On the Eve of My Twenty-Seventh Birthday

Happy National Sibling Day to these two weirdos!

I’m pretty sure this picture (taken at Ben’s rehearsal dinner) is the most Asian any of us have ever looked, or will ever look again.

Anyway, in addition to today being National Remind People You Aren’t An Only Child Day, it is also the eve of my 27th birthday! Yep, tomorrow is not only Bring Your Own Cup Day at 7-11, it is also my birthdaaaay!

You guys know how much I love my birthday, but this year I’m actually not feeling quite as birthday-y as I normally am at this point each year. Maybe it’s because of this ginormous Yelp event I’ve got happening in nine days time, or the fact that I just got engaged (two weeks ago today!), but my birthday just hasn’t felt like as big of a focus for me this year.

Sooooo, instead of big themed par-tay in honor of my favorite pop culture obsession du jour (feel free to check out my Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Frozen-themed birthdays of the past), I’m having a birthday brunch pajama jam instead! I mean, what sounds better than lounging around in my PJs while friends come hang out, sip mimosas, and eat cereal with me?

So my brunch party is happening on Sunday, while tomorrow (my actual birthday) kicks off with another wedding venue visit, then a birthday lunch with Sean’s mom (we share the same birthday!), and then some kinda birthday surprise from my fiance (whee, that’s fun to say!) that he won’t tell me about, heehee. And THEN on Wednesday, my sister and Mia come into town (yay!), so we’re doing my family birthday celebration on that day!

Okay, okay, so I guess I am starting to get excited about all this birthday hubbub after all. 😛

All right then… see you guys when I’m 27!

Yelp’s Fit Club Wrapup

It’s March! Which not only means that we can (hopefully) look forward to some of this ice and snow melting, but it means that Yelp’s Fit Club is officially finito! For those of you who don’t know, all last month I was working on a fitness promotion for Yelp that included a ton of different fitness and nutrition events.

It ended up being a lot of work to fit in 8 different events myself, plus squeeze in a trip to Savannah, AND have my annual Regional Summit for work all within the same (very, very short) month, but I gotta say, coming out on the other side of things makes me feel like 2015 has already been a pretty rockin’ year. After all, it’s only Day 2 of Month 3, and I already feel like I’ve accomplished A LOT.

Plus, I’m not gonna lie, it was kinda nice shifting my focus from the foodie side of Yelp to the fitness side of Yelp, at least for a little while. Of course, as soon as I got together with my Yelp coworkers from my regional team, things reverted back to normal, hehe. But more on that in a second. First, let me tell you a little bit about two of the super interesting workouts that I got to try through Fitclub!

[solidcore]

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[solidcore] isn’t lying on their website when they say that this is the hardest workout you’ll ever do in your life. I did this workout LAST Saturday and I’m pretty sure my abs are STILL sore from it. It is 50 straight minutes of core work on megareformer pilates machines, and duuuuuuuude. It was SO intense. But CLEARLY a great workout — it’s all about working your muscles to failure and letting the calories keep burning long after the class is over.

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Luckily, all the ridiculous hard work paid off in the form of an exclusive breakfast at sweetgreen right afterwards! They prepped us special parfaits made with their yogurt, rolled oats, quinoa, nuts, honey, blackberries, and mint, as well as avocado and cashew butter toasts.

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So even though this was definitely one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done, it was also one of the most rewarding. Figuratively and realistically, heh.

Orangetheory Fitness

So after I finally recovered from [solidcore], I had the opportunity to work out at Orangetheory Fitness, which is a studio that utilizes heart rate monitoring to pump up our workout efficiency.

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Everyone gets a Polar heart rate monitor attached, and then your statistics are put up on a screen throughout the class so you can keep yourself in check. It’s also kind of fun, because it has you working like a team with your fellow workoutters — you get “badges” and stuff for everyone being in the right zone and whatnot.

The workout outself is a lot like a personal training session or CrossFit WOD — we would spend a certain amount of time/distance on the treadmill, then move over to the rowing machines, and did that cycle three times. Then we did weight training sets for the rest of the hour.

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In the end, they summarize your heartrate info on the monitors AND email you a summary from Polar afterwards! Pretty cool! I actually did a lot better than I thought I would — I was sure that my heartrate would be in the red zone like, 70% of the time, but I guess all that P90 has been a little bit useful after all! If anything, I could have been pushing myself harder, I guess? I dunno, I sure felt like I was working it!

There was also a couple of yoga classes, a dance workout, and a nutrition workshop tossed into the mix too, but these two were definitely the workouts that I found most interesting from a learning standpoint — I’d definitely go back to Orangetheory, although I’m not sure if I’m really cut out for [solidcore] juuust yet. But hey, it did make me feel just a little bit less guilty about all that insanely delicious food I ate during my Regional Summit.

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Errrrr, then again… there’s probably not enough [solidcore] in the world to offset the insanely delicious meals we had at Zaytinya, Tico, and Acadiana last week. I’m drooling just thinking about them! Plus, the company wasn’t too bad either, hehe. My coworkers are the best!

As part of our Regional Summit, we also had a team off-site at Escape Room DC, which is this CRAZY fun Clue-like mystery game. You get locked in a room that is rife with clues, and you have 45 minutes to escape. It was an insanely fun teambuilding activity (spoiler alert: we did NOT escape, but we sure had fun trying!) and I’m already thinking about going back for my birthday!

I heard they’re actually building an even bigger location in Alexandria set to open in the Spring, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that!

And that just about brings us up to speed! I’m off to Savannah AGAIN tomorrow (crazy!) which means I’ll get to spend a little more QT with my sister and niece on the way over. Hooray! So I’ll be back here in a few to update you guys on that, hopefully with some extra cute Mia pics in tow, hehe.

See you on the flipside!

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!

You’re Invited to: Yelp’s Fit Club!

Soooo, I know it might not seem like it, but I try not to brag about my super awesome job all the time. Even though working for Yelp as a Community Manager here in Northern Virginia is literally the most perfect thing that has ever happened to me, I really do try to restrain myself from, say, recapping every single Elite Event that I host. ‘Cause, you know, I can kinda see how that’d get annoying, heh.

But, every now and then, something comes along that’s so awesome that I just can’t quite hold it in. And it just so happens that one of those awesome things is, well, happening next month… and you’re invited!

Introducing Yelp’s Fit Club!

Yelp's Fit Club DMV

Yelp’s Fit Club is a promotion that I’ve been working on with my fantabulous coworkers Kimberly (DC) and Mike (Maryland) to bring together an entire month of super fun health + fitness events all across the DMV! We’ve partnered with really great local businesses to put together a full schedule of greatness: we’re talking yoga classes, nutrition challenges, dance workouts, healthy eats meetups, and more!

And the very best part? It’s all F-R-E-E!

Thaaat’s right! All you have to do is RSVP on Yelp.com via your (also free) Yelp account. Want to bring friends? The more, the merrier! Just have them do the same thing on their own Yelp accounts. You’ll receive email confirmations after you RSVP to each event with further instructions and details.

Since most New Year’s resolutions tend to start to wane (shocker!) by the time February rolls around, we figured that it’d the perfect time to do something big health- and fitness-wise. Plus, given that February is American Heart Month, even if you’re not looking to slim down or tone up, coming out to a Fit Club event is just a great way to get your blood pumping!

Blood, Yelp, and Tears!

 

If you live in the DMV area, I would lovelovelove to get my sweat on (or healthy eats on) with you at one of these events! I’ll be at every event that’s taking place in Northern VA (guess it’s a good thing I’ve been working out so much lately, eh?), so I hope to see you there! You can check out the entire list of events here.

Oh, and even if you’re not local to the DC Metro region, you should check Yelp Events to see if Yelp’s Fit Club is happening where you live! Other Community Managers across the country are also hosting Yelp’s Fit Club (or a variation of it) around now, including Orange County, Tampa Bay, NC Triangle, Cleveland, Detroit, Ottawa, and even Honolulu!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Personally, I’m pretty pumped for what this weekend has in store: tonight I’m seeing The Tempest at GMU with my pops, tomorrow Sean and I are celebrating our 3-year anniversary (a few days early), and on Sunday, well, I plan on playing a loooooot of Little Big Planet 3. 😉

See you guys on the flipside!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Last night I celebrated an early Halloween with my 2nd Halloween-themed Yelp event since I’ve been in this (totally rad, rocking, still-can’t-believe-it’s-real) job. Soooo many folks on my Elite Squad brought some serious costume game to the table — Shrek & Fiona! Flo from Progressive! Cleopatra and gypsies and pirates, oh my! — and it was a rockin’ good time.

Personally, I decided to design my costume around my latest hair color, and graced the event as none other than Elphaba, aka the wholly misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West! (Elphaba is her name in Wicked — the book and the musical — for those who don’t know. Fun fact: the name is a play off of the intials of L. Frank Baum, the original author of the Wizard of Oz!)

I think the costume was a big hit (be proud of me, guys, I only burst into song once throughout the whoooole party!), but I gotta admit, I really share Elphaba’s pain in wishing desperately for de-greenification. Even after my shower last night, I’m still finding residual green… everywhere. However, given that Halloween is right around the corner, and all things considered, this was a pretty easy costume to pull off, I did document the greenifying process in case anyone wants to try and replicate it for themselves!

I did a little research and found out that the actual makeup they use in the Broadway production of Wicked is from MAC! The product is MAC Chromacake in Landscape Green. Just a little bit of online shopping and — just like magic — I found it!

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The chromacake is the main component of this makeup/costume look, of course, but I did need a few other things as well. Luckily, I already owned everything else I needed to complete this look — primer, green eyeshadow, purple eyeshadow (for contouring), and red lipstick!

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Primer is the first step, which just happens to also be green. My primer is formulated to counteract redness (I have suuuuper red cheeks!), but doesn’t actually go on green, just to be clear, haha. Anyway, knowing that I was in for a full night of running around at the event, I wanted to make sure the green makeup was able to stay put as much as possible. Then it was just a matter of getting green!

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In order to apply the chromacake, you just add a tiny bit of water and paint it on. It’s like watercolor! The more water you use, the less concentrated the color and consistency. I used a little too much water at first, so as you can see, it took several layers. Make sure to let the makeup dry in between each application!

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Once the final layer of green is dry on your face, you can apply additional makeup. I used a green eyeliner stick to line the inside rim of my lower eyelid, and a shimmery dark green shadow on top. I also did an exaggerated winged eye using black liquid eyeliner and add false eyelashes later (not pictured in these photos though.)

I also used purple eyeshadow to contour my cheeks — adding some to the hollows of my cheeks, and around my forehead and chin line to make my face shape a little more enhanced. When you paint your whole face green, is loses a lot of its natural dimension, so I highly recommend this step.

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Finally, I did a bright red lip to finish off the look. In the musical, Elphaba’s makeup is actually done with a dark green lipstick on the lips, but I didn’t want to A) buy another product I’d only use once and B) you KNOW I love a good red lip. 😉

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Once the face is done, it’s time to paint up the rest of you! Neck, ears, chest, hands, and arms. I didn’t do as many layers on my hands and arms since, well, it takes a loooong time to paint your whole body with a foundation brush. I’m just saying.

Once you’re all painted up (and down and all around), just toss on the rest of your ensemble! Again, this was using clothing items I already owned (except the hat). I wore a black dress, black tights, black booties (from Seychelles), and, of course, my witch’s hat! My one tip is to PUT YOUR TIGHTS BEFORE YOU PAINT YOUR HANDS GREEN. Just take my word on that one, k?

So there you go! Green Gretchen, for all the world to see. I think the general idea behind this makeup would also work for a Hulk or She-Hulk costume, Shrek or Fiona (as two of my Elites did last night!), Poison Ivy, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the Green Giant, or, of course, other green thing you can think of. Just be prepared to take multiple showers to get it all off.

Even though Elphaba may be gone for now, though, the witchiness of this week is not over quite yet! Tomorrow Sean and I head down to Orlando, FL for the trip of a lifetime! We’re meeting my sister, bro-in-law, and niece to visit Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disney World, and then the two of us head out on a 3-day cruise out of Port Canaveral over the weekend to celebrate Sean’s big 3-0!

Stay tuned to my Instagram if you want to keep up with our Floridian adventures, otherwise I’ll be seeing you after a week of Butterbeers, Bernie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Minnie Mouse ears, endless eats, sunshine, and happiness. 🙂