Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easy Peasy Spinach Artichoke Dip!

Hello everyone!

Here is the promised Spinach Artichoke Dip that we whipped up for our Easter potluck!
It turned out so well--perfectly browned on the outside, but so creamy and gooey in the middle. Everyone loved it at the party, and we can't wait to make it again soon!

To make this easy dip, you're going to need:
1 cup chopped spinach (frozen, no need to thaw)
3/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup cheese (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, etc)
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and butter up a small loaf pan.
Then, chop everything that needs to be chopped, and then start throwing everything into a mixing bowl, like this!

and then, all you have to do is,,,, MIX!

And then, and transfer over your concoction into the loaf pan, sprinkle some more cheese on top if you want, and then pop it into the oven for 25-30 min! 
 It may take longer depending on your oven, but keep an eye on it to see when the cheese on top gets golden brown!

It was such an easy thing to make for the party, and was such a hit!  I hope you enjoy the dip as much as we did, and thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Last Week of Classes at Rice!

Hello everyone!

I am officially done with my Master's degree!!  No more school until... this fall!  haha 
While I am super excited to be attending Boston University this fall for my doctorate degree, there is so much that I am going to miss about Rice.  Of course, the amazingly talented peers and wonderful teachers I've had the chance to work with here, the incredible symphony that I got to play with these two years, the beautiful campus, the friendships, dancing...  but I want to discuss them one at a time in reverse chronological order.

The most recent thing that happened (on Friday) that I am going to miss, is the Shepherd Symphony. I am still in awe of the last symphony concert in which we played Don Juan, Dvorak Cello Concerto, and Daphnis and Chloe suites 1 and 2.  I mean.  Wow.  What a concert that was.  Really, I have never played in a better symphony orchestra, and now that it's over, it's finally sinking in just how lucky I have been these two years to play in such an incredible ensemble.

Right before that concert took place on Friday, I took this picture on my way home from the dress rehearsal for that concert.  That rehearsal was the last class of my Master's degree, and I was getting a bit sentimental as I walked home for the last time...  I am going to miss this pretty school of mine  =)  I haven't been to the BU campus (only the music building) but I'm not sure that it can top this beauuutifulness of Rice University  =p  I mean, Just look at this scenery.  and it's just a little strip of walkway that leads to my apartment!  other parts of Rice are much more beautiful that this  =)

Another thing I'm going to miss a lot is our studio!  Mr. Lin's studio 2013-2014.  What a special studio we've had  =)  It was a pretty small studio (only 9 of us!) so we've enjoyed countless random talks that all of a sudden became our 'Mr. Lin's studio class' or 'Mr. Lin's studio therapy session'.  I mean, when you have 4-5 people from the same studio talking (which makes it more than half of our studio), it automatically becomes Mr. Lin's studio something or other.  And of course, Mr. Lin himself.  I have seriously never worked or been stressed out so much about violin in my life, but probably because of that fact, I have learned and improved so much during my time here.  =)

On Tuesday, we had our final studio recital, and more importantly, our studio party!  Everyone played beautifully at the recital, but let's be real, we were all ready for the party, especially after that 2.25 hours-long recital.  I think it broke the record as the longest studio recital ever?  but it was all worth it because we got to Mr. Lin's house for the party and were greeted with this amazingness. 

Thank you so much Mrs. Lin for cooking up this amazingness for us.  every single thing on that plate tasted even better than how incredible it looks.  And all of us went back for seconds.  and maybe thirds..

And then we just talked (until almost midnight!) and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company..

some cuddle time with two furry, four legged creatures also helped!  In heaven.  yup.
our studio picture!!!

What a great night!  Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Lin for being so generous, opening up your home to us, and feeding us sooo much food!  =)

Another thing I'm going to miss a lot is of course, my roomy, Amulet  =)  and going on double dates together with our guys, Chris and David!
We can always count on Amulet and Chris to drag us homebodies out and introduce us to new restaurants!  Here we are trying Banana Leaf, a Malaysian restaurant, together  =)  It was quite good, and we would highly recommend it, especially if you have the Groupon!

And whenever we are in that shopping center, we always go for some shaved ice!  This time it was peanut butter flavored shave ice with some brownies and banana chunks!

and yup, it disappeared in a blink of an eye... so yummy!

and last but not least!!!  my guy.  of course I'm going to miss this one, how could I not?  especially when he has a rose (that he bought for me for our dance routine) in his mouth  ;)
it's going to be a long year of long distance-ing, but I'm just not going to think about that until the fall because we have an epic Asia tour planned for the summer!  We are going to be visiting our families in Korea and Taiwan as soon as I graduate, and I cannot wait!! it's going to be sooo much fun  =D

so it's been incredible 2 years Rice!  Thanks for everything, and I will treasure all of the experiences, lessons, and relationships I have been blessed with here for many, many years to come  =)

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Dinner!

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend!
We hosted an Easter dinner/pot luck and it was so much fun! For our contribution to the pot luck, we made spinach artichoke dip, and I'll be putting up the recipe soon because it was an experiment at best (one of my let's-throw-stuff-together-and-see-what-happens moment), and it turned out to be recipe worthy! haha definitely very happy about that  =p

So here is our spinach artichoke dip coming together!
and voila!  the finished product!

Other dishes that came to the pot luck include deviled eggs (which I surprisingly loved.. usually egg dishes tend to go untouched by me, but I actually had 2 servings of this dish!), cornbread, mac and cheese, cheesy potato dish, and of course ham!  apparently ham is the thing to have on Easter?  why is that, anyone know the answer..?

it was such a feast, and all of the dishes were soooo delicious that even when we were completely full, we kept going back to steal some ham.. and some more eggs,, and some more dip...
caught stealing some ham..  such a ham haha   =p

For dessert, we had some fruit and some spirited chocolates!
As they pointed out, here is the only liqueur cabinet Janny approves of  =p
I only tried the coffee flavored one (Kahlua?) and I have to say, still not a fan of that alcohol taste, but at least there was the chocolate to kind of cover it up...
And here is Amulet playing the good host and handing them out  ;)

After that we got onto some spirited egg coloring/dyeing!  I had never done this before (which is kind of strange I suppose because I grew up a Christian, and Easter is sort of a really big deal in our religion..  haha) but we had so much fun doing so!

and here is the finished product of our little egg family! the teenage son, the baby, the balding drunk uncle...  we have them all  ;) 

We also decorated a human.  and gave him a beard so he matches the other dudes in the bunch  ;)

Then, of course, we played some board games  haha

cuties  =)

So that's the gist of our Easter! A great day in my 100 happy days challenge!
Such a great evening hanging out with friends, eating amazing food, and celebrating Easter in each of our own ways depending on our religions  =)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Amulet's birthday!!

Hello everyone!

Today is Amulet's Birthday!!  
To celebrate, we went and visited St. Arnold Brewery here in Houston.  I don't drink, and David rarely drinks, so we've never visited anywhere like it, and it was definitely an experience!

You walk through these giant ornate doors, and walk up the staircase that reminded David of his elementary school and me of a prison, and then you are at the 'Beer Hall'!  For $8, you get 4 tokens (for 4 glasses of beer usually) and a St. Arnold Brewery cup.

On either side of the hall, you can exchange your beer token for a beer, or in my case, root beer, and then you can go back to your table and hang out with your peeps, eat some food, play games, and enjoy the general chaos and the beer.

We brought some cake, chips and guac, and some other finger foods, and played some board games!
With the birthday girl!  =D

The boys getting really into the game (and the food  haha)

It was such a fun afternoon playing games with wonderful company, and celebrating the roomy's birthday!

So, Happy Birthday Amulet! Hope it was a wonderful one!
(Sorry the camera focused on the balloons and not yo face.. still learning how to use the camera, obviously  haha  =p)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A beautiful video

Hello everyone!

I hope your Thursday is going well!
A quick post because I wanted to share this beautiful video with you all.
What do you desire the most in this world?  =)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Austin Open 2014!

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry I've been MIA for the past 2 weeks or so, but life has truly been absolutely crazy.  I'm graduating almost exactly a month from now, and just in this week alone, I have 5 performances... and it's going to be this way for the next 2 weeks!  AAHHH!  breathe... I can survive this...

Anyway, I just wanted to blog about our trip to Austin before the month passes by  haha  
so here is the story about how a 3 hour road trip to Austin from Houston became a 9 hour road trip.

It began like any other road trip to a ballroom dance competition.  We picked up our fellow dancers from Rice, and got on the road with lots and lots of snacks and other food stuffs.  Like some Kimbab.
I felt so much like my mother making these because every Korean child has memories of eating Kimbab on a picnic or a road trip, or really anywhere where you pack and bring food   haha.  My version was really simple though, a bastardized version of Kimbab, and it only contained rice and some seasoned Bok choy.  Very simple, but filling and yummy!  Last year I made ones with rice and seasoned kale, and I think I actually like the kale version better, fyi  ;)

Our road trip was quite smooth, actually.  We slept, took turns driving, talking, taking pictures of smiley water towers, and just having fun like any other group of 4 college students.

Things all changed when we got to the competition venue, however, with just a couple of words from David.  I can't quite remember exactly what it was word for word, but it was something along the lines of "Oh no, we're in trouble.. I forgot my costumes at home".  

And with those words, our 3 hour trip to Austin became our 9 hour trip to Austin.

It wasn't too bad though because David and I sang Avenue Q and Disney songs all the way back to Houston (btw, we found that when I drive, it only takes 2.5 hours to get back to Houston).  Don't worry, we dropped off the other dancers in Austin so they wouldn't have to endure 6 more hours of sitting in the car, and possibly worse, our singing.  On our way back to Austin, David drove (which look longer than 2.5 hours  =p) and we just talked about anything and everything.  The extra 6 hours really is not so bad when you have good company I guess  ;)

We met up with the rest of the dancers from Rice at our hotel around midnight, and went to bed after trying to come up with a few routines for our standard (Waltz, Tango, and Quickstep) categories.  You see, we had only focused on the Latin categories (Chacha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, and Jive) and didn't get any practicing in for standard all year..

The next morning, we fueled up with some Texas sized (and shaped) breakfast, and headed to the competition!

The competition began with some country dancing and some International Standard dancing!
Here are a couple of our Rice dancers tearing up the floor!  Woot!  ;)

Because David and I were only dancing the Gold division, thankfully we had some time to come up with a routine for our Standard dances during the Newcomer, Bronze, and Silver division competitions. I have to say though, it was uuubber stressful, and we should probably practice a little earlier than an hour before the competition next time...   

When we weren't dancing, we cheered on other dancers, operated video cameras, cameras, ate some food and goofed around.  After all, the point of being there is to have fun and be with your teammates, not necessarily to be hard core about competing.  =)

Then, finally, it was Gold and Novice level competition, and we got to dance!
So many of us from Rice ended up wearing blue gowns!  haha   yay go Rice!  (our school color is blue too! what a coincidence!  ahem, I mean,,, we planned that. mm hmm.)
Our whole team after the standard competition.

After the International Standard competition, we had a break for lunch, and then began the loooonnnggggg afternoon segment of American Smooth, International Latin, and American Rhythm. David and I were doing the Open level multi-dance International Latin so we were the last ones to dance, and that ended up being around 10:30 PM... way past my bedtime  haha  I'm such a grandma...  =p  but we spent the day doing some more cheering, camera-ing, and goofing off some more.

yay I'm-bored-selfies!

 and a few more pictures of our friends in Latin and Rhythm categories!
and finally!!  as I was about to nod off to sleep, it was our turn to dance!  let me tell you what, there's nothing like a performance to wake you up from your granny-bedtime-grogginess!

It was my first time dancing Open level, and it was so much fun!  Of course, there's a lot to learn and fix and polish and tweak, but overall, I'm happy with our first performance at the Open level  =)  After all, it can only get better from here, right?

oh, and look how tan I am!  ;)  unfortunately, I never got quite as tan as David, but at least I don't look like a ghost next to him anymore!  haha

and a quick video of a part of our cha cha!

I hope your week is going well, and thanks for stopping by!!