Birthday Celebration Continued…

Since my husband couldn’t join me in the fun on my actual birthday, he made reservations at Cicada restaurant in downtown Los Angeles for some music and dancing, albeit minus the dancing on our parts. Truth be known: I told him to make the reservations at that restaurant on that specific date. The restaurant was a place I wanted to visit on my 30th birthday, but I don’t remember what happened that year and why we couldn’t make it happen. And the other truth is, I planned my own birthday celebration: going to get brunch at Bottega, the pier, etc. etc. I’ve been planning my birthdays for some time now and I think this has come to be the norm because I like to celebrate my day my way, and I prefer it that way. (rhyming unintended). Although my husband has good intentions and some thoughtfulness, he often doesn’t know what I really want.  Hilarious incident this year: On my birthday he left for work before I woke up (and he had to work until late that day) and to my expectation (I saw his purchase on our credit card statement), he left a turquoise box on my vanity table as a birthday gift. A turquoise box meaning, something from Tiffany’s. Most girls would be giddy, but I was skeptical because the past two times he bought me jewelry was rather… not to my taste. haha. I opened the box nervously and BOOM: another “not to my taste” jewelry.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because it was a large silver cross on a long silver chain, something that reminded me of what the Pope would carry around or what gangsters would wear on top of wife-beater shirts. Later when he asked how I liked the gift, I told him, “Hm,” and recounted exactly how I responded and why. His excuse was that he didn’t know what it would look like in person because the website didn’t specify dimensions or measurements. It was all very funny and he later got me something I wanted after returning the necklace, so all was right with the world. :)

The reason I recount the birthday gift incident is because the hilarity continued on the day we went out for dinner. 1. My husband made dinner reservations for a time that was  wayyy too early (1.5 hours too early) and we had to take our sweet sweet time eating dinner before everyone arrived, including the musicians. We spent about 30 minutes for the bite-sized appetizer and 40 minutes for our rather meager main course.  In between each bite, I munched on a lot of bread. The crowd didn’t appear until an hour after we arrived and the music didn’t start playing until an hour and a half later. You see, my husband didn’t make reservations on the restaurant’s website where it described the event and dinner options. He made reservations on and had no idea what the restaurant was like and that there would be a live jazz band with people actually dancing to the music. It was so like him! I told him to make reservations at that restaurant providing him with a link to the restaurant’s website that described everything and what was required, but he simply found another way to make reservations in the simplest possible way. I smacked myself in the forehead [hypothetically], thinking, “I should’ve made the reservations myself.” I should have known when the restaurant called a few days prior to make sure he had tickets to the event. He was surprised there was going to be music and that we needed tickets. I should’ve known then and there. But alas, I let it slip and that’s what happened. 2. After observing other women wearing strings of pearls with their black sequin dresses, I told him about how matching pearls with black sequin didn’t occur to me when I was trying to plan my outfit. It was regretful because I had a nice string of pearls at home that my grandma gave me years ago and I had never worn them. My husband said that pearls were not really my taste and that he at least knew that. Haha, which was not true because I do like pearls, it was only that I have had no occasion to wear pearls on a regular basis. Oh, dear Husband, I love you anyway. At least you knew I do not dance. (And I knew you do not dance).

All in all, it was a lovely evening eating a (very) leisurely dinner, listening to good music (live vocals are the best), and watching others dance in a setting that transported you to a glamorous past (similar vibe to Midnight in Paris, one of my favorite films).


Much Ado About Nothing

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Elaine started preschool, which means I now have some time to myself. I can look up at the sky, the trees, the flowers and take them all in. Oh, what leisure! haha… But I miss her dearly and days are still busy. She’s been crying at drop-off the past few days and my heart breaks every time I see her little teardrops and scrunched face. “My dear, this is just the beginning. You have at least 19+ years to go,” I think to myself.
“…and there
live we as merry as the day is long” (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 1).

This is 34.

The night before my 34th birthday, I felt a bit haggard and gray.  I felt too lazy to go through the cream face mask routine that requires washing in 20 minutes, so I smothered my face with a sample cream from La Mer. The next day, my face was aglow like Christmas morning (haha!). It felt bouncy, firm, and hydrated. I didn’t even know my face was droopy until it felt bouncy. The truth is, my dry skin cannot be compared to other mortals; it is something of death itself. Every year I shed tons of dead skin off my face (and body) during winter months and have been searching for a product that would deliver its hydration promises. I have tried many creams from different brands (within $100), but none have delivered. That is, until this past year when I learned about oils. I’ve then layered my face with serums, creams, and oils every night. It has helped with the flakiness but not so much with helping me look less like a zombie. Chemo has made my zombie-ness significantly worse, draining every living color out of my hands, feet, and face, making them literally grey-brown. I came back to life the evening of the 3rd of January, the night I discovered crème de la Mer moisturizing cream, the miracle cream. I woke up looking less grey and convinced of the power of pricey skin care. How can I go back? Sigh. Alas, I am not rich. So. I will cherish every drop of that sample and continue with my old routine. And that’s okay. At least for my birthday, I felt/looked alive. This post is not sponsored. I know; I can be ridiculous.

This is thirty-four.

Some highlights: breakfast at Bottega Louie (one of my favorites), free birthday Starbucks drink, Santa Monica pier and the thrilling Ferris wheel (that is, watching my sister cling to the pole because of her fear of heights), free birthday Pink Berry frozen yogurt (went into the store at my daughter’s request and later surprised by the free offer), hanging out at the Hammer Museum to kill time before dinner (free entry, small but valuable collection, ping pong tables and discovering my mom’s table tennis talent), quaint Italian dinner at a random spot in Westwood (great parking spot on a busy street),  and delicious triple layer berry cake from Sweet Lady Jane.

Photos in random order:



(Poor husband was working all day until late at night so he missed out on the fun. But we’ll have fun this coming Saturday at Cicada. Woohoo! Might as well celebrate my birthday all month! hehe)


I love turning the pages on my wall calendar every beginning of the month (so much so that I have been changing it for my sister for the past year). There is something refreshing about seeing the new month at a glance with the anticipation of the unknown. I am not a goal-setter and have never committed to anything long-term because of my personality in desiring to do the exact opposite when strict requirements are incumbent upon reaching a goal. However, seeing how the past year unravelled in countless terrible, stressful, unpleasant circumstances and situations, I plan to change things up and take some control. Of course, all things are in the hands of God, but that does not mean to let things roll without taking responsibility.

First and foremost, exercise and eat healthy. I know, I know. I should have committed to this the moment I was diagnosed. And I have been trying, just not in the hard-core mindset. Some people are all-in or all-out. I have always been all-out, content with observing others toil away from the comforts of my bed. Though I cannot promise to be all-in, I am dunking my feet into commitment. This year, I will join a gym and go at least two to three times a week. I hated exercise since I can remember. To avoid P.E. in high school, I joined marching band and the other one or two P.E. class requirements for graduation were spent in badminton and steps (I think that’s what it was called). My sedentary life must come to an end and I must to get my heart pumping and muscles working/forming. I will also cut sugar. It is a battle I fight every day because I love sweets and breads. UGH, my nemesis. Sugar feeds cancer so my simple sweet joys must be realigned towards other things. Like… tea. I can do tea.

Second, save money. Save for a house. Save for Elaine’s college fund. Save for quality items. Save for the future. Save save save. No more spending money at Target. Ha, just kidding. But no more spending money on a whim. No more getting lured into sales. Unsubscribe to those emails! I get so much junk mail from subscriptions to stores, even stores to which I’ve never subscribed. No more clothes. No more, no more. Another joy into the bin. Sigh. Instead, it will be photography. Today, I started a 365 black & white project. It’s more personal so I won’t be posting any of it, but that will be my redirection.

Third, and lastly, commit to my post on the fruits of the spirit.

Oh man, 2018 will be tough, but they will be things I am willing to bear. The past year and a half has been an avalanche of uncontrollable events. This year, I hope, the avalanche is past me and I can work on hiking up my mountain of goals.


to 2018.