Hello, it’s me.


(via GIPHY)

A whopping 623 days after my most recent blog post, I have returned. 

We’re barely a month into the new year, so I suppose this could be considered a resolutionary move. But I miss writing, and I’m tired of letting projects fall by the wayside, even when life does all that it can to get in the way of doing what I want (or be as boring as possible so that I’ve no impetus to do anything creative).

What’s happened in the 623 days since my last post?

  • I earned my first-degree black belt in tang soo do in June 2016! On top of that, I also successfully trained for my first-degree black belt in hapkido in December 2017. This June, should cards fall as they may, I’ll be testing for my second-degree black belt in tang soo do.
  • In September 2017, I did something I never thought I would: get a tattoo. This is all thanks to my mother and her new book, Conscious Ink, which was edited by yours truly. It sincerely opened me up to a world of body art of which I was unaware. I highly recommend Conscious Ink to anyone who has an appreciation or curiosity for tattoos. (By the way, I was inked again just three weeks ago.)
  • Skincare has become a passion of mine, specifically, Korean beauty (or K-beauty). It started with sheetmasks — the ones with the cartoon faces on them — and  have not looked back since. I’m hardly a year into my new-and-improved skincare routine and there is so, so much more I must (and am willing to) learn about the Ways of K-beauty. I will say this, though: My skin is much better off for it. Even if I am not as intense as those who use 25 products before bedtime, I’m still a long ways from the days when I’d fall asleep with makeup on my face. (Oops.)
  • I’m still traveling. Just returned from Ireland. A piece of my heart is still there. ♥
  • You know BTS? They’re kind of my favorite group right now, I’ve no shame in admitting this. And don’t get me started on the cuteness that is BT21. How old am I again? Does it matter?
  • A myriad of little victories, small defeats, and everything else that has made my life, in one way or another, uniquely mine. This is a poetic way of saying, “I don’t really know what else I can say here.”

So! Will I keep up with this aul blog? I’d really like to blow off the dust, dismantle the cobwebs, and try again. Let’s consider this Monday Diaries 2.0. I hope those of you who were with me before the long hiatus are ready and willing to join me once again…and bring a few of your friends with you, too, if you’d like.

The Monday Question

How much has your life changed in 623 days?

‘Til (hopefully!) next Monday!


Motivation Monday: Getting Back Into That Groove

Monday Diaries doodle sketch anime Micron Pens

I drew this.

This is my first update in about three weeks. Am I proud of this? Nope. But ’tis what it is.

I can blame several things for this seemingly sudden drought of posts: laziness, busyness, boredom, frustration.

But I’m back, and in more ways than one.

The topic of this post isn’t merely referring to my writing, but rather, one of my first-ever loves: art.

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Motivation Monday: The Proper Response is to Keep Going

pablo (2)

Just keep going, just keep going…

I’ve already lamented over the fact that not all blog posts can be winners.

The sad truth is that it’s not limited to blog posts. Not all classes can be winners. Not all meetings can be winners. Not all meals can be winners. Not all days can be winners.

No matter how good we are at what we do, how confident we act, that “clunker” is inevitable. We’re bound to stumble at some point. It’s one of those things that comes with being human.

Yes, I experienced a moment like that today.

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It’s Okay to be Mean (in the Dojang)

Cobra Kai Karate Kid

But don’t sweep the leg. (Columbia Pictures)

Preface: Yes, I know it’s Tuesday. No, I don’t care. This weekend has largely been devoted to training for my black belt in tang soo do (and recovering from said training). I should also let you know that in the coming weeks, there may be an uptick in martial arts-related posts as I approach testing day in June.

Oh, and this post is one such example.

Generally speaking, I’m a nice, polite person. At least, I try to be. 

“Please” and “thank you” are words I say often, along with “sorry,” which I know I should curb big time. I habitually say “bless you” when someone sneezes. I’ll hold doors open for people and wait patiently in queues (most of the time).

But when I train? I can get mean.

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5 Things Tang Soo Do Has Given Me

RWMAF Martial Arts Great Things Happen Here

Sign in front of my school. When I first saw it, I asked what that even meant. Now? I GET IT.

In the three years I’ve been doing tang soo do, I’ve learned many forms, strikes, blocks, self-defense techniques, and sparring principles. (Oh, and I’ve become a little more fit.)

To say that I’ve mastered everything I’ve been taught up to this point would be a big fat lie. I learn something new each time I train, and I always find ways in which I can improve.

But what else has tang soo do given me, aside from the aforementioned (and rather obvious) points above:

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My Exciting Plans for Leap Day 2016!

Leap Year Promo Shot

No, I’m not popping the question today. (Universal Pictures)

Happy February 29th!

Whether you like it or not, we Earthlings are blessed with one extra calendar day every four years thanks to Pope Gregory XIII. Since 2016 is evenly divisible by four, well, you can figure the rest out.

How do I plan on celebrating this bonus day? Oh, brace yourself for some exciting plans:


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How to Save a Life (or Three): Donate Blood

bloody hell blood donation bags

One blood donation can help save up to three lives, according to the American Red Cross.

I’ve donated blood twice in my life. In both instances, I was in my late teens. 

Why did I do it? Because I could. I was old enough, and healthy enough, to do something as “grown up” as give blood.

Of course, my altruism wasn’t without an ulterior motive. The first time I donated, I was in high school. My school was hosting a blood drive during class hours. Between a needle and Trig/Pre-Calc, the needle was the lesser of two evils.

And then there was the promise of refreshments — cookies and juice! I rarely turn down free snacks. Especially cookies.

Over the years, I would see advertisements for local blood drives taking place in my area, yet I wouldn’t go to them. Why not? I’m busy. I’m not interested at the moment. I don’t feel well enough to give blood. I had my excuses.

Perhaps I figured that I had given blood once twice already, and that sufficiently fulfilled any Bucket List quota.

But this week, I rolled up my sleeve, ready and willing to endure the prick of a needle in order to help save the life of a loved one.

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My Brief Bout of Gerascophobia

Gerascophobia the fear of growing old

Recently, I experienced my first feeling of dread at being in my thirties.

The moment was short-lived, but profound. Typically, I’m not one who obsesses over age. Hell, I still look like I’m in my early twenties. </HUMBLEBRAG>

But that’s a farce. Mentally and biologically speaking, I’m not in my twenties. I can no longer stave off hangovers with a simple combo of greasy food and Gatorade. (I don’t even drink much anymore.) I’m out of that stage where I can get away with making some stupid mistakes because I’m still learning what it means to be an adult, but let’s be real,  I’ve never been a fan of making mistakes.

In my twenties, I was a grown-up, but not too grown. I was still free to be capricious and playful as I gradually evolved into a full-blown adult.

Now that I’m in my thirties, the time for trying-and-failing (and consuming copious amounts of booze) is over. I have to have it all figured out now. I have to be an adult. That’s what society says, right?

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“Having it All” is Not a Lump Sum

Oprah You can have it all just not all at once

Is it possible to “have it all”? 

Is there anyone on this planet who can truly say that, at this moment, they have everything they could ever want in life?

Maybe, but I’m willing to bet that it’s a small percentage, and that the moment is fleeting.

While driving home the other night, I had a thought about this concept of “having it all” and if it truly exists. In my life, I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment in which I believed I had everything.

That sounds harsh, and even a little ungrateful, but it’s the truth. There’s always something else I’m working toward, a situation that needs improvement, or a dream that must be deferred — hopefully, temporarily — for a larger cause. In my life, many people have entered; few will remain for the long haul, yet all must eventually say goodbye.

As someone who typically demands everything in an instant, I’m learning to be okay with the truth that I can’t have it all…at once.

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