Tag Archives: mom

Graduation and Some Thoughts on Following Your Passion

24 Jun

Friday was my high school graduation, so I am officially a college girl now! It has been a perfect weekend full of graduation fun. my incredible cousins and godmother flew all the way across the country from Florida to be here to share the big day with me. It was so wonderful to celebrate with two sets of cousins, our family friends from Mommy and Me, my dad’s friend from his twenty-something days, Goose, and his lovely family!

I am so grateful to all of theses people and all of my fantastic friends for making these past four years such an amazing adventure! It is because of the tremendous support of my friends and family that I’ve been able to get into my dream school and have the most fun in my life.

After the ceremony we all went to a lovely outdoor lunch where my mom arranged a delicious menu with pizza, kale caesar salad, raw salmon crudo, minestrone soup, baked salmon, mixed seafood salad, and spaghetti and meatballs. She also got the most beautiful chocolate cake, adorable graduation cake pops, lovely flowers, and adorable balloons. She managed to make lunch at a hotel have all the warmth and personalized touches of a meal a home.

In addition to the fabulous lunch, the celebration has continued throughout the weekend with my fabulous Florida cousins and amazing boyfriend. We had a wonderful Friday night barbecue, Saturday at Disneyland, and today we are off to enjoy the farmer’s market and shopping streets of Santa Monica. The fun just keeps coming!

One of the things that made graduation especially memorable was that I was chosen as one of the graduation speaker. I’m including part of my speech below because I think that it applies not just to my graduating class, but to most everyone.

“I still remember coming to high school for orientation, and getting lost in the winding corridors for a good twenty minutes. I thought to myself, “well this is embarrassing, but at least there are only a few people around to see.” A few days later on the first day of school, I was walking down the staircase in front of the library, when I tripped and fell flat on my face. This time I wasn’t so lucky, because the halls were filled with both my peers and intimidating upperclassmen. Few people noticed, and even fewer seemed to care. While people usually applaud your triumphs, most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to even notice if you stumble along the way. Although we all fear momentary failure and embarrassment, it is our successes for which we will be remembered.

As you venture out into the terrifying real world of esteemed professors, brand new peers, and temperamental bosses, remember that you will fall on your face, either figuratively or literally as in my case, and you will get back up. You are eighteen years old and no one expects you to be perfect. All that matters is that you do what you love and that you do it without fear of failure. Enthusiastically following your passion will get you much farther in life than simply doing what you know you can succeed in. As accomplished film director Jerry Zucker once said, “Ask yourself one question: If I didn’t have to do it perfectly, what would I try?” Let whatever your personal answer to this question is guide you throughout your life. Do what you love, and your passion will make up for whatever natural abilities you may lack. Nothing would be very exciting for long if it came easily, so push yourself to go out of your comfort zone. Take that kitchen chemistry class that interests you, chase that guy or girl who you think may be out of your league, or switch your major finance to sculpture. This is your time to build the life that you want to live, so seize the opportunity to control your own destiny and make every decision count.

Over the past four years, the graduating Class of 2012 has proven that it has the talent and the drive to achieve their goals, however unlikely they may seem to others. As freshmen, no one expected us to win Color Wars, but with our team’s unbeatable spirit, we did! We beat bigger, stronger, more experienced upperclassmen simply with our own determination and desire to win. Ever since our freshmen year, the Class of 2012 has been defying people’s expectations. Our graduating class has had greater academic, athletic, and extracurricular success than anyone ever could have predicted, and going forth into the world, we will continue to achieve the unimaginable.

As we grab hold of our diplomas, we are entering one of the most exciting stages of our lives. The past four years have prepared us for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Have the confidence in our ability to make a difference in the world. Now is our time to fearlessly embrace our passions and make every moment count.”

Miscelaneous May

29 May

After five months of blogging, I’ve come to realize the importance of editing. That’s why many of my photos and ideas for blog posts didn’t actually make it onto ModernAlice. Even still, I wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that I’ve been up to this month. So here’s a compilation of random photos from the past month.

My adorable pooch, Cassie, blending in with the stuffed animals

Making a rainbow at Prom

A recycled owl…how’s that for nature

Architectural paintings at the art show

More recycling with bottle cap furniture

Fun with the Wizard of Oz

Satirical art at its best

Having a blast with my friends at Grad Night where we, the graduating seniors, got to have Disneyland all to ourselves until the wee hours of the morning

My youngest sister having the time of her life climbing the pile of bean bags at my other sister’s outdoor movie party

The perfect tutu that would make any little girl’s dreams come true

Adorable vintage shop on Abbot Kinney filled with vintage treasures

Playful architecture on Abbot Kinney

Awesome cork chair…I want one of these in my home one day

ChakWave juices that blend herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables to appeal to the seven main chakra energy points

Nobuhiro Sato’s concrete mansion planter that experiments with the ideas of architecture to create lifestyle design accessories

Incredible brick and mortar street art on Abbot Kinney

Unique DIY succulent arrangements and terrariums at The Juicy Leaf

Adorable puppy bowls that would make any spoonful of soup or ice cream even better

Cute wooden bears with absolutely no purpose other than to make you smile

Draw Me A House: A Book of Colouring in, Ideas and Architectural Inspiration

Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony with my mom for Mother’s Day

 So lovely readers, what exciting things have you done this month? What do you have planned for next month’s summer fun?

Mother’s Day Loving From a True Momma’s Girl

12 May

For years I’ve been told by countless teachers, friends, and family members just haw much I look like my mom. Unlike most teens, I think that there is no greater compliment than being told of my resemblance to this incredible super woman. She has a speech pathology degree, a model-esque body, and endless charm, yet she chose to dedicate her life to raising my three sisters and me. If that kind of pure selflessness doesn’t count as a super power, I don’t know what does.

I owe much of my academic success to my mom’s tireless dedication to doing everything in her power to help me. From dropping me off and picking me up at Habitat for Humanity sights that are almost an hour’s car-ride away to running back and forth among all of the art and building supply stores in town to help get me all of the obscure materials that I needed for my architectural models, my mom has never once refused to help me in any way possible.

Not only has my mom been my biggest cheerleader over the years, she also has been my best friend. She is my closet confidant, my shopping buddy, my kitchen companion, and the person whom I can always rely on to try new things with me. While my mom always tries to encourage me to catch up on my zzz’s, when I end up staying up to the wee hours of teh morning, it’s usually because she’s by my side chit chatting with me all night over a shared orange and a few cups of green tea.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have this amazing woman to enstill a sense of endless possibility and to guide me throughout my life. Without her support and daily readership, this blog would not be possible, so thank you Mom!

If any of you lovely readers want to show your apprecaition for your mommas out there too, check out this quick and easy craft as a great last minute Mother’s Day gift or an idea to tuck away for the future. These sweet little tea cup candles are the perfect way to add a touch of vintage chic to any house or office. The great scents of these decorative gems are an extra bonus!

Teacup Candles

What You’ll Need:

  • small sauce pan or pot
  • teacup, with a saucer if you so desire
  • meltable wax (find this at craft stores like Michaels or melt down existing candle stubs)
  • candle wicks with holder, at leas an inch or two taller than your cup
  • dye and essential oil (skip these if you bought pre dyed and scented wax like me)
  • thermometer
  1. First scour your local vintage shops, flea market, or grandmother’s china cabinet for a cute teacup.
  2. Generously measure out the amount of wax that you will need to fill your teacup.
  3. Melt the wax in your pot and place the thermoneter in it to monitor the temperature.
  4. While waiting for the wax to melt, tie the top of your wick around a pencil or popsicle stick.
  5. Once the wax reaches 185 degrees, gently dip the wick into the wax, then place the base of the wick into the teacup and let it set.
  6. Balance the pencil or stick on the teacup’s rim, and place the teacup in the sink.
  7. Gently pour the melted wax into the teacup, making sure to stop 1/2 inch below the rim of the cup.
  8. Let the wax cool for at least an hour, then untie the wick from the pencil or stick and cut it to 1/2 inch above the wax line.
  9. Wrap it up cutely and give it as a gift. Punny tea references encouraged.

Miso Glazed Salmon with Mushrooms

10 Mar

I’ve been extraordinarily lucky that in addition to being a wonderful caretaker, my mom is also a fabulous chef. Growing up I sometimes took it for granted that every night we’d have delicious dinners, but as I’ve grow older, I’ve realized the importance of learning how to not only cook tasty confections, but also how to build satisfying, nutritious dinners. This inspired me to start a weekly supper club with my mom.

We decided that every weekend we would select 2-3 dishes and pick up ingredients at the local farmer’s market, then during the week we would cook up a tasty homemade dinner together. It’s been so great to get to spend time cooking alongside my mom without it even having to be a holiday or special event.

Miso-Ginger Marinade

Everyone should have a few go-to recipes in their repartee, so as to avoid being forced to turn to fast food. Knowing how to cook is a crucial part of growing up, and something that I cannot recommend strongly enough to seniors, like me, who are about to go off to college.

Coated Salmon

It’s so great to to be able to learn my mom’s delectable recipes and to discover new ones together. I’m so excited to share these tasty recipes with you!

Marinating Mushroom

With a side of vegetables or a side salad, this salmon recipe makes a great quick and easy dinner or lunch. You can make it for just yourself or to share depending on the size of your piece of salmon. It would also be great atop a bed of kale as a nutritious lunch to bring to microwave at work.

Uncooked Salmon

This dish will dazzle your taste buds with the umami flavor of the miso and the mushrooms, the spiciness of the cayenne, and the sweetness of the brown sugar and ginger.

Dinner is served!

Miso-Glazed Salmon with Wild Mushrooms

Serves 1-2

Adapted from Delish


  • 4 Tsp red miso paste
  • 1  Green onion finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated and peeled
  • 1/4 Tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbs +1/2 cup water
  • 1 -2  Salmon fillet(s)
  • 1 Cup wild mushrooms (shiitake or any other type work well)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl mix the miso paste with the 4 Tbs water.
  3. Add the green onion, ginger, sugar, and cayenne and mix well.
  4. Generously brush the miso mixture onto the top and sides of the salmon, then transfer the salmon to a glass baking dish.
  5. Add the remaining water to the mixture, then dump in the mushrooms and allow them to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Top the salmon with the mushrooms and bake it for 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked throughout.

Life is like a box of chocolates….or in my case a box of tea

13 Feb

Since my dad is the ultimate movie buff, he made sure to show me all the classics early on. As an 8-year-old, my favorite line from Forest Gump was of course “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'” At the time I didn’t really understand what that advice meant, but as I’ve grown up, I realize that this idea has power beyond its salivating reference to chocolate. What Gump was saying is that life is full of variety and unexpected surprises. I try to embrace spontaneity, but not to force myself to live spontaneously simply for the sake of doing so. The trick to spontaneity, is not waiting until the last possible moment to make a decision, but rather being open to all possibilities and being willing to go a little out of your comfort zone and take a risk in hopes that it will make you happier, or t least expand your range of experiences.

The advice that my mom gave me a few days ago could also be linked to a box of chocolate, but is of a very different nature. She told me not to expect any single person to fulfill all your needs because you will end up being disappointed. This is my mom’s secret to always seeing the good in people. By viewing your friends like an assorted box of chocolates, and not getting hung up on the idea of having a single best friend/spouse to fulfill all your needs, you will ultimately be happier. By opening yourself up to a variety of people, instead of narrow-mindedly rejecting any people who aren’t perfect, you will make it so that even if one friend cancels on you, you will have a phonebook full of people that you can call for a reassuring chat or an spontaneous day out.

Even if you haven’t actively tried to categorize your friends, think through them now and see what different niches they fill. Do you have a foodie friend who takes you to hip new restaurants, a therapist friend who is happy to listen to you talk then give your his/her two cents, an outdoorsy friend who encourages you to leave your technologic life for a hike very once in a while, an exciting friend who always knows how to distract you from life’s burdens, or a childhood friend who is always happy to go on walks down memory lane with you? Maybe you are even lucky enough to have a best friend who will always be there for you when you need him/her. This person could be your sibling, your boyfriend, your parent, or anyone who you can always count on to have your best interest in mind. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show all of your best friends how much you care or as a reminded to make plans with one of your best friends whom you haven’t seen in a while.

Tea-filled chocolate box with a homemade teacup candle (tutorial for the teacup candle to come in a future post)

Now back to the tea…I’m lucky that my Mom is one of my best friends. Not only does she always have my best interests at heart, she also shares my love of tea. Every afternoon after our hectic lives calm down for at least a bit, we discuss our lives over tea. This is when she gives me wonderful advice, like the bit about friends being like an assorted box of chocolate. To show her how much I love her this Valentine’s Day, I updated a box of chocolates to give it a personalized twist.

Neither bouquets of flowers nor boxes of chocolates can addequately express my love, so I’m combing the two most quintessential valentine’s day gifts to make this one!


Heartfelt Box of  Tea

You Will Need:

  • An empty heart-shaped chocolate box
  • Mini cupcake/candy liners
  • Blossoming tea buds
  • 2 1/2 inch slips of paper
  • Red or pink pen
  • A heartfelt card

Box with tea and cupcake liners


1. Brainstorm reasons why you love the person and write them down (you want one or two reasons per tea bulb), then cut the reasons into strips

2. Fill your empty chocolate box with the mini cupcake liners

3. Place a blossoming tea bulb and one (or two) of the little notes into each cupcake liner

4. Place the lid on the box, wrap it up, and top off your present with a sweet card

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovely readers! What gifts did you make/buy to show the important people in your life how much you love them?