When the internet is down

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people in office sitting and standing around chatting

Some chat it up.

people in office sitting playing video games on wall projection

Some get their game on.

guy sitting in server room working on laptop

And some get to fixin’.

A lesson in buyer’s remorse

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Recently, there have been a couple of items that I really wanted to get, but in deciding to wait it out, I missed on the opportunity. Panda and I have been to multiple Dollar Tree stores hoping to find a melon-scented Skittles-themed candle I had my eye on. They’re all sold out now and I’m bummed, but I do have hope they’ll bring it back. I’ve learned that some things are just not meant to be delayed, so I’ve grabbed a few items that I would otherwise have spent more time evaluating. No more regrets, wishing I had that cool product!

coca-cola glasses with one in shape of soda can

Such fun glasses! I’ve never seen one shaped like a soda can, so I couldn’t resist.

blue felt accent chair

This chair I’ve been eying for weeks and I didn’t want to overwait it so I got two today.

white plush blanket with purple and gray leaf pattern

As soon as I saw this at Costco, I knew I had to grab it. It’s amazingly soft and in my favorite color!

Winter storm Pax

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Here comes the snow! What a crazy snow event we’re expecting here in Northern Virginia. A few days ago when I first heard of it, I figured it’d be another small thing that would pass. But then they started predicting 4 inches, then it grew to 8 and 12 and now possibly 15-18 for higher elevations! I started to take it seriously and today I decided to head out of the office at 6 just to get home before the insanity. The snow wasn’t slated to start until around 8, but by 6:15 I was seeing my first flakes. Check out some pictures from the night…

snow plows idling under overpass waiting for snow

The snow plows were out, hanging out as they waited for the snow to start.

beginning of snow storm with flakes falling on road

Then it started to pick up momentum.

small drops of melted snow on windshield

It was melting on my windshield, but quickly started to stick to the ground.

light dusting of snow on driveway and sidewalk with footprints

By the time I got home 15 minutes later, there was a light dusting. I made some tire marks and left some footprints that were quickly covered.

glittery layer of snow dusting on roof of car

Such pretty snow that is shiny and sparkly! Snuggling in for the night and there’s already quite a bit of snow building up out there.

The move

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We finally did it! Panda booked two guys and a truck for today and we got almost everything moved out. There are some stray kitchenware and toiletry items we kept but pretty much everything else is all packed up and moved over. It took a little longer than the two hours we estimated (2.5 total, almost down to the minute), but it felt like quite a bit longer. That was probably due to the prep work we did beforehand and then all the setting up and unpacking afterward. I’m glad that it barely snowed today, so we had pretty decent moving conditions.

It feels great to be moved in, even though there’s plenty of unpacking to be done. At least it’s a chance to reorganize. I’m taking it slow and making sure everything goes in a designated place. It’s also a chance for me clean off some of the things that needed a wiping after some time. While we were moving in, we met some other neighbors who are also Chinese and got a chance to connect with our downstairs neighbor again. It’s going to be fun living here.

room with mattress propped up against wall and wooden headboard for bed

Almost ready for the movers!

room with random items all over floor during moving and packing process

Still had some things to sort out.

living room area with glass desk and leather couch

Have we even prepped this room? Can’t tell.

mover carrying boxes against back using strap

Whoa, that’s how they get all our crazy heavy stuff out.

leather couches wrapped in plastic wrap

Thank goodness they came with all the materials to pad the move.

view of moving truck and guy going up ramp with boxes from third story apartment

We definitely didn’t need a truck so large.

girl sitting against wall of empty room

Now the room feels so spacious!!

guy standing by moving truck loading desk frame

That’s all our stuff, ready to head out.

carpeted stairs covered in brown paper taped together with blue painter's tape

Panda did a great job covering the stairs to protect the carpet.

brown paper paths laid down in condo to protect floor from move

Pathways to every part of the place we’d want access to.

moving truck backed up on driveway unloading through garage

Moving through the garage was pretty convenient.

Photo A Day Challenge January 2014

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I liked capturing bits and pieces of a #moment for this theme! It was pretty easy to find things to share and I didn’t feel limited to taking similar types of shots. As for February, I’ve chosen to do #detail since I tend to notice a lot of random things, which most people probably don’t.

UK Vacation Day 10 recap

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Alright, finally wrapping up the UK vacation from this fall. Our last day there was just to pack and get ready to go. I managed to wake up before the alarm, shower, and get breakfast. We finished packing and then went off to Pizza Express so I could get a pizza to bring home. I was too freakin’ yummy to pass up. We showed up a little before they opened and I got to watch them bring up some dough they were going to make the pizzas with. On our walk back to the hotel, I decided I had to try the Malteser McFlurry and the Sweet Chilli Wrap, which are unique to the region. I didn’t know they had onion rings too! Why don’t they offer those in the US? Then it was off to the airport via the tube. We got a chance to hang out at the Star Alliance lounge for a bit before boarding our plane and heading back stateside.

[See all the rest: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8 and Day 9 recaps.]

doubletree by hilton victoria hotel bed

From staying at hotels, I’ve learned that I definitely want a king-sized bed.

uk outlet with switch

US outlets should have switches too.

round bowl sink sitting atop bathroom counter with water running

Love these kinds of sinks on the counter.

large showerhead extending from ceiling raining down water

I need one of these showerheads at home!

giant white hotel towel

Wow, they may not have much space but they sure have giant towels.

doubletree by hilton victoria hotel toilet

Cool flushing buttons for the toilet.

two red british telephone booths on streets of london

Of course, those eye-catching phone booths.

front of pizza express restaurant in london

Deeelicious.

guy walking up stairs holding trays of dough for pizza express pizzas

Bringing up the dough!

girl happily holding pizza express takeout box

Yes, I brought it on the plane. No it did not smell up the place (was cold by then).

beautiful brick cathedral in victoria region of london

Lovely brickwork.

maltesers mcflurry ad on cash register at london mcdonald's

Ooo, malty goodness.

fruit stand on streets of london

Such a pretty fruit stand!

reflection in window of london tube underground

Pigging out even as I prepare to leave the country.

british mcdonald's choices with wrap and onion rings

McOnion Rings!

london tube underground oyster cards

Returning our Oyster cards for a refund on the balance.

guy carrying two suitcases one in each hand up out of order escalator

When the escalators become stairs, he becomes super strong.

interior of london heathrow airport

Oops, went to the wrong floor.

electronic collection station for bottles, sharp objects, and other banned goods at london heathrow airport

It’s so fancy I got distracted/confused and did it wrong. :-/

automatic airport security gates at london heathrow

Wow, who needs TSA when you can just use these cool machines to check IDs and boarding passes?

london heathrow airport seating area

The waiting game.

walking in airport hallway lined with stores towards departure gates

Wandering around looking for where to request a VAT refund.

sending off mail in large red royal mail box

Mailing off our VAT refund form! Never got it repaid, oh well.

entrance to star alliance lounge at london heathrow airport

One of the few times we get to use the lounge, might as well take advantage!

free candy jar with british flag shape

British candy.

barstools and tables in star alliance lounge

Entering the more casual part of the lounge.

bowls of chicken wings and pork ribs under heat lamps

Loading up on hot food.

trays of chilled food on ice

Had some chilled options too.

large heated pot of soup

Ooo, soup!

fridge with glass doors showing sodas and beers inside

I’m sure if we drank alcohol we’d be happy.

star alliance lounge area with single person couches and tables

A really nice seating area where we snagged a table.

schweppes bitter lemon drink can

Hmm… not sure if I like bitter lemon.

pile of pizza box, bags of chips, and mcdonald's bag

Stocking up on snacks for the road.

goodbye signs in london heathrow airport

Many farewell messages along the long walk to the gate.

gate b33 in london heathrow airport

Here we go!

two pairs of feet propped up on wall in airport

Propping our feet up for the ride.

sheet of white clouds viewed over plane wing

So bright and beautiful up here.

airplane meal with coca-cola soda, salad, chicken and vegetables, potato side, bread, and water

Meal time!

airplane meal with salad, beef and vegetables, bread, and orange juice

Panda of course gets beef.

airplane snack box with chips, candy, and sandwich

A snack to tide us over.

map of flight route on tv screen of airplane

Hey, we’re almost over my old town of Brewster, not far from Danbury!

bright glare of sun from window of airplane

The sun shining furiously.

reflection of front of united plane on engine off wing

Staring out, I noticed the reflection of the front of the plane in the engine.

sunset from airplane at washington dulles iad airport

Hello, Dulles.

rows of airplane seats from back

Not quite time to disembark.

bright blue virginia police lights viewed from back of taxi

On our taxi ride home.

UK Vacation Day 9 Recap

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1

I took my time with this post since it was one of the most touristy and there are a ton of pictures. This was our true tour day of London – we started off by Buckingham, went through St. James’s Park, checked out some house guards and stopped by their museum, went through Trafalgar Square, tried a Thai place, found an M&Ms World, explored parts of the British Museum, found some gifts in small shops and waited around for free wifi, crossed the River Thames, walked through the Southbridge Centre and Jubilee Park, fed pigeons, and got tons of pictures of the London Eye, British Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Bridge and Abbey. For dinner we tried to find a Bella Italia but were unsuccessful so we had tapas at La Tasca instead. All in all a busy day filled with walking that allowed us to see a ton before we headed out.

[Catch up with Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, and Day 8 recaps.]

pretty red flowers against green grass in front of buckingham palace

A beautiful day to explore London!

panoramic of buckingham palace and gates of green park

The fancy gates of Green Park.

guards on horseback riding towards buckingham palace

Queen’s Mounted Guards trotting off in formation.

queen's guard standing by gate

One of the Queen’s Guards standing watch by a gate.

pigeon mid-motion flying in to park and landing

A pigeon flies in to get fed.

holding out piece of food for goose to eat

It’s a battle of wills and I win if they’re hungry enough.

swan family swimming in single file line with four gray swans and one mature white swan

A swan family all lined up.

young gray swans with ducks and other birds

That little swan has a funky leg!

view across st. james's park lake with london eye in distance

From St. James’s Park, we catch a glimpse of the London Eye.

girl mid-talking in front of st. james's park lake with view of london eye in background

Caught me in the middle of saying something!

girl posing in front of st. james's park lake with view of london eye in background

A normal pose for posterity.

girl using iphone to take picture of lake

I grab a shot of the lake from the side.

view of st. james's park lake from bank

And here’s the picture I took.

churchill war rooms entrance

No time for the Churchill War Rooms, but maybe on the next visit.

mounted guard sitting on horse guarding gate

Quite a job, sitting still on a horse all day.

girl standing next to horse with guard sitting on it

I didn’t want to get too close in case the horse flipped out.

closeup of girl searching for wifi on iphone

Gettin’ up close and personal as I find some free wifi to use.

trafalgar square with nelson's column and the national gallery in background

We find our way to Trafalgar Square.

lazy pigeon sitting in middle of plaza not moving

The world’s laziest pigeon resides here.

national gallery across trafalgar square

Tons of activity in the square.

bright blue rooster at trafalgar square

What’s up with the bright blue rooster?

chalk drawings of international flags on plaza at trafalgar square

Carefully laid out grid of flags drawn in chalk in the plaza.

sidewalk chalk artist sketching face of diana princess of wales

This guy was working on a chalk portrait of Princess Diana.

t-shirt with sperm in place of nike logo and "just did it" messaging

We stop by a local store and find random t-shirts like this.

t-shirt with image of guy with heart at crotch and girl with heart near heart and "the simple truth" messaging

And another cheeky shirt here.

basaba eathai sign on street

Trying out a Thai place for lunch.

yellow flowers and floating candles on water

What a cute decoration idea!

spring rolls and noodle soup at busaba eathai restaurant

Food was pretty good and the place was very modern.

m&ms world london and sign with tons of crests

After lunch, we stumble across an M&Ms world.

shop fronts at london's chinatown

Our walk randomly brings us to a strip of Chinese establishments.

girl standing by starbucks holding out phone

Yet again standing outside taking advantage of free wifi…

entrance to british museum

Then it’s time to visit the British Museum!

shadows of seagulls seen standing atop dome from inside of british museum

Inside the museum, we look up to find seagulls.

seagull standing atop dome seen through from inside british museum

They sure seem to be enjoying the view.

storefront of amway in london

I had no clue Amway made it over here (and was still in business).

black british taxi on london streets

The taxis here look so funny.

view of london eye, british parliament, and big ben from waterloo bridge

Onto the Waterloo Bridge and we gaze over the River Thames for a lovely view.

view of eastern london buildings from waterloo bridge

On the other side of the bridge are all sorts of funky buildings.

sign on waterloo bridge detailing london skyline

Here you can pick out the attractions using the guide.

large statues and mural by waterloo bridge in london

We head into Southbridge Centre and find quite an artsy scene.

storefronts at the festival of neighbourhood area by river thames

A stroll along the waterfront includes plenty of restaurants.

festival of neighbourhood sign in london

What is this Festival of Neighbourhood??

street performers by the river thames

Street performers doing their thing.

brightly-colored merry-go-round in london

What a bright merry-go-round!

swing ride at jubliee park in london

A swing ride at Jubilee Park offers thrills.

feeding a pigeon a piece of bread

I sit down to feed some pigeons.

crowd of pigeons fighting over food

Gettin’ kind of crazy in here!

closeup of little brown bird with white specks

Some brave birds got super close.

view of people standing in pod of london eye as it slowly goes up

We watch as people pile into their pod on the London Eye.

set of condensed tank top and shorts that expand with water

I was so tempted to get one of these.

silhouette view of british parliament building across river thames

Against the glare of the sun.

girl posing with view of london eye and aquarium

Nice view from the bridge!

choppy waters of river thames

Rushing waters of the Thames.

closeup of big ben clock tower

There are so many points to the clock tower.

panoramic view of westminster from side

Westminster Abbey was closing for the day so we just looked.

boat-shaped tour bus of london

What a fun tour bus look.

pedestrians walking on streets of london

Blending in with the pedestrians.

metal map of london attractions

Another map of attractions.

tapas dishes at la tasca restaurant in london

A dinner of tapas.

churros with chocolate sauce, strawberries, marshmallows, and powdered sugar at la tasca restaurant in london

Ending the day with churros!

The holiday break

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With just about a day left before Panda and I headed back to LAX to return to our life out east, I started to feel anxious. It had been a wonderful two weeks, exactly the sort of healing, growing, relaxing, and enjoying I needed. I was kind of worried about getting back into things at work and all the other obligations being back entails. Luckily, the transition hasn’t been that bad at all and I’m happy to be (what is now) home.

Here are some highlights from my time in balmy SoCal. Other moments included hanging out with my mom, chatting with my cousin (and helping her get a new laptop at Best Buy), enjoying quiet moments alone at the mall, meeting up with some AKPsi pledge bros, grabbing lunch with an old UCLA AFROTC friend, catching up over tea with a friend I met at a Gogobot event, a session with my microdermabrasion guy (it’s been over a year!), relaxing at my fab reflexology spot, and reminiscing over old pictures (many that will slowly make their way into blog posts).

view of other united flights lined up at terminal at iad airport

And off we go on our winter vacation.

girl sitting in first class seat on plane with blanket wrapped around legs

We got upgraded to first class on the way in! I smartly brought a blanket.

aerial of northern virginia area near dulles airport

As we took off, I tried to spot our new condo with little luck.

overhead view of gray clouds and white clouds with shadows of setting sun

The creepy gray clouds tried to climb over the fluffy white ones…

breakfast meal served in first class on united flight, with eggs, potatoes au gratin, meat patty, tomato, cinnamon roll, fresh fruit, and orange juice

Breakfast is served! I enjoyed the potatoes au gratin best.

tiny ice crystals formed on exterior of plane window

Gettin’ frosty up here but I’m toasty in my blankie. 🙂

aerial view of land with bright light in distance

What’s that brilliantly bright light in the distance? I think it was probably a large lake catching the sun.

girl laying on ground looking over and smiling at cat looking into distance

First order of business at home is to hang out with Missy.

apple that burst around the middle and split apart

Umm, how does this even happen to an apple?!

girl holding giant stick of tornado fries in front of kiosk in mall

I discover a new favorite snack at the mall: Tornado Fries! Take a whole potato, swirl cut it, spread out along large stick, fry, and sprinkle on various powders for flavor. Fun!

manya jewelers storefront at valencia town center mall with engagement ring made there in foreground

Had my ring cleaned at my jewelers for the first time since getting it and it was nice to catch up with the owner.

cat laying against leg underneath body pillow facing up

Hehe, Missy doesn’t mind that the pillow is crushing her. She loves snuggling with me anyway.

girl sipping japanese matcha green tea latte with 3d latte art of bear at outdoor table of cafe

For my birthday, I basically hopped from restaurant to cafe to bakery to restaurant. Happy taste buds and belly!

table filled with giant dishes of northern chinese food and girl looking skeptical about two people eating it all

Oops, we over-ordered for food. Two people got what five probably should have.

cat walking on person's butt while she lies across bed on belly

Missy walks all over me and I love it.

cat taking nap with arms extended over keyboard of laptop while sitting on person's lap

When she’s like this, how can I work? Too cute.

zoomed in view of times square new years ball lit up in blue on tv for new years eve celebration in nyc

I had a quiet NYE just watching the show on TV.

electric guitarist playing music in middle of road at intersection in culver city

Ringing in the new year with this guy jamming on his electric guitar! #culvercitycharacters

booths at westwood farmers market on broxton street thursday near ucla

Lol, I never got to check out the Westwood Farmer’s Market once it was moved to Thursday, and now here I am.

kimchi fried rice dish at gushi's restaurant in westwood near ucla

My absolute fav to get at Gushi.

cat sitting pretty atop luxurious white furry blanket

Little miss princess.

thin crust pizza with half sausage with red onions and half mozzarella with basil

Trying out a new pizza joint in DTLA with my Gogobot buds.

blurry selfie with terrible aim of part of new friend at pizza place

(re)Met a Gogoboter and we do some selfies.

blurry shot of group of friends at dim sum restaurant table

Got together with old friends who I met the year I met Panda! Yes, the picture is intentionally blurry.

box of lady di's cupcakes and two brownies on side

I couldn’t leave LA without bringing some treats.

wolfgang puck express pizza box

At the airport, I got dinner since I hadn’t eaten all day.

wolfgang puck express pepperoni pizza in box

I thought we got a pepperoni and mushroom, but we accidentally left off the mushroom part of the order. Oh well!

Leaving on a jet plane…

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Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

view of lax airport at night from airplane window with reflection of book and person's hand

Farewell, LA(X). Til next time… (TBD)

Hey, at least I know it’ll be sometime in 2014! Still, it’s one big ambiguous question at this point.

Photo A Day Challenge December 2013

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I may not be ready for 2014, but it’s here, so I’ll just take a quick look back at the last month’s photo a day shots to take me back to 2013… I liked playing with different interpretations for #light. To kick off this year, I’ll go with a more abstract theme of moment(s). It should offer a lot of flexibility!

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