USS MIDWAY:


Felt patriotic the other day...

Tender Greens aka my mom's new favorite place to eat
















Perks of livin in SD---the most sublime tacos
My parents and younger brother came to visit a couple weeks ago and my dad decided to take us to the USS Midway. For those who do not know, the USS Midway was one of the biggest aircraft carriers commissioned after WWII and was also the longest servicing carriers for the US Navy--it has even served as a flagship for operation Desert Storm. Visiting this monument was a very fulfilling experience as we got to climb up and down the many steep ladders located in various areas of the ship leading to areas such as the mess halls, captain's quarters, and engine rooms. The flight deck itself was an experience--it's long, broad space housed a myriad of aircrafts ranging from helicopters to fighter planes.

Although this place is now renovated to accompany the influx of tourists, I would highly recommend visiting. It's historical contents and presence is enough to make you appreciate the many years our men and women in uniform have sacrificed while serving the US. Also, conveniently located to its side is the "Unconditional Surrender" statue, reminiscent of iconic "V-J Day" photograph, that stands 25 feet tall (minuscule to the aircraft carrier next to it, to be honest).

With brunch at Tender Greens, dinner at Tacos el Gordo, and a pleasant tour around a national monument in between, a special day spent with my family was just what I needed in lieu of mounds of homework assignments and tests.

Hope ya'll have had a nice day,

Rachel

LITTLE TOKYO:

 
Third-wheelin' with my parents a.k.a. an easy, cheap way 
to eat a lot and spend quality bonding time...







Before winter quarter started at my university, my parents decided to take me along with them to Downtown LA. We all were craving some meat, so we chose to drive on over to our favorite shabu shabu place in Little Tokyo. I swear, this place is amazing. The owner, an aging, yet extremely amiable Japanese man, has been working at Shabu-Shabu House since...probably its conception. He really knows how to work in a restaurant catered to people who truly enjoy some good food and company.

The only downside to this place would have to be its waiting list. Because Shabu-Shabu House is so popular, a group would probably be seated, on average, an hour and a half after arrival. This, however, is not as bad as it sounds--the tiny restaurant is located in a plaza filled with various cafes and shops that you can explore as you wait for the mouth-watering Japanese dish. My parents and I, as we waited for our name to be called, visited some of the stores and even satisfied our hunger by eating a savory chicken kabob and red-bean filled goodness as an appetizer.

If you're ever in need of an adventure or want to try a different cuisine, make sure to stop by Little Tokyo and dine at Shabu-Shabu House. I hope you've also had a great first week of 2014!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel Park

P.S.-I've started Winter Quarter at university (supposedly the most difficult quarter for Freshmen) so my posts may or may not publish as consistently as before. Keep in tune though for future blog entries! Thank you all for your support. xx

JOSHUA TREE:


What's up with the Park Family and nature parks?










We just really enjoy traveling OK.

No, really. My dad can literally drive for 8+ hours straight without dying--given that we have a bathroom break somewhere in between. Because of my dad's wanderlust, my family has been blessed with the opportunity to say we've been to many locations across the nation. I think the travel bug actually bit me when my parents decided to take a teeny, tiny 2 month old me to Las Vegas. From that day on, I've been here, there, and everywhere(ish) and I only hope that I am able to continue my dad's influence on me forever until I die..(to visit all 7 continents is actually on my bucket list, given that I am physically able to travel to Antarctica and the Arctic).

After Christmas Day, my entire family took a visit to Joshua Tree National Park to enjoy a small speck of God's creation. This desert area is filled with an array of Joshua trees, or yucca brevifolia, whose roots reach deep into the ground and allow the plant to live for hundreds of years even in the dry, rain-less weather. There are also rock formations that one can climb about--there were even some climbers bravely attempting to free climb the giant boulders.

A trip to this place is definitely worth it especially if getting fit is on one's New Year's resolution list! The fresh desert air is a plus when hiking and this park offers plenty of benches for a meal break. Use this to help plan a trip and to know more about the history of the place.

Thanks for reading & see ya'll in the new year,

Rachel

PALM SPRINGS:


Celebrating a very Merry Christmas away from home 
and at a warm, inviting Palm Springs..








While most folks spent their Christmas unwrapping presents in the morning and sharing a feast at dinner time, my family decided to head on over to a much warmer and sunny Palm Springs. The weather was perfect, not your average Christmas winter chill, but a record-breaking 80+ degrees that called for some dips in the pool.

My baby cousins were definitely the highlight of this trip, with their adorable smiles and baby chatter that is sometimes too unintelligible to understand. It's amazing how fast those little girls grow! Trying to take the right picture of them was not a hard task since they lit up and made cheesy, cute faces for the lens.

I'm so thankful for my family and this year's Christmas was another amazing experience celebrating Jesus' birth. For those who celebrate the holiday, I hope you had a blessed time as well!

Look out for my next blog post concerning what I did the day following--coming soon!

Enjoying the SoCal winter,

Rachel


VALLEY OF FIRE:


Visiting the Valley of Fire on a not-so-fiery winter day...






The "White Domes"




Can you spot the elephant?


With Christmas just around the corner, my family decided to take a short trip to Nevada to visit the "Valley of Fire." Despite the name, the state park was a good 63 degrees--warm enough to wear only a light sweater and scarf.

This hidden gem in Nevada was absolutely breathtaking and my camera really could not do its natural beauty justice. The sandstone formations were a combination of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. This payed off very well actually in my photos: the contrast between the bright rocks and the clear, blue sky made for a photogenic nature shot.

Each area of the park contained special features such as the "White Domes," "Elephant Rock" and much more. We couldn't get to all of the locations, but just by roaming around random places outside of the hiking trails, we were able to get a fun and memorable experience that I believe would not have been obtained had we rushed ourselves trying to take pictures of every tourist spot.

It was a blast climbing up and down the rocks, seeing how far up we could go and just take in God's awesome creation. The immense size of the valley itself was overwhelming and I only wish I had an accurate picture of how ginormous some rock formations were compared to our tiny human sizes. If you would like to know more about this park, click here for a historical background and here to plan a trip for you and your family and friends.

Hope you've had a great break!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

OUTFIT:
-Hat--Urban Outfitters
-Sweater--Forever21
-Scarf--Grandma
-Jeans--Cheap Monday
-Boots--Dr. Martens 1460

Excited for tomorrow,

Rachel Park