cherry farm

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I am currently in Brentwood visiting my aunt and uncle for the weekend. Yesterday we went to a farm and picked cherries. So many of them! Then we had a little backyard barbeque and beer, watched the stars and told each other silly stories. Its nice to be with family and to get away from the city sometimes.

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For those of you who live the US, have a great Memorial Day! I'll be back on Wednesday.

berkeley

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Today I went to visit my friends Monica and Sri in Berkeley. I've only seen them once since their wedding in Mexico so it was great to hang out with them again. And Berkeley is always one of my favorite places to visit. There's so much character, diversity, and history in this city, not to mention all that good food and fresh produce.

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This restaurant has the best pancake ever.

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Colorful stones and jewelry by a street vendor.

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Mural in downtown Berkeley.

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Monica took me to Monterey Market and boy was I excited to see all those fruits. And they were pretty inexpensive too! (I think I may have bought too many cherries).

How about you, what are you up to this weekend?

silent sundays

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Aren't these photos just dreamy? This is from the lookbook of Silent Sundays, a new online boutique created by the lovely Rhiannon and her friend Jamie. I've been reading Rhiannon's blog for years now and I absolutely love her effortless style so I was really excited when I read that she just started her own store.

Silent Sundays has carefully curated vintage finds and clothes by labels such t.b.a, Secret Squirrel, and Family Affairs -- pretty much everything that I love and all dresses that I want to have in my pretend wardrobe (i.e. if money was no object). I already foresee a lot of wishlisting and dreaming of these clothes in my future. Sigh.

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Also check out their entire Summer 2011 Lookbook in this video.

All images from Silent Sundays. Thanks, Rhiannon!

all the little things

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I am sadly drowning with end of the school year paperwork these days. So bad that I almost fell asleep while standing in line at the auto shop when I had my car oil changed this afternoon. No kidding. I could barely keep my eyes open, I had to pinch myself.

Thankfully, there are some little joys. Some of my students gave me a single rose and a sunflower plant from their gardening class. I also gave them these cute animal puzzle erasers as a gift for working so hard this school year and you won't believe how happy they were! It's amazing how the smallest of things can make them so excited.

Three more days to go. I can do this.

hana and alice

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I finally learned how to take screenshots and I'm very excited. There are films that are so visually stunning it only makes sense to share them in pictures. One of them is Hana and Alice, a coming-of-age film about best friends by acclaimed Japanese director Shunji Iwai. The cinematography and use of natural light is so gorgeous in this movie that I had to stop myself from taking a screenshot of almost every frame.

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While the film may be a quiet long and the story of 2 girls and a boy is somewhat trite, it works because there's a lot of subtle emotional beats that allows us to connect with the characters and their inner lives. Like how Hana and Alice would unconsciously start doing small ballet steps while waiting for the train, the deck of cards with Alice in Wonderland pictures at the back, the photo session that they had at their ballet class, Hana's tearful backstage confession while Masa was tying her obi belt. All done so tenderly it warms your heart.

This movie also gave me one of my favorite cinematic scenes to date -- a 5-minute ballet sequence towards the end of the film. Everything about this scene is almost perfect, from the music (composed by Shunji Iwai himself), the slow-motion turns, the dreamy light streaming from the windows, the hardwood floors, her arabesque...I could ramble on and on. But the thing that really touched me is that this was Alice's moment for herself and hers alone. Even though she is the more outgoing and lively of the two, Alice lacks self-confidence and is a bit passive. So when she just went for it in this audition, even improvising with shoes made of plastic cups, you can't help but hold your breath and cheer her on. Have a look at this video clip.


P.S. If you can get a hold of the DVD, be sure to check out their Behind the Scenes feature. Its shows how the film was made and how the story was conceptualized.

have a sweet weekend!

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I am obsessed with these cupcakes, especially the mini ones. You can delude yourself into thinking that you've eaten less because they're teeny tiny, when the truth is you've already eaten half a dozen -- or more (ha!ha!). My favorites are salted caramel and strawberry cheesecake. Isn't their store window all kinds of pretty?

And oh, I found the most perfect Diana Mini camera today.  I'm in love. I was saving up for an iPad but might just get this little beauty instead. Do any of you own a Diana Mini? What do you think of this camera?

Have a great weekend everyone! And thanks for dropping by. xo

today's inspiration

photo by H_alive on flickr

"You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful." -- Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

I picked up this book again today. It is such a deceptively simple story, told in vignettes, but I was so touched by it that I ended up tearing up inside the laundromat when I read it for the first time. I had just moved to San Francisco then and the narrator's voice and her longing for a place to call her own resonated so much in me. I kept nodding yes, yes, and yes...laughed and giggled at stories that were so similar to my own.

And its true, one can never really have too much sky.

(Photo by H_alive)

photo postcards

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I was inspired by Jordan's DIY postcard idea so I decided to make some of my own. Its pretty easy. I used my disposable camera photos, wrote messages or poetry on strips of paper, and attached them on the photo using washi tapes. It feels wonderful to create something personalized to send to family and friends, especially since I've been very busy lately and wasn't really doing a good job with keeping in touch.

How about you, do you still send handwritten cards or letters? Everything is digital these days that I feel like the art of letter writing is slowly diminishing. I remember when I was young, I used to write letters to my dad (who was working overseas) and my pen friend from Belgium. It was always fun and exciting to open a letter from someone.

Oh, and just in case you're curious, I saw that vintage car parked along the coast in Half Moon Bay. Pretty, don't you think?

P.S. Read Oh Happy Day's postcard DIY tutorial here.

happy birthday, cri!

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My little sister Zipporah celebrated her 21st birthday yesterday. Though she's all grown up and just finished her degree in Pharmacy last month, she is still very much our baby. She's also one of the sweetest people I know. Some time ago she had a pretty bad knee injury and could barely walk, I called to comfort her but she ended up comforting me instead. And we talked and talked for hours.

I wish I was there to celebrate her big day with her. But we do have a plan to travel together soon, just the two of us. I can't wait.

weekend snippets

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Today my friend Melania and I went food shopping at Nijiya Market. She made a very tasty oden and all 4 of us, with her roommates Beata and Tim, shared it for dinner.

Oden is a Japanese dish that has different ingredients slowly simmered together in an open hot pot (you can read recipe here). I love that its cooking at the table right in front of us and we can just get our own portion and enjoy the dish together. It reminded me of home and the Philippines, how a communal meal with friends and family is such a huge part of our culture. I really miss it and I'm glad that I get to do it here too.

How about you, how was your weekend?

have a lovely weekend.

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I apologize for the radio silence over here. I had a very hectic week and Blogger was down for 2 days so I couldn't post anything. Here are some lovely links around the internets that I wanted to share with all of you:

Try these simple life-affirming exercises from Aron's project.

Hila's awesome post about Jack Kerouac's On the Road.

Interesting essay about book-hoarding by Mark Medley, editor of National Post.

Dreamy summer dresses from Anna Allen's new collection.

A new-to-me blog, Le Portillon. I am in love with her photos of Paris.

Nutella snack & drink, I need you in my life.

This Japanese tape workshop by Hello Sandwich. Be still my heart.

So, what are your plans for the weekend? I'm doing some work (per usual), maybe go to this Oyster Festival, and catch up on my reading. Have a good one, my friends! xo

where dolphins play

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How was your weekend? I spent the entire Saturday being lazy and catching up on my sleep. I needed it. Especially after a week of extreme busyness. Yesterday my friend Dana and I met up to do some paperwork and I decided to take her to my favorite seaside cafe. It was such a nice day. We even saw dolphins frolic in the sea! I only got little work done but no matter, dolphin-watching was such a treat. I tried to take photos but the dolphins were far away and it was too bright for my disposable camera to capture them. Next time, I'll bring a better camera.

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Oh, and my orthopedic shoes are not so bad after all. I felt self-conscious about it at first but now I'm kinda used to wearing them. If it helps my knees heal faster so I can go on longer walks and continue to do ballet, then its worth it. Definitely knees first.

I hope you guys were able to unwind over the weekend too. Happy Monday!

happy mother's day

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A Polaroid photo of my mom at the park when she came to visit me last year.

Also, here's a lovely video of Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River. Its one of my mom's favorite songs. And mine too. Have a lovely Sunday! xo

ballet night

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We watched The Little Mermaid at the San Francisco Ballet last night. The program was so beautifully dark and intense, though it might have been a little too much to take if you were dead tired on your feet like I was. It kept me on edge of my seat most of the time. Afterwards, when the curtains closed, I felt stunned and emotionally wrung-out.

To be honest, I hadn't expected to be so moved by the little mermaid's story. I already knew how it ended in the original Hans Christian Andersen tale but somehow to see it unfold onstage, without words, was even more tragic. I also noticed that some ladies around me were crying towards the end. My ballet teacher did warn us with these words: it's not pretty. Unrequited love is always painful but this one was almost too painful to watch. But you can't look away either because its spellbinding from beginning to end.

P.S. Watch the preview here. Also, I usually don't feel so strongly about this but please leave your kids at home. Its definitely NOT for children.

accidental diptychs

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I'm kind of in love with these "mistake" prints that came out of my disposable camera. And how its a juxtaposition of light and dark, flowers and woods. I took these photos at the Golden Gate Park during my spring break. Its hard to tell but on the other half of photo #1, there was this lovely lady doing tai chi under the cherry blossoms. She looked like she is part of the woods or a character straight out of a fairytale -- so beautiful!

P.S. Click on images for large.

come walk with me

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Hi friends! Can you believe its May 2nd already? I'm in a full on panic mode - 4 weeks of school left, so much to do. We are currently doing state testing so our students are extra stressed too. But the great news is, its so gorgeous and sunny out!  I had to spend most of my weekend writing reports at a coffee shop but I did manage to spend some time outdoors with a handy disposable camera.

So let's take a walk, shall we?  These photos were taken during an afternoon hike in Marin. Its one of my absolute favorite walks, especially at this time of the year.

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Such a lovely house, with a view of the bay.

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I usually walk along the water.

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Perfect spot for writing. Or staring at the sunset.

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Walk often ends with getting coffee or ice cream in downtown Tiburon.

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Last shot of the day: a peek of the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands.

P.S. More of my disposable camera series here and here.