this life

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Some photos we took on my birthday on the 27th. It was a lovely and sunny winter day and I got to do a few of my favorite things with two of my dear friends. A great breakfast and coffee by the sea, explored the backyard greenhouse and succulents at The General Store, cookies and tea at the Yerba Buena Gardens, a quick visit to St. Patrick's Church, made a wish over cupcakes inside a busy mall, and had a great laugh watching this movie.

In a lot of ways, 2012 brought some of the most difficult moments in my life. But there were also moments of beauty and gratitude, and more importantly, lessons learned along the way. Last night as I sat down to write, I came across this poem by the Scottish poet and novelist Andrew Greig and couldn't help but tear up. It reflects exactly how I feel about my life and where I am, right now. Especially these lines:

This is where I want to live,
close to where the heart gives out,
ruined, perfected, an empty arch against the sky...


*Have a listen to Andrew Greig read the entire poem here.

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Thank you all for coming and reading. This little blog also celebrated it's 7th anniversary on my birthday and I just want you all to know that I really appreciate all of you. I wish you lots of happiness and great adventures in the new year 2013. Cheers! Kanpai!

Love and blessings,
Odessa

raindrops on roses

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It's about 10 in the evening and I'm writing this from a small hotel along the Pacific Coast. What was supposedly a 5-hour trip took so much longer because of heavy rain and fog, with visibility so poor that my aunt almost had a panic attack while we drove along the winding coastal highway. It certainly wasn't your ideal way to start a Christmas vacation. But because of the rain, we found Cambria, a seaside village with quaint Victorian cottages straight out of a storybook. We even managed to take some grainy photos with our cellphones, ha!

And so it goes. Right now we are watching 'The Sound of Music' on t.v. Maria and the kids are singing in their pajamas and I can't help but feel touched. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...brown paper packages tied up with strings...these are a few of my favorite things.

This film was such a huge part of my growing up years that if I close my eyes I can still remember all of our family get-togethers, birthdays, and Christmases where we'd turn on the VHS player and sing along to their songs. And I'm reminded once again that this is what the holidays are all about. Creating traditions and memories with your loved ones.

I wish you all a very wonderful holiday filled with love, however you celebrate this season.

shining, shimmering, splendid

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I took this photo two weeks ago. Our kindergarteners made penguins out of torn colored paper and icebergs made out of chalk. One of the teachers bought a huge pack of crystal glitter. Pretty soon every 5-year old wanted to sprinkle these "shiny shimmering" (as they called them) all over. They made such a huge mess in the classroom but it was hard not to smile at their excitement.

I thought about our students today after the tragedy in Connecticut and can't help but cry again. I can't even begin to imagine what the victims' families and loves ones must be feeling right now.

I'd like to believe in love and resilience, in the human heart's capacity to heal. I'd like to believe that even in their short lives, those little children who died last Friday have brought so much joy and light in this world. I'd like to believe that they are now in a beautiful place somewhere -- shining, shimmering, splendid.

This might seem naive but I'd like to hold on to this belief for now. Otherwise my heart will break into pieces all over again, thinking about the senselessness of it all.

hello, it's me.

ocean beach

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(Letter transcipt)

It's been awhile. I feel like the last three weeks were solely dedicated for me to get my bearings back, take care of myself, and learn to ask for help. Sometimes I tend to believe that I can do anything, be there for everyone, and function on very little sleep -- well, my body certainly doesn't think so and being sick the last couple of weeks has forced me to relearn that lesson.

And now I'm feeling like I can start anew again. Here, in this quiet beach with the immense ocean before me, the sun is shining brightly, and my spirits are alive as this clear autumn day. In a little while I will join my family for our Thanksgiving dinner. I think about all the things that I'm grateful for and it always goes back to this -- quiet moments of solitude, to spend time with beauty and seek inspiration from it, to reflect and try to put these thoughts on paper as honestly as I could. I'm grateful for that voice inside that gently reminds me of who I am and what I need to do.  The capacity to dream, the need to write, the love of family and friends, it all comes back to me here, surrounding me like the warmth of the sun.


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

With love,
Odessa

october thoughts

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I remember this day. The autumn wind, the sight of kite surfers in the distance, and the joy of discovering a place you've never been before. We were walking along the wharf when I heard a group of little kids call from the water, "Miss, come swim with us." I had to smile because this sight is such a familiar childhood memory. A small seaside town, school-aged children in T-shirts and shorts taking turns diving from the pier. Such simple pleasures.

October turned out to be the month when really bad things happened to people close to me. Accidents, illness, one unfortunate news after another. I watch a friend tie a scarf around her head (having lost all of her hair from chemotherapy), most days she goes about her life in her usual energetic way and some days she's drained and weary. And yet, she still manages to come to work, give us big hugs, and crack the funniest jokes. I look at her and I feel so very proud and sad at the same time.

Two weeks ago, I was on my way to buy dinner when I saw a small woman pushing a stroller in front of me. It was dark and she was walking very fast so I couldn't see her clearly. All I know was that the stroller was filled with empty bottles and cans. She stopped by a recycle bin in front of a streetlight and I saw that she was carrying a baby in a wraparound sling on her back. As soon as she heard my footsteps, she stopped rummaging through the bin and walked away, but not before I glimpsed the look of determination on her face. I watched her disappear around the corner, the sound of bottles hitting each other trailing behind her, and I suddenly felt like crying.

There's so much goodness and beauty in this world and yet there's also so much suffering. And sometimes its very hard to reconcile these two. But we try and do the best we can. And perhaps, just the fact that we tried, is enough.

Photo taken in Bodega Bay, via iPhone.

pfeiffer beach, big sur

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You know you're head over heels in love when, even in the midst of being there, you're already thinking of coming back. That's exactly how it was for me with Pfeiffer Beach.

One of Big Sur's hidden gems, the road to Pfeiffer Beach is unmarked and easily missed from Highway 1. I knew this when I started driving from Monterey and I had planned on using my navigator to get there. What I didn't realize was that there was no satellite reception in this area so I had to ask some locals to give me with directions and even then I still drove past the yellow sign that says "Narrow Road: No RVs-Trailers".

Needless to say, I did find the unnamed road and drove 2.5 miles down to Pfeiffer Beach. They were not exaggerating when they said that it was narrow and I started to question my sanity while driving along this one-lane path. But it was all worth it as soon as I caught a glimpse of the ocean.

Words and photos won't do it justice and you just have to experience this magical place. I was glad I went there alone because I was able to keep quiet and take it all in - waves crashing against rock formations in the water, such gorgeous light, everything about it is so serene and majestic. Oh, and parts of the beach has purple sand! I've never seen anything like it. My only regret is that I couldn't stay longer to see the sunset but I guess that's one more reason to come back here.

Some things to keep in mind when you visit Pfeiffer Beach:
  • When driving south from San Francisco, the turnoff is less than a mile from Big Sur State Park. There is a yellow sign that says "Narrow Road", make a sharp right here.
  • There is a $5 fee for parking. Day use only.
  • Bring food and water, there are no concession stands inside the beach.
  • Don't forget your coat or a blanket, it can get windy and cold here. 
  • If you have some extra time, drive south from Pfeiffer Beach to Cafe Kevah. They have outdoor dining with panoramic views of the Pacific and very friendly staff.

You can see all of my photos from Pfeiffer Beach here.

at the rose garden

rose garden, via instagram

Scribbled words in place of a to-do list:

Ako is 'I' or 'me' in Filipino.
Aki is 'autumn' in Japanese.

Stroke count:
Au (会う) 'to meet' is 8.
Ai (愛) 'love' is 13.

Petal count:
love
me,
love me
not
.

Scents count
your losses
when the season is
ripe.

hardly strictly bluegrass

via "the lumineers"
Photo by The Lumineers

This weekend was an epic one for San Francisco. There's the Fleet Week, America's Cup, Giants playoffs, Castro Street Fair, Italian Heritage Parade, Burning Man Decompression, the opening weekend of Litquake, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. I'm sure I missed other events but according to the news the city had about 1 million visitors this weekend.

For the first time, I chose music over a literary festival and spent Sunday at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park. It was amazing and totally free! There were 6 stages and more than 40 bands just for Sunday (it's a 3-day festival) so we got there before noon to set up our blankets and went from stage to stage to see our favorite artists. The energy was exhilarating and at some point I had to close my eyes and say a quick thanks. Such a wonderful, wonderful gift. The only way it could have been more perfect was if I had everyone that I love with me at the park, listening to beautiful music and celebrating this fair city.

And because joy is meant to be shared, here's 3 videos from bands who performed at HSB.



The highlight for me was definitely Glen Hansard. It's always been my dream to watch him perform live and he simply blew me away. I also fell in love with this song.



The Lumineers is one of my current favorite bands. I was so sad that I missed their performance because I couldn't go on Saturday so I've been playing this video on repeat instead.



Black Prairie is a new-to-me band. I heard them for the first time at the festival and they were just awesome. This song, especially, warms my heart and makes me happy. Accordions and violins tend to have that effect on me.

amélie and the glass man

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"I think it's time she took a real risk." -- The Glass Man

Anyone else feeling ready to take on new challenges at the turn of the season? It's funny because I've always had the hardest time letting go of summer but this time around I'm actually looking forward to the shorter days ahead. Perhaps this enthusiasm has something to do with writing poetry again or just the change in perspective that I've gained over the summer. Whatever it is, I'm embracing it with open arms.

The beginning of autumn also makes me think of revisiting some favorites:

Amélie - this movie's color scheme reminds me of the rich colors of fall. And with her knee-length dresses, cozy cardigans, and lace-up boots, Amélie's style is just perfect for the season. I've seen Amélie so many times I've almost memorized every scene but I still love it now, or even more, than the first time I saw it.

Haruka Nakamura - his music is described as "made of sunset and season’s perfume" and I couldn't agree more. Have a listen to this song. It makes me think of sweet October nights, curled up in your favorite blanket, and sipping hot cocoa.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - such a beautifully written and heartfelt book. I related so much to the main character that it was like recognizing my own voice.  This is the perfect novel to pick up when the weather starts to get cold and you just want to stay in and get lost in a good story. The movie adaptation is currently showing and I'm hesitant to watch it because this book is so precious to me. But the author, Stephen Chbosky, also wrote the screenplay so I am very hopeful about this film. Has any of you seen it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Amélie screencaps via

one heart

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It always makes me happy when I find a new poem that I love. And even better when I have a photograph to complement that poem.

The top photo was taken two weeks ago in Monterey, early Sunday morning while walking my cousin's dog Red. I remember Red kept wanting to chase the birds and run away from me. I'm pretty sure I looked comical, taking a photo with a disposable camera while balancing a cup of coffee with my other hand and half-running to hold on to Red's leash.

"One Heart" is poem by Li-Young Lee and a new find while hanging out in the Poetry Room at City Lights Bookstore. There are those poets that speak to us in a very personal way and Li-Young Lee is one of those poets for me. I want to memorize this poem and remember it when I'm feeling small and discouraged. The work of wings / was always freedom -- so beautiful and comforting.

We are having our Indian Summer here in the Bay Area, at last. I've been taking advantage of this glorious weather to go for walks and take naps on the beach.

How about you, what have you been up to these days?

"One Heart" by Li-Young Lee from Book of My Nights, published by BOA Editions, Ltd.

inexplicable

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"Poetry connects us to what is deepest in ourselves. It gives us access to our own feelings, which are often shadowy, and engages us in the art of making meaning. It widens the space of our inner lives. It is a magical, mysterious, inexplicable (though not incomprehensible) event in language." -- Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post, January 2002

Happy Friday, friends. Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my last post.
Here's to a weekend filled with inexplicable wonder.

Photo by me, first posted here.

land of my dreams, part 2

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I know nothing
but what I've glimpsed in my most hopeful of daydreams.


-- Li-Young Lee, from Epistle


Last weekend, I spent three lovely days along the coast in Monterey, Carmel Valley, and Big Sur. Witnessed two beautiful souls seal their commitment to each other in one of the most touching weddings I've ever attended. And there's only gratitude, for this summer and the lessons it has taught me, for arriving here, these days and moments I keep close in my heart.

The first half of the year was really difficult and I barely came out of it unscathed. I wasn't sad or depressed, it was more of a realization that I was merely going through the motions and there's no real purpose or growth in my life. I was burnt out from work, feeling creatively unchallenged, and was constantly sleep-deprived. When I started having dizzy spells, both from exhaustion and lack of sleep, I knew that something needs to change.

Then came summer and all the introspection that I had alluded to in my previous posts. I needed to be honest with myself, ask those difficult questions, and slowly find my way to really live and fall in love with my life again. It was perhaps the hardest thing to do but I think having the inner resolve to do something (for the better) is more than half the battle.

One Sunday afternoon in mid-August, I was sitting on a bench by the water and staring at the city across the bay, classical music coming from my headphones, and I just knew what I needed to do. It's as if a dark fog was lifted and I called my mom, talked to her about the most mundane things, unaware that I already had tears in my eyes. Then I told her about my decision and plans for the next couple of months and she just listened. My mom didn't know it then but it was the first time I had talked about it to anyone. Later while I was driving back home, I felt such lightness that can only come from a place of honest truth.

And you know what else? I am writing again. Writing creatively, writing poetry. It's been so long since I've written anything close to a poem that when I finished one (revised and all), I wanted to start bursting into a song and dance number along the sidewalk. Of course I didn't do that but I may have squealed a little bit inside.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you for visiting and reading. Taking photos, writing my thoughts on books and movies, and sharing them with you in this little blog is one of my joys, especially in those dark and gloomy days. Much love and gratitude to you, my friends.

And happy first day of Autumn. I hope you enjoy the photos above, all taken in Big Sur with a disposable film camera.

// First part of this post is here.

jesse et céline

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Before Sunset 2004

Remember these two? Hands down, my favorite film couple. And I found out that they had just finished making a third movie! In a week filled with meetings and back aches spent from sitting too long and writing reports, this is certainly the best news!

You see, I feel like I grew up with Jesse and Céline and watched their story unfold through the years. When I first saw Before Sunrise, I thought it was such a sweet film about two young people who met on a train and spent a night together wandering in Vienna but it wasn't until I was in my early 20s and also fell for a guy I had met briefly while traveling abroad that I really appreciated how special their story was. Then Before Sunset came out in 2004, exactly 9 years later, which also coincided with how long Jesse and Céline saw each other again in Paris.

I thought the second movie was perfect and I loved the characters even more. They may have lost their earlier idealism but their conversations are deeper and much more realistic. I also identified with the older Céline, her independence and wariness of romantic relationships, and couldn't help but wonder about the ending. Did Jesse really miss his plane? Did they end up together and if so was their connection just as strong when faced with the realities of day to day life?

Now the wondering is over because we get to see Jesse and Céline again after 9 years. The dream team of director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy confirmed last week that they had just wrapped production of Before Midnight in Messinia, Greece. I'm amazed at how they were able to keep filming under the radar and then all of a sudden, it's here.

Have a look at their first released photograph in this news article.  Ah, I'm so excited!

And just because I'm feeling a little nostalgic, here is the ending clip from Before Sunrise. For a long time I couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful this is, how they showed all the places that Jessie and Céline had visited and how it all came together with Bach's wistful melody. There's a bittersweetness to it that one often feels at the end of a beautiful trip, when you're sitting alone thinking about the places and the people you've met, how you can't quiet let go of them yet, knowing you must.

madame bovary

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I'm currently reading Lydia Davis' new translation of Madame Bovary and it is exquisite. I rarely underline sentences when I am reading a novel but with this one, I find myself reaching for a pen to highlight certain passages. Like the one below, so perfect and precise:
"Perhaps she would have liked to confide in someone about all these things. But how to express an uneasiness so intangible, one that changes shape like a cloud, that changes direction like the wind? She lacked the words, the occasion, the courage." 
I was so captivated by the book's lyrical prose that I immediately looked up Lydia Davis and found this article on translation that she wrote for the Paris Review. I don't speak or read French but it is interesting how she listed all the previous translations of the phrase 'bouffées d’affadissement'. Which makes you wonder, if a phrase can be interpreted in so many ways, how about an entire book? And what of the author's writing style, can one really capture that in translation?

I never thought about this before because for the most part I am just thankful for great books that have English translations I can enjoy. And indeed if a piece of literature is able to stand the test of time partly because of its English incarnations, then its essence must have been preserved, right? Definitely something to think about. In the meantime, I will continue to savor this beautiful book.

Have any of you read Madame Bovary? I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. Most especially, what do you think of Emma?

Images from the film adaption of Madame Bovary (1991)

today's inspiration: emily brontë

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'Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?'


With all my organizing around here, I found an old journal with excerpts from this poem by Emily Brontë which inspired me to read some of her poetry once again. I was curious why my teenage self found it so powerful that I even wrote the quote above at the back cover. What did I know about anguish then? Or even love? On the other hand, am I just underestimating a much younger heart's capacity to feel so deeply?

Reading my old journals makes me think its the latter, because despite a cringe-worthy amount of teen angst, a lot of those writings and observations are very truthful and passionate. And I do miss those moments when I allowed myself to pour my heart out on paper, not caring about what will happen to them later. It seems as though from the moment I thought of myself as a writer, there's always an awareness, even at the back of my mind, that the words I write will one day turn into a poem, an essay, a story, and that someone else will read it.

This isn't a bad thing necessarily, in fact I wrote a lot of pieces because I needed to tell a story and share it to someone. But a lot times, even if I know that I can push myself further, it's much easier to stay on the safe side than allow myself to be vulnerable. Which may also explain why, despite it being my first love, I seldom write poetry these days. Poems are the easiest and also the hardest for me to write. They come naturally but at the same time they also take so much out of me. I wish there was a way to achieve some sort of balance but I know the only way around it is to be less afraid of the unknown depths that my poems can take me.

So inspired by Emily Brontë, the first item on my poetry list is to submit for publication. I think it's a combination of stage fright (or in this case, publication fright), indecision over which poems to send out, and chronic procrastination that's keeping me from doing it. Well, all that is going to change and I'm sharing it here so I can be held accountable for it. I did my homework and found out that majority of literary journals are accepting submissions from August to January, so now is definitely a good time. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

// Listen: Poems of Emily Brontë in MP3 (audiobook format). I was so excited when I found this. Also, you can listen to Wuthering Heights for free here.

literary friends

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I met my young friend at the children's section at Green Apple Books when she was trying to pick a Nancy Drew novel. I told her I read all of them when I was in my early teens, she said she just started reading them last month, and soon we were gushing about the series like the book nerds that we are. Ah, I love talking to young readers, their enthusiasm is such a wonderful thing.

It's true, before I 'knew' Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, or Jane Eyre, I was reading all about Nancy Drew, Heidi, and Anne Shirley, and I thought of these girls as my 'friends'. I also learned the word kindred from Anne and decided that it was the most beautiful word in the English language, then later I dreamed of going to Prince Edward Island and visiting the Green Gables House.

And oh, while most of my friends were swooning over Hollywood stars, I was definitely crushing on Gilbert Blythe. In fact, I don't think any other male literary character has made such an impact on me in a romantic way, Captain Wentworth and Mr. Darcy came close, but it's still Gil whom I loved the most. He had me from the moment he pulled Anne's pigtails and called her "carrots", and he pretty much owned my heart in Anne of the Island.

How about you, who were your favorite literary characters (and crushes)? I've asked this question before and I'd love to know what kind of books you loved to read when you were growing up.  Please share in the comment below or in your blog so we can all geek out collectively.

Photo by me, via iPhone

weekend instagram

china beach

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This long weekend was just the right balance of solitary and social, sun and fog, coastal and cityscapes. Time spent inside bookstores and cafes, writing, exchanging words with strangers.

I fell in love with a children's reading poster that I saw at the bookstore, found an oldish but still-pretty skirt in my closet, saw the movie Vertigo in 70mm at the Castro Theater, and spent a lovely afternoon with Holly who is moving to Australia in two days.

Yesterday I woke up at 7, the earliest that I've been up on a holiday, to pick up my aunt who just arrived from L.A. She is starting a new job in the Seacliff area so we ended up spending some time in China Beach and watched the fog roll in. It was gorgeous and definitely reminded me that I need to minimize my night owl ways so I can have early ocean mornings like this one.

Happy September friends.

// You can see the rest of my Instagram here.

notebook love

notebook love

Today I woke up feeling sorry for myself that I was coming down with a cold and had to cancel some plans for the long weekend. But then I bought this Orla Kiely notebook and ended up in a coffee shop filling pages for more than an hour. It's the most writing that I've done in awhile, something about the notebook's scalloped edges and whimsical pattern must have inspired me, and I couldn't be happier.

Funny how that happens, when such a simple thing can turn your day around. One of my closest friends once told me that if she had only so much money to indulge in one thing, she'll spend it on a good cup of tea. Mine will probably be spent on beautiful paper and pens. Its always been this way, even when I was little, my mom literally had to drag me away from a bookstore because I will stand there for hours deliberating over which ruled paper to buy. And forget about journals and planners because those I tend to be very, very picky. Thank goodness for Moleskine and Japanese stationary stores, their paper products definitely made my life easier.

And speaking of paper and pen, I started exchanging letters with my goddaughter Drew (who just turned 11 - gasp!). She is so sweet, she even learned how to write thank you or 'arrigatou' in Hiragana. Her mom texted me the other day and said that Drew wants me to know she's still making an envelope for her letter. I had to laugh because that's exactly something that I'd do. Now I'm even more excited for her next letter!

// For those of you who love beautiful notebooks, here's some you might like:
O-Check Notebook - so pretty and the perfect size to take everywhere.
The Little Prince Moleskine - I adore this video and the paper cut-outs!
Cat Companion Journal - this has the sweetest illustrations, I almost bought it today.
Write Now Journal "Write More Happiness Into the World" - gorgeous typography and paper.
Rollbahn by Delfonics - one of the best quality paper and beautiful colors, made in Japan.
Apica Notebooks - also made in Japan, I have these in different sizes and colors. How it says "most advanced quality" on the cover always cracks me up!

Photo by me, via Instagram

going nautical

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circa 1983

My childhood photos are in our family home in the Philippines but I found these last week tucked inside my old journal. They were taken at my grandparent's home when I had just turned 3. Isn't my mom beautiful? I had to smile because apparently some things never change, I still love to wear  strappy sandals and all things nautical. This one was taken last April:

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photo du jour, catching up

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This photo was taken in Duncan Mills, a quaint little town by Russian River, where we found the loveliest tea shop called Mr. Trombly's Tea and it was all I could do not to stay there all day and swoon over their pretty teapots and loose tea collection. I bought their Mango and Friends tea and its so for perfect summer! And yes, that's my excited face in front of the tea shop.

We just started a new school year this week and that means all sorts of craziness. In between getting to know my students, driving to different schools, organizing paperwork, emails and phone calls -- my brain is now fried. I could really use some pampering (or a glass of beer) right now. But hey, I said to myself that I will try my best to start this school year without complaints so I'm going to stop now. I do want to share these with all of you:

Reflecting: On these words by Thoreau and 'living deliberately'.
Wishing: My dream wardrobe, styled by Talisa Sutton of Badlands.
Reading: Anne Michael's The Fugitive Pieces. Such beautiful prose.
Listening: Destiny by Zero 7. I can't believe I forgot one of my favorite bands in my previous post. Here is a video, I think this song is just perfect.



// Photo taken by my friend Dana, via iPhone

five things: soundtrack of your life

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When I watched the Olympics closing ceremony last Sunday night, I realized that I was actually listening to a lot of British music when I was growing up. It made me a bit nostalgic for the music of my youth so I came up with this idea of writing the first 5 songs I can think of that made an impact in my life. I'm sure there are more songs I'd want to add to this list but I limited it to 5.

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Baby I Love Your Way, Big Mountain (Reality Bites Soundtrack) // Listen here
This song will always hold a place in my heart. It represents my childhood, summer parties at the beach, watching MTV all day long (back when it was still cool to watch MTV), and the movie Reality Bites. Ah, high school in the mid-90s. I definitely miss the tv shows, we had some good ones back then. Anyone else remember Felicity or My So-Called Life?

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Back for Good - Take That // Listen here
Full disclosure: I used to be a boy band junkie. Yup, I was either listening to boy bands or suicidal music as a teenager. And one of my favorites was the British group Take That. In fact, I might have shed a tear when they disbanded AND when I learned that they were reunited. Watch their comeback performance with Robbie Williams, I think they are getting better with age. I was definitely grinning like a proud fangirl when they performed the final song of the Olympics.

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Let Go - Imogen Heap // Listen here
I love everything Imogen Heap sings but this song really saved me. I remembered back when I was still in L.A. and I was at my all-time low that I even called my mother and told her that I just want to go home, I'd play this over and over again and focused on her words. "Let go, let go. It's alright. There's beauty in the breakdown." (Full lyrics)

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Heartbeats - José González // Listen here
Summer of 2007, I took my first writing class, attended my first poetry festival, and felt so deeply in love with the writing life again. I saw this video of Heartbeats and almost cried because it described how I felt perfectly. Like my heart was everywhere, scattered all over San Francisco and I was so genuinely happy. Also, a blogger friend met José González at a party and said that he was so nice and shy almost, and I don't know, it just makes you love him even more.

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Skinny Love - Bon Iver // Listen here
"Come on skinny love, just last the year." -- How beautiful and heartbreaking is this song? When I heard it for the first time, something about it just felt so raw that I was completely mesmerized and must have played it at least 20 times in a row.  And no matter how many times I listen to it or wonder about the meaning, it still gets me each and every time.

So, how about you, what are your 5 songs? Share in the comment below.

// Top photo of The Beatles. I can't pick just one song of them so I decided to share a photo.
// Image source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

happiness, etc.

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Here, in this little coffee shop by the sea
I sit by the window and watch a roll of fog
change colors in the distance,
from white, to pale pink
and the softest hint of gold.

// Other things making me happy lately:
Chats with friends who live in different time zones
Delicious peaches from the farmer's market
Taking naps at the beach
Reading Zen poetry

Photos taken last weekend at Miramar Beach