Tuesday, October 22, 2013

sophiachang.com is LIVE!

After another madcap SCBWI full of penguin costumes (Random House jokes welcome), I've been full blast building my empire of college admissions, storytelling, and whole new brand:


I'd love for you to check it out and follow my new blog by signing up for updates HERE

and give my Facebook page some lovin' while you're at it - you'll get fun ALWAYS ORIGINAL pictures with inspirational sayings.

(Happy to exchange Likes!)

My twitter is now @thesophiachang - I'll be sending more life, work, love tweets about inspiration, personal development and running a heartfelt business.

I put my life's work into this new, evolving brand and I am so grateful for all the support you've given Sophia the Writer these last 3 years. See you at sophiachang.com!

Friday, May 31, 2013

APA Day in the Life: Julie Ju-Yeon Kang

We've reached the end of Asian Pacific American Month 2013! To wrap up, I've got A Day in the Life from one of my soul sisters, Julie Ju-Yeon Kang, creator of Geisha School Dropout and an amazing promoter of mental health awareness among Asian Americans. 

As a bonus, she also shares her very own Asian hottie: her Japanese-Missourian
husband :) 

Greetings!  I am Julie from Geisha School Dropout and Kimchi Mamas, and Sophia has asked me to document a typical day.  Even though my life is extremely repetitive and tedious, I just can't say no to a pretty face, so here is what a typical Tuesday looked like for me and my family (we collectively call ourselves The Mangs):

image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com
6:15 am: Wake up to a wet nose nudging my arm.  The wet nose belongs to Margaret Thatcher Moo (Miss Moo if you're nasty), our family corgi.  Shuffle over to the glass door to let her out, then shuffle towards the living room to see that my husband (Tim) and son (Isaac) are already dressed for the day and working.  Gently wake up my daughter (Emi) and thank the gods, it is a meltdown-free morning.  Blearily make breakfast, pack snacks, perform last-second backpack checks.

image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com
7:40: Walk to school.  May means jacaranda season in our neighborhood, and they line our streets, fragrant and defiantly lavender.  It's really quite a sight.

8:00-11:30: Run home and feverishly work for my dayjob.  I am a clinical programmer for a biotech consulting company in the Bay Area, but I work from home.  I've been working remotely for 5 years, and it's pretty sweet not having a commute, but I must confess it has really taken a toll on my grooming habits.

image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com11:40: Pick up Emi from kindergarten.

11:45-1:00: This is our special just-us-girls time.  We eat lunch, draw pictures, read books, have tea parties, sometimes paint each other's nails.  I really look forward to this time, and I probably have more fun than Emi does.

1:00-4:00: My friend Sonya comes over to pick up my son and play with the kids while I again feverishly work for my dayjob for another chunk of time.  Sonya is my HAPA Mary Poppins.  Every working mom needs a Sonya.

image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com4:00-5:00: Dance lessons.  This week was special because the kids got to try on their recital costumes!  Here is Emi's mini hip hop group modeling theirs.

image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.comimage from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com 5:00-6:00: Head over to Shoe City to purchase black Converses for aforementioned recital for both Isaac and Emi.  Discover that Isaac has graduated to adult shoe sizes!  Celebrate that fact with a mini photoshoot and promising never to make him order from the kids' menu again.

image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com image from geishaschooldropout.typepad.com6:00-8:00: Happy birthday to Harabuji (Korean for grandpa)!  We celebrated my dad's 64th birthday with Korean BBQ and a bottle of Oban 14 year.  The kids made him a plaque to hang on his wall.  I swear, the man never ages.  I hope I inherited that from him.

8:30: Bedtime for Bonzos!  Then, my writing shift starts after I finish up some dayjob loose ends.

12:00: Sleep, perchance to dream.

Bonus hottie HAPA hubs:


Julie Kang was born in Seoul and traded her Korean language skills for a Valley Girl accent when her family settled in southern CA. Often described as "too big for the room," Julie brings shame upon her ancestors daily with her unconventional humor and potty mouth. She writes for Geisha School Dropout, her personal blog, and the Kimchi Mamas, a consortium of women raising Korean American children. She is a vocal advocate for work-life balance and lives in Long Beach with her husband and two children.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How to Be Awesome (Crazy Cat Lady): APA Month Interview with Paula Yoo

One of the hazards of being a writer is befriending more crazy cat ladies than I care to count. This one is so cool I went as her for Christmas (photo at end). 

I'm sharing her wisdom and enough cat craze to make you sneeze through the rest of APA Month. Please welcome my safety-school graduate friend, author and TV writer Paula Yoo!

photo credit: Sonya Sones
Paula Yoo is an award-winning children's book author/novelist and a TV writer/producer. Her YA novel Good Enough (HarperCollins, 2008) was a 2009 Honor Book of the Youth Literature of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Her other books include the IRA Notable non-fiction picture book Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story (Lee & Low Books, 2005) and Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story (Lee & Low Books, 2009), which also won the 2010 Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council for the Social Studies. Her TV credits range from NBC's The West Wing to FOX's Tru Calling and SyFy's Eureka. She is also an honoree of the 2012 Writers Guild of America Feature Access Project competition in feature writing. Paula is a former journalist for The Seattle Times, The Detroit News, and PEOPLE magazine. She graduated with a B.A. cum laude in English from Yale University, an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and an MFA in Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College, where she was the recipient of the Larry Levis Fellowship in Fiction. Paula's teaching experience includes teaching composition and English at Glendale Community College, creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, and she is also a certified K-12 substitute teacher in the Culver City Unified School District. When she’s not writing or playing with her three cats, Paula is a professional classical/rock violinist who has performed and recorded with bands like No Doubt, FUN, and the King Crimson tribute band The Great Deceivers.

1) So 80% of the time when I think of you, I think, "Why is Paula living such an amazing life?" But 20% of the time, I'm thinking, "Cats. So many cats." What's with the cats, Paula? 

PAULA: I was never an animal person until my first cat, Oreo, started visiting me. It was 2008. I was between TV writing jobs and writing at home. This dirty and clearly abandoned stray black and white cat kept visiting me every day around 10 AM outside my study (I had these sliding glass doors that led to the backyard from my study). It was kind of nice to have someone around to listen to me when I talked out loud about story problems and act beats. :) He visited me every day for about a month. I didn't have any pets, so I just fed him tuna and water. And then one day, he didn't show up. I immediately BURST into tears and walked for two miles around my neighborhood, looking for him. When I got home, he was waiting for me. Turns out he was just late! I immediately realized I had to adopt him, and Oreo has been with me since 2008. Beethoven and Charlotte joined us in 2010 when our cat sitter, who is also a surgery vet tech, called us after she had found these kittens born in a garage who needed a home. I had no idea I would turn into That Person Who Posts Way Too Many Cat Photos on Facebook and Twitter. My proudest achievement is not writing books and TV or playing the violin or graduating from college. My proudest achievement is being Crazy Cat Lady. P.S. Here is the youtube eHowPets "Warm and Fuzzy" series piece about me & my cats!

2) On your panel "Taming Tigers" for the Beyond the Bad & the Ugly Conference, we talked about the enormous pressure Asians, particularly from our generation, faced from our families to excel beyond our human capacities. Some of us, *ahem* you, have achieved those, and others of us still suffer the traumatic impact of this pressure (the rest of us). What can we do on a personal level to heal from this? Is there anything we can do on a cultural level?

PAULA: First of all, I think there's nothing wrong with having ambition and lofty goals. Working hard, being ambitious, wanting to be the best you can be… these are all wonderful, positive character traits that should be lauded in our country. BUT… as the saying goes, it's not about the end, it's about the JOURNEY. This needs to be emphasized more, especially in the Asian American community where culturally, a lot of Asian American young people are raised under enormous academic pressure and ridiculously high expectations. Being ambitious and competitive and wanting to "win" is fine, AS LONG AS YOU ALSO ARE GIVEN THE TOOLS TO LEARN HOW TO COPE WHEN YOU DO NOT "REACH" THOSE GOALS. You have to learn to treasure the journey itself. If I had never gotten a book published or never gotten staffed on a TV show, of course I'd be disappointed! I would totally cry and be upset! But after a good pity party, I'd get back on my feet, roll up my sleeves, and apply all that hard work and focus I had developed towards those goals and either try, try, try again OR apply these new work skills in a different direction that would be equally creatively satisfying. Everyone, whether or not we "achieve" our goals, needs to concentrate on also developing our COPING skills and learning how to think outside the box when life hands us lemons instead of lemonade. My favorite example is when one of my favorite Olympic heroes (aside from the great Dr. Sammy Lee), ice-skater Michelle Kwan, graciously and proudly told reporters that she did not "lose" the gold to Tara Lipinski, but that she had WON THE SILVER. So I guess on a personal and cultural level, I would encourage everyone to go for the gold but be grateful when you win the silver, and if you don't place at all, be proud of the journey itself.

3) Okay seriously, how did your life get so good? Writing for TV - how did that even happen?

PAULA: I love how you think my life is so good when I'm still between TV writing staff jobs and haven't sold another book yet and am dealing with a leaky roof. :) The problem with being a writer is that you constantly have to hustle. You can't rest on your laurels. Especially if you are writing professionally and it is your only source of income. BUT… even if you have a full-time NON-writing job and you are a Weekend Warrior Writer working feverishly on that novel or script in progress, you still have to keep writing because writing is like wine - it gets better and deeper and more complex over time. :) As for TV, I originally only wanted to be a novelist. That's all I ever did. I majored in English in college and got my M.S. in Journalism and my MFA in Creative Writing. I thought I would either be a journalist and novelist or a teacher and novelist. I accidentally fell into TV when a friend suggested I try out for the Warner Bros. TV Drama Writing Workshop. For fun, I wrote an ANGEL spec script and to my shock, I was accepted into the program in 2002. I was immediately hired on THE WEST WING (NBC) after the workshop ended, and it's been a crazy roller coaster adventure ever since. The learning curve was harder for me than other folks because I knew NOTHING about the TV industry and how it worked, so it took me a little longer to figure out the business as an outsider/civilian, but again, the journey has been worth it. I think writing for TV has helped me immensely when it comes to plot and structure for novels, and I think my novel writing geared me towards being a very strong character-driven screenwriter. It's like mixing peanut butter and chocolate together. :)

4) PLAYING VIOLIN FOR GRAMMY-DARLINGS fun. WTH!!!! Please enclose a photo. Where's my signed poster?

PAULA: When I'm not writing books or TV or playing with my three cats, I am a professional freelance musician. I've been playing the violin since kindergarten. Although I'm classically trained, I also play with a lot of rock, jazz, country and even bluegrass/Celtic fiddle bands. I've gone on tour with Arthur Lee of Love and Spiritualized and done gigs with everyone from No Doubt to Fun. And I'm in a King Crimson prog rock tribute band called The Great Deceivers.

As for FUN, I was contracted by a good friend to play in a string quartet for their November 2011 gig at the Troubadour. This was right before they blew up big! It was such a fun gig. We then were invited to record an all acoustic version of their biggest hits, plus a Van Morrison cover, for an iTunes Session at Capitol Records in September 2012. I wish I could have gotten you a signed poster but the recording session was a really intense 12-hour day. To compensate, I'm enclosing a couple pictures instead. :)

5) Help us fellow yellow sisters out. What are the top 3 Paula Yoo Tips for Yellow Sisters Who Want to Live a Fabulous Life?

PAULA: I too would like those tips because I love my life but I don't think it's fabulous yet. Remember, I have a leaky roof. Plus, despite my accessorized outfits and trademark red cat-eye glasses, I'm surprisingly messy and unorganized and our house looks like a college frat dorm on a Sunday morning. Seriously.

But as I too still strive for the Fabulous Life, my three tips are:
  1.  Work your ass off. 
  2. Remember to take breaks and relax/rest/recharge your batteries, otherwise you will burn out and won't be able to work your ass off. Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
  3. Corollary: When things fail and blow up in your face, you are allowed to cry and have a pity party before you repeat Steps 1 & 2. I know it sounds harsh and Spartan and draconian, but when I look back at my life, that's pretty much how I got here. Getting a book published or writing for a TV show is a privilege and an honor I do NOT take lightly. I take these jobs and books very seriously and treat them no differently than if I was a med school graduate trying to become a surgeon. Being a writer takes a lot of hard work and comes with a lot of heartbreak. Wow, this sounds really depressing. I sound like a Tiger Mom. Hmmmm…. :) 

So to end on a happier note, I would include Step No. 4 to a Fabulous Life.

 Step 4: Have fun. Seriously!

And now...me as Paula Yoo:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

APA Month Blog Award

(Asian) Kristy Shen of the always fun (and Asian) Two Nerds. One Dream. has gifted (Asian) me with the Liebster award - thank you!!
  1. What's the dream? 
  2. the 7-figure book deal
  3. How are you going to make that dream happen? 
  4. Write my a** off
  5. What crazy awesome thing are you going to do when that dream comes true? 
  6. fly first-class to Taiwan to see Granny and stay at the Hyatt by 101
    photo credit

  7. Who is your favorite hero? 
  8. Babs Bunny
  9. Who is your favorite villain? 
  10. It's a Euro evil-off between Fassbender's Magneto and Cumberbatch's Khan, although my cult fav is, of course, Sheen's Aro
    photo credit
  11. Which one would you rather be? 
  12. hero - Asians have been the villains too long the history of entertainment. Plus I can't handle the pressure of being bad.
  13. What turns you on? 
  14. tattoos and a shaved head every. single. time.
  15. What turns you off? 
  16. screaming children and cigarette smoke
  17. What is your favorite curse word? 
  18. Only one? I'm a NYer for #!%^'s sake.
  19. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 
  20. "You did it exactly the way I planned."
  21. What are you doing tomorrow, and more importantly, how are you planning on making it more awesome than what you're doing today?
I'm working and then FINALLY going to the weekly Lindy hop dance in town that I've missed all month due to random engagements and ailments (swollen toe, sore throat, writing workshop). Any day I get to dance is automatically more awesome.

Since I already bugged tagged more people than cared to answer in my last Liebster award, I'll just link you TO THAT POST.

Monday, May 13, 2013

APA Bachelor 2013: Nam Ho, Real-Life Water for Elephants

It's the feature I wait for all year: our bachelor for APA Month! Ladies get your hats ready to throw into the ring for your very own future animal-healer.

  1. Name: Nam Kim Ho
  2. Nickname: If food is involved, I’m guaranteed to get a “Nom Nom” thrown in my direction at least once.
  3. Age: 25
  4. Height: 5’10”
  5. Profession: Zoology student/Aspiring veterinarian
  6. Guys, girls, both, something in between? Girls
  7. Do you cry at movies? Armageddon. When the boy sees the “salesman” on the television and is told that the salesman is in fact his dad
  8. Security blanket you sleep with at night: Laptop with the brightness dimmed playing a podcast that I didn’t get a chance to finish the night before
  9. Boxers or Briefs: Boxer briefs, preferably something that comes in a 5-pack in the clearance section
  10. Instant turn-on: Sarcastic to a fault and/or a strong jawline
  11. Dealbreaker: Close-mindedness and lying
  12. Karaoke song of choice: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  13. On a Friday night you'd prefer to: Sit around with some of my closest friends filling each other in on
    the past week’s events (Laughter, food,
     and drinks may be included)
  14. Last Friday you actually: Had the opportunity to meet some people that I’m going to spend my summer working alongside. Introducing myself to a group of strangers is something that I’ll never get used to, but will always enjoy
  15. Boba flavor of choice: Jasmine milk tea. Hot. No boba.

Hi, future wife.
Message to your future wife:
Hey. I want you to know that you’re my best friend. I think you’re fantastic. You have my unwavering trust, but please do not mistake that with gullibility. And I love you.

Bonus question!
What animal are you most like? Why? 
A turtle. I’m a very social creature, but I like having a shell to draw back into every once in awhile. 

You heard it here first, ladies! Nam is available for non-boba boba and animal stories. (He also has a cool tattoo he failed to mention, in MORSE CODE.) Drop me a line or leave some comment love for Nam below!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Asian Grandmother Power Campaign

As part of Tara Sophia Mohr's Grandmother Power Campaign I proudly bring you the bombest grandmother ever:

Why she makes me bow down crying "I'm not worthy":
  • Granny had 5 kids. 
  • Her husband had a stroke while my mom, the oldest, was still in high school, leaving them with only one functioning parent. The younger ones were still in elementary.
  • Grandpa died while mom was in college.
  • After singlehandedly raising all 5 of that generation, she came to America to raise my mom's kid. Me! Then went back to Taiwan to raise the other grandchildren. Omg I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
  • The funny thing is, when I asked her 2 years ago if she wanted that many kids she said, "Nope. Your grandfather did." 
  • Granny was a teenager during the Sino-Japan War and had to escape two times. When I asked her how long she walked - that's ON FOOT for you whippersnappers - she said, "One week."
  • One of those times she was hiding from the Japanese, tucked into a closet or some cramped space, and they snatched the guy in front of her. She was so small they missed her. So here I am today.
  • Years later, she stayed up late to alter a vest for my pubescent self who was convinced I had to look JUST RIGHT for school the next day. She was tired from cooking all day and could have said, "I walked for 7 days to survive and almost died; stop being a brat, you look fine." But she just quietly altered the vest. (Yes, I'm a horrible person. I still feel guilty about this, which is probably why I'm writing my penitence for the world to see.)
  • 4 years ago I got to see her again for the first time in over a decade and I told her the Mandarin equivalent of "I love you to death!" The Chinese of that generation don't say affectionate things too much. Her eyes filled with tears and she said, "That makes me very happy." It was my redemption.
Thank you grandma. I love you to death!

P.S. There's still time to join the campaign! Click the button above.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy Asian Pacific American Month 2013!

APA Month sneaked up on me this year, like a ninja. Sooo sneaky.


It's been a good year for us - we came a long way from ninja jokes to a record number of Asian Pacific Islanders in national office, including the first Hindu-American in Congress.

Of course, I woke up today to another email from my mom criticizing my life choices and calling me a middle-aged woman, so in other ways, status quo.

Once again, this blog will go yellow for May, with Asian-Am hotties, recaps of conferences, interviews with writer-bloggers, and another bachelor to auction off (for free). This one's got a heart for animals, so get ready, ladies!

For now, here's a photo of the Asian that runs this blog:

with my current Amelie haircut

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Day in the Life: Kelley Nicole from the Yardbirds

It's my fellow mezzo-soprano! Kelley performs in the Yardbirds with me and we actually lived in the same House at Harvard (house like Gryffindor.) She shares a Day Weekend in the Life touring the Bay Area with her show.

Citing the dynamic performing and songwriting influences of Alicia Keys, India.Arie, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Nikka Costa and Erykah Badu, just to name a few, you’ll find Kelley Nicole at the charming intersection of a spunky funky attitude and an alluring R&B acoustic vulnerability.  New Jersey born and Harvard educated, this singer/songwriter was formerly one of the lead vocalists for the critically-acclaimed Afro-funk band, Soulfège, (nominated for multiple Boston Music Awards, Independent Music Awards, and Boston Urban Music Awards, as well as a featured performer at the NACA National Convention).  She has performed around the world, from Europe to Africa and in venues and colleges across the United States, and has also been blessed to share the stage with such renowned artists as Bobby McFerrin and El Debarge.  In a vein similar to great front women before her, a la Lauryn Hill and Gwen Stefani, Kelley Nicole has come into her own, using her unique musical talent to impart lessons of love, empowerment, and divine transcendence over all circumstance as she learns them, one by one.  A passionate advocate for the arts in education, she is the Executive Director of Harvardwood, a global nonprofit organization of Harvard alumni & students working to strengthen ties among the arts, media, entertainment, and education.  She currently serves as one of the praise and worship leaders at Covenant Blessing Fellowship in Wilmington, CA and is repped by Wally’s World of Entertainment.  Learn more about Kelley Nicole at www.thekelleynicole.com. 

A Day in the Life On The Road

The SHATTERED GLASS trip to Cal State Monterey Bay last week was nothing short of amazing.  I'll do my best to give you guys a taste of how it all went down, it was truly life changing.

Shaunelle and I started off the adventure as all adventures should start off - with a ROAD TRIP!!!  (We were just a little excited as you can probably tell. ; )  I know, I know, two road trips in two months, what a life I lead eh?  The trip to Monterey was quite scenic.  I didn't realize how picturesque it would be until our awesome tax lady, Susan, told me how jealous she was that I was going to Monterey.  I soon found out it's a special place indeed.

We woke up on Thursday morning at the Travelodge, and this was the view from our window.  LOL, we're not fancy on this trip folks.  What's an adventure without the hospitality of your local motel?  But seriously the Travelodge was actually quaint, the people were friendly, and yes, they had free breakfast.  I don't need much more.

The first item on our agenda for the day was our workshop with select students at CSUMB.  Well, first and foremost, Shaunelle and I always get our prayer on.  Nothing is impossible with God, He shows up and shows out if you let Him!  We're but mere vessels for His work, so we must acknowledge Him first.

In the classroom, Shaunelle and I took the students through the SHATTERED GLASS workshop materials, empowering them to take charge of their lives and to let go of a victim mindset.  We gave them a taste of what to expect at the performance that evening, and took them through some really fun exercises where we danced, shouted, cheered, and in general had a jolly time.  The participants really seemed to enjoy it, and Shaunelle and I were in our element.

Pre-Workshop (set-up):

Did I mention there was food, highly important:

During the workshop, engaging with the students:

Post-workshop, smiles for a job well done!

The SHATTERED GLASS workshop and performance series was honored to be a part of CSUMB's "Womyn, Gender, and Justice" month.  We were the last of a month-long series of programs on campus.

Our next stop, back to the motel to rest up for the evening's performance! 

Honestly, I couldn't really rest all that much.  I was a little anxious!  This would be our first time in a black box theatre -- our very dream for SHATTERED GLASS coming true!  We could only get in as early as 5pm.  If it were up to me we would be there promptly after our workshop, making sure all was set up right.  But alas, probably better that we got a little bit of rest anyway and I had to remind myself that God is in control!

We arrived at the theater at 5pm sharp, where the team awaited us.  Our wonderful administrator, Rita (the woman who has been advocating for us since we first spoke to her about SHATTERED GLASS last summer) was there to greet us and to make sure we had all we needed.  We told Rita she was our angel from heaven.  She worked over time to make sure everything ran smoothly.  She introduced us to the team at the theater and we got right to work.  This would be the first time that I had support with the AV aspects of our show, so we had to do a dry run to make sure the team understood all of the cues and everything worked properly.

Here's Rita and one of our great crew members!

Pre-show set-up:
Did you guys see my tweet!?  I was so nervous about not having any mics in this brand new space for SHATTERED GLASS.  TWEET: Black Box Cabaret theatre, here we come!!! Pray for our projection y'all! :) Thanks @csumb team! @Shatteredglassshow

BIG UPS to the students that work at the Black Box Cabaret!!  They were professional, friendly, problem solvers, and best of all, they really got what SHATTERED GLASS was all about.  They were there for us every step of the way, and the performance was executed flawlessly!  Being on that stage was like stepping into an alternate dimension.  I forgot what it was like to lose yourself in the darkness of a theater, to fully step into a world and a character you've created, and to experience the unique yet dynamic contrast of feeling immersed in your world but at the same time knowing that you have the full attention of the audience -- that they have accepted your invitation into this other space.

 Afterwards we were greeted with hugs, smiles, pictures, autograph requests, and more by the wonderful students that were in attendance.  From what the students told us, it seemed that the show really touched people, leaving them with images they'll never forget, and an understanding that if Shairi can rise, they can too, and that's what it's all about.

More of our awesome crew that night!

We went to bed that night feeling alive.  This is where we're meant to be, what we're meant to do.  Life doesn't get much better than that.  Couldn't stop tweeting about it.  TWEET:  Great, GREAT show at @csumb, tonight. We are humbled and honored by their graciousness and professionalism.  

On Friday, April 5th we brought SHATTERED GLASS to a nearby women's shelter, in partnership with A Window Between Worlds, an organization for which we serve as artistic ambassadors.  We did not take pictures or video there, for obvious reasons, but the magic was just as palpable.  One comment that touched a nerve for us was one of the women explaining that these shelters can often feel like prisons because you're surrounded by the acute pain of its inhabitants.  The participants expressed true gratefulness for the air of love, joy, and hope that was swept in by our work that afternoon, and they hoped we would not only return, but were also eager to know if we would be visiting other shelters in the future.  

Both shows truly deepened our understanding of the power of art to heal and change lives -- the core of the mission of SHATTERED GLASS.  TWEET: April 4th & 5th, days to remember. Very humbled and honored to serve today with God's gifts. #shatteredglassshow


Friday, April 12, 2013

Photo Update and Watch This Space...

...for a special Day in the Life coming next week by a fellow Yardbirds singer who shares a day on the road touring with her show!

As for me, in the last two months I've:

  • moved in a hurry to escape a harassing landlord - this was gray-hair stressful and still waiting for this to be completely over
  • started making green smoothies every single day - delicious photos coming
  • started a meditation practice - life-changing
  • signed up for an extremely pricey online business course that I promptly had zero time to work on (this constantly nags on the back of my mind)
  • kept up my sekret blog where I spill the details of the big changes in my personal life and talk about minimalism, spirituality and finances
  • joined a Harvard TV writing group
  • entered the query trenches
  • Facebooked and Instagrammed endless photos of the food I eat, like this:
afternoon tea with ginger scones
And no, I haven't done my taxes yet (!!!) 

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day 2013: What Does Masculine/Feminine Mean To You?

Happy International Women's Day 2013!

I've been celebrating all month by signing up for this email summit called I Heart My Moon Cycle (about exactly what it sounds like).

President Obama just signed an expansion on the Violence Against Women Act that aims to implement global strategies.

In my personal life I've been working hard as a woman on all levels - signing up for an online business course, joining a virtual meditation summit, slowly but surely querying my novel, delving into what it means to be feminine.

This last one is an interesting topic. I was raised as the "only son" of the only son, which in Chinese culture is a big deal. I had to be the one to go to Harvard; I was supposed to be the one to go into law or i-banking. Couple that with being a New Yorker and a Leo, and you get a girl used to living in the doing, action-oriented, goal-achieving mode. Or as the relationship coaches define it, the "masculine".

Only in the last few years have I received the knowledge and taken the space and time to explore the receptive, self-loving "feminine". I'll never discard my Type A personality - it's not even possible. But I do love embracing the feminine and the kind of peace it brings me.

This might be a triggering topic to some, but I'm curious what you make of the feminine/masculine. Do you live your life in a particular mode? Have a strong sense of what masculinity or femininity means? Conceptions of the feminine and masculine fascinate me, so please share!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where I Am

I miss you guys a lot!

I cut down on social networking in the last 2 months to focus on IN REAL LIFE time, but there are still 2 places I (over)frequent: Facebook and Instagram. (I'm a photo junkie, both posting and Liking).


I started a new blog.

It's about aspects of life important to me but too personal for this blog: budgeting, spirituality, and my 2013 journey into simplicity.

I have to blog somewhat-anonymously because I talk about too many personal things, but if any of you are interested in taking a gander, let me know by pushing one of the contact buttons to the right (email, twitter, facebook, etc.) and I'll privately send you the link. Just promise not to say my real name if you comment :D

I'll continue posting here at least 3x a month, but right now I'm a little obsessed with my new blog and the accompanying relief of being able to express myself openly. In the meantime, feel free to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gratitude Friday

Enough with the stress! I recently moved and felt so burdened by some previous and current roommate issues, that I had to kick myself out of mopey into thankful with a gratitude list. Here is a handful of what I'm blessed with:

1) I had so much help moving in 

2) the California sun is back

3) my roommate is gone all weekend :)

4) I'm healthy

5) I get to live with my dog again

6) life goes on and is a blessing

7) wonderful people have given their time to reading my WIP

8) there exists such a thing as boba milk tea floats

9) I took an actual day off yesterday (I rarely do that!)

10) I just picked lemons from the tree in my backyard

life gives the sweetest lemons
Post your lists below for an instant shot of happy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Blog in Review and Reading Wrap-up

Welcome 2013!!! I look forward to this time of year so I can do my favorite meme:

Take the first line from the first post of each month last year (make sure to link to it!)

2012 Blog in Review

"You know that guy who quits his finance job and travels around the world photographing amazing places all year?"

Blogging Booboos Revisited and Great Comments Award
"Remember Top 3 Things Well-Meaning Bloggers Do That Drive Readers Nuts?"

A Day in the Life and GIVEAWAY: Jenna Gustafson
"Our third Day in the Life profile will probably be our youngest ever - 15-year-old published MG author, Jenna Gustafson from Montana."

Reality Bites
"Last week:

It's Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month!

Wordless Wednesday: Optimism

"I'm actually at work today, but I hope the rest of you are enjoying your Fourth!"

"Greetings from CampNaNoWriMo!"

September - no posts, swamped with work

So You Think You Can Dance Wrap-up and Check In
"I'm not back!"

"My NaNoRevMo post was going to go up on Friday but something traumatic happened."

NaNoRevMo Wrap Up
"We survived!!!!!"

I only completed one of my reading challenges:

Dusty Bookshelf Challenge

25 books I own that have been growing dusty, now finished! See the montage HERE

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 YA Superlative Blogfest: Best in Show

I just have to join the fun on Day 4!

This year I focused on my Dusty Bookshelf challenge (books I already own) so I didn't get to many 2012 Debuts. But the following ones killed...

Favorite Cover:

This cover creeps me out, especially underneath:

But it's so iconic I can't get it out of my head, just like the book.

Cutest Couple:

CELAENA and DORIAN from Throne of Glass. Yup, I ship the player prince on this one. They just had way more chemistry. Call 2012 my Year of the Bad Boy.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime:

I Hunt Killers again. I stayed up til dawn finishing it.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:

Our favorite assassin and royalty combo again. I WAITED for that kiss. And every makeout session after.

Breakout Novel:

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012):

Not since Poison Study, my favorite book ever created, has a novel been so completely perfect as Icefall. My first tears came on page 50 and I spent the last five chapters blinking wetly. There's something about MG that heals the deep child heart.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more):

This was on my top 3 favorite books read in 2012. I even read it while I ate, which is not the easiest thing to do during some of the scenes.  My GOODREADS REVIEW HERE

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book):

Snatched the ARC at ALA as soon as I saw Katherine Chancellor's iconic face. My mom watched The Young and the Restless since I was 1 so I grew up in Genoa City. I'm a sucker for Hollywood memoirs and this funny broad surprised me with her progressive life.

and my pick your own category is...

Best Not for Kids Debut:

I don't get to talk about shmexy books nearly as much as I'd like because I'm a YA writer, but I have to give a shout out to my girl Roni Loren, one of the most helpful debut authors in the blogosphere - and a former YA writer :). Link to my GOODREADS REVIEW - discusses adult content.


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