Visiting from Beverly Hills to Buena Parks with My Mother in Law

When my mother in law was visiting us from Japan last year in December 2015, we decided to take her to a famous shopping center in Beverly Hills, California called Rodeo Drive after taking her to the local beaches. My mother in law wanted to buy some coffee at a store called Nespresso because she recently bought a coffee maker from this company and needed more refills. She found out that the refills were much cheaper than what she was purchasing from Japan so she was very happy. 145565906187707-1145565906187707 145565906187707-2

We took a nice stroll around Rodeo drive. Here are the photos we took. It was around Christmas time so you can see the holiday theme all over the place.

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After Beverly Hills, we went to Buena Park in Orange County to see the Titanic and Bodies Exhibition, which was also very interesting. We learned a lot about the Titanic ship and many scientific terms in the Bodies exhibit. I thought it was nice for my mother in law to see the affects of cigarettes on our lungs because she was in the process of quitting smoking. I also learned that many people passed away from the Titanic because of hypothermia rather than drowning. There has been more discoveries about the Titanic since new technologies have allowed divers and submarines to go to deeper depths and research how and why the Titanic failed. 
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Visiting the Local Beaches with My Mother in Law

Last year in December 2015, my mother in law visited us from Japan around Christmas time. We were originally going to visit her in Japan, but since I was pregnant, we decided it was best for her to come to us. We wanted to take her around to as many places possible since every time she comes to California, we rarely have time to do any sightseeing because there is so much other things to complete on our agenda. For example, when she came to visit us two years ago, we had our wedding and so we didn’t have time to take her around after our wedding except for a couple of places. The first beach we went to visit was Redondo Beach, California which is right in our backyard. It was very cold outside, but she really enjoyed the view and watching people play volleyball till sundown.

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The next beach we went to visit on another day was Venice beach, California. There is a famous outside gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to body build. My mother in law really enjoyed the unique culture in Venice Beach. There are many different stores selling variety of things from marijuana to sunglasses. We enjoyed people watching and buying fried foods. Here are some photos of the outside gym.

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Here are more photos of Venice Beach. They have a museum, basketball courts, tennis courts, graffiti art space, bike/segway rentals and many more recreational things to do right on the beach.

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DIY Maternity Clothes

Maternity clothes can get expensive so I decided to create my own by putting together what was given to me and what I already had. I decided to cut the leggings that I had and sewed the belly bands that were given to me as gifts from my family. It was perfect match and I am 23 weeks so it has worked for me this far. Here is a close up photo of my not so good sewing skills. I don’t have a sewing machine so I sewed with my hand, but it was quick and easy for anyone to do.

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Here is the final product!

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Here is me wearing one!

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Our Trip into the Snowy Forest of Sequoia National Park!

My husband and I decided to take a trip to the Sequoia National Park in California for Thanksgiving last year in 2015. My husband has always wanted to see the giant Sequoia trees that have lived for thousands of years. I was a bit worried about the trip because I was still in my first trimester and had the worst morning sickness. However, the trip turned out to be the best relief for my morning sickness. I don’t know if it was combination of the high altitude and the cold weather, but I had no urges of vomiting. It was the best feeling ever, plus I was able to enjoy my vacation with my husband. We left Los Angeles, California pretty late so we arrived close to midnight to Grant Grove Cabins inside the Sequoia National Park. It was a bit scary on the way to cabins because it was very dark on the narrow roads where the elevation was around 1,400–2,150 meters (4,600–7,050 feet). Also, it started snowing heavily, which we were not prepared for. Here are some photos we took inside the cabin when we finally arrived safety. It was so warm and cozy inside so we slept well.

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When we woke up and peeked outside our cabin, the snow had piled high on the roofs and everything was white and beautiful.

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We wanted to rush out and get on the road again to see the famous General Sherman tree, but we were told that it was not safe to travel without snow chains. We had never put on snow chains on our own so it was a bit of a task, but we managed to put it on our tires to get on the rode.

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After we finished putting on the snow chains, we decided to take some photos of the magnificent Sequoia trees that were right outside our cabin. Here are some photos we took.

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We got a bit lost on the way to the famous General Sherman tree, which is known to be the largest Sequioa tree in the national forest, but also the biggest tree by volume in the entire world. Based on some research, the tree is around 2,000 years old. It is said that the largest trees don’t necessary equate to the oldest trees in the forest. Here is the photo of us in front of the General Sherman tree.

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There was a hiking trail around the forest that lead to the General Sherman tree so we were able to learn about how Sequoia trees adapt and survive for thousands of years. I found it fascinating how Sequoia trees need forest fires to survive. These forest fires help Sequoia trees grow stronger while the weaker trees that compete for sun, water, and soil are killed in the forest fires. You would think these forest fires would do significant damage to the Sequoia trees to the point that they wouldn’t grow, but the trees still survive from the hottest forest fires. I felt that what Sequoia trees experience is what we humans experience. We need obstacles and challenges in our lives to become stronger. Just like the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger” or something along those lines. Also the forest fires leave ash on the soil that becomes great fertilizers for the cones from the Sequoia trees to open and seed into more Sequoia trees. Here is a photo inside a Sequoia tree. You can see how charcoaled the bark is, but still growing strong.

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Here are more photos of Sequoia trees. This photo is a cross section of a sequoia tree and an explanation of it’s story in the lines and holes of the tree.

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There were also Sequoia trees that have fallen on its own and have been hollowed out by man or by nature. Either way, they were amazing to walk under and observe closely how these trees have grown from small seeds into large trees that have lived for thousands of years. 
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This quote from John Muir reminds us what nature can always teach us. I was fortunate to be able to  witness such beauty. It really does put into perspective of how we live our lives.

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Our Usual Dinner Date

Tonight, my husband and I were craving ramen so we ate at the Ramen Shack. We always explore new ramen places since there are so many near our home catering to the Japanese community. Here are some photos we took of the ramen we ate. I usually order shosu ramen of some kind at all the ramen places and my husband always orders a variation of spicy miso ramen.

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After ramen, we felt like drinking tea and coffee so we decided to go to Urth Caffe in Santa Monica, California. They are known for their organic teas and coffees. Although they had some pastries, we decided to pass this time and order only drinks. I ordered the cold organic green tea boba and my husband ordered hot organic green tea. My husband really liked the design on his green tea that he had a hard time drinking from it. The green tea was not too sweet and we tasted the fine bitter taste of green tea flavor, which was just right for us. 
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Hubby’s Birthday Celebration

Last year on September 2015, I decided to take my husband to dinner and tour for his birthday on the Queen Mary  in Long Beach, California. The Queen Mary retired from traveling all over the world on December 9, 1967 after air travel became more accessible. The ship is now a hotel and used for many events such as business conferences and weddings. There are many well-known restaurants inside the ship. I knew my husband would enjoy the view from the Queen Mary hotel and the historical tour inside the ship that we took before eating dinner. The view on the ship was absolutely stunning and it was really relaxing to sit and watch the calm waters of Long Beach.

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Before the tour on the ship, we had some time to spare so we decided to order an appetizer at the Observation Bar inside the Queen Mary. When we entered the bar, we felt like we went back into time because of the atmosphere and how the bar was well maintained from the time it was built. We really enjoyed the view from the bar and the food. The pita chips were very warm and the spinach dip was rich in flavor. It was the perfect snack before dinner.

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After the tour, we ate dinner at the Sir Winston inside of Queen Mary. Again, the space was romantic and we enjoyed the view from where we sat. I liked the curtains and the chairs at the restaurant because it reminded me so much of the Titanic movie where the first class passengers enjoyed their exquisite meals. We ordered a salad with blue cheese, scallops and shrimps. I loved the presentation of the food and it made the food even more appetizing to eat. They also served us sorbet after the appetizer to refresh our palate before eating the main course.

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After dinner, we toured the rest of the ship on our own. We enjoyed learning more about the history of Queen Mary and observing the models of different ships. During the tour, they mentioned that there were ghosts walking up and down the hallways. The Queen Mary has many haunted tours for the visitors especially around Halloween. I’m not sure how much I believe in ghosts, but I’m sure they profit from promoting ghosts tours for entertainment. Either way, our night at the Queen Mary was very memorable and I was happy my husband was able to enjoy his special day here.

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NY Food Photos!

Sorry, I am going backwards with my blog. When I was cleaning out my photo folder, I realized that I still had some photos from my cellphone that I didn’t upload to my blog. So here are some left over photos from our trip to New York. The photos you see below are some meals I made at the studio my husband and I stayed. During the week, I cooked dinner to save money. During the weekend, my husband and I explored the city and ate at some amazing restaurants.

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This dish is chicken with pineapples that I cooked in the oven as well. I added some spices on the top of the pineapples. IMG_1552.CR2

The next photos are places we visited over the weekend. We went to a Korean restaurant where the owner’s mother made homemade dishes. The fried rice and curry was delicious! Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the place. I wish I had written it down somewhere ;(

 

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The photos below are from a restaurant called Cocoron. They were voted as the best Japanese soba place in New York. We had to try the place since they didn’t have one in Los Angeles, Ca.. The soba was so good. The soup was rich in flavor and we wanted to have more soba noodles to dip into the soup. IMG_4189IMG_4191

And lastly, we ended the night with a nice ice cream sandwich because why not? I love red velvet anything, but I especially love it with ice cream so it was perfect. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the place I bought the ice cream sandwich. I need to make a better effort keeping track of where I am getting my food. IMG_4194

I’m Pregnant!

Last year in October 2015, my husband and I found out that I was pregnant. We didn’t know that I would get pregnant so quickly since we heard from many people around us who have struggled to get pregnant naturally and I was not always a healthy individual. We had plans to try from January 2016, but it happened before that time, but we are still happy with the news.

Here is the photo of when I first discovered I was pregnant! I missed my period by 2 days when I took this test.

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I also calculated my due date when I found out that I was pregnant. I am due on June 30, 2016!

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Around the time I found out that I was pregnant, I was having a really hard time at my new job and was debating whether or not I should continue to work there even though I just started 3 months ago. However, I decided to quit my job to focus on my pregnancy. I have always been a workaholic so I knew that I couldn’t have a healthy pregnancy unless I made a dramatic decision. In the past, I took numerous trips to the hospital due to migraines and severe backaches. I know it was all due to stress and anxiety from work. I was also not eating well and lost significant amount of weight to the point where the doctor put me on a strict diet to keep me from losing more weight. Once I decided to quit my job, I dedicated myself to eating better and trying yoga. I always had the desire to, but never made it my priority since I felt that I would never have the time. Here are pictures of me when I was finally gaining a healthier weight and doing yoga. I was only 6 weeks in these photos.

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Around 8 weeks of my pregnancy, I almost had a miscarriage which was very difficult for me since I was committed to becoming healthy for my baby. I kept blaming myself for not being healthier way before my baby was conceived, but I realized that we can’t control miscarriages when they happen. Fortunately, we were ok and we did not miscarry. Here are photos of my trip to the hospital.

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After our hospital visit, I went to visit my OB-GYN and she confirmed that my baby was still in my belly. I was so relieved and happy to see a photo of my baby.

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During the first 3 months of my pregnancy, I experienced extreme nausea. I would vomit every other week and the only way I kept food down was if I ate small portions and had my organic pops and sour patches. I tried so many things to relieve my nausea and nothing worked except for constantly eating small snacks and sucking on my candy.

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This is a photo of my second month of pregnancy, I started to show a little bump. People often mistaken it for me being bloated from eating a large meal rather than being pregnant.

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Later in my third month of pregnancy, I took a pre screening test for genetic abnormalities for my baby. It was my worst fear when I got a call from the doctor telling me that my baby was in the high-risk category for down syndrome. They needed to take further tests to confirm their diagnosis. I really tried to stay strong, but my husband was my backbone when I heard the news. I started to blame myself again for not being healthy enough for my baby. My husband and I did a lot of research on the tests that were taken to make the initial diagnosis and what happens when infants have genetic disorders such as down syndrome. As we researched more, I was more calm and we both decided that we would pray. We both realized that our baby will not suffer because he or she has down syndrome, but will suffer if we do not accept our baby no matter how he or she is born. We would embrace our child no matter what health condition he or she is in and love unconditionally.

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Thankfully, we got a call after taking another test confirming that we were not in the high risk category for down syndrome. Either way, we promised each other that we will continue to pray for our baby’s health and happiness and love him or her unconditionally. Here is a photo of me reaching my 12 weeks of pregnancy. “Yamachan” was the nickname we had for our baby until we found out the gender of our baby.

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Here is a photo of the ultrasound at 12 weeks. Our baby is growing so fast!

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Since my husband’s mother was visiting from Japan around the time I was 3 months pregnant, we decided to get a sonogram for her to see the baby inside me during my 15 weeks of pregnancy. I was happy that she was able to see the pictures, but I regret having gone through it because I read articles that we should not do unnecessary ultrasound for the baby’s safety. Here are the photos of the place we went to.

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Here is photo when I was into my 4th month of pregnancy.

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Since doing a lot of research, I decided that I wanted to give birth at a birth center. I was not comfortable enough to give birth at home and the hospital setting gives me anxiety since I have always associated the hospital with all my illnesses. I wanted to have control over my body and be in a calm and relaxing environment when my baby was born. Here are some photos of birth centers we visited in Los Angeles, Ca. .
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Finally, here is the most updated ultrasound photo at my 16 week pregnancy appointment and they confirmed that we are having a girl!!! Yay!! My husband really wanted a girl so his wish came true 😉

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Fast forwarding to today, I am now almost 6 months pregnant and I am having a healthy baby girl so I am so fortunate to have come this far.

 

 

 

 

Our Wedding Anniversaries of 2015 and 2016

My husband and I have two wedding anniversaries that we celebrate each year. One is when we got officially married in the courthouse with our immediate families in February and the second one is when we had our wedding ceremony and reception with our friends, relatives and family in October. When we celebrated our wedding anniversary in October 2015, we went to Chart House restaurant in Redondo Beach, CA.. The Chart House is where we had our ceremony and reception. It was a nice way to remind us of our special day at the restaurant.

For dinner at the Chart House, I ordered the Coconut Crunchy Shrimp and my husband ordered the Prime Rib- Chart House Cut. The dishes were both amazing.

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For dessert, we had a creme brulee with a cute little candle. It was a nice way to end our romantic evening reminding each other why we got married to each other.

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For this year, we celebrated both Valentine’s Day and our wedding anniversary of our courthouse date in February. My husband decided on a classy restaurant called Chef Melba’s Bistro in Hermosa Beach, CA.. He found the place based on its Zagat reviews. What’s great about this place is that it serves very fresh ingredients based on the season so their menu changes frequently. Here are some photos of the place.

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For appetizers, we ordered a Seasonal Ceviche -Lemon Criollo, Red Onion Shavings, Cilantro leaves with raw scallops. The sauce was medium heat and it added a nice spice to the scallops. The ceviche mix added a nice fresh flavor to the scallops.

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For the main course, I ordered large prawns and my husband ordered lobster tail. They were both deliciously cooked. I don’t know what kind of sauce they used, but they enhanced the fresh seafood flavor.

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For dinner, we actually went to a frozen yogurt place since I was craving frozen yogurt for a really long time. Anywase, I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s day as we did! 😉

Double Date at Hey 19

My husband and I met up with our friends. We decided to eat at a restaurant called Hey 19  in our local area. The restaurant had great reviews on yelp and we have been wanting to try the place for awhile. Here are pictures of the place.

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I ordered pasta called Froo Froo Pasta, it has local shrimp, meyer lemon, chives, kale & goat cheese tossed with orrichette. The waitress recommended the dish, but I didn’t really like the dish because it tasted mostly of goat cheese. However, my friends and my husband really enjoyed their meals.

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My friend ordered the Pan Seared Barramundi, which has caramelized shallot, buerre blanc, button mushroom & spinach sautee.

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My husband ordered the Big Ben which consists of stacked mac n cheese croquette, 1/2 lb. sterling silver burger patty, bacon, 19made country gravy, egg, garlic sambal, and chives. His dish was the best out of all of our dishes.

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