Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Travel Tuesday: March Wrap-Up

I can't believe that March has finally come to an end. This month was full of traveling, which of course has made my heart so happy! After recovering from my sickness around the end of February, March was off to a busy start.

Indian Wells - BNP Paribas Open

First of all, Adan and I drove out to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open for a hot and sweltering front row seat experience. Adam won the tickets at a silent auction and I'm so glad he did! It was such a blast and how exciting it was to watch professional tennis. Tennis is my first and forever love (played competitively back in Japan, college and taught!). Since we had front row seats at the main stadium, we were lucky enough to be able to rest in the box seat club which had plenty of air conditioning, food and drinks. I got a pretty nasty tan but I'm actually pretty proud of it.


Portland, Oregon

That same week, Adam and I were off to Portland Oregon to visit my best friend Maya and her husband Will (Adam's cousin). We had so much fun seeing them and visiting with them. I wish my best friend lived a lot closer. Sad face. I was able to see my other best friend there as well, eat some amazing food, enjoy the fresh air and some rain. We were only there for the weekend but I'm so glad we went! I lived in Portland for a total of four years so I definitely miss that place.

San Francisco

Last but not least, last week I was off to San Francisco. I go to Napa all the time but I very rarely stay in the city so I was really excited to take my former assistant and now friend, Brooke with me. It was her first time traveling so I was really happy to be the one expanding her horizons and sharing my passion of travel. We did some major touristy things and had a complete blast. Our hotel is conveniently located at the Fisherman's Wharf so we got really lucky. The trolley rides, the clam chowder, the gorgeous weather, Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, Don Pisto's - the list goes on. 

As for April, it brings just one major travel over to Tokyo Japan. I'll be gone for two whole weeks and taking Adam for one of them. I am so excited to go back home and to see my family and my best friend (and her new baby!). Well, I'm excited for the cherry blossoms, food, shopping too...

My grad school classes started this week so I gueeeess I'll have to buckle down for the next three weeks :)

I hope allergies aren't too bad for everyone - it's killing me!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Power of Meditation

My funemployment hasn't turned out exactly the way I had imagined or hoped. Immediately after I resigned from corporate America, I left for my trip up to Seattle to visit my Grandfather and friends. Sometime during the trip, I caught a horrible case of pharyngitis and I was bedridden for 2.5 weeks. 2.5 weeks! I didn't shower for almost the entire time, I had a hard time walking up and down the stairs, I was freezing but still sweating, my nose was running 24/7, I couldn't even swallow water because it hurt my throat so intensely, I couldn't taste anything, I woke up several times each night thanks to coughing attacks - I mean the list goes on and on. I finally stopped taking a mixture of over-the-counter medicine and went to see a doctor. He gave me some strong antibiotics and finally got better. 

As soon as I was semi-over the infection, I went to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open, then straight to Portland and now getting ready for San Francisco. Oh - and school starts next week. So do I truly feel like I got a vacation prior to school starting? Not really. [Sigh] 

Anyway, on top of graduate school, travel, health & fitness improvements, I've also been wanting to be more centered. I've been so scattered, especially this past year and feel I've spread myself too thin. I'm everywhere at the same time and my mind runs 100mph without ever stopping. I'm horrible with my phone too; I might as well glue it to my hand. I definitely have #FOMO (fear of missing out) and I have this constant need to stay connected. 

So, in attempts to becoming more centered and independent from the interweb, I searched for something that can assist me in this venture. Ironically I found out about this app from my favorite YouTuber but anyway, she suggested Simply Being.  

The past few days, I've turned my phone to Airplane Mode for 1 hour in the morning. I spend the first 5 minutes of the hour with this app by meditating. I've always thought of meditation as a hippie activity (my college had meditation classes for credit...wtf) but it has already made a huge difference. My mind becomes calm and I feel more connected to my body. After 5 minutes, I feel refreshed and ready to start my day. The next 55 minutes, I spend making coffee, eating breakfast and mentally preparing for the day - all without my phone. 

Trust me, it makes a huge difference. It's the best $1.99 you'll spend for an app. Try it!

via Pinterest

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pinterexperiment: Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Hi, guys! 


I'm week 2 into funemployment and I LOVE that I've had time to start cooking again! I've been craving a good crock-pot recipe for a while now and this was a huge success! If you love chicken and dumplings, this is your go-to recipe.



We had SO much leftovers though so if you have a gathering or a large family - or you just enjoy leftovers, give it a try! 

xoxo


 Slow-Cook Chicken & Dumplings  
Serves 6-8 
Cooking time: 6 hours 

What You'll Need:
 4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
 2 Tablespoons butter
 1 Onion diced
 2 Cans of mixed vegetables  
♥ 1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup (condensed) 
♥ 1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (condensed) 
♥ 1 Can of refrigerated biscuit dough 
♥ Chicken Broth (as needed)

Instructions: 
 Place the chicken, butter, soup, mixed vegetables and diced onions in the crock pot. 
 Stir and mix as much as possible. 
 Pour chicken broth - enough to cover entire mixture (it may look like a lot of liquid but the biscuits will soak a lot of them up). 
 Cook on high for 3 hours. 
 Tear the biscuits into 2 inch pieces and place them on top of the mixture and cover. 
 Cook on high for 3 additional hours. 

All you need! (Minus 1 biscuit can - I only needed 1)

The initial mixture pre-cooking.

The fun part of placing the biscuit dough on the top! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Changes.

Via Pinterest
My goodness, it's almost mid-February and this is my first post of the year. 2015 just started and it's been very....strange, to say the least.

Long story short, after some frustrating and inappropriate things consecutively happening at my job and some broken promises, I decided to leave. There were external reasons as well, such as the 130 mile commute (25 hours a week of driving), not being able to complete my Masters program within the allocated time, health/happiness. I take respect very seriously and I had none for anyone superior to me by the time I decided to resign. Really, really sad since I resigned exactly on my 2nd anniversary for my company but it happens to everyone - you go separate ways. 

Anyway, I am so excited to be making such a huge change. Thankfully finance isn't a problem so I'll be focusing on finishing my Masters, working on my fitness and wellness. I'll be studying almost full time, doing some translation jobs here and there, traveling and reuniting with people I've abandoned due to my last job for the past year. I can't wait to start playing the piano again, painting, cooking and playing tennis - all of what made me unique that I grew distant from.

When I closed the door to my office last week, I felt a relief I didn't expect to feel. I don't think I quite realized how unhappy I was and how toxic of an environment I was spending 90% of my life in the past year. I could go on and on about how unfairly I was treated and several people asked me if I would give my company a piece of my mind - but I didn't. I took the high road and I certainly wasn't going to stoop down to their level of unprofessionalism just to exit with guns blazing. It's easy to wish them horrible things but I don't. I can only hope they figure things out so they don't keep losing good people out of ego. I wish them well.

Needless to say, I am happier than ever. I am so busy this month with travel (Sonoma & Seattle), dinners/lunches with friends, a little bit of work already, gym classes, Symphonies, weekday activities and two Red Wings games!

Richard Branson said it best, "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to." 

So excited for what's ahead of me; school, travel, friends, family, wine, cooking and more blogging!

xoxo





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Napa Valley, California


I'm finally done traveling....for the next week! Traveling for 2 weeks in a row to 4 cities was exhausting. All I ever wanted in my job was to be able to travel; be careful what you wish for, I guess!

Travel = flying on work dollars = staying for the weekend. I'm lucky enough to have a job where they let me enjoy the weekend at whatever city I'm at. Of course when work took me to Sacramento, Adam and I had to make a trip out to Napa Valley! 

We try to do Napa once a quarter but this year we only got two trips in, which is ok since the reason why we couldn't was because we were too busy traveling to other places. Can you tell we love traveling? :)

We always have our signature places to visit: Robert Biale Vineyards & Brix. While we have other favorites, we try to experiment since Napa is just exploding with wineries and amazing restaurants. This time we tried Hall Winery, Domaine Chandon, Cakebread Cellars for new wineries and Long Meadow Ranch Farmstead and Etoile for restaurants.This doesn't happen very often but all of them were top notch; we pat ourselves on the backs for our perfect selections this time around!

Hall Wines - our newest Wine Club addition.

Long Meadow Farmstead Restaurant

Biale Vineyards - our favorite!

Cakebread Cellars 


Domaine Chandon - Limited Edition design. 

Hide and seek @ Cakebread Cellars

Bubblies @ Domaine Chandon

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pinterexperiments: Slow-Cook Ranch Mushrooms

Hi, friends! 

So, this is the easiest Pinterest recipe I've ever made, hands down. It's ridiculously simple, yet it's steakhouse quality! Beyond delicious and let me repeat, so easy

This recipe is perfect for a side dish for fish or steak, or even an addition to a pasta dish. Really versatile. 

1lb of mushrooms might sound like a lot but not only do they decrease in size significantly, it's so good that just two people can finish it off easily. Well. At least Adam and I did! :) 

 Slow-Cook Ranch Mushrooms 
Serves 2-3

What You'll Need:
 1 lb of mushrooms
 1 packet of Ranch seasoning mix
 1 stick of butter 
 1/4 Parmesan cheese *optional* 

Instructions: 
 Completely melt the stick of butter in the microwave. 
 Stir the ranch powder in the melted butter. 
 Place mushrooms in the crock-pot.
 Drizzle melted butter & ranch mix over the mushrooms. 
 Sprinkle parmesan cheese. 
 Cook on low for 4 hours. 

Things to keep in mind: 
 If you have a larger or 'stronger' crock pot, keep your eye on it around the 3rd hour. The recipe called for 4 hours and some of my mushrooms on the edges were overcooked. 




See, so simple! Enjoy! xo


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Travel (Throwback) Tuesday: BFF in L.A

First night: Drinks at Picca in Beverly Hills
So this is a bit of a "Throwback" situation since my BFF visit was actually during Halloween but better late than never, right?

Anyway, my best friend Maya from Portland visited me during Halloween weekend which was also the 1st Hello Kitty Convention in L.A. We had so much fun and ugh, I missed her so much! She came down mainly for the Hello Kitty Convention here in L.A at the MOCA/JANM. We're not one of those crazy Hello Kitty fanatics but went more for nostalgia sake. We were both born and raised in Japan so we were surrounded by Hello Kitty growing up. My car isn't full of Hello Kitty and I don't have any of her tattoos - we just love her, just because it reminds us of home.

The convention was mind-blowing. The 25k tickets were completely sold out, people were lining up early just to get in, Little Tokyo was so busy - just absolute craziness! I was so impressed with Sanrio though. They did such a great job. The only thing is that they didn't expect that kind of turn out. There should have been more food trucks, a better system for the shops, etc. JANM (Japanese American National Museum)'s Hello Kitty exhibit runs through March of 2015 but since it was free for convention attendees, we checked it out. The exhibit was curated so perfectly, everything brought me back to my childhood in Tokyo and I loved every second of it. What a gorgeous museum, that is!

The Hello Kitty Con was on Halloween so we were completely wiped out by the time we were supposed to get ready to hit up West Hollywood for Halloween festivities. We ended up being old ladies and just swam in the pool. I'm pretty sure we were all cozied up in bed by 11pm, yikes!

The rest of the weekend was so much fun but a blur. We had breakfast coffee at Intelligentsia, then went to Din Tai Fung for lunch (Maya's fav!), drove all the way out to the Getty Villa and dinner at Mercado in Santa Monica. Oh and dessert with wine at the Grove. Can I just say that the Getty Villa is so beautiful? Can't wait to go back!

She left on Sunday but had some time to grab brunch in DTLA at Bottega Louie, my favorite.

I'm so sad she's gone but we had the best time catching up on life and being girly :) I miss her already but hopefully a trip up to Portland is in the works early 2015.  

Entering!

Maya in front of the Hello Kitty Cafe

Whee! 

"You Can Never Have Too Many Friends"

She was everywhere!

JANM/MOCA

Convention life. #TheStruggleIsReal




The view from our hotel room - pretty rainbow over Beverly Hills!

Getty Villa

Getty Villa

@LAX - waaah, don't leave me!
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