Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Food

{May 2011 AHS Potluck}

Last night was our AHS potluck! And, as you can see, Abby's back! It was a very happy reunion for all, since it had also been a long time since I had seen Candace as well :)

But let me back up for a little bit first. On Friday, as I mentioned before, we got out early. I ended up leaving around 2:40PM, only to be hit with an hour's worth of traffic. Swell. After watching an episode of TV (oh woe is me, I am so behind!) I finally cooked something! Well, it involved baking, but this time it was not a dessert. It was an actual entrée. Aren't you so proud of me? I made mini versions of smitten kitchen's adaptation of Martha Stewart's macaroni & cheese for dinner, using my (new even though I bought them months ago) Le Creuset ramikins. Yay! That used up the time I was going to use to either nap or work on my pictures. Oh well. It was worth it.

Yesterday morning we had our home consultation from 3 Day Blinds. In a couple of weeks, we will finally have coverings for our windows! We will finally be able to turn the lights on at night! Very exciting future XD It was really expensive, so thank goodness for the Groupon I bought. I love Groupon :)

We were starving after the home consultation so we went to McD's for a quick lunch. Then we did more home improvement store shopping and ended up buying a bunch of stuff from Lowe's. Then we checked out the Burbank Costco. I am proud to say that we bought nothing but we did eat a lot of free samples. Including an entire popsicle. I must say, the Burbank Costco seems a lot more generous with samples than the Azusa one, haha. Then we stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and headed home. But did we rest? No. I had to start clearing out the half of the room that will be under construction. And then I had to quickly throw the large casserole dish of mac&cheese I had prepared the day before into the oven. And then I headed over to Crystal's for the potluck.

Yep, it was at Crystal's house. Because mine is.. a mess does not even begin to describe the state that we are in. Stupid remodeling.

But it's okay, because I was quickly greeted by lovely friends and delicious food.

{Crystal's sangria. Sweet, light and refreshing.}

{Our entrees. Candace provided smitten kitchen's tomato sauce and curly noodles. In front is my mac&cheese.}

{Crystal's snickerdoodle blondies.}

{With a perfect scoop (by Abby) of her creamy soy vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe's}

It was a great night, full of laughter, odd stories, and carbs. So many carbs. Mmmmmm~

After the potluck was over I showered at her place. I didn't feel like heading over to 24 Hour Fitness at 11:30 at night.

And as if I didn't pig out enough yesterday, I totally pigged out today. After church, my mum and I went grocery shopping in Little Tokyo and then I forced her to take me to Young King. I was craving it. Especially since I had raved about it to Candace and Crystal last night. So we went there and I just inhaled their jjajangmyun and spicy friend shrimp. SO GOOD. It made me so happy *^^*


I love this praise song. Our praise team performed this today and I feel like it resonated with me more than usual. I think with my new job and new (and old) stresses, this is really something that I need to constantly lift up to God in prayer.

Tim Hughes, "Everything"

God in my living
There in my breathing
God in my waking
God in my sleeping

God in my resting
There in my working
God in my thinking
God in my speaking

Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything

God in my hoping
There in my dreaming
God in my watching
God in my waiting

God in my laughing
There in my weeping
God in my hurting
God in my healing

Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything

Christ in me
Christ in me
Christ in me the hope of glory
You are everything

Christ in me
Christ in me
Christ in me the hope of glory
Be my everything

You are everything
Jesus, Everything

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Week Nummer Fire

(That's in Danish and Norwegian. Why? Because I like the word fire.)

I know it's not the end of Week Nummer Fire yet, but I had to come and share with you what I bought today: The WATCHMEN Limited Run 7" Vinyl Pictures Disc Singles Box Set! Isn't that awesome? I got it at the Warner Records music sale. You can buy it yourself if you want at their online store, but you will have to pay $49.99 plus shipping and handling. I will not disclose how much I paid for it (although I will say it was a lot less than $50) since I bought two to gift one to a friend :D

This week has been crazy busy. On Sunday, I had my first class for Pathways: Strengthened in Christ. It seems like it will be a very enlightening class so I look forward to it. We also got free Porto's, which is always a plus. After church my mum went to Home Depot to buy stuff for my bathroom, then I spent a ridiculous amount of money online, and then I finally watched Superman/Bathman: Apocalypse so I could return it to Netflix since I had put my account on hold. Good movie, but I liked Public Enemies better. I didn't have time to watch the last episode on my Lie to Me: Season 2 disc but I returned it anyway since our library has it. Or will have it once someone returns it...

This whole week, starting Monday and ending today, our contractor has been working on my mum's bathroom. I had such high hopes for them but they have disappointed me. Greatly. SIGHHHHHH.

But let's focus on the good things. Apart from picking my health plan, I am now all done with all the mandatory paperwork/acknowledgments/courses that I had to complete within 30 days. I feel so official. I am also now officially part of the Yelp Elite Squad of 2011. Yay!

On Monday I bought more stuff for my bathroom from Home Depot. On Tuesday I extended my two DVD leases for another week. I also had my first monthly staff meeting. I have now been officially welcomed by the team. I also got my Amazon shipment--I had (finally) ordered a fitness ball (although it's still sitting untouched in its packaging in my room) and a small compact (pink!) Bible. Along with a hardcore flashlight just in case. And I showered at 24 Hour Fitness for the first time ever. I had to since my mum's bathroom is out of commission. I also showered there tonight. And while I think their showers are kind of gross, I am grateful that they exist. Because otherwise, where would I shower?

Yesterday I attended Atlantic Records' CD sale. They have it twice a year, with proceeds donated to charity. And wow, the prices are so awesome! I bought two CDs for $1 each! :D I also had lunch with the director of the communications committee in a business resource group I joined at **. She is SO nice and I'm glad to have met someone outside of my department at work! I'm excited to join her committee~

I also had dinner with the lovely Joyce and Crystal last night. We went to Moffett's so we could have some yummy "old people food," as Crystal affectionately calls it. We got the vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup for dessert this time and it was a much better choice than the apple pie. Good times :)

Today, in addition to making my awesome purchase, I also had lunch with Andy and Alex. Mini-YF reunion, haha. It was really nice catching up.

Tomorrow I get out of work early at 2:30PM and then it's the long weekend! I'm really looking forward to some R&R, although the entire time will probably be spent stressing out about our remodeling and trying to clean up the house a bit...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week Rhif Tri

(This time it's in Welsh, just because.)

Time just FLIES by nowadays. I don't understand it! Where has the time gone? I can't believe I've already finished my third week of work. It feels like I had just started...

This week has been full of work, work, work. And home improvement. Going to Lowe's. Getting new windows. Getting new doors. Shopping for window treatments. Going to Home Depot. Going to another Lowe's. There was also a lot of boxing up and packing and moving and cleaning and covering. Who knew remodeling (just some parts of) the house would be so much work?!

On Tuesday my coworker MD introduced me to our company's video library! It's just a small room with a few bookcases full of DVDs, but still! It's a library of movies that I have not seen! So I have put my Netflix account on hold. Just until I go through all the movies that they have that I want to see ;) I rented La Femme Nikita and Young@Heart. You rent them out for a week at a time. I have not yet managed to see them yet. Uh oh.

Tuesday was also our long-awaited EAP reunion dinner! Ariana was back in town so we all gathered to meet up with her. We ate at Versailles--but the one on La Cienega! It was my first time to that locale, but we chose it because it was more convenient for the majority of us (myself included). I got their signature chicken dish, of course. Which I also ate for lunch the next day.

{Group picture}

On Wednesday I finished up the season of Mad Love. Which also meant that I finished the series, since it was not picked up for a second season. Saying goodbye to so many shows...

Thursday I met up with JoeMac for dinner. It was nice catching up with him--I had not seen him since last year's SDCC. We had Chipotle in Downtown Burbank and then we explored the Burbank Town Center. It turns out I had been there before, but sadly I have issues putting two and two together so I didn't realise it at first.

Today, on top of going to various home improvement stores, I also went to the mall and did some personal shopping at Victoria's Secret and New York & Co. I finally have a new bag! My mum is very happy XD

We also redid the layout of my room (along with a couple other rooms in our house) so I'm pretty happy about that. My back isn't at all, but I am. Yay for new beginnings.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week Uimhir a Dó

That's week "number two" in Irish according to Google Translate. (In honour of Boss #2, although technically he's Scottish...) And the end of my first week on my own! It has been quite a week.

I spent most of the previous Saturday just trying to catch up on my Google Reader, various sites, tumblr, etc. So crazy how much I fell behind.

Last Sunday morning was all about food. My mum was responsible for bringing "breakfast" to her weekly meeting, so she made egg salad sandwiches and brought Sunny D. Yum! Dan (who is on host team with me) was nice and bought kimbab and ddukbokgi for the team. More yum! And then I also split a donut with my mum. Good times. I then treated my mum to a Mother's Day lunch at Kang Nam. It was disappointing. But my mum chose the restaurant so it was not my fault :P

On Tuesday I had lunch with AW who is also a former-YF'er now at **! We had misunderstandings about where we were supposed to meet up though so that got our lunch off to a late start, haha. I still have a lot to learn about locations at my company~ And then on Thursday I was treated to Morton's The Steakhouse by Boss #1 and Boss #2! I got their Tenderloin Al Forno with Spinach Fettuccini Alfredo. It was good.

On Friday I got my first posters from work! Boss #1 was kind enough to let me have a HP one and a Green Lantern one. Yay! I also brought home the clotted cream fudge that Boss #2 had brought back for LL since it was a commemorative edition :P

Yesterday was quite a busy day. I went with my mum in the morning to ktown for her acupuncture appointment. Then we stopped by Koreatown Galleria before heading to IKEA. It was around 3pm by then so we pretty much inhaled the Swedish Meatball Combos that we ordered (delish as usual) before browsing the window treatment section. Fail. So then we headed to the Lowe's in Burbank, which is in an awesomely ginormous plaza. Love it! But then it was time for me to get to Jinwon's so we rushed back home. (Where I also got a very upsetting letter from my internet provider. SIGH.) Jinwon and I went to Pure Luck for dinner since they are going to close at the end of the month. It was a bit disappointing since we felt that the quality and quantity went down, but I am still very glad we went one last time. We then crossed the street to go to Scoops afterwards, and I got one scoop White Chocolate Tea and one scoop Orange Vanilla. Delicious. It was a great night :)

Tofu Pesto Burger 2
{Tofu Pesto Burger with Sweet Potato Fries and a Tamarindi}

And today my mum and I went to Costco and we shared a hot dog and pizza slice. Good times.

{Posing with my last Pure Luck meal}

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Freedom From Fear

I read a few chapters today of The Ragamuffin Gospel and passage after passage just blew me away. Let me share with you some passages from the chapter entitled "Freedom From Fear". I make a few notes, but I want you to really read these lines and ruminate on them and what thoughts they stir up in you.

"The question has not become 'What does Jesus say?' but 'What does the church say?' This question is still being asked today." (pg. 141)

While I trust that my church makes an active effort to make sure its teachings/attitude/etc are based on God's word, I do think this is an important distinction for people to make.

"The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of freedom. Jesus invites and challenges us to enter this kingdom, to walk the royal road to freedom, to be set free by the Father's love. He calls ragamuffins everywhere to freedom from the fear of death, freedom from the fear of life, and freedom from anxiety over our salvation." (pg. 141-142)

"We accept grace in theory but deny it in practice. Living by grace rather than law leads us out of the house of fear into the house of love. 'In love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love: because to fear is to expect punishment, and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love' (1 John 4:18)." (pg. 142)

This is definitely one of the most difficult issues for me. As a person plagued by anxiety, paranoia, and several different phobias, I live in a world of fear. I'm constantly stressed and anxious and questioning, "What if?" The problem is, I don't know how to stop. I don't know how to overcome this. It is something that I cannot do on my own; I need Him to help me. But I wonder.. is my paranoia and anxiety keeping me from letting God take those very things away?

"Home is not a heavenly mansion in the afterlife but a safe place right in the midst of our anxious world." (pg. 143)

"Home is that sacred space--external or internal--where we don't have to be afraid; where we are confident of hospitality and love. In our society we have many homeless people sleeping not only on the streets, in shelters or in welfare hotels, but vagabonds who are in flight, who never come home to themselves. They seek a safe place through alcohol or drugs, or security in success, competence, friends, pleasures, notoriety, knowledge, or even a little religion. They have become strangers to themselves, people who have an address but are never at home, who never hear the voice of love or experience the freedom of God's children." (pg. 143)

I seek safety in other things, things that cannot give me what I want. I want to have more than an address--I want to come HOME. (Is it weird that now I have the chorus from P. Diddy's "I'm Coming Home" now stuck in my head? I'm coming home, I'm coming home, tell the world that I'm coming home, let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday. I know my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes, I'm coming home, I'm coming home, tell the world that I'm coming)

"Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect. The tyranny of public opinion can manipulate our lives." (pg. 146)

"In Christ Jesus freedom from fear empowers us to let go of the desire to appear good, so that we can move freely in the mystery of who we really are." (pg. 147)

"Living by grace inspires a growing consciousness that I am what I am in the sight of Jesus and nothing more. It is His approval that counts." (pg. 149)

I know all of these things. But it's hard to put it into action. Especially when I am such a people-pleaser...

This following passage on prayer was a REAL comfort to me. I think it's a really good analogy and I hope it can be of comfort to you too:

Brennan states on page 150 that "A little child cannot do a bad coloring; nor can a child of God do bad prayer." He then follows that up with a quote from pages 68 through 69 of Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form by M. Basil Pennington: "A father is delighted when his little one, leaving off her toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms. As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around, her attention flitting from one thing to another, or just settling down to sleep. Essentially the child is choosing to be with her father, confident of the love, the care, the security that is hers in those arms. Our prayer is much like that. We settle down in our Father's arms, in his loving hands. Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit about here and there; we might even fall asleep; but essentially we are choosing for this time to remain intimately with our Father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will. It is very simple prayer. It is very childlike prayer. It is prayer that opens us out to all the delights of the kingdom."

"Jesus' tenderness is not in any way determined by how we pray or what we are or do. In order to free us for compassion towards other, Jesus calls us to accept His compassion in our own lives, to become gentle, caring, compassionate, and forgiving ourselves in our failure and need." (pg. 150)

Note: All quoted material in this post are from Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel, published by Multnomah Publishers, Inc. I'm not sure what the rules are on how much you can quote from someone else's literary property, so please let me know if I need to take some passages down. Thank you.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Week Numero Uno

I have been employed for a full week now. It has been quite an interesting week. Full of ups and downs.

Monday was orientation. Full of sizzle reels that made me really excited to be working at **. But there was also a name card that listed me in a certain department.. and I did not know that I was in that department. This is what happens when you don't ask questions during the interview process. Or you do and they answer them in vague terms. Anyway, moving on. Orientation was great. We got a free lunch. I got my company badge. I got a bag of swag. I was excited to learn about benefits and 401(k)s and more. And then the day ended with a VIP studio tour! That was awesome.

{This was a *SQUEEE* moment for me}

What you don't see in my pictures is the Chuck set. We got to go in it, but no cameras were allowed. But we saw the battling cage that's in the back of the Buy More and we walked into the open area inside the apartment complex. And I actually got to step inside of Casey's apartment. Awesome! We also saw the Mike & Molly set, which used to be the Friends set. We went to various other places as well, but the most important place was the "museum." The first floor had costumes and props from various movies, and the second floor was entirely dedicated to Harry Potter. They had the sorting hat. And I got sorted into Slytherin! Awesome. The day did end on a sour note though because I got a "traffic violation" slip on my car since I had parked on the wrong floor. Apparently if you do that 3 times you lose your parking priviledges O.O

Tuesday was a day of disillusionment. I found out that a lot of things were different than what I was told they were going to be, or what I expected them to be. So it was a struggle trying to deal with that. But I think I'm okay with it now. Going to think positively~

Tuesday was also my first day of actual work! Well, this whole week has been more about "shadowing" than "working." I'm replacing a lovely lady named LL, who I got along really well with, and she taught me a lot. I do not know what I'm going to do without her next week.

{Plate #1 from LL's farewell breakfast party}

But I did not need any help to start pigging out at work immediately. On Tuesday Boss #1 brought in a box of goodies from Porto's. So I had a cheese roll and a slice of mango cheesecake. Yum. On Thursday LL treated me to Starbucks, where I got a vanilla latte, when we went to the Lot (we're in a building two blocks from the Lot) to meet with a few other EAs that I would be working a lot with. And on Friday, we had a breakfast party for LL's last day. So I PIGGED OUT. LL brought in a couple boxes of Porto's (as well as a special slice of mango cheesecake just for me, pictured at the top of this post); one lady made carmalised upside-down monkey bread with walnuts (so unfortunately I couldn't have any); another lady made a veggie quiche and a ham quiche; Boss #1 brought in fresh bagels with various cream cheeses; another lady brought a platter of fruit; and others brought orange juice, vanilla scones, mini Krispy Kreme donuts, mini glazed donuts, croissants, and a platter of crackers with ham, salami, and two cheeses. And then for lunch, I went to Avon Grill with LL and a few of her friends! Good times.

So that has been my first week. And as a result, I am so behind not just on TV, but on my RSS feeds and all the sites I read on a (somewhat) daily basis. I checked my Google Reader and ZOMG, I have over 1000 unread items. GAH. It looks like it's going to be a long night.. O.O

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Lot of Firsts

I'm experiencing a lot of firsts in my life right now. For example, I wore my grey pleated skirt for the first time today. I actually bought it when I was in England in 2005. It took me a little under 6 years, but I'm finally wearing it. And I will be embarking on another first. My first career at a company I only dreamed about working at. (I refuse to write the name since I have a fear of Big Brother.) I can't believe I'm starting a new chapter of my life. And odds are that it will be a good one. HOPE. Real hope. It's amazing to have.

Anyway, it's a new month everyone! It's May! When did this happen? Can you believe it's been exactly 3.5 months since I was laid off? I feel like time passes by so quickly now. It must mean I'm getting old :P

On Monday I finally baked again. Not really since I used a box mix, but it was still better than nothing. I miss baking. It really is a passion of mine. Then I went out and celebrated my birthday (yes, the celebration is still going on) at Cost Plus World Market. They sent me a $10 off coupon for my birthday so of course I had to take advantage of it before it expired. I used it to buy my first bottle of wine! And then I went to DSW to use my $5 off birthday coupon. Bought my first pair of Coach shoes. (See? A lot of firsts are happening).

{Stella Rosa}

Tuesday was a day of frustrations since my computer refused to cooperate with me. It breaks my heart whenever it does that. But life quickly became much brighter when I got a call from a certain HR recruiter with a verbal job offer. AWESOME! It's only for a year, but it's still a year with an amazing company. And I will have benefits. For the first time since I graduated from UCLA. Life is exciting. I did my online onboarding the next day and on Thursday the hard copy of my offer letter arrived! I have it signed and ready to bring with me for orientation tomorrow :D

Wednesday was also when my mum and I used our Groupons for Wi Spa. That place is niiiice! We were there for a little over three hours and it was great. Next time, though, I really must get a massage. My body is dying for a massage.

Yesterday was a crazy day of shopping. My mum took me to Ontario Mills with a singular objective: to buy a nice Coach bag. Why? Because she thinks my $20 bag from Target is embarrassing. I think it's awesome. I mean, hello, it's $20. And it's a very durable bag too. But I've actually been wanting a Coach bag ever since Keri and Christina got one, so I wasn't complaining. And, of course, that's the one thing that I didn't get. They didn't have the style that I wanted. And I am not paying that kind of money for a bag I am not 100% happy with. So we went around to the other stores. I actually ended up buying stuff from a few stores so that was nice. Then we headed over to Victoria Gardens. Afterwards, had a quick stop at McDs before going to Costco. 9 minutes after they had closed. Who knew Costco closed so early on the weekend? (They close at 6:00pm) So we sadly headed home. But there was a present waiting for me when I arrived! My prizes from Small Screen Scoop's Tangled giveaway! AWESOME. Then I crashed and napped for a couple hours. Man, shopping wipes me out!

{Tangled prizes!}

So that's been my week. Looking forward to what the next week brings!