Twenty-four bears no resemblance to 21 (spent on hovered over the toilet with a mean hangover) or even 22 (spent dancing at a club to hip-hop music). Twenty-three was a glimpse of quieter birthdays — filling my 4-month-old growing fetus with Thai food, cake, and sparkling juice while watching movies on my laptop in my pajamas. Boy, does time really change things up.

Today, I force myself to reflect while drinking a cold cup of coffee before naptime ends and my day is spent trying to keep my daughter from sticking her fingers in outlets. Life is drastically different, and I feel mildly selfish taking a moment to think about, dare even celebrate, myself. This birthday feels particularly funny because I am having an incredibly difficult time accepting that I’m expected to feel special. Going from being a single person trekking the world on your own accord to caring for a small family changes your perspective on life. As I write this, it’s 10:30pm on a Friday evening and I distinctly remember that 2 years ago, this was the time I’d walk over to a local bar and begin the night. I loved it. But life is different now. As I try and find suitable words of summation, I am winding down to cuddle with my 8-month-old daughter as we fall asleep together. And I love it.  

At the end of my birthday, I blew out a candle, and I forgot to make a wish because I couldn’t think of any single wish that would make me more satisfied than I am right now. I’m healthy, and so is my family. We have some not-so-good days, but mostly great days. And my family, by extension, has grown tremendously. And so has my capacity to appreciate and love others. And in my opinion, I couldn’t imagine 24 looking or feeling better. 


Free L.A.: Echo Park Lake

I was weaving through semi-congested streets the other night trying to make it to a Dodgers game (I know, I’m the worst) and I stumbled a upon a springing fount bursting in the middle of urban sprawl, much like an oasis. Had I not been trying frantically to get to the game before the 3rd inning, I would have parked the car and laid in the grass to soak in the twilight against the Los Angeles skyline. Needless to say, we got to the game in one piece (the Dodgers lost, yay!) and decided to revisit the park the following weekend.
Echo Park Lake is nestled in the center of Los Angeles. It’s a little rough around the edges, but still relatively safe. For those who hail from the SF Bay Area, it is akin to our dear Dolores Park, where you find hipsters, (yea, I used the “H” word) families, hipster families, and other creatures sprawled out on soft grass enjoying people-watching and a cool breeze. There’s a playground for restless kiddies, paddle boats you can rent if you’re trying to woo someone, and even a guy who lets people ride on his two ponies. No joke. All this with a view of downtown L.A.’s skyline.

Jojo is slowly learning how to crawl and occasionally sneaks out of our eyesight. While Chris and I were invested in our mobile devices, Jojo creeped off and had her first taste of dirt at Echo Park Lake. From the look on her face, Echo Park dirt tastes pretty good.

Tips: To get here, type in “Echo Park Lake” in your GPS – emphasis on the lake – otherwise you’ll be driving around the Echo Park neighborhood aimlessly. 

Also, bring a few dollars in case you get peckish – there are vendors who sell yummy goods like ice cream and freshly made pupusas!

Here are other free things to do in L.A.: Go to Playa del Rey beach, Check out the LACMA on Free Museum Day