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.


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.


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!


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.


When friends become strangers

Last night, my husband and I had the opportunity to watch a Clipper's game {someone from his work gave us the tickets}, so we said "Why not?" and headed out to downtown L.A. after work. Although I am not a big sports fan, we ended up having a lot of fun watching the game! I know you're supposed to root for the home team, but I just felt awful about the rookie from the opposing team that airballed two straight free throws.

This is kind of unrelated, but lately I've been having dreams about people from the past that I haven't thought about in years. People that I used to be close with over 10 years ago, but haven't contacted since then. Essentially, people who were my very close friends but have since become strangers. 

I googled "friends become strangers" and the top search result hit a home run for me. It's a quote from Hayley Williams, the singer from Paramore: 

"Sometimes friends become enemies, but what's worse is when they become strangers."

After these dreams, I wake up with a mixed bag of emotions -- a sprinkle of "Hm, that was an odd dream," a dash of  "I wonder what they're up to now...," and a hint of utter sadness and disappointment that both parties didn't put much effort to keep in touch. 

Isn't it weird how the subconscious mind works? 99.9% of the time, nothing makes me happier than to be surrounded by my small circle of tight-knit friends, my husband, family, and Louie. What more can I ask for than to be loved by the people I love? I am very fortunate to have such good people in my life. I am there for them, and they are here for me. Doing the most mundane things together with them is a fun experience, and doing impromptu things like going to a Clipper's game on a Wednesday night with my husband turns into an adventure. Most of the time, they're all I think and care about because we constantly communicate with one another, whether it be via text, calls, or in person.

But that 00.1% of the time, something triggers my mind to remember individuals like the ones that have been recurring characters in my dreams lately and think about how unfortunate it is that we as humans put so much time and effort to build relationships with certain people; yet after some time, both or one of the parties begin to experience change and the relationship you once had just evaporates. It's usually a gradual thing -- like, one of you starts noticing that you two no longer share the same values or interests that you once did. You try to look past the differences, but you can't help but want to be with the person that they once were instead. You don't enjoy being with this "new" person they've become {or vice versa}.

So naturally the frequent meetups begin to dwindle, you both find other people that are more in line with your aspirations and interests, and in a blink of an eye you're no longer speaking to one another. Not even a simple "How are you?" More time passes, and they've become a ghost of your past. People change, friends sometimes become strangers, but the memories will remain.

Upon a further google search, I came across this eloquently written piece about my current state of mind. Though I am not able to write down my thoughts as beautifully as the author, my sentiments are the same: "The hope is that we grow with our friends, but more often than not we grow apart. We grow into strangers...We were strangers once before and built a friendship. We are now strangers again. Do we try again?"

Something to think about.


Raining cats and dogs

SoCal is experiencing some much needed rain today.

Out of all the different types of weather, rain brings back a lot of memories and feelings for me.

Back in grade school, I looked forward to rainy days because that meant we were able to play "Heads up, Seven-up" as a class. When I was given the chance to press down on someone's thumb, I always chose an acquaintance -- someone I was not quite friends with -- just to make the guessing part more difficult. Looking back, I remember most kids chose their close friends or their crushes. It just seemed too obvious when that happened, and it wasn't much fun in my book. Have you played this game, and if so, did you enjoy it? 

In middle school, I remember an incident when my childhood best friend and I were waiting for her grandmother to pick us up after school, but she didn't come after 30 minutes of waiting. It started drizzling. We decided to take a chance and walked to her grandmother's home together. Midway through the walk, it started pouring. We decided to stop by a fast food joint and pooled our coins to share fries inside and talked until the rain started to clear up. That was one of my most memorable times with her, even though all we did was talk about the things we did all the time, which was: "which boy do you think is cute/funny/smart?" and "if you could be anyone from tv, which character would you want to be?"

Then there was this one time in high school when I lost by a point on a tie-breaker in a tennis match against our rival school and it was sprinkling. I shed a few tears in frustration as soon as my ball hit the net {on my side}, because I knew my team was counting on me to win. I guess it didn't help that I was mentally and physically exhausted by then. I sniffled my tears away and tried to convince my teammates that my tears were being mistaken by the rain -- they didn't buy it for one second. Smart girls.

Now as an adult, I enjoy the rain for the most part. I find the gentle sound of the rain hitting the window panes to be soothing. The only thing I do not like is when Louie shakes all over the house after she's gone outside to do her business and splatters water all over me. Oh, and driving to and from work in the rain. That's always a drag and adds a good 30 extra minutes on my commute.

Do you have any memories that are triggered by the rain?


Thanksgiving 2014

Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving in America -- a day to gather and celebrate friends, family, and food.

If my memory serves me right, I think I was ill and miserable around this time last year. Thankfully, I am in good health this year! Ever since I was a child, I've had a low immune system and would easily catch a cold or flu, especially during the fall to winter months. This year, I've been exercising and/or stretching throughout the week, and have been trying to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits -- and I think it's been helping me ward off germs. Staying healthy means that I can better take care of others in times of need as well. Good health is oftentimes taken for granted, and I am appreciative that all of the special people in my life have been relatively healthy this year.

I am also very thankful for the special dog in my life, Louie. I have suffered from bouts of mild depression from time to time, and ever since we've had her in our lives, she has made me feel positive and happy. As a token of my appreciation and as a belated birthday present for Louie, I purchased our first Barkbox -- a monthly subscription catered to pups!

Here are the items that were included in this month's package (I decided to do two months worth):

  • Swag Company Cornucopia (toy)
  • Petmate Chef Heggies (toy)
  • Caru Pet Food Company Beef Stew
  • Plato EOS Turkey & Sweet Potato Treats
  • Safemade Apawthecary Cleaning Wipes

Louie is so pleased with these items, which makes me very happy {her favorite is the cornucopia toy}! We plan to feed her the beef stew tomorrow, so she can have a special dinner like the rest of us. Thank you Louie, for just being you.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope you are able to spend time with your loved ones :)

Sephora lipbalm from Ice Pandora

I recently won a giveaway hosted by the one and only Mei from Ice Pandora :) I love her blog because she posts so many DIY tutorials & recipes that are very easy to follow and produce great results! I think my all-time favorite tutorial she posted is her crocheted pumpkin pie -- it is so darn cute and makes for a sweet gift to a gal pal. I've also been wanting to follow her raspberry beanie tutorial -- maybe during the holiday break.

She recently hosted a Sephora "Kiss Me" lipbalm giveaway, and I was randomly chosen as the winner :) I just received my package in the mail and I was eager to try it on!

Sephora "Kiss Me" in 05 Strawberry Fizz

Ta-da! Love this lip color :)
Thank you so much, Mei! I love it :) & the handwritten note you included was very sweet too! I will give Louie extra hugs for you ;)