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Considering my last post was on April Fool’s Day last year (and rightly so!), I don’t make promises when it comes to blogging, but I will try my best, which is why I am posting on April Fool’s Day once again. Although I am terrible at updating my blog (proof: I actually typed the majority of this post back in January when the look back was more relevant…), I do update my Instagram quite often, especially with photos of trips to Disneyland and dishes I cook/bake. 😉

So much has happened since my last post. 2013 started out slow, but it ended up picking up enormous speed! Here are some highlights from the latter half of the year:

  • I had finished my MA degree in December 2012, but in May I walked in the commencement ceremony. It was hot, it was long, but it was worth it. I finally felt like I was finished with school!
MA Graduation Day

MA Graduation Day

  • May was also the month my parents started remodeling the kitchen, a process that took over the summer.
Kitchen - Before

Kitchen – Before

  • In June, I flew to WV with my dad for his father’s 93rd birthday. I was there for his 90th and I was so happy to be there once again with him on his special day.
  • In early July, most of my family from Chicago visited. Two of my cousins participated in the Irish Dancing Nationals Competition. It was great to see them and my aunt & uncle. I just really wished my other two cousins could have made the trip with them!
  • July also meant SDCC. This was definitely my busiest Comic Con yet—I barely slept! I even camped outside of Hall H the last night with friends. It was crazy, but it was fun. Will I do that again? Undecided, haha. Here are a couple pictures from the sometime-past-2am visit from Moffat and co., as well as a few pictures I took of my friends’ wonderful Sugar Rush cosplay!
Me, my brothers sweater, and Sue Vertue

Me, my brothers life-saving sweater, and Sue Vertue

A very good Ten with Steven Moffat

A very good Ten with Steven Moffat

 

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  • More family visited after Comic Con. This time TWO families, both from overseas and both from my dad’s side of the family (a reunion of cousins!). Only one of the families stayed with us though. Let me remind you: this was all happening during the kitchen remodel. Again, it was crazy, but fun.
  • At the end of August, I started working at a second job. So, during the day, I teach English at an ESL school, classroom style, and then most evenings I teach English or tutor with one-on-one lessons. This is what had been occupying most of my time for the last seven months.
  • August was also the month when we were finally able to move back into the kitchen, and I LOVE IT. I made good use of it over the holidays and then some! Seriously, my Instagram is flooded with pictures of food I’ve made. 😉
Kitchen - After

Kitchen – After

Kitchen - After, 2

Kitchen – After, #2

  • As for the rest of the year, I celebrated the holidays in the usual fashion with family and friends and enjoyed catching up on sleep and rest during the two week break I got from work from Christmas to New Years.
Thor and Loki - First Christmas

Thor and Loki – First Christmas

  • Now, 2014 has been filled with a lot of work and a lot of baking so far. Looking forward to seeing what else it holds!

And that, in short, is what I have been up to. I don’t have any plans for 2014. I hope to go on a cruise in June and I plan on going to Comic Con again in July. My brother quit is job and is traveling around the world for 6+ months, so I also hope to join him somewhere in the world at some point. Other than these hopes, I have no plans. I’ll just let what happens happen. I hope 2014 brings good things to us all! 🙂

Yours smiling, 

Miss Mo.

P.S. My brother started blog to record all his travel adventures. You should check it out!  —>  http://boust12.wordpress.com/

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Well it has been just over a year since my last entry. A lot of things happened that prevented me from writing—computer issues (had to take it in not once, but three times, before getting it replaced altogether), working on a thesis that turned in to exams (which I passed, so I now have an MA in Asian Studies!), life—so I have been contemplating since January how I wanted to bring my blog back to life.

I decided April Fool’s Day was the best route. If I keep up with regular updates, then that is great. If I don’t, then it is all just a joke.

If I do manage to post more often, you will probably see photo’s my the newest members of my family, Thor & Loki:

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Brotherly Love

We were only going to adopt one kitten, but it would have been cruel to separate these adorable ginger brothers! I love them so much already.

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Nap Time, All the Time

I don’t really have anything else to say because I wasn’t even sure if I would post tonight (lol), so here are a few photo highlights from during my blogging absence:

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Solar Eclipse, May 20, 2012.

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Took a walk along the beach with my mom and her friend. It happened to be during the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach. August 2, 2012.

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Doctor Who Panel at Nerd HQ 2012

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I went to SD Comic Con & Nerd HQ. I especially enjoyed my experiences at Nerd HQ. I was able to ask the Doctor Who cast about Karen & the Babes, which resulted in them singing a bit of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody. A shining moment in my life as a Whovian. 😉

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Here is a fortune I received in a cookie. I really do hope it comes true!

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Curved & Parallel

…hmmmm…

Actually, you know what, this photo-sum-up is going to take too long. If I keep going, it won’t be the first by the time this gets posted, which will destroy my goal of this entry entirely… Go check out my Instagram. You can figure out what have been up to from there~: http://instagram.com/ms_random_mo

[Side note: I really need to invest in a better camera. Hopefully before SD Comic Con this summer… ^ ^]

This really did turn out to be a lazy post. I can only go up from here, right? Hopefully I will write again soon!

Yours smiling,

Miss Mo.

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The past couple of weeks have been really busy, filled with research for both school and my Masters thesis, hanging out with friends, going to the movies with my family, and trying to get to the root of my back pain.

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but for a little over a year now I’ve had chronic pain in my lower back. Since months of physical therapy weren’t giving me the results my doctor wanted, he finally had me go in for an MRI. I had never had one before, but I was happy that they weren’t scanning my head because it was loud enough with my head sticking outside of the machine! All in all, it was an interesting experience. It really tested my ability to restrain myself from fidgeting or twitching. Every now and then I would feel a tingling in my toes or my fingers, which was followed with an inner chant of “Do not move. Do not move. Do not move!” One nice thing about the process was that the technician gave me a pair of headphones with what he called “top 40 songs” playing to listen to during the exam. It made me realize, however, how out of touch I am with the so-called top 40 songs. I’m just glad nothing super annoying played during the MRI..! ^_^

Having the MRI meant that I got to spend a majority of my spring break getting the results, having a procedure done, and recovering from the procedure. Woo.

The procedure was for diagnostic purposes, meaning it might not fix my pain, but my fingers are crossed! It basically involved getting six shots in my lower back. Everyone at the surgery center was really nice as well, so it was a good experience, which I really needed because I was screwed over once again earlier that morning when trying to buy a badge for Comic Con. The whole procedure took about an hour, but I can’t really be sure because I was under anesthesia.

Anesthesia is so disorienting. I was lying on my stomach, literally watching the anesthesiologist inject it, listening to him talk as he was doing it, when all of a sudden his voice was blurring or echoing–I can’t really describe it–and the next time I opened my eyes I was lying on my back in a different area with my pants half on and my shoes on my feet. After I woke up, I think I fell back asleep, but I’m not even be sure about it! There are so many other things I could say about the strange feelings that come from waking up from being under anesthesia, but instead I will just say this: it wasn’t as bad as when I had to be put under to get my wisdom teeth pulled out!

Although, the procedure was quick, it meant that I was basically on bed rest for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, that meant once I was fully awake it was dinner time and I wasn’t able fall asleep again until around 4am. This in turn meant that I slept most of the following day and stayed up late that night as well.

I hope to go to sleep a lot earlier tonight, aka right after I post this.

 

Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist told me a few things I wasn’t supposed to do for the rest of the day, half were serious and half were jokes: don’t drive, don’t cook, don’t shop online, and don’t do my taxes.

Since I wasn’t allowed to cook, I was glad that I had some French toast in the freezer!

Freezer French Toast is comfort food for me. My mom has been making it for my family for as long as I can remember. I asked her where she got the recipe once, and she thinks it was from a radio program.

Of course she’s adapted the recipe a bit over the years and I hope to play with it in the future myself. I feel like each time we make it together we discover new tricks to try or new ideas to make cooking it even easier than it already it. But as it stands, the recipe is a great, simple, comforting make-ahead dish.

First, you beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, using either a mixer or a Kitchen Aid stand. I like using the Kitchen Aid because I can slice the French loaf while the ingredients are mixing.

Once the bread slices are laid out onto the baking sheets (which are lined with foil and sprayed with oil), you ladle half of the egg mixture over the bread, sprinkle them with nutmeg, flip them over, ladle the rest of the egg mixture, and sprinkle with nutmeg again.

Then, you stick them in the freezer uncovered for about three hours, or until hard.

When the bread is hard, put them into Ziplock bags. I highly recommend wrapping each slice in freezer paper to prevent the slices from sticking to each other. And be sure to write the date on the bag, so you can keep track on how long it has been in the freezer!

When you are ready to cook the French toast, just place the amount you want onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush the slices with melted butter, bake for 8 minutes at 450°F, flip the pieces of toast, brush with butter once again, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until they reach your desired color. Watch carefully so that you don’t burn the toast!

Serve with powdered sugar, syrup, and/or fruit—or all three! I had some strawberries on hand, so fanned a handful of them to make a simple but lovely presentation. The syrup I used was a souvenir from a family member’s wedding. Such a cute idea for a wedding guest gift!

So simple and so delicious. I really do love this recipe. Comfort food at its best in my opinion. And, since this week has turned into a week of rest and staying off my feet, I believe I will be making the rest of the batch of French toast my mom and I made together last month for breakfast this weekend.

 

Freezer French Toast

Ingredients:

8 eggs

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 lb. loaf French bread

ground nutmeg

1/4 cup of butter, melted at time of cooking

powdered sugar (optional)

syrup (optional)

fruit (optional)

 

Make-ahead preparation:

Cut the bread into slices that are about 1 inch thick. Divide the slices onto two cookie sheets lined with foil or freezer paper and spray with oil, such as Pam. Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour half of the egg mixture over the slices with a large ladle and let it soak into the bread. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Turn the slices over and repeat. Freeze on the sheets uncovered until firm, about 2 to 3 hours. Wrap the slices individually in freezer paper, or possibly wax paper, and places into Ziplock bags. Label the bags with the date and place it in the freezer.

To serve:

Preheat the over to 450°F. Place your desired number of frozen slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each slice with melted butter. Bake for about 8 minutes. Flip the slices, brush with butter, and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Optional: serve with powdered sugar, syrup, and/or pieces of fruit.

 

 

Yours smiling,

Miss Mo.

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I am very surprised that I am writing on here today. I didn’t think I would be able to write an entry this week because I literally spent the past five days in bed. I haven’t even left the house since Monday night!

I kept wondering, “What can I write besides ‘I hate being sick.” Then, as my ability to think straight and to concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time started to return to me yesterday, I remembered that I did do something of note before this cold attacked me! And what will result is a little post about the past meeting the present…sort of.

 

Last weekend, a very good friend of mine from high school informed me that she was going to be in town for a few days with a friend of hers. We don’t get to see each other often anymore, so I eagerly cleared my Sunday in anticipation for her spending the day with her and her friend. We spent a couple hours catching up and reminiscing about things that happened in high school before heading over to a local park to watch the sunset. The view is great: the part of the park where we were is on top of a hill, so it overlooks the neighboring city and from certain areas, you can get a lovely view of the ocean in the distance as well. Here are a few of the pictures that I took:

Sunset

Moon Rising

After Sunset

The last of is by far my favorite. I love the colors of the sky, especially the blue gradient, how the sparse landscape accentuates the silhouette of the tree, and the singular star that was visible at the time.

I also liked the picture because it reminded me of a Harry & the Potters poster I bought in 2006 when I saw the band perform at a local library on my birthday. (Who wouldn’t want to see Harry & the Potters, the band that started the music genre of Wizard Rock, perform at a library on his/her birthday?! I am so cool! 😀 lol)

Unfortunately, the poster is lost somewhere in my room, and I am still too sick to care to find it at the moment. Luckily, I was able to find some photos I took of it. However, they weren’t the best: the pictures were crooked; the lighting is different in each of them, so the colors don’t quite match; and I only focused on the parts of the poster where the brothers signed, so I am missing the top part of the poster (basically, the tops of the trees). But, despite these issues, I stitched the two photos together, and here is the result:

Harry & the Potters 2006 Summer Tour Poster

I probably could have done a better job, such as trying to make the colors match before stitching the two photos together, but I’m sick. Pretty good excuse if you ask me. 😉 Nevertheless, I am sure you can see why the poster reminded me of my picture at the park.

 

Well, that is all for this week. Not much, but it will do. I am sad I was unable to try a new recipe or two out this week, but I banished myself from the kitchen because I was either a) too miserable to cook and/or b) too afraid of contaminating everything I touch with my germs. No progress on the writing front either: as I mentioned before, my concentration was shot because of my cold. C’est la vie~~~

Although I am on my way back to 100% now, the chances of me updating next week are very slim because I am going to Florida with my mom to visit my grandparents.

Not sure when it will be, but…until next time!

 

Yours smiling (& sneezing & sniffling),

Miss Mo.

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New Year, New Chances?

The first week of 2012 is officially ending in about an hour (it’s 10:45pm on Saturday, January 7th now, but it will probably be past midnight and technically the start of a new week by the time I post this). I haven’t really given too much thought into resolutions because I know I will have a hard time keeping them. I always do. ^ ^ But!, I have a pretty legitimate excuse, which is two-thirds the reason why I haven’t written on here in months: I am currently researching for and writing my thesis for my MA in Asian Studies. I knew it would be time consuming, but I don’t think I realized just how time consuming it would be until I had started! (The last third is because I was in Europe for 5 weeks without reliable computer access over the summer and then I was depressed because I had to have my cat of 16 years, Coco, put down the day after my birthday, which was about 5 days after returning home from Europe… R.I.P. <3)

 

While I am not stressing out over my thesis, there are a few resolutions I hope to keep up with & a few that might just be a dream. Here they are: 

  • Write more often (creatively)
  • Cook more often (though sweets are on hold for a bit because apparently I made too many over the holidays, according to my mom). I am already doing good on this one—I have tried two new recipes this past week: eggnog pudding & a makeshift ‘Mexican’ bean salad based on what was in the refrigerator and pantry: 

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Eggnog Pudding

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Mexican Bean Salad

  • Write a blog entry a week, with the exception of being on vacation because internet access may not be guaranteed (e.g. when I go to Florida in 10 days)
  • Write a novel before my next birthday, which is about 6.5 months or so from now
  • Sing more often and maybe put some videos online, even if it’s only for family & friends
  • Figure out a way to (get money to) go to Japan to do some original research for my thesis
  • Live a healthier life (e.g. drink more water, eat smaller portions, exercise more often, etc.)

Yep. Not sure how those will go, but I will try my best!

 

To end this week one post, here are some photos of some of the sweet things I cooked in 2011 (I tried picking pictures of the savory dishes as well, but the sweets pictures were nicer & concentrating on one helped the process of narrowing down the pictures~ lol) & a photo in memoriam of Coco: 

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Mini Cheesecakes with Peanut Butter Cup Center & Chocolate Shavings

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Microwaveable Orange-Scented Sponge Cake with Chocolate & Raspberry Sauces

 

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Stained Glass Window Cookies

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Mini Cranberry & Cream Cheese Pastries

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I tried quite a few Cake-In-A-Mug/Mug Cake variations in 2011. This one is a gingerbread cake.

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For Christmas, my mom taught me how to make Bûche de Noël.

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Peppermint Meringue Kisses with a Chocolate Surprise

And finally, 

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Coco, 1995 - 2011. I was so lucky to have you in my life. I miss you & love you & think of you all the time. R.I.P. ❤

 

Hopefully 2012 will be full of great new experiences & memories! 

 

Yours smiling, 

Miss Mo.

 

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Coco & I

 

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First: Of Friends.

Recently, two very good friends of mine have celebrated their 25th, or quarter-of-a-century, birthdays.

Sometimes it feels like it wasn’t too long ago that I was passing the days in high school with them.  Now, we are working/in graduate school/still trying to figure things out.

When did the time pass by?

The most important thing, though, is that I am happy to have them in my life and glad to celebrate with them.

My friend Miss Elisa received some of the coolest presents at her party, such as this mug and pair of sunglasses:

Fancy Sunglasses & Mustache Mug

I really want a mustache mug now, but one for lefties. This one is a right-handed mug. How can I tell? If I tried to drink from it with my left hand, the mustache wouldn’t be facing outwards as it is supposed to. Where’s the fun in that?

For my friend Monika’s party, I arrived early in case she needed help setting up. This resulted in a determination to make a beautiful toothpick arrangement for the chocolate fountain. I was quite proud of the result, and told people so, which is probably why no one wanted to mess it up. Instead they just used their fingers. Oh well. ^ ^

Toothpick Arrangement

And then I moved onto organizing the cookies I brought…

Cookie Arrangement

It’s things like this that demonstrate my hostess prep skill as well as why I get so stressed before hosting an event of my own..! lol

OH!, and my friend Kristina made flaming cupcakes for the party. I’ll have to try that sometime—I’ll add it to my mental “Recipes to Test” file.

Flaming Cupcake!

I made her promise to make Panda Bread with me sometime in the near future. When that happen, I will definitely post photos of the result! 😉

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Second: Of Mothers.

Just sending out a “Happy Mother’s Day” message out there to all mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and mother figures.

I appreciate my mom for all that she has done for me and love her for it even more.

Thank you for everything. I love you. ♥

Me & My Mom, circa 2 years of age.

Yours smiling,

Miss Mo.

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