Day in Lincoln Park Tuesday, Aug 30 2011 

I spent the day off walking around Downtown Lincoln Park. I love the ambiance and atmosphere there… vintage buildings, unique stores, amazing architecture, delicious restaurants, and people who genuinely are happy being where they are at the present moment. I took the time to photograph my all time new favorite store, Rugby, which houses Ralph Lauren’s upscale, preppy collection of plush cashmere sweaters and striking blazers that are devastating to the wallet.There’s a bunch of outrageously priced “thrift store”, “resale shop” “consignment shops” around that area, but they lack true soul simply because they are bare in merchandise. In my opinion, the best thrift stores and vintage finds are in the suburbs, randomly encountered, or down Belmont and Sheffield in Chicago.

Our next stop was a place called Barker & Meowsky: A Paw Firm (for all of you pet lovers out there!). Chumchum ended up getting a bag of treats and a sweet toy made out of wood and linen for only $3.00. I love that an old, brown dog greets you at the door and the staff is so welcoming. They even gave me some samples of a cat treat (shredded salmon, ooh la la) since Chum is so picky.

We ended up eating at a restaurant called Shine, and I took photos of Shrimp Rolls;  Hot Pot Stir Fry, which is Japanese eggplant, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, lemongrass, peas and tomato in an aromatic panang curry; Shine Maki, which is crispy shrimp and cucumber wrapped in baby tuna, topped with ginger dressing; and Toro Maki, with fatty tuna, avocado, cilantro, scallion, shitake, and tempura crunch with spicy sauce.


Lovers: A Tribute to Magritte Sunday, Aug 21 2011 

My love for surrealism is truly due to discovering Rene Magritte’s paintings at the age of 14, when I was assigned to do an art history paper Freshman year of high school. I remember not knowing anything about any famous artist, except for Michaelangelo. I was pouring through the gi-normous art books when I discovered, serene, dreamy clouds and silhouettes that stopped me in my tracks. Flipping the cover over, I realized that this artist’s name was Rene Magritte, and he painted in a genre called “surrealism.” That, my friends, started my lifelong love affair with this Belgian man.

His paintings are so psychologically powerful, understated: minimal in concept yet startling in theme. I painted this tribute to Magritte, being inspired by “The Lovers”, in August of 2010. The size is enormous: 5 feet by 5 feet, and it took me an entire three months to finish this painting. I added the chessboard stairs, but tried to keep as much of the original, delicate story of the painting. I remember when I first saw an image of this painting, and how I so wanted to paint it so badly but did not want to do it any injustice until I felt that I could completely replicate it, giving it full credibility for its original beauty.

Best. Card. Ever. Sunday, Aug 21 2011 

Another year =) Friday, Aug 19 2011 

Yesterday I had the joy of celebrating another year of my life. 28. An age that really doesn’t signify much, except that in two years I will be 30. I had the honor of sitting on my couch, watching my dysfunctional family go through their everyday range of motions, realizing that I am kind of lucky to hold on to some sort of sense in my senseless world.

We ended up eating dinner at Claim Jumpers (yum!!!), where they have THE BEST chicken pot pie. My sister got me a cake from Deerfield Bakery, local in our community and absolutely heavenly in taste and sight. I realized that as I have gotten older, I have become more reclusive in my social life yet more closer to the people that are immediately around me. You know what? It’s the best feeling ever. It signifies that I am finally in a comfortable, secure place in my life where I don’t have to feel obligated to do anything else except be myself =)


Currently playing… Thursday, Aug 11 2011 

Stromae! My new music obsession! He is French pop/electro/hip-hop and has a bunch of really cool, upbeat and slick hits you can listen to while you drive/workout/get ready/pout on your couch. Look out for: Alors On Danse, Je Cours and Te Quiero. They’re simply super awesome.

What I am listening to… Sunday, Aug 7 2011 

I woke up this morning, experiencing one of those intense, vivid, and phenomenal dreams that only occur once in a while. Plugging the Ipod in, this song just happened to play. Perfect =)

The band is called Memphis, composed of two singers, Torquil Campbell and Chris Dumont. The entire album is easy listening, with beautiful, dreamy lyrics and Campbell’s crooning, soft voice. Some songs are more upbeat, these are songs for the soul. Campbell is also lead singer for Stars, which is one of THE BEST musical bands. Ever.

I Dreamed We Fell Apart
Airplane in the upper atmosphere
That whole town is one dim light from here
Read out on the screen says twelve below
It’s getting cold
Which means it’s time to go
Marked by the evening coming on
Ending with the ending of a song
I make up words and you play guitar
It lets us know at least we’ve come this far

I must have seen that house a hundred times
The road descends, it bends and then it climbs
If we record it maybe it will last
If we keep it still it won’t go by so fast
So fast

I dreamed we fell apart
It seems to end and then it seems to start
I dreamed we fell apart
It seems to end and then it seems to start
I dreamed, I dreamed we fell apart

Appreciating Life as We Know It Thursday, Aug 4 2011 

Being alive is probably the number one thing we take for granted.  In the midst of our hectic, overwhelming day to day activities,there is a tendency to lose the appreciation and genuine beauty of actually living.  How many of us are truly live for the present moment? How many of us are simply existing, methodically and robotically going through the motions of life? There are only 24 hours in a day… that is universally accepted and acknowledged. We can’t change that to make more time, nor can we go back to make up for what has already been said and done. My suggestion? Look right at what is in front of you. Deal with the ups and downs, twists and turns without digging, reminiscing, or contemplating. As humans, our locus of control only remains within our own limits. Our sense of purpose, determination, and will allows us to steer the wheel a little better, with a little more clarity. That said, here are some key ingredients to incorporate into daily living that makes life a bit more tastier and sweeter. =)

-Jot down five things you are grateful for every night. The smallest things count: health, happiness, longevity,  sanity, loved ones, etc..

-Take 20 minutes out of your day to just breathe and meditate. Stretch your muscles, sit outside in the sun,
inhale some extra oxygen into those lungs.

-Thank someone, anyone. I am known to do this even with the most obnoxious, pig-headed idiot I run into, for they make me realize how great it is not to be miserable like them.

-Step away from the things that trigger negative emotions. Simply. Walk. Away.

-Cuddle with a pet, baby, or significant other. Hands down the best relaxer ever.

-You know that sweater/dress/shirt/shoes that are just for special occasions? Use them. Everyday is a special occasion. Don’t save objects for saving sakes. That’s what money is for.

-Wake up 20 minutes earlier than usual. You will be surprised at how nice it is not to rush out of the house, forget things, or be discombobulated.

-Enlighten and broaden your mind. Read something of a new genre, listen to new music, eat a foreign cuisine, watch a documentary with a very specific purpose.

-Did I mention cuddle?

-Love as if you have never loved before. Realize that everyday is a new chance.

-Measure the time you spend with people by quality, not quantity.

-Enjoy a good hearted laugh and joke. Humor is an elixir, there’s a reason why they say Laughter is the Best Medicine.

-Spiritually enlighten yourself. Pray.

-Buy/pick some fresh flowers. Absorb the scent, color, and texture. Stare at them. Put them in a pretty vase by a window.

-Hit a local dollar store. Seriously… go in with 5 or 10 bucks, browse every aisle. I’m sure you will find at least four things that will tickle your fancy.

ChumChum Friday, Jul 29 2011 

Meet ChumChum, my beautiful, feisty, moody Himalayan. Aka Hippipatmayus, Bloomerman the Bloomberg, Booberry, Chami Laddoo.