SimplyMe: A Year in Review & New Year Resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE EVERYONE!

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Anthony and I are currently at home relaxing! We decided to chill out for New Year’s and just do dinner and sparkling ciders! Dinner was good (though the aftermath would disagree) and I had green tea ice cream for the first time in so long! I also worked today, though it was short. Each New Year’s Eve though, I find myself reminiscing about the past 364 days and I am sure you all do just about the same. It’s crazy how much has happened in 2013!
image_1This year has been too amazing for words even with the obstacles. I don’t know how to describe it! I took so many pictures too this year that I couldn’t put them all into this post and into a video like initially planned. But…I can honestly say that this year has changed me in so many ways. Here is a look back at some memorable moments in 2013:
image_2MY FATHER’S RETIREMENT: This was memorable because the smile on my dad’s face was remarkable. After 20 years in the Marine Corp, he finally retired and we threw a little party to celebrate! It was full of laughs, older folks acting like teenagers (in a good way), and lots of yummy food and cake.
My 20th BIRTHDAY: This birthday may not seem like much of a milestone, but I suppose in Japan it would be! This year was my Coming of Age year in Japan! Unfortunately, I had no one to celebrate with in January…so I waited until March. BUT, it marked a milestone for Simply Taylor Rae! We finally got our HD video camera! AND I LOVE IT.
BELLA’S FIRST COMMUNION: This was a special time for our family! I’ve become so close to Anthony’s nieces that these milestones melt my heart! Seeing her all dressed up and excited for this big step in her church, I felt like a proud aunty the entire day! She’s growing up too fast now and acting like a young lady.
ALANNA’S BAPTISM: Alanna has been growing way too fast also! This year, we celebrated her baptism and it was too beautiful to watch! I am so thankful that Anthony’s family invited me to witness such a sight and be a part of the family for such a joyous occasion. She cried during the ceremony, but she enjoyed the after party, of course.
A NEW FAMILY MEMBER: This year we added a new member to our family. His name is Taz and he is one of the most ridiculous yet loving dogs I have seen yet. He is a pit bull and lab mix! He kind of walks and runs like a drunk, jumps way too much, loves to help you cook, and thinks he is a lap dog. He still has a lot to learn, but we are so happy to have yet another member to our family.
MY FIRST FAMILY PICTURE: Well, it’s not my very first, but my it is my first with Anthony’s family! The picture was taken the same day as Bella’s communion and weeks later, Anthony sent me the picture and I immediately broke into tears. I never thought that I would be in their family picture, but there I am and there they are and I just can’t hold myself together when I see this picture. Though they always treated me like family, this really made it feel official in a sense.
I SAID YES: On June 18th of this year, Anthony and I went to a concert in Maryland and after 3 years of dating and many false alarms, Anthony finally popped the question and I said “YESYESYESYESYES!” It is so funny looking back at it 6 months later because believe it or not, I did see the ring a few months prior. Anthony and I are the worst at surprises, but his timing at actually proposing was amazing because I broke down immediately and it took me 20 minutes to give him an actual answer.
I SAID YES AGAIN: A couple months after Anthony proposed, my mother, brother, and I decided to stop by a friend’s bridal shop to get a feel of what silhouettes I would like in a wedding dress. We tried on 6 or 8 I think until we hit THE ONE. Many of them were quite vintage, but too white for my taste…and yes, I did not want a white dress at all! The dress I chose was the very last one and very different from what I initially thought. I wanted a short dress, this one is long. I wanted a vintage look, this one is a bit more modern. I didn’t want bling, this one had bling. But…IT WAS GORGEOUS ON ME. I fell in love the minute I looked in the mirror. My heart was jumping out of my chest and I immediately FaceTime’d my father and asked for his opinion…and then my brother said the one thing I needed to hear: “You like Sailor Moon…” THAT DID IT I SWEAR. So, I bought it. At a steal. $400. BOOM.
BUSINESS CARDS AHOY: After 3 years of blogging and one year blogging on Simply Taylor Rae, Anthony redesigned my blog banner and designed my first batch of business cards! We ended up finding a really awesome Groupon deal for VistaPrint and we ordered 2500 business cards. They came in on Christmas Eve and they are beyond perfect!! Thank you Anthony!
image_3So, it sounds cliché but every year I develop my personal New Year Resolutions and 2014 will be no different! What are my resolutions for the New Year?
1. One Recipe a Week! – Cook a recipe a week to build up my lack of cooking skills.
2. Save up as much Money as Possible! – The money will be used towards the wedding and such.
3. Go to California! – A place I call home and I need to visit mine and Anthony’s family.
4. Operation: Long Hair! – Goal is to grow hair out to waist for wedding.
5. Continue Healthy Habits! – Maintain a healthy body and mind, yo.
6. More Active Blogger! – I want to network and meet fellow DC bloggers.
7. Keep a Daily Journal! – To remember each day and learn lessons.
8. Grow as a Person! – There is always room to grow.
9. Be More Thankful! – There is always someone in a much worse situation.
10. Be More Charitable! – To give back is too wonderful of a feeling to explain.

That is a wrap on the final post of 2013! I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and May you have an Amazing 2014. 明けましておめでとうございます!良いお年を。Thank you for all the awesome year in regards to Simply Taylor Rae!

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT YEAR!

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

The Foodie: Korean BBQ at Kogiya

Hello Hello!
It has been such an adventurous day! I met up with two of my lovelies, Serina & Chami! We all used to be in Japanese Club during high school and so we still get together when we have a chance. Today the girls wanted to introduce me to a restaurant called “Kogiya” and I am so thankful they did because my stomach was not prepared for what happened!

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid nor offered a discount nor asked to do this review. This is purely based on my opinion and experience as a first time visitor and the meal was paid for entirely. Thank you for understanding.
imageNow, beware because this post may be a bit picture heavy! I must admit that prior to coming to Kogiya, I had never really heard of it! I always ate at Yechon in Annandale because it was right next to my favorite bakery, but I am so glad to have had a chance to swing by for some food and have a blast doing so.
image_1Kogiya is located right off of Little River Turnpike in Annandale. It is right at the end of a tiny little shopping strip with quite a small parking lot. The restaurant itself is rather small, so I suppose the lack of parking space is really an issue. The outside doesn’t look bad at all though! It looked quite urban and cute with the cow mascot. I was pleasantly surprised.
image_2The interior is primarily urban with a heavy metal accent to the walls and tables. Some of the details remind me of certain Chipotles and what not. All the tables had a lovely little BBQ grill in the middle for all the glory that was to happen during your meal. The chairs were black with a leather (possibly fake, but I wasn’t trying to be weird and feel up the seat…) and to my surprise, the top of the seat comes off to reveal a lovely little tin to put your belongings in so they don’t get dirty or lost or such. I kept my purse on because knowing me…I would’ve left that joint in the seat. Funny enough, at the bottom of your seat is a little memo: “KOGIYA IS MY NEW MEAT JOINT” They also had two TVs, one with the local news and the other playing KPOP music videos…like CL’s “The Baddest Female.”
image_3Looking at it now, I’ve only done reviews on Korean restaurants…ugh. WELL, as you all know, Korean food typically comes with a load of sides and Kogiya did not fail in that department. Not only did they give us more sides that usual, we got dipping sauces for our BBQ and a thinly sliced salad that was delicious! My stomach was too excited, because EVERYTHING looked good. The pickled veggies, the bean sprouts, the salad, the kimchi; it was ALL DELICIOUS. So, I must applaud Kogiya for such tasty sides because I ate them with no problem.
image_4After we received our sides, one of the waiters came by with the BBQ meat and began cooking! We had to pick 2 meats and so we decided on Chadol Bakgi or a fatty brisket and Jang Sam Kyup Sal or spicy pork belly. The brisket was amazingly delicious especially in all the dipping sauces. It was great to eat with kimchi as well. If there was one thing that was kind of frustrating was how long in between cooking the brisket and the pork belly we had to wait. By the time they began to cook the pork belly, I had already finished most of my rice and the sides were almost gone. Not to mention that first time they cooked the pork belly, they ended up burning it due to miscommunication with us and with the other waiters. They were quick to replace it, but had we not constantly checked them, they would have burned again. This ended up making our stay at the restaurant last an extra 30 to 45 minutes, which was (like I said) a tad bit frustrating. Luckily, the pork belly was good and even better wrapped in lettuce.
image_5So, during the cooking of the barbecue, they waiter brought out one of my favorite soups, deonjang jjigae, and something I was afraid to eat, poached egg. Now, please understand that my taste for eggs has dwindled over the years. However, despite said problem, these poached eggs had a miso taste to them and so they were quite delicious though I couldn’t eat much of it. The soup was off the hook however. I always have soybean paste soup when I am sick or have a super sinus infection and lately, my sinuses have been way too out of hand and painful! So, you can imagine the excitement I felt when I saw them set this on our table. Needless to say, we demolished it. The taste was comforting and not too spicy, making it perfect for clearing out my sinuses without my nose running all over the place.
image_6After we finished our meal and boxed everything up, our waiter came over and told us that the dessert is complimentary and we could choose from iced coffee or sliced oranges. The rational and fit side of me said oranges, but my heart took over and ordered the iced coffee. I DO NOT REGRET A THING. The fact is was free was good enough for me, but the coffee itself was pretty delicious. I typically don’t drink anything but green tea lattes when it comes to coffee (if that is even considered coffee), but I thought I would give it a try and it was not what I was expecting…in a good way. It was sweet and refreshing, unlike other iced coffees that have a bitterness to them or it was just made too dark or something. This was delicious and small enough to wake me up a little bit! I think next time, I may try to order it in a bigger cup.

I suppose overall, it was a fun and good experience. The little situation with the pork belly didn’t prevent us from having a blast and catching up. We shared lots of laughs over good food and the waiters were very kind and tended to the situation as well as they could. I am definitely thinking about good here for my 21st birthday and experimenting with their Soju list!

If you would like to visit Kogiya, feel free to visit their website here to check out their operating hours and full menu.
image_7I hope you all enjoyed this post! It was literally such an awesome and effective day, in my opinion. I also handed out my first business card! I slipped it into the little check booklet at the restaurant with a note on the receipt explaining that the restaurant would be featured on my blog! But I also managed to pick up a few bakery goods and a big ole bottle of Pocari Sweat. I am easily pleased. I am going to be vlogging about New Years and doing a “Look Back at 2013” post! SO BE ON THE LOOKOUT!

Once again, I hope you all enjoyed this post and I wish you all a Happy New Year! Let me know what your New Year plans or resolutions are in the comments below! Please take care, be safe (especially New Year’s Eve, ya’ll), and always remember to be you and live, laugh, smile.
Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

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SimplyMe: Merry Christmas & Lots of Love

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Hello everyone! I am so sorry with how late this Christmas post is! Right after Christmas, I was hit with a nasty sinus infection and I finally got some time after work. Anyways, I’m sure you all had a great Christmas and Happy Holidays! I surely enjoyed my holidays with my family. Anthony and I were able to spend them with both families and my heart was so happy and full afterwards! And let me tell you that EVERYONE knows me too well because all the gifts were spot on…speaking of gifts, a very special Christmas Eve gift from Anthony had me all choked up and excited!
image_2YES, MY BUSINESS CARDS ARRIVED RIGHT IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS EVE. Both Anthony and I were surprised when they arrived because the confirmation said after Christmas. They are full of perfection honestly. The color and design matches that of the website, all my information is on the back, and the back has an awesome iconic repetitive background. Anthony ordered 2500, so I have plenty to last! (Thank You Anthony!!!)
image_3So, Christmas Day went exceptionally well! Anthony came over to my house for Christmas Breakfast! My parents made an amazing meal of ham, scrapple (if you don’t know what this is, you probably don’t want to know…), waffles, bacon, fruits, and other things! It was a magical morning. We opened up gifts and hang out with my family before heading over to Anthony’s house for dinner. Anthony’s mother prepared a feast too! Spanish rice, mashed potatoes, ham, turkey, rolls, and dessert. We all opened gifts and spent time watching movies and playing video games. It was perfect! Everyone was full of love, laugh, and smiles and it was too much for my heart. I was so happy and thankful for the love, the smiles, the warmth, and the gifts to each other.
image_4The day after Christmas, I wanted to meet up with my best friend (and beautiful maid of honor)! We went to Choi’s in Fredericksburg and I had my usual Bibim-myon and oh my gosh for the first time in ages, I finally finished an entire meal. It was truly magical for a foodie such as myself! We spent a lot of time catching up and I was able to give her her Christmas present which included a Sailor Moon 2014 Schedule Book, Hello Kitty Perfume, Face Masks, and a card. I am so happy she liked it!! After Lunch/Dinner, we headed back to her house and watched one of my favorite movies – “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and it was awesome. It was possibly one of the best bonding times ever. I am so happy I got to see her gorgeous face this season!
image_5With all of that said, I just want to thank you all for all the love and support. As we draw closer to the end of the year, I began to reflect on everything that has occurred this past year and my mind is blown. You readers and followers have been so consistent and enthusiastic and inspiring to me! I am so grateful to you all because if it weren’t for you all, this blog would not be what it is today. So, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for loving. Thank you for everything. You really are so special to me. Thank you so very much. Remember to always be safe, be thankful, and be you. To live. To laugh. And to smile.
Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

The Geeky: My Thoughts on SSB4 New Challengers

Hello and MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE EVE!
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I am beyond excited! I finished up my Christmas shopping earlier this week, but today I went out a prepared a little surprise for Anthony for Christmas Eve and I am so excited for him to rummage through it! But in case you don’t follow my Tumblr account (SimplyTaylorRae), I have been beaming about Super Smash Bros. for WiiU & 3DS and how AWESOME the new challengers are! So…that’s what today’s topic is!
imageSo, yes. If you haven’t been onto the Nintendo releases lately, the next installment of Super Smash Bros. is on its way and Nintendo is having so much fun releasing news of Veteran Challengers and of course, New Challengers. I am so excited for the line up thus far and in case you’re wondering who the New Challengers are, here they are!
image_1First up, we’ve got the Animal Crossing Villager from the Animal Crossing series, Megaman from the Megaman series, Wii Fit Trainer from Wii Fit (also comes in Male form), and Rosalina & Luma from the Super Mario Galaxy series! There is a fifth New Challenger on the way, but will be revealed probably early 2014.
image_3Starting off with The Villager from Animal Crossing, I feel that Nintendo added a much needed comedic character in the series. The reveal video was hilarious as The Villager leaves his town in New Leaf to go fight in which he attacks Mario and has an almost murderous gleam in his eye. This video did create some of the funniest memes making The Villager out to be serial killer and so on. His moves feature the actions you partake in during your Animal Crossing adventure such as using the net, planting a (dangerous) tree, riding on a flying lloid, and so on! I feel like trying to understand The Villager’s moves will prove to be difficult seeing as how it looks like you have to be SPOT ON with there you hit your opponent. I cannot see myself using The Villager on a regular basis but rather using him as a way to tickle my funny bone. Here’s the reveal video!

image_5Next up, we have Megaman! Now, let me be the first to say that I am not too familiar with the Megaman series. I am completely clueless on the games, the TV show, and so on. From what I have read, Megaman has a few different abilities up his sleeves…or armor…or whatever he has on. Now, this is a character I think a lot of people can have a lot of fun with. He has pretty sick moves on his own but (and I’m not sure how this will work) he also has abilities of hard man, guts man, metal man, crash man, wood man, sword man, slash man, flame man, and I even noticed a dog in the reveal trailer! He’s got a lot to offer as a challenger, so I am excited to see how you use all of the abilities in such a compact controller and so on.

image_4Say hello to the Wii Fit Trainer. This was probably the biggest shock to me when it was announced. An exercise trainer fighting? It sounded odd, but the reveal video made it seem more comedic than serious so I was still doubtful. The one thing that made me laugh the most was when you use UP and hula hoops surround you as you jump! Also, your super smash will be a punch of colorful different yoga poses. I think that her strongest move will the warrior pose, but we will have to see. As to how much use I can see her getting….not that much compared to the Veteran Challengers. I can’t see her returning in a later SSB release.

image_2Last but not least is the most recent New Challenger: Rosalina & Luma! Let me tell you all how confused I was with the concept of them both. I assumed the Luma was a part of an attack and that Rosalina does ALL the fighting. NOPE NOPE NOPE. Her and Luma act as the Ice Climbers do. When close together, they fight alongside. Once they are far apart, they are able to fight as individuals. As to how this will work, I am unsure. I will say that I am extremely excited to see another female join the list! I am also pretty excited to see her join the cast of Mario Kart 8! I think this is probably one of the most appealing characters thus far that has been announced, but like I said, I am wondering how her game play will work out.

Well that is all for today! I will probably be posting tomorrow or Christmas Day! I will also be filming another SimplyMe for the Holidays! In regards to this post, let me know what you think of each character! Are you excited about any of the new additions or veterans all the way? It is almost 12am so I am going to wrap it up! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I can’t wait to share with you all our holiday festivities! Take care and stay safe and remember to Live. Laugh. Smile.
Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

FOLLOW ME ON:
Twitter – @TaylorRae319
Tumblr – SimplyTaylorRae
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Ho Ho Holiday Beauty Recipes!

Hello Everyone!
It has been so long since I did a recipe post! It’s been such a busy season with all the gift shopping, the end of a college semester, and work. I am all over the place it feels like! But, now that I’m done shopping and the semester is officially over, I AM READY TO BLOG MY HEART OUT.

Also, if you haven’t noticed already…Anthony changed the blog banner once again! When he was designing my business cards, he thought it would be best to be consistent with the design and changed the banner accordingly! Honestly, I LOVE IT. I am so simple and the banner looks a bit more professional, in my opinion. I do have a preview of the business cards on my Instagram so be sure to stop by and take look and let me know what you think!

Without further due, LET’S BEGIN:
imageThe holidays are among us…actually Christmas is only a WEEK AWAY! I am so excited for all the gifts, food, and the BEAUTY RECIPES. It seems that a lot of our lovely favorite treats are actually beneficial to our body and today I am going to share three recipes featuring Holiday Favorites: Peppermint, Chocolate, and Persimmons!
image_1SheKnows.Com features a cute little recipe called the “Peppermint & Lavender Facial Scrub” and it sounds so relaxing and perfect for bedtime! It’s perfect for those of you with oily skin as well:
1 Cup of Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup of Almonds
1 Teaspoon of Dried Lavender
1 Teaspoon of Dried Peppermint Leaves
1 Cup of White Cosmetic Clay
1/2 Cup of Honey
All you have to do is take the oats, almonds, lavender, and peppermint and place them into a blender. Blend or grind until the mixture becomes a powder. When the powder texture is achieved, add the clay and honey and mix well. REFRIGERATE after mixing. When applying to your face, make sure to mix about one tablespoon of the mixture with warm water to create a thick paste. Then you can apply to your face and leave on until dry then rinse with warm water!
image_2This is probably going to be one of my favorite beauty recipes! MommyPotamus.Com has a recipe called “Mint Chocolate Body Butter” and oh my gosh this sounds more delicious than beautiful. This recipe calls for quite a few ingredients and the directions are a tad tedious but don’t forget that you are working with chocolate which can be difficult if not handled correctly:
1/2 Cup of Grated Cocoa Butter
1/2 Cup of Shea Butter
1/2 Cup of Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup of Jojoba or Mild Olive Oil
1-2 Teaspoons of Essential Peppermint Oil
2 Tablespoons Pure Cocoa Powder
The directions are tedious so please be prepared: Prepare an ice bath of a large bowl filled with ice and a small bowl (that is able to hold 4-5 cups of liquid) fitted in the middle. Using a double boiler (there are other ways to do this as well), melt the cocoa butter and shea butter on a low simmer then add the coconut oil and jojoba oil until the mixture is completely liquid. Remove the mixture from the heat and place into the small bowl while gradually adding the cocoa powder. Place the bowl into the large bowl of ice and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. After the time has passed, add the essential peppermint oil and go ahead and place the mixture back on the boiler on medium to high heat and whip until it has thicken. THEN YOU ARE DONE. Although this recipe seems difficult, it does seem worthy to try and really fun for a Holiday Spa Party!
image_3I don’t know about you all, but one of my favorite things about Winter is persimmons! They are so delicious and healthy and apparently really awesome for your hair! TheBudgetFashionista.Com did a post on a really awesome hair mask recipe titled the “Persimmon & Rosemary Invigorating Honey Hair Mask!” That’s a mouth full, right? But it sounds totally worth it! All you need are the following:
1 Ripe Persimmon
1 Sprig of Rosemary
1/4 Cup of Almond or Olive Oil
1/2 Cup of Honey
4 Drops of Essential Peppermint Oil
The directions are pretty easy actually compared to the previous recipe!! Cut your persimmon into small pieces and place into a blender where you will blend it until a smooth texture starts to form. Add the remaining ingredients until the mixture is nice, smooth, and creamy. Once finished, apply the hair mask to damp hair and scalp and let it sit and rest for about 20 minutes. After the time’s passed, rinse hair thoroughly and dry accordingly! Easy, right?

Well, that is it for today’s post! I hope you all enjoyed it and found it useful and fun!! I AM TEMPTED TO ATTEMPT THE MINT CHOCOLATE BODY BUTTER, but I’m sure Anthony would be worried about me burning down the house…or blowing myself up somehow. But if you have any Holiday inspired beauty recipes, please share in the comments below!! I am looking for awesome recipes to try and soon enough I’ll be filming them as well! With that said, Anthony already ordered my business cards today!! And this upcoming year is going to be busy with events and what not! I SHALL BE PREPARED! Well then…I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Please be safe and take care and always remember to Live. Laugh. Smile.
Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae