Inside Oside: A Series

Oceanside is a beautiful, interesting place. I moved here less than two months ago and it’s already been quite a ride. Ez got stationed in California, which is GREAT. My work allowed me to switch regions and continue my regular duties, also GREAT. After more than 2 years of marriage, I finally live with my husband and that has been (and continues to be) a learning experience in itself.

When I graduated from college, Ez lived in North Carolina. I didn’t feel like moving there was right for me so we continued our long-distance relationship until he was assigned a new duty station. The stars aligned and we headed for Oceanside. I’m grateful to be close to my family and friends. Also, I found comfort in staying in California. How much different could it possibly be a couple hours south? It’s warm and sunny, there’s an In-N-Out, and we’re only a few minutes from the beach–but damn, it does feel like a military town sometimes! There are no people of color in our neighborhood and things can be quite conservative or unconscious at times.

I haven’t been out and about as much as I’ve wanted, but I have already witnessed some notable things in my short time here. I hope you’ll find as much amusement, life lessons, and/or challenges in these experiences as I do. Without further ado, I bring you “Inside Oside,” featuring some tales from my time in Oceanside and the greater San Diego area.

I’ll start you off with something simple. A few days ago, I was driving up the 15 freeway when I passed the following sign:



Money Sucking Hole: DTLA Night Market

I am a consumer. The amount of money I spend on “deals,” novelty items, and unique foods is probably the reason our economy hasn’t completely collapsed yet. If there is a festival advertising food, art, and merchandise, you better believe I’m there. Especially if it involves “celebrating diversity.” I’m a sucker for progressive buzz words.

Last Friday, I dragged John and Kimi to yet another LA event–the first Downtown LA Night Market. After hitting up the KTown Night Market a couple months ago, I was pretty hesitant since I had an awful experience there. I came to DTLA Night Market prepared to wait in long lines to get in, wait in long lines for food, and waddle through crowds of folks hopping on the hype.

I’m proud to announce this night market proved me wrong. We got to Staples Center Parking Lot 7 around 6pm (it went from 4-10pm) to avoid the lines, but it never got extra crowded throughout the night. Major points for this. The lot was huge and there were a ton of booths so the throngs of people kept moving–I swear it wasn’t dead! We walked the food aisle twice picking up some things and scoping out what other goodies.

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$5 filet mignon barbeque stick. Melted in my mouth!

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$8 tuna poke chips. Great flavor and super fresh.

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One booth boasted this giant boba cup that seemed like a cute display, until they offered for us to drink out of it for $4. That’s just disgusting. I suppose if we were to do it, it would have been smart to go first. I didn’t quite understand the logistics of sipping from this giant cup… but there had to have been some demand for it, right? Also, sorry to the poor volunteer in the photo–I wanted some size reference!
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John and Kimi had the sample game on lock. Basically Costco samples on crack. You could have gotten full scouring for samples. We had dessert buns, beef jerky, fried squid, passion fruit juice, and more. Samples drew interest and made the admission price worthwhile. This made a difference in terms of the event being welcoming and fun, rather than just seeming like a money-grab. photo 3 (1)

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$4 blackberry lemonade. Sour and delicious.

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$5 pork belly slider. So tender.

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$5 potato swirl – half cajun, half parmesan garlic. All bomb.

We also enjoyed the Night Market’s Art Walk, which consisted of local contemporary artists. Minion Me definitely grabbed our attention with his adorable Despicable Me Minions versions of popular characters. The prints showed everything from Marvel to The Simpsons to Justin Timberlake and even Jesus. 2×3 prints were $15 each. If you bought two, you got the third for $5. And if you bought nine, the tenth was free. Needless to say, we bought ten.

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The artist, Kris Kehasukjaren, was onsite turning us all into Minions for free! He does events at a rate of $45/hour, which seems like a steal to me. I need him at my next birthday! I think this is socially acceptable even though I don’t have kids.

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Kimi was extremely excited to become a Minion

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L to R: Kimi, John, me

Other artists also created their masterpieces before our eyes, which I love witnessing. It’s crazy to think these canvases were blank and these folks just went to work on them. Some by brush, some by spray can, all amazing.

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We perused the other sweet booths, checking out novelty items, clothing, and merchandise. I also took the opportunity to join the national bone marrow registry with Be The Match. Although I haven’t been personally affected by a need for bone marrow donors, I have learned about the shortage of Asian-Americans on the bone marrow registry list via various social media campaigns and acquaintances. What’s a little pain if I could help save someone’s life? I filled out some paperwork and swabbed my cheeks, briefly went over the process, and that was that!

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Procuring my cheek cells as she double-checks my form

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Cheek swabbing action

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I love local business because they give me a good reason to justify my impulsive spending habits. You’ll encounter sweet pieces that you won’t find at the mall. Up your style game by shopping local! Abstrakt LA hooked it up with some unique jewelry I’ve been missing from my collection. Kimi and I also picked up some hats–every girl needs a floppy hat! Especially when it’s $7.

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All in all, DTLA Night Market surpassed my expectations and it’s great to see these types of events growing into a SoCal staple. Whether you’re looking for some grub, some garb, or just a good time, you’re bound to find it at a night market like this. This was a great way to kick off summer outdoors and get in the spirit of LA’s vibrant culture. Thank goodness for my down ass friends who trust me to plan adventures. Can’t wait for the next one!

Finding Great Dives: No Malice Palace – NYC

I’m not much for crowds so if I’m spending a night out in a packed bar, it WILL be worth it. I rarely find bars with good music (read: non-EDM) and decently priced drink nowadays. The best way to do so is to ask people who enjoy the same types of spots.

On my most recent work trip to NYC (one of my favorite places ever), my friend introduced me to No Malice Palace and here I am writing an entire post about it. Some of my other friends swore by this place, claiming they would be dancing non-stop.

So Matt brought me here after dinner on a Friday night. Got there about 11:30pm and met up with Gwen, who will be gracing my wedding with her beautiful voice. My friends were right—it was tough to catch up over the amazing(ly ratchet) music! The DJ kept spinning song after song after song that was just hitting too hard.

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Naturally I went back the next night with my big sis. We arrived to a completely empty bar at 9:30pm, which was actually nice because we had time to talk. But even the background hip hop was on point! By 11pm, the place was packed and we had to hit the dance floor for a few songs before leaving. I love this place because the crowd is just full of good vibes and people are not extra forward… just extra fun!

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It can be easy to miss because there is just a small neon sign hanging outside that says “NMP” in red. But don’t miss it. Seriously. EVERY SONG.

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A Mourning Period

I’m terrible at remembering details. Especially when it comes to movies and books. And TV shows. And other forms or entertainment that involve characters and story lines.

The one thing that sticks with me is how a piece made me feel. The emotional connection I feel after reading a novel or watching an epic film is hard to forget. [You can probably blame this on my Enthusiast personality mixed with my AP Language and Literature experience.]

I recently finished the Divergent Series, which was incredible, thank you for asking. While I have a whole stack of books waiting to be read, I think there has to be some sort of mourning period. It’s almost an injustice to Veronica Roth and her works of art to simply let them go. When I pick up another book, I know Tris and Four will dissolve into the same hazy place as Katniss and Peeta, the Dauntless will follow suit with the Gryffindor House, and initiate training will be hard to differentiate from Battle School. It’s just not fair. I hope this is not how reading goes down for everyone… my memory is terrible.

But I will never forget the weight of the of bravery, the feats of heroism, the perseverance of truth and love… the idea that people can become whoever they want, against all odds. It is this kind of mark these tales leave on me. I want to take a moment to revel in plight of the Divergent before I move onto the next. But alas, there are so many other pages to turn and eventually forget. And so many lessons to be learned. The catharsis never ends!

Recap: Natural History Museum

Last week, Katrina was in town so naturally, we had to seek some adventures. Even after living in LA for 4+ years, there are so many staples we haven’t gotten around to. Originally, we intended on seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour, but much to our embarrassment, that is not found at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. [Yes, we had several conversations over the course of two days about seeing the space shuttle and concurrently visiting the Natural History Museum. And yes, we wondered why on earth a space shuttle would be transported all the way to SoCal only to be housed with dinosaurs and shit. And yes, we have UCLA degrees. It just never clicked. At least we have another adventure planned for her next trip to LA!]

While I’m not big on animals and earthy things, I do like to make my way through the quintessential LA spots. Plus, there is always fun to be had and lessons to be learned in new experiences–like finding out a space shuttle would not be in a natural history museum.

We saw everything from dinosaur bones and fossils to live rats, huge ants, and snake skins. There was even a tortoise for guests to check out up close. Essentially I learned that the world is super old and all kinds of crazy things have walked this planet. Also, humans are messing everything up. A 2-hour visit, Aloha Hour at Roy’s, and Bottega Louie later, it turned out to be a wonderful LA fix. Get out there and live your lives… you can do it locally, ya know!

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Dino Selfies

Dino Selfies

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$6 cocktails during Aloha Hour

$6 cocktails during Aloha Hour

Best macarons in life

Best macarons in life






TV Tuesday

I don’t remember a time when I was more into consuming TV and other forms of popular culture and entertainment.

So far today, I’ve already watched the series premieres of Agents of SHIELD and Trophy Wife. I still have to get through a new episode of Sons of Anarchy, as well as catch Justin Timberlake on Jimmy Kimmel AND Jimmy Fallon (seriously, that man is everywhere).

Although I’m not much for reviews–I am too easy to please–I do want to say Agents of SHIELD definitely hooked me with it’s captivating storyline and cinematography true to Marvel. I loved that I could see it intertwined in all that happened with the Avengers, but still held its own outside of the comicbook heroes. I kept hanging on, as if it was a movie, but it was still true to its medium. I’m excited to see what the rest of the season brings.

Trophy Wife brought chuckles and smirks, as expected. Not sure if I’ll follow it religiously, but maybe I will seeing as its right after Agents of SHIELD. Malin Akerman does bring back memories from her days on Gossip Girl.

The sociologist in me wants to dig deep into all the entertainment that’s been overwhelming me. I think I’m finally ready to dive into TV season.