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Celebrate good times... Come on, let's celebrate!.png

Hey guys, guess what? I’m traveling to Los Angeles yet again this upcoming weekend. It’s my aunt’s 72nd birthday, & her three daughters are throwing her an epic Bingo-themed birthday party. I wasn’t originally planning on going to my aunt’s birthday party; Jian & I are trying to save as much money as we can as our medical bills are piling up rather quickly. However, Jian convinced me that we could turn this weekend into a fun road trip down the California coast.

Jian has maxed out the amount of vacation hours he could accumulate at his office, so he’s taking a couple of days off to make it a long weekend. We’re planning on stopping off in Santa Barbara for one night before ultimately meeting up with friends & family in Los Angeles.

This makes a perfect segue into the next topic in my 99 Things That Bring Me Joy journal, which is about my best birthday celebrations. There are a couple of birthday celebrations that come to mind, but I wouldn’t exactly call them “celebrations”. They were more like birthday traditions.

One of my most memorable & favorite birthday traditions was from when I was a young child in primary school. I invited a lot of the girls from my class, & every year for my birthday I would always have a piñata & the same style cake. We’d play silly schoolyard games in the backyard before my older cousin would help us with the piñata. Then we’d all cram into our family’s kitchen to blow out the candles on my favorite Hello Kitty shaped cake.

I will always remember my childhood birthdays filled with piñatas & Hello Kitty birthday cakes. The piñatas were always some fun animal shape & filled with lots of fun candy that I had no interest in eating, so I’d always let my classmates & friends grab all the candy they wanted. (If it wasn’t chocolate or caramel chews, I wouldn’t eat it.) My birthday cake was always the shape of Hello Kitty‘s face, & the flavors would always be either chocolate or strawberry shortcake. Those two flavors are still my favorite to this very day.

The most memorable birthday of that time in my life was when I had invited two girls from my school who happened to be rivals. Both girls hated each other & always tried to one-up each other. At my birthday, they were both fighting over who got to swing from a low-hanging branch on the little peach tree in my backyard. Both girls were fighting for space on that small tree, but the branch ended up snapping, & the entire tree tipped over & fell. They both ended up flat on their asses with all of the other girls in our group looking on in sheer disbelief & a little panicked as to what the grown ups would say. Both of the girls were quick to blame each other for the murdering of the tree, crying the most phony tears for sympathy.

My dad, when he later found out what had happened to that peach tree, was pissed off. Apparently, that tree was still young & growing its roots, & it was one of my dad’s favorite trees in our backyard. He was so upset that these two girls broke the tree that he later forbid me from ever inviting those girls to another birthday party. My mom was equally as mad as my dad was, & she very swiftly declared that no one shall be climbing, swinging, or playing on any trees from that point on. She then quickly passed out all of the party favors, & sent all of the girls home. That was the last time I had a birthday party at home for the next couple of years.

As I grew older, my tastes changed (not my taste in Hello Kitty!). I would still celebrate my birthday with my friends, but one of my most favorite birthday traditions was to go out for a super fancy meal with my family. We would drive to San Francisco to eat at my dad’s favorite seafood restaurant, & my parents would allow me order a full lobster dinner. This became such a memorable family tradition that it became an inside joke amongst my family that I loved to eat lobster. Now, every time when I go out to eat with my family, they will always jokingly point out to me the lobster dish on the menu.

Now, in terms of actual birthday celebrations, nothing so far has topped my birthday vacation to London, England. Oh man, I cannot stress enough how badly I’ve been wanting to visit the UK. Ever since I was a small child, reading the Paddington Bear books, & watching the Mary Poppins movie a thousand times, I’ve had a dream of visiting the city of London.

Then, back in 2016, everything aligned so perfectly, & I had the immense pleasure & rare opportunity to visit the city I’ve always longed to visit, but had always felt was out of my reach. I will never forget that incredible experience, from the people, to the sights, to the food, to the experiences Jian & I shared together. I even saved the handwritten birthday card the hotel staff wrote to me & placed in our hotel room along with a little complimentary chocolate confection. I truly had the time of my life & cannot wait for the next opportunity to visit my new favorite city!

Over these past few years, I haven’t been much of a celebrator of birthdays. I’m not very comfortable with all of the attention being focused on me, & as I am maturing in age, I have become increasingly aware of the modest yet obvious age gap between myself & Jian, as well as myself & a majority of my friends. I don’t like to focus on my age, but as the years go on, I tend to focus on it more & more, which makes me feel self-conscious about it. So, I end up not celebrating my birthday in order to avoid thinking about my age. Also, I feel like a party to celebrate my life is too indulgent & unnecessary. I celebrate my life everyday. I don’t need one day out of the year to feel special. I feel special right now, in fact. Until the next occasion, cheers everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

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like a kid again

So, I feel like ever since I came back from my very first trip to London, I have become obsessed with all things British. I might be turning into an Anglophile; I’m not sure. Well, I can say that I was an admirer of British things, people, & culture ever since I was a little kid, & that admiration has carried on into my adulthood. Also as an adult, I still carry that inner child within me, & that has also continued in my fandom for LEGOs.

I believe I may have already mentioned in a previous post (way back when) about my collection of LEGO Creator sets.

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This list is dated as of September 2017

I’ve already got the Tower Bridge & Big Ben sets as gifts from older brother on Christmas & my birthday. So, it was only fitting that I get the London Bus set when it went on pre-sale to all LEGO rewards card members.

 

I know it sounds ridiculous to call it a pre-sale-for-rewards-members-only when it was basically sitting on the store shelves for anyone to grab two cussing weeks ahead of it’s scheduled mass release date, but you know those marketing guys…They really know how to bait-&-hook gullible suckers customers like me. So, I basically ran into this set by sheer coincidence while I was window-shopping at the mall.

I guess Jian was doing some “bro-tastic” weekend event with his male co-workers, & I was left alone to my devices & decided to peruse the shopping mall unsupervised. I always have to make my rounds at the LEGO store even if they don’t have any new sets, & I caught this sparkling gem displayed in the store window. I walked into the store (about as calmly as a bull in a china shop), & grabbed the last box sitting on the shelf. The cashier promptly told me that this set was on pre-sale for rewards members only, but I figured anyone could grab it since it was sitting on a regular store shelf with no special sign or label.

What did I do next? Well, after I brought this set home, I proceeded to build it. It took me an entire weekend to build, as I would take breaks in between each numbered set of instructions.

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The bricks come in individually numbered bags according to the instruction book, which over the years have gone from thin, individual booklets, to one thick book about the same thickness as an old fashioned telephone directory. I usually separate all of the brick bags by number, & only work on one set of numbered bags per day.

I know for a more skilled LEGO set builder, this London Bus could’ve probably been completed in a few short hours, but I work very slowly, examining each piece to make sure I’m following the directions to the letter. That’s pretty much my lame excuse to cover up the fact that I’m not good at counting the dots on the bricks, & I’m crap at measuring short & long pieces. So, that pretty much slows me down immensely. Jian on the other hand, is so quick at building LEGO sets, & he has a good eye at measuring & counting the pieces. He could’ve probably built this set in one afternoon. I like to take my time to make sure I’m not making any mistakes. There have been quite a few times in other sets where I’ve made mistakes in measuring pieces & had to break off sections & re-do them.

It might take me a long time, but I don’t care. I get enjoyment & fulfillment in taking my sweet ass time. I will put on some relaxing jazz or chill-hop music, or whatever strikes my mood on Spotify, & then I will proceed to open up the little plastic baggies & empty out the contents on to paper plates or bowls. This helps me find pieces faster, so I don’t have to go digging around in each individual baggie. The results give me a feeling of fullness, satisfaction, & accomplishment that can only be described by admiring the finshed result.

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There you have it! My completed London Bus! I can’t wait to see what new sets LEGO will think of next. Until then, I’m on my way to build my next set, which is the Creator Carousel, given to us by our extremely generous friends from Southern California!! Cheerio & cheers, mates!

P.S. The Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats -slash- Kings of Leon concert I went to two weeks ago was incredible!!! I took a few videos & posted them on my Instagram page. I barely knew three songs by Kings of Leon, but I had a blast anyway. Then, I let Jian & another friend of ours talk me into going to watch A$AP MOB in concert (sometime between now & October, I think). On top of that, I’m waiting, like a giddy child on Christmas Day waiting to open presents, to go watch The Killers (my all-time favorite rock band) in concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles early next year. My cuss! It’s going to be a glorious time for music & live events…

Today’s song of the day:

Ok. So, I want to tell you another story about another possible celebrity sighting while I was in London. So far every person I’ve told this story to does not believe my story whatsoever. I wouldn’t expect people to believe my story right away, but I am completely convinced that I saw that guy. Which guy, you ask? Well, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, & let me tell you all about this seemingly impossible celebrity sighting.

You most likely will not believe me. In fact, I am certain you won’t believe me at all. How could you? This celebrity that I sighted is practically unknown around the world outside of Europe & the Middle East. This celebrity is Turkish, & I’ve mentioned him in a blog post a few months ago. I don’t even know how to pronounce his name, but it’s spelled: Kivanç Tatlitug. He was once a big time model in Paris before returning back to Turkey to become a huge TV & movie actor, a national idol & heartthrob.


I first heard about him from watching one of his subtitled TV dramas on Netflix. There have been a lot of Turkish movies & TV dramas popping up on Netflix within the past year, & one day I was browsing Netflix in search of something in the romance genre to watch. I kept seeing this guy’s war-era TV drama popping up on my “suggested things to watch list”, & his face was front & center on the thumbnail image, so that attracted me right away (for obvious reasons). Secondly, I was attracted to the show based on the show’s description. Since that time, I’ve watched this TV drama 3 times. Hey, I won’t deny that Kivanç is nice eye candy for the ladies.

Anyway, after watching his TV show on Netflix, I decided to do a Google search on him. I found out that he had recently gotten married at the end of last year in Paris to his long-time girlfriend. From reading about his wedding & public information on the internet, I found out that he & his new wife often frequent Paris & London (he still owns a separate flat in Paris). I know it looks like I’m grasping at straws here, but hear me out. I could have sworn I saw Kivanç leaving my hotel in London. Kivanç has distinct facial features & body shape/posture, so even with his shaggy hairstyle & a full, thick beard, it would be relatively easy to spot him. Also, his wife is pretty recognizable as well. Then, when you pair them together, it’s pretty easy to spot them in public.

So, I went out in the morning to grab a quick breakfast before going about my day. I was walking back towards my hotel when I spotted a swanky-looking Audi A7 sedan parked right at the hotel entrance. I’m a huge Audi car fan (I own an Audi of my own), so that’s why I immediately noticed the car. Immediately following, I saw a scruffy man & well-put-together woman walking out of the hotel. The driver of the Audi sedan, which I assume was a hired chauffeur, quickly got out of the car & began putting luggage in the boot of the sedan. The woman quickly kissed the scruffy looking man & headed back inside the hotel. The man proceeded to get into the car.

I had to wait for my pathway to clear before I could continue walking, so that afforded me a decent amount of time to get a good look at the scruffy gentleman & his lady. I knew immediately that it was the Turkish actor I discovered on Netflix. I kept on walking as though nothing had happened, then proceeded to act like a completely star-struck fangirl in front of Jian. Yet again, Jian had no clue as to who I was talking about. The more I tried to explain about how I recognized the Turkish actor, & how I found out about his TV drama on Netflix, the more confused & disinterested Jian became.

I admit, what guy wants to hear a woman ramble on & on about some obscure male actor? If I’m not talking about a swimsuit model with big boobs like Kate Upton, or some hot actress like Alexandra Daddario, or Anna Kendrick, or Jennifer Lawrence, Jian will most likely tune me out. He doesn’t want to hear me fangirl over some random sighting of a Turkish actor he’s never heard of in his life. Also, Jian is a hard person to convince, especially when it comes to sightings of famous people, even more so if it’s a famous person he doesn’t recognize. He did not for one second believe that I spotted Kivanç Tatlitug (let alone his new wife) in London. I’ve told other family members, like my sister-in-law, who also didn’t believe me right away, since the way in which I know if this actor is a bit of a stretch. Yeah, I will admit that this isn’t six degrees of separation. This is more like sixteen degrees of separation, but I don’t care what others say. I truly believe that I saw Turkish model/actor Kivanç Tatlitug on the street in London.

One of the biggest things I should point out is that the hotel I stayed at: the EDITION London, is extremely well-known for celebrity sightings. One of the factors for Jian choosing this hotel when we first booked our trip was because he had heard that model Cara Delevigne frequented the bar at the famous restaurant Berners Tavern at our hotel. Also, on one of the nights we were drinking g at the Lobby Bar at our hotel, we had also overheard from another American hotel guest sitting next to us that celebrity chef Bobby Flay was staying at the hotel at the same time as us. That bolstered my belief that Kivanç & his wife could have been staying at our hotel. I am sure of it, even if nobody else believes me. I am sticking to my story & that is all I will say. Until next time, cheers mates!

Today’s song of the day:

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