Hiking in Zion National Park

New blog post about my recent trip to Zion National Park up!

Read more at HERE! <- Click here!

Here are some photos to entice you over:

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D a h l i a

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Favorite Summer Flower: D A H L I A S 

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Today walking through the Sunnyvale Farmer’s Market, I stopped by some produce stands for delicious fruit samples like most normal people, but couldn’t walk past this one flower stand after spotting bucket after bucketful of fresh dahlias. Thank you to Bloomwell&Co for making me fall in love with these elegant beauties. After ooh-ing and ahh-ing for a while, my boyfriend just decided to buy me a bunch because I just couldn’t walk away. I literally couldn’t stop smiling after that hehe. They are gorgeous are they not?!

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I just finished studying and taking the PCATs for pharmacy school admissions and now I won’t have to study for a whole year! OFFICIALLY. I’m trying to not make myself so busy this gap year (even though I have to work to pay rent). It’s easy to say that I’ll do fun things, out of the box things, things that I would never be able to do after I’m settled down, but it’s so much harder said than done. I so bad want to “chase my dreams” but I can’t even figure out what that would look like. There seems to be an endless train of “responsible” things to do, whether that’s studying for the PCATs, asking for recommendation letters, working on my personal statements, or preparing for interviews. I wish I could actually drop everything and do something crazy and different. Something crazy…

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New York Day 4

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B i b b l e

                     &    

               S i p

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Our first stop this day was Bibble & Sip, a really cute coffee and pastry shop that’s crazily obsessed with Llamas. Starting at 12PM, they also serve these amazing amazing cream puffs. We ordered a match green tea and then an earl grey flavored one. They were crunchy on the outside and creamily delicious on the inside. A must taste!

T h e   M e t r o p o l i t a n   M u s e u m

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IMG_1349    R o o f t o p   G a r d e nIMG_1352IMG_1343

E u r o p e a n   S c u l p t u r e   &   A r t s   E x h i b i t sIMG_1272IMG_1273

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T e m p l e  
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                              D e n d u rIMG_1218IMG_1182       S a c k l e r   W i n gIMG_1181
This New York trip would not be complete with a visit to one of the largest and most beautiful museums in the country! There was a wide array of displays, from American art, to European Sculpture art, all the way to Medieval art. My favorite room in the museum was the Sackler Wing with huge windows, a wide fountain where people have been throwing coins inside, and a display of ruins and sculptures. The museum was so big we couldn’t walk through the entire place. We would have needed an entire day!

 

T h e   M e t r o   T r a i nIMG_1099The metro was extremely easy to use. Google maps has each route mapped out and it easy to follow. We bought the unlimited rides for 7 days ticket for $31, which ended up being totally worth the deal. The metro tunnels were filled with beautiful works of mosaic art all over the place as well. Everything was so creative and really reminded me of the Paris metro tunnels as well.

Korea Town: F i v e   S e n s e sIMG_1357 IMG_1361

  D i n n e r

             T i m e IMG_1364

We stopped by Korea town to eat at the Five Senses restaurant we had heard so much about! The restaurant filled up really quick and we felt so lucky to have been able to grab a seat when we did. I ordered the Dol Pan Kimchi Bokum Bap and my sister ordered the normal Bi Bim Bap. Both were delicious and pretty popular choices! Korea Town is actually extremely fun to walk around, with delicious little food stands and fun shops to walk around in! It’s a fun area to explore!

New York Day 3

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B e l l o c q

 T e a

 

       A t l i e rIMG_1537
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Through the many brunch spots we visited in New York, we found Bellocq Tea Atlier‘s name all over. Their teas are apparently very popular and well loved, so seeing as this was the case, we decided to go visit the shop! Amidst all the construction in the area around it, we walked up to the cute sign and store to find a little note telling us to ring the doorbell. We paused for a second, rang the doorbell, and walked into one of the most serene and beautifully decorated tea shops ever! They put out little dishes of each of the tea leaf sets, in a gradient of colors! They even prepared a couple samples of iced tea that they served in glass tasting cups. GLASS! Fancy huh? The back had a cute spot with couches and plants that the shopkeeper explained might become a tea tasting room as they continue to remodel. We grabbed an armful of leaves to take with us on the way out.

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Lunch:

R e y n a r d

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For lunch in Brooklyn, we stopped at Reynard for lunch at the Wythe Hotel. Service was really really good and the dutch pancake was BOMB. The hotel even has a rooftop bar at the top! That’s definitely on my list for next time.

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S t a t u e

o f

L i b e r t y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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                                  Breakfast:  E g g   S h o p

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New York Day 2

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First Stop:   B l u e s t o n e   L a n e   C a f e

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T i m e

    F o r

                   B r u n c h

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Bluestone Lane is an Australian style inspired cafe with locations all over New York. They really sealed in the Australian feel deal with Australian accents ringing from the mouths of every waiter and waitress in the cafe! We heard great things about the Avocado smash, so we made sure to order that with a beautiful egg with a runny yolk on top. Never have I been offered such a generous share of avocado with my share of breakfast! The place was beautifully open and lit, with seating outside in the warm sunshine as well.

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Second Stop:   D o m i n i q u e   A n s e l ‘ s   B a k e r y IMG_2874IMG_2867

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 S w e e t s         &    M o r e    S w e e t s
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We stopped by Dominique Ansel‘s Bakery in South Village to fulfill that sweet tooth craving! My sister, Katie, make sure to order in the infamous and flaky DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann). I grabbed the hazelnut purple thing (I forget what it’s called) and my mother ordered the one she just thought was the prettiest. My only regret is not having a bottomless stomach because I really wished I could have downed the frozen s’more. It looked flippin’ heavenly! We took our beautiful pastries and brought them to the back beautiful back room of the bakery, it was so cute! They even had a garden area in the back with tables and everything! New York is doing a good job winning me over so far.

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Third Stop:   N e w   Y o r k   P u b l i c   L i b r a r y

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The New York Public Library , at times, seemed more like a museum than a library! There were definitely people studying and working in the quiet rooms, but I wonder how difficult it must be to focus with the bajillions of tourists walking in and out. However, the architecture was absolutely breathtaking, and it reminded me a lot of the architecture I saw while traveling in Europe. From the beautiful carving filled arches and tall grand doorways to the ceiling murals, I was having joyful flashbacks to the glamorous and history filled European architecture.

We packed so much into this day, while still recovering from our redeye flight. Our feet were tired and sore, but all the walking really did us some good. We walked over 24,000 steps (thank you iPhone Health App) and burned a significant amount of calories, a good way to balance the enormous amount of calories that we ingested day by day heh. When in New York, gotta eat good right?

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Welcome to New York


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                                                                        Brunch:   T w o   H a n d s

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Upon waking up, we visited a popular brunch spot, Two Hands Cafe around 9am. We quickly nabbed a spot, only to find the wait line grow exponentially longer behind us. We certainly dodged a bullet! The Acai Bowl, beautifully sprinkled with gluten-free granola, chia seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, hemp, raspberries, and blueberries, is a MUST. The service was quick and friendly, the cafe lined with local art, adorable lights, and little fluff balls of clouds. I must say, hands DOWN one of my favorite brunch spots yet.

 

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Ice Cream:   M o r g e n s t e n ‘ s   I c e   C r e a m e r y

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C o c o n u  t

       A s h

 

 

 

 

Morgenstern‘s line was crazy long, and we waited for 30-45 minutes on this warm Friday afternoon, but can I just say that good ice cream is totally worth it? We sprung for this intriguing black colored ice cream. I have absolutely never seen that before, but if you know me, you know I love weird ice cream flavors (my “fun fact” is always that my favorite ice cream flavor is Goat Cheese). I was super enticed by this odd colored ice cream, and ordered the Coconut Ash flavored scoop. As I took my cone out onto the street, a total of 6 groups of people approached me within the first 4-5 minutes (as I was trying to take a picture of my scoop) to gasp in awe and ask what in the WORLD was the flavor of my black scoop. It was surprisingly delicious and coconut-y. It does drip and stain though, beware!

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   M       

   O             

  M

     A        

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Did you know that the New York Museum of Modern Art is free for everyone 4-8PM on Friday evenings? I strongly believe that everyone should take advantage of that! The picture and sculpture sections were extremely captivating, and the only regret I had was not going earlier to see more of the museum! The outside garden with the huge huge rose, fountains, and sculptures were beautiful as well.

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M u s e u m 
              o f
         M o d e r n
   A r t
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Seattle Day One

My dear friend Phoebe and I have been itching to travel to Seattle together. The idea first sprouted when we were studying crazily hard for our first Anatomy midterm this past quarter, and as a reward for finishing one of the most demanding courses in our undergraduate career, we decided to reward ourselves with a Seattle trip!

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Funny story. Phoebe and I actually missed our flight on our way to Seattle. We wanted to save one night’s lodging worth of money, so our original plan was to arrive super early Tuesday, and leave super late on Thursday to maximize our time. However, at 6am in the morning, our brains were not thinking clearly and we got to the airport way too late after staying up the night before to plan out our trip. The excitement and planning got the best of us. We came face to face with cranky (obviously not morning) people, hustled through the LONGEST security line, kindly begged many many people to let us cut them, and sprinted to the FURTHEST gate in the new San Jose airport terminal. Literally nothing was going in our favor, and I realized my stamina was quite low since I couldn’t keep up with Phoebe sprinting to our gate. Panting, we stepped up to our gate at 7:31AM for our 7:30AM flight, and we missed it. We found it even more embarrassing that they announce all late or missing passengers over the speakers for everyone to hear. Thankfully we were able to catch the next flight out, for only an extra $25 to secure our spots, whew. Phoebe and I both laughed, saying that missing a flight was one of those things we had always wished to experience, but would never actually willingly do it. So… I guess it was something to check off our bucket list. Our adrenaline filled bodies did pump us up for the rest of the day though!

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The AirBnb was placed in the heart of downtown, and was only two blocks away from the Seattle Center, which was home to the Space Needle and a couple awesome museums. Our first stop, and one of my absolute favorites, was to the nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Tickets were $22 per person, and I was hoping for a special student deal price, but sadly there was none. That being said, I still think that this small museum was worth every penny. The Glasshouse Sculpture above has got to be one of his most breathtaking works. The entire piece is gorgeous, but also massive. I looked up and saw it strung but only a few black cords, and marveled at how that thing stayed up.

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Dale Chihuly’s display featuring light shining down on a bajillion glass pieces was breathtaking. My favorite part about this little hallway was actually observing the patterns on the walls that resulted from the textures and colors each glass piece reflected the light. It honestly kind of reminded me of the glass flower ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

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Multiple locals we met joked with us, asking us why during spring break we chose to travel to somewhere even COLDER. We kind of chuckled in agreement, never really having thought about the weather differences before. It rained fairly lightly for the most part, and the overcast gray skies honestly reminded me of home. Call us crazy, but I still think it was a good decision.  I guess I was just more in the mood for cool museums and coffee shops than bikini’s and beaches. I need some time to make my flab disappear anyways..heh.

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We only had to walk outside a couple steps to get to the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project Museum pictured here with the metallic pink and orange wall. With a limited amount of time, the EMP Museum was on our to do list, but we only ever got to walk around and admire the front. However, it is definitely on my list to do for next time!

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We did so much in such a short amount of time, and I’m so excited to be able to continue to share more with you all! Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3.

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I’m Feelin’ 22

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March 9th marked my 22nd birthday! Woot! My friends had surprises lined up for me the entire day. It started at midnight with my housemates singing to me, blasting Taylor Swift’s song “22”, and then feeding me delicious Tiramisu (which was the beginning of “fatten Carmen up day” as I liked to call it). My boyfriend also knocked on the door and surprised me with many of my favorite snacks, including blue corn Tortilla chips, Ghiradelli chocolate, and fruit snacks (please dont judge me haha, I love feeling like a little kid).

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Every class I went to, I was met with friends who handed me beautiful flower bouquets, lots and lots of desserts, surprise meals for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. It was so intricately planned, props to the boyfriend for organizing it all so well.

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This little octopus pictured above was a prize I won from a free wheel you get to spin on your birthday at this sushi place in Davis called Mikuni’s. Our server was actually a friend I had made in my Anatomy course this quarter, so he hooked it up with some free dessert as well!

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I did have a pretty intense final at 8am the next morning, so the “surprise party” for me got moved to the next night. Which made it all the more unexpected! I dove to the ground because the people jumping up yelling SURPRISE threw me for a loop! A bunch of my friends pitched in to buy me a new wide angle camera lens *swoon*. I had been looking into purchasing one and I am beyond excited to use it!

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My roommate gifted me a succulent that she potted herself! Isn’t it the cutest thing? My other friend gave me a “Toast” cookbook and told me that it looked like my Instagram, and I told her that I would be so flattered if my Instagram ever looked like that. I am so excited to make some more delicious fancy schmancy toast though! Here’s a few pictures I snapped on my phone of my friends below (gotta put faces to these wonderful people who made my day so special):

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Here’s to a great year of more growth in friends, more growth in adventure, and more growth in my FOOD CONSUMPTION. I seriously stuffed beyond belief with love, sweet words, and desserts. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!

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Sutro Baths

One of my hands down favorite spots in the Richmond area in San Francisco, when I go back home, is Sutro Baths/Lands End. It’s an easy, simple hike, and full of amazing scenery. The area used to be a glamorous public saltwater indoor pool in the early 20th century, but then it burned down in the mid-90s. However, it’s glory lives on because the ruins are actually one of the most visited landmarks in San Francisco! Needless to say, I love it.

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I think that every single time I’ve been there, I’ve seen engagement shoots, wedding shootings, or just boyfriends that want to take pictures of their girlfriends (like the guy Harry is accidentally pretending to kick), so needless to say, this is a good good spot.

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As college comes to a close, everyone has been stressing out about what is to happen next. They are thinking a lot about what career path to choose, which location to settle down in, etc. But I’m just sitting here knowing that wherever I go, God’s got my back. To trust Him is so exciting, because he always makes good of the unexpected. I’m settling on the fact that I’ve made lifelong friends here at UC Davis, and that there’s time to be taken advantage of now! Instead of worrying too much about what is going to happen, I’m making sure to enjoy every TINY bit of the last few months I do have left!

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This quarter has been my most difficult quarter, academics wise, and I’m SO EXCITED for it to be over! For some reason, all three of the hardest classes I have ever taken are only offered winter quarter, so I was forced to do it all at once. I find myself asking… when was the last time I had enough sleep. HAHA so sad!  But then, my friend Phoebe and I are going to venture off to Seattle this spring break as a way of rewarding ourselves after this difficult difficult quarter! So keep your eyes peeled for more spring time adventures to come!

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