Washington State stories and recommendations | travel

Washington State stories and recommendations | travel

It’s getting colder nowadays. The sun sets earlier and the morning darkness creates the perfectly imperfect atmosphere to stay in bed. But we can’t and life goes on to another day of being (or an attempt at being) a productive human being. That was a lot of “beings.” But I long for summer, as I knew I would when I thought this months ago when I was taking the warmer weather for granted. So here, I look back on the places I’ve seen this summer at Washington State. A lot of things stand out to me: the way Seattle streets have slopes that are so deep you find yourself walking up city mountains, the natural beauty and awe of Mount Rainier, how architecturally focused the city buildings and street layouts are and experiencing some crazy driving on the highway. Make sure to hover over the photographs if you want to see some caption notes.


Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park
Waterfalls at Mount Rainier

When are we ever going to see another purple mountain?” he asked as we looked at the view. Mount Rainier reminds me of the person who always looks great in any situation. You look up and there this strong energy of beauty.

Advice: Go early. Finding parking and sitting in traffic coming in can be annoying, so be prepared! Also, the two-storey visitor center was full of small informational exhibits and comfortable seating to rest. They also have a mini food court and gift shop on-site.

The Wing Luke Museum of Asian Pacific American Experience

This was easily one of our favorite places in the whole trip. To visit Uncle Jimmy’s (James Malcolm Mar) store and hear/read the stories of the pan-Asian Pacific American immigrants and refugees was a very surreal experience for me. I felt like I could stay for hours. I wanted to absorb their words. I wanted to value their experiences. The architecture of the building itself and well-detailed exhibits are worth taking the time and walking through each area. There is so much history I learned from this trip that I never learned from school.

Advice: Take one of their tours. The gallery attendants know their stuff and they are very nice. There is also a gift store if you wanted something to remember the trip by. Also, ask the attendants some food recommendations in Chinatown area as we did and we found a gem because of it!

Touristy Must-Sees

Space Needle

As having been to an observatory before, I wasn’t so ecstatic to visit the Space Needle. It just seemed like something touristy to do and a local store owner had told me it wasn’t worth the money. We arrived early and there weren’t that many people there yet. Seeing the view and taking in the fresh air made it was worth it for me (as a tourist). I ended up being the one who didn’t want to leave and to stay as long as I could. Standing on the platform, being 520 feet from the ground, seeing all the landmarks like Mount Rainier, the art sculptures of Olympic Sculpture Park and seeing how much life there is all at the same time is kind of calming, yet exciting. Maybe I was feeling a little sentimental because it was our last day.

Advice: There are multiple electronic ticket booths outside and depending on the time of day, the prices will change. We went in the morning, so I think it was cheaper because of that. Also, if you’re driving there, there are some parking areas down the street. I’d do some research because we later learned some areas were cheaper than others.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

With loads of stores to visit, food to eat, the very first Starbucks–it’s a pretty popular place. Truthfully, we didn’t care about the Starbucks thing, but we did see a long line, so a lot of other people did. I appreciate and love the variety of stores, craft vendors and farmer’s market goodies. For those heading over there, I dare you to find the Bob Ross and Daryl Dixon (cardboard cut outs).

International Fountain

International Fountain

Music blaring, children laughing and running around and everyone else relaxing and sitting nearby. It’s easy to “waste” time here since the fountain show is so fun to watch. If it was a hotter day, you bet I’d run around there looking silly.

Seattle Monorail

Seattle Monorail

It’s a quick and cheap ride to see the city in a whole new perspective. It reminds me of the monorail ride at Seuss Landing at Universal Studios. There was a family of adult tourists that came on and they were funny. They apparently didn’t know what ride this was, thought it had multiple stops and couldn’t originate which one of them suggested to go.


After our visit to the Wing Luke Museum, we decided to explore Chinatown a bit. We ate some delicious Taiwanese food, played some chess with life-size pieces and walked all around. The sloped streets under the hot sun definitely made it a workout!

Nature’s gems

Hover over the photograph to see the  name of the place.

Narada Falls



Snoqualmie Falls Park
Reflection Lakes

Special Mention

Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden

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Ahhhh I love this place so much. We ended up purchasing some koi food at the entrance booth and it ended up being a lot of fun. The stillness and calmness of the environment allowed us to take our time. Quiet like a library, this experience called for some sit down and walk through time to admire the details and architecture of the environment. Whenever I tried to feed the koi, a quick duck would turn up and steal their food. It kinda turned into a game of throwing the food at the right time.

If you want to see more Washington State-ish posts, I linked some below :) I’m also going to publish a post about food for this trip in the future. For all those foodies out there, beware, there are some pretty good drool-worthy photographs on the way.

Another photo of Mount Rainier in the things I’ll never see.
An artsy photograph from in the space needle.
Narada Falls inspired a poem I wrote called waterfalls. I also posted more photographs of Narada Falls in the post, too.

DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

-Toilet paper rolls (however many you like)
-Hole Punch
-Decorative materials like scrap paper/old greeting cards/magazine cutouts/fortune cookie words of wisdom/washi tape
-Binder clips (optional)
-One shower curtain ring


  1. Gather some toilet paper rolls.


2. Fold them down flat.


3. If they are being stubborn, you can clip the edges with binder clips.


4. Decorate! Below are some closer views of the ones I liked most. The one below is made out of an old thank you card, mini film versions of photographs I got included with my developed photos and an old stamp.


This one below is made up of a magazine cutout, an old thank you card, paper bag, paper hearts from a gold envelope and yellow scrap paper, an old fortune cookie fortune and washi tape.


5. Hole punch each decorated paper roll. The good thing is, you can always add more since they’ll be connected by a shower curtain ring.


Here’s what they look like put together:


Alternative uses:
Gift card holder (link leads to the DIY from last year)
-Flashcards for study
-Gift tags
-mini handheld art gallery
-mini photo album

I LOVED THIS PROJECT! It was so fun and I felt like it was less overwhelming to decorate and less time consuming because the surface is much smaller compared to traditional scrapbook paper sizes. All materials and tools were things I had at home already.

the things I’ll never see

the things I’ll never see

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen

I went to a poetry festival a few years ago. There was one poet who stood out for me, but I unfortunately don’t remember her name. She read her poem aloud. After sitting through and hearing from other poets read their pieces, I admittedly felt kind of lost because I couldn’t understand what they were saying entirely. I know that this may be the case with some of my poetry pieces here and that’s okay. We all interpret things differently. But with her poem, I knew what she was saying. She talked about how she found value in writing poetry as a way for her to preserve history. She would reference animals of current day because someday they may not be current anymore. I didn’t value what she had said then, but I certainly do now.

This was years ago and it was relevant then as it is now. It’s safe to say that there are so many beautiful things in this world that I’ll never see. Safe to say and sad to say. After reading their post about Glacier National Park, Jennifer and Vivian reminded me of this poet. The value of her words and what they mean. Our world is disappearing piece by piece. There are things that my future children and their children will never ever get to see in person. And for causes that could have been preventable. It breaks my heart to realize this.

Our time in Glacier National Park was an unforgettable one. Beautiful as it was, we couldn’t help but question how it was possible a park that used to boast a large number of 150 glaciers now only have 25 active glaciers remaining –– which are said to disappear within 10 years. Can you believe that? In 10 years our future generations will no longer be able to see what we saw or enjoy what we enjoyed. In 10 years we won’t see the park as it was, ever again. Climate change is real. It’s happening in our lifetime and Glacier National Park is proof of that. – tinycaravan, To Explore: Glacier National Park

I so appreciate and value what we do have. It makes me savor the photographs and memories of the national parks I have seen (I feel so lucky to have the resources to do so) and to make a list of ones I want to visit that are still here; to preserve them through words and in life, to share them and shower them with love and attention.

Quick links from the National Park Service

Donate | Artist-in-Residence programs | Volunteer | Get an annual pass (4th graders can get for free)

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

It’s that time of year again! I love seeing the different styles of each since starting in 2016. If you’d like to see some photographs for my handmade 2016 & 2017 planners, check out this post called “paper-related items” I published last September. For 2016, I believe I just used a blank notebook and filled it in. 2017 and 2018 are made from scratch. My notes for this project are below :)

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Items used to make this planner: grocery paper bag, washi tape, black thread (and needle), block letter stamps, stamp ink, black pen, stencils, colored pencils, markers, blue pen, ruler, and loads of scrap paper (I decided to fold them in half, so the blank side could still be used).

Notes: It’s much more minimal this year with no photographs, or magazine cutouts. I also decided to create a table of contents page and numbered the pages. I saw that I didn’t use up all the pages from this year’s planner, so decided to cut down for next year’s. It was fun hand stamping the headings, however, I need more practice for sure. I wish the colors were a little different and that I figured out the dimensions for each day better. I’ll try to remember that for the 2019 calendar :) Lighting and quality varies with each photograph since I used different cameras. Creating holes for the binding took a bit and my hands got sore, but it was totally worth it for me. This project made me want to make more handmade journal-like things.

some home cookin’ VII

some home cookin’ VII

I haven’t made a post like this since January. That’s a really long time! My attention has been drawn elsewhere from travel to career to life in between. I recently made some yummy things and I’m happy to share these pieces of moments with you. It gives me happiness and calmness when I can make good food for fun and not for chore.

Recently, I’ve been getting into yellow squash a lot and kind of wish I knew about them a lot earlier. They are so easy to make and so delicious! Unfortunately, I don’t have photographs from any dishes with them. I usually photograph when I think to. I’ve also been baking more and you’ll notice that from below.

I hope you’re having a great day so far :) Hover over the photograph if you’d like to read some caption notes.

strawberry crumb pie thingy – had some strawberries in fridge and didn’t want to eat it alone – also, it’s really easy to make! Last time I made this, it was wayyy too sweet, this time it’s not sweet enough. I’ll figure it out someday :)
basil pesto – no one told me this was so easy to make!?! simple ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. I used this sauce with some potato gnocchi (frozen) and it was so yummy.
beef goulash – ground beef, yellow peppers, diced cherry tomatoes, macaroni pasta – reallly tasty! easy execution, but time-wise can take a little longer than usual for me. I had to use up some macaroni pasta and wanted something different.
Loved the bursting color combination – prep pic for goulash
peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – taste is good, I lessened the sugar. Texture is not my favorite. Too dense, but luckily still chewy.

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.” Maya Angelou
do not pass

do not pass


I see this often. On city streets, there’s always a crane craning its head into the spaces of the sky. Dust and random building material I don’t know of scatter all over the pavement and the areas are temporarily restricted. Reserved. I see this image symbolically today.

Although not always beautiful and sometimes unwanted, we build on. We don’t have metal guards reserving spaces for each transition. We continue growth whether we are ready or not; whether it’s for the right reasons or not. Although many of us will sustain a routine that is quite the same day to day, we are in constant change. Each day, our hair will grow longer and our faces age with each smile and frown. Beyond the physical, our surroundings change all the time. Our landscapes, our relationships and how we see ourselves are molded with each experience and interaction.

And without forgetting, we are always building onto our present and future. I think parents and guardians are good examples of this. Both caring for their young in the present, but also preparing them for the future in this ever-changing world. All of this stuff is amazing when I take a moment to think about it; how valuable time truly is and what we want to use it on.



stillness in change

stillness in change


As ever beautiful nature is,
Life’s challenges comes as easy.
In the midst of chaos,
There are also roses of care
Grown, delivered and received.
Streams of light still shines
Even in the last moments of sunsets.
Streams of water cool and calm in the night.
For a mere few hours, a new day begins.
A new path to create if we choose to.
Or an old path to follow if we do not.



As simply beautiful as a waterfall is,
The movement has layers of complexities.

Starting as one long stream,
Each water molecule unites.
Traveling together as a whole.

As rock formations collide,
Divisions and barriers are created.
One stream becomes several,
Each traveling on their own path.


After several paths align with light,
They create the intangible rainbow.
Illuminating through each as they pass.


Becoming a whole new entity.
A creation of beauty needing both,
Not one or just the other.


Weathering through the imminent crash at the bottom,
Supporting and uniting together again like before.

Calm and peaceful waters drift along,
More different than before,
but unchanged in their element.

Narada Falls, Washington.

a redwood tree

a redwood tree

What would I see,
If I was the tallest tree (in the world)?
My age is but a number,
But a great number indeed.

Thousands of years,
Earth’s changes I’ve seen many.
I am resilient, strong and reliable.
Withstanding weather beatings a plenty.

Come visit me and my family.
We are calming and wise.
A new connection to nature,
Will surely be a pleasant surprise.

flower loving

flower loving

I do this thing when I see flowers. I love taking photographs of them because I like showing them to my mom the next time I see her. She was a really great gardener when I was growing up and even up until recent years. Due to her health and energy, she hasn’t had motivation to really focus on it. But I think it’s still her true love for sure. I remember I used to joke with her when I was little about how she loved her flower babies more than us kiddos and she would joke back. Luckily, she still cares for her indoor plants. Whenever I show her a new picture, she always has some information to say about how to care for them, how they grow or any special characteristics they have. It’s the best when her eyes open wide and she says aloud, “Wow, that’s really beautiful!” I love that and admire her constant love them; even though it’s changed from what it used to be.