In no particular order, and not promising anything too exciting.

1. Kiss someone I care for under hundreds of floating lanterns. Disregarding the negative environmental impacts, have you seen the festivals they do in some part of the world? Beautiful! The video above is from Thailand. Now I just have to find a willing victim I mean accomplice I mean um… :]

2. Finally master a new language! I really don’t want fall into the category of people who think the English language alone is sufficient to navigate through life. The same thought process towards learning a language is used when learning music, so why has it been so hard for me so far?  Now I just need to decide which language to being with.  Any thoughts?

3. Go hang gliding.  Actually I really don’t know why I haven’t done this yet because there’s a hang gliding group here in Chicago that’s only a phone call away.  I guess I always imagined myself doing this in a more exotic location than say, the Midwest.  :]  It’s the closest thing we can really get to flying, right?  Why wouldn’t you want to experience it at least once?

4. Perform musically for a crowd of thousands. I love being on stage. I really miss it. There’s something so electrifying about it, you feel so alive. I don’t know what vehicle of music this would fall under, but I hope one day to share my music onstage with a crowd of significant number.

5. Go to the Lightning in a Bottle festival next year. This is a music/art/life festival in southern California.  My friend went this year and the pictures and experiences she brought back to share with me sound absolutely amazing.  Attempting to explain it all would be stupid since I’ve never actually been, but it sounds like a great meshing together of sensory experiences, meeting other people, and just being yourself.  Here’s the link to the official page if you’d like to go check it out for yourself: http://lightninginabottle.org/

So..on to part two of the trip.  After wandering around in Toronto over the weekend, we started heading back to Muskegon, MI, where Michelle’s dad lives.  This part of the trip wasn’t so much for adventures so much as it was just to relax and take some time for inner meditation.  Having said that, there really isn’t a need to run a play by play of this part but there is one moment I’d like to share, which is when we went to the beach on Monday night, I think it was.

We got to the beach at just before sunset. The water was perfectly warm and and shallow for an amazingly far distance past the shore.  As the sun began to set the surface of the water turned a reflective golden-silver color.  It looked like we were swimming in mercury or liquid silver, with the sun burning into brilliant shades of oranges, reds, and violets in the sky above.  It was infinitely beautiful and I felt so at peace and content.  Everything seemed to fade away except the sky above me.  Yes, I’m getting poetic. ;)

Words can’t really do the scene justice, so here a few pics to help out:

Venturing out into the waves.  See what I mean when I say the water was silver!  Michelle and I on the beach:

Enjoying the sand.

Messages of love (to music anyways) and camera whoring bikini pic taking a nap on the beach:

Sunset:

As the sun begins to set, the moon begins to rise:

Ending the post with a shot of Michelle’s dog, Marvin:

-End of Part 2, thanks for reading! :) -

Warning: This will be a very pic intensive post.

I Love Canada

So… I took a mini road trip with Michelle to Toronto, then back to Michigan a few weeks ago.  And I’ve been meaning to write about it, and meaning to…and then…almost a month has passed and I still haven’t gotten to it.   I still have like two pounds of random Canadian coins in my purse that I keep accidentally trying to pay for things with wtf…anyways.

So to be honest on the way there we were cracking jokes about Canada (such an exotic destination, beware of mounties!…etc etc) and on the back we were crying because we didn’t want to leave.  It’s about a 8-9 hour drive depending how fast you speed which route you take.  It’s not a great distance, but to be honest the whole trip was a lot of fun and it really reminded me to take more sudden adventures whenever circumstance allows.

The Blue Bridge which officially crosses over into Canada (are there yet are we there yet??) :

Pics of the city.  Downtown Toronto reminds me a lot of Chicago, as it’s right on the water with a lot of tall buildings.  Toronto appears to a bit cleaner however:

TorontoToronto

We were there over the weekend, and got in just as the sun was setting on Friday evening.  That night we went to see First State (trance artist) at Toika Lounge.  Being the forgetful moron I am, I completely forgot to take pics but we both had a great time.  The vibe was relatively low key and people seemed friendly enough.  If I lived in Toronto I would definitely stop at the events there regularly.  Because I love trance music.  And having a great time.  And friendly people. ;)

The next day we met up with Elaine of Fabulous Living Coach, a lifestyle and traveling blog.  I highly recommend you check her site out, she’s currently in Greece and the pictures make me want to jump ship right now and join her.  :)  She was kind enough to give us a mini tour of Toronto.  Once again, I forgot to get any pics of the three of us because I was so busy looking at everything else. :(  We decided to meet her in Dundas Square, which is a bit like Times Square in NY to me.  There was a Green Living Festival going on in the square that day, so we wandered around a bit while we waited to meet her.

Michelle eating some vegan samosas and fizzy lemonade:

Besides eating yummy food, we also talked to a guy walking around on stilts with a mess of white and green dreadlocks, held some exotic snakes around our necks (yah forgot the pics again whoops) and met this guy, who built this underwater percussion machine:

Afterwards we walked into Kensington Village.  I love it there!  It’s a few blocks of colors and creativity and general weirdness.  The houses there are all shops and it’s a great place to wander around and spend a few hours. Some shots of the shops we wandered through:

Bubble machine! :)

Michelle and I shopping for hats:

…I really wanted the feathered one but couldn’t justify the rather hefty price tag.  Michelle bought the horned hat and the proceeded to walk through Kensington, Chinatown, and downtown with it on.  :)

Gardens in a car and hanging purses:

And then we came across a building with a giant alien on the front.  Naturally we felt compelled to go investigate:

Apparently there is currently a dubstep musical about alien abduction in the theater?  The artist creating airbrush posters outside was kind enough to give us a tour of the inside, and looked genuinely confused at why we were laughing so hard.  We both fully intended to go, but accidentally slept through it later that evening -.-

Description of the play:

While we were there Toronto also had the Play Me I’m Yours pianos hanging out around the city.  Saturday evening we got some food at a restaurant then walked past one on the way back to the hotel.  Out of impulse we decided to go over and start playing some tunes.  Before I knew it there was a small crowd and we were taking turns performing, singing, and making requests.  We were there at least two hours, it’s crazy how music brings people together.  I met some super talented pianists and singers.  Music is the only thing for me that makes me so happy that everything else can completely melt away.  I was so incredibly happy while I was standing there, it was such a perfect, spontaneous summer night.  I have videos of some people playing The Scientist and Hey Jude but still working out how to get them off my phone :P

We both really loved Toronto and the trip, and agreed that a trip to Montreal is next on the list.  People there seemed really nice and friendly.  Also, everyone in Toronto was so stylish!  I saw so many cute outfits on girls and guys, I felt like a slob in my t-shirt and jeans. :P

This trip really reminds me that I really must do more traveling.  There’s something about going somewhere new that opens your mind to new possibilities and approaches.  Afterwards we made a stop by Lake Michigan where Michelle’s dad lives to hang out on the water and relax, but I’ll save that for part 2 as I’m pretty sure this is already quite long.

Ending with a pic of a squirrel.  This guy was such a camera tease, he’d walk right up and as soon as I would point the camera at the ready he’d run away again:

-end of part 1-

On Saturday night Michelle and I went to an all night fundraiser for peeps wanting to get themselves and their art out to Burningman.  It was a combination of dance party, art show, aerial acrobatics, fire spinning, and general madhouse of creativity.  It was held in an artist’s collective; a huge two story loft/house-like structure that people usually live in.  Apparently the people who live in the house literally re-build the interior for each party, including moving walls and everything.  I was amazed at how cool everything was, the place was filled with all of these amazing things to look at.  I had never been to one of these before but it was a lot of fun to wander around and look at everything.  Everyone was a collage of glitter, paint, neon, fairy wings, steampunk goggles, etc.

Within five minutes I was happily sitting on a couch in a small alcove surrounded by painted artwork, Xmas lights, hanging paper stars and tree branches making new friends.

Within fifteen minutes both Michelle and I were sporting glittery face paint.

A few hours after that we were switching rooms between the main dancefloor (electro/techno) and a back dance floor (some sort of exotic electro type madness).

Anyways here’s some pics I took.  They’re all a little crappy b/c my phone doesn’t do too well in the dark, but here they are anyways.

Looking up from the main dance floor.  The glittery lights on the left is a balcony overlooking the dance floor, behind the white cloth is a staircase leading up to the second floor, the yellow light in the middle is the hallway leading to more rooms and another dance floor.

Fire spinning goodness with the DJ booth behind them:

And the view from the the balcony.  This was when two performers were dancing with flaming rings.

A little hard to tell, but the aerial silk ropes performer is on the right.  I got so entranced in the performance I fogot to take a proper picture. :]

Also on a side note, one of the looks I posted over the weekend on my Chictopia profile ended up trending on the front page for a bit!  I was completely taken by surprise, wasn’t expecting it at all! Here’s a screenshot:

And a closeup:

This pic was taken just as I was about to laugh. :]  I might end up living with Michelle in the future, or at the very least in the same city.  I can’t wait.  She’s so creative and we decided it would be so much fun to spend part of the weekend running around the apartment playing dress up.  And then having dance parties with ourselves.  And then going to Walgreens just for candy bars and wine.  Oh wait, we did all of that anyways.  :P

Happy Monday!

Just a little piano introduction I started last night in Logic. (I was supposed to be doing a few other music projects for some friends but this came out instead…gah) Mixdown/EQ hasn’t been started yet, but I like the melody and thought I would post.

Happy Monday ^.^

I have a terror of dark water where I can’t see the bottom.  I have dreams at least twice a month about being in a wide, dark ocean as far as the eye can see, or at least some variation thereof.  Water is supposed to symbolize your emotions in dreams. And lately it would definitely be appropriate that I’m sitting pretty in an ocean, ha. Recently I’ve had to let go of many things that were once the most important things in my life.  But new things can’t happen until some things end, and this is the way the world works; sometimes there’s simply no more room in your life for anything else and so something has to be either changed or removed.

My point being, when you are in the habit of letting go of things, sometimes you have to let go of yourself as well.  Surrender to the current of events and do your best to navigate them as you can.  I stood on a boat rocking so far, far out on lake Michigan the shore was a strip of tan in the distance.  The waves were choppy.  I had a life jacket on.  My friend was already in the water.  It was dark and so deep.  I closed my eyes and jumped in and let myself sink under.

I was fucking terrified!

However I don’t think anyone else noticed.  Much. I claimed my shivering up to the coolness of the water..

“I have to pee!” our six year old companion declared.  Yah no jokes kid, you’re not the only one here.

“Charming,” his father replied in response.

I made myself lay on my back and let the waves carry me where they will for a few moments, trying my best not to imagine some THING grabbing me by the ankles and pulling me under.

But the water was refreshing, the waves carrying me where the will.  The sky was a brilliant blue above me, endless and open.  Truly surrendering everything, all of my senses (including my instinct to get the hell back on the boat) was powerful, and for a brief moment I understood that some things in life and the universe are too powerful to fight.  Some things you must give yourself to and only then will that power become part of yourself and your own experience.

Anyways I ramble too much.

-Fin-

Tiny Silver StarsYou know the old saying…whenever you’re LOOKING for a specific outfit on a shopping spree nothing pops up, but when you’re just browsing away suddenly all these cute things are everywhere!  I made a random trip to the shopping mall the other day to get some stuff at Target (it’s attached to the mall) and decided to stop by some of the other stores since I was there.  (On a side note, have you ever noticed that even if you’re just going to Target for one thing, you always walk out with at least forty bucks worth of crap!  Aaah!  Where does it all come from?  This stuff sneaks into my basket as stowaways I swear!!)  Anyways, I ended up with the dress and shoes pictured above.  Shoes are from Spring and dress is from Forever 21.  This dress is something of a reach for me as I tend to shy away from prints, but I grabbed it on a whim and was amazed at how well it fit me.  And it was only fifteen bucks.  Hurray!  Forever 21 is great for random, fun pieces that you don’t want to spend a lot of money on.

Is this the perpetual law of the universe?  When you’re content and not looking or thinking about a certain thing is when it comes the easiest.  Not to try and turn my shopping trip into something deep and profound or anything, it is just a dress after all. :)

Also, here are pics from the latest post I made on my Chictopia Profile :

Just a bohemian fortune teller look I made for fun.  Not sure where I would wear this out but I like the idea…maybe I should redo this look in a forest or outdoor background…This is ironically one of the only other clothing items I possess in a print.

It’s 6:56 AM now, although I’ve been up since around 5 or so.  This is the second time this week I’ve woken up way more early than needed, for no apparent reason. Maybe because everything in my life is changing right now, although I may or may not post about that later. Feeling lazy but not tired enough to be able to fall back asleep…nooo!  On Wednesday I had a friend’s birthday party and didn’t go to bed until around 3:30, and then woke up at 5:30…last night I think I fell asleep somewhere between 2 and 3.  Ugh…this means I will probably enter a coma-like stupor later this afternoon unless I’m able to take a nap.

Anyways, lately I’ve been having the strangest and slightly comforting experience of thinking about a problem or situation, and then coming across some random thing in the world which speaks to me of it.  I’ll think about something, then come across a book passage, or a song on the radio, or whatever.  Signs from the universe, maybe?? Maybe all you have to do is ask for a second opinion and you’ll get it if you listen carefully enough…for instance, as I sit here drinking coffee, I decided to go onto the blog of an author I admire, Paulo Coelho.  He’s a well known author from Brazil, and his book Eleven Minutes is one of my favorites.  Anyways, here is what I see after exploring for a few moments:

A friend came to wait on our table – at a café in San Diego, California.

I had met Cláudia in Brazil four years previously, and tell my friends about her life in the USA: she only sleeps for three hours, since she works in this café till late, and is a babysitter throughout the day.

“I don’t know how she can stand it,” one of them says.

“There’s a Buddhist story about a turtle,” replies an Argentinian woman at our table.

“The turtle was crossing a swamp, covered in mud, when it passed a temple. There it saw the shell of another turtle – all adorned with gold and precious stones.

“I don’t envy you, ancient friend,” thought the turtle. “You’re covered in jewels, but I’m doing what I want.”

(taken from: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/07/01/the-place-we-desire/ )

What I take from this is that since I’m awake, I might as well get on with it and embrace the day.  Instead of looking at this like a pain in the ass I could view it as a gift: I’ve been given an extra two hours in peace and quiet, all to myself!  In truth I’m not terribly tired, I think it’s more of a mental belief that I NEED 8+ hours EVERYDAY to be happy.  But right now I feel pretty content.  Which then makes me think, how much of our happiness is blocked off by similar mental blocks?  We THINK that we NEED _________, but do we really?  I’ll let you fill in the various blanks for your own life, A) because I think the answers differs for everyone and B) because even though I’m not necessarily tired, my brain is still a little too fuzzy to be exploring stuff like this without possibly sounding stupid.  Aaah come on coffee, kick me already!

P.S. Good morning!  Have a brilliant and beautiful day!!

Tiny Silver Stars Retro 2I am horrible about scheduling myself hair appointments.  I think once I went almost half a year without a haircut.  I don’t know why it’s so hard for me.  Maybe it’s because I’m not the one who has to look at my hair all day, or maybe it’s because I’m just bad at scheduling any appointments in general.  Earlier this spring I was going on vacation to Miami, so I thought it might be nice to try something summery for a change.  So I went ahead and dyed my natural black hair a light, light brown.  It was a shock at first but once I got used to it, I really liked it.

Fast forward four months or so…I now have black roots almost an inch and a half long.  I’m so ashamed!  Aagh!  And since it wasn’t an ombre or anything gentle like that, there literally was a STRAIGHT LINE where the color stopped on my head.  Oops.  I kept meaning to do it later, later later.  But I knew something really needed to be done when my guy friends started asking when I was going to do something about my head.  As in, my guy friends who normally don’t notice if you chop off three inches and dye your hair purple.  (Which I have done before ironically.) My co-workers were politely asking me what I planned to do with my hair next, which really means “you and your roots are an embarrassment to our place of business.  For the love of God please do something!” 

I went for a nice, deep brown.  Overall I am very pleased and think I will stick with this color for quite some time.  I think my natural black hair looks a bit stark against my skin tone, but the light brown was a light.  I’m always a bit hesitant to do anything with my hair because I have the long, straight dark Asian hair that’s both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because it’s long, straight, and pretty low maintenance.  A curse because it refuses to be anything else without a fight!  Curls disappear within a matter of minutes if not done correctly…attempts at lightening the color risk an angry, brassy shade of orange-brown. “Browange,” my colorist cheerfully informed me when I told her my concerns.  “Don’t worry, I’ve done Asian hair before.  I know what I’m up against.”

Anyways now that I’m sure I’ve completely enthralled you with tales of my hair life, here’s a few pics of the latest style post I put on my Chictopia profile.  It’s part retro, part hipster, and part super cute dog:

Tiny Silver Stars RetroTiny Silver Stars Retro 3

Thank you for reading!

Every now and then I like to try out different “experiments” if you will in my life.  Sometimes this is to improve the quality of my life and sometimes it’s just out of curiosity’s sake.  This past week S and I decided to go vegetarian for the week for a few different reasons.  One, I was getting low on cooking ideas and though a challenge would be a good way to find some new recipes.  Two, I wanted to see if I would feel better or worse with the absence of meat from my diet and three, I was currently a little on the broke side and veggies are cheap!

Eggplant Basil Salad

Monday:  Monday I stirfried eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and other yummy things in a fresh tomato basil sauce and served this over fresh spinach instead of pasta.  It was pretty good, although maybe that’s because I was really hungry by the time it was done cooking!  S said it was good but he didn’t feel as full as he would like.

Veggie Egg RollsEgg Drop Soup

Tuesday:  On Tuesday I made egg rolls for the first time!  I would say this was the highlight of the experiment for me.  I put chopped cabbage, carrots, green onion, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, and seasoning in these.  They were tasty!! I have always been hesitant to try making egg rolls in the past because the concept of all the hot oil scared me.  Whenever I thought about it I had visions of spilling hot oil all over the place and dying painful death, lol.   But I decided to try it with just a thin later of oil and turn the rolls around with tongs, which worked out perfectly.   The soup was easy enough to do. I cheated and added an egg,  I know that’s not strictly vegetarian but it wasn’t meat either!

Veggie Potato Pancakes

Wednesday: S made potato pancakes with onions and pepper in a mushroom gravy sauce.  This is a traditional Polish dish when made with meat instead of just veggies, and we had this with grated beets on the side.  I remember back when S and I were just beginning to date he made me this one evening to try and show off his cooking skills.  (I did my part and played the smitten and impressed date, although in truth it was quite yummy!) Whenever I see potato pancakes now it always reminds me of that evening!  It was pretty good the way he made it although we both agreed a little heavy for how hot the weather was.

Thursday: Thursday I went to eat after work with co-workers and S had a late meeting so we both ate separately.  I had a pita/hummus/veggie platter which was very tasty.  I also had a mojito (or two)…

Friday:  On Friday S and I had a fight and I ended up eating vanilla ice cream for dinner, lol.   Hey, I’m an adult now, I can eat what I want right??! …Oh well, at least it was meatless.

Greek Wrap Salad

Saturday:  S and I made up, so he decided to try something new and found a recipe for a Greek inspired wrap.  The pic is of mine unwrapped because I decided I didn’t like the tortillas he got and just ate mine as salad instead.  It was pretty good and perfect since the weather was still really freaking hot and we didn’t feel like eating anything too heavy.

Sunday:  On Sunday I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with apple and cheddar, but I didn’t know it had bacon in it!  Nooo!  Oh well, shortly after that S’s parents invited us over for steak anyways and we caved.  So I guess the experiment got cut a little short but, STEAK!!

Summary:  I’m glad we decided to do this, even if it was just for a week.  I noticed that after my meals I didn’t get that lethargic, heavy feeling as much as I do when I eat meat-heavy dishes, which was nice.  Also my digestive system seemed to working a lot more smoothly.  I did start craving nuts and eggs towards the end of the week, if I was to do this for a longer amount of time I would definitely plan out how to put more protein in my diet instead of just winging it.  I would definitely do this again though!

Hello, I'm Melissa. Welcome to my blog! I'm a little panda living in the city who enjoys traveling, electronic music, yummy food, beauty/fashion, and collecting as many amazing moments in this life as possible. Thanks so much for reading! :)

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