Monday, November 29, 2010

secret addiction to fiction

I've always loved to read, it's probably why I'm near sighted (although that's probably mostly genetics), but my parents blamed inadequate light while I was reading books growing up.  They've always been a part of my life and I would get excited when the newsprint scholastic book sale flyers were handed out and would beg my mom to buy me more books.  Trips to the library were numerous and I even learned to walk and read without bumping into things when I was younger.

But I don't just love to read, I love to read fiction and mainly sci-fi and fantasy.  Books were a way to escape to enter a whole different world and the wonderful thing about books is that you start to paint your own images of who these characters are and what they look like.  Almost making the author's story a little piece of yourself too.

Well after graduating college I stopped reading for awhile, that little thing called work soaked up a lot of time and I just got busy.  But what really stirred up my love for fantasy and sci-fi again was an author named Marjorie M. Liu.  My parents know hers and I had gone to visit them before when we were growing up, imagine my surprise when my dad tells me she went from lawyer to best selling author.  I had to pick up her books, if not just to support her to see what they were about.  It totally rekindled my love for reading again!  I grabbed ahold of everything she had written and even went back to my old friend the library to finish the entire Dirk and Steele series and then she came out with the Hunter Kiss series, which is equally as amazing.  Thanks to reading her twitter feed and blog, I've also come across other authors and found books that are hard to put down.

So if you're looking for some good sci-fi and fantasy reads, you definitely need to check her out!  She's releasing a new Dirk and Steele book tomorrow - In the Dark of Dreams!  You can find more information on her blog or on the online release party over at Bitten By Books.  Check it out and rekindle your love for reading! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

sustainable gifting

As you start looking at what to buy your family and friends for the holiday season, stop and think if your purchase can give twice!

There are lots of businesses out there that not only create amazing and beautiful crafts, but whose proceeds also go to support people and animals in need around the world!  So check out some of these amazing companies and start thinking about sustainable gifting!

31 Bits  - Helps women in Uganda learn to empower themselves by buying beautiful, hand-made jewelry and bringing it to the US market.  From their website: 31 Bits is a business using fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty. We believe that business is one of the most powerful and sustainable approaches to turning scarcity into abundance, and eventually, alleviating poverty completely.

krochet kids international - Mission: To empower people to rise above poverty. - This company teaches people to crochet so they can empower themselves towards building a better life.  They sell amazing and beautiful hats, clothing and accessories.  I've got my eye on the bella in cranberry (in case you wanted to know what to get me for xmas). ;)

Three Avocados - Sells Uganda Bugisu Coffee to help raise money to bring clean water into Uganda!  If I drank more coffee (or woke up early enough to make it) I would so be buying their coffee.

Pirate Coast Paddle Company - I "blame" these pirates for my new found love for stand up paddling!  They work hard to not only share their passion for SUP to people, they also put on events and donate those proceeds to do good things (such as build clean water wells in Africa!).  They're also the ones that introduced me to 31bits and krochet kids.  You should really go paddle with them at least once and then gift a paddle session to someone else too.

Deal Gooder - Do you love Groupon/LivingSocial/Deal Perk and all those coupon sites?  Then you're going to love Deal Gooder twice as much!  Because not only are you going to get a good deal, you're going to feel all warm and fuzzy knowing they donated 1/2 of the purchase price to an Orange County non-profit!  Check them out!

Uncommon Goods - Another favorite of mine, eco-friendly and creative gifts too!  I totally would fill my house with this stuff if I had enough disposable income and space. :D

so do some good this holiday season and have a safe and happy one!

Friday, November 12, 2010

jade • heart

I've been asked before, why jadeheart?

Are you jaded?
Have men treated you so badly you're now scorned?
Why not just jade?

No. No. and Because.

jade because it's a take off my Chinese name and heart because that's how I live my life.

while I've also been called frighteningly rational, most of my motivations come from my heart and attempting to create balance in my life. jadeheart has been my online presence since the beginning of my internet journey (minus a really awkward nickname in high school that we'll conveniently forget).  and years and years and years later, when I was given my hawaiian name, part of it was the hawaiian word for heart - pu'uwai (the gifter of my name did not know about jadeheart).

so I am far from jaded, I am not a woman scored and because jade was just too plain for a user name. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

if you knew what i knew..

if you knew that life can be shorter than you think, especially if you lose someone you love, would you be more open?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Brighton - I'm Home!

I love that after I've landed and I'm comfortably seated on the train to Brighton (which by the way, I'm so glad the trains have been upgraded since I lived here years and years and years ago) the first thing I see getting off the train is Peter's smiling face. :D

And where do we go immediately?  But to get a Sunday roast lunch of course!!
This was definitely the most relaxing part of the vacation, it was nice to see Pete & Matt and finally meet Amy & little Sol!  We got to spend the time eating and playing in the park and just enjoying Brighton again.  There are definitely many moments where I miss England and living there, the food isn't as bad as everything thinks.  Mostly I miss the people and the ability to visit entirely different countries for the cost of a plane ticket from San Francisco to Orange County.

So there are basic must do's when I'm in Brighton, go to the beach (which is essentially lots of small rocks, not sad.. rocks), enter an H&M (I almost made it the entire trip without buying anything, the last day failed me), and eat, eat, eat.. the must have's include a shake from Shake-Away, breakfast fry-up and fish and chips!   

What I love about being here is that it's almost non-stop laughter the entire time.  Pete and Matt are constantly cracking me up and it feels good to laugh.  Plus, now there's little Sol and he's adorable!  This kid is cute, seriously cute.

 I was a little sad to be leaving, but at the same time I missed the Pacific Ocean and California just a little bit.  But I'll be back again to say hello every once in awhile Brighton.  Don't forget me!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

J'aime Lyon!

I had no idea what Lyon would be like and had no expectations about the city, my primary objective was to visit and spend time with friends that I hadn't seen in six years.  But the city surprised me and I really loved it after my short 2 1/2 days there.

I grew up in suburbia near trees, water and open space and just never really loved big cities all that much.  But there are moments when I find a city that I start to really enjoy, it feels open and less stuffy and congested and Lyon is definitely one of those cities.  It might be because there are two large rivers that run through it or because there's a wonderful mix of old and new buildings everywhere.

I'm sure a lot of it had to do with the two wonderful people I was visiting.  I appreciate those friendships where even when you don't speak or see each other often it always feels like nothing's changed and that the love is still there.  And a trip to visit N & T wouldn't be complete without home cooked meals!  I had ratatouille for the first time and it even tasted better the second time for lunch when we added this delicious Comte cheese.  I heart cheese!

The few days I was there N took me around to see the sites and of course we ate!  Macaroons, ice cream, scallop carpaccio, and loads of home cooked food.  While we didn't go to a Bouchon (typical Lyonnais food) I did get to try a quenelle!  It's like a fish dumpling of sorts made out of pike and it was sitting in this delicous crayfish sauce (my mouth is watering just thinking of it).  My only regret was that I ran out of stomach space about 3/4ths of the way through, it's really filling!

But my favorite moment in this part of the trip was definitely visiting the market.  We have farmer's markets here in California too but for some reason it's much more amusing when everything is in french.  Plus everything is so pretty!  The fruit and veg look much fresher and they write everything on adorable chalkboards (look I'm a sucker for romanticized images okay?).  Plus you can buy so many other products!  Fresh goats cheese, aged goats cheese, all sorts of ham products, pate (not the goose kind).  It's also entertaining because.. well we got a lot more attention being an Asian girl and a ginger headed British girl in France.

A gentleman stopped to ask me where I was from, first speaking to me in French and after I said I was Chinese, he started asking me questions in English! But the best part was when the man at the fish truck gifted us shark fin!  I was about to tell my friend how buying shark fin from Asia is really bad because the fishermen there cut the fins off the shark, dump the body and keep only the fin.  While I was pointing at it, he came over and started talking to us and we somehow ended up with a shark fin and some shark steak to take home.  I have NEVER cooked shark fin in my life, wouldn't even know where to begin, eaten it sure.. but COOK IT? Well thank goodness for the internet!

After searching a few sites I realized most of them talk about dried shark fin and what to do with it.  Well we had a fresh one!  I finally found one that described how to get the skin off to get to the cartilage that goes into the soup.  Now, keep in mind, shark fin has supposed 'health' benefits, but doesn't actually taste like anything.  It supposedly helps enhance flavors in soup.  So I started boiling the shark fin and was thinking it would take a few hours and luckily checked on it because I almost ruined it.  You can boil it too much and end up dissolving the cartilage.  So it went from a fin in a pot, to this crazy looking boiled mess..

To soup!  And while it wasn't incredibly amazing like some I've eaten before (I no longer eat it for moral reasons).  It definitely tasted pretty darn close to them!  By the way, the entire time I was feeling conflicted because I don't agree with the way sharks are killed for their fins, but I found out that they typically eat all of the shark here so that alleviate most of the guilt.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip to Lyon and I was so happy to see N&T and spend some time with them. :) Can't wait to go back, or somehow convince them to come visit me in California.  Next stop: Brighton!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bonjour Paris!

I'm not sure I like the term wanderlust that much, it makes it sound fleeting. Instead what I think I have is a relationship with traveling that is sometimes passionate and sometimes not. We have our ups and downs and we get into fights, but overall, the relationship is great and we both grow from it.

I decided it was that time again (after all I do pretty much take a trip each year somewhere) and decided this year would be France and England and the entire goal was just to take it easy and see friends (since I had already been to most of the cities I was going to before), particularly a group I hadn't seen in 4-6 years!

Aside from the worse case of delayed flight, leading to other issues, I finally made it to the little apartment we rented in Paris after 24 hours of traveling.

It was a great 3 days in Paris, met up with some of my friends who are doing a fall exchange with another business school and we just took it easy. Every morning started with a cafe au lait and a pain au chocolat, followed by general wanderings.

There were three things I definitely wanted to see while I was in Paris though, #1 was my favorite building, Notre Dame.  I've always been drawn to the architecture of this church and the details of the carvings on the outside of the building.  Plus the view from the top (after huffing and puffing your way up several flights of twisty stairs.. is always incredible!

I also took some friends to Montmartre to see the Sacre Coeur.  It's always fun to see what street performers will be out and about that day.  This trip included seeing some, pretty good (not great) hip hop/breakers.  But much more entertaining was the guy doing tricks with a football (soccer balls for the americans).

On our second to last night we all wanted to get together to see the Eiffel Tower and go up at night.  We were on our way on the metro and trying to change lines when we were ushered out of the station.  Interdit! Bomb threat! In the station!  We thought it must've been a joke and started heading down the Sienne towards the tower.. but then realize there would be no trains running that way since they closed the last station.  So forget the tower, dinner it is!  That's when we heard there was a bomb threat at the tower too!  Good thing we stopped for dinner. :)

The next night we made it out there with no problems whatsoever.  I had seen it during the day and been up during the day but never at night.  It was definitely a beautiful sight from up there and very windy!  

It was a whirlwind three days, staying up until 2-3am and then waking up at 11am, having dinner at 9pm, feeling very parisian, minus the 3-inch black heels, ultra skinny body, and constant cigarette smoking.  We did partake in the baguette, ham and cheese eating though!

Soon enough the time came to say au revoir Paris et Bonjour Lyon!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my twenties

I have lived my 20s.

In the last decade I have truly lived, experiencing life and love in a way I never would have imagined and in many ways it has been extremely heart breaking, eye opening, and reassuring. I have come to realize people are incredibly resilient and ever hopeful and that is a wonderful thing.

In the last decade I learned to drink and learned I couldn’t. I lived abroad and found myself more confident and happy when I returned and realized that life continues to move on like the French saying “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose”. I lost loved ones and went through the most devastating experience of my life. I found my first job out of college and carved a career path serendipitously. I adopted my first dog. I dated. I had relationships. I experienced break up. I experienced hind sight and learned more about love. I lost another loved one and went through the second most devastating experience in my life. I knew the world was unfair but finally felt it drown me and become real. I realized home was where my heart was, my family and friends and not in a location or place.

In the last decade my values changed and my tolerance for complaints and crap from others. My patience disappeared for awhile, some of it never came back. I realized I was angry. I found my empathy again and it came back stronger. I knew I deserved happiness. I remembered who I was and swore never to compromise myself again. At one point I had been to more funerals than weddings and then there were births and weddings and there became more to celebrate than to mourn. I adopted another dog. I dated again. I crushed. I liked. I felt unrequited like. I learned again hindsight is 20/20. I learned to trust my gut. I had my 10-year high school reunion. I started business school. I realized I had a good handle on who I was and what I wanted. Serendipity struck again.

In the last decade I remembered how to feel happy and sad and heartbroken and content. I traveled south and east and west. I drove. I flew. I swam in the Amazon. I saw monkeys, lions, elephants, and giraffes. I saw the brutality of nature and the circle of life. I found sisterhood and ohana through hula, food, travel, chair dances, and colors tests. I have laughed and laughed until I cried and laughed some more until I couldn’t see where I was going. I have tasted food that heals the heart, stirs the brain, touches ones soul, and feels like a party in your mouth! I have also tasted food and then wished I could have had those calories back. I have learned to run and enjoy running. I have learned that your body will change and with some of it, there’s just nothing you can do about it. I have made connections, started new friendships, worked on old ones, shared moments, and fallen in love with friends (not the romantic kind).

In the last decade I have found myself, lost myself, found myself and lost myself again. I have struggled to remember that I am amazing and wonderful and to continue to have faith and hope.

Now that I’m 30, I’ve realized I have lived. That I am all and none of my experiences and that I am resilient and confident and human, which means I have weak moments and times where I forget who I am.

So what am I going to do with this decade?

I am going to live it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Some days I am so jealous of the life my dog leads... seriously can we trade places just for a day?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

my heart needs a home