Christmas isn’t over yet!

I had an early morning flight. I was so exhausted from the night before because I was up doing a little bit of work. I didn’t really mind, since I got to spend the entire day with my family. I knew it was a bad idea to get my usual, quad espresso over ice no sugar. I’m addicted to coffee, sigh. I was wide awake on the plane ride, but I’m glad I was able to stare out the window. It was such a beautiful morning.

20121228-144733.jpg

20121228-144743.jpg

20121228-144751.jpg

When I finally landed, I was eager to walk to my car. Only because I parked it on the very top floor of the airport’s parking garage and it had snowed in Dallas the other day. Yeah, it snowed! While Houston was bright and sunny. I walked in a sludge of snow and messed up my purple Toms, blah.

20121228-144935.jpg

20121228-145025.jpg

20121228-145046.jpg

Anyways, I was driving on the highway and saw a Macy’s on this side of town. I remembered I wanted to get Tammy a toaster oven. The other night when I went over to her place, she cooked a teeny tiny Red Baron pizza in her big kitchen oven. I noticed that she didn’t have a toaster oven on her counter. After that I was starving. I was hoping I’d spot a Sweet Tomatoes or Souper Salad. I felt like God decided to shine a light on the Golden Corral down the road. I stopped in to devour their salad bar. The restaurant was filled with kids running around, grumpy senior citizens, and oversized Americans stuffing their faces with comfort food. I was about to walk back out but I was greeted by a friendly waiter and decided to stay and give it a chance. Besides, who could turn down a $6 buffet? I noticed how hectic and loud the restaurant was. I also noticed how patient and caring the waiter was. He always had a smile on his face. I was a little upset that I only had a ten dollar bill. Tis’ the season, I wish I was able to leave more. He seemed so appreciative, as he flagged me down to thank me when I was walking to my car.
20121228-150255.jpg

Of course I wouldn’t let my day go to waste. I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods. The cashier gave me my total and I handed her the gift card that Anita and Kevin gave to me. Thank you so much guys, you really shouldn’t have. I teared up in the middle of the store, but its okay we’re all hippies anyways haha! Then, I stopped by World Market to see if I can find any goodies. I have a blank wall in my new home and I think it’s the perfect canvas for me. I live up to the hippie name (I got it from my Dad). I can’t wait to be able to fill the wall up some more. I got this done in about an hour. Before and after:
20121228-150905.jpg

20121228-150916.jpg

I visited Tammy at work and tried to surprise her with the toaster oven I shopped for earlier. I love this little lady.

20121228-145426.jpg

I ran into some friends and family last night. I invited them over after our night out. I watched them get crazy and they watched me run, slip, and fall in the middle of my building hallway. My side still hurts…really, really bad. Haha! Oh and I’m pretty happy about the marker board and chalkboard I put on my walls. I can’t wait to see what creative drawings and writings everyone will do.

20121228-151604.jpg

20121228-151611.jpg

20121228-151615.jpg

20121228-151621.jpg

20121228-151626.jpg

20121228-151630.jpg

20121228-151636.jpg

20121228-151640.jpg

20121228-151645.jpg

So here is some really random good news. As I was writing this blog, I got an email from the electric company. I am in so much shock. I went from paying well over $100 to $200 at my old place … And now less than $30? I am so thankful I decided to move. I still can’t believe it.
20121228-152755.jpg

I saved the best for last. I got the best news when I woke up this morning! Baby Ethan is finally here <;;3<;;3 My sister gave birth to a healthy 9lbs 12oz baby boy! I'm an auntie Yays! What a big baby we have now, haha. He's going to grow bigger than me. Good, he can be our future body guard.
20121228-152526.jpg

Things have been going so well for me lately. Stay humble and keep your faith strong. Cheers to a happier and healthier lifestyle <;;3

Family White Elephant

If things came easy, it surely wouldn’t be worth it. I am the biggest gift giver, but I will make you work for it. Our annual family white elephant game rules are simple: bring a $20 gift to play.

I did a little planning to make things a little fun before I headed to my aunt’s house. Yes, I spent more than $20, but when do I ever go by the rules. I rushed to wrap everything it even made my mom’s dog curious:
20121225-213025.jpg

20121225-213110.jpg

20121225-213118.jpg

For white elephant this year my little cousin, Paula, was left with my contribution to the game. She opened a cute Disney box filled with a can of Spam, Vienna sausages, a $1 scratch off (a gift I would be thrilled to get haha!), and a mystery envelope on the bottom of the box. One envelope lead to the next, until she travelled my aunt’s whole house, and finally got to the pot of gold located in the fridge. Good things come to those who work for it; she won $51 dollars off the scratch offs alone! On top of the gift card and junk haha.

Pictures of Paula’s “booby prize” turned gold:

20121225-213209.jpg

20121225-213219.jpg

20121225-213228.jpg

20121225-213236.jpg

20121225-213244.jpg

20121225-213252.jpg

20121225-213302.jpg

20121225-213309.jpg

20121225-213318.jpg

20121225-213328.jpg

20121225-213335.jpg

20121225-213342.jpg

Pictures of everyone and their presents. Lucky me, I got a toothpick holder and… KETELONE Yays! My favorite vodka haha:

20121225-213659.jpg

20121225-213711.jpg

20121225-213717.jpg

20121225-213724.jpg

20121225-213729.jpg

20121225-213734.jpg

20121225-213740.jpg

20121225-213745.jpg

20121225-213750.jpg

20121225-213755.jpg

And pictures of the traditional Vietnamese food my aunt had (yummy!):

20121225-213848.jpg

20121225-213854.jpg

20121225-213858.jpg

A little holiday cheer from some of my family to yours! Merry Christmas!

20121225-213944.jpg

Adventures of the Traveling Gio (yaw?)

My family has always been synonymous in living the humble lifestyle. My brother and I grew up in a stable family, but my parents did an amazing job raising us to understand the true meaning of a dollar (more so, the true meaning of every penny earned). They reiterated the importance of giving and taking care of the people you love. My Mom and I are really similar in the aspect that we both truly enjoy the simple things in life.

So I asked my Mom, “What do you want for Christmas?” She quickly answered, “Gio [lua], from that place in Dallas!” For those of you who are wondering what in heavens is gio [lua]… It’s a Vietnamese pork roll. It is also called cha lua, depending on the dialect. Anyways, I got up early Sunday morning and drove to the little bakery that sold it. Apparently, it’s the best she’s ever had and she’s been dying for it. I went home and looked at it sitting on my kitchen counter. The pork roll was wrapped in banana leaves and held together by ribbons. HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSE TO BRING THIS ON THE PLANE?!?

20121224-202515.jpg

It looks like a grenade. A homemade bomb. A kilo of cocaine!

After pondering for a good thirty minutes, I decided to throw it in my tote and drive to the airport. I parked my car, walked, and checked in. Of course it was incredibly busy at the airport today (due to holiday traveling), my heart was racing, and I was so nervous as I was next at the security checkpoint.

*please don’t search me, please don’t search me, pleaseeee don’t search me* “Ma’am, I need you to step over here.” Damn it! I felt my face burning up and I was dreading the moment as TSA pulled out the pork roll in the sea of travellers. Little asian women walked by and giggled. Everyone else walked by and raised their eyebrows in concern. I felt like I was in the middle of an episode of Locked Up Abroad. TSA ran the log through the cameras again, tested it, and told me it passed. I wanted to do my infamous beaver face, shrug, crawl in a hole, and cry.

20121224-203707.jpg

I walked towards my gate and noticed a lot of people that were behind me in security were also on my flight. So, I confidently grabbed the roll out of my tote and carried it around like a baby. No shame, no game. I decided to blog the travels of this troublemaking gio, so not only can I look back and laugh; but I can reassure my Mom that I’d do anything for her. Even if I look like I’m part of the cartel, or a terrorist.

20121224-203949.jpg

20121224-204002.jpg

20121224-204013.jpg

Oh, and this is Jerry. He thought my story was funny and wanted to be apart of it too haha:
20121224-204025.jpg

20121224-204034.jpg

20121224-204045.jpg

20121224-204054.jpg

20121224-204103.jpg

20121224-204111.jpg

20121224-204120.jpg

20121224-204128.jpg

20121224-204137.jpg

20121224-204145.jpg

I finally made it to Houston. Thank you you little pork roll, for making my holiday traveling that much more interesting.
20121224-204207.jpg

20121224-204216.jpg

Merry Christmas Babies

Merry little Christmas to my two little babies, Maggie and Buster. They stuck by my side through all these years. Words can’t express how much they mean to me. They love me unconditionally and I can’t imagine my life without them. They have been with me throughout my long adventurous journey across the US. The way they run to me as soon as I open my front door when I get home from work; makes me forget how tired I am. They protect and care for me more than I’ve seen any other dogs do. I decided to add birds above their cabin to “protect and watch” over them when I’m out of the house. They are a blessing and I couldn’t have been more blessed to have them in my life.

Before:

20121224-001155.jpg

After:

20121224-001227.jpg

Happy holidays everyone ❤

20121224-001547.jpg