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Tag Archives: 2016

Now or Never?

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immortālis: Latin im (not) + mortal

Music, TV, and science have searched for the fountain of youth or the secrets to immortality in reality and fiction. Too often have we dreamed of ascending to a higher spirituality or embodiment where nothing or no one could touch us as we make our path in life and in society. But then reality crashes down and reminds us with the grim fact that we are flesh, blood, and bone – all worn away by time. I’ve heard people use the term “YOLO” or similar phrases such as “live life to the fullest” throughout my life but I question if we ever heed those suggestions until it’s too late.

Why is she waxing poetic about life and using Latin to introduce a post? (I promise there’s a reason – bear with me for a bit.)

For those who have been with me on this journey, you have noticed I’m no stranger to witnessing moments where life has thrown curveballs or moments when I’ve parted ways with close friends too soon. My dad always said it is best to live your life with little to no regrets, which has been a goal that has been anything but easy to attain. It is easier for me to declare that with every encounter I’ve experienced I’ve tried to learn something from it and grow.

My late high school friend and fellow musician showed me another side of her former hometown and popular culture, all while staying true to her roots.

My co-worker lent an ear, a warm smile, and an encouraging word to those in need, revealing a strength that was selfless and admirable, even when things were difficult on her end.

My dog who beat the odds stacked against her and inspired people from all over the US to support others like her. (Now with a fund in her name that supports injured dogs requiring various surgical procedures.)

Recently, my 86 year old gran on my mother’s side was told that her time was limited. She is living alone with her small dog, coping with age-related health issues in the same house my mom was raised in. A few months prior, life threw her a curveball in the form of leukemia.

How does one react when you hear news like that? There’s no magic guide to tell you what one should feel when the stubborn woman who speaks frankly is dealing with something of this caliber. Sure you can scream into the void that nothing is going right and hate that it’s all falling apart.

What good is that going to do?

One of my favorite teachers from high school told us to deconstruct a moment to it’s most basic form and focus on each motion as it happens. Live in the moment, in short. Most of us in his class scoffed that this was an easy task to achieve – cake really. But after 10 years, I realized how difficult it truly is to do, especially in a world that values multi-tasking and getting everything done at lightning speed.

Still, I want to understand the feeling of focusing on each motion as it happens. Continue to strive to live without regrets. Finally, value the time I have with everyone.

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Time Flies by When You’re Telling a Story

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Last week marked the 5th anniversary of Your Smile is Priceless – who knew that a blog analyzing the blogger’s life in a society struggling to pull itself out of the recession combined with literature would grow from an audience of her classmates to beyond?

I wish to extend a huge thank you to all of my followers and readers for coming and staying on for the ride – it has been a pleasure sharing glimpses of my life, the small nuggets of success, and the occasional drabble with you.

In addition to work, I promised myself to make the most out of my time at San Diego Comic Con this summer. Previously in 2015, I spent many days camping out for hours to stake my place in Hall H for several panels from Lionsgate, BBC, and 20th Century Fox with good friends. Don’t get me wrong readers – my friends and I had some good times waiting in line but my dad commented that I missed many of the smaller panels or experiences taking place on the floor. This time, most of the panels I attended were smaller and I was fortunate to immerse myself in the floor activity and some of the outside offerings (Vote for Snoopy and Suicide Squad x Samsung Experience to name a few).

stan-lee-2Photo taken by Susan K.

Save for walking around the convention floor, I did get in a long line to draw a ticket for a limited autograph session for MARVEL legend and early founder Stan Lee. It was rumored that this was Mr. Lee’s final appearance at SDCC, due to age and stamina. Like me, many were clamoring to be one of a hundred fans who got a coveted wristband. My mom and I stepped up to the ticket drawing bags and were fortunate to draw winning tickets for the signing. No pictures with Stan or conversations were permitted, but you could try to slip in a selfie from the waiting area of the line.

stan-leePhoto taken by Susan K.

Everyone expected a huge group of security surrounding him when he was scheduled to start the signing but instead, he walked up from a backstage elevator by himself, smile on his face and waving at everyone in line. My mom snapped this picture of him smiling at me after he returned my signed print of Spider-man before I was ushered out of the signing area. A living legend and a truly memorable moment.

To all of my readers out there, I want to hear your priceless and memorable moments that you’ve had recently. Feel free to share down in the comments.

Define Happy

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Hey, where in the world has the author been? It’s almost been two months since we last saw her!

Instead of pleading the Fifth, how about I share with you some snapshots of my life while I was away from this wonderful blogging space:

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13040838_10153589706207963_1316372428640684390_oTaken by Chrissy Ives

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Yes, multiple visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood were made during the months of April and May with good friends. Contrary to my expression in the first picture, I did try Butterbeer and thought it was interesting, but I preferred the Gillywater. 🙂

Early May was Spring Dapper Day at the Disneyland Resort and there was no shortage of Dapper Disneybounders like myself. It’s a no brainer for me to channel my favorite Lucky Rabbit.

I guess you could say that the month of April and May were spent trying to reconnect with old friends and making new memories. Many of these people I haven’t seen in almost a year and now that many of us are working, getting married, or studying graduate or doctorate degrees, we hardly have time to hang out and just have fun without the worries. These three images are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of time spent with friends and family, but I like to think that in those months, I said yes to more fun times than ever.

All right gang, how about you? Any exciting, magical events take place while I was gone?

The Crisp Memory

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Late January 2011: It was one of my last few days in Italy for a January term class in Renaissance art. Oddly I was incredibly homesick for 90% of the trip, save for my days spent in Siena and Venice. Why odd? I had traveled overseas before in 2008 and never felt super homesick – then again, I did have good friends and plenty of laughs to keep my mind busy and free of anxiety. This trip was a bit of a rocky start – upon arriving in Florence in early January, my cell phone carrier had some trouble switching over to international and I received news that my roommate would not arrive until tomorrow, due to delays in her home state. Not to mention I was in a stark white room with a tiny shower that had the doors close at a point (Psycho vibes anyone?) and my converter from Sharper Image burned out, despite the fact that the store claimed it was Italy compatible.

Rocky start aside, the trip became more enjoyable overtime but upon arriving in Rome, I was ready to finish strong in my class and head home. My roommate and I walked past a local restaurant nearby the trolley in the heart of the city and noticed it was pretty busy. The food smelled good and it seemed popular, so we gave it a go one night. In addition to buying an authentic, freshly made pizza, I checked out a drink called ‘Gazzosa’ on the menu and showed the description to my roommate, who roughly translated the description of it as a sort of sparkling lemonade. I gave water a break and ordered it, curious to see how it tasted.

Lemony, crisp, and a smooth, yet bubbly finish, I took an instant liking to it. Pictures weren’t allowed in the restaurant so I tried to commit the label to memory, determined to try to find it Stateside. Boy was I disappointed when all I could find online was a soda company that made their own Gazzosa that looked more yellow than the light cream liquid I remembered. Needless to say, I concluded that I was better off remembering the memory and taste of the refreshing beverage.

Fast forward to today: I visited my folks one weekend and they raved about a fantastic Italian specialty market near our house. I wandered through it, impressed with the variety of authentic Italian meats, fresh pasta, and house sauces. I went down the drink aisle and lo and behold, there it was!

Tastes exactly how I remember it.

From Eating Utensils to the Building Blocks for Art

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Are you a master at using chopsticks? Sadly I would consider myself a beginner – I have the basic technique for holding them down but its putting it in motion to pick up food that is the challenge. (Especially without trying to cross the chopsticks while picking something up!)

While taking something small to make something bigger isn’t a new concept, Malaysian artist Hong Yi has transformed the traditional eating utensil into a hanging portrait of Jackie Chan. 64,000 chopsticks were used to create the piece. In addition to Jackie Chan, the artist has replicated several likenesses of other famous Western and Eastern celebrities in chopsticks.