What’s next?

G + P + V = C

And that’s the formula I learned today for finding out what you should do with your life.  For the last 2 years, I’ve been asking myself that question. Don’t get me wrong. I am very content with the way my life is.  I’m just curious how far I can push myself and it seemed I had forgotten what I’m good at or passionate about (besides teaching and blogging). I decided to spend a lot of “me” time just reflecting and excelling in something, but there’s never enough time in the day! I can’t wait for summer vacation, where you know I’ll explode with posts about anything and everything!

So back to what I was saying.  There it was.  G + P + V = C … G for gifts (what you’re good at), P for passion (what you care about), V for values (your lifestyle and personality), then you get the result of a career.  It sounds so simple, right? I would say it’s a pretty good starting place to figure out where to move next. But what the heck am I good at?? I enjoy doing almost anything because I just love learning and having hands-on experiences. But specifically, sewing went out the window for 3 months (that attempt at a zipper really got to me, and I’m still digging myself out of that hole…), photography is really just something I enjoy, not a career, and moving to Hong Kong seems a bit more impossible now… Except if Trump becomes president, well… g’day, mates. I’ll be in Australia with my little friend from Featherdale Park.

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If you have a little advice for what I should do in the next year, do shoot some ideas – I would love to hear! I’m down for some new adventures in the next few months. And of course…. the more, the merrier.

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo

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NASA reminded us all today that it owes a great debt to women.

NASA reminded us all today that it owes a great debt to women.

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Bringing the Restaurants Home

Food brings people together, wouldn’t you say? It starts conversations, stirs innovation, and even sparks debates amongst who, what, or where is better. It’s a huge part of why many of us go out to restaurants- to eat good food and to socialize (and because sometimes we just don’t feel like cooking). However, I didn’t enjoy a larger variety of food until the last 10 years. I explored with garlic, ginger, basil, brussel sprouts, lamb, beets, and even bitter melon (which someone joked to me once, “The day that you like bitter melon is the day that you are officially old!”) I guess i am officially old!  But these were all foods I hated as a kid. Bitter melon had to be the worst, but it is supposedly one of the healthiest.  My palette sure has changed over the years, but after having eaten out so much, I wanted to start bringing the restaurant foods home!

I’ve fallen in love with cooking. It is tiring after a long day of work, but when I have a plan and I’ve gotten all the recipes, I just want to make the best dish I can. My other half though, doesn’t need much planning. He’s a natural with whatever we have in the fridge!  So recently, we had a few nights where we challenged (and worked with) each other to create dishes we’ve never made before, all completely from scratch.  From a packet of ground meat to avocados mashed up and basil blanched and blended. We were allowed to use a little help from Google images and Pinterest for image ideas, but no recipes (except dessert). We’ve been experimenting with different food combinations, presentations, and making dishes that we would normally love to eat at restaurants. Here were some of the results!

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Appetizer : Blanched asparagus served with a poached egg, topped with bits of bacon and parmigiano reggiano cheese

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FAQ on CNY traditions

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Remember last year’s post on my Chinese New Year celebrations? Reading back on the article this week, I actually thought last year was cold, but this year was a killer. One day, it was 5 degrees with a negative feel!  But it was well worth it.

For the first time since I joined my husband’s lion dance group, I went to almost every lion dance practice and march that he attended. It was really powerful looking at this form of art from a more concentrated lens and understanding the meaning behind every move, every drum beat, and every dance form. I wanted to know the reasoning behind everything – especially how the lion dancers and drummers coordinate. Thinking back 10 years ago, it was just noise for me as it is for most people still, but the beat of the drum has actually become music for me while the lion dance and kung-fu aspects have become an appreciated study. While taking photos and helping out through the parades, I observed, questioned, and enjoyed every moment I could. It was actually nice to hear people questioning me because it motivated me to find out the answers myself and be able to explain them better.  Well, here’s a few of the simple answers for you!

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A Valentine Special

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Are you ready for a special treat?

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It has been a while since Lilspirations had a Featured Spotlight post! (In case you didn’t know, Featured Spotlight is when we shine the light on someone and readers can go behind the scenes to learn about the maker/owner!)  2015 was a good year where I had the incredible opportunity of meeting owners such as Solomon Choi (founder of 16 Handles), Tony Quach (founder of Snowdays), and makers like the talented Andrea Watson and Kristine Brookshire.  This time, I’m super excited to feature someone new to the business and having a really awesome purpose behind her work.  

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Year of the Monkey

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Happy Chinese New Year to all those who celebrate!  Here’s a little embossing of a monkey, some flowers for beauty, and clementines for prosperity. 🙂 I went a little minimal this year! but if you’d like to see my previous years’ posts about the holiday, you can read Chinese New Year Festivities and “Ten Things To Do During CNY”

 It’s the Year of the Monkey, so get ready for lots of adventures too!  Wishing you all health and wealth all around, a joyful and happy new year!  xoxo 

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Got a Picky Eater at home?

Since this isn’t a mommy blog, I won’t have the answers for you.. But I know someone who will!  Parents of picky eating munchkins, this one’s for you! 

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I’m so excited on this February 1st to announce a Kickstarter project created by my close friend and mentor, Kendra Chao. Kendra is now the author of Read Them and Eat, fun interactive books that help children see food in a new and adventurous way.  Because her son Lucas, is a super picky eater, she created these books to help children enjoy eating their vegetables. Sometimes, the airplane trick doesn’t work and neither does bribing your kids. So why not turn eating into an activity that results in a finished plate?  It’s an awesome idea, and I know it’ll positively impact many people out there!

If you’re interested, through the Kickstarter website here, you can support her project (even $1 helps!) or get your own copy of Sally Strands and her Wacky Hairstyles and The Most Delicious Train Ride.  I’m quite excited to get my own copy to read to my niece! 

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Here’s Kendra and her son, Lucas! 

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 I hope you’ll support this wonderful project and really fun cause! The campaign will run until February 22nd!  xoxo 

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Post-Blizzard in Chinatown, NYC

A picture can tell a thousand words… So here’s a bunch 🙂 Since the storm photos I took before were shot in Chinatown, here’s what the area looked like after the storm.  

(Columbus Park – House Sparrows) 

(Bayard Street) 

(Bayard Street)

(Mosco Street) 

(Mott Street) 

(Bayard Street) 

Also figured it would be fun to walk across the Manhattan Bridge.  We only made it a quarter of the way, but the view was worth the hike in the deep, unplowed snow from the start!

(East Broadway)

(Graffiti next to the train tracks)

(Monroe Street)

(East Broadway)

Lastly, this was one of my favorite shots. A man was driving a sports car and got completely stuck in the unplowed snow on Mott Street.  Tons of people started standing around to watch as he gassed really hard and only resulted in flying snow. The rear of the car started shifting left and right while he helplessly kept trying.  After a few minutes, different people walked over and started pushing the back of his car, directing the driver and working with each other. After about 10 minutes of constant shifting and pushing, he was finally able to drive away.  I loved the teamwork between complete strangers!  You go, New Yorkers 🙂

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Blizzard Jonas in Chinatown, NYC

While it was heavily advised to stay indoors, I did cozy up in my apartment for the most part but couldn’t help but step out to Chinatown for a bit to capture some photos of Blizzard Jonas. I’m glad I did because it looks like I wasn’t the only one … there were quite some people and friends out there having fun! 

Grabbed my DSLR and out I went with my snowboard pants, hat, gloves, ski jacket, HeatTech, and snowboots!

(Transfiguration Church – Mott Street) 

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To my surprise as someone who had missed that blizzard of ‘96, parks weren’t necessary for fun in this snow. The streets were wide open!  

Here’s a really awesome local resident I met snowboarding down Mosco Street … 

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Pell Street was a playground in itself for snowman building, fort making, and snow angels! 

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A huge kudos to all those who had to come out during and after the storm to shovel

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Check back here for photos of the day after the blizzard.  Stay warm, be safe, and as Ellen always says …. be kind to one another. =)  Thanks for reading!

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A New Park Over in Sydney

After over 10 years of not seeing my cousin Anita since I visited Hong Kong long ago, I finally reunited with her this past summer when I visited Sydney, Australia. I had such a blast introducing one of my best friends to her, playing with her two sons, and getting to know her after all these lost years.  I was really inspired when I found out that she had started her own company long ago making these gorgeous handmade purses, bags, hair clips, and all that you might find on sites such as Etsy.  She’s quite the talent!  But even more inspiring was learning about her behind the scenes as a landscape architect. 

Recently, she finished designing a new park in Lane Cove, Sydney, AU. It’s not just a simple playground for kids. It’s one intended to be interactive, entertaining, and educational. It includes a braille trail for wheelchair or vision impaired visitors to interact, giving everyone an experience similar to that of a “treasure hunt.”  You can read more about it in this news article from The North Shore Times.  Really wish I can be there to experience the park, especially as my second graders and I have been studying New York City parks since September!  

Thanks to Anita, I’m able to share some of these fun photos with you that she took on her visit with her kids! If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and have some fun!

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A huge congratulations to you, Anita!  I’m celebrating overseas for you 🙂 

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