Meetaversery and the latest. 

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Yesterday Michael and I celebrated our meetaversery (the day we met). September 3rd is one of my favorite days of the year. It reminds me of my trip to Paris (a place I've wanted to travel to since I was a little girl), and also of how Michael and I met. It's crazy how one chance meeting can change the trajectory of your whole life, but sure enough in 2012, it did. So every year on this day, we celebrate by going out to dinner (preferably french themed or inspired place) to celebrate and reminisce. It's a great time for us to give pause and reflect at how far we've come and also to practice gratitude for each other and the life we are building with each other.

This year was the big 5 year and celebrating as newlyweds made it even more special. We decided to go to Stateside in Seattle, a French-Vietnamese restaurant that Michael discovered over the winter. As usual, it was delicious and didn't disappoint. 

The celebration was a great way to start off September, considering August was a rough one for me. I recovered from oral surgery and a ridiculous amount of ailments which really got to me mentally and physically. Unable to workout, eat normally, or even focus since I was feeling unwell led to hours on the couch, binge-watching t.v., moping around, and just being pessimistic AF.

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Idleness, as I quickly learned, is not good for me. I always feel like I should be doing something. I hate wasting time. But there I was wasting a lot of it, waiting to get better to get on with my life, which made me turn inward and analyze myself. What life do I want to get back to? Before surgery, I was all-over the place with planning, entertaining guests, and traveling in July that I haven't really had a normal routine or established my goals in awhile. As the healing time came to an end, I started brainstorming and thinking about how I wanted to end these past four months.

I broke down the areas of my life I found most important to my happiness (health/wellness, relationships with others, personal goals, and professional development) and then brainstormed what I could improve upon. Based on that I made goals and actions to take that would get me to the goal. I know I sound like a self-improvement nut, but for me, if I'm not improving, learning, or growing, then I'm simply existing, not living.

I recommend you try it for yourself. Just brainstorming and writing it all out with paper and pen really grounds me and gives me a sense of purpose when I see things I want to accomplish.

PASSION + ACTION = A PURPOSEFUL LIFE

I came across the above quote and it just resonated with me. Hopefully it resonates with you, too.

So, now that I am free from my idleness, I've been going back to eating delicious food! Exercising! And reading! I'm already starting to feel more optimistic!

P.S. I read Kara Thomas's LITTLE MONSTERS in one sitting and it was so GOOD. Highly recommend if you want something dark and twisty.

24th Birthday Thank You's, Hommage, and the Purple Balloons

A very big thank you to everyone who sent me kind birthday wishes via mailed cards, e-mail, text, phone calls, social media, blog comments, and in person throughout this past week. It meant the world to me and made my day brighter! So bright, it stopped the endless rain streak that was plaguing the Seattle area. Hello sun!

If you know me well, you know I have this aversion to getting older. I obsess about time and I like the idea about being young forever. Peter Pan syndrome for sure. Of course, everyone likes to remind me that I am still young, even at 24. And if yesterday was any hint at what the rest of my 24th year would be like, then I guess it isn't so bad.

 
Of course, like a responsible grown up, I went to work and was surprised to find my cube decorated with purple balloons and cards waiting for me to open. Another co-worker was also kind enough to take me out for coffee. These small acts of kindness and well wishes made work a little bit fun for once ;)


After work I grabbed my balloons and cards in a cheery spirit and went down to the parking garage. I placed all my birthday souvenirs into the back seat, and drove towards Seattle. Lo and behold the sun was freaking shining! This is a very big deal because it's been nonstop grey and raining, and I distinctly remember the bad weather on my Birthday last year. So thinking the Birthday gods were in my favor, I had this brilliant idea to open my sun roof.

The balloons went crazy from the suction. Leaping from the backseat to the front, reaching for escape, they blocked my field of vision just as I was going downhill during traffic hour. I flipped out, reaching for them, hoping to reign them in so I could shut this stupid sun roof. I managed to get my hands on two of them but the third busted free from the car taking my birthday cards with it. Shaken, I drove the rest of the way to Seattle with one hand on the wheel, and the other restraining the balloons. Once I got to my first stop light, I grabbed a pen from my purse and popped the rest of the balloons.

After that, I was pretty bummed. I have a thing for cards and I wanted to add them to my keepsake box, and I really wanted to show my cat the balloons (he's never seen one and I thought it would be a good brain stimulus for him). All was not lost though. At least I would definitely remember this day as the Birthday where I almost crashed from purple balloons. When I recounted this story to Michael, he shook his head, a hint of a smile on his lips, and said, "Only this kind of stuff would happen to you. Now you know, balloons should go in the trunk."

Ha! Like I'd ever put myself in a balloon situation again!

For dinner, Michael spoiled me by taking me to my favorite Seattle restaurant, Hommage, formerly known as The Book Bindery. I've mentioned it numerous times on my blog, but without photos. This post, however, be prepared to drool from my delicious meal! No, but really. This place is amazing. French Nouveau cuisine made by Chef Nico Borzee, it never ceases to amaze me how inventive these classic dishes can be. Beautifully prepared, engaging all the senses, it's like a glimpse into foodie heaven.

We started with the Chataigne, a chestnut soup with a foie gras custard, and burnt onion oil, served in this cute jar. It was really neat because the components were layered, and you could feel the cool layer of the custard and the warm chestnut soup puree. The burnt onion oil was also a really unique touch.


Next was the Trompette de la Mort, black trumpet mushrooms, goat cheese panna cotta, with a mushroom jus. What a savory, creamy, and decadent bite it was. I could eat bowls and bowls of this stuff.


The Carrotte, carrots braised in hay, rabbit jus, and bethmale goat milk cheese was just as good. With such different components that harmonized in such a surprising way, ordinary carrots became extraordinary.

For our mains, we shared the Saumon, cold-smoked kind salmon, with a 35-minute poached egg on a vodka crème fraiche, and the stuffed quail on a thinly sliced gratin. Words cannot describe how delicious they were. They left me speechless.



Everything went well with the bottle of French Pinot Noir. It was such a memorable meal.


To finish we had the tres leches for dessert and cheered with some brut rose. 24 never felt so fabulous!


So thank you to everyone! Just all your birthday wishes leading up to the day and throughout made me feel so loved and the gifts were just absolutely thoughtful. I am truly blessed and count my lucky stars for the fortunate life I have. It's made me realize that birthday's aren't about getting older or wiser, it's about celebrating another year of life. Not everyone is so fortunate to reach a certain age or grow up healthy and happy, so I am truly thankful for another year and for everyone that's come into my life. My encounters with you all have made me who I am and have shaped the life I live today.


My thanks and well wishes to you all <3

Cinderella movie, and heading into revision mode.

Hey, you know that Cinderella movie that opened this weekend? Yeah? Go see it now! This remake is stunningly cinematic, the acting heartfelt (it got me teary twice!), and the music emotionally balanced. When it was over, I found myself surprised by how much I loved it. Considering how you know how it goes and ends, you would think their wouldn't be anything surprising about it at all. Yet somehow it made me feel like six year's old again, watching it for the very first time, and to me, that's some serious movie magic!









And those costumes! Ahhh! Everything was so beautiful, and the cast so perfect. I'm really glad Disney kept the story like its original. I'm getting tired of all those reimaginings. This just makes me even more excited for the 'Beauty and the Beast' remake with Emma Watson. That's my favorite Disney movie ever.

Okay now that my fangirling moment is over, I guess I should do a writing update on M3 (though I kinda just want to write a fairytale myself now). Pumping out the first draft, was well eh, painful. So I printed it out, did a read-through and made serious notes with the help of cocktails, fries, cookies, and ice cream. Not the best writing diet!




After posting on IWSG this month and getting encouraging feedback, I've decided to change a major component of my story which will mean serious revisions. So yeah, going into a second draft revision mode. I'm going at a snail's pace compared to last year's M2, but I have a pretty good excuse with the move and all ;)


Now go see Cinderella! It's Michelle-approved!

Plum Bistro

Last week my friend Cristine and I met for dinner at Plum Bistro, a highly recommended vegan restaurant on Capitol Hill. It was both our first time trying it out. When we got there, we were suprised at how small the restaurant was, but nontheless almost every seat in the house was taken on a Thursday night.

We decided to try some appetizers and split them family style. The first thing we tried was the russet fries. I was too eager to eat and missed a picture on this one. All in all, they were good fries. What I really liked were the three different aioli sauces that came with it. One aioli had incorporated dill in it which was a nice touch. Next we tried their avocado roll and famous mac' n yease.

 
The avocado roll was on the big side. Definitely hard to put in my mouth and chew, but it was pretty good. Although they didn't have chopsticks to go with the roll, which Cristine and I found unusual. I forgot how weird it was to eat a sushi roll with a fork! Anywho, the mac n' yease was really the star of the night. I can see why it's famous; it's super freaking delicious! Even better than a normal mac' n cheese, and I should know because it's one of my favorite comfort foods. I will highly recommend this place just for this appetizer (which I think should really be an entree because it was so tiny!).


For dessert we had the cheesecake. One bite of it and I was shocked. How can this be vegan, it tastes like the real thing? Clearly, Plum Bistro exceeded my expectations, so if you're on the lookout for a vegan joint in Seattle, this is the place to go.

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.


Overview: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble;it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
 
Review: During the month of December, I started about ten books, but didn't connect enough to finish any of them. This was a major problem. I love to read, and when I have time to read I want to devour anything and everything I get my hands on. I used to be a 'finisher' as a child (reading books to the end even when I didn't like them), but when college came around I just didn't have time to pleasure read. Still I snuck them in during my breaks between classes, but because I was pressed for time, I started to quit the books I didn't enjoy. I call it my 1/3 rule. If I'm not going to like it by a third of a book, I move onto the next. If I'm still undecided I'll read up to halfway, but by then a decision needs to be made.
 
Luckily that didn't happen for this book! I've read Rowell's Fangirl and really enjoyed it. I tried to get into Eleanor & Park, but for some reason I couldn't get into it. I've heard a lot of great things about Landline so I thought it'd give it a try and I'm glad I did because after a month of not finishing books, I finally started off my January finishing one! Hopefully my quitting streak is over!
 
Rowell does a great job with her characters. They're vivid, flawed, and I feel like I know them. I also like how the flashbacks weren't noticebale, rather they were cohesive in the story. Though the timeline wasn't linear, the storytelling was. Also, don't mind the magic phone. Sounds silly, but Rowell makes it works and I found it a refreshing way to explore dynamics between two people.
 
If you want a feel good about two people falling in love, and then back in love, this one's a quick pleasure read!

Rione XIII


Normally I rave about trying new places in Seattle, but that's not the case for this post. For our Friday night date night, Michael and I decided to try out someplace new. Rione XIII is a place we've walked past numerous times before, but have never gone to so we decided to go. Friday was our first and probably our last time dining there.

Though we had a reservation, we had to wait 15-20 minutes to be seated. We brushed it off as no big deal since they were probably short staffed. Since Michael and I have worked in restaurants before, we tend to be laid back about mishaps since the restaurant biz can be chaotic. To remedy the situation they started us off with an appetizer on the house. That would have smoothed things over, except we were completely ignored for another 10 or so minutes. Okay. So not that bad, maybe they're just really busy. So finally we order our drinks, appz, and entrees. And they come in fine, except they're laden with salt (besides the salad) which doesn't really want me to come back for more.


All the while, our server is completely aloof that I had to flag him down for drinks and the bill (and no, he didn't look very busy). He just seemed to walk past our table without ever looking unless my hand was raised. You betcha I was disappointed! I expected better service and better food. Though it wasn't terrible, I would recommend so many other cool places before recommending this one.

The only upside to it all? My handsome date.



Book Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

I rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 
 
Overview: Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.
 
Review: I bought this book because I really enjoyed Beautiful Disaster. I was surprised learning that there was going to be a series concerning the Maddox brothers so I started reading hoping McGuire wouldn't disappoint.
 
I thought the pacing was good and the fleshing out of the two main characters great, but it didn't pull me in as much as Beautiful Disaster. This is probably due to the fact that I didn't really empathize with Cami. Don't get me wrong. I respected her and her independence but she just didn't grip me tight enough to care about her or her growing relationship with Trenton. Also, don't get me started on the resolution and the twist. I thought it was pretty lame considering the heightened tension. I literally shut off my kindle, turned to my boyfriend, and said, "Are you kidding me?"
 
It is, however, a typical chick-lit new adult book about a budding romance, so if you're in the mood for that, go ahead and pick it up. But if you have to choose between this and Beautiful Disaster, I would go for the latter. I proably won't continue this series, but if it ends up getting better with the next book, please let me know and perhaps I'll give it another shot.