Posted in awareness

What’s Your Creative Style?

Image Credit: ColiN00B @ Pixabay

Wondering Belle shared a quiz she found about your creative style. I was curious about what my result would be and this is what popped up!

Creativity gives you insight

You feel that creativity provides insight into your own being. In fact, it is like therapy for you, enabling you to get to know yourself better. You seem to be looking for a way into the mysteries of the subconscious. It’s not really self-expression you are seeking, but rather the tools of self-expression: discovering what your creation will reveal about yourself. Art helps you reflect on, analyse and expand your personality. You long to be creative, and it’s not just because you need to deal with your emotions. It’s the tension between contradictions, and the need to resolve doubt that drives you to be creative. Painting pictures, decorating rooms, arranging shells in the sand β€” these are all creative processes that allow your introspection to roam. You can trace your life through the different ways you have exercised your creativity. For you, art is there to make sense of life. You are more attracted to artistic activities that demand reflection, planning and solitude, and the personal discoveries you make often provide answers for others, too.

I think this psychology magazine nailed it. πŸ˜‰ Have a wonderful day!

Posted in Awards, flashback, Music, Nature, Quotes

Sunshine Blogger Award #6 from Wondering Belle

Good morning! These past few days, I’ve been enjoying a moment of respite as I indulged in my hobby of sewing. I’ve been walking been on nature walks with friends, and I can’t help but feel inspired by mother nature. I like to thank Wondering Belle who has graciously nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. I really enjoy these as I get to know my questioner better by the questions he/she asks and introduce a new person to my readers! She enjoys having fun exploring the wonders of the world through her lovely writing! Here are the rules:

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

Belle’s Questions:

What makes you the happiest about your blog?
I love taking photographs of my walks in nature, writing stories and poems, and documenting my adventures and explorations alongside quotations and prompts by others. I have so much fun doing these questions too!

What is your all time top goal?
It’s rather funny – this was the same question that was on my recent scholarship essay which I titled “Metamorphosis” inspired by a quote from Metamorphoses by Ovid, a Roman poet:

β€œAs wave is driven by wave
And each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead,
So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows,
Always, forever and new. What was before
Is left behind; what never was is now;
And every passing moment is renewed.”

I later found this photo shared by Helene Vaillant and felt like I could relate to the profound changes a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly.

I concluded my essay with some goals I wanted to achieve with my degree:

“By embarking on a Master of Science in technology and innovation management at NCU, this endeavor will help me reach my goals of helping my community develop a stronger cybersecurity defense line by creating a unique and new product or service that maximizes the best use of resources, time, and money. The specialization in project management will enable me keep up with the trends, implement breakthrough research and development which can serve as a catalyst for social change. “

I know my goals will evolve as I continue to live my life. On this blog, it seems that I talk the least about it. My blog serves a different purpose outside of my career path. I think my top goal here is to inspire bloggers to enjoy the writing process.

What is one thing on your bucket list?
I want to take a few weeks to go check out the vast collections at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC someday!

Aviation Hangar
Photo Credit: Dream Vacations

Where would you suggest someone go visit?
A place that my family and I have visited that I would suggest someone go visit is the Grand Canyon. Encountering its sheer magnitude from the North Rim for the first time made my jaw drop! It’s absolutely breathtaking!

Photo Credit: KeYang @ Pixabay

What do you think would make a difference to this world?

I think Gandhi was onto something when he said this. I think of our inner lives affect our actions in the world around us and nurturing the garden within us can bear fruit.

What is a hobby you wish you had more time to enjoy?
500 piece Thomas Kinkade Disney Dream collection puzzles. It’s a super magical collection and I can only manage 15 minutes a week or less. It’s a relaxing hobby for me and reading about its benefits such as “accelerated ingenuity, thought process support, dopamine production, meditation” on dumblittleman is intriguing. Yes…I should play more! πŸ™‚

Image Credit: Barnes & Noble

What is your favorite song right now?

Earlier this month, I came across decision that made me somewhat upset, and I imagined what would it be like to be separated from those I cared about for even a short time. Although I decided to stay close to loved ones, Freya’s beautiful voice captured a piece of what I was feeling.

Standing on the platform
Watching you go
It’s like no other pain
I’ve ever known
To love someone so much
To have no control
You said I want to see the world
And I said go
I think I’m lost without you
I just feel crushed without you
I’ve been strong for so long
That I never thought how much I needed you
I think I’m lost without you
Read more: Freya Ridings – Lost Without You Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Emeli Sande’s lyrics is also currently resonating with my spirit.

You’ve got the words to change a nation
But you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence
Afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it
How we gonna learn your song?
So come, come on
Come on, come on
You’ve got a heart as loud as lions
So why let your voice be tamed?
Baby we’re a little different
There’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows
So stop hiding it away
Come on, Come on
Read more: Emeli SandΓ© – Read All About It, Pt. III Lyrics | MetroLyrics

What would you like others to know about you?

I have two dream catchers dangling above my bed. I love my dreams, always makes me ponder about life throughout my day.

Image credit: Pixabay

Have you ever written a book? What is the name of that book if so?
No, not yet, but what I hear from many authors is that writing a book an exhilarating, nerve wracking, time consuming, and rewarding experience! Ideally, I think I would want to stay in a small cabin by myself in the mountains somewhere with few distractions. I’m not sure what the solitude would do to me though. Perhaps, it would be a profound experience!

β€œI like the mountains because they make me feel small,’ Jeff says. β€˜They help me sort out what’s important in life.”

― Mark Obmascik
Image Credit: Switzerland @ Pixabay

What is one thing that would make you happy right now?

A fruity ice cream bar! The impending summer weather is making me say that!

Image Credit: OyeHaha @ Pixabay

List 5 things you love.

Animals, Sunshine, Exploration, Writing, Loved ones, Art

Image Credit: Julius Silver @ Pixabay

11 Questions

  1. What are your plans for the the summer?
  2. What is one of your favorite posts that you’ve written on your blog?
  3. What place in the world would you want to visit?
  4. Which book had an impact on your life?
  5. If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
  6. What is your favorite memory from your childhood?
  7. What is your creative style? If you’re curious, here’s a quiz!
  8. What have you done to pursue your dreams lately? How about today?
  9. When you think of your home, what immediately comes to mind?
  10. Describe the greatest adventure of your life
  11. When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?

11 Nominees

There’s no obligation to answer this award, but I wanted to recognize your beautiful blogs today and thank you for bringing some sunshine into my life. πŸ™‚ ❀

  1. Michelle @ Mws. R Writings
  2. Subbashini Meenakshi Sundaram @ Exploring the World Around Us
  3. Ester @ Travelling Around the World
  4. Michael Ogazie
  5. Ilona @ easydiet.blog
  6. Ailish Sinclair @ Stories and Photos from Scotland
  7. Imelda @ My Wall
  8. SkyNRainbow
  9. Megan @ ESL Ventures
  10. Rachel Alexandra @ Roots and Rosemary
  11. OUKASnation
  12. RadGamer @ Rad the Poet
Posted in fiction, poetry

What Do You See? – A Gift

A mountain of anticipation
builds as I speculate the special occasion
that catches my attention.

Today is an irresistible gift
and a mystery to behold
which does not belong merely to me.

To what purpose did the giver
want to express?

It is an expression of appreciation
for the relationship we share.

Shall I accept it with grace and gratitude or
should I be suspicious of the giver’s intentions?

My acceptance hinges on whether
our relationship is genuine.

In response to:

Posted in Culture, Dreams, flashback, Food/Recipes, Music, Quotes

#SoCs – Cozy Post-Party

Image Credit: Pixabay

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been out for two weeks. It has been a doozy and I’m tucked underneath a layer of bed sheets right now in my cozy room munching on golden jack fruit. Feeling tired might be an understatement. Stream of consciousness is all I can muster right now. πŸ˜‰

Brother’s Graduation

My brother graduated from college with a degree in environmental engineering. Words cannot express how proud I am. On the day of, there was a tornado alert in the area, pouring rain was beating down on our car windshield, temporary hail pellets hit certain areas of town. There was no notice of postponement of the commencement event, so we slowly drove on the highway to our destination, an athletics stadium on campus.

Ride the storm. Cheer wildly. Gather strength from life’s storms.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

When we arrive, we were checked by two metal detectors which made me wonder about all the precautions that have to be taken considering all the mass shootings in the nation. The thought of it made me feel a bit somber though safer, and these rows of security guards at the entrances made me feel a sense of awe.

We took our seats far up and back as the live brass band was playing in the background. I munched on some almonds as I listened to the commencement speeches. There were three wonderful speakers:

  • The first was a beautiful young lady who reminisced about who experiences during college and concluded with a message of kindness and gratitude.
  • The second was a young man who was determined to build an Iron Man suit and shared with the audience some of his life lessons of preparation.
  • The third and final speaker was an engineering professor who shared a powerful story of what happens when you fearlessly respond with “yes and if” to life’s great opportunities. We also got to see a fun clip of him playing in a blue grass band.

Engineers. Problem-solvers. They never cease to amaze me. I left that stadium feeling inspired. Tons of pictures with friends and family. Then onto the grad party next day. A feast takes a lot of work especially when you decide to do it at home instead of a restaurant. Time management works towards your advantage as event planning can be seen as an operation of sorts.

Preparing for an Extravaganza

Mom and I woke up early morning, 6 am and 7 am respectively, and began cooking, cleaning, prepping while everyone was running errands for supplies. We invited a variety of guests with a variety of dietary needs. We created a buffet with several dishes filling up our dining table throughout the morning and afternoon:

  • Banh hoi – rice vermicelli woven into intricate bundles with chopped scallions or garlic chives sauteed in oil typically served with a complementary meat dish and either soy sauce or a homemade fish sauce
  • Crab and Asparagus Soup – filled with other fresh ingredients of quail eggs, ginger, chicken
  • Glass Noodle Stir Fry – translucent noodles fried with chicken and tons of veggies
  • Xoi lac xua – Steamed peanut sticky rice with coconut milk
  • Fried chicken, grilled pork, jumbo shrimp, and beef
  • Fried rice- using a new technique mom learned from a friend
  • Fruit trays – watermelon, jackfruit, grapes
  • Che Thai fruit cocktail– sweet dessert filled with gelatin, chia seeds, longan fruit
  • Che Dau Van – Vietnamese Lentil bean dessert
  • Fresh spring rolls – vermicelli, pork, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, carrots, crunchy egg roll with a peanut butter sauce

My brother and I tested the audio system he borrowed for karaoke by singing a few fun duets such as “Aladdin’s A Whole New World” and a variety of other Disney songs.

I arranged citronella candles to repel bugs on the tables and set up chairs and tables outside while dad mowed the yards. We strategically placed a variety of ice chests around the house: filled with beer, soda, water, fruit drinks. Wine bottles were ready to go. I arranged and cut fresh flowers to put in vases and cleaned up the house with a wide array of cleaning products. There was fresh towels and soap in the restrooms. I clean up the guest bedroom for the guests that want to take a nap. (which wasn’t going to include me!) πŸ™‚

We all eventually took a shower to wash away our sweat, mud, flour, food coloring. I freshened up my face with makeup, styled my hair, and donned on a pretty red, black, and white floral dress that hugged my body. I suddenly became a hostess along with the rest of my family members as we welcomed our guests.

It’s Showtime!

It was my job to make sure everyone was well-fed serving as waitress and scanning the rooms to anticipate needs. Refilling drinks, inquiring about food allergies, offering napkins, utensils, picking up trash, etc. Though I’m fairly reserved, I can be quite a conversationalist. I walked around and outside the house chatting to everyone making sure no one felt left out. I learned more about their studies, work, interests, and hobbies. It seemed to be a networking activity as well as I gave out job referrals and we exchanged information and contact information.

My brother who graduated was the emcee for the night engaging the guests in songs, rap battles, stories and shared input and feedback as to post graduation goals. He shared the good news of his three job offers, and he was weighing

My other brother was in charge of games and entertainment for young adults. He set up video games, board games, card games and managed the crowd. Activities are time flexible as we gauged the crowd’s emotions. When you get a lot of laughs from the latest trending game for instance, it’s a green light to continue. Otherwise, it’s time to move on.

Dad managed the outdoor crowd for the older adults who are more interested in slower paced activities. They sat outside in the gazebo thoughtfully engaging with questions about life and philosophy. Mom managed the group of ladies who tried on some new fashionable clothing and perfume. They chatted about the new adventures they had about motherhood and exchanged tips and advice.

By the end of the day, presents were opened and shared as we ate a delicious, light, fluffy, fruit cake that we got from Mozart’s Bakery. Our guests thanked us for the night and gradually began to leave as I bid them farewell. My sister was in charge of cleaning up as we helped her pick up trash and store the china. We finally got some shut-eye around midnight.

Mozart’s Bakery

My Birthday

The day after my brother’s grad party was my birthday! This year was a small affair due to the fact I didn’t want to steal my brother’s thunder, and frankly, I was tired from the previous night. I asked my siblings if we can hang out in our living room in our pajamas, eat some leftover cake, and re-watch one of my favorite Korean dramas:

Image Credit: Jae-Ha Kim Journalistic Review

I am now 31 years old, and I’m feeling all sorts of things. My siblings and I reconnected on a deeper level which I personally felt was a dream come true. Our communication with one another improved after we spent time apart reflecting on a variety of things and life events. Reading things in the media affected how we treated each other in good and bad ways. My parents are adjusting to their “empty nest” as we are moving out of our childhood home one by one. We have wonderful stories and experiences in this house. They are getting ready to retire, as we are beginning our lives and careers.

Bus Ride Home

I treated myself to some lotions for my hard working hands and feet. I reinvested in myself by attending an inspirational career training and enrolling in a master’s program. I sat near the window of the bus pensively staring at the grasslands. I started to chat to the guy next to me when I saw an interesting t-shirt. I noticed he had only one arm. I was inspired as I listened to his thoughts and hobbies. Later at another stop, a blind man sits in front of us. I was impressed by his vision for what he wanted to accomplish in his life: owning his own business. He, too, had an inspiring story to share as I was captivated by his blue eyes. I was amazed by the company that I had during my trip. I hope to learn more from them soon!

As I reached town, I rested and joined my study group later in the evening. They treated me to a delicious wholesome birthday bowl from “The Good Kind: Modern Market and Cafe” as I designed a logo for our group and studied security issues.

Life continues, and isn’t this a lovely tropical bowl!? πŸ˜€

Posted in Nature, Photography, Quotes

Friday Follies: Ep 3.6 – Defensive Squirrel

“Let me tell you, if you have never seen an agitated squirrel you have seen very little, nor have you heard much, because the sound of an angry squirrel is not to be forgotten.”

Joe R. Lansdale

Hello all! Happy Friday! Hope you have a great weekend ahead. Here is my entry for this episode of Proscenium’s fun Friday Follies!

“People look at me like I’m a little strange, when I go around talking to squirrels and rabbits and stuff. That’s ok. That’s just ok.”

Bob Ross
Posted in flashback, Quotes

Q&A: The Truly Inspired Series

Hello all! Good morning from my end! This year’s A-to-Z challenge was my first year to participate and I didn’t have a particular theme in mind. I wanted to focus on positive words that will set the overall tone of a post which was a mix bag of “stream of consciousness”, flashback life events, historical accounts, and fun topic research. Many thanks for your fantastic engagement!

For those of you who are new to my blog, Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K-9 Doodlepip! hosted “The Truly Inspired Series” where he interviews bloggers with a series of questions to explore the blogger’s motivations and writing tips they may share.

1] Blog Name

Culture Shocks

2] What is your blog’s specific genre?

Random musings from my life: photographs, research, books, food, poetry, stories

3] How old is your Blog?

It will be officially one year old this May 9th!

4] Why did you feel the need to start an actual blog?

My thoughts tend to stay in my head most of the time, so I wanted a medium where I get to explore my thoughts and experiences with other people and grow as a writer. I also wanted an online bulletin to explore my dreams and fantasies to inspire and motivate myself.

5] What age were you when you first started to write?

7 years old

6] Was it a natural process or did something or someone inspire you to put your first thoughts to paper?

Gooey Gus, the Slime Monster

It was February 12, 1995. I finished watching the last episode of Ghost Writer, a children’s TV series featuring a circle of friends from Brooklyn, NY who solves neighborhood crimes and mysteries. An invisible ghost helps the young detectives by manipulating text and letters it can find using them to form words and sentences to communicate clues. “Attack of the Slime Monster” was a 4-part series of the third final season.

I felt a little sad that the show came to an end, and I wanted to continue the story. So, I sat down in the dining room, and wrote a story about a jelly monster that lived in the sewer. It ate peanut butter sandwiches. My childhood friend edited my work, and the rest is history!

7] Would you say that your creativity flows easily or do you need to be motivated by an event or a moment in your life to trigger it?

I do think events in my life affect my creative flow. If nothing was going on in my own life, I would feel like my creativity would become stagnant. Yet, I often find inspiration in a variety of things other than events or moments.

8] How frequent or prolific are you with your writing and blogging?

Typically once every few days. More so if I’m engaged with a series. I enjoy reading other blogs in the community.

9] Is it just WordPress that your writing is displayed or other platforms as well?

Currently yes, just Word Press. I thought about writing on school newspapers or sending in some of my work to get published in a magazine, but something always stopped me. I guess I read what others have wrote and felt inspired and perhaps intimidated by such talent. Comparison is the thief of joy, apparently. It’s something I’ll work through! πŸ˜‰

10] Do you use social media to advertise and market your blog? If so which ones and how effective is it/are they?

No, though I’m exploring it right now. I’m on social media already, but I’m used to keeping various aspects of my life separate. I’m working on integrating these pieces. I use Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Good Reads, Facebook, Twitter. I’m not sure how effective it is yet.

11] Writers block we all get it at one point or another – if you do suffer from it, how do you tackle the problem?

  • Writing prompts give me ideas.
  • Photos help me begin a story.
  • I cut pictures that catch my attention and keep it in a scrapbook to inspire future posts as I’m randomly flipping through it
  • I write down random thoughts in a journal and find a way to organize it into a blog post later.
  • I watch an inspiring film or documentary, listen to thought-provoking music

12] Which is your preferred writing/creative style?

I love looking at a set of daily/weekly prompts for the day, gather pictures, and write stories.

13] What is the best thing about blogging in your eyes?

I feel like my authentic self. You can create your blog to be whatever it could be and share it with the blogging world. It’s wonderful to connect with so many people and be impacted by what they post.

14] What prompts you to write about a topic on the day that you post?

Sometimes, I follow other prompts that bloggers share and want to join the fun. Other times, I want to share a piece of my world.

15] What advice would you award new bloggers to help and encourage them promote their blog and engage with their audience?

  • Write regularly and consistently
  • Develop attractive or intriguing titles
  • Share visuals and pictures that works hand in hand with your content
  • Write shorter posts and share media
  • Show some personality. Humor is a plus!
  • Deliver awesome content and share them on other social media
  • Guest post on another blog to help your blog gain exposure

16] Do you have an overall blogging strategy or simply write because you enjoy writing?

I write because I enjoy the process of writing. If I enjoy the process, then I think my readers will enjoy the journey with me as well. I originally thought that I was going to write about professional materials but figured that this approach was going to get stale really quickly.

17] Do you feel it is important to have an engaging audience to the content that you write?

When I first started blogging last year, I didn’t really feel that it was too important because I felt like my content was almost like an online diary. My feelings about it has changed since then. Having an audience is very rewarding! I get ideas about what to write next time. Validation and interaction with you all feels wonderful.

18] If no one ever commented on your blog would this concern you, and if so how would you rectify the situation?

At first, it didn’t. As I continue blogging however, it did. A few ways to rectify my situations are:

  • An arch consisting of two weaknesses, which leaning on each other, become a strength. – Leonardo Da Vinci I join specific, supportive blogging challenges and communities where commenting on other bloggers’ posts is suggested and recommended
  • Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. – Oscar Wilde I imitate another blogger’s writing style that is getting plenty of comments and continue learning from other successful blogs
  • If you focus on change, you will get results. – Jack Dixon I change the way I deliver and organize my content that’s easier to read and have more fun interacting
  • Instead of following the trend that keeps changing and ending, be someone who defines it. – Nicko Shoid I add specific trending tags to my post to improve search engine optimization
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. I participate by commenting on other blogs and forming and developing a relationship with other bloggers. It’s easier to comment when you feel like there’s a bond.

19] How long from start to finish would/can your content take you to complete?

It depends! My content is across the spectrum. I still have drafts in my “creative box of inspiration” that I’m reformatting. Sometimes…

  • A post can take 1-5 minutes like my “One-Liner Wednesdays” or “Friday Follies“. Light, funny, and entertaining.
  • A post can take 1-2 hours like my “Book Reviews“. In depth, thorough, and thoughtful
  • A post can take a few weeks or even months like an “Awareness Post“. Emotionally charged and philosophical

20] Which do you think are your best 3 posts to date? Please link below so that our readers can see your style and take a step into your world.

I’ll share four posts that feature various styles. They are as follows:

21] Finally, what advice would you offer new writers to the blogging community?

I still feel fairly new at blogging, but here is one takeaway:

When you aim to help, inspire, educate, inform, offer resources, or make a difference in others bloggers’ lives, it helps your blog deliver value to your readers. Being your authentic self and sharing your story can help others in their own journeys.

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you later!
Float along in blogging space with me as I continue to explore various worlds. πŸ™‚

Posted in Books, Music, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Technology, Volunteer Experiences

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt: 8 Things

Hello everyone! I first saw this challenge on Winnie’s blog in which I enjoyed the beauty she explores. Sadje at Keep it Alive has found this scavenger hunt, and she invited her followers along. So, I decided to tag along as well!

Find something that makes you happy

Currently I’m feeling good as I am building a website for a church while listening to an enjoyable tropical deep house playlist. I’m learning so many concepts! I love coding with a programming language and creating something beautiful out of the lines of characters.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Something to give someone else to make them smile

I recently helped fund raise to help a friend build his own computer by selling books. It was a lot of fun to help him build it from scratch and a fantastic learning experience! It’s a tight squeeze, but slowly getting there. Once the zip ties are in place, we’ll wrap it up. πŸ˜‰

Looks like a metal jungle in here!

Find one thing that you love to smell

I enjoy visiting the Pier 1 Import store. Colorful, bright, with a peaceful ambiance. I came across a lovely scent “Pink Champagne” as I stopped by the candle section.

Find one thing you enjoy looking at

I enjoyed viewing this fun pillow with flamingos. πŸ™‚

Find something that’s your favorite color

Stopped by this dream of a store called Sam Moon’s! I was “window shopping” as I enjoyed checking out these fun, unique accessories. Tassels and pineapples are trending!

Find something that you are thankful for in nature

I bought two bonsai plants at a nursery for my brother’s college graduation and mom’s mother’s day gift. They both really enjoy plants.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Find something that you can use to make a gift for someone

It’s teacher’s appreciation week and my last day volunteering with the youth literacy group this year. I made gifts for the teacher and the two boys. Hopefully they’ll enjoy it!

Find something that is useful for you

This book caught my attention while hanging out at a friend’s place. The title stood out to me on the shelf, and my friend let me borrow it. According to Amazon, Mr. Kahneman’s book explores how we think and our cognitive biases in a nutshell. Something I will skim to explore why I make the choices I do! πŸ™‚

Well that wraps it up! Much gratitude to all of you for stopping by! Hope you find pockets of gratitude in your lives! See you in a bit! πŸ˜‰