Friday, April 26, 2013

A stroll to the park

I think Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota! I was losing hope, especially since last week it snowed twice. (Inconceivable!) Today it reached a perfect sunny 70 degrees :) I was suppose to finish up some work at home, but I just couldn't, it was too beautiful outside. So we threw Grace in the stroller and took her to the park. I don't think we've taken Grace to the park for over a year now. We spent most of last Spring/Summer in the hospital for her surgeries, so I really can't even remember the last time we were able to enjoy a full Summer day. Hopefully this year we'll be able to experience the entire summer 

Jeans: 7for all Mankind      Sweater: Jcrew      Flats: Tory Burch

Headband: Handmade by my talented friend, Samantha Bartlett. She's a good friend of mine from college, mom of two incredibly cute kids, and super talented at all sorts of DIY projects. She made this head band for Grace, but also fits my head too! How fortuitous, I think I'll wear it until Grace asks for it back. I keep telling Sam she should start an Etsy shop, I would totally buy all her cute hand-sewn stuff. I mean, wouldn't you?? :)

Getting so big

Sipping some beer... 
I MEAN, Pellagrino

After we returned from the park, I was doing some work in the study room. All of a sudden it got real quiet. From a distance, I could hear people talking and Grace giggling outside, accompanied by a buzzing sound. What the heck? I stuck my head out the back door to see this: Grandma giving Grandpa a haircut (buzzing sound) and little Grace keeping them company playing on the deck :) 

Keep in touch? :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

6 things I've discovered through blogging

I haven't been blogging for very long, maybe more consistently over the past several months, but this is what I've discovered!

My only exposure to computer coding/programming was an intro class I took in college. I also was briefly introduced to C++ (Is that still even used nowadays??), which I thought was pretty complex. As I browsed through many other blog sites and admired all the intricate designs, I thought it would be nearly impossible to create my own of such caliber unless I paid a professional to do it for me. There was NO way I could re-learn all this coding crap. Well let me tell you, google can teach you a LOT! It really is all just copy and pasting codes, changing a few numbers and links here and there, understanding how host sites work, and the rest is all from your own creativity and imagination! Each week, I learned something new- like designing my own banner one week. The next week I learned about picture hosting sites that then lead me to create my own buttons and such. At the end you feel like you made this new creation by yourself, kind of like painting a picture or baking a cake from your own recipe. As long as you know the basics, you can use that knowledge to create something truly unique and your own. I encourage you to give it a try! Just be patient, because it may seem kind of intimidating at first. Just take it one task at a time. Let me know if I can help in any way. I'm still learning though, so I'm still trying to figure out some of the more complex stuff :) 

I think I've always had a lot of clothes that I never really appreciated. I enjoy variety, but at the end of the day, I always end up coming back to the same old outfit: Jeans and a neutral shirt/sweater. I don't know why I have so many clothes if half of the time I don't wear them. Now I'm starting to sound like my husband. Maybe it's a girl thing! Yes, I firmly believe it's a girl thing. My closet re-discoveries initiative then forced me to re-open my eyes to what I currently have, encouraged me to use those pieces to the fullest potential and be creative with each clothing item. Blogging about it was what made it the most fun, because then I had a whole community to share it with :) Many of my close friends from college chuckle at me, because they knew me from back in the day where all I wore were sweat pants and dark clothing. I use to dress rather gothic.. but I'll save that story for a different day. I wouldn't necessarily call myself now a hard-core fashionista, but I do definitely appreciate the creativity and beauty behind style and clothes much more than before. I know that it's easy to always want to stay on trend and get the latest fashion pieces, but don't forget to appreciate what you have. The average closet investment is probably hundreds to thousands of dollars, don't take it for granted no matter how boring you think it is! It's amazing what you can re-discover without always getting more.

Remember the days when you could play all day with just a piece of paper, some tape, crayons and a spatula? Remember the days when you could make colorful posters, unique science projects, artistic paper mache creations, drawings, write magical stories and be proud of what you came up with? Maybe I just miss being a kid. Maybe I'm seeing Grace grow up so quickly, and I'm terrified that I won't be a very exciting mother because I feel like I lost all my creativity over the years. I use to love art, designing things, drawing, painting, etc. Going through 10+ years of intense medical training doesn't really give you much opportunity to exercise that, unfortunately. But blogging, creating new designs, painting my own online picture, finding art through photography, finding fun through fashion... what a great way to express your creativity through that! I feel like a kid again :) A really big kid.

There was an estimated 200 million active blogs in 2009, I don't know how many there are now but the blogging community has grown exponentially. There's a blog for almost everything nowadays, which doesn't surprise me since technological advances in internet communication and social media have grown so quickly. I think a lot of people tend to express themselves better through writing, and there's always some interested target audience who share similar opinions. The internet truly has been able to connect so many people together. I've met some pretty amazing people through blogging- fabulous mothers, fellow physician bloggers, beautiful fashion bloggers, lifestyle bloggers.. and have gotten to know a lot of you through your online journals. Thank you for all being so wonderful, positive and supportive. I've actually also been able to meet a few families who's children had health problems similar to Grace's, and we've been able to encourage, support and pray for each other through our blog connections. How great is that?

The camera is truly one of the greatest inventions of all time. I grew up hating taking pictures. Why, you ask? I think it was mainly because I was too lazy to carry it around. Plus I thought it was a really cheesy and touristy gesture. I wish I could slap myself back then. There's a huge chunk in my life from college through med-school and residency where I have no pictures at all. NOTHING. All because I was too lazy. I can't even find our wedding pictures that our awesome photographer Albert Yau from Second Print Productions took for us. That's how much photography didn't mean to me back then. One of my biggest regrets. Photography is beautiful. It captures history, art, life, memories. It captures something that my demented brain will probably forget someday. I want to be able to capture everything from now on and remember our lives. One of my favorite photography blogs is by Blue Bird Vintage. She takes breathtaking pictures of her kids every week, and you can literally sense her children's playful personalities through these pictures. They're amazing. 
I must also mention that you don't need a phenomenal $5,000 camera to take great pictures. We use a standard Sony Nex-5 and it has been great without costing us a kidney.

Aaron has actually been a huge contributor to this blog. Guess who actually came up with the name? While I was thinking of hideous blog names like "TheChan-Clanfamilyadventuresdaybook" or "", or "The-geriatricianbyday-". He didn't make fun of me. How about Sunny with a side of...? Our days are always happy and bright, whatever we blog about will be an added silver lining to our day. 
He is the man behind the camera, taking those artistic shots and crawling on the floor to take the shoe shots without complaint. He also helped with the blog design too. The little dot that's floating away in the corner on my banner? I have no idea what it means, but he came up with that and I LIKE IT! It's been a nice hobby we can do together. He even reads your comments and gets all excited about new comments too. haha :) So please support him when he writes his movie reviews! I know it would mean a lot to him :) Anyways, his talents go way beyond this blog... and I'm proud of him for so many other things too.

Are you considering to start a blog? You should do it! :) If anything, it'll be something nice to browse through when I'm retired, sitting in a nursing home 50 years from now.

What have YOU discovered through your blogging experience? 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weekend at the Elizabeth Lodge

Last weekend, we spent a few days in this gorgeous lodge with some friends from our church family. This beautiful 8 bedroom facility was generously built by one of the members of our church in remembrance of their daughter, and used for different events like small group retreats, meetings, and other ministry centered purposes. It is the most beautiful home I have ever seen, located on a hill with peaceful and serene landscaping. This house has everything that's perfect for a weekend getaway. You can enjoy a nice campfire, toast s'mores, relax in a jacuzzi, watch movies in a custom built movie room, enjoy nature, etc. It's gives you an opportunity to have a time of quiet reflection and renewal away from the busy daily chaos of life.

Interior of the home

View of the porch and backyard- Equipped with a built- in barbecue grill and other manly things.

The basement is also incredible! It has a pingpong table, air-hockey and fooze-ball table. It has an old arcade machine. The movie room is also in the basement, but I wasn't able to get a picture because the guys were hogging it most of the day ... and afternoon... and evening.

I also had an opportunity to take some new born photography pictures of baby Amelia! (8 days old). I tell ya, blogging has really inspired me to learn more about photography. I'm still not very good at it, but learning!

I got this coat from Modcloth awhile ago, and didn't really know how to wear it. I just knew that I really liked it :) Plus, they were having this crazy coat sale. It has this really unique, modern vintage-revolutionary war attire- feminine look to it. The tweed pattern is also really interesting. Any other ideas on how to style it?

Favorite Tory Burch boots

We were also able to celebrate one of our dear friends' (Rachel) birthday! We ended our weekend retreat with a delicious chicken fajita and korean barbecue dinner. The Elizabeth lodge was where we initially met our friends at a couple's retreat 2 years ago, when we first moved to Minnesota. Aaron and I were both new to the area at that time and didn't know anyone. 2 years later, we have all kept in touch and grown together in our lives and experiences.  It is truly a place that I am so grateful for, not only because of the history and background of this place, but also for the incredible friendships that it has brought together. I always look forward to coming here.

Hope you had a great, relaxing weekend as well!

Keep in touch :)

Linking up this week with:

the pleated poppy blogStyle Elixir Chantillysongs Blog hop

This week's giveaway opportunities!
1. Mama in Heels' Signature henry bracelet

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Skinny jeans: The Quest

The quest for the perfect skinny jeans...

Is it just me, or has it also been exceedingly difficult for you guys to find a pair of nice, comfortable, and well-fitted jeans? A pair that won’t reveal rear-crack embarrassment you when you sit down. A pair that stretches gently, but not so much that it feels baggy after you wear it just a few times. A pair that doesn’t have excessive material in certain places that manifest as crotch sag or hamstring flaps. Maybe I’m just picky, or maybe my body from the waist down is extremely deformed. Regardless, I’ve had a hard time. Then, when skinny jeans became popular again, it made my quest even harder! Now they have to be even more form fitted and calf flattering and ankle hugging and this and that…
That’s why when I do find a pair that is awesome, I tend to stick with that brand with faithfulness. These are the ones that I've been pretty happy with:

I can’t even begin to tell you how great these jeans are. At the end of the day, these are the ones that I will always come crawling back to. The length is perfect, the waist stretches to conform to a full, buffet- filled belly without popping the button. What I appreciate the most about these jeans is the material. There is a softness and durability that allows just enough stretch to be comfortable, but doesn’t sag after you wear it for a long duration. The color and fades are also very beautiful. It's the perfect length with flats and heels
Tip: Nordstrom rack sells them for at least 50% off, if not more

2.  Gap jeans
Before I got my seven skinnies, I wore Gap 1969 jeans almost everyday. They were the only pair that I had. I wore them so much that they looked acid-washed from all the baby drool, milk stains and dried stuck-on rice particles. They are comfortable, but the material is slightly heavier and thicker than Seven’s. Therefore, I found it less breathable… especially if you sweat a lot. The length tends to be longer, and scrunches on the bottom, giving it more of a grungy look.

These are probably the softest and most stylish jeans I have ever worn. They also magically shrink your thighs somehow. Don’t ask me how. They just do. They tend to be extremely form fitting and tight, but with a great length…. Slightly too tight for my taste, but they do make your legs look extra nice ;) Downside: they are more on the pricey side, but you can sometimes find good deals at Nordstrom rack

Now, I have never actually tried these jeans before, but they look really interesting. I appreciate the story behind these jeans. In 2001, the SanFrancisco based brand owner had hand-MADE his own jeans out of many pieces of recycled denim (kind of like a quilt). It was so comfortable and novel that it became popular pretty quickly. Each pair is hand sewn from over 50 individual pieces and has a really unique, innovative look. I have never seen jeans like that before, and I think it has enough fun and flare to enhance any simple outfit. Now that they also make skinny jeans, I’m really interested to give this one a try as well!

Jeans: 7 for all mankind   Shirt: Thrifted     Blazer: Banana republic   Purse: Prada Saffiano    Shoes: Ferragamo

            Which skinny jean brands have worked well for you? :)

Stay in Touch! 

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