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Posted on Aug 12, 2013 in Blogging | 4 comments

Tea Ceremony, Part II

Hey strangers,

So as some of you might remember, I’ve spent the past 30 days on the road and back again, literally. After my legendary trip to Ireland, I was back in town for a mere 4 days before flying down to Houston for my grandmother’s 83rd birthday. (This was a precursor to the giant family reunion for my Dad’s side that we attended in Oregon afterwards.)

Since my grandmother is not able to travel, my brother and his wife also did another traditional tea ceremony, just like the one that was performed at their rehearsal dinner back in May.


My aunt and uncle weren’t able to attend the wedding either, so they were also tea-ceremonied. And since I guess it’s Chinese tradition to serve tea to ALL your elders — even if you’ve already done it for them — my parents got a second turn! πŸ™‚


It’s tradition for the bride and groom to be given a gift from their elders, and I guess in particular it’s very common for the bride to be given jewelry. Which, all I can say is, I can’t WAIT for my own wedding tea ceremony if it means I get bangin’ jewelry like Tay did!

I played the role of photographer for the day, of course, so I’m actually only in one of the pictures. And, in true fashion, it’s the photo with food, hahaha.

A dim sum feast!

So there you go: Just one half of my SUPERDUPER family-filled week! Hopefully by next time, the photos from Oregon will be edited and you guys can see the white side of my fam, hahahaha.

Tally-ho!

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Posted on May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Ben & Taylor Wedding Preview

I was going to do a little mini-recap of the wedding now that Ben and Taylor’s photographer has posted some photos on her blog, but I decided it would probably be best if you guys just headed over there to see the beautiful pictures! I’m definitely still planning on recapping my big brother’s most special day (there may or may not be some videos of me performing involved…) but for now, check out Kate Ignatowsky’s post!

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Posted on May 16, 2013 in Dear Diary, Food | 7 comments

Ben & Taylor’s Rehearsal Dinner

Or, that time my family went all MEGA CHINESE on everyone, and also we ate an entire pig.

I kinda like that second title better, don’t you?

So a LOT OF STUFF WENT DOWN this past weekend! And though I wish I could jump straight into recapping my brother’s (and new sister-in-law’s) wedding, alas, I have only a handful of meager Instagram photos from the actual event. And since I want to do the entire thing justice (since, seriously, it was SO amazing you guys. And you know how seriously I take weddings, so don’t think I say that lightly, haha), I think I’ll wait ’til I at least get some teaser shots back from the wedding photographer. (I was a bridesmaid, which is why I didn’t take any actual photos of my own.)

However, I *did* get to play photographer (or, more specifically, was commanded–very nicely!–by my mother) at the rehearsal dinner, which was an affair all its own.

For my sister’s wedding back in 2008, and now Ben’s wedding, my family has participated in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony as part of the rehearsal dinner festivities. This is a Chinese custom where the couple to be married offer tea to all their elders, who then give the couple hong bao (red packets) with money, as well as their well-wishes/advice for their impending marriage.

I do actually think it’s a really cool and special tradition, and hope that I get to participate in one when my day comes too (though I don’t think that’s really in jeopardy — my mom would never allow me NOT to, I’m pretty sure). So my dad helped explain what was a-goin’ on to the guests who were less well-versed in Chinese customs, and then they got to it! First my parents…

Then Taylor’s mom and pops…

And her grandparents…


My (last remaining) grandmother isn’t able to travel, so in July, the newlyweds, my parents, and I will be heading down to Houston to perform the tea ceremony for her there.

But that isn’t to say that the Ho Family wasn’t well-represented at the blessed event! In fact, almost all of my aunts and uncles, as well as all of Taylor’s extended family, were present at the rehearsal dinner. So Ben and Tay did the tea ceremony with them as well. I’m sure you guys don’t particularly care to see those pics though (they’re really just a lot more of the same), so I’ll skip right ahead to this one:

See? I told you we ate a whole pig. They served it Peking-style, with the pork replacing what would traditionally be duck (and we would’ve had to have A LOT of ducks to feed that many people, so in the end I think it was a good choice. Sandwiched into a pancake with some hoisin sauce and spring onion, you could barely even tell the difference! Even the more squeamish of guests really seemed to enjoy the “pork tacos” (as they referred to them, haha) once they got over the whole, y’know, head thing.

And in case you were wondering, there was a ton of other food, too, of course! Noodles and shrimp fried rice and spring rolls… It was a real Chinese banquet! Other than the random lasagna that they had as a vegetarian option, that is. That dish was not so much, hahahaha.

But just in case the other pictures of food weren’t enough to help transition away from the fact that there was an ENTIRE PIG SERVED AT THE REHEARSAL DINNER (clearly I’m not really even over it yet), I have something else for you:

Yes, my perfect little niece Mia was there too, looking cute as all get out in her ladybug outfit. I almost hate that I’m so obsessed with my niece now. I swore I wouldn’t be that guy! Oh wel, whatcha gonna do? It’s not MY fault she’s so cute — blame my sister and her hubster for that (though a lot of my aunts do say that she looks a lot like me! Heeeeee!)

Mia was actually on pretty amazing behavior for a not-quite-8-weeks-old baby, both during the rehearsal dinner AND during the wedding! Except when I started taking pictures with the flash. That she did not like so much.

Hahahahahaaaaaahaha.


Can you believe *I’m* the baby of the family? From smallest to tallest…

So yes! The entire event was really nice, and very special for both families, I think. I loved that Tay’s family seemed to really embrace it all–just like my sister’s husband’s family did when they all experienced it!

Taylor’s mom even wore a cheongsam–the traditional Chinese dress that she and Taylor are wearing. Fun fact: the red dress Taylor is wearing is actually my mother’s wedding dress!

Well, one of her wedding dresses, at any rate. (During a Chinese wedding, the bride actually changes outfits like four times, hahaha.)



It was a really special way to kick Ben and Taylor’s final day of non-wedded life. Their final, super duper Asian day, hahahaha. πŸ™‚


Gan bei!

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Posted on May 7, 2013 in Blogging, Dear Diary | 5 comments

Hello Stranger

Oh, hey there.

This is awkward.

Cause, y’know, I haven’t really been around lately.

Sorry about that.

Well, not really sorry, per se, since you probably already know my stance on bloggers apologizing for not blogging. I mean, I do know that it’s not like your lives have stopped just because I haven’t been recording mine lately, I really do! Although, let’s be honest, sometimes I like to think I have that kind of affect anyway, just for sake of my ego (it’s quite large, you know).

Anyway, hi. I know that my blog updates as of late have been rather few and far between, but don’t think for one second it’s because I’m phasing blogging out of my life or any such ridiculous nonsense like that. This blog isn’t stopping — I’m far too much of an attention-whore to ever let THAT happen — I’m just taking a little breather. A bit of a break. Because, in all honesty, I know most people don’t think that blogging takes up much time, but it can be really time-consuming. Taking and editing photos, threading words together coherently enough to create a legible post… sure, it ain’t rocket science, but it’s not as wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am as some might think either. And sometimes, rare though these occasions might be, there’s just a bit too much going on in my life for me to actually take the time to stop and write about it.

Life is INDEED happening, and I am so, so, so, so excited to update you on those things soon. There are definitely exciting things in the works, first and foremost being that my big brother is getting MARRIED this weekend!

Take what you know about how much I love weddings, and then add that to how much I love my brother, and you might start to get an idea for how ridonkulously excited I am about this weekend.

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PLUS my perfect niece (and soon to be goddaughter – squee!) Mia is coming back up with my sister and her hubs for the wedding AND for her baptism the following day (on Jenny’s first Mother’s Day! D’awwww…)

Also, in posting both of those pictures above, I’m suddenly made aware of how lucky I am to be able to photograph so many beautifl family moments — Ben and Tay’s engagement shoot in St. Maarten, Mia’s newborn shoot, and I’ll be playing the triple roll of bridesmaid, sister, and photographer at the rehearsal dinner on Friday! Admittedly, I originally got into photography mostly because of this blog — I really just wanted to take nice pictures of my food, and it helped that Ben is a photog so he could help me out. But it has turned out to be so incredibly rewarding.

…Whew! I wasn’t quite expecting to get so sappy this morning! I think that’s quite enough cheesiness for today. Anyway, the bottom line is that I just wanted to let you know I’m still here, and will be back with more regularity soon, I’m sure. In the meantime though, I’m going to keep enjoying some of that life I’ve been living. πŸ˜‰

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Posted on Mar 21, 2013 in Dear Diary | 34 comments

Squeeeee!

So remember how yesterday I said that I had nothing exciting to report? Well, that may have been true at the time, but little did I know that as I typed those very words…

…my sister was going into LABOR!!!!!

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Say hello to my perfect niece, Amelia Alice Robinson. Born 7 pounds, 13 ounces, on March 20th, 2013.

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Mia, for short!

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I can honestly say that’s it is SO true what they say, I feel so differently about this baby, knowing she’s part of my family. I mean, I’ve always liked babies. You know, I think they are cute and I really like being able to follow my friends’ adventures in parenthood on Facebook and whatnot. But I’ve never really been one to have baby fever, or go head over heels over for other peoples’ kids. I like them, but I don’t loooooove them. I CAN say, though, that the very second I saw Mia’s picture, it felt like my heart just swallowed her up. Here I was, worrying about all the changes that are happening to our family dynamic, and now I can’t even imagine what things would be like without her here. I LOVE her, and I haven’t even met her yet!

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Seriously, you can ask Sean. He can verify that there was Kristen Bell vs. The Sloth level of happy crying.

Jenny and baby (and grandma, hehe) are all doing great. I already love her so much, and I am seriously chomping at the bit to head to Houston.

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My dad and I (and Daxter, hehe) leave to start the drive down tomorrow. I’ll be in Texas for the week, and then flying back next weekend. I can’t wait!!

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