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2.26.2015

Sewing class #1

I've been wanting to learn how to use a sewing machine for like, ever. I'm so fascinated that people can sew their own clothes and they're like, "NBD (no big deal), I just use the sewing machine," and I'm just over here like "HOW?! Show me the way!"


In this day and age, there's boundless resources -- youtube, blogs, books, etc. I know this. But I am a visual learner. The best way for me to learn is for someone to physically teach me, step by step -- at least for the first time around. Plus, I didn't know what would be considered a good sewing machine that would be easy enough to use for a beginner and can still have functions for me to use as I gain more experience and knowledge. On top of that, I don't necessarily have the funds to just buy one on a whim and I'd hate to be stuck with a machine that doesn't suit my needs.

I tried to find people around me that might know how to use a sewing machine so that I could learn from them, but to no avail. Darn. Then, time passed, and more urgent things started popping up. You know, life. So I put my sewing aspirations on the back burner for quite some time.


Sometime this past January, I told myself to stop making excuses. I just needed to sign up for a class already, if I couldn't find someone I personally knew to teach me. Luckily, I was able to find a local fabric shop that started offering small classes and signed up for the next available weekend class. I just had to pay a nominal fee for the class (per project) and buy the materials from the store.

For the beginner's class, they give you an option of learning how to sew a basic pillow case or a basic reversible tote bag. I signed up for the pillow case class because the reversible tote, although categorized as a "beginner's project," looked a bit overwhelming for my very first project.

Next, I picked out my fabric {probably the most difficult and fun part of the entire process -- so many choices!} and thread. Oh, and don't forget to buy a bobbin if you don't have one already!



Then, I went to a small section in the back of the store that was basically sectioned off in three sections: 1) sewing station 2) ironing station and 3) cutting station. The class lends all of the materials {less the fabric, thread, and whatever appliques that you'd like to add to your project} for you, like a sewing machine, scissors, ironing board & iron, pins, etc.

The class is in a group setting with one instructor. Each student is on a different skill level and were working on different projects ranging from quilts to a large baby blanket to an ornate tote bag .Since I was a beginner, the instructor had me practice a few stitches before starting on the real project. It was much harder than I anticipated to keep a steady pace on the foot pedal, but I got the hang of it by the time I finished my pillow case.



The project entailed measuring, cutting, ironing, pinning, then finally sewing, then ironing, sewing on the reverse side, and ironing once again. I've learned it's not really a project to do while being engrossed in a television show, because it requires a lot of attention at all times {unless you're really good at it!}. The entire process took me about three hours. I'm really pleased with the results. I've yet to master the art of sewing, so I signed up for two more classes -- one to make a matching pillow case and another to make a reversible tote bag :)



2.24.2015

Valentine's Weekend Update

I know it was about a week ago, but I hope everyone enjoyed Valentine's Day {if you celebrate it}! I understand some people go all out and some people don't really care about Valentine's Day. These days, my husband and I are somewhere in the middle, but leaning more towards the "indifferent" spectrum.

Since we're on the topic of Valentine's Day, did you know about the dark origins Valentine's Day, according to NPR? The article was pretty eye opening to me! Sounds like scary times. Good thing we don't live in the ancient Roman times anymore!

My hubby and I exchanged practical gifts that we can both enjoy -- I gifted him with a foam roller and he gifted me with a lavender scented neck pillow and a migraine wrap.


We continued our usual tradition of getting take-out on Valentine's Day and enjoyed a heart shaped pizza from our favorite local pizza place, and a chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting topped with a chocolate covered strawberry! Yum :)




My mother-in-law brought over a pupcake for Louie, so she had a special treat too. It's so funny, because Louie gobbled up the pupcake right away, before even touching her regular food. She must know to prioritize the "good stuff" before filling up on the usual ole' dog food, just like us humans.








My mother-in-law also brought over a gift basket with soup mixes and soup cups, kitchen towels, and Snoopy Crunch chocolates. She is so sweet!



Oh, and Louie's stitches were finally removed. She is back to normal, thank goodness! No more cone of shame {at least for the time being}! Thank you all for your well wishes and good thoughts about her :)


2.13.2015

Valentine's Day Weekend & Updates

Is it just me or does it seem like February has been a "no chill" month? Every weekend has been filled up with events on my calendar, which is rare because I look forward to decompress on my days off {curling up on the couch with my two loves, my hubby and Louie, with a cup of tea....might sound boring to some of you, but it sounds like a dream to me}.

Busy is good, though. It keeps my creative juices flowing, and I feel productive and needed as well. So what have I been busy with lately? Well, last weekend my sister-in-law was briefly visiting from NYC so we were quite busy with family gatherings, and my best friend recently got engaged and is ready to tie the knot in June, so I have been busy planning her bridal shower and bachelorette weekend. Oh, and I finally signed up for a sewing class next weekend! I'm so excited to learn the basics of using a sewing machine because I've always envied people that are able to sew their own curtains and clothes! I also purchased my very first embroidery hoop art kit and am excited to get it in the mail. Is it weird that I get excited about projects most ladies around my age consider "granny-like"? I really wish home-ec was offered to me when I was growing up -- I could've got a head start :)

This weekend is Valentine's day. Are you doing anything fun? It's our first Valentine's as a married couple, but I think we're still going to keep it low-key. Maybe watch a movie and get a quick bite to eat during the day? We made cake balls for the first time together to show some love and appreciation to his parents and for his colleagues, and I think they turned out great! Hope they like 'em!



I also have a co-worker that's expecting a baby boy soon, so I made her this crochet hedgehog rattle toy following this pattern:



Louie is doing well, too. The pathologist ran a test on the growth from her lower eyelid, and it was determined that the growth was due to either an inflammation from an insect bite or a benign tumor, which is the more likely case. The bottom line is that she is healthy {hooray!} and she will have her stitches removed soon.


Hope you all enjoy the weekend! xx

2.05.2015

A Little Scare and a Sigh of Relief

Louie underwent a minor eyelid surgery a few days ago. 


Around November, we noticed a tiny growth on one of her eyelids. It didn't seem to bother her (no scratching, pawing, etc.) and since it was so tiny, we just kept an eye on it.  Gradually, it grew and we were concerned. We asked our vet and she mentioned that since it's a very sensitive area, she wanted to try to treat it with a medicated eye cream to try to shrink the growth first. It scared us because she wasn't completely sure if it would just be a small growth or whether it would be an early sign of a tumor. We followed the instructions for the eye cream but the growth grew even more in a matter of two weeks. We could tell it was starting to bother Louie at this point, because she would try to rub her eye on the floor or paw at it. With the vet's recommendation, we decided to schedule Louie for a surgery. 

It was a successful one day procedure. Our little champ went under general anesthesia, and she has a little patch of fur missing on her right arm (where they inserted the I.V.). The growth has been removed now, and instead she has several stitches. She was prescribed a special eye drop (she hates it! I totally get it because I hate putting in eye drops myself!) and she still has a monster appetite. She played with her toys and slept per usual.


I was a bit hesitant to leave for work this morning because after our usual morning walk, I noticed that her under eye was bleeding. I checked her stitches, and all of it looked like they were still in tact. She wasn't whimpering or whining. In fact, she was nudging me to give her a treat (typical beagle). She seemed totally fine, unfazed by the blood pooling on her under eye. Yet, I panicked. I didn't know when, why, or how it happened, but the wound must have opened up and I felt as though it was my fault for not noticing it sooner or preventing it from happening.

Part of me wanted so badly to call my carpool buddy to tell her that I had an emergency I needed to take care of and that I wouldn't be able to pick her up this morning. But it was too sudden of a notice. My carpool buddy doesn't have another means to get to work, and she was depending on me. So I frantically woke up my husband and asked him to keep an eye on her and to see if the bleeding stops. If not, then we agreed that he should call the vet and take her in if necessary. Luckily, my husband and Louie both remained calm, unlike me!

By the time I arrived to work, my husband informed me that her bleeding stopped, and it was probably a residue of the eye drop that leaked near the stitches that made it bleed. What a scare!

Speaking of scares, this is a screenshot of the texts my husband and I were exchanging on the day of the surgery. He likes to trick me because I am gullible, haha:



1.26.2015

Louie's snow experience









Back in December, my husband and I decided to take an impromptu visit to Big Bear with Louie. It's about a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles -- perfect for a short getaway. We have been making an informal bucket list for Louie and having her experience snow has been one of them. From looking at photos of other beagles on Instagram, we thought she'd have tons of fun. But to be honest, I don't think she enjoyed running around in the snow very much -- especially since it was the icy, slick kind and not the fluffy, soft kind of snow that day. 





Nevertheless, it was an adventure for the three of us! We actually didn't stay very long because it was so crowded that day and parking was very difficult to find. Next time, we'll plan ahead and book a small cottage and spend a weekend there. Maybe Louie will warm up to the snow next time around.

1.08.2015

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015!

I am usually not one to set new year's resolutions, but I decided that I want to be happy and healthy this year. That's my main goal for the entire year, and hopefully it will carry on throughout the remainder of my life. Of course, there will most likely be some bad days mixed in with the good, but by keeping certain things on my radar and acting proactively, I'll have a better chance of having more good days than bad days!

I believe that health and happiness come hand-in-hand. It's difficult to be happy when you're unhealthy/ill, don't you agree? The path leading to a happy and healthy lifestyle is probably not the same for everyone, but I'd bet the common grounds are physical well-being (diet/nutrition/exercise), finance/organization, and mental awareness. I'm going to try my best to be proactive about these three key items throughout the year to live the happy and healthy lifestyle I strive for.


Physical Well-Being Via Diet/Nutirition/Exercise

Every year I always tend to overindulge during the holiday festivities, starting from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve. My birthday is during that period too, so that adds to the overindulgence.

Celery root -- a first for me!

I have been following The Food Lover's Cleanse since January 2nd and I've encouraged my husband to join me. I'm sure there will be times when I will be derailed from these clean eating habits due to time constraints/laziness/not wanting to cook, but we've been doing well so far! Even after the two week cleanse, I will try my best to reach for clean foods rather than junk food this year. Clean eating leads to good health, which will lead me to happiness :)


Root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, and celery root. Tossed in olive oil and seasoned with S & P.
Waiting for the root vegetables to roast
I will also make a conscious effort to stretch and exercise more often this year. These two are key to lower my anxiety and stress.

Finance/Organization

Last year I aggressively started to take better control of my finances, especially because my husband and I had to save for our wedding. We vowed not to be cash poor as newlyweds and stuck to our budget for the wedding. To stick to the budget, I significantly decreased the amount of frivolous spending on myself and/or each other, had more "stay-cations," and I prepared my lunch during the weekdays to avoid eating out. I also purchased gifts for my friends, families, and co-workers throughout the year (for birthdays/holidays) so that I could avoid spending a lot of cash in one specific month.

The makings of a beet soup - part 1

I think I will continue to use the above tactics to organize my finances, but I'm adding one more challenge this year: the 52 Week Money Challenge. The concept is simple -- save a certain amount each week for every week in the year to save close to $1,400. I've decided to use the reversal tracker so that I save larger deposits early on, and by week 52 I'll only have to save a dollar! Making small changes and taking charge of my personal finances will for sure help me stay happy throughout the year.

The makings of a beet soup - part 2

The makings of a beet soup - part 3

Mental Awareness

I'm also going to do a little mental exercise and answers these questions from Our Body Book. I have to remind myself that it's important to be honest with these answers, and revisit them every few months throughout the year to see how my mental awareness has been.

How did I bring joy to others in 2014?
Hard question right off the bat! I believe it was the simple things that I did to bring joy to others in 2014 -- like spending quality time with people, being sincere, donating when I could, and sharing photos and stories of Louie, our beagle.

What wasn’t working for me in 2014? What habit/relationship/feeling could I let go of in 2015?
I have to admit that commuting to work really took a toll on me in 2014. It put me in a bad mood whenever I was stuck in traffic, and the long car ride often times made me feel nauseated. On really bad days, the bad commute lead me to a downward emotional and physical spiral of being too tired to cook dinner/ prep for the next day/ and/or go to the gym which lead me to be disappointed and unhappy with myself. It helps that I have a carpool buddy now. I also try to prep our dinners in advance so that I don't have to spend so much time in the kitchen after work.

A habit that I could let go of in 2015 is comparing myself to others. This is going to be rather difficult for me, but I will try!


My vision for 2015 looks like….(be as specific as you can be!)
 Be happy and healthy!

How can I bring more of a “yes” mentality to my life?
 Be open to new ideas/opportunities and new people.

What makes me happy/”light up”?
 Spending time with loved ones and also recharging by having ample alone time (I am naturally an introvert).


List 5 things you are grateful for in this moment.
  1.  No major health issues yet
  2.  Loving and trusting relationship with my husband
  3.  Unconditional love and support from friends and family members
  4.  Louie
  5.  Employment/stable income with benefits
How can I bring more playfulness and adventure into my life?
Continue to plan ahead and organize, but also encourage spontaneity.
Ta-da! Beet soup & arugula salad with roasted root vegetables and a poached egg.

Here's to another great year :) Cheers!

12.18.2014

2014 Recap

Every night that we've turned the lights on our Christmas tree this year, I can't help but smile. Our gracious and thoughtful friends and families have gifted us with several new ornaments this year, and they remind me of what a wonderful year 2014 has been thus far.

We've had happy times with our friends, finally met our newborn nephew, traveled, and we got married too -- all in a year!

I devoted the early months of 2014 prepping for our wedding -- DIY projects, contacting vendors, arranging and participating in events with our bridal party, etc. etc. These were hectic, yet rewarding months. 

By the half-way mark of 2014, we officially became husband and wife! We had a blast on our wedding day and hope all of our attendees did too! #BestDayEver


So thankful for everyone's love and support, seriously. 

My bridal party was with with me every step of the way -- from start to finish. 

Our wonderful and talented photographer, Jennifer Fujikawa, captured all of the special moments....and then she went above and beyond and gifted us a special ornament yesterday!! Such a sweet and thoughtful gesture. My hubby and I smiled when we opened her gift because the photo inside the ornament frame turned out to be one of the photos we love most from that day (& have a larger version already framed)! We're all on the same page here. 



My in-laws have always welcomed me as family, and now it is official :) My mom-in-law gifted us with this "best dog ever" ornament this year {she gifts us an ornament each year} for Louie. It's in the shape of a treat jar with small dog biscuits inside.


In the fall, we went on our dream honeymoon to Europe :) We navigated through two countries and attempted our best to speak their languages {at least the bare minimum}. Parlez-vous anglais?

Now onto winter, we've finally started getting used to being referred to as "Mr & Mrs," and I've legally changed my last name. What a process that was {those that have gone through the name changing process -- my hats off to you}!

I've also had the pleasure this year to befriend some of the most creative and thoughtful people on Instagram and on the blogosphere. One of these people happens to be Jane from Always With Yoo. She is quiet and sweet, yet firm with her beliefs, and I love and admire that aspect about her. Thank you, Jane, Yangkyu, and Piri for sending us this wonderfully handcrafted mini tree ornament! It is such a heartwarming gift.


Thank you, 2014, for being so, so good to us. This will probably be my last post for 2014 -- wishing you happy holidays and best wishes for a new year of happiness and peace! xoxo.