morning in miami

A place where everyone is invited to wear short shorts.

Gentle waves, warm water, perfect for swimming anytime

I didn’t expect much from Miami on my first trip many years ago. I thought it was a "cheesy" place known for bright clashing colors and butt implants.

After arriving, I found the colors and implants, as expected, but it wasn’t cheap nor was it cheesy. I remember staring at a woman with two butt cheeks the size of basketballs, spherically round to perfection. The level of craftsmanship is beyond.

For the first time, I felt confident about my thighs. Women were proudly exposing broad thighs, far broader than mine, and their confidence made me aspire for more curves.

Taken on the morning before my flight, I didn't want to leave without walking on the beach for the last time. The dark spots are from rain drops that landed on my lens.

Most of my life I dieted and exercised hoping to convert my thick legs into thin twigs. All I had to do was visit Miami. It felt good to be me.

travel

Plastic Windows

Fantastic plastic.

makeshift windows glowing in the evening

I love this plastic material that's found all over Europe. It seems to be used as cheap window material, an alternative to glass. There's always a pattern or some sort of fuzz so anything on the other side is made less visable.

The material isn't as common in the states--perhaps that explains my fascination. There's nothing in the states that's functional and comes in a variety of patterns that each had some consideration for design. I'd be happy to cover my home with plastic, maybe make a greenhouse with different patterns, but I don't expect people in Europe to enjoy it the same way.

journal

Food Retreats

Making a 'home' away from home.

A scene from Mimi Thorisson’s 'Workshops’ held in Médoc, a village in the French countryside far away from Paris. One of the most popular retreats, 2017 workshops are already planned. Photo via mimithorisson.com.

The most interesting vacation spots are not European cities or tropical destinations. Instagram has overexposed once desirable destinations to an extent that they all seem too familiar. I no longer want to visit.

There’s a relatively new category of travel that I’m drawn to. It’s the retreats food bloggers host. Maybe it has something to do with my love for food…

While 'exotic' travel offers vibrant experiences, the type of experience food and lifestyle retreats offer is less 'exhilarating'. On a past vacation to Panama, I found a flavor of excitment that just wasn’t something I’d ever look forward to again: ATV riding through tropical terrain.

Cooking and photography in a place made to feel like a ’home away from home' is more comparable to the enjoyment of having an afternoon coffee. Especially when compared to slugging drinks in between jello shots, the tempo that defines packaged travel experiences.

Perhaps I am an old lady at heart. Cooking, photo taking and making things is invigorating.

’Home away from home’ in Marrakech, Local Milk’s upcoming destination. Photos via Local Milk Retreats.

It’s possible that gourment luxury imagery will not be popular for long, as they’re becoming overexposed, but I like how these retreats create new 'destinations' for travel. Local Milk holds workshops in Tennessee and demonstrate how 'destinations' are not confined to tourist centers.

Many retreats offer fantasy travel experiences, like eating and cooking in a palazzo in Venice, a type of experience different than waiting for a tour of some important building. Also, it’s world’s away from the the experience of procuring a fake handbag. (Why are there fake handbags wherever there are tourists? Doesn’t a nice photo on Instagram with many likes command more respect than a designer logo these days?)

Why must we all enjoy the same destinations and stress each other out? Lifestyle retreats, along with other types of retreats, like yoga and meditation, expand the possibilities for travel, with more destinations to yearn for.

travel

Field Mushrooms

They were just sitting there, waiting to be eaten.

So many mushrooms. Spot any? I couldn't. But I might have been too busy looking up at clouds.

I'm lucky that my husband has an eye for mushrooms. I didn't realize how many were in this open field. We ended with a large plateful after grilling. Surprisingly, the mushrooms had far more flavor than Portobello or any common mushroom from the grocery store.

There were plenty of mushrooms hiding under stems and hay. Yummmmy. One of the meatiest things a vegetarian can have.

There's actual food on the ground. Delicious food that's free. It's amazing that there might be a chance humans can flourish off what the Earth provides.

We tried our luck in the forest for mushrooms that grow on the forest floor. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to make a meal out of even after an hour of searching.

journal

The Fine Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Cultivating a practice.

Me not caring much, exploring this Brutalist building

This year I've started to understand how limited my energy is. The little things that provoke me, from someone cutting me off on the sidewalk to not having coffee made how I want it, take a lot of energy to care about. Not that they’re not valid things to care about, but rather there are other things I hope to accomplish. My energy and time gets taken away by the things that don’t matter to me as much. I came across 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck' by Mark Manson and the article perfectly describes my findings in colorful ways.

"most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given."

"What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks."

"Developing the ability to control and manage the fucks you give is the essence of strength and integrity. We must craft and hone our lack of fucks."

"Not Giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different."

"They say “Fuck it,” not to everything in life, but rather they say “Fuck it” to everything unimportant in life. They reserve their fucks for what truly fucking matters. Friends. Family. Purpose. Burritos. And an occasional lawsuit or two."

"The problem with people who hand out fucks like ice cream at a goddamn summer camp is that they don’t have anything more fuckworthy to dedicate their fucks to."

"We all have a limited number of fucks to give; pay attention to where and who you give them to."

"In life, our fucks must be spent on something. There really is no such thing as not giving a fuck. The question is simply how we each choose to allot our fucks. You only get a limited number of fucks to give over your lifetime, so you must spend them with care."

journal

Coloring: Vintage Pattern

Vintage florals and scallops to color this week.

More often, I'm attracted to vintage prints over contemporary.

This week’s coloring pattern is inspired by a vintage textile print. I assume it was originally made from several wooden blocks that were stamped on top of one another. The original print had dots that line up irregularly along the lines within oval shapes. I recreated this pattern with a lot of irregularities, the oval eye shapes are not consistent.

With more details, I’m hoping this one will be a more fun to color than last week’s.

Download here:
A4 size coloring page
Letter size coloring page

art

L'Isola di Sleepy Jones

A drama that probably won't unfold.

An island where everyone wears pajamas.

"Where rest and relaxation are not simple luxuries. They’re a way of life."

I remember wishing commercials were more like tv shows. As most have experienced, commercials get extremely annoying the more you watch. The useless jingles get stuck in a never ending loop. I remember believing that the world would be happier if commercials were enjoyable. The increased happiness would get us closer to world peace. After all, people are bombarded with irritating ads at a time when they’re trying to relax.

Beachgoers relaxing in pajamas.

L’Isola di Sleepy Jones reveals the shortcomings of entertaining commercials. I want more of this beautiful world. I know that there’s more to the story presented in the commercial, but I also know there’s probably not a chance it’ll ever be produced.

I can only enjoy this particular world within the bounds of the short film directed by Oscar Boyson. It’s sunny, warm, and everyone is perfectly relaxed.

As long as the newspaper is delivered.

travel

Pierogi

Mushroom filled dumplings.

I had the pierogis boiled and fried--a whole day's worth of food.

I used to watch the Food Network everyday. Giada, Ina Garten and the original Iron Chef were my favorites.

The shows made cooking look glamorous. After watching a couple episodes, I’d be pumped to get cooking. But not necessarily the recipes that aired.

Mario Battali would talk about the regions in Italy and listening to him talk while cooking was like traveling. I felt compelled to make my own meal as a way to virtually travel to a different part of the world.

The mushrooms took forever to prep.

This week’s recipe comes from Poland. Pierogi’s are served at almost every bar, along with pizza, but they’re hardly anywhere in Berlin. I cooked the mushroom filling based on how I normally cook mushrooms and ground them down so that they were easy to wrap in dough. There’s probably a recipe on how to season the mushrooms, but I didn’t bother. I like mushrooms as they taste so the pierogi’s came out delicious.

I have no expertise on cooking so I don’t feature recipes. I don’t actually know many of the recipes I’ve cooked since they’re usually rough outlines given to me by people who have more experience. Also, I often combine three of the first recipes I come across on Google and follow steps I prefer.

The videos I make are more like journal entries. It’s my way of preparing food on a regular basis and since eating is such a huge part of my life, it’s what I want to capture.

journal

Looking Back

Things are different but I think I'm still the same.

Sometimes the city can be surprisingly pretty

I took a walk this morning and while crossing the road, I looked back and realized how nice the path was. The trees were perfectly aligned around a curved road and the sun was beaming a soft glow on the pavement. How could something look so mediocre walking forward look so picturesque?

My second thought was, "Funny, I have the exact opposite reaction when looking at my past."

I’m often horrified when memories of being vain, cruel and desperate come up. The thoughts make their way into my head a few times a day. During these moments, I breath heavy. The distress is strong enough to hollow my lungs. There are moments where I romanticize the past, and take credit for what those moments imply, but that’s less common.

I cannot see that I’m in a different place! Just as I’ve physically moved along the path I’d been walking on, I’ve moved to a different frame of mind. But when looking at my past, I’m still in the same body, using what seems to be the same mind and I get confused thinking that I am the same person, as the one in the past.

journal

Exhaustion as a Status Symbol

The new designer bag.

A beautiful city that operates on status. Hong Kong is one of many.

I have to admit, I’ve used exhaustion to promote my status. Like flashing a Gucci bag. Exhaustion: A History is a book recently reviewed by The New Republic in "How Exhaustion Became a Status Symbol".

"To say that you’re exhausted is to telegraph that you’re important, in demand, and successful."

"It’s akin to the humblebrag of ruefully describing yourself as 'so busy'—naturally, since exhaustion follows from busyness."

I wonder if there's a book on contemporary humblebrag culture. It's not okay to be successful, well-rested, and happy. No one wants to hear about it. There's more to talk about when someone has dramatically crossed their limit to the point of self-destruction.

"Burnout, caused by workplace conditions rather than by a worker’s mental and physical composition, is depression’s more palatable, more prestigious cousin. As the German journalist Sebastian Beck puts it: 'Only losers become depressive. Burnout is a diagnosis for winners, or, more specifically: for former winners.'”

journal