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amazing cc cover

Several weekends ago I went to Las Vegas to attend my first Amazing Comic Con. I was there to support my good friend who was showcasing his self-made comic book at the convention & representing the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance. This wasn’t my first comic book/animation convention, but it was definitely the smallest that I’ve been to in a long time. It was a very fun & intense weekend filled with friends, food, & severely hot wind.

I was so proud of my friend (who happens to be the brother of one of my closest girlfriends, & the cousin of Jian’s best friend). He’s a high school art teacher by day, but a full-fledged comic book illustrater/writer by night. My friend is highly talented in any artistic field he’s thrown into, & he takes his art seriously. I truly applaud my friend for pursing his passions all on his own, of course with the support of his family & friends. So, naturally, I had to support my friend’s budding art career & bought an autographed copy of his comic book The Keepers. Hopefully one day his autograph will be worth tons of collector’s money. (Tee-hee!)

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Why did Amazing Comic Con have to fall on one of the hottest weekends of the summer, in the middle of the desert? Seriously, the temperatures in Las Vegas were over 100 degrees farenheit every day. The weather reports on TV weren’t joking when they reported that it was like being in an oven. On top of that, if you dare to walk outside (which is not recommended, at all), there’s a fairly strong wind blowing, but it’s such a hot wind that it feels as though you’re constantly being blown in the face by a hair dryer on high. The weather that weekend was no joke, & I’ll tell you that I’ve never consumed so much liquid nourishment in my entire life. I don’t normally drink a lot of water, which I know is not very beneficial to my overall health, but on that particular weekend, I drank so much water I could practically fill an inflatable kiddie pool with the amount of water I drank.

Jian & I thought we were so smart buying cheap airline tickets with early morning departures. Well the tickets were practically free, since my mom let us use her credit card mileage points, & all we had to pay were the baggage & service fees. Oh boy, did we make a minor mistake by doing this. Yes, we were lucky to get super cheap airline tickets for one extended weekend, but arriving in Las Vegas so early in the morning with nothing to do & leaving at the crack of dawn the day after partying the night away was not very good planning on our part. We both thought we could handle early morning flight times, but it really took a toll on our bodies. I don’t think I’ll be doing another rushed trip to Las Vegas again anytime soon.

Going to Las Vegas to support our friend at a convention was the highlight of our entire trip. We had originally planned on getting tickets to a show while there, but we weren’t interested in any of the shows or musical acts performing that weekend. (By the way, it was super annoying seeing Gwen Stefani‘s billboard everywhere we went. After her band No Doubt‘s album Tragic Kingdom, I completely lost interest in her as an artist. She’s not as good solo as she was with her band.) Then, I thought we’d spend all of our time gorging ourselves silly on extravagant/flashy “Vegas” food, but surprisingly, we were somewhat sensible with our eating habits, & only splurged on one day.

Las Vegas is not quite my favorite place to vacation. I try to avoid that town as much as possible, which is often difficult because my mom’s side of my family LOVE going to Las Vegas whenever they get a chance. I’m not a gambler; I’m not a club goer. I’m not even a 20 ounce specialty steak flown in from some exotic-place-you’ve-never-heard-of eater either. However, I had fun on this trip. I enjoyed the company of my close circle of friends. We ate good (reasonable) food. We stayed at a smoke-free, gambling-free hotel in the heart of the Strip. Jian & I even squeezed in a few hours each day for some Fifa World Cup viewing. (Sorry, I’d much rather watch sports than bet on a game.) Other than the extremely exhausting day of flying back home, it was a fun way to spend a quick weekend out of town. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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First of all, I want to say that I’m so excited to be going on another vacation at the end of this month. Although I have proclaimed many times in the past that I’m a lover of traveling, I am getting a little burnt out from all of this back-&-forth flying & packing/unpacking. I am extremely appreciative & grateful that I am able to travel (regardless if it’s near or far), I’d just like to say that here & now. I love what I do, & I want to express my sincerest & humblest of gratitude & appreciation.

During this past long weekend, when most Americans were celebrating Fourth of July/Independence Day (also jokingly referred to as #Amexit on the Internet), Jian surprised me with an impromptu road trip to Los Angeles. He was somehow itching to go on a long drive, & he was throwing out random ideas like driving to Portland, Oregon or perhaps Las Vegas, Nevada. While I was all for driving to Portland, I didn’t want to spend too much time driving & not enough time exploring the city. So, I threw out the random idea of driving to Los Angeles. It’s far without being too far. Jian absolutely loved the idea, & we pretty much pulled this hair-brained idea out of our derrièrs at the absolute last minute.

Once we had our weekend mapped out, we pretty much had one goal in mind, well, actually two goals: 1. to revisit all of our favorite hang-out spots from our college days, & 2. to visit the California location of Lady M Café. Yes, our minds were pretty much blown away when we found out Lady M Café opened a location in Los Angeles. Our minds were blown even more (if that’s even possible) when we found out that this shop was only 5 blocks down the street from our hotel. Needless to say, being a huge cake lover, I made several trips to this shop, & I do not feel one bit guilty for eating so much cake.

What makes Lady M so special? Well, they specialize in various delicate cakes, but their absolute specialty & signature cake is the infamous Mille Crêpe Cake…a cake so delicate & delicious that I would do just about anything for a slice of this creamy crêpe heaven.

What is Mille Crêpe cake? Well, it’s a French invention, but has been popularized around the world by the Japanese. It’s basically a stack of thin crêpe sheets with thin layers of soft cream in between the sheets of crêpes. These cakes, in more recent years, have expanded from the traditional vanilla flavor to other flavors (i.e. matcha, coconut, chocolate, etc.). My favorite flavor will always be the classic vanilla flavor.

lady m los angeles

This is a sample of the various cakes we bought for our friends. From Top Left: coconut crêpe flavor, Courrone du Chocolat, matcha crêpe flavor, strawberry Mille Feuille. Bottom Right: signature flavor.

Over the years, Jian & I have tried various forms of this cake, but we could never find anything as comparable to the first place we ever experienced this golden unicorn of cakes.

la voie crepe cake

Café la Voie in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo is where we first encountered this cake. It is so beautiful & delicious, I nearly burst into tears every time I eat Mille Crêpe cake at this café.

harbs choco crepe cake

HARBS is also another famous high-end cake shop in Tokyo that has their own crêpe cake recipe. I tried this chocolate explosion just to compare the flavor to the original. This one is very, very sweet, so proceed with caution if you’re not a sweets fan. This cake was also particularly dense, which I was not used to.

We’ve had various crêpe cakes from here to there & everywhere in between. Some of the the chain coffee shops in Tokyo have Mille Crêpe cakes that are also as delicious as the high-end cake shops. Chain shops like DoutorExcelsior (which are like the Starbucks & Peet’s equivalent in Japan) have some of the best inexpensive crêpe cakes.

Back in the States, I’ve had my fair share of ups & downs with this elusive cake. Many years ago, there was a Japanese restaurant that had opened in Japantown. The pastry chef that worked at that place specialized in Mille Crêpe cake. Jian & I were so ecstatic that there was finally a place near us where we could eat this cake again. Sadly, after 2 years this restaurant closed & the pastry chef moved on.

There have been other American restaurants all over the city that have attempted to serve their version of the Mille Crêpe cake (eg. Café des Amis, Cockscomb, & Hog&Rocks), but somehow they weren’t able to quite grasp the light, airy, soft texture of the cake. Some of the cakes were just too dense, too hard, too sweet, too dry, &/or too over-the-top in avant grade flavor for such a delicate cake recipe. I just cannot wait until I go back to Japan at the end of this month & will be able to try the original cake recipe once again. Yessssss!
In other news, like I’ve said in my previous blog, I’ve decided to decorate my new backpack, & I’ve already begun the process. So far, I’ve only added two things to my backpack, a keychain & a pin, but I’m in love with the progress.

hellolulu chain

I chose this Rilakkuma bird keychain because it fit with the yellow color scheme of my backpack. Also, I liked how it was a small discreet size without being too tiny to notice.

hellolulu pink

I chose this Victory V hand emoji pin because I using this emoji often on all of my social media accounts. It’s my favorite emoji icon to use.

Well that’s just about all I have to say for now. I’m sorting through all of my things to pack for my next trip. Three weeks will really sneak up on you fast. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I have a moderate amount of things to tell you. My trip to Lake Tahoe, Ca with Jian turned out to be a success! We had a great time, & let me just say that once you stay at the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, you can never go back to plain old Marriott (which in case you didn’t know, both hotels are owned by the same umbrella company). Jian & I both enjoy & prefer to stay at Marriott & Marriott affiliated hotels when we travel. We earn tons of rewards points which we can use on various amenities at the hotels, & use to get free nights. So we used out points to stay one night free at the Ritz-Carlton in Truckee, Ca.

The hotel was so swanky & luxurious. You’re right in the middle of all the ski slopes & powdery snow. We really felt like we were in the middle of a snowy wonderland. Everywhere you go throughout the hotel grounds, you will be asked for your room number (because the staff is strict about letting only hotel guests use certain amenities versus the North Star ski lift  guests), then the hotel staff will address you by name. I felt like a VIP guest when they recognized our names.  We truly felt as though we were staying in an upscale lodge-y cabin. The hotel was so beautiful. I only wished I had taken my little nephew & niece. They would have loved it.

When I go on vacation, I often forget to take pictures of my hotel room. To me, there isn’t much point. It’s a box with a bed, a dresser, a desk, & some lamps. Do you really want to see my toilet & shower? This time, I lazily tried to take some decent pictures of my room.

Our room was pretty cozy. It was not quite a suite size, but it wasn’t small by any means. I mean, hello, we had a sitting area AND a gas fireplace. We could even open the windows onto the extremely narrow “balcony” (if you could even call it that. I’d call it a sliding glass door that fully opens, so you can feel like you’re outside.). We didn’t have much of a view of anything spectacular. Unless you count the main gondola station as a nice view. We had to keep the drapes closed for most of the time because there were too many kids staring directly into our room from the gondola station.

Speaking of gondolas, yes, they are fast & efficient. However, no, I still do not like them. Against all of my fears of heights & free falling, plummeting to my untimely demise, I sat in a gondola. Jian & I wanted to see what was going on down at the North Star village, & let me tell you, it wasn’t anything spectacular. There were a few mediocre family restaurants, lots of timeshare real estate offices, & most of the shops sold over-priced outdoor gear. We were debating on whether to go ice skating or not (I’m an intermediate ice skater, & Jian is a beginner), but the ice skating rink looked more slushy than firm, like it was in desperate need of some Zamboni TLC. I will firmly say that swallowing my fear of heights to ride a gondola was NOT worth it. The entire ride down & back up to our hotel I was white-knuckle squeezing the seat cushion & cursing up a storm. Jian tried to reassure me or tried to get me to admire the view, but I just couldn’t wait to get out of our death trap. It didn’t help the fact that we stopped every few feet to let the oncoming gondola pass by us before we could move again. That was the worst part for me, all I could focus on was how much our gondola was swinging back & forth. Well, I got at least one photo out of it.

So, later that evening, we made reservations at our hotel’s more formal hotel. I wanted to join Jian in having a few cocktails, but for whatever reason (maybe it was the high altitude) I was feeling tired, so I only drank one. Our dinner was lovely. The service was fantastic, but I guess that’s to be expected at a high-end hotel. The food was not so fantastic. It was good, but nothing spectacular. The filet mignon Jian ordered was slightly over-cooked, & the greens on his dish was over-salted. I ordered a roasted duck dish that was supposed to include crispy duck skin, but the skin on my duck was nowhere near crispy. The rest of my dish was adequate, but not memorable. The only dish we were really wowed by was our appetizer. It was a pappardelle pasta & mushroom dish that was very delicious & well-seasoned.  That’s what made us happily anticipate our main course dishes, but ended up being disappointed. Our one consolation was that our cocktails were good, not too strong or watered-down. Our favorite meal was the room service we ordered. We didn’t even stay at the restaurant for dessert, so we went back to our hotel room & ordered dessert from the room service menu. We ended up choosing a plate of cookies & two glasses of milk (in which they only brought us one glass). Of all the cookies we ate, my favorite was the chocolate chip. The other cookies were too sugary sweet.

  
I was a little surprised that there were so many families with young children at the hotel that weekend. I was kind of expecting more young adult couples at the hotel…you know…knocking boots, since it was Valentine’s Day weekend. However, I was quite relieved that the hotel played it low-key that weekend, & didn’t go overboard with the lovey-Dover decorations or advertisements for romantic couples massages & dinners. Over all, we had a blast playing around & taking long hikes in the snow. We played a game to see who could step in a snow bank & see how far down their foot would fall into the snow. Amazingly, we only got snow in our shoes once, & it didn’t even make our feet wet. Thank goodness for Scotch Guard! Spraying that stain repellent all over our shoes really worked wonders & kept our shoes dry the entire time. We were a little sad to leave such a swanky hotel, but we’re happy to be going home to wash all the salt off our car. Until the next trip…cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

 

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I found a heart-shaped grape.🍇 . . . . . . . . . . #grape #TheHolidays #grapes #muscat #heart #hearts #WhiteGrape #TableGrape #green #SoSweet #SoYummy #fruit #fruits #organic #HealthyEating #CityLiving #CityLife #delicious #SoCute #CoolFind #FoodieApp #FruitsOfInstagram @foodieapp.official
Let the neon light the way.💡 . . . . . . . . . . #NeonSign #TheHolidays #neon #lights #sign #HolidaySpirit #LightTheWay #colors #colorful #NeonLights #signs #NeonArt #StreetArt #art #CityLiving #CityLife #SF #DTSF #LineCamera #FoodieApp #LightsOfInstagram @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official
Always meeting new friends.🍦 . . . . . . . . . . #IceCream #TheHolidays #LickThat #NewFriend #BeardedSanta #HolidaySpirit #HaagenDazs #coffee #classic #SingleScoop #InACone #SugarCone #delicious #SweetTreat #CityLiving #CityLife #SM #Hillsdale #LineCamera #FoodieApp #IceCreamOfInstagram #FoodsOfInstagram #SweetsOfInstagram @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @haagendazs_us @haagendazs_jp
Making more new friends.🍦 . . . . . . . . . . #IceCream #ManicMonday #TheHolidays #LickThat #sailor #HelloSailor #NewFriend #BenAndJerrys #vanilla #FlavorAlert#VanillaIsNotBoring #delicious #SweetTreat #CityLiving #CityLife #SF #UnionSquare #Macys #LineCamera #FoodieApp #IceCreamOfInstagram #FoodsOfInstagram #SweetsOfInstagram @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @benandjerrys
Anesthesia at the dentist office. Tongue & mouth is numb. Feeling jittery, like I had too many espresso shots. But I’m still dreaming of this super delicious ラーメン. (🦷 + 👅 + 💉 = 🤪) (💭of 🍜) . . . . . . . . . . #ramen #WeekendMode #TheHolidays #noodles #SpicyMiso #TokyoStyle #RakkanRamen #TastyTuesday #楽観 #味噌 #ラーメン #delicious #LittleTokyo #CityLiving #CityLife #Japantown #DTLA #LA #SoCal #LineCamera #FoodieApp #NoodlesOfInstagram #FoodsOfInstagram @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official
I made a new friend. ☕️+🥃=🍦 . . . . . . . . . . #IceCream #WeekendMode #TheHolidays #LickThat #NewFriend #SaltAndStraw #TryNewFlavors #JamesCoffeeAndBourbon #FlavorAlert #delicious #SweetTreat #CityLiving #CityLife #ArtsDistrict #DTLA #LA #SoCal #LineCamera #FoodieApp #IceCreamOfInstagram #FoodsOfInstagram #SweetsOfInstagram @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @saltandstraw

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