10 things I’m thankful for

It’s December already? Guess so. This year sure has gone by fast.

It’s been a week since Thanksgiving and I’ve been meaning to count my blessings. It feels good to remind myself. There are so many things to be thankful for.

1. Family
They know me like no one else.
Grandma and Eric

2. My dogs
They’re just the cutest.
brother and sister

3. Friends
It’s pretty special to have friends who care so much.
bridesmaids and Katie

the best friend and boyfriend

4. Food
Too many people go hungry around the world. I try to remember to give thanks for every meal because it is precious.
IMG_0354

5. Nature
Looking at the simple beauty around me can be quite calming.
spring

6. Cute stuff
Cute things just make me smile. See my Too Adorable Pinterest board for more.
Lost Cat

7. Music
It just soothes the soul. I’m glad I get the opportunity to see live music. Earlier in the year I got to see Solange at Coachella. Tonight I’m going to see Flight Facilities in LA.
solange

8. Media
Tv, books, newspapers, radio, blogs and the like are so necessary. My new favs include California Sunday Magazine, KCRW, The Hairpin and the Gilmore Guys podcast.
overview

9. Public transportation
As someone who doesn’t own a car, I’ve learned to appreciate it.
Union Station

10. Running water
My mom has always reminded me to be thankful we have toilets and sinks with water on tap.
Sprinkler

 

What are you feeling thankful for?

Here’s to you, dad

Playing cards with dad.JPG

Five years ago, I lost my dad after he had a massive stroke. I’ve been missing him and wanting to say something about it online. So, here’s my little tribute to my dad and me looking at the good times.

Here’s to you, dad:

You gave me a love for storytelling. I appreciate the written word and visual communication in the form of film and art because of you. You were also the best oral story teller I’ve ever known. History and your personal stories came to life from your breath.

You taught me and my siblings how to play cards, specifically Canasta. Such a great way to pass the time and have some friendly competition! I wonder which one of us remembers how to play best.

We learned compassion for animals from you. Growing up, we had dogs, cats, rats, hamsters and water frogs. That’s a whole heck of a lot! Of course, they weren’t all at the same time.

Looking back, I see how you were always happy to welcome each new addition. That time you took my sisters and I to get a cat from the shelter and you didn’t want to get out of the car because it would make you cry to see all the animals who need homes was pretty sweet.

I’m absolutely sure I’m leaving out things. But I didn’t want this to be a comprehensive list of things you were good at.

I’m grateful that I had a good dad for 18 years. We didn’t always get along, but we loved each other. That’s pretty special.

Between Lenses: Urban

Between Lenses

I’m going to be honest with you. When I first read that this month’s theme for the blog hop Between Lenses is urban, I thought of how the word urban has become code for black. I had recently watched the first few episodes of the show Black-ish on Hulu, in which the lead character Andre Johnson is promoted to Senior Vice President of the Urban Division. The ABC show depicts an upper middle class black family living in a primarily white neighborhood. Have you seen it? It’s not the best, but it’s not bad.

I don’t think I had heard of or thought about urban being a code for black until hearing Sasheer Zamata and Nicole Byer talk about how they have been instructed to sound “more urban” and “be blacker” in their auditions.

This has nothing to do with my picture. I just thought I would share that bit of word association. Why is urban code for black in some circles? I don’t know.

Besides that, the word urban made me think of cities, the actual definition of the word. I thought about taking a photo in my suburban city, which is part of Los Angeles County. I could take a picture of a packed parking lot or a bus stop. Those things stand out to me as the markers of a densely populated area. But then I remembered that I have taken pictures of Los Angeles itself so I may as well use one of those.

in progress

I took this photo sometime during my internship in Downtown Los Angeles, which I did from February to May. This is actually the street the company I worked for is on. It’s in the building across the street, so you can’t see it in the photo. But you can see some tall buildings, shorter buildings, construction and signs in multiple languages. All these things say urban to me.

Interestingly enough, my grandma’s friend’s mother worked at the suit shop on this street (far left in the photo) when my Grandma was young. That’s how old that building is. It’s still a suit shop with old advertisements painted on the windows. As it is the Fashion District, there are many fabric and sewing supply stores. I’m sure many of the buildings here are old and some of the other businesses may very well be also.

Out of view, but just down the alley (Santee alley, to be exact), are some fairly new restaurants. One of them, TBLA Catering & Cafe, is so good. If you ever happen to be in the Fashion District, do go. Just know that it’s (almost) impossible to find parking.

Cities, like any other area, are not perfect. They have a lot of problems and plenty of positives. They’re perpetually in progress. In some ways, they are a reflection of greater society. I would love to see more progress made on ending homelessness and violence, improving transportation, improving working conditions in many areas and reducing the cost of living in Los Angeles, as well as the surrounding area. It took me a while to write that out because I know I can’t just say it. I have to be part of the solution.

What I like about urban areas is that it’s easy for people to come together. Activism, networking groups and helpful organizations do exist outside of urban areas. That is true. It’s just that the more people you have in an area, the more likely you are to find people to connect with. That’s what I think any way. There are also great community events in urban and suburban areas that I love, such as concerts, food truck festivals, lectures and art exhibits.

I hope you enjoyed reading my ramble on the word urban, as well as my photo.

Thank you, Latrina and Tara for hosting the Between Lenses blog hop each month. I enjoy thinking about the themes and seeing other people’s takes on them.

P.S. See my past Between Lenses posts on Mornings and Movement. Next month’s theme will be reflection and the blog hop for it will start on December 12.

October adventures

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october adventures october adventures
october adventures

Just like in October, I forgot to post my monthly adventures recap at the beginning of the month. Oh well! It’s here. This is a series post in which I recap my month for all you lovely readers, but also for myself so I can remember what wonderful things I’ve been up to. Honestly, the months blend together a bit because I am no longer in school (graduated in June) and looking for a job.

I haven’t been taking many pictures with my camera or phone lately, but I really need to do that. So this month instead of sharing photos from Instagram, they’re all from when my guy and I went to a pumpkin patch. That signals the start of fall to me.

In October, I…

  • Celebrated my cousin Julie’s birthday in Long Beach
  • Celebrated my mom’s birthday
  • Went to the Cal Poly Pomona pumpkin patch
  • Spent precious time with my nephew, including on Halloween
  • Catch up time with college friends

Is that it? The month went by so fast. Of course there was also lots of time with my doggies and family. Tonight I’m going to a midnight showing of one of my favorite movies ever, 10 Things I Hate About You, and there is going to be a Q&A with some of the cast members. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how that goes! I hope you all are having a great November so far.

Microwave bread pudding

microwave bread pudding

I’m not much of a chef, but I love to experiment in the kitchen. I do this thing where I read a ton of recipes for something fairly easy and then try my own spin on it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. The mistakes only make me learn and try again.

Lately I’ve been testing out ideas for microwave bread pudding and I think I’ve nailed it. Making microwave bread pudding is incredibly easy, great for breakfast, and a delicious way to use up leftover bread. I don’t like food to go to waste. Last week, I made banana bread that was a little dry, so I wanted to re-purpose it in a way.

Microwave bread pudding, serves 1
1 slice of bread in cubes (I used banana bread.)
1/3 of a cup milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon

microwave bread pudding

Step 1: Mix all ingredients in a liquid measuring cup.

I find this is an easy way to cut down on the number of dished used, and therefore how many you will need to wash later. So, start by pouring the milk into the measuring cup. Then add egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Blend with a fork.

Step 2: Break up the bread into a small microwavable dish, such as a ramekin or mug. Stop after the first layer of bread. Pour some of the liquid over the first layer.

Step 4: Add the rest of the bread. Pour the rest of the liquid into the dish, making sure to coat all of the bread.

Step 5: Heat in microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

microwave bread pudding microwave bread pudding

When I was researching recipes, I found that some cooks add sugar, but I felt that wasn’t necessary. Maybe that’s because I used banana bread, which was already sweet. In any case, the cinnamon and vanilla extract add a nice flavor.

Okay, so now I’m going to correct myself, as I tend to do. Although I didn’t want to put sugar in the recipe with the liquid mixture, I did feel it would be nice to put some sugar on top. Once it was out of the microwave, I added crumbled walnuts, sweetened coconut flakes and some Hershey’s syrup. Of course that’s totally optional. I’ve had this dish with and without toppings. It’s delicious either way.

There are a ton of recipes out there for this super easy, yummy mini meal. Let me know if you try out my version of microwave bread pudding and comment with your favorite toppings.