Friday, July 24, 2015

Dropping In...

Hello to all my dearest readers!  Wanted to drop in and let you know how my summer is going.  All I can say is, HEAVENLY!!!!!  Not being in school is practically the best thing that has ever happened to me (well, besides Brandon and the rest of my family and friends, of course :P).  Too bad this happiness and minimal stress will only last for a mere two more months.  I will be back in school this fall.  But enough about the future.  What have I been up to with all this free time?

Weeeeellllll.... let me tell you.... A large portion of my summer has been spent recovering.  Literally. WARNING...this paragraph is going to sound really negative and wallowing in self-pity, so just skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to hear it. School had me so stressed out that I was beginning to have trouble breathing toward the end of the quarter. I began to have these anxiety attacks and then my breathing would get all shallow.  It really felt as though I would pass out whenever one of these episodes came about. Thinking about school and homework too hard seemed to trigger it.  One time, it even happened in the middle of class as the teacher was talking about something that didn't make sense to me in the least (he was a sweet guy but really went off on these tangents that made absolutely no sense).  Those closest to me know of my extremely high standards when it comes to school, and how much I care if my grades don't reflect the hard work I put into it.  I let it get to me so badly that I lost hours and hours of sleep, and not to mention pushed myself way past my limits of sanity.  Before long, these attacks would happen even as I tried to relax.  It was annoying to lie down only to feel like there was no air in my lungs, and the hypochondriac in me thought that I might have asthma.  That is when I realized that I hadn't exercised for a long time - since starting my Accounting program six months before.  Part of it was because I put on quite a bit of weight and none of my dresses fit me anymore.  Turns out stress can do that to you as well, especially combined with never exercising.

After school ended, there was somewhat a sense of relief, but my breathing problems still continued, for a good few weeks.  Then, Brandon and I went to Utah for five days for my little sister's wedding. We had a blast spending time with my siblings.  Brandon flew home two days before I did, but on my last day, I had an AMAZING hike with my mom in the beautiful Utah mountains, and honestly it was a big highlight of my trip.  Not only was it really fun to catch up with her one-on-one, but I was reminded of just how much I missed the endorphins that hiking and other exercise can give you.  When I got home, I immediately packed some dumbbells into my work backpack (I already had a yoga mat at work that I never used, really).  I decided to allocate my lunch break for exercising from now on.  It has made all the difference.  My breathing problems have gone away completely.  Also, I have more energy now.  I can't say I fit into my dresses yet, but this didn't happen to me overnight and it isn't going to be resolved in a couple of short weeks - it may even take a couple of months.  For now, I live in leggings and a t-shirt, and my mom got me some new dresses that I can wear for the time being.  (THANKS MOM <3)

In other news, Brandon and I went on a pioneer trek for church.  We were asked to be the "Ma and Pa" of about ten kids. HAHA!!! We do consider ourselves to be outdoorsy, but only up to a certain extent.  We were supposed to pull a handcart, cook with dutch ovens, make a tent out of wood boards and some tarp, and keep up with the youth - all while wearing pioneer clothes...FOR 3 DAYS.  Oh my!  But it did turn out to be fun.  The kids were so cool, and I really liked all of them.  They helped to make the food at night, and not one of them complained or acted disrespectful.  I have lots of funny stories about the whole experience, but this blog post is getting kinda long.  I will say, that we had to cross a river, twice.  At one point, it was so deep that it reached my chest, and the current was so strong that I was literally floating away from my group.  That was really scary.  Also, we weren't skilled enough to get the tarp tents to stay up, so we all just ended up sleeping under the stars.  I saw tons of shooting stars and it was so beautiful!  In the end, I had a sunburnt nose, and Brandon had all these grotesque bug bites around his ankles.  We were eager to get back to our shower and soft bed.  Having said that, it was cool to have the opportunity to do that together.

At the moment, I have been catching up on some summer reading.  The library is my best friend these days.  I am re-reading a book from my childhood, "Summer of My German Soldier," and I am taking on Maeve Binchy's "Tara Road."  I also finally got around to reading, "The Fault in Our Stars."  Brandon is working his tail off on a hard work project at the moment, and I don't envy him at all.  Poor thing.  But I am proud of him and how hard he works so that our life is great.  Nabi the cat is as stuck up yet adorable, as usual.  I have a few pictures of him to share! YAY!

 Nabee's favorite place to curl up and have a snooze - right by Brandon's gym stuff.

 Nabee spying on us.  He hides behind the blinds, then pokes his head out the other side and really thinks we can't see him. LOL!

Nabee loves to hang out on the windowsill, but this day was so hot, he fell asleep from his laziness! WOW! I never saw that happen before. haha.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Talk to you soon! xoxox

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Break!!!

Hello loyal readers. I wanted to take this opportunity to blog since I don't have class for ten more days.  I got a few emails from some friends asking me when I will be writing my next post. One of them in particular was super thoughtful (and you know who you are! <3)Thank you so much for the kind emails I have been getting, it makes me happy to know that people like reading about our lives. Brandon has also been asking me when is the last time I blogged, and said I really should upload some pictures of our past few trips we have taken.  He is so right.  I have a lot to say actually since it has been so long.

 My first quarter at school has been so so so challenging.  I have had anxiety and trouble sleeping at night because of the stress.  Brandon said the other night I actually started screaming (like horror movie screaming) in my sleep and I wouldn't stop.  How creepy, huh? Yes, this was during finals week. Can't say that has ever happened before.  The funniest part is that I do not recall this happening in the slightest.  But yeah, this is University life for you.  I made a bunch of super nice friends, despite any stress experienced.  Really cool people that I have been able to connect with. I have also had some super annoying experiences that have affected my final grade in one of my classes but let's not even go there. It's over and I am FREE! Free for ten days.

What do I want to do for those ten days?  Well the original plan was to find old games from the 90's and play them on my computer to revisit my childhood.  Such games include Rodent's Revenge, Monkey Island, Chips Challenge, Tetris, Mahjong, Freecell, Klotski, Skifree, Bow and Arrow, The Playroom, Number Munchers, and Oregon Trail.  Am I too old for that?  Maybe.  Do I care?  Not in the slightest.  Time for some mindlessness.... Bwahaha!!! Actually that plan didn't work out because it turns out that those games don't even exist anymore without downloading a bunch of viruses on your computer, which I am not willing to do.  But I do have Chips Challenge. :-)

And now, for my photo dump!  I have gone on a few trips since we spoke last.  Those who are friends with me on Facebook might have already seen a couple of these photos already but that's ok!

So our first trip we took was to Utah (of course) to see my sister Sarah, since she just got back from her LDS mission to New Jersey a while ago.  This is me and Brandon on the plane.  We bought those neck pillows from the airport since we have been wanting them for a while.  Mine is soooo my favorite. Polka dots are the best. Well, for some reason I don't have any of my Utah pictures uploaded on my computer besides this one.  But just to give you a quick summary of what we did (oh my gosh, I sound like I am writing a book report LOL! Too much school!!!!) Ok anyway.... basically all we did was hang out with our family.  I had so much fun seeing my Aunt and Uncle and little cousins from South Africa for the first time in 7 years - We even went on a little hike with them.  I had loads of fun with my sister Kaelyn's cute babies.  We even made some time to see my friends, DeeDee, Lara and Mary, and their husbands David and James.  I seriously love them to death.  Wish they all lived next door to me in Washington.  Why must Utah be so far away!!!??? T.T

Ok so this next one I already posted on Facebook, but Brandon "surprised" me with a road trip to Vancouver.  It was funny, because he wanted it to be a surprise but about a week before the trip came up he was on autopilot and we had the following conversation:

Brandon: So, are you excited to go to Vancouver?
Me (also on autopilot for a minute): Yes.  Wait.... what???? We are going to Vancouver?
Brandon: Oh wait!!! DANG IT!!! That was supposed to be a surprise for Valentines day.  DANGIT!!
Me: *laughing my head off*

Anyway, we are in love with Vancouver, and have been there several times.  If you want to know what to do when you go there, just trust me when I say that there is all the Japanese food your heart could possibly desire there.  But actually our food experiences were not the best this trip.  Think of burned food and stingy portions.  YYYYeah... that happened.  But there was lots of other great stuff that we did enjoy.

One place that never disappoints us is Nando's.  It is actually South African food and they totally don't have it in Washington so we go to Vancouver especially to eat this.  Also, no trip to Canada would be complete without having junk food that you can't get too easily in the U.S. which you can find at any store in Canada.  Ketchup chips.... I know I have mentioned them before, but seriously these things are addictive.  And it has to be Old Dutch brand, no other brand is the same.  Wine gums and Smarties are mainly nostalgic for me.  Brandon doesn't care to eat candy (he is a little more health conscious than me at times) so I just eat candy that reminds me of being a kid.

Next, we got Thai massages.  I am happy to recommend this place Smile Thai Wellness to anyone in this world.  Go to Vancouver, and book the 90 minute massage. It is SOOOO worth it.  Afterwards we were so flexible that we could both touch our toes without bending our knees.  This is BRANDON we are talking about.  He could never do that before.  So anyway, please, just do yourself a favor and go there.  The atmosphere is really nice too, and the workers are very professional.  And you get to wear fisherman's pants and a nice flowy top while you get your massage.  I was going to post a picture of me and Brandon wearing them, but I really just don't like how my facial expression was in the picture LOL.  So maybe next time.

Next, we went to Granville Island.  I am telling you, this place is worth a visit.  We didn't end up going to Stanley Park, although we wish we did, since time was short for the trip.  But Granville Island had the BEST market.  I would say it is better than Pike's Place Market (just my personal opinion).  I had fresh squeezed grapefruit juice there and yummy smoked salmon to snack on.  Oh my gosh it was so good.  There was just good food everywhere, plus it is really family friendly there.  They even have a whole market for kids and a pond where kids can feed ducks and everything.  We enjoyed it immensely and are DEFINITELY going to make this a regular stop whenever we visit Vancouver. Oh, you see that heart-shaped tart in the picture?  Brandon got me that from Whole Foods on the way back home.  It was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

Our next little adventure was that Brandon's cousin Jennifer came to see us and we went to Seattle to have dinner at a Tom Douglas restaurant called Etta's.  Oh baby!!! It was really tasty.  The fries in the picture were super thin and hand-cut and had lime drizzled on them (My mouth is watering just thinking about it).  By the way, Jennifer has the BEST taste when it comes to food, so I always trust any restaurant she wants to go to.  What I ordered at Etta's was crab cakes.  My only complaint is that it is so expensive for the portion size argh.  Nowadays that seems to bug me a lot.  I have an appetite okay?  So when I go get a fancy dinner I don't like to leave slightly hungry.  So the food was good there but my favorite Tom Douglas restaurant is still Palace Kitchen.

A couple weeks later, Brandon and I went to Nevada and met up with Jennifer again and our other cousin Benjamin.  I wish I could say I spent time with everyone but the truth is I was studying the whole time for finals week. See?  This is me documenting the trip.  Notice all the textbooks and notebooks lying on the bed behind me.  So I was just cooped up in there for most of the trip but Brandon rescued me several times and took me out to eat and to hang out with our cousins.  We usually stay at Silverton whenever we go to Vegas.  It is definitely not high end but it is never crowded and their food is pretty darn incredible.  I love getting Gelato and Mexican Food and also eating at their cafe (which has both amazing waffles, fresh fruit, and sandwiches).  Does anyone else think my arm looks disturbing in this picture? haha!! We also went out to eat with Brandon's dad and grandma and a few other family members.  And we went to Lotus of Siam with Benjamin and Jennifer too, where I got the best crispy duck with mint and chili flakes seasoning it, OH MY GOSH but again, small portions.

When I was feeling particularly sick of studying, Brandon decided to take me on a little mini date to Excalibur, to the arcade!  And we played some games and tried to win some giant stuffed animals.  There is the game where you throw rings around a bottle (much harder than it looks) and a game where you throw balls that have to land on colored cups.  Brandon won the size Large prize!!! But we didn't like the options as much so we asked for a size medium, because they had Domo and Hello Kitty in a lot of different colors (much cuter than Despicable Me characters that we already have tons of and the creepy looking stuffed squirrel).  We picked Domo because I have tons of Hello Kitty at home already.

Just as we were walking away from the arcade triumphantly, I saw these stuffed "lucky cats" and really wanted them.  To win these, you have to throw a ball into a basket, which is really hard to do. But the girl gave us a tip (if you hit the rim of the basket, the ball will land in the basket).  So Brandon won it for me! YAY!  Best husband ever!!!!

The best part about the stuffed cat is it didn't fit in our suitcase, unlike Domo.  So anyway we had to take it on the plane with us.  I thought this picture was so funny of how the cat was totally crowding into Brandon's personal space. That was a really full flight.  I was so happy to have this cat to use as a pillow on the way home from Vegas.

And now.... no Panda and Lion post is complete without a few pictures of Nabi the cat!!! Actually, apparently it is spelled like Nabee, according to Brandon's mom, so I will just spell his name like that from now on. ^_^

Nabee was trying to rest, and I kept disturbing him. LOL! Look how upset he looks!!!

And I saved the best for last.... Brandon always falls asleep when Nabee wants to cuddle.  And sometimes Nabee is ridiculous and doesn't care if he is lying down on your neck like a scarf, HAHA!!! I could not resist capturing this picture.

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

It has been a super busy past few months.  I know I seem to say that a lot but it really has been true.  I officially got my Associates degree and look forward to starting my Accounting program at UW on Monday. YAY!  Some good news is that I got a couple of scholarships!!! Brandon and I have had a wonderful time during the holidays and I just wanted to write about a little bit of it.

Firstly, I had my two youngest sisters, Kristen and Rachel, come and visit us for Thanksgiving.  It was so amazing and I wish I could have those two around all the time.  We didn't get to do anything outdoorsy because it was too rainy while they were here, but we did lots of shopping.

The week before Christmas, we went to Portland just for fun.  We didn't eat at the food carts for once, but instead ate at Chipotle (Brandon's absolute favorite place these days) and went to the famous Saturday Market.  At the market, we ate organic empanadas and we also went shopping and I bought two of my DREAM dresses from H&M.  I am sure I will feature those in pictures soon.

For Christmas, I was super spoiled.  I got lots of new makeup from Lancome, jewelry, chocolates, clothes, new Nikes, a FitBit Zip, and on top of that did some shopping with Brandon.  I also got Downton Abbey on BluRay which is kind of a huge deal! lol.  In fact I received so many great gifts that were not even mentioned at all. I got Brandon some unique kitchen gadgets (A fish-shaped Taiyaki pan, and some fun Bento box stuff) and some new Nikes and we also went shopping for some other stuff he has been wanting.

Our new running shoes.  Don't they look cute?  Makes me more motivated to actually use them.

Just for fun, here are a couple of pictures of Nabi on our mantle while I was decorating it.  Since then, I added a couple of gorgeous nutcrackers and tiny cypress trees next to the mini Christmas tree.  Hard to explain, but, it looked awesome.

He loves to sniff around whenever something new is in our house.

And he also has to look at everything disapprovingly... lol.

One of my best friends, DeeDee, stayed over at our house the other day.  I had her all to myself the whole day. We went to the mall and also went on a wintry walk.  It was really nice to catch up with her. :-)

For New Years Eve we were so tired that we didn't do anything.  We just went to bed.  But today we had a blast and went out with Brandon's mom and grandma and went grocery and clothes shopping.  We love going to Asian stores together!  I know that might sound funny but it is one of my favorite things ever.  It is so relaxing for me to walk around at grocery stores. We also went out to lunch at a Korean restaurant and to a few Korean bakeries and picked up Korean pastries that would make anyone swoon.  Let's just say Brandon and I definitely overate today....

My mom was kind enough to send me a sourdough bread start from Czechoslovakia (this start dates all the way back to 1912!) for Christmas. We named the first jar of start "Yeastov" and the second jar "Yeastel" haha.  Yeastov already overflowed because I neglected to check on him for several hours.  Just now, I baked my first loaf of bread. It tasted pretty epic but I accidentally cooked it too long and it got a little bit overly crispy.  Oh well.  Lesson learned!!!  Next time it will be perfect.

Hopefully this coming year I will be better about blogging.  I hate neglecting it for so long and then just popping back in like nothing happened.  Like, do I even have any followers any more? haha.  Oh well.  Sorry for the prolonged silence.  I think I just need to set a goal to blog once a month.  12 times in one year is not too much to ask, right?  ^___^

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

Thursday, December 4, 2014

School School School

Just so you know, I am indeed alive.  Sorry for the three month hiatus.  It is going to continue a little bit longer on account of school. This means a lot to me so I have to put a lot of effort into it.  A little bit of an update, but.... I got accepted into the program I wanted at UW!!!! :-) Accounting.... for those of you that know me that may come as a bit of a shock that I would ever choose this path, but I am pretty happy about it. I will have to show you my Hello Kitty stuffed animal that is wearing a UW T-shirt! It looks like the one below (I am using an image from UW bookstore's website)

Brandon got it for me at the UW bookstore :-)  haha.  Well, if want to follow me and what I am up to (in some form) I am still updating my pretty Tumblr blog just about every day.

CLICK HERE to check it out.

Ashleigh Son

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Birthday and Detoxing

Hello everyone!  This past weekend was my 26th birthday.  Brandon made sure it was a very special occasion. :-)  I took the day off from work, since I haven't done that in about 3 years.  Brandon got me a salad spinner, which I have REALLY been wanting pretty much since the day we got married.  He also got me a Clarisonic Mia 2 skin brush - which I have only been using for a week but I am SO ADDICTED to it.  My skin feels much smoother and everything.  He also got me an H&M gift card seeing as that is my favorite store ever.

The salad spinner and Clarisonic!  Pretty pink one too!  What makes this so romantic is that I mentioned one time over a year ago as we walked past a Clarisonic stand in the mall that I would love to have a Clarisonic some day, and will get around to it eventually (aka I would never buy it for myself because I have other more important/pressing things to purchase) and he remembered it after all this time.  I was so surprised.  You should have seen the look on my face.

On top of that, Brandon's mom got me this BEAUTIFUL jade bracelet with matching earrings.  Jade has got to be one of my top three favorites when it comes to jewelry.  It is so beautiful and can come in many different colors.

I also got a surprise gift in the mail from one of my best friends in the universe, DeeDee!  She got me these beautiful earrings!  They are so adorable.

Then, Brandon took me to Snoqualmie Falls for a hike.  It was so beautiful, and the weather was perfect.

I am really immature, but this sign made me laugh on the trail.

This was the bottom of the falls.  Such a lovely view.

Me and my love! <3

We also played in the river next to Snoqualmie Falls.  Brandon climbed on the biggest rock there! Can we talk about how buff he looks?  Just saying...

I took this picture myself... haha.  I was enjoying the river scenery so much, especially the tall trees in the background.

Sadly, Brandon and I got sick over my birthday weekend, but we did end up going to Seattle and picked up some Kobe beef and some delightful lamb for some hot pot.  It soothed our sickness a bit.  

Also, Brandon made me a homemade ice cream cake.  Here is me making a birthday wish...

A closeup of the cake.  It was homemade chocolate cake, with an Oreo crust, vanilla ice cream, homemade frosting on top, with peanut butter mini Oreos crushed on top.  DELISH!

Which brings me to a confession.  I probably got sick because of how much unhealthy food I devoured over the past while.  Seriously, I had a whole bag of cracked pepper Pop Chips all to myself, then even ate some South African seasoned chips too!  Goodness..... I have felt dreadful, so now I am attempting to detox and eat good quality things and get back on track.

My healthy meal today, which was delicious, by the way.  Romaine, Cabbage, and Spinach Salad with apple on top and Bolthouse Ranch and to drink, Guava Kombucha and a glass of cold water. YUMMY!

Well...that's just about it for my blog post.  But WAIT!  Something important I forgot....

What would my blog post be without Nabi the cat looking angry somewhere in it? HA!  Totally a crazy cat lady here.  I love this kitty.  No matter how annoyed he gets with me....

Love you guys!  Hope you enjoyed my little post! xoxox

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Long Time No See

Wow, I can't believe I waited two months in between blog posts.  I am ashamed of myself haha.  Buuuut..... here is an update on the exciting life of Ashleigh and Brandon Son.  We have been so busy with school that it's not even funny.  I am happy to say that it is not long before I get my associates degree.  Also, I took a ton of pictures over the past while, so this post is going to be SUPER random.  With a lot of food and cat pictures.   Just saying.  Sorry for how random the order is, but this is honestly just a photo dump post. :-)

We went on a date to Seattle, and saw this guy playing a harmonica, guitar, and double-hula-hooping at the same time.  Quite impressive.....

On that same day, we went to my favorite restaurant in Seattle, Palace Kitchen.  Every time I order the lavender fondue with grilled bread and sliced apple.  YUMMY!!!  Brandon is more adventurous and tries new stuff every time.  

A few weeks ago, Brandon and I had a thing for ice cream.  I mean, we always do, but we went a little crazy and bought tons.  I was eating it for every meal until realizing I might get diabetes and should probably stop.  Kidding but not kidding.

OH!  Also in Seattle, we bought some smoked salmon at Pike's Market Place and blue fin tuna at Uwajimaya.  The smoked salmon ended up being a bit dry, sadly, but the blue fin tuna was absolute perfection when Brandon seared it for me. :-)

I have been SO in love with these chocolates it is not even funny. They are Meiji Apollo strawberry chocolates.  Man, DELICIOUS!

During our ice cream phase, we made homemade chocolate topping, by melting chocolate chips with a bit of coconut oil.  It was DELICIOUS!  

Other than food, we have been spending lots of time with/bothering this little guy, Nabi.  Hehe, I take way too many pictures of him.  Like this one, where he is trying to take a nap and I keep snapping photos of him.

Nabi giving me the evil eye while he hangs out by the mirror. LOL!

Nabi lying down on our bed on his favorite blanket.

Nabi next to Brandon's backpack, looking annoyed that I DARE take a picture of him.

Nabi in a tired mood.

A funny picture of Brandon and Nabi. :-)

A sweet message at Whole Foods in Portland, Oregon.  For the record, Brandon and I love Oregon. 

One of our favorite things to do at Whole Foods is to go to the salad bar, and order some small desserts from the bakery and tall bottles of tea.  This unsweetened Runa guava tea is the absolute best!

Brandon prepared me this lovely snack....we call it grown up Lunchables.  They are Town House Toppers crackers with swiss cheese and turkey with tomato pieces on top.  Sliced peaches and tea are on the side.  So scrumptious! :-)

My attempt to be healthy?  Eating tons of fruit.  Trader Joe's has lovely peaches, nectarines, plums, and lychees.  Summer is my favorite time for fruit.

Brandon surprised me with this extremely healthy blueberry banana smoothie.  Another attempt to be healthy. ;-)

My Enid Blyton Collection is growing!  I have started collecting Famous Fives.  It is ridiculous how difficult it is to find them in hardcover for a decent price. *Sigh* Why can't we just buy these books in any bookstore in America?

A beautiful view of Mt. Rainier from the park by my home.

Another attempt to be more healthy?  Attempting to walk 10,000 steps a day.  So, in the morning when I take the bus to work, I walk up and down the steps in the bus station's parking garage 3 times to help me knock out at least 1/4 of my daily steps.  It is a bit tiring, but the view at the top looks cool. :-)

Haha, that was all of my photos.  Hope you enjoyed them.  I do apologize for how unorganized it all was, but my mind is too fried from school and stuff to make sufficient efforts to make it more flowing.  Ya know what I mean?  Ha.  LOVE YOU ALL!

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son