Lost Files 2016

UPDATE 2/15/17: This post was supposed to go up just before the New Year, but as per usual I slacked and am just finishing it now. So read it pretending its the end of December 2016. One of my New Year's goals (not resolutions) is to blog and record more of my life because I feel like the older I get, the years are just passing me by so hopefully you'll have a lot more to read/look at on this blog throughout the year. Ok bye for now... but not for long : )

*********

And just like that, 2016 has come to an end. 

It's hard to believe I started this blog in February 2015. Since then so much has changed and time just seems to be going by faster with each day that passes. I've heard that happens as you get older... not that I would know ; ). 

2016 has flown by in the blink of an eye. While I'm disappointed in how little I've blogged/recorded this year's happenings, I am pleased to say this year is ending on a much happier note than last year. In December of 2015, I lost my 14 year old angel of a dog Namoo, and was unemployed after leaving my first post-college big girl job. Looking back now, leaving that job was one of the best things to happen to me, but the grey uncertainty of the future drove me crazy.

Goodbye 2015, Namoo, and iBiquity

Namoo Yi // 2001-2015

iBiquity Digital Corp. // March '15 - Dec '15

Filled with changes both good and bad, 2016 has been a year of discovering more of who I am, what I want to do, and who I want to surround myself with. I'm confident in saying that I feel a lot less lost than I did at the beginning of 2016, which is just about all I can ask for. 

January

24 & Feeling l o s t
I started the year off celebrating my birthday with multiple cakes and a home-cooked surf 'n turf dinner. The big 2-4 was the first year that I didn't care to celebrate my birthday. I'm not sure if I attributed this to feeling old or not being where I thought I would be in life at age 24. If anyone had asked 9 year old Caroline, "Where do you think you'll be in 15 years?," unemployed and still living at home wouldn't exactly have been the answer. Regardless, my family and friends definitely made me feel loved ♡. It's important to remember that even though you're not where you thought you'd be at a certain age, figuring out how to get there is the whole point of life and growing up. When you're a kid, you don't have a realistic perception of how life is going to play out after high school and college so be open-minded to endless possibilities.

SEA & PDX
A week after my birthday, Esther and I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest. We flew into Seattle and spent a few days there before taking a train to Portland. I had planned on doing a blog post about our trip, but to the surprise of no one, it fell through the cracks. Both cities had amazing food and I could really see myself living in Seattle at some point. Portland's food scene was definitely a pleasant surprise and I had one of the best meals of my life at Tasty 'n Alder. The city itself was very grey and still in transition of becoming a city as opposed to a bunch of towns and charming neighborhoods. Our trip was cut two days short because we were expecting a blizzard back at home and our flight was canceled. We woke up scrambling to get a flight home, managed to get on the first flight out that day, and thankfully touched down safely at Dulles just as the first big snowfall of the year started. 

February

HBD
February is birthday month for many important people in my life so we had cake almost every week. It was also the last month before I started working again so I was doing a lot of cooking in my free time, trying to get a bunch of recipe posts up on here. They didn't all make it up so enjoy these never-before-seen mouthwatering pictures : )

March

Deep Creek
The month started off with a girls’ weekend getaway to Deep Creek Lake where Jacqueline’s family has a house right on the lake. The lake was still partially frozen and there was snow on the ground so we didn’t spend much time outside, but it was beautiful. We played Cards Against Humanity, watched chick flicks, and stuffed ourselves as if we were getting ready to hibernate. We had enough bloody marys, guacamole, cheese & crackers, and wine to last us a lifetime. While playing Heads Up! the name on the phone was “Alec Baldwin.” While everyone else was shouting movies and TV shows that he starred in like 30 Rock, Jacqueline said “I think he plays for the Caps?” Followed by a brief second of silence, we all burst into laughter realizing she confused Alec Baldwin for Alex Ovechkin. This was my favorite moment. If you have a friend like Jacqueline, consider yourself blessed because you’ll have someone to make you laugh all your life. 

Finding Me
As the weather got warmer, I started spending a lot of time on my deck with my laptop going back and forth on my job search and studying up on food writing. Making myself breakfast and being able to enjoy it while sitting outside really made me appreciate my time off. It helped me not to feel anxious about the uncertainty of the future, but rather excited about what was going to come next. 

It had now been almost four months since I'd stopped working and I had a decision to make. I could go through the motions and apply to a bunch of corporate marketing jobs where I'd find myself sitting behind a desk again. Don't get me wrong--there's nothing wrong with having an office job. As long as what you're doing makes you happy, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There's only something wrong with it if you feel like you're wasting away and losing your creative potential like I did. My other option was to start at square one pursuing what always seemed like a pipe dream to me.

Hold that thought. 

In the midst of all this soul searching and decision making about my future, I somehow became a mom. A puppy mom.

Hudson
After mourning Namoo for three months, we decided we were finally ready to bring another furry family member home. After all, a home without a dog isn't a home at all. This is the picture we saw online before going to the breeder to pick up our baby. 

IMG_7411.jpeg

It's safe to say we did not know what we were getting ourselves into when we drove to PA on March 24th. Driving up and seeing all the adorable golden puppies, there was no turning back. It was going to be impossible to leave empty-handed.

When we brought Hudson home, the first place he went was right below where we kept Namoo's ashes on the mantle. He stayed there and fell asleep almost immediately. It was a strangely heartwarming moment. 

Considering I haven't had a puppy since 2001, this whole experience was new to me. I've never had a baby, but I'm certain having an 8 week old puppy can't be too far off. I was waking up at least every 2 hours because of his crying or to take him out or because he'd be chewing on my ponytail. I also learned that puppies sleep a lot...

After he fell asleep in my arms that first night at home, that was it. I was officially a mom. Training Hudson has been a major work in progress, but watching him grow and having his warm energy light up the house has brought so much joy to our family.

Somewhere in the process of potty training Hudson and taking him to puppy kindergarten, I applied for a job. Not just any job. THE job.

April - May

a baked joint
Without divulging too much about my so-called "pipe dream", I began searching for bakeries and cafes that were hiring. With no professional baking experience, I knew it'd be a long shot to get a job as a baker. It was a day like the one above where I was sitting on my deck with my iced coffee when I saw that A Baked Joint was hiring for front counter staff. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with A Baked Joint, it is the sister store to the famous cupcake shop in Georgetown, Baked & Wired. The owners had a different vision for their second store after 14 years with Baked & Wired. A Baked Joint specializes in naturally-leavened artisan breads made fresh daily and specially paired for specific sandwiches. I had eaten there a couple times late in 2015 and fell in love with the place. With a huge open floor plan, industrial space, good coffee, and great food, what was there not to love? 

After applying and interviewing, I started work as a counter girl on April 12. I have to admit I felt a certain way about the fact that this is what I was doing after graduating from college and I'm sure many people judged me for it. Regardless of what anyone else thought, I knew this was going to be an amazing start of a long and exciting journey.

A few weeks into working the front counter at a baked joint, their head baker Bill asked if I wanted to give baking a shot. They had just let go of one of their bakers and needed extra help. It was no secret that my passion for baking is what led me there in the first place and I hoped that eventually I would be given a chance to bake for them. I just didn't anticipate it happening only a couple weeks in. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of going from working the front counter, to biscuit girl (making hundreds of biscuits daily), to learning how to make scones & turnovers, to mixing bread doughs and laminating croissants.

There was a huge learning curve with this job, especially since it was my first time baking professionally and I definitely had my moments of questioning whether this was really for me. Waking up at 3:30am to make the commute into DC by 5am was not easy. Since then, I've learned so much not only about baking, but about the behind-the-scenes operations of this type of business. 

It's the best job I've ever had and I'm so thankful for all the experiences I've had that led me here. I know without them, my path would have been different.

June

Mama
Sometimes I'm the worst daughter ever and go on vacation with my friends during my mom's birthday :( Just so everyone can mark it in their calendars, the most important lady in my life celebrates her birthday on June 13th and here she is blowing out her candle from her birthday dinner last year at the Palm. I won't miss it this year, Mom, and I'll make you your favorite chocolate ganache cake AND a fluffy coconut cake! I love you.

Miami
A group of my best friends and I started taking annual trips together back in 2013 because we all lived in different places. It's the one time a year we're all able to get together and this year we went to South Beach.

We made homemade tacos, rode bikes down Collins Ave, ate Cuban food, chartered a private boat, took shots out of a plastic syringe, and watched epic Miami sunsets. Until next time...

July

E's 24th
A word of advice: Do not plan a birthday brunch for your best friend the day after she goes out to celebrate her birthday. There is a good chance she will be 1) hungover 2) nauseous 3) unable to eat 4) unable to take advantage of bottomless bloody marys/mimosas :D 

August

Lower Cedar Point
My family friends own a strip of the beach at Lower Cedar Point in Thompkinsville, Maryland where you can fish as well as picnic and campout. We took a day trip there and took Hudson so he'd be able to go off-leash and play in the water. The night before we went, I made Vietnamese summer rolls and marinated galbi (Korean short ribs) to grill while we were there. 

We fished all day, watched the sun go down, grilled galbi, and made ramen on our portable stove. It was a perfect way to end the summer. Not to mention it was probably one of Hudson's best days yet    : ).

September

Nats Win!
My dad hooked me up with Diamond Club tickets to the Nats Mets game so I took E and D with me of course. We had unlimited beer, wine, pizza, Italian sausage, hot dogs, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember because we decided to post game a baseball game on a Monday night :| Never a dull moment with these two.

26
My sister's 26th birthday was at the end of September and we celebrated with Peking Gourmet for dinner, homemade strawberry cake, and a personalized Snapchat filter. Unnie, you can guarantee whether it's your 26th or 62nd birthday, I'll be making your cake and making sure the world knows it's a national holiday : )

October

LA
Two very important people in my life turning the big 2-5 this year warranted a trip across the country to LA. As many times as I've been there, each trip has been a different experience with unforgettable memories. The California sunsets at the beach will never get old. Neither will trips with these goons :)

Halloweekend
I feel like Halloween is always one of those really overrated holidays where you spend all this money on your costume and then go out to some crowded bar/club for a mediocre night. I haven't dressed up for Halloween in a few years so I decided to go all out this year and go as Gene Simmons while two of my best friends went as two of the other KISS members. We went to a daytime bar crawl in Adams Morgan since I had work the next day. Still think it's overrated, but I'm not gonna lie, we had an amazing time. The DJ at Public and the company I was with probably had a little something to do with it. 

Hudson also enjoyed his first Halloween.

File_000 (1).jpeg

November

Home
Late in the fall is when I really appreciate the beauty of where I live. When all the leaves change colors and start falling off the trees, my neighborhood looks straight out of a painting.

Caroline the Baker
Just another day at the office.

It's safe to say I've found a love affair that will last forever

December

Holiday Potluck
I consider myself very lucky to have friends in my life that I've known since high school and even middle school for some. This year some of my close girlfriends and I did a holiday potluck brunch at Jacqueline & Molly’s apt in DC. We all brought a brunch dish and ate/drank to our heart’s content. We also did a white elephant gift exchange and played piccolo (iPhone drinking game). Definitely a great time that might have to become an annual tradition.

Philly
The usual suspects and I took an early holiday trip to Philly. We originally were planning on going to Wisp and make it a snowboarding trip, but after what happened last year (it was 67 degrees and there was no snow), we wanted to play it safe and pick a new city to play in for a few days that was close enough to drive to. 

Like I tell you guys all the time, I'd follow you anywhere. You keep me sane and you keep me happy. Thankful doesn't begin to describe how I feel for you. This past year wouldn't have been the same without our trips (and naps). Here's to another year together filled with adventures, Alexa, fried chicken, Hudson's fur, and enough alcohol to kill a small horse. See you in Seoul : )

Christmas
Menu for Xmas brunch at the Yi's:
- Prime rib
- Mushroom & gruyere quiche
- Mixed slaw salad
- Roasted potatoes

Cinnamon rolls for dessert : )

DSC05750.JPG

I guess you could say I had a very golden Christmas [see below]

*********

OUTRO 2/16/17: And there it is. A million pictures and a hundred birthdays later, there's my 2016 in a very large nutshell. I'm putting it out there that I'm aiming to publish at least 20 more blog posts this year. Salud!

Aloha Everyday

Oh, Hawaii. I knew I loved you even before I met you.

waikiki-hawaii

This post is WAY overdue and it has already been over 4 months since my trip to Oahu. Not to mention my tan is long gone. Although Hawaii is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations and honeymoon spots in the world, I have always wanted to go and experience it the way the locals live. In other words, I didn't want to stay at a resort where they put a lei on you when you arrive and everyone is dressed in floral shirts. 

We opted to stay in an Airbnb (my idea) and I must admit it was the only part of our trip that I would change if I could. I have stayed in my share of Airbnbs and it's safe to say this was probably the worst. While it did look just like the pictures, unfortunately pictures don't really do any justice to how clean a place is. It looked tidy when we walked in, but looks were very deceiving. Since I left a very honest review of the unit on Airbnb.com I'll just leave it at that and say my bad to Nicole and my sister Alex (sorry, you guys :| ).

Other than our accomodations, I fell in love with everything about Hawaii. Half an hour after we landed, I was driving and spotted this rainbow:

rainbow-waikiki-hawaii

Have you ever seen the YouTube video of the guy freaking out about the double rainbow? Yeah, that was me. I've seen a couple rainbows in my life, but never this vivid where you could point out each color. Just ask my sister how excited I was. So beautiful! We saw a few more during our time there at which point I realized rainbows are very common in HI. 

Originally, I did not anticipate having foot surgery a mere four weeks prior to leaving for our trip so we had a bunch of hikes and other activities planned like snorkeling and cliff diving. When it was time for our trip, I was still in my recovery boot and would be for another couple of weeks. Despite being in a boot, I still wanted to do all the nature stuff and thanks to my two favorite travel buddies, I was able to go on a few hikes and even explore a blowhole--not without struggling a few times and slipping on a wet rock hehe.

Sandy Beach - This is where you go to watch the surfers, get a nice tan, and people watch. Other than letting your toes touch the water at the shore, you DO NOT go in the water here unless you're a pro surfer. Refer to the pic of the waves.

 

Halona Blowhole - This is a magical hidden cove off the side of the road where you have to climb down rocks to get to, but once you get down it is 1000% worth it. This was one of my favorite spots.

 

Lanikai Pillboxes Hike // Lanikai Beach - From the pictures it looks like this trail was easy, but what isn't pictured is the first 20 minutes of climbing up a steep, narrow, and muddy hill, while ducking under tree branches. I couldn't take photos because I was reaching for a branch to pull myself up with one mobile foot and one foot in a recovery boot :D Big s/o to my sister and Nicole for letting us do this hike, smiling for my photos, and helping me get to the top <3

 

Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike - Note: There is not a single source of shade on this trail so either be covered up or have at least SPF 45! You will get burnt otherwise! A really nice man who was finishing up as we started gave us his sunscreen. Mahalo : )


As beautiful as these pictures are, they don't do justice to the majestic views that we got to see on all of these adventures. I think it was when we finally saw the view from the Lanikai Pillboxes trail that we looked at each other and said how blessed we were to get to have this experience. 

In order to get the authentic local experience, I got a few lists of things to do/see/eat from people who had either lived there at some point or visited frequently and let me tell you, they did not disappoint. A huge part of why I love to travel to new places is the food so food travel and travel go hand-in-hand for me. With just six short days to explore and eat, our stomachs unfortunately did not have the capacity for everything we wanted to try so we did miss out on a few things on our itinerary. To see what we did get to eat and what my thoughts were, check out Hawaii Eats here!

 

Be Thankful, Everyday

Holidays are kind of a weird concept. By definition, it's "A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done." So in the English dictionary, it's defined by the absence of work. Whether it is MLK Jr.'s birthday, Mothers' Day, or Thanksgiving, we take this one day--24 hours--to celebrate a specific person or event either to appreciate them or to reminisce/reflect an event in history. The older I get, the more apparent it becomes that these events or people we are celebrating on that one day should be appreciated more than just one day of the year.

There are about three days of the year (birthdays, Mothers/Fathers day, Xmas, etc.) when I get a card and maybe a gift for my parents, thanking them for everything they do for me and giving me unconditional love and support all my life. Zoom out for a second and let's think--3 days out of 365 days, that's 0.8% of the time we are showing gratitude to our parents. Seems minuscule compared to the amount of time we spend on other things. And it's not just our parents we're skimping on. On Thanksgiving, we reflect on all the things in our lives that we are grateful for: our jobs, our family and friends, our health, etc. This one day out of the year, we feel gratitude for all of the blessings in our lives.

Why did I start thinking about this? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I won my battle with pie crust. I have attempted many recipes for a flaky, simple pie crust for years now with little success. It never turned out quite right, always being too dense, too heavy, or not flaky enough. FINALLY! I tried this recipe from Land 'O Lakes that was quick and didn't require any chill time. I used it for mini apple pies (will be positing soon!) and it turned out buttery, flaky, and easy to work with. Since it turned out so well, I had the idea of baking up a bunch of pies and taking them to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen that is serving Thanksgiving meals. I started looking up some shelters in my area and while doing this search, I came across dozens of articles that all gave this one suggestion: If you want to do your part in helping those in need, DO NOT volunteer your time on Thanksgiving.

Wasn't there a Thanksgiving episode of How I Met Your Mother where the shelter said they had too many volunteers and didn't need anymore? There's a reason why I, along with hundreds of other people, feel compelled to do something charitable around this time of year. The holidays are a time when we're constantly reminded of how blessed we are in comparison to others who are less fortunate. These people are often happier with much less and the things they wish for are the things we take for granted. 

With that in mind, remember:

  • To not only be thankful around the holidays or on the days that the calendar tells us to be
  • That there are those in need of help/food/shelter everyday not just on Thanksgiving
  • Our parents are deserving of more than 0.8% of our year

Be thankful, everyday.

International Women's Day

What better day than International Women's Day to put up my first blog post for this musings page? 

Also called International Working Women's Day, today celebrates women and their accomplishments, while making a call for greater equality. Oftentimes I find myself in a social gathering with friends or even with family where the subject of feminism comes up somehow. The most common reaction to this subject is not an anti-women reaction, but rather an anti-feminism reaction. What I mean by this is, someone will say "Oh God, I hate women like that who are all political about the issue. That's why I'm not a feminist." They are talking about the women they see on TV standing up for feminism, waving the picket signs over their heads promoting gender equality. Because this show of feminism is seen as radical, many people don't want to be associated with it, thereby disclaiming themselves from being categorized as feminists. 

Oh, how misunderstood the world is. It is important to recognize what exactly one considers feminism or what it means to be a feminist. In doing research, I found a Facebook fan page "Women Against Feminism." This page has a little over 32k likes and it has some entertaining pictures of women from around the world holding handwritten pieces of paper exclaiming why they don't need feminism - as though it is something some people need, and others don't. 

"I don't need modern feminism because I don't need a silly movement to make me (or my opinions) feel validated. If I experience sexism, I stand up for myself and move on; b**ching about it will get me nowhere."

I'd like to ask this woman what she thinks is the difference between standing up for herself and b**ching about it is. What people don't seem to understand is that standing up for yourself and your gender is feminism. Speaking out against sexism is feminism. It's not about man-hating or hating other women who are subversive, gentle, or less outspoken about the cause. If you believe your sister, your mother, your daughter, your girlfriend, etc. should have all the same rights that men have, you are a feminist and that is a good thing. It is just as important for men to fight for feminism as it is for women. The mainstream has to join the fight with and for the marginalized. If we only fight for the things that personally affect us and only us, no progress will be made.

In the spirit of today, check out http://www.heforshe.org/, the gender equality campaign started by actress Emma Watson, emphasizing the importance for men to get behind equal rights for women. 

"HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all."