30DC: 02 & 03

I had utmost intentions of filling and posting this out yesterday, but alas reality duties stood in my way. But it’s okay. I’ve decided to consolidate two day’s worth of posts for your viewing pleasure!

02: Something you feel strongly about

I actually had to spend the better half of my morning yesterday thinking this over. You see, I’m a person of many passions but while I was going down my list of my beliefs I realized, I may strongly advocate for my beliefs, but there’s nothing that I would really prompt me to do anything (e.g. do a sit in). Yes, I believe in LGBT rights, am strongly pro-choice based on circumstances, pacifist while respecting the second amendment (sorry, guys, I lived in Texas for a while), and ferociously love Gaia, but unless it has direct correlation to me, it wasn’t the strong intensity that I think the prompt is calling for.

I took to ceiling gazing, progressed to nibbling on walnuts, and then consuming a whole apple before that cursed “aha!” moment appeared. So simple, I thought –  there is nothing that bothers me more than people that crush a child’s confidence. Be it from telling them that they can’t draw, can’t sing, need to lose weight, etc. I firmly believe you are stifling them from growing into their own skin. Children, from the moment of birth, are being scrutinized based on the current ideals of the norm – why, as a mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, whatever, adding to the mix of viciousness? You should be building them up to face the world.

Yes, you could argue, that verbal insults are tough love – that what your’e saying is not as harsh as the taunts heard on playgrounds. So you find fault in your child – but do you have to proclaim it for them to hear? Why not do something else about it — so they may not be in the weight range as other children – go outside! Look at what you’re feeding your children and alter it. They aren’t behaving like they should? Teach them right from wrong, but don’t go so far to say that they are dim-witted.

I firmly believe that there is a time and place for everything, and while your child is developing, destroying what little self image they are building is just plain wrong.

** in no way do I condone helicopter mothers and parents that yell at teachers when their children receive poor marks. I just feel that parents are there to nurture, not create psychological problems for their kids later on. Grey Gardens being a nice example.

03: A book you love

Oh, books, let me count the ways I love thee…

I grew up extremely sheltered. Books were my only consolidation, my one gateway to the world of social interactions and trivial human problems (ahem, thank you “Are you There God, it’s Me, Margaret” for giving me insight). Out of the many years of reading, there have been only a couple of books that have had me return time and time again, staying into the wee hours of the night reading. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Alice and Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Grimm’s Fairytales to be some of my favorites. But, The Princess Bride by William Goldman (movie and books) beat out the rest.

As you can see, my favorite’s list is kinda leaning towards the fairytale world. Yes, non-fics and other works of fiction are absolutely wonderful (Catfish and MandalaThe Harry Potter Series, Les Miserables), but there’s something special about fairytales.

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30DC: 01

Embarking on a challenge of 30 days.

I love this idea; to write on a prompt (especially if you have writer’s block, ahem) while giving insight on who you are. Although I don’t necessarily think, as much as you write about your lives online, who you are (and all the good and bad that it encompasses) will ever be fully represented. Humans are multi-faceted. Who they are at one second isn’t necessarily the same person a second later (in the same stream of thought, who you are online isn’t always the same shade you are offline). Yes, I believe that core traits such as honesty, boldness, etc. are a lot harder to change, but in the end we are all fluid & adapting. In short, a new version of “us” is always in the production line.

But enough philosophy, onto day one of the challenge: Five Ways to Win My Heart

  1. Know how to cook. There is nothing sexier than a wo/man than can taken charge in the kitchen. For the most part, I’m very dominant in almost all parts of my life and I will fret over if you use a pan incorrectly, add the wrong seasonings, don’t julianne the basil neatly, etc. while in the kitchen. But if you can prove that you know your way around a stove, fridge, pantry, etc. like you’re Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell’s love child, then by all means, I hope you can take me to bed you kitchen whiz, you.
  2. Know when to cuddle and when to get friskyOkay, maybe I’m being a little harsh when I say that sex is on a man’s mind 24/7, but there’s a time and place for everything. If I’m visibly tired, ready for bed, and happen to be half naked, it is still not an invitation.
  3. Be a great conversationalist. While on a recent lunch outing with my cousin, we discussed about what we wanted to have in a partner (but I branch this out to any one I meet, now that I think about it). Flat out, I told him that even if I’m with a person that isn’t necessarily the most handsome or beautiful person in the world, so long as they could carry on an intelligent, insightful, and entertaining conversation with me, I would be oh so very happy. I’ve dated boys in the past that where cute to the tee, but that was it – they were cute. I hate to admit that I was a Shallow Hal of sorts, but now I know – at the end of the day, looks begin a relationship and conversations continue it. How does that silly quote go? “I was attracted to him/her, and then they opened their mouth” — my sentiments exactly.
  4. Make me laugh until snot/water/lemonade/etc. shoots out of my nostrils, I’m doubled over, and wheezing for air – not pretty, I can tell you
  5. Have strong (sometimes flexible) morals, standards, goals, and code of conduct that you live by each and every day – I will respect you more as a person if you know who you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to treat the people around you as you get there. Maybe I won’t agree with them, but, so long as it’s upfront in the beginning, I’ll know how to approach you.
  6. *added bonus!: For the love of Cheese – please, please, please know how to spell and use grammar correctly 85% of the time. There is nothing more unappealing then overuse of slang and repeated misspelled words even after I spell it correctly for you in my response.

So, I ask you, dear reader, what are five ways to win your heart?

And thanks for stopping by! I’m not sure where I’m getting all of my visitors lately, but, it’s so nice that you’ve decided to visit 🙂

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Dirty Thirty*

*post may not be suitable for all viewers

While on my usual hour of interweb surfing, I stumbled across this piece on thirty things every woman should know before they turn 30, and a reaction piece. While perusing the list – #6 stood out the most – A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age. I admit wholeheartedly that I tend to play it safe unless in the heat of the moment. But, for the most part, I’m a micromanaging nut.

And, because I love lists and can’t seem to go a day without one, I thought to myself “why not?”. I wholeheartedly believe – and you may disagree – that while in your 20’s the world is yours for the taking. If you’re like me, you’re away at college, you’re not married, you have enough money in your account to splurge every once in a while, and you’re at your prime. Why waste your life now, when you’re going to be burdened with it later on? “Old enough to know better, but too young to care”.

So, I present to you, my carefully crafted dirty thirty list. Although not altogether “dirty” in nature, I see it as my “before thirty bucket list” – what’s in yours?

  1. Color Run
  2. Take a cruise to Alaska (preferably the Disney kind)
  3. Backpack through Yosemite for a week
  4. Start a retirement fund (yes, a bit boring, but it’s never too early to start one)
  5. Get my masters (or in the process) in Historical Preservation
  6. snow board in another state
  7. buzzed, wild, passionate, animalistic, once-in-a-lifetime, sex
  8. Be almost debt free, whatever that means.
  9. learn to box
  10. find a way to release anger, frustration, and pent up energy (boxing?)
  11. Go to SD’s Comic Con
  12. Drive along the CA coast
  13. Get in the best shape possible
  14. Drink so much I black out
  15. learn to pole dance
  16. learn to chair dance
  17. Take boudoir photographs
  18. Become a semi-expert in wine
  19. Sex Marathon
  20. learn to surf
  21. cliff/rock diving/jumping
  22. Mardi Gras
  23. Hike the Grand Canyons
  24. Not get pregnant
  25. Get engaged
  26. Dye parts of my hair/whole head a different, drastic color (pink! purple! blue!)
  27. adopt a pet, whatever it may turn out to be
  28. Get my driver’s license
  29. Get properly fitted, boob-pushing, wooooowzer, bra. Maybe three?
  30. Do something unexpected.
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It’s a PLAN[ner]! 01

Note: Post will be a part of a DIY series on planners

I can’t be the only one out there that needs to write things down. There’s something very concrete and fulfilling about pen and paper. The crackle of flipping through multiple sheets to find what you’re looking for… the varying line weights and shininess of the pen’s ink. Honestly, I’m a supply fiend. I think purchasing new supplies for school is even better than Christmas and Halloween combined. It’s wonderful unwrapping a new pack of pens and writing your first words in a notebook. So utterly gratifying.

I’ve tried using various computer programs for my planning needs from Wunderlist (great program, if you were wondering) to the default Mac calendar. Nothing has worked and I always seem to revert back to scribbling notes on scratch paper my to-do list. In my mind, I feel like it’s much easier to jot something down then to turn on my phone and/or computer, type what I need, and then sync it to my other devices. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate for technology, but sometimes simplicity is better.

I did my research on diy planners. However, what was being presented to me seemed a little over the top – all things considering, I wanted something simple and lacked (too much) visual clutter. A lot of the diy planners that I found browsing on the internet had a very strong scrap-booking feel to it, and although that appeals to some, it wasn’t up my alley. My plans are, however, to include some scrapbooking elements in the long run, but very minimally.

Yes, there are pre-created planners, but, I knew that if I bought something static, it wouldn’t last long. The amount of space they provide you to write down all you need to, I find, is much too limiting. I have a stack of quasi-used planners in one of my storage boxes. They were nice, for a while, until I couldn’t all the information running through my mind in a three lined box.

The only logically thing, then, was to build my own planner from the ground up, pulling inspiration from different pages on the internet and examine the way I learned and did things. First and foremost, I had to evaluate what I needed from my planner:

  1. Had to be flexible – I could take pages and add as needed
  2. Visually limitless – a tabula rasa of sorts for me to decorate as I pleased
  3. Easy organization – Had to track my finances, had a monthly and daily view, and a place to hold my notecards for class notes (an argument for note card taking later)
  4. Inspire me to use it daily

Thankfully, where I am interning this summer, there is a lot of paper waste (for me, not the environment, but I’m not going to argue). Most of the waste generated are printed sheets with one side perfectly blank – a perfect specimen for my diy planner. Early on, I started to collect a lot of these one-sided beauties that would normally be discarded, and in a couple of weeks, my meager stack of two quickly grew to over 500. Each sheet was lovingly folded in half (A5 size – approximately 8.5×5.5″) so that I had two blank sides I could work with. I drew a monthly calendar starting from September 2012 (when I’d actually start using the planner) to June 2013 (when school ended) on graph paper & hole punched each folded half sheet with a two hole puncher. My intention, to make the planner flexible, was to use book binder rings I found through Etsy, to bring all the sheets together.

Over the course of a few days I made and finished each month. Right now I only have my month and daily pages done. When they’re actually in my planner, they’ll be divided into roughly three month groupings since I am on a quarter system.

Each “daily” sheet, at the top right corner, has the day of the week it is (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and the day it is (1, 2, 3..). My plans for the front of the papers to be my MITs (Most important tasks) with the back being all other tasks that I need to get done eventually, for future MIT referencing. I’m going to be using a simple system to denote the status of my to-do list, as well. Something easy, but visually understandable.

I’m not sure how I’m going to approach my “expenses” section though. That’ll probably be decided by the time my binder rings come in (which I’m very, very excited about. 2″!). But, most likely, will house a month’s worth of receipts with a monthly log to be filed away at the end of the month for tax purposes.

What do you think? How do you get productive?

Happy planning!

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Food for the Soul.

Food for the Soul.

Honestly, there is nothing as fulfilling as properly cooked, home-made food. With the aromas wafting through kitchen air, you know full well that it will permeate through your pores in a few hours. The idea of food cooked with purpose – nay, with love (however corny that is) is enough to know that, with the best intentions, this food is going to be damn good.

Com dia (image), or “rice plate,” is a Vietnamese dish composed of only a few essentials – rice (obviously), something pickled, meat (or, in my case, meat substitute), and vegetables (usually lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber). The simplistic flavors of the dish is then fully realized through the sweet fish sauce (nuoc mam) in a symphony of tantalizing tastes. Savory, sweet, sour, salty. Delicate, crunchy, chewy. All your senses and textures are realized in one bite.

Whereas, I feel, other Vietnamese cuisine is overly complicated by the building of multiple layers of flavors upon one another (resulting in massive time spent in the kitchen), waiting for  the first seasoning to permeate before adding more, com dia can easily be whipped up in half an hour to hour – with a little prep work, of course- and easily feed 15 +. Certainly, the recipe can be reduced – but my family was able to feed that many with a lot more left over.

The dish’s simplistic nature is outright and to the point – simple ingredients, prepared well, become harmonious.

I’m not pressuring you to go out to your local Vietnamese restaurant and order this amazing dish, but, damn it. You’ll be rewarded with one of the simplest and humble foods that the Vietnamese cuisine has to offer. Not into simplicity or being humbled? Throw in some lobster tails and wine (we did!). The basics of com dia is neither limited nor hard to alter. Change your proportions of the ingredients to cater to those feasting on your meal –  meat eater? Great! Eat an entire plate worth of the bbq’d meat and sauce with a bit of lettuce to feel better. If you’re like me, fill half your plate with pickled goodness (especially pickled cucumbers) and round it out with brown/white rice.

Oh. And lastly, did I tell you, it’s friggin’ amazing?

Happy eating!

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First Impressions (are usually lasting)

If first impressions are the deal breaker for most, then, perhaps, it’s best to get this post out of the way.

What exactly are my hopes for this site? Well, first of all, to be lasting. So many times I’ve falling into the pit-fall of creating a blog only to discard it a few days later. Hopefully, not this time! And my other goals?

– weight tracker (ugh. not looking forward to this, but alas, it needs to be done)
– reading & book review lister
– diy project tracker
– all around ‘blog

Sounds simple, right? Of course it is!

Or, at least I hope so!

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!