Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lily Ann Choy

hey world, meet Lily, my brand new niece. she's been hanging around for about twenty one days (her birthday is october 1st)  but i've failed to blog about her because i haven't had a laptop for a couple of months now. so far i've only been able to see her a few times and on every one of those occasions this little girl has been getting all the beauty rest she can. while i'm happy that she's healthy and have faith that she's going to grow up to be an awesome addition to society, so far she's been sorta boring. her literal snooze fest has been a figurative snooze fest for the few times i've visited but i guess that just means i should visit more often. i do suppose it's unfair of me to request a high-five from her just yet. 

her birth was seamless and all of her fingers and toes add up to the correct number. she came out just slightly above average for length and has massive (a little bit of an exaggeration but they're still pretty big) hands. Jeremy seems to be discouraged by this because he's imagined her to be a tiny person, just like his wife. well sir, based on her hand size she's going to be a giraffe...but still like an asian version of a giraffe. tall for an asian but not tall if you compare her to non-asians. my guess is 5'6". we should make a bet and then when she's an almost adult reveal the winner to her when she stops growing. then she'll fully understand why Aunty Reg kept telling her to hang on the monkey bars. i never really understood when people claimed who a newborn baby looks like because let's be real, for the most part they just look like puffy shrunken humans with barely any features. they come out of the womb all misshapen with hair in strange places as if they're gorilla pups (for the record they're not actually called "pups" they're called "babies" just like humans, which i'm not sure how i feel about. i know they're just one slot down in the evolutionary chain but can we get just a little bit of separation, please?). but from the moment i saw Lily i thought she looked just like my brother. those Choy genes sure are strong!

so now all of our lives have changed and we have this little creature to love and take care of. people ask if i'll babysit as if i'm some anti-child but i've never been anti-child...i've just been ambi-child (shortened from 'ambivalent'). of course this particular one holds a special place in my life so of course i'm going to babysit! but. well. maybe i'll wait until she can feed herself. juuuuuust kidding! i'm going to take her to the Academy of Science, the zoo, Disneyland, and all of the places that we all loved as kids. and you bet i'm going to teach her a little bit of sarcasm while i'm at it. 

day 1 of existence

three generations! would be four if Lily's mom weren't bedbound. 



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

zuppa toscana (an Olive Garden copycat)

as i've grown to be somewhat of a food snob i find that i can't bring myself to chain restaurants with any anticipation of enjoying a meal there. there are however a few items that i actually don't mind and from time to time even find myself missing though. pizookies at BJ's, cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster or bottomless fries at Red Robin's come to mind. but one thing that i've always loved, despite their grotesque overcooked pastas is the zuppa toscana at Olive Garden. it's so damn warm and tasty. eating that soup is like getting an internal hug on a cold long day. while i could probably go to Olive Garden and join in on their all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks deal, i prefer to make the soup at home because at home nobody will judge you for slopping down multiple bowls of soup. and in place of their breadsticks, i like to toast up some nice crusty, chewy bread from Acme or Tartine for dunking.

zuppa toscana


-1 lb mild italian sausage
-1 large onion, chopped
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 c white wine for deglazing
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-2 russet potatoes, cut into cubes
-5 c fresh kale, chopped
-3 c chicken broth
-2 1/2 c water
-1 c heavy cream
-salt and pepper


1. in a large stockpot over medium heat, crumble and brown sausage
2. set sausage aside
3. in the same stockpot, cook onions until softened
4. add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (about 1 min)
5. add wine to the stockpot to deglaze (scraping off all of the browned bits)
6. add potatoes, kale, chicken broth, water and sausage to the pot
7. increase the heat to medium high until it begins to boil
8. once boiling, reduce heat to medium low
9. allow soup to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender
10. stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper

Saturday, October 4, 2014

come back, Rain!! (on California's devastating drought)

Lake Shasta on 09/26/14, at 25% it's once upon a time capacity

ever so dearest California Rain,

                  i think the best way to start this is to blatantly say that i miss you. dearly. i know we treated you like the friend that literally rained on our parade but we were being jerks. sometimes you don't know what you had until it's gone and i'm currently in that boat. when they taunted you with "rain rain go away, come again some other day," they were being complete assholes. please do come back. the sooner the better. perhaps tomorrow? pretty please? pretty please with an umbrella on top?

                  i miss you because things around here have changed without you. sunshine and warmth were once such rarities that we would gladly push you aside for a potential day at the beach or Dolores Park. but only before 5pm because we all know that after 5 it gets chilly. well that's what once was anyhow. i haven't felt that cool crisp air in a long time now. even past dusk the thick humidity keeps the air warm and our arms bare (i know anybody living anywhere outside of the bay area is rolling their eyes because any "humidity" i speak of here is a joke to most, but bear with me...i grew up with the most cool, refreshing air so it's all i know...and i miss it to pieces). we haven't truly felt your presence for what seems like over a year. september and august used to be our indian summer but i'm pretty sure it's been summeresque here since our last indian summer. everybody loves a sunny day but man oh man are they all sitting thirsty now, huh? Lake Shasta looks more like Pond Shasta. our water companies are threatening to fine us for using more water than a determined average amount (which i am completely behind). watching people partake in the Ice Bucket Challenge was infuriating.

                  and on a selfish note, i miss wearing sweaters. and boots. and soup. i miss warm hearty meals and blasting the heat in my car. and the refreshing smell of a dewy morning.  i used to feel guilty about "wasting" a sunny day if i didn't spend every last moment of sunlight outside. but now i find myself  missing staying in and watching movies all day and night. i crave the calm of your pitter patter and the life you bring to our soil. i'm not a fan of earthworms but sometimes i wonder if they're even there anymore.

 Yin misses Yang. please come back and bring us some relief.

                                                                                  it's true i heart you,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Laura and Jeremy's baby shower

so my little brother and sister in-law are having a sweet little baby girl in late september. who knew that it was Jeremy Choy's dream to be a dad? not me- i'll tell you that! to my surprise he's wanted to start a family for the past couple of years and when the guy wants something he goes full force. earlier this year Jeremy and Laura got married in Maui and some people wondered why there wasn't any alcohol to cheers them during toasts. as it turned out only one month prior to the wedding they discovered that Laura started growing a little Choy gummy bear. 

her name is Lily. Lily Ann Choy to be specific. i had the opportunity to be there when they found out that Laura's growing belly housed a little daddy's girl. the moment i heard "girl" i asked if they'd had a name picked out and this exchange happened...

J: Lily Ann
me: oh, i like that name. but did you watch that episode of Modern Family where they said that Lily is the worst name for an Asian baby because they'd never be able to pronounce their own name?
J: uhhh no
me: do you think poh-poh (our grandma who doesn't speak a lick of English) will be able to say it? 
J: uhhhh i don't know 
me: Riry 

meanwhile the ultrasound exam is still going on. i'm sure i was annoying and ruining the moment. whoops! and sorryssss! 

to maybe make up for it (not really...i more so just felt like i wanted to) i offered to throw the baby shower. many people will tell you that i'm not a kid person but so many of my friends have been pushing them out that i sort of have no choice but to be surrounded by them. in turn, i have grown to accept like them more....when they grow personalities. and are cuter. and can communicate. and i've always said i'd like my own kids so it's not like i'm completely opposed to them as a whole. but i mean this is my first niece so i want to be a part of her life even before birth. i threw a baby shower at my house and here's how it turned out. 

hilarious-ish mini-story-- some of you have seen this sort of decorating on Pinterest boards, i'm sure. strung up onesies and bibs at a baby shower isn't really a new thing but my grandma is an immigrant and baby showers aren't really a cocept she knows too much about. so when she came over and saw my decorations she turned to my mom and said "why would she do laundry today when everybody is coming over? and why does she have little clothes?" aaaaaHAHAHAhahaha!!

you're wondering what the heads are for right? you'll see...

good thing this shower was held at my house because that diaper cake wasn't the most sturdy thing. it was my first (and maybe last) time making one of those and i only used rubber bands and scotch tape to secure things. i'd say it turned out pretty good but transporting it from my living room to te backyard definitely was cause for potential disaster. 

instead of a guest list i made a calendar around the actual due date (sept 29) and had the guests take a onesie sticker and place it on the date they guessed Laura might pop (aka Lily's birthday).

aside from guessing/measuring how big people thought Laura's tummy was, tasting and guessing various baby foods and guessing how many circus animal crackers were in a big jar (which really meant guess-how-many-Regina-guessed because you swear i would spend my time counting cookies), we did a question and answers game. 

i read a question out loud and read either J or L's answer and the guests were supposed to hold up the face that corresponded to their guess. whoever got the most right won. sure they could've just thought out loud or kept their guesses in their minds but i thought this would be more fun.

preggers women love dessert. actually, women everybody loves dessert. also, i needed a standout staging area so that people wouldn't notice my backyard is comprised of a dying tree, dirt and cement cracks. enter the ever so popular dessert table! everybody is doing it nowadays and you know i enjoy baking! 

these went quick! 

as did these! my grandma wasn't quick enough at snatching up a cookie so when my mom asked if there were any extras or backups, i had to make an executive decision and take one from the two i'd saved for my boyfriend's parents who we're visiting from out of state. of course it wasn't like Sophie's Choice or anything, i mean grandma always wins right? i'm not even sure if she liked it. *sorry Mr. and Mrs. Lin, if you're reading this! (i know you are!) 

these doubled as the favors. unfortunately some of them melted in the sun but hopefully the guests let them get back to room temp before eating them up. they're pretty damn delicious if i do say so myself. 

no dessert table is complete without the cupcake tower! 

lots of presents and present-opening-awkwardness from the guy on the left and the baby shower was a done deal! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Martin & Nina's wedding

i can't believe i'm writing a post on Martin and Nina's wedding more than half a month after the most grande day of their lives. please pardon the tardiness but my life currently lacks a laptop so that's my excuse. 

Martin ohhh Martin. throughout high school and college years my friends awaited the day that he bring a girl around that we would genuinely like and respect. see, Martin is a sweetheart. that's to say he will do anything (i repeat...ANYTHING)  for the people he cares about. once he decides he likes someone he puts his all into it. whether it's family, friends or potential girlfriends. but the problem with this is that just because he saw the world in someone else doesn't mean that they deserved to be a part of his world. i wanted to see him with someone worthy of his thoughtfulness, kindness and caring ways. true, he says some asshole things sometimes and can be inappropriate at other times but if you know him well you know he's joking and would never hurt a fly (so to speak). ultimately he's a big bundle of jokes and warmth. i just wanted to see him with someone who looked at him with the same admiration as he had for them. enter Nina. one thanksgiving gathering years ago Martin brought Nina over to my house and almost immediately i could tell that they were a kickass pairing. they made each other laugh and seemed so comfortable with each other (something i never felt with any other girls i'd met prior). it didn't hurt that she was also super cute, goofy and easy to talk to. all of our friends instantly liked her and were hoping that one day they'd get married. 

wellllllll it looks like our dreams have come true! on August 2nd they were married at St. Vincent's Boys School in San Rafael among a huge gathering of 350 friends and family. she looked beautiful and he looked stressed. but that's okay because it's in his nature to give a damn about everybody else's experience. while i wish he were able to just take a step back and relax to enjoy himself, he wanted to make sure everybody else was having a good time. this is what i love about Martin. when people stood to give speeches and the audience gave less attention than the speaker deserved, Martin made sure that the audience knew he wanted their undivided attention towards the speaker to give them the respect they deserved for getting up in front of hundreds of people to talk. luckily with a little liquor and a lot of love, he was able to end his night dancing with some of his best friends along with his blushing bride. the wedding as a whole was relaxed and full of heart. people enjoyed themselves as they shared in a moment everybody was genuinely happy to witness.

Nina and Martin, as you already know, i am so so very happy for you guys. i couldn't think of either of your lives without the other. Nina, welcome to our friend-family (even though you were fully welcomed years ago already)!

the quick glimpse i got of Nina at the beginning of her trek down the verrrry long aisle of people waiting to witness their love day.

from a far, zoomed in as much as my iphone would allow

my favorite lady friends! 
jenny, trina, kris, kim, jax, steph, bryli and meiche

my awesome date for the night
my date and my Special Friend's date. they have to hang together because Kris and i are like this [crosses fingers over one another].

Brylersons lookin' cool in her shades

hey pretty lady! i see you!
adorable, you two!

this is how i like them the most, always making each other laugh
cute and simple
kris said "she never drinks with us! she drinks with other people but never invites us to drink with her!" so here it is! and for the record that's not true. our early-mid 20's were full of liver destruction.
Martin's mom has always been like our own mother. she looked radiant that day and full of so much happiness. not only did her son get married and she gained a daughter, but she also became a grandmother just two weeks prior. what an awesome year for her!

1) props 2) dinosaur faces (because Bryli was saying something about dino faces) 3) regularis 4) the "EAE" symbol (our high school clique name. i will not break down the acronym due to embarrassment though) which i obviously was not well versed in.

me and mine
the CUTEST vietnamese outfits! you can't really tell but Nina's was made of red lace for a more modern version and it was just perfect!

dancing with mama
what a great grooms cake. it's SO them. actually, it literally is them.
git it!

Eric caught the garter, which is fitting considering we've all been waiting ever so patiently for him to propose to Kim. i'm waiting for that text or call, dude. can you just do it already?
physical therapy school is supposed to make you super knowledgeable about the human body and it's muscular system but judging by this picture it obviously doesn't teach you how to use those muscles for dancing purposes, huh Dr. Toy? also, let it be known that i will NEVER call you Dr. Toy unless it's in mockery. you're still Pattoy to me.

line dances aren't a chinese thing....jenny looks like she's having fun. pattoy looks confused and fearful.

our boys being awesome as always!

jax is not loving this moment.or is she?
open your eyeeeees Tedison!

dancing with the lady of the night!
wisp her away
 all love, smiles and happiness for Martin on his big day! i'm oh so very happy for you, BD!