Winter Wonderland: I am a fragile tropical flower.

I assume no one’s surprised that I’m rolling into a post about thanksgiving way after the actual date. That’s because I am a winner.

 

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I celebrated my first thanksgiving in America. This year was even better than last years though, because I was lucky enough to have my family come out and celebrate with them. Thanksgiving is always a special time for me. It mark the point where I can officially start to celebrate christmas in public, instead of just talking about who excited I am about it (see: the entire month of November. My friends must be sick of my gushing. I just really enjoy christmas, ok?)

No, I’m just joking. Thanksgiving has a special connotation for me because in Hong Kong it would be one of the big parties my parents would throw. I have so many memories of being dressed up and stuffing myself with turkey, watching the adults table longingly when members of the kids table would graduate to that hallowed ground.

This thanksgiving I celebrated again in Oregon, only this time I brought along my roommate with me. She bravely embraced the insanity of my family (we are all very loving in a shouting and arms waving way) and spent five days with me in the beautiful town of Bend and then later Portland.

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Unsurprisingly, neither of us were prepared for the winter. We’re talking temperatures that include snow, ice and all those  fun little things about cold weather like frostbite. The second we stepped off the plane it was right into the middle of Antartica (or so it seemed to two SoCal girls). The second I stepped out of the airport I promptly slipped on a patch of ice and bit the dust. We spent a lot of the weekend talking about how cold it was and staying firmly inside. Any movement to go anywhere required the assembling of an outfit with two many layers to count. It turns out we make very cute marshmallow people though.

 

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We also went snowshoeing for the very first time. It’s something that I’m super glad we did, because it was just so beautiful. There’s really nothing like winter, when it goes all quiet in the soft cold light to remind you just how beautiful the world can be. I certainly admired it as much as possible, until I actually couldn’t feel my butt anymore and we slogged home. Poor Mom got a phone call begging for hot chocolate before we’d even reached the door.

 

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COLD COLD COLD.

In any case, this is just going to be a very quick post about how wonderful it was to take a break from college. The reason why i’ve been so late posting is because everything has gone full speed ahead with finals week. Definitely a good reason to relax and completely stuff myself with good food and better company.

It’s going to be a rough week ahead, that’s for sure. Good luck to anyone going through finals, and remember to be thankful for the amazing beauty that the world holds. Just, you know, from inside.

 

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LONDON: Alexander McQueen, Bend It Like Beckham, and Tea

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Overlooking the Victoria & Albert.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share photos from my most recent trip to London. It was just incredible – full of wonderful theatre outings, fashion exhibitions and lots and lots of walking around. London is one of those places where everywhere is an adventure. Nothing ever really disappoints.

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Wouldn’t it be a dream to live here?

Mom and I (cheekily) snuck off to London without my father. It was wonderful just being able to walk around the city with her. I think as I get older and older, the more my mom is becoming one of my best friends. We certainly had a fantastic time, just the two of us.

Beautiful where ever we went.

Beautiful no matter where we went.

Literally the day we landed we both rushed off the the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty certainly lived up to all the hype. It was such a dream getting to see his art in real life – and art it is. It is such a sad thing that we lost such a talented and creative designer. Every single piece of his in the exhibition was just breathtaking. I’m sorry for the photo dump but it was too hard to choose one…

moistmag.co.uk telegraph.co.uk ibtimes.co.uk runway.vn

We both had pretty terrible jet lag, but it’s ok because our apartment was the cutest place ever! Coming back for a restorative cup of tea has never been so nice.

It was small, but perfectly sized for the two of us!

It was small, but perfectly sized for the two of us!

Funnily enough, I think the two places Mom and I spent the most time at was the V&A. Can you blame us? There was another exhibition just about shoes! And of course, the wonderful history and cultural opportunities. It’s strange, but I think that european museums and art places have some of the best cafeteria food I’ve eaten – it surely beats american food by a long shot.

The National Portrait Gallery - one of the few days it was cloudy.

The National Portrait Gallery – one of the few days it was cloudy.

Apart from visiting the museum, we also did a lot of walking. Lots and lots of walking. Not something to complain about though – apart from a few brief spots of rain, the weather was beautiful.

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The view of the London Eye from the park.

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Having huge envy over how green London was…

Of course, an aspiring actress can’t visit London without catching a few West End productions. It’s something I look forward to every time we go to a big city like New York or London. The opportunity to see some of the best theatre in the world – and my gosh, the pickings this time around were incredible. Imelda Staunton in Gypsy, Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet…the list could go on. I think I could happily just spend a week there living and breathing the theatre. As it was, the two shows that Mom and I picked are significantly off our regular theatre path.

variety.com

variety.com

Bend It Like Beckham – the musical! Was one of the most surprising and entertaining things I think we saw on our trip to Europe. Of course, I’m a huge fan of the movie, but I actually think I liked the musical better. The music, the girls kicking butt…what’s not to love? It was just so much fun to watch all these incredible ladies running across the stage and singing about how they were worth it. Probably the highest amount of females I’ve ever seen on the stage alone together. And the Bollywood theatre mixes were the catchiest thing ever. So yes, I did boogie my way down the aisle after the show ended.

The beautiful ceiling of Westminster

The beautiful ceiling of Westminster – probably the most traditional sightseeing we did.

Hey Ladies...how you doing?

Hey Ladies…how you doing?

The other show we saw was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I don’t think we could have chosen a more different play to go see. But it was such an incredible production. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that brilliantly staged. Let’s just say this – there were times when I gasped, when I cried, and when I was on the edge of my seat. It’s hard to make an audience member do that. The cast were just superb, and the lead – who plays a young boy with autism – was one of the most talented actors I think I’ve ever seen.

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Eventually my dad came to join us…ruining our ladies trip…

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I’m just kidding Dad (I love you!)

My parents are the cutest. Also, I wasn’t sure how to assure you guys that we drank tea – but believe me. We drank a lot of tea.

Scotland: The Fringe, Castles and Maps.

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One of the most beautiful cities – Edinburgh!

I promised I’d try and get this post up sooner than I got to it. Oops. Regardless, here are some photos from the summer trip I went on. For nearly a month I was able to travel around England, Scotland and Ireland. It was unbelievable!! I couldn’t believe how much fun it was. Not only were my parents able to join me, but my best friend and her family also flew out. It was quite possibly one of the best summer’s I’ve had for a while.

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Ignore the gloomy skies – it was actually quite lovely!

 

Always wonderful getting to spend time with my mom!

Always wonderful getting to spend time with my mom! (It was a little windy, can you tell?)

I spent most of the trip completely enamored with the Fringe Festival. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of celebration and artistry that was happening. Everywhere we went, there were people going to or coming from performances, absolutely buzzing with excitement. Every street yielded a street performer or musician (some were…better than others, for sure). It was just amazing!! As an actress I didn’t ever want to leave. We managed to see some incredible shows – Shitfaced Shakespeare was my absolute favorite though. And I’m not saying I want to try drinking half a bottle of vodka and seeing how well I know my Lady Macbeth, but I’m not not saying it…

 

Checking out some of the street performances.

Checking out some of the street performances.

 

Aside from some incredible performances, we also did the requisite amount of sightseeing. Climbing up to Edinburgh castle definitely took some work, as we had to push through the throng of people waving flyers. By the time we got to the top I was thrilled to see the view of Edinburgh. Scotland is such a beautiful country, and the history!

 

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The castle looking appropriately gothic.

 

This was one of the least busy looking photos of the festival...

This was one of the least busy looking photos of the festival…

 

As a history nerd, going to Scotland and getting to walk around all the old buildings was just a dream. It’s both daunting and comforting to look at a building and realize that it’s centuries older than you are. That you’re just a speck in the history of the world, and not even a consideration when compared to how old Edinburgh is. For example: there was a pond – a pond! – right by where we were staying that was created before the American Revolution was even a consideration.

 

Stopping on the roof of the National History museum to snap some photos.

Stopping on the roof of the National History museum to snap some photos.

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It was hilarious traveling with my best friend and her family. Perhaps the best description of just how opposite our families can be came from a day trip we took to a small castle. While my dad and I worked our way through every plaque possible and chatted about the history of the place, the others were outside running around. Definitely very different travelers, for sure!

 

A lord standing protector over his domain, centuries later.

A lord standing protector over his domain, centuries later.

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waiting in one of the many, many lines…

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Scotland was an unbelievable experience. I am so thrilled that I got to go, and really hope to be back again some day. As a performer? well, that would be a dream come true…

 

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It’s the Final(s) Countdown

Finals week – EEK.  Two words that strike fear into the hearts of many a college student. So while I’m buckling down under the weight of papers and tests, I decided to day dream a little bit about what this summer is going to bring/things that are making me happy right now.

-I’ve been listening to this 80’s mix for the last several days. I feel like I’m going to a modern 80’s prom, if that makes sense. Two days ago my roommate walked in on my impromptu dance party, which was par for the course. Sometimes a girl just wants to get her groove on – https://8tracks.com/sashayed/beating-hearts.

-In less than 8 days I will officially be DONE with first year. I actually cannot believe how fast the time has flown. I’ve made amazing friends and I feel like I’ve grown so so much as a human being.

-Working on recording some music with a friend. The tracks we are producing sound KILLER, and I’m so excited to share them.

-Going to be attending a film screening that I was lucky enough to work on. This will be the first film I’ve ever helped out with, so I’m super excited to see what it looks like.

-I have a huge list of books that I’m planning on reading and reviewing, so watch this space. A couple of titles that I’m looking forward to – Shadow scale, All Roads Lead to You, Yes Please.

-Planning my trip to Europe!! I’ve been scouring the internet like crazy, looking for fun things to do. If anyone has any suggestions, please drop a comment below.

-That’s about it for now. Day dreaming about the summer ahead – and going to the beach!

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Raise your hand if you ate way too much to this weekend.

My Aunt reading what our family was thankful for.

My Aunt reading what our family was thankful for.

Thanksgiving this year proved bittersweet. Growing up, it was the only party that my parents really threw. I would spend all year ridiculously excited for the opportunity to get dressed up and eat good food. The day would be spent cooking and setting up, and at the appointed time, guests would flood in. Our apartment would be bustling with laughter and the smell of home cooked turkey roasting in the oven. Thanksgiving definitely ranks amongst my top three holidays.

They have the most beautiful views

They have the most beautiful views

(For those wondering: 1. Christmas 2. Christmas Eve 3. Thanksgiving. Can you tell I really like Christmas?)

These three monsters would not stop jumping on me for a picture.

These three monsters would not stop jumping on me for a picture.

This year however, going home wasn’t really an option. So I upped sticks and headed over to my Aunt and Uncle’s place for Thanksgiving. Going from Hong Kong to a small town in Oregon is quite a change. Far more low key and very relaxed on my part. But with equally lovely people. It was great to be able to spend time with the American side of the family, and I adored being able to play with my second cousins. (They were thankful for Batman, Herself and Halloween Kitty) Everyone couldn’t have been nicer, and the experience was just as lovely as the one at home. Still, it was slightly melancholy. It’s always a bit sad when you see the end of traditions, but I soon perked up at the sight of the (five!) deserts that awaited me.

Pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, orange cake, chocolate cake, apple pie...

Pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, orange cake, chocolate cake, apple pie…

The day after Thanksgiving I was lucky enough to go see my best friend in Portland for the weekend. We spent a great couple of days hanging out and shopping (black Friday is dangerous both physically and wallet-wise). Immediately after landing, my best friend dragged me to a Lil’ Debbie concert, which was an experience, to say the least. Still, the highlight of my week was going out to pick a Christmas tree with her family, and I literally had a smile on my face for hours after. Christmas is officially here my friends.

And it was FREEZING in Oregon

And it was FREEZING in Oregon

Of course, after a couple of amazing days, it was somewhat of a let-down to hear from roommates and find out that our power had gone down and the fridge was broken. Not to mention all the work I had waiting for me (finals are right around the corner – eep!) When I arrived however, I received a lovely surprise. My brilliant roommate had decorated the dorm while we were gone – wreaths, garlands, stockings, and even a little miniature Christmas tree!! It is just the cutest!

So, while I’m not looking forward to the stress of finals, I’m very lucky to have such amazing people in my life!

And of course, Christmas.

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