Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Gift to END all Gifts

March 29, 2013

Favorites / Korean / TMI / Uncategorized

One lovely Christmas morning, after all the gifts had been opened, my unpredictable mother shifted into a secretive, whisper-like tone and said, “Girls (to my little sister and I), wouldn’t it be wonderful to know you had a beautiful place to go one day?”  On that note, my father rolled his eyes and said, “I’ll be upstairs,” as he beelined it out of the family room to find refuge in his second story office.  Tracey and I looked at one another in that unsaid knowing/mom is so strange/what now kind of way.  “You know,” she continued without skipping a beat from my dad’s departure, “a place that you knew you had for yourself.”  Oh, we thought, reading each others’ minds, mom and dad have purchased a get-away-house in the country!!!!  Yay!  She stares at us with her secret still kept, salivating at our anticipation.  The silence and expectation are too thick so I break it with, “So, mom, you bought a second home?” “No,” she says, “even better.”  Wow, we’re thinking, what could possibly outshine a vacation home?”

“Girls, it is a place with mountains, a view of the water and the best location on a hillside.”  Mom is bursting with the element of surprise.  She has surely selected the ultimate Christmas gift with careful planning and it is now time to finally unveil the gift of a lifetime.  She has never been good with keeping good-news secrets but this time she shines.  When she can’t stand it another second, she triumphs,”Your father and I have bought you grave plots!!!!”

“Whhhhhatttttt,” Tracey and I say in total confusion and shock.  Mom is now giddy with pleasure at the assured thrill we must be experiencing.  Tracey and I then burst into a total giggle riot.  She is confusing our nervous reaction  and continues.  “We have 8,” mom gloats.  “We have 8 grave plots,” I ask-there are only four of us-mom, dad, Tracey and myself.  Ahhhhh…the foreseeable husband and two-children-a-piece we will be having.  I hear my father groan from upstairs.  He’s never been a fan of death-talk where on the other hand, my mother has even gone as far to give my father permission to remarry (as long as the new wife is not Korean like herself) in the case she passes before him.   The security in knowing where she will one day lie is absolutely heavenly to her and to give that to us is the greatest gift she can give.

“Thank you,” we say in a questioning tone.  She finally senses our disconnect and is flabbergasted at our lack of enthusiasm and gratitude.  Picking up on her disappointment, we immediately shift and begin to grant her the appreciation and excitement she yearns for.  So, here it is….


Our Permanent Vacation Home

(featured photo with Elephant by Alice Popkorn via Flickr)



Expert Status

March 28, 2013

MONEY / Uncategorized


Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell is an excellent read.  It’s a book about how extraordinary people become so.  One discovery is that it takes approximately 10,000 hours for one to become an expert in something. The Beatles had played over ten thousand hours together before really making it anywhere in show business.  They were playing in no-name joints, developing their unique style and becoming expert stage performers.  At a young age, Bill Gates was enrolled in a private school that had a teletype machine (back when he was 13).  He spend free time programming with his friends.   Bill allegedly skipped his Harvard classes from time to time in order to spend more time with his friend, Paul Allen, in the computer lab.  Timing is everything as well.  Bill had more access to computers than most other people of his time.

What have you done for over 10,000 hours other than sleeping and eating?  Where do you win in timing?  What makes it unique?

(photo of woman at Abu Shouk Women’s Center, by Sudan Envoy)

The Wild West

March 27, 2013

HAPPINESS / Uncategorized


Have you ever taken the law into your own hands?  When I got my first dog, Charlie (fluffy 15 pounder), about 7 years ago, I thought all dogs were nice.  I was walking in the park with him and another lady and her dog (medium Shepard type) were up ahead of us.  Her dog ran up to Charlie, picked him up in his mouth and gave him one of those shakes animals use to break their dinner’s neck.  The woman started hitting her dog and he dropped Charlie.  Then the woman claimed, “my dog has NEVER done this before.”  Without a word to her, I scooped Charlie up and took him straight to the vet.  Luckily, Charlie was not severely injured!  He had a few bite marks that missed his lungs and was very sore from the shaking.  Needless to say I was traumatized and felt so guilty.

The next day I reviewed what had happened.  We were both in the wrong: even though there wasn’t another soul at the park, it was a leashed area and both our dogs were off-leash.  I felt that it was ethical that we split the veternarian bill and start keeping our dogs on leashes NO MATTER WHAT from now on.  In the following days at the park, I asked around to see if anyone knew the dog and owner I was looking for.  Many people did know who they were and stated that there had been other instances where that dog had attacked small dogs.

One park-goer gave me her address and I knocked on her door one day.  She answered the door with her dog on a leash.  I felt bad about stopping by unannounced and tried my best to let her know I was there only to request we share the bill.   It was a matter of principal-the fee was small and I did not need the money.  She was very upset with me and afraid that I was there to have her dog taken away.  I assured her that no one would take her dog away as long as the dog was leashed and did not attack others (same goes for me).  I left her with a copy of the bill and my address so that she would have security in knowing where I too lived.   A day later she dropped off a check for me for the full amount.  I told her the full amount wasn’t necessary but after her insistance I accepted (more because I wanted it to be over and waiting for her to write another check was more awkwardness than I wanted to handle at the moment).

I felt really good about the communication and feeling heard.  I saw the woman and her dog at the park for years after that and it was nice to have closure so we could both continue to enjoy the park.

Recently, I read about a guy here in Seattle who decided to take the law into his own hands (in another way) in the case of a stolen bike.  Interesting story.  You can check it out here.

Have you ever sought justice for something you believed in?  Was it difficult?  Why?

(photo by CBS television, via Wikimedia Commons)

Hands Down Best Home Facial EVER

March 25, 2013



Dr. Hauschka Facial


Here is a post on how I give myself the perfect at-home facial.  I was one of those people who only washed with bar soap for most of my life unless I had a breakout in which case I would resort to Clearisil-type face scrubs… UNTIL my body went through some big changes after I stopped taking BCPs many years ago.

All estheticians have told me that every balanced facial routine includes:

1. Cleansing &  Exfoliating

2. Toning

3. Moisturizing

I use Dr. Hauschka products introduced to me by a Dr. Hauschka certified esthetician in San Diego (missing you!).  Dr. Hauschka products are natural, smell wonderful and keep my skin from being stripped.  I love to buy them on Prime for a great price.  You can also pick them up at Whole Foods, other high-end health stores and from your esthetician.

Let’s Begin!

Step 1: Moisten face with warm water or a warm/wet washcloth.  Place some Cleansing Milk (or gentle non-soap/non-stripping/creamy cleanser) on the buffing sponge and gently work sponge over face in circular motions paying special attention to dry areas or areas of build up.  Rinse cleanser off.


Buffing Sponge- I use these little buffing sponges I find at Target.  They are disposable yet fairly durable.



*you can see the fibrous texture of the pads.  Be gentle!

Here is some information on EXFOLIATING.  I had no idea that dead skin buildup was the reason for some blemishes I had!  Easy fix!  Now, that my skin is smoother, the few times I DO wear foundation, it goes on smoothly and doesn’t irritate my skin.

Step 2: If you need extra exfoliation add this or do this alone if you only need just a little exfoliation.  This product is very gentle, not like the “apricot scrub” I used when I was 15.  Squeeze out a pea sized blob of the deep cleanser/gentle exfolient and rub gently all over the face.  Press and Roll (the Dr. Hauschka method) it into your face.  Rinse it off completely and pat dry.

Step 3: Spray toner all over face.

*Apply all creams while toner is still wet on your face.

Step 4: Take a small amount of the eye cream on the pads of your ring fingers and pat all around the eye area and a little on any delicate face lines.

Step 5: 

Day Time-Using as little or as much as you need, pat the Rose Day Cream (or an appropriate moisturizer) all over the face, concentrating on dry areas or areas with fine lines.

Night Time-Press a small amount of the Rejuvinating Mask (or some form of hydrating/soothing night cream) all over your face, concentrating on sensitive areas (breakouts). (If I have to perform any extractions, I ALWAYS do them at night so anything has time to heal for at least 8 hours before I have to see anyone.  I do extractions after cleansing & exfoliating then using the cleansing milk alone and my hands I wash my face again before toner and so on.)  Although it is called a “mask” I leave this one on overnight.  You can even layer the Rose Day Cream on top if you need some extra hydration.

IMG_2338**On extra dry days, right after putting on toner, I will put a little olive oil all over my face and then place a really hot/steaming cloth over my face to hold there and then dab off any excess.  SUPER MOISTURIZING!

Dab on some lip balm and….Voila!  

What other tips do you have for a perfect home facial?  What are your go-to products for healthy skin?  I keep hearing a lot about coconut oil.  How do YOU use it/any good links?

As the Romans

Out and About / Uncategorized

Coupeville in Washington State

Here’s where that saying comes from.  Well, SPRING IS HERE in Seattle!!  So, what do people do in Seattle on a weekend when the sun finally comes out?  They take their cars to a ferry and visit little towns on the surrounding islands!  We decided on Widbey Island this weekend.  Take the Mukilteo (a northern suburb of Seattle) ferry to Widbey Island and get driving!  There is beautiful countryside to take in along the way to the small waterfront towns.

You will even find yoga out here.


Dianna’s Vinyasa Yoga in Coupeville, WA

Bring a picnic lunch because the weather is GORGEOUS (finally) and there are many park tables where you can nosh and rev up your vitamin D.


Picnic Lunch by Mom

There seem to be a lot of these “cut out head” boards around Seattle where you stick your head in and take a picture.  I’m getting better at making myself really blend in with them.  Here I actually LOOK like a convincing octopus.  Wow, you’re thinking….that girl can really do the cut-outs well.  Thank you.

Coupeville Pier in Washington State

We stopped into a wharf coffee shop to chat and sip…soooo Seattle.



Explaining why I didn’t like the last 5 photos just taken: turkey chest and turtle cheek.

If you want to eat out, you will find MANY charming waterfront restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from.  Check out little specialty shops for gifts, local art and sweets.  The locals are cheery and welcoming.


Charming Restaurant in Coupeville, WA

This cupcake was insanely delicious.


Snickerdoodle Cupcake in Langley, WA

Here is a local town project of birdhouses.


What is a typical spring celebratory activity in your town?