Plumtastic Friday

Fashion, Uncategorized

Friday is my casual dress day, so I definitely am wearing my skinny jeans. I paired them with my grey suede boots from Rag & Bone. For top I wore a halter top from banana republic and layered it with a lace trimmed blouse from Knox Rose. To keep up with the casual vibe I wore a wide brim wool hat in dark grey.



Forest Tweed Jacket

Fashion, Uncategorized

I loved the fashion styles from “Age of Adeline” -retro yet timeless. The other day I came across this green tweed jacket in Target which reminded me of the movie. The pockets, lining and buttons are all well appointed. I wore it with a cream colored mohair turtleneck sweater from JCrew and purple tweed cropped pants from Banana Republic. I carried a bucket bag from Proenza Schouler.



Thoughts, Uncategorized

I came across an article by Jeff Haden today titled The First American Woman to Win the NYC Marathon in 40 Years Needed Just 3 Words to Reveal the Secret to Success. When I first read the title, I challenged myself to guess the 3 words. Is it”Never give up”? Or “Don’t ever stop”? Or “Have the courage”? As it turns out, the three words are “Patient” and “Hard Work”.

I have started to appreciate the power of patience greatly in recent days. If there is one word to describe me, it would be “impatient”. If I want something, I have to have it and I want it NOW. If I can’t have it NOW and if it requires too much work, forget about it. I will move on to work on the next item and cross the last one from the list. What I lacked was the “stick-to-it-ness”.

When life is rosy and easy, I coast along, when it gets harder and more serious, I break at a certain point and want to flee from it. Along the way, I don’t even own that fact and then come up with all the excuses for myself for why I can’t take the challenges. But there was a moment in my life, when what’s at stake is serious and important enough for me, I finally woke up to see how I was trying to avoid my challenges. I crashed, and then picked up the pieces and decided to embrace the challenges.

As I passed that stage, I felt stronger, wiser and more grown. I felt confident, that I will be OK, I will be happy and I will be successful. And no one could shake that belief.

When you find your core and learn to be patient and not afraid of hard work, then you start to radiate love. “Love is patient, love is kind”. When I become patient, I become a kind and loving mother to my children, who is willing to spend 30 minutes to a temper tantrum with a silent stand by and gazing at my daughter with gentleness. When I become patient, the mundane work doesn’t seem so boring and it becomes meaningful. When I am patient, a flaw in another person is not the reason to ridicule but just a flaw you believe that it can be corrected given time and will. When I am patient, I know it is OK if I can’t get to a certain result right away, and it is OK to keep on trying.

Here is a quote from Pele “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Here is one of my favorite songs from Harry Belafonte, We Are the Wave, it says “Patience gentlemen, we move closer every day. Patience gentlemen, the stone will soon give way. Patience gentlemen, the flower can grow up through the stone. Patience gentlemen, its a truth that we have always known”.

Happiness Is…

Thoughts, Uncategorized

Charitable donation to my happiness jar

As we know, happiness doesn’t depend on how much money you have, it depends on your commitment to be happy with whatever life throws at you. Happiness is about knowing what makes you happy and put the hard work into reaching that goal. With your kind donation, I may just get to my goal a little bit faster...


The story goes like this – as I approach the age of 40, which in Chinese culture, is the age of “no puzzling”, I found myself feeling more and more lost with the meaning of life, then with some only-god-know-how-it-happened chain of events, I finally found my meaning for my life and my happiness.

What is the meaning of my life? I have been asking this question for a while (see this meaning of life post from Feb). When I was little, I had this belief that I have some super power and my purpose of life is to make the people around me happy. So bringing happiness to others was my meaning of life back then.

As I grew to the age of adolescence and was facing the career choice I felt clueless, I was told by my uncle who was deemed the most knowledgeable person in the family to study Computer Science. My mom had planed out my life path which is to go to a graduate school in US and then stay in US as she strongly believed that it would be the brightest future. I had no interest in GRE and Toefl tests and could care less about coming to US. I had applied to a Master program in International Business in Beijing and was accepted. However growing up being the only child who didn’t dare to say no to my parents, I reluctantly went through the application process for graduate schools in US and gave in to my mom’s plan.

I remember I cried so hard when I first started my graduate program abroad, because I felt so lonely and out of place. I felt no motivation, but simply heavy burden on my shoulders as I was told by my parents they could’t pay for my tuition and I was on my own. I worked at dining halls, and participated in medical research programs to make money, eventually I got a graduate assistant position and finished my Master program. Then to stay in US, I went on to enter the Ph.D. program at the same department, only to find out that I have no motivation to finish the dissertation.

My aunt who was the closest person to me passed away in Feb, 2008 after fighting ovarian cancer. I was angry and I lost faith in God. If there was a God, why was he blind for taking her away? After the grieving period, I made the decision to give up on my Ph.D. degree and pursue my own interests. With the support of my husband, I started a photo studio and retail store that specializes children’s products. It was a struggle to generate income stream doing those things, but I had so much time on my hands to be totally focused on learning the photography techniques, it was then when I realized that following my passion is part of what makes my life meaningful.

Fast forward 9 years, I found a corporate job that pays well as a Software Engineer, had 4 daughters and moved to a fast growing city, living in a red brick house. Life seems to have settled into a much better and happier state. But deep down, a hole is developing in my heart, a question lingering in my mind, an itch to find out the answer keeps me on my toes. Have you ever experienced that feeling?

The life that I have seems to be in an autopilot mode, you get up, get the kids ready, drive to work, sit in front of the computer all day long, then leave work, pick up the kids, get the dinner ready, spent night time with kids, then go to bed. On weekends, it is the kids activities, parties and chores that would fill up most of your days. You would have a few vacations throughout the year, be it beaches or cities or cruises. Life is comfortable, not too hard, predictable, nothing wrong with this picture, except that, there is something missing in my heart. It’s like I am approaching the edge of the “being dumb and happy” stage and need to get into the “being wise and happy” stage.

Several months ago, I asked my husband, “what is your purpose of life”? He said “Love, that’s all that matters. To love and to be loved and finding the happiness in the process.” I remember saying “Really?” At the moment of the conversation, I thought the purpose of life is “finding out about yourself and knowing yourself and living the way you want to live to be fulfilled”.

Then I met someone, and got to know him, a friend who understands me so well that we can talk about things all day long. He was there for me through some really tough time.  I started to think that the purpose of life is “finding love and the deep human connections”. Learning how to love myself, how to love other people, despite all the flaws and quirks we have was an important lesson for me.

There was a day that felt like the rock bottom of my life. It felt like the closest people in my life have betrayed me, and I couldn’t love myself for who I am, and the physical pains in my body reminded me something has gone wrong, the old me was dying. The miracle was that on the night of that day, as I thought I may slide into some prolonged stage of depression, I decided to cook a full meal for the family. Then things started to look better and feel better for me.

I started to receive those little signs like there are some god sent messages from a conversation with a friend (she told me that her husband had left her being afraid that their newborn baby had brain damage and she had been taking care of two kids all on her own), from reading an article in a magazine, from hearing the words of appreciation from my children…They gave me the strength, and taught me the power to choose to be happy. I then understand only after you hit the rock bottom, can you make that choice of standing up high, or lying there moaning.

As I read Tony Robbins’s book Unshakeable today, this paragraph resonated with me

“What I’ve come to realize is that the single most important decision in life is this: Are you committed to being happy, no matter what happens to you? To put this another way, will you commit to enjoying life not only when everything goes your way but also when everything goes against you, when injustice happens, when someone screws you over, when you lose something or someone you love, or when nobody seems to understand or appreciate you? Unless we make this definitive decision to stop suffering and live in a beautiful state, our survival minds will create suffering whenever our desires, expectations, or preferences are not met. What a waste of so much of our lives!”

I am so grateful for my journey to find my answer to my question of purpose of life:

To know yourself, and love yourself, do what you love to do…

To love others, without asking for anything back, despite their flaws and quirks…

To choose to be happy, no matter what life throws at you, as long as you are living…