Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Trip to Hawaii, 2011

Aloha Sunshine! 

THE BEGINNING: 

I just returned from an amazing family vacation in Hawaii. This trip was very special because it marked our 7 year anniversary as well as our first "real" family vacation by airplane. Despite my worry about the 5-hour flight with children, the girls proved themselves old enough to handle a faraway trip and as I recapture our memories on this blog, I find myself smiling, dreaming about our next getaway.

We arrived at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort in Waikiki on Sunday afternoon tired and cranky from the long travel. It didn't help that I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before and we had two extra hours by being in a different time zone.  Packing for a family of four was not easy and I was gripped with the worry of forgetting something important. Overall I did okay but I did forget the most important thing- a charger for my laptop! Thank God Waikiki had an Apple store that sold overpriced chargers at $80.

At check-in we were told to consider three rooms- one garden suite, one two-story suite by the pool and one regular room with an ocean view- and none of the three fit our needs. We told the front desk that were unsatisfied with these rooms and that we were looking for a spacious ocean view room with two double beds. My husband and I probably had something in our minds but couldn't grasp exactly what we wanted.  All we knew that these three rooms weren't it.

Ten minutes later we walked into the most AMAZING ocean-view suite next to the Presidential suite in which Hilary Clinton stayed two nights before. I could not have asked for a more beautiful home for our family for the next seven days. The best part of it all was that we didn't pay full price for the amazing room upgrade. Thank you Royal Hawaiian for your generous hospitality!

Waking up every morning to the sound of ocean waves and walking out onto the patio to this view was a dream. It also allowed my husband and I to share many hours of good conversation and sip on Mai Tai's while the girls were asleep at nighttime. After having visited Maui seven years ago, I prefer Oahu for this very reason.  Unlike Maui whose beauty involves an island preserved at its most natural state, Oahu embodies the perfect balance between the old and new, the historic & modern, nature & civilization with the same degree of charm and spirit of other Hawaiian islands. The only thing Oahu is lacking compared to Maui is the Road to Hana whose magnificence, in my opinion, stands in its own class. 

BEACHES

During our 7- day stay we visited several beaches including Waimea Beach at Northshore and Lanikai Beach at Kailua. Both beaches were beautiful but we preferred the Lanikai Beach because it was more private with softer sand and waves, better for families with children.  While Lanikai lacked a bathroom, lifeguards and other amenities of a more frequented beach park, it gave one the feeling of discovering a secret place that few people knew about. The calm waves were perfect for kids to go swimming and my husband even went snorkeling. I have this unexplainable fear of the ocean yet even I waded in there for some time, although I was too scared to go snorkeling.  If there is a past life, I must've drowned in the sea.

The next day, I was finally able to overcome my fear by snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is an area that is designated for this purpose and its controlled environment with shallow waters eased my anxiety about coming across unknown sea creatures or worse, drowning (funny, considering the fact that I know how to swim). My husband was like a kid at a candy store as he is fascinated by the underwater world and I spent most of my time playing with the kids and taking pictures.  

It was amazing to see beautiful sea life- corals, rocks and schools of colorful fish- in their natural state but when a ugly big gray fish swam towards me, I freaked out and called it a day. The fishes at Hanauma Bay are so accustomed to humans that they have no fear of you and will swim right by you.  Awesome for some, creepy for others. Either way I'm proud of myself for giving it a try and I may even do it again one day but one thing remains true. I like to be BY the ocean but not IN it. I'll just swim in chlorinated swimming pools without having to worry about what lies beneath. 

WAIKIKI STRIP

Night time at Waikiki was beautiful, full of energy and God graced us with perfect weather every night.  We strolled around the strip, drank coconut water, purchased unique Hawaiian goods like the matching dress in above picture and enjoyed each other's company.  High-end designer and duty free shops were a nice touch for tourists, newlyweds and couples celebrating anniversaries like us.  It was like having a piece of Southcoast Plaza on a remote tropical island and you certainly don't expect to see Hermes, Chanel and Cartier in any other islands (I told you it felt like paradise- ;) 

The strip was always packed and vibrant with all kinds of people, mainly Japanese tourists whose eccentric style I admire greatly. I love seeing men and women dressed in their own styles rather than following seasonal trends and Japanese men are not afraid to shape their eyebrows or wear tight capris. And the women? They are so eccentric and defy the standard of beauty that Americans are so fixated by. So fashionable and unique. I'd love to visit Tokyo one day and share their free spirit. 

FOOD

One highlight of our trip was Giovanni's shrimp and shave ice. SOOOOOO delicious. Giovanni's shrimp was so flavorful, juicy and just damn good! We drove a second time to Haleiwa just for the shrimp. I don't think I can ever forget the taste of their shrimp scampi and spicy shrimp. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

We tried shave ice from two places, Aoki and Waiola.  I personally liked the one from Aoki (pictured above) because it had a milkier taste (condensed milk?) but my husband preferred Waiola's.  Either way, you can't go wrong and before you say you're not into shave ice, try it in Hawaii.  It just does not compare to shave ice found on mainland. I'm not too into sweets but this is so refreshing and yummy.  I better move on, I'm getting hungry and it's almost 11 pm.

We saved the nice dinner for our last night at Azure restaurant at the Royal Hawaiian. I had the November special tasting menu with wine pairing and it was delicious.  Our waiter John provided us with excellent service and we were seated at the patio overlooking the beach during sunset. At one point one elderly couple seated at the next table looked at us like we were crazy for eating their with kids and requested to be moved elsewhere. I felt a slight annoyance by it but our waiter told us he would much rather wait on us than rude people like them and comped us a free dessert for the kids. (Did I mention the Hawaiian hospitality is much different than the superficiality found in LA?) It was a perfect way to spend our last night in Hawaii and the beauty of the night made our farewell even more difficult. 

We also tried 1) Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin- the BEST tonkatsu I ever tried- so soft, moist and juicy and perfectly crispy on the outside, 2) Marukame Udon - affordable, good broth/noodles, sometimes long lines, and 3) Rai Rai Ramen in Kailua. It was a hole in the wall kind of place but their shoyu ramen was so tasty. Good for quick lunch but don't expect to have a nice sit down meal of course. We love Japanese food and loved the selections available in Honolulu- another perk of Oahu over Maui.  Blue Water Shrimp & Fish Market is another good place for casual dining for unique seafood dishes. The food court at the Royal Hawaiian Center also has decent selections of quick eats from pizza, ramen, Korean to Chinese- all affordable for lunch or dinner. 

HOTEL: THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN

We had originally booked a room at Moana Surfrider but changed to the Royal Hawaiian mainly because of the Sheraton Pool (it's known to be the best for kids) and it turned out to be an excellent decision. It was a beautiful, historic property surrounded by lush tropical greenery, filled with distinct Hawaiian hospitality that can only be experienced in Hawaii.  The hotel was luxurious but not pretentious like ones in LA or Beverly Hills and the staff- including maids, valet guys to front desk- seemed genuine rather than over-trained. Everyone greeted you with "Aloha" and never failed to ask what we're doing that day and make our children smile.  We were treated like family during our stay and they were eager to give us insider tips on where to go, where to eat and what to avoid when we ask.  Overall it was a wonderful experience and I would definitely recommend this hotel even for families.  The best part of it all- everything is in pink! It lives up to its nickname "Pink Palace"- can it be any more perfect? 

Royal Hawaiian hallway

Sheraton pool available for RH guests

Aside from the beautiful hotel, exotic beaches to excellent dining and shopping choices- the best part of this vacation was spending everyday with my family without work, school, appointment and to-do lists. For the first time in a long time we were able to enjoy each other's company and just play together for a whole week without worry about yesterday or tomorrow. It not only brought us closer together but helped us to realize once again how fortunate we are to have each other to call family. 

Past seven years of marriage and children were not easy and there were moments of despair when I just wanted to give up and hide.  There were moments of tears, sadness, disappointment and anger and there were even moments when I thought I was not ready to be a mother and wife. Now looking back I realize that God and the Universe has wonderful gifts in store for us as long as we continue to hold onto what is really important in life, which comes in the form of family and unconditional love. 

There wasn't a single day of frustrations or tantrums and considering the fact that we were traveling with two kids- this is surely a blessing, a precious gift from God.  It erased any concerns about celebrating our wedding anniversary as a family and my husband and I kept saying how glad we are that our children were there with us. Without them, we would've spent the entire week missing them and wishing that they were present with us. We are far from perfect and so are our lives- but we are family and we have each other to love, to hold, to lean on and share memories with- and this is more than enough for me to be grateful for all that I am, for all that I have, even for all that I don't have. 

All good things must come to an end and our vacation too, passed by quickly.  Today it all feels like a distant dream and all I have left are these pictures, this blog post and a tan that will eventually fade. Today a list of things to do awaits me and I will partake in ordinary duties like cooking, cleaning and taking care of children. If one thing did change, however, it is my rediscovered ability to be grateful in the present- not yesterday or tomorrow but in this very moment. Like all things, the present is always passing but if we continue to remind ourselves of the most important facets of life and keep moving, life WILL reward us with good things, things we only dream about.

Now it's your turn- go ahead and say a little prayer of gratitude for this very moment- and let any worry or anxiety wash away into thin air. It's okay, it WILL pass.  Rechannel your thoughts to your family, your spouse & your child and be grateful that you're here- alive, well and breathing. Keep your vibrations high, continue moving and one day, the universe will send you her gift. Don't worry about when or how. It WILL happen...I guess this is where a little prayer and faith are most needed. 

Mahalo for the wonderful memories! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011
                                                               
I dressed up as the Queen of Hearts this year for my princess daughters who begged me to dress up with them. Tess dressed up as Cinderella - following Belle from 2010, and Elise dressed up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland. To complete our theme, my husband was the Burger King King (LOL). He brought many chuckles in the neighborhood and people asked to take pictures with him. I think he too, had a great time.

Frankly I was a little embarrassed to be dressed up like this but I had so much fun thanks to my daughters. We even got to celebrate Halloween in Vegas for my husband's 32nd birthday (sorry no pictures from there, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) :)

Being a mom is definitely more fun-filled now that my girls are older. I think I'll continue to dress up for Halloween since this is one holiday that my children will always be a part of.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy birthday daddy

Thank you for being an integral part of our family!
You make all things happen. So grateful for your presence in our lives.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trick or treat: Halloween 2011


Halloween is just around the corner so we decided to take the girls to a pumpkin patch for some family fun.  The girls picked out a pumpkin, drew the face and daddy was kind enough to carve out a cute ghost to create our very first Jack-O-Lantern. Halloween spirit fills the air in my home and the girls are excitedly counting down the days until Halloween. For the third year they decided to be Disney princesses (again) and I have to buy another Cinderella and Belle costumes to satiate my girls' endless desires to be pretty, sparkly and beau~~tiful like a princess. :)

As for me, another course in my five-course certification program just began so I'm back to juggling full-time motherhood with some school and some exercise with cooking, cleaning, bathing, cleaning, and more cleaning somewhere in the middle. Being a mom of two teaches you that there are not enough hours in the day to complete all your tasks and that deep, slow breathing is the only solution to maintaining sanity when you discover dried up playdoh mixed with dog poop under your brand new carpet.

Over the years I learned the importance of to-do lists but was never quite ready to face the fact that what is more important than a to-do list is the courage to throw it out and dance to the flow of your children, your dog, your husband and your inner voice.  And today, I'm doing just that--dancing to the beat of my own rhythm and blogging. Hah! I used to view this as the biggest waste of time because it distracts me from doing more "important" things like running errands for the family--but I now realize it is just as important to keep writing and letting my inner thoughts and emotions flow out onto the page. Here I'm more Present than ever and here, I'm closer to myself AS IS, not as how I SHOULD be.

Once I leave this page, I'll go back to the list and continue living my life as I should. Life requires it but instead of complaining I'm going to send the Universe a note of gratitude and positivity. Today is a day of treating myself. Every day should be like this!

P.S. I'm sore as hell from last night's crossfit-- but my muscles are thanking me...I think. And anniversary trip to Hawaii coming up in three weeks! Now is my time to bring the energy up and up!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Go me.

Holding on to Love by Chelsea Victoria

My 4-year old T has so much energy that it's been hard keeping up with her at home. We tried ballet but she froze and refused to follow her teacher's instructions and instead continued to tumble around the couch in front of the TV. After giving it much though, I decided to try gymnastics since two of her art class buddies are already in the class--and sure enough, she absolutely LOVES it.  She loves it so much that she decided she wants to quit preschool and go to gymnastics everyday. Yesterday I exchanged her pretty tutus and ballet slippers for gymnastic leotards as T counts the days until her next gym class.

Unlike her mom who gave up ballet at age 4 the day after the teacher forced her to do painful splits, T is a natural in the gym. As of now she shows more interest in balance beams and monkey bars than books and I'm totally fine with that. I was a book worm since childhood and even until this day, I have trouble sharing my passion with anyone else except in literature courses in college and grad school. Even my business-oriented husband has little interest in sharing my ardor for literature and literary figures and eventually, this has become a solitary or rather, lonely hobby. Reading definitely helped to heighten my spirituality and sense of awareness of the world around me but I'm still lacking energy and stamina that I need to keep up with my growing family.

Anyway, this entry is not really about T's gym or my love for literature. On the day I signed up T for gymnastics, I impulsively joined a crossfit gym located next to her gym class.  I have no idea what compelled me to do this, all I know is that I was drawn to it like a kid being drawn to the candy store. Except of course, fitness training is much more difficult than eating candy and not much sweeter..at least, not yet.  After yesterday's first day of fundamentals, I'm sore in body parts that I never knew existed yet feeling great than ever.  I'm a mother of two. I need to strengthen myself not only physically and mentally, and live a healthy lifestyle. I'm determined and motivated and they say that is the most important thing. Let's see where this takes me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still the body


Wynn, Las Vegas


Life came back full circle again, providing me another rare moment of solitary reflection.  It's been weeks since I've been truly alone and it feels nice to type away random thoughts while being enveloped in nothing but silence. No sound of kids, telephone rings, door bells, clanking dishes or car engines..just the low murmur of my laptop and clicking sound of my fingers against the keyboard.

Ahh--this is what my life was lacking for too long. Instead of typing away thoughts or retracing actions, I'm simply going to dedicate this time to breathe and be present in the moment.

I hope this means I can finally find more time to write and blog.

Still the body.
Quiet the mind.
Discover the spirit. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Independence Day

Spent another busy weekend with family. Even the three-day holiday weekend was not enough to satisfy my incessant hunger for rest, relaxation and extra sleep. This year we decided to watch the fireworks at my old High school.

Walking by the old HS gym and rows of lockers holdings memories of our carefree adolescent days made me smile and filled my heart with an overwhelming sense of longing. Longing for youth, longing for ideals, longing for the carefree spirit that only resides in young hearts.

I hear my daughter shriek with excitement after every sound, every movement of the fireworks. Her eyes are filled with the color of the sky. I am finally ready to acknowledge that the same carefree spirit now resides in her eyes. It's my turn, my time to detach from old memories and make room for new ones.

Happy independence day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Castle walls

Castle by Irene Sneddon

Currently busy, following my dreams and taking an active role in building my future. The key word is MY, not my children's nor my husband's but MY dreams. Maternal guilt permeates selfish dreams as if the past years of motherly duties were still not enough...and now six years after the birth of my first daughter, I'm finally coming to the realization that my sacrifices for the family will never seem enough, for my maternal desires are superfluous and can easily become excessive.

Contrary to the early years of my children's lives, I now find solace in knowing that the path to my children's true happiness comes from their mother- me- that is, my true happiness. Knowing my purpose in life resides not only within these walls but outside as well, I continue to sew together the wings that'll enable me to fly above and beyond the walls of our home.

I want my daughters to fly high one day, and the first step to achieving this desire is to take the flight myself.

It's finals week and I still question whether or not I'm doing the right thing by spending the day in front of the desk instead of playing in the backyard with the kids. But knowing this is the perpetual dilemma of working moms, I relinquish to the moment.

And no I'm not doing this simply for money I remind myself, but because God helped me to see the talents I possess, the talents that are meant to be used for others as well. This is the best way to prepare my daughters for their own independence and flight one day, my heart speaks.

Another chapter done. Literally. I remind myself that I'm one step closer to my vocation. I can one day help differently enabled children and help their mothers to see their endless potential. They don't have a learning disability, I will tell them, they simply need to taught in a special way.

One daughter is crying outside my door for attention while another daughter questions why I can't play with them all day long. How do I begin to explain to them that mommy needs this time for herself, that mommy needs to work hard for another role in the same way I worked hard to earn the title of their mother?

Do I begin with an apology, or do I just hold them silently and let my heart do the talking? At this time I can only choose the latter and ask them to be patient. God, please bless my beautiful daughters always and fill their hearts with abundant love, I shall never forget to pray. 

One day they'll understand. One day, so I tell myself.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Tale of the Moon

Do you want the moon? by Sayahemi

The moon hangs high and bright, telling stories of the past and illuminating new dreams. It may be the only constant in our fleeting lives.

Time is not a solution but the only thing that remains true and adulthood poses nothing but superficiality and untamed ego.

The death of you and me- the beginning of what you are and what I am. I miss the days when the truest longing was connection, nothing more and nothing less. I'm exhausted by life's notion of reality and the collective amnesia of what's really important, one's authentic, uninhibited self.

The self that's driven by its own dreams without losing sight of others. The self that smiles, cries and loves rather than collect, differentiate and hide. The self that is true. The self that is born.

This may be the single most difficult aspect of adulthood to pass through. So grateful for you, dear moon for being the only constant in time.

You may be the only thing that never loses its face.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Count your blessings

La Torrey Pines Hotel/ La Jolla, San Diego



Been extremely busy these days. I've always been pretty good at multitasking but the notion of multitasking changes its face and value when motherhood is in the mix. I've been immersed in my studies which means I have to sacrifice the things I really enjoy like reading a good book or writing.

Adulthood is all about setting priorities and mastering the process of give and take. Since we can't get everything we want, do everything we want to do in ways we want, we have to gradually learn to find joy and happiness in little things like visiting the zoo or spending a day at the beach with the family. Then we hold on to this joyous moment for a long time, sometimes even weeks, and use bits and pieces of such memories to keep us going through moments of stress, doubt and difficulty.

I wanted to imprint something inspirational in middle of my busy schedule and decided recent pictures of family is the best way to do so. These are pictures from Memorial Day weekend and we spent the most lovely time in La Jolla, San Diego. I wish everyday was like a vacation but knowing this is luxury that very few people can afford in real life, I'll continue to count my blessings and retrieve recent memories that make me smile.

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I am only one


Float by Joy StClaire

I am only one. But still I am one.

I cannot do everything. And because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
-Helen Keller-

Life is suddenly hectic, stressful and mentally & emotionally draining. I feel overwhelmed, lost and am tempted to break down and ask someone for help. But I know too well that this is my own battle to fight and overcome, and no one can help me but myself.

I am battling myself- my inner demons that hide behind a smiling facade.

There still remains a part of me that wishes to hide and wither away, trying to avoid and escape what life has in store for me. Yet there is no where to run, no where to hide, no one to guide or rescue me except God, my creator.

Despite my desperation my creator tells me to remain strong for he made me bold & courageous. As long as I know my valor comes from Him, I cannot refuse.

 I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love at L'Ermitage, Beverly Hills


Kelly & Jeff's wedding @ L'Ermitage, Beverly Hills

What can be a better way to break a dark hiatus but with pretty pictures filled with love and more love! Above pictures are from a beautiful wedding I attended this past weekend celebrating the love of Kelly & Jeff--where everything was amazing, breath-taking and oh-so-beautiful.

The wedding took place at the rooftop of L'Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills and it was by far, one of the most elegant weddings I've attended. The bride wore a slim Vera Wang dress that embraced her body so perfectly and the elegant lacy details reminded me once again why Vera Wang is the go-to designer for brides who can afford her craft.

It's a beautiful, inspirational Wednesday with slight overcast and some drizzle and once again, I'm feeling blessed and grateful for my life.

Wishing you and the newlyweds lots of love & blessings as I gaze out the window on this rainy afternoon, unleashing myself from the past and daydreaming about pretty, lovely little things.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Paper wedding & Birthday Dinner

Speaking of royal weddings, look at this fabulous wedding dress I came across in the most random display at a wedding shop in Newport Coast. Best of all, it's made by hand with paper.

I love unexpected finds & surprises such as this, as it reminds me of God's inspirations that are anywhere and everywhere!


Saturday night was my beloved friend's 30th birthday dinner. We celebrated with a wonderful meal and drinks at Fig & Olive in West Hollywood. The venue was trendy, fashionable- a classic epitome of Hollywood chic. We had some mishap with poor service from a bitchy hostess but I'd definitely be back for its unique tapas and cool ambience. After all, you can't let unhappy girls with poor job satisfaction ruin a wonderful night with good food & drinks, right? The beautiful birthday girl is next to me in the picture. Can you find me? :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIN!!

To briefly retrace our friendship, we've known each other since High School and ended up at the same college. Since then, she's been an integral part of my life and we share many wonderful memories and stories, not to mention hours of deep, meaningful conversations. She's truly a beautiful & blessed soul inside and out and I'm always grateful for her sweet presence in my life. If you ever come across this entry, I love you Jin! I can't wait for our spa date tomorrow to celebrate your real birthday.

That reminds me, I'm headed to Glen Ivy Spa tomorrow with the birthday girl. I'm desperately in need of relaxation, rejuvenation and pampering spa treatments. I love being a woman!!

Until I can enjoy my womanhood to the fullest, back to the books.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Duchess of Cambridge


Kate Middleton now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was absolutely stunning on her wedding day. The long-sleeved ivory satin & lace Alexander McQueen dress! The soft ivory tulle veil held by a Cartier Halo tiara! The understated bouquet of myrtle, lily-of-the valley & hyacinth! Her graceful walk! Her smile! Her presence! Is this not what every girl dreams about at least once in her life?

It's hard not to believe in past lives when I come across beautiful women like this who go from being a commoner to a Duchess through marriage. If past life exists, Kate Middleton must've done great deeds to deserve such blessing. I know no one's life is perfect but if there is one life that is near perfection or filled with maximum blessings, it must be hers.

Either way, she is absolutely gorgeous & graceful. What a sweet, sweet inspiration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Midnight

In perfect harmony with spirit of Easter, my husband decided to surprise me with these beautiful pink orchids. I was never good at keeping plants alive so this will be another attempt at learning.

It's 1:54 am and I'm still wide awake, mind filled with future plans and daily complexities. I think my daughters are sad about sudden changes in mom's schedule, but I know they'll understand one day. Despite my personal & professional goals in life, my heart is always with my beautiful daughters and will always be.

I live for them. I live because of them. I finally live a full life thanks to them.

On a different note, is there a better way to say I'm glad Jesus rose from the dead without sounding like every other Christian? I guess not.

But really Jesus, thank you for your birth, life, death & resurrection. You continue to give me hope and teach me valuable lessons in life. Thank you for making Easter possible. Thank you for another opportunity at renewal.

Love eternally,

Grateful Angela

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Humpday blues

Easter 2011

Just baked delicious Easter cookies with kids. Tasted even better than it looks. I'm tempted to say I made them from scratch including the bunny faces but no- I cheated and used a pre-made dough. Either way, the girls loved them and was kind enough to leave me half a cookie. Yeah, that pretty much sums up motherhood. You give a lot more than you take.

On another note, I'm starting school again three years after leaving grad school for domestic duties. As difficult as it was to leave school & career (both were interrelated for my career) it didn't take long for me to adjust to motherhood- throwing intelligence & analysis out the window and focusing on patience, understanding and endurance in the name of family. It's hard to be smart, driven AND be happy with mundane day-to-day duties. Don't let anyone else (especially other men who have no idea what motherhood entails) tell you otherwise. In order to survive full-time motherhood with happiness and gratitude, she must consciously dumb herself down through animal sounds, kiddie songs & silly faces.

She must stop listening to NPR and boycott politics, economy, philosophy, history, literature & science- aka things that matter in the real world for the time being- and be content with living in the world of Nickelodeon and Disney movies- things that mean the world to preschoolers. I've heard of supermoms who can attain perfect balance and negotiate both lifestyles but these moms remain as mythical figures in my book. I know two types of mothers: full-time working moms who are happy to leave their children at daycare/schools, grandma's or with nannies and and stay-at-home moms who would much rather spend time with their children than work. Yet I have yet to meet a mother who does both HAPPILY. The key word is HAPPILY. If you know of a mother who achieved this zen, please email me so I can contact her for guidance. I'll even bake her some Easter cookies.

Anyway I'm happy to announce that days of full-time motherhood are slowly coming to an end and I'm actually thinking about my OWN life again! According to Five Languages of Love, I feel love through receiving gifts and acts of service. I am always reminding my husband of this and today he was thoughtful enough to buy me a box full of school supplies. Way to go husband, way to go kids. Way to go me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Love + Death, Eternity


The Perfect Lie by Artstudio Norarts

A little over a week ago, a dear friend lost her 31 year old husband unexpectedly and it has been heart wrenching to watch someone so young, bright & vibrant endure such a tragic loss. I also learned a lot, one important lesson being that loss, sadness & grief are all relative feelings and that it is up to the affected person to give it a beautiful or monstrous facade. My friend dealt with her sudden loss with so much grace, faith and beauty that my husband commented he saw an angel at the funeral service. Even in our 6 years of marriage and 14 years of friendship I know I never became this angel--- and I'd hate to wait until his death to become one.

As I sat in front of the open casket adorned with red roses, my eyes welled up with tears not of sadness but of joy. One's soul does live on upon death because I felt his presence all around me. He is now an angel teaching me that I do not yet know how to love. I know how to ask, seek and take but do not know how to love selflessly. I know how to love in my way with my own set of expectations but I do not yet know how to love selflessly. I envision selfless love to be something I must try, and try again until the moment of death. As my 4-year old daughter likes to say, that's okay--- because I still have another chance to learn, grow & love.

It's a shame that it takes momentous tragedies such as this to realize such a basic lesson in life. Life is too short and one can never have too much time to love and sacrifice for each other while we are still here on earth. I know this now and remain grateful to God and the beautiful couple for teaching me such fundamental lesson of life. Yet I also know too well that responsibilities, bills, kids and life will make it fade away with time.

I pray I can hold onto this feeling of humility, gratitude & selfless love just a little longer, even if it means just one more day, one more hour.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Karma

Be Mine by Ruben Ireland

What a busy and crazy week it was. To get the negatives out of the way, a so-called friend tried to bring gossip and resentment into my life after six long years of silence on my part. I should've followed my instinct to confront her earlier but instead, I foolishly gave the same negative person too many chances to recover and continue her manipulations. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding six years ago and perhaps it was this reason that made me want to put aside negative intuition and thoughts.

I wanted to believe I was right, and wished I didn't have to face the sad fact that a friend whom I considered to be genuine was actually someone who was resentful & jealous of my happiness.

I don't want to further materialize negative emotions and memories. Instead I'll focus on being grateful that I was finally able to cut out another negative force from my life. I guess this is the universe's way of teaching me the value of true humanly connection by giving me another opportunity to practice forgiveness and move on.

Betrayal is disguised in many forms and I recently uncovered one that was hiding behind the fascade of a close friendship. Yet I'm still here, happy and grateful than ever, knowing that the universe gives one just what one deserves.

This is God's justice, the wheel of life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Ode to Spirituality


Feeling Lighter than Air by Joy StClaire
Inspired by circulating dialogue about the apocalypse & God.

Being born into a religious family, I naturally turned to the bible and a set of religious traditions as the source of wisdom, knowledge & faith. Yet my young, curious mind continued to wander into the realm of the secular (aka literary), into the vast worlds of William Blake, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys. To my surprise, God was everywhere- all over these 'non-religious' texts- and I began to understand the true meaning of God as an omnipotent being, one who is almighty and infinite in power. Being unlimited means God is not limited to a single theory, theology or religion and having infinite power means he is not only an authority of Christianity but an authority of the entire Universe.

My God is ubiquitous and resides not only in religious texts or biblical interpretations but in all texts & interpretations. To write, read, analyze, interpret, translate & transcribe is HUMAN, to be omnipotent & omniscient is GOD. I think, because we humans are incapable of grasping the true meaning of being all-knowing & ever-present, we try to reduce and materialize God into terms that are easier to comprehend by translating him into different theories & fables which now exists in the form of various religions.

I wish this world's compulsory divisiveness would stop forcing me to limit my God to a single entity- i.e. Father of Jesus Christ, and make me choose a single religion or theory over others. Such enlightenment is based on my personal experiences and feelings rooted deeply in Christianity and I'm now ready to rise above the dogma and rhetoric to fly closer to God himself.

My God is the creator of ALL living things, the beginning and the end of ALL. I choose to worship & praise God in my own spiritual ways, and this is where God led me to after 30 years in dogmatic christianity. I can no longer be reduced to being a stereotypical Christian because Christianity nowadays is too closely related to political choices and evangelization to 'non-believers.'

I simply believe in God and God tells me to love and appreciate everything and everyone. He tells me to be grateful for every big & littles things. It's not the golden rule. It's the ultimate truth-- God's truth.
"Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have curbed and governed their passions, or have no passions, but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of Heaven are not negations of passion, but realities of intellect from which all passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory."
- William Blake from A Vision of the Last Judgment

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Ode to Womanhood

Magnolia Tree by Laura Ruth

In celebration of International Women's Day, I want to commemorate every activist, teacher, mother, sister, aunt and daughter for their bravery, perseverance and sacrifice that sustains harmony in today's capitalistic, patriarchal and violent world. We are all connected through love and light and it is our duty to lead the next generation with this spirit in mind.

Being a woman isn't easy. Every time we wear what we wish to wear, pass by a group of snickering men in a store, or choose to sacrifice our careers for the children, we are courageously taking a stance against patriarchy by signifying with our bodies that we are women who refuse to live in repression or silence by a world designed and maintained by men who believe they're in power.

I dislike the word power and sympathize souls that are driven by this dangerous and self-destructive ego. Instead I choose to live in love, light and gratitude in connection with all positive spirits who rise beyond dissension and promote nothing but harmony and oneness.

Sure women are different from men, just like I am different from you and you from the person next to you. Womanhood is what counteracts men's instinctual desire to colonize and spread their seeds, thus one who denies women from their inherent rights is resistant of the Cosmic cycle - God's design- of yin & yang, women & men, the transient & materialized. One cannot exist without the other and one cannot deny the influence of the other.

I love being a woman and am entirely grateful for every part of me that defines me as a woman. I embrace everything about me, especially my ability to carry and give birth to a new life- to give back to the Universe and keep the cycle flowing as it was designed to be. I even embrace my lack of strength next to a husband, father and brother because in replacement, I was given a constant yearning for spiritual and maternal connection that allows me to transcend all materialized possessions. Physical strength is materialized. Violence is materialized. Monetary gain is materialized. Hunger for power is materialized. A true female spirit transcends all materialized entities and signifies its existence with beauty, harmony, connectivity and love.

Thank you sisters for rising above patriarchy every day at home and at the workplace through countless sacrifices and silent tears. And thank you brothers, for maintaining a system that makes us women grow stronger, greater and more grateful each day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Freshen up for Spring! Tod's Drivers

Tods Iconic drivers in various colors. $395 and up
After searching some time for the perfect pair of comfortable & stylish flats, I ended up buying Tod's iconic leather drivers and I'm in LOVE!! These are the most comfortable shoes my feet has ever been embraced by and the craftsmanship & quality are like no other.

Each pair is handmade in Italy with single piece of leather so its sleek, seamless & classic. If my 20's wardrobe was inspired by the desire to stand out with bright color schemes & patterns, my 30's wardrobe is inspired by understated sophistication & effortless classics.

I've been wearing ballerina flats for a few years now and Tod's driver is the most appropriate & refreshing addition to the collection.

Another grateful day for my heart & feet. :)