“Mak, are you having a boy or girl baby?”

The rumble of my dad’s old Mercedes-Benz turbo diesel drowned out my 4-year old voice. My mom, little brother, and I sat in the back of the car as my dad drove us towards our weekly grocery trip. I repeated it more than once, “Mommy, are you having a boy or girl baby?” My mom replied with a smile, “You’re going to have a sister.

I remember the day when we brought my sister home. Our family packed ourselves in my mom’s light blue Dodge Caravan and we drove back to our apartment. My dad carried my sister in her car seat upstairs and placed her in the living room. I sat beside her as my mom began to unpack the hospital bag. I peered into the car seat and took a big whiff of my sister’s “new baby” scent. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

To my surprise it wasn’t the “new baby” smell, but the smell of McDonald’s French fries. It was that fragrant smell of fried starch and salt being shuffled into the iconic red French fry carton. Being a 4-year old, I didn’t know any better. I begged my dad to take us to McDonald’s for some French fries. Despite my pleas and persuasiveness, I sat there “French fry” less next to a baby who made my yearn for crispy fries.

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Joking aside, I am incredibly grateful to have my little-french-fry-smelling-sister in my life. She has grown up into a young independent, hard-working, smart, and humble woman.

Here’s to another alcohol-less year of life, happy 20th birthday, my dear!

06/09/2014

The Perfect Timing

Written by Posted in Long Reads Comments 4

“I will launch my ___________ in the next few days, weeks, months, or years.”

I’ve been watching the days go by, waiting for everything to be perfect. Nothing has happened, and nothing has been done. I’ve been sitting on my hands worried on how I start this new entry on this exciting yet scary adventure that I am now embarking.

To be honest, I’ve drafted a few different versions of this “Letter of Intent” – the basic introduction to this crazy life that I am now adopting as my own. As I become older, I realize the more fearful I become. The sudden leaps towards the unknown – plain out worry me. I blame it on this emphasis on financial success. I am almost in my mid-20s and I have graduated from a pretty decent university. Everyone, including myself, has this expectation that I will be closer to middle-class by the time I am almost 30. Maybe it will happen, but right now I am okay with exploring my options.

However, I am throwing in the towel and calling it quits on the waiting, there is no better time than the present. Allow me this time to introduce to you, the owner and mastermind behind this blog, me!

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I decided to get serious with my photography AND writing. The core of my passion(s) is storytelling. There are so many artists, creators, and/or makers who are trying to express themselves through their craft. I face the reality that I am not ever going to be a medical professional, lawyer, politician, or some rich start-up developer; I am okay with it. I am happiest when I am capturing a story right before my eyes, even if the story does not have words or images.

I invite you on this journey because I decided that today will be perfect timing.

03/23/2014

Viva Las Vegas

Written by Posted in Travel Comments 0

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Do you ever get “traveler’s feet” and need to scratch it with a new adventure? That’s me for you! Ever since I turned 21, Las Vegas has been my mini-getaway from the rat race that you call life. Vegas has a bit of everything for everyone. I enjoy the yummy food choices on and off the strip. On our recent trip, the Mister and I opted to stay off the strip and indulge in the sights of the Mojave Desert. Our trip was cut short but we enjoyed every minute of it! We stayed at the M Resort. It was AMAZING even for 10 hours.

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Nothing beats a warm bubble bath and the view of sunrise over the desert. Absolutely gorgeous!

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We concluded our trip with a visit to the majestic Red Rock Canyon! We didn’t have time to hike or go on the cruise but the view is still incredible from the various look-out points. We will be back on our next trip!
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Where is your favorite place to visit for some needed rest and relaxation?

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How do you keep yourself accountable for your goals?

Are you the type that can commit to a goal with 110%? Or are you the type who works better with group competitions? Or are you the type who says you have goals but never make the time to commit to it?

Hint: I am the latter!

For a long time, I struggle with stress and stress eating. I gained the coveted “Freshmen 15” and lost most of it since my college days. However, my stress levels remain the same. Instead of stressing about papers, tests, and reading assignments, I am stressed about managing my bank accounts, having enough energy for work, and transitioning into the grown up life. It’s completely normal. It’s called “Post-Graduate” life after all. I know I am not alone on this.

I wanted to make a commitment to myself. I wanted to keep track of my stress levels, food intake, and exercise activities. I knew it was a challenge. I have failed a lot of those “New Year – New You” challenges in the past. I didn’t want to fall victim to it again this year! I bought myself the Moleskine Passion Wellness Journal because I am a Moleskine addict. I have bought many journals in the past, but nothing really compares to the quality that Moleskine delivers.

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The notebook offers a handful of helpful sections to keep you on track.

  • Daily calendar to note special events/appointments
  • World map with different time zones
  • Measures & Conversions
  • International sizing for BOTH men and women
  • Wellness Planning
  • Monthly Goals
  • Food Calendar (Northern/Southern Hemisphere) – illustrates seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Caloric Food Facts of common food
  • Blank portion for Caloric Food Facts you may consume
  • Weekly (Monday-Sunday) Food Journal with time, exercises, diet, daily notes, and words of the week
  • Body Therapy
  • Vitamins/Herbs/Others
  • A blank tabbed note section for your own customization

So far, I have kept this journal going for almost 3 solid months. I am not a nutritionist or a fitness trainer, but your every day kind of gal. I knew writing down a food diary would make me aware of my bad habits. According to a study from Kaiser Permanente, food diaries/journals doubles a person’s weight loss. While that’s not the main goal of my food journal, I wanted to be observant of my habits. Slowly but surely I am shifting my diet to include more natural whole foods and mixing up my exercise routines to be more effective.