Happy Sloth

I saw this on tumblr the other day:

I am in love. Doesn’t it make you feel so happy? The seller makes mini sloths as well, and includes a variety of (happy) creatures for you to choose from.

Buy yours here.

In other words, I feel like I have been relatively low energy lately when it comes to drafting longer blog posts. I have a new job, or three new jobs, actually. One of them is for this music festival I’ll be spending four weeks at this summer (and which I spent four weeks at last summer, incidentally). I’m doing communications/copywriting kind of stuff. Another them is a 25 hours a week internship in marketing/communications I’m doing at my dad’s engineering company. Started on Monday and my days have been chock-full of engineering terms and data entry, but it pays good money so I’m happy. Yet another one is a grant-writing gig I have with a fairly exciting new company. More on that later.

You’ll probably see more blog posts from me eventually if I find anything interesting to write about, or when I decide to finally catch up on posting stuff I have been doing for the past few months while in college. I will also be writing music-related blog posts for this music festival, so I will definitely be posting the links/excerpts here. Stay tuned for that.

I’m also trying to see if I can make myself a .com for my freelance writing. Or maybe just because it’s cool.

I also have a tumblr. I update it several times a day thanks to finally figuring out queuing. If you have a tumblr, follow me there. 

And once again, thank you for reading!

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cherry blossom

My new favorite earrings! They’re copper cherry blossoms. I love Asia-inspired pieces!

Experimenting with the camera:

Thanks to Hapagirls on Etsy, who made them and hosted the giveaway I won them in! Definitely check out her shop.

They make me think of spring, especially in this cold weather. It’s been snowing once a week over here, at least. So far I’ve had two snow days. Definitely can’t wait for spring.

hot chocolate

To my mind, there are few things better than this on a cold and snowy day.

Stay warm!

And naturally, a book.

What do you do on your snow days?

Oh, and Teton Cocoa Company on Etsy is having a giveaway until January 25th! The winner gets a large bag of cocoa.

I’ve never had their cocoa, but I’m sure it’s amazing!

Link to giveaway

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

om nom nom nom

I swear, if you are male and get me something from this shop, I will love you forever.

Well, maybe not like that. It would take a lot more than a pretty bauble to get there, but I think the thoughtfulness would get you on your way there. Maybe I’ll at least go out with you once.

3D Macaroon Polymer Clay Studs for 10 dollars

OM NOM NOM NOM

I’m not a girly girl, but things like this put me over the edge. In other words, make me squeal like a little girl. DIVINEsweetness crafts cute and fantastically detailed jewelry from polymer clay from her home in Manila, Philippines. She sells earrings, pendants, decor, bracelets, and hair accents, but specializes in rings. Definitely check out her shop on etsy. So cute and creative!

Cherry Cheesecake Frenzy, 20 USD

Her stuff are a little above my price range at the moment, but hopefully soon. I am really good at making up excuses to buy myself presents.

Tea Party Ring in Polymer Clay. I was looking at it and when I reloaded the page, it had been sold out.

Seriously amazing. Seeing this stuff makes me grin from ear to ear. Even better, because I was tediously cleaning out my rabbit tuft fur collection and my Korean man keychain collection, and happened to take a break and see this on etsy.

Plated Cherry Cheesecake Ring in polymer clay, 18 USD

To top it all off, she is one of the members of a group on etsy called “Miniature Food Jewelry.” They are a collection of artisans who specialize in making out of clay what they call “wearable food jewelry.” They have a blog, a Flickr page, and a Facebook page, which I’ve liked. Definitely check all of the above out.

Enjoy!

Pictures from her etsy. Click photos to reach listings. And then click “Add to Cart” and you are all set.

Eat more!

Friends and acquaintances would say that I always look like I’m starving, like I could eat more. I suppose that’s true — I am a very small girl with a very small stomach. My grandma comes to visit from time to time, and often states that I “eat like a bird.”

I love food, though. Sometimes I wish I could eat more. I don’t go out to eat much, and when I do go out to eat, it rarely, if ever, is gourmet. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten gourmet. Usually it’s the little buffet around town, the little dim sum restaurant several towns over, or McDonald’s.

Here are some foods I’ve recently eaten and enjoyed at various restaurants. I didn’t take the photos, but borrowed them off Flickr.

Enjoy the food porn. (Probably I will wake up next morning and find that I’ve gotten hits from hopefuls looking for actual smut.)

One of my church friends took the praise band out to lunch at the little Vietnamese place a few miles from the church. I’d never experienced the awesomeness that is pho before this. The restaurant had a wide-screen TV playing the Food Network while we waited to be served, as well as a large tank with this huge, ugly fish swimming solemnly around and around. My friend ordered an appetizer, fried tofu.

I ordered a “small” bowl of pho, with egg noodles. I didn’t realize that the “small” bowl of pho was actually a HUGE bowl of pho, way too big for one small girl to finish all by herself. And I didn’t. It probably didn’t have as much meat and green onions as the pho in the picture up there, but I recall the broth as very savory. I’ve already forgotten what type of pho I ordered, and what meat it had.

But it was good.

As a Chinese American, it follows that my parents take my family out to eat dim sum on a regular basis. Actually, no. My parents only started taking my family out to eat dim sum about a year and a half ago. We usually go to a small restaurant a few towns over that supposedly was voted to have the best dim sum in our state or whatever. I have a family of seven, so the outcome usually is 10-15 little dishes of sweet or crunchy or spicy or sticky to try. Dim sum heaven, I tell you!

My favorites were always the crunchy things. I always asked if we could order those little crunchy scallops with bread crumbs (yes, my obsession with bread crumbs extends to dim sum), or little crunchy spring roll type of dishes. My father would be the person dissatisfied with the thought of only eating dim sum, and would opt to order some noodles.

And afterwards, the comfortable feeling of being satiated; washing everything down with a little cup of tea.

And then asking for more tea.

We go out for dim sum at least once every year, now.

Panera Bread is a chain, but nevertheless a very nice and inexpensive one. Several years ago, one of my church friends decided to start a mentorship with me. Every week, she’d take me out to Panera and we’d sample a dessert and do a Bible study. If we were in a mood to get a meal, I’d get their two-in-one: a sandwich with some soup and bread/chips. I am very much a soup and sandwich person, and both are superb.

I believe I ordered something different every time I went there. I remember the broccoli and cheese soup, and some sort of barley/mushroom/beef concoction that was excellent.

During the school year, my friends would do Panera runs, and they’d get food for me as well.

I have yet to try the soup in a bread bowl, though.

I would have to say that for me, food and friendship will always be linked. The food itself at these restaurants were undeniably good, but it wouldn’t have been the same if I’d gone alone. It was always the pleasant company that I enjoyed the most, in the end.

What are your favorite places to eat at?

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Places I want to visit

a waterfall at Yellowstone

(First order of business: I’ve been interview by my wonderful blogging friend, Tuesdai! Click here to read the interview.)

One of my friends has a list of things she wants to do and places she wants to go before she dies. She made a photo album on Facebook to keep track of the things she has done. Every time she checks off something on her (pretty long) list, she takes a picture of herself doing the thing or a picture of herself at the place, and uploads it to Facebook. Some of those things might be as simple as learning how to ride a bike, eating a certain kind of food, or as “hard” as visiting a different country or paddling across the Atlantic.

I like the way she thinks. It may sound morbid to some, rather like a bucket list, but considering how short life is, why not? We’re so busy these days doing the things we’re “supposed” to be doing, like keeping food on the table and making sure the kids get straight A’s. Not that those are bad things at all. What’s worse is if we purposely fill our lives with hectic stuff just to keep ourselves busy and doing things just because it feels weird and wrong not to be always busy and doing things.

There’s a certain joy to be found in going somewhere one has never gone before. Or for once, doing the one thing one has always, always wanted to do but didn’t believe she would get a chance to.

along Yellowstone river, in the park

So I’ve made my own list of the places I want to visit at some point during my existence. While these are only five places, the possibilities are infinite.

1. Yellowstone National Park. I’ve never been out west that far. And of course, the whole deal about how inspiring nature is. Absolutely gorgeous waterfalls, hiking trails, beautiful scenery, weird trees, rivers, and fuzzy bears. Don’t forget Old Faithful, which I do want to see.

While writing this post, I was curious as to the origins of Yellowstone National Park. According to the Yellowstone National Park’s site, Lewis and Clark were the first white people to explore such a region. Among them was celebrated hunter and woodsman John Colter. When he came back and told others what he had seen, they thought he was crazy. Eventually, miners tried to publicize the reason, to not much success. It wasn’t until the later 1800’s that an official trip was organized, armed with photographers and painters. They collected important data, which they presented to the public and Congress. A bill was then organized, with the intention to preserve this area for future generations to enjoy.

Petrified tree

After convincing their colleagues that this region held extreme value in its natural state, the bill was passed into law. Yellowstone became the first national park in the world.

One of the earlier visitors, Charles Cook, said,

“I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me it was 5 minutes before anyone spoke. Language is inadequate to convey a just conception of the grandeur and sublimity of this masterpiece of nature’s handiwork” Artist Point – Charles Cook 1869 (bolding mine)

Tokyo Bay

2. Tokyo, Japan. I’m really not sure why I’m so fascinated with this city. I have never set foot in Japan, except for some flybys while on my way to Taiwan.

Once my parents got a tape from the library about Japan and the only thing I remember where the shots of the city, with the people walking shoulder to shoulder downtown. Just… fascinating.

3. Grand Canyon.

4. New York City. I recently visited New York City a few months ago during spring break. My great-uncle, Hilo Chen, is an artist based in New York City, and he had his first art exhibit in a relatively long period of time. He invited my family, and we decided to head up there for a day to look at his exhibit and catch up. More for the prospect of seeing long-lost relatives than the paintings, since my great-uncle’s specialty is nudes, especially at the beach. He is amazingly good at drawing such details as water droplets beading on a woman’s thighs. The texture of swimsuit fabric. A woman reclining on a beach towel while small figures in the distance play in the water. I am still rather uncomfortable with someone’s larger than life-sized boobies staring at me in the face, though.

It was my first time visiting New York City. I wasn’t prepared for how big it was. Providence seemed so dinky in comparison, with only four buildings that I think are too short to qualify for skyscrapers.

My great-uncle’s art exhibit was in one of those buildings. I’d never met him, and he reminded me so much of my grandfather, his brother, that I liked him at once. My mother went through the usually pleasantries, in Chinese, of course. The only thing I understood was that my two younger sisters were taller and bigger than me and my 10 year old brother was the spitting image of my father.

In the afternoon, we left the exhibit and went to Central Park. A group of street musicians were playing jazz. I also saw a creepy clown guy who had painted himself with gold paint. I don’t like clowns, least of all those who paint themselves with gold.

We ended the visit with a trip to a Chinese buffet. What’s not to love about all-you-can-eat?

This picture is like a postcard

Clowns or no clowns, I’d like to visit there again. And hopefully see more of the city.

5. London, England. A friend of mine was blessed with the opportunity to study at Oxford University in England for the equivalent of two semesters. Over there, she studied in trimesters: three semester type like things, except shorter, with about a month in between. She used those in-between times to sight see: places like Rome, Paris, England of course, and Scotland. I was rather jealous, looking at her photo albums, but I believe I’ll get my chance someday.

What are some places you’ve always wanted to visit?

Trees on Yellowstone River

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

One small toy on one big journey

Friend and fellow blogger Miss Roslyn recently blogged about a site she found, called ToyVoyagers.

A ToyVoyager

From the site’s “About” page:

ToyVoyagers is a free-to-join website dedicated to travelling toys and their adventures around the globe.

We have a friendly international community. We offer ID numbers and activation codes to allow your travelling toy to become a ToyVoyager, have a Profile page on our site and to ‘blog’ its travels using our Travelog system, which is also linked to a mapping feature.

People have the option of either tagging the toy and leaving it somewhere for another person to find, or sending it in the mail to a “host” who will then take the toy to see new places. I prefer the latter option, since I read about a poor toy who was left somewhere, tagged, by its owners and then was destroyed by Lost and Found.

The same toy, on a fire hydrant

The people who came up with this idea were inspired by some pictures of their son’s toys on holiday, as well as the traveling gnome in the film “Amelie.”

I have been browsing through the ToyVoyagers’ blogs, and some of these toys have journeyed a lot more than I have! I’m not sure why this idea seems so appealing to me. When I was a child, I played with lots of dolls and stuffed animals, and whenever I went somewhere cool I wanted to take at least one stuffed animal with me so they could travel as well and see all the new things I was seeing. It makes me think of my childhood, along with my love of travel. The great thing about it is the pictures. Whenever the toy visits a new place, the host will take a picture of the toy in front of the place and post it online so that viewers can keep track of the toy’s progress and experience travel through the eyes of, well, a toy.

After a while, these toys gain personalities of their own. They see awesome places, meet wonderful people (and toys), and make new friends.

Kiku-chan. Picture taken from her site

They also have a feature called “Voyager of the Week”, where a toy’s travels are featured. This week’s is a kimono-clad bear named Kikuchan.

Kiku left home (Takamatsu in Japan) on 22nd Feb 2010 and by 12 March had visited no less than four of the world’s capital cities, picking up some top quality sight-seeing photos in the process.

That’s more than I can say for myself! She is so cute, too. Love the outfit!

Here’s another ToyVoyager, Cekelat from Malaysia. He’s a bear who has done a lot of traveling, both with his main host and with several other host families. A map of his journey can be found here. Apparently, Cekelat started in Malaysia, traveled to Singapore, Cornwall, Vienna, and Hong Kong, before returning back to Malaysia where he’s with his original host again. The map tells me that he has traveled a total of 20538.82 miles. The last that was heard from him was in June of 2009, but I believe he is still happily going places.

It makes me really want to take a toy around traveling with me. Unfortunately I don’t do a lot of traveling.

I think I’ll definitely try it in the future.

not a toyvoyager

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.