there (from all over, not just Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc), but wahsai! Anyways.

On our actual exploratory day in Vancouver (which it rained, killing part of our ability to explore), we went to a recommended Japanese sushi restaurant – Miku. And this is where we first start the explosions of foodgasms. Their pressed sushi (aka oshi sushi) was incredible. Most of us got an assortment to try them all out (and we swapped pieces if we were missing out), and it was amazing. In addition to the awesome sushi, we had beautiful desserts that were just as tasty. One of the people on the trip is sadly allergic to fish, so while he couldn’t enjoy in the sushi, he definitely loved the desserts.

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oshi sushi from Miku <3 it was amazingly delicious

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one of the two beautiful desserts from Miku that were as tasty in design and to the palette

From there, we also tried Japadog – Japanese styled street hot dogs. While I can’t say it was as amazing as Miku’s oshi sushi, it was definitely cool to try it out. It’s always awesome to discover food with other people who like to eat. I’ve never been one to call myself a foodie (despite some other people’s claims), but if it gets me with more food-minded people then I’m down. Yay food!

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three (of the four) Japadogs we got along with the shaken fries and their poutine fries as well

We dined in Seattle that night and boy was it amazing. We were able to make reservations to an amazing (and highly recommended) Malaysian restaurant called Kedai Makan. Once again, our food exploration was perfect. We each got a different dish (and also decided to partake in some very interesting herbal shots due to their rather fun names) and kept swapping them around. Every dish was delicious, and in the end we had a ton of fun and left incredibly satisfied. Oh, and the place serves free milk tea while you wait/dine! Strangely(?), pretty much all the Asian restaurants we went to in Seattle provided us with some sort of complimentary beverage beyond water (the Cambodian place provided free Jasmine green tea, Kedai Makan provided free milk tea). I don’t know if they’re saying something about Seattle’s water, or just their way of servicing customers. Either way, we greatly enjoyed it. Our overall experience at Kedai Makan was probably one of the best food (not including the drinks) ones on the trip, with the food coming in close second for me. The shots (named Strength and Stamina, Longevity, Healing, and the Mother aka combo of all of the above) were definitely not as enjoyable to take (we semi Russian roulette took them), but made for fun times.

Malaysian food, sharing is caring, food, foodie, Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

our four AMAZING Malaysian dishes (the pork bone soup came with the side of rice)

Afterwards, we found ourselves randomly at an arcade room with a very… well, let’s just say the bartender/worker did not want to be there or be bothered. We had tried to get into a speakeasy called Knee High Stocking Co. initially, but while standing outside it’s unassuming door, a worker came out and told us they were no longer accepting more patrons for the night. Thus, we chanced upon the game room. Having ordered some drinks, we all played The Simpsons until whatever change we had on us was used before going to a place called Pie Bar and ordering more drinks. The server there was incredibly friendly and provided us with lots of information to Seattle’s night life. We learned quickly (from her and from our own perusing) that Seattle doesn’t really get up and hopping until at the earliest Thursday (it was a Wednesday night) and really lives it up Friday-Saturday. Understanding that we were unlikely to find any cool night life that night, we ended our night.

Our next day started at Sweet Iron Waffles: a humble start to a very long day of eating. The only place I absolutely insisted upon visiting (to eat) while in Seattle was Pike’s Place for their clam chowder. So, of course, we headed there relatively early to check out the market. We went to Mee Sum Pastry for some hom bow as things were still getting set up and opened. We also “checked out” the original Starbucks… While this doesn’t really hold much to me (as I’m not a Starbucks lover), I can appreciate its “awesomeness” to an extent. And that extent is to go look at it when there’s no line, take a picture (ish) so I can tell my sister (who does love Starbucks), and be able to say I did go there. For about an hour, we just explored the market and took pictures until Pike Place Chowder opened up. It definitely lived up to the hype. While I would have preferred a bit more kick to my chowder, I definitely still enjoyed it. Definitely would’ve been okay with going back that day for it (though we didn’t). Afterwards, we happened upon Rachel’s Ginger Beer, where we grabbed some drinks before heading to MoPOP (Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture).

Pike Place Market, seafood, merchant, lobster tail, snow crab, dungeoness crab

do you spy the JUMBO lobster tail on the left side? and ALL the crab? My eyes were in heaven. If only I could take some home

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the original clam chowder from Pike Place Chowder. #1 in the US years running

Maybe it was just me, but I really enjoyed visiting MoPOP. I probably could spend a whole day or more there, especially listening to all that music. It definitely hit some of the inner nerd in me with its fantasy/horror/Star Trek (well, kinda on that) side, and of course its music section was really cool. We also had a lot of fun with their games section. Some games in there were quite interesting. Definitely a cool place to visit.

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the initial display for the horror museum section of MoPOP

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one of the music artworks at MoPOP near the music section

After MoPOP, we went back to Pike Place and decided to get some Chinese wraps at Country Dough. It didn’t quite live up to expectations and unfortunately the place itself was near some renovations that was definitely bothering one of the workers, but regardless we kept on. We checked out the famous gum wall… Why this was an amazing thing some people decided to create is still beyond me, but once again the best I can say is that at least I’ve been there. We tried this place called Alibi Room (I think?) which sadly I ordered a crab dip (to share) and ended up not being able to stomach it due to their use of onions in it. Sigh. They did have a decent spicy mac and cheese if I recall though. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully recall if we went to Pike Brewing Company after that or Elliott’s Oyster House, but in any case we went to those. The oysters were mostly only okay with the last one that we ordered being the best (aka happy hour was ehh, not really worth it). I believe it was from Hunt Island? Or something Island in Alaska. That oyster was good, the rest (from happy hour)… were okay. Paired with a super light white wine, it went alright.

Another moment of honesty: I definitely did not get something at each place we went to nor drink at each place mentioned. While most of my party did, my tolerance definitely is not up to par (which I am totally okay with) and I tried to conserve my appetite at least a little bit. In the end, it probably was for the best as we ate so much overall.

The epitome of foodgasm on this past trip had to have been from Radiator Whiskey and their incredible fried pork shank. We originally went there for their smoked half pig head and then spotted their turkey drum confit, but ultimately decided upon this loss-of-words pork shank. I will totally hype it up for anyone because I think it was that amazing for us all. Granted, okay, we had all been drinking, but still. Ultimately, that was definitely what I thought was the best food on this trip. I am still at a loss of words as to how to describe how amazing it was. Anyways, our night was completed with finally going to that speakeasy (which was much too quiet for our group), multiple attempts at bars and clubs including some karaoke at Rock Box, and definitely meeting randoms in the gaybourhood (though the people we ended up talking to at the end of the night weren’t gay).

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this picture doesn’t do it justice. the “I don’t even know” pork shank

The next day, we packed up, went back to Uncle Ike’s (we visited before we went to Canada on day one), and ate at Mike’s Noodle House as our final meal in Seattle. I must say, Seattle’s eats are quite tasty. If you’re ever able to, I’d recommend Moxey mints. And I’ve now learned that CBD is legally sold in all 50 states, though most effectively used when slightly combined.

I didn’t mean for it to be a total stroll down my whole trip, but alas I am a rambler and really bad at not including as much detail as I can. Because leaving out certain details definitely changes the way things are interpreted, so even with my full on summaries, they’re definitely still missing bits and written in a way to be a little less obvious to certain things, I think. Or maybe I am just kidding myself haha.

Beyond that trip, we came back to Dallas for the weekend. The weekend itself was just a slight extension from the trip, with a lot more sleeping though. While some unexpected things/moments occurred, as I mentioned from the beginning, I’m left with a fun and amazing experience with no regrets.

Considering how long this post already is, I think I’ll have to end it as is and write my other thoughts/things another time. This post is already quite full. But here’s some future considerations I’ve got lined up: I’m thinking about making some music-focused and possibly some food-focused posts. Like I mentioned before (and in my about me), I love music and food. I love finding new music and finding new food places. This extends to all types of music and all types of food (drinks included). I’ve been told before to do this, and while I’m much too inconsistent of a blogger to be of great value, with my current schedule I figured I could at least attempt it, even if just for my own sake of saying I tried. It’s still a considerations I am pondering, but just something I thought I’d suggest.

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New year, new adventures

As typical of the start of my post, here’s a song I’ve been recently enjoying quite a bit.
Currently jammin’ to: Anna Naklab feat. Alle Farben & YOUNOTUS – Supergirl

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

I’ve never been one for “new years resolutions” since I figure if you want to do something, just do it. No need to commit based on other coincidences because ultimately if you really wanted it to happen, you’ll make it happen, and if it doesn’t then that’s  just how important it really was to you.

Still, there is something about “starting fresh” in a new year that seems true. While I can’t say that much changed from December 31 to January 1st, I can say that within a year (2016), a lot happened. It was a roller coaster year of amazing ups and unfortunate downs, but I can tell that much has changed, both within myself and, obviously, with my community (ahem, politics).

How much change has really happened (within me), I’m not sure, but I guess that’s life: figuring out little by little what kind of person you and others truly are when it comes down to it all. I’ve told myself time and time again that I want to blog more frequently, be more expressive with my thoughts and life events, and yet also I’m quite often too lazy, forgetful or too private to truly divulge everything I want to say. I think that’s okay though. If I wanted this blog to be just about writing down the hard facts of what’s happened to me from my own perspective, then I wouldn’t really be myself. I care about what people think and how my words will influence others. Hard “truths” are not always the easiest thing to swallow nor are they the most effective or best way to get what you truly want out or influenced.

This is something I’m constantly learning about myself: that I am much too blunt with my words. I used to think I was quite careful with my words, that I put in a lot of thought of what sort of message I wanted conveyed. I think I still do this, but I don’t always realize the true repercussions of the message conveyed to others. I guess I always thought the truth is the best answer, but reality is that there are a lot of ways to say that same truth without offending or causing more destruction than intended. In the end, I’m just too straight up with what I really think. It may not be wrong in what I said, but it may come off as hurtful or cause animosity later on down the road when it’s considered. Words are important, that I’ve always known, and they will often linger beyond the moment that they’re said. I may not always catch myself properly before I’ve said something, but I’m definitely more aware that I am not a master of my words as much as I’d hoped. In that respect, I hope to continue to change this year.

Another thing I continuously learn about myself is my own sense of morals towards the opposite sex. I’ve spoken to a few different friends in regards to this topic and always when I consider it I’ve always believed that I would never go through with one night stands, as appealing as they can sometimes sound. It’s just come to my own realization (through these conversations), that meaningless sex is just not my type. I won’t go into details on here, but ultimately my viewpoint in one night stands is that they are taken in order to selfishly satisfy your own inner cravings of physical touch. I don’t think that is necessarily wrong, after all humans crave human touch, but I’ve learned that that aspect of sex is not the main reason I have it. As such, since one night stands are typically just for that, I’ve yet to find myself committing to such an act. This doesn’t mean I don’t crave it at times, but knowing my own self I would probably never act upon it. Woe is my physical companionship when single. Sigh.

Additionally, and this is a more relevant and more love/hate situation, I try my best to not take advantage of someone’s interest in me. Will I accept chivalry? Sure, despite my typical insistence to carry my own bags. Do I allow for others to pay for me at dinner/lunch and some other social gatherings? Yeah, I definitely will not forcefully insist upon paying every single time if it comes across. BUT, I also will not allow for it to constantly be unbalanced. I can accept a free meal here and there (dates being more variable) but usually I try to compensate in some way as well, typically in paying for something else. Recently, I’ve been offered multiple events/scenarios in which I would not be paying for a decent amount of money (in these cases they numbered up to hundreds of dollars). While I greatly desired to attend these events or alleviate my own financial burdens (because being a college kid is still as crappy as I remember, if not worse), I feel greatly torn in potentially misleading someone by accepting their offerings. Even when I’ve stated my own intentions as clearly as I can. That sort of expectations, even when you’ve told them otherwise, just seems too likely to occur that I feel like I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to live up to them. Sometimes I wish I took handouts a little more from potential suitors. Surely I should take advantage of what life has so generously gifted me? And yet, my own conscious battles over it and typically, if not always so far, rules in the safer pay-for-myself way. Though my bank account may hate me for it, my inner self is probably more at peace because of it.

I am pondering more and more on my inherent drug resistance/metabolism as I get older. I’ve always had some sort of slight paranoia that I would become highly resistant/desensitized to drugs, thus I always avoided taking any if I could help it, even painkillers. And yet, despite my lack of experience/usage towards drugs, I’ve begun to learn that either I’m fairly unfortunate, have a naturally high tolerance, metabolize them in some fashion that isn’t typical, or reeeeaaallly hate losing mental control. Or perhaps I haven’t truly given myself the opportunity to try, but so far when I do, the most I can say is that drugs seem to always dehydrate you. Adderall, weed, alcohol, they all seem to suck away any hydration and make you incredibly thirsty. Stay thirsty? Yeah, pretty much. #hydrate

Great Expectations

In other news, the year so far is kicking off in wonderful fashion. I’ve been provided ample opportunities to engage in some of my favorite activities: snowboarding, volleyball, and music. Despite my financial burden, I’m hopeful of graduation acceptances in the coming Fall and therefore have decided to take my current time as the last break I’ll be having for the next two+ years. As such, I’ve attended one snowboarding trip thus far in a brand new state I’ve never been to and will be attending another boarding trip this coming weekend in an even more exciting place: Whistler Blackcomb (Canada). I’ll also get to visit a little bit of Seattle (must get clam chowder!)which has been a city on my list since college when a group of us first spoke of  having our five year reunion there (which has now become a reunion back at Atlanta in May, but still). I’m super stoked for my upcoming trip and the opportunity to become an even better boarder (because really I should be better than I currently am). And finally! I attended the annual boarding trip that I’ve been invited to for the past two or three years. That trip itself had some incredibly memorable moments and provided a few new experiences as well along with being a new place.

In total, I can now say I’ve technically been in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming now, despite only landing in Utah and never really leaving the airport, only driving through Idaho to get to Wyoming, and only having gone to Jackson Hole Mountain and the rental house in Wyoming (so not that much exploring). Still, new places, new faces! And Wyoming is beautiful. I really hope to visit Utah and all it’s glory a bit more at one point, because apparently it has an amazing night sky and a smaller version of Bolivia’s salt flats (Salar de Uyuni)! Definitely adding to the check, kick, do list.

Here are some amazing pictures from my trip to Wyoming though. I’d love to go back to Jackson Hole. It’s an amazing, steep mountain. If there are any beginning boarders out there reading this, take caution if you’re trying Jackson Hole as your first place to learn. They don’t have many green (beginner) trails available, but the few they do are great for improving on.

hot tub, skyline, view, winter wonderland, cottage, winterland, winter, beautiful, scenic, scenery

our backyard view (as we sat in the hot tub) :)

Jackson hole, mountains, viewtop, skyline, clouds, boarding, snowboarding

the early morning view atop the mountains at Jackson Hole sometimes look like we’re above the clouds

mountain view, skyline, snowboarding, boarding, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, beautiful, scenery

Here’s a better shot of the actual view we could see atop one of the mountains :)

base of mountain, mountain view, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

from the base of the moutain. This was from our first day getting there. It was super foggy at first but the sun came out a couple hours later :)

slopes, snowboarding, jackson hole, waiting, view, skyline, atop the mountain

some of the crew on one of the slopes waiting people (I’m the one on the right in white/cream)

Wyoming, driving home, sunset, powder, snow, boarding

on the way back from the mountain to our rental home… that powder looks so awesome.

desert, Las Vegas, NV, civilization

Airplane view while flying into Las Vegas. It’s really a desert!

And thus, my trip in scenic pictures! The place we stayed at was amazing and could fit many more of us than actually attended, so we were quite spoiled. I am greatly appreciate of the opportunity to have attended and gotten a bit better at boarding, and I look forward to my next adventure!

I did want to touch base on how I rang in the new year. Last year, I attended Lights All Night in Dallas, TX, and had an amazing time with a wonderful group of friends. In my best efforts, I tried to once again have that amazing time at this year’s LAN party. While some parts were not quite the same, given different scenarios and other personal things, I still had a blast and think I enjoyed the sets even more this year than I did last. I was quite surprised and pleased, as the only main group I truly desired to see was Above and Beyond (whom were amazing!). Still, deadmau5, A-trak, Tchami, Nero, San Holo, Zedd, etc, they all surprised me greatly. In the end, I enjoyed A-trak the most. Additionally, I somehow managed to get two bracelets, one each day. While I’ve never personally taken part in this tradition, I was definitely happy to be on the receiving end and appreciated as such. My next music adventure? Sadly, Alina Baraz sold out way too quickly in Austin, so the next one on the list is Middlelands! A brand new Renaissance-styled music festival. I’m hyped for the sets and finally, FINALLY I get to see Seven Lions. I’ve been hoping to see him for quite some time, and along with the fact that I finally saw A&B early this year, it is looking like an amazing music year for me. And a Renaissance fair? Why the hey not.

There’s always a catchy phrase

While I could keep taking about more things that have happened since I last updated (which is a heck of a lot), I find that the length of my posts should be moderated. As such, I will leave with only a small thought that I feel like has been surfacing to me:

There are a lot of ways to say the same thing, and there are a lot of ways to say the exact opposite, and all of those ways can sound good, it just depends on where you are in life. Sometimes the words that feel true to you right then, may not feel true to you later on, and vice versa. I’ve learned that there’s always a phrase, a quote, a saying for the emotions that you are feeling or the situation that you are in. It’s not to say that your life situations aren’t unique, it’s just to say that no matter how powerful a saying sometimes is, realize that an equally eloquent but oppositely meaning phrase probably exists too. And that everything shall eventually pass. I’m not sure if this fully makes sense, but I feel like I’ve read memes or sayings or quotes on Facebook and thought “man, that’s exactly how I’m feeling”/”so true” and yet weeks or months later I find they aren’t so relevant anymore and I don’t really reverberate to what they say. Lots of things sound nice, lots of things sound right, but sometimes you gotta realize that it’s only in that moment.

And sometimes it’s more black and white than that. Like in recent politics. But that’s for another post.

Cheers,

Karen

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Time for some sunblock

Currently jammin’ to:

I found that I enjoy sharing music and hopefully others enjoy the music I share. I don’t always post where or how I come about these music selections that I put on my post. Sometimes they’re a new song I came across (new to me, not necessarily new in general), and sometimes they’re a song I currently really like. Once in awhile, it might just be a song that really fits the post or whatever thoughts are on my mind, and it’s possible that the song itself is what started my thought to blog process anyhow. In any case, I guess what I’m trying to get at is that this song is one of those times that I random found it (on Soundcloud as reposted by Dirty South) and really liked it (and thought others, whom might perchance upon this blog, would like too). But I digress, to the rest of this post.

A few weekends ago, I was having a becoming typical Friday mid-morning wait for the Megabus to take me from Austin to Dallas. Leading up to that day, the weather had been a bit rainy, but the day itself was sunny with some clouds. Given the slightly warmer but cool weather I experienced early morning to class, I was wearing shorts and some Toms while waiting in the growing heat. I was probably only out there for about fifteen minutes, but within that time I could feel the heat rays burn upon my feet. I tried to walk around in a very small circle (since I was waiting in a line, so I couldn’t exactly get out without losing my spot), but ultimately there was little I could do to protect my poor feet from getting roasted. I saw later that day that those fifteen minutes was enough for me to brandish a Tom’s tan line on my feet.

IMG_9875

A faint, but visible shoe tan.

I’m not one for getting a tan. I don’t prefer or want to be darker; I actually am quite happy to be what many would consider pale or fair skinned. Is this really Asian of me? Probably. But I think it has less to do with my heritage and more to do with what’s medically proven to be what’s good for me. It’s not that I dislike having a dark skin tone, as I have definitely been quite tan before and been perfectly fine with it too, but rather the fact that comes with knowing the damage I am doing to my skin, especially for the future. Now I know that everything in some way probably gives you cancer (even sunblock can give you cancer), but I’ll take my risks getting it from sunblock and not from burning my skin. I’d like to not look 60 when I’m sixty, and I’m pretty sure there is a correlation to tanning and looking more aged as you get older. Additionally, I don’t like tan lines, so not getting a tan altogether tends to eliminate that chance. So when fifteen minutes in April causes me to get a shoe tan already, all I think is “Texas”. Except I don’t know if I should sunblock it up or bring an umbrella for the rain. Texas, please decide if you would like to be rainy and disgustingly humid or hot and dry. I’d prefer the latter simply because I hate humidity, but knowing which to prepare for (at least on a daily basis) would be nice. Anyways, there’s not much to this point aside from ranting that I dislike tan lines and the health consequences of tanning. I do, actually, love laying in the sun. I love the feeling of the sun soaking my body in warmth. I just don’t want to get dark or old-looking doing it.

On other news in life, my school semester is winding down! I mentioned it previously, but this semester has probably resulted in the best grades I’ve ever had in my classes on any given semester since probably high school or earlier… So far I’m looking like straight A’s (at least for two classes that is pretty much guaranteed, two more still have finals). For that, I am quite happy. I’m also happy that the two labs I applied for (to do research over the summer and into the fall) both accepted me, leaving me with probably little summer time to do anything outside of school-related things and maybe a part-time job. Despite the upcoming busy schedule I’ve decided to set for myself, I am happily looking forward to all of it as well as a couple of weeks (after next Saturday) of relaxing and even a trip to Mexico (first time!). Confirming discoveries or (even more) finding new research has always been an interest of mine. One of my labs is heavily researched based, while the other is more clinically based, so I feel as though I am getting the best of them: deeper research into topics I enjoy and clinical opportunities to evaluate and possibly treat patients of the same population I would potentially be working with in the future. Now if only my bank account will hold up.

On another note, I finally got to go camping (and fishing!) for the first time last weekend. It was only a two day one night trip, but it was still fun to go hiking on the muddy trails and attempt some fishing. Some things I learned: starting a fire with damp wood is not very likely, paper plates burn pretty well,  and apparently its prohibited to gather wood in Texas parks (as even the fallen branches in the parks are protected by the law). Fishing is kinda neat, though I unfortunately did not catch anything the few times I casted. Sleeping outside on damp ground with little cushion while squeezing in a 3 person tent with a 6’4″ person? Uncomfortable to say the least. It was a beautiful night minus the mating frogs and random howling, but unfortunately foam mats (which thankfully were offered by friends) and sleeping bags provide only minimal comfortableness. And yet I’d still want to do it again. The night sky at Meridian State Park wasn’t as lit up as Perdernales, but we were still able to see Jupiter and Mars and the big dipper and the North star (along with other stars). I definitely want to go camping again. Just maybe with some better cushioning for the tent.

stars, starry night, night sky

Long exposure picture of the night sky at Perdernales Falls State Park
(photo credits to Osniel Rives)

As for the rest of this post, I’ll probably end up being a bit controversial and opinionated, so if you want to just have a brief-lighthearted random read, I’d stop here. For those who are interested in what is contemplated in my head, continue on.

I thought it couldn’t be true and that we weren’t stupid enough to really consider it, but ultimately (and very sadly) the Republican party has dropped down to one terrible nominee. To be fair, I’m not sure there was any decent nominee in the first place, so I suppose the gig is a bit rigged, but still. I didn’t think it would be possible, and yet it became true. I still don’t think the Republican party will win, and yet I am concerned. I didn’t think he would win nominee and yet he has, so how wrong could I be about him becoming president? What kind of future would that mean for the United States? What kind of message does it say to the rest of the world about us? The president is suppose to be a representation of our country, a leader of our people, and in a sense a reflection of our beliefs. Obviously we have parties that have opposing views so not everyone will always feel the best representation of themselves is the current president, but my concern becomes urgent when I think of how many people are out there that feel that Donald Trump represents who they are, what they believe, and what they want to happen in the future? Obviously enough to allow him to win the nomination, and yet where are the ones who don’t feel that way? Where are the people who disagree and don’t feel that he is who they are? And why are they not voting? For those who don’t vote, that representation of our American community is lost. I still believe the majority of Americans do not hold the same beliefs as Donald Trump, but I do find that that the majority is not necessarily representing themselves and their opinions to reflect that. Unfortunately, that’s just as bad as choosing someone who doesn’t represent you. When you decide to not speak up for yourself, you harm both yourself and those whom you actually do side with. I remember reading from a friend of mine that he saw a man on the trains of Chicago talking for the past three weeks that he didn’t care who you voted for (Trump, Cruz, Sanders, Clinton, etc), but that you just voted. Make yourself count; do your part as an American citizen that is capable of voting. To me, don’t complain about a broken or unfair system if you’re not doing anything to make it better. Even voting counts as doing something. Rant on that over (for now).

I had another topic that was highly controversial (and I myself also felt a bit torn on it), but I decided to refrain from speaking upon it. To provide some insight, it was about the consumption of dog meat and some recent posts and comments that I saw on Facebook related to it. I discussed it earlier with someone, and while that conversation was perfectly agreeable, I still find that I would prefer to refrain from making additional comments.

And with that, I have completed another returned post! I’m hoping I can write maybe every other week if not more, but we’ll see. Have a good day. :)

Small Town Vintage Charm

Currently jammin’ to: Katie by Missy Higgins

Katie by Missy Higgins is fairly depressing but really beautiful song. I have yet to find a reliable statement of what the song is truly depicting, some say drug addiction, alcohol addiction, slitting/suicide, bulemia/anorexia, but either way the message is about the same regardless of which case it is: battling against yourself through a serious problem (and potentially losing, it seems to imply). Though the lyrics aren’t profoundly inspirational, Missy Higgins is a very underrated artist (at least in America) who has a beautiful, amazing voice. That’s why I’ve been in enraptured by this song and list it as my current jam, because it simply can show off her amazing vocals (at least the live version I have does anyways).

On the other hand, it is quite depressing and not very befitting of my post which is overall more light-hearted, so I decided to include one of my absolute favorite songs that matches this post much better: Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. Please enjoy. :)

Do It Yourself Crafts

As my title states, I recently got into this whole crafty do-it-yourself kind of mood (and by recently I mean today) for glass jar things. I’ve always liked glass jars and I read/saw some DIY mason jar and wine jar things. Also, my trip to Bloom’s also brought out some old school inner delights and also encouraged my vintage-y craft feelings and enjoyment of glass bottles. So I hope! that I will create some awesome crafts. Some of these are simple like personalized mason jar glasses (mason jars dipped in chalkboard paint so you can write your name on them) to wine bottle light fixtures (which I need to learn how to cut wine glasses for) or just a mason jar herb garden.
My only problem trying these things out (besides the lack of materials, which can be bought) is that I don’t actually have any place to keep it. Sure I could keep it at home but I feel as if some of the specialness is lost, and the likelihood of it breaking/being unappreciated is much more likely.

Here are some examples of the DIY stuff I saw and wanted to create:

personalized mason jar glasses

personalized mason jar drinking glasses

wine bottle lights

Wine bottle light pendants

Regardless, I do hope to start up some DIY stuff, I feel as if my artsy side is absolutely nil (which isn’t that surprising) and yet it would be a fun hobby to get into. I clearly like stuff like this, as I keep buying local goods via scout mob that are all handcrafted objects (particularly necklaces hehe) so even if I can’t draw well (as I recently saw some of the Google Doodle contest finalists, and even the K-3rd graders are beating my drawing skills… sadly), I might as well try my hand at some other stuff that I might be able to do. Now to find the time to actually make it…

Additionally, this month I’m suppose to attempt at doing yoga and use my bickram yoga groupon that I got for Christmas! it’s only the 2nd day of May, but I feel as though if I don’t get a good start I will just put it off again. Especially since I already don’t’ know when this week I’d go (after all, today I can’t, tomorrow I can’t, Saturday is a maybe, and Sunday is a no go and also next week). STILL! I hope to do it this month, even if I must start next week. Although May is technically a “shorter” (by a day) month…

Cultural Small Town Love

Another part of my title regards to an article I was reading by the Smithsonian on the 20 best small towns to visit in 2013 (click here to read if you want). Some of these places sound so quaint, beautiful and cultured that I’m captivated into visiting a lot of them. #5 Astoria more than likely my #1 place to visit, but a lot of them seem to have their own little cultural quirks and niceness. Perhaps one day I’ll do some crazy small town road trip kind of thing, if I can find others to do it with me and the time to do it. Who knows how long this small town kick will get me though, after all I’m not exactly a huge small town person, but I’m not a huge city person either. Somewhere in between, the suburbs, is my kind of place. Not too cookie cutter (though I like how it looks but would never want to be in such a situation) but not too out of the ordinary either. So perhaps a new bucket list item? Maybe. :)

Regardless, visiting these iconic places that still have such huge cultural influences, and not necessarily in a bad way as some places are still stuck in the past (ie. racism still heavily prevalent), are somewhat of a dying thing. The past doesn’t really come back the way it once ever was, so while its still alive and breathing why not get an experience for it? I admit, I like past relics and I’m definitely into retro and vintage (maybe not everything, but definitely some things) just as much as I like some modern concepts as well. I wouldn’t try my cell phone, mp3 player, or laptop for the telegraph, record player (well I do want one, but I’d still want my mp3 player), or, well, there’s not really an equivalent to a laptop from back then… I like my modern technology things, but I appreciate and have a fondness for older things too. Even if I often am not one to actively seek it out. So hopefully one day (and possibly soon, for who knows how long it will remain a well displayed relic) I get to visit a couple of these places. At least one is in Texas (though Fredricksburg isn’t top on my list haha).
Recently I checked out a not so new band (but new to me) called The Devil Makes Three. They’re kind of a blue grass country folk kind of band, which I once sort of ridiculed a friend of mine for his blue grass music, and yet here I am enjoying some blue grass esque music by this band. Particularly their Old Number Seven song is what enticed me to them, but their first album song, The Plank, is also pretty good. I also feel as if they fit this theme decently, so I encourage you to also check ’em out.

Other life news

Texas weather (at least in DFW area) doesn’t often like to have seasons. We’re mostly hot year round except when it’s winter (more in the January-March time, the core of winter season) which usually doesn’t have snow but could and is cold because the wind sweeps through your clothes into your bones, and then otherwise it’s a constant battle of dry, cancer burning heat on my skin. Yet this year it seems like we’re experiencing a mixed spring. We have showers once a week, and so that one day that it showers it gets a bit cooler, and then slowly builds back up on the heat. Pretty sure we’ve already hit low 90sonce already, and yet today is somewhere in the 40s and low 50s. Yesterday I wore shorts and a tee because of the mid to upper 80 degree weather we had. Today I reverted back to my jeans and sweater plus a leather jacket. I guess this is Texas’s way of giving us a Spring, consistently fluctuating of mostly hot with one or two days of colder/cooler weather often filled with some rain. I can’t decide if I like it or not, for I love cold/cooler weather, but I also would like to not have to keep changing wardrobe and checking the weather every morning to make sure I won’t be too hot for the afternoon nor too cold for the morning.

Recently I also started a food board on pinterest (and not too long ago I started using Pinterest, mostly because I had to use it for work). It’s been dangerous now, as I stare at delicious goodies and things to make that will also probably fatten me up. I know I’m not actually fat, but all this unhealthy eating surely will come back and enlarge my stomach, thighs, arms, and face. Notice that the breasts and butt do not enlarge, that’s because fat never seems to go where you want it to (not that I really want larger of either) and only where it does not need to go anymore (thighs and arms especially). The good part is that despite all my chocolate and snack eating, I’ve been keeping up with my thigh challenge. I have now down 150 squats and will move to 155 today. Eventually once I hit 200 I will have completed my version of the squat challenge (I tweaked it a little bit). I also do sit ups at this time (I feel as though I may have already said this, but that may be on a different blogging site), so fortunately I am not jumbo sized yet. Additionally, I try to cardio/run/jog once a week. And if I start my bickram yoga this month, it will possibly replace that cardio/jogging/running that I try to require myself and hopefully will be at least if not more than once a week.

This past weekend I also checked out Dallas’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not as well as the joined Palace of Wax. It was my first time at the Dallas location Ripley’s and my first time at the Palace of Wax. My friend wanted to go since it’s always been there but as long as we’ve been here we’ve never gone. It was also a groupon so we basically paid half price for both shows total. A decent experience, one you don’t really have to repeat and one you should try to avoid paying full price for, but still nice to finally say we have gone.

president wax dolls

Went to the Palace of Wax for the first time this past weekend, here are some from the Presidential series.

Additionally, here are some of the deliciously fattening foods I’ve been trying out this past weekend. This is in addition to all the other junk food (and chocolate I’ve been eating… hahaha):

trailercakes cupcakes

Checked out Trailercakes which had absolutely delicious mini cupcakes. Didn’t try any normal sized.

hypnotic donuts

went to Hypnotic Donuts for the first time. They were good but too sweet on the frosting for some of them. Incredibly rich flavors

Still watching The Good Wife, though I’m now in the most recent season so that will have to stop soon. I think I’ll probably pick up Suits next, and eventually catch up on White Collar (on somewhere at second half of Season 3 and Season 4). My week days have been fill with work and TV (and whatever procrastinating things I decided to do during work) while my weekends filled with meeting with people and eating (especially cupcakes and donuts). At least I’m also doing some exploring too! Getting a bit of some old historic and also semi-famous Dallas area shops/restaurants.

As I have wasted enough time at work (all I did was download, edit, and upload a few pictures for work), I should probably procrastinate with other things for the last hour or so.

From a colder Spring day in Texas, I bid you adieu.

/end.

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