Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elle Style

Elle wearing 'Original Gloss' hunter boots, Kids size 11

Today Elle insisted on wearing rain boots even though there was no rain in sight. Pairing rain boots with her cat eye sunglasses, my daughter is a fashionista in the making- tucking her skinny jeans into red boots effortlessly as if she's done this a thousand times before.

You often hear parents say this about their child but really, I love her to death - not simply for who she is but for all that she teaches me everyday. She teaches me unconditional love, importance of gratitude among many other life lessons and thanks to her difficulties, I never take anything for granted like I used to. Every ability we carry is a blessing, even a thing as simple as breathing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rainy night

Summer rain by Beverly LeFevre 

I always anticipate rainy days but when it actually occurs, I feel somewhat blue, tired & sloppy. Maybe it's these feelings that I secretly enjoy the most about the rain.

It's not a cheap thrill really- it's simply the need to slow things down a bit.

Today I laughed a lot and told my family I loved them. I even got to cook them dinner. Tonight I'm grateful for all the love I'm surrounded by, especially the love I feel from the sounds of raindrops outside.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vogue: Waiting for Daddy

I'm nowhere near where I wanted to be at age 30 in regards to career & materialistic success. But just looking at this picture makes me realize I have absolutely nothing to complain about since I was given the opportunity to give birth to and raise these two beautiful lives.

I sacrificed a lot for these children including career goals & personal plans and its these sacrifices that make their happiness even more significant to my own.

All I can say is thank you, and may I live a long, fruitful life with my daughters.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top dollar: Jackpot!

I'm not a natural gambler. Well who really is, right? But there have been a few lucky people in my life who were fortunate enough to be granted a piece of Las Vegas' fortune through slot machines. Like my husband's friend who leaves Las Vegas with more money than he started with almost every single time. And another friend who won $1000 right next to me with twenty dollars while I had been feeding my machine for at least ten minutes. We hugged and screamed like little girls as people started surrounding us. I was on cloud nine! And it wasn't even me who won, I was just excited for my friend.

The first two nights in Las Vegas were very pleasant, except I wasn't doing so well at the tables or machines. I won some, lost some but was inevitably headed toward another losing streak. Friends & my husband seemed to be doing pretty well, having a good time. We had just finished a very nice Valentine's dinner and it was too early to change out of my dinner attire. I felt like a million bucks in my bright red dress after wearing nothing but black during the entire winter season and wanted to cherish that feeling for a long, long time. I jokingly told my husband that I was wearing my lucky red dress with lucky Louboutins. He chuckled and continued his gaming. I walked off since everyone seemed to be having too much fun to be bothered with my boredom.

As I was roaming around the casino floor with nothing particular in mind, my eyes zeroed in on a Top Dollar machine. It was a dollar machine with a $5 dollar maximum bet. I figured I had already lost a lot of money so what difference would another sixty dollars make?

Five minutes later, I was $1000 richer.

Valentine's Dinner @ Joel Robuchon

Winner of Michelin's Three Star owned by 'Chef of the Century' Joel Robuchon deserves its own post and a BIG gratitude. Before I begin, thank you God & Universe for providing me with the most perfect Valentine's Dinner!

So this was my second visit to Joel Robuchon and I was thrilled to return since the first experience was marred by some poor judgements on my part. (It had nothing to do with the food, more with how tired I was.) A complimentary limo kindly picked us from Aria where we were staying and a hostess walked us through the exclusive MGM Mansion to the restaurant. I was fortunate enough to stay at the Mansion for a friend's bachelorette weekend at Las Vegas in 2009 so I'm somewhat familiar with the beauty & magnificence this place has to offer for all its guests, not to mention the personalized VIP service that makes one feel like a celebrity. I definitely want to go back and relive the Grand Mansion one day but of course, that's a whole another wish.

This time I got to experience more of Joel Robuchon's culinary magic since the hubbies ordered the Sixteen Course Degustation Menu. We opted for the six course meal and my taste buds & tummy were fully satisfied at the end although I was regretful about not trying the cheese cart. The meal needs no explanation- these pictures speak for themselves.

Caviar served with crab meat & fennel cream- it was perfection.

Le Foie Gras- carpaccio of foie gras and potatoes covered with black truffle shavings
Le Turbot- Pan fried turbot with lemongrass emulsion and stewed baby leeks
Bone marrow and vegetable ragout with corn and spices
Le Kabocha- Light kabocha pumpkin veluote, ginger foam, toasted seeds
L'Epautre: Sault farrow prepared risotto style w/gold leaf
La Symphonie de Truffle
A variety of chocolates & sweets from the dessert cart
Finally the dessert: Le Chocolat- it was heavenly.

No picture can truly capture the magnificent dining experience of Joel Robuchon- you just have to go and experience it for yourself. It is truly unparalleled. Service is excellent and every personnel is attentive to even the smallest needs. After being disappointed with another Michelin Three Star chef Guy Savoy, I assure you that Joel Robuchon is THE true master of his craft. Every dish is delicately put together, executed to perfection and most importantly, everything tastes delicious. I thought French cuisine simply wasn't my cup of tea after being disappointed by overpriced caviar & some fancy beet foie gras that contradicted instead of complementing each other (sorry Guy Savoy) --but nope, I've been wasting $$$ at the wrong place.

It's not every day that my husband and I get to wine & dine at a Michelin's Three Star restaurant and I'm truly grateful for the wonderful experience I had at Joel Robuchon this past weekend. Like many other marriages out there, ours is far from perfect but I'm extremely grateful for a husband who knows me inside & out and still loves me unconditionally, who tries very hard to make every occasion special and meaningful even after six years of marriage and ten years of being together. I'm also very grateful for my wonderful parents/family who enjoy spending time with the kids so my husband and I can leave on these romantic getaways without worry. I have so much to be thankful for and even more gratitude to cherish deep inside my heart. This blog helps me to do that and I urge you to start signifying the things you're grateful for and just wait to see what the universe has in store for you. ;)

A weekend in Las Vegas

I just returned from the most amazing trip ever. Being grateful for little things really do add up and I'm now a firm believer of this new outlook because the universe did provide me with just what I needed- plenty of R&R, a fun night out with old friends, a romantic Valentines Day dinner at the perfect restaurant and even some extra cash in my pocket. :)

The first night we went to Raku which is now officially my favorite Japanese restaurant. I LOVE authentic Japanese course meals consisting fresh sashimi, salad and ornate & dainty meat/vegetable dishes that are unique and perfectly put together in various colors, textures & flavors. We ordered $50 per person Omakase and every dish was very interesting and delicious.

Sashimi salad

What I like about Raku is that they never overbook and will actually turn customers away without a reservation. Reservations can be made in increments of two hours 6-8, 8-10 and so on--- and you have to be there on time to ensure the next group of customers can have their two hours. I believe this is a way for them to make sure the chef has enough time to prepare each and every dish with care. I'd definitely recommend this restaurant off the strip to anyone who is visiting Las Vegas.

At night I met up an old best friend from junior high named Nancy and we ended up at Foundation Room which is an exclusive, members only lounge located on top floor of Mandalay Bay. Being 30 years old, I'm tired of overcrowded Las Vegas clubs without room to walk or dance and Foundation Room provided the perfect upscale lounge experience with a breathtaking view. We danced the night away and reminisced about our old days. We joked about how we've been friends for over 10 years but were drinking together for the very first time. It was a perfect night.

The second night we went to Wynn hotel to watch Le Reve. Hands down, Le Reve wins best performance and stage over Bellagio's O and MGM's Ka. Le Reve seemed more romantic and visually stunning compared to the O show and it had a solid & interesting storyline unlike Ka which left viewers wondering 'who's love story is this?' Don't want this to be a spoiler so I'll stop here but yes, highly recommended!

After the show we checked out the newest addition to Las Vegas, the Cosmopolitan Hotel. I was very impressed with the overall decor and layout, especially the glamorous chandelier curtains that draped from ceiling to floor across multiple floors. I didn't go into Marquee nightclub but wasn't too impressed with the crowd surrounding outside. There were lots of intoxicated young 20 somethings walking around barefoot with shoes in their hands and a bunch of young men who looked like predators. You know what kind of club scene I'm talking about. Wasn't too thrilled and would still prefer Wynn's XS over Marquee Nightclub unless the crowd changes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Emergen-C & Faux Cappuccino

I wake up in the morning feeling groggy from the lethal combination of a creeping cold & Nyquil I took the night before. Throat is on fire, head is doing cartwheels & body is covered in cold sweat as all I can think of is sleep....and more sleep.

My hair is disheveled, flat and sticking to my head like post-its. I'm wearing a fuzzy light green bathrobe that I got as a Christmas gift last year and thought I'd never wear. I've been living in this for the past few days and it's the most comfortable thing next to wrapping myself with a n.a.p. blanket.

I could've slept at least 24 more hours but choosing to become a mom inevitably meant giving up the luxury of undisturbed sleep even during moments of illness so off I go--- straight to the coffee maker.

I remember I just ran out of my favorite medium roast coffee blend and all I have left is cappuccino flavored coffee. What the fuck was I thinking when I bought this? Ugh.

Sure enough, it tastes just as artificial and nasty as it reads.

After few sips of this faux cappuccino with dry toast I walk over to the medicine cabinet to see what my remaining options are. I can take Dayquil to induce present grogginess and perhaps take a nap. But that means I have to somehow put my 5-year old down for a nap just two hours after she awoke. She too has a cold but is full of energy and insists on watching Yo Gabba Gabba on repeat.

Maybe I should just down this bottle of Nyquil and go back to sleep. Maybe I should share some with my daughter and take a nap together. Ahh that sounds lovely.

Before I can feel the familiar pangs of maternal guilt for my impure thoughts, my eyes spot out the box of Emergen-C hiding out in the back.

I grab a cup, pour the packet of Lemon Honey Emergen-C and down this pink drink in one big desperate gulp. It tastes even worse than the cappuccino flavored coffee. What the hell is Ruby Lemon anyway? These advertising execs need to make better choices in their names. Whatever. Stop wasting energy on useless thoughts, I tell myself  As of now, I just need sleep......and more sleep.

This is the story of one uneventful morning of a 30-year old who chose early marriage & motherhood in place of solitude, personal gratification & material success. And even though I'm only left with this foul tasting pseudo coffee & a latent immune system, I'll count my blessings and be grateful.

Now bring me some real coffee and a nice, long vacation.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hyphenated Identity

As my 4-year old daughter begins to construct her self-identity, I often run into questions that makes me falter, nervous about what effects my carefree response has on her growing mind. She now recognizes the American flag every time she comes across one, and today she asked if we can make one together. Automatically I replied 'of course honey!' enthusiastically and willingly as I always try to sound. So the conversation began.
Me: Of course honey, and after we make the American flag, why don't we make a Korean flag too?
T: Why Korean mom?
Me: Well, because we're part Korean, and it's good to learn about the Korean culture too.
(I replaced the word 'ethnically' with 'part' knowing this one word can trigger tens of others questions that can never fully be resolved between us yet)
T: Ummm, no thank you mom. I don't like Korean, I am American. I like American better.
She just turned four and words like American and Korean hold no more significance than names of her favorite TV characters but I foresee many hours of dialogue in the future as we grow together as mother & daughter.

And I can't help but to long for her childhood innocence and simplicity, two facets of abundance I have to now make conscious efforts to achieve and maintain.