cliff’s “practically-annual” visit to texas

my cousin (cliff) came to texas for a weekend 2 months ago. i should blog these under “throwback thursdays” since i blog so late (you can view more recent photos on my instagram: @sierralei and then read about my experiences 2 months later, haha).

it was my brother’s birthday weekend, which also fell on restaurant week (as usual). cliff usually visits without me being able to plan ahead and take days off from work, but in this case, i managed to plan accordingly. we had a pretty jam-packed weekend.

on friday, my brother and i picked up cliff at midnight and went to IHOP for a late grubbing session. we probably slept at 3-5 a.m. and woke up in the afternoon to take my brother out for a birthday lunch at a sushi buffet restaurant, japan house. cliff had to work for a few hours during the day and at night (my brother had to work on his birthday), a small group of us went to our first restaurant week spot, THE MERCURY. wonderful restaurant in dallas, by the way. after dinner, we met up with more friends and bar-hopped. i was VERY glad that cliff got to meet my close friends. he had been visiting dallas since 9 years ago but i was never able to introduce him to a lot of my friends. friday was just an absolute blast.

saturday was pretty fun. cliff, clint, and i woke up early to head out to waco for lunch. my brother was determined to take us to vitek’s for their gut pak (yes, there will be photos), which blew his mind. we drove over 2 hours for lunch, yes. hey, we will go where there is good food! on the drive, my cousin educated me on the navigation app called WAZE. if you don’t have it, get it. moving along. we got to vitek’s and i thought it was a VERY COOL place. it was definitely worth the drive. after lunch, we went to the dr. pepper museum and that was fun. it was a first for all of us so it was pretty exciting. we took some superfun pictures there. we had to drive back to dallas because we had our second restaurant for restaurant week later that night at BIJOUX. oh, bijoux……oh, bijoux. if any of you live in dallas and have not gone to this restaurant, YOU MUST GO. in fact, i think i will make an entirely separate blog on just this restaurant, it was that amazing. saturday was such a great day.

sunday was still packed with fun! we took cliff to a rangers game! and oh, boy, did the weather turn up-it was nice and cool the past 2 days and then it turned into a furnace on sunday. cliff is an island boy and former marine-i think 70 degrees makes him sweat. poor thing. we tailgated with raising cane’s and beer before the game, which was fun since i have never tailgated before. after the game, we had to go straight home to get ready for dinner with cliff’s former marine friend. we had dinner at a korean bbq restaurant (ah-mazing korean food) with cliff’s friend and his beautiful girlfriend. i can’t believe i had never known of this korean restaurant in carrollton, it was so good! we had yogurt after dinner and it was amazing.

and then cliff left at about 5 a.m. on monday morning. and all the fun was over. but it was such a FUN FUN FUN WEEKEND. it was such a fun weekend, it was ridiculous. i took hundreds and hundreds of photos but there were some that just stood out over the others.

here are the fun photos from cliff’s recent visit. enjoy.

xoxo,

sierra lei

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happy terrific two

today is my 2 year anniversary of blogging. 

first of all, i want to say thank you for reading my blog. and all of its randomness. 

i have enjoyed meeting as many of you as i can (via blog comments, emails, facebook, instagram, etc…). i have enjoyed reading your blogs. i have enjoyed trying your recipes and experiencing your life through your stories. i have enjoyed reading about ingredients i don’t even like, and have not “enjoyed” reading about your dating woes and disasters. but you are all fantastic writers, and that’s what keeps me reading. 

there’s nothing sophisticated or themed about my blog. it’s just a bunch of random experiences that i want to share. 

and with that said, stay tuned for more random experiences that i will still be sharing!

may you all have a fantastic week. =)

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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june in pictures

here are 10 random cell phone photos of june with captions.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

a day at the dallas arboretum with my friends. we like to color-coordinate when we go out. this photo was thought of by our friend, alexis (in the hat). it was hot as HELL that day but it was a blast!

a day at the dallas arboretum with my friends. we like to color-coordinate when we go out. this photo was thought of by our friend, alexis (in the hat). it was hot as HELL that day but it was a blast!

oh. just a photo at 3 a.m. after i took my hair down.

oh. just a photo at 3 a.m. after i took my hair down.

i bumped into a mustache necklace at forever 21 one day. dang that store, they have so many impulse buys there! but i do love my mustache necklace. i'm not into the mustache craze by any means, but i had to have that necklace. and i even wear it to work.

i bumped into a mustache necklace at forever 21 one day. dang that store, they have so many impulse buys there! but i do love my mustache necklace. i’m not into the mustache craze by any means, but i had to have that necklace. and i even wear it to work.

my nephew will love taking photos when he grows up. i am to blame. when we are sitting around, we will take a thousand pictures of ourselves...and this is one of a series of photos taken while we were waiting for my sister to finally come out of hobby lobby. my nephew has the best faces, i could make an entire blog post on all my favorites.

my nephew will love taking photos when he grows up. i am to blame. when we are sitting around, we will take a thousand pictures of ourselves…and this is one of a series of photos taken while we were waiting for my sister to finally come out of hobby lobby. my nephew has the best faces, i could make an entire blog post on all my favorites.

my friend/co-worker, christine, had a baby boy at the end of july. her diaper drive was so adorable. the cupcakes were so cute. i did not make them. haha.

my friend/co-worker, christine, had a baby boy at the end of july. her diaper drive was so adorable. the cupcakes were so cute. i did not make them. haha.

my new neighbor across the hall at work. the bigger and better version of apple northpark. i get to stare at apple boys every day! how cool is that! the girls are pretty nice, too. haha.

my new neighbor across the hall at work. the bigger and better version of apple northpark. i get to stare at apple boys every day! how cool is that! the girls are pretty nice, too. haha.

i write to a little russian girl back home. she spends her summers with her grandmother in russia. her grandmother did the silver design on the plate BY HAND. it is one of the most amazing gifts i have ever received.

i write to a little russian girl back home. she spends her summers with her grandmother in russia. her grandmother did the silver design on the plate BY HAND. it is one of the most amazing gifts i have ever received.

my new favorite card line, old tom foolery. this is a card from their footnote collection. they're hilarious. and fun. and i love all their collections. and i follow the owner on instagram. and i met her mother at my work a few weeks ago. i'm a big fan. the cards are so awesome.

my new favorite card line, old tom foolery. this is a card from their footnote collection. they’re hilarious. and fun. and i love all their collections. and i follow the owner on instagram. and i met her mother at my work a few weeks ago. i’m a big fan. the cards are so awesome.

i was my friend's guest at a wedding. it was such a fun wedding. the dress was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, the food was awesome, the cake was amazing. it was a very sweet wedding, i enjoyed it very much. and i got to capture this funny photo.

i was my friend’s guest at a wedding. it was such a fun wedding. the dress was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, the food was awesome, the cake was amazing. it was a very sweet wedding, i enjoyed it very much. and i got to capture this funny photo.

um, yeah. this is self-explanatory. representin' my texas rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

um, yeah. this is self-explanatory. representin’ my texas rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the dallas arboretum and the 90th birthday

still trying to catch up on my blogging, here are 2 fun dates a few months ago.

at the end of may, we took my nephew to the dallas arboretum because they were having an event for kids. face painting and a petting zoo. i had bought a family membership at the arboretum which allows me to bring 4 people with me when i visit. i love it. it’s just too DANG HOT this summer to go visit the arboretum. UGH. but anyways, my nephew got his face painted as a tiger and SWORE that he ran MUCH FASTER around the gardens. it took the lady all of 2 minutes to paint his face and she did a fantastic job. too bad adults weren’t allowed to get their face painted, i would have been all about that. my nephew’s nose was running that day, so he was worried that he wouldn’t look like a tiger since some of the paint had rubbed off above his lip. he cracks me up. he probably took 300 photos of himself on his nexus in the car when we were driving home. it was a fun day.

one of the guys that i shoot pool with turned 90 on june 6. his name is bob. he is the cutest and sweetest old man. and he’s a good pool player. our friend, penny (also a fellow pool player), suggested we throw a birthday bash for him at the pool hall, and it was a whole lot of fun. there were balloons at the front door, balloons in our corner of the pool hall, desserts on the table. i had made a little birthday sign for him. there was a picture frame that we had all signed for bob. he had a blast. i made cupcakes and brownies. someone had made cookies. there was a fun cake. it was an awesome sugar overload.

so here are some photos from both events.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierralei

 

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taste of addison 2013

yesterday, i posted about my friend’s wedding on may 18, 2013.

that wasn’t the only event that happened that day-but my friend’s wedding deserved her own blog. just like my friend’s birthday, which was on the same day. which was also the taste of addison weekend. YUM.

i have attended the taste of addison for probably 5 years now. i will admit that years ago, i was always excited for the food…but now i’m usually excited for everything else but the food. different restaurants set up booths to serve smaller portions of what they usually serve at their establishments, which is good, but it’s just the usual chain restaurant food, really. i prefer fine dining and chasing down food trucks that i see once a year. that’s more my thing.

the craft/art booths are my favorite things to see at the taste of addison. the atmosphere is what i enjoy there, as well. i like touristy, upbeat, exciting events like this. on top of it all, blue october performed. i was so stoked. i love watching blue october perform live.

i have decided to post only 10 photos of the evening. here are my 10 random photos from the taste of addison.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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may 18, 2013

this post has been long overdue, so i apologize. i left my camera in my friend’s car for a while, and then when i got it back over a month later, i had been busy with so many things….so now i am going to start from may and work my way to the present!

on may 18, i had attended a friend’s wedding. she was a former co-worker of mine. she started working with me when she had started dating her now-husband. i feel so old now that i look back at their younger years together.  my, how time flies! i was very flattered that she wanted to work with me on her wedding invitations, and was very excited to be invited to both her bridal shower and her wedding.

the wedding was held at ashton gardens in corinth, texas. a venue i have always wanted to visit, ashton gardens has a chapel that is 3 walls of glass so you can see the trees all around you. it is voted one of the best wedding venues by the knot, 5 years in a row. it is definitely worth the drive, being that you can’t get a venue like this within the city of dallas. the reception area is in the same building and is already beautiful before any alterations are done. the chandeliers, the tables, the chairs-i don’t even think the bride made any changes to the reception area since everything looked gorgeous as is.

my friend, tony, and i got there as the doors had closed because the bride was about to walk in to the chapel. at first i was sad that i had missed getting a seat before the ceremony started, but being able to see my friend outside before she walked in made me glad i was late. i totally almost bawled when i saw her outside the chapel. her dress was beautiful, she looked fantastic, and it felt like i was in big sister mode. “my little baby is all grown up!!!”  it was so sappy, haha.  she walked down the aisle to christina perri’s “a thousand years” which was very fitting for their ceremony. the ceremony was beautiful, it was exactly as i had expected.

while the bridal party was off taking their photos, i was in charge of making sure the “guest book” was signed. their “guest book” was a huge graphic of a tree that guests had to thumb print leaves on. it was real cute. the bride and groom’s engagement photos hung off tree branches in the lobby area for guests to admire while they got their escort cards (which were in mini frames that guests could later use to put their own photos in).

lunch was fantastic. i know that bride’s aren’t always too fond of having the venue serve their food because they might not enjoy the selection, but ashton gardens has quite a big selection of foods to choose from. and that prime rib…oh, boy. everyone knows that i will try everything in a wedding-and of course i spot the prime rib and am definitely curious to try it. a prime rib at a wedding-it could be good and it could be a downright disaster. i love steak, and i love prime rib. i think i watch too many four weddings episodes (that show in which four brides critique each other’s weddings and rate the food, venue, dress, and overall experience) because every time the brides rate the food, it’s always “bland” and “under seasoned” and “dry.” i was very excited to see the prime rib (i don’t think the other guests were as excited as i was because i noticed them walking by the station of bloody meat) but i didn’t know what to expect. shoot…………i should have just had an entire plate of that thing. it was SO DANG GOOD. now, who would have thought that a fantastic cut of prime rib would be served at a wedding reception! let’s say i was hoping it would be good, but it ended up exceeding my expectations. ashton gardens, you did VERY WELL. that was definitely one of the best dishes i have had at a wedding (automatically into the top 3). it looks pretty obvious, since i just typed up an entire paragraph on it.

i believe the cake was from the cake guys, and some people know i’m a big fan of the cake guys. i don’t even remember what flavor her cake was (she told me once, but i forgot) but it was fantastic. the cake guys are known for their beautiful, over-the-top cake designs, delicious-tasting cakes, and reasonable prices for the price-conscious brides who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for their wedding cakes.  last year, the cake guys participated in the annual platinum wedding cake competition and took first place. you can read about it and see their amazing cake display HERE in my previous blog, i tasted cakes.

after lunch and cake, we danced and hung out and took pictures, and it was all great. it’s always so amazing to be a part of someone’s big day, especially when you have been there since the beginning. i remember jessica buying steven gifts every month anniversary during their first year of dating and steven singing songs to her on his guitar. i always love hearing relationship stories and theirs were always sweet. now, years later, they’re grown up, married, and living together. i swear, i feel so old now. but very happy.

here are some photos of the wedding. cheers to jessica and steven on your marriage. may you celebrate MANY, MANY years of happiness together and may GOD bless you with the happiness that you both deserve. come and see me for baby shower invitations when the time comes. haha!!! love you both!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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throwback thursday 05/02/13

i love planning events and throwing parties.

well, i love planning and coordinating and working with color schemes and making party favors and executing perfect displays and finding great food and gathering big crowds and making sure people have a good time.

but i don’t like the whole “burning the midnight oil” part. that’s the part that kills me the most.

i decided to do throwback thursday posts. earlier this evening, i was looking through some old photos and bumped into the pictures of the baby shower i threw for my sister. oh, the memories…..

it was back in 2006. during the first part of my sister’s pregnancy, we didn’t quite get along. we were doing our thing, going our ways…but of course, i had to throw her a baby shower. i’ve never really planned anything ON MY OWN before, so i had no idea what i was doing, but i knew that a baby shower had to go down, and i was the one to make it happen.

i did my research. what elements are involved in a baby shower? food. check. cake. check. decorations. check. party favors. woohoo! check. diaper cake. diaper what?

my sister and i were working for a department store, and we were close to a lot of our co workers, so invited almost all of them. i threw out baby shower invites, but being from saipan, i did not have anyone RSVP. because i did not know how many people were really coming, i just made sure there was enough of everything for everyone-food, cake, snacks, and party favors.

the bath and body works semi-annual sale was going on and i spotted votive holders for $1. a dollar! what a steal! i bought every single clear, frosted white, and blue votive holder in the entire dallas DISTRICT. i drove to malls that i STILL do not know how to get to today. their votive candles were 2/$1. i bought enough vanilla and cotton blossom votive candles to match each holder. i found mini baby confetti, white and blue tulle, and ribbons at different stores and had an assembly team of 4 people assembling the party favors for 2 nights straight-me, my boyfriend at the time, my brother, and his girlfriend at the time. we were like santa’s elves in the workshop, cutting tulle, sprinkling confetti, and tying little bows-and then hiding them in huge tupperware bins under the bed so my sister wouldn’t bump into them if she came over.

i heard that a particular bakery sold THE best tres leches cake in dallas. i don’t even remember who the bakery was but i knew i had to have that cake. all i knew about the bakery was that it was in a bad part of town, so i had my brother go get it. the baby shower had 2 cakes. “more is better than less (do you watch those at&t commercials? you’ll get that quote, haha).”

the diaper cake situation. i discovered that it wasn’t edible-darn. but it was creative-yay! so i made one. you roll up diapers and form them into a wedding cake. easy. i don’t think my first one turned out bad at all.

six years ago was such a blur, especially when i had no idea what i was doing. i remember being so dang tired the day of the baby shower. there was only one picture taken of me from that day and i refuse to post it. i was holding a BUNCH of helium balloons and i wanted to cover my face with them because i looked and felt so terrible. i thought i had thrown a successful baby shower, but looking back at it, i think to myself, “oooh, knowing what i know now, i could really have made it 10 times better….” i would have made party favor tags. i would have done RSVPs. i would have made the cutest little cupcakes. i didn’t bake back then. i don’t think i started baking until about 4-5 years ago. but i could have made some killer cupcakes.

here are some photos i found online of the baby shower. they might not be much, but i thought they were pretty cool!

 

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it was fun.

i hope i find other good throwback thursday ideas moving forward!

xoxo

what a lovely sunday

today was jessica’s bridal shower. i worked with jessica back in 2008. she had been dating her fiance, steven, for a few months. now, 5 years later, they are getting married. my, how time flies! the bridal shower was so much fun. i usually don’t like going to events if i don’t know many people, and i only knew jessica at the bridal shower but it was such a nice atmosphere with everyone chatting and meeting everyone. the hostess, one of the bridesmaids, was so very sweet and accommodating. she did a great job with the decor and food (i can’t BELIEVE i did not take a picture of the food! whatwasithinking!?!?). i love watching the opening of the presents because i find it very exciting. i got jessica the wilton ultimate bake and carry set, which was on her registry. i thought it would make a great gift coming from me, being a baker (well, i like the decorating part, but whatever).

 

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that’s such a neat gift to give someone who wants to start baking! jessica got so many cool gifts, i was keeping a mental inventory of everything i wanted for my kitchen.

i am SO excited for jessica and steven’s wedding. i have watched the couple evolve over the years and i can’t believe the big day is quickly arriving. jessica was one of those girls who knew what she wanted before she got engaged. i slowly start to realize how much easier it is when a bride has a sense of what she wants for her wedding before she gets engaged. i’m going to be in deep trouble in that department. you’d think that since i work in a stationery boutique i’d know what i want. haha! not at all. i did jessica and steven’s wedding invitations and it took all of 5 minutes or something (totally over exaggerating but you get the idea). i didn’t expect to be able to go to the wedding because last year i had left the country, but i came back 3 months later, and now i get to go!!!!! i can’t WAIT to take photos of the wedding. the venue is SUPER BEAUTIFUL and absolutely breathtaking. it was voted as one of the best venues by the knot for 5 years in a row. i am looking forward to everything: the ceremony, the food, the cake, and everything in between. i think my photos will come out great because it’s a daytime wedding.

until those photos make it to the blog, here are some of the bridal shower photos. enjoy!

 

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did i mention how excited i am for the wedding?

😉

xoxo

tgifridays, texas rangers, and tacos

on thursday night, after work, i met up with my friend jennifer to grab a bite to eat. tgifridays is having $3 thursdays. some of their cocktails and a bunch of their appetizers are on the $3 menu. not a bad deal.

this is what $16 looks like.

this is what $16 looks like.

 

i got home around 1 a.m. and had to jump right into bed because i had a long day on friday-work and then the texas rangers/seattle mariners game with jennifer. i love watching sports live, but i absolutely LOVE watching the rangers play. i love the food, i love walking around, i love taking a ton of pictures, i love going into the gift shops…and of course, watching the actual game. i never care about where i am sitting-i don’t ever mind sitting in a $6 seat because i know i am going to spend a million times more on food. friday’s game consisted of a cheeseburger, a huge order of garlic fries, cotton candy, and an ice cream sandwich. i also got me a yu darvish shirt! finally! two awesome highlights of the night (aside from the fact that everything during the game was a highlight): darvish was pitching and it was fireworks friday. I….LOVE….FIREWORKS….

here are a few pictures from the game:

 

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texas beat seattle, 7-0. it was a great night.

 

i don’t remember much about what happened last night when i got home. i was so exhausted that it was all a blur. i’m surprised that i even took my shoes off. i didn’t even set my alarm to get up but i’m so glad i did. i was so excited for today because there was a taco festival in deep ellum. you know that if there is food, i will be overly excited. and, of course, so are half of all the dallas residents. because it was the first taco festival, the vendors did not know what to expect. let’s just say they are going to have to triple their food next year. we got to the festival around 1 and it started at 11. by the time we got to our first vendor, they were already down to 2 taco flavors-which were really good, though. they felt bad that they were down to only 2 flavors that they gave each of us coupons for $15 off our visits to the restaurant. by the time we left, which was around 4, we had only been to 2 taco vendors. that’s how long the lines were. i don’t mind long lines like that, it’s always expected at a festival. i thought it was a fun day. i brought my nephew along and he had fun. he only wanted one taco but after having it, he wanted 2 more. and then he went home and couldn’t stop raving about how awesome it tasted to his mom/my sister. what i didn’t like about the event was that there were not enough drink vendors. it was hard trying to find a drink other than beer. there was a booth that gave away free bottles of sparkling water, but i don’t like water. another downfall of the event was that the lines were so long that they were weaving in all directions. it was hard to tell which line was for what vendor. clearly, the space was not big enough to hold all the people (it was held on the street and it definitely needed to be spread out one more block). there weren’t enough tables and chairs for people to sit, so people were sitting in random spots all over the place. if you weren’t walking through people who were in line, you were trying not to step on people. but these are issues that i am confident would be resolved by next year. what i liked about the event was that the tacos were said to be no more than $2.50 each. they had live entertainment that we got to listen to while we were in line. the people watching wasn’t as great as the dog watching. there were lots of cool dogs walking around, so my nephew was pretty entertained by them. and the tacos i had were awesome, and definitely worth the wait since i got a $15 coupon. the taco festival was obviously such a hit, and i am definitely going back again next year…

here are a few pictures from the event today:

 

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and my weekend is not over yet. tomorrow i have my friend’s bridal shower to attend. i can’t wait. i have a ton of events coming up that i hope i can catch a breather in between.

 

what is the most exciting thing you have done or will do this weekend?

xoxo