Friday, January 30, 2015

Blue Friday

Since the super bowl is this weekend, I thought I should make a post about the last blue friday in Seattle. Everywhere you go, 12 flags are hung over every business and almost every house. Even in apartment buildings people are sporting them on their windows and balconies. Everyone is wearing their memorbilia, and even the water runs blue!

You can just feel the hum of energy in the city! Who are you rooting for?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

changes on the way

One month down from the New Year, but just a few weeks until the Vietnamese New Year (Tet)! I know I haven't blogged much (well as much as I normally do), but that's because I'm in this weird transition period. You know, that sliver of time before everything changes completely? Yeah, that's it.

So some updates. This year I didn't go to Hawaii as Michael and I had planned with his family, but no worries, or next planned trip is right around the corner with my family: Da Nang, Vietnam and Seoul, Korea. On Valentine's day, Michael and I will be boarding a plane for the long flight. We booked these flights sometime in October, so it's kind of surreal that it's coming up in just two weeks!

The last time I was in Vietnam, I was eighteen, and had just graduated from high school. Below are some pictures my sister sent me yesterday morning to get me pumped up for the trip.

 As children we used to use sheets and pretend to make royal garments, so it was a real treat playing dress up when we were in Vietnam.


A first for me was riding an horse! They were so big, I'm still kind of scared to get on them again.

Just posting these photos makes me all nostalgic again.

This trip was also the first time I got to meet relatives on my mom and dad's side of the family.

Just around the corner from my Grandpa's house is this cool cafe. I can't wait to go back. The ice cream in Vietnam isn't heavy in cream or milk, it's more light and refreshing!

Sadly, most of my photos of the trip were lost when my computer crashed in college, so I'm glad my sister still had these photos. Even this one below:

But other than the big Asia trip that's coming, Michael and I are moving! And I mean right after we get back from Asia. So you see what I mean about everything changing completely?

So come March, we'll be trading the city in for the 'Eastside' (the terminology used for the eastern suburbs of Seattle). I'll miss walking to brunch, or getting a drink below at the bar, and not to mention the coffee shops right outside our apartment building, but I think it'll be good for us. I come from a suburban area so I'm used to it. Michael, however, has been living in the city for almost a decade now, so it'll be a huge change to go back to the suburban life. Blaire on the other hand, will have three floors to run around in instead of two rooms, so I think he'll definitely like the change!

Monday, January 19, 2015

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.

Friday, January 16, 2015

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!

Monday, January 12, 2015

flowers, food, & football kind of weekend

I can never get enough of weekends, but there's nothing more satisfying than going into work on a Monday knowing you spent your weekend well! Last week was a long one. I worked weird hours to accomodate appointments so when the weekend came, I was ready to crash. Michael has also been working long hours so I've taken over food-related duties (meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping). One night when I was making dinner, he came home with a bright surprise for me: flowers! The week in Seattle has been grey, grey, and extremely grey, so it was just what I needed to brighten my day.

When Friday hit, I was really craving ramen, so Michael took me to Yoroshiku. As always, it was delicious and totally hit the spot. I recommend it if you're looking for a ramen fix.

On Saturday we went to Cafe Flora for brunch and spent the day working (for him) and writing (for me). Then we met up with some friends at a bar in dowtown to catch the Seahwaks game. I'm not that into football, but man when you live in a city where that's what everyone and anyone seems to be talking about lately, it makes you curious to know what the hype's all about. So I went, and I watched, and I must say it was entertaining.

On Sunday we went out to brunch again (I know, we go too often!), this time at Monsoon. Once back home we went back to work and writing. I FINALLY finished Revision 6 of M2! All it needs is a clean up and polish and I'll be finally able to let it go and get back to M3.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Golden Gate, Hiking, & Clean Slate

The first day of the New Year was spent in SF walking along the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a slight chill, but it was full of sunshine. Sunshine is something that I have come to miss living in Seattle. Anytime there's sunshine, I try and take full advantage of it.

Up and moving straight out of college is no easy feat. Starting over, entering the workforce, finding friends, falling in love all over again, it sounds easy, but it's so hard. Building up a support system locally is something that takes incredible effort and is something I have struggled with since my move.

During my time in California, I went back and forth. On the one side I wanted this sunshine, the ability to hang out with my family whenever I wanted, to drive down the street and meet up with friends I've known so long. There's a warm comfort in it that I really love. I'm a creature of habit, so little things like that are a highlight in my days.


But on the otherside, I am above all, a hopeless romantic. Being a hopeless romantic is what got me in Seattle in the first place. It sounds so silly, but I had a strong feeling to chase the possibility of love. Now I know what you're thinking, Michelle you're so young. You should be chasing dreams, not chasing boys! And of course you're right! Boys weren't even a priority for me. I had some really bad relationships that was enough to stop me from dating indefinitely. But at the point when I decided to move, I was still a new grad, looking for a job, and looking for something new. So the job, Seattle, the boyfriend, they were knocks on my door of something new, so I ran with it. And whether I'm in Washington or California, I'm still chasing my dreams.

I write this for anyone who's ever had an impulse to start fresh, but has lacked the courage to do so. It's hard, and you really get out what you put into it. You have to push yourself like crazy and step out of your comfort zone. But if you never try, you'll never know what your life could have been like.

After a relaxing time with my family, I'm starting to come to terms with the idea that California is no longer my home, not right now anyway. But the good thing about California and my family? They will always be there no matter what.

Now, I'm back in Seattle. The New Year and the idea of a clean state feels good. Cheers to 2015!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: Fragments

Ideas always come in fragments. In time, they come together and build on one another to create something new. Other times the fragments are just that: scraps left on the wayside and forgotten. Have you ever just dug into an old phone or old notebook and stumble upon past musings that didn't make it into your writing notebook?

Sunset headed to California.
Moon on my way back to Washington.

On my flight back to Seattle this Sunday, I did just that. Bored, I combed through notes in my phone and was surprised to find some. Some were terrible, some I liked, but all in all it was interesting to see these fragments as snapshots of my writing mind on the go.

Here's a clip of poetry I like. I wrote it about my sister when she was heading out to move to New York:

She's got battle scars around her heart
with a head filled with dreams.
An intricate life fabric sewn up at the seams.
Faraway eyes, a vision of a scene
Through it she wanders
Making her way the way her conscious deems.

This other clip of poetry was during a stay in Seattle before I decided to move here:

I fear that I am in fact,
a very unhappy person.
I prefer the presence of books to people,
pets to the need of nourishment
for food is hard to swallow between the
salty tears that inevitably fall.
that eveness,
Oh what a lovely piece of asphalt to kiss,
promising stability for the life I hadn't known
I would miss.
If only I didn't weigh you down
with my uncertain emotional tides,
As I sit there waiting.
Waiting for myself to rise.
Rise to the depiction
of the girl you love so well.

And last but not least, a clip of a story that I haven't thought of for awhile, but may be just the thing I should get back into:

Sometimes I feel like some fragments are gold and I should run with them, but at the same time they hardly hold enough substance for me to shape them into a larger project. How do you save your writing fragments? And how do you weave it into your WIP?

Today's post was in particiaption of one of the most awesome support groups ever created by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you haven't joined, check out the webpage and see what IWSG is all about!

Thanks also to Alex's wonderful co-hosts: Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An EPIC New Year's

Ringing in 2015 was the best! This year I got to ring it in with my family in SF at the Westin's epic NYE bash. It was definitely hectic heading to the airport after work. There was also a delay in my flight which worried me, but I was able to make it on time thanks to a friend I met on the plane who was heading to the same party (strange coincidence, I know! A story for another post).

When I arrived at the hotel, I quickly got dressed and proceeded to get a selfie with each of my sisters. From oldest to youngest as follows: Emily, Amy, Oanh, and Dao.

Having sisters is the best. It's like having permanent best friends no matter what. Reunited for the holiday, we were determined to have a good time!

We seriously danced the night away! The party had cool props and LED lights, and not to mention really great music!
At midnight, Michael and I used the couple app and had a thumb kiss since we were apart. If you're in a long distance relationship, I recommend the app! We had used it for a time before I moved to Seattle.
After that, my sisters and I kept on dancing! It was such a fun and memorable night. I am so glad I came and booked that last minute flight!
How did you spend your New Year's? Comment below or make a post on your blog :)