Disneyland 60th Diamond Anniversary

After flying back to the States from Japan in 2015, we visited Disneyland in Southern California for its 60th Anniversary. Click to see the photo diary from the trip: Continue reading


DIY Dried Rose Wreath


I love fresh cut flowers, and there’s nothing else that can lift my spirits quite like seeing a beautiful bouquet sitting atop a counter. Alas, it’s a fleeting indulgence that typically lasts no more than a week before ending up in the garbage bin. After receiving a dozen red roses from John for Valentine’s Day, I decided to preserve them by constructing a wreath. With this method you do not need a frame, just a colander, hot glue gun, binder clips or clothespins, and twist ties or zip ties. Continue reading

Aloha Maui, Part 3: Road to Hana

Day 4

We aimed to leave by 7am but had problems finding a certain market and ended up at Foodland to pick up something for lunch later. I didn’t want to take chances with the roadside food stands, though later we did see quite a few signs advertising food. We also passed by several unmanned fruit stands, with a price list posted and box for money, based entirely on the honor system.

Chicken katsu musubi, fried chicken, and fried rice from Foodland

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The most expensive thing I ever bought

Today I wrote out the biggest check I’ve ever written in my life, for approximately $32,000. It was the deposit for a house we are buying, site unseen!! It won’t be finished building until sometime at the end of the year though all the materials have already been ordered and we didn’t have the option to customize any of the features (and I loathe the “designer-selected” carpet and backsplash). A year ago my budget was below 800k for a single family home, and now I’m spending nearly 1.1M on a condo. On top of that we have to pay an HOA, required flood insurance, and property tax that we don’t even get to deduct fully from taxes because it’s way over $10k. Oh, and we have to buy our own fridge and washer and dryer. I’ll be in debt for the rest of my life and forever stuck in this rat race, because I’ve been brainwashed by my parents and society to want the American Dream of home ownership and 2.5 kids!!

We decided to go with new home construction rather than resale because the bidding war was just getting beyond ridiculous, outrageous, mind boggling madness. We were never going to know how much higher someone else was going to offer, and we didn’t want to overpay for an old house with hidden problems. Even though I don’t trust the duplicitous salespeople for these builders, whose job is to sell you houses as quickly and for as much money as possible. And I wonder sometimes if our agent is truly on our side and looking out for us, though he seems perfectly nice and hasn’t done anything thus far to raise my suspicions. The world of real estate, especially in the Bay Area, is cutthroat.

I’m relieved to no longer have to constantly scour Redfin listings, drive around to open houses every weekend, and read pages and pages of disclosures. Every minute that passes, prices go up a few hundred dollars. Had we signed the contract a day earlier, the price would’ve been $10k less, but someone else got in before us. As someone who gets upset over being charged even a few cents over an item, I didn’t feel great about that. Ah well, it’s just money. Maybe I’ll get lucky and win it all back on Jeopardy! one day.