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. 🙂

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.

photo 4

Lake Michigan

photo 5

The Art Institute of Chicago

photo 2

Asian fusion at Sunda

photo 1

Crack the Whip sculpture at Navy Pier Park

photo 5

Brilliant blue skies over the Chicago River

photo 1

Downtown. Background– Chicago Tribune building and American Gothic statue

photo 3

City view from The Signature Lounge

photo 2

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

Weekend Getaway

Hi friends, happy Monday! I went on a quick weekend getaway to Kern Valley this past weekend and I wanted to share a few pictures.

photo 5

My friends (small group from church) and I went camping at Pioneer Point, across the road from Lake Isabella.

photo 1

It was my first time going camping in 5 years…! Pretty much the response I got from anyone when I told them I was going camping was, “You don’t seem like the camping type.” -_- ACTUALLYYY I grew up going camping, and I enjoy it a lot. MINUS.. the bugs. Oh gawd the bugs. I would rather not shower for 3 days than have to be in a tent with one bug inside. D: Can I still love camping if I don’t love bugs?

photo 2

Half of our group arrived Friday night, and the other half arrived Saturday morning. It was a scorching 95 degrees, though cool-ish in the shade, and it was ridiculously windy the entire day, like tents-blowing-over-even-with-heavy-stuff-inside windy. The picture above was from early on in the day, when we were still semi-clean and cute… it rapidly went downhill after this. 😉

photo 3

The original plan was to go white water rafting, but because of the drought, the water levels of Kern River were at an all-time low. BOO. We ended up at Lake Isabella instead, though clearly it wasn’t the most picturesque place. RAIN, CALIFORNIA… RAIN.

photo 4

Half the group stayed at the lake, and the other half (myself included) walked back to the campsite in search of shade + Bananagrams. It totally rekindled my love for the game… who wants to play!!

photo 1

After a delicious KBBQ dinner, we made s’mores… while staying away from the campfire as much as possible because it was still so hot. The weather finally cooled down around 9pm and we sat around and played five increasingly-intense rounds of Mafia (potential friendship-killer), stared up at the million stars, and talked.

photo 1

Group picture! The ten of us woke up Sunday morning between the hours of 4:30-6am (sunrise= nature’s alarm clock), ate a hodgepodge of leftover foods for breakfast (including toasted bagels with cream cheese + avocado, Pocky sticks, and french pressed coffee), and headed home.

A quick trip but a fun time of bonding with some good people.

Have a great week!

Tinerd Made a List of Books, Part II

Last week, just in time for summer *officially* starting, I finished the first 10 books of my ever-growing summer reading list. My quick thoughts below… which I know 99% of you don’t care about. It’s okay, 100% of me does not care that you don’t care. 😉 HOORAY READING.

  • The Maze Runner trilogy + prequel (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order) by James Dashner: Young adult. Like a scarier, darker version of The Hunger Games but with a male protagonist. A page-turner, though slow starting. Even though this is YA, I had to take breaks reading the series because I got scared haha.
  • One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak: Fiction, short stories. I had SUCH high hopes for this book and was sorely disappointed. I initially assumed this would be a Mindy Kaling/Tina Fey-esque memoir, so was disappointed right off the bat. I only enjoyed about 20% of the short stories, but part of it probably had to do with the fact that it was way hyped up before I read it.
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri: Contemporary fiction. One of my favorite authors. A sad, haunting, and beautiful story about an Indian family… like all of other Lahiri’s books. ❤
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Contemporary fiction. My favorite book of the bunch!! Dark humor, twisted, and gripping. Read it before watching the movie (or trailer), coming out soon. I LOVE Flynn’s writing style.
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: Contemporary fiction. Almost as engaging as Gone Girl, and even darker.
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: Young adult. The plot reminded me of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (one of my fave YA books) so it was hard not to compare, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Excited for the movie to come out in 2015.
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: Contemporary fiction/chick-lit. A brainless read, comparable to a Lauren Weisberger novel (any book she wrote other than The Devil Wears Prada, like Chasing Harry Winston, which apparently was voted #1 Worst Book of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly… why have I read most of her books?).

I also randomly read Hatchet (Gary Paulsen) and Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson), which I somehow didn’t read as a child (weren’t they “core” books for some schools?). Seriously though, why are they both so sad?!?! Gawd.

Anyway, here are my next 10! Friends, please continue to send your recommendations my way. 🙂

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card (I read this 10-15 years ago but remember nothing)

I’m also considering re-reading the entire Harry Potter series, though the time commitment required for that is a bit daunting. But I was having a conversation with a friend last week and couldn’t remember that Snape killed Dumbledore (spoiler alert circa 2005) or that Harry killed Voldemort (spoiler alert circa 2007)..!! :O I seriously have the worst memory ever.

Happy Reading… continued!


Oh Boy

After 3 months of commuting to Hollywood, crafting my heart out, and being a part of Joy’s awesome team, my Oh Joy internship ended this past Friday. I almost still can’t believe that all of this even happened– I’ve admired Joy’s work and brand for years (and her blog has always been my favorite!), so to work alongside her has been a dream. Though I’ll miss being in such a creative space with a million ideas coming to fruition at any given point, I honestly think I’m ready to move on.

I’m approaching the one year mark for having quit my full-time OT job, and I’m starting to feel a little restless. As much fun as it’s been exploring my creative passions these past 10 months, I’m doing some serious thinking to figure out what the next step is. I’m still at my OT clinic part-time and doing events/weddings on the side, but it may be time for another change. Ohhhh boy.

Anyway, my last day at Oh Joy was full of good food, fun, and laughter (as is often the case in her studio). One of her assistants had a birthday, so we ate lunch at the Ace Hotel in DTLA (the grilled cheese was to die for), devoured the infamous Lady M mille crepe cake (also to die for) back at the studio, and had Justin Timberlake blasting all day. Of course, we stopped for a quick photo shoot (below) when all of us, minus Joy, realized we were wearing outfits with back-cutouts. 🙂



Leaving something good behind is always bittersweet. But I’m ready to move forward, so I’m excited to see what lies ahead in this crazy life of mine.

Happy Monday, friends.

R + TK Wedding

The best is going to an outdoor wedding with beautiful weather, especially when the bride is equally beautiful! My friend Renee got hitched last weekend at Maravilla Gardens in Camarillo (remember her from here?). It was my first time at this venue, and I loved it! An intimate garden ceremony under a canopy, cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres, including grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (!!), and a reception under the stars with tons of dancing and dessert. At the end of the night, we sent off the bride and groom through a path of sparklers lighting up the night.

photo 3 copy

Proud father and blushing bride

photo 3 copy 2

Giggling during the ceremony 🙂


Picture perfect– each girl did her own makeup! Renee is a makeup artist and gave them a lesson before the wedding. Brilliant.

photo 3

R + TK ❤

photo 3 copy 4

With Sunghee, fellow guestbook attendant. Polaroids are always fun.

Huzzah! Congrats Renee + TK, blessings to you both!

Evolution of IG

I jumped on the Instagram bandwagon wayyyy late. Like, only 65 weeks ago, which, in the history of IG, is really late. Actually, I downloaded the app at least a year before my first post, but because I was an avid Facebooker, I deemed it unnecessary to use (insert *regret* icon).

It’s strange looking back on my first 9 pictures (below), and seeing how much the style/aesthetic of my IG has changed.


Pictures with filters, borders… general unpleasant aesthetic. Yuck.


And then 46 weeks ago, I DL-ed the magical app VSCO cam (pronounced “visco”), which allowed me to actually edit photos rather than mask them with ugly filters. So much better, no?!


Here it is now. I stopped confining myself to square photos, and now I post almost everything in a 4:5/5:4 size ratio with a white border. It makes me happy to scroll through my recent pictures because my feed is bright and happy. 🙂 Hooray for the little things in life…!

PS- The following makes me the opposite of happy.


To KaTina Wheeler who “MADE” Terrance Johnson’s IG……… gimme that handle, especially since he’s not using it. D: My suggestion is to change it to KATINAMADEIT. -___- I hate my underscores!

A Simple Shower

Sarah, my roomie from college who now lives in NorCal, was visiting LA this past weekend for her PsyD graduation– so I planned a simple but sweet baby shower on Saturday with our closest girlfriends.

photo 1

(Dr.) Sarah… soon to be mother of a baby boy…!

photo 2 copy

Shower colors were navy, teal, and gold. Paradise cake from King’s Hawaiian (best ever), cake stand from the Oh Joy for Target spring collection, diaper cake topper is the ever-popular Sophie the Giraffe teether, and real cake topper is DIY.

Btw, I made the diaper cake using a no-roll method (typically diapers are individually rolled up and rubberbanded). I found it to be much faster (and more hygienic, IMHO). In case you’re wondering, I used a total of 60 size 1 diapers to make the three tiers.

photo 1 copy

After lunch (catered from Panini Cafe), we decorated onesies with fabric paint, which turned out to be a stress-inducing activity for most of us (but… they turned out cute!)

photo 4

Trying to take one group picture with a gorillapod and self-timer turned into 50… after this one, they mostly looked like this:

photo 5

…and this is one of the better ones. 😉

Hooray Sarah! Proud of you and your doctorate, and so excited to meet your baby boy in a few months!