Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

The holiday break

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Love overflowing

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s what I love about this time of year: people are happy, people are celebrating.

I came home initially feeling a bit like I was escaping the challenges of my new life for a bit. Taking a break to return to a place that is familiar, with wide networks of people I know. At first it was a quiet time for me to reflect and enjoy the peace. As my birthday drew near, I started to make plans with people and by the time I leave I’ll have had about half a dozen meet ups with very different social groups. I hadn’t quite realized how lonely and disconnected I felt until I began reconnecting. Suddenly I noticed that I was happier and the feeling multiplied on my birthday, as old friends left me messages. It’s such a marvelous feeling to have all these social connections and I’m going to have to find some groups to get involved with out east.

Not only are a ton of people around for the holidays, they are generally in high spirits. This is a time to reunite with loved ones, to reflect on a year gone by, to celebrate a fresh new start. A new year gives people hope and something to look forward to. It’s the perfect time to try to make the kinds of changes we’d like to see in our lives. Oh, and for me it’s also a time to think about the age I just passed and what another year can bring. I certainly don’t feel 28, but hey it happened! The combination of people being excited about the prospects of a new year, happy to be with family, and wishing me well on my birthday has been such a mood booster.

green tea latte drink with 3d latte art bear and the world love written on its bellyI feel loved. Loved by my family (Missy included), loved by my fiance, loved by my friends. The pride in my mom’s demeanor when she told me about my birthday gift was priceless. My parents’ love for me runs incredibly deep and when they can set me up for a good life, it makes them happy. This year they were able to gift me a sizable contribution towards the down payment of the condo. It’s not about the money itself, but the fact that they can provide me with a springboard toward a life of success and happiness. And seeing how proud it makes them touches my heart. I am so fortunate to have hardworking parents who put so much into me.

It’s times like these that I’m reminded of a quote from Sister Wives: “Love should be multiplied, not divided.” Indeed, I don’t see why loving one person takes away from the love of another. I love the people in my life in vastly different ways, depending on the nature of our relationships. At the moment I feel so much joy in the love around me it’s beautiful. I guess it’s also easy because I can manage my time between all the people (and animals) I want to be around. I don’t have any of them hogging my time and energy or complaining that something else is. And so I’m at a good place again, basking in the final days of this retreat as I look to transition back east and find some friends outside of work. Maybe I’m ready for 2014 after all.

28 going on 30s

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Was it really my birthday today? It feels so surreal. At times I marvel that I’m now 28 though (more recently) sometimes I kind of am ready to just be in my 30s already. I guess I should enjoy the next two years before that big 3-0 hits for real and I can’t go back to these crazy 20s. 😉

cat sleeping with arms outstretched on person's chest

I started off my day much like I ended my night yesterday: with Missy sleeping on my chest. 🙂

giant bright orange lobster in blue tank near normal lobsters at restaurant

Once I got up, I went to get Panda and he took us to this dim sum place with MASSIVE lobsters (no, we did not eat any). Note the normal lobsters in the tank next to it.

girl wearing white fuzzy earmuffs in store

After our meal, we explored a fun Japanese store. These earmuffs are fun but too cutesy for me. I got a hedgehog microfiber glove instead, lol.

guy sitting with legs crossed and pant leg riding up showing sock with stray thread

As we sat looking for a tea place we’d heard of, I was amused by how Panda’s pant leg rode up and he had a random thread on his socks. Silly boy.

girl holding drink with latte art and decorated marshmallow

We found the place with 3D latte art!

green tea latte art drink and marsh-minion treat from love to go in san gabriel

Such adorable designs! I got that marsh-minion for free just for checking in on Yelp.

collage of 3d bear latte art design on green tea drink at love to go as the drink went down and the art disappeared

As I drank my drink, the bear slowly drifted away into oblivion (or my stomach, as it were).

frances bakery shop and pink box of cronuts in little tokyo area of los angeles

The next stop was Frances Bakery for deeelicious cronuts.

excited girl holding up box of cronuts in car

I was so excited I totally over-ordered!

chocolate cronut with bite revealing custard inside

Nom nom nom… couldn’t wait to enjoy the goodness.

girl laughing trying on white glittery platform heels in store

Then it was off to Glendale Galleria, where we wandered around the stores and I entertained myself trying on these crazy heels.

girl holding necklace pendant on forehead as headdress with dangling decoration

What do you think of making this necklace a headdress?

girl sitting in chair at l'occitane store waiting to receive free hand massage

L’Occitane had a free hand massage offer so I got treated to it.

girl sitting at table of chinese restaurant with five massive dishes for just two people

For dinner, we went kind of overboard and ordered 5 things, not thinking the portions would be ENORMOUS. Sooo many leftovers!

person leaning over with cat sitting on back

We stopped for boba and then went to our respective homes. I arrived to find Missy ready for my attention.

cat leaning on box claiming it for herself

As my mom and I chatted in the kitchen, Missy lay claim to the cronuts. Or maybe she just likes the box. 😉

And now I’m comfortably in bed snuggling with Missy. I think she’s pleased I finally went to bed… she’d been waiting over an hour for me!

Birthday memories

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Today’s Panda’s birthday! We spent a quiet day running errands and buying groceries, then enjoyed a nice meal out before retiring for the night to work on our own stuff. Since I don’t have any footage of today, let’s review what we did on my birthday recently. 😛

striking metal from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Birthday memorabilia

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

A little horseshoe keepsake with my name and the date. 🙂

holding up personalized horseshoe while posing with blacksmith who made it at knott's berry farm

Summer solstice birthday

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , ,

Today’s the big 4-0 for our beloved CTO, who got a life-size Justin Bieber cardboard stand and all these delicious treats. Nom nom nom. 😀

cupcakes from cupcakes couture manhattan beach

A birthday celebration calls for desserts!

birthday cake from cupcakes couture for jimmy's 40th birthday

A red velvet cake sprinkled with chocolate and gold. A very happy 40th to our resident J.Biebs!

25th birthday

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

What a busy, busy birthday!  I got into LAX around 2 am and got home sometime past 3.  After scarfing down some food (I can’t believe the airlines didn’t offer a single meal after all the delays and overbooked flights they put us through!), I was asleep by 4.  I woke up just before 9, probably because I’m still sort of on EST.  I took a shower and renewed my auto insurance, then went to get Panda.

We took a stroll around the park, had a huge lunch at a Northern Chinese style restaurant, ran some errands, and made the congested trek over to Sprinkles in Beverly Hills.  I got my usual: a red velvet and a chocolate marshmallow and then it was time to rush off to the apartment complex to drop off my first month’s payment and sign the lease.  I completely forgot that plenty of people actually went to work today, so I hadn’t expected the kind of traffic we got stuck in!  Nevertheless, we made it to my soon-to-be new home in time to take care of the paperwork.  Tomorrow my roommate does the same and gets the keys so we can officially move in this weekend.  🙂

By that time, we were running late to meet my parents at Din Tai Fung for dinner.  Fortunately, we got there at the same time that they did so neither party had to wait for the other.  We did, however, have to wait to get seated.  Tonight was more crowded than the previous couple of times I’d been by DTF to eat and we were waiting for a good 40 minutes before getting a table.  We ordered 10 items from the menu and chowed down as they started to serve dish after dish.  Everything was steaming and delicious and soon enough we were all stuffed.

My parents headed home from there and Panda and I spent some time sitting together to talk and rest a bit.  He’s getting ready to move out to work on the east coast, so things are going to be changing quite a bit in another two months or so.  By and by an hour passed and we had to get home.  I dropped off Panda and just got home not too long ago.  There’s been a lot of traveling and not so much sleeping for me in the past day, so I’m just about ready to crash before we go celebrate New Year’s at a family friend’s place tomorrow afternoon/evening.

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