Tag Archives: Friends

Happy Announcement to ATP readers :)

30 May

I usually don’t post very personal stuff on this blog, but I made an exception this time… Yes I’ve got some good news for you today. Yes, it’s been a long time coming, so it’s kind of “olds” instead of “news,” (HAHaha..) but we kind of had to make sure all our nearest and dearest were informed before I announced it here on ATP… Plus, there has been somewhat of a mad rush during the month of May to get everything squared away for both Austin’s and my medical school apps, so that contributed to the delay as well. Sufficient excuse for keeping this from all y’all? Uh can you guess what I’m about to tell you yet?

It’s true, Austin the boyfriend has been Austin the fiance for about one month now! I have been beyond excited that soon I will be ATB instead of ATP, and be able to spend the rest of my life right beside the man I love.

Moving on! For those of you who are interested in the story, keep on reading. :) You all remember when I returned from Ghana on Thursday April 26, and the San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale on Saturday April 28? Let’s just say that was an awesome weekend, and absolutely the best way to be welcomed back home. Here’s the much abbreviated story of the weekend…

Austin and my dear mom picked me up from the airport on Thursday, after I spend an uncomfortable 15 hours on two different flights, in a very non-stretchy Ghanaian dress. Every passing minute on those airplanes I got more and more anxious to be home, see my family, and snuggle into my honey’s hug. It felt amazing jumping into his arms at the baggage claim.

Pumped full of adrenaline, I felt barely a hint of jet lag, so the first thing I did was come home with them, eat my long-awaited SALAD. Austin and I then proceeded to get two half-gallons of ice cream at Vons, indulge, and then head over to his parents’ house for a welcome home dinner later in the evening. Ghana was and always will be tugging at my heart, but right then it felt so good to be back. It was a low-key, homey affair, but it was exactly what I needed. Little did I expect what was to come later on that weekend!

Friday was spent at Pat&Oscar’s for lunch (GREEK SALAD, WHOOO!), which apparently is changing its name again to O’s… Strange? Yes. Then Austin and I hopped in the car and drove up to Julian, a little country mountain town off Ramona in North San Diego. We were so full of salad, breadsticks, and pizza from lunch, but that didn’t stop us from wine tasting at The Blue Room Winery, sharing a grand chocolate bombe for dessert at the Candied Apple Pasty Company, picking up two pies at Mom’s, choosing licorice (his) and chocolates (mine) at a candy shop, and honey tasting. It was somewhat ridiculous how full we were as we strolled around window browsing! It was an amazing day; I love doing simple things like that with Austin. The evening was spent baking(which we all know is one of my favorite things to do) and packaging maple bacon cookies (recipe post coming up!) and orange chocolate tarts for the San Diego Food Blogger’s Bake Sale, which we participated in the next day.

With $3034, SD Food bloggers exceeded our fundraising goal of $2500 for Share Our Strength, a  charity dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the U.S.! Way to go, everyone! It was great to meet all the faces behind the blogs and get to know everyone a little better. I was so glad that Austin was there to support me… and take me out for some pad kee mao and Thai iced tea!

After the bake sale, we separated briefly before our special dinner date at The Marine Room in La Jolla. I serendipitously decided to paint my nails for the first time in months and get a haircut! My mom described my coif with the Vietnamese adjective that means “like a witch.” I thought it looked pretty good for having cut it myself in Ghana! I had no idea she was pushing me to trim my locks because of something very special coming up… :)

Austin picked me up, he looked studly, and we drove the scenic coastal-view route to La Jolla Shores in the twilight.

We were about 10 feet from the beach at our table, and started off with a Jameson neat (his) and a Kir Royale (mine). I think that combo is kind of hilarious. Apps were lobster bisque with enoki and a goat cheese brulee, entrees were sear scallops with carrot risotto and pork cheeks with black quinoa, and the desserts were trios of cordillera chocolate pots de creme, ginger gelato, and hibiscus lemon tarts. I put all of those down, because I know y’all would appreciate it, as food-lovin’ folks.

We had sat at our table for more than two hours, talking, savoring our meals, staring at the waves, and staring at each other as couples do after being separated for three long months. Finally, Austin told me that we should be getting to our beach walk, and then home quickly because his mom wanted to share her pie with us. He said we’d probably Redbox a movie and relax for the rest of the night. I sort of thought silently, “A movie, Austin? That’s kind of anti-climactic for such a romantic night,” but I was just so happy to be back with him again, it didn’t matter at all. I was unaware that it was all a decoy!

We continued the evening at La Jolla Shores beach, walking along the sand under a beautifully clear and star-studded night sky. It was a very special spot to us, because La Jolla Shores was the place Austin first asked me out when we were wee little 18-year-olds, recently graduated from high school and living a care-free summer before both heading off to Cal in the fall.

Austin took my hand, and was marching very quickly along the shore. I commented that it wasn’t as enjoyable as meandering leisurely along, and joked that he probably rented a dude dressed up in a Pooh Bear suit that was waiting for us (inside joke, hehe). He insisted it was because his mom wanted us to get back quickly so we could eat pie together. I almost suspected something, but brushed it off…

We got to the specific place on the stretch of beach where Austin and I sat and first talked about dating each other, and where we shared our first kiss. I was facing the ocean, with Austin behind me, holding me in his arms. He told me to look at the stars and close my eyes… Something was definitely getting fishy! Especially when he covered one of my eyes with his hand, and was doing something  mysterious with the other!

And then he told me to turn around. I was shocked to see a semi-circle of glowing paper luminaries, and the silhouettes of about fifteen of our family and friends standing behind each one. That first one’s a picture of them surreptitiously hiding from us in a stairwell! They were all there to witness and help celebrate what was about to happen next. At this point, I was definitely already bawling! Austin dropped to one knee and retrieved the ring from a lantern he had decorated with flowers. He asked me to marry him in the sweetest, most romantic words I could imagine, which will always remain a special secret between us, because to everyone else around the words were drowned out by the waves.

Of course, I jumped into his arms with a resounding yes. More bawling, more laughing, more hugging of everyone around. Austin even got our friends to come down from LA to be there, and I was absolutely touched. It was the most special thing to me that they were all there, showering us with their love and support. I have the best fiance in the world.

Amidst uncontrollable laughter from everyone, and a smile on my face that would not let my cheeks rest, we all got into cars and drove to Austin’s parents’ house, where a delicious spread and even more family friends were awaiting us. I was so covered with love, and it was just the happiest day of my life thus far. I was almost too overwhelmed to eat, and that never happens, that’s how excited I was! I just felt so blessed to be surrounded by the people I love, and to be looking forward to a lifetime of marriage with Austin.

A couple of my many “surrogate moms,” and two of our high school friends :)

It was a star-struck evening that I felt flew by just like Cinderella’s night at the ball. Except my prince would drive me home and leave me with a goodnight kiss to dream about as I fell asleep. Forgive me, I’m totally cheeseball-ing it up, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing here! I was in absolute joy, and still am a month later.

The next morning, I woke up and stared at my ring finger for about ten straight minutes in bed. Please, I know I’m not the only newly-engaged lady that did this! Then I headed over to Austin’s and from there we met up with our out-of-town friends for brunch in Del Mar at the Pacifica Breeze Cafe. It was a glorious morning, and I am so thankful to have such truly amazing friends. The rest of the day was spent calling our nearest and dearest. I could feel my dad beaming through the phone, because Austin had called and asked his permission beforehand. Some of our favorite reactions were: Austin’s old roommate dropping the phone and emitting audible shouts of joy, and our dear friend from church playing a bassoon for us over the phone. Haha! I told you our friends are awesome :)

For the past month, Austin and I have been at the AMCAS grindstone, prepping everything and researching the perfect medical schools. After submitting the primary application (very soon!), we’ll be able to start legit planning–booking venues and such. I am excited for marriage counseling at our church, and for this special season of heightened learning. I loved the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, and I am looking forward to the challenges as well as the blessings of this upcoming partnership. I know it’s going to be especially difficult for us if medical school works out, what with all the added stress, lack of sleep, and mountains of knowledge to absorb, but no matter what God presents us with, there is no one I’d rather live, grow, and love with than Austin.

-ATP

P.S. Next up on At The Patisserie, we’re turning back to FOOD! Two upcoming posts–Maple Bacon Cookies and Orange Chocolate Tarts from the San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale! Also, let me know if there are any readers out there that may like to hear more personal non-food-related posts on here from time to time. I know I said I usually don’t post stuff like that, but I may steer the blog in an additional direction if I can’t resist sharing a few wedding deets here with y’all :)

 

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies <3 Happy Birthday Tiffany!

6 Nov

Today is a special day! If you couldn’t already tell, today is my dear friend Tiffany’s birthday! For the occasion, I baked up some very simple but very delicious “mocha chocolate chip cookies,” which should be sitting on her kitchen counter right now, along with some other goodies, if USPS did what they were supposed to! :)

These cookies are basically a glorified chocolate chip cookie recipe, infused with a good helping of cocoa powder and a couple spoonfuls of instant espresso powder, a.k.a. a match made in HEAVEN. I made these for Tiff’s birthday because of our shared love of mochas, and the many times we indulged in these drinks over our college years together. In making these, I didn’t do much in the way of fancy techniques, intricate decorating, or innovative flavor additions–these morsels are just full of plain good old espresso and chocolate flavor.

That’s OK with me though. This post is mostly about how wonderfully awesome and fabulous my good friend Tiffany is. I am writing this post as a little addition to what couldn’t fit on her birthday card, because I know she’ll be reading this eventually. Right now, however, she’s out celebrating with friends and a fishbowl margarita while I study for the MCAT all by my lonesome. I’m totally not joking either, she even sent me a picture text of it all! Yeah Tiff, thanks for that. ;]

Anyway, I must warn you that this may get a little warm… a little fuzzy… maybe even a little (OK, A LOT!) mushy. So if you’re here purely for the cookie recipe, scroll to the bottom and enjoy the sugary goodness there. I don’t presume that y’all want to know every detail that follows (this is really for her). But if you’d like to stay a few minutes and hear about an example of a true friend, keep on reading. :)

HOMAGE COMMENCES: Tiffany and I met on the very first day of our sophomore year in college. We got all settled into the dorms, and wanting to get a head-start on meeting my floormates and being social, I (and a bunch of other people) ended up in Tiffany’s double, just shootin’ the breeze about our summers. I remember how excited I felt, because here was this girl speaking in such an earnest and passionate manner, and I could see right away how easy it would be to get to know her an be friends. What made it even better was that she was a pre-med just like me, and we were even enrolled in some of the same classes! On the other hand, Tiff was so darn beautiful and vivacious, and she seemed so pulled together and outgoing that I was a little intimidated. Little did I know that Tiffany would turn out to be one of the most down-to-earth, easy-going, fun-loving, hilarious girls I would ever meet.

Here we are at a splinting workshop!

Three years later, we’ve accumulated these (and many more) memories:

  • Me (sometimes futilely) knocking on her dorm room door, trying to wake her up for our 8am bio class
  • Subsequently staggering to class, and consistently being unable to resist the call of mochas and bagels from The Coffee Spot on campus
  • Then being faced with more than 6 chalkboards full of color-coded notes that were written by our professor before anyone even showed up in the lecture hall… and then furiously trying to copy them all down before he started talking.
  • Solidarity in pain and suffering after a physics final, which included a shared pint of haagen dazs and The First Wives Club dvd. Ballin’.
  • Tiffany introducing me to the Dance Fail, Can I Have Yo Numba? (best things evar), and Glee.
  • Our shared affinity for 80’s songs we’re embarrassed to admit we love (Don Henley’s Boys of Summer, George Michael’s Faith, to name a few). I have to text her whenever I hear these songs playing in my local Safeway.
  • Random crazy Irish men
  • AMSA national conference at the Disneyland Resort, churros, and karaoke
  • Being stuck in a tiny elevator with 12 people for 45 minutes, and then being broken out by firemen with axes (AMSA, again)
  • Basically every Monday and Thursday night for the past two years of our lives (AMSA, what else?)
  • Tiffany giving me the SUBLIME gift of Philz Coffee
  • Long study sessions at The Beanery coffee shop… and basically our entire obsession with coffee.
  • Talking about everything– friends, school, guys, faith, our goals, our families, fun we’d currently be planning…
  • Shopping, need I say more?
  • Dancing in SF!
  • By chance always wanting to do the exact same thing at the same moment. This girl is “down to hang,” as she puts it :)
  • Sharing the same heart for serving in the medical field
  • Being Toasts. ’nuff said.

Wow, I did not mean for that list to get so long, but what can I say–this girl is amazing! I know all these things may sound only fun and lighthearted… The truth is, we shared a ton of those awesome carefree memories, but most of the times our friendship is a little more serious–Tiffany is constantly inspiring me with her example to be the best that I can be, to never shrink from challenges, and to not be afraid to give all of myself for my beliefs, my passions, and my goals. She may be embarrassed if I reveal these things about her, but I am actually proud of her for them. She is such a hard worker, she never settles for the status quo, but always strives for something better. That’s the way she is–a woman with a clear vision, complete confidence, but also complete humility.

We're about to walk!

Even with her many accomplishments and her bright future, above all Tiff is a friend whom I can lean on. Throughout all my ramblings, problems, insecurities, she’s always the one to listen, encourage, and strengthen me in that calming, compassionate, realistic manner that she has. Even though we are individuals and may not share the same perspective all of the time, or even though we may disagree about something, my friend will always completely consider what I’m expressing because she values me. Of course, I also value her more than I could ever say. I am so thankful for this 3-year friendship, and am SO excited for the years that are to come.

Happy Birthday, Tiffany! YOU ROCK!

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Tiffany’s Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 30 4-inch cookies

2 c. All purpose flour
1/4 c. Cocoa powder
1 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Salt
1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted butter,
room temperature
3/4 c. Granulated sugar
3/4 c. Brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 tbsp. Espresso powder
2 Large eggs, room temperature
2 c. Semi-sweet cho
colate chips

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F
  2. Whisk/sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. With a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter till it is light and fluffy. Add the sugars and continue beating till fluffy, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the vanilla, and add the espresso powder. Beat the espresso powder into the wet ingredients until it is dissolved.
  5. With the electric mixer again, add the egg/espresso mixture in a steady stream to the creamed butter. Beat till smooth.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Turn off the electric mixer, and add in the chocolate chips with the rubber spatula.
  7. Place spheres of roughly 1.5-inches onto your baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake about 15 minutes. After baking, let the cookies sit on the sheet for about 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Package these up and send them to your best friend, birthday or not!
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