love, surprise & convention

A big change descended upon my life recently. I fell in love. I got engaged. Although I've never really felt compelled to write publicly about my personal life, I've had things on my mind that need to be expressed. Here it goes.

Being loved by Rudy sometimes makes my heart want to burst – in the best way possible. It was a big, wonderful surprise for us both. We redefined what dating meant to each other. Being a free agent (for the most part) all these years has been ... entertaining. Needless to say, I’ve had a full life. It’s been quite an adventure. I found someone great who was busy having his own multifaceted, interesting journey. And for many reasons, joining forces just made complete sense. What finding love didn’t do is suddenly validate me nor made me more ‘whole.’ I find the notion that women are these sad, incomplete beings without a partner terribly insulting. But let's face it, society hasn’t evolved all that much. But we don't need partners to have children or survive anymore. It's 2014! I also didn't cross some imaginary finish line by getting engaged. It isn’t some kind of noble achievement. The way I see it is stars just aligned, love found me. I think it is FANTASTIC. It is worth celebrating. But I'm not suddenly more dignified because of it. Anything that alludes to this just gets under my skin. 

When I told my mom that Rudy expressed that he wishes we met in our twenties instead of now, her immediate reaction was “Oh, but you’re both SO much more interesting now!” I thought: Wow, SHE’S RIGHT! I love her for that. I love my parents for never, ever making me feel like being single made me somehow feckless or lacking. They didn't try to dictate how my story should unfold. My story was my own. 

I have always been an idealist. I’m not what most would consider a traditionalist. At 18, I didn’t want the (obligatory) big debutant ball – or a ‘debut’ as Filipinos call it. I traveled instead. I was never going to be someone who settled. I found it difficult to imagine having a child before I was with Rudy. In my world, there are no requirements – only choices. Being a free agent makes you self-sufficient and resilient. Of course, I wanted love. Along the way, there was trial and error. There was fear. There were a few near disasters. Dating in New York was occasionally fun. But It often felt like I was on a bad reality dating show. The idea of ‘settling’ terrified me more than flying solo. I’ve been accused of being too picky, too independent (seriously?) and just ‘too much.’ Eventually, I realized that people were simply projecting their own inadequacies and/or religious righteousness on me.  

I knew I wanted and deserved more. I wanted the kind of love that took my breath away. Unfettered by artificial societal pressure. Something that would let my whole being shine, exactly as I am. And it would be undeniable. That is Rudy for me. He inherently understood all this. His choices aren’t shaped by convention. He is vastly different from anyone I've had the experience of knowing. It's a grown up relationship. We're not a couple of 20-somethings still in the midst of angst-filled self-discovery. We’ve lived some. We also just have this joy together. And maybe I needed to leave New York to be ready for it. I’m glad no one else got it exactly right until this precise moment. To me, this was the best kind of surprise there is.  <3

an upstate of mind

One of my oldest and dearest friends in New York, Sparrow Hall, recently launched a fantastic digital experience dedicated to travel, culture, and design in Upstate New York: An Upstate of Mind. I've written a roadtrip diary about one of many wonderful weekends spent upstate. Check it out :)  

Follow him on Twitter · Facebook · Pinterest · Tumblr · Flickr 


define your own

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the
things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 
~ Mark Twain ~


I was struck today by this quote. You may have seen it posted around the internets. I blame my lifelong idealism for having a particular connection to this. I realize now that I HAVE lived my adult/independent life (the most interesting parts) with this line of thinking —  despite many strong opinions to do otherwise. Call it being ‘romantic,’ ‘passionate’ or even ‘crazy.’ I like to think of it as BRAVE. I've learned the following important lessons over the years:  

1) Giving yourself permission to pursue what's in your heart can be hugely unpopular (even offensive) to those who only WISH that they had done the same.

2) Idealism: often NOT the easiest/safest/most traditional route to choose whether personally or professionally. This, I know well. Accept that you're taking risks and could fall flat on your face. Then appreciate all who help and encourage you along the way.

3) Considering/living someone else's ‘SHOULD DO’ list will never make YOU happy. Write (and rewrite) your own.

Lately, I've been wanting more. I'm excited again after an intensely difficult time. I've also been inspired by a few particular individuals (thanks, Nichole) who remind me that life is too short not to live your own *ideal.* Here's hoping 2013 will give power to more of my adventures — however I choose to define them! 



This was a year of extremes. Sweet, joyous highs and blindsiding blows. 2012, I gave you my all and with plenty of COURAGE. The past year (or three) has taught me some hard lessons. I'm taking a moment to reflect today. Here's to tipping the balance, making better (personal + professional) choices, setting new tracks and to LETTING IN NEW LIGHT in 2013. 

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. 
~ Rumi


bill t. jones : a good man

Watch Bill T. Jones: A Good Man on PBS. See more from AMERICAN MASTERS.


After recently seeing FELA, I became interested in the work of Bill T. Jones. His Tony Award winning choreography for FELA moved me to tears. I came across this documentary about his new project: A Good Man, and had to share. It is an incredibly inspiring and intelligent film about dance, choreography, performance and storytelling. This is a must-see for anyone interested in creativity. Works like this make me wish I had pursued dance more professionally. I am completely in awe. 

"I used to say that I want grace. That my reward in this life were to be to find what grace is. But now it's all choppy seas. Grace is for the saints. I'm not a saint, I don't aspire to be one yet. I'm a two-fisted maker." 
– Bill T. Jones. 

drawing on the slate

My apartment decorating is currently on a bit of a delayed schedule. But I am making some progress! I've put together some mood boards to solidify my thought process. Clearly, this grey and gold thing isn't going away anythime soon. It's the colour combo I've had on two different business cards over the past several years – including my most recent letterpress version. So why fight it?  

I have been searching deep and wide (literally) for an affordable sofa. Most of the ones I've been drawn to have been modern, some leaning toward mid-century modern. Then I unexpectedly came across this Bliss sofa, from West Elm. I knew I wanted comfort and this satisfies all my requirements: extreme comfort, deep/wide seats and grey linen fabric. It won't be available in Canada until December, so I will have to wait a bit longer. 

Over all, I want to offset the boxiness of my space with a lot of organic shapes and a lot of softness. I want to give shape to the idea of warm, organic modernism that I love so much. I've been drawn to the idea of live edged or raw edged wood for a while. The look of ABC Kitchen in NY epitomized it to me. I am currently looking into getting a custom counter table made as well as (potentially) a headboard and platform combo. It would be ideal to work with someone locally in Toronto who works with reclaimed wood slabs. I am open to suggestions!   

It's been tough to be patient with this whole process. I want to just complete this but it takes time! I'd love to hear your thoughts, esp any designers out there :) 

Images sources

(top mood board) 
Bliss sofa photo
Top right painting by Eric Blum
Slab table by BBDW 

(bottom mood board)
live-edge counter on Pinterest 
Top right painting by Eric Blum
Branches Chandelier by Brothers Dressler
Living room photo on Pinterest
Nakashima-style table on Casa Sugar




bossypants. bossypants. bossypants.

cover image from audiobook pdf

If you follow me on Twitter and have already seen my multiple tweets about Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, well here it is again.

I particularly loved hearing Tina Fey narrate her own book. As far as I'm concerned, it was the only way it could have been done. I believe everyone – especially women – should read/listen to this audiobook. I was already a huge fan of Ms. Fey (and of her show, 30 Rock) this book just mutliplied it by a thousand. Her clever and humourous insight into the endless issues all/career-driven women face today is not to be missed. Her whip-smart, Gen-X brand of feminism is the best I've read in decades. There's also valuable advice to all women – and all of it wrapped in laugh out loud humour (mostly from her own confessions). She makes it ok for us to laugh at ourselves and at the absurdity of it all. Among them is the one where she tells women to make STATEMENTS instead of questions when we speak – as in don't say everything in question form. Speak in statements if you want to be taken seriously. I also love her for the chapter entitled All Women Must Be Everything. In fact, I love all of the chapters on women's bodies. I won't give spoilers away but it's the best, most truthful and most hilarious piece of writing about women's bodies I've read in a very long time. Oh, her description of how in any given nail salon in Manhattan there are at least eight Tracy Ullman characters represented had me laughing out loud during my commute home from work. She then proceeds to do a couple of the voices herself. It's funny because it's true.

I can't say enough about this book. I love Tina Fey. I am about to listen it it a second time. Go download it already! 

less curating, more creating



A recent article's provocative title on PSFK recently caught my attention. After I read it, it unraveled something in me. Are We Becoming Inspiration Fetishists? was written in response to a blog post by Stephan Boubil at The Apartment. The original article talks about how the creative industry and the internet has in a sense has turned us into 'inspiration fetishists' that are more concerned about inspiration behind creative work rather than actually creating the work. I stumbled upon the quote above on The Mavenist and I felt it truly captured this whole line of thought. 

As a creative person and a blogger, I feel that I'm always working. My blog does help me document my creative experience and my point of view. Although my blog started out purely as a documentation of my design and aesthetic preferences, I realized over the past couple of years that this isn't really what makes it interesting to read or follow in the long run. Considering the name of my blog, I was forced to question whether or not I have turned into an 'inspiration fetishist.' The answer is 'no.' Well, maybe a little. It's been great learning over the past couple of years through blogging – and discovery of other blogs – that what's most compelling is actually writing about and photographing my own life experience as a creative person. I have noticed that 'blogging' has become increasingly part of everyone's vocabulary. People are spending more and more time curating and maintaining their Tumblr or Pinterest accounts. Our Twitter streams feed us endless links to more inspiring visuals, topics and work. Sure, these sites can/do provide a great deal of inspiration (visual and otherwise) when needed. Some of it can be very seductive. But don't you get exhausted? I know I am. The point we're starting to miss through all of the bombardment is this: when are we/people actually CREATING when we spend so much time collecting and glorifying someone else's work? So much so that it's become so commonplace to appropriate someone else's images and/or text without the courtesy of crediting the author. Perhaps, to some, it has become a fetish. Consider this for a moment. It's something that has stuck with me this week. To rephrase Stephan Boubil's point about how he's tired of the word inspiration... what happened to action, awakening, motivation, ambition and influence? At the end of the day, what's more interesting to me is original content, real stories. As a blogger, it's certainly more interesting for me to share my own experience and my own work. It's about creating original content as opposed to only reposting someone else's. Good questions to ask might be: What's the ratio of time spent this week on collecting inspiration vs actual creation? At what point do you feel compelled to originate work? There isn't anything wrong with curating/collecting existing content and sharing it. I just believe that it shouldn't be taking away ALL our creative energy. What do you think?