May Favorites 2016

Goodbye May, Hello June!

After some unseasonably warm weather here, May cooled down considerably. Here are my favorites for May:

Drinking
Loads of PG Milk Tea (one teabag, hot water and a teaspoon of condensed milk)
Also, cold brew matcha – one teaspoon of matcha powder in 16oz of cold water, shake bottle up. Perfect for the warmer weather.

Eating
I tried baking chiffon or sponge cakes this month. I made a vanilla swiss roll with a strawberry-rhubarb filling and a gula melaka chiffon cake. The flavor of the gula melaka was perfect in a sponge cake.

Listening
Borns’ Dopamine album
The Productivity Show – I just enjoy good tips on how to manage work, email and life better.
Modern Love Podcast – great essays read by talented people. My favorite episode was A Heart Outrun, read by Colin Farrell.

Watching
Star Wars (episodes 1-7), getting excited for Rogue One.
Lily Pebbles’ Every Day May videos – I particularly enjoy her vlogs and her videos that feature her arty camera work.

Doing
Long walks
Inverted meditation
Adding new plants to house/deck

Reading
Harry Potter – The Prisoner of Azkaban

What has been your favorites this past month?

March Favorites and Updates

We finally met all the deadlines at work this past week. I can breathe again.

With slightly warmer weather, I’ve been browsing the plant nurseries. We picked up some spring flowers to add to our containers. Ever since I moved away from Scarlett, I no longer have a yard to garden in.
We have several containers and I am working on refreshing them with compost and fish emulsion fertilizer.

I plan to grow a cherry or grape style tomato, some peas and sunflowers for Sagan. He is recently interested in how to plant a seed and watch it grow.

With the changing seasons, I’m looking to find a new lightweight cotton blanket for our bed. We used grey and white in our bedroom so I am considering this one.

Also loving these printed kitchen towels.

I received my Write On Campaign kit and cannot wait to start creating pieces of mail to send out every day in April.

Got my Malaysian food fix last night – Roti Jala with some lamb curry and Chili Pan Mee. Delicious.

Best part of March is coming up – we leave for Maui in 9 days! Aloha!

What was your favorite part of March so far?

Friday Favorites

What’s not to love about Fridays? The sun came out this morning for about an hour and then rain fell hard. I was on the phone with some folks in Dallas who laughed when I told them about how it’s raining and grey here but only because I did not rub in the fact that it’s beautiful out here in the PNW. I didn’t want them to be envious.

I’m feeling much better today. Still a little foggy but am so glad it’s the weekend. And a long one.

Here are some things that has helped me through this week:

Matcha Coconut Oil and Honey Tea
I mix half a teaspoon of matcha powder with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of coconut oil into a dark green paste then add hot water. Stir well and it’s a delicious healthy drink. It’s not oily but makes the matcha richer. Wakes me up every morning.

Clementines or Baby Mandarin Oranges
We buy them by the bag and go through 2 bags every week. Sweet and tart and juicy. Helps to round off anything savory.

Broadchurch Season 2
I watched Season 1 a while ago and it was at times, difficult to stomach the pain that some of these characters carry but it was done so well and the acting was impeccable. It took me a while to get back into watching it because of how I empathize with the pain but Season 2 was even better. I just completed all 8 episodes this week. I like how UK series don’t try to overdo and extend their storyline until they “jump the shark” (Happy Days). Worth the watch.

Trader Joe’s Dried Pineapples
These are so sweet and taste very much like pineapples and not sugar. It would be good in a trail mix but on its own, they are a nice little healthy dessert. I like how they are sliced crosswise and when dehydrated, look like little crinkled chrysanthemums.

Homemade Boba Tea
I made some boba tea right after Whole30 with these slow cooked tapioca boba, some black tea, milk powder and honey. I was in boba heaven. This brand is recommended by boba aficionados so I bought some to try. The texture is wonderful.

It was a crazy week, not as bad as last week but I surrounded myself with things that made me happy. It helped with my perspective.

3 weeks into the new year

Wow, I cannot believe how the first 3 weeks of 2016 have already passed us by.

There have been quite a few changes in my life (wellness, work, habits), while the important anchors (family, home, hobbies) are still present.

We started Whole30 about 11 days ago so I should be “killing all the things” but I am actually feeling the “tiger blood” phase sooner than expected. Sorry for the Whole30 jargon 🙂 basically, I am past the difficult phase of transition and I feel like my body is liking me better. And hello my new friend, black coffee!

Last weekend, I was at the company annual conference and experienced a really great speaker – Drew Dudley. You might have heard him on a TED talk but I enjoyed listening to him talk about how we can all be leaders in our world and what it really means to be a leader. Very inspiring.

I’m still listening to my podcasts and lately, a new favorite – Imaginary Worlds. If you love sci-fi and fantasy, this is for you.

Work stress is accumulating so I need to keep up with my Headspace sessions. I do feel it when I miss them.

At home, I’ve been rearranging my workspace. It’s not quite where I LOVE it but when I get it there, I’ll be sure to share a pic. You can see a part of it in my Instagram feed to the left.

Are you still reading here? If you are, I’d love to hear from you.

Fall Eats

I made an easy and tasty tomato soup in the Vitamix. Really quick.  And for an accompaniment – Pull-Apart Cheese Bread. Instead of melted butter, I used bacon fat. Uh, YUM!

If you are in Seattle, please stop by Dough Country at Pike’s Place. Szechuan style flatbread sandwiches. Flatbread made on the spot and a great variety of fillings (meat and veggies or just veggies)

Mike made clam chowder from American Classics. Our favorite, most used cookbook.

And of course, Butternut Squash soup with Italian Sausage. We make something similar, with a lot more sausage.

I need to be better with my photos.

Sparks

If you have heard about the new organization movement (KonMari) by Marie Kondo, you would understand the title of my post. My main take from her method is that you would want to only keep or obtain things that spark joy in your life.

Everyone, these are my current sparks:

Borns – I love 10,000 Emerald Pools and of course, Electric Love. But one of my favorites is Seeing Stars and his new single (The Emotion) from the upcoming album (Oct 16), Dopamine, has been on repeat.

Cassava Tortillas made with cassava flour (not the same as tapioca starch which is more chewy and gummy). Grain-free, gluten-free and nut-free. Amazing texture.

Journal prompts
– I wake up and write down 3 things that I am grateful for, ask myself how I am feeling and at the end of the day, write down my favorite part of the day.

Boxing – Mike installed the heavy bag he got me a few years ago in the garage and I am going to put on these pretty pink gloves and show it who’s boss. Ha! Really, I’m starting slow at a moderate pace. Three to Four 2-minute rounds of basic punches, such as jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts, with one minute rest in between rounds.

I finally completed my 30-day foundation course with Headspace and have recently begun a new pack. This has helped me so much.

What are your current sparks?

Different

“Always wanting things to be different is exhausting…” – Headspace moment

There is much truth in this line. For as much as we always want things to be different, we sure don’t do well with change. But is it possible to learn to accept change as a matter-of-fact and ease into things that happen, as they happen? I know that I am going on about my meditative practice a lot lately but it has amazed me how much difference it has made in my life in just 21 days (so far). Stealing 10 minutes out of everyday for oneself sounded like it would be impossible when I first started out. I cannot tell you how much times I tried to begin the free 10-day Headspace trial but once I pushed through day 6, I felt like I could continue. If you ever feel like anxiety is taking over your life, Headspace is a good method of meditating that is very accessible. 

It has been a while since I have traveled to a new place. I miss that sense of adventure. I guess I was born with wanderlust in my soul. 

I also find it ironic that in my 40s, I have become sort of a beauty junkie (thank you lovely beauty vloggers of the world!). I find that my interest is less about the many shades of lipstick or eyeshadow but more about how I can take care of my skin. My one and only face. Finding the right skincare has been a fun journey and like most journeys, it often is not about the destination. My skin’s needs change and I am just along for the ride. With that said, I am loving cleansing balm/oil, AHA pads and facial oils instead of creams. 

Would like to leave you with a quick simple recipe for my favorite dessert – strawberry chia seed pudding. It’s more of a jam and I eat it on its own like a fruit “jello cup”. I heat up a pound of strawberries (frozen ones will work too), smush them with a potato masher, add some honey (1-2 tbsp depending on how sweet your berries are) then take them off the heat. Once off the heat, sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of chia seeds and stir in. Set it aside to cool and thicken. Sometimes I add more chia seeds because I like their texture. I pop the cooled mixture in little containers in the fridge. I love it for breakfast too.

Summer

Lately, almost everyone I meet is reminding me to enjoy the rest of summer; that pretty soon, we will miss these long sun-filled days. Honestly, I am ready for the cool evenings of fall. Is it possible to be sunned-out? I guess having spent 20-something years of my life in a tropical isle with endless sunshine has made me an autumn lover. Still, my meditative practice reminds me that I should embrace life as it unfolds. So, summer, I’m happy you are still here!

I have a few more things that I would like to do this summer:

  • Go for a hike
  • Pack a picnic in a park
  • Go to Portland for some gastronomic adventure that includes ice cream and Thai food

In the meantime, Sagan is spending a week away from preschool while his Mimi is here. He is definitely enjoying his summer. I hope he makes all sorts of wonderful memories that we can revisit when he grows up.

Here he is, exhausted from a fun day exploring science.

IMG_5267-1

 

 

Hello, August!

It’s my favorite month, for obvious reasons. This is the month (many moons ago) that I got to meet this world. There’s much to be thankful for.

Have you ever listened or paid attention to how you breathe? Recently, I started to pay more attention to how I breathe. That has helped me feel calmer. Over the years, I’ve let my breathing shorten and quicken without even giving it a second thought. Now, I try to breathe into my belly. This is part of my recovery journey. There are several breath pacer apps available for smart phones that you can download to help you. Ideally, we should have about 8 breaths per minute.

bellybreathing

I’m still enjoying 99% Invisible podcast, there are so many design-related things that I can learn about. I like that each episode is not too long and the topics are so varied. I also particularly enjoy the little bit at the end of episode where Roman Mars lets his boys share something.

Filled

Our summer days have been filled with all sorts of events and activity. It just keeps going. Not complaining about it in any way but shouldn’t summer be about slowing down and taking it all in?

2015 has been a year of recovery for me. I had to recover from everything in 2014 and on some days, it really feels like things are getting better. But you know what they say about putting one foot in front of the other. That’s my plan.

I’ve been listening to more podcasts. 99% Invisible to learn about all the ways that design touches our lives and Lore, if you are into scary stories like me. I enjoy them but am also a big coward. I can’t listen to this at night, the sun has to be out.