The Christmas Spectacular

I hate to brag, but I gotta say, my family does Christmas right.  If you haven’t picked up on it already, my entire extended family (and close friends we’ve picked up along the way) all enjoy a bit of theatrics during family gatherings, and Christmas Day is the grand daddy of them all.
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Kicking Off The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

How it is mid-December already, I will never know. This year, in the new house, Mr. S and I kicked off the holiday season with a rite of passage: hosting Thanksgiving.

Because of our sheer number, hosting a family event is no easy feat and every year there seems to be a hot potato situation of who the major holidays will fall to. (Major holidays include but are not limited to Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Manny Pacquiao fights.) Before we even moved into our new home, my mother nominated Mr. S and I to host Thanksgiving 2015, and the rest of my aunts and uncles unsurprisingly ran with it.

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To the Person Who Broke Into Our Home

Ten days ago you broke into our home and since then, I’ve often wondered what I would say if I ever came face to face with you. Even if the opportunity came one day, I’m sure I wouldn’t have the presence of mind to form the right words with the right tone to properly convey exactly how you’ve changed everything.

I am past the anger. Actually, I don’t even know that I was ever angry to begin with. Stupid is what I initially felt. Stupid that we didn’t have an alarm system. Stupid that we didn’t leave a light on in the house. Stupid that we have a big, intimidating pit bull, but he wasn’t home to deter you. I take back that last one because while I’m almost positive Chunk would’ve scared you away, who knows what your state of mind was at the time, how desperate you were, what weapons you might have had with you.

Detectives came to our house. They took pictures of the window on the back door you broke to let yourself in, fingerprinted every surface you might have touched while in our house, and itemized our stolen possessions – the Xbox, the PlayStation, the MacBook, the power cords, the controllers, the video games, and the black backpack you carried it all away in. The police said with the holidays approaching and the early darkness of daylight savings, ’tis the season for theft. Maybe if it was a random violation of our private property by some passerby – a statistic – perhaps I wouldn’t still be so bothered by this whole thing. But it wasn’t a faceless stranger. It was you.

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A Day in the Life

Inspired by Stephanie’s Day in the Life post over at Drama Happens, I chronicled the events of my Wednesday, September 9th – a work day like any other for me.  Hold on to your hats, folks, this is sure to be exciting stuff.

6:30 AM  The alarm rings.  I hit snooze and yank the covers out from under Chunk who has stolen them all in the middle of the night.

6:39 AM  The alarm rings again, but I just got these covers back and I’m not ready to give them up yet. Snooze again.

6:48 AM  The second snooze expires.  I get up and head to the bathroom. Chunk rolls over to occupy my empty spot on the bed.  I tell him he’s a lucky bastard.

I’m so jealous

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Living in the Suburbs: The First 100 Days

As of today (because who knows when I’ll actually finish and publish this post), we have been living in the suburbs for 100 days. Here are some of my observations thus far:

  • Wow, there are a lot of teenagers here. They are literally everywhere – at the mall, the gym, the pizza place, the nail salon, in the middle of the street riding bikes or playing basketball, panhandling/fundraising for their football team on the side of the road or offering to wash your car for $5 to “Help the Marching Band.” They seem to be the most active demographic in this town and yet, I don’t recall seeing so many (if any) teenagers in NYC. Where were they all hiding? And good lord, what are these children wearing? Mr. S practically had to shield his eyes from embarrassment at the sight of all the butt cheeks hanging out of high waisted short shorts paired with crop tops parading through the mall. I’m no prude, but there is definitely a time and a place for outfits like that and the mall food court is not it.

Classy, not trashy. (Source: Glamour Magazine UK)

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The Truth About Chunk, Part 1

Based on my Instagram feed, it’s very obvious that I am OBSESSED with our pit bull, Chunk. We’re going on two years now with this velvety loaf of wrinkly fur and though I can’t imagine life any other way, to say it was all sunshine and rainbows from the get go would be a half-truth. Yes, there was an instant connection when we first met him, but bringing Chunk home was a wake up call in what it meant to be a rescue adopter, a pit bull advocate, and just generally a responsible pet owner in the city. But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Chunk has quite the story prior to his adoption that I haven’t shared in detail here before and I want to start at the very beginning. (Usually I let beg Chunk to write his own posts, but I figured this is a touchy subject for him, so I told him I’d take this one. He said, “Fine, whatever.”)

“You blog, I’ll keep the bed warm.”

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My Subconscious is Telling Me I’m Not Ready for Children

First they pester you with “When are you getting married?!?” Then when you finally get married, even before the wedding reception is over, they start demanding offspring. Everywhere we go, everyone wants to know, “WHEN ARE YOU HAVING KIDS?!?”
For us, this question was a hot topic even before our wedding. My mother retired a few years ago
and decided that spoiling her grandchildren was the only way to spend her golden years. She even educated me in the process of making babies in case the reason she had no grandchildren yet was because I hadn’t figured it out, “You know, you don’t have to be married to have kids…”For a long time I had some respite from my dad, who forever and ever will see me as his little girl – even when I am post-menopause. But then at our wedding he pulled out this doozy at the end of his toast: “And please, have children soon. We are getting old.” And with that, our alliance was broken. He had joined the dark side.The questions and the pressure don’t bother Mr. S and me. We’re accustomed to the lack of filter my entire family seems to suffer from and as long as he and I are on the same page of life (we both want children eventually, just not yet), we can easily fend off the peanut gallery together. Sometimes it’s a polite, “Oh no, not yet, maybe next year,” and other times (especially when dealing with my mother) it’s a face plant into a throw pillow until she changes the subject.It’s difficult to justify to myself and to others why exactly we are waiting – I’ve just entered my 30s (do you hear the tick tock?), we’re financially secure, we bought a whole house with multiple rooms, we’ve had a lot of time to enjoy each other pre-baby, etc. So when I try to buy us some time with, “We’re just not ready yet.” I myself am perplexed. Why are we not yet ready? And how will we know when we are??
Honestly, I don’t put much active thought into procreating (my mantra is it will happen when it happens), but apparently my subconscious has been wrestling with the idea of children and it is telling me DEFINITELY NOT YET. This is a dream (or nightmare, you decide) that I had a few days ago:
I return home from somewhere and am greeted by my newborn baby boy. A group of faceless women had been looking after him for me while I was out. I pick him up and unlovingly hold him at arm’s length, assess his outfit (not to my liking), and place him into the grocery cart that serves as his stroller. I wheel the grocery cart into the next room where I change his outfit no less than five times. Someone calls my name and I leave the room to answer. When I return, baby boy and grocery cart are gone. Lost. I swear I left it right here… I lethargically move from room to room half-heartedly trying to locate my child. I never feel panicked, just annoyed that I have to go through all the trouble of finding him. Ugh, this blows. After searching all the rooms, I decide that he’ll turn up eventually and leave the house to go to a Chippendale’s show. As I’m getting comfortable with a cocktail in my front row seat, my son appears on stage – except he is now a toddler and wearing leather ass-less chaps. He’s the main attraction, body rockin’ along with the rest of the male ensemble and the women are going CRAAAZZZYYY. My initial reaction is not shock, shame, or guilt, but rather, “Wow, they really do grow up so fast!”
It was at this point that I woke up slightly perturbed that even in my dreams I was a terrible parent, and yet I was still entertained by the absurdity of it all (if I ever come across miniature ass-less chaps, I’m buying five pairs. My future children have no idea what is in store for them). I got out of bed thanking my subconscious for giving me a surefire way to know when the time for motherhood is right. The answer: when the image of my hypothetical two year old son grinding up on some hussy who is stuffing dollar bills down his G-string diaper is no longer emblazoned into my mind. Something tells me it’s gonna take a while for that memory to fade.

2014: A Year to Remember

Before we ring in the New Year, I thought it’d be nice to wrap up 2014 with a little recap.

We got married. For the rest of my life, 2014 will be THE YEAR WE GOT MARRIED. Planning our wedding pretty much consumed my entire year, and I took it on with gusto (however I would NOT do it all over again. Once is enough, thank you very much). We got engaged in September 2013 and up until our wedding in December 2014, I was a bride force to be reckoned with. The obsession with wedding planning only intensified when I was accepted to blog about the whole process over at Weddingbee. But all my planning and Googling were well worth it because our wedding was EPIC.
BEST DAY EVER. | Photo Credit: Clean Plate Pictures
Mr. S graduated from nursing school. While I was busy with wedding dresses, floral arrangements, and vintage furniture, Mr. S kept himself occupied with video games his last few months of nursing school. He graduated with his classmates in May 2014 and passed his NCLEX exam in November 2014. That means he’s officially a registered nurse and my husband so he is legally obligated on two fronts to take care of me for the rest of his life. Yes, you’re allowed to sympathize with him.
The graduate!!
We bought a house. OMG, we bought a house! How did that happen?!? I’m really not sure…we didn’t mean to buy a house. It was kind of an accident. The most expensive impulse buy I’ve ever made. As 2014 was the year of the wedding, 2015 will be the year of the house – but not until June 2015 when our NYC apartment lease is up, at which point I’ll be kicking and screaming my way to the suburbs. Wait, am I gonna have to change my name to the Suburban Rice Ball??? Shit, I really didn’t think this through…
We bought this gigantic tree and the house that came with it. Many home renovations are planned for 2015.
We celebrated Chunk’s first Gotcha Day. In September, we celebrated the one year anniversary of adopting Chunk. We are just as infatuated with him today as we were when we first got him.
Chunk, stopping to smell the bodega roses.
In summary, 2014 has been very painful to our bank accounts, but so very worth all the stress and questionable budgeting. Hopefully 2015 will be a year of replenishing our coffers, travel (LOTS of travel), getting our last fill of NYC’s sights and eats, and turning the little house into our new home. With all the activity of the past year, I’m looking forward to a quiet New Year’s Eve, celebrating in sweatpants with my new husband, our overly flatulent dog, and copious amounts of Chinese food.

Happy New Year to all! May your 2015 be filled with love, laughter, and lots of money!

A New Decade: Happy 30th Birthday to Me

So if you (and by you, I mean the three people who actually read this blog) noticed, I’ve been seriously MIA on the Urban Rice Ball. It’s not that I’ve stopped blogging. Au contraire, I’ve actually been blogging A LOT over at Weddingbee about none other than our wedding. But today marks a new decade for me – turning the big 3-0. I haven’t figured out a way to spin my age into a wedding story, so I’ve come back to my roots to vent, reflect, and memorialize my milestone birthday.In the days leading up to my 30th birthday, I was a cool little cucumber. Actually, no I wasn’t, but the million annoying wedding details clogging my bride brain overshadowed any anxiety I might have had about leaving my 20s. Who cares about fine lines and gray hairs – what were we going to do about wedding programs?! Who’s going to take the floral arrangements to the church?! Send out the rehearsal dinner invitations nowwww!!!

And really, fine lines and gray hairs are not an imminent threat to me. I have friends who’ve already celebrated their 31st birthdays, and they didn’t spontaneously combust into a decrepit heap of loose skin and varicose veins so I knew I was safe. Plus, I’ve been blessed with the anti-aging Asian gene. I’ll look 21 until I turn 60, at which point I will instantly look like I’m 109.

Image via Buzzfeed
It wasn’t until the final hours on the eve of my birthday that I started to feel apprehensive. Gah, 30. It’s the age of a real adult. It’s the age Allure magazine tells you to start buying the expensive skin care products. It’s the age when you start wondering if maybe you’re too old to be shopping at Forever 21 and when a cozy dinner at a wine bar sounds infinitely better than bottle service at the hottest new night club.

My dear friend G had a theory about our 20s that I think sums up why it is so scary for a woman to enter her 30s. Your 20s are the decade when things happen. From the time you turn 20 to the time you turn 29, you theoretically would have graduated from college, entered the workforce, fallen in love, gotten married, bought a house, and had children. It’s not a far-fetched notion, but it is daunting when you consider how many landmark events happen in your 20s, and how almost all of them are foundations for a “successful” life. How exciting is this time in your life, when so many life-changing things are happening. And yet, by some twisted train of stereotypical thought, it leads us to believe that life – real, meaningful life – won’t start until these things are accomplished. What happens if you haven’t had all these experiences by the time you turn 30? Then you’re a failure? And what happens if you have already checked the box on all these to-do’s? What, then, is there left to look forward to in your 30s? I, like the majority of Millennials, don’t subscribe to this strict chronology and will probably argue until we’re blue in the face that a formula for success doesn’t even exist, but that doesn’t mean the pressure goes away.

The crux of my aversion to entering my 30s is that I don’t feel like a real grown-up yet, even despite having achieved most of the things listed above. I don’t cook (thank you Seamless.com), I don’t really clean (thank you Homejoy), and sometimes we run out of dog food and feed Chunk leftover pizza. Real grown-ups have pantries stocked with raw, organic ingredients. Their multi-room, multi-level homes are spotless and they know how to get stubborn stains out of every possible fabric. And they certainly would scold me for giving my dog cheesy, grain-filled table scraps. (Don’t worry, we paid the price in dog poop for that one.)

When I try to explain to anyone why 30 is so bad (“I’m not an adult, I’m not ready yet!”), they (especially the over 50 set) all tell me, “Well I don’t feel like an adult either! I look 62 on the outside, but I feel like 26 on the inside!” So then I’ll never feel like an adult? That sort of makes this whole aging thing somewhat anti-climactic, no?

But, lo and behold, in the span of writing this blog post, I think I’ve figured it out. When I think back to my 20s, I was always chasing something and I realize now it was this notion of who I am supposed to be when I grow up. It was like I had to prove myself to myself. Job security, money, single digit clothing sizes, credibility at work, more money, career paths, an apartment, a house, designer clothes, designer accessories, status symbols, etc. There was always another rung on the ladder to jump for, another standard by which success was measured.

And yet now, on the day of my 30th birthday, I can decidedly say that I have everything and everyone I need to be happy. Whether it’s because I have “arrived” as they say (doubtful), or because self-validation has finally won out over external validation, or because I am just too tired and too ::shudder:: old to keep up with the game, I don’t know. But I don’t want to, nor do I have to, play it anymore. And I’m totally fine with that.

It’s not that I’ve lost my ambition. I still have career goals and life things to accomplish and I will always enjoy the finer aspects of life. But the need to survive and win the rat race that pretty much defined and fueled my 20s is gone. I am content – with myself, with what I have (and what I don’t have) and who I share it with. And this confident, quiet peace didn’t come to me overnight – it’s only now that I even recognize that I’ve had it for some time. So I probably shouldn’t spend my 30s waiting around for the Grown Up Fairy to finally get here because, as it turns out, there is no magic adult pixie dust that will instantly transform me into Rachael Ray or the editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping magazine. There’s just another decade of experiences to live, happiness to pursue, and stories to tell. And perhaps, somewhere along the way, most likely without me even knowing it, a little bit of growing up too.

tl;dr I guess my 30s won’t be so bad, as long as Seamless.com and Homejoy stay in business. But 60, ugh, I’m definitely not looking forward to that one.

I Live to Entertain You #tbt

The second and final installment in my Throwback Thursday series.  

From: urban rice ball
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:24 PM
To: my good friends
Subject: I live to entertain you….

So, I tried a belly dancing class last night. Let me preface by saying, I consider myself a coordinated person…I can walk and drink coffee at the same time, I can talk and write about 2 different subjects at the same time, I can kick a ball while running…I can even rub my belly and pat my head at the same time.

That said, I have concluded that belly dancing takes the most coordination of any activity one can do on this earth. Think Shakira. She must be superhuman. Imagine — you have to move your hips vigorously while not moving your upper body while keeping your legs calm and relatively still. I can do the hips, but then my shoulders start going and my legs look like they are doing the running man. To top it all off, you have to move you arms slowly…like a serpentine. I don’t know how that is possible when my hips are going at mach speed. Then on top of that, you have to make figure 8’s or boxes or whatever other ridiculous impossible patterns…while maintaining your booty shake, while not moving your upper body, while looking calm and relaxed and not like a drowning worm.

I thought it would be a good change from boxing class and I saw girls in the class got to wear a skirt with coins on it so when they do the Shakira, the sound goes clink clink clink. It looked so fun and it had cute outfits! However, when I did it, I indeed looked like a drowning worm – not an ounce of sex appeal oozed from me. That was unfortunate because the classroom has huge glass walls where the meatheads can look in on your belly dancing moves. Also, when I “shimmied” (that is the technical term for the Shakira move) I felt things jiggling back there that I did not know could jiggle. I know for some guys jiggling is like sexy or whatever, but I don’t find it attractive.

Needless to say, my belly dancing days are over. I do, however, challenge you all to try to shimmy plus do serpentine hands, plus move yourself in figure 8’s, all while looking like a sexy harem lady… Let me know how you do!