Looking ahead

Happy New Year! 

One of my resolution for 2016 is to practice more art. I've been pondering on some inspiring thoughts that will hopefully keep me in check. Most of these nuggets are from books I've been reading - notably Fail Fast, Fail Often and Better Than Before. I want to share in case they might help you out too! 

Know what type of person you are when it comes to habits. 
For the longest time, I couldn't understand why I was good at discipling myself with work-related deadlines but horrible at dedicating time for my hobbies - activities that I love and chose to pursue. Then I was enlightened by this idea: all habits can be broken into two types - those motivated by external expectations and internal ones.  Externally based habits are ones that are typically shaped by your job and societal obligations. On the other hand, internal ones are set by yourself, such as "I want to go to the gym more."

Knowing this distinction helped me realize that I am externally motivated (mainly because appearing dependable and acting like an upright citizen is important to me) but I am willing to compromise with personal habits. One possible solution for someone like myself is building accountability as it makes intrinsic habits visible to others. Want to exercise more? Find a gym buddy. Practice more art? Sign up for a class. 

Form goals that feel easy and achievable.
When I was younger, I always believed that goals needed to be grand and big. I didn't see the point in setting something attainable. Now I realize that by breaking down goals into digestible pieces, we're actually more motivated to achieve them because they feel more tangible and less effortful. So instead of saying "I want to start a blog that gains 500K active users by 2017," say "I want to write a blog entry every 2 weeks."

Do it now, and don't overthink it. 
Doing too much research can actually demotivate you to take action, aka "analysis paralysis." This concept really resonated with me because I over research most things. (I'm one of those people who spend way too much time on Yelp looking for dinner options.) Case in point, today I spend 2+ hours looking for the "perfect" art class to take. Near the end, I was so fatigued with my options that I almost wanted to shelve it for another day. However, I reminded myself that I feel motivated now so I need to capitalize on the momentum and take action now. No regrets.  

Embrace the mindset of a beginner. 
Finally, one of my biggest epiphanies going into the new year: not everything needs to be a reflection of my intelligence. This is something that I want to constantly remind myself at work and in life. Likewise, not every piece of art needs to reflect my ability and talent. Don't aim for perfection, aim to get better through relentless practice. There should be no shame in embracing Day 1 mentality when striving for greatness. 


It’s been over a week since I returned from my Paris & Iceland trip with Amy. 


It goes without saying: Iceland is a beautiful country. As a native New Yorker, it also encapsulated the opposite of what I’ve known my entire life. I grew up surrounded by rows of houses and buildings, and few animals (dogs and pigeons as exceptions). On the contrary, Iceland was home to all kinds of nature. Waterfalls. Mountains. Lots and lots of flat green land. And most importantly, there were horses and sheep everywhere. 

On our first day, we drove the Golden Circle, which included the Thingvellir National Park, Geysers at Haukadalur, the Gulfoss Waterfalls, and the Kerio Crater Lake. Unfortunately, this was also the rainiest and windiest day of our entire Iceland trip.

On this day, the Gulfoss Waterfalls is one of the most memorable stops. Here we had to choose between staying warm and semi-dry, or maximizing the time we had by hiking further and closer to the falls. In our moment of weakness, we almost turned around. But something came over us, and we decided to brave the weather and go forth! By the time we reached the end, we were drenched from head to toe. I was numb from the cold; could barely feel my fingers. However, I felt exhilarated. I felt strangely alive and carefree. (I wondered if that was what a runner’s high felt like.) And my favorite quote from Amy after our dubbed test-of-strength: “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a badass!”

My second favorite memory was our short stay in Vik, a small village in South Iceland. We stayed at a guesthouse with a friendly host and his even friendlier Siberian Husky. The long winding road to get here was the most scenic drive I’ve ever experienced. It was just an absolute dream.

That night we saw the Northern Lights. Seeing the night sky dance before my eyes gave me an unexpected feeling of giddiness. I felt like a small being in a big universe. I also felt extremely close to the sky…as if I could almost touch it. It has been a long time since I experienced such childlike wonder.

This concludes the highlights! The other half of the fun included the abrupt stops during our drive for photo ops, a spontaneous day hike to Thorsmork, and a relaxing last day at the Blue Lagoon. 

Till next time!


Brooklyn & Manhattan Adventures

The weather was so beautiful this past weekend - almost felt like Summer never left. Just when I thought I was ready to embrace the brisk cool air, I'm now wishing these 70F type days would stay a little longer. 

Thankfully, I took full advantage by making my way around New York City this past Saturday with Troy. It was an eventful day that ended with a nice view of the city. Keep reading for the details!

We started the day with some mental exercise with Mission Escape Games. Basically, a group of 10 people are stuck in a room where you need to solve puzzles, look for clues/keys to get out in under one hour. Super fun and challenging! Our group escaped with 12 minutes to spare - not too shabby. 

Since it was located in Chinatown, we head over to one of my favorite ramen places, Bassanova Ramen. I discovered it a while back when I used to work nearby, and I have been a fan since. The broth is a sure winner - it's really flavorful and rich. Yum! 

After lunch, we made our way to DUMBO for the Dumbo Arts Festival, a celebration of the art born out of the neighborhood. We saw a bunch of cool projects, but my favorite is the below: Degrees of Freedom. And then, some more notable pieces that caught my fancy! 

As I mentioned, the weather was gorgeous. We walked to Dumbo park and found this little sanctuary, that made me feel as if I had left the city. It was really peaceful to sit on the rocks and people watch. We watched a couple of kids throw rocks into the water, it was very precious and a total throw back moment.

Ended the night by watching the sunset on a rooftop in Manhattan. Seeing all the skyscrapers light up reminded me how small I am compared to the grand scheme of life, the city, the universe.

And this reminder made me feel both relieved and humbled. Relieved to know that the world goes on amidst our mistake, and everyday is another opportunity do better. (The world will not crash and burn without us!) And all while humbled because despite how grand this world is, I get to be a part of it all. 

Calligraphy: Be in the moment

Hello beautiful people!

Today's artwork is inspired by this little mantra I've had in my head for the past couple weeks: be in the moment. It is definitely one of those sayings that people, including myself, brush aside because it's been used so often that it's cliche sounding.

But I've since realized something about this saying that brings me comfort whenever anxiety kicks in or when I feel myself worrying about situations out of my immediate control. 

The present - it's all we really have. The past is over, and the future is not here yet. Our moments are temporary, they're fleeting at best. So instead of focusing on what will never be again (the past), and what isn't here yet (the future), we need to fully be and live in the present. 

It's 9PM now, going to make myself a cup of tea. Also, exciting news: starting a new job on Monday!