2018: The Depth Year


Yesterday I was talking to my cousin about New Years Resolutions. I told him mine were to dig deeper into my current commitments. Then I coincidentally came across this article. It resonated well with me, and past conversations I’ve had with some of my close friends. The whole article is great and worth a read. Here are some of the highlights:

You take a whole year in which you don’t start anything new or acquire any new possessions you don’t need.

No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.

..taking a whole year to go deeper instead of wider, you end up with a rich but carefully curated collection of personal interests, rather than the hoard of mostly-dormant infatuations that happens so easily in post-industrial society.

As long as we live in a consumer culture, it may always be easier to go wider than deeper. Going deeper requires patience, practice, and engagement during stretches where nothing much is happening.

In the consumer age, where it’s so easy to pick up and abandon new pursuits, I imagine this Depth Year thing really catching on, and maybe becoming a kind of rite of passage. People are already getting sick of being half-assed about things, I like to think.

When we give ourselves fewer places to dig, we go deeper, and what we uncover is more rare and valuable than the usual stuff near the surface.

2018 is my depth year where I will continue to be steadfast to the things I’ve already committed to.

  • Exercise: continue to do yoga,pilates, and piyo. Commit to two times a week consistently.
  • Food: continue to eat healthy with our meal prep. Add breakfast into a morning routine and drink healthy homemade elixirs.
  • Volunteer: continue to volunteer at our local non-profit weekly, adding an extra day when possible.
  • Read the books I already own, have read or borrowed from the library.
  • Relationships: deepen the handful of friends I have, most of which live out of state. Continue to cultivate friendships with my family members, especially my cousins I grew up with. Learn something new about my husband and learn to appreciate our differences in personalities.
  • Hobbies: continue to go hiking and visiting national parks! Finish craft projects I have in the garage.
  • Home: continue to re-do our home slowly, surely, and mindfully. We renovate with items that are second hand and like to implement practices for less waste with compost, recycling, reusing, and conscious consuming.
  • Shopping: only for essentials. Getting creative with what we already own. Buying second hand, utilizing freecycle, craigslist, offerup, and facebook marketplace.
  • Letting go: of things (literally and figuratively) that are burdensome, holding back, not needed and/or can bless someone else.Over all, continue to enjoy life with contentment, joy, and peace! Prioritizing relationships and people over things, and continuing to pursue Jesus first above all.

    By continuing to commit to these things my hope is after twelve months there is less stress, no chaos or superficial stuff, and no burn outs. Instead,  a deeper satisfaction with life, a greater reward with stewardship, and better habits. And lastly, the joy that comes from the practice of commitment.




Lately, I’ve been cooking and baking, a lot. Mostly baking. With the new year I’m gonna curb on the sweets and continue to eat more mindfully. My husband and I get pre-made meals from a local meal prep service. The meals were to help us stay away from fast food. They’re also more on the healthier side so it is always a treat to bake since life is all about balance. Instead of baking every other day, I decided to spread it out a little.

Enter my short and small list of baking goals:

  1. Clementine Upside Down Cake 
  2. Lavender Shortbread Cookies
  3. LEMON Lavender Shortbread Cookies
  4. Raspberry, Lychee and Rose Cake 

I’ll share my experiences here. Until then Happy New Year!


with love,

The Adventure of our 2017 Christmas Tree

The Holidays couldn’t come any faster. This time last year we were still in Thailand and we didn’t get much of a Holiday season at all. So this year the anticipation for Thanksgiving, getting a Christmas tree, and enjoying the Holidays became high.

Today we planned to get our Christmas tree from a farm in Los Gatos. Getting there didn’t happen as smooth as we hoped. When we started our car it didn’t sound well. We ordered some Starbucks and while we picked up our drinks, Andrew popped the hood of our car. He found out that we had really low oil. Almost non-existent. (Yikes!) Not to fear – we were close to an O’Reilly’s and he grabbed a couple quarts to pour inside the thirsty engine. We stood around and sipped our Holiday drinks in the Starbucks parking lot.

Then we hit the freeway. It was about a thirty minute drive and we were a mile away from the farm.

There are signs to turn right for Frosty’s Christmas Tree Farm (where we were headed) and four other tree farms too. Sadly, the road was blocked and closed with giant orange cones and construction trucks. There were no other farms this side of the mountain.

Instead of turning around google maps gave us an alternate route – 18 miles and 31 minutes away. We continued and twenty minutes on a very windy road we realized it was more construction to a dead end. Thanks, Google Maps.

So we turned around a little car sick and a tad bit disheartened. Once we got closer to the major freeway we got  full cell phone reception again and thank goodness for Yelp, found another christmas tree farm on the other side of the freeway.

We were determined. Insert: Patchen Christmas Tree Farm.

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We were greeted by a very nice gentleman (the owner) who gave us a saw, and brochure on what kind of trees they have growing, and how much they cost. Each tree is color coded, and this determines the rate for each tree. There are minimum costs for each tree – no matter how short or tall they are. $60, $70, and $80 respectively.

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It was beautiful, and enjoyed the fruit trees that were planted sporadically throughout the property.


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We searched and searched!


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My younger sister Chelsea reading the rings on a cut tree stump.

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A worthy contender.

LRG_DSC07592 Finally, a tree we all agree on! Either that or we were getting tired and hungry. (Maybe a mix of all three.) It’s cute and round, and minimal. Somehow we are attracted to minimalistic trees.

Really excited to take this home… and use the saw.

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Andrew makes the first cut.

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Chelsea contributes.

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I get in on some of the action, too!

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The tree is cut and Andrew goes down to get it netted. The owner complimented that our tree was cut clean. Good teamwork!

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We get a box of twine (inclusive with the rate) and tie it to roof.


Patchen Farms is a fun place. Not only do they have a lot of trees to choose from, there is a huge space to hang out, and shop. There are picnic tables to sit at if you pack a lunch.

You can spend almost the whole day here.

We visited on a Monday before noon, and there was a handful of other people there. A great experience as we felt like we had the place mostly to ourselves.

They accept credit cards + cash.


Photos of tree and the cutest helper. Our ornaments are a collection of sentiment, from places we visited or personal memorabilia. Except that gold snowflake, its there simply because its cute.








Happy Holidays everyone! 

Camping @ Sequoia National Park

This weekend we packed up the car to meet our friends at Sequoia National Park. They’re traveling through the United States on a road trip, and we were happy to meet them. The drive to the park is gorgeous, lots of beautiful hills and greenery.

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As we approached the park we drove through the fog. It made the forest look ethereal.


We got to our campsite and realized we were missing one backpack with all our gear (sleeping bags, tent, sleeping pads + pillows). GASP.  So here we are walking through the campground to find our friends!



Forgetting our backpack was something to laugh about. Instead we slept inside our car. Thankfully our friends had two extra sleeping bags, and I had three blankets so we worked with it, and survived!

Monday morning we woke up to a winter wonderland. Andrew started a fire and we cooked breakfast.




Always have to have bacon. Also: mason jars are great for just about everything.


The day included walking to see General Grant, one of the biggest and oldest sequoias.



General Grant is 267 feet tall and 1,650 years old!



We took a walk through a fallen sequoia, which is apparently the only way they die. They are indestructible otherwise, surviving rot, insects, and fire.




Afterwards we took a drive to see a waterfall. The drive up there was gorgeous as well. It was beautiful, and the rivers running alongside the mountains were a sight to see. So much water!




Unplugged for a couple days, hanging out alongside a campfire (cause it was so cold), and being with friends make for a great trip. Aren’t our friends the cutest?

My favorite part of the trip was watching the kids and Uncle Andrew have an intense snowball fight.

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The last two times the Warriors won the Finals we were camping the night of their championship game. Coincidence or a sign of good luck? 😉

Good tips:
– Get gas one more time before getting into the park. That way you have enough gas to visit other parts as it’s really big.
– If you’re headed back to the South Bay visit Cutija Taco Shop in Los Banos. One word: CARNE-ASADA-FRIES!


Two weeks out of the hospital and I continue to get stronger everyday.

This week I have more energy and was able to do things I enjoy like bake, visit Savers (I need more stretchy pants), and I walked around some stores like Target and Safeway with and without a cart for support. Yesterday I was able to put a load of clothes in the washing machine, and prepare my own meal.

I started doing some chair yoga.  The repetitions of contracting muscles and deep breathing has helped me work towards the goal of standing straight while walking and breathing well. It’s healing.

Still a little slow while walking and getting up the stairs but the more I walk and move, the stronger I get the following day. My abdominal area is still healing and a little sore. My DR wants to set up an ultrasound in three months to make sure the cyst is fully resolved.

Many people have suggested to dig deep into this time. I’m learning how to live slow with more peace. How to live with a heart wide open, without fear or worry, and to not sweat the small stuff.

Sometimes people hurt us and we can stay mad or hurt for years, carrying that around like baggage without even knowing it. Gossip, strife, anger, jealousy, competitiveness, being judgmental or overly critical ruins relationships faster than anything, and it’s junk.

In my thinking, if you have the choice to treat someone any way you want, why would you choose junk?

Life is so precious and love beats it all. Not to mention for those of us who are disciples of Christ, love is a command and the number one thing that is evident of the Holy Spirit living in us.

This time has shown me the depth of my husbands commitment to me. It’s given me a great appreciation for my  friends who are so generous, and so kind, and so loving. And in the face of extreme adversity had my back. My family who came together to help both and Andrew and I, and made sure I have everything I need for optimal recovery. Their generosity is unmatched. I can’t put a price on people like that.

My mom has been here nearly 10 days to stay with me as my caregiver while Andrew went back to work. She has helped and encouraged me to get back to normal daily activities. She reminds me of the progress I’ve made daily and reminds me not to worry about tomorrow, but to focus on today.

Even though this was hard, coming out of it, I see my life and it’s so much brighter. It’s fuller, and it’s freer. For that I am grateful. I hope to keep this perspective for a long time.

A Quick trip to Cambodia


 We had a three days in Cambodia over Thanksgiving weekend. We like to travel smarter, not harder, and maximize our time wherever we are. This  means avoiding crowds, when possible, and being prepared so we can swiftly get through the airport and into the city! Here are some tips that helped us on our visit.

  1. E-Visa 
    Since our trip to Cambodia wasn’t decided until we got into Thailand, we didn’t get a visa from the U.S., instead we applied for a visa online. This included taking a photo with our camera and uploading it with our application. It takes up to 3 days to approve.
    Total cost $40
    If you don’t get a Visa online, you can apply for it as soon as you land. So you wait in line for your Visa, then another line for customs. When we arrived at the airport, we only had to wait through one line since we had our E-Visa’s.
  2. Ankor Wat Sunrise
    The building to purchase an admission pass to Angkor Wat is 10 minutes away from the temple itself. To go straight from your hotel to the temple in the morning, its best to purchase your admission ticket the afternoon before your sunrise. We were picked up at 4:40am, and arrived to get Angkor to witness the sunrise. 
    $20/ 1 day pass
    $40/ 3 day pass
    $60 / week
    Rates might increase significantly by February 2017
  3. Bring Cash USD
    The currency for most tourist places, like Siem Reap, is the US dollar. Have smaller bills to carry for tips. We use our Charles Schwab debit card when abroad because we get reimbursed for the ATM transaction fees.
  4. Transportation.
    The driver we got from the airport was very nice, and offered to be our driver for the rest of our trip. We agreed, and he had good tips on certain sights. He had an SUV with A/C. If you don’t mind not having A/C, and want a more Khmer experience, tuk tuk drivers are also available for hire.Always, always ask how much a tour or ride is going to cost before agreeing to get into a vehicle or go on a tour guide, unless its a metered car.
    For more clarification, ask how long a trip take. Efficiency is not common in developing countries, and communication with a language barrier can be a problem.Speak simply, listen well, and enjoy your time!