Unforgettable Happy Moments of 2016

6342 I hate to say it but almost everyone seems to be in mutual agreement that 2016 wasn't the greatest year at all. I mean, I'm hoping someone out there on this planet had a wonderful year, an unforgettably amazing year, but for the majority of us, I think we're more than ready for a fresh new start, am I right? I'm not a big believer in new years resolutions because I definitely think we can make a change within our lives no matter what day of the year it is but still, there's something motivating about visually crossing off the last day of the year and starting a fresh new page in a calendar.

With that said, I dug through all my old photos and notes from this year in an attempt to find all the good that I could about 2016. I've narrowed it down to 3 things, with one of those "things" being the greatest thing that has happened to me in a long, long time.

1. Adopting Lulu. My sweet little chihuahua. I adopted her back in September and she has fit into mine and Djinn Djinn's life so perfectly. She had dental issues and was horribly neglected but after a few months of love and care, she is the spunkiest, happiest, craziest little thing ever and I am so happy I took a leap of faith and introduced a second dog into my home. (Read more here)

2. Seeing Adele in concert. When I bought the tickets for Adele back in 2015, it seemed like July 2016 would never get here. But, the day arrived faster than I could imagine and it was a completely magical experience. Adele is unreal- so full of life, charm and talent. Her album '25' spoke to me so much, I will forever associate 2016 with her music. (Read more here)

3. A visit to my hometown. Getting to go back to my hometown this summer brought back so many happy memories that I really needed to relive. I saw old faces I once knew, ate at restaurants I had always wanted to visit, and admired much of what I used to overlook. It served as a reminder that if all else fails in life, my home will always be there. (Read more here)

As always, thanks for sticking with me and being a new or continued reader of this internet space of mine. It means so, so much to me.

Please feel free to link me to your 2016 Highlights posts. And Happy 2017!

'Twas the night after Christmas

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Christmas came and went just as fast as ever. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and that you have high hopes for 2017 (I know I do!). 2016 kind of punched us all in the face and I think it's going to take a while to recuperate.

In other news, I decided to try my hand at night photography because the last few times I tried, I just ended up using the flash and it looked like one big spotlight was present in every photo (not a good look). I've still got a long way to go before I feel completely satisfied with night photography but as always, baby steps.  

The top half of this outfit reminds me of Maureen O' Hara's character in The Quiet Man (if you haven't seen that film, we can't be friends), which kinda sparked an idea for some outfit posts in 2017. I hope to recreate some of my favorite outfits from classic films/TV but with a more modern approach. 

The trench coat that went to Ireland

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Every time I wear this trench coat, which admittedly isn't as often as I'd like (THANKS California weather for always being so sunny and sunny and sunnier) I am reminded of the glorious week I spent in Ireland 2 years ago. I wore this coat on the plane which was a good thing considering I only took one other jacket (from Forever 21) and it got lost somewhere between San Francisco and Washington D.C. I would've been so mad if this trench coat would've been lost. But I don't even want to think about that!

I feel like this green trench coat is one that I'll wear for many years to come. I mean, I hope it'll last that long. I have another trench coat (you know, the Holly Golightly kind) and just the other day, I put my hands in the pockets and one of the pockets ripped right before my eyes! It was shocking as I've always believed trench coats are a staple piece that will last a very long time.

Anyway. This green trench has even more special meaning to me now that it's gone with me to Ireland. It saw the Cliffs of Moher, the Rock of Cashel, Dublin (it was a lifesaver during a huge rain storm I got caught in while strolling the streets) and so much more. I've promised it that we will go back to the Emerald Isle together again someday.

What I miss about being a kid on christmas

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I literally had the best childhood ever. And every year that goes by, I try hard to hang onto all the memories I can. Why does life get better? get worse? get boring? get pointless? get beautiful? get amazing? 

All I know is that Christmas was unbelievably joyful every year when I was growing up and it wasn't all just about the presents (which, of course, was undeniably exciting in itself). 

I miss so many things. The excitement that would build up as soon as December arrived. You could literally smell Christmas in the air- it was always a mix of pine trees and cold air. I haven't smelled it since I moved away from my hometown years ago. 

I miss the very, very occasional fall of snow. It snowed about once every 10 years and when it did, it was always only for about 10 minutes and the world would literally stop and stare. It was magical and incredibly exciting. In the photo above, I am about 2 years old and it was my first experience with snow. Thankful to my mom for making a snowman and capturing a photo of it.

Ice skating. Every Winter, the local mall would set up an ice rink and it was one of my most fun memories with some of my cousins. I was sad when they shut down. I really, really hope to ice skate again soon, especially outdoors- that would be a dream.

I also miss Christmas parties at school where everyone would bring food to share (usually sweets). I miss Christmas shows that our school would put together and I'd usually force myself to get over stage fright to play the piano. 

I  miss family gatherings. I didn't have as much anxiety back then so it was much more enjoyable.

Just genuine joy, love, cheer and happiness. That's what I miss most of all. Christmas was everything it was supposed to be when I was growing up. 

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What do you miss about being a kid on Christmas? 

A Day at the Dog Park

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Living on the coast is nice and all, but admittedly, I really miss the fact that most trees don't change colors and the leaves rarely fall. While at the dog park the other day, from afar, I noticed a beautiful almost-Maple-looking tree and just knew I had to take a million photos of it. It was also the first cold-ish day so I got to wear my wool coat, which made me ridiculously happy. It's so weird to think the holidays are upon us already. I'm not really ready for them, if I'm being honest. I've been feeling down lately and I'm not sure what it's going to take to completely snap out of it but I can tell you one thing, days like this where I just live in the moment and take photos for fun, make all the difference in the world. 

Hometown Glory: A trip to Northern California

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Over the past week, I took a little bit of a break from the online world (except for Instagram because, duh what is life if I can't take a peek at everyone's #ootds and flatlays) and traveled back to my small hometown in Northern California. 

My hometown is, I guess you could say, more than just one town, because of close proximity to each other, it's more of a cluster of hometowns since I spent so much of my youth in each of the separate towns.

Many of you might be able to relate: when you leave your hometown, you tell yourself you'll never feel the need to come back (except for the yearly visit to relatives or if you're horrible like me, you only visit every 5 years) and nothing was ever more important than escaping for good. My hometown(s) isn't London or Paris (far from it, actually) but when living there, it was way too easy to notice only the negative aspects of it. 

The last trip to my hometown was about 4 years ago and it was a blurry memory of anything but happiness. This time, however, it was an unexpected delight and everything that a visit to one's hometown should be. I visited all my old favorite places (landmarks and restaurants) and saw some old faces including many relatives that I hope to see more often. It was just such a pleasant experience from start to finish that- can you believe it- I actually didn't want return to my current home!

I finally saw my hometown for what it's been all along- both good and bad- but mostly just good: a small community filled with (mostly) friendly laid back people, agriculture in abundance and warm sunshiney weather (the way it should be this time of year). It was nice to see grass again and feel the warm breezes. It was nice to be given a free bag for your purchases at a store rather than having to pay 10 cents for it. It was nice to see so many beautiful old architectural structures. It's weird to think about but so much of what I love and appreciate now is because of what I grew up knowing in my hometown community (i.e. farming/fresh produce, old homes, small towns).

Of course, I won't say I'll be moving back any time soon, if ever, but at least I'll always have a place to call home...


Do you still visit your hometown?

Adele LIVE in San Jose

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Over the weekend I guess you could say I crossed something off my bucket list that I didn't even know was on my bucket list: I saw Adele perform live. 

Back in December of last year, I heard Adele was going on tour and I just knew I had to go after hearing her second album and being one of those annoying people who kept "Hello" on repeat. I woke up early the next day and crossed my fingers that I could somehow get tickets that would at least let me into the lobby of the building, ha! The only other time I was nervous about getting tickets was when I went to the Spice Girls reunion tour in 2007- the show sold out in minutes but luckily, I was signed up for their fan mailing list and got an access code so that made all the difference. However, with Adele, I didn't even think to sign up for the mailing list because honestly, I never in a million years expected her to do a world arena tour. 

Good news, though. I MANAGED to get nosebleed tickets for one show (even though my original plan was for two shows) and never looked back. 

The day came way faster than I realized! On the day of the show, I got there super early and just basically waited around wondering what Adele was doing at that moment (you know, stalkerish thoughts like, when did she arrive? did anyone see her arrive? what did she eat today? is she feeling homesick?)

FINALLY, a little after 8pm, I heard a familiar "Hello" echo inside the arena and the world erupted into screams (I mean, obviously). I will quickly mention how annoying it was that I happened to be in the wrong seat and a guy came and brought it to my attention just as "Hello" began, making me miss the first 3 minutes of the song. 

Despite that little mishap on my part, the show was just unbelievable. Adele is a true entertainer and, obviously you all know how she sings- imagine her albums but 10x better. And of course, her chatty personality- she is just phenomenal. I mean, the show was so good. Don't tell anyone, but it was even better than the Spice Girls show I saw. And that's saying something because I happen to think the Spice Girls are queens of the world. 

Who knows when Adele will tour again, but if you're one of the lucky ones who gets to go to one of her shows, she will not disappoint and you will be left wondering why you weren't one of the first to follow her on MySpace back in the day.


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SHOW:

*Adele singing "Someone Like You" (EVERYONE and their neighbor knows the lyrics for that one!)
*Encore performance of "When We Were Young" and seeing a bunch of Adele's personal photos on the big screen. My eyes got teary with that one even though I swear it was just an eye irritation but I think my subconscious self knows better...
*The encore performance of "Rolling in the Deep" where the confetti containing her "handwriting" came pouring down from the ceiling. It was excitement and magic rolled into one! 


This is what happened when I adopted a second dog



It's hard to believe it's already been one month since I introduced Lulu to the world. When I adopted her, she was scrawny, her fur was disheveled and she just had this huge cushion of sadness surrounding her. It makes me sad to even think about it. Flash forward to the present and I can't even imagine life without her now...

Lulu's improved so much and honestly, it's all just due to love and a bit of food. In the month she's been here, I have made sure to give extra love and patience to her because I know she has had to endure so much change within her lifetime. I'm also so glad Djinn Djinn seems to be accepting her well. I think he knows that's she's here to stay so he's dealing with it. ;)

She's a normal weight now and her fur is growing in nicely. In fact, I just gave her a bath today, which she hates so we'll have to work on that. I had bathed her on the first day I adopted her because she had that kennel smell but it was definitely time for another bath today. 

I love her little personality- she's gentle and sweet but feisty. She's playful and curious and does great on walks. She actually motivates Djinn Djinn to walk, which is so nice because sometimes he's difficult on walks. I think the hardest thing about Lulu is just making sure to not step on her accidentally because she is so tiny. I'm very cautious about how fast I walk now and I don't make any abrupt movements. In this aspect, it's actually helped me to become more conscious of what I'm doing and to not hurry through everything. Lulu also follows Djinn Djinn around everywhere and wants to be just like him, the grumpy little old man that he is. She learns quickly, even the things that she shouldn't learn (like digging through the trash can or begging). I'm so glad she's a part of my life now. I have so much love to give her.

Have you ever owned more than one pet at the same time?

Renaissance Day Festival

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Saturday was the annual Renaissance festival which is always quite an extravagant experience. It's so interesting to immerse yourself in one of history's most famous time periods. One thing is for sure, it's a nice "place" to visit, but I'm sure glad I didn't live through that. Can you imagine? The outfits were incredibly heavy, the people seemed so rowdy (like, more than they are now and most likely super smelly) and any attempt at disobedience would probably land you in the guillotine (even though, you know, it kinda wasn't invented yet but I'm sure they had torture systems that were just as horrible...)

When I think of the Renaissance, of course the main thing I think of is the art, particularly Leonardo Da Vinci. It was so weird- while I was at the festival, a plane flew over and I remembered how Da Vinci had invented one of the first flying machines. I couldn't help but smile and wonder what he would've thought about the fact that here in 2016 we are celebrating the Renaissance period AND that airplanes are a major part of our lives. Crazy, right?

I wonder if 400 years from now, they'll have a festival to celebrate the 21st century...what would THAT be like, I wonder?

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The newest family member

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Her very first day at home- I can't imagine how stressful and scared a shelter dog's life is but I hope Lulu will feel nothing but safety and love in my household.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at the spur of the moment- a lot earlier than I normally would've anyway- and decided I just HAD to go and adopt this little chihuahua I had seen online at the local humane society. However, this definitely wasn't a spur of the moment decision. I had been wanting to do this ever since I first adopted Djinn Djinn 6 years ago (I have always felt guilty about the fact that I wasn't able to adopt his little sister and his mother who were also at the pound-- the POUND--animal shelter is too kind of a description, in my opinion).

The desire to adopt another pup was particularly strong lately. I feel like Djinn Djinn is calmer and more adaptable than he's ever been even though I was still pretty nervous about how he would react to a new little friend since he has never been around dogs much. It might sound ridiculous but the whole night before, I couldn't stop thinking- should I go and adopt the little chihuahua? Should I? After all, this would be the first time I'd ever have 2 pets at the same time. What'll it be like having 2 dogs? Should I? Should I? I literally had dreams of it throughout the night and when I woke up that morning, I knew I had to go and be first in line to adopt this little girl.

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Her second day at home- she's started being a bit more playful. I can't believe how adaptable dogs are.

Weighing in at a little over 4lbs, I have decided to call her Lulu after one of my favorite childhood cartoons, Little Lulu. I also wanted her to have a short 2 syllable name like Djinn Djinn's but somehow, thinking up female dog names is a lot harder than male names, at least for me it was! When I saw Lulu's listing online (formerly, her name was 'Si'), she sounded like everything I was looking for in a second dog: tiny, calm, friendly, and gets along with other dogs & what a coincidence that she's about 6 years old (same age as Djinn Djinn!).

So... why did I decide to adopt a chihuahua? For many reasons. I know lot of people tend to think most chihuahuas are hyper and annoyingly aggressive but I could never rule out an entire breed simply because of such stereotypes. I wanted a dog that fits with my lifestyle- with Djinn Djinn being on the medium size (20lbs) I wanted a second dog who wouldn't overwhelm him and one that would be very easy to travel with or basically just easy enough to carry around everywhere. Also, I've heard that chihuahuas are hugely overpopulated here in California so if I could have a hand in helping to make one less Chihuahua homeless then I feel that much better. They are wonderful little creatures.

Lulu already seems to be adjusting well to her new home- she sleeps a lot and she needs to gain maybe half a pound. She has some dental issues and that makes me sad when I think of how neglected she must've been. Her fur is a bit scraggly right now but I think she'll grow a healthy coat in no time. I feel like she was meant to be in this household- she is just perfect and I love her so much already, it feels like she's been with us forever. I hope Djinn Djinn will warm up to her eventually. So far he's keeping his distance like a sulky little child.

I don't mean to sound like a crazy dog lady (too late, right?) but, life is just so much better with a dog(s).

The bicycle necklace

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I have always been a jewelry admirer. When I was little, I loved buying the cheap plastic/metal rings from the 25 cent machines they have at supermarkets. Rings were my thing. I've never been into expensive fine jewelry even though as I've gotten older, I definitely do see the difference between choosing quality over quantity. For the most part, I am attracted to vintage costume jewelry but when I was in my teens, I'd usually buy the type from Forever 21 and it was oddly satisfying. When I first adopted Djinn Djinn, I kinda stopped wearing jewelry regularly because I found that he would get scared if I wore bangles or long necklaces while holding him- the things you do for your furry pals! But recently, I've started to wear jewelry a bit more often as my outfits were becoming way too boring without it.

Unfortunately, most of my current jewelry pieces aren't really practical for everyday use (most of my jewelry have been gifts from friends and family) because they're too flashy or they just don't go with everything I wear regularly. I've only recently started to buy a few pieces that I've chosen myself. 

I saw this bicycle necklace at TJ Maxx and it immediately caught my attention- it was a bit more delicate than what I'd normally pick but somehow, it just spoke to me. If a piece is going to be delicate, I love it when it has a subtle quirkyness. Normally, I would just admire a piece and then walk away but this one stayed in my mind as I continued shopping so I decided I had to have it. One of the things I made sure before buying it was that the chain would hit my neck at a good spot- I'm so weird when it comes to necklaces, I definitely can't deal with choker necklaces or the ones that hit right in the center of the curve of the neck- you know the spot I mean? I feel like I'm literally being choked! 

As soon as I put the necklace on, I felt a special connection to it. I suddenly realize that the bicycle kind of had a symbolic meaning for me. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by adult life lately and often feel like I'm kind of taking a slower route than most of my peers. It's as if I'm bicycling my way through life while everyone else is driving a sports car. It's weird how that is, isn't it? Even though this isn't fine jewelry, I can see myself wearing it for a long time. Plus, it's really just a charming little piece.

What kind of jewelry do you like? Are you a necklace, bracelet, earring type of person? Or do you wear all of them at the same time?

Why I still prefer blogs over Youtube

These days, it seems everyone has a YouTube channel and for that, I say, more power to you. You're brave and I admire you. That said, I know a lot of talk, gossip and speculation has been going around about whether YouTube is en route to completely replace blogs and to that...I have to scrunch up my nose just a tiny bit. I definitely understand the appeal of FINALLY being able to see and hear your favorite bloggers in video form but at the same time, they both are just two completely different platforms with similar intentions (to connect a wide range of people) and you just really can't expect one to outdo the other- at least, according to me.

I love blogs because they're like books and magazines rolled into one but way more real and appealing. I love that you can read them whenever you have time and there's so many to choose from, you can read a different one everyday and never really come back to the one you started with (although, let's be honest- we all have our favorites). I love that everyone's perspective is so different and the photography is usually such a great source of inspiration. I love how great it is when you really come to understand and know a blogger's voice just through their writing skills. I love seeing how mostly everyone's blog designs represent their personality. Blogs are just such a unique way of getting to discover and understand the world and the minds of others.

As for videos, as I said, I love being able to put an actual voice to a blogger's face and every so often, Youtubers make videos that are short and to the point while being entertaining and helpful. I appreciate how big YouTube has become and can definitely understand why everyone wants a piece of it. It's incredible how literally any kind of video can be found within seconds. Although...my main issue with YouTube is that it's not always convenient to just drop everything and tune in to watch a video clip. Usually, I have to scrounge around for my earphones so I don't disturb others as I'm usually in a public place when I have a bit of free time to waste. I also find it distracting that there's so many "suggested videos"- I just want to watch the one I'm watching for now, is that okay with you, YouTube?!? I'm actually only subscribed to a handful of YouTubers and don't actively seek out more- I don't know if it's just me but I can't usually justify watching all those "Boyfriend Tag" videos or videos of the sort. Even makeup tutorials put me off when they are more than 10 minutes long, I usually just skip to see the finished look. And can I let you in on a little secret? Probably my favorite channel to watch without fail is WhatsUpMoms even though I obviously am not a mom myself. I am just fascinated by the creative ideas they churn out every week and so many of the videos are relevant to my life even now (especially the food ones and DIY). They really know what they're doing! 

So you see...I kind of still have a major preference for blogs. Maybe that makes me old fashioned... but what about you? Which is your preference?

A little pizza my heart

Here's my first attempt at posting a photo post from my iPad- let me tell you, it was quite a lengthy process but I did it! At least, I hope the format is exactly the way it usually is...

These photos were taken almost a month ago now but it's the first time I was wearing this pizza t-shirt. I immediately loved it because I, like the rest of the world, declare pizza to be one of my most favorite foods. I even have a secret Pinterest board dedicated to it. When I saw this shirt, I loved how simple it was - if the pizza would've been in color, I don't think I would have been as attracted to it because it probably would've felt more juvenile. Also, now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if this t-shirt was meant to be sleep wear- sometimes it's hard to tell at Old Navy what is casual wear and what is lounge/sleep wear- or is that just me?  

Speaking of pizza, I tried Dominoe's for the first time ever a couple of months ago and was incredibly disappointed (it was way too greasy and the sauce was too sweet). It's always been sort of a secret goal of mine to find an amazing pizza place. So what I'd like to know is, wherever you are in the world, what is your favorite place for pizza? 

Outfit details: T-shirt- Old Navy/Sweater-Target/Jeans-Levi/Shoes-Nautica/Hat-Forever 21/Sunglasses-EyeBuyDirect