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The Introvert Introspects

The decision to get married did not come easily. What with my anxiety and obsessive-compulsiveness, all of the marriage horror stories I've read very recently and all the miserable married couples I know, it hasn't been the most enticing. It's true, you guys. Ignorance is bliss. 

When marriage started to come up in conversations between my fiancé and I, at my sheer insistence, we went through questions after questions after questions before deciding that it is something we both want and willing to commit to. As a modern woman, I don't need to get married. In fact, I take the loss of my independence seriously. But with Romain, I know and feel that it's worth it. He's worth it.

P.S. I will be writing one Dear Future Husband letters every month starting next month until we get married!

I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with this wonderful man.

The past week - the first week of March - has been brimming with exciting adventures & fun memories for me.

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, a new establishment that just opened in the Glendale area, has recently won my heart. As a dessert aficionado, if I come into your dessert place and I'm overwhelmed by the options for toppings, you've won my heart. The yogurt isn't really the best in terms of quality (I'm still a Pinkberry girl for that), but with the wide array of toppings at my grasp? It's definitely a good visit.

Come Friday, I went out with my friend Elle to grab sushi & drinks in Little Tokyo. After sushi, we came across a public karaoke bar called Tokyo Beat where we can sing songs in front of other people. The song selections were dismal and the cocktails were a little overpriced for what they were ($14 for a 'meh' drink - I pay the same price for a well-done margarita, tyvm). However, the highlight of my evening was that I sang in front of complete strangers for the first time!!! Of course, I got anxious and had to excuse myself because I felt like I was about to puke beforehand. Fortunately, the anxiety disappeared during my number and I actually got a strong round of applause from everyone.

When I headed back home, I also took a bunch of photos of Downtown Los Angeles. I've always loved evenings in DTLA if only because it seems more serene and less affected by the hustle & bustle that's normalized in metropolitan areas. It's calming.

On Sunday, Romain & I drove to the valley to visit his parents. We had planned to go on a hike somewhere of their choosing, and we ended up going to the Las Virgenes Canyon. It was beyond gorgeous. We walked about 7.5 miles back and forth, and I was completely exhausted afterward. However, it was so undeniably worth it! The place is straight out of a Windows wallpaper. I did not see that coming.

The Blaviers

Afterward, we went to a gastropub close to their house called the HQ Gastropub. It was a nice place and the waiter was pretty cool. I also discovered a new Belgian beer I liked. I tend to be very picky with beer so it was a surprise for both my boyfriend and I. I really enjoy spending time with his parents. For people who are wildly successful in their chosen career paths and are both astonishingly intelligent, they are so incredibly down to earth. I love that we talk about sociopolitical issues and a host of other topics.

If I may reiterate - it was definitely a wonderful week.
As one of my Christmas gifts, I planned a day trip in San Diego last weekend. We are mostly driving to San Diego for delicious tacos called Fish Mart.

The best shrimp & octopus tacos we've ever had in our lives

Part of my San Diego itinerary was going to places we both have never been to before. Our first stop was the San Diego Museum of Art. It was a two-storey museum that had a mishmash of art genres like Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism as well as cultural art from India, China & Japan. My favorites were the artworks of Wolf Kahn & Frantisek Kupka. The entrance fee was $15 for adults.

We also visited the Japanese Friendship Garden, which was less than a quarter mile away from the museum. It was gorgeous though I definitely regret the fact that we missed out on the cherry blossoms being abloom. The entrance fee was $10 for adults.

On the way home

On our way home, I got hungry and we decided to swing by my boyfriend's favorite cafe when he went to school in UCI (University of California - Irvine) called the Le Diplomate Cafe. We both had the Brie Melt sandwiches. It was good! We also tried the ice cream rolls (Thai style ice cream) from Stax Cookie Bar in ube flavor topped with mangoes and condensed milk for dessert.

Albeit the drive itself was an exhausting one (for Romain even moreso), all in all, it was a wonderful weekend. We're probably not going to do that again anytime soon though.
I know I'm repeating myself a lot lately but seriously, time flies!! I can barely remember 2016 starting and now we're about to usher in a new year. This post is going to be filled with nostalgia (a lot of reminiscing ladies and gents!), future hopes and epiphanies - I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing my last post for 2016!

A Year In Review
Inasmuch as numerous horrific things happened sociopolitically this year, there were a lot of good moments and memories that definitely overpowered the bad ones. **Photos are screenshots of my 2016 Facebook album.
Early in January: Phosphorescent art at the Last Projects, churro waffles from Semi-Tropic, a card & a reminder to love myself that my coworker gave me after she left the company, fog outside my apartment & random Russian goodies from my coworkers.

January 31: A fun and snow-filled winter at Mount Baldy with my lovely family.

February 23: A spontaneous Pasadena trip to try out a crepe studio and Belgian waffles!

February 25: My youngest sister's first dance recital of the year!

March 16: I convinced Romain to wake up at 5 am in order to catch the sunrise at the peak of Griffith Park. It was worth it!

April 14: Romain surprised me for my birthday and took me to Disneyland. I had a lot of fun, and the fireworks made my entire night.

April 17: Romain and I went to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Afterward, I celebrated my birthday with my family.
Late in May: Romain and I met up with my college friend Theresa & her husband, Randy.

June 1: My sister's second dance recital of the year

Early in June: Romain and I visited the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

June 11: Imbibing on art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Last Bookstore and the Downtown LA art walk with Lea, Kathy, Gina and Firmin.

Late July: We went to Venice Beach in the middle of a fire in Santa Clarita. 

July: Romain and I went pedal boating at the Echo Park Lake. We fell in love with Mohinga from Daw Yee Myanmar & rice balls from Gam Tu Bap,

Early in August: Romain and I vacationed to Colorado together! Photos include our amazing hotel Basecamp Boulder, Smith-Klein Art Gallery and Boulder Bookstore.

August: Gorgeous Boulder Public Library and some photos of the University of Colorado campus.
August: Arapahoe trail towards Flatiron mountains and Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

August: Beautiful Boulder Creek, Avery Brewing Company and Fiske Planetarium

August: We got on a bus and went to Denver to visit the Denver Botanic Gardens, which is probably one of the most beautifully curated gardens I've seen in my entire life.

Mid-September: Romain and I decided to spend a couple of days in Oxnard where we had the second most delicious Mexican food we've had, inhaled a lot of sea air and had a really good chocolate cupcake as well as fresh fruits!

October: We went to an Event Rockit food fest in Downtown Los Angeles, tried Joon Shabu Shabu and celebrated Romain's birthday at Sushi Go 55.
November: Hanging out with friends & family.

December: My work's Christmas party

December: Christmas reunion with Theresa & Randy

Goals for 2017:
  1. In 2016, I have been more mindful about taking care of myself both mentally and physically. So I promise to even be better at it this year.
  2. Meditate and do yoga more often. Just like changing the course of my thoughts into something that would be more productive, meditation and doing yoga has been statistically shown to increase mental fortitude as well.