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This year’s summer season has really been giving me positive vibes & putting me in such a happy mood. I am sooo glad that I don’t live in Southern California (ahem, like the rest of my relatives…) where it’s a minimum of 80℉/26℃ every day in the summertime. I love living in Northern California (practically next door to San Francisco), where the weather could be sweltering hot one day, then cool & cloudy the next day, which is pretty much what the weather has been like these past few weeks in the city where I live. I love it.

My town has experienced a couple of major heat wave days since this summer season has begun, but we’ve also experienced quite a bit of cooler days as well, & I am totally here for it, ma’maw! (Sorry for the weird pop-culture slang. I’ve been hanging around Drag Queens this past weekend, & their crazy slang terms have been sneaking their way into my everyday vocabulary.) For example, yesterday it was so hot I had to run the air conditioning at full blast in my car, but today it was super cloudy, & it actually rained a little in the morning…well, it was barely a sprinkle, but enough to wet my driveway.

That’s one reason why I love living in my current city. I love the balance of hot days, warm days, & chilly days. Sometimes it can be annoying when it’s hot in the daytime but cold at night. That’s the typical summer weather in my town. It’ll be hot enough during the day that you’ll want to put on a pair of shorts & a cute airy top, but then the temperature suddenly drops & you’ll have to switch to jeans & a warm sweater. Though, I don’t mind that at all.

Today’s sudden wet-ish weather was a pleasant surprise. I was happy that the temperature was high yesterday, which allowed me to air dry my freshly washed laundry without having to use the dryer machine (& save energy!). However, I was just as happy when I saw from my bedroom window the clouds rolling in. I really enjoyed the change of pace & being able to throw on my favorite sweater & a pair of comfy jeans. It’s these little moments in life that truly bring me joy. I want to be able to appreciate & soak up all of these little things in life & live my life peacefully.

Whether it’s hot or cold, I will enjoy every day to the fullest. Until the next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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This post is a follow-up of sorts to my last list blog post about gifts. The previous post was about a thoughtful gift I have received. This new post will be talking about a gift I have enjoyed giving to someone else.


SIDE NOTE: Sorry I’ve been absent from my blog these past few weeks. I’ve been going through a ton of medical appointments & doctor’s visits, & just haven’t had the time, or physical energy, to sit down & properly write. Over the past couple of weeks (approximately 1 month or so), I had been placed on a strict medication schedule & had been going to my doctor’s clinic at least 2 to 3 times per week. As for now, things in that aspect of my life are still up in the air, but the picture is slowly becoming more clear. Now is the time to wait for results & new steps to take on that particular journey. That’s all I am going to say for now.

As you may or may not know, I L-O-V-E being generous & giving gifts to other people, & I never ever expect anything in return. I just love the act of giving something cute & fun, &/or something meaningful & thoughtful to the people I truly care about. It’s not about shopping or spending the money. It’s all about seeing the surprised & happy reactions on the faces of the gift receivers.

When prompted by the 99 Things That Bring Me Joy journal to choose one gift I enjoyed giving to someone else, I had a hard time deciding which one I should write about. I ended up choosing to write about something that is not just one item, but a series of items, & they’re also not really gifts, per se. They are actually handwritten letters…letters I’ve written to Jian. Heh, you probably have an idea about what kind of letters I’m hinting at here. So let’s not beat around the bush anymore & get straight to it, shall we?

To give you a brief glimpse into the early stages of my relationship with Jian, we used to talk on the phone with each other non-stop on the weekends, & I would write him old fashioned letters every week. Jian was at the very tail end of his college career, & I had already finished my schooling & was already working. (Let me remind all of you that I am the more mature-aged person in our relationship…by only a modest amount.)

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a sample of the letters I wrote

It was the early 2000’s, & snail mail was still a ‘thing’. I wrote Jian cute letters, mostly writing flowery, romantic nonsense. I would use my most sickly sweet Hello Kitty-esque stationery & decorate it with a shitload of stickers & girly craft junk. What can I say? I was still in my early mhmmm-eens/ies (not revealing my true age here) & had rosy stars in my eyes…or in today’s terminology: 😍.

And, well, you know what? To this very day, Jian has kept every single one of those cloyingly sweet letters I wrote him. That just shows how much he really appreciated all of those words I wrote to him (even if he did find all of my stupid stickers annoying). I really love the fact that Jian continues to cherish all of the letters & cards that I write to him. It goes to show that he absorbed all of those heartfelt sentiments that I expressed to him, & he shows me his own heartfelt sentiments in return every single day.

I really cherish that time in our relationship where we were getting to know each other & build our relationship. Now, we couldn’t be a more stronger team. We are so in sync with each other that every day just feels so natural & second-nature to us both. So we’ll both continue on together & keep on going down our own path, making our own journey. Until next time, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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The next list brings me to the topic of a thoughtful gift I’ve received. This was a fairly easy topic to write about, but I had to decide between two thoughtful gifts I’ve received in my life that each hold extremely special meaning. Should I rehash my sentimental story about the white handkerchief (named Tom Hanks-erchief) my dad gave me again? Or should I tell you all about my other sentimental object that also has significant meaning & value in my heart/life? Let’s talk about the latter item, shall we?

Let me begin this blog with a little background information about myself. I’m not much of a jewelry wearing type of person. That’s not to say I don’t wear jewelry at all, but I’m just not the type of person who has to wear jewelry every single day, or have sets of jewelry to match my outfits. I do, though, have a couple of pieces of jewelry that I wear on formal/special occasions, like weddings & dressed-up parties.

I do have a few select pieces of jewelry that I wear on a daily basis, like the platinum & diamond ring Jian gave me for that finger on my left hand, & my grandma’s personal (& custom made) jade bracelet, which has now become too small/tight on my fat wrist. Hey, it was already a challenge to get the bracelet on in the first place. I had two bruises on my hand after I had the bracelet put on, & I’ve gained a bit of weight since I have matured from my early twenties (where I used to be able to wear extra small sized clothing & eat whatever junk I wanted with no immediate consequences).

The one piece of jewelry, however, that holds the most significant meaning in my life. I have a necklace that I wear on a nearly daily basis (except when I’m wearing formal jewelry). I have had this necklace since I was a little girl, approximately 9 or 10 years old. It was given to me by my maternal grandmother, whom I was extremely close to. (Side note: I have kept nearly every gift my grandmother has given me throughout my life.)

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My maternal grandma was one of the most badass persons I have ever personally known, with an Elizabeth Taylor-esque jewelry collection, of course. Like Mz. Taylor herself, my grandmother had a lot of her personal jewelry custom made. I vividly recall one of my most memorable trips with my grandmother was when she took my mom & I on a special trip to Hong Kong. We were there to visit old family friends & former colleagues of my grandmother’s, but we were also there to pick up some custom made jewelry she had purchased, & while we were waiting at the jewelry shop, she casually asked me to pick out a little trinket/charm to put on a necklace chain.

I remember thinking to myself that I shouldn’t pick anything too outrageous, & I was too shy in accepting my grandmother’s enormous generosity. So I ended up choosing a simple gold key. I’m not sure why or how this key stood out amongst all of the other pretty charms, but it was the first design to catch my attention. Of course, my grandma not-so playfully laughed at my overly-simplistic choice (she would’ve chosen something more flashy/substantial for herself), but she bought it for me anyway. I was so incredibly grateful that my grandma would go out of her way to gift me this beautiful, albeit tiny, piece of jewelry. Since that day, I’ve taken considerable care of this charm, cherishing it as well as the memory forever tied to it.

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A couple of years later since that special day in Hong Kong, my mom surprised me with another charm to add to my necklace. She had just finished going on an outing in our city’s Chinatown with her dad, my maternal grandfather (who had long since been divorced from my grandmother). She passed by a local jeweler who was having a flash sale at his jewelry stand, so she decided to pick out a few items, & she stumbled upon a pretty jade charm that she thought would match well on my necklace.

The jade charm doesn’t really have a distinct carved design. Many have studied it, but could not decipher what it’s supposed to look like. I’ve come to the conclusion that the charm is supposed to resemble a rock with clouds swirling around the top & a flower with a single leaf at the bottom corner. With all of the swirled carvings around the majority of the jade, you can’t really tell what the main shape is supposed to be, but you can distinctly see the carved flower at the bottom left corner.

Whoever carved this charm was extremely clever in choosing to carve the flower in the lone green spot on the piece of jade they used to make this charm. Chinese mythology/superstition believes that as your good fortune/good luck increases, the green part of your jade jewelry will become brighter. I don’t think this superstition has any factual merit behind it, but it’s a fun anecdote to pass around & share with your friends for a bit of good humor.

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Lastly, I have one more charm left to talk about on my necklace. This charm holds the most significant meaning to me because my second brother gifted this to me on my & Jian’s special day. My brother is not the type of person to gift someone such a personal & extravagant gift such as this, except for immediate family members (i.e. my mom, my sister, & my sister’s kids) & one of our younger cousins who has a unique brother-sister relationship with my brother…since she doesn’t have any brothers of her own, only sisters.

Ever since I was a little kid, my brother always got me super cool presents for my birthday & Christmas. He always knew what I liked & got me all of the fun stuff, like the newest toys I wanted, or the latest fashion trend. My brother, although he was so much older than me, always cared for me & treated me like I was his favorite little sister (even though he had one annoying middle sister, & another even younger half-sister from his dad’s side of the family).

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I was extremely touched when he gifted me this incredible Oriental red envelope charm on my big special day. To be honest, I didn’t even know these types of necklace charms existed outside of Asian jewelry shops. It was absolutely fitting to receive such an item on that special day, a day where red envelopes are the most appropriate gift to give. Plus, I thought it was so clever & funny to show off how “Asian” our family really are.

This necklace charm that my brother got for me came from Tiffany’s. It’s well detailed, right down to the envelope flaps on the back of the charm, & the front has the simplified Chinese character for the word “lucky” (吉). All in all, it’s a very simple, yet meaningful charm. This charm originally came on an existing necklace chain that was too tight fitting for my neck. At first, I didn’t even think to transfer the charm to my other necklace with the jade & key charms, so I had carefully stored this charm away in my jewelry box.

It wasn’t until this past Lunar New Year’s celebration that I finally decided to take out this charm & wear it on my necklace. In our household, my mom has convinced us all to follow the Chinese mythology/superstition that one must wear something red on their body everyday for the entire year if that year coincides with their Chinese zodiac animal.

With this superstition/myth, it is said that if the new year coincides with one’s zodiac animal, then that person may either face a very difficult year or a very prosperous year. However, if you wear something red every day during that year (i.e. bracelet, nail polish, article of clothing), it will help to ward of any negative energy/bad mojo…but the item has to either be completely red or mostly red. Also according to this superstition/myth, red underwear is the best defense against negative energies/bad mojo. I’m not kidding. I had to wear red underwear everyday for a year once. It’s not as hard to do as one might think. Just head over to your nearest Target or TJ Maxx & snap up a six-pack of cheap red skivvies.

This year just happens to coincide with Jian’s Chinese zodiac animal. So far, everyday he’s been wearing a red bracelet along with the many pairs of red “manties” (a.k.a. man panties) I got him from UNIQLO for Christmas. Although this isn’t my zodiac animal’s year, I have also decided to wear something red, alas my red envelope necklace charm, for the whole year, just to keep any negative energies away.

So far, things have been looking good this year, & both of us are going to continue on this path of warding off any bad mojo as best as we can. We shall see how the remainder of the year plays out for us. So, until the next blog…cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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