Finals don’t have to be stressful!

Finals week is now underway and already UCLA students across campus have settled into “Finals Mode”.  Finals mode includes an increase in studying, a decrease in sleep, excess coffee, and a more frequent use of libraries.  In the midst of finals week craziness, it is important to take a moment to breathe and find our sanity once again.  Here are a few tips:

  • Schedule in some study breaks!  Studying is extremely important, but you also don’t want to burn yourself out before your test!  After every couple of hours, take the time to go on a walk, get lunch with a friends, or something else that is easy and relaxing!
  • Pick a good playlist! I can get so distracted by what music I listen to when I study, which defeats the purpose of listening to music. Pick something classical or something mellow.  My personal favorite is my “Civil Wars” Pandora station, but I’ve also recently discovered Blind Pilot!
  • Go work out! This is a great stress reliever.  The morning of your final, put on your running shoes and do a quick run around campus or go to the Wooden Center (which is considerably less crowded during finals week).  Find a friend and play some racketball.
  • Lay off the coffee after 11pm!  Sleep is just as important as study breaks.  Coffee is excellent (clearly I’m a fan), but after a certain time of night it can really mess with your schedule.  There is nothing worse than spending a long day studying then not being able to sleep before your 8am final because you drank too much coffee.  Instead of coffee at night…
  • Drink tea! It comes in a variety of flavors and levels of caffeine
  • Change up your location every once in awhile!  Go to the 24 hour Starbucks in Westwood, check out all of the finals week special hours at Kerckhoff or Ackerman, or go to UBC’s study spot on Wilshire for free food and wifi! (Yes…free)

Finals week can seem daunting, but take some deep breaths and you will be just fine! Professors aren’t “out to get you” and UCLA wants to help you out (as does the surrounding community)!

Coffee and the College Student

Coffee is something that (almost) every college student is familiar with.  When I first came to college, I was not a coffee drinker but I quickly became one.

One of the great things about coffee is that you can get it just about anywhere on campus.  BCaf is open until 2am, the dining halls have it for every meal, there are a plethora of cafes, there are coffee vending machines, and then there is off campus.  If you need caffeine, you will find it!

On campus, you can get just about anything by way of coffee and tea.  You can get a plain up of joe or a dirty chai latte.  All of the coffee shops on campus also have seasonal favorites (such as pumpkin spice)!  If you bring your own mug, they even give you a discount.

Going off campus, your options get a little crazier.  There are places right in westwood that will give you a fancy latte with some foam art or several Starbucks (which is open 24 hours!) and Coffee Beans to study at.  Personally, I like to study at Espresso Profetta or Starbucks right across from the Bruin Theater!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to try a really exciting kind of coffee: Turkish Coffee.  It is for experienced coffee drinkers only!  It’s so strong, that when I ordered it, they had to make sure that I had eaten lunch first.  Turkish coffee is a method of preparation, not type of coffee and is so thick it has the consistency of hot chocolate (but is really all just coffee).  They even serve it with a glass of warm water to wash the bitter taste away.  It was really good though!

Overall, coffee is part of the college experience.  There are so many great places on campus and in the area to go and explore.  Part of the UCLA experience is finding those hidden gems to study at or where they make your favorite coffee!  I still have a few places on my UCLA bucket list to try! Any suggestions?

Eatery on Lindbrook

I finally got to go out to Westwood last weekend after finishing all of my midterms. It was an exciting day for me, not only because I had finished my exams, but also because I got to meet one of my brother’s friends from Hawaii. Until last weekend, I had only contacted him through email and had never seen him in real life. But when I met him and talked to him, he was like how I had envisioned him. As a student in medical school, he has helped me through my transition from high school to entering college as premed. I am so thankful for his every thoughtful advice and his concern. I feel so blessed to know such an inspiring person.

So we met up for lunch on Saturday and we had to pick a place to eat.

Picking a place to eat is one of the hardest decisions to make, primarily because there are so many wonderful eateries around campus. There is a little town nearby on Sawtelle Blvd called Little Osaka, where they have various Japanese cuisines. If you are ever craving sushi, curry, dimsum, or just Asian food in general, visit Little Osaka. It’s only about a 10-min drive from UCLA. My favorite place to go in Little Osaka is Blockheads(Asian shaved ice) and Coco’s(Boba milk tea).

Due to bad traffic, we had to skip on Little Osaka and decided to look for a place in Westwood instead, and we found 800 Degrees Nepolitan Pizzeria. I had heard about the place from other people but had never actually gone there myself, so I wanted to try it.

The place is very unique in the way that they are very engaging in how they take orders and make their pizzas. The customers can pick the toppings they would like on their individual 12-inch pizza and they get to see the process of making the pizza. It’s basically like subway, but pizza instead of sandwich. It was interesting to see the process of a piece of dough transforming into a delicious pizza. Plus, I got to try toppings that I’ve never tried before, like ricotta and fontina cheese. They bake each pizza in their wood-fired ovens and serve it to the customer very fresh and hot. The whole process didn’t take very long either. It took us about 15 mins to see our pizzas being made. It felt shorter because it was so amusing to look at.

The atmosphere inside the restaurant was good too. We were sitting right by the window with the sun pleasantly shining through. Although it was a bit crowded, it was a nice, casual place to enjoy our lunch. Thanks to 800 Degrees Pizzeria, I had a nice lunch date with my brother and his friend 😀 Definitely going back there someday.

Miss Foodie

 

 

Although UCLA has AMAZING dorm food, as our dining halls have been ranked #1 in the nation several times, I like to explore other good eateries in town once in a while. Being a huge foodie myself, I like to walk down to Westwood or anywhere around campus to find new places to eat great food and hang out.

There are good eateries all over Westwood. If you like Asian noodles of all sorts, definitely take a trip to Noodle World. It serves authentic Asian cuisine from Vietnam, China, Japan, and Thailand. It has the best Pod Thai’s, and Pho’s with a deep, incredibly comforting broth. They also serve boba drinks, which is always a plus for me. With good prices and late night service, it is a great place to go with a friend to grab a late night snack. Or, if you are feeling like sushi, take a short walk to Yamato. It is located right in the center of the Westwood Village. If you walk along Westwood Blvd, you cannot miss it, because it is the only white building that looks like a castle. Although it can be pretty pricey, it holds regular happy hours from 5pm to close every night, which offers half-off discount on all rolls. So if you’re craving some baked lobster roll or dragon roll, hit Yamato for the night, and you will be satisfied.

I recently visited BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse to grab dinner with my brother, and I really enjoyed the casual atmosphere. In a dimly lit room, people were eating and watching some football with a bottle of beer in their hands. We ordered a pasta dish and a burger, and I personally liked the burger more. While the pasta was a bit dry, the burger was tender and juicy, and it came with wedged-cut fries, which were perfectly cooked: golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  But the dessert was the highlight of the night. BJ’s are especially known for their “pizookies”, or pizza-cookies. These rich, decadent cookies of various sorts, such as cookies and cream, the one that I personally had,  rasberry white chocolate almond, red velvet, and even gluten-free chocolate chip, are each topped with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. These things are so big and rich that you may have to share it with a couple of people.

I probably consumed thousands of calories that night, but it was TOTALLY worth it! And this place is only one of the tens of hundreds of restaurants that I have yet to explore in this city of LA, and I am so excited to try all of them. There are many things I am grateful for in this city of LA, but I am probably most thankful for its wonderful food 😉

Fresh Start

Hey! My name is Hayoung Youn. So I’m the new girl in town since I will be entering UCLA this fall as a freshman. Right now, I have a month and a half before starting my new life at an entirely different environment, and I have to say, I am pretty stoked.

But then again, I am a bit nervous and insecure about my dorm, dorm mates, classes, and whatever else you can possibly think of when entering a college. I know I will be living in a triple, but I haven’t heard back about who my dorm mates are or which room I will be living in. Since I have never had a roommate before, it will be a big change for me to live with two other people, but I’m hoping that it will help me to open myself up to socialize and connect with fellow bruins.

Yesterday, I took a flight to UCLA for my freshman orientation. I signed up for the early arrival, which lets me go into the dorms the night before the orientation actually starts. I figured going there early will be nice because I’ll get a chance to meet other people. Plus, it would be a hassle to take a super early flight to LA if I didn’t do early arrival. There was a small fee of $50, but I thought it would be worth it. The orientation itself is from the 14th through the 16th.

I am quite excited to get a glimpse of my college life. Being a huge food enthusiast, I am VERY excited about visiting some of the fine eateries around campus. Right across from campus, there is a famous ice cream shop called Diddy Riese that has delicious ice cream sandwiches for a relatively cheap price! With a price of $1.75, you can make your own ice cream sandwich from a variety of freshly made cookies and over ten different flavors of Dreyer’s premium ice creams. They sell cookies separately for only $4 per dozen! They also have brownies, sundaes, and shaved ice. Their goal is to serve high quality desserts for affordable prices, which is a good news for students at UCLA.

So it looks like I will have many people to meet and many places to visit for the next couple of days. I am definitely excited to visit LA, and even more excited to be able to tell you guys all about it when I get back.

Princeton Ly – Apartment Hunting Part II

I know what a daunting thing it is to start looking for off-campus housing. As I mentioned in a previous post, the earlier you look for apartments, the easier it will be for you.

There are many, many factors to consider. How much can I afford? Who will I live with? How far away is this from class? How far away is this from a grocery store, now that I actually need to cook for myself?

My friend recently introduced me to a really neat tool called PadMapper that could really help in finding an apartment amidst all those questions.

After searching UCLA, Westwood in the address bar, I was transported to a map of Westwood with a variety of rental listings. I could filter listings by price, number of bedrooms, and even see a place’s proximity to grocery stores and nightlife. It was also really helpful to compare the apartment listing’s price to the median price of the neighborhood, just to make sure I wasn’t getting ripped off. I could share saved listings with my future apartment mates, and more importantly, could see how close I was going to be to my friends and to my classes on campus. The user-interface made it easy for me to navigate, and I found myself wishing that I had known about this tool when I was looking for apartments.

While I definitely recommend that new first-years or third-year-transfers live on campus to truly experience UCLA’s community, I also know that there are students out there who might be seeking an alternative. Moving to a foreign place can be daunting, so I would definitely encourage that newbies to the area utilize tools like PadMapper. Scouting out the terrain beforehand to make sure your new home is nicely located will be well worth it in the long run. I was lucky enough to have found a great apartment with the help of older friends; I’ve definitely heard horror stories of other students who have been trapped in leases with rent almost twice as much as mine. Ouch.

In short, when you decide that it is time to move off-campus, take a look at tools like PadMapper that make the whole process easier.

Happy hunting.

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*PadMapper is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the University of California Los Angeles.


Princeton Ly – Food

Around UCLA, we are blessed with many gourmet yet affordable dining options. I recently had the chance to try a few of them.

In Westwood proper, Five Guys opened just a month or two ago. They are famous for their customizable burgers, and also offer hot dogs and fries. I personally like our neighborhood In-N-Out better, but to each his/her own. The lines are interminably long, though, so beware (though they do offer peanuts to snack 0n during the inevitable wait). Oh, and the seating is not great, so I would recommend ordering ahead (I heard you can do it online) and just picking up food to go.

If you’re 21+, Father’s Office is a fun place to visit. People rave about their signature burger, a

“patty of fine dry-aged beef topped with caramelized onions, Gruyère and Maytag cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon compote and arugula served on a soft roll” (Serious Eats by way of Wikipedia).

If you’re adventurous, they offer some cool stuff on their appetizer menu (I had bone marrow!), and their selection of alcohol is pretty comprehensive, from what I gathered. The one, perhaps major, drawback, is the price. Expect to spend upwards of $20 for an appetizer and a drink. Yikes.

One cheaper alternative a bit closer to home is Palomino. Happy hour starts at 3 PM and lasts until closing time, so go crazy (I recommend the Potato Gorgonzola).

Lastly, a few developments to keep an eye on:

-It seems a Umami-lite (no waiters) is coming to the village. Here’s to hoping U-Mini opens before I graduate!

-For a long time, my go-to places on Sawtelle have been Asahi Ramen and Hurry Curry, mainly because of the great price-to-fullness ratio, but with a bunch of cool-sounding places opening in the last months, it seems like a bit more exploring is in order.

That’s it for now! Until next time, happy eating.

-Princeton

 

What happens when 800 Degrees meets the Hammer Museum…

 

Last weekend was the best weekend I’ve had so far this winter quarter!! As I finished the second midterms for all my classes, I was finally able to relax and enjoy my weekend without worrying about another round of midterms coming!! 🙂

I got a chance to visit the Hammer Museum, which is right on Westwood and Wilshire. For those of you Bruins or fellow students who have never visited Hammer Museum, you should make a trip! I went to see some of the sculpture and painting exhibitions that they had including: Alina Szapoczikow (Sculpture Undone), Carlos Bunga, Antony, and Alex Hubbard Hammer Project. I have to say that the exhibits were very different from the exhibitions that I usually attend. However, it actually ended up pretty interesting. Initially, it was hard to see what the art was portraying, however after couple minutes passed, I started to think outside the box. I started not to analyze the object with the regular “engineering” perspective of defining line and function. I just let my imagination play around, and enjoyed the art as it was.

When I visited Hammer Museum on Sunday, it was pretty quiet and empty, which was really nice. When I got to the second floor, I was able to see  the hustle and bustle of Westwood and Wiltshire; yet, it was very quiet and peaceful inside Hammer Museum. There’s even a  sitting area where you can see a great view of Westwood.

I also got a chance to try to eat at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza right across from Hammer Museum. This pizza place is always crowded and filled with long lines whenever I drive around the area.  The line wasn’t too long when I went on Sunday (luckily!). For those of you who haven’t tried it, I would recommend it  if you’re around UCLA area. They custom-make your pizza right in front of you, and all the ingredients are fresh !! I went there with couple friends and my boyfriend. It was a very fun Sunday if I may say 🙂

All on all, it was a great, relaxing weekend! The weather was beautiful and there was a nice breeze from Santa Monica beach that helped to cool down the heat. I think I’m ready to start week 9 🙂 2 weeks left before Winter quarter ends… start the count down with me!! 🙂

Farmer’s Market

Last weekend I went to a farmers market in Hollywood. Los Angeles has tons of farmers markets. I think you could find one to attend almost any day of the week. Even Westwood has one on Thursdays.

This particular one is nestled a few blocks from the infamous star walk. There is one street that features produce. One of my personal favorite things about stands is all the samples! I think you could try every nut imaginable.

I wasn’t there to buy produce though, I went for lunch! The next street has a variety of food stands covering almost every ethnicity. I am not kidding- there was Mexican, Greek, Korean and even good ‘ole fried chicken. The dessert stands are at the beginning of the street. There are bakery and pie stands but the clear favorite is Carmela’s Ice Cream truck. They feature ice cream with most ingredients, home made. With the recommendation of the staff member there, I enjoyed rocky road ice cream with homemade marshmellows. Delicious!

Go Bruins!!

Saffron Rose

Last Friday, I went for a walk with my friend Renn into Westwood to grab some ice cream. I had been to Yogurtland before, and of course I had been to Diddy Riese, so we decided to try something new.

My other friend had told me about a Persian ice cream shop a couple of blocks past Wilshire on Westwood Blvd called Saffron Rose. So, we went to go check it out. In case you are not super familiar with Westwood geography, Wilshire is the street where the Hammer Museum is located, and for UCLA students who live on campus, it’s normally falls just on the outer edge of “walking distance”.

Basically that means that the walk was a little bit more like a hike. My friend and I walked for a good twenty-five minutes, which really isn’t too bad but that Friday had Arctic temperatures accompanied by large gusts of wind (and apparently now ice cream!).

So, we strolled and I tried not to let my teeth chatter as I silently berated myself for wearing shorts (like, do you even check the weather, Charley?). We passed the other lesser ice cream shops and almost contemplated just settling for fro yo (Malibu Yogurt was sooo close to campus). But we stuck to our guns. We were determined to taste Persian ice cream.

Side note: Right as we were crossing Wilshire, we saw a car accident! Not that car accidents are good, but this one was very minor – no one was hurt. But it was sort of exciting.

After we passed Wilshire and walked those few extra blocks (which was so weird, by the way, I had never walked past Wilshire before) we came upon Saffron Rose. It was kind of a tiny place with a big sign that said “SAFFRON ROSE” (duh), and inside there were two big ice cream freezers with a bunch of really fun flavors. I sampled mango and jasmine and ended up getting cucumber and lavender. All I gotta say about Persian ice cream is ohhhh my guhhhhh it’s sooooooo goooooooood.

My cucumber ice cream had bits of real cucumber that were all frozen and delicious, and the lavender tasted like I was eating a straight-up lavender plant with, like, sweetened condensed milk poured on top of it. And to top it off (literally), they give you a wafer that you get to munch on. Yum!

The trek was totally worth it.

After, we stopped by the Hammer for a short walking break, and I guess I have not been in quite sometime because there are now ping pong tables in the upper level. So the walking break turned into a mini ping pong rally.

In short, the walk was cold, the ping pong was fun, and the ice cream was a 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10.