October 2017 Updates

Before I launch back into recap season, I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been up to since I started posting regularly again! I want to be better about keeping up with current goings-ons here on the blog, since it can take me weeks and weeks to finish recapping a vacation months after it happened. There aren’t many photos, so just close your eyes, picture what I describe (after reading it), and be grateful for a reprieve from photos since I have a heckuva lotta Paris photos coming after the latest flood of pictures.

[ Spirit of Autumn ] DC has an interactive digital art gallery called Artechouse (art + tech + house) that is currently exhibiting an installation called Spirit of Autumn. I went with some coworkers at the beginning of the month and it was a bit of a letdown, especially after hearing the hype about their previous installation, but it was still really cool to see this digital art and how artist are using technology to create immersive experiences. (I shared some of my experiences on Instagram.)

[ Whoopi Goldberg ] I had the opportunity to see the legendary Whoopi Goldberg perform a comedy set at the Kennedy Center and it was an experience. First of all, she swears so much. Second of all, she has inspired a love from her fans that I have never really seen before. People rushed to stand in line at the microphones to ask her questions and about a third of those people just wanted to say “Whoopi, I love you, I admire you, I’m such a fan.” And then they sat down! It was incredible. Also, she was so generous with her time. I took issue with how she spoke about the Harvey Weinstein scandal (and I touched on that on Instagram, too) but she is a legend for a reason, she’s hilarious and she knows how to reach people.

[ Death of a Salesman ] My friend Annie got tickets to see Death of a Salesman at Ford’s Theatre (the same theater where Lincoln was assassinated; we could see his box seats from ours) and I have actually never seen the play nor have I read it! I’ve also never seen a show at the Ford’s Theatre so I was happy to go. While I didn’t love the play (I found the start of the first act not engaging and a bit awkward given how the dialogue has aged), I found the subject matter to be heartbreakingly real to grapple with. It was a lot of issues that I see in my own life and in my friends’ lives: aging parents who don’t really know who you are, unmet expectations of grandeur and success, the disappointment of working hard and not getting what you think you deserve. It was a hard play to watch but I’m really glad I got to see it.

[ Rennfest ] I went back to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year, my second time ever! We went during closing weekend because of some timing issues trying to go earlier and I had an awesome time. We got great seats for the joust this year, during which time Ben learned that I get really into live sporting events and will lose my voice shouting. (“BOOOOO! You lack honor!”) We saw falconry, ate scotch eggs, and just enjoyed so much merriment. The Rennfest is one of my favorite things to do in the fall now and I hope it remains and annual tradition.

[ When You Wish Upon a Bar ] I did Harry Potter trivia through Geeks Who Drink with my friend Logan a few months ago and my team won first place! (Although I still feel guilty, to this day, about taking home an equal share of the cash prize given that I only knew the answer to one question…) Logan invited me out to a Disney trivia night that Geeks Who Drink was hosting and I was thrilled to be able to pull my weight, although I spent all of the day leading up to the quiz worrying about the breadth of the Disney knowledge (Disney Channel TV shows? Marvel? Star Wars? ESPN?!) and the depth (there are so many obscure movies I haven’t seen… and characters whose names I don’t know…) so I was really relieved to arrive and actually be able to pull my weight on a team full of former Jeopardy contestants and people who have been doing quiz bowl trivia since high school. Unfortunately, we got 2nd place but it was still a lot of fun!


How is your month going?
Are you ready for Halloween and the rest of the year-end festive season??

March Recap + Favorites

Can you believe today is the last day of March? I know the months seem to fly by faster and faster, but it really seems like the single-digit days were just yesterday and now it’s the 31st!

March is usually when things pick up in pace for me, as spring tries to spring and activities are on the uptick! So here’s a little recap of how my month went:

I started the month with a sleep study It was a bit strange, but I’ve been having a lot of sleep issues for the past few years and thought it was high time I asked my doctor about them. The sleep study was definitely interesting, so let me know if you’d like to hear more about that experience!

In general, I re-prioritized my health. I have been making my doctor’s appointments instead of putting them off, and even though I am missing time at work (that I make up by coming in early and staying late), it’s good to know that I’m getting care, especially because not everyone is currently insured and able to do so. I’ve seen several different doctors this month and will be seeing many more with the appointments I’ve made, and this is mostly to maintain good health and as follow-ups to past appointments. I do think it’s important for me to think of these visits as health maintenance, rather than think of visiting the doctor as something I only do when I think something is wrong. Prevention is key! I have also been exercising and I gave up fried foods for Lent, so it’s been a healthy month!

I visited San Francisco! I will be putting up recaps from my time there shortly (I swear!), but I made solo trips to museums during the day, caught up with friends for dinner, and was able to support my boyfriend after he gave his first big conference talk. I also got to see Christine (and meet her boyfriend!) while I was out there, my first time visiting her in SF since we became friends!

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Um, it snowed for the first time all winter in DC. We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter this year. Like actually warm many days, and no where near as brutally cold as it usually is. It’s been comfortable for us as humans but very worrying, especially given that the cherry blossoms seemed poised to peak weeks earlier than usual. Then it snowed and dipped below 30 for the first time in weeks and we were all very scared for the cherry blossoms. I only wish we got more snow, as the initial predictions for this Stella were much higher than anyone experienced. Oh well! It looks like that is all DC will be getting this winter and we’ll have to wait until the next one.

I met Danny Boyle at an early screening of T2 Trainspotting. He was such a sweet man, honestly, and I really have a renewed respect for him and his films after hearing his Q&A and being able to meet him. I haven’t seen all of his films yet, but you can bet that will change soon!

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I got to see the Instagram-famous cherry blossom + Super Mario pop-up bar! This was an awesome Instameet, so we were actually able to sample the cocktails free of charge an hour before the bar opened to the public. This bar is as cool as they say, and here’s my friend Andy‘s video to prove it!

Fun fact: I actually met Andy for the first time over 2 years ago and hadn’t seen him since until this Instameet! He’s an amazing photographer and vlogger and overall dude, definitely check him out on Instagram.

I was able to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinite Kusama exhibit and the Hirshhorn. The same week, I got to see another Instagram-famous DC happening and it was pretty spectacular. As stressful as it was to be rushed through the infinity rooms (20 seconds to try to take in… infinity?!), I really enjoyed this exhibit and really hope I can come back before the exhibit goes to the next city.

You know what, here’s another one of Andy’s videos because I just have not edited my videos or footage together yet!

Christine and Phil visited DC! The weekend after my SF trip was Christine’s birthday, and then the weekend after that, she and Phil actually came to my city and visited DC! It was so great to be reunited with Christine and to spend more time hanging out with Phil.

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Reunited and it feels so good!

I attended the second Women in Tech Summit DC in a row. Last year was the first year of the DC Women in Tech Summit and I was able to come back for another year, this time at the new(ish) Washington Post building! (The last time I was at WaPo, it was for a hackathon in the old building. The old building is now completely gone!) It was fun to see some great women in tech that I haven’t seen in a while and also to just be surrounded by so many awesome ladies and supportive men. It’s hard not to feel motivated and inspired after events like this.

I saw my first Wizards game! And they were playing the Nets, so it was my first time seeing Jeremy Lin (and his terrible hair), too! This was a work outing and it was a lot of fun, minus the part where I didn’t know where the free food + drinks were for a long time while watching the game alone (because everyone else was eating free food and drinking free drinks).

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The Wizards are currently the #3 team in the NBA Eastern Conference! The Nets are the lowest ranked team, so we beat them easily. Probably because of Jeremy Lin’s hair.

I watched the Hamburg Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid at the Kennedy Center. The tickets were on sale so I had to snag one for myself, starting a pattern of me seeing ballets at the Kennedy Center solo. This one wasn’t quite my cup of tea (I wasn’t a fan of the choreography, as it was distracting…? and was so abstract that it was difficult to suss out the actual story) but I still really enjoyed seeing these incredible dancers. This production in particular had a lot of male dancers, and I was reminded at how stunningly athletic male ballet dancers are. (Two words: six-packs.) (Everywhere.) It’s fun to take myself to see a show every now and then, and the Kennedy Center remains one of my favorite venues to do so!

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I was also crazy close! Maybe too close, the dancers occasionally were out of my field of vision…

I am seeing results after working out for 2 months. I always heard that it takes 6-8 weeks to see any semblance of progress when it comes to exercise. About 2 months ago, I decided enough was enough, I need to stop struggling to lift things and open that heavy glass door to my office building. (Look, it’s really heavy and sometimes the wind catches it, which makes it harder to open and… I mean you get the picture, small arms, heavy door.) I got a ClassPass membership back in January, which I’ll be telling you guys all about really soon here on the blog, and have also been doing some very casual/haphazard strength-training and running at my office gym so that I can eventually accomplish those resolutions I set at the beginning of the year. This past week, after a day where I somehow squeezed 2 intense workouts into one day, I got home and could see tiny signs of progress! It was really exciting to not only look stronger but to feel a little bit stronger, too. (That being said, I still huff and puff up the stairs and I struggled with a heavy glass door this week, so I have a lot more progress still to make!)


To wrap things up, I wanted to share some things I’ve been loving this past month:

Jidenna’s album, The Chief: I have been waiting for Jidenna’s debut album for a long time, ever since I saw him open for Stromae. That was almost 2 years ago and I’m really enjoying the album. I highly recommend having a listen because it’s very likely you’ll find at least one song you like, given how flexible Jidenna is with the genres that he plays around with on this album. I watched his music video for “Bambi” when it was still just in the tens of thousands of views on Youtube and I’ve had the song stuck in my head ever since.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out: This movie is as good as the hype. I was too scared to see any of the press screenings, even with Annie telling me it was sooooo good and that I have to see it. STILL I was much too scared to see it, until she sent me this article where the author is a self-professed wimp but didn’t find the movie too scary. Ultimately, I went when Annie invited me and my boyfriend to see the movie with her and her boyfriend, because we don’t get to see the two of them that often and they were really close to where we live. I was SO NERVOUS to see it, but it really is a tour de force and you really should watch it. It’s masterfully done and, you know what, not really that scary! In the traditional horror movie way. (Maybe it’s scarier because… the horrors of the movie are not too far from reality.)

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The March Disneybound Challenge: I’ll be posting up my annual March Disneybound Challenge recap but this was a lot of fun! This year was different because Leslie actually posted a day-by-day challenge guide, so I was able to lean on that for inspiration rather than thinking of something from scratch every day. I did feel like it was harder to break that guide to go with outfits that I had that didn’t fall neatly into them, but overall, it was good to have some structure to the challenge. Also, I got to see some really incredible outfits on Instagram and this challenge reaffirms how much I love the Instagram Disney community every single year. These folks are amazing.

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A little preview of some of my #disneyboundchallenge posts on Instagram

How has your month been? Any highlights to share?
What are you looking forward to in April?

December Recap

There were a few goings-ons that happened this month but I haven’t talked to you about them yet so here we go! I’m still unsure of how to handle events where I don’t have much to say or show about them, so for now I’ll do these catch-all posts. Let me know if you’d really prefer I do mini-recaps about events like this.

I kicked off December by attending my first National Tree Lighting, which was also the Obama family’s last as the First Family. It was really exciting getting to see the Obamas at their last tree lighting, and it was also great to see the celebrities who turned up as well! Eva Longoria was the host, Bailee Madison was there to speak about a cause she cares about, we were able to hear musical artists like Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Marc Anthony, The Lumineers, James Taylor, Garth Brooks, and more. It was freezing by the time we left, but I got to hear President Obama crack some jokes and sing “Jingle Bells’ so it was a pretty jolly time!

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Bailee Madison
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Eva Longoria with the National Tree in the background
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The Lumineers
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President Obama
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The president joined by all of the evening’s performers (I got no good photos of Kelly Clarkson, I’m so sorry)

The evening after that was my birthday party, which was so much fun and I still am in disbelief that I pulled it off.

I was supposed to attend Yelp Northern Virginia’s holiday party, but I actually got a scary flat tire that I knew would be funny in hindsight as soon as I calmed down. Maybe I’ll tell you about it one of these days…

The following day was my company winter event / holiday party. I’ve been working with my current company since March and I am really happy here. I love the work culture and my coworkers. Meeting the partners who manage the firm and their spouses was great, the food was delicious, and I had a lot of fun with my team.

A few days later, I attended Ben’s company holiday party. I might be a bad luck charm, as this was the first year he didn’t win something at the raffle, and I wasn’t feeling 100% great that evening, but I enjoyed seeing him have fun with his coworkers. (I also discovered that one of his coworkers was one of my classmates back in college! Neither of us are doing psychology work now and, instead, both of us are in tech. Funny how life works like that, huh?) Holiday parties galore!

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A day later, I found myself back at the Kennedy Center singing along to holiday music as sung by Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes, accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra for an NSO Pops event. They were great and I was really thrilled we had such huge Broadway stars crooning these holiday songs to us. (I nearly cried when they sang “Love is an Open Door”, which is in no way a holiday song but maybe my favorite song on the overplayed Frozen soundtrack.)

That weekend, I worked the Yelp Maryland ‘Burbs holiday party, where I single-handedly ran the 60-person White Elephant, and then headed to a friend’s house for a belated Friendsgiving-type celebration. It was a very chill time and I got to play with doggies!

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It’s a little odd to mention this here but my company has a monthly, all-hands meeting for the entire firm and this month was the best one I’ve ever been to. I found out one of my new coworker’s husband is very close childhood friends with Wang Leehom, and in learning that I also learned that I was the only other Asian female in the room, which is why I was the only person who reacted audibly to learning that little fun fact! (Cue embarrassment at having gasped out loud in front of my whole company…)

On the day of my birthday, I woke up for a 7AM dance party at my first Daybreaker DC event and I kind of loved it so much! That evening, I attended a little Friendsmas celebration, where my friends surprised me with an ice cream cake (those chocolate crunchies!!!) and I just had such a lovely time. There were 3 separate gift exchanges, spiced apple cider, hand-written cards, and a photobooth. My friends know how to throw a party!


As of now, I am in China celebrating the end of this year and the beginning of 2017 with my extended family, whom I haven’t seen in a few years. December is one of those months that always gets wild because it’s the end of the year but also the biggest holiday season of the year. I hope that your month was full of positive excitement as we all gear up for 2017!

How did you wrap up the year?
Are you ready for 2017?
On the one hand, I feel very ready but on the other… wow, how is it already 2017 so soon??

Look Back/Look Forward (February 2016)

Hello folks! Trying very hard to get back on schedule with blogging so here’s a quick little recap of February as far as what I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to doing over this last week!

Feruary 2016

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January Favorites

I know that I’ve been a bit all over the place with update schedules (and I completely dropped the ball on my daily photo resolution this weekend)  but I thought this might be a nice time to just do an end-of-month recap!

Birdman

What can I say, I really loved this movie. I cannot recommend it enough. My write-up was really long, I know, but please consider seeing it. It didn’t get 9 Oscar nominations for nothing! Run, do not walk, to go see it.

Seeing an old friend after 10+ years

In 2004, I met my friend Tammy at nerd camp. As per usual for me, we fell out of touch over the years. BUT our friendship was rekindled in the past few years as we both struggled with the decision to leave the pre-med life. She helped me a lot with the decision to walk away from something I was no longer happy to do. She was in town this past weekend — and actually used to live in the building next to mine! — so we caught up for brunch. It was a lot of fun to see her again after soooooo long.

We didn’t take any photos Sunday, so here is — apparently — the most recent photo of us. From 2004. I’ll let you guess who is me and who is Tammy (and who is everyone else).

 

Kale chips

Okay, so. I have been 5 months potato chip-clean. Prior to this, I was eating an entire family-sized bag of crispy, crunchy goodness every day. Maybe two bags a day. It was bad. I’m finally getting control of my life back to the point where I am not thinking about chips all day, every day. (It was a serious problem, there was a lot of crying.)

I also haven’t been eating as healthily as I should be, so I went and bought a big bag of kale the last time I went grocery shopping and tried my hand at making some kale chips.

YOU GUYS they were surprisingly so tasty and practically healthy! My recipe is simple:

Put washed and dried kale on a baking sheet. (Removing stalks optional.) Drizzle olive oil over top. Sprinkle seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, Old Bay, whatever) over top BUT be sure to sprinkle sparingly. Use less than you think you’ll need, as kale shrinks significantly when roasting. Massage oil+seasoning into the kale until all coated. Put in oven at 375-400°F for 20 minutes.

Super yummy, really easy, almost healthy, and helps avoid potato-chip relapse.

Chinese sausage (lapchang)

I went vegetarian a few years ago and I was doing just fine with that. But there were 3 reasons I could not fully give up meat:

  1. Korean barbecue
  2. Hotpot/shabu-shabu
  3. Chinese sausage

That’s how good Chinese sausage is, you guys. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a cured sausage that has a lot of rendered fat in it. It tastes sweet and is juicy and makes everything taste good. I’m planning on attempting a recipe that I have never tried before featuring Chinese sausage so keep an eye out for that! And go buy a package if you know what’s good for you. I just added a sausage to some leftovers I wasn’t really thrilled about finishing and I ate every last morsel.

Peanut butter in ramen

I’ve heard this as a “hack” for ramen many, many times, but I was always very hesitant to try it. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I love ramen and my specific brands of instant noodles; why would I do anything to alter it?

But peanut butter is real good, lemme tell ya. It thickens the broth a bit and adds a little sumfin-sumfin to the whole ramen experience. Adding a dollop of peanut butter is now part of my standard ramen process, along with adding veggies and poaching an egg.

Studying for the GMAT

At first, I was going to say that I love being post-GMAT. While I like it, I think I actually liked being in the throes of GMAT-studying just a wee bit more. Am I a masochist? Maybe. But it felt nice to have been able to — however temporarily — discipline myself to follow a study schedule and to be able to measure my progress concretely by ways of score increases. Being in-between full-time jobs as I am, I really miss having a more rigid structure in my day and being able to see improvements or progress in a concrete way.


Most of these were food-related, but who’s surprised?

February holds a lot of promise, I think. Chinese New Year is coming up! And right before then, I’ll be giving something up for Lent as per my annual tradition now. Valentine’s Day is coming up and I’m going to be mixing it up a bit this year for that.

PLUS look how gorgeous February looks on a [US] calendar [where the week begins on Sunday]:

  • Tell me about your January! What were some of your fond memories?