Wednesday, May 30, 2012

10 Days to Building Self-Discipline - Day 0

I started reading a book about building self-discipline because that is something that I have struggled with for a long time. After reading a few pages of Self-Discipline in 10 days: How To Go From Thinking to Doing by Theodore Bryant, and reading about the Mr. Hyde in me, I was inspired to change my desktop to something that will bring productivity, efficiency, and motivation in my work. 

From doing some light research, cool colors, like blue and green, bring a soothing environment that helps you stay focused and be productive while warm colors like red and orange, bring creativity but also anxiety so I kept the warm colors on the more low key range. I love the tree stencils on desktops because it reminds me of growth, serenity, and opportunity so I chose a very cute and stumpy tree shape with colorful buds with miniature flowers sprouting for my desktop. I downloaded a set of brushes from DeviantArt and it's a really cute set by ploop26

Finally, the book I am reading says to practice positive self-talk and before I read this book I had the words "BE PRODUCTIVE" in white on a blocky font with a black background on my desktop but in the spirit of practicing positive self-talk in the present tense, it now reads "I AM PRODUCTIVE" and it looks a lot more refreshing. Apparently dark colors, like black, can bring emotions like depression so I am very glad that I changed my desktop :)  

On top of that, I downloaded the free software "Fences" to keep my desktop organized, clutter-free, and completely clear of folders by just double-clicking. 

Today has been a very productive day indeed!  

What to Do When You Don't Know What You Want in Life

I know I am not alone when I say, "WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE??" A question that is so simple yet so complicated. It seems like those that are most self-aware and in touch with their inner selves tend to successfully pursue their passion without fussing too much about it. Unfortunately, I am one of the least self-aware people I know. But first, I have to accept me as me and if I don't like the me in the now, then change to the me that I want.

The best ways to begin assessing "WHAT I SHOULD DO WITH MY LIFE" are:

Stop comparing self to other people.

Stop imagining what could have been or what should have been and focus on the NOW.

Stop wasting time looking at things that have a negative impact on you or things that provide zero value.

Stop spending time with people that are cynical, negative, and selfish or people that bring the WORST in you.

Stop trying to be someone else.

Stop sulking and moping about things that can be controlled instead, move a step closer to changing those things.

Stop procrastinating, the world keeps on spinning no matter what.

Start owning up to what makes you, You.

Start giving 110% to exploring something you are interested in.

Start liberating yourself from invisible chains and be free from social expectations and pressures.

Start working on improving the qualities about yourself that you are not so proud of.

Start expecting the most positive and ideal results because it will happen.

Start surrounding yourself with people that bring the BEST out of you.

Start accepting your mistakes and move forward.

Start accepting things out of your control and move forward.

Start prioritizing and make every second count.

If a baby bird can jump into the unknown and learn to fly on its own, what's the worst that can happen? There is no thing such as failure, it's just learning what doesn't work. And as I remember, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So I'll try to stay sane.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thrift Finds

I know there is a ton of goodies to find at thrift stores but it really does take some time and a good eye to find those great pieces. I'm not very good at it but I'm in training ;) I went to our local thrift store and spent an hour there and found some great simple and everyday tops for a bargain total of $25 for SEVEN shirts. That's an average of about $3.50 per shirt. It's really is amazing to pay $25 for just one of these shirts at the mall... However, there are some clothes and accessories that are well worth the money when buying retail. I'll go on another thrift shopping trip soon and we'll see if I can get a little more creative!

When I got these seven finds, I was in the mood for comfy day time shirts that are loose and refreshing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scooter's Five Month Anniversary!

My boyfriend and I adopted Scooter at the Carson Animal Shelter and have felt so thankful to have found him every since. It's been five months since he came into our lives and it's been such an amazing and rewarding experience. His transformation from his first day, so scared of his new environment and unsure of what's to be of him now that his prior family surrendered him, to his playful, cuddly, loyal, and devoted self now. He is seriously the most amazing dog I have ever met, and I might be biased because he is my furry baby ;)

I could go on and on and on about him but it's late, and I want to get some reading done before sleeping so I'll make this post short and sweet, just like my Scooter sweetie pie <3

At the Carson Animal Shelter, one day after his prior family surrendered him, on 12/19/11:

First day at our home on 12/21/11, a bit drowsy from the neutering surgery he had earlier that day:

First haircut, ready to start his new life, got rid of all of his old fur, on 1/10/12 (look at those turkey legs! wahhh, so adorable!!):

February through May monthly picture to be continued on next post :)

By the way, the Carson Animal Shelter info:

216 W. Victoria St.
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 523-9566

Monday – Thursday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Holidays

Between Main & Broadway, 2 blocks south of
91 Freeway. Please note: Victoria St. is the same as 190thSt. The shelter has a Gardena mailing address.

And you can also browse online for pets ( but FYI, Scooter was inaccurately listed as a Pekingnese breed and his picture did not do him justice. He is the cutest thing ever but his shelter picture posted online didn't show his cuteness as much, so it's worth to visit the shelter in person:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Portuguese Bend Reserve Hike

So I went hiking with one of my close girlfriends, her younger brother, and cousin"-in-law" (<= not sure if there is such thing, it's her cousin's wife) yesterday in Palos Verdes at the Portuguese Bend Reserve and had a nice and peaceful hike. I don't get to see my friend, Caroline, often because she's been studying far away from home for the past few years but it's always nice to see her, and it was extra special to me because we generally don't do daytime activities like this. Instead we typically eat dinner and then go drinking with my other close girlfriends.

At the beginning of the trail, we bumped into a couple of high school classmates and their dogs and it felt awkward, even though I really made an effort to be friendly and pretend to care to see them but there is always something awful about seeing high school people, don't know why... The girls we saw yesterday are very nice and so similar to us but I guess any reminder of high school is awkward to many of us LOL Too bad, because it would have been nice to get to know them better if it didn't feel so unnatural to see them.

Anyway, we started the trail lost at Del Cerro Park and parked on the side of Crenshaw Blvd because it seemed like parking was already full. The trail is actually straight towards the end of Crenshaw Blvd, past a gate and a map of the Portuguese Bend Reserve so there was no need to actually walk into the park on the right hand side. There was a marine layer just evaporating slowly and I hate that type of semi-cloudy/sunny day. I love blue skies or just super gray cloudy days but after a couple hours, there was a glimpse of the beautiful blue sky. The hike also has a gorgeous view of the ocean far ahead but because of this awful marine layer, I could only see what looked like smog to me.

We originally wanted to hike starting through Burma Rd, left to the Ishibashi Trail, left onto Paintbrush Trail, then back down through Burma Rd to Crenshaw but we accidentally passed the Ishibashi Trail and ended up making a left onto Rim Trail instead. Our hike totaled about 4 miles. Burma Road is a well maintained and obvious trail downwards where you pass several smaller trails which we were very hesitant to go through since snakes are a common site in this reserve. Plus an experienced hiker with his rottie on-leash and his other big dog off-leash warned about snakes and such... Plus, I read poison ivy is predominant in this area... I'd hate to get that on any of us! And Robert, my friend's brother, spotted some nice green poison ivy quite close to us.

Upon first sight, Rim Trail seems like a beginner's trail, pass a wooden tiny bridge but once we started going uphill, it was a bit scarier because it seemed like it was quite steep and slippery from the rocks that have created this hill. For me, this was the funnest part of the trail because it was more exciting and stimulating while the rest of our circle was just so peaceful (for a lack of a better word).

Here, we reached the highest point of our circle and it was where we were about to start turning back down onto Paintbrush Trail:

This little trail decorated with a bed of yellow flowers was part of the Paintbrush Trail and it's also near where we saw the poison ivy on the right:

 The trail is generally pretty dry and surrounded by million dollar homes:

Iris, my friend's cousin-in-law, spotted the cutest little bunny eating these purple flowers and he even showed us his fluffy white tail... Adorable rabbits but they are pooping machines and their urine smells pretty bad...

As I said earlier, this marine layer just covered the gorgeous ocean that would have been visible on a clear day. Although the ocean was looking rather dirty even far away but it was still a very nice scenery:

Caroline went back today and will probably go tomorrow before heading back to Berkeley but I have a back log of things to do and I am trying to stick a schedule of being "productive" or whatever people call it ;P So far, I'm making great progress! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Building Intimacy Among Friends

So my last post has got me thinking about how people successfully maintain intimacy among friends and it is so hard... In terms of social life, tweens begin worrying about not being loners, teens begin worrying about being popular, college students begin worrying about finding themselves, and young adults worry about maintaining intimacy with friends. Well I guess I should more accurately say, as a tween I worried about not being a loner, as a teen I worried about... and so on... I can only go as as far as young adult though. But ever since I graduated from college, I find it so difficult to make that friendship connection with new people and continue building intimacy in my current friendships.

I would consider the following to build closeness among people:

1. Past experiences shared together but these can only bond to a limited extent if nothing new brings the relationship to a new level. Just because you've known someone for 20 years, doesn't mean they are your true friends...

2. Common set of values in terms of education, family, religion, money, love, etc...

3. Common interest like hiking, running, eating, etc... I guess drinking would be included in this category.

4. Frequent and consistent communication to catch up with each other, which seems to be more difficult the older you get because time becomes more and more scarce.

5. Supportive and encouraging relationship, where your success is my success and vice versa because you are genuinely happy for each other. Positivity attracts positivity.

6. Respect of each other choices in life and opinions.

7. Growing and maturing at the same pace, it seems like career progression/money brings tension to a relationship if both are not growing at the same pace.

8. Empathy for each other when sharing difficult experiences and struggles.

9. Genuine effort from both sides to spend quality time together.

10. Making each other feel like they are an important person in their life (i.e., appreciation for one's friendship).

11. Having fun together, meaning that you both have to come to a consensus to what a fun activity entails.

12. Random acts of appreciation for one's friendship, like buying a small gift, meal, etc.

13. Mutual interest in each other's life, no matter how different they are from one another.

14. Being respectful of each other's feelings and avoiding negativity, harsh comments, being condescending, being difficult and over critical, etc.

15. Accepting each other as how we are and not attempting to change each other by criticizing, putting down, talking down, making them feel stupid, etc.

16. Being reliable and dependable when someone is at their worst or needs you.

17. Being trustworthy and trusting each other.

18. Showing loyalty to each other when the situation calls for it.

19. I think one of the most important aspects of intimacy is being genuine, you can't fake being a good friend. If you do a favor for another friend, don't take it for granted. It really sucks when you do something really nice for somebody and you feel taken for granted or as a second choice as if you have to prove your friendship so that you are worthy of being their friend. That's when resentment begins building and the relationship just goes downhill from there.

I'm sure there are a lot more items that build intimacy in a friendship but these are the ones that come to mind. Ultimately, some people will bring out the best in you and some will bring out the worst in you. Sometimes mood swings and personal problems put a damper on a relationship and as adults it seems more and difficult to put up with someone else's bad attitude and it's easier to just focus on other aspects in your life that make you feel good about yourself. I guess, as adults we become more and more self-involved/selfish (which is not necessarily a bad thing because you realize that you don't have to let someone else disrespect you) and due to the scarcity of time, we begin prioritizing to determine who you want to spend time with.

This whole post makes me appreciate having my loving and loyal furry baby in my life. I love my puppy-face Scooter <3 The only thing I'm not fond of is picking up your poop and cleaning your paws and butt hole, but you are worth every effort <3 <3

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alcohol and Friends

Introducing my besties, Ada, Caroline, Jenn, Maki, and Steph... We have known each other for over a decade and share so many memories. I am lucky to be able to count on them to be there during my best and worst times (and they have seen plenty of both). We have definitely changed over the years and it gets harder and harder to be able to hang out all of us at once because everyone is doing their own thing. That's one of the things I miss the most about being in high school and college, the carefree days where we would hang out and not make a fuss about what to do when we hang out. But we have to all accept that it will never be the same, unfortunately.

During the past few years, our gatherings generally involve eating and drinking and I think we are all getting over the novelty of getting drunk together because as of late, it has been quite stressful with a teaspoon of drama. It's amazing how alcohol brings people together, well at least from my experience. For example, I was just looking at my last birthday's shenanigans and it involved lots of drinking and eating a delicious meal at The  Little Door. The highlight of the night was the fancy restaurant and drinking a couple of boots of beer at a bar.

My girlfriends are very encouraging and they don't take no for an answer. They are also persuasive and will root you until you accomplish your goal. Apparently, on my 26th birthday, my destiny was to drink as much beer from the infamous boot as possible. We all shared the boot and we don't mind sharing the cooties, we have done plenty of that in our days. Then I noticed, that a group of people sitting next to us became our cheerleaders for the night. I'm not sure if they were rooting us on because we were obnoxiously loud and somehow transformed into a frat group or they were genuinely supportive and encouraging. I'd like to think it's the latter because we were not obnoxious, we were just talking loudly because it was so loud in the bar already ;P

Moving forward, although I miss the good times that binge drinking bring to our long nights of partying, it seems like it is almost time to retire from those activities. Our bodies and emotional states just can't handle the alcohol intake anymore. Or may be each of us is at different stages in life, I for one, am very behind... But I digress, I hope that the bond we have is not just tied to our past memories and our affinity for eating and drinking but we genuinely like each other and are interested in each other's lives and endeavors. I don't know if I'm going through a major hormonal phase, but I've been feeling lonely lately, socially lonely. I hope it's just a temporary bump. I wonder if I'm the only feeling this way...

In the spirit of nostalgia, here is a video of my friends and me during my 26th birthday, we love instigating each other and enjoy having a jolly ol' time with a boot or two filled with beer... So many quotes worth mentioning like, "We are not letting her go to the toilet until she finishes!" or "I sorry" or "You are so close, you are so close!" or chants of "Drink the boot! Drink the boot! Finish the boot! Finish the boot!" LOL