Happy New Year – 2015!


Where to start?

Sunday adventure: Meeting a new friend and having mocha au lait at Cherrywood Coffeehouse

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I pedaled my way to Cherrywood Coffeehouse this morning to meet a new friend and we chatted over coffee for two hours. I’ve had a pretty crazy past few days and been busy with work over the past few months (staying up till 9pm or midnight, which I don’t mind) .. On Friday, half of my soft contact lenses tore in half and got stuck in my eye. I went to an optometrist to get it removed, no panic here. Yesterday I woke up and realized that I left my wallet and key card at work, definite panic here. I called PayPal because I did two mistakes on my account, insert panic here as well. I just kinda smiled to myself because I’m an optimist and these made life a little more adventurous. hah

– I flew back home to MN and saw my family and friends for about two weeks
– No white Christmas😦 But got six inches of snow the day afterwards🙂
– I met Cassey Ho of Blogilates and attended her free POP Pilates session
– The new Eta Class at UMTC Colony was unveiled!
– Made delish wings .. parmesan and sweet + zingy
– Google Hangout with my HMSA Board
– Received a surprise package in the mail from my DPO sister
– PICKLES + Thai peppers + fish sauce = mouth-watering tears
– Work Holiday Party!
– Sweet, thoughtful gifts from my supervisor
– Return to Lavaca Bar, the first bar in ATX that I went to a year and half ago
– Torchy’s Tacos
– Care packages for DPO sisters UMTC Colony
– MT Supermarket =❤
– Work calendar photo shoot
– Mini-road trip to Houston, TX🙂
– My selfie-stick arrived

– Unusually warm (being a Minnesotan)
– The leaves finally changed colors
– My order of books arrived!
– Filled with love (I spent a lovely Thanksgiving with my roommate’s incredible family)
– Finished my first 5K – Komen Race for the Cure
– Supported Epsilon Chapter DPO sisters at their fundraiser
– Attended my roommate’s choir concert
– Ate at Hyde Park and Grill
– Had brunch in Downtown on a weekend with a new friend

This year holds many adventures, and I’m so excited!😀 New York, Las Vegas, Mexico (possibility), MN (sister’s and brother’s graduation), Japan (possibility), South Korea (possibility), saving for Seattle next year and seeing my sisters in ATX on my birthday (hopefully).


My co-workers and I escaped during lunch hour to this awesome spot in East Austin

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You know how I said life was peaceful that it’s so scary? I take that back. Chaos did not arise .. instead, sad news has been delivered.

A few days ago I got a text message from my sister – that our neighbor caught some teenagers breaking into my car without breaking the glass. I think I am more upset at my parents for not calling me than the attempted robbery. All that was stolen was coins – but I worry about my family’s safety, especially my mom. I often question my parents’ common sense .. they’re going to give me a heart attack because they’re very to themselves.

The day after, my maternal grandpa’s best friend / maternal grandma’s close friend passed away. Not only was he a close family friend, but he lived with my grandparents for six years, watched over my mom for two years during the Vietnam War, named one of his daughters after my mom – and he is the father of one of my good friends. I cried a river that night while talking with my mom on the phone .. he meant so much to my family. I am seriously considering booking a flight back home for the funeral. The date hasn’t been set in stone yet. I really wish I was back home to pay my respects.

It was raining the past two days. I got my clear, bubble umbrella just time from shopping online. It’s getting darker and darker by the day .. I can’t complain much about the weather. But the dark does bother me when I stay in the office for too long because my desk is not in a well-lit area. I’m very concentrated on work and don’t have enough time in a day to finish what I need to do.

.. And something crazy happened on Facebook today.

Sunshine and Sun Rays

I told my best friend during a Skype call this week, “It’s so peaceful here that it’s … scary.” She burst into laughter and I laughed too. One of my BFFs who lived in Florida for the past year returned home to Minnesota! I can’t wait to see her during my winter break!

Right now I’m sitting down in a cafe – just finished a key lime pie (celebrating my brother’s birthday – woohoo!) and a glass of milk, and about to smash my Danish cream cheese when I get home. The greatest part about moving to your dream city is being adventurous and getting things off your bucket list! I’m crossing off my bucket list slowly so I never run out of things to do. One of my accomplishments this past week was having lunch by the state capitol on a work day. I got sunburned on the last available bench so I moved to the grassy area … but no really, it’s amazing how I feel now compared to how I used to feel. The last time I was on that bench, my boyfriend at the time was hinting about breaking up and that’s when I knew the relationship was over despite many months of fighting to keep it eternal. So I was surprised to find myself smiling under the shade surrounded by sunshine, lush green nature and busy people.

Work was so much fun despite it being a little stressful this week – I pulled some nine and eleven hour days. The Halloween Party was short-lived for me because I had finish work for the day before heading out. I dressed up as a mime with little effort – I was not going to buy accessories as the ones I have back home in Minnesota. After work on Halloween, I joined my co-workers for happy hour and had a blast! I didn’t know how rowdy and crazy Sixth Street in Downtown Austin would be … the streets were blocked with police on every block.

I can't tell .. what flavor. #macaroon #thecolorgotme

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#Halloween PARTAY-TAY at HCB Health #pumpkinfest

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Shit gets crazy on Sixth Street in #ATX on Halloween. Out with co-workers and new friends.

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On Halloween Eve, my roommate, her friends and I carved pumpkins! We had light snacks, drank wine, ordered pizza, watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Hunger Games: Catching Fire – it was a fantastic night! I broke my pumpkin twice … haha I made an owl and he is just the cutest thing ever! I wish I got home earlier but work held me back.

I biked to Target in the middle of the week to get some kitchen supplies, toilet supplies and Taylor Swift’s new album 1989. I walked to the electronics section and was shocked to see the album sold out … when I was at the registers checking out items, there was more lined up before my eyes! I quickly grabbed the first one off the shelf as if no one can snatch the last copy in the world away from me. Then on my way out of Target, I saw someone get arrested for stealing an USB drive.

I’m an ’89 baby. I don’t remember the last album I bought – and I loved TSwift’s album RED so when I previewed the songs on her 1989 album, I knew it was love. #TS1989 #80spop

Roomie took me out for pho!🙂 First pho in Texas sooo good! Thank you, Elizabeth!

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I slept in all day yesterday. I think I was very exhausted from work. But … I wasted a weekend. After eating my delicious baked lemon garlic peppered chicken on Friday night, I KO’ed until early morning Saturday – fed my roommate’s cat, went back to bed and slept for hours. I woke up to do online browsing for birthdays and the holidays and then fell into deep sleep until Sunday morning. Then the time changed to an hour back – more sleep for me! I hung out with my roommate’s cat, Abby, all weekend and she is just the cutest. I felt bad for not playing with her on Saturday. My roommate got home from her retreat today and we went out for pho! My first pho in Texas and it tasted so yummy!

My obsession with Batman never gets old.
Someone biking started singing, “Na na na na ~” to me when he saw my backpack. I laughed so hard. #highlightofmyday

Under $6 lunch! 👏 All dem goodies!

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I made an oath to myself: Wednesdays are reserved for FANCY SALAD WEDNESDAYS with my lovely co-workers.

An Eloise birthday gift from one of my BFFs. I finally wore it!🙂


I have never, ever lived a peaceful everyday life until I moved here. It’s a strange feeling and this is a place of serenity, just like how I felt when I lived in Busan, South Korea. Honestly, all the times I have been to Austin, I remember crying because I was frightened but I covered that up so well with the good memories even though I knew there was something wrong. There was so much chaos then on top of the ones back home in Minnesota, and I turned these troubles around each time. Never make a bad day feel like I have a bad life, even during FML moments.

simple . #OOTD

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Yesterday, I realized that I could never settle down for anything – for less or for more. I am always seeking, searching and exploring to make my life meaningful. I think this hurts and strengthens some of my relationships – some people have given up on me because I didn’t do things their way by staying in one place. I am changing and growing day by day but understand that my loyalty is intact – that’s one thing that will never change. I grew up without a role model and it is always an awkward question to ask me, especially while during a job interview. I admire some traits and decisions of people, but not their entire being. I always took the bad and good things into mind, thinking of how I can develop myself – how can I live and create an inspiring life for myself? How can I be the role model I want to be?

Life is a big topic this year and every year it will continue to get bigger. I ponder .. over and over about old and upcoming things. Am I living life? Should I experiment or experience – go with the flow and just do with careful thinking or without even thinking?

I am very independent and not used to communicating with my parents – but I have a good relationship with them and they’re the reason I work so hard. I think I rely more on my sisters’ advice – once in a blue moon, I would ask my parents about something. I am finally getting my own medical, dental and vision insurance – big girl status! I talked to my mom and she said my dad told me to stay on his insurance until I am 26, which is less than a year away. But I think it was time to let go and do this on my own. My dad called me for the first time on my cell phone (I got a new one little over a year ago) and I almost did not recognize his number. This probably one of the only few times he will ever call me. I skyped with my sisters last weekend for my little sister’s birthday and when he was home for dinner, the only thing he said to me since I left for Texas was, “Take it easy.”

I am exploring Austin and realized that my social life here is way different from the one back home. I have many circles and friends back home – there are a lot of people I am close to and I do not have that here. I miss my sisters, Bugatti, Pod and DPO sisters so much. Watching my DPO sisters kill the stroll-off/step competition on video made me smile from ear to ear. I wish I was there with them. The best thing I can do right now is support them in spirit and be the most fantastic Alumni Advisor I can be.

I had my first Project Coordinator outing with my co-workers over a week ago. We went to see “Gone Girl” at The Ritz, an Alamo Drafthouse theater, in Downtown Austin on Sixth Street. It was very cool to order food and drinks at a theater, and being served while watching a movie. The outing was nice and the movie was mindblowing .. I stepped outside the theater speechless.

I started running again. I feel free, powerful and lively when I go for a run. It helps me de-stress, think positively and makes me feel determined. Exercising and eating healthy are so important to me right now. I had popcorn a couple days ago because I used to eat it at DPO meetings and it reminded me of my DPO sisters – then I broke out the next day, bad. I don’t drink pop or eat a ton of junk food, so that’s probably why I’m breaking out. I’m at the point of my life where I’m focused on balancing my physical, mental, psychological and spiritual being. Health is my number one priority right now. I lost 20 pounds in the last year. I found peace with trauma and misfortune. I write to keep sane. I believe in being kind and loving. I’m still discovering myself.

I biked to Republic Square Park yesterday to see if there was organic hot chili peppers at the Farmer’s Market. To my disappointment, there was none .. I sat down and breathed after biking 25 minutes in 90 degrees. I was gross and sweaty – and I had just showered. I soaked in the atmosphere because six months ago I received a picture from this exact location – I thought to myself, so this was his favorite park – and the Farmer’s Market happened to be a recommendation from my HR Director. A lady approached me about my bike and we had one of the greatest conversations. She had a cute 15-year-old pug .. and she did not look a day over 60. I stayed at the park for a few hours studying cataract and took a couple photos and shot video footage before heading over to the Book Festival at the State Capitol. I browsed through the selections and picked one children’s book signed by the author, titled “Little Owl’s Night.” I walked by the capitol and took two pictures of two parties and asked if they could take my picture. Afterwards, I went to a Madam Mam’s, a Thai restaurant, on Guadalupe on campus and had their masman curry. Notes-to-self: I need more than one bottle of water. I should stretch EVERY TIME I’m biking more than 15 minutes. AND I shouldn’t forget to wear sunblock.

Getting used to work and my role (it’s quite a process), and I setup an elephant desktop wallpaper which will soon change to an owl when winter rolls around. I ordered Chipotle online for the first time and picked it up – I loved that I saved time. I love Fancy Salad Wednesdays for lunch at Ancho’s. Sometime during the week, I ordered vermicelli salad at a Thai restaurant near work and an elderly Thai man asked me if I was Asian. haha It was so cute. I got a great chicken kabob from a food truck sometime during the week as well! The girl I subleased from recommended that place. I took advantage of the weather by eating lunch outside the steps of my work building and wrote poetry/proses.

I got off work early on Friday the 17th (and we had a beer cart on Friday the 24th). Since I got off early, I went to SoCo and shopped for my little sister’s birthday (I happened to still be working on my phone while shopping). I found some inspiring tote bags and got two, (see previous post) and I found Hmong weaving animals! I was astonished! And I felt like I was home. I had small talks with strangers, shopkeepers and sales people. A girl approached me and asked if she could take a picture of me, which I didn’t mind. After about two and a half hours, I caught my bus by Torchy’s – a place that brings back memories – and then passed by Lavaca Bar, a place I haven’t seen since June of last year. I had a slice of carrot cake that weekend at Quack’s in celebration of my sister’s birthday. The stranger who walked in kept staring at my cake and asked if I was going to eat it. Obviously, yes .. I had to be polite, and then there was a stranger person who sat by me.

She traveled the world and always found a piece of her heritage tucked somewhere mysteriously in her adventures. ☀ Kuv lub siab .. I felt so, so much at peace when I saw this today. I never thought I would find a part of my identity in Denmark, and then I did. I was at this store in Austin in spring of 2013 and never noticed this small section until today. #Hmong #feelsclosertohome #mademesmile

Happy Birthday to my sister @moomoo_kun who turned 23 today. Since I’m not home, I thought I’d get a slice of cake to celebrate. I would post an embarrassing childhood picture of you, but those are out of my reach. Wishing you many years of hard work and happiness!

The name of the restaurant captivated me. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins crossed the Mekong and headed west. Extraordinary stories I wish to have witnessed and experienced.

It is always comforting to hear from friends back home. FB messages, texts and phone calls – especially sometimes from the people I least expect. I have been writing back to friends who wrote me a letter/note/message in my little notebook. I still CANNOT read some of the signatures inscribed .. but letting you all know that I have received your wonderful message. Thank you!

Weekend Haul

I set goals for myself last year and have successfully accomplished them. (Thanks to the app, Timehop, for popping old news feed from my Facebook timeline.) I did it!🙂 This proves that setting goals for oneself and taking actions can lead one to where they want to be. Which brings me to my next point .. my own mind games.

I have slept in my contacts the past two nights. Must drag myself out of bed when I am feeling tired and lazy so I do not do that again. I noticed that I sleep earlier on the weekends than the weekdays. I missed ACL this weekend (sold out tickets) .. and bummed out of going to a University of Minnesota Alumni Association event because it was quite a long public transportation ride and not worth an Uber ride.

Yesterday I went shopping for baby items for my expecting co-worker. .. I have instead hauled many, many items for myself at very GOOD deals. (I hate shopping. It is torture.) I noticed that my wardrobe was lacking color and work appropriate clothing. I have converted to sophisticated shades of black, white and gray. Now there are more colors in my closet and I am done with clothes shopping for a long, long time (until I go home for my winter break). And yes, these this shopping haul happened to fit the purple bin on the back of my bike although my shoe box fell out twice while riding my bike home. It was an exciting ride home in the dark – crossing the highway and biking on a busy road – and catching a whiff of In-N-Out Burger.

Today I slept in, skyped with my sister, talked with a DPO sister (checked off alumnae activities off my list) and ran around the neighborhood – my pace was faster than usual. Cannot believe I had that much energy after not really working out for almost a month. I need to train for my first 5K in November – build my endurance and form. The weather this past weekend was just beautiful. 60s and 70s .. I was surprised to see a couple in their winter coats and several people in jackets. I was in shorts and a t-shirt. haha

Last week a new girl began her first day at work. I introduced myself and after a couple minutes of talking, she asked, “I’m sorry, did you say your name was Eloise?” I had the biggest smile on my face because the first thing that popped in my head was elephants. Yes, the nickname I have for every elephant is “Eloise.”

My roommate’s friend invited me to a Halloween Party on Halloween. Yay! I have not decided on a Halloween costume yet. And my roommate and her mom invited me over for Thanksgiving. I am so excited – they make EVERYTHING from scratch. Delicious!

Fast Work Week

Today my bus going back home was late. I sat outside for forty minutes at the bus stop watching the sun set .. when I got home, it was already dark outside. I got four mosquito bites within a few minutes – one on left arm, right arm, left leg and right leg. Times like this, I think back to the days when I wanted my license and my own car so badly .. and I know that someday I will be able to purchase my first car by myself. The car back home isn’t mine – long story short, it’s a family car. People have a hard time understanding why my parents would never buy a car for just me or any of my siblings.

I felt the weight of the world .. and so much burden on me, even though I don’t like the term “burden.” It has a negative connotation to it. And having more  problems added on top of the burden made me look at life a little more differently. What I know best for myself is that positivity conquers all. I opened up to a friend back home – my line sister – about my internal struggles. She didn’t know what to say and I don’t either – I’m speechless but I’m driven. Living here without family and friends is all new and strange to me. It’s peaceful, relaxing and extremely lonely. I miss being around women who empower me and friends who give me so much support, love and wisdom. I’m counting the days till I am home for “winter break.”

When September ends, I get a little sad maybe because September is my favorite month. October feels different in Austin .. it’s humid. Pumpkins are all laid out but the cool, crisp air isn’t here. Before I know it, another week of work flew by. It was an exciting week at work – VERY busy – I stayed late, learned more and collaborated with my team. Every day I tell myself that I’m so lucky to have this job because I was up against many, many applicants in the pool.

The highlights of my week:
– Receiving three boxes from home! My dad asked my sister why she shipped the boxes and the possibly of me coming back home in three months. .. Give me three years. haha
– EATING CHIPOTLE. Thank goodness Chipotle is a three-minute walk from my work place.
– EATING RED CURRY. Honestly, the greatest curry I’ve had in a while.
– Depositing my first paycheck and walkin’ around Downtown Austin .. passing the streets I once roamed with someone.
– COOKING DINNER! I lost half an inch the first two weeks and figured it was because I was not hungry for food but for knowledge.
– Good read sent to me by my baby pledge. http://www.buzzfeed.com/javiermoreno/i-wish-i-was-in-texas
– I made salad for lunch .. om nom nom. S/O to my friend Pa for the recipe.
– I’m going to New Zealand. Someday.

Back home, I would most likely be with friends on a Friday night just casually eating and talking. There was always something to do every day after work. Now I just want to stay in every night during the work week and read a good book. On the weekends I want to sit at a cafe or explore a cool part of Austin that tourists don’t really knows about.

To conclude the night: Here is my list of books on my Wish List!


This is a good weekend to catchup with long, overdue projects I had queued in Minnesota!

It is hard to believe that I have only been here for a little over two weeks. Time flies. I am glad that my allergies are over – they were the worst when I arrived in Austin, and I swear, I will have the “Allergy Girl” title at work forever. It was not the best way to start the new job and I had a burning head during the first couple hours on my first day. Good news: I am finally getting the hang of work. Woohoo! THE SPONGE SOAKER HAS STARTED TO DRY!

This week has been a really emotional week because there are a million things running through my mind. I just want to sit down and write poetry or read a good, inspiring book. There have been a lot of talks about domestic/gender/sexual abuse, and this is a topic that I am passionate about. When I get a car in Austin, I want to volunteer at an anti-human trafficking organization.

Shin ramyunnnn. Makes me think of my host families in South Korea. #ramen #dinner

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Thanks for the blueberry muffin, Roomie!🙂

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Highlights of the week:

This brings back many memories #ATX

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– On Tuesday night I went to The Mohawk – this is the first venue I went to in Austin for live music. Christy Hayes, Carry Illinois and The Deer performed .. and they were freaking ahmazing. I am smittened.

Mix Mix Bibimbap #omnomnom #gobblegobble #koreanfusion

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– I tried Mix Mix Bibimpap at Koriente for lunch. Honestly, not my favorite .. but there are other things on the menu that I definitely want to try!

First paycheck from my first "big girl" job

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– I got my first paycheck🙂 I literally said, “OHMYGAWRSHD!”
– I skyped with my older sister, mom and brother! My sister shipped three boxes to me and they will arrive on Tuesday!🙂
– One of my BFFs officially announced that she is returning home to Minnesota!
– I did a Google Hangout with my BUGATTI crew! I told Becca, Kim and You-A that since I am not home for Halloween (on the subject of costumes), they can be the Powerpuff Girls and I can be Mojo Jojo.

– I had a margarita for $1.85 at the Haymaker during Happy Hour last night with my roommate, my roommate’s mom’s co-worker and my roommate’s boss. I had such a great time with them. Note-to-self: Do not order a basket of french fries if I am going to be the only one who eats it.
– I knocked out at 10pm yesterday. Well, I kept waking up back and forth because I was texting my LS.

– I biked and went thrifting at Buffalo Exchange. My ex-boyfriend introduced me to the place and I started thrifting from then on – though we were not “together” at the time, he thought about me and how much I would like it.

– I had somewhat of “comfort food.” I am sad that chicken curry is not on the Pei Wei menu anymore .. I stood there for five minutes with a pout. Let me say, FRIED RICE HAS NEVER TASTED SO SO GOOD.
– I started documenting my Austin adventures by filming. This should have been done since Day One.

Bad moments of the week: HISSING, ATTACKING BIG-ASS ROACHES. And rodents. G’Bye pantry ..

My older sister got this 365 quote block for me on my birthday. I switch it daily and ponder .. ‪#‎inspired‬

I want to say this: I AM TRULY DEVASTATED THAT I MISSED OUT ON LA ROUX IN MINNEAPOLIS AT FIRST AVENUE. I had my eye on her concert for a long time .. and she is my favorite artist since I was 21 years old.

But I am so excited that I left Minnesota as snow is just falling .. (they’ve got an inch already!) One of my co-workers told me: “We’re (Texans) are stupid because we can’t drive in snow. Well, we can’t drive at all.” I just giggled. Then again, I am laughing at myself because I hate the 93 and 94 degrees F we got this week.

To the left is my hometown. To the right is .. well, you guessed it.😀
Things I should have done today:
– UT vs Baylor Game
– Austin City Limits
– Octoberfest