Thankful for…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where I reflect upon this past year and count my blessings. This year has had it’s ups and downs, but I’m thankful for each moment that taught me to be stronger than I was a year before.

I’m thankful for:

  • My family that provides constant love and support, even from all the way back in Texas
  • I’m thankful for my friends that stand by me and the family-like love we give each other
  • My job and everyone there, because I actually enjoy it and the people make the craziness just a bit more manageable
  • My faith because that’s what gets me through each day
  • The family that Ming-Gih and I are building together, with Chubs and Ella, and now the newest edition, Baby Lam

Announcement

Funny story is that we had just gotten a puppy the week before (oops!). I was already late that month but typically that’s normal since a lot of environmental factors can impact my schedule, like stress. But MG knew that something must be up so he kept asking me to take a pregnancy test. I was so annoyed that he kept asking that I finally did to quiet him. I went to go brush my teeth to wait for the results, and walked back into the restroom. Upon looking, I screamed, “OH MY GOD!” and MG replied, “What? What is it!” And I said, “Oh nothing. It’s negative,” as I’m beginning to stream tears down my face. Finally he got my response and said, “Aw baby, congratulations!” He knows me. I’d always dreamed of surprising him with an announcement gift, which is what I wanted to do, but this one cannot lie.

Zoo Announcement

We’re beyond excited! I’ve had 3 ultrasounds now and hearing the little heartbeat makes the body changes totally worth it. At our last ultrasound, we watched our little one swallow, kick, and stretch. That all brought me to tears and made it a reality. We’re going to be parents!

Our parents are ecstatic. We actually filmed our announcements to them so you’ll have to come back to watch their reactions. I’m now 15 weeks in and am starting to show a bumpy.

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Can’t wait to meet this little nugget in May!

What are you thankful for?
Jay

  

Meet My Little Ella!

We got a puppy! Meet little Miss Ella (short for Eleanor Harriet because human names for pets are the best).

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I had to deploy my best advertising/marketing skills in order to get one, hence why I’m in the ad world! She’s a little Havanese pure breed, born on July 13. I’m in love!

I’ve been asking begging for a dog as long as I can remember. I grew up with all kinds of pets – dogs, cats, birds, turtles, guinea pigs, rabbits. You name it, my sister and I probably had it. On the opposite end, MG never had any animals growing up. In his mind, they are dependent and dirty (which isn’t all wrong technically). MG finally gave in to my request for our cat, Chubs, a few years ago. But in my heart, I knew, and he knew, that I would always still want a dog. That companionship cannot be compared to others!

One random day, I decided to go on Craigslist to check out available dogs. Lo and Behold! Pure bred puppies for sale! I never heard of the Havanese breed before so I did some researching and found out that 1) it’s a mild tempered dog, 2) perfect for apartments/townhouses since they don’t need much exercise, 3) medium sized and grow to be around 15 pounds, and 4) most importantly, hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed. This was the PERFECT storm. Now I know that Craigslist isn’t always the best place to purchase a dog, so I was weary of this fantastic opportunity. I brought a girl friend with me to go see the dog incase there were any red lights on the owners. I didn’t want to purchase from a puppy mill, and I needed to make sure that this owner raised her pets in a good environment. So before we went, we put together a checklist with a potential no in mind. But to my surprise, the owners owned both mom and dad, had all the papers required to show for the breed, and printed contracts to even provide financial security incase the adopted little one had health issues. And that was the night, we took our little baby home.

She’s been a handful. Puppies are definitely life changing, and it’s not overly stated at all. We have to get up every 2-3 hours to take her out to potty, we’ve been training her to learn commands, and LOTS of carpet mishaps, which we knew would be part of training. More importantly, a watchful eye as she plays outside of her pen so that she doesn’t make mistakes. It’s even more difficult right now since she’s not allowed outside yet without her third round of shots. Dreaming of the day that she’s allowed outside and potty trained. Almost there.

But look at that cute face!!

Ella and Me

Ella and Chubs

Ella kisses,
Jay

  

Vacay in Oahu

MG and I recently went on a trip to Oahu Hawaii. It was our first trip together as a couple since our honeymoon (almost 3 years ago!) so a trip to ourselves was overdue.

I was lucky enough to have my parents take me when I was in high school but it had been a while. MG has always lived in the Bay Area and had never been to Hawaii. First let me start out by saying that he’s not a “beach” guy. I KNOW… How is that so?!? His dream vacation has to do with snow and skiing in the Swiss Alps, and I’m definitely a sand and ocean type of girl. My explanation is that he’s only grown up around beaches in the Bay Area, and it’s always so cold here that you can’t get into the water. I accepted this challenge to make him love beaches, especially after a trip to Hawaii, where ocean waters are warm and sand is soft.

I’m happy to say that he’s slowly converting. There’s a small part in his heart to love beaches now. One day, I’ll let him have his snow vacay. One day…

We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, right across from the beach. It’s so convenient to get around because you’re in the heart of downtown Waikiki. Additionally, the hotel is extremely accommodating to their guests. They have lunch box where you can pack breakfast to go for the beach, and they also rent out beach towels, chairs, and mats. I highly recommend staying here!

Look at our amazing view

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Instead of walking through day by day, I’m going to simply list out our favorite sight seeing places and favorite places to eat. Hopefully this list will come in handy if you ever plan a trip to Oahu!

Favorite Things To Do:

5. Beach Hopping

All day, every day. Just go from beach to beach and explore the various beaches. The water and sea life is different. Also the sand varies from place to place. If you’re not the strongest swimming, I would suggest Waikiki because there walls to break the waves. For those that are stronger swimmers, definitely go to North Beach because it’s less packed with people and currents are strong.

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4. Polynesian Cultural Center Luau 

We obviously had to check out some dinner/show since it was MG’s first time. We came across one that was recommended by friends at the Polynesian Cultural Center. It’s kinda like a theme park, where you can visit villages that make up Hawaii. In the evening, there’s a buffet and then a show. We got lucky and booked tickets on the night of the World Champion Fire Knife Competition, which happens only once a year. Now that’s something you don’t see every day!

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3. Pearl Harbor Museum, along with Bowfin, Missouri, and Aviation Museum

Wow. There’s a solemn feel to this place, but in a good way. The exhibits were informative, and there are many first hand videos on the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked. You learn to appreciate America’s involvement in the war, and truly respect those that were courageous enough to fight for our country.

The Arizona is a sight to see. This specific exhibit is free, but you can’t also pay a fee to go to the other museums – Bowfin submarine, USS Missouri, and the aviation museum. I must say, all exhibits were well worth the money! We spent most of our day here.

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2. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay

Go pick up snorkeling gear before you come here or else you have to rent it for $20. And YES, you definitely need gear. Because there is an abundance of sea life in these waters. Hanauma Bay is a state park with small entrance fee, but it’s totally worth it because you’ll see many little marine creatures, all kinds, sizes, and colors! Stick your face into the water, and I guarantee that you’ll immediately see marine life.

I wish I had a Go-Pro…

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1. Snorkeling with sea turtles at Laniakea Beach

This was our absolute favorite part of the trip. Turtles like to rest on this beach, and there’s always a volunteer that ropes off the area where turtles lay on the sand. It’s a law that you cannot touch the turtles, hence why there’s someone to keep watch.

But there’s an opportunity to get closer. Grab your snorkel gear and get into the water. We were so lucky that during our time here, we saw at least 8 turtles just swimming near us. They weren’t afraid of anyone swimming and some swam less than a foot away. It’s almost scary to be so close because these creatures are huge (some older turtles can grow to be 6ft in length). Most of the time you’ll be swimming, assuming there’s a boulder, but you realize it’s getting closer and closer. Yup, just a sea turtle! It’s an experience of a lifetime.

Oh how I really wish I had a Go-Pro…

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Now for you foodies! Here’s a list of our must-eats (in no particular order)!

Helena’s Hawaiian Food – A local mom and pop for Hawaiian comfort food. Short ribs are yummmmm

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Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – Garlicky goodness. It’s a food truck located on the North Shore, famous for their shrimp scampi (perfectly cooked!)

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Matsumoto Shaved Ice – Lots of flavors to choose from and top it off with ice cream!

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Rainbow Drive-In – It’s a triple D (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) hot spot. Think greasy comfort Hawaiian food. Loco moco heaven!

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Hi Steak – Don’t laugh, but this place is located in a cafeteria and the steak is amazing… Get the garlic butter!

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Ramen Nakamura – two words, oxtail ramen. It’s a small shop with very few tables but worth the wait. This place seems quite authentic in taste and environment. I’m not Japanese but there’s a lot of them in here enjoying the food, so you can’t go wrong with that!

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Musubi Cafe Iyasume – Get yummy snacks here. Lots of different kinds of musubi (bacon, avocado, eggs, and combinations galore!). It’s fun to look at all the different spam gadgets here.

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Ono Seafood – OMG poke! The fish is so tender and soft; no stringy pieces in the meat. It’s more of a take-out restaurant, with a few patio seats outside.

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Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts – Mochi ice cream with all sorts of flavors!

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Sushi Izakaya Gaku – The seafood is extremely fresh and so sweet. Sit at the sushi bar and ask the chef what’s fresh for the day. He’ll give recommendations. Definitely get the Negihama (yellowtail) tartar! But look at that amazing sashimi!

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Marukame Udon – This was our all time favorite meal. I had my doubts because udon is just noodles. But WOW! These are hand pulled udon noodles with a bar of all you can choose sides. Go down the aisle and add in your ingredients, like a tempura soft serve egg. Whaa?!? Yup.

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Just some other things worth mentioning:

Pali Lookout – It’s a windward cliff off the mountain with a scenic view, known for it’s strong winds.

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Dole Plantation because dole whips and pineapple gummy bears.

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DSC02959^^^ Look at the cute little pineapple!

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I wish I could go back to sunny skies, clean beaches and clear waters, large sea turtles, and delicious local foods. I just love the feeling of laying out on the sand without a care in the world. MG is already asking if we can go back! Does this mean Hawaii has won his heart over?

Have you ever been to Oahu? What are some of your musts?

When’s the next vacation?
Jay

  

Dubai Trip!

Hai.

I’ve been taking a little break from blogging. Between work and personal life, I haven’t had much time to update. But I’m back!

Lately I’ve been really counting my blessings. I’m so grateful for the things I have in life – my family, my job, and instances where I can take an overseas vacation. My mom came up with the idea of going to Dubai, and I couldn’t say no. We packed our bags, and went to Dubai for 5 full days, with 2 days of traveling.

To simply describe Dubai – extravagance (at least in the modern areas of Dubai). Everything is grand, large, and beautiful. This city is continually being built as construction was everywhere. In 5 years, this city will be a different kind of beast.

If you’re thinking about going – definitely check it out. You don’t need more than a week in Dubai for tourist attractions. To be totally honest, I don’t necessarily think that Dubai should be a trip on it’s own, but it would be a fun pitstop if you’re on your way to Europe or Asia.

Here are some of the things we did on our trip. Feel free to use this list for your own vacation!

  • Shopping! The Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall are some of the world’s largest shopping malls
  • Ski Dubai (this was my favorite activity)
  • Burj Khalifa – Tallest building in the world
  • Visited the public beach near the Burj al Arab
  • Walked the Souks (this is the marketplace) for gold, spices, and tourist goods
  • Private boat tour
  • Camel riding!
  • Cruised in the sand dunes
  • Visited the Jumeirah Mosque
  • Went to the Palm Islands to walk around the Atlantis hotel
  • Hired a private driver to take us to Abu Dhabi to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Incase I didn’t sell it enough, here are pictures to prove that this trip was amazing!

First off, this was the view from our apartment on the 43rd floor. Every morning we would wake up to the Burj Khalifa. Isn’t that awesome? We stayed in Downtown Dubai, right across from the Dubai mall. Is it recommended to stay here? Absolutely. It’s the center of town.

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Inside the Dubai mall, you’ll find an ice rink, an indoor theme park (it’s an arcade and there are also rides!), and an aquarium. Right outside, there is a fountain show that occurs daily, every 30 minutes in the evening.

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In the Mall of Emirates, you’ll find Ski Dubai! I’m not a snow activity type of person; I don’t know how to ski/snowboard. But I know basics for skiing, and Ski Dubai was perfect for me! It’s basically 1 slope which bends in the middle, and it has 2 levels of steepness. For about $50 USD, you can ski/board for 2 hours and the cost includes equipment and gear. We knew about this indoor ski arena but never thought to go, until we found out the cost. We can’t even ski in Tahoe for that amount! The snow is beautiful and perfectly groomed. It’s cold but consistent. And really fun to look up to see ceiling and lights. What a great experience!

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My second favorite activity was the Burj Khalifa. The elevators will take you up to the 124 floor in 90 seconds. MG, my dad, and I all decided to go to the very top (because when are we ever going to do this again?); the very top is 148 and employees provide refreshments and snacks. We went in the evening, saw the day-view, saw the sunset, and then was able to capture the night-view as well.

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MG and I also took an afternoon to enjoy the beach. The waters are crystal clear, and the sand is made with a million seashells scattered across the sand. One word, gorgeous.

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One of the mornings, we visited the local mosque to experience the culture. We also walked the marketplace to do some local shopping too. Spices, fabrics, and gold oh my! Lots and lots of gold…

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After walking around all day, we were tired and found a private boat to take us around for an hour so we could relax. For about $6 a person, this was totally worth it. However, you can easily get across the water on water taxis for $0.36 a person!

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Some of the desert things that we did – camel riding. This was a lot of fun! I can now say I’ve been on an elephant in Bali, and now a camel in Dubai! We also rode a Land Cruiser and went off-roading in the desert. What’s amazing is the background. The view is miles and miles of desert. My parents really enjoyed this part of the trip.

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On the very last full day of our trip, we were able to hire a private driver to take us to Abu Dhabi for a day trip (only $45 per person). It’s about a 1.5 hour long drive between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The most awe-inspiring part of the trip was the Mosque. It’s so grand and every detail is beautiful.

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^^^ And yes, we had to wear hijabs into the Mosque and dress appropriately to enter (women had to cover up their shoulders and dress to cover up to their ankles/men must wear shorts below the knee).

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^^^ This is the world’s second largest chandelier, made with Swarovski crystals.

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^^^ See how there’s a man’s forehead next to my mom? The security was coming over to let us know to stand further apart. Displays of affection are frowned upon in a religious environment. Whoops!

And then the city line near the water in Abu Dhabi is breathtaking! I love water, and can’t ever get my toes quick enough into the sand.

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Just some funny tidbits:

You know how in the US, you take a road trip and you see cows alongside the road? Here you see camels! Haha! Can you spot them?

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This was also my first time smoking with my dad. Everyone does shisha there!

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If you have to ask me about a downside of Dubai, I would say the food. There is no local food there. Dubai is a city of mixed nationalities. They flourish on having a bit of culture from everywhere. In that aspect, we were only able to eat Indian, Lebanese, and Syrian food. All very delicious, but I was hoping for something more “local.”

But my all time favorite thing about this trip – experiencing the difference in culture. Most of the city is of Muslim culture; prayer calls happen 5 times a day, and you can hear the reminder to pray throughout the city. Women are conservative, while men are more prominent. Men can have up to 4 wives, and for every wife you receive an apartment and 50,000 Dirhams. With government supporting their locals, we didn’t come across any crime or homelessness. It was a major culture shock! These kinds of things always prove to me that other countries in fact do live differently, and it’s always nice to be placed into a new environment and learn.

I’ve been so lucky to travel to many countries this year; First our Europe to trip, to Rome, Florence, and Venice, then Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, and London. Then we went to Asia to visit Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. And now the UAE. I am ever so grateful to have the life I live now.

Count your blessings every day. What are you thankful for today?

Bai!
Jay

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Mid-December Recap

How is December flying by so quickly? It’s already mid-December. I can’t believe Christmas is next week! Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?

I’ve been a bit MIA on the blog recently, due to lack of time because I’m working now and because the holiday season is always packed with adventures (what I actually mean is feasts). Activities lined up every single weekend until my parents come to town (yay, this weekend!). I’m especially excited about this year because we’re renting a cabin in Tahoe in between Christmas and New Years for my family and my in-laws. Don’t know if we’ll be skiing yet but there’ a high possibility!

Since my last post, I’ve had 3 holiday parties. One that consists of all you can eat Brazilian BBQ. And two other parties where I was one of the main head chefs (think pounds and pounds of prime rib). Here are some fun recaps from pics on my iPhone.

Here at Espetus in sequins and fur – my favorite combo!

Dinner

And now for the church Christmas parties – here are the goods. The Costco employees even commented on how much food we had in our carts!

Goods

And look at these awesome veggie trees – you simply buy a styrofoam cone, wrap it in plastic wrap to keep it from crumbling, and skewer veggies onto the cone with toothpicks. I carved stars from pineapple as toppers (remember to soak your pineapple in salt water so it doesn’t brown).

Veggie Trees

Crab cakes galore! I definitely made over 100 crab cakes.

Crab Cakes
Use my crab cake recipe here

And MEAT!

Prime Rib
My perfect prime rib recipe here

And here’s my little sweetheart guarding the presents. “You shall not open the presentz!”

Chubs' Present

I’m also taking my parents to The Christmas Story musical on Christmas Eve. Each year, Neighborhood church in Castro Valley hosts a broadway-like musical for only $5 per ticket. It’s such a great form of entertainment and good price too! Tickets are going fast so order ahead, and constantly check their site to see if there are new musicals on the horizon – totally worth the cost.

What are you most excited for during this Christmas season?
Jay

  

Annual Tree Chop

This past weekend was the Lam-Luu annual tree chop weekend! It’s a little tradition of ours now to go to a tree farm, pick out a tree, and chop it yourself to bring home. It’s fun to do now, so I imagine it to be even more fun with kids.

Well… the Luus brought their new kid, fur-kid that is, to the party this year! Meet Casey – he was adopted about a week ago, such a cute little guy! So happy that I have a little puppy to play with now.

Saturday was a gloomy and rainy day, but it felt perfect for a winter day to go tree shopping. It set the mood. This year we tried a new place in Los Gatos called Summit Tree Farms. This place was amazing, definitely better than the last few places we’ve been to! First off, it’s a huge lot with plenty of trees. And most importantly, all the trees were perfectly shaped triangles. After about 30 minutes of strolling the farm, we finally picked out our trees.

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Ming
^^^ My manly man!

Lam-Luus
Lam/Luus <3

Now that the tree was home, it was a decorating weekend! One of my favorite things to do during this season, I love digging through the stuff that I have, with each piece providing a little piece of my memory. I’m also reminded of the things I purchased post-Christmas and haven’t seen for a whole year! I’m all about those post-holiday sales.

With this little guy as my helper, I was determined to finish decorating the house to get into that Christmas spirit.

Chubs

Done
Ta-Da! All decorated in gold and silver with a little rustic burlap skirt (it’s the same burlap from my wedding!). Now I need those presents!

Often times, there are little branches that need to be trimmed from the tree. Those don’t go to waste in this house! I put them in vases and placed them around the house as well. They are such cute little editions to the home.

Branch

Toby

Decor

Wanna know something funny? MG and I bought our first real tree 2 years ago, back in 2012. We wanted to pick the fattest tree we could possibly find at the farm. Challenge accepted and succeeded. I present to thee, the Christmas bush. This is from my old iPhone since I didn’t even have a fancy camera yet. Notice how we still have blinds and white walls! In 2 years so much has changed.

Christmas Bush

Not even gonna lie, I miss the Christmas bush. It gave so many people lots of laughs! What are some of your friend/family traditions for this time of year? What gets you into the holiday spirit?

With love,
Jay

  

OCC Packing Day

It’s that time of year again! OCC packing time!

My church (Living Stones Christian Church) hosts an annual Operation Christmas Child packing day. The church provides the sanitary/school items, and we supply the toys.

So what’s OCC? It’s a program by Samaritan’s Purse that encourages people to pack shoeboxes filled with items for children. These boxes are sent all over the world during the holiday season to provide a way to share the Good News of Jesus. It’s a simple thing we can do as follows for the greater purpose of God.

To personalize the box, we write little postcards to our kids that are receiving the box. We also added a group picture of the church. But the most important part of packing these boxes, praying for the kids receiving this gift. Though this is a physical gift, pray that the kids receive an eternal gift from God.

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My boxes were for little gifts 5-7. MG made boxes for boys.

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We made three boxes each among me and MG.

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^^^ oh, hai!

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A total count of 222 boxes from our church!

My heart fills with joy when I look around the room and find that so many people are packing boxes, together as a congregation. It’s just so cool that such a small gesture from us can be part of a bigger story.

Have you participated in OCC before? If so, what kinds of things do you pack? And isn’t toy shopping so fun even as an adult?

In Him,
Jay

  

Oh Yeah, Perfect Prime Rib

Guys, this is THE post to get you excited for the day of sweat pants and food. You know, Thanksgiving! Let’s be honest. Pulling on your comfy pants to eat a magnitude of 5 meals in one evening is one of the best holidays of the year.

Being Asian means it’s also a blend of cultures, mixing Chinese food with American food to overfill your belly with yumminess. Next to the large turkey is roasted duck. Next to the green bean casserole, there’s the bok choy. Rice goes along with everything. And Chinese people, you know that fruit/veggie salad mixed in Mayo. Am I the only one that loves to eat it but also finds the ingredients strangely disgusting? It really is good though!

Okay, I do have something to admit. Sometimes we don’t even eat turkey. When I celebrate with my family or MG’s family, it’s too much food to cook an entire bird. Instead we cook a huge slab of prime rib and call it Thanksgiving! It may not be the traditional American meal, but it satisfies everyone and we leave with happy bellies. Isn’t that what the holiday is really about anyway – being grateful and enjoying the day with your family?

So today’s post features my infamous prime rib roast. Oh yeahhh!

Prime cover

Ribeye steak is one of the most flavorful, if not the most flavorful, cut of meat. It’s marbled (in other words fatty, yum), and juicy. If you love bone-in ribeye, then you’ll love the standing rib roast. Standing rib roast is the same cut as a ribeye, but not cut into sections, with the bone still intact. A rib roast is without the bone; still the same cut of meat. All delicious.

Prime Rib Roast Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Rib roast (~14 pounds)
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion
  • Emeril’s Creole Seasoning Essence (see below)

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning Essence – mix all the ingredients together

  • 2.5 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Blend the garlic, thyme, and onion together (I usually use a Magic Bullet).
  3. Pull the fat cap back and rub the roast with the essence seasoning. Now rub the blended mix onto the roast, and slather it onto the roast generously.
  4. Lay the fat cap back on and secure the cap by tying the two together with twine.
  5. Place the roast with the rib side down on a wire rack, into the center of the oven. Place a drip pan to collect drippings.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes at 450°F. Then lower the temperature to 325°F. Estimate 17-20 minutes per pound. A meat thermometer is recommended as you’ll get the best results. Make sure you push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or bone. You want the internal temperature at 130°F for medium rare or 140°F for medium.
  7. When finished roasting, take the roast out and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. This is important so that the juices gets absorbed back into the meat.
  8. Cut off the twine, carve, and serve with drippings and horseradish on the side.

We’ve made this recipe multiple times now, and it never fails. As I type up this post, my stomach is rumbling with hunger.

Seasonings

This essence is great with all cuts of beef! I store it in an air-tight container and place it into my spice cabinet.

Cap

Mmmm fat cap!

Seasoned

Season generously!

Ready

Ready for roasting!

Roast

Hardest part – let the meat sit after roasting.

Done

Posting this picture again, because isn’t it mouth watering? It’s the best when you’re named as carver. You get to snack on the little chunky pieces while cutting!

Okay, I have something else to admit (apparently this post is all about being honest). I’ve never actually roasted a turkey before. One day, I’ll muster up the courage to make one for the family. And perhaps you’ll see the recipe on here. But for now, I’ll have prime rib for Thanksgiving, and I’m perfectly happy with that!

What kinds of foods do you have for Thanksgiving that isn’t based on the “traditional” foods? Will prime rib be a part of that this year?

Noms away!
Jay

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning Recipe

  

GQ Chubalee

The temperatures are dropping! It’s not quite winter here in the Bay Area yet (I know some of you are getting snow!), but we’re definitely getting some cooler weather. Mid 50’s calls for sweat pants at home and some cozy socks!

My sweet little Chubs is feeling the cold too. He’s been snuggling with me every night, and when the sun goes down he sits under the lamp for warmth.

Bed

Lamp

Auntie Holly, who spoils my little Chubalee, got him a gift! Look at his Christmas shirt! Thanks so much Holly!

Sitting

How GQ cat is this?

Posing

Nope, he doesn’t care when the shirt is on. When I hold it, he comes over and sits nicely to put it on. He wears it during the day, and I help him take it off at night before bed so he’s more comfortable. The only thing that he can’t get used to – he cleans himself with the shirt on, looks weirdly at me, and then realized it’s not his fur.

He still gets cold; snuggling into a blanket is the next best option.

Sleeping

Look at that big boootay!

What are some cute things that your cat does? I would love to know!

Meow,
Jay
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Chubs’ adoption story here

  

Life You Want Weekend Tour in San Jose

What’s the first thing you think of when I say Oprah?

Prior to this weekend, I was indifferent. Duh, she’s a celebrity and you’ve heard her name, but what did you really think about her? After this weekend, I have so many words to describe her – inspiration, positivity, motivator, real, inner beauty, and the list goes on.

Oprah’s been on tour for the past 2.5 months all over the country for the Life You Want Weekend Tour. Oprah, along with her team of Trailblazers, give inspirational speeches to encourage individuals to change their life, grasp what you want, and begin now.

Oprah
In all her glory and splendor!!!

I know your biggest question is “Did you get to meet Oprah?” Well check out the pictures below to see! I’ve also got a lot of words of wisdom below, some stuff that will really help bring some light into your life.

During this 2-day conference, Oprah and her team asked the question “What have you ben called to do?” Her Trailblazers included Deepak Chopra (a pioneer in mind-body medicine), Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love), Rob Bell (pastor), and Iyanla Vanzant (star and diva on OWN). Lots of great people!

Again and again, it was reminded that everyday should be a day for us to be positive. We should make each and every day count. That journey to a greater standard begins now, the moment you decide to change.

“I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and to summon the courage to live it” -Oprah

They even brought out the Soulcycle crew to pump us up!

Soulcycle

“The energy you put out is always the energy that’s coming back to you” -Oprah

This conference really helped me to realize that I need to be more uplifting, in my own life and in the lives of people surrounding me. Happy thoughts. Why waste a moment of life to be negative? Wouldn’t you want others to say that you made a positive impact in their lives? What a great compliment.

I know sometimes you feel like there are things that get in the way to chasing your dreams. I don’t know what that might be in your life. Perhaps a relationship going wrong. Drama that creeps in. Bills. Contracts. Rent. Whatever it is, remember that Life requires one thing from you, breathNone of the other things matter in the grand scheme of things. Breath and find your way out. Stay positive, and keep moving forward. Perhaps it’s time to take the leap of faith and take a step in a different direction to see where that leads you.

One question – What do you want from life? Oprah said that most people say happiness. Her second question then is “What does that look like to you?” Most people say, “I don’t know.” So now take a moment to visualize what happiness would look like in your life. Be specific. Does it mean a vegetable garden in your backyard? A 5-bedroom house with 2 cars? 3 kids and a dog? Work towards what you imagined. When you get there, you’ll know happiness.

Another great assignment to help you reflect on your life:

One of the workbook questions asked you to write down someone you love dearly and write what you would want for their life. Do this! I promise it’s worth it. Close your eyes. Picture the person you love the most. What do you wish for them?

I put down MG. I wanted him to have joy in family and friends. I wanted him to be sitting on the couch with kids running up to give him love and to have a strong community that he could lean on. I also wanted him to dream big, for him to work on a project that holds a greater purpose. And I wanted him to have support, someone to always be an encouragement. In the end, it was revealed that this assignment was actually a reflection of your own life. Those are also things that you want for yourself, things that would make you fulfilled. Work towards that fulfillment.

At the end of this event, I realized that my purpose in life is to glorify God. When I think about how He’s called me live like Jesus, pieces of life fall into place. Living for Him gives me purpose. Living for Him gives me happiness. And if I were to take my faith away, I would feel lost. In the end, He’s given me breath. And for that reason, I live to bring Him praise.

And yes, I got to meet her and take a picture. She’s amazing.

Oprah and Me

Christmas card pic?!?

What are some things that you can change in your life now? How can you stay positive during the rough spots in your life? Remember that and do it when it gets hard.

What did you do this weekend?
Jay