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Life in ATL

Shoya good time.

In a sea of empty restaurant spaces beside a large Korean supermarket franchise, there lies an out-of-the-blue Japanese restaurant. Once you step past that large wooden door , you’re in another world. Did I somehow magically get into a transportation machine? The sounds of J-Pop fill your ears while that sweet smokey char-broil greets you at the door. “Irasshaimase,” the hostess says. As she takes a second look at you, her accented English comes out. “Oh, I guess I really am in Atlanta…

The interior of the restaurant is literally set up as an “izakaya” — a Japanese drinking-estabalishment that serves the food to the drinks, rather than the drinks to the food. I’ve always loved the beautifully lighted atmosphere set along side the contrasting dark woods; I may not be an expert in interior design but the contrast always makes me feel some type of way. For larger parties, there are separate rooms where you can take off your shoes and sit on tatami mats at low setting tables.

Since it was just the two of us, a regular table fit the occasion just fine. We were greeted promptly and were handed the menus immediately. Pictures galore! I love it when restaurants show pictures because despite the fact of me being Chinese and Cambodian, it’s not like I’m an encyclopedia of all Asian dishes. My friend immediately atuned to saying that the ramen was the closest thing to get to Ippudo but after cooking pho the night prior for a few friends, noodles were a no-go. We both opted for the Shoya Don (salmon, tuna and bbq eel on sushi rice) that came with miso soup. Additionally, we ordered two yakitori appetizers (pork belly and squid) then takoyaki (a wheat-ball full of octopus with a sweet mayo  dipping sauce) and karaage (Japanese style fried chicken nuggets).

A clear suggestion was not waiting until the yakitori was cold to eat. Once put on your table, DEFINITELY eat it. The ika became that weirdly jerky like while the pork belly lost its appeal. Once the takoyaki and karaage came out, we both didn’t hesitate. Delicious… I’m not sure exactly what is in that mayo sauce (my blood sugar probably doesn’t wanna know either) but it is divinely dank.

The star of the show was the Shoya Don. Everything was served picture perfect (even the lemon). The fish was fresh and the eel wasn’t overly barbecued. As I took a few bites, it reminded me of good ole Boston. Ouu, scary. While I don’t know exactly what the brown noodle-like stuff was, it gave great contrast to the fresh daikon and cucumber. It was exactly what I was craving for this semi-rainy night in Atlanta. It being only a 6 minute drive from my apartment makes it score higher on the list of it being one of my typical spots.

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Music, Uncategorized, Vacations

Hang me up to dry.

shakyknees On a last minute whim, I went to Atlanta to see an indie festival. Dreams do come true! I was waiting for this moment forever. Everyone and their mothers love to go to EDM shows but I’m all about indie and hiphop. At about 7:00am, we made our way down, arriving at a reasonable 11:00am end time. Our friend’s roommate graciously offered adult beverages in the form of Grey Goose vodka and suddently, we became rarin’ to go! Uber has also become a great friend (after using it in DC and in Charlotte weeks before) and so, we headed our way to Atlantic Station to enjoy the festival!!!!! It was a little dead at first but it started to pick up after a few more acts. The double Jack Daniels on the rocks (and the two after that) also helped.

My two favorites out of it all were definitely Dawes and Cold War Kids. Dawes’ has an electric presence when they perform; their music has a True American vibe, reminiscent of folk rock from the 70’s. When they played “From a Window Seat,” I felt like I was being transported back to a different time. Cold War Kids, on the other hand, had a contrasting “We gotta get up and move!” feel. The audience were all entranced by their appeal, especially when “Hang Me Up To Dry” was played. Clearly, that song was a true prediction of the rain that was to ensue after them.

As we waited for Modest Mouse to play at 9:30pm, the clouds thickened and it started down-pouring like a mo’fo. Thankfully, my friend bought two ponchos for a good ole price of $5 ahead of time. As we huddled under one poncho together, I pondered on how I got into this situation in the first place. Why didn’t I bring my rain coat? I brought it all the way from Charlotte yet I made the decision that “Oh a little rain didn’t hurt anyone.” At 8:00pm, I looked up at the monsoon pouring down and I was done. Needed a nap. Needed to be dry before the night’s festivities. Ran through the streets of Midtown to his car (which he thankfully left at his work’s parking deck) and hauled ass to get back.

Overall, Shaky Knees was a great experience, even if it was just for a few hours. Next year, I will definitely be down for the whole sha-bang, with a raincoat.

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Everyday Life, Fashion Tips from a Broke Girl

But baby, you’ll freeze out there.

America’s being hit with the coldest temperatures she’s seen in a while. The usually cool weather in Charlotte dropped to a mere 9° this morning (windchill making it feel like -1°). I haven’t been this cold since going to school in New England six years ago. My blood has turned Southern and my need to keep warm is in overdrive which leads me to the period of time where I shopped non-stop, specifically for winter wear despite being in North Carolina. Regrets hit instantly since it never got cold to wear any of this stuff. I can now proudly say, “I’VE GOT THIS COVERED.”

PRESENTING: Connie’s current attire against shivery.

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1. Columbia’s Category Five 3-1 Parka
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You can’t feel a gosh-darn thing in there. While it’s no longer available on Columbia.com, I got it as a slickdeal for $72 (original price: $290). Fantastic impulse buy, even if it’s one size too big. It helped me survive SantaCon in snowy New York City so who cares.

2. Infinity Scarf

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I love scarves. It’s my favorite accessory, no matter what the season is but in the winter, the circle scarf is the most amazing invention. Ever. I have this on 75% of the time: easy to wear, easy to keep warm!

3. Wool socks.

There’s nothing else I can say. Hint: Best place to buy them is Costco! Heck yeah.

4. And my most current impulse buy… Zara’s Combination Parka with Faux Leather Sleeves.

Do I need this lush winter jacket when it hardly  gets below 30°? No. Was I peer pressured by the envious girls? Yes. I bought a parka the day I flew to NYC. During our trip, we had a talk about them on the 7; at that moment, in comes this girl with the most stylish parka we’ve seen all weekend. My friend’s eyes lit up. The hunt was on! At Zara’s flagship location, I noticed that 1 in 3 girls who passed by and felt compelled to try it on. Yes. It’s that perfect in person. One by one, we each tried it on as well. The fur inside is so warm that it instantly heats you up. If it gets too much, the jacket is double-zippered so layers can be detached.

The debate: “This jacket is so popular. If we don’t get it, it’ll be sold out. But it never gets that cold in NC. Omg. Look at the other girls trying it on. Oh wait. It’s $200. NO! ANOTHER GIRL HAS IT ON.” And with that, all three of us bought the same jacket.

TODAY’S THE DAY I GET TO WEAR IT. BRING IT ON, COLD.

 

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Music

Kinda sorta basically obsessed.

WHO IS THIS GUY? Have I discovered the voice of an actual angel here on Earth? His hair is sure out of this world. If you haven’t been into music like I haven’t been, you need to get back in the scene and listen to this man sing. Good ‘ole boy is from Britain and houses an emotional battlecry voice at only 21 years old. His solid vocals accompany his intense lyrical talents.

Check him out as he sings an acoustic version of a single he lended his vocals for:

Could I lock in your love?


I’ll be seeing you, Sam, in Cambridge. XOXO

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Everyday Life, Personal, Uncategorized

To another New Year resolution unfinished.

NYE

Celebratory champagne toast at Bubble Lounge.

Toast to 2013. It’s been over a year since I’ve written anything (although my draft box tells a different story of writer’s block). From looking at my 2013 New Year post, I’ve lived through my experiences rather than thoughts so that accounts for something. Right? I’ve been accomplishing an important resolution: Whatever life throws at you, be positive, be happy. I didn’t think this one single statement could be so difficult but my internal character seems to throw herself into things a bit too much. At times, people forget the importance of failure, heartache and embarrassment. Stages that everyone’s gone through, and only stages that they are.

I’m now single. I’m still employed. I have a cute dog!

Life is grand.

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Everyday Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

One year since.

Death Cab for Cutie – The New Year

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I started this blog and to be honest, I’m a little disappointed in myself. January 2012, I thought “At last! I will pull forward my ambition to be a better writer and to progress my social media knowledge.” But abruptly, I focused too much on the content and went for documentation of my travels rather than what this blog was mainly for: all things me. So with a drum roll, I present to you: my New Year Resolutions.

  • Be awesome. Ha, that’s a given. That comes all along with being me.
  • Write more; my ambition for perfect use of language still lives.
  • Do more photography. (God, Connie! D5000 is collecting dust. Been 3 years since you’ve had that thing!)
  • Take better care of your skin (I want to not wear foundation anymore; that’s my goal.)
  • Whatever life throws at you.. be positive, be happy.
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Photomentary, Vacations

Can you feel the love tonight?

Aug. 17-19 – I am queen of publicizing photos after a month, two months or even a year. Heck. These are even all the photos I took but I’m a lazy son of a gun… more photos will be added. I promise.

Anyways… during this very weekend getaway, I was blessed. I was apart of one of my best friends’ engagements and she didn’t even know it. Our friend, Julie, wanted a “famree” getaway before school started for some and we’d be too busy after the summer ended but instead, this trip was turned into a surprise engagement due to George and Lisa’s careful planning. We scoured places for the future bride to be asked while still maintaining a level of secrecy and contentment. Those two things are so hard for our group, ha.

On a foggy Saturday morning under a magnificent waterfall in the Smokey Mountains, Miss Julie Chen became the future Mrs.George Soung. It’s now three months later and more than excited as Julie plans her summer wedding. Besides being blessed to be apart of the engagement, I am even more blessed to be a bridesmaid at her wedding :)

Oh, and as for our cabin?

Well, that is definitely a video for Facebook friends only….

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