Sorry for the mess

I apologize for the mess! We just returned from a camping trip with friends in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. We camped out in Tinnemaha Creek Campground. It was a short but sweet trip. I’ve never been out in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. The landscape here is quite interesting — desert life in the foreground and high icy mountains in the background. I would love to explore other parts of the Eastern Sierras such as Mono Lake, Manzanar, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

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Home Garden Project Reset

The first week of a new job is complete! For many weeks up to now, I was so nervous. I kept wondering if I made the right decision. Was this lateral move step back for me? Should I have stayed in my old job until the right opportunity came around? I kept thinking that a promotion would happen if I stayed long enough and kept seeking the internal job board.

After completing my first week, I think I have made the right decision to move on. I appreciate that my new supervisor is transparent and detailed with the growth that could come out from my position as it is a newly created position. And that growth also comes with a promotion too (don’t forget pay bump) which made me very happy.

Continue reading Home Garden Project Reset

Kicking off the Holiday season

As soon as I see a posting for any light display event, I get excited because I know we are approaching the Holiday season. I always tell myself we have to go at least one at some point during the season.

Continue reading Kicking off the Holiday season

20 for (20)20

I was listening to my favorite podcast, “Happier.” by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft going over their 19 for (20)19. I usually love making lists of things to do, but for the last few years my head was in a fog, and I never got around to writing them. I am sure my list that exists in my head is infinite, but yet I want to get around doing it now. Listening to this episode reinvigorated me to write my 20 in (20)20 list to make my new year fun.

Since I did not create a 19 for 20(19) list, I think I’ll create a reverse 19 for 20(19)  to reflect on the 19 things I did.

Anyways, here is my 20 in 20(20) list.

  1. Visit 20 different museums, landmarks, or national parks. 
  2. Try 20 different restaurants. This includes dessert places, food stands, and food trucks. Since I am going to be out of the country in February, for the sake of fairness, I’ll keep it local — within Los Angeles County.
  3. Try 30 new recipes. Since I finished school, I’ve got more time to be creative.
  4. Do a 1-second video every day and stitch it into a short video. I heard about the 1 Second Everyday App on the podcast. It reminds me of the one photo a day challenge. We will see how I keep up
  5. Read and complete 20 different books. I’ve got plenty of books I’ve started and have not yet completed.
  6. Take 750 classes Pure Barre classes. Stretch goal: Reach to 1000 classes. When we had to stay elsewhere during the home remodel, my barre attendance plummeted. Now since we moved back, I am slowly building back to a regular schedule.
  7. Add a chalkboard to the pantry door. I am not sure if we should paint the door with chalkboard paint and put a frame on it ala “Friends” or make an actual chalkboard.
  8. Create an artistic display of our postcards. We get postcards from friends, family, and Postcrossing. I collect postcards too. They are stored in a box, and they deserve to be out.
  9. Get up to 6 months of living expenses in our emergency fund. Self-explanatory. A lot of our savings went to our home remodel. It is better to have a definitive emergency fund goal, rather than just save for the sake of savings. There were times where I felt tethered. We exceeded our savings goal, and we never bit the bullet for almost anything. People have a funny interaction with money. Which leads me to my next point, we need to have a definition of what constitutes an “emergency.”
  10. To not buy any clothes and accessories for the year. The only clothing items I would buy are underwear, socks, shoes, and workout clothes. I have a small shoe collection which consists of walking shoes, one pair of fashion boots, two professional shoes which I keep in the office, one pair of sandals, and two pairs of hiking boots. I walk on average 10,000-12,000 steps a day. I have a fair wardrobe of workout wear, and I wear them until they’re worn out.
  11. Complete a perfect push-up.
  12. Plant a tree for the front yard. Don’t forget, keep it alive too.
  13. Clean and dress up the parking strip.
  14. Plant three herbs for the entryway.
  15. Make a wreath for the front door.
  16. Do a power hour once per week. I am obsessed with the idea of power hour. It’s an hour where I tackle all the non-routine things I’ve been meaning to do such as organizing the cabinets, doing our finances, cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, etc. I had a hard time doing a power hour in my previous job because I was working all the time. On my days off, my power hour was more like a power nap.
  17. Bite the bullet and buy a domain for my blog.
  18. Get a new FitBit — My Charge 2 is at the end of its life. The heart rate monitor feature no longer works. I can’t believe I’ve had it for four years!
  19. Host three get-togethers with friends. Maybe we will even get to host Friendsgiving this year.
  20. Send postcards to friends when I travel. Bonus: Send holiday greeting cards in December.

What is your 20 in (20)20?

Enchanted: Forest of Light

Last December I went to Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted: Forest of Light in La Canada. At night, the ever-changing colored lights blanket the trees and the sprinkling chandeliers make the garden magical — and not in a cheesy way. This event quickly became one of my things to so during the holiday season. I can’t wait until it re-opens next month!

Below is just one part of the garden. Because I love Enchanted so much, I am going share these photos in pieces.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

Check out other blogger’s and their intepretation of this week’s challenge:

Sky light

Yes, there is a cave in Los Angeles. This was from one of my hikes (hike 38/52) last week and it was probably one of the coolest hikes I’ve done this year. I did a bit of rock scrambling and made my way to the top of the cave. Stay tuned for more pictures!

This is the “ceiling” of the cave.

I can’t believe this is in Los Angeles and only 10 miles from my house!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

Check out other bloggers and their interpretation for “Windows”:

A Saturday Brunch Wedding at the Vintage Rose

My friend’s wedding on Saturday was a lot of fun probably the most fun wedding I’ve been to in a while. I’ve been invited to weddings in the past, but I would have to say this wedding was the most meaningful. The bride was a friend I knew since high school, the groom was a former coworker. We had a mutual friend, a friend the bride and I knew since college, who set them up and the rest was history. This friend was also a former coworker of the groom. It was a sweet wedding and I enjoyed every moment.

How did the madeleine bake-a-thon go? It was a brunch wedding which meant it started early. I made the madeleines for the dessert table which meant I had to arrive the venue earlier. They came out nice but I wished my melted white chocolate came out smoother. The pink color indicated the madeleines were rosewater flavored, the chocolate dipped were vanilla, and the white chocolate dipped were orange blossom. After the wedding, I was only able to retrieve rosewater madeleine plate. I eventually found the two other serving plates via text message from the groom and the plates were clean.

Wedding guest look. I got my dress and necklace from Rent the Runway. The dress is  ELLIATT and the necklace is Kenneth Jay Lane. I had to make a few adjustments to the dress using safety pins. Overall, I really like my outfit. I’ve been using Rent the Runway for quite some time. It started when I was first engaged. To curb the cost of buying special outfits I would only wear once during my engagement (i.e. bridal shower, bachelorette, rehearsal dinner), I rented. After the wedding, I still rent dresses from time to time for events like weddings, bachelorette parties, and fancy birthday parties. I don’t have time to go to a store and I don’t like to commit my wallet (and my closet space) to buying an outfit I’d wear once.

The wedding itself took place at the Vintage Rose in Orange in Orange County. It’s cute! It’s like I walked in a movie set or a tea house. Thank you so much for providing not just a beautiful venue, but for being so accomdating and providing great service to the bride, groom, and the guests!

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…and here are guest photos.

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Some photo booth pictures!

After the wedding, we went to 4th Street Market in Santa Ana and ate pretty much everything. This is why I need to go on a Whole 15 (not Whole 30) challenge.

 Attack of the Agavaceae

I’ll make this week’s challenge post short because I am currently doing a madeleine bake-athon for my friend’s wedding this Saturday. I am making three flavors, vanilla dipped in chocolate, orange blossom, and rosewater. And I figured out how to stage them for the dessert table!

giant agave plant

This another photo of one of my many trips to the Huntington Library. This is me with an unusually large agave plant at the Desert Garden section. For your reference, I am 5’7 (170.2 cm) and I’m wearing sandals.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

Take a break at the Huntington Library

Collage is defined as:

a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing,

the art of making collages, and

a combination or collection of various things

For this post, I’ll apply the definition with the last point: “a combination or collection of various things.”

I’ll feature the Huntington Library and Garden at Sierra Madre. It’s one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Actually Huntington Library hits my Top Ten places in Los Angeles.

The campus is huge and each time I go, I don’t go through everything because there’s so much to see! I enjoy taking this visit in chunks, but then again I am local and I do come back again. If you are in Los Angeles for a visit, go see as much as you can from the Huntington Library and take a break at the Rose Garden Tea Room for some tea and sandwiches.

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I took this photo back in I believe 2013. It’s interesting the way the leaves of this deciduous tree is placed against the bamboo.

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A cactus collection in the desert garden.

I’ve got quite a photo collection from Huntington Library. Stay tuned for more photos in future photos!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage

“La La Land” Live in concert

Last night, we went to the Hollywood Bowl and watched La La Land in concert. This is where they play the movie La La Land accompanied by a live orchestra — many who are were the original musicians who played in the recording. The conductor of the orchestra was none other than Oscar winning composer, Justin Hurwitz.

When I first purchased this ticket, I did not have high expectations because the time I purchased it, everyone was still on the La La Land-obsession train. I was not sure how much I would like the movie or the concert, but after it was far beyond what I expected. They sure went all out with the dancers, the lighting, and the fireworks!
Continue reading “La La Land” Live in concert