Birthday

Birthday Extravaganza – Part 2

My coworkers threw me a fiesta! Huge thanks to my department for making this all colorful and having endless amounts of sweets on desk from Snickers bars to donuts to Nothing Bundt Cakes!

Oh and yes, that is a piñata hanging from the ceiling!

One of my coworkers highly encouraged me to take one of those hipster, Pinterest-y pictures with my birthday cake and balloons. It was one hilarious photoshoot taken at work that I could not contain myself. I’m surprised that I didn’t drop the cake!

By the way, the piñata is stuffed with candy! Thanks Eric!

Thanks friends for wearing the party hats and taking a picture with me! Again, many thanks to my department for making my birthday special!

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Birthday Extravaganza – Part 1

Woah, it’s been five months and a few weeks since I last blogged! I apologize for being MIA. Sometimes, you just have fun in life and forget to share it! That’s pretty much what happened to me.

I don’t even know where to begin but I’ll just share with you the most recent celebration. August was my birthday month! Yay me and for all those Leos out there! I always want to try to maximize my birthday month or even just any holiday month all for fun. Why not find a reason to have fun everyday, right? For my birthday month, I decided to wear a dress every day until the 20th, my real birthday. I was surprised at how many dresses I owned. It wasn’t even a struggle to figure out what to dress to wear each day. I just grabbed whatever I found first but saved the best ones for last.

Unfortunately, I did not take any selfies of my 20 days of dresses to show proof that I did it. If you don’t believe me then feel free to talk to my coworkers. They have witnessed me wearing a dress everyday!

Even though it’s over, I still continue to wear dresses. I may have gained some weight from wearing a dress everyday. My dresses tend to leave more room for dessert than pants hence the gain in weight. At the end of this dress extravaganza, I realized I probably own about 30 dresses. It’s not even funny.

Side note: My best friend and I made a pact this year to not go shopping unless we need to or if we have a gift card so we can save money and not become materialistic. We’ve been pretty good so far to not buy anything unless it’s a necessity. I think doing this 20 days of dresses confirmed even more so that I don’t need any more dresses or even clothes in general. I’m sure I still have a few dresses in my closet that I have yet to wear once or even twice maybe.

Aside from this 20 days of dresses, I celebrated my birthday a few times with friends and family. First one was a potluck at the park! Thank you friends for bringing all kinds of food! We had homemade guac, Costco food, salads, fruit, desserts, a lot of cold drinks and so much more! There was definitely a lot of food!

Thank you Kat for stopping by! I know you had a busy summer but really appreciated your presence there and with all the fruit you brought!

Hannerz! Thank you so much for making the long drive to come here! Thank you for bringing the wraps and keeping them cool using your mother-in-law’s ice packs! I know I need to return those to you still! Thanks for the gift as well!

Derek, I can’t believe you biked 10 miles to get here! Thank you for making it alive! Phil, that Almond Haus drink doe. What an awesome gift, thank you! CindyxBindy, thank you for the precious cake and the bluetooth! I feel so hip like you now! Briana, thank you for bringing fancy sushi and always surprising me with practical gifts on my birthday! Aaron, thank you for bringing chicken tenders from Carl’s Jr! I think it was a healthier choice to bring chicken tenders over them McNuggets.

Peter and Jenn, thank you for bringing Costco pizza! Thank you for being considerate of vegetarians and thanks for the gifts! Thank you Jamakea and Dan for each bringing a salad! And those flowers were beautiful, thank you! Winston, thanks for bringing so much dessert! Costco’s apple pie and cheesecake can never go wrong!

Ben, thanks for driving to multiple markets to look for Capri Sun drinks. Even though they were nowhere to be found, luckily the party was able to continue without them. No but really, thank you for bringing all the drinks and keeping them cold with ice! Kat, thanks for coming to my potluck instead of going to your bootcamp and thank you for the cookies! Matt and Alana, thank you for the chicken quinoa and the homemade guac dip! Delicious!

I know I didn’t get to take a picture with everyone who came but shoutouts to Elaine Linda, Andrea, Dan, and Dasom for coming! Thank you Elaine and Linda for coming over to make the guac and pasta salad with so much love! Andrea, thank you for stopping by and bringing food! Dan, that Mexican ice cream was amazing! Thank you for sharing it with me! Dasom, I was so happy to see you there! Thank you for the giant balloon and the sacrifice you went through to purchase it!

Thank you, thank you my friends for bringing all this wonderful food! Thank you for taking that extra time to prepare or purchase the food you brought. Everything was so good that I think We should have another potluck soon!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Woah. I. Am. 25. Years. Old. Can you believe it? I never thought this day would come. I remember turning 18 and thought that would never happen. Same with turning 21. Turning 18 and 21 are pretty significant turning points in life. Some may think turning 25 isn’t anything too special but rather depressing. I remember reading someone’s Facebook status that said, “I turned 25. What am I supposed to do? Rent a car?” Somehow that status stuck with me until I turned 25 recently. I knew that I was going to rent a car once I turned 25. Not just any car but a convertible Mustang GT for the day!

I don’t know what it is about that Mustang but it’s just a fun car to look at and drive especially with the top down in SoCal! So on my birthday, I didn’t even sleep in. I actually lost some sleep the night before because I was FaceTiming with Briana for almost an hour and a half! She was the first one to wish me a happy birthday! Thanks girl!

The picture above looks like we were having a virtual sleepover! Sorry the picture is so big but I just don’t want you to forget how she looks like since she’s one of my close friends!

I wanted to take advantage of driving my Mustang all day so I picked it up at 8 AM. On my birthday, I like to treat my mom out. I started doing this since college when a friend suggested that I buy flowers for my mom on my birthday. It’s nice to always give back to someone who always gives like my mom.


In the morning, I took my mom to a hipster coffee shop hidden in Dana Point called JC Beans Coffee HouseYelp gives this coffee shop 4.5 stars with 191 reviews. What’s so popular about this place is how cozy and friendly it is with the service and ambiance. There can be a long wait in the drive thru lanee but I say it’s best to sit down inside and sip your coffee!

JC Beans Coffee House is small but I love the layout of it. There are books on the shelves that you can check out but also purchase!

You can also sit outside which my mom and I did as we were sipping on our drinks. I was working on my blog as she was browsing the web on her iPad. She got a cup of coffee and I got a Vanilla Chai Latte. We both shared a pastry and with those 3 items together, the total was around $10-$12. It’s a little more on the pricey end but worth the ambiance and the taste.


My mom was pretty impressed how I took a picture of my drink and the pastry. Looks hip, right?

After an hour or so, we decided to get back on the road and make use of my Mustang. We drove down on PCH with the top down and made a stop at Laguna Beach. We took some pictures and walked around. I really don’t know where we were exactly in Laguna Beach but we found a good spot to hang out!


It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, there was a breeze from the waves, and it was my birthday! Perfect day.

The view was so breathtaking that I really felt like I could just sit there and enjoy the beach as a living.

My mom took a candid picture of me that I thought looked pretty nice! Go mom!

By afternoon, my mom and I grabbed lunch with my sister at Panini Cafe in Corona Del Mar, right on PCH. Panini Cafe is a Greek, Italian, and Mediterranean kind of a restaurant.  They are located in eight different cities within Orange County and LA County. So you can’t miss one! The one we went to currently has 4 out of 5 stars with 289 reviews on Yelp.

We first ordered the Hummus Trio as an appetizer for $8.95. This large plate of hummus had the traditional garbanzo, black bean, and edmame hummus. The pita bread and the three different kinds of hummus easily filled us up!

After all that hummus, I got myself a healthy Mediterranean Greek Salad that was mixed with onions, Roma Tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese in balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

This beautiful green mountain made me feel clean! Actually, there may have been a tad bit too much dressing but overall, I enjoyed the various fresh vegetables mixed together for $8.95.

Beware that if you go to Panini Cafe on PCH in the afternoon, get there a little early because parking might be a little tough to find and it can get packed in the restaurant. Due to the busyness of the restaurant, there was a lack of quality customer service. I wasn’t too upset about it because I didn’t want to let that ruin my birthday lunch! Luckily, there was dinner to make up for it.

We headed back home in my Mustang, of course. I relaxed for a little bit at home and started to get ready for dinner at Laguna Beach with some friends! I curled my hair, did my make up, and slipped on my pink floral dress from Zara. The best part about this dress was that I bought it for only $10! I’m pretty sure it was originally priced at least $80 or so. Pretty good stinkin’ deal, right? It was my first time ever wearing it since I bought a little more than a year ago and I just had to save it for a perfect occasion like this!

So Cindy and Elaine came over to carpool to K’ya Bistro that is located on PCH.

Huge thanks to them for letting me put the top down and have their hair-do get a little messy. I say it was worth the mess!

I decided to have dinner at K’ya Bistro because it was on PCH. Again, I just had to take advantage of my Mustang by driving up and down PCH since it’s a perfect road to have the top down. I also just wanted to have dinner somewhere new and different. So I found this restaurant just from Yelping around and read great reviews about it. Yelp shows a solid 4 out of 5 stars with almost 700 reviews!

Right when you enter the restaurant, there’s a bar where you can order some drinks while waiting to be seated.

They’re known for their tapas of American and Mediterranean food. We all shared a little bit of everything. We started out with some Truffle-Parmesian Fries and Spiced Sweet Potato Fries at $5.50 each. They were pretty addicting to eat, so be careful!

I ordered one of their popular items, Lobster Mac and Cheese. They really knew how to stuff that Mac and Cheese with lobster! It was everything that I imagined it to be like. The Mac and Cheese had the perfect homemade texture and cheesiness to it. The lobster was melted smoothly with the whole Mac and Cheese.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of what I ate there because I was too distracted talking to my friends at dinner. I definitely have to come back here again and get that Lobster Mac and Cheese and take a picture of it! As for now, enjoy the pictures of my beautiful friends!

Whatever item you get on the menu, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it a lot as my friends did. We all liked we got whether it was the salad, fries, empanadas, or any other tapas.

Thank you everyone for celebrating my 25th birthday with me! I’m excited to see what this new age has in stored!

Surprise Briana!

Briana, Christian, Mark and I were in a group text to plan a hangout since we were all in town for the holidays. Christian and Briana were able to meet up, but Mark never really responded if he was free. As we were all texting, I started another group text with just Mark and Christian saying that we should surprise Briana for her belated 25th birthday. Mark and Christian were down to surprise her! So last minute Christian bailed on the hang out and Mark continued to remain silent in the group text with Briana.

Christian and I trolling Briana.

Christian and I trolling Briana.

Planning this mini surprise gathering was challenging but exciting. I like to say it was pretty successful though since Briana was a little upset that Mark didn’t respond at all and that Christian bailed. So it worked out that she was expecting to not see them!

We surprised her in downtown Fullerton where we grabbed brunch at Rialto Cafe. The wait was about 30-40 minutes long. We decided to take some hipster pictures while we were waiting since Briana was dressed up all cute and there were a lot of good spots to take pictures. Here are some pictures from our quick photo shoot by the restaurant:

Briana was a natural! I didn’t have to direct her that much!

Once we got seated, Briana suggested what was popular at Rialto Cafe according to Yelp-Rialto Cafe. As she was doing her research on Yelp, I remembered that whenever the four of us came together to hang out, we usually had a set role. Back in the day, Mark was always the driver, Christian was the DJ playing music in the car, Briana would be the one to look through Yelp to find out what to eat at the restaurant, and I would be the one to plan where to meet. It was funny how Briana was on top of her duty of Yelping even though it’s been awhile since the last time the four of us hung out.

For brunch I got one of the popular items which was the smoke salmon with scramble, hash brown, and wheat toast on the side.  I’m not sure why people like this a lot but maybe it’s because of the salmon. It was a little too simple for me but maybe that’s another reason why it was a popular item.
Smoked Salmon Scramble

Another popular item on the menu was the stuffed French toast which Briana got. I would’ve picked this over the smoke salmon because it was sweet! Downside was that there was no meat. I kind of need my meat for my meals.
Stuffed French Toast

It was so nice to catch up with Mark, Christian, and Briana. Our group dynamic hasn’t changed since we’ve all been separated. Hanging out with them brought a lot of memories back. As we were eating, we were talking about cool apps for our iPhones.

Tutorial on Cart Wheel from Mark

By the way, we are kind of a tech savvy group of friends. More so with Christian and Mark. They’re always on top of that and so Briana and I are always in the know thanks to them. Some things we learned from them at brunch was about the Cart Wheel app from Target. It helps you save money for various products at Target by using the app.
Target's Cart Wheel App

Another handy dandy app is Tab where it helps you split the bill from the restaurant if you’re with multiple people. You basically take a picture of the bill and the app will then divi it up. You can even add names to each item on the bill!
Tab App

Thanks to Christian for introducing Tab to us, we were able to easily split up the bill! After Rialto Cafe, Mark had to head out.
Group picture at Rialto Cafe

Briana, Christian, and I went over to Green Bliss literally across the street. It’s a hip vegetarian cafe that serves sandwiches, coffee, and tea. Because it was a warm day, Briana and I both got an iced vanilla latte. The expresso was so strong that we wanted a refund. You could barely taste the sweetness of it. Luckily, the customer service was above and beyond that they were willing to give us a refund. They were willing to make adjustments for us, but we just wanted our money back and get Milk and Honey instead.
Green Bliss

I want to give Green Bliss a second chance next time since the customer service was superb, the ambiance and decor there was quite eccentric in a good way, and it had good reviews on Yelp-Green Bliss! I’ll come back for you Green Bliss! Don’t worry!

After Green Bliss, we headed over to Costa Mesa. We shopped a little at South Coast Plaza and then grabbed a drink at Milk and Honey where we felt at home! Briana and I got our usual Peach Aloe Tea which you can’t go wrong with at all and Christian got shaved ice.
Milk & Honey

We talked and laughed a lot that day. Oh man, it was honestly a fun day hanging out with them. It made me miss our college days when we were young and had so much freedom to play and go on so many adventures! It was nice to know that we were able to just pick up where we left off.
Last Group Picture of 2013
Thanks Christian and Mark for being good actors to surprise Briana! Briana, hope you had as much fun as I did hanging out with them! Happy belated 25th birthday!

Happy Birthday Chelsea! (Part 2)

Amy and I spent a night in Temecula at Chelsea’s parents’ place. Houses in Temecula are gorgeous and so spacious! The neighborhoods there remind me a lot of Irvine just the way the houses are structured. We hung out in the backyard where we enjoyed the view of the mountains and hiking trails while having breakfast. It was nice to relax there with some good company.

After much relaxing, we headed out to Old Town Temecula where there’s a farmers market and a lot of mom and pop shops.
Amy at a random mom & pop shop

Temecula is known for its vineyard and wine tasting but instead of wine tasting, we went olive oil tasting at Temecula Olive Oil Company! I was surprised at how flavorful olive oil can be. I was expecting them to taste all the same but they all have different kicks to it. Got myself a bottle of olive oil to take home to make some pasta, pasta salad, or even a panini. I ended up using it to make chicken pasta with the olive oil and it was amazing! I’m getting myself more of it next time or even buy it online at temeculaoliveoil.com
Temecula Olive Oil Company

We were in Old Town Temecula for a few hours. There was some live music which brought the Old Town feel to our experience.
Live Music

Everything is walking distance so we went through the town pretty quickly. We did a lot of window shopping there since there wasn’t much to buy.Literal window shopping
We headed back home after Old Town and that’s when I hung out with Chelsea’s kitties. They’re such cat models, it’s not even funny. They know how to use their cat eyes for a good picture. It’s all in the eyes like Tyra Banks would say.
Cat models

It was a nice day to just hang out with my friends and them kitties. I hope to come back for another relaxing adventure in Temecula! Thanks Chelsea and your mom especially for being so hospitable during my time there!
Mother & daughter!

Happy Birthday Chelsea! (Part 1)

Chelsea’s 25th birthday is close to Thanksgiving, so we decided to celebrate it early! Amy, Chelsea and I dressed up and ate at Vintana Wine and Dine in Escondido. It’s a pretty fancy shmancy formal restaurant located on the second level of a Lexus dealership. Though it’s only on the second floor, there’s a great view of the city lights at night within the restaurant and outside in the patio. The whole design and layout of the restaurant is so elegant at night with the contemporary chandeliers lit up and hanging so gracefully from the ceiling. 

L to R: Amy, Chelsea, Tina

L to R: Amy, Chelsea, Tina

For dinner, I had the Lemon Linguine with Fennel and Chile Chicken Breast. It had sun dried tomatoes, roasted pear onions, slab pepper bacon, basil, mozzarella, arugula, and pecorino. I enjoyed every color and flavor I took a bite of. The ingredients were all well evened out that no one ingredient was too strong or overpowering than the other. 
Dinner

Of course, we had dessert to celebrate Chelsea’s 25th birthday.
Birthday girl

We shared a plate of cookies a la mode style. There was a chocolate chip cookie with chocolate chip ice cream, topped with melted white chocolate and pieces of orange peels. It sounded good from the menu and looked good in person but it didn’t taste as delicate as we wanted it to. The cookies were too hard as if it wasn’t fresh at all.
Dessert

Afterwards, I gave Chelsea her birthday gift. I have to say that I really liked what I got her that I got some of the same stuff for myself…Heh. But! Because we are best friends and people get confused who is who since we look alike so much, it gives us more reasons to have the same things. Sarcasm, my friends. Sarcasm. I got her a pair maroon colored tights to go with her holiday outfits and a pair of Kate Spade earrings shaped in a black bow with gold outlining. 
Gift time!

We ate a lot and talked a lot at dinner so it was time for us to head home to get some rest for the next day’s adventure in Temecula.