Archive for the 'Year In Review' Category

See ya 2011!! Our year in review

2011 - year in review

Cool things of 2010 – No. 20

Alright…I’m definitely winding down on my list, partly because I need to get myself ready for our little NYE shin dig we are hosting…but also because this is #20!

We ate “the most delicious fruit in the world”

Really, we did.  Well, that’s according to the National Museum of Singapore – Food Gallery (what a bold statement, right?) 

This thing right here.

Do you know what this is?

It’s called a mangosteen.  You bust open the rind to reveal these white fleshy segments.  That’s the part you eat.  We HAD no choice but to try one while on our visit in Singapore.

What’s the verdict? 

Well, it is pretty damn good (hence Micah’s expression).  It’s incredibly sweet and delicious.  Is it the “most delicious?”  Hmmm.  Go try for yourself. 

Cool things of 2010 – No. 15, 16, 17, 18, & 19

I couldn’t do a proper “Cool things” listing without including the awesome countries we visited in 2010 (sorry Japan…you don’t make the cut since it was 2009).

#15.  Thailand!

We spent about one week exploring the crazy, chaotic, and awesomeness that is Thaliand.  From Bangkok to Ko Phi Phi to Railay.  It was fun adventures and absolutely fantastic feasting!  Recap here. 

#16. Australia mate!

Two weeks in the land down undah.  This trip was a mixed bag.  We both got violently (and that’s putting it nicely) ill at the start of the trip.  And everything was ridiculously expensive.  But we ended with an amazing stay on Moreton Island where we fed dolphins and lounged on the beautiful beaches.  Recap here. 

#17. Hong Kong!

So…this is where I have to admit to a breakdown in my otherwise fairly good blogging efforts.  Yeah…never blogged about our summer vacationSad smile  And it’s now been so long ago, that I can’t really muster up the energy to do it. But maybe I will…maybe.

We picked out our dinner for the night. 

But…just know that Hong Kong was amazing!  When we got there, it was ridiculously hot – but also a place where we could envision living (should we decide to go abroad again).  It became one of our top places we visited…that is, until….well, you’ll see soon. 

We traveled the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system.

Saw the famous light show.

durian in hong kong

And ate some durian desserts (the stinky fruit)

#18. The Philippines!

Again…no recap of this 2nd leg of our summer vacation.  Bad Lisa, bad Lisa!  But the Philippines…well, it was love and hate.

Love: The outer islands…we stayed on the island of Bohol.  Keep in mind, the summer there is the low tourist season as it’s also the rainy season.  We chose this island because it was more insulated from adverse weather conditions.

We stayed on this little part of the island called Panglao in a really nice (and super cheap) resort – The La Pernela Beachfront Resort.  It was so surreal – not only was the landscape so beautiful, but the resort was COMPLETELY empty.  Micah and I had the entire place to ourselves. 

Our resort…just for the two of us.

Got to do a lot of lounging and reading at this pool…and got some SERIOUS sun.  Tan lines that even months later I’m still trying to get rid of.

Delicious home cooked meals and fresh-blended drinks every day on our outdoor patio.

And the beautiful beach and water right at our footsteps.

We stayed for three days on the island and took an all-day island excursion…which was just ‘eh.’ 

The highlight of our excursion was seeing these little guys…tarsiers. 

CUTE!!!! And teeny tiny.

Hate: The capital, Manila.  Gross, dirty, dangerous.  We stayed only one day here, and that was quite enough.  Keep in mind…we aren’t looking for 4 star experiences…some of that dirt and grime is part of it all.  But literally, there’s nothing to do in Manila except shop.   And even shopping, you have to go through the security points at each door to make sure you don’t have bombs or guns.  It was hard to figure our way around using mass transit and after a few hours of walking the streets – we were covered in grease and grime. 

Chinatown.  The craziest, dirtiest one we’ve been too.  (Yes, I have a fascination with visiting Chinatown wherever we go)

I did score a great deal on some Haviana flip flops…about $1 US.

Hey…wait a minute.  There’s no Nordstrom in the Philippines!

We walked and walked and walked…so we could see the famous Manila Bay. 

Where there was of course, lots of clamming and fishing going on.

Oh…but wait.  That’s the area where they are clamming and fishing.  Nice.

We rode one of these to…pretty much the biggest tourist attraction of the city.

The SM Mall of Asia.  Oh…please leave your bombs at the door.

We met up with some familiar friends.

And saw some interesting items in the grocery store.

And waited in this ridiculous line at the airport.  This was to even get INTO the building.  And when we finally got in…we were apparently dropped off at the WRONG TERMINAL!  Back to the taxi.

The line at the correct terminal.  Ah…couldn’t wait to get outta there!

#19. Finally…our last stop…Singapore!

(Sorry for this long blog post…I guess it’s turning into a sort of mini-recap of our summer trip)

This was our FAVORITE country (officially a Republic and not a country), we visited…of all the places we have ever traveled

Hello Singapore!  The official mascots of the Youth Olympics being held at the time.

A few reasons why we love this place:

  • Friends: Our friends from back in Seattle were living in Singapore when we visited.  It was perfect.  We got to see them, stay with them, and get personal guided tours by them.  Easiest foreign traveling we’ve experienced.

Jodie and Kai.  Our amazing tour guides and hosts.

  • Clean: Having just come from the super filthy Manila, it was so refreshing to be in this super clean place.  Yes, the government may play a role in this – but it was sure nice.

Watch what you do…the govt is watching you.  Actually, we never once felt intimidated or fearful of doing something bad.  P.S. Durian fruit really is stinky.

  • English: Most Singaporeans speak English (as well as Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil).  Yay…we could easily get around and understand people.  Granted, sometimes the language barrier can make for a fun traveling experience…but keep in mind, this was the last leg of our two week trip.  Easy peasy was fine with us. Smile

So…it’s Singlish…but you get the point. Smile

  • Culture: Singapore is such a MASSIVE melting pot of so many cultures and countries.  They have the cleanest Chinatown I’ve ever seen, plus an Indian neighborhood, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, etc. etc. 

  • Attractions: Tons of things to do here.  And it goes way beyond just shopping (although they have endless malls and stores).  Lots of parks, museums, architecture, tours, and we had the added benefit of being there during the inaugural World Youth Olympics (Olympics for kids).

One of the shows at the Night Safari – they picked Micah out of the crowd and he joined the guys for some flame throwing.  So funny to watch.  Micah totally got into it.

One of THE BEST museums EVER.  The Singapore National Museum…a MUST for anyone going there. We could have stayed for hours and hours and hours.

Time to get our Chinese massage on.  OUCH!  Hurt like hell.

  • Food: This is by far one of the best things about Singapore.  The food is freaking incredible here.  Tons of choices.  And tons of new types of food – flavors and dishes I’d never seen or heard of – and tasted incredible.  Plus, the food was SOOOOOO cheap (as long as you eat at the super cool hawker stalls).  It was mind-boggling how much food you could get for just $3 or $4 US. 

One of hundreds of hawker stalls (aka big outdoor covered food courts) in Singapore.  The ONLY way to go.

Stingray.  SOOOO good.

One of Singapore’s most famous dishes: chicken and rice.  Looks bland as hell, but it’s one of the MOST delicious things I’ve ever eaten. 

These dumplings…also one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.  Trust me!

Fried stinky tofu…one of the WORST things I’ve ever eaten…but a Chinese favorite.

Chili crab…uh-mazing!!!!!!!!!!

If you think all we did was eat…well, that’s true.  But eating is such a HUGE part of this culture, so what better way to experience the real Singapore? Smile  I could go on and on about our love for Singapore.  I’d definitely go back…and I’d definitely consider living there too, although real estate is ridiculously-priced.

Oh yeah, I turned 30 there too!  And to help me celebrate, this magician showed off his semi-decent skills.

Cool things of 2010 – No. 14

#14. Settlers of Catan

We were recently introduced to this board game…and are hooked!  And attempting to get others hooked as well. 

Yes, it has a totally nerdy name.  And the box even looks nerdy.


Right? Super nerdsville looking. 

But this board game is super fun and available in 30 languages…which makes us late to the game (haha…pun intended) – it’s been around since 1995 (but only in Europe).  It’s incredibly popular, easy to play, and well…fun.  Apparently the Washington Post called Settlers of Catan “the board game of our time.”  Whoa.   

It’s so popular, that there are TONS of expansion packs you can buy that can spice up the original gameplay.

Read more about its history here.

Watch out Scrabble…you’ve got some competition for my game-playing attention. Smile

Cool things of 2010 – No. 13

#13. We rang in 2010 in the 3rd largest megacity in the world…Seoul.

It was fun, it was cold, it was crazy…and awesome.  We got to ring in the New Year with new friends we made in Korea (yay Yumi, Vann and Naomi!!), as well as even newer friends we made while waiting for a subway that night in Seoul (yay Mark and Min Jib!!)

mark vann naomi


This New Year’s Eve won’t be as cold or crazy…and Seattle hardly comes close to a megacity…but we’ll be with friends, new and old. 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cool things of 2010 – No. 11 & 12

#11. I get to work from home, for myself

As soon as I got back to Seattle, I had a great opportunity to do some independent market research consulting.  It’s something I hadn’t considered doing before, but it has worked out great.  No morning commute, no morning shower even…and working in my PJs.  And it’s given me a ton of flexibility to schedule in all sorts of other stuff – mainly wedding planning. 

But…it’s also unsteady income.  Luckily, all my benefits come with Micah’s job at Nordstrom. 

But that brings me to #12.  I got a full-time corporate job!

It was a whirlwind couple of weeks in December.  I had a couple of job opportunities and had to choose which way to go.  It wasn’t easy as both offers were great.  But, I ultimately chose…TMobile!  I start Jan. 18th!

I’ll still be doing market research but mainly focusing on ad and brand research (which is new for me…but new=growth).  I’m very excited and a little sad too…welcome back to morning commute, morning showers, and no more working in my PJs (although their dress code is fairly lax). Smile

Cool things of 2010 – No. 10

Wow…already onto #10.  When in Rome Korea…

Since we got engaged while living in Korea, we thought it would not only be fitting, but also a perfect way to remember and honor the year we lived abroad by doing as all soon-to-be-married Korean couples do…

a Korean wedding photo shoot.

It’s not just Korea – many Asian countries do this too.  But, about a month or so before the wedding, the couple will go to a wedding photo hall and spend about 6 to 8 hours being prepped, primed, dressed, posed, and photographed.  (I’m talking 4, 5, 6 dress changes – with accompanying hair and accessory changes.)

I haven’t written much about this – only a sneak peek way back in July.  We’ll show off all our Korean wedding pictures at our wedding in February (as opposed to just posting them on Facebook and confusing all our friends).  We had so much fun doing this and love how our photos came out it’s definitely one of our highlights of 2010!

lisa and micah mini card design-front

We used this series of pics for our invites – so, I feel I can share it on here too.

Cool things of 2010 – No. 9

#9. Cooking with cast iron

Everyone raves about cast iron.  It cooks your food better, but weighs more than a newborn baby.  As much as we both like to cook – we never managed to get around to acquiring a cast iron pan…until recently.

Our current stock of cast iron = 3!!

1. Cast iron square grill pan


On the smaller side, but perfect for a dinner for two.  We got this one at Ross for a great price.  I think it’s a Wolfgang Puck line.

2. 12 inch cast iron skillet


Watch out…she’s a beast.  It’s heavy…really heavy, but a nice large size and all-purpose use since it’s a skillet and not a grill pan.  We got this one as an early wedding gift. Smile

3. Cast iron grill


This also was an early wedding gift.  We haven’t used it yet, but I always see the cooks on the Food Network use these grills.  It allows for year-round grilling without the reliance of a BBQ.  Plus, since it’s large and in charge – it’s great for entertaining.


The funny thing is – we literally got all three of these in the span of a couple of weeks.  But since they are supposed to last forver (yeah yeah with proper care), then they should be the only three we’ll need.  Cast iron is sooooooo cool!

Cool things of 2010 – No. 8

#8. Our wedding officiant is sort of a TV star

Micah’s very good friend from high school, Blake, is going to be the officiant at our wedding (yep, he’s ordained and everything).  And about 5 weeks ago, an episode of the new TV show Hawaii 5-0 aired…and he was totally in it (and for quite a long time I might add).  It was sooooo cool to watch! 

blake in hawaii 5-0

Catch him in Hawaii 5-0 “Lead Hunter” – you can’t miss him.  He’s in the first couple minutes of the show!

Cool things of 2010 – No. 6 and 7

#6. Micah played some football for a Korean team

And by football, I mean American-style football.  Although he only got to play in one game, it was really fun for him.  And, of course, he was awesome in his debut as a Daegu Phoenix.


You can read the original blog post here and watch his highlights video.

#7. I ran a 10k in Korea!

It was crazy, chaotic, and cold.  But definitely memorable.  And my blog post about it – which you can read here – was apparently so interesting to readers of the world, that my posting got about 1600 “hits” in one day.  My blog even made the frontpage of for the day – which is pretty cool to me.


Where in the world…

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