Courtney’s 2021

It’s typical on New Year’s to write a post reflecting on the past year. Although I have been mulling over all the thoughts and feelings on 2021 as a whole, I am opting to keep those thoughts internal for now, and I’m more motivated to document some of my personal experiences in this year-end review post. Read on for a bulleted list!


  • Went to the emergency room for what ended up being diagnosed as my first stomach ulcer. The cause seems to had been a perfect storm of naproxen (for back pain), triggering foods, and the stress from the January 6 insurrection.
  • Celebrated one year with our sweet kittens.


  • Hunkered down for the first winter storm of the year (10 inches of snow, if my memory serves me).
  • Made the decision to sell our house of seven years, the first house we’d ever purchased!
  • Spent a lot of the month sorting through and purging a lot of the belongings we’d accumulated over the past seven years.  Started moving out of our home gradually.


  • Completely emptied our house and did a bunch of painting and prepping for staging.
  • During the moving process, I injured my back so horribly that I could not get out of bed. Full recovery took a couple weeks, which unfortunately made me a bit slow with our prep for selling. I am endlessly thankful to Robert for balancing out moving, house selling tasks, and taking care of me through all this. <3


  • Staged and listed our house, and quickly received multiple offers!
  • Accepted an offer and the house welcomed its new owners by month’s end.
  • Signed off of work for three months as I started my three month sabbatical!
  • Got my first vaccine dose on the first full day of my sabbatical.


  • Started a daily habit of going for wandering walks and sitting in parks.
  • Got my second vaccine dose!
  • Got my hair professionally cut (with the return of the undercut!) and colored for the first time since
  • Voted in the special election.
  • Subscribed to MasterClass and started learning new things.
  • Bought a waffle iron and waffled all the things (favorite waffled food: tater tots)!
  • Met with a friend for the first time in a year and a half <3


  • Witnessed my baby nephew turning one year old!
  • Went for our first vacation since December 2019, to Palm Springs. I spent a heck of a lot of time doing nothing in particular, sitting in the pool and reading.
  • Went on multiple day trips to the Oregon coast (Manzanita Beach is our favorite) to sit on the beach and watch the waves.
  • Continued my daily habit of walks with podcasts, and sitting & reading in the park.


  • Went back to the movies for the first time in 19 months, to see Summer of Soul.
  • Traveled to L.A. to visit our close friends (incidentally, the last folks we traveled to see before the pandemic began).
  • Continued my daily walks and park sitting.
  • Inspired by a MasterClass, I picked up a DJ controller and started playing around with DJing.
  • Went to the art museum for the first time in years.
  • Went to Retro Game Bar for the first time, with my brother for some bonding time.
  • Wrapped up my sabbatical and went back to work!
  • Published a post of my recently consumed media.


  • Published a post with my thoughts on my sabbatical.
  • Bought an espresso machine and started to attempt to perfect my latte technique.
  • Traveled to Newport for our 9th wedding anniversary. Visited the Oregon Aquarium for the first time and enjoyed some more time staring at ocean waves.


  • Went on a hike to one of our favorite waterfalls for the first time since the wildfires in 2017.
  • Celebrated Robert’s last day of a job he’d had for 9 years, and his start at a new one!
  • Participated in a project with a group of rad AAPI women and non-binary people.
  • Rang in my 45th birthday by celebrating my inner child at Disneyland, back for the first time in 3 years.


  • Welcomed both sets of parents for a visit in Portland early in the month.
  • Celebrated Robert’s birthday with early dinner at his favorite restaurant, and a low-key evening at home.


  • Started a new role in Designer Experience.
  • Created a new office space at home (since I had been working from a desk in our bedroom since I returned from sabbatical in July).
  • Had a nice intimate Thanksgiving dinner with just a few family members.
  • Celebrated 16 years together with Robert <3
  • Got my vaccine booster.


  • Back at Disneyland at the beginning of the month to spend time with family!
  • Started a new hobby with Robert of assembling jigsaw puzzles together.
  • Celebrated Christmas with just the two of us at home for the first time.
  • Stayed up till 3am on New Year’s eve listening to records while working on a puzzle!

May 2019

Yet another post for my “2019 in Review” series! May of 2019 was fairly uneventful, which was welcome after a busy few months. I’ll share a few photos from that month with captions.

Food and drink almost always merits its own section, though. 🙂

April 2019

Picking up again on my “Year in Review” series for 2019. April started with a trip to London. I tried some new things, as well as enjoyed some time at home.

London, UK

At the beginning of the month, I took a work trip to London — my first time there!

I took a personal day at the end of my trip to explore London on my own, and visit museums! I took a LOT of photos of the exhibits so I could remember them, but I won’t share them all here — you can see them in my full trip album.

My friend Sarah happened to be in London at the same time, so we met up for dinner at The Botanist!

I then explore a little more on my own, walking around Covent Garden, then made my way to the London Cocktail Club. I happened to be there during happy hour, so they gave me two of the cocktail I ordered (a white negroni).

I had to leave early the next morning for my flight home, so I made my way back to my hotel. But before calling it a night, I had to stop by Platform 9-3/4 one more time to take a crucial photo.

Early the next morning, I walked through a practically empty tube station to make my way back to Paddington Station. Of course, I had to say hello to my friend before hopping on the train back to the airport.

Modular Synth Class

In a quest to try something new, decided to take a beginning class on modular synths at The Synth Library. It was an interesting experience, but I’m not sure if continuing with it as a hobby fits into my lifestyle and schedule right now.

Dining Out

We went to Yonder multiple times, as it had recently opened (and I was a Kickstarter backer)! In April, we also tried Radar for brunch (which we enjoyed), The Garrison for happy hour, SuperDeluxe for a casual dinner, and Eem for some delicious Thai BBQ and tiki cocktails.


Because of travel and general busy-ness, I didn’t cook a whole lot in April. I wanted to use up some offerings from our meat CSA, so I cooked some leg of lamb and steaks later in the month.


Other photos from April without much context:

March 2019

March was a bit of a rollercoaster, but full of lots of activity and experiences.


In March, we started a new habit to take walks with no particular destination. We would get a carshare (as we didn’t own a car at the time) and drive to a neighborhood that we wanted to explore, and just meander for a while.

Fence mural in Mt. Scott-Arleta

One of the nice things about walking in residential neighborhoods is that you meet all kinds of friendly cats.


Mid-month, Ginger suffered from a seizure, which had never happened before. We were terrified when it happened, but in true Ginger fashion, she bounced back and was back to her normal self within a few days. She has always been a tough cookie.


I did a lot of cooking in March, but the only meal I documented with a photo is this half pan of Lasagna.

Dining out

I co-worked at a couple of spots this month — I checked out the cafe attached to my local library, Bitter Rose Coffee Bar. I also spent a few hours working at Proud Mary later in the month.

I also tried a few spots solo, including Giraffe (a Japanese deli located inside of Cargo) and Kargi Gogo, a Georgian spot in the Alberta Arts district.

To celebrate Mardi Gras, we went to Tapalaya to enjoy some NOLA-inspired cuisine and live music.

We also tried a few new (to us) spots: Arleta Library Bakery Cafe and Anchor End for brunch, and the cocktail spot Wonderly.


In March, I saw a couple of movies in the theater: Captain Marvel and Us (both which I enjoyed quite a bit).

I also went to a live theater performance for the first time in a while! I went to see LĒR, an adaptation of King Lear from local performance company The Reformers.


More photos from March without much context:

February 2019

This is the second post in my “2019 in Review” series! February brought snow, a trip to Thailand, and a live music show.


We had a couple days of snow in early February — a good opportunity for us to stay cozy indoors with the fireplace.

Bangkok, Thailand

Mid-month, I went on a work trip to Bangkok, Thailand — and I made a seemingly foolish decision to only stay there 3 nights with a 24 hour travel time both ways. But it was a formative experience for me, as I traveled overseas alone and solely represented my team. There were a lot of wrenches thrown into my trip, but my survival mode kicked in and I’m proud of how I overcame my challenges.

View the full album of photos of my journey.


I only seem to have documented a couple of meals prepared in February: I made Split Pea Soup early in the month (alongside Gouda cheese that I bought in Amsterdam!), and a 7-layer dip for Super Bowl Sunday.

Dining Out

We tried a couple of new spots in February: Heim Bakery & Cafe and Jackrabbit (a spot brought to us by San Francisco Chef, Chris Cosentino). Both were quite good, and the latter has great cocktails!


We saw Roma at the our favorite movie house, the Hollywood Theatre, where they were showing it in stunning 70mm. I really enjoyed the film’s visuals and storytelling.

We rarely go to see live music these days, but we always enjoy it when we do! On the last day of February, we went to see one of our favorite bands, Beirut, perform at the Schnitz.


I’m going to Graceland

Every time I’ve gone to a record shop in the past couple of years, I’ve kept my eye out for a copy of Paul Simon’s Graceland, and I finally found one in great condition at Little Axe Records!

And now for a couple of random snaps from the month that don’t fit anywhere else…