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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DiscoverTorrance#CollectiveBias 


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So excited to share my Torrance trip with you guys today! I had never been to Torrance before so I was excited to research all the good stuff they have, and discover it all over the few days we got to explore. Torrance is a beautiful SoCal city that's "in but out" of LA, which means it has all the novelties and convenience of LA, but less crowded beaches, better weather, and gooood shopping (!) with a large variety of hotels. It's just south of LA and only 15 minutes from LAX, which turned out to be quite convenient for us because...well, long story short, my sis and her friend (who she randomly ran into) were stranded at the Long Beach airport when their flights never showed up, and they had to re-book flights out of LAX the next day. So basically it was awesome being so close to both airports as they worked around their predicament. You're also super close to all the other good stuff in SoCal like StubHub Center and the new NFL stadium in Inglwood.

But let me share with you my #1 favorite thing about Torrance: the weather! Being a NorCal girl, I just always though SoCal was a little too hot for me. And it is. With the exception of Torrance! It's a coastal city that doesn't have ten million buildings blocking the breeze, and the temps were perfect. Warm and beautiful during the day, sweater weather at night, just how I like it. That being said, I also thoroughly enjoyed the Asian presence as well. They offered all of the Asian foods I've been craving, and also had a big, beautiful Japanese grocery store Mitsuwa Marketplace, as well as multiple Daiso's! Daiso is a Japanese dollar store that everyone needs to know about. I took my mom there for the first time a few months ago and she was head over heels. Needless to say, we spent a good amount of time in there and left with a quite a lot of goodies. And one last thing before I share about the rest of our trip: the MALL. Torrance has the largest shopping center in all of California, Del Amo Fashion Center, and it was glorious. If you guys don't follow my Instagram stories you need to: @gina.chong. If you did, you'd know about all this stuff already ;)

Keep scrolling to find out all the cool deets from our Torrance trip! And check out the Discover Torrance website for even more travel resources, including a cool interactive map, oooh.

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South Coast Botanic Garden
My mama is a big garden person. Having grown up on a farm in Korea, she has always kept a substantial garden and would choose them over museums any day. This South Coast Botanic Garden was a perfect place to explore while we waited to check in to our hotel. So many cool things to see, and so beautifully photogenic. Also, look at their matching visor-hat hats. Those two crack me up.

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King's Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant
Okay you guys. I was so excited to go here I can't even. All the Hawaiian food AND baked goods of my dreams! Mama got a red snapper plate, sis got a beautiful plate full of Kahua pork, teriyaki chicken and I think katsu? I got the french toast because there was a cafe in Hawaii that had the most amazing tropical french toast made with sweet bread that I have missed ever since, and you guys, they did an awesome job. They make it with their trademark yummy sweet bread and top it with all this amazing fresh fruit...just like my beloved Hawaiian cafe. Yum. To finish off our meal, we shared a Paradise Cake (guava, passion fruit and lime layers) and Pineapple Tres Leches, both delish. Ugh. Huge recommend for this place. You have to go if you're in the area!

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Redondo Beach & Pier
Look at me taking creeper pictures, hehe. I took a lovely Sunday nap on this beach, and then went back the next day for some sunset photos. Except it was cloudy so there was no sun to be seen, but beautiful nonetheless. My sis who has been to Torrance a handful of times for work couldn't stop recommending the Korean crab restaurants on the pier. There are more than one! We didn't have time or stomach space for all the deliciousness in the city, so if you go, tell me how it is.

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Okrumong
I couldn't write about Torrance without mentioning this little gem. It's a small, unassuming, perfect little Korean shave ice spot right near the King's Hawaiian restaurant. They have a small menu, mostly focused on the pat (or anko, or azuki beans, or red bean paste, whatever you want to call it), so you know that they are masters of their art. Mama was cold so she got a bowl of hot red bean porridge, sis got a fruity shave ice cup, and I got one of their main menu items: the five grain golden bowl. It's uber fluffy shaved ice mixed with a sweet five-grain powder and topped with the red bean and mochi. YUM. Just YUM. If you haven't had Korean shave ice yet, you need to. And this is probably the best place to do it. Also, PS, they even sell these stunning bowls and sets there. Of course they happened to be sold out at the time *sad face* but they were $40/bowl which after perusing Koreatown is actually a decent price for these quality copper bowls. I loved everything about this place.

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DoingThe99 #99YourFourth #CollectiveBias 


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GUYS. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I can't explain exactly why, but I just love seeing everyone decked out in red, white and blue and celebrating together. I keep a pretty strong collection of patriotic sprinkles in anticipation of this very holiday, but I won't be whipping those out today. Instead I have something better: a savory recipe that is sure to be a hit at your 4th of July parties! They're perfectly sized sliders with a uniquely sweet Korean bbq flavor, and I'm so happy with how they turned out.

The best thing about these sliders is the price tag: all of the recipe ingredients and even these cute 4th of July picks, napkins and tray are from 99 Cents Only. They have an awesome 4th of July collection of goods, it's a perfect one-stop shop for all your 4th needs, and I always find something new and exciting there. My favorite find this time was these Hawaiian sweet rolls because that's what I always use for my burgers and sandwiches, so yummy. You never know what you'll find at the 99, I was also super impressed with the 99's Asian ingredient collection. I found everything that I needed there from soy sauce, to fresh ginger, to chili sauce, etc., they have all your favorite brands at a price that can't be beat. So excited to share this recipe because it's both delish and won't break the bank. Check it out below!

Find lots more great budget-friendly 4th of July ideas on the 99's hub and see what other cool stuff they have to offer. What are your 4th of July plans??

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Korean BBQ Sliders
Makes 9 sliders
  • 1 lb ground beef or beef patty mix
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • oil
  • 1 pkg Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • 1 pkg shredded cabbage (10 oz)
  • hot chili sauce

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and green onion.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and egg. Add half the sauce and mix. Add more until the beef is well-flavored but not overly liquid-y. Separate into 9 equal parts.

Place a large pan over med-high heat with about 1/2 Tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add half the meat balls, and use a spatula to push them down to about 1/3 inch thick. Let cook about 2 minutes until caramelized, then flip and cook another 2 minutes until done. Remove to a plate covered with paper towels, and repeat for the rest of the meat.

Place the patties on your Hawaiian rolls, top with cabbage, and drizzle with hot chili sauce. Enjoy!


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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #IceColdSummerMoments #CollectiveBias  

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A couple days ago sis and I were walking home on Sunday afternoon. We were in our Sunday dresses enjoying the sunshine, and I was dangling my heels from my hand while walking home in a pair of flip flops I'd brought to change into. In the Bay Area everything turns "golden" during the month of May, so while here in Utah being able to walk through beautiful green grass has been one of my recent small pleasures. As we strolled through the neighborhood our tummies were rumbling because the air was full of delicious aromas, because a Sunday summer afternoon means grilling time!

For me though, every day is grilling time, and today I'm so excited to show you a recent backyard BBQ party I put together. I'm sharing how I upgraded a classic BBQ shindig with especial thanks to Diet Coke® and Target. My favorite thing about this party is how EASY it is, guys. I think that BBQ parties for the most part should be unassuming and uncomplicated, just a gathering of friends and family to celebrate summer. So that's what this party is: just one trip to Target for some supplies and Share A Cokes, and you have a glam party that's ready in a flash! Some of the main party elements include: a low picnic-style table with gold cushions to sit on, DIY hot dog trays, spicy Korean pork skewers, the cutest gold palm leaf plates and gold cutlery, a grilled pineapple salad, and of course sharing these ice cold Coca-Cola's will make your guests feel extra special when they see their name. Keep scrolling to get all the deets:

And get even more awesome summer inspo with Coca-Cola HERE, as well as a coupon for 20% off these Share A Cokes! Whose name do you want to find to share an ice cold Coca-Cola with??

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Share A Coke:
Summer means Share A Coke is back! Sharing these ice cold Coca-Cola's is such a fun and easy way to make your guests feel special. Imagine each of your friends walking in and being surprised to see you found their name on a bottle of Coca-Cola! This year they have 1,000 NEW names including both first and last names! We are super hardcore Coca-Cola fans in our house, so it's always a thrill whenever these Share A Cokes come back, they become the star of any summer party. Make sure you don't miss out on this Cartwheel deal for 20% off.

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Food
Okay, food and drink are obviously the most important elements of any backyard shindig, so I pulled out all the stops with some of my favorite dishes, to include:

Spicy Korean Pork Skewers,
Hearty Italian Pasta Salad,
Grilled Pineapple Salad,
Mexican Street Corn,
and Hot Dogs in DIY Trays.

Keep reading for recipe tips!

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Decor
Target is sooo amazing for decor. Just one trip there and I had everything I needed. In the party supply section (you know, between the greeting cards and office supplies) I found all sorts of glam gold decor like these super cute scalloped palm leaf plates, gold cutlery, cups, napkins, and lanterns to hang from my lights. I also snagged gold cushions to sit on and this gorg marble serving tray. I absolutely love all these little gold details against the classic red gingham.

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Spicy Korean Pork Skewers
Korean BBQ has to be present at any of my BBQ's and it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Last time I shared my recipe for Korean Short Ribs and this time I'm doing theses spicy pork skewers. They're a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet, and look perfectly party-ready strung along the skewers. Get the recipe HERE.

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Hearty Italian Pasta Salad
This is a recipe that I make a ton, it's a perfect side (or sometimes main) dish full of color and texture. My one tip for this is to use good mozzarella. I always go to the deli section where they have the gourmet cheeses, because a quality mozzarella just can't be beat. Recipe HERE.

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Grilled Pineapple Salad
Look at those grill marks! Instead of a typical fruit salad I went with this simple pineapple salad where the fresh pineapple is the star. Just add feta, chopped mint, and my simple sauce, and you have a beautiful dish ready for any party. Recipe HERE.

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Hot Dog Trays
The hardest part of this party is not hard at all. I put together some customized gold hot dog trays and had them all done in one afternoon. Your guests will again be stunned by this fun DIY that actually takes no time at all. Tutorial below!

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How to Make Hot Dog Trays

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What You Need:
  • this template
  • thick paper
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • double-sided tape
  • pencil

Directions:

1. Print out the template on card stock or thick paper.
2. Cut out the template.
3. Cut along the short end of the corners like in the above photo, making slits.

4. Trace the template onto the back of your paper, including the slits.
5. Cut out each traced template, including the slits.
6. Use a ruler and scissors to lightly score lines between the corner of each slit, like so.

7. Use double-sided tape to attach the slit edges, like so.
8. The final product should look like this.
9. Repeat for as many trays as desired.



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Grilled Pineapple Salad
Serves 4
  • 1 ripe pineapple, cut into rounds
  • 3 Tbsp cup feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp mint, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Directions:

Combine the lime juice and honey in a small bowl. Place your pineapple rounds onto a serving platter. Drizzle with the sauce, then sprinkle with feta cheese and chopped mint. Enjoy!






Spicy Korean Pork Skewers
Makes about 5 Skewers
  • 1.5 lbs pork shoulder, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Fuji or other sweet apple, pureed
  • 1/4 cup onion, pureed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 green onion, chopped + extra for garnish (opt.)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp rice syrup (or 2 Tbsp brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp pepper paste (gochujang)*
  • sesame seeds (opt.)

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients besides the pork into a bowl and mix well. Place the pork into a plastic storage bag and add the marinade. Get out as much air as possible before sealing, and mix the pork around a bit so it all gets covered with the marinade. Let sit in the fridge overnight. Soak skewers in water overnight or at least one hour.

String the pork pieces onto your skewers. For larger pieces, pierce them twice so that each pieces is well-secured on the stick. Bring the grill at medium heat, and oil the grates. Grill the skewers until cooked through and slightly charred, about 7 minutes each side. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!



Recipe adapted from Maangchi.


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