Finding my green thumb

gardenI convinced myself that I didn’t have enough hobbies and decided I needed a garden. Ha. I know nothing about growing anything, and this couldn’t be more clear as I was standing in the garden section at Home Depot, basically having a panic attack. I almost yelled “ABORT!” until my much more level-headed husband calmly spoke to an employee and eased my nerves enough for us to go home with some cute flowers and a sensible window box.

Just in case I’m not the only one who decides to dive into gardening without a clue, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Window boxes don’t come with hooks. At least, most of them don’t. I wandered aimlessly through the store looking for one that would fit snugly on my railing with no luck. Instead, we opted for a box that’s currently just resting on our balcony railing. Good idea? I guess we’ll wait and see.
  2. You know those little containers that flowers come in? You don’t need a whole bunch of those to fill a window box. I grabbed a few, thinking I’d have a full blooming box, but apparently flowers need room to go — just one container with 6 marigolds was enough to fill it.
  3. According to Home Depot and my expert-gardener mother, marigolds are easy to grow and maintain. I’ll be the judge of that.
  4. Flowers have different schedules. I had planned to have a box of marigolds and dahlias, but when the marigolds die, the dahlias will live on, so growing them next to each other isn’t ideal.
  5. Basic flower window box starter kit: window box + window box liner + soil + plant food + flowers.
  6. You need to cut the container that the flowers come in and very carefully separate each one, making sure not to tear the roots. They are each then planted separately.
  7. Per the friendly Home Depot lady, we mixed the soil and plant food in a separate bag then filled the window box liner about 1/3 of the way. Then we added the flowers in a staggered pattern and filled the rest with soil mixture.
  8. You’re supposed to water the plants more frequently in the beginning. I’m starting with once a day and crossing my fingers.
  9. Even though I don’t have a full-grown garden yet, I’m making it work on my little balcony. I like the feeling of growing something and I love waking up to flowers outside my window. Knowing me, I’m sure I’ll have a jungle in no time.

I’ll be posting updates on my tiny garden. More to come!

Explore: Seattle, Washington

June is here and I’m trying to convince myself that it’s as magical as it was when it meant the end of another school year and the beginning of beautiful, endless summer days and bonfire-filled summer nights. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the same as an adult, but I can pretend, right?

We spent the long Memorial Day weekend with a very short trip to Seattle — six in the evening on Saturday to six in the morning on Monday, to be specific — and staying true to our efficient selves, we jampacked our time with all of the Instagram-worthy views, touristy fun, and delicious food, food, and more food that we could possibly fit. So here’s what we did with 36 hours in the Emerald City.

Ate everything and drank coffee.
No surprise here. If I had to sum up our time, this would be it. And that alone was worth the trip. Our new Seattlelite cousin showed us all the good eats, and we basically spent Sunday on a four-person food tour along with one of our friends from college. Here’s the list.

  1. Musashi’s – You really can’t go wrong with fresh, cheap sushi. Get the Chirashi bowl and you won’t be disappointed.
  2. Molly Moon’s – Walk down the street from Musashi’s because ice cream is necessary wherever you go. I could’ve married the balsamic strawberry.
  3. Starbucks Reserve – Starbucks but fancy and with a different menu. Cool place to just hang out and not feel like you’re at Starbucks.
  4. The Crumpet Shop – I think this was my first crumpet and I’ll admit I’m now a crumpet fan. The pesto on that fluffy goodness was amazing.
  5. Storyville Coffee – Walk upstairs from The Crumpet Shop and you’ll find this wood-paneled, sunlit cafe. Perfect stop before squeezing through crowds at the market.
  6. Pike Place Chowder – There was a long line here, which was to be expected on MDW. Luckily, the guy singing outside made the wait not so bad, and the chowder is worth it. Get the sampler to try a few ($1 off with Yelp check in).
  7. Oriental Mart (not pictured) – We somehow managed to track down this little Filipino food stand tucked away at Pike Place. Longanisa cravings satisfied, good Filipino hospitality, and funny signs to pass the time.
  8. Piroshky, Piroshky (not pictured) – Buttery, flaky goodness. You’ll probably have to wait, but that’s with all good things, right?
  9. Beecher’s (not pictured) – Our cousin picked up some mac and cheese from here while we waited for chowder. YUM.
  10. Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot (not pictured) – Our last food. All-you-can-eat after a day of all eating may not have been the best call. Food comas may have commenced at the table.

Did tourist things and took in the views.
When we weren’t eating, we were doing stuff. Pretty typical Seattle stuff, I must say, but hey, we were short on time. Luckily Seattle is  small city so we were able to take a lot of it in. We’ll definitely be back for more adventures in the future, but here are the highlights:

Hi, we’re tourists posing in front of the Pike Place Market sign. It was Tom’s first time here so this was a must. We were “lucky” to catch some authentic Seattle rain while we were there.

This shot is 100% unposed. I am actually smiling at the fruit, and he is really telling me not to touch it. I wish I was lying, but this is our real life.

I was beyond disgusted by the gum wall, so I stayed behind the camera, a safe distance away.

Kerry Park

Got a great view of the Space Needle from Kerry Park.

This was my second time at Gasworks Park and it was just as cool as I remember.

Lake Washington

Found the most peaceful dock on Lake Washington. Such a beautiful place.

Do more.

There’s something magical about the idea of “doing less.” It seems so unheard of and unattainable nowadays that it feels like a faraway a dream; one that I definitely have often. Lately, it’s been feeling like a dream that will never ever come true, so I’m starting to wonder: is that really what I want? It sounds wonderful, but I don’t think so. What I really want is to do more — of what I love.

There’s a lot of things I want to (and should) do less of, but in reality, the “don’t”s and the “won’t”s and the “shouldn’t”s don’t seem to be cutting it for me. So new approach: decide what I want to do more of and just do that. I figure if I focus on what I love, I won’t feel the need to do less. So here is what I’d like to do more of:

  1. Read – Books, magazines, articles, blogs, emails…anything really. I want to read a lot of things and all the time.
  2. Anything music related – Like basically everyone I know, I love music. At one point it was a huge part of my life, and I really miss that. I want to sing, dance, actually listen to music, and learn more songs on the ukulele.
  3. Be outdoors – Hiking has become a regular part of our weekend routine, but during the week (aka the majority of the time), I am lucky if I feel the sun. This needs to change.
  4. Socialize – It’s no secret that I’m an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like being around people. It’s been hard making friends in a new city, so I think it’s time to start making this a priority.
  5. Give – Volunteering, giving gifts, or just doing favors, I really just want to do some good more often.
  6. Arts and Crafts – One of my favorite things in the world, and I can’t seem to find time for it. Such a shame.
  7. Write – There is something so incredibly comforting about writing. Whether it’s a journal entry, blog post, or letter, it just makes me feel better. More of it will be good for me.
  8. Pray – For me, personally, this is something I can never do too much of.
  9. Slow down – Is doing more by doing less a thing? This is really just about the little things: sitting down for meals, asking my husband how his day was, enjoying the process of getting ready instead of rushing through it. I want to spend more time on things like that.
  10. Discover – Adventures and new hobbies and everything in between. There’s so much to do and see that it makes me want to do more — in a good way.

I’m putting a plan in place to “do more.” We’ll see how it goes.

An Instagram a Day

I was mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed one day, reminiscing on all of the cool and interesting things I’ve done and seen. And it’s true; I’ve done and seen some pretty cool things. But my life is not all trips and adventures and scenic views. Those are just a small portion of who I am and what I do. I couldn’t find my whole self in my feed and that bothered me.
To be honest, it made me a little sad that the only things I found worth sharing were these amazing and rare things. I want to be the type of person who finds wonderful, beautiful things no matter where I am or what I’m doing. And on days when they’re a little harder to find, I’ll try searching harder or create them myself.

I tried, for a short time, to post a picture every day to remind myself of that, but it just wasn’t sustainable. So I wrote this post as my reminder: always love the ordinary days just as much as the special ones.

Happy Earth Day


Yosemite National Park

I remember the day I fell in love with the Earth.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t that long ago. Even after years of childhood summers spent climbing trees, skipping rocks, and picking dandelions, I don’t think I fully appreciated nature until my early 20’s, when on a sibling trip to visit my sister in Seattle, we went hiking. The moment I stepped on that trail, I was changed forever.

I don’t remember exactly where we were, but I remember how I felt and that was everything. I was energized and alive. I felt every breath and every breath felt more real than it ever had before. And while my heart was racing, my mind was calm. That’s what struck me the most. Calmness is a rarity for my overthinking, over-anxious mind.

I’m always on the lookout for things that stop me in my tracks — things that calm my mind and soothe my soul. Nothing does this more for me than the beauty of this planet. I am happiest when I am outside, taking it all in. Please keep her beautiful forever.

The Brightside

Happy Monday after an exhausting weekend! We spent more than 10 hours driving on Saturday and Sunday, but on the bright side:

Spring is here! I’m learning that that doesn’t mean much here in sunny California, but it’s a pleasant thought nonetheless. Hello spring! 

The Brightside

Yes, it was very difficult to lose that hour of sleep, but here’s the bright side we always forget about:

The sun will be out later! No more driving home from work in the dark. And for that I say thank you, daylight savings time.

The Brightside

Happy (gloomy) Monday! It was a rainy yet productive weekend, and while it was a little difficult to get up this morning, here’s my bright side:

I get to come home to a fully furnished home and my husband! Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference.