Travel

Glass houses

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Seattle is a special city, a city that I love and can not imagine living anywhere else.  There are many amazing places to explore if you love nature, art, and great culture.  We are not just hipsters, coffee lovers, or tech geeks.  There are many beautiful experiences you can have in Seattle for any type of taste.

We had family in town from Ohio and because grandma is an artist and art aficionado visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass was on our must see list. Dale Chihuly is a pioneer in the art of glass and us Washingtonians are lucky to claim him as our own.  The Chihuly Garden and Glass is located next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center so it was a perfect place to visit and sightsee.

It has been open since 2012 but I have not visited it before today.  It’s just one of those things that happen or don’t happen unless you have out of town guests, being a tourist in your own city.  It was very breathtaking to see the beauty of all the blown glass, unfortunately Violet was so mesmerized that she wanted to climb into the art installations and touch all the glass.  Brian and I zipped through the exhibit to save the ears of all the other guests.

For the most part we were able to enjoy and appreciate the amazing glass and the family got to spend quality time together.  If you live in Seattle and have not gone yet, I would highly recommend it.  You can really make a whole day out of it and enjoy the other wonders of the Seattle Center.

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XO,

Mina

 

 

 

 

 

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Family

Zero to six

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This week has been jam packed with celebrations because my eldest daughter Ume turned six.  We held her birthday party at one of her favorite parks in Seattle, Jefferson Park.  It is a 50 + acre park with spray play area/playground, sports fields, and an adjoining golf course.  It got revamped in 2012, so everything is updated and nice.

It was a free play birthday party.  I had activities set up for the kids to do as they pleased.  The guests got to splash around in the spray park area and run around on the play structures.  Ume has never liked the attention of having people sing her happy birthday and blowing out the candles so we skipped that tradition and let our guests have cupcakes when they were ready.  I was happy that Ume played with all of her friends and had an absolute blast.

I did not expect much change in Ume in one day as she became a six year old, however I was pleasantly surprised. That night of her party when we were getting ready for bed, she casually stated that she needed a nightlight turned on because she will be sleeping by herself now that she is six years old.  Um…is this really happening?  When she was born we chose to co-sleep with her, and when she transitioned into sleeping in her own room she has always needed someone to help her go to sleep.  Brian and I have been prepping her and impatiently waiting for the day that she will be sleeping on her own and it finally came.

She had questions on what to do if she got itchy, thirsty, or had to use the bathroom.  I reassured her that she could always come into our room and we would help her with any of her needs.  Then every two minutes she needed one of those needs met until she went through the list.  The last thing she requested was to know what we would be dreaming about and then my little six year slept in her own room by herself like a real big kid!  Six is going to be a fantastic year.

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XO,

Mina

 

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Travel

Summer holiday

Every July 4th – America’s Independence Day we spend the holiday on Vashon Island.  It has been a wonderful tradition to spend the day eating awesome bbq, watching the kids run around on the beach then later light fireworks, and have quality time with amazing people.  This day was no different.

We are lucky that Vashon Island is only a 20 minute ferry ride from us.  The island has charming shops, wineries, delicious restaurants, and impressive farm stands.  It feels like a real getaway even though the travel time is less than going to downtown Seattle.

It was predicted that there would be rain on this day but luckily it only rained a little so we were able to enjoy the beach and not be stuck indoor with all of our guests.  Once it started to get dark the firework show began.  Uemera is not fond of fireworks because they make loud noises and Violet was not that impressed either.  We still got to enjoy the visuals from inside the house because we have clear bay windows that gave us great view of the action outdoors.

It was a fun day for the adults, kids, and dogs; no injuries occurred and no party fouls.  My stomach was full with burrata, pinenuts, and truffle oil, which is my new favorite snack!  We are lucky to have such a magical place to spend this patriotic holiday, to celebrate everything American.  Cheers to the red, white, and blue!

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XO,

Mina

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Travel

Roughing it or glamping?

Our attempt at a family photo.  Ha!

This past weekend the family and I went to Deception Pass State Park to join our close friends on a camping adventure.  I personally have not camped since I was a child when my mom and dad would take my sister and I on annual fishing/camping trips with their close friends.  The idea of roughing it in the woods does not sound too appealing to me but after visiting our friends’ camp sites during previous years I was confident that I would be more “glamping” than roughing it.  Plus my camping memories as a child are some of the fondest memories I have growing up and I want to give that to my kids.

Our friends made it to the camp site on Friday and we joined them on Saturday because Brian had an event he was producing on Friday.  Deception Pass State Park is about a 2 hour drive from Seattle and a coveted destination area.  The view is quite remarkable with beautiful lakes, mountains, and islands; and the campsite has amazing old-growth forests, simple hiking trails with close proximity to sandy beaches.

Thanks to our friends the campsite was already set up with all the amenities to have a comfortable stay. Ume quickly joined her buddies on her scooter riding around the campsite.  She is at the age where she can follow directions and has good safety awareness, so we can trust her to scooter around with the older kids. Poor Violet had serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and needed to be entertained by us adults.  We had a fun time playing at the beach followed by a lovely bbq dinner, S’mores, and lots of wine and whiskey.

It was a great time to enjoy nature, for the kids to disconnect from the TV/iPad, and for us adults to enjoy each others company in a different environment.  We spent time at the beach, got dirty, and the kids played hard outdoors.  Our sleep was not the greatest because we were outside in the elements with the birds chirping as our alarm clock but we did have the comforts of an inflatable mattress.  With all the terrible sadness and drama going on in the world, it was a good time to get away and create happy memories.

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XO,

Mina

 

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Thoughts

Love is love


The tragedy in Orlando, Florida has made me feel so helpless.  Along with the world I mourn the loss of the 49 souls and send prayers of healing to the 53 who were wounded.  There are just no words that will reverse this hateful act.  Hearing the news and being consumed with the media coverage just left me feeling so many emotions; sick, heartbroken, angry, confused, and sad. All the families, loved ones, friends, and lives touched personally by this tragedy will forever be changed.  The rest of us in the world will also be impacted, like how 9/11, the Boston marathon bombing, or the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school impacted us.

Where do we go from here?  We will be inundated by many opposing forces having opinions on how this can be prevented in the future.  The powers to be will take this opportunity to create more divide in the country and use it for their own political agendas.  How do we keep people safe?  It could have been any of us that was gunned down.  This particular person targeted a gay club; someone else could target a specific ethnicity, religion, political view, any difference that they see fit.  All I know is something needs to change.

I don’t want to live in fear.  Fear makes people do crazy things.  History shows what comes out of fear and it is not a world I want to live in.  It seems getting rid of assault rifles would be an answer.  Would that many people have been shot if the killer had only hand guns?  The answer is no.  Stricter policies in gun control, more resources to the FBI and national security agencies, improved monitoring of social media platforms seem like a good area to start.  I don’t have the answers all I know is we need better protection.

Love is love people!  All I can do now is send all my love to the people affected by this tragedy and to the world.

XO,

Mina

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Family

Pitter Patter…no…Splitter Splatter

Lately I have been trying to find new fun things for Violet and I to do together while Ume is in school.  The most recent place we have been enjoying is West Seattle Art Nest.  It is an amazing art studio for kids and their grownups to get messy while being creative.  Violet loves the painting table and can spend a long time working on different projects.  They provide every imaginable art tool from glitter, to hot glue guns, to beads.

She loves going into the splatter room where you can throw paint around.  There is also an area with toys to play with when the little ones need a break from creating.  The employees are super chill and great with the kids as expected.  It has become a nice way to spend the afternoon and also a reprieve from the blazing sun.

I am starting to figure out more and more the kinds of activities that really make Violet happy.  She is our tactile child who loves to get messy and explore.  This is a great place for her to do all of that.  It is awesome to get to take the girls to different individual activities so they can each get that undivided parental attention that is so needed to develop their self esteem.  Ume has her ballet classes and Violet has her random outings with me 2-3 times a week.

I am a worrier parent, knowing that my influences on my children are going to last longer than these singular moments.  All the interactions I have with them will impact their personality in their future, the whole nature vs nurture debate.  Sure, there are days when I want to just relax at home and not engage in any educational activities for my kids but I try to get myself out of that head space.  To give them a fighting chance to be well rounded people.  Ume always confuses adult with person.  I have to remind her she is already a person but she consistently argues, “No I am not, I am a kid”.  Maybe she is right.  Her person is still developing and it is my job to make sure both of my kids have all the tools to become thriving people.

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XO,

Mina

 

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Music Thoughts

35 years and living – kicking and screaming

I never thought turning 35 would be such a momentous birthday to me until I started to fixate on the number.  Sure when I turned 18, 21, and 30 I knew those would be important birthdays but I never really thought about 35.  Maybe it is because after turning 30 multiple of five ages are an easy goal marker; or maybe it is because I am getting closer to 40; or maybe because I am realizing how lucky I am to be alive with good health.  Either way it is a great time to stop and really look at what my life has become and where I want to take it.  I sadly know too many people who have not had the luxury to get to this year in life.  It makes me want to appreciate the little every day moments that make my life great; like getting up and seeing Violet’s sweet face smiling at me, or being able to have a kick ass workout that makes me feel all the major muscles in my body, or tasting that perfect satisfying bite of avocado toast.

I made the most of celebrating by hosting about thirty of my closest friends with a show from one of my favorite DJ/producers Kaytranada.  From what I remember my happiness scale was through the roof and I was in love with all of my friends.  On my actual birthday I went to enjoy a DJ set from singer/songwriter/producer Hayden James at Q nightclub.  It was a more intimate group of friends and the music and dancing was so good.  It was cool to see Odesza there and the crowd went wild when their mix of “Something about you” played.

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Enjoying live music is my favorite pastime and it was the perfect way to bring on this new year of life.  A big shout out to my husband for setting up the party and for watching the girls last night so I could go out on a weekday.  Thanks to all of my lovely family/friends for all the well wishes, gifts, and the best hugs.  I am feeling really positive about what’s to come and I hope to stay connected with all of you.

XO,

Mina

 

 

 

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Thoughts

Goals revisited

Around the start of 2016 I wrote a post about creating positive goals for myself and not having any New Year’s resolutions that I will ultimately break.  I wrote three short goals that I thought were feasible to focus on in the upcoming year. The original post is here.  My first goal was to buy a house by February. Normally it takes a while to buy the perfect house so having a deadline of two months may sound far fetched.  However, we were already looking for about six months and had a deadline of April because that was when our lease was up.  It was pretty challenging trying to find a house in West Seattle that had all we needed/wanted and was still affordable.  We really wanted a new construction because we have already experienced owning a 1915 Craftsman style house and knew all the work that went into maintaing a vintage home.  We looked into other areas but could not imagine living outside of West Seattle.  West Seattle is an amazing family oriented neighborhood with great schools, shops/restaurants, and is very close to the city. After prioritizing and rethinking what we actually needed in a house and thinking about our five year plan we decided to try to buy the house we were currently renting.  After much hoops to jump through I am happy to say we closed on the house about two weeks ago!

My next goal was to become a certified neuroscience nurse by the end of March.  That goal stopped being a priority in my career because I began a new position in April working as a RN in an observation unit that is an extension of the emergency department.  This new position has already awarded me with many great educational opportunities and I am gaining more skills to be a versatile nurse.  I am loving my new position and feel like it was a great decision for me to make this change.

My last goal that I had was to get desert body ready for the Coachella Music Festival in April.  This was an arbitrary goal because it was based on my perception and values of my own personal body image.  I worked hard at exercising a couple of times a week, going on detox diets, and trying to maintain discipline with clean eating, but that all went out the door when I went to Las Vegas in March.  I felt really good for my trip to Las Vegas but loss momentum and ultimately accepted my flaws.  I may not have been in my ideal body shape but I was happy enough to feel good in my skin and did not let that deter me from having the time of my life.

Thinking back on these three goals set at the beginning of the new year, it reminds me how fast plans and intentions can change even in just a few months.  No matter what my goals are for the future, there are so many variables that can change these plans.  I think what is important is to keep working on improvements, growth, and ultimately positive change.  I will come up with another set of three concise goals soon to work towards.

XO,

Mina

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Music

Opening DOORS To The Arts

Last Saturday Brian and I went to the Seattle Theatre Group/STG’s annual fundraiser that raises money to support their education and community programs.  Each year along with producing world class shows at The Paramount, The Moore, and The Neptune Theaters; the organization spearheads a lot of outreach programs to share the wonder of the arts with the community.  Some of these amazing programs are the following:

  • Have you heard of the amazing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater?  I am always astonished about the level of beauty and grace these dancers always demonstrate.  STG and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are launching AileyCamp this summer, which provides a free six week camp for youth ages 11-14 focusing on dance training, creative writing, personal development, and communication workshops.
  • Another outreach program STG produces is More Music @ The Moore that provides young artists training and rehearsal time with professional musicians, sound, and lighting.  They also have an opportunity to perform live at The Moore Theater.  This year the music director was the world-class drummer and percussionist Sheila E!
  • STG also has programs catering outside of the youth.  There is Dance for PD that is a dance program for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers, with free classes offered across five sites (Seattle, Kirkland, DesMoines, Issaquah, Lynnwood).  Each eight-week series of class uses dance, live music and community to develop artistry while addressing Parkinson disease specific concerns.  This helps so many people to not feel so isolated in their disease.

These are just three out of the tons of fantastic community outreach programs that this fundraiser supports through the vision of STG.  Brian and I were excited to participate and support art education in our community, which we think is truly important for all ages.  I wished I participated in more creative extracurricular activities when I was growing up.  It would have helped with my self-esteem, given me tools to express myself, and be an all around positive impact in my developmental years.  I think there is so much value to art education and I am a big proponent!

The night started with cocktails, hor d’oeuvres, and a silent auction.  We bid on a couple of items like tickets to see Anthony Bourdain and Sasquatch Music Festival VIP package.  We were served a delicious dinner catered by our local restaurateur, Tom Douglas.  Then we were treated by so many exceptional musical acts.  A saxophonist, a Korean traditional dance troupe, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, The Roots joined by Sheila E. and some outrageously talented young singers from the More Music @ The Moore program.  We were thoroughly entertained and shared a joyous evening with friends, clients, and strangers.

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Cool posters to bid on. Brian bid/won a Digable Planets poster!

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We did not win this bid.

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It’s a full house!

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Morning Star

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When I think of the ultimate boss lady, I think of Gloria!

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The event raised $750,000!  We are so happy and proud to be a part of a night that will help so many people.  I can not wait for next year!

XO,

Mina

 

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Family Thoughts

My Mother

Mother’s Day is a great day to honor all the maternal figures who have touched my life but especially my own mother. After having children of my own I now can relate to her more.  I am able to look back into the memories of my life and her role as my mother with a new perspective.  It took me until my adult years to realize how amazing my mother truly is. When I was an adolescent she was the one who took the brunt of all my emotions; she was the one person that I could be my sorely awful self.  Yet she still loved me, heck probably still liked me too.  That is the love of a mother that she showed me.  However terrible I was to her she saw through it and dealt with my aggressions because she loved me unconditionally.

Some of my childhood difficulties stemmed from growing up in a different culture than my parents and trying to navigate between both views.  My parents never fully enculturated in the American culture but adapted enough to live here.  My father was strict and regimented where my mother was flexible and understanding.  She did not create a barrier between us by forcing a facade of hierarchical respect that is typically in the Korean culture. The kind of barrier where you did not share your true self with each other; an imaginary wall that valued persona higher than authenticity.  She allowed me to be me.

It is tough to look back and know how much stress and anguish I must have put her through being an unruly Gemini.  I wasn’t a complete deviant but I definitely was not your ideal child in the eyes of Korean society.  Thankfully I did not shame my parents but I wish I could have been better.  I wish I could have shown more appreciation at an earlier age, grew up quicker, know what I know now.  These are not unique wishes but they are still mine.

The only thing to do is be better now.  To shower my mother with the appreciation that she deserves not just on Mother’s Day but every day.  Today I am reminded to show gratitude for my mother for all of the sacrifices she has made for my family.  To thank her for all the life support she has given me over the years.  I am truly grateful and only hope that my girls will be impacted by my love for them as I have been by my mother.

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XO,

Mina

 

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