Posts Tagged ‘celebrations’

Laser tag holiday party

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

Yesterday our company had our holiday party celebration at a laser tag place! I think it was my first time, but then I have this faint memory of darkness, glowing lights, and being downright awful at the game. I don’t know if that was just a dream from my childhood or an actual memory. Either way, I was very new to this experience and had a lot to learn. We booked the whole place for over 4 hours and it was quite the night of fun and exercise!

shadowland laser adventures laser tag in chantilly

Arriving at the holiday party after the Secret Santa at the office.

laser tag gear hanging on the wall

We signed waivers, gathered in the break room, then moved on to the briefing room before putting on our packs.

I’d show you those pictures, but some of my coworkers might not want to appear on my blog. 😛 Just imagine a break room painted with some sort of alien landscape with observation domes. There are a bunch of long tables and chairs there for people to sit (in our case, eat and drink). Across the way are doors leading to the briefing room, which is mostly kept darkened. There are other things painted on to these walls and it sort of looks like the background in the next picture. Three sides of the room have wooden benches lining them, one row in front, one row in back much like bleachers. Along the forth wall are the rules, a sample gem (glowing thing on the wall that can give you power-ups but also tag you), and a blown up example of what the display screen on the gun look like.

They walk you through the basics and then let us choose how we wanted to play each time. The first time it was two teams against each other. The second time we went crazy with four. The third time we toned it down to three and the forth time we had team captains split us into two teams (I’m pretty sure I was the worst player on my team then, but we still won!). And finally they went a fifth time with free for all. I really wanted zombies and didn’t want to get demolished in the free for all, so I sat out and got to stand by the entrance to watch everyone else battle it out. The same 6 or 7 people kept running around and around the area closest to me. Seems like many people had zones they preferred, so some sort of pattern.

girl wearing laser tag pack for laser tag game

Got my pack 14 on and ready to rumble!

laser tag gun display panel showing stats

The display on our laser guns let us know all sorts of stats that thoroughly confused me. Half the time I couldn’t tell if someone got hit or hit me.

laser tag arena with everything painted black and glowing lights everywhere

In we went! It wasn’t until later that I realized there was a gem right at the beginning.

sign reserving and welcoming company party to laser tag venue

A few rounds in, I suddenly noticed the sign for our party!

scoareboard listing ranking and stats for players after laser tag round

After each game, we’d convene outside to check out how everyone did.

laser tag score card summarizing stats of game for each player

They even handed out score cards! I was pretty consistently one of the last (usually third to last).

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!

Holiday traditions Asian-American style

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

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

My family has sort of stopped, but the holiday season is a time to celebrate in general and that we do, in our own little ways. While the rest of the country was scrambling to get gifts for their loved ones around this time of year, I was sitting back and only had to figure out what to bring to the company white elephant last week. Other than that, I really didn’t have any gifts to get. Since I ended up putting together items I had at home (champagne, cookies, and a hangover drink) for the white elephant, I haven’t had to buy a single gift for the season. This actually seems to be pretty common among many Asian American households, so I doubt we’re that unique.

christmas tree in living room decorated with poinsettias and ornaments

The last time we broke out the tree was 2006 I think.

When I was a kid, my parents adopted the American holiday traditions as you often see them advertised. We had Christmas lights and a tree and gifts. One year, I wrote a little letter to Santa and left some cookies and milk, even though I didn’t quite believe it would work. Still, for the sake of participating in a tradition, I gave it a shot. Since my birthday happens to coincide with all the celebrating that occurs between Christmas and New Year’s, I wanted to make sure we celebrated it all lest my birthday get lost in the shuffle. Being an only child, my mom indulged me and even let me dictate that I would get 25 (or was it 30?) gifts one year. Of course, when pencils and socks count, it’s not too hard to get that count. Still, I grew up pretty spoiled and always well-taken care of. While I never got the video games I begged for for years, I did get plenty of other items ranging from clothing to books to toys.

Sometime around high school, I began to really notice how impractical it was to wait til the end of the year just to get a camera or some article of clothing that I could have been enjoying long before. One time when I asked my mom for a particular item only halfway through the year, we decided that it would count as one of my holiday/birthday presents. From that point on, it made more sense to get what I wanted/needed when the timing was right and then we’d just do some small thing at the end of the year more as a gesture than anything else. Over the years, that transitioned into a family trip in the winter and no official gifts. We’d also make sure to get at least one meal together as a family. It’s more about the time and experiences now.

This year for Panda I asked what he wanted and he said much of the same. Time spent together now that we’re both back in LA. We’ll visit some of our favorite stomping grounds and also take some time to explore new ones. I’m finally going to get to a restaurant I’ve wanted to eat at for ages! And that’s how I see us celebrating my birthday in a few days – a whole lot of eating, driving, exploring, and picture-taking. Just the way I like it.

The commercial products? We’ll get them as we see fit, when we see fit.

365great Day 197: teppanyaki

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 197: teppanyakiThe first time I ever went to a Japanese steakhouse and got acquainted with this whole teppanyaki idea I was about 13 or 14. I loved the entertainment part of it and the stronger flavors they tend to cook into the food. The best place I’ve ever been offered white fish, which I just loved. I’m pretty much always obsessed with the fried rice at these places, because they pack in so much salty goodness. I love nearly drowning my rice in soy sauce and cooking it. As I mentioned earlier, this year Panda and I celebrated our 5th anniversary with dinner at a teppanyaki place. We were originally going to go to a fondue place because it makes a great date night meal, but we happened to discover we both would prefer a Japanese steakhouse this time around. Between the fun performance and tricks the chefs do and the super flavorful food you get, it’s a great choice for a special occasion.

365great Day 189: traditions

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 189: traditionsTraditions are an important part of human history and a way for cultures to celebrate certain ways of doing things. Sometimes entire nations partake and sometimes it’s just you, but no matter what the size and scope, it’s a way to connect with the past. Today is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, where there is a tradition of eating moon cakes. It’s a simple gesture, but one that ties all those with a similar cultural heritage together. The act of buying a moon cake and consuming it may not be as meaningful to Panda and I in this day and age, but it’s still a way for us to respect our ancestry and do something that our forefathers (and mothers, hehe) have been doing for centuries. Even on a smaller scale, traditions are a way to bind us together, like when you have rituals related to how you celebrate anniversaries and other personal events. I think it’s a great way to create deeper connections.

365great Day 100: celebrations

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 100: celebrationsCelebrations are a wonderful way to recognize special moments in our lives. Whether it’s an achievement, a birthday/anniversary, or something else, it’s a chance for us to take time to change our routine and give attention to something important. All the joy, positivity, and bonding are a way for us to feel more accomplished and share that with others. I love how it brings people together with a great outlook towards the past, present, and future.

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.

And a Happy New Year

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

How quickly the first month of the year went by!  It seems like just last week I was listening to the festivities put on by the neighbors.

happy new year 2013 from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Happy New Year!

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

Just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful start to 2013. 🙂 May it be a splendid year!

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!

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