Where I’ve Been

I missed blogging last week—and I almost missed it again this week. I’m so sorry, to those who were waiting for my weekly post.

As you may recall from previous blog posts, I’ve discovered a new hobby, and it’s quickly turned into a major stress reliever. (That’s what hobbies are for, right?) After taking a free art class on Craftsy.com, I discovered the niche world of art journaling—the craft of elaborately decorating journals, planners and notebooks through mixed media. And I’ve been hooked ever since. So much that it has become my go-to after a long, demanding, exhausting day at work. Continue reading

Advertisements

Lessons Learned from Keeping an Art Journal

Journal entry

Years ago when I was living alone, I would paint on canvas with acrylics. I loved it. I’d put on a rotation of classical music or dinner party jazz on Spotify, pour myself a glass of red wine and spend hours creating art pieces, some that were eventually trashed but a few that ended up hanging on my walls.

Then I became involved in a serious relationship, and when he moved in, there was no more space for my easel, canvases, and array of paints and brushes. I hated to do it, but I had to give up on my hobby of painting, and it’s been that way for the past three years. Continue reading

Ode to the “Staycation”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The happiness and relaxation that I felt immediately upon rising today has translated into so many other things, creativity being one of them.

When you take time off from work and the heat index is well over 100 degrees, as it has been here in northern Virginia these days, some people leave town. They go to the beach, retreat into the mountains, or migrate up north to drier, cooler air. I’m not “some people.” I decided to stay home and have a “staycation.” (It also doesn’t hurt that I love where I live and don’t consider being at home a bad thing.) Continue reading

Living a Quality Life – #2

Friends
Reunited with my friends Jae and Ellie. While we have all taken different paths in life, we’ve also found outlets, however small, toward seeking happiness.

Upon our 10-year reunion last week, it became very clear how my friends in Korea and I have all taken different paths in life. Jae utilized her skills and education to became a small business owner, myself a DC fundraiser in the international affairs arena, and Ellie a stay-at-home mom and budding entrepreneur. Last week I wrote about Jae’s inspiring accomplishments, which you can read about again here.

This week, I want to focus on Ellie. Continue reading

Attitude

IMG_0535.jpg

Sometimes I watch these stupid recorded classroom lectures at Stanford University, aired on Japan’s NHK US channel. They really are silly, although I can see the attraction. The classes focus on abstract things like happiness, problem-solving, or unconventional brainstorming exercises (which at the end of the day are still brainstorming exercises if you ask me, for it doesn’t matter if you switch out a poster-size pad of post-its for a folding screen of dry erase boards attached to the wall, arranged in small stations for groups to gather around, forcing people to stand throughout the exercise vs. sit—it doesn’t change the experience, which for many students, will continue long after their college days in an artificially lit, windowless office where management will oddly continue to hail brainstorming sessions as innovative and creative when in reality, 90 percent of the time they will be a complete waste of time. Trust me, I’ve participated in plenty of brainstorming sessions, including a few rare ones that were actually very productive, and at the end of the day, it’s not the tools or the layout of the brainstorming experience or whether you are sitting or standing that creates results—it’s the people participating that make the difference and the quality of their input, not the volume. Having all these ingredients in place is actually quite rare, if you ask me, and for this reason, I find the majority of brainstorming sessions a complete waste of time). Continue reading

Why I Like Traveling Solo

IMG_0476

I’m in the midst of planning for my first overseas vacation in ten years (Toronto a few years ago does not count, sorry Canada!), and as the days bring me closer to departure, the excitement within continues to swell by the hour. You see, I need this vacation for more than just the obvious R&R it will bring. While I’ll be staying with friends during most of my time in South Korea, my days will be primarily filled with solo travel, and I have planned it this way intentionally. Continue reading

In a Life Full of Routine, How to Rediscover Joy

envelopes

Years ago I picked up the hobby of card-making. I basically taught myself all I knew, which wasn’t much, but enough to keep me entertained. I would spend hours making (and eventually using) my own creations, experimenting with different patterns, cardstock, papers, and embellishments such as ribbons, stickers, and stamps. It was great fun and provided me with hours of creativity.

But after a while it started to fall by the wayside. Continue reading