Hello, hello. I have neglected this poor blog for a while now. I’m posting more frequently (which doesn’t say much, hah) on my photography blog these days. Normally, I like to keep the personal and business blogs separate, but I posted some personal entries on the photo blog recently. If you’re so inclined:
Day #1 of our August vacation in Italy
It’s all in the family: The story of my grandpa, the photographer (who worked with Ansel Adams!)
One day I will get back to crafting as I do miss it so!
I haven’t been updating here much lately. After blogging for Weddingbee and then subsequently starting a craft blog and a photography blog, I think I went through major blogging burnout. I began writing privately again about more thoughtful, personal stuff than I usually write here. So, I figured I’d try something a little different and share something from my private blog. It’s just an experiment and it’s not stamping/cooking related. So feel free to skip this one and hopefully I’ll be back to my crafty, blogging self soon. Or stay and read to take a glimpse inside my jumbled little brain.
On Relationships, Soulmates, and Hollywood Romance
My friends and I have been talking a lot about relationships lately. So, I’ve been thinking about what makes a healthy relationship and why some work couples out and some don’t. I used to believe in the idea of soulmates; the one person in the universe that would be my perfect match. I don’t anymore. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in true love. Indeed, I very much do.
I’ve dated a lot of good men in the past—mature guys of integrity who treat their mothers with respect and tell the truth to their girlfriends, even when it’s harder than lying. These were guys that looked into my eyes and not at my chest when they talked to me, the kind of men every father wants his daughter to marry. But with all these good men, I could never stay happy in a relationship. Why?
For all of my life, I believed love was something that would complete me and make my troubles disappear. True love would was the solution to feel lovely, happy, and beautiful. When I found it, I’d be the confident, bold person I always desired to be. So, I built pedestals for my boyfriends to stand on and gave up many things for them, sometimes relocating hundreds of miles. They were going to make my life exciting and full of meaning, and we were supposed to have a romance like Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook. When found the one, I’d finally know what I’d been missing all my life.
As you can imagine, my expectations were all too much of a burden for anyone to carry. No one could ever live up to them. And so, my search continued, one relationship after another, always ending in disappointment.
* * * *
If someone asked me ten years ago if I believed in soulmates, I’d have said yes. Today, I say no. In fact, I’m going to write something seemingly unromantic, something controversial that I’ve come to believe and even told Andrew: I don’t believe my husband is the only person I could have married.
Now that I’m married and in the longest and healthiest relationship I’ve been able to hold together, I can say this for certain: Andrew is just a guy. I’m just a girl. Andrew and I, we love each other to pieces, we have amazing conversations and we diligently work to build our relationship with precious memories. We’re the best of friends and I turn to him for support, wisdom, and affection. But I know one truth: I am not going to find the meaning of life in our marriage. He isn’t going to solve my problems or fill the missing pieces. And he feels the same. In other words, we have low expectations. And it frees us to love everything about each other and enjoy a deep, soulful companionship.
Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But it’s not what it seems. If you think about it, it’s a really beautiful thing, this freedom to love someone with no expectations. It’s the stuff that unconditional love is made of. When hardships occur in my life, I don’t expect Andrew to fix them. I just give him room to join me as a companion while I walk through the issues. If I have a bad day at work, I don’t ask him to erase it when he gets home; I don’t release my annoyance on the dirty dishes he left in the sink. Instead, we’ll go for takeout together and I’ll vent with him over a bowl of wonton soup. He is my partner, not my savior. Loving him with low expectations gives me freedom to appreciate him for who he is and what he contributes to our marriage. It’s love in its purest form.
In my past relationships, I only thought of my needs, my desires, and finding someone who could satisfy them. It took a few years of soul searching and a whole lot of accepting/forgiving myself and other people in my life before I realized, only I could fill my needs and desires. No man was going to do it for me. It was then that I was ready to have a mature relationship.
When Andrew came along, I was finally able to make a conscious decision to sacrifice my expectations and demolish the pedestals I built. I could keep a healthy relationship, one in which I didn’t lose myself, because I finally had a sense of self. So in a way, with the timing of it all, Andrew really was the only person I could’ve married. I suppose if I hadn’t met him, maybe eventually, someone else would’ve come along and perhaps we would’ve made it work. Or maybe not. But Andrew was there at the right place and the right time and I was there at the right place and the right time. It started with a mutual respect, sprinkled with some great conversation and chemistry. We discovered our personalities complemented each other, we shared the same faith and vision for our lives, and we decided we could live with each others’ faults. So, we chose to love each other and make it work.
Is that a totally unromantic, pragmatic view of love? Some might say so. But, I think it’s beautiful. Because the truth is, life isn’t made of the stuff of Hollywood movies. Why are Hollywood romances are so popular? It’s because they aren’t reality. We want to believe that the passion and romance reflected on big screen relationships comes naturally and lasts forever. It doesn’t. Real passion and romance needs to be fostered with trust and cultivated with care. Real love is messy, annoying, and burdensome at times because it involves humans. And humans are messy, annoying, and burdensome at times. Real love is a daily, sacrificial choice. We choose to love even when we don’t feel like it.
That’s the beauty of it all… if two people can commit to love through the grit, grime, and monotony of human imperfection, well, that’s more valuable than anything a Hollywood movie studio can dream up.
Hello, hello.I know I’ve been neglecting my crafting lately. Sadly, with a full time job, I only have time for one extra curricular activity, and right now it’s photography. However, I’ve started cooking again, so hopefully I can fill the silence with some great recipes I’ve been making.Starting with today.
If I could only pick one ethnic cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Japanese. Sushi is food fit for the gods. If I could only pick two cuisines, they would be Japanese and Korean. I LOVE Korean food. I crave it at least once a week and I eat so much kimchi, my DNA must have converted from Chinese to Korean by now.
Lately, I’ve been on a Korean food cooking binge. I found the cutest little Korean market near my office. It’s run by a super sweet woman who treats her customers like sons and daughters. Stepping into her shop makes me feel like I’m visiting my auntie for dinner. Yesterday, I picked up a stash of Korean pastes, spices, and produce and made my husband and myself a delicious Korean dinner. Check it out:
For a Chinese gal, it tasted pretty authentic! I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one. No more spending $12 on bibimbap when I can make it at home for much less.
I’m no expert at Korean cooking, but here’s the recipe that worked for me, which has been mixed and matched from a bunch of internet recipes, based on the ingredients I had access to:
Bibimbap for Two
Prep work: Meat and marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 pound thinly sliced rib-eye
2. Mix all the ingredients and marinate the meat for at least an hour or two in the fridge.
1. Wash and cook 1 cup of short grain white rice according to instructions.
6 oz fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts, washed
1/2 cup fresh soybean sprouts with the stringy ends picked off
1/2 cup peeled and julienned daikon radish
1/4 tsp Korean chili powder
Clove of Minced garlic
1 tsp rice vinegar
3. Spinach: Blanch spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove, rinse with cold water, drain, and place in a dish with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, pinch of minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds. Mix well.
4. Bean sprouts: Blanch bean sprouts for 20 seconds. Drain, place in a dish and add 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, dash of salt and sprinkle of sesame seeds. Mix and set aside.
5. Soybean sprouts: Repeat step 4 using soybean sprouts, a plus pinch of minced garlic,
6. Daikon: Place daikon in a bowl, and add chili powder, rice vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Mix and set aside.
4 Tbsp Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
7. Mix all sauce ingredients together.
8. Heat a cast iron skillet up on medium and add a tbsp of oil. Cook the marinated meat without moving it around too much on the pan (try to flip it only once).
9. When meat is cooked, portion rice out into two bowls. Top with meat and veggies.
10. (Optional) Cook an egg over easy so the yolk is hot, but still runny. Add on top of rice, veggies, and meat.
11. Top with red sauce. Break the egg open, mix well, and eat!
My favorite thing about bibimbap is that you can make it any way you want by mixing up the veggies. I’ve had it with julienned carrots and cucumbers, shitake mushrooms, I’ve even been to a restaurant where it was made with corn. It’s always delicious. Next time, I’m going to try making dolsot bibimbap (the rice is cooked in a stone pot so it comes out nice and crispy). I don’t have a stone pot, but I will try using my cast iron as a substitute.
I must admit that I much more productive when I’m working in an organized office space. I envy people who can keep a tidy workspace because I am not a neat person by nature. So, I’m sharing where I purchased all the furniture for my craft room in case it helps someone else get a little bit more organized.
1. Floating Shelf: SmartFurniture.com
2. Ribbon Organizer: Etsy Seller OrganizeMore
3. Magnet Board: Umbra at the Container Store
4. Pencil Cups and Rod: Ikea Grundtal towel rail, Asker containers, and Byger “S” hooks
5. Desk: Ikea Utby underframe and Vika Amon table top
6. Drawers on Casters: Ikea Helmer
Miscellany: Allison asked about my lamp (not shown) because my office seems bright. The light source is a cheap hand-me-down from a friend, but I use daylight bulbs instead of regular bulbs, which makes the room brighter. The ribbon tree is from my old craft room, also purchased on Etsy. Now It houses ribbon spools that I use less frequently.
And just to prove to you that my neatness is all a charade, I’ll share some pictures of my messy craft closet:
Yikes! Piles of stamps and knick knacks stuffed into boxes. Yes, that hanging contraption is typically used for clothing storage. No wonder it’s about to fall apart with the weight of my wood stamps.
Stamps, stamps, and more stamps. Wood stamps take up SO much space. I’m very glad that Stampin’ Up released a line of repositionable clear stamps.
This file box is the only organized section of my craft closet. I separate my card stock by hanging file folders labeled with a tiny swatch of color.
My stamp collection is overflowing and my closet is bursting at the seams. I have a secret plan to take over the husband’s side of the office. I don’t think he’ll mind studying in the hallway, do you?
Helloooooo, blog world! Does anyone still read this? I’ve been out of the blog scene for so long, my poor blog has been dreadfully neglected. I lost my voice for a while and it took me three months to find it again. But I’m back (for real, this time) and I have so much to share!
My first announcement is a shiny new blog! I’m diving head first into the world of professional photography and I started a spankin’ new blog to document my journey. I know it’s kind of silly that I just got back from a long blogging hiatus to announce that I started a new site. But, after an inspiring weekend photography workshop, I’ve found my vision and my voice, and I’m ready to keep TWO blogs updated, at least semi-regularly.So check my photography blog out, and if you feel so inclined, leave a comment every now and then! I [heart] comments very much. www.kellychaublog.com
The second project I want to share is the completion of my office space! During the six months after Hubs and I moved into our new condo, my “office space” was our kitchen counter. With crumbs and food bits everywhere, a kitchen office was not conducive to doing paper crafts. I use this excuse as one reason I haven’t had any projects to post.
Last month, Hubs helped me set up shop in our second bedroom. I’m really happy with the way we utilized our limited space.
Above is my little corner of our shared office. I purchased a counter-height table for my workspace because I like to work standing up when I do paper crafts. Standing gives me more leverage and makes stamping and using a paper cutter easier.
Since the Hubs and I had to sell my beloved Blu Dot desk when we moved, I only have one third of the desk space that I had in my old craft room. I knew that my tiny new desk would need to serve two purposes: photography computer station for dual monitors and craft area. I really needed to have my craft stuff accessible, but get it off my desk so it wouldn’t take up precious real estate. Well, I found some unique storage solutions and now I have so much more storage space than I used to, I don’t notice the smaller desk area because I keep very little on my table.
I purchased two mini drawer units that are so handy. They are absolutely perfect for storing small items, like craft supplies or hardware. They are a tad shorter than my counter-height desk, so I decided to store my ink pads and Sterilite storage drawers on top to even out the height.
Here’s a peak inside one of the drawers. Most of my punches fit into them.
Punch drawer number two. Yes, I have an addiction to paper punches.
Above is a peek into one of my embellishment drawers. The upside down containers at the bottom are tubes of embossing powder. I store them upside down so I can easily view the colors.
I use some of the drawers for stamps that don’t belong to a set. All of my Stampin’ Up sets are stored in our closet. I’ll share photos of my closet space soon.
Finding a good system to store ribbon was one of most difficult things about planning my workspace. I came across many cute storage methods, but I was really picky about my ribbon storage. I needed it to be both accessible, roomy, and attractive. This ribbon organizer was perfect because it was wall mountable, solving my small space problem, and the spools could be removed easily. I love it!
Last, but not least, I’m sharing my favorite storage solution. I found this Ikea hack on a blog somewhere and absolutely loved it. The metal rod is a kitchen towel bar from Ikea and the white containers are mini planters, which store my pens, pencils, and other necessary tools within reach while getting them off my desk. I can’t take credit for this idea because it wasn’t mine, so if I find the blog again, I’ll share the link!
Above the towel bar storage, I nailed a metal magnet board where I can showcase my latest creations and keep inspiration clippings nearby.
So, that concludes a tour of my new office space. I hope it was useful.If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer them as best I can!