A nice break from busy

Fifth and sixth weeks are by far the busiest of the quarter!  Over the past two weeks I have written 14 pages worth of English papers, taken 3 midterms, and read 5 novels!  Between fifth and sixth weeks was Relay for Life (which was incredible!) and sixth week was USAC elections (meaning lots of flyers and little sleep).  I haven’t regretted a single moment of my busy schedule.  Relay for Life was a wonderful bonding experience for my friends and I and UCLA has new student body leaders (I did my fair share of pestering people to vote). Seventh week is a nice break.  I finally have time to catch up the sleep I missed due to Relay and Elections and I don’t have any midterms left to worry about.

The weather has been so nice these last few days that my friends and I were able to take a spontaneous trip to Santa Monica on Sunday night for some night swimming and Monday night I was able to go on a nice night run.  Running is a great stress reliever and it got cool enough at 8pm that I was able to go on a relaxing 2.5 mile run.

Campus is so pretty at night.  Towards the end of my run, I took a rest on Janss steps, did some sit-ups, and then just laid in the grass as took in the scenery.  It was so relaxing.  I don’t remember the last time I felt so peaceful.

Night runners on campus are apart of a club, a secret society if you will.  There are a decent number of people who go running at night, but not as many as during the day or work out at the gym.  I always thought that running in LA would not be as fun as it was back home, but it definitely can be!  It all depends on where you run! Normally I run the perimeter, but there a lot of interesting places to run!

All in all, seventh week has gotten off to a good start!  I’m counting down the days to summer when I can run and relax all I want!

Food Truck Feast

I think most Bruins can agree that food is a HUGE part of the college experience. Whether it’s eating in our top rated dining halls or going out in Westwood eating is something UCLA is all about. Tuesday night I had the chance to go to a food truck event in Santa Monica. Food trucks are a Los Angeles staple. They range in all different types of food from classic burgers to Asian fusion to even crepes! They can be found all over Los Angeles and have been known to be super close to UCLA’s campus on occasion. Food trucks usually offer a small menu of specialty food items. For instance, the Lobster Truck offers a lobster sandwich, a crab sandwich, and a few other seafood based items. While the menu’s sometimes seem limited in choices its only because the food trucks have specialized in making those items amazingly delicious.

The event I went to was in Santa Monica just off Main Street and Ocean. There were about ten to fifteen food trucks with a huge variety of different types of food. I had my car and was able to drive but for Bruins without cars the Santa Monica Blue Bus is only 50 cents! Going to school in Los Angeles is awesome because you are super close to incredibly popular areas. Santa Monica is constantly hosting events because of its gorgeous location and importance in Los Angeles. I opted for “The Bun Truck”. This Asian fusion food truck offered a variety of sammie and steamed buns. I got the Kalbi Bun (sirloin) and Dewji (spicy pork) Bun, both of which were amazing! The fun thing about these food truck events is it does not matter what type of foods your friends like: there will be something for everyone! UCLA definitely has that college town feel, but with the availability of many other areas that allow students to get off campus and get into the city.

Like I said earlier, food is a big deal when it comes to college students and Los Angeles is one of the best “foodie” areas in the country. The variety, quality, and availability are incredible. I might have to stay in LA after graduation just for the food alone!!

An Unusual Event to Kickoff Spring

One of the greatest things about UCLA is its proximity to the ocean.  Turns out this is just as practical as it is fun!  Another great thing about UCLA is that you are surrounded by people who have not yet lost their inner child.

On Saturday, a group of us went into a park in Westwood to have..A GIANT FOOD FIGHT.  It was a beautiful day in LA with a high of 75.  The girls drove the guys down to the park as a “Men’s Appreciation” Event.  In short, we ended up throwing spaghetti and shaving cream (among other things) and getting horribly messy.  It was a great way to kick off spring quarter because no one had to worry about midterms or papers just yet.  We were able to just hang out in the park and embrace our inner 5 year olds.  I regret nothing! (Not even the Italian Salad Dressing in my hair).

Most participants in this event went back to their dorms or apartments.  My friends and I went to the beach!  We lined my friends car with garbage bags and made it down to Santa Monica.  I don’t think that I have ever gotten in the water faster.  As soon as we reached the water, we dropped our bags and walked into the water and just swam and splashed around for a bit.  It was so fun!

This is hopefully on the first of many beach trips this quarter.  Spring is the best season in LA because the weather is getting warmer and their are so many outdoor things to do!  I plan on going to the beach at least once a month, going back to the Getty, having a bonfire down at Dockweiller Beach, hiking, and so much more!

Spring has sprung!

A trip down to 3rd street Promenade

Okay, so you might think that a trip to Third Street Promenade is not really an adventure. However, it was an adventure for me because I took the Big Blue Bus for the first time, instead of driving and actually went down there by myself!!!

I took  line number 1, and didn’t even know which stop to get off at so I had to ask  the bus driver where to stop, and luckily she knew!! It was a pretty long ride on the bus actually. After 40 minutes I arrived at Third Street Promenade. And as usual, I went straight to the stores without  bothering to check where the other returning bus stop was. After 2 hours of shopping, I realized I didn’t know where the bus stop was get back home!!

I went back to the original bus stop where I was dropped off but I didn’t see any bus stops on the side of the street. Luckily, there was a bus that was stopped and I was able to ask the bus driver how to get back to UCLA. She told me that I actually had to catch the bus on Santa Monica Boulevard, which was one block down from where I was. From there,  I walked down to Santa Monica Boulevard and 10 minutes later, I saw the bus number 1!! 🙂

Forty minutes later, I made it back to Westwood.  My trip to Third Street was a little adventure for me… even my boyfriend was shocked to find that I went there by myself on the bus, haha!!

The calm before the storm :)

I think this long Memorial weekend perfectly fits what I believe is the calm before the storm. It’s week 9 now, and everybody knows what that means: 1 week left to finish up all the projects, homework, and studying before we hit finals week. But I certainly think that this long weekend is just something that everybody is thankful for because it gives you the chance to heal after a long quarter before the final battle (as I always refer my final and midterms as)

And that’s exactly what I did. Instead of going with the original plan we had of going out of town and traveling, my boyfriend and I  just relaxed and did absolutely nothing stressful this long weekend.

We started the weekend right by kicking it off with a dinner at Musha at Santa Monica. For those of you who are Japanese food lovers, this is definitely a place to go to. It’s at Wilshire and 4th street. It’s a small restaurant, but it got packed so quickly. The salmon is to die for and the rib eye is so yummy!!

And, here’s the 2 cutest things I encountered this week: they are 2 new puppies and they’re super cute!  My boyfriend’s also niece learned to wink and kept doing it with me 🙂 Because it was a little hot too on Saturday, I took his niece to go swimming and she LOVED it!! She was shivering because the water was a little cold but she refused to get out from the pool. She was giggling and splashing water while shivering. It was a total cuteness!!

 

And speaking about the 2 new puppies, I just loved playing with them. The white one is a little bit bigger and it looks like a baby polar bear; the brown one is smaller and she was just a ball of energy. She kept running around and hiding at all the possible places she could find.

It was such a lovely and fun weekend, and although I’m sad it has ended but I guess that means we’re getting closer to summer!! wohoooo… But before that, with the hours that I have left. I’m going to start driving and going to get dim sum 🙂 For those who haven’t tried before, I only have one thing to say: try it!! 🙂 Happy Memorial Day Weekend Bruins!!

Nature Lover

I grew up without television. My friends say this explains a lot about my eccentric personality, but what I think this really did for me was that it fostered a love of the outdoors and the majestic use of my imagination. Growing up we had a large backyard that was packed with trees and flowers and was backed up by a creek. I would spend most of my days frolicking around pretending I was an Indian Princess, or a lost explorer.

You are probably assuming that with age these silly children’s fantasy games went away. However, they did not. I love imagination and exploration and discovery. But how was I going to take advantage of what my mind and creativity had to offer if I had no place to go? In Westwood, there is little to no foliage to get lost in.

If you’re anything like me, you may have come to Los Angeles, taken a look around, and wondered to yourself, where is the nature? This was probably the most difficult thing I had to face upon coming to UCLA. Being from the Bay Area, I always had Muir Woods, Pismo Beach, Yellowstone, and Lake Tahoe just a stones throw away. I could venture up into the mountains for long backpacking trips with my family and friends, or just explore for a casual day hike.

It has been my quest to find as many good hikes as possible in these tough surroundings. Luckily, this past weekend, I found one to get lost in. Sadly it takes a full day to do the entire trip, so if you have a jam packed schedule as I do, this can’t be an everyday frequent, but it is worth it time permitting.

My dear friend Ashley and I took to the internet to find a hike that led us to the highest peak in Santa Monica. We drove our car up and around winding roads until we finally found the gravel parking lot the yelp commenters are had mentioned.

The brush and bramble wasn’t exquisite on the way up, but the large rock formations and the way the sun hit the stone made it all worth our while. When we finally emerged victorious at the top, the view was breathtaking. In the distance, the beautiful ocean could be seen sparkling in the sun light, and the hills around us made civilization seem a thing of the past. We were along to indulge in a delicious picnic and catch up without the woes of our world below us.

As the sun began to set, we set off at a quick pace with hopes of catching the sun setting in Malibu. However, one wrong turn, a pitiful tripping on my part, and a bloody knee, resulted in a less glamorous viewing from the side of the hill. All in all, can’t complain. And, I have a nice little scar on my knee to hold the memory forever.

Weekend Adventures

Photo Credit: JM Rosenfeld Photography

To celebrate the completion of midterms, some of my good friends and I took a Friday night adventure to El Cholo for dinner. El Cholo is a Mexican restaurant that has been around since 1923. We went to the location in Santa Monica, which is in a big pink building! The food was not only delicious, but also reasonably priced. The bathroom was decorated with a signed movie poster by Robert De Niro. Since we’re in Los Angeles, the movie of course had scenes filmed in the restaurant. Great food and fun location aside, it is always nice to have some R&R time with close friends!

The weekend was highlighted by a Bru-Win at the football game. Man, were those last few minutes were a nail biter. For me, that was even better then getting an extra hour of sleep on Sunday! Can I just say, late afternoons are the perfect time for football games? There was sunny weather for tailgating, the sun is not in your eyes during the game, and it doesn’t get too cold during the 4th quarter.

Go Bruins!!!

Parent’s Weekend!

This weekend is Parent’s Weekend! The best weekend of the year! (Maybe not, but I love my parents, and this weekend is the first time I get to see them, ok?)

My parents are getting here early Saturday morning which means I have to get up even earlier to get showered, dressed and clean up my room because it is a total mess right now. Once they get here, we are going to have a ~delectable~ brunch / dining experience in Royce Quad, with food provided by UCLA Catering.

Let me just say, UCLA Catering’s food is super freaking good. Every time they have big events like this, there are always strawberries and whipped cream. Last year, they had a donut stand where, get this, they were making fresh donuts with powdered sugar or cinnamon (or both). Basically, Parent’s Weekend = UCLA Catering = caloric overload 2011.

After we finish up eatin’ and greetin’, we are going to tour around L.A. on our (less than) fabulous public transportation system. Perhaps we’ll stop by LACMA or head on over to Santa Monica. Whatever happens, I know I am going to be supremely happy – my parents will be here!

At night, my roommate and her mom are going to pick us up and we are all going to go to the Getty Center. If you have not been to the Getty… go now. Right now. I feel like I have said this before, but the Getty is the most beautiful place is Los Angeles and needs to be experienced by everyone.

On Sunday, we are going to my friend’s house for brunch. I am really excited for my parents to meet my friend’s mom. It’s been so long (high school days) since my mom and dad knew the moms and dads of the people I am friends with.

Unfortunately, Parent’s Weekend is just a weekend, and I eventually have to say goodbye. But… I already know that this one will be a whole lot better than last year’s (for one thing, we aren’t going to the football game). I am a little more mature and a lot more comfortable. I am really looking forward to running up and giving my mom and huge hug.

Parent’s Weekend – just one of the many awesome events you get to take part of at UCLA!

Hollywood close to home

Alright everyone, I don’t want to toot my horn or sound the alarms or make other car noises, but I want you all to know that I may or may not be three degrees from Kevin Bacon. (That’s an old saying that my mom uses for all you confused youngsters out there.) Basically, I have been sworn to secrecy so some of the details will be left out from this wonderful blog, but for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to see Hollywood up close and personal.

Being from the Bay Area (NorCal), I imagined that coming to LA would be just like it is in the movies; glamour, celebrities, and fashion everywhere you looked. I have learned that it is not. Apart from a few friendly encounters with celebs, aka my head making a 180 as I casually walked by them and pretended not to gawk (sorry Dakota Fanning), my Hollywood home has been far from cinematic. Until this past week…..

My wonderful office building down in Santa Monica was selected out of the hundreds of thousands of buildings in LA to be used for one of Oliver Stone’s new movies. If you don’t know who Oliver Stone is, look him up. Did you do it? Ok good. I am not allowed to give out the title of the movie, nor was I allowed to take any photos, but what I can tell you is that for one week I got to have an insiders look into what it means to be a part of Hollywood. From the set being arranged, to the 60 people that stood around and did next to nothing on the day of the shoot, to the mess and clutter that came after, and the clean up crew that got to make it disappear, I was there.

As I sat at my desk by the front entrance to our offices I, get this, made eye contact with my love Emile Hirsch. Yes, the god himself. Milk, Lords of Dogtown, my heart! It was magic, and it made me realize how tangible Hollywood actually is. They are just regular human beings like you and me except so much more ridiculously good looking. In case you couldn’t imagine how perfect I would look as arm candy on the arm’s of these movies stars, I’ve enclosed a REAL photo of me kicking it with my loves. Emile and Tim Riggins of Friday Night Lights are just a couple of the stars I made eye contact with. HOLLYWOOOOOD!

Up Up and Awayyy

 

This past weekend my dear friend Bobbie had a couple of visitors from England staying with her. She had studied abroad with them in Manchester and they were taking advantage of their Gap Year to explore the west coast from San Diego up to Seattle. Fortunately for them, their stop in LA was guaranteed to be a hit. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am a UCLA campus tour guide, and the wonderful thing about being a tour guide, aside from the fact that we have more spirit and passion for the school than almost anyone out there, is that we are a family. In this group I have met so many different and wonderful people that it makes spending time with them outside of the office a pure joy. So, that is exactly what we do!

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of showing the Brits what a day in LA can be like. We spent the morning relaxing out at Santa Monica Beach, had a nice dinner in Westwood, and then packed our bags to scale the mountains for a weekend getaway at Lake Arrowhead. They were blown away that we could go from one to the other in less than two hours. Their excitement only fueled mine and made for a spectacular weekend. With 20 tour guides, 2 Brits, and endless adventuring to be done, nothing could go wrong. We went to the lake, did a beautiful hike along the ridge to Devil’s Hole, barbecued, and played games. It was the perfect way to relax after a long week of work.

Sadly the weekend bliss had to come to an end come Sunday, but don’t worry, we all made it back for a reunion Mexican themed potluck Monday night. It looks like summer is going to be just fine.