Enjoying July

The image below was a photo manipulation project from... geez, years ago. I passed by this exact barn building yesterday where the picture was sourced and I had a nostalgic moment, so I went through my archive and dug up this image. Is it a gateway to a new world or an end of a journey? I'm not sure and I've already forgot what the intention or story behind this piece. Regardless, it's kind of reflecting how I feel at the moment. Just a paper boat going with the flow on a shimmering path and enjoying the scenic, magical view of it all.

mushroom gateway Here's a couple of notable things I've enjoyed in the past week:

Wearing: I thought it was time to change up the eye makeup game with less eyeliner and more natural eyeshadow shades with TheBalm's Nude'tude palette. So far so good!

Snacking: This recipe combined two of my favourite things in the world: greek yogurt + guacamole. It's so genius, I can't believe I haven't thought of it before.

Creating: Dabbling into a new studio software - Sketch 3. I'm hoping this can replace illustrator and improve the flow for future projects. It's been a smooth transition so far and all the features are very intuitive to use.

Training: West coast vacation mode is officially off and gym mode is on! I love how I can stuff all my essentials (phone, cards, keys) on the go in this flip belt without any hassle. It's great for running, which I'm training myself to get into at the moment. (5k by autumn?!)

Listening: I know you'll judge me, but G-eazy's my Drake substitute these days. Also, I couldn't resist Jeni's sultry voice. Then, to contrast, this string cover of Laputa is on constant replay as well.

Admiring: Mia Hollow's poems and pictures, alternating on her instagram feed. In terms of new blog discovery, I've been living vicariously and daydreaming about the island life through Corina's blog. She creates the most beautiful and fluid hand letterings ever.

With my sleep and diet back on track, my energy has also returned, so I'm hoping for more amazing finds this week. I hope you're enjoying your week so far as well.


The Circle

pink flower Insomnia, jet lagged and mentally exhausted from all the goodbyes and welcome-back-errands in the past couple of days. I can't believe it's Friday already. Personal projects are finally rolling out steadily and I have good feelings about the way it's going. Now I just need to master razor sharp focus and get more sleep! Here are some bits and pieces of the ever peaceful San Francisco, oh how I miss you already.

gum stain cereal castro star jacket boudin bacon cupcake omlette street jazz street car uniqlo straight lines simple salad red velvet macaroon deli view

On the plane ride back to Toronto, I finished The Circle by Dave Eggers. It is a very interesting read that left me feeling very unsettled (in a good way). The protagonist is a 20-something female customer support in a large tech company. Even though the story was set in a more utopian society of the near future, her work experience was very relatable. The second half of the book was where it turned interesting and kept me on edge. The protagonist was challenged by this statement: "you sit at a desk twelve hours a day and you have nothing to show for it except some numbers that won't exist or be remembered in a week. You're leaving no evidence you lived. There's no proof."

What really intrigued me was the preception of "life experience" through all kinds of digital exchange which I'm so guilty of. Yes, you're letting the world know amazing places you've been with multiple check-ins, upvoted only on opinions that concur with your values and left footprints through comments, pictures and emoji smiley faces. All the sharing made online seems passionate and progressive, but that shouldn't be how we remember these important events. It should really be experienced by all five senses if not more. It should tug at your heartstrings and evoke some kind of sentiment, good or bad. Just something to think about:

"Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day? You people are creating a world of ever-present daylight, and I think it will burn us all alive. There will be no time to reflect, to sleep, to cool."


Knots & Squares

A new beginning! The Annzilla blog has officially left the Wordpress sphere and into the new shiny shiny platform of Ghost. It is a very simple and straight forward CMS with double pane windows displaying markdown textbox on one end and having a realtime preview on the other. So far, I've been really enjoying it. It is built with one focus in mind - content. Forget about all the software bloat in Wordpress, all the fancy tools you don't ever end up using. You have all the basic tools here for your blogging needs. Of course, it will never replace Wordpress and offer the complexity and customization it can do, but since I'm keeping everything simple, I'm so glad I made the switch (with Aidan's help).

I want to live everyday with intention and purpose in mind. Get rid of clutter and things that will distract me. I think the same goes for this blog as well. I hope to write with sincerity and let this blog grow into something bigger and better!

1. Wool cushions from Toast to fall into when you feel like a cuddle
2. This bracelet from Alex&Ani symbolizes boundless wisdom and compassion, I need it as a constant reminder
3. Because, it's Bill Murray, drawing by Torey Erin
4. This walnut serving board would be good for any bread, cheese and Wine occassion
5. I'll always support homemade basket crafted from local Portugese artisans
6. Something about this mug from the 1940's design is very attractive

While on the topic of growing this blog with focus and intention, a constant challenge for me is to remember that people's intentions are good. They might not express it in a way that make you feel respected or cared, but you just have to remember (lie or pinch yourself if you have to) that their intention comes from a good place. I had a Gollum & Sméagol moment yesterday and it tored me apart. I understand the root of people's anxiety and fear, that it's a combination of their past experiences crossed with personal values and ideals. As much as I'm grateful to hear that people are thinking about me and offering me advice, it does not help, nor is it applicable if the message is not putting me in real consideration of the situation. It's like shooting your darts blind, it ends up selfish and hurtful. Sure, you got your message across, but to what point?

So what do you do when you feel like you've been misrepresented and resentments have started to grow? My first instinct was run away from it all and plot foolish plans of retribution. Then, I realized this could only be a temporary satisfaction. So I tried to think from a neutral stand point. Why do I feel this way? Am I not looking for what I wanted to hear as well? I wanted people's opinion to care for "me". Is it not equally selfish?

Indeed, this is not a case to win or lose. The moment you try to find any leverage over the other person, you're doing exactly what they've done to you. So let's look beyond that, what's my intensions here and what's theirs? Are they both based off of good thoughts but conveyed differently? Even if we can't agree on the methods or what's "right", the outcome doesn't change unless you let it, right? This quote really hit home for me:

"Practice being kind instead of being right."

My stomach was tied up in knots and squares. The stubbornness wouldn't budge and I failed to see the good intentions behind it all. I know I haven't been my most agreeable self and it kills me to think that I'll be spending my last couple of days here in San Francisco being upset. Nobody's making an enemy out of anyone. Silly isn't it, when it should be so simple.

Remember your/their intentions and focus on the good.


Full Tide, Blue Moon

Pictures I’m living through for now, trying to remember all the good times Our life was cutting through so loud, memories are playing in my dull mind I hate this part paper hearts, and I’ll hold a piece of yours Don’t think I would just forget about it. Hoping that you won’t forget about it

Tori Kelly’s Paper Hearts. Photograph from Land’s End, San Francisco.

This doodle came to me last week, and it says it all. There has been this gaping hole in my heart and a storm was brewing. Finally, the storm came and went. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic, and no regrets either. Instead, my heart’s filled with this calmness, the ones you get after the storm and the sun peaks out. I can finally emerge and look out what’s left of the world after all the social ideals and uncertainty have been washed away; I see happiness and self-respect.

I’ve always known that I should value happiness over money, but my own actions betray me. I knew what I was talented at, what I was born for, yet, I put a box over my own head because I thought everyone else would outshine me. The timing to start a new chapter and leave my comfortable 9-5 routine behind couldn’t have been more perfect. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m in California, away from distraction and away from outer voices and opinions. I had time to myself to do some reflecting. And when I had the what-ifs, buts and can’ts, I had Aidan, my family and close friends as my support system to tell me otherwise. I also spent a lot of time washing dishes while listening to Jess’s LivelyShow and it has helped me gain perspective tremendously. Hearing how others searched high and low for their purpose and love of life ignited something in me. Hope? Motivation? The YOLO mentality? Whatever it was, I’m grateful for both the process and the outcome. I found new friends, new self-esteem and more importantly, a new angle on life. I couldn’t be more happy right now.


May Weekend


I know it's June already, ,but I've finally got time now to sort through my first batch of May photos. May was overall somewhat eventful. There was a family Quebec trip (post coming soon), and there were many girly bonding time that involved shopping, coffee, boardgames and of course getting lost in odd parts of town (Etobicoke! Ugh). One gorgeous Saturday I got to see all the fluffy animals at Woofstock. My shutter kept going off, snapping pictures from Woodbine Park to Toronto Centre Island. The breeze blowing through our hair as we stroll through the island boardwalk was very rejuvenating. We waited for dawn, so the cityscape  across the lake formed a strong contrast silhouette against the evening colours in the sky. It was lovely. My pictures taken from the 50mm lens can't do its justice. I remembered staring at the sundown, captivated by the view, feeling so frail and yet memorable, as most things are in transition from one state to the another.

"It's only temporary", so a voice echoed in my head as the sky darkens.


Toronto's was lively and colourful as always. The following Sunday, we explored Kensington Market and the west strips of Queen Street on our way to the Gladstone Hotel. You find the most interesting and friendly folks in this city. I regret not making the effort exploring the city more while I had the opportunity to in University with their free frequent shuttles to downtown. However, I'm glad I realized this regret now at this age because I've developed new appreciation for the quirky nuisances of this place.

Never too late I guess.



Ditch Right Behind

I signed a deal with the devil and he took my soul
To a room with a table in the dark and cold
I signed my name just the same as I'd done on the line before
I was in the middle of the cliff and the sea
With a ditch right behind me that the bitch couldn't see
She came right at me with her teeth and her dress and they both fell off
Be careful what you wish for when you're young
Be careful what you wish for when you're young
Snowship by Benjamin Francis Leftwich


drawing inspiration from Kygo's album art. Pool party, floral crop top and having a smoke, I wanna be that girl right now. Photography capture from strolling through Rue du Sault au Matelot, Quebec City

Crazy and vivid dreams has been haunting me. The ones you wake up from and almost immediately, you can recite every excruciating detail. My dental hygienist nagged me to put on my mouth guard because my night time teeth grinding is getting worst and increasing my cold sensitivity. Anxiety along with random headaches come and go as they please. I've been having trouble falling asleep at night unless I'm at the point of exhaustion. Sadly, I can't sleep in much either given the chance to. Breakouts plus greasy food cravings and a large amount of carb intake makes me feel shitty. I didn't realize it at first, but now as I'm writing everything down, I believe my body's telling me something - girl, you're stressed.