Today is Ibyang Day! 🙂

As a treat to myself, I took the day off from work, stayed home, read a good book and took a long nap. Right now I’m watching Australian Open on TV while I reply to greetings from loved ones. As a bonus, the Husband stayed home with me too (he was supposed to work but changed his mind this morning) and he made coffee for me…twice! 

To everyone who remembered and sent good thoughts my way, THANK YOU! I’m blessed and grateful you are part of my life. 

Without even asking, the universe had a way of gifting me with flowers on my birthday. On the way to brunch, we saw a garden full of colourful flowers in bloom. Thank you dear God. Thank you Universe. I welcome my new year of great possibilities with happy thoughts, a peaceful heart and an open mind. 
A Happy Ibyang Day!
An “Ibyang Day”. A phrase gifted to me by one of my dear friends Pen (thank you, love!). I’ve expressed my desire to family and friends to have a quiet celebration but somehow, they found a way to make me feel that my day is important. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by beautiful people who always make me feel well-loved. My family and friends are the world’s greatest gifts to me!

Here are a few snippets of my more-than-a-month-long birthday celebration:
Friends gifting me with a birthday cake a month before my birthday. The Rubber Duck visiting Sydney. Meeting Liz Gilbert and listening her talk at the Sydney Opera House. The Hubby granting me my wishes (a book and a bag). Receiving greetings from family and friends from around the world via phone, twitter, FB and IG. Birthday brunch at Coco Cubano. Attending mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Dinner with friends at Mizuya. Satur-date dinner with family on Australia Day.
To family and friends who remembered and celebrated Ibyang Day** with me, thank you very much! May you be blessed a thousand times with the positivity you wished me. 
** Ibyang Day is celebrated every 22nd of January.**
A day before we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, we were at the Sydney Opera House watching Liz Gilbert’s talk (I will write about it soon) . The Husband was a bit uncomfortable when we arrived at the concert hall because the attendees were mostly female but nevertheless he enjoyed it. At the end of the talk, Liz Gilbert came out to sign book and have a photograph with us. I have always been shy to ask for a photograph with a famous person but the Husband encouraged me to have a photo with Liz because he knew that it meant a lot to me. So I did get my photo with Liz and I glowed all the more with happiness.

If there is one thing I will tell you when it comes to finding your life partner is this: I hope you find someone who will do anything to make you glow with happiness. I hope you find someone who’ll willingly take a step back in order for you to shine. I hope you find someone who will see what you’re capable of and encourage you to grow. I have always said that love should always bring out the best in you. I’ve known my Husband for a total of 11 years now and what I said then about love is still true to me. When you’re loving each other the right way, you become the best person you are. 

After six years of being married, a few things have changed between the two of us, with how we view life and how we live life. But a lot of things remain unchanged: our values, our faith, the way we protect our little family, our friendship, the special people who make our married life more beautiful, the circumstances that makes us love each other more. If there are any changes in our lives, it is always a good change (if not better). We are grateful, always grateful. 
We had a quiet anniversary celebration in Sydney this year. Liz Gilbert’s talk is not really a “romantic” kind of date but since we’re out on the eve of our 6th anniversary, we made it special but having afternoon tea at Guylian Cafe. The Husband had coffee and I had a cup of hot chocolate.
Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
We had their Salted Caramel Macarons which wasn’t as good as other macarons.

Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
And shared a cake called Caramelt which was soooo good. It’s Hazelnut Mousse with caramel ganache and chocolate cacao sponge coating with caramelised Toffee. 

Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
After the talk, we had dinner at Searock Grill
Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
A refreshing glass of Mojito for me.
Our 6th Anniversary Celebration

The Husband had Steak Frites which consisted of juicy rump steak topped with Cafe de Paris butter and sidings of salad and pomme frites.

Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
On the other hand, I enjoyed a plate of Crispy Pork Belly drizzled in caramelised black vinegar. It came with green papaya salad and fried shallots.
Our 6th Anniversary Celebration
We loved our dinner even if we weren’t really prepared to eat out that night. The plan was to just to have a quiet dinner at home. But we changed our minds the last minute because of the party vibe in Circular Quay. The quiet and cozy ambience of Searock Grill lured us into their restaurant and we were lucky that they served good food.

The following day, the 20th January, our anniversary, was spent in church and then Yum Cha lunch right after. Another fortunate accident was being seated near the TV which played the Australian Open. We enjoyed the food and the game while talking.
After our hearty lunch, it was business as usual since it was a Sunday. We went around the shops for a bit and did grocery shopping.

Our non-fussed anniversary celebration–fun and relaxed, the way we want it to be.
We are not celebrating our wedding anniversary but today we honour the day we became a couple. 

We spent a few moments reading thru the scrapbooks I made from years ago and some blog entries during our previous monthsaries. I once shared how we got together (click story here) and the story will never grow old. We always find ourselves amused as we look back on all those memories and realize how much we’ve affected each other…how we still light up each other’s souls until now. 
Chris and Ivy (December 14, 2002)
Our first photo on that fateful 14th December 2002
Ten years (wow!). Such a great blessing to be in love and be the best of friends for a decade. We are truly grateful for everyday that has passed and look forward to more decades of togetherness.

Follow @ibyang

I couldn’t let January pass without having a (belated) birthday post. This month has been amazing.  I’ve always been glad that I celebrate my birthday on the first month of the year.  I feel like it’s an advantage that I start my year celebrating my birthday and then focus on the rest of my year making my dreams come true.

My word on my birthday is GRATEFUL.  It’s been my word for the past few months and I plan to make it my everyday word.  GRATEFUL is my word because when I say that word, it is actually my prayer of thanks to God.

I’m on my 35th year and even if I still have many things to do, I’m very grateful for every blessing that has been given to me, my family and friends.  I value every blessing, opportunity and circumstance that I’m able to witness in my life and my loved ones’ lives.

There were no plans for any birthday celebrations but it just happened.  We have two group of friends whom we regularly hang out with and somehow the stars aligned that I got to spend time with them two weekends before my birthday.

My lovable Tweethearts had an 80’s themed party on the first Saturday of the month.  It was a day filled with downing delicious home-cooked meals and singing our hearts out with the help of a Magic Sing microphone.  Birit kung birit!  It was so much fun singing and dancing to our favourite tunes (mostly) from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  We all went home with tummies full and hearts aglow from our get together.

Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012

Birthday 2012Birthday 2012

The following weekend,  I had dinner with my dearest Kolokoys at Phoenix Parramatta and savoured the best Chinese dishes ever created.  I shared the celebration with two of our fellow Kolokoys who were also January celebrants, Gary and little Bella.  The Kolokoys have a very special bond.  Throughout the years, we have grown together like a family and have witnessed each other’s milestones.  Compared to our past group dates, this birthday celebration with them was actually an impromptu celebration.  A few days before Saturday, an email was sent and even if it was short notice, they all came.  It was truly touching.

Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012
Birthday 2012
Two days before we left for Melbourne, we had a quiet dinner with my relatives.  I’m so grateful that even if we scheduled it in the middle of the week, they were able to join us.  Whether there’s an occasion or not, I love spending time with them.
Now the Melbourne trip, was yet another unplanned short vacation.  We were having breakfast one Sunday in December and decided to just go ahead with it.  We were actually set on staying in Sydney.  However, celebrating 2 big milestones (our 5th wedding anniversary and my 35th birthday), we had that big urge to get out of Sydney and be somewhere.

As mentioned in a previous post, our Melbourne trip was truly amazing: celebrating with friends, having gastronomical indulgences with the Husband, watching a game at Rod Laver Arena for the Australian Open and being able to see one of the best tennis players of history, Roger Federer, made my birthday more fantastic.
one of my birthday "cakes"
Grateful on my 35thGrateful on my 35th

Grateful on my 35th

Even if I was very quiet about my birthday at the office, the word got out and my workmates organized morning tea in honour of me.  
And just when I thought that all the celebrations were over, the Husband went home last night with one of my favourite sponge cakes in tow.  He made me wish and blow the candle on my cake as he sang “Happy Birthday” in Korean.  Yes, in Korean!!! haha.  How funny and sweet is that?  The Husband said he thought that we should celebrate my birthday before January finally ends.  
Grateful on my 35th
Grateful on my 35th Grateful on my 35th

Five celebrations with friends.  Five cakes. Four days in Melbourne.  One tennis match I will always remember.  Lots of gifts from family and friends.  Sweet and touching birthday greetings throughout the month.  The feeling that I’m loved and important to people whom I love too.  Eternally priceless. 


Follow ibyang on Twitter