Channeling Something New

Happy New Year!

It’s 2017 and a full of year possibilities is ahead of us. I have a lot that I want to do this year, and I’m hoping that by jumping in full-force, I’ll actually be able to say I’ve done a lot of it by this time next year!

I’ve openly admitted that I’m a starter of projects, but not all that great at finishing them. (Pretty sure it’s smack-dab at the top of my “About” page, lol.) I know that makes me sound flaky, but it’s just part of my personality that I’ve come to understand. I’m a passionate person, and I get excited easily. As such, I love jumping into things full force, and I love following my passions wherever they may lead. Unfortunately, what that sometimes means is that a new passion might steer me away from a previous one (see: Zumba, knitting, and my unfinished book sequel…). This ended up with me feeling guilty about leaving unfinished business behind (even if just temporarily.)

Worse than the guilt of knowing I’ve left loose threads dangling, however, is the fear of what people might say about it, say about me. Blogging and working for Yelp has definitely thickened my skin, but I can still be hyper-sensitive to criticism and critique. I’m also a Monica Gellar-level people-pleaser.

But, c’mon, I’m 28 years old! I can’t live my life based on the fear of what others might say about me. And anyway, I’m growing up… kinda! While I’m pretty sure I’m just as passionate and excitable as ever, there are a lot of steady, firm, decidedly not-flaky parts of my life as well.

The average length of time I spent at all of my previous jobs was exactly 1 year. And then I found Yelp, and now I’m fast-approaching my 4-year anniversary! I’m a married lady with two fur-children, I’m older, and, hey, maybe even a tiny bit wiser.

I mentioned in a previous post that one of the things that I’ve been continuing to get more and more interested in is makeup. I’ve been getting more experimental and showcasing my looks on social media more often. I actually have received a few inquiries about whether I’d ever considered making tutorial videos, and the truth that I’ve actually considered it quite a bit. But, you know, the timing wasn’t right, or I wasn’t well-equipped, or it just seemed like too much work… and I didn’t want to start another thing that would just peter out and disappear.

Alas, all of those things might still be true, but as part of my “resolution” (I kind of hate New Year’s Resolutions, so I use that word with caution), I’m taking 2017 by the horns and testing the waters anyway! I went ahead and filmed my very first makeup tutorial video! It’s kind of a mess — evidently putting me in front of a camera makes me unable to pronounce words anymore, and the amount of times I uttered the words “uh,” “like,” and “anyway” made me want to punch myself.

That said, if you’re in any way interested in seeing what goes into an everyday glam look for me, you can check it out on my Youtube Channel:

And we’ll see where it goes from here! If I stick with it, awesome! And if not, hey, I’ll probably have chronicled at least a couple of really cool makeup looks, so that’s still cool.

Where to Start?

Wow, you know it’s been a minute since you’ve contributed to your blog when you have to remember the URL to get to the login page because it doesn’t pop up in your browser history’s autocomplete bar. To be honest, I don’t think I even cognitively realized just how long it had really been, you know? I mean, with the loss of my friend, and then my grandmother, blogging just didn’t seem “right” for a while. And then life just kept truckin’ along, and before you know it, here we are! December. Crazy.

So the reality is, I don’t even know where to begin with this post. It doesn’t really feel productive to spend a ton of time covering what’s been going on during last 6 months of my life because A) there’s not really all that much to report, B) if you follow me on social media in some form or another, you probably already know a lot of it, and C) I am too lazy to try to remember it all. But, it would feel weird not at least touching on where I’m at in, like, my life, sooooooo… I’ll try to make it brief.

Work: Yelp stuff is still going awesomely. I’m a little bit past 3.5 years at Yelp, and in July I was promoted to the role of Community Director. I am, it might go without saying, still loving my job, having a great time hosting events, working with local businesses, and championing my community. I also have the best #worksquad a girl could ask for. In August, I threw my 3rd huge Yelper Party event, and also attended CM Week at Yelp’s HQ in San Francisco for the 3rd year.

 

Family: Even though 2016 has been the year of some seriously crappy stuff, it will still be remembered as an amazing year in the grand scheme of my life, since it started off with me gettin’ hitched! Sean and my first year as newlyweds has been wonderful, and we haven’t threatened to divorce each other even once.

 

My nieces are still awesome, and my family and I are just as weirdly close as ever. In early November, my sister, my parents, and I went to New York and my dreams came true because I finally got to see HAMILTON (in short: I cried like six…ty times, it was NOT overhyped despite how much I built it up in my head, it was everything and more):

 

And later in November (lol), the whole fam (minus Sean, who had to work), went to Orlando for a big family vaycay. Which meant I got to return to the Happiest Place on Earth (for Gretchen), Harry Potter World, and also, the Happiest Place on Earth (for Other People), Disneyworld:

 

My trip back to Diagon Alley went really well with my latest tattoo, too:

And, finally, my dogs are still my wonderful, weird, bearded children:

Does that pretty much cover all the bases? I think so, right? Eh, if there’s anything I’m forgetting… I probably will never remember it. But! It should at least bring us up to the present, wherein I am actually trying to get back to updating this thing on the reg. But, for once, I’m not going to make any grand, sweeping declarations like, “I’m returning to my roots!” and “I’m getting back on the blog wagon!” because those will surely backfire and leave me eating my words. Instead, I’ll just be honest and say this:

My life has gotten pretty great. I have a loving husband, a home of my own, furchildren, an awesome family, a job that I am legitimately still obsessed with, and the freedom to continue to dye my hair any color I want with impunity (it even recently got featured in a Buzzfeed listicle, so, y’know, #lifegoalscomplete). I’m also, obviously, extremely humble.

But I must admit, if anything has been missing over the past, I dunno, few months… a year… or two… it’s that I’ve stopped writing.

I’ve basically stopped writing here on this blog, I’ve stopped writing creatively, and I think that I’ve been keeping myself busy enough that I haven’t had to think about it. It’s just so easy to put family, friends, work, holidays, trips, obsessively singing the soundtrack to Moana, binge-watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and playing Final Fantasy XV nonstop for 3 straight days first. But I miss writing, I do, and I want to… stop… missing it. (Hmm, my skills may have already deteriorated.)

So, whether I start posting here regularly again, or whether I find the motivation to finally frickin’ finish the sequel to Terra (I know, I know…), or whether I just find myself coming back to my words a little more often, I’d like to write more. And I’m going to try to do just that.

And with that said, hopefully, you’ll see me back here in these parts very soon. Although, based on recent precedence, if I make it back for another post before… uh… April… I’ll already have outdone myself. I do love setting that bar loooooow. 😉

 

Remembering PoPo

 

This past Wednesday, July 27th, my beautiful grandmother passed away.

PoPo Portrait

My PoPo (the Chinese term for maternal grandmother, and what my siblings and I all called her) was a strong and loving women, who raised a family of eight (8!!) children.

Yep, that’s my mom rocking those sweet (and so on trend!) cat-eyes on the right.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may already know that my grandmother had not been in the greatest health for the past several years, so while nobody can say that her passing was a surprise, she is missed so deeply nonetheless. I’m grateful that my mother and her siblings were all there by her side until the very end.

Our family

jenny's wedding

PoPo leaves behind an amazing legacy in her children and children-in-law, 14 grandchildren (yeah, I have a lot of cousins), and even got to meet her first two great-grandchildren.

I savor memories of summers spent at her home in Virginia Beach, watching her sing Cantonese karaoke in the living room, letting our crazy gaggle of grandkids run amuck, cooking us seriously amazing and authentic Chinese dinners (which, of course, I never truly appreciated when I was young, but would kill for right now.)

She was an incredibly strong woman, and the love she held for us, for her entire family, was evident across age and culture and language. I think I mentioned back when I got married that almost every single member of my family on my mom’s side was there. My aunts and uncles and cousins moved Heaven and Earth to change their flights, jump on buses, and outrun the storm in their cars — and they all made it here in time for my blizzard wedding.

That’s the kind of family my PoPo raised. The kind that is there for each other, natural disaster or nah, because family really is the only thing.

Mom and Dad's Wedding

我爱你, 婆婆. I love you, PoPo.

Martha’s Table, PTX, and the BEST THING EVER

Whew! Yesterday wore me out. I was on my feet from morning til almost morning again, and I’m definitely feeling it. And yes, I realize there are many people in the world for whom this is a frequent occurrence, for my sedentary butt, it most definitely is not. On the bright side, I actually hit all of my fitness goals for once?

Also on the bright side, of course, are the reasons why I was out and about for the entire day. I met up with my wonderful Yelp DMV coworkers for lunch, after which we went to volunteer with Martha’s Table at an elementary school in Anacostia.

It was a really neat setup: Martha’s Table collected food donations which were then divvied up and set up in the school’s auditorium like a mini grocery store. After school, the kids and their parents came through with a little shopping list and filled up their shopping bar with fresh produce and healthy foods. There was also a station where a chef prepared a dish using several of the items the kids would be “shopping” for. That way, they could taste it, take home the recipe, and get an idea for how to cook with the items they were receiving. Pretty neat, huh?

I was really glad that my coworker Kimberly set up this volunteering opportunity — it was particularly awesome since, as you all know, cooking and eating well is already a long-standing interest of mine!

After we packed everything up, it was time for the other exciting component of my day:

Seeing Pentatonix in concert!

My friend Lara and I went up to Merriweather Post Pavilion to watch the sensational acapella quintet (maybe you remember them from The Sing-Off?) delight us with their delicious vocal magic.

Dude. Those harmonies. So on point. It was an awesome concert, made just slightly less awesome by the banshee PTX superfan sitting directly behind us, who vocalized her feelings of joy with the loudest, mostly highly pitched, shrillest screams EVER. My left eardrum truly may never recover.

Sigh, I think I’m getting old, you guys. First my teeth start falling apart, then I’m the crotchety old grandma at the rock concert. Plus the very fact that I began this very post complaining about how tired I am. AND I already like knitting… oy. The evidence is really starting to stack up.

I don’t know if this will make me seem even older, but I don’t even care because my last piece of news is the amazing, spectacular, incredible, life-changing fact that…

I GOT HAMILTON TICKETS!!!!!!!!!!

In case you didn’t already know, I am legitimately, inexorably, consumingly OBSESSED with the musical Hamilton. I watched the cast perform at the Grammys and it was just all over for me from that point on. Of course, my dreams of actually getting to see the show performed life seemed an ocean away, since tickets have been sold-out for, um, ever. Sure, you technically can purchase tickets…from “third party sellers” ::coughscalperscough:: for an outrageous upcharge. We’re talking prices like $600 – $1300 for ONE ticket.

Yeeeeeah. I mean, I’m a bonafide musical theatre buff with a serious crush on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrical magnificence, but even I wasn’t that thirsty. Until the day before yesterday, that is, when fate, providence, and fortune all came together to bless me with tickets, purchased at a regular price, in all their glory.

It went down like this: at 9:54 PM, I get a message on Facebook that Hamilton tickets just went on sale. Turns out, this new block of tickets were actually released at 9:00 PM, so already, I’m thinking they’re probably all gone. That said, hell if I was throwing away my shot!

I scurried over to the Hamilton website, and clicked on literally the first available date (November 1st). I waited with baited breath. It transferred me to Ticketmaster, and the angels chorus began: 2 tickets. Front mezzanine. Row C.

Before I knew it, my fast-flying fingers had proceeded all the way to the checkout page and the tickets were mine!

Of course, it wasn’t until after I had already purchased the tickets that I casually mentioned that I spent not a small amount of moolah on theatre tix. Heh. After all, even at regular price, Broadway tickets ain’t cheap. Heh. #goodwifeaward

Luckily, my husband A) doesn’t care about musicals and B) just wants me to be happy so the entire encounter went something like this:

Me: AUGUGHHGHEHRGHGHRHGEH!!!!!!!! ::flailing around the room::
Sean: What?!?! What happened?!?!?!
Me: I ::sob:: FINALLY ::sob:: GOT ::sob:: HAMILTON ::sob:: TICKETS!!!!!!
Sean: …yay?
Me: You don’t understand! I got tickets! For regular price! From the regular box office! Not for like triple the cost from a third-party seller! Hamilton! HAMILTON!!!!!
Sean: …yay?
Me: You don’t have to come with me.
Sean: YAY!

Anyway, so that’s pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened, ever, and come November I’mma tear UP in NYC!

Aaaaand there you have it! News that most certainly cannot be topped, so I might as well just peace out here. Today we’ve got an exciting trip to the vet on the books for Harry & Daxter, the wonder mutts, followed by a weekend of many adventures, so hopefully I’ll have some fun stuff to report back on come Monday. Have a great weekend!