Category : Events

18 posts

Here’s to the end of 2015 and to the beginning of 2016! Hope everyone had a happy holiday. Basically during my winter break, I spent a lot of it eating a lot of good food with a lot of good company. Definitely gained a lot of pounds, so I need to go back to eating just salads for lunch again.

Caught up with an old friend: I don’t get to see Thuy very much since we’re both very busy now and live in different counties, but it’s heart-warming to know we can always pick right back up. It’s those kinds of relationships where you can hang out for a few hours after not seeing each other for a long time and the familiarity you have with each other hasn’t changed since the last time you met up. We had poke bowls for lunch (kind of like Chipotle style where you go through an assembly line and pick what you want), and talked over some tea afterwards. She gave me flowers for an early birthday present :)

Poke bowl, strawberry hibiscus tea, bouquet gift

Poke bowl, strawberry hibiscus tea, bouquet gift

My Birthday: I celebrated my 26th birthday on December 22nd and had a great time with some of my good friends. I normally don’t go out for my birthdays, but this year was different and a lot of fun! It feels weird quantifying how many years I’ve lived. It feels like “yesterday” when I was still in high school, but every year passes by and then I realize it’s getting closer to a decade since I’ve been a high schooler, haha.

During the week, I got a ton of birthday freebies that I signed up for. I ended up getting a free burger at Red Robin, a free combo at Burntzilla, a free drink at Starbucks, a free bundtlet cake at Nothing Bundt Cakes, a free appetizer at Chilis, a free pastry at Corner Bakery, and a free birthday gift from Sephora. You should sign up, too, if you like getting freebies for your birthday. ^_^

As a pre-birthday celebration, Mart took me out for an “omakase” dinner, which is where the sushi chef picks what to serve you. We had eleven delightful pieces of sushi, including seared salmon, halibut, bluefin tuna, yellowtail belly, butterfish, kampachi, toro, eel, seared scallop, red snapper, and uni. 11 pieces of deliciousness. *love* We also had a few pieces of duck and some burdock root fries. We love sushi but high quality sushi is very expensive, so we only get it for special occasions…and when we do, I wish the pieces would never end :)

sushi

Omakase Dinner

On the evening of my birthday, I dubbed it my “bar-day” and we hung out at an underground bar. It was a post-rain Tuesday night, so it was relatively empty, but that made it a lot easier to talk to everyone. When we first arrived, my friends let the bartender know it was my birthday and she bought us all shots on the house! She made this really fruity and delicious drink that didn’t taste alcoholic at all. She ended up overestimating how much liquid to use and made an extra shot, so I told her, “Well, looks like you’re going to have to drink that one.” :D And yes, she did take the shot with us. I got to see some people I’ve never drank with before get a little more cozy after a few drinks & say the most hilarious things. “I wanna get laid after Christmas,” said by an unsuspecting, buzzed friend. LOL.

I drank a lot that night because different friends kept buying me drinks. “I don’t know how she’s still functional,” Mart said. LOL. I was very functional! I have a good tolerance & those drinks were spread out over like 5 hours :p

As usual, we ended up at Denny’s until like 3 in the morning with our nighttime munchies. Somehow it’s become our “thing” now.

Reunion hangout: On Dec. 28th I had a “part 2” for my birthday celebration, since not all of my closest friends could make it to my bar-day. It was also just an excuse to get all of us to hangout…a sort of reunion since some of us haven’t met up in a very long time. We were friends in college but now work or school has made us go our separate ways. We had a totally delicious dinner at this hipster market that had a bunch of different eateries in one spot. A lot of people had to leave early, but some of us continued our night by hanging out at a nearby bar and then going to a tea lounge afterwards. It was nice catching up.

2015-12-28 18.23.20

Fried Chicken and Corn Bread

Christmas Eve and Christmas: On Christmas Eve, my family went to eat dim sum. We don’t really eat that many family meals together, so it’s nice when we actually do once in a while. It was pretty crowded as usual on a holiday, but pretty bearable and totally worth it. My favorite part about dim sum is being able to eat a variety of different dishes. I love being able to eat a little bit of everything. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, so I basically spent it being lazy with Mart and we finished watching The Walking Dead. My mom cooked lunch so we also ate together. For dinner, Mart and I went to eat Korean BBQ. Lol! The place was open all day, surprisingly so we gave it a go since it was my first time being there after the restaurant renovated & changed management. $10 all you can eat! Crazy. Normally I don’t like all you can eat KBBQ because you’re forced to stuff yourself so that you eat your money’s worth, but at $10 I ate a lot and still didn’t have to feel like I needed to stuff down more food. Besides the good food, I think I just really enjoyed being with my family and spending so much time with my boyfriend.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day: For New Year’s Eve, my good friend borrowed her uncle’s apartment for us to spend the night in. After grabbing dinner and getting dolled up, we went to a “yacht party.” It was a very expensive ticket, but it was something she wanted to do so I obliged. The important part was being able to spend time with her and all of our friends. The yacht itself was extremely unimpressive (quite small from what I was expecting) and the “appetizer buffet” ran out in 5 minutes. Lmao. I never got to try a single piece of food. It was an unlimited open bar though, so I guess I got my money’s worth through that. There was a dance floor so that was fun for a little while. The DJ was the nerdiest DJ I’ve ever seen, lol. The level of fun wasn’t exactly up to my standards so I kind of frequented the open bar…a lot.

I think my favorite parts of the night was meeting the different people and strangers on the yacht. Met this one guy who was a few years younger than us and was alone (his cousins basically brought him along) so I invited him to hang out with our group. Also met this group of Asians who also had the one token white guy, just like our group, lol! The partygoers on the yacht were mostly older, so it was nice meeting people our age.

It got super ratchet once the drinks started flowing. It was an open bar for maybe 150 people and with only 6 bathrooms (1 was flooded), so the bathroom lines got super long. To speed things up my friend and I went into the same bathroom (they were single bathrooms only). She used the toilet first and when I used it second, she left to go outside (why she couldn’t wait till I was done, beats me) – at that point a group of 3-4 girls busted in and started using the toilet as I was washing my hands, LOL.

One of our friends had a cougar latch onto him on the dance floor. She was an older woman, maybe in her 40s? It was super fun seeing them dance. Later that night, we met her husband. LOL. He was totally cool with it…apparently she has a “sister wife” whom we also met and they are into polyamory. Oh my goodness. It was great.

We ended the yacht party with watching fireworks on the top deck and then we went to *drumroll* Denny’s afterwards for nighttime munchies. Hahaha.

The next day we had lunch together before parting ways.

Board Game Night: But we didn’t part ways for very long, because the next day we grabbed dinner together and had a board game night. Lol. Surprisingly, way more people showed up than we expected…a total of 12 people, so we couldn’t really play any board games that included everyone. We ended up playing Cranium and Bang! until about midnight. Honestly, I didn’t plan to stay that long, and almost didn’t even go to board game night, just because it was kind of a last minute event before my break ended. I needed the time to practice, study, and prepare for the upcoming week back at school…oh well. At least it was nice seeing everyone one last time before going back to the grind.

Work and Practice: In between all of the fun, I did spend some time helping out by working at the optometry office. I’ve been working there for over 2 years now. I needed the money and they needed the help, so it worked out. I also spend some time practicing my clinical skills before going back to school, and finishing my rigid contact lens.

As for studying, I got absolutely none of that done. *sighs* It was kind of expected though. I’m going to write soon about my ideas for self-improvement so that I can hopefully live a less stressed out life. Back to the grind now. I did have a great 2 week vacation and I’m not ready to go back but I will make the most of it. I need to be more positive in my life.

Do you have any goals for the new year?

I’m currently on “winter recess” so I have one week off of optometry school – whoo hoo!!! So, on Monday we had a magical Disneyland trip!

We headed to Disney California Adventures first – did not realize they actually opened at 10am and 9am was an “extra magic hour” for Disney hotel guests only – and had to wait a bit. I found it hilarious that some cast members had to walk us while keeping a rope (gas pump to be exact!) extended to the Carsland section to avoid any crazy stampedes early in the morning. Choosing this ride first thing in the morning was an excellent choice because we only waited maybe 25 minutes! Towards the end of the day the wait for that ride ended up in the 2 hour range. Here are the rides we hit up today!

Disney California Adventures!

DCA
– Radiator Springs Racers (Cars Land)
– California Screamin (Paradise Pier)
– Goofy’s Sky School (Paradise Pier) – had a churro to tide me over in the line!
– Toy Story Mania (Paradise Pier)
– Tower of Terror (Hollywood Land)

It rained slightly until noon but it wasn’t too bad – and maybe it warded away the crowds :)

Picked up our anniversary badges at City Hall and then ate a glorious lunch around 3pm at Café Orleans. We tried the gumbo, pomme fries, and the monte cristo sandwiches. Since our waitress saw our anniversary badges, she gave us a complimentary pair of beignets! It’s funny because we were planning to get them later in the day anyway. Interestingly, there was a very old lady who was very displeased with a couple sitting nearby. They were playing the Heads Up iPhone game with much enthusiasm and loudness, and I guess that really bothered her. She spoke to management about it and she spoke very softly so I couldn’t hear what was going on but I did hear her mutter about “being civilized.” The staff ended up apologizing to her and giving her a discount but I don’t think they ended up talking to the couple about being “rude.” I thought they could have toned it down a bit, but I wouldn’t have said anything – it’s the happiest place on earth! :p

2 fresh beignets

Anyway, I warned my boyfriend about TWO orders of monte cristo sandwiches being too much for us but he insisted – and he was indeed overstuffed. lol. So we ended up changing plans and going on more “tame” rides first to prevent him from tossing his lunch (aka Space Mountain for later). :D Sadly the Fantasmic FastPasses stopped being distributed so we gave up on seeing the show. But that’s ok! We got to go on many more rides at least!

Next, we went to:

– It’s a Small World (Fantasyland)
– Snow White (Fantasyland)
– Big Thunder Mountail Railroad (Frontierland)
– Pirates of Carrib. (New Orleans Square)
– Enchanted Tiki Room + Tiki Bar for dole whip (Adventureland)
– Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
– Buzz lightyear – we went twice! (Tomorrowland)
– Haunted Mansion (New Orleans Square)
– Indiana Jones (Adventureland)

Since the rides close at “8:00pm” I thought they wouldn’t let us in line for anymore rides past 7:45pm, but they did! So we got to go on more rides than I anticipated :)

I have to say that despite how TERRIBLE I am with directions… my boyfriend has a terrible sense of direction and is even worse at reading maps than I am, lol. Let’s just say we were directed to dead ends, went into a nonsensical circle only to end up where we started, and have headed towards completely wrong directions. At that point I stopped believing his navigating skills were better than mine and started taking the map into my own hands. LOL. :p

I really enjoyed seeing people of all ages – from tiny babies to older folks – enjoying their Disneyland time. It really is enjoyable when you’re with the people you really care about. It was a very tiring – boy was I tired – but fun day :) Knocked out like a baby back at home…

Before we headed home

As a belated celebration of our six year anniversary, my boyfriend Mart and I went to Disneyland on March 2nd! Thanks to the generosity of my boyfriend’s family friend, we were able to get park hopper tickets to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventures for $50 a ticket at the door into Disneyland.

Once we had our tickets, we headed over to Disney California Adventures (DCA) to get Fast Passes reserved for World of Color and then back into Disneyland again. It was just lines, lines, lines. Lines to get bags checked, then lines to get into Disney, lines to get into DCA, then lines to get back into Disney, lol. You will not be able to survive the lines if you do not 1) have fantastic company with you or 2) have something to keep yourself busy with.

City Hall

6 yr anniversary

The first thing we did once we were in Dland again was go to City Hall and get our free happy anniversary badges. :) Thanks to these badges, a lot of the Disney cast members wished us a happy anniversary.

We took advantage of their Fast Pass system, which is where you get the Fast Pass ticket and this allows you to come back at your appointed time slot to get into a faster, shorter line for the ride at your appointed time slot. We used this system to get into Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Indiana Jones. In between these major rides, we went to…

  • Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • It’s a Small World
  • Pinnocio’s Daring Journey
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Haunted Mansion

Churro

As a pre-lunch snack to keep us tided over, we had those infamous Disneyland churros. Overpriced just like any theme park, but at least they were deliciously surgary and hit the spot.

Chicken lunch

For lunch we had the chicken plate at the Plaza Inn. It was pretty darn good, except I personally would have liked them to use a whole lot less salt in it. Yikes. *drinks a ton of water*

Other snacks we had to tide us over during the evening:

Pineapple Whip Float

Beignets & Mint Julep

  • Dole whip floats: Oh my goodness, these are amazing. I’ve never had dole whip before, so I didn’t expect much, but it exceeded my expectations!
  • Mint Julep and beignets: Amazing, amazing! Finding the Mint Julep Bar was difficult for us since it was rather elusive! But it was sooo worth it and we had the pleasure of hearing a song from this jazz band.

Jazz band

It was our first time seeing World of Color, which is a water show paired with music and lights to project color images onto the water sprays. Since we got Fast Passes, we had a very close up view of the show, but unfortunately we didn’t arrive early enough to get a spot right behind a roped off area to ensure nobody was directly standing in front of us. This means I spent more time staring at the back of people’s heads. I still got to see a lot of the show though.

Flounder

Ariel

Pocahontas Scene

Princesses & their princes

Luckily for us, we were still in DCA during the second show, so we were able to see it at a different angle and almost saw the show twice. The great thing about our second location on the bridge was that we could see every single thing without being obstructed by the back of someone’s head! The bad thing about it was how far away it was located from the show – it’s true that the closer you are, the more magical it feels with the water and lights all up in your face. It’s a show that will wow the kids but also feel romantic when you snuggle up with your significant other. *love*

Epic Jack Sparrow part

Rainbow colors!

World of Color

Our last ride was Toy Story Mania, which I seriously LOVED. It’s more like a game. The physics of it was seriously accurate. If, for example, you “shot” a ball (the gun is real and attached to your car but the things that come out of it are virtual) at a plate and a shard of the broken plate flew back at you, you can feel air blowing back at you! If you aim your dart higher, the dart will project farther. They really took the real life physics of objects & motion and then mirrored it perfectly in the virtual world. As soon as the ride is over, you’ll just want to go again. It was a great ride to end the day with despite the agonizing line-waiting.

That’s us in the reflection haha

Lastly, we ended our extremely long day with sharing a Chicken Chipotle Avocado sandwich from Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney. It has creamy avocado, tender chicken, crispy bacon, and addicting chipotle sauce with a little spicy kick, all inside toasty bread that is fluffily soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Chipotle Chicken Avocado Sandwich

Everything went so smoothly and as planned (we spent 2 hours the night before doing the planning…thank you internet for the tips and yelp for the food suggestions :p ) Mart and I had SO much fun together. Ah yes, it was a magical day. ^_^

Disney

I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day even when I was single because I would get excited over making cards and giving out candy to my friends. So you can imagine I like to make my boo feel special on Valentine’s Day. Better yet, V-Day is our anniversary, haha. This year it was our 6 year anniversary. It has not been as easy as a slice of pie for us all of this time, but maybe that makes it all even better. Anyway, we enjoy sharing our anniversary celebration with all the other couples out there for V-Day, so it’s not a problem for us. ^_^

My gifts for him

Although I did draw and color the Jake & Lady Rainicorn (from Adventure Time) picture myself, I don’t take credit for the idea of the picture itself. My boyfriend and I love Adventure Time. It is the best cartoon ever! It is intended for kids but there is so much quirkiness, hilarious innuendos, and wonderful story telling that I can proudly say it’s one of my favorite shows. Anyway, since we love the show and made it a pasttime to watch the show together, I thought it’d be cute to make a Jake plushie and a handmade Adventure Time Valentine card. It really brought memories back making that childish Valentine card. The old days of making handemade cards for your classmates and the strong scent of crayons. I remember him wanting a dog tag necklace before, so I decided to get him one. Get it? Jake the dog. And a dog tag necklace? Geeeet it? :p A personalized owl card, some freshly baked brownies, and a wrist strap for his iPod Nano to top it all off.

His presents for me :)

The dinner we had

If you notice, most of my gifts are food-related, LOL. He knows me best and knows I like to eat good food. He said his theme was “strawberries,” hence the choco-covered strawberries he made himself, the amazing strawberry cream croissants, and the cute card he made for me. That silly guy decided to make chocolate strawberries the night before and then the morning of Valentine’s Day he drove to get the croissants – all during the rush before an assignment he still had to work on that was due that day. Ha ha, he’s so funny. At least he managed it all in the end. 8-) He also got us matching throw blankets at my request (he was panicking about not having any ideas so I just told him :p ) – they are the softest, most comfortable throw blankets I’ve ever had! They are just the thing on late study nights or movie nights. And then he took us out to dinner. We chose a pretty awesome restaurant and in the pictures you can see how much we indulged. :p

As you can see, we try really hard to make it spectacular for the other. :p We really enjoyed ourselves. 6 years is a long time, considering that means we’ve been together since we were still teenagers (I was 17) and are now in our early twenties. But in a way, it doesn’t feel that long at all. Life flashes by before your eyes. We just have to do our best to enjoy it, and try our best to work things out.

This year for Thanksgiving, my family invited over two of my cousins and their parents, making this an eight person feast. My mom was in charge of the turkey and salad, but I was in charge of all other dishes from scratch.

The night before Thanksgiving Day, I prepped all of the food as much as I could. The involved a ton of chopping, boiling, mashing, mixing, and measuring ingredients. The next morning, I continued baking the food and cooking everything after my mom finished with the turkey. I’d say in totality, that took maybe six hours (the turkey was another 3?). Of course, none of this is ever mandatory. My family couldn’t care less if we didn’t eat a Thanksgiving dinner. We are very Asian and very non-traditional in general. But, I love doing it once a year because 1) I love food, and 2) I love making all of the food so that we can all get together and eat yummy homemade food together.

Mashed Potatoes

Turkey

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Stuffing/Dressing

Yam Casserole

As you can see, we had mashed potatoes, turkey (12 lbs), caramelized butternut squash, salad (not pictured), stuffing (with apples, cranberries, celery, onions, and sausage), and yam casserole (with a crunchy pecan topping). I even attempted making gravy from scratch (using the turkey drippings) this year; it’s not hard at all! Couldn’t find fresh cranberries, so I just heated up some cranberry sauce from a can. We also had a store-bought pumpkin pie at the usual request of my brother (his favorite!), but surprisingly, this year my family loved the yam casserole and ate most of that as a dessert instead of the pie. I’ve made it in the past with it going untouched, but this year I altered the recipe to be a billion times less sweet and that made a huge difference. My cousins’ family brought over some tasty sparking juice.

I hope everyone really enjoyed all of the food. ^_^

Dining Table

As always, I continued eating leftovers the days afterwards and shared them with my boyfriend (he loves it since his family never makes traditional Thanksgiving food). His family had an annual Thanksgiving party, but the time ended up conflicting with my cousins staying over (the party was earlier than I thought), so I decided just to spend time with my cousins instead. Since we had a Thanksgiving lunch instead of a dinner, for dinner my boyfriend came over to “trade food,” haha. He packed me a ton of food from his party (traditional Filipino food + BBQ + other stuff), while I gave him my Thanksgiving food. It was really yummy! A great way to keep me from getting tired of Thanksgiving food, too, since I alternated with eating the food he gave me. :p

My family never goes around the table asking what we’re all thankful for (a common tradition), but it’s not really necessary since I think everyone knew what they were thankful for anyways, and obviously was happy that we could all sit down and eat some great food together. In case you haven’t noticed, I love good food, so any holiday that involves food always makes me happy. :p

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