Wanderlust//Chicago

Chi-town #TBT; with my college besties circa ’09.

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Lake Michigan

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The Art Institute of Chicago

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Asian fusion at Sunda

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Crack the Whip sculpture at Navy Pier Park

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Brilliant blue skies over the Chicago River

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Downtown. Background– Chicago Tribune building and American Gothic statue

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City view from The Signature Lounge

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Reflections in the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park… aka “The Bean”

Weekend Getaway

Hi friends, happy Monday! I went on a quick weekend getaway to Kern Valley this past weekend and I wanted to share a few pictures.

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My friends (small group from church) and I went camping at Pioneer Point, across the road from Lake Isabella.

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It was my first time going camping in 5 years…! Pretty much the response I got from anyone when I told them I was going camping was, “You don’t seem like the camping type.” -_- ACTUALLYYY I grew up going camping, and I enjoy it a lot. MINUS.. the bugs. Oh gawd the bugs. I would rather not shower for 3 days than have to be in a tent with one bug inside. D: Can I still love camping if I don’t love bugs?

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Half of our group arrived Friday night, and the other half arrived Saturday morning. It was a scorching 95 degrees, though cool-ish in the shade, and it was ridiculously windy the entire day, like tents-blowing-over-even-with-heavy-stuff-inside windy. The picture above was from early on in the day, when we were still semi-clean and cute… it rapidly went downhill after this. 😉

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The original plan was to go white water rafting, but because of the drought, the water levels of Kern River were at an all-time low. BOO. We ended up at Lake Isabella instead, though clearly it wasn’t the most picturesque place. RAIN, CALIFORNIA… RAIN.

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Half the group stayed at the lake, and the other half (myself included) walked back to the campsite in search of shade + Bananagrams. It totally rekindled my love for the game… who wants to play!!

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After a delicious KBBQ dinner, we made s’mores… while staying away from the campfire as much as possible because it was still so hot. The weather finally cooled down around 9pm and we sat around and played five increasingly-intense rounds of Mafia (potential friendship-killer), stared up at the million stars, and talked.

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Group picture! The ten of us woke up Sunday morning between the hours of 4:30-6am (sunrise= nature’s alarm clock), ate a hodgepodge of leftover foods for breakfast (including toasted bagels with cream cheese + avocado, Pocky sticks, and french pressed coffee), and headed home.

A quick trip but a fun time of bonding with some good people.

Have a great week!

R + TK Wedding

The best is going to an outdoor wedding with beautiful weather, especially when the bride is equally beautiful! My friend Renee got hitched last weekend at Maravilla Gardens in Camarillo (remember her from here?). It was my first time at this venue, and I loved it! An intimate garden ceremony under a canopy, cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres, including grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (!!), and a reception under the stars with tons of dancing and dessert. At the end of the night, we sent off the bride and groom through a path of sparklers lighting up the night.

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Proud father and blushing bride

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Giggling during the ceremony 🙂

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Picture perfect– each girl did her own makeup! Renee is a makeup artist and gave them a lesson before the wedding. Brilliant.

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R + TK ❤

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With Sunghee, fellow guestbook attendant. Polaroids are always fun.

Huzzah! Congrats Renee + TK, blessings to you both!

A Simple Shower

Sarah, my roomie from college who now lives in NorCal, was visiting LA this past weekend for her PsyD graduation– so I planned a simple but sweet baby shower on Saturday with our closest girlfriends.

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(Dr.) Sarah… soon to be mother of a baby boy…!

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Shower colors were navy, teal, and gold. Paradise cake from King’s Hawaiian (best ever), cake stand from the Oh Joy for Target spring collection, diaper cake topper is the ever-popular Sophie the Giraffe teether, and real cake topper is DIY.

Btw, I made the diaper cake using a no-roll method (typically diapers are individually rolled up and rubberbanded). I found it to be much faster (and more hygienic, IMHO). In case you’re wondering, I used a total of 60 size 1 diapers to make the three tiers.

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After lunch (catered from Panini Cafe), we decorated onesies with fabric paint, which turned out to be a stress-inducing activity for most of us (but… they turned out cute!)

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Trying to take one group picture with a gorillapod and self-timer turned into 50… after this one, they mostly looked like this:

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…and this is one of the better ones. 😉

Hooray Sarah! Proud of you and your doctorate, and so excited to meet your baby boy in a few months!

Chanel Leona

She’s here! Long-awaited Baby C of my dear friends Pri and Dan. I visited Chanel Leona Kim hours after she was born last Thursday– and a quick stop-by turned into a 4 hour visit. There was a code yellow (bomb threat) at the hospital due to a suspicious package found somewhere, so the hospital went into lockdown and everyone was stuck inside. Not that I was complaining… I mean, just look at this face…

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Omg. Just omg.

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I die.

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Pri was an absolute rockstar– she delivered without an epidural!

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I’m gonna be the BEST.AUNTIE.EVER! So excited to watch her grow. ❤

Night Out: House of Blues

I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone out on a weeknight. Like, out-out. When did I get so old? But last Wednesday gave me the best reason to go out ever– a few of my friends from college played at the House of Blues in Hollywood! They were part of the “and Friends” of “Jeevo and Friends”– Byron on viola and James on vocals.

They freakin’ killed it.

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Jeevo (third from right) is a singer-songwriter-rapper who also went to UCLA. Bruins doin’ werk. 😉 James, a friend from my freshman dorm days in Dykstra Hall, pictured far right. [Sorry for the yucky iPhone pictures…]

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Byron, another Dykstra homie, now married to my dear friend Meesh, pictured second from right, awkwardly cradling his viola.

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Post-show. Friends for 10.5 years and counting…!

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And here’s a throwback from 9 years ago, when James and Byron performed with Jeevo at UCLA’s Spring Sing back in 2005. They pretty much look the same. Some of us girls made them that poster, signed “love, your biggest fans”– we still are!. PS- Spring Sing is an annual music competition that started in 1945 (!), and past performers include Maroon 5 and Sara Bareilles (pre-fame). Yeee.

What a fun night! I was so proud of J & B and it was so good to be surrounded by old friends. Such a rich history of friendship we are cultivating. Lurve.

Disney Magic

Once upon a time, I had an annual pass to Disneyland/CA Adventures. I renewed that pass for a couple years. And then it became unaffordable.

The end. I know, sad story. But seriously, the passes now range from $279-$669 (and the $279 pass we all know is damn sucky), and the rates keep going up.

SO. This past Sunday was a SPECIAL day because my friend David, employee of Disney, signed me (+ some friends) in for free. My first time in several years… Hooray!

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D-land crew!

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Girlfriends 🙂

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Minnie mouse club

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My first time in Cars Land!

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Radiator Springs was such a cool ride…!

We went after church around 1pm and stayed ’til 10pm. It was such a perfect day– beautiful weather, empty-ish parks, minimal waiting-in-lines, and good food. I got to experience Cars Land and watch World of Color, both for the first time. Mind blown x 2. Disneyland is so magical!! It really never, ever gets old.

Okay, seriously though, I’m considering buying another annual pass. I didn’t realize how much I missed D-land until I was there, and I feel like my life has been all work and no play these days (albeit a lot of “fun” work…). Was it a sign that my tax return was sitting in my checking account when I checked it online this morning? WAS IT? IS IT??

We shall seee…

Wanderlust//DC

wan·der·lust
noun \ˈwän-dər-ˌləst\
: a strong desire to travel

Throwing it back (it is Thursday, after all– #TBT) 7 years with these pictures from my first trip to D.C., because I feel like jet-setting so much it almost hurts right now. Domestic or international, it don’t matter.

Let me tell you, the best way to see the D.C. monuments is during the hours after a heavy rainfall. Those hours being 1-4 a.m., when the rest of the city (and tourists) sleep. Bring a tripod (I love mine) with you.

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A clear view of the Washington Monument.

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No photo bombers allowed.

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A quiet moment at the Lincoln Memorial.

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In awe. Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

There was something so magical about walking from memorial to memorial with not a soul in sight. My friends and I were able to quietly enjoy the significance of the monuments without the sounds, smells, and crowds of people normally filling the spaces. It felt surreal, almost spiritual, and most definitely breath-taking.

Wanderlust.

[All photos above taken with a Canon P&S]

A Quick Look Back

I know the new year is supposed to be all about looking ahead, but I was looking through my old pictures from 2013 and was fondly reminiscing about some of the good times. A quick look back on 10 highlights, from the year that was keen indeed.

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[January] I played flag football with my church small group against another group (I KNOW. WHO AM I). Even though I was knocked to the ground (always by boys -_-) more times than I actually caught the ball or pulled a flag, it was a surprisingly fun few months of playing. Bonus points for me– I even bought cleats… now collecting dust in my closet.

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[February] Weekend trip with 14 friends to Mammoth! I’ve officially given up snowboarding (I just can’t carve, I can’t D:), so I tried my hand at skiing (second time ever). I stopped falling after a few runs (on the bunny slopes, of course), and successfully made it down 10 runs by the end of the day. It was a weekend full of amazing home-cooked food, (spiked) peppermint hot chocolate, and playing Bananagrams– in a baller cabin. Best.

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[April] The day my mind was blown. Even though I’ve lived in LA my entire life, it was my first time visiting Magic Castle. I can’t describe the experience at all. Just find someone who can get you in and go.

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[May] Los Olivos day trip with my girlfriends. It was a perfect getaway with perfect weather, starting with a picnic on the grass and ending with a stop at the Santa Barbara pier (with lots of wine in between, of course).

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[July] My fifth time in Vegas with the same group of girlfriends for our third bachelorette party– this time for Grace. This crazy picture is from the club Light, and the only feeling I had in Vegas the entire trip was Damn, I’m Old.

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[August] A challenging but memorable week, I went on a mother-daughter trip (singular, without my sister) to Canada and the East Coast (picture above from Philadelphia). I came home with tons of beautiful pictures, and a thankfulness to Jesus that I am now an independent adult who lives not-at-home. :O

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[September] Finished up final bridesmaid duties at Grace’s wedding. We met 10 years ago, during our first few weeks at UCLA. She (and another b-maid, Prisca) lived one floor below me in the dorms, and we hit it off immediately. Exciting to walk alongside her through all these years of change!

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[October] My 2-week trip to Korea was so.much.fun. My first time in 7 years, it was a catalyst for my newfound love and appreciation for my extended family, with whom I previously had not kept in touch. It was also an amazing time of bonding with girlfriends, eating like kings, and shopping.

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[November] My sister + BIL hosted Thanksgiving, and I actually helped cook for the first time! For better or for worse, I think this is going to be a new tradition. :X

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[December] I just really felt the need to end with a Christmas picture. 🙂 This is from my college friends’ 4th annual holiday potluck hosted by Grace and her now-husband Ben. It was a night of tons of laughter as we played Tellestrations, which has become a tradition (and the funniest game ever), drinking games (ack), and ate. And ate and ate.

Okay, an official farewell to 2013. Moving on, moving forward. New memories in 2014 to come, starting now! Peace.

Merry Christmas!

A quick post to say Merry (early) Christmas!

I don’t know about you, but I follow 920843 blogs (mostly crafting, design, lifestyle, fashion), and almost all of them have been posting gift guides and holiday projects and DIYs all month. Between those daily entries + the flood of emails from retailers about shopping sales galore, I’m feeling really Christmas-ed out… which is why I haven’t been posting any of that here. (Though if that’s what you’re looking for, check out these blogs for a good sampling: 1, 2, 3, 4).

In the next few days, I’m hoping to slow down, unwind, and purge myself of all the unnecessary crap that distracts from what Christmas is all about– friends, family, and most of all, the birth of a precious baby so many years ago. Hope ya’ll can do the same!

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My classy Bruin friends wish you a Merry Christmas, too!

xoxo, Tina