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I completely forgot that today was Halloween. I had been thinking about this holiday over the past few days, & I was even debating on wether or not I should wear a costume. One thing leads to another, & the thought had entirely slipped my mind. It wasn’t until I was out spending the day in The City with my mom & Jian that it finally dawned on me. I had seen a few people dressed up in costumes at the barbecue restaurant we ate lunch at. At first I was a little confused, but it slowly crept into my mind that it’s Halloween. All week long, we had been worried that we didn’t stock up on enough candy for the Trick-Or-Treating children in our neighborhood, but we weren’t even home the entire day; so we never even got a chance to pass out a single piece of sugary goodness. It was fun seeing so many little children in The City dressed up in costumes. The best costume I saw was this little girl being pushed by her mom in a stroller. The little girl was dressed as Vanelope von Schweetz from the movie Wreck-It Ralph. Her stroller was decorated to look exactly like the candy race car from the movie, complete with working lights & music that played every time the stroller moved. The mom was dressed as the princess, the dad dressed as Wreck-It Ralph, & the big brother dressed as Fix-It Felix…all characters from the movie. It was so creative.

So, Halloween came & went uneventfully for me. I didn’t get any candy (I don’t really like to eat candy anyway). However, I did get a pair of holiday rock concert tickets. One of my local radio stations puts on an annual winter holiday concert called “Not So Silent Night“. Every year I think about getting tickets, but one of two things always comes up: 1. I don’t want to go by myself & most of my friends flake out on me, or 2. I am not interested in the bands performing. This year, I bit the bullet & bought tickets. I will be going with Jian, & I’m pretty stoked about the band lineup. This will be the second time this year that I will be seeing WEEZER live in concert. I am the most excited about that. There are other bands that I’m also excited to see in concert for the first time, like: Death Cab For Cutie, Chvrches, Bastille, & X Ambassadors. There are two other bands & artists performing at this concert (Silversun Pickups & Halsey), but I’m not interested in seeing them as much as the other bands. I’m still super excited to be going to yet another concert this year. I’m currently trying to convince Jian to go with me to see CAKE in concert for New Year’s Eve. He doesn’t really know much about this band except that their song “Short Skirt /Long Jacket” was used as the theme song for his favorite TV show “Chuck” (starring Zachary Levi).

Ok, so enough about concerts. Let’s talk about pillows! What a great topic, pillows!! Yes, I am pumped up about pillows. I just got a new set of pillows for my bed, & I am so in love with them. Just in this year alone, I’ve probably gone through at least four different pillows. None of them gave me good neck & shoulder support, or kept their generic shape. I was growing increasingly frustrated with my lack of good quality sleep & my stiff neck. That was the case until I found my perfect pillows. These pillows have just the perfect amount of firmness & fluffiness. They retain their shape very well, & they support my neck & shoulders so well. I have been getting such restful nights of sleep that for the past few days I’ve been going to bed early & waking up an hour before my alarm clock rings. My pillows are so comfortable that I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because I just want to lay on them a few minutes more. I admit, I am enjoying snuggling my pillows in the morning. They make me so happy. I think I am going to “test” my pillows again…Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

 

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franz

I completely forgot to mention in my previous blog post that, in between my trip to Washington DC & now, I had gotten sick. I mean, I was “can’t-get-outta-bed” sick. That’s how sick I was, & after I recovered, I had kind of become lazy & stopped writing for a hot minute. Now I’m back, & I’m here to tell you that I went to yet another concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California. We stared our evening grabbing a quick bite from the Off the Grid food truck stalls outside of the venue. We nearly missed our concert, as we had forgotten to put a calendar alert on our smartphones. Luckily Jian’s phone beeped that morning, or we would have missed this epic night. I ate at one of my favorite food trucks, called…dun, dun, dunBACON!

Against Jian’s wishes, I bought more concert tickets for this venue. This time we went to see the Scottish rock band FRANZ FERDINAND perform as a collaboration super rock group called F.F.S. with the popular American rock group, SPARKS. It’s crazy how fast this collaboration band came to be. These two amazing rock bands had only just formed one mixed band this past March (2015). They quickly released two singles & a full-length album by April, & was already making plans to tour around the world in the same year. I had no clue who the band SPARKS was or just how popular they were, but I had been a long-time fan of FRANZ FERDINAND & knew of their popularity for sure. Who knew that these two bands have already been collaborating together since the mid-2000s??? So. Cool.

Steering the topic back to the concert itself, this time I had bought standing-floor tickets. We were able to stand extremely close to the stage, & we were lucky enough to be standing in the area that got the most band attention. How much attention, you ask? Well, let me tell you this, Alex KapranosRussell Mael,of FRANZ FERDINAND & SPARKS respectively, constantly would walk/dance over to our side of the stage & high-five the girls smashed up against the safety railing. Also, guitarist Nick McCarthy stage-dived, crowd-surfed, & jumped down into the audience only on our side of the stage. The time Nick jumped down into the crowd, he moved all around amongst the audience & danced along with us while playing his guitar, all without missing a beat. The one time he stage-dove right into the audience, he nearly landed right on top of me. Now, I’m quite a petite lady standing only at 5-feet tall (152cm). How am I supposed to carry the weight of a generously tall man playing a guitar over my head? (Unless I’m some beefed-up bodybuilder, I don’t see that happening.) Seeing Nick stage dive right into my side of the crowd scared me a bit, so I side-stepped out of the way when his crowd-surfing body was headed in my direction. Luckily Jian was standing right next to me & was able to guide Nick & his sleek cream-colored guitar away from our general direction before he headed back towards the stage.

ffs

Nick McCarthy, Ron Mael & Alex Kapranos

Throughout the night I kept my eyes trained on co-lead singer Alex Kapranos. Boy, is he attractive looking up close & personal. I was watching the way he enthusiastically danced on stage, & I kept thinking to myself, “Alex’s dancing & stage presence reminds me of a cross between David Bowie & Brandon Flowers.” He was really making good use of his extremely slender legs & his long arms with his flailing dancing around on stage. I also couldn’t help but notice that Alex’s hands were H-U-G-E!!! His fingers were impossibly long & slim (he could’ve held my entire head with just one hand). In general, Alex Kapranos is just a tall, slinky, svelte individual. I don’t think he carries even one ounce of body fat on himself. As for Ron Mael, the other co-lead singer, I was curious as to why he chose to wear a turtle neck shirt & a poncho on stage. In fact, I was wondering why he wore all-black clothing at all. It must’ve been really hot for him on stage. The venue didn’t have very good air conditioning, even though it was a rather mid-sized concert hall. Overall, both singers did a fantastic job taking turns being the lead singer on stage. They really knew how to ramp up the crowd’s excitement.

ffs3

Ron Mael & Alex Kapranos

Before I forget, here is the setlist for the evening’s concert:

Overall, I had a blast at this concert!! I love Franz Ferdinand, & they did an excellent job collaborating & joining forces with Sparks. I can’t wait to see Franz Ferdinand in concert again. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:


A few weeks ago I took a small trip to Washington DC. I accompanied my mom to DC so she could attend the wedding of a friend’s daughter. Now that my mom is widowed, she often does not like to go to places by herself, especially since she used to have a very special person to do everything with & now suddenly doesn’t. My other siblings are all much older now living in far away places, married, divorced, with children of their own, or often traveling for work. My mom lives with me, & I take care of her (a.k.a. keep her company). I enjoy all the time I spend with her, especially since we get along so well, almost like sisters but still maintaining that mother-child boundary. I had such a blast going with my mom to DC. We turned her wedding invitation into a small sightseeing trip. We tried not to let the soggy weather bring us down.

Well, what an eventful trip we had. Before we left home, we checked the weather forecast & knew that there would be rain on most of our days in our nation’s Capitol. However, we were not fully prepared for the looming hurricane (named Joaquin) supposedly meant to barrel right into the east coast states. Lucky for us the hurricane was first predicted to hit our region on the day after we were flying back home. Then, later it was reported that the hurricane didn’t even touch the region we visited at all, & instead the hurricane hit other south-eastern regions. Needless to say, we still got hit by a case of the rainy day blues. We prepared by bringing our own umbrellas & raincoats. I thought I had brought the proper pair of boots for the rain, but after three years of owning these cheap H&M brand water-resistant shoes, it gave up on me. It just happened to be on the big day we were planning on visiting the Smithsonian’s history museums.

We started out our morning by first visiting the National Monument. (We had no idea you had to reserve tickets months in advance if you want to go to their observation room.) Everything was going great with our umbrellas out, our raincoats zipped up, & our feet warm & dry in each of our boots. Out of nowhere, I felt a rush of coldness overtake my feet. That’s when it hit me that my socks were soaked through & the insoles of my shoes were getting soggy. It was the most uncomfortable, unpleasant experience for a neat freak like myself who always has to keep her clothes clean & must always wear clean socks. I thought the rest of my day was going to be ruined until the museum gift shop saved my life (figuratively). My mom felt bad for my situation (& I think she was getting sick of hearing me whine about my wet feet), so she bought me a pair of American flag themed socks. The socks looked so tacky, but I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I generously & graciously wore the socks. Surprisingly the cheesy socks were thicker & much more comfortable than the original socks I had worn…& THEY WERE DRY!!! I also had to stuff my shoes with paper towels to dry them as much as possible. 

After that wet socks fiasco, we had the most amazing time at the MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY. This was by far our most favorite & memorable museums. I could spend an entire day in this place & never be able see everything. I would definitely come back to this museum again & again.

OH MY GAWD!! IT’S JULIA CHILD’S KITCHEN!!!

Let me interject at this point by saying we didn’t take many pictures on our trip. (I know…what a shame, since there’s so much history to be captured on film.) Every day we encountered wind & rain, loads of city construction, hoards of obnoxious tourists blocking everything with their unnecessarily oversized cameras & country bumpkin mannerisms, & it was hard to take pictures in museums with a camera phone in one hand & an umbrella in the other hand.

At the last minute we decided to rent a car instead of using Uber &/or public transportation, so we could get around in the rain easier as well as have the freedom to go to more hard-to-reach places. We truly got to explore a more local side of Washington DC on this trip. We took my mom to restaurants & shops she would normally never set foot inside of, let alone hear about. One of the restaurants we got to try out was called Succotash. It was across the street from our hotel & had only been open for two weeks. That was my mom’s first time trying authentic Southern cooking.

Another memorable eatery we visited was Maketto. It’s one part restaurant, one part clothing store, & one part coffee shop. I would like to pause here & say that I have never met people more friendly & warm than the employees working at Maketto. They really made our soggy day feel good. We made a pitstop to have a cup of coffee, & for Jian to browse through his favorite Japanese clothing brands (he broke down & bought a great t-shirt). The coffee barista mixed up my drink order, so he graciously offered me a complementary pastry. Their hospitality made my day.

Other notable places we visited…one I must mention is The Round Robin Bar at the Willet InterContinental Hotel. This bar is nearly 200 years old, the oldest existing bar in all of DC, & has been graced with the patronage of many presidents past & present. We first heard of this bar from watching a show on TV, & were quite surprised we were able to get seats at the counter even when the hotel was hosting a busy Republican National Convention event. We had a few cocktails & snacks, chatted with a retired couple sitting next to us, & sped off to have a quiet Thai dinner at a restaurant called Rice in the hip Logan Circle neighborhood. We found an awesome ice creamery (Dolcezza) that served Portland, Oregon’s famous Stumptown Coffee (but these beans were roasted in NYC, not PDX). That’s how we capped off our night. Handmade craft gelato & Stumptown coffee.

Along the way, we visited two more Smithsonian museums: Air and Space Museum Natural History Museum. My mom got her biggest wish granted. She finally got to take an up-close look at the infamous Hope Diamond. It is so beautiful, but looks a lot smaller in person than it does in pictures & on TV. I’d still like to own one for myself…an un-cursed one of course. While walking through the aquariums & the oceanography exhibits at the Natural History museum made us all crave seafood, so we made a beeline to Sushi Capitol for some delicious nigiri-style sushi. Hey, that’s kind of what happens when you see all those fishes swimming around in their tanks while on an empty stomach. I ended up eating 21 pieces of sushi all by myself. My all-time sushi eating record is 22 pieces. There’s a popular sushi restaurant near my house that once had a customer who ate 90 pieces of nigiri sushi in one meal. They challenged me to beat that guy’s record, but I don’t think I could do it. Not even my dad could do it, & he’s the only person I know who could match my sushi eating record. Let me add in that it’s not easy to eat so much sushi, even though they look bite-sized…especially with the extra fatty pieces. Those types of fish tend to stick to your stomach & make you feel fuller, faster. All that sushi rice only adds to the fullness too.

Finally, the wedding day comes around. The daughter of my mom’s best friend is getting married to her law school sweetheart. My mom has been friends with this family for over 40 years, since before she immigrated to the United States. Even I know this family well. I was born at the same time as this couple’s son. We grew up together. I babysat this boy & his little sister. Now she’s getting married. She had a quaint, small wedding in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. While my mom was celebrating & dancing the night away, Jian & I took the opportunity to visit the popular Jack Rose Dining Saloon. We also heard about this place from watching TV, & learned that this place houses well over ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED bottles of bourbons & whiskeys. Jian & I are diehard, hardcore whisky/whiskey/bourbon fans. (My dad would be so proud.) Next to Multnomah Whisky Library on the west coast in Portland, Oregon…this place is our east coast Mecca. Our eyes nearly bugged out of our heads when we browsed through their extensive (for lack of a better word) phone book sized alcohol menu. We had a whisky tasting experience to remember for a lifetime. Plus, I got to eat my all-time favorite dish: Scotch Eggs!!! I take my hat off to our whisky sommelier. I want a job like hers some day.

I tried a whisky I’ve been wanting to try for a very long tim: Kavalan Whisky by King Car Group. Hailing from Taipei, Taiwan and a two-time 2015 Whisky Magazine award winner, this whisky was crisp, sweet, a little smoky with a spicy ginger aftertaste. I thoroughly enjoyed this dram even though I’m not much of a spicy whisky fan. The bottle I tried was called Kavalan King Car.

We capped off our evening by looking for a coffee nightcap. Jian found a place called Slipstream, a hybrid coffee shop & bar. Yes, I said coffee AND cocktails. Needless to say, we chucked the coffee & desserts idea & drank more alcohol. No, Jian was NOT too tipsy to drive. He kept his composure & alcohol consumption to a reasonable amount. He’s not a reckless drinker, no matter what. [INSERT STERN GLARE HERE] i, on the other hand, let loose because I wasn’t driving that night. I got a little tipsy & kept texting my mom in Chinese. We all had a great evening & end to our trip. I was not looking forward to packing my suitcase in a tipsy state, but. I powered through it anyway.

I am looking forward to the next time I get to visit Washington DC again. I had a great time. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

 

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