Motivation Monday: Let Go of the Past


Photo by Justice Understanding

Quote: “I don’t know what hurt u ma, but I know that living in the past just hurt u more.”

This past Thursday, I attended my young friend’s first photo exhibition at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. I saw some really great works all around (including my friend’s, of course) and then I saw this wall of quotes. I’m not sure if the person (named Justice Understanding under the quotes and photos) who posted this is the author of the quote or not, but I thought this was so profound.

Although there’s a bit of street slang (i.e. “ma” which eludes to a woman), the message overtakes it. Bringing old problems into the present truly limits us. Especially if we are trying to change some aspect of our lives. Why live in the past and sulk in mistakes? Let’s learn from those mistakes, move forward and prove to ourselves that we can have a better future.

For more inspiring quotes, come back every Motivation Monday!

Foodie Friday: Donuts!

I like certain donuts. Dunkin Donuts’ glaze is my favorite in comparison to Krispy Kreme (sorry, not that big of a fan). I do like Krispy Kreme’s raspberry filled donuts. Other than that, eh. Somehow in my super busy week, I had a sliver of time to try out a Philly-based donut shop called Federal Donuts. I’ve heard of the place, even had friends rave about it. For some reason, it never clicked to me to go and try it.

Until Tuesday. Continue reading

3 Exciting Spring Events in Philly

This year, I made a goal to attend at least three different Philly events each season in order to learn a little bit more about my city. So far, I went to the Center City Restaurant Week back in January and the Philadelphia Auto Show (actually twice, per my young nephew’s request) in February. Thus, my winter events are basically covered. Now onto fun springtime events! I have a few in mind that I found on a list of the 50 Biggest Events via Visit Philly:

Philadelphia Flower Show (March 5 through 13)


Philadelphia Flower Show (Image:

I love flowers and the Flower Show is definitely full of them! This is the 188th year of the event and this year’s theme is “Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service.” So each exhibit area will feature a popular park like the Yellowstone National Park and even the local Valley Forge State Park. Click here for ticket and time information.

The Science Behind Pixar at The Franklin Institute (March 12 through September 5)


Pixar Exhibit at the Franklin Institute (Image:

You all know I love art but you may not know that I am a big Toy Story fan. Yes, I saw all three and will see Toy Story 4 when it comes out. In the meantime, I can get my fix visiting the Franklin Institute and checking out this exhibit. It will discuss the scientific and technical aspect of the Pixar process (claymation, set designs, etc). Here’s more info if you want to visit!

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) (April 8 through April 23)

My artsy people – this is for us! A huge celebration of arts from the Delaware River Waterfront to Broad street – live performances, theatrics and visual arts galore. I’m telling you, this is huge and it gets pretty packed quick! Get more info about tickets and dates here on their site.

These are just a few of many events happening over here. If you would like to take a trip to Philadelphia, don’t forget to grab a free water ice from Rita’s on March 20th. 😉



Are You Ready to Shop?

Gray Thursday. Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Somehow, there is a break on Sunday. 😉

Are you ready to shop the big deals and thrills? Any real-deal shopper can attest that early Black Friday shopping is like tailgating at a football game. The thrill is amazing! I remember standing in those long lines on Black Friday with my sister (my #1 shopping partner). It was always below 30 degrees and still dark out. Hundreds of us anxious, sleep deprived, coffee-filled shoppers awaited for those glass double doors to open.

BUT my sister and I always had a plan.


Our Full Black Friday Plan

  • Shower before bed on Thursday
  • Wake up, wash up and get dressed around 3:30 AM on Friday
  • Head to the Wawa on the way to the store around 4 AM
  • Partake of our Wawa goods in the car
  • Arrive at the desired location and continue with our Wawa
  • Wait in line until doors opened at 6 AM

There was no leisure shopping – all sport. Once we received a map of the store, we would strategize where to separate and our meetup location. When the doors opened, we rushed to our “station” for the items we wanted…ahem, needed.

I remember one experience when the PlayStation 2 console came out and everyone grabbed for it. It was so crazy, the sales associate was standing on pallets passing out the PS2s. One lady had a nerve to ask to put it on layaway! Who asks for layaway on Black Friday? Rule of thumb: If you don’t have the money for Black Friday prices, there is no need to even be out! Needless to say, my sister called out for the Ps2 and got it while the lady gave her a snarl. Oh people…

Yep, those were the days and sometimes I feel like doing that all over again – standing in the cold awaiting for a new “toy” to buy. But now with the arrival of le Internet, I am very satisfied with staying indoors and clicking a mouse and keys to get the latest deal. Plus, the deals last all weekend and seemingly better.

At the same token, I am trying to reduce and simplify. I have come to a point in my life where I am buying things I need instead of want. 🙂

Are you shopping online or outside sometime this weekend? Let me know in the comments!


Behind The Paint: My Experience with Art Therapy

I have always loved psychology. In college, I took numerous courses for science and elective credits – Psychology 101 and 102, youth psychology, growth and development, sociology, consumer behavior, etc, etc. I think it is fascinating to know about the mind, behavior and emotions and how they all interlink with each other in our lives.

I realized a few things about myself and others last Saturday when I went to a Painting with a Twist event. Yes, Painting with a Twist. I’ll explain.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Painting with a Twist is, you attend a venue and are taught how to paint a featured painting for a few hours. The “twist” is bringing your own beer/wine/liquor and drinking it while painting.

Even though I had a slightly difficult time arriving (finding a parking space that doesn’t cost a billion dollars on a Halloween Saturday night near South Street, for example), I had a good time once I settled in. The canvas, palette, brushes and apron anxiously awaited me to test them out. I hadn’t painted in a while so I was curious on how it would turn out and if I would follow directions closely in hopes of replicating the painting.
PWATniecynotes (1)
The instructors, Hillary and Ann, were very helpful amongst a big crowd. At the start of the session, Hillary suggested that we “relax, have fun” and “use our imagination.” It was the usual cliche terms I expected to hear but little did I know that the more I painted, those words rang true in my subconscious mind.

Unfortunately, I began second-guessing myself when I compared my work to the featured one. At one point, I asked if my sunset was too dark. The instructors sincerely said “no, it’s fine. I actually really like it.” Wow, why did I need that reassurance as an artist?

Somehow that reassurance boosted my confidence and I began to be in my own creative world. No, the two-ounces of Merlot and the four-ounces of Verdi I partook did not give me any type of buzz. I was actually in my authentic creative zone where I felt free with every new color brushed on the canvas. I was like a big kid with a brand-spanking new coloring book awaiting for that colored wax to hit the pages!

There were some people who never really got into “the zone,” but rather compared themselves to others or gave up in frustration. 😦 Some others were extremely meticulous with their paintings, making sure things were absolutely perfect (or getting their money’s worth).

Here’s my result:

I really like my painting! The picture doesn’t do much justice, of course. Days later, while browsing the Web, I discovered the term “art therapy.” I read about it and boom – it hit me that the Painting with a Twist event was a form of art therapy! No wonder the concept became so popular!

What is Art Therapy?
According to The Art Therapy Blog:
Yes, I really do feel that everyone in the group learned something about themselves (good or bad) whether admitted or not. Here is what I learned about me:

* Perfectionism: I had a perfectionistic attitude in the beginning. I made sure I followed every step the instructor told us. I wanted it to be RIGHT. But then, I stumbled on one step of the session and became a bit flustered. After this, I realized this is my interpretation, not an exact replication and relaxed about the mistake.

* Fear of Failure: There was a permanence once the paint hit the canvas. It made me hesitant and a little afraid I was going to mess up. A hint of fear of failure came to play for a while. But once I became familiar with the patterns, colors and brush strokes, I became free with little thought to perfection.

* Confidence and Risk Taking: The slight bit of reassurance from the instructor somehow touched me and my confidence was boosted. In my creative zone, I felt confident enough to go a half-step further with my painting. The original painting had a man and girl looking at the sunset. For some reason, I had this need to be different and a little daring. That is why the sailboat and man is on the bottom left. 🙂

Other Things I’ve Learned
Art therapy is probably the reason why the adult coloring book made a big boom this year. If I wanted to color, I would not mind buying a Dollar Tree kids coloring book. But now there’s a “dignified” (for the lack of a better word) coloring book for adults with the same intention. Everyone is stressed about something, especially living in these crazy times. Going back to childhood temporarily with a coloring book gives us a slight escape to the days of no worries.

Bottom line life lessons: Be willing to be flexible. Let go and be free. Make mistakes. Perfectionism creates stress. Don’t compare someone else’s vision with yours – make your own.

Since this event (less than a week ago), I have been itching to paint some more! I have two blank canvasses and a paint set with brushes that has been sitting in a corner of a room for a while. I am raring to go, possibly painting a flower or autumn leaf. Whatever it is, it will be another freeing experience. 🙂

Summertime Motivation: Philly Trails

Hello everyone!!! Geez, I can’t believe it’s been a little over a month since the last post! Summertime is always a busy season for me and I am sure it is for you as well. I appreciate all of you who follow the blog, especially the newbies during my mini hiatus. 🙂

During the past few months, I’m noticing that more and more people have FitBits. If you have been stuck under a rock, a FitBit is a fitness tracker for tracking steps, calories, heartrate, sleep and much more. So what’s with the FitBit craze? Maybe…

  • The curiosity of the number of steps taken per day?
  • The weight loss effects?
  • The motivation of exercise?
  • The “friendly” competition it features?

Well, all of the above appeals to me!
Continue reading

Water Ice: The Philly Treat

“Water ice? You mean, Italian ice?”

“Water ice? Isn’t ice made from water?”

“Water ice? Oh you mean an Icee/Gelato/Snocone?”

No, no, no my friends! Water ice is it’s own entity.

I get this reaction from so many visitors and tourists. Every summer, this special treat comes around to the enjoyment of Philadelphian’s taste buds. Water ice is essentially (for the sake of comparison) a soft version of Italian ice. Not ice with flavoring on top like a Snocone. Not in a watery state like an Icee or Slushie. Not in an extra creamy texture as a Gelato. And it is not just ice made from water.

Simply, water ice.
Continue reading