Monday, August 31, 2015

Starting Over: A Recipe for Blogging Success

As some of you know, we recently had a baby. Have you seen her? She's so dang cute!
Our Lucy girl

However, she threw our "normal" routine out the window for the last several months. But it was time to start getting back to a routine and getting to something like a "normal", like losing the pregnancy weight. I started WeightWatchers, I'm paying attention to what I'm eating, and I get out and move more--and I'm back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Woot! 

I've also wanted to start blogging regularly again, so I jumped at the opportunity that Alt Summit and Blogalicious offered to collaborate with another blogger. I was paired with Maria, a fashion/tech/music blogger over at Aesthetic Elevation and we immediately hit it off--she is one cool lady boss!


As we chatted, we discovered we were both in the same place--starting over on our blogs and wanting to build up our readership--so we decided to write a "recipe" for each other, a recipe to jump-start our writing, gain readers, and have a meaningful blog.

I thought I'd apply the same recipe for success that I've had losing weight to blogging, so here are my tips for Maria (and for me): 
  1. Be consistent. Like with a diet where you have to be consistently making good choices about what you eat and consistently getting out and moving your body, blogging success comes when you consistently write and consistently post. People can't read what you're not writing.
  2. Be predictable. I eat a piece of toast, an egg, some fruit, and soy milk pretty much every morning now, because it's good, fills my belly, and I don't have to think about it. People like predictability and in order to keep readers coming back, you need to let them know that you're going to post about tech and fashion on Monday, what people were wearing on Wednesday, and a round-up post on Friday. Even if it is only once a week, they'll know what to expect.
  3. Get moving. I've found that my writing is much more interesting and enriched when we're out and about living life, experiencing new things, and meeting people. 
  4. Get social. I have the hardest time getting to the gym by myself. However, when I know I'm meeting my friend for Zumba, you better believe I'm there and I'm on time. Same thing with blogging, I've found when I support others and what they're doing on their blogs, they support me and motivate me to be creative. Hence, this post and Maria!
  5. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. It's taken me a while to drop the weight, but I knew if I did some crazy fad diet, I'd gain the weight back. Same thing with blogging, starting over and gaining a following may be slow and steady, but you'll have loyal readers.
So we're back! I'll be posting about our family, cooking, travel, and entertaining at Sign up in the right sidebar to receive posts in your email.

The Redd Party - Muir Woods
At Muir Woods National Monument in California

And Maria will be posting about tech and music in the fashion world at Go visit her and say hi!

This post is brought to you by the awesome project CoLAB and the folks at at Latina Bloggers Connect, Alt Summit, and Blogalicious.

Monday, November 3, 2014

An important announcement that everyone must've missed!

A while back, Lee and I posted this video.

We were trying to be a little sneaky, a little clever about it all.

Apparently all of you are extremely polite and didn't want to assume anything, because when we posted a picture my sister snapped (@reddparty Instagram) from last weekend, there were all sorts of people that were surprised by the caption about this being a baby shower for us.

(Gorgeous, isn't it?)

"Favorites"-themed Baby Girl Shower

So, yes, we're expecting a baby girl around December 4, 2014.

We are excited. And freaking out since our due date is right around the corner, but so excited!

Um...sorry for not telling you sooner!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Iceland Must-Do: Golden Circle Tour

We were in Iceland a year ago, so this week I wanted to reminisce and share a few more posts about what we did while we were there.

One of the must-dos when in Iceland is the Golden Circle tour.

Flo knew some people who lived in Iceland for about a year and a half, and they gave her a recommendation for a company that could take us on a Golden Circle tour: Gateway to Iceland. Our tour guide for the day and the president of GTI is Gummi.

Our tour group and Gummi. Gummi is in the center in blue.

The tour consists of three major stops: Thingvellir, Gulfoss, and the geothermal fields of Haukadalur.

At Thingvellir, we got to see the Viking Parliament. The Parliament is a great wall where the Viking leaders would stand and speak. The reflection of the sound off of the wall allowed for those gathered to hear what was being said. Lee is standing just below the spot where you would stand to speak.

 We also got to see Silfra, the place where two continental plates--North American and Eurasian tectonic plates--meet and are drifting apart about 2 cm a year. The water was beautiful and clear.

Silfra at Thingvellir National Park

We then headed to Gulfoss, an amazing and popular two-tiered waterfall in the Golden Circle. It was windy and loud and breath-taking.

Gulfoss in Iceland. Notice the tiny people on the left ledge.

One of the best parts of this leg of the trip was Lee coming upon a group of Japanese tourists. They were all bundled up with jackets, hats, and gloves to keep warm due to the wind and mist, while Lee was dressed like he usually is: short-sleeved shirt, no jacket, no hat.

An older tourist mimed a question to Lee, rubbing her arms and pointing and asking him why he wasn't wearing a jacket and if he was cold. Lee mimed back to her that he wasn't cold and grabbed his belly. All of the tourists laughed and laughed.

Lee is always hot

Our last major stop was the geothermal field Haukudalur, where you could see geothermal pools and geysers. In fact the word "geyser" is derived from the Icelandic word "geysa", which means to gush.

Strokkur geyser exploding

Selfie with one of the clear blue geothermal pools

Because the Golden Circle tour is a must-do in Iceland, we saw a ton of Asian tourists. I'll be honest, I LOVED seeing them all, taking pictures and being goofy. I love being Asian!

Crazy Asian tourists at Strokkur Geyser

We loved the tour, not only because we got to see Thingvellir, Gulfoss and Strokkur, but because of all the little stops and bits of information that you don't get along the way if you're doing it on your own.

Like stopping by Alafoss, where you could buy some famous Icelandic yarn or see the studio where the band Sigur Ros records.

Alafoss yarn

Sigur Ros' recording studio - We even got to go inside!

Or getting Gummi's tip about this sign. He suggested that if we were ever driving around and we saw this symbol, we should stop and explore.

Point of interest in Iceland

He showed us one such spot, which turned out to be a hidden waterfall called Faxi. 

Faxi Waterfall

Another of the other lesser known spots we saw was the lake called Laugarvatn. There was a geothermal pool off it where the resort Fontana was situated. We may have to go there for a soak next time we go to Iceland.

The cool thing about Fontana was that they bake their bread via the geothermal energy. The rye bread dough is placed in a container and buried in the ground near the head of the geothermal spring. They unearth it an hour later and voila--you have delicious rye bread. Wow!

The bubbles indicate boiling water

Here is a list of pros and cons for doing the Golden Circle tour with GTI.

  • Loved having a personal tour guide who is native and knows the history of Iceland.
  • Got some good suggestions on how to navigate in Iceland after the tour.
  • We saw some obscure stuff that we wouldn't have seen without a guide.
  • It was fun to meet and interact with fellow travelers. We were lucky to have a pretty good group too.
  • They picked you up and dropped you off for the tour.

  • At some of the stops we were at, we were at the mercy of how long others wanted to look around and/or shop. 
  • There are stretches of just driving with not much to see, but you would have that even if you were doing the tour on your own.

Overall, we had such a fun day on that tour--we saw and learned a lot. It was nice to have Gummi as a tour guide, with all the history and stories he shared with us. We recommend it!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's Making Us Happy This Week

Ogden Temple at night

This week has been a busy one, getting back into the groove of things after being gone for Youth Conference for a few days. It was good, but we're definitely glad it's done and over!

What's making Lee happy:

  • Some awesome poster holders--a little Willy Wonka-esque.
  • We went to the Ben Folds concert last night with some great friends. It was a wonderful time. Also, Ben Folds and the Utah Symphony are so talented--he created this there on stage and this was the final product (there is some language, so beware!). 

What's making Winter happy:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chinaman biking

Earlier this year, I did a little bit of biking in preparation for the Little Red Bike Ride up in Lewiston. My group had a great time training and riding, especially on the day of the bike ride.

Happy biking girls after Little Red Bike Ride

One day for training, I decided to ride up from our apartment in Bountiful to the University of Utah. The trip is about 8 miles up hill, but thankfully there are bike lanes most of the way.

As I sped along the bike lane, I noticed something a little odd painted on the road.

I started noticing different lane markings after listening to the episode Icon for Access on one of my favorite podcasts, 99% Invisible. Give it a listen!

99% Invisible podcast

You wouldn't think it, but there is so much design that goes into these symbols. They need to be simple, universal, and be able to convey a message.

I am used to seeing this type of pavement symbol in the bike lane: a nondescript dude on a bike. (This one actually looks a little weird because the head looks a little like one of those alien skulls from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.)

A typical bike lane pavement marking: bike dude

But then on another section of bike lane, I saw this marking: a nondescript dude on a bike, but he's wearing a helmet!

Bike lane dude with helmet

Kudos Salt Lake City for encouraging bikers to wear helmets! I've crashed enough times on a bike and thankfully been wearing a helmet, that I think that we all should be wearing helmets while biking, even though it makes my head look like an orange on a toothpick (name the movie!).

But on my way home, I noticed something odd about the bike lane dude:

North Salt Lake's bike lane dude

Bike lane dude looks like he's wearing one of those Chinese rice paddy hats!


First of all, as an Asian person, I feel extremely welcome biking in North Salt Lake. I've got my own bike lane!

Second of all, despite feeling welcome in NSL, I don't think one of those straw hats will protect your noggin in a crash.

Just saying, keep wearing your helmet.

Ready to go on another ride

Happy biking, friends!

Monday, August 4, 2014

A funny thing happened on the way to the temple...

Lee and I were in charge of our church's youth conference this last weekend. Our group headed to Bear Lake in Idaho and it was just lovely.

Bear Lake, Idaho

We did a service project, played in the lake, went to the Minnetonka Caves, floated the Snake River, and had some great firesides. It was packed and fun.

Putting together chemotherapy kits

Minnetonka Caves

Getting ready to shove off on the Snake River

Fireside time

The last thing we planned was to attend the Ogden Temple Open House on Saturday around noon, so we packed up camp and started up Logan Canyon.

Unfortunately, we got to the top of the hill and were turned around by a couple of state troopers. A terrible accident had happened down the road and would be closed for a couple of hours. So we reversed course--we were now behind about a half an hour.

We made a decision to go to Ogden via Evanston. We were making pretty good time, well that is, until the tire on the scout trailer hauling on the gear blows out about halfway there. Really?!? Hiccup #2 has put us behind another half an hour.

That is one shredded tire!

The awesome family hauling the trailer volunteered to repair the tire in Evanston, so the rest of the group could try to make it to the open house.

So our last route option was through Ogden Canyon. We were doing pretty good, until we hit hiccup #3, road construction, where a mile-stretch of the road was narrowed to one lane. We sat waiting for about 15 to 20 minutes for our turn--we had time to hand out treats to all the kids and have a quick dance party while we were parked. It was kind of getting humorous now!

Lee handed out Rice Krispie treats to everyone

As you can imagine, we were late. Like really late.

We had prayed before we left. We prayed when the tire blew. And we prayed as we were coming down Ogden Canyon that we would be let into the open house.

Our goal is finally in sight--the Ogden Temple

Thankfully, our prayers were answered and we were greeted by a super nice volunteer who let us in, saying our reservation was "close enough" even though we were over an hour and a half late! Wahoo!

It was a relief to finally be there and also to be in such a reverent and beautiful place. The newly renovated Ogden Temple was breath-taking. I loved the art, the intricate chandeliers, and the etched glass dome in the Celestial Room. It was a wonderful ending youth conference experience for our small group of tired, bedraggled youth!

After the Ogden Temple House

We believe that these temples are the house of God and that they are sacred once they are dedicated. We make covenants with God within these temples and are so grateful for this relationship we have with God.

As Lee and I reflected on what had happened en route to the temple, we were reminded of how much Satan wants to keep us away from God. I'm grateful we persisted and didn't get discouraged despite all the roadblocks that were in our way.

The Ogden Temple will have its open house till September 6, 2014--you can reserve a time or go stand-by. As we found out, they won't turn anyone away!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Can you pick up what we're putting down?

We made a super fun video.

The question is: can you pick up what we're putting down?

Hee he!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Project Life 2014: Week 14

It's been a goofy, good, and gracious week.

Sunday, April 6: Birthday celebration! Hanging out with the family for General Conference and birthday time.

Light the candles!

Monday, April 7: Waiting for the bus on a bright sunny day. These are my favorite red shoes.

Red shoes are the best

Tuesday, April 8: Oh man, I love how sunny it's been lately. You can't even know how much it makes a difference.


Wednesday, April 9: Driving to work together. I love this time together every morning. It's filled with funny talk, the billygoat game, and selfies.


Thursday, April 10: Someone was nice enough to warn me and my fellow bus riders about a damp seat. People are so nice!

Don't sit here!

Friday, April 11: The tulips are appearing! Happy!

It's spring!

Saturday, April 12: I spent some time in the afternoon just hanging out in the garden. Double happy!

Happiness = tulips

We hope you have a great upcoming week, friends!