Long weekends equals BBQ gatherings

The three of us love BBQs.

Out of love and a need to compensate for the previous lack of opportunities while in NorCal, we take up any opportunity to participate in the SoCal BBQ culture. People in SoCal love to host BBQ gatherings on a nice summer day! Particularly on a long three-day weekend (like Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day), the fragrant scent of plump hot dogs and freshly formed burger patties on the grill pleasantly permeates the SoCal air.

This weekend, local friends hosted a BBQ gathering. The food spread was replete with meats: carne asada tacos, sausage hot dogs, jalapeno jack burgers. Guests brought a variety of delicious complementary eats such as Chinese chicken salad.

Tender Carne Asada for tacos.

The three of us contributed snacks and dessert. One such snack was Muddy Buddies, a summertime classic that for Denise conjures up childhood memories living in the South. It is also called Puppy Chow or Monkey Munch, and I bet you know which name I favor.

Betty Crocker’s tried and true Chex Muddy Buddies, with our slight procedural tweaks

Total time: less than the quoted 15 minutes


  • 9 cups Corn Chex
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter/margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Measure out Chex cereal and set aside in big mixing bowl.
  2. Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in saucepan over stove while mixing. Once melted, mix in vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture from 2. over cereal in 1. Gently stir/fold until cereal is evenly coated. Careful not to crush the buddies.
  4. Add powdered sugar, cover bowl and shake/mix until evenly coated.
  5. Spread everything out on wax paper or a large baking tray to cool.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  7. Enjoy alongside a battle of the sexes on Xbox Kinect.


I love you monkey fist pumping and powered up by Muddy Buddies.

While digging up the recipe for standard Muddy Buddies, we also found interesting variants: Orange Creamsicle, Cake Batter, or White Chocolate, anyone?

Wedding stationery: Save the date and don’t be late

There’s something about stationery* and printed goods that makes an event like a wedding suddenly feel very, very official.

Today, the mailman delivered our physical save the date postcards. Check out that deck!

Denise was in charge of designing these postcards whilst Patrick was designing and building their wedding website entirely from scratch.

She decided on a modern and simple color palette of grays to frame a favorite photo from their engagement session that was intended to capture a role reversed mix-up of Denise and Patrick’s personality types. The choice of two clean and complementary fonts conveys the minimal amount of critical information: Names, Date, Location, Website. This way the Save the Date postcard whets everyone’s excitement without revealing all the secret surprises to come. And believe a monkey when I say that there are good surprises in the horizon!

At the same time, the Save the Date directs all guests to the wedding website. Since the three of us have been putting a large team effort into the custom website, Denise and Patrick wanted it to be a focal point of the wedding and the primary source of information for everyone. The website contains more guest-friendly details such as travel details, time, attire, negotiated hotel rates, and the like.

At the same time, there is a plethora of great reading material about Denise and Patrick, their families, and their wedding party, all supplemented with images taken throughout the course of their five years of dating. You bet there are also some pictures of me in there.

And of course, the site is entirely geeky, otherwise it just wouldn’t be representative of us.

*Let me also share a pet peeve: when “stationery” is misspelled as “stationary” (grammar lesson #1). First of all, these two words are two different parts of speech: noun vs. adjective. Second of all, I associate misuse of “stationary” with a traumatic childhood experience that has to do with public shaming and an innocent mistake. But that’s a story for another time.

UCLA Anderson, here we all come!

The three of us have been sitting quiet for the past 1.5 years with our fingers, toes, and tongues all crossed. But we are going to be obnoxiously loud about the great news:

Denise found out at 3am that she got into UCLA Anderson to pursue her MBA!

It has been quite an application process for Denise. For starters, let’s envision GMAT prep and taking the exam twice in between a hospital stay and two rounds of surgery for a ruptured appendix.

Actually let’s not. Because the point today is that we are so joyously bathing in admissions paraphernalia, including a collector’s edition key-shaped USB drive.

Come August, we’ll be moving to LA!

Thankfully the move to the OC is still fresh in our minds, so I know exactly what Denise and Patrick will be (and I won’t be) doing!

Walking the hallways

We live in the quintessential Irvine home. Read: super suburbia.

Our condo is buried in a mid-rise complex interlaced with plenty of carpeted indoor hallways and excessive conveniences. Some of these excessive conveniences include ample visitor parking spots, 24-hour security that actually patrols the complex, evening yoga classes, and your typical amenities of gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, upgraded BBQs and sunbathing lounge chair.

But today I am here to tell you that a little creativity goes a long way and a long hallway.

Patrick quantified at least 4 miles worth of hallways in our 400-condo complex. Denise then came up with a weekday-friendly exercise regimen called Walk the Halls! Everyday after dinner, the three of us will walk 1.5 miles worth of hallways.

Among the many perks:

  • No travel-time to exercise location required.
  • Exercise in the safe confines of a gated complex.
  • Effective. 15 minutes a day, everyday.
  • Platform for a post-dinner and after-work conversation time.