London Calling

At the end of April I took a short trip to London to visit with four of my dear friends from my leadership tribe. It had been about three and a half years since we were all together, so we were thrilled to have a mini-reunion.


The four bellas – a radiantly pregnant Tina, Lisa, me and Fiona – were happy to be together. We have been connecting off and on on the phone over the past several years and it’s always like a breath of fresh air when we’re all together. Fiona, being the fabulous idea generator that she is came up with a “development day” concept where each of us got time to share what was going on in our lives and get support, coaching, insights and feedback. Pretty awesome considering we’re all trained coaches who care deeply about each other!


Beks‘ son Callum and Fiona’s son Pierre meet for the first time. Too cute!


A gorgeous view from Richmond Park where we spent a warm, sunny afternoon with the boys.


All five of us together before heading out to dinner at a delicious Turkish restaurant.


An afternoon at Petersham Nurseries.


We dined on yummy sweet potato and ginger soup in the lovely Petersham Nurseries greenhouse. Just heavenly!


A view of the Thames from the Petersham Hotel where we enjoyed high tea complete with finger sandwiches sans crusts and scones with clotted cream. A table near us had a group of gray-haired well-dressed women and we joked that that would be us forty years from now at one of our future reunions! I love to think of us continuing to make time to connect like that. These women are such an important part of my life and we have seen each other through lots of growth and transition. I am so glad I said yes to this spontaneous trip to spend time with dear friends.

Bohemian Book Club


Our book club pick for this round was artist Beatrice Wood’s autobiography, “I Shock Myself.” Francisca dished up a delicious bohemian spread of lentils, quinoa, beets, salad, pita bread, hummus and all sorts of other goodies. Christina picked tangerines from the tree.

As an homage to the creative process, Francisca asked us each to bring pieces we’ve been working on. Christina, Francisca and I shared some knitting, Kristen brought photos and of course Lily brought her latest creation…


… Jacob whom we all met for the first time.


We are on our seventh year of our book club. And even though we hardly talk about the books, we know it’s more about just spending time together laughing, eating, enjoying each other’s company and…


just being silly together (Francisca and I sporting our “Blue Steel” Zoolander poses).

Ahhhh, another perfect book club afternoon!

Home, Health and Heritage


Just when I thought I was done with my travels, I found out last week that my dad was in the hospital with pneumonia. So last weekend, I took a quick trip down to L.A. to visit the family. It was unsettling to see him weak and out of breath. What a relief to watch him perk up when my nephews popped by. Fortunately, he’s doing much better now and is finally back at home resting and recovering.

Being in my hometown brought back some fond memories of my Japanese/Chinese-American heritage. On Saturday night, my sister-in-law’s mom cooked a Chinese New Year dinner at my brother’s house. I delighted in eating one of my favorite childhood treats, almond jello, for dessert. I do miss the days when I would receive those little red envelopes from my grandmother on my dad’s side. We didn’t really celebrate a traditional Chinese New Year, but as a kid, you bet I was willing to say “Gung Hay Fat Choy” in exchange for a bit of pocket money ;).

The next day, after visiting my dad in the hospital, my mom took me to Little Tokyo for lunch. I had a delicious warm bowl of udon. I remember going to J-Town do shows in a performing arts group called Inochi and taking part in the Cherry Blossom Festival. Next time I’m down there, I want to see the Japanese American National Museum since I haven’t been to its newer, larger space.

Being home and spending time with family reconnected me to my roots. For someone who’s typically thinking about the future, it was refreshing to be reminded of where I’ve been and where I came from. How do you reconnect with your history and heritage? What traditions do you honor in your life?

Thanksgiving Dinner – AEDM Day 22


When I was little, I got so excited when my mom would ask me to be in charge of setting the table for special occasions. My budding inner-Martha had a field day thinking up what I would create. I loved folding the napkins just so – sometimes in the shape of flowers or fancy triangles. And I often times got to make the centerpiece. Sometimes I drew pictures to display (including pilgrims and turkeys for Thanksgiving, Noah’s ark for my twin nephews’ baby shower and even Voltron for my cousin’s birthday party!). Other times I simply arranged decorative objects like I did for today.


During our big Thanksgiving gatherings with my cousins we would go around the kids’ table and say what we were grateful for. Those were fun days. This morning I reflected on the many things I am thankful for in my life right now – Brian, my friends and family, my home, living in the beautiful Bay Area, my dog, my health, my work, my creativity, nature, connection with myself and the world and so much more (oh and I’m very thankful for the new nearby Whole Foods for preparing the majority of our feast!). 😉

[tags]National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo, Art Every Day Month, Thanksgiving[/tags]

Eat, Pray, Love…. Repeat

Friends. Food. Fun. What could be better on a gorgeous, warm and sunny San Francisco afternoon? The book club ladies (sans Francisca) gathered at Kristen’s house in the Sunset to revel in Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic memoir “Eat, Pray, Love.” While discussing the author’s personal pilgrimage through Italy, India and Indonesia to find her true self, we feasted on antipasti including caprese salad, grilled asparagus and scrumptious figs with blue cheese. We shared how we related to her journey as we devoured to-die-for orecchiette pasta with chicken sausage and red chili flakes smothered in a tangy cream sauce. We pondered how the she might be integrating all her learnings into her day-to-day life post-travels as we gobbled up chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut gelato dripping with gooey chocolate ganache. Obviously, we had no problem taking a cue from the Italy indulgence theme from part one of the book.

Since the book club ladies weren’t able to attend my Freedom Party a couple of weeks ago, they gave me a heartfelt present. It brought tears to my eyes (there’s always some laughing and crying at book club!). Each gal picked out a special stone carved with an inspirational word like “Dream” or “Courage.” The fifth rock simply read “Friends” symbolizing the enduring strength of our friendship. Whenever I’m reading in my hammock in the backyard, these precious pebbles will be there to remind me that these four wonderful women will always be there for support and love.

As we wrapped up the day and I got into my car, the clear view of the ocean beckoned. Instead of heading straight home, I spontaneously drove out to the beach – one of my favorite spots when I used to live in the city. Just like in the book, I felt pulled to have some time just for me. I cast off my flip flops and waded in the cool, salty surf. I just love how the sound of crashing waves is so meditative. Even in this calm, peaceful place I noticed, though, that my mind still wandered. And since instead of berating myself for mind chatter I’m practicing holding myself with compassion, I just went with it. Riding the wave. I recalled how about seven or eight years ago I performed a letting go ritual on this same stretch of sand. I had written down things that were frustrating about my job, my life, etc. and then tossed them into the sea.

In that moment of reflection, I really related to a quote from the book, “I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself.” My heart swelled with gratitude. This book has opened my eyes even more to my own personal journey and to deepening my own spiritual path. And by following an urge to do something nice just for me on this sunny afternoon, I gave myself the gifts of enjoying the present moment and of honoring who I am now and who I am becoming.

[tags]book club, Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love[/tags]

My One Year Anniversary of Freedom

This weekend I celebrated my one year anniversary of taking the leap from Corporate America to live my dreams! To honor the milestone, I uncharacteristically threw myself a “Freedom Party” (part of my goal to step out more and be seen!) and invited friends and family who have supported me on my journey.

My parents drove up from L.A. to help me prep which was so amazing given what a full week I had leading up to the party. We grilled yummy chicken and shrimp skewers and feasted on a wide assortment of decadent desserts.

The biggest treat of all was spending the day with so many important people from all different parts of my life. Of course there were my parents, Brian and his parents and then there were friends from school and work, coaching friends, family and even my neighbor (also a Gap girl) came over from across the street.

In this picture are friends representing my high school, college, Accenture and Gap days. I hadn’t seen my high school speech friend Cat (in the purple) in probably 10 years and am so thrilled that she’s recently moved to the Bay Area. How timely that my parents also brought up a box of my old speech trophies. The morning of my party I was reading the notes on the bottom of some of the trophies. Our speech coach Mr. Fong always encouraged us to capture our thoughts about the event on the bottom of the trophy so we could remember what the experience was like. I’m so glad we did that as I was able to reminisce on one of my major accomplishments of making it to the state championships, along with Cat, my senior year. I wrote 15 years ago, “This trophy means so much to me because it represents the hardest fight I had to face this year in speech, overcoming my doubts. It feels so great to have all the right things happen for me finally.” Those words rung true for me, too, on this new milestone as I reflected back on a year of being out on my own.

Not only did I reflect on the past year, but I also looked out toward next year and asked the guests to also answer the question “What do I want my life to look like one year from now?” We wrote our responses on “lily pads” that we placed on the “Take a Leap” pond. Even some folks who couldn’t come sent in their responses to be included in the festivities. Some highlights of my intentions for the next year include (gulp!…) writing a book, creating creativity/coaching kits, being a leader for CTI, leading workshops and retreats that make a positive difference in people’s lives, continuing to grow my coaching practice, being peaceful and fulfilled, connecting deeply with Brian and spending quality time with him and our dog Emmett.

It was cool to see the array of dreams in the “pond.” If you’re so inspired, I invite you to add your response to the question, too! I look forward to seeing how all of our visions manifest over the coming year.

I feel so grateful to be living my dreams and to have the support and love of my family and friends. Here’s to another amazing year!

[tags]entrepreneurship, life coaching, yoga, creativity, escaping Corporate America, manifestation, visualization[/tags]

Book Club: Yoga Mamas

It’s hard to believe that my book club back from my Gap days is still going strong after nearly six years! We five friends always enjoy delicious food, side-splitting laughs (especially around dessert time) and fun conversation (we try to get some discussion about the reading, but mostly just gab)! I’ve really enjoyed watching our lives grow and change – new homes, kids, jobs, etc. – and knowing that I can always count on my “book club ladies” for love and support.

My inner Martha delights in creating themes for my book club meals. For my turn this year I paid homage to my recent yoga teacher training and also when my friends and I used to take the lunch-time yoga class at work. We enjoyed a light, quick summer read called “Yoga Mamas.”

To start off our day together, I led the gals in a brief yet grounding yoga class. Then we feasted outside on a raw food extravaganza. (I slaved away in the kitchen for nearly 8 hours the day before chopping, cutting, and assembling all sorts of veggies and nuts.) After all that work, though, the dishes turned out to be amazing! I made a few from Cafe Gratitude’s recipe book “I am Grateful” including my favorite dessert “I am Devoted,” a heavenly coconut cream pie without any refined sugar, flour or dairy. And a too-die-for “lasagna” from “Living Cuisine” with an incredible macadamia nut ricotta filling and zucchini noodles.

All in all, the book club ladies had a wonderful time soaking up the sun and relishing in the nourishment of friendship and food. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!

[tags]book club, Yoga Mamas, yoga, raw food, living cuisine, Cafe Gratitude[/tags]