beautiful skies, road trips, and my birthday

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Tadaima! I'm back. I drove down to Los Angeles exactly a week ago from today and came back late last night. It was my first time driving for 7+ hours by myself, listening to an audiobook, reflecting on my year, marveling at beautiful sunsets. How lovely Southern California is at this time of the year!

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Watching the sunset and later, the night sky at the Griffith Observatory.

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You can see all of downtown Los Angeles from here.

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The Getty Villa in Malibu. Such a gorgeous place filled with great art.

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I spent my first few years in the U.S. here in Southern California and it will always have a special spot in my heart. But more than the places, it was such a gift to spend Christmas and my birthday with family and friends, especially those that I haven't seen in awhile. The holidays is really all about being with your loved ones and I'm am so grateful that I was able to do that and more.

My creation

And yes, my birthday was also this little blog's 6th year anniversary! Thank you all for coming to visit and for being such great readers and blog friends all around. I have something prepared for you in the next few days but in the meantime, I wish you a safe and wonderful New Year's celebration.

See you all in 2012. Cheers! Kanpai!

merry christmas!


Over the years, my best friend and I started this tradition of watching Love Actually on Christmas. No matter where we are in the world, we'd watch it simultaneously and call each other, catching up on what's going on with our lives because we are often not in the same city at this time of the year.

So I thought I should share this with you. A few of my favorite things: Colin Firth, a good film, subtitles. Oh, and just in cases, you might want to watch this proposal scene, too. =)

Merry Christmas, my friends! All my love.

Image via

madewell: choose your own holiday adventure

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Hello folks! How are you holding up with the holiday preparations? I'm *almost* done wrapping and mailing presents but still have some errands to do before I leave for Southern California tomorrow. Still, I just spent the last 30 minutes playing this interactive Madewell video. It's so much fun!

Just press play and you get to choose your own fashion adventure. Are you a coffee or a tea girl? Shoes or bag? Sparkles or confetti? You have 5 seconds to make each choice. I thought my end result was spot on and something that I'd definitely pick for myself to wear for the holidays.

Watch the video here. Enjoy!

P.S. We're still working on the new blog look. What do you guys think so far? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

found while walking, diana mini photos

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A Christmas window display in Hayes Valley.

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Morning walk and coffee with my friend Collette.

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A corner store in Nob Hill.

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Afternoon mediation on the labyrinth in front of Grace Cathedral.

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A fountain in Huntington Park.

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A sweet little girl I met at the park. She wanted me to take her photo by the roses.


Now that I am officially on my winter break, I hope to walk around more and share my city with you. San Francisco is so beautiful these days, mostly 60s and sunny, that its hard not to smile and feel grateful just to be here.

I'm also planning on some changes for this blog. Stay tuned. xo

parts to whole

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View from the playground one of my elementary schools, via my iPhone.
I love how the painted wall gives an illusion of 2 photos paired together.

Today one of my kindergarteners asked me what I got for Christmas when I was little.
I told him, "books". He said, "I want an easy bake oven."

A quote from Monsieur Kerouac:
Maybe that's what life is...a wink of the eye and winking stars.

where the love light gleams

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We had our holiday program at the Academy of Ballet yesterday. The students danced excerpts from The Nutcracker and songs from Bill Crosby's White Christmas.

As always, I got a little choked up watching the Pas de Duex. Tchaikovsky never fails to move me and seeing a pair of young dancers perform this piece is such a joy. You can also watch the Pas Des Duex performed by the Royal Ballet here.

Other things that made me happy lately:

My 2-day seminar in Sacramento. I stayed overnight in a hotel there and almost convinced myself that I was on vacation despite the long lectures and the fact that I had to write my students' progress reports at the end of each day.

Catching the The Crème Brûlée Cart in my neighborhood. The best $4 that you can spend on a cold, wintry evening!

Exchanging favorite book quotes with friends.

A choice of winter poems.

And one more week before my winter break. Yes, that's 5 working days!

autumn sun, via instagram

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"The breaking of the wave cannot explain the whole sea." -- Vladimir Nabokov

I. Sunny afternoon at Baker Beach.
II. The sky after work, 28th Ave and Quintara. The only good thing about staying late at work.
III. Santa Cruz harbor with my cousin Bill.

These iPhone photos were taken on mid October-November. Our weather has been so beautiful these days, sixty and sunny, and its hard to believe that its really the last month of the year. All I want to do is sit by the water and read.

How about you, what have you been up to lately?

december, we dream of the tropics

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Rain in Tulum, Mexico.

Last weekend, I watched the movie The Descendants. Set in beautiful Hawaii, certain scenes reminded me so much of the Philippines that I suddenly missed the tropical rain. Intensely and without warning, the physical heart-aching kind.

It is always this way, when I miss my country, I miss it in details.

The rain, the color of the sky after the rain, the sound of the sea at night when it is pitch black and you are laying on a hammock, your heart bursting with dreams.