The Universal World of Harry Potter

This was the reason I said “yes” to Florida. Originally, my family was planning a trip to Fiji and I was excited about escaping the cold weather in Beijing. Although Florida is warm as well, I knew we wouldn’t be spending much time at the beach.

I’ve wanted to visit “Harry Potter World” as I called it, since it opened in the summer. The only time I could think of when I could make a trip was during college spring break, when the Park would undoubtedly be packed. It turned out that now was the absolute perfect time to go to Florida. Even though it wasn’t as warm as I’d hoped, there was no one at any of the amusement parks. Well, I’m exaggerating a little bit when I say “no one”, but all the rides had ten or fifteen minute waits at most.

The Universal World of Harry Potter is located on the Universal Island of Adventure, which includes Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss town, cartoon town, etc. Obviously, I made a beeline (with my family in tow) for Hogsmeade. The first thing I did, apart from take my camera out and snap blurred pictures as I raced towards Hogwarts, was to get in line for the ride in the castle. Since there weren’t many people, we bypassed most of the lines, and they were long. I can imagine how it could easily take an hour or two during packed season. Luckily, there was so much to look at as we queued, like the Sorting Hat, Dumbledore’s Office, and the House Hourglasses. The ride was a bit like a roller coaster, I was a bit apprehensive when they lowered the booster like seat belts- the kind of intense roller coasters. In the end, I only ended up a little nauseous. Because my whole family felt a little sick after the ride, we decided to put the Flight of the Hippogriff ride on hold to explore Hogsmeade. I bought a Butterbeer (I heard the frozen ones are better, but since it was cold, I went with the normal one) and a pumpkin juice. The Butterbeer tasted exactly as I imagined it- like melted butterscotch. The pumpkin juice tasted like pumpkin pie, which is great. I would recommend only getting one of each though, because you can just taste the calories and sugar. I hoped to eat at the Three Broomsticks or the Hogshead, but because we were pressed for time, I had to forgo the opportunity.

I didn’t see any of the shows, such as the Frog Choir or Ollivander’s Wand show, but I did venture into all the shops. I went to Zonkos, the Owlry, and Honeydukes. At Honeydukes, I only bought two chocolate frogs, because everything was extremely overpriced. One little box of jellybeans was $12.00.

My final ride was the Flight of the Hippogriff. This was the longest wait time I had for any ride (including rides at DisneyWorld) during my trip to Florida. I waited around 25 minutes for an extremely short ride that lasted seconds. Although the ride was short, it was probably the scariest rollercoaster I went on my entire vacation. As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly good at riding roller coasters. I can’t do any upside down rides, which eliminates pretty much all of the extreme roller coasters. I do, however, enjoy Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.

I’ll post pictures as soon as I have time.


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My Day At Discovery Cove

When my parents told me we were planning a trip to Florida during our one week break from school, I immediately started doing research. Where did I want to go apart from the Universal World of Harry Potter? Did I want to go to Disney World again?

I found the Discovery Cove website by chance from a link on the Sea World site. When I first read about Discovery Cove package deal, I thought that there was absolutely NO WAY that such a great deal could exist and that there had to be some catch. For only $179, you could swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish in an artificial reef with sharks and barracudas separated by glass, swim through an aviary where you could feed exotic birds, and swim with manta rays. In addition, all food (breakfast and lunch) and snacks were entirely free. $179 might seem like a lot per person at first glance, but if you think about it, breakfast and lunch and snacks would cost, the free snorkels and sunscreen, and swimming with dolphins and manta rays, feed exotic birds, and snorkel, Plus a free pass to Sea World or Busch Gardens, each of which is about $80 dollars, the ticket is only really $50.

My day at Discovery Cove started early, because breakfast was served at 8:00. The breakfast was pretty much all-American: eggs, bacon, potato, yogurt and granola, milk, and hot chocolate. I had everything except the bacon- I haven’t had bacon since I decided to become vegetarian in 7th grade.

After breakfast, we went to pick up our wetsuits and get dressed. There are three different kinds to choose from: full body, quarter length, and a vest. Because it was still winter/early spring, it was quite chilly, I took a quarter length one that went to the elbows and knees. The first wetsuit I picked out was too loose, so I got a smaller size. This happened to be the same size as my little sister’s suit and I can say that it was extremely uncomfortable.

First we went to the manta ray petting pool. This is a shallow pool up to my chest that was filled with giant manta rays that you could pet. The water was cold, but it was still warmer than the school pool. The mantas swim fast to avoid being petted, but my sister and I discovered a method where we forced them to swim between us to get away. There was one cute little baby manta, but I didn’t get a chance to pet it.

Afterwards, I went to our appointed swimming with the dolphins time slot. Although there are only supposed to be eight people in a group, there were nine in ours. Basically we got to interact with the dolphin, including feeding and stroking it. Everyone also got a chance to ride the dolphin (by grabbing its flipper). I was surprised by how fast the dolphins swam, even though it looked slow from a distance.

After lunch, we went snorkeling in the artificial coral reef. I’ve been snorkeling all over, like in Malaysia and Hawaii, and the artificial reef matched up quite well. There were enormous fish, but scariest of all were the gigantic manta rays. Every time I swam over a manta ray, I couldn’t help but think of Steve Irwin, even though the Discovery Cove team assured us that the stings had been removed. Another shock I received was when I looked down and saw a huge shark lying on the sand. Then I remembered reading that there was a special section for sharks that made it seem as if you were snorkeling with sharks when you were in fact separated by a glass wall. However, glass is nearly invisible in the water and I can confirm that having a huge shark suddenly appear in front of you is not good for your heart.

The last stop was the aviary. This was a long river where you float or swim through an aviary. The actual aviary was small, but the river lasted forever and forever. It was a lot of fun, except in many places the water was shallow, so I had to awkwardly wade slowly through it while the lifeguards posted every few meters looked on.

I could go into so much more detail, but all in all, Discovery Cove was a great place. I’ve never had the opportunity to swim with dolphins, so this was a first for me. Of course, I’m sure that there are other swim-with-dolphin places where you can really swim with dolphins and spend more than 30 minutes with a huge group and one dolphin, but I think that all the other great activities made up for that. I would definitely like to come back someday, but maybe when it’s a little bit warmer. Despite Florida being known for its summer-like temperatures year round, I pretty much had to keep my wetsuit on the whole day, which was not a good look.


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40 Beauty Questions Tag

I found this tag online and I thought it would be fun to do it.

How many times do you wash your face daily?
Twice, once in the morning and once at night

What skin type do you have? (dry,oily,combo)
Oily and dry- the worst of both worlds!
What is your current facial wash?
In the morning I use Clean and Clear Morning Burst Facial Wash. At night, I use Neutrogena Relaxing Nightly Cleanser (I bought it because it was such a pretty purple- but I’ve been using it for two or three years now)

Do you exfoliate?
Yes, once every night

What brand do you use?
For exfoliator, I use Clean and Clear.

What moisturizer do you use?
Cetaphil Cream. I’ve used this since I was a little kid and haven’t stopped since.

Do you have freckles?
Yes, one of the only Asians with freckles!

Do you use eye cream?
No, but I suppose I will when I’m older.

Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
I would say no, but like every other teenager, I do get acne.

Did you ever have to use Pro-activ?
No. I’m scared when I hear how once you stop using it, you break out again. I feel like this forces dependency on Pro-activ for the rest of your life.


What foundation do you use?
I don’t have foundation

How about concealer?

Do you know your undertone color?
I think that I’m warm, but I’m partial to cool colors

What do you think of fake eyelashes?
They look great but are so hard to apply. What if they fall off?  

Did you know that you are supposed to change your mascara every 3 months?
Yes… but some people don’t  

What brand of mascara do you use?
I use Maybelline most regularly, but I also have Benefit. I have a free Clinique one as well, but I haven’t used it.  

Sephora or MAC?
Sephora. I only wish it carried some drugstore brands like Ulta

Do you have a MAC Pro-card?
No, what’s that?

What makeup tools do you use in make up application?

Mostly brushes and sponges. For makeup removing, I use tissue paper and Q-tips.

Do you use make-up base/primer for the eyes?
No, but if I did, I would use Urban Decay primer potion

For the face?
I don’t think it’s necessary, unless you wear a lot of makeup

What is your favorite eyeshadow (color or shade)?
I love Clinique super shimmer. I also like Urban Decay and Coastal Scents

Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner?
Pencil. The one time I used liquid, it got in my eye and I watched in fascination/fear as black liquid spread in my eyeball; fortunately, it was not painful.  

How often do you poke your eyes with an eyeliner pencil?
Never- I hope it stays this way

What do you think of pigment eyeshadows?

Do you use mineral makeup?
I like the Bare Minerals brushes, but I haven’t used there powder foundation before, although I have a sample from Sephora’s.  

What is your favorite lipstick?
I don’t use lipstick, but I have a free Clinique one  

How about lipgloss?
Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush and Philosophy

What is your favorite blush to use?
I will never use blush. I flush way too easily and if I used blush, I would look like a clown

Do you buy your makeup on ebay?
No way. I didn’t even know they sold makeup

Do you like drugstore makeup?
Yes! Like I’ve mentioned, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Clean and Clear. Plus, I love browsing in drugstores without annoying salespeople watching your every move

Do you go to CCO’s? (cosmetic company outlets)
Omg, these exist? (in a good way) I have to find one

Did you ever consider taking make-up classes?
again, see above response

Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
I guess not

Name a makeup crime that you hate?
Too much eyeshadow/eyeliner (see Taylor Momsen!!!)  

Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick,eyeshadow) or neutral ones?

Which celebrity always has great make up?
Hmm, this is hard. I think Sophia Bush always looks great, as does Camilla Belle, Coco Rocha, and Miranda Kerr

If you could leave the house using just ONE make up item, what would you use?

Concealer, always

Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on?
I have to go swimming, but otherwise, no

Do you think you look good even without any makeup on?
Everyone should think they look good without makeup on (haha)

In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line?
I like Benefit… and Urban Decay, and Clinique, and…

What do you think of Makeup??
It’s so much fun- and also a way to spend lots and lots of money

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Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr is one of my favorite models and my favorite Victoria’s Secret model. I think what makes her special is that she can look incredibly sweet and gorgeous at the same time, which few people (especially VS models) can do. I think it probably has something to do with her dimples.


Miranda Kerr was born in April 1983 in Gunnedah, Australia. She is the first Australian VS model and represents the Australian department store David Jones.

Miranda Kerr young

Miranda's Family

When she was 13, Miranda won the 1997 annual Dolly Magazine/Impulse Model Competition. From there, she signed on to Chic Management and modeled for Roxy, Billabong, and more. After she moved to New York, she signed with NEXT Model Management in 2004. She walked the runway and did print campaigns for Blumarine, Neiman Marcus, Baby Phats, and XOXO.

Dolly Magazine Cover

Miranda became a VS Angel in 2007 and was the face of PINK in 2006. In 2008, Miranda was placed on Forbes list of the world’s top earning models. Miranda has been featured on the covers of Harper Bazaar, GQ, and Vogue; she has also done editorials for many magazines.

Modeling for VS Pink

In 2009, Miranda launched the skincare line Kora and published her self-care novel, Treasure Yourself.

Miranda Kerr dated Adrian Camilleri in 2003. When Camilleri was found guilty of fraud, the relationship ended. She was also in a relationship with Jay Lyon, lead singer of the band Tamarama (he made appearances on The City). They dated for around four years, until 2007. Miranda began dating Orlando Bloom in 2007 and they married in July 2010. She is expecting a child in January 2011.

Miranda and Jay

Miranda and Orlando at the Sydney Airport

Miranda and Frankie


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What to Pack: On the plane

By the end of January, I will have covered four different countries in three weeks. One of the things that I love most about travel is the packing. I like plugging my iPod into the speakers and blasting music while I tick items off my travel list. Pretty soon, I’ll be posting What To Pack (the general version) and then What To Pack (beach version). Having traveled many times every year on both short and long flights, I pretty much have packing down.

The only parts I hate about traveling are the inevitable plane rides. I hate the coffee/stuffy/flu smell of the airplanes, the dirty feeling of the plane seats, and that person who always leans his seat back, leaving two inches between your face and the back of his seat. I’m always seated within the vicinity of some screaming baby or have someone extremely interesting sitting behind me- but I can’t turn around to stare. The flights are always delayed, and if they aren’t, I know I’ll have to take a bus once I get off the plane because the airline is too cheap to rent a terminal.

What I pack in my airplane bag is what keeps me from going crazy on every one of these flights. I used to carry a laptop bag on my flights because I thought that I had to personally carry my laptop to keep it from getting damaged. A while ago, I realized that I could just keep it in my carry-on bag, relieving me of what felt like ten pounds of extra weight. Now, I use roomy (preferably light weight) bags to hold all of my many essentials. I hate the smell of planes and have to wash my clothes right after a plane ride and shower, so I tend to take bags I don’t plan on using other than on plane rides. After a bag gets home from a trip, it sits on the floor until I can stand to store it (and its forever tainted self) back in my closet. One bag has been sitting on my closet floor for about four years.

  • Book: Unless my plane has personal TVs, I spend my entire flight reading. Depending on the length of the flight, I always bring paperback books that vary in length. What you have to be careful of is reading too much. I once read five books on a twelve hour flight without sleeping and had to throw up upon arrival.
  • Electronics: I carry all electronics (except my laptop) with me, including my iPod, Kindle, and camera. I’m afraid of damaging these, but they can also be handy in passing the time. Be sure to bring a book too, even if the electronics are your main source of entertainment, because electronics have to be switched off at the beginning and end of the flights, and if the plane if delayed, you are going to be sitting extremely bored on the runway.
  • Earplugs: On those sleeping flights, aside from the bright reading lights, it’s always hard to sleep with the noise of the jet, people walking up and down aisles, and little kids yelling. My ears hurt if I wear headphones too long, so I recently bought a 30 pair pack of earplugs by Mack’s in a pretty turquoise color. It wasn’t until I was packing when I realized that I needed an earplug case. No way was I bringing 30 pairs or throwing a pair straight into my bag. Luckily, I found an earplug case at the Taiwanese equivalent of a dollar store.
  • Colgate Wisps/ toothbrush: For those who wear braces especially, and even those who don’t, on those twelve hour flights with two meals and snacks in between, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth.
  • Snack(s): Somehow the flights I take always manage to end up during either lunch or dinner. Although most flights serve meals, the meals are given at irregular times and I always regret not having brought food. An energy bar, candy, or sandwich can solve this problem.
  • Small water bottle: It’s really convenient to pour your drink/water from the flight into your own water bottle. This means that you prevent spillage in cases of turbulence and you can put your tray back up and maximize seat space. It will also guarantee that you’ll never go thirsty if you fill up your bottle after security check and before you get on the plane.
  • Hand sanitizer: I find planes really dirty, so I always have to sanitize/use the moist towlette before a meal. Or just throughout the flight periodically.
  • Hand lotion/ lip balm: My skin and lips get really dry on the airplane, so it’s always good to have a moisturizing option
  • Gum: chewing gum helps with the popping in the ears from changes in air pressure. Gums also quenches thirst so you’re less likely to have to drink and then use the restroom.  
  • Perfume: I like getting perfume samples from the duty free stores before a flight. This means that I can relieve myself from the smell of airplanes.

I pack some other stuff on the plane, but those are items more personal to me than to other people in general. I’ll take a picture of the contents of my bag before a trip, but for now, these are the items everyone can use.

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20 Most Beautiful Women (part 2)

11. Natalie Portman: Yet another incredibly smart celebrity, Natalie Portman is also an amazing actress and I wouldn’t be surprised if she won an Oscar in the future. I first saw her in Star Wars, and I love her role as Anne Boleyn in the Other Boleyn Girl, because that is one of my favorite books. I look forward to watching Black Swan, The Other Woman, and Your Highness.

12. Queen Rania of Jordan

13. Julianne Hough: Julianne was my favorite Dancing With the Stars dancer. Her chacha with Apollo Ohno was the most amazing dance I have ever seen and I am determined to learn it. Her country music is also enjoyable and she seems so sweet.

14. Rachel McAdams: Mean girls! The Notebook, Red Eye, Sherlock Holmes… is there any great movie she wasn’t in?

15. Ashley Greene: I didn’t know about Ashley Greene untill the Twilight movies and I have to admit, the Alice hairstyle doesn’t look that great on her, but she is really pretty.

16. Minka Kelly: I haven’t seen any movies with Minka Kelly, but I’ve always been aware of her presence in Hollywood. I’m definitely going to see The Roommate with her and Leighton Meester when it comes out.

17. Kelly Hu: Former Miss Teen Hawaii and the first Asian Miss Teen USA, Kelly Hu is also the first Asian to pose for Maxim. I liked her in the Scorpion King with Dwayne Johnson.

18. Diane Kruger: Anyone who can play Helen of Troy has to be absolutely gorgeous. Even though I didn’t like the movie Troy (it didn’t stick to the real storyline at all), I had no complaints about Diane playing Helen; she seemed to fit the look of the role perfectly.

19. Leighton Meester: I’ve only watched the first season of Gossip Girl, but I’m looking forward to Monte Carlo and The Roommate. I’ve also seen her small role in Date Night. Although I have some concerns about her choice of dress/fashion sense, Leighton is undoubtedly attractive.

20. Vanessa Hudgens: Vanessa is just so exotic looking and has such great bone structure.

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20 Most Beautiful Women (Part 1)

I’ve excluded models from  this list, because I would have put way too many Victoria’s Secret models on the list as well, and that is for a separate post. 

  1. Camilla Belle: Even though I’ve only seen two of her movies, 1000 B.C. and When a Stranger Calls, Camilla Belle is probably my favorite actress at the moment. Camilla Belle is another example of how Brazilian women are all gorgeous. I like her because she’s a more unconventional looking beauty, and I fully support her, despite Taylor Swift’s song. I’m looking forward to her new movie From Prada to Nada, and I’m currently looking for her movie Push.


2. Cheryl Cole: Cheryl Cole is the most stunning woman I have ever seen; I don’t think she could ever take a bad photograph. Her dimples are simply amazing and I just love everything about her. Hopefully, she comes to the US and becomes as popular in the US as she is in Britain.

3. Sophia Bush: Sophia Bush’s character Brooke is one of the reasons I watched One Tree Hill. I’ve also seen Sophia Bush in The Hitcher, one of my favorite horror movies, and John Tucker Must Die (another favorite). Like Cheryl, Sophia also has dimples and looks both sweet and gorgeous at once.

4. Jessica Alba: Like most people, I agree that Jessica Alba is beautiful. I like how she isn’t the typical blond haired/blue eyed celebrity, and she is another person who can never look bad.

5. Kate Beckingsale: Not only is Kate Beckingsale smart (she went to Oxford), but she is also beautiful. I’ve watched all the Underworld Movies and I loved her in Click.

6. Emma Watson: Another smart celebrity, Emma Watson (and her brother Alex Watson) is almost too perfect. She has just about everything: a great career, looks, education and has modeled for Burberry.

7. Barbie Hsu: Barbie isn’t an American celebrity, but she is huge in Asia. She was engaged to Blue Lan (see 20 hottest men), but now she’s married to someone else.

8. Emmy Rossum: The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite movies and I have her CD. I only thing I disapprove of is her former relationship with someone double her age. I also wish she would do more movies.

9. Freida Pinto: Where has she gone? I don’t believe I’ve seen her after Slumdog Millionaire and I would love to see her!  

10. Olivia Hussey: Olivia Hussey at age 15 in Romeo and Juliet was really pretty. Actually, she still is beautiful and her daughter, India Eisley (Secret Life), looks just like her.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

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