Tag Archives: Me


13 Apr

My last post was a year and a half ago in July 2011. It’s
been one hell of a ride since then. I’ve turned lots of different
corners and my life has changed. A LOT.

  • In October 2011, after being together for
    nearly 8 years, the BF and I became


  • In June 2012, with 8 intense months of
    planning under our belts, we got married.

Wedding Steph

  • And just two weeks and three days ago on
    March 27, 2013 we became parents to our little girl, Clara

Clara To say the least, the last
1.5 years of life have been bewildering, especially to someone like
me, who does not welcome change easily. I became a wife and before
I could even think about getting used to that, I discovered that I
was going to be a mother. One would think that with everything that
was going on, I would have much to blog about. Oh, so contrary.
Despite all that was happening, I felt somehow that I had nothing
interesting to say. I think at one point I’d chalked it up to an
uninspiring company that I had found myself working within,
regretting putting myself in this position nearly every day when
comparing to the previous company I had left. Oh, and
therein was another life-changing event. Nine weeks into my
pregnancy in August, when no one other than my husband knew about
the tiny person growing inside me, my position at this uninspiring
company got eliminated. I got laid off! No job, and a baby on the
way. The shock and panic of having no job to go to the next day,
surprisingly, quickly gave way to relief. In spite of this all, I knew
somehow that everything would be okay. Plus, the time off ended up
a blessing as I spent a few weeks prone on my couch with first
trimester morning/afternoon/evening sickness. And I did find
another job — I had to, rather quickly. Trying to hide my pregnancy
for the first months at the new company was a challenge with my
growing belly. You quickly learn creative ways to do so, with
layers, accessories and strategically held notepads while traveling
around the building. I spent five months there at my new company
before taking my maternity leave a month ago. And today. Clara is
just over two weeks old. Between diaper changes, nursing, play
time, laundry, napping and all other fun child-rearing things I’ll
be doing during my year off, I suspect that I may have a few
minutes to fill. This blog is something that I’ve thought of a lot,
guilty for abandoning it and embarrassed that I left a rather big
chunk of myself behind.


Speaking in Public Gives me Bad Dreams

26 Apr

Image from weheartit.com

I’ve always had this fear and dread of speaking in front of a group. You would think that after many years of presentations and speeches from elementary school all the way through university and college, through countless client presentations in my working girl years, the nerves wouldn’t grip me so much at any prospect of having to make a presentation.

Not so.

This morning I had to lead a session at work. It’s this thing we have on a weekly basis, where the entire company (about 30 people) gather in the boardroom while we take turns each week presenting (2 at a time) to discuss creative, thought provoking ideas that exist out in the world to help inspire us in our lives and our work. It’s kind of like our own TED Talks.

My partner and I did our research, put together a Powerpoint presentation – or rather, she did, as I fail miserably at having to do anything Microsoft-related – and even did a practice run-through yesterday morning. Still, that helped in no way to calm my nerves.

Last night, I had a horrible sleep. My night was not restful at all, waking up quite a few times to check the clock to make sure that I hadn’t overslept and also to make sure that my alarm was set. The anxiety also caused me to dream about upcoming my day, in which everything was unravelling in a way that was so wrong. First, my train was cancelled which caused me to be late for my own presentation. A few minutes into the session, I realized that I had left my notes at my desk, which was a two-minute run – which of course was a slow and excruciating one because it was a dream – away from the boardroom. Returning to the boardroom, I realized that the notes I grabbed from my desk were the wrong ones, which meant that I had to do that run back to my desk with my leaden legs. By the time I returned with the proper notes, we had run out of time, and my partner pointed out to me that I had failed to put an important portion of the presentation in the slide show.

It was one of those dreams that was so ridiculous but felt very real, complete with disapproving remarks and looks from management and colleagues.

What did I discover about myself today? It’s not that I have fear of public speaking — I don’t think that’s what my problem is. I think that I speak well in public, if I’m prepared and I’m confident in my material. And that’s just it. It’s the fear of being unprepared, or forgetting/missing something, that paralyzes me. What’s worse is being perceived by the audience as being unprepared. Even thinking about what I would do if someone asked me a question to which I didn’t know the answer gives me those bad butterflies.

In real life, our session ended up being a success this morning — we got lots of positive feedback and everyone seemed genuinely interested in what we were discussing. Nothing went wrong — in fact, my train arrived 2 minutes ahead of schedule, which allowed me to stop at a coffee shop and treat myself to a latté. I arrived nearly a half hour in advance of the meeting time, which gave me plenty of time to set up, review my notes and take a few deep breaths.

I really had nothing to worry about, but I’m suspecting that this experience still won’t make it any easier the next time it’s my turn to lead the session.

30 Things About Me

10 Feb
Photo by PetitPlat Food Art via flickr.com

I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up with blogging since the new year started. Chalk it up to the lack of interesting things going on in my life since returning from India. Everything just kind of pales in comparison to my experiences there. That, or I have a huge lack of motivation as a result of this frigid, dismal, snowy winter we’ve been having here in Toronto.

A couple of days ago, Courtney did a 30 Things About Me post. I had so much fun reading all the random facts about her that I wanted to soak up some of the fun myself and make my own list. I think you should try doing it too because it’s a fun — and surprisingly easy — thing to do. I’d love to learn more about you all too.

1. When I was about a year old, I was rolling around in my walker while my mom had gone downstairs to do some laundry one morning. She had closed the door behind her, but I somehow managed to open it and then roll down the concrete steps, landing at the bottom on my head. I wasn’t seriously hurt, but ended up with two black eyes after returning from the Emergency Room.

2. My first car that was handed down to me by my parents was an ancient charcoal grey 1983 Chrysler LeBaron that required ten minutes to warm up in the summer and let out a huge, sputtering, farting noise every time I turned the engine off.

3. Except for several goldfish, my brothers and I were never allowed to have pets when we were growing up.

4. Shamefully, I never had a reason to have a passport in my name until I was 25 years old.

5. In my early teen years, my dream job was to be the Editor-in-Chief of BOP! Magazine. I did end up working in magazines as my first ever real job after I graduated, but in the Art Department, not Editorial.

6. When I started University, my major was English. I ended up doing an extra year so that I could graduate with Honors, and with a second major in Mass Communications.

7. From the age of 18 to 25 years old, I dated two Jons in a row, and then three Steves in a row. That’s like a full house in poker.

8. I have not had long hair since high school. I’ve tried many times to grow it out, but it never gets past my chin before I can’t stand it any longer and have to shear it again.

9. Annie was my favorite movie when I was young. I also loved the Wizard of Oz, but not as much, because of the flying monkeys. They scared me.

10. I don’t know how to use chopsticks properly. And yes, I am Chinese.

11. I was teased for my thick, big hair and my full lips when I was 13 – I had not yet grown into these features. Some boys called me Tina Turner for this. I remember, and am scarred for life.

12. I have one tattoo on my back, near my left shoulder blade, of Winnie-the-Pooh.

13. It’s probably just in my head, but when I’m a passenger in the back seat of a car, I have to sit behind the driver. Otherwise, I get car sick.

14. I sleep with a night light because I’m afraid of the dark. I traveled in India with tiny plastic flameless candles so that I would always have light with me. It was probably one of my most practical ideas ever, because I didn’t have to plug anything in and I never had to sleep in the dark.

15. Since returning from India, I have been even more fascinated with Asia. I hope to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia next.

16. I love watching the show Arthur on weekend mornings. It’s an animated children’s show about an 8-year old Aardvark and his daily adventures.

17. I believe that people should not wear pajama pants in public.

18. I bring my lunch to work every day.

19. I rarely drink anything but water. Oh, except when I’m drinking tea. Or wine.

20. In May, I had gotten into a heated disagreement with my then boss. When I told The BF about it afterwards, he also became indignant about the situation and said to me “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” That made me feel better instantly.

21. I feel incredibly guilty about this now, but when I was in grade school, I would often throw away the “dessert” that my mom packed in my lunches. It was usually something like a Wagon Wheel, a Joe Louis or a Swiss Roll cake, for none of which I ever developed a taste. I suppose my juvenile mind thought it would be better if I threw them away rather than bring them home and hurt my mom’s feelings to know that I didn’t like them.

22. I have to cover my eyes whenever I see marionettes.

23. Drinking merlot makes my feet hot. And then it makes me pass out.

24. As I type this, I’m wearing a Snuggie. My youngest brother and his girlfriend got it for me for Christmas. The year before that, they bought me a Magic Bullet.

25. I don’t like taking baths. Ewwww.

26. I keep my old cell phone on my bedside table so that I can use it as my alarm in the mornings.

27. My alarm is set for 6:03 am because it feels way better than 6:00 am.

28. I don’t like air conditioning. I prefer to sleep with the windows open in the summer, even if it is suffocatingly hot and humid.

29. My parallel parking skills are superb.

30. I can hardly get through watching a movie without crying. It doesn’t matter what genre it is. Things that get to me especially are babies being born and adult men crying. I cried while watching Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Yup, true story.

Sweet Blogger Friends

22 Nov

Check it out! Today, I’m being featured on Reni’s blog, MySo-Called Life, for her What Are You Thankful For Series, which is a series she created so that guest bloggers could share their thoughts and memories around Thanksgiving. I was privileged to be included, and from what I’ve been reading in the series so far, I’m in really great company. Reni is a blogger whom I met while I was doing the 30-Day Blogging Challenge. I’ve been really ticked to discover, through our keeping up with each other’s blogs, that we have a lot in common – it’s a little bit scary because I’ve thought once or twice that we could even be the same person.

Check her out, and my answers too, on her blog today. She is a gem – you’ll see!

There’s a lot that I’ve got to update. Thanks to all for your encouraging and great comments on my iPhone photos. This toy is a handy tool that I can not live without. While it’s a big sucker of time, it’s become pretty crucial in my day to day life!

One thing that I will also be getting to soon is showing off the little care package I got last week from another friend I met through blogging – the sweet, thoughtful and creative Elisse of Fur Elisse! Bear with me as I attempt to carve out some time for this.

Fill in the Blank Friday – Hair!

6 Nov

It was a ca-razy week. I knew that the first couple of weeks in starting this new job were going to be exhausting. I’ve now got Week One under my belt. When you come from a job in which you know everything and can do anything with your eyes closed, to start fresh someplace new where you know nothing at all, it’s physically and mentally draining. I’ve been like a sponge, soaking everything in until at the end of each day, I don’t think that my brain can process any more new information. Even learning the names of all 25 of my new colleagues and what their roles are in relation to me has been giving my brain a wicked topsy-turvy workout. Everyone has been really nice and has been exercising patience as I learn everything and slowly transition into being an actual contributing member of the team.

This weekend is a well-needed respite from thinking and info-processing. I’ve fallen so behind in blogs, so I’m devoting this Saturday morning to catching up and commenting.

But first things first! Fill in the Blank Friday has unintentionally become Fill in the Blank Saturday lately. My hope is that once I get more settled in my slightly modified routine, that I’ll be able to blog more regularly and in the least, fill in my blanks on time! This week’s theme is hair. If you want to play along and link up yourself, go on and visit Lauren’s blog.

1.   My last haircut was on September 25th, which was exactly 6 weeks ago. Since I have short hair, I’m now overdue for a cut.

2.  My most daring hair moment was when I died my hair blond at the age 19.

3.  A hairstyle I’d never be brave enough to try is I don’t think there isn’t anything I’m not brave enough to try with my hair. To me, a hairstyle or cut is never permanent. If I hate it, then all it takes is time to grow it out and fix it. Or buy some really cute hats to cover up.

4.  I’ve always dreamt of being a (blonde, brunette or red-head) <natural> red head.

5.  My go-to hair do is slightly tousled. If my bangs have grown out, I’ll usually pin it back so that it’s not falling in my eyes all day.

6.  My biggest hair disaster was … I don’t think I’ve had a really bad disaster, aside from my blond hair days. Being Asian, I realized afterwards that it probably wasn’t my very becoming.

7.  A hairstyle I am dying to try is long hair, even just for a few days. My hair has been short since I was 18 and sometimes I have dreams where my hair is suddenly long.

8.  My best hair day was ??

9.  The worst hairstyle I ever had was in 7th grade, when I had a perm. I have a lot of hair, and it’s thick. That perm made my hair exceptionally big, and paired with my full lips that I hadn’t quite grown into yet at that age made me quite the sight. I was teased by some mean boys who called me Tina Turner. Scarred. For. Life.

10.  My hair is thick, heavy and TOO MUCH, which is the reason I like to keep it short. I try to grow it out occasionally, but I always go back to my stylist to crop, shear and thin it out. I’m fortunate to have someone who loves to style hair rather than just cut it. I’m in one of those stages now, where it’s a bit longer and after having looked at some pictures of me from the beginning of the year where my hair is more pixie, I just want to shear it all off again!

Blanks and Questions

16 Oct

It’s time again for Lauren’s Blanks. If you want to play along, hop onto Lauren’s blog and link up.

1.   Blogging is something that I never thought I would do, but is now an important part of my life. I’ve “met” so many interesting people and I’m perpetually inspired by everything that I read. I love learning about other people and about myself through this process.

2.  A current fashion trend I wish I was brave enough to wear is jeggings. Maybe just for an hour.

3.  My greatest accomplishment in life thus far is becoming a homeowner, especially considering my younger years of being gainfully employed and yet still living paycheck to paycheck while living at home with my parents.

4.  If I had to choose between a mountain or a beach vacation I’d choose beach vacation. I love how life comes to a standstill when you’re lying on the beach.

5.  A talent I wish I had is being crafty. I wish I was more creative in that sense.

6.  A talent I do have is doing makeup. I’m still learning, but I’ve done some makeup for weddings and lots of costume-y makeup for Halloween!

7. This week was pretty tough physically because of this detox The BF and I are on.

Tag…I’m It!

This week, I was tagged twice in this really fun game of 8 questions by both Leesh and Maureen. It’s taken me too long to get around to this, but here goes:

From Leesh at The Blarkness Chronicles:

1. What’s your Starbucks drink?
It used to be the Peppermint Mocha at Christmas time, but now if I go to Starbucks it’s to get a green tea.

2. What movie do you like better – Sex and the City or The Devil Wear Prada?
The Devil Wears Prada.

3. What’s your token fall fashion item?
I’m more of a summer girl, so when Fall rolls around I feel like I have no appropriate clothes to wear.

4. Your cable is out and the TV fairy is allowing you to pick one boxed set to watch, what show do you choose?
Only one? Then it would have to be LOST.

5. What’s your favorite ice cream flavour?
I prefer light and refreshing flavours like coconut or lemon.

6. What’s your go-to food when you are having a bad day?
I usually go straight for alcohol before food when I’ve had a bad day.

7. You get to choose a free trip, do you choose a beach or city vacation?
As much as I love the beach, I’d have to say city if it was all-expenses paid.

8. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?
Change out of my work clothes into home clothes, and then make dinner.

From Maureen at a little rough around the edges:

1. what is your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Depending on my mood and where I am, it’s between wine or a really delicious, unique cocktail.

2. what is the fondest memory of your childhood?
Summer nights playing outside with all my friends from my neighbourhood.

3. what movie do you plan on watching in the theatre next?
I’m horrible at keeping up with movies in the theater. We just saw The Social Network on Monday. I still haven’t seen The Town, so I suppose that would be it, provided we’re not too late and we miss it completely.

4. what frightens you the most?

5. what is your favorite body part on yourself? (LOL!)
I guess I’d have to say my hands. Since I’ve been used as a hand model on covers and throughout some of my client’s publications, I’ve also become the resident hand model at my company for our portfolio.

6. what is your favorite body part on the opposite sex? (ha ha!)
The nape of the neck. Lips. Eyes.

7. what are your plans this week? It’s my last week at my current job so I’ll be wrapping things up, handing projects over and going out for many lunch dates.

8. if you were granted one wish, what would it be? To never have to worry about money.

Food, Siblings and Things

14 Oct


Image from weheartit.com


The BF and I started a detox on Tuesday. After a few delays, we committed to beginning right after Thanksgiving, which is as perfect timing as you can ask for. Thanksgiving gave us the opportunity to feast and overindulge and because we have to stay on this detox for at least 2 weeks, we have these weeks leading up to Halloween/his birthday to cleanse and recalibrate. So, for the next 14 days, we will be eliminating the following from our diets:

  • wheat/gluten
  • dairy
  • caffeine
  • red meat
  • soy
  • sugar
  • alcohol (oh, dear)

Thanksgiving and the start of our cleanse meant that I had to spend a huge amount of time over the weekend in the kitchen preparing, planning and organizing. First, Thanksgiving was a bit of an unusual one this year. My parents are away on a cruise for the next couple of weeks, and my middle brother is also travelling in the Mediterranean. So that left just me and my youngest brother for what I called our Orphan Thanksgiving. He and his girlfriend had us over for dinner on Sunday at their brand new house, which was exciting but was a whole lot of “Hmmmm, what can we expect….” from me and The BF at the same time. You see because my brother offered to take care of the turkey this year, and not that I lack confidence in him, but I wasn’t too sure how familiar he was with cooking. To me, as the baby of the family, I thought that he’s always been the type of guy to settle for convenience foods  – the frozen, pre-made kinds of meals. Compound that with the fact that his girlfriend is a vegetarian who can’t stand the sight of meat and you will understand why we thought this could have turned into one of those funny holiday disaster stories that you re-tell year after year.

I’ve learned my lesson. That I really shouldn’t worry about these things and to never underestimate. Our Thanksgiving dinner was great and I think something that we should be proud of, being the bunch of kids that we are. The turkey was nicely done, with stuffing to boot. I made cranberry chutney from scratch with a recipe that I came across online just a few days before, as well as a Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole (don’t wrinkle your nose at me until you’ve tried it) and a roasted acorn squash stuffed with a quinoa + vegetable mix. Round this off with a couple of bottles of wine, a cheesecake and a pumpkin pie for dessert, and it was a super-delicious meal.

After spending Thanksgiving Sunday as we did, I’ve come to the hard conclusion that my brothers and I are most definitely the products of our parents. To my surprise, I learned that my youngest brother is the cook of the house. He is the one who has taken on the responsibility of making their meals, and is often found cooking dinner for his girlfriend when she comes home from work in the evening. My other brother also recently bought a house with his girlfriend, and he as well has taken on the responsibility of doing most of the cooking for the two of them. I think that I can safely attribute this to the fact that my brothers and I grew up in a home in which meals made from scratch were an important to my mom. She worked hard to make sure our fridge was always stocked with fresh food, and that there were always warm meals for us to eat every day. Not only did we all inherit her cooking skills, but also an appreciation for healthy eating habits, and I’m really glad to see that I was wrong to think that my brother subsisted on Hungry Man dinners heated in the microwave every day.

Some other quirks that my brother and I share, which were discovered this weekend when his girlfriend and The BF started comparing notes about the siblings:

  • we are obsessive about washing our hands, especially when we are cooking, which isn’t really a bad thing. However, it can be seen as excessive when we are washing with soap and water after every time we touch something different, even if it’s just a juicy lemon.
  • we are afraid of the dark and of being by ourselves on the upper levels of our homes. I can’t sleep properly if I am by myself upstairs in bed, and apparently neither can my brother.
  • we have a strong aversion to overhead lighting and much prefer the rooms in our homes to be lit by table and floor lamps.

And something that his girlfriend revealed to us about herself which I find a hilarious quirk is that she can’t eat if there are animals on tv. Meaning, if she’s eating in front of the tv, and animals appear, she completely loses her appetite and has to stop eating.

Do you have a “thing” or a weird quirk?

Day Twenty-Eight | Best Part of My Day

6 Oct

Today’s prompt for My 30 Days is:

the best part of your day.

Image from weheartit.com

There’s a sense of calm that washes over me at night when I know that everything that needed to be done that day has been done. My socks are off (and most likely my bra too) and I’ll be sipping a glass of wine or cup of tea. This is the time of day that I can really relax and wind down.

Day Eighteen | Then & Now

24 Sep

Today’s prompt for My 30 Days is:

a picture of you from last year + this year
+ how have you changed since then?

July, 2009

August, 2010

How fitting is it that this be the prompt today, on my birthday?!

Pretty cool, though I wish that this post could be a much more elaborate chronicle about all that has changed in the past year. The truth of it all is that I don’t think much is really different for me.

I’m still the same person. Maybe someone with a little less debt. Or more, because we bought a new car, but I am someone who had to learn how to drive stick. Still, someone without any major milestone to celebrate except for another year added to her age. Life keeps chugging along alarmingly fast, and in this past year I’ve shared in many momentous occasions with those who are close to me. Some devastatingly sad, more that were astoundingly happy. And all those moments helped to reinforce the notion that life should be appreciated and valued because it is significant, no matter who you are, what you do, and how little you seem.

At the beginning of this week, my office mate reminded me that this should be an important birthday for me, only because it sounds like it should be a significant year. Doesn’t that make me feel like a dinosaur? Oh yes, an aimless one. So, on this day, ie. the anniversary of my birth, this is what I resolve. While I will make an earnest effort to be happy in current moments and appreciate all that I do have, I also need to make equally earnest efforts in discovering who I want to be and what I want to achieve. So, this is where I commit myself to seeing more change, more achievements, and maybe some major milestones happening for me in the upcoming year.

Day Fifteen | I’m Different

21 Sep

Today’s prompt for My 30 Days is:

what makes you different
from everyone else.

Rather than having distinct heart and head lines, I have one straight line across the tops of both of my palms. Google tells me that this is called a Simian Crease. Google also says some really mean things about the type of person I should be because of this.

I’ve never seen the Sound of Music in its entirety.

I am an occasional hand model for my clients.

I think I’m a pretty intuitive person and I believe I am pretty good at sensing certain things about others.

I have not been sick with a cold or flu since December, 2003.

I am terrified of the dark and need to sleep with a night light. I’m lucky that my bedmate doesn’t mind this so much.

I’m halfway through My 30 Days Challenge!

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