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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

happy birthday, sweet sixteen

i'm so behind on recaps and it would be so easy to just skip over the last few months and start fresh, but we did a lot of really fun stuff in the last quarter of 2023 and it all deserves some attention.  and so we're gonna hop in the delorean and set it to october, when we celebrated the bean's SIXTEENTH birthday.

the bean really isn't a "big party with me as the center of attention" kind of person.  and so after a bunch of brainstorming with the hub, they came up with a pretty sweet plan that encompassed their entire birthday weekend with their closest friends.  we kicked off the celebration on friday afternoon, with everyone meeting at our house after school to hop in an uber bound for beverly hills.

i got to be the designated chaperone for the uber ride, while the rest of the family drove out in a separate car.

we'd booked a table for our party of eleven at barton g.

if you'll remember from our visit for my birthday a few years ago, barton g is known for their fabulously outrageous presentation of their menu items.  like, my sabrinatini - a citrus vodka martini served with watermelon sorbet, a champagne popsicle and a chocolate monkey hanging off of the rim.

the "holy smokes" nitro popcorn was laced with truffle oil and sprinkled with parmesan and fresh herbs.  i think i'm the only one who likes the taste of truffle oil, so i was perfectly happy to snack on it.

this was, of course, a caesar salad.

the popcorn shrimp came in a mini popcorn machine.  super cute, and the shrimp itself was really tasty and perfectly cooked.

the "samurai salmon" came with kimchi fried rice and an actual sword.

the "bucket of bones" contained ribs and wings and potatoes.  this was probably my least favorite item...messy, a little dry, not super flavorful.  oh well.  can't win 'em all.

i don't remember what this came with, but the giant fork was a good time.

desserts were, of course, a big hit all around.  there was a "pie eating contest" and a giant marie antoinette head covered in cotton candy and it was a great way to cap off a crazy, silly birthday dinner.

after a quick stop at home to pick up baggage, we headed to our last stop of the night:

it was opening weekend for the newest part of the disneyland hotel - the villas, which are part of the disney vacation club (their version of a timeshare) with rooms also available to the public.

the next morning, we got up early in an attempt to head into the parks for rope drop.  we headed downstairs to meet up with the bean's friends and then made a coffee run before going in for some disney magic.

about halfway through the day, the old lady and the old man and i made our way back to the hotel to do a little decorating in the bean's room for a fun surprise.

and then everyone headed back to get changed for dinner.  we walked back into disneyland and made our way to new orleans square to ring a very special doorbell:

in the court of angels, we paused to take a few group photos.

it was a really lovely dinner and a fun experience for the group, filled with delicious food and lots of giggling.

the kids went back into the park afterwards and rode as many rides as they had time for, and then the next morning we checked out of the hotel and made our way home to get ready for one last gathering.

we finished it off with a backyard barbecue, and it was a great way to share the celebration with more friends and family.

and the bean officially finished off the weekend by going to the coldplay concert at the rose bowl.  yes, this 16-year-old is a big coldplay fan!  they collaborated with BTS on a song, which was the bean's introduction to the rest of their music catalogue.

it was a wonderful weekend from beginning to end, and i think the bean felt the love from all of us as we celebrated their sweet sixteen.  and now...we continue to get in those practice hours towards earning their driver's license.  woohoo!

Monday, January 1, 2024

bye, 2023

i know i'm behind in posting about events from...like, the entire last quarter of 2023.  yikes.  but still, i couldn't let new year's go by without the annual recap.  i'll just have to share snippets from stuff from october-december here and then go back and discuss in more detail.  maybe for 2024 i'll be better about staying up to date like in the old days.

let's start with a cookie roundup, because this year brought all kinds of fun design requests that were a real challenge.  i think i managed to pull most of them off, though.

there was, as always, lots of quality time spent at the happiest place on earth.

speaking of disneyland, we were lucky enough to visit club 33 a couple of times - once as a day date with the hub and then again in october to celebrate the bean's SIXTEENTH birthday.

yes, i said SIXTEEN.  there was a full weekend-long celebration that started with a fun dinner at barton g, continuing on at disneyland/club 33, a barbecue at home and then a coldplay concert with one of their besties at the rose bowl.  more on that later on.

we celebrated all of our birthdays, of course.

this year also brought a new adventure for the bean - in the driver's seat.  it's so bizarre to me that this generation really has no interest in learning how to drive! back in the day, we couldn't wait to get our driver's licenses for a taste of freedom.  these kids don't care about that at all.  the only reason the bean is doing it is because their BFF dragged them to the driver's ed course over spring break and also the fact that i'm pushing it since it's a life skill that i really believe everyone should have.  am i wrong??

the bean went from freshman to sophomore in 2023.

there was lots of time spent with our four-legged family members, although we've learned that we have to keep cocoa and june separated when they come to visit.  cocoa, my little ferocious dog, is incredibly territorial and does NOT appreciate having another female in the house.  she doesn't seem to understand that she's teeny-tiny compared to june, who we learned after one of those doggy dna tests is actually not only a pit bull but is mostly boxer. after a couple of scary moments where cocoa decided that she was going to literally go after sweet june who only wanted to play but found herself having to defend herself against this little fur ball.  ugh.  

speaking of cocoa, she managed to hurt herself pretty seriously jumping off the couch one day - with a pretty significant tear in her ACL, she had to have surgery to repair it and ended up sporting these silly full-body jumpsuits to keep from licking the incision scar.  she's fine now, and better than ever.

the knitting and crocheting continues, and two of my projects even won first place at the l.a. county fair.

i also finally made the jump into bag making, with the help of an awesome vintage sewing machine that i scored from my local yard sale facebook page.  it's an old kenmore from the 70s, all metal and a total workhorse.  it had been sitting in someone's closet unused and unloved for 20+ years, and after i scooped it up (for a mere $40!) i took it to a sewing machine shop and had it serviced and cleaned up.  and so instead of spending hundreds of dollars on an industrial machine (that i really didn't have space for anyway), i now have a fantastic machine that sews like buttah.

i tried selling my handmade wares at a christmas market (which wasn't great) but found a good amount of success by posting on my social media pages instead.

it was also the year of self care for me, from barre classes (at a new studio opened by one of my favorite instructors from the old place) to regular massages and facials to mammograms and doctor's appointments plus keeping up with the treadmill and peloton bike at home.  and then there were my monthly standing appointments with my hairstylist to keep the gray roots covered and body rolling sessions that were usually shared with the bean and the old lady.  self care is important!  make sure you take time for you!

let's not forget the goat yoga class that the bean and i took one saturday.  heh.

the bean was able to briefly return to hula dance classes during the summer, but had to stop when school started back up because it wasn't working with the schedule.  they do still have a fun hip hop class on saturday mornings, and got to try a really fun adult hip hop class with my friend amber at millennium dance complex in l.a.  it's a trek for us, but i promised to take them every chance we get.

summer was all about barbie.

we also found ourselves in our taylor swift era, thanks to some last-minute luck that got us really good seats at face value for one of her sold-out shows at sofi stadium.

the old lady and i got to see the jonas brothers not just once, but twice.  the first time was at their "secret show" at the theater at the ace hotel in downtown l.a. where they performed the entirety of their newest release (rather awkwardly titled "the album").  and then we scored great seats for their anaheim stop of equally awkwardly-titled "the tour."  somehow we were right in front of what fans were calling "b stage" - the layout for the show had a long runway from the main stage to a second stage set up just a few rows in front of us, and the guys would run back and forth throughout the show.  and like taylor's concert, they performed from all five of their albums for almost three hours.  it was glorious.  we heard that people were making and trading friendship bracelets at these shows too so we came prepared, but didn't make a single trade.  no biggie, that just meant we got to keep all of the ones that i made.

the bean and i went to a couple of concerts too.  as the members of BTS started heading off one by one to serve their required time in the korean military, they were also releasing new music as solo artists.  only suga went on tour though, and so the hub snagged tickets for us to attend for his stop in l.a.

if there was a BTS themed event, we went.

we also got to see blackpink in concert at dodger stadium (which was great until we ended up testing positive for covid a few days later, eek).

lilcee and dailygluttony and i went to see our boo, cody rigsby, on one of his book tour stops.  he's fabulous.

and i got to fulfill another high school dream when the hub sent me and lilcee to see depeche mode in concert.

there was lots of time spent with my friends too, which was lovely.

i went to not just one, but TWO general hospital conventions.  oh yes.

the old lady's crazy work schedule often keeps us from being able to spend time together, but we managed to squeeze in a few outings together.  and we took a charcuterie class in the fall, which was really fun because we learned how to make meat and cheese look pretty on a board.

we managed to squeeze some travel in too - vegas, the beach, our beloved hawaii (and got to stay at the fabulously pink royal hawaiian hotel!), a fun pre-christmas trip to new york city.

we continued the tradition of attending filipino heritage night at dodger stadium with my cousins.

i got to cross off another bucket list item when the old lady got us into the holiday-themed cast member 5K at disneyland.  it was my first race since 2017, which was a little bittersweet because it reminded me of what i used to love about racing...but also all the things i hated about it.  and we're signed up to do the disneyland 5K next week, but i'm pretty sure i'll never get enough running mojo back to do another half marathon.  kinda sad, but i'm also okay with that.

the holidays came and went in a flash.  i was really happy to host friendsgiving again, and then we celebrated christmas with friends and family and it was all just so nice. 

to cap it all off we had a redo of our new year's party with a handful of friends, both old and new.

happy new year, everybody!  i can't wait to see what 2024 brings for all of us!

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...