platinum star day

if i could still get tiny stars on a chart to represent what kind of day i had, yesterday's would be platinum. i came into work like any other day, logged onto my computer to find an email from my supervisor with "congratulations" in the subject. i figured it would be an email to the entire work group congratulating someone on a promotion. turns out, it was intended for me! i got results back from the certification exam i took at work about a month ago, and i passed! this opens great doors of opportunity for me and is a huge relief lifted up off my shoulders. i took the exam the day after bao and i went to see the mariah carey concert (the morning before sangria met "death") and i left the examination room feeling awfully defeated. so to find out yesterday morning that i passed was an extremely pleasant surprise!

in the evening, we met up with some friends and ate dinner at champs in pentagon row. the weather was cold and windy, but that sure didn't stop us from ice skating outdoors! it was so much fun, i can't even remember the last time i went ice skating. its definitely a lot harder than i remembered, maybe i was just more fearless when i was younger. nevertheless, it was a great time with friends. and i went to bed with a huge smile on my face, completely satisfied with my day.

in a matter of hours, eric's mom will be landing in dc. i am really looking forward to this very fun-filled weekend!


alive and well

yesterday i was having a pity party for one (myself). lately i've just felt like i'm out of things to do, like i've gotten into this routine and i need a little pizzazz every now and then. i spoke to eric about it and i started thinking about all these things i've always wanted to do, and today i woke up and decided i would do them!

the first thing i did when i got home from work was pick up my guitar. i remember not too long ago sitting in the car with eric when "im alive" by kenny chesney and dave matthews came on and at that very moment i said out loud "i want to learn this song on the guitar!" i wasn't too familiar with it, but i liked the guitar part of it immediately. so i did some googling, found some tabs, watched some youtube, and was able to pick it up rather quickly!

and its not just the ability to play the song that made me feel so good. it was also the lyrics of the song. it was just perfect for what i was feeling, and was just what i needed to kick me in the butt and realize how great i've got it.

life is good. i'm alive and well.


turn that frown upside down

there are always going to be moments when life comes at you too fast or too hard, or days when you feel sad or blue. people have all sorts of different outlets to pick themselves up and make them feel better. my medium of happiness and joy is definitely my niece and nephew. aidan and brooke are two people that never fail to make me smile. its amazing that even from across the country, these two little boogers can totally turn even my worst of days completely around.

here's a video of them showing off some of the words and signs they know:

i always imagined growing up that when it would be time for my sisters to have children, i would be around to watch these kids grow up. it saddens me at times that i can't be physically closer to aidan and brooke. i am amazed everytime chi hai sends me photo or video updates. they grow up so fast! too fast!


valentine's day

a lot of people seem to dislike the idea of valentine's day-- they criticize that it is a hallmark holiday. i am the complete opposite of these people. i love valentine's day. sure, i love everyone every day, but i love love so much that i love the idea that there is a day dedicated to love. i am very lucky to have a life full of love; love for my husband, my family, my friends, and of course, indy, our beagle.

on friday, eric came home with a bouquet of flowers. this morning, i woke up to the smell of bacon, eggs, and french toast. eric woke up at the crack of dawn to prepare me this wonderful breakfast. after we enjoyed our meal together, like kids we got excited to exchange gifts (i realize that by now, i had already gotten flowers and breakfast, but what can i say? i'm a lucky girl!). i got eric some games for the new ps3 we recently purchased and he bought me cupcake mix, frosting, and a heart shaped muffin tin. so of course, i baked them and we indulged in cupcakes for the remainder of the day.

i put the bouquet of flowers in a vase, we displayed the cards we exchanged, and we got a box of truffles from the zechers:

i'm a little embarrassed to display how many cupcakes are remaining (because we ate the rest) but here's the funfetti valentine cupcakes with the mold eric bought me:

it was a great valentine's day. i can't help but think about the valentine's day where eric was in georgia, training before his deployment and how miserable i was to be alone on valentine's day while anticipating being without eric for a year. i am so thankful that we are here today to celebrate love and the love that we share. 

in other great news, we are adding one more to the family! ...my sister-in-law, erin, and her boyfriend mike got engaged today!



lucky i'm in love with my best friend, but also lucky to have such loving and talented relatives! i can't believe i lagged on posting this. eric's sister, andrea, was our officiant at our wedding. while writing the ceremony, she had an idea to incorporate the letters eric and i exchanged while he was deployed in iraq. she got in touch with my sister bao for musical help and bao recruited our cousin, linh. put those two together and they always deliver sweet and beautiful music. the following is a video of this surprise that they put together for us on our big day. i know i've posted a lot of videos prior to this one, but if you only have time to watch one, i hope it is this one. this is so special beyond words, so take a look and listen for yourself!

Van & Eric//Ceremony Performance from Monachetti on Vimeo.


go shorty! its your birthday!

a few months ago, i got an email that mariah carey would be playing at d.a.r. constitution hall here in dc. so naturally, the first thing i do is call bao and ask her if she's able to come out to catch the show with me. so she flew out, got here on wednesday the 27th, we head to my home, tease the hair, and head on out. we had dinner at georgia brown's, and for those of you who haven't been, you absolutely must. dinner was awesome. we then cabbed over the the concert venue to partake in the mariah experience. she was AMAZING (yes, the capital letters were necessary... she was that good!). constitution hall was such an intimate venue and mariah really went all out for her audience. i don't have the words to explain how great of a show it really was.

the next day, bao and i got up and decided to head to la tasca in old town for some tapas and sangria for lunch. what started off as a nice, sunny little lunch turned into an unplanned party.... resulting in me getting kicked out of rock it grill later that night for being sick in their bathroom... i really don't care to go into details about that.

needless to say, friday i was not up for partying. bao took me to a spa in alexandria that is known for their fish pedicures. it really was as weird as it sounds. haha we were so ticklish for the first 5 minutes we couldn't exchange words. but i have to give it to the fish.. my feet really have never felt so smooth. while being pampered, we brainstormed and came up with an idea to throw a last minute dinner party. we decided on korean food and went to the grocery store to buy all the fixings. a few friends came by, ben baked an ice cream cake, and it was just a nice little night in.

all in all, my 29th birthday was one of my favorites. i came home on wednesday to find a card and some gummy candy from eric. the card he gave me was the same card that he gave me three years ago before we officially were a couple, and inside this one he wrote "three years later, same card from the same guy!" i just feel very blessed and very loved and am so grateful for the life i have.