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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Family

Off to the farm we go

Uemera learned a new concept at school, persuasion.  With learning this new word she is trying to persuade us to get her a bunny.  She comes home every day with different tactics to try to convince us to buy her a bunny.  I am not budging.  We already have a cat and a fish so we are tapped out in the pet department.  In our discussion of not getting a bunny I casually told her we can pet a bunny at a petting zoo.  Of course now going to the petting zoo is all she wants to do this weekend.  Brian is in Texas for a marketing conference for the next few days so it is a girls weekend for us!  In thinking of going to the zoo with both of the kids by myself and what that would entail I had to think of another plan.

Going to the farm sounded like a better plan.  Fox Hollow Farm is in Issaquah which is about 40 minutes away and is small enough to not be overwhelming, but also has a lot of fun activities for the kids to make it worth it.  I invited our framily (family + friends) Sandra and her two girls.  Her husband Jason is also in Texas with Brian so it was a perfect time for us ladies to get together for an impromptu play date.

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The farm is set up with lots of barn areas where you can pet and feed the animals.  There is this cute miniature farm house area where the kids can go inside, play house, and go down slides attached to the houses.  There is a mini train that you can ride, motorized jeeps to drive, and pony rides!  Also there is an inflatable bouncy house and a corn pit.  Violet especially loved the corn pit so we spent a lot of time in it. She ended up with corn kernels inside her onesie.

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Ume found bunnies to pet!

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Coincidentally, Brian rode an animal today too.  When in Texas you ride a longhorn bull.

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It was a great day at the farm and a great way for Uemera to learn about persuasion but more importantly compromise.  It was a win win day for everyone.  I hope this satisfied her desire to have a pet bunny.  We will see in the upcoming days what else she will try to persuade us into.

XO,

Mina

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Thoughts

Back to reality

Coming back from vacation is always tough.  I had 4 blissful days to relax and be selfish.  Of course I checked in with my family every day and made sure that everyone was being taken care of, but then I got to enjoy 4 days in the sun with amazing friends and music; all of my favorite things.  Having the break to have “me” time was exactly what I needed.  It allowed me to decompress and reset my intentions.

That relaxed good mood “me” lasted about 48hrs and then normal life settled back in – mommy, wife, daughter, and nurse.  The redundancy of daily activities and responsibilities began to show its face again. Not that my life is anything to complain about.  I have more than I need.  I have my health.  I have many blessings to appreciate and I have my own struggles like everyone else.  It’s just vacation mode “me” needed to change back to real life “me”.

It would be terrible to have been away and then come back to a disgruntled husband and bratty kids, which was not the case at all.  Brian was wonderful with the help of our family in taking care of the girls.  Both Ume and Violet were happy to see me but also excited to share how fun their weekend was.  Ume graciously waited for me to come home before having Brian pull out her first loose tooth because her “person” tooth was coming in.  I would have been so sad if I missed this milestone.  It was a relief to know that I can be away for a few days and the house didn’t burn down or the kids didn’t become teenagers.

All in all my break away was a win for all of us.  My patience meter readjusted to have more tolerance and I am able to enjoy my family even more.  Brian had a chance to spend some quality dad time with the girls and also got to breakaway to take care of some business.  The girls had a chance to miss me and appreciate what I do for them.

It has been an adjustment for me this week to ease back into normality.  I am reading a bunch of articles and watching YouTube videos about Coachella and already planning for next year.  It is my one big ladies trip tradition that I work towards each year.  It is nice to have something to look forward to in the future that is already set.  I am super thankful that I get to go!

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Ume and her missing tooth

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XO,

Mina

 

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Music Travel

Coachella 2016 weekend 1

Okay here it is, my Coachella recap.  This is my 5th festival year shared with my best bud Abby and we have our routine down.  The festival is two consecutive weekends long and I usually attend weekend 1 so I can experience all the surprise guest appearances firsthand.  Flying in on Thursday allows me to settle in and really be in vacation mode.  First things first, Abby and I had to enjoy In-N-Out burgers and fries since we unfortunately do not have one in Washington.  Then we head to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, CA, which is 20 minutes away from Palm Springs.  It houses 180 stores and nothing beats designer boutiques at 30-40% off.  We were thinking of attending The 143 X Do Over party at Ace Hotel but our hotel room and room service sounded more appealing to get us prepared for the next festival day.

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Friday starts like this.  Leisurely wake up, go to the best and I mean THE BEST frozen yogurt shop, Tutti Fruttithen get ready for Day 1.  The shuttle situation was not ideal because there was a super long line at our hotel for the 40 minute ride to the festival.  We got to enjoy DJ Mustard who brought out special guest YGFoalsThe Kills; St. Germain; Lido with special guest Jaden Smith; G-Eazy; Jack U with special guests AlunaGeorgeKieszaPost Malone, and Kanye West; and finishing the night with LCD Soundsystem.  We also got to check out the Heineken House which has a separate list of entertainers sponsored by Heineken on the festival grounds.  It is an air conditioned enclosed tent and the lineup was perfect for the base heads.  We bounced to the sounds of Crizzly and DOCTOR P.  We missed a lot of other great artists but we still saw a lot.

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Saturday we woke up and grabbed lunch at LuLu California Bistro.  We were sat next to this fabulous table of men in sequins and see-through lace and next to some sweet elderly women drinking mimosas.  Yup we are in Palm Springs.  We grabbed Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt again then went back to the hotel to get ready for a pool party.  I met up with our friends Sandra and Natalie and then we went to the Hilton Day Club to enjoy Sam Feldt and Dirty South.

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We finally made it to the festival and grooved to the music from Disclosure who wins for the most special guests – Lorde, AlunaGeorge, Sam Smith, Kwabs, Brendan Reilly, and Lion Babe.  We also checked out Ice Cube with special guest Snoop Dogg; Zedd with special guests Aloe Blacc and Kesha; Guns N’ Roses with special guest AC/DC; and ending the night with Grimes with special guest Janelle Monae.  We attempted to go to an exclusive after party at the Merv Griffin Ranch Estate with Atrak but could not get an uber or a taxi to take us.  After party fail!

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Sunday we went to the gorgeous Parker hotel for massages and brunch.  It is a tradition for Abby and I, and after dancing and walking miles it was much needed body work.  We then got ready for our last festival day. We checked out the Basque Country sound of Crystal FightersMajor Lazer with special guests Sean Paul, DJ Snake and Mo; SIA with special guests Maddie Ziegler, Paul Dano, Kristen Wiig, and Gabby Hoffman; then ended the night with Calvin Harris with special guests Big Sean and Rihanna with full on fire works to close an epic weekend.

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TIPS:

Get VIP if you can.  You get access to two huge VIP areas next to the Sahara Tent and Coachella Main Stage for optimal viewing.  There are flushable clean toilets, comfortable seating, and access to special food options.  Plus celebrity sightings are fun.

Do not attempt Uber or Taxi to leave.  You will have to wait at least 2 hours for an available ride and the walk to get there is horrendous.

Check out Heineken house for a reprieve from the blistering sun and a more intimate setting to see your favorite DJ’s.

Remember to hydrate, bring a lighter if you want to make friends, and go with the flow.

I can’t wait until next year!

XO,

Mina

 

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Beauty

Japanese nail art

Countdown to Coachella has begun so has the start of my beauty upkeep to get me ready for the festival.  First thing to take care of are my nails.  I was introduced to this amazing nail salon, Salon LuLu by my bestie Abby.  Salon LuLu has two talented Japanese nail technicians, Mirei and Hiromi who have brought the intricate Japanese nail art form to Bellevue, WA. If you know of any other Japanese nail art technicians in Washington please share.

Hiromi has done my nails twice now and she has the most amazing precision art skills.  She has a background in fine art, which allows her to paint with finesse.  I asked the ladies what is the difference between Korean and Japanese nail art and they said Korean style is more cutesy and Japanese style is more sophisticated.  My first visit there I opted for a cutesy design like a typical Korean girl.  All of their tools and supplies are from Japan and are all very adorable.

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How cute is this hand rest?

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My little lamb

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My Coachella nails

They charge $80 so it is definitely a treat for a special occasion.  They say your nails can last about 3-4 weeks depending on how they fast they grow.  These gifted ladies are really ahead of the nail art game in town, so if you are looking for something extra special check out their instagram page here.

XO,

Mina

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Family

My baby is no longer a baby

We made it!  Violet is two years old today and I am happy and a little sentimental because she is officially a toddler in my eyes.  Sure the technical term of toddler is when a baby begins to walk hence “toddle” around, but I always considered her a baby until now.  The next milestone is the terrible twos but I believe she already had the ornery ones, so things won’t be so different.  Hopefully it won’t get worse, but if it does we will deal with it the best we can knowing she will eventually grow out of this stage.

Violet is our spirited daredevil kid.  She is brave and brash but also very sweet and reserved at times.  She loves the songs, If You Are Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.  She has a blast dancing and already has a great sense of rhythm.  She does not like “Mommy and Me” classes; I don’t think she likes the structure of the classes and would rather explore independently. She is in a bashful stage so she doesn’t like people looking at her until she has warmed up to you.  If you have food she may warm up to you quicker.  She has a ferocious appetite and is a fun lunch date most of the time.  She loves to play with bark and really anything sensorial and tactile.  Getting messy and dirty is the best!

Our cat Juno imprinted on her, so they have a special relationship where he would never bat at her with his paws or scratch her on purpose.  At first we were nervous having her close to him because he has swatted at Ume, but he will let Violet pet him and grab him without any negative reaction.  It is actually very sweet to watch.  Juno was my first baby and with the addition of kids he has taken a back seat to them.  He has regained his position back into the family.

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For her birthday celebration we took the family to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA.  It is an indoor water park resort, so you have to stay the night or be a guest of someone staying the night to enjoy the water park.  We all had a blast playing in the water and eating dinner at The Lodge Wood Fired Grill.  Violet was so beat from a full day of splashing around that she fell asleep before we had the birthday cake.

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I am excited to see what this next year in Violet’s life will be like, how much she will grow and change. Just like every parent watching their children grow, normal developmental changes are an amazing feat and the best things to observe.  The awe and the magic of it all does not seize.

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XO,

Mina

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Family

I was scary mommy today

Today was one of THOSE days.  Actually it has been one of THOSE weeks.  The kind of days when I have to turn in my super hero cape and realize my parenting sometimes sucks.  You ever have a day when you are out of sync, the littlest things set you off, PMS is kicking in and it only takes one more annoyance before you are really set off?  Imagine having all of that and then dealing with two kids having their own emotional meltdowns.  The end result is not pretty.

I was in my funk and the baby was in her funk, then Ume added her funk.  I was screaming inside and using my authoritative mommy tone a little too much in one day.  It gets Ume to stand a little straighter but is she really learning?  I try to have this deep conversation with her about how she needs to listen better, how I don’t want to have to tell her multiple times before she actually listens to me and her eyes just well up and the waterworks begin.  This day it was asking her to get a book to read, she drags, stays on her iPad, messes with Violet; I ask her again to get a book to read, she grabs a drink, plays with her Shopkins, continues to drag.  After the third time of asking, I really blow up.

Granted this has become a pattern of having to ask her multiple times before she gets things done, but the tasks are very minimal in importance.  Collectively the underlining theme is that she doesn’t listen.  How important is that to me?  Do I really need her to jump when I say jump and drop what she is doing when I call on her.  That just serves my purpose but then I am not valuing her purpose.

Yesterday when I picked her up from school she wanted to play on the playground.  I said yes and she ran off.  The playground is always chaotic after school with all the students there at once, so it takes me a while to scan the structure to locate her.  I can’t find her so I broaden my search and I find her by the school building messing with her teachers.  That really made me upset because I have already let her know that if we are in public and she is playing in one area, she needs to ask me if she can go to another area so I don’t lose her.

I remind her to let me know if she is leaving the playground so I always know where she is.  I let her play again in the playground.  Sure enough I am watching her like a hawk, she goes off the playground again and is back by the school building.  This time “scary mommy” kicks in.  I grab her attention and let her know that she did not listen to me and that we are now leaving.  I continue to lecture her on the importance of letting me know at all times where she is and the safety issue it presents.

In this case Ume not listening was an important issue.  The idea of not knowing where she is or losing her in public freaks me out.  It is an experience that I don’t want to have and I really try to make my message clear to her.  She ultimately cries and tells me “mommy you are making me cry”.  I do not feel bad for this. Okay Ume you are having an emotion because I scolded you, but this is an important lesson.  You will live.

This is an ongoing battle that I have with her that I am pretty sure is not rare.  As she gets older I am sure we will have some epic arguments where she will be calling me a “nag” or a terrible expletive.  I hope by then we can figure out how to communicate with each other so I won’t be the mom who drives herself crazy by hounding her kids every day.  I wish every day I can have the patience to guide my children to be the best of themselves.  Reality sets in.  You can’t be the best YOU all the time and that is okay.  Today was just the type of day when I needed her to listen to me and do what I needed her to do without any negotiation or back talk.  Alas, I look at the time and realize that the day is ending soon.  It is comforting to know that the trauma from today can be washed away and we can start fresh again tomorrow.

XO,

Mina

 

 

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Family Food

Jelly beans are the Easter Bunny’s poop

Easter Sunday is a magical day, a day we get to tell our children about the Easter Bunny.  How just like Santa, if they are good children they may get a nice gift surprise in the form of a basket filled with goodies. Ridiculous I know, but the joy it gives my children is worth the little white lie.  It shapes a world that is filled with sparkle and shine; more goodness than gloom.  I want my kids to have the opportunity to see the world this way, knowing that as they grow up their perspective will change.

The day began with a nice brunch made by my sister-in-law and myself.  I made a simple sausage, egg, and hash brown casserole, a variation of my recipe is here.  Chrisann made the fluffiest banana pancakes with a strawberry topping.  Violet discovered bacon for the first time and ate only bacon and strawberries. Our bellies and hearts were filled up and then we all enjoyed watching the girls hunt for eggs.

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I hope you all had a great Easter Sunday however you celebrated!

XO,

Mina

 

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Travel

Viva…you know the rest


I just had an epic weekend to celebrate my best friend’s 36th year of life.  Vegas is exactly what you think of it; a 24 hour entertainment town that has something for everybody.  More sparkle and flash than buttoned up and conservative.  Your lungs burn from the cigarette smoke and pollution, yet you feel awake from the extra oxygen being pumped into the casino.  If you have a low tolerance to nonsense than this is not the place for you.

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Tips:

  • Plan to spend a ridiculous amount on normal every day necessities, like food and transportation.
  • Stay hydrated with water. The desert will dry you out.
  • Get in touch with a VIP host to get into the clubs easier – you can find them on social media or they will find you inside the casino.
  • Find out which clubs your favorite music entertainers are playing at and then prioritize and figure out the most cost efficient way to make the most out of it – i.e table service vs VIP entry only.
  • Keep an open mind!  People don’t act how they would in their home town, so it will be less stressful to just go with the flow.
  • Be responsible for yourself!  The saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, is not always true.

XO,

Mina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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