Good News, Everybody!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and a brilliant beginning of the Year of the Dog! Our Chinese New Year celebration was even more spectacular than usual this year, not only because it was Penny’s first, but because…

Good things come to those who wait…

Posted by Ben Powell on Friday, February 16, 2018

Ben & Taylor (my brother and sister-in-law) made a very important announcement: they’re expecting a BABY!!!! Click here if you can’t view the video embedded above — it’s worth it! (Plus I make a cameo at the beginning, hehe.)

We could NOT be more excited for the two of them — they have been waiting for this little bebe for a while, and my sister-in-law in particular has been admirably and wonderfully open about their struggles to conceive. I am so excited to be an aunt again, and for Penny to have a little cousin so close in both age and distance to her!!

Anyway, clearly we had a lot to celebrate on Friday, which we did via a huge Chinese New Year feast that my hardworking mama prepared!

 
 

We invited Taylor’s parents and Sean’s parents to join in on the celebration this year as well, which was wonderful. Penny got showered with many good wishes for the new year… as well as some very generously gifted hong bao / lai see (red envelopes) to fund her dreams (and her college savings account!)

 
 

I also picked up a new toy for her: a bumper jumper! It’s the kind that hangs from a doorframe — something that was initially a bit panic-inducing, but it has rave reviews, and once I clipped it up, I felt confident in how secure it is. She’s still getting the hang of actually jumping in it, but seems to like twisting around and lifting her feet off the ground so she can swing back and forth, lol.

This type of jumper is much more portable than the other, stationary jumper we have (which is this one from Skip Hop), which I had brought to my parents’ house over Christmas and never taken back because it’s so cumbersome to move. But my parents are set to be going out of town quite a bit this Spring, so I wanted to take back that jumper and get something we can more easily move back and forth between our houses.

 

And things are otherwise going really well with our little mischief-maker! She’s been trying all kinds of new foods — so far she mostly likes everything, including sweet potatoes, oatmeal, bananas, green beans, pears, and broccoli! And she has thus far not seemed to enjoy strawberries (too tart — we’ll have to try again when they’re more in season) or mashed potatoes (maybe a texture thing?)

 

When we first started solids, they seemed to wreak a bit of havoc on her sensitive li’l tummy, which affected her sleep. (And, in turn, affected our sleep, lol.) She would wake up screeeeeeaming after a couple of hours, and it was almost impossible to calm her back down without nursing her back to sleep. So it was a bit of a rough week or so in that department, but thankfully things are really looking up — I guess her digestive issues are subsiding (for now at least!), because the past couple of nights have been great again!

 

I’m always hesitant to celebrate her sleep accomplishments tooooooo loudly, since it’s all still very unpredictable (and will likely remain that way for a while still, haha), but the past few nights she’s been back to sleeping 7 PM to 7 AM. Woo-hoo! Naps are still a bit of a struggle, as she usually only naps for a single sleep cycle (30 – 45 minutes), although randomly and rarely she’ll sometimes sleep 1.5 – 2 hours. Now that I have a more consistent schedule with childcare help and whatnot, her short naps aren’t as much of an issue for me (just for her, since they mean she gets tired again super quickly!)

So yes! Lots of good things happening — Penny’s new cousin is baking (due this summer!), I’m getting into a really good groove with work, and I’m feeling so much more carefree and content about the state of our house since I started my decluttering project. I’m still nowhere near done, but I’m continuing to make strides in clearing out junk, reorganizing our living spaces to be more functional, and trying to create joy where there was only chaos, hahaha.

Plus, clearing out my closet has been super freeing — I’ve donated like 10 bags of clothing, but also have been able to sell many of my nicer/higher end pieces on Poshmark! So, yes, I’m feeling really good about the progress made so far, I just hope that I’m not losing momentum. I wasn’t able to get very much done this past week with how busy things were work-wise, so I’m hoping that since I have a bit of a lighter schedule this week, I’ll get back on top of things!

 

Here’s to a productive and happy week ahead!

Year of the Dog

Happy Chinese New Year!

I’m half-Chinese, so CNY is a pretty big deal around these parts. My mom usually cooks up a huge celebratory feast to ring in the new year, and typically this is done on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, we pushed it to New Year’s Day (so, tonight) so that both my brother’s and my in-laws can join in on the festivities!

We can’t wait to introduce our little quarter-Chinese, quarter-Korean dumpling (Sean is also a halfie like moi) to this little slice of her heritage. She’s already developed a (literal) taste for hong bao — the red envelopes that are filled with monaaaaaay… that’ll be going straight into her college fund, lol.

 
So happy new year, guys! May your years be blessed with good health, good fortune, good times spent with friends & family, and some damn good food, too!

Year of the Ram

Happy Chinese New Year, friends!

Yesterday marked the first day of the Year of the Ram (or Sheep or Goat, depending on who you ask!), so allow me to wish you all a year of prosperity, good health, and great times! As most of you know, I am half-Chinese, so Chinese New Year is usually a big deal in my household, but this year my parents are out of the country so I had to make due with my own mini-celebration.

 
And by mini-celebration, I mean that ate some hand-pulled noodles at Lotus Garden with friends. Heeeeee.

Speaking of celebrations, I have another exciting thing to celebrate this week:

I got my BRACES OFF!!!!!!!

 
I’ve had lingual braces for the past year-and-change, which means I had braces behind my top set of teeth. So while you couldn’t actually see them, I DEFINITELY knew they were there. And now they’re gone! Well, replaced with a permanent retainer, so there is still a little something behind my chompers, but nothing nearly as intrusive as those big metal brackets. So here’s to a new year of not getting food stuck in my braces anymore!

In other news, Yelp’s Fit Club is still chugging along, and this week has so far given me the chance to try out an Ayengar yoga class. And tomorrow I toy with fate by attending my very first [solidcore] class, which I hear is supposed to be the most difficult workout of your life. No big deal. And then, as if that weren’t enough, I have another fitness event on Sunday — a bootcamp-style workout at The Worx by Maia. WHEW.

Good thing I’ve been doing P90 for the past six weeks, otherwise I wouldn’t even be in good enough shape to make it through my own fitness classes, hahahaha.

So I guess you can look forward to hearing about all those various different workouts next week… if I survive, that is! And have a great weekend in the meantime, folks!

Year of the Snake

Gung hay fat choi, friends! Or, for those of you who don’t speak Cantonese, Happy Chinese New Year! And gong xi fa cai to my Mandarin-speaking friends, too! Yesterday was the official first day of the Year of the Snake, so it is with a somewhat heavy heart I say farewell to the Year of the Dragon (*my* Chinese zodiac) for the next 12 years. See you when I’m 36, bud.

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My weekend was jam-packed with awesome activities, which is great since I was totally out of commission for almost ALL of last week thanks to that nasty flu I caught. Luckily, it cleared up (well, mostly… my voice is still quite hoarse so I sound like sexy Phoebe) just in time for my stellar weekend. I took about 20,000 pictures over the weekend, almost 90% of which was of delicious food, so you (or, rather, your stomachs) will just have to bear with me. (But c’mon, you’re used to the photo-explosions by now, right guys?)

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So, Saturday I actually spent a large part of my day participating in a sneak peek of Frederick, Maryland‘s restaurant week, which was SO much fun (I got to spend the day with one of my favorite people ever, the fabulous Lauren from Oatmeal After Spinning, as well as make some new friends, so OF COURSE it was epic!) but that recap will be coming tomorrow. We’ve got CNY to cover, after all! Prepare yourselves to be deeply submersed into the 50% of me that comes straight from my mama. 😉

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Is the resemblance any more prominent when I’m wearing a chi-pow top? No?

CNY is really a two-part thing. There’s special food to be eaten on New Year’s EVE, and then there’s special food to be eaten on New Year’s DAY. Two days of awesome Chinese cooking? Um, sure, twist my arm why don’t you? So Saturday night (after I returned from several hours of stuffing my gob up in Frederick–good thing I lost like 7 pounds last week from the aforementioned flu, eh?) I kidnapped Sean and we, along with my brother, traveled the 0.5 miles to my parents’ house for a traditional CNY dinner with the fam.

On the VERY extensive menu was:

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Soup made with chicken, ham, cabbage, vermicelli noodles, and an egg dumpling (the egg is supposed to symbolize a gold bar, so the soup is meant to encourage prosperity in the new year!)…

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Prawns in a sweet and sour-type sauce…

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Crispy-skin chicken (can you spot the beak?)…

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An entire fish…

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And a vegetable dish with mushrooms on top. And rice, duh. My mom is an EXCELLENT cook, so it was all delicious. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stuff my piehole as much as I would have wanted to, due to the aforementioned tasting. But that’s okay, since even though these dishes were great, all my FAVORITE dishes were to come the following night anyway.

FAST-FORWARD TO SUNDAY!

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So Sunday evening we headed back over to see the ‘rents and participate in CNY: The Sequel. Sean was a wonderful sport this week, participating not only in both days of CNY festivities, but in my mom’s birthday dinner earlier in the week as well. He won lots of boyfriend points, that’s for sure. But, to be fair, it’s not like he came away empty-handed either. He got to experience, for the very first time, the wonderful tradition of lai see/hong bao (red packets).

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For those of you aren’t familiar, it’s a tradition where youngsters “gung hay” their elders: They wish their elders a happy new year, with specific well-wishes for things like prosperity, success, good health, etc. In return, the elders then bestow similar well-wishes on the youngsters, as well as red packets that are filled with–what else?–MONEY! It’s clearly a tradition I am VERY happy that to continue with year after year. 😉

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My brother wishing my parents good things for the upcoming year in garbled Cantonese (which is still 100x better than my own).

After the lai see packets were exchanged, I helped my mom with dinner and we all sat down for yet another feast. Which was basically ALL THE CARBS and was totally, totally delicious.

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We started off with homemade Shanghai-style spring rolls that I rolled up. Needless to day, they were awesome.

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There were steamed pork bun dumplings, the kind with soup inside which are insanely good (and messy).

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There was also not one, but TWO different rice cake dishes (although I only photographed one). This is my favorite Chinese dish OF ALL TIME, and it’s traditionally made with rice cake noodles, pork, and chinese cabbage–but my mom made one version with kale instead. Both were delicious!

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And we finished with some ripe mango… and far too many White Rabbit candies. Well, the last part was really just me. I just can’t help myself, I only get to have them once a year!

Okay, whew. I think that’s good enough for today (that’ll do, pig, that’ll do). I hope you all had a great weekend, and I can’t wait to share the rest of mine with you tomorrow! Haha, I’m SO excited to actually have fun things to blog about this week! Peace and release. <3

Chinese New Year 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Today marks the first official day of CNY, which as of now it is the Year of the Dragon, friends.

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And you better believe that my Whasian family kicked it off in style this weekend!

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Some of my extended family came up from Virginia Beach to ring in the new year with us. It was great getting to catch up with uncles and cousins alike: chatting together, cooking together, and, of course, eating together!

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So, er, this is supposed to be a weight loss blog, right?

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Bahahahahaha.

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Weeeeell, what can I say? It was a(nother) celebration! Oy, so much food. We had an entire duck, pickled cucumbers, beef and onions, tofu and bean sprouts, mushrooms and bok choy, prawns, new year’s soup, and a whole fish. There was also an unpictured vegetarian dish made with soy and fungus, which sounds gross but was awesome.

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Almost all of the dishes we ate had some sort of significance in terms of what they stood for. The noodle soup had egg dumplings that represented gold bars (for prosperity), the fish represented longevity… or something… you get the idea. It definitely made for both a meaningful AND delicious smorgasbord of traditional dishes. My tough cousin Sidney even took care of the fish eye and duck head, ahahaha.

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It was, overall, a wonderful time with my family that I obviously never see and never hang out with. Ever. Cooking with my mom and learning her secret ninja kitchen skillz is something I always enjoy regardless of the occasion… though admittedly I don’t think I’ll be frying up whole fish anytime soon.

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I was back over at my parents’ place for lunch the next day as well, to eat more. And, you know, spend more time with my extended family. Heh. As a doubleplusbonus, the whole new year-filled weekend was capped off with me getting money! (Don’t worry, it’s legit. Receiving red packets — “hong bao” or “lai see” — from your elders is part of CNY tradition.) Even if you weren’t ringing in the other new year this weekend, I hope you all had a good one. And stayed warm and dry!

Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year!