Food for Thought

On Being Present

It is so easy to be distracted.

What is grabbing my attention? Unanswered texts, past conversations, my Instagram news feed, the newest Netflix series, hypothetical situations — just to name a few.

How often do I actually sit in the moment? The answer is not nearly as often as I should. There is no moment more beautiful than the one I am in. It is all I have.

Last week, I took my son to Mount Tabor, an extinct volcano covered with sprawling trees and yellow wildflowers, located just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown. He recently started walking with enough agility where he can explore his surroundings. As I sat down on an old park bench, I watched him play in the dirt. What I saw next took my breath away.

He knelt down in the field and plucked shards of grass examining their bright green shades and rough textures. He pinched little yellow daisies between his tiny forefinger and thumb and lifted each one to his nose in order to inhale their bitter and musty scent. His little feet hopped on top of, through, and around the mounds of dirt that were still damp from the prior day’s spring showers. The birds, just having started their day, chirped sweet melodies as they swooped down to collect twigs for their nests. The pattering of joggers’ feet intermittently swept by us. My son missed nothing as he drank it all in without a care in the world. He was completely in the moment.

As I watched him I could not help but wonder when I myself had stopped living in the moment every moment. When exactly I had lost the ability to simply play? To simply be? Parenthood is a magical gift for many reasons, one of the most magical being its ability to open your eyes to what is truly important. Everything else just becomes white noise.

Connecting with the “now” and being present is harder said than done. Anyone who has tried their hand at meditation would agree. Everyone finds their own unique strategy at becoming “one” with the present moment. For me, it involves taking notice of my immediate surroundings; the aroma of leftover lentil soup stewing on the stove, the subtle rosy shade of pink on my son’s cheeks as he runs around our living room, and the soft gold morning light peeking through our skylights. These little details are more precious than anything I could ever pull up on my phone or t.v. screen. And to think — I could have easily missed them had I not remembered to be here right now.

Travel

How to Spend a Quick Weekend in Seattle

Seattle is one of my favorite cities.

Without traffic, Seattle is only a 3 hour drive away from Portland, Oregon — making it a perfect weekend destination. There is so much to eat, drink, see and do in Seattle that you could not fit it all in one weekend.

However, there are a few Seattle weekend “musts” that I have come up with:

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photography

How to Shoot a Professional Portrait

Today everyone is photographer.

It is true that the selfie is now more popular than the portrait. But as someone who has been taking peoples’ portraits for 14 years (10 of those years professionally) — I have to say that there is no selfie that can outdo a portrait that truly captures someone’s essence.

I have spent over a decade perfecting my portrait work. Here a few pointers that I have learned along the way:

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Motherhood

A Practical Guide to Your First Year of Motherhood

Be gentle on yourself. Motherhood is already challenging and draining enough to add constant self criticism and mom-guilt on top of it. Yes, it is harder said than done — but it is imperative to remind yourself that your best IS good enough and always will be. Take a deep breath mama, you’ve got this.

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Motherhood

On Pregnancy

I knew I was pregnant the moment it happened. The pregnancy test was just a formality for me. Even still — when I saw those two pink lines, I could not believe it. I was going to be a mother. It is true that we had wanted a baby, that we had planned for this baby, but the fact that there was actually a baby growing inside my body was a concept that I could not wrap my brain around. Nothing and no one could have prepared me for the experience that is pregnancy.

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Travel

Today I am Grateful for: Thanksgiving in Chicago

In 2013, I flew to Chicago, Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with my mother over a long weekend. It would be my first time visiting and I was absolutely overcome with excitement. Chicago had been on my bucket list for quite some time primarily due to The Oprah Show. I had also just started dating Dan Kim who happened to be a big Chicago Bears fan.

For us California girls, it was a strikingly cold weekend despite the lack of snow (to my dismay). Despite the uncomfortable temperature, we tried to hit the major tourist destinations: The Chicago Bean, the Willis Tower and the Skydeck, and Millennium Park.

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Gratitude

Today I am Grateful for: Watching the Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon

For me, gratitude takes practice.

It is a mindset — a lifestyle, even.

To keep myself accountable, I have decided to share reasons why I am grateful. Some are profound, some are simple. I am going to be sharing them in the format of a “list” with the goal of posting one item per week. These posts are written with intention of grounding myself in the present moment. Something I think we all need more of.

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