The US Trip: Sunny Orange County.

This is the fifth post of “The US Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

Orange County is where I spent most of my days during this US trip. I stayed in Motel 6 Newport Beach – which I would gladly recommend due to its exceptional service, despite being “only” a motel.  I chose to stay in Orange County because of this TV Series! Hahaha not.. It’s because the motel rate is cheaper and I like to stay near the beach.

Anyway, in this post I’ll highlight some of the places I visited in Orange County. I was lucky that even though it’s September when I visited, I still got to enjoy sunshine and spend some time under the sun.

The first destination is Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach is known for its surfing culture. They say you can surf all year long – that’s why it’s also famous as Surf City USA. Of all the beaches I visited, this is my favorite beach, it has white sands for as far as you can see, and also rows of palm trees.

Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach

Not a surfer? don’t worry, there are a lot of other things that you can do in Huntington Beach. I really enjoyed sun bathing ( didn’t jump to the water because the water was too cold! hahaha ), strolling down the main street where there’s a lot of cafes and small shops, and last but not least.. I really enjoyed kayak!

It was my very first experience and although it was rather hard to do at first, but when I got used to it, I really enjoyed it. You can check out Huntington Harbor Boat Rentals  if you want to try kayaking as well 🙂

Kayak
I kayaked!!

Then there’s Laguna Hills and Laguna Beach

Laguna Hills is famous because of this TV Series – but there’s more to it. I personally love the terrain, you can see the beach and the hills in one sight. It’s also nice to drive around and see the nice houses in the neighborhood, then have a stroll on the high street full of cute small shops (The high street is smaller than the one in Huntington Beach).

Laguna Hills
Laguna Hills

While in the area, I also went for a bit of hike in Top of The World Park. There are a couple of routes that you can choose, depending on how long you want to hike. I chose the easy one – which can be finished in around 45 minutes time. Even from my easy route, I could see amazing city view from the top. I guess that’s why they name it Top of The World 🙂

Top of The World Park
Top of The World Park

Last but not least, don’t forget to also stop by the beach. Compared to Huntington Beach, this one has less palm trees and (I think) is not as big. Still nice to visit though!

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach

So.. that’s about it for Orange County. I loveee the area simply because it has a selection of wonderful beaches and a very laid back vibe – typical southern Californian style. Do visit when you’re around Los Angeles – it’s only an hour drive away 🙂

Advertisements

On arguments.

I’ve been having arguments with my boyfriend. We normally resolve our arguments within 24 hours, but this time it has been more than a day… and I still feel uneasy.

Couples argue all the time, don’t they? Sometimes it’s caused by something mundane, sometimes it’s extraordinary. It’s part of being in a relationship, and I accept that.

But being in a long distance relationship AND having arguments really got me tired. It’s not that I’m tired of him but I’m just tired of having arguments over the same thing over and over. Really.

Anyway.. any of you reading this currently in a LDR too? how do you resolve arguments?

It would be nice if we can resolve it over a nice discussion face to face, right? But since we can’t see each other.. normally I just sleep it off, or listen to cheesy songs.. like this one. :)))))

#thismonthsmusic – March

Earlier this month I went to Java Jazz Festival , mainly to see India Arie and Allen Stone.  But, a local artist’s performance really got my attention. It was Teza Sumendra’s.

I haven’t heard much of Teza before, except the fact that he used to be in Indonesian Idol. But let me tell you this – his voice is just amazingly beautiful and I’m not exaggerating. Plus – he does cover songs of Rnb/Soul singers which are my favorite music genre. Yay! Well I can’t say much about his singing technique since I’m no singing expert, but just have a listen to his covers on Youtube and Soundcloud so you can agree with me! 😉

Anyway.. for March’s #thismonthsmusic, here are his top 5 cover songs. Enjoy!

Pretty Wings by Maxwell

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/pretty-wings-maxwell-cover-by

I Need by TGT

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/i-need-tgt-acoustic-cover

Strip by Chris Brown 

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/strip-chris-brown-acoustic-cover

Rocket by Beyonce 

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/rocket-beyonce-cover

Girls Love Beyonce by Drake 

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/girls-love-beyonce-drake-cover

And here’s a snapshot of his performance of Java Jazz , where he sang one of my favorite song – Musiq’s Just Friends 🙂

The US Trip: Las Vegas Baby!

This is the fourth post of “The US  Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

People say that when you’re in the US’ West Coast, you can NOT miss visiting Las Vegas. True? At first I kind of hesitated to visit Las Vegas, because I don’t gamble, and don’t party as much – and I thought that’s all what the town has to offer. But I was wrong. Even after only 1 night in Las Vegas, I can say that it is a MUST visit when you’re in the West Coast!

I went there on the weekend with my friends – the four of us drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and it took us around 4 hours to get there. Although I did not drive, I can say that it was an enjoyable drive. Wide road, no traffic, clear blue sky, gorgeous desert scenery – pure American road trip experience.

Road Trip - California to Nevada!
Road Trip – California to Nevada!

I was lucky that our hotel – Jockey Club Resort was located within the famous Las Vegas Strip. In fact, it is conveniently located within Bellagio and Cosmpolitan. It’s a 3 star hotel and a non-gaming one, but still within walking distance to the ‘life of Las Vegas’, so it’s perfect for me, being a non-gamer / first – timer in Las Vegas. We stayed in their studio – which on their website written as sleeps 4 but trust me they are HUGE! I think it can still conveniently sleeps up to 6, perfect for group travel.

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

After we arrived in the afternoon, we spent some time to wander around The Cosmopolitan and also The Strip. I was amazed to see the amount of people gaming in the casinos I saw. Everywhere I look, the casinos were never empty, even though it’s in the middle of the day. They even did not wear formal/smart attire (like what I saw in the movies :p). Because we don’t have casinos in Indonesia – I found it rather odd to see people gaming in daytime wearing casual clothing. Even Singapore’s Resort World Sentosa have smart attire as their dresscode!

Ka-Chinggg!
Ka-Chinggg!

Actually, our main intention to visit Las Vegas was to eat at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, since it’s listed no.1 in 2013’s 5 best Vegas buffet by USA Today. If that review still does not convince you enough, it has 4 stars in Yelp 😀

Caesar's Palace Lobby
Caesar’s Palace Lobby

Having seen the reviews, we were not surprised anymore to see this queue when we arrived in front of the restaurant…

The queue!
The queue!

We had to queue for 2 hours to get a seat! They say you’ll get a priority queuing line if you’re staying at Caesars Palace but for the rest of us, we had to queue patiently. We arrived at the restaurant at 6, got our seats at 8… and finished eating by 11 PM 😛  I have to say that this was the BEST buffet I’ve ever eaten in my life! All the fresh seafood, juicy meat, scrumptious dessert.. To this, all the fancy buffet in Jakarta’s 5 star hotels I’ve been to seems like nothing!

Anyway, we ended the night feeling very satisfied and full. We had a walk through the strip once again to see some bits of night life, then went straight back to the hotel.

The next day, we spent some time walking through the strip again (it’s a long road!), where we found a Coca- Cola Store! Being a Coke enthusiast, I was so happy to be in the store. We did some shopping, got our picture taken with Coke’s Polar Bear, and spent some time in the cafe where we got to try Tastes of The World. For $7, we will receive two trays each with 8 small cups consisting of different Coca – Cola Company’s products from all over the world. This is definitely a must do when you’re visiting the store, and my personal favorite is Fanta Magic from Estonia (Yes, there is such thing!).

Coca – Cola Tastes of The World
Coca-Cola Store!
Coca-Cola Store!

We left Las Vegas after visiting Coca – Cola Store, but managed to stop by the factory outlet (!!!) on the way back to Los Angeles (I’ll write more on the factory outlets I visited on this series, promise!). So yeah, I think there are more to Las Vegas than casinos and clubs. Visit when you’re into culinary experience, even more when you’re into entertainment! Too bad I did not get the chance to see some live shows – I guess it’ll be interesting to see either cabaret, cirque du soleil, or even comedy shows. Well, that simply mean I have to go back one day 🙂

The US Trip: Universal Studios Hollywood

This is the third post of “The US  Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

The trip to Universal Studios Hollywood was on the itinerary of my second day in Los Angeles. I went there with R and also Indiet, my friend from college who happened to be in town too at that time. The 1-day ticket for this theme park originally cost $84 but thanks to R’s cousin we could get special price tickets and it cost us only $59! Not bad at all 🙂

The park opened at 10AM so we tried to get there on time, to avoid crowd and queuing.  To our surprise, there was not THAT many people and we barely had to queue to get in to our rides. Plus, the sky was super bright and clear although it was September already! I guess it’s true when they say it’s always sunny in California.. (wait or is it Philadelphia? :p)

Before we went into the park, we took some time to take pictures in front of the theme park gate and of course, you know, with the famous Universal Studios globe 😉

IMG_4943
Clear blue sky!
Me and Indiet
Me and Indiet

After we went inside, we went straight to try the attractions. This was actually not my first time going to Universal Studios Hollywood, but a lot of attractions have changed! We first tried  Transformers: the Ride 3-D, which was super cool and thrilling. Then me and Indiet tried the classic Jurassic Park-The Ride – I tried it before but somehow this time was more exciting than the first one! After that, we tried attractions by attractions – from Shrek 4D, Revenge of the Mummy – the Ride,  and my favorite…. The Simpsons Ride! wooohoo! It was like being inside the TV Show!  they also have a Kwik – E – Mart in front of the ride which sells The Simpsons merchandises 🙂

Krusty Land!
The Simpsons Ride!
Inside Krustyland
Inside Krustyland! :p

We then watch the Waterworld show, which got us mesmerised. Again, Waterworld show was not new to me, but it still got me in awe.  To finish our day, we spent some time to take the famous studio tour, which also included King – Kong 360 3-D. To our surprise, the video host was Jimmy Fallon! He’s one of my favorite comedian and he made the studio tour super interesting and funny. This Studio Tour is definitely a must try when you’re in Universal Studios Hollywood, as it gives you a very “Hollywood” experience 🙂

Anyway, since we did not have to queue for long to get in to the rides, we finished quite early and had time to wander around the park. I was so happy to see a British – themed road full of British kind of replicas! We found the famous Red telephone box, tube signs, street signs, even the double Decker bus!

IMG_4938
So HAPPY to find THIS! :p

After we were finished in the park, we also took some time to have a sightseeing in Universal Walk – home of Hard Rock Cafe and lots of shops/cafes. I think it will be fun to visit the walk during night time – I imagine lots of lights from the shops would make it interesting. Maybe next time 😉

Universal Walk
IMG_4946
Hard Rock Cafe

So.. that’s it! In total we spent approximately 5 hours in the park, and we got to try everything! I guess we were lucky because there were not many people even though it was a Friday. In my opinion, this theme park is more suitable for grown ups because a lot of the rides are not child – friendly. But for us, it was a very enjoyable day, and for those theme park lovers – thrill seekers, you got to visit Universal Studios Hollywood when visiting Los Angeles!

Crazy Rich Asians

This book – written by Kevin Kwan, was recommended to me by my friend, Rio and it has been sitting in my e-book reader for months before I finally started to read it. When I finally started to read it, I was not too interested on it – I spent some time only reading few pages daily. But as I turned more pages, I got more and more hooked to this book.

Image from google.com

Like the title, it tells the story about “Crazy Rich Asians” – Chinese people with generations of wealth currently living outside mainland China. The story revolves around a young Chinese couple who lives in New York, Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young and their travel to Nicholas’ hometown in Singapore to attend Nicholas’ best friend’s wedding.

Rachel – coming from a middle class immigrant family, did not realise that the Youngs are very rich and extravagant. Nicholas’ cousins, extended family and relatives are the the kind of people you would see in high – end lifestyle magazines. Nicholas’ family house looks like a castle filled with luxury items which Rachel has never seen before. The private jets, luxury cars, social evenings and fancy dinners make Rachel feel overwhelmed. Plus, she thinks that Nicholas did not prepare her for anything of those at all, thus makes her shocked and confused.

Nicholas – educated and worked in the West, thinks that all those wealth are his family’s, therefore not important to him. He simply thought the trip would be just an ordinary trip with the woman that he loves. What he missed to prepare is how to handle the way his family – especially his mum, reacts to him bringing home a girlfriend.

How do you think his family reacts?
What happens to Rachel & Nicholas’ relationship during their trip to Singapore?

Read the book to find out… 😉
It is indeed very entertaining, witty, and enjoyable to read!

Bubur Ayam Madurasa

One day after work, me and Dhisty went out to find something to eat. At first we wanted to eat around Senopati area, but then I realised that there’s this bubur ayam place that I wanted to try for so long, called Bubur Ayam Madurasa, and they only open on weekdays. Bubur ayam is one of my comfort foods. It is a very common food in Indonesia, in fact we Indonesians usually eat it for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner!

I first heard about this place from Twitter – their account showed up in my timeline. I have to admit, they put really nice picture of bubur ayam on their profile. So Tempting! I’ve been wanting to try it, but I haven’t really got the chance until that night. They are located in Alpus area – where the food stalls are, near the famous Roti Bakar Eddy. There were not many people when we got there, so we could easily get a spot.

20140226-234319.jpg
Bubur Ayam Madurasa
Taken with iPhone 5 – mind the image quality 😉

We did not have to wait so long to get our bubur served. Trust me, they are SUPER DELICIOUS! Generous topping and perfect texture of the porridge. No doubt – best hawker style bubur ayam in town! (That’s why I’m writing this review.. to tell you about it :D)

So, if you happen to live or work near Jakarta Selatan / Jakarta Pusat area – you definitely should try this bubur ayam. I read on their menu board that they cater deliveries too. Worth to try! 🙂

Bubur Ayam Madurasa
Twitter : @Buburayammadura
Facebook : Bubur Ayam Madurasa

Jl. Raden Patah
Selong, Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan
Open Monday to Friday : 17.00 PM – til finished