Amanda’s 2013 year in review

It’s the time of the year again! Time for the end of year report card! Haha.. Well, this year I will be spending the start of the New Year away from BH – I hope that he won’t forget to write his review!!

Last night, after a fabulous night out with an old friend, I came home to my sis surfing Facebook ( not usual.. Haha) she was reviewing her year through her timeline. Out of curiosity, I went to review my timeline and the most memorable moment for me was….. When I purchased some 12 count, 3 ply toilet paper for $2.99! Haha.. How auntie! Facebook is not an accurate measure of my year, maybe my blog is better ๐Ÿ™‚

Just like other years, there are many ups and downs. Let’s see…

Jan
-Our small group of closely knitted friends in Seattle lost a game khaki suddenly to heart attack. It was a huge shock to us. We were deeply saddened but learnt to treasure each other and be more health conscious. This unfortunate event deserve a better post but I just can’t find the right words or courage to write it.
-BH and I went for our first vacation of the year to Los Angeles. It was the first time we attend a Chinese concert ( MAY day) in the USA . It was a cool experience. The view at Griffith observatory is probably the BEST sight I have ever seen this year!

Feb
-BH and I went for painting class together. It was such a fun vday activity!!

Mar
-Moved into a new apartment which became the BIGGEST regret of the year. Sigh!

Apr/May
– BH and I went to Vegas for a short getaway. We won a mini jackpot of US$200 !!! The biggest win so far! If you are wondering, the $ was ‘returned’ to the casino shortly. Hahaha

Jun
-Arrival of Mr Hyde! Our joy and best purchase of the year!
– started volunteering at a children’s museum! BEST decision ever! Why did it take me so long to take up volunteering!!!

July/Aug
-My loving hubby decided that maybe we should look for a new place since I was upset and uncomfortable about the apartment. We were looking at buying a place but DID NOT because of our SG commitments. We saw a place we really liked – the kind that you will want to grow your family in, the kind that gives you the AHA moment the minute you step foot in but we got to let it go. It hurts a lot because you know what you want but you can’t pursue it further. It took awhile for the heartache to go away but we still believe that other good things will come our way. You just got to be patient… Right? ็Ÿฅ่ถณ็š„ๅฟซไนๅซๆˆ‘ๅฟๅ—ๅฟƒ็—›
– BH and his team participated in a Hackaton and emerged the Seattle champion!

Sept
– BH and I celebrated our 5 years anniversary!! I am soooo happy that we r still in love and on the same page ( most of the time.. Haha) I just feel so happy that i don’t want our relationship to change. I still wish that BH will be able to put me ( family) above his work

Oct
-nothing worth mentioning

Nov
-we went to San Jose for Hackaton finals! Though BH and team did not win the grand prize, I m still proud of his achievements!

Dec
-We finally received news of something important to us. We did what we needed and hope for the best. We will only know the result next year. I am looking forward to this!
-I cashed out my first blogger paycheck on nuffnang. I earned $66 for 5 years!!! Obviously not blogging hard enough ๐Ÿ™ Still waiting for the cheque to reach me…
-I came back to SG for Xmas and New year – leaving poor BH alone for the first time during this time of the year… Boooo… Will meet in a few weeks time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Overall, Its been a relatively happy this year. I really regretted the rental we are staying in now – wish that time will fly by so that the lease will end soon.

In 2014,
– I will continue to eat healthy, go to the gym ( really missing ZUMBA and cardio tai box now)
– Volunteer
– blog more ( post entries with more substance)!
– save more money for future home
– be happy, worry less

Hopefully, more good things will come our way ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year everybody!!

Binghuan’s 2013 Year In Review!

Numbers just keep adding up doesn’t it?
Things were sort of chaotic this year.

1) We move to an older place. First time we compromised our living conditions in hope of savings. We did save more alright but not sure if its worth our sanity.

2) I changed teams for the first time in MS. Sort of change since I rejoined my old lead and another colleague. I don’t think that was a mistake, leaving my comfort zone. It also made me realize how much more I like Kirkland compared to Bellevue. Still love Redmond too..

3) We went out of our way to look for a home for us. We were really serious and I think we found a place (Took months cause we were soooo picky) that we know we would love only to finally decide against it. I will put that blame on me. Won’t go into details why but we just didn’t.

4) We didn’t go for any travel at all (beside San Jose which I will go into later). Once again, to save money…

5) I won a Hackathon! My very first one too, the Paypal Hackathon was an eye-opener. I got to visit Paypal HQ, meet new people, play with new technology. It was tiring but I have no regrets. The final for the big money was sort of a let-down, the other teams that placed in top 3 was okie and I thought we did well enough to place but apparently not. Maybe it was the MS connection that pulled us down.

6) Lots of savings! I just calculated and it was incredible the amount we saved this year. It is hard to see the amount as it is spread across a few accounts but I was really glad the compromised above wasn’t for nothing.

2014 will be a super exciting year, I cannot even wait!
1) GC process is finally moving to the last stage. Which means I will get GC, Amanda can be free to choose what she wants to do! For me is probably more of a job security as I can jump to other places but I can’t really decide if I want to. I have some friends here, and Seattle isn’t that bad besides the cold weather. San Fran would be nice but property is so expensive there that I can’t really put myself through moving all the way there.

2) We might just decide to move to another rental if the HDB appeal failed. No point suffering, and lots of new places around so maybe we will just move to enjoy 1 more year of rental.

3) I do want to return to Vegas with Amanda. We skipped it for 2013, lets return to our annual routine. ๐Ÿ™‚
We will also be flying first class to… BALI haha on SQ. Okie, short trip but hey still first class! Can’t wait for that too.

Some longer term goals?
1) I really want to go Peru and visit Machu Picchu. Not sure when but soon I hope. If not too old to climb… ๐Ÿ™

2) The elusive home that we can grow our family in. I really hope appeal goes through and allow us to sell our hdb.

3) Maybe a cute dog? ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy 5th 6eptember!

You know how the song “Marry Me” by Train goes?

Forever can never be long enough for me to feel like I’ve had long enough with you

I feel like that all the time ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing that 5 years of married life went by in a flash.. seriously, a flash. Yes, I do complain about BH some times BUT on most times.. I wondered ” Why didn’t we get married earlier?!” haha.. as selfish as it may seem but I still can’t get enough of our ‘2 people world’ Hope BH feels the same too

To BH (who may or may not read this entry): Thank you for not saying NO to the things I want, regardless of how big, how far, how expensive – If i dare to dream it, I know, you will get it for me, for us ( just a matter of time) Thank you for dreaming the dream with me, hopefully, we will turn dreams to reality some day. Happy anniversary and many more to come!

Review: Black Bottle Postern (Bellevue)

BH and I recently found a good restaurant that we love and it is really near our current place. [Thanks Alina for introducing this place to us first ๐Ÿ™‚ ]

We dined at Black Bottle Postern with our friends and just fell in love since then. haha.. it’s funny coz we always drove by but nv get to come in and try the food here.. So, this place is really great for big groups as the food is meant to be shared. The ambiance is really nice – a mix between modern and rustic. I feel that it is rather charming.. and quite romantic ๐Ÿ™‚ Imagine chilling out, drinking wine and just chatting

One Sunday, BH and I decided to do just that ! I was feeling particularly good because I finally caved in and bought a nice Lululemon top which was on sale (but still expensive) – love how the top shapes my upper body and you don’t have to wear a bra! hehe.. perfect for the warm weather now! Opps.. sorry.. I digress..

us

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Back to the food~~

The thing that I don’t understand about this place is “Our unfussy, rustic dishes are intended to be shared….” (quoted from their menu) Like seriously?! Are you kidding me?! The food is so good!!! I just want the whole dish to myself!!! How to share!

Anyhow.. My favorite is the bread pudding.. I really love the buttery taste of the bread pudding… and crave for the bourbon sauce .. . Food was as amazing as the first time we dine here. This time we ordered:

-house duck sausage rainbow chard shiitake mushrooms( Our new favorite!)
-bulgar wheat harissa lamb meatballs & paneer
-Broccoli blasted (Of course!!! How can I get sick of this! It is super delicious! shall attempt to mk this one day)
-BREAD PUDDING!!!

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As it was Sunday, there’s 1/2 off bottle of wine! We had a bottle of Riesling ($15) to go with our food. This is life!
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Will definitely go back again very soon!!!

Why we didn’t have a dog … yet?

Well.. It’s not the money.. It’s not the space.. It’s just… The lack of connection.. ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me define “connection”
(1)somehow the dog and I just click.
(2)Though its the first time we meet, it felt like we have known each other for a long time.
(3)The feeling of ‘I have been waiting so long for you’

Hahaha yes.. I am looking for a furry lifelong partner!!

Friends or even BH’s co-workers would know that we have been yearning to add a dog to our family. It had been years! BH loves browsing rescue websites and watching breeders’ webcams and he will go…. “Aww.. So cute…” We also try to participate in doggie events so as to educate ourselves on dog ownership. Haha.. Talking to my family about Bambi just mks us want to have a dog even more – sometimes my mum do complain about Bambi but after the complains, she would tell me how smart Bambi is.. It’s hilarious!

Call me fussy.. Choosy.. But when I fall in love.. It would be LONGER than forever. We are taking our time.. Hopefully we will find that puppy soon ๐Ÿ˜€

Re-exploring Ballard

*This is an outdated post*

16 June

BH and I wanted to take Mr Hyde on a ride .. so we decided to head to Ballard. Well, Ballard is a little like Kirkland – it’s filled with cafe and restaurants, vintage/consignment stores and a huge Sunday’s Farmer’s market

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It was a very sunny and pretty day. Perfect to walk around! I love such relaxing Sundays ๐Ÿ™‚

We chanced upon a nice cafe and sat down for some refreshments – Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery

Love cafes which are tastefully decorated. This cafe is popular for its molten chocolate in a mason jar! If you are a chocolate fan, you need to visit here.

baLLARD 3We ordered the Dark Decadence molten chocolate cake. wah.. it’s sinfully delicious… and extremely refreshing when the weather is warm! haha.. ordered a Vanilla bean milkshake so that we don’t get chocolate overdosed

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Next up… we went to The Walrus and The Carpenter for their highly raved Happy Hour menu.

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This place will no longer have Happy Hour specials on SUNDAY from July onwards. Lucky us! We managed to enjoy the 2nd last Sunday Happy Hour ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy Hour starts at 4pm but we were in line at 3.30pm! It was a wait and not very worthwhile in my humble opinion

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Once again, I like the deco and the feel of this place. This time we took the seats at the bar – it was nice to see how food was prepared. I just felt that the service was a little slow – maybe that’s their strategy for the ‘long lines’ and curbing the ‘happy hour discounts’. For happy hour, 4-5pm there’s 50% off oysters, 5-6pm 25% off oysters. The best part about this place is … oysters are local and very fresh, other than that, it’s over-hyped

Ok, so we had 12 oysters of four different varieties. Would love to blog more about the oysters we ate but I can’t rem the names anymore. You see, that’s the problem with an outdated postย  :/ This post is going to lack depth. Blah.. you get the point.

A very nice chef took the initiative to take a nice picture of us -we don’t get that often ๐Ÿ™‚

baLLARD 6

We also had the scallop tartare – it’s basically raw scallops mixed with lemon juice and herbs. It tastes great, feel like some Japanese cuisine. hmm… we are quite glad that we didn’t order steak tartare (which is supposed to be really good!) – but I can’t picture myself eating raw beef?! BH also ordered Fried Oysters, which was alright – I stopped eating it after the first piece as I bit into a piece of shell and tasted sand. Bh loved it though!

Sadly… we didn’t have room for desserts ๐Ÿ™

That’s all for our Ballard trip! We will be going on a Dog walk/jog (without a dog) on 4 July, Independence day! Hope to take more pictures and blog about it soon!

 

Hi Mr Hyde!

BH and I had been thinking of getting a 2nd car for awhile. We have been looking for something we both liked.. however, it’s really hard to find a used car of our criteria. In the end, we pulled the trigger on a custom build Mini Cooper S. Yes.. we decided that since we are only young ONCE..and the chances of driving a coupe in future is silm..so we just went for it ๐Ÿ™‚

We ordered our car on April 26 and only received it last week! It was a long wait but worth it! After 6 months of searching, we bought the car! that’s how long we took!

Here’s the process… Once we ordered the car, we could track it’s process on the Mini website

May 9 – Hyde built and waiting for transport on vessel Tulane

mini awaiting

June 2 – Hyde arrived at PORT HUENEME, CAย 

enroute

June 3 – Arrived at distribution centre

dist centre

June 8 – At our dealer!

dealer

June 15 – Collected!

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More pictures of our baby ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a Mini Green Park package!

mini1

It was LOVE at first sight!!! So difficult to take our eyes off it ๐Ÿ˜€

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[P/S: The above is the best picture of us with our new bulldog, Mimi, plush toy given to us by our dealer. Pardon the reflection on BH’s forehead]

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Yay to more new adventures! ๐Ÿ™‚

Red Hook Beer tasting weekend

last weekend, we went beer tasting at Red Hook Brewery at Woodinville. It was a great experience. BH and I went to Red Hook previously and wanted to take the tour, but missed the last timing. [By the way, last timing on Saturday is 5pm ] We were really glad that we managed to do so this time round with our friends

We paid $1 each for the tour and had about 6 small glasses (2 oz) of beer. It was worth it for the tasting. The guide was a good looking ‘Justin Timberlake’ kind of guy ;D I think we didn’t really learn much about the beer making process. Maybe it was the alcohol – the tour was filled with jokes of sexual connotations?! haha.. i mean.. it’s all for the name of fun!

Just for records, my favorite beer is Audible Ale. It tasted better than Heineken. I find it light and easy to drink, no bad after taste – lower alcohol content too ๐Ÿ™‚

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By the way… we get to keep the glass (retails for $2 each)!!! How cool!

After the beer tasting, we had dinner at Red Hook. Food are mostly burgers. I think the beer makes me so full.. I shared a salad with Jo instead. No pics of the food :/ However, I am very glad that they had fries to go with their burgers now! It used to be chips when I came last year

Some random pics taken at Chateau Ste Michelle. Loving my new hi-low skirt .. haha ๐Ÿ™‚ ohhh… and there’s a interesting event going on this coming Sunday – will drop by if we have nothing better to do

chateau

To end this post – More apartment woes: (1) bedroom door fell off – door detached from hinge!!! so dangerous! (2) dishwasher screws came out – now the dishwasher might topple anytime (3) silverfish issue still around :/ The REAL pest control will be coming in on Thursday to examine the issue. Landlord is also getting a repairman to come in. Both BH and I are upset about our staying conditionsย  and is considering moving out…. we just can’t find another suitable place ๐Ÿ™ In the mist of all these annoying issues, I am glad that our landlord is proactive in solving them even when he is not in town

A reminder to me…

happy

what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… smile ๐Ÿ™‚

The Office

‘The Office’ is an American television series which BH loves a whole lot. I remember that he used to watch every episode when he was in SG. It was pure joy when we relocated to US – BH would not miss any of the episode. For me, I never really understood the humour in this series – it’s not funny to me. I watched it together with him anyway.

I remember the season when Michael Scott left – BH was very sad, he teared :O hahaha… I laughed at him! Then I realised that this series actually accompanied us thru’ adulthood ! It’s been 9 years!ย  I guess the humour grows on you. Not only that, I also felt that we watched the characters developed through the years.ย  Amazing.. how fast time had gone by! 9 years… 9 seasons.. that’s it?! Really?!ย  Both of us would watch ‘The Office’ every Thursday. Even when we can’t watch it, we will record it. I guess.. after tonight, we will be so bored on Thursdays :/

There’s alot of memorable episodes but this episode left the biggest impression on me. If you can watch the video, go to the last 3 mins. If you can’t.. u just got to read on…

Extract below taken from ew.com

As Jim was leaving the office to go back to Philly, he told Pam that he knew it was weird for them to be doing therapy but that he wanted to stick with it. She agreed, half-heartedly, and he exited. As he did, Pam noticed that heโ€™d left his umbrella behind, and, being Pam, she grabbed it and ran after him, catching him just as he was about to take off in a cab. Exchanging a quick thanks, Pam started to walk away, but Jim stopped herโ€ฆ

โ€ฆFor a brief moment, Jim had trouble finding the words for what he wanted to say. โ€œSorryโ€ clearly wouldnโ€™t suffice, so instead he hugged her. Like, really hugged her. It was as if in that instant he remembered that he was once not Pamโ€™s husband but a guy who had a crush on a girl who had a boyfriend.

It took Pam by surprise. And she didnโ€™t hug back right away. Instead, we cut to a flashback to their wedding, where Jimโ€™s brother (who presided over their wedding) read aloud, โ€œLove suffers long and is kind โ€” it is not proud. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails and now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.โ€ย 

I felt that this scene is very heart-warming. Sometimes, couples do have their down times – you can’t imagine how much magic a big hug could do ๐Ÿ™‚ Just like Jim and Pam, BH and I teared a little at the end of this episode – it was just really sweet. To top it off,ย  “Love never fails and now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” is the verse we have on our wedding church booklet. BH turned to me excitedly when he heard the line “That’s the verse we used!!!” I know.. it’s such a common verse but still..it brought good memories. Hearing this verse out of the blue reminds us about the essence of our relationship ๐Ÿ™‚

On a lighter note, BH and I had also been using some of the silly phrases Jim and Pam learntย  in couples’ therapy. Some examples, “We appreciate that you appreciate that….” , call everything we don’t want to do ‘opportunities’

It was a good episode.. and a great season.. and a series which we will remember for a long long time…ย  59 reasons we’re going to miss the office sums up everything

At least there’s still Parks and Recreation + Modern Family + The Middle..

Kirkland on a Sunday

Recently, BH and I had been feeling kinda bitter that we didn’t move to Kirkland ๐Ÿ™ well.. maybe if we moved to Kirkland, we won’t be faced with such a irritating pest problem

For the past week, the weather had been superb. I’m just so glad that we get to spend time together… just chilling out.. I feel so blessed ๐Ÿ™‚ I really thank God for such simple pleasures..

It was a relaxing weekend.. BH and I decided to swing by Carillon Point for a walk + happy hour/Dinner

BH brought me here when I just arrived in the US.. hahaha.. here’s a pic of us in 2008.. how do we look?! haha

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Anyway, it’s nice to visit this place after so long ๐Ÿ™‚

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Walked around and decided to enjoy Happy Hour at Bin on the lake

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We had a lot of food while chatting and enjoying the view.. so romantic! Love such days!

fdGuess.. u eat more when u r happy? haha

love

Last but not least..a reminder to all of us..

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