Easter Sunrise

Every year, it is our tradition to watch the sunrise on Easter.  Every year, we have the SAME conversation.

Me: We need to go at [insert time, which is usually 20 minutes before the sunrise].
Terry: No, we can go right at the sunrise time because that’s when it just starts to get bright.
Me: No, we need to go earlier because it gets bright before the sunrise time.  We’re going to miss it.
Terry: We’re not going to miss it.
Me: What time is it?  We need to sleep like NOW.

I wish I was able to be more reflective on this day, but all I could think about was how Easter lunch would go (I was in charge for church) and what properties we were looking at in the afternoon.  I WISH I could have been joyful in the way that people who really understand Jesus’ resurrection are.  Full of humility and thankfulness.  When I am old and gray, I hope that I can look back on my life and say that I was able to be humble and thankful in any situation.

Terry takes the most magnificent pictures.

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ESPECIALLY THIS ONE!

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Easter Sunrise

The older we get…

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…the less we care about the gimmicks of Valentine’s Day.   It’s all about words and quality time from here on out.

I’ve been appreciating Terry a lot more lately and I think it’s because the more time passes on, the more I’m able to let go of my preconceived notions and expectations of a great husband and just let him love me the way that he does best.  He really surprises me sometimes.

I think it is important to praise your S.O. both privately and publicly.  For me, I do like it when he compliments me in front of friends.  Not like the goo-goo-gah-gah “you’re so beautiful” because that would literally wet my tongue with bile.  Same goes with the nickname “babe” or “baby.”  But it’s the little things here and there, like how he always says that I’m great at shucking oysters when the topic of shucking oysters comes up.  (I don’t know why I’m really proud of this.)  Likewise, I can see how excited Terry gets when I genuinely express my admiration for some quality of his because he will ALWAYS say “what? you really think so?” or “really? how?” in an effort for me to elaborate.  I always say “dude, I don’t know” so maybe I will start to think of something more substantial.

Some things I’ve really appreciated about Terry lately:

  • In the winter, I sleep with socks on and kick them off every night.  In the morning, Terry finds them and neatly places them where I can find them.
  • He can make any kid warm up to him.  It’s a magic that ceases to amaze me.
  • He also knows that I don’t have the same kid powers so he gave me a tutorial on how to win them over. Key actions: facial gestures, hand, sound (in that order).
  • I’m always telling him big and lofty dreams for our future and he genuinely keeps an open mind, which surprises me because sometimes I even think I’m talking crazy.
  • He will watch YouTube vlogs with me and point out things he remembers about the people.

This year for Valentine’s Day, it will be nice to just stay home or eat somewhere local or run errands or watch a movie with Terry.  My dad is still in Asia until the end of March so we’ve been able to have the privacy that we’ve been craving for almost two years.  It has been terrific.

Single, dating, or married… take a second to say an out-of-the-blue compliment to someone you love.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

The older we get…

Unst Unst… Happy New Year!

This year, our group of friends pretended that we weren’t in our 30’s anymore and decided to go to a rave for new years.  While it was incredibly fun and I mean incredibly (even for my introverted self), I don’t know if I’ll be able to hang come new years 2014.  Terry and I normally attend EDM concerts because he likes that music and unfortunately, EDM is synonymous with touchy feeling, drugged up, happy go lucky, light show loving, neon wearing individuals.

Here we are riding Bart to the event, fully clothed, because it was freezing.  That obviously didn’t matter to 95% of other people there.

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Earlier that day, I kept telling Forrest that I would not see him at the event because there would be over 10,000 people there.  Shortly after I text him, he shows up behind me, unclothed.  Regular ravers must have some sixth sense in finding people in the midst of intense stimulation.

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Asian glow.

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Started new years off with exactly what I needed, hot pot at home!  I made this spicy Asian dipping sauce which was reminiscent of the one my mom used to make.

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I haven’t thought of any resolutions or goals yet because I’m still looking back to my 2013 list and checking off things I was able to accomplish.  I would say it was pretty successful overall.

Unst Unst… Happy New Year!

Christmas Redeemed

Christmas was starting to feel like Thanksgiving,… boring.  But then I was able to see all the people I’ve missed over the past couple months and it revived my excitement for it.  They (who’s “they”?) always say that the holidays should be about the people but I felt it more so this year.  Maybe because we’re on a mission to be wiser with our money so gifts just make me think about the money that could have been in my retirement account.

Spotrunner crew plus significant others, named after the company that we worked at together from 2006-09.  It is so special that we still keep in touch even though one of us is in NY!  There are so many memories that we constantly talk about which I cannot divulge otherwise we may never be able to find jobs in the future.

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The Chins, one of our must see families.  Their kids don’t quite like me yet but we got them a recordable storybook with our voices so if Angela remains faithful in playing it to them 10x/day, then I’m sure they will love me in time.

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College roommates.  Getting together is really an opportunity for us to physically SEE each other since we pretty much talk via email everyday.  I’m so thankful for that.

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In-laws.  It’s always wonderful to get home cooked Korean food.  Can you believe I was wearing shorts on Christmas EVE?  It was almost 80 degrees in SoCal.

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Dad trying on his new jacket with Forrest who is back from Alaska!

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Happy holidays!  I can’t wait for 2014, mainly because I will be going on vacation.

Christmas Redeemed

Dirty 30 and Fierce, so my friend says

This past week has been a whirlwind of celebrations for my 30th.  I always say I want to keep things low-key and they end up intense.

It started out last Saturday (12/7) with a brunch with 30 of my closest Norcal friends at Lake Chalet in Oakland.  Okay, that just sounds ridiculous but I honestly didn’t think everyone would be able to make it.  I felt so loved.

I also had cake 4 times:  Nation’s banana cream pie, 85C taro brulee, Ranch 99 mango mousse, Yuyin’s carrot cake (below).

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My birthday arrives on Tuesday along with some Peruvian lilies:

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My coworkers were a little confused when they saw these because they were convinced that my birthday was 2 days later on Thursday.

So on the next day (Wednesday), I arrive to this:

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On Thursday, we go out to lunch (kebabs) and on Friday again (The Habit) to celebrate.

Saturday, Terry and I head up to Napa to do this at the Fatted Calf:

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Separating the shoulder
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Not doing a side by side comparison; just a photo with my friend

After we’re all cleaned up of the pork essence, we meet up with my cousin and her husband, Catherine and Quincy, who happened to be visiting from NY!  Our stop: Domaine Carneros.

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Dinner is at Ad Hoc where there is more PORK on the menu:

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Pork shank with brussel sprouts
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Panna cotta with caramel and coconut streusel; gingerbread men cookies

We ended the night at a bed and breakfast, Old World Inn:

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Too tall for old school showers

Next day we had breakfast in bed and finished off the day at Artesa Winery with the most scrumptious wine.

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Mac n Cheese souffle, Strawberry Soup, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
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Fountain at Artesa Winery

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30 could not have started off in any better way, full and drunk.

Dirty 30 and Fierce, so my friend says

Turkey Schmurkey

I will be honest.  The holidays to me this year feel pretty insignificant.  Maybe it’s because I don’t get that fuzzy warm family feeling (there’s nothing fuzzy about my family, except maybe Terry’s stubble) or because I haven’t been shopping as much as I did in years past.  Sometimes I feel like Terry and I are that couple who chose not to have kids in the world of kids galore.   I’m talking about the couple who instead of visiting the kids/grandkids they don’t have, take some exotic vacation during the holidays instead.  It makes you envy and pity them at the same time.  Even though that’s technically not us because want to have kids someday and we have quite a few extended relatives, we feel pretty isolated.  For most Thanksgivings, we choose to stay local but my brother is away doing his military duties and my dad is even more indifferent about holidays.  That really just leaves us.

So here we are waiting to watch Book of Mormon.

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It’s so crude and funny.

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I can’t just say it’s just us two, because we have our two doggies too.  Terry looked at the dog on the right (intended to be Marlow) and asked if it was him.

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We tried not to do a lot this past weekend but sleep but somehow things (mainly lots of cooking) crept its way into our schedule:

  1. Took a nice long run with the doggies
  2. Went to the mall late in the day on Black Friday, it was still trashed.
  3. Baked and ruined pumpkin cinnamon rolls; second attempt of dough is in the fridge for tonight.
  4. Baked really dry banana-zucchini bread; this needs sour cream.
  5. Made Martha Stewart’s mac n cheese for potluck #1, jap chae for potluck #2.
  6. Got dim sum with Dad and Jin at Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Emervyille; spectacular view!
  7. Visited Bev with some Nations Pie; banana cream sold out…. so sad.  That should be everyone’s first pie at Nations.
  8. Errands, chores galore.

Terry: You put up Christmas decorations?
Me: Yes, to create a false sense of Christmas spirit.
Terry: Oh.
Me: No tree though. There’s no point when there are no presents under it.

Damn this somber post!  I am thankful, however, for Terry who is super supportive of me during my crazy lady periods.  Just look at that happy face above.

Turkey Schmurkey

“This body’s HOT! I feel powerful!” -LSP

Halloween seemed a little more mellow this year because it was on a Thursday and we didn’t celebrate the weekend before.  We went to a friend’s house, had some hot pot, gawked at each others’ craftiness, took lots of pictures, and gave out candy.  Tonight, we’re still technically celebrating at a concert but it seems like the momentum has died down.

This year, I went as Lumpy Space Princess (LSP) from Adventure Time and Terry went as a clone trooper.

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Our cute and coordinated couple friends.
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Reconciliation.
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They even like hot pot.
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Obligatory couple selfie.
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We wanted to spice up the giving out candy process so this is how Terry did it. Got some good looks.
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This really made the outfit, except my wig is falling off.

I made the dress by taking an old Forever 21 purple dress, cutting off the sleeves, and hot gluing pieces of tulle onto it.  Up close, you can see all the glue bits but from far away, it looks pretty good… like a loofah.  For the star, I just cut it out of some yellow card stock.  The wig was purchased off eBay and smelled like plastic.  Next year, our goal is to coordinate.

“This body’s HOT! I feel powerful!” -LSP

29.5th What What

For weeks, I had been pestering Terry on what he would do for my 29.5th birthday.  Who celebrates this, you ask?  I do.  I might have mentioned this in a post already but I will again.  Birthdays have always been a big deal for me because:

  1. My mom would ask me months in advance what I wanted and we would have lengthy discussions and do research together always to end up at some kind of coat/jacket.
  2. I would always make note of my half birthdays as a child growing up (I thought everyone did this but Terry said he did not).
  3. I led a freshmen girls bible study group as a college junior and they surprised me, without me asking, on my 20.5th birthday with balloons!  That just confirmed that half birthdays ARE important to people besides me… or maybe they just knew me well.

Last month, I saw a bracelet I really liked in a Mayan Village but it was too much ($90 USD) for a spur of the moment purchase.  I like to stew over purchases for a little while before making a decision and I literally had 20 minutes before the bus left me to become an immigrant there so I didn’t get it.

So on Sunday, the day before my 29.5th birthday, I was waking up from my 3-hour afternoon nap when Terry said “Close your eyes! I have a surprise for you!”  I closed my eyes but when he walked back in, the first thing I said was “are you naked?! is that the surprise?”  BUT NO IT WAS A PRETTY LITTLE BAG with a bracelet inside!  Yay!  Some of you may think, “Shannon, your husband is a sucker for your schemes” but trust me, he does not always do what I say.  He said it was to show his appreciation and that’s what I took it as.  Terry is the bomb diggity.

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Obligatory, generic jewelry-on-top-of-Tiffany’s-box picture.
29.5th What What

Terry’s Dirty & Flirty 30

Terry turned 30 this past Sunday so I decided to plan him a little weekend long celebration in the city (SF).   I had a close-up photo of Terry’s face that I wanted to make the theme of the party.

We started with the invite…

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then the birthday favors…

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…and finally with the dinner menu (thanks to the help of Tacolicious).

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Overall it was a fantastic weekend!  We checked into The Palace Hotel on Saturday afternoon and took a 2.5 hour nap before dinner.  Dinner at Tacolicious went better than I had expected.  I love planned dinners… even selecting a set menu beforehand makes things so much easier for the group.  Everyone pays the same amount and doesn’t have to worry about what to get or trying everything. This place is great for group events because they have a backroom with its own bartender!  You can read my entire Yelp review if interested.

Here are some highlights:

Platter of tacos: carnitas, chicken, braised beef, rock cod.
Platter of tacos: carnitas, chicken, braised beef, rock cod.
Hipster decor in the back room of the restaurant
Hipster decor in the back room of the restaurant.
Our group of frenzies. The best ones ever!
Our group of frenzies. The best ones ever!
Birthday man with his birthday churros
Birthday man with his birthday churros

Want to know what was in the favors?  Momofuku compost cookies!  When Terry made me the blueberry cream ones for my birthday this past year, I loved them so much that I had to try one of their others mixes.  Momofuku definitely makes cookie mixes with the most instructions I’ve ever seen from one and you have to do it to the T so that it turns out correctly.  I still like the blueberry cream one more but this one is interesting because you add your own potato chips and pretzels to the mix!

Momofuku Compost Cookie
Momofuku Compost Cookie

The rest of our weekend was pretty relaxing.  On Sunday, we had a small breakfast at La Boulange, got massages at Suchada Thai, and then ate at Super Duper Burger for lunch.

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Someone is living up the king size bed.
My mini burger on the left and Terry's super burger on the right. YOLO?
My mini burger on the left and Terry’s super burger on the right. YOLO?
Perfect looking ice cream that Terry claims he can replicate with his old DQ skills. What’s up with my face/head?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOVE OF MI VIDA!

Terry’s Dirty & Flirty 30

A Night of Wonder and Romance / Fifty Shades of Food

I did not coin the title of this post.  It was the actual title of our group Valentine’s Day dinner event.

Valentine’s Day is totally a Hallmark holiday with the overpriced EVERYTHING and the pink/red EVERYTHING that makes me want to barf EVERYTHING out.  But even though this holiday is a marketing scheme, I’m all for a reminder to appreciate your loved ones.  This time a year ago, my dad baked us each a lobster for the occasion.  That was very sweet now that I think about it.

Terry sent me flowers and they arrived on 2/13/13!  I didn’t even know he knew the address to my workplace so that was a nice surprise.  I guess you can find anything on the internet now.

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February 14 finally arrives and it is time for dinner at my friend, Sam’s, house.  We were literally treated like queens upon arrival with ’90s sexy music playing (quite nostalgic), our drink orders taken, appetizers served, and we didn’t even have to do any of the cleaning!  No cleaning is a big plus in my book.

Appetizers was a plethora of creamy things: quiche, goat cheese in phyllo dough with olive tapenade, mozzarella balls (which are not pictured but I ate a ton of), cheese, and fishes.

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The way the invitation was worded made it sound like a murder mystery dinner which I believe is possible in the future at Sam’s house.  Murder mystery dinner in a Chinese museum.

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Dinner consisted of beef loin, Moroccan seasoned striped bass, and banana flambe.  Delish.

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Fake candid picture of a real life situation: me eating and Terry trying to get in on my food.

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And I wanted to take a candid group photo but Terry…. oh Terry.

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And onto the absolutely BEST part of the night: when every couple shared details of their first kiss.  I like how people would start out with “ours is pretty boring” but by the end of it, we would all just fall over in laughter and tears.  They didn’t realize that their stories revealed so much about them that we didn’t know about their old selves.  But what happens in Sam’s house stays in Sam’s house.  Content shared was as juicy as a rare steak.

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As I had mentioned before, Sam’s house is literally like a Chinese museum in that it is FILLED with random artifacts such as this tiger genie lamp below.  After dinner, we did a photo shoot with the many random props laying around.

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I love to do THAT pose that THOSE girls do on Facebook.  After attempting this, I realized that it’s actually a lot of work.  You can’t tell but I’m arching my back a lot just to do this.  I’m practically doing yoga.

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A big thank you to the wonderful gents in our lives!  It was really nice to be pampered, served, and most of all… not have to clean up!!!

A Night of Wonder and Romance / Fifty Shades of Food