Tag Archives: birthday

My 31st birthday

My 31st birthday was a week and a half ago, and it was pretty great! My birthday landed on a Monday, so I planned a birthday dinner at Gen Korean BBQ with some friends for the Saturday before my birthday. Here’s Antonio, Kaleigh, Anela, gem, Edward, and me after enjoying delicious KBBQ.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Before dinner, I saw Little Shop of Horrors performed live at Musical Theatre Village in Irvine with gem and Anela. I’m so glad gem found out about the show. I love the movie and had never seen it live. It was awesome! I loved the puppeteering of the Audrey II, and the actors performing both Seymour and Audrey were wonderful.

gem gave me these taco / dinosaur socks, which are perfect for Taco Tuesdays.

The Hursts had me over for dinner on Sunday. Look how big Meredith is getting! She’s adorable.

Henley picked out this delicious carrot cake for me. He informed me that the carrot on top was made out of frosting and that I had to share the cake if I wanted it. He also told me that I could lick the frosting off the candles, but I let him do that too. That kid’s one wonderful little person.

The following weekend, gem took me on a surprise trip. I knew she had something planned, but I didn’t know what. We went to Lions, Tigers & Bear, a sanctuary near San Diego. It was amazing!

I fed a bear! Yes! Seriously! This is Albert, a wonderful and gentle boy who loved his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yep, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! What an awesome experience. We got a tour of the sanctuary and each of us had a ticket to feed one animal. gem and I both chose this beautiful grizzly bear!

The animals here are never bred and are never touched by humans unless under sedation. Guests feed them by using long tools so that they don’t get too close. The cats would all jump at the food, but Albert just lazily took the food. I love him!

Here are two of the sanctuary’s lions. The lion in the foreground was pretty aggressive. He really wanted all of his dinner at once and didn’t like how long it was taking. You should have seen him tear into his turkey leg.

This is Maverick, the tiger formally owned by Tyga the rapper. He was pretty awesome and definitely jumped for his pieces of meat! There was another tiger that was pretty crazy. He was super aggressive and would surely have torn us to pieces given the chance.

This gorgeous white tiger was cleaning himself just like a house cat.

This spotted leopard was willing to climb for his lunch. We also saw bobcats, a chicken, some peacocks, and Tom, a house cat who likes to wander around the premises. It was such an awesome experience.

Now, I know I already mentioned this, but I have to say it again…

I fed a bear! I fed Albert the grizzly bear! Look how cute he is! Thank you, gem, for the wonderful trip. And thanks too all my friends who helped celebrate or wished me a happy birthday! 🙂

My 30th birthday (over a month ago)


My birthday was really amazing this year. I wasn’t feeling so happy with things around that time, but the day was so perfect and I felt so loved that it lifted my spirits immensely. I couldn’t have imagined a better day.

my birthday, henley

My plans were in the afternoon, leaving my morning free. It just so happened that Henley was playing at a park in Irvine with Alex and Darnell that morning, so things worked out perfectly. I met them at the park and had a great time. Henley was so excited to see me and is absolutely adorable. I played with him for a while, and when Darnell said I had to leave, he threw a little bit of a fit. He also wished me a happy birthday and even sang. <3

my birthday

In the afternoon, I headed to gem’s where gem, Anela, Edward, Antonio, and Kaleigh celebrated with me. And by celebrate, I mostly mean eat!

I think a collage tells the food story better than individual photographs. Let’s go clockwise. On the top-left is a strawberry shortcake mochi. Yep, that’s a piece of strawberry shortcake wrapped inside mochi. Delicious! Everything in the top-right was brought by Anela as well. Two kinds of cookies and two different kinds of pastries! Below that one is mango-jalapeño salsa I made and some pastries Antonio and Kaleigh brought from Porto’s that were delicious. Below that one is fondue! gem was the mastermind there, but she enlisted the help of some others too. We ate it with a variety of things, but I’m using a slice of apple in the photo. The bottom-right is a bacon-wrapped hot dog. The bottom-left corner shows three big desserts. gem bought the two pies – cherry and apple, and Antonio and Kaleigh brought the great tres leches cake. Lastly, the photo above that was taken before we realized the grill wasn’t working. I moved the hot dogs into the oven.

my 30th birthday

Look how beautiful that dessert plate is! gem even supplied some homemade ice cream. How many calories is on this plate alone? I don’t want to know.


After eating, we played some games. gem had been raving about Spyfall, so we tried that. It’s a party game in which everybody gets a card with a location listed (such as “Sesame Street” or “Pink Paradise Stripper Bar,” both locations used when we played) except one player gets one that just says “spy.” Players take turns asking each other questions related to the location, forcing the spy to have to try to answer without actually knowing the location. It was a lot of fun! We also all made a level together in Super Mario Maker – Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash. I wrote about it on Polygons and Pixels, and you can find it by using ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

It was great to kick off my 30’s with close friends and a ton of desserts – my favorite things. Really, I’m just glad to be surrounded by so many loving, wonderful people. Thanks for making me feel special and being so special yourselves!

The last day of gem’s twenties

gem's birthday

Last month we celebrated the gem’s birthday by celebrating the last day of her twenties! She wanted to do something that reminded her of her twenties (although we modified for out appropriate ages).

gem's birthday

We started with Jell-O shots! But as it was a work night, we started early… and used champagne. gem gave me the calorie count too, because that’s what’s important now, haha.


Dave & Buster’s was the perfect location for the celebration. We started with dinner (after snacking at her place). When gem couldn’t decide on a dessert, Edward and I insisted on ordering two.

gem's birthday

Squeezing into a photo booth, we did our best to all get in the frame. The birthday girl’s best wasn’t good enough. You’ll notice she’s the only one not visible in any of the photos.

gem's birthday

Round two was better. Now we can see gem! We’re a really gorgeous bunch.

gem's birthday

gem played some Kung Fu Pando Dojo Mojo by following along with Po and punching the sensors. She was a lot better than I was! We also played a few rounds of air hockey, some trivia, and my favorite – Pac-Man Battle Royale.

I think Anela’s ready to play professional football after this. She seemed to get into it! I played a game with Anela that involved hitting lit up sensors faster than your opponent that was pretty fun. gem and I also played a DDR knock-off. I didn’t catch the names of any of those games. Edit: Thanks, YouTube! It’s called Gridiron Blitz!

gem's birthday

After D&B’s, we headed back to gem’s to eat some macarons. We split them five ways, hence them looking all cup up and ugly here.

gem's birthday

It’s not a birthday without “Happy Birthday” hats! Most of us even sat up for the photo…

gem's birthday

Even some of gem’s stuffed friends joined in the celebration by wearing hats.

gem's birthday

Speaking of hats, my gift to gem involved hats in a way. These are characters from Jon Klassen’s “I Want My Hat Back.”

Okay, this is embarrassing. “I Want My Hat Back” is a children’s book that gem and I both like. I already had voices for every character, so performing it as a stick puppet was the next logical step. You should support Klassen by purchasing it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

It seems to me that gem ended her twenties with a pretty terrific night.

Turning 30


Today’s my 30th birthday, and I’m posting this just before my birthday ends.

I’ll post about my birthday weekend more in the future, but for now, I just want to say that I’m extremely fortunate to be surrounded by so many loving, wonderful people. I’m a lucky man.

Dinner at The Playground for Edward’s birthday

The Playground

Last night I had dinner at The Playground in Santa Ana to celebrate Edward’s birthday. I’d heard great things about the restaurant, so I was pretty excited. I’ve been trying to save money, and I also heard it was expensive, so I was hoping it’d be worth it. But how could I say no to birthday meal with one of my closest friends?

The Playground

Jan Enters The Arena With A Steam Bun Challenge 8 to be a judge / 4ea tried & true. pork belly steam bun, forever unchanged.

Everything’s meant to be shared, and you can order in waves. The first thing we tried as the “Jan Enters The Arena With A Steam Bun Challenge 8 to be a judge / 4ea tried & true. pork belly steam bun, forever unchanged.” Yep, that’s the whole. I feel like it’s worth including the full detail from the menu here. The Playground has a menu that changes daily, but the pork belly steam bun is a staple that’s permanent. Jan, one of the chefs, wants to change it up. You can order the original or you can pay more to be a judge – you get one original and one of Jan’s new ones, but you have to provide feedback. We got two orders of judege orders and shared so we could all try it. The classic has guacamole and radish (so not exactly what you’d normally expect anyways) whie the new one Vietnamese-inspired with spicy… something… I can’t remember or tell from the picture now… and cilantro. I can think of a few close friends who wouldn’t like that, but all four of us agreed – Jan’s new dish wins! It was delicious!

The Playground

Grilled & Chilled Wagyu Picanha Salad, Butter Lettuce, Yuzu & Seka Hills Olive Oil Dressing, Compressed Persimmons, Blood Orange, Cilantro, Radish

Next up was this salad. What are these words I don’t know? Wagyu are a variety of cattle breeds, including Kobe, known for high quality beef. Obviously. And picanha is a popular Brazilian beef cut. Honestly, the salad was one of the my least favorite items on the menu, but that’s mostly because of how awesome other things were.

The Playground

Brussels Sprouts Caesar, Jalapeño Dressing, Cotija, Tortilla, Cornbread Crumble, Radish

Holy crap. I think this was the best thing I tasted all night. Can I figure out how to make this? Maybe? It was amazing. I’m going to try to reverse-engineer this.

The Playground

Pan Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Goat Cheese Cream, Fried Acorn Squash, Hazelnuts, Dried Cranberry, Crispy Sage

This was pretty tasty, but it paled in comparison to the amazing Brussels sprouts.

The Playground

Maple Glazed Pork Chop

The pork chop came out next. Just look at that thing! They recommend you only order it if you have four people. gem carved it up for us, and man, was it good. That maple glaze was dripping with deliciousness, and I was sure to swirl each bite around in the glaze left at the bottom of the plate.

The Playground

Brunette Downs Grass Fed Braised Beef Cheek, Brown Butter Toasted Farro, Kabocha Squash Puree, Shaved Apple, Pecan, Rocket, Jus

I didn’t realize how amazing beef cheek was. The beef just fell apart in my mouth and practically dissolved. Poor Edward was getting full at this point, but I devoured it.

The Playground

Passion Fruit & Guava Sorbet

Honestly? Kind of meh. But it worked well as a palate cleanser between dishes.

The Playground

Hazelnut Cake, Orange Blossom Tea, Toasted Coconut, Pineapple Ice Cream

This was the dessert I really wanted, and I’m glad we ordered it. It was tasty, but it wasn’t the dessert winner in my opinion. That honor went to…

The Playground

Black Mission Fig Sticky Toffee Pudding

…the toffee pudding! Amazing. Can I cover it in Brussels sprouts and stuff it with pork chop and beef cheek? No, that wouldn’t be a good idea? I guess that’s why I’m not a chef.

This might have been one of the best meals I’ve ever had. In addition, the service was great, and the staff was very friendly. So, maybe I didn’t a great job saving money and not eating out, but it was certainly an awesome meal.

The Playground with Carrie

As an added bonus, here’s a photo of me and Carrie! You’d think there’d be one of me and Edward since it was his birthday. There is actually, but it wasn’t on my phone, so Carrie wins. Thanks for the fun meal everyone!

Me and Edward

Edit: Carrie gave me this great photo of Edward and me!

Henley’s second birthday party

Henley's second birthday party

This weekend was Henley’s second birthday party! He’s getting so big!

Henley's second birthday party

It was at Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney. I was very full by the end! It was great catching up with Alex, Darnell, Gracie, Jon, Daniel, and Mike. Mike even gave me lots of useful vacation information!

Henley's second birthday party

Henley seemed to like his cupcake from Hapa Cupcakes. He has a much better understanding of desserts than he did last year.

Henley's second birthday party

Grandpa got him a matching shirt.

IMG_359Henley's second birthday party0

Dad seemed to like opening gifts as much as Henley did.

Henley's second birthday party

I bought Henley this Disney train with mat, and he seemed to have a lot of fun with it. Watching him made my heart melt.

Here’s a short video of the day. If I have a child have as awesome as Henley, I’ll be a lucky man.

Birthdays, Long Beach Sand Sculpture Festival, and games

This weekend was fun for a couple reasons. First, there was a party for Duncan and Matt’s birthdays. We had dinner, socialized, and played some games.

Reese's s'more

This is probably the only photo worth sharing. Yep, that’s a s’more with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and giant marshmallow.

Picnic in Long Beach

This weekend was also the Long Beach Sand Sculpture Music & Art Festival. It was so much fun! I probably would have had the same amount of fun even if the festival wasn’t there and we just went to the beach haha.

Picnic in Long Beach

We had a tasty meal of Korean BBQ burritos from Seoulmate in the park before heading down to the beach. I used one of those giant, human-sized hamster balls and slammed into people. I don’t have any photos yet because they weren’t on my phone. It was fun, but it was hot. So hot. I also jammed my thumb back while inside, and it was aching all day (and more). It’s getting better though! When I got out, I was feeling dizzy from the heat and dehydration. We got some water and then went into the ocean to cool off.

There were lots of cool dogs to watch as well as the sand sculptures themselves of course. I brought my DSLR out for the first time, and Luke helped me a ton. It was a hand-me-down, and I didn’t have the manual nor did I know much about it. I might not have the skill, but at least Luke explained what most things mean. I feel much better about using it now!

We also visited a skateboard stand. Anela and gem got skateboarding lessons! They didn’t care about the guys.

Oh, and I played with hula-hoops! It was super fun actually!

I also got to playtest Joe’s new super hero board game. It’s pretty amazing. He’s really talented in a lot of different, creative ways. I’d share photos, but I wouldn’t want to leak an unreleased game. 🙂

Elliott’s first birthday

Elliott's First BirthdayYesterday was Elliott’s first birthday party. Thanks for inviting me, Sayaka and Anthony! I know I had a great time, and it looked like he did too!

Elliott's first birthday

Elliott seemed to really enjoy his yellow cup. It was the first time I’d met him, and he’s super adorable.

Elliott's first birthday

The food was amazing – lechon, salad, hummus, bruschetta, pancit, cupcakes, pork buns, ice cream, and more. I was nice and full after my first plate, and then I ate a few more. They even let guests pack up food to go!

Elliott's first birthday

gem and Elliott had a good time playing with the balloons.

Elliott's first birthday

Elliott was so smart when he received this envelope. He fooled around with it until he realized it opened and then promptly went about getting the card out. Once he had it, he tried to give it to gem and me. Sayaka says he loves to share.

When they were trying to get him to eat/destroy his cake, Sayaka dipped her finger in the cake and offered it to him. It looked like he was starting to understand, and he dipped his finger in the cake. And then he offered it to Sayaka and Anthony. Such a good sharer!Elliott's First Birthday

Some adults played some weird pickle/slinky hybrid game. I don’t know.

And best of all, we went in the bounce house!

What an awesome party. Happy birthday, Elliott!

My 29th birthday weekend!

Snapchat banana gunsI had a super awesome 29th birthday weekend! My birthday was Friday, and I worked from home. After work, I took Alice’s yoga class, which was really great. Anela was covering someone’s shift, so I got to see her while I was there too. After yoga, I met with gem for dinner. She gave me these guns that might or might not have been bananas. She’s good at Snapchat edits.

29th birthday!

We went to Sake 2 Me and ate way too much sushi.

29th birthday!

I don’t remember exactly what the one on the left is called, but it has fried onions on top and is tasty. The one on the right is the Green Goblin. It’s amazing; sorry people who don’t like cilantro!

29th birthday!

For dessert, I got a cherry pie from Polly’s Pies. gem lit this candle for me and sang to me!

29th birthday!



On Saturday, gem and I had lunch with our friends Matt and Katie. They were in town from the Bay area to go to Disneyland! We ate at the Anaheim Packing House. I forgot to get a picture of us, but I did get a picture of the crepe we split. I guess we know my priorities 🙁


Later that night, Jonathan came to the house. He joined me and the other roommates in a game of Power Grid. It was pretty fun!

29th birthday weekend!

Sunday was a day for Huntington Beach! This mailbox looked pretty cool.

29th birthday weekend!

Looks beautiful, huh? It was actually pretty chilly and overcast most of the day, but it was still fun.

29th birthday weekend!

Anela and Edward ended up meeting gem and me there. We had some tacos at Sancho’s Tacos. They pretty much make the best tacos ever.

29th birthday weekend!

I also tried their nachos for the first time. The nachos were good, but I still wouldn’t dare order something without getting the O.G. tacos.

29th birthday weekend

After we finished eating, we decided to go to a restaurant and get more food. Don’t worry, it makes perfect sense. This was some sort of tangerine ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie from Zimzala.

29th birthday weekend

And ganache! So rich!

I tried an apple blossom cocktail with apple brandy, apple juice, lemon, and cinnamon syrup; a cucumber cooler cocktail with Grey Goose pear vodka, agave, cucumber, lime, and soda; and tequila shots. The apple blossom was good, and the tequila shot was surprisingly smooth, but the cucumber cooler was absolutely delicious and quite refreshing and crisp!

The main reason I wanted to go Sunday instead of Saturday was because Danny Maika performs on Sunday. I requested some Sublime.

gem asked for some ukulele music. It’s no surprise that this was one of the songs he played!

gem also asked him to sing me “Happy Birthday!” Yay, thanks gem and Danny!

29th birthday weekend

There was a Connect Four board out, so we had to play some games. Edward had left by this time, but the three of us had fun playing. Anela is better than gem or me!

The Shorebreak Hotel also had these neat little fires outside. gem noticed they look like sunflowers!

On the way back to our cars, we also two cats. One didn’t want to hang out with us, but one was super friendly. We got to pet him a bunch!Danny Maika

From left to right, here’s Anela, gem, Danny, and myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to get a photo until after Edward left. It was a rad day and a super fun weekend! Thanks to everyone that made it great!