Lantern Fest 2016

Back in April as I was working from home on a Friday afternoon, I texted my close friend, KH to see how she was doing and to quickly catch up since we both have polar opposite schedules. Out of nowhere she asked how far Phoenix is from me and I asked her why. She shared a link to me about this lantern release festival that was happening there and wanted to go. I asked her how long she was thinking about going for and after that we both coordinated our schedules and booked our flights haha. It was a pretty spontaneous thing, which I didn’t mind at all. One minute I’m checking emails, next minute I’m booking a trip in 3 weeks haha. Work has bogged my down far enough that I was in need of a quick trip out of town. I was already contemplating on visiting Seattle again, but I’m glad I didn’t get too far with planning that. I was excited to see KH and to have some much needed girl time. Plus it was her birthday when I see her so it was nice to treat her while I can instead of sending a card and gifts.

For whatever reason throughout the trip, we were listening to a lot of country music lol. I’m not a big country music kinda gal, but it’s alright. Everywhere that we were driving to like from Sedona and to the Lantern Fest, we were playing loud country music haha. It was entertaining how much of a shift in our taste in music has happened as we’ve gotten older. Going from hip hop to country…hmmm. Although the music seemed appropriate with our surroundings of dessert and cactus. The entire trip felt like a road trip and I miss doing things like that with friends back home. People here suck and aren’t down for shit like that. Lame. I’m just glad I got to do that with a close friend.

After an hour driving south of Phoenix, we finally got to the Lantern Fest. There were a ton of families and kids. Once we checked in, we got our paper lantern and a box filled with a s’mores kit along with a wooden stick to roast the marshmallows, a lighter and a Sharpie for you to write on the lantern. We walked around to see what else was happening at the event and there wasn’t much besides food vendors and live music. We were kinda out in the middle of nowhere so yeah…haha. Since I like to be extra prepared for any situation, I packed blankets for us to sit down on along with snacks and water. There were lots of tiki torches and communal fire pits everywhere. Our goal was to not sit too close to families and screaming children since we were trying to enjoy our beer lol. Luckily we found a spot next to this guy and girl that looked close in age to us. They looked like they had the same thing in mind with where they sat. We sat with them and soon enough they were our homies for the night. Really nice people and the two of them were having a little reunion themselves.

While we were waiting for the sun to go down and sipping on oh so many beers, I got pretty tan. It was just this waiting game for the sun to go down. Once it got dark enough to start preparing our lanterns for take off, we were writing on the lanterns and decorating them. I wrote my wish right before I went to light it and who knows if it’ll come true, but still not gonna share what it was. 🙂 A lot of people managed to quickly get there’s lit and released. They’re such a pain in the ass to light up. I had to have like 2-3 other people help me haha. When KH and I tried to light and release ours, we were pretty embarrassing. While everyone else was having this magical moment letting go of theirs, KH and I almost started a fire lol. Of course stupid shit happens when you put us together so I’m not surprised that happened haha. It was pretty funny. Right before I lit mines, I was just in a total daze admiring all of the lanterns floating away. It was the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen. Something about seeing the lanterns float away and the campfire made that moment feel so intimate. I would love to go to this event again, but perhaps in another state. KH and I thought it would be a fun thing where this could be our thing where we have our little reunions at Lantern Fest but in a different location. I think the one in Alaska would be fun to check out.

Highly suggest to check this out. It was awesome. 🙂


SoCal Weekend Getaway

Last weekend I had a weekend getaway down in SoCal, specifically Orange County. My close girlfriend C had extended the invite since she was visiting our mutual friend L in Garden Grove. I was a bit hesitant on going since I was really busy with work and it was semi bad timing to go anywhere. But then again I was pretty stressed out and tired that I kinda just said “fuck it” and booked my flight the same night C asked me. I was pretty excited to see friends from home again, but work was just constantly on my mind. Before my trip my work computer had some minor issues, which was probably a sign that I needed to get away from my computer. I really tried my hardest to relax and to not think about my projects since this was my first time actually getting out of the Bay Area. I really needed to enjoy this time with my friends.

Since my friends are total foodies like myself, all we did was just chill and eat. First stop was Brodard for lunch. I was pretty excited to try their infamous spring rolls and I must say it lived up to the hype. It was the most bomb spring rolls I’ve ever had. I still crave for it ever since I’ve returned from my trip. I also ordered Hieu Tieu Thai, which is like a seafood noodle soup. It’s one of my favorites that I haven’t had in so long. So bomb too! After our yummy yet very fulfilling lunch, L took C and I to RVCA’s warehouse sale. I’m not too familiar with the brand, but I suppose it’s a SoCal thing. Got myself some new bathing suits, cropped tank tops and a beanie. Definitely got my money’s worth. I’m generally not much of a shopper, but it was about time that I treated myself to some new additions to my closet. Afterwards, we went to Newport Beach. It was really nice and even more perfect to go on a Friday afternoon where everyone is still at work or school. We explored the area a bit and I took some photos with my DSLR. We took a $1 ferry ride to Balboa Island, which didn’t have much. The homes there were beautiful though. Our next stop was to get some poki at this place that L’s coworker had suggested. We got the salmon poki and it was sooo good. Such a good snack after walking around. Later that night we went to Anaheim Packaging District to try PopBar. It was so good! I ordered the green tea Kit Kat. If I wasn’t such an old lady and can handle dairy more I would’ve gotten another one since my friends got a “Ferrero Rocher” PopBar. APD kind of reminded me of San Pedro Square Market in downtown San Jose, but A LOT bigger and better haha. It was a cute place.

The next day we had a girls day and ventured off to downtown LA for brunch at Perch. It was nice getting dressed up and being girly again. We all wore black dresses, which was unintentional. Too bad the weather in LA that day sucked. It was oddly cloudy and rainy. After brunch we made a quick trip to Bottega Louie for some macarons. I wish I got more of the Earl Gray macarons. Highly suggest that! Next stop was Griffith Observatory. The rain was starting to really come down as we had hopes of it passing by. Nope! We walked out in the rain in our dresses towards the observatory. Took a few photos outside. Such a bummer it was crap weather, but that’s okay. It was nice to finally check it out. Then it was back to Garden Grove to relax before dinner. Went to Wild Crab which is a crawfish joint. Pretty much had a mini Boston reunion since another mutual friend J who now lives in San Diego drove up to join us for dinner. Our last night was a good time of eating good food, playing Taboo and overall being surrounded by good people. I really needed that. I was reminded of my lifestyle back in Boston with my friends. I missed having group dinners and just being goofy with my friends. I was a bit bummed out to return to SJ. I was returning back to a place where I lack a social life and was in constant work mode. As soon as I got back, my stress level kicked back into overdrive. It’s a really overwhelming feeling for me. I wish it was easier to do more trips with friends again. Ever since I’ve been back a bit of homesickness has kinda kicked in. All it has to take is a couple days with close friends for me to feel this way. In a few weeks one of my close guy friends will be visiting. I can already imagine how much of a great time we’ll have yet I can already feel how sad I’ll be.

Anyways, I enjoyed the fun while it lasted. I’m glad I got to explore a bit of SoCal with close friends. 🙂

Visitors Galore

Since it is now the season where a lot of my friends are able to go on vacation, I’ve been informed with some exciting news that they’ll be visiting me! The last time I’ve seen any of my friends was back in January for my birthday and Chinese New Year. I’ve reached the point where I really need to see my friends since I’m not able to fly home right now. One of my close friends is coming to visit next week, which I’m excited about. Got to see her in October in San Francisco when she was visiting and now this time I can show her around San Jose. Yesterday while I was Facetiming with my other friends they told me that they’re coming to visit end of July/early August. I can’t wait!!! Now today another friend hit me up telling me she’s coming to visit with a few of our mutual friends next week, which I’m excited about! Been a long time since I’ve seen that group of friends. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve seen them so it’ll be great to have a little reunion. This kinda news is very comforting to hear during this time for me. I’m very lonely out here going about a very mundane routine. I’ve repeatedly told my friends back at home that I’ve been extremely well behaved and I plan on getting totally shitfaced with them since I hardly go out here lol. It’s just something I need to get out of my system and to bring back the fun, partying Connie temporarily. I know I’m pretty emotional and sensitive right now, but I’m so overwhelmed with this news that I started crying lol. That’s how happy I am lol. My friends are practically like family and it’ll be nice to have a “family reunion”.

Extremely excited!!

Christmas Reunion

Turns out my Christmas movie marathon didn’t happen last night after I wrote last night’s post. One of my friend’s from back at home, P, who now lives in Cali asked me to hang out since we were both home alone for Christmas. P and I haven’t seen each other in nearly 3 years since he moved out to Cali to fulfill his career as an architect. We were never close but we hung out with the same group of friends and we always had a good time. He’s a really nice and fun guy. I reached out to him recently since I forgot that he lived in the Bay Area and gave him the heads up that I’m here in Cali as well.

Anyways, I was really excited to get out of the house and see a familiar face. It’s extremely refreshing when you’re in a place not knowing anyone, but then you see someone you know. It’s just comforting. P and I did a lot of catching up. I explained to him of my social situation here and he understood how I felt. He’s probably right that it’s just people in SJ sucks, but I’d like to think it’s everyone and not just SJ since I’m stubborn like that.

After chatting away, he was really nice and made us dinner since it was Christmas and our dining options were extremely limited haha. After dinner we decided to make s’mores, which I haven’t had in forever. So we thought we ran out of chocolate so we ventured off to find some. But after we bought some we found a chocolate bar IN the box with the graham crackers. Son of a bitch! Lol. Finally having all of our ingredients we just ended up playing around with these insanely massive marshmellows that P has haha. It was so funny.

During our chocolate bar mission, we drove around and he showed me this neighborhood that has really nice Christmas lights. Apparently one of the streets in the neighborhood with lights can sync with your radio. I don’t know. So we were driving around this neighborhood and I guess there were several drivers doing the same thing lol. Although we failed to find the street, it was pretty fun.

After hanging out and watching some Aziz Ansari on Netflix, it was time for me to go home. I was so sleepy and dreading the drive home. So glad the drive wasn’t bad at all. For once I felt like myself again after hanging out with P. I felt genuinely happy and haven’t had that much fun since C came to visit San Francisco. It was a great way to end the last couple of hours of Christmas. I felt a lot of reassurance and comfort after talking to P as we shared our Cali experiences. Surprisingly throughout the whole time we hung out there was no awkwardness between us especially since we’re not close at all and we don’t really know each other that well, besides partying with our mutual friends haha. He was supportive during our discussion and that’s all I needed. He understood the type of shitty people I was dealing with and how difficult it has been for me. It was nice to have a Bostonian’s perspective on the people here and I stand correctly, I’m not a crazy bitch and that Californians are different from us folks in the east coast. Anyways, that sense of comfort from a friend, whether or not if we’re close friends or acquaintances.

It was a great Christmas night. 🙂