Last weekend my friends and I planned a last-minute road trip to Southern California. This was my first time doing a SoCal trip with friends and actually getting to explore San Diego and Los Angeles. As a kid I traveled south to go to Disneyland or visit family, but I never got to shop, go to beaches, or do site seeing. The main focus of this trip was beautiful views and lots and lots of good food.

The hills and beaches in SoCal are so breathtaking, and one of the highlights of San Diego was catching the sunset on a Torrey Pines cliff. I wish we had an actual hike or beach day there, but due to limited time, we just drove to the top of the hill. The other San Diego beach we visited was La Jolla Beach, which was in an affluent neighborhood surrounded by trendy shops and tasty eateries. 

For day two we drove up to LA and spent most of the day at Venice Beach. While La Jolla had many high-end shops, like Ralph Lauren and White House Black Market, Venice had unique art stores and fashion labels. The atmosphere also felt more young and vibrant, since it was filled with music, graffiti, and street artists. Unfortunately, we had to leave mid-day for the long drive back, so we only got to walk the beach and drive through the shopping strip.

It was bittersweet that the trip only lasted two days, but the 20 hours of driving was well worth it. We jam-packed as many people and places into our schedule as possible, so it was a very fulfilling trip. We caught up with many old high school friends, and I also got to meet some of my friend’s San Jose State friends. Most importantly, we ate a lot during our stay, and I was not disappointed by any of the food we tried. In case you need help planning a SoCal getaway, below is a list I compiled of all the cafes and restaurants we visited.



Tacos el Gordo – You can’t go wrong with authentic Mexican food. If you need something cheap and fast, then I highly recommend going here. This restaurant is popular for its wide selection of tacos. Depending on the day, it’s open until 2 or 4am, so it’s perfect for midnight munchies.

Bobboi Natural Gelato – This gelato shop is on a strip along La Jolla Beach. It’s a mom and pop store that sells unusual, organic flavors, like cacti, rosewater, and vanilla charcoal. The shop has rustic vibes with wood, cacti, and chalkboard decorations, and there is also nice outdoor seating.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters – Here I ordered the iced latte and tried some of my friend’s cold brew. Unlike some other coffee shops, like Starbucks and Peets, this place sells quality coffee that isn’t overly sweet or watered down. The store has plenty of space for getting work done, and there is a lot of interesting artwork along the walls.

Kogi BBQ – Like all Korean barbecue joints, this stuff will fill you up, so come with an empty stomach. Also make sure to go with someone who knows their shit because I had no idea how to order or prepare the meat. I’m not a huge meat eater, but their meat was so fresh and juicy. Even their side dishes, like egg soup and cheesy corn, were really good.

Kung Fu Tea – Most bubble tea places I go to don’t have a public restroom or a lot of seating, but this place has both. This is a good hangout spot for friends, since it has a bunch of tables that can seat large groups of people. The menu also has so many flavors to choose from, so there’s always something new to try.



Café Collage – This is a small café one block away from Venice Beach. The dark roast cold brew was the only thing I tried, but it was definitely one of the best cold brews I’ve ever had. Although I didn't order any food, there was a lot of sandwich and salad options, and their pastry cases were filled with gourmet desserts. 


Photography | John Tran + Dana Nguyen






For Fourth of July weekend I crossed having an East Coast beach day off of my bucket list. My friends and I drove from Philadelphia to New Jersey to spend the day at Wildwood Beach. Let’s be real, the beach was not nearly as nice as West Coast ones, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. We sipped on fruity alcohol and splashed through the waves before strolling down the boardwalk. Everything about the trip felt effortless, and it was relaxing just to escape the city and be lazy beach bums for a day. 

My ultimate goal whenever I go to the beach is to pack light. This is one of the few places where you have an excuse to basically be naked in public. I wanted to take full advantage of that, and I also wanted to be as comfortable as possible for the long car ride. I decided on a lightweight halter dress that was very loose and flowy. This is yet another dumpster find that I snagged, and it’s an Urban Outfitters Kimchi Blue dress. Everything else I’m wearing is also secondhand, aside from my Zinke bikini, which I bought from an online Australian retailer.


Sunglasses | Buffalo Exchange

Earrings | Laney Flea Market

Dress | Urban Outfitters (dumpster dived)

Bikini | Zinke


Photography | Dana Nguyen + Alex Yang





Never have I ever had a getaway during Spring Break. Usually, I just use this time to sleep-in and to hangout with friends at local places. Last week all of that changed as I embarked on a five-day journey with my boyfriend and friends. Being a California native, I’ve been to Disneyland, but never visited Disney World or Universal Studios. Since Florida is such a warm and tropical destination, we figured that it’d be the perfect place to spend break. Amusement parks and beaches were the perfect combination, and here’s a recap of our day-to-day itinerary. 


Day One | The Poolside / International Drive

After waking up at 2:30am for an early flight, the first thing we wanted to do upon arrival was relax. Sipping on cheap wine and beer and napping by the pool were great cures for our jet lag. From the pool we could see a large pond full of ducks and small clusters of palm trees. We didn’t want to end the first day without doing anything eventful, so afterwards, we drove down to International Drive to see the Orlando Eye


Day Two | Disney World / Disney Springs

For day two I got to experience The Happiest Place on Earth with my favorite person. Although I didn’t beat my goal of going on ten rides, I got to go on the best ones. Standing in that two-hour line for Space Mountain was definitely worth it. After seven rides later my boyfriend and I met up with our friends for dinner at Disney Springs, which is a touristy shopping center. 


Day Three | Universal Studios

After a day of cute, family friendly rides at Disney World I was more than ready for the roller coasters at Universal Studios. Sadly, The Incredible Hulk, which happens to be the best one, was closed. As disappointing as that was, we still had a blast experiencing Hogsmeade and Seuss Landing. After going on a bunch of rides we ended our day exploring CityWalk and getting dinner at a Mexican restaurant, called Antojitos.


Day Four | Cocoa Beach

On our last day we drove an hour outside of Orlando to visit Cocoa Beach. After long waits in line, the first few days, it was nice ending the trip with napping and cruising along the beach. At 77 degrees, this was the hottest day during our stay, so it was perfect for a beach day. Before going to the tourist-filled boardwalk, we spent the morning on the secluded end of the strip. Aside from us, there were only three other groups of people there. It was as if we had the entire beach to ourselves, since all we could hear were seagulls and waves.

After our naptime on the beach, we drove down to the Cocoa Beach Pier, which was the complete opposite of our previous hideaway. Large crowds, loud music and pop-up shops surrounded the beach. Since it was a beach day, we obviously had to have seafood, so we had lunch at The Boardwalk Bar. After our big lunch we had to walk off our food babies, so we walked to the end of the boardwalk for a nice view.

Traveling to a new destination has taken my mind off of stress. It gave me time to catch up on the things I’ve been missing, like nutritional meals and sleep. I’ve come back from Spring Break more relaxed than ever, and am so ready to tackle my last quarter of college. 


Photography | Dana Nguyen