Monday, July 18, 2011

My Trip to San Francisco

Most of you know that I took a much-needed 4th of July weekend vacation to watch New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. While that was the highest point of my trip, I also had a wonderful time exploring the city (the last time was in 1997), re-connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and eating at places I do not have easy access to in my current city.

Here are some of the great things that went down on that 5-day trip.

About ten minutes after my friend Marclen picked me up from the airport, I saw this. Happiness.


The restaurant served Filipino food "carinderia" style.




Lechon paksiw. You tasted so good.


Not the biggest pinakbet eater but it went really well with the lechon.



Seeing huge billboards in Filipino is real riot to me.




Why hello. You just made my day.



The master lollicake maker at work. If you live in Manila and want to taste these yummy cake pops, visit The Lollicake Factory on Facebook.


Newly-formed cake pops.


Dipped and decorated.


I finally know why the red velvet lollicake is the bestseller!



The lovely Vanilla Moon Bakery in San Carlos.







Had a great meal and a glass of wine with my girl Trisha in this restaurant.


Warm bread dipped in this.



Trisha ordered organic buckwheat pasta with mixed wild mushrooms, garlic, and parsley.


I had housemade spinach pappardelle with braised Colorado lamb and San Marzano sauce.


We walked around downtown Redwood City



Visited Victory Church of the Bay Area headed by Neil and Blanche Bernardino



Beef empanada from Red Ribbon. Fresh and delicious.



Walking through downtown San Francisco



An "important" stop: H&M



The BEST Vietnamese food I ever had







Ate a Filipino-style lunch to celebrate my friend Candie's birthday.



Got to spend time with my friend Gene. It was so evident that God is doing amazing things in his life!



Nothing like quality time with friends to make a vacation worthwhile! Hoping to travel out that way again soon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

NKOTBSB 2011 (San Jose, CA)

I have been away from the blog for a few days because I took a much needed break from my busy days in Nashville. I had the perfect vacation and I am excited to tell you all about it!


It all started with a casual Tweet. I saw that my favorite boy band (back when I was a high school sophomore) New Kids on the Block is going on tour with Backstreet Boys (I was too old at the height of their popularity).


I immediately thought that it was a brilliant cross-selling business idea. Such savvy business men! And then the teenager in me got *giddy* at the thought of seeing the New Kids live again.

So I tweeted about my excitement. Then my friend LJ (who lives all the way in the Philippines) started looking online for concert tickets.

Then I got that overseas call from her. She got the tickets. All I need to do is fly to San Francisco on 4th of July weekend.

I know it sounds crazy. But our conversation sounded so normal because there was an understanding that our love for NKOTB will always be with us; and a little reunion just made perfect sense. I saw their comeback in concert a couple of years ago in Omaha (which I loved), but I thought that watching it with girlfriends this time will bring in a totally different experience.

What a fun vacation. Just what I needed. The past six months have been crazy (all in a good way). The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

We made our posters.



LJ made a killer banner. And it was rightfully acknowledged by the boys.



I cannot take credit for my poster. My friend Marclen made it for me.


These boys came in with a hot intro. Their song "Single" mashed with Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" -- which is one of my favorite songs of all time.


Screaming. Singing. Dancing. FROM THE SECOND ROW!



It pays to stay healthy, look good, and take care of yourselves. Otherwise, you will not be performing at sold-out concerts 20+ years after you quit the band. For that very reason, I salute you old kids.




Big surprise: I really enjoyed watching Backstreet Boys. Never really followed them because I felt too old (read: a then-pretentious, wannabe-sophisticated lady in her 20s who thought being a snob was cool) when they were really famous. 


However, it was a lot of fun jumping and dancing with the much younger generation -- something I did not get to experience in the 2008 NKOTB concert in Omaha


I watched Brian Littrell and thought to myself, "he looks like he really loves Jesus." It was how he engaged with the crowd. It was the way he did not flirt. He was just having a great time performing and looked really joyful doing so. A little Google-ing later proved that I was right. I am now a fan.


We had these plans of staying out late after the concert and celebrate what it was like to be a young teenager again. However, our age told our bodies otherwise. Feet hurt. Voices gone. Tummies starving.



Perfect way to end a fun night.





Sometimes we all need to be 16 again. An evening full of teenage flashbacks allowed me to find more ways to be grateful for the fact that I am older, wiser and blessed.

And who I was convinced to marry twenty years ago does not even come close to the one I actually ended up with.


God knows.


Check out all photos taken from that fun evening on my Flickr photo album.