Posted in Events, exercise, flashback

#SoCS- Figure Skating

Linda’s #SoCS prompt – Figure
Badge Photo Credit – Shelley

Figure skating has been a joy for me to watch over the years. Seeing these athletes gracefully landing loops and pirouettes to the rhythm of their chosen music is lovely.

Image Credit: Pixabay

I love their elegance, choice in outfits, reflecting what they want to express to their audience. Balancing on ice while keeping the rest in mind!

I figure that’s what inspired me to skate. Mom bought me my first set of rollerblades from the Toys R’ Us for my birthday. Cute set too – Magenta buckles/wheels and white boots! My neighborhood friends and I would create little routines.

The fun one to practice was what we called the Figure 8. We used the indented cracks in the driveway to guide our paths. Dramatically, we held each other as we intersected paths on the infinity.

There were friendships in that neighborhood that I wanted to last for infinity. People grow and change, go off in their own directions though.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Little ducklings growing into beautiful swans. I’m reminded of a glass figurine of a swan my aunt gave me. I turn the dial and it plays a tune. Spinning around. Not knowing what direction it will face once the melody fades away.

Will the swans be united again after swimming in such different directions for so long? ⛸

Image Credit: Pixabay

Whoosh! Feeling a blast of cold air as I’m ice skating wakes me up and makes me feel alive while skating with friends. Then comes the inevitable….

*CRASH* Ahh!

My skate gets caught in someone else’s deep indentation in the ice, and I flip over and slide, stomach-flat, across the arena at an incredible speed. I’m disoriented, and everything looks like a blinding set of stars.

Yes, sometimes the cracks in life can make you more than stumble. All I can do is get up, and try again once I get my bearings straight! 😀

Word of the Day Challenge: everything

Posted in Books, Events, flashback, poetry, Technology

#SoCS- The Toy that Rocked my World

A Delightful Blue Discovery…

My life before simple
A linear path filled with a fairly predictable routine
Then, one hot summer day…
The library presented an irresistible challenge
Itching with anticipation!
Waited for what seemed like eternity!
The mission was to read 20 books!
The reward?
A yo-yo!
The latest spinning craze
Allowing gravity to unwind the string
Lighting up the world of so many participating children
Embarking the reading journey while
“walking the dog around the world” 😉

Years later
Just when I think the yo-yo has disappeared
into the locked vault of yesteryear’s fads
My serious concentration
questioning employers at a cyber job fair
was broken!

Genuinely smiling
Filled with overwhelming nostalgia
A blue yo-yo!
Gleaming against the black tablecloth
Idaho National Laboratory
“You made my day!”
Your motto?
The energy of innovation!

The first blue thing I see this morning ❤
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! 😉

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. 🙂

Posted in Awards, flashback, Food/Recipes, Quotes

Sunshine Blogger #4 from Keep It Alive

The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.

William James

Good morning! A few days ago, I was celebrating a friend’s birthday at a movie theater by seeing another superhero movie: Aquaman. Again, I loved the visual effects, the action, the laughs, and adventure!

My fourth Sunshine Blogger nomination is from Sadje from Keep It Alive! Thanks Sadje! She has some lovely stories as she weaves three or four tales a day from various word and photo prompts! She is a prolific writer and a popular lady here on the blogosphere.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
“The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.”

Once nominated, if you choose to accept, write a post where you:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Award and link back to their blog
  • Answer the questions set by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate other blogs and give them questions to answer
  • Notify your nominees through social media or commenting on their blog
  • List the “rules” and display a Sunshine Award logo in your post

Sadje’s interesting questions are as follows:

Which one, do you feel is your best post?

Objectively, I’m going to my stats for this. I don’t visit it too often so this is a surprise to me! My top 5 posts outside of my About page are:

Subjectively, I’ve enjoyed the process of writing each post and taking or finding pictures for each one. I love the stunning flowers I take pictures of. Such beauty is hard to rank. I feel that I can do better with time. 🙂

How do you get inspiration for writing?

Many things inspire me in a multitude of ways! It can be almost anything since I’m fascinated by a lot of topics and easily amused. I love it when I find obscure connections between current events! Photographs, artwork, illustrations, life experiences I want to make sense of, relationships, jokes, food, my educational experiences, books I’ve read, my travels, television shows, movies, quotes, other’s blog posts, random ideas that pop into my head and I want to explore them further by writing about it.

If given a choice would you choose traveling by train or ship?

I enjoy travelling by train! I like to cozy up with a book as I pass by beautiful scenery. I easily get sea-sick by ship and have to take motion sickness pills. I once went crab fishing with my aunt in North Carolina and the rockiness of the boat made me vomit most of the afternoon. However, I’ve always wondered what a cruise ship would feel like! Maybe it’s a smoother experience!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Angry Birds – The early bird gets the worm… and turns it into a friend.

Generally an early bird! 🙂 I’m far more productive in the morning!

Which would you say is the best part of your life?

I cherish time spent with my relationships in nature. I enjoy travelling and having fun with my family, my roommates, my friends, and my boyfriend. I’ll share more stories about them later!

How was life in childhood for you?

Photo Credit:

I had a very charming and idyllic childhood for the most part. I was raised in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. In the cul-de-sac, my neighbors came from a variety of countries. It takes a village to raise a child. I was raised by teachers of all sorts of subjects, professors, engineers, doctors, bank tellers, business owners, mechanics, hotel housekeepers from a melting pot of religious and ethnic backgrounds. We all looked out for one another and I felt safe. We talked about many subjects underneath the sun when I would stop by to visit or when some of them babysat me.

They also had children my age. Playing with them was a blast! We had water gun fights, roller bladed in the sidewalks, played baseball, basketball, soccer. The girls would have long talks hanging out on the bed of my friend’s dad’s red truck till the moon popped up. We played outside for hours. Sometimes we stop to feed the ducks in the lake nearby. I am very fortunate to have such rich and vivid memories.

My loving parents worked hard to give us wonderful experiences. My siblings and I are close. My parents doted on and cared for us very well, and I’ve always felt loved and happy even though we weren’t rich. It was filled with fun family parties, road trip adventures, a wide range of music, fishing trips, visits to libraries and museums, and a love of nature.

My dad loves to grow several types of fruit trees around the perimeter of our backyard. I would help him take care of the flower and vegetable garden where we grew squash, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, mint. I would harvest the fruit off the trees and we would share our surplus with our friends and other family members. He also taught me lessons in construction, mathematics, and mechanics.

My mom was a stay-at-home homemaker while working as a seamstress on the side. I learned a lot of domestic skills. I basically learned how to sew my own clothes and other neat things. I would have fun cooking gourmet meals and baking wonderful treats with mom in the kitchen.

Are you a coffee person or a tea addict?

I don’t drink coffee at all, but I do love tea! It’s a wonderful stimulant to get me going in the mornings nearly every day. It also relaxes me when I might be going through some stressful moments. I also love to invite friends over for tea and cookies while we catch up with each other’s lives.

Food that you cannot resist?

Oh! I am a foodie! I love a variety of dishes as well as a lot of desserts! I love various types of pasta, seafood, breakfast food, lightly whipped desserts like eclairs or tarts.

What should be the first thing a child be taught?

There’s so much to teach children! However, I think some important lessons a child should learn is to show gratitude, respect, kindness, and be a life long learner. If they throw a tantrum, they should learn that they will not always get what they want by acting rudely.

How are you enjoying blogging?

I love it very much and find it more rewarding than other social media sites I’ve tried. I feel like I can express my thoughts more easily here. I’m thankful to you for being a great community! Right now, it’s fun to write stories for an audience.

What are your ambitions for your blog?

It’s an evolving entity. I would love to collaborate with other bloggers on a project of sorts. Perhaps we can tackle a challenge together and write our accounts. Someday, I might invite bloggers to write on my blog about a particular topic.

I want to incorporate some thorough book/movie reviews of some books/movies that I’ve recently read. I want to write more about my studies in depth and explore more literature which is a passion of mine. I want to be more comfortable expressing opinions about a variety of other subjects. I do a lot of sketch work as well and would love to share that with all of you!

I also hope I can also spread more sunshine and beauty to your lives by sharing inspiring quotes, snapping pictures that leave me in awe, or sharing stories that have touched my heart.

Posted in Culture, flashback, Music

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 29

Today’s challenge is a song that reminds you of your childhood. I think of a lot of kid films, musicals, and sing-a-longs. 🙂

The music from the “Sound of Music” was a staple in my childhood. Edelweiss, sang by Christopher Plummer, is very touching. I played this on the piano often.

I sang a lot of Vietnamese karaoke songs for kids. My dad bought us a set of discs with karaoke tracks for us to sing along. It was my favorite stuff to sing on the weekends with my siblings. One of the lines is loosely translated, “Open the doors and let the sunshine in so we can dance and play.”

Sang “Tomorrow” from Annie for a school play when I was a child.

Really loved Disney’s Anastasia’s “Once Upon a December” and still enjoy it.

I sang Zippety Doo Dah for another school play when I was 8 years old.

Posted in Crafts, Culture, Events, flashback, Food/Recipes, Music

Q&A: Christmas Fireside Chat

Final testing season is over for me! Whew! This semester was quite a doozy, and those test makers sure know how to give many curve balls. Those mental gymnastics sure has made my mind more agile. Winter break is opening up for me, and I might be able to do more blog posts now! Yay!

Jenna, The Sunshine Artist, has invited me over for a Christmas chat by the crackling fireside! So now, I’m going to relax here with a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows as I dive into and share with you all my cherished memories  in regards to Christmas. If you seen my post on  3.2.1-Celebrations, you’d know that I love to celebrate, and  there is more than one favorite memory! What are yours?

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Back when I wasn’t studying for the GMAT, I would go through all of Netflix’s Hallmark Christmas romance movies and eat some chocolate: A Christmas Prince, A Christmas Kiss, Christmas Lodge, Christmas in the Smokies, Christmas Inheritance… Maybe, I can sneak one in now, they feel so good! ❤ My favorite though would probably be Home Alone. 🙂 

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

Every Christmas has always been different for me! So I’m not sure I have a specific tradition. I roll a bunch of traditions into one event. Does that count? 😉 I enjoy attending Christmas mass with my family and learn the true meaning of Christmas after watching a creative theatrical nativity play hosted by the teachers and children. I also really enjoy creating hand made Christmas cards and help bake sugar cookies with some friends to deliver to the kids at a local orphanage. I really enjoy baking every Christmas! I also buy one toy for the Christmas Angel programs.

What was your most memorable Christmas and why?

So you might think I’m a bit insane, but this is the first memory that comes to mind at the word memorable! So, all of the second grade teachers at my school had worked with the parents to create a fun activity. Each student was going to bring a yard of Christmas themed fabric of his/her choice. The teachers and the parents who knew how to sew were going to create several “noodles” with each piece of fabric, stuff it with polyester, and bring it back.

The day before all of us headed out for winter break, all the students in our grade were going to work on this craft activity. Each student received 3 noodles made from fabric that were brought by other students. I just thought it was neat that I could have a piece from another student’s fabric. I just felt a sense of unity as we worked on this project together.

I was feeling under the weather, but I was so excited to work on this crafty activity. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. The room was in a pure creative state for 3 hours as all the students in the throughout the hall braided and decorated these wreaths creating all sorts of unique creations.

I was feeling tired near the end of the day. I started to relieve the itch that traveled up and down my arms. As I scratched it, I noticed that there were red bumps. I touched my forehead and realized how hot it was. I was coming down with a fever. By the time I was finished with my wreath, I realized that I had the chicken pox!

I guessed I missed my vaccination. (Nowadays, I try to stay updated on my vaccines.) I was so worried that I passed on my chicken pox to the other students, so I warned all of them to stay many yards away from me. When we were all done and ready to go home, my classmates waved and wished me a Merry Christmas as they safely kept their distance.

My mother disinfected and washed my wreath. Even though I was sick, I was glad  to have made this wreath with good holiday cheer!