Posts Tagged ‘friends’

On My Mind, episode 4

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Ready for another round of On My Mind? Here goes!

~Ha! I was just thinking about how my blog posts used to be so much more insightful/thoughtful/interesting when I started to get the inspiration bug again and went crazy preparing some draft posts. Tons of goodness to come!

~Sooo I had said I didn’t want to buy any more nail polish until I used up one bottle. Just one! Which shouldn’t be that hard since I rarely buy nail polish anyway, but then I came across a BOGO deal and I couldn’t resist! BAH. I bought it and then promptly spilled one all over my carpet (which took out about a third of that bottle). Karma for going against my word? 🙁 I did manage to mostly get it out (and better than I had hoped at least!).

collage of sally hansen insta-dri nail colors in clearly quick, pronto purple, lively lilac, and blue-away~That nail polish I got? Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri. I’d never tried it before, but that coupon for buy one, get one meant each bottle was $2. While I may not want to pay $4 for some nail polish, $2 was a deal I couldn’t resist. I know, I’m terrible. But you know what? I discovered an AMAZING brush! Like seriously, why don’t all (or at least more) nail polishes have brushes like this? It applies so well, I just love it. Plus, I really love that these nail polishes dry so quickly, since clumsy old me would usually mess up at least three nails before they managed to dry.

~And if you keep up with the blog, you will see that I’ve decided to exchange some of my old nail polishes for some Zoya ones! At least I’m not accumulating more, right? That’s ok, right?!

~My family went out and got a bunch of Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge shampoos because of the current deal for them! Only $0.86 in CA if you bring your own reusable bag. Less in other states since our tax is a high 9%, ugh.

collage of broken galileo thermometer

I cleaned the bulbs and put them in a vase.

~About two weeks ago, Missy (one of my cats) broke my Galileo thermometer when she knocked it over – RIP 🙁 – and I learned that the oil they use in it smells naaasty. It smelled like a gas station exploded on my carpet. I guess that’s the only material the bulbs will float in correctly. I cleaned and scrubbed and patted for an hour and the smell didn’t dissipate, so I had to move to another room to sleep. Took about a week of leaving the window open and spraying odor remover on it daily before I could move back. My carpet is forever scarred though – for some reason, it grew a bump that won’t go away.

long raised bump in carpet

It used to be a lot worse but it has since shrunk.

~Panda (the boyfriend) was in town earlier in the month and we got a pretty cool room at the Hilton Garden Inn LAX! I loooved the rocker, which was so smooth and made me feel lighter. Reminded me of the zero gravity chairs they have a Brookstone. The bathroom was rather sweet too, with a jacuzzi/hot tub (what’s the difference?) on one side and an electronically-controlled shower on the other. I got to set the shower water to exactly the temperature I wanted!

panoramic shot of large bathroom in a hilton garden inn lax room

Here I am demonstrating the rocking chair…

awesome smooth leather rocking chair from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

~I had told my cousin about the 1 Second Everyday app, which she was interested in. I’ve been having a blast with it! I was sad, however, that I had redeemed an iTunes gift card for $50 and wasn’t able to split it into two $25 gift codes so she too could get some apps without paying. Then a few days later it dawned on me: gifting an app! I hadn’t thought of it because I never used it (and really wasn’t sure it was even a feature), but I checked and it’s so easy to do it! But by the time I told her, she had already bought the app. Womp, womp… next time!!

~I’ve been doing pretty well with the giveaways I’ve entered and won a couple more, yippee! You’ll see pictures of them after I get them. One in particular I wanted to point out – I actually won another 3-month Conscious Box subscription and this time I got to share an additional one with a friend! I mean, what is more thrilling than winning for you AND a friend of your choice? I picked a super awesome, super supportive friend and she was totally excited. Coincidentally, her birthday was right around then too! Happy birthday!

~I’m so glad I went through that long, long DMV line to get a new picture taken because I am SO much happier with my new picture! The original picture was from when I was in high school and it looks like I have a fake orange tan when in reality I just swam outdoors a lot for our high school team.

driver's license pictures side by side comparison

The old picture looks a lot more orange in person.

~I’m STILL waiting to get my first Goodie box and Graze box. Waaah! I’ve held myself back from buying snacks because they were supposed to replace my snack food shopping and THEY’RE STILL NOT HERE… -___- I, being hugely reliant on snacking to survive/thrive, feel so forlorn… BUT I should be getting my Goodie box today*! *fingers crossed* My Graze box was prepared on the 11th and if I don’t get it by tomorrow I’m going to contact customer service. Yes, you can call me Cookie Monster.

~And finally, I was SO off-the-walls (maybe too) happy to get an email from the Pink Panel letting me know I’m in their nail care testing group. I had just signed up and filled out the survey for the latest testing group and it was awesome to get that invitation!! I can’t wait – I remember seeing Julep in the survey URL so I’m pretty sure we get to test some Julep products. I’ve yet to try anything from them, but I’d totally love to. I’m turning into a nail polish/hand care fiend. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that we get a $75 Amazon gift card (code, probably) for participating. I’m getting my cats a fun feeding maze I learned about from an article on Squidoo with those funds!

*Yay the Goodie box arrived! Time to rip through it. 🙂

Desserts first

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holding a pineapple-flavored ice cream cone at the dole plantation in hawaiiBack in high school, my best friends and I fancied ourselves famous (at least to the Olive Garden waiters) for being the “desserts first” type of people.  Every time we got together for a meal at Olive Garden, we’d insist on our dessert item as the appetizer.  We usually got a very confused and momentarily dumbfounded waiter who’d check with us: “Are you sure you want to have the dessert come out first?”  We’d confidently confirm our choice and eagerly await the sweet treat.  To a certain extent we did it to be rebels, but it was also a way of doing what we wanted instead of what was expected.

Over the years, I haven’t gotten the chance to continue this tradition, much to my dismay.  I always start a meal saying I’ll get dessert only to get halfway through the entree and be too full to continue.  Luckily, at most places they have desserts that I can just eat at home for cheaper anyway so I don’t feel like I missed out on too much.  Instead, I happily stock up on loads of sugar-laden snacks at home to satisfy my unwavering sweet tooth.  In fact, I have so much junk food at home that it often becomes my meal.  I have a bad habit of forgetting lunch these days, or grabbing an ice cream bar in lieu of something more filling/less sugary.

Really what it comes down to is enjoying what I like.  Why do I need to go through a ritual of drinks, appetizers, and entree before I can get to my dessert?  There shouldn’t be obstacles in my way for such a simple goal.  In many ways, this little choice speaks volumes to my own life philosophy.  I believe in being able to enjoy what you want and not having to hold back because the world told you so.  As long as it’s not irresponsible, I don’t see the harm in having my cake first or buying that item I like or treating myself to a massage.  And so I do eat, buy, and experience what matters to me.  Don’t get me wrong though – I exhibit a lot of self-control when it comes to making these decisions!  I don’t jump at every opportunity to do what I want; I make sure to weigh the pros and cons extensively before diving in.

Small, small world

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It’s funny how interconnected we can be.  Lately I have come across many situations that make me shake my head at how small the world can be at times (or maybe it’s just LA).  The most prominent example is when I commented on a friend and coworker’s Facebook about a post he put up, then later saw that the next person to comment was one of the girls who used to live in my house!  The house that we have owned for about 10 years now…  At work the next day, I had to ask my coworker how he knew this girl and (dun dun dun…) she’s his cousin!  Wow.  Of all the coincidences in this universe, that is one I didn’t see coming.  So as it turns out, my coworker had been in my house before, many many years ago.

Other such situations include a trip to Wurstküche in downtown LA, where I got into line right behind a fellow 2008 UCLA orientation counselor!  Then, later on as I was eating, I looked up to find one of my pledge bros from AKPsi sitting at another table.  Imagine that.  And many months ago, one of the engineers at work and one of the operations girls were chatting because they found they had both lived in Michigan.  When the guy mentioned that he swam, she was interested because she had worked on the coaching staff or been an assistant.  Further probing revealed that she had actually been there working with the swim team that he was on during the time that he would have been on the team!  And then they both end up at the same (very small) company out in California?!

In addition, that same girl recently found out that her former roommate bartended with the girlfriend of one of our sales guys.  Of all the bars in LA and all the roommates and girlfriends these people could have had…  Seriously, what’s up with all this interconnectedness?  I guess even a large city like Los Angeles can quickly become small after a couple years of building relationships and connections.  Eventually you’re no more than a 2nd degree contact to anyone!

Friends for life

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So many of my friends have a group from college, or even high school, that they still keep in touch with and hang out with.  A good portion of them also have some friends stemming from childhood as well.  I wonder what that’s like and if I’ll ever have lifelong friends.  The landscape of my life is so variable that dozens of friends have come and gone.  The people I spend much of my time with are only friends I’ve met in the past three years or so.  I’m so used to moving around and making new friends that it’s hard to imagine knowing someone for that long.

I’ve always hoped that each friendship would be one that would last forever, but as our lives changed, we would grow apart.  It also didn’t help that I moved a lot, so many friendships dwindled after not being able to hang out for a long period.  The internet has definitely helped to slow down the process of losing touch, but it still happens.  At this point, the only person in my life right now who I know will be around for decades is Panda.  He’s the best friend I’ve got and anyone else could very well be out of the picture in a few years.

I haven’t given up hope that I can maintain some long-lasting friendships though!  I think that business school will offer me a great chance to meet people who I can consider friends forever.  In addition, any and all future business partners will probably be great friends and a common interest in our business should keep us in contact for a long time to come.  I wish I had a group of close friends who all hung out with each other, but that’s just not the way my life developed.  Instead, I will continue to be a connector, bringing together my different sets of friends for gatherings and potentially facilitating some wonderful new bonds.

Friend from abroad

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My friend Philosopher is back in town after almost two years! I can’t believe it was so long ago that he first came to visit, or that it went by so quickly. I really look forward to the day when I can visit him in his home country again, hopefully for London 2012.

I’ve taken the rest of the week off for a grand California adventure, spending time from Los Angeles to Sacramento, and many places in between. It was pretty exciting to only have a one day work week, but it’ll be even more exciting once start our trip exploring the towns of the West coast.

I can’t wait and I’m sure we will take plenty of pictures! This is going to be magnificent. 🙂

Sendoff

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Well, the time has come.  For months, one of my coworkers has been preparing to go off to business school (in China) and today was his official last day.  We’ve gone out to lunches, dinners, and even had a little in-house party.  We presented him with a cake, a card, a goodie bag, and an iPad!  All in all a pretty good sendoff, I’d say.  By now all the loose ends are pretty much tied up and his replacement, a friend of his, has been all trained up and is ready to take over his role.  Tonight, eight of us joined him at his place for one final shindig to send him off.  I’m glad that we got a chance to hang out one more time, since I was getting kind of sad at the end of the work day.

So by this point, all that was left was to spend some quality time with him before he flies off to a faraway land where Facebook and Google don’t exist.  Thankfully, we’ve got some techy guys who can set him up with a VPN account so he won’t be completely cut off from the world.  After all, he just got a Google+ account and what a shame it would be to set it all up only to never use it!

This time when we left him, it felt right.  We’d spent as much time as we could together and got some good old bonding in outside of the office, all of us just friends.  It’s the kind of camaraderie I was hoping for when I mentioned potentially setting up happy hour sessions after work.  It’s great to get to know my coworkers in a relaxed setting with no time constraints and it’s a pity we don’t do it more often.  I hope that it doesn’t always take someone leaving to get us all together.  And I hope that we’ll be able to stay in touch as our friend embarks on a new chapter in his life!

Happy hour

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Tonight I went out to dinner with a few coworkers and their friends.  Initially, it was supposed to be a happy hour sort of thing, but two of the guys got caught up with work, so we didn’t leave until about 6:30.  We were also going to celebrate one guy’s birthday and his pending departure to go to business school.  It turned out to be a great meal and it made me wish that our company organized some happy hours for coworkers to spend time together after work.

I have a friend who goes to happy hour with her coworkers nearly every week (or at least has the opportunity to) and I think that’d be a nice thing for my office too.  I mean, we do have lunches together pretty frequently, but there’s always a time constraint and people can’t really unwind like they could on a Friday after work.  Plus, people seem to bond better over alcohol and the whole nighttime scene makes things feel more intimate.  I mentioned this to one of the coworkers who was out with us and he thought it was a good idea as well.  Perhaps I’ll try to arrange something and start a new office tradition!

My, how the years fly

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This weekend, a bunch of my friends graduated from UCLA.  It’s a reminder of how long it’s been since I first crossed paths with them and I find it almost inconceivable that we’ve finally reached this point.  When I first met this group of friends, they were all first years living in my building.  I was already a 4th year, with a year and a half left before graduating.  It seemed like so long before they would ever graduate themselves, but now the time has come!  Has it really been two and a half years since I graduated?  While so much has happened, it all seemed to go by really quickly.  In a blink of an eye, here I am, well into my life as a working professional.

I still remember the carefree nights we spent chatting into the wee hours, or the stressful nights we spent studying into the wee hours!  There were plenty of meals to unite us and random gatherings in the hallway.  Ah, the hallways that drew us all together.  I really enjoyed the people I encountered just by living where I did, and while we’ve drifted apart since the time we were neighbors, they will always have a fond place in my heart and hopefully we continue to find time to meet up when we can.  It’s hard to believe that everyone is moving on to work or grad school (or trying for one or the other).  I still feel like I’m 21 and they’re all 18.  It seems that I might feel that way forever, no matter how our lives change and mature.

Thinking about those relationships also reminds me of the ones I built while studying abroad in England.  One of my best friends from that time has had an opportunity to visit me here and now we’re planning his next visit!  Has it really been two years since we’ve seen each other?  It definitely flew by before I knew what happened.  I guess it was because I managed to get a job a few months after he left and that has kept me pretty busy ever since.  I’m already coming up on a year and a half at my company!  That one feels like longer, since so much has happened, yet it still feels fast, since I can remember so much of how I felt when I was just starting.

Let’s not even talk about high school anymore.  Freshman year was ending a decade ago!  Boy does that make me feel old.  It’s just baffling how fresh those memories feel, even when so much has happened and a lot of time has gone by.  Our perceptions of time were never really very accurate, were they?

Mini cultural adventure

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Wow, I was in such a food coma last night that I totally collapsed on my bed and fell asleep soon after getting back from dinner.  Next thing I knew, I woke up sometime around 5 in the morning with the light still on!

I guess the Ethiopian food we had earlier in the night weighed pretty heavily on me.  Then again, it was a lot!  If you’ve never tried Ethiopian before (at least the Americanized version that is available in the states – who knows what real Ethiopian is out there), you should really give it a shot.  One of my friends who went last night – I’ll call her Duchess – had eaten it once before (like me) and we both enjoyed our experiences.  So there we were, many moons later, taking some others out for their first experience.

The place we went to was decided by a Tippr coupon that I bought a couple days ago, for a place called Little Ethiopia located in Little Ethiopia (hah!).  That’s a small strip out on Fairfax not too far from downtown LA.  It was a nice little place, though they had an entire room on the side that lay empty.  I guess when business was better they’d use both sides.  We ordered a veggie platter, tibs, and Little Ethiopian tibs.  The veggie platter had a variety of vegetables cooked in different sauces.  The tibs was chunks of beef and the Little Ethiopian tibs was those chunks of beef with potatoes and some other veggies mixed in.  Everything came out on a fantastically large tray lined with their special bread.

tray of ethiopian food with veggies and tibs

In the center is the Little Ethiopian tibs, the meat on either side is the tibs, and all those colorful splotches are part of the veggie platter!

basket of ethiopian bread

The bread - spongy and slightly sour and very soft and supple!

Oh that bread!  When Duchess and I were trying to describe it on the drive over, the closest thing we could come up with was a sourdough pancake.  It’s a dense, spongy thing with a hint of sour and there’s something wonderful about it.  You use the bread to grab some of the veggies or meat and then eat it in a little morsel (at least we think that’s the right way to do it).  Oh yeah, the thing about Ethiopian food is that it’s eaten with your hands, much like Indian food is supposed to be.  And so we ate, getting basket after basket of bread until we were stuffed.  The waitress then came and offered us some second helpings for free, since they had a lot of excess in the kitchen.  We couldn’t resist and spent another half hour trying to finish it all.  By the time we left, I was so full I could hardly stand.

But our adventure wasn’t over!  We decided to go for dessert and ended up choosing Persian ice cream.  The first time I went, I got the orange blossom.  This time I was too full to get a serving myself, but I shared a white rose with Apprentice.  Yes, their ice cream flavors are very flower-oriented.  I feel like I’m eating a garden and it is the strangest sensation.  It turned out to be a nice complement to the food we had earlier and both were awesome cultural experiences for the newbies.  When I finally got home, it’s no wonder I lay on the bed to recover and ended up sleeping for the night.  Next time I want to deep sleep, I’ll make sure to get Ethiopian again.  🙂

Friends

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Ah, the beauty of human interaction.  It’s been awhile since I’ve gone out to hang out with friends as much as I used to in college and I didn’t realize how much I missed it!  College is sort of a non-stop rollercoaster of social interactions and chilling with friends.  You’re surrounded by peers almost the entire time you’re there, which is a stark contrast to the loneliness of work life.  Nowadays I come home from work and plop down in front of the computer for the night.  I talk to Panda on Skype and maybe talk to friends via IM, email, or Facebook.  I rarely go out to meet up with my friends!

However, things seem to be changing pace a bit recently.  I’ve started to get out more and make more plans.  It’s nice to have social events scattered throughout my schedule and it gives me something to look forward to!  Actually, let me clarify – it’s nice to have social events with friends.  After all, I’ve been going to a decent number of other events, like yoga, networking events, and massages/facials.  Those types of activities don’t satisfy my hanging out with friends quota though.  You just can’t beat chilling with people you’re familiar with, whether it’s over a meal or on a couch.

I’ve got a lot of scheduling to do and I’m really looking forward to it!  It also helps that part of my chilling with friends gets to be chilling with Panda, finally.  🙂

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