Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday #50: New Horizons

Macarons, French Macarons, Lumiere and Lens, Cozy

Bonjour!  This week, I've been a tad addicted to French macarons.  After having them for several days in the row from bakeries, I settled for the frozen ones from Trader Joe's.  DANGEROUS DECISION.  I'm currently doing a lot of writing so I've been eating my weight in these French cookies with Gossip Girl playing in the background.  There are far less pleasant ways to work, I think!  It's currently Sunday morning in Los Angeles and I'm writing this now while nursing a cup of coffee.


When Roberta made dinner last week, she prepared a salad of greens, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, olives, and dill that was dressed with olive oil and vinegar.  It was simple, but amazing, and the dill was a surprise touch.  I've been recreating this salad at home a lot.  It's light, but filling and a healthy counterbalance to all the sweets I've been consuming.  Anyways, I want to eat more salads and vegetables this week before I go to Alaska for vacation.  No one ever eats healthily on vacation so I have to pregame my vitamins NOW.


I turn another year older this coming Friday, but I probably won't be celebrating much on the day because I'll be busy packing to leave for Alaska in the morning!  Roberta asked how I wanted to celebrate and I suggested a low key dinner, especially as we didn't get a chance to celebrate hers earlier in the month.  We went to Bottega Louie (surprise, surprise) and enjoyed a meal of tagliatelle bolognese, brussel sprouts with pistachios, fried calamari, and yes, macarons.  Good food and company for the soul!  Afterwards, we walked to Upstairs, a rooftop bar in Downtown Los Angeles.  We breathed in the night air and looked out on the skyline before catching an Uber home. 

The Upstairs Bar, Los Angeles, Rooftop Bar


My friend Eric goes to an improv group on Wednesdays and invited me along this past week.  Acting is something that I've always thought would be fun, but I'm far too self conscious to try it!  I mean, my presentations/talks only go well with a lot of practice.  I went to the improv group with the intent to watch, but they required everyone to participate.  It turned out to be a lot of fun!  At first, I was self-conscious and held back, but decided to just go with it.  It was a great way to break out of my comfort zone, to think on my feet, and learn a different type of cooperation in a team.  I'm definitely going back in a few weeks!


•  Hanh reflects on being comfortable in her own skin.
•  Feeling pretty - unpretty, by Bash.
•  Nancy shares 23 thoughts on her birthday - send her belated well wishes!
•  Doctor Jane graduated!

P.S.  I've updated the links page on my blog.  I've noticed our growing community of support so I want to share the love.  If we regularly interact and I've missed you, please don't hesitate to drop me a note!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Bullet Journal That Works For Me

Lumière & Lens, Bullet Journal, Weekly List, Food Diary
Setting up my bullet journal each week.

I started using a Bullet Journal towards the end of last year with the aim of improving my organization, productivity, and motivation.  If you dig around on the Internet, there's a prescribed way of setting up a bullet journal.  No shade on the guidelines, but I didn't find a lot of the recommended modules particularly useful.  After trial and error, I've found a Bullet Journal format that works best for me! 

I carry a lot in my backpack to work so I wanted an easily transportable notebook.  I've been loving the grid notebooks from Muji.  They're only 30 pages so I can easily slip one into my bag and I don't mind replacing it every few months.  I use about 2 to 3 full pages per week so these Muji notebooks are completely sufficient.  As for pens, I'm fond of Stabilo pens; they come in a lot of colors and are very pigmented.  A small T-square is also useful for drawing straight lines and grids.  Now, on to what I put in my journal!

A Weekly To-Do List.  Every Sunday morning, I sit down and draw out the grid for my weekly tasks.  I have a lot going on and like to have things visually laid out.  My appointments are written out in bright ink.  While I don't jot down work hour, I make to-do lists for tasks that might slip my mind such as ordering an important chemical, reactions, or things that need to be reviewed.  Having a week visually planned out prevents appointments from sneaking up on me.  

A Food & Exercise Diary.  I weigh myself every morning, track my digestive patterns, and write down everything I eat.  I note the type of exercise I did and where it was performed (days at the gym tend to be harder than working out at home).  I color highlight the exercise I've done with the goal of doing it 4X a week.  The block of color is a quick visual gauge of how close I am to achieving that goal!  Sometimes, seeing just two blocks motivates me to exercise because of how much I enjoy filling out the chart.

FYI, I don't count calories, macros, or obsess over food -- I really enjoying collecting data!  This diary has been immensely helpful in seeing when I'm eating too much garbage or processed food.  I also plan to plot my weight, do some statistics, and correlate how it fluctuates with my exercise habits. 

Lumière & Lens, Bullet Journal, Habit Tracker

A Habit Tracker.  If you're anything like me, you might spend just a wee bit too much dining out.  Really, all my money after bills and savings just goes to food.  Like having the color block on my exercise, a habit tracker is a great visual tool to quickly see how I'm doing.  For example, by nearly three weeks into May, I've done well on exercise, but poorly on not spending on food.  I was consistent about lab, but less so with practicing music.  I was consistently NOT working on my fine art (bad!), but spent time seeing friends!

These were the three journal habits that work best for me!  I also like to keep lists with square bullets to color in when completed that include blog post and photography ideas.  Some recommendations that didn't pan out include the future log, the table of contents, the index, or in general, the elaborate drawings/scribbles I'd see in other bullet journals.  I tried them, but wasn't inspired to keep up with them consistently!  However, a thin notebook is really easy to carry around for note taking at a moment's notice. 

How about you?  Do you use a bullet journal? Is there another organizational method you would recommend?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday #49: Return From Philadelphia

Hello, friends!  It feels good to be doing a Sunday post again after two weeks off.  I've spent most of my weekdays (and most of my Saturday) catching up on work.  I got back into Los Angeles late Monday night and it's been a long week.  As I bang this out before bed, I'm pretty knackered and ready to turn in! 


A good friend of mine from undergrad had his wedding in Pennsylvania on the weekend of the 4th!  We couldn't make it out for more than a few days, but we got to stay with my Mama.  The wedding was a lovely affair that mixed two families' religious traditions.  It was surreal to see my friend from many years ago at such a place in his life.  They grow up so fast, right?  I am happy they found their soulmates in one another. 

Aside from the wedding, I spent as much time with my mother as I could; she only gets me once a year, usually.  As she specifically requested that I keep her off social media, I can't share any pictures of her or the wedding (respect privacy!).  Instead, I will show you the ones taken in the suburbs of plants and me with my boyfriend.  My Mama's a pretty decent photographer, isn't she?  She took the photo of us!  Apparently, we're poor models and stiff as boards.  

My parents don't speak English so we've relied on phone calls to keep in touch.  I am pretty awful at phone calls so while I was in Philadelphia, I set up WeChat.  We can now leave each other audio messages like texts.  Pretty neat!  I miss my family a lot so it's a good way to hear their voices from so far away.  I also have my #1 fan (Mama) to whom I can send my selfies.  It's a good life.  


I "finished" my work for the week on Saturday night in preparation for meeting my boss on Sunday.  The meeting was fairly productive and I met up with my friend Nicole afterwards.  We went to the Westfield Santa Anita Mall out in Arcadia which some of you have also frequented!  You know of whom I speak.  *WINK WINK*  We got lunch at Din Tai Fung and then did some shopping without our boyfriends (who hate shopping) in tow.  Your girl had a little #TreatYoSelf day at NYX, Nature Republic, Muji, Lush, and the candy shop.  WHOOOPS.

In the evening, I had a photoshoot with my friend Roberta.  We've been planning this for weeks and I had a blast shooting on her roof.  Afterwards, she made me a dinner of pasta with oxtail meat sauce, all completely from scratch, followed by macarons for dessert.  I felt 100% spoiled by her caring and kindness.  

Seeing girlfriends was a nice day to end my week.  I also had lunch with my friend Liz this past Wednesday at one of our favorite sushi places after many weeks apart!  Amidst the deadlines, stress, and work, good friends/company make a gigantic difference in lifting a person up.

Your turn!  Tell me about your weeks, your company, and what you're looking forward to in the next seven days!