Sunday, September 30, 2012


A bouquet of red roses.

For the first time ever, I received flowers that were delivered to my work. Exactly one month since I got engaged, Russell had flowers sent to me. I was on my lunch break when one of my coworkers texted to tell me that there was a surprise waiting on my desk. My first guess was that she left me cookies or brownies. Nope, even better: flowers from my fiance. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oroville Trip

The view of Oroville and Oroville lake.

This past weekend, I went on a long-driving trip with Russell and my parents to Oroville. If you haven't heard of Oroville, it's about one hour north of Sacramento. It's a fairly small town but it's beautiful, quiet, and at night time you can see the stars. It's definitely a nice break from Orange County.

Our goal in Oroville was to look at Grandpa John's ranch and decide where we want the wedding ceremony and reception. He has a beautiful lake in the middle of his ranch that I liked ever since I first saw it. However, we ended up settling on doing the wedding on Russell's aunt's property. She has a vineyard and a cute barn. Overall, Oroville is exactly the kind of location I would like to have an outdoor wedding in--scenic, garden-like, calm, and homey.

We arrived in Oroville on Saturday morning and left on Sunday morning. It was a quick trip but we got a lot of things done.

  • We saw Roxy:
Roxy loves being petted, rubbed, and loved.
  • There was a salmon festival going that weekend so we were able to witness the salmon travelling upstream to lay eggs.
    There were windows you could look at to watch the fish migrate.

    The Oroville dam. We stood here awhile and watched the fish try to jump the stream.

  • We found a reception location and great hotels for guests to stay at. (No pictures, it'll be a surprise)

  • We were able to tour my parents around Grandpa John's ranch. My dad was in awe of Grandma Alice's backyard mini-produce farm. We were able to take home figs, a giant zucchini, small tomatoes, and squash. We also ate some pears and berries straight from the tree/bushes. (Sorry, I wasn't able to take a picture of her beautiful vegetable and fruit garden)

  • We had dinner on Aunt Linda's patio.

    Neither my parents nor I had ever had dinner out in a patio so we were in for a treat. We were able to chat and eat dinner while the sun set. Moments like these make me love Oroville even more.
Overall, I'm very excited and glad to be getting married in Oroville. It's home to many of Russell's family and it has such a nice welcoming feel. I've been bugging Russell to plan our next trip back to Oroville already 'cause I miss it so much.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Engagement Story #3: The Day After

The morning after I got engaged, I woke up super early because I couldn't sleep. I began the morning staring at my ring finger and waiting for my mom to wake up. Once she did, we had a great heart-to-heart talk in the garage which I wrote about in my engagement story #1.

After that, one of my best friends, Jessica, called me to talk to me about something. I quickly blurted out that Russell asked me to marry him the night before and a lot of happiness and screaming ensued. Within minutes she appeared in front of my house wanting to hear my engagement story in person. (I even got a text from her younger sister telling me congratulations and that she overheard the news from her sister who was being really loud and shrieking inside their house--haha).

Jess and I then drove over to iHop where I rehashed all the details from the night before. When we received our pancakes, Jessica began praying for our food. After we finished praying, the lady in the booth next to us turned around and said, "You guys are so cute." She was also a christian and told me that on the morning after she got engaged, she and her fiance (husband now) had breakfast at iHop too. She told me congratulations then continued having breakfast with her four-year old son. This basically summarized my morning after being engaged--just random and sincere encouragement and love from people (strangers, family, and friends) around me.

My other best friend, Bernadette, also drove up to Irvine to celebrate that morning with me and Jess. I had woken her up with a phone call asking her to get breakfast with me and Jess and although she had just woken up, she still made it. She even wrote a brief and kind blog post about me getting engaged here.

The three of us ended up on my bed in my room. Jess pointed out that it's just like when we were 16, just chilling in my bedroom only now we're all grown up and doing grown up things. I was surrounded by the people I needed then and the people who have watched me grow as a person and been wonderful sisters-in-Christ. I remember the overwhelming feeling I had then and still do now whenever I hang out with them. I told them that morning that they're both my maid-of-honors [some things I had known since I wanted to get married was that a) I can't have only one maid-of-honor and b) I knew I was going to pick these two].

It's funny how the three of us all started from the same church but as the years passed by, God has called us to different churches/different ministries. It is truly a blessing watching these ladies grow into women and do God's work.

Ok, so this isn't so much as an engagement story as it is talking about my best friends. But these girls are great and deserved a good long post on my blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Building Bookshelves

The only time I can ever remember my parents getting into a fight (not even a big fight, just a mild disagreement about something I don’t even remember anymore), my dad built my mom a bookshelf. Even when I was little I knew that this action was something special.

A couple years ago, my mom was looking at the bookshelf in the garage—which she uses to place her shoes on by the way—and asked my dad when they bought it. My dad blinked then told her he built it that one time she got mad at him. Mom laughed and said she didn’t remember. I didn’t want to tell them that I remembered. When I saw dad building that bookshelf when I was little, I knew that the mood in the house was very tense and gloomy; but seeing dad hammer the nails into the bookshelf and sanding down the wood, I realized that the driving force behind every hammer and scrape was love and a conviction to prove it. In an odd way, it was beautiful.

Anyways, I told this story to Russell when we first started dating. He said he would build me a bookshelf. And I don’t doubt it since he and his brothers helped their dad build their entire house in Reno. But it’s really not about the bookshelf. It’s about the boy and the love and the action. And because I love books. Who knows, maybe he’ll even build me a couple bookshelves so I could use one for shoes… ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Writing...Even More

The past few days have been a whirlwind. As things are settling down, I feel like I can write again.

This previous weekend, I got an unexpected sideline freelance writing gig that has caused me to do even more writing per day. When I graduated from college with a degree in English, I was a hopeful individual. I loved writing and couldn't wait to go out into the working field and write. You see, I'm a firm believer that words can change the world.

However, after writing article after article everyday, there's only so much sanity that I can pretend to have. The feeling is similar to the one I get when I'm only on page three of a seven to eight page English paper and it's 4 a.m. It's that moment of panic, of wanting to give up and just crawling under your desk willing to give up books and writing and words.

But (yay, light at the end of the writing tunnel)! I did some great time managing and can now handle my freelance writing gigs (for now). It's just...sometimes I'm writing about chemistry and then I'm writing about biology and then I'm writing about law that my head gets all messed up that talking to people in normal conversation terms becomes difficult.

Any my run-on sentences become worse.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chaos! Plus Some Happier Stories

The past couple of weeks have been very exciting yet somewhat stressful. Between planning a wedding, getting another sideline freelance writing gig, looking at possibly trading Russell's Jeep in for another car, planning an Oroville trip this month, looking for an engagement photographer, and getting new tires (goodbye Disneyland passes fund), I'm a bit tired.

Maybe the stress is only because of this month. I'm spending this month trying to prioritize and figure out what I should do first. Mom is helping out a lot. We were even able to plan a [somewhat] spontaneous trip to Oroville next Friday so we can see Russell's family. It'll be nice to have his relatives and my parents together. I think it'll really take a lot of stress off my shoulders once some of the planning goes into motion.

Besides stress, there have been other emotions going on. Here are two happy events that have happened recently:

1) Last night, mom walked into my room and gave me this book:

This means a lot to me. Mom knows I'm a reader so for her to actually go to a bookstore, find this book, and give it to me makes me feel really loved. The only times my parents have bought me books was either for a) school or b) a bible. In other words, they've bought me books for rare/special occasions. I've asked Russell to also go through this book with me since it's designed as a couples devotional book.

2) The second happy event involved a lot of shopping. This past weekend, Russ and I went to a thrift store and craft stores to start looking at some decorations we can make. 

Here's a picture of Russell in a thrift store with a tiny cart:

We've gotten a good heads start on the decorations. Since Russell is the artsy kind and I love hands-on crafts, making our own wedding decorations will be our quality time the next few months. 

I'm hoping the stress will subside. I want this engagement period to be a time of celebration and joy but so many other events have appeared simultaneously that it's hard to just sit back and relax. However, I am confident that things will begin to look up soon; especially with the trip up north next weekend. Once everything has been sorted and assigned, it'll all be simpler and easier. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to Basics

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio

I bought two books this weekend (and a bridal magazine)! I'm going to get back into reading, guys. It's time I filled my head with some beauty and got rid of worries and negativities. 

On a side note, today I was watching the ducks land into the pond and I couldn't get over how poetic it was. 


(Source: Observando