New Museum: Pixel Forest

If you haven’t been to the New Museum in New York to check out Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest yet, you have till January 15th before it closes!  Otherwise, here’s a glimpse of the exhibit at this museum on Bowery. I thought you might like to see some of the artist’s work just in case 🙂

Instagrammers and social media users have been posting photos of the exhibit since back in October. I didn’t have the time to go visit until last week. The New Museum is literally quite new. It’s small, but a few floors with a lot of interesting perspectives of art. The content is definitely not for children, as nudity in some of the displays is part of the work. Admission is $18 for adults, but psssttt… teachers with a DOE card get two tickets for free. : )

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Looking Backward, Moving Forward

It has been a full one week into 2017! Have you given up on your New Year’s resolutions already? I sure hope not!  

I decided this week to look back at all my entries in 2016 as I’m working on the makeover of the blog and found myself reflecting on whether my resolutions were completely forgotten or actually successful.  Here’s a short recap of last year’s goals (you can read the full entry here)!

 MAKE EATING & FITNESS FUN.  – Still working on the fitness part of this, but the healthy eating was pretty good last year!

 EMBRACE THE TOUGH DAYS. Yes. 2016 surely had some tough and life-changing days, but I made it through. Stronger than before, and so thankful to be surrounded by incredible people.

BE CURIOUS.  I’m still a little shy about this, but I’ve gotten to know certain people on a much deeper level than before, thanks to the courage of asking questions and being vulnerable with some. 

BOND WITH FAMILY.  Strong and full of gratitude, always. <3 

This year, I didn’t make any resolutions. My motto is simply to eat and live healthily, be happy, and balance my life (particularly not letting work consume my life).  What are your resolutions? Please share!  xoxo 

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Why, hello there, 2017!

Goodbyeeeeee, 2016!  You were quite a year of change for me & my family, and tons of learning experiences:  a trip to the Bahamas and Montreal, an opportunity to share my passion of arts integration with other schools, courage to apply for international schools in Hong Kong, my brother getting engaged, and my husband and I becoming an aunt and uncle again with our newborn nephew.  Though there were more downs this year than in previous years, I’ve learned how to deal with them and move on, pushing myself to be even more motivated and helping others in doing so. Someone once quoted to me, “Every failure is a stepping stone to success.”  They couldn’t have been more right. After being turned away for teaching in Hong Kong, that same week, my husband got an offer from an incredible agency.  It all worked out and I’m SO ready for a challenge I’ve been dreaming of for years now.  🙂

So 2017, we are ready for you, and this blog is getting a whole new makeover soon.  Here we gooOoo!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Wishing you all lots of LOVE.  HAPPINESS.  SUCCESS. and may all your dreams come true in every way possible. Remember, “all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney.  Just don’t go jumping off the bed thinking you can fly… because I tried it and it doesn’t work.   🙂

As always, thanks for reading.
xoxo, Lilian

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate! This year, for the last time, we created a wall tree using lights (you can see it on my Instagram!) Then on the actual Christmas Day, we went to my brother in law’s new house. I’m sitting right next to it as I type this LONG-awaited post, reflecting on what an interesting year it has been. My brother getting engaged, a new addition to my husband’s side of the family, an additional role at school, teaching in an ICT class, and two huge moves coming soon. I can’t wait to see what will come in 2017!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. Lots of love!
Love, Lilian

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A Few Cherished Moments

I never thought that after that last post, I would be completely occupied with almost no time to spare, including Instagram, where I posted almost daily back then.  Everyday has been almost the same thing:  planning at work, stay late at work, planning for a Showcase presentation in December where tons of visitors are coming to our school, and cooking.  By the time I’m home, for the first time EVER, I just want to do… nothing.  Sit back, watch TV, and binge on some kind of snack, fruit, or dessert.  What is going onnnnn?!?

Adult life.  That’s what.  And before you know it, kids. Mortgage. Car loans. Ha! It’s not depressing at all though. It’s quite the opposite – exciting and full of adventures. But part of a reality check for me has been how precious time is. There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything I want and get the rest that I need. I still always try to make time for family and friends though – thanks to those who always reach out to me. I always appreciate it.  I post because I’m motivated by all of you who visit everyday – thank you for being a continuous supporter.

So to share with you things that are not so tedious and more exciting happening, here are a few of the more cherished moments in the past few weeks 🙂

Lots of home-cooking!  Not so great on the variety, but we try to fancy it up with some simple healthy ingredients. In this case, it was spare ribs on top of pumpkin with a side of Chinese broccoli. 

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What’s the Best Part About YOU?

if someone approached you and asked, “What part do you love best about you?” what would you say?  Would it be your hands? Your eyes?  What about your feet?

It seems so much easier for many to answer this question if it focused on the negative, just because society portrays so many things to be perfect… like the celebrities on the covers of different magazines. It’s easier to say things like “I don’t like my hands because they’re so wrinkly” or “I hate my curly hair – I wish it was straight.”  So when we’re asked to think about something we LOVE about ourselves, we take a few seconds longer to ponder about it.
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Hmm…

Have you ever heard of that saying “My brain is fried?”  For the first time ever, MY BRAIN IS FRIED!  Don’t worry though, inspiration continues, but I just have no time to share it right now with everything happening all at once!  I barely even had any sleep the last few days. So for now, let me share a photo of my newest babies with you… they keep me sane as I tackle on some busy work at work 🙂 Plus when something is handpicked for a long time from your mom, it makes it extra special.

(If you’d like to keep up with me a little more frequently than the blog, please join me over at www.instagram.com/lilspirations ) It’s my most updated source of social media!

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Leaving It Up To The Chef – An Omakase Experience

When something is quite out of the ordinary like my experience at Sakanaya, it’s hard not to want to share. I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and two friends who took me out a couple of weeks ago for my birthday to my first omakase experience. Omakase in Japanese basically means “I’ll leave it up to you.”  That means from the moment you sit down to the moment you leave, every dish you eat is selected by the chef. I didn’t exactly know this, but immediately figured it out after our first dish arrived within two minutes of sitting.

Sakanaya officially had its grand opening last week (Congratulations!!) but we had the opportunity to reserve during its soft opening thanks to the recommendation of a fellow Yelp Elite friend. Although I don’t have anything to compare it to, I can say that the service goes beyond expectations. While we had to wait about 10 minutes for our seats, the waitress offered us seats to sit in, tea to drink, and apologized for the wait. Towards the end, well… you’ll see. They simply made my day with a never-before-seen-”cake”!  But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.  Here’s a run-through of our meal experience!

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The Rooftop at the Standard

And just like that, September is over and October begins. Is it me or time just speeds up as you get older?  In the blink of an eye, I am in my 9th year of teaching and first time teaching third grade. I love it and it is definitely keeping me busy.  Despite that, I’m always looking for opportunities to explore this city to share with you! For the first time ever two weeks ago, I went to the rooftop bar at the famous Standard Hotel. Yes, the one where Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s sister) supposedly attacked Jay-Z in the elevator. 

The Standard to me was always that mysterious hotel that was famous for its rooftop bar as well as the fact that since the High Line cuts through it, people are known to stand or pose naked by the windows so pedestrians can see. I always wondered what it was like to be inside. Well, here’s a peek at my experience!

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Ending the Summer with Summer Rolls

Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn! It seemed appropriate to wish summer farewell by making Vietnamese inspired summer rolls to end the season. I’ll have to come up with another one to welcome the Fall! 🙂  This appetizer is a very popular one served in most Vietnamese restaurants. They are made with sheets of rice paper softened in water and used to wrap ingredients such as cooked shrimp, rice noodles, herbs, and vegetables. It’s easy to make after a little practice in rolling, but just so you know, this post is a version of my mom’s cooking. We like to eat them with homemade fish sauce as opposed to the traditional peanut sauce. If you’d like something closer to the original recipe, you can try Chowhound’s recipe with peanut sauce.
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