Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Time: 6:30am

Location: coaster train to san diego, again with the work commute

Eating: had saimin for breakfast, I am so NOT a breakfast person, it's like any other meal to me

Drinking: coffee with hazelnut cream

Watching: catching up on Duets and So You Think You Can Dance on DVR

Thinking: hope this week's easier than last, it was busy and stressful

Wanting: to have some downtown for reading, but not complaining about all the social activity ... it's been fun!

Needing: to get the kids ready for school, time to take the uniforms out of storage to make sure they still fit

Wondering: who I'll get to hang with in Hawaii, need to reach out and catch up with some old friends

Loving: my hubby ... grateful for our partnership ... he helps make life easier. Found this cool necklace on etsy and the sample had our initials ... cool.

currents idea from here

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mini Mission Monday

So I love the blog 365 Less Things blog but I can't always find the time or energy to do her weekly Mini Mission Monday. Update on the last one I attempted ... I talked about it here ... and for that week I managed to only do 3 out of the 7 challenges. I organized (and tossed) the kids shoe cabinet, I went through my stationary and greeting cards box (again tossed a few old ones that I don't ever see myself using), and put all the electrical cords and chargers back in the basket where they belonged.

This week, the challenges seem really easy. Sometimes I don't have to take time to organize and thoroughly clean an area. I might benefit from just tossing out a few things and feeling less cluttered. This is perfect during busy weeks where I feel so unorganized, decluttering is bound to help me feel better.

You're welcome to join me ...

Monday – There is usually at least one make-up item among the others that we once thought suited our pearticular kind of beauty but now wonder where we got that idea. If you have such an item but haven’t had the sense to throw it away yet, today is the day.

Tuesday – How many handbags do you have and how many of them do you actually use. Declutter one that that you haven’t used in a long time because you don’t love it like you once did.

Wednesday – Declutter one of those once favourite outfits that you never wear any more. Chances are it is now way out of fashion.

Thursday – Check your keepsake box for something you kept but now wonder why. Declutter anything that you feel this way about.

Friday - What is on your walls? Is there something hanging there simply out of habit that you don’t really want or even particularly like? Now is the time to declutter it.

Saturday - Have a look in your display cabinet there is bound to be something lingering in there that you long ago lost interest in. Time to send it to the thrift shop.

Sunday- Look in your jewellery box – Are you really going to wear all of those earrings again or that ring your old boyfriend gave you? Time to cull a few things in there don’t you think?

(excerpt from 365 Less Things blog)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

(dinner out)

Dinner out for my dad's birthday was a great chance to get family pictures taken. While we waited for our table in the courtyard of Benihana's, the lighting was nice and the camera did a bit of magic.

It was fun taking close up photographs of our family. Natural poses, happiness in our smiles.

Even though my parents spend lots of time with the kids daily, it's never an opportune time to take pictures. So on these fun occasions when we get to go out together, I get to take these! With a little bit of complaining sometimes, but what photographer mom has kids that are not tired of her antics. Haha.

Scrapbooking these pictures was extra fun. Kept with joyful colors and notebook style embellishments. In Vietnamese, we call grandfather Ong Ngoai so I like to keep that in our family pages to remember that's that our real life. The kids call my dad this everyday.

We are quite blessed to have my mom and dad be such a big part of our lives. Here's to celebrating his 72nd birthday. Many more to come.

A quick weeknight dinner out, a quick excuse to capture these memories to last a lifetime. Fun times!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Prompt 14-What roles do you play?

This prompt asked the question what roles do you play. Here are the first ones that came to mind. I am so grateful that life is really full right now. I will continue to strive for balance between being the loving family me, the hard working career me, the supportive community service me and the fun loving social me. This is how I role. 

Challenge idea came from here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Prompt 13-Who inspires you?

This prompt asks the question who inspires you? My momma. Not because I want to be like her, unfortunately our personalities are so different, but because she is awesome in her own way. Through the years I think we've learned to agree to disagree and through the years we've grown in love and respect. 

She is awesome for her unconditional love for her family. She would do anything for any one of us. 

She is awesome for being a great role model. She raised my brother and I well and now has a huge impact on raising my kids. I think they're turning out well too. ;-)

She is awesome for her talents ... cooking, sewing, knitting and gardening. 

She is awesome for her sense of adventure. She lives to travel and will keep going till the end. 

I am inspired by my totally awesome mom. Thank you for who you are and all you do. 

Challenge idea came from here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

(puppy love)

On our recent trip to Las Vegas, the kids got to spend lots of quality time with the Cupp's pups ...  Aiko and Sasha. Lena normally doesn't like dogs but every spare moment this weekend was spent with these dogs. She cuddled with them, napped with them, hugged on them. Her favorite place to be was on or next to one of them.

Lucky for her they loved her too. They loved the attention and let her be all over them. :)

These sweet pictures I captured for sure showed their connection. So adorable, so precious!

Had to keep the scrapbook layout pretty simple to keep the attention on the pictures. And the cardboard letters I've never used before. I never seem to come up with a title short enough since the letters are so large. This time, however, it worked! Such sweet puppy luv!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

(Benihana Birthday)

For my dad's 72nd birthday this year we took them to Benihana. They've never been and thought it was both delicious and fun. I think they've been to a teppanyaki place like this before but each chain has it's show characteristics. So much so that my foodie kids claimed Tanaka of Tokyo in Hawaii is better.

When we visited Hawaii earlier this year, we took them for their first time to Tanaka of Tokyo. It was where Moi and I had our first date 12 years ago. Kainani was most impressed with the personality of the chef, the fire volcano and the yummy food. She was the one that said let's go again.

Here at Benihana in Carlsbad, the chef was experienced and skilled but didn't crack jokes or have as much interaction with the audience. In the end, the food made up for it and was delicious ... steak, shrimp, scallops. Yum!

Scrapbooking this was most fun. I tried to keep a more masculine feel with the blues and plaid since the theme was my dad's birthday. Still had to include some fun bling, but overall a simple design.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Prompt 12-Favorite Places

Today's prompt asks what are your favorite places? Document them.

For me that's easy. I've been so blessed to have lived in some amazing places and each place will forever have a spot in my heart.

Right now we call Oceanside CA home. This gorgeous pier and beach sunset view we get to see almost daily. Our train commute to work is along the coast and drops us off here every weeknight. Most beautiful in the fall and winter once the summer crowds are gone.

Paris ... what's not to love. Je parle le francais. J'aime bien Paris! The culture, the food, the language, the hustle and bustle of big city life. That part of me still exists to desire exciting big city life.

Japan was a short stay so many years ago. I dream of returning with the family some day. Until then I remember most the kindness of the people, the history, the food and like a first love you never truly forget, this was my first adventure in travel.

Hawaii you have the biggest part of my heart. I saved the best for last and am sure I will return to you one day. Life in Hawaii holds so many memories, good and bad, but having lived there, it's evidently always going to stay with me. The easygoing lifestyle, the weather and the beach and the mountains, the ono foods, the people that are our ohana, this place feels like coming home again.

Challenge idea came from here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(a vegas 4th)

We had a really nice loooong weekend celebrating the 4th of July this year in Las Vegas.

Our pyrotechnic friends (haha) have made a tradition of having a large display of fireworks each year for the 4th and now we are included in this tradition. Each year gets better than the last. Awesome!

While there, we squeezed in a little time on the strip. Our friend works for the Palazzo/Venetian complex and we hung out there shopping and lunching. It's not our first time but always amazingly beautiful how the indoors is made to look like the outdoors. We took a stroll down the canals just like in Italy ... not really but we pretended. It was still gorgeous, complete with an impromptu "street" performance of Italian opera.

Once home, I stole a few hours in the early morning to scrapbook. I can't wait to find time, I just have to get it all out and just steal time.  This is one of the kits I got from the last Ever After garage sale. Page layout came together pretty quickly because I challenged (or forced) myself to use what was in front of me.

In a few hours, I made 4 double page layouts. Woot woot! More to come as I get them blogged. A Vegas 4th was a blast! And I mean that literally!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Prompt 11-How do you love?

Journal Prompt from i heart run with scissors:  How do you love?  Through dating, and marriage, I had always heard talk about the five love languages.  I never thought much about it because I was pretty sure I knew exactly how I loved :)  Once, I read the book, it made so much sense to me!!!  What is your love language, how do you love?

I personally have not read the book but today's journal prompt makes me want to. I took a quick quiz on the website and discovered I love first through quality time. I need to know the ones I love want to just be with me hanging out and enjoying each others company. Quality times are the best times. Not a lot of fuss.

A pretty close second for me is acts of service. I never expect kindness or favors but when a loved one does something nice without being asked I feel loved. Clean the house? Cook dinner? Play with the kids? All rank high in my book.

What's also true for me is that receiving gifts is the lowest. Maybe that's why it never dawns on me to make a big fuss with birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. I really don't love through receiving gifts. I'm a romantic huh? Or a cheap date!

Some of the other ways people love are words of affirmation ... being told nice things. And physical touch ... those couples we see in public who can't keep their hands off each other. Problem is ... how you love may not be how your loved one loves. It would be wiser to love the way they need you to rather than the way you need to and vice versa. I think this book is worth a read.

Curious to know how you love? Take the quiz here.

Challenge idea came from here.