Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year!

February 2011 - :) Things are well. They always are.

Ever since my inspiring weekend last week, I've just been so amazed at the photos I took so long ago, when I retouched them a little bit in Camera Raw, how invigorated and amazing they appear now.

I'm falling back in love with the craft, and I appreciate my new camera so much more.

Such a fun hobby, and I can say, I'll never know everything about it, but I'm so excited to learn more and more techniques and work closer to being able to get the images I want on a more consistent basis. Experimentation is always fun, and I never want to lose that mindset.

Here are some things I've learned over the past years.
*I never know when something amazing will come up, but there really is beauty in everything. It's my interpretation as an artist to find that perspective, and capture it. The gift lies in the interpretation. If I didn't have the firm belief that there was beauty around me, I wouldn't capture half the moments I did, and I wouldn't be able to interpret the photos I did take (by cropping, etc).
*There are a lot of things you can prize about the photo... the unique subject matter, the composition, the angle, the depth of field, the colors, the contrast, the size of the photo, etc. And this is where the beauty lies. There are tons of ways to make a photo special.
*I can't compare myself to other photographers or simply say, he/she is better than me, or I am better than him/her. As in life, everyone sees things differently, and I'm sure if they gave themselves the chance, they could create something interesting. Time and time again I see some AMAZING photos from amateur photographers that simply had the courage to take the photo, in the moment. They may not have thought of the composition, the depth of field, or any of those elements, but still deserving, they created a fantastic photo they deemed interesting. And we can always learn from these serendipitous photos and also those methodical photoshoots that take staged lighting, tripods, and hundreds of shots to get the 'one'.
*There will be photo sessions where no good photos will come of it. That's okay. It's the price of learning!
*Each type of photography comes with a different set of challenges, which means a different arsenal of tools should be used to capture exactly what you want. (e.g. macro lens for macro photography, portrait shots - telephoto lens, night photos - long exposures/tripods, etc). There's a lot to learn! :D
*It should always be fun!

Oy! I've been writing for too long - I must wake up to go to 10am class tomorrow! :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Stretch.

So.. it's December 30th.


My promise to myself on January 1st of this year was to have a post per day!

Although I underestimated the difficulty of this task, when I re-read what I wrote, I really do surprise myself. This has been great. I realized that this journal has a purpose for me and anyone that may stumble upon it. If there were days where I couldn't find the positivity I needed to push myself, I could always refer back to the entire year of 2010: read the 365 posts of memories, thoughts, streams of consciousness, or feelings about how I'm doing a great job and to just keep going for another day.

Deep breath.

I feel a bit nervous. I usually find out something I didn't know about myself by investigating myself this deeply. I'm going to be deeply thinking about the past few months - the whole year too - and it's this kind of deep focus that I don't do much until there's a crisis.

It's crisis mode, but it's good for me. I need to fulfill this promise to myself because it means I've truly changed as an individual and it's symbolic at how I'm a much different person.

See you guys on the other side - This has been the happiest, most successful year in my life. Here's to 2011 - second servings of what I had in 2010, but better quality and refinement! :D

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


To me, positivity is about the non-controversial. It's about bringing together, and not focusing on the topics that divide. It's when my parents start talking about politics, trying to foist their opinions on me, that I try my hardest to bring out the zen side, the calm, that Mother Teresa-esque side that I think we are all capable of.

It takes power to do it consistently and day-in, day-out.

I think most people would connect non-controversial with boring.

I also think most people would connect controversial with... exciting or entertaining. Maybe it's why the media and our news is laden with sensational headlines or the TV shows that do well are the ones that satiate our hunger for drama.

I'm all about bringing people together. I'm about honesty. Sometimes those two clash. I want everyone to have a good time, be happy in this present moment - but someone else may want everyone to have a reality check and bring their form of honesty to the table.

Every day I will choose bringing people together over forcing the truth down someone's throat. For all I know, my perceptions of the truth may be wrong. I may not yet know the exact ingredients to living the best life, so all I am empowered to do is leave a zero-negativity footprint.

I've realized this year that a lot of my friends and family don't understand this way of life. But misunderstanding doesn't mean there can't be respect, and love. I feel like I've tried the negativity approach for the last 20 years. This one works a WHOLE LOT better.

It is entirely possible to be non-controversial and still be a fascinating, interesting, and classy individual. It'll take much more work however, than simply relying on knowing one's hot buttons and pressing them at the right time to get a reaction.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Most of my blogs are about the present times, but this one goes back to the archives - the past. It was inspired by a dance number on So You Think You Can Dance, performed by Neil and Kent. [Link here:]

The piece is about relationships and the deterioration of one, with betrayal. In the routine, there are just certain parts that capture the emotion so well. Neil and Kent are standing with their arms around the other's shoulders. Neil ducks under his arm and leaves him behind.

There's also the part where Neil strums his hand in anticipation and blood lust before he backstabs Kent; I can't even begin to describe how real that was.

It couldn't get more real when Kent started to fight back.

A year ago, right before the clock struck midnight, I had a choice. I could start 2010 on my terms, or I could start on his.

I scrolled over his name, saw his number, and for a long time, I knew this moment was coming. Dozens of times, I just set the phone on lock and paced around, gripping the phone in hand like it had a trigger.

My cousin, normally upbeat and lighthearted, said with a somber and understanding voice, "Just call him. Start the year off right."

I walked outside to the garage and the crisp air bit me. I exhaled and pressed his name. I heard all of the rings and heard the lifeless automatic voicemail message. My message was unassuming, full of congratulations for the new year and hope, placing my best foot forward as if it'd be my last. With dignity.

Relief set in. I did all I could do. I was still bright eyed.

The days past by. There was never a call.

I started out with such belief and hope. I knew his habits, and I felt, as a symbol of positivity and strength, I was magnetic enough to draw him in to overcome any of his doubts and pessimism. The time that passed began to speak louder than the precious moments we had. While my body screamed in anguish, my heart galvanized itself with strength better than I could have ever orchestrated with intellect. My bright eyes returned but they were different.

I had no idea that he would slip from under my arm, thinking we stood side by side all along. I didn't realize it'd hurt so much when he made a conscious choice to disappear.

Like in the dance routine, I fought back and I got closure on my own terms. I said in 2010, there would be no patience for disrespect when it came to my heart.

Sincerely, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Monday, December 27, 2010


My dad got to me when he told me his views about friendship. 'They are temporary. Family is the only one you can truly count on. If something happened to you, which of your so called friends would come help you out? Get your phone out right now. Tell them you need help because you're stranded somewhere. Which of them are your friends?

I was insulted at the accusations. I was frustrated. It's a matter of opinion.

Time abated my strong feelings.

I told my best friend what happened.. the words that upset me.

I said, "My dad asked, 'If you were out stranded in between Houston to Austin because your car broke down, who would help you out?'"

Immediately in between my story, he said, "I would come get you."

That statement touched my heart.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


March 2011 - Why yes, salsa is a great food class.

Haha, this actual dance class is such great fun. I love that I committed to it, because it's been so fun to have actual steps to be able to perform on the dance floor.

When I partied with George this weekend, I did some salsa moves with Christine, and she ... attempted... to mimic my smooth moves. It just felt natural to do, and I had a great time.

I have realized, you can really dance latin steps to any song. Really. Just try. Pick a slow song, fast song, the basic step can be implemented universally.

The class is so fun, and I have such a great time dancing with the guys. I would love to accelerate my learning, but for the commitment level we all have, I think we're progressing nicely.

We learned choreography which was tough, but the actual steps Lucia taught us, are ones I won't ever forget. I love the turns and improvising with the guy I'm dancing with.

Something that's been difficult to learn are the hand movements and the 'style' to embed in the dance. That has been much harder than the footwork. But after practicing in the mirror, I think I've got it! :)

Salsa is all in the mind -- then it comes out in the presentation. ^_^ Happy dancing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


This was the first year, I didn't care about the presents. I used to feel like a collector, where I'd collect 'payment' or presents from everyone and for that end only. How empty. :( Over the year, the materialism has meant less and less. I don't want it to be who I am. "Is this physical thing going to make my life happier?" Usually it's a no. So I'm proud of myself for being able to let those desires go.

I was really happy at what I got, the little I did. For sure.

The thing that touched me the most was thinking to myself, "Someone thought about me. They thought about me enough to go out and use their money for my benefit. Also, they wrapped a present for me. They delivered it to me. For me."

For everyone that got me presents - it meant a lot to me.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year because it brings everyone together. It's really fun! As I played Just Dance and Just Dance 2 for 4 hours straight with my cousins, I forgot how fun it was to let go, let the adults do the planning, and just feast... play... and kick it. :) Great times.

Friday, December 24, 2010

UH Art Contest.

February 2011 - I read the signs in the M.D. Anderson library for an art contest. Submissions were being accepted from all majors at the university. I immediately saw myself putting something together and being on the wall.

I knew I had to try.

I put in many hours to create the best collage I could. My theme was Houston and the concept of home, and the symbolism of the beauty within it that is oft overlooked.

I put in my collage into, and was happy to see that it would be finished at approximately 7pm, SuperBowl Sunday. That would only take one hour. There were MANY MANY obstacles to come.

At around 9pm, I was concerned that I received no confirmation for my collage via email. I thought it could be a simple administrative error so I called the OST Walgreens for myself. They said that they received my order, but they were having issues, so they would call me back at my number. I was very forgiving for this because I placed the order in early, and figured at the latest, I'd get it in a few hours. No sweat off my back.

At about 11pm, I was still concerned, so I called back and asked for an update, and they told me that my order was accidentally deleted. I was flabbergasted, but tried to keep my cool, which was helped when she said that I could simply re-submit my collage online. I asked the obvious question, what if my collage didn't exist anymore? She said, it should still be there, along with my account. That made sense to me, and before I got off the phone, she mentioned there'd be a shift change so I would be speaking to a new manager but that he would be briefed and I would get a 50% discount for my troubles.

I wasn't bothered by this. I still had the morning to deal, and again, nothing was lost, although I fought to get the collage in the exact arrangement as I previously had. I was a bit hurt that they would not call me to let me know.

At this point I got to the last prompt of the online submission of my collage, and Walgreens could not locate a store for me to pick-up my collage. I took a few deep breaths and tried again, several times. After that, I called the Walgreens OST location. I was speaking to the new manager, who seemed unemotional and unsympathetic towards me. I explained my situation, and he simply said, the system is rebooting and my order wouldn't be able to go through until 2am. I was just speechless from the heartlessness. I asked if I could go in person to handle this, and he said, the entire system boots up, so it wouldn't help. After a long silence, he says, I am sorry, in a very insincere way.

I get off the phone with many words left to say but no audience. I immediately call customer service for Walgreens and pour my heart out, but it is only until the end when the sweet phone representative asks for my number to call me, do I break down. My voice is uneven, it's cracking, and I can't articulate the numbers with the strength that I did when I told my story. She says all of the right things, and I feel so much better that a stranger could uplift me.

I take a nap, and wake up at 4am to find the system up and running. I try again, and my submission goes through. I want them to work at this during the morning. I fall back asleep. It's noon.

I check my voicemail, and it's Walgreen's. I call them back, and a new manager wants to hear my side of the story, to which, after a night of sleep sounds completely different from the emotional one I told hours ago to the phone representative. She tells me with a ring of optimism in her voice that my order is ready and if I'm planning to pick it any time soon. I'm surprised by the urgency, and say I'll be coming in an hour or so.

I get dressed and I arrive at Walgreens. I am ready to pay and submit my art piece at the Architecture building. She informs me that only a $5 discount will be taken and at this point, I don't want to argue. I just want to focus on the outcome of submitting my collage, so I oblige. She makes a joke that I should probably see what's in it and if it's to my liking.

To everyone's chagrin, the box is empty. It turns out the print order never ran. Now, if I didn't love everyone on this planet to an extent, I would've flipped out, but flipping out doesn't help anything. I give a wry grin, knowing that I can't react the way that hordes of disgruntled customers have; I've got to keep it cool.

She is on a mad frenzy to talk to someone on the phone to lead her through, and I need to go to class soon, so I let the cashier know if I should just come back later. She gets off the phone and apologizes, and asks if I can wait 10-15 minutes. I pause, and say yes. I then sit down and someone mistakes me for an employee and I try to help her for a few seconds before realizing, I'm not qualified. :)

I start to make the best out of waiting, and I'm being thoroughly entertained when she comes and finds me at one of the aisles with my box collage. I smile, and walk with her when she says, I'm so sorry, and here you go. I say, okay, are we going to pay for this? And she says, no. It's on us. I ask, are you sure? She says, yes. And smiles. I say, thank you, and give her a hug.

I leave the Walgreens with my pride, because I let the employees keep theirs today. She made a comment earlier that she knew I was the one who bought it, and to this day, I for the life of me do not know how she could 'know'. :)

Phase 2 - I bought my frame at Texas Art Supply for approximately $30 and after asking several questions. I was happy with my choice and after learning how to put the collage in, I felt a bit more accomplished at how much I learned.

Phase 3 - After calling the Architecture school, it turns out they extended the deadline. Thank goodness. I had a couple of days to sort out when I could turn it in.

I wait until the last day, and there's no proper gaps to go home during the day, so I end up having to carry my collage in the harshest rain Houston has felt in a long time. My collage gets super wet and I pray that the cosmetic damage doesn't affect my chances. There's a huge scratch from the metal of my jeans from when I walked furiously to school and held the frame with one arm.

I get to class, and after Admin lab, Sanjay is a sweetheart and carries my frame for me. It's still raining, and we get inside the architecture building, and it feels as if it's the last leg of a marathon. I get inside, and the library is quiet, and I declare that I want to turn in my submission. The lady inside is beaming and has me sign some forms. The forms I had were wet, soggy, and probably very unprofessional looking. I apologize for the dampness of these papers and my submission.

She hands me some paper towels, and me and Sanjay try to clean up the water to the best of our ability off of the actual collage paper.

It wasn't ideal, but life often isn't, so I turned it in with pride and a sense of relief at what this journey symbolized weighed heavily on me. After a few days, I got an email saying decisions were the most difficult this year due to the sheer amount of submissions, and my piece unfortunately was not accepted.

I had my acceptance with this news, and then I quickly bounced back and wrote an email to the person who coordinated this contest and thanked her for the opportunity to put my newfound art skills to the test.

I thanked her for allowing me to VIE for something that was meaningful. I had never had this kind of outlet before and there was something within me that blossomed beautifully. My inner artist that yearned to be free. Plenty of successful people began as failures. But the distinction is they kept going and going, which is what I intend to do. I love the piece, and when I picked it up in the holding room, I felt like a proud parent of this photography collage.

Years ago, I would have never attempted this kind of feat, but this whole year of growth has changed a lot of notions, and with that is the addition of the title, Artist.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


After finals ended, I went through a battery of TV show watching. I finished watching this really interesting show called the Millionaire Matchmaker.

The host is Patti Stanger. Apparently she's a 3rd generation matchmaker, who was taught by her mom predominantly about the values and what it takes to create great dates and how to match people based on compatibility. For the first few shows, I disagreed on a lot of points that Patti had to make. I also disagreed with her approach; she was abrasive, blunt, and she judged people based on appearance with comments that were downright harsh.

After TWO entire seasons of hearing Patti Stanger's phrases, her rationale, the way she made decisions, I felt like I took a crash course in matchmaking and ... for myself, I think I've gained some nuggets of wisdom on how to approach the romance world. It was pretty eye-opening, some of the conceptions that have changed in my mind, especially when I thought I would only be gaining sensational entertainment value, like MTV or something. :)

Here are some of the gems:
*I found it interesting that when she created mixers for her millionaires, she always put a 'test' candidate in there, that would be the WRONG choice. Someone she knew the millionaire chose as a 'type', and this 'type' usually didn't work out. Patti felt that the best way to learn is to be able to have the realism of an actual choice of two people presented in front of you - so you can truly showcase that you've learned the lesson of not choosing the person that's bad for you, the person that's just gorgeous on the outside and much younger, but not much in terms of true comptability. The word compatibility has gained a lot more meaning to me.
*When I think of the guys I have met, or the guys I used to completely deem as perfect, I can see how I chose my 'type', or the ones that might be physically attractive, but I noticed the trend... it wouldn't last if that's all it was based upon. I can now, turn my back on someone that's very good looking, and before, it would be like torture, but seeing it happen 30 times in a row on TV, makes it hard for me not to anchor this lesson and make the right choice. I know I would not be happy with someone that doesn't do it for me physically and emotionally. It's just when it comes to the physical factor, it's pretty broad, so the emotional connection is way important to me.
*Being charming and just a pleasant fun person doesn't come as a given with age. As I watched dozens of late 30-somethings and 40 something year olds go on dates galore, there were some tactless personalities and situations that caused my jaw to drop on the ground. Age doesn't refine someone automatically... it takes work, and hopefully I'm doing alright.
*Time is so valuable. Yes, there's always time to learn and experiment. But in the prime years of a person's life, one's youth, she really convinced me to not waste it on the guys that aren't in it for real. And one thing I've learned is that one's hook up value is not the same as their relationship value = truthfully to say, just because someone will hook up with you does not mean they will settle down with you. Putting that in perspective, I'd rather spend my time trying to find something that will work for me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paradise Circus.

This song by Massive Attack, Paradise Circus, is so ethereal and sensual. It's amazing.

I first heard the song as background music in True Blood, the TV show I'm quite enamored by, which is about vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures in their attempts to coexist. :) The premise underdelivers how awesome the show is.

Paradise Circus evokes emotional undertones, and I've been thinking a lot about which emotions it strikes. I think it cuts through any layers I may have on at the moment and it has a way of keeping me honest on an emotional level. It keeps me exposed, expressive, and raw. There are few songs that can just... open a person up like that. On a tangent, music is the fastest thing to evoke an emotional reaction, and I find that amazing.

Over the past year, as I've absorbed things here and there, and I've questioned the function of everything. It's really gotten me more attuned to psychology and understanding the motives for why people create thigns. The pieces have been fitting together like puzzle pieces as numerous A-ha! moments happened this year. I understand more and more how interconnected things are, such as music, current events, and the attitudes we as human beings take on. Watching movies, and how the actors portray their characters starts to make a whole lot of sense when I start to understand what they are motivated by. Everything is intertwined...

I've been thinking a while at what would be a good fitting song for my photography website portfolio. It's supposed to be a background or a primer to set the mood and to paint the photographs a certain way, and I think it's a good choice. :) YAY for serendipity.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's Going On?

Every now and then I need to do a reality check with myself. Of course I do my best to stay present, and keep my mental state POSITIVE since it's the thermostat I can control, and I'm truly a believer of controlling my thoughts so that my actions are consistent with an optimistic lifestyle...

But, insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Sometimes glossing over and making everything positive without fully assessing things can lead to a sit-down with myself where I find out, it's time to change my approach. When it's that time, it can seem schizophrenic to outsiders. It certainly feels a bit schizophrenic to me.

So this is the contradiction. Over the year, I've come to find that a lot of life's choices are really tough. They are hard, and they come from a place that logic and rationality can't begin to touch. It's facing these contradictions and picking the poker hand that's good for me at the time, that's been the toughest call. So friends, family, and people I love, my decisions have been the best I could manage at that point in time. They have been imperfect, they have led to consequences I could not have imagined, but at least I began to trust myself and broke away from the insanity that led to the same results.

For the next year, there will be a crossroads I'll face even more often, as I start working full-time, end my collegiate career, deal with romance, and other things life will reward me. Life's not a game, but I intend to play full out. So, here's to more questionable judgment calls I'll have to make, and hoping I have the heart to ACT and not delay.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mark Kanemura.

On why he came back to SYTYCD:
"That's why I came back to kick my butt. I wanted this show to kick my butt again. And hopfully I'll grow again and learn more.

What advice would you say to season 7 contestants of SYTYCD:
"I would tell them that even when it gets hard you can get through it. Like there's always a way to get through it. When you think you can't go on any more, you can, there's always a little ounce of you that's going to get you through it. When you look back, you're just going to have all of this experience and you're going to be proud of yourself for getting through it."

On pressure and staying focused:
"There's so much going on around you, that you have to stay in it."

I just think it's great advice for me and the challenges I'm having right now, staying focused, keeping motivated, and why I should return to the things that kick my ass and how to stay motivated.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

After the Flame.

I have noticed a trend with my past flames. After the flame has doused, we may intermittently keep in touch, but really, they all falter and fade away from my life.

When my high school friend and I parted ways at the end of October, there was a cordial invitation at seeing another 'soon.' Ah, the word soon. It indicates longing, without the commitment.

Then a phone call came. To my surprise, I had a really nice conversation and we made plans to meet at Sawyer Park. Could it be? Someone that could be a friend after the flame?

He told me about the commercial he and friends made and his plans for a Zombie movie. I, lover of zombie films and TV shows, had to give my seal of approval, and after he took me through many of the nuances of the plot and 10 minute intro of the film, I have to say, it's pretty good.

He said something that touched my heart and gave me a lot of sincere hope. He spoke about seeing some of our old high school peers at a restaurant. He said that he could've done a quick awkward hello and goodbye, and say the obligatory courteous things. But he said, that he really focused on having a sincere conversation to ask what they were up to. He spoke about really honing in and LISTENING. He came to find that when he does this, he got to see these two beautiful girls and experienced something meaningful. My heart just warmed up. It's amazing when I experience someone else having the same realization that I do, and describe it in such a way that's more beautiful than I previously did in my head.

He asked me point blank about my past relationships and I found it to be humorous timing since the last time we met, I couldn't get past one statement of generalization. Now, he was making time for my whole monologue. :)

It's been a while since someone asked or I openly divulged about that. I sincerely don't think the past should be a topic of conversation for its own end, but people seem to like this kind of thing to figure out who a person is. To each their own. It was really refreshing to laugh and share these things with him though. Especially my blog story and explaining the kinds of characters that have been paired with me.

We both agreed it was for the best of things to leave things as they were left in Austin, Texas. I have hope in our friendship, since we both stuck to our word as I dropped him off at his car. Maybe he will be someone that stays on the path along my journey, even after the flame?

Whatever it may be, I am really appreciative at the honest attempt we made that night to remain friends.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Graduation Fair Tabling.

March 2011 -
So, Catherine and I waltz into the UC Bookstore to get our graduation caps and gowns.

It's so wonderful because my completion of my undergraduate career finally feels real. Also, like Donna Grady said in Graduation Orientation, I WILL graduate. There is no "I might" or other iffy nonsense language. I was also advised today, and my advisor, Sarah, gave me the ALL CLEAR (besides getting checked out by the Honors College).

When I first walk in, I immediately approach the Herff Jones table because I believe they are in charge of Caps and Gowns (they are) but I inadvertently approached the announcements table.

There was an All-American gentleman that was in charge of the table who greeted us and I asked if he was helping with caps and gowns. He said no, but pointed us to where we should go, and he had no greasy salesmanship about him. He was probably one of the most nicest people I've ever met.

When Catherine and I were picking out our caps and gowns, I jokingly lamented that there were no 5'3" caps and gowns for me, and he immediately said, there's some more downstairs, and went to go get it and politely asked if I would stand at his table and hand people the yellow information sheets.

I immediately obliged; I love tabling.

When we went behind the table, it felt so familiar. I was hoping someone would come and they did! But the first girl was looking for caps and gowns like us.

The next pair of folks were interested, and on-the-fly I described the various packages to him and the other a la carte items they could purchase on-line. It was so fun, and I felt like I was the President of UNICEF, promoting it all over again. :)

Catherine complimented me on it, and when the nice gentleman came back, I thanked him for letting me have that experience and told him what I told his potential customers.

I loved his smile and the energy he had. It was completely palpable. Good interactions.

Also, I remember the challenges I encountered in UNICEF in my term, but I also definitely remember the conversations I had with students at UH and seeing them at my table and then eventually at my meetings. That's definitely one thing I got to re-live today.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Seattle is such a beautiful fun place, and I had the best time in a long time there.

It was my reward for a semester well done (4.0 baby!) and also, a time when I could finally visit my friend after discussing it for nearly 2 years. It would finally happen!

The drive to Port Angeles was therapeutic and I felt like I was completely away from the world. I loved it.

Eating at Michael's was one of the best dining experiences ever. The best bread pudding I've ever had, with warm cider. And the best cocktails, and I fulfilled my paella craving, and tried Alan's fried oysters. I never had fried oysters, but I find myself craving them because those were absolutely delectable.

It was cold, for sure, but it was nice. It wasn't the windy kind of cold, it was like a cold hug that didn't try to whip and smack you in the face. :)

One of the things I'll remember most was the food. Oh god damn, the food was the bomb. That next morning we had bagels, and I tried Alan's salmon bagel. WOW. I had a blueberry one with cream cheese. I went to Walmart, and it was so HUGE and much better looking than any other Walmart I've seen.

Going to Olympic State Park felt like a dream. Like a Winter Wonderland dream and I couldn't wake up. It was beyond what I could ever imagine and it was postcard perfect. I wish I could've stayed on those snowy hillsides for a bit longer. Definitely something to remember forever.

Eating chili on the ferry hit the right spot. It was so good, and going outside to see the seagulls was a treat.

This day, going to the EMP was so fun, and seeing all the memorabilia like Kurt Cobain's actual guitar and Jimi Hendrix's actual handwriting and guitars was so amazing. It was such a fun place to go to. Before that we saw a mini-winter wonderland and a girl's dancing performance show, which made me laugh.

We went to the observatory deck of the Space Needle and I feel like, I've done this shindig so many times (NYC, Tokyo), and on top of that, it was rainy, but I really enjoyed the gift shop. :) I bought my brother a hat and some chocolate cherries.

Then we went to take a break and I watched my first episode of The Deadliest Warrior. It was the SWAT team vs GSG9. It was so intense and I was utterly enthralled. I wanted to just veg out on the couch and watch it forever.

Then it was time to get dressed and go eat at Mashiko. Sustainable sushi. Yum. We had the okinase - chef's choice, and had literally like 10 plates of random stuff, that pretty much ALL tasted really good. Some things I've never tried before like, urchin roe, white salmon, and smelt on a stick, but it was all very tasty. Mmmm... with Sapporo too.

It was raining still but we went to Allure and after loosening up a bit, I had such a great time dancing and meeting new people.

That night, we watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off, for my first time, and then I packed my stuff for the next day so I wouldn't be stressed out, and took a shower and had some cleansing time, and went to sleep watching How I Met Your Mother.

The next day, we went to the Farmer's Market and it was so AWESOME! We had some baby donuts, some free tea from a store, and THE ABSOLUTE BEST CLAM CHOWDER IN THE WORLD! I have had chowder in a can, but this really just blows it away, and now I'm a huge fan when it's done right. I bought some Atlantic salmon from my parents and some other things.

After getting my stuff together at Alan's apartment, I bid au revoir to Seattle - the beautiful, hippy-like, full-of-personality, special place that I wouldn't mind living. I mean, I've never seen stacked highways before, and I think it's awesome that their downtown is in the middle of it all, and there's water all around, and you can go snowboarding by driving a little bit aways, and walk home from the baseball game since things are pretty packed. There's nice shopping areas but at the same time there's a lot of unique Washington-only stores if you want individuality. It's the best of both world I think. And I'll miss it.

When I got back from my flight, I was exhausted at the sheer amount of things I did in 3 days. I got onto the Spot Parking Van, and made sure I found my return slip, and got in my car. I was so happy that after paying off my expense, and driving home safely to UH, and being in my nice warm bed - that everything happened like I wanted it to. :) I hadn't slept so soundly in a long time. As much as I love travel, I do love my bed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have my interview today with A-list Tutors. 12:30pm. At the Corner bakery by Edwards. I might just be daring and catch a movie afterwards.

I'm glad that after a month of waiting, I know that I'm going to nail this interview.

Why? Well I'm totally qualified. I'm totally enthusiastic. And I'm totally going to fund this European vacation. I want to go on vacation and have a savings account to fall back on while I start to go independent with my own apartment. I think it'll be good to do something I think I'd be genuinely good at. I love students and it's like working with a client.. you have to see how they learn, and try to bridge the gap from what they know to what they need to know while keeping them totally motivated. There's many approaches, so it ought to be good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfort Zone.

One thing I especially like about myself is my willingness to get out of my comfort zone and branch out.

That is not to say, I do not get the same anxiousness that others do, resulting in cold feet and a missed opportunity.

I have to fight every time. Every time I set my head on my pillow and make mental goals for myself for the next day, it's a fight to get up, and to step away from the warm comforting bed, to tackle the day.

Today, I had coffee with a high school friend. He was my homecoming date and you know, when I started college, I had no close friends with me from high school. I basically started anew, like I did in 5th grade, 6th grade, and 8th grade. For these past 4 years, I have no idea what he has been up to, so when he reached out to me, I was curious and most of all I was open minded to news about his growth. Or the possible lack thereof, who knows? I just didn't want to pin any expectations.

I am really glad I went to meet for coffee. I got to see how the Starbucks had changed over the past few years and had a good conversation with the barista. But more importantly, my friend finally came in and we started to cover ground. There was a lot to cover, but I think we both grew into really open-minded people that just want to experience the diversity of things the world has to offer. That's something that's pretty rare, I've come to find, so I appreciate it a lot.

I was pretty touched that he was sincerely interested in my hobbies and my pursuit to delve into them further.

I have to sincerely give him the award for having the most transformative 4 years I've seen in anybody. He intensely trained in Krav Maga, illustration, Spanish guitar, dabbled in parkour, street dancing (pop and locking), and has really flowered as a social being. He was really forthcoming about him being social any where, whether it be a subway or a coffee shop, and I really respected that. He also, was pretty open about his past relationships and trials and travails with dating. We shared some pretty interesting stories and beliefs about that. :)

I'm glad that talking with him, I realized he wasn't any person I could peg him to be. He really grew a lot and in a direction I couldn't have predicted. Sure, there's the quirkiness that still remains, but people have to keep their charm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Muse.

February 2011

I've never had a muse.

Someone that's personally inspiring to you that just gets the blood flowing for you to create.

Why is he my muse?

Well, he's just about shattering every prejudgment I had, and he just relentlessly surprised me. And there aren't too many people who can.

For a while there had been a teeny voice in my head questioning... was I more wise at 19 than I am now, at 21? I've implemented changes and seeing little payoff for the exhibition of 'goodness' I was conveying when it came to finding... love. Was it in vain?

I knew very little about him when I first met him. And I felt like my maturity is still growing, but the open mindedness I've acquired helped me be receptive to the complex and gentle soul he really was, not the one-dimensional person I pegged him to be.

Every day is a challenge in applying what you know, because on one hand you're told to listen to your instincts, and on the other hand you're told to get out of your comfort zone to achieve results you've never had. Sometimes, I don't know which way to go.

But that night, as we sat across each other and for the first time in a long time just talked about our philosophies, I really found that my prejudgments were wrong.

I asked myself, what now? What happens when someone totally exceeds your expectations and could possibly be what you were looking for?

In my mind, there was a film reel of every boy I had ever known and had an affinity for. He didn't match that ideal in looks, education, background, or anything. But there I was, still wanting to learn more. So perplexed that I thought I had things figured out, when... I think the hallmark of my maturity was being able to still admit not knowing.

This article says it best about me overcoming my preconceived notions about what I was looking for: "...only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man's character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? ... Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.

Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl."

One of the things that I kept ruminating over was the concept of intelligence and post-secondary education, i.e. going to college. He hadn't, and yet in talking with him, he seemed like the brightest bulb I had talked to in a long time. And also, his values and talents seemed to far surpass mine. He can draw so well and he knows how to weld and do a numerous amount of things.

It was a bit uncomfortable to be brought to my knees by someone that I expected to have appear at mine. :) But I am opening my mind to respecting the diversity that comes in its many infinite forms. He has taught me something about myself and the way the world works.

Never say never.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Back in Houston coming from my slight vacation in Seattle, I noticed everything in my bags were part of my luggage or gifts for others.

Comparing it to 3 years ago, when I traveled in Japan, I wanted to be sure I had numerous souvenirs to take home.

I don't understand the materialism I had. My focus should've solely been on the experience - the culture - food - fun. The possessions, while unique... I've come to find, don't define me, and they don't make me happy. Why spend on those kinds of items?

I think I've evolved in that sense, and it truly pleases me.. when I sat down with myself and found out, hey, there are no 'physical' gifts for me, and I like it. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Anger and Resentment.

"The investment you are making in resentment will never produce a positive return."

And also a very good quote..

"When was the last time someone made you mad? Ok, that was a trick question. It has never happened, you chose it every time. No sense in continuing that as you realize no one has ever made you happy either. Yes, if you have ever experienced happiness it is because you chose it."

I can remember many times, I have felt my blood pressure rise and I forget how it was to be so ZEN and to be at peace with the pulse of the earth. I forget that we are all brethren. I just need to be focused on me. Not on gaining everyone else's approval.

Just like I can choose to be happy, I can choose to not be mad. No one has that amount of control.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I thought we weren't even going to go inside the club. It was raining. The energy level was down. And there was hardly anyone inside. [I can make it a party, regardless of who is there... but ...]

We went inside, and got the club warmed up. I met a few of my friend's acquaintances. It was Black Night, and I was wearing my black dress with buttons on the front. It's just a sleek fun little black dress, nothing too deadly.

I danced with the girls I met, and it was fun! But I knew they had inhibitions. How can I tell? Well... it's really telling when there are certain moves put on repeat, over and over again, and that's the extent of their dancing vocabulary. EVERYONE on this planet has more than 2 moves, and if you're not showing them, it's because you feel bridled or restrained in some way. It might be the company, it might be the inhibitions, or it might be something else, but it's something! Also, I can tell, when there's a lack of eye contact and it seems like they are doing it just to fit in. You can tell when someone is dancing in the PRESENT. It feels totally different. It's so IN YOUR FACE and the energy goes right through your body, and you are compelled to do nothing but MATCH this energy and convey it through your own expression. :)

This is how I knew.

It wasn't all bad. Serendipity happened. I met a boy. Amir. He asked me to dance, just as I was getting off the dancefloor. I told him, I'm with friends, and we're getting drinks, but when I come back, find me, and we'll hit the floor.

My heart racing a little bit fast, we made our way back, and I was all too excited. He came up to me, and we started dancing.

I remember my dancing experiences much better than the dates I've been on, and it's only because they've been much more memorable and adrenaline-filled.

There's nothing quite like what happened on the dancefloor that night: to dance our hearts out to a song, switching from Latin to hip-hop back and forth, and having people around you whistling and clapping their hands because THEY KNOW there's this awesome magnetism and electricity in the air coming from our limbs and chemistry. I love dancing. And I think even more than meeting someone who was a special dancer, it was SO fun to rekindle the talent I know I have, that's brought out of me when someone else is especially talented. The sum is greater than the individual parts, as they say, and this night was not an exception.

It was intense, it was incredibly fun, and I think the dance time we shared, MADE the night for me.

As his friend stole him away to hop to another venue, I said goodbye.

Most important of all, I took that night with me, and I carry it even now.

I still got it. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Risk to Succeed."

I have forgotten who said this but they mentioned as a creator or an artist, when you stop feeling uncomfortable about what you're presenting, when it becomes fail-safe, things need to change. Essentially, there should always be a certain level of rawness and vulnerability to the work that can be measured in how you feel when you've put your heart, body, and soul into it.

Before this year, I would say I haven't tapped into my creative greatness that I know is in me. I'm a late-bloomer when it comes to being creative and committing to it. In high school, I dabbled in art but always played it safe.

I think having intent and following through from that way will radically transform my art.

Action and energy follow thought.

When you take the necessary risks to succeed then you will never fail. You will never fail because you were a volunteer for your growth and were focused on success. You're actually in the game, and that's more commendable than greatness on the benches.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


There's a beautiful piece by Mia Michaels with Alex Wong, Billy Bell, and Ade as dancers portraying a young toddler, a young adult man dancing, and an old man nearing death just trying to hang on to life. The music playing is by Max Richter/Dinah Washington - This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight.

I CRIED my eyes out on this one.

The lyrics... "This bitter earth
Well, what fruit it bears ..
What good am I
Heaven only knows...

Today you're young
Too soon, you're old ...

I cried because I saw Mia Michaels on the panel and Nigel Lythgoe, two aging dancing aficionados. And I just appreciated my body and the ability to begin learning dance, even at this age, knowing it's not too late. I know too soon, I'll be old.

On a deeper level, this performance symbolized how too quickly life passes us by. Just to see 3 moving images of the same person juxtaposed against each other was just beautiful.

I don't want to stop time. I love that I'm living and breathing in the moment, but at the same time, this piece has made me feel very human and mortal.

I don't believe all good things will come to an end, just that the way in which we may have them does. To clarify, while you are young, you may enjoy a simple push pop ice cream... and when you get older, it may be getting to have time with friends in between class, and even older than that, it may be just the ability to remember the beautiful moments once had. It changes, and as with all other forms of adaptations, we as human beings learn how to appreciate life even as our physical capability changes. There is something to be grateful for. I feel like life is a beautiful never-ending television show program that is watching everyone, and everyone sees their own version of it. For me, it has always been a privilege to be watching.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Chris Garneau's song, Relief, is like a floodlight from heaven.

I admired a dance interpretation of this song, from one of my favorite dancers thus far, Nick Lazzarini.

When I get my own home or big apartment, I'll have a room dedicated to where I can dance. A room with certain mood lighting, a perfect sound system, and large enough for me to be free. For now, my big room is good. But it won't be able to hold me forever.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learning and Conflict.

First of all, I'm in love with AcademicEarth.Org for allowing me to 'attend' prestigious universities and sit in on any lecture I choose on a variety of topics like relationship psychology or marketing.

Speaking of relationship psychology.. there was an interesting lecture I 'sat' in about marital relationships and the nature of conflict.

I was absolutely stunned by something so fundamental. The lecturer started out by asking how can our loved ones, the ones that mean THE MOST to us, be the ones that we can cause us to be so angry and to be mad and to even abuse them?

And for a minute, I was at a loss for words while I paused the lecture and seriously pondered.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Nothing.

I commenced the lecture again and the lecturer said simply, conflict occurs when each party has a different goal in mind, and through an inability to reconcile these paths, conflicts occur. When it becomes so emotionally charged, the common tactics to use to gain submission or surrender is to shout, scream, withdraw, or a number of other things we see in fights.

I thought about how my dad and I have seemed to have endless conflict over the past few months and the lightbulb clicked. It absolutely did. The anger dissipated a bit. Why? I felt like I was just acting like my instincts were telling me to, and in light of this knowledge, I felt a bit freer, like I could change my path moving forward and not be a victim of history.

Next time, I think I'll use this information to neutralize the situation in a 'agree to disagree' sentiment that won't leave the other fuming. I think that line just upsets the other, as it seems like a form of withdrawing from the conversation. But if I were to say, "you know, I understand this is what you want for me, but it's exhausting for me. I just want to come home and see my parents and be able to love you guys. That is all. I want to build happy memories, not on a vacation, but just at home. I want you to be okay that I want something different from what you want."

Monday, December 6, 2010


I think about all of the passions in my life.

A passion for the flavors in food, interior decorating, dance (mostly hip hop and contemporary), lyricism and melodies, acting, writing, fashion, advertising, and photographing.

I was doodling last night, and I created a big flow chart, where they all linked into another. I see dancing - closely linked in performance, creating a character, and embodying her fully. It's so easy to see that the difference between doing a choreographer's steps is in the movement, in the soul, and the expression of the steps. It's the same thing as tone and gesture while speaking. It makes a world of difference. Similarly, with writing, I get my style and my voice because I work hard to keep my writing honest. I know writing is one of those mediums that can capture the scene completely with these words that have meaning, and it allows me to be expressive while being experimental. But writing is also one of those mediums that can strip itself of all expression and can be devoid of emotion. So many emails are sent, and it's hard to discern what's genuine or what's a hurried mess of keyboard strokes. Everyone knows a gifted writer, dancer, or actor when they see the performance. And I truly think everyone is capable of a gifted performance in any realm, no matter the expertise. It just matters if what is shared is an honest confession.

I get so inspired and I want to create, and execute, and showcase so many different things. I have all these bountiful ideas.

I think this Fall, I've discovered more than ever that I am an artist. I want the world to strip off all of the connotations and go back to basics. I always thought, the word artist was bound by professional titles or affiliations and a need to sacrifice everything to pursue that singular dream. I am pursuing it every day, and I haven't said to the world that I am only a photographer, or a dancer, but I have only said that there is so much to come, in so many forms.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Black and Yellow.

"Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is.
Everything I do, I do it big.
Yeah ah ha, screaming that's nothing
when I pulled out of the lot, thats stuntin"

This song has so much swagger - I love it.

Everyone has their song when they gotta get hyped up. This is definitely the song for me when I need to put my strong foot forward.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


When someone comments or talks about my blog in person, I get a wee bit embarrassed. It's a little uncomfortable to me, because the state of focus I have to get to write such raw and expressive posts is pretty intense. And also, I find it extremely humbling that someone would read what I write. I'm extremely appreciative at having the air time, when there are so many competing mediums for someone's attention.

Of course, I did this exposure to myself. I want this. But it doesn't mean it's not hard.

The point is, it keeps me honest. It keeps me in the raw.

So my friends, take it as a good thing if I'm at a loss for words or I can only give knee-jerk responses like nod my head or something rudimentary when you mention my blog. It's something so personal that I can't begin to converse about what I write about like it's a movie or book. After all... it's my life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Values Ladder.

Part of the homework exercise of this personal finance book I'm reading is creating a Values Ladder.

Here it is, as it stands in 2010.

I want security. And with security...
it will allow me to be independent. With independence...
I'll be able to do the things (experiences, hobbies) that make me happy. By doing these happy things...
I'll be able to enjoy my family, friends, and life. With this enjoyment...
I'll be able to have better relationships. With better relationships...
I'll desire to be a great role model. Pay it forward to others. And live LONG and prosper (sorry Star Trek).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Other Dad.

When I was younger I thought that my parents didn't get back together after they divorced because it wasn't legally possible.

I always stirred in the morning when my dad went to work; I didn't want to see him go. We lived in a small apartment on the 2nd floor. He would always turn on PBS in the morning so I could watch Barney or Sesame Street. I'd eat hot dogs for breakfast. He would put it in the microwave and cut it into small pieces, and I thought it was the best thing in the world.

I remember staring at the railing and seeing him walk off in the distance.

I have two dads, and while one always wants me to have the best and experience lavishness, I have another that keeps me grounded and has me remember that it's easily possible to have little materially, but to still have it all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of food.

I hardly ever go grocery shopping but that is usually because my loving parents provide me with quite enough food. :)

I bought yogurt for nostalgia's sake (my parents always have yogurt at home). Yoplait strawberry light yogurt to be specific.

I just want to remind the world that yogurt is the!

I forgot how great it tastes and how it doesn't make one feel any bit of remorse for eating it since it's so healthy.

Oh man. I could eat yogurt every day and not get sick of it. LOL. Cheers to yogurt.