Posts Tagged ‘los angeles’

Riding motorcycles

laelene Posted in mba, stories,Tags: , , ,

Five weeks ago, I was chatting with some friends when one of them (my “Partner”) randomly mentioned he had an extra helmet and could take me on a motorcycle ride sometime.

You should have seen the wide-eyed, excited look I gave him.

It was the weirdest thing because just days earlier, I had been thinking to myself who I knew with a motorcycle. I was driving back from a tour of Amazon’s facilities out in San Bernardino and kept seeing motorcycles passing by. One of my mentors had recently had his stolen, which also caught my attention (and strangely enough got me interested).

I had been mulling the idea over in my head for a few days when out of the blue, the offer was made and I cannot tell you how ecstatic yet baffled I was. Had he read my mind?! I hadn’t talked to anybody about it yet and our topic of conversation was nowhere near the subject. I wasn’t about to ask questions though, so I happily took him up on it. Ever since, we’ve been trying to find a time to go and things kept getting in the way.

So FINALLY, yesterday we got a chance to go for a ride. Partner picked me up in DTLA and we went through Echo Park towards Griffith Observatory. When we first got going, I was rather surprised to find nothing to hold on to except him. For some reason I hadn’t expected that. As we went along, I got to see a bit of what others had warned me of in terms of crazy drivers who either don’t see or don’t care you’re there. We tried out some winding roads and meandered around surface streets before stopping to grab some lunch. It was so interesting for me to look around as we went – I feel like I saw a lot more and noticed a lot more.

I found it quite odd that people seemed to ignore our presence as they drove in their cars texting irresponsibly. Being exposed like that made me feel a lot more connected with my surroundings and I kept shifting my gaze to try to see as much as possible. There were moments where I burst out into a goofy grin because it was so cool to be cruising along. I certainly didn’t get my fill this time, but there will be other chances!

selfie with blue motorcycle helmet on

While waiting to get gas, I couldn’t resist taking a selfie with my new helmet courtesy of Partner.

getting back on motorcycle after getting gas

After getting gas, it was time to sling the leg over and get back on the road.

bread and charcuterie platter at cafe stella

For lunch, we shared a charcuterie platter and some yummy bread.

arm of motorcycle driver and view of road

Sneaky action shot! I like the angle and the capture of the sign.

After we stopped, I wanted to get some selfies.

motorcycle riders with leather jackets and helmets

What an awesome friend, work husband, and Partner! Now please take me on a ride again, kthxbye. 😉

standing by motorcycle


sitting on motorcycle front view

“Now sit on it.”

sitting on motorcycle side view

I want!!

The holiday break

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With just about a day left before Panda and I headed back to LAX to return to our life out east, I started to feel anxious. It had been a wonderful two weeks, exactly the sort of healing, growing, relaxing, and enjoying I needed. I was kind of worried about getting back into things at work and all the other obligations being back entails. Luckily, the transition hasn’t been that bad at all and I’m happy to be (what is now) home.

Here are some highlights from my time in balmy SoCal. Other moments included hanging out with my mom, chatting with my cousin (and helping her get a new laptop at Best Buy), enjoying quiet moments alone at the mall, meeting up with some AKPsi pledge bros, grabbing lunch with an old UCLA AFROTC friend, catching up over tea with a friend I met at a Gogobot event, a session with my microdermabrasion guy (it’s been over a year!), relaxing at my fab reflexology spot, and reminiscing over old pictures (many that will slowly make their way into blog posts).

view of other united flights lined up at terminal at iad airport

And off we go on our winter vacation.

girl sitting in first class seat on plane with blanket wrapped around legs

We got upgraded to first class on the way in! I smartly brought a blanket.

aerial of northern virginia area near dulles airport

As we took off, I tried to spot our new condo with little luck.

overhead view of gray clouds and white clouds with shadows of setting sun

The creepy gray clouds tried to climb over the fluffy white ones…

breakfast meal served in first class on united flight, with eggs, potatoes au gratin, meat patty, tomato, cinnamon roll, fresh fruit, and orange juice

Breakfast is served! I enjoyed the potatoes au gratin best.

tiny ice crystals formed on exterior of plane window

Gettin’ frosty up here but I’m toasty in my blankie. 🙂

aerial view of land with bright light in distance

What’s that brilliantly bright light in the distance? I think it was probably a large lake catching the sun.

girl laying on ground looking over and smiling at cat looking into distance

First order of business at home is to hang out with Missy.

apple that burst around the middle and split apart

Umm, how does this even happen to an apple?!

girl holding giant stick of tornado fries in front of kiosk in mall

I discover a new favorite snack at the mall: Tornado Fries! Take a whole potato, swirl cut it, spread out along large stick, fry, and sprinkle on various powders for flavor. Fun!

manya jewelers storefront at valencia town center mall with engagement ring made there in foreground

Had my ring cleaned at my jewelers for the first time since getting it and it was nice to catch up with the owner.

cat laying against leg underneath body pillow facing up

Hehe, Missy doesn’t mind that the pillow is crushing her. She loves snuggling with me anyway.

girl sipping japanese matcha green tea latte with 3d latte art of bear at outdoor table of cafe

For my birthday, I basically hopped from restaurant to cafe to bakery to restaurant. Happy taste buds and belly!

table filled with giant dishes of northern chinese food and girl looking skeptical about two people eating it all

Oops, we over-ordered for food. Two people got what five probably should have.

cat walking on person's butt while she lies across bed on belly

Missy walks all over me and I love it.

cat taking nap with arms extended over keyboard of laptop while sitting on person's lap

When she’s like this, how can I work? Too cute.

zoomed in view of times square new years ball lit up in blue on tv for new years eve celebration in nyc

I had a quiet NYE just watching the show on TV.

electric guitarist playing music in middle of road at intersection in culver city

Ringing in the new year with this guy jamming on his electric guitar! #culvercitycharacters

booths at westwood farmers market on broxton street thursday near ucla

Lol, I never got to check out the Westwood Farmer’s Market once it was moved to Thursday, and now here I am.

kimchi fried rice dish at gushi's restaurant in westwood near ucla

My absolute fav to get at Gushi.

cat sitting pretty atop luxurious white furry blanket

Little miss princess.

thin crust pizza with half sausage with red onions and half mozzarella with basil

Trying out a new pizza joint in DTLA with my Gogobot buds.

blurry selfie with terrible aim of part of new friend at pizza place

(re)Met a Gogoboter and we do some selfies.

blurry shot of group of friends at dim sum restaurant table

Got together with old friends who I met the year I met Panda! Yes, the picture is intentionally blurry.

box of lady di's cupcakes and two brownies on side

I couldn’t leave LA without bringing some treats.

wolfgang puck express pizza box

At the airport, I got dinner since I hadn’t eaten all day.

wolfgang puck express pepperoni pizza in box

I thought we got a pepperoni and mushroom, but we accidentally left off the mushroom part of the order. Oh well!

Leaving on a jet plane…

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

view of lax airport at night from airplane window with reflection of book and person's hand

Farewell, LA(X). Til next time… (TBD)

Hey, at least I know it’ll be sometime in 2014! Still, it’s one big ambiguous question at this point.


laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve had some pretty random and interesting experiences in my life. There are the moments when I had crazy encounters with strangers, the cool things I got to experience as a result of living in Los Angeles, and wonderful childhood memories. I’d like to share more of these, since a good story can be captivating, entertaining, and powerful. Perhaps I can hone my writing skills enough to write short stories!

long stretch of flat desert road

Driving, driving, driving, til she needed to go.

Today I was chatting with Autumnfall and our conversation reminded me of an experience I had back when I was working on the set of Wristcutters. I was interning for the first time and found myself taking on all kinds of roles, including buying food, managing staff (and wrangling extras), and taking care of the actors. When we were up in the deserts of Lancaster, our hotel was a good 40 minutes from set and I got called to go pick up one of the actresses. I got her from our hotel and we started racing down the long stretch of road. She asked to smoke in my car, and being the accommodating person I am, we cracked the windows open a bit so she could puff away. About halfway there, she wanted me to pull over. There was not much more than cacti and tumbleweed for miles in all directions and she needed to pee. So, there I found myself, pulled over on the side of this two-lane road as the actress squatted next to the open passenger door of my car and relieved herself (all the time still enjoying her cigarette). It was completely out of the blue and the type of startling experience that sticks with you for how random and odd it is. It also makes for a pretty hilarious tale to tell others. Autumnfall is going to take some elements of the story and write up a little fictional story from it. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what she does with this fodder!

This, in addition with Katana’s recent request that I read over some ideas she has for a book, make me want to share more of my life stories and grand adventures. I could share the times I took rides with strangers in foreign countries, the wacky times I spent with rich guys, the amazing things I got to do as a child, the fun experiences from college, and so much more… I just wish I could put together words as well as the writers I know (Autumnfall & Katana). Alas, I’ll do my best and hope to provide some worthwhile reads. Stay tuned!

These are a few of my favorite things…

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Every year as a child, my dad and I would watch the Sound of Music on TV together around the holiday season. It’s one of those things that reminds me it’s that time of year and I plan on watching the live version that Carrie Underwood’s doing in a few days. My dad won’t be able to watch with me, but it’s still a nice memory. I’m reminded of that because yesterday I got to enjoy some of my favorite things! Panda and I really took advantage of what LA has to offer and went around making the most of this chance to do many things I love. So here are a few of my favorite things (along with random tidbits from the day)!

girl wearing cheap plastic sunglasses and orange bikini top holding up peace sign and sticking out tongue

Free sunglasses.

cluster of tiny jasmine flowers with giant leaves

I kept smelling a really fragrant scent in the yard… and tracked it down to these tiny suckers. Jasmine FTW!

cat laying on top of brick wall

Are you surprised? Of course Missy would make it on here. She’s too cute not to.

cat by open door tentatively stepping outside

Molly deserves a shoutout too. Here she decides if it’s worth it to go outside.

girl wearing black ucla hoodie driving car with grey interior and moon roof

I <3 UCLA and enjoying peaceful drives.

girl smiling holding up cha for tea peach iced tea drink with boba

Love the boba at cha for tea!

bag of crispy chicken at sweet and sour sauce

Crispy chicken at a boba place is usually bomb. A most excellent snack.

view from los angeles freeway of palm trees and clouds into distance

Driving in LA… palm trees, freeways, and beautiful skies in the distance.

tesla model s driving by on pch in malibu

Checking out a Tesla Model S and how the handles are flush with the body of the car. Do they push in? Are they sensor-based?

teal flat shoes sitting on wet sand at beach with dog paw prints nearby

Time for fun at the beach!

sunset over pacific ocean through clouds in malibu

The beach offers fantastic skylines.

mcdonalds holiday pie with cardboard sleeve

Sharing a snack with my boo.

girl in bikini at beach standing in circle drawn out in sand around her

I mark off my territory.

collage of girl in orange bikini jumping midair at beach

Jumping for joy!

collage of girl in orange bikini running around on beach in shallow ocean water

Splashing around gleefully.

girl standing in ocean at beach stretching arms and legs out like starfish

I’m a starfish!

girl in orange bikini doing pistol exercise on sand at beach

My new favorite move: the pistol!

collage of girl in orange bikini bending backwards into backbend

Time for a backbend! I used to be a lot more flexible.

girl in orange bikini doing backbend on beach with sun shining on skin

Hi world! Now how do I get up? 😉

collage of girl in orange bikini jumping off skateboard on beach

Bringing out my beloved board for some springy fun.

collage of girl in orange bikini jump roping off skateboard on sand with piece of seaweed

I found a strand of seaweed that I decided to jump rope off my board with.

collage of girl in orange bikini jumping over strand of seaweed at beach

Do you remember those toys you spun around you ankle to swing a ball around and you jumped over it? I was trying to replicate that.

pelicans flying low over ocean by beach

Taking a break to admire the pelicans gliding by. Too bad there were no dolphins this time.

collage of girl in orange bikini playing on skateboard at beach

Having some fun atop my skateboard. 🙂

ripple pattern in sand at beach

Took another break to admire the patterns of nature this time.

silhouette of girl doing yoga tree pose with backdrop of setting sun through clouds at beach

I’d love to come here for my yoga practice!

collage of girl in orange bikini doing cartwheel at beach by ocean

Almost forgot to do some cartwheels!

girl in orange bikini doing cartwheel at beach paused on one hand

Look ma, one hand!

girl in orange bikini doing cartwheel at beach paused in handstand

This is where I pretend I can do a handstand and hold it. Just go with me on this one. 😛

bright yellow sunset reflecting off pacific ocean

So brilliant and beautiful.

engagement ring with purple sapphire center stone worn on guy's pinky finger

While taking pics for me, Panda helps wear my ring.

collage of girl in orange bikini wearing sunglasses playing on skateboard

And a little time with my awesome board. Best ever!

view of sunset from side of road by beach with lifeguard station silhouette

Time to leave this beautiful place.

blurry image of firetruck with front part tilted open

I didn’t know the front of firetrucks could tilt like that!

Climbing up into the mountains and getting a colorful sunset.

Climbing up into the mountains and getting a colorful sunset.

sprinkles cupcake atm machine glowing at night

I didn’t use the cupcake ATM, but I did get some Sprinkles!

For dinner, one of my favorite places. This is a new location I haven't been to!

For dinner, one of my favorite places. This is a new location I haven’t been to!

din tai fung hot and sour soup in small bowl next to large bowl

Classic hot and sour soup. They chop everything so finely it’s amazing.

din tai fung shrimp and vegetables wonton soup in clear broth

I decided to try the wonton soup too. Great for cleansing the palette.

din tai fung xiao long bao tray of ten with shanghai rice cake dish in background

Most delicate xiao long bao known to man.

christmas lights and fountain water at americana in glendale

The Americana’s such a nice place to hang out at this time of year.

stalled maserati in middle of street turned off blocking traffic

On the way home, I found myself behind this Maserati that had stalled and was just sitting there, dead. It soon got help from a tow truck and police.

365great Day 261: UCLA

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 261: uclaIt’s a  happy day to be a Bruin! In honor of the fabulous win in football against the Trojans tonight, I had to write about my alma mater. Not only are we a world-class educational and research institution, we have an amazing history and super successful sports programs. We are located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with unbeatable weather, a gorgeous campus, and a diverse cultural composition. There’s something for everyone here, including very accomplished professors if you’re looking at academics or hundreds of student organizations if you’re looking at extra curriculars. If you like going outdoors, there are beaches and mountains nearby. If you like going to exhibits, there are tons of museums and galleries. If you like eating a wide variety of cuisines, there are choices ranging from Asian fusion to African. Students here have it good, with one of the best college experiences you could hope for. I love UCLA because of everything it has to offer. It’s a great place to get your higher education!

365great Day 256: cronuts

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 256: cronutsOne of my friends in LA introduced me to cronuts back when I was visiting him and his girlfriend in DTLA. There’s this one bakery that makes them in Little Tokyo and they are faaabulous. A donut-shaped fried treat with the texture of a croissant, filled with sweetness, rolled in sugar, and topped with fruit/chocolate… I mean, this is just madness. I tried to go get one from the original place in NYC but they’re so popular you have to get up before the crack of dawn to stand in line for hours. The one in LA will set some aside from their next batch if you call in, which is what we did. I had the blueberry one and OMG it was all kinds of amazing. I’m looking forward to getting some more when I return to the area for Thanksgiving. They’re expensive at $4 a pop, but they are oh so great.

On My Mind, episode 10

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , ,

Linking up for Thursday Thoughts with Jennifer of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom!

cat sitting on shelf in pantry among various food products

Hehe, how fun it is to find a cat in my pantry.

a. ~I miss having cats around. It was really nice to have Missy and Molly at home and I’ve been thinking about when I could possibly bring Missy out east with me. I’m afraid Molly might flip out if we moved her so it’s probably best for her to stay put. At some point if it seems like I’ll be home constantly, I definitely want to consider moving Missy and even getting her a friend. I’ll have to see how this job pans out – while it looks like I will be working out of the Reston office for the most part, there is still the slight possibility there might be some travel involved. If that’s the case it would be too much trouble to find care for the cat(s) while both Panda and I are gone for work. I also want to wait until we move to the condo so I can minimize the number of moves the cat would make. I’m really looking forward to the day I get my kitty back!

b. ~My visit home was too brief. I felt like I just got back and got some stuff done and it was already time to pack up and head out. I guess that’s how it will be now when I return home to my parents’ place. I arranged to meet with my former coworkers down in El Segundo and got a chance to see how much the company has changed. They’ve hired a ton of new kids (mostly fresh college grads) and seem to be constantly changing the seating arrangements of different departments. Some of the old business focuses have died as new ones picked up and overall they’re expanding quite well. A few people have left and they now have a New York office open as well. Oh, and there are quite a few girls now! Pretty amazing since I’m used to being either the only female or one of just two or three.

c. ~I got a chance to visit a friend in the Little Tokyo area of downtown and had a wonderful time out there. It’s a great place to live if you want easy access to that region, which has a ton of delicious food. We had udon at a place where you can watch the noodles being made and then stopped by a tea room where I got two baggies of tea. I was also introduced to this thing called a cronut, which is a cross between a croissant and a donut. You get the light fluffy layers of a croissant in a donut shape, fried and covered in sugar granules. They offer a couple of different flavors, with the sauce/jelly/custard not just topping the cronut but also piped inside. It’s pretty fabulous and I’m going to have to eat a lot more. I could definitely get used to that sort of living, though I don’t like being so crowded in to one giant building when it comes to my living situation. It is really nice to be able to go to high traffic areas like that and not have to worry about parking though!

chef at japanese restaurant chopping line of udon noodles

Chopping up a line of udon noodles!

bags of loose leaf tea bought from chado tea

Treated myself to two of the loose leaf teas sold at Chado.

collage of cronuts croiisant and donut cross

I got the blueberry flavor. Yuuum!

d. ~I’ve done too much walking in shoes not meant for long distance. I really need to get around to buying a pair of sneakers! Ideally I’d get those Nike FlyKnit ones, but I don’t need something so high performance. What’s most important is a pair of shoes that my feet won’t hurt in. Even though my flats have padding, it’s not enough to keep my feet from throbbing after wandering the streets for miles. I’ll have to go try out these shoes to see if they soles are comfortable enough for walking and walking and walking in. While I’m open to other options, I would really fancy getting a pair of these! Might actually motivate me to go running now and then. 🙂

american eagle skinny jeans in plastic packaginge. ~I bought some American Eagle jeans (and a pair of slacks) at a steal and I’ve been enjoying having more than one pair of skinny jeans. In fact, I’m probably going to be on the lookout for a few more. For the longest time I always got jeans with flair legs because I thought my calves were too big for the skinny jeans. This might have been true in past years, but lately I’ve slimmed down and have normal legs now. So, my newest thing will be skinny jeans! I have a dark blue pair and now this lighter blue pair with ripped knees. I’ll need some more shades of blue in various styles and maybe a black pair as well.

Alright, that’s it from me for today. What’s on your mind these days?

365great Day 99: Seoul Sausage

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 99: seoul sausageSeoul Sausage offers delicious fried balls and sausages with Asian-inspired flavors! If you’ve never tried these unique menu items you should definitely swing by. They specialize in just a few items so they can make them extra well. You’ll find two sausage options, three fried ball options, and a few sides. Without all the fluff, you get pure delight for your taste buds. Your food is made once you order so it always comes piping hot. They pair their food with great sauces as well so you can satisfy multiple cravings with these unique blends of flavors. Pretty great!

365great Day 88: Los Angeles

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 88: los angelesIt was just over a decade ago that I moved to the greater Los Angeles area and began to learn more about this place. As it turns out, it’s such a fitting place for me, full of diverse cuisine, entertainment, and people with a laidback vibe. I’ve never been interested in city life but with a city so spread out, it doesn’t feel like I’m stuck some giant metropolis. I love all the little neighbors you can find yourself going through, all the hidden gems of places to be discovered, and the constant change and growth all around. Sure, traffic and parking suck and things can be pretty far from each other, but I find I actually enjoy spending time in the car. It’s going to be weird to leave this place and not be able to go to the beach or mountains on a whim, but I’m sure I’ll be back. Panda’s roots are here and my family’s latest roots seem to be settling here as well. It’s a beautiful city with something for everyone! That sort of broad appeal is part of what makes LA great.

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