Monday, December 28, 2015

Reflecting on 2015

Hard to believe 2015 is ending in less than week...

I remember entering 2015 feeling energized, motivated, and inspired. And I want to carry those three feelings throughout 2016 as well.

2015 has been a tremendous year. I've lost a few friends, but I've gained so many more friends that might even last a lifetime. I've struggled with my school but I've had more ups than downs. I stressed out and snapped at so many people at work but I've never been with a workplace that saw potential in me before. I almost fell in love to have it crushed but I'm okay with that. I've proven people wrong. I've proven myself to so many people. I tried new things and been to new places.

2015 has been an amazing year because I took charge. I want to make myself a better person. I want to experience more of life. I want to change things around. Unlike previous years, I didn't just sit down and waited for opportunities to come my way. I made opportunities.


I remember a Chinese fortune teller elling me that 2016 and 2017 will be great years for me. Do I believe in fortune telling? Ehh... probably not. But I know 2016 is the year I finish my last course of my undergrad; it's also the year I'm traveling solo overseas for the first time. I know 2017 is the year I attend my commencement ceremony and potentially move to New Zealand (or any other place for that matter).

2015 taught me so much about myself and about my life. It molded me to be a better person, a much stronger and independent person. A wiser person, if I may add.

I have no regrets with 2015. For the first time, I'm happy to admit that this was a fantastic year. One of the best years of my life.

I'm excited for 2016. I'm welcoming it with open arms.

If I can make 2015 amazing, imagine what I can do in 2016! I'm feel so much more motivated, inspired, and confident as well.


I really hope you look forward to a new year as much as I will.

I'm signing out until sometime next January, so, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


See you guys in the new year!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

6 Things to Consider Purchasing off Ebay or Aliexpress


I'd happily admit that I'm a frugal person.

And there's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I think it's smart to be frugal... I mean, why waste money when we don't have to, right?

One of my biggest secret in indulging while living frugally is online shopping.

Yup, online shopping. AKA what every financial blog tells you to stay away from!

But, online shopping is not the worst thing ever. In fact, I save more on online shopping than clipping coupons or waiting for sales at my local store. If you're smart with online shopping, online shopping isn't a debt sentence.

For example, my "make-up of the night" look for my birthday was about $5, my bikini trimmer was $5 less than in store, aaaand, by biggest investment this year, Lexington, my new mirrorless camera was $270 cheaper online than in store!

When it comes to cheap online shopping, I only stick to two sites: eBay and Aliexpress. Right now, Aliexpress is my favourite.

So, what should you consider purchasing online rather than in stores?

Beauty and beauty accessories.

Especially if you're not a make-up guru and can't be bothered with make-up, consider purchasing your stuff from budget lines such as E.L.F. or buy them online. I can get an eyeshadow palette for $2-3 (good quality) compared to spending $7+ in store! Especially if you're looking for specific colours, online shopping is the way to go! Because I don't know much about make up, my brushes are shipped overseas, costing me $1!

Accessories

It baffles me that people continue to buy jewelry from Forever 21 and H&M. Sure, they're relatively affordable at $4-7 per piece but what if I told you, 95% of my jewelry cost me only $1? $2.25 at the most? And yes, after all that wearing, it still survives. I've also purchased cute scarves and hats as well.

Bags

If you're not big on designer bags, purchase them online. They may be no name brand or a foreign brand but they're top notch quality for only $20 or less! The best part is, most of these bags are fairly unique so it's likely not many people in your city will be seen having one.

Clothes

Yup, it's possible to do online shopping for affordable clothes! I've purchased a few pieces of clothing for $10 or less for school and work. I've yet to run into any problems with them. A few stitches may be poorly done but you can just cut off excess thread. Similarly to the bags, I love how nobody else has them! Consider coats, active wear and bras!

Electronics & accessories

This is a toughy. I've purchased a few electronics online and gotten lucky. I mean, I did save almost $300 on my camera just from buying online! I would consider other customers' reviews before buying online mainly because electronics are bit more "iffy" than the other products. I've only had one minor issue with a portable speaker I got online for $15, but I didn't really needed the bluetooth. My favourite one is getting a Class 10 32gb memory card for my camera for only $10.

Also, if you love switching up your phone cases - buy them online. $1-3 is better than $25 at the stores!

Household decor

I have yet to purchase any household decor because I'm still living with my parents but from what I've seen, cute, unique and adorable pillows for only $3-5?! I would totally save them for when I have my own place.
* * *

While many items are cheap, be realistic about shipping and time of arrival. I usually filter my searches to list free shipping products only. If I really want an item, then I'd be willing to pay for shipping if the item is still cheaper than in-stores. Also, if the time takes longer to deliver, I might consider picking an item online. For eBay and Aliexpress, because all of the items come from China, it takes about 2-3 weeks for it to arrive to Canada. Some places, like Europe, can take only a week or so.

Also, PayPal and Aliexpress have free protection programs to protect consumers against untrustworthy businesses. On the rare occasion my item would arrive defective or not what I ordered, a quick email to the seller and I got my refund back. With Aliexpress, the $15 coat I ordered from a seller turned out to be fraud and surprisingly, Aliexpress was the one who found the seller to be suspicious, put a hold on my order until the seller could prove they were legit, and after 3 days, Aliexpress emailed me telling me they're issuing a refund because the seller was a fraud.

I have yet to get "scammed" via online shopping because I stick to eBay/Paypal and Aliexpress.

Let me know what you enjoy buying online than in stores! Hope you enjoy Aliexpress as much as I do! :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Blogosphere, meet Lexington

 
My Olympus E-M10 arrived in the mail yesterday! Breaking from my traditional Harry Potter names for my previous DSLRs, I'm naming this little baby, Lexington, Lexi for short. I'm choosing to break the Harry Potter naming tradition because I feel like it's a new chapter of photography for me and it's a mirrorless camera rather than a DSLR aaaand yes, I'm no longer a Canon user :(

For those who don't know, I used to be very into photography. As stated, I had a Canon Rebel DSLR until it got stolen one night. Between working part time and paying bills, it took me almost a year to save up for a new camera but unfortunately by then, I lost all interest in photography.

Since a few months ago, I've been looking into starting a new hobby. Nothing interested me aside from photography and it kept nagging me in the back of my mind.

Also recently, I caught the travel bug. All I want to do is just travel.

So, I chose to invest in another camera again, this time the mirrorless Olympus camera. I hope to redevelop and improve my photography skills. In addition, I want to take photography much more serious that before because when I'm traveling, I hope photography can lead me to some little side income.

All in all, I'm getting back into photography but much more dedicated to it ever before! I don't want to be a professional photographer - but just a hobbyist that can earn a few bucks here and there. I'm super excited to share what I'll be shooting soon! In aligning with 2016 goals for my blog, I think I might even start vlogging ;) but that's a whole different thing.

Until then, welcome Lexington and drop by my Flickr page (which is filled with old photographs a few years back). Looks like I won't be shopping for anything else for a while....


DSLR quality for half the size!



 

I did some serious comparison and read a lot of reviews before settling on this model. If you have any questions, let me know!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'm Only 22...



I'm going to be real honest with you.

I'm only 22 but I think about the future a lot.

I know a handful of people who are in their late 20s and in their 30s that aren't settled down. Settled down in terms of a partner/marriage, stable career, financially, etc.

But yet, I understand that society is changing. We're being more selfish and putting ourselves first. There are so many studies that shows people are putting off having a family. People would rather travel the world before settling into a comfortable desk job.

And that confuses the hell out of me.

I want to be selfish. I want to see the world first before settling into my career. I want to spend a million hours with my loved one before sharing him with our future kids. I want to colour my hair in every shade of the rainbow before I need to keep it calm and professional. I want to be selfish.

Since having my heart broken for the first time by a boy a while back and then having my heart slightly bruised earlier this year, I realized I don't want a relationship right now. I can legitimately say I'm not interested in dating. Sure, there are days when I wish I had a relationship - then I hop online to make an OkCupid account (only to delete it one week later) - but when I arrange to meet up with a date, I either bail or give them a cold front and never message back.



I like being alone. Maybe I like it too much.

It takes me forever to find someone I want to date. Not because I'm butt ugly or anything - it's just the fact that I'm picky with the people I want to invest my time with. In between each serious relationship isn't filled with hook ups and meaningless sex; it's filled with casual dates that I think I want to date but turns out, he's not right for me. But mostly, it's just be focusing on finishing school and booking a flight overseas.

I want to be selfish for my own goods. I want to invest in my career and travel the world. But at the same time, I want to be with someone that I can spend my vacations with and rant about my job to.

Seeing all my older friends not in a relationship really scares me. I don't want that. I don't want to be 30 and single, even if society says it's perfectly normal now.

No offense to any of those who are in their 30s and single.

I had a childhood dream that I'd be married by mid 20's and have a family and good career before 30. Realistically, that's not going to happen.

I'm 22 and I'm worried that I'm going to be "alone" in my 30s. I'm 22 and I have this urge to invest in myself but a part of me wants someone to share it all with.

I thought being in your 20s was all fun and games. A decade to mess around and find yourself. But what if you already did that? What if you know who you are and what you're about? What if you know what you want and determined to do it? ... But, you know if you invest in one thing, you'd put something else on hold.

Sometimes, it's not the best thing to think too far into the future.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Goodbye November!! [in a bit]

Today at work, as I was processing our members' monthly gym fees, it just hit me that we're in the last week of November. And there's only one month left in 2015.

I got Christmas music playing already, and I do not care for all those haters.

It's funny that I have biiiiig ideas and inspiration for my blog for the next year but when I load up my blog, there's literally only two posts for November this year.

Like seriously. I hate how I have this surge of motivation and inspiration but give it a few months and it's gone. As fast it came.



My co-worker gave me an undercut styled like a lotus. He's training to be a barber and I offered my hair for him to learn. It's so cool - I've gotten tons of compliments on it but my hair grows out super fast so within a week, the design was gone.

November hasn't been interesting. It's been productive, I'd tell you that much.

It's been filled with work... full time work really drains you if you're balancing full time school as well.

I literally do my essays at work during my break...


November has been inspiring.

It has inspired me to have some plans for this blog.

It has inspired me to pick up photography again! I created a Flickr again and currently in the process of uploading my old work.

Right now, I'm also looking at cameras. I've always been a Canon girl but in reality, the DSLR is too big to carry around with me everytime. I've started looking into mirrorless cameras and settled on the Olympus PEN E-PL7.



If this camera looks familiar, it's probably because you've seen it being raved about. Bloggers and vloggers everywhere are raving about this camera and I can see why! I did intensive research on this little camera and settled on all the pros rather than the cons. I haven't purchased it yet because I really miss Canon but I know realistically this camera is better suited for me.

So, I'm brushing up on my photography knowledge again. I'm inspired to shoot better pictures for my blog next year. I'm also considering doing vlogs since it'd be easier with this camera! I'm super excited to revamp everything for next year!

I've also been bitten by the travel bug. Another reason for me to pick up a camera again is the thought of traveling and using my photography to earn some pocket side income.

Right now I'm looking at Worldpackers for the next place I can travel and work. Right now, I'm learning towards Ireland, South America and somewhere in Europe (like Greece). Which means I might be moving next year for 2-5 months!

Regardless of where I hope to move for a few months, I think this camera (and a possible Long Champ bag) would be my last big purchase until I book my next airline ticket. I got one year of school left which means I got one year left to save as much money as I possibly can.

Soooo, I'm ending this year with a hectic schedule. Work, school, and blog!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hello November!

Can you believe it's November already? We literally have two months left until 2016! I know everyone says this all the time, but damn, this year went by pretty fast.

Vancouver is kicking off November with rain pour this past weekend! I'm all for the rain except when it slows down work like crazy - I enjoy a fast paced environment to pass the time quickly.



To kick off Halloween, my co workers and I bought treats for the team. We work in a gym so if any of our members saw the stuff we keep in the staff room (cakes included), we'll have a hell, haha. But, perks of working in the gym? We get to burn it off as quick as we ate it.



Our company also decided to host a costume party! I'm not a fan of Halloween so my go-to costume of being a cat got some rad reviews. It's the first time I've ever done winged eyeliner which I'm extremely satisfied with! Other co workers came in as pikachu, grumpy cat, ninja, power ranger, gorilla and a hippie. Sadly enough, our gym didn't win because all the other gym locations had themes going on and we didn't haha. Our costumes were all over to place.

But, hey, I make a cute kitty, haha.



Morning view of the Waterfront at around 7:40ish. Vancouver is so beautiful....



Do you ever get bored during your break and take selfies? Welcome to my break, haha.

Honestly, I'm thinking about 2016. November and December are going to zoom right by.

I just purchased a planner for 2016 because I get the feeling that next year it's going to be hectic since I'd be trying to cram my studies before my NZ trip, my NZ trip itself, savings, and wrapping up my degree. Insane to think I have 3 semesters aka 1.5 years left until I graduate and apply for a working holiday visa somewhere.

It's still two months ago but I'm thrilled for 2016. Right now, November and December are just filler months to get as much work and save as much as I can before the new year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I'm Feelin' 22!

Cue Taylor Swift's 22 song, please!

I've spent 21 years on earth and finally enter my 22nd year.

I've been asked if I feel any older since turning 22 and nope, nada. I feel young, inspired, and motivated. As cliche as it sounds, I'm excited to explore the world and myself in my 20s.

Because my birthday lands on a Tuesday this year, I decided to celebrate it last Saturday.

I originally didn't plan on doing anything for my birthday because I'm not one to celebrate my birthday a lot. I get excited for it but that's about it. The birthday gathering was suggested by Brenden, my co worker and next thing I knew, everyone at work and two of my best friends decided to join in, despite the last minute invite.
All dolled up and ready for the evening!
Some of us arrived at the Cambie at 5:30PM which was incredibly early but the Cambie is a place where it gets packed quickly on Saturday night. And how quickly? By 6-6:30PM, nearly all the big tables were claimed inside the bar and outside as well. There was already a line up at 8PM!

One of my favourite co-workers, Sara!



Everyone else arrived later on.

It was filled with laughter, bantering, insults, and love. I couldn't ask for a better 22nd birthday celebration or co workers to celebrate it with. Honestly, these co-workers have been the best I've ever had in such a short period of time.

I didn't take many photos shortly after 6PM because I was already drunk and my phone was dying... seriously, smartphones have the WORST battery life nowadays!

After hours and hours, remember, half of us started drinking at 5:30PM and it was now 11:30PM. We decided to hit The Pint but the line up was waaaaay too long and skipped over to The Blarney Stone which was much much better. Smaller dance floor but the live music was better!

It's weird to party with your co-workers because everyone is so close in age, we get pretty drunk and wild. I'm slightly dreading Monday where I have to face everyone... sober, HAHA. It's the first time all of us actually gathered around and drank together. Summer was way too busy and everyone had plans of their own.

I welcomed my 22nd year on earth with great people, kissed a girl for the first time, puked in the bathroom (lovely, eh?) and made some amazing new friends.

Couldn't ask for a better birthday!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!


I swear, I would never get tired of using glitter graphics.

It's Thanksgiving in Canada!


This year, I'm thankful for...

  • Working today because it's a stat holiday which means stat pay... yaaaas. I know that sounds selfish but I would like the extra cash since I work 4 days/week now
  • Family for supporting my decisions in life about travels, schools, friends, guys, political decisions, etc. etc.
  • Friends for understanding about my busy schedule with full time work and school
  • Being employed at one of the best workplaces ever and being employed in general. I can't ask for a better place to work right now
  • Being able to get a post-secondary education and wrapping up my last year of my undergrad
  • Living in Canada. As my move to NZ is getting closer and closer, I'm more thankful for Canada and its glory. Also, the elections are coming up which makes me reflect on how lucky I am to be able to vote freely
  • All the wonderful life changing inspirational people I've met this summer. Mark, Michal and Jenny all taught me to forget about money and travel, travel, travel
  • Almost reaching 22 years of life on Earth... seriously, only 8 more days to go!
  • The roof above my head, clothes on my back and excess cash to buy junk food
  • Sushi. All the sushi in the world.
I'm sure I have much more to be thankful for but these are the things I'm most grateful for this year. I'm so excited to exercise my right to vote and start my last year of my undergrad degree!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Business Review: Zenni Optical



I think everyone can agree that having an impaired eyesight can add up with purchases of contacts or glasses. I use both contacts and glasses and there are times when I look at glasses and think, geezus, where would I ever find $600 to fork out for just one pair of glasses? And God forbid I break those!

In comes Zenni Opticals, an online glasses store. Zenni Optical offers affordable eyewear for kids, women and men, and has frames starting as low as $6.95!

I decided to order the Blue Acetate-Rim Frame #445816 because I wanted a pair of blue glasses and the frame was only $30. The basic lens were free but I also ended up paying about $5 for standard anti-reflecting coating and shipping to Canada ($10).

Zenni Optical took 1.5 weeks or so to produce the glasses and a few days to arrive to my doorstep. In all, it took about two weeks for me to receive these pair of glasses.

To be honest, I find it hard to believe these frames were only $30! The quality of the frames are up to par and I've thrown them into my bag without a protective case and it still survived at the end of the day. In addition, because I opted for the basic free lens, I was surprised at how strong they are - in my bag filled with keys, sharp books, etc. I'm surprised the lens aren't damaged or scratched.

Now, I'm not sure if it's the pair of glasses I chose, but the downside of an online store is obviously the lack of physical testing. Zenni Optical allows you to upload a photo to see roughly how you would look with the pair. When I wore these pair of glasses, there was no support around the bridge area so the glasses would always slide down my nose and it's extremely frustrating... especially in the summer time! I ended up getting it fixed in person in a local optical store but it still didn't fix the problem.

The glasses came with a protective case and a cleaning cloth.




All in all, Zenni Optical provides quality frames in a cheap price. They have great stock of frames available in wide ranges of colours and styles. They took two weeks to complete my order and ship to Canada. I haven't had any problems with the ordering or billing so I haven't touched based with their customer service but their policies and customer service seems to be reasonable.

Long gone are my days forking out hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a pair of glasses. Whenever I'm in the mood to switch up my frames, Zenni Optical is one the first places I check for frames.

For anyone skeptical about the quality of online frames because of their prices, definitely give Zenni Optical a try! I'm all about being frugal without compromising styles and quality so Zenni Optical meets me halfway.
*Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by Zenni Optical. I am in no way affiliated with the company nor does this blog represents Zenni. Product(s) shown here were purchased with my own money.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Need a New Hobby



Summer and I feel like we need a new hobby.

Alright, I take that back. Summer's hobby is sleeping and eating like a queen, but me???

I'm stuck.

On the top of my mind, I guess you can say my hobbies includes reading, writing (ish), blogging, and Netflix. I don't know if going to the gym counts as a hobby but eh.

I feel like I need a new hobby to better myself (and maaaaybe just make some pocket money). But, more so, to better myself.

I'm in need a new affordable hobby whiiiiich is stumping me so much! I see people's Instagram and they're all filled with nice pictures of their activities/hobbies and all I want to do is find a new one.

Photography

I started photography back in 8th grade and stopped several years ago when my DSLR got stolen. I saved up my money and purchased another DSLR but by then, I lost interest in photography. I've been toying with the idea of getting back into it but that would mean investing in a DSLR, lens and accessories again (since I sold all my equipment). Right now, I'm not currently in a position to spend a lot because my ultimate goal is to move overseas. I was on another blog and the blogger recommended an Olympus camera with interchangeable lenses that was good in quality and very very affordable. It's not a big Canon DSLR but it's good enough to suffice for a hobbyist photographer soooo....

Blogging

Blogging has always been my hobby for a loooong time but I need something else outside of the blogging world. Nothing can replace blogging!

Reading

I read a lot already, haha. I'm starting to run out of interesting books to read!

Writing

Believe it or not, I used to write a lot. I wrote stories, short stories, poems, etc. etc. I've thought about getting back into writing but the moment I launch Microsoft Word and write out the first chapter or something, I lose interest in it instantly. Also, because I've stopped writing stories so long ago, I feel the stories I write now are rusty compared to before

Knitting/Stitch Crossing

I've fancied this hobby for a while but when I looked into the materials, I got so overwhelmed. I saw yarn selling for $70! A lot of people say it's really easy to start knitting so I might pick it up if any materials are deemed affordable for my budget, haha. I'm feeling I'm a bit impatient to learn the basics of tools and knitting.

Cooking

If I started cooking, I would have to buy a whole new set of pots and measuring cups, and everything because my household lacks those. That would eat a lot of my money right there. A part of wants to bake and cook but the amount of items I would need to purchase haunts me! Still trying to save here!

Coding

I thought about picking up coding to earn some pocket money but the moment I start looking at online lessons, I just get stressed out. I guess being a full time student is also hindering me to learn anything else and dedicate the hours needed for it.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm making way too many excuses in finding a new hobby because I'm content with the activities I do to fill my time. I want to expand my experiences so maybe I'd pick one off the list of hundreds of hobbies recommended to me and go for it!

I never realized how difficult it is to find a new hobby when you're in your 20s.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Why I Ditched my Credit Cards



I'm not saying I cut up my two credit cards; what I'm saying is that I no longer use them. I no longer rely on them.

I wasn't chased by collectors or have a super low credit score. I wasn't spending recklessly (anymore). I simply chose to stop using my cards as a financial improvement. Granted, I would only use them if A) I have the cash in my bank to transfer to my card the second I use my credit card and B) for deposit such as hotel rooms, etc. and C) for emergencies like my dog getting sick or something like that.

I have friends that automatically whip out credit cards when purchasing items. These people are broken into two categories: those who use the CCs to rack points up and pay off the balance in full, etc. etc. and those who put it on the credit cards because they're low on cash.

I used to rack my bills up endlessly. I hated the feeling of constantly paying my credit card bill. There were months when I struggled because my hours were cut short from work. But when I do pay off the month of September, October rolls around and I feel my paycheck goes to my CCs automatically because I'm usually owing something, regardless of how much I paid off last time. And we're not talking about $50, we're talking about couple of hundreds.

I ditched my credit cards because I felt like I wasn't actually saving at all.

All the long hours I worked, I used it to pay my CCs on purchases I probably regret. Since switching to my debit card aka cash I actually have, I spend less.

I value what I purchase. I think about my purchases rather than simply put them on my cards. I save for stuff I want and it feels rewarding! Putting items on my credit card and later paying the bills makes me somewhat stressful and unhappy with my purchases.

And you might think, so what happens if you miss out on that opportunity?

Then so be it. There's no item that I want badly enough to whip out my credit card. If I miss that opportunity, I see that as another chance to save. I see that as, "So I didn't get that bag I really liked. At least I saved $200!"

And same goes with a sweater at Forever 21. $25 doesn't seem that much but the moment the bill comes, you automatically just spent $400 that month. Take it from me, little things add up easily.

Right now, the only things I have on my visa bill is my Netflix and my cellphone plan. Other than that, nothing else it put on my card. It's such a nice feeling to be free from constantly paying my bills. I love it.

I was taught this lesson by Mark. He doesn't have a credit card so he pays off everything with cash and I like that. I don't want to be tied down to paying bills. He essentially has a lot of savings because he's not using his paycheques to pay for previous purchases. He travels a lot because he saves all his paycheques.

As someone that pays their credit card every month, take the challenge and skip your cards for a month or so and see how liberating it is to not see your money go back into credit cards. Watch your financial habits improve when you realize what you spend your credit on.

There's a saying, "If you don't have the cash for it, don't buy it." I never realized how true that was until I was free and see my friends complain about paying their bills.

Credit cards aren't a bad thing but I feel like a lot of us easily abuse it or don't realize just how much their paycheques is tied to their credit cards. It shouldn't be that way! Your paycheque should be tied to your bank account, not your credit cards!

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Trip to Alaska (and Seattle)

From August 17th-19th, Sergio and I ventured off to Anchorage, Alaska. It was both our first time traveling to Alaska and the only reason why we did so, was because the flights were dirt cheap! I personally wanted to take the cruise there but the cost and time off work hindered me. Regardless, Alaska was a nice getaway!

Catch us on the next episode of Border Security!
Arrived in Ted Stevens International Airport and was instantly greeted by a moose!
We flew Seattle since Alaska was considered domestic and it was cheaper. Round trip from YVR would have been $550-$600! For that amount of money, I would rather visit Montreal or something.


Spenard Hostel International


Our cab driver recommended Gwennie's to us and it's amazeballs. The portions were huuuuuge (America, you guys know how to eat!) and relatively cheap as well. The staff was a bit of a drag, but... eh.

Above: Fisherman's Platter for dinner. Below: Breakfast at Gwennie's

We headed to Downtown Anchorage aaaand it was interesting...

Being a tourist town, literally all of downtown was souvenir stores. They easily have 3 in one block, and franchises across the district. In Vancouver, we have a street of souvenir stores in Gastown and the occasional ones in Downtown, but not an entire district filled with them! And, of course, they sold pretty much all the same stuff.

We stopped into a mall which proves itself to be a bit funny. Typical American mall, the food was a bit funny:



From YouTube videos, I figured Americans called "bubble tea", boba tea. Which makes sense because "boba" is like the Cantonese version of pearls or something. The drink was horrible but it was dirt cheap compared to the ones in Vancouver.



Whenever I travel to a new place, I usually buy a little stuffed animal from that city. Since I was in Alaska, I figured the polar bear stuffie would be suitable!

The next day proved itself to be so much better (the rain cleared up and sun was out!). During breakfast, we were a bit disappointed to learn how just how far all the major tourist activities were from Anchorage! Activities such as hiking a mountain or glaciers or even fishing! If the price wasn't ridiculously expensive, it was the fact that the cities and destinations were 4-6 hours drive from Anchorage. I wish we knew that before so we could've rented a car and plan ahead.



Here's the thing about Alaska: it's rich with First Nations history, just like Canada is. There is a stereotype of Natives drinking alcohol excessively and I've never seen it first hand until now. I've seen Natives drunk at 11AM in the morning. At 5PM, a group of drunks were throwing beer cans at the bus and the driver! It's ridiculous.

We checked out the Museum of Anchorage. It was nice but as someone that studied First Nations, majority of the exhibits weren't entertaining and informing. #historygeekproblems



After the museum, we rented bikes to bike to Kincaid Park which was beautiful! The bike ride itself was brutal at some stages but for view was spectacular. We were literally on the edge of Alaska!

A panoramic view of the edge of Alaska. We were on a cliff and directly above the ocean
 










We even saw a moose! We've never seen a Canadian moose but at least we saw an American moose, haha.

The bike trial has a planet information board thing-y and being the childish adults that we are, we decided to take selfies with Uranus.
After the bike ride, we decided to try reindeer meat, a classic in Alaska.

It's not bad but I would prefer my regular beef/chicken wieners.



At one point of our trip, we came across the store that sold Russian items with a large cut out of Sarah Palin pointing somewhere and the quote "I can see Russia from here!". The store was blasting with Russian music and it was slightly uncomfortable and disturbing to walk past that store.


Beef avocado taco... mmm....
We also discovered the state of Alaska has no taxes! I thought it was only Portland that didn't have any tax but hallelujah, Canadians got another state to venture off to for no taxes! Granted, Portland is much more convenient for us.

Our last day spent in Alaska was split. We decided to check out the University of Alaska (and grabbed some tees from the bookstore) before flying back to Seattle again.



It was Sergio's first time in Seattle so for the first time in my life, I checked out the Space Needle.

Typical Seattle stuff consist of shopping, clam chowder and Pike Market. I usually choose to skip the tourist-y stuff because Seattle is so similar to Vancouver and it's so closeby, I don't really feel like I'm leaving home.

The King and I roll from O'hana Sushi in Seattle

At our hostel, City Hostel Seattle! A bit far from the metro and downtown but amazing staff and rooms!




I get to cross Alaska off my bucket list! Although we didn't do what Alaska is famous for, I'm still glad we got to check it out. If I decide to go back there again, it's either by cruise or I'm planning ahead and renting cars!

Alaska was a nice city, with friendly people for the most part. If you can look past the drunks and how limited entertainment the city offers, it's not a bad place to live, haha.

Right now, I'm getting my passport renewed aaaand saving for a two- weeks trip to New Zealand in February 2016! Gotta check out the country before I move there, right? I'm super thrilled and was told I'd definitely fall in love with that Auckland and Wellington.