las vegas.

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Damn Vegas, you are quite the busy city. You are just like any other city during the day, but at night, your personality really lights up (get it?). DSC_8929 copy DSC_8935 copy

There are so many people in you, walking to this restaurant and that, that it almost reminds my of my hometown, Shanghai. You two are pretty similar, though with less bicycle-riders and food stands. The hotels placed on every single corners are grand, theme-centered, and have a casino at the bottom. I’m going to ignore you’re gambling side and focus on that one beam of light that shines directly on the clouds. I’m gonna ask you about those mountains that hover around you and make me feel as though I’m in this other world where everybody has endless money (which they don’t) and no one is relaxed and sober at the same time. But Las Vegas, I’m just talking about your main strip, not the hundreds of big houses in the desert, or the miles of windmills on the hills that make me feel as though maybe you are a little less wasteful.  DSC_8948 copy Your starless skies, your impersonating landmarks, oh how you make yourself fancier than Iggy Azalea.

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I’d to hang out with you some time again, maybe after I go visit San Fran again, when I’m not with distant relatives that get tired easily and don’t plan enough time to truly enjoy you.

Have a good night, LV

I know you always do. :)




In case you were wondering, we stayed at the Planet Hollywood hotel and went to see the majestic, musical fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace.

21 Days to a New Habit


It’s freshman year already and you know my thoughts about it. With every new year, whether that be in sun rotations, birthdays, or days of school, I always start something.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, what better time to start than now?

Ok, maybe not right now. I started this on the first day of school, September 3rd, and so far it’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs.


An accountability partner is good for some, but for me the most important source of motivation has to come from me. My biggest challenge would be trusting myself, saying if I plan to do this, I know I will do it. Trust yourself is my mantra, and I think it deserves to be made into a poster. (if anyone wants to do that, share it with me!)

Flexibility is huge. My habit is actually a routine, so I’ve found that sticking too strictly to the schedule actually decreases my productivity. And, life happens. There will be days when I just can’t complete my task everyday. And each day has a different list of to-dos and to-go-tos and the habit might not fit in everyday in my situation. For others, maybe it’s something small and could should be done everyday. That needs to be flexible too, though maybe less. :)

Make it visible. For me and my schedule, I open up Evernote right when I get home and so I know exactly what I should be doing right now. If your habit is to use a product everyday, put in a place that you’ll see and thus will remember to use.


And there you go, my tips for forming a habit. I’ll be sharing more info about my own habit, in the next habit update. :)

1/40 a long year


Three days down. and it’s been a crazy bag of mixed feelings about freshman year.

first day

two hours of ice breakers with teachers is not fun. Small groups are better.
the school feels so crowded, even through there are less students than in my middle school
caring around a backpack means a whole new organizational system
lockers are a pain!
organized teachers are the best
it looks like there will be a lot of self-learning happening this year.
upperclassmen are quite scary
there is little to no “free” time. I barely have enough time for lunch.

second day

the people, the people, the people
not as bad, i think i can do this

third day

picture day
lunch with some new/old people
robotic team = all the nice people in school
bus riding sucks
and it’s going to be a long school year


I’ll let you know how it goes, and how I try to make this year…better. :)



grand canyon.

Next up in our west-of-the-rockies road trip, the Grand Canyon.DSC_8812 copy DSC_8821 copy We finally arrived at the South Rim around 7 pm. It was not the best of planning that day. The drive through was absolutely beautiful, a single black line through the red carpet. When we arrived, we only had a few hours to take in the stunning views before driving back to our cabin through the dark, lightning-filled skies.  DSC_8834 copyDSC_8836 copyDSC_8837 copyDSC_8839 copyTip!! One day, or even two, is not enough to take in all of the grand C. There’s a special bus that takes you to the most beautiful road in the park, and only that bus is allowed to drive there. If possible, take a ride on as many buses as you can before they close. DSC_8861 copy DSC_8864 copyThe next day, we went to Zion National Park. DSC_8898 copyDSC_8902 copyDSC_8922 copySimilar to the Grand Canyon, but smaller, and with a orange highway they perfectly named “the carmel highway” running through the whole park. It was a nice stay-in-the-car experience, the last nature activity before we entered the city of lights and spending money on luck.

liebster award.

It seems there aren’t enough small bloggers talking with other bloggers because I got nominated twice (by the lovely Emily and Chloe) through twitter. Here are the rules, to this appreciation-game:

  1.  You have to answer the eleven questions created by the person who tagged you. 22 since I was nominated by two people.
  2. Pick between 5-11 bloggers to nominate. They need to have under 200 followers.
  3. Compile a new list of 11 questions
  4. You can’t nominate the person who tagged you.
  5. Tell everyone that you’ve tagged, that they were nominated.

Ok. From the 22 q’s I got, I picked 11 of my favs.

1. Who is your style icon?

Hmmm… I don’t really have one. I just took a style icon quiz from Buzzfeed (which asked me to choose a guard and a kitten) and I got Rihanna. Um, no.

2. What place in the world would you like to visit the most?

Europe, mainly Scotland, Finland, those places. :) Oh, and Alaska.

3. What’s your dream job?

I really wish I knew exactly. Currently, owner of a creative business.

4. Why did you start blogging?

To feel like maybe, just maybe, someone was listening to what I had to say.

5. What came first the chicken or the egg and why?

The egg. Because there were dinosaur eggs, turtle eggs, and microscopic organism eggs.

6. What’s your favourite movie?

I can’t answer that question. What are my favorites? Well, Lord of the Rings, the Way Way Back, and…

7. What’s your favourite season?

Football season.

8. What is your plan for a zombie apocalypse? 

Run to Costco.

9. If you could only shop in one store for the rest of your life what would it be?


10. Where is your dream holiday?

Walking around a city, and going to a mountain range.

11. If you were a superhero what would you wear?

A cape, duh.

11 random facts about me:
  1. Grand Teton is one of my favorite national park.
  2. I really want to go to Shake Shack.
  3. I just watched Captain American:  Winter Soldier
  4. Mac and cheese is a love of mine,
  5. So is my dog.
  6. I like tacos.
  7. I have two classes outside of the main building.
  8. I used to collect rocks as a kid.
  9. Beanies don’t stay on my head.
  10. I have one dimple
  11. And can’t do that weird thing with my tongue.

Here are the questions I’m giving the people below:

  1. Where were you born?
  2. What does an average day look like for you?
  3. What are you’re plans for the future?
  4. Favorite drink?
  5. Will you give us a sneak into what you have planned for your blog?
  6. Are your ears pierced?
  7. If you could put a message in a bottle and send it off, what would you write?
  8. Do you like answering questions?
  9. What’s your to-do list for today?
  10. Any pets?
  11. Play an instrument?

Who do I want to answer these questions? Well, 

Hello, Cathy!

Straight on till Morning

Tash Brilliant Book Blog

A Fashion Tale

and Just Melkate 


p.s See all these amazing photos? They’re from unsplash, a site that gives you photos you can do whatever you want with.

review: thistle and poppy’s snap point frames


this tweet couldn’t have come at a better time. In the past year, I’ve been working on making my photography better, and better. And some real gems have come from that effort; worthy of being put on my wall to be seen every single day. Then Thistle & Poppy tweeted looking for bloggers to review their whimsical picture frames. I tweeted back, obviously, and now I’m here to share with you my thoughts on Thistle & Poppy’s Snap Point Frames.DSC_9285

What, snap point? What does that even mean. Here’s the backstory of how things all began:

Snap Point Picture Frames were born shortly after the founding of Thistle & Poppy by me (Christie) and my husband Jens. We started out making custom picture frames in our garage for my photography clients. The companies that I was working with either didn’t have the styles I was looking for, the prices were way too high or they just took too long to be delivered.

After spending a grueling holiday season in the wood shop making tons of frames and ornaments, Jens and I were simply discussing ways to make our process more efficient and trying to find ways to maintain the huge variety of frame styles I wanted to offer while he was insistent on making the business profitable ;) We finally stumbled upon a revolutionary solution sitting on our workbench, magnets!

We had been in the process of designing a very cool interactive led wall decor display and had tiny magnets leftover. The light bulb switched on for both of us and within minutes we had our first snap point prototype! A picture frame that would allow you to simply place your photo on the base, snap the trim style of our choice on top and voilà! Framing in seconds!


Now, after hanging this beauty on my wall, here are my thoughts:

the good:

  • these are shaped picture frames. So, that means they come in all different designs, both the base and the frame that snaps on, and there are lots of options.
  • and they have an easy to use designer to pick those designs
  • solid wood (!)
  • color is bright and vivid
  • frames snap on and don’t fall off
  • and customizable too, easily decorate them
  • no glass! it’ll still hurt though, if it falls.

DSC_9307the bad:

  • there isn’t an option for 6 by 4, which is the size of most my photos
  • much heavier compared to other frames but that’s because it’s solid wood.
  • a little on the pricey side, but worth it for solid wood and versatilities
  • paint rubs off a bit on the edges and the corners


and the amazing versatilities:

  • doodles
  • photos
  • nursery decor
  • whiteboard
  • design paper
  • magazine pages

So many ways to be used as home decor! And these frames are crazy affordable. Each base is only $18 for SOLID WOOD. The base is heavier than my dog. Sure, she’s only about 15 pounds but that’s already a lot for a frame. These are a fantastic product, and I love my frame!

On a different note, I’ll be starting school this week -no, TODAY- and it’ll be quite crazy. I’ll let you know what happens this Friday. :)

#successfulsummer recap


My summer blogging project (you can read about it here), was not as successful as I planned. The biggest hurdle would be the fact that the only way to go out, was to take the bus. And that is not as fun/easy/efficient/non-scary as one might think. If there wasn’t a driver in the house, it would just be me. I have explored my neighborhood to the point where I know exactly where the party sounds come from.

Everything was actually alright in the first few weeks, it was at the end of July that the “what am I doing” thoughts came into my mind. Then suddenly, I was off on a two-week road trip with a family I’ve only met once before (don’t worry, they were my aunt’s family). That whole trip in itself was one big roller coaster, going up and up all while building up the pressure going down.

After that was one big recovery process, and I honestly was just happy to be home with my parents.

There are only four days left until I must re-enter the world of school (something that isn’t always the same as learning). I grew a lot this summer. But probably not due to this series. #successfulsummer helped my through the beginning, but it was myself who pulled me to the end.

Incase you were curious, you can find all the posts in this series right here. 

High school, that towering wall of “you gotta work hard to go to a good college and then a good job” coming at me. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic, and good thing I’m ready.

review: beauty without cruelty


Before I start talking about the products, can I just say that I love the packaging.  Not too complicated and that swan-heart thing on the side of the mascara is some pretty smart branding.  Haha. Ok, let’s go.

I got to work with the fabulous Beauty Without Cruelty and was sent a mascara and an eyeliner that I chose from their Color Cosmetics line. Here’s a little about them:

“In 1963, Beauty Without Cruelty was founded in England by the trustees of BWC Charitable Trust. Its goal was to manufacture and distribute natural, color cosmetics that are NOT tested on animals and did NOT contain any animal ingredients.”

Kathleen Long was the driving force and with Noel Gabriel, they created the first full line of cruelty-free color cosmetics. Long passed away in 1969 and BWC almost closed it’s doors. Luckily Lady Dowding took over and BWC reached new heights.

Today BWC has a line of over 200 personal care and color cosmetic products. Not only are they’re products without cruelty, they’re also without toxins!

That’s quite the legacy! And I love their idea for a beauty product that’s good for the world and will actually use. You can find more about them here.  With school starting in exactly one week (!!) waterproof mascara is something I definitely need to get through the day smudge-free. I got the waterproof mascara in black but there’s lots of info on all they’re mascaras, which you can find here. 

DSC_9243DSC_9239thoughts on the mascara:

  • When you first apply it, it clumps a bit. Then it gets better, but still a tad clumpy.
  • Over all it’s pretty waterproof
  • Smudges very little, only after a few eye rubbing incidents
  • Doesn’t hold curl too well after a long time
  • The cool brush lengthens. A lot!

PicMonkey Collage

Now about the eyeliner. I got the Super Soft Kohl Pencil in Cedar Green.

thoughts on the eye liner:

  • Vivid color
  • Like it says, the pencil is pretty smooth and glides on easily
  • But, dang this packaging is so hard to open
  • Amazing on the tight line and adds a subtle but still makes a difference, it’s like lashes are darker and fuller. And the little pop of green is stunning too.

I would actually highly recommend getting this eyeliner, the green is gorgeous on every eye I’ve seen it on. Both of these are quite affordable too, great for back to school too. And with the eye liner, I have mastered the perfect natural look for school! YES. haha So there you have it, my thoughts on Beauty Without Cruelty!



’14 summer roadtrip: yellowstone np

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For the first two weeks of August, I went on what I called a west-of-the-rockies road trip. The first day consisted of a 13 hour drive from Seattle to Yellowstone. Our first night was at Grant Village. The next morning we headed out to the east side of the loop.DSC_8252 DSC_8264 copyDSC_8311 copy  DSC_8337 copyDSC_8320 copy DSC_8321 copy DSC_8327 copyDSC_8415 copy DSC_8416 copy DSC_8438 copy And finally we arrived at the Mammoth Hot Springs. Possibly my favorite place we stayed this trip. There was this hill right next to our little cabin that gave a beautiful, chilly view of the whole town. The next morning we headed for the west side of the loop.
DSC_8442 copy DSC_8461 copy DSC_8464 copy DSC_8466 copy DSC_8478 copy DSC_8486 copy DSC_8494 copy DSC_8496 copy DSC_8500 copy DSC_8512 copy DSC_8506 copyDSC_8514 copy DSC_8525 copyDSC_8549 copyoutput_MQbcOI DSC_8529 copy  There were so many geyser basins, and they can all start to look the same after a while. But then you meet a bacteria-filled bowl of boiling water, and it’s stunning. DSC_8643 copy DSC_8652 copy DSC_8666 copy DSC_8699 copy output_2BviWwDSC_8738 copyWe ended our Yellowstone visit at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. There is a lot to do in Yellowstone and two days barely got us around the full loop. Three days would have given us time to see everything and enjoy each of the magnificent underground structures of  My cousin and I went early in the morning to watch Old Faithful a second time before the sun rose and we headed off to Grand Teton, and Salt Lake City.