Falling off the A to Z wagon :(

Mad kudos to all you people doing the A to Z Challenge! I don't know how you guys do it, but I'm throwing in the towel, so if anyone knows how I can take myself of the linky list, comment below.

I guess I should explain why I'm quitting the challenge. Though I love blogging, writing any little details of my life so that I can remember it and share with others, posting every day has been a challenge due to my busy schedule. Even more disheartening was my inability to give back, comment, and connect with other's on their blog. Since I'm far too busy to do both, it's only fair that I should drop out from the challenge since I'm not meeting its prerequisites.

Now that I won't be posting every day, I will definitely return the favor. So a big thanks to all who stopped by my blog. I wish you all the best on completing the challenge! You guys are amazing!

A to Z Challenge: I is for Insurgent

I is for 'Insurgent.'

I went to see Insurgent this week (the sequel to Divergent) with my sister. I wasn't too enthusiastic since I read the series. For me, the plot line really starts to dip in the second installment, and the third was... I should stop myself here. I don't want to influence nor do I want hate mail from die hard fans. I just wasn't a fan of the rest of the books, though I did love Divergent.

So it was really interesting going to the movies with someone who hadn't read the books. My sister really liked the first book and really wanted to see the second movie. But she left the theater disappointed after. I found it interesting that we came to the same conclusion albeit through different medians (book versus film).

Did you ever see a film that was better than the book or vice versa? Let me know in a comment below!

A to Z Challenge: H is for Home

H is for 'home.'

When I think of home, I think of wherever my mom is. The backbone and head of our family, my sisters and I gravitate toward her like the sun.

Unfortunately, I always forget to take pictures when I'm home and with my family, but I did take a few pictures of the SF skyline.

Have you been to California? What area do you like best?

A to Z Challenge: G is for Good Morning

G is for 'Good Morning.'

Wowza, this A to Z challenge has been more difficult to keep up with than I imagined. Alas, I am back from my travels, so maybe I can actually get my posting up on the correct letter day. In the meantime, hang in there with me.

Earlier this week, I was traveling on business, but it gave me the opportunity to hang out with my sister in the bay area. If you know me, you know that I need coffee to function. I don't have it all the time, mostly only work days, but I felt really drained on Monday. Knowing my absolute love for it, my sister took me to Farley's for my morning java. I always like trying new places, so Farley's was pretty cool compared to the usual Starbuck's.

It made me realize that morning's for me are never good without a warm beverage in the morning. What about you? What gives you a morning boost?

A to Z Challenge: F is for Fish

F is for 'fish.'

Now that my travel posts are over, I guess it's back to my life in real time!

Over the weekend I was sent back to California for a business trip, but I certainly made the most of it by hitting my favorite sushi joint ever! If you like traditional nigiri with an inventive twist, look no farther than ICHI Sushi! I've written about them before in this post, so my apologies for being redundant. But this was my third time going and honestly, they just get better and better. I always leave feeling blown away.

Now do you see why F is for fish?

ICHI's really good at keeping their menu seasonal and sustainable and with their high quality fish, each bite is like a sushi lover's dream.

Can anyone guess which nigiri piece the photo above is? The choices are listed on the menu ;)

Asia Vacation: Day 13 & 14 / A to Z Challenge

E is for 'enough.'

After traveling for awhile, you get to the point where you've had enough and home sounds so good. Alas, this is my last post for my Asia vacation.

Day 13 marked our last full day in Seoul. I couldn't decide if I really liked Seoul or if I hadn't been exposed enough to it all. It just seemed lacking compared to Da Nang, but that could probably be attributed to the weather.

My sister, loves Korean culture. She love K-dramas and the food, so she really wanted to cross of everything on her to-do list. Unfortunately some things weren't open since it wasn't tourist season, but one thing we did do was the Korean bathhouses.

Let's just say it was an interesting experience.

When you enter, you get a change of clothes and strip down naked to go to the communal showers and hot baths. I don't know why, but it vaguely reminded me of what a prison shower would be like (not that I would know what one does look like). After that you can do an optional body scrub. For that, you're basically lying on a rubber mat while an Korean woman in her bra and underwear scrubs all the dirt off you. I was pretty stunned by all the excess skin that came off me, but it kind of hurt, so not sure if I'd do it again.

After that, we changed into our uniforms and went to the communal dining area for lunch then the fomentation rooms.

After this ordeal, I started to feel ill. I suspected I was coming down with a cold, but it started to hit me at full force. Our next stop was the N Seoul Tower, but I didn't want to miss it, which resulted in me being miserable the whole time. In hindsight, I should have stayed and rested at the hotel.

The tower was kind of a disappointment. It's placed on a hill, not that tall, and not a good looking tower either. The view was nice, but the skyline unfamiliar that I couldn't properly enjoy it. Sadly, it was letdown for me and the freezing temperature didn't make things any better. Nontheless, we did our love locks, took photos, then left.

We had planned to go to Insa-dong after, but I wanted to be closer to the hotel in case I needed to rest, so back to Myeong-dong it was for dinner. Again, we had Korean BBQ. As you can see, my family loves this stuff! We ended the night with karaoke, and then our last full day was over.

On day 14, Michael and I said good-bye to my sisters (they were on an earlier flight) and had lunch at Bulgogi Brothers. With a little time to spare we went to Cat Café before heading to the airport. The cat cafe was an interesting experience. About forty cats lived in the cafe, and I won't lie, it smelled pretty funny. We only stayed about fifteen minutes before our allergies went out of control. Oh yeah, and a cat jumping from a shelf and landing on my shoulder probably added to our haste. Again, interesting, but I prefer my Blaire Bear at home.

Asia Vacation: Day 11 & 12 / A to Z Challenge

D is for dawn.

We (my two sisters, Michael, and I) literally arrived at dawn in Seoul, South Korea on day 11 of our Asia vacation. The red eye had been long enough that it made us uncomfortable, but short enough that we couldn't get any sleep.

And right as we waited for our train I was pushed from behind. I turned behind me and found an elderly man. Everyone laughed and Michael informed me that the elderly here weren't the friendliest bunch. I'll say! What a stark contrast to my grandparents! During this trip, I was pushed a lot by old people. Perhaps they were attracted to my purple coat or something.

We dropped off our bags at the hotel and went to a Starbuck's for much needed coffee then explored Gagnum and had breakfast at Butterfinger Pancakes. Their portions were so huge we had to split our entrees, but so good. After we walked around for a bit and did some shopping.

My first reaction to Seoul was how westernized it was, that if I hadn't known better, I probably wouldn't have been able to distinguish it from any other city. Of course we weren't going during tourist season so maybe that would have changed my perspective?

And oh man was it cold. Freezing really, compared to the eighty degree weather we had just left. Now it was 30 degree weather which was a big adjustment. Throw in exhaustion from the red-eye flight and we were beat. We had an early dinner then all went to sleep.

To make up for our early night, Day 12 started off packed! We went to Gyeongbok Palace. The palace was expansive and well kept. It was pretty, and I expect it would have been even better in the spring of fall. But we made do and took photos galore!

By the end of it we were famished, so we headed to Myeong-dong and had lunch at Bulgogi Brothers.

After that we shopped and took a rest at the hotel before venturing out for the night. Street food vendors were everywhere and so enticing they became our dinner.

For dessert, we went to Poem Café and had waffles and tea (apparently they love waffles in South Korea, but I'm not complaining because so do I).