DRAWING THE MAPS TO MY SOUL

2014-08-31

Last days of summer

have been pretty busy, surprisingly. I guess everyone is trying to cram activities before they get busy with school and stuff!
Tuesday the 19th
Woke up and rushed into the city, worried that I'd be late for brunch with Ms. Weber and Summer. I got a table and thought that it was strange that no one was there yet only realize that it was next week. ( ̄□ ̄;)!! 
Got brunch by myself instead.

I did get to see Summer for a quick hour though, cause she had to be in the city for some errands, so that was nice!

Later that night, Tina, Kevin, and I went to Dancen. 
Only got a picture of the tofu kimchi cause we were way too busy chowing down. It was SOOOO GOOOOD!!!!! ♡(˃͈ દ ˂͈ ༶ ) So good, that I couldn't stop saying it in between bites. Definitely one of my top favorite places. I hope it never closes. 

 We finished the remaining slice of ice cream cake at Kevin's house for dessert.

 Murderous Tina: "Don't touch my cake."

LMAO Kevin trying on my glasses.

We digested with Mario Kart and lots and lots of laughter until we passed out. It was a super fun night.

Wednesday the 20th
Rushed home in the morning to quickly get ready for the days plans.
Noticed all my battle scars from hiking while changing into my swimsuit. 

 Kevin, Jelly, Eva, Julie, Tina, her friends Susan and Luke, and I went kayaking on the lake!
Ha ha ha we all made one huge unit
So cool that you can see the Sears and Hancock towers.

After two hours on the water, we headed to Chinatown for dim sum. 
 The first part of our order.


Had to make a stop at Joy Yee's for bubble tea before chilling at the secret park no one knows about.

Passed this super awesome house on the way.
*stolen from Tina*
Unfortunately, it had tons of trash in front of it.


Friday the 22nd 
Drove out to Schaumburg for the first time in my life to hang out with James for a little bit earlier in the day.
Waiting for pizza. I am the darkest I've ever been since I was like, 11 and used to play outside everyday.
Enjoyed jalepeno and sausage thin crust while watching Desolation of Smaug.

Left to pick up Eva, Tina, and Kevin to get kbbq with Julie, Mark, Brian, and Mike (?). Eva broke her pescatarianism!...to really mediocre food. We went to the same place we went for my last birthday, and it was awesome then, but this time, everything was a mess. Apparently I forgot to take a picture because I was so stunned with how bad the service was.
Anyways~ After dinner, we went to both Emporiums and played some games. It was pretty fun.

Sunday the 24th
Left home for a little bit to catch a reading that Scarlett and Ian was doing.
It was soooooo good! 
I was really inspired because of how wonderful it was. Must watch more theatre!

Tuesday the 26th
The date I had been waiting for all summer! Brunch with Ms. Weber, Summer, and Yuvin at Waffles! 
Benedict waffle. The pork was a bit bland and watery :(

Probably the most adorable picture I've ever taken of Yuvin yet.

It was so nice to catch up and just be in the presence of my favorite teacher and former classmates! Hopefull we can do it again soon~~~ (´∀`)♡

Went back home soon after and...was vain.

Thursday the 28th
I love this top. Bart is just sooo smug, it makes me laugh.

Visited Brad in his hometown, Winthrop Harbor. It was sooo suburban, I felt like I was in a different state! It was super pretty though. Even crossed the border into Wisconsin for lunch at a drive in!

Friday the 29th
Haven't worn this dress since my first visit to L.A.!

HoChul was on break so I had dinner with him for the first time in like four months.
We were supposed to go to Hugo's Frog Bar, but traffic was awful and we had to cancel our reservation. We went to Shaw's Crab House instead.
*stolen from HoChul*
Yummy shrimp cocktail


Potato au gratin side

The biggest lobster tails I've ever seen and eaten. Yum.

And....no picture of the giant king crab legs that HoChul had cause he didn't send it to me;;;

After talking about teeth over Starbucks, I went home to change and then headed back out to Schaumburg cause James was having a party.

The only picture I took that night:
The quesadilla David geniusly made with what was left in the kitchen!
Fun was had. 

Saturday the 30th
Drove down to Lincoln Park so I could see Scarlet for the last time before she moved to L.A. the next day!
The awesome car we saw while walking to a restaurant that didn't have an hour wait (damn you Batter and Berries!)

I had wings for brunch.

Sweet Scarlett and her blueberry french toast.

We had a look in Rotofugi cause it was right there. I don't think anyone can walk out of there without buying at least one thing. Everything is toooooo adorable.

Not that we really hung out much or anything, but I'm totally gonna miss her! She's such a wonderful person! I have no doubt she will do well.

Saturday the 30th
Went out to Pretty Bar for their 90's themed party with Kevin, Tina, Sopheap, Jelly, and Juan.
The dj was hooooorrible but it was still pretty fun. We got suuuper sweaty jamming out.
Tacos after!
Super good tacos. The al pastor one was awesome.
I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the horchata because I think it was the best I've ever had. It was just.. perfect.

Today
Went down to the city for a collaboration project.
I was super hungry so I had to grab this gooey goodness before heading back home.

2014-08-27

Nature-ristic!

starring Tina.
Tuesday the 12th
Dad drove me to Midway Airport in the morning so I could catch my flight to Salt Lake City and visit Tina!
Awful sweet and sour chicken for brunch.

The most accurate fortune cookie ever
 Seriously though, I hadn't seen Tina since April!

Connecting flight in Denver.
Their airport is pretty nice!

Watched Guardians of the Galaxy for the second time right after getting picked up at the airport by Tina.

Dinner
 Did it right and got animal style everything this time!

Wednesday the 13th
Slept in and then had brunch at a bistro I can't remember the name of.
 Pretty ceiling!

 The most depressing salad I've ever tasted.
Should've gotten ranch but I decided not to because my entree was creamy.

 Chicken Diana or something. I liked the cream sauce a lot.

Very tan, and very pretty Tina with her portobello wrap.

Shared their popular dessert.
I liked the vanilla ice cream the best. Don't think I'm a fan of deep fried fruit.

 After digesting a little bit, I went on my very first hike!
 Such a shame the camera can't do justice for all the beauty that was seen! (But you can click the pictures for bigger, better view-age :D)

 The awesome bridge someone was thoughtful enough to modify for easy passage.

 Cool mini fall behind the giant stone.

Finally reached the creek!
Such clean water!

One of many giant fallen trees.

*stolen from Tina*
 Pretending to be xtreme.

So after running past spider web wrapped trees, Tina and I continued on what we thought was the trail, but we kept climbing up the side of the mountain.
 Where are we?!

Climbing a steep wall of loose rocks and dirt.
 Seriously doubting this is the right way.

*taken by Tina*
True struggle. True wilderness.

 A picture of what we climbed that doesn't show how giant it was.

 We came to the conclusion that we were way above where we were trying to go so we carefully made our way back down.
Struggling through dense mountain bush while holding onto branches for life.
Honestly, if there was no audible creek or if we were stupider, we probably could have died.

But we didn't and we made it!

The Adam's Canyon waterfall!

Blood, sweat, confusion, 2.5 hours and three mosquito bites on my face later, we made it!
It was my first time seeing one in real life. Sooo cooling and refreshing!

Cooling and refreshing enough to get us climbing up a random rope we found next to the waterfall.
Realllllly steep. 
 We probably shouldn't have, but Tina and I laugh in the face of danger B] Hahahaha!

After sitting at the waterfall for a bit more, we sadly decided that it was time to leave, and headed back.
The way back was just as beautiful.
 One of my favorite snaps from this trip.
The first thing I noticed about Utah is how low the clouds hang. I love it!

 Houses, the city, lake, and even more mountains in the distance! Crazy!

 The beginnings of the trail.

I did that! Adam's Canyon Trail, moderate difficulty, and 3.5 miles!

Dinner after slightly putting ourselves back together.
*stolen from Tina*


Thursday the 14th
Grabbed a quick sandwich from a market to eat in the car to prepare for an activity packed day!
First stop: Beaver Creek for some good ol' horseback riding!!
 Horses and their wranglers waiting.

 Was super excited cause I hadn't been on a horse since the fifth grade!

Couldn't take many non-blurry pictures while trying to stay on/keep my camera from getting thwacked by branches. Some parts of the trail were bumpy!

Yowza! What a view! Enhanced even more so by riding a lovely horse!
 Our wrangler was super nice too! I think her name was...Stephanie?? :X

Water break

Too cute!
 Our horses for the morning, Rio and Captain. Rio kept farting and Captain kept pooping on the way! Ahahaha!

 Too cute! (≧∇≦)

It was a wonderful hour and I totally want to do it again and again, but wow was it painful. My knees were killing me and I even got a bruise on my ass!

Next stop: Bear Lake!
 Tina was driving and driving, and then suddenly the lake revealed itself. It was one of the most incredible moments of this trip!

But first, lunch!
 Made sure to get their famous raspberry shake (it's supposed to be the best).
It was really fresh but I wished it was a little bit sweeter. ( ̄ェ ̄;)

And finally, the lake!
We walked halfway down the path and turned around to see this awesome view.

 Almost there! But already so beautiful!

(∿°○°)∿ ︵ ǝʌol

 Look at the clouds and the mountains and how blue the water is!!
Some parts of the water are so blue and clean, it looks tropical, even!

 It's also really shallow so you can walk really far into it and it will only come up to the top of your thighs!

Definitely the most beautiful place I've ever been in my 22 years of life. It is honestly so perfect. On top of how unrealistically beautiful it is, there's free parking and there are so little people. 
So sad we didn't have time to paddle board there. (╯︵╰,)

 Last snap before leaving. Another favorite.

Final stop for the day: Idaho!
First meese sighting of our lives!

We also saw our first cave!
 Super cool stalagmites and stalactites.

I think they look like melting castles.

 Stairway to heaven from hell.

 Hahaha this was the best of the four a fellow tourist took for me.

The bridge you cross to and from the cave has an awesome view as well.
 
 Adorable cows out and about.

Back to Utah!
 Idaho gets to enjoy Bear Lake as well!

Dinner time~
 Giant Thai iced teas!


My cold and rubbery chicken.

 Tina and her crummy birthday dinner. Yep, it was TINA'S BIRTHDAY!!! ☆*・゜゚・*\(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆

 Friday the 15th
It was time to say goodbye to gorgeous Utah.
 Our last moments on the street Tina lived on for the last four months.

Back on the road to Colorado!
 Train on the mountain!

 Windy Wyoming.

 Love the clouds just sitting on top of the horizon

The beginnings of Colorado
 It was super cool seeing rain from a distance! You could actually watch the drops fall!

 Clouds touching the ground??? (◕o◕)

Denver sent us the most amazing welcome
Couldn't get it on camera, but it was a complete arched double rainbow!!! And you could see the violet rays. When do you ever see the violet rays!? And, it was hanging over the place we were trying to find. WAT! Tina and I will never forget that moment. It was the most magical moment of my life. Wow. Just wow.

Our really nice room.

Dinner in downtown Denver.
 The lady chef was from Evanston!

 It was really nice.

 Complimentary sesame rice cracker. The salsa dip thing was a bit sweet for me.

Tamarind fizzy. It just tasted like a virgin mojito.

French onion soup dumplings.
I wanna try original ones even more now!

Pork belly baos. They were the stars.

Their version of carbonora.

Donuts and Vietnamese coffee ice cream.

We walked to a bar to try and say hi to Tina's friend but we ended up just heading back home after waiting cause she wasn't answering her phone.
 Cool sights though.

Saturday the 16th
We started heading to Crystal Lake, but traffic was awful, the hike was 8 miles, and we were trying to go out later that night, so we opted for a closer trail.

Tunnel in a cave!
 It was super cool inside too!

 Casinos in the mountains!

We ended up going to the Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

We chose to hike the Burro Trail so we could get to the City Lights Ridge, but we ended up going the wrong way and decided to just go to Windy Peak instead. It was a difficult trail and it kicked our asses. We ended up hiking around 6 miles instead of  the 1.2 miles but it was worth it.
 Cute bridge.

Cabin in the mountains!

 We were lucky the weather was nice and cool because I was beginning to doubt if it was worth it. If it was a really hot day, I don't know if I would have made it.

But I'm so glad I did!
 The view at 9000ft.
Probably the coolest polaroids I'll ever have.

It was awesome to just sit above everything and listen to the wind rustle through all the trees. 
 After some reflection time, we sadly headed back down again.

 Had lots of thoughts race through my head to distract me from the pain in my hamstrings, particularly those of thanks to mother nature and people who made it possible for me to hike these beautiful trails. Hahaha

Back to the city!
 Denver's cute little skyline.

Late dinner.
We were hoping for late night dim sum but I guess only big cities do that. We settled for what we could have.
Beef chow fun.

Black bean clams.

Very disappointing salt and pepper friend smelt.

We went to the bar we were waiting outside of the night before.
I almost didn't get in because two bouncers didn't believe my i.d. was mine! It wasn't until the second bouncer called his manager to check it that I was let in. Tina thinks it's because of the hair color difference but I know it's because I wasn't wearing makeup. Hahaha!
The d.j. was the best (of the very few) I've ever listened to, and we had a lot of fun dancing until they closed.

We also rode our first rickshaw!
Tina and I always felt like we couldn't do it in Chicago because it was too touristy but after experiencing how fun it is, we changed our minds. They move way faster than I thought!
 Our rickshaw biker's name was Rick and he was awesome as well!

 Hahaha not very sober selca.

Sunday the 17th
Checked out of our room in the morning and headed onto Nebraska.
 Sooooo empty!

Dinner stop!
The best beef and vegetable soup I've ever had. I even at the vegetables! And they are super generous with the meat! It was soooo good with their buttered bread.

Tina's steak.

The. BEST. fried chicken. EVAR!!!! Oh my gosh. Perfectly seasoned and crispy yet the meat is so tender. Still kicking myself for forgetting the leftovers in our hotel room fridge. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノARGHHHH!!!!

 Really sweet and moist black forest cake.
Also left this in the fridge. In fact, I forgot all leftovers in fridges the whole trip! OTL

Monday the 18th
Checked out of our last hotel and headed back home!
Made a pit stop at Maid Rite in Iowa first, though.
Had to try their beloved loose meat sandwich. It's basically a sloppy joe without the sauce.

Their handicap bathroom is basically a full bathroom in a bathroom!
 Tina and I thought it was cool.

There was also a hotel/waterpark, playground, and mini golf course at the stop.
 Look at that form!

Wagon riding weee~~

What an unforgettable trip! It couldn't have happened at a better time! I'm so happy I got to go to such beautiful states and experience everything I did! Lots of firsts and a lot more laughs and so much beauty! So many thanks to Tina for driving the entire time (I am a lame) and planning everything! This trip was only possible and as enjoyable as it was because of you, Tina. I know you're reading this, so, THANK YOU SO MUCH AND I LOVE YOU!!! ♡〜٩(^▿^)۶〜♡
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