Adventures with Esther & Jacob » Food, Travel, & Photography

Hi there! We’re Mika and Sebastian and we’re two brothers that celebrated our cat birthday last week. We turned 8 in human years. Well, technically we don’t know our real age, because we ended up at a shelter after a crazy hoarding situation. Can you believe that? We thought mom was crazy, but there are seriously crazier people out there.

When we got adopted on March 1st 2011, the shelter told mom and dad we were 5-ish. But since they don’t know our real age, we can act however we like. ;) For some reason, they decided to give us a birthday or maybe an unbirthday to make up for not knowing our real one.

Mom used to be a dog lover, but we’re glad we brought her over to our side.

A Cat Birthday Celebration!

Happy Birthday Cats.
A Cat Birthday Celebration!

Happy Birthday Cats | Cat in a Birthday Hat.

A Cat Birthday Celebration - A Cat in a Birthday Hat.

Happy Birthday Cats | A Cat in a Hat.
A Cat Birthday Celebration - A Cat in a Hat.

A Cat Birthday Celebration!

The hats are quite embarrassing but they insisted we wear them before we got our treat.

A little gratitude poem mom and dad wrote for us:

His name is Mika, and him, Sebastian
Brothers that make quite the impression
If you’re not sure, which you’re seeing
Mika’s the fox and Sebastian is fleeing

They’re well behaved, even sit and shake
And give you affection, asleep or awake
And if you are new, unsure what to do
They’ll make you feel welcome, with a purr and a coo

They remind us that life, is much more than work
“Take a break in your day, and pet me, you jerk!”
They show us a nap can recharge your soul
And food is delicious in a plate or a bowl

But most of all, they show us love
With kneading, purrs, head butts and rubs
If you want to see more of these two hams,
Follow them here on instagram.  :)

Do you have a pet?
Do you celebrate their birthdays?
xoxo estherJacob

This is week 50 of practicing gratitude. See other gratitude posts by clicking on the banner below:
Practicing Gratitude Weekly.

Met up with some girlfriends that came into town this weekend, some old and some new, and we went to watch the Britney Spears Piece of Me Las Vegas show at Planet Hollywood.

As much as I loved Britney growing up and hate to give her show a bad review, it was pretty awful. This I suspected already from all the poor reviews I’ve read, but that didn’t stop me from purchasing an overpriced ticket (probably the most expensive concert ticket I’ve ever purchased). There was still a *piece of me* that was just hoping she might find her spark and be amazing!

Do you remember her VMA performance in 2001? She owned the stage. 13 years later, not so much. She’s 32 now, probably not in her prime, but seriously? 32 is not old! I mean… Beyoncé killed it on stage. Perhaps I would get tired of having to perform the same set over and over again too, but that’s part of show business. At least fake that you want to be there. C’mon Britney! Give us something!

Since I only had my iPhone during the concert, most of these photos were courtesy of Hsiao. :)

Britney Spears Piece of Me Las Vegas Show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney Spears Piece of Me Las Vegas Show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney Spears Piece of Me Las Vegas Show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney Spears Piece of Me Las Vegas Show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney Spears Piece of Me Las Vegas Show at Planet Hollywood.

A few things we found disappointing:

  1. She was obviously lip syncing 99% of the show. This was not a huge surprise to me. She was always more of an entertainer in my book, so I was mostly there for her to put on a good show.
  2. She was letting everyone else do the work for her – all the dancing and lifting. If you paid close attention, most of the time it was all arm movement only. She barely even moved her legs besides walking the stage. If you’re not gonna dance, at least sing!
  3. For nostalgia sake, I was really hoping she’d do some outfit changes similar to her old school music videos. She didn’t.

So now I agree with the reviews. “Britney Spears: A Piece of Me. Nothing less, but nothing more.” I’m still glad I went and experienced it for myself though. I can’t let other people’s opinions stop me from making my own! :P At the very least it was fun just being in a lively crowd where we were all singing along to her songs. So I say the same to you. Please go and experience it for yourself if you love her and want to support her, but you’ve been warned! ;)

Anyone interested in seeing some video footage?

Local Adventurer

Do you like going to concerts?
Would you see Britney?
What was your all time favorite concert?

xoxo esther

My girlfriends had put together a recipe scrapbook for me, and my mom sent in this Oi Muchim Recipe (Korean Cucumber Side Dish) as her contribution. This was probably one of the first recipes I learned as a newlywed and is still one of my go-tos. I seriously can just eat this with rice most days.

I remember during the first few months of marriage, I felt this overwhelming amount of pressure to be a cookie cutter wife. It’s totally not my style, but observing other successfully married couples, a part of me wanted to follow in their footsteps. It took me a while to realize that just because I didn’t know how to cook, clean, or do any of the traditional house wife duties, it didn’t make me the world’s worst wife (Maybe just the bottom 5%. ;P ). Luckily, we found our own dynamic that works for us. I usually like to be adventurous and try out new recipes, while Jacob likes to do the day to day cooking.

If you’re like me and find cooking to be daunting, this is a great, simple cucumber dish to ease you in. Oh, you should probably like Korean food too! And if you haven’t tried korean food yet, what’s stopping you? :)

Oi Muchim - Korean Cucumber Side Dish.
Oi Muchim - Korean Cucumber Recipe.

Oi Muchim - Korean Cucumber Salad Recipe.

Oi Muchim - Korean Cucumber Side Dish.

Oi Muchim // A Korean Cucumber Side Dish



  1. Mix all the ingredients except cucumber to make the seasoning.
  2. Thinly slice cucumbers. (I used to just use my knife, but now that I have a mandoline, it makes slicing so much easier, and I get perfect slices everytime.)
  3. Mix the cucumbers into the seasoning.

Chef’s notes:

  • The vinegar adds a slightly sour / pickled taste to the seasoned cucumbers.
  • Fish sauce adds extra flavor, but isn’t necessary.
  • You can add salt to the cucumber slices, draw out and remove the water first, if you want the cucumbers to stay crunchier.

What’s the first recipe you learned to make?
What’s the first recipe you learned as a newlywed?

xoxo esther

Last week, I finally opened up on my blog about my battles with depression, and I’m really so thankful for all the people who reached out to me both publicly and privately telling me they were in the same boat. It’s a shame that we go through life thinking we’re so alone, when in reality so many people around us are hurting the same and have similar life struggles.


I also admit sharing struggles is always easier when it’s in hindsight. If I really believe we should be more transparent, honest, and authentic, maybe I need to share not what’s behind me, but what’s currently in front of me. Also, I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m always grateful and positive. I struggle with A LOT of things, but for brevity sake, I’ll start with 3.


After sharing about my battles with depression and saying the hardest parts are behind me, I realized maybe I spoke too soon. I’ve always wanted my story to be a redemptive story. I wanted to say I’ve already braved the storm and whether it’s God, me, or the people around me, someone is coming out the hero. It’s the better story to tell. But the truth is, the vast majority of my life has been the in betweens, the mundane, and the almost unnoticeable work of chipping away at my former self.

Even if I wasn’t at the happy ending part, at the very least I wanted to show you some serious progress. Isn’t that what everyone wants to see? I do not know my progress right now. Maybe I am one step forward, two steps back. I am still really bummed out about Robin Williams. I’m bummed out about all the crazy and depressing things happening in Iraq, Ferguson, and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, internally I’ve been allowing negative thoughts to creep back in telling me, “You’re worthless.” “You’re a waste of life,” and “Ain’t nobody gonna love you.” How and when did I let my guard down?

So there you go. The fighting isn’t over. I’m a work in progress, and most days the work can be boring.


I can get really fixated on one value. Right now it happens to be authenticity and that dictates most of my decisions. I know that honesty and authenticity can both be honorable things, but I also know there is a time and place for when it is appropriate. I know, I know. Everything should be done in love. UGH.

Truth be told, I’m terrible at tactfully telling the truth and having the patience for someone to be receptive to what they need to hear. Also, when I meet people who don’t seem genuine, I don’t want anything to do with them. This made living in LA very interesting. I was practically a hermit.

The grays of life are generally hard for me to grasp, so I tend to like making everything black and white. My obsession with authenticity left very little room for grace. I hope to one day find balance.


I thought I put my bitterness behind me when I left LA, but apparently not. Every time I go back to LA and happen to run into or hear about that one YouTuber, it ruins my day. I avoid douchebags at all costs, but for some reason we always happen to cross paths. Won’t be naming any names, but the more I thought about it, I realized I got to a point where I actually enjoyed hating him. I put everything I hated about LA and made him the scapegoat. Hating him sounded better than hating an entire city.

It’s not like he’s done anything wrong to me personally, and maybe he’s no longer a terrible human being. All I know is I don’t to live with this bitterness forever, but I’ve had the hardest time letting go. There’s always that ONE PERSON that has to make life more challenging!

Uplifting Quotes on being thankful in hard times and life struggles.

This is a gratitude post because I know one day I will look back at these struggles with greater clarity. I’m grateful for Jacob who has never once left my side despite these life struggles plus a million more. I’m also grateful for people who have reached out to me when I least deserved it.

How has life been treating you? How do you cope with your life struggles?

xoxo esther

This is week 49 of practicing gratitude. See other gratitude posts by clicking on the banner below:
Practicing Gratitude Through Life Struggles // Week 49.

Last year, since we were living in LA, we decided to get annual passes to Disneyland. Even after we moved to Las Vegas in February, we drove in quite a bit to LA. So sad that the blackout dates for our annual passes pretty much went till our passes expired. Boooo. I guess we got our money’s worth, but we were really hoping to go back one more time. There was so much food we wanted to try!

We compiled our very own Disneyland Food Bucket List through recommendations from Foodbeast, BuzzfeedLAWeekly, and of course friends! If you didn’t know already from my bucket list, our 101 in 1001, 14 in 2014, I’m obsessed with making lists. This isn’t the best food in LA, but if you’re going to spend money on overpriced food, it might as well be the best of the park!

39 Best places to eat in disneyland | A Disney Food Bucket List.


1. Lobster Roll at Harbour Galley in Critter Country [Disneyland]
2. Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato at Harbour Galley in Critter Country [Disneyland]
3. Broasted Chicken at Plaza Inn on Main Street [Disneyland]
4. Fried Pickles at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street [Disneyland]
5. Chicken Fried Chicken at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street [Disneyland]
6. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe on Main Street [Disneyland]
7. The Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans or Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square [Disneyland]
8. Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square [Disneyland]
9. Clam Chowder Bread Bowl at Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square [Disneyland]

Clam Chowder Bread Bowl at Royal Street Veranda | Disneyland Food Bucket List.

10. Crispy Chicken Mixed Green Salad at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland [Disneyland]
11. Chili Bread Bowl at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland [Disneyland]
12. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus at Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland [Disneyland]
13. Bacon Wrapped Biscuits at Carthay Circle Restaurant on Bueno Vista Street [California Adventure]
14. Fire Cracker Duck Wings at Carthay Circle Restaurant on Bueno Vista Street [California Adventure]
15. Chili Cone Queso at the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land [California Adventure]
16. Chorizo and Eggs Breakfast Scramble Cone at Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land [California Adventure]
17. Veggie Tater Bake at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land [California Adventure]
18. Portobello Mushroom Philly at Award Wieners in Hollywood Land [California Adventure]
19. Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger at Taste Pilot’s Grill in Condor Flats [California Adventure]
20. Lobster Nachos at the Cove Bar in Paradise Pier [California Adventure]
21. Brocolli Cheese Soup in a bread bowl at Pacific Wharf Cafe in Pacific Wharf [California Adventure]
22. Carnitas Nachos at White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian [Disneyland Resort]
Carnitas Nachos at White Water Snacks Grand Californian | Disneyland Food Bucket List.


23. Matterhorn Macaroon at Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street [Disneyland]

Matterhorn Macaroon Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street | Best Disneyland Food |  Best Places to Eat at Disneyland.

24. Strawberry Streetcar Sundae at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlo on Main Street [Disneyland]
25. Cream Cheese Filled Preztel at the Refreshment Corner on Main Street [Disneyland] (also want to try the one with jalapenos!)
26. Beignets at Mint Julep Bar or Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square [Disneyland] (also available at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney
27. Dole Whip at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland [Disneyland]
Pro tip: There is an inside line that is shorter than the outside line.

Dole Whip at the Enchanted Tiki Room | 39 of the Best Disneyland Food
Dole Whip at the Enchanted Tiki Room | 39 of the Best Disneyland Food.

Photo on right by Fern Lee

28. Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Sandwich at Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country [Disneyland]
29. Mickey Mouse Pancake at the River Belle Terrace in Frontierland [Disneyland]
30. Cookie Bakes at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue in Frontierland [Disneyland]
31. Red Velvet Push-pops at Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian Hotel [Disneyland Resort]
32. Apple Cheddar Ugly Pie at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land [California Adventure]


33. Cherry Milkshake at Carnation Cafe on Main Street [Disneyland]
34. Peanut Butter and Jelly Soda at Carnation Cafe on Main Street [Disneyland]
35. The Uh-Oa at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel [Disneyland Resort]
36. The Zombie at the Cove Bar at Paradise Pier [California Adventure]
37. Six Craft Beers at Bayside Brews in Paradise Pier [California Adventure]
38. Red’s Apple Freeze at Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land [California Adventure]
39. Wine and cheese box at Mendocino Terrace Pacific Wharf [California Adventure]

As you can see we have not made much of a dent… YET. What we had so far were pretty solid. I would get the regular dole whip than the float next time though. I’m so sad we didn’t take full advantage of the year and binge eat every time we went (though my body thanks me). Since we don’t know where we will be living after May, we don’t know if it’s worth renewing our annual pass. Maybe I will have to live vicariously through you socal peeps in the meantime until we figure things out.

We also still have 10 day passes to Disney World that never expire… :) What do we eat there? I know there’s tons at Epcot! Drink around the world, anyone?

Local Adventurer

How many of these have you tried?
What’s your favorite thing to eat at Disneyland?

xoxo esther