diversity is beautiful

diversity is beautiful

the words you speak become the house you live in” – Estelea (blogger friend)

I have these words posted on my wall and I read them this morning. It makes sense. What it means and the importance of how we talk and what we talk about eventually become a part of us. On the way back home today, the sky showed its most beautiful colors. Pink skies are the prettiest, I think, with it swirling among the blue sky and orange sunset. With every turn the car made, I could see colors just peeking through the spaces of the tree branches and above backyards of houses being lived in. Beyond the highway, I could see it clearer and it made me really feel grateful for all there is. Simple as that. Something we all see without anything other than with our eyes. To feel with our insides without needing to speak to connect with.

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ebru art piece – to make your own, read this

Colors are beautiful. Without all the diversity, there wouldn’t be any emotion, character, and harmony. There would be nothing. One color stands with another and mixes and blends together as naturally and easily as any other. And this reminds me of an observation I made on the train the other day.

We all try to make it. Foreigners and natives alike, we try. Try so hard to wake up in the morning to reach the too early designated time someone had the brilliant idea of. To not cross it. To start our day by it. To earn a living and reach closer to what we want our lives to be. I’m on the train and I see a man with well-made shoes, but not well-polished. He takes out an English textbook. English is not his native language, I assume, because he looks like my dad. But it’s only an assumption. Our world is so big and there are so many possibilities of everything that we can only assume. And he reads. Learning more, taking on more because he wants to. Because he can. Life is less scary when you know what you’re in for. Or not. Maybe it’s scarier to face the truths. To face reality. Maybe he’s braver to want more. To seek all and not just get by. I wonder how many times he’s thought of where he’s been and where he wants to go.

Diversity is beautiful. These are my words. I want to live in a house full of diverse ideas, to share a love for life and explore it all. I want to live in a house of which was built on the foundation of kindness, happiness and peace. To live among individuals who want to work together and make a stronger, healthy world. A house that is protected and appreciated for its shelter, comfort and relief. Because then, what is a house otherwise? Where American Dreams don’t come true and words like us and them meant we were against each other?

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ebru art piece from above shown under blacklight

We can all illuminate our colors and still be in harmony. There is enough space & resources for all of us, if we let it.

the things we own & meaning | sustainability

the things we own & meaning | sustainability

It’s now February, beautiful February. It never lasts as long as the other months, but it does hold quite a bit of quality doesn’t? I always think pink. Or red–a nice warm vision (although the weather may show otherwise). With recent events, we can use a lot of warmth nowadays; inside and out. Whenever I see children in the city, young, cute and energetic, I remember that we have to teach them. Teach them to be kind, to share, to respect one another. To love.

And so I wanted to show some love today.

For this, specifically, are things I gathered that were either secondhand from family or friends or from my adventures in thrift shopping. I took a moment to really think about why these items were important to me. I encourage you to look at the things you own/use/have and really think about its meaning to you. Do consider what you buy, why you buy and for how long you will have it. Consider in investing on pieces that matter more and last longer.

I used to really love just browsing a store and if I saw something I really thought I liked, I’d buy it. Nowadays, it’s not the case. I do still like browsing and I sometimes have the urge to buy, but it’s not at all like it used to be. A lot of the things I see in stores don’t have meaning to me anymore. I take an extra moment to think about: 1. Is this something I have already? (Nice jeans, but how many do we need of these?) 2. How long will this feeling of happiness last? (A lot of times, my answer is.. until I have it and then it just becomes a part of my other wardrobe pieces). 3. How important is this to me, really?

Here are some of my dear things:

my first 35mm camera (secondhand):
I had a 35mm camera prior to the one I have now. It was my dad’s and it did take really beautiful photographs. I remember I had to look everywhere for their specific batteries and it was a journey. But it was worth it. Below is a photograph from this camera:

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cigar box purse made of embroidery beads (thrifted):
It was so beautiful. It was my first time going to this thrift store and it had so many unique and funky things (a huge telescope, colorful sofas, etc) I saw the purse sitting on a shelf and it was so eye-catching. It’s also very well made. This item reminds me that there are beautiful, practical upcycled items–makes me feel inspired & creative!

t-shirts (secondhand):
I think this is something everyone can relate with. I wear all kinds of t-shirts I’ve gotten over the years from loved ones. I especially like the oldie ones. They hold special meaning to the person I got it from, but also for me. It’s not just a shirt I can get at a mall. There are stories, memories and reasons behind them.

Although I care about these items, I know that they are only a catalyst of what holds the most value: time, ideas, emotions, people & experiences. One day, these items may find themselves in a new home with new owners who can feel the joy and inspiration I’ve had. Or at least I hope so. Even if it just produces practicality and ease in someone’s life will be enough of their existence–but it should be sustainable.

rejoice.

rejoice.

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how easy it is to be happy,
if we think to. decide to.
john cusack said it right,
“why can’t you be in a good mood?
how hard is it to decide to be in a good mood
and be in a good mood once in a while?”
– Lloyd Dobler (in the film Say Anything)

this simple quote moved me.
i think of it sometimes out of the blue.
when i’m thinking of something else
doing something else and then i see john
talking with his sister and i hear this,
“how hard is it to decide?”

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how many beautiful views we have seen?
of how many suns we have felt on our skin?
to touch all the textures of food, fabric, & flowers.
smelling rain, cafes, clean clothes and mom’s home cooking.
singing to feel all our insides because we know the words are true.
and swinging on the swings like the first time as a kid.
to be carefree because it’s okay to stop worrying some time.
smile and smile and smile and smile and smile
laugh so hard tears come out and your heart can’t take it
and you’re out of breathe because it is so funny.
or the feeling of calm in the morning on a weekend
& drink the warm tea & hot chocolate & indulge just because.
to speak with friends and family and know you’re not alone
or to be alone knowing  who you are & where you’ve been.

rejoice, because it’s a good time to do so.
it always is.

Happy Chinese New Year friends!

the edge

the edge

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You know when you watch a film with a lot of meaning to it and they capture this shot in which no one is seen, but you can feel a very heavy presence of something.. sentiment or emotion or something left behind? I get this feeling a lot when I see the edges of the sun as it sets. When the colors mesh together so beautifully in the sky and taking a photograph of is so pointless because it can never be captured. Although, I still do try often, it’s a truth I’m learning to accept. I have given up a few times now more recently and just enjoyed the view for what is without the camera lens.

There are some memories you don’t need to have physical proof of. I know my parents used to take photographs at only very important events and nowadays, it’s such a common thing to do. The food we eat, the people we see every day and the place we live are captured in a million photographs. I often find myself looking at photographs I’ve taken in the past year, at trips I went on and feel grateful to have documented as I have. But it’s the stories attached to those things that stick out, right? The stories of the moments you want to treasure and know it cannot be replicated.

I know it sounds super random, but I love seeing the day to day of how things were when the photograph was taken. Like with my parent’s photographs, they have taken shots of their old apartment and the old car they used to have or the garden they grew or even the logo of a soda bottle in that time… it’s fascinating to me.

The idea I would like to be is to capture the moments in between; right before the edge is gone but enough to enjoy it, too.

some home cookin’ VI

some home cookin’ VI

Been cooking a lot more lately. Can you tell this is because of the colder season? (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food dish) I usually cook udon noodles in a soup, but it’s really good in a stir-fry, too. Also, I was afraid of cooking eggplant.. there’s something about it. The eggplant parm came out good though. Maybe I’ll try some other eggplant dish someday.

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black bean, corn, tri-color penne pasta with turkey meatballs, shredded cheese and tomato sauce
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stir-fried udon noodles with broccoli, fish balls, bok choy, fried tofu pieces, in a sauce with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce, sesame oil
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Spicy tri-color penne pasta with marinated sauteed shrimp with green onions and parmesan cheese (looks rather plain but it was super delicious)
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eggplant parm, my first time cooking this dish. it’s tasty! There were more eggplant hiding under the sauce.
i am nice

i am nice

i-am-nice
inspired by Crumpled Paper Cranes’ Five Hundred Cats project
*this sweet cat got adopted, so it was bittersweet, I’m sure s/he’s loved wherever s/he is.

a friend & protector,
her/his motto:
do not trespass without ask.
cute also comes with claws.
my favorite of all the others.
their sweetness filled the room,
quickly, s/he found a new home.

I.
When I move,
You see my true self.
I follow you with love,
Love to chase mice for you.
My friends say I am nice.

II.
New friends, I’m happy to meet.
Smells of enticing food, I must eat.
I will rub them to show they are mine.
Hey, what’s that over by the window?

III.
Other cats, they pay no mind.
Boring they are. Sleep through time.
Adventures, here I come!

take a walk with me

take a walk with me

The following photographs were taken at my local pond/hiking area last summer. I took more focus on how exceptionally beautiful it was that day and decided to document a few things about it and post some reflections. I also took some video footage of the peaceful waves and ducks taking their time in the water as they swam by (maybe I will make a video of it some time this year). I hope 2017 is starting off well for all of you.

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There are colors that deserve some love. I know I take green for granted because I see it more often than others, but they deserve a shout out too. Nature is so beautiful in how … natural it is!

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This little (big) friend just wanted some time in the sun. This image reminds me of strength. Climbing and swimming to get to the light he yearns for and ultimately succeeds. EXTRA credit, did you see the two OTHER turtles or maybe there’s even three? When I took this photograph, I actually intended to feature the bigger one. My love saw it later and said that I also caught a glimpse of some little turtles, too. It was a nice surprise.

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You see those green patches of grass in the back there? That used to be all water, too. After watching some climate change documentaries, I have a sinking feeling it’s because of that. I did some research and the EPA website states that “Lakes get smaller through a combination of increased evaporation caused by warmer temperatures, permafrost thaw which allows lakes to drain more readily, and greater accumulation of decomposing plant material on lake bottoms caused by greater plant growth.” source: Climate Impacts in Alaska, EPA

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I absolute love this view. The wind was light and it was just a nice place to take a moment and breathe in.

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Decided to take a look up at the drooping leaves.

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Poor tree! We were hiking and saw this guy on the way through.

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Some friends hanging out.

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When I saw this, I thought about all the different stages of life this rock must of went through. The imprints of history, time and weather effects it experienced seen by its exterior. How strong it is.

green tip #10 | sustainability | 5 ways to reuse this packaging box

green tip #10 | sustainability | 5 ways to reuse this packaging box

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Thinking about how to be more eco-friendly really stretches my creativity. I start to see every day items and give it new meaning. I think about their purpose and the materials it is made of. For instance, this box used to carry bottles of water. In the past, I would see packaging and immediately just recycle. Without a thought of what it could be used for in another way.

Then, I would go to a mega-chain store and purchase organizational furniture or products that could easily be made from the packaging we get all the time: empty boxes, yogurt containers, fruit jam glass jars and even plastic take-out containers. Those yogurt containers could be washed out clean and used as pens/pencils/paint brush holders or planting pots for flowers. They usually have a cute & colorful design anyway. The glass jars could be used to carry extra change or office supplies. Turn your cereal boxes into magazine holders or paper organizers.

After reading this post, I am more cautious with what plastic items to re-use (some plastics cannot be re-used and should be recycled after one use).

Since they are packaging material, they are usually made very well. They are durable and sturdy. Yes, they aren’t the most visually appealing when it comes to decorating your home, but this is where the creativity and fun comes in. Get some inspiration from what you would have purchased and go from there. Paint it or design with magazine pictures or photographs or other items of memories.

Regarding the box pictured above, I have a few ideas to re-use it.

1. Fold in the two flaps on the sides, turn it horizontal and it can now be used as a shoe organizer. I have a metal shoe organizer that cost me money and it may even rust later. But this one is free, does the same job and no rusting since it’s paper. (This is actually what I used this box for.)

2. Take more of these boxes and stack them on top of each other. Stick them to each other by glue or tape and cut away the flaps. Now it can be a book shelf, a DVD/CD/video games shelf.

3. Use this box for transporting items that can’t be separated. The slots make it snug for less moving and the divide keeps the items together, but organized.

4. Turn this box into a memory or toy box. Decorate it with amusing fun images from previous travel trips or toys for your children. Maybe store your old yearbooks or scrapbooks.

5. If you have a cat, see if it can be a fun little toy for him or her. Maru the cat loves playing in boxes. Here’s a cute video of him.

Practice this exercise next time you put something in recycling or the trash. Could this be useful somewhere else?

some home cookin’ V

some home cookin’ V

Yay! Another home cookin’ post. Feel free to check out post one, two, three, and four of this home cooking posting series. As always, I hope you are all well and smiling :) (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food dish)

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rice vermicelli noodles, fried tofu, fish balls, bok choy

fried-lasagna-square

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Fried rice with shrimp and bok choy – scrambled eggs, peas, chopped green onions, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, some hoisin sauce, some soy sauce, some sriracha, boy choy and shrimp
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Ricotta pie. My first ever pie. I hope to make many more. This one wasn’t my favorite, but my love liked it. He said it has a subtle sweet taste. This is made with chocolate chips.
lemon & orange bars

lemon & orange bars

This is a sneak peak to the next some home cookin’ post. I checked my archives and I haven’t posted one since August (the post’s here in case you’re interested). Whoa.. too long! I’ll feature this in the next one. I’m slowly getting back to it and it’s fun. I made these lemon bars for a birthday gathering and I like them… so much so, I tried it with freshly squeezed orange juice as opposed to lemon juice. Not as defined in terms of taste & reallllly sweet, but I still love that shortbread cookie crust. It’s simple to make and inspires me to try out other desserts. I went a little overboard with powdered sugar, but it’s fitting with snow this winter! I’m giving some to my family as a little treat!

*not sure why the photograph doesn’t stay when you click on it. sorry for inconvenience!