The obvious questions

You know what they are:
You’ve been dating for XX months/years, when will you get engaged?

When are you guys going to get married?

When are you going to buy a house (this one gets asked before being engaged, during engagement and after the wedding)?

After the wedding, when are you going to have a baby?

Peers having babies, so does this make you want to have a baby? (Then repeat house/baby question)

If no one has asked you any of these questions then you must not be human! Is it a bad thing to not do any of these? Or how about not doing it when everyone else is doing it? People should just be happy for people, instead of instilling their lifestyle choices/expectations/perceptions onto others. I liked how technology executive Sonita Lontoh put it “I find it interesting though that most of the time, a child-free person will have to defend or explain their choice, but those who choose to have children seldom have to defend or explain their decision. Maybe that’s because having children is way more common in our society than not having children.”

Lately I’ve been taking pics of my friends babies which is such a fun challenge for me! I like seeing what my friends will do to get their child to pay attention to the camera. Sometimes I’m laughing so hard that I can’t keep my camera still! I love how my friends essentially have no shame in singing and making noises to get that photo! It’s so heartwarming and funny. Also, for me it’s quite a challenge to capture a nice photo of a baby. You have a small window of time where they are happy or have their eyes open! I’m getting a lot of good practice and am so happy that my friends ask and trust me to take photos. It makes me want to take better photos!! Anyway, I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorites from the past month!

One month old!

 

11 months!


I’ll keep practicing while these cuties aren’t annoyed by me! 🙂

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Just kick!

 

Speedo

 

I never learned how to swim. The only opportunities I had to learn was in middle school with my cousins and in high school gym class. In middle school I did not have any interest and in high school I didn’t have to learn because I played on a team. Somehow I managed to not learn how to swim for 30+ years considering I live literally a few miles from the beach. I have snorkeled with the assistance of a vest and flippers in Hawaii and Mexico. Then we went to Thailand and I tried to snorkel without flippers. I fumbled big time! I got scared because I didn’t know how to kick properly, I didn’t like having my head in the water, and I didn’t even know how to keep myself afloat (I kept floating face-in). The Mr. was nearby and saved me. This was the turning point of where I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM. It’s not that I never tried, friends have tried to teach me. However, telling someone who has no idea how to float/kick to hold onto the edge of the pool and “just kick” does not work!

Since friends have tried teaching me, I thought the next best option was to get a professional. I ruled out group swim classes because I needed to get over my fear of water. So I got private swim lessons. Best decision ever! I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve learned as an adult learning to swim for the first time!

The first thing my instructor taught me was to breath. Get used to breathing in the water, not holding your breath in the water, but actually exhaling in it. Duh who would’ve thought? Before when friends told me this, I would hold my breath and never attempted to exhale. My instructor noticed immediately things I did that made it ineffecient to breathe (i.e. wiping my face/nose everytime I went up for air, holding my breath and not trying to exhale).

Kicking, oh the infamous “just kick” that EVERYONE tells you to do. Yes it really is kicking, but when you’ve never kicked in the water, I think of kicking a soccer ball. She noticed that I kicked from my knee. She taught me something useful, kick from your hip as if your hip and leg are part of a whip. Your hip is like the base of a whip. When you use a whip, all of the action happens at the base and everything follows in a curve. AH, so it’s more like whipping your legs up and down. Relax your legs, start your kick from the hip, and your leg/knee/feet will follow! This was a gamer changer!

Freestyle swimming. My instructor noticed that I kept my face facing towards the direction I was swimming. The next game changer was that your head has to face down, looking at the floor. Yeah, another “duh” moment. It’s something friends do not teach you because they think you’re supposed to know. Shockingly, this is when I floated. BUT YOU NEED TO KEEP KICKING!

Essentially I learned the basics of freestyle, how to swim on my back, and breaststroke. She also taught me how to tread using the eggbeater method (you need to learn the breaststroke first) but I haven’t mastered that. I still need to work on my breathing. Right now I will inhale, swim, exhale, then stop. However I’m so happy with what I’ve done so far. If you’ve ever been scared to learn, I highly recommend getting professional swim lessons. It also helped that I just came off of my half marathon training, so cardio-wise I wasn’t super tired or sore from the swim lessons. Learning how to swim is exhausting and requires so much coordination! Sometimes your friends/family can’t help you with everything and you need to hire a pro! 🙂

I’m so excited to take a dip in the water now and on our future trip!

No excuses

 

Tinkerbell

 

I ran my second half marathon this past Sunday. My time was 2:38:19, I didn’t improve my personal best. I was majorly sick. I was bedridden with a major fever for two nights before the race, so I guess “I should be happy” that I finished but I’m pretty disappointed that my time was so bad for myself. I hate telling people I was sick and that’s why I was slow. It sounds like such an excuse.

Don’t you hate it when people make excuses? Like when it comes to working out, I hear “Oh I would like to work out BUT *insert excuse here*” I’ve heard so many. I don’t like to run. I don’t have anyone to workout with. It’s too hot here. It’s too cold here. I’m tired when I get off of work. It’s too dark. I’m too slow. When I watch the Biggest Loser you can see all of the excuses come out. But there comes a moment where the contestant finally realizes that they just have to switch their mindset so that they CAN do it, and they are on fire. People need to change the way they think. Because when you do, you can even run a half marathon with the flu!

SE Asia

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great 2012 because I sure did! We got married, that was a wonderful day filled with our favorite people. I’m glad I got to spend 2012 with the people that matter most. I got to see many different milestones among my friends and I’m so glad we got to share in these new experiences together.

In November we visited Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Why these countries? It was originally sparked by a friend who invited us to go to Vietnam…however after much research I was more drawn to visiting Thailand. The Mr. has been to Thailand a few times, he wanted to see Singapore since he hadn’t visited since he was a kid…and then we thought, why not visit Kuala Lumpur since it’s right there! At least husband gets to visit one new country on this trip! 🙂 I have tons of hotel points from my days of traveling for work that I saved for our honeymoon. Turns out you get more bang for your points in SE Asia than anywhere else in the world. That’s because 4 star+ hotels are really nice here. Also, we’ve been wanting to visit these countries for awhile, always noting that airfare was ridiculously more expensive during Christmas. So why not go during Thanksgiving?

I’m including food pics:

Singapore – it was really hot. as in, in the 80s and humid. Singapore’s kinda boring. It’s very clean at least?

Brunch – Greenhouse at Ritz Carlton

Unlimited Moet…Rose and Grand Vintage Brut

Tian Tian Chicken Rice – the rice was disappointing

Jumbo Seafood

Kuala Lumpur – definitely one of those, “OK I’ve been here” and as fun as it was, I’m indifferent about going back.

Afternoon Tea at the Mandarin Oriental

Famous “last” coffee shop Yut Kee

Thailand – I ❤ Thailand. I love the food. Thai people are so nice. The islands are stunning, unlike any islands I’ve seen before (I heard it looks similar in Vietnam too). I’m so happy we went, I would love to go back.

Street food is awesome here!!

our island for the day

Here’s to an awesome new year!

Our venue

I “liked” our wedding venue and they recently posted a photo of how the place looked in the 1920s. Originally it was a  luxury beach facility

Image

The room we had was the one in the building facing your right, top left corner, overlooking the beach! 🙂

This is cheesy but I hope we can celebrate our anniversary every year here…I hope the bakery shop that we had our wedding cake made will also still be around, so we can buy a slice of cake from them, sit here where we got married..and just watch the sunset like we did on our wedding day!

Pre-moon

Hello 2012! A lot of exciting things are happening (not that the other years weren’t exciting!)…this year we are getting married! I have a few friends having babies and I’m so excited for them. We also have four friends getting married, I am the bridesmaid for one of them too! We’re definitely at that age where people are more settled and making big life changes!

We rang in 2012 in Bali, Indonesia with a few friends. It was essentially a “last minute” trip. One of <3’s best friends was like, hey, are you guys interested in sharing a villa in Bali for NYE? we were like, hmmm we are getting married soon, don’t know if that’s a good idea. then we got to thinking, well, why NOT? it’s not like we had any pressing wedding errands to do during those two weeks and we didn’t have any plans during the holidays. so we decided let’s do it, how often and how difficult is it to get a group of friends to travel overseas, right?? We also added on a side trip to Taipei, since EVA airlines flies through there first.

We spent 3 nights in Taipei. I really enjoyed Taipei. It’s like Tokyo/Seoul/HK but cheaper, and not as clean as Tokyo (but Tokyo is pristine, everywhere else looks dirty!). I would definitely want to go back to Taipei with a group of friends just to go shopping, eating and drinking. It’s reasonably priced and pretty easy to navigate due to their MRT. My favorite part was walking through the crowds of people at the night market! Next time I want to go to more night markets! The food wasn’t phenomenal but it’s a great way to see the different types of local cuisine available at cheap prices.

We spent 7 nights in Bali. Bali was OK. Indonesia is now the 23rd country I’ve visited in 9.5 years. I would have to say Bali ranked pretty down there. I think media definitely hyped up Bali by only showing the pretty parts, like the book and now movie Eat Pray Love. First off, I hated the book because I’m not one of those folks that need to “find myself” by going to some exotic location. Maybe to folks that have never seen poverty, aka always lived in a vanilla suburban area, this would be quite exciting and they would “find themselves” there? It’s quite evident Bali has a lot of poverty, it’s sad seeing tourists act condescending towards the locals, and it’s also annoying that the locals try to rip you off (which I get because every bit of USD is far more valuable to them than to us). It IS a pretty place, in certain parts. However, it IS a developing country. The infrastructure is terrible, obviously. If you have a villa, it’s not like you can step outside of your villa and walk to different things. I’m believe I’m more of a city girl, I like easy access to lots of local businesses. So cities that I’ve visited…like SF, NYC, Chicago, Taipei, HK, Seoul, Tokyo, Paris, London, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City appeal to me a lot because there’s sooo much to do and very convenient to get to. If you’re looking for a place to escape from the city bustle, then staying in a Villa is a great way to relax. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel super stressed on a regular basis (yet), we live very close to some decent beaches, and southern California has AMAZING weather in general, makes me think that living in so cal gives us easy access to “get away and relax” from the comforts of our own city! While traveling, I can only relax for one day to get over the jet lag and then I want to do-do-do! Granted you can hire a driver to take you to places, but I don’t mind doing the hard work of driving/walking/taking public transportation to get to wherever I need to! It was indeed fun to go explore and party with friends. Though you can have fun ANYWHERE if it’s with the right people! 🙂 I will try to post some pics later!

We haven’t even booked our honeymoon yet! We’re leaning towards Spain. I’ve visited Spain in 2003 and am OK with going again, I just want to see more than just Barcelona. First thing’s first, gotta get married! Things to remember, don’t slouch, smile, and say “i do!” 🙂

Update – I’m just going to add one photo from Bali the trip…we had a drink at the Pan Pacific resort while watching the sunset down at famous water temple, Tanah Lot. The resort had a nice lobby area, including this infinity pool:

Update, whoops

My bad! 🙂

We are inching closer to the big day! How do I feel? Surprisingly, not as stressed as I thought I would be. Having been a bridesmaid 4 times so far, I’ve seen my fair share of how brides can be on the day of! I was scared I would be a bridezilla…maybe that will come out the month before the wedding day? I think what’s kept me calm is having an awesome fiancé! I always joked that I’m the COO and he’s the CEO and after planning a big event like this, I really do believe it. I’m really good at finding stuff but ❤ is the best when it comes to making the “executive decision.” Because you know, before we got knee deep into wedding planning, I was all sorts of anti-wedding. I still am, I hate weddings.  I don’t think anyone should plan a wedding if they’re not financially ready. And the biggest thing a bride should admit is that…if you’re not an event planner, most likely you have not planned a big soiree like this before, so be willing to take feedback from people who got married! Let a professional help you, that’s what they do best! After all of this wedding planning, I would NEVER want to be part of the wedding business. I can’t imagine dealing with the bridezillas out there!

Anyway, I hope everyone gets to enjoy some time off before the new year. Cheers to 2012, I know I’m excited!

Anniversary dinner at Root 246 – Solvang

For our “official” anniversary, we wanted to go where it became “official.” Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez was our first road trip and first wine tasting trip. This time we stayed in Solvang. For our anniversary dinner we ate at Root 246. I found Root 246 through a cnn article that I bookmarked months before. The restaurant uses fresh, local produce. Located in Solvang, it was a convenient walk from our hotel. Since we were there during Valentine’s Day weekend, they had a special menu. We opted for a la carte.

We started with the cheese plate.

I can’t remember the names of the cheeses but I do remember there was the simmered red onions on the side, it was a nice touch compared to having jams/jellies. The cool thing about cheese plates is that you get to try a little bit of every cheese. Like we would never get a wedge of goat cheese to eat, but a teeny sample is lovely!

Our next appetizer was the pork belly. It was well prepared. It had slices of dried blood orange. I really think the fattiness of the pork belly went well with the citrus on the plate. It does “cut” through the fat.

I had the pan fried chicken. At first I was like, what’s the difference between fried-fried chicken and pan fried chicken?? So what they did was flour the chicken and cook it in the pan instead of deep frying it in a pot of oil. I really liked the seasoning and flavor the pan fried chicken had. The apple slaw complemented the saltiness of the fried chicken. I was so full!

❤ had artic char. Artic char is similar to salmon but didn’t taste as fatty as salmon. It was in between a sockeye salmon and a king salmon. Personally my favorite salmon EVER is sockeye salmon that we had in Seattle. After that, salmon has never been the same. Well, <3’s dish was really good too!

Root 246 also has a lounge area if you just want to have a drink. They had a lovely wine cellar display. They take reservations which I highly recommend making.

Root 246
420 Alisal Road
Downtown Solvang