Recap: Year of Creative Living

Exactly one year ago today, I packed up my personal belongings and walked away from my OT job of four years.  I was excited, anxious, scared. I had no new job to walk towards. I left without looking back.

I gave myself one year to explore my creative passions, and this past year has been filled to the brim with a multitude of different gigs. I hustled my ass off, let go of a salary and my pride, was an assistant, a lowly intern. It was a busy, stretching, fun, and crazy year where I pursued anything and everything I wanted to. Here’s a recap of all the new things I did:

  • August 2013: Farewell, employment at PUSD
  • September 2013: Started working (very part-time) at a pediatric OT clinic (easiest source of income)
  • October 2013: Travelled with two dear friends to Korea for 2 weeks. My first time there in 6 years!
  • November 2013: Started freelancing as an assistant coordinator for Love & Splendor (event planning and design firm). My first event with them was a high-profile wedding for an Asian celebrity couple!
  • December 2013 – March 2014: Interned with Jessica of Bramble Workshop, who makes hand-crafted art installations, event decor, and store displays. The most memorable project was making a ridiculous number of paper flowers for Ella Moss’ spring look-book and their store window displays.
  • January – February 2014: Worked for Everly Clothing to coordinate their exhibit at WWDMAGIC (fashion tradeshow) in Las Vegas. Did everything from interviewing and hiring sales associates to planning out how many electrical outlets we needed in their custom-designed booth. Spent an exhausting week in Vegas and learned tons about the fast-fashion world. Post about my experience at MAGIC here!
  • February 2014 – March 2014: Through my internship with Bramble Workshop, I got to help out with some DIYs/photo-shoots for designlovefest— assisted with photo styling but also got to do some hand-modeling. Ha! Here, here, here, and here!
  • March 2014: Started freelancing for Zoie Events as an assistant coordinator.
  • March 2014 – June 2014: Interned for Joy Cho of Oh Joy!, my blogger-idol and dream employer. Still can’t believe that happened! Did a ton of DIY projects and photo-shoots for her book project (being published next spring).
  • May 2014: Started freelancing for White Blossom Events as an assistant coordinator.
  • Currently: Working on a project with a friend to do some event design/planning on the side. Website coming soon!

In between, I did tons of DIYs for fun (and blogged about them), took a calligraphy class with Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir, assisted with set design for an Ingrid & Isabel photo shoot, enrolled in a Photoshop class (though I ended up being too busy to attend more than 2 classes… oops), tried my hand at floral design with Bunch Studio for a wedding, and planned/designed baby showers/ bridal showers for friends.

What a year.

I’m so thankful that I had the means to leave a full-time salary for a year and stay afloat, and family and friends who encouraged my choices and supported me along the way. So what’s next? I’m not sure (but what’s new). I’m actually looking into different practice areas of OT (outside of pediatrics), but who knows? After this year, I’m pretty creatively drained, and have really taken a step back from the creative world (even personal projects) to focus on my professional career again. I think I just need to find a good balance instead of swinging from one extreme to another.

Anyway, as always, thanks for reading, and for following along on my crazy adventure this past year.🙂

Weddings Galore

A few pictures from three more Love & Splendor July weddings– ’twas a BUSY month of weddings, to say the least!

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Wedding 1: The Loft on Pine in Long Beach– loved this new venue that opened just late last year! This was the ceremony site that was flipped during cocktail hour to become the reception site (sweetheart table pictured).

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Escort cards were individual succulents!

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Wedding 2: Private residence in Beverly Hills. There’s something so intimate about having a wedding in a backyard– it was the home of the groom’s grandmother. All of these potted plants were already there so the dessert table didn’t require much to make it look pretty.🙂

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Tons of white lights and red lanterns strung up everywhere– they created such a beautiful glow and ambience as the sun set.

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Wedding 3: Private residence in Irvine. Actuallyyyy not a wedding but a 5-year vow renewal. I wish I could post every single picture but trust me when I say that this event was BANANAS. It was a carefully curated event with the most INSANE tablescapes, menu, and decor, with each detail perfectly designed by the craziest team of vendors ever.

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Speechless. Check out the list of vendors here.

Looking forward to one more wedding with Zoie Events later this month, then finishing up the year with a wedding in November that my friend and I are coordinating ourselves! More about that later.😉 Woohoo.

Indian Wedding Weekend

Another Love & Splendor wedding, this time in Santa Barbara! We had a beautiful multi-day Indian celebration at Bacara Resort & Spa this past weekend, and ohmyword, it was an extravagent, beautiful affair.

On Friday morning, I woke up at 5:30am (!), picked up Michelle (L&S assistant), hit the flower mart in DTLA, picked up custom calligraphy place cards by Anne Robin Calligraphy (the names were written with white ink on fresh LEAVES!), and arrived at Bacara at 10am.

I’m not familiar at all with the traditions that accompany Indian weddings, but Day 1 was an outdoor celebration (next to the ocean, of course) with the craziest Indian buffet, mehndi (henna) stations for the women, traditional wedding rituals, and dance performances. The entire celebration moved at 10pm to an indoor dance party with more drinks, performances, and desserts until 1am!

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Look at the bride’s DRESS! She looked like a princess. Photo by Jessica Claire via here.

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Angel wore a beautiful sari and she bought traditional Indian outfits for me and Michelle. Don’t I look like a Christmas ornament?😉

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Day 2 was the actual ceremony (called the baraat), followed by dinner and more dancing (but of course). Per tradition, the groom entered the ceremony first (on a HORSE!), with guests dancing alongside him the entire way. [Above photo, and following two photos by Jessica Claire, via here]

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Although it was starting to sprinkle just before the baraat, the skies cleared as the ceremony started… just in time!

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Pure joy! Isn’t the bride gorgeous??!

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The ceremony took place on a grassy lawn right next to THIS. I mean, come onnn.

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At the reception site, place cards (with guest names + table numbers) were strung on baker’s twine between these two ladders, adorned with florals by Kelly Kaufman.

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All ready for dinner!

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A closeup of the beautiful florals. Kelly did such an amazing job.

‘Twas a long weekend (the celebration continued into Sunday with a brunch!) full of so much color, dancing, good food, and love.  Happy to have been a part of such a beautiful event. Thanks for having me, L&S!

Tinerd Made a List of Books, Part III

Finished my second batch of summer reading books! (First batch here). Actuallyyy, I only read 8/10 because I couldn’t get through two of them. I really, really hate not finishing books I start, but I’m learning to move on and not waste my time… there are way too many other books out there I could be reading (and enjoying), right?

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Young adult/ historical fiction. OMG this book made my heart hurt. Narrated by Death, it follows a young German girl in Nazi Germany… need I say more? So beautiful, so sad, so good.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: Biography of Louis Zamperini. Olympian, WWII AAF POW survivor, and from my hometown, Torrance! This book was out.of.control crazy. Total coincidence, but Zamperini just passed away on July 3rd (I was 50% through the book at this point). D: The movie comes out on Christmas (directed by Angelina Jolie) so read it before then– you’ll be hooked and inspired.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Young adult. I barely remember what this was about because it was vapid and forgettable. The movie’s coming out in a month and I will definitely not be watching this.
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: Contemporary fiction. I read this because I (mostly) enjoyed Eleanor & Park. It’s about an Internet security guy who reads personal emails going back and forth between two of his female co-workers. Entertaining-ish but would not recommend it.
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: Contemporary fiction. What a beautiful story about a lighthouse keeper, his wife, and the life-altering consequences of a decision they make. I stayed up late to finish (always a good sign) and the last 5-10 pages made me sob.
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple: Contemporary fiction. If I had to describe this book in one word, I’d say…. clever? It felt fresh and quirky. Recommend.
  • Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris: Contemporary fiction. I just could not get past the first 10% of this book (Kindle tracks by percentages, not pages). From the little I read, it had no plot, and I didn’t like the writing style/language. Oh well.
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: Fiction. This best-seller about a circus “freak” show family has been around for 25 years and has had a lot of cultural influence so I figured I’d read it. I stopped after 15% because although I enjoyed the beautiful writing, the premise and imagery were just a little too grotesque for me. I might try to pick this up again later.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: Young adult. Book 1 of a trilogy that is the poor man’s version of The Hunger Games trilogy (as is The Maze Runner trilogy). Still entertaining, but I’ll always be partial to THG. Wondering if the movie is worth watching?
  • Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card: Science-fiction. Told in the perspective of the character Bean (from Ender’s Game) in the same time span. It was worth reading but lacked the empathy-inducing pull that EG had over me. I’ve been told the rest of the books in this series are not worth reading… is this true?

My next 10 books!

  • This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini
  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
  • Son by Lois Lowry
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Thanks for all your reccs, friends.🙂 As always, happy reading!


I made it.

One year of consistently blogging twice a week. One hundred twelve posts.


When I wrote my first post, I was nervous as all hell to commit to this blog, even though it was really just a passion project (and should, in theory, be easy and fun- HA).

A few months in, I felt conflicting feelings about blogging, but I committed to posting ’til the year was up.

Well. Here I am. In the last couple of months, this blog has turned more personal and less DIY (Tina Made… Nothing), but I think that’s okay too. Like everything else in my life, the intense creative itch comes in waves, and now is not that time.

Does this blog still bring me joy? Mostly yes.
Do I want to continue? Mostly yes.
Twice a week on a schedule? Not really.

I’m really, really proud of myself for sticking this through, even when it was no fun, even when I had to rack my brain just to post something mediocre… because I love when I finish a project to completion. Will I continue this blog? Probably. I’m going to try and let go of this twice-a-week-scheduled-posting-thing though, and let it be more organic. Which may mean a dramatic decrease in posts, but who knows?

All I know is that… I made it.


Chi-town #TBT; with my college besties circa ’09.

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Lake Michigan

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The Art Institute of Chicago

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Asian fusion at Sunda

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Crack the Whip sculpture at Navy Pier Park

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Brilliant blue skies over the Chicago River

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Downtown. Background– Chicago Tribune building and American Gothic statue

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City view from The Signature Lounge

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Reflections in the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park… aka “The Bean”