35th Annual LA Chinatown Firecracker 10k

Firecracker 10k bag

“Keep on running! I gotta push through this.” – That’s what goes through my mind at every run.  Events like this always get me pumped to try my best, and the LA Firecracker 10K pushed me to a level I had thought I could never reach. Running in a race is a unique experience that I encourage everyone to try at least once in their lives. It’s exhilarating, inspiring, and most importantly…. FUN!  Continue reading

Year of the Dragon, ROAR!

Last week was filled with many more firsts! Balboa Park recently hosted the San Diego Tet Festival, celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. For only $10 attendees could watch performances, dine on traditional Vietnamese dishes, and splurge on carnival rides and games. I enjoyed watching the Tet Talent Show and listening to the performers sing. The abundance of food was another main attraction that I took the liberty to sample. Lee’s Coffee had a booth selling you guessed it, Vietnamese coffee, one of the strongest coffee drinks I’ve ever had. It’s basically an espresso shot mixed with a little bit of cream and sugar, and then poured over ice. One of my favorite dishes is the banh mi, a deli sandwich consisting of: a toasted french baguette, deli meat, pate, carrots, pickled horseradish, cilantro, and jalapenos. It was somewhat spicy but very delicious and affordable, only costing $4.

Chinese New Year also occurred around the same time and I had the opportunity to experience the celebration in Los Angeles’ China Town. This festival was held in a more densely compacted area which had its own unique charm, plus attendance was FREE. The streets were decorated with lanterns and dusted with brightly colored confetti. Every minute you would hear someone popping a confetti tube and see a shower of colors fall to the ground. Performances occurred throughout the night on the main stage, showcasing ladies twirling colorful silk fabrics and men displaying their mastery of martial arts. Being the avid consumer that I am, I strolled along the side streets to the vendors and small shops which sold everything you could possibly imagine. I bought some bbq pork pastries, a mini moon cake, and a boba drink, altogether spending less than $10. I also bought a very cool Super Mario backpack from a small shop (Check the bottom of this post for the pic). Both of my experiences at the Tet and Chinese New Year Festivals have given me new perspectives on life and an appreciation of the many cultures that exist in our world. With this new year, be a new you and go on an adventure!

 Stay tuned! I have plenty more to post.
– AJ 

The Griffith Observatory

photo credit: en.wikipedia.org (Matthew Field photography)

A couple days ago I visited the Griffith Observatory, one of LA’s many tourist attractions.  The view from the top was quite breathtaking; I was able to see all of the Los Angeles cityscape as well as the Hollywood sign.  Many tourists and natives take the journey up to this monument in the hills to enjoy the sights and activities.  You can spend hours at this place learning about the solar system, watching science shows, and hiking along the trails.  Griffith Observatory has also been featured in numerous Hollywood productions, one being “Rebel Without a Cause” starring the late James Dean.

I particularly enjoyed the newest science show “Light of the Valkyries”, an explanation about the occurrence of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) tied in with the myths and astrological stories of the Vikings.  The show cost $5 and lasted about 35 min.  Narration was provided by the host of the show, producing a nostalgic feeling for story telling.  The screen in the dome encompasses the entire ceiling, making the audience very engaged with the visuals.

The Griffith Observatory also allows visitors to get a glimpse of the solar system through its telescope in the evening for free.  This is a great place to escape the hectic citylife and enjoy the relaxing scenery.  You may even bump into a celebrity when you go;  I unexpectedly saw John Barrowman from Desperate Housewives there!  It is in Hollywood after all. 🙂


A Tale as Old as Time

I watched “Beauty and the Beast” the musical yesterday afternoon at the Pantages theater in Los Angeles. The musical was very close to the storyline of the classical Disney movie, including all of the well-known songs such as “Belle”, “Be Our Guest”, & “Beauty and the Beast”.  The broadway cast performances certainly lived up to my expectations, especially the part of Belle (Liz Shivener), whose voice perfectly matched that of the cartoon character in both dialogue and song.

This was one of the most entertaining musicals I’ve seen so far. It’s also a great one to bring your kids to and get them interested in musicals.