This year, I spent my birthday up in Bishop, CA learning how to fish, soaking in natural hot springs, grilling up our hard earned fish, and ending the night roasting s’mores by a bonfire with Kristen, Alex, and Kelvin. I wouldn’t have asked for anything more. For me, a good day is being outside, trying something new, and spending time with the people I love.
Last week, Kelvin and I watched The Happy Movie, a documentary about happiness, and it got me thinking a lot about happiness.
Too often we as a society are focused on extrinsic factors such as money, image, status, or material possessions which leaves us at the mercy of outside factors to determine our happiness. Instead, focusing on intrinsic values such as personal growth, relationships, and helping others can lead to happiness.
Other things I learned:
- Physical activity (i.e. exercise) makes us happier, especially when done in new ways.
- People who experience “flow” on a regular basis are happier than those who don’t.
- Having close and supportive family and friends makes us happier.
- The act of cooperating with other human beings releases dopamine.
- Your relationship with work can kill you. Japan is the least happy developed nation. Social pressures often encourage them to work past healthy limits.
I definitely recommend the documentary. As part of a mini happiness project, I hope to focus on things that make me happy on a weekly basis.
Spending time with Kelvin is my happy.
Last week Kelvin surprised me with a home cooked meal and picnic at Signal Hill. I could not be more thankful to have him in my life. I know with him, we’ll always find something new to try or somewhere new to visit. He’s able to find beauty in the most unexpected places. Sometimes our weekend adventures are only a few steps from home and other times they take all weekend to get to. His patience is admirable… waiting hours for the perfect moment of light as the sun sets… and somehow always knows just the right amount of support I need. Thank you, Whiskers. I love you.
from 100 Layer Cake
the Knot sent me an email about how our wedding is only FOUR MONTHS away. I am super excited and nervous at the same time. I feel like there is so much to plan and do.
Also, I can’t stop looking at wedding blogs. I’m an addict.
We took a weekend trip up to Mammoth to visit Marvin, Kelvin’s brother. Marvin has been working as a liftie this season up at Mammoth Mountain. He hooked us up with lift tickets, rentals, and Starbursts. It was a gorgeous weekend. I loved being out on the peaceful snow covered mountains. I switched to skis after falling while getting off the ski lift on my snowboard. Why is that still the hardest part for me?
A visit to the top with Jennifer
Surprise encounter with Wooly!
I feel like people today pride themselves in being busy. I often catch myself responding automatically to people asking “how have you been” with “busy”. Honestly, everyone is busy.
I need to keep reminding myself that there is no better investment in time than taking care of myself and spending time with the people who make me happy.
Amy and I started the day with some morning hot yoga at Down Dog. Yoga kicked my butt, but it was a great way to start the day. After cooling off, we headed to get some delicious chirashi at Kotobuki.
We rented bikes from Captial Bikeshare, which is this genius bike sharing service and biked from Georgetown to the National Mall. I really enjoyed the scenic ride along the Potomac and through the national monuments.
We stopped by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It was neat to visit a museum purely dedicated to American history and seeing things that I’ve only read about in history books. My favorite exhibits were on the First Ladies and Presidents’ children.
For dinner we ate at La Tasca where we got tapas and sangria. The small plates were sort of overpriced for what they were, but the cava sangria was amazing.
To end the night, we stopped by PS7 for some delicious hand-crafted cocktails. Amy got the Gnome’s Water, and I got a beer cocktail called Optimus Mandarin.
Last week, I headed to Washington, DC for a Supplier Quality conference. It was my second time in the nation’s capital, and it was a real treat to be able to see one of my college roommates, Amy while I was out there. It is trips like this that make me thankful that my job allows me to travel. I usually end up in random cities, but on occasion I get the opportunity to feed my itch to travel and explore.
I stayed the weekend, and I had such a great time that I thought I’d share what we did.
My co-worker, Tejal, and I headed out via metro to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, VA for some amazing burgers.
Then we headed off to the National Mall. Our first stop was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where we saw the famous Hope Diamond and the 2011 Nature’s Best Photography exhibit from the Windland Smith Rice International Awards. Tejal had overheard a co-worker’s wife say that she saw Van Gogh paintings at the National Gallery of Art, so we made sure to stop by. I absolutely love French impressionism paintings, so I was happy to bask in air conditioning and admire these beautiful paintings. They also had Degas, Monet, and Renoir paintings.
Later in the evening, we met up with Amy! She picked us up from the metro station, and showed us around the Georgetown neighborhood. I must say, Georgetown is absolutely adorable, and I totally understand why people are in love with DC. A part of me fell in love with DC this past weekend. Between the cute row houses, preppy style, boutique everything, historical buildings and landmarks, well developed public transportation and intellectual atmosphere… who couldn’t fall in love with this city? Perhaps the only thing holding me from never leaving is the humidity.
We walked around Georgetown University for a little bit. What a beautiful university!
The buildings are so old that you get this sense that you are wandering through another time. We wandered into Rigg’s Library. This gorgeous cast iron library in the heart of Healy Hall.
photo credit: Georgetown Libraries
Finally, we ended the night with some delicious pizza and beer Pizza Paradiso on M Street. Pizza Paradiso was the first place that I’ve found one of my favorite beers, Hitachino Nest White Ale on tap.
Stay posted for the rest of my DC trip!
Kelvin proposed to me two weeks ago. It was just me and him at his place. I’m so excited for all the adventures we have in store for the future.
Kelvin, you are absolutely the best adventure buddy, sunset chaser, and partner in crime to share the rest of my life with.
I love you!
The sweetest blog post + my ring:
Just to give you some background, I was never much of a runner. I’ve always considered myself more of a swimmer. I swam competitively through high school.
Last Spring, I ran my first 5K at the LA Race for the Cure with Kristen. When I finished, I was so proud of myself you would have thought I had just run a marathon. My time was 33 minutes. Before that, I probably hadn’t run more than 1 mile consecutively. People laughed when I said I had to train for my upcoming 5K.
My mom does the OC Race for the Cure every year with “Team Taiwan”. I decided to run my second 5K at the OC Race for the Cure with my sister, and we came in at 29 minutes. Being around so many healthy and positive people at the 5Ks I ran last year made me seriously inspired to pick up running.
Running is still painful today, but it has slowly gotten much easier to get outside and start moving. This half marathon training has made me a strong believer in training hard and working towards a goal. Things seem much less daunting when you take it in baby steps.
I thought I’d put together some tips to share with other beginner runners.
1. Set a goal. Create a plan.
I honestly can’t emphasize this enough. Before starting my 12 week half marathon training, I kept telling myself that I needed to start running, and I was having a hard time keeping myself accountable. As scary as it seems, you have to take the leap and sign up for an event. Having something to train for gives you an end goal to work towards.
The next step is creating a plan. There are plenty of free training plans to choose from online. Find the one that works the best for you. I found one that had only running (no scheduled cross training) because being new to running, I felt like the most important thing for me was to get my body used to running and to slowly bump up the mileage. Having something to check off on my training plan is sometimes my single motivator to put on my shoes and go running when I’m exhausted from working all day.
2. Mix it up.
Run with a friend or find somewhere new to run. Use running as a way to explore your neighborhood.
Running can sometimes be a very personal sport, but having a friend to run with every so often helps push you to challenge yourself and keeps running from getting boring. My friend Nikki and I started running together every Wednesday. It helps make the journey to the half-marathon less lonely when you are working towards a goal with a friend.
3. Stop making excuses.
It will never be the perfect conditions to run. It will always be too cold, too hot, too hilly, too dark, etc. You will always be too tired, too sore, too busy, etc. Try to mitigate problems by getting the right equipment. I started buying long sleeved running shirts, so I could run comfortably in the morning and at night. Also, I finally starting liking running when I bought running shoes that worked for my form rather than my style.
4. Stick to it.
There will be days when you won’t be able to run and your training plan will go un-checked for the day. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t let that be the reason you quit. Missing one day will not kill you or ruin your chances of accomplishing the event you were training for.
5. Eventually, running will become cathartic.
It may have once been hard to believe, but running has slowly become a sort of de-stresser for me. Sometimes it is the only way for me to turn off my brain, and no matter how painful the run is, I always come back feeling relaxed and positive.
This one comes with time. First you have to have the patience to continue training past the gasping for oxygen/every part of your body hurts state.
Kelvin, Marisa, and I signed up for the Angels 5k coming up on April 22, 2012. Since it’s our 2nd 5K together, we’ve been nicknamed “the old 5K gang” by Marisa, and I thought it was so hilarious that I decided to design dri-fit shirts for fun!
“Simply amazing” is an inside joke. When we all went to Peru together, our Machu Picchu tour guide loved describing the ruins as “simply amazing.”